If you’ve watched television the past 48 hours, it’s virtually physically impossible not to have seen a Wrangler commercial featuring Brett Favre.
(Must not be current with their New York periodicals)
With coverage coming from main media outlets and NFL reporters on the NFL’s investigation into alleged inappropriate text messages and voicemails sent by Favre to New York Jets employees, media junkies are seemingly perplexed that Wrangler may actually be increasing the number of Favre ads airing.
Today USA TODAY ran a poll on the subject accompanied with the following copy:
Kind of odd, isn’t it, that Brett Favre’s Wrangler commercial is still running?
… He also still has a presence on the home page of the jeans-maker’s website, despite the questions being asked about whether he crossed the line on sexual harassment.
If you were Wrangler, would you still be running the ad?
On the contrary, USA Today readers who voted in the poll haven’t found it odd that Favre’s Wrangler spot is still in heavy rotation, as 71% agreed with jeans maker’s call not to pull the ad.
I have always thought it’s weird when people bring up the idea of removing steroid-era numbers from baseball’s official record book, as if history can be fixed simply by ignoring it. Say what you want about Barry Bonds or Mark McGwire, but every single home run they hit counted in a real-life Major League Baseball game.
For those of you scoring at home, that’s twice now that John Calipari-helmed teams have seen Final Four runs erased from the books, although in 1996 UMass was only forced to give up its 4-1 NCAA tournament record, and not its entire season, due to Marcus Camby’s indiscretions with an agent. In this case, Memphis’ whole season is being invalidated and Calipari is about to find his coaching resume to be 38 wins lighter.
(This didn’t happen either.)
I suppose it makes sense on some level. If Rose shouldn’t have been eligible to play, then how could any of the team’s wins be valid? But ultimately, this is just a big fat case of “who cares?” Michigan vacated its two runs to the title game with the Fab Five, but what did that accomplish (other than banning the team from the postseason in 2003 for things that happened a decade earlier)? It’s not like they’re giving up anything tangible. The memory of what happened will always be there. Chris Webber isn’t suddenly off the hook for that timeout thing.
“Honestly, I don’t care,” former Memphis guard Antonio Anderson said. “We know what we did. We didn’t do anything wrong, but it is what it is.”
And he’s got a point. The rest of the team didn’t do anything wrong. Even Calipari, it seems, didn’t do anything wrong here. Derrick Rose did allegedly do something wrong, but it’s unlikely that anything is going to happen to him. He, like Camby and Webber, will go on to make tons of money in the NBA while their former teammates are told that their dream college seasons didn’t even happen.
Of course, thus far, only teams that didn’t win the title have had such sanctions levied against them. It will be interesting to see if the NCAA is willing to strip a team of a title and hand it to the runner-up if something like this happens in the future.
(This…yeah, this happened.)
So, remember how (insert contending team here) was crazy not to give up half their team to get Roy Halladay a couple of weeks ago? Well, there are at least two teams that are feeling pretty good about their decision not to mortgage the farm for a short-sighted chance at success.
• English soccer team Burnley, playing its first Premier League home game ever (and first in the top division in 33 years), did the unthinkable last night, shocking Manchester United 1-0 on an awesome volley by veteran Robbie Blake:
• Here’s more details on the odd case of Caster Semenya, who won the women’s 800 meter run by a ridiculous 2 1/2 seconds at the World Championships. She is undergoing what is reportedly an “extremely complex, difficult” set of tests to determine whether or not she is actually a she. A gynecologist is involved, so I imagine that “extremely complex” is an understatement.
On Wednesday night, the Braves and Hohn butted heads again over his strike zone, resulting in yet another ejection for Cox — one that he was baited into when Hohn told Cox he had to eject someone and then pulled out his lineup card to “decide” who to toss. Cox volunteered himself, and then threw up his arms in disbelief when Hohn did it. Moments later, Brian McCann was tossed for asking Hohn to admit he missed a call during his last at bat.
Even so, as egregious as Hohn’s mistakes may have been, it’s easy to dismiss Atlanta’s protests as just your average sour grapes. But then something happened on Wednesday night. When Marlins catcher John Baker caught the final strike in Florida’s 6-3 win over the Braves, he turned around and extended his fist toward Hohn, to which Hohn obliged with a response. Yeah, you heard it right, an umpire actually fist-bumped a player. Here’s the evidence, in animated GIF form. A screenshot of the bumping moment:
Hohn likely didn’t realize how that would look, as Baker was probably just telling Hohn he did a good job (as players will sometimes do after games), but on a night when Hohn ejected the opposing manager for arguing about the strike zone, that was a pretty poor decision. One that probably should earn Hohn a game or two off.
Still fuming, the Braves shook it off last night and beat the Marlins 6-3 on a 10th inning homer by McCann.
Your 2009 trade deadline is just hours away, ladies and gentlemen. J.P. Ricciardi continues to hold firm on a steep price for Roy Halladay, and we’ll see this afternoon just how serious he is about making a deal. Many teams have been in the hunt, but all seem to be unwilling to give up the one key prospect the Jays covet. And since Ricciardi can hold on to Halladay and do this all over again next year, he doesn’t feel that dealing him is a necessity.
(If Nick Punto was your shortstop, this guy would seem like a great option)
The Red Sox are going to to everything they can, though, to shake things up and land either Victor Martinez or Adrian Gonzalez. Gonzalez would be a huge coup for the Sox, as he’s signed through 2010 at about $2.5 million, and his option for 2011 is a very reasonable $5.5 million. I’m not sure, in fact, why the Padres would want to trade him unless they were getting a ton in return (something like Clay Buchholz, Jed Lowrie, and of Boston’s other top two or three prospects, and even that might not seem like enough). Not surprisingly, Jon Heyman has been told the Sox prefer Gonzalez over Martinez. Martinez has a team option for next year at $7 million, is four years older than Gonzalez, and doesn’t OPS anywhere near .929.
Either way, the Sox would have a huge jam with Mike Lowell and Kevin Youkilis competing for time at third base, while the new player would vie for time at first with Adam LaRoche.
• CNBC’s Darren Rovell says that one indication that our economy might be heading the right direction is that golf manufacturer Callaway’s stock price is on the rise on forecasts that club sales may be picking up.
• I’m sure you’ve wanted to punch someone in the face during a game of Monopoly, but somebody finally went through with it. The victim’s crime? An apparent unwillingness to sell Park Place and Boardwalk.
You might have noticed when you were watching Tom Watson’s unlikely run through the Open this weekend that he was sporting a hat for a company called Adams Golf. And while Adams is a well-known brand in the golf community, it’s not exactly on the level of other more popular brands like Nike, Taylor Made, and Callaway. So it was quite an unexpected boon for the brand, whose shares have been trading for less than $3 in recent months on the NASDAQ, but rose more than 18% during the tournament solely based on Watson’s exposure.
The MILWAUKEE JOURNAL-SENTINEL has the tale of a 47-year-old man (who for some reason has been unidentified) who was abandoned at the Kettle Hills Golf Course in suburban Milwaukee by a group of people he referred to as his “uncles.” And when you’re 10 beers into your day, taking the cart home seems like a great idea, even if would take you a week and a half to get there. Luckily the guy was run down by the cops in an extremely low speed chase about a mile from the course. Here’s a map of the 2009 “Tour de Beast Light”:
(In the guy’s defense, he thought he was playing “Tron”)
Originally, when the cop car blew his horn and flashed his lights at the guy, he just pulled over to the shoulder and kept right on driving, as if the only thing he was doing wrong was driving in a lane instead of the shoulder. He eventually pulled over and was charged with operating a vehicle under the influence and for blowing a stop sign on the corner of Route 167 and Route 175.
There’s no word on the whereabouts of the “uncles,” who clearly were not pleased with their nephew for some reason. It appears as if things might have gotten well out of hand before he decided to flee, as the police were called to the course before the crew even finished up their round.
Speaking of deluded men under the influence, it’s not exactly news that Sammy Sosa was juicing all those years, and still not news that Ryne Sandbergsays he doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame. Personally, I think so many guys were ‘roiding it up that the now-sullied stars of the era were still the best players of their generation even if they were artificially enhanced (and pitchers were doing it too). So I’d probably be OK with guys like McGwire, Bonds, and Sosa getting into the Hall someday. But I might be changing my mind on Sosa now that Darren Rovell has discovered that Sammy had his jersey sleeves tapered so that his arms would look bigger:
Courtesy of Rovell’s article:
CNBC confirmed through a source that Sosa did indeed ask for the elastic arm tapering for at least the 2002 season. The source said that he could not remember another player that asked for this specification.
“I don’t know why it would be tapered like that other than it being a purely cosmetic change so that people could see his muscles,”said David Hunt, president of Hunt Auctions.“There doesn’t seem to be any other reason why he’d do it.”
Oh man, that’s just kinda sad. At least Bonds and Big Mac had the courtesy to just take some drugs and mash. Who knows what all Sosa was doing. We now know that he was willing to not only shoot up, but also cork bats AND make his jersey tighter. I wouldn’t be shocked if he somehow found a way to sneak some sort of springy superball into play during his at-bats.
• YOU BEEN BLINDED has video of ESPN’s fantasy guy Matthew Berry f-bombing it up in a faux-interview with a sports comedy duo called 12 ANGRY MASCOTS. He tries waaaaay too hard, but delivers a few decent lines. Not sure how ESPN feels about Berry dropping the phrase “Kosher C***block” on YouTube.
• Did you think last August that Michael Phelps was going to be rendered mostly irrelevant already, while Shawn Johnson would be the one going to every big film premiere? Here’s Shawn at the Transformers premiere:
There was a lot of attention surrounding UConn entering last night’s Sweet 16 matchup with Purdue, and it was all for the wrong reasons. In the midst of an ongoing investigation of the school’s recruitment of now-departed super-stud prospect Nate Miles, no one has received as much heat as UConn’s architect himself, Jim Calhoun.
So what is a Hall of Famer like Calhoun to do? That’s easy: Win the whole thing, then walk away. If Calhoun’s Huskies get out of the gate as well as they did against Purdue last night. Not only did UConn sprint to an 8-0 lead and never look back, the Huskies showed the balance and Hasheem Thabeet-led inside dominance that could lift them back to another national title.
Sure, they’re out West, but with the additional inspiration UConn has received since its exit from the Big East tournament — first Calhoun’s hospitalization, then the Yahoo! investigation — UConn suddenly looks like the biggest beast left in the dance.
Meanwhile, Missouri proved that John Calipari - a past subject of NCAA indiscretions & Calhoun’s scorn after he stole onetime UConn recruit Marcus Camby- still has some work to do if he’s ever going to deliver a national title to the C-USA program he’s taken under his wing. Mizzou did everything that Memphis tries to do — run, trap, press and run some more — except they did it more effectively and efficiently. Even a late heat-check from Tyreke Evans and near-collapse from Mizzou couldn’t resuscitate Memphis, which means that the one team standing between Calhoun and a return trip to the Final Four is Mike Anderson. At least we know what the game plan will be come Saturday: Everybody press! Ready, break!
That wasn’t the case back East, where UConn once assumed it would be, and where No. 1 seed Pittsburgh struggled through another lackluster tourney win. It’s certainly not what Pitt fans will want to hear, but the Panthers just don’t seem to be clicking on all cylinders. In fact, one could argue that Pitt hasn’t played on its top speed since knocking off UConn … again … near the end of the regular season. In fact, let’s run the gauntlet of recent Pitt performances: Lost to West Virginia in Big East tournament, underwhelmed in beating No. 16 seed, trailed No. 8 seed Oklahoma State throughout much of second-round win, then eked past a Xavier team that should have been completely overwhelmed.
If that sounds like Pitt has set the table for a suddenly hot Villanova team to swoop in a steal a ticket to the Final Four, well, maybe they have. The Wildcats smoked a Duke team that was finally exposed at the point, with streaky shooters and with no semblance of a legitimate interior game. Perhaps not surprisingly, Duke again rolled snake eyes in the tournament because it was over-reliant on outside shooting and couldn’t stop a deep set of athletic guards and swingmen. Let’s see, Virginia Commonwealth (Eric Maynor), West Virginia (Joe Alexander), anyone in the Villanova starting lineup. Hmmm, anyone else see a pattern?
But there were other sports outside of the tournament right? Well, we suppose.
We’ve seen plenty of big sports stars in bad movies in the past — Kazaam comes to mind, no? — but none may be worse than the upcoming flick Never Surrender, which features Quinton Rampage Jackson, Anderson Silva, Heath Herring, and Georges St. Pierre and B.J. Penn.
This is just made for a bad-karma jinx. They’re plenty of points away from clinching a division title, but you can already get your hands on Washington Capitals Southeast Division Championship gear if you know where to look.
Speaking of the Caps, coach Bruce Boudreau is more than sick of people bitching about Alex Ovechkin’s celebration of his 50th goal. He can’t even take it anymore.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell can always be counted on for bringing us insightful, hard-hitting news from the world of sports business, as you’re about to see. And while he’s usually leading the pack, Rovell is bringing up the rear today. Or, rather bringing us the rear:
Beach volleyball has basically given up on the notion that people are watching for the sport. I mean, it’s 2-on-2 volleyball. It’s just badminton with sand. So they’ve clearly decided which direction to go now that the game’s most recognizable duo, Misti May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh, are out of the picture for the time being.
Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank is one of the most powerful politicians in the country, serving as head of the House Financial Services Committee. And lately, he’s been one of the more outspoken critics of banks receiving bailout money paying big bucks for corporate sponsorships, complaining to the NEW YORK TIMES about Citigroup’s 20-year, $400 million stadium naming deal with the Mets that “marketing expenses should be for real marketing, not ego boosts, which is what I think naming rights are.”
Which is a reasonable position to take; I don’t know if I agree with his assessment that no one “has ever opened a bank account or decided to buy a CD because a bank’s name is on the stadium” - if that’s the case, why do any marketing at all - but it’s a valid point. Of course, when you read Darren Rovell’s column on CNBC today, you start to get a sense that his motives might not be so pure.