Friday, May 31, 2013

Pete Rose raking in $1 million a year signing autographs in Las Vegas

Former Major League Baseball legend and sometime pariah Pete Rose — banned from the sport since 1989 — is still a star on the memorabilia circuit and has revealed he now earns more than $1million a year signing autographs in Las Vegas.

Rose has always made a buck throughout his career selling his signature to fans looking for a piece of Charlie Hustle, but since 2005 he has been a regular fixture signing at the Mirage Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip, when he now has his own memorabilia shop.

Since 2005, Rose claims to have spent several hours a day, for 15 to 25 days per month, 12 months of the year signing his name for money. Rose says he is happy to sign and pose for photos with anyone, provided they buy some of the memorabilia he and his business partners sell, including baseballs and photos ranging from $75 to $800. 

"I must say that what I do, and I don't mean to sound arrogant about this, but what I do, I think I'm the best at it," he told The Wall Street Journal.

Rose was a popular player for his hometown Cincinnati Reds from 1963 to 1986. He also managed the team from 1984 to 1989.

He is the all-time Major League leader in hits (4,256), games played (3,562), at-bats (14,053) and outs (10,328).

He won three World Series rings, three batting titles, one Most Valuable Player Award, two Gold Gloves, the Rookie of the Year Award, and also made 17 All-Star appearances at an unequaled five different positions.

Then in August 1989, three years after he retired as an active player, Rose agreed to permanent ineligibility from baseball amidst accusations that he gambled on baseball games while playing for and managing the Reds, including claims that he bet on his own team.

After years of public denial, Rose admitted in 2004 to betting on baseball and on, but not against, the Reds. 

The still admired 71-year-old remains hopeful that one day he will be re-instated, but his election to the Hall of Fame remains a contentious one throughout baseball.

Rose's foray into reality TV wasn't a hit after his TLC series, Pete Rose: Hits and Mrs. — a show he co-starred with his much younger former-Playboy model wife Kiana Kim and her two kids — ground out and was recently cancelled.

Still, it sounds like baseball is very good to Rose.

Mets pitcher Collin McHugh makes Twitter joke after sweep of Yankees

Collin McHugh, the young righthander who is scheduled to make his first start of the season for the New York Mets on Saturday, rubbed a little salt into the already wounded New York Yankees after his team took all four games of the Subway Series this weekend.

McHugh — who didn't even get to look at a Yankee player from the mound during the unbelievable sweep — did all of his bragging on his Twitter account.

“You can call us the NYC Sanitation Dept. because we just SWEPT the yankees from Queens to the Bronx,” McHugh tweeted (@Collin_McHugh) after the game. The tweet appeared to be deleted shortly after.

For the reeling Yankees, it looks like their unfathomable run with a bunch of scrappy fill-ins could have run its course. Hopefully, the cavalry bugles will bleat this weekend against the Boston Red Sox when Kevin Youkilis and Mark Teixeira come back to Yankee Stadium.

Coughlin steamed at Hakeem Nicks' mysterious no-show

Tom Coughlin's ruddy face seemed just a little redder than usual on Thursday. And it had nothing to do with the 90-plus degree temperatures heating up the air around the New York Giants practice.

The Giants coach was steaming from the inside after his wideout Hakeem Nicks missed another OTA session without any explanation.  The big-play receiver was once again a no-show at the Giants' voluntary offseason training program — as he has been for the last two weeks — after telling Coughlin  he would be there.

"At one point, Hakeem told me that he was going to be here, and then he was not here," the head coach said. "Now, the strictest interpretation, as everybody knows, is it’s a voluntary program."

Coughlin knows he can’t make anyone attend a round of training sessions that are not mandatory. But Nicks’ absence, he said, is frustrating. He said he was "certainly" disappointed in the receiver’s unkept promise to be there.

"It’d be great to have all of our guys working and feeling good about the progress we’re making, and that type of thing," an annoyed Coughlin said. "That’s just from a coach’s perspective. You deal with some of this, pretty much on a yearly basis. And it’s a product of our system and that’s the way it is. I can complain all I want, but nevertheless, it is our system."

Voluntary means the Giants can't force a monetary penalty on anyone for missing the OTAs but when a player can't make a practice, they usually inform the coaching staff.

The 25-year-old Nicks has not been in touch with anyone in the Giants organization and has not released an explanation for his disappearance.

The absences are not believed to be tied to any contract disputes (which expires at the end of the season) although sources have speculated that maybe Nicks is dealing with a personal issue.

"I'm not saying anything," said Peter Shaffer, Nicks' agent. "I'm not being rude. I'm not saying anything and Mr. Nicks is not saying anything. Everyone's good, Hakeem's good."

Everyone doesn't seem to include Coughlin.

Curtis Granderson will donate $5 million to new University of Illinois-Chicago baseball stadium

University of Illinois trustees got a lot more than they expected when Curtis Granderson attached his name to building a new baseball stadium at UI-Chicago back in February—about $5 million more.

The New York Yankees centerfielder— who had his jersey retired at his alma mater when he announced he would help build the new stadium is generously donating $5 million of the $7 million needed to complete the project in a plan approved by the university's trustees this week.

In return, the new open-air, brick and stone stadium which will seat 1,200 is attaching Granderson's  name to the front gate. It is going to be named Curtis Granderson Stadium in honor of the ballplayer.

To put Grandy's gesture into perspective, that's  one-third of the $15 million he'll make this season, part of a $32 million contract he signed in 2008. Granderson, who is currently on the disabled list after breaking a knuckle in his pinkie, will be a free agent after this year.

The stadium is expected to open in 2015. The plan calls for using the field for Flames games and events for Chicago Public Schools and youth organizations.

Way to give back, Grandy Man.

NYC teen wins Scripps National Spelling Bee with the word K-N-A-I-D-E-L

The fourth time was a charm for a Queens, N.Y. eighth-grader who won the top prize at the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday night.

Arvind Mahankali spelled out the word "K-N-A-I-D-E-L" — a tricky German-Yiddish word that means matzo dumpling — to win top honors after finishing in third place the past two years at the Super Bowl of spelling bee competitions.

The 13-year-old Mahankali — who had been eliminated by German words the past two years. "Schwannoma," meaning tumor of the nerve sheath, knocked him out in 2012, and "jugendstil," meaning artistic style, was his downfall in 2011.

This year, a word meaning a ball of boiled dough — and the $30,000 in cash and prizes that comes with it— will taste pretty sweet to Mahankali. He is the first boy to win the brain-teasing contest since 2008.

This year, the aspiring physicist managed to spell out obscure words like "eretic, "dehnstufe" and "chalumeau" during 16 rounds of the high pressure contest.

The triumphant teen said he was pulling an Elway and hanging up his dictionary for other pursuits — like getting ready to attend the prestigious Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan next year.

"It means I'm retiring on a good note," said the modest eighth-grader from Bayside's Middle School 74 in Queens. "Maybe I'll be excited tomorrow morning after I realize this has happened."

All I can say is thank the omniscient for spellcheck.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

BASE jumper makes 23,000 foot high leap off Mt. Everest

An extreme sports BASE jumper wasn't happy with just leaping from the usual buildings, antennas, spans and earth locations so he found a spot that has to be the highest point on the globe to set a world record for the highest BASE jump of all-time— Mt. Everest.

Why? Because it's there.

Russian daredevil Valery Rozov jumped 23,687 feet from Everest's north peak on the Chinese side of the summit to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the ascent of the world's tallest mountain.

The 48-year-old 's wild stunt took two years of planning and training, four days of climbing but only about 60 seconds to glide down four miles to the icy Rongbuk glacier below.

Rozov's feat was sponsored by Red Bull. He achieved the record with the help of four Sherpas climbers who trekked with him to the perilous peak.  It took the veteran jumper — with over 10,000 jumps in his career — almost two years to design the customized wingsuit to help protect him from free-fall speeds as fast as 125 mph and temperatures that could freeze him in mid-glide.

Rozov has cheated death before. In 2009, the Russian leaped into an active volcano on the Kamchatka Peninsula in his country’s Far East.

I'm guessing nobody told him about the 29,000 foot peak on the south side of Everest.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tortorella fired as New York Rangers head coach

New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that head coach John Tortorella has been relieved of his coaching duties with the team.

A conference call to officially announce the firing of the controversial and rough-edged coach will be held at 2:15 pm Wednesday afternoon, according to SNY.

Rumors of Tortorella being fired had been floating around Madison Square Garden ever since the Rangers disappointing 2013 season ended and they intensified when the team was bounced from the playoffs by the Boston Bruins over the weekend. He still has one year left on his contract.

Under Tortorella’s guidance, the Rangers posted their second most wins all-time in a single season with 51, and tied for second in franchise history with 109 points in 2011-12.  He became the 30th coach in NHL history to coach 800 games on March 27, 2012, at Minnesota (3-2 win), and won his 100th game as Rangers Head Coach with a 5-3 win on November 5, 2011, vs. Montreal.  On March 26, 2013, Tortorella became the 30th head coach in league history to register his 400th NHL coaching victory, with a 5-2 win at Philadelphia. He also passed Tom Renney for fourth on the Rangers’ all-time coaching wins list with a 3-2 shootout victory on April 10, 2013 vs. Toronto.
Tortorella was named the 34th head coach in franchise history on February 23, 2009.  He ranks first on the NHL’s all-time wins list among U.S.-born coaches with 410 career victories, having passed Peter Laviolette with a 4-3 shootout win at Montreal on March 17, 2009.
Prior to returning to the Rangers, Tortorella served as Head Coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning for seven seasons.  Under his guidance, Tampa Bay compiled a 239-222-36-38 record in 535 games.  He led the Lightning to four consecutive Stanley Cup Playoff appearances, including two Southeast Division Championships in 2002-03 and 2003-04.  In 2003-04, Tortorella guided Tampa Bay to a franchise record 46 wins and 106 points, and went on to capture the only Stanley Cup Championship in franchise history.  He was awarded the Jack Adams Award as the National Hockey League’s top coach following that season.

Never known to be a player's coach, Torts was criticized during the 2013 playoffs for his public scolding of players, his demanding style of coaching and his curt and profane press conferences.

Rumors have Jim Schoenfeld or Lindy Ruff as the frontrunners for the vacant position.

David Wright home run hug with fan becomes heartwarming viral hit

David Wright is one of the few bright spots on a dismal New York Mets team so far this season and knows it takes more than just any casual fan to come out and cheer the orange and blue out at Citi Field. During Monday's 2-1 victory over the New York Yankees, the Mets' third baseman heard the constant encouragement of one young fan to hit a home run throughout the game and it ended up with Wright making both of their nights a lot brighter.

After six fruitless innings, Wright jacked a seventh-inning solo shot into the stands and, after the game, the slugger sought out the voice who had pushed him.

Wright figured he would get a fist bump or a high five but had no idea the meeting was about to turn into a bro hug that would go viral and turn into something bigger than he ever imagined.

“He wasn’t having it,” Wright said with a laugh Tuesday. “He went in for the full-on hug. He was really excited.”

The video — caught by SNY cameras of the unwitting Wright — filmed the boy grabbing and hugging Wright after the game.

Wright said he had no idea who the boy was and the Mets were trying to identify him through his seats, but were unable to do so before Tuesday’s game.

“I never caught his name,” said Wright, who had no idea that the video had gained wide attention on the Internet when he came to Citi Field Tuesday afternoon for the second Subway Series game.

Wright said the boy had been yelling, “You’re gonna hit a home run,” to him every time he got into the on-deck circle. Wright smiled back and said he’d try. In the seventh, Wright homered off Phil Hughes and, as he rounded third base, he remembered the boy.

“I was going to give him five after I scored, but he wasn’t there,” Wright said.

Wright sounded pleased that by taking a few seconds of a his time could show a different side to sports and the athletes who play them.

“Sometimes, and probably rightly so, some people view us as robotic,” Wright said. “There is not a lot of interaction with fans. In the middle of the game it is hard to interact, so when you see something like the Matt Kemp video, that was cool. Any time you see stuff like that, like LeBron (James) tackling the guy at midcourt after he hit that halfcourt shot. That’s cool.”

Fan in underwear helps team score goal, then gets beat up by players

The first rule of streaking a soccer match is you don't wear anything but shoes.  The second one — don't interrupt the game when a team is about to score.

Those are the two rules this butthead in his black undies broke when he ran on to the pitch during a match between HJK and ROPS on Sunday.

The idiot runs onto the field just as the home team, HJK, is attacking the goal from the right corner. As you can see in he video, the team scored — but the defense argued that play should have stopped. The goal was disallowed.

The best thing about this video is the angry Finnish soccer players beating the tar out of the guy and holding him for security.

Mariano Rivera throws out first pitch at Citi Field, then last pitch in loss

The New York Mets made Mariano Rivera's last Subway Series appearance at Citi Field one of his most memorable. That is unless you don't include his presumed appearance in this summer's All-Star Game where he will be feted by Major League Baseball inside the same Flushing ballpark.

The legendary New York Yankees closer announced he would be retiring following the 2013 season. So the Mets — never ones not to remind their fans of what they don't have — asked the future Hall of Famer a few hours before Tuesday night's game if Rivera would honor his crosstown rivals by throwing out the fist pitch. In an honor usually reserved for everyone from heroic soldiers and retired players down the list to Hooters girls, the Sandman accepted.

After a 91-minute rain delay. Mo tossed to the ball into the mitt of Mets' Hall of Famer John Franco before a riveting pitching duel between seasoned vet Hiroki Kuroda and young phenom Matt Harvey. It might have been the only pitch Rivera wishes he threw last night.

Rivera entered the game in the bottom of the ninth inning with the Yankees leading, 1-0. Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy led off the inning with an opposite-field, ground-rule double down the left-field line. David Wright followed with a line-drive single up the middle that scored Murphy while Wright took second on a play at the plate. Then, outfielder Lucas Duda lifted a single into right to drive in Wright with the winning run.

In a night that started pleasantly enough with a party for Rivera — including being presented with a fire hose nozzle for being the "ultimate fireman" —  it ended with him watching with head down from the mound as the Mets celebrated a walk-off win.

As usual, Rivera took the 2-1 loss and his first blown save in 19 tries this season with a dose of humility and humor.

"What can I say?" he said afterwards. "It was a great game until I got into the game."

Just another reason rival teams don't mind honoring the all-time saves leader.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Women's groups might KO the MMA in New York because of sex scandal: Report

Women's groups long-opposed to the controversial sport of Mixed Martial Arts and called it "barbaric" and "sexist" are now twisting arms in order to continue the ban of pro-MMA in New York state.  The drive to legalize the sport in New York may become a casualty of a state politician's sex harassment scandal against eight women and a secret payment to make it go away, according to The New York Daily News.

According to The News, women's groups and legislators are upset at NY Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver for his mishandling of the sexual harassment complaints against Vito Lopez. Lopez is the disgraced Brooklyn politician who resigned from the Assembly last week after two investigations accused him of inappropriate conduct towards eight female staffers.

Silver was faulted by women who discovered the Manhattan speaker had signed off on a secret $103,000 settlement with two of the accusers rather than refer their complaints to an ethics committee, as is required by Assembly bylaws.

New York still remains only one of two states — Connecticut is the other — that ban professional MMA within its borders. The state Senate has repeatedly voted to legalize the sport, only to see the legislation die in the Democratic-controlled Assembly.

Silver had opposed the MMA in New York for years, but finally admitted bringing the sport to the state was "inevitable" — if only for the revenue it would generate. For a while it looked like MMA had won the second round.

Now, the legislation to legalize the sport may be in jeopardy because of the concern by female legislators. A source close to Silver said passing the law would only inflame the women's groups and increase tensions that have come forward since the scandal.

"I don't think this is the year," said the source. " I think it's unlikely."

Silver is expected to discuss the matter with his Democratic members next week. “The question is does he do what he did last year or does he play it straight?” said one MMA supporter.

One factor may be that opponents of the sport feel more strongly about the issue than supporters, sources said. Some of those opponents are close to Silver, such as Assemblywoman Deborah Glick of Manhattan.

Assembly bill sponsor Francisco Moya (D-Queens) acknowledged that MMA has “become an issue that’s raised real concern among the female legislators.”

But promoters of the sport seemed to be making headway this year in getting New York to lift its ban, especially after Gov. Cuomo said in March that “It’s something we’re looking at as a possible source of revenue.”

Silver is expected to discuss the matter with his Democratic members next week. “The question is does he do what he did last year or does he play it straight?” said one MMA supporter.

It's been a long and upward battle in an attempt to get the predominately male fan-based, professional MMA in the state of New York. Ironically, it may ultimately fall into a handful of women to make MMA tap out.

Tiger and Lindsey jet ski with his kids on Memorial Day vacation

Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn continued putting a family-friendly veneer on their relationship as they treated his children to a jet skiing outing while on vacation Monday.

The couple was spotted jet skiing around a lake in Jupiter, Florida, with Woods' four-year-old son Charlie and five-year-old daughter Sam in on the sun and fun. Vonn is the one wearing a skimpy bikini featuring a black bottom and a blue top and dark pair of sunglasses.

The 37-year-old top ranked golfer in the world cruised around the lake with Sam, while Lindsey and Charlie followed on their own jet ski during the Memorial Day outing.

The couple recently were spotted picking up Tiger's children from school in North Palm Beach, Florida in their latest showing of family bonding and the coziness between Tiger's new girlfriend and her kids has angered his ex-wife Elin Nordegren.

She reportedly was furious after photos emerged showing her cheating ex-husband and ski star girlfriend out on his 61-foot yacht, Solitude, with the children.

The former couple allegedly have a clause in their 2010 divorce agreement that they would keep the children away from future partners and out of the press.

Woods’ apparent breech of that agreement has prompted Elin to order her attorneys to find out if the outing on his yacht is grounds for an injunction, according to the National Enquirer.

Maybe she should just be satisfied with her million-dollar settlement and the smiles on the kids' faces.

On the sports front,  it looks like Vonn's knee is coming along just fine.

Brett Gardner's leaping catch robs Daniel Murphy of a home run

Daniel Murphy was certain he had given the New York Mets a 2-1 lead in Game 1 of the Subway Series against the New York Yankees Monday night. That was until Brett Gardner leaped up over the left center wall at Citi Field and robbed him of what looked like a sure-fire sixth-inning, two-run homer.

Two innings later, Murphy would exact revenge and hit a line-drive single to center off Dave Robertson to snap a 1-1 tie — and give the Mets a 2-1 lead.  Murphy was so thrilled about the clutch single he tomahawked his bat into the turf on the way to first base.

Murphy's hit helped the struggling Mets eke out a 2-1 victory over their NYC rivals and draw first blood in the four-game series.

Still, Gardner's phenomenal grab is something worth seeing again.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Robbie Rogers makes history as first openly gay male player in U.S. pro team sports

Usually making your debut in the 77th minute of 4-0 soccer match doesn't merit much fanfare but when you are Robbie Rogers — and making the unprecedented appearance on the pitch as the first openly gay man playing in a U.S. professional team sports league —  there was no way to prepare yourself on what to expect.

During Sunday's game against the Seattle Sounders, Rogers debut with the Los Angeles Galaxy was all he hoped for and more.

As Rogers' longshot wish to play in the MSL, after coming out as gay and walking away from the game, was granted he was received with rousing cheers and applause as he trotted out onto the field. 

"I guess this is a historic thing, but for me it was just a soccer game," Rogers said. 

Rogers announced his return to soccer  on Friday. The 26-year-old had retired in February after making his sexual orientation public.

On Saturday, the Galaxy announced they had acquired Rogers in a trade with the Chicago Fire. Rogers had been training with the Galaxy for several weeks and remained in close contact with Landon Donovan while retired.

"Because of the nature of the way sports has been for so many years — the macho culture that's been embraced by everybody — it's of interest to everybody," Donovan said. "Now, hopefully, the hype about it is over and he can get back to being a soccer player, which is what he wants to do."

After the match, Rogers tweeted about the ground-breaking 13 minute shift.

Rogers said the Galaxy's next stretch of games will provide a good barometer for his conditioning.

"I came into a situation where we were winning pretty heavily, so it's not an accurate test," Rogers said in a postgame interview. "The next few weeks will be the real test to see where I'm at."

Led by forward Robbie Keane's hat trick, the Galaxy beat the Sounders, 4-0, and scored a bigger victory off the pitch as well.

Chalmers uses Hibbert's head to save ball from going out of bounds

It's been a rough Eastern Conference Finals playoff series so far for Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert. So far against the Miami Heat, Hibbert has been benched in crunch time and kneed in the groin. In the third quarter of Game 3 on Sunday, Mario Chalmers used Hibbert's head to save the ball from going out of bounds by intentionally bouncing it off of his opponent's melon.

It looked like a schoolyard game of dodgeball bombardment.

It got even worse for Hibbert as the Heat went on to easily beat the Pacers, 114-96, for a 2-1 lead in the series.

Remember, if you can dodge a wrench ...

Sunday, May 26, 2013

NFLPA to investigate Roc Nation's recruitment of Geno Smith

The NFL Players Association is taking a look into Jay-Z’s role in Geno Smith’s decision to choose Kim Miale and the rap star's ever expanding Roc Nation as his agency, according to

Jay-Z's possible involvement in Smith’s decision could be a violation of the “runner rule” that doesn’t allow non-agents to help recruit athletes for agencies. Smith spent time with Jay-Z, as evidenced at least by an Instagram picture the Jets quarterback posted of him with the musician.

It sounds like 99 Problems should be the rookie quarterback's theme song.  Nothing Smith has said or done, since being the Jets' second-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, hasn't seemed like anything but trouble for the 22-year-old.

The NFLPA plans to send a letter of inquiry to Miale to determine Jay-Z’s role during the process, according to the report. Smith fired his former agents after he dropped to the 39th overall pick in the draft.

Phone records, emails, and other documents could be sought to confirm the things that potential witnesses may say, given the strong incentive to conceal any evidence of recruiting by Jay-Z. Interviews could be conducted of Smith, Miale, Thornton, Jay-Z, and others with knowledge of the situation.

The biggest problem for the NFLPA could come from its lack of jurisdiction over Jay-Z.  While the union can take action against Miale, the NFLPA can do nothing to Jay-Z or anyone else who doesn’t fall under the union’s regulatory umbrella.  Indeed, the NFLPA lacks the power to compel Jay-Z or anyone else not certified by the NFLPA to cooperate.

Smith’s former adviser, John Thornton, was quoted by CBS recently saying, "I was in those meetings, and Jay-Z connected with him on many levels." Thornton later said he was misquoted.

Smith announced on Wednesday that he decided to choose Roc Nation. 

Roving packs of German soccer fans brawl on London streets (VIDEO)

A video of roving bands of German soccer fans brawling in the streets of London before Saturday's UEFA Champions league finals at Wembley Stadium was posted on YouTube.  The frightening footage shows hundreds of fans of Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich clashing. The misanthropes tossed chairs and bottles before squaring off in isolated fights where they kicked and punched each other while chanting team songs.

Real soccer fans around the world can't be too happy with this.

Luckily, even the pre-game hooliganism couldn't over shadow a brilliant soccer match.  Arjen Robben, the Dutch wing who had been roundly criticized for struggling in the biggest moments, scored the decisive goal for Bayern in the 89th minute — lifting his team to a 2-1 victory over Borussia in front of a crowd announced at 86,298.

Brandon McCarthy's tweet is 'helpful' with hilarious BP playlist

Brandon McCarthy is known as one of baseball's most entertaining Twitter users but the Arizona Diamondbacks righthander might have taken the art of tweeting to a new high — or new low — with his list of songs to be played during batting practice. To call the list esoteric would be too easy.

Among the funnier prank requests on McCarthy's official list to "Patrick or Casey"are:

  • "Jingle Bells — Bobcat Goldthwait does Christmas"
  • "A six minute recording of [Trevor] Cahill breathing through his nose"
  • "Happy Birthday — sung by Lindsay Lohan impersonating Marilyn Monroe"
  • "A Dane Cook comedy album on mute"
  • "1 long John Goodman fart

To the D-Backs' DJ — have fun with that.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Rogers signs with L.A. Galaxy as first openly gay male to compete in U.S. pro sports

Three months after coming out as gay and stepping away from the soccer pitch, midfielder Robbie Rogers has signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy, reports USA Today. Rogers will be the first active openly gay player in Major League Soccer and to compete in U.S. professional sports.

Rogers also hopes to play for the U.S. national team during the 2014 World Cup.

The 26-year-old winger had a change of heart after he gave a speech to about 500 kids at an LGBT forum in April.

"I seriously felt like a coward," Rogers said. "These kids are standing up for themselves and changing the world, and I'm 25, I have a platform and a voice to be a role model. How much of a coward was I to not step up to the plate?"

In February, Rogers shared on his website that it was time to step away and discover himself away from his sport.

"For the past 25 (years) I have been afraid, afraid to show whom I really was because of fear. Fear that judgment and rejection would hold me back from my dreams and aspirations," Rogers wrote. "Fear that my loved ones would be farthest from me if they knew my secret. Fear that my secret would get in the way of my dreams."

Since then, NBA player Jason Collins has publicly shared his sexuality through a Sports Illustrated story which opened up the conversation of openly gay men competing in professional sports.

Rogers says he got a call from the veteran center the afternoon after Collins released his story.

"[He] just wanted to see how the process had been like for me with media and the attention," Rogers said. "I just tried to give him as much advice as I could. He seems like such a nice guy." 

Mets' Harvey scores another 'V' with SI swimsuit model

Maybe the New York Mets can't put enough runs on the board for Matt Harvey during the game, but at least the team's ace is scoring big time off the mound on his own.

The Mets' undefeated pitcher was spotted picking up another "V" Thursday night at Madison Square Garden during the Rangers playoff win against the Boston Bruins — that's V as in Anne V.—  the supermodel.

Harvey, a Connecticut-born, die-hard Rangers fan, first met the Sport Illustrated swimsuit beauty after they watched the Rangers' win at the Garden on May 6.

“A @NYRangers win,” he tweeted “Riding the elevator out of the garden with the beautiful @AnnV.”

Harvey, who is 5-0 and one of the Mets' only bright spots in his first full major-league season, managed to get Anne’s phone number a short time later. They’ve been dating ever since, according to Us Weekly magazine.

The 24-year-old Harvey gave forlorn Mets fans a reason to dream when he was named National League pitcher of the month in April.

The 27-year-old Russian-born model, whose full name is Anne Vyalitsina, is more recognizable for a win streak of her own — nine straight appearances in the annual Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

She has previously been linked to singer-songwriters Adam Levine and Calvin Harris and actor Alexander Skarsgar.

It didn't take long for Harvey to discover one of the best fringe benefits of playing for the Mets in NYC — supermodels.

Paul George posterizes Chris Anderson and LeBron approves

Paul George laid down a ferocious fourth-quarter dunk over Chris Anderson Friday night leading the Indiana Pacers to a stunning 97-93 victory over the Miami Heat.

The posterizing jam even got a low-five from LeBron James who chased George down and gave him some respect after crashing the Birdman under the rim.

"I got you back, young fella," James told the rising superstar.

It's hard to say what's more impressive — George's slam or the James' hand.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Monaco Grand Prix racers unveil some cool helmet art

Even if you're not a big fan of European Formula One racing— and Monte Carlo to you might mean a type of sandwich or a Chevy — you've got to admit these crash helmets are pretty cool.

As racers gear up for Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix, a host of drivers unveiled their elaborately decorated helmets for the world-class race on the Monte Carlo track.

World champion Sebastian Vettel features a bikini-clad blond on the back of his bucket and pays homage to Stirling Moss's 1961 victory on the front. Lewis Hamilton's ornate lid features his girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger and pet dog Roscoe.

Writing in his column for the BBC, Hamilton, who is among the favorites this weekend, added, "I like to do something special with my helmet design for Monaco. It has got me, Nicole and my dog Roscoe cruising in an old convertible.

"A guy called Jason at JLF Designs has been doing my designs since I was in karts. We come up with lots of different concepts. This year I took an idea from the guy who did one of my tattoos."

Fernando Alonso has his 32 grand prix victories entwined in a jigsaw design. You can bet he's looking for another piece to the puzzle.

Soccer player celebrates goal by removing shorts and giving crowd a lewd show (VIDEO)

A Macedonian soccer player who plays for Muangthong United FC in the Thai Premier League was so proud of the goal he scored he decided to celebrate by giving the crowd a little peep show.

In the 35th minute of a game against TOT Sport Club, midfielder Mario Gjurovski celebrated a goal by removing his shorts and putting them on his head while he taunted fans in the crowd with hip-thrusting movements.

One problem. Gjurovski already had a yellow card and this infraction earned him a red card which resulted in an ejection. He forlornly walked off the pitch with his shorts still around his knees.

Gjurovski's goal turned out to be game-winning score as Muangthong United held on for a 2-1 victory in the Thai Super League.

For a moment, though, it looked like Gjurovski was playing for Man-thong United FC. 

Tortorella says anyone who doesn't believe he still loves Brad Richards can 'kiss his bleep'

John Tortorella has a way with words but it's too bad most of them can't be posted on family media sites.  The New York Rangers head coach once again needed his potty-mouth washed out with soap during Thursday night's postgame presser after the New York Rangers staved off elimination against the Boston Bruins with a 4-3 overtime win.

Tortorella made expensive forward Brad Richards a healthy scratch in an eventual Game 4 win, but — in his own profane way — Torts insisted that he and Richards are still close and if you don't believe him well ...

“I love that guy,” Tortorella said. “I’ve grown up with that guy. Kiss my [expletive deleted] if you’ve written anything differently.”

It’s not the first time the Blueshirts' blue-mouthed coach's comments have needed a five-second delay and, with the second-round series extended for at least one more game, it might not be the last.

Tortorella didn’t elaborate on the chances that Richards would be back for Game 5 but did admit he's happy they survived Thursday's OT victory.

“I’m happy for them,” Tortorella said. “They’re still breathing.”

Thursday, May 23, 2013

J.R. Smith played against Pacers with swollen left knee: Report

Carmelo Anthony wasn't the only New York Knicks star playing through an injury during the playoffs. For those wondering why J.R. Smith continued to shoot jumpers during his postseason slump as opposed to driving to the hoop, the answer might be related to his left knee more than his late nights.

Not only did Carmelo Anthony play with what an MRI exam Wednesday revealed was a partial tear in his left shoulder, but The Post has learned J.R. Smith's nightmarish playoff performance was partly because of a swollen left knee that contained fluid buildup.
According to a league source, Smith likely will have his knee drained of the fluid in the next two weeks — the same procedure Anthony underwent in March. So Smith's struggles weren't only about his sharp elbow in the Celtics series, alleged hangover and viral infection.

Smith had been playing with a swollen knee toward the end of the regular season, but talk about the injury seemed to stop during the playoffs.

Funny how his knee seemed fine when he was chasing Rihanna around the Manhattan nightclub scene that week.

Giants' Coughlin says 'prayers' for injured Hynoski

Henry Hynoski's name may not carry the cache of an Eli Manning, Justin Tuck or Victor Cruz around the New York Giants camp but if you listen carefully to the words of his head coach yesterday, you can  hear how valuable a role the third-year fullback has with the team.

After Hynoski was carted off the field when he knocked knees with running back Andre Brown, Tom Coughlin was hopeful the fan favorite was alright.

“He kind of got (his leg rolled up on) and so we are taking a look at that,” the Giants head coach said. “I said a few prayers, and I’ll continue until I hear what it is.”

Hynoski was carted off the field, and did not return after crumbling to the turf on the second play of the 11-on-11 drills during Wednesday's OTA workout in East Rutherford. The valuable blocking back was scheduled to have an MRI on the injury.

“I handed the ball off and just saw him on the ground after,” Manning said. “I don’t know exactly what happened. I haven’t seen the film yet. I don’t know how severe the injury is, so hopefully it’s not too bad, and he can get back either for the spring or at least for training camp.”

Get well Hynocerous. The G-Men need you.


Hynoski will undergo surgery to repair a damaged left MCL as well as a chip fracture to the lateral plateau, according to  the New York Daily News.  While there is no official timetable for a return, the two-year veteran is hoping he'll be ready for the start of the regular season. 

"I am going to set my mind to being ready for the first game of the regular season," Hynoski said in a statement. "[The Giants] said that is not an unrealistic goal, and I will do everything in my power to be ready for the start of the season."

A-Rod rakes in $15 million profit on Miami Beach mansion sale

It pays to be Alex Rodriguez — even if he's not on the playing field — in more ways than one. The hobbled $25 million New York Yankees slugger just sold his Miami Beach mansion for a cool $30 million — which comes with a staggering profit of $15 million.

A-Rod accepted the $30 mil offer for the luxurious 19,861-square-foot beachfront estate — the same property he purchased in 2010 for $7.4 million. He sunk another $7.6 million into the mansion for a total investment of about $15 million.

The rehabbing third baseman may be on the disabled list but this sounds like he hit a home run no matter how you slice it.

The nine bedroom, oceanfront home has two docks, a state-of-the art security system,  a vanishing edge pool and a Zen garden.  No word on if any his centaur portraits come with the joint.

A-Rod quietly put the breath-taking estate on the market for $38 million last August — but had to settle for the bargain basement discount.

Sources say the buyer is a celebrity who lives in Palm Springs.

Derek Jeter uses phony name 'Philip' to get coffee at Starbucks

Being New York's most recognizable sports celebrity didn't stop Derek Jeter from trying the the old phony name ruse to pick up a cup of coffee at a Starbucks Wednesday afternoon.

The Yankee shortstop was spotted yesterday leaving one of the coffee chain’s locations in Greenwich Village with a cup suspiciously marked with the name “Philip,” reports The New York Post.

The Yankee captain may have been trying to go incognito as he picked up a cup of joe but even his horizontally-pinstriped T-shirt couldn't throw off the over-caffeinated hipsters.

Good thing he wasn't wearing his walking boot — that would have been a dead giveaway.

It wouldn’t be the first time he’s operated under an alias, so it must have worked before.

In 2007, The Smoking Gun Web site published a bill that showed the currently injured baseball star used the pseudonym “Johnny Drama” — an apparent reference to the HBO show “Entourage” — to check into a Seattle hotel with his teammates.

Next time he should go with his middle name — Sanderson. 

Astros vendor fired for bringing snow cones into bathroom stall (VIDEO)

This could possibly be one of the most unappetizing videos ever shot and make you think twice about the ice at your local ballpark.

An Aramark vendor at Monday’s Royals-Astros game at Minute Maid Park was caught bringing his tray of snow cones into a bathroom stall with him while he did his business on the toilet.

The video, taken by a concerned onlooker, was shot Monday night during the Astros-Royals game and  happened in the first game attended by Reid Ryan in his new role as Astros team president.

Click2Houston broadcast the horrifying footage of the vendor placing the tray of food on the floor next to the toilet bowl.

"I couldn’t believe what I was seeing," said the unnamed fan who turned in the video. "This guy is taking a dump. There’s no doubt about it. What sane person could possibly think, yeah this is a good idea. I’ll just put the food that I’m about to sell on the floor."

Maybe the idiot thought he was working at Minute Made Park.

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The Astros have already taken action against the vendor and said Aramark terminated the man immediately upon learning of the incident:

"The Astros share ARAMARK’s view on the importance of food safety and will work with them to ensure that our fans have a safe and outstanding experience at Minute Maid Park. We also commend the fan for his vigilance in pointing out the inappropriate actions of the vendor. The Astros personally thanked him and advised him of the swift action taken in regard to the employee."

Watch out where the Astros roam, don't you eat the yellow snow cone.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

High school senior rejected by Kate Upton for prom gets a YES from Sports Illustrated model Nina Agdal

The California high school senior who invited Kate Upton to prom via YouTube may not be getting his first choice, but he'll be pinning a corsage on an equally gorgeous Sports Illustrated model as his date.

Jake Davidson, a 17-year-old from Los Angeles, will apparently be taking Danish-born Nina Agdal to his May 23 dance, following his very public proposal — and quiet rejection — to Upton in March.

In an upcoming episode of Inside Edition, the teenager tries on tuxedos in a bid to look his best, while his five-foot-nine-inch guest, four years his senior, slips into an array of school-appropriate gowns — a far cry from her usual bikini-clad look.

Jake revealed to the that 20-year-old supermodel Upton had politely declined his prom proposal due to a conflict in her schedule. 

"While I would have loved for Kate to come to my prom, I understand she is a very busy and in demand professional and I am so grateful for Kate responding at all," he explained in an email.

 However, Agdal, 21, who has modeled for Victoria's Secret, Billabong and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, stepped in to save the lovelorn student.

It is unclear whether Jake actually asked the model, or if Inside Edition contacted her on his behalf, for the purpose of a television segment. Either way, he wins.

The  nearly two-minute YouTube video Davidson put together with a friend this spring has gotten almost 3 million hits since being posted on March 23. In it, Davidson lays it all on the line by saying, "You are the yin to my yang. I'm Jewish, five-foot-nine on a good day and I can't dance. At all."

The ambitious teen got himself an appearance on the "Today" show and the impressed Upton personally called to let him know she was booked on May 23. That's when Agdal came to the rescue.

Just in case any of Davidson's fellow classmates miss his once-in-a-lifetime prom date with an SI swimsuit model, he and Agdal will appear in an episode of Inside Edition the next night to relive the magical evening.

BASE jumper survives 1,000-foot free-fall after chute fails to open (VIDEO)

A daredevil BASE jumper is lucky to be alive after plummeting 1,000 feet to the ground in a free-fall after his chute failed to deploy. Not only did he live to talk about the fail, but he recorded it with his helmet-cam.

As Matthew Gough, 25, lay sprawled out at the bottom of a cliff near Lake Garda in Italy, he could barely believe that he was still alive.

"I feel massively lucky to survive, I have never heard of this sort of thing happening before and especially no one surviving from it," Gough told reporters.

The extreme-sport junkie took up BASE jumping about three years ago after completing more than 700 sky dives. He landed 180 jumps without a problem before his brush with death.

Everything was going fine until he pulled the chute. The deployment was really slow and got entangled with itself. He could not control his descent and wound up crashing into the cliff several times.

"When I impacted the first time I started spinning, which made the situation worse, the parachute twisted even more before going into a dive," he said.

He was not sure if he would crash onto the ground or into the lake but he certainly thought he was a goner.

"I knew the final impact was coming soon," he said, "and I knew if I hit the floor at the speed I was traveling, I was in a whole lot of trouble."

At the last moment, Gough shouted, "I'm going in," which he explained means, "I'm dead."

"When I hit the floor I was so shocked I was alive ... that was when the pain set in," he said.
Gough was rushed to the hospital and released a few hours later. He only suffered a few minor injuries to his knees and ankles.

Despite cheating death, Gough has no plan to tone down his risk-taking lifestyle.

"I am still going to BASE jump but it has made me more aware of the risks,” he said.

Montreal renames street after Hall of Famer Gary Carter

Gary Carter became a baseball legend as a member of the New York Mets 1986 World Series team but  his best years as a player were spent as a member of the Montreal Expos during his first 11 seasons.

On Tuesday, the catcher was honored with a street renamed for him in Montreal — Gary Carter Street — close to where the Hall of Famer played from 1974-1984.

Carter, who died from brain cancer at age 57 in February 2012, is one of two Expos to be inducted into the Hall of Fame and had his No. 8 jersey retired by the team.

Carter's widow, Sandy, and daughter Kimmy, were unable to attend the event, only learning about it shortly beforehand, but the family will travel to Montreal on June 15 for the official opening of the Gary Carter baseball park.

Long live The Kid.

Joe Namath: Jets wasted a draft pick on Geno Smith

Joe Namath was one of Mark Sanchez's biggest supporters last season — even after the New York Jets quarterback devolved into one of the least efficient signal callers in the NFL. Now — with the doomed Tim Tebow experiment behind them — the Hall of Famer thinks the Jets made a big mistake in drafting Geno Smith and would have benefited more by filling other positions with their second-round pick.

Joe Willie calls Gang Green’s new rookie QB Smith a “sensational athlete” with “good size.” But he also thinks drafting Smith with a No. 2 pick was unnecessary.

“No, I don’t think they needed a quarterback,” Namath said at the United Way’s 20th annual Gridiron Gala at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel on Tuesday. “They needed the other positions filled. Possibly offensive line. They got some defensive line. The safeties are still questionable. The outside linebackers are still questionable.”

Namath thinks the Jets already had a quality quarterback in the much-maligned starter Sanchez even though he has struggled in the last two seasons. But Namath attributed that to “distractions.”

“I am pulling for him,” Namath said of Sanchez. “I know that he can do better than he’s done. And we saw him lead a team to two AFC championship games, right? I also know what it’s like not to necessarily have the weapons you’d like to have, not to necessarily have the time you’d like to accomplish.”

Namath sounded confident that Sanchez will lift himself up — whether it's as a Jet, or in another NFL uniform.

“I know it’s a team game and I know Sanchez is going to play better,” Namath added. “I promise you you’ll see a different guy (this year). I believe you’ll see a different guy.

“Mark’s not a puppy anymore,” he added. “He’s gone through some things, growing process. As far as Sanchez goes, even if he’s not with the Jets, he’s going to play as long as he wants to. He’s that good. As long as he wants to, he’s going to be in the NFL.” 

Because of Namath’s ongoing faith in Sanchez, he said he didn’t think the Jets needed to draft a quarterback last month, but the Jets legend felt confident Geno Smith would be a good fit — on the field and off — if he beat Sanchez out as the starter.

“From what I’ve heard from his coaches in college, they think a great deal of him, so that carries more weight than any of the rumors you might hear,” Namath said. “I have watched him for the past four years. He’s a sensational athlete, good size, [but] he’s got to fill out a bit. He’s a little bit lean to get out with the big men.

“If Geno beats [Sanchez] out at training camp, he deserves to start, [but] I don’t know that the deserving guy always gets to start. The contract speaks for itself sometimes.”

Hate to break it to you Joe, but the Jets' 2013 quarterback controversy is just getting primed.

Argentinos Juniors fan tosses dentures at coach during team's loss

An Argentinos Juniors fan was so fed up at the miserable season his team was having he threw his fake teeth at the head coach while the coach was arguing a call on the pitch.

Monday's 3-1 loss  to Belgrano was just too much for the unidentified fan who hurled his phony uppers at Ricardo Caruso Lombardi while fans unleashed a chorus of boos and threatening chants against the last place club which has lost five straight.

Announcers from Argentina's TV P├║blica took in the bizarre scene from the broadcast booth while cameras zoomed in on the dentures that landed a few feet from an oblivious Lombardi, who was arguing in vain with the fourth referee in the dying moments of the match.

"I've never seen anything like this ... key chains, radios, shoes, but teeth?"

Dentures were just one of the things hurled at Lombardi and his players by fans at Diego Maradona Stadium.

 Despite the dire situation and one toothless fans' hatred of him, Lombardi was confident, even defiant, during Monday's post-game press conference.

"I have the balls that are needed to prevail. And if we have to go [to the second division], we'll do it with our heads held high."

As for the still unknown denture-throwing culprit, just look for the guy gumming his chorizo in the stands.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Chelsea soccer goalie's adorable son scores goal that sends fans wild

The long season has brought some great memories for the Chelsea soccer club this season, including their Europa League triumph.

But perhaps the most adorable moment came after Sunday's 2-1 home victory over Everton, when Ross Turnbull's son, Josh, scored on a breakaway in front of the crowd.

Paulo Ferreira, leaving the club after nine years, was busy giving his farewell speech in the center circle while players and their children stood on the pitch to watch. All except one.

Without a coach in sight, little Josh dribbled the ball from the middle of the pitch towards the goal, with anticipation building among supporters. He stopped near the penalty spot and committed a handball - seemingly unnoticed by officials (heh-heh) - and eventually managed to find the net.

At first he was taken aback by the roar of the crowd, pausing to take the moment in. Then he raised his hands up in deserved celebration. As the little tyke stood in triumph, Chelsea fans chanted,  "Sign him up, sign him up, sign him up." 

He now has one more goal than his dad.

Lindsey Vonn tied to infamous steroids doctor

An investigation by The New York Daily News reports that Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn has visited the clinic of a 71-year-old doctor named Bernd Pansold — an East German doping doctor who played an instrumental role in the German Democratic Republic's notorious state-sponsored program to dope unwitting young athletes with hardcore anabolic steroids.

Vonn, the clean-cut face of the U.S. Winter Olympics team and an athlete representing Red Bull — the sugary energy drink that has paid her to promote the popular picker-upper since 2005. Each summer the Austrian company organizes a rigorous conditioning program for Vonn, lodging her at an opulent resort hotel near Innsbruck and letting her work out at the Red Bull pro soccer team’s state-of-the-art training facility near the Salzburg airport.

That is the location of Thalgau, a peaceful village on the eastern outskirts of Salzburg, where Red Bull has sent Vonn to its Diagnostics and Training Center, a secure and nondescript old tin-oxide factory that houses a top sports laboratory overseen by Pansold.

It is here where Vonn visited the clinic of the controversial doctor, said the report.

A Daily News investigation of Red Bull’s Thalgau operation has uncovered no evidence of doping by Vonn, who has never failed a drug test. But the mere fact of Vonn’s and Pansold’s mutual access shows how vulnerable today’s Olympic athletes are when the corporate sponsors supplying their income are accountable only to the bottom line.

Alex Sanabria goes to the old spitball after giving up home run

The lost art of the spit ball is back again and Miami Marlins pitcher Alex Sanabia wasn't exactly shy about loading up the old baseball after giving up a home run Monday night. We're talking old school spittle —not rosin or sunscreen.

After the Phillies' Domonic Brown slashed a second-inning homer into the stands against Sanabia,  cameras caught the pitcher hocking up a giant loogie and slobbering it all over the ball. The VIDEO at shows Sanabia unashamedly lathering it up while Brown circles the bases.

Maybe he thought nobody was watching.

Sanabia (3-6) went on to give up seven slightly slippery hits in 6 1/3-innings en route to a 5-1 Marlins win. He should enjoy the victory while he can because it remains to be seen how MLB will feel about his unhealthy and un-stealthy habits on the mound.