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.
Mark Maske of the WASHINGTON POST also noted the questions, reporting that, “some Native Americans have been critical of the team’s nickname, calling it derogatory, and have challenged it in legal proceedings.”
I actually don’t think the question was inappropriate.
Tim Tebow probably never wanted to see the day when he’d be lumped in with such damaged goods as LeGarrette Blount, Michael Vick, and - ugh - Jeff Fisher. But here it is and here we are, Tebow: Tony Dungy has come rushing to your aid. Yes, the St. Jude of sports, the patron saint of lost causes and dog killers. Dungy. Accept it.
Dungy’s latest comments came to Dan Patrick this morning when talking about drafting a quarterback for a team with a Top 10 pick. Patrick threw out alternative choices like Sam Bradford, Jimmy Clausen, Colt McCoy, and Jake Locker. Nnnnnope. Because Tebow’s a winner, you see. Winners win games. Oh yeah.
It’s been almost 9 months since the 2008 Heisman was awarded, which should tell you what a nightmare the college football offseason is. That one went to Sam Bradford, who’s on the Oklahoma sidelines and ruefully eying Matt Stafford’s mammoth rookie contract as we speak. And hey, Bradford set a record for passing efficiency, and anyone who watched the season knows the performance wasn’t exactly a fluke; kid can ball.
(Enjoying the pregame ritual by getting CBS’s feed: “You’re great, Tim… you’re the best, Tim… If I had a daughter, I’d personally hand her to you, Tim…”)
But that, of course, means the Heisman didn’t go to eventual champion Tim Tebow, and after the shameless, near-fellatial fawning that Tebow enjoyed, some broadcasters obviously thought Tebow deserved the trophy in what was a remarkably close ballot race. One broadcaster for CBS - who held the rights to most of the Gators’ games last year - still hasn’t forgiven the voters for, in his mind, robbing Tebow of the Heisman.
Dennis Hopper’s warnings from those admittedly awesome Nike commercials were an apt metaphor for the perils of Week 1 in college football. In this case, while Georgia and Virginia Tech couldn’t overcome tough opponents in hostile territory, Oklahoma was the real loser of the weekend.
(”Coach said to rub some dirt on it. Wait… we don’t have dirt; this is field turf! MEDIIIIIIC!”)
But first, about the Georgia loss: With the score 17-10 OSU in the third quarter, Zac Robinson led Justin Blackmon on a crossing route over the middle. The pass sailed and bounced off the receiver’s hands, at which point Blackmon was immediately met with a violent hit from safety Reshad Jones. Flags fly, unnecessary roughness call, 1st down for the Cowboys.
Except… that was, by all accounts, a legal hit. Jones had begun his move before the ball bounced off the receiver’s hands. His technique was legal: he didn’t lead with the helmet, just a high shoulder. But since he hit Blackman so hard and there’s the emphasis on caling unnecessary roughness, three flags fell at his feet. Even Matt Millen was apoplectic. After all… what the hell was Jones supposed to do? Not play defense? If Blackmon makes that catch and Jones lets up, Jones probably loses his starting role for bitching out and being afraid of contact. It was an idiotic call and a bad precedent for the rest of college football. Video is after the break.
It was close, but last night’s BCS Championship Game was far from a classic. Now nobody’s sure who the best team in the country is, with Utah, USC, and Texas all able to make legitimate claims. It certainly didn’t look like either one of the teams playing last night deserved it. The only thing we do know is that Fox broadcaster Thom Brennaman has a Florida-sized man crush on Tim Tebow, who finally decided to not suck in the fourth quarter of the Gators’ 24-14 win over Oklahoma. Brennaman and Charles Davis‘ gushing reached unbearable levels late in the game, when, after Tebow received a taunting penalty, they suggested that he was baited into it by an OU player (with zero evidence to suggest that was true). How could this guy have possibly done anything wrong?:
As for the Sooners, Sam Bradford continued a storied tradition of that year’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback playing like crap in the title game. Lions fans officially have nothing to look forward to.
The highlight of the game for me personally was the fact that ACC referee Ron Cherry was involved. Cherry made waves last season for creating a new reason to call a personal foul:
We know that the coaches are supposedly required to give their #1 vote to the BCS winner (although Utah’s Kyle Whittingham says he’s voting for his team), but the AP title was up for grabs. And even though Florida’s win could be considered somewhat lackluster (the defensive effort was really good, I’ll admit), they got 48 of 64 first-place votes, with the Utes receiving the other 16 and finishing #2. Way to make a statement, there, disgruntled sportswriters of America.
Rocco Baldelli and his weird mystery disease signed with the Red Sox yesterday. He’ll only get $500,00 in base salary, but can earn an additional $1.75 million if he stays on the roster all year. John Smoltz is rumored to be the next signing for the Red Sox. Meanwhile, Trevor Hoffmansigned a $6 million dollar deal to be the closer for the Brewers this year.
Let’s get on with the linking:
• YAHOO SPORTS’ Adrian Wojnarowski writes that the Portland Trail Blazers are threatening litigation against any team that decides to sign Darius Miles. The Blazers were able to purge Miles’ contract from their salary cap last year when they succesfully argued that he had suffered career-ending injuries. But Miles recovered, and has played eight games. If he plays two more games, his salary goes back on Portland’s cap, limiting the Blazers’ versatility in the offseason free-agent market and also sending luxury tax money to every other team in the league. The Blazers are worried that some team will sign Miles to a 10-day contract just to screw them over.
• Stanford’s win over Washington in women’s basketball was expected. But nobody really thought the Cardinal would win the game by 77 points. Yikes. It’s the largest margin of victory in Pac-10 history. Stanford led 62-15 at halftime and rolled to a 112-35 win. The SEATTLE P-I has the game story.
• Curt Schilling is getting after Dan Shaughnessy again, this time about Shaughnessy treating Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez differently in the same situation and suggesting the race card. THE BIG LEAD has the details.
• The EXAMINER’s Paula Duffy reports that the WNBA and L.A. Sparks are doing their best to pretend that they aren’t furious over the news that 2008 league MVP Candace Parker is pregnant. Parker is set to give birth in May, and it’s unclear when she’ll be able to return to the court, if at all, in 2009.
I remember while watching the Heisman Trophy presentation last Saturday they were going through the crowd and showing some of the past winners in attendance. They were going from great to great when they suddenly got to former Dallas Cowboy Tony Dorsett, and he looked incredibly unhappy while they showed him. I even turned to my friend and said “Man, does Tony Dorsett look excited to be there, or what?”
Instead Tony looked like he had a lot on his mind and couldn’t care less which one of the three quarterbacks in attendance was going to win the award. Well, now a few days later I think I know what Tony was thinking about while sitting there. That’s because while Tony was sitting around waiting for somebody to read Sam Bradford’s name off of an envelope, his nephew Anthony Dorsett was getting busted in West Virginia for helping run a Pennsylvania cocaine ring.
Missouri didn’t do much in the Big 12 title game, but they did manage to knock one of Oklahoma’s big offensive threats out for the BCS Championship game.
DeMarco Murray, who ran for 1,002 on the season and helped kick the Sooner offense into an insanely high gear, will not play against Florida due to a ruptured tendon in his hamstring. Murray suffered the injury in a helmet-to-knee hit during the Mizzou game. He’s not the only key Sooner who’s a little banged up, though.
Billy Sims is arguably the most decorated tailback in Oklahoma’s proud history. Sims won the Heisman Trophy in 1978, is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, and was the first overall pick by the Lions in 1980. And no, Wikipedia, he’s not dead. Stop that.
It’s fine that Sims is proud of his collegiate career, of course. At last night’s Heisman ceremony, however, when fellow Sooner Sam Bradford took home the trophy, Billy Sims tried to start the “Boomer Sooner” chant. Lord, how he tried. Over and over. 11 times. And unless you think that is anything but wildly annoying, we have video after the break. Read more…
So you’re a Texas fan. You’re mad at the world because, despite beating your biggest rival by 10 points on a neutral field, they’re going to the Big 12 Championship and, in all likelihood, the BCS Championship instead of your Horns. You’re looking for a scapegoat. Well, we’ve got one for you: His name is Mack Brown.
(Mack Brown giveth, and he unintentionally taketh away.)
That’s right, the very coach who helped put Texas in this position is also partly responsible for keeping them from holding the No. 2 spot. Brown has a vote in the Coaches’ Poll, one of two polls balanced against the BCS computer rankings to determine the overall BCS Standings. Instead of voting for his Longhorns as the nation’s No. 1 team, Brown picked someone else (we’re betting undefeated Alabama). Two voters picked Oklahoma No. 1. The result? The Sooners end up with a one vote edge in the Coaches’ Poll … and with an edge of less than two-tenths of a poll in the BCS Standings.
Of course, that means Oklahoma is headed to the Big 12 Championship Game, with a serious inside track on the BCS Championship. Meanwhile the Longhorns will have to settle for a date in the Fiesta or Orange Bowl, barring a stunning upset by a Missouri team that looked more cooked than Thursday’s turkey throughout most of a loss to Kansas.