Thursday, September 30, 2010

Kerrzy's Notebook: Random Friday Thoughts

Capital M-V-P

They may not have won the Golden Baseball League title this season, but Edmonton Capitals first baseman Cliff Brumbaugh is the toast of the league after taking home MVP honors this week.

The 35-year-old belted 23 homers into various sets of bleachers during the 2010 season, drove in 90 runs and batted a whopping .383. He also won this year’s home run derby during all-star weekend.

Interesting Brumbaugh fact of the moment: He won Korean Baseball Organization championships in 2003 and 2004 with the Hyundai Unicorns.

The Price isn’t Right

Toronto FC’s playoff hopes were dealt another blow last weekend in a 3-2 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes, but since last Saturday the focus has been on one player: Dwayne De Rosario.

After a beautifully hit chip over the SJ goalie and into the top corner, the TFC captain made headlines with a post-goal celebration that differed from his trademark “shuffle” – instead he walked to the sideline and pretended to sign a cheque.

When confronted about the gesture after the game, De Rosario confirmed that the point he was trying to get across is that he wants more money.

According to CBC Sports the Ontario native, who leads the team in scoring with 12 goals, is halfway through a four-year deal that is paying him $443,750 this season. That pales in comparison to the money being paid to the team’s ‘designated players’ Julian de Guzman, who is earning about $1.7-million, and Spanish forward Mista who makes just over $987,000.

I know a lot of people are saying negative things about De Rosario, but we’re talking about a two-time MLS Cup winner and Most Valuable Player (only player to win MVP twice), a four-time all star (MLS Best XI), and a guy who is just outside the top 10 on the all-time goal scoring list (74 goals, 51 assists in 239 games). Not to mention the fact that he’s a Canadian superstar (at least in terms of the MLS) playing in Canada.

I can see why he’s upset at not being the highest paid player on the team. A guy with that amount of experience and success is great for Canadian soccer, never mind the MLS.

Did he go about expressing his feeling on the matter the right away? Probably not.

I think we can all agree though – that goal was sick with a capital DERO.

Goalie Fail X2

While we’re talking soccer – I feel obliged to include the following video clips in this blog, because…well…you’ll see.

The brilliantly well-done blog at The Score first brought FAR Rabat goalkeeper Khalid Askri to my attention a few weeks ago when he was beaten by some backspin on a very strange penalty kick…but he’s back!

As Andrew Stoeten tells us, Askri let in another woeful goal and then did what most of us would do – he ran to the sidelines and subbed himself off! See for yourself:

I tried to find some more information on this guy – like what the aftermath of that was, but I just came across pages and pages of links to these videos. Poor guy!

Is China The Answer?

With the NBA season just around the corner, don’t expect to see Allen Iverson running up and down a court near you.

That is, unless China is near you.

Unable to garner much interest in The Association after joining four teams in the past two seasons, none with much success, Iverson is looking at his overseas options as he tries to figure out his future.

Yahoo's Marc Spears reports AI is playing hardball with the Foshan Dragons of the Chinese Basketball Association, turning down a one-year, $4-million contract because that simply isn’t enough money. According to Spears though, the Dragons are biting and are holding a roster spot for him incase he changes his mind.

Foshan is coached by former NBA player Jay Humphries, who tells Yahoo! Sports the financial offer might not change much, but Iverson could make a lot of money off the court like fellow NBAer Stephon Marbury did last season.

Despite not playing much Iverson remains popular among NBA fans, as was evident when it came to All-Star voting last year. The same remains true in China, where Humphries says he is behind only Kobe Bryant and Yao Ming in popularity.

Obviously it would be a bit of a culture shock for him, but it would probably be good for Chinese hoops if The Answer plied his trade there for a couple of years – and $4-million is a lot more than he’ll get if he stays in North America.

Chapman Caught Speeding

With all the focus on the division/wildcard races in the Major Leagues at the moment as the regular season winds down (finally), lets take a look at something completely different.

Cincinnati Reds lefty Aroldis Chapman, a 22-year-old Cuban rookie, made history last Friday when he threw the fastest pitch ever recorded in an MLB game: a 105-mph fastball!

To put that into perspective, you’re allowed to drive 110 km/hr, or about 68-mph on most highways here in Alberta. That’s almost 170 km/hr!

Even crazier than that is the fact that he threw 25 pitches in his 1.1 innings of work, all of which were over 100-mph!

For the record, the next fastest pitch was recorded in 2006 when Joel Zumaya threw a 104.8-mph dart. Guess who’s next on the list? If you guessed Chapman once again – you’re spot on.

The Reds clinched the NL-Central this week, so hopefully that means we’ll get to see some more magic in the postseason!

No Tweet Zone

Players participating in this year’s Ryder Cup have been told by their team captains that there will be no ‘tweeting’ during the tournament.

In fact, the Associated Press reports they’ve been by US captain Corey Pavin and European captain Colin Montgomerie that they aren’t allowed to use any type of social networking sites this weekend, to help them stay focused.

Not only do they say it’s a bit distracting, but Montgomerie says people can get themselves into trouble if they’re not careful. Cricketer Kevin Pietersen was fined after using Twitter to rant about being left off his national team, and Montgomerie says that sort of changed his view on the social media sites.

Europe’s Graeme McDowell broke the ban almost immediately – tweeting to his followers on the way to a team meeting, but he’s been quiet ever since.


“We’ll start Tweetering or Twittering, on Monday, October 4,” says Montgomerie.

Polamalu’s Hair: Week Four Notes

Payback Time

Remember Dez Bryant?

He’s the Dallas Cowboys rookie who refused to carry the shoulder pads of the team’s vets during training camp, a “rite of passage” in the NFL ranks…well, his time finally came this week.

Roy Williams was one of the vets told by Bryant, who received $8.3-million in guaranteed money on his rookie contract, that he can carry his own gear. He let it slide though, saying the rookie would be buying dinner one of these nights and earlier this week it finally happened. Before we get into the details, lets just get the moral of this story out of the way – never offer to buy dinner for a football team!

The final bill came out to a whopping $54,896!

Bryant was supposed to only be taking the offensive players out, but Williams made sure he invited the defense as well. ESPN says players ordered just about everything on the menu at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, and even took home bottles of wine.

Personally, I think I’d rather carry the shoulder pads!

Vick or Kolb?

We’ve talked about it every week so far this season – so lets revisit the Michael Vick storyline out of Philadelphia.

He came in at half time in Philly’s opening week loss and looked great. He then started for the injured Kevin Kolb in week two and led the Eagles to victory. In week three, with Kolb healthy again, he was eventually pegged as the starter after a bit of waffling from coach Andy Reid.

Well, Vick lit up the Jacksonville Jaguars in a 28-3 win last weekend, throwing for 291 yards with three touchdowns while running for 30 yards and another major!

It looks like the starting job is now his until he has a weak game as there hasn’t been any talk this week about even considering starting Kevin Kolb.

This weekend should be fun too – Donovan McNabb makes his return to Philadelphia as the Washington Redskins battle the Eagles.

Mouthguards and Mouthpieces

A bit of a bizarre incident on Monday night after the Chicago Bears pulled out a big win over the Green Bay Packers in an NFC-North clash:

A Milwaukee TV station obtained footage of Packers safety Nick Collins getting into it with a Bears fan as he headed to the dressing room, and throwing his mouthguard at the guy. Collins says the guy spat on him and taunted him with a racial remark.

As Yahoo's Chris Chase points out – if Collins is telling the truth, this is just another example of the crowd mentality out-of-your-reach tough guy who would only dare step to a guy like Collins if he knew there was no chance that he would have to back up his words.

Chase adds though, NFL players can’t go around reacting to that kind of stuff.

Is the reaction well deserved? Totally. At the same time though, that loser in the stands will go back to flipping burgers or whatever it is he does with his life tomorrow, while Collins is a guy making millions of dollars to play football…it’s just not worth the hassle to react to these idiots.

Collins has since apologized for his actions, but there’s a chance he could face some type of punishment from the league. I think if I were the guy in charge of league discipline, I’d let him off with a warning this time around.

Private Smith

For the second straight week, a player is accusing a Kansas City Chiefs player of “improper touching” during a game.

San Francisco 49ers rookie Anthony Davis says of Chiefs defensive end Shaun Smith “he tried to feel me; that’s weird right?”

This is a complaint we heard the week before from Cleveland Browns centre Alex Mack, who also accused Smith of grabbing his private parts.

Niners coach Mike Singletary tells CSN Bay Area that “after a while, there’s only so much you can take,” while adding his player was wrong to retaliate and cost the team yards.

I think the NFL needs to pull Shaun Smith aside and make him attend some kind of “respect in the workplace” seminar or something, don’t you? He should also have to change his last name to “Grabby” for at least two weeks – how’s that for a punishment?

More Labor Talk

The news out of the NFL this week is that the owners and the league already have a plan in place if there is a work stoppage next year.

No, they’re not talking about replacement players – the league says though they’re ready to put employees on unpaid leaves of absence or start chopping salary depending on what happens with the lockout situation.

For their part, the union is trying to paint the league as the bad guys here, saying “it’s a shame that the NFL would put even more jobs at stake” adding that neither the players nor the other employees asked for this.

The owners opted out of the current CBA with the players in 2008.

Speaking of negotiations between the two sides – the league is presenting a proposal for an 18-game season to the players, an extra two games over and above the current system.

On Monday, Indianapolis Colts president Bill Polian said it was a done deal…which it totally isn’t, at least not yet.

The players, or at least some players say they’re against the idea, which would cut the number of preseason games by two and likely boost revenue for owners. Pittsburgh Steelers union rep Charlie Batch tells the Associated Press that they’re not into it, because it’s extra games added onto the players bodies. I see where he’s coming from with that comment, but it also means that it’s less likely players will be injured during the preseason!

The thing with these upcoming CBA talks is that the owners want more money and the players don’t want to budge on their earnings. Adding two games is one way help the owners generate at least a bit more revenue, without the players having to rollback salaries or anything.

It looks to me like this is going to be one nasty fight, and the more I hear or read about it, the more I can actually picture an NFL work stoppage.

Other stuff…

ESPN's Rick Reilly gives us a list of NFL “complisults” – or half-compliment/half-insults that you can use to diss your friends favorite team this football season. Here’s an example, using the Bengals: “I think T.O. has really changed. Just look at his time in Buffalo. He didn’t do a single thing to draw attention to himself!”

According to Sports Business Daily, this past week marked the 12-year anniversary of that yellow line that shows us where a player has to get to for a first down. Happy Trails “1st and Ten.”

If you’ve got a football loving female in your life, I’ve got two things to say to you: First of all, good job. Second – the NFL is out with a campaign to "woo" women shoppers with a line of clothing geared toward your special lady. The league launched a $10-million marketing effort this week…so, apparently they’re quite serious about the whole thing!

Game to watch: The game I’m most excited for this weekend is Washington against Philly, just because it’s Donovan McNabb's first game back in the city where he spent 11 seasons under centre – and of course because I’m pulling for Michael Vick to continue his resurgence. It’ll also be interesting to see if the Steelers can beat the Ravens and move to 4-0 (still without Big Ben), and if the Bears can maintain a perfect record too, against the Giants.

On the other hand, which of the 0-3 teams will get that first win of the season? To be honest, I kind of hope none of them do!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Kerrzy’s Notebook: Fillin’ the Stands

For all the success the Tampa Bay Rays have had on the field this season, there’s still something lacking when they step out onto Tropicana Field – and this week, Evan Longoria decided it was time to speak up.

Despite being the best team in all of baseball, the Rays can’t seem to captivate their audience enough to get butts into the chairs at Tropi-can’t-a. For example, Tampa had two opportunities to clinch a playoff spot this week, and both times they hovered around about a half-full (or half-empty) stadium.

When they finally clinched on Tuesday, the official numbers showed they were just below 50% full (17,891 people).

On Monday, Longoria 'called out' the fans, saying the bad attendance was both disheartening and embarrassing.

"It's a tough situation for us. A lot of the visiting teams come in and wonder where are all the fans. It's actually a little bit embarrassing for us. We're one game away from clinching a postseason spot. We have enough guys in this room to celebrate with, but we'd love to celebrate it with the fans, too."

After the third baseman’s comments, there was such a fan (stay at home fan, apparently) backlash that the Rays have announced they’ll be giving out 20,000 free tickets for Wednesday night’s rubber match with the Baltimore Orioles. That ought to fill the bleachers!

If that doesn’t work though, I’ve got a backup plan for the Tampa Bay front office to look into: Fake Fans.

If you want to at least make the TV broadcast look a little better, but fans aren’t flocking to see your club, look no further than the northern Italian city of Trieste. As the Wall Street Journal tells us, the city’s Serie B soccer team, Triestina, got sick of empty seats and decided to take matters into their own hands by unraveling a massive sheet of vinyl with images of fans printed along it – covering a stand that holds about 10,000 people.

“We’d love to have a full stadium with real supporters,” Triestina’s general manager Marco Cernaz says in a quote that sounds like it’s from a Pinocchio spin-off. “But the reality is that we can’t. This way at least we create a bit of atmosphere, a bit of theatre.”

There’s another reason this idea would work great for the Tampa Bay Rays – it’ll also save them money!

ESPN reports Rays owner Stuart Sternberg says no matter what happens, the team will be cutting payroll before next season by at least $20-million dollars.

“No question. Nothing can change that. Unfortunately there’s nothing that can happen between now and April that can change that unless [manager] Joe Maddon hits the lottery and wants to donate it or I hit the lottery.”

Well Stuey, here’s the beauty of fake fans: the vinyl is saving Triestina about $130,000 US per season because they don’t have to pay as many stewards, attendants or medical staff and they don’t have to pay insurance for those seats occupied by 2-D images!

Not to mention the extra ad revenue that could be garnered!

It’s an interesting situation over in Tampa – the team was brutal, finishing no better than 18-games back of the division leader (an average of about 34 games behind over 10 seasons). Then in 2008, they won the AL-East, they were the American League champions and they lost in the World Series.

This season they’ve got the best record in baseball as of right now, they’ve got a legitimate shot at making a deep run into the postseason…and no matter what happens, they’ll be shedding some serious salary once the year is over.

Is that the circle of life, or what?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Kerrzy’s Notebook: No Streit Answers

The 2010/11 NHL season hasn’t even started, and already the New York Islanders are one of a few teams already scrambling to deal with injury issues.

Anytime one of your players gets hurt, it’s tough. When it’s a guy who averages in the mid-to-high 20’s in terms of minutes per game and is a big time leader in a younger dressing room, it’s excruciating.

That’s the case on Long Island, where defenseman Mark Streit is out “indefinitely” after suffering a shoulder injury in practice – a bit of a freak accident by most accounts. Isles forward Matt Moulson was checking Streit and gave him a little push, and the Swiss native flew into the boards.

Here’s a video of what actually happened, thanks to Fanhouse writer Chris Botta:

I feel bad for Moulson who is coming into camp after a breakout season last year – he says it has been a tough few days since the incident and he has “replayed what happened in my head probably a million times…I feel horrible about what happened.” He says Streit told him it’s okay and it wasn’t his fault, but still, the poor guy is probably just feeling brutal.

Islanders coach Scott Gordon also spoke to about the incident on Monday:

“It wasn’t even a cross-check [as has been widely reported]; it was a free hand. That same thing could have happened three times on just one play, and it didn’t happen. That’s just bad luck for everybody and real bad luck for Mark. He looked good. He’s certainly a big hole for us that we have to fill.”

Here’s where it gets a little murky – New York’s Newsday reports that “according to multiple sources,” Streit will miss a whopping six months of action. They say he’s got a torn labrum and torn rotator cuff, as well as a possible dislocation.

The team wouldn’t go that far though – telling TSN he’s out indefinitely until he can get in to see a specialist.

Lets be real here – it looks like there’s a strong chance that Streit is going to miss some serious time to start the season, whether it’s one to two months or maybe even six. That means the Isles are going to have to at least consider the prospect of wheeling and dealing a little bit to replace him, like it or not. So, what are their options?

To be honest, it doesn’t seem like there are many, at least in terms of a player that could fill his role on the team. However, I know a GM who is looking to offload an experienced defenseman, with an asking price that is probably going down slightly every day…and I think you know him too!

Remember the time Sheldon Souray wasn’t even allowed to attend training camp? Well, as Yahoo's Puck Daddy blog discusses, it might be time for Steve Tambellini and Garth Snow to have a little chat.

The idea works well for the Isles, who right now are about $22-million under the salary cap, and it would help the Oilers get rid of some dead weight.

The other option raised by Puck Daddy’s Sean Leahy is the Islanders taking on the contract of Wade Redden, who was just unceremoniously dumped onto the waiver wire by the NY Rangers. If no one picks him up he’ll be starting the season in the AHL, but again, the Islanders have the cap room to comfortably make that move if they decided to go that way.

As for Streit though – I wish him the best. Shoulder injuries are tough and he’ll be missed on that blue line.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Kerrzy's Notebook: 15 Minutes of Fame

It’s Monday again – and that means it’s time for another installment of a new weekly feature here on my blog: 15 Minutes of Fame!

This week, my co-host Geoff and I discuss the controversy surrounding the upcoming Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India, the debuts of the Edmonton Oilers’ “Big Three,” we talk a little “Touchdown Atlantic,” and you’ve got to stick around for the latest edition of “Quick Hits” at the end!

If you like what you see, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter – we try to blab about sports as often as possible, so join in on the conversation!

That’s our 15 Minutes of Fame up for the week…see you next time!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Kerrzy’s Notebook: Minority Report

September is almost over, which means only one thing in the world of baseball: the season is about to wrap up for almost everyone.

Out of the MLB’s thirty teams, only eight make the postseason – but while most teams are just looking to end the year on a good note (see: Toronto Blue Jays), there are some solid races taking place right before our very eyes.

Starting out in the American League – after Minnesota and Texas clinched their divisions only the AL-East remains up for grabs, and it’s a two-horse race between the Tampa Bay Rays and the NY Yankees.

To be honest, at times it has seemed like neither club actually wants the divisional crown – the Rays and Yankees have been flip-flopping between first and second every other night for the past week or so and in September both teams have certainly had their struggles.

For example, the Rays lost three in a row, put up four straight wins as of Saturday and now lead the division by 1.5-games. The Yankees, on the other hand, started the month with four straight wins and are currently riding a four-game losing skid (10-13 in September so far).

The Bo-Sox have a long way to go to catch the Bronx Bombers in the wildcard race, but they’ve just beaten them in back to back games to move to within 5.5!

Things are a little more interesting in the National League, in terms of a sprint to the finish (or a stumble, depending on who you’re following).

As I write this, the San Diego Padres lead the NL-West by a half-game over the San Francisco Giants, who are tied with the free-falling Atlanta Braves for the wildcard spot. Not far behind are the Colorado Rockies, who are four back in the division and 3.5 back of the Braves and Giants for the wildcard.

This one is interesting because the Padres seemed to have it in the bag before a late August/early September 10-game losing streak that made it a wide-open race. Since then, San Diego has been unable to play very consistent ball, but thankfully for them, that has also been a problem in San Fran!

The team making this race even more fun to watch is those Rockies – a 10-game win streak and a 20-6 record from August 22-September 18 helped propel them back into the picture, with a lot of the praise going to a clutch hitter by the name of Troy Tulowitzki!

On Saturday night Tulowitzki was Standard Transmission once again once again for the Rockies in an extra-innings 10-9 win over the Giants, hitting a walkoff RBI-double to close it out – he’s now driven in 40 runs this month, second only to Babe Ruth's 43 back in 1927!

The win wasn’t without some controversy though – the Giants have asked the league to keep an eye out for “juiced balls” being used in Denver. I’ll let ESPN explain what that means and why it matters – it’s got something to do with a humidor and thin air though.

So, now you know who to keep your eye on as we head into another day full of baseball (and football and hockey) – oh, and lets hope for a few more dingers from Jose Bautista!

Happy Sunday!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Kerrzy’s Notebook: Random Friday Thoughts

Baseball Stuff

Alright – so it’s a little old by now, but if you didn’t see it last week, Derek Jeter was flexing his acting skills (see: The Other Guys) against the Tampa Bay Rays last Thursday…

He got on base by pretending to be hit by a pitch, making it look like he’d just been shot by Mark Wahlberg (you can see it here). Jeter said after the game that, yeah it didn’t hit him, but the ump told him to get on base (after he sold it nicely) and at the end of the day his job is to get on base.

True enough, Derek! I’m only adding this in here because it always makes me laugh when an athlete is confronted about a blatant dive or whatever you want to call it!

Tampa manager Joe Maddon wasn’t impressed by the whole ordeal, but had a funny way of saying it:

“There’s several thespians throughout baseball. I though Derek did a great job and I applaud it, because I wish our guys would do the same thing.”

While Maddon will likely be staying put with the Rays, who he’s doing a great job managing, USA Today reports that it could be a record-breaking year as far as managerial changes.

The record is 13 – which has happened on two occasions – but it’s setting up to be a very interesting off-season on that front. So far, there have been seven manager swaps, there are 12 guys in the final year of a contract, some managers will very likely be fired, there are a handful of guys who still have the “interim” tag on their title and, of course, there are managers like Joe Torre, Lou Piniella and Cito Gaston who are retiring.

So, the league’s general managers will have a lot on their minds this winter – but here’s a bit of good news to mix in there: The Wall Street Journal says could be the first year in the modern era of baseball where salary and success bear almost no relationship!

That’s good news for the smaller clubs I guess, maybe not so welcome for the teams like the NY Yankees who spend like it’s going out of style. It’s also good news for the game of baseball – because no one likes to see a huge lack of competitive balance (unless your team is the one winning).

It’s just not healthy for the sport when the teams that can spend hundreds of millions of dollars crush everyone else! Maybe one of these days the Blue Jays will be able to compete a little better in that dreaded AL-East…

Who Would You Rather…

No we’re not playing that game, but here’s a question for you: Who would you rather watch – Toronto FC at BMO Field, or Manchester United at Old Trafford?

One is a legendary club with supporters around the world and an all-star cast of international stars, while the other has missed the playoffs in four straight seasons and fields a lineup of players you might know depending on how close you follow Major League Soccer.

Now, factor into your decision what you think it might cost for a season ticket.

You’ll be surprised to learn, as The Globe and Mail points out, that a Man U season seat is actually cheaper than a TFC one by about $100!!!!! And you get to see 19 games instead of 18!

Once again – if you were choosing between a Man United and Toronto FC season ticket, it would cost you less money to see the far superior of the two teams (in lineup, league and overall quality)!

Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment says it’s difficult to compare the two. Yeah, I’d say! He’s got a point when he says the big EPL teams can cram about three times the people into a stadium, so they can afford to charge less…but it still boggles my mind!

Bad Beckham?

Okay, so follow me here – we were just talking about Manchester United and the MLS and paying for stuff, right?

Okay – so former Man U superstar and current LA Galaxy player David Beckham is in the news this week for the same reason a few other prominent English players have been in the past few months: prostitutes!

Though he vehemently denies it, The Huffington Post pulled a report from In Touch magazine that quotes a 26-year-old former prostitute who claims to have done the dirty with Dave five times in 2007, at $10,000 a night.

Meanwhile, Becks is planning legal action and will demand a front-page retraction of the allegations. The Guardian says he’ll be suing in the US and in Germany for malice, defamation and slander.

If he’s willing to go through all of that, he’s probably telling the truth. Not like Peter Crouch, and more recently, Wayne Rooney, who were both busted for the same type of thing and have spent the time since apologizing and avoiding the paparazzi.

For the record, Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp says the booze culture and the fact that “everyone’s got a camera” are to blame for these footballers getting into so much trouble lately.

“There’s one common problem – I’ve said it all along. It’s called drink. These things don’t happen unless people have a drink 99 per cent of the time. People have a drink; we all drink. I’m not sitting here saying I never have; of course I have. I’ve liked to drink all my life.”

But Redknapp says players shouldn’t be putting themselves in these situations. It’s tough though, you give a young man more money than he knows what to do with, along with a bit of fame, and it can all go wrong in a hurry.

Seems like a bit of an epidemic over there though!

PEDs and the UFC

No fancy segue for this one – but there’s been another PED scandal in the world of mixed martial arts.

Chael Sonnen, who recently ran his mouth a bit about some other UFC fighters, is facing a one-year ban from competition and a $2,500 fine after a positive test for performance enhancing drugs.

The tests were done after his UFC 117 loss to Anderson Silva, a fight he dominated until a last-round submission by the champ. Sonnen plans to appeal, but has been eerily quiet since this news broke, which leads a lot of people to believe he’s probably guilty. It’s sad, because that positive test really takes away from what was a breakout performance against one of the best fighters there is.

Some guys never learn eh? It seems like every day the tests are getting better and it’s been a hot topic across all of sports for a long time now – but some guys think they’re smarter, or they’re led astray by someone who thinks they’re smarter than everyone else.

Because of the suspension, Sonnen will no longer get the rematch with Silva that was planned – instead it’ll be Vitor Belfort facing the middleweight champ.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Polamalu’s Hair: Week Three Notes

Crash Landing

A day after learning that holdout corner Darrelle Revis could miss time with a strained hamstring (one week to a month, depending on who you ask), the NY Jets were informed of the latest twist in what has already been a very headline-worthy season for Rex Ryan’s crew.

Remember Braylon Edwards? He’s the guy who pleaded no contest to aggravated disorderly conduct after a dust up with a friend of LeBron James outside a Cleveland nightclub – the Browns ended up trading him to the Jets around that time. Well, he was pulled over early on Tuesday in New York City because of his window tint…and wound up blowing blowing twice the legal limit (0.16).

Edwards, who is currently on probation, was arraigned on drunk driving charges. ESPN reports that if he is deemed to have violated his parole, he could wind up facing jail time.

If he avoids jail, he may not escape the long arm of the NFL’s personal conduct policy – which would be a second violation for him and could see him face suspension.

NY Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum says they’re disappointed with Edwards, but he’ll play on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. You see, if the Jets punish the player they could be in violation of the collective bargaining agreement.

Even dressing, but not playing him could be viewed as a punishment that could get the team in trouble. So he’ll dress and he’ll play at some point – but Tannenbaum says that’s up to coach Ryan.

So to recap: Darrelle Revis held out for most of training camp, creating a big distraction for the club. They were given a slap on the wrist for their unprofessional conduct as a club (coaches included) in dealing with Mexican reporter Ines Sainz. Revis, after a slow start to the season, strained his hamstring in game two and could miss a month. Braylon Edwards was pulled over by NYC police and blew twice the legal limit – possibly violating his probation.

Talk about Hard Knocks!

Vick Starting After All

Remember last week when I said the Philadelphia Eagles had some tough choices ahead when it comes to their starting quarterback?

Well, Michael Vick started last Sunday because Kevin Kolb still hadn’t been cleared to play after suffering a concussion in week one. Vick came in for the second half against the Packers on opening day and took the game over – and this past weekend he threw for 284 yards and a pair of majors in a win over the Lions. So…he’s the number one guy, right?

Earlier this week it appeared he would be back on the bench as soon as Kolb was ready to go, despite one and a half solid outings.

Eagles coach Andy Reid came out and said that Vick would not start this coming weekend, now that the guy they pegged as their starter was healthy again. Like a good teammate, Michael Vick said he’s OK with that, adding that there will be no QB controversy in Philly.

I’m not sure what happened in the 24-hours following those comments, but a day later Reid announced that he had changed his mind.

Here’s what Reid told USA Today on Tuesday:

“I think very few quarterbacks could go out and play the way he played the last couple weeks. This is about Michael Vick and his accelerated play. He’s sitting there as possible the hottest quarterback in the National Football League at this time and deserves an opportunity to play. Michael Vick is playing out of his mind right now.”

When the Eagles face the Jacksonville Jaguars this weekend, there is a lot at stake for Vick – Steve Wyche at says if he blows this chance at a starting gig, he may be a backup for the rest of his career. He might be right!

I know some people still think he’s some kind of monster because of his dog fighting conviction but personally, I’m rooting for him!

Odd Couple

A strange story arose last week connecting two totally random people together – one is a good old boy from Mississippi who’s like a million years old; the other is an incarcerated rapper who had a hit song last year called “A Milli…”

Yes, I’ve got a story here that links Minnesota Vikings QB Brett Favre with Lil Wayne!

According to Contact Music, Favre reached out to Wayne recently through a mutual friend (they have a mutual friend!). Weezy is currently doing time at Rikers Island prison on weapons possession.

Reports say Favre told teammate Bryant “Big Mac” McKinnie to let Lil Wayne know that he’s been praying for him, and to send him his love. Mack Maine is the president of Wayne’s record label Young Money – he says the rapper was “real excited” at hearing that.

He’s lucky the message wasn’t intercepted along the way! OH!

Battle Lines Drawn

Some very interesting news on the NFLPA front, as the tough talk between the union and the players continues ahead of what may end up being a work stoppage.

The PA is going around the league and meeting with players to discuss upcoming labor talks with owners – and part of those meetings involves voting to, or discussing “decertification.”

If players vote to decertify the union, it allows them to sue the league’s owners if they’re locked out next season. The Associated Press reports that current Antitrust laws make it impossible for unions negotiating CBAs to sue NFL owners.

I don’t think I fully understand what’s going on here, but it sounds like a pretty shifty tactic to get what you want. Are you listening, other players unions?

Madden 11 Diss?

If you’ve played Madden11 and had a tough time with your team's kicking game – you might have noticed a bit of a diss towards Canadian football.

It seems if you shank a punt, you’ll hear NBA color commentator Cris Collinsworth say “Unbelievable. The field is 53-and-a-half yards wide (the CFL’s is 65 across) and he still missed it. We’re going to have to send him to Canada!”

The Edmonton Sun spoke with Edmonton Eskimos kicker Noel Prefontaine about the slight – he says it’s an interesting comment given the fact that it’s harder to kick in the CFL, adding that in the NFL guys don’t generally perform as many duties as they do up north.

While it’s being seen as a bit of an insult by some people – come on, it’s all a bit of a laugh. As Yahoo!'s 55 Yard Line points out though, the Sun accused Collinsworth of being ignorant while misspelling his first name (Chris, instead of Cris). And at the end of the day, players that are stars in the CFL generally battle to simply catch on with an NFL club.

Either way – people get too worked up about this stuff! Just enjoy the game folks, apparently you can play in half the time now or something. Woo!

Other Stuff…

We’re through two weeks of a 16-game season – so obviously it’s time to talk about how the 0-2 Dallas Cowboys have a 13% chance of making the playoffs. While we’re at it, here are the "surprise" 2-0 teams!

Brandon Jacobs faces a $10,000 fine for tossing his helmet into the crowd in Indianapolis last weekend – he says he went to throw it at the bench, but it slipped out of his hands…oops!

There certainly are a lot of Faulkin’ injuries to report this week. The biggest one is probably Reggie Bush out with what looks to be a broken leg, followed by Ben Roethlisberger’s suspension fill-in Dennis Dixon tearing something in his knee.

Over the year’s I’ve heard a lot of stories about certain forms of “dirty” play that goes on in various sports – Cleveland Browns centre Alex Mack says he was a victim of some of that last week.

Game to watch: For me, the game to watch this week is the Philadelphia Eagles and the Jacksonville Jaguars – it’s a big game for Michael Vick after two solid outings, and could secure him that starting gig (for now). I suppose it’ll be worth keeping an eye on the Dallas Cowboys and the Minnesota Vikings this weekend too as both teams are without a win so far. Dallas plays Houston, while Minnesota faces Detroit.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Kerrzy’s Notebook: Major League Strangeness

One of the latest high-profile players to jump ship to the ranks of North American pro soccer finds himself in a bit of trouble this week.

Former Barcelona striker and French international Thierry Henry was involved in a bizarre incident last Thursday that landed him a $2,000 fine (but not a suspension – see below) and left the opposing goalie with an MCL strain.

After Mehdi Ballouchy scored a first half injury time goal for the NY Red Bulls to tie their game with FC Dallas at 1-1 (it ended 2-2), Henry ran up to the discarded ball and went to give it a swift kick into the onion bag, a sort of punctuation of sorts heading into half time.

That’s something you see quite often – a player scores, and immediately someone nearby gives the ball another kick into the net. In this case though, Henry seems to be a little delayed in his reaction and gets to the ball just as Dallas goalie Kevin Hartman is walking up to it.

So, not only does the ball wind up heading far from the intended target, but he also gives Hartman’s foot a little kick which I guess twisted his knee up a bit.

It’s one of those “what was he thinking” type of moments, where a player does something innocent but seemingly irrational and ends up looking like a total goof. To make things worse, because it’s such a strange play and because it’s soccer, you’ll watch the video and wonder how much Hartman is exaggerating.

As you’ll see below, it’s just “one of those stupid things” that ends with a freak injury:

For the record, Hartman's agent is furious over the fact that Henry escaped suspension, saying on Monday that the MLS disciplinary committee should be embarrassed and ashamed.

He’s probably got a point there, given the wording of the MLS press release on the matter that says Hartman “stepped into the path of the ball and suffered a knee injury” – when Henry clearly walks up and nails it well after the play is over.

Do you think his lack of a suspension could have something to do with the fact that Henry, Rafa Marquez and Juan Pablo Angel are getting set to face the LA Galaxy on Friday, with the likes of David Beckham and Landon Donovan in the lineup?

That’s right, there are 14 “Designated Players” in the MLS, and five of them (including the four highest paid players in the league) will be suiting up when New York faces LA. Oh did I mention, as the NY Times soccer blog points out, that the game is being broadcast across the US and is the top story on the MLS website?

For all the armadillo-helmet wearing MLS conspiracy theorists, I won’t even both mentioning that Henry was already on a yellow and, had he been shown another, would have automatically missed Friday’s game. No, I won’t even bother mentioning that.

At the end of the day, does issuing a $2,000 fine to a multi-millionaire teach anyone a lesson?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Kerrzy’s Notebook: 15 Minutes of Fame

Happy Monday!

I know, I know. It’s always tough to get going after a couple of days off, but I’m here to help. After 300-ish blogs, I’ve decided to add a new dimension to what I do here in my little corner of the web in the form of a video-blog discussing the topics of the week in the world of sports!

Along with Geoffrey Driscoll of Any Sport Any Time, I’m proud to introduce you to: 15 Minutes of Fame!

This week we’re talking about that new rink in Quebec City that may end up being mostly government funded (even though they don’t have a team!), Sheldon Souray and the Edmonton Oilers and the Edmonton Eskimos hiring of Eric Tillman as their new GM.

Enjoy, and feel free to comment!

If that left you wanting more – here’s Part One and Part Two of our first kick at the can!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Kerrzy’s Notebook: Random Friday Thoughts

Phone Busters

Today marks another important step for Taylor Hall, as he continues on his path to the NHL with his first pro training camp.

It’s been a long summer for the number one pick in the 2010 draft, with plenty of lessons learned – including what it’s like to be under the microscope.

Hall learned first hand that you have to watch what you say in a town like Edmonton – just take the example of Sheldon Souray, who was asked not to come to camp after blasting the Oilers organization last spring.

“A word can change a sentence and a sentence can change the whole story,” Hall told the Edmonton Journal this week, “You do have to watch what you say.”

That’s why Hall took a proactive step and deleted his Twitter account after word got out that he had an account on the site. Hall told the Journal his phone “blew up” and he couldn’t get to sleep because so many people were trying to get at him.

That’s too bad! Personally, I wish more pro athletes used things like Twitter, it’s a fun tool to communicate with the fans if used properly!

Together At Last

Quite the story developing in the world of hockey this week as finally, Crosby and Lemieux will play together this coming season.

Don’t believe me? Even ESPN is covering this story!

Okay, well it’s not quite as awesome as I tried to make it sound – Mario Lemieux’s 15-year-old daughter Stephanie and Sidney Crosby’s 14-year-old sister Taylor will both suit up for the Shattuck-St. Mary’s school girls’ hockey team this season.

Sidney scored 72 goals and 162 points in 57 games at that Minnesota school in 2002-03, but it’s highly unlikely that his sister will come anywhere near those stats, since she’s a goalie like her dad.

Who knows, maybe in a decade it’ll be Taylor stonewalling her brother in the big leagues…but probably not.

The New Chelios?

Speaking of a decade from now – Ottawa Senators forward Alex Kovalev said this week that he hopes to still be playing when that time rolls around.

In fact, the 37-year-old told reporters that his goal is to play until he’s 50, as long as he can still get a gig and contribute.

Kovalev had surgery in the off-season to repair a torn ACL and says he feels fine and is looking to build on his 18-goal, 49-point 2009-10 season. Part of the reason he didn’t score as much last year, he says, was due to a sore wrist which slowed him down quite a bit.

Now, I think Kovalev is an awesome player and I think it’s awesome that he wants to play until he’s 50, but I can’t help but have a bit of a laugh at his expense, as I wonder if this play here was the root of that wrist problem:

In all seriousness though, I think it’s quite possible that Kovalev could have a better year than he did last year – and as long as he stays healthy, I’m sure can play deep into his 40’s. If not in the NHL, I’m sure the KHL will have him (if it’s still around).

To the people that don’t think he gives his all, all of the time, Kovalev had this to say:

"We all care for what we do, and we're responsible for what we do on the ice. That's the way it should be. Same thing with me. I'm responsible for what I do. Hopefully, I'll do a better job this year.”

The Russian maintains that he doesn’t really think about the fact that he’s in the final year of his current contract. He says too many players get caught up in that and play a different game than they’d play if they weren’t thinking about it.

Yeah, usually they play better!

Yes Way, Jose!

Well, it’s September, and as usual, the Toronto Blue Jays aren’t in the playoff race – there is something to cheer about this season though if you’re a Jays fan.

His name: Jose Bautista.

Coming into today’s series opener with the Boston Red Sox, Bautista leads the league with 47 home runs, which puts him in a tie with George Bell for the Jays’ franchise record. He also has the second most RBIs in the league with 111.

Not bad for a guy who once suited up for six teams in less than a year. I bet you didn’t know he’s got a 95-mph fastball too!

I didn’t know that either, until I stumbled upon this great piece from the Toronto Sun on Bautista’s rise through the ranks!

Other Stuff…

Toronto fans are the biggest haters in the game? It’s true, says Slam! Sports columnist Steve Buffery. Whaaaaaaaaaat?!

Not to make light of a serious situation – but if Floyd Mayweather Jr. doesn’t want to fight Manny Pacquiao, he should just say so!

Reggie Bush forfeited his 2005 Heisman Trophy this week…but not because he was guilty of anything. He just did it so people would stop talking about how he was ruled ineligible that season because of the money he received. That’s all!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Polamalu’s Hair: Week Two Notes

Bad Behavior

If they’re not talking themselves up or stumbling out of the gate, the NY Jets apparently enjoy harassing female reporters…

The stars of “Hard Knocks” got into a bit of trouble this week for their treatment of a Mexican reporter, who was at practice to interview Mark Sanchez for TV Azteca.

Ines Sainz had balls thrown near her on purpose and had to put up with even more garbage in the locker room afterwards – and it wasn’t just the players getting involved. Reports say that even head coach Rex Ryan played a part in all of this.

Since then, the owner of the team has called Sainz to apologize and the NFL has looked into the matter – sending out a league-wide memo to remind teams that women must be granted the same rights to perform their jobs as men and should be treated like professionals.

Certain players, like Washington’s Clinton Portis, made themselves look bad this week with their comments on the matter – but he has since issued an apology through his team.

What do I think about this? I’ll agree that it may be a bit awkward to have female reporters in the men’s dressing room (as I doubt the reverse would be allowed/tolerated anywhere), but at the end of the day these guys have to be able to keep it to themselves.

As for the on-field stuff, in which the coaches were apparently involved, I think maybe a few fines would help remind guys like Rex Ryan that he’s not playing a game of pick-up behind his frat house.

If you think the Jets acted like a bunch of jackasses, you’ll be interested to hear that the team was almost called the “Borros,” a pun on the term boroughs…however, they worried it was too close to the Spanish word for donkey!

On that note CNN has a great piece on the origin of team names around the NFL, which you can read by clicking here.

Kolb or Vick?

There could be some tough choices ahead for Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid – though it looks like he may get a pass for this coming weekend.

Kevin Kolb started last Sunday’s 27-20 loss to the Green Bay Packers, but the Eagles didn’t really look that good until he left the game with a concussion. That’s when Michael Vick took over, and took over the game.

Vick led all players in rushing yards with 103, which included some plays that had people talking about his pre-jail days, and he completed 16-of-24 passes for 175 yards and a touchdown. In short – he looked like a guy that should be playing every week, not coming in for short yardage plays and the like.

In one half, he almost equaled the passing stats of Aaron Rodgers and out-rushed everyone. That’s pretty impressive!

That said, Andy Reid has dubbed Kolb the starter and vowed to go back to him when he’s healthy. Thanks to a wallop from Green Bay’s Clay Matthews on Sunday, Kolb probably won’t be healthy by this weekend though, which means Vick may get another shot.

The NFL is now quite serious about concussions, so players have to pass tests before they’re allowed back, which includes tests from an independent physician. As of Wednesday, neither Kolb nor linebacker Stewart Bradley had gotten a pass and Reid say the players won’t be practicing until at least Friday. Knowing that, you’d have to think Vick is probably starting.

So here’s the question: If Vick comes out and destroys the Detroit Lions on Sunday, does he earn another start?

I realize that, as a coach, you want to show loyalty to a guy that you gave the starting job to, but maybe in this case you wait until Vick has a bad game before you make the switch. What if Vick plays well again, but Reid starts Kolb the following week and he stinks? I guess that’s the risk you take, but personally I am hoping for a Vick revival in Philly!

Labor Peace?

While talk of a lockout looms over the league this season, at least one player doesn’t think it’ll happen.

Ricky Williams, the player rep for the Miami Dolphins, says he expects the 2011/12 season will go as planned, despite the tough talk from both the league and the players union over the last several months.

In a nutshell, the owners say they’re losing money and the players say they won’t take any pay cuts.

There was a bit of controversy stirred up at the start of the opening game of the season when the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints players all raised their index fingers to show union solidarity – and that was repeated at a bunch of other season openers last weekend. Some people didn’t like it, others loved to see players coming together like that, if only for a brief moment, before knocking each other all over the field.

Williams told ESPN he thought it was a great gesture:

"It's a wonderful thing. It's not only the players. Ideally we'd have people in the stands doing it, people that work in the stadium. Because if there's a lockout initiated by the owners, it's not only going to be us that suffer, it's going to be the people that work for the stadium, it's going to be the fans, it's going to be the hotels, it's going to be the economies of these cities. So it's not just about us. It's about pushing to have some kind of an agreement reached."

I never thought of it like that, but it’s true – a pro sports lockout affects more than just the millionaires that play the game or the even richer guys who pay those millionaires.

I’ve been saying for a while now though, there’s a chance that a bunch of North America’s major pro sports leagues could be facing this same problem at around the same time. I hope they all get it sorted out though, because it could make for a very boring and depressing 2012!

Other Stuff…

With all of the JaMarcus Russell stuff earlier this summer, you probably heard the phrase “the biggest draft bust since Ryan Leaf” a few times. Well, here’s a pretty interesting read out of Seattle on what Leaf is up to these days.

Last week we talked about Randy Moss feeling unwanted in New England – and after Sunday’s win over the Bengals, he took to the podium for the first time to address the media en masse.

Don’t get me wrong though – Moss is no slouch, regardless of what Darrelle Revis might think!

Game to watch: Given the mild trash talk ahead of this one, I think Sunday’s tilt between the Patriots and the NY Jets will be a heck of a game. The best possible outcome would be a Pats thrashing of NY, so that everyone stops talking about how amazing the Jets are. If you’re not into that, the Manning brothers play each other later that night!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Polamalu’s Hair: Week One Notes

The 2010 NFL season begins tonight in New Orleans with an NFC Championship game rematch between the Saints and the Minnesota Vikings – but today also marks the beginning of my weekly NFL-themed blog, named after the best hair in the game!

Rather than analyzing each individual match up, like I did on my blog last season, this year I’ll be taking a look at some of the storylines from around the league each week.

Here we go!

According to reports, the NFL is predicting the lowest average attendance since 1998 this season – but is the recession to blame?

The LA Times says the problem might be that the league has made the broadcast of its games SO good that people would rather watch from the comfort of their own homes, with the option of watching multiple games (and not shelling out double digit dollars for a cold one).

Of course nothing beats being there in person, but then again both options have their benefits (see: no lineup for the bathroom).

The Times says all of the networks showing NFL games saw their numbers rise last season, and in fact all had their most-watched regular season games in 2009. Add to that the fact that 3D broadcasts are the next big thing and channels like NFL RedZone keep you up to date with every big play as it happens, has TV actually taken a chunk out of stadium revenues?

It’s tough to say – but the owners are fighting back!

Among the cutting-edge improvements fans will see around the league this year are hand-held video devices at some stadiums, allowing people to watch all games, and the RedZone channel being featured on scoreboards.

Here’s another interesting one: teams are now allowed to put messages like “Raise the Roof” and “Pump It Up” on scoreboards to get the fans making more noise. In other news, teams weren’t allowed to put messages like “Raise the Roof” and “Pump It Up” on scoreboards to get the fans making more noise until this season!

Does anyone else find that a little odd?

Speaking of NFL stadiums – did you know that some places are still paying off old buildings that are currently just parking lots? Crazy!

Moving on – the New England Patriots have some big question marks on the contractual side of things heading into this season.

Quarterback Tom Brady and receiver Randy Moss are both in the final year of their current contracts – but talks are seemingly headed in opposite directions for the two players.

All anyone wants to talk to Brady about lately is an impending contract extension, while Moss came out this week saying he feels like he’s “not wanted” by the organization.

Brady is the face of the organization and is likely due a nice big pay raise from the $6.5-million he is due this season, so he’s got nothing to worry about. As for Moss, having Brady in his corner probably won’t help as much as a solid season will.

Last season Moss had 1,246 yards receiving and 13 touchdowns – hopefully this contract business won’t end up being a distraction for he and his teammates.

Meanwhile, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning says his team will just have to put up with slow, clumsy umpires when they get their season going against Houston on Sunday.

Manning was upset by a rule change that sees the ump line up behind the deepest back in the backfield, instead of in the middle of the defense (because of too many collisions between players and refs). If the umpire is slow to get into position, it in turn slows down a hurry-up offense.

After the Colts QB complained about the rule, the league tweaked it a little bit so that it won’t be a factor in the final two minutes of the first half and the last five of the second half as the ump will return to his old spot.

Game to watch: Well this one is obvious – on Sunday the Steelers play the Falcons, which means Troy Polamalu and his legendary hair debut.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Kerrzy's Notebook: Blame Hockey?

What do baseball and hockey have in common?

Nyjer Morgan of the Washington Nationals, that’s what, and organizations like USA Today are blaming hockey for Morgan’s recent bad behavior on the field.

In recent weeks he caught grief for tossing a ball at a Phillies fan, and running over two catchers and, of course, starting a big bench clearing brawl on Wednesday against the Florida Marlins.

The fight started after Chris Volstad hit him with a pitch and then threw one behind him a couple of innings later – which was in response to a play from the night before where Morgan ran over Florida catcher Brett Hayes while attempting to score, separating his shoulder.

Believe it or not, a few American media outlets are saying that Morgan’s time playing junior in BC and his brief stint with the WHL’s Regina Pats are the reason he started that big fight. Yes, the seven games he played for the Pats turned Morgan into a crazy fighter. His hockey career was so insignificant that The Hockey Database, one of the best resources for hockey stats out there, doesn’t even spell his name right!

In the USA Today blog post about Morgan’s hockey ties, they cite an article from something called Phanatic Magazine, trying to explain why a six-foot tall, 175-pound guy would charge the mound of a guy who stands six-foot-eight and weighs 55-pounds more than him. It’s not that he’s just a guy that doesn’t take any mess…it must be hockey’s fault.

The best part of the Phanatic excerpt is that Bob Herpen is apparently the magazine’s hockey editor…and has no idea what the WHL is.

“He didn't make the team, but bounced around several other clubs in the low Canadian minors until hooking on with the Regina Pats of the famed Western Canadian Hockey League in 1999. Even now, the WCHL carries with it a reputation of making the tough players tougher and weeding out the rest.”

So never mind that he didn’t actually make the team – but according to Herpen, Morgan had to “fend off culture shock and prejudice” in Regina, “a bastion of lily-whiteness in the most lily-white of Canadian regions: the Prairies.”


I’d love to hear what Morgan has to say about all of this, I’m sure it would be a good laugh to get his opinion on whether or not hockey turned him into a “goon.”

Either way, isn’t American ignorance a wonderful thing?

(Hat tip to my pal BoDo for pointing this story out to me)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Kerrzy's Notebook: Holiday Musings


It’s been a little while since we last spoke – I’ve been on a little break from work and haven’t really been paying much attention to anything.

That said, a friend of mine from school is bringing me on board for a fun little sports-themed side project that includes a shout out to my blog…so I figured I’d better actually write something!

How could I not write this week though – being a guy who is known, at least in part, for his long and flowing locks – when I saw that a company has insured the hair of Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu.

Yes, Head and Shoulders are putting a $1-million policy on Polamalu’s flow, for ‘safety’ I suppose.

ESPN reports the insurance was obtained through Lloyd’s of London, but they say its unclear what has to happen to the 29-year-old’s hair for anyone to cash in. That’s got me thinking…I know I’m only in radio, but maybe I should put $20 or $30 down on my mop, just for the hell of it.

Incase you didn’t know of the H&S/Polamalu connection – here’s one of the pretty solid commercials they put out last year:

While we’re on the topic of the NFL – there was a funny story this week in Miami. Defensive end Kendall Langford lost a 2.5-carat diamond earring on the field during practice!

A bunch of his teammates tried to help find the piece of jewelry, which could be worth over $50,000, but to no avail.

Ouch! Not a good start to the season!

From football, to the other football now – where there’s been another victory for the vuvuzela-haters out there.

Remember the vuvuzela? That loud, annoying ‘stadium horn’ that everyone complained about during the World Cup in South Africa? As soon as the tournament ended we started seeing individual teams announce bans, even as far as a few NHL teams oddly enough…but things got serious this week for the old noisemaker.

UEFA has banned the vuvuzela at all of its competitions, which include Euro 2012 qualifiers, Champions League and Europa League games!

According to the BBC, the organization says the ‘instrument’ is out of place in the European game and would “completely change the atmosphere” in the stands – “drowning supporter emotions and detracting from the experience of the game.”

Sure, it was pretty annoying to hear the constant drone of the vuvuzela from the other side of a TV – but think about how loud and off-putting that would be in person! I’m quite certain that if the person sitting behind me at an Oilers game decided to blow his horn for a full 60 minutes, I would snap.

Perhaps it would add a certain je ne sais quoi to my sportscasts if I had someone tooting a vuvuzela in the background…I’ll run that by my bosses next week.

Having recently acquired one of these fine instruments (of destruction), I can tell you they make a great alarm clock for an unsuspecting member of your family!

While I’ve got your attention (if I still have it) – remember that potential super-fight between two of boxing’s biggest stars that was going to happen, was put off, looked like it might happen, was put off, and now seems like it’ll never happen?

Well, Filipino congressman Manny Pacquiao is still talking trash about Floyd Mayweather Jr., who seems to have disappeared after being quite vocal during the initial negotiations.

Pacquiao (51-3-2) says Mayweather (41-0) “needs” him and wonders what his real reason for not fighting him is.

At first, Pac-man wouldn’t agree to Olympic style blood testing, but in the months after the first round of negotiations his camp says it has basically agreed to everything to make the fight happen. Mayweather’s camp says no other negotiations took place, but the head of HBO Sports says he acted as a go-between for the two sides, and that talks did occur.

So it still appears that we won’t see the super-fight that would make people give a care about boxing again - who the heck knows what is really going on there behind closed doors.

All I know is Manny better watch out – his next fight is against a guy by the name of Antonio Margarito, who is just recently back from a one-year suspension for “loading” his gloves!

I more than likely won’t buy a boxing PPV or go out of my way to watch until it’s Pacquiao vs. Mayweather though…