Joe, Is There Something You Want To Tell Us All?

Jeremy Sandler of Canada’s NATIONAL POST documents the unprofessional and increasingly bizarre behavior of CHICAGO SUN-TIMES White Sox reporter Joe Cowley, who for the last six years has embarrassed himself and his employers with nonsensical swipes at the city of Toronto and the country of Canada.

Joe Cowley Has a Secret

(Jonah, On Behalf Of All Americans, I Second Your Sentiment)

Today was yet another example of Cowley’s crusade, as the reporter published a opinion piece suggesting that MLB should consider moving the Blue Jays to Caracas, Venezuela - replete with (somehow) straight-faced quotes on the prospect by White Sox manager and noted Venezuelan Ozzie Guillen. (The Sun-Times piece.)

Think I’m overreacting? You don’t know the whole story.

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Photos: Victim Of Alleged Brutal Attack By Pitcher

Craig Malisow of the HOUSTON PRESS reports:

Lance Broadway alleged victim photos Ivan Pinney

(Alleged attacker Broadway (left) and McGuire have not been charged)

A former relief pitcher for the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets has been sued for allegedly assaulting a Woodlands man during a New Year’s Eve party in Dallas.

Randy Sorrels, attorney for 25-year-old Ivan Pinney, said his client’s left eye was severely damaged when he was punched and kicked by Lance Broadway, currently a minor-league pitcher in the Toronto Blue Jays organization, and Cameron McGuire, who plays for United League Baseball’s Edinburg Roadrunners.

So why am I bringing up a garden variety alleged altercation between fringe pro ballplayers and a guy from Houston? Because the alleged damage Broadway and Armstrong did to the alleged victim is unbelievable.

KTRK-TV in Houston:

Pinney now has to undergo several surgeries to try to reconstruct his eye and his nasal passages, and he may never fully recover. Pinney cannot see from his left eye, has trouble smelling from damage to his nose, faces multiple surgeries and may lose his career as a petroleum engineer. He says the attack has certainly changed his life.

“It’s absolutely turned my life upside down. I’ve completely lost vision and my sense of smell,” Pinney told Eyewitness News. “I’m totally dependent on my parents to get me around.”

Uncensored photos of Pinney’s face are after the jump. They’re brutal, and you’ve been warned if you click through.

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Week In Review: Chuck Cannot Stomach Tequila

Charles Barkley has some relationship advice for Shawne Merriman: “You don’t get your women from reality TV.”

Tila Tequila, Charles Barkley, Shawne Merriman

• Well, Jay Cutler’s debut for the Chicago Bears could have gone better.

• Fox Sports reporter Chris Myers compares Larry Foote’s jersey from the Steelers to the Lions to going from dating Beyonce to Whoopi Goldberg.

Michelle Wie’s blog is worth checking out - if only for the leather skirts.

Jim Tressel says Ohio State fans are unhappy & miserable. And William Rolle sort of proves the coach’s theory.

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Yankees, Blue Jays Trade Punches In Basebrawl

• The Bronx Bombers blow up in a Tuesday night fight with the Blue Jays.

Yankees Blue Jays brawl

• And if Derek Jeter’s gonna brawl, he’s gonna need a mighty moustache.

• Seems that Wisconsin civic leaders have a problem with 12-year-old albino boys playing football with a tinted helmet visor.

• A Walter Payton statue in front of Soldier Field: A tribute to a Chicago Bears legend, or an insult to America’s veterans?

• ESPN will truly offer a college basketball marathon, as Monmouth & St. Peter’s agree to tip off at 6 a.m. Eastern.

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Speed Read: Mike Singletary Is Still Pretty Insane

After hearing about Mike Singletary’s latest motivational move at San Francisco 49ers training camp, we can all be glad of this: he kept his pants on this time. In fact, he did what many 49ers fans wish someone would have done years ago: he sent former No. 1 draft pick and genial bust Alex Smith packing.

Mike Singletary

Unfortunately for those fans, Smith came back, as he wasn’t traded or cut. No, Singletary had Smith watch the last 30 minutes of training camp from the top of a hill overlooking the practice facility after Smith threw a deflected pass into coverage that was intercepted during a scrimmage. Personally, it sounds like a better punishment would have been to give Smith a couple of passes to nearby Great America and tell him to have fun and enjoy the roller coasters.

Alex Smith

Smith tried to force a pass to noted slacker-slash-slugger Vernon Davis, but it was tipped and eventually picked off. Unfortunately for Smith, this came right after Singletary announced to the team that “the next guy responsible for a turnover would have to sit on the hill for the rest of practice,” leading to Smith getting his perch high on a hill.

Again, some one tell me how this is punishment? Instead of working his butt off at training camp and sweating in the summer heat, Smith got to relax and watch the practice from a grassy vantage point - probably under a shady tree while eating a couple of apples as bluebirds sang to him. And I guess that we are supposed to be impressed that his starting offensive line came to sit with him in a “nice show of solidarity,” although I suspect they saw a chance to get out of the last half-hour of practice and made the most of it.

I know NFL teams are careful not to push players too hard, but don’t players run laps as punishment any more? Suicide sprints? Something other than sitting down and not training at training camp? Mike Singletary’s training camp is allegedly some combination of the Junction Boys, the Bataan Death March and the training montage from “Rocky IV” from how the media is portraying it, but if that’s as tough as it gets in the NFL, maybe we’re coddling players a bit too much.

I have no idea what a UFL training camp is going to be like; I’m guessing it will be more advanced than teaching the players what the Xs and Os on the playbook mean, even if just barely. But it does seem like the players are going to go through a lot of punishment - at least on the field, thanks to their names and uniforms. That is, if the ones announced on Monday by the Las Vegas franchise are any indication.

Las Vegas Locomotives

First off there’s the name: the Las Vegas Locomotives. Because when I think of Las Vegas, I don’t think of gambling or nightlife or danger - I think of trains. Yup, you really get the high rollers coming in on the train from Barstow to Las Vegas. It’s basically a half-step up from calling the team the Las Vegas Hobos, and unless your team’s offensive coordinator is John Hodgman, that’s not going to fly.

And then there are the uniforms. Now, I’m no sartorial demigod, but…I don’t want to say that it’s hideous, but the USFL called and they are planning on suing you for $1 for ripping off their designs. The whole thing looks horrendously 80s, from the shiny neon aquamarine pants to the blocky numbering. I think I saw MC Skat Kat wearing something suspiciously similar in a video with Paula Abdul back in the day.

Basically, the whole thing is a mess, and even Las Vegas head coach Jim Fassel is confused as to the connection between Las Vegas and trains. (But this isn’t the first time he’s been confused in his life.) Plus, the team’s name is sure to be shortened by people to “Locos,” which the owners seem to think is great cross-cultural marketing but just reminds me of how crazy you’d have to be to try and go up against the NFL.

Finally, I have to wonder what Jeff Gordon’s motivation is to keep racing. After all, he could be at home having sex with his Brazilian supermodel wife, playing with his kids or simply climbing up and down one of the giant mountains of cash he presumably has laying around his house from all of his winnings and endorsement deals.

And after yesterday’s race at the Watkins Glen road course in New York, he is probably wondering the same thing himself after being involved in a bad multi-car crash that sent him careening into a guard rail - not a SAFER barrier - at nearly top speed. Gordon walked away unscathed, although he was complaining of aggravating a sore back injured after he’s been involved in several big crashes in the last few years.

After watching that replay again, let me ask Gordon something: hot Brazilian supermodel wife, or smashing the bejeezus out of your car head-on into a guard rail? Your choice.

In other sports news that happened while you thanked God you weren’t the local TV reporter who drew the short straw and had to cover the “Furries” convention:

  • Crocs announced late yesterday that it is pulling out of its title sponsorship of the AVP Tour at the end of this season. But how ever will beach volleyball survive without its association with ugly rubber clogs? Wait, they’ll survive thanks to hot chicks rolling around on the sand wearing next to nothing? I guess…
  • AVP ad

  • This is exactly what you want to hear from a tennis player playing his last season before his retirement: former world No. 1 Marat Safin admits that it’s “impossible” that he’ll win another title. I don’t think he’ll be getting the same teary send-off at the U.S. Open that Andre Agassi did.
  • Former New England cornerback Tebucky Jones is already suing Patriots team doctors for misdiagnosing his career-ending knee injury. Now he’s telling the BOSTON HERALD that NFL teams frequently cut injured players in order to avoid paying them for sitting on the injured reserve. It’s all so shocking, I know. Next he’ll tell me that they also pressure them into playing hurt, and look the other way about steroid and drug use. If only Oliver Stone could make a movie about this…
  • The Chicago White Sox were able to get two-time All-Star Alex Rios on waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays for no compensation (which with the exchange rate means the White Sox made money on the deal). So, do you think the Blue Jays were thrilled to be rid of the $64 million due to Rios through 2014?
  • If there’s ever been someone who should be happy to have a home run overturned by instant replay, it’s the Rockies’ Troy Tulowitzki. Sure, he missed out on a grand slam in the second inning and had to settle for a two-run single. But he needed that single en route to becoming the fifth Rockies player to hit for the cycle in Colorado’s 11-5 rout of the floundering Cubs.
  • The San Francisco Giants are honoring former pitcher Dave Dravecky on the 20th anniversary of his comeback from cancer. Which is great, except it reminds me of the sound his arm made when it snapped like a twig during his comeback, and then I need to throw up.
  • The USL Division II soccer match between the Real Maryland Monarch and Bermuda Hogges was your standard affair. If you consider a player scoring two goals in the first half and then getting arrested at halftime, a coach being ejected from the game and having to watch from the parking lot, and a goalkeeper being forced to play striker as “standard”.
  • There was great line in a SPORTING NEWS post about the terrible level of umpiring seen this season, with umps continually deciding to make themselves the center of attention. It mentions Phillies announcer Larry Anderson responding to umpire Joe West telling him that MLB umps were “the best in the business” by telling the audience that he wanted to respond that “if you guys are the best in the business, you’ve got a really bad business.”
  • I sure hope new Minnesota T-Wolves head coach Kurt Rambis wasn’t expecting Ricky Rubio to be playing for him any time soon, as team president David Kahn said the buyout of Rubio’s European contract is still “very problematic.
  • And there’s really only one way to celebrate Hulk Hogan’s 56th birthday: crank it up, Mr. Rick Derringer!

I need to watch a football movie to pump myself up for the season. What should it be?

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Speed Read: One Day Left For Halladay Shopping

Please forgive the residents of Toronto if they’re not that relieved to learn that Roy Halladay will probably remain a Blue Jay through 2010. They’re in the midst of a rather nasty civic strike up there, and it’s hard to smell the roses when no one has picked up the trash for the past six weeks. And speaking of things that stink, Halladay gave up 11 hits over seven innings as the Jays lost to the Mariners in Seattle on Wednesday, 3-2. Ask not for whom the MLB Trade Deadline tolls. It tolls for thee.

Roy Halladay

For those keeping score at home (howdy, Steinbrenners!), Halladay has lost three of his past four decisions; kind of hard to fathom since, according to all of the trade rumors that have involved him lately, he’s supposedly The Chosen One. Those rumors have circled him like buzzards, and Halladay can’t wait for all of this to be over.

“It hasn’t been fun,” Halladay said. “There’s been a lot of attention, questions from all angles; not only the media, but friends and acquaintances.”

“I don’t know what the best way is to go about it. They’re doing their due diligence but how you go about that, what’s the best way, I’ve never had to do that.

“You never want that kind of circus. That part will be nice. It’s baseball, something you love to do and I look forward to doing it. But you look forward to a time when there are fewer outside things going on.”

He was supposed to be a Phillie by now, but the world champions got tired of waiting and asked Cliff Lee to the prom instead. (And, sorry Philadelphia, but your pitching still isn’t as good as the Giants’). So now the Jays are saying they’ll probably just keep him, even though there may be some interest from the Rangers, the Angels and the Red Sox. Also, the Yankees have been quiet on the subject … too quiet. That trading deadline of Friday at 4 p.m. (ET) cannot come soon enough.

Oh, and add the Dodgers to the list of teams interested in Halladay. Or if they weren’t before they are now, since Lee landed with the Phillies. LA has lost four straight, Albert Pujols doing the honors on Wednesday with a run-scoring single in the 15th to give the Cardinals a 3-2 win. The Giants, 7 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West and first in the Wild Card race, went out and armed themselves with 2006 NL MVP batting champ Freddy Sanchez from the Pirates, after having snagged Ryan Garko from the Indians earlier in the week. The Giants gave up a lot for Sanchez in minor league pitcher Tim Alderson, whom I think is going to be great. But at least there’s some wheeling and dealing occurring to keep me amused. The Pirates, by the way, also traded Jack Wilson to the Mariners, meaning that they traded away their starting double play combination on the same day.

Elsewhere in trade deadline rumblings, you’ve got your Padres shopping first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, closer Heath Bell and right-hander Kevin Correia, with the Brewers seeming to be the team most interested in the latter. Of course the Padres offering up the cream of their roster in late July has become a tradition as old as baseball itself. The Marlins are “in serious talks” for Bell, accordingto SI.com. … if the Rangers can’t get Halladay, they’re hoping for Seattle’s Jarrod Washburn … Orioles left-hander George Sherrill to the White Sox? Baltimore needs a third baseman, and Chicago GM Kenny Williams may be willing to include Josh Fields in a deal. But Sherrill doesn’t want to go.

Meanwhile, THE SPORTING NEWS has commissioned one of those pointless, confounding polls that sucker people like me into writing about them, thus oiling the wheels of conversation. This time it’s the 50 Greatest Coaches of All Time, with the winner being — no surprise here — John Wooden. The Wizard of Westwood is the safe choice, as his 10 NCAA men’s titles will likely not be challenged before one school corners the market on human cloning, or the invention of Flubber. The list was voted on by a panel of coaches, the identities of which are uncertain (except for this complete list, that is. I see that Jerry Glanville is on there, which is probably why Bill Walsh is only at No. 26).

John Wooden, Bill Walton

I’m not even certain what the criteria is here. Are we just counting Xs and Os, or overall character and influence? Is basketball a harder sport to coach than football or hockey? Why leave out boxing and swimming? What, no Dennis Erickson?

Here’s the top 10:

1. John Wooden, college basketball
2. Vince Lombardi, NFL
3. Bear Bryant, college football
4. Phil Jackson, NBA
5. Don Shula, NFL
6. Red Auerbach, NBA
7. Scotty Bowman, NHL
8. Dean Smith, college basketball
9. Casey Stengel, MLB
10. Knute Rockne, college football

Although I don’t think that Wooden belongs at the top, I think it’s cool that he’s still around to be told he won this. Let’s salute him by lifting our glasses and saying: “What, you think you’re better than me? It’s go time! Mendlebaum! Mendelbaum!”

Manny Ramirez

If you’re looking for something to do tonight, why not travel to Lowell, Mass., and help the Lowell Spinners celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Manny Ramirez trade. It’s Quitters Night at LeLacheur Park as the Red Sox Single-A affiliate reminds everyone that Manny (they say) quit on the season during his last year with the Sox. Activities will include a fan vote of the top five list of quitters, liars and cheaters of all time; the top five Manny moments; and a cardboard cutout of Manny which will be signed by fans and shipped to him.

Also, the Spinners will have a hypnotist to provide assistance for fans that need a little extra help to quit smoking or other addictive habits.

And now, links to ponder while recovering from wounds inflicted by your porn star girlfriend

  • The Rockies’ Troy Tulowitzki likes Britney Spears, and he doesn’t care who knows it. Also, if he could have one legendary player as a teammate, his first choice would be Derek Jeter; “except then I wouldn’t have a position. So I guess it would be Babe Ruth. He seems like someone it would be fun to hang out with.”
  • This is a pretty poor excuse for a fight at an Angels’ game, but one guy’s t-shirt does get ripped, and someone gets a beer dousing. The funny part is that the guy in the middle with the “Eight Men Out”-era straw hat, who appears to be playing peacemaker, is the one who gets the brunt of the abuse. “For the love of Christy Mathewson, knock it off you guys!”

  • I’ve always been able to make a comfortable disconnect between FOX NEWS and FOX SPORTS, but that peace was tested on Wednesday when the latter trotted out their “10 people we’d like to go away” slideshow. Among the usual suspects (Erin Andrews, etc.) we have at No. 8, President Obama? Seriously? Are Rupert Murdoch’s bony fingers pushing the buttons at the sports division now? Sorry, not even going to link to it.
  • Tampa Bay pitcher Matt Garza admitted that he hit the Yankees’ Mark Teixeira on purpose Wednesday night, the inning after Yankees starter Joba Chamberlain threw near the head of Evan Longoria. “It’s about time someone made a statement,” Garza said. … “I hate to be that guy, but someone had to take a stand and say, ‘You know, we’re tired of it.’” Time for Bob Watson to get out the whuppin’ stick. But will he?
  • Ann Killion is leaving after 21 years as a sports reporter and columnist at the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, not a surprising development as Dean Singleton continues to cut costs and gut sports sections in his teetering MediaNews Group stable of Bay Area newspapers. We wish her well.
  • The Astros’ LaTroy Hawkins accused umpire Mike Everitt of wanting the Cubs to win in Chicago’s 5-1 victory over Houston on Wednesday. “Maybe he was having a bad day,” Hawkins said. “I thought he had determined who he wanted to win the game anyway.” … Asked by Houston reporters whether he regretted the remark, Hawkins replied: “Why would I?”
  • Bugs Bunny turned 69 this week. I mention this because of one of the greatest cartoons ever produced — 1946’s “Baseball Bugs,” which I’m sure everyone has seen at least once. This classic also indirectly produced one of the greatest blog posts of all time, “Bugs Bunny, the greatest banned player ever,” by U.S.S. MARINER. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

Baseball Bugs

  • Police in Shelton, Conn., broke up a canary fighting ring recently, seizing 150 birds and confiscating $8,000 that had been bet on the fights. As you know, there’s nothing lower than canary fighting. But did these sick bastards actually think that they could elude the long arm of the Connecticut Department of Agriculture? Not likely.

Is John Wooden the best coach of all time?

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MLB Bust Matt Bush Arrest Video a Crying Shame

You might remember Matt Bush as the San Diego Padres’ No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 draft. More likely, you remember him from later roles, including “Padres Top Draft Pick in Drunken Brawl (Parts I and II),” “Padres Cut Top Draft Pick After He Drunkenly Hurls Lacrosse Player” and “Blue Jays Cut Former Padres Top Draft  After He Drunkenly Chucks Baseball At Woman’s Head.

Matt Bush baseball card

(Probably about as valuable as a Vince Coleman rookie card.)

What he lacks in versatility he seems to make up for in commitment to character: the guy was born to play a drunken idiot. So it comes as little surprise the THE SPORTING BLOG has news of his latest part: “Former Draft Pick Bawling His Eyes Out After DUI Arrest.” And judging by the video of the performance after the jump, this could be his finest performance to date:

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Speed Read: If They Say It’s Not About the Money

SPORTSbyBROOKS, in conjunction with Disney on Broadway and Rosie O’Donnell, is proud to present the upcoming smash Internet musical that will leave your toes a-tappin’ and your wallet a-empty: How to Succeed at Sports Business Without Really Trying!

How to Succeed in Sports Business Without Really Trying

Nathan Lane plays Sam Zell, a real estate magnate who overleverages himself in order to buy a major company in a rapidly shrinking industry just before the lending bubble bursts. It’s zany fun (except for the hundreds laid off, but they’re offstage anyway).

Desperate to make debt payments, he tries to sell the only profitable part of the company: a sports team known for being both lovable and not-winners. Still, he can’t find anyone willing to put up with his byzantine conditions in time to avoid bankruptcy.

However, to please the bankruptcy judge and try to salvage some of his own wealth, he presses on (as captured in the frenetic number, “Doesn’t Anyone Want to Get My Goat?”) and finds a family willing to buy the team off him.

Sam Zell's Goat

When negotiations don’t progress as hoped because he’s not getting his way and the family has to turn to regional celebrities to pony up cash, Zell tries to gin up a bidding war by hinting that he might be speaking to one of the previously-rejected suitors.

Will the family bow to the planted story and give the charismatic dwarf what he demands? Will his bluff be called and leave him singing “The Blue-Pinstriped Bankrupt Overtaxed Blues”?

And that’s just Act One, kids! Just wait till you see what’s in Act Two!

As the curtain rises on the second act, a strikingly successful bald man with an accent from the Queen’s lands (Patrick Stewart in a rare singing role) tries to make off in the night with a bag jammed full of hockey players from Phoenix (The Jonas Brothers). Caught at the U.S./Canada border, he tries to plead his case to the judge, who laughs him off and tells him to get back in line.

Having been cast a hand so weak that he could call it “The Stranger”, Jim Balsillie (the aforementioned smooth-headed rascal) organizes Make It Seven Day for today (June 19th) to encourage the creation or move of an NHL team to Canada to raise the number of Canadian NHL teams to seven.

Jim Balsillie does seven the hard way

(Jim Balsillie performing “Make It Seven the Really Hard Way”)

He bounces around the stage, Robert Preston-style, to sing to people that “Make It Seven Day is all about providing a voice to Canadian hockey fans, while raising money for minor hockey teams across the country.” (It all sounds better when it’s set to Elton John’s “Greater Toronto Area Freedom”.)

The Canadian chorus, recognizing a true Canadian hero in their midst, throw him onto their shoulders while he waves the Maple Leaf triumphantly and leads a round of “O Canada (Deserves a Seventh Team)” before someone in the crowd (Robin Thicke) realizes Balsillie is using nationalism (and corporate sponsors) to give himself a plaything and cast himself as a hero as well as a billionaire.

Also, the kid in the crowd realizes that the rich bald guy still hasn’t brought them a team, either, for all his bluster.

The crowd escorts Balsillie to the edge of the stage and tosses him back to America, warning him not to come back without a team this time. End of Act Two.

Oh, but Act Three… it’s the most expensive act in Internet musical history as it involves tearing Formula One asunder by chasing all the wealthiest teams (including Ferrari and McLaren) into forming their own league because Formula One dared suggested they not outspend all the other teams so badly anymore.

Well, the rich teams responded in eight-team harmony, if you won’t let us spend ridiculously in Formula One, we’ll build our own playpen so we can try to outspend each other with absurd amounts of cash.

Needless to say, this act’s a blatant theft of the American version of this musical, starring Jesse L. Martin as Tony George. It ends like the American version, too: both sides drain all the interest out of open-wheel racing, the money dries up, and Danica Patrick is cast as the savior. (Hey, if NASCAR can do it…)

Danica Patrick photo SI

(As always, it’s a race to the bottom with Danica)

On the other hand, you should see Formula One boss Max Mosley’s Naziriffic spanktastic encore for this show (and Formula One’s final bow):

Look out; here comes the bullet points! (But not before you consider a new iPhone for all the NSFW foreplay possibilities):

  • As the old joke goes, Jeremy Roenick donned his sparkly collar and surely proved that he has a career waiting for him on the stage, as seen during last night’s NHL Awards. In fact, if he hurries, there’s a stage leaving town in 15 minutes.

  • The Detroit Tigers have benched Magglio Ordoñez “indefinitely” due to his mediocre performance at the plate and definitely not because management has told Jim Leyland to sit on The Big Tilde to avoid triggering a clause in his contract to pay him $18 million in 2010. However, if Ordoñez would like to catch up on his DVR watching during the game, that would be totally cool with the Tigers.
  • If you’re a big fan of your favorite team, you won’t just stop at collecting cards or jerseys. You’ll also buy the unauthorized porn video (whose screen captures are probably just a bit NSFW). C’mon; if you’re in for an inch, you’re… probably doing it wrong, actually.
  • Let’s see… an AL pitcher is hurt on the basepaths in interleague games for the second year in a row. You know what that means: OMG PANDEMIC RUN FOR THE HILLS (unless you’re an AL pitcher; they get designated runners).
  • A few members of Iran’s soccer team donned green quietly to support the growing support for those demonstrating back in Iran while the players participate in the Confederations Cup in South Africa. They could be in a bit of trouble when they return home.

Iran soccer team

Who would you least like to handle your finances?

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Speed Read: Men In Blue Know Umping Ain’t Easy

You think that baseball umpires have it easy? Talk to Kerwin Danley. Actually, don’t talk to him today - he’s probably nursing one heck of a headache. Unlike me this morning, it was not as the result of a night of heavy drinking, but from a baseball bat to the back of the head. The DALLAS MORNING NEWS says that Danley was whacked by Hank Blaylock’s broken bat while working the Rangers vs. Blue Jays game, and had to go to the hospital with a possible concussion.

Please ignore the Zapruder film quality (get some video conversion software, people) and prepare to wince at footage of the incident:

Unfortunately for Danley, winding up in the hospital is getting to be a regular occurrence for him. You might remember last year when he took a 96 mph fastball to the jaw courtesy of Brad Penny.

If I were Danley, I’d avoid any home plate assignments for the rest of my career if possible. Or I’d only work from a perch about ten rows in back of home, or wearing more padding than The Michelin Man.

But also: THE KILLER BATS ARE BACK!  I thought we stopped the maple bats’ raping and pillaging of the baseball world last season? Actually, I don’t know if that was a maple bat or not, but why not start the overly-heated, panicked reaction now?

Meanwhile, you might have missed this Washington Nationals bit of news because, well, they are the Nationals, but sluggers Adam Dunn and Ryan Zimmerman were forced to wear jerseys that said “Natinals” during a game last Friday. Which, as you can imagine, was a bit of an embarrassment … for Majestic Apparel, the company that makes all uniforms for MLB. (I can’t imagine the uniform gaffe caused Dunn or Zimmerman to lose their “Natinals Pride”.)

Washington Natinals jersey

So MLB.COM says that Majestic has apologized for the mistake. They didn’t give an explanation for the error, but we can assume it’s because it was a Nationals jersey and no one cared. Apparently the Nationals’ clubhouse attendants didn’t care, since they just checked to make sure the names were spelled right on the back of the jerseys and didn’t look at the front when they opened the boxes before Opening Day. Honestly, you don’t wash those once to make it less itchy?

Finally, you have to wonder about La Salle University’s basketball recruiting process. After all, top recruit Karon Burton was supposed to be known for his speed, which led him to be named Delware County, PA’s Player of the Year this past season. But if that’s the case, how in the world did he, as the DELAWARE COUNTY DAILY TIMES says, get caught by a police officer when trying to flee on foot as cops were chasing him as part of a massive drug bust? Either someone’s scouting department sucks, or there’s a cop who should be receiving a recruiting visit.

Karon Burton

But I’m guessing that Burton won’t be getting that scholarship anyway. He was one of 11 people arrested on Monday as part of a two-hour undercover drug sting. Police say Burton ran from a car that had tried to purchase heroin from a cop posing as a dealer, and he tried to ditch bags of pot before being chased down by the cops. But that’s better than the woman who was also arrested in the sting trying to buy heroin and cocaine - with her young daughter in the car seat in back.

  • Another day, another case of a South American soccer match turning into a giant brawl. SKY NEWS says this one in Argentina started after the captain of Guarani Antonio Franco (who I think was dictator of Argentina at one time) bumped into the ref. Here’s the wackiness that ensued:

  • What’s worse than breaking someone’s ankle with a vicious soccer tackle? The BBC has an answer: how about stamping on the player’s shattered leg as he lays writhing on the ground?
  • The CHARLESTON DAILY MAIL says Marshall football player Courtney Edmonson made a basic mistake that many youngsters make when they drink: don’t carry a big bottle of Bacardi Razz Rum around campus.
  • Ole Miss DT Jerrell Powe told police that “he couldn’t read when they came over to his place about a noise complaint. The CLARION LEDGER says that Rebels head coach Houston Nutt is not pleased, especially since he’s had a history of eligibility issues with the NCAA.
  • Manny Pacquiao threw out the first pitch in San Francisco at the Giants’ home game against San Diego. The final verdict: more of a light jab than a knockout punch. Check it out for yourself (but don’t tell me you don’t want one of those T-shirts):

  • Even NASCAR is getting into the “helping the environment” business, with USA TODAY saying that for the first time, they will be using a hybrid as a pace car during the Coca-Cola 600 over Memorial Day weekend. This is what happens when the pinko leftists take over, people.
  • Congratulations, Blue Jackets fans: you got to see the first home playoff game in team history last night, as Columbus hosted Detroit. The bad news: THE HOCKEY NEWS reports that the Red Wings scored about one minute in and never looked back, coasting to a 4-1 win and a 3-0 series lead. But hey, you can show up tomorrow and be there to see the Blue Jackets get swept for the first time in franchise playoff history.
  • The PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER has the latest college basketball star to declare for the NBA Draft: Villanova’s Scottie Reynolds, who I believe has been at the school for 27 years.
  • The LOS ANGELES TIMES says that there’s an apparent winner in the USC Trojans’ QB derby, as Pete Carroll has named sophmore Aaron Corp the starter for the spring game and through fall camp. I wonder where Mitch Mustain will transfer to next?
  • Finally, let’s give one last finger wag for Dikeme Mutombo, who the HOUSTON CHRONICLE says suffered a knee injury in the Rockets’ 107-103 loss to the Trail Blazers that Mutombo says is career-ending. And whom was he battling with when his knee exploded? Of course it was Greg Oden - he’s now made knee injuries viral. But let’s honor the defensive beast and great humanitarian by sexing someone tonight.

Which fans are the most obnoxious and overzealous about defending their semi-popular sport?

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Speed Read: Cubs Riding Hard Liquor Bandwagon

It wasn’t enough for Diageo, the makers of Smirnoff vodka, to invite the good folks of Phoenix out to see their hockey team free with the purchase of a bottle of booze.  Now they’re plastering their name across The World’s Largest Beer Garden in an attempt to make further inroads into the sports scene. That’s one way to pay for stadium upgrades if you won’t pony up to the governor.

Drunk Boozer Wrigley Field Cubs fans

Wrigley Field will now host the Captain Morgan Club (a restaurant) and the Smirnoff Patio and provide lovely mixed drinks to the fans that like to do a little drinking around 10 am at home and then ride the El to Addison and start downing car bombs around 11:30 am for a 1:20 pm start.

If Cubs fans aren’t careful, they might even put Toronto Blue Jays fans to shame.  That’s not easy to do, either; they can’t be stopped even if Daddy takes the alcohol away for a game.  (Not to mention the gratuitous nudity.)

Also gratuitous: the entire 2008-2009 NCAA women’s basketball season. The University of Connecticut Huskies won their 39th straight game by double-digits to complete their undefeated season and claim the nation’s crown.

Connecticut Huskies

Stanford University of Louisville kept this game competitive for about as long as you’ve been reading this article thus far, which still might be the best effort of the year for a UConn opponent.  This could be the point for a snide joke about going pro in a little something we call life, but these young women are already professional assassins.  Yikes.

We know the short-lived hole in the media filter (and the filter on media members themselves) caused by Twitter will soon close and leave us with more canned responses and layers of personal marketing protection.  As we speak, there are businesses springing up around the management of social spaces and new media integration and other phrases that dampen the soul.

For now, though, we live in truly awesome times.  Example: Bill Stewart (West Virginia’s head football coach and the antithesis of R-Rod) has been carrying on like a blessed fool on Twitter, including how he threw all the kickers out of a meeting or how he gets so fired up by Chubby Checker that he sprints into practice at 4:15 am.

West Virginia head coach Bill Stewart

Go like this, Coach Stewart.  Go like this all morning long.

And now the twisting hail of bullets that Carl Landry could heal up from in only three weeks

Francis Buxton

  • Stan Kasten, president of the Washington Nationals, went on Philly radio and told Phillies fans just how much they were welcome to fill those increasingly empty seats at Nationals Park, having apparently forgotten that D.C. sports fans survive the surprisingly harsh winters by burning compressed carbon logs of their own hate for other teams.  You’d think Stan Kasten had bigger fish to fry, frankly.  For example, Dmitri Young just called Stan Kasten’s house because he heard Kasten’s hosting a fish fry.
  • Your NBA Draft early departure update: Blake Griffin (as mentioned late yesterday), Jodie Meeks, and everyone in the city of Tucson.  They’re gonna need a bigger green room.
  • Senator Ted Kennedy threw out the first pitch at Fenway Park on Opening Day.  Senator Bill Frist saw this video and declared Kennedy alive and well, raising his batting average to .500.
  • The San Diego Padres have one chance at a title: Miss California Carrie Prejean (a former “Deal or No Deal” model) will be competing for the Miss USA title in Vegas on April 19th and she’s a former member of the Padres’ “Pad Squad”.  It’s good that she’s no longer with the organization or Becky Moores might demand weekend visitation rights.

Carrie Prejean, Miss California 2009

How many majors for Tiger Woods this year?

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