Lakers Home Opener: Thoughts From Third Row

With the Artest sign and the KhlOdom debacle, I’ve never looked forward to a Lakers season so much.

Kim Kardashian putting makeup on Josh Powell's daughters after Lakers game

(One reason I find the Lakers so delightful. Obligatory Josh Powell wife pic.)

What will cause the Lakers a bigger distraction this season?

View Results

Last night, thanks to a good friend, I was third row. Which means I was closer to the court than the Kardashians. Read more…

SbB@3: Terrible Seats For A Terribler Economy

You! Yes, you, with the comically small amount of money! Would you like to attend an actual “sporting event” with “nationally recognized teams” and the possibility of seeing a “professional sports superstar”? Fret not! SbB@3 will put you in the cheapest seats imaginable, so you can have the privilege of squinting at millionaires who gave up on their season… often before it even began!

SbB's (Blocked) View From The Week's Cheap(est) Seats

Our first special sporting event comes from sunny Los Angeles, the city where even the ugly people are beautiful. There resides sporting’s pre-eminent international man of intrigue, David Beckham. What would you pay to watch the superstar reinvent the sport of soccer for this great country? $500? $1,000? $55,000? Nay, nay, and nay!

Read more…

93,136 Pack Rose Bowl For Galaxy-Barca Match

One of the greatest misconceptions about sports in this country is that Americans don’t like soccer. Vocal contrarian sportswriters love to perpetuate that misconception from their columns, and xenophobic Americans follow suit, ever skeptical of things “not from around here.” Admittedly, it’s not always easy to follow the sport’s top leagues from halfway around the world, but if there’s one thing Americans have proved time and time again, it’s that they do in fact enjoy the beautiful game…when it’s being played well.

David Beckham Thierry Henry

That’s why minor leagues in any sport always struggle to survive, and why many fans are lukewarm about the game in this country. Too often, Americans who want to watch soccer are forced to watch third-rate athletes compete in fourth-rate stadia. Last night, though, 93,137 fans packed the Rose Bowl and proved once again that they will flock to the game when it’s played at the highest levels as Barcelona FC beat the LA Galaxy 2-1.

Read more…

Speed Read: Lance Follows Watson Into Sunset

Sigh. Just 24 hours ago, the idea of Tom Watson winning the British Open and Lance Armstrong winning the Tour de France didn’t seem all that far-fetched. In fact, we were all starting to believe that it all had to happen. Why would they come this far just to fail in the end?

Tom Watson

Much has been written about Watson’s inability to hang on to a one-shot lead on the 18th at Turnberry, but lost in that shuffle was the news that Armstrong has basically conceded the Tour to his teammate Alberto Contador after falling behind in yesterday’s climb in the Alps. While Lance is still second overall, he finished ninth in yesterday’s stage and looks like he’s not going to be able to keep up as the Tour continues through the mountains over the next week.

Armstrong is trying to take the high road in pledging that he will do whatever he can to help Contador keep the yellow jersey until the end, but Contador couldn’t resist smacking Lance with a rather large verbal backhand:

“Lance Armstrong was my idol, but dropping him today wasn’t important — he was just like any other rider … It’s an honor for me to have him working for me,” Contador said.

In other words, this is my sport now.  Armstrong, who is rumored to be starting his own team for next year, acknowledged that Contador was the best rider and that his goal now is to do what’s best for his team.

Alberto Contador

Wins by Watson and/or Armstrong would have probably ended up being the biggest sports stories of the year, if not among the best of the decade. These examples of the triumph of the spirit over the limitations of the body as we age are a shot in the arm of a lot of us could use. For the most part, we are faced every day with some reminder that we aren’t all we could be, and we accept it because we’re getting older. It’s the most convenient excuse, and perhaps the fact that they came up just short is enough evidence for us to keep using it. Golf and cycling are about as far apart in terms of their physical demands as you can get in the sports world. But the fact that a 59-year-old and a 37-year-old cancer survivor could come so close to reaching the pinnacle of their respective sports one last time has to be some sort of wake up call for the rest of us, right?

lance armstrong tour de france

Speaking of wake up calls (and I hate to keep bringing this up), but it looks as if the nails are just about to be driven in the coffin of David Beckham’s MLS career. In his first home game since his return to the Galaxy, he was roundly booed and got into an angry confrontation with a fan during L.A.’s friendly with AC Milan (Beckham’s other team).

beckham signs

Though he claimed afteward that he expected some negativity, it was clear through his behavior that he didn’t expect it to be quite as overwhelming as it was. The main culprits were the Riot Squad, the Galaxy’s version of a wannabe European fan section. As you can see, they aren’t too happy that Becks backed out on the first half of the MLS season to play in Italy:

beckham signs

After hearing boos and coordinated chants and jeers throughout the first half, Beckham finally had enough and confronted the section of fans as he headed off the field for halftime. He says he went to ask them to calm down, but soon security was getting involved and escorting away a fan who appeared as if he wanted to engage Becks in some sort of physical altercation. The L.A. TIMES has all the particulars of a strange evening at the Home Depot Center.

Lost in all of the tension was the fact that Beckham actually played well, and was instrumental in both of L.A.’s goals in a 2-2 draw with Milan. After he delivered a perfect corner kick in the second half that Bryan Jordan headed into the net, he turned to the Riot Squad and stared them down as he raised his arms in celebration. I imagine that this battle isn’t quite over yet, even though Beckham tried to downplay it in his remarks afterward:

By the way, Los Angeles, way to treat your sports stars. You welcome Manny Ramirez, a proven cheater, back from his suspension as if he was returning from chemotherapy or something, but you get all over this guy. Nice.

Roy Halladay dominated the Red Sox yesterday, throwing a complete-game in a 3-1 victory in what could be his last start in Toronto. So where’s he going? Philly? Milwaukee? The South Side? The North Side? Anaheim? Mannywood? St. Louis? Minnesota? Texas? Seattle is apparently bucking the trend by admitting they aren’t interested.

• From the world of minor league baseball promotions, here’s footage of Chewbacca riding around in the Mystery Machine at a single-A game in Lowell, Massachusetts:

• More from the world of minor league baseball promotions: The Brooklyn Cyclones dedicated last night’s game to preganancy, complete with a pregame Lamaze class, and the promise of free tickets for life to anyone who names their kid “Brooklyn” or “Cy.”

The Mets have lost yet another player to injury, and are dangerously close to having to go out and sign Jose Lima again, and nobody wants to see that. Unless his wife shows up for his starts:

Jose Lima Wife

• 5,000 people showed up to see the groundbreaking for the new Marlins stadium, and their view was blocked by the families of the dignitaries involved in the ceremony. Now, if they could only get 5,000 people to show up for an actual Marlins game…

• Hey, so how about that really thrilling PGA tournament that ended in a playoff yesterday? That was some pretty great stuff. Wait, who’s Bo Van Pelt? Milwaukee? What’s going on here?

• With Tom Watson coming so close to winning the British Open, even a guy who survived four surgeries on a brain tumor thinks he’s good enough to come back and play next year.

Henry Surtees, the 18-year-old son of former Formula 1 champion John Surtees, died yesterday from injuries suffered in a freak accident during a Formula 2 race in England. A tire from another racer’s car flew off and hit Surtees in the head, causing him to lose consciousness and drive his car straight into a barrier.

• First, Tony Romo lost Jessica Simpson. Now, he lost a celebrity golf tournament to Rick Rhoden, who won the tournament in Lake Tahoe for the eighth time. Charles Barkley finished last, falling behind Chuck Liddell and Kevin Nealon on the last day.

Charles Barkley golfing

Mike Mussina took the mound for the first time at the new Yankee Stadium yesterday. Of course, it was old-timers’ day, so I guess that means he’s retired. He is, by the way, the last Yankee pitcher to win a game against the Red Sox.

• Maybe the reason that the Pirates gave a bit of an insulting extension offer to Jack Wilson is because they realize that, despite his defensive brilliance, he’s an absolutely atrocious offensive player. Like, along the lines of Yuniesky Betancourt. But I’m not sure I give Neal Huntington that much credit.

Whose win would have been more stunning?

View Results

Speed Read: Turnberry Getting Its Revenge Today

After a day that saw the lowest opening round ever at the British Open Championship and a 59-year-old dude lapping Turnberry like it’s a pitch-and-putt, it appears that the golf gods are turning the screws on the field today. Let’s put it this way, Tiger Woods has moved up more than 20 spots on the leaderboard so far today by not playing golf.

Tom Watson

(It’s been 32 years since we’ve seen this much arm hair and a Claret Jug in the same photo)

Tiger will tee off shortly, and he’ll do so on a damp, dreary, and (most importantly) windy day on the Scottish shoreline. Tom Watson (pictured above) is already out on the course, looking to build on his improbable 65. Yesterday’s clubhouse leader, Miguel Angel Jimenez, has already dropped four shots on the front nine as of press time. His ridiculous ponytail is threatening to blow into the ocean as we speak.

Miguel Angel Jimenez

Ben Curtis was one of three players who started the day one behind, but he’s fallen off the map, firing a brutal 80 and falling all the way to a tie for 108th in the process. Others who have gone completely in the tank today are Mike Weir, Ian Poulter, Hunter Mahan, and US Open champ Lucas Glover. And John Daly looks just as ridiculous wearing this in Scotland as he does over here:

John Daly

American Steve Marino is one of the only players who has negotiated the course well so far, following a first-round 67 with a 68 today. At 5-under, Marino might find himself playing in the final group on Saturday if the wind continues to howl during this afternoon’s play. Marino has never won on the PGA Tour and never even played in an Open. Japan’s Kenichi Kuboya has gone to 6-under as I write this, but he’s still early in his round and may have come back to earth by the time you read this.

Dan Marino

(No, no, *Steve* Marino)

David Beckham made his long-awaited return to the MLS last night for the L.A. Galaxy. Well, it was at least a mildly-awaited return. Alright, let’s be honest, if Landon Donovan hadn’t called the guy out in that book would anyone even know he was back? The citizens of the New York metro area certainly didn’t seem to care that much, as only 23,000 or so showed up to see the Galaxy beat up on the hapless Red Bulls.

Beckham and Donovan

Not surprisingly, Beckham looked slow and tired, as he hadn’t played in a match since the end of May. Donovan scored once and assisted on another goal, and Beckham attempted to bury the hatchet once and for all by bro-hugging him all the way down the field as they celebrated Landon’s goal.

But the tepid response to Beckham’s return was the real story. Just a year ago, Beckham drew more than 46,000 fans out to the Meadowlands, which was down from the 66,000+ who came in 2007. He clearly prefers playing in Europe and living in Europe, so what’s the point now? He has run his course here, and his continued presence is just going to become an embarrassment for all involved — AEG for overestimating the Beckham brand in America, MLS for not shedding American pro soccer’s reputation of only drawing international stars after they’re washed up, and Beckham himself, who is going to have to deal with playing in front of 12,000 people in Kansas City and pretending that he’s happy to be there.

So when is the plug pulled for good? The Galaxy have friendly matches coming up with AC Milan (his other team) and Champions League winners Barcelona, as well as 12 more league matches that stretch into late October. European leagues start at the end of August. Is he going to want to stick around here when he could be getting “better prepared” for next year’s World Cup elsewhere? And more importantly, does anyone really care if he stays or goes?

David Beckham

• OK, so how did U.S. Ski Team member Cody Marshall suffer a serious head injury?

A) Training hard for the upcoming Olympics.

B) Riding the railing of an escalator in the mall like a 12-year-old.

Do I need to even answer this for you? Perhaps the biggest problem was that the escalator wasn’t even turned on.

•  Nice timing for the big celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe this weekend. I mean, it’s not like there’s another important golf tournament going on or anything. I guess if Tiger tanks it today everyone can take solace in being able to watch Charles Barkley shoot 110.

Adam Morrison has finally found a league he can dominate — the NBA summer league in Vegas. The LA TIMES caught up with him there. Seriously, though, the guy has taken a beating just about everywhere so it would be a great story if he could somehow turn himself into a useful NBA player.

• The Jazz are planning on matching the Blazers’ offer to restricted free agent Paul Millsap, which ESPN says might help facilitate a trade that would send Carlos Boozer to Chicago and Kirk Hinrich to Portland.

Ronnie Milsap

(No, no, *Paul* Millsap. It’s not even spelled the same.)

• Remember the good old days when Dominican baseball prospects just lied about their age? Now they don’t even use their real names. The Yankees are the latest team to have apparently been duped by a prospect from the D.R. SPORTS ILLUSTRATED says they signed who they thought was 16-year-old shortstop Damian Arredondo to an $850,000 bonus, but they have been informed by MLB’s Department of Investigations that not only is he not really 16, but he’s also not really Damian Arredondo. Whoever he is, the Yankees don’t have to pay him the bonus and the player is now banned from being offered a contract by another team for a year.

• More evidence that Rich Rodriguez might not be working out in Ann Arbor? An offensive lineman who has left the program to transfer to Ball State says this: “They were bringing in a lot of different kids that were not my kind of crowd. Coach Carr’s staff was a whole different ballgame. It was like a family. But when Rodriguez came in it was a whole different feeling. It was more of a business.”

Ricky Williams would like to give you a body massage.

• That car that Stan Musial rode around in at the All-Star Game the other night was a Ford. And, since we all know that “this is oooouuurrrr coouuuntryyyy” and Chevy owns our souls during baseball telecasts, they had to actually put tape over the Ford logo. Maybe that’s why the guy driving was so surly the whole time (thanks UNI WATCH).

Stan Musial

• The MIAMI HERALD was trumpeting the Marlins-Phillies series that began last night at (shudder) Land Shark Stadium, saying that crowds of “upwards of 30,000″ were expected for the series. Actual attendance last night: 15,171. But look at the bright side — that’s 15,000 fewer people to be embarrassed by watching their team get one-hit by a 46-year-old.

Ryan Howard hit his 200th career homer last night in his 658th game, the fewest ever for someone to reach the milestone. The previous record holder was Ralph Kiner, who did it in 706 games.

• Everybody’s talking about the dress Erin Andrews wore to the ESPY Awards, but Natalie Gulbis was looking pretty nice herself:

Natalie Gulbis

Has the David Beckham MLS “experiment” been a success?

View Results

Speed Read: Pics Of Gatti’s Wife, Murder Weapons

We mentioned this weekend that former champion boxer Arturo Gatti’s wife Amanda Rodrigues was being held in connection with his death while the couple were on a second honeymoon. While it’s up to Brazilian prosecutors to file the actual murder charges, the police seem pretty sure that Rodrigues is guilty - sure enough to declare that it “technically impossible” for someone else to have been in the room when Gatti was killed, and as YOU BEEN BLINDED has visual evidence of, showcase the bloody strap and knife they say Rodrigues used to kill her husband.

Amanda Rodrigues

We’re also learning more about Rodrigues, like the fact that she’s a 23-year-old former stripper - in fact, they met at an “exotic” club in Brazil. (And I don’t want to know how “exotic” things can get in a Brazilian strip club - I just hope that jaguars aren’t involved.) And she had received a restraining order against him earlier this year that required him to stay 200 meters away from her and quit drinking.

Needless to say, while this is a tragedy, perhaps it’s not a shock. After all, Gatti’s sister is claiming that Rodrigues had planned to murder him and was only in it for the money. Meanwhile, Rodrigues’ lawyers are apparently going to claim that she is “too skinny” to have strangled Gatti to death. Which would make sense if they claim he was conscious when this happened, not passed out after a night of drinking (and possibly getting stabbed in the back of the head).

In less messy and horrific news, you may think the Home Run Derby is at best a pointless exhibition that tarnishes baseball by reducing it to its basest level (MASH BALL HARD) while ignoring the subtleties the make the game so enjoyable. You many even possibly consider it a major factor in the rise of the Steroid Era. Or, you might just enjoy seeing some of the game’s biggest names blast the living bejeezus out of the ball while drinking enough to ignore the infernal booth combo that is Chris Berman and Steve Phillips.

Prince Fielder

While last night’s edition at Busch Stadium didn’t have the transcendent moments of, say, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa hitting rubber baseballs with Flubber cores out of Fenway Park, or Josh Hamilton hitting 500 home runs in one round, it was entertaining enough. And while the hometown crowd might have been disappointed with their hero Albert Pujols bowing out in the semifinals, they seemed to enjoy the show that Prince Fielder put on in winning the event.

Maybe the newly vegetarian Fielder was following Pujols’ lead from when the Cardinals slugger blew out the “i” in the “Big Mac Land” sign in the Busch Stadium outfield deck earlier this season - with his goal to bring the whole sign down to punish McDonald’s for their carnivore ways. No matter what the reason, Fielder had enough in the tank to hold off Nelson Cruz (again, I said “some” of the game’s biggest names) in the finals after bombing an event-best 503-foot blast in the semis.

And then there was poor Brandon Inge, who had been so excited to be a part of the Home Run Derby that he said it was bigger than actually making his first All-Star team. I’m guessing he didn’t feel the same way after becoming the first batter since Jason Bay in 2005 to take a donut in the first round - or as my friends used to call it, “Posting a Piazza” (named after Mike Piazza, who went 0-for-his career with blanks in 1993 and 1994).

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Clippers might be ready to make a move that could either turn them into playoff contenders or…OK, let’s be honest, it’s not possible to ruin the Clippers, so what harm could come from Allen Iverson joining the team? Marcus Camby played with A.I. in Denver, and he’s on board with the idea, with PRO BASKETBALL NEWS saying that he’s willing to help recruit Iverson to the team. Even Eric Gordon is OK with it, even if that means losing playing time in a backcourt with Iverson and Baron Davis.

Allen Iverson

The one person not too hip on Allen Iverson right now in Los Angeles seems to be Ron Artest, whose opinion doesn’t matter too much since he’s now playing for the Lakers. Plus, he’s totally nuts. But his Tweet that Iverson is “missing more shots than Muhammad Ali with a sniper rifle” is pretty damned good.

Still, Iverson could provide the veteran leadership and role model that Blake Griffin could use as he establishes himself in the NBA - and he might be a force, based on his NBA Summer League debut of 27 points and 12 rebounds versus the Lakers yesterday. Except for that whole “practice” thing.

More sports news as you ponder if the Tour of Germany will get more interest now that a German brothel is offering discounts for bicyclists:

  • Have you seen Terrell Owens’ ad for his reality show where he’s “artfully” posing nude? EXAMINER.COM has, and it’s “tastefully” making me want to be sick.
  • Nude Terrell Owens

  • Hey kids, want to spend money to get football lessons from Andre Rison? After all, he told the ALTOONA MIRROR that he’ll spend the second day showing you his highlights so he can “really let them know, in my eyes, I was the best to ever play the game.” And parents, if you think Andre Rison is a good role model, I’m coming to your house with Child Protective Services.
  • As usual, more chaos coming from the Oakland Raiders: PRO FOOTBALL TALK reports that they’ve cut sixth-round draft pick Stryker Sulak before even signing him to a contract, which a league source says he’s “never seen happen before.” Meanwhile, Raiders blog JUST BLOG BABY thinks that PFT is making a big deal out of nothing.
  • I didn’t mention the Celebrity Softball game that was part of the MLB All-Star festivities. I’ll just show you the final out, where Ashanti managed to make the type of play to end the game that makes coed softball a nightmare for most guys. She should consider herself lucky that Bob Knight didn’t piledrive her at first:

  • David Beckham swears that his spat with Landon Donovan is a thing of the past as Golden Balls returns to practice with the Los Angeles Galaxy. In related news, Landon Donovan was found dead in his Home Depot Center dressing room, with a six-inch stilleto heel in his eyeball as Victoria Beckham was seen leaving.
  • The Chicago Blackhawks want to thank GM Dale Tallon for putting together a team that got to the Western Conference finals this season - by giving him a severance check and making sure the door doesn’t hit his butt on the way out the door. Reports says that assistant GM Stan Bowman will replace him.
  • USA TODAY says that the NFL could lead the fight to stop Delaware from legalizing sports gambling. Looks like Dover’s shot at getting an expansion team just went out the window.
  • Former Tennessee Titans player and HS football coach Reed Diehl has pleaded guilty to defrauding nine people of more than $5 million in a fradulent loan program scam.
  • If anyone is interested in an 34-year-old quarterback who was never really that great in his prime, please call Brian Griese - he’s available after being cut by the Bucs.
  • Former MLBer Billy Koch has been arrested after a 2 a.m. altercation with his next-door neighbor. The ironic part? The neighbor had grabbed a baseball bat in an unsuccessful attempt to defend himself.

Which division-leading team at the All-Star break won’t make the playoffs?

View Results

71-Yr-Old Ex-Boxer Brutalizes Would-Be Burglar

• A 71-year-old former boxing champ beats & bruises a 23-year-old knife-wielding would-be burglar. The kid should’ve stayed off his lawn.

Frank Corti Gregory McCalium

• The New York Mets get on the bus and stop a 5-game losing streak. Too bad their next bus stop ended up at a Furries convention.

Landon Donovan releasing new book that bashes David Beckham.

• A Cubs fan vows to go on a semi-hunger strike until the Baby Bears win 5 in a row. It was nice knowing ya, pal.

• It’s like the old saying goes: Mexican midget wrestlers & hookers just don’t mix.

Read more…

Landon Donovan Rips David Beckham A New One

Landon Donovan is the face of U.S. Soccer: talented but underachieving, too good for MLS but not good enough to the top European leagues. David Beckham is the face of what US Soccer would like to become. The two have always been at odds in that sense, but never more overtly or more publicly than now.

Landon Donovan David Beckham

Donovan rips his L.A. Galaxy teammate in a new book, calling him lazy, selfish and disloyal. And oh, by the way, that book is scheduled to come out two days before Beckham’s long-awaited return to MLS in front of a passionate and knowledgeable New York crowd. You wanted a spectacle, MLS? You got one.

Read more…

Michael Jackson’s Death Sends Beckham Away?

Michael Jackson’s death has reverberated across the world, having untold and unexpected effects across the nation.  For example, his death might be the best child support he could have ever offered as the children will “earn a tremendous amount of money over the next 12 to 18 months given the outpouring (of support through album purchases), and he won’t be spending.”

David Beckham Michael Jackson

(”Beat it.”)

Even though Jackson once held the honorary chairmanship of an English soccer team, it’s unlikely David Beckham could have ever predicted that the passing of the King of Pop could likely mark the end of the ill-fated attempt by the Beckhams to take over America and raise the level of popularity of the sport on this side of the Atlantic.

Read more…

Speed Read: NBC, NHL Screw Local Hockey Fans

One of the most jarring aspects of the Stanley Cup finals, other than the ease with which the Red Wings dispatched the Penguins on Sunday night to push the series to 3-2, has been NBC’s hardball with fans in Detroit and Pittsburgh. For the duration of the playoffs, both teams have been able to hold massive viewing parties in and outside their arenas. It was such a wonderful, organic expression of the communal nature of fandom that it was basically destined to be ruined by business in short order.

JoeVision Detroit Red Wings
(Thousands of fans watching the game with each other? Nope, can’t have this!)

And lo, in stepped NBC, stopping the broadcasts. As HOCKEYBUZZ.COM reported, initially, they blamed the NHL, despite the NHL’s assertion that that was quite not the case. Then came the truth, that it was a business decisions (all the crappy ones are), and their “business is ratings driven.” CRAIN’S DETROIT BUSINESS has the, ahem, money quote:

A near-sellout of Joe Louis could shave a ratings point off the local television ratings measurement, and such ratings are used to establish advertising rates.

So to that, if the all-important ratings model can’t deal with 8-10 thousand people watching a show in one place on one screen, you know what? The ratings model is completely worthless.  Seriously. How can NBC or Nielsen not figure out what to do with a giant honking party of some of the most hardcore fans all watching one screen? Is that really a deal-breaker?

And if so, if they’re really curious as to what the ratings would look like if everyone stays home, away from the shared community aspect from which most of the value of a ticket to a game is derived, there’s a really easy answer to all of this. You ready? Dick Ebersol, you taking notes?

All NBC has to do is announce that in exchange for showing the game outside both arenas, attending fans have to fill out a simple, anonymous survey about where they would otherwise watch a game (their place or someone else’s), with how many people, and whatever other information the network needs to most closely approximate what ratings would look like. Use that and Nielsen data to extrapolate what the final ratings would be with that many eyes on a TV, and adjust. That’s it. Easy.

This is a rare, rare opportunity for the NHL and NBC. At no other point are they ever going to be able to get this kind of a free pool of television watchers from whom they can mine valuable demographic information. Forcing them back into their homes and away from a group of thousands of like-minded, passionate fans for the sake of moving a needle one or two points does the city, fanbase, and team a disservice. It’s so easy to work around. Figure it out.

Speaking of soccer [I thought we were talking about hockey. No, I’m dead certain of it.–ed.] [Shut up.–AJ] [You have problems.–ed.], UEFA just got a seismic news flash as Real Madrid, evidently furious at having seen FC Barca take the title, has bought the contract of Kaka from AC Milan. Too bad UEFA contract holder SETANTA SPORTS probably won’t survive to see him in the new kit.

Kaka Kiss
(This is where we mention Kaka’s wife and fine whatever you’re all perverts.)

Kaka, a sensational striker from the one-word-name factory that is Brazil, will reportedly command a 6-year, $94 million contract. That’s enough to make it the most expensive in soccer’s history, barely beating out Zinedine Zidane’s 6-year, $65 million deal with Juventus from eight years ago. Meanwhile, David Beckham is running around for a crappy MLS team in Los Angeles for 30 cents on the dollar and going home to a bag of antlers with oversized sunglasses and the “I’m married, but still vain” haircut straight from Jon & Kate + 8. Sic transit gloria mundi: Glory is fleeting.

We mentioned Andrew Thomas Gallo, the man accused of killing Angels rookie Nick Adenhart and two others in a drunk driving collision, yesterday. Gallo pled not guilty to murder, drunk driving, and fleeing the scene of an accident charges yesterday. Great.

Nick Adenhart Killed In Hit and Run Accident
(No, nothing criminal led to this. No way.)

But as we (rightfully) focus on the three people killed far before their time, we should point out that one passenger in Adenhart’s car, 24-year-old Jon Wilhite, has, in fact, survived the crash that left him in critical condition (via the RIVERSIDE PRESS-ENTERPRISE). Wait, that doesn’t appropriately convey the gravity of what happened. He survived internal decapitation.

As MANOLITH explains, internal decapitation, which is exactly as horrifying and life-threatening as it sounds, happens when the skull detaches from the spinal column. It’s usually fatal. Wilhite somehow survived without total paralysis, which is unbelievably rare, and he’s now in rehab with the help of several major leaguers. He’s got a long way to go, but he’s on the right track.

Since we need to get back on a higher note, here are some more links to consider while you’re riding in a cab with former Beach Boy Brian Wilson:

Nick Collison Red Afro
(Yes.)

What do the Raiders need the most on offense?

View Results