Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Olympic beach volleyball sweepers do it to Benny Hill theme song

The women's Olympic beach volleyball tournament is probably the most fun place to be during any Olympics but this year the fun has gotten downright silly.

Tons of sand have been poured onto the courtyard known as Horse Guards Parade and turned the stodgy square into Huntington Beach with a Big Ben.

Not many sports athlete's wear less clothing than female volleyball players and those that do are usually getting arrested.  At the 2012 volleyball tournament, the dancers who conga between points wear more clothes than the women.

The the most bizarre highlight of the tournament might be when the sand sweepers come out to rake the court to the saxophone strains of "Yakety Sax"— better known as the Benny Hill song.



While the venue is usually being bombarded with rock songs, Yakety Sax is a refreshing alternative to California punk and a tribute to all those wacky British comedians we grew up with.  Who can forget the lecherous Benny chasing around the buxom nurses with his cane.  Coincidence?  I think not.



Downing Street may never be the same. I wonder if the Ministry of Silly Walks is nearby.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones: 'Watch us beat the Giants' asses'

Outspoken owner of the Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones, said his team will beat the New York Giants this season.  A big time, Lone Star whooping.

After his widely-ridiculed, off-the-wall comment about wanting "me some glory hole" the other day, Jones still hasn't stopped yapping out of that big hole in the middle of his face.

"Y' all should come down to Cowboys Stadium and watch us beat the Giants' asses," said Jones at a ceremony to open the Cowboys' training camp on Monday, according to ESPN.

This comes days after former-Cowboy and current-Giant tight end Martellus Bennett boasted, "I just want to kick those guys [Cowboys players] asses."

I'm sensing a a glory hole theme all-around here.



The Cowboys' ceremony actually included skydivers in a pep rally atmosphere. The Cowboys are still hurting after being knocked on their butts and out of the playoffs by the Giants in 2011 and a could use a little chest puffing.

If Jones' prediction comes true, it sounds like Dallas will make the fans to wait few weeks for the posterior paddling since the teams meet first in the NFL season opener on Sept. 5 at MetLife Stadium and don't face each other at Cowboys Stadium until Oct. 28.

The Giants won both games against Dallas last season— a 37-34 victory in Texas and a 31-14 win in New Jersey to clinch the NFC East.

Jones may be talking out of his— well, let's say Tex-ass— because the Giants are 3-0 at Cowboys Stadium since they opened the $1.3 billion-dollar venue.


John Sterling's controversial Ichiro home run call

New York Yankees fans are used to the odd and sometimes disturbing nicknames and calls Yankees' radio announcer John Sterling comes up with for the home town players.  This is the guy who brought you home run calls like "It's an A-Bomb for A-Rod" for an Alex Rodriguez dinger, "That's a Tex Message" every time Mark Teixeira goes long and calls Curtis Granderson "The Grandyman."

Innocent enough, but after Ichiro Suzuki hit his 100th major league home run — and first for the Yankees— many people thought the Voice of the Yankees a crossed the line by calling the Japanese star's seventh inning shot with, "Ichiro, the Yankees rising son, says sayonara."

Listen for yourself.  Is it insensitive?

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Sterling's outlandish home run calls, catchphrases and nicknames are legend in the Yankees Universe and he has been forgiven for many gaffes in his use of language, statistics and overall enthusiasm.

I don't know if Sterling will use "Ichiro, the rising son, says sayonara" as his trademark every time the new Yankee outfielder jacks one, but he's sure going to hear about it.



Maybe Suzuki drove all 750 cc's into that one would work.  Nah,  that's even too silly for Sterling.

A-Rod shows true colors by sporting Yankees' blue and white cast

Alex Rodriguez may not be in the Yankees lineup for the next month-and-a-half, but that didn't stop the third baseman from donning the Bronx Bombers blue and white colors.

A-Rod was keeping it real by wearing a blue and white cast over the fractured left hand he suffered last week against the Seattle Mariners while hitting the gym and dining out with his girlfriend Torrie Wilson over the weekend.

The Yankees slugger wore his new fashion accessory while relaxing out in the Hamptons during his birthday weekend, reports Page Six of The New York Post.



It looks like A-Rod prefers the dark blue over pinstripes.

Rodriguez was spotted hitting the Omni Health Club with the just as buff Wilson.  Afterwards, the couple was seen dining with his kids at a trendy (aren't they all?)  Southampton restaurant.

"He was super friendly, even though so many people were going up to him and taking pictures," said a spy.  "He stopped and posed for everyone."



Rodriguez saw a physician on Thursday and there is no timetable for his return.

It must be nice to rehab out in the Hamptons for the summer.

Korean fencer stages dramatic sit-in after controversial loss

South Korea's Shin A Lam refused to leave the fencing piste for over an hour to protest a controversial judge's call that had cost her a chance at a gold medal at Monday's London Games.

Shin had to be physically escorted off the piste by officials after her coach argued against the award of a winning touch to Germany's Britta Heidemann in the epee semi-final on what looked like a bogus point.

Heartbreaking shots of the 25-year old Korean fencer crying on the piste in a bizarre protest against the clock being reset from zero to one second that cost her the victory and a chance at gold— especially since Shin thought she had the match in hand.  She did not move after the final touch was awarded to her German opponent.

Replays show that Heidemann's winning thrust came after what seemed like more than one second.




After initial discussion from the officials and a protest by the Korean team,  Heidemann—the defending champion from Germany— ran off screaming with joy after the final decision.  Shin sat dejectedly under the spotlight of the piste with her helmet at her side and tears running down her face while 7,000 rambunctious spectators tried to figure out what was going on.



Shin's coach, Shim Jaesung, filed a formal protest with the FIE (Federation International d'Escrime), the sports governing body, which was rejected.

"Shin told me, 'I am okay,' but I fear she is not okay," said the beleaguered coach.



In what is considered the second fastest object in sports— behind a marksman's bullet— the two double-touches of Heidemann's epee still had to add up to more than a single second.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Jimmie Johnson's daughter refuses to kiss the bricks after Brickyard 400 win

Jimmie Johnson had a tough time holding off Kyle Busch to win his fourth career Brickyard 400 but had a harder time getting his young daughter to honor the long tradition of kissing the bricks after a victory at the Indianapolis race track.

As Johnson and his wife knelt down to kiss the racer's sacred patch of bricks and cement, their daughter Genevieve looked up at her parents with a "You want me to do what?" look.

No coaxing of the youngster could convince her to do something she was probably taught was a no-no— put your lips on the dirty ground.

"She wasn't into it ," joked the winning driver.

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Johnson joined Jeff Gordon as the only NASCAR racers with four Brickyard 400 wins under their belts.



The family then took a victory lap around the track in the winning car and the little girl probably thought celebrating like this "was more like it."

Olympics to use soldiers and students to fill empty seats

Prime seats at many Olympic events have been noticeably empty and will be filled by soldiers, teachers, students and volunteers to save organizers the embarrassment of the sponsor-issued no-shows.

During the first few days of the 2012 London Games television cameras couldn't help but show the vacant seats— which are usually center stage and with the best views of the sports.

Call it the Yankees luxury-seat syndrome— those empty $2500 seats behind home plate that are prevalent at every New York Yankees game.



Most of the unused seats at the Olympic events had been given to corporate sponsors who just don't show up for the preliminary rounds.  This includes some high-profile events like gymnastics and swimming.

"It is obvious some of those seats are not being used in the early rounds," said organizing chief Sebastian Coe.  "We take it seriously.  I don't want to see those seats empty."

Coe refused to name sponsors who are abusing the privilege of getting the best seats and not using them.  There have been calls from shut-out spectators to name the culprits publicly.  Coe doesn't believe "naming and shaming" the sponsors is true to the Olympic spirit.

"It is disappointing to athletes because they want to perform in front of full houses," said Daley Thompson, Britain's decathlon hero.  "I think in a lot of sports, they don't get full houses, and this is a brilliant opportunity for them."

The empty-seat syndrome is not exclusive to London.  It was a problem in Beijing four years ago.

Major U.S. sponsors like Visa and Coca Cola secure many of the tickets and give the freebies to winners of  promotional contests and important VIPs.  The sponsors claim they have no control over which events those fans choose to attend.

Filling the seats with deserving people is a good start.  On the other end of the spectrum, it remains to be seen if the organizers can do something about letting visitors get inside the Olympic Stadium to see the Olympic Flame— which can only be seen from inside.



Pettitte's return from rehab has possible setback

Andy Pettitte's return from a fractured left ankle has hit a snag and could delay the return of the lefthander to the New York Yankees— but it all depends on who you listen to.

Conflicting reports surrounding Pettitte's recovery run then gamut that he is right on schedule for a September return according to general manager Brian Cashman or x-rays didn't show the amount of healing that was expected from the the team physician Dr. Chris Ahmad.

Pettitte, himself, pointed to his workout program on the recent West Coast swing that started in Oakland and ended in Seattle as a reason for the slow healing.

"In Seattle, it swelled up," Pettitte said.  ""I did a little too much in Seattle.  Now I'm laying low."



The 40-year old pitcher threw off flat ground with his foot in a boot in Oakland and wasn't seen working out at all in Seattle.

An x-ray taken Friday didn't satisfy Dr. Ahmad's expectations Pettitte revealed.

"Obviously, it's healing up, but it hasn't healed up as much as [Ahmad] thought," Pettitte told the New York Post before last night's game against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.

"[Ahmad] didn't see the healing in weeks two to four that he saw in the first two weeks," Pettitte said.  "I have to take it easy."

Cashman has a rosier outlook for Pettitte just as the July 31 trade deadline approaches and still believes his comeback kid will still return in September as planned.

"He is fine — ebb and flow of rehab," Cashman said in a text message.

Pettitte suffered the fracture after getting his by a comebacker on his left ankle on June 27.  The Yankees' all-time playoff victories leader was 3-3 with a 3.22 ERA in nine starts after coming out of retirement during spring training and would be comforting to fans to know he'll be around in October.

His competitive spirit and work ethic are legendary and— in his haste to return on Sept. 1— he could have contributed to his own setback— too much too soon.

The Yankees claim they are not looking to pick up another starting pitcher before the trade deadline although there are a some good ones out there— the Rays' James Shields and the Marlins' Josh Johnson come to mind— but these are the Yankees, so anything is possible.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Mystery woman in red crashes India's Olympic delegation

A mysterious woman in red has caused an international incident at the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics after she was spotted marching alongside the athletes and officials from the country of India on Friday night and nobody knows how she got there.

The apparent breach of security was downplayed by the Games organizers who claim the woman— dressed in turquoise pants and a red jacket— was a ceremony cast member and had been screened before she entered Olympic Stadium.

Photos show the young lady's red top standing out among the delegation of 40 Indian athletes decked out in their bright yellow and navy blue uniforms as they paraded inside the stadium. The mystery woman was leading the procession alongside the flag holder.



"We are totally dazed," Indian press attache Harpal Singh Bedi said.  "How can a person without any accreditation walk past?"

Indian officials are baffled by the interloper's identity but the media reports she is Badhura Nagendra— a graduate student living in London— who was one of the 10,000 volunteers performing in Danny Boyle's spectacular opening night ceremonies.

London organizing chief, Sebastian Coe was quick to defend British security— which has criticized for its hasty preparations— at the Games.


"Don't run away with the idea that she walked in off the street," he said.  He said organizers will have "our own discussions about the cast member who clearly got slightly overexcited."


Are they sure the gatecrasher wasn't just a frumpy Kardashian looking for free publicity?  


Shirtless Tebow gets female fans all a-Twitter

We all know how hard Tim Tebow works at keeping his body in shape. He has those Jockey undershirt ads to model for and that pesky starting quarterback job to attain.  But yesterday, the New York Jets backup quarterback looked like he was preparing for his own game of shirts vs. skins after he took off his jersey and trotted off the SUNY Cortland field in the pouring rain.

The steamy photos of the sculpted Tebow being pelted by raindrops hit the Internet and had female fans hitting their Twitter buttons.  


Another Tebow admirier, @Megan_Broadway said, "This is better than 'Magic Mike.'"



While female fans were swooning over the drenched quarterback, heckling football fans were less than thrilled at his performance on the field.  Tebow finished his 11-on-11 drills by going 3 of 8 with one sack.

Head coach Rex Ryan even got caught up in Tebow's shirtless romp and was actually flustered when asked about Tebow's rough practice and the chance that the slimmed down coach might go shirtless himself.

"I don't know if I'm there yet," said the usually verbose Ryan.  "No trust me, I don't want the fans not coming out just in case."


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Teixeira wins showdown with Padilla by using his bat

It was a highly anticipated scenario when Mark Teixeira came to bat against Vicente Padilla at Yankee Stadium Saturday night.  Besides being in a close Red Sox-Yankees game, it was the first time the two players faced each since Teixeira went public with his contempt for the Boston pitcher's habit of throwing at batters and Padilla returned fire by telling the New York slugger to "go play a women's sport."


At this showdown, Teixeira did all of his talking with his bat and crushed an eighth-inning, two-run homer over the left field fence to tie the game at six after the Yankees had scratched back from being down 6-1.

After Tex admired his long ball for a second, he rounded the bases to rousing cheers and never even looked at his nemesis on the mound.

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The mongoose vs. cobra relationship between the two players came to a head on July 7 after Teixeira hit a game-winning triple in Fenway Park after being knocked down by Padilla for the third time his his career.  After the game, the Yankees first baseman told reporters," [Padilla] would have been suspended if he was in the NFL."

Yankees manager, Joe Girardi,  even entertained thoughts of benching Teixeira to prevent a beaning if the Boston hurler was on the mound and Tex was on the on-deck circle.

Teixeira's third career homer against Padilla might have won the war-of-words battle but the Red Sox tapped Yankees closer Rafael Soriano for two runs in the ninth—after Curtis Granderson's slip— for an 8-6 victory in the rain-delayed game to win the war.

The two teams play the rubber match of the three game series Sunday.

Blind Korean archer sets first world record at 2012 Olympics

South Korean archer Im Dong-hyun sees the world through blurred colors and lines but that didn't stop the legally-blind Olympian from breaking a world record in a 72-arrow men's archery event at the 2012 Olympics Friday.

Im— who has 10 percent vision in his left eye and 20 percent in his right— broke his own record he set in Turkey in May by three points with a score of 699 in the opening round hours before the opening ceremonies of the 2012 London Games.



The 26-year old Im does not wear glasses while competing saying he relies on distinguishing between the bright colors and shapes of the target— including the melon-sized bulls-eye— while setting up his shot from 76 yards away.

Goodbye Robin Hood and hello Katniss Everdeen.  Archery is suddenly in vogue after the success of the film "The Hunger Games" which made shooting arrows kind of sexy.

In today's dramatic final round, Italy's Michele Frangilli hit the bulls-eye with his final arrow to give Italy the gold medal in the men's archery team competition.  The U.S. took home its first medal of 2012 with silver while Korea— who had won three straight Olympic Golds in this event— took the bronze.


The exciting finish was akin to a walk-off home run according to archery buffs and Jennifer Lawrence fanboys.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Antrel Rolle shows up in camp with glow-in-the-dark hairstyle

The New York Giants had their first full day of practice and it looks like Tom Coughlin's normally serious two-a-days might be a little more colorful this summer especially after Antrel Rolle showed up in camp sporting a crazy glow-in-the dark hairstyle.

The defensive back's head had a Mohawk down the middle separating what was all business on the right side while on the left was a party of day-glow designs.

It took Rolle's barber four hours to complete the work of art.

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"I told him to give me something different, something that stood out," said the 29-year old.  And he got it.

Even his teammates were shocked by the neon 'do. Punter — and wild man himself—Steve Weatherford did a double-take when he heard it glowed in the dark.


Asked if he thought hair could make you a better player, Rolle laughed, "Absolutely not," but the last two times he came to camp with special haircuts his team went to the Super Bowl. The Cardinals in 2008 and the Giants last year.

Rolle's crazy haircut seemed to lighten the mood around the Super Bowl champs' practice.  But a Lombardi Trophy can do that to a team too.

Missy Franklin dedicates Olympic races to Colorado shooting victims

U.S. Olympic swimmer Missy Franklin said Thursday she was so deeply affected by the movie shootings in the suburb of Aurora, Colo. last week, she will be dedicating all of her races at the London Games to her home state of Colorado.

The 17-year old swimming star is from Aurora and attends high school and trains there.  Although Franklin has family and friends residing there, she said she did not know any of the victims but will take the heartbreak of the tragedy into the pool as inspiration.

"Right now, all I can do is swim my heart out and hopefully make my state proud," she said.

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Franklin is expected to compete in seven events at the 2012 London Games and the world-record holder is a favorite to get Olympic gold in more than a few.



The mature beyond her years Franklin, one of the U.S. Olympic team's brightest and biggest stars, just might make the whole country proud.



Rex Ryan to Santonio: Keep quiet on Tebow-Sanchez controversy

Everyone at the New York Jets' opening day of training camp Thursday was on their best behavior and Rex Ryan intends to keep it that way.  The team— which seems to have more dramas than an episode of "Dallas"— has a quarterback controversy ready to boil over and the head coach wants his players— specifically Santonio Holmes— to turn down the heat.

Ryan publicly took on Holmes for the first time by telling his wideout to put a lid on the Tim Tebow-Mark Sanchez pot boiler and just be quiet, reports Gary Myers of the New York Daily News.

Holmes turned up the flame on the controversy when he was asked by the NFL Network if a two-quarterback system can work in the NFL.  "No," Holmes answered.  "I don't think so, because you have to let one quarterback get in the rhythm of a game."

It was the first time Ryan came down on a player for yapping about the quarterback saga— at least publicly.  The head coach has a lot [job?] riding on this season and is basing some of the Jets' wins on Tebow— the unorthodox Wildcat quarterback.



It's no secret that the Jets traded for Tebow to give the team a one-two punch with the Wildcat system and to possibly light a fire on the underachieving Sanchez.

Ryan sounded annoyed after he heard about Holmes' public assessment of the quarterback situation on ESPN earlier this week.

"I brought Santonio in here to be a receiver.  Not to be the offensive coordinator.  And that's the way I like it," added Ryan.  "I love Santonio, but if I wanted to hire him as our offensive coordinator, we would have."



Ryan— in his new Take Charge of the Team mode—said he won't let player's opinions influence his choices.

"We will make those decisions," he said.  "We will always do what we think is in the best interest of our football team."

By publicly reprimanding Holmes, Ryan might have opened up a whole other can of worms after Darrelle Revis threw his opinion into the mix.  When Revis— another recurring character in the ongoing Jets soap opera— was informed of Ryan's comments by the Daily News, the defensive back had his coach's back.

"Rex is right," he said.  "Santonio is a receiver.  So he has to play receiver. He has to stick to that.  Rex usually doesn't call out his players.  Maybe that might have been a moment where he needed to stand up for Mark and Tim."

It doesn't matter if Tebow says and does everything right by the Good Book or the playbook.  The "backup" quarterback hasn't even admitted he wants to take Sanchez's job but— as long as he is in the Cortland, N.Y. camp— Tebowmania will  polarize the fans and the team.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tebow worried about having enough underwear in training camp

The first day of training camp opened for the New York Jets and what was the the most important thing Tim Tebow wanted to bring to Cortland, N.Y.— enough underwear.

Who cares if he is battling Mark Sanchez for the starting job or if Darrelle Revis was actually going to show up, having enough tightey-whiteys sounded like his No. 1 priority.  After all, it is summer camp.

When a reporter asked Tebow what stuff he brought to camp, Tebow put his mouth where his money is.

"Like stuff ?," he asked.  "Enough underwear.  That's always key, new pairs of Jockeys."

Granted, Tebow has an endorsement deal with the undergarment company, so his little plug is understandable.

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It might be a little more information than most fans cared to hear, but get ready to hear a lot more stupid questions as Tebowmania gets cranked up this summer.


I'm sure the good folks at Jockey will make sure their spokesman doesn't go commando for too long.

New Giant Martellus Bennett: I kind of hate everybody in the NFL

Martellus Bennett had a lot of hateful things to say on the first day of training camp and most of his venom was directed at his old team, the Dallas Cowboys, with dash of it saved for the rest of the NFL as well.

"I just want to kick those guys' asses.  That's what it's all about.  We're cool but we ain't cool," said the New York Giants new tight end about his former team.  "I've kind of got some ill feelings towards them overall.  But it's a game.  Every game is the same where I kind of hate everybody, honestly, in the NFL."

The outspoken Bennett wanted everyone to know his hate extends past the Cowboys.

"I have ill feelings towards everybody.  It's just not Dallas," he made clear.  "I have ill feelings towards everybody. It's just not Dallas [shoot], I pretty much hate anybody who doesn't play with us, I pretty much, I don't like 'em, a lot of people.  I'm kind of [a jerk], but it's cool."



The oversized Giant— who recently did an interview shirtless to prove he's "not fat"— is looking at being a second or third option at the Giants tight end position.

Travis Beckum— coming back from a torn ACL— and Bear Pascoe are ahead of Bennett on the depth chart. Quarterback Eli Manning has become pretty adept at turning his tight ends into stars with his dump-off passes, so Bennett could be an important cog in the Giants system this season.

Because of a bad hamstring, Bennett didn't get to work out with any of the Giants during the offseason but claims he is "100%" right now.

"Super excited to play football.  Couldn't sleep last night because I got so excited," he said. "I almost drove down here in the middle of the night but the wife told me I couldn't."

It sounds like we've only heard the first of Martellus "How you really feel" Bennett this season.  The Giants and Cowboys open the NFL season Wed. Sept. 5.


Josh Reddick makes amazing Spiderman catch

Josh Reddick initially looked like he lost Toronto Blue Jays Travis Snider's long fly ball— after he turned the wrong way— but then the Oakland A's outfielder scaled the bullpen fence and robbed Snider of a home run with an amazing Spiderman catch.

The superhero grab was even more spectacular because Reddick actually scaled the chain link fence, hung  on by one hand and waited for the ball to come to him.

Even the A's starting pitcher, A.J. Griffen, stood on the mound and watched in stunned belief as a spider robbed a Snider.



The A's colors make Reddick look more like The Green Goblin than Peter Parker's alter ego, but the A's  outfielder had his Spidey senses tingling last night.

The A's went on to destroy the Jays in a 16-0 laugher.  Mary Jane would be so proud.

After the game, Reddick was asked if he was Spiderman.

"Why yes, I am part spider," he replied.

Ex-Knick Nate Robinson dodges gunfire at famed Rucker Park basketball court

Five people were shot Wednesday night at Harlem's famed Rucker Park where former-Knicks point guard Nate Robinson was among the throngs of people who dodged the flying bullets according to witnesses.

The gunfire broke out at about 11 p.m. at the courts on West 155th Street and Eighth Avenue at the annual Entertainers Basketball Classic— which features many NBA stars and local legends competing side-by-side every year.  Last summer, Kevin Durant showed up and wowed the crowds by scoring 66 points; while Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Ron Artest are some of the big names who have graced the court over the tournament's 29 year history.



Robinson— who was there as a spectator— had to scramble for cover once the chaos ensued but escaped unscathed witnesses said.

'He [Robinson] was watching the game," said the spectator.  "After the shooting, he was okay.  He wasn't hurt... he left like everyone else."

"They started arguing about a bad call or something like that," said the witness.  "The guy was standing no more than five feet away from me.  He pulled a gun out of his pocket and shot once.  He then shot one more time.  Everyone started running."



Other people said the gunman then calmly walked across the street and fired a few more rounds.

The five shooting victims were taken to local hospitals and all are expected to survive.


It's too bad when shooting hoops takes on a whole new meaning.

Carlos Gomez hits foul ball, thinks it's a home run

Carlos Gomez thought he led off Wednesday's Brewers-Phillies game with a home run but had no idea that the ball hooked foul of the left-field pole until after he already did his Trot of Shame around the bases.

The Milwaukee Brewers centerfielder seemed pretty confident he blasted the solo shot over the fence and pumped his fist as he rounded the bases.  It wasn't until the embarrassed player reached home plate to the sarcastic cheers of the Philadelphia home crowd that he realized his gaffe.

To add insult to injury, Gomez took a called strike three on the very next pitch.

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The Phillies went on to win in ten innings.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ichiro bids a final farewell to fans at Safeco Field

Ichiro was back in his familiar leadoff position at Safeco Field Wednesday afternoon— too bad for Seattle Mariners fans— it was still in that unfamiliar No. 31 New York Yankees uniform.

The popular outfielder turned to the seats and gave a final tip of his cap to his mournful fans— standing in the same right field seats behind him like they have for 11-1/2 seasons— after the last out was made in the Yankees 5-2 win.  Once the simple gesture was through,  Ichiro turned and trotted over to the infield where he high-fived his new Yankees teammates.

Ichiro might have walked off the field victorious, but there must have been a little sadness in his heart since vacating the same right field turf he patrolled for almost 12 years in his No. 51 Mariners jersey.

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Ichiro finished the game 1-for-5 and was caught stealing, while five Yankees pitchers held the Mariners to three hits.  New York won the rubber match of the three-game series.

Even sadder to Seattle fans than Wednesday's loss, will be the last sight of their favorite player celebrating a Yankee win on their home field, after watching Ichiro bid farewell as a Mariner forever.


Osi has message for NFL players: Be more like Tebow

Osi Umenyiora returned home from a trip to Nigeria last week and was shocked at the image his fellow NFL players had been displaying.  The New York Giants defensive end was so disturbed by the rash of arrests compiled by them Umenyiora felt he had to speak out.

"I go to Nigeria for a week, and when i come back, half the NFL has been arrested," he tweeted on July 20.  "What happened???"

Upset and tired of the criminal behavior plaguing the NFL, Unenyiora told reporters Tuesday that the New York Jets new quarterback Tim Tebow is a good role model for the NFL.

"I think if more people would focus and try to be like him and carry themselves the way he does, I think the league could be better," he said at M&M's World in Times Square while doing a promotion for the candy company.

It sounds like Osi is pretty sweet on Tebow.



"I know everyone likes to make fun of Tim Tebow, talk about him, but he sets an outstanding example," said Umenyiora.  "I think if more people would focus and try to be like him and carry themselves the way he does, I think things would be better."

Tebow— a devout Christian with a clean-cut image— clashes with the public's perception of what a lot of NFL players making headlines seem to portray.

A British-born Nigerian, Umenyiora thinks the recent accounts of too many NFL players' escapades— complete with mugshots and police rap sheets— making the sports pages is overwhelming and said the highly-paid NFLers should be grateful for what they have.

"Coming from where I came from (his trip to Nigeria) and seeing what I saw, all that poverty and people who have nothing, they would literally cut off both legs to have the opportunity these people have," said Umenyiora.  "And to be messing around like that, man, it's really unfortunate."



Umenyiora also had Roger Goodell's back.  He said the NFL Commissioner's heavy-handed brand of disciplinary actions to punish any law-breaking NFL players is a good start.

"You can't blame the Commissioner," said Umenyiora.  "He's bringing down the hammer every time.  But obviously people don't like to listen.  They'll learn sooner or later."


Daredevil becomes 40-yard human field goal on 'America's Got Talent'

An acrobat wowed the judges and fans of the television show "America's Got Talent" after being fired from a cannon through the uprights of a Newark, N.J. football field goal post 40-yards from the goal line.

David "The Bullet" Smith performed the death-defying stunt while competing on the popular talent show Tuesday night.  The winner of AGT goes home with $1 million and a chance to headline a Las Vegas show.

Smith— holding a colorful football— was fired from the barrel of a huge cannon, soared forty yards through the air  before splitting the uprights of the goal post and landing in a net lining part of the end zone.

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The celebrity judges— Howard Stern, Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel stood in jaw-dropping awe on the sideline while hundreds of fans cheered after Smith's amazing feat.

According to Smith, 85% of all people who perform this stunt, sooner or later, are killed doing it.

Stern, aka Fartman, joked that Smith should be fired from AGT host Nick Cannon the next time.  To which Mariah Carey's husband sternly replied, "It ain't gonna happen."

The semifinalists will be announced Wed. night. and, coincidentally, the Jets camp opens up the next day.  If you look closely, you might see Rex Ryan taking notes on the sidelines.

A-Rod is headed to DL with fractured hand from King Felix pitch

Felix Hernandez looked a little wild after hitting both Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez during Tuesday night's Yankees-Mariners game at Safeco Field.  Maybe the Seattle Mariners ace was just angry at losing Ichiro Suzuki in a trade with the New York Yankees Monday night— but he also plunked his former teammate as well.

Now Rodriguez will be headed to the disabled list with a "non-displaced fracture of his left hand" reports the YES Network.

Manager Joe Girardi told YES that his third baseman will meet with doctors tomorrow but couldn't say whether surgery is necessary or give a timetable for his return.  "It's non-displaced, which is good," Girardi said.  Early word is he will be out 5-6 weeks.

You can actually hear the Yankees third baseman scream "ow!" before Rodriguez fell to home plate writhing in pain.

It sounded like the ball hit Rodriguez's bat but the cringe-inducing crack was actually Hernandez's 88mph changeup smacking A-Rod solidly on the hand, right above the left wrist.

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A-Rod left the game with the Yankees' trainers while King Felix headed to the Mariners dugout with a 3-1 lead right after the fateful pitch in the top of the eighth inning.

Girardi doesn't believe Hernandez threw at Rodriguez on purpose but said, "He [Rodriguez] is upset.  He wants to be out there."



Hernandez (9-5) also withstood a shot after being hit in the stomach by a hard line drive by Eric Chavez earlier in the game.  The righthander still went 7.1 innings and allowed only four hits while striking out four.

The Yankees Freddy Garcia (4-4) was good, but not good enough.  He retired 14 batters in a row and only allowed five hits and three runs in 7.2 innings.

The Mariners went on to beat the punchless Yankees, 4-2, and take game 2 of the three-game set.

Somewhere, Cameron Diaz is probably smiling.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Canadian football player's backpeddling celebration backfires

While some NFL camps are opening today here is a reminder why the NFL is so much better than the Canadian Football League's version up north.

Chris Williams of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats grabbed a missed field goal by the Montreal Alouettes (there's no French in football)) seven yards deep in his own end zone, ran down the field before he started to celebrate by backpedaling into the other end zone and got tackled on the one yard line.

Maybe he thought he was still playing in the lower forty-eight and forgot that the Canadian field of play is 10 yards longer.

Anyway, Williams re-enactment of DeSean Jackson or Leon Lett's premature celebrations turned his spectacular 117-yard touchdown run into an 116-yard fail.



The Tiger Cats scored on the next play so all was forgiven, eh?

Unexpected trade for Ichiro is 'unbelievable' to Jeter

Derek Jeter is no stranger to the New York Yankees making surprise trades for aging ball players in the middle of the season but it sounds like the Yankee's captain has given his full blessing to the swap for Ichiro Suzuki.

Jeter has played with Ichiro on nine All-Star teams, but Monday night marked the first time the two future Hall-of-Famers played together in Yankees' uniforms.  The former Seattle Mariner just walked across the infield at Safeco Field, into the Yankees' locker room and put the pinstripes (alright, road grays) on when the trade was finalized.

"We've made a lot of trades throughout the years," Jeter said.  "Start with my first year when we got Cecil Fielder, there have been a lot of guys that came here that were unexpected and out of the blue.  That's what you come to expect around here.  That's why you don't listen to rumors.  Getting someone like this is unbelievable."



The Yankees' shortstop welcomed the deal and had nothing but good things to say about the 10-time All-star and 10-time Gold Glove winner.

"I've enjoyed playing against him for 11-12 years; he's someone I've always admired from afar," Jeter said.  "I've had the opportunity to play with a lot of great players throughout the years.  I'm looking forward to playing with him."

Ichiro— who requested a trade— lit up when he was asked how it felt to go to New York.

"I'm going from a team having the most losses to a team with the most wins," he said.  "It's hard to contain my excitement."

Maybe the change will be enough to reignite the slumping outfielder's career.  After a successful career in Japan, and compiling 10 straight 200-hit seasons, a .300-plus career average and an MVP award in the major leagues, Ichiro's numbers took a steep decline this season.

The prototypical leadoff batter took a backseat to Jeter— actually seven seats— and batted eighth last night.  And he changed his jersey number from No. 51 to No. 31 to symbolize his new start  (and out of respect to Bernie Williams).

"Sometimes a change of scenery helps," said Jeter.  "Sometimes you get a little extra energy going to an other situation."







Curtis Martin: Playing football 'just wasn't fun'

Curtis Martin is probably the last person who thought he would ever make the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  In fact he was probably the last one to ever think he would play football at all.

The former New York Jets running back repeated what his childhood friends have been reminding him since being elected to the Hall of Fame months ago: 'Who would have dreamed this would ever happen?'

Not me, a humbled Martin said in a New York restaurant yesterday.

"Most of the people are surprised simply because I was the last person they thought would play football," Martin told a gathering of reporters inside the Manhattan eatery.  "Football was like a headache to me.  It was something I felt like I didn't have the time to do.  To me, it just wasn't fun."



Martin— who played only one year of high school football in a tough neighborhood of Pittsburgh at the urging of his mother— was asked when it changed for the fourth-leading rusher in NFL history.

"I don't think it ever changed," he said.  "I think I matured and I recognized the opportunity.  I've spoken previously about how I grew up and where I grew up at.  Football saved my life.  I don't know where I would be.  I don't know if I'd be alive if I hadn't played football."

Injuries hampered Martin's career at Pittsburgh but he busted out after getting drafted by the Patriots in the third round of the 1995 NFL draft.

The Jets' greatest running back went to New York with Bill Parcells in 1998 but it wasn't an easy move.

"I didn't like New York at all," said Martin.  "Beyond not liking New York, I didn't like the Jets. . . I didn't want to play for, what was in my mind, the worst team ever.  I looked at the Jets as the bottom of the barrel.

"If Bill Parcells hadn't been in New York, I wouldn't have left the New England Patriots probably under any other circumstances.  I was willing to play for less to stay with the New England Patriots."

Martin ran for 14,101 career yards and will be inducted in Canton on Aug. 4— the culmination of an unlikely career.  Martin has come full circle and now believes it was meant to be.

"I may not have wanted to play, but I believe you have to do things," Martin said.  "You know the saying, 'You have to do what you have to do so you can do what you want to do.'  I didn't know how to do until I had football in my life."




Monday, July 23, 2012

Ichiro gets standing ovation from Mariners fans in Yankee debut

In a bittersweet moment at Safeco Field, appreciative Seattle Mariners fans gave Ichiro Suzuki a fond sayonara with a standing ovation as the 10-time All-Star walked to the plate in a New York Yankees uniform for the first time.

As cheers filled the stadium, Ichiro— as a sign of traditional respect to his many fans— removed his batting helmet, bowed his head twice to the crowd and stepped up to the same plate he has for over a decade— only this time, he was in a uniform other than the Mariners teal and white.

Ichiro, who was traded to the Yankees from the Mariners Monday, had one other glaring difference— his uniform number.

The outfielder's familiar No. 51 was replaced by No. 31— at the request of the future Hall-of-Famer himself.  Out of respect for Yankee great Bernie Williams— who once wore the number and to honor the Yankees sense of history— Ichiro personally asked for the new number as a symbol of a fresh beginning with his new team.

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The 38-year old Ichiro is in his final year of a five-year, $90 million deal and having his worst season ever.

The Yankees traded for Ichiro as a quick fix for the injured Brett Gardner and can only hope a new home with a winning team will rejuvenate the aging player's game.  Ichiro requested the trade himself.

In his first at bat as a Yankee, Ichiro— batting eighth— slapped a single into centerfield and immediately stole second base.

New York says konishiwa to its newest Yankee.  Too bad he wasn't five years younger.

Rex Ryan: I was clueless to 'rift' in locker room

Rex Ryan says it was difficult to lose 106 pounds over the off-season but it might have been harder for the New York Jets coach to admit he also lost control of his team last year.

Besides the changed body image, Ryan now has rewired his way of thinking and has a whole new coaching philosophy to go along with it.

"I'm sitting there, talking in front of the team, selling, 'Team, team, team,' like I always are, and I did not know we had a rift in our team, " said Ryan.  "How was I not aware of it?"

The third-year head coach admitted— after the Jets season ending loss to the Miami Dolphins— he "lost the pulse" of the team.

"I was mad.  I was upset.  I was mad at myself  because you're either coaching it, or allowing it to happen, and I'm not going to do either," he said.



Ryan says he now has more open communication with bis players.  He said that communicating begins with an unnamed someone whom he calls "my little sensei"— the Japanese word for teacher.

The coach won't reveal the name of his Mr. Miyagi— at least not yet.

"After we have the season that we're going to have, I'll mention his name," said Ryan.

While it isn't the first preseason boast by Ryan, at least he toned down his act by not claiming a Super Bowl victory or dissing a cross-town team or a rival coach.

In a locker room that could blow at any time— Tebow/Sanchez, Revis holdout threats— the once boisterous Ryan sounds like he intends to become an island of tranquility.

"He's revived," said owner Woody Johnson.  "It's a different Rex in a way, because I think Rex is evolving into the job."

Before Ryan left for the Pro-Bowl in Hawaii last winter, GM Mike Tannenbaum handed Ryan a yellow business pad and gave his coach a Mr. Miyagi wax on-wax off exercise.

"Put all the problems on the left-hand side," he said.  "And all the solutions on the right."

After the the island trip, Ryan had filled pages of the yellow pad and met with Tannenbaum.

"Let's go," Ryan told the GM.  "We've got to get better, and it starts with me."

Rex Ryan-san anyone?



Sunday, July 22, 2012

Kid doesn't get Yankee home run but gets a signed ball sent up by Jeter instead

An enterprising young man didn't get his targeted wish— a home run ball hit into the stands of the Oakland Coliseum by a New York Yankee— but ended up with something better— a ball signed by Derek Jeter and personally sent over to him.

At last night's Yankees-A's game, the youngster, wearing a Yankees jersey and cap, made a sign for a Yankee to hit the 'X' on his target.  Instead of the usual one name on the poster, this innovative kid used a flip card with every Yankee in the starting lineup on a single page. Simple enough.  Jeter up, just flip to Jeter's name and so on.

Things got a little frantic when Russell martin stepped up to the plate and the kid couldn't find his name.    YES announcers ken Singleton and David Cone had fun at the expense of the panicky boy until he finally found Martins' name and flipped it up.

It was all in vain when Martin popped out.

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Despite some spelling errors— Teixeira was missing an ''i or two— the boy's persistence paid off when Jeter had a signed ball brought up to the surprised young fan towards the end of the game.

The boy's sign didn't help the Yankees lack of firepower— they lost 2-1— but it was still a night the kid will always remember. 

Nets players get plastered all over Brooklyn

Starting Monday, expect to see few Brooklyn Nets player's faces plastered all over their new home borough.

An ad campaign— aimed at familiarizing Brooklynites with their new NBA neighbors—will paste ads introducing Nets players Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez and Gerald Wallace at strategic spots in Brooklyn to drum up interest in the team.

The Brooklyn Nets will make their New York City debut at the new Barclays Center next fall.



"We want to get them excited," said Nets chief marketing Officer Fred Mangione. "We want them to know we are here in Brooklyn and they have a great team to support."

Some fans might want to know why Kris Humphries' mug isn't on one of these posters— or maybe not.

The other four projected starters will get the Kim Kardashian star treatment in the carefully planned media blitz— the second leg of the Nets' Hello Brooklyn campaign.

The million-dollar multi-media promotion will place each player in their own ad with the headline Hello Brooklyn with a photo and a little personal info to reveal the person behind the player.

Johnson says he is a lifelong Razorback, Lopez is a "20-point scorer" and Batman's biggest fan, Williams has a couple of kids and Wallace is an off-season fisherman.  Don't you feel like you know them already.

Humphries could always mention he had a 72-day marriage to a reality show star and Jason Kidd might say he likes off-road racing— oh wait he's on the Knicks.

The black and white billboards— matching the Nets new color scheme— will start appearing Monday at the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, near the Manhattan Bridge and major streets in Spike Lee's favorite borough.

Starting in August, the team will start putting up teaser billboards leading up to the reveal of their new top-secret logos designed by Mr. Net himself— part owner Jay-Z.

Since April, the Nets ads have concentrated on getting Brooklyn ready for the team's big move from New Jersey with tag lines like "Brooklyn Will Become a Chant" and "First Home Game Since 1957."

Here's another, "What Happened to Dwight Howard?"


Beckham gives Obama 50 pairs of his designer underwear

David Beckham made good on a promise to send a box of underwear to President Barack Obama and now Michelle is insisting her husband wear them.

The British soccer star sent the Commander-in-Chief  50 pairs of his tight-fitting boxers selected from his designer underwear line after he learned that the President and the First Lady were big fans of his H&M skivvies.

Fifty pairs?  That's one for each state or a lifetime supply for most men.

The President's children, Malia, 14, and Sasha, 11, are also big fans of the "hunk" and reportedly have posters of Becks plastered on their White House bedroom walls— probably of him shirtless in soccer shorts and not the revealing underwear ads.

The gift couldn't have come too soon.  Being in the middle of a mud-slinging campaign is one thing, but there's nothing worse than the President of the United States getting caught with his pants down donning a tainted pair of tightie-whities.

"David promised to send a box of his underwear to the President— and Michelle has insisted that her husband wears them." a White House source told The Sun.



The President kidded Beckham about the midfielder's sexy underwear ads when the Los Angeles Galaxy visited the White House in May to celebrate their third Major League Soccer Cup.

"In fact, it is a rare man who can be that tough on the field and also have his own line of underwear," Obama joked.



If anything, the gifting finally answers the question about Obama a whole nation wants to know: Boxers or briefs?

The President should have asked for pairs of old-school, loose-fitting boxer shorts.  Then he could officially call himself "The Leader of the Free World" in more ways than one.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Bob Costas to hold moment of silence to commemorate '72 Munich Massacre

The backlash against the refusal of the International Olympic Committee to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the 1972 terrorist attacks in Munich has picked up a few key supporters six days before the London Games are set to begin.

Bob Costas, NBC's lead Olympics anchor, said he'll publicly call out the IOC for refusing to honor the 40th anniversary of the massacre of the Israeli athlete-hostages at the Munich Games and added that— if the IOC fails to allow a moment of silence during the opening ceremonies— he'll hold one himself on NBC's telecast as the Israeli athletes enter the arena.

"I intend to note that the IOC denied the request," said Costas.  "Many people find that denial more than puzzling, but insensitive, [so] here's a minute of silence right now."

It's a classy move on the most visible platform in sports broadcasting and— with the slayings at Aurora, Colo. weighing heavy on America's hearts— it is a gutsy statement about guns, violence and terrorism worldwide.



After Costas made his announcement, the White House joined in, saying, "We absolutely support the campaign."

Eleven athletes and coaches were slain in a botched German attempt to rescue the victims after being held as hostage by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Olympics.

Ankie Rekhess-Spitzer, widow of the slain fencing coach, has been trying in vain to seek an official commemoration of the tragedy.

She said the IOC called such a gesture "political" and "told us the Arab delegations would get up and leave.  To which I said, 'It's OK; if they don't understand what the Olympics are all about, we'll let them leave.'"

It's a simple gesture by Costas but could be far-reaching.  For Rekhess-Spitzer, it will be small consolation to the IOC's lack of compassion, but could be the start of something a long time coming.

Kobe Bryant says size does matter in Olympics

The Olympic gold medals have almost already been placed over the necks of the U.S. basketball team even before the Games begin but— in a sport dominated by big men— Kobe Bryant fears the American squad could fall because of its lack of height.

The U.S. team won its third straight friendly on Thursday beating up on Britain, 118-78, in Manchester and will be heading to Barcelona to face the more formidable Spain and Argentina teams.

The touts in England have made Kobe and Co. clear favorites to take the gold at the London Games, but the team is not unbeatable, claims Bryant.

"We definitely have weaknesses that teams can can take advantage of, and I think this trip to Barcelona is going to be very big for us because you are playing Argentina and Spain," Bryant said.  "So, we'll get a good look at that."



Bryant wants his teammates to know that some of the better teams from around the world know how to exploit the U.S. five's shortcomings and their showtime tendencies.

"It's size and teams being able to slow the game down and work the ball inside on us, and we have to do a good job of taking care of our defensive pressure."

The U.S. will play Argentina tomorrow and Spain on Tuesday.

It sounds like Kobe thinks the U.S. players might need smaller heads and longer necks.




Darrelle Revis expected to report to Jets camp on time

New York Jets Darrelle Revis is expected to report to the team's training camp July 26 with the rest of his teammates— thus avoiding his second holdout in three years.

A person familiar with the All-Pro cornerback told USA Today Friday that he expects Revis to arrive at the Cortland, N.Y. camp on time and begin working out with the team.

Revis previously expressed uncertainty about the status of his current contract and was looking for the Jets to re-do his deal.



Arguably the Jets' best player, Revis said last month he was not sure if he would report to training camp on July 26 unless the team made some changes in his four-year, $46 million dollar contract.  The contract hasn't changed so there's no telling why he changed his mind.

Revis is due to make $13.5 million over the next two seasons— including $7.5 million in 2012.  He made $32.5 million in salary and bonuses the last two years after renegotiating his contract a few days before the 2010 season.  The stubborn defensive back held out for 35 days and missed the entire Jets training camp that summer.

Widely considered the best cornerback in the NFL, Revis seems to pull this stunt every summer.  It's getting to be tiresome.  The Jets camp is already interesting enough with the Tebow/Sanchez saga and Rex Ryan's weight loss.