Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Brooklyn basketball tournament honoring Trayvon Martin gets under way

A basketball group in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn is trying to prevent a Trayvon Martin-like tragedy by promoting harmony and celebrate diversity in the neighborhood.

Activist Maurice Ballard launched the Trayvon Martin Basketball Tournament Saturday — and specifically set it in the racially-divided neighborhood where black teen Yusef Hawkins was killed by a white mob in 1989.

"Racism may never get cured," said Ballard. "But Bensonhurst is the place where we can start to make a difference."

On Saturday, kids came dressed in hoodies to mark Martin's death and to protest the acquittal of his killer, George Zimmerman just weeks after the hot-button verdict came in.

The tournament brings together over 300 kids from the tough Marlboro and Coney Island Houses each week for the round-robin tournament at Scarangella Park.

Winning isn’t everything — or even the only thing — at this tourney. The goal, said Ballard, is to bring together a diverse, yet still self-segregated, community that’s 34% Asians, 13% Latino, 1% black, and the rest white.

"This is really about keeping Trayvon's memory alive," he said.

Here's hoping everyone gets the important message —from the kids up to the adults.

The tournament will run Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays until Aug. 31.

Yankees bring out the A-List crowd at Dodger Stadium

What happens when you combine the Dodgers and Yankees — two of the most storied baseball franchises in history — with Tinseltown?  More high-wattage celebrities than your Ray-Bans can handle, that's what.

When the New Yorkers, with what recently seems like a B-List roster, invaded Dodger Stadium Tuesday night, there seemed to be more A-List stars sitting in the blue seats than strutting on your typical red carpet —  or at least a Lakers-Knicks game.

Chavez Ravine Tuesday was the place where big names from the world of sports, music and film got to chomp on Dodger Dogs and see up-and-coming Yasiel Puig and soon-to-be going Mariano Rivera  in the flesh.

Spotted in the stadium crowd were Rob Reiner, LL Cool J, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Jay-Z, Dodger legend Tommy LaSorda and team co-owner Magic Johnson. But the brightest Klieg was reserved for, who else, Jack Nicholson.

Not a B-Lister among the lot. Hooray for Hollywood.

Shawne Merriman blames being 'too damn heavy' for 'American Ninja' fail

Carrying 260 pounds on your frame works well if you are an NFL linebacker but — as a competitor on the "American Ninja Warrior" obstacle-course — it's better to be a little guy. And nobody knows that better than former NFL star Shawne Merriman.

Merriman knows from experience. The oft-injured former San Diego Chargers and Buffalo Bills linebacker recently appeared on the show and started off strong only to fail when it came time to negotiate the trampoline obstacle. 

"260 don't work on trampolines," Merriman says ... "My weight made the trampoline touch the ground."

The fit Merriman actually dropped pounds before the show and put together a pretty solid — if not tentative — run before tumbling into the water.

Merriman says if he's invited back next year, he GUARANTEES he'll finish the course.

Selig once posed with fan wearing ominous 'A*Roid' T-shirt

Get a load of this photo taken a few years ago of baseball commissioner Bud Selig posing with a fan wearing an "A*ROID" T-shirt. Taken four years ago at an All-Star game event —and recently posted by Deadspin — it makes you wonder if the commish was oblivious to the intended message or he was smiling because he had a plan knowing one day he would hold Alex Rodriguez's future in his hands.

As the day of reckoning nears — and Selig considers invoking his power as commissioner to keep A-Rod off the field, maybe forever — the photo becomes funny in a twisted sort of way.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Ossie Schectman, first player to score basket in NBA history, dies at age 94

Oscar "Ossie" Schectman, the former New York Knicks guard who scored the first basket in NBA history, died Tuesday. He was 94.

Schectman's son Peter confirmed his father's death, which was also announced by the Knicks and paid tribute by the NBA. Peter says his dad died of complications from respiratory failure.

Schectman scored the opening basket of a game in what was then known as the BAA on Nov. 1, 1946 for the Knicks against the Toronto Huskies.

Schectman was born in Queens, N.Y., and won two NIT titles as the point guard for Long Island University before turning pro. From Newsday's Al Iannazzone:

Schectman, a 6-foot guard played in the American Basketball League with the Philadelphia Sphas — whose nickname came from the South Philadelphia Hebrew Association — before the Knicks signed him in 1946 to play in the new Basketball Association of America, which later became the NBA. [...] Schectman played just one season and 54 games with the Knicks. He averaged 8.1 points and was third in the league with 2.0 assists.

Commissioner David Stern said Tuesday in a statement that Schectman was a "pioneer." The commissioner says, "Playing for the New York Knickerbockers in the 1946-47 season, Ossie scored the league's first basket, which placed him permanently in the annals of NBA history. On behalf of the entire NBA family, our condolences go out to Ossie's family."

Jay-Z team goes to bat for A-Rod

While Alex Rodriguez prepares to face the music in the looming Major League Baseball PED investigation, the beleaguered Yankees player has one famous friend singing the third baseman's praises — and it sounds like A-Rod is still OK with Jay-Z.

While A-Rod's suspension looks imminent, last week, according to The New York Post,  Jordan Siev, a lawyer for the rapper-turned-entertainment mogul-turned-sports agent's pop star wife, BeyoncĂ©, represented A-Rod in a telephone conference with Yankee executives.

On the call, Bomber General Manager Brian Cashman, President Randy Levine and Tampa-based trainer Tim Lentych discussed with Siev the time frame for A-Rod’s return to the team.  
Oddly, there was no union official or lawyer on the call, which took place the day after Rodriguez dispatched a tainted New Jersey doctor on a media tour to say he was healthy and ready to return to the field.
 Rodriguez told WFAN he brought Siev on to “make sure everything is documented.”
 “No more mix-ups.”
 Rodriguez is also using publicist Ron Berkowitz — whose Berk Communications represents Jay Z’s new Roc Nation Sports enterprise — as a spokesman.

Before anyone jumps to the conclusion that Jay-Z's sports agency Roc Nation — which was recently approved by MLB and the NBA — was looking to sign A-Rod, sources quickly squashed that notion.

The sources said that it’s not likely that Roc Nation is eager to sign Rodriguez at the moment, noting that his alleged doping issues will make it hard for him to attract sponsorships and he already has a longtime agent Dan Lozano

“Alex has been friends with Jay and Ron for years. It’s not unusual that they’d want to help or give advice where they can. But I don’t believe they are talking about signing him,” one source said.

“He already has a great agent.”

A-Rod and Jay Z have been kicking it together for a long time. They’ve teamed up for celebrity poker games and charity events and have sat courtside at Knick games. The rapper rode on the championship float with Rodriguez at the Yanks’ 2009 parade, and A-Rod  rang in the new year with Jay Z and BeyoncĂ© in 2011.

Yesterday, another A-Rod rep, attorney David Cornwell, told ESPN that Rodriguez’s camp is “focused’’ on appealing any suspension that Major League Baseball might hand down.

While Rodriguez waits for the MLB ball to drop, Jay-Z just wants to have his buddy's back. He knows A-Rod is going to need all the high-profile support he can muster.

Karate fight turns into weird dance performance (Video)

What if you went to a karate kumite and a performance art act broke out. Well, that's exactly what happens here when two young opponents face each other and end up dancing on the mat.

After they bow and the ref drops his hand, music fills the venue and the two geared-up fighters pantomime a comical fight to the delight of the crowd.

I don't know where this takes place but, from the music, I'd say somewhere in the Pacific Far-East.

These guys have skills.

Cameraman knows his priorities with female triple-jumper (Video)

The women's triple jump isn't exactly the marquee event at any track meet — not unless you're a cameraman who knows where his priorities lie.

This camera guy (gal?) kept his Sony focused on a female Slovenian track and field athlete's warm-up long enough to get his money shot — a successful three-step leap.

You both did good.

Guy gets miserable version of Ronda Rousey tattooed on arm

Ronda Rousey is the face of women's mixed martial arts and — besides being a champion UFC fighter and Olympic medalist — she's pretty easy on the eyes.

After she posed for ESPN's The Magazine’s Body Issue,  the nude cover shot of a smoking Rousey sent plenty of MMA fans' hearts aflutter.

Now, some devoted fan decided to have that image of Rousey from the Body Issue shoot tattooed on his freckled arm and, from the looks of it, the ink job doesn't do Rousey any justice. Instead of the hot, elbow-breaking queen of the octagon we have all come to love, the tattoo makes her look sort of miserable — in a "Les Miserables" sort of way.

In the tattoo, Rousey’s face is wider, her arms don't match and that expression. She looks more like Cosette — the little waif from Les Miz in the inked mugshot. Never mind the bread thief, Javert should hunt down that tattoo artist.

Getting inked with a portrait of the love of your life is fine — just get it right.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Two teen workers foil fast-food robbery and celebrate with a chest bump

An armed robber got more than he bargained for when he tried to rob a fast-food restaurant  — and got beaten up by two teenage workers.

Wearing an orange jacket, the man is captured on security cameras entering a branch of Wing Zone, in Atlanta, through a back door as the two young men are cleaning up.

At first they appear to ask him what he wants but within moments he pulls what appears to be a weapon and dashes for the cashiers office. The quick-thinking workers dive into the room before him, slamming the open door on his head before wrestling the bumbling criminal into a headlock and toss him out the back door.

After thumping the crook and throwing the guy out, the two teens celebrate with a chest bump worthy of an NFL score.

Dangerous, but still awesome.

Patriots experiment with helmet camera on quarterbacks

Whether it's Google Glass, iPhones or whatever the latest technological innovation is these days, miniature video cameras have made it easy to bring even the most obscure activity to your computer. NFL teams are now scrambling to figure out ways the new technologies can help them gain an advantage before the season starts.

While Rex Ryan is flipping a coin between Smith or Sanchez, Bill Belichick — one of the great NFL innovators over the past decade or so — has been utilizing the miniature technology with the New England Patriots by installing tiny cameras on the helmets of the quarterbacks during training camp for the past week or so —including Tom Brady.

"It's something we haven't done before so we'll take a look at it and see how effective it is or what we can get out of it," coach Bill Belichick said Sunday. "I'm not sure exactly how effective that will or won't be but it's something we're trying that's a little bit new. We'll see how it goes."

Probably thinking back to Spygate, that was all anyone got out of Belichick when questioned further about the use of the secret agent-type technology during camp.

Not surprisingly, the helmet cam provides an interesting perspective (think Go-Pro) that can give coaches insight into exactly what a quarterback is seeing as he goes through his pre-snap and post-snap motions. It sounds like a amazing tool to help rookie QBs adjust to reading pro defenses.

With aerial views, miked-up players and halftime locker room cams being mandated this season, why limit the little spy-cams to preseason practice?  How long before networks put these gizmos on position players' helmets for a true NFL experience during games?

Oops. Forgot about that whole XFL thing.

Puig's walkoff homer with bat toss and slide at plate a little too much? (VIDEO)

Los Angeles Dodgers rookie phenom Yasiel Puig is in the headlines again, this time after a walkoff homer in the 11th inning to top the Reds Sunday — meaning the Dodgers have won nine of 10 and continue to surge ahead in the NL West.

The home run is getting extra attention due to Puig's cocky bat flip and then slide into home plate. Lately, there seems to be a burgeoning movement of Puig haters out there.

 Here's the video, you be the judge.

Fan in McCovey Cove watches Giants game from towering sailboat mast

We've seen a lot of weird things appear in McCovey Cove during Giants games over the years — UFO boats and hotdog-selling kayaks — but at least this guy gets to see the game.

This fan perched himself on the top of the mast of his large schooner so he could get a crow's nest view of the goings on inside AT&T Park.

Guess he couldn't afford tickets.

Riot breaks out after SoCal surfing competition

A violent mob raged through the streets of Huntington Beach, Cal. after a surfing competition Sunday night — clashing with police, toppling portable toilets, brawling in the streets and apparently vandalizing and looting at least one business, according to police and witnesses.

The mob erupted among a crowd of thousands gathered for the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing, which includes surfing, skateboarding and BMX biking events.

The melee was sparked after a couple of brahs allegedly got into a fistfight in the downtown Main Street area.  

Police in riot gear made eight arrests on suspicion of failure to disperse, according to a Huntington Beach Police Department statement.

People in the mob strapped bandanas across their faces and threw rocks and bottles at police officers. Police reportedly fired back with pepper balls.

A video posted to Facebook showed a mob throwing a stop sign through a store window and making off with merchandise, including a bicycle. Police eventually got things under control.

When asked to describe the wild scene, most of the witnesses said, "They were like ...whoaaa ..."


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Rex Ryan poses with fan wearing 'This Team Makes Me Drink' T-shirt

Jets fans may have lost their hearts after the past couple of seasons but that doesn't mean they still can't find a little humor in their epic slide into Margaritaville. And the same goes for Rex Ryan it seems.

During a relaxing night on the town in Cortland, N.Y.,  following the second day of training camp, the Jets head coach and his staff ran into this fan wearing a Jets' green and white T-shirt with the words "This Team Makes Me Drink" emblazoned on the front.

The good-natured Ryan even posed for a photo with Joseph Grinwis — the T-shirt wearing fan who cautiously approached the coach to ask for the midnight shot.

Grinwis said he first saw Ryan ("had a water") in the Dark Horse Tavern and spoke with the head coach, telling him how much he loved the Jets. He said that Ryan was appreciative of his support and the effort he made to come up to training camp.

And even seemed fine with the bold T-shirt poking fun at his team.

“He looked at it and laughed,” Ginwis said. “He didn’t make a comment. He just laughed.”

Jeter homers on first pitch he sees during first game back with Yankees (VIDEO)

It didn't take long for Derek Jeter to test out that pesky quad strain and, as usual, he did it in grand style by homering on the first pitch he saw from the Rays Matt Moore on Sunday at Yankee Stadium.

Even fresh off the DL, the Captain still has a flair for big moments — just look back at his record during the playoffs and the game when he got his 3,000th hit. But on this Sunday, with thousands of forlorn Yankee fans' eyes focused on the returning Jeter, he did it again by lifting the ball over the right-center field fence just when the slumping team need it most.

Maybe it's that familiar introduction of No. 2 by Bob Sheppard that got him pumped, but Jeter did what no Yankee has done in the last 10 games and something no right-handed Yankee batter has done since June 25 — hit a home run.

After high-fives all over the dugout, Jeter even came out for an abbreviated curtain call.

The shortstop started for the first time since July 11, when he suffered a quadriceps strain in his only Major League game of the season after a broken ankle sidelined him for all of April, May and June.

Suddenly, things are fun and exciting again in the Bronx.

Matsui signs one-day contract and retires as a Yankee

Hideki Matsui signed a one-day minor-league contract with the New York Yankees early before Sunday's tribute honoring the popular former player with a Bobblehead Day against the Tampa Bay Rays. Shortly after, Matsui then signed his retirement papers during a pre-game ceremony on the field so he would retire as a New York Yankee.


The pre-game festivities included a video tribute to Godzilla on the Yankee Stadium center field video board, a ride in a golf cart down the third base line, and a matted and framed 2009 No. 55 Yankees jersey presented to Matsui by Derek Jeter. His mother and father joined the 2009 World Series MVP on the field. Matsui capped off the ceremony by throwing out the first pitch.

Matsui played 11 seasons in MLB, seven with New York. The left-handed slugger hit .282/.360/.462 with 175 home runs.

Yankee fans might be even happier than Matsui that he retired in pinstripes. He is still one class guy.

MLB suspensions likely to drop this week; A-Rod's could last until 2015: Report

Alex Rodriguez spent his birthday on the field of the Yankees’ minor league Tampa complex Saturday, taking small steps in yet another attempted comeback bid. You can probably guess what what the embattled New York Yankees third baseman was wishing for when he blew out the 38 candles.

After the fallout from Ryan Braun's sordid suspension, all indications lead to Major League Baseball announcing all of the suspensions in the Biogenesis case this week, including one that could keep A-Rod out the rest of this year and all of next season, according to The New York Post.

If it all goes according to MLB’s reported plan to announce the suspensions all 15-plus players facing sanctions in the performance-enhancing drug case, expect the hammer to drop hardest on the Yankees slugger. MLB went early — and somewhat easy — with Braun’s suspension because of his willingness to accept the penalty without appeal.

It is expected other players will do the same this week. To that end, Rodriguez’s representatives met with MLB officials in the past few days, reported The Post. It is believed A-Rod’s camp was trying to gain a better understanding of potential penalties. However, a member of Rodriguez’s team said yesterday it is “unequivocally untrue” that Rodriguez is seeking a settlement.

Gordon Beckham makes acrobatic breakdancing catch (VIDEO)

Who knew Gordon Beckham had a little B-Boy inside of him?  The Chicago White Sox second baseman back-peddled into right field to make this acrobatic circus catch topped off with a little head-spin thrown in at the end.

Now if he could do the same thing while doing a one-handed air flare, the Rock Steady Crew might come calling.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Jeter's secret sim game goes well, will be in Yankees lineup on Sunday

It sounds like Derek Jeter's top-secret simulated game went off without a hitch. According to reports, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he expects Jeter to be activated from the disabled list and in the Yankees lineup on Sunday.

Girardi revealed that Jeter played in the sim game today at the Richmond County Bank Ballpark on Staten Island at the same time that the Yankees were being shut out by the Tampa Bay Rays, 1-0, on Chris Archer’s two-hitter in the Bronx.

The ballpark is the home field of the Yankees' minor league affiliate the Staten Island Yankees.

Jeter’s whereabouts had been kept top secret by Girardi and the Yankees. He revealed Jeter's visit to Staten Island when asked at his post-game press conference at Yankee Stadium.

The 39-year-old captain tested his strained right quadriceps with eight at-bats against an unnamed Staten Island Yankees hurler, according to the Yankees manager.

He ran from first to third, from second to home, and if he feels OK on Sunday he will be in the lineup against Tampa Bay, said Girardi.

“If he comes in and feels good, he will play for us,” Girardi said. “It’s obviously someone we’ve been waiting for for a long time. We had him for one day and we won that game. Hopefully, that ratio continues.”

The Staten Island Yankees are scheduled to host the Brooklyn Cyclones Saturday night at 7.

There is no chance that Jeter will be in the Staten Island lineup.

Reggie Wayne arrives at Colts training camp in helicopter

Reggie Wayne sure know how to make an entrance.

The veteran Indianapolis Colts receiver decided that coming in a high-end luxury automobile just wasn't good enough, so he arrived to camp in a helicopter.

A little over the top but this was for a good cause, as he brought a guest from Riley Children's Hospital with him to camp on the helicopter.

Here's it is, from Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star:

[Yahoo! Sports]

Braylon Edwards: I can't wash the 'bad taste' of last season out of my mouth

Braylon Edwards is always good for a mouthful but when it comes to the New York Jets last season — less is better and just pass the double-strength Listerine.

“First and foremost, nobody sells mouthwash that could wash that taste out of my mouth from . . . last year,”  Edwards said Friday. “There was so much BS going on, it made you guys (the media) sick at the end of the day.”

Luckily for Edwards, last season he only played three games for the frustrating 6-10 Jets and only got a sip of the turmoil and not a Big Gulp-sized taste of the team's rancid play.

Edwards said there was so much going on with the Jets that it was a distraction from the goal at hand. 

“What’s going on with this guy, what’s going on with this situation?” the receiver said. “Is he in charge of the team, or is he in charge of the team? Whose team is it?”

However, the veteran wide receiver, who joined the Jets late in 2012 and has been a member of the team for less than three days this year, said he can already see a difference.

“That’s what I sense, I sense that everybody wants this organization to be better,” Edwards said. “I want to focus on: what can Braylon do to help the team?”

Annoying fan videobombs friend's camera time during Soriano introduction

A Yankees fan with a homemade sign welcoming back Alfonso Soriano —after a 10-year leave — had his big moment on the Jumbotron video-bombed by his annoying pal.

There was a nice welcome during the left fielder's intro before his first at-bat wearing pinstripes after his trade back to Yankee Stadium.  Picked out of the crowd by the TV booth was the guy holding the simple sign with the words "Welcome Back Soriano." He got some valuable face time on the big screen until his goofy bud stuck out his tongue and ruined the moment.

Soriano wasn't much better with his new friends on the Yankees roster.  He was 0-for-5 with a run scored and and RBI as the home team got trounced by the Rays, 10-6.


With friends like these.

Metta World Peace wants fans to pick new nickname

After word spread around the Internet that Metta World Peace might be changing his name again ahead of playing for the Knicks next season, the former St. John's star — where he was known as Ron Artest — took to his Twitter account to squash the idea.

“Don’t believe anyone who said I’m changing my name again,” World Peace tweeted. “I am letting fans give me a new nickname. I am not legally changing my name.”

World Peace also said he will be picking a nickname a fan suggests in a couple of weeks, and that fans could tell him what nickname by going to his website.

And, so far,  it sounds as if MWP likes what's what he's hearing.

World Peace is making his return to New York this fall as a member of the Knicks after agreeing to a two-year deal — the second year a player option — shortly after being amnestied by the Lakers this month.

How about The Artest Formally Known As Peace?

Encarnacion belts two homers in same inning, including grand slam (VIDEO)

Edwin Encarncaion had a game he will never forget on Friday night and made Toronto Blue Jays history when the All-Star became only the second player in their almost 37 year existence to hit two home runs in the same inning. 

Joe Carter was the first Jay to turn the trick in their regular season finale against the Baltimore Orioles back on October 3, 1993.

Encarnacion — the Jays' designated hitter — started off his inning with a solo homer leading off against Astros reliever Paul Clemens. Eight batters and three runs later, he found himself at the plate again, this time with the bases loaded, and he connected for a grand slam off Hector Ambriz. 

Encarnacion slowly chicken-winged it around the bases on his second blast.

The home runs were No. 27 and 28 on the season for Encarnacion as the Jays went on to a 12-6 victory.

Josh Phegley explains his mullet 'do: 'Nothing better than looking like an idiot'

They're calling it "Phegley Phever" on the South Side of Chicago. Josh Phegley is off to a fast start since his Major League debut earlier this month (he's hit safely in nine of his 12 starts with three homers and 10 RBIs). But the real highlight might be his hairdo — a mullet.

The game of baseball brings a lot of stress, especially at the highest level -- so Phegley uses the business up front, party in the back hairstyle to stay relaxed.  

"When you get upset, you need something to cool you off a little bit. [There's] nothing better than looking like an idiot and having fun with it," Phegley said.

Joe Dirt couldn't have put it better.

The White Sox catcher claims his hair is getting a little too long on top — so we're expecting a full-blown '92 Billy Ray Cyrus by the end of the season.

Jurgen Klinsmann banned from Gold Cup final against Panama

The U.S. soccer team will be missing a familiar figure for the Gold Cup final against Panama on Sunday — its coach.

Jurgen Klinsmann was suspended for one game Friday by CONCACAF's disciplinary committee, the result of his ejection in the 87th minute of a 3-1 victory against Honduras in the semifinals Wednesday. Klinsmann was dismissed "for showing dissent towards the referee by throwing the ball in a violent manner," the disciplinary committee found, and said FIFA rules require anyone ejected from a match to be suspended for the following game.

Klinsmann was apparently displeased with some aggressive play from the Honduras side late in Wednesday's match, leading to his ejection.

The decision cannot be appealed.

"I don't think it changes too much," U.S. captain DaMarcus Beasley said Friday. "It's always good to have him on the bench, but he'll give his wisdom before the game ... make sure we get off on the right foot. But it's not going to be the same, not seeing his face on the sideline, giving us instructions when we need it and being the enthusiastic person that he is on the bench. Especially when we score or he needs to tell us something if we need to change something."

Klinsmann flew off the handle Wednesday after the referee failed to issue cards on a series of hard fouls against the Americans. He could be seen yelling and gesturing angrily in the direction of the referee and was told to leave the field after he slammed a ball into the ground.

Klinsmann later apologized, saying he acted out of frustration.

Below is CONCACAF's full statement regarding the matter:

Following a review today by the CONCACAF Disciplinary Committee, in accordance with Article VI.1b of the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup Regulations, it was decided that United States national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has been suspended for one match. This decision was reached in accordance with Articles 18.4, 19.1, 19.2 and 20 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code.

Mr. Klinsmann was ejected from the technical area for showing dissent towards the referee by throwing the ball in a violent manner during the CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinal match against Honduras on July 24, 2013, in Arlington, Texas, USA.

His suspension will be served in the USA's next match, which is scheduled to take place on July 28, 2013, at the Gold Cup final in Chicago.

This decision cannot be appealed in accordance with the FIFA DC Art. 118.

Friday, July 26, 2013

O.J. to parole board: 'I've been the best prisoner they've ever had'

O.J. Simpson met with his parole board Thursday and pleaded to reduce his prison sentence after serving almost five years, telling them he deeply regretted robbing two sports memorabilia dealers in a Las Vegas hotel room.

"I just wish I never went to that room," he said. "I wish I just said keep it."

The 66-year-old was handed down a maximim 33-year sentence for kidnapping, armed robbery and other charges in relation to the 2008 incident.

He made an emotional plea to two Nevada parole board members via CCTV yesterday, saying he believes he has been a model inmate.

"I missed my two younger kids who worked hard getting through high school, I missed their college graduations. I missed my sister's funeral. I missed all the birthdays.

"I promised prison officials I would be the best prisoner they have ever had here, (and) I think, for the most part, I've kept my word on that."

The former NFL star and movie actor will learn in two weeks whether or not he will have his sentence reduced. If a majority of the seven-person parole board vote in his favor, he could be given a lesser sentence but will not be freed immediately from prison.

"My intent was not to rob from anybody. I knew both of these guys who had my stuff. I was a little upset with them, and I think I wasn't as civil as I should have been."

A final decision is expected next week.

The best chance for The Juice get cut loose early lies with a pending decision by a Las Vegas judge on whether to grant him a new trial based on claims that his trial lawyer botched his defense and had a conflict of interest in the case.

Jeter and Soriano hug it out at Yankee Stadium

After Friday's trade of Alfonso Soriano back to the Bronx was finalized, who was one of the first Yankees to hug it out with his old teammate? None other than the Captain himself —Derek Jeter.

Soriano will be in the starting lineup Friday night against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium.

See, you can go home again.

Dane De La Rosa finds injured bird in bullpen, nurses it back to health

Angels reliever Dane De La Rosa is used to getting saves in a game but never did he ever think he would make one without touching the mound.

During the third inning of Thursday's Angels-Athletics game, the right-hander discovered an injured bird in the visiting bullpen at Coliseum. Fearing for its health and safety, The Dude took matters into his own hands by grabbing the fowl and proceeded to carry it to the clubhouse where he aided in its recovery.

According to his Twitter account, De La Rosa named his new avian friend Randy and he turned out to be just fine:

This is one Angel that earned his own wings.

Rangers' farewell gift reunites Mariano Rivera with 'mentor'

Mariano Rivera's farewell tour has been a non-stop ceremony of memorable gift-giving.  The whimsical — a gold-record of "Enter Sandman" from the Indians — and the humorous — the Twins rocking chair made of broken bats —  but,  if you believe the soon to be retired closer,  it was a presentation from the Texas Rangers and his "mentor" that might have touched Rivera's heart the most.

On Thursday, the Rangers gave Rivera a cowboy hat, a pair of cowboy boots inscribed with the Yankees logo and a check for his foundation, but it was one of the men making the presentation former Yankees closer John Wetteland who made it a special day for the retiring pitcher.

“It was wonderful,” Rivera said. “It was great to see him. Him being my mentor when he was there with us, to see him again, it was great. We chat a little bit, talk about all those old times, moments.”

Wetteland who delayed a fishing trip to attend Thursday’s ceremony served as the Yankees’ closer in 1995-96, leading the American League with 43 saves and winning World Series MVP honors during the Yankees’ 1996 championship season.

“I wasn’t going to miss today, period,” Wetteland said. “That’s not going to happen. Obviously I love Mariano to death and there’s a lot of history there; a lot of great moments, a lot of neat things shared.”

He remembers Rivera being “hittable” as a starter in 1995, but once the young pitcher joined the bullpen the following season, Wetteland knew something special was happening. 

Not long after, Rivera developed his cut fastball — “The separator,” Wetteland called it. Wetteland told Rivera “not to get beat on your third-best pitch,” and that hasn’t been a problem since.

Asked how it felt to see Rivera blossom, Wetteland said, “Like what I set out to do, got done.”

“If you look back in retrospect, it becomes clear why we’re standing here so many years later,” Wetteland said. “I’ve never seen anybody pay such attention to detail when they’re young.

“He was even talking about it out there when we were kind of having a moment; he said that when he came in, there were already lots of ‘men’ in the bullpen and he felt like a little kid. I told him, ‘You never said a word, you just sat there. But you were always watching everybody.’ He said, ‘Yeah, I was taking in everything I could.’

“When you look back from where he started and the process of how Mariano Rivera not a scared kid, but a wide-eyed kid becomes arguably and far and away the greatest closer that ever lived, you can kind of see it now.”

While this summer of Yankees' injuries, struggles and the A-Rod scandal take its toll on fans, it's nice to know that Mariano Rivera is the gift that keep on giving.

Royals fans save Mike Moustakas from foul ball face-plant (VIDEO)

Mike Moustakas reached over a railing in pursuit of a Nick Markakis foul ball at Kauffman Stadium on Thursday. The third baseman could have suffered a nasty bump on the noggin, if not for the helpful hands of a group of loyal Royals fans who caught him as he tumbled into the stands.

Afterwards, there were sighs of relief and high-fives all around.

Moustakas and Markakis — sound like appetizers on a Greek menu.

USAF Airman throws down windmill dunk in fatigues and boots at USA Basketball Showcase (VIDEO)

At Thursday's USA Basketball Showcase in Las Vegas, the biggest dunk highlight didn't come from a group of NFL players that included Kyrie Irving, Anthony Davis, and Paul George. Instead, it came from Nathaniel Mills — a member of United States Air Force.

At one of the scrimmage's TV breaks, the Douglaston, Ga. native came onto the court in full uniform — camo-fatigues, combat boots, etc. — and pulled off a one-handed windmill dunk to the cheers of the crowd and NBA stars including Knicks All-Star Carmelo Anthony.

"You should see me without fatigues and without boots," the Airman told reporters after he took flight.

We believe it.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tim Hudson's wife thanks Mets' Eric Young Jr. for 'playing the game the right way' after freak play

Tim Hudson was the one laid up in the hospital with a possible career-ending broken ankle Thursday but it was Eric Young Jr. — the Mets player who unintentionally stepped on Hudson's ankle Wednesday night — who also got some words of encouragement from the Braves pitcher's wife, Kim.

Young was beside himself with guilt after being party to the gruesome injury, but took to Twitter on Thursday to voice his appreciation for those who had supported him.

@EYJr: "Thank you all for the kind words. I sincerely appreciate it. Continued prayers for a speedy recovery for Tim. Thank you again. #praying4Tim."

Kim Hudson responded to Young's tweet with her own kind words absolving him of any blame: 

"@EYJr Thank you for playing the game the right way. You're obviously one of the good guys. We appreciate you," she tweeted.

Earlier Thursday morning, Kim sent a similar tweet to the Mets.

"Cant say enough great things about the @Mets organization and the way they handled Tim's injury: players, medical team, security #grateful."

Ironically, Young was removed after the third inning of Thursday afternoon's game with pain in his right knee. Mets manager Terry Collins told reporters before the game that Young's leg had been "tweaked" after the freak play.

So he did need a little love.

Julie Hermann, Rutgers' new AD, reveals she is gay in university bio

New Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann has acknowledged she is gay in her official university biography on the  athletic department’s web site but says she wants to be judged solely on her ability as an AD.

"I'm really blessed to have a wonderful family, and we're excited to become part of the Rutgers community," Hermann told ESPN on Thursday.

The closing sentence of Hermann's 453-word bio on Rutgers' official website says: "Hermann and her partner Dr. Leslie Danehy are the proud parents of a seven-year-old son, Aidan."

Hermann is one of a few known athletic directors in Division I who has publicly acknowledged she is gay. She is one of only three current female ADs at the FBS level.

Danehy collaborated with Hermann in Hermann’s former position as the assistant athletic director at the University of Louisville, helping oversee part of that school’s L Care program, which provides counseling and career services for student athletes.

Danehy is self described on her company’s website -- Danehy & Associates -- as a “coach who can improve your ability to function at peak performance in both personal and professional situations.”

Before taking the Rutgers job, Hermann was an executive senior associate athletic director at Louisville for 15 years. Hermann's family information was not included on Louisville's official website.

Madison Square Garden gets eviction notice

The shot clock is winding down on the World's Most Famous Arena and Madison Square Garden has to move from its current spot above Penn Station to a new location within 10 years.

Despite public pleas from former New York Knicks stars Earl Monroe and Walt Frazier and celebrities like superfan Spike Lee, the City Council voted 47-1 in favor of the 10-year limit to the lease after MSG had requested to operate continually —although there is a puncher's chance it could be extended.

Council members and civic leaders want to move the New York City home to the Knicks and Rangers so Penn Station can be overhauled in a three-year, $1 billion renovation.

The current Garden opened in 1968 and has hosted many legendary concerts and boxing matches to go with its glorious hockey and basketball past but has recently had to duke it out with the slick new Barclays Center across the East River and heavy-fisted NYC  bureaucrats.

“Madison Square Garden will have to move, and I think this permit sends the message that that work needs to begin now,” City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said. “We need to make sure Penn Station becomes what we need it to be, a really 21st century grand entrance into the greatest city in the world, not ... what Sen. [Daniel] Moynihan or others historically described as a bunch of rat tunnels that lead people in and out of the city every day.”

Since the City Planning Department already approved the permit, the Council vote makes it final. It does not need a signoff from Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The Madison Square Garden Company predicted the arena has a “bright” future. “Madison Square Garden has operated at its current site for generations, and has been proud to bring New Yorkers some of the greatest and most iconic moments in sports and entertainment,” the company said in a statement Wednesday. “We now look forward to the reopening of the arena in fall 2013, following the completion of our historic, three-year, nearly billion-dollar transformation, which will ensure our future is as bright as our celebrated past.”

Seventh Avenue and 33rd Street will never be the same. Neither will Spike.

Yankee players don't want A-Rod 'circus' back in locker room: Report

It was only a matter of time before the frustration of injuries, the prospect of missing the playoffs and the Alex Rodriguez PED investigation and all the sordid details of his comeback came to a boil in the New York Yankees locker room — and now it has.

Publicly, A-Rod’s teammates have said the right things when asked about him. But privately, many Yankees players believe Rodriguez should suffer the consequences if he is found guilty of using PEDs and of lying about it.

And, as much as the Yankees need Alex Rodriguez’s bat back in the lineup, it seems the players in the Bombers’ clubhouse may have finally reached a breaking point when it comes to their controversial teammate.

One player told The New York Daily News that some of his frazzled Yankee teammates are hesitant to welcome A-Rod back on the roster.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, one Yankee said the nonstop A-Rod drama — which on Wednesday took a bizarre turn, as it was revealed that the third baseman got a second opinion on his injured left quad without the team’s knowledge — is becoming a distraction to a ball club that already has enough to worry about.

“Guys are just tired of it,” the player said. “The media circus that’s revolving around Alex is insane — and we haven’t even seen him. It just keeps going. It’s like a carousel that just keeps going around and around and around. At some point, it has to stop.
“I would like his bat in the lineup. We could obviously use it because the potential for some home runs would help us a lot. But with the circus that’s surrounding him right now, I don’t think anybody wants that.”

Publicly, A-Rod’s teammates have been vague, but supportive,  when asked about him — whether commenting on the quad injury that kept him from returning this week or his looming performance-enhancing drug suspension.

But it's beginning to sound like more than just a few Yankees players won't be sympathetic to A-Rod's plight if he is found guilty of the PED charges.

“When it’s all said and done, you’ll hear more than enough comments from the guys in here,” the player said. “You’ll be able to write it for weeks.”

Ryan Braun left his Brewers teammates to answer questions for him on Monday, bolting from Miller Park before Major League Baseball announced his suspension. It has been the same way for the Yankees, who have had to constantly answer for A-Rod, who hasn’t commented about his latest PED scandal, involving his reported links to the Biogenesis clinic, while rehabbing from hip surgery and taking a tour of the Yankees’ minor-league system.

"I don’t think he handled that the right way," added the player. "He adamantly denied it, and it turns out he was lying. It’s going to haunt him through his whole career. That’s something he’s going to have to deal with the rest of his life. If it turns out to be the same with Alex, they’ll both be in the same boat."

Daredevil dives from top of six-story building into marina (VIDEO)

A daredevil diver leaped from the top of a six-story building into a boat marina to the delight of cheering spectators below.

It's hard to know where this video was taken (a spring-break location is a good bet) but besides doing an amazing triple-gainer off the roof, the guy avoids landing on some docked boats below.

I'm sure Greg Louganis didn't start this way.

Freddie Freeman's foul-tip breaks camera at Citi Field

It sounds like bats and ankles weren't the only things being broken Wednesday night at Citi Field after Freddie Freeman inadvertently proved to be an destructive guest — after his foul-tip sailed backwards and smashed into the expensive behind-the-plate camera.

The Braves first baseman's wayward foul in the second-inning shattered the camera's lens cover and even Freeman had to cringe at the result of his at-bat.

Puig shows love for Ryu with dance and a 'noogie' (VIDEO)

What better way to celebrate an five-run lead in the bottom of the tenth inning than doing a little boogie with a brotherly show of affection on your teammate —the infamous noogie.

That's exactly what Yasiel Puig did last night during the waning moments of the Dodgers game against the Blue Jays.

Puig did the dugout hip-shake then walks over to Hyun-Jin Ryu and gives the pitcher a noogie through his cap. The head-rub forces Ryu to spit out his sunflower seeds.

Funny stuff.

50 Cent's Broadway Boxing promotion is a knockout

Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson has his sights set on moving into the sport of boxing as a promoter and on Wednesday night the rapper's SMS Promotions teamed up with DiBella Entertainment to stage the latest edition of New York City's longest boxing series — Broadway Boxing at midtown Manhattan's famed Roseland Ballroom. SMS is planning to partner with DiBella for future fight nights as well.

50 Cent and one of his fighters Emanuel DeJesus (6-0, 4 KOS)
who won a unanimous decision against Khalik Meminger
Wednesday's show boasted eight fight cards and the house was filled with guest boxers and celebrities.

In the featured bout, returning former world junior middleweight champion Yuri Foreman (31-2, 8 KOs) outpointed Jamaal Davis (14-10-1, 6 KOs) in an eight-round junior middleweight match-up. Foreman targeted a gaping cut over Davis' right eye to dominate the last few rounds and get the decision.

Foreman, the Belarus-born Israel native, held the WBA championship belt after losing the title in 2010 to Miguel Cotto, suffering a knee injury in the bout. After a two-year hiatus, Foreman is on the comeback trail after earlier success in his career showed promise.

Yuri Foreman continued his successful comeback
Davis, also 32, is a relative journeyman known for delivering tough challenges to more heralded fighters. According to an ESPN report, DiBella is bringing Foreman along slowly. Foreman has since relocated to Park Slope in Brooklyn, and is nearing completion of his studies to become a rabbi.

In the co-feature, non-stop puncher and super bantamweight Heather Hardy (6-0, KO) battered Seattle's Cassie Trost (1-2-1) to a stoppage victory. Trost was a bloody mess early in the fight as Hardy was relentless in her attack, ultimately putting Trost to a knee in the fourth round. The referee stopped it shortly after at 1:34 of the round, getting the popular Hardy her first knockout win.

Hardy (L) looked unbeatable

Up and coming Brooklyn light heavyweight Travis Peterkin (8-0, 4 KOs) carried overmatched middleweight Hector Hernandez, of Yuma, Ariz., the whole six-round distance with a unanimous decision.

The southpaw Peterkin could have gotten his opponent out of there in the early rounds, but the younger and stronger Peterkin seemed content to mix it up. Peterkin landed a straight left often, missing chances to follow it up as much as he could have, but he was still mighty impressive.

Undefeated Peterkin (R) continues to impress

From the quality of the bouts and and the cheers from the crowd, it looks like Fiddy is going to like the NYC fight game.

Photos by Tony Mangia

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A-Rod gets second opinion; MRI doesn't show quad strain

Alex Rodriguez thinks he’s healthy enough to play, as does a doctor who examined his MRI exam results, but the Yankees star still travelled to Tampa to rehab his quad injury Wednesday, while the team is set to continue their series in Texas.

The doctor who gave a second opinion on A-Rod’s Grade 1 quad strain Wednesday said that he appears to be healthy and there is no strain.

"He asked me to look at and I spent about 20 minutes going over it, particularly on the quadriceps muscle and to be perfectly honest I don’t see any type of injury there," Dr. Michael Gross chief of orthopedics at Hackensack Medical Center said in an interview on WFAN.

The Yankees third baseman, believing that the team is misrepresenting his quadriceps injury simply to collect insurance money, had the second opinion on his injury to confirm he is healthy.

"To be perfectly honest,'' Gross told WFAN host Mike Francesa, "I don't see any sort of injury there.''

Dr. Gross said that a strain of that level is sometimes difficult to decipher on an MRI, but he did talk to Rodriguez over the phone.

"I asked him if anything hurt and he said to me, 'No.' If there’s no pain to me then there’s no injury," Dr. Gross said.

"I asked him, do you think you're fit to play. And he said, '100-percent'"

Rodriguez, who's earning $28 million this season, was scheduled to be activated Monday for the first time this season after undergoing January hip surgery. Yet, the Yankees ordered him to undergo an MRI in New York where he was diagnosed with a Grade 1 strained quadriceps, keeping him sidelined at least another week to 10 days.

The Yankees have not determined whether they will attempt to send Rodriguez on another rehab assignment, but he is adamantly opposed to go on another 20-day assignment, according to a person close to Rodriguez but unauthorized to speak publicly.

Rodriguez's medical status has been an ongoing point of contention. When Rodriguez tweeted news he was cleared to begin a July rehab assignment, it elicited a profane response from general manager Brian Cashman. Club president Randy Levine has vehemently denied insinuations the club prefer he be declared physically unfit to play.

"We do want him back," Levine told USA TODAY Sports two days before Rodriguez's quad injury emerged. "We just want to make sure he's ready to come back. If he's healthy, he's coming back."

And the plot thickens.