Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New A-Rod Book to Highlight Slugger's Off-Field Exploits

A new book about Alex Rodriguez will reveal secrets about the New York Yankees slugger he "will certainly not like," according to the New York Daily News.

Noted author, Richard Ben Cramer, is penning a tell-all book about the controversial third baseman and will concentrate on his off-field activities.

The book is "under contract' and set to hit stores in 2014-- just in time for A-Rod's anticipated run at a historic 700 home runs.  He will be 39 years old.

The book is titled "The Importance of Being Alex: A Life With the Yankees."

According to the Daily News, the book will cover A-Rod's rocky relationship with Derek Jeter and A-Rod's admission he used steroids.

Don't forget the gambling and his love life chock full of movie starlets.

The Pulitzer Prize winning Cramer said Rodriguez participated in the project and it will cover all aspects of his 18 year career.

There should be a lot of juicy stuff.




Loyal Dog May Lead Iowa Football Team Onto Field During Veteran's Day Tribute

The heartbreaking photo of a slain Navy Seal's pet dog resting next to his flag-draped casket inspired a Twitter campaign to have the loyal dog play a part in the University of Iowa's salute to his owner and all U.S. veterans.

Jon Tumilson, the 35 year-old native of Rockford, Iowa and life-long Iowa Hawkeyes fan, was one of 30 American soldiers killed on Aug. 6. after a helicopter they were in was shot down over Afghanistan.

Tumilson's sacrifice for his country became even more well known when his pet Labrador retriever, "Hawkeye," lay next to his casket during most of Tumilson's funeral service.

A photo of the touching scene was seen by millions and brought the finality of war into U.S. homes.


The University of Iowa will salute all the men and women who have fallen during service to their country-- including U.S. Navy Seal Tumilson-- at one of the Iowa football team's two home games in November.

Veteran's Day is on Nov. 11.  The Hawkeyes play home games on Nov. 5 and Nov. 12.

What part "Hawkeye" will play in the tribute is still being discussed.  There is concern that he could be overwhelmed by the attention.

He is currently being cared for by friends of Tumilson in Texas.

"Hawkeye was a great pet.  He's being taken care of by some wonderful people," said Tumilson's mom Kathleen.  "But I just feel bad that so much of the focus is on the dog.  These guys left a lot of loved ones and there are so many people that have sacrificed their "lives" in the fight for freedom."

University officials are taking great care in respecting the fallen veterans.

"Jon's death is a tragedy that reminds us of the great personal sacrifice made by many who serve our country, our state, and our community, said Gary Barta the UI's director of athletics.  "We are pleased that Jon's family has agreed to allow us to honor Jon and all citizens lost while serving others later this fall."

Barta mentioned that the decision to not do something at this Saturday's first home game was deliberate.

"We wanted to be respectful of Jon's family and friends and others who are still grieving.  Also, as a fan of the Hawkeyes and the UI football program, I'm certain Jon would expect a solid game plan, one that is thoughtful and respectful, and well-executed on game day," he said.

The university will work with the Tumilson family to determine exactly what role "Hawkeye"may play in commemorating his owner on game day.

Sabathia Gets Monkey Off His Back & Girardi Goes Ape As Yanks Beat Sox

It was like old times at Fenway Park on Tuesday night as tempers rose and benches emptied during the New York Yankees 5-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox.  Batters from both sides were plunked and Yankees manager Joe Girardi was ejected.

The good news for the Yankees was that  CC Sabathia finally won a game against their division rivals.  The victory pulled the Yankees to within a half-game behind the AL East leaders.

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It was Sabathia's first win this season against the Sox after losing his first four.  The victory was no thing of beauty, but it had to look like Miss America to the Yankees ace.

Sabathia (18-7) scattered ten hits and struck out the same amount through 6 1/3 innings. He threw 128 pitches-- the most ever in one game as a Yankee-- and was lucky the Sox stranded 16 runners.

The Yank's bullpen wasn't perfect either,  but were good enough to preserve the big guy's long-awaited win.

Boone Logan bailed out Sabathia by relieving him with two men on and one out in the seventh.  Logan struck out two after loading the bases.

Rafael Soriano threw a scoreless eighth and Mariano Rivera wrapped up the game in the ninth.

The real excitement was centered around Red Sox starter John Lackey (12-10) and his penchant for hitting opposing batters.  He now leads the league with 17.

While Sabathia did hit Jacoby Ellsbury to lead off the first, it was Lackey who was retaliating throughout the game.

In the first, Lackey bopped Curtis Granderson, who started towards first base, but was called back by the home plate umpire Ed Rapuano.

It was in the seventh, when Francisco Cervelli added a little spice to the game after Lackey's brush-back hit the Yankees player.

Cervelli, who sent a home-run ball sailing out of Fenway in his previous at bat, probably ticked off Lackey, who couldn't have liked the way the Yankees backup catcher clapped his hands as he emphatically hopped on home plate after circling the bases. 

After Cervelli got popped, he started to rush the mound before being held back by Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltamacchia.  Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild rushed in and was tossed out of the game by third base umpire Mark Wegner.

In the ninth, Girardi took offense when a Saltamacchia's check-swing stopped a Rivera cutter on his  arm.  This time the batter was awarded first.  Girardi stormed out and was hopping mad.  He was quickly sent to the showers by Wegman after arguing that the Red Sox batter had swung into Rivera's pitch.

It's good to see a little fire in the old rivalry.  They'll do it again tomorrow night.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Since When Did Eli Manning Owe Plaxico Burress Anything?

Since when did Eli Manning become the villain when it comes to his relationship with Plaxico Burress?  There was a lot of talk criticizing the Giants quarterback for not reaching out to his former-wideout after Burress was released from prison and looking hook up in the NFL again.  Get over it, Manning owed Burress nothing.

Last night, the New York Giants and New York Jets played for the first MetLife trophy at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands, although most fans were billing it as The Plaxico Bowl as if the former-Giant is the real prize.


The MetLife Trophy has cute Snoopy wearing an old-school helmet on top of it.   The comic strip seemed appropriate because the game was as flat as Charlie Brown on his back after trying to kick the seductive football yanked away by Lucy.  It's like a Matt Dodge punt.

Manning threw two interceptions and Burress was a non-factor while being held to zero catches.

The Plaxico Comeback Tour stalled against his former team.

Final score of the game, Jets 17-3.  Final score of The Plaxico Bowl, 0-0.

Even Jets coach Rex Ryan tried to hype the yawner afterwards.

"It was a fun game, man.  It was two good football teams going at it," he said of the game after his team was outgained 239-113 in total yards during the 17-3 win.  "Obviously, it's a preseason game, but it's good competition."

Much was made of what the first face-to-face between Manning and Burress, leading up to the game and since the latter was sprung from the joint, would be like.  Well the meeting last night was anti-climatic.

Funny thing, they unexpectedly reunited two days earlier outside a movie theater where Burress was coming out of "The Smurfs" (no Big Blue there) with his family and he ran into Manning and former-Giants center Shaun O'Hara.  Burress said they laughed about the coincidence last night.

The highly-publicized preseason tug-of-war for the services of Burress was ultimately won by the Jets. Many Giants fans faulted Manning for not reaching out to Burress when he was a free-agent.

Sure, it's easy to make fun of Manning's "Aw, shucks" interviews, his less than flashy play on the field and how he tucks his jersey into his pants, but don't lay the blame on him.

So Manning didn't visit Burress when he was in stir or call him once he got out.  Some Giants fans thought that Manning's cold shoulder contributed to the former-Giants player to jumping over to the Jets.  He had no obligation to guide Burress.  That's what parole officers do.

Plax went to the Jets was all money--plain and simple.  A guaranteed paycheck, after you haven't worked in almost three years, will do that to a man.

While Manning represents team play and character, Burress is the prototype of how fans perceive pro athletes these days-- and it ain't all good-- unless he's pulling in touchdown passes.

Burress was Manning's favorite go-to guy leading up to their Super Bowl XLII upset victory over the New England Patriots and the wideout  caught the game-winning touchdown, but a lot of bumps came on that ride.

There were too many instances, with the Giants, where Burress boycotted practices over contract demands, didn't show up on Monday or answer his phone for days at a time.  It all culminated with the self-inflicted gun-shot incident outside a Manhattan nightclub in November 2008.  After 20 months of three squares and a bunk, Burress was ready to make his comeback and the MetLife Stadium roommates were first in line.

Suddenly, it was up to Manning to do what head coach Tom Coughlin and owner John Mara's little dinner party couldn't do-- convince Burress he was coveted by the Giants.

Maybe Manning didn't want the 34 year-old Burress and the baggage he drags along.  Even though the Giants lost All-Pro receiver Steve Smith right after Burress' defection, Manning seems happy throwing to his youthful and talented receiving corps of Mario Manningham, Hakeem Nicks and Domenik Hixon.  Burress, so far, seems like a good decoy for Santonio Holmes.

Manning has to back up this boast of being in Tom Brady's class and prove he isn't the 25-interception quarterback of last season.  He has done little this pre-season to prove or disprove any of that so far this summer.

Meanwhile, Burress has to keep on the straight and narrow and the Jets hope he doesn't revert back to his gangsta persona.  Michael Vick's second chance $100 million contract has to be a good incentive.

The "real" MetLife Trophy will be awarded when the two teams meet on Christmas Eve.  Hopefully, all the hype about Eli vs. Plaxico will have passed by then.

"I don't know if there are any tickets available for that Dec. 24 game," said Ryan.  "But I think we just sold them because that was typical Jets-Giants slugfest right there."



Nick Mangold Photo Bombs Mark Sanchez Once Again

Nick Mangold gave broadcast networks another reason you'll never see an offensive lineman being interviewed in post-game wrap-ups.  The New York Jets center photo bombed his quarterback Mark Sanchez while being interviewed on live TV by an NBC reporter after last night's game against the New York Giants.

It seems like the only way that the 300-pound Mangold can get his Grizzly Adams beard in prime-time is to crash Sanchez's interviews.  He is making a habit of it.  This is the second week in a row Mangold has done it and he is proud of his new-found face-time.

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Mangold tweeted about the photo bomb on his Twitter account: "Got another one!  I'm 2 for 2."

The camera-hungry Mangold pulled the same stunt last week after a game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

He was joined, for a moment,  by another O-lineman, teammate Wayne Hunter,  in acting like giddy spectators when the Jumbo tron Fan-Cam is turned on them-- lots of hand waving and silly faces.  It's a lot worse when annoying fans do it.

It almost looked like Sanchez was expecting the interruption and didn't break stride in his conversation.

The Jets defeated the Giants, 17-3, in the thrice-scheduled "Battle of  MetLife Stadium" in the Meadowlands, so there was a good reason to goof around.

Afterwards, the prankster Mangold made nice with the reporter Bruce Beck by tweeting him: "All in good humor of course."



Monday, August 29, 2011

New York Mets Fans Terrorized By New York Mutts At Citi Field

There are reports that the sidewalks surrounding Citi Field are becoming home to an increasing number of intimidating stray dogs.  Let the comparisons to the New York Mets begin-- except for the intimidating part.

Meet the Mutts.  The Dog Days of Summer.  The Mets are playing like dogs.  It's all funny until you know that the stray packs of junkyard dogs are more than a scary sight and just prowling -- they have reportedly attacked some fans.

According to the New York Post, the sidewalks around the home field of the Mets are going to the dogs.

"They came at me like a locomotive," Elaine Freerick told the Post about her encounter with a pit bull-shepherd mixed breed.  "That looked like a wolf."

"My friend, who is terrified of dogs, ran faster than I've ever seen her run before," said Freerick.  "I stood there and the pit bull rammed into me like a battering ram-- amazingly, I did not go down."

The dogs apparently wander over from the Willet's Point area of Queens.  The acres of auto body shops and junkyards are a no-man's land filled dirt roads, filth and unattended guard dogs-- many who wander off looking for food and shelter.  The area could double for the apocalyptic scenes from the "Mad Max" films.

These aren't the healthy happy pups fans see at Mets promotions like "Bark in the Park" where dog-owners are encouraged to enjoy the game from special seats with their pets.

These are free-running junkyard canines with little human contact.  The little they've had couldn't have been loving.

"The police and the security guards told me this happens all the time," said Freerick, who was not injured.  "What if I had been a child or elderly person?" she said.  " I can't believe the Mets would allow this kind of behavior."

A Mets spokes person told the Post that it has been made aware of the dog problem.

We have reached out to the appropriate agencies to address the matter.

This isn't the first controversy regarding dogs at Citi Field.  Earlier this season about 5,000 people signed a petition to stop the abuse of Coffee the dog.

Coffee, a toothless mixed breed was seen at every home game wearing a Mets cap with a pipe in his mouth with a sign begging for cash around his neck.

The "Stop Abusing Coffee" signers claimed the poor dog was left out in the baking sun without water or food while his owner collected easy money.

The sight of Coffee panting and drooling caused the group to take action.

Maybe the junkyard dogs are taking action themselves?

Guards claim the wild dogs are always around and are part of the environment.

"I see them running around.  I don't think they bother anybody," a guard told the Post.  "They seem to be peaceful, just living their own life.  We keep them out of the stadium."

Mets fans might disagree with part of that statement.  They probably think the struggling Mets team already puts nine mutts on the field at every game.




Katy Perry Gives Cheesehead Hat a New Look at the VMA's

It would have to be an extremely windy day in New York City before I would even give a damn about singer Katy Perry or the MTV Video Music Awards in general, but being trapped inside my apartment because of the subsiding winds of Hurricane Irene and the Yankees blowing out the Orioles, I did, by chance, come across the show.

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Perry accepted an award wearing what looked like a Cubism version of the Green Bay Packers iconic Cheesehead head wear.  The awkward-fitting hat (?) looked as if Picasso or maybe Georges Braque (no, he wasn't a kicker from the old AFL)  had designed it himself.

I don't know if it will catch on in Wisconsin.  It looks less like the familiar cheese wedge you would use to lure a mouse into a trap than a cube of cheddar lanced by a toothpick that you would find at a snooty art gallery opening.

I'm not sure it was an awkward attempt at being a Cheesehead, but if it was, Perry should have had a brat and a beer in each of her hands.

The MTV VMA's, which pretty much spotlights everything wrong with our culture, featured a Bowser-looking Lady Gaga and Lil' Wayne smashing a guitar he barely plays.

Perry, the former-gospel singer,  wore the yellow block on her head while she accepted her "Video of the Year" award for "Firework.".  She thanked her husband (latest Vegas odds on divorce, 7:2, really) Russell Brand, and Perry didn't kiss a girl.  That display of rebellion has gotten a little tired.

The highlights of the evening included lots of bleeped out speeches and Britney Spears getting a "Lifetime Achievement Award" at the ripe old age of 29.

The big news was Kanye West letting everyone down by not interrupting anyone's Moon Man moment to make a drunken statement on his behalf.

Just around the bend, hipster cheesehead hats at an Old Navy near you soon.






Sunday, August 28, 2011

Showalter Fires Back at Girardi's Lack of Compassion

Buck Showalter wasn't too happy with his former team, the New York Yankees, complaining about how this weekend's games were rescheduled due to Hurricane Irene.  The Baltimore Orioles head coach was making a reference to the O's plan of refusing to play a double-header on Friday.  Showwalter directed most of his anger at Yankees head coach Joe Girardi for his lack of compassion.

The Orioles had scheduled a Friday night tribute to former-Orioles pitcher, team executive and broadcaster Mike Flanagan who took his own life last Wednesday.


Girardi was puzzled buy the Orioles decision not to squeeze in the make-up game the same night and said their final say was "silly to me."

This remark steamed Showalter and the Orioles organization, who were still reeling from Flanagan's sudden death.

"First of all, I felt that some of the stuff was a little disrespectful to Flanny, quite frankly," Showalter said when told about the Yankees condemnation of this weekend's scheduling.  "That didn't sit well with me very well.  I can tell you that.  We didn't say much-- I think we had an April rainout there-- and they just told us we were playing.  We were OK with that.  Like I told you the other day, you tell us when we're playing, we'll play."

The Orioles had a moment of silence and a video tribute to Flanagan on Friday which highlighted his career.  A large #46 (his number) adorned the visiting scoreboard instead of the out-of-town scores and the Baltimore players wore a patch on the right arm of their jerseys.

It was a nice ceremony-- even the Yankees team came out of their dugout, but didn't exactly take up a lot of time. 



Yankees centerfielder Curtis Granderson also expressed his frustration at the O's decision by issuing a prepared statement to the press criticizing the Orioles handling of the schedule  and saying the solution was inadequate.

Girardi wasn't quiet about not playing a double-header on Friday after Saturday's game was already considered a wash-out due to the hurricane.

Showalter said the Yankees called Orioles president of operations Andy McPhail only 24 hours before the series started-- asking to play two on Friday.  The O's declined for a list of reasons -- including the short notice and loss of money in playing a Friday afternoon game.

The Yankees were not pleased with the outcome-- using a Sept 8 off-day to make up one of Saturday's double-header games.

Asked if there was any way avoid using the Sept. 8 off-day-- which is one of two remaining off-days for New York,  Girardi opened up the idea of playing the game as part of a split-doubleheader in New York instead of Baltimore in a move that would help the Yankees because they travel cross-country to Anaheim to play the Angels on Sept. 9. while they are in the middle of a playoff race.  I've got my own team to worry about says Bucky.

"We hope we can be as competitive as they are," said Showalter.  "I respect where they are in the season and what their people are saying about the competitive part of it, but it means something to us too."

Girardi might want to stop whining and start winning.  The Yankees Bartolo Colon was outdueled by the Orioles Zach Britton, 2-0, in the first game of the night-day doubleheader on Sunday.  

The Yankees are 14-10 so far this August and head to Boston on Tuesday.



Friday, August 26, 2011

Girardi Leaves A.J. Burnett Twisting In The Wind, But What Did It Prove?

To New York Yankees pitcher A.J. Burnett, Hurricane Irene should have come sooner to Camden Yards tonight.  The struggling starter, fighting for his rotation life, was left in by manager Joe Girardi and had to fend for himself during a typical Burnett meltdown in the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles. 

Girardi only watched as Burnett suffered through the disastrous inning.  His starter allowed six runs, six hits with one error through the first two innings.

It looked like another early hook for the much-maligned pitcher, but it wasn't to be. There would be no rescue.


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Girardi let the Orioles continue to tee-off on his ineffective hurler.  Burnett looked as though he would have rather been stuck in a storm-lashed row boat in the turbulent Atlantic than the soul that was stranded on his solitary island-- the pitcher's mound.

It seemed like the only thing that could save the beleaguered pitcher would be a game called for rain-- or, more appropriately,  a hurricane.

Maybe it was the manager's version of tough love.  After all, wasn't it Burnett who walked off the mound cursing Girardi after being lifted after only getting eight outs in his last outing?

Could Girardi actually be thinking that the Yankees could come back from a six-run deficit like they did yesterday against the Oakland A's?

Whatever the reason for Girardi to let Burnett slowly lose whatever pride he is clinging to-- he gave up a home-run and four-straight doubles and dug a big hole for the Yankees, it was kind of sad to watch the pitcher throw what looked like an Orioles batting practice.

The game got off to a rough start after the Yankees committed two errors and nearly a third before Burnett escaped unscathed.  It was only a preview of Burnett's eventual early-inning meltdown.

In the top of the second, the Orioles' bats and Irene's impending barrage began to rain down on Burnett.

A home-run followed by four straight doubles gave the O's a 4-0 lead.  Yankees pitching coach, Larry Rothschild,  came out to calm down Burnett.  A two-run home-run by the O's made it 6-0.  Burnett was probably the only person in Baltimore who wished the Category-3 storm would hurry ashore and wash out this game.

You didn't have to be a Burnett lover to feel some compassion for his slow death.  There was one moment when it looked like the combustible Burnett was ready to blow.  He didn't, but there was still more misery to follow.

In the fourth inning, Burnett threw two wild pitches where two runners advance, then Derek Jeter bobbles a possible double-play ball and it becomes a 7-0 O's lead.

Girardi left Burnett struggle through the fifth and even after a triple made it 9-1, let Burnett finish out the inning.  Mercifully, Burnett closed out the embarrassing performance by striking out the final batter he faced.  Too little, way too late.

Burnett knew it was over even before he got to the dugout.  No cursing or public displays of insolence.  The unusually stoic Burnett walked through the dugout, spoke with his catcher Russell Martin and brushed by Girardi on his way to the locker room.  There was no eye-contact and the two passed like ships caught in Irene's swirling winds.

There must be some deep-rooted psychological reason for Girardi's actions tonight, but what did he accomplish and why?  When did the manager turn into Dr. Phil?

In the fifth, it looked like the manager was purposely avoiding going out to the mound and pulling Burnett.  Was he avoiding a confrontation, or was it a chance to let his pitcher finish the inning and march from the mound with a sliver of dignity? 

Finally, at the end of the fifth, Burnett was put out of his misery.  He struck out the batter and stiffly walked to the dugout.

What did Girardi's actions say?  Was leaving Burnett in the game to sweat out a 9-1 losing effort some kind of pat on the back.  It's like saying, 'Hey kid, I knew you could go five innings.'

Or was it retaliation for Burnett's outburst to stay in his last game?   Like saying, 'You wanted it kid, you got it.'

Confidence builder or ego-breaker, Girardi's move possibly cost the Yankees a win.

There are a lot questions still to be answered.  Did Burnett just pitch his way out of the five-man rotation?  Phil Hughes-- who is in line to get the fifth spot--  was just as bad last night, but he was the beneficiary of three grand slams.

Tonight, there would be no grand slams, comebacks or Jorge Posada mopping up at second base for Burnett.

Hurricane Irene will have passed by Sunday, but for Girardi and his rotation the storm might just be brewing.


Giants-Jets Postponed Until Monday Night Because Of Hurricane Irene

The New York Giants vs. New York Jets game originally scheduled for tomorrow night at 7 p.m. has now been postponed until Monday night at 7 p.m. because of Hurricane Irene.

The Battle for MetLife Stadium had already been shifted to an earlier time (2 p.m.) on Saturday because of the massive storm.  Forecasters are predicting Irene will have passed over the NY/NJ area by Sunday night.

"Along with the NFL office and the Jets, we have closely monitored the hurricane and the forecast and its potential impact on our area for the past several days," said Giants president and CEO, John Mara.  "After conferring with (NJ) Governor (Chris) Christie, (Jets owner) Woody Johnson and NFL Commissioner (Roger) Goodell, we have determined the best course of action for the safety and well being of all is move the game to Monday night."



LSU's Jordan Jefferson Must Have Been Imelda Marcos In Another Life

LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson turned himself in to Baton Rouge police today after authorities confiscated 49 pairs of shoes from his campus apartment on Wednesday.

Jefferson allegedly kicked a man in the head during a fight outside a bar last weekend and police are trying to match a footprint found at the crime scene to one of Jefferson's shoes.

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Forty-nine pairs of shoes--  the cops are going to need a lot of foot spray.

According to ESPN, Jefferson is facing felony charges for 2nd-degree battery after Jefferson, and three other LSU football players, were accused of getting into a brawl outside a Baton Rouge bar where a man was kicked in the head and seriously hurt.  Four people-- none of them football players-- were treated at a hospital.

Witnesses said the victim threw the first punch.

Today, LSU head coach Les Miles suspended Jefferson, along with linebacker Josh Johns.  Miles gave no timetable for the senior QB's return.

If Jefferson's college and pro career are torpedoed by this incident, he can always open a Foot Locker store.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Yankees Beat A's With Record Three Grand Slams and Posada Playing Second Base

Robinson Cano, Russell Martin and Curtis Granderson each belted a grand slam as the New York Yankees rallied to beat the Oakland A's, 22-9, at Yankee Stadium today.

The three bases-loaded home-runs are a MLB record for most grand slams by a single team in one game.

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Phil Hughes started the game and was hit hard early.  He went 2 2/3 innings and gave up six runs.

After a rain delay of almost an hour-and-a-half, the Yankees were looking up a 7-1 A's lead.  After four innings, the home team then scored 20 runs to rally for the victory.

Cano hit the first grand slam off A's starter Rich Harden, in the fifth, to knock the deficit down to one and Russell Martin followed up with his slam in the sixth to put the Yankees in the lead.  Granderson put the game in the record books with his home-run in the eighth.

The wild and lengthy game ended with the appearance of Jorge Posada grabbing a mitt and playing second base in the top of the ninth inning.  It was garbage time, with a big Yankees lead, and there was no chance of blowing the game because A.J. Burnett was no where near the mound.

Posada, the former-catcher, appeared rusty.  In the game's final at bat, he fielded a routine grounder and almost, single-handedly, made it look difficult.  It seemed like he was gunning out a base-stealer at second from behind the plate, after he drilled the ball into the dirt in front of the first baseman.

Nick Swisher, playing first, scooped up the ball and rolled over the base for the out as the hitter jumped over him.

Posada and Swisher had a good laugh afterwards.  Posada, who played second base in the minors, volunteered to take the position in the top of the ninth and the Yankees leading by 12 runs.

"I wanted to give Russell [Martin] a break and grabbed a glove and said put me in," said Posada.  "It's been a while since I've been in the middle of the infield."

Martin had two home-runs and the catcher recorded a career-high six RBI's in the game. 

Too bad Hughes couldn't have reaped the rewards of this historic slugfest.  He had won his last two outings but it took 78 pitches to get eight outs in this game.

Derek Jeter got his 3,056 hit to pass Rickey Henderson as No. 21 on the all-time hits list.  He is now batting .299.

The game lasted four-hours and 31 minutes.



Giants and Jets Staying Sort of Calm Before Saturday Night's Storm

In New Jersey, the two biggest forces of wind which are beyond control come from two sources-- Mother Nature and Governor Christie.  This weekend, one of those hurricanes is expected to pound the Jersey shore and the other will be hunkered down trying to keep surfers and "bennies" off the same beaches.

There is one more storm headed to the Meadowlands and its name isn't Irene.  Its tropical storm Rex.

Jets head coach Rex Ryan has looked like a comparative summer breeze to Irene in the days leading up to the Jets-Giants game at MetLife Stadium this Saturday.  The normally brash Ryan has just been downgraded to a Category-1 storm.  Call the National Weather Service for a sound bite.



Even Ryan's offseason remarks that the Jets (1-1) are no longer the little brothers of New York football have done nothing to turn this game into anything more than it is-- an exhibition game.  The two teams meet in a regular season game on Dec. 24.

It's not to say that the outspoken Jets head coach is going be welcomed with open arms by the "home" team-- the Giants.

Ryan still resents the Jets being considered squatters in the new MetLife Stadium and living under the shadow of the Giants (1-1) for the past three decades.

After two straight AFC championship games, Ryan believes the Jets are the superior team and he is ready to paint the two-year old stadium Jets-green.

In his book Play Like You Mean It, Ryan stressed that the Jets are now the "big brother" in New York and "are going to remain the better team for the next ten years."

"When people ask me what it's like to share New York with the Giants," Ryan wrote.  " My response is always 'I'm not sharing it with them-- they are sharing it with me.'"

Even the new name at the old New Meadowlands Stadium has a Giants' tint-- literally.  The MetLife logo is the same color as Giants blue.

This whole stadium brouhaha  has been a thorn in the Jets side since they took residence there in 1984. It came to a head last year after the teams argued who would get to host the first game in their shared home field.  It didn't help when NFL commissioner Roger Goodall allegedly had a "secret' coin toss-- with out any team representatives-- before awarding the first game at the $1.7 billion stadium to the Giants.

Jets fans claim the toss was rigged.

Giants fans gave their little brother a nougie and said quit bawling.

"I'm glad MetLife came forward as a sponsor," Giants captain Justin Tuck said yesterday.  "But to me it'll always be Giants Stadium."

To Tuck and any fan over the age of seventeen who grew up in the area.

It seems like revenge ought to be more of a theme for this week's game than city supremacy-- even though the players say it isn't so or they just won't admit it.

Plaxico Burress, the former Giants Super Bowl hero who snubbed the G-Men and signed with the Jets after a 20-month prison stay, blew off the notion he was seeking the Big R.

"There's nothing extra, no added incentive, juice or whatever you call it," Burress said.  " I'm more concerned about me going out, playing better, getting better."

Maybe Giants quarterback Eli Manning will go the eye-for-an-eye route.  After all, he was the one who wobbled off the field during last year's pre-season meeting sporting a gash on his forehead that required 12 stitches to close up.

The second quarter hit by Jets linebacker Calvin Pace sent Manning's helmet flying and his exposed mug into safety Jim Leonhard's facemask.  Manning's Y.A. Tittle moment was the result of a clean hit, miscommunication with Brandon Jacobs and looked worse than it was.

"I don't think about it to bring back good times," joked Manning yesterday.  "I can deal with it...it didn't hurt too badly."

Okay, no animosity there either.  I guess we'll leave it up to Mother nature to wreak some kind of havoc.

The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST and Irene is expected to bring wind gusts of up to 70 mph.  In the Meadowlands that's a light breeze.  Com' on Irene.

The Giants VP of Communications, Pat Hanlon, said the game will go on as scheduled.

"Based on everything we've seen and heard, it sounds like the brunt of the hurricane isn't expected to hit our area until Sunday," he said.

"I go about it just like I would any other game," said Tuck of the exhibition game.  "Is it more intense than what the rivalry was with the Jets before Rex got here?  In a preseason game, no.  But come that game right before Christmas, that might be a different story."

No hurricane until Sunday, no Rex Ryan bombast and no revenge.

Can't wait for the regular season.


Abby Wambach and Megan Rapinoe Go Bear at Giants Game

While U.S. Women's World Cup soccer star Hope Solo is taking it all off for a magazine photo spread, teammates Abby Wambach and Megan Rapinoe are going bare too-- make that panda bear.

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Wambach and Rapinoe were spotted at last night's San Diego Padres/San Francisco Giants game at AT&T Park wearing panda bear hats which were, hopefully,  in support of the Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval and not for the Chinese soccer team.

"Kung Fu Panda," as the chubby Sandoval was allegedly nicknamed by teammate Barry Zito,  is a fan favorite in the city of the World Champions.

Not much has been seen of the star forward and mid-fielder since losing to Japan in the Women's World Cup championship game last month.  Maybe it's because Wambach and Rapinoe, who hails from northern California, have been covered up by the floppy-eared panda hats.

If they were trying to go incognito, the two teammates missed their goal.  Oops, too soon?  They were pretty obvious in the crowd of over 41,000.

The Giants won 2-1, behind the pitching of Tim Lincecum. 

Kung Fu Panda went 0-for-3.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Little Leaguers Make Major League Play at Home Plate

This isn't your daddy's Little League World Series anymore.  Besides playing in front of crowds of over 40,000, these kids have skills way beyond their years.  Now they are going nine innings too.

On Wednesday night, two Venezuelan teammates combined to make a clutch play in extra innings that would make Nick Swisher and Russell Martin proud.

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Mexico was at bat in the top of the seventh inning during a 1-1 game with one out and men on first and second.  The Mexican batter looped a long single into right field where the Venezuelan outfielder scooped it up and, while on the run, threw a dart towards the plate where the Mexican player was steaming home from second.  The ball skipped once directly into the waiting glove of the plate-blocking Venezuelan catcher, who then did a swipe tag into the runner's ribs for the big out and preserve the deadlocked game.

It was a pretty incredible play for two kids, barely in their teens, in a clutch situation.

While the fantastic play kept the Mexican team from taking the lead, they did finally win the game when Mexico's Bruno Ruiz had a lead-off solo home-run in the top of the ninth.  It was the first home-run for Mexico in the tournament.

The good thing was that both teams will still advance in the tournament after playing one entertaining game.

Mexico's 2-1 victory guarantees a slot in the International Championship game.  Venezuela can't afford another loss and faces Japan next.

On a major league note,  New York Yankees Venezuelan catcher,  Francisco Cervelli, had a charitable bet with his Mexican teammate, reliever Luis Ayala, on the outcome of the game.  The loser would supply teams back home with baseball cleats and equipment.  Cervelli will be buying a lot of shoes tomorrow.

The Yes Network also reported that Yankees closer, Mariano Rivera, watched the match-up in the Yankee Stadium clubhouse and was immersed in the exciting game until the very end.

Bet the kids would love to know that a future Hall-of-Famer was impressed by their abilities as well too.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Minor League Team to Donate $2,000 to M.A.D.D. on Beer Pong Night

An Atlantic League baseball team, the Newark Bears, is giving departing pitching coach Jim Leyritz a send-off party as the end of the season nears.  As you might recall, Leyritz-- the former-New York Yankees catcher and World Series hero--  was acquitted of DUI manslaughter last year.  As part of the farewell,  the New Jersey team will donate $2,000 to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

A nice gesture, except the festivities will be held the same night as the Bears' weekly Thirsty Thursday promotion which includes a beer-pong tournament.


The team apparently thinks any publicity is good publicity but combining the two events on this upcoming Thursday night is, not surprisingly, drawing criticism.

Everyone deserves a second chance but the team might have used any night but Thirsty Thursday to say goodbye to Leyritz and commend the work of M.A.D.D..

The team released a statement explaining its position:  "Although a beer-pong tournament will be hosted that night, the owners thought by hosting the event with all the parties and attractions, it would support the important need of how people can have fun responsibly."


The Atlantic League is a member of the Canadian-American Association of Professional Baseball and Newark was once home to one of Rickey Henderson's many comeback attempts.


Leyritz is the author of a book Catching Heat and will sign autographs before the ceremony along with the team's other coaches including Tim Raines and Ozzie Canseco-- who was arrested for DUI in Florida in January.

Pages From Packers' Playbook Found Scattered In Green Bay Neighborhood

Pages from the World Champion Green Bay Packers' playbook were found scattered along an east side Green Bay street on Monday morning.  The same highly-confidential plays which steered Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to a Super Bowl XLV victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers last season.

The top-secret pages are meant for players' and coaches' eyes only.

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Sanitation workers gathered up the wind-swept pages along Monroe Street after they apparently fell from a truck.  The playbooks were tossed into recycling bins by team employees after practice.

The Packers beat the Arizona Cardinals in an exhibition game at Lambeau Field Friday night.

Waste Management, the company which handles the recycling, says over two cubic-yards fell from the back of one of its trucks.  They said nothing was damaged and nobody was hurt.

Team employees usually shred sensitive material, like pages from the playbook, before disposing of them.

The Packers asked that anyone who finds the pages please recycle the paper.  Cheeseheads do that kind of thing.

No, that wasn't Brian Urlacher dressed in a garbage-man's jumpsuit grabbing some of the loose papers and it's not known if any of pages were from Rodgers' black book.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Jets Flight Crew Unveils Sexy 2012 Calendar Photos Shot by Owner's Daughter

The New York Jets have leaked some of the Flight Crew's sexy 2012 calender photos and they'll have you thinking about a different type of fantasy football. 

Only this time, the Jets cheerleader's swimsuit calendar was created by owner Woody Johnson's two daughters.  The photos capture 19 of the team's 41 pom-pom shakers in a variety of tantalizing poses over the twelve months.

J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets.  The letters never looked so good.  Even Giants fans would have to agree.


According to the New York Post, Gang Green's cheerleader calendar was created by Johnson's two girls.  The photos were shot by 23 year-old daughter, Daisy, in sun-drenched Aruba.

Older sister, 29 year-old Jamie, who is also a photographer, was the art director for the project.

A team representative told the Post that Daisy went through the usual interview process and was selected on her skills.  Oh-kaaay.

Whatever the procedure, the outcome is what matters and it looks like the aspiring Daisy and the models all have skills.

The Flight Crew cheered on Gang Green during last night's rain-soaked 27-7 exhibition win over the Cincinnati Bengals.  Quite a change from the sun-and-fun of Aruba.

The 2011 Flight Crew team will make its regular season debut, with the football team on Sept. 11, when the Jets meet the Dallas Cowboys in a nationally-televised game in Met-Life Stadium.

This was the second consecutive year the calendar was shot in Aruba and it's a lot easier on the eyes than Rex Ryan in a wig during a press conference.

Woman Holds Crying Baby Inches From Brawling NFL Fans at Candlestick Park

Another camera shot and another angle of the brawl in the stands at Saturday's Oakland Raiders/ San Francisco 49ers game shows a woman clutching a wailing child, just inches from the punches being wildly thrown down, putting her and the infant in harm's way.

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The much-publicized incident, one of many which marred the NFL exhibition game at Candlestick Park, is being investigated by San Francisco authorities and the NFL.

It topped off a game where there were numerous fights in the stands and two shootings, one where a 24 year-old man wearing an anti-49ers T-shirt was shot in the stomach outside in the parking lot. The assault victim was severely beaten in a men's restroom inside the stadium. 

Both are in serious condition at San Francisco General Hospital. The other gun-shot victim was not hurt seriously.

Police say the confrontations were not team vs. team issues, but gang-related.  In the video, you can see one thug in a red Niners jersey fight another guy in white Raiders garb, then turn on another guy wearing the Niners colors.

In the fight video above-- which lasted over a minute until it was broken up by security personnel-- you can see a blond woman jump from her seat when the slug-fest breaks out.  The woman holds a crying young child, clad in a Raiders jersey and hat, as she scrambles away from the 200-pound-plus brawlers whose punches sail right by the kid's head.

There is little help from any other spectators who crowd the wild scene and turn their attention from the game and towards the melee. The concerned woman is left to fend for herself, but it looks like she has seen this kind of behavior before.  Caught in the fracas alongside her is a single child of about 12 years of age.

At one point it looks like the woman is raising the child to give him a better view of the action.

Police are seeking witnesses to all of the incidents and have detained a "person of interest" in one of the shootings after he was pulled from a party bus in the parking lot.

The annual exhibition game, known to locals as the "Battle of the Bay" reported no incidents last year.

The NFL, San Francisco mayor, Ed Lee, and  Oakland mayor, Jean Quan, released statements saying violence at stadiums during games will not be tolerated.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A.J. Burnett Has Words For Girardi: Could They Be His Last As A Yankees Starter?

A.J. Burnett had some choice words for Joe Girardi after the New York Yankees manager pulled the frustrated pitcher out tonight's game against the Minnesota Twins.  Girardi had seen enough after the ineffective Burnett had already given up four runs and left the bases loaded in the bottom of the second inning.

As Burnett walked towards the dugout, he turned back, glared at Girardi and let loose with a public diatribe directed at the manager.

Those words could be Burnett's last as a Yankee starter.

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Girardi called in Luis Ayala to relieve the useless Burnett with two outs.  Ayala promptly gave up two hits to the Twins batters and padded the Minnesota lead to 7-0.

After a few moments of mulling over Burnett's verbal assault, and the yanked Burnett's bee-line to the clubhouse, Girardi himself made his way into the same Yankees lounge from the team bench.  Girardi returned to the dugout rail a few minutes later and, miraculously,  Burnett reappeared on the dugout bench a couple of minutes later-- pouting.

The snarling Burnett abruptly returned to the clubhouse after watching Ayala deposit the three runs into Burnett's already bloated ERA.

What was said in the locker room between Girardi and his frustrated pitcher to make him come out of the clubhouse is unknown, but it probably had to do less with Burnett's feelings than a spot in the starting rotation.

This isn't the first time Burnett (9-9 before the game) has showed up Girardi-- his biggest, and maybe only, supporter.  There have been other instances of Burnett barking at Girardi or slamming the ball into the manager's hand when he was being pulled from a game-- which has been a common occurrence this season.
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Girardi has always defended Burnett from the fans and media who have called for the $82.5 million starter's head during his six-week losing streak.  Before the game the manager said he just wanted "A.J. to compete."

Now, Burnett pays back Girardi with an embarrassing display of self-entitlement.

Tonight, it looked like the maligned Burnett has totally lost his control, his temper and his manager's respect in one game.

I guess Burnett thought Girardi was supposed to let the underachieving starter-- who almost let a 12-run lead dissipate a couple of weeks ago-- continue to get clobbered until he found his groove.

The bad news for Burnett is he pitched badly after a serviceable outing last week.  The worse news is he probably yakked his way out of the rotation.  There is no good news.

Burnett might have just made Girardi's daunting and long-awaited task of trimming his starting rotation down to five men a lot easier, and Burnett has no one to blame but himself.

Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia are veterans who have been consistent, if not overpowering, and young guns Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes look like everything the Yankees hoped they would turn out to be.  CC Sabathia is the ace, so that leaves Burnett as the odd-man out.

Odd man is the right term in more than one way.



Friday, August 19, 2011

Islanders TV Slug-Fest Cancelled: Fans Could Have Gone To Mets Hug-Fest Instead

Pressure from the NHL and a backlash from "purist" hockey fans has caused the MSG Network to scrap plans for the rebroadcast of a brawl-filled New York Islanders-Pittsburgh Penguins game at a "viewing party."  The infamous Feb. 11 contest was filled with fight after fight after fight.  Both teams combined for 65 penalties, 346 penalty minutes and 10 ejections in the 9-3 Isles victory.

Critics claimed this particular game shed a bad light on the sport.

Is it so bad that a hockey game actually had 12 goals, had more punches than a Wladimir Klitschko heavyweight fight and filled a normally boring arena with excitement?  The NHL thought so.  Anyway, here's a sample of what fans will be missing.

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The Islanders/Penguins cage-match had 15 fighting majors and 20 misconducts.  It set records for both teams for most combined penalty minutes and almost left both teams with barely enough players to finish the game.

The NHL suspended Islanders Trevor Gillies for nine games, Mark Martin for four and handed the club a whopping $100,000 fine.

It's not every night-- actually it's not any night-- the Islanders can fill an arena-- never mind a bar.  The last time the team won a championship "Tron" was boring people at the theaters-- the original  Tron.

Tonight's viewing party is at a Champions in Long Island and was part of an eight-game series to promote the team and relive last season's few highlights.  MSG-Plus will now air a rebroadcast of an Islanders game against the Buffalo Sabres.  You remember that game...yawn.

It's just foreplay before the team joins the Nets at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn in a couple of years anyway.

Tonight, if fans wanted less thugs and more hugs, they could have headed over to Citi Field instead.

The first 100 fans who arrive at Friday's Mets game against the Milwaukee Brewers get free admission, if they take part in celebrity Nick Cannon's "Hug It Out," in an attempt to set a Guinness world record for most hugs in an hour.  I guess Johan Santana was considered too brittle.

Cannon, singer Mariah Carey's husband, should get home more often.  How else can you explain why the host of America's Got Talent and a NYC morning radio show would want to touch over 1,800 desperate Mets fans.  He'll be covered in tears.

So head out to Citi Field and hug the new Ryan  Seacrest and get a free T-shirt to prove it.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Joe Torre Admits Umpires Blew Home-Run Call Last Night

Joe Torre, MLB's VP of baseball operations, admitted today that the umpires did make the wrong call last night after they called Billy Butler's fly ball a home-run in the Kansas City Royals' 5-4 victory over the New York Yankees.

According to the New York Daily News, Torre-- the Yankees former manager-- looked at the controversial fly ball ruling and backed the Yankees claim that the ball never cleared the foot-high chain-link partition on top of the padded wall.  Torre said the hit should not have been called a home-run.

"It was a missed call, but there was also a misunderstanding on the rule," Torre explained.  "He just missed it but his interpretation was that the the back fence was behind the wall and out of the ballpark.  It certainly wasn't for a lack of doing his job, just a misunderstanding of the rule."

Let's get this straight.  Aren't the umpires supposed to know the rules?  It just seems logical that the men enforcing the rules-- including boundaries and what constitutes a home-run-- should be aware of each stadium's dimensions.

After second-base umpire Dana DeMuth  ruled that the fly ball cleared the fence, and the umpire crew spent five minutes reviewing the initial call, they still upheld the home-run call.

It was pretty obvious the ball didn't clear the fence because the ball bounced back onto the field where Brett Gardner scooped it up and put it back in play.

An irate Mariano Rivera knew it wasn't a home-run.  The KC broadcasters knew it.  In the Royals dugout, even Billy Butler had the look of a five year-old with the stolen cookie while the umpire crew reviewed the call.

Yankees first-base coach Mick Kelleher said the umpires knew it.  Before the game, Kelleher said the officiating crew explained that the ball had to clear the entire fence-- including the set back chain-link portion-- to be considered a home-run.

"It has to go over the padded bar," Kelleher was told.  "If that wasn't the case, there would be a yellow line."

Torre said DeMuth "feels very badly."

"He was wrong," said Torre.  "And there was a price to learn that lesson."

Torre stressed that the instant replay system didn't fail despite the muffed call.

"The game is over and that's what it is," Torre told the News.  "It's unfortunate.  Everyone had to cooperate to make it a one run game."

Girardi didn't file a protest after the ruling because he said he "believed the umpire" and figured "Dana knew the rules."  Now, that boat has long sailed and any correction is out of the question.

It's too late for the Yankees to take any sort of action to correct the costly error.  Girardi would have had to file a protest before the next pitch was thrown after the umpires made their final call last night to see any justice.

Yankees fans can blame the mistake on DeMuth's interpretation of the rules at Kauffman Stadium-- which had gone renovations in 2009-- but they should remember the image of Jorge Posada staring at a strike three with the bases loaded for the game's final out.




Mariano Rivera Loses It In Dugout Over Controversial Home Run

Yankees fans got to see a side of closer Mariano Rivera they've never seen in his 17-year Yankee career.  After a debated home run was allowed,  Rivera blew a gasket and had to be blocked from charging from the dugout.

At the center of the outburst  was a Kansas City Royals fly ball that hit the top of a fence and was ruled a home-run.  Rivera wasn't even on the mound and was watching the play from the Yankees clubhouse before he saw red.

It looked like Rivera got upset at the umpiring crew-- with good reason--  after they conferred on the controversial home-run, and opted not to overturn the call.  This was a side of the usually stoic Rivera that fans never see-- the emotional side.  If it was rare to see the always composed Rivera blow a couple of games last week it was even more unique  to watch the 41 year-old Rivera lose his cool for a couple of minutes last night.

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Last week, fans saw the infrequent failures of Rivera in a few consecutive set-backs-- or blips as Manager Joe Girardi calls them-- in the closer's march to the Hall of Fame.

Rivera was tagged for a blown save, a loss and a scare in successive games in relief.  It had Yankees fans wondering if the reliable closer was slipping.  Through it all, Rivera never showed any emotion-- as is his usual modus operandi on the mound.

While the outburst may have been out of character for Rivera, his intensity was not.

 In the bottom of the third inning of the Yankees/ Royals game at Kauffman Stadium, Royals DH Billy Butler lofted a fly ball which bounced off the top of the padded wall in left-center but clearly didn't go over an eight-inch railing behind it.  Rightfielder Brett Gardner played the ball like it was a double.

After the initial call and protest by Girardi, second-base umpire Dana DeMuth  summoned the other umpires and reviewed the play.  Replays showed the ball hitting the top of the pad but bouncing off the fencing which connected the railing and wall-- which means the ball is still in play.

The umpires stuck by the initial ruling and gave Butler his 15th homer of the season and the Royals a 4-2 lead.  This prompted Girardi to approach the umpires again to no avail.  As the Yankees manager approached the dugout, Rivera could be seen being held back by coach Tony Pena and then Girardi himself.

The irate Rivera looked like he was ready to bolt through the dugout rail.  His laser like-glare alone could have cut the metal pipe.

Meanwhile, Butler grinned like he just got away with murder and paced in the Royals dugout waiting to see if he would have to take second base.

Butler's solo-shot would prove costly as Yankees starter, Bartolo Colon, was roughed up for five runs in five innings including the controversial home-run.

Alex Gordon tagged Colon for a three-run homer earlier in the third inning and the Yankees ended up losing 5-4 with the bases loaded and Jorge Posada called out looking.

Derek Jeter went 4-for-5 but was caught stealing right before Curtis Granderson smacked his 34th home-run in the first.

The Yankees still held a 1/2 game lead over the Boston Red Sox, who lost to the Tampa Bay Rays.

After the game, Girardi said he would not file a protest with the league.  DeMuth had no comment.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Umpire Tells Two Fans To Shut Off Their Jackets During A's-Orioles Game

Two Baltimore Oriole fans were told to turn off their high-tech lighted jackets during a game between the O's and the Oakland A's because it was distracting the players.  The two men, seated in the barren outfield stands at Oakland-Alameda Coliseum, wore the mini-billboard jackets which read "Go Orioles" and other blinking messages.

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With the A's at bat, the second base umpire stopped the game and told the two men to shut off their attire.

In Oakland, the only things that get lit up in the Coliseum are the A's pitchers.

Even the home crowd booed the ump's decision.

Amir Garrett Will Pitch For Reds and Dunk For Red Storm

St. John's recruit Amir Garrett, the 6-foot-6 forward out of Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nev., just  signed a five-year deal with the Cincinnati Reds, but still intends to play basketball for the Red Storm.

Garrett was ranked by Rivals.com as the 21st best small forward in the class of 2011 and the 68th best player overall.  The elite basketball player was one of the six top-100 high school players recruited by Steve Lavin and projected to be a star with the Red Storm next year.  The only problem was , Garrett also had a fastball that has been clocked at 96 mph and he was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 22nd round.

On Monday night, Garrett agreed to a five-year contract with the Reds-- which includes $1 million signing bonus-- but the lefthander said he will still suit up for the Red Storm.

Garrett is still eligible to play college ball and tweeted this, "I'm blessed to be a part of the # Reds baseball organization and still be able to play basketball at St. John's.  # God is Great."

The two-sport star hadn't thrown in a game since June 2010 until working out for the MLB Player Draft in June 2011.  Garrett said he wanted to give baseball one more shot.

"My dad always said, ' Don't let good talent go to waste,'" said Garrett.

He will now join what has been called the third-ranked recruiting class-- according to Rivals.com-- at St. John's.  If the school makes it to the 2012 post-season, which concludes at the end of March, Garrett would be assigned to the Reds extended spring-training or the short-season in Class-A.

Reds spokesman, Larry Herms, says their new signee will probably end up in Goodyear, Ariz competing with rehabbing players and other rookies.

The lanky lefty, with the blazing fastball, could have taken the money and walked away from college basketball, but said he will join Lavin and his young team.  The St. John's coach starts next season with 10 freshman.

"Amir Garrett is a special talent," said Lavin.  "His length, explosiveness, quickness and highly-skilled game make him ideal for our system of play."

He's also the only millionaire on the team.