8:30 PM The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle notes that the Rochester Red Wings were the last American baseball team to play in Cuba before the U.S. embargo began in 1960. The July 25 game against the Havana Sugar Kings ended in a 3-3 tie after fans began firing weapons to celebrate Fidel Castro's revolution.
In a Friday appearance on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight, Duke head basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski attacked Penn State’s handling of the departure of Joe Paterno as the school’s head football coach shortly after longtime PSU assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was arrested and charged with dozens of crimes related to child sexual abuse on November 5, 2011.
While calling Penn State’s decision to quickly distance itself from Paterno “horrible” and a “real mistake”, Krzyzewski lauded Paterno for doing an “incredible job” at the school.
Here is the full text of Krzyzewski’s comments on Penn State and Paterno during his Friday appearance on CNN:
“It was horrible, and I’ve respected coach Paterno my entire life and had a chance to get to know him really well in the last year of his life. I thought it was really not well done, in handling the situation. It’s a difficult situation to encounter.
“You had somebody who’s given six decades of service to the university and done such an incredible job. Somehow, you have to let, something has to play out and respect the fact that you’ve gone through all these experiences for six decades. It doesn’t just go out the window right at the end. I thought it was a real mistake by Penn State’s leadership.
“If that happened in my area, I would look to work with my athletic director and my president to have a solution. And if that solution meant that I would step down, I would do it in a way which would be part of the solution, not like you’re just thrown out.
“You have to understand that leadership, you may be asked to step down and that’s part of being a leader.”
Tomorrow is the 38th anniversary of the 1972 Olympic basketball gold medal game between the United States and the Soviet Union. In an unconscionable travesty neatly fashioned by game officials to resemble an actual competition, the Soviets were awarded a 51-50 victory that day. (Thanks to their performance, the referees went on to wildly successful professional wrestling officiating careers.)
(Thursday: USA-Russia game is 38th anniversary of USA-USSR travesty)
The game is generally regarded as the most disappointing and disputed loss in the history of American international competition. In the aftermath, the entire U.S. Olympic basketball contingent refused its silver medals. (Reggie Bush wasn’t suited up.)
You want the Cliffs?
With three seconds remaining in the game, the U.S. went up 50-49 on two free throws by Doug Collins. (Yes, same dude with the primped, bad dye job.)
The Soviets botched the ensuing inbounds pass, which should’ve given the Americans the win. But the refs inexplicably recognized an official timeout by the Soviets that they claimed was taken before the turnover. (It wasn’t.) The clock, which was down to one second, was then reset to three seconds. (Crack East German engineering.)
Joe Ovies at wralsportsfan.com in Raleigh discovers a non sequitur association between Duke hoops coach Mike Krzyzewski and a generic iPhone application selling for $2.99.
(Dragons! Panda Bears! Bill Guthridge!)
Press release for what Krzyzewski licensed his name to:
The Coach K App utilizes innovative multi-touch controls that immerse the player into an exciting series of races against multiple artificial intelligence opponents. The game includes three levels of competition with stops in New York City, China and Durham, North Carolina, home to Coach K’s Duke Blue Devils.
Coach K provides personalized “coaching tips” to maneuver players through a series of dynamic obstacles which come to life through trend-setting graphics. Players also have the ability to customize their avatars.
Players will be challenged to dodge taxicabs and street vendors, while racing through the streets of New York; avoid dragons and panda bears while speeding along the Great Wall of China; and sprint around campus while avoiding the notorious Cameron Crazies and other obstacles. The game climaxes in an intense head-to-head shooting competition against another player over Bluetooth.
No, this isn’t a joke, as Krzyzewski is also quoted in the release. Read more…
The Manny Ramirez Traveling Salvation Show hit a snag last night in New York, thanks to an umpire with a hair trigger. Well, it’s hard to call anything about John Hirschbeck’sfifth-inning ejection of Ramirez “hair trigger,” since it took roughly 15 minutes seconds from when Hirschbeck rung Ramirez up on a called third strike to when he tossed Ramirez from the game for throwing his helmet, bat, elbow guard, cleats, socks and jock strap into the air in disgust.
Manny didn’t seem to think it was that big of a deal, since “I was playing only five innings, so I was leaving anyway.” Which came as news to Dodgers manager Joe Torre. Not that it mattered much - with Ramirez going 2 for 4 with three RBI and Clayton Kershaw throwing six shutout innings, the Dodgers cruised to an 8-0 win over the Mets. But it did give Los Angeles residents driven nutty by the Michael Jackson Circus a chance to remember the other, ridiculously overblown media circus in town.
If you are a college football fan who hates the current BCS system, you had reason to celebrate yesterday as Sen. Orrin Hatch ordered up a can of whoop-ass with a side of hash on the football elite during a congressional hearing about the college football playoff system, and the Senate cafeteria was all out of hash. Specifically, he said that “the Justice Department ought to be looking at this” because he believes the system violates antitrust laws.
(Play the BCS off, Keyboard Hatch.)
Which is great, until you realize that Hatch was the only member of the subcommittee on antitrust, competition policy and consumer rights to actually attend any significant portion of the hearing. But there were plenty of junior staffers there, fresh out of college and probably the only people outside of Hatch and Barack Obama who care about college football in Washington D.C.
Also, you have to understand that Hatch is from Utah, where the majority of the state is still steaming about the undefeated Utes being left out of the BCS Title Game last season, so there’s certainly an element of “playing it up for the home constituants” going on here. So you basically had Hatch grilling the President of Nebraska University, who was acting on behalf of the BCS Backers, which is kind of sad when you realize that Nebraska is roughly one zillion percent less likely to play in a BCS Title Game in our lifetimes than Utah.
Meanwhile, you might remember a small link we had yesterday about U.S. National Soccer Team midfielder Michael Bradley being suspended following a red card and subsequent confrontation with a referee at the end of the team’s shocking 2-0 win over Spain in the Confederations Cup. And it turns out that he will be suspended for three games, although it’s perhaps the weakest three-game suspension in sports history.
Ever get mad when a pitcher receives a five-game suspension for his part in a brawl, which only means that his next start gets pushed back one game? This one is even worse. FIFA has suspended Bradley for three games, all right - three games that he was never going to play in. The suspension will be served during the group play stage of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which is convenient for Bradley since he’s not on the roster for the tournament.
Which means that Bradley will be available for the U.S. next game that matters, a World Cup qualifying match at Mexico on August 12. Somewhere in Mexico City, a Mexican senator is preparing a special committee hearing.
DEUCE OF DAVENPORT knows that the only thing better than Erik Estradadrunkenly butchering “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during a Cubs game is him giving an interview in the booth during the game that somehow works in child porn and Ron Jeremy. A master class in awkwardness in two parts: First the singing…
…and then the interview:
Lance Armstrong has moved to within a second of the yellow jersey after his Astana team cleaned up during a team stage during the Tour de France. Which I’m sure no one in America cares about, but it has to be irritating the French more than a canceled Jerry Lewis movie marathon, and that’s always a good thing.
When playing for Russian side CSKA three years ago, Yuri Zhirkov didn’t take the advice of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich to learn English. Which is a problem, since Abramovich signed Zhirkov to a a huge deal on Monday, and the winger will have to deal with struggling to communicate with his teammates.
When GM Joe Dumars fired Michael Curry as head coach of the Detroit Pistons, he claimed that the team needed a more experienced hand at the helm. Which makes it curious why he eventually decided to give Cavaliers assistant John Kuesterhis first crack at an NBA head coaching job. Couldn’t have anything to do with both Doug Collins and Avery Johnson bailing from the gig? But Kuester has been a head coach at Boston…University, which is close to the Celtics, right?
Another depressing sign of the economic times: the NBA salary cap will decrease next year for only the second time in 26 years. The cap number next year is $57.7 million, down almost one million dollars from last year. So when Dwayne Wade lashes out at the Miami Heat for failing to land a big free agent again, they have a ready-made excuse.
Reports are circulating that Mike Krzyzewski is going to be coming back to coach Team USA at the 2010 World Championships and the 2012 Summer Olympics. Because as he showed in Beijing, he clearly could handle coaching with limited talent.
In case you were wondering if there was any bad blood between Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir ahead of their heavyweight title unification rematch, CAGEWRITER answers with a resounding “yep” after watching the two trade barbs during the “Countdown to UFC 100″ on SPIKE. Also, Lesnar thinks the referee of the first match is an idiot, and really, really hates doors.
Meanwhile, if you were curious, UFC fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is still insane. He’s not crashing an SUV with his name and picture on it after a wild car chase this time, but SPORTS RUBBISH says he is dry humping unsuspecting reporters during interviews.
Interesting news about “aspiring rapper” Keith Norfleet, the ex-boyfriend of Sahel Kazemi. Not only was he the person who picked her up after she was popped for a DUI in Steve McNair’s car, but he also emailed a local newspaper the following: “Pretty interesting news about our golden boy McNair…You would be pretty amazed at the fact of who he was actually with, which I really don’t think his wife would like it too much either.”
Among other things, Duke University basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski is notorious for his ludicrously sanctimonious American Express commercial in which he declares himself a “leader who happens to coach basketball.” Secondary concern or not, there’s no denying his ability to do the latter. But what about that leadership thing if, say, he wanted to do it for a living?
Answering a question no one asked (except SbB just now), a political polling firm has asked North Carolinians their general opinions of both Coach K and UNC coach Roy Williams. The question was similar to questions asked regarding opinions about potential political candidates. The results were a little surprising…in other words, how would you feel about Senators Williams and Krzyzewski?
Now that the Lakers have won the NBA championship and the basketball season is over, it’s time for everybody to start wondering what’s going to happen next with the latest world champs. Are they good enough to repeat? Will they be able to keep Lamar Odom and Trevor Ariza? Will Adam Morrison be allowed to touch the basketball next season?
The biggest question surrounding the Lakers, however, is the future of their head coach Phil Jackson. The Zenmaster just won the 10th NBA title of his 19-year career, and if there was ever a moment for the 63-year old coach to ride his motorcycle off into the sunset, this would probably be it (of course, according to some, Phil hasn’t been coaching the Lakers for a while now). Well, Jackson hasn’t given any indication of what his plans are, but some are already speculating that he is going to retire and that Mike Krzyzewski is waiting in the wings.
Those of you trying recoup lost money in the stock market are all too aware of the meltdown of the financial system. At the center of that implosion throughout has been Wall Street investment bank Goldman Sachs.
(Coach K.: Picking this up can mean 9 figures in your bank acct.!)
Goldman, along with J.P. Morgan Chase, is largely regarded as the best-run financial institution in the land, and the WALL STREET JOURNAL reports today that the company has regained its financial footing in past months. (Phew!)
One of guys apparently behind the turnaround is 36-year-old Ashok Varadhan. Varadhan pulls down eight figures annually as a Goldman’s top currency trader and recently purchased a Manhattan condo for $16M. Varadhan’s neighbors now include Denzel Washington and Bob Costas.
We ask because, at this point, we could almost start a blog updating solely with news about Twittering athletes, coaches and GMs. Yesterday, we wrote about the infamous tweets of the Buffalo Bills and Brian Burke. Sunday, we wrote about Mark Cuban. And you know what? There are two more breaking Twitter stories this morning.
According to the ASSOCIATED PRESS, the inevitable fine against Cuban came down on Monday, and it landed with the resounding thud of $25,000. Considering the fact that Cuban’s rant was exactly 140 characters, Cuban was paying approximately $178.57 per letter for his screed against J.R. Smith. Not surprisingly, Cuban was none too happy about being lighter in the wallet, and he responded by questioning whether outlets - like, say, SPORTSbyBROOKS - has the right to re-publish his tweet, getting attention for it and, thus, earning him fines.
The answer, as pointed out by FANHOUSE, is a resounding “yes”. Because Cuban’s profile is set to public, we all get to read and re-publish his thoughts. That’s pretty much the definition of fair use. Yet the most interesting line of Cuban’s entire discussion with the FANHOUSE folks is his closing sentence:
@NBAFanHouse not close. I like to create discussion. makes things interesting
Yes, yes he does. At a cost of approximately $25G a pop.
Meanwhile, Celtics star Paul Pierce pulled off his best Shaquille O’Neal impersonation, giving away free tickets to Boston fans who showed up at his car and proffered up the pre-listed password (which, cornily enough, was “truth”). The first five jokers who have been stalking Twitter in their Paul Pierce 34 jerseys and jumped at the chance to meet him got the free seats, and web site BOSTONCS was there to chronicle the whole experience.
All of this got us thinking: Has Twitter officially jumped the shark? What started as a slightly clever way to send instant inside jokes became instantly cool when a few athletes re-discovered their inner dork, and it’s now gone so mainstream that mediocre stars need to imitate the big shots just to stay culturally relevant.
Add to that the mind screw that is Cuban doing anything — the eternal debate of whether he’s doing it because he thinks it’s cool, whether he’s doing it to manipulate the media and fans, whether he’s doing it for both reasons or whether we should even care because he’s such a tool — and maybe we’ve reached the point that we should all blow Twitter off indefinitely … or at least until Anna Kournikova shows up and starts describing what it’s like to get dressed in the morning.
In fact, the whole “Cal to Kentucky” bit is getting so much attention that, as Tuffy first coined in an email last night, you have believe the video alluded to in the ESPN.com screenshot below would lead to a camera trained directly on Calipari’s personal bedroom.
We’re betting it’s going to happen, and that it will happen sooner rather than later. And you know what? In the end, it’s a good thing for college basketball. After all, how great will it be to have Calipari and Rick Pitino facing off against each other in an annual turf war? And just think! This time it won’t just be about who can cheat to land recruits more effectively!
And just when you thought former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s pantomime villain routine couldn’t get any more obvious, it turns out he named a secret agreement to sell Wrigley Field to the state of Illinois — all in return for numerous tax breaks for former Cubs owner Sam Zell — after a throwaway joke in the Blues Brothers.
Blagojevich referred to the Wrigley Field negotiations as “Operation Elwood”, named in honor of Elwood Blues (also known as Dan Aykroyd), whose listed address on his driver’s license was Wrigley Field.
Enough with real news, lets try to manufacture some that involves incredibly attractive people. Like Alyonka Larionov, who may or may not be dating either Alexander Ovechkin or Pavel Datsyuk. She’s also a budding viral video star, so maybe she’ll be dating someone else to keep her in the news soon, too.
Just because we haven’t covered enough Twitter addiction today: USC Coach Pete Carroll’s ridiculous campaign to get buddy Will Farrell on Twitter reached new heights, including this self-produced video.
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.