9:00 PM Workers at Davco Fasteners in Twinsburg, Ohio surprised co-worker & former minor league baseball player Dick Potts by giving him a personalized bat on his 88th birthday. Potts said the gift meant "more than anything I've ever had happen to me".
8:45 PM New York Giants quarterbacks coach Danny Langsdorf was honored Thursday night by the Polycycstic Kidney Disease Foundation. Seven years earlier Langsdorf had donated a kidney to Laurie Cavanaugh, sister of former Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride.
(Putting her on TV? Eh, risky decision, E! - viewers might not go for her. Sure you can’t get Susan Boyle instead?)
The producers of the E! True Hollywood Story franchise noticed the story as well, it appears; they’re picking up “NFL Wives” as one of their episodes, prominently feature Mrs. Cooley herself. It’s not exactly unprecedented; E! featured MLB wives last year; we don’t recall any complaints about that.
In all the commotion over dog abuse, prison time and PETA protests, we’ve almost forgotten who the last person was to wear No. 7 for the Philadelphia Eagles. That would be Jeffrey Jason Garcia, the pride of Gilroy High School and one of only seven quarterbacks in NFL history with two consecutive thirty-touchdown passing seasons.
I prefer to think that all of those No. 7 jerseys popping up in public lately were passive-aggressive cries by Eagles fans to bring Garcia back to the fold. And now with Donovan McNabb’s inured McRibs, A.J. Feely to the Panthers (seriously, that happened) and Josh McCown’s injured McFoot, the NFL’s most prominent recurring theme arrives in Philly to save the day. Read more…
Now you can add Simeon Rice to the list of players lining up to rip Gruden, and the former Bucs Pro Bowler isn’t pulling any punches. In an interview with Pat Kirwan and Tim Ryan on Sirius NFL Radio, Rice went off on Gruden, running down a laundry list of players who hate him, and shredding his character like a rat going through an old stack of magazines in your garage:
“How I feel personally? I could tell you that, too. I think he’s a scumbag,” Rice said. “I think he’s a scumbag personally. That’s when he’s telling you one thing and… You know what he told me? ‘Simeon you’ll be here in the next five years.’ I got injured [and] this man’s never said one word to me. I won a Super Bowl for you. I got 13 sacks, 12, 15 every year for you. I balled. I got injured [and] you let me go like it was nothing.”
Now, to be fair, Rice had a grand total of one sack in 2007 after being cut by the Buccaneers and didn’t play last year, so it’s not like Rice showed Gruden what a horrible mistake he made by letting him go. But judging by the stories that keep coming out, releasing an injured player who helped you win a Super Bowl without saying a word to him seems to be right up his alley.
Hmm, let’s see: a “offensive genius” head coach whose teams always have lousy defenses; who is about as likable as genital warts and has the personal skills of Jeff Conaway; and who inspires hatred and disloyalty from former and current players. I’m starting to think that Notre Dame could have stuffed Gruden into a sumo suit and swapped him for Charlie Weis, and no one would have known the difference.
But Jon, if it makes you feel any better, it wasn’t just the fact that your players hate you that got you fired. Apparently the fans all hate you as well. So that’s nice.
Oops, they did it again: the Lakers managed to overlook the Charlotte Bobcats and fall 117-110 in double OT. All this with the Bobcats’ best player - Gerald Wallace - missing the overtimes with an injury. The LOS ANGELES TIMES has the gory details of the Lakers’ fifth loss to the Bobcats in their last six meetings. (Really, and these are the title favorites?)
FOOD COURT LUNCH examines “The Hansbrough Effect,” where college basketball analysts laud the hard work and gritty determination of big, white stiffs who will be sure to flop in the NBA. Which gives me another chance to type Kevin Pittsnogle.
Who loves chicken? New Orleans Hornets fans love chicken, especially when they get it for free if the Hornets score 100 points. NOLA.COM has the exciting blow-by-blow as the team sits on 99 with just seconds to go.
TRAVELIN’ LIGHT says that a resort in Aruba is offering vacation packages for fantasy baseball and football drafts. Sure, the resort might have beautiful beaches, world-class food and exciting casinos, but does it have a Bubble Hockey machine and old NES system with RBI Baseball like my garage? I didn’t think so.
If you think you’ve had a rough life, think about Arizona Cardinals lineman Darnell Dockett, who found his mother murdered, execution style, when he was 13. And then his father died of cancer four months later. The GANNETT NEWS SERVICE has a moving piece on his relationship with his uncle, who helped him get his life back on track.
The Braves need a power hitter to provide protection for Chipper Jones and Brian McCann. Enter Jeff Francoeur and .239 batting average. MLB.COM says that Jones, for one, is thrilled to have “Frenchy” back. Hey, if your other option is Andruw Jones, anything looks good.
Ever nearly kill yourself trying to get that stuck bag of chips dislodged from a vending machine? Me too! Now there’s a video game for you: Adult Swim’s Ultimate Vending Machine Challenge.
I don’t have spectacular Spanish skills, and the Google translator always leaves me with more questions than answers, but it appears as if some wild stuff is going on in the Dominican Baseball League’s championship series. Wild enough that Gigantes del Cibao were forced to forfeit their game with Licey of Santo Domingo, putting them behind 3 games to none in the best-of-9 title series (nine games?). The league features many current and former major leaguers, and the winner of this series moves on to the Caribbean Series.
During Wednesday’s Game 2, Gigantes second baseman Felix Martinez hit into a routine groundout, then inexplicably lost his mind and nearly attacked the home plate umpire. Again, since I couldn’t understand the commentary over the video footage I wasn’t quite sure what was going on, but it looked like the Gigantes were a little miffed about the guy’s strike zone. Martinez actually charged the ump and appeared as if he was going to tackle him, but seems to have thought better of it and changed his course at the last second. He was ejected from the game, and suspended for the rest of the series. I have manged to put together a Zapruder-esque still from the horrible streaming video feed of the game:
(Martinez is on the right, being restrained by a teammate. This is after he nearly lit up the umpire on the dead run from first base)
This brings us to last night. Gigantes thought that the umpiring crew might forget that they had tossed Martinez from the series, so they decided to pencil Martinez into the lineup as if nothing happened. The umps were not amused, and said he couldn’t play. Gigantes decided that if Martinez couldn’t play, that the rest of them wouldn’t play either. So they left. The umpires forfeited the game to Licey, who stuck around to entertain the crowd by playing a game of something called “flip.” Can you imagine if this happened here? If, like, Evan Longoria got suspended for some reason during the World Series and Joe Maddon tried to play him anyway? And then they forfeit the game and the Phillies stick around and play Guitar Hero on the jumbotron with the Phanatic?
Back to America, where the NBA All-Star starters were announced yesterday. And the league narrowly averted an awkward situation. Injured age fraudYi Jianlian, who’s averaging 10 points a game with the Nets, finished third in the Eastern Conference fan voting for forwards. Had he somehow overtaken Kevin Garnett, David Stern might’ve informed Yi that he would be injured until at least the end of February whether he liked it or not. Either that, or Stern would’ve had to name the chair that guarded Yi during his pre-draft workouts to the West team to even things out.
It should also be noted that Bruce Bowen came rather close (only about 68,000 votes) to overtaking Amare Stoudemire for a starting spot on the West squad. That actually would’ve been great to see. He may have become the first All-Star to ever get flagrantly fouled by a teammate.
The only fan choice who could be considered objectionable is Allen Iverson, who seems to be hurting the Pistons more than he’s helping. The rest of the selections are completely justified. Dwight Howard was the only player to get more than 3 million votes.
• You may have noticed that last night’s Purdue-Minnesota game was called by the now completely unintelligible Brent Musburger and one Mr. Robert Montgomery Knight. RUMORS AND RANTS sure noticed, and reminds us that even though the Boilers won the game, their fans probably had the TV on mute for most of it, given Knight’s long-standing disdain for West Lafayette.
• For no reason whatsoever, here’s footage of American Gladiators host Mike Adamle belly-flopping off a 10-meter diving board after Ahmad Rashad wussed out and wouldn’t jump. Thanks to NESW SPORTS for this one.
• ONLINE SPORTS GUYS says a high school football coach in Kentucky has been charged with reckless homicide over the death of a 15-year-old player who collapsed during a practice. The lesson in all of this? Don’t ever coach youth sports, because if one of the kids collapses you’ll probably end up being held responsible for it (though I admit I don’t know the facts here, so maybe the guy was horribly negligent).
World Series MVP Cole Hamels is currently doing some radio promotion for the Phillies championship DVD. But what the heck was he doing on New York’s WFAN yesterday? There’s no city that’s more excited about buying a Phillies DVD. Anyway, during the interview, Hamels was asked whether or not the Mets are “choke artists” for their last two September collapses. Hamels, of course, said “no, they’re a very good team and things just didn’t work out for them in the end. They’ll be tough to beat next year.”
“Last year and this year I think we did believe that [they were choke artists],” he said. “Three years ago we didn’t because they smoked everybody, and I think we all thought they were going to win it all. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. But, yeah, that’s kind of what we believed and I think we’re always going to believe that until they prove us wrong.
Ouch. Hamels also relayed this anecdote:
He also said that the rumor that the Phillies hung a photo of Jose Reyes on Shane Victorino’s locker after he celebrated a little too much after a home run in the NLDS against CC Sabathia of the Brewers is true.
“Hey Shane, this doesn’t win the game, there’s still a lot of game to play. Why are you trying to be like Jose Reyes? Even though you hit a big home run you don’t need to pimp it,” he said.
This rivalry’s never been friendlier.
(Is this excessive for celebrating a 6-4-3 in an April game against the Nats?)
We don’t do a lot of hockey recaps here, but good lord Islanders, please stop somebody. The Isles were pounded 9-2 by Pittsburgh last night, even drawing the embarrassing “We want 10! We want 10!” chant from the Igloo crowd in the 3rd period. The Isles are now tied with Tampa Bay and Atlanta at the bottom of the league.
Speaking of the Lightning, let’s start there in the links:
• Larry Brown welcomes Boris Diaw and Raja Bell aboard by informing them that the Bobcats suck (via NESW SPORTS):
• NEWSDAY says Manny Ramirezis sad because nobody wants to sign him, and is threatening to retire. Not surprisingly Manny is spending his off season “working out, watching cartoons and playing video games.” Give that man $25 million a year!
• Syracuse has hired Saints offensive coordinator Doug Marrone to be their new head coach. Marrone has never been a head coach at any level. COLLEGE FOOTBALL TALK has the details.
After last week’s less-than-epic Houston vs. Jacksonville Monday Night Football tilt, just about anything would have been an improvement (short of a “dream pairing” of Dennis Miller and Tony Kornheiser). But last night was a great way to cap any week: two 9-3 teams in Tampa Bay and Carolina battling for first place in the NFC South.
And honestly, if you would have told me that Jeff Garcia was going to throw for more than 300 yards, I would have given the Bucs a pretty fair shot at winning the game. But the trump card turned out to be the Panthers’ RB duo of Smash & Dash, i.e. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, who helped the Panthers combine for almost 300 yards of rushing and a crucial 38-23 victory.
The person on Tampa Bay I feel sorry for is Antonio Bryant, who had a huge game in defeat, as in 200 yards of receiving. (How many fantasy football owners are cursing themselves this morning because they left him on their bench this week.) This included one of the most amazing touchdown catches you’ll see all year:
Speaking of amazing…USA TODAY has a breakdown of the final ballots for the college football Coaches’ Poll, and some of the votes are pretty unbelievable. Like that Utah’s Kyle Whittingham voted his team ahead of USC (I’d like to see that game on the field), or that Ty Willingham voted Missouri 11th despite getting killed in the Big XII Championship Game. But my favorite? Texas Tech’s Mike Leach voting the Red Raiders second - ahead of Florida and Texas. At least he had the decency to place the team that beat him by 44 ahead of Tech.
Some more sports insanity to brighten up your day:
Things just keep getting worse for Petty Enterprises: WTVD-TV says that the legendary NASCAR organization has laid off 39 employees while awaiting a merger or acquisition to save them. Meanwhile, a disgruntled Kyle Petty tells NASCAR.COM that he’s been shown the door and is no longer with the organization.
CC Sabathia in Dodger Blue? MLB.COM reports that the free-agent hurler ran into GM Ned Coletti at the lobby of Bellagio during Winter Meetings and told him he wants to pitch in LA next season.
You think you have pressure in your job? Try being Wil Collins, who needed to sink a 18-foot par putt to earn his PGA Tour card on the final hole of Q-School. ESPN.COM tells you if he made it or not.
Then again, Collins could have it worse: he could have been playing for the Detroit Lions since 2001. Which is why center Dominic Raiola isn’t sorry for giving the finger to heckling Lions fans during last week’s loss to the Vikings. In fact, he tells the AP that he’d give them his home address if they’d only fight fair.
I’m sure Tony Kornheiserwill have some xenophobic comments* about the fact that EA Sports markets the MADDEN video game franchise to Spanish-speakers, but CNBC.COM’s Darren Rovell points out that the curse transcends language.
For the three people reading this who don’t play MADDEN, the curse goes back to 1999, when the folks at ELECTRONIC ARTS decided to replace John Madden’s mug on the cover with that of an NFL player deserving of the honor. The results? Well, Michael Vick and Shaun Alexanderwould like to have a word. And I suppose we can add Robert Garza’s name to the list.
Jeff Garcia struggled through a 24-20 loss to New Orleans on Sunday that included a sprained ankle. Today, he went on a somewhat rambling rant to reporters after learning that coach Jon Gruden had decided to bench him for this week’s game against Atlanta. Making matters worse, he’s being replaced by Brian Freaking Griese.
Garcia, who wasn’t available for comment when the move was initially announced, claimed this afternoon that he’s fine and healthy enough to play when he spoke with local reporters at length. Great, great length.