Sad Day As Harry Kalas, Mark Fidrych Pass Away

• Another sad day for MLB fans. Legendary Phillies announcer Harry Kalas dies after collapsing in the broadcast booth before a game vs. the Nats.

Harry Kalas Mark Fidrych

And former Tigers pitcher Mark “The Bird” Fidrych dies while working underneath his pickup truck at his Massachusetts home.

Brian Bosworth: From Hollywood Harley DUI laughingstock, to home state hero after saving man’s life by performing CPR.

• Another dead goat is found hanging outside Wrigley Field. If it didn’t work in 2007, why would it work now?

Smokin’ Joe Frazier says God gave Muhammad Ali Parkinson’s disease.

• Masters winner Angel Cabrera owes his success to chewing gum.

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CC Sabathia Tosses Out $15m in Cash for NJ Villa

If you have to move to New Jersey (and just a reminder: you don’t), it’s a fine time to shop for a home. Single-family home sales dropped 18% in 2008 and the median sales price took a 7.5% nose-dive. As always, you’ll get the best mortgage rates when you don’t take one out at all.

Dollar bill

(We know it’s hard to imagine $15 million, so we’ve provided a visual aid.  Imagine this dollar bill… but 15 million of them.  You’re welcome.)

Therefore, it couldn’t be a better time for new Yankee CC Sabathia to lay out $15 million in cash on a nifty little place in tony Alpine, NJ. He will live near Puffy, Britney, Mary J., (Not-So-Little) Stevie, and Chris Rock. This must be part of the Yankees’ plan to keep the puffy pitcher’s arm eternally young: Immerse it in the past.

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Yankee Stadium To Be Blessed By Joel Osteen?

As if we needed more proof that the New York Yankees aren’t going to do anything second-rate, word now comes that there’s going to be a full-scale blessing performed at the new Yankee Stadium by finely-coiffed super-preacher Joel Osteen.

Joel Osteen

(”Cody Ransom? You guys need more help than I thought.”)

And it won’t just be before a game. No, there’s going to be an entire evening hosted by Osteen and his wife Victoria called “Historic Night of Hope.” And given how things are going these days, hope is needed in the Bronx now more than ever. I mean, CC Sabathia just got shelled for 6 runs in 4 1/3 innings in his Yankee debut.

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Russian Pancake Eating Champion Dies On Stage

If there was ever any question that Russians are hyper competitive at everything, well, throw those doubts out the window. According to a story from THE KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA, via the blog PRAVDA, the champion of a recent pancake eating contest ate every single pancake thrown at him, then collapsed and died on stage after winning the contest outright. If that wasn’t drastic enough, this is: The revelers in the town of Chernyakhovsk, celebrating a holiday called “Butter Week”, kept on celebrating after the dead man was carted away.

cc sabathia is really fat

(CC Sabathia: Unimpressed)

The story claims that 48-year-old Boris Isayev collapsed while walking up to receive his medal, suffocating with foam at his mouth. If you read between the lines, it sounds as if Isayev was literally filled up with pancake dough, all the way through his esophagus to his windpipe, precisely the type of condition that confirms what we’ve always known: Shaun Rogers and CC Sabathia would be beasts in Russian pancake eating contests.

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For $423.5M, Yanks Could Own Freddie, NY Times

In this offseason alone, the Yankees have spent $432.5 million on three free agents: pitchers CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett and first baseman Mark Teixeira. To get Sabathia and Burnett, New York bid above market prices. For Teixeira they shot appropriately high. yet all those moves pale in comparison to what the Yankees could have bought with the same money in the downtrodden stock market: Freddie Mac, a controlling ownership of Churchill Downs, half of the New York Times or one-third of Foot Locker.

hank steinbrenner, george steinbrenner

That’s right, Steinbrenner, Steinbrenner and Steinbrenner, Inc., clearly could have spent their money a bit more wisely, according to CNBC Sports Business guru Darren Rovell. Two years ago Freddie Mac was booming, and there’s no reason the organization couldn’t return to their previous glory of share-price highs. Just think: The Yankees could own one of the largest mortgage brokerages in history. They could call it Yankee Homes and go buy up one-third of New England delinquincies, forcing Red Sox fans to sign on to “Yankee Home” deeds. The possibilities are endless.

Instead, New York has two pitchers and a slugging first baseman. For five years (assuming Sabathia doesn’t opt out). Seems like a misallocation of resources, if you ask us.

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Ex-Giants WR Forgot To Show Up For Prison Time

• Ex-Giants receiver Mark Ingram is on the lam for skipping out on the start to his prison sentence. What kind of example is that for Plaxico to follow?

Mark Ingram Giants

• The Kings Sac(k) the Lakers in a rare Cowtown beatdown.

Corey Dillon is a bit concerned if it really takes 14 months and $470,000 to fix a Ferrari.

CC Sabathia bolts the Brewers to set up shop in the Bronx.

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CC Sabathia Takes The Money, Is Now A Yankee

Baseball’s Winter Meetings had been pretty boring before Francisco Rodriguez signed a three-year deal with the New York Mets on Tuesday, and K-Rod agreed to a deal that was well short of the five-year contract he and his agent had been looking for. Apparently seeing that Rodriguez, who set the MLB saves record last season with 62, couldn’t even get money and years he was looking for set off some alarms in CC Sabathia’s head.

CC may have wanted to be a Dodger, and he may have been hoping that some west coast team would come swooping in and offer him a deal comparable to the $140 million the Yankees had been offering, but it was becoming more apparent with each hour that it just wasn’t going to happen. Which is probably why, in the end, Sabathia finally realized he’d be the world’s biggest moron to turn down that kind of money right now.

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Speed Read: Kings Turn Back Clock, Beat Lakers

Suddenly it was 2002 all over again for the Lakers vs. Kings rivalry last night in Sacramento. The Arco Arena crowd was hooting and hollering and the Maloofs were acting like giant cheeseballs, high-fiving, bear-hugging and giving lap dances to anyone within reach. Sacramento temporarily forgot how lousy they are in delivering a 113-101 beatdown of Los Angeles that really wasn’t that close. Wake up the echoes of Vlade and C-Webb, indeed.

John Salmons and Kobe Bryant

What the game came down to was defense, specifically the Lakers’ total lack of it. They were unable to stop the high pick and roll, leaving the Kings with huge lanes to the basket to score or dish for threes. This is not a good sign for the Lakers going into tonight’s game against Steve Nash and the Suns, even if Shaq isn’t playing.

That’s three bad performances in their last four road games against average to awful teams (Indiana, Washington, Sacramento), which should be enough to silence any talk about 70 wins. But before Lakers fans go calling their therapist for a new prescription of Zoloft, they should remember that the team is still 17-3.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Mo Williams

Meanwhile in Cleveland, a legendary Cavaliers superstar reached a huge career milestone. Congratulations to Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who had set the franchise record for career rebounds in the team’s 114-94 rout of the Toronto Raptors. And oh yeah, some guy named LeBron James tried to horn in on the Big Z’s big night by setting the team’s career mark for steals and chipping in with 31 points.

Other sports news to read while you consider calling in gay to work today:

    Wayne Rooney and accused killer Anthony Corsi

  • Apparently, about the worst thing you can do in England is tell someone they look like Manchester United star Wayne Rooney. THE SUN reports that drunken slur in a taxi line led to one man’s death while the Rooney lookalike is currently facing manslaughter charges.
  • The DETROIT NEWS has word that big-mouth former Michigan QB and mediocre MLB player Rick Leach thinks that former Wolverines coach Lloyd Carr should “support” the guy who replaced him, Rich Rodriguez.
  • An Australian politician rues to the HERALD SUN that having soccer players overstay their visas and apply for asylum is one of the risks of hosting the Homeless World Cup.
  • The WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL notes that Ted Turner and TBS have been found guilty of a breach of contract in the sale of the Atlanta Hawks and Thrashers and ordered to pay $316 million in damages. Turner immediately protests that this “was nothing like an episode of Law & Order.”
  • Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller is cross that a ref swore at him during Monday’s game against Pittsburgh, says the BUFFALO NEWS. Reg Dunlop does not approve.
  • A good hint for coaches: don’t tell the press that it’s impossible for your team to win a game against your No. 1 rival, and Real Madrid’s Bernd Schuster said ahead of his team’s game against Barcelona. Not surprisingly, the NEW YORK TIMES reports Schuster’s been sacked. Also, don’t believe any rumors that Stephon Marbury is heading there to be the next coach.
  • 20 years later, Billy Ripken talks to CNBC’s Darren Rovell about his infamous baseball card. He still gets recognized “a couple of times a week” because of it - three guesses what people call him. Hint: it rhymes with “duck race.”
  • Stephen Curry: he’s streaky, but he’s also really good, as anyone who saw his second-half performance against West Virginia can attest to. The NEW YORK TIMES has all the details.
  • The latest name to enter the CC Sabathia Sweepstakes? The San Francisco Giants, who apparently weren’t burnt badly enough by Barry Zito to swear off big money pitchers. But Giants’ GM Brian Sabean tells the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS his team is just a “fallback” option if Sabathia doesn’t sign with the Yankees.
  • Remember when Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell said there was a “great chance” that Mike Leach wouldn’t be back coaching the Red Raiders next season. Turns out he’s changed his mind, says the AP (via the SEATTLE TIMES).

Which high-priced free-agent is some team going to most regret signing this off-season?

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Speed Read: Panthers Smash & Dash Way To Win

After last week’s less-than-epic Houston vs. Jacksonville Monday Night Football tilt, just about anything would have been an improvement (short of a “dream pairing” of Dennis Miller and Tony Kornheiser). But last night was a great way to cap any week: two 9-3 teams in Tampa Bay and Carolina battling for first place in the NFC South.

Carolina Panthers vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers

And honestly, if you would have told me that Jeff Garcia was going to throw for more than 300 yards, I would have given the Bucs a pretty fair shot at winning the game. But the trump card turned out to be the Panthers’ RB duo of Smash & Dash, i.e. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, who helped the Panthers combine for almost 300 yards of rushing and a crucial 38-23 victory.

The person on Tampa Bay I feel sorry for is Antonio Bryant, who had a huge game in defeat, as in 200 yards of receiving. (How many fantasy football owners are cursing themselves this morning because they left him on their bench this week.) This included one of the most amazing touchdown catches you’ll see all year:

Speaking of amazing…USA TODAY has a breakdown of the final ballots for the college football Coaches’ Poll, and some of the votes are pretty unbelievable. Like that Utah’s Kyle Whittingham voted his team ahead of USC (I’d like to see that game on the field), or that Ty Willingham voted Missouri 11th despite getting killed in the Big XII Championship Game. But my favorite? Texas Tech’s Mike Leach voting the Red Raiders second - ahead of Florida and Texas. At least he had the decency to place the team that beat him by 44 ahead of Tech.

Some more sports insanity to brighten up your day:

What’s the toughest division in the NFL?

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At Times John Kruk Wants To Punch Karl Ravech

Have you ever been watching “Baseball Tonight” or any other studio show on ESPN and wondered if the anchors actually liked each other? I mean, I know I can’t stand most of the talking heads ESPN puts on the air so you have to figure there are times when Mike Ditka wants to reach across the desk and punch Stuart Scott right in his lazy eye when he says “Boo-ya!”

The one ESPN personality who I think has probably had it worse than anybody else is Karl Ravech. As host of Baseball Tonight he’s had to work with his fair share of idiots.  Sure, dealing with Harold Reynolds wasn’t too bad — well, except for Harold’s insistence on post-show hugs — and Peter Gammons is an icon, but aside from those two there are a lot more Steve Phillips and John Kruks sitting behind that desk. There has to be occasions where Ravvy just wants to choke Krukker after he says something that makes no real sense, but if there have been, Karl isn’t talking.

Of course, the same can’t be said of Kruk.

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