8:30 PM The new minor league baseball team to begin play in Biloxi, Mississippi next season will be known as the Biloxi Shuckers.
8:15 PM Former Soviet Union hockey coach Viktor Tikhonovdied Monday at the age of 84. Tikhonov won three Olympic gold medals & eight world championships and was also the USSR's coach in the 1980 "Miracle On Ice" loss to the United States.
In case you hadn’t noticed, Dale Earnhardt Jr. hasn’t been very good at NASCAR recently. He hasn’t sucked, per se - really, it depends on your definition of the term - and he hasn’t been on a Ricky Bobby-esque tear of wrecking his car or anything like hat. But for someone carrying the most popular surname in the sport, Junior has been middling at best, coming in at 23rd as this NASCAR season winds down. Makes you wonder what the hell’s going on, right?
(We’re told those are methadone margaritas. EXCLUSIVE.)
Fortunately, our friends at the perennially Pulitzer-winning NATIONAL ENQUIRER have the scoop, and we fear it’s for the worst: Dale Jr. is pickling himself to death, one bottle at a time. Remember, if the Enquirer says it, it must be true somebody told it to them first!
NASCAR, bless their profit-driven souls, would put an official NASCAR holograph sticker on their mothers if they thought Mama would sell at a 60% markup in one of those truck trailers set up outside the tracks on race day. Of course, their mothers would fly off the shelves if they had Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s face tattooed on their arms.
(”Finally, I can relate to the sport of NASCAR!”)
That’s why the makers of Cabbage Patch Kids chose Junior to be the first one to receive the Cabbage Patch Kid treatment in the “NASCAR ‘Kids” line. No, really. They are making NASCAR drivers into Cabbage Patch Kids. We have photographic proof after the jump of the only opportunity Junior will have to come in first this year.
Kyle Busch is as close to Dale Earnhardt as NASCAR has today (even more so than Dale Earnhardt Jr.: you have to win occasionally to be compared to No. 3). He’s a phenomenally talented driver who would rather wreck you out (and him, if needed) than lose a race. Because of this hard-charging style and his perceived arrogance, Busch is the one driver fans love to hate.
And this probably won’t win him any more fans. THE TENNESSEAN says that Busch was a sour puss after finishing second to teammate Joey Logano in the Nationwide Series race at Nashville Speedway on Saturday, and not just because he lost. Apparently, he was miffed that the track’s “all-access” ticket program allowed people to bug him with autograph requests all weekend - a lot of requests.
I think I’ve found the world’s worst person: his name is Jaime Salcedo, and he’s the owner of Showbiz Productions in Jacksonville, FL. He first made a name for himself by selling the “Vick Chew Toy,” which is not related to the one the St. Paul Saints gave away. In fact, if you read the fine print at the toy’s Web site, it’s not even Michael Vick at all. Crazy how someone could get that idea, right? Check out the promotional video for yourself:
So while the toy and it’s cutting-edge “dog material” might be an overpriced, one-note joke aimed at making a quick buck, it’s not really horrible. Now, creating a doll based on a toddler who was gruesomely killed by her mother, that would be hideous. Folks, let me introduce you to the “Sunshine Caylee Doll,” also a creation from the monstrous kitchens of Showbiz Productions, meant to be a “tribute” to slain Florida two-year-old Caylee Anthony.
Of course, as Salcedo told Fox News, he wanted to be sensitive to Anthony’s memory, so he made sure the doll had little resemblance to her - even if it did play her favorite song “You Are My Sunshine” when you pressed its stomach. After all, making the doll look like Anthony would be “too morbid.”
But Salcedo wanted to make sure everyone knew he wasn’t a heartless slime trying to make money exploiting dead toddlers and mangled dogs. He was also a philanthropist, pledging to donate portions of the sales of the Vick Chew Toy to local animal shelters and $5,000 from the sales of the Sunshine Caylee Doll to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Well, Salcedo did make a donation to that last group: for a grand total of $10. And it seems evident that no donations were made to local animal shelters from sales of the Vick doll. So not only was Salcedo making money off of products in horrible taste, but he was pulling a big grift by using charity donations that never happened to support sales.
Finally, someone is doing something about it: the JACKSONVILLE TIMES-UNION says the Florida Attorney General’s office is suing Salcedo for $20,000 for making false advertising claims, and seeking an injunction against further sales of the dolls. Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum said that using a respected organization such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children as a front makes things even more reprehensible:
“Any company that intentionally misleads innocent consumers to believe they are contributing to worthy charitable causes is absolutely reprehensible,” he said. “It is disgusting that a company would exploit a tragic situation for personal gain.”
Of course, when you consider that Salcedo himself estimates that he sold at least 200,000 Michael Vick dolls at $7.77 each (grossing more than $1,500,000), a $20,000 fine feels like a slap on the wrist. I know times are tough, but the people of Jacksonville can’t band together and find the time and money to get the supplies needed for a good old fashioned tar and feathering? I’ll even chip in and by the first barrel of tar.
At least it was perfect weather for a run, and also for shooting a low score: it was the second-lowest scoring first round in tournament history. The Day One leader is Chad Campbell, who set a tournament record with birdies on his first five holes and flirted with history before back-to-back closing bogies left him at 65, one stroke ahead of Hunter Mahan and Jim Furyk.
How crazy was the scoring on Thursday? If Phil Mickelson had shot 73 in last year’s first round, he would have been tied for 29th, five shots off the lead. Instead, he starts today tied for 51st, looking at an eight shot deficit. Even the over-50 crowd was getting into the scoring act: Larry Mize sits in a tie for fourth after a 67, while the group at 70 includes Greg Norman and Bernhard Langer.
Also firing a two-under: Tiger Woods, who probably could have been near the top of the leaderboard if one of five or six putts go in instead of burning the lip of the cup. The other main contender we previewed yesterday, Padraig Harrington, also had a quietbut efficient round, going one lower than Woods. Even Gary Player, in his final Masters, shot a respectable 78. In fact, every player broke 80 except for New Zealander Michael Campbell, who must feel great that even Craig Stadler’s portly butt beat him by three shots.
Finally, Andrew Bynum’s comeback from a knee injury might not be on par (get it?) with Tiger Woods’, but it couldn’t come at a better time for the Los Angeles Lakers. The LOS ANGELES TIMES reports that Bynum looked comfortable and healthy in his return after missing 32 games from a torn MCL, racking up 16 points and seven rebounds in just 21 minutes as the Lakers blew past the Nuggets, 116-102. Which begs the question: Could his injury actually have been a break for the Lakers, as their center is now rested and not worn down by the rigors of a long regular season?
A few weeks ago, we told you about the Fifth-Third, a 4,800 calorie, four-pound burger that is the new entry at the concession stands at West Michigan Whitecaps games. CNBC says that the gut-buster made its debut last night, with 107 of them being sold. Of the 32 people who tried to eat the whole thing, 17 were successful. Lord, I don’t want to know what the toilets looked like around the seventh inning stretch.
(CNBC’s Darren Rovell ponders the glory of the Fifth Third Burger)
LOCKDOWN CORNER says that former Green Bay Packers lineman Syd Kitson is trying to create the world’s most environmentally-friendly city somewhere in Florida. In true Green Bay style, everything is either powered by sharp cheddar cheese, or the light shining off of the still-brilliant aura of Brett Favre.
Speaking of drafts, about the only thing the WNBA does right is take advantage of the one-week period right after the NCAA title game when people still remember that women’s basketball exists to hold their draft. The No. 1 pick? Louisville’s Angel McCoughtry, to the Atlanta Dream.
Remember the kerfuffle caused when Teresa Earnhardt refused to let her stepson Dale Earnhardt Jr. take his No. 8 with him when he left DEI to go to Hendrick Motorsports? I guess karma really is a … you know. FOX SPORTS says the No. 8 car will be permanently parked, as DEI has had to shut down operations on Aric Almirola’s team because of a lack of sponsors.
Yesterday’s least-surprising arrest had to be that of volatile former NBA guard Vernon Maxwell. The GAINESVILLE SUN says he was arrested in Florida Wednesday morning and charged with a probation violation stemming from failure to pay child support.
BALL DON’T LIE has the gripping story not coming to Broadway next fall: “Nellieball: The Musical.” Much like Don Nelson’s teams, it starts off promising but runs out of steam by the final act and falls apart.
Last time we heard about Nebraska tight end Hunter Teafatiller, he was having a party thrown in his “honor” as he was preparing to go to jail on a DUI charge. I guess it’s time to make another keg run in Lincoln, because the AP says he’s been arrested again, this time for driving on a suspended license.
Bless Jay Busbee of FROM THE MARBLES for reminding us that a “reality” series called “NASCAR Wives” will hit the airwaves on TLC on January 24th. (Remember when TLC meant “The Learning Channel” and not “We’ll Do Anything for Quick Cash”? Heck, the most recent name doesn’t even match the acronym. It’s like they’re not even trying.)
(If you can’t even get Jeff Gordon’s wife, what’s the point?)
Participants will include Kevin Harvick’s wife, Jeremy Mayfield’s wife, Mike Skinner’s wife, and Junior’s sister (who might be a wife but, c’mon, that’s a pretty tenuous connection and ruins the entire dramatic tension for us). As Busbee points out, this is totally controlled by NASCAR, so girls will not be going wild. We expect as much action as “Bonds on Bonds”. In fact, what’s Pedro Gomez doing these days? Read more…
So there are two races left in NASCAR’s Chase for the WinstonNextel Sprint Cup and apparently Jimmie Johnson is going to win the thing. He’s got 106-point lead and that’s like an insurmountable lead at this point, or at least that’s what they tell me. I’m not exactly the biggest NASCAR fan in the world, but I have my reasons. One being that it gets kind of boring to watch cars drive in a circle for four hours, and the other reason is for my personal safety.
You see, going to a NASCAR race is pretty dangerous. I mean you can be sitting in your motor home while parked on the infield at the speedway just minding your business, and the next thing you know there’s a bullet coming through your roof and hitting you right in the arm.
The ASSOCIATED PRESS reports there was a VIP grand opening earlier this week for Dale Jr.’s latest business venture, Whisky River. (Guess our invite got lost in the mail.) The bar is located in downtown Charlotte, right across from the Bobcats Arena, and just a few blocks away from the NASCAR Hall of Fame set to open in 2010. Location, location, location!
But some wonder why Dale Jr. would be working so hard on opening a watering hole, when he hasn’t tasted victory in his last 70 races.
The Daytona 500 is fixin’ to get started right about now (2 Eastern, and, um, 3:30 in Newfoundland), but it appears one of the biggest stories is off the track. Yes, Dale Jr. has a new line of merchandise that has fans all atwitter.
The iPhone of NASCAR?
Well, a shirt can’t tell me where the best adult bookstore in Detroit is, or play my favorite Spice Girls b-sides, but I guess if people want to be excited that’s up to them. Read more…