Monday, September 30, 2013

Justin Tuck threatens to 'punch in the mouth' anyone who turns on Coughlin

The second-guessing may have started in the New York Giants locker room — a disheartening indication that the team's season could be slowly slipping away and the first sign of discord under Tom Coughlin's reign since the Tiki Barber years.

“Right now, we are as low as you can get,” defensive end Justin Tuck said after a lifeless  31-7 loss to the Chiefs Sunday.

The Giants’ first 0-4 start in a non-strike year since 1979 is not entirely Coughlin’s fault. He was given an aging roster with little depth by general manager Jerry Reese and the Giants have endured a debilitating number of injuries. Reese is as much to blame as Coughlin —maybe more.

And, outside of Victor Cruz publicly questioning Coughlin's fourth-down call against the Chiefs, the team has not turned on Coughlin outright — yet.

One Giant who says speaking up against Coughlin is akin to fighting words is Tuck

“If anyone turns on our coach, I would be the first one to punch him in the mouth,” Justin Tuck told the N.Y. Daily News. “And put that in print. It better not happen, I know that.”

The play in question was a third-and-17 from the Giants 14. Eli Manning connected with Cruz for what initially was ruled a first down. Andy Reid challenged the spot and after the review the officials placed the ball at the 30-and-a-half yard line. Cruz needed to get to the 31. Coughlin made the right decision punting down by just three deep in his own end. Imagine the second-guessing if he had gone for it and missed and the Chiefs quickly traveled the short field for a touchdown.

Tuck admitted on the sideline, “Every defensive player wanted him to go for it. That is why we probably will never be coaches. That would have been a stupid move. Even if you get it, it would still be a stupid move.”

Cruz, who had scored on a 69-yard TD pass from Manning in the second quarter, claims he wasn't second-guessing Coughlin's call — only saying he wanted to stay on the field.

“I thought we should have gone for it on that fourth down,” Cruz said. “It’s coach’s call at the end of the day.”

From their own 30 down three?

“If it was me? Yes. Because we had the momentum,” Cruz said. “I felt it was a yard, not even a yard, half a yard, we’ve got to take a risk at some point and make something happen.”

If the Giants lose against the Eagles Sunday, some thing is bound to happen.

Tennessee fencing coach foils robbery using his sword

A Tennessee fencing coach halted a robbery when he chased of two crooks with his sword through a shopping center.

Franco Scaramuzza pulled into a Nashville shopping center last week and saw two men pepper spray a couple and then take off with the woman's purse, local WSMV-TV reported.

"The first thing that went through my head is somebody should do something, and that's when I got really upset and disappointed with myself, because I realized I had the opportunity to do something," Scaramuzza said.

"And I didn't want to be a hypocrite who just tweeted about it," said the modern version of Zorro.

The fearless swordsman, who had just finished practice and was still in his fencing gear, grabbed his weapon from the backseat and ran towards the robbers.

"I charged towards them, holding my épée (sword) up high, and, you know, yelling at them," he told the station.

"I kept yelling throughout the entire thing. They completely panicked and dropped everything they stole and really took off."

Cops caught up to the suspects, Michael Butt and Zachary Johnson, a short while later.

Both were charged with robbery and were being held on $50,000 bond apiece.

Scaramuzza, who works as an art director, credited his fencing training for honing his swashbuckling skills.

"You have to overcome your own fears," he told WSMV-TV.

Errol Flynn couldn't have done it better.

Soccer crowd sings national anthem a cappella after audio system goes out (VIDEO)

Fans gathered at Sporting Park to watch the soccer match between Philadelphia Union and Sporting Kansas City Saturday night showed their patriotic spirit loud and clear before the game started. Loud being the key word.

While the pre-game national anthem was played, the public address system and microphone went out leaving everyone without musical accompaniment. So the fans took over. Instead of letting the song go unsung, the entire crowd cleared its collective throat and belted out a stirring a cappella version of "The Star Spangled Banner,"  providing its own volume to get the night started.

And everyone knew the words.

The Union —who hadn't won a game since August — were just as inspired and went on to a 1-0 victory.

Elliot Johnson takes scary tumble into dugout (VIDEO)

The Atlanta Braves' Elliot Johnson makes a tremendous effort chasing a foul pop-up, sending him flying into the Phillies' dugout during the sixth inning of Sunday's game.

The third baseman chased a foul ball right through an opening in the dugout and got nary a hand from his Philadelphia counterparts as he tumbled down the stairs. But after the scary-looking play, Johnson did get a nice round of applause from the Turner Field crowd when he climbed back out to the field.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Kickboxer talking smack gets knocked out cold (VIDEO)

Just because your opponent's first few punches and and roundhouses failed to faze you is not an open invitation to drop your guard and talk smack — as this overconfident kickboxer found out. After brushing off a few light blows to his head like flies on a horse's butt, this guy pays the price by getting knocked out cold by a free-flying left hand.

The second funniest part of the video is when, out of nowhere (:45), another fighter somersaults into the ring to help revive the big lug.

Talk smack, get smacked.

Jean Pascal wins bout with image of his face shaved into back of head

It didn't take long for Jean Pascal to make easy work of George Blades in Montreal on Saturday night. In fact, you could probably say the Canadian light-heavyweight's pre-fight hairstyle took longer to cut.

Pascal (28-2-1,17 KOs) was impressive — but it was his haircut, not his uppercut, that attracted attention all of the fans in attendance.

Fans were aware that this fifth-round knockout of Blades warm-up for his upcoming domestic fight with Lucian Bute next year. But when they looked closely at the former world champion’s haircut, it appeared that he wasn't only looking ahead but behind him as well.

And you could say they were right because Pascal had shaved an image of his own face into the hair on his head.

Pascal, whose only career defeats came against Bernard Hopkins and Britain’s Carl Froch, was fighting for the first time since last December.

Pascal's victory over the American fighter was little more than a glorified sparring session after Blades was dropped three times in what proved to be the final round — and before any of Pascal's four eyes were even swollen or blackened.

Guess you could say he sees things from both sides now.

AJ McCarron gets victory peck from 'girlfriend' Katherine Webb (VIDEO)

After Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron led the Crimson Tide to a shutout victory against Ole Miss on Saturday, his rumored ex-girlfriend, the Carl's Jr. hamburger model — and Brent Musburger muse —  Katherine Webb, was on hand to congratulate him with a kiss — make that more of a peck — on the cheek.

Webb was seen planting a nice but somewhat awkward congratulatory smooch on McCarron's cheek after the quarterback took a victory jog over to his parents.

After he kissed mom and dad first, McCarron turned to get a quick one from Webb and got the kind of congratulatory pucker he would sooner expect from an LSU fan.

The couple reportedly dated for a year, but as they rose to fame the relationship apparently fell by the wayside.

"Yes (they've broken up)," Webb's mother, Leslie Webb, recently told RadarOnline.

"Katherine’s just trying to stay real busy."

Another source told the gossip site that they could just be on a "break" for now.

Speaking to The New York Daily News, the former Miss Alabama gushed about her love of football season in an interview about her sexy new Carl's Jr. and Hardees ad campaign.

"I'm so excited about football season," she said. "I just love watching it. It gives me something to look forward during the fall. I'm pretty close with Auburn and Alabama."

Sounds like Alabama is in the friendzone now.

Soldier disguised as polar bear mascot surprises brother and dad at HS football game (VIDEO)

A soldier — who just spent nine months in Afghanistan — returned to his hometown and surprised his father and brother at at a high school football game by disguising himself as the Kentucky team's mascot.

WKYT-TV reports that Specialist Justin May put on the polar bear costume before a game featuring the Bracken County High School football team Friday night in Brooksville.

May, who also was wearing combat boots, was standing feet from his brother Ryan, a football player on the team, and his father Ronald, a team assistant coach, during the coin toss.

After the coin toss, May took off the mascot's head and turned to his father, hugging him. His brother ran up to them and joined the hug.

Ronald May says he is glad to see his son home safe. Justin May — who  had been gone a total of 11 months — said his mom masterminded the whole surprise.

Just a cold weather mascot with a heartwarming story.

NYC Marathon bans hydration packs, strollers and masks as security measures

Heightened security prompted by the deadly Boston Marathon bombings has led race officials from the New York City Marathon to ban CamelBaks — hydration backpacks filled with water — or containers bigger than 1 liter from the race.

Other banned items for the Nov. 3 event include strollers, vests with pockets and "costumes covering the face or any non-formfitting, bulky outfits extending beyond the perimeter of the body."

More than 48,000 runners are expected at this year's race — after Hurricane Sandy washed out last year’s event  — and it was expanded to accommodate the extra runners who were denied a run through the five boroughs last year.

This year's changes  — which have become commonplace at all U.S. sporting events — were instituted immediately after the April terrorist attack that killed three people and wounded more than 260 near the Boston finish line, reports the N.Y. Daily News. Runners were notified of the restrictions by the New York Road Runners Club via email.

Runners prepping for the marathon who use hydration packs — also known as reservoir packs — called them lifesavers for those who need water but don’t want to lug bottles in their hands. They now need to come up another solution to keep hydrated.

Runners can carry bottled water in their hands — as long as it is under a liter — or in "fuel belts" that can hold small bottles of water said the NYRRC.

Plenty of water and Gatorade Endurance Formula will also be available along the 26.2-mile route as well.

Beach ball at Marlins Park causes umpire to change called strike (VIDEO)

Victor Martinez takes a strike Saturday against the Tigers, but then has it called back after a beach ball lands on the Marlins Park field.

After the umpire signaled a called strike, the distracted Martinez pointed towards the outfield fence where a beach ball was bouncing around. After some conversation between Tigers manager Jim Leyland and the ump, the man-behind-the-plate changes the call to a no pitch.

It's the Miami Marlins. What'd you expect ... a baseball?

Weightlifter buckles while lifting heavy load (VIDEO)

This weightlifter took on a little more than he could jerk when he attempted to hoist what looks like at least 400-pounds over his head — probably about 200 L-Bs more than the guy weighs. The dude gets the bar to his chest (the easy part) but you can see his knees wobble and legs give out when it's money time.

No word on if anything but his ego was broken.

Passed out Washington State fan is covered in popcorn (GIF)

The only thing messier than Washington State's  55-17 loss against Stanford Saturday night was this fan's disheveled appearance at CenturyLink Field.

Nothing says Cougars football than a semi-passed out fan (with a Who cares? attitude) and a whole section to himself. And — even after after it looks like he's down for the count —the guy stirs slightly before attempting to shake the last remaining kernels of popcorn into his mouth and all over himself. All while still holding on to his little Cougars mask.

Clean-up in rows 3, 4, 5 and 6.

Maybe someone should give that guy a cup of coffee. Or don't they have a Starbucks in Seattle?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Girardi says Mariano playing center field is not going to happen: Report

It looks like all of the speculation regarding Mariano Rivera living out a career-long dream of playing center field in a major league game can finally be put to rest. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Saturday that his closer will not get penciled in at CF and may not even pitch at all this weekend against the Houston Astros, according to YES Network's Sweeny Murti.

There have been reports that Rivera's knee has been bothering him and whispers that the reverent closer didn't want to disrespect the game by going in as a novelty.

Of playing in the outfield Sunday, Rivera said: "I did consider it strongly. If it would have been a few years earlier, then I would have done it. But now my knee is not cooperating. I'm not going to make a fool of myself out there. I respect the game too much for me to do something that I'm not supposed to be doing.''

Rivera had said in spring training that he wanted to "empty the tank'' this season. The 43-year-old said he did exactly that.

"Oh my God, yes,'' he said. "I think I spent every ounce of fuel that I had in my tank. It's empty. I had nothing left. I gave everything that I had. I can go home. I can say, 'You know what, I used every talent that the Lord gave me.' ''

If that is the case, it means Thursday's symbolic four-out relief appearance against the Rays at Yankee Stadium might have been the last time fans got to see Rivera play in a major league game.


Shaq slaps backside of Newark mayor with stripper Twitter pal

Shaquille O’Neal had a little fun with the Newark, N.J. mayor who found himself in a little Twitter conundrum this week after he tweeted back and forth with an Oregon stripper.

The former NBA star and N.J. native served out a playful slap to pal Mayor Cory Booker’s backside Friday — while the mayor and senator-wannabe answered questions about his stripper pal.

A grinning Shaq reached over with his right hand and landed one on Booker’s behind as the pol stood at a podium to promote One River­view, the first high-rise to go up in beleaguered Newark in 50 years, reported The New York Post.

Booker picked up his shovel for the ceremonial first dirt-dig, then cracked to his cronies: "If you hit a reporter, I’ll give you five bucks. I’ve never been so tempted to throw dirt at the media."

Booker’s remarks came just days after headlines that he had a Twitter flirtation with buxom Oregon stripper Lynsie Lee hit the tabloids.

Booker declined to answer questions about his twitter exchanges with Lee, who was back working the pole at Portland vegan strip joint Casa Diablo on Thursday night.

“I did get kind of a crush on him, and so I tweeted him flirtatious things,” Lee said in a video posted at “But he never reciprocated the flirty-flirtiness."

Meanwhile, Booker was getting more than support from O'Neal — a partner in the new, 23-story, 169-unit apartment tower. He got an earful of Shaq's rebellious Newark upbringing as well.

"I was born in Newark, raised in Newark, did a lot of juvenile-delinquent activities in Newark," O’Neal told the crowd. "I’d like to thank my Uncle Mike, who was a Newark cop. First time I stole candy, he was the first one to place me under arrest.

“My mother and father always taught me that if I became successful, to give back, so I wanted to do my part and help beautify Newark,” Shaq declared.

Endorsing Booker’s political aspirations, he said: “Thank you to Senator Booker, Mayor Booker, President Booker … whatever you do, I’m a vote for you.”

Girardi: Playing centerfield is now Mariano's call

It's not hard to believe that throughout all of the season-long tributes and "farewell" swag piling up in his living room, the gift that Mariano Rivera might end up holding most dearly to his heart after he retires was the opportunity to play center field in a major-league game just once.

Now that the Yankees season is officially kaput, there is a real possibility that Mariano Rivera will be granted his last baseball wish and play center field this weekend against the long out-of-it Astros in Minute Maid Park.

Manager Joe Girardi said before last night's series opener against Houston that it still is possible that the Yankees' retiring closer will fulfill his longtime dream of playing in the outfield in a major-league game —but it's up to Mo.

"I'll talk to him every day to see what he wants to do,'' Girardi said. "I know he's talked about playing some centerfield, but I know he has some concern about his [knee] running out there. So that's really up to him. If he wants to do it, he can do it. I'm OK with it.''

Baseball purists have called an outfield stint by Rivera a trivialisation of the game. And it was not clear if Rivera was still keen on the idea after mentioning his wobbly knee and need to respect the game.  It was not even known if Rivera will pitch this weekend. After Thursday night's emotional send-off at Yankee Stadium, Girardi said he will take it day-by-day.

"I have to talk to Mo,'' he said. "See what he wants to do.''

Still, don't bet against Mo tackling Tal's Hill Sunday afternoon as a well-deserved wrap up to his illustrious career. Purists be damned.

Airman surprises son at football game disguised as opposing player (VIDEO)

MSgt Joseph Martel returned home from deployment in Afghanistan a month earlier than his son thought he was coming home. As soon as he got off the plane, Martel joined his wife and made a road-trip to Belgium to see his son Justin play in his high school football game... and also give him the surprise of a lifetime.

As a clever disguise for the family reunion, Martel put on the other team's uniform and hid his face in a helmet — holding his composure on the opposite sideline for three quarters.

Between the 3rd and 4th quarters, Justin wonders why a player from the opposing team comes over and starts to hug him at the 50-yard line — after the referees called a phony meeting to discuss sportsmanship. What everyone ended up getting was a lesson in father-son relationships.

Swedish riot police speed up escalator to disperse unruly soccer fans (VIDEO)

It looks like quick thinking Swedish riot police turned up the speed on a stadium escalator just before soccer fans — involved in a volatile stand-off with the authorities — took their unruliness to another level.

The fans, from the town of Helsingborg, were filmed hurling abuse at riot police as they crowded to get on an underground train.

But suddenly they are caught by surprise when the escalator they were stood on began to speed up without warning.

Fans, who had previously been doing their best to goad the police, were sent whizzing away down the moving stairwell until none of them are left.

It is unclear whether police were able to intentionally increase the speed of the escalator to disperse the crown or if it malfunctioned due to overcrowding.

Either way it's funny.

DeLorean appears in McCovey Cove during Giants game (VIDEO)

A Giants fan in McCovey Cove activates the flux capacitor on his DeLorean and spins some donuts in the Bay during the Giants' game against the Padres.

We've all become accustomed to seeing weird things (i.e. UFO's and hotdog kayaks) floating out in the bay but at least Dr. Emmett Brown and his time machine might have some real value to Giants fans. Let's say... transporting the team back to last year's World Series run.

Cardinals rookie Kolten Wong gets trashed after team clinches NL Central title

While the St. Louis Cardinals players celebrated the team's first NL Central title since 2009, rookie Kolten Wong got a little trashed — albeit not in that sense of the word.

Wong's teammates decided to stuff the diminutive second baseman into a garbage can all in the name of fun.

Friday, September 27, 2013

High school football team cancels season after death of player

A high school football team in New York has played their final game of the season after only two contests. Westfield Academy (N.Y.) — which had their hopeful football season shaken by tragic reality after a player died following a brutal helmet-to-helmet hit during a game earlier this month — has decided to cancel the rest of their schedule.

Damon Janes, a 16-year old junior, lost consciousness after the devastating hit in a game on September 13. The star running back died three days later. Since then the team has struggled with the memory of a lost teammate — whose motto was "Giving up is simply not an option" — and the heartbreak to carry on the season without him.  

The Wolverines' varsity players took a paper-ballot vote and decided that the pain was too great, that their season would end after just two games.

"The pending motion was shared with players from both teams at a team meeting on Monday," a statement on the school’s website reads. "During the meeting, players shared creative and positive ways to honor Damon Janes through our athletic programs and school communities for the remainder of the year and into the future. This will be a student driven effort and allow Damon’s friends and teammates to continue the grieving process off of the playing field."

The school board voted on a recommendation made by the superintendent to cancel the rest of the football season earlier this week. The school board voted unanimously in favor of the decision.

“We are not giving up Damon’s legacy,” Superintendent David Davison said, according to The Observer. ”We are taking time to heal. Our players need time to grieve and have time to be together away from the lights and games for a while.”

For some parents, it is too little, too late. To many adults, the dangers were obvious even before Damon's death. They complained that poor officiating, with no penalty calls on late hits, made it only a matter of time before ball carriers like Damon got hurt.

"That whole game was plagued with late hits and people using their helmets to spear other people," said Sam Villafrank, Joey's father. "It was like anything goes."

The importance of safety for players continues to be at the forefront of sports these days. If putting the rest of the season on the shelf saves just one more player from serious injury, then it is clear that canceling the season was the right decision.

Benched Josh Freeman and banned 'creamsickle' uniform both featured on Buccaneers tickets

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-3) are headed into this week's game against the Cardinals in the awkward position of featuring quarterback Josh Freeman and the team's throwback creamsickle-colored uniforms on their paper tickets — both of whom fans won't be seeing on the field.

That sure is Freeman — now the backup quarterback — and those are the throwback "Bucco Bruce" helmets and creamsickle uniforms that the team was supposed to wear for this game —but cannot because of safety concerns — featured front and center on the now outdated tix.

Does this make the Bucs Oh-for-five going into Week 4?

Andy Pettitte got a standing ovation at Yankee Stadium too (VIDEO)

Almost lost in all of the unforgettable show of love during Mariano Rivera's last moments as a player at Yankee Stadium Thursday night was the fact that another Yankee great was spending his last days in pinstripes as well.

Andy Pettitte — who announced his retirement last week in the midst of all the Mariano hoopla — finally got chance to play the of reliever of sorts to his long time teammate. The Yankees pitcher emerged from the dugout to his own curtain call and warm ovation from Yankees fans one last time.

At the urging of the crowd, Pettitte stepped out and tipped his hat to the sold-out Yankee Stadium while the overwhelmed Rivera — lost in his own emotional moment — stood and gave him a hand.

Pettitte will get one more chance to take the mound when he starts against the Astros on Sunday. Expect one final tribute for Pettitte when he leaves the mound in his hometown of Houston.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

'Tears and perfection' as Mariano says goodbye to Yankee Stadium for the last time (VIDEO)

Mariano Rivera's last ever appearance on the mound at Yankee Stadium lived up to the emotional Exit Sandman hype it was built up to be Thursday night.  The beloved New York Yankees closer threw four outs of no hit ball before Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte — the two other last remaining members of the famed Core Four — came out to make a pitching change with two outs in the ninth.

Rivera smiled when he saw manager Joe Girardi summon both Jeter and Pettitte to make the walk over the infield grass and pull the closer from his familiar perch one last time in front of the sold-out crowd. He broke into tears when his longtime teammates hugged him as cheers and chants of MA-RI-AN-O MA-RI-AN-O filled the Bronx stadium.

As Jeter approached Rivera — after Mo's symbolic relief outing was through— he simply said to the 19-year veteran, "Time to go."

As YES announcer Michael Kay put it, "Tears and perfection."

Rivera then slowly walked to the dugout, tipped his cap to the adoring crowd and embraced his former battery-mate Girardi before walking through a gauntlet of hugs and heartfelt well-wishes from other teammates standing along the bench as the ovation continued.

Farewell Sandman.

Man stabbed to death after Giants and Dodgers fans fight near AT&T Park

A man was stabbed to death after a fight broke out near San Francisco's AT&T Park, where the Giants were playing the Los Angeles Dodgers, authorities said.

Police tell KNTV the victim was in a crowd of Dodgers fans when the fight started shortly after 11:30 p.m. (PST) Wednesday at Third and Harrison streets near the ballpark.

Three people have been detained. Police have not released additional details.

The violence comes just three days after a teenage football fan was attacked at San Francisco's Candlestick Park during the San Francisco 49ers 27-7 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Other violence broke out at the game on Sunday despite an increase in security. The stadium was also the site of two shootings, beatings and fights during a preseason game two years ago.

Stadium security and fan behavior also came under scrutiny when another Dodgers-Giants matchup saw a Northern California paramedic severely beaten. Brian Stow, a Giants fan, suffered a traumatic brain injury after a beating by two men dressed in Dodgers gear following the March 31, 2012, home opener between the teams.

When will this madness stop?

A-Rod had awkward run-in with Hank Aaron: Report

Just before Alex Rodriguez broke Lou Gehrig’s grand slam record last weekend, the beleaguered Yankees ball player had an awkward run-in with one of baseball's truly all-time greats — Hank Aaron.

Rodriguez was dining at the celebrated Manhattan restaurant Nobu when he spotted Aaron at a nearby table, reports Page Six of the N.Y. Post.  A-Rod approached the legendary Hammerin’ Hank —who was dining with New York Lizards owner Andrew Murstein — and said, "Mr. Aaron, I just wanted to introduce myself. I think about you every day when I play. You’re an inspiration to me."

(In case Aaron didn’t know who he was, he added, "My name is Alex Rodriguez," claims the Post.)

Aaron said in August of A-Rod, "I just want [him] to get his life straightened out. Forget about baseball, get back on the path on being the young man I saw maybe 15 or 16 years ago."

Wonder if A-Rod recommended the red herring?

German soccer team pulls okey doke on free-kick (VIDEO)

Trailing 2-0 against Wattenscheid 09 last weekend, Rot-Weiss Essen's Benedikt Koep scored a ridiculous goal as the side fought their way back into a 2-2 draw.

With six players surrounding the ball on the free-kick, two players feign going for the ball at the same time, a ploy to confuse the goalkeeper —who falls for it hook, line and Beckham. Koep then steps forward and bends a perfectly aimed left-footed kick into the top corner.

What's German for you been shad.

Jets owner Woody Johnson does 'penalty' pushups at practice

On Monday, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan reinstituted the policy of the entire team doing 10 push-ups every time a penalty is committed in practice with the offending player standing and watching. And that included everyone who was there — no matter what your title.

The coach stuck to his guns and even members of the organization standing on the sidelines felt the wrath of Rex, including team owner Woody Johnson, team president Neil Glat and general manager John Idzik — who all got down and did 10.

Ryan brought back his 2010 push-up policy after the Jets were flagged 20 times in their 27-20 win over the Bills last Sunday. 

According to Ryan, the team did 30 push-ups — 10 for each for three infractions. The Jets lead the league with 34 penalties.

“We’re 32nd in the league, probably closer to 33rd if that was possible,” Ryan said. “It’s just not us. That is not who we are. We’re trying to fix it and we will fix it.”

Longoria concedes strike after knocking helmet over eyes (VIDEO)

Evan Longoria takes a strike from Phil Hughes after knocking his helmet over his eyes while at the plate Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium. The Rays' slugger apparently tapped the back of his lid with his bat right before the pitch.

Hughes is the one who should have been hiding his face after two disastrous innings.

Longoria?  He went 3-for-5 and blasted two home runs to help beat the Yankees 8-3.

Twitter partners with NFL to broadcast in-game video clips

Twitter announced Wednesday it has partnered with the National Football League in order to broadcast instant-replay clips from NFL games as part of a new advertising partnership that could boost the social media company's revenue before its highly anticipated initial public offering.

The agreement marks Twitter's biggest sports-related commitment to date for its Amplify service. Amplify was formally unveiled last May as a way for Twitter, broadcasters and advertisers to capitalize on peoples' use of social media while they watch TV — a phenomenon called "second screen" viewing — and another way for Twitter to grab some of the television advertising market.

Now you'll have instant-replays of the instant-replay right at your thumb-tips.

Under the new agreement, the NFL will package in-game highlights and other video footage — as well as a short ad from a marketer — inside tweets that are "sponsored" and distributed by the marketer during games. The NFL and Twitter will both receive a cut of the proceeds, although neither side would reveal terms of the deal.

Twitter is preparing for one of the most highly anticipated IPOs since social media platform Facebook made its debut last May. The offering is expected to value Twitter at up to $15 billion.

Like Facebook, Twitter is pinning it hopes on advertisers looking to tap its member base of 200 million regular users. It is setting its sights on TV, the most lucrative advertising market, and playing up to media companies and major brands its appeal to viewers who use the 140-character messaging platform to discuss what they are watching.

Twitter is estimated to bring in $580 million in advertising revenue this year, and close to $1 billion next year, according to advertising consultancy eMarketer.

Are you ready for some tweetball?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Blazers mock Knicks’ Felton on Twitter with angry face

The Raymond Felton-Portland Trailblazer spat is a feud that keeps on giving — and getting.

Two days ago Felton gave an interview with two writers at an Under Armour appearance in midtown Manhattan where he went on a long rant about the unfair criticism of his conditioning repertoire as a Blazer.

The Portland organization got wind of Felton's diatribe and has fired back with a photo of their former player with an angry face via Twitter.

In March, Felton was heckled by the road fans inside the Rose Garden. Felton is still bitter at the taunts he believes he received in Portland two seasons ago.

"I laughed at the crowd," Felton said in the interview. "We’re in the playoffs. What about you all?"  He went on for more than a couple of minutes.

The Blazers posted this response on their official Twitter account:

"At the end of the day, they said a lot things about me," Felton said the other night regarding the Portland media and fans. "Said a lot of things about Jamal Crawford. They said me and Jamal were bad eggs. I’m sitting back like, ‘Jamal is with the Clippers having a great year, up for Sixth Man of the Year. His team was in the playoffs.’ And our team is in the playoffs. I don’t think we were the issues of bringing that team down. Not in the playoffs again and you want to put the blame on two guys. It was our fault they didn’t make the playoffs. Really?

“I don’t think that we were the issue because we were not there last year and they were not in the playoffs,” Felton added. “I was kind of upset about that because then you’re trying to kill my character. That’s not what I’m about. That part pissed me off. Now you’re trying to mess with my character? I was kind of upset about that. I’m not a type of cancer in the locker room."

Felton said he has lost at least 15 pounds since his stint with the Blazers during the lockout-shortened, 2011-12 season.

The Knicks visit Portland on Nov. 25. Expect a lot angry faces in the crowd.

Cardinals customize Rashad Johnson foam hand with missing fingertip

The Arizona Cardinals are working on a prototype foam hand for safety Rashad Johnson after he lost the tip of his finger during a play in Sunday's game against the Saints.

Johnson tweeted a gnarly photo of his severed middle digit Sunday, while the team posted a less gruesome photo of the foam "Victory" fingers Tuesday with a Miley Cyrus-sized bite taken out of it.

Jason Kidd: Nets were too 'vanilla' last season

Jason Kidd sounded more like a Ben & Jerry's taste-tester than the Brooklyn Nets new head coach on Tuesday.

The first year coach set a goal yesterday to change the Nets' identity, from the bland tasting squad which fell flat last last season to a more flavorful blend of competitors.  Kidd understands that GM Billy King did most of the prep work already — acquiring the necessary ingredients to make a champion — on draft night with a blockbuster trade.

"I think the identity," Kidd said at the PNY Center. "It was just vanilla [last season] and I think you guys can see after the trade with [Kevin] Garnett and [Paul] Pierce that it's kind of changed. So, I think we're doing the right thing with changing the identity. It was just there was no flavor and no identity. So with that trade, that changes the whole game."

Kidd is confident, but nervous.

"I think I've always been nervous before every game," he said. "You ask any trainer, I've always taken Pepto just to settle my nerves, because basketball's always been something that you can never control. It's something that you just don't know how it's going to turn out, but once the ball is up in the air, your nerves tend to go away, you just respond and react.

"And so I am nervous, but the nice thing is that we do have some talented players who know how to play, who want to be coached and it's exciting. I think it's an exciting nervousness and I'm very excited about this opportunity."

The arrival of Garnett and Pierce, paired with other new additions like Jason Terry and Andrei Kirilenko, gives the Nets one of the NBA's top starting fives to go along with quality depth. As they get set to start training camp at Duke in six days, Kidd said one of his most pressing challenges is figuring out the different floor combinations he's hoping to use because the Nets easily can go two deep at every position.

He also has to concoct a plan for Garnett, whom Kidd previously said he wouldn't play in the second ends of back-to-backs, believing it's the best way to preserve the 37-year-old's legs and body so he'll be fresh and available for the postseason. Garnett rejected the idea.

Get more Pepto. Sounds like there's already too many cooks in Kidd's kitchen.

Soccer star gets pantsed but still manages shot at goal in his underwear (VIDEO)

A Danish soccer star didn't let something as embarrassing as a pantsing keep him from his appointed goals —or attempt at one.

As Aston Villa's Nicklas Helenius raced down the pitch in the Capital One Cup match-up against Tottenham Tuesday, he was chased down by Jan Vertonghen. When the Villa striker raced into the penalty area, Vertonghen took drastic action and grabbed the shorts of Helenius and yanked them down.

Helenius was slowed down by Vertoghen's desperate move but, with his uniform shorts strung around his knees, the striker kept going for the score.

By the time Helenius fired his shot over the net, he was showing off a pair of tighty-whities to the fans inside Villa Park.

Incredibly, referee Jon Moss refused to point to the penalty spot  — leaving Villa searching for a goal... and red-faced Helenius pulling up his shorts.

Villa were further embarrassed by Tottenham in more ways than one as they handed them a 4-0 blanking in front of their own fans.

Mariano Rivera bobblehead delay causes chaos during Yankees giveaway

A New York Yankees giveaway resulted in mayhem after a shipment of Mariano Rivera bobblehead dolls showed up late in the Bronx causing long lines and complaints at Yankee Stadium before Tuesday's game against the Rays.

The Yankees' decision to pass out 18,000 bobbleheads on "Mariano Rivera Bobblehead Night" turned into a promotional nightmare after a shipping snafu kept the valued souvenirs from arriving by 5 p.m. —when the gates were scheduled to open — after thousands of fans lined up outside the Stadium.

The gates opened more than 30 minutes later than usual, and the Yankees handed out vouchers instead, reported CBS New York. An announcement was made during the middle of the third inning that vouchers for the Little Mos could be redeemed from that point until 30 minutes after the game.

Lines formed immediately and stretched from beyond the right-field foul pole to third base on the main level, then up a ramp to another level and back down to the first level, as some fans waited several innings to scoop up their gifts. Pushing and arguing broke out among the anxious fans waiting for the freebies.

Deborah Tymon, the Yankees’ senior VP of marketing, said the shipment arrived shortly after 6 p.m., adding "everyone with a voucher will be receiving a bobblehead tonight."

According to Tymon, the shipment originated in Seattle and traveled by train through Chicago, before the truck transporting the dolls broke down in New Jersey.

Tymon added that the Yanks typically receive giveaway shipments on the day of a game due to storage restrictions at the Stadium. But fans were in no mood to hear excuses.

Before the game was over, some of the bobbleheads showed up on eBay with a $250 asking price.

Brian Wilson gets wild reception in return to AT&T Park as a Dodger (VIDEO)

After spending his first seven seasons as a member of the San Francisco Giants, Brian Wilson returned to AT&T Park on Tuesday wearing Dodger blue. The 30-second ovation was a smattering of boos and cheers for the former fan favorite — with the cheers mostly coming from visiting L.A. fans.

Wilson was perfect and struck out two batters in one inning of work.

As usual, Vin Scully succinctly put the whole scenario into perspective.

Foul ball makes splash-landing in Turner Field vendor's tray (VIDEO)

An Evan Gattis foul popup near home plate landed directly in an unsuspecting vendor's drink tray, triggering a huge splash-landing during Tuesday's Brewers-Braves game at Turner Field. Even Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy stopped and did a double-take when the ball sent beverages flying.

The slightly soaked vendor refused a fan's offer of the wayward ball and instead laughed it off to high-fives and cheers from the surrounding crowd

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Rex Ryan implements push-up punishment to decrease Jets penalties

After Sunday’s 27-20 win over Buffalo — in which the Jets committed a franchise-record 20 penalties — coach Rex Ryan is implementing a form of public shaming during practices to help reduce the team's momentum-killing infractions. Ryan won't be slapping a scarlet "P" on anyone's chest, but whenever a player commits a penalty, anybody and everybody observing practice must drop down for 10 push-ups — while the offending player watches.

"I do not want our team associated with penalties," the Jets coach said Monday, a day after his team pulled off the win despite having the flag thrown at them  20 times. "That's not who we are."

But it is and, at that penalty rate, the practice push-ups might give Ryan's players the best delts and traps in the league.

After the first three games, the Jets lead the league in penalties with 34, thanks to four calls apiece Sunday on left guard Vladimir Ducasse and cornerback Kyle Wilson. Ryan believes he has  "a good plan" to eliminate those penalties with the same push-up tactic he employed in 2010. When a penalty flag is thrown in practice, everyone hits the ground — except the guilty party. Even team owner Woody Johnson will drop and do ten.

"Hey, Woody knocks those things out pretty good," Ryan. "I’m the one that struggles. I’ve got the strings for arms. I want the player to stand up. He doesn’t do them. And I want him to notice who he’s affecting. He’s affecting all of us.  After you’ve done a few of those, you’re like, 'Really? You got a penalty again?' They’ll get on each other. There’s a little bit of accountability, especially if you look over and the owner is knocking them out. We don’t want to look like Jack LaLanne or somebody either."

Looking like the late health guru might not be so bad Rex.

UNC shows off Military Appreciation Day helmets for ECU game

North Carolina's home game against East Carolina on Saturday will be the Tar Heels' chance to celebrate Military Appreciation Day at Kenan Stadium. The ceremonies at the game will include several opportunities to honor those who fight for our country, but UNC players will also show off their patriotism with the gear the team will wear on the field.

You can bet UNC fans won't mind trading Tar Heel sky-blue for these colors.

Photos of the American flag-themed helmets were posted to Twitter via the football team's official account.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Keegan Bradley makes eagle and starts Dufnering (VIDEO)

In the final round of the 2013 PGA Tour Championship on Sunday, Keegan Bradley holed out on the seventh hole for an eagle on the par four. Bradley humored his playing partner and good friend Jason Dufner by falling to the ground and Dufnering after the great shot.

You have to love it love that on a day when over $11 million is up for grabs, Bradley still has the sense of humor (and sense of timing) to take a poke at his buddy. Besides being one of the best golfers on the PGA Tour, Bradley is one of the most fun to watch.

Carl Banks: The 'scary' Giants 'don't like each other'

After what was virtually a 60-minute beat down of the New York Giants by the Carolina Panthers Sunday, one former Giants great called the team "scary."  And not in a good way.

Former Giants linebacker Carl Banks, a part of the Giants' radio broadcast team, spoke with WFAN on Monday and didn’t hold back when reflecting on what he saw while Big Blue was embarrassed in Charlotte, losing to the Panthers, 38-0.

"They were banging Giants, receivers getting knocked all over the place, and there’s not one guy that showed emotion," he said.  "And that’s scary. That really is scary."

But Banks didn't stop there and thinks New York’s problems might run deeper than just a lack of talent.

"They don’t like themselves," the two-time Super Bowl champion said. "That’s what it really comes down to. They don’t like each other. They’re not willing to fight for each other. When you have a premier quarterback in this league, and you don’t have enough self-respect — not for him, but for yourself — to protect him to do your job, I think it speaks volumes. I think these guys really do need to all stand in (front of) the mirror, and it’s gut-check time."

The Giants (0-3) have now been outscored 115-54 in the first three games of the season. It doesn’t get any easier from here, as Tom Coughlin’s squad will head to Kansas City this weekend to take on the undefeated Chiefs after the worst loss of the Coughlin era.

"I have a pretty good idea of what type of coach Tom Coughlin is, and what he expects of his guys, but he doesn’t play," Banks said. "And if they don’t have enough pride as men … And you can hate your coach, and never want to play this bad ever again. If you don’t have enough pride to stand up and do something … I don’t think I’ve seen a collective group just line up and get punched in the face, and stand up and do it again and again and again."

"I think the most disturbing aspect of it is … in all my years of being around the team, they’ve had some bad losses," Banks told WFAN co-hosts Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts. "They’ve had some highs and lows, and some good teams and bad teams. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen a team just not show emotion as they were just getting pummeled … I don’t advocate fighting, but show some emotion."

The final stats say it all.  The offensive line couldn’t protect Eli Manning, who completed 12 of 23 passes for 119 yards and threw an interception. He was also sacked seven times for 45 yards. The defense was equally as ineffective, surrendering 402 total yards and five touchdowns.

Not exactly Giants football — at least how Banks remembers it.

Sheldon Richardson's rookie celebration was a little premature (GIF)

The Jets defense played pretty good against the Bills Sunday but one long run on the first quarter’s final play did deflate the Jets’ stats, and will probably result in rookie defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson hearing about it from the veteran players this week about playing until the whistle blows.

Outside linebacker Calvin Pace appeared to have Bills running back Fred Jackson stopped behind the line, but Pace didn’t wrap up Jackson. As far as Richardson knew,  Pace had made the tackle, so Richardson started celebrating. Jackson ran away, and cornerback Antonio Cromartie had to chase him down to save a touchdown.

The run, on a third-and-1 play, moved the Bills to the Jets’ 21-yard line. Luckily for the rookie, the Jets held the Bills for a total of two yards on their next three plays, and Buffalo settled for a field goal that cut the Jets’ lead to 7-3 with 13:45 left in the second quarter.

Richardson took responsibility for his mistake afterward.

Mets rookies dress up as bride and bridal party

It was Rookie Dress Up Day for many MLB teams Sunday and, with LaTroy Hawkins in charge as the designated best man, the Mets rookies had to dress up as a bridal party in purple dresses for the trip to Cincinnati. Zack Wheeler earned the honor of being the bride.

Bridezillas beware.

Blimps will be grounded at MetLife Super Bowl due to weather

Long associated with the biggest sporting events in America — airships, blimps, zeppelins or whatever your generation calls them — will most likely not be sailing over MetLife Stadium during Super Bowl XLVIII in February.

So don't expect to see Snoopy —or Goodyear or DirecTV for that matter — hovering above the festivities during the game because none of the ubiquitous lighter-than-air crafts wants to do battle with Mother Nature in the middle of winter.

The Star-Ledger reports:

Greg Poppenhouse, chief pilot for Goodyear, almost shivers at the thought of flying over East Rutherford on Groundhog Day.
"We won’t have a blimp up there," he said of the upcoming Super Bowl. "We put our ship in the hangar in the winter."
It’s not so much the cold that worries Poppenhouse, but what typically accompanies it during New Jersey winters.
Flying through a rainstorm in the summer can suddenly add 400 pounds of weight to a blimp, he noted. In the winter, though, that precipitation turns into snow and freezing rain, which can accumulate on the wide expanse of an airship’s helium gas envelope, adding enough weight to quickly give a blimp the flying characteristics of a brick.

Not even MetLife, whose name is emblazoned on the stadium that is home to the Jets and Giants, will chance its two U.S.-based airships — Snoopy One and Snoopy Two — to the whims of the Jersey winter on Super Bowl Sunday this February.

"They won’t be there," said MetLife spokesman Shane Winn. "Even if the weather was fairly decent, usually by mid-November both Snoopy One and Snoopy Two are put on a program that keeps them to largely warm-weather states."

The white-and-blue Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield blimp, which is based in New Jersey during the summer months, will be grounded by then as well, officials say, hibernating during the winter — like most other blimps who go south — in North Carolina unless the airship is leased by another company.

With flight restrictions in place since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the blimp may not be the only thing not in action in the skies over MetLife Stadium on game day. The Federal Aviation Administration said there will be temporary flight restrictions on jets and small aircraft put in place as well.

So kiss those live sweeping shots of the Manhattan skyline goodbye.