Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Hoop & The Harm: Notes from the Hardcourt

Time for a Change

After LeBron James (we’ll get to him in a minute) and Chris Bosh (and him) joined Dwyane Wade in Florida this summer, there was talk among the NBA’s other high profile free agents and soon-to-be FA’s about forming similar ‘powerhouse pacts,’ if you will…

One of the players, of the ‘soon-to-be’ variety, that was frequently rumored to be making a move was Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets – and with the season underway, not much has changed.

It seemed like things had been smoothed over – ‘Melo came out and said that he had never asked for a trade, the speculation sort of stopped for a while and then everyone’s focus (once again) turned to LeBron and the Miami Heat as the season began. Well – unhappy with that, Anthony is back in the headlines almost immediately, and it doesn’t look good for the Nuggets!

Here’s what he told Yahoo! Sports after his club’s home opener:

“For me, I feel it’s a time for change. If I do nothing now, I’m never going to do anything. I feel like my time is now to make a decision if I want to leave or if I want to stay.”

To be fair, Anthony didn’t just say this out of the blue – I assume he was being asked about his future, or about the contract extension worth $65-million that the club has offered him. Isn’t it a little early on in the season to be talking about “time for a change” and “my time is now to make a decision,” or is it just me?

It could all just be a misunderstanding though – a couple of nights later, Anthony told reporters that his comments were taken the wrong way by some people. He says he just wants to keep his options open when it comes time for free agency, but I think we all know what that means. I smell a break up coming!

Euro Trip

I’ve got a theory on ‘Melo – I think he’s waiting to see if the NBA expands to Europe before he decides who he wants to shack up with…

Okay, maybe not, but the NBA is apparently thinking about European expansion in the next decade if you can believe it. According to ESPN, league commissioner David Stern told some people in Miami that he “envisions a five-team European division within the league sometime in the next 10 years.”

In some of his other comments though, he didn’t exactly sound optimistic:

“It’s a wonderful topic, because 10 years ago, I said ‘Oh, it’s inevitable, it’ll happen in 10 years.’ And now what I’m saying is, ‘It’s inevitable, it’ll happen in 10 years.’ But in terms of globalization, we’re going to see a desire for franchises in Europe and in about 10 years you’ll send me a postcard.”

So to recap: a decade ago, David Stern thought it was “inevitable” that there would be European clubs competing in the NBA, which didn’t happen, and ten years later we’re supposed to believe him when he repeats the exact same sentiment?

All this from a guy who just admitted this past week that the league might have to lose a few teams in order to be successful and turn a profit. I don’t know what’s crazier – that, or the idea that people will still be sending each other postcards in 2020!

Payback’s a Witch

Remember the time the city of Cleveland won’t stop crying about what a jerk LeBron James is for taking less money to go to a better team (in a nicer part of the world)?

Well, as expected, the start of the NBA season this past week opened up an old wound in Ohio, and some people found interesting ways to get over the pain of “The Decision.” Take “Rover,” for example.

He’s the local radio personality who brought a witch into the studio to place a curse on James the morning of the Heat’s season opener in Boston. According to 19ActionNews.com, who I trust because of their claim to be “Honest, Fair, Everywhere,” Samhain the witch and Lady Magick the assistant witch used bones, blood and a Heat jersey to place the hex.

Cleveland-area listeners were all asked to focus their negative energy towards James during the ceremony, which he probably blocked with a shield made of solid gold and Nike swooshes.

So what does “Rover” think/hope will happen to King James?

“A broken leg, hand or other debilitating injury would be the best outcome. At the very least a sordid sexual misconduct accusation against LeBron would be alright I suppose. The city of Cleveland has been cursed for decades with losing sports franchises. Now we’re going on the offensive to curse others. It may not help our teams win, but it will sure make us feel better.”

Are you kidding me? Sorry “Rover” but I hope that on December 2nd, LeBron James puts such a hurtin’ on the Cleveland Cavaliers that you can’t even look at a basketball without uncontrollably breaking into tears. I hope he makes it rain so hard that everyone at Quicken Loans Arena needs water wings and a scuba mask! I hope he wears out the mesh at the Cavaliers end of the court!

By the way, Miami lost 88-80 to the Celtics on opening night, but James put up 31 points in his debut…imagine the numbers he would have had without the curse!

Meanwhile – Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert says he stands behind the ridiculous comments he made in his comic(sans MS)al letter to Cavs fans in the wake of “The Decision.”

“I don’t regret it. I think that’s the feeling that I had and most of Cleveland had. I can’t back off on that.”

Gilbert also says he still thinks the Cavs will win a title before the Heat do, which to the rest of the world doesn’t seem likely. Sure, they opened up the season with a win over the Celtics, but the Cavaliers followed that up with a lopsided loss to the Raptors. I can’t say that they strike me as a championship caliber team just yet!

Other stuff…

Speaking of Cleveland, LeBron James and Boston…former Cav and current Celtic Delonte West, who was once rumored to be ‘seeing’ LeBron’s mom and is currently on probation, got in a fight with a teammate this week…

Current James teammate and former Toronto Raptor Chris Bosh says playing in the NBA is really “all about being on TV,” which is why he left Canada apparently…

The NBA has banned – wait for it…upside down headbands! Yeah, I don’t really get it either.

Not sure what to get that hoops fan on your Christmas list? The original rules of basketball (written by a Canadian) are heading for the auction block on December 10th!

If Turkey is The Answer, what’s the question?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Kerrzy’s Notebook: Random Friday Thoughts (Footy/Seafood Edition)

R.I.P. Paul

“Yes, I’ll have the clairvoyant octopus please…How would I like it done? Hmm…Medium, thanks.”

That may sound like a silly dinner order, but some lucky seafood lover in Germany may have been able to place it this past week as Paul the Octopus goes to the great aquarium in the sky.

Seen by many as the unlikely star of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the prognosticating ocean dweller successfully predicted the outcome of eight matches this past summer. Paul picked seven Germany matches correctly, including losses, and chose Spain to beat Holland in the final, capturing the imagination of a bunch of people around the world.

The BBC tells us he was made an honorary citizen of a Spanish town and was made an ambassador for England’s 2018 World Cup bid because of his performance – but at two-and-a-half years old, it was clear that his time on this big ball of water was nearing its end as octopuses rarely get past their second birthday, or hatchday or whatever.

As you’ll see in the clip below, where the anchor seems unable to pronounced the name “Paul,” it wasn’t all fun and games:


Believe it or not – a documentary about Paul’s life has been filmed…and uhhh he had an agent apparently. Wow.

But the story doesn’t end there – The Spoiler says a Chinese film director is claiming Paul really died three months ago and was replaced by a DECOY! I’ve heard from several unreliable sources that Paul just wanted to get away after a scandal erupted in the past weeks involving several female species at the Oberhausen Sea Life Centre, lots of drugs and alcohol, some cell phone pictures and one angry female octopus.

Last I heard, he was living in that Spanish town that took him in…though I predict we’ll never truly know what happened to Paul the Octopus.

Undercover Boss

Still with soccer – a Spanish newspaper has opened up what could be a controversy of massive proportions involving Barcelona’s ex-president Joan Laporta.

The Spoiler says he allegedly paid a gang of private detectives to spy on his players and staff – including high-profile players like Deco, Ronaldinho and Samuel Eto’o, who are all no longer with the club. Documents show that over $850,000 was paid to a security firm to carry out tasks from following players to monitoring personal emails.

It gets deeper - other reports say that Laporta’s men have also tailed the family of current Barca president Sandro Rosell!

On top of all that, there are also rumors that Laporta used the club’s money for his own enjoyment, to the tune of about $100,000,000 – a hole that was “hastily covered up” before Rosell took over the club says The Spoiler’s Richard Gilzene.

Wow!

United against Glazer

During the whole Wayne Rooney fiasco I mentioned that there’s a section of Manchester United fans that completely despite the team’s American owners, the Glazer family.

Well, we could be close to seeing an epic battle on that front, as FC United of Manchester are just two wins away from a potential meeting with Man U in FA Cup action.

FC United play in something called the Evo-Stik league and were apparently formed as a “breakaway club” for fans who opposed the Glazer takeover of the Red Devils. It’s actually quite interesting – they’re a community owned team, democratically run by the over 2,000 members that have shares. Will that help them beat the team they once loved if they do end up playing them? Not bloody likely! Unfortunately for the would-be screenplay that I’m sure is being developed somewhere in the unlikely event that FCU come out on top, it will probably be a one-sided affair.

Speaking of Man U, they might have the services of Europe's highest paid player in time for a November 10th clash with their cross town rivals Manchester City.

Wayne Rooney, who was briefly rumored to joining City before signing a massive five-year contract extension with United, has been hurt since October 19th (or the start of the season, depending who you believe).

He has yet to score a goal this season – but what better time than the Mad-chester Derby to open your account!

Other stuff…

Are the NY Cosmos planning a return to the NASL?

From the “What Not To Do” file: The Liverpool Echo tells us about a guy whose overreaction to a red card involved the field of play and his car…

The Hangover: Former Portsmouth goalie David James goes out for his stag, ends up playing for Bristol City

Barca goalie fined by UEFA for whistling while he worked

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Polamalu’s Hair: Week Eight Notes

Ankles and Answering Machines

The Brett Favre circus of 2010 continued this week with news that the 41-year-old could miss next week’s game with the New England Patriots because of a pair of breaks in his left ankle.

While it was a foot out of the end zone that kept the Vikings from winning on Monday, Favre’s surgically repaired ankle could be what hurts them this week, whether he plays or not. There’s a bit more at stake for Favre too – his current streak of consecutive starts is at 291 and he says he’s going to do whatever he can to help the Vikings win.

NFL.com reports that Favre is in “considerable discomfort” and is trying to keep the swelling down by staying off the ankle as much as possible and wearing a walking boot. It’s also being reported that Minnesota coach Brad Childress isn’t “overly optimistic,” but that if anyone can play through whatever pain he’s in, it’s Favre.

If he can’t play, Tarvaris Jackson will get the call. To me, that means Favre will probably start, because every time it looks like Jackson will get to play, number four shows up.

Meanwhile, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick says he expects Favre to play and says they’re preparing as if he’ll be under centre.

The title of this section of the blog is “Ankles and Answering Machines,” so you had to figure that I’d be touching on the other Favre storyline here – and there’s been an interesting development:

Fox Sports reports that Favre has admitted to leaving messages on Jenn Sterger’s voicemail but still denies sending lewd photographs.

Jay Glazer says a source confirmed that Favre made that admission during his meeting with NFL security last Tuesday – the league is investigating whether or not he violated its personal conduct policy while he was a member of the NY Jets.

This whole thing could really blow up if Sterger were to get involved, but so far she is staying out of it. The host of Versus’ “The Daily Line” has yet to decide if she will meet with the NFL to discuss the situation – which I guess would now just be a question of did Favre send you gross pictures of himself…

As for Deanna Favre, she responded “I’m handling this through faith,” when asked about the situation on Good Morning American last Thursday.

Injuries, Injuries, Injuries

Lots to report on the injury front this week – and I’ve got some good news and some bad news…

Lets start with the bad news – if you’re a Bengals fan, you’ll have to get used to life after Adam Jones, at least for this year, after he went down with a neck injury that’ll keep him out for the rest of the season.

Jones had 14 tackles, one forced fumble and one interception so far this season, but a herniated disc in his neck that might need surgery has ended what was supposed to be a comeback season for the one-troubled player. Thankfully for him, reports say that surgery won’t necessarily end his career.

Now, for some good news (if you’re a Jets, Saints or Eagles fan):

After that long holdout and a slow start to the season, NY Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis says his hamstring is now at 100% after a bye week spent in rehab. “It’s 100 percent, so you all shouldn’t ask me about it no more,” said Revis to reporters.

New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush says he’s been cleared to test the leg he broke in week two. Bush has missed five games for the struggling Saints. He says he’s not sure if he’ll play this weekend, but the clearance means he’s one step closer.

Michael Vick will be back for the Philadelphia Eagles next game, which is next weekend against the Indianapolis Colts. Vick missed three games with cartilage damage after a crunching tackle back on October 3rd in a loss to the Redskins. Kevin Kolb has done well with the times he’s had in the starting position, but Eagles coach Andy Reid has said Vick is his guy (for now).

America’s Got Talent?

If America’s Got Talent, it doesn’t seem to be playing for America’s Team…

The Dallas Cowboys dropped to 1-5 on Monday with a loss to the NY Giants. They can recover from that loss this week, but they also lost QB Tony Romo in that game and his broken clavicle will keep him out for about the next eight weeks – a huge blow to an already hurting club.

ESPN's Matt Mosley pushed the panic button with all his might on Tuesday when he wrote “The Dallas Cowboys’ 2010 season effectively ended with 12:20 left in the second quarter of Monday’s 41-35 loss to the New York Giants.”

Is their season really over? I guess losing your starting quarterback can do that to a team, especially one that is already 1-5…

High Praise

A week after warning players that they would be suspended for dangerous hits, the league was out with some praise for its players and their clean hits last weekend – but not everyone is taking the compliment.

The NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, Ray Anderson, said players should be lauded after no flags were thrown for illegal hits to defenseless players in week seven’s 13 games.

Anderson singled out one play where James Harrison, who was fined $75,000 and contemplated retirement last week, pulled up when he could have crushed a running back – but Harrison made a point of saying that he was just playing the same way he always does, the way he was taught to play since the age of 10.

Others, like Harrison’s coach Mike Tomlin, took offense to the comments by the league. He was upset that the players were criticized initially, but he seems to be even more riled up at the suggestion the 5-1 Steelers “let up” even a little bit in week seven.

“I didn’t see anything of that nature. If I appear short, it’s because it’s something insulting to me to assume that we’re doing anything under any normal circumstances other than trying to play within the rules. That’s how our guys play, that’s how we coach. Number one, first and foremost, is it conducive to winning? That’s what our intentions are when we step into stadiums to play, whether it’s last weekend or three weeks ago or a month ago, or a month from now.”

Tomlin also suggested that if the on-field officials blew their whistles closer to the end of a play, we’d see less injuries to players. Someone asked him if his players are taught to play to beyond the whistle, to which Tomlin replied that there has been a “de-emphasis on the whistle,” saying that officials don’t even blow whistles at the end of the play sometimes.

He raises a good point, if that’s actually true. In all the sports I played growing up, you’re taught to play to the whistle, and if you didn’t hear a whistle, you kept grinding away.

I don’t know what to make of this whole dangerous hits thing – I’m pretty sure the game was a lot dirtier back in the old days than it is now. It almost seems like the big outrage over the ‘dangerous hits’ was because a handful of them seemed to happen all at once and the league felt they should say something from a PR standpoint.

Unfortunately though, there will be head injuries in a game where the primary objective of half the players on the field is to drive an opponent into the ground – that’s just how it is!

Other stuff…

Bleacher Report columnist Cole Tessler asks the question we’re all pondering – who is worse, Tiger or Favre?

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is getting a new addition after a four-interception performance by Washington’s DeAngelo Hall last week, which tied an NFL record…

Tennessee Titans receiver Kenny Britt was suspended for one quarter by his coach after he was allegedly involved in a bar fight before last week’s win over the Eagles…and after some detective work by Jeff Fisher

Joe Flacco is a QB you can depend on in any situation…and especially if it’s The Situation and you’re talking about the Baltimore Ravens Halloween Party…

Game to watch: This week’s game to watch has to be Monday night’s tilt between the AFC South’s Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts – that’s one of the tightest division in the league right now and both clubs are a win back of the Tennessee Titans for top spot. The Titans face the struggling Chargers on Sunday, but they could easily lose that game because you never know what to expect from San Diego. Another game worth flipping back and forth from will be the Buffalo Bills and the 4-2 Kansas City Chiefs…why? Because the Bills are 0-6, the only winless team in the league.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Kerrzy’s Notebook: World Series Preview

Well, it’s finally here.

After another ridiculously long regular season and two rounds of playoff action mostly dominated by the guys on the mound, the World Series begins later today at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

There aren’t many people who picked the SF Giants and the Texas Rangers to be the last two teams standing, but if you’re of the mindset that pitching wins ball games, you won’t be surprised to hear that Tim Lincecum will face Cliff Lee in game one of the Fall Classic.

A day after Philadelphia’s (and formerly Toronto’s) Roy Halladay pitched only the second no-hitter in playoff history, Lincecum struck out 14 in a 1-0 win over Atlanta – he’s now 2-1 in three starts with a 1.93 ERA and five walks to 30 strikeouts. That’s a pretty solid stat line, and it’s basically what you’d expect from the 2008 and 2009 Cy Young winner…but the other guy is even more impressive.

Over the past two postseasons Cliff Lee has been lights out, boasting a 7-0 record with a 1.26 ERA in eight starts; this year he is 3-0 with an ERA of 0.75 and a 34-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, which is just crazy stuff.

It’s a matchup that almost seems to be a tribute to the 2010 MLB season, dubbed the “Year of the Pitcher” by many.

It’s not all Lincecum and Lee though – both clubs will need their starting rotations and their bullpens to be on top of their games in order to really make a go of it. There are a possible four games in San Francisco (because the NL won the All Star Game), but will the Giants be able to turn that home field advantage into something? That will also be a big key to the series – which team will upset the other in their own ballpark?

Sometimes when you get to the finals, it’s not always the two "best" teams that find their way to the end – in this case though, we’re seeing the MLB’s top offense in Texas facing the best bullpen in the two leagues in San Fran, who had the lowest combined ERA in the regular season.

Looking at the postseason stats so far, the Giants have a narrow edge in the pitching category with an ERA of 2.47 to the Rangers’ 2.76, holding opponents to a .199 batting average to Texas’ .208. On the other side of the ball it’s not as close though, as the Rangers have October’s most powerful offense with 17 home runs and 59 runs scored to Frisco’s six homers and 30 runs. They’ve also got a batting average that sits 50 points higher than their World Series opponents.

Going by those stats, I expect the Rangers to overpower the Giants bullpen – maybe not Lincecum, but he won’t be starting every game. This is a Texas team that shouldn’t have had much of a shot against New York, whom they dispatched in six games mostly due to their ability to swing the bat effectively.

Something to watch for is the designated hitter rule coming into play – the Giants don’t really have one for the games in Texas, while the Rangers will have to risk possible defensive mistakes from 35-year-old DH Vladimir Guerrero in the outfield for the games in San Fran.

Vladdy hasn’t really played defense in a while, but it looks like they’ll be starting him in right field, or Triples Alley, as you may have heard it called.

As Yahoo! Sports’ David Brown of Big League Stew says, it’s another example of the “all hands on deck tactics” that we see in the playoffs – you don’t want to take a 29-homer, 115 RBI guy out of the lineup, so you find a way to get him out there!

I’m predicting the Rangers in six.

Other World Series headlines:

With the “big name” teams out of the picture, The Dallas News wonders if America (and by extension, Canada and the rest of the world) will be bored with the “unknown” Rangers/Giants…

Apparently former Giant and current Ranger Bengie Molina is eligible for a World Series ring no matter what happens, says The NY Times.

ESPN reports that after going with an all-veteran umpiring crew last year for the first time in a while, there will be two rookies this time around.

Also from ESPN, Vlad Guerrero is one of the two comeback players of the year for 2010…

Kerrzy's Notebook: Fight Club

If you’re wondering how Sheldon Souray is doing down in the AHL, I’m here to tell you it’s pretty much the same old story for the former Oiler.

Souray, now with the Hershey Bears, put a hurtin’ on Adirondack Phantoms winger Matt Clackson when the two players decided to shed the mitts and get better acquainted over the weekend – unfortunately for Souray though, the post fight celebration was cut short by a visit with the team doctors.

Remember his last NHL fight? He took on Calgary captain Jarome Iginla on January 30th, a fight that saw both players swinging wildly at one another, and one that left Souray with a fractured wrist. That injury became infected a little while later and ended his season, the 34-year-old demanded a trade, and the rest is history.

This time around, as you’ll see below, it’s another episode of wild swings and attempted haymakers – and Souray injuries.


You don’t see any hint of an injury during the fight itself, but PennLive.com is reporting a broken right hand for Souray. Bears coach Mark French says it’s not a bad break, but it will keep him out of the lineup for about two weeks.

I understand that fighting is a good way to get the fans on your side and show your teammates that you’re willing to put it all on the line, especially if you’re a skill guy like Souray, but he doesn’t have a good track record as of late! For a guy that (I assume) is trying to get back into the NHL at some point, he’s got to just work on getting back to where he was when he scored 26 goals and 64 points for Montreal four years ago.

If he is going to fight though, maybe he should try being a little less erratic!

Kerrzy's Notebook: 15 Minutes of Fame

Happy Tuesday!

Alright, so normally you wake up on a Monday with a fresh batch of online goodness from myself and Geoff Driscoll of Any Sport Any Time – he’s on the road this week though but don’t worry, we figured something out.

Thanks to the wonders of Skype we bring you Episode 7 of “15 Minutes of Fame,” where we’re discussing the suddenly great playoff hopes of the Edmonton Eskimos, the early losing skid of the Edmonton Oilers, Wayne Rooney’s change of heart in Manchester and (Yes We) Cain Velasquez’s dominating performance at UFC 121!


Once again – thank you Skype! For last week’s episode, click here. Thanks for watching, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @15MinutesYEG and join our Facebook group!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Kerrzy's Notebook: The Decision UK

Was it the 'angry mob' outside his house, was it a solid pitch from Sir Alex and the Glazers (Manchester's newest man-band) or was the whole thing just a big spectacle put on by Wayne Rooney in an effort to line his pockets?

That’s what we’re all left to wonder after the struggling Manchester United striker signed a five year, £65-million contract extension with the team, days after slamming the club’s ambition and stating publicly that he wanted out.

It’s not often you see such an about-face from a professional athlete – from public contradiction of his manager to poorly timed statements to the press, Rooney made it seem as though nothing could be done to keep him at Old Trafford. Then all of a sudden he signed on the dotted line, apologized and declared the he “care[s] for the club” and “will give 100 percent.”

In what could easily be likened to a British version of “The Decision,” the much criticized one hour special where LeBron James told us all where he’d be playing this season, Wayne Rooney’s actions of late haven’t done much good for his reputation. Obviously he’s a talented player, but who expected such a fuss from a guy who hasn’t actually been on the field much and is yet to score in 12 games this season, following an underwhelming performance for England at the World Cup?

Before you get on me about his injury troubles along the way, don’t forget that Rooney himself kicked off a lot of this controversy by saying last week that he hadn’t been injured all season, and he didn’t know what his manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, was talking about!

From those contradictory statements, he went on to publicly refuse to sign a new contract, publicly declare his time at Man U to be over after his current deal, and then publicly state that the reason he wanted to move on was because the team wasn’t doing enough to build a strong team around him (buy up as much available talent as possible).

Maybe, in a way, it was a test of the Glazer family - the team’s American owners, and public enemy number one to a lot of United fans.

How can the Glazer’s and Manchester United afford Rooney and a bunch of other superstars though? The team apparently lost £83.64-millon ($134.5-million) this season alone, despite a record profit of £100.3-million ($161.3-million). So to recap: Despite huge profits, they still managed to rack up a gigantic overall loss, partly because it’s reported that about 40 percent of their revenue goes straight to debt payments…

What does that tell you about the club’s finances?

If it tells you that (somehow) they can afford to make Wayne Rooney the highest paid player in the world at $402,190 a week, while being able to afford other high-end talents to place around him, you’re seeing something I’m not! I don’t know many businesses that are well over a billion dollars in debt and are quite happy to give out a weekly raise of $257,400…that said, I’d like to personally know a business like that.

So who are these big-name players that will pull on the red, black and yellow of Manchester United alongside Wayne Rooney?

Bookie William Hill has the odds-on favorites as Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema or Liverpool’s Fernando Torres, followed by Atletico Madrid’s Diego Forlan.

Here are my thoughts on the matter – if he intended to stay, he should have just done the hard line negotiations thing behind the scenes. If he’s good enough to make more money than the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo or Zlatan Ibrahimovic (number two and three on the ‘top paid’ list), he would have ended up making that money anyways. These guys aren’t stupid – they understand that top players demand top dollars.

I’m also a bit confused by the reasons behind his threat to leave – it’s been widely reported that he didn’t feel like he was making enough money and wanted his weekly cheque to be in the £200,000 range; but then he also spouted this nonsense about the team not being ambitious enough with the signing of new players. Well, which was it?

I suspect that he didn’t want to come off as a total prat by moaning over a raise of about £110,000 while hundreds of thousands of regular-person jobs were being cut by the British Government - so instead he tried to portray himself as a man betrayed by the club he loves, a club that no longer shares the all-out passion for winning that burns deep inside his soul.

It sounds quite noble – like something you’d find in a sports-themed harlequin novel – but the fact that a massive paycheque changed his mind in an instant makes me think it was never about the team around him.

Manchester United will always be good, because for whatever reason they are able to spend freely despite their horrid financial situation. To me, it was never about ambition.

Then again, what do I know?

Other Reaction:

The Daily Mail says Rooney could still walk away if United don’t follow up on their promise to bring it some heavy hitters.

The BBC talks to a publicity agent who calls the whole thing a “PR disaster” for Rooney, who has seen mostly negative headlines now for months.

According to The NY Times, Rooney has a long way to go to ‘spin’ this into a positive in the eye of the public and fix the quite poor reputation he’s earned this year.

The Guardian says Rooney’s “disrespect to fans and teammates” won’t be forgotten.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Kerrzy’s Notebook: Random Friday Thoughts

Today in Crazy People News…

I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to Grim LeRogue – the 33-year-old man who ran onto the field at Yankee Stadium on Monday night during New York’s ALCS matchup with the Texas Rangers.

You don’t remember him? He’s the guy who tried to approach Alex Rodriguez to confess his love for actress Cameron Diaz, with whom A-Rod apparently had a relationship earlier this year (I have no idea if they’re still dating, sorry).

Still don’t recall? Come on – you know, the guy who told police that he wanted to kill Bobby Brown because Osama Bin Laden has a crush on Whitney Houston…?

Yeah, so it turns out the guy that ran onto the field was absolutely three sheets to the wind crazy and might have been carrying a picture of Rodriguez with his face crossed out, a drawing of a gun pointed at his head and the words “You gotta go, buddy.” Wow.

All of this gold comes from the NY Daily News – including this next quote from a police source:

“He gave a rambling interview that he had an infatuation with Cameron Diaz. He thought by going out and choking A-Rod he’d be a hero to her.”

Unfortunately for everyone involved, “Grim” isn’t his real first name…he apparently also told police his real name is John, but he’s trying to sell a 700-page book and the name change is part of that. I feel like we need something to wrap this story up – something that sort of brings it all together, while leaving the door open for future hilarity. Hmm…Oh, how about this quote from his mom:

“I’m sure he’s fine.”

And…..scene!

For the record, the Texas Rangers lead the NY Yankees three games to two in the ALCS play, with the series headed to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Unfair Advantage?

For the first time ever, the NBA is banning players from using a new shoe on the market because they say it would give them a competitive advantage.

The Concept 1 shoe from Athletic Propulsion Labs uses a spring-based system, which they call “Load ‘N Launch” technology, to help with your hops. The league says the vertical boost creates an “undue competitive advantage,” so they won’t be seen on NBA courts. I think they are probably just worried about concussions just like every other league – they can’t have players hitting their heads on the rafters or getting tangled up in the banners hanging from the ceiling, after all!

According to APL, this marks the first time in 64 years of NBA action that a product has been banned for giving a player an advantage. Just how much of an advantage do you get from the shoe? The company says tests showed an vertical leap increase of up to 3.5 inches when compared with the “leading brand.”

Co-founder Ryan Goldston says players around the world who aren’t playing in the NBA will still be able to take advantage of this technology:

“Dreams of gaining more lift on their jump shots, getting more rebounds, and finally achieving the dream of every player who was just a few inches away from dunking the basketball [are] now within reach due to the Athletic Propulsion Labs Load ‘N Launch Technology.”

Yeah, until other pro leagues follow the NBA’s lead and ban the shoe!

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Talk about a good promotion though – Ryan and Adam Goldston must be laughing right now! As Popular Science tells us, their father Mark is king of sneaker gimmicks such as the lights in LA Gear shoes and the Reebok Pump. So really, they’re just following in their dad’s lit-up footsteps!

@Racism?

Still on the topic of basketball – everybody knows that LeBron James took a lot of Heat for his decision, or The Decision, this summer to move from Cleveland to Miami.

He also caught some criticism in last month or so when he remarked that a lot of the negative things being said about him were a product of racism. Well, here’s the latest: King James took a moment on Tuesday to retweet some "hateful" messages that were sent to his Twitter account this summer.

One of the three tweets is racially charged, one tells him he should lay his head under a moving car and the other simply calls him names.

James told reporters afterwards that he wanted to show “what type of words…are said toward me and towards us as professional athletes,” adding “everybody thinks it is a bed of roses and it’s not.”

While racism has no place in this world, ever since the beginning of the internet there have been people who hide behind the three W’s and make derogatory, shameful statements. For that reason, I’m not surprised that LJ has been on the receiving end of a couple of these.

As for the “bed of roses,” I’m sure there are billions of people on this earth that would love to trade places with him.

Off The Market

Here’s an interesting find – one lady is doing her part to fight the public perception that every pro athlete is a cheater when it comes to relationships…

The wife of St. Louis Rams defensive tackle Fred Robbins has started a company called Off The Market, with the goal being to keep athletes and their partners faithful to one another.

Apparently the company holds events for pro athlete couples in order to give other companies a chance to reach a “high-profile demographic in an intimate setting,” says Tia Robbins.

Makes sense, I suppose, but it sort of sounds like a timeshare meeting for millionaires. The next event is coming up on October 31st, which is curious because I’m still waiting for my invite…

Tiger Imposter?

Speaking of cheating athletes, remember that Tiger Woods guy?

One of his alleged mistresses is selling, or has sold, an alleged sex tape of her and the world’s number one golfer to a DVD production company for $350,000 and a cut of the profits.

Here’s the problem though – Teneal Goyco tells Radar Online that he’s the man in the tape and he was tricked into impersonating Tiger!

Goyco tells the website that he thought the video he made with Devon James and her husband was for their own personal use, and that he just went along with it because they offered him $1,000 cash to ‘perform.’

He’s now looking into legal action, since the tape is being sold without his permission.

What is this world coming to?

Other stuff…

Like Dr. Seuss? Like Sports? Well, Sports by Brooks has a story for you – apparently an old rough draft of a sports-themed Seuss book was uncovered recently.

Also from SbB – a fight breaks out at Ivor Wynne Stadium during a junior football game…

ESPN's Page Two ranks the “Lamest Trophies in Sports” – find out which NHL award is among them!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Polamalu’s Hair: Week Seven Notes

Head Shot Controversy

All the talk in the NFL this week has been about head shots, following a Sunday afternoon that featured a lot of devastating hits.

Let’s start here – the NFL fined three players for their actions last weekend and are threatening to suspend even first-time offenders starting right away if these types of hits continue. Normally a first offence warrants a fine, though the league says it isn't changing any rules here.

This week Pittsburgh’s James Harrison was hit with a $75,000 fine, while New England Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather and Atlanta Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson were docked $50,000 a piece.

Since the backlash over those hits, Harrison has been the most outspoken of the players who faced discipline. He says he’s not out to injure anyone, but he is out to hurt!

Harrison says his hit on Cleveland Browns receiver Mohamed Massaquio was a “good, clean, legit hit,” that he shouldn’t have been punished for. On the day, Harrison was responsible for concussions to Massaquio and Josh Cribbs on hits that came just minutes apart.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is all for the crackdown on dangerous hits, but says his player didn't break any rules on Sunday. Further to that, Harrison’s agent Bill Parise says his client is “quite confused about how to play football,” after these recent developments.

In fact he is apparently considering retirement, which would be a huge blow to Pittsburgh’s defense.

In other news – Black Sports Online reports that while the NFL was busy fining Harrison 75-large, they were also selling a photo of the crunching hit on the league website (though they’ve since taken it down, saying it was a mistake.)

Oh, I’ve got to get this in too: Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher isn’t happy either, sarcastically telling the Chicago Tribune that he thinks everyone should just wear flags and they can call it the National Flag Football League!

Speaking in Tongues

I’ll be honest with you – when I decided to write a weekly NFL blog, the last thing I thought I’d be writing about is this:

Canadian pop star Justin Bieber got in his own “Tom Brady looks like a girl” jab last week after reports that Brady had a run-in with former teammate Randy Moss, in which the latter made fun of his shaggy hairstyle.

The 16-year-old, who rocks a variation of the bowl cut himself, posted a rap video online that includes this gem: “Sacked like a sacker, call up Mr. Brady – Tell him to leave his hair to the guy who sings ‘Baby’.”

I’ve got two things to say about this: First of all, I don’t think Brady looks like a girl – he looks more like a surfer than anything else. Secondly, Bieber appears to have stolen some lines in that song from rapper Tory Lanez…which sort of takes away from the whole thing.

While we’re on the topic of Tom Brady – here’s a piece from The Huffington Post about some trash talk between him and Baltimore’s Terrell Suggs.

Favre Fallout

Last week we discussed the Brett Favre/Jenn Sterger controversy – and this week, the NFL met with the Vikings QB to talk about it…

Don’t ask him about it though – Favre only wants to talk about the Green Bay Packers right now. ESPN reports that Favre called it a “league matter” and nothing else…but you know what else it is? Something that could cost him dearly!

Yahoo! Sports says Brett Favre could end up losing $100-million – or $10-million per year, including post-retirement earnings. That hurts – perhaps even more than this!

Labor Hardball

As the prospect of a lockout looms over the heads of the NFL and it's players, the league is stepping up the tough talk in an effort to get a deal done.

Reports say the NFL will stop providing health care for players and their families in March if a new collective bargaining agreement isn't reached - saying it's just one more reason to reach an agreement. The PA obviously isn't happy with the move, which could likely make negotiations even more tense than they already are at this point.

Union executive director DeMaurice Smith says they're working on a plan of action because health insurance is something the players need, regardless of what happens.

CNBC reports they could take a page out of the NHL's book of labor strife - during the 2004-05 lockout, the NHLPA paid for substitute coverage for its members. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello says the union knows that this is an option, and shouldn't be "suggesting otherwise."

Meanwhile the Minnesota Vikings became the sixteenth team to vote to decertify the union, should it come down to a lockout. Doing so will allow the players to sue the NFL under antitrust laws right away, whereas the union would have to wait six months before filing suit.

The owners are acting positive, but the union's Smith isn't having any of it, telling the Minnesota Star Tribune "Until there is dry ink on a deal, we've told every one of our players that this lockout thing is going to occur," (you can read the entire interview here).

So...about that 2012 season...Don't get your hopes up!

Other stuff…

TO and Chad Ochocinco cleared up a long-standing debate this week – saying that hockey players are tougher than football players.

Planning to take in some NFL action this season? CNBC runs down the season’s most expensive games (Awesomely, the 1-4 Cowboys feature four times!)

Speaking of “America’s Team,” reality show winner Jesse Holley was added to Dallas’ 53-man roster last week…So it’s come to this, has it?

Colts punter Pat McAfee is in trouble after a drunken dip in an Indianapolis canal…How much have you had to drink? “A lot cause I am drunk.”

It’s a week old and it’s college football…but this video of Sgt. Adam Sniffen delivering the ball for a Wolverines game by parachuting it in is the coolest thing you’ll see today.

Game to watch: The Minnesota Vikings face the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night – another meeting between Brett Favre and his old club. It’ll be interesting because Favre has all this drama around him and seemed to lack focus in his last outing. Beyond that, it’s always interesting to see how he’ll fare against the Packers!

Kerrzy’s Notebook: Rypien Reaction

Tuesday night’s loss to the Minnesota Wild might be the last game that Vancouver Canucks forward Rick Rypien plays for a while.

I doubt even the NHL’s “Wheel of Justice” can save the Coleman, Alberta, native after he lunged at an opposing fan as he was being shown off the ice in the second period of what ended up being a 6-2 defeat.

The whole thing started with a scrum in front of the Wild bench – Rypien and Minnesota’s Brad Staubitz were mixing it up after fighting earlier in the game. With a linesman between the two of them, Rypien threw a late punch and then seemed to blow a gasket as a different linesman tried to wrestle him over to his own bench.

That alone might have warranted some type of fine/suspension, because I’m quite sure the league doesn’t take too kindly to players grabbing linesmen by the shirt collar as if they’re about to pop them. It didn’t stop there though - Rypien then took it to the next level, making coach Alain Vigneault’s 600th career game a memorable one.

As he was making his way to the dressing room, he’s seen lunging at a Wild fan who is standing up and clapping behind the Canucks bench. Uh oh!


So what are people saying?

TSN reports that Vigneault was keeping quiet on the issue in post-game interviews, saying that he couldn’t comment because he hadn’t yet seen a replay.

By now I’m sure he has seen that video clip – but what do you really say about something like that?

Yahoo's Puck Daddy, Greg Wyshynski, predicts a “sizable suspension” as long as we don’t find out that the fan did something outrageous to set Rypien off. My initial reaction to the video though is that the fan didn’t go over the top. Rypien looked like a ticking time bomb as he left the ice, with his coach seen trying to calm him down just seconds before this incident.

Teammate Manny Malhotra is trying to paint a different picture than the one you see above – implying that something horrible was said. He tells The Vancouver Province:

“I just think the fan got a little bit too involved. There’s just no place for that in our game. There’s boundaries that should never be crossed. We’re in our area of work. We are all for the hootin’ and hollerin’ and supporting your team and saying whatever is tasteful out there. But as soon as you cross that line and want to become physical with a player, we have to make sure we take care of ourselves and we’re protected.”

Watch the video again – the only boundary being crossed is Rypien lunging from the players area to the part of the rink reserved for paying customers.

Further to that, Malhotra isn’t really involved in the altercation with the fan which makes me think he’s just trying to defend his buddy

As for crossing the line and becoming physical with a player – it’s clear as day that Rypien instigates the physical part of the altercation. Here’s another thing – having played hockey for most of my life, I strongly doubt that anything the fan might have said would be worse than what Rypien and his NHL colleagues dish out on a nightly basis.

Here’s another telling quote from the Province piece – when asked if he thought Rypien’s actions were “defensible,” Canucks GM Mike Gillis said “I’m not going to answer that.”

Bingo.

So we’ve basically determined that Rick Rypien had no business doing what he did – even if the fan that he tried to attack made a snide remark. Let’s move on to what will happen suspension wise…

The Vancouver Sun says the league should throw the book at him! Iain MacIntyre says Rypien is a good kid, but there is nothing to justify his actions – adding that fans should never be the outlet for a player’s anger.

ESPN's Pierre LeBrun says Rypien will likely “feel the wrath” of the NHL’s justice system as commissioner Gary Bettman “does not tolerate” altercations between players or personnel and fans.

LeBrun says we could see a hefty suspension because the league doesn’t have to worry about sidelining a star or a well-known player, given that Rypien is just a “no-name, rugged checker.”

If you ask me, there’s no excuse for trying to beat up a kid in the stands even if he gets in your face (which doesn’t seem to have been the case). If it takes a big “statement” suspension to remind players not to do what Rypien did, so be it.

On the other hand, he’s just a guy who had a mad minute – locking him up and throwing away the key doesn’t really seem like a great idea either. After all, players got away with much worse back in the old days.

To be honest, I’m a little more shocked at the way he interacted with the linesman – players should not be latched onto an official like that, no matter how mad they are.

What do you think? Should the NHL throw the book at Rypien, or should he sit for a few games and call it even?

- - - - - - - - - -

UPDATE: The league has suspended Rypien indefinitely pending a hearing.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Kerrzy's Notebook: Roo'd Awakening

The Theatre of Dreams could soon be but a memory for one of England’s top players as controversy swirls around the future of Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney.

He started Saturday’s disappointing 2-2 draw with West Bromwich Albion on the bench and only came on with about 20 minutes to go, a move by manager Alex Ferguson that some believe was in direct response to some comments made by the player early last week.

After England’s draw with Montenegro, Rooney denied that his limited action this season was due to injury, saying he didn’t know why his manager keeps talking about an ankle problem. He’s been all over the tabloids across the soccer world in the last couple of months too for his involvement with a prostitute – another reason he may have fallen out of favor with a manager who doesn’t like his players causing big distractions.

Since then, it appears Rooney has told Man U that he wants out, and won’t sign a new contract after his current deal wraps up in June of 2012.

The club says the star striker won’t be sold in the January transfer window, but there’s another way out says The Belfast Telegraph.

Under FIFA rules, Rooney can terminate his contract with Manchester United next summer for £5-million, his current annual salary, plus a small amount of compensation. The “Webster ruling” dictates that a player can walk away after what FIFA describes as the “protected period” of a contract, which varies depending on a players age.

The Telegraph says it has checked with the Spain-based law firm that has been involved in every Webster case to date, confirming this as an option for the player.

As if this story couldn’t get any juicier – there are reports that United’s bitter cross-town rivals Manchester City are gearing up to offer mega money for Rooney in January.

The Daily Express says City will offer £60-million to Man U, with another £40-million set aside for a deal that’ll pay Rooney £200,000 a week, or more than double his current salary!

The Express reports City would love to steal Rooney away though, a year and a half after signing former Red Devil Carlos Tevez. Further to that, they say Rooney “is not averse” to what would be a controversial move to the free-spending Man City.

What a storyline that would be!

Chelsea, another main rival of the club, also say they’ll be interested if the price is right.

Should Roo pay his way out of his current deal with United, I’m sure his new club would be more than happy to make it worth his while. The biggest concern though is making sure Rooney gets back to the form he showed last season – if he isn’t injured, which he claims to not be, why has he not scored in open play since March?!

At least one person doesn’t think he’ll be making a move – Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says he is convinced that Rooney will stay at United, “because it is his club.”

If that’s true, I’m sure he’s left scratching his head over the limited amount of time he’s spent on the field so far this season!

Sir Alex doesn’t do the whole post-game press conference thing and hasn’t been doing pre-match interviews, so no one really seems to know what is going through his mind right now, but he’ll be forced to do one later on today when Man U faces Bursaspor in Champions League action.

That said, I don’t think he’ll open up much – if Rooney continues to come off the bench though, I think it’ll be pretty clear how Fergie feels.

What do you think – should Wayne Rooney buy out his final year this summer, or should Manchester United try to sell him in January?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Kerrzy's Notebook: 15 Minutes of Fame

It’s Monday, which means it’s time for another episode of “15 Minutes of Fame” – a weekly video blog run by myself and Geoffrey Driscoll of AnySportAnyTime.ca.

This week we’re talking about Ricky “The Running Man” Ray’s 139 rushing yards in a big win for the Edmonton Eskimos on Saturday night – the same night the Edmonton Oilers dropped to 2-2 with a loss to the Calgary Flames. We also touch on some NBA drama as well as some MLB parity.

Oh, and stick around as Geoff and I say a tearful goodbye to a good friend.


For last week’s episode, click here. Thanks for watching, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @15MinutesYEG and join our Facebook group!

Kerrzy’s Notebook: NHL Season So Far

Well, we’re eleven days and 68 games into the 2010-11 NHL season – 379 goals have been scored, five goalies have earned shutouts and two teams remain undefeated…

Let’s take a closer look:

As much as I love the start of a new season of hockey, I always find it hard to take anything too seriously in the first couple of weeks of October. For example, how long do you suppose the NY Islanders will lead the Atlantic Division and how long will the Toronto Maple Leafs lead the Eastern Conference, while the NJ Devils sit in a tie for dead-last in the NHL?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

That said, a good start can mean a lot for a team and can translate into solid footing as the season progresses, while a bumpy road at the beginning of the year can be hard to recover from.

A couple of teams that have started well are the Maple Leafs and the Dallas Stars, both with 4-0 records heading into this week. Among the teams with just one win so far are New Jersey and Buffalo (1-4-1), Ottawa (1-3-1) and the San Jose Sharks (1-1-1).

The Devils are a team that should really be concerned by their early-season form – yes, they’ve got salary cap issues, but they’ve also got a solid lineup that should be faring a lot better. In six games, they’ve given up 21 goals and have a goal difference of -11…and Martin Brodeur has been between the pipes for all but three of those goals against!

The only other team in that neighborhood is the Anaheim Ducks, who have allowed 23 goals, with a differential of -10 through the same number of games.

Here’s another example of how quirky these October stats can be though – the 2-2 Florida Panthers are tied with Toronto for the best goal difference (+7), and have allowed the fewest goals (5) in their first four games. Despite giving up three goals on 13 shots against the Edmonton Oilers, goalie Panthers Tomas Vokoun has two shutouts in those four games, giving him the early lead in that category.

Speaking of the Oilers – after a fantastic opening night, the team has settled to a 2-2 record through four games. They spanked the Calgary Flames 4-0 in game one, weathered the storm and beat the Panthers, lost for the 14th straight time in Minnesota and then fell to their provincial rivals on Saturday night.

They’ve looked good overall, especially goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, but it’s expected that they’ll have their ups and downs while they search for a level of consistency this year.

Onto the personal statistics – I’m a big stats guy, which makes the first few weeks of the year the absolute hardest of them all.

I’ll sit and look at stats until my eyes start to burn, but when the season is just getting started the numbers don’t really mean anything. A four-point night can be the difference between the bottom hundred players and the top 10 scorers, for example! Props to guys like Clarke MacArthur and Steve Sullivan for their mesh-finding abilities early on, and I hope they keep it up, but I can’t wait for guys like Alex Ovechkin and Steve Stamkos to pull away from the pack.

Right now it’s Marian Hossa leading the league with five goals and nine points in six games.

Back to the Oilers for a minute – the biggest problem they had last season was injuries and it’s so far, so good on that front…but that’s not the case for some other team’s around the league.

The NY Islanders got us started, losing defenseman Mark Streit and forward Kyle Okposo to injuries back in training camp, while John Tavares missed a week with a concussion.

The NY Rangers are going through a bit of a rough patch right now – after breaking his finger blocking a shot in camp, captain Chris Drury made his debut on Friday and promptly broke his finger again. Marian Gaborik hurt his shoulder in the same game, while the team also learned that forward Vaclav Prospal will need surgery on an injured knee, putting him out indefinitely.

Things aren’t looking great for the Detroit Red Wings injury-wise either, with five players hurting right now. Johan Franzen suffered a concussion last week, Brian Rafalski has knee issues and Kris Draper’s groin is injured, while Jonathan Ericsson and Justin Abdelkader are also on the sidelines.

Much like the problems the Devils have, being so close to the cap, the Wings are being forced to dress less than the league-mandated 18 skaters for the time being.

So overall, it’s been an interesting and eventful opening to the season and there certainly is promise of a lot more excitement!

What do you think so far? Who has impressed you, which teams have you excited and what are your predictions for the rest of the way?

Leave me a comment and let me know!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Kerrzy’s Notebook: Where Normal Happens?

Things are heating up between the NBA and the Players Association over new guidelines for technical fouls being put in place for this season.

The NBA is cracking down on "overt" reactions by players after calls against them, whether it be verbal or otherwise – a move the PA says might actually be hurting the overall product.

In an effort to cut down on players and coaches complaining about calls, referees have been told to give technical fouls to players who gesture, continue arguing after being told to stop or approach refs aggressively. As well, if assistant coaches get up out of their chairs, they can be whistled for an infraction.

Here’s an example: LA Lakers forward Lamar Odom was tagged with a shooting foul last Wednesday, and after the whistle he kept his ‘offending arm’ in the air as a silent protest of sorts. Even thought he kept quiet his arm was raised for more than three seconds, which now equals an automatic technical.

He might not have left his wallet in El Segundo, but his wallet left El Segundo $2,000 lighter!

While that seems like a small sum of money for someone who is pulling in over $8-million for the upcoming season, Odom doesn’t see it that way, telling ESPN:

“That's a lot of money in America or anywhere. I don't want to give away $2,000 for going, 'Damn, I thought I had the ball!' or showing emotion. I want to keep my money, point blank."

Further to that, Odom says he thinks the league is delivering some mixed messages with this move:

"It's kind of crazy because that's what people love to see. You watch the commercials and the NBA has dunking, [players making] faces and 'Where Amazing Happens.’ Now it's like 'Where Normal Happens.' ... There's nothing amazing about not showing emotion."

Sure, showing emotion after being T’ed up is a bit different than going nuts after a big play, but I think he could be on to something there. Not everyone shares his point of view though, with some players and coaches, including Odom’s coach Phil Jackson, saying that some guys do take it too far.

The players union says they don’t know where this rule change is coming from because there has been no increase in player complaints, adding the changes were made without proper consultation with the PA. They’re even talking about legal action on the matter!

What do you think – should David Stern T-up the Union, or do they have a valid point?

I guess we’ll have to wait and see how the rules are enforced once we get into regular season play, but it’s my opinion that players should have an opportunity to argue a call.

That makes it appear as though the league is saying ‘referees don’t make mistakes,’ which we all know isn’t true, and then if a team does criticize their work they usually end up facing a fine! It’s a complex issue in some ways, but I don’t think this is the answer.

Speaking of the Lakers, there was another noteworthy incident involving a cheerleader from Wednesday’s preseason win over the Sacramento Kings.

LA’s Matt Barnes (brother of Eskimo Jason Barnes) got tangled up with the Kings’ Carl Landry, with the latter sent flying into a row of Laker Girls:


Not to worry though – The Huffington Post notes that Laker Girl “Ashley” is doing just fine.

(I'd like to send a special shout-out to 'the common cold' for making this blog, and my lack of social ambition/sleep on a Friday night possible. Couldn't do it without you!)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Kerrzy’s Notebook: Random Friday Thoughts

Cigar Guy

Remember that awesome picture from the Ryder Cup that showed a golf ball struck by Tiger Woods speeding towards the camera of a journalist covering the event?

If you’ve seen the shot in question, you’ll likely agree that the best part of the picture is the cigar toting fellow in the background, who became a bit of an online sensation after the picture began circulating.

Turns out he’s a Londoner by the name of Rupesh Shingadia who wore the outfit as a tribute to Spanish golfer Miguel Angel Jimenez!

The Daily Mail made the find earlier this week, as millions of people (myself included) got a kick out of the hilarious background in what is a pretty spectacular picture. The 30-year-old Shingadia tells The Mail that he pulled the stunt as a show of support for the European team, and he is “embarrassed and overwhelmed” by all the attention he received as a result.

The idea came to him the week before the tournament began while he was plugging away at work – he thought of sporting a pair of Union Jack pants, but decided to go with the wig, moustache and cigar that have since led to him being dubbed “Cigar Guy.”

Classic example of the way the internet turn a regular person into some kind of quasi-celebrity overnight!

Planning the Parade

The NY Yankees face the Texas Rangers tonight in game one of the American League Championship Series as both clubs look to punch their ticket to the World Series…

Should the Bronx Bombers go on to lift the Commissioner’s Trophy when all is said and done, the city of NY will be prepared – that is, they’ve already started planning the parade!

ESPN New York reports that Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the wheels are in motion, and he’s “trying to figure out where the parade should start.” Sure, there’s a lot of planning that goes into shutting down part of a city so that some athletes can drive down the road and wave to fans, but come on!

The players say there’s no extra pressure or anything, but they will look a bit silly should they bow out to the Rangers, don’t you think?

Speaking of Texas, here’s a great story from their ALCS win over the Tampa Bay Rays:

If you don’t know the story of outfielder Josh Hamilton, it’s worth a look – basically his baseball career was almost ruined by drug and alcohol addiction but he kicked the habits, became sober and became an MLB All-Star with the Rangers in the past few seasons.

Now, when you think of professional athletes celebrating, what do you picture? If you answered players splashing champagne all over each other while jumping around like little kids, you’re on the right track.

Before the Rangers clinched the AL-West, Hamilton spoke about being uneasy about being around all the booze that would likely be spilling around the room and made a quick exit after the game. Earlier this week though, when Texas secured its spot in the ALCS, the players headed to the dressing room and told Hamilton to get his goggles on.

In a gesture that put a smile on my face, Hamilton’s teammates grabbed bottles of Canada Dry ginger ale and began soaking each other with it. Here’s what Hamilton had to say to ESPN afterwards:

“It was the coolest thing for my teammates to understand why I can’t be a part of the celebration, and for them to adapt it for me to be a part of it says a lot.”

Are those good teammates or what?

The Old Switcheroo?

Less than a year removed from a car crash that almost took his life, you’ve got to wonder what was going through the mind of US soccer player Charlie Davies on October 3rd.

It was on that day that the 24-year-old forward, who plays for France’s Sochaux, was in a vehicle with teammate Jacques Faty in the Jura region of that country when they were pulled over going just over 200 km/h.

On the surface, that is pretty stupid. Now, take into account the fact that on October 13th, 2009, Davies suffered two broken bones in his leg, a broken and dislocated elbow, a broken nose, forehead and eye socket, a ruptured bladder and bleeding on the brain when he was a passenger in a car accident that killed another passenger.

Not only did he barely escape with his life, but the injuries he suffered caused him to miss the South Africa World Cup and lots of domestic action. In fact, he is only now working his way back onto the Sochaux roster.

If that was me, I’d be a bit leery of anything dangerous involving a car. Back to the story – they get pulled over, but Faty is worried that his license is still suspended from another time where he was caught speeding…so the two of them switch places!

Earlier this week Davies was fined $1,040 and had his license suspended, despite the fact that both players have since said that Faty was actually the driver.

In fact, according to the ESPN report on the matter, a police spokesman says neither player has “officially contradicted the original version of events” to officers…aaaaand this is probably why:

The two could now face six months in jail and a fine of $10,400 for lying to police!

I know everyone makes mistakes, but for Davies, I hope this (and all of the headlines it generated) serves as a bit of a wakeup call! He’s had a long road back and I hope that continues with some first team action and a call up to the national team sometime in his future.

Pipe Band Banned

Maybe you have to be Scottish to enjoy the sound of bagpipes, but here’s a story that just takes it too far!

The Tartan Army was told on the way to a Euro 2012 qualifier in the Czech Republic that they would not be allowed to bring the instruments into the stadium – the first time ever, says The Scottish Sun, that the national team has played without the accompaniment of the pipes.

Banning vuvuzelas is one thing, but (say what you will) the bagpipes are an actual instrument! It might be an acquired taste, but it’s not just indiscriminate blowing!

Incase you’re wondering, Scotland played a bizarre formation and wound up losing 1-0.

Still with strange soccer news – Northern Ireland midfielder Steven Davis is an early candidate for most embarrassingly poor corner kick of the season, thanks to this effort in a 0-0 draw with Italy last Friday.


Somehow, Davis winds up kicking the corner flag before his foot makes contact with the ball – he then ends up nicking his right ankle off of his left shin…sending the ball out of play for a goal kick.

I love the look of “what the heck just happened” that comes over his entire body as the ball rolls into touch!

Other stuff…

More Commonwealth Games drama…cobras, free health care and life in the fast lane…

Back to baseball – the Atlanta Braves are out of the mix, but you’ve got to feel bad for Brooks Conrad

Does watching women’s basketball interest you? How about now?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Kerrzy's Notebook: Hurt or Not?

Injuries are an unfortunate part of the landscape of sports, both professional and amateur, but it’s not always as straightforward as we, the fan, would like.

When I say that, I’m not talking about the “upper body/lower body” coded messages we’ve become accustomed to hearing from NHL coaches and players – no, I’m talking about a type of injury we won’t see much: the fake injury.

Fresh off serving a 50-game suspension for bringing guns into the locker room last season, Washington Wizards point guard Gilbert Arenas was back in the headlines on Tuesday night after his club’s preseason opener.

It had nothing to do with points or rebounds though, and everything to do with the injury that kept him out of action that night. That would be the one he made up so that a teammate could get some game action, incase you’re wondering.

Arenas told coach Flip Saunders earlier that day that his knee was a bit sore and stiff, and that he didn’t think he could play. He would have gotten away with it too, except that he opened his big mouth after the game, telling reporters:

"I told [Nick Young] I'd sacrifice playing tonight so he can get some time in because I know he's kind of frustrated he's not getting a chance to crack the [small forward] position, especially since we're going three guards. So I told him I'll go and fake an injury or say something's wrong with me so you can start.”

Agent Zero was fined an undisclosed amount and apparently the NBA even got involved while the Wizards were reviewing what happened. He blames the media for reporting the story, but he’s the one who said what he said into a microphone!

I can’t be mad at the guy though, because at the end of the day his heart was in the right place here. For his part, Young claims he had no idea that Arenas did that for him, saying “that’s just Gil doing Gil.”

Alright, so we’ve got a story about a guy faking an injury. Now, what about a coach?

There could be fireworks at Old Trafford this weekend after some comments made by embattled star forward Wayne Rooney about his ankle and his manager.

Speaking after England’s 0-0 tie with Montenegro on Tuesday night, Rooney was asked about the injury he’s been battling so far this season and if it caused any trouble for him in the Euro 2012 qualifier he had just participated in. His reply?

“No, I’ve had no ankle problem all season.”

Well, that’s quite interesting, given the fact that Man U manager Alex Ferguson has been talking quite a bit about Roo’s sore ankle. In fact, Soccernet quotes him discussing the injury on three separate occasions. So what is Fergie going on about then, Wayne?

“I don’t know,” Rooney laughed.

What the heck is going on here? It’s been a tough few months for the 24-year-old between a sub par showing at the World Cup, a slow start on the domestic side and, of course, the prostitute scandal that rocked his marriage. If I was him, I’d just blame the injury!

Perhaps Rooney’s days at United are numbered – if you click the link to the Soccernet story I’m referencing here, there’s a sidebar that lists some of the players/people that have had a falling out with Sir Alex…and it doesn’t look good!

Okay, so we’ve now covered fake injuries and injuries that are apparently thought up by a coach, without the player knowing. It’s only natural that we take a look at what’s happening in New Jersey right now:

Both the NHL and the Players Association are looking into what's going on with the Devils as they struggle to field a team thanks, in part, to the fact that if their payroll was water and the salary cap ceiling was an actual ceiling – they likely would have drowned by now.

Here’s what has people talking this week: On Sunday the team dressed just 15 players in a loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, which is three short of the 18 they are supposed to have on the bench.

First of all key injuries to Brian Rolston and Anton Volchenkov have the Devils behind the eight ball, but to make matters worse on Sunday, there was also one player serving a one-game suspension. The issue is that they don’t have the cap room to replace these guys right now.

The NHL says it’s keeping a close eye on the situation, while realizing the team is in a pretty tough spot. They are slowing improving though – in Wednesday’s 1-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres they dressed 16 skaters! Wooooo!

Unfortunately for the Devils, they’ll be without Rolston for 4-6 weeks...but fortunately for the Devils, placing him on long-term injured reserve will give them about $5-milion of extra cap space!

Problem solved? We’ll see…