A hearty stew of offbeat sports and pop culture.

September 2010 Archives

Devin Hester's 62-yard touchdown return because, well, why not?

Green Bay safety Nick Collins was involved in a post-game altercation with a fan at Soldier Field, according to a report from Fox 6 Sports in Milwaukee.

The station says it has video of the incident, but can't air it until later in the day due to NFL restrictions.

Through a series of tweets, the station claims Collins was "provoked by a Bears fan" and proceeded to throw something at the offending party -- possibly a roll of tape.

He was then reportedly restrained by Packers wide receiver Donald Driver.

Off-camera in the locker room, Collins said the fan used a racial slur and apologized to all fans for his actions, according to the station.

New York Jets coach Rex Ryan turned the Gatorade-dumping tradition on its head last night in the waning moments of his team's 31-23 road victory over the Miami Dolphins.

Ryan, the foul-mouthed, larger-than-life personality, unexpectedly drenched defensive end Jason Taylor on the sidelines. Taylor was returning to Miami after cementing himself as one of the NFL's top pass-rushers through his long stint with the Dolphins.

Ryan then presumably went to get a snack.

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Blake Hawksworth took a line drive off the bat of the Cubs' Sam Fuld to the face at Wrigley Field this afternoon. 

He remained on the ground for several minutes before rising with a towel held over his mouth and was taken to the hospital.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, who had already been ejected from the game, came back on the field to check on his injured player.

There's much internet speculation regarding San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum's reaction to getting a ball he didn't like during a start Friday night against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.

The long-haired ace appeared to mouth the words "juiced ball" as he tossed the offending orb back toward the home-plate umpire.

Giants announcer Jon Miller accused the Rockies of slipping non-humidor balls into play earlier this season. This, of course, would make them fly much further, helping the hometown team.

He repeated the concern to the San Francisco Chronicle, giving this story/non-story legs.

Reporters apparently were unable to address the issue after the game, which the division-leading Giants held on to win, 2-1.

The Rockies have denied any funny business is going on.
Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, widely accepted as the Heisman frontrunner, left the Wolverines' game against Bowling Green with a knee injury in the first quarter.

Robinson came into the game as the nation's rushing leader and had piloted Michigan to two touchdowns in the early stages before the injury. Freshman quarterback Devin Garnder replaced Robinson.

A team doctor said the injury is not a torn ACL, according to a report from ESPN. His day appears to be over.

The dual-threat sophomore sensation set a school record for total yards in a victory against Notre Dame in Week 2.
Got a problem with Tom Brady's long, Justin-Bieber-like hair flowing from beneath his helmet?

Take it up with his wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen.

The New England Patriots quarterback was asked about the locks, which are noticeably longer than in seasons past, on a radio show earlier this week.

Specifically, if there's anything out there that would make him cut the mane.

"Ah, you'll have to speak with my wife about that," Brady replied.

So, perhaps, the two-time Super Bowl MVP doesn't wear the pants in that relationship.

Poor guy, huh?
Golf caddies just never seem to get proper respect.

It's a seemingly thankless job. Toting that heavy bag, meticulously studying the ebb and flow of every green ... and for what? Virtual anonymity.

You'd think, at the very least, they'd get to fly with the players to major events.

Well, that's not the case for the Ryder Cup.

The caddies for Tiger Woods, Stewart Cink and Rickie Fowler were bumped off the charter flight to Wales after it was discovered the plane was too full.

The flight includes several fans, who capitalized on a special Ryder Cup package. They get to stay.

The three caddies were bumped because their players failed to qualify for the Tour Championship.

A PGA spokesman said the original plane wasn't available.

Lest you feel too sorry for the caddies, they'll be compensated for buying business-class tickets on their own.
The video? Troubling.

The headline? Even more so.


The ramifications? A season-ending injury to one of the lone bright spots in this season of all-around deflation for the Cubs.

But what of the aftermath? What will Major League Baseball do in the wake of this close call?

I mean, think about it. A player had his chest punctured as a foreign object violently rammed its way inches from vital organs. That's serious stuff.

So Major League baseball has a question to answer.

Has the shift to maple bats created such a dangerous environment that it needs to be addressed? Like, now?

Or is this a fluke accident? The exception to the rule. The unfortunate, but oft-forgotten reality that playing the game carries risks.

Predictably, the debate over safety on the diamond was pushed front and center a day after Colvin's misfortune. And it's no big surprise. With all due respect to the outfielder, it's not everyday something like this happens. It was a salacious and must-see event, from the realm of the bizarre.

The problem is, it seems that the likelihood of repeating this incident is growing.

It's certainly not the sexiest debate on the sporting landscape, this maple-bat one.

That doesn't mean it's not of paramount importance, especially while the images are fresh in our collective mind.

Maple bats are a point of contention around the league, which has banned some bats from minor-league play, including those of the maple variety. Players on a team's 40-man roster, however, are exempt.

At the root of the issue is the fact that many players have become, in their minds at least, dependent on them. Ever try to convince someone they don't need something they think they do, in fact, need? Yeah, not so easy.

And why are the bats so attractive to hitters?

Maple bats are harder than their ash counterparts and routinely have thinner handles. These, too, can be shaved down even further by hitters looking to lighten their lumber.

One doesn't have to be overly well-versed in science to understand the heavier-barrel-thinner-handle situation is going to result in more snapped bats. And while an ash bat breaks into small pieces when shattered, maple ones often result in larger shards.

The rate of maple bats breaking has dropped 50 percent over the past two seasons, according to a major-league official. Still, that statistic is little consolation to Colvin or anyone seeking to shore up safety.

There is the idea that the Cubs outfielder should have been more aware of the situation. It's an idea that just doesn't hold any weight.

Honestly, what was he supposed to do? He had to watch the ball down the line to gauge his baserunning decision. In all likelihood, he probably didn't even know there was a flying piece of wood flying at him until it was too late.

Then there's the issue of fan safety. Professional athletes have years of instinct and ample athletic prowess to draw upon when dodging these dangers. The paying public? Not so much.

"Get rid of the maple bats. Absolutely, 100 percent," Milwaukee Brewers manager Ken Macha said when asked in the wake of Colvin's injury. "what's going to really happen is one's going to go in the stands. There's people in the stands, they're not paying attention to anything. They're talking to the guy three seats down, not even going move to get out of the way."

Oakland Athletics reliever Brad Ziegler, who was slashed in the back with a flying broken bat earlier this year, echoed those sentiments.

"A little higher and it could have struck him in the throat," he said. "I'm worried there won't be interest in doing anything until it's too late and it takes a lawsuit when a player or fan gets hurt.
"Until they are eliminated, the danger is still there. ... This is like having a 2-pound tomahawk flying through the air."

Now that one of those "tomahawks" has connected with a human sternum, baseball should have no choice but to address this situation. And address it quickly.
New York Jets wide receiver Braylon Edwards was arrested on a drunken driving charge early this morning in Manhattan, according to a report from the New York Post.

The incident took place around 5:15 a.m.

Police reportedly pulled Edwards over for having overly-tinted windows, smelled alcohol and administered a breathalyzer. Edwards was found to have a blood-alcohol level of 0.16, twice the state's legal limit.

A passenger was with the wideout, but the report states it doesn't appear he or she was charged.

Edwards is currently in custody and will be arraigned later today.
Last night in Philadelphia, Atlanta Braves left fielder Matt Diaz identified the problem, then he solved it.

The results were hilarious.

Diaz brought down a man dressed completely in a red, spandex suit -- think cousin of Green Man -- with a well-timed trip as security pursued the rule-breaker.

You'll recall earlier this year, a 17-year-old fan was taken down with a policeman's Taser after deciding to run on the field. After that, the team announced security would be responsible for nabbing geniuses who run on the field and turning them over to police.

Clearly, Matt Diaz > security.

I saw this idiot coming right at me," he said. "I figured he'd be better off getting tripped than Tased."

Diaz received a standing ovation from the crowd and high-fives from his teammates upon entering the dugout.

The fan, well, probably suffered far worse repercussions from the incident.

Denver Broncos wide reciever Kenny McKinley was found dead in an apparent suicide, according to a report from KDVR.

McKinley, 23, was on the injured reserved list and struggled to find playing time with the club after a standout career at South Carolina.

He is the third Broncos player to die suddenly in the last four years. Cornerback Darrent Williams was murdered in a drive-by shooting and running back Damien Nash died after collapsing in a charity basketball game. Both of those tragedies took place in 2007.

Ohio University may have gone down 43-7 against their more successful in-state rivals Saturday, but not everyone associated with the team went without a fight.

The Bobcat mascot attacked Brutus the Buckeye twice during the early stages of the game, kicking off an impromptu wrestling match between two students in hot, presumably sweaty costumes.

A warning to anyone brave enough to watch the footage: It's just downright savage. Mascot-on-mascot crime is never OK.

Today, Ohio is apologizing for the student's actions. Apparently light assault isn't an antic included in the script for the mascot-inhabitants.

The student wearing the costume has been stripped of the privilege forever.
Soccer enthusiasts everywhere are breathing a sigh of relief this morning as the news surrounding Lionel Messi's injury reveals that it's not as serious as perhaps thought.

Messi, the Barcelona star, left Sunday's match in a stretcher after sustaining an ankle injury. Tests revealed only mild straining and the 23-year-old is expected to return within two weeks.

After scoring a remarkable 47 goals last season, Messi has netted seven in six games so far this campaign.
Oakland Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain demonstrated a new and particularly violent way to tackle in yesterday's game against the St. Louis Rams.

McClain debuted his own version of the takedown suplex on Danny Amendola, who weighs in at a paltry 185 pounds. For his efforts, the rookie received widespread internet notoriety and a 15-yard personal foul penalty.

New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs had a night to forget in last evening's "Manning Bowl."

In addition to being held to eight yards on four carries as the Giants lost 38-14, he became the center of unwanted attention when he threw his helmet into the stands during the third quarter.

Jacobs reportedly was attempting to toss his head gear in disgust, but his outburst took an unexpected turn when his helmet stuck to the adhesive part of his gloves. The next thing he knows, NBC is broadcasting this weird tug-of-war for his equipment on national television.

"It was a mistake," Jacobs said. "The whole world could be falling down on me and I wouldn't mean to do that."

Despite the fact that he apologized over and over, the NFL is expected to look into the incident. Jacobs, who did not play after the toss, bristled at the idea that his benching was a result of his sideline actions.

"That's #$%^," he responded when asked in the postgame if there was a correlation. He then apologized, again, for snapping at the reporter.

All in all, not the finest night for the back.

The good news, if there is any, is that Jacobs got his helmet back and held on to it for the rest of the night.
Reggie Garrett, a high school quarterback from Texas, died last night after collapsing on the sidelines during a game.

The West Orange-Stark senior was unresponsive as he was taken off the field midway through the second quarter and was pronounced dead at the hospital shortly after.

Garrett's coach, Dan Hooks, said his player appeared to suffer a seizure. He had just thrown his second touchdown pass of the night before collapsing.

"I saw him come off the field, and he was kind of, 'Yay, good shot.' He was happy," Hooks said. "That was all. There wasn't any major reaction."

Word about his death reached the stadium as the two teams finished the game, but the players hoped it was just a rumor.

Garrett was a two-year varsity starter.

Sad, sad news.
Orlando Magic star Dwight Howard is seeking more than $500 million from the mother of his child for allegedly breaking the couple's court agreement numerous times, according to a report from TMZ.

Howard is accusing Royce Reed, with whom he has a two-year-old son, Braylon, of leaking stories to the media on at least 11 separate occasions. This would violate a court-issued gag order.

Reed's legal team states that the information used came from legal documents and doesn't violate the order.

I'm no lawyer or mathematician, but the $500 million sum seems like something that might not be a reasonable amount for Reed, who is a former dancer for the Magic and Miami Heat.
yankees-logo-crime.jpgAre the New York Yankees really an evil empire?

According to a report in today's New York Times, a common theme is emerging out of the city's crime blotter. More and more criminals are breaking the law while wearing Yankees caps or clothing.

Since 2000, more than 100 people who have been suspects or persons of interest in connection with serious crimes in New York City wore Yankees apparel at the time of the crimes or at the time of their arrest or arraignment. The tally is based on a review of New York Police Department news releases, surveillance video and images of robberies and other crimes, as well as police sketches and newspaper articles that described suspects' clothing. No other sports team comes close.

Now, one doesn't have to be a sociologist to realize that part of the reason the number is so high is based purely on the popularity of the brand. It's hard to go three blocks in New York without seeing that classic logo in some shape or form. There's probably more law-abiding Yankees fans that any other group, too.

And maybe, as the piece postulates, it's all Jay-Z's fault.

Regardless of the scientific validity, people will surely use it as another reason to hate those big bullies in the Bronx.
Florida Gators wide receiver Chris Rainey has been charged with aggravated stalking after allegedly sending a threatening text message to an on-again-off-again girlfriend.

"Time to die," the message read, according to Gainesville police.

An officer stated that the woman fell asleep, missing a call from Rainey, who then showed up at her home and was told to leave, precipitating the text.

Rainey has 10 receptions this year for Urban Meyer's squad.
.7_19 FROST JOE GODDARD.A0243.jpgESPN personality and former Sun-Times sports columnist Jay Mariotti has been charged with seven misdemeanors, including domestic battery in connection with an incident last month involving his live-in girlfriend, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Charges include two counts of domestic violence with injury, two counts of domestic violence, one count of grand theft, one count of false imprisonment and one count of vandalism. Each of the counts carries a maximum of a year in jail, meaning he could face up to seven years behind bars.

Mariotti is to be arraigned Friday at the downtown criminal courts building.

Police sources say the confrontation began at a nightclub, where Mariotti accused his girlfriend of flirting with another man. He was released after posting $50,000 bond, but has been noticeably absent from "Around the Horn" and has produced no copy for AOL.

inez-sainz-jets.jpgInes Sainz, the self-proclaimed "hottest sports reporter in Mexico," claims she was dressed appropriately during her appearance in the New York Jets locker room in which she was allegedly harassed with catcalls and other suggestive comments by players.

Judge for yourself. It's definitely more appropriate than what we're used to seeing her in.

Sainz was at Jets camp to score an interview with Mark Sanchez over the weekend. But things didn't go so smoothly for the pin-up girl. Rex Ryan and quarterbacks coach Dennis Thurman reportedly intentionally overthrew passes during a drill so they would land next to the comely reporter.

Team officials and the NFL have subsequently said they're looking into the incident.

Today, Sainez tweeted, "Thanks everyone for your support. I already spoke to the NFL, which will decide if there will or will not be consequences. I can say that at the time I didn't want to pay attention to what was happening but the rest of the media heard clearly and in solidarity have denounced what happened, hoping that there is always a respectful climate."
Los Angeles Lakers forward Matt Barnes was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence last night, according to a report from the Sacramento Bee.

Sacramento police responded to a call at the shared residence of Barnes and his girlfriend and determined the two had a physical confrontation. Barnes apparently tried to keep his girlfriend from speaking with emergency dispatchers, according to police.

Both parties had visible injuries, but Barnes was determined to be the aggressor.

The 30-year-old signed a two-year deal with the Lakers in July. 
tom-brady-accident-crash.jpgNew England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was involved in a car accident early this morning, according to multiple reports.

Around 7 a.m., an Audi with New Jersey plates collided with a minivan. It is believed that Brady was driving the Audi and was on his way to Gillette Stadium.

Brady was treated at the scene and continued on, presumably to be looked at by the team's trainers. While the All-Everything quarterback walked away from the collision, rescue personnel had to use the jaws of life to extricate a person in the passenger seat of the minivan. The driver of that vehicle also reportedly has serious injuries.
dennis-rodman-sex.JPGDennis Rodman gave some guests at a party in the Hamptons over the weekend a thrill when he accidentally broadcast a liaison with six women, courtesy of a microphone in his pocket.

Rodman, who had "a few drinks in him," according to his agent, apparently forgot to turn the device off after making some shout-outs earlier in the night. This allowed the partygoers to hear him describing his hopes and dreams to the harem of women, according to today's report in the New York Post.

One has to assume he wasn't discussing the finer points of boxing out or even the triangle offense.

The party's organizers cut off the feed before things got too out of hand.

Recently, Rodman claimed to have been intimate with over 2,000 women, so, yeah, he's on a roll.
stephanie-rice.jpgJaguar has dumped Australian swimmer Stephanie Rice as a spokeswoman after she posted a homophobic slur on her Twitter account over the weekend.

Rice, who made waves at the Beijing Olympics, had been shilling for the car company since the beginning of the year.

The controversy came after Rice, celebrating Australia's rugby victory over South Africa, tweeted, "Suck on that f**gots."

The 22-year-old subsequently deleted the tweet and apologized, but apparently it wasn't enough for Jaguar. 
randy-moss.JPGNew England Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss said that the lack of contract offer from the team makes him feel "not wanted."

 "When you have done so much and put so much work in, it kind of feels like I am not wanted," Moss said in an exclusive interview with CBSSports.com. "I am taking that in stride and playing my final year out and whatever the future holds is what it holds, but it is kind of a bad feeling -- feeling not wanted. It is not like my production has gone down. I am speaking from an individual standpoint. I don't know about Tom [Brady's] or whoever else's contract.

"I am a little older and understand the nature of the business -- the older you get the more your skills supposedly diminish, but I think I am getting wiser in how to use my physical skills. That's the frustrating part when you put so much heart and desire into things and feel like you are not wanted."
Moss, 33, is in the final year of a three-year deal with the Patriots and is scheduled to make $6.4 million this season. This interview expressing frustration is the first time he's gone on record since training camp began.

Like Moss, quarterback Tom Brady is also in the final year of his contract, which means the organization would have to spend, spend, spend in order to keep both stars.

Well, now we have a big mess on our hands. Or, at least, we probably will after Boise State rallied with this final drive to edge Virginia Tech 33-30 in the season opener last night.

The Broncos, perennial Cinderellas, came in ranked #3 and this promised to be far and away their most difficult game on the schedule.

Test passed.

So, thanks to Kellen Moore, Austin Pettis and Doug Martin, we'll be privy to the "do they-don't they deserve to be in the national title game" debate -- barring a stumble along the way.

There's no denying that Boise State is a talented, cohesive and gritty team. Moore is a legitimate star and calling the Broncos upstarts isn't really accurate anymore. Still, a cream-puffy schedule just doesn't care the same gravitas as those played by the "big boys" in the power conferences.

Admittedly, it's early. But why not ask? If Boise State wins out, do you see them playing for the title? More importantly, should they?
A.J. Green, Georgia's standout wide receiver, will miss the Bulldogs' game this afternoon against Louisiana-Lafayette as a result of an ongoing NCAA investigation.

In a statement released just hour before kickoff, the university issued a release saying Green would be out, "pursuant to UGA Athletic Association policy and pending a ruling from the NCAA clarifying his status."
Green is the fourth Georgia player to be held out of the season opener due to off-field issues.
The question over who would start for the Michigan Wolverines in their season opener against Connecticut seems to have been answered.

Heather Cox is reporting -- brought to my attention via a Joe Schad tweet -- that sophomore Denard Robinson will get the nod, with freshman Devin Gardner serving as the backup. Sophomore Tate Forcier, who got a lion's share of reps last year, is apparently the third-string quarterback today at the Big House.

The mystery surrounding who would be the Wolverines' No. 1 was a major story line, with coach Rich Rodriguez keeping his decision secret until the very last minute.
Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for brandon-spikes-eye-gouge.jpgThe NFL is looking into a video of New England Patriots rookie linebacker Brandon Spikes engaging in sexual acts with a woman that's been posted and is circulating about the Web.

Spikes' behavior may not exactly be in line with the league's personal conduct policy.

The video was initially offered to Deadspin by an anonymous e-mailer. After the gang over there balked at the $1,500 price tag associated with such salacious footage, it found a home elsewhere and, as you might imagine, spread quickly.

Spikes' agent, Terry Watson, described it as an "embarrassing situation."

"It was something that occurred before he became an NFL draftee and a New England Patriot. I think for anyone it would be an embarrassing situation," Watson said. "Brandon has shown to many people the kind of person he is before and after being drafted in the second round. He's hoping to put this behind him and looks forward to having a great football season."