Monday, October 31, 2011

Kris Humphries Benched By Kim Kardashian After 72 Days Of Marriage

Well, it seemed like only a matter of time and recent signs pointed to the eventual split but today it was confirmed that Kim Kardashian has filed for divorce from her NBA player husband Kris Humphries after just 72 days of marriage.

"Yes@kimkardashian is filing for divorce this morning.  I touched base with her," confirms E! News host Ryan Seacrest, who is the producer for the buxom reality star's show "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," according to the New York Daily News.

The reality star is calling it quits with the New Jersey Nets forward after a brief marriage and $10 million wedding.

According to TMZ, the couple will not seek an annulment and cite "irreconcilable differences" as the reason for the breakup.

The split is not too surprising since the couples marriage was publicly on the rocks.  The couple was spotted together arguing or not together at all.  Tabloids are reporting that the two were "not getting along at all" and were getting into loud arguments over financial issues and Humphries' frequent partying.

Kardashian, 30, was last seen alone at a Halloween party dressed as Batman's Poison Ivy in Las Vegas on Saturday night.

"It's always tough when you're apart.  But we do what we can to try and spend time together and make time for each other," Kardashian told US magazine.

Humphries and Kardashian signed a pre-nup agreement before their opulent wedding this summer.

Maybe the NBA lock-out had a lot to do with Humphries having too much free time on his hands and hanging around with that whole Kardashian clan can't be much fun either.

It's too bad— because now— Kardashian won't get to hang out with Nets minority-owner Jay-Z and Beyonce at the new Barclays Center when the team move to Brooklyn from Newark next year.

CC Sabathia Likely To Opt-Out At Midnight

The New York Yankees have until midnight Monday night to sign pitcher CC Sabathia before he can opt-out of the last four years of his seven-year deal with the team.  When the clock strikes twelve tonight—and there is no last minute agreement—Sabathia and his agents will void the remaining four years and $92 million of his original seven-year, $161 million contract.

Call him CCinderella.

The Yankees are believed to have made a last-ditch attempt at signing Sabathia to a new deal over the weekend, but it seems likely the 300-pound ace will exercise the option making Sabathia a free-agent, according to a report in the New York Daily News.

The team hoped to strike a deal with the 19-game winner before it got close to the deadline but, as of Sunday, it hasn't happened.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman—who's expected to sign a new contract of his own on Monday—was unavailable for comment this weekend.

Cashman offered the former-Cy Young winner the opt-out clause in 2008.  It gave Sabathia the option to leave the Yankees if things didn't work out in New York.

Sabathia has said in the past his family is happily settled in New Jersey and is satisfied where they are living.  Now, it looks like the 31 year-old pitcher is just looking for more money and a longer contract.

This is a problem which the Yankees brought upon themselves.

The Yankees starting rotation is pretty unsettled after Sabathia and last year's rookie sensation Ivan Nova.

A.J. Burnett is undefeated in April but a head case after May, Phil Hughes struggled through "dead arm" and Bartolo Colon's return is improbable since the 38 year-old wore down in the second half of 2011.  The team may bring back Freddy Garcia—who won 12 games last season—but that's not a given either.

Sabathia, the hefty lefty, led the Yankees to a World Series title in 2009 and began last season 25 pounds trimmer, but his expanding girth matched his fattening ERA down the stretch last season and he was less than overwhelming during the last two postseasons.

The Yankees are one of a handful of teams that could afford signing Sabathia.  He is expected to ask for a new deal with a minimum of five-years at $125 million (more likely seven years at $150 million) which would leap-frog him over the $120 million that 32 year-old Cliff Lee signed with the Philadelphia Phillies last year.

The Yankees will probably go all-out in making a deal with Sabathia today.  The free-agent market for top-notch starters is slim and Sabathia would be hard to replace.

C.J. Wilson, Mark Buehrle and Roy Oswalt lead the pack, but are all considered No. 2 starters and Yu Darvish—the Japanese phenom—has yet to prove himself in the U.S..

If Sabathia flies the coop, Cashman will be thrust into a difficult position.  He may have to trade one of his prize prospects like Jesus Montero for a No. 1 starter.

Well, if any time is a good time to turn into a pumpkin, it's the day after Halloween.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Buffalo Bills Backup QB Uses His Head On Sideline

Buffalo Bills backup quarterback Tyler Thigpen had visions of glory swirling through his head one minute then chirping birds circling it a moment later after he was doinked in the head by an errant throw on the sidelines during Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins.

After the Bills starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was slammed to the ground by Redskins linebacker London Fletcher—in the closing seconds of the first-half—the shaken signal-caller limped to the sideline and Thigpen got ready to take over.

Thigpen wasn't paying attention when a teammate made the "Think quick" toss with all eyes and national TV audience focused on him.


The rarely-used Thigpen never got his big chance to fill in for the Harvard grad who took Fletcher's unblocked shot to the ribcage at full force.  Fitzpatrick returned to the game and led the Bills to a field goal and a 13-0 halftime lead.

You don't need an Ivy League degree to know it's a good idea to always wear your helmet— even on the sidelines.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Worst Prank Ever Played On Freed New York Mets Fan

A 27 year-old New York man, who was released yesterday from an Egyptian prison after being locked up and isolated for five months on dubious charges, was greeted by his mother and the false news that the New York Mets had won the 2011 World Series.

Queens native Ilan Grapel was flanked by his mom and Rep. Gary Ackerman on his first day of freedom since June 12 when he was pranked, according to the New York Post.

Grapel—a huge Mets fan—was locked up when the Mets won-lost record was 32-33 and still had a shot at making the championship series.  Alas, Grapel—an experienced Mets fan—figured out right away that the team had flopped once again and he was just being punked.

Mets fans are used to be tortured every year but, come on, this guy just got out of an Egyptian jail.  Telling him the bumbling Mets are world champions?  Now that's cruel and unusual punishment.

Grapel was expected to fly home to Queens today from Israel—where he celebrated his release at a press conference with his mom and Ackerman.  He thanked everyone who helped free him.

"There's so many people to thank," he said.  "And after being cut off for the past five months..."

Ackerman interrupted, "We told him the Mets won the World Series."

Grapel just smiled when he was told about every Mets fan's fantasy, but realized his favorite team was out of the running long ago—again.

Ackerman, a Mets fan himself, helped the U.S. broker the deal that swapped 25 imprisoned Egyptians for Grapel.

Grapel, a law student, is scheduled to fly home today after a hero's welcome in Israel.

Maybe the Mets will let Grapel throw out a first pitch one day.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Boxing Organization Wants Female Fighters To Wear Skirts In The Ring

It seems like fans are having a hard time telling the difference between men and women fighters in the boxing ring and, if the International Boxing Association has its way, women will have to wear skirts when they climb through the ropes.

"I have heard many times, people say, 'We can't tell the difference between the men and women;' especially on TV," said Dr. Ching-Kuo Wu, president of the Amateur International Boxing Association.  "Since they are in the same uniforms and are wearing head gear."

After years of campaigning to legitimize and popularize the sport of women's boxing, some of the sports most well-known fighters are outraged at what they see as sexist and petty.

"Personally, I think it's more for the aesthetics," said British national champion, Natasha Jones.  "The only people who would want to see women in skirts are men."

The organization asked female boxers to wear skirts during last year's World Championships in preparation for the introduction of women's boxing into the 2012 Olympics in London.

Poland and Romania made the change mandatory.

"By wearing skirts, in my opinion, it gives a good impression, a womanly impression," Poland coach Leszek Piotrowski (a man) told BBC Sport.

Not all women think it's the wardrobe which makes them a lady.

"I don't even wear mini-skirts on a night out," said 3-time Boxing World Champion Katie Taylor.  "So I definitely won't be wearing mini-skirts in the ring."

Even men's boxing has seen skirts in the ring before.  Hector "Macho" Camacho was famous for his gladiator-style "shorts" during his heyday.  Maybe the women could wear kilts—the men do.

For now, it doesn't sound like female fighters are willing to compromise the equal rights they have literally fought hard for over the years.

What's next?  Making them wear pink headgear to distinguish the men from the women.  It's a boxing match guys—not a catfight.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Brandon Jacobs Wants Out in 2012

Brandon Jacobs is tired of playing tag-team with Ahmad Bradshaw in the New York Giants backfield and—in an interview with "Men's Fitness" magazine—said he feels disrespected by the team and doesn't expect to be back with the Giants next year.

The disgruntled running back has seen his role with the Giants diminish over the past few seasons and has previously expressed displeasure with how he is used by the team but, this time, Jacobs spills his guts.

"I can't wait to get a true opportunity to get out there and show myself again, you know?  Next year, hopefully," he said in the interview.  "This is a business and you have to look at it that way.  I just want to get out there and show myself.  It's going to have to be for another team, but it is what it is."

When asked outright if he sees himself with the Giants next year, he said, "No, I don't."

Jacobs is recovering from from a knee sprain which has kept him out of the last two games but is expected to play on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.

Jacobs has no one to blame but himself for his sporadic use.  Injuries and inconsistency have become his trademarks and, at times, looks more like Ron Dayne falling down on third-and-short than the bruising back he once was.

"I'm just here; doing the best I can do to help my team," he said.  "I come out to win; it's up to them whether or not they want me."

Maybe the team has soured on Jacobs already.  It's possible the Giants don't want him back next year anyway.

Jacobs restructured contract—made prior to this season—results in $500,000 roster bonus in March.  This means the team will have to make a decision on Jacobs future with the Giants quickly after the season ends, instead of later during the summer.

The big back may find himself with a new team sooner than he thinks and Jacobs could still be playing in MetLife Stadium.  I hear the Jets are looking for someone.

Giants Will Face Dolphins At Full Strength

Tom Coughlin says he has a problem and a good problem it is.  When the New York Giants head coach surveyed his practice field yesterday, Coughlin saw something he hasn't seen all season—a full roster of football players.

"I hope we have enough uniforms for these guys," he joked.

For the first time since last season, the Giants had every starter participating in practice in some way or another.

Big Blue is no longer black and blue.

The equipment manager may be the only person on the IR by Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins.  He'll be exhausted gathering up all 53 uniforms after every practice.

The Giants bye last week couldn't have come at a better time.  It gave key players extra time to heal and now they face the winless Dolphins healthier than they have been in a long time.

Six players: DE Osi Umenyiora, DE Justin Tuck, RB Brandon Jacobs, LB Michael Boley, FB Chris Hynoski and CB Prince Amukamara were on the injury report and all were listed as practicing on a limited basis.

G Chris Snee practiced fully after missing a game due to a concussion, while S Kenny Phillips and LS Zak DeOzzie weren't on the injury report.

The only player not expected to play is Hynoski, who will miss a second game because of a neck burner and everyone else is expected to suit up this Sunday.

The defense will be welcoming a couple of key additions. All-Pro Tuck (neck/groin) will be back on the field for the first time in over a month and Amukamara will be making his NFL debut after breaking his foot during the second day of training camp.  The top draft pick is looking forward to playing as a pro.

"I haven't lined up across someone in a couple of months," Amukamara said.  "[I] have to get re-acclimated to that speed."

After playing hapless Miami, the G-Men face a brutal line-up of teams with a combined record of 31-14.  They will need all the healthy bodies they can field.

On paper, the visiting Dolphins look like tuna salad on a menu for the Giants (4-2).  New York may have a full roster of players, but Coughlin is still wary of the winless Miami team.

"Respect all, fear none is the approach we've taken," he said.

Looks like the uniform shortage isn't such a problem anymore.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

St. John's Young Guns Begin Era With Impressive Win

The most anticipated St. John's basketball team in over a decade took to the floor at Carnesecca Arena and brought in a new era of pride after beating C.W. Post 110-80 last night in an exhibition game.   The Red Storm looked pretty impressive considering three of their 10 scholarship players weren't playing due to academic ineligibility.

The highly-rated recruiting class is filled with so much young talent, it's hard to say—after one game— who to deserves the most praise.

Every one of these players have their eyes on one day playing professionally but there is a sense that—for now— they know how to share the wealth.  Six players finished the game scoring in double figures.

What the St. John's team lacks in size, they make up with incredible athletic skills.  The rangy, young talent—wait until their bodies fill out—can run the floor with the best of them.

St. John's head coach Steve Lavin—who missed the game while recovering from prostate surgery—has assembled an unrelenting offensive machine.  When— and if— JaKarr Sampson, Norvell Pelle and Amir Garrettt return around Christmas time, Lavin might have more gifts than he can open.

Speaking of gifts, God's Gift Achiuwa (21 points, nine rebounds) looks like a real bruiser.  The muscular 6-foot-eight power-forward can run baseline to baseline like a guard and is a defensive and offensive match-up nightmare under the basket.  Achiuwa looked like a man among boys and started the game with 10 points in the first seven minutes.

Swing forward Moe Harkless (14 points, 14 rebounds), the highest rated New York high school player since Ron Artest to play for St. John's, is a high-flying board hoarder, while Nurideen Lindsay (16 points, 7 assists) can take the shot as well as dish them out.

The rest of the team just put on a scoring clinic and exploded for a 36-point lead at one time in the second half.

Combo guard Phil Greene (20 points, 4-of-6 3-pointers) looked like the floor leader and was joined in the backcourt by shooting guard D'Angelo Harrison (20 points, 4 assists).

While C.W. Post is no UConn, it still took advantage of the Red Storm's deficiencies on defense.  Mike Dunlap, who took over at the helm for the recovering Lavin, wasn't oblivious to the problem.

"We're a new unit and were trying to figure out who we were," said the interim coach.  "We know we need to do a better job on the defensive end."

The team speed and athleticism will only go so far when St. John's starts banging bodies with the giants of the Big East.  The smaller C.W. Post team battled to a 36-36 tie on the boards and that won't lead to wins in January and February.

St. John's gave up too many easy shots while C.W. Post's All-American Stefan Bonneau scored a game high 28 points and was 5-of-9 from the 3-point arc.

In their debut, St. John's fouled the Pioneers early and often and looked slow in transition during the first half.  Call it opening night jitters.  The inexperienced—but talented— Red Storm made it apparent that they were playing for the first time together and their game appeared skittish but effortless. 

What St. John's lacked in first-half D, they made up with a second-half O.  The 110 point total was the most points scored by the Red Storm since 115 vs. Niagara on Jan. 4 1999 and, as a team,  finished the game shooting 65.8% (50-for-76).  They also doled out 24 assists and forced 19 turnovers.

It's too early to put a label on this Red Storm team but, if last night was any indication, there are a lot of stars in the making and they are going to be a fun bunch to watch.

Last season, Lavin's first year in Queens,  St. John's surprised everyone by making the NCAA tournament for the first time since the last McRib.  He did it with a veteran bunch of over-achieving seniors.

This year, Lavin comes in with his team, the third-rated recruiting class in the nation and high hopes on the St. John's campus.  The Big East coaches picked the Red Storm to finish 12th in the league.  Last night, the young Storm looked a lot better than that.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Formula One Race Coming To New Jersey

Formula One—the world's top racing-car circuit—will start plans to run a Grand Prix race in June 2013 on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is expected to make the announcement about the long-debated race at a news conference today in Weehawken—where the race will start.

It's Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run" with an international flair.

While these race cars won't be "Sprung from cages out on highway 9," they will face a challenging course along JFK Boulevard East and River Road—with the towering Manhattan skyline as a backdrop.

The London-based Formula One organization, which  has been discussing a race in the New York-metro area for years, finally made a 10-year deal for a Grand Prix of America Formula One with Jersey officials.

It is expected to be a tourist and financial boom to both sides of the Hudson.

The cars—which are capable of hitting speeds of 200 mph—would head north, passing through city streets and turn right in West New York and head south along the Hudson River to the finish line in Weehawken.

The course has been compared to Spa in Belgium and will have the feel of the famous Circuit de Monaco in Monte Carlo, organizers claim.

There are less than 20 Formula One races worldwide every year, and fans pay big bucks for prime seats.  The U.S. hasn't hosted a Formula One race since Indianapolis in 2007.

Formula One also has a deal for an annual race at a new $250 million track in Austin, Texas.

Start your engines!  "Baby, we were born to run!"

NBA To Drop Two More Weeks From Season Schedule

Things are looking slimmer than Kevin Durant's arms that the start of NBA season will ever begin soon and, according to the New York Daily News, the league will cancel at least two more weeks of its season.

The New York Daily News reported that a source—familiar with the NBA's plans—said the league will make the announcement today.

The NBA Players Association has yet to be officially notified of the axed games, but it looks like the the league will be putting additional games on ice.

The NBA has already cancelled the first two weeks of the season and the expected cancellations will lop another 102 games from the 2011-12 schedule.  These cancellations will run through Nov. 28 and would include Thanksgiving.

Commissioner David Stern told a radio audience last week that if a deal was not reached between players and owners by last Tuesday, Christmas Day games could be eliminated as well.

Stern was expected to make the announcement yesterday but just returned from being out with the flu which delayed pulling the trigger.

The NBA's first cancellations of 100 games had already pushed the Nov. 1 season opener to Nov. 14.

The talks have continued to break down and both parties are miles apart on "major" system issues, but there is some optimism that—even with both sides refusing to give in right now—a deal can be attainable at the bargaining table and Christmas games could be saved—includes the Knicks-Celtics annual match-up.

According to NBA players, they want to resume bargaining but they will not give in to the owner's precondition of accepting a 50-50 revenues split.

"I will call them to see if they want to get back together," player's rep Billy Hunter told ESPN.  "But if they still say there they'll only meet if I accept their 50-50 [proposal], to me that's a nonstarter.  I can't agree to meet if I don't know what's going to happen on the other issues.  That is intolerable."

The "system" issues—which have put the talks at a standstill—include deals which involve a new harder salary cap preferred by the owners and the preservation of a softer cap by the players..

Stern claims it will take at least a month to put the new bargaining agreement in writing.  He said the extra delay would hasten free-agency deals for up to 150 players and there would be a shortened training camp and preseason.

Optimistically, Stern said the league might be able to cut the start-up date to 28 days and give teams a 68-70 game season.

The Knicks have already filled in scheduled November home date with a Jay-Z concert.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Minnesota Player Delivers Kick To Green Bay Package

Things got a little testy during the second quarter of Sunday's game between the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings.  Following a Green Bay field goal kick, Vikings defensive end Brian Robison landed a kick of his own-- right into Packers guard T.J. Lang's stones.


The low blow came after Lang stood over  Robison, who got knocked down during the field goal kick.  Robison aimed the intentional kick right between Lang's spread legs and caused the Packers player to hunch over in pain.

Up until the dirty play, the two players had been going at each other pretty hard in the battle between the NFC North rivals.

If a kick to the groin is frowned upon in a street fight, then there's no place for it on the football field.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Eric LeGrand Makes CBS Network Debut In Style

Just over a year ago, Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand was paralyzed from the neck down after making a tackle against Army.  He was originally told he would never breathe without a ventilator and only given a fraction of a chance of regaining his neurological functions.  Today, the inspirational young man who went to college to become a sports broadcaster made his national network debut on CBS's "College Football Today."


Since LeGrand's unfortunate injury, he has been taking classes and making great progress in his therapy sessions-- as well as-- his chosen field.

Sitting next to the show's host Tim Brando, wearing a stylish, three-piece black suit with a Rutgers pin on the lapel, LeGrand fielded questions with ease and confidence.  And why not?  The well-spoken and insightful LeGrand is already an analyst for the Rutgers Football Radio Network and made his television broadcast debut a couple of weeks ago for SNY as an in-studio analyst.

It's hard not to root for LeGrand-- a young man who knows the game and and takes his passion for the sport from the field to the booth.

Here's a guy who never looked back and asked, "Why me?"  Now he just looks forward and says, "Why not?"

Friday, October 21, 2011

Rex Ryan Is Now Playing Mush-Mouth Football

Rex Ryan is controversial even when he's trying not to be.  After Wednesday's conference call, where the Type-A— what 'A' stands for is up to you— head coach of the New York Jets gave a backhanded compliment to Norv Turner and lit a fire under the normally reticent San Diego Chargers head coach.  Now, the usually unapologetic Ryan has backtracked and phoned Turner to make up.

Ryan's antics, which are getting as tired as George Clooney's charm—yeah, I said it—and as frequent as a Lindsay Lohan court date, have run their course.  Have the dysfunctional Jets turned Ryan into Dr. Phil?

Only one day after Ryan boldly claimed that the Chargers would have won a Super Bowl if they had hired him instead of of Turner, the smash-mouth Ryan turned into mush-mouth Ryan.

"It's all on me," Ryan said.  "I'm guilty.  Absolutely.  It was unintentional."

What a turnaround from boasting on Wednesday that San Diego would have two Lombardi Trophies on their mantle if he had been hired as their head coach in 2007.

"Well, I think I would have had a couple of rings," Ryan said.  "I'm telling you, those teams were loaded.  There is no question about it.  But things happen for a reason."

Even though Ryan called to praise Turner, the usually-reserved Chargers coach still fired back.

"I was surprised by the call," said Turner.  "And then after I saw the quote, I didn't have a chance to ask him this, but I was wondering if he had those rings with the ones he guaranteed the last couple of years."

Ouch.  That's four Rex Ryan Super Bowl guarantees for two different teams and not one ring to show for it.

Ryan didn't go into details about their phone exchange, but gave the match-point to Turner.

"I think we're even because he did get me with a good shot, there's no question," Ryan said.

This all leads up to Sunday's game at MetLife Stadium and an NFL rivalry no one really knows about.

In Ryan's first year with the Jets, his team beat San Diego, 17-13, in the divisional round of the playoffs.  Then, there was the Jets infamous AFC divisional playoff win, 17-14,  in 2010 after the Chargers'  "money" kicker Nate Kaeding missed three field goals and was roundly taunted by the Jets Darrelle Revis as the game ended.

Ryan's histrionics—comparing his wife to Tom Brady's supermodel honey or donning a wig to impersonate his almost-equally unreserved twin brother—have become pretty routine at his press conferences.  Only this time, he might have crossed the battle line.  And Ryan knows his words will be hanging like dirty underwear over Sunday's game.

The Jets (3-3) will have their hands full with the loaded Chargers (4-1) and the home team's victories are over Dallas, Miami and Jacksonville—who have a combined record of 3-and-13.

"Obviously, I wish this one never happened," Ryan said.  "It was just clearly unintentional.  I don't know what other word to use.  I don't know what to even say... I hope it doesn't take from the game."

Stop the presses!  Rex Ryan doesn't know what to say!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Did Yankees Fan Capture Gaddafi?

Reports are still unclear how the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi was killed today but there is a photo of a man in a New York Yankees cap who says he caught the dictator and an account filed by a reporter to the BBC as he saw it:

A fighter in Sirte has told the BBC his account of the reported capture.  Mohammed, a young fighter in his 20's, wearing a blue T-shirt and New York Yankees baseball cap, said he found the colonel hiding in a hole in the ground in the city of Sitre.  He told the BBC that the former Libyan leader begged him "Don't shoot."

A New York Yankees baseball hat.

The BBC reporter said," I have spoken to the man who says that he captured him... he was brandishing a golden pistol."  The young man claims he confiscated the hand gun from Gaddafi during the capture.

We don't really know if the young man is a Yankees fan, but the fancy pistol might give him a lot of cred in the NBA.

CC Backing Double D Restaurant In Manhattan

New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia is throwing his money into a Manhattan restaurant which is trying to horn in on the Hooters babes and beer market.  The hefty Sabathia will be at the restaurant's grand opening on Friday, but his business partner, Steven Ferraro, says the cash investment should not signal any intention to stay with the Yankees as Sabathia decides whether or not to opt out on his contract.

"I have to take the fifth on that," he said.  "All I can tell you is that CC loves New York and he loves being a Yankee.  We'll see what happens."

Sounds like the only curves we'll see for certain from CC in New York will be on his sexy waitresses.

Sabathia signed on as part-owner of the small restaurant subtly known as Canz-- short for Canz-a-Citi Roadhouse.  It'll feature sexy women in skimpy tank tops and Daisy Dukes.  The upstart chain  has already gone to war with Hooters at its other locations and has reached Yankees-Red Sox levels of hatred.

Ferraro said he's been openly recruiting the Hooters waitresses causing the rift between the two boob joints.  Ferraro bragged that he has poached 50 of the renowned Hooters girls.

As for his relationship with Sabathia, Ferraro said, "CC and I have been friends for years.  This is a business venture for him.  His two passions are food and sports, so this is a good fit."

Hopefully, for Yankees fans, Sabathia's contract demands are just as good a fit for the team.

UConn, Syracuse Tie For 1st In Big East Coaches' Poll

It had to be one of the most awkward Big East media days in memory.  The coaches picked both  national champion Connecticut and soon-to-be-gone Syracuse as the best teams in the upcoming  season.  However, the real topic hanging on everyone's tongue at Wednesday's annual event was conference expansion and realignment.

Most of the talk centered around Syracuse and Pittsburgh's announcements that they were leaving the Big East to join the Atlantic Coast Conference and the TCU team which ran away.

TCU was slated to join the Big East but is now headed for the Big 12 before the Big East could do anything about it.  Big East commissioner John Marinatto announced at the conference he was looking to bring in schools to make up for the defections and prevent any others from leaving.

There has been a lot of talk-- some by the governor of Connecticut-- that UConn would also be interested in joining the ACC.  Marinatto would have none of it.

"In the past five years, we've had the best basketball league in the country," he said.  "We had [a record] 11 teams in the NCAA tournament last year and, on paper today, nine of them would be in it again."

Opinions about the defectors and the effect they will have on the league were at a fever pitch at the Manhattan gathering. 

"My problem is not them leaving," said Louisville coach Rick Pitino-- in a statement dripping with irony.  "My problem is you did it in 36-48 hours.  Don't run away with a girl after one date to get married in Las Vegas when you've been dating someone else for three or four years.  You've been dating this woman for 30 years, show a little respect."

Pitino, as you will recall, is the same man who almost threw away his career by cheating on his wife of thirty years for a 15-second fling with a woman who later tried to extort $10 million from him.

Last September, Pitino also compared Pitt's move to the ACC to Sal Tessio betraying the Corleone family in "The Godfather."  Funny, because rumors have been swirling about the Cardinals jumping ship as well.

Pitino's poorly-chosen analogy, along with Pitt and Syracuse wearing track shoes and ready to bolt aside, there were plenty of other topics at hand including the upcoming season and the coaches' pre-season picks.

Connecticut, which closed out their season with an 11-game winning streak by winning the Big East tournament and the national championship will have to do it without All-America guard Kemba Walker, the heart and soul of the team.

Head coach Jim Calhoun has three returning starters-- including sophomore guard Jerry Lamb, a pre-season first-team pick-- and junior Alex Oriakhi, a second-team selection.  Freshman center, 6-foot-11 Andre Drummond was chosen pre-season rookie-of-the-year.

Syracuse, which had five first place votes-- two less than UConn-- has senior Kris Joseph, a first-team selection, and second-teamer junior Scoop Jardine returning to the court.

Asked if he thinks the team will be treated differently during road games because of the school's decision to leave the Big East, Boeheim was philosophical.

"Nobody has ever cheered for us on the road," he said.  "We never get a lot of cheers."

Louisville, which got three first place votes, was third followed by Pittsburgh.

Pitt's senior guard Ashton Gibbs was selected pre-season player of the year after leading the conference in scoring (16.8) and 3-point shooting (49%) last season.

Cincinnati was fifth followed by Marquette, West Virginia, Villanova, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Rutgers, St. John's, Seton Hall, South Florida, Providence and DePaul.  In addition to Gibbs, Lamb and Joseph,  the pre-season first team included seniors Darius Johnson-Odom of Marquette and grad-student Tim Abromaitis of Notre Dame.

Next year's coaches' poll might be without some familiar teams but not if Marinatto has his way.  The commissioner said he will not let Syracuse or Pitt out of their contracts, which requires them to stay in the league for two more years.

Georgetown coach John Thompson III got sentimental about the Big East's fracturing conference.

"When I think of the Big East, I think of Georgetown-Syracuse, Georgetown-St. John's, " he said.

So do a lot of fans.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Shaq Wants To Keep An NBA Team In Newark

The city of Newark still has the New Jersey Nets for another year before they move across a few rivers into their new home in Brooklyn but, if Shaquille O'Neal has his wish, an NBA team will once again slam dunk in front of the empty seats in the Prudential Center. 

Did anyone tell Shaq that wishes are only the legend of bad movies?  Kazaam!

The lame duck New Jersey Nets, who--sadly--  are lately better known for one of their players becoming a Kardashian, will be packing up their gear and head for the state-of-the-art Barclays Center with their new first-name-- Brooklyn-- in 2012.  It's a good possibility that most of the few hundred fans in Newark will probably notice or care.

O'Neal, who was raised in Newark, has talked about wanting to own a team in the past and responded to that question in a wide-ranging interview in Tuesday's New York Times about his desire to bring one back to Newark.

"Yes, And I'm looking forward to bringing a team to Newark," he said.  "I haven't spoken to Mayor Booker about it yet, but I'm working on it.  I know Newark can support an NBA team.  And I'm going to be one of those guys that's going to bring a team here."

The former NBA star has talked about owning an NBA team in the past and originally had his eyes set on moving the Nets to his home town back in 2009, when the Nets were still playing in the Meadowlands, and the new Prudential Center was without an NBA team.

"If I was a general manager or owner of that team, I'd be playing in Newark right now," he said back then.

That was before the team did move to Newark's Prudential Center and played before empty seats-- some selling for .43 cents on the Internet-- and empty promises to the city as well.

Now, Shaq is pushing to get an NBA team back in Newark, but it could be an uphill battle.

O'Neal has the star power and the NBA pedigree to possibly broker a deal and move one of the other struggling NBA teams to Newark-- look what the Nets minority-owner Jay-Z did-- and there are sure to be a couple of teams on the verge of collapse if the NBA lockout ever ends.  Did I hear someone say Newark Timberwolves? 

But, putting a third NBA team in the New York metro area would be risky-- considering that the Nets could barely draw fans when the only other local team was the Knicks.

O'Neal, and his development company have been involved in many community projects in the city of Newark, but this is one wish that even a blue genie couldn't grant. Kazaam!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Donaire Plans to "Set a Trap" For Narvaez During Fight

Nonito Donaire worked out in a Manhattan gym this afternoon and looked ready-- and sounded even more prepared-- for his 12-round World Bantamweight Championship fight against Omar Narvaez this Saturday night.  So much so, the fast talking Filipino said he "will set a trap for him [Narvaez] because that's the kind of fighter I am."

Donaire (26-1, 18 KO's), the World Bantamweight Champion and considered one of the Top-Five pound-for-pound fighters in the world, will defend his title against the undefeated two-division champion Narvaez (35-0-2, 19 KO's) at Madison Square Garden.

The 28 year-old Donaire told reporters at Kingsway Gym that he considers Narvaez " a tricky fighter," but added, "If he makes a mistake in front of me, I'll make him pay for it."

 Donaire, who is riding a nine-year, 25 bout winning streak, wouldn't elaborate on his plan of attack but claims to have spotted a weakness.

"I looked at how he stands," The Filipino Flash' said.  " I can take advantage of the way he stands."

Donaire could have his hands full with the 36 year-old Argentine who will be making his U.S. debut.

Narvaez captured his first world title-- the WBO flyweight championship-- in 2002 against Adonis Rivas.  He has since then defended his title 16 times during a seven year reign before vacating it by moving up to a heavier weight class.  He won the vacant WBO junior bantamweight title in May 2010 in a unanimous decision over Erveth Briceno.

'The Hurricane,' who is revered in South America, has successfully defended his new title three times-- all by unanimous decision-- against opponents who had a combine record of 54-2 when he fought them.

Donaire's most impressive victory was his last fight, February 19, against WBC/WBO bantamweight champion Fernando Montiel, who he knocked out with a devastating single punch in the second round.  It ended Montiel's 25-bout win streak and stamped Donaire as one of the best fighters in the world.   Ten of Donaire's last 11 wins have come by knockout.

The Filipino fighter reflected on the opening round of his last fight and said," I told everyone I was going to knock him [Montiel] out in the second round.  I told everyone how it was going to end."

While the young Donaire was confident about the upcoming fight, he also showed respect for the older Narvaez.

"He's a veteran," said Donaire.  "He's 36 years-old and still undefeated.  He hasn't lost in all those years and that says something."

Donaire claims to have been hitting the gym more than watching tapes during his eight month layoff.

"This fight, being out of the ring for a while, I had to be in the best possible shape," he said.

The cock-sure Donaire also sounded like his game plan is still up in the a air.

"My guy, Robert Garcia, my trainer is working on dissecting his [Narvaez] style," said Donaire.  "Whatever he [Narvaez]  gives me in the first, depends on what he presents me, then I'll go from there."

Monday, October 17, 2011

'No Fun League' Was Pretty Funny During Week Six

The NFL entertains millions of fans every season but is sometimes about as humorous as "The View." The "No Fun League" commissioner Roger Goodell will never be confused with Louis C.K. but this week's NFL story lines seemed like they written for a few episodes of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia."

It looks like Goodell will have his hands full following the escapades of Week Six.

The week began with Miami Dolphins receiver Brandon Marshall saying he was going to play like a "maniac" against the New York Jets on Monday night.  The All-Pro player tried to rally his lowly team by going as far as to announce that he was going to get thrown out of the game by the second quarter and might even punch out Jets defensemen Antonio Cromartie or Bart Scott.  Goodell was surely listening.

The fun continued in the second quarter of the St. Louis Rams-Green Bay Packers game when A.J. Hawk sacked Rams QB Sam Bradford and rubbed it in by flipping the bird towards his own bench and the Packers fans in Lambeau Field.

Hawk, who might have been angry at wearing the ugly Packers throw-back uniforms or celebrating the fact that it was his first solo-sack in nearly two years, later apologized.  He claimed it was a "running joke" and didn't intend for "anyone to see it."  Okay.  You can't make these things up folks.

The "Lambeau Flip" was ignored by the officiating crew but lambasted by the game announcers on TV and it's a good bet the Commish will be pointing his own accusing finger at the linebacker.

The bizarre episodes continued with a near cage-match between head coaches Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz after an exciting game between the San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions.  The two surprising teams exchanged six lead changes throughout the game and, during the mandatory mid-field after game handshake, Harbaugh's overenthusiastic grip and greet with a hard pat on the back riled losing coach Schwartz.

The Lions coach didn't take kindly to his exuberant counterpart and he chased Harbaugh down and started yelling at him.  To paraphrase Mel Brooks: May the Schwartz be on you.

The two coaches had to be separated by staff members and the tussle got the surrounding players pumped up and a few more scuffles broke out at mid-field.

Harbaugh later accepted the blame and said, "I was really revved up.  That wasn't me, I just shook his hand too hard."

It was even kind of comical-- in a Farrelly Brothers, ball-to-the-groin way--  seeing Saints head coach Sean Payton  coaching from the bench in a leg brace after getting run over by his own player and breaking his knee cap.  Sometimes humor hurts.

The only thing missing this week was a rant by the Sam Kinison of the NFL-- Rex Ryan.  I guess three straight losses don't lead to a very funny punchline, but there's still one day to gather some material.

It looked like there was little too much frat-boy for the NFL's blood this week.  Forget a finger, it's looks like Goodell will lay down his fist.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bradshaw's 3 TD Runs Lead Giants Over Bills, 27-24

A late 23-yard field goal by Lawrence Tynes gave the New York Giants an ego-boosting 27-24 victory over the Buffalo Bills in MetLife Stadium on Sunday afternoon.  The win sends the Giants in to their bye-week with a 4-2 record and sole possession of first place in the NFC East.

Ahmad Bradshaw rumbled over the Bills defense for 104 yards including a leaping goal-line flip that put the Giants up 24-17 in the third quarter.  Bradshaw became the first Giant to run for three touchdowns in a game since Brandon Jacobs did it against the Carolina Panthers on Dec. 21, 2008.

The Giants (4-2) also found some remnants of their smashmouth style of play after losing their mojo last week in a devastating home loss against the Seattle Seahawks.  As Bradshaw helped the Giants discover the running part of their game, the defense did just enough to keep the Bills at bay.


 Bills running-back Fred Jackson gained 121 yards but most of that acreage came on an early 80-yard breakaway.  The Giants D harassed Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick all day and registered 3 sacks, 2 interceptions and made one fumble recovery.  While it's not enough to make fans hearken back to the days of L.T., they held the Bills when they had to.

The Giants' Eli Manning was facing a Bills defense which led the league in interceptions but the turnover prone quarterback came out of the game unscathed.  Manning was nearly flawless and completed 21-of-31 for 292 yards.  He had no TD throws but a couple of passes in or around the endzone were dropped by his receivers.

While the Giants were scoring on short runs by Bradshaw, the Bills (4-2) made the big plays highlighted by Jackson's run and a 60-yard Fitzpatrick pass to Naaman Roosevelt.  Jackson's scamper was the longest run given up by the Giants since Oct. 15, 2006 when the Falcon's Warrick Dunn scored on a 90-yarder.

The Giants have to feel good settling into their bye week.  They face a pretty bad Miami Dolphins at home when they resume play in two weeks and all signs are leading to Big Blue being less black and blue by then.

Chris Snee (concussion), Brandon Jacobs (knee) and Justin Tuck (neck) are all expected to be fully recovered from injuries which have them on the sidelines.

There is also talk that Prince Amukamara will be ready to suit up for his first regular season game.  Last spring's first-round selection broke a bone in his foot the first week of camp and could be ready to join the rest of the defensive backfield.

The Giants had to work hard for this victory and things can only get better with the return of Snee, Jacobs and Tuck-- all crucial parts to the G-Men's grind-it-out running and swarming defensive style.

If today's game proved anything, it's that the Bills are the real thing but the Giants are just a little better.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Giants Defense May Use Wristbands To Counter Bills Hurry-Up

The New York Giants may have to endure another week without defensive stalwarts Justin Tuck and possibly Osi Umenyiora, but defensive coordinator Perry Fewell has considered a plan to help the Giants D prevent big plays by the Buffalo Bills offense this Sunday-- wristbands.

Don't be shocked to see the some Giants defensive players wearing mini-playbooks on their forearms-- and referring to them-- in order to prevent the mental breakdowns that have plagued the team in recent games.

Following last week's unfathomable loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Fewell became concerned that the Giants(3-2) had allowed Seattle's mediocre offense to put up big numbers against his confused-looking defense and thinks using what is usually a quarterback's tool a potential solution.

The Seahawks no-huddle offense prevented the Giants defense from making many quick substitutions and forced a quicker tempo.  At many times, the Giants D was caught out of position and were about one Deon Grant flop from trying to slow down the Seahawks.

Fewell who was a coach in Buffalo before coming to the Giants, is familiar with the Bills system and said he "learned something last week."

"The no-huddle is effective; it's about communication," said Fewell.  "I think we were communicating.  When you use that form of communication verbally, everybody doesn't get it at the same time.  I think I need to do a better job of maybe installing wristbands on the guys so everybody knows what the call is.  I think I can do a better job and help our players if I do that for them," he told the New York Post.

It won't be any easier this week as the  surprising Bills(4-1) stampede into MetLife Stadium on Sunday.  They have impressive victories over the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles under their belts.

Meanwhile, the teams the Giants have beaten this year have a combined record of 6-12 and the Giants had to pull come-from-behind in two of their own W's.

The Giants would like nothing more than to help Fewell beat his former team and show that last week's loss wasn't a sign of things to come.

When a defense is struggling as much as the Giants' has, any sort of advantage is welcome-- even if it's like writing the answers on your hand.

100 Year-Old Man Plans To Run and Finish Marathon

This Sunday, when the most strenuous activity many people will do is roll out of bed, grab the remote and settle in for six hours of football, Fauja Singh will be running a marathon.  While you're sweating out the point spread, he will be pounding the pavement.  Big whoop.  Well, Singh is 100 years old and preparing to become the first person-- ever-- to complete the 26.2-mile course at that age.


The bearded Singh, who was already a fuzzy-faced teenager when Larry King was born, has been preparing to set a Guinness World Record as the oldest person ever to finish a marathon race. 

Singh took up competitive running when he was a young colt of 89 years and has set numerous records as the fastest 100 year-old sprinter in multiple distances.  On Sunday, the India-born, British citizen hopes to add the Toronto Waterfront marathon to his list of accomplishments.

In his last marathon, Singh finished with a time of 5 hours and 40 minutes.  That was in 2003 when he was pushing a sprightly 92-- an age when most people are putting a new set of wheels on their Rascal.

Singh's coach attributes his century-old charge's fitness to a light diet of tea, toast and curry.

Too bad.  I was hoping he was one of those guys who defied nature by eating red meat and washing it down with a half-bottle of scotch every day.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Jenny Finch Shows Up at New York Giants Practice

The New York Giants came in contact with another bird for the fourth week in a row.  After beating the Eagles, Cardinals and losing to the Seahawks, former Olympic gold medalist Jenny Finch showed up at the team's practice facility and lent a little beauty to what is shaping up as an ugly Giants team.


The former softball pitcher showed up at the Giants Timex Performance Center yesterday as part of a cross-sponsor event prior to her running the ING NYC Marathon next month.

The 31 year-old Finch sported Brandon Jacobs' #27 jersey and chatted with players.

She did some placekicking with punter Steve Weatherford-- and even made a 20-yard field goal-- before she took some passes from TE's Jake Ballard and Bear Pascoe.

Victor Cruz should take note-- Finch actually holds on to the ball.

Finch is running her first marathon after recently completing a half-marathon.  She said she is cramming in her training before the Nov. 6 race and the flame-throwing pitcher has set a modest goal.

"I'm going for around four [hours]," she said.

Finch looked pretty good running routes and catching the ball.  No word on if she was instructed how to 'flop' or 'give herself up.'

Nyjer Morgan: "I Caught a Boney-Five in the Snot Box"

Nyjer Morgan, the brash outfielder for the Milwaukee Brewers in explaining how he got injured in the celebration after last week's NLDS Game 5 walk-off single against the Arizona Diamondbacks, sounded more like a California surfer dude describing a wipeout than a ballplayer who got a pop to the nose.


"I caught a boney-five in the snot-box," Morgan said of his bloody nose.

Morgan told a television reporter the accidental punch occurred after his 10th-inning heroics when the hugfest at home plate got a little rowdy, but he isn't complaining.

"I got no problem with that one," he said.  "It's all good."

The outspoken Morgan is no stranger to a little pushing and shoving.

The former-Washington Nationals star was traded-- more like banished--  to the Brewers after his confrontation with the Nats' newly-acquired $126 million man Jason Werth in spring training.

"I've been in a couple of fisticuffs before," Morgan told the reporter.

Asked if he was a lover or a fighter, Morgan laughed and said, "Both, or all of the above."

It looks like Morgan's in-your-face style is turning him into some sort of cult hero in Milwaukee and if it means getting another celebratory pop in the nose, it's okay.

"I got no problem wearing that one," he said.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

NYC 'Subway Surfer' Creates Panic on Train

New York City authorities are on the lookout for a so-called "subway surfer' who hooked onto the outside of a J-train and, at first,  panicked, then captivated passengers who recorded the dangerous stunt on their phone-cams.

The nearly four-minute exploit went viral and now the unnamed 'surfer' has become an Internet sensation and the MTA is not pleased.


 The MTA would rather this video did not reach YouTube, since the young man is clinging to the outside of the train's door, but it's too late.

At first, passengers started screaming and thought the guy was in trouble but, after he smiled and put a finger to his lips-- as to shhh the riders-- they knew it was just another jackass stunt.

Train surfing is nothing new to New York City or anywhere else in the world.  The Internet is filled with videos of these daredevils in Japan, India and Brazil-- but this guy did it passing within inches of the walls in the small confines of a subway tunnel.

In the past, the  MTA has posted "Surf the Web-- Not the Train" signs in the subway stations.  Now it looks like the two activities go hand-in-hand.

The New York City Transit Police Department has no firm statistics on how many people have been killed by subway surfing and considers it a crime.  Since 2003, four men's deaths have been attributed to surfing the NYC subways.

"The agency was reluctant to do a lot of media about it because it just encourages foolish young people to do really dangerous things," Al O'Leary a former spokesperson for the NYC Transit Police told the New York Times about copycats.  "NYC Transit's goal is to transport people safely, not just scrape them off the tracks."

Justin Tuck Is a Neck Up On Antonio Pierce

Justin Tuck may scoff at Antonio Pierce's implication that the New York Giants player's toughness was being questioned because he didn't take the field and "doesn't have an injury that needs surgery or is that severe," but he is shaking his head because the same type of neck injury ended Pierce's career two years ago.

On a Monday radio show, Pierce chided Tuck and running back Brandon Jacobs for sitting out Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks because they didn't ignore their pain and just play.  Tuck has missed two games with neck and groin injuries while Jacobs is nursing a sprained MCL.

Yesterday, Tuck laughed off his friend Pierce's words.  He just might be thinking that Pierce has nothing from the neck up.

"It's funny to me," said Tuck.  "I wish I could reverse roles with A.P. and say what he said and see how he responds to it."

Tuck knows Pierce was a fierce competitor and played through injuries but thinks the former-Giant should concentrate on a player's on-the-field performance rather than their perceived toughness.

"Like in this case, I know I'm doing everything in my power to speed up this process of getting back on the football field," said Tuck.  "So why worry about what other people might think or what other people might say about it.  Because obviously they don't know."

Pierce should have a better understanding of this than anyone.  His career was cut short in a 2009 game against the Arizona Cardinals.  He was diagnosed with the same injury as Tuck-- a burner-- and played two more games before an MRI exam showed a bulging disk in his neck.

Pierce never had surgery and never played in an NFL game again.  Now he is telling Tuck to throw caution to the wind and get back on the field?

At first, Tuck was angry at Pierce's ironic words but smoothed things over.  The two men spoke by phone on Monday and came to an understanding.

"I understand how he meant it.  It didn't come out the way he wanted it to, " said Tuck.  It's water under the bridge."

Tuck said he is focusing more on what members of the Giants organization think than what outside observers perceive.

"All the doctors and even the coaches are telling me 'Be smart.'  When you're ready to play, come back and play," Tuck said.  "The good thing is regardless what other people say, I know the people in the locker room trust me and understand that I want to be on that football field.  That's all that matters."

Mookie And Buckner Auctioning Off WS Dinner Date Together

In what could be considered one of the most awkward dinner parties in history, fans will get a chance to bid for a chance to break bread and watch a World Series game with Mookie Wilson and Bill Buckner-- 25 years after the former New York Met's ground ball rolled through the legs of the self-exiled Boston Red Sox first baseman.

Buckner's improbable error of Wilson's 10th-inning dribbler down the first base line in the 1986 Fall Classic led to a Mets comeback victory and eventual world title.  The moment will forever link the two players in baseball lore.

Hopefully, Buckner cuts his food into little pieces so he doesn't...  too easy.

The auction begins today for the Oct. 24 dinner at Mickey Mantle's restaurant in Manhattan with an opening bid of $5,000.

Buckner's legendary fail helped the Mets win the World Championship and sent the Boston star into hiding.  It took the Red Sox another 18 years before they exorcised the "Curse of the Bambino" by finally winning a championship in 2004 after a long drought.

Over the years, the moment has been broken down in too many articles and documentaries to forget.

Buckner, 61, the one-time pariah has put the monumental error behind him and has now turned a lemon into lemonade.

He appears at card shows with Wilson, 55, and even poked fun at himself in an episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" by catching a baby dropped from a burning building.

Championships by the Red Sox in 2004 and 2007 have also helped damper the pain for the once championship-starved Sox fans who shunned Buckner.

The top bidder can invite three guests to sit down and rehash the infamous moment.

It will be interesting to see if a Mets or Sox fan makes the largest bid for the meal.  There are a lot of questions to be plated.

For Mets fans, it''ll be an opportunity to stuff their faces with one of the brightest moments in their history and help erase memories of the last few dismal seasons.

Meanwhile, Red Sox fans, who just went through one of the great season-ending collapses, might not want any more leftover scraps of misery on their plates.

Bidding on the Dinner for Mucks runs through Oct. 19.  The sitdown is scheduled for the eve of Oct. 25-- the 25th anniversary of the 1986 game.

Even if the final bid for this dinner ends up skyrocketing, it'll pale to the cost of the actual ball hit by Wilson.  The ball's owner is asking $1 million at an auction set to end at the exact moment-- 25 years ago-- when Buckner bungled the routine play.

Let the Heimlich Maneuver jokes begin and pass the Tums.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

U.S. College Basketball Star Killed in Romania Brawl

A U.S. college basketball star who traveled overseas to continue his dream of playing hoops was attacked in a bar in Romania and died, according to authorities.

Chauncey Hardy, a 23 year-old standout player at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., suffered severe head trauma after he was beset on by a group of men in the bar while celebrating a post-game victory.

According to New York Post wire services, Hardy was admitted to a Bucharest hospital after he was attacked by the boyfriend of a women he was flirting with and knocked out by a punch.

Officials claim the U.S. player was with teammates celebrating a win over a rival team in the southern city of Giurgiu when Hardy playfully put a cap on a woman he wanted to dance with.

The woman's boyfriend and some of his pals confronted Hardy-- who told them he did not understand Romanian-- right before the fight broke out.

Hardy was reportedly punched in the chin and hit the floor with his head.

He died shortly after undergoing surgery.

A Romanian news site said several of the men involved have ties to local mobsters.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of a fine young man who had his life cut short at such a young age while he was overseas doing something he loved," said Sacred Heart AD C. Donald Cook.

A preliminary autopsy showed a massive hemorrhage and broken skull.  At first, doctors initially thought Hardy was in an alcohol-related coma before his condition deteriorated and he was transferred to the hospital, according to a Giurgiu county hospital official.

"We are concerned by the violent circumstances surrounding the death of this U.S. citizen, and will pay close attention as the investigation progresses," the public diplomacy department of the U.S. Embassy said in a statement.

Derek Jeter Rekindling Romance With Minka Kelly

The thought of clomping around the halls of his St. Petersburg mansion all alone this winter must have gotten to Derek Jeter so the New York Yankees star flew down to Miami to meet with his ex-girlfriend actress Minka Kelly and try to patch things up.

According to the New York Post, the Yankees shortstop met with the "Charlie's Angels" star at Morgan's South Beach on Sunday and were spotted "laughing and having a fun breakfast together."

For Jeter, the sight of his sexy ex-flame has to wipe out the final image of the Yankees disappointing season-- Alex Rodriguez striking out against Jose Valverde.

"They met up to try and figure it out," a source told the the Post.  "They are trying to see what the future holds for them.  They may eventually get back together.  This was not some sort of final conversation and meeting between them."

Jeter and Kelly split up in August after three years as a couple.  She was last seen in Yankee Stadium, hanging with his family in a luxury suite, when Jeter got his historic 3,000th hit.

It had been reported that Kelly was getting cozy with her "Charlie's Angels" co-star Ramon Rodriguez-- but that talk has been dismissed by both parties.

"They are simply just friends," the Post reported. "There's nothing beyond that."

Last week, Rodriquez (R-Rod) hastily left before a television interview after a promo on the show mentioned the rumored romance with Kelly.  The show claims, " He didn't want to talk about his co-star and left before his segment was scheduled to air."

Sources told the Post that Jeter and Kelly split because she was spending more time in Miami filming the show while Jeter was battling through a slump and in the middle of the AL East division race.  They insist no other parties played a part in the breakup.

Jeter now has the whole winter to woo back his former-love and might have to hang around south Florida a lot more.

"Charlies Angels" isn't exactly a ratings blockbuster, but it's got better legs than Jorge Posada.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Giants Still Can't Find Cruz Control

Last week, New York Giants Victor Cruz "gave himself up" in a crucial play which led to a thrilling come-from-behind victory over the Arizona Cardinals.  Yesterday, the wide-out gave the ball up during a last minute play-- which led to a Seattle Seahawks pick-six score in a crushing 36-25 loss in the Meadowlands.

The unheralded Cruz ultimately controlled the outcome of yesterday's game by making spectacular tipped catches and then knocking a ball into the hands of the opponents as well.

It was Victor Cruz Bobble-Hands Day at MetLife Stadium yesterday.


The undrafted Cruz seems to have a real knack for making the big play.

The Giants trailed, 29-25, when  Giants QB Eli Manning connected on two consecutive passes of 41 and 19 yards to Cruz which set up a first-and-goal from the Seattle five-yard line with 1:27 left.  A false start by Will Beatty pushed the Giants back to the 10.

On the next play, Manning threw the ball to Cruz, who was in the vicinity of four-- count 'em-- Seattle defenders.  Cruz fell down and tipped the ball off the hands of strong-safety Kam Chancelor who bounced it into the waiting arms of cornerback Brandon Browner who raced 94 yards to put the game out of reach.

Manning's ill-advised throw broke up what could have been the third straight fourth-quarter come-back for the Giants.

Cruz had an All-Pro day after catching six passes in last week's win in Arizona.  The Paterson, N.J. native finished up yesterday's game with eight catches for a career-high 161  yards including an incredible 68-yard bobble-and-twist TD catch in double coverage.

Manning threw for a career high 420 yards and three TD's and kept the Giants in the game but also committed four turnovers.  It looked like the Eli of old when the Giants got into the red-zone.

Head coach Tom Coughlin pinned the blame on himself but also sat Manning in the corner.

"The sloppiness of the game, the turnovers... you're not going to win football games when you're handing people the ball," said Coughlin.

About Manning's poor decisions in the red zone, the coach was more direct.

"You can't throw an interception right there," he said  "You just can't do it."

Granted, two of Manning's INT's were deflected by his receivers into the hands of Seahawks players.  A constant rally-killer that seems to have been the bane of Manning's last couple of seasons.

Cruz is playing beyond any one's expectations this season and, when combined with Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham, gives the Giants a real 1-2-3 punch.  If only Cruz could control the ball more deftly.  For every acrobatic play, there seems to be a dangerous bobble or a fumble.

"As soon as I went to grip it [the ball], I got hit.  It bobbled up in the air," said Cruz of the last minute pick-six.  "I knew it was all downhill from there, because there were two guys there and I knew one of them was going to pick it off."

Browner's game-buster has to take a lot of the wind out of the Giants sails.

With the Philadelphia Eagles losing and the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins idle, the G-Men had a chance to take over sole possession of first place in the NFC East and put some distance between them and their rivals.  Too bad they couldn't pull another fourth quarter Houdini act.

The Giants finally found out what it's like to be on the losing end of a come-from-behind win and doing it in grand style has to sting a little more.

Seattle came into the game averaging a measly 254 yards per game but shredded the Giants defense for 424 yards-- half of them with their second-string QB Charlie Whitehurst at the controls.

Ironically, it's that same Giants defense which kept them in the game.  They registered six sacks and three interceptions.

Maybe the Giants modest win streak was a desert mirage.  The defense hasn't really played overly well during the past three weeks and the offense doesn't seem to catch fire until the fourth quarter.

Overcoming the St. Louis Rams, the Arizona Cardinals and a suspect Eagles team in the fourth quarter is exciting but not awe-inspiring.  The anemic Seahawks were supposed to be lumped in with that downtrodden bunch during the softest stretch of the Giants schedule but made the Giants look sloppy on their home turf.

Next week, the Giants host the confident Buffalo Bills, who are beginning to look like the real thing and got four Michael Vick picks of their own.

Manning, who last week said he wanted to get off to fast starts and avoid any last-minute heroics, will probably be spending a lot of time this week adjusting his Cruz control.