A hearty stew of offbeat sports and pop culture.

July 2011 Archives

If FC Barcelona comes out a little rusty in today's match against Manchester United, they'll be able to blame it on a vigilant U.S. Parks police officer.

The UEFA Champions League winners tried to get an impromptu practice session going Thursday on the National Mall in Washington, DC. But not even the world's best soccer club is immune from the rules prohibiting such congregation near the White House.

They got the old heave-ho and filed back on the team bus, presumably to find a less restrictive patch of grass to practice upon.

"Security said you couldn't have a group of more than 10 or 15 there," midfielder Xavi said. "We wanted to loosen up a little, stretch... Given that the White House was near so it was normal security, nothing more."
Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for derek-jeter-gordon-beckham.JPGThe New York Yankees have a rich history unmatched by any professional sports team. But some New York City residents might not fully appreciate team legends of yesteryear, if the results of a poll conducted by Quinnipiac University are any indication.

Researchers asked 1,528 people which Yankee is the greatest of all time.

Babe Ruth and Derek Jeter tied for the top spot, each getting 23 percent of the votes. Joe DiMaggio (9 percent), Lou Gehrig (8 percent) and Mickey Mantle (3 percent) were the next three players mentioned by those polled.

CutlerCavallari.jpgIt's the story that won't die. But perhaps now it can.

Kristin Cavallari, the ex-fiancee of Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, took to Twitter yesterday to refute a story posted by a gossip website that claimed she called her former beau a "loser" and "p----" for faking a knee injury during a loss to the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game.

"Stop believing everything ur reading...not 1 thing has been accurate and I haven't commented AT ALL and jay hasn't either so its all bs," Cavallari tweeted.
rory-mcilroy.jpgRory McIlroy and BBC golf analyst Jay Townsend got into a Twitter brouhaha yesterday after the former European Tour player criticized the U.S. Open champion's caddie, J.P. Fitzgerald.

After McIlroy's double bogey on the 18th hole gave him a first-round 70 at the Irish Open, Townsend did some critiquing in 140-character bursts.

"McIlroy's course management was shocking," he tweeted. "He should hire Steve Williams as I thought JP allowed some SHOCKING course management today."

Action sports star Travis Pastrana planned to pull double duty this weekend, competing in X Games 17 and also making his NASCAR Nationwide debut.

Those plans will have to be abandoned after he crashed while trying to land a corked 720 attempt Thursday night in the Moto X Best Trick competition.

Pastrana broke his right foot and ankle in the fall, according to medical officials. He was discharged from the hospital and will require surgery at a later date.

Boston Red Sox ace Josh Beckett made this kid's day, or maybe his life, with the simple act of giving him a baseball before today's game against the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park.

Small gesture, big payoff.

Beckett struggled on the hill after this, allowing four runs in five innings and taking the loss.
Thumbnail image for big-ten-logo.jpgBig Ten football fans will now have more options when it comes to their college-football viewing.

BTN2Go, a 24-hour multi-platform extension of the cable channel, is set to launch in time for football season, Big Ten Network President Mark Silverman announced Thursday.

Current subscribers will be able to watch programming, which will include more than 40 football and 100 basketball games, on the Internet, iPhone and iPad. On-demand and archive features will also be available.

We're tremendously excited to launch BTN2Go because, as mobile technology has advanced, this is something fans are asking for," Silverman said in a statement. "Big Ten fans are frequently on the go, and would like to watch BTN while away from home. BTN2Go gives fans that option at no additional cost to them."

If Donovan McNabb wants to keep wearing No. 5 after his move to the Minnesota Vikings, it's going to cost him. Not monetarily, however.

Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, the current jersey holder, wants some promotion for his band.

"So here's the deal," Kluwe tweeted yesterday. "If McNabb comes and wants 5, it's his, BUT he has to promise to mention Tripping Icarus in at least 5 press conferences."

The punter plays bass in the Minneapolis-based outfit. If you are really curious, you can listen to some of their jams here.

McNabb has had the same number since entering the NFL in 1999.

Fair bargain or not?
santonio.jpgSantonio Holmes had a very good day yesterday and the cover of today's New York Post has the photographic evidence.

It features a shirtless Holmes drinking pricey champagne straight out of the bottle.

"Just finish a bottle of Louis Roederer Cristal from 2002! Big bro showed loved today," the wide receiver tweeted just an hour after agreeing to terms with the New York Jets on a five-year, $50 million deal.

Apparently this type of celebration is not new to Holmes. After receiving a $100,000 signing bonus from the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2006, he spread the money across his mattress, snapped a photo and sent it to a friend.

Despite missing the first four games of the 2010 season due to a suspension, Holmes caught 52 passes for 746 yards and six touchdowns. His late-game heroics helped the Jets win games against the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions and Houston Texans.
reggie-bush.jpgWhen Reggie Bush tweeted, "It's been fun New Orleans" moments after the Saints drafted Mark Ingram in April's NFL Draft, you could tell he thought his days with the organization were numbered.

This morning, it looks like they may have come to an end.

The Saints have agreed to terms of a trade that would send Bush to the Miami Dolphins, according to a report from Fox Sports.
Thumbnail image for steve-bartman-espn-documentary.jpgLook away, Cub fans. More Steve Bartman-themed programming is coming to a television near you.

ESPN will air a documentary about Chicago's least-liked fan at 7 p.m. on Sept. 27 as part of a seven-film documentary series under its "30 For 30" banner.

The project is titled "Catching Hell" and chronicles that now-infamous 2003 NLCS game and the subsequent scapegoating of Bartman. Oscar-winning documentarian Alex Gibney "relates the scapegoat compulsion to his own frustration as a Red Sox fan when Bill Buckner was similarly singled out for letting a fateful ground ball go through his legs in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series," according to a release from ESPN Films.

Sounds like a lot of fun, doesn't it?

At least the Cubs will be in the thick of the playoff race at that time, according to manager Mike Quade.
james-fan.jpgThe man who gained national recognition for wearing a LeBron James Heat jersey to a Cleveland Indians game last year is in serious condition after he was attacked early this morning.

Matthew Bellamy, 30, was walking home from a bar in Sandusky, Ohio around 3 a.m. with a group of friends when a man jumped out of a car and hit him three times, according to witnesses.

Police have issued a warrant for Robert Horton, 23, who faces felony assault charges.

Bellamy secured internet fame last July when he wore a James jersey to Progressive Field a few short days after the basketball star's controversial decision aired. He was escorted out of the stadium after fans began tossing food and alcohol at him.
boise-state-blue.jpgOne of the hallmarks of Boise State's football program is their unique blue turf. But some have said that the field, combined with the blue home jerseys, create a disadvantage for opposing teams.

The crux of the argument is that it's tough to see the players.

The Mountain West apparently agrees with this sentiment.

According to a report from the Idaho Statesman, league commissioner Craig Thompson sought to get the Broncos to ditch the blue turf in exchange for inclusion in the conference.

Boise State predictably pushed against this concession, but has agreed to change their home unis for conference games.
Are you excited for Pac-12 football? Wait, let me rephrase that. Do your primary and ancillary senses tingle in anticipation for the genesis of a newly constructed league brimming with pride, prestige and football-playing powerhouses?

If not, this Steven Spielberg-grade promotional video should do the trick.

The video, debuted at the conference's media day in Los Angeles, is making the rounds today and creating quite a buzz. Despite widespread criticism that it's overdone, it's doing exactly what it was intended to do, which is sell the sizzle.
Thumbnail image for nfl_plaxico-giants-shot-nightclub_burress_580.jpgCould Plaxico Burress be returning to the New York Giants?

A source tells the New York Post that the wide receiver is "seriously considering" it.

Burress, who was released from prison last month after serving nearly two years on a gun charge, is part of the NFL free-agent free-for-all that has the rumor mill churning out speculation even more rapidly than usual. Any agreement between the Giants and Burress would have to wait until Friday under recently installed league rules.

Still, they're telling us there's a chance.
missed-call.jpgThe Pittsburgh Pirates have become America's darling with unexpected success this year, but their feel-good story had a controversial and unsettling chapter last night.

The Buccos fought the Atlanta Braves 19 innings before falling victim to what appears to be another blown call by an umpire at home plate in a crucial situation. 

In the bottom of the 19th, with runners on second and third and one out, Braves pitcher Scott Proctor had to bat for himself. He tapped a ground ball to Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez, who threw home to catcher Michael McKenry. McKenry appeared to tag the Braves' Julio Lugo well before Lugo came close to the plate.

Home plate umpire Jerry Meals, however, didn't see it that way. He ruled Lugo safe and gifted the home team a shocking and unconventional walk-off win.