Video: Dustin Pedroia Swings a Mean Photon Beam

Last I saw comedic timing this fine, Bob Newhart was opening for Andy Williams at the Aladdin.


Or was it Jerry Clower for Jerry Reed in Branson?

Speed Read: Married MLBer Asked Out An Intern?

This isn’t what you would call the most eventful week in sports. In fact, tonight is one of the only nights all year when none of the major sports are playing regular-season games (yeah, there’s the whole Home Run Derby thing, but we’ll get to that later). I mean, I’m almost forced to lead with news about Brett Favre exhibiting to the Vikings that he is, in fact, capable of throwing a football. But who cares about that, when we can discuss a blind item about a married baseball player hitting on an intern?

Jenn Sterger Alyssa Milano

(Do either of these two count as an “intern” of anything?)

According to the HOUSTON CHRONICLE, a married MLB player approached an intern who was working for an unnamed media outlet at Houston’s Minute Maid Park, gave her his phone number, then asked her to go out with him to a club after the game. The intern then proceeded to brag about it to everyone she knew by posting the player’s name in a Facebook status update. But CHRONICLE writer Jose de Jesus Ortiz has chosen to be all “ethical” and withhold the name and team, only mentioning that it was in a “recent” game and not a member of the Astros.

Of course, it should come as no surprise that there are some athletes out there running around on their wives. But, there’s nothing else going on so let’s try to figure this out. Our first clue is that the three most recent teams to make a trip to Houston were Washington, Pittsburgh, and Detroit. We should also assume that this player is somewhat famous, because why would somebody brag on Facebook about getting someone like Bobby Seay’s phone number? (That’s just as a hypothetical example.)

Our second clue, as mentioned in the blog post, is that the intern went to a “large, prominent university near his team’s hometown.” To me, the key here is “near.” That eliminates Pittsburgh in my mind (Pitt is, obviously, in Pittsburgh so the “near” part is out, and Penn State and West Virginia are too far away). Washington would make sense because the University of Maryland is close (and even UVA is somewhat nearby), but Detroit also fits the bill, with Ann Arbor just a short drive away. Since Ortiz had time to notify the mentors of the young lady in question about her behavior, and the Nats had just arrived in town on Thursday, I’m not sure this whole story would’ve had time to run its course with a Washington player. I’m leaning toward this being a member of the Tigers.

HOW-EVAHHHH (that’s a little Stephen A. for you), not accusing anyone of anything, but it’s interesting to note that Adam Dunn is a married father who happens to be from Houston and was there this weekend (and is the only member of the Nats anyone has ever heard of). Again, just stating facts.

Moving on, while the Cardinals were splitting a doubleheader with the Cubs in Chicago, St. Louis was hosting All-Star festivities that included the Futures Game and the Celebrity Softball Game. And it all almost didn’t happen. After the World took their turn at bat in the top of the first inning of the Futures Game, the game went into a rain delay…for four hours.

futures game rain delay

(If the rain delay went any longer, these two would’ve been old enough to play in the game.)

When things finally got back underway at about 6:30, it was decided that they’d only play seven innings. The World team rallied from a 5-3 deficit in the top of the final inning and went on to win 7-5. Then it was time for the main event.

The Celebrity Softball Game is one of those things that sounds good on paper, but never really makes for good viewing. Perhaps that’s because MTV set the bar so high with their Rock ‘N Jock games of the mid-’90s. Would it kill you to make Bill Bellamy and Dan Cortese honorary managers, MLB?

Rock N Jock

(I was a big Awayboys fan. Those Homeboys were just so infuriatingly smug.) 

Now, I’ve only seen the highlight package shown on MLB.COM (the game will be shown on ESPN after the Home Run Derby tonight), but it appears as if the game might be able to overcome the hokey commentating of Gary Thorne and a contrived “umpire argument” by NL first baseman Bobby Knight with the notion of getting to watch Jenna Fischer and Annie Wersching play softball for an hour.

Jenna Fischer

(We can only hope Jenna was wearing this during the game)

I’m not sure which team won, or who was on what team, but you know the game is a sham when Vince Coleman (The Juan Pierre of the ’80s) is homering off of Goose Gossage. I’d give Andy Richter and Nelly better odds of going yard than Coleman…oh wait, they both actually homered also. Ashanti apparently celebrated grounding into a fielder’s choice, and Shawn Johnson predictably did a floor routine to first base when Lee Smith walked her.

Vince Coleman

(Admit it, if you’re between the ages of 30 and 35, you had at least one of these in a card protector 20 years ago, and now it’s worth more as a heat source than as a collector’s item.)

While you count down the hours until you can see Billy Bob Thornton turn into an RBI machine, here are some links to get you through the day:

Manny Acta’s All-Star break has just become indefinite, as he’s been fired as manager of the Nationals. When Jason Marquis has won half as many games as your entire team has to this point, that’s probably grounds for getting dismissed.

• Some Cub fans aren’t really happy about Marvin Hudson’s strike zone in the 9th inning of last night’s game with the Cardinals:

Marvin Hudson wikipedia

Dustin Pedroia is going to skip the All-Star Game to spend time with his wife Kelli, who is having some troubles with her pregnancy. Luckily, there was a member of the Rays available for Joe Maddon to pick for the team. And while Carlos Pena is a nice pick and all (he leads the league in homers), the AL now has only one true second baseman on its roster (Aaron Hill’s going to play the whole game?).

• The CHICAGO TRIBUNE has a photo essay of Cubs who have had bizarre injuries, in honor of Ryan Dempster, who broke his toe hopping over the dugout railing the other day. Beware of clicking on #10. I had forgotten about that one, and wish I hadn’t been reminded.

• Let’s give it up for the hot mom who made a spectacular diving play on a ground ball in foul territory at the Giants game in San Francisco yesterday:

• The Mets hadn’t hit a home run at home since June 26th, so perhaps fans should be forgiven for booing when the home run apple didn’t come out of its top hat after Fernando Tatis went deep yesterday.

Phil Ivey and former champions Peter Eastgate and Joe Hachem are the biggest poker names left of the 185 players still alive for the World Series of Poker main event title. They are joined by former minor-league hockey enforcer Eric Cloutier and, of all people, Lou Diamond Phillips. Day 6 gets underway at noon Vegas time, and can be followed at POKERNEWS.COM.

• THE HARDBALL TIMES tackles the myth that participants in the Home Run Derby decline after participating.

• The Derby is really the only thing going in the world of sports tonight, and we should all remember that it might not exist if not for Mark Scott, the broadcaster who came up with the idea back in 1959, when he produced and hosted the syndicated show Home Run Derby — a weekly head-to-head contest featuring two MLB sluggers. The show (which was rerun on ESPN and now is on DVD) is cool, if for no other reason than it’s one of the only ways for people from my generation to actually see footage of guys like Hank Aaron and Willie Mays swinging the bat. It was only on for one year because Scott died from a heart attack in 1960. Here’s part of an episode featuring Aaron and Duke Snider:

Ana Ivanovic is appearing in the August issue of VOGUE, and one photo has been leaked (what’s up with the huge white border?):

Ana Ivanovic

Who ya got in the Home Run Derby?

View Results

Dustin Pedroia: MVP, Champion, Financial Advisor

Give Dustin Pedroia credit: he likes to have some fun with a camera on him. He’s not much of an actor (and was quite noticeably outclassed in that awesome MLB ‘09 commercial), but he’s, y’know, out there.

Dustin Pedroia
(Alcohol, for one, is not a solid investment. But buy some anyway.)

It naturally follows, then (no it doesn’t), that Pedroia would start filming web spots with financial information for a local bank in Boston. While he’s (probably) not going to pull a Dykstra and waste his earnings in spectacularly public fashion, he’s at least helping kids learn a little bit about money, which is hardly an ignoble cause.

(Video after the break.)
Read more…

Padres’ Bell Rings Out Anger Over ESPN Choices

• Sick of ESPN’s baseball coverage only showcasing the Yankees, Red Sox & Mets? Padres pitcher Heath Bell feels the same sourness.

Heath Bell ESPN Baseball Tonight

• Fights, stabbings, gunplay - just another Opening Day at Dodger Stadium.

John Calipari greets the Memphis faithful one more time - but not without some bodyguards.

• Former Duke basketball star Greg Paulus gets a pro tryout - with the Green Bay Packers?

• Dallas would be happy to take the College Football Hall of Fame off South Bend’s hands.

Read more…

California Man Arrested For Pedroia Death Threats

Back in November 2008, Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia was the toast of his northern California hometown of Woodland. The town’s favorite son had just been named American League MVP and the entire Pedroia family was celebrated as a sort of royalty by proxy. Parades were held, banners were erected, and one would presume that sales at the family’s tire emporium were never better.

Since then, however, the Pedroias’ star has dimmed a bit in Woodland.  In January, Dustin’s brother Brett was arrested on child molestation charges, never a good thing for a family’s reputation. Last week, Dustin called his hometown a “dump” in an interview with BOSTON MAGAZINE. Now, 47-year-old Kenneth Samuels has been arrested for making death threats against the Pedroia family at the Woodland tire emporium they own and operate.

Read more…

Speed Read: Phillies Fans Boo Ring Ceremony?!

Congratulations, Philadelphia sports fans, you’ve done it again. Nothing on the lines of booing Santa Claus or cheering Michael Irvin’s career-ending neck injury, but booing during the team’s World Series ring celebration? That’s pretty impressive. As the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS reports, the recipient of Phillies’ fans hatred was former starting pitcher Adam Eaton, as you can see in this video clip (you’ll hear the “You Suck” starting raining down at around 2:45):

Let’s face it: Eaton was hardly a key contributor to the Phillies’ World Series run. He went 4-8 last season with a 5,80 ERA,  and was left off of the postseason roster before being cut this spring. And yes, the Phillies are still on the hook for his contract to the tune of $9 million this season, so you can understand why he’s hardly the favorite son of Phillies fans.

Adam Eaton gets his World Series ring

But booing someone at the ring ceremony? Isn’t that supposed to be just about the most positive thing that can happen at a sporting event - the recognition of an amazing team accomplishment regardless of what any individual did. Pat Burrell, now with the Rays, flew in for the ceremony and received a hero’s welcome. As BIG LEAGUE STEW notes, even So Taguchi got a World Series ring.

Plus, the guy showed a sense of humor about the whole thing, acting like he was Neil Armstrong getting a ticker tape parade down Broadway. Personally, I would have been waving to the crowd, but just with one, middle finger. I guess $9 million for doing nothing and a shiny World Series ring can bring a guy a lot of inner peace.

Meanwhile, there’s a battle starting today for a prize even more tacky than a World Series ring but just as coveted: the green jacket awarded to the winner of The Masters. There’s no guarantee of who will be having the green jacket placed on them by defending champion Trevor Immelman on Sunday (unless Immelman repeats…now, excuse me while I find a rag to clean up the Orange Crush I spit out of my mouth from laughing while typing that),  there is one thing for sure: everyone hates the new course design.

GOLF.COM has a lengthy preview featuring golf writers and anonymous pros, and everyone takes a shot at the new course design, saying that it’s “not Tiger-proofed, it’s excitement-proofed” and that they’ve “sucked the life out of the tournament.” The par-5s are too long to reach in two for anyone, meaning it’s an exciting battle of wedges and midrange putting.

Gary Player

The three names at the top of the list as winners are: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Padraig Harrington. One name not on the list of contenders is Gary Player, but there will some attention on him for the first two days: at 73, he’s playing in his 52nd and final Masters tournament. There will be some tears shed when he finishes his round on Friday, but there likely won’t be an emotional outpouring by the fans/patrons like we’ve seen in the past for Jack Nicklaus or Arnold Palmer.

And that’s too bad: Player has been a remarkable ambassador for the sport, whose fame in the US was damaged by being South African at a time when that was considered shameful, and not being quite as good as Jack or Arnie (or even as charismatic as Lee Trevino). But he won nine majors in his career, including three Masters, and did more than any other player in the 1960s and 1970s to make golf an international game.

Plus, he’s been a remarkable philanthropist, rising more than $30 million for his Player Foundation building school in South Africa. So let’s all give a polite golf clap to the Black Knight as he gets ready to head off into the sunset.

Finally, CAGEWRITER says that among the hopeful contestants at the open tryouts for Season 10 of Spike TV’s “The Ultimate Fighter” were several former NFL players. Among those trying to get into the house this season were former Bucs first round draft pick Marcus Jones, former Colts lineman Rex Richards and former Packers running back/returner Herbert Goodman. This season is focusing on heavyweights, so sadly Johnnie Morton couldn’t use this as a way to spark an MMA comeback.

  • Usually athlete blogs are about as exciting as reading hog futures, but the one by Chantelle Anderson of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream is pretty interesting (arguably more so than WNBA games). Her latest post details her internal debate on whether to post a bathing suit photo on her Web site, and the relationship of sports and sex appeal. Personally, I’d vote “yes” on seeing more skin from her:
  • Chantelle Anderson

  • It might take Randy Johnson quite some time to get to 300 wins if he keeps giving up three-run bombs to pitchers, like the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS say he did to Yovani Gallardo, as the Big Unit’s Giants debut was a 4-2 loss to the Brewers.
  • In possibly the least-shocking off-season NFL news this year, a Cincinnati Bengal was arrested Sunday morning. The CINCINNATI ENQUIRER says that Leon Hall, who led the team in interceptions last season, has been charged with a DUI after hitting a 0.15 BA level. Bonus points: he tried to convince the officer that he needed to get home because his wife was having a baby.
  • The TREASURE COAST PALM say police in Port St. Lucie, FL, are looking for a man who ran naked across the outfield at a youth baseball game before hopping the fence and getting into a waiting car. Man claiming to be umpire at game says suspect got “hung up” on fence. Ouch!
  • An interesting item from the ASU WEB DEVIL, a student publication of Arizona State: a Sun Devil football player had his wallet stolen from his locker at Sun Devil Stadium, losing around $270. (The story is halfway down.) Not only do I want to know what a student-athlete is doing with almost $300 in walking around money, but now we know why James Harden is leaving ASU for the NBA Draft (that, and millions of dollars).
  • Also declaring for the NBA Draft last night: USC freshman DeMar DeRozan, Pittsburgh center DeJuan Blair and Arizona’s mercurial Jordan Hill.
  • Dustin Pedroia probably shouldn’t expect to be getting the keys to his hometown any time soon, after the SACRAMENTO BEE says he dissed Woodland, CA in a magazine interview, saying it’s “a dump. You can quote me on that. I don’t give a …” I’m sure this has nothing to do with the fact that his brother was arrested on child molestation charges there in January.
  • Only in Australia: NINE NEWS says that the entire North Melbourne Kangaroos Aussie Rules Football team had to appear at a press conference to apologize for a video they made showing a condom-wearing rubber chicken having sex with a chicken carcass. And yes, of course we have the video (caution, NSFW due to graphic song lyrics and simulated rubber chicken on chicken sex):

  • In European soccer news, Chelsea ripped Liverpool 3-1 in their Champions League quarterfinal, which THE TIMES OF LONDON says makes them an overwhelming favorite to get to the semifinals again. If so, they’ll likely play Barcelona, who thumped Bayern Munich 4-0.
  • THE SPORTING BLOG wants you to know that you should never criticize the Hillsdale College baseball team, even if they’ve lost nine of their last ten games. Lest you wind up with a mound of dead animal carcasses on your front door, the fate that befell an unwitting writer at the college newspaper.

Who would you take with the first pick in the 2009 NBA Draft?

View Results

Speed Read: It’s March (And Then April) Madness

Why do we continue to give college basketball a pass on “March Madness” when the Final Four takes place during April? Sure, you’re sitting there and thinking, “So only 61 of the 64 games happen in the right month? So?” It’s the principle of it all, damn it! I can’t make a PG movie that turns R-rated in the last 5 minutes. It’d be like that one Mandy Moore movie A Walk to Remember, where (SPOILER ALERT!) she dies at the end, except in this version it’s by getting her head ripped off by naked zombies. Actually, get Hollywood on the phone; that idea sounds like a winner.

Bracket pic

But we digress. Even people in the deepest of comas know that today is just the first day of a week in which worker productivity plummets and everyone, for at least a couple days, is a college basketball fan. Today is reserved for staring at a bracket, cursing the fact that the talking heads on ESPN like the same upsets you do (making them both popular and wrong, which completely disqualifies them as keys to winning your pool). Lots of office printers being tied up today. UPSET PROTIP: Think about American in the Elite 8. You’ll be happy you did. High fives all around!

Who’s your Cinderella?

View Results

Technically, yes, the rest of the sports world doesn’t stand still, and there’s plenty of things to talk about away from the parquet. We’re happy to report that your national pride has been granted an extension of legitimacy, as the USA defeated the Nether Region Netherlands, 9-3. Up next is either Venezuela or Puerto Rico, depending on who loses between the two teams tonight.

Dunn ROberts WBC

On the other side of the WBC bracket or however they set this thing up, Japan and Korea have jumped out to strong positions, while Mexico and Cuba fight to avoid elimination tonight. Quick question: why is the Mexico-Cuba game being played, essentially, in the middle of the night? And we get that this is a “world” classic and this time makes it possible for the rest of the world to watch, but 95-99% of the people who actually give a single crap about this game live in Mexico and Cuba (not a slight at those two countries, by the way; you could substitute any two teams in there, and the fact remains the same), and you’re essentially playing the game while they sleep. Wouldn’t almost anything be better than a start time that’s still late (8 pm) in San Diego, where the game is being held.

And speaking of situations in need of repair, can we talk about Jay Cutler and Denver? Talks have gone swimmingly after that trade kerfuffle from earlier, and Cutler is eager to get started on the 2009 season and develop a positive relationship with his new coach. LOL JUST KIDDING I AM LYING BADLY. Cutler has now left the city of Denver and demanded a trade, according to the DENVER POST.

Jay Cutler Broncos
(In this case, “thumbs up” means “I hate you.”)

And perhaps it’s just us, but like the Denver Post’s Mike Klis, we get the notion that Bill Belichick is probably a bigger factor in this mess than it would initially appear.  Here’s how Klis’ version of the situation basically went down.

Josh McDaniels: I’m the coach at Denver now! Isn’t this great, Bill?
Belicheck: Call me Mr. Belichick, you little sh*t. How are you doing at quarterback? You want Cassel?
JM: Not particularly. We have Cutler.
BB: Cassel’s better. We can get a 3-way trade done. You want Cassel.
JM: Um, that’d be kinda cool, but we have Cutler.
BB: Oh. Huh. Weird.
NFL: Cassel has been traded to Kansas City for basically nothing.
BOSTON GLOBE: Denver was talking about trading Cutler for Cassel.
Jay Cutler: What the hell. Screw you. I’m leaving.
JM: Say, Mr. Belichick? Now I have neither Cassel nor Cutler.
BB: NYEAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I always liked Pioli better!
JM: I hate you, Mr. Belichick.
Some more links to peruse while you’re still thinking, “American? They face Villanova in Philly in Round 1! That’s stupid!” Stupid like a fox!

  • Phil Mickelson shook off heat exhaustion and dehydration to win at Doral. Mickelson’s game improved after he milked himself to stay refreshed.
  • Manny Ramirez is already on the shelf with a bum hamstring. Good thing those injuries don’t linger.
  • And speaking of WBC injuries, Chipper Jones, Dustin Pedroia, and Ryan Braun are all out. Why do we get the feeling George Steinbrenner would never stand for this?
  • BLACK SPORTS ONLINE has the trailer for the Mike Tyson documentary. It … okay, we were going to make a “eat your children” joke, but it looks really good.

  • UCLA’s freshman safety E.J. Woods just got hit with six counts of battery and sexual battery. The Fulmer Cup asplode.
  • If you heard that your favorite NBA team scored 130 points in a blowout, odds are pretty good that you’d be thrilled. Except, of course, if you live in the Bay Area; that optimism would be replaced by fear and dread. Yes, today’s hilarious lack of NBA defense comes from… the same team it always comes from, the Golden State Warriors. Yes, they dropped 130, but they gave up 154 points to Phoenix, and that’s with most of the Suns’ starters on the bench for the vast majority of the 4th quarter. Jason Richardson dropped 31 points on only 15 shots.
  • VOICE OF YANKEES UNIVERSE has some pictures of the new Yankees stadium. It looks big and unfinished.

New York construction
(Neat?)

Pedroia’s 29-Year-Old Bro Booked For Molestation

Even golden boys have to deal with the harder parts of life. Need proof? Just take a look at Dustin Pedroia. Baseball’s favorite “little man who could”, Pedroia has been a non-stop good news machine since entering the league, winning Rookie of the Year and MVP honors in back-to-back seasons. Oh, and he won a World Series, too. Unfortunately for Dustin, that couldn’t keep his brother out of trouble, as 29-year-old Brett Pedroia has now been charged with child molestation, according to this report from Sacramento news station KCRA 58.

brett pedroia
(Brett Pedroia, as captured by the SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE.)

Let’s be clear. These charges have nothing to do with Dustin Pedroia. He’s not accused of molesting children, hurting anyone or doing anything outside of playing a really solid second base. But that won’t be enough to keep him out of the public eye now that his brother has been accused of a significantly heinous crime.

Just listen to how Pedroia’s home town of Woodland, a Sacramento suburb, is taking the news, via THE SPORTING BLOG’s Tom Ziller. It’s as if people are in general disbelief.

Read more…

Another Boston D-Bag: Red Sox Buy “Fan” Loyalty

You think you hate the Red Sox? You don’t know about hate. Read this post and you’ll know hate.

Tim

That’s Tim. He was a “life-long fan” of the Padres, but became increasingly disillusioned with the team’s direction. So he put his loyalty on the market. He sent letters to the 29 other teams, offering his fandom. Nothing is more despicable than a bandwagon fan, right? What team would lower themselves to accept this mercenary, who’s after nothing more than publicity and some free gear.

If I hadn’t told you it was Boston who jumped at the chance, you would have known anyway. Tim’s letter, and the Sox’s response, after the jump.

Read more…

Speed Read: 24 Hours Of (Mostly) Lousy Hoops

So, did you survive ESPN’s 24 Hour College Basketball Orgy 2008? For the most part, it was a Marathon of Blowouts - nothing gets me pumped up for the season like watching a quality team like Baylor blow out some scrubs like Centenary. Or, like watching a powerhouse like North Carolina destroy an obviously outmatched and undermanned opponent like Kentucky.

Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie

Ah yes, the Wildcats - first another embarrassing loss to a non-conference minnow (VMI in 2008 replacing Gardner-Webb from 2007) and now a shellacking on national TV against North Carolina without the services of Tyler Hansbrough. Maybe it’s not enough for Kentucky fans to be sending “We’re Sorry We Ran You Out Of Town” cards to Tubby Smith, but head coach Billy Gillispie has got to be feeling more and more heat every day.

Oklahoma forward Blake Griffin

The game of the night was on opposite the Wildcats’ mauling, and featured a pair of preseason All-Americans in Davidson’s Stephen Curry and Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin.  And for once the game and the key players lived up to the hype: Curry scored a career-high 44 to (almost) lead the Wildcats back from a 21-point hole, but Griffin’s 25 points and 21 rebounds were enough for the Sooners to survive, 82-78.

Meanwhile, in the world where they pay you to play basketball (up front), the Lakers kept their dream of 81-1 alive by turning back the Bulls 116-109. The hero? For once, it wasn’t Kobe Bryant but Pau Gasol, who had an impressive 34 points on 14 of 21 shooting.

Other sports news that happened last night as you recovered from the shock of hearing a hoax that Miley Cyrus, like, had totally been killed in a car crash, and OMG you just had to go on MySpace with your friends to see if that had happened. LOL.

Which college basketball conference is the most overrated?

View Results