If you're wondering why Terrell Owens chose Wednesday to make his sudden return to the practice field after having skipped the 14 previous sessions, the answer is rather simple: The Dallas Cowboys' mercurial receiver apparently decided he'd rather deal with a twinge in his left hamstring than with his sore head coach.
SI.com has learned that the previous afternoon, during the team's training-camp practice in Oxnard, Calif., Cowboys coach Bill Parcells approached trainer Jim Maurer and pointedly said, "Look, you tell Terrell that tomorrow I want him out here for practice. Tomorrow's the day. I don't care. Tomorrow's the day."
"Before T.O. got back out there, a lot of people were starting to second-guess Bill," one Cowboys player says. "For the first time ever, he'd shown a little weakness, like he might not be totally in control, and like he didn't know how to handle this situation. Because, let's face it, it's been a total spectacle so far."
Then, Parcells offers a complete dismissal …
Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells dismissed an SI.com report Thursday that suggested he ordered the team's head trainer to have receiver Terrell Owens ready for practice Wednesday.
"Why would I ever do that?" Parcells said, referring to his alleged conversation with trainer Jim Maurer. "Demanded?"
So, we are all left to side with either a very decorated writer and publication or with a very decorated coach in another edition of the “who do we believe?” game. Surely, Sports Illustrated does not just pull this out of the sky, right? Why would they? Just to sell more magazines? If you believe that telling a lie is worth the 4 subscriptions that they bag from this story (even though the story was on their website for free), then you are naïve.
At the same time, Parcells took such a holy stand against it yesterday that if he wasn’t impersonating his friend, Bob Knight, then I was fooled.
I guess the bottom line is this: Either Parcells scolded Owens back on to the practice field or he did not. Either way, Parcells wins because Owens is back in line. So, should we waste more time wondering who to believe?
Above, see my new hero, Joel Zumaya hit 104 on the radar gun, as the Japanese tv guys stand amazed.
Zumaya dominates the poor Rangers …
Zumaya's 100-mph-plus fastballs had an early problem with the strike zone. He walked the first batter he faced, Mark DeRosa, to force in a run that made Detroit's lead 4-2 and suddenly had the crowd shivering on a warm August night.
Zumaya then settled down.
"With that kind of talent," Rogers said, "he's not worried about jams."
Zumaya got Ian Kinsler on a pop-up to Brandon Inge at third.
Then came the fireworks show.
He torched Hank Blalock on a series of fastballs, finishing him on a 102-mph bullet. Gerald Laird, the No. 8 hitter, then fanned on a 100-mph blazer.
Zumaya pitched a flawless seventh (he rolled up another strikeout to give him three in a row) before leaving in favor of Fernando Rodney (1-2-3 eighth) and Todd Jones, who allowed a one-out single before starting a sweet 1-6-3 double play for his 34th save.
In response to all of the “Cowardly” discussions about Padilla (check yesterday’s blog), the Great Gil Lebreton writes in defense of the beanball today …
Baseball is hardball. A boy learns at a young age, no matter what his dad tells him, that the baseball can hurt.
That elementary truth is part of the fabric of baseball's politics. It provides its separation of powers and, in many cases, its checks and balances.
The power is with the pitcher. Or should be.
When the pitcher feels the scales tilting against him, he can battle through it, or he can do what Padilla did Tuesday night, which was drag everyone down, Angels included, with him.
If anything was "cowardly" about what Padilla did, it was not fighting through his lousy performance, finishing out the fourth and maybe fifth innings and, in so doing, saving the Rangers' bullpen the extra work.
We don't know exactly what was on Padilla's mind, because he doesn't speak to the media. But his actions, to me, spoke volumes.
Vladimir Guerrero had been tilting the scales -- yanking them, actually -- against the Rangers, and Padilla took it upon himself to deliver a message by whistling one under that goat-beard of Guerrero's. By the fourth inning Tuesday, the Angels were spanking the Rangers again, and Padilla decided to punctuate his earlier reaction.
To me, that's neither cowardice nor stupidity. That's hardball.
And it was about time that the Rangers started playing it.
Bob Feller liked to pitch inside. Don Drysdale and Bob Gibson had reputations for keeping hitters "loose," too.
And, if I may dare, allow me to use the ultimate hardball example: Nolan Ryan, former Ranger. Nolan liked to, every now and then, throw a pitch or two or three inside.
The Rangers put a statue of Ryan in center field. And Vicente Padilla gets thrown under the proverbial bus?
Shame on every Ranger who called Padilla stupid or self-centered.
Even if someone in the Rangers clubhouse thought that, he should have kept it to himself or told Padilla privately, instead of crying it to the media.
Everyone is accountable. Everyone.
That is pretty well said.
Pat Summerall tells all in his new book …
But as he recounts in his new autobiography, “Summerall: On and Off the Air” (Nelson Books), he nearly died before his transplant. In the days after the surgery, he went from being irritable to turning “berserk,” the result, doctors said, of fatigue and his medication.
•He screamed at his family, shouted, demanded that he be flown home on Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’s jet, refused his medication, ran down the hospital corridor with his gown flapping open (a sight topped by a towel on his head as a turban) and insisted that parts of his body were gone.
“Pat, what is wrong with you?” his wife, Cheri, asked.
“What do you think is wrong with me?” he answered. “My lips just fell off! Quick, grab my arm — it’s going, too. And my leg!”
Summerall also sheared off some of his hair with an electric razor in an inexplicable effort to resemble Bruce Willis.
“I remember some of it,” he said yesterday, “but not all the things my wife and kids tell me. There were things I had no recollection of, like singing “God Bless America” and “Amazing Grace” at the top of my lungs.”
He added: “Why I had to look like Bruce Willis, I don’t know. I’m not a particular fan of his.”
Shocking News from Packers Camp! …
Choosing youth and leg strength over experience, the Green Bay Packers released veteran kicker Billy Cundiff Thursday afternoon, leaving Dave Rayner to handle all the kicking duties for the time being.
Words cannot express my pleasure in reading that he will not be torturing me this fall. The Packers will be bad enough without him…
Junior Seau retired for 3 days …and now he is back…
For more pictures of this Cowboys supermodel, click Akinayodele.net …
Bagofnothing.com catches up with Brenda Warner …
Here is a new Cowboys blog Bloggingtheboys.com …looks pretty promising…
Today’s youtube offering was a fight that broke out at Ticket Fight Night some time ago. Good times.
And, while you are at it, please enjoy Anderson Silva destroying Chris Leben from a few months ago (even if Leben did have a nice win last night):
Tomorrow morning, please plan on a special edition of the blog. It will be questions to emails about World Soccer. I am releasing it on Saturday for two reasons:
#1 – All you soccer haters can ignore it
#2 – Tomorrow is opening day of the English Premiership Season (thank you Setanta Sports and Fox Soccer Channel).
So, if you are interested, see you tomorrow. If you are not, save your comments on how soccer bores you and how great high school football is, and we will see you again Monday.