Thursday, April 30, 2009

Lookalikes: AJ Burnett and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

This one comes from friend of the blog Bob Mantz. It's Yankees pitcher AJ Burnett and NASCAR's Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

There, I've fulfilled my quota on NASCAR posts for the entire year.

Media makes much ado about nothing once again regarding A-Rod

Selena Roberts' book about Alex Rodriguez is about to hit store shelves and there are new allegations claiming A-Rod may have done steroids in high school and while with the Yankees. The book, by the way, was supposed to come out in early April, but since Rodriguez was on the disabled list then, it wouldn't make sense to release it at that time. You know, for publicity's sake.

The book says that according to an unnamed high school teammate, A-Rod was on 'roids then. Another nameless teammate says A-Rod and Kevin Brown used HGH as Yankees.

But there is something I just don't get, can't wrap my head around, am having trouble comprehending.

A-Rod already admitted that he took banned substances during his career, so what does it matter when and where? If someone robs two banks or 30 banks, they are a criminal either way. Rodriguez will be considered a cheat, liar and a fraud forever, no matter how many years he abused performance enhancing drugs. Hall of Fame voters likely will shun him regardless.

Here's another thing I don't get: What is the real difference between steroids and other non-banned performance enhancing drugs, such as creatine? Is it because creatine, whey protein and other GNC products only make you a little bigger and stronger, while steroids make you a lot bigger and stronger? So you can artificially enhance yourself as an athlete, but only to a certain extent?

And one final curiosity of mine: Where were all the media pundits who are pouncing on steroid stories like buzzards on freshly deceased roadkill when they were standing in locker rooms themselves, interviewing sculpted Adonises like Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds? That's right, they weren't talking about their obvious steroid use because baseball was finally relevant again, making them finally relevant again as beat writers and reporters.

Dropping Links: Thursday, April 30th

NEWS
Mets bullpen has 2008 deja vu, blows another win for Johan |ESPN.com|
Dwight Howard suspended for Game 6 for elbowing Sam Dalembert |FOX Sports.com|
Brett Favre's agent says "the gunslinger" has no plans to return |SI.com|
Congress will interfere with sports again, debate BCS system Friday |CBS Sports.com|

BLOGS
Lance Briggs has an excuse again, claims hand cut was from shaving |Bob's Blitz|
Yankees cut costs on about 600 pricey seats in new stadium |Sports Biz|
Five great ideas for this season of HBO's "Hard Knocks" |No Guts, No Glory|

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

That was fast: Matt Vasgersian offers apology for bad joke attempt

A day after Matt Vasgersian cracked an awfully timed joke about a guy whom he thought looked like Donovan McNabb during a clip of Brad Hawpe being carted off the field, the MLB Network host issued an on-air apology.


(Hat tip to Awful Announcing)

Video: Another Matt Vasgersian YouTube moment

If you do a quick search for Matt Vasgersian on YouTube, you'll find a few clips of him swearing and acting like an idiot on live television. Monday night was no exception, as he attempted humor at a horribly bad time.


Not only is that an awful time to crack a joke, it's also a bit racist, since the guy hardly looks like Donovan McNabb and weighs about fifty pounds more than the Eagles' quarterback. Not to mention Brad Hawpe is getting on a cart with his neck immobilized after getting struck with a thrown ball. Great job, Matt.

(Hat tip to NESW Sports.com)

Dropping Links: Wednesday, April 29th

NEWS
Celtics beat Bulls in another overtime battle |ESPN.com|
Cole Hamels gets hurt again in rout of Nationals |FOX Sports.com|
Yanks score 10 in 7th, Phil Hughes is strong |NY Daily News|
Cardinals cut Edgerrin James after drafting Beanie Wells |SI.com|

BLOGS
Jets cut Brett Favre, he can play again if he wants |What About Bob?|
HBO wants the Bengals for the next season of "Hard Knocks" |Awful Announcing|
All the recent press releases from Fang's Bites |Fang's Bites|

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Video: Matthew Stafford does David Letterman's Top Ten

Pre-pubescent number one draft pick Matthew Stafford appeared on last night's "Late Show with David Letterman" to present the "Top Ten thoughts that went through Matthew Stafford's head on draft day."

Dropping Links: Tuesday, April 28th

NEWS
Nuggets squash Hornets by record-tying 58 points |ESPN.com|
Red Sox win 11th straight behind Bay's 9th inning HR |SI.com|
Rockies rookie Dexter Fowler steals five bases in win |CBS Sports.com|

BLOGS
65 observations about this weekend's NFL Draft |The Scores Report|
Josh Freeman claims Bucs' signing of Leftwich was "smokescreen" |What About Bob?|
Jimmy Fallon is Jets backup QB in Madden 10 (w/ video) |Tirico Suave|
Madden 10 will have some new features, including new online modes |PastaPadre.com|

Monday, April 27, 2009

Dolphins envision Pat White as a quarterback

If you read my review of the winners and losers of the NFL Drafts first day, you know how I feel about the Dolphins and their choice in drafting Pat White. I thought he would fit nicely in their "Wildcat" system, but would also be used as a receiver at times.

Miami general manager Jeff Ireland sees it differently, according to this Dave Hyde article from the Sun-Sentinel, via Shutdown Corner.
Meaning the Wildcat offense has a new leader and is alive and well, right?

"Yes," Ireland said.

And White will work at receiver, where many NFL types saw him, right?

"He'll work at quarterback," Ireland said.

...

Ireland surely has something more in mind with White, something he's not letting on, something we'll have to see play out. But it's not as an impact receiver, because he was asked if White is a No. 1 or No. 2 receiver.

"No," Ireland said.

So the next question is more intriguing: How does Ireland envision the quarterback position with Henne and now White?

"They're going to be competing for the position," Ireland said.
It's hard to judge anything from what a GM says. They usually like to keep things close to the vest and things change quickly in the NFL. I like the move, though. I didn't see why Chad Henne should be guaranteed the starting job next year anyway and, if nothing else, this could light a fire in Henne and be better for the Dolphins in the long run.

But look at it this way: Even Chad Pennington went out wide as a receiver in certain sets last year, so Pat White is sure to do the same.

Dropping Links: Monday, April 27th

NEWS
Jayson Williams reportedly "suicidal" and "violent," hospitalized |ESPN.com|
Ellsbury steals home as Red Sox complete sweep of Yankees |CBS Sports.com|
Cavs complete first round sweep of Pistons as LeBron scores 36 |SI.com|

BLOGS
Erin Andrews interviewed Bill Cosby and Quan Cosby, who didn't get drafted |WatchDog|
Full player ratings for this year's rookies in Madden 10 |PastaPadre.com|

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Winners and losers from Day One of the NFL Draft

It's hard to really say who the winners and losers are from yesterday's first two rounds of the NFL Draft since none of the guys have even stepped on an NFL field yet, but that's what blogging and sports writing is all about, so here goes.

WINNERS

San Francisco 49ers - Grabbing Michael Crabtree with the 10th pick, when no one thought he would slip past seven or eight, was a nice stroke of luck for the Niners, a team that was desperately in need of a big receiver. Add him to an offense that already features Frank Gore and San Francisco could do some things. Now they just need someone that can throw him the ball.

Minnesota Vikings - Say what you want about Percy Harvin, the marijuana issues and the "diva" attitude. But haven't we heard that before from about half of the NFL's receivers. If Harvin can walk the straight and narrow in the league, he can add something explosive to Minnesota's offense. Something more explosive, I should say, since they've already got Adrian Peterson.

Miami Dolphins - Todd McShay, among others, hated the pick of Pat White, a fast quarterback out of West Virginia who is projected to play some wide receiver in the NFL. But I think he fits perfectly with the Dolphins and their Wildcat scheme. They could even run an option offense at times, which is something rarely seen in the NFL, but then again so was the Wildcat.



LOSERS

New York Jets - Yes, they got their quarterback. And I know the Jets will be focused more on defense. But now they'll be throwing a young, unproven quarterback into the fire right away, which worked out last year for Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan, but hasn't worked out for anyone else. Sanchez was an "okay" quarterback at the end of the college season and somehow skyrocketed between then and the draft. Makes you wonder.

Let's not forget that the Jets traded two picks and three players to get him too.

Oakland Raiders - The Raiders showed us all why they are often called the "Rai-Duhs" when they picked Darrius Heyward-Bey with the seventh pick in the first round, with Michael Crabtree still on the board. Many pundits thought Heyward-Bey would still be around late in the first round, late enough that the Giants were the team thought to be taking him at or near number 29.

But this is becoming almost typical for the Raiders. They did, after all, draft kicker Sebastian Janikowski in the first round in 2000.

Indianapolis Colts - This one isn't as straight forward. While I like the Donald Brown pick, I was surprised they didn't go with a receiver at number 27. Marvin Harrison is gone and Reggie Wayne needs some more help on the outside. They definitely needed help with Joseph Addai's health concerns and an unproven Mike Hart, I just thought they'd take either Hakeem Nicks or Kenny Britt there.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Lookalikes: Mark Sanchez and Mark Consuelos

This one comes from friend and former "CortSide" broadcast partner, Stuart Millstein, who is now employed by CBS Sports. Stu dropped this gem on me right after his Jets traded up from number 17 to five to grab Mark Sanchez.

It's the new Jets quarterback and Kelly Ripa's husband, Mark Consuelos.

Some Saturday afternoon pre-Draft linkage: April 25th

- According to sources, Matthew Stafford will be the number one pick in this year's NFL Draft as he and the Lions have agreed to terms on a contract. The deal is reportedly worth $72 million over six years, with a whopping $41.7 million guaranteed.

- The Red Sox rallied to beat the Yankees last night, with Kevin Youkilis hitting a walk-off home run in the 11th inning off Damaso Marte. Mariano Rivera blew his first save of the year by allowing a game-tying home run to Jason Bay in the ninth.

I've seen a lot of comments already on the blogs and on Facebook and Twitter to the tune of "$423 million in the offseason and they blow a save and then get beat. Pathetic." Don't say that. That's just stupid and it makes you sound like an idiot. It's one game... in April. Relax.

- The Mets won last night behind another gem from Johan Santana but it was a lot closer than it needed to be. That's because Francisco Rodriguez came in and did his usual, allowing a two run homer in the ninth before locking down the save. There's a reason nobody was interested in this guy after he had 60+ saves last year, and this is it.

- The Sixers narrowly defeated the Magic once again, taking a 2-1 series lead. Andre Miller had 24 points, nine rebounds and seven assists for Philly. Thaddeus Young was the hero, though, hitting the game winning shot. After the game, he said, "it was the biggest shot ever for me. It was a lucky shot. I'm glad I hit it. I'm glad the ball was in my hands."

Friday, April 24, 2009

Titans getting closer to landing Anquan Boldin?

According to ESPN, the Titans have been granted permission by the Arizona Cardinals to speak to Drew Rosenhaus, the agent for Anquan Boldin. Tennessee apparently offered a second-round pick in Saturday's draft and a player-to-be-named, which has piqued the interest of the Arizona front office.

Earlier today the Cardinals said they would lower their expectations in terms of what other teams would offer for Boldin and many teams had jumped back into the mix, including the Giants, Jets and Eagles.

Many of those teams have been somewhat turned off by the demand of a $9 million per year contract extension for Boldin by Rosenhaus. Money is, after all, what started this whole mess in the first place.

If the Titans can snag Boldin, though, it will be a nice boost to their receiving corps, which already added Nate Washington this offseason.

Madden 10 cover athletes finally revealed. Yawn.

For those of you huddled around your computers and television, waiting eagerly in anticipation, you now know that Larry Fitzgerald and Troy Polamalu will both grace the cover of this year's Madden videogame, "Madden 10."

Not Madden '10, but Madden 10, as in the tenth of the series, even though it's the 21st game in the set. It's all very confusing and silly, I know.

It will be the first time that two players have been on the cover at the same time. So now maybe only one of them will be jinxed in this upcoming season.

Dropping Links: Friday, April 24th

NEWS
Celtics stomp Bulls, take 2-1 first round series lead |FOX Sports.com|
Yankees, Mets could reevaluate ticket prices due to lack of sales |ESPN.com|
Lawson, Ellington, Curry all declare for NBA Draft |SI.com|
Panthers sign Jake Delhomme to extension through 2014 |CBS Sports.com|

BLOGS
Jags unveil new uniforms that look very much like old ones |No Guts, No Glory|
The top ten NBA players to build your franchise around |The Scores Report|

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Video: The newest product, the "Dikembe Mutombo Arm"

Every athlete gets in on the endorsement game after they've retired and now that Dikembe Mutombo is no longer an active NBA player, he's licensed his arm to start making some extra cash.

Tony Gonzalez finally gets his trade, headed to Atlanta

After over a year of wanting out, Tony Gonzalez finally got his wish today with a trade that will send him to the Atlanta Falcons in exchange for a 2010 second-round pick.

Gonzalez heads to an already very good Falcons team and will be a nice outlet for second-year quarterback Matt Ryan to dish the ball too. The only part that doesn't make sense is that the Chiefs didn't get a 2009 draft pick, but I'm sure salary implications played a part in that.

Dropping Links: Thursday, April 23rd

Sincere apologies for the lack of prolific blogging this week. Much, much more in the days to come.

NEWS
Wade leads Heat to game two victory, evens series |CBS Sports.com|
Derrick Rose is the NBA's 2009 Rookie of the Year |ESPN.com|
Dikembe Mutombo will retire after suffering injury Tuesday |FOX Sports.com|
Melky wins it for Yanks with 14th inning home run |SI.com|

BLOGS
Licensed Snuggies apparel coming to a store near you! |Sports Biz|
Orlando UFL team would gladly take Michael Vick |No Guts, No Glory|
Apparently the Lions are negotiating with Matthew Stafford |The Scores Report|

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dropping Links: Wednesday, April 22nd

NEWS
Cleveland takes 2-0 lead against Detroit in playoffs |CBS Sports.com|
Refrigerator Perry in serious condition in hospital |SI.com|
Leon Powe out for remainder of playoffs for Celtics |FOX Sports.com|
Dwight Howard is NBA's Defensive Player of the Year |ESPN.com|

BLOGS
A look at the evolution of the Detroit Lions' logo |No Guts, No Glory|
"The Wildcat" offense will be featured in Madden '10 |PastaPadre.com|
Doc Gooden's signature will remain at Citi Field, just somewhere else |Babes Love Baseball|

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Video: Frank Caliendo discusses John Madden's retirement

I don't know why I'm even posting this, because I'm so sick of Frank Caliendo and his shtick. Maybe it was the barrage of "Frank TV" commercials TBS blasted us with during the baseball playoffs a few years ago or the fact that I've heard the same bits from him over and over and over. We get it, Frank, John Madden says "Boom!" a lot and loves Brett Favre.

As was widely predicted, Caliendo has been making the rounds lately discussing Madden's retirement. He was recently on ESPN's "Mike and Mike in the Morning," where this clip is from, courtesy of NESW Sports.com.


Even Greenberg and Golic are having a tough time mustering up fake laughs for Caliendo's tired impression. I thought with the retirement announcement Caliendo wouldn't do his "Madden" anymore, but he even said during this interview that he might still. Great.

Dropping Links: Tuesday, April 21st

NEWS
Ray Allen hits late-second shot to help Celtics beat Bulls |ESPN.com|
Spanish star Ricky Rubio will enter the NBA Draft |The Sporting News|
Nationals sign Ryan Zimmerman to five-year, $45 million deal |CBS Sports.com|
Lions unveil their new, "more fierce" logo |SI.com|

BLOGS
Housh says Chad Ocho Cinco is "crying to get out" of Cincinnati |The Scores Report|
Matt Millen will replace Emmitt Smith at ESPN |Shutdown Corner|
Octavio Dotel hugged President Obama during team visit to White House |Big League Stew|

Monday, April 20, 2009

Torry Holt agrees to three-year deal with Jaguars

After drawing interest from several teams, including the Tennessee Titans, free agent wide receiver Torry Holt will be a Jacksonville Jaguar when the 2009 season begins.

Holt agreed Monday to a three-year deal for a base salary of $13 million over the length of the contract. There is no signing bonus, but the first year of the deal is guaranteed. With bonuses, the pact could be worth almost $20 million.

While the Titans were in hot pursuit of Holt, it isn't certain which other teams came calling. The Giants and Eagles are two teams that have often been brought up when discussing wide receivers, but perhaps those organizations will focus on the draft or the trade route to improve their wideout situations.

Mets will erase Doc Gooden's autograph on Citi Field wall

While Doc Gooden was attending the Mets' Citi Field opener last week, he visited the Ebbets Club inside the stadium and signed a blank gray wall with a Sharpie, after someone suggested it.

Now the Mets want to remove the autograph with Mets' VP of media relations Jay Horwitz saying, "It's a brand-new building... No one is supposed to write on the wall. It's going to be erased."

Many Mets fans have already been upset, rightfully so, because the new stadium does very little to honor the Mets' history. There are statues outside the park that honor players who never played for the Mets and many of the high priced lounges are named after other New York stadiums, like the Ebbets Club.

This is only one more example of the bad job the Metropolitans have done. Instead of honoring fans of the Mets with Citi Field, they chose to honor the Wilpons, who own the team and always wished they owned the Dodgers instead.

Dropping Links: Monday, April 20th

NEWS
Andre Iguodala hits late shot to push Sixers past Magic in Game 1 |ESPN.com|
Dana White says Chuck Liddell's UFC career is over |FOX Sports.com|
Big Unit allows one hit in seven innings, wins 296th career game |SI.com|

BLOGS
Does the 500 home run club still really mean anything? |The Scores Report|
NCAA Football '10 features the return of Create-A-School mode |PastaPadre.com|
The Nats benched Elijah Dukes because he was late due to helping charity |Big League Stew|

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Nationals might want to hire a proofreader for their uniforms

Notice anything strange about this picture?

A typo in a media guide, on a blog or website, or in a program is one thing. But how does the front of a jersey reading "NATINALS" get by the seamstress, equipment manager and the players that put it on?

(Image courtesy of D.C. Sports Bog)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Quick Pic: Gary Sheffield hits his 500th career home run

Gary Sheffield celebrates after hitting his 500th career home run Friday night, his first home run as a Met, in a pinch hit at bat in the seventh inning. The homer tied the game at 4-4 and the Mets went on to win it in the ninth.

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Lookalikes: Mets pitcher Sean Green and actor Tom Everett Scott

Another one from good friend Bill Lawrence. This is Mets reliever Sean Green (not to be confused with former Mets outfielder Shawn Green) and actor Tom Everett Scott of such movies as Boiler Room, An American Werewolf in Paris, Van Wilder, and That Thing You Do!

Dropping Links: Friday, April 17th

NEWS
Yankees get destroyed in opener of new Yankee Stadium |Yahoo.com|
Celts GM Danny Ainge has minor heart attack, probably because of KG news |ESPN.com|
Duke's Greg Paulus says he's just exploring his options |FOX Sports.com|
Jonny Flynn hires an agent, making leap to draft official |CBS Sports.com|

BLOGS
An NBA playoff preview from John Paulsen |The Scores Report|
A bunch of photos from the Yankee Stadium opener |Big League Stew|
UFC 2009 Undisputed demo will be available April 23rd |PastaPadre.com|

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Video: New Gillette "Staying Alive" commercial with Tiger, Jeter and Federer

You've probably seen the Gillette commercials with Roger Federer, Derek Jeter and Tiger Woods. They are all kind of bland and plain. But finally they've dug deep to come out with a spot that people will get a kick out of.


I give Tiger the award for Best Actor in that one, but I have to say I love the silver platform shoes on Federer.

(Hat tip to Awful Announcing for the video.)

Celtics in trouble: Kevin Garnett could miss playoffs

Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said Thursday that Kevin Garnett will not be ready to play when the playoffs begin this weekend and there is a strong chance he won't be able to play in the postseason at all. From ESPN.com:
"He's not going to be ready. After watching him practice, there's no way," Rivers said on WEEI-AM. "The way I saw him move today, I don't know if he'll be ready."

When asked to clarify, Rivers said there was a chance Garnett could be out for the rest of the season. Celtics spokesman Jeff Twiss said he could not elaborate on Rivers' comments.

The Celtics begin the best-of-seven first round series against the Chicago Bulls on Saturday.

"We're going to move on without him," Rivers said.
That certainly doesn't sound promising and the Celtics' chances are severely diminished without Garnett. If you're a Cavs fan, you're incredibly happy today since it looks like LeBron will have an easier path to an NBA title. If you're a Knicks fan, you're probably less happy because if LBJ nabs a championship with Cleveland, it will be really hard for him to leave for New York in 2010.

John Madden retires in same offseason as Brett Favre

I know that's not a shocker, but does anyone else find it interesting?

Josh's Corner: Knicks 2008-09 season in one word: 2010 (I know that’s a number...well, it’s a year but you get the point)

Our Los Angeles correspondent Josh Garcia is back with another great piece looking back at the Knicks' 2008-2009 season, which was less than perfect. He shares his thoughts on the roster and their future plans.

The Knicks won their season finale, crushing the much hated, often booed New Jersey Nets (well, I hate and boo them) on Wednesday night, ending their 5th straight season without being in the playoffs. Some of you may remember my meager expectations of the Knicks before the season (scroll down). I was filled with hope that they would be somewhat competitive. I hoped and pleaded for 35 wins and the Knicks finished with 32. They were on pace until they lost 13 out of their last 17 including losses at MSG to the Clippers and Kings by 27.

I’m going to focus on the good parts of the season. One, because I’m an optimist and two, I can write all day on the bad parts and that’s not fair to Tony who has to read all this. So the good parts: New York didn’t finish last in the East, that honor went to the Wizards who only had 19 wins. The Knicks also had a better record than six Western conference teams. They also finished a mere seven games back of a playoff spot. Probably most important they improved from last year’s 23 wins.

Ok, so that’s not special and I put a lot of spin on some things but they cleared some garbage off their roster too. (You know who you are... Steph) Donnie Walsh made moves that cleared cap room for the historic 2010 free agent class and hopefully bringing the “Chosen One” to NYC. Walsh should not lose focus on the pieces that he will need around that star or stars that he brings in.

Out of the Knicks present roster there are five keepers and the rest can be moved to bring in better pieces or just let go. It starts with David Lee and Nate Robinson for me. I hope both of them get re-signed. They were brought in during the same draft as many of you may know and are fan favorites, not that that should play a part in keeping them but they are good pieces.

I know David Lee cheats for rebounds and tends to give too many good looks but he averaged 16 and 12 this year and he hustles. Nate Robinson improved in almost every statistical category this season as well as being Krypto-Nate during All-Star weekend. (Hey we need someone to represent the Knicks during that weekend.)

I would keep Danilo Gallinari just because he only played about 30 games and I would like to see what he’s capable of. The first pick of the new regime, and I liked what I saw of him in limited action. Wilson Chandler finished his sophomore campaign really strong scoring
over 20 points (26, 23, 22, 21) in his final four games while never taking more then 20 shots. While I’m not the biggest fan of Al Harrington he should be kept because of talent and skill. He’s a near 7 footer with a tremendous outside game and can be a near 40% 3-point shooter. Al is also probably the biggest trading chip that Donnie Walsh has to play with so I’m hoping they at least sign him for one year.

Honorable mention goes to Chris Duhon who I like but the team may try to move him to the bench or another team to upgrade at that position. In the draft the Knicks will most likely have another pick in the top 10. I think the Knicks may have their eyes on Brandon Jennings who went overseas to Italy instead of going to school for one year. Let’s hope he drops to them around the 7th or 8th pick.

It will be interesting what the Knicks do during the off-season. If the Knicks bring in some better pieces, it may entice such stars as LeBron or Dwyane Wade to sign in 2010. The bright side of all bright sides is the Knicks may only have one more terrible season before they become elite and get the Garden rocking again like LJ in '99.

Football analyst John Madden announces his retirement at age 73

Legendary broadcaster John Madden has decided to retire, according to a statement released by NBC.

Aside from broadcasting, Madden is the face of the Madden videogame franchise, which is the top selling sports game of all time. He should be okay financially.

As much as Madden gets mocked, he knows his stuff and is probably the best and most well-known color commentator of all time. Speaking of him getting mocked, get ready to hear a whole bunch of Frank Caliendo in the next few days, as I'm sure he'll be making the rounds and doing his impression.

Isn't Caliendo's 15 minutes up yet?

There is no word on who will replace Madden in the broadcast booth next to Al Michaels for Sunday Night Football.

Dropping Links: Thursday, April 16th

NEWS
Cardinals will listen to trade offers for wide receiver Anquan Boldin |ESPN.com|
Jaguars, Maurice Jones-Drew agree on multi-year contract extension |FOX Sports.com|
NFL Network insider Adam Schefter will join ESPN later this year |ProFootballTalk.com|
Ian Kinsler goes 6-for-6, becomes 2nd player to hit for cycle this season |SI.com|
Spurs clinch Southwest division, third seed in Western Conference |Yahoo.com|

BLOGS
Nike set to produce Jackie Robinson tribute shoes |Sports Biz|
A look at the full 2009 NFL on FOX schedule |Fang's Bites|
Erin Andrews will be featured in NCAA Football '10 videogame |PastaPadre.com|
Hulk Hogan says he understands how OJ could kill wife, then backs off |Ring Posts|
Lou Amundson pranks Shaq, fills his car with packing peanuts |Ball Don't Lie|
Anquan Boldin may or may not be headed to the Giants |What About Bob?|

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Jets close to moving training camp to SUNY Cortland

Friend of the blog Bob Glauber told us on March 28th that the Jets were thinking about moving their training camp to the campus of SUNY Cortland because new coach Rex Ryan wanted the team to be isolated.

It appears the team is leaning heavily in that direction, according to The Star-Ledger.

As a graduate of SUNY Cortland I am obviously thrilled with the decision. From a football standpoint, it is a good move as well. The campus features two artificial turf fields as well as several other grass fields. Some of the dorms have air conditioning and there really isn't a whole lot to distract the players in the small town of Cortland, between Binghamton and Syracuse.

(Photo courtesy of CortlandFootball.com.)

Yankees will open new Yankee Stadium with Thursday festivities

The New York Yankees will officially open Yankee Stadium tomorrow when they take on the Cleveland Indians. Pregame coverage begins on YES Network at 11:30am, while MLB Network will pick it up at 12:30pm. Thanks to Peter Abraham of the LoHud Yankees Blog for this press release from the Yankees detailing the day's festivities:
Ceremonies will begin at 12:10 p.m. with the West Point Marching Band performing John Philip Sousa’s “Washington Post March” and “Stars and Stripes Forever” in a tribute to the original Yankee Stadium’s opener on April 18, 1923, when Sousa performed on field with the Seventh Regiment Band prior to the game. The West Point Band will also play the “Armed Forces Medley.”

More than 40 distinguished Yankees alumni, such as Whitey Ford, Rich “Goose” Gossage, Reggie Jackson and Willie Randolph, will be introduced on-field, followed by baseline introductions for both teams. (A complete list of attending alumni may be found at the end of this release). Yankees Hall-of-Famer Yogi Berra will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Colors will be presented by a joint FDNY and NYPD color guard. After a 75-foot-by-150-foot American flag is unfurled in the outfield by West Point Cadets, Kelly Clarkson, winner of the first season of American Idol and two Grammy Awards, will sing the national anthem. At the conclusion of the anthem, the 174th Fighter Wing, an Air Force unit based in Syracuse, N.Y., will fly over the Stadium in F-16C Flying Falcons. The unit executing the flyover returned to the United States last August after supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom at Balad Air Force Base in Iraq.

The home plate and pitching rubber to be used in Thursday’s game is the same set that was used in the final game at the original Yankee Stadium. Following the game, the items will be dug up and placed in the Yankees Museum, located in Yankee Stadium near Gate 6.

All fans in attendance will receive an inaugural season commemorative pin.

For information on parking, please visit www.baseball-parking.com or call (866) 330-7275.

Alumni Attending Opening Day Ceremonies: Luis Arroyo, Jesse Barfield, Yogi Berra, Ron Blomberg, Bobby Brown, Horace Clarke, Jerry Coleman, David Cone, Chili Davis, Bucky Dent, Al Downing, Dave Eiland, Ed Figueroa, John Flaherty, Whitey Ford, Joe Girardi, Rich “Goose” Gossage, Ken Griffey, Sr., Ron Guidry, Charlie Hayes, Rickey Henderson, Reggie Jackson, Tommy John, Jim Kaat, Don Larsen, Hector Lopez, Tino Martinez, Lee Mazzilli, Gene Michael, Jeff Nelson, Graig Nettles, Paul O’Neill, Joe Pepitone, Willie Randolph, Bobby Richardson, Mickey Rivers, Buck Showalter, Bill “Moose” Skowron, Luis Sojo, Mel Stottlemyre, Ralph Terry, Bob Turley, David Wells, Roy White, Bernie Williams, Dave Winfield.

Schedule of events:

10 a.m.: Gates open

12:10 p.m.: West Point Band performs in center field

12:30 p.m.: Introduction of Yankees alumni, introduction of home plate and mound from old Stadium

12:42 p.m.–12:53 p.m.: Baseline introductions

12:53 p.m.: Introduction of giant American flag, unfurled by West Point cadets.

12:53:30 p.m.: Flyover introduction, 174th Fighter Wing

12:54 p.m.: Presentation of colors by NYPD/FDNY Color Guard

12:54:30 p.m.: National Anthem by Kelly Clarkson

12:56 p.m.: National Anthem, F-16C flyover

1:01 p.m.: Ceremonial first pitch: Yogi Berra

1:04 p.m.: Umpires and managers to home plate

1:06 p.m.: Yankees take the field

1:08 p.m.: First pitch

New DLC available Thursday for WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2009

According to WWE, new downloadable content will be available tomorrow for the Smackdown vs Raw 2009 videogame on the PS3 and Xbox 360. The DLC will feature five new playable superstars, Doink the Clown, Vader, Earthquake and the Bushwhackers, Luke and Butch.

Why THQ and WWE would release DLC that includes no active wrestlers is a little strange, especially with the Legends of WrestleMania videogame available now. It seems like these characters would be a more logical fit in that game.

The DLC will cost $4.99 on the PlayStation Network and 400 MS points on Xbox Live Marketplace.

Video: Isiah Thomas talks about sexual harassment case and overdose

Isiah Thomas was introduced as the new head coach of the Florida International University basketball team earlier today and then sat down for an interview with ESPN on the live SportsCenter. Chris McKendry, to her credit, asked some tough questions, including the ones everyone has been wanting to hear about the sexual harassment case and his accidental overdose on sleeping pills.


I'm not sure if I believe the whole "my daughter went to the hospital and then I did and it was all a mix up" excuse for blaming the overdose on his daughter, but at least he has a creative excuse for what happened.

(Thanks to Awful Announcing for the video.)

Video: Trailer for Chris Cooley's new web series, "The Cooley Zone"

If you've read this blog for a while, it's no secret I like Chris Cooley, even though he plays for the despised Washington Redskins. He has embraced the blogosphere, updates his blog more frequently than some newspaper bloggers and seems like a cool guy.

He's got a new web series coming out soon and the trailer for it was just released. (NSFW language)


Of course they had to stick some drama in there at the end because what would a reality show be without it? It looks like it could be a funny show, though, and I love the use of the Spoon song at the end, I can't lie. Being able to watch pro football players conduct a fantasy football draft is enough to hook me, so I'll be tuning in for sure.

Every Major League team will wear Jackie Robinson's No. 42 today

Today is the 62nd anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking Major League Baseball's color barrier and, in honor of that, every player in the game will be wearing number 42 on their backs today.

In 2007, Commissioner Bud Selig allowed players to wear the number if they chose. The entire Dodgers team wore the number and then more teams followed suit last season. This is the first time that all players will wear the number.

All 15 stadiums that host games today will honor Robinson with a ceremony, but the biggest one will be at the Mets' Citi Field as they dedicate the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, which is at their new ballpark. That ceremony begins at 12:30pm ET. Robinson never played for the Mets, but did play in New York for the Dodgers, and Mets owner Fred Wilpon was a huge Brooklyn Dodgers fan growing up.

Video: E:60's feature on WWE and WrestleMania

Here is the full E:60 segment about Vince McMahon, WWE and WrestleMania, in two parts, in case you missed it on the show last night. I believe it will also be replayed on Thursday at 7pm ET on ESPN2. McMahon discussed the abuse by his step-father, how he reunited with his biological father at age 12 and joined the wrestling business, the death of Chris Benoit, steroid use and his involvement with the day-to-day events of WWE. John Cena, Big Show, Hulk Hogan and Bret Hart are among the wrestlers interviewed.


Dropping Links: Wednesday, April 15th

NEWS
Ten-time world champion Oscar De La Hoya retires from boxing |ESPN.com|
Injured Tom Glavine might hang them up if he doesn't heal soon |SI.com|
FIU makes Isiah Thomas hiring official with five-year deal |CBS Sports.com|
UConn's Hasheem Thabeet will skip senior season, enter NBA Draft |FOX Sports.com|
Islanders win NHL's draft lottery, will get number one pick |Yahoo.com|

BLOGS
Are the Giants inching closer to a trade for Braylon Edwards? |The Scores Report|
Lions, Jags, 49ers set to unveil new uniforms next week |Shutdown Corner|
Mike Piazza didn't hang around very long for Citi Field opener |No Guts, No Glory|
People are already calling for Isiah Thomas to be fired at FIU |Sports Biz|

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Greg Paulus might play football at Michigan next season?

This is really getting interesting.

A day after news broke that Greg Paulus had worked out for the Green Bay Packers, the former Duke point guard apparently was in Ann Arbor on Tuesday to meet with Michigan head football coach Rich Rodriguez.

Although Paulus played four years at Duke, he has one year of eligibility remaining for football under NCAA rules. He would also not have to sit out a year if he transfers, as he would if he were switching to play basketball, which would allow him to potentially be the starting quarterback for the Wolverines in 2009.

NFL releases 2009 regular season schedule

The NFL released the schedule for the 2009 season tonight and ESPN and NFL Network were all over it, doing special "reveal shows" to celebrate the occasion. Pretty silly, I know.

The full schedule can be found right here.

The season kicks off with the annual Thursday night opener which features the Titans visiting the World Champion Steelers. The opening Sunday night game will see the new-look Bears take on the Packers on NBC. Buffalo immediately reaps the reward of adding Terrell Owens, as they will get the first of the Monday night doubleheader games on opening weekend. The Bills travel to New England to take on Tom Brady and the Patriots, while the second game is a Chargers-Raiders AFC West matchup.

The Cowboys lead the way with six nationally televised tilts, the first of which is a September 20th Sunday night contest against the Giants that will open Dallas' new stadium. The Bears have five national games, which will showcase Jay Cutler.

Lookalikes: Nick Swisher and Richard Grieco

It's been a while since we've had a lookalike here at tonyblogs.net and this one comes courtesy of friend and sports historian Bill Lawrence. It's Nick Swisher of the New York Yankees and Richard Grieco of a bunch of "B" level movies, most notably If Looks Could Kill.

I'm also working on an Evan Longoria-Freddie Prinze lookalike, which was recommended by The Rooster, but I'm having trouble finding two good pictures that show the resemblance.

Flip Saunders agrees to become coach of Wizards

According to an NBA executive, Flip Saunders and the Wizards have agreed on a deal that will make him the next head coach of the Washington Wizards, replacing interim coach Ed Tapscott. An official announcement won't come until next week because the season isn't even over yet.

Saunders coached for many years in Minnesota before being lured to Detroit to replace Larry Brown. After a few seasons of going deep in the playoffs but not reaching the Finals, GM Joe Dumars gave Saunders the ax. He'd probably like to have him back now.

Being head coach of the Wizards probably isn't high on the wishlist of many coaches, but they will have a very high draft pick and a presumably healthy Gilbert Arenas, along with Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison next season.

MLB Network dazzles during first week of regular season

The MLB Network has been on the air since January 1st of this year and has put together some great programming during that time, highlighted by their "30 Clubs in 30 Days" show. The network has been even more impressive during the first week of the regular season, with their "MLB Tonight" program.

The show features live look-ins and up to the minute highlights and stats, along with analysis from the network's plethora of commentators, such as Al Leiter, Harold Reynolds, Billy Ripken, Sean Casey, Barry Larkin, Joe Magrane, Mitch Williams and Dan Plesac. The studio hosts -- Bob Costas, Greg Amsinger and Matt Vasgersian, among others -- are great as well.

The "MLB Tonight" shows start when the games start on that particular day and go until the games end. Tonight, for instance, the show will air from 6pm to midnight, with different hosts and analysts rotating in every two hours.

Let's not forget the channel's live baseball broadcasts, which feature a game of the week on Thursday nights and an occasional Saturday night game that will be simulcast using the home team's broadcast. They'll sneak a day game in there every once in a while also, as they did with yesterday's Philles-Nationals 3:00 tilt.

"MLB Tonight" is clearly better than ESPN's "Baseball Tonight" after only one week and their game coverage is probably better as well, since we don't have to put up with Joe Morgan, Jon Miller and Steve Phillips on MLB Network's broadcasts.

Video: Nick Swisher pitching for the Yankees in blowout loss to Rays

A lot of videos and Yankees stuff so far this morning, but it's newsworthy so here we go again. Nick Swisher was brought in for the 8th inning of last night's blowout loss to the Rays and even recorded a strikeout.

I'm sure some radio talking heads will be all fired up about Swisher laughing and smiling when the team was down by ten runs. As I mentioned in my earlier Nick Swisher-Brett Favre post, though, what are you supposed to do? It's a game and there are 162 of them in a season. You're bound to lay some eggs and when a position player is called on to pitch, I don't think anyone is really taking it that seriously.

Sorry the video isn't in English, but it's the best I could do at this early morning hour.

UPDATE: Found a video in English, thanks to Larry Brown Sports.

Video: WWE to be featured on tonight's season premiere of E:60

ESPN's E:60 returns tonight at 7:00pm ET with, among other things, a look at WWE and WrestleMania. It is the first time cameras have ever been allowed in a WWE creative meeting. Here's a preview of the segment from the "worldwide leader."

Video: New Yankee Stadium pays tribute to the team's storied past

Here is a new video from the Associated Press that takes a look at the new Yankee Stadium, which will officially open Thursday afternoon. The stadium pays homage to the legendary history of the organization while providing all the amenities that one would expect from a modern park.

Nick Swisher is becoming the Yankees' Brett Favre

We've read and heard a lot of things about Nick Swisher so far, like how he is always smiling and having fun out there, how he's goofy and likes to play loud music, and how he has brought life and enthusiasm to the clubhouse.

Sound familiar? Swisher doesn't model Wranglers and he isn't a "gunslinger," but he's quickly becoming the new Brett Favre.

The Yankees' announcers and beat writers are eating up everything this guy does, which is all well and good when he is producing. I'll admit, I'm eating it up too. For far too long the Yankees have been all business. But the minute he goes into a slump those same media types will be using all of those attributes against him to make an argument that he doesn't take the game seriously.

Then again, it's a game. So why shouldn't he be so happy?

Duke's Greg Paulus looking to go pro... as a football player?

Duke University point guard Greg Paulus, who was a three-year starter for the Blue Devils before getting benched this season, has worked out for the Green Bay Packers, according to ProFootballTalk.com.

Paulus was a star quarterback in high school, named to Parade Magazine's All-America team and offered scholarships to Notre Dame and Miami, before ultimately deciding to pursue basketball.

Since it doesn't look like there will be a spot for him in the NBA, it might be a wise move to try to cut it in the NFL. If nothing else, there's always the practice squad.

Dropping Links: Tuesday, April 14th

NEWS
Mets open Citi Field in same way they closed Shea, with tough loss |New York Post|
James Harrison signs six-year, $51.175 million deal with Steelers |ESPN.com|
Rays thump Yankees so bad that Nick Swisher pitches for New York |FOX Sports.com|
Orlando Hudson becomes first Dodger to hit for cycle in LA |SI.com|
Cavaliers lock up NBA's best record with win over Pacers |CBS Sports.com|

BLOGS
Bernie Madoff was very, very close with the owners of the Mets |Sports Biz|
Steve Nash says he wants to stay in Phoenix |The Scores Report|
A plethora of statements about the death of Harry Kalas |Fang's Bites|
MLB 09 The Show released another roster update |PastaPadre.com|

Monday, April 13, 2009

Quick Pic: Padres catcher chokes out Mets fan at Citi Field opener?

No, that's not what really happened but it certainly looks that way from this great photo snapped by Nick Laham of Getty Images. Padres catcher Nick Hundley was going after a foul pop up when he got caught up in the screen. The fan was also going for the ball and got tied up with Hundley, then hilarity ensued.

Mark "The Bird" Fidrych found dead at age 54

What a terrible day in the sporting world. Following the news of Harry Kalas' death comes word that Mark "The Bird" Fidrych was found dead in an apparent accident at his farm in Northborough, Massachusetts, at age 54. A family friend found Fidrych at about 2:30pm underneath his truck that he had apparently been working on.

Fidrych was the 1976 AL Rookie of the Year for the Detroit Tigers, going 19-9 with a 2.34 ERA and pitching 24 complete games. He got hurt during the following year's spring training, and the injuries would continue to mount, forcing him to retire after only playing in parts of five seasons.

"The Bird" was an eccentric pitcher who became well-known for his antics on the mound. He would talk to the ball, smooth the mound dirt while on his hands and knees before each inning, and was full of energy.

Although he only had one truly successful season, if you ever saw him play, Fidrych was one of those people you couldn't forget.

Florida International close to destroying program by hiring Isiah Thomas

Isiah Thomas -- the former head coach and GM of the New York Knicks, the man who ruined the Continental Basketball Association, who was charged with sexually harassing a colleague, who overdosed on sleeping pills to the point where he needed an ambulance then tried to blame it on his daughter, who almost single-handedly wiped away whatever pride was left of the Knicks organization -- is close to getting another head coaching job.

Florida International University and Thomas are close to a deal that would make him the basketball team's head man. According to sources, the pact could be announced as early as Wednesday.

This job would, of course, be a bit of a step down for Thomas, who also coached the Indiana Pacers in the NBA. But one thing is widely agreed upon about Thomas and that is his knack for discovering young talent. During his tenure as an NBA GM, he drafted Marcus Camby, Tracy McGrady, Nate Robinson and David Lee.

Thomas would be the highest profile coach in the Sun Belt Conference and that will probably help bring in recruits. The guy does know basketball, as much as Knicks fans hate to admit, and he isn't a horrible coach when given some decent talent.

One thing that makes it even better for FIU: You're not allowed to trade players in college hoops.

Mets set to open Citi Field tonight against Padres

The New York Mets will open their new stadium, Citi Field, tonight at 7:10pm EST when they host the San Diego Padres. The festivities will begin with Tom Seaver throwing out the ceremonial first pitch to Mike Piazza and the Broadway cast of "West Side Story" will sing the national anthem.

The Mets have chosen the cast of "West Side Story" because the play opened in 1957, which was the final year the Dodgers and Giants played in New York. This coincides with the rest of Citi Field, which is a tribute more to the two teams that moved to California than to the Mets themselves.

The game will also be shown live in Rockefeller Center at SNY's studios and on the video board above the "Good Morning America" studio in Times Square. The Empire State Building will also join the fun, as it will be illuminated in Mets blue and orange.

Video: Pirates turn triple play against Reds

The first triple play of 2009 went down yesterday in the Pirates-Reds game. With the runners going on the pitch, Edwin Encarnacion hit a soft liner to Jack Wilson, who promptly turned the 6-4-3 triple play.

Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas dies at age 73

Sad news in the world of sports media as Harry Kalas passed away today at the age of 73. Kalas passed out in the broadcast booth of Washington's Nationals Park earlier today while preparing for this afternoon's Phillies-Nats game. He was found at about 12:30pm and was rushed to the hospital only to be pronounced dead at 1:20pm. The cause of death has yet to be determined.

Kalas had been broadcasting Phillies games since 1971 and was also well-known for his work as a voice-over narrator for NFL Films. Before joining the Phillies, he broadcasted Houston Astros games from 1965-1970.

Below is the last out of the 2008 World Series, as called by Harry Kalas.

Dropping Links: Monday, April 13th

NEWS
Angel Cabrera wins 2009 Masters after two-hole playoff |CBS Sports.com|
Dwyane Wade drops 55 on Knicks, Heat lock up 5th seed |ESPN.com|
Beckett shows he is a classless clown as Sox lose to Halos |SI.com|
Indians grab first win of '09 season over Blue Jays |FOX Sports.com|
Joe Girardi overmanages Yankees to lose against Royals |NY Daily News|

BLOGS
Brandon Webb goes on the 15-day Disabled List |The Scores Report|
Bernie Madoff's Mets tickets went for $7,500 on eBay |Sports Biz|
Troy Glaus reportedly used steroids in 2003 and 2004 |Eli's MLB Rumors|

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Byron Leftwich returns to Florida, signs two-year deal with Bucs

Desperate for a living, breathing, human quarterback, the Bucs have agreed to a two-year deal with Byron Leftwich, formerly of the Jaguars, Falcons and Steelers. Leftwich will "compete" for the starting gig with Luke McCown, Brian Griese and Josh Johnson, but certainly seems like an odds-on favorite to win the job.

I say that not because Leftwich is particularly talented but because the other options are just so bad. While Leftwich played well in five games for the Steelers in place of Ben Roethlisberger last season, he only threw for 303 yards, so it isn't exactly like he was rocketing the ball all around the field.

He handed the ball off a lot with the Stillers, which is also something he'll do a lot of in Tampa Bay with their depth at running back.

Still, he will have a decent offense around him and it might be enough to make him look like a decent quarterback. Hey, he's better than the other choices Tampa has at this stage in the offseason.

Chiefs agree to terms with linebacker Zach Thomas

The Chiefs acquired 33-year-old linebacker Mike Vrabel earlier this offseason in the deal that landed the team QB Matt Cassell. Now they've added 35-year-old linebacker Zach Thomas to a suddenly more experienced defense.

The Chiefs, under new coach Todd Haley, plan to switch to a 3-4 defense like the Patriots ran, where new Chiefs GM Scott Pioli just came from. Vrabel and Thomas will join Derrick Johnson as starters, leaving one spot open to fill, perhaps through the draft.

What happened to ESPN's new fancy "Bottom Line" scroll?

Remember on Monday when ESPN debuted those fancy new graphics and "Bottom Line" scroll to coincide with its launch of the Los Angeles SportsCenter? It was a nice look and was extra shiny and futuristic, as ESPN always likes to do.

But since then the new scroll has been M.I.A.

My exclusive sources -- the internet -- have told me that technical difficulties can be blamed for the switch back to the old "Bottom Line."

An Easter basket full of links from the blogosphere

- Police had to use a stun gun on Bills defensive back Donte Whitner while trying to control a crowd outside a Cleveland nightclub. Whitner was arrested and jailed for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. He was later released and hasn't been charged.

- Harvey Bars of Tirico Suave has a compelling argument against Auto-Play videos on websites, such as the ones we're now bombarded with at ESPN.com.

- Darren Rovell of CNBC's Sports Biz explains that Ultimate Frisbee -- one of the dumbest games in the history of the world, in my opinion -- is on the rise. He says there were 4.9 million "competitive" frisbee players in 2008.

- CC Sabathia bounced back from Monday's poor performance, pitching a gem in 7 2/3 innings in Kansas City, allowing zero runs and striking out six. Not bad for a "$161 million bust."

- Duane Winn tells us ten things that will happen in the 2009 NFL season. My favorite part? "Just because his initials are JC doesn't mean that Jay Cutler is the Bears' savior."

- A review of HBO's documentary "Thrilla in Manila" from Fang's Bites.