Dodger: Naked Truth About His Bizarre Upbringing

Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. TIMES has a piece today on Dodger Hiroki Kuroda that starts out as a lament from Kuroda over being fined for plunking Phillies batters last season (while Brett Myers was not) and ends with Kuroda recounting strange childhood punishments including a youth baseball training camp that sounded more like concentration camp.

Hiroka Kuroda

(Kuroda as Mike Scioscia)

Of course, I preferred the latter portion of the piece, especially with it including non-sequitur nudity. Read more…

Now Is Not A Good Time To Be An MLBer’s Skull

Remember those weird-ass Japanese robots that play baseball? Maybe the Japanese were onto something. After all, this is a sport with a hard object often flying much faster than human reflexes can catch up to. So when robots take a cruel and unusual amount of physical abuse, it’s usually awesome and never scary or disconcerting.

David Wright HBP
(Oh, that ain’t good.)

The exact opposite is true for humans, though, and the Summer of 2009 Death March has turned its attention from random celebrities to the brain cells of baseball players. The results have been predictably harrowing.

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Wright, Kuroda Feeling Impact Of Scary Incidents

It was not a good night to be the noggin of an MLB player last night, as there were two scary incidents that left players with concussions that could have been much, much worse. Fortunately, it doesn’t appear that either Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda or New York Mets third baseman David Wright will have long-term issues resulting from their incidents on Saturday night.

David Wright and Hiroki Kuroda

The first to go down was Wright, who took a 93-mph fastball from the Giants’ Matt Cain to the side of the head. He stayed down for several minutes but eventually walked off under his own power. The was taken to the hospital where, as Yogi Berra may or may not have said, “they took X-rays of my head and found nothing.”

Video of the incident after the jump, including the sickening sound of ball meeting helmet:

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Speed Read: Well, Ain’t That A Kick In The Head

Brushing up on the SAT, or just looking to get your GED? Then let’s help you with some standardized testing.

“Billy watched four NFL games won in the final minute of regulation. Which one did he like the best?”

a) Ryan Longwell’s 26-yard field goal to help the Vikings beat the Lions 12-10
b) Jason Elam’s last-second kick to give the Falcons a 22-20 win over the Bears
c) Josh Brown flexing with pride after kicking the Rams to a 19-17 victory against Washington
d) Matt Schaub lifting the Texans to a 29-28 win over the Dolphins on a last minute scramble

NFL exciting finish quiz

Of course it’s “D.” (Even though on most Scantron tests it’s more than likely “C.”) The discussion of kickers overusing their worth has been a curious one from time to time, with Skip Bayless perhaps being most famous for being their No. 1 enemy (“Eliminate place kicking altogether.”), which might be why nobody’s ready to warm up to that idea. But suppose if field goals were outlawed in the final two minutes and overtime, then we’d have Gus Frerotte, Matt Ryan and Mark Bulger try to win it with their arms … or legs.

Arizona Cardinals block Cowboys

The counterargument, though, is that if you couldn’t kick field goals after the two-minute warning. We wouldn’t have had this game, where the Cardinals’ Sean Morey practically blocked the Cowboys’ overtime punt with his clavicle to ensure a 30-24 win over the Dallasites. To get to OT, Nick Folk had to blast a 52-yard three-point shot to tie the game, which — again — almost didn’t happen, because the first attempt was blocked but re-kicked after AZ head man Ken Whisenhunt whistled for a timeout. Hey, that’s another good idea. No defensive timeouts in the final two minutes. Who’s with me?

NLCS - Kuroda vs. Manny

It sure was nice of Major League Baseball to lift the ban on talking about the NLCS without talking about Manny Ramirez, if only for one game. The highlight of the Dodgers’ 7-2 rout of the Phillies — besides maybe that five-run first inning that essentially kept the Dodecahedrons in the series — was a series if high-and-in pitches that came to a head when Hiroki Kuroda, smack dab in the middle of owning the Philbins, tossed one where Shane Victorino’s head was located split-seconds earlier. Bedlam! Scuffle! Hootenanny! Benches cleared, and Victorino kept the bad blood feud through press quotes that will surely trickle into Game 4, right? Right?!

“I think it’s over.”

Yeah! Take their heads off! Kick their … huh? It’s over? Pssttthththth. Guess we’re back to talking just about the baseball games themselves and how the Dodgers have halved their NLCS deficit and got their bats going, their pitchers locating, and their fans into the series. Just two things. If this game is decided by a field goal, there will be hell to pay. Same if the Dodgers win the series and play the Red Sox in the World Series.

It’s also a new NFL rule that Ed Hochuli is scrutinized after every week of the NFL playoffs:

Joey Porter and Ed Hochuli

  • Now Hocks is getting called out by players. The PALM BEACH POST says the enigmatic Joey Porter isn’t happy at all with Hochuli and his officiating crew after his hit on the aforementioned Matt Schaub, causing him to drop the ball, was ruled an incomplete pass and not a fumble. “It’s the same referees’ staff. Something always happens out there.” For once, Porter is right.
  • Also fuming at the refs is the Lions’ Leigh Bodden for a pass interference call against the Minnesota Vikings that led to their winning field goal. DETROIT FREE PRESS says Bodden wants an apology from the NFL. Hey, good luck with that.
  • Staying with winless teams in the Rust Belt, don’t count on the Bengals getting their first win anytime soon. The CINCINNATI POST has their OC channeling Napoleon Dynamite on his own team: “We’re pretty much inept.”
  • A blogger at OPEN SPORTS says the NHL might be going overboard with ads, perhaps even too political? I’m Matt Sussman, and I something something.
  • 12-year-old Tampa Bay Rays fan Zachary Sharples is so hardcore, he was suspended from school for his Rayhawk hairdo, and was rewarded with meeting the team.
  • Racist slurs in soccer? Sure, maybe in Europe, but in our quaint little country? The WASHINGTON POST reports D.C. United goalie Louis Crayton had a confrontation with a Houston Dynamo fan after their 0-0 draw. The fan in question called the black goalkeeper a monkey who should go back to the jungle. Crayton jumped a barrier to confront the fan, and as a result the fan was given the MLS banhammer.
  • PUCK DADDY shares CBC’s newest theme song for Hockey Night in Canada, affectionately titled “Canadian Gold.”
  • When KISSING SUZY KOLBER takes screenshots of Bill Belichick’s face during a beatdown of a game, everyone wins.
  • Tim Stephens of the ORLANDO SENTINEL eyes Penn State and Alabama as the teams with the best chances to run the table. Clearly he’s short-changing the MAC daddies, Ball State.
  • And finally, here’s a guy I keep forgetting to read every week and instead tune into maybe every other month, but here’s Norman Chad praising old, old coaches Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden because, hey, why not?

After this weekend, what new sports rule needs to be put into place?

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Blog-O-Rama: St. Louis Cardinals Wedding Garter

• STL SPORTS MAG has a leg up on the perfect item for all those St. Louis baseball brides-to-be: an officially licensed Cardinals wedding garter.

St. Louis Cardinals wedding garter

• BOOSH MAGAZINE invites readers to guess the ages (and thus the legality) of the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team.

• THE SLANCH REPORT poaches the periods, as new Brewer C.C. Sabathia actually prefers to go by “CC Sabathia“.

• UNPROFESSIONAL FOUL thinks it’s a blast that the Newcastle United soccer club may be sold to the Bin Laden family.

• POP CRUNCH finds Cynthia Rodriguez sticking it to soon-to-be ex-hubby A-Rod by using his credit card for a $100,000 weekend shopping spree.

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Nomar-As-Seacrest? Finally Dodger Role That Fits

It’s a doozy of a question: how do you make your new teammate feel welcome, especially one from a very different place? The Los Angeles Dodgers faced just such a conundrum with the arrival of Hiroki Kuroda from the Hiroshima Toyo Carp on a three-year away pass. Bake him a cake? A banner over his cubicle? Team movie night with the Michael Keaton vehicle Gung Ho?

Dodgers American Idol

Of course not. There’s only one way to make Kuroda feel at home: karaoke, American style!

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