Thursday, May 31, 2012

Skinny Rex Ryan cheers for Devils at The Rock

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan took a break from Tebow-mania and OTAs by taking in the first game of the Stanley Cup Finals between the New Jersey Devils and Los Angeles Kings at the Prudential Center.

Sporting a Ilya Kovalchuk jersey, Ryan showed up at The Rock to cheer on the Devils with his wife Michelle and their son Seth.

The Jets' training camp is just a few miles up Interstate 280 in Floral Park, so he was just keeping it real in Jersey.




Last year Ryan might have been the the biggest Devils fan — literally— but has lost a lot of weight during the off season and looked pretty fit in the Devils red and black.  He still won't reveal how he dropped the 90 pounds but said he is "breaking records" on the treadmill.

The players are also getting him about his svelte body.

"They push me to wear [long sleeves] because of the weight loss," he said.  "My arms look like twigs and things.  They're like, 'Put some sleeves on.'"

The Devils lost 2-1 following Anze Kopitar's overtime goal and the teams will meet in Game 2 on Saturday night.

Any chance Tim Tebow can lace 'em up?  Just wondering.


Diddy's kid gets controversial free ride at UCLA

The son of wealthy music mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs is getting a $54,000-a-year scholarship to play football at UCLA and a lot of people aren't too happy about it.

Justin Combs, a senior at Iona Prep in New Rochelle, N.Y.,  is getting a full ride to one of California's most elite schools on a football scholarship and his pops won't have to shell out one penny from his estimated $475 million net worth.

The university responded to criticism about its decision to grant the 5-foot-9, 170 pound defensive back a full scholarship when his father could probably buy the team a whole new stadium.

The younger Combs will be wearing the blue and gold jersey for the Bruins this fall after turning down offers from Illinois, Iowa and Virginia.  He was ranked No. 133 at his position by 2012 Scout.com High School Football Ranking.



UCLA claims Combs assistance is no rich-get-richer scheme and based on merit.

"There's a misconception out there that somehow athletic scholarships would take away money from low-income students who need need-based aid," said school spokesman Ricardo Vazquez.  "That's not the case.  Athletic scholarships are awarded strictly on the basis of athletic and academic ability."

He said scholarships for student athletes are funded by sports ticket sales, corporate partnerships, media contracts and private donations.

An out-of-state student pays about $54,877 a year in tuition and living costs, according to UCLA.

The older Combs declined to comment on the scholarship controversy.

"As a parent, today is one of the proudest moments of my life," he said late last year after his son committed to UCLA.  "This is everything a father could want for his son, for him to excel at what he loves to do and is truly passionate about."

It wouldn't be hard to imagine Diddy whipping out the old checkbook and making one out to UCLA sometime in the future.  His son earned the handout, his father will probably make it right.

Terry Francona trades chest pics with female friend

ESPN analyst and former Red Sox manager Terry Francona exchanged racy e-mails with a busty female fan after she sent  him a photo of her ample assets and he returned the favor with a shot of himself wrapped in a towel.

The  boyfriend of the flirtatious baseball fan didn't take kindly to the seeing a photo of the 53-year old Francona— wrapped in the bath towel and standing on the balcony of a seaside resort— on his girl's phone and shared the pictures with Deadspin.com.

Maybe they were just comparing bust sizes.



The angry boyfriend knew his girlfriend— who lives in Tucson, Ariz.— had recently met Francona, a former University of Arizona baseball player.

The boyfriend— who goes by the name Rob— sent a letter dissing Francona's physique with the accompanying photos.

"Sending this picture to my 27-year old girlfriend isn't a smart move, Rob said in a message to the web site.  "Not sure how this picture would turn any girl on, but good luck to him and his 53-year body."



He also threw in a letter warning Francona— who is separated from his wife.

"Hey, Terry," he wrote.  "I was wondering why you would be flirting with my girlfriend, who is over  20 years younger than you, by sending pictures of yourself half-naked in a towel?  Isn't one of your children the same age as my girlfriend?

"Next time you decide to do this, make sure the girl doesn't have a boyfriend.  You would think you would be more careful since you work for ESPN.  I hope more girls come out saying you sent them the same stuff.  You could be the next Tiger Woods.  Scumbag."

The lovelorn boyfriend thought it was Francona had thrown out the first pitch until he noticed something else on her phone— a close up of her cleavage to Francona on her sent-messages box.

After he realized his girlfriend was the one who initiated the chest flirting, Rob knew it was a double-play.

"I'm so pissed," he said.




Exonerated football player to get NFL tryout with Seahawks


The Seattle Seahawks have confirmed they will hold a tryout for Brain Banks, the former California high school football star who was freed from prison after serving five years for a rape case in which he was falsely accused.

The former Long Beach Poly linebacker had a verbal agreement for a full scholarship to USC before a childhood friend falsely accused Banks, now 26, of attacking her on their high school campus.  Banks pleaded no contest to the charges at the advice of his attorney.

Last Thursday, a judge threw out the conviction that sent banks to prison for more than five years after the woman recanted her story and Banks recorded it.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll— who was at USC when Banks was offered the full ride— did not speak to reporters after the Seahawks' off-season workout on Wednesday, but the team confirmed that Banks will work out for the team on June 7.



Other NFL teams have shown interest in giving Banks a shot at his dream— after the story was all over the news last week— including the Kansas City Chiefs, Washington Redskins, and Miami Dolphins.

Banks is confident he can still make an NFL team and has been working out in preparation of pursuing his dream and reclaiming almost ten years of his life.  At 26, Banks is one year shy of the the average age of an NFL player.  So there's still hope.

The reversal of the decision was won by the California Innocence Project, which took the new evidence back to Superior Court judge Mark C. Kim— who presided over the original case.

Banks' ties to former USC coach Carroll make a good story.  Let's hope the wronged young man can make the team.

Rajon Rondo stashes lip balm in sock and still gets chapped

When you play a team called the Heat, you've got to expect a little lip cracking and Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo didn't forget to bring his chap stick to Wednesday night's game against Miami.

Rondo was spotted pulling a stick of lip balm out of his sock during the second quarter of the Celtics' 115-111 overtime loss to the Miami Heat in Game 2 of the NBA Eastern Conference finals, rubbing a little on his lips, then stashing it back in his knee highs.

It was hard to figure out what chapped Rondo more, his lips or the the calls by the referees.

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Rondo did his part to keep the Celtics from cracking by playing every second of the 53-minute game and finishing with 44 points and 8 rebounds and 10 assists.  He scored all 12 Boston points during overtime.  The Celtics players and their coach, Doc Rivers, still weren't satisfied with the calls that went against them.

Asked about a non-call after he was hacked by Dwyane Wade in OT, Rondo could not even be soothed by his historic night.

"It's lind of irrelevant," he said.  "We lost."

The Celtics fell behind in the series, 2-0, and face a crucial Game 3 when they return to Boston.

They make the moisturizer to soothe chapped lips but is there a stick big enough to ease the pain of losing?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Jordan tells Ewing he won't get Bobcats job

Another head-coaching job has gone by Patrick Ewing's wayside and it looks like the big guy didn't even make it to the second round.

Yahoo.com reports that Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan has informed his good pal Ewing that he will not get the vacant head-coaching position he interviewed for two weeks ago.  After an interview with Charlotte management, Jordan personally reached out to Ewing to tell him that he was eliminated as a candidate to coach the Bobcats.

The former New York Knicks center faced competition for the job from former Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, former Blazers coach Nate McMillan and Golden State Warriors assistant Mike Malone.

The real story seems to be whether or not Charlotte wins the NBA lottery tonight and gets a chance to draft Kentucky's Anthony Davis before it opens up a second round of interviews.  Davis is arguably the only franchise player in the draft and other coaching candidates could throw their hats into the ring if Davis becomes a Bobcat.



Ewing— an assistant coach for the past five seasons with the Orlando Magic— is a close friend of Jordan's.  They share the same agent, David Falk, and were teammates on the original Olympic "Dream Team." Jordan even gave Ewing a prominent role in his animated movie "Space Jam" in 1996.

Ewing's close ties with Jordan may have actually worked against him.  Jordan has been criticized for hiring too many of his buddies and yes-men throughout the years and Ewing fit that bill to a tee.

With the firing of Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy, Ewing found himself available for work.  He worked with Jeff Van Gundy  in Houston before joining the Magic and his name has been tossed around as a head coach before.  Last spring, Ewing had an interview with the Detroit Pistons and impressed general manager Joe Dumars.

Despite being rivals on the court, Ewing and Jordan were close friends off it.  It might be a blessing in disguise for Ewing to be eliminated from the Bobcats job.  The team was one of the worst in NBA history (7-59) and there are questions about Jordan's financial commitment to putting together a winning team.  A first time head coach in Charlotte might be a tough place to break your cherry.

Hey, maybe there is a chance that "Space Jam 2" can get the green light now.


Goat ends Cubs losing streak but still banned from Wrigley Field

The five Chicago Cubs fans who trekked nearly 1,800 miles with a goat to break the Chicago Cubs' so-called "Billy Goat Curse" arrived in Chicago on Monday— the same day the team ended a 12-game losing streak— but were told goats are banned from entering Wrigley Field.

The group planned to bring "Wrigley" inside for Tuesday's game, but were told the Cubs still wouldn't allow the animal into the park.

Instead, the celebrated animal (a 22-pound Nigerian dwarf goat) was the center of attention outside the stadium as the five trekkers continued to raise money for cancer research by selling t-shirts with the slogan "Crack the Curse" printed on them.

Maybe it was a coincidence the losing streak ended the same day the group ended their three-month journey— or maybe it was just because the Cubs were playing the slightly more pitiful San Diego Padres— but either way, the Cubs actually have a two-game win streak since little Wrigley came to town.

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In their quest to end the "Curse," the five hikers started their 1,746 mile trip to Wrigley Field in Mesa, Ariz. on Feb. 25 and raised over $20,000 on the way.

The Cubs said they will donate $1,746 to their cause— $1.00 for every mile the group walked, but stopped short of saying if they would infuse any more cash into the team's payroll.

The curse got its start during the 1945 World Series after a local tavern owner was told by the Cubs he couldn't bring his goat into the game.  In retaliation, he put the famous whammy on the Cubs when he said the team would never win a World Series game again.  Sixty seven years later, the Cubs are still waiting to make it back into the Fall Classic.

The five young hikers— Matt Gregory, Kyle Townsend, Patrick Fisher, Blake Ferrell, and Phillip Aldrich— aren't even from Illinois but are Cubs fans nonetheless. They still hope the Cubs will lift the team policy on banning goats at Wrigley Field— at least one time.

"It's all about respecting the goat," said Aldrich.  "The hike is about 2,000 miles, but you know, raising money for cancer research and letting the goat see all the different parts of the country like Route 66, the goat's helped us raise over $20,000. To me, that's respecting the goat and I think that was part of the curse, not respecting the goat."

A lot of fans have brought goats to Wrigley for their fifteen minutes of fame, then the next thing you know the cute little creature is hanging in the butcher shop window.  Wrigley deserves a chance to literally munch on the ivy-covered walls because he has the blisters on his little hooves to earn that right.



Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mike Trout's sensational catch robs Nick Swisher of a dinger

Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels continues to amaze everyone with his defense and— for the second night in a row— he robbed the New York Yankees of a home run with a sensational catch by going up the wall.

The 20-year old left fielder crashed into the fence at Angel Stadium to take away what looked like a solo home run from Nick Swisher in the second inning of Tuesday night's game.

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Trout— the son of former major-leaguer Jeff Trout— ran down Swisher's hit, collided with the wall and pulled down the ball with his glove dangling over the top of the fence before tumbling to the the ground.

He was greeted with high-fives in the Angels dugout.

The former New Jersey high school standout was the 25th overall pick of the Angels in 2009 and plays his section of the field with reckless abandon.  He's no slouch behind the plate either and is batting .310 with 14 RBIs.

Expect to see a lot of these highlights from this kid for years to come.

Hideki Matsui goes to Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays have purchased the contract of designated hitter Hideki Matsui from Triple-A Durham.

The former-New York Yankees outfielder and DH— who went by the nickname Godzilla— was a fan favorite for six years in the Bronx before being released in 2010.  His quiet demeanor and consistent play were rewarded by two MLB All-Star selections and a World Series title in 2009— when he was named the series MVP.

Matsui, who turns 38 on June 12, played 13 games with Durham after signing a minor league contract with Tampa Bay on April 30.  He joined the Rays' roster prior to tonight's game against the Chicago White Sox.



The Japanese slugger had a splendid career with the Yankees before going to the Los Angeles Angels (2010) and the Oakland A's (2011) following a 10-year career with the Yomuri Giants of Japan's Central League— where he was considered more God-like than Godzilla.

When he returned to Japan for the Yankees season opening series against Tampa Bay in 2004, he was mobbed wherever he went.  His Yankees teammates were unaware of his popularity in Japan and found themselves in awe of his celebrity and the amount of hysteria he generated in his home land.

To make room for Matsui on the roster, the Rays optioned outfielder-designated hitter Stephen Vogt to Durham and transferred outfielder Brandon Guyer from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list.

Matsui hit 33 home runs and knocked in 150 runs during the past two seasons.

Cue up Blue Oyster Cult down at the Trop.


Rihanna dating Knicks bad boy J.R. Smith

It looks like the "We Found Love" singer, Rihanna, has found it in the tattooed arms of New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith.

The New York Daily News reported that the bad-boy loving singer and the trouble-plagued NBA player have been quietly keeping each other company down in Miami for a couple of weeks.  Sources told the newspaper the couple was "definitely hanging out" in Miami this weekend.

Well, most of it anyway.  Smith, 26, was arrested for a outstanding bench warrant for driving without a valid license.  He spent the latter part of Thursday night locked up before making bond early Friday morning which still left a few days left to hang over the long holiday weekend.



Miami was hosting Urban Beach Week, which has been called "South Beach's biggest party of the year."

Sources said Rihanna, 24, partied with Smith at LIV nightclub Sunday night while her former-flame Drake was photographed with his ex and her new brown locks.  She recently posted semi-nude photos of herself as a blond on the Internet.

Smith has been under the NBA's watchful eye after posting pictures of a woman's bare butt on Twitter.  He was fined $25,000 for the transgression.

Rihanna, who recently said she hasn't dated anyone in two years, had been spotted sitting on Smith's lap and flirting with the Knick at a restaurant in Manhattan earlier this month.

This wouldn't be the first time the singer hooked up with an pro athlete.  she was linked to Los Angeles Dodgers super star Matt Kemp.  They broke up in 2010 after a year together.


Angels Jered Weaver lets out scream after injuring back

Los Angeles ace Jered Weaver left his start against the New York Yankees in the first inning Monday night after throwing only 12 pitches due to pain in his lower back.  After Weaver came out of his painful pitch and a hush fell over Angel Stadium, the frustrated hurler let out a scream that could be heard at Disneyland.

Weaver gave up two hits and a run before the awkward strike to Robinson Cano left him limping off the mound.  He walked around the dirt and then attempted a warm-up pitch that had nothing on it before walking towards the Angels clubhouse and letting out the scream.

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"It felt like somebody stabbed me in the back," said Weaver.  "I never felt anything like that before.  It's disappointing.  You get up for games like this."

Weaver will have an MRI exam on Tuesday and Angels manager Mike Scioscia doesn't know if his star will be placed on the disabled list.

The two-time All-Star is off to a Cy Young type season.  Weaver is 6-1 with a 2.61 ERA and the right-hander was making his first start at Angel Stadium since throwing a no-hitter on May 2 against the Minnesota Twins.

Weaver was treated by the Angels trainers and was still at his locker after his teammate Mark Trumbo's walk-off home run gave the Angels a 9-8 victory.

"I can't really bend over too much," Weaver said.  "I tried to throw that second pitch, but there was no way.  The way the team is playing right now, I'm one of the guys who wants to be out there."

Weaver was unbeatable at Angel Stadium so far this season.  Including the no-hitter, he was 4-0 with a 0.83 ERA at home.

Scioscia is concerned about his 6-foot-7 ace but knows he can only take it day-by-day.

"We're going to look at a couple of things and see what we need to do," said Scioscia.  "He's stiff now, but we'll have the exams tomorrow and make a decision."




Fan snags Teixeira's home run ball with baby in arms

There was at least one New York Yankees fan smiling after last night's wild 9-8 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.  A man wearing a Yankees cap caught Mark Teixeira's home run ball in the left field seats at Angels Stadium while holding a baby in his arms.

The man— who was surrounded by a lot of other Yankees fans holding kids— managed to catch Tex's fifth-inning blast with his right hand after it bounced off a couple of other spectators. He held the prized souvenir in the air while holding the unimpressed toddler— standing only inches from the rail overlooking the bullpen.

Is it me or does it seem like there are a lot of guys catching home run balls with a kid in their arms these days?


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Yankees' fans were thinking they caught a break after Angels starter Jared Weaver left the game with a lower back problems before getting a single out and the Yankees actually put more than a couple of runs on the scoreboard.

But New York starter Phil Hughes was just horrible and gave up seven runs and 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings and the Yankees blew a bases-loaded  opportunity to win in the ninth before the Angels Mark Trumbo hit a walk-off home run off Cory Wade to end the game.

At least the man with the baby left the game with a ball in one hand and the baby still in the other.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Boxer Paul Williams paralyzed after motorcycle accident

Boxer Paul Williams, who recently signed a lucrative contract to fight Saul (Canelo) Alvarez on Sept. 15 in Las Vegas, was seriously injured from a motorcycle accident near Atlanta.  Preliminary reports said the fighter is paralyzed from the waist down— after crashing the bike early Sunday morning— and his career is over.

Nicknamed the "Punisher" because of his incredible work-rate, Williams is scheduled to have surgery on Wednesday to stabilize his spinal column— which suffered traumatic damage, according to his longtime manager George Peterson.

The two-time welterweight  champion is facing the career-ending injury after he reportedly swerved to avoid contact with  a vehicle after driving back from his brother's bachelor party around 7 a.m. on Sunday.



Peterson said Williams flew about "65 feet into the air."  "He was doing about 75 mph on the motorcycle.  When he came down on his back he severed his spinal cord.  He's paralyzed from the waist down.  In terms of him walking again... that will never happen."

The 30-year old Williams, who was scheduled to fight the Mexican star and the WBF super-welterweight champion, Alvarez, at the MGM Grand has no feeling below his waist another Williams associate, promoter Dan Goosen, said on Monday.

Asked if he had been told if his left-handed fighter would ever get into the ring again, Goosen replied, "Our thoughts aren't there right now.  He's undergoing this procedure, and we're hoping he can get back on his feet after that.  That's all we're hoping for."

The 6-foot-1 Williams (41-2, 27 knockouts) prided himself on being an active punching southpaw who could fight anywhere between welter and middle weights.

Williams first rose to prominence after beating Antonio Margarito in 2007 before losing a surprising decision to Carlos Quintana.  He stopped Quintana in the first round of their rematch.  His career dipped after he was knocked out by current middleweight champion Sergio Martinez in 2010 after winning their first fight.

The fight with with Alvarez was highly anticipated and Williams hoped it would get him on the comeback road.  For Alvarez, it was to be the Mexican's first pay-per-view show.  Williams got the Alvarez fight over James Kirkland.

Peterson said he had a number of conversations with Williams about the dangers of riding his motorcycle before the crash but claims his fighter knew of the dangers.

"It's the same old Paul," Peterson said.  "As I was walking out his door [to talk with reporters], he said, 'Believe me, if I don't ever box again, I'm going to do some stand-up comedy.'  He's not suffering."


Will Ferrell, Gordon Ramsey injured in charity soccer match

Hollywood star Will Ferrell and celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey were both injured while playing in a charity soccer game in England on Sunday.  In what was supposed to be a friendly match, both celebrities got a little roughed up.

Funnyman Ferrell wasn't smiling and in visible pain as he limped off the field with a leg injury while Ramsey was carted  to the sideline on a stretcher like an overcooked steak while receiving oxygen after being leveled by former Manchester United star Teddy Sherington during the second half.

Both celebrities were participating in the celebrity sporting event Soccer Aid.  England ended up beating the "Rest of the World," 3-1, in Manchester, England.



The foul-mouthed, bullying Ramsey and Ferrell— the star of "Kicking and Screaming" (remember that soccer classic?)  were teammates on The Rest of the World team whose film industry roster included Woody Harrelson, Mike Myers, Gerard Butler and Edward Norton along with a sprinkling of former soccer stars.

Ramsey was taken to a hospital— after Sherington flattened the chef like a bad souffle— and released.



The event was the brainchild of singer Robbie Williams and raised $6.4 million for the charity UNICEF.




Marco Andretti's boot melted to gas pedal during Indy 500

How hot was it yesterday at the Indianapolis 500?  Hot enough to fell almost 200 spectators and actually melt driver Marco Andretti's boot to his gas peddle.

Track officials announced that the temperature had reached 91-degrees by the afternoon— one degree shy of the record set in 1937— but temperatures can climb as high as 130-degrees inside the race cars.

Andretti joked to his pit crew when he noticed the heat-related wardrobe malfunction.

"My boot has just melted to the throttle," he said to his crew while in the middle of the race.

They responded by telling Andretti, "We'll get some air blowing in there."

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That must have been reassuring to the driver.

The only thing hotter than the Indiana heat wave was Dario Franchitti who won his third Indy 500.

Don Larsen's perfect game uniform going up for auction

Former New York Yankees legend Don Larsen must have noticed how a jersey once worn by Babe Ruth  just sold for a record $4.4 million.  Now, the only pitcher ever to throw a perfect game during a MLB post-season game, wants to auction off the uniform he wore during that magical 1956 World Series game when he was perfect.

Larsen is not only auctioning off the shirt he wore in Game 2 of the 1956 World Series, he'll throw in his pants as well.



The 82-year old Larsen said he is hoping to raise money for his grand children's college education.  The grand kids can probably choose any school they want because the uniform that catcher Yogi Berra wore in the game sold for $565,000.

Larsen only wore the uniform twice— in Game 2 and Game 5 of the 1956 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers— but knows it  means a lot to baseball fans as well as to himself.

"I don't know what it is worth," he said.  "What I do know is that in terms of historic importance, my uniform is a part of one of the greatest moments in the history of sports.  I have thought about that perfect game, more than once a day, every day of my life since the day I threw it."


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The auction starts on Oct. 8— the day he threw the perfect game— and ends Dec. 2.

College player leaps over fence to make game-saving catch

A Lower Columbia College outfielder leaped over— yes over— the fence in left field to make an unbelievable game-saving catch in the first round of the NWAACC (Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges) championships.

It was even more unreal because Derrick Salberg's grab gave the Red Devils a win because it happened with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning.  A home-run would have tied the game.  Salberg's catch topped off Lower Columbia's 4-2 victory over Everett College.

After Salberg made the dramatic catch, he leaped back onto the field with other jubilant teammates and hopped around the outfield.




LCC pitcher Brandon Boyle was ecstatic after the game.  "It's got to be one of the best plays I've seen in any sport," he said.  "It definitely saved my butt."

If you can get past the Little League sized fence and the the ambiguous rules on a ball that goes over the yellow line, Boyle may be right.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

St. John's pitcher gets pied on broken nose after winning Big East title

The St. John's baseball team won a record seventh Big East Tournament title after defeating South Florida 7-3 in Clearwater, Fla. and is now headed the the NCAA Tournament for the third year in a row.

After the game, tournament MVP Matt Carasiti was pied in the face while being interviewed by ESPN but it looked like his teammate Kevin Kilpatrick's celebratory gesture hurt just a little.  Maybe it was because the pitcher had pitched with a broken nose and even a cream pie hurts when it's rubbed into your busted schnoz.  

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Carasiti laughed off the pain after wiping the white stuff from his face.  He had a lot to be happy about after retiring 12 of the 13 batters he faced while St. John's came back from a 3-1 deficit.

The Red Storm (37-21) will make its 34th NCAA baseball tournament appearance and get another shot at the College World Series.

The tournament brackets will be announced on Monday.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Mark Jackson works the phone at Yankees-A's game

Former St. John's and NBA star Mark Jackson was spotted in the stands at Saturday's New York Yankees-Oakland A's matchup at The Coliseum in Oakland.

The Golden State Warriors head coach was working the phone while watching CC Sabathia grind it out against the home team.  The namesake behind "The Mark Jackson Rule" is now a Bay Area resident but the Brooklyn-born Jackson is still a New Yorker at heart and a big Yankees fan.

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The former NBA announcer must have liked what he saw with CC going strong with seven strong innings and was probably yelling into the phone, "That's a grown man move right there."

Watching an NBA game just isn't the same without Jackson's catch phrases.

Jet door falls from sky and lands on golf course

Talk about a tough 16th hole— Pebble Beach or Augusta ain't got nothing on this golf course.

After an airborne plane's 280-pound cabin door broke loose and crashed down on the fairway of a Florida golf course— on one of only two days of the year when the course is closed to tend to the greens— officials said it was a good thing nobody was using their five irons.




A Canadair CL600 jet was northbound from Opa-Locka executive  airport in Miami when the door flew off and landed not far from condos next to the Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hallandale Beach.

Ed Walls, general manger of the $5,000-a-year resort, said, "The course is ringed by private condo towers, so we're very fortunate it landed where it did."

The plane was due to fly into Pompano Beach but was diverted to Ft. Lauderdale.

Word is that the course's 16th hole has been adjusted to a par-5 from a par-4 and the caddies are now called lookouts.



Linsanity trademark belongs to Jeremy Lin

The catch phrase "Linsanity"— a word which captured the meteoric rise and city-wide euphoria of New York Knicks' sensation Jeremy Lin— has been awarded to the point guard by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

J-Lin captured New York's heart and playoff hopes with his Lin-credible rise from undrafted player to the face of a team and the NBA.

"It's not only Linsanity, but all Lin-related trademarks," said Pamela M. Deese, a partner in the law firm Arent LLP, who is working on the player's behalf.  "Having a clean plate with rights in place makes it a lot easier to negotiate licenses and endorsement deals."



The player's filing (fi-Lin-g) on Feb. 13 came six days after a California man with no ties to the 23-year old Harvard grad became the first to apply for the Linsanity trademark.  A second filing filing was made on Feb. 9 and on Feb. 14.  Somebody better have an exp-Lin-ation how the NBA player got the trademark before anyone else.

Lin, the first Chinese or Taiwanese-American to play in the NBA, drew widespread attention after coming off the bench on Feb. 4 to score 25 points in a win against the New Jersey Nets.  His Lin-fectious play sparked the Knicks to six consecutive wins— boosting TV ratings and ticket prices in his wake.

The wildly-popular player's Lin-credible run came to an end after Lin had surgery last month to repair a meniscus tear in his left knee.  He missed the Knicks' opening-round playoff series with the Miami Heat, which New York lost 4-1.

Since he was Lin-capacitated, covered in Lin-iment and Lin-gering on a contract, is there still any Lin-terest in the Lin-corrigible player with the g-Lin-t in his eye?

Call your trademark lawyer to find out.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Knicks J.R. Smith arrested on bench warrant in South Beach

Miami Beach police said New York Knicks' J.R. Smith was arrested on a bench warrant for not having a valid driver's license.  The Knicks' 'Sixth Man' was picked up after cops recognized him on South Beach's Washington Avenue at around 8:30 p.m..

A routine search revealed the bench warrant stemming from Smith being cited last year in Miami for driving a scooter without a valid driver's license.


Smith was taken to the Miami-Dade County Jail and he was booked under his legal name of Earl Joseph Smith before he bonded out early Friday morning.

The troublesome shooting guard was picked up by the Knicks in February after playing in China during the NBA lockout.

Maybe it's about time Smith made a trip down to the DMV.

Exonerated former-football prospect still hopes for shot in NFL

Brian Banks, a man accused of rape ten years ago, was finally exonerated of a crime he never committed after spending five years of his life behind prison walls and having a once promising football career derailed in the process.

On Thursday, Banks walked out of a Long Beach, Ca. courthouse with his parents Leomia and Jonathan— after having his rape conviction dismissed— and took in a breath of freedom before tearfully promising to pursue his dream of playing pro football.

"This is the first step in reinventing my life," he said after a judge issued the ruling.

Banks— wearing a sweatshirt with the word "innocent" on it— stood on the courtroom steps as his advisor Justin Brooks addressed the media, "I have a message to any NFL executives out there. . . give this guy a shot."

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At 16 years old, Banks had his eye on a career in the NFL.  He was a star middle linebacker at Long Beach Polytechnic— one of the premier California high school football teams— and had already verbally agreed to a full scholarship at USC after being courted by almost every top program in the country.

The came a childhood friend's false accusation of rape in 2002— a claim she has now recanted.

Gil Brandt, an NFL draft consultant, said Banks would be eligible to sign with any team that might show interest.  However, the years away from the playing field will be his biggest obstacle.

"History tells us guys who come back after one or two years in the service find it awfully hard," he said.  "and this has been a much longer time."

Banks, who always dreamed about playing for the San Diego Chargers, says he is ready for the challenge.

"It's been a struggle.  But I'm unbroken and I'm still here today."



The tall, muscular Banks is 26 now— only one year shy of the NFL average age.  And although he has been working out six days a week, he did miss out on four years of experience at USC while sitting in a jail cell— years so costly to a young NFL hopeful.

While Banks' chances for an NFL career are slim, there is no reason an NFL team couldn't give him a shot.  And via his "Pursuit of the NFL" video blog, you can watch his progression every step of the way.

According to LA Weekly, Bill Johnston, director of public relations for the San Diego Chargers said, "There's no interest at this time" about giving Banks a tryout.  "No one here had even heard of him until this story came out today."

Still, it doesn't sound like Banks will be easily deterred from achieving his NFL goal.

"I feel like anything is possible," he said.  "And it's proven today by me getting my freedom back."



Dwyane Wade rocks pink pants before and after Game 6

Dwyane Wade brought more than his A-game to Game 6 in Indianapolis last night.  Before scoring 41 points in the Miami Heat's series-clinching victory over the Indiana Pacers, Wade brought a little Miami Beach style to the heartland by sporting a pair of bright pink skinny pants before and after the game.

Call them pink, fuchsia or a flagrant foul, Wade's fashion statement was only topped by the one he made on the court. 

 The color, mostly seen on Florida retirees or 28-handicap golfers were complimented by the soles of his shoes and a matching pink finger sleeve.


Wade was in a good mood after the win and had his own zingers for his fashion critics during a press conference.  LeBron James sat— and laughed— with (at?) Wade while the fashionista wore the the offending pants.

"Start off this interview by saying I know they're killing me in the studio over my pants," Wade said.  "They're just mad because they can't pull it off."

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ESPN said James also took a jab at Wade before the game by joking, "Damn, for real, those are close-out pants?  And the finger sleeve?"

"You gotta coordinate," replied Wade.

"You look like Eddie Murphy in the '80's," said James.

"Eddie Murphy wishes he looked like me," Wade said back.

If pink pants inspire Wade to score 41 points and grab 10 rebounds, could a lime-green polyester suit be far behind?

And they're pretty easy to find in Florida.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sanchez outplays Tebow at Jets' OTAs

On the first day of what will surely be many, many months of Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow quarterbacking comparisons leading up to the regular season— Sanchez outplayed Tebow on day one of their first head-to-head competition open to the media.

While the New York Jets held their third OTA Thursday morning, it was the first look at the Tebow-Sanchez dynamic on the football field with both of them wearing Jets helmets.

Tebow worked with the second team just as the Jets said he would and took reps as the No. 2 quarterback behind the incumbent Sanchez.  He was also used on special teams, as the personal protector on the punt team— something he did on Monday for the first time.



At the quarterback spot, some of Tebow's passes came out a little high.  He was picked off on consecutive passes in 7-on-7 drills, by Bart Scott and new Jets safety Yeremiah Bell.  Tebow finished 6-for-8 in the nine snaps he took in 11-on-11 team drills.

Most reporters thought Sanchez looked a little sharper and was the better quarterback on the field.  His first three passes during 11-on-11s were incomplete, but that included a couple of drops by his receivers.  Sanchez did throw a 75-yard touchdown to Stephen Hill— who beat Kyle Wilson on coverage.  Sanchez finished 7-of-14 during the 11-on11 drills.

Sanchez probably felt more pressure to play well today so he can establish himself as the starter and not just someone hanging on to his job.  He sounded pretty relaxed about the scrutiny after practice.

"[Tebow's] popularity drives a lot of that," said Sanchez.  "At the same time, I wouldn't be in this position if I couldn't handle it.  And I'm prepared for it."

The fourth-year quarterback shrugged off the added media attention this off season.

"We've been to the playoffs around here," he said.  "We know what it 's like to have different media outlets.  When you get a guy as popular as Tim it's just natural.  It's good exposure for our team."

Tebow was less steady.  Maybe because his old college coach Urban Meyer was watching from the sidelines.

"Absolutely (it) had a competitive vibe," said Tebow.  "It was a lot of fun.  I feel like we have a very good pace.  We're getting in and out of the huddle... getting a lot of plays off, which is  something coach Sparano stresses.  So we want to have a good tempo.  I feel like we're very competitive."

It's early but the first day's tally is Sanchez-1, Tebow-0.  Keep your scorecards handy.


Brad Richards take shot at own goalie Henrik Lundqvist

New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist has been stopping a lot of shots during the first three rounds of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs— but it's safe to say they have all come the opposing team.

During the third period of last night's 5-3 loss to the New Jersey Devils, Lunqvist had to make a save on a shot that came off the stick of his own teammate Brad Richards.

The goalie's quick reaction to Richards' mental lapse saved what could have been a totally demoralizing error for the Rangers.



Richards wasn't intentionally trying to put the puck in his own net but was merely attempting to clear the puck around the boards with the score 3-3.  He missed and nearly scored what would have been the tie-breaking goal in front of the Rangers home crowd.

Richards finished the game with four shots on goal (the other team's goal).  Actually, his misplay was his best chance to score all night— even if it was for the wrong team.

Lunqvist would eventually give up the winning goal to Ryan Carter with less than five minutes to play.  An empty net goal by the Devils made the final score 5-3.

The Devils have 3-2 game lead in the Eastern Conference Finals and go back home to Newark on Friday with hopes of clinching the hard fought series.

Ochocinco robbed, most upset about losing Starbucks card

New England Patriots wide receiver Chad Ochocinco had his Cadillac Escalade broken into Wednesday and noticed his credit cards, driver's license, and iPod were all missing but the thing that he was really worried about was his Starbucks card.

Ochocinco was headed to a workout at Gillette Stadium when he was informed he could not get access due to restrictions in the new collective bargaining agreement.  Instead, he went to IHOP to get breakfast and— when he returned to his SUV— he found out someone had broken into it.

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An angry and visibly upset Ochocinco went to Twitter and— in a two-minute video— let his followers know how mad he was about his losses— especially the Starbucks Gold card.

"I earned the gold card," Ochocinco said.  "You know how many coffees I've had to drink and lemon loafs I've had to purchase to get that gold card? Like, I had $220 left on my Starbucks card.  Not just any Starbucks card, but a gold Starbucks card."

The crushed Ochocinco's day took a positive turn after one of his Twitter followers said her mother had found his wallet in Providence, R.I. and it still contained his credit cards and license.

Sadly, the Starbucks gold card was missing.  Still, there was a happy ending after the company tweeted that they would send him a replacement card.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler only makes All-Defensive Second Team

Was Tyson Chandler slighted with his All-Defensive Second Team selection? For the New York Knicks center, the second straight  Second Team pick is nice— if not a bit perplexing— especially since he was already named the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year.

Since that award is voted on by the media, the All-defensive Team honor comes from all 30 NBA coaches with one important rule— coaches can't vote for their own players.

Dwight Howard— who had won three DPOY awards prior to this season— was nominated to the first team in Chandler's place.  He was joined by LeBron James and shot-blocking phenom Serge Ibaka and guards Chris Paul and Tony Allen.

Chandler was joined on the second team by Kevin Garnett, Luol Deng, Rajon Rondo and Kobe Bryant.

Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin was confused by the slight and even questioned the logic behind Chandler's snub via Twitter.

Lin tweeted: "im no genius or anything but someone explain how @tysonchandler is defensive player of the year but not make the nba all-defensive team."


He did go to Harvard.

Chandler did have more points (36 overall and 13 first-team votes) than both Allen and Paul, but since only one center can be nominated per team, the honor went to Howard (16 first-place and 41 overall points).

If it was any consolation to Chandler, his teammate rookie Iman Shumpert received honorable mention after getting one first-place vote and 13 overall.

Howard's team, the Orlando Magic actually regressed from one of the top-three defensive teams to No. 13 last season while Chandler helped turn the Knicks into defensive force.


A-Rod's girl Torrie Wilson helps break third baseman's fall

Mike Moustakas dove into the stands trying to catch a foul ball during the Kansas City Royals-New York Yankees game last night and had the good fortune to land on the one woman in the stands tough enough to cushion his fall— former-WWF wrestler and current Alex Rodriguez main squeeze Torrie Wilson.

Wilson— who sat between male and female friends— got sideswiped by the charging third baseman but looked just fine after the play was over.  Her male friend, who took the brunt of the dive, wasn't so lucky.  The fly ball looked like it bonked him on the shoulder during the fourth inning play.

If you look closely, you can see Wilson (in the green top) shielding her face while holding a candy bar. Some dude— who resembles actor Ed Helms— behind her covers his head like well... Andy Bernard of "The Office" would.

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A woman sitting behind Wilson and her group came up with the loose ball.







The Yankees finally came out of their team-wide slump with runner in scoring position, but only enough to squeak out a 3-2 victory over the visiting Royals.

A-Rod's girl might have helped ease the opposing third baseman's dive, but did nothing to inspire the Yankees slugger out of his hitting slide.  Rodriguez had a chance to break the game open with the bases loaded but struck out at the plate once again.

Donald Driver says winning Mirrorball is same as hoisting Vince Lombardi Trophy

Well, the big dance drama is over and Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver was the surprise winner of "Dancing with the Stars" last night.   He became the third NFL player to take home the coveted Mirrorball trophy in 14 light-footed seasons.

Driver and his dancing partner, Peta Murgatroyd, edged out classical singer Katherine Jenkins in one of the show's closest finishes ever.

After the three-time Pro-Bowler scored perfect 10's— while dancing a final cha-cha to win the competition— Driver dropped to the floor and rolled around before hoisting his partner.

"This is awesome," he told host Tom Bergeron as his wife and children looked on.  "I feel the same way when I won the Vince Lombardi trophy."

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Driver tore off his bright pink top and handed it to judge Carrie Ann Inaba while dancing his robust cha-cha with Murgatroyd.

"My feeling is you are the best [football player] we have had on the show," judge Len Goodman said.

The Packers player was an underdog behind Jenkins throughout most of the season.  Latin heartthrob William Levy was the favorite among women voters up until the end but Driver persevered.

Many credited Driver's upset win to block voting by Packer fans.  A lot of people were wearing the trademark Cheesehead hats in the studio audience.

I'm sure they were grilling brats in the parking lot.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Peyton Manning gives 'short' answer to reporter's question

Peyton Manning may be wearing a new uniform this season but the Denver Broncos quarterback showed he still has his old sense of humor.

Surrounded by a group of reporters after working out, Manning was asked if it "felt weird to look up at a taller quarterback?" Namely Brock Osweiler— a 6-foot-7 player vying for one of the Broncos' backup quarterback spots.

Manning looked at the much shorter reporter and joked, "Happens to you all your life," as the media gang broke into laughter.

Manning looked at the startled scribe and said, "You set yourself up for that," before patting him on the head like a little kid.

It was kind of a silly question.  But Manning stands only 6-foot-5 himself.

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It's good to see Manning smiling again— after being sidelined for a year-and-a-half— even if it comes from a little jab at the expense of someone else.

You can only wonder what kind of ribbing younger brother Eli probably went through as a kid.

Eight people shot during Oklahoma City Thunder celebration

A celebration surrounding the home arena of the Oklahoma City Thunder was shattered by the sounds of gunfire and screams on Monday night after the team had eliminated the Los Angeles Lakers to advance to the Western Conference Finals.

According to The Oklahoman newspaper, shots rang out around the Chesapeake Energy Arena at approximately 11:35 p.m. CT and at least eight people were wounded by the gunfire near the downtown Oklahoma City venue.

A pregnant woman was reportedly kicked and suffered "blunt trauma" during the incident which occurred near a crowd of 7,500 people who had been watching the game on large screens in an area nicknamed "Thunder Alley."

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The shooting victims' conditions were not known, but early reports said one person was shot in the back, another in the upper arm and a third in the hand.

"Everything is very, very preliminary.  We still don't know the actual number of victims.  We believe that one person is critical, and the other injuries are not believed to be life-threatening," Oklahoma City police Capt. Dexter nelson told The Oklahoman.

Two suspects have been taken into custody, said Oklahoma police Capt. Lisa Camacho told the newspaper.  The circumstances surrounding the shooting are still not known.

The Thunder will go on to face the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals.


Tortorella and DeBoer go at it during Devils-Rangers Game 4

Tempers flared— both on the ice and between the benches— after Mike Rupp of the New York Rangers shoved New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur after getting called for a penalty during the third period of last night's matchup at the Prudential Center.

After Rupp was told to leave the ice, players from both teams got into a scrum in front of the Devils' net and the head coaches from both teams got into a verbal screaming match from their respective benches.

John Tortorella and Peter DeBoer looked like they were using a lot of colorful language to accuse each other's team of using dirty play.

Would you expect anything less than this at a Devils-Rangers Stanley Cup playoff game?



Rupp— a former teammate of Brodeur— received 14 penalty minutes last night— including the 10-minute misconduct that set off the fisticuffs and finger-pointing.

New Jersey won the game 4-1 and the Eastern Conference Finals is now tied at 2-2.  The game moves back to Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night and it probably won't be pretty.

The good news?  At least Torts is talking to someone.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Braves bullpen taunts Rays ballboy for booting grounder

For all you New York fans wondering what ever happened former-Mets starter Livan Hernandez— well, he's throwing balls for the Atlanta Braves bullpen and picking on opposing team's ballboys for fun.

During Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Rays, the 37-year old Hernandez tossed what looked like a couple of handfuls of sunflower seeds at a ballboy after the youngster booted a foul ball in front of the Braves bullpen bench.

While it looked like it was all in fun— Hernandez did try to high-five the kid who left him hanging—  and some of the other Braves pitchers can be seen laughing and even crawling in the dirt, the boy had to be a little intimidated and embarrassed.

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The kid ended up being a good sport about getting it from the pros.  Maybe Hernandez forgot how it felt to hang your head like he did a lot during his less-than-stellar stint in New York.

Hurdler loses personal best time due to officials' blunder

Running on home turf nearly two months before the London Olympics, Jessica Ennis thought she had produced a career-best in the 100-meter hurdles— until track organizers discovered a major blunder.  The officials had set out only nine hurdles instead of the regulation 10 at the Greta City Games in Manchester.

Ennis described Sunday's error as a "massive, massive mess-up."

The British heptathlon competitor clocked 12.75 into a headwind to beat Olympic champion Dawn Harper and world silver medalist Danielle Carruthers.



In a statement, organizers said," We would like to apologize for this unacceptable incident."

They blamed UK Athletics, who are employed "to manage this vital element of the event on our behalf, and we will of course be investigating this unfortunate occurrence with them."

Sounds like a job for Bond— James Bond.  Or at least The Count from "Sesame Street."

With the London Games ready to kick off this summer, it looks like the UK Athletics committee better start brushing up on their arithmetic.

The 26-year old Ennis was a silver medalist at last year's World Championships and has been called the face of the London Games.  While the heptathlon is her specialty, she has flirted with thoughts about doubling up both events for the Olympics.

"I would love to do the hurdles," she said.  "But they are too close [to the trials].  I want to stay focused on the heptathlon."