Chicago Sun-Times
A hearty stew of offbeat sports and pop culture.

October 2010 Archives

favre-childress-play.jpgBrett Favre's streak of 291 straight starts is in serious jeopardy as Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress is reportedly leaning toward starting Tavaris Jackson against the New England Patriots on Sunday.

As of now, the hobbled 41-year-old quarterback is planning on playing through a stress fracture in his left ankle and, lower on the same leg, a fractured heel.

OK, show of hands: who is rooting for Favre to play, who is rooting for an epic on-field confrontation when Favre wants to play but isn't allowed and who is rooting to never hear about this guy again?

Think I know which option is going to win ...
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The funniest thing on television is not "30 Rock" or "Modern Family."

It's the Fox NFL pregame show -- at least if you go by the amount of time the guys on set spend laughing.

An analysis by the Wall Street Journal of the football lead-in programs in Week 5 found that Terry Bradshaw, Jimmy Johnson and the gang spent 2 minutes and 22 seconds chuckling, guffawing or tee-heeing. Compare this with 43 seconds of air time over at CBS.

The laughs on Fox accounted for 11.6 percent of the time the guys were on-air together.

Bradshaw gets the Sore Abs Award for 92.4 seconds of total snickering.

This highly-developed sense of humor, of course, comes as no surprise to anyone who saw the very underrated "Failure to Launch" ...
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Juan Uribe made a lot of people in San Francisco happy last night -- even some who couldn't care less about the game of baseball.

In addition to giving the Giants a big lead over the Texas Rangers, Uribe's homer meant more free marijuana, you know, if you're into that kind of thing.

ReLeaf Herbal Center Medical Dispensary is giving away a joint to its customers for each round-tripper the Giants hit.

To get into the festive spirit, the shop is also offering big savings on a bright orange strain of marijuana and a THC-infused orange drink called -- wait for it -- "Giant Punch."

Coincidentally, Tim Lincecum helped give the hometown team a 1-0 series lead ...
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Yesterday, we had the unfortunate responsibility of sharing news of Paul the Octopus' untimely death. His prognosticating skill will not soon be forgotten.

But, as they always do, the wheels of progress must move on. Today, Paul's successor was named.

World, meet ... Paul. That's right, they are calling this one Paul as well.

The new tentacled phenom will be introduced to the public next week. Brace yourselves ...
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The NBA got off to a very weird start last night in Los Angeles, where the Lakers received their championship rings.

OK, in and of itself, that's not too strange. But the fact that coach Phil Jackson lent his brand-new jewelry to pop star Justin Bieber to wear during the game is a little odd. Jackson's girlfriend, Jeanie Buss, told Cheryl Miller during the TNT broadcast that she talked the Zenmaster into loaning it to the shaggy-haired crooner.

Bieber, of course, continues to live a charmed life. The kid just seems to be in the right place at the right time.

On a related note, Ron Artest is auctioning off his ring in order to raise awareness for mental health.

No early word yet on if the favor will speed up his transformation from Tom Brady to Kobe Bryant ...

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Believe it or not, it's been exactly five years since Juan Uribe fielded that chopper up the middle and flipped it to first to seal the White Sox' first world championship since 1917. Five years since the blistering 11-1 run through the postseason. Five years since Geoff Blum became a folk hero with his timely home run.

Has it really been that long? I saw a few people opining that it seems so much longer than five years since that happy pile-up on the center of the diamond in Houston.

Do you agree? Disagree?

On a related note, it seems strange that season's Fall Classic hasn't even begun yet. Just how far into November are they going to push this thing back ...
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"What should I do?"

That's the rhetorical question LeBron James' asks his critics in a new 90-second Nike ad that debuted on the eve of the regular-season opener. If you've been living under a rock, the longtime Cleveland Cavalier pulled a reverse Floyd this summer, joining forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami.

The decision -- and the hour-long televised special in which it was announced -- have been the subject of much derision.

The ad is a part of Nike's new "Rise" campaign featuring James and, well, it's all over the place. He quotes Charles Barkley, Maya Angelou and interacts with Don Johnson.

Trust me, it's better than it sounds ...


You've wondered, on occasion, what would happen if Derrick Rose and actor Ken Jeong played a game of one-on-one.

It's natural curiosity, after all.

The good people at Adidas have provided video evidence in the form of a 30-second commercial featuring the guard and the naked guy from "The Hangover."

It's part of the marketing campaign for the adiZero Rose.

"It was fun, man," Rose said of the shoot. "Just being with the actor, Ken Jeong. He's a good guy. The adidas staff, they're doing a great job with advertising the shoe, giving me updates about the commercials and everything. And everybody's been talking about [the commercial], so I guess it's pretty good."

Rose noted that he didn't have a favorite commercial of his own, but he realizes just how powerful they can be.

"I'm not really a big commercial fan like that," he said. "I don't need to look at a commercial all day, but some of them are funny. I love funny commercials."
Why am I not surprised Jeong went "skins" in this game?
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As if Brett Favre needed any more drama added to his plate, comments made by his coach, Brad Childress, after the Minnesota Vikings fell to the Green Bay Packers last night have many speculating that there could be trouble between the two.

Speaking about Favre, who threw three interceptions in the 28-24 defeat, Childress expressed disappointment with some of the signal-caller's decision-making.

You can't throw it to them, you've got to play within the confines of our system," he said. "Sometimes it's OK to punt the football. You can't give seven points going the other way, not in a game like this."

One of Favre's two third-quarter picks was returned for a touchdown by the Packers' Desmond Bishop. The play reportedly was supposed to go to the other side of the field, where Percy Harvin was open.

Favre agreed that, looking at the play in hindsight, he may have made a poor decision. But he also pointed out that if he knew which receiver was going to be open on every play, his job would be a lot easier.

So mountain out a molehill, or something more serious brewing up there in Minnesota?
Deanna Favre says her religious faith and an outward focus are helping her overcome the allegations of improper behavior that have been leveled against her husband, Brett.

She was interviewed Thursday on "Good Morning America" about a book she co-authored with Shane Stanford called "The Cure for the Chronic Life," which is about getting past hard times and patterns of unhealthy behavior.

During the interview, Deanna was asked how she's handling the accusations against Brett Favre, who is being investigated by the NFL for allegedly sending suggestive messages and lewd photos to a woman who worked for the New York Jets.

Deanna Favre says: "I'm handling this through faith."

She did not address whether the allegations against her husband are true or false.
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Cliff Lee continued his postseason dominance last night in the Bronx, throwing eight scoreless innings and striking out 13 as the Texas Rangers took a 2-1 series lead over the New York Yankees.

The lefthander won his third game in as many starts this month, lowered his ERA to 0.75 and improved his career playoff mark to 7-0. He also became the first player to ever record three 10-plus strikeout performances in the same playoff campaign.

In short, he upped his value as a free agent exponentially -- and it was already high to begin with.

The New York Times has some numbers to prove just how historic an outing Lee turned in -- considering it was in the playoffs against the Yankees. Among the eye-brow-raisers:

* It was only the fourth time in the playoffs since 1903 that a pitcher had recorded 13 strikeouts, allowed two or fewer hits and pitched at least eight innings.

* It was the first time a pitcher who worked more than six innings had ever held the Yankees to as few as three base runners.
Remarkably enough, it may have only been the third-best performance by a pitcher this postseason. Roy Halladay's no-hitter and Tim Lincecum's strikeout-fest in the divisional round were arguably better.

Unless I'm wrong. Am I wrong?

Either way, it seems extremely appropriate that the year of the pitcher would extend deep into October.
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Los Angeles Lakers guard Shannon Brown is following in the footsteps of teammate Lamar Odom, at least when it comes to pursuing a high-profile relationship.

The 24-year-old former Michigan State standout is reportedly engaged to singer Monica, 29, according to Us Weekly. Odom tied the knot with Khloe Kardashian last year.

The "Boy Is Mine" vocalist tweeted a picture of her enormous engagement ring as proof over the weekend.

In case you were too busy studying assist-to-turnover ratios to pay attention to such things, Brown starred as Monica's love interest in the video for her song "Love All Over Me."

On the court, Brown's made quite the name for himself with high-flying dunks and two championship rings in his young career.
Ray Anderson, the NFL's vice president of football operations told the Associated Press today that the league may soon start suspending players for helmet-to-helmet hits.

The news comes after a particularly brutal round of hits Sunday, including this one on Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson by Atlanta Falcons' Dunta Robinson.




Both players were knocked out of the game, with Jackson suffering a severe concussion.

James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Brandon Meriweather of the New England Patriots also delivered crushing above-the-shoulder hits.

In the wake of all the discussion, Anderson said that it may be time for the players to face another form of discipline besides a fine.

"We're going to circle back and take a more aggressive look at them because the events of yesterday were certainly disturbing to all of us," Anderson said in a telephone interview. "We say it time again: Player safety is our top priority and then you have a Sunday like yesterday where it seemed like every time you looked around, a player was on the ground for an extended period of time."
Junior Seau was hospitalized after driving his car off a cliff in California this morning, according to a report from TMZ.

The former star NFL linebacker was arrested just hours earlier on domestic violence charges.

Seau retired this year after a stellar 20-year career in which he is most remembered for his time with the San Diego Chargers.

He is well-known in the San Diego community for his charitable work with his foundation.
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Derek Jeter continues to win at life. Although this time, it's by proxy.

The New York Yankees shortstop's girlfriend, actress Minka Kelly, was named Esquire's Sexiest Woman Alive for 2010.

Kelly, 30, who is best known for her work on "Friday Night Lights," is thrilled by the honor, but more excited to be getting older.

"Done with the twenties," Minka, 30, told the magazine. "I'm confident--confident in my skin, and I'm cool with my flaws and all that stuff. It just feels nice to be at peace with yourself. I think my thirtieth birthday gave me permission to have all that. The twenties were a pain in the ass--figuring it all out. What am I doing? Where do I go?"

Parts of her twenties that weren't a pain include a starring role on a network-television drama, a high-profile romance with one of sports' biggest stars and, well, her ability to compete for sexiest-of titles.

Her beau, Old Number 2, is waiting out the winner of the Tampa Bay-Texas series to see who his Yanks will play in the American League Championship Series.

At least he'll have another thing to brag about in the meantime.
You're probably sitting there, trying to find meaning in this crazy life.

It's Monday. That's just what people do.

What if I told you there's a way to leave a lasting impact on this planet? What if I told you that you have the chance to help Drew Brees name his baby?

The New Orleans Saints quarterback who melted hearts everywhere by appearing with his son Baylen after winning last February's Super Bowl took to Twitter for help.

"My wife is due any day now with baby boy #2. We have a few names picked out but haven't decided yet. Looking for "b" names. Suggestions?"

I like Bert, Bart and Bucky, but am sure you all can do better.

Hit up @drewbrees with your best baby names.
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Atlanta Braves second baseman Brooks Conrad played himself into the record books yesterday during Game 3 of a National League Divisional series against San Francisco.

Unfortunately for him, he did it all the wrong way.

The 30-year-old journeyman committed three errors, including one in the ninth inning that allowed the go-ahead run to score and gave the Giants a 2-1 series edge.

"It's completely embarrassing," said Conrad, who has eight errors in the past seven games. "I feel absolutely terrible right now. I wish I could just dig a hole and go sleep in there."
Conrad's misplay of a Buster Posey grounder up the middle came after he dropped a pop-up in shallow right field, allowing the game's first run to score. With his adventuresome day, he became the first player in franchise history to make three errors in a postseason contest.

"It's a whole lot to swallow, but I'll do my best to get over it," Conrad said. "I probably won't for a long time. If ever."
So the simple question this morning is this: Where does this woeful performance rank among the other less-than-stellar postseason moments (i.e. Buckner, Branca, Durham)?


New England Patriots safety Patrick Chung decided to introduce himself to the world last night.

In a big way.

The second-year player from Oregon blocked a punt, a field goal and returned an interception for a touchdown in a 41-14 rout over the Miami Dolphins.

Here is video of the greatest night of his life.

Fun fact: his mother, Sophia George, is a well-known Jamaican singer.
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Former Cubs outfielder Matt Murton has broken Ichiro Suzuki's single-season hit record in Japanese Professional Baseball.

So that's what he's been up to.

Murton recorded his 211th hit this season with a single to center for the Hanshin Tigers today in a game against the Yakult Swallows.

To be fair, when Ichiro set the mark in 1994, the season consisted of 130 games. It's since been extended by 14 games and Murton was hitting in his 142nd game of the campaign.

Still, not a bad first year across the ocean for the redhead.
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ESPN The Magazine's second annual "Body Issue" will be on newsstands Friday. That means one thing: naked athletes.

And celebrating the wonder that is the human body, of course.

Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi is one of the cover models for this year's incarnation.

Inside, there's 40-some athletes in the buff.

"Doing the shoot was something news and I had fun with it," said Taurasi. "For me, doing this was about facing the challenge and celebrating everything all of our bodies have been through and done."

Taurasi, 28, was the 2009 WNBA MVP and starred at Connecticut during her college years.

According to ESPN, other stars featured in the issue include Venus Williams, Patrick Willis, Hanley Ramirez and Neuqua Valley's own Evan Lysacek.
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Ronny Cedeno homered yesterday in the Pittsburgh Pirates' season finale against the Florida Marlins.

Of course, isn't all that interesting. That he was somehow wearing a different jersey than the rest of his teammates is more compelling.

The infielder connected on his second-inning blast while wearing a "Piratas" uniform, which the club wore on July 10 as part of Hispanic Heritage Night in Milwaukee.

Cedeno was alerted to the problem and was seen changing in the dugout to match his teammates.

In more important Pirates news, they've just fired manager John Russell -- probably not because of the uniform snafu. 
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This is for every amateur photographer who has ever strapped on their Nikon, hellbent on snapping some indelible image that will stand the test of time.

Nothing you ever do will measure up to this photo.

Daily Mail photographer Mark Pain captured this errant shot from Tiger Woods just before it crashed into his camera Sunday.

After smacking into the lens, the ball struck Pain's chest before coming to rest at his feet. Apparently, neither Woods nor caddie Steve Williams had a problem with Pain's positioning.

The shot's execution? Well, that's another story.

The image, which is making the rounds -- in fact, check your inbox, someone may have already forwarded it to you -- is full of fun eye-spys.

Enjoy.

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