A hearty stew of offbeat sports and pop culture.

April 2010 Archives

mark-sanchez-jamie-lynn-sigler.JPGFor the latest example of why it's good to be New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez comes from the online pages of US Magazine.

They report the 23-year-old heartthrob is now dating Jamie-Lynn Sigler, 28, of "Sopranos" and "Entourage" fame.

But the timeline gets a little confusing. The couple reportedly hit it off Monday night at the LG Infinia premiere of "Keep Surfing" for the Tribeca Film Festival. Monday was three days ago. So that's a pretty quick romance if US Magazine's source is correct on this.

Sanchez has already been linked to all sorts of high-profile women in his young career, including Hilary Rhoda, Jennifer Mueller and Kristin Cavallari.
cleveland-indians-hate.jpgWho is the most hated team in baseball?

It's the Yankees, right? It has to be the Yankees, what with their success, their smugness, their feeling that the Bronx is the epicenter of the universe.

Wrong, at least according a new algorithm created by Nielson Co. to determine just which teams people love to hate.

Nielson's results suggest that the Cleveand Indians -- yes, the Indians -- are the least liked team in baseball. The Yankees come in as the fifth-most hated and the White Sox as the seventh-most loathed.

The mathematical formula uses keywords to discover whether people have positive, negative or neutral reactions to different brands and products. These results seem a little dubious. I didn't know there was such public disdain for Cleveland.

At the other end of the spectrum, the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics ranked as the most beloved teams.
If you followed any of "HoodieGate" -- the power struggle between Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon and Major League Baseball over his hooded sweatshirts -- you know it was hard to go three sentences without someone comparing him to New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

Now, the often curt Super Bowl enthusiast has cemented a connection by sending Maddon a personalized Patriots hoodie to celebrate his ability to wear his sweatshirts while in the dugout.

Maddon said he plans on displaying the casual wear in his office and that he'd send Belichick a Rays hoodie in exchange.
matt-forte.JPGIf you're not doing anything Saturday afternoon, how about a meet-and-greet session with Bears running back Matt Forte?

Not sold on that?

How about when I tell you there will also be libations?

Chicago athletes can "Go Pro" with Forte, who will help launch Gatorade's new G Series Pro product line at a special "Signing Day" event from noon to 2 PM Saturday, May 1, at GNC, 244 S. State St. Forte will take pictures with fans and sign photos of himself, and visitors also can sample G Series Pro products, gain exclusive access to Gatorade's online professional training system, and enter a sweepstakes to receive a week of professional style training at a world class facility.  
All Forte has to do this upcoming season is find a way to fit in the backfield with Chester Taylor and adapt to new offensive coordinator Mike Martz' offense. Check back here Friday night for his answers on how plans to do those things.

Internet sensation Bango the Buck and Allen Iverson see eye-to-eye on practice.

The mascot for the Milwaukee Bucks is enjoying YouTube celebrity after his ridiculous dunk during Game 4 of his favorite team's playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks. Even more impressive is the claim that he didn't practice the backflip off a 16-foot ladder beforehand.

"Practice? I would love to tell you that I put hours of practice in but I had to keep this one quiet so that I wasn't told not to do it. I did spend countless hours preparing mentally."

Did you have any worries, given your knee injury last year?

"Obviously I was concerned but I am sure my doctor was even more concerned."
Bango's talking about practice. Practice.

If you can't believe a man dressed up in a deer costume, who can you believe?

Bango also said he had more tricks up his sleeve to thrill the Bradley Center crowd, although anything more extreme seems just too dangerous.
Thumbnail image for twitter-logo.jpgOne of my favorite predictions to work into conversation is the theory that, within a year, all professional athletes will be barred from Twitter by their respective leagues.

While that may be a bit out there, the news that Major League Baseball is cracking down on its players' social-media use is why I think it will eventually become a reality. Our Joe Cowley reports that the league is "playing Big Brother" with Twitter, and sent out guidelines to players reminding them to be careful with their 140-character messages.

Perhaps of more concern to me is the report that MLB has ordered its beat writers to stop tweeting about non-baseball topics.

What's the big deal, you ask?

Well, part of Twitter's appeal is the ability to see personality and exchange in two-way communication. Sure, it's not crucial for us to know what the Pirates beat writer thought of the food in the St. Louis press box or what the Red beat writer drives to work. But it's those very tidbits, those real-world things that make us feel like them, just two people talking baseball.

Now, with all of the Twitter issues that have arisen, it makes sense that MLB would want to keep a close eye on things. Just yesterday, former major leaguer Mike Bacsik was fired from a radio station as a result of a racially-motivated tweet. And it seems every week last fall brought a new tweet-related problem for the NFL.

NBC Sports' Aaron Gleeman thinks a major reason for the policy change is so that non-baseball tweets don't show up on MLB's Twitter aggregator. That's a reasonable desire, but you have to wonder if there's some overreaction going on -- and if this ban will last.
Mixed martial arts star Tito Ortiz denies assaulting his girlfriend, former porn star Jenna Jameson.

The 35-year-old Ortiz was arrested in Huntington Beach, Calif. Monday morning and released later in the day. He's charged with assaulting Jameson, with whom he has one-year-old twin sons.

"Tito Ortiz never laid a hand on Jenna, never," his lawyer Chip Matthews told reporters.

Matthews went on to say that the domestic problems stem from Jameson's battle with an addiction to prescription drugs, specifically Oxycontin.

According to a Fox News report, Ortiz pleaded guilty to battery charges in 1998 and was sentenced to three years probation, 29 days in jail and 232 hours of community service. 
barack-obama-yankees.JPGPresident Barack Obama fired another jab at the Cubs yesterday while honoring the New York Yankees on their World Series win last fall.

Well, considering the lefty's throwing motion, it was more like a slow lob.

"It's been nine years since your last title -- which must have felt like an eternity for Yankees fans. I think other teams would be just fine with a spell like that," the president said at the White House. "The Cubs, for example."

Obama went on to talk about how hard it was to see Yankees closer Mariano Rivera pitch against his White Sox and lauded the franchise for both its tradition and rabid fan base.

You'll remember Obama's baseball prowess was recently called in to question when he seemed to skirt a question about his favorite White Sox player. Or was it his calling old Comiskey Park "Cominskey"?

Does this jab get you fired up, Cubs fans? Or is it harmless and uninspiring as the new BP Crosstown Cup?
mike-tomczak-wife-arrested.JPGFormer Bears quarterback Mike Tomczak was arrested Monday afternoon in suburban Pittsburgh after his wife called police after a domestic dispute, according to the Post-Gazette.

Tomczak reportedly lunged at his wife in addition to stepping on her foot, but didn't hit her, according to Pittsburgh television station KDKA-TV.

A police spokesman said Tomczak was charged with two counts of simple assault and released on his own recognizance.

The Chicago-born quarterback led the Bears to a 21-10 record as a starter between the years of 1985-1990 before finishing his career with stops in Green Bay and Pittsburgh.

America's favorite dancing star, Erin Andrews, was back in action last night, dancing the samba with a shirtless Maksin Chmerkovskiy -- whom she is not dating. The performance was good enough to earn the duo a score of 25, which we think is good. It was the second-highest score of the night, for whatever that's worth.
 Apparently there was some drama on the primetime telvision show, if you can believe that. Judge Len Goodman gave Erin and Maks a score of 7, spurring a chorus of boos from the audience. How dare he?
andruw-jones-white-sox.JPGAndruw Jones doesn't need to feel guilty about having an extra piece of birthday cake tonight.

He certainly earned it.

The White Sox left fielder celebrated turning 33 years old by hitting two home runs, including a walk-off blast in the ninth inning in the series opener against the Seattle Mariners.

"In a situation like that, he's throwing hard," said Jones, who ran his career home run total to 394 with game-winner. "He's throwing like 98, 99 [mph] or something like that. When he started throwing me so many breaking pitches, I just made some adjustments, I slowed everything down and I had a good swing.

"I just had a good feeling today. The way it started, I was feeling really focused, just waiting for guys to make some mistakes over the plate so I can have some good swings."

After falling behind 0-2 in the count against the Mariners' Mark Lowe, Jones worked the count full before hitting a hanging curve into the bullpen over the left-field fence, giving the Sox a 7-6 victory and igniting the party.

He became the first player to hit two home runs, including a walkoff, on his birthday since Alex Rodriguez accomplished the feat on June 27, 2002.

Jones, who had a strong preseason, was slow out of the gate this season, going hitless in his first seven at-bats before turning it on. All he's done since then is hit six home runs and find himself looking a lot like a valuable part of Ozzie Guillen's lineup.

"I'm really proud of him," Guillen said of Jones. "He came with one goal to Spring Training and wants to play every day. I remember having a conversation with him where I told him if he swings the bat good, I will play him."

Jones' first-inning solo shot opened the scoring, and his ninth-inning heroics closed it. A day after Guillen challenged his team to bounce back after taking punches, it was the birthday boy that delivered the knockout blow in a game the Sox needed.

A seventh-inning grand slam by the Mariners' Jose Lopez erased a 5-2 advantage for the South Siders. For a brief moment,  it looked like bad-news deja vu.

But an Alex Rios double in the eighth tied it before Jones' homer. Twenty-four hours after Guillen asked for resilience, he got it.

"It would have been very easy to give up in that game the way things have been going," first baseman Paul Konerko said. "It's a good sign, a good sign of fight in the team."

michigan-state-uniforms.JPGA few months back, the Michigan State community was rocked by speculation that the logo was going to change dramatically as part of the university's new-look uniform campaign.

To say that rumor didn't sit well would be a wild understatement.

All those concerned can take a giant sigh of relief, as the new duds were revealed to the public, with the Spartan head logo unchanged.

michigan-state-uniforms2.JPGBut there are some changes.

For instance, all 25 teams on campus will have the same deep shade of green. Athletic director Mark Hollis told The Associated Press that it was important that a level of continuity be maintained across the sports. The green is based on the color of the varsity jacket and the marching band uniform.

Hollis said that public backlash wasn't the sole reason for abandonding the logo change, but that it definitely went in to the final decision.

"I listened to coaches, fans, people on campus, the board, the president and I looked at our history with the goal of bringing Michigan State together to project a unified image."

What do y'all think of them? Got another outcry in you or are these not so bad?
tim-tebow-broncos-jersey.JPGIn a move that will be looked back on as either genius or abominable, the Denver Broncos traded up in last night's NFL Draft to select Florida quarterback Tim Tebow with the 25th overall pick.

Much like everything that surrounds the former Heisman Trophy winner, it was steeped in controversy and conflicting opinions. Oh, and intense media coverage. Did I mention the intense media scrutiny?

One thing everyone seems to agree on is that Tebow's jersey will be among the league's top sellers effective immediately. You can already get your grubby little paws on it at the NFL Shop for the low, low price of $79.99.

The Broncos have yet to announce what number he'll wear, but with Brandon Marshall's departure, No. 15, Tebow's number at Florida, is open.
jake-peavy.JPGAs wild as White Sox starter Jake Peavy was Thursday night in a 10-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays -- and his career-high seven walks will tell you just how wild that was -- his most costly misfire came as a fielder. After a pair of walks and a single loaded the bases with no outs in the third inning, Peavy got Rays cleanup hitter Evan Longoria to tap meekly back to the mound.

A perfect, gift-wrapped double-play ball.

Or so it should have been.

Peavy's throw to catcher A.J. Pierzynski was low and didn't allow him to make a throw to first base after getting the force out at home plate.

A visibly upset Peavy was unable to keep the lid on the inning after that, as it spiraled into a nightmarish 42-pitch marathon that ended up featuring four walks and four Rays runs. His anger was not at Pierzynski, who did not have a good angle to throw to first, but instead at himself.

"There's no way that shouldn't be a double play," Peavy said. "It was a huge momentum swing, the defining moment in tonight's start."

The errant throw helped skyrocket his pitch count and erased any chance for a productive outing.

"If I make a better throw home and we get rid of that ball and turn a double-play to get out of that inning, you're talking about 20, 30 less pitches I have to throw," Peavy said. "You get out of there with one run, still a 2-1 game going into the fifth with 30 less pitches."

Early on this season, this type of start is becoming all too common for Peavy. Only one of the right-hander's four outings have been quality and his ERA rose to a bloated 7.66. More alarming is how wild he's been.

Peavy now has as many walks (15) as strikeouts.

Interestingly enough, he said after the game that he had made a dramatic adjustment mechanically and was pleased with the way he was throwing -- just not the results.

"My stuff was as good as it can get, I believe," said Peavy. "But obviously location wasn't there. Walking seven guys is unacceptable.

Washington Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin set back U.S.-Canada relations back years this week when he went out of his way to spray a young Canadiens fan during a pregame ceremony.

Funny or way out of line? Both?
drew-brees-madden-cover.JPGSuper Bowl champion Drew Brees is your new Madden coverboy, it was revealed earlier today. The 2011 edition will be ready for public consumption on Aug. 10.

Stretch those thumbs out.

The New Orleans Saints quarterback edged out Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen and Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne in the first ever fan voting campaign.

The Madden cover is a tricky deal. Obviously, the player gracing it had to have turned in a stellar season the year before -- and is often coming off a Super Bowl win. But the elephant in the room is the so-called "Madden Curse," which has struck Troy Polamalu, Shaun Alexander, Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick and Garrison Hearst among others.

Brees said he isn't worried about any bad luck coming along with the honor.

He told the Brees told the Times-Picayune last week he's not afraid of the curse, saying: "I'm not rooting against it . . . If it does happen, just like records are made to be broken, curses are made to be broken too. If the fans have spoken, if I am indeed their vote, then I'll do my best to break that trend."

Brave words from Mr. Brees. It sounds like he's got the right mindset to avoid any bad cosmic mojo.

Now, the possible karmatic brushback from running back Reggie Bush's dumping of reality television star Kim Kardashian? The jury's still out on that.
Ozzie Guillen's White Sox may have used the comforts of home to snap a four-game losing streak with a victory over the Tampa Bay Rays last night, but he's having a bit of a rough day back at his own home.

It seems Comcast has drawn the ire of the outspoken manager.

"Waiting for comcast people to show up in my house godddddd please take a little longer is not free," he tweeted.

Guillen was apparently led to believe the cable company would be there at 8 a.m. As of around noon, he was stil waiting.

"Its amazing to me how u have to wait for cable. As if I was getting it for free. 8 am they said wow," another tweet reads.

"Comcast is now saying they came to my house. They suck. Its not free they r not the only cable company," he continued.

It just goes to show it doesn't matter who you are. Between 8 and noon doesn't always mean between 8 and noon, World Series ring or not.
nickelback-tiger-woods.JPGOf all the interesting choices Tiger Woods has made recently, to a certain faction of people, attending a Nickelback concert may be the most confusing.

They are, after all, the object of much ridicule in the music world. Personally, I have nothing against them. Apparently, neither does Tiger.

The now-golfing golfer was spotted backstage as the Canadian alt-rock played its brand of radio rock at Orlando's Amway Arena Wednesday night, according to TMZ. Woods is apparently a big Nickelback fan and has joined the musicmakers on stage in the past, according to the report.

So maybe now his musical taste will be open to as much scrutiny as his taste in women.

Woods will be back on the links next week, when he plays in the Quail Hollow Championship in North Carolina. 
Former NFL running back Corey Dillon was arrested for suspicion of drunk driving early Wednesday morning in Los Angeles. The 35-year-old was booked after being pulled over at 3:30 a.m. and bail was set at $5,000.

Dillon, who retired in 2007, spent seven seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals and three with the New England Patriots -- where he was part of the 2004 Super Bowl champion team.
John Danks was answering post-game questions Tuesday night in the White Sox locker room when a familiar voice chimed in from the throng of reporters.

"Has Mark Buehrle taught you everything you know?"

The scruffy, media-member-for-a-day questioner was talking in the third person.

Buehrle was joking, of course. But Danks' performance in many ways resembled what the veteran lefty has done so often in his career.

Danks stepped up, stopped four-game losing streak and won a game the Sox needed to win.

He worked quickly.

He pitched smartly and battled.

Danks' (2-0) eight-inning, one-run gem helped the Sox take the series opener 4-1 against the Tampa Bay Rays. Along the way, he struck out a season-high nine batters in a tidy 2-hour, 22-minute affair.

Just what the doctor ordered.

"It might be one of the best days I've seen him throw the ball," manager Ozzie Guillen said.

Two batters in, it wasn't so apparent he had his best stuff. Danks served up a majestic 415-foot home run to Carl Crawford. Then he got tough, allowing just one hit -- an infield single also to Crawford -- and two walks the rest of the way.

"I felt real good the first two innings, didn't have much of a changeup, but A.J. [Pierzynski] did a good job of sticking with it. The last four innings or so it really came along and it was a pitch I was leaning heavily on. Through the course of the game I had a couple of pitches working for me that really helped," Danks said.

Danks improved his career record against Tampa Bay to 5-1 and turned in his third consecutive quality start. He lowered his ERA to 1.29 and has struck out 21 batters in as many innings this year.

This dominance is, in a way, also Buehrle-like. Something about a perfect game last summer against these Rays.

"I really don't have an answer for that. I don't know. There are plenty of teams that I don't match up well against, so I'll take a good matchup," Danks said.

If there was any pressure on the offense coming into the game to snap the skid, the shutdown performance alleviated much of that.
"He pitched tremendous, he kept us in the game," said designated hitter Andrew Jones, who hit his 392nd career home run -- a solo shot in the sixth inning. "We just had to score two runs to win the game."
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Edinson Volquez has been suspended 50 games after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

The 2008 All-Star is recovering from surgery on his throwing elbow and is expected back around midseason. After his winning 17 games in 2008, Volquez went just 4-2 last year due to injuries.

He's the first player suspended under Major League Baseball's drug program since Los Angeles' Manny Ramirez was hit with a 50-game penalty last season.
Former Kansas State quarterback Dylan Meier has died in a hiking accident, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal.

The 26-year-old was believed to be hiking with his family, including his brothers Shad and Kerry, in Arkansas when he fell from a cliff.

After a remarkable in-state prep career in Pittsburg, Meier signed with Kansas State in 2002. In 2004, he started six games as a sophomore. An injury kept him out of the entire 2004 season, but he returned to start the team's first five games in 2006. Meier played professionally in Europe after graduating.

Before the accident, he'd been planning on moving to Korea to teach English
donovan-mcnabb-terrell-owens.JPGIn an effort to make the NFC East even more crazy than it already is, new Washington Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb has asked that his team consider bringing receiver Terrell Owens to town, according to a report from ESPN.

While Redskins coach Mike Shanahan says they aren't actively pursuing Owens, a source close to McNabb told ESPN that the former teammates discussed the possibility of reuniting while filming a recent episode of "Pros vs. Joes."

The relationship between Owens and McNabb while they were both members of the Philadelphia Eagles was often frosty. The two barely spoke and their rift became part of a bigger locker room schism.

If Owens somehow does end up in the nation's capital, it would make the twice-yearly divisional matchup between the Redskins and Eagles even more contentious.

But, of course, that's a long way off.
Former WBC champion Edwin Valero, who was being held in suspicion of killing his wife, committed suicide early Monday, police said.

The 28-year-old Valero was detained after he allegedly told hotel staff he'd murdered 20-year-old Jennifer Viera in a Valencia, Venezuela hotel. Police said that the boxer used clothes to hang himself.

This morning, everyone -- with the exception of Colorado Avalanche fans -- has to feel really bad for San Jose Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle.

The poor guy inadvertently scored on his own goal in the first minute of overtime to give the Avalanche a 2-1 series lead last night. Boyle was attempting to backhand the puck behind his goal, but instead flung it past an unprepared Evgeni Nabokov.

Ryan O'Reilly, a 19-year-old rookie, was credited with the goal. He seems to think he got a piece of the puck as Boyle dumped it backwards, but he's in the minority.

Deflection or not, just an absolutely crushing way to lose a game for Boyle and the Sharks.
ubaldo-jimenez-no-hitter.jpgColorado Rockies pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez is pretty sure that his no-hitter last night against the Atlanta Braves was real -- and not just a figment of his imagination.

In the hours after the right-hander tossed the franchise's first no-no, he said he struggled to sleep and wondered if it was all a dream.

Really, in the grand scheme of things, doing something like that is really a best-case scenario when it comes to not remembering the night before.

 After a fitfully short slumber, he awoke and needed to clear his mind.

He did so in the form of a six-mile run around Atlanta early this morning, which is a few miles longer than his normal routine dictates. Jimenez said the jog did the trick, and while he's enjoying his feat, he's ready to move on.
Former WBC lightweight champion Edwin Valero has been detained by authorities in Venezuela on suspicion of killing his wife.

Twenty-year-old Jennifer Valero was found dead in a Valencia hotel with three stab wounds. The former boxing champ allegedly told hotel personnel that he had killed her.

The 28-year-old pugilist has had his share of past legal troubles. Last month, he was brought in on charges of harassing his wife and the medical staff that treated her at a hospital. He was arrested after an argument with a doctor and nurse as his wife was being treated for numerous injuries, including a punctured lung and broken ribs.

Valero checked into a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center on March 28, according to his attorney. The attorney said Valero's wife fell down a flight of stairs at the couple's home.

Valero holds a perfect 27-0 record as a boxer.
osama-bin-laden-sports.jpgA new book paints Taliban leader Osama Bin Laden as an avid soccer fan and an excellent volleyball player.

How he manages to squeeze these sports passions in while cowardly hiding out in caves, plotting and carrying out terrorist attacks and subsequently gloating about them is another question.

And, of course, who cares about them is yet another.

"He is so tall that he does not need to jump up to do a smash," said Nasser al-Bahri, one of the Al-Qaeda leader's former bodyguards. His memoir, published in Paris last week, reveals another side of the West's favourite bogeyman: besides his uses at the net, Bin Laden also likes playing football, preferably at centre forward. Even then, he never takes off his turban.
Al-Bahri served as one of Bin Laden's lieutenants for four years and has now written a memoir called In the Shadow of Bin Laden. He told The Sunday Times last week that he wishes he'd killed Bin Laden before the September 11 attacks. He now spends his time trying to persuade militants not to join the jihad while providing us with crucial intelligence like this.
The most entertaining part of Strikeforce Nashville, that nationally-televised jamboree of mixed martial arts that invaded CBS last night, may have been this post-match brawl that erupted during a Gus Johnson interview.

That's Jason "Mayhem" Miller requesting a rematch with Jake Shields before the scrum broke out.

Johnson blamed the incident on "testosterone." I blame it on Johnson's ability to get people worked up to a fevered pitch whenever he speaks.

aaron-roward-beaned.JPGSan Francisco Giants center fielder Aaron Rowand suffered two fractures to his left cheekbone and a mild concussion after he was hit in the face with a pitch by Vicente Padilla in last night's 10-8 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Rowand was struck on the bill of the helmet and struggled for several minutes before leaving the game. A CT scan at a hospital revealed just how serious his injuries were.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy doubted that Padilla was throwing at Rowand in retaliation, since San Francisco starter Todd Wellemeyer had pitched high and tight to Matt Kemp three innings earlier.

"You're always going to wonder what the intent was," Bochy said. "In that situation, that's not a time when a pitcher is going to hit somebody."
Rowand has not yet been placed on the 15-day disabled list.
The Major League Baseball season is less than two weeks old and we already have our first story of a fan intentionally puking on a family.

The alleged disgusting event took place Wednesday night at the Phillies-Nationals game at Citizens Bank Park. Police say 21-year-old Matthew Clemmens was arraigned after allegedly making himself vomit on an off-duty police captain and his 11-year-old daughter. Clemmens' companion had previously been kicked out of the park for unruly behavior.

The police captain says he saw Clemmens stick his fingers down his throat and Philadelphia police say he punched the captain and threw up on the arresting officer.

Makes tossing a beer seem pretty tame in comparison.
jerry-rice-golf.jpgSoon-to-be Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice made his professional golf debut yesterday and it went about as well as you might suspect.

Rice shot a 12-over 83 in the first round of a Nationwide Tour event in Hayward, California.

The NFL's all-time touchdown leader shanked his first shot off the tee into deep weeds and ended up with a double-bogey. Things didn't improve from there.

He does, however, think things are going to get better.

"My first NFL starts were bumpy -- I was dropping footballs all over the place," Rice, who is tied for 153rd place in the 155-player field, said in a blog he's writing for the PGA Tour's Web site. "And my putter is toast. I am going to melt it down. You won't see it again."
Rice is the eighth player from another sport to try his hand swinging a club on the Nationwide Tour, joining Brett Hull and Ivan Lendl.

In his blog, Rice said he was hoping to shoot his jersey number, which was 80. He'll try again today.
The NCAA approved two new rules for play next season, and one for 2011 which could prove to be extremely controversial.

In addition to banning wedge blocks and eye black with messages, the organization's rule panel approved a proposal that will disallow touchdowns for taunting, if the foul takes place before the player gets into the end zone.

So, no more high-stepping, no more slowing down, no more anything that could be construed as taunting. The offending team will be penalized with a spot foul.

"I think one of the reasons it's been looked at is that when a penalty occurs on the field, it's normally taken from the spot," Grant Teaff, executive director of the American Football Coaches Association, said. "This was the only occurrence that it wasn't taken from the spot, so they wanted to change that."

It will be interesting to see reaction, both from coaches and media across the country as news of this rule spreads.
jaimee-grubbs-tiger-woods.jpgJaimee Grubbs, perhaps the most recognizable of Tiger Woods' alleged mistresses, was arrested in Los Angeles Wednesday evening, police said.

Grubbs was stopped by authorities because there was a warrant return on the license plate of the 2004 Mustang she was driving.

She had three outstanding warrants, deputies said. They included: a $26,000 warrant out of Beverly Hills Court for driving on a suspended license; a $2,500 warrant out of Beverly Hills Court for driving on a suspended license; and a $1,809 warrant out of West Los Angeles Court for driving on a suspended license.
During the course of the stop, it was discovered that Grubbs' license was still suspended, so she was also cited for that.

Grubbs was taken into custody and released from jail Thursday morning.

The arrest comes a month after Grubbs lost Howard Stern's "Tiger Woods Mistress Beauty Pageant." Girl just can't buy a break.

You'll remember Grubbs as the one who claimed she had a 31-month relationship with Woods and brought these voice mails into the cultural zeitgeist.
alg_dykstra.jpgThere's a movement afoot to eliminate one of baseball's longest-running traditions -- one that's on display in every single Major League game.

That's right, we're talking about chewing tobacco and dip.

Let the intelligent discourse begin.

At a hearing Wednesday, House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Henry Waxman, a California Democrat, and Health Subcommittee chairman Frank Pallone, a New Jersey Democrat, called on baseball and its players to agree to bar major leaguers from using chew, dip or similar products during games.

MLB executive VP Robert Manfred and MLB Players Association chief labor counsel David Prouty told lawmakers they agree that smokeless tobacco is harmful -- Manfred said a ban in the majors is "a laudable goal" -- but both pointed out that any ban would have to be agreed to through collective bargaining.

So is there a chance that puffy-cheeked players will soon become a thing of the past? The idea isn't without precedent. Currently, smoking cigarettes in uniform while in public view is prohibited. Smokeless tobacco has been outlawed in the minors since 1993.
big-ben-roethlisberger.jpgBeef jerky has long been synonymous with integrity. That's just a fact. So it should come as no surprise that a Pittsburgh meat-making enterprise has dumped Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger as its spokesman.

PLB Sports president Ty Ballou says Roethlisberger is "falling short" of the company's standards after a Georgia prosecutor announced Monday he will not prosecute the quarterback over sexual assault allegations.
Chew on that for a bit.

The company said that the facts presented at the prosecutor's Monday news conference led to its decision.

The fine people at PLB also offer breakfast cereal endorsed by Steelers receiver Hines Ward and Pittsburgh Penguins forward Max Talbot.

Who will come forward and be the next face of Pittsburgh-area dehydrated meat? A city waits with salivating mouths.
The Denver Broncos will trade wide receiver Brandon Marshall to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for a second-round pick in next week's draft and a second-round selection in 2011, according to a report from ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The only obstacles standing in the way of the deal are the NFL's processing of the paperwork and Marshall passing his physical. Neither of these are expected to be deal-breakers.

The highly-talented, but controversy-prone Marshall caught 101 passes for 1,120 yards and 10 touchdowns last season, including a 21-reception game against Indianapolis. Over his four seasons in Denver, he's racked up 327 career receptions for 4,019 yards and 25 touchdowns.

So, this is the big touchdown run everyone is talking about.

USC running back Dillon Baxter took a pitch to left side and scampered untouched into the end zone for a 52-yard touchdown during the team's spring scrimmage on Saturday. If you're not patient enough to wait through the first couple of highlights, the brilliance begins about 50 seconds into the video.

After the scrimmage, new Trojans coach Lane Kiffin compared it to Reggie Bush's dazzling 2005 run against Fresno State. Personally, I don't think it's that good, but it's understandable why USC fans are excited to get this guy out on the field. 

Mike Royko, the voice of Chicago journalism, was an everyman for the city. Living a life made of dirty politics and barstool social commentary, his voice was a familiar one telling the sometimes hard to hear story of the city he loved.

But at no time did Royko speak with such unbridled glee as when he was hanging out at the Billy Goat, talking his true love - softball. Real softball. The 16-inch kind.

In this 1982 gem, a rare interview with Slats Grobnik's best friend, Royko hangs out with the Sun-Times team, a perennial powerhouse, and talks effusively about the time when he was king, pitching the Strikers to a title on a last-second whim. And, of course, his desire to collapse, dead at homeplate carrying the tying run in the seventh inning to finish off a grand slam. And, his life, of course.

Aside from the bar stool or behind the keys of his typewriter, there could have been no more fitting place for Royko to meet his maker.

And for those of you not blessed enough to be from Chicago, 16-inch softball is different from what you play because A) the ball is bigger than the usual 12-inch variety and B) there are no gloves on defense. The 16-inch game is specific to the Chicago region, but grab a Clincher and you can make a change for the better.

Prosecutors in Prince George's County have begun a criminal inquiry into the conduct of three police officers after a video of them getting rough with an unarmed University of Maryland student surfaced on the Web.

The incident happened after the Terrapins beat rival Duke in March. Students filled the streets to celebrate, and at one point, a confrontation between a student and police became physical.

"The video shows the charging documents were nothing more than a cover, a fairy tale they made up to cover for the officers' misconduct," said Christopher A. Griffiths, a lawyer for the student. "The video shows gratuitous violence against a defenseless individual."

Police Chief Roberto Hylton said one of the three officers involved has been suspended during the investigation and the other two will be suspended upon identification.
phil-mickelson-green-jacket.jpgHow would you celebrate winning The Masters? A wild night of partying? A quiet dinner at home? A delicious assortment of doughnuts?

This picture reportedly shows Phil Mickelson loading up at an Augusta Krispy Kreme wearing, you guessed it, his newly-won green jacket on Monday morning.
Wright State's Brad Brownell will become Clemson's next basketball coach, according to a report from CBS Sports' Gary Parrish.

A source tells Parrish that an official announcement is expected later today. Brownell would replace Oliver Purnell, who last week signed a seven-year deal to coach DePaul.

Brownell has strung together four consecutive seasons of at least 20 wins at Wright State.
milton-bradley.JPGIn what is becoming an annual rite of spring, outfielder Milton Bradley has had his first in-season sit-down chat with his manager after an on-field incident.

Seattle Mariners skipper Don Wakamatsu said he sat Bradely down Monday for a talk -- three days after he flipped the bird to jeering fans in Texas.

"He opened up and talked about the pressure. We talked a lot about relying on us to alleviate some of that and [how] he doesn't have to carry this club by himself," Wakamatsu said.

Bradley's response?

"He responded to it and was open," the manager said, adding Bradley was "remorseful" over the incident.

Bradley's troubles as a Cub last season have been written about over and over again, so we won't rehash all the messiness.

But, his woeful 1-for-22 start, combined with his actions in Texas, has to raise concerns for the Mariners. Or raise them again after taking a chance when picking him up during the offseason.

Wakamatsu is still expecting the best, however.

"I think [it's] a new start and [for] this club," the Mariners' manager said. "I think he has found a comfort level with the ballclub and in that, [he's] not wanting to let his teammates down."

It's Tuesday morning, so here's your obligatory Erin Andrews "Dancing With the Stars" post.

Don't judge me.

Our fearless sideline reporter danced through pain, and nervousness about her footwork to earn a score of 39 from the judges. She and partner Maks Chmerkovskiy's tango was set to the old Eurythmics staple "Sweet Dreams (Are Mande of These)" and, I don't know, seemed okay.

Talk amongst yourselves.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will not face criminal charges in connection with an incident last month at a Georgia nightclub in which a 20-year-old student claimed she was sexually assaulted.

District Attorney Fred Bright made the announcement today that authorities would not be pursuing charges against Roethlisberger, who is currently being sued by a woman who claims he raped her at a Lake Tahoe hotel in 2008.

There's probably a great deal of you that are excited about the Cubs' home opener this afternoon against Milwaukee. Then again, your mom probably didn't wake you up at 3:30 a.m. and drive you two hours into the city to a bar when you didn't have tickets.

The WGN morning team got a little more than it bargained for this morning when they did a man-on-the-street talkie with this very sullen youngster and his slightly-older brother, who doesn't have a favorite player.

If you see these people up in Wrigleyville today, be a sport and hook them up with some tickets. They could use some cheering up.


Milton Bradley works on his birding skills. (Photo courtesy SeattleDawg18)

Milton Bradley, maybe you vaguely remember him bringing his unique skill set to the North Side Nine last season, is playing his part to perfection once again.

Just a few weeks ago, the explosive former Cubs outfielder equated himself with the likes of Kanye West and Ron Artest as baseball's bad boy:

"If I was a musician, I'd be Kanye West. If I was in the NBA, I'd be Ron Artest. In baseball, they've got Milton Bradley. I'm that guy. You need people like me, so you can point your finger and go, 'There goes the bad guy."

OK, Milton. What finger were you talking about pointing again?

Bradley, now blessing the Seattle Mariners with his talents, didn't waste any time getting into the controversy column this season. During a game Friday night at the Texas Rangers, also a former home for the hot-headed one, Bradley was caught on camera answering fans' taunts with a bird flip. The Dallas Morning News' Rangers Blog reports on the incident, which apparently was scrubbed from the tape-delayed broadcast.

Milton was unavailable for comment after the game and Mariner's manager Don Wakamatsu could only muster what will be the first of many "no comments" this season.

So, if you're keeping track, Bradley now has one finger flipped on the season, matching his hits through Friday night. Serendipitous.

Cubs fans, you're gonna miss the big lug this season, aren't you?

tiger-bootyism.JPGSomeone, it seems, had enough disposable income and distaste for Tiger Woods to arrange for a banner reading "Tiger: Did You Mean Bootyism?" to fly over Augusta National during the opening round of the Masters.

Ah, yes, the timeless civility of golf.

Nike is airing a commercial starring Tiger Woods just 24 hours before the golfer returns to competitive play at the Masters.

It features a stoic Woods in black-and-white video while the voice of his late father, Earl, talks about responsibility.

I don't really get it. Maybe you do.

Nike, which was one of the sponsors to stick by Tiger through his scandal, obviously had to re-establish its relationship with its spokesman somehow. Realistically, the first ad back was going to be awkward no matter how it was done.

There's no denying its artistic quality, but it doesn't make me want to buy Nike products.

To say that Barcelona's Lionel Messi put on a show yesterday in his club's 4-1 Champions League victory over Arsenal would be a wild understatement. I mean, it's not an everyday occurrence for a player to score four goals against a world-class opponent. Rarer still is scoring a hat trick in a 22-minute span.

Then again, Messi isn't your average footballer.

The 22-year-old Argentine is widely recognized as the game's best player and has even made the casual American take notice. This, of course, is no small feat.

Messi became the sixth player in Champions League history to score four goals in a game with his offensive explosion. Previously, the phenom had scored three hat tricks for Barca.

CBS debuted its brand new "One Shining Moment" after Duke's thrilling victory over Butler last night, and yes, this Jennifer Hudson version is different.

Maybe not different in a good way either.

Prepare yourself for lots of on-screen shots of one Chicago's favorite daughters and some serious omissions. I mean, Ohio pulled the first round's biggest upset, right? Maybe should have included that. Also, as the The Big Lead points out, it seems this incarnation of everyone's favorite highlight montage was more about emotional snapshots than actual replays.

Anyone out there want to defend the new version or are we all on the same page and miss the old one?
President Barack Obama wore a White Sox cap during his ceremonial first pitch at the Washington Nationals game yesterday, but before any rabid Pale Hose supporters get too excited about it, they should know he had a bit of a problem naming any player by name.

The first fan was interviewed during the game's television broadcast by former Sox pitcher Rob Dibble, who asked the president about his favorite players on the South Side growing up.

This is was the point that the usually eloquent Obama began stammering.

"You know uh ..... I ... I thought that ... uh .... you know," Obama stalled. " ... The truth is a lot of the Cubs I like too! But, uh ... I did not become a Sox fan until I moved to Chicago. Because I uh .... I was growing up in Hawaii so I ended up actually being an Oakland A's fan."

Yes, he did also call it "Cominskey Park." That, apparently, is something he does regularly.

One could make the case that Obama's point was that he didn't become acquainted with the Sox until later in his life, but I'd imagine most fans would have liked him to spit out at least one player's name.

So, big deal or not?

Mark Buerhle may not have been perfect in his record eighth Opening Day start for the White Sox, but this defensive gem sure was.

In the fifth, the left-hander took a bullet from Lou Marson's bat off his leg, chased it down in foul territory along the first-base line and flipped it without looking through his legs with his glove hand to Konerko to get the out.

Even with 161 regular-season games left, it could very well end up being the Sox' defensive play of the year.

Buehrle was checked out by manager Ozzie Guillen and the training staff, which gave fans the opportunity to give him a well-deserved standing ovation.

Buehrle finished after 7 innings with a 5-0 lead over the Indians, giving up just three hits and striking out three.

Former Bulls great Scottie Pippen will join his partner in excellence, Michael Jordan, in the Naismith Hall of Fame, according to a report from the Newark Star-Ledger.

Others to be enshrined include Karl Malone and Bob Hurley Sr., according to the report. An official announcement is expected Monday.

Pippen, the second-leading scorer in Bulls history, made seven All-Star appearances and was named to eight All-Defensive teams. He also ranks second in franchise history in steals and assists.

Pippen spent 12 of his 16 years in the NBA in Chicago, where he won six NBA championships.

Screen shot 2010-04-04 at 2.35.42 AM.png

It's always nice to see Dwyane Wade make a stop in his hometown of Chicago, but this might be a little over the top. Wade and the Miami Heat were forced to make an emergency landing at O'Hare International Airport early Sunday morning when a member of the cockpit crew went into a diabetic coma.

Not what you want hear coming out of the cockpit.

Of course, the world found out via Twitter, with DWade doing the reporting honors - never mind the slip on facts - at his official page:

Hey everyone pray for our pilot. We just had a emergency landing in chicago. He went into a Coma. God bless this man and his family

Turns out is was actually a mechanic on board, not the pilot, but suffice to say it was a bit of a scramble. Miami Heat trainers administered aid as the plane landed and the man, who became ill while in the cockpit, was taken to a hospital for further treatment.

The team was returning to Miami after beating the Minnesota Timberwolves 97-84 on Saturday night.

Sadly, Wade could not stay in town to breathe life into the Bulls' playoff push while he was at it. turns out he had to jet for more important things:

Ok taking off to Miami. Gd nite tfam. I need to get some rest gotta go support my homie @andyroddick 2morrow in championship match

Milwaukee Bucks center Andrew Bogut suffered a grisly injury tonight against the Phoenix Suns after falling awkwardly on his right elbow.

In the second quarter, Bogut went up for a dunk attempt, hung on the rim and crashed to the ground after being brushed in the back by the Suns' Amare Stoudamire.

Stoudamire was called for a flagrant foul on the play, but replays showed minimal contact.

Bogut was hospitalized after the fall. Now, I'm not a doctor, but that certainly looks like an injury that's going to sideline Bogut for the rest of the season and the playoffs. It couldn't come at a worse time for the Bucks, who've made a late-season surge and currently sit in the fifth position in the Eastern Conference.

The video is, for lack of a better word, disturbing. You've been warned.

Thumbnail image for kenyon-martin.JPGAn April Fool's Day prank pulled on Denver Nuggets' Kenyon Martin erupted into quite a little situation after the forward decided to tell his teammates just how strongly he disliked the tomfoolery.

During the Nuggets' victory over the Portland Trail Blazers Thursday, a former Nuggets ball boy, Laquan Johnson, filled Martin's Range Rover with buttered popcorn. Considering the car had a white interior, that's a pretty bold move.

Martin blew a gasket after discovering his snack-filled ride after the game.

Hey, wouldn't you?

Although he didn't know who was responsible at the time, he confronted his teammates and other members of the Nuggets organization.

"That ain't no [expletive] joke," Martin said. "I'm going to find out who did it ... put my [expletive] hands on one of y'all. I'm going to put my hands on whoever did it. You better believe that. It's [expletive] personal. You better believe it."

The injured Martin then threatened to sit out the postseason if he wasn't told who the prankster was.

"How 'bout if I don't play in the playoffs until somebody tells me who did it," Martin said more than once.
Johnson eventually apologized to Martin and agreed to pay for the damage to his car.

Next year, something tells me Martin won't be a target for any fun and games come April 1. 
ESPN sideline reporter and "Dancing With the Stars" contestant Erin Andrews has been the target of death threats, according to her attorney, Marshall Grossman.

The messages reference the case of Michael David Barrett, the Westmont man sentenced last month to 2 1/2 years in federal prison for recording nude videos of Andrews.

DirectTV provided the e-mails -- which morphed from sexually-driven to a more violent nature, according to Grossman -- to Andrews' representatives on Thursday.

The FBI has been notified and the man's identity is known to law enforcement.

As a result of the threats, Andrews has requested that security be beefed up on he "Dancing With the Stars" and private security has been hired to protect her and her family.
Matt James, one of the nation's highest-rated high school offensive lineman, died Friday after falling off a third-floor hotel balcony while on spring break in Panama City, Fla.

The 17-year-old Notre Dame recruit and Cincinnati resident died almost instantly, according to police reports.

James was vacationing with fellow Irish recruit Luke Massa at the time of the incident.

The 6-foot-6, 291-pound James signed to play in South Bend back in February, after earning All-American honors and leading his St. Xavier team to a No. 4 ranking in the final state poll.

If there is a more convincing example of why the seven-second delay is a good idea for broadcasts than TNT's Charles Barkley, I am blissfully unaware of it.

Last night, Chuckles gave the entire viewing audience the one-finger salute during a discussion about Kobe Bryant's bent digits. When co-host Ernie Johnson said that Bryant's finger had a ton of bumps and bends in it, Barkley scoffed, saying all players have messed-up fingers. Johnson then asked to see the free-speech enthusiast's hands.

Big mistake.

Johnson implored Barkley to say the middle-finger showing was an April Fool's Day prank, but Barkley wasn't having it.

The best part of the whole video is Kenny Smith, who looks like he wants to crawl into a hole somewhere. You'd think he'd be used to the always unpredictable Barkley's ways.

In a move I'll admit I didn't see coming, AOL Fanhouse has decided to welcome the scandal-plagued Steve Phillips into its baseball family.

That's right, it was only October that the world learned of his affair with 22-year-old ESPN staffer Brooke Hundley, a transgression that caused him to lose his job with the worldwide leader and check into sex rehab.

Now, he's back.

Phillips sat down with Fanhouse TV's Dan Graziano to explain what his life has been like over this past half-year. It is, as you'd expect, a PR move for AOL. Just guessing here, but there's no sit-down chat if there's no sex scandal.

Oh, yeah. Did I mention that Phillips got another job as well? He'll also talk baseball on New York's WFAN.

You can argue whether these are proper moves for WFAN and AOL, but for better or worse, Phillips has landed back on his feet in record time.

shaun-rogers-gun-mugshot.JPGCleveland Browns nose tackle Shaun Rogers committed a major travel faux pas today at Hopkins International Airport when he was arrested for carrying a loaded gun in his carry-on luggage.

Much, much more serious than not putting your gels in little 3 oz. bottles.

No charges have been filed at this time, but under Ohio law, carrying a concealed weapon in this fashion is a third-degree felony.

Browns president Mike Holmgreen released a statement saying the team was aware of the arrest.
erin-andrews- Maks-Chmerkovskiy.JPGIf you follow Erin Andrew's romantic life like a hawk -- and the page views suggest that many of you do -- you'll be interested to know that the current "Dancing With the Stars" contestant yesterday addressed rumors that she is dating her partner, Maks Chmerkovskiy.

On ESPN Radio, Andrews denied such canoodling is taking place.

"No, everybody is obsessed with this... We are just dancing, " the sideline reporter explained. "We spend twenty-four hours with these people and it is just like, 'Oh they are dating.' I mean whatever."

So, go about your business armed with that important knowledge.
bernie carbo.jpgBernie Carbo, who hit a crucial pinch-hit, three-run home run for the Boston Red Sox in the epic Game 6 of the 1975 World Series, is the focus of a Boston Globe feature today -- and it's pretty intense.

Now a born-again Christian, Carbo describes hard-core drug use throughout his time with the Red Sox, including during the fateful series against the Cincinnati Reds.

"I probably smoked two joints, drank about three or four beers, got to the ballpark, took some [amphetamines], took a pain pill, drank a cup of coffee, chewed some tobacco, had a cigarette, and got up to the plate and hit,'' Carbo told the Globe.

"I played every game high,'' he continued. "I was addicted to anything you could possibly be addicted to. I played the out field sometimes where it looked like the stars were falling from the sky."

In the interview, Carbo claims he would have had a chance to make the Hall of Fame if he'd accepted Jesus as his savior at the age of 17. Instead, his addictions ushered him out of baseball at the young age of 33.

Also of note is the revelation that, in 1978, Red Sox owners Haywood Sullivan and Buddy LeRoux hired a private detective to follow him. The detective observed Carbo tossing baseballs to fans during batting practice at Fenway Park in exchange for marijuana.

But, at its heart, this is a re-invention story. Carbo's new lease on life has allowed him to shed his old way, he tells the Globe.

He currently runs a fantasy camp in Mobile, Ala. and said he hasn't touched drugs or alcohol in 15 years.