9:00 PM Football Scoop reports that during this summer's practice camp, the Abilene Christian University football team went on a two-day "Manhood Retreat" where they talked about God & spirituality but not about football.
8:45 PM The Cincinnati Bengals share a photo gallery of running back Giovani Bernard throwing out the first pitch at Sunday's Florence Freedom game and .... wait, what exactly is this?
Thank god for Rick Reilly. In a blog post for ESPN THE MAG, it appears he’s shaken out all the interesting bits from Andre Agassi’s new book Open. The topper, at least to me, is Agassi admitting that he lost matches on purpose. But almost as perplexing as Agassi fully admitting that he tanked on occasion, like the Australian Open Final in ‘96, was Reilly describing his rhetoric has “hinting.” Judge for yourself:
Losing on purpose isn’t easy. You have to lose in such a way that the crowd can’t tell, and in a way that you can’t tell. Your mind is tanking, but your body is fighting on. … You don’t do those tiny things you need to do. You don’t run the extra few feet, you don’t lunge. You’re slow to come out of stops. You hesitate to bend or dig.”
Of losing in the semifinals of the 1996 Australian Open against Michael Chang — a match Agassi suggests he tanked — he writes, “I’m glad I lost.”
Does that sound like a hint to you? Or would Reilly prefer to be slugged in the head with a sledgehammer? Read more…
Andre Agassi will reveal in an upcoming autobiography that he did crystal meth. Celebrity branding consultant David Schwab told CNBC’s Darren Rovell today that the news was likely worth over $1M in terms of Agassi’s book advance.
After hearing about Mike Singletary’s latest motivational move at San Francisco 49ers training camp, we can all be glad of this: he kept his pants on this time. In fact, he did what many 49ers fans wish someone would have done years ago: he sent former No. 1 draft pick and genial bust Alex Smith packing.
Smith tried to force a pass to noted slacker-slash-slugger Vernon Davis, but it was tipped and eventually picked off. Unfortunately for Smith, this came right after Singletary announced to the team that “the next guy responsible for a turnover would have to sit on the hill for the rest of practice,” leading to Smith getting his perch high on a hill.
Again, some one tell me how this is punishment? Instead of working his butt off at training camp and sweating in the summer heat, Smith got to relax and watch the practice from a grassy vantage point - probably under a shady tree while eating a couple of apples as bluebirds sang to him. And I guess that we are supposed to be impressed that his starting offensive line came to sit with him in a “nice show of solidarity,” although I suspect they saw a chance to get out of the last half-hour of practice and made the most of it.
I know NFL teams are careful not to push players too hard, but don’t players run laps as punishment any more? Suicide sprints? Something other than sitting down and not training at training camp? Mike Singletary’s training camp is allegedly some combination of the Junction Boys, the Bataan Death March and the training montage from “Rocky IV” from how the media is portraying it, but if that’s as tough as it gets in the NFL, maybe we’re coddling players a bit too much.
I have no idea what a UFL training camp is going to be like; I’m guessing it will be more advanced than teaching the players what the Xs and Os on the playbook mean, even if just barely. But it does seem like the players are going to go through a lot of punishment - at least on the field, thanks to their names and uniforms. That is, if the ones announced on Monday by the Las Vegas franchise are any indication.
First off there’s the name: the Las Vegas Locomotives. Because when I think of Las Vegas, I don’t think of gambling or nightlife or danger - I think of trains. Yup, you really get the high rollers coming in on the train from Barstow to Las Vegas. It’s basically a half-step up from calling the team the Las Vegas Hobos, and unless your team’s offensive coordinator is John Hodgman, that’s not going to fly.
And then there are the uniforms. Now, I’m no sartorial demigod, but…I don’t want to say that it’s hideous, but the USFL called and they are planning on suing you for $1 for ripping off their designs. The whole thing looks horrendously 80s, from the shiny neon aquamarine pants to the blocky numbering. I think I saw MC Skat Kat wearing something suspiciously similar in a video with Paula Abdul back in the day.
Basically, the whole thing is a mess, and even Las Vegas head coach Jim Fassel is confused as to the connection between Las Vegas and trains. (But this isn’t the first time he’s been confused in his life.) Plus, the team’s name is sure to be shortened by people to “Locos,” which the owners seem to think is great cross-cultural marketing but just reminds me of how crazy you’d have to be to try and go up against the NFL.
Finally, I have to wonder what Jeff Gordon’s motivation is to keep racing. After all, he could be at home having sex with his Brazilian supermodel wife, playing with his kids or simply climbing up and down one of the giant mountains of cash he presumably has laying around his house from all of his winnings and endorsement deals.
And after yesterday’s race at the Watkins Glen road course in New York, he is probably wondering the same thing himself after being involved in a bad multi-car crash that sent him careening into a guard rail - not a SAFER barrier - at nearly top speed. Gordon walked away unscathed, although he was complaining of aggravating a sore back injured after he’s been involved in several big crashes in the last few years.
After watching that replay again, let me ask Gordon something: hot Brazilian supermodel wife, or smashing the bejeezus out of your car head-on into a guard rail? Your choice.
Crocs announced late yesterday that it is pulling out of its title sponsorship of the AVP Tour at the end of this season. But how ever will beach volleyball survive without its association with ugly rubber clogs? Wait, they’ll survive thanks to hot chicks rolling around on the sand wearing next to nothing? I guess…
This is exactly what you want to hear from a tennis player playing his last season before his retirement: former world No. 1 Marat Safin admits that it’s “impossible” that he’ll win another title. I don’t think he’ll be getting the same teary send-off at the U.S. Open that Andre Agassi did.
The Chicago White Sox were able to get two-time All-Star Alex Rioson waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays for no compensation (which with the exchange rate means the White Sox made money on the deal). So, do you think the Blue Jays were thrilled to be rid of the $64 million due to Rios through 2014?
The San Francisco Giants are honoring former pitcher Dave Dravecky on the 20th anniversary of his comeback from cancer. Which is great, except it reminds me of the sound his arm made when it snapped like a twig during his comeback, and then I need to throw up.
There was great line in a SPORTING NEWS post about the terrible level of umpiring seen this season, with umps continually deciding to make themselves the center of attention. It mentions Phillies announcer Larry Anderson responding to umpire Joe West telling him that MLB umps were “the best in the business” by telling the audience that he wanted to respond that “if you guys are the best in the business, you’ve got a really bad business.”
Unless you’ve spent the last 30 years or so living under a rock, you know that the relationship between the United States and Iran isn’t the friendliest one in the world. Something about them holding Americans hostage, our friendship with Israel, and nuclear weapons has driven a divide between our two countries. Still, we do have something in common with Persians, and that’s that we both love our sports.
This can be seen by the adoration for Memphis Grizzlies rookie Hamed Haddadi. Haddadi has spent most of his rookie season shuffling back and forth between Memphis and Bismarck in the NBDL, but that hasn’t stopped all the Iranians living in the United States from following Haddadi’s every move in the NBA. In fact, if he wanted to, Haddadi could probably get some pretty nice endorsement deals (possibly for gold chains and silk shirts). Well, he could if it wasn’t for that whole trade embargo we have with Iran.
Roger Federer is not used to losing. Ever. So his ongoing struggles to push above mediocrity are understandably trying not only to Federer’s tennis, but also his mental health. The most glaring proof of that came Friday in Miami, where Federer went Andre Agassi on his racquet, then decided his water cups were better suited to spend time in the stands than in his hands less than a set later.
(Photo proof of Federer’s racquet rage, from the MIAMI HERALD.)
Novak Djokovic — a Federer fire-ant past and present — was the culprit driving along this tantrum, which could be the sign of much larger issues for Federer. What started in an emotional meltdown after a memorable Wimbledon loss to Rafael Nadal is starting to get the feel of a grand unraveling, perhaps signaling the long slide of a 13-time Grand Slam winner back to earth.
There aren’t many sports power couples, but there’s definitely a hierarchy. Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf are the A-listers. Shelden Williams and Candace Parker are, generously, B-list. Jennie Finch and Casey Daigle are just scraping by as C-listers. So where does that leave MMA Fighter KJ Noons and Lingerie Football League “player” Melany Lorenzo? Who cares, she’s hot and has lots of pictures. Happy New Year to you, too.
Noons has put together a 7-2 record in MMA, mostly EliteXC of late. And Lorenzo, big surprise, is a former Playboy model (I’m shocked - shocked! - that someone in Lingerie Football would have to resort to something so degrading). Which means, if you were so inclined, there are ways of seeing her in less clothing. Although these will suffice for now, I think.
The NEW YORK DAILY NEWS reports that the ex-San Francisco slugger was scheduled to appear at the grand opening of the Planet Hollywood Casino & Resort in Sin City last weekend.However, Bonds bailed out at the last second. Guess he wasn’t pumped enough about hanging with Roger Clemens, Andre Agassi, Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone.
There’s no need for Sly & pals to make a federal case about the slugger’s snub - Stallone himself doesn’t have the time, as he’s got a musical to produce. And Barry will be making brand new friends soon enough, courtesy of the fellas in Cell Block D.