31 October 2007

Want A Super Bowl Ring? Join The Colts’ Scavenger Hunt!

If you’re a Indianapolis Colts fan looking to get a little Super Bowl bling for yourself, you’re in luck. Five lucky Colts fans will leave the RCA dome on December 2nd with authentic Super Bowl rings on their fingers. It’s all part of owner Jim Irsay’s efforts to become Willy Wonka.

Jim Irsay did his best Elton John impersonation on Tuesday as he announced the plans that would reward the Colts’ loyal fans while also raising money for Indiana charities. The way to is two-fold, with the first being easy – buying a $5 raffle ticket. But winning the Colts’ version of the “magic ticket” is only the beginning. Can anyone say treasure hunt?

The second stage is a two-day treasure hunt when the 25 winners and up to three helpers of their choosing will search for Colts-related items around the city. Ten finalists then will gather on the field at halftime of the Dec. 2 Colts-Jacksonville game. Each will open a locked box, with five finding rings — valued at $5,000 apiece — commemorating the Colts’ victory in Super Bowl XLI.
While the team ideally would have done this closer to their Super Bowl win, kudos has to be given to the team for putting this together, and having a good enough sense of humor about things to do it in the way they are. Especially Irsay. Could you imagine Jim Dolan dressed up like that?

AFL’s Rattlers Guarantee Playoffs Or Your Money Back

Talk about a smart move. A year after going 4-12 the AFL’s Arizona Rattlers have guaranteed their fans that they will make the playoffs in 2008. But this isn’t an empty promise. If they don’t, they’ll fully refund their season-ticket holders.

Twelve of the 17 AFL teams make the playoffs, so the odds are in their favor. But it’s about more than that, really.

“If you don’t make the playoffs the fans should get their money back,” Managing Partner Brett Bouchy said. “This should be the stance for all pro teams.”
The team needs to do something to boost its sagging attendance. Once averaging 11,000-12,000 fans in the 90’s, last season it bottomed out at around 5,000 per game. And this offer will do exactly that. It will get fans in the seats.

Yet even if the Rattlers don’t make the playoffs, they’ll still be winners. They might have to give back the money spent on tickets, but it’s likely that the revenue from parking, concessions and souvenirs will more than make up for it. It’s a gutsy move in some respects, and will get them a lot of attention, but it’s also a safe bet. Attendance will surely go up, and fans, thinking they might get some money back, will likely spend more than they would have otherwise.

It’s a forward thinking move for the Rattlers, whose business model has suddenly become like that of a movie theatre chain than a sports team. It’s all about relevance, and the Rattlers will now have it, regardless. And Bouchy knows it.
“This may hurt us in the short term but I think it will really help in the long term.”

29 October 2007

Corey Brewer Does His Best Muggsy Bogues Impersonation

Would you believe me if I told you that Timberwolves rookie Corey Brewer had the top-selling jersey on the team? Maybe. Would you believe that the former Florida Gator stands 6'8"? Based on the above photo, probably not. It's going to be a tough season for all of the Timberwolves, but hopefully they'll at least be able to stand tall against the competition.

(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Tom Olmscheid)

Let Juan Pablo Montoya Fill Your Tank Up With Gas

Juan Pablo Montoyas rookie season on the Nextel Cup has been an up and down affair he currently sits 19th in the standings. Yet give Montoya credit. Hes going door to door ahem, car to car to build his fan base stateside. In fact on Thursday, hell go even further, entering the service business in attempt to drum up some excitement for himself and the Nextel Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday.

Montoya and his No. 42 crew will stop by the Texaco station on Meachum Dr., in Fort Worth from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, but not to do the average team appearance. Instead, they will be pumping Texaco fuel for customers, and also plan to challenge patrons on the No. 42 pit stop simulator in the parking lot of the station that is located off exit 56A on I-35.

Montoyas No. 42 Dodge is sponsored by Texaco/Havoline, so its a perfect promotion. Thats right. For two hours on Thursday Montoya will get to understand what its like to be on the pit crew (with perhaps a little less pressure). Will anyone be there to time him?

Even if you’re not a NASCAR or Montoya fan, there’s still reason to go – they’ll be giving away stuff! You might not want an autographed Montoya shirt, photo, or hat. But can anyone say free gas?

28 October 2007

Just How Loyal Is Kenny Chesney To Tennessee?

College Football loyalty runs deep. Real deep. And when your team is having an off year, the fan base will start looking for scapegoats everywhere. Notice how Tennessee Volunteer fans are treating one of their own - Kenny Chesney. Traitor and sellout are two of the words being used to describe him in Vol country these days.

Such talk began in March after Chesney performed in Gainesville, Fla., the home of the University of Florida Gators. At a concert there, Gator football fans came up on stage and put their team's helmet on Chesney's head.

With the helmet firmly in place, Chesney continued to entertain the crowd, who loved the sight of seeing their favorite country music star wearing the symbol of their pride.

When word got back that the Tennessee native had done such a treasonous act, the fans weren't so happy. It seems that the thought never crossed their minds that Chesney was just trying to put on a good show for the people paying top-dollar to see him.

Perhaps he should have cast the helmet off and destroyed it right on stage. Huzzah! But worse, roaming the sidelines during Florida's 59-20 thrashing of Tennessee in September, Chesney was spotted mingling with Florida supporters, and posing for photos with their cheerleaders and mascots. And that, my friends, was enough to set Vol fans off, who unleashed their wrath on the message-boards.
"I have no problem with his singing and who his fans are, just don't call yourself the No. 1 Vol fan and act like he acted in order not to offend his 'other' fans. When you are standing on the sidelines at a UT game, saying you're the No. 1 fan, your actions should line up with your words," one reader posted.
Fans even called the local country-radio station to demand they stop playing his songs. Ridiculous enough? Chesney thinks so.
"There are more things going on in the world than this," Chesney said. "I love Tennessee football. I love East Tennessee. I can't believe I have to sit here and defend myself over it."

Tennessee fans don't get it. Chesney may be a fan, but he's got to sell records too. And if it's donning another team's helmet or posing for a few photos...well, it's worth it.

(Found via Fark)

25 October 2007

Why You Wouldn't Want To Become The Next Manager Of The Yankees

Last week Joe Torre stepped down as manager of the Yankees after 12 seasons. Taking a look back, it was a remarkable run: 12 seasons, 12 playoff appearances. 6 AL pennants and 4 World Series titles. He was as big a reason for their sustained success than anyone. He became a legend. Almost as soon as Torre stepped down Joe Girardi, Don Mattingly, and Tony Pena threw their hats into the ring, hoping to take over the reins. Each claims to be uniquely qualified and outstandingly confident. Yet the question begs, should any of these candidates really want to be manager of the Yankees?

The Yankees may be one of the most famous sports franchises in the world, and managing the team might be a lifelong dream for the candidates involved. Yet with the situation at hand, anyone who takes over as manager is destined to fail.

Looking back historically, the next Yankees manager has a tough road ahead of him. Does the name Gene Bartow ring a bell? He succeeded John Wooden as coach of the UCLA Bruins in 1975. And that’s what he’s known for. It doesn’t matter that he went 52-9 with a Final Four appearance during his two years at UCLA. Even that type of winning couldn’t get him out Wooden’s shadow. The stories of George Seifert, Bill Guthridge, Phil Bengston, and Tim Floyd all add to the difficulties of following a legend.

Successfully following Joe Torre is almost an impossibility. Torre’s mandate as manager was to win a World Series every year, and that won’t change with the new guy. Moreover, think the media was bad with Torre? The scrutiny the new manager is sure to face will be enormous. Every decision he makes will be seconded with everyone wondering what Torre would have done.

As for the actual results on the field, the next guy is damned whatever the outcome. If he loses, he’ll be reminded that Torre was a winner. And if he wins, he’ll be reminded that Torre won more.

The legend of Joe Torre will long reside over the Yankees, as it should. Becoming manager of the Yankees may be an honor, but as a necessity it will also involve dealing with such a predecessor. So if Girardi, Mattingly, and Pena are smart, they won’t become the next manager of the Yankees. Instead they’ll be like Trey Hillman, and go build a legend of their own somewhere else.

Government Emergency Response Computers Shouldn’t Be Used To Buy World Series Tickets

Pay taxes and subscribe to the social contract because they expect to be protected by their government. And this generally works out. Police and fire departments are a prime example of this. Another example is the Colorado Emergency Operations Center in Centennial, CO., which is comprised of at least 30 computers which are supposed to be used by local, federal and state officials in emergencies. These computers are to be used just in case – except when trying to buy World Series tickets.

200 state workers were going to use the state-owned supercomputers to try and snatch up some tickets. Or that was the plan, as approved by David Holm, acting director of the Division of Emergency Management and Susan Kirkpatrick, directory of the Department of Local Affais. In an excerpt Holm sent out in an email last Friday he said the following:

"I need volunteers to help push the buttons in attempting access. You will need to use break time, lunch time or leave time to do this and the only real perk I can offer right now is that if someone does not pay for their tickets within 3 days, you will get first crack at them," said Holm in the e-mail.

Holm said they would be using the personal credit cards from Kirkpatrick and Holm, and not their own.
Well, somehow word got out, and Kirkpatrick had to put an end to their scheme. Maybe they realized what the computers were for? And now state officials are looking for some accountability...and punishments.
State Rep. Mike May of Douglas, the House minority leader, sent a letter to Ritter calling the scheme a “serious indiscretion” by Susan Kirkpatrick, director of the state Department of Local Affairs and a member of Ritter’s Cabinet.

“In the case of an emergency, these computers could literally mean the difference between life and death for Colorado citizens,” May wrote.
Kirkpatrick now claims that the scheme was really just an effort to keep her employees from leaving work to get the tickets, which sounds quite different than the stated reasoning of the email, doesn’t it? I’ve got no problem with people using work computers for things that aren’t work related – it happens all the time. But maybe stay away from the emergency supercomputers, eh?

24 October 2007

Sharapova Looks To Ace TV As Producer

Maria Sharapova is already the world’s highest-paid female athlete, a big-time endorser, and a member of People Magazine’s 50 most beautiful celebrities club. And on top of all that, according to Variety she’s hoping to become a television producer as well.

Sharapova has partnered with writer Jacob Epstein to lob a sports-themed drama toward the CW net. Project will be set inside the world of professional women's tennis -- a topic Sharapova, currently ranked fifth among the world's female players, knows a thing or two about.
The project is being backed by CBS Paramount Network TV, and is currently in the script stage. While Sharapova’s presence may have jettisoned the project to this stage, the pressure is on to Epstein to deliver a winning pilot script. The struggling CW could desperately use a breakout hit, and Sharapova’s tennis project could be the perfect complement the network’s “Gossip Girl.” Should the script ever make it to pilot or series, the real question will be – just which character is Sharapova?

23 October 2007

Don’t Think About Driving To The 2012 London Games

For any fans hoping to catch the action at the 2012 Olympics in London take this advice to heart: don’t bring your cars. The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) is hoping for a “public transport games,” and is really putting its heft behind it. They’re not going to be allowing cars near the Olympic zones.

ODA director Hugh Sumner told the newspaper: "We have a very aggressive programme to make it the greenest games in modern times.

"We want to leave both a hard legacy in terms of infrastructure and a living legacy in the way people think about transport and how they travel to sports and cultural events. We will make it very plain to people that there isn't going to be parking."
While Londoners and its guests may want to take their cars to the games, the ODA is making things so easy it would be dumb to do so even if they could. All Olympic event holders will be given a free travel card to use, and they’ll also receive free, personalized travel plans via their mobile phones showing the quickest route to their venue. Travelers will also benefit from a flat-rate fare to London from anywhere across the country. Worried about backlog at the Olympic station? They’ve thought of that too. The Stratford stop will be served by a train each 15 seconds during the course of the games.

Congestion is a given anytime you’re expecting an event bringing 500,000 spectators per day. But all indications look like the ODA is well on its way to checking that potential problem off the list.

Are You Sure You Want To Be Eating At Reliant Stadium?

If you’ve recently gone to a Texans game at Reliant Stadium and left feeling sick, it may not be just because of the team’s poor play. Instead, think about what you’ve eaten, and where you got it from.

In the past two years, the city wrote 400 tickets for health code violations at Reliant Park, many of them for things inspectors did not find: enough hot water, hand-washing stations, adequate maintenance or proper food storage.

But despite a few instances of insects, rodents and food crud in ovens and on preparation equipment, a health department official categorized the overall Reliant visits as "probably not bad inspections."
Despite there being just a few rats, the sheer number of violations has to be alarming to Texans fans visiting the stadium. But little would you know, rodents may gross people out, but they’re not the biggest problems facing kitchen facilities. Water is.
For example, a concession stand that showed evidence of rodents in February received a better inspection rating than one that had no hot water, not enough potable water and no convenient hand-washing sink.
Just thinking about what’s inside a hot dog or brat is scary enough. But that, plus all of these violations? Well, I’d bring my own food to the stadium. Then again, who knows how my kitchen would fare if the health department showed up unannounced at my apartment.

22 October 2007

In The Midst Of A Drought, Duke Waters Its Synthetic Field

North Carolina is in a bad drought, one that may turn out to be the worst in its history. According to some estimates there is only 75 days worth of water left in the city of Durham. With that in mind, what is Duke University doing watering the synthetic turf used by its field hockey team? It turns out they’re just following the rules.

The International Hockey Federation requires the college teams to saturate the synthetic turfs before each practice and all games.

It's not just the way the ball bounces, athletics officials say, although field hockey balls do bounce better on saturated fields. When the turf is wet, coaches add, field hockey players have better grip on the surface and report fewer injuries.
Durham has banned all outdoor watering, with Duke receiving a business exemption under the caveat that its overall consumption drop by 30 percent. Nonetheless, those involved seem to understand the idea that others could get worked up over this, so they’ve resorted to tossing out their environmentalist credentials.
"I drive a hybrid, and I recycle," Duke Field Hockey coach Beth Bozman said. "I'm as green as anybody. I understand."
That’s right, Beth. Al Gore would be proud of you.

Forget Bending It Like Beckham, Soccer Playing Robots Just Trying To Bend

It’s not the Premier League, and it wasn’t even close to MLS. But it may be soon. The future may have been on display in Tokyo on Sunday, as dozens of robots played soccer while others danced the samba and cheered them on.

The robots have yet to master the grace of soccer and were mechanical in their movements. As part of the “Robot Athletic Meet 2007” the robots and their owners were on display for all. And, perhaps, their future domination.

Ken Senoh, chief organizer of the event, said robots might soon surpass humans with their physical prowess.

"Today's robots are still toddlers, so to speak, in terms of their physical capabilities," said Senoh, a professor of advanced science and technology at the University of Tokyo.

"But it's only a matter of time that they will catch up with humans and eventually outrun us -- just in the same way personal computers, which were slow and not up to par until just a few decades ago, can now perform various tasks much faster than humans."
The game was almost an afterthought to the largess of the games themselves. And while the robots may one day take over the world of sports from us wee humans, the game had more of a little league element to it: overprotective parents who didn’t want their “kids” playing.
"It was a little scary. They were bumping against each other very hard," said Fumiko Kaneyama, 56, of the soccer match.

"I'm not going to let my son play a game like that," she said, referring to her robot dog.

21 October 2007

Is It Manny Being Michelle?

This whole post season I've been seeing Manny Ramirez in a strange light. And now I've figured it out. With dreadlocks and all, Manny really seems to be channeling Michelle Rodriguez of "Lost" fame. We're used to the phrase "Manny being Manny," but should it really be "Manny being Michelle?" With at least four games left in the post season, the debate is on. But if he showed up on "Lost," or if she took the outfield in Game One, would anyone really notice?

The Kobe Advisory System

The LA Times sports section may seem to be losing writers on a daily basis, but at least there are some creative people left in their stable. They've introduced the Kobe Advisory System, in homage to the DHS' Homeland Security Advisory System. Laker fans should take solace in the fact that while Kobe's level may be at "guarded," at least it's lower on the scale than the DHS', which is at "elevated."

UPDATE: It turns out FanHouse beat the LAT to it, and did a version of their own earlier in the week. Check theirs out.

20 October 2007

Men Are Keeping Their Eyes On George Brett’s Balls

Technology provides us with great advancements, and improves the quality of life every day. Today it also provides us with some awkward moments.
Some very interesting information has come from the Online News Association conference going on in Toronto. The technology at hand is a “heat map” that tracks eye movements across a web page, showing which parts a reader focuses on. The study found that the top-right corner of a page is a dead-zone for eye traffic.
But more interesting than that is the heat map for a picture of George Brett.

Although both men and women look at the image of George Brett when directed to find out information about his sport and position, men tend to focus on private anatomy as well as the face. For the women, the face is the only place they viewed.
Private anatomy? What? It's an anomaly, you might say. But think again. Researchers Laura Ruel and Nora Paul have backup. In fact, Men tend to fixate on the same areas of animals as well, as found when the subjects were asked to browse the American Kennel Club website.

Somewhere a TBS executive has just figured out how to make next year’s baseball playoffs more watchable, and I’m scared.

18 October 2007

The Lakers' Situation In A Nutshell

If a picture could paint 1,000 words, this would be one of them. Could any other image be more emblematic of the Lakers' current situation?

(AP Photo: Ric Francis)

17 October 2007

Coach Benches Player; Coach Gets Beat Up By Player's Father

If this isn't a reason to be wary of doing the right thing, this would be it. Typically the idea of volunteering is to give back to the community. You wouldn't expect to get beat up while coaching a youth baseball team, but I guess now we've seen it all.

An 11-year-old baseball player upset over being benched for cursing in batting practice called his father, who drove to a Bellmore ball field, rushed the mound and, with his brother, pummeled the coach, sending him to the hospital, police said Wednesday.
As usual, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, as the Brothers Basile were arrested and charged with third-degree assault on Tuesday. As for the poor coach, he suffered a concussion and injuries to the neck and back. The description that follows is incomprehensible, except perhaps as part of a Sopranos episode.
After receiving the call on his cell phone, Frank Basile drove from work to the field with his brother and a friend. As he rushed toward Edge, the coach motioned for his players to clear out.

Police said the older Basile punched Edge in the side of the head, causing him to drop to his knees. He was struck again and fell to the ground, blacking out as he was repeatedly punched and kicked, police and his lawyer said.
Nobody deserves to be treated like that, especially a volunteer coach of five years. I can only imagine that the Basile child's teachers are very, very scared about their forthcoming parent-teacher conferences. Security!!

Manny Ramirez Doesn’t Get It

Manny Ramirez has long been an anomaly in the baseball world, and the phrase “Manny being Manny” has long explained Red Sox Nation’s write-off towards his often laissez-faire attitudes. But after all these years, Manny may have finally, finally worn out his welcome. Down three games to one in the ALCS, Ramirez said the following:

"Why should we panic?" he said Wednesday in a rare clubhouse interview. "We've got a great team."

And then, this: "It doesn't happen, so who cares? There's always next year. It's not like it's the end of the world."
Manny just doesn’t get it. And he doesn’t understand his customers - those New Englanders who live and die by every Red Sox pitch. Who care so badly. Clearly Manny doesn’t. His shtick is fun and great, but if he really doesn’t care, that’s a problem. It seems as though it’s a yearly ritual to find Ramirez on the trading block each winter, and perhaps it’s time to finally make that deal. He may have effectively ended his Red Sox career.

16 October 2007

That Other Tom Brady Is Pretty Successful In His Own Right

Tom Brady is America’s golden boy. If you can’t be the Tom Brady, you might as well go by Thomas instead in order to avoid the constant comparisons (whitepages.com tells us there are over 295 people named Tom Brady in the US). If you’re also a successful person named Tom Brady, well, it can be good and bad. For one, unlike Michael Bolton, the Tom Brady doesn’t suck . Yet it’s still sharing a name.

One of those sharers is pretty accomplished himself. He’s not a QB from Michigan, but a writer/director out of Harvard. This Tom Brady, 43, has writing credits on “Home Improvement,” “The Simpsons,” and “Sports Night.” He’s also had a hand in some Rob Schneider classics. He wrote and coproduced “The Animal,” and wrote and directed “The Hot Chick.” For this Tom Brady, being Tom Brady isn’t all that bad. Here's a little excerpt from his interview with the Boston Globe:

Q. Did your being Tom Brady give you an inside track to directing "The Comebacks"?

A. I like to think I got the job because of my resume and my directing talents. However, I know on some level there was a Fox executive saying, "How great would it be if Tom Brady directed this movie?" And I did wear my Brady jersey to the studio meeting.

Q. When did the other Tom Brady first cross your radar screen?

A. Around eight years ago. I was listening to a Michigan game on the radio and heard, "Coming into the game is backup quarterback Tom Brady." I was a big-time TV writer and thought of myself as the famous Tom Brady. What were the odds this guy would ever play pro football? I'll never have to worry about changing my name, I thought. A couple of years and one Super Bowl MVP later, I realized I had no shot at being the Tom Brady everyone knows.
Wearing the other Tom Brady’s jersey to a studio pitch meeting and effectively trading off his name to nail a director’s gig? Brilliant. It doesn’t hurt when it’s a football movie, either. I think this Tom Brady will tell you that being the second most famous one of them all isn’t such a bad thing. In fact, perhaps they're more similar than you might think, says the other Brady.
He yells "hut!" I yell "cut!" He dodges vicious linebackers. I dodge vicious film critics.

Michael Vick’s Restaurant Will Soon Be No More

Well folks, the sky is truly falling on Michael Vick. He’s going to end up serving time, and if things keep going the way they are, he’s also going to end up penniless. Wachovia Bank is just the latest creditor to sue Vick for defaulting on a loan. This time it’s involving his famed restaurant. The bank is seeking $940,000 of the $1.3 million loaned to Vick in 2006.

In a federal lawsuit, the bank says Vick, partner Gerald Frank Jenkins and their Atlantic Wine & Package LLC have failed to make monthly payments of principal and interest, and that Vick's obligations "are impaired due to recent events involving Defendant Vick."
Think all the way back to March of this year. Vick had just opened up Atlantic Wine & Spirits and the hopes were high. In fact, the restaurant was seen as an effort to forge a better connection with the community after his incident with the Aquafina bottle.
Maybe this will offset some of that attention I've been getting, whether positive or negative. It's good for people to see that I'm giving back to the community, where people can see me trying to do something that's positive. There's a lot of people speculating about things I do that are not so positive."
Oh, what a difference a few months makes. This was in March. The next month, Vick forged a new, different kind of connection with the community, and an even better one with Federal authorities. Now, he’s overdrawn his restaurant account by over $34,000, and the creditors are knocking down the doors. Those were the days.

15 October 2007

Goodbye, Frank TV

The Rockies' 6-4 win over the Diamondbacks ended the NLCS, and in turn forced us to bid farewell to TBS, and its partner in crime, Frank TV. Good luck to you, Frank and your litany of impersonations. It's too bad - Frank actually does a pretty good Madden and Robin Williams impersonation. But with all the promotion, all the ads, it won't be enough. See, it's over a month until Frank TV actually hits the airwaves. And by then Frank and his crew will be nothing but a distant memory.

SNL Speaks The Truth About NBC's Notre Dame Coverage

I freely admit that I haven’t watched SNL in years. But if there were more segments like this, maybe I would. Here is SNL’s ingenious riff on NBC’s coverage of Notre Dame Football. I guess if Jay Leno can take nightly shots at his own network, so can SNL.

Frontier Airlines Goes The Extra Mile For Rockies Fans

The Colorado Rockies’ recent success has galvanized the city of Denver, and the purple fever is in full effect. Even Frontier Airlines, the official airline of the Colorado Rockies, is doing its part to support the team. The airline is negotiating to be able to let its passengers watch the Rockies in the NLCS and potentially the World Series.

"We are 95 percent there," said Frontier spokesman Joe Hodas. "It's not a done deal."
It’s a potential sweet sigh of relief for Rockies fans who unwittingly booked their travel during the playoffs (although who could have predicted their success?), as well as airline passengers everywhere. All too often airlines raise prices while taking away amenities. Yet here we have an example of the opposite. Frontier is trying to do something for its customers...just because.
"We are aggressively trying to make this happen because there's nothing we would like more than to be able to share the Rockies with all our passengers, and ... we are the official airline of the Rockies, so all the more reason," Hodas said.
So add Frontier Airlines to the win column, if just for today. Too often a corporate sponsor is just that – a sponsor looking for signage and association. But Frontier is also a fan. And with their actions they’ve made a smart business move that also jives for its customers.

14 October 2007

Hey Holyfield - It's Time To Retire

Evander Holyfield is nearly 45 years old. He's one of the most accomplished boxers of all time, having won four heavyweight titles over his 23-year career. So after his loss to Sultan Ibragimov in Moscow on Saturday night, the message is clear. It's time for Holyfield to retire.

The boxing community seems to be united on the fact. If you have to travel to Russia in order to get a sanctioned fight, then you're in trouble. If you have to travel to Russia to fight and then lose, you're in big trouble.

"If he couldn't get past this shot, it's time to walk away," Mayweather said. "It's time to call it quits. He's won the championship four times. What's left to prove? The reality is that boxing is a young man's sport. He's 44 years old.

"He's got money. Walk away with some of your faculties. He's been in so many wars, eventually something bad will happen if he continues. But there's no need."

So what's Holyfield fighting for? It's not on account of continued success, that's for sure. Holyfield's career record may be 42-9 with two draws, but he's only 6-6 with two draws since 1999.

He's made his money, and hopefully he still has it. But there's really no reason for Holyfield to still be stepping into the ring. Look at Muhammad Ali and the litany of other boxers suffering now from the numerous slams to the head they incurred during their careers. Is a few more fights worth it?

I get it. Boxing is the only thing he's known. He's competitive. So he should channel his competitive streak towards his business ventures. Keep on challenging Foreman with your own grill. Really though - it's time to hang up the gloves. Please.

11 October 2007

648 Passing Yards and 7 TDs In One Game? Definitely Room For Improvement

South Carolina Presbyterian’s Tim Webb made only his second career start last Saturday, yet he’ll have a hard time ever living up to his performance. Webb was 31-40, racking up 648 passing yards and seven touchdowns. Not bad, eh? Well Webb amazingly thinks there’s still room for improvement.

Reviewing game film after the Blue Hose beat North Greenville 66-52, coach Bobby Bentley pointed out a receiver that the sophomore missed. "Well, if had made that pass it would've been 50 more yards, it would've been 700" yards, Webb recalled.
Well, you’ll probably be forgiven for that small flaw, even by that receiver. After all, Webb’s career day also amounted to a bonanza for his receivers. Terrance Butler and Larry Thomas each had three touchdown catches for the day, and both had plenty of receiving yards.

It’s just too bad that Presbyterian isn’t a member of the Football Championship Subdivision. Had it been, Webb would have topped the current record of 624 yards by Weber State’s Jamie Martin 16 years ago. He’ll take the memories for now, and remember, it’s all about winning!
"I could throw for 50 yards and if we win, I'll be happy," Webb said.

10 October 2007

Uruguayan Soccer Players Know A Ripoff When They See One

Ticket increases in sports seems to be an annual thing. It doesn’t matter if you win or lose – you can always raise your ticket prices for the following season. Typically complaints are limited to the fans (and sometimes the press). But in Uruguay, the players are getting in on the act as well.

It seems that prices for the team’s World Cup qualifiers have gone way up in recent years. Prices at the fabled Centenario stadium now range from 100 pesos ($4) to 625 ($27), making it nearly twice the amount charged just a few years ago. The fans aren’t happy, and neither are the players.

"The ticket prices are robbery," midfielder Pablo Garcia told local media. "The public cannot afford them. There are a lot of people with no job or who earn low salaries and they can't afford a luxury such as this.”
The Uruguayan Football Association (AUF) is free to charge whatever they’d like, and they have. But give credit to the Uruguayan fans. They haven’t capitulated and bought tickets – they’ve held out. So far only 21,000 of the 55,000 tickets for Saturday’s match against Bolivia had been sold.

Uruguay’s players care about the fans, but they also care about themselves. Without a full stadium, there’s no advantage to hosting a qualifying match.
"We all want a full stadium," striker Diego Forlan was quoted as saying. "The public always follow us.

"We understand the situation and that the ticket prices are high, and it makes us a bit angry that not everyone can afford them."
The AUF may have failed the people of Uruguay, but its players have shown something admirable and rare. They care about their fans.

09 October 2007

Brett Favre: Two-Time Congressional Resolution Recipient

Brett Favre has gotten plenty of kudos over the last few weeks, and at times it’s even seemed like idol worship. It’s one thing for the sports media to do it – they’ve got to fill their pages and airwaves with something, and it’s deserved in many respects. But Congress, never missing an opportunity to actually do something, is poised to pass a resolution honoring Green Bay’s finest.

Rep. Steve Kagen, D-Appleton, has 68 House members, including the Wisconsin delegation of five Democrats and three Republicans, signing on as sponsors for his Favre resolution. Kagen, whose district includes Lambeau Field, keeps a photograph of Favre on a wall in his Washington office.
Here’s a little sampling of Kagen’s HR 697:
Whereas Brett Favre's 16 consecutive years of dedicated service with the Green Bay Packers has enhanced the lives of the people of Northeast Wisconsin and exemplified the Wisconsin work ethic;

Whereas Brett Favre has demonstrated that hard work and single-mindedness of purpose can bring success, and epitomizes the words of NFL Hall of Fame Coach Vince Lombardi: `People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.'
Amen, Kagen! It’s not the first time Favre has been honored by his government, though. A resolution was passed in 1996 by senators from Mississippi and Wisconsin to commemorate his winning the MVP award that season. That was then. This is now. Doesn’t Favre deserve something more special this time around?

After all, the resolution is on the House list of non-controversial measures known as suspension bills. The more I learn, the more I’m dismayed, as this is nothing more than a Congressional slap on the back. But even though it’s a symbolic gesture, it’s far from a formality. Representative Jack Kingston (R-GA), a University of Georgia fan, and a smart politician, had the notion to vote against a measure earlier in the year honoring the University of Florida football team. Will a representative from a rival NFC North district step up and vote against this? Congressional debates over football and Brett Favre are just what this nation needs.

08 October 2007

Kirby Puckett’s Life Takes The Stage

In life success comes in many ways. Awards, money, bobble heads. In death there are plays made about you. Or at least thats the case for Minnesota Twins legend Kirby Puckett, when a play examining his rise and fall opens on October 13th in St. Paul, MN.

"I think the play is a tribute to Kirby," said playwright Syl Jones. "You can't help but come away feeling incredibly compassionate for him and about him, and also passionate about the game of baseball."

Pucketts life had a lot of drama during his short life, and Jones knew this was a story he had to tell within days of his death. Rather than a straight biography, the play contrastsKirby the Man with Kirby the Myth.

Director Steve Moulds says the play's theme is spelled out in a key speech by a character known simply as Coach.

"The coach tells us that baseball is more forgiving than life," Moulds says, "because in baseball, you can trip, you can fall down, you can make an error, but you can always get up, and maybe next inning you can get the hit that saves the game."

St. Paul’s History Theatre specializes in real, American stories, and Puckett’s tale fits right into that niche. Whether the play is any good is another story.

Canadian Baseball Fans Get Bikinis Instead Of Big Papi

It may not have been as bad as the infamous Heidi Game, but yesterdays snafu by Rogers Cable of Canada is pretty close. Rogers Cable customers in Ontario who tuned in yesterday expecting to see Game 3 of the Angels-Red Sox series got a big surprise.

Rather than seeing the Red Sox crush the Angels, viewers were shown the Best Damn Hooters International Swimsuit Competition. There was no Big Papi in HD, but instead bikinis (129 bikini-clad women, in fact). Normally the baseball-viewing segment of the population would be amenable to swimsuit competitions, but come on this is the playoffs!

The folks at Rogers seemed to have good intentions, but somehow their logic was flawed...or just too confusing for even them to figure out:

Ontario viewers who didn't have the Sportsnet four-channel digital package were to get baseball at 3 and 6:30 p.m. Those who wanted to watch the 4 p.m. NFL game could watch one of Sportsnet's digital feeds.

With the switch still stuck, Sportsnet showed Ontario viewers the 4 p.m. 49ers-Ravens NFL game. It did so, incidentally, without even hinting that anything had gone wrong. That led to the second kick in the teeth for Ontario baseball fans.

The football game, a real snoozer at best, ran into the Yankees-Indians game. So not only did Rogers customers miss an entire game, they lost out on the second game's first two runs.

It seems that yesterday was just a bad day for all of the Canadian sports networks. CTV didnt fare much better than Rogers.

For example, the Seattle Seahawks were deep in Pittsburgh territory yesterday with 12 seconds left in the first half when the CTV picture broke up.

Suddenly, a couple of commercials appeared, or more accurately, a commercial and a half. When CTV got us back, the half was over after an apparent interception.

In the US, these kind of mistakes would have incited the kind of hatred and anger usually only reserved for Steve Bartman. But since it happened in Canada, there was but one newspaper article about it. Rogers and CTV are lucky to be operating in Canada, eh?

07 October 2007

Only 19-0 Will Satisfy Bill Belichick

The Patriots are running on all cylinders, right? They polished off the Cleveland Browns 34-17 just days after crushing the Cincinnati Bengals. 5-0, having devoured everything the state of Ohio has to offer, you'd think that the Patriots and coach Bill Belichick would be riding high.

Think again. As evidenced by his post-game comments, it seems that only a 19-0 start to the season is going to satisfy Belichick.

It's good to win. It's always good to win and be 5-0. I don't think that was either team's best game out there today, but in the end we were able to make a few more plays. We'll take it and move on to Dallas. It was a physical game. There was a lot of hard hitting out there. I just don't think on our end it was executed the way we are capable of. But, as I said, in the end we made enough plays, and that was good, but we left some out there too. I think we just have to do a better job all the way around in all three areas of the game, and the coaching, and I think we can play better than that. Give Cleveland credit. They're tough. They can move the ball, like we talked about all week and they showed that today and they gave us some problems defensively.
Sure, maybe Belichick is being modest, hoping to keep the fire under his team. But something tells me this is just how he is. So what makes you happy, Bill? What will make you smile? Let everyone know, because surely all of New England will do its best to find it for you.

USC's #1 Fan

USC's loss yesterday left fans stunned, but it didn't mean that there wasn't anything to cheer about. Check out USC's #1 fan, celebrating at a time when he thought a victory would be certain. This guy has spirit - there's no doubt about that!

05 October 2007

Hey Cubs Fans - Feeling Down?

Absolute Vodka's new ads strike to the heart of every Cubs fan. Thanks to Krista for sending this along.

04 October 2007

When The Playoffs Attack

Rivalries are a healthy part of sports, and part of what makes them great. But sometimes rivalries go over the edge, and that's where things go wrong. And this is an example of that. Carlos Ortez, 25, finds himself in intensive care after a group of men who'd earlier asked him if he was a Red Sox fan later went on to attack him in New York. The incident started at the bar of a Ramada Inn.

The Boston Globe reports that the 25-year-old carpenter was in New York to work on a construction project in a Manhattan hotel.

He was watching a Red Sox-Angels playoff game with colleagues at a bar when another patron asked them if they had pride in Boston.

That man was later joined by two other people who approached the construction workers from behind as they left the bar.

The police in Yonkers report that two men from Pennsylvania were arrested and charged with second-degree felony assault on Ortez, who has multiple face fractures. If the incident went down the way police think it did, then the two suspects deserve to have the book thrown at them. They're a disgrace.

South Korea Soccer Fans Create The Human LCD

The amazing thing about these South Korean soccer fans? They're using clothing to make the illusions, not cards. They have a jacket that is one color on the back, one on the front, and that they can open or close to show a third color shirt on the inside. Go fans!

Denver Can't Keep Rockies Underwear In Stock

Playoff fever has hit Denver. Even though the Rockies are God's team, the fans still want to feel like they're part of the magic. So Rockies fans are doing the one thing that truly indicates their devotion - they're buying as much team merchandise as possible. And it seems that they'll buy anything.

Many Denver stores that carry licensed Major League Baseball gear - caps, jerseys and anything else with a team logo - had a rough time Tuesday keeping up with the demand that comes with victory. Some people so badly wanted anything with a Rockies logo that all eight Sportsfan stores in Colorado were sold out of thongs and panties by midday - except the extra-larges.
I get the idea of buying a shirt or hat. But a Rockies thong? It sort of goes against the idea of showing off your team pride in public, doesn't it? Or maybe...

Pete Martinez, manager of a Denver Sportsfan store was initially curious as to why the XL panties were staying on the shelves. While it could be that Denver ranks among the nation's fittest cities, Martinez guessed there was something else at play as well.
"Maybe it's because no man wants to give an extra-large anything to his wife, so he buys her a cap."
Since the Rockies haven't been in the playoffs since 1995, it's really just a case of making up for lost time...and maybe even lost underwear.

03 October 2007

USF Hopes Football Will Erase "Jihad U." Label

The University of South Florida's football team is on the up-and-up, risking from the unwashed, unranked masses to the number six ranked school in the nation. They've beaten Auburn and West Virginia, and overtaken Florida in the rankings. Not bad for a school that not long ago didn't even have a football team. School officials hope that USF can become known for the football team rather than that other, slightly more infamous affair.

Since the 1990s USF has been dubbed "Terrorism U." and "Jihad U.," owing to the fact that the university was employing Sami Al-Arian, a former computer-science professor, who just happened to be aiding terrorists.

News reports in the 1990s started linking Al-Arian and associates to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. A think tank founded by Al-Arian and partially sponsored by the university was shut down because the FBI suspected it was a front for the terrorist group. An Al-Arian associate who left USF resurfaced later as the head of the PIJ in the Middle East.
In the sports world a coach can get fired for just about anything. In the world of academia, once professors earn tenure, well, they're pretty hard to get rid of. Even if they're aiding terrorists. And so it took until 2003 for Al-Arian to be dismissed by USF. This was after he'd pleaded guilty and agreed to be deported. The Jihad and Terrorist label came back this past summer when two USF students from Egypt were indicted on federal explosives charges. One of them is accused of posting videos online showing how to utilize a remote-controlled toy to detonate a bomb. Ooh.

In the eyes of USF, success on the football field will gloss over everything.
"I think everybody feels the real picture of USF will come through because of this," university spokesman Ken Gullette said of the football team's success. "This publicity hopefully is going to drown that out and carry us forward."
And in many ways they're right. As long as they win, the school will benefit from it across the board. They just need to keep recruiting football players, not terrorists.

02 October 2007

Michael Jordan Must Really Be Enjoying His Retirement

We've all heard the stories - now see some photos. Take a look at Michael Jordan (and pal Charles Oakley) hitting the town.

01 October 2007

The Rockies Are God's Team

Remember that article about the Colorado Rockies that came out in USA Today last summer? "Baseball's Rockies Seek Revival On Two Levels," it was titled, and detailed their quest to bring themselves up from the NL West's gutter. But it also described an organization guided not by Moneyball, but by Christianity.

Music filled with obscenities, wildly popular with youth today and in many other clubhouses, is not played. A player will curse occasionally but usually in hushed tones. Quotes from Scripture are posted in the weight room. Chapel service is packed on Sundays. Prayer and fellowship groups each Tuesday are well-attended. It's not unusual for the front office executives to pray together.
Strange as it sounded then, after Monday's improbable 13-inning classic victory, things now make a little more sense. The Colorado Rockies are God's team. How else can you explain the last month of the season? The team and its brass last summer had almost prophet-like quotes last summer.
"You look at things that have happened to us this year," Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd says. "You look at some of the moves we made and didn't make. You look at some of the games we're winning. Those aren't just a coincidence. God has definitely had a hand in this."
Amazing as the Rockies have been, it now comes together. The Colorado Rockies - team of destiny.

Hickey Celebrates End Of Season In Style With DUI

Yesterday marked the end of the regular season for MLB, and the teams who didn't make the post-season will scatter like the wind. While many will be disappointed not to have made the playoffs, it's also a reason to celebrate - their seasons have come to a merciful end. Some though, like Devil Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey had too good of a time. He was arrested late Sunday and charged with DUI, hit and run, and resisting arrest without violence. Now that's a way to party!

Police said an undercover officer saw James J. Hickey, 45, run his silver pickup into the back of a green pickup at First Avenue and 16th Street S, in front of Tropicana Field. The green pickup was driven by Devil Rays batboy Matthew Felix Carlson, and both men were stopped at a traffic light, said St. Petersburg Police Department spokesman George Kajtsa.

Carlson pulled his 1998 Chevrolet S10 pickup truck over to the side of the road, but Hickey took off toward Interstate 275. The officer, who was not in a marked car or uniform, followed him up Interstate 275 and communicated with other officers, who stopped him north of Gandy Boulevard.
Hickey didn't waste any time getting into the off-season, and he followed suit with a quick apology. In a world full of apologies, he at least sounded sincere, and contrite. Whether or not Hickey will return to the team is uncertain, but at least it's clear that he now has one of the more amusing booking photos in recent memory.

Ian Kennedy To Attend His Wedding After All

A month ago Ian Kennedy was facing a pretty big dilemma. His wedding was scheduled to be during the ALDS. Should he make the Yankees' playoff roster, what to do?

Sometimes things work out, and in Kennedy's case, it was an injury. Kennedy has been plagued with a back sprain that kept him from pitching the last few weeks, and it will keep him off the Yankees' roster for the ALDS. Rest easy, Allison Jaskowiak. Kennedy will be all yours on October 6th.

Kennedy reported to the Yankees' Tampa training complex pain free on Monday, and manager Joe Torre said that he could be an option should they make the ALCS. This looks like a situation where it worked out for everyone. So rejoice! And if you're looking to get Ian and Allison a wedding gift, here you go.