Wake Up Call: Never Let Caldwell Park The Ferrari

When I was serving time as a American Hockey League announcer in Greensboro, N.C., in the ’90s, I remember a certain coach running the Wake Forest football program into the ground in nearby Winston Salem: Jim Caldwell.

Jim Caldwell Wake Forest Disastrous Coaching Record

I’ve been skeptical of Caldwell ever since. Yes, the Colts 14-game streak to start the season was starting to cause cracks in my cynicism, but today we finally got to see the Caldwell I watched systematically dismantle the Demon Deacons.

Jim Caldwell With Peyton Manning

I recognize that Caldwell’s Deacs are a long way from Caldwell’s Colts - in time, place and otherwise. So who am I to judge?

Jim Caldwell With Jeff Saturday

(Caldwell forgot tissues for Jeff Saturday)

Instead, I’ll let Indianapolis fans from today’s Colts-Jets live blog at IndyStar.com take it away …

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Speed Read: Sleazy Vick, Caylee Dolls Draw Suit

I think I’ve found the world’s worst person: his name is Jaime Salcedo, and he’s the owner of Showbiz Productions in Jacksonville, FL. He first made a name for himself by selling the “Vick Chew Toy,” which is not related to the one the St. Paul Saints gave away. In fact, if you read the fine print at the toy’s Web site, it’s not even Michael Vick at all. Crazy how someone could get that idea, right? Check out the promotional video for yourself:

So while the toy and it’s cutting-edge “dog material” might be an overpriced, one-note joke aimed at making a quick buck, it’s not really horrible. Now, creating a doll based on a toddler who was gruesomely killed by her mother, that would be hideous. Folks, let me introduce you to the “Sunshine Caylee Doll,” also a creation from the monstrous kitchens of Showbiz Productions, meant to be a “tribute” to slain Florida two-year-old Caylee Anthony.

Caylee doll

Of course, as Salcedo told Fox News, he wanted to be sensitive to Anthony’s memory, so he made sure the doll had little resemblance to her - even if it did play her favorite song “You Are My Sunshine” when you pressed its stomach. After all, making the doll look like Anthony would be “too morbid.

But Salcedo wanted to make sure everyone knew he wasn’t a heartless slime trying to make money exploiting dead toddlers and mangled dogs. He was also a philanthropist, pledging to donate portions of the sales of the Vick Chew Toy to local animal shelters and $5,000 from the sales of the Sunshine Caylee Doll to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Well, Salcedo did make a donation to that last group: for a grand total of $10. And it seems evident that no donations were made to local animal shelters from sales of the Vick doll. So not only was Salcedo making money off of products in horrible taste, but he was pulling a big grift by using charity donations that never happened to support sales.

Finally, someone is doing something about it: the JACKSONVILLE TIMES-UNION says the Florida Attorney General’s office is suing Salcedo for $20,000 for making false advertising claims, and seeking an injunction against further sales of the dolls. Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum said that using a respected organization such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children as a front makes things even more reprehensible:

“Any company that intentionally misleads innocent consumers to believe they are contributing to worthy charitable causes is absolutely reprehensible,” he said. “It is disgusting that a company would exploit a tragic situation for personal gain.”

Of course, when you consider that Salcedo himself estimates that he sold at least 200,000 Michael Vick dolls at $7.77 each (grossing more than $1,500,000), a $20,000 fine feels like a slap on the wrist. I know times are tough, but the people of Jacksonville can’t band together and find the time and money to get the supplies needed for a good old fashioned tar and feathering? I’ll even chip in and by the first barrel of tar.

Crowds at the Masters

Meanwhile, there wasn’t much going wrong on Thursday during the first round of The Masters, unless you consider the appalling traffic. Despite assurances by government officials that the kinks that led to significant traffic snarls at the beginning of the week had been worked out, the AUGUSTA CHRONICLE says that traffic was even worse for the opening round, leading to headaches such as a local doctor having to run three-quarters of a mile to make a speaking engagement at the course.

At least it was perfect weather for a run, and also for shooting a low score: it was the second-lowest scoring first round in tournament history. The Day One leader is Chad Campbell, who set a tournament record with birdies on his first five holes and flirted with history before back-to-back closing bogies left him at 65, one stroke ahead of Hunter Mahan and Jim Furyk.

How crazy was the scoring on Thursday? If Phil Mickelson had shot 73 in last year’s first round, he would have been tied for 29th, five shots off the lead. Instead, he starts today tied for 51st, looking at an eight shot deficit. Even the over-50 crowd was getting into the scoring act: Larry Mize sits in a tie for fourth after a 67, while the group at 70 includes Greg Norman and Bernhard Langer.

Also firing a two-under: Tiger Woods, who probably could have been near the top of the leaderboard if one of five or six putts go in instead of burning the lip of the cup. The other main contender we previewed yesterday, Padraig Harrington, also had a quietbut efficient round, going one lower than Woods. Even Gary Player, in his final Masters, shot a respectable 78. In fact, every player broke 80 except for New Zealander Michael Campbell, who must feel great that even Craig Stadler’s portly butt beat him by three shots.

Finally, Andrew Bynum’s comeback from a knee injury might not be on par (get it?) with Tiger Woods’, but it couldn’t come at a better time for the Los Angeles Lakers. The LOS ANGELES TIMES reports that Bynum looked comfortable and healthy in his return after missing 32 games from a torn MCL, racking up 16 points and seven rebounds in just 21 minutes as the Lakers blew past the Nuggets, 116-102. Which begs the question: Could his injury actually have been a break for the Lakers, as their center is now rested and not worn down by the rigors of a long regular season?

  • A few weeks ago, we told you about the Fifth-Third, a 4,800 calorie, four-pound burger that is the new entry at the concession stands at West Michigan Whitecaps games. CNBC says that the gut-buster made its debut last night, with 107 of them being sold. Of the 32 people who tried to eat the whole thing, 17 were successful. Lord, I don’t want to know what the toilets looked like around the seventh inning stretch.
  • darren rovell fifth third burger

    (CNBC’s Darren Rovell ponders the glory of the Fifth Third Burger)

  • LOCKDOWN CORNER says that former Green Bay Packers lineman Syd Kitson is trying to create the world’s most environmentally-friendly city somewhere in Florida. In true Green Bay style, everything is either powered by sharp cheddar cheese, or the light shining off of the still-brilliant aura of Brett Favre.
  • Syracuse basketball looks to take a bit hit next year, as the AUBURN CITIZEN says that Jonny Flynn, Eric Devendorf and Paul Harris will all enter their names into the NBA Draft. Also looking to flee for the pro game: UCLA’s Jrue Holiday, Wake Forest’s James Johnson and Miami’s Dwayne Collins.
  • Speaking of drafts, about the only thing the WNBA does right is take advantage of the one-week period right after the NCAA title game when people still remember that women’s basketball exists to hold their draft. The No. 1 pick? Louisville’s Angel McCoughtry, to the Atlanta Dream.
  • Remember the kerfuffle caused when Teresa Earnhardt refused to let her stepson Dale Earnhardt Jr. take his No. 8 with him when he left DEI to go to Hendrick Motorsports? I guess karma really is a … you know. FOX SPORTS says the No. 8 car will be permanently parked, as DEI has had to shut down operations on Aric Almirola’s team because of a lack of sponsors.
  • The person I would least expect to be in a Twitter controversy is Joe Paterno, who probably thinks that’s what happens when your pacemaker gets to close to a microwave. But ESPN.COM says his son Jay might have inadvertantly spilled the beans that the Big Ten is banning night games in November, meaning the Penn St./Ohio St. tilt will be played in the afternoon.
  • Yesterday’s least-surprising arrest had to be that of volatile former NBA guard Vernon Maxwell. The GAINESVILLE SUN says he was arrested in Florida Wednesday morning and charged with a probation violation stemming from failure to pay child support.
  • BALL DON’T LIE has the gripping story not coming to Broadway next fall: “Nellieball: The Musical.” Much like Don Nelson’s teams, it starts off promising but runs out of steam by the final act and falls apart.
  • Last time we heard about Nebraska tight end Hunter Teafatiller, he was having a party thrown in his “honor” as he was preparing to go to jail on a DUI charge. I guess it’s time to make another keg run in Lincoln, because the AP says he’s been arrested again, this time for driving on a suspended license.
  • Dan Hawkins wants you to know that not only is Colorado football not intramurals, brother, but it’s not a place for your cell phones and cameras. The COLORADO SPRINGS GAZETTE says the school has closed practices because of too much information floating around the Internet.

Which 2008 cellar dwellar has the best chance to be this year’s Tampa Bay Rays?

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Speed Read - NYT: Urine Links Bonds To Steroids

Barry Bonds may be getting his own Southwest Airlines “wanna get away?” commercial in the near future. The NEW YORK TIMES reported late last night that federal authorities have urine samples believed to belong to Bonds that have tested positive for anabolic steroids, and not just the “cream” and “clear” that Bonds has already admitted to taking.

Barry Bonds

(This wood shack in Manitoba is where you can find Barry for the next six months)

The news came as authorities raided the house of trainer Greg Anderson’s mother-in-law in an effort to put pressure on Anderson to testify against Bonds, which he has thus far refused to do. Anderson has been in prison for more than a year for contempt of court. Much more on this to come today, I’m sure.

The Internet was abuzz when Mickey Rourke called out Chris Jericho on the red carpet at the SAG Awards the other night and said he would participate in April’s Wrestlemania, presumably as his Randy “The Ram” Robinson character from The Wrestler. Well, that excitement lasted all of three days.

Rourke has released a statement saying that he won’t be getting into the ring after all. Perhaps Rourke decided that he wouldn’t stand a chance unless maybe he could get the Ultimate Warrior out of retirement.

Mickey Rourke Wrestler

The last thing anyone wants to be these days is the #1 team in college basketball. For the third straight week, the top-ranked team went down. This time, it was last week’s #1 Wake Forest taking down Duke, which rallied from a 13-point deficit in the 2nd half but forgot to play defense on the last play of the game. James Johnson’s virtually uncontested layin with 0.8 on the clock gave the Demon Deacons a 70-68 win. Here’s the end of the game. If you want to see the last play, skip to about the 3:50 mark:

Elsewhere, #6 North Carolina got a three-pointer at the buzzer from Ty Lawson to beat Florida State, while #21 Villanova handed #3 Pitt its second loss of the year in the last college game ever at the Spectrum in Philly.

• SI.COM isn’t bowing to the liberal media, as they’ve brought conservative pundit (and vaguely Palin-esque) S.E. CUPP (yeah, that’s her name) on board as a columnist. Her first subject? Bull-riding, of course. THE BIG LEAD has more.

• Everybody thinks they can run an MLB team. Now, 2K Sports is giving you the chance to prove it. Billy Beane is the pitchman for MLB Front Office Manager, which lets you run a franchise as a GM and see if you can screw up as badly as Steve Phillips. There are some other titles out there along these lines (I like Baseball Mogul), but this still looks like it could be pretty cool for all the seamheads out there.  CNET’s GEEK GESTALT blog has a story on the launch.

• DEADSPIN has a photo of columnist Jason Whitlock with a couple of strippers:

Jason Whitlock strippers

•  The OKLAHOMAN says that Oklahoma City sports anchor and former ABC sideline reporter Dean Blevins fell and hit his head on some ice on Monday, causing him to miss the Oklahoma-Oklahoma State game. He says he actually was laid out unconscious for at least 45 minutes in broad daylight before a neighbor noticed. Yikes.

• The ORLANDO SENTINEL says that Bobby Bowden has agreed to a one-year contract to remain at Florida State, but there appears to be no commitment beyond that.

• Iowa radio broadcaster Ed Podolak, who resigned after photos of him enjoying himself a little too much in Tampa before the Outback Bowl hit the web, is seeking “professional treatment,” according to THE WIZ OF ODDS. If everyone who’d ever had pictures taken of them drunkenly hitting on a questionable girl sought treatment, half of America would be in rehab.

Ed Podolak

Stephon Marbury still isn’t playing, but the NEW YORK POST reports that he’s still in business. The store that sold his cheap Starbury sneakers closed, but now he has an arrangement with Amazon to sell the shoes online.

Jason Caffey, who might have the worst illegitimate-children-to-points-per-game ratio in NBA history, now has a warrant out for his arrest for failing to pay more than $200,000 in child support, says the AP.

• PRO FOOTBALL TALK reports that Jon Gruden finally spoke out after getting thrown under a entire fleet of buses over the last two weeks by his former players. He called himself “Chucky,” and didn’t outright deny interest in the Notre Dame job.  He probably would’ve been better off just staying disappeared.

With the news that Barry Bonds’ urine tested positive for steroids, will he ever admit to being a user?

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Speed Read: Playoffs Ruin The Regular Season?

One of the arguments I’ve heard over and over about keeping the current BCS system in college football is that a playoff would make the regular season irrelevant. Why get fired up about USC losing to Oregon State if they are still going to make it into the playoffs? The traditionalists, conference heads and Beano Cook all agree that college football already has a playoff called the regular season, and a postseason playoff would only tarnish it and make it unimportant.

Michigan State players react to Northwestern loss

Allow me to offer a counter argument based on last night’s college basketball results. Go tell the Northwestern basketball fans (and yes, they do exist) that the regular season doesn’t matter because it’s all about March Madness. In what might be the greatest day in Northwestern basketball history (and possibly the only great day in Northwestern basketball history), the Wildcats beat No. 7 Michigan State 70-63, their first win at East Lansing since 1984.

Or, go ask Virginia Tech fans if they are excited about knocking off No. 1 Wake Forest 78-71, handing the Demon Deacons their first loss of the season (that is if you can get them off the court.) Or Clemson fans how they feel about their team extending their record at North Carolina to 0-54 after getting shellacked 94-70 by the Tar Heels in a match-up of Top Ten teams.

But clearly, nobody cares about college basketball until March, which is why ESPN has about 500 games on a night across their vast network of channels. Seriously, this logic is as flawed as the BCS system itself - college basketball is thriving because of March Madness, not in spite of it, and nights like last night serve as a pretty stark reminder why.

The NBA also has a playoff at the end of the regular season, and people seem to be watching that as well (at least the final three minutes or so of games). And it was a pretty fun night there, too, if not as upset-filled. For example, the Lakers beating the Clippers 108-97? Not a surprise.

Andrew Bynum

But Andrew Bynum going off for 42 points and 15 rebounds? Big surprise. The Lakers are already among the league’s elite teams. If they get anything resembling that kind of production from Bynum on a regular basis, it’s a scary proposition for the rest of the NBA.

Here’s the other sports news you missed last night as you were still stuck in traffic trying to get back from the Presidential Inauguration:

  • With all the great basketball finishes last night, the best one was certainly in the SMU vs. Marshall game, where Markel Humphrey made a 75-foot shot as time expired to give the Thundering Herd a 53-50 victory. WSAZ-TV has the story and video.
  • Marshall player Markel Humphrey

  • You might remember the Greek basketball team Olympiakos when they lured Josh Childress from the Hawks and made a big money offer to Kobe Bryant. Now NEWSDAY is saying that they have contacted the Knicks about getting Stephon Marbury out of his contract and over to their team. I wonder if they buy cheap sneakers in Athens, too.
  • Rod Marinelli isn’t bitter at the Detroit media. No, not at all. MLIVE.COM says the new defensive line coach for the Bears greeted some male Detroit writers who approached him at the Senior Bowl with a curt “Hello, Ladies” before ignoring them. Needless to say, a women’s sports group has already squeezed an apology out of him. Hey, he might not like the Detroit media, but at least he didn’t steal their luggage.
  • Ever see the scores of one of those ridiculous high school basketball blowouts and wonder what it feels like to be unceremoniously thrashed? The DALLAS MORNING NEWS talks to the players on the Dallas Academy’s girls basketball team after their 100-0 loss on Tuesday to find out.
  • OK, I understand that Stanford might be having budget woes, as INSIDE BAY AREA reports. But they have a squash team? What’s next, racquetball? Kickball?
  • I imagine being a ball boy is a rough job - physically demanding, pressure-filled, and having to deal with your friends’ jokes about your job title. So what you probably don’t need is to take a forehand to the head, like STUFF NEW ZEALAND says this poor kid did at the Australian Open:
  • After getting ripped by Troy Aikman, who said that he didn’t “fully grasp what being the Cowboys quarterback is all about,” Tony Romo tells the DALLAS MORNING NEWS that he has vowed to change his leadership style in 2009. The first step: personally delivering a Singapore-style caning to anyone who speaks to Ed Werder.
  • With Charles Barkley having exited the broadcast booth (temporarily or permanently), it’s fallen on Chris Webber and Gary Payton to pick up the slack of slightly insane basketball analysts, and they are doing a fair job of it. NESW SPORTS has video of them slamming Nene for getting married over the All-Star break, which devolves into suggesting that Dwight Howard dunk over him and his bride. Good stuff.
  • In yet another example of the failing economy intruding into the protective bubble we call sports, the CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER reports that the Browns have laid off 18 employees, including their Director of Media Relations. Perhaps Rod Marinelli could handle a second job?
  • A high school basketball coach in Philadelphia tells the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS that he doesn’t blame his player who sucker punched him in the back of the head following a close loss, but feels for him. If only my old boss was so forgiving after I kneed him in the groin after he cost us the Putnam Electronics deal.

What was last night’s most shocking college basketball upset?

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College B-Ball Pretender Watch: UCLA, Clemson

Were we supposed to care about Clemson? The #9 Tigers came into today’s home game at 17-0, one of three remaining unbeaten teams left in the NCAA. Their opponent was one of the other two, Wake Forest, who only had one real hurdle (UNC) on their spotless resume thus far. But the Deacs survived a late run to close out a 78-68 win, having not surrendered the lead over the last 25 minutes of play. Jeff Teague was the man of the match for Wake, racking up 24 big points on just 12 shots from the field (that 13-18 performance from the charity stripe didn’t hurt).

James Johnson Wake Dunk
(Well, that’s probably not what Clemson had in mind.)

If you’re thinking that this situation has the stink of familiarity to Clemson, yes, it does. Recall 2006-07, when the Tiggers started the season 17-0… then fell apart and couldn’t even make the tournament, limping into the NIT at 21-10. The year prior, they jumped out to a 10-0 mark, only to get pushed around in the ACC and finished 17-12. Yes, last year they got off the schneid with a 23-9 mark, but a first-round “upset” by 12-seed Villanova (one that everybody and their mother picked in their pools) delivered the guillotine to Clemson’s season. No telling where the FAIL will come this year, only that it’s coming.

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Speed Read: Howie Long’s Playoff Emasculation

Real men have haircuts level with the earth’s horizon. Real men don’t laugh at Terry Bradshaw’s jokes. And real men become spokespeople for Chevrolet-brand pickup trucks and look down on cars with convenient tailgate steps and heated steering wheels and seatbelts, because seatbelts are for queers and real men can crash through a windshield and jog three miles later that day. Howie Long is a real man. And if the FOX analyst-slash-truck-salesman had his way with the NFL playoff teams, he might be able to sniff out a girlie man or two.

Kurt Warner and Howie Long

Are those … “man sleeves?” Did Kurt Warner have to cover up his arms in Charlotte’s chilly willy weather, of all places? Wasn’t it, like, 50 degrees out there? Did his mom wife crotchet him a yarn jockstrap? Did you know Long would play in sub-zero temperatures shirtless, if given the opportunity by the league? Also, frostbite builds character, and hypothermia increases sperm count. And don’t even get Howie started on what NFC Championship Game quarterback Donovan McNabb was wearing between offensive possessions:

McNabb in coat

A fun dilemma brought up by FANHOUSE: Is it ethical for Wake Forest fans to rush the court after a win over UNC? After all, UNC was No. 3, and suffered their second loss in as many Sundays, and Wake Forest was a scrappy 4th in the national polls. Blogger Adam … well, Adam, argues “Court storming is actually an insult to your players. Court storming is an admission that you didn’t think they could win.” Well, sure, but … so what? In Adam’s rules, he mentions it’s OK to storm after any Duke win. Well, isn’t UNC at that same level of animosity? Wake may be No. 4 and even Wilbon called the upset two days ago, but a No. 4 over a No. 3 win means it’s a top-five showdown, and even in the SbB-model-stacked ACC, that’s a couple-times-a-year occurrence, and Wake just won one of those. My alma mater lost to Savannah F’in State this year. Let the Deacons run wild and free, and enjoy this one.


If it wasn’t for HULU.COM, nobody’s watching Saturday Night Live anymore except for drunk people who can’t find anything else on TV. That website might singlehandedly save that show. The cast may not be in its prime, and it could be in a perpetual Kansas City Royals state of infancy, but a few solid clips seem to arise from recent episodes. In this case, it’s Kenan Thompson as Charles Barkley, as portrayed last Saturday. (Cue it up to 1:29 in if you don’t want to listen to Seth Meyers.) All in all, a solid skit, although if there was a way to transplant Frank Caliendo’s voice into Thompson’s larynx, that might be the opposite of turrible.

Red Sox '57 Chevy

Before you drive away, please observe the following landmarks, which are clearly marked on your TripTik:

Which team do you most want to see in the Super Bowl?

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Wake Forest’s Weak Contest Idea: Sit ‘Til It Hurts

There’s nothing like a feat of endurance to truly test one’s character. It can be as much a mental challenge as physical. How far can you run before your body stops cooperating. How long can you go without sleep before your brain stops functioning. Or in the case of a handful of Wake Forest football fans, how long can you sit in an empty football stadium before you butt starts to fall asleep.

Empty stadium, single fan

Huh?

The WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL has details on Wake Forest’s idea of a draining contest. Called “Last Fan Sitting,” it asks 30 fans to sit in their stadium seats and … actually, that’s about it. No physical strain, no mental stress, just sitting at the stadium. This has to be the least demanding contest since the “Last Person Lounging in Bed Watching TV and Drinking Ginger Ale” a few years ago.

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‘Dogs Bite, Deacs Choke, Tech Exhales, Bulls Roll

Teams that were supposed to win won, and players that were supposed to perform performed, as the day’s early games seemed just an appetizer for the big OSU-Michigan and Texas-Mizzou tilts.

Knowshon Moreno

(The closest Vandy came to stopping Moreno all day).

As Knowshon Moreno goes, so goes the Georgia Bulldogs. Vanderbilt found that out the hard way, falling to UGA 24-14 in the early slate’s only matchup of ranked teams. Moreno trampled the Commdores for a season-high 172 yards, touching the ball on more than a third of Georgia’s snaps. Freshman AJ Green, who is becoming one of Matthew Stafford’s favorite targets, had 132 yards and a touchdown.

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Speed Read: Are LA Fans Ready For Lakers Now?

That low rumble you heard in Los Angeles last night wasn’t an earthquake - it was the sound of one million Dodger mini-flags being ripped off of cars simultaneously. The team didn’t have a total collapse like the Cubs, but a sixth-inning mini-meltdown of one bad throw and two lousy pitches undid the rest of the night and equaled a 3-2 defeat.

Pat Burrell is manly

Dodger fans throughout LA have one question: when does the Lakers season start? That, and if Joe Torre should have lifted Derek Lowe after Chase Utley deposited a ball into the bleachers in right center to tie the game. I agree with the LA TIMES’ BLUE NOTES that you have to leave Lowe in: he had been cruising along until then. If you want to find a goat, look at Rafael Furcal going 0-4 at the top of the line-up and making a lousy throw. Or the 6-7-8 hitters for the Dodgers, who went 1-11.

Clemson Tigers head coach Tommy Bowden

And speaking of finger-pointing: Clemson Tigers, meet your fans! If you thought that the fans were hard on you after your loss to Maryland, you probably want to schedule some extra sessions with the team therapist to deal with the fallout from your 12-7 loss to Wake Forest and practically Auburn-like offense. Perhaps it’s just karma for taking away Ray Ray McElrathbey’s scholarship in the off-season.

Here’s some more news to ponder while watching the Dow Jones Index go down another hundred points. Wait, make it two hundred! Three hundred! Wow, I didn’t even know it could go into negative numbers…

Gina Carano

Which Top 10 team is mostly likely to be upset on Saturday?

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Blog-A-Roni: Beasley Sports New Nationals Tattoo

• MR. IRRELEVANT inks up news of Michael Beasley representin’ D.C. by sporting a brand new Washington Nationals tattoo.

Michael Beasley Senators tattoo

• DEADSPIN can’t decide what to watch on August 28 - Barack Obama’s convention speech, or Wake Forest @ Baylor.

• HOME RUN DERBY discovers that this season has been so bad for Barry Zito that his Fathead poster is on sale for 80% off the original retail price.

• STANLEY CUP JOURNAL has the highlights of the fun Fourth of July weekend the NHL trophy spent in southern California.

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