Chicago Sun-Times
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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.

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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?

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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

brittny.jpgBrittny Gastineau has reached another life milestone. Reality show star. Model. Reconciled half-sister.

The abandoned daughter of former New York Sack Exchange standout Mark Gastineau finally got to meet Killian Marcus Gastineau, the until-now secret son her dad fathered when he ran off with Brigitte Nielsen in the 1980s - before she took up with Flavor Flav, of course.

People.com has a bunch of detail on the heartwarming meeting that clearly has really impacted Brittny's life for good:

"It was very weird and surreal," says Brittny, who hasn't been in touch with her father for several years. "I didn't cry. I'm too tough to cry. But we hugged, we talked about old stories. He said he watched Gastineau Girls in Italy, so he knew what I looked like.

I asked him a million questions, but he doesn't speak English. He's really cute. He's like 6',5", blonde. He looks exactly like Brigitte."

Another precious moment born of reality TV - and a philandering sports star. Sigh.

Yes, we're supporting blatant commercialization with this post, but who cares? It's Christmas - the official holiday of rampant commercialization.

Besides, these Nike spots playing up an old school rap battle between Santa Claus (an old school legend - KRS-One) and Blitzen (current Chicago hip hop legend Lupe Fiasco) with the help of LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.

The Blitzen challenges Santa to a game of hoops, talks a bunch of smack, then gets planted by the Jolly Old Elf. Pretty good stuff, really. Especially good to hear KRS1 again. This might be the best Christmas rap since Run DMC's "Christmas in Hollis."

Anyway, Blitzen boasts about his game, telling Santa he'll spot him Kobe, LeBron and points anytime:

It all leads up to this epic rap and hoops battle on the courts, cause, you know, Santa won't be faded:

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How much is this worth on eBay?

Have you finished your holiday shopping yet? Got that perfect gift, fashionable yet sexy, for the significant other?

Well, if you're scrambling to fill the boxes under the tree, this could be your lucky day.

Rachel Uchitel, who spent loads of our precious time on Earth denying an affair with Tiger Woods, will now see some of her clothes hit the eBay auction block. And you thought this scandal had already hit rock bottom.

Here's the mysterious press release content, promising a future announcement on the sale brought to you by club owner JE Englebert about clothes acquired by some waitress and without much detail on the method of acquisition:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Outfit of Rachel Uchitel, the 1st alleged mistress Tiger Woods to be auctioned off !!

A New York City nightclub owner has the VIP Hostess outfit of Rachel Uchitel, the 1st alleged mistress of superstar golf player Tiger Woods. Club owner JE Englebert will announce a press conference soon showing off the garment and announcing his plan to auction it off on Ebay.com to donate the funds to a domestic abuse charity. "When Woods and his wife decided to go clubbing at 230am in the morning this turned into domestic abuse" "They apparently couldn't decide between using the wood (tree) or the iron (fire hydrant)" says Englebert. Englebert received the garments from one of his waitresses who want's to keep anonymous whom worked with Rachel at TAO Las Vegas where Rachel was a VIP hostesses. Reports state that Rachel Uchitel was offered hush money from the Woods camp to keep quiet about her affair in the amount, between $1 and $3 million dollars.

Oh, but it's all for charity? Well that makes it all better.

And how does one achieve the status of "1st mistress," anyway? Is it arbitrary? Alphabetical? Application-based? Tryouts?

serena-espnmag.jpgSerena Williams can't catch a break lately.

Williams was fined a record $82,500 Nov. 30 for making a boob of herself in a threat-filled U.S. Open tirade and could be suspended from that tournament if she has another "major offense" at any Grand Slam in the next two years.

Probably seemed like a good idea to head off to Barbados to chill out a bit before blowing her top again. Until she, you know, blew her top again. Serena has fallen victim to the celebrity curse: caught on camera mid wardrobe malfunction.

If you need to ogle her athletic form, the NSFW photo can be found here. Let your own conscious be the guide.

Luckily, the only outburst on this day would be of the swimsuit variety. The London Daily Mail reports that the fiery 28-year-old kept her temper in check and merely laughed off the double fault with friends.

While promoter Bob Arum continues to work with Manny Pacquiao in the Philippines to come to terms on the heavily anticipated bout with Floyd Mayweather, Jr., it seems the pound-for-pound most feared man in boxing is passing his time in stride.

Pacquiao has earned a reputation as the man where Mexican fighters go to die. As his dominance has grown, he's bested Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales and Mexican-Americans Oscar de la Hoya and Chicago's own David Diaz. If that weren't enough, now he takes on Richie Valens with this karaoke take on "La Bamba," caught at TMZ.

Of course, the seven-time champion and Filipino national hero hasn't just been singing as the Mayweather booking develops. He's also in the midst of his second run for Congress. filed his candidacy to represent the southern province of Sarangani under his own People's Champ Movement, the local Commission on Elections office said. He'll run against Roy Chiongbian, brother of the incumbent who due to term limits can't seek re-election.

In a country that literally shuts down when Pacquiao fights, it's a wonder he lost the first time.

And about Pacquiao-Mayweather? March 13 is the date everyone's circling after Roy Jones' stunning loss in Australia to Danny Green as the Vegas date is now open.

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Funny, that doesn't look like the Jaws of Life, Joe. (AP)

World Series-winning New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi may not walk on water, but he's apparently one step closer to sainthood in the Bronx.

Not content to simply end the torturous nine-year championship drought for the Bombers, formerly Chicago Joe took time after the celebrations were over last night to come to the aid of a woman in an car accident, lohud.com reports:

"The guy wins the World Series, what does he do? He stops to help," said Westchester County police officer Kathleen Cristiano, who was among the first to arrive at the accident scene. "It was totally surreal."

Girardi and Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte had actually passed Cristiano earlier in the night at a drunk driving checkpoint before the Yankee skipper came up on the minor spinout. The driver, Marie Henry of Stamford, Conn., was uninjured and declined treatment, apparently. And there were no charges in what police described as a simple loss of control of the car.

In fact, the only crime was that Henry apparently had no idea who Girardi was:

"The driver didn't know it was him until after I told her," Cristiano said.

Once again, thaaaa Yankees win ... Yankees win!!!

As crazy coaching moments go, Gunnar Prokop tries to give his best Woody Hayes effort and ends up slightly less infamous, but no better than the disgraced THE Ohio State University coach.

When Hayes punched Clemson defender Charlie Bauman in the 1978 Gator Bowl after a game-sealing interception, he put himself on a one-way express train to loserville, being fired the next day never to coach again.

For his part, Prokop, coach of Austrian handball team Hypo Niederoesterreich, one-upped Hayes in that he hip-checked an opposing player in the women's Champions League game. But he doesn't rise to the level of incredulity since nobody outside the rabid Austrian women's handball fan base noticed.

Still, it's another coach gone after a crazy moment, though Prokop fell on his own sword without being pushed to make amends. Thankfully, he's already in the city Sigmund Freud made famous for psychoanalysis, so he'll be able to spend his newly acquired free time figuring out why he just had to hit a girl.

"I will go through this with a psychiatrist. ... I still can't understand why I've done this."

The match ended in a 27-27 draw. Handball's European governing body opened disciplinary proceedings against Prokop. A ruling is expected before his team's match against Krim Ljubljana on Sunday.

We will, of course, be waiting to see justice done here.

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