Tuesday, April 30, 2013

GM John Idzik: Jets will have 'open competition' at quarterback

The day after the New York Jets released Tim Tebow, general manager John Idzik indicated that any one of the five remaining quarterbacks will get a shot to be the Week 1 starter. With one down, that leaves Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith, David Garrard, Greg McElroy and Matt Simms to grab the top quarterback spot.

"It’s an open competition," Idzik said on ESPN radio’s Mike & Mike show on Tuesday. "It’s an open competition not only at quarterback, but at all positions on our roster. That will hold not only throughout the entire year, but hold as long as I’m here. Mark’s in the competition. We fully expect that it will help him get better. It will help David get better…. It will help Greg. It will help Matt Simms. It will certainly help Geno. I think the more quality, depth and competition you can bring in at the position, it makes everybody better. That certainly includes Mark."


Sanchez, last year's flawed and unpopular starter, is not expected to be released before training camp opens, according to sources.



Tebow was unceremoniously kicked to the curb Monday —  even after Idzik was humming that you can't have too many quarterbacks tune to the press. Although the move seemed inevitable.

"We had six quarterbacks," Idzik said. "Something had to give. We thought it was appropriate at that time to release Tim."

"We just entered this offseason open-minded and said, 'Let’s bring Tim in and let him get in our offseason program and take it from there,'" Idzik added.



The Jets' new GM said that the Jets fielded calls on possible trade opportunities involving Tebow (“There’s a lot of kicking tires so to speak,” he said. “We’ll field those calls. If it’s not in the best interest of the Jets, we’ll just hold firm.”), but nothing materialized.

Oddly, Idzik said that he didn't even ask Tebow to change positions.

"While I was here, he was slated as a quarterback," Idzik said.
  
It was suspected by everyone that Tebow’s days were numbered regardless of whether or not the Jets drafted Smith.

Smith, meanwhile, will inherit the glaring tabloid Kleig lights after the Tebow fiasco.

"If you’re a first-round quarterback—first-round any position – the spotlight is a little bit brighter," Idzik said. "Him coming in as a second rounder, perhaps it’s a little dim, but being that he’s in the New York market, he’s at a high profile position, I think he’s going to be center stage regardless.”
Idzik said that Sanchez, whose days as the starter appear in jeopardy, has been "even keeled" throughout this process.

"I told him that I really admire how he’s handled some very difficult situations," Idzik said. "He’s focused. He’s energized. He’s been very positive."

In other words, get ready for another dog and pony show in Jets camp. 

Tebow quotes Scripture after being cut loose by Jets

Tim Tebow wasn't available for comment after being unceremoniously cut by the New York Jet early Monday morning, but the faithful quarterback did post a Scripture verse on his Twitter account.

"Proverbs 3:5-6:trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight," he posted.

That path could lead to the CFL or the Arena League say most pundits.




Meanwhile, the Jets released a three-paragraph statement at 8:16 a.m., confirming that Tebow had been dumped, a move that felt inevitable for months.

"We have a great deal of respect for Tim Tebow," Ryan said in the statement. "Unfortunately, things did not work out the way we all had hoped. Tim is an extremely hard worker, evident by the shape he came back in this offseason. We wish him the best moving forward."






Cornhuskers' seven-year-old running back meets Obama at White House

Seven-year-old Jack Hoffman became an Internet sensation and inspiration to millions after he took the field at a Nebraska Cornhuskers spring game and ran for a touchdown.  Hoffman, who is battling brain cancer, became the stuff of legends when he scooted 69 yards with the ball followed by the jubilant players.

One other person who followed him from a distance that day was the President of the United States.

On Monday, young Jack, his family and his friend, former Nebraska running back Rex Burkhead, visited President Obama in the Oval Office and talked for fifteen minutes. He received a signed football from the POTUS who told the littlest Cornhusker he was proud of him.

"I though it was awesome, " Hoffman said about his visit to the White House.

Jack became a favorite fan of the team when the Nebraska native befriended Burkhead after he was diagnosed with cancer in 2011. Suited up in a miniature No. 22 Burkhead uniform, Hoffman had the stadium crowd on its feet when he ran into the end zone on April 6.

The heartwarming run down the field has been viewed more than 7.7 million times on YouTube.



A photo released by the White House shows the pair chatting as Hoffman holds his souvenir. He was joined at the White House by his parents Andy and Bri and little sisters Ava and Reese.

"It was just such a great opportunity for us to visit him and raise national awareness for pediatric brain cancer," Hoffman’s father Andy said. "He talked about his commitment to research and science."

Hoffman was also joined at the White House by Burkhead, captain of the support network known as "Team Jack." The running back was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday.



Monday, April 29, 2013

Unbelievable missed open goal kick from two yards out (VIDEO)

Open goal misses are always embarrassing but, for one unfortunate striker playing in a Dutch women's soccer league, this is one shot she will never live down.

Beerschot Ladie's Nicoletta Den Ridder fell to the pitch in a heap after she missed a shot two yards from an open net which was as wide as well ... the Holland Tunnel.

After Beerschot's Tamara Valentine's free-kick caromed off the post and right in the path of Den Ridder's legs, she sliced it straight up over the crossbar.

The team's website called the missed opportunity "incomprehensible." Some called it the "Miss of the Century." We'll call it Dutch Mistreat. Beerschot went on to lose 2-0.








R.A. Dickey didn't like Yankees' 'Eye-Gate' stall tactic

R.A. Dickey had just been rocked by Lyle Overbay's two-run homer as the Toronto Blue Jays knuckleballer got ready to throw one of his gimmicky pitches to the next batter. In the New York Yankees bullpen, David Robertson — who had just caught Overbay's dinger — was warming up to preserve the 3-2 Yankees lead.

Out in front of the dugout was that next batter — Eduardo Nunez — who was being treated by trainer Steve Donohue with eye wash. And Dickey didn't like it.

“What had happened, and it was fairly obvious to everyone in our dugout, was that Joe (Girardi) was trying to get (Nunez) to take some extra time so he could get Robertson warmed up in the bullpen,” Dickey said. “(It’s) just gamesmanship on his part.”


Dickey approached plate umpire Chris Conroy to voice his objection. Toronto manager John Gibbons came out of the dugout to ask Conroy about it. Before the debate could get any more heated, Nunez came to bat.



Even before Dickey opened his mouth, Girardi was asked about what was happening and said, “Nunie had something in his eye.”

Told of the accusation, Nunez said, “You can’t predict you’re going to have something in your eyes. It happens. It was only for a moment. Why he said that, I don’t know.”

The Yankees were stuck between a rock and a hard place.  There was no way Nunez was coming out of the game — with only sore Kevin Youkilis waiting as the only replacement infielder — and Girardi wasn't going to take chances on his already thin bench.



Dickey’s ire was more directed at the umpiring crew than at Girardi and the Yankees.

“It’s well within the confines of the rules, it’s just that the umpire needs to have a feel for the game and know what’s going on,” Dickey said. “It’s certainly not Joe’s fault. He’s doing what he can to get his team ready to win the game. It’s the umpire’s responsibility to know what’s going on there.”

The knuckleballer gave up four hits in seven innings but two of them were home runs.  The tough loss dropped Dickey to 2-4 with a 4.50 ERA as the Yankees completed the four-game sweep of their northern neighbors.

Punter Chris Kluwe says he may lose his job over his gay marriage stance

Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe believes his days with the team may be numbered and said his pro gay marriage stance could be the reason he might lose his job.

On Sunday, Kluwe said he is starting to sense that rumors surrounding whether or not he will be released from the team will soon become "distractions."

"It’s a shame that in a league with players given multiple second chances after arrests, including felony arrests, that speaking out on human rights has a chance of getting you cut," Kluwe told NBC’s Pro Football Talk via text message.



Kluwe's outspoken view on the controversial topic might be one reason the Vikings selected UCLA punter Jeff Locke in the fifth-round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

Kluwe, along with former Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, hired a lawyer earlier this year who submitted a brief to the U.S. Supreme Court opposing California’s ban on same-sex marriage.
  
Kluwe has repeatedly spoken out on the topic over the past year while addressing the question of whether the NFL is ready for an openly gay football player.

During last year’s season, Vikings special-teams coordinator Mike Priefer criticized Kluwe for wearing a homemade patch that supported Ray Guy’s candidacy for the Hall of Fame.

"Those distractions are getting old for me, to be quite honest with you," Priefer said at the time.

Ayanbadejo, who was cut by the Ravens earlier this month, suggested that the decision was influenced by his support for same-sex marriage.

"I was a vocal guy and garnered a lot of attention," Ayanbadejo said at the time.

"I brought a lot of issues with me to the Super Bowl and the issues came up at the Super Bowl. …My bark is louder than my bite," he said.  "I make a lot of noise and garner a lot of attention for various things off the football field. When that starts happening, why do you have that player around?"

It remains to be seen if Kluwe has been barking too loud for the Vikings.

Nuggets' Kosta Koufos gets caught with his pants down (GIF)

Kosta Koufos looked like he was somehow pantsed during the Denver Nuggets 115-100 loss to the Golden State Warriors.

While the 7-foot center could only stand in front of the bench helplessly, as his warm-up pants hilariously slip down his legs, the Nuggets team got totally undressed by Stephen Curry as the Warriors sharpshooter lit them up for 22 of his 31 points in the third quarter.

The Warriors lead the NBA first-round series 3-1.




Balotelli tells Real Madrid team they can 'sleep with my girlfriend' if they advance

Mario Balotelli has a reputation as a scoundrel and a troublemaker but the AC Milan soccer star might have pushed the envelope way too far this time.

In a bizarre comment Ballotelli might have thought was funny, the high-scoring striker was so confident Borussia Dortmund would qualify for the Champions League final ahead of Real Madrid he was reportedly quoted as saying he would allow the Spanish side's team to sleep with his girlfriend if they managed to upset the odds and reach the last match at Wembley, according to the DailyMail.com

The unflappable Balotelli is known for his controversial ways and off-the-wall statements but this crude offer might not go over too well with his girlfriend, the beautiful Belgium model Fanny Neguesha.

In Spanish newspapers AS and Marca, the Italy forward was quoted as saying: "If Real Madrid come back in Champions League, I’ll let my girlfriend sleep with them!"




Meanwhile, Balotelli, apart from reportedly making controversial comments about his girlfriend, is lighting up Serie A since leaving Manchester for AC Milan.

The 22-year-old has scored 10 times since exiting the Premier League, including a contentious penalty in last night’s victory over Catania.



Balotelli has previously spoken about his blossoming relationship with Neguesha. In an exclusive interview with Vanity Fair, the striker said his girlfriend was the "first woman I feel comfortable with."

I hope he's comfortable sleeping on the living room sofa.

'Squirrel Man' beats human in Petco Field race and rallies Padres over Giants

A man who is being called the "World's Fastest Squirrel" showed up at Petco Field Saturday night and, besides out-sprinting a man who he had given a giant head start, rallied the San Diego Padres to a win over the San Francisco Giants. After the squirrel's 4th inning race, the Padres scored six runs to take a 6-5 lead they wouldn't relinquish.

The man in the gray costume with a big padded tail — only being identified as an NCAA national sprint champion — is now getting called everything  from "The Rally Squirrel" to just plain "Squirrel Man."

By any name, the giant tree rat delighted the crowd during the fan promotion.

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Squirrel Man may be good at chasing down nutty fans but how well can he climb trees or walk across telephone lines?



Sunday, April 28, 2013

Soccer star Ronaldo had fling with Brazilian beauty called Miss BumBum: Report

Real Madrid soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo reportedly cheated on his supermodel girlfriend Irina Shayak with the Brazilian booty contest participant known as "Miss BumBum," according to a story in The Sun.

Andressa Urach, the 27-year-old Miss Butt Brazil runner-up, who goes by the show name Miss BumBum, said the Portuguese star bedded her because “he was obsessed with my butt,” according to the story.

Urach told the British newspaper that she slept with the famous soccer star after they exchanged spicy text messages where Ronaldo admitted he dreamt about her rear assets.



The two finally took their online chatter face-to-face April 22 and Urach said: “It was incredible, his body’s perfect, like a Greek god. He went on for hours and would not stop talking about my butt.”

Ronaldo was reportedly seen leaving a Madrid diner with Shayk the day after his supposed love fest with BumBum. Shayk, the Sports Illustrated swimsuit model who has been dating Ronaldo since 2010, reportedly looked enraged.



The 28-year-old Save the Children ambassador and soccer star is believed to have contacted Urach about a month after a mutual friend gave him her number.

Ronaldo made no buts about the story and has denied having a fling with Urach.


Tulsa wants to host 2024 Olympics

Fresh from its successful stint as the host of the 2013 Bassmaster Classic this winter, the city of Tulsa has its hooks ready to snag a bigger fish — the 2024 Olympics.

Oklahoma's second largest city is one of several cities that received letters from the U.S. Olympic Committee asking whether they might be interested in hosting the games. Most of the inquiries went to major metropolitan areas, but a handful of letters went to smaller cities including Memphis, Tenn. and Portland, Ore. New York and Chicago previously lost bids for the 2012 and 2016 games.

"Some people think of Tulsa as a flyover, Dust Bowl town," said Neil Mavis, a member of the Tulsa 2024 Olympic Exploratory Committee. "Many people think of cowboys and Indians. ... Bidding for the Olympics is the one way to change those stereotypes."

And what better place to celebrate athletics in America than the state with the second largest Native-American population (behind California) in the country.




Dodgers fan himself catching three Matt Kemp homeruns in Dodger Stadium

One Los Angeles Dodger fan filmed himself catching not one, not two but three different Matt Kemp home run balls out in the stands of Dodger Stadium over the course of three years.  Okay, it was only during batting practice but it's still three souvenir balls.

"Matt Kemp Dodger Films!"

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Michael Jordan pitches 40,000 sq. ft. wedding tent on Jack Nicklaus golf course for big day

Michael Jordan pitched a wedding tent the size of three football fields on a golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus for the former NBA star's Saturday nuptials to model Yvette Prieto.  The 40,000 sq. ft. tent will have a band stage, ballroom and dining hall to serve more than 2,000 guests.

Jordan's sprawling 35,000 sq. ft. mansion was deemed to for the couple's reception so they had the massive tent pitched on the fairway.



"I've never seen anything like it. I've been working on weddings for a while," an unidentified source told GossipExtra. "It looks like he's having about 2,000 people over." Guests had to sign confidentiality agreements.



He is. And Jordan might be able to get in 18 holes before the fete without missing an I do.

The tent and reception area are only yards away from Jordan's new mansion in Jupiter, Fla.

The 50-year-old Jordan and his 35-year-old fiancee have not been seen in public since Friday but they are probably busy getting ready inside the church for the big day.



Just wondering ... don't the parents of the bride usually pay for these things? Yeah ... right.

Louis Oosthuizen's colossal 500-yard drive is pretty funny

Louis Oosthuizen already averages more than 300 yards per drive on the European Tour this season, but not usually in the manner he did in the Ballantine's Championship.

Oosthuizen's tee-shot on the 583-yard first hole at Blackstone Golf Club was pushed right of the fairway and bounced onto a winding cart path running down the side of the hole. It then rolled downhill for more than a minute and a half, picking up speed after almost coming to a halt at one point and rolling past two confused spectators before coming to a halt against a curb around 500 yards from the tee — or nearly a third of a mile away.

From there the Big O took a free drop and pitched back onto the fairway, eventually recording a par five on his way to a round of 71 and four-under-par halfway total of 140.

It is still not known whether Oosthuizen's drive ended up further than the previous longest hit in tournament history - courtesy of 64-year-old Mike Austin, who hit 515 yards on a 450-yard par 4 in Las Vegas.

Enjoy the Happy Gilmore moment.






Brother and sister swim 14 hours in shark-infested waters after fishing boat sinks

In a tale of real-life survival and sibling love, a brother and sister were found alive after a 14-hour swim to safety in the Caribbean after a fishing boat they chartered sank of the north coast of St. Lucia. The captain and first mate of the vessel were rescued after spending 23 hours in the water.

Americans, Dan Suski, a 30-year-old from San Francisco, and his sister Kate Suski, 39, from Seattle leased the boat to do some fishing. The brother was reeling in a 200-pound marlin when the boat began to take on water and flooded the engine room.

As the waves pounded the boat more water flooded in. The captain threw life jackets to the Suskis. "He said, 'Jump out! Jump out!'" Kate Suski recalled in a telephone interview on Thursday with the Associated Press.

The Suskis obeyed and jumped into the water with the captain and first mate. Less than five minutes later the boat sank. They were at least eight miles from shore and being tossed by tall waves. "The captain was telling us to stay together, and that help was on its way and that we needed to wait," Kate Suski said.

After an hour, when no help came, the Suskis decided to swim for it and lost sight of the captain and first mate. Then rain and swells cut the land from their view. "We would just see swells and gray," Dan Suski said.



A plane and a helicopter appeared in the distance and hovered over the area but no one spotted the siblings. Several hours went by, and the sun began to set. "There's this very real understanding that the situation is dire," Kate Suski said. "You come face to face with understanding your own mortality ... We both processed the possible ways we might die. Would we drown? Be eaten by a shark?"

"Hypothermia?" Dan Suski asked.

"Would our legs cramp up and make it impossible to swim?" the sister continued.

The pair swam for 12 to 14 hours, talking as they paddled and shivered under the moonlit ocean.

Dan Suski tried to ignore images of the movie Open Water that kept popping into his head and its story of a scuba-diving couple left behind by their group and attacked by sharks. His sister said she also couldn't stop thinking about sharks. "I thought I was going to vomit I was so scared," she said.
They finally came within about 30 feet of land they realized that they were looking at sheer rocky cliffs and would be battered to death against them if they tried to approach any closer.


Yankees' Cervelli breaks hand, team calls up Romine in middle of game

It didn't take long for the New York Yankees to fill in Francisco Cervelli's spot on the roster — after the catcher fractured his right hand in the first inning of Friday night's 6-4 win over the Toronto Blue Jays — even if his replacement wasn't even anywhere near Yankee Stadium.

Austin Romine, a catcher once considered the top prospect in the Yankees organization — was pulled in the middle of an inning during Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's game to join the team today.

While it is unusual for the Yankees to pull a player from a game and give him a one-way bus ticket to New York, the burgeoning list of walking wounded in the Bronx has given the team no choice but to give Romine his first real shot.

Cervelli will undergo surgery Saturday — after taking a foul ball off the bat of Rajai Davis while behind the plate last night — and it curtails what has been a superb season for the backstop. He is expected to miss at least six weeks.



Meanwhile, the 24-year-old Romine was hitting .341 (14-41) with an OPS of .815 out in Pennsylvania although he didn't get his first extra base hit until Thursday.


His lack of power at the plate wasn’t a concern to Romine's minor league manager Dave Miley.

“He’s been having solid at-bats and doing well behind the plate,” Miley said by phone. “It’s just a matter of time before the extra-base hits come.”

Romine played nine games with the Yankees in 2011 but was sidelined much of last season with a back injury.

“He’s got a lot of talent,” Stewart said. “It’s just a matter of getting experience up here and getting a feel for our guys again. I don’t think it’s going to take long.”

The former second-round pick was limited to 31 minor league games a year ago, which hindered his progress. And while he was once considered the organization’s catcher of the future, some feel he has been surpassed by Gary Sanchez.

Cervelli has been one reason the Yankees have been managing to win this season and now suddenly, his shoes look a lot bigger to fill.



Julie Alexandria gets another Gatorade shower from Nationals players

Julie Alexandria might think about wearing a rain slicker the next time she does a post game interview with a Washington Nationals player after a victory.  For the second night in a row, the MASN reporter was on the wet end of a player's Gatorade shower but, after the Nats 1-0 win over the Reds Friday night while she interviewed pitcher Jordan Zimmerman, it sure looked like Alexandria was the intended target.

Watch as Zim bolts for the infield when he spots the big orange cooler drawing near and a tradition is born.




Even after getting doused by the green stuff, the intrepid Alexandria laughed it off and continued her interview with Zimmerman.

I don't know which is a bigger hazard for the good-spirited reporter — getting sports drink in her ears or tripping over those six-inch stiletto heels.




Friday, April 26, 2013

Jets take Geno Smith in second round to mixed response

Former New York Jets wide receiver Wayne Chrebet had the unenviable task of announcing the team's 39th pick in front of the raucous Jets faithful inside Radio City Music Hall Friday night. And, even before the fan favorite finished the name "Geno Smith," loud strains of mostly boos from the stunned crowd swept throughout the massive concert hall.



Smith was labeled a pre-draft, first round pick and sulked in the green room after 32 teams passed on the West Virginia quarterback last night.  On Friday, the Jets drafted an emotional Smith who must battle Mark Sanchez and four other quarterbacks in a logjam for a spot on the Jets roster.

"We're going to the playoffs next year," Smith told reporters after putting on a green and white cap. Good start, but we've all heard that before.

Rex Ryan must be grinding his teeth over this controversial pick — but not as much as Sanchez. Let the next Hard Knocks summer begin.

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Three Pitt football players picked up in SWAT team drug raid

Three members of the University of Pittsburgh football team were picked up in an ongoing drug-buy investigation after a SWAT team was called to a house in Oakland, Pa. to arrest 22-year-old Darnell Reed-Young.

The SWAT team broke down the door about 10:30 Thursday night before police and undercover cops picked up the three Panthers players and 20 bags of heroin, a marijuana bong and a copper grinder inside the house, reported a CBS affiliate in Pittsburgh.

The three players were identified as 20-year-old linebacker Eric Williams, 21-year-old tight end Andrew Carswell and 21-year-old defensive lineman Khaynin Mosley-Smith.  Reed -Young was not a member of the Pitt team.



Pitt head coach announced the players have been suspended form the team immediately.

“We have strict and clear standards regarding these types of behaviors,” Chryst said. “What has occurred with these three young men does not represent the standards of our program or university.”


Police said the three men were detained for use or possession of drug paraphernalia and would get an arrest summons in the mail.


Aussie field hockey captain killed by snake he removed from the pitch

The captain of an Australian field hockey team died after he was bitten by a venomous snake he picked up to remove from the pitch because it was too close to a group of young children.

Karl Berry, the leader of the Commerce-Pints Hockey Club in Darwin, thought the snake was a harmless baby python when in fact, it was a Western Brown — one of Australia's most poisonous snakes.
Not realizing he had been bitten, Mr Berry then set of on a mile-long training run. It was, reptile experts and medical staff agreed today, the worst thing he could have done. The exercise quickly spread the snake's venom throughout his body. Part-way through the run, Mr Berry collapsed. Paramedics arrived as other players comforted him on the hockey field at Marrara Stadium. He was conscious enough to tell them that he had picked up a snake earlier.
"He said he thought it was a python, which would not have been dangerous," said an ambulance operator.
Berry was rushed to Royal Darwin Hospital in critical condition and died a few hours later



In a country — especially Crocodile Dundee's Northern Territory — filled with some of the earth's most deadly creatures, the Western Brown is one of the scariest.  A bite from the slithery reptile cannot be easily noticed and does not inflict any pain.




Chris Peberty, a Darwin snake catcher, said within hours after a bite from the species you have a lack of coordination.

"After that you go into the risk of systematic effects which affect your heart, your lungs and your respiratory systems."

The Land Down Under is home to 20 of the 25 deadliest snakes in the world — including every one in the top-10.

Watch reaction when Eagles fan Justin Pugh finds out he was drafted by Giants

When Justin Pugh finally got the call he was waiting for all Thursday night, it didn't come from the lifelong Philadelphia Eagles fan's favorite team but from one of its most intense NFL rivals — the New York Giants.

The Syracuse offensive tackle breaks out in a broad smile when he takes the call and his family and friends wait — tighter than coiled cobras — while he makes nearly two minutes of small talk with the Giants head coach Tom Coughlin.  One of Pugh's buddies in an Eagles jersey grabs his head in disbelief when he first hears Pugh say "I'm excited to become a Giant."

At 1:55 of the video, Pugh hangs up and all hell breaks loose in his family's Bucks County home as his mom breaks out in tears and his buddies dog pile him.




“It was great,” Pugh said about being the 19th pick. “Coach Coughlin was the first one to call me. When we did the interview at the [NFL] Combine, coach Coughlin asked me who was the best player who ever played at Syracuse and I told him, ‘Coach Coughlin.’ That was the one that sealed the deal for me as soon as I said that. We’re a couple of Syracuse guys and I’m staying in state. They told me that I would come in and compete wherever they see fit. I’m just going to go in and do what I have to do, play hard-nosed football.”



Look at it this way, Pugh's family and friends are only a N.J. Turnpike drive from Philly to MetLife Stadium and the two teams meet at least twice a season. And he's playing in New York.  Can't get any better than that.

Rick Pitino follows through on promise to get Louisville tattoo

Louisville coach Rick Pitino made a midseason promise to get a Cardinals tattoo on his body if his team won the NCAA title.  Well the team won and, true to his word, the coach got his left shoulder inked with a big "L" and the words "2013 NCAA Championship 35-5" Friday morning. And it's way bigger than anyone would have imagined.

It was also probably a lot less painful to get because he had the championship trophy in the tattoo parlor to cling on to.

Kenny Klein, the university's Senior Associate Athletic Director, tweeted the big news.

Way to go coach.





Marist crew finds 7-foot head floating in Hudson River

You never know what you'll find floating around in the Hudson River — dead fish, dead trees, dead bodies — but when rowers from the Marist crew saw a 7-foot, Styrofoam and Fiberglas head bobbing around in the early morning sun Tuesday, they put their own smaller noggins together to try and figure out what it was.

They finally realized it was some sort of replica of a Greek or Roman statue's head without the body.



It "looked like something out of a futuristic dystopian movie," Lavin said. "I thought it was Lady Liberty's head."

As in the "Planet of the Apes" Lady Liberty, poking out of the sands on some forgotten shore?

"That's exactly what I was thinking of," Lavin said.



It took 10 rowers to pull the mysterious head from the water about a mile north of the Mid-Hudson Bridge — about 60 miles from New York City or three hours by shell. 

While nobody has claimed the strange sculpture or can figure out its origin, it has generated a lot of theories. The battered face looks like it was some sort of tacky casino decoration or theater prop or maybe an art project.  And if there was a body once attached, it would proportionately be about 30-40 feet high. The buoyant head could have come from either direction because of the Hudson River's tide that flows both north and south. 

"It's a mystery we're trying to solve,"  said Marist spokesperson, Greg Cannon. "We're hoping to hear from someone who might know where it came from."

Someone should check Donald Trump's living room.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Three-legged gator crosses green during Zurich Classic of New Orleans

Three curious — more likely territorial — alligators wandered out of a water hazard and made an appearance on the fairway during the first-round the Zurich Classic of New Orleans Thursday.  Considering that they consider the bayou their home turf, it was no surprise to see the critters lurking about. The creepy part was watching one three-legged, eight-footer hobble up to a rules official in a cart.

I heard they named him Captain Hook's Revenge.

Ricky Barnes steered clear of the three toothy hazards and finished the day with a one-stroke lead heading into Friday.




Jeter: 'No doubt I'll be back' but still doesn't give timetable — again

Derek Jeter faced the media for the first time since doctors found another break in his left ankle last month. While it was nice to see the Captain wearing Yankee blue again, Jeter really didn't have any earth-shattering news to announce except he plans to return in 2013.  When asked when we can expect to see him back in pinstripes, Jeter was vague but straightforward.

"I have no doubt I'll be back," Jeter said. "But I'm not giving a timetable because I don't want to disappoint myself or anyone else."

The fidgety Jeter looked fit and was in good spirits during the 30 minute Tampa presser and joked with some of the regular beat reporters. He said he still needs a protective walking boot but didn't wear it to the conference.

"It's been a difficult process ... it's been a frustrating process," he said. "Just when you're close to coming back, you have a set back. I guess it's part of the healing process ...  Unfortunately, it's taking more time than I anticipated."


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As for returning by the All-Star break, the popular Yankee joked, "I'm not gonna say but when I come back I'll be well rested."

Jeter said the new break is in the same bone but in a different spot. "I'm not sure when I did it but when I wasn't able to run I had it checked out."



He said there was never any doubt about "coming back and playing the same" but is leaving his return date up to the doctors.

"The doctors say when it heals, I'll be fine," he added. "The biggest hurdles are the doctors and CT scans ... you can't fake a CT scan."

Jeter, not surprisingly, said he missed playing and the 38-year-old player "didn't need" his teammate Mariano Rivera's comeback from a serious knee injury at an "advanced age" as motivation to come back. "Mo is Mo," he said.

Jeter also admitted he hasn't followed the team as much as he would like because there is no MLB package at his St. Petersburg mansion.

In the end, he was asked if there was anything he wanted to tell Yankees fans.  Jeter got serious and simply said, "I'll be back soon."

Bench-clearing brawl ends hockey game

A bench-clearing brawl between Armada Blainsville-Boisbriand and the Drakar Baie-Comeau of the QMJHL was literally that —a benchclearing brawl. Both teams emptied on to the ice, after Armada had defeated Drakar, 4-3, in Game 4 of the QMJHL playoffs, when hell broke loose. Players dropped gloves all over the rink. It included a couple of those old fan favorites — goalie fights.

In the end, 12 players accumulated 22 penalties including 7 misconducts.




Yankees top prospect Mason Williams arrested for DUI in Tampa

Mason Williams, widely considered the New York Yankees top prospect in their minor league system, was arrested early Thursday morning and charged with misdemeanor DUI in Tampa, reports The New York Daily News.


Williams, an outfielder for the Yankees' Class-A Tampa affiliate, was pulled over "in the area of Armenia and Kennedy" of Tampa, according to the arrest report. His 2012 Range Rover was observed by police "weaving in the lane at [approximately] 50-53 mph in a posted 40 mph zone."



Upon pulling Williams over at 2:45 a.m., the arresting officer said the 21-year-old "displayed clues of impairment." A field sobriety test was performed and Williams, according to the report, displayed "additional clues of impairment and the defendant was arrested.

At Central Booking, Williams submitted to a Breathalyzer test and twice blew below Florida's legal limit of .08, blowing a .067 and .062, according to police.



Police said Williams was booked in at the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office "without incident."

The Yankees' general manager Brian Cashman confirmed that Williams had been booked but declined to comment on the arrest.

Forget vuvuzelas — the sound of Brazil 2014 will be caxirolas (VIDEO)

The Brazil 2014 World Cup will be unleashing its own version of the infuriating vuvuzela on the world and only time — and hearing loss — will tell if the caxirola is just as annoying.

Unlike the vuvuzela —a percussion instrument which many fans blamed on ruining the World Cup experience in South Africa — the caxirola has been designed especially for mass use in stadiums.  The hand-held instrument makes a rattling sound when shaken and was created in a collaboration between Brazilian musician Carlinhos Brown and Brazil's ministry of sports.




Produced in the national team colors of yellow and green, the small instrument is made from recycled plastic and will be handed to fans attending the Confederations Cup in June, the country's unofficial dress rehearsal for the 2014 World Cup.

A FIFA spokesman promised the instrument would "add to the fan experience" at the tournaments and help "create a unique Brazilian atmosphere in the stadiums."

The sound of the vuvuzela is etched in many a football fan's mind — and ear drums — as the over-riding memory of the South African World Cup. The controversial three-dollar trumpet produced an uncomfortable 127-decibel blare, providing a deafening background to the entire tournament.



WATCH video below — imagine 70,000 more of the little rattlers together at once — and decide.

NFL to hang anti-discrimination posters in all 32 teams' locker rooms

It looks like rumors that an NFL player(s) publicly coming out as gay has already prepped players for the possibility that they could be sharing a locker room together but, if they didn't get the implied message of tolerance from the league, the NFL announced that it will be putting their anti-discrimination policies in writing and on the walls of every one of those locker rooms.

At the urging of New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the NFL has written a new game plan to fight discrimination against gays.  The league said it will hang posters in the locker rooms of all 32 teams detailing the by-laws of its anti-discriminatory policies.

The groundbreaking blitz to step up awareness against discrimination will be reinforced by special training sessions with rookies and with team staffers involved with recruiting and signing players.



Schneiderman got involved in March after at least three college football players said they had reportedly been asked about their sexual orientation during recruitment interviews at the NFL Scouting Combines earlier in the year.

The questions came after Notre Dame star linebacker Manti Te’o was revealed to have had an online relationship with a man pretending to be a woman. Te'o claims he was not questioned about his own sexual orientation.



The attorney general warned NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a letter that New York State laws make it illegal for an employer to base a hiring decision on sexual orientation. And as a business based on New York, the NFL must comply with the law, he said.

This led to the two parties getting together and coming to a resolution.

Goodell said he believes the NFL proved to Schneiderman that it has had a longstanding anti-discrimination policy and is taking the issue seriously.

“I think they felt that we were doing the right things,” he said.

The NFL said it soon will “reiterate and reinforce” its policy in writing to the players, teams and staff.

“This is something that is very important to us and we have the right policies in place to support it,” Goodell said.

Rugby star, Danny Cipriani, hit by double-decker bus during pub crawl

International rugby star Danny Cipriani was rushed to a British hospital after being hit by a double-decker bus during a Leeds pub crawl with his teammates.

Cipriani was crossing a street in the college student area of Headingly with his Sale Shark teammates when he collided with the moving bus while on one of the famous "Otley Run" pub crawls.  The 25-year-old British fullback was treated for a concussion at the scene before being rushed to a local hospital for X-rays and an overnight stay.

The impact from the collision damaged the player's ribs but the club said Cipriani would be released later today.



The windshield of the bus was broken and a number of paramedics and Yorkshire police attended to Cipriani, whose face was painted as part of his fancy dress costume.

"Danny’s spending the night in hospital. X-rays and scans will be carried out overnight," said Cipriani's manager James Williamson. "He’s obviously in pain. He was running across the road and just misjudged the speed of the bus."



While in Australia, the trouble-plagued Cipriani — well known for his on again-off again relationship with model/actress Kelly Brook — had a few run-ins with management for breaching team discipline on a number of occasions.


Hope the dude is on again with Brook. She looks like the best medicine.

Barclays Center wants Islanders to look more 'Brooklyn' when they leave Long Island

The New York Islanders may be changing more than their home ice when they move to Barclays Center in the unspecified future. The marketing braintrusts at the team's new arena are looking to change the Islanders' whole image — including the franchise's royal blue, orange and white team colors — to make them more Brooklyn, reports The New York Post.


Barclays Center, which will take over the business operations of the team when it moves from Nassau County as soon as 2014, is currently holding separate focus groups of Islanders fans and Brooklynites, sources added.
A member of one group told the Riverhead News-Review earlier this month he was asked to rate a new team jersey without any orange, one that looked like the old Brooklyn Dodgers uniform — blue and white.



"We’re not going to rename the team," Islanders owner Charles Wang said at a recent conference. "The colors are the same. The logo is the same."



However, Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark is leaning in the same direction the Brooklyn Nets did when they moved from New Jersey. He will recommend that the team, which has the worst attendance in the National Hockey League, undergo a complete rebranding, the source said.

A sensibility which seemed to work for the Nets.

The Nets' team colors were changed to black and white. Attendance rose from a league-worst 13,961 to 17,187 per game, and jerseys, which hadn’t cracked the top 10 in popularity, finished No. 4 this past season.

Yormark, at the conference with Wang, without mentioning his study, said, "The colors black and white are the new badge of honor in Brooklyn. The question is, can we weave that into the [Islanders] color scheme, and create a connection to the fans here in Brooklyn?"



Yormark has to be careful about alienating the loyal Islanders fan base. The team just made the postseason for the first time since since 2007 and the bandwagon fans are jumping on board again. A novelty change might send them back to Hempstead.

Sometimes change isn't as easy as black and white.

HS player shatters backboard, anticipates making ESPN Top Ten (VIDEO)

Easton Bazzoli did a couple of epic things at the Roundball Classic at Geneva College (Pa.) in one grandstanding swoop last Saturday night.

First, the 6-foot-5 senior guard from Seneca Valley High School shattered the backboard with one minute left in the Class AAA vs. AAA all-star game — thus ending the game and earning him the honor as someone who has broken a back board with a slam dunk. Fair enough.

Second, and probably more importantly to him, was that it got the attention of ESPN.



Bazzoli's dunk took down the rim and shattered the backboard after taking a pass from a teammate. The high scoring game ended with AAAA beating AAA, 134-113, and Bazzoli excitedly tweeting that ESPN had contacted him about using the clip.





Bazzoli was one of the top guards in the WPIAL this past season and is headed to Cedarville University, an NCAA Division II team that was 22-9 this past season.

Little did they know they were getting an ESPN SportsCenter star too.


Valdespin takes nasty pie to face after walk-off grand slam

Jordany Valdespin, most recently best known for taking a 94 mph Justin Verlander fastball to the nether regions, took a another hard one in the face Wednesday night — and this time was all smiles after the hit.

The brash New York Mets centerfielder jacked a 10th-inning, walk-off grand slam to give his team a dramatic 7-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers and save starter Matt Harvey from suffering his first loss of the season.

After Valdespin's Citi Field heroics, Mets slugger John Buck smashed his teammate in the face with a celebratory pie during the post game interview. It looked like the powerful Buck could have busted Valdespin's nose with the ungentle pie slam — even after he caught Buck sneaking up on him.




Next time, Valdespin might want to wear some protection down there and up top.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Penguins invade Tampa Bay Rays clubhouse

Everybody already knows Joe Maddon runs the loosest clubhouse in the major leagues but now those same people will find out it's the coolest too.

How cool? On Wednesday, it was chill enough for a couple of penguins to waddle around the Tampa Bay Rays locker room  — and none of them was named Ron Cey.  The manager even let one of the flightless birds take the manager's chair for a while.





The birds are cute but just keep them away from Mike Trout when they are hungry.






Indonesian soccer player banned for life after sucker-punching referee

Indonesian soccer player Pieter Rumaropen was banned for life after punching a referee in the face during a top Super League match over the weekend.

It was the first life ban for a player in the country since 2008, and adds to the woeful state of football in Southeast Asia's biggest nation as it tries to recover from a crisis which saw rival federations running separate leagues.

Rumaropen's Persiwa Wamena were tied 1-1 with Pelita Bandung Raya on Sunday when referee Muhaimin awarded a penalty to Pelita with eight minutes left on the clock.

Video replays of the incident showed Rumaropen running up behind Muhaimin and landing a left-handed sucker punch to the referee's face.  The bloodied ref had to be admitted to a hospital due to excessive bleeding from his nose.





The match was held up for 15 minutes before a replacement official took over and gave Rumaropen a red card.

"This was a terrible act that we cannot tolerate," said Hinca Panjaitan, head of the disciplinary committee of the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI), as he announced the ban after a meeting in Jakarta.

"It has tarnished the image of Indonesian football in the international community, I hope this punishment will repair that."


The life ban, which comes into effect today, was the first for a player in Indonesia since 2008.  Five years ago, four players received the same punishment after kicking a referee and pulling down his shorts.



Persiwa, currently seventh in the 18-team league, lost 2-1 after their opponents converted the penalty.

Even it doesn't look like Pelita deserved the penalty, Rumaropen's cheap shot was even more foul. He's lucky he wasn't caned.


Dwayne Johnson tweets: 'Superman is on the mend' after emergency surgery

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson didn't let a little thing like surgery for three hernial tears keep him from getting into graphic detail about the procedure and — of course — flexing his guns.

Wearing a shower cap and Superman t-shirt while recovering from the emergency operation, the 40-year-old WWE star tweeted from his hospital bed: "Surgery a success! Dr repaired 3 hernial tears (fun pain). Superman is on the mend.. #WeFallWeRise."

Johnson underwent the emergency hernia operation on Monday to repair injuries he sustained during a WWE match with John Cena earlier this month.  The abdominal surgery forced him to miss the Hollywood premiere of his new movie, which is ironically entitled Pain & Gain





Pain & Gain director Michael Bay apologized for his star's absence. "Dwayne's hurt tonight. He was pushing it too hard," joked the blockbuster filmmaker. "He needs to grow up and stop wrestling 300-pound men."

The Rock tweeted some graphic details before the surgery too.

"Saw my Dr who had to push my intestines back thru the tear in my abdomen. Kinda romantic. Surgery is next week. #BringItOn," he wrote.

According to WWE.com, Johnson injured his midsection during a match with Cena on April 7, during a WWE Title defence match for WrestleMania 29.

"In the middle of last night's Wrestlemania match I tore my abdomen & abductor muscles off the bone.," he tweeted. "Just part of the job."



On April 13, The Rock explained: "Drs & I elected not to reattach tendons to my pelvis. They'll just scar up."

Now wonder this guy's got so many fans in the theaters and outside the ring.


Boston Bombers women's basketball team will change unfortunate team name

The Boston Bombers — the grieving city's only semi-pro women's basketball team — has decided to rename the franchise in the wake of the twin bombings at the Boston Marathon last week, according to Gawker.com.

The team is affiliated with the Women's Blue Chip League and had used a cartoon-like drawing of a basketball bomb with a lit fuse as its logo.  The unfortunate name and logo had fans expressing their concerns after the tragedy which killed three people and injured over 250.


"We changed it due to the events Monday," a spokesperson told Gawker over email. "Our fans [were] not happy with the name." The team plans to announce a new name sometime this week.



While the new team name won’t be made public until the week of April 29, the team has already taken steps to erase the Boston Bombers name from the Internet by shutting down the team's Facebook page and Twitter account, and discarding the BostonBombersBasketball.com website.

The team will also change its logo which Gawker described as a “lit-fuse Wile E. Coyote bomb with basketball grooves.”

Nike recently removed a controversial t-shirt which read "Boston Massacre" in blood covered letters — a reference to the Yankees-Red Sox 1978 divisional race — from its shelves in response to criticism from the public.

I'm sure we won't be seeing any Bronx Bombers t-shirts back on the racks anytime soon either.




30 Canadian skiers attempt to break record for simultaneous backflip

For all you winter sports buffs who need more than the snow-covered infields at Coors Field to keep you sated, here's  one last blast of some cold weather fun from the land of Justin Bieber.

And no, it's not Hands Across Canada.

Thirty Canadian skiers got together, held hands and performed a simultaneous backflip on a ski slope Sunday in an attempt to break a world record for such a stunt.

Oh Canada.



The stunt was organized by freestyle skiing pro Mikael Kingsbury and shut down part of the Mont Saint-Sauveur ski slope in Quebec.  He recruited current and former members of Canada's freestyle team to join in on the stunt. Skiers trained together for two hours alone or in smaller groups and a special extra-wide jump was constructed for the chorus line of backflips.

While the impressive feat was successful, it hasn't officially been labeled a world record. But the video has become a hit on YouTube.



Where are the Expos when you need 'em?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Biogenesis clinic records available for the right price: Report

If collecting ordinary baseball cards has become passe and begging for autographs feels like a thing of the past, collectors might be in the market for souvenirs with a little more clout — let's say the Biogenesis records linking major league players to Anthony Bosch's scrutinized clinic.

A lot of interested parties are looking for the scandal-ridden documents reportedly involving Major League Baseball's biggest names. Documents that could possibly keep a player like Alex Rodriguez or Ryan Braun out of the Hall of Fame.

According to a report in The New York Daily News, the Bosch clinic's records have become available to the highest bidders in sort of a black market baseball trade show — and people aren't collecting them to be framed and hung — so to speak.


The seedy world of baseball memorabilia has officially collided with the seedy world of Anthony Bosch.
The detailed documents linking dozens of Major League Baseball players to Bosch and performance-enhancing drugs that are floating around the back alleys of South Florida have landed in the hands of at least one consigner looking to peddle what he described as “the kind of stuff that keeps someone out of the Hall of Fame.”
The consigner recently contacted a prominent memorabilia dealer with an offer to sell what he said were “original documents” from Bosch’s clinic for which he said he had already rejected a $50,000 offer from a different bidder.
He added that he had already sold “copies of them to a fool.”
The documents offered for sale include detailed information about the purchases of performance-enhancing drugs — and possibly player signatures.
The memorabilia dealer, who requested anonymity because of the controversial nature of the documents and the evidence they might contain, declined the offer. The seller, who did not identify himself, asked the dealer to pass along the information to any clients who might be interested.
An interested party then contacted the seller, who told the person the documents from Bosch’s now-defunct Biogenesis anti-aging clinic are “black and white. It’s all there.
You’ve read about it, the list of names. It’s serious stuff. Kick it around, kick it around. You might have a direct line to some of these guys, I don’t know.”