Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A Shocking Blog

This is too funny. Philadelphia was in here last night, and the Mavericks ambushed them with 8 points in the first 40 seconds on their way to killing in the 1st Quarter. But, both papers and likely everyone on the team is far more interested in the Spurs on Thursday than they are in basking in the glow of a win over the 76ers…

Off to San Antonio …Is this being built up pretty big for a game on March 2nd?

And so, the preliminaries have been dispatched. The Mavericks head to San Antonio with both teams rolling and the best record in the Western Conference to be decided over the last 26 games of the season, two of which will be in San Antonio.
The way the Mavericks have won six in a row since a loss at Denver has shown them and others that they are a force the Spurs will have to reckon with.
"This is what you want to take down to San Antonio," Armstrong said. "This team has shown so much character all season. And we're not done."

It is a new day, so we need a new Bill Guerin article

"The best trade we could make would be getting Bill Guerin playing to his capabilities," Stars general manager Doug Armstrong said during a Q&A with fans last week. "If he comes back with a burr where the saddle goes, he could have a great last 24 games. And nobody is going to care about the first 60 games if he has a great last 20 – and, more importantly, a great April, May and June."

Michael Jack Schmidt gives Raffy a lukewarm review

Schmidt said if he had a vote, he'd put McGwire in the Hall.

"You have to judge him against his peers in the game," said Schmidt, who hit 548 homers. "He hasn't been banished from the game like [Pete] Rose, and his accomplishments on the field stand for themselves."

Schmidt said Rafael Palmeiro, who was suspended last season after testing positive for steroids, should be judged differently.

"Palmeiro is a stronger issue because of what happened over the past year," Schmidt said. "I have to have more facts. I might pass on him in the first year of eligibility without all of the facts."

Someone had to do it: Sasha Baron Cohen vs Sasha Cohen

Sacha Baron Cohen Sasha Cohen

Baron Cohen is British. Also, a portion of Kazakhstan is in Europe. Sasha has a Ukrainian mother.

If this seems like pandering to European readers, that is because it is most definitely pandering. This is because when Dick Cheney resigns, I want to maintain my position on George W. Bush's short list of vice-presidential replacements. Incidentally, I am currently No. 458. CBS announcer Verne Lundquist is a deserving No. 3.

Sacha Baron Cohen Sasha Cohen
Baron Cohen often flashes "West Side" signals during television taping. Sasha resides in California.

You just can't fake when someone is keepin' it real.

Sacha Baron Cohen Sasha Cohen
Baron Cohen wear skullcaps. Sasha wears American berets.

It is an unwritten ClayNation rule that when berets are put up against any hat this side of President Lincoln's top hat, the beret loses.

Mack Brown steps in on behalf of Vince

"So anyone who is reporting that he did that poorly is wrong, point blank, because I called and asked," Brown said. "I was told it's not true. So it's unprofessional and really, really poor for someone to be reporting a number that they don't know is factual that I know is not factual when a young guy has so much riding on it in the future."

Take a sample Wonderlic

What is the Wonderlic?

Life after Vince Young begins

The Longhorns began spring football drills at Denius Fields with redshirt freshman Colt McCoy and true freshman Jevan Snead competing for the starting quarterback job. McCoy is listed at the top of the depth chart, although both will take snaps with the first-team offense during spring practice.

"One of the great things about starting this early — it's closure," Brown said. "We don't ever forget it. It was a lot of fun. Last year's team will always be the national champions. This year's team hasn't done anything yet."

The vacancy sign at quarterback isn't the only one the Longhorns will need to remove before the Sept. 2 season opener against North Texas. Texas lost nine starters from last year's team that went 13-0 and won the school's first national championship since 1970.

Among those leaving were six All-Americans, including the nation's top-rated quarterback (Young) and best defensive back (Michael Huff) and a Lombardi Award finalist (Rod Wright).

Brown said McCoy and Snead, who enrolled in classes in January, are similar enough that the Longhorns will be able to stay with the shotgun offense and the zone read, which became their signatures under Young.

Brown said he can't rule out playing both quarterbacks to start the season.
"People love playing two quarterbacks around here," Brown joked last week.

Amazing Race is back tonight …and they concede defeat last season…

It sounded like a good idea at the time -- and that's exactly how it ended: a good idea at the time.

By the time the all-family edition of The Amazing Race limped across the finish line last December, host Phil Keoghan admitted television's most addictive reality race had taken a wrong turn. The Amazing Race was not so amazing any more.

"We tried something," said Keoghan. "I'm really proud of the fact that we tried something, because I think if we hadn't tried to change the race, people would have criticized us for not being adventurous and doing something different. I'm proud of what we pulled together, but there's no denying the fact the race is most successful when it has fewer faces and more places."

Learning about the NBA Logo

"It's Jerry West," Hall of Fame center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar told me recently. "I'm familiar with the original photograph from back in the '70s."

"My impression is that it's Jerry West dribbling to the hole," said David Kohler, president of Laguna Hills, Ca.-based Sports Card Plus Auctions and owner of perhaps the largest private collection of Lakers memorabilia. "I know it's always been assumed that it's Jerry West."

And yet, in a league with a well-deserved reputation for hyping even the most mundane milestone, the NBA did not celebrate the recent 35th anniversary of the logo's unveiling. The league has also refused to acknowledge publicly that West is the player in the logo. A high-ranking NBA official who asked that his name not be used told me that the identification of West is an "urban myth" and that the league has "no definitive records" about who designed the logo.

Why does the NBA refuse to admit that the logo is a representation of West? Is their "urban myth" statement PR bunk, or do they know something the rest of us don't?

What is a transition player in the NFL free agency system?

Racism alive and well in Spain

As will have been reported by now, Sam Eto'o was subjected to the usual stuff that he and other black players get at Zaragoza. Last season, when Barça won 4-0, Eto'o famously did his monkey dance in front of the goal where most of the insults were coming from. It was an attempt to defuse the whole thing with a bit of humour, but inevitably it backfired, and resulted in Saturday's scene.

With thirteen minutes left, unlucky for some, and the score still at 0-0, Eto'o suddenly lost his rag and began to make his way towards the goal where the same pond-life which had insulted him last year had been having a go at him throughout the match. As the Zaragoza defenders (wisely perhaps) prevented him from going too close, Eto'o grabbed Alvaro, Zaragoza's Brazilian (black) defender and appeared to point at him, asking the crowd why they weren't abusing him too. Well - he wasn't actually saying that. He was trying to point out the absurdity of the whole thing. Unable to make his point in the cauldron of noise, he turned around and began to walk off, mouthing the phrase that may yet become a watchword in Spain's troubled racial arena - 'No juego más' (I'm not playing any more).

He meant that particular game, of course, but you wouldn't blame him if he wanted to retire from the whole sorry scene. That's because it's not rocket science. The fact that Zaragoza got away with it last season, and have continued to get away with it ever since was the reason behind the lamentable scenes on Saturday, with Eto'o eventually breaking down in tears on the pitch, surrounded by a babbling commotion of players and officials.

Football can suddenly become a very unbeautiful game - and it only has itself to blame, in Spain anyway. It's not up to columns like this to lead the protest, but as reported last year, when I phoned Zaragoza for a chat, they just gave me the 'no comment' line. I might try them again during the week. Why not? They're unlikely to receive any punitive calls from the Spanish Federation.

Racists will always exist, but at least they can be prevented from enjoying themselves every fortnight at everyone else's expense. It's not rocket science. Zaragoza's manager, Victor Muñoz, normally a fairly intelligent chap, commented after the game that it was 'a minority' that had been making the monkey noises, and that it was wrong to blow the whole thing out of proportion because of 'a few'. The racist chants did not represent Zaragoza. Wrong again.

I am so proud of Wisconsin

Just 2 Guys website

After having Brandon Noble on the show Friday, 601297.html> Here is his Washington Post article again …Very scary stuff…

Player sold for meat

BUCHAREST - Romanian second division soccer club UT Arad sold a player in exchange for 33 pounds of meat, local sport daily Pro Sport reported on Monday.

However, the deal turned out badly for fourth-division Regal Horia, because defender Marius Cioara decided to end his soccer career and find a job in agriculture or construction in Spain.

“We are upset because we lost twice — firstly because we lost a good player and secondly because we lost our team’s food for a whole week,” a Regal Horia official was quoted as saying by the daily in its electronic edition.

Just to let you know why I am always behind on email, these 9 emails were received between 10:00 and 10:30 last night:

Hey, bob

Did you see the shocker performed by the big german at the end of the game?

Have you created a monster???????

Did you catch Dirk flash the shoker at the end of
monday's game?

So Dirk makes his yearly appearance with BaD Radio and tonight he's seen
giving The Shocker while leaving the court? (attached)



Dirk, at the end of tonights game 2-27-2006
He provided the shocker to the crowd?

Quit spoiling his lilly white german ass!

talk amongst yourself.
no reply!

Did you guys see Dirk give the "Shocker" sign on Monday night at the end of the game. It happened at 10:00pm. I wasn't TIVO'ing it, but I'm sure someone was...


I’m sure you’ve all gotten a ton of emails about it already, but in case you missed it, as Dirk was leaving the court after the game tonight, he raised his right arm in the air and held up “the shocker”. I got a really good laugh about it and hoped you all caught it too!
His, Therefore Yours,
Jeff Russell

Did you by chance see Dirk leaving the court tonight? Has he left the court he rose his right hand with the love for the shocker!

Brad Bahr

at the end of the game tonight (to the crowd). im sure someone has it tivo'd and will be sending it to you soon


Did you just see Dirk hold up "The Shocker" walking off the court after the
Sixers win?????

Plain as DAY!! I don't have it TiVod but somebody has to!!!

Brad C

Well, thanks to Hank, here it is:

Welp, see you later…

Monday, February 27, 2006

A Very Sportsy Blog

Vince Young tanks in Wonderlic

Young's test result a wonder to scouts

Texas quarterback Vince Young isn't working out at the NFL Combine, but if the buzz here yesterday is true, he may have hurt his draft status significantly without throwing a football.

With pro prospects running and jumping inside the RCA Dome, word outside began to spread that Young scored a six on the Wonderlic test given to prospects.

The 12-minute, 50-multiple choice question test is just one factor teams look at when gauging a player's intelligence. The average score for an NFL prospect is roughly 19.

The NFL doesn't make Wonderlic scores public.

Most draft experts viewed Young as a Top 3 pick. A low Wonderlic score, however, could result in him sliding in the draft if teams believe he is not capable of grasping the myriad of responsibilities of an NFL quarterback.

But, did he really tank? Or was the test scored improperly? …How does this happen?

On Sunday, the combine said the test score of 6 that was being reported by some media outlets was false.

"I've been told it was inaccurate by a source good enough for me to quote it," Texans general manager Charley Casserly said Sunday afternoon.

Young took the test again and scored 16. According to Young's agent, Major Adams, the Sunday test was administered by Jeff Foster, executive director of National Scouting Combine.

"The combine officials assured us that score (6) was false and that the accurate score will be known when the combine results are given to each team," Adams said.
Wonderlic scores are supposed to be confidential and are never confirmed publicly by the NFL. Because they are included in combine results given to teams after the combine, scores leak out.

It appears many QB’s have tanked recently

In the last six seasons, the only solid quarterback prospects with extremely low Wonderlic scores were Seneca Wallace (10), who was drafted by Seattle in the fourth round in 2003, and Tee Martin (11), who went to Pittsburgh in the fifth round in '00.

In 1999, Donovan McNabb scored 12, Akili Smith scored 15 and Daunte Culpepper scored both a 15 and a 21. The year before, Charlie Batch had a 12 and a 15 and Aaron Brooks scored 17.

Southern California's Matt Leinart scored 35 on Friday, according to sources. The other top quarterback in the upcoming draft, Vanderbilt's Jay Cutler, had 26 in April. Almost all of the quarterbacks taken in the first round in the last decade scored 20 or more. The average score by 26 quarterbacks who took the test last spring was 23.35.

Jerry Jones declares it, Win Time

While Parcells said he never really considered walking away after last season's disappointing 9-7 campaign, Jones said it was imperative that he do whatever it took to keep Parcells in the fold.

"The alternative to that was not even close," Jones said. "He gives us the chance to win and win big in the immediate future. I have placed a big emphasis on winning big in the immediate future."

Jones said he has no concerns about talk of Parcells' future coming up again next season. He said that is par for the course with a coach Parcells' age.

"Could another year of disappointment make a difference here?" Jones asked. "Yes. It takes so much out of him to not be successful."

But right now Jones believes Parcells is as committed as he was when he signed on three years ago.

Moreover, Jones said Parcells is excited about the Cowboys and their hopes for next year.

Because of that and because the NFL of today allows teams to become big winners overnight, Jones said he can live with Parcells being here on a year-to-year basis.

"I am about winning," Jones said. "Bill Parcells is about winning."

Meanwhile, Jay Cutler moves up the board quickly …and the Texans ponder the “trade down”…

according to league personnel at the combine, Cutler has solidified his position as one of the top three quarterbacks, and could move ahead of Young, or perhaps even Leinart. The top three quarterback prospects are so different in their abilities, teams must carefully evaluate which one best suits their system.

Cutler, who played at Vanderbilt, elected to work out Sunday at the combine.

Leinart, from U.S.C., and Young, from Texas, decided to wait to work out until their on-campus pro days, a few weeks before the draft. That gave Cutler another chance to impress the scouts over the weekend, and he sounded eager to take advantage.

Charley Casserly, general manager of the Texans, said Sunday that Houston had been talking to teams about trading the first pick in the 2006 draft.

It has been widely speculated that Reggie Bush, the Heisman Trophy-winning running back out of Southern California, will end up with the Texans because they recently gave quarterback David Carr a three-year contract extension.

The Texans, who finished 2-14 last season, have multiple needs that could be filled with one major move.

"There's clearly players at the top of this draft that are marquee players," Casserly said. "Players that are impact players, players that are going to go to the Pro Bowl, players that are going to sell tickets. We're going to get offers for this pick. We've already had discussions with teams. I think there's value in our pick.

"Whether it's Reggie Bush, Vince Young or Matt Leinart, those three players are going to produce trade offers. We are definitely going to have some choices when it comes to draft day."

Sadly, Finland’s dream ends with a pummeling by Sweden … clearly the best team won…

Bob McKenzie wonders what the point was

What the NHL players have to do prior to this Olympic tournament; what they have to do to get to this Olympic tournament, and then go back to a compressed schedule in the National Hockey League, I seriously wonder if the greater good of hockey is served.

That's not because Canada and the United States are out; I thought the same thing in 2002 when Canada won. I know that the NHL is going in 2010, but I don't think you will see NHLers at the Olympics after that.

In Baseball Frank Thomas vs. Chicago GM Ken Williams ….

"We don't miss him, by the way," Williams said. "If you go out there and ask any one of my players or staff members, we don't miss him.

"We don't miss his attitude. We don't miss the whining. We don't miss it. Good riddance. See you later," he said.

Williams said he planned to express his feelings in person to Thomas when the opportunity presented itself, perhaps this spring.

"I'm a general manager and I'm supposed to be above these things. But again, when is enough enough?" he said. "He brought us to this point. So, OK, you want to play this game? You've got it. You got it. He's the Oakland A's problem right now. ... He better stay out of our business. He better stay out of White Sox business."

Matt Kenseth wins for Wisconsin’s pride …My Dad is pleased…

Kenseth, extending the stranglehold that the Roush Racing Fords have over Fontana, climbed all the way from the 31st starting spot to win the Auto Club 500 Nextel Cup race, averaging 147.852 mph. Three other Roush drivers finished in the top 10 as well.

No NASCAR driver had won from that deep in the starting grid since the speedway opened in 1997. The victory also was the first for the Wisconsin native since he won in Bristol, Tenn., last August, his first victory in Fontana and the initial victory for the new Ford Fusion.

Kenseth, the 2003 Nextel Cup champion, and his team managed the feat by repeatedly adjusting his car's handling and with the help of late caution flags, the last of which forced a two-lap overtime shootout.

"All the stars aligned for us," said Kenseth, 33, acknowledging, "We didn't have the most dominant car."

The dominant car was another Roush Ford driven by Greg Biffle, who was cruising toward a repeat of his Fontana victory a year ago until his engine failed with only 25 laps to go, opening the door for Kenseth.

"It's frustrating," said Biffle, who led 168 of the 250 laps at the two-mile, D-shaped California Speedway. "We didn't have an engine failure all season last year."

It was one of the few disappointments for Roush. Another Roush driver, Carl Edwards, finished third in his Ford, behind runner-up Jimmie Johnson, who drives a Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. Roush teammates Jamie McMurray and Mark Martin took sixth and ninth, respectively, also in Fords.

When the season opened at Daytona International Speedway, there was widespread agreement that this year's Cup field was the most evenly matched in history. That still might be true, but not at Fontana.

Mosely stops Vargas …I cannot decide what this says about either guy, stay tuned…

Mosley, 34, was, however, far from dominant in beating Vargas, who also was trying to get his career back on track.

Their scheduled 12-round junior middleweight match at the Mandalay Bay Events Center turned out to be sort of an extended one-punch fight.

Mosley caught Vargas, 28, with a stiff right to his left eye in the first round, and the knot over Vargas' eye continued to swell as Mosley peppered it in the following rounds.

By the seventh, Vargas' eye was swollen shut.

Referee Joe Cortez finally stopped the fight at 1:22 of the 10th round after Mosley landed several shots to the head.

Another game, another game without a goal from Liverpool’s strikers; But Harry Kewell scores, Liverpool 1, Man City 0

Funny, when they were winning trophies that were a bit bigger, Manchester United laughed at the Carling Cup winners, But now, They celebrate like they won Europe, beating Wigan 4-0 for some level of hardware…

Since this has been sportsy, I will leave you with a few “other” items:

Above, Dan, Forrest Griffin, Bob.

The Fruitcake Lady

Our Hero, Gabe, and his bear…

Autistic basketball player’s big moment …you really got to see it to believe it…

NY Times feature on the stretch run of the Sopranos

Finally, Iverson is in town tonight. I did not link anything to it, but how amazing was the fourth Q versus Toronto on Saturday? I would have done something else if I wasn’t sitting in my office working on some mail. The game was background noise when they were down 20 in the 4th Quarter. But, they came back in storybook fashion, and I am happy I didn’t turn it off. Wow. How would you like to be the Raptors? Give up 81 to Kobe, and then blow a 98-81 lead with less than 8 minutes to play? Double Wow. How do you not love Darrel Armstrong?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Curse is Dead!

BaD Radio Curse is Dead! Dirk appears on our show on Wednesday, and on Thursday he is dominant German; Mavs come all the way back from “down a mile” to beat Grizz

Down by 19 points in the second quarter, they pulled themselves back into the game with a gutsy rally before halftime, then dominated the second half for a 97-87 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies for their franchise-record 13th consecutive home win.

The Grizzlies were held to 31 points and 27.5 percent shooting in the second half. Only 11 of those points came in the fourth quarter, when they were 4-of-20 (20 percent) from the field.

It tied the ninth-best comeback in Mavericks history.

AAC is becoming a fortress for them. Even when they slipped behind 50-31 in a first half that had onlookers wondering if the Mavericks should petition for an extension to Thursday's trading deadline, fans stuck with them. And when some defensive grit started peeking through the slop, the place came alive.

"The reason why we won this game was one word – fans," coach Avery Johnson said. "Thank you, fans. Our fans stayed with us the whole game.

Working backwards, here is a story where Mike Modano feels bad

Modano was apologetic for the tone of the interview he gave after the loss to Finland.

“I think the timing was bad,” Modano said. “I was upset at the outcome and mad at what happened to me [being benched in the third period] and you walk right off the ice into the [media] mix zone, and I just let my emotions start talking.”

Modano not only questioned U.S. coach Peter Laviolette’s strategy to take a timeout 10 minutes into the game, but slammed the administration for not taking care of “distractions” for the players, such as travel arrangements and obligations for family members. He said at one point the organization needed “new blood.”

Modano, who scored twice, had no assists and was a minus-1 in his third Olympics, did not back off of the criticism but said he wanted to be more constructive and more proactive in trying to fix things.

“I would like to be a part of helping USA Hockey, but I’d like to do it more behind the scenes, more privately,” Modano said. “I’ve been a part of this program for 20 years, and it means a lot to me. I don’t want to leave it like this.”

Modano said he initially felt anger because he believed it was his last performance in a Team USA uniform. But after a day to think, he feels more sadness.

“We’re probably not going to have a World Cup [in 2008] and who knows about [the Winter Olympics in] 2010, so I pretty much knew at the time this could be it,” he said. “It’s not at all how I would want to go out, and that probably affected me as much as anything. It’s tough to look back and think it might be over.”

And, here is a story Where USA Hockey defends itself against Modano

on Thursday, Modano packed up his stuff and left Italy on Thursday morning, skipping a final meeting with his Olympic teammates. USA Hockey spokesman Dave Fischer said Modano was the only member of the 23-player squad not to gather at the arena where the Americans were knocked out by Finland. Modano caught a flight home Thursday. The rest of the team was scheduled to leave Friday morning, before the start of the weekend's medal-round games.

USA Hockey executive director Dave Ogrean told ESPN.com the organization had received no complaints from any other players regarding the handling of the team.
Modano raised three issues: tickets, housing and air travel.

In terms of housing, USA Hockey officials put together a list of options for players' families (the team stays in the athletes' village), including contact information for housing brokers, tour operators, U.S. Olympic Committee travel partners and Torino organizers' travel partners, Ogrean said.

"Not every athlete wants the same thing," he said. "We didn't get any negative feedback from the players at that time."

As for the tickets to games, Ogrean said USA Hockey asked every player what his needs were going to be, given the size of their respective groups.

"We met their requirements for tickets for every single player's family for every single game," Ogrean said.

The one thing USA Hockey did not do was charter a flight for the players' families. This was no doubt a sore point for some American players, who quietly complained about the cost and hassle of booking flights for their entourages.

Team Canada, for instance, brought its entire team and everyone's families over to Torino on a charter flight, although they now appear to be stuck in Torino for the duration of the games because they can't get the charter to come back early.

"We can't always do what Canada does," Ogrean said. "On the airplane thing, they were on their own."

And here, The idea of Olympic Hockey is questioned

The consensus appears to be that the NHL will end its relationship with the Olympics after 2010. Bush says that's probably accurate.

"The (NHL) owners are in a business," he said. "I agree that after 2010 the NHL won't be there."

In 2010, Bush said, the U.S. will have a much younger, more dynamic team. He bases that on the quality of players currently on the national junior team. In 2014, with no NHL participation, the U.S. could hit a rough patch.

"There are NHLs (type leagues) in Russia, Finland, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Slovakia," Bush said. "What I'd really like to see us have is a 25-years-and-younger team. That would be fantastic.

"We don't have senior hockey. What it comes down to is that hockey is not a big sport in the U.S. Baseball, basketball and football pull so many people out of the colleges. The other countries, they take the best players and work down. We take everybody and work up."

Olympic Hockey Today:

Sweden vs. Czech Republic, 9am MSNBC
Finland vs. Russia, 2pm USA

Give me Sweden and Russia in the Finals…

I really don’t understand this, but Vikings are expected to cut Culpepper

The Dolphins expect Minnesota to release quarterback Daunte Culpepper before the Vikings are scheduled to pay him a $6 million roster bonus on March 17.

Because of that belief, the Dolphins have resisted the offer to trade for Culpepper, who also is scheduled to make $2 million in base salary for the 2006 season.

The Dolphins and Vikings recently discussed a trade for Culpepper. Although no exact compensation was discussed, the Vikings are asking for more than the second-round pick that was reported this month.

Here are the top 10 Free Agents according to Scouts, Inc

1. Shaun Alexander RB Seattle 6 year pro
2. Edgerrin James RB Indianapolis 7 year pro
3. Julian Peterson LB San Francisco 5 year pro
4. Nate Clements CB Buffalo 5 year pro (franchised)
5. Steve Hutchinson G Seattle 5 year pro
6. John Abraham DE New York Jets 6 year pro
7. Jamal Lewis RB Baltimore 6 year pro
8. Ahman Green RB Green Bay 8 year pro
9. Adam Vinatieri K New England 10 year pro
10. Drew Brees QB San Diego 5 year pro

In Nascar, Crime still pays

4 or 5 years ago, I thought Sugar Shane was the best fighter in the game. Now I think he is finished, so I expect Nando Vargas will beat him Saturday Night

Liverpool’s season is now in doubt as key midfielder, Momo Sissoko has major eye injury

Mohamed Sissoko was making "encouraging" progress last night as eye specialists in London continued to assess the damaged retina in his right eye, though the Liverpool midfielder will have to wait until next week before the extent of the injury becomes clear.

The 21-year-old, who was caught in the face by the Benfica midfielder Beto's boot during Liverpool's 1-0 defeat in Portugal on Tuesday, was examined in the capital yesterday with the specialist confirming an improvement over the last 24 hours. "The progress is encouraging," confirmed a club spokesman. "The player was examined on Thursday morning by a leading eye specialist who remains optimistic. Momo has been instructed to rest completely and will be examined again by the specialist next week."

Today on the show, we are preparing for a potential surprise. I hate to say this is going to happen for sure, because his plane is scheduled to land at 1:30 so that gives him a small window to make our show in Keller by 2:30, but, we are trying all we can to get the great Forrest Griffin (right) on the program today. That may mean little to most, but to me, that is greatness!

Forrest Griffin.net …is where you should go, click on multimedia and watch Griffin vs. Bonnar to see one of the greatest MMA fights EVER!

Why is he here? He is appearing at the Ultimate Texas Showdown … tomorrow in Frisco. I am told this is a pretty good card, but since I know nothing about the local fight scene (and really don’t have the time/interest to learn) I will take their word for it. Go see it. Ticket Chicks are the ring girls…

Thursday, February 23, 2006

How We Screwed Up The Olympics

Sometimes the media agrees almost unanimously. Whenever this happens, run..don’t walk, the other direction as fast as you can. Because they are likely wrong.

About 20 years ago it started. Oscar Schmidt scored at will for Brazil in the 1986 Pan American Games and beat the United States in Basketball. Then, in 1988, John Thompson put together a team of college players and headed to Seoul. The results were a bronze medal. And it happened. The media agreed almost across the board that it needed to happen. We needed pro athletes in the Olympic Games. No longer could these other countries beat our amateurs, while we knew all along our professionals would dominate the world.

So, the leagues listened. First, basketball signed up. Then Hockey. I think Tennis, Soccer, and a few other sports are doing it, too, but I don’t know the history well enough on those. All I know is it seemed like a great idea at first, as the 1992 Dream Team took over Barcelona and we all agreed that the right choice has been made.

But, now, I realize what happened. We ruined the Olympics. By 2006, the thrill and newness of the professional athletes being at the games has been replaced by the collective yawn of athletes, media, fans, and anyone else that used to enjoy the innocent charm of the amateur athletes competing for patriotic pride.

Now, it looks like a vacation for the families of the richest athletes. A chance for little Johnny to see Italy. Meanwhile, the cohesion does not exist, the chemistry does not exist, and the charm of the games are completely forgotten.

Perhaps I say this because the USA put together “their very best” and managed to win 1 game in 6 tries. Perhaps, if they and Canada were preparing for the Semi-finals for the tournament I would be singing a different tune, but I doubt it. I ignored the Olympic basketball team in 2004, and now I wonder how we got here.

We made this decision because we wanted to win. We were tired of playing other countries’ pros with our college kids. And I am not saying I have the solutions here, but I am convinced that the unanimous media was unanimously wrong. Pro athletes should not be in the Olympics. They are too rich to care, too busy to put in the time to build a proper squad, and too old to compete for a medal.

I find myself wondering how we can get back to 1984 now. The pros have every platform in sports. Let’s leave the Olympics to the amateurs. And if we can get every country to do so, we may have a meaningful tournament again.

By the way, the media unanimously agrees that we need a college football playoff.

USA gets beat by Finland (who any Stars fan cheers for now), But Mike Modano had plenty to say …He was benched in the 3rd period…

"Maybe you need to get some new blood in there to kind of run things a little differently," said Modano. "I've been with USA Hockey a long time, and it's probably time to see some change."

If the U.S. program were in chaos, this might be understandable. But the men's Olympic team won a silver medal in Salt Lake City, the women's program has been excellent, and the U.S. junior program is thriving.

Instead, mostly, it seems this is about how well the players' needs are met, in terms of travel and family accommodations for the Olympics.

"Basically we're on (our) own as far as arrangements _ hotels, flights, tickets," he said. "That's something you don't ever have to think about. It should be taken care of so we don't have to worry about it."

That grinding sound you hear is made by the teeth of bobsledders and cross-country skiers and other athletes whose families make financial sacrifices to come to the Olympics, or need outside help to do it, much as those athletes struggle or need help to pursue their sport.

Be that as it may, Modano feels USA Hockey needs to be "more of a well-oiled machine.

"It's frustrating," he said. "You put a lot into it, and we've come a long way and you want things to run smooth behind the scenes. Part of goes back to families being over here. It's more of a distraction for a lot of guys playing the game.


Modano questioned Laviolette's decision to call a first-period time out, saying there was a need for "a little composure, a little less panic and (to) just play the game." And he made it clear he wasn't happy about sitting out most of the third period.

"Well, we're down and looking for goals and looking for offense," said Laviolette. "And to be honest, it wasn't about Mike Modano. It's never been about any one player on the team. It was about trying to get the players on the ice that were going. The third period was clearly our best period."

And so, at the end, the U.S. team leaves squabbling.

In case you weren't sure, this looks really, really bad for Modano. He may be exactly right, in fact, I was hearing that the entire organization was a joke before the games started, but you can't say it in the lockerroom moments after you get benched and Finland eliminates you.

Meanwhile, since misery loves company, we all had to love Russia 2, Canada 0

Despite a lineup of NHL stars, Canada had trouble scoring in Turin, particularly at Esposizione, the secondary Olympic arena where it was shut out 2-0 by Switzerland and 2-0 by Finland in preliminary round play, and then again by Russia.

Canada scored 15 goals in three games at the main arena, Palasport Olympico.
Russia outshot Canada 33-26 overall.

It was Canada's first Olympic meeting with the Russians since losing the 1992 gold medal game at Albertville, France, in 1992. Despite the lack of goals, it was a rousing, physical game.

The Russians, knowing Martin Brodeur tweaked a lingering knee injury in a 3-2 win over the Czech Republic on Tuesday, crashed the crease more than once, but the veteran goaltender held his ground and produced his best game of the tournament.

Sparky Anderson to be honored in Fort Worth

Cats to retire Anderson's No. 1

The Cats have announced the organization will retire Sparky Anderson’s No. 1 Cats jersey during a pre-game ceremony before the Fort Worth-Pensacola game, Saturday, June 17 at LaGrave Field.

This marks the fourth jersey retired in the history of the Cats. Bobby Bragan’s No. 10 jersey was the first to be retired in 2003. The team retired Duke Snider’s No. 4 jersey in 2004 while Maury Wills’ No. 6 jersey was retired last season.

So, Did Babe Ruth replace George “Papa Bear” Halas in RF?

Although Halas played only 12 games with the Yankees - six in the outfield - the myth persists that he was Babe Ruth's predecessor as Yankee rightfielder. Ruth actually replaced Sammy Vick in 1920. Soon after Halas's demotion that season, he helped establish the National Football League. For over 60 years, he operated the Chicago Bears, playing end through 1929, and coaching through 1968. He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


76ers announce guns for tickets …Love that city…

This cannot be for real German Child takes on his computer ….

Dexter Coakley not done with Rams

After veteran linebacker Dexter Coakley suffered season-ending leg and ankle injuries Dec. 4 against Washington, there was some speculation that he might retire.

But Coakley plans to return for his 10th NFL season in 2006, and his second with the Rams.

"He was one of the first guys to come in and meet me when I was on the job," Linehan said. "He wanted to know how he fit into the scheme of things, and was very positive.

"I really like those veterans that have a good attitude. I was very encouraged with where his mind was, and where he felt that he was health-wise."

I saw this article this evening and thought it might be blog worthy for Thursday. It seems odd that coming off a national championship and about to be going in to the NFL that you wouldnt want to spend cash on a car or house, but an International House of Pancakes. Maybe its just me.

Jason in Austin.

Longhorn’s Huff wants an IHOP

Since the draft is quickly approaching, I've been thinking about what I'll buy with my first professional paycheck. A lot of people are probably expecting me to say that I'd buy a big house, and that's partly true. But it's not what you think. The first house I buy will be the one with the blue roof on it that says "IHOP." It has been a dream of mine to own my own International House of Pancakes, and someday I will. Just last week I ate there five or six times, and about every time I got the same thing, pancakes and shrimp. It's a cool feeling to know that someday I'll get to eat at my IHOP whenever I want.

What a Night at Stamford Bridge! Barcelona 2, Chelsea 1 ...

Chelsea are on the verge of extinction in the competition, having not only been beaten but also conceding two away goals, with Samuel Eto'o winning the game by heading home Rafael Marquez's cross in the 79th minute.

The greatest damage of all, however, had been done by Asier del Horno, who was sent off for a crass challenge on Lionel Messi in the first-half. A bold Chelsea went on to take the lead through a Thiago Motta own goal before John Terry inadvertently sent the ball into his own net, but it was the sins of a Spanish left-back that changed the match and, probably, his club's season.

Here is some USA Hockey E-mail:

Hey Bob,

Our U.S. Hockey team should be embarrassed by their performance (1-4-1). They should go back to a college allstars team that practices for several months or more (if possible) and a couple pros mixed in for good measure. Your thoughts? Also, where was Guerin for this final game against Finland (Dallas Stars lite), and did Modano even play...what gives?



I caught the assessment of the U.S. Olympic hockey team just a bit ago on my way back from lunch.
I agree. I long for the days when we used our kids against the world. I don’t know, but if I’m gonna get beat by Russia or the Fins or whomever, I’d much rather see a bunch of kids whose whole life revolves around that one game at that one time … opposed to a bunch of guys who played hard at the time, but what the hell … I’ll just go over here and count my money and to back to my NHL contract.

Point BreakBack Mountain …Does it ever get old?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

JUST IN: Gabe Reports!

Our boy heals as fast as he can ...

Kapler was expected to need six months before restarting baseball activities and one full year before returning to full strength. Regardless of his health, because he was released and re-signed by the same team, he is not contractually allowed to play until May 15. If he were ready to play on that date, he would be at least a month or so ahead of projections. Is that possible?

''The truth is, I just don't know," Kapler said. ''I will be smart this time.

''My understanding is that the tendon is not fully mature until a year post-surgery. That doesn't mean you can't be explosive and 100 percent prior to that year. The maturity level of the tendon, what that means, is open to interpretation."
''They were up front with me and tremendously communicative," Kapler said.

Always excellent in the clubhouse, Kapler's presence could be even more important in the absence of Kevin Millar, Johnny Damon, Bill Mueller, and Doug Mirabelli.

''It's probably an accurate statement," Curt Schilling said. ''He was part of that core mix of guys that made this place what it was, the fun environment it was. He's one of my favorite teammates of all time. Having him back is a big deal for us."

Our Foes, The Finns

A week ago, did we really think we would all be terrified of this flag? Finland? Sure, half of the Dallas Stars play for Finland, but (retyped for clarity purposes at 9:16am) did anyone think they would join the Canadians, Russians, Swedes, and perhaps Yanks as favorites in the Quarterfinals? But here they are as a 1 seed and a heavy favorite today.

The surprises in this tournament have been many, but now we play for real. Now we see who has what, and anything that has happened so far is not that important.

It is a great day for international Ice Hockey, as the quarterfinals determine the Final 4

At Torino Esposizioni, the Swiss take on the Swedes at 4:30 p.m. local, 10:30 a.m. ET, CBC, USA), with the Russians and Canadians playing at 8:30 p.m. local, 2:30 p.m. ET, CBC, MSNBC).

At Palasport, the Finns and Americans open the quarterfinals (5:30 p.m. local, 11:30 a.m. ET, USA, MSNBC), while the Slovaks and Czechs close out the two-game set at Palasport (9:30 p.m. local, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBC, USA).

The winners of each game will advance to Friday's semifinals.

More specifically, the Americans have their work cut out for them against our friends, the Finns:

Team USA knows it has a rough draw with the Finns, who have done just about everything right in this tournament, finishing 5-0 while scoring 19 goals and allowing only two.

"We've been playing great defense," American center Doug Weight said. "We want to make sure we don't get frustrated and make sure we play the game for the full 60 minutes. We're confident if we play like that we will be successful.

"Whenever we play them," Weight said of the Finns, "it turns into a playoff game, low scoring, good defense."

"We certainly can't afford to make mistakes," American center Scott Gomez said. "The fun starts now. You lose, you go home, it's as simple as that. This kind of atmosphere is what you play for."

Mavs struggle, but beat Clippers

For nearly 31/2 quarters, Nowitzki was still on the All-Star break, which was part of why the Clippers were hanging in the Mavs' shadow.

Nowitzki picked that moment to return to his All-Star form. He scored six points, grabbed six rebounds and had a steal down the stretch. He scored all of the Mavericks' points as they turned an 86-84 edge into a 92-84 advantage.

"We had three of our top scorers shoot 12-for-40 from the field, and that won't happen many nights," said Johnson of Nowitzki, Jason Terry and Stackhouse, who actually were 12-of-37. "We were really fortunate to win this game."

The Speedskating rivalry that qualifies as bizarre continues

They would not look at each other.

They would not hug.

The feud they dare not admit began when Davis declined to race in the team pursuit to focus on winning the 1,000 meters, which he did. Hedrick believed that Davis's absence cost the team a gold medal, which it might have. His absence also dented Hedrick's distant hope that he might win five gold medals.

Davis congratulated Hedrick when he won the 5,000 meters, but Hedrick did not reciprocate after Davis won the 1,000.

And thus, a chasm developed for the news media to drive a custom Hummer through. Toward the end of their joint news conference on Tuesday, where they served a an hourlong repast of thinly veiled loathing, Davis praised his idol, Michael Jordan, for never acting unprofessionally when he lost.

"It would have been nice if, after the 1,000, he could have been a good teammate after I won, like I hugged him after he won the 5,000 meters," Davis said of Hedrick. Then he walked out, muttering loudly about Hedrick.

Remember a few days ago when I talked about how Nascar won’t punish the “big boys” like they will the new guys? Here is the example of what I was speaking: Hall of Fame Racing docked 25 points …Jimmie Johnson? No points. Awful.

The team that won the Daytona 500 didn't lose any championship points when penalties against the No. 48 Lowe's Chevy were announced Tuesday by NASCAR.

But Hall of Fame Racing, the new team of Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach, was docked 25 points for a violation during qualifying.

Chad Knaus, crew chief for Daytona 500 winner Jimmie Johnson, will sit out three more races and pay a $25,000 for a rules violation discovered a week before Johnson won the race.

Mom fights Bear …Makes you want to hear to coyote song…

One Wednesday evening earlier this month, Angyiou was walking near the village community center with her two sons when a group of children playing street hockey nearby started shouting and pointing frantically.

Angyiou, 41, turned around and saw a polar bear sizing up her 7-year-old son.
She told the children to run and raced around to get between the bear and her son. Then she started kicking and punching the animal, according to police reports.

In a flash, the bear swatted her in the face and she fell on her back. With the bear on top of her, Angyiou began kicking her legs in a bicycle-pedaling motion. She was swatted once more and rolled over, but the bear moved toward her again.

Siqualuk Ainalik heard the commotion and came rushing over. Seeing Angyiou wrestling with the bear, he ran to his brother's home, grabbed a rifle and headed back to the street. He fired a few warning shots.

Kiper thinks the Cowboys are thinking safety ….

The Cowboys need to improve at safety, but they are getting old at wide receiver as well. Do you see them going after a safety or Ohio State wide receiver Santonio Holmes? -- Mark, Tiffin, Ohio

I don't know if Holmes will still be there when Dallas picks because he should be the first wide receiver off the board. Dallas also needs a free safety, so someone like Ko Simpson would be a good pick. Dallas also needs a right tackle (someone like McNeill) and an inside linebacker. Dallas will be able to go in a number of directions in the first round when it picks 18th overall.

The odd bits of Darren Daulton ….

Apparently deciding that he is not yet busy enough, Jamey Newberg joins MLB.com

Adam Eaton feature

The Rangers would like to explore a contract extension with Eaton, who said he is open to the idea but not sure if he would want to sign before testing free agency next winter.

"I'm going to do my job either way, and give my same effort," Eaton said. "I don't play for money. I play because I love baseball. I'm excited to be a Texas Ranger.
"I'm even more excited to be here this season with what the Rangers have. The pitching core is pretty awesome."

As you may know, we had Eaton on our show yesterday. There are several red flags from our visit and his talk with the FWST about whether this will be longer than a 1 year stay in Arlington:

1) He certainly did not back off his claim that the Rangers will need to overpay to extend him.
2) He is not very interested in extending until “testing the waters” next winter.
3) His family is not moving here for the year.

Not saying that this is a poor approach on his side. I am just saying that he appears very uncommitted to this franchise, and the only way he is staying is if he gets some of that “crazy money from the Rangers”.

I would certainly not seek to extend him this spring, until he proves he can handle pitching here. All of this might just be the 2006 holding pattern, so that by this time in 2007, DVD is ready to roll in to the rotation.

Arsenal was playing so poorly, that I wonder if this result tells us more about the silly state of Real these days, but what a win for the Gunners in Madrid: Arsenal 1, Real Madrid 0

Meanwhile, Liverpool huffs and puffs, but never scores again. Then they surrender another set piece goal, and will need a decisive win in Anfield in 2 weeks to move through: Benfica 1, Liverpool 0

Benítez will be restless until that opportunity for redemption. The Spaniard scowled his way back to Lisbon airport in the aftermath last night, struggling to digest his side's first defeat in this competition since November 2004. Their superiority was evident from the opening exchanges but, damningly, their monopoly of possession failed to prompt a single shot on target. Then, 84 minutes in, the substitutes Dietmar Hamann and Giorgios Karagounis collided, the German was penalised and, from Petit's free-kick, Luisao darted around the back of Liverpool's dawdling defenders to flick a header beyond José Reina.

Too often recently, most notably at Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge, set pieces have floored Liverpool, for all that Benítez insisted his side concede "less than anyone else from set plays in the Premier League". Confusion still occasionally flares at his preferred zonal marking. "We've seen the trick they played on the videos but we did not react," said the manager. "No one picked up their man and that is disappointing."

Let’s not celebrate early, Mr Soccer Goalie

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Tuesday's Effort

Alright. 2 choices today. I can either give you a good blog or a good radio show. Since I cannot get paid by the blog, I think you know where the choice is going. So, here is my best effort in 30 minutes or less:

Buck makes bold claims ...

"I think our guys are ready to take the next step: playing in October. Simple as that."

"Some of our problems were of our own making," Showalter admitted, leaning back in a chair in his conference room and adjusting his red coach's cap.

It was the kind of thing that made one wonder whether the team was tuning out its manager and would be better off with someone else.

But Buck didn't get stopped there. He is back, as well he should be.
He is just as chipper. Just as engaging. Just as funny. ("It's Ah-room Ball-der-rahs," he instructed team spokesman Gregg Elkin of the pronunciation of the name of one of the Venezuelans who hasn't yet arrived because of visa problems. "I'm gonna call him Baldy.")

He is relaxed. He is forever inquisitive. He is comfortable.

"I'm comfortable in my own skin," he said. "I don't like comfortable because when people think of comfortable they think complacent.

"I know how fleeting this all can be. I knew that a long time ago.

"I understand what needs to happen around here for them [the bosses] to continue loving me back. Win."

Peter King weighs in on Johnny Weir ...

Johnny Weir could stand to grow up. And how in the world does he flop in the men's long program and walk out of the arena without some NBC person putting a microphone in his face? There were, what, five hours between his skate and the time NBC showed it on tape delay? At the very least NBC should have been in the mixed zone (where journalists can chat with athletes after their events) and gotten what everyone else got -- that he felt "black inside'' and that his mood for the competition was ruined by missing a bus from the athletes' village that day. Next to Bode Miller, at least from afar, Weir's about the least likable Olympian in the American stable.

Sports Guy with his All-Star Game Diary which includes wonderful story of Clemens ...

A high school kid and his cute girlfriend wanted to take a picture with Snoop. So the kid approached one of Snoop's bodyguards, asked politely for a picture and was greeted by stony silence. Then, the kid turned around and showed the bodyguard his football jacket, which said "CLEMENS" on the back, as if the bodyguard was supposed to be impressed. That's when the bodyguard gave him the "All right, I'm going to kill you in five seconds, get the hell away from me" look. And the kid walked away, but not before telling his girlfriend, "If my dad was here, I would have been able to get a picture with Snoop."

So now we start looking at the kid ... and damned if he doesn't look like a younger, meatier Roger Clemens ... and then we realized ...
(Wait, this deserves its own award!)

The Spaulding Smails Award for "Worst performance by a family member in a group setting"

... that this had to be one of Roger Clemens' kids!

Just to be clear: I never make fun of anyone high school-and-under in this column. That's just one of my ground rules. Even when I wrote a running diary of the Spelling Bee four years ago, but then I avoided any cheap shots. But I'm going to make an exception here for three reasons: First, this kid was likely directly related to Roger Clemens; second, his dad has probably made $200 million in his career; and third, his girlfriend was very, very cute. To recap, he's young, rich and has a good-looking girlfriend. I think this makes him fair game. I might be wrong. Frankly, I don't care.

Anyway, Sully and I are still reeling from this Son of Clemens thing when we notice that Gabrielle Union is standing about 5 feet from us -- and let the record show that she's jaw-droppingly attractive in person -- as various people are coming up and taking pictures with her. At the Super Bowl, Gabrielle would be considered a run-of-the-mill celeb. At the black Super Bowl? She's like a cross between Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston. And as she's graciously posing with people, we see Clemens' kid inching toward her like he has never seen a celebrity in person before, with Sully finally making the "Caddyshack" parallel with the obligatory, "Fifty bucks says the Clemens kid goes in for a picture" joke.

Now we're excited. And Kid Clemens keeps inching closer and glancing back at his hot girlfriend for support, and she keeps egging him on, and we're in disbelief that someone who's directly related to the greatest pitcher of the past 50 years could want a picture with Gabrielle Union this badly. (Hasn't he seen hundreds of celebs through his dad?) Finally, he tapped her on the shoulder, took a picture with her on his cell phone camera, and he didn't even have to show her the back of his football jacket to get it. That was followed by Kid Clemens happily leaving with his hot girlfriend as Sully and I grimaced in disbelief. Sully put it best: "I don't even want Clemens to come back to Boston anymore."

Champions League starts again today:
Liverpool travels to Benfica for the first leg today ...we will happily accept a 1-1 draw...

And, on ESPN2 at 1:45 Theirry Henry's last stand at Arsenal? ...As the welcome Real Madrid...

Spanish eyes will certainly be on Arsenal's Champions League trip to the Bernabéu stadium, where they face Madrid for the first time in their competitive history. With the Gunners struggling to break into the Premiership's top four, this tie has assumed particular import in the negotiations with Henry. "Of course [the Champions League] is very important for us financially but your big players want to play in the Champions League," said Wenger.

"I believe Thierry wants to commit his future to the club for a longer period, so of course he will not want to spend that out of the Champions League. That cannot work: you want to be there. I am confident we will do it and we want to show how good we are. If he is going to commit to the maximum term he needs to be working in that." Wenger recognises it is for the likes of Henry to ensure that Arsenal have a hope of progressing from this tie, though he rebutted criticism that the captain is not a big-game player.

A great list of gay or not gay ...

A pretty classless display from WWE ...even by their standards...

Today's "you will laugh or your money back" feature: Just 2 Guys ...

Big Night for the Cavs! ...

The Cavs are going to try to break a world record for ``most people wearing wigs in a single venue'' Tuesday, when they host the Orlando Magic on Anderson Varejao wig night. All fans in attendance will get a wig and, during a timeout in the second quarter, all will be encouraged to put them on. In April, Detroit Pistons fans set the record by wearing 6,638 wigs on Ben Wallace wig night.

And Latvia's loss this morning puts the US through to the Quarterfinals to play Finland it appears...USA!

Monday, February 20, 2006

National Weather Center Blog Update

80% chance of blog on Tuesday due to an early morning meeting at the station.

30% chance of blog appearing prior to 10:45.

Plan Accordingly.

Daytona Delivers

I can not tell a lie. In a weekend that contained the NBA All-Star Weekend, Olympic Hockey, and assorted college hoops, the sporting event that I most anticipated and that delivered the most was the Daytona 500 won by Jimmy Johnson.

What a spectacle, and frankly, what excitement. I really enjoyed the proceedings, but what makes great events great is conflict. Something to make you mad or react with anger.

Enter Smoke

Tony Stewart is maybe the very best in the business. He also may be the biggest jerk in the sport. The sport loves him, and Nascar’s discipline of him reminds you of how college basketball used to look the other way with its big boys. I remember the quote from the 1980’s book I love, Raw Recruits: “The NCAA was so angry at Dale Brown at LSU that they slapped 2 more years probation on Marist”.

Don’t think that didn’t cross my mind when Stewart vs. Kenseth caused a black flag for Kenseth, and Stewart vs. Kyle Busch got Busch’s nose hit with the rolled up newspaper. Stewart was sent to the back of the line but that is nothing for a guy with his car on a drafting track like Daytona. It takes him about 5 laps to get back in the front draft.

I love his style, and he adds a certain “WWF” to the sport, which isn’t all bad. You know, the guy who hits his opponent with a steel chair at precisely the moment that the ref is distracted.

Here is Tom Sorenson’s take:

When we last left Stewart, he had turned Nice. After he won his second championship last season, Maturity was bestowed. No longer the angry driver, he had, at 34, evolved into a Senior Spokesman.

After last week's Budweiser Shootout, at which Kyle Busch knocked him around, Stewart complained about rough driving. When a star complains, NASCAR responds. The organization said it would issue penalties for aggressive driving.

The edict was issued with a straight face and a stern voice. Yet, there was a minor problem: If you're not aggressive, you're not in Nextel Cup.

Stewart says Matt Kenseth got into him early Sunday, and Stewart eventually responded by swinging low and running Kenseth into the infield. Kenseth hit the grass, turned sideways, shot back onto the track and, as the sparks flew beneath his Ford, into the wall.

"He wrecked me intentionally," says Kenseth.

"He started the whole thing and I finished it," says Stewart.

The finishing move was so blatant only Dale Earnhardt Jr. could have pulled it off without incurring a penalty.

That was big entertainment yesterday at Daytona. Well done, racing.

On to the Olympic Hockey tournament, where the English speakers went 0-4 over the weekend. I am not saying I knew this was going to happen to the US, but it was easy to see that they had some real issues with all of their name players being so old. Chelios, Tkuchuk, Weight, Hatcher, Modano, Schneider, and Guerin were all stars about 5 years ago, but in 2006, only Modano still dominates. And there are no stars behind them of note, it appears.

But, what the freak is going on in Canada???

They have no such excuse. They have MVP’s of recent seasons, they have goal scoring champions, they have dominating players of 2006, and they can’t score A goal all weekend? Wow.

Finland 2, Canada 0

Damian Cox tries to figure it out

Shockingly, despite all of its expensive and lethal offensive firepower, Canada hasn't scored a single goal in two games, having turned Swiss goalie Martin Gerber and Finnish puckstopper Antero Niittymaki into national heroes in their respective countries in the process.

Which brings us back to the possible need for some words of, er, wisdom from The Great One.

If you remember, it was four years ago at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City that Gretzky let loose on the world in a sensational press conference after Canada had lost its first game, barely won its second and then fought to a nasty draw with the Czech Republic.

It was a bit illogical, but his charges that "American propaganda" was trying to undermine Canada's Olympic hockey hopes and accusations that the hockey world wanted Canada to lose made banner headlines everywhere.

The players heard about it all well after the fact. But the controversial outburst, along with a lucky loonie planted at centre ice, was credited with helping the team win the next three matches and the country's first gold medal in men's hockey in 50 years.

Here at the '06 Games, unless Pat Quinn and his coaching staff can solve this sudden scoring drought, and the decision to bench star winger Rick Nash for the third period yesterday was an intriguing first step, it's possible Canada could go home without a medal at all.

The Canadians have already qualified for the quarter-finals, but they could confront a powerful, confident European opponent immediately and almost certainly will face a much, much tougher road to the gold medal game than in Salt Lake City when the same surprise results produced Belarus as their semifinal obstacle.

Perhaps it is time we will all get behind our friends, The Finns…

Speaking of Fins, Ricky Williams is officially brain-dead

Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams has violated the NFL's substance abuse policy for a fourth time and is facing a one-year suspension for the positive drug test, Denver television station KDVR reported on Sunday.

The Miami Herald, citing two sources of its own, confirmed the station's report that Williams had failed the test, but neither media outlet would say which substance Williams used.

Williams has tested positive for marijuana three times and served a four-game suspension when he returned to the NFL last season following a one-year retirement.
Dolphins coach Nick Saban told ESPN he was not aware of the report and would not comment, citing the confidential nature of the league's substance-abuse policy.
Dolphins spokesman Harvey Greene declined to comment when reached by the Herald on Sunday night.

Now, for my All-Star Game coverage, I offer you no articles, and 1 picture:

Everything else was so-so…

Good story on Olympic Costas

By 2008 or 2010, the prime-time studio model might be an anachronism in Internet America. Already it seems less important and extensive than it used to.

For now, though, Costas holds the fort.

Among other things, the job calls for acting skills, because aside from interviews such as the one with Jacobellis and some feature segments, Costas appears live in our time zone. That means he must try to be enthusiastic about the broadcast of upcoming events without giving away exactly what he knows has already happened.

That also means long, strange hours for Costas and his colleagues. (Dick Ebersol, the chairman of NBC Sports, doesn't even leave the broadcast center; he has a bed in his office.)

Costas usually arrives between 6 and 8 p.m. and is on the air from 2-5:30 a.m. Turin time most nights.

Why not just tape the show and get to bed at a decent hour? Primarily because NBC wants to be able to react to breaking news and keeps an anchor available 24 hours a day.

NBA to look at playoff format

The two best teams in the Western Conference are on course to meet in the second round of the playoffs, which is a problem.

Even David Stern recognizes as much, which is why his league is taking a closer look at changing the postseason seeding format to prevent similar scenarios from unfolding in the future.

Under rules implemented when the league expanded from four divisions to six last season, the top three seeds go to each of the division leaders, with the fourth through eighth seeds going to the teams with the next best records in the conference.

The Dallas Mavericks (41-11) currently lead the Southwest Division by one game over the San Antonio Spurs (40-12), who have the second-best record in the conference but would drop into the fourth seed if they failed to win the division.

"I think the one thing there may be some interest in ... would be to maybe look at how you seed the top four teams," deputy commissioner Russ Granik said
Saturday. "One thing that we have kicked around is whether you might say, all right, those same four teams are going to get the top four seeds, but maybe you do it in accordance with their records."

The issue will come up for further discussion when the league's competition committee meets in June.

Personally, I think it should stay like it is. That is just how sports works, and to get worked up about the 2nd place team in this division is not necessary. I remember in 1997, The Chiefs were 13-3, and the Broncos were 12-4, so they had to take a wildcard, despite having the 2nd best record in the AFC. They went on the road, and ended up beating Green Bay in the Super Bowl as huge underdogs, despite being 12-4. If you are good enough, you will beat whoever is in front of you.

Baseball America answers an interesting question

We all know major leagues make huge money. The salaries of minor leaguers aren't mentioned much at all. What's the pay scale as a player moves up through the minor league ranks?

Rob Yontz
St. Louis

If minor leaguers are going to get rich, they're going to do so via their signing bonuses. They don't make much in terms of salary.

I talked to officials with two clubs to ask what they paid their minor leaguers, and they use similar scales. Players make roughly $850 a month in short-season and Rookie leagues, $1,000 a month in low Class A and $1,100 in high Class A. They get about $1,500 a month in Double-A and $2,100 a month in Triple-A. If a player repeats a league for a second year, he might get a $100-$200 raise.

Minor leaguers fare a little better when they qualify for six-year free agency. At that point, free agents in demand can command $10,000 to $15,000 per month for playing in Triple-A. But that's still a far cry from the annual major league minimum salary of $327,000.

What was REALLY the high point of the sports weekend? Liverpool 1, Manchester United 0 ….

Liverpool followed up their midweek league triumph over Arsenal with another big time scalp when they ended Manchester United's hopes of a cup double with a 1-0 win.

Peter Crouch's first-half header was enough to win this fiercely competitive FA Cup fifth round tie, the first time Liverpool have beaten United in the competition for 85 years.

Gay or not Gay – suing your wife for spousal support

The Empire Broke-Back

Why Mike Delfino plays fantasy baseball

The Deadspin file on Johnny Weir …what a Diva…

Why do we call him Big Anthony? Look how much bigger he is than Bill Guerin! Big Anthony’s website

In other news, Barry Bonds says 2006 is it. If you believe he is going to retire 10 HR's short of Hank Aaron, please see me after class.

Friday, February 17, 2006


Art Garcia features Dirk

Not so long ago, the talk centered on Nowitzki "revolutionizing" the power forward position. That conversation seems so 2003.

It's also moved beyond debating whether Nowitzki is better than Kevin Garnett. The truth is Nowitzki no longer has to justify his draft position, his salary or his nationality.

He's simply a matchup nightmare every night. Just like Bryant or Garnett or O'Neal or Tim Duncan. Only different.

Nowitzki is a fundamentally sound 7-footer with 3-point range, underrated toughness and endless desire.

"Dirk is representative of the dream of David Stern," said Hall of Fame center Bill Walton, an NBA analyst for ESPN/ABC. "Fourteen years ago, it was incomprehensible that any player outside of the United States would be able to crack the top 15 in the world.

"I would say Dirk is top 10 of all the players in the world right now."
Nowitzki isn't naïve to what he's doing or has accomplished. He's 10th in the league in scoring (25.3 points per game), 19th in rebounding (8.4), shooting a career-high 3-point percentage of 41.7. Above all, the Mavs are leading the Western Conference at 41-11.

He has achieved All-NBA status the past five seasons, including a first-team designation last year when he checked in behind only Nash and O'Neal in MVP voting.
"When I finished third in the MVP voting, that was an awesome compliment," said Nowitzki, a favorite again this season. "But do I see myself right there? Not really. I just think we're a great team."

Labonte starts 43rd Sunday at Daytona …Anytime there is a new race team, it is generally fairly easy to decide whether they will be a legit contender or race-filler. Race-filler generally means that they will typically finish in the final 1/3 of the field, and often receive the dreaded “DNF”. With this team, it seems that their equipment is very solid, their drivers seem average, so we will need a few races to see which category they fall into. But yesterday seemed to indicate that they might be filler for now.

Good thing Terry Labonte is a former Nextel Cup champion.

The Hall of Fame Racing team of Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach wouldn't be in the Daytona 500 if he wasn't.

Labonte finished 18th in the second Gatorade Duel qualifying race Thursday, not good enough to earn a spot on position, so Labonte will start 43rd Sunday in the No. 96 DLP Chevrolet thanks to his past-champion provisional.

Labonte couldn't rely on his Pole Day speed to get in because his lap was disallowed when NASCAR officials discovered a carburetor that wasn't within regulations.

So Labonte started at the back Thursday in the 60-lap qualifying race. He moved up 11 spots but still had to fall back on the provisional.

Here is a handy chart for your racing viewing

OK, I’ll admit it. I am fascinated by Johnny Weir: He finished 5th last night for many reasons

"I never felt comfortable in this building," Johnny said after dropping from second to fifth. "I didn't feel my inner peace. I didn't feel my aura. I was black inside."
Yes, Johnny's a real beauty. He makes Dick Button seem like Tony Soprano.

His favorite male singer is Justin Timberlake and his Web site also lists his favorite fashion designers (Balenciaga), boutiques (Barneys), models (Kate Moss) and teams (Gordeeva and Grinkov, Berezhnaia and Sikharulidze, and -- surprisingly -- the Boston Red Sox). He wears costumes that Elton John might wear for Mardi Gras, including a red glove in Tuesday's short program that he named Camille. He used the phrase "I did a little hoppy-hop like a bunny" while describing Thursday's performance, which is something you rarely hear from say, Brett Favre.

And he owns not one, but two Chihuahuas.

That flamboyant behavior has turned Johnny into a minor cult hero. "My best friend e-mailed me and said, 'You made somebody's Web site as a D-list celebrity,'" Johnny said. "Great. I'm Kathy Griffin."

The Chicago Tribune even ran a poll Thursday asking whether fans care if Johnny is gay.

"I think it's funny that people care," Johnny said. "I don't have a problem with people saying anything. They could run a poll on Bode Miller or on Michelle Kwan and whether she's a lesbian. Who I sleep with doesn't affect how I skate on the ice or what I say in a press conference."

Unfortunately, unreliable public transportation does affect how he skates.

Johnny was scheduled to skate third in the last group, at about 10:30 p.m. He said he planned to catch a bus from the Athletes Village a little after 8:30, hoping to arrive about 8:50. Unfortunately, there was no bus, so he panicked, rushing around and shouting and looking for a ride and generally expending a lot of useless energy.
"Buses had been coming every 10 minutes all week, but they changed the schedule to every half hour today, I guess," Johnny said. "I didn't want to wait until nine o'clock because then I wouldn't get there until 9:15 or 9:20. Which is what happened anyway. I was yelling at people in English and they only spoke Italian.

"I was swearing. I was calling people and swearing. I was very unprofessional."

It should be noted here that the Athletes Village is about a 30-minute walk from the ice rink.

Johnny eventually caught a ride in a car and reached the arena around 9:20. He acknowledged that he was only a half hour later than planned, but that was a big half hour. After all, he said, he had to put on his uniform and go to the bathroom twice.

Sports Guy spars with David Stern

Albert Belle, stalker?

Former baseball star Albert Belle was arrested Thursday and charged with stalking his ex-girlfriend, police said.

Scottsdale police said the 39-year-old Belle was taken into custody after a former girlfriend told officers that he had stalked her.

Belle was being held without bond at the Maricopa County Jail in Phoenix, according to a county sheriff's department spokesman.

Phil Nevin admits to acting wrong in 05’

Nevin needs that strength now that he's 35. Before being traded to the Rangers in July, the report on Nevin was that he'd lost the ability to pull the ball. He hit just .256 with nine homers for San Diego. But that was in a pitcher's park. His performance with the Rangers, however, which included a .182 average and three homers in 99 at-bats, only reinforced those reports.

Nevin didn't help himself by dragging a poor attitude along after the trade. He occasionally cracked wise about being regularly left out of the lineup over the final six weeks of the season.

"I almost acted like I was the first guy to ever get traded," Nevin said. "I took it a little personally. As much as I wanted to say it didn't affect me, it did, and I was completely wrong. I've still got a heck of an opportunity here, and I want to put myself in position to take advantage of it."

The Story of The Shocker

And now that you are shocked, Here is how you get your shirt from some enterprising P1’s…I own the Updog shirt.

I do not endorse either of the above links, but was forced at gun-point to put them both up.

What a lousy day in sports. Nothing. No NBA, No NHL, No Olympic Hockey. Nothing.

Come to Ticketstock.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Thursday Links

Look, I love my Team USA. I even wore my USA hockey t-shirt yesterday, but, Gold? You can’t be serious. USA struggles to tie Latvia

Latvia boasts only two NHL Olympians —Sandis Ozolinsh and Karlis Skrastins— and Irbe helped lead the Carolina Hurricanes to the 2002 Stanley Cup Finals.

This is only the Latvians' third appearance in the Olympics.

They finished ninth in the 2002 Games, posting a 2-1-1 record and failing to get out of the preliminary round. They finished ninth in last spring's world championships but reached the quarterfinals in that tournament in 2004.

"That country doesn't roll off your tongue like a lot of other countries in the hockey world," U.S. center Mike Modano said. "But they did play a mistake-free game. They were smart, and Irbe played pretty well."

And because of that, it is a must-win versus Borat’s homeland

One day into the Olympic hockey tournament and the Americans already face a do-or-die situation.

After a disappointing 3-3 tie with little-regarded Latvia on Wednesday night, in which the U.S. blew a 2-0 lead and had to scramble back to even the game in the third period, it faces a must-win situation against another inferior opponent Thursday in Kazakhstan.

"We need to win a hockey game tomorrow night. When that game's over, we need to win the next one, and hopefully get better as a team and play with more energy than we did tonight," U.S. coach Peter Laviolette said. "Absolutely, we needed to win tonight. With that comes more urgency I guess as the tournament moves on."

Now, the good news is this: Russia lost, the Czechs lost. So, a tie doesn’t kill you, but they do not have a few weeks to cycle up to speed. In fact, the problem is that America has very few “difference makers” on the ice these days. Modano, Weight, Guerin, and those guys are on the wrong side of 35, although Modano still looks like the best player on the team. So, where is the under 30 crowd? Scotty Gomez and Eric Cole look solid, but I don’t see anyone trying to predict their names for the scoring title in the NHL. The fact is, the young Americans have decent defensemen (like Jordan Leopold), but very few kids who can score a goal. That is not the recipe for success.

Mavs in 1st Place! ….By themselves!

The Mavericks got the job done Wednesday night, despite some sloppy moments in the third quarter and a few tense ones in the fourth. And by dispatching the Washington Wizards, 103-97, the Mavericks got a nice byproduct – a 41-11 record and one-game lead in the West on 40-12 San Antonio, which lost to Philadelphia on Wednesday night in the Spurs' final game before the break.

Up by one with just over a minute left, Nowitzki found Erick Dampier wide-open for a dunk, and Jason Terry then scored on a drive to clinch the Mavericks' 15th win in 16 games and their 11th consecutive home win.

Coach Avery Johnson said before the game that nosing in front of the Spurs would be nice, but not necessarily anything for the Mavericks to hang their hat on.

"I don't watch San Antonio in a sense where I'm hoping they lose," Johnson said. "[That] will start at some point. And obviously, you want them to lose. I'm not naïve. They're not cheering for us, either."

In addition, it is no longer early in the season. When the Mavericks resume play Tuesday, there will be 30 games remaining for them and the Spurs.

Barajas has his glove ready ….

When the season begins April 3, Barajas will be working with a rotation that doesn't include a holdover from the group that began the 2005 season. It's entirely possible the 12-man pitching staff may include as few as two refugees (Francisco Cordero and Brian Shouse) from the 2005 opening day roster. Barajas also has a new pitching coach in Mark Connor, which means some tweaking of pitching philosophy.

Today’s TV Schedule for Olympic Hockey:

5:00A CT
MSNBC 2006 Torino Games
• Ice Hockey - Men: Finland vs. Italy (LIVE)
• Ice Hockey - Men: Czech Republic vs. Switzerland (LIVE)
• Ice Hockey - Men: Sweden vs. Russia (LIVE)
• Ice Hockey - Men: Slovakia vs. Latvia (LIVE)
• Ice Hockey - Men: Canada vs. Germany (LIVE)

2:00P CT
USA Network 2006 Torino Games
• Ice Hockey - Men: The United States faces off against Kazakhstan (LIVE).

And don’t forget all the games are in HD on channel 74 on Directv!

Reggie Miller’s HSO on Miami ….

Critics keep piling on the Heat, with Reggie Miller saying Tuesday he ''wouldn't be surprised'' if Miami is upset in the first round of the playoffs by a team such as Philadelphia or Milwaukee.

Wow, Reggie. Simmer down, chief…

Houston 1836 becomes Houston ______

Beckham pushes Real past ManU in the revenue game ….

Manchester United should not be written off as a commercial force despite being toppled by Real Madrid from their position as the richest club in the world, according to sports finance experts.

The Deloitte `rich list' shows that in terms of revenue, Real have soared into the lead, earning £186.2million, almost £20million more than United, in 2004-05.

Full list:
1 (2) Real Madrid 186.2
2 (1) Manchester United 166.4
3 (3) AC Milan 158.0
4 (5) Juventus 154.9
5 (4) Chelsea 149.1
6 (7) Barcelona 140.4
7 (9) Bayern Munich 128.0
8 (10) Liverpool 122.4
9 (8) Inter Milan 119.7
10 (6) Arsenal 115.7

Can Nascar grow and keep its Southern roots?

Last Thursday, after a Capitol Hill news conference on his sport's efforts toward diversity, NASCAR President Mike Helton told reporters, "We believe strongly that the old Southeastern redneck heritage that we had is no longer in existence."

The comment kicked up a storm from Southern racing fans, some of whom wondered if NASCAR had finally crossed a threshold -- from taking its devotees for granted to publicly being embarrassed by them.

It's a new strain of the old tension between corporate NASCAR and its working-class fan base. And with the 2006 season beginning this week, it's an illustration of the sensitivities the sport still navigates nearly seven years after announcing a significant diversity effort.

Helton also managed the difficult feat of annoying several unintended targets, from Southern fans who don't like the redneck label -- "Please do not stereotype all of us," said James Roland of Florence, S.C. -- to people who wonder if he has been attending many of his sport's events lately. "Maybe out West they tone it down a bit," said Rock Hill's Harry Williams. "But when they're racing in Dixie, the track is slam full of rednecks."

Mostly, though, it was the self-proclaimed rednecks who fired back.

"Believe me, if it weren't for us rednecks, NASCAR would not be where it is today," said Ruth Payne, a race fan for five decades from Greer, S.C. "NASCAR has become too commercialized for this redneck, so I will just keep my redneck butt home."

Meanwhile, Nascar tries to reel in its drivers before the Twin 125’s today …TNT, 1pm…

another 20’s and 30’s speak glossary …perhaps you can be 1930’s reporter guy…

Watch 24 in 24 seconds …Family Guy style…

Former Ticket engineer, Jubal

George Michael Bluth’s page

Bloopers alert! Click Here for soccer goalies having problems

Meet the great Leeroy Jenkins!

Leeroy was given a substantial boost in notoriety by the publication of an article in the August 2005 issue of PC Gamer UK by author Craig Pearson, entitled "The Ballad of Leeroy Jenkins". Pearson's article claims that the original video was designed as a negative commentary on the kind of "nerd-guilds" that meticulously and statistically plan out raids the way Leeroy's guild was apparently doing. Leeroy is in fact the hero of the piece, acting against the sickening geekiness of his guild.
Those familiar with game play in World of Warcraft have noted that the "plans" his guildmates were making relied on casting spells in a way that would be impossible according to the game's mechanics. Further an overall plan to activate all the enemies and fight them at once would be a rather unlikely occurrence among actual players of the game.

Giving further credence to this assessment and to Pearson's allegation is the fact that the dragon hatchlings in the Rookery are an optional engagement, not a required one. Indeed it's entirely possible to simply skip the eggs in The Rookery. While the Devout Shoulders item mentioned does require this engagement, it is considerably easier to do so a few at a time rather than all at once.

Also lending credence to Pearson's theory is the fact that most of the characters in the video are using 'superior-level' armor and weapons. Some are even wearing equipment that can only be obtained in an area of the dungeon after the Rookery.
A sidebar found in Pearson's article titled "How to Be a Leeroy: Perhaps You Already Are?" cites Urban Dictionary as an indication that Leeroy has become a descriptive noun; "to Leeroy" is even being used as a verb in some circles. The article further encourages the readers to send in their best examples of being a Leeroy to "I'm a Leeroy" at the magazine's address.

Busy or bored p1’s design bloodypantssaysIloveyou.com ….

Why do people dance in front of camcorders?