03.31.09

Change Of Plans In Denver : Cutler’s On The Trading Block

Posted in Gridiron at 11:18 pm by

Despite prior assurances by Josh McDaniels that fences could somehow be mended with Jay Cutler, the miffed QB’s refusal to accept phone calls from his head coach appears to have worked to Cutler’s favor. To wit, his trade demand is about to be granted, as the Denver Post’s Mike Klis explains.

“Numerous attempts to contact Jay Cutler in the last 10 days, both by head coach Josh McDaniels and myself, have been unsuccessful,” owner Pat Bowlen said in a statement. “A conversation with his agent (Bus Cook) earlier today clearly communicated and confirmed to us that Jay no longer has any desire to play for the Denver Broncos. We will begin discussions with other teams in an effort to accommodate his request to be traded.”

Cutler heard about Bowlen’s statement Tuesday, but said by text, “I’m not talking about it.”

For now, the Broncos’ starting quarterback is Chris Simms, who has thrown just two passes since sustaining a ruptured spleen in the third game of the 2006 season, or nine games before Cutler replaced Jake Plummer as the Broncos’ starting quarterback.

An NFL source said the Washington Redskins are among the leading candidates to pull off a trade for Cutler. The Redskins have a proven young quarterback, Jason Campbell, and would meet the Broncos’ preference of dealing Cutler outside the American Football Conference. The Redskins also have the No. 13 overall selection in this year’s draft, one spot.

Gun Violence Plagues Oregon Ducks Basketball Team

Posted in Basketball, College Spurts, Firearms, Lower Education at 7:04 pm by

And let me be (presumably) the thousandth person to suggest that if they have to hunt small animals, the beaver would more appropriate. From the Oregonian:

Three Oregon men’s basketball players were cited Monday night in Eugene’s Alton Baker Park for shooting BB guns at ducks and geese in the park’s pond.

Officers responded to a report of men shooting guns in the park at 11:08 p.m. and arrived to witness freshman forward Josh Crittle fire approximately 20 shots toward the pond with a BB gun, said Jenna LaBounty, a spokeswoman with the Eugene Police Department.

Crittle was cited along with fellow freshmen Michael Dunigan and Teondre Williams on an accusation of violating park rules, which carries a base fine of $155.

LaBounty said that when the officers approached, Dunigan tossed his weapon into the water, where officers found it. Williams’ weapon was also located by the six officers who responded.

Crittle, Dunigan and Williams were handcuffed, cited and released within 30 minutes late Monday.

LaBounty said it did not appear any animals were injured in the shooting.

Isn’t that always the way? When you’re driving to the pond, gun cradled, somebody’s hand up in your face, you somehow manage to get off the shot and make it. But when they’re sitting ducks…

Devils’ Mottau : Avery Stood Me Up At The Dance

Posted in Hockey at 6:21 pm by

Hailing the passive resistance of the Rangers’ recently reacquired Sean Avery (above), the New York Times’ Jeff Z. Klein calls the former Vogue intern, “not merely a Zen master” in the Blueshirts’ 3-0 dispatch of New Jersey last night, but “a Machiavellian Zen master.”

Mike Mottau, who hit Avery with some big body checks early in the game, said Avery had challenged him to a fight late in the first period. It certainly looked that way, given that Avery crosschecked Mottau in the back after Martin Brodeur had smothered an Avery shot, then backed away.

œHe shook his gloves and I was at the end of a shift and then the refs got in there, Mottau told Gulitti. œI said I™d fight him the next shift, and after the TV timeout we lined up next to one another and he wouldn™t fight me.

(If the refs had gotten wind of it, that would have counted as an appointment fight, which the league now considers a suspension-worthy offense.)

In the third period, David Clarkson grabbed Avery during a scrum. Avery dropped one glove, then let himself be thrown around by Clarkson, which resulted in Clarkson™s expulsion from the game.

œI was just trying to spark the guys, Clarkson told Gulitti. œHe had one glove thrown down and he had his fist cocked back, so that™s kind of why. I™m trying to spark the team and he had his one hand cocked back in a fist. I don™t know how. Say he throws a punch and hits me. I™m the guy that loses.

Avery is provoking reactions from other players, then doing nothing in hopes of drawing a penalty. It™s a smart and effective tactic ” but it™s also exactly the kind of thing players cite in polls when they repeatedly vote him the most hated man in the league.

An Small, But Important First IMDB Entry For The Knicks’ David Lee

Posted in Basketball, Leave No Child Unbeaten at 2:50 pm by

Perhaps not the meatiest of parts, but far less embarrassing than being singled out by Mike Breen for ruining the toilet in ESPN’s NBA Winnebago. Video link culled from True Hoop.

Starting Next Autumn, You Won’t Have Tommy Smyth To Kick Around Nearly As Much

Posted in Football, Sports TV at 2:28 pm by

EPL Talk.com links to an AP item confirming Fox Soccer Channel — the cable/satellite outlet that hasn’t quite learned the meaning of the words “high definition” — has wrested rights to the UEFA Champions League away from ESPN, and will begin showing the competition next fall.

It’s a curious move for a number of reasons, the first of which being FSC’s limited availability throughout the country.  While ESPN’s coverage of the tournament is hardly above critique, the WWL has certainly done far more in recent years to promote marquee matchups and devote more time to relevant highlights on “SportsCenter”.  If there’s more interest stateside in the Champions League compared to earlier in the decade, ESPN and John Skipper deserve some portion of the credit.

(4/2/09 addendum : details on FSC’s plans)

Finally, Someone Has The Guts To Make U.S. Youth Soccer Competitive

Posted in Football, Leave No Child Unbeaten at 1:57 pm by

A Scituate, MA kiddie league soccer coach has resigned after naming his squad of 6 & 7 year-old girls “Green Death” and advocating a diet of “undercooked red meat”The Boston Herald’s Joe Dwinell reports on the region’s most hard-wired gaffer this side of the Hooded Casanova.

œI believe winning is fun and losing is for losers, Michael Kinahan wrote in a letter to the kids on his team.

Kinahan went on in his welcoming letter to compel his players to be ready to hit the pitch playing like a œMichael Vick pit bull.

The coach warned parents he wouldn™t tolerate them planted on the sidelines œin their LL Bean chairs sipping mocha-latte-half-caf-chinos and not cheering.

Kinahan told parents and players to prepare for œbumps, bruises and even bleed a little, – and vowed to œheckle the young referees.

Kinahan told the Herald last night his letter was a mix of œsuburban satire and a challenge to compete.

œI stand by my comments. This isn™t two hours of free babysitting, Kinahan said.

Without knowing much about Kinahan’s credentials, this does seem like an awful lot of work just to get mentioned on Jim Rome’s radio show.

First Rick Wagoner, Now This: Sheff’s Out in The D

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 12:35 pm by

Turbulent economic times, man. Bad CEOs, fading sluggers, pretty much everyone working in the manufacturing sector. No one’s job is safe. Of course, certain gigs are safer than others. Yes, even though he has 499 career home runs and is probably (I mean, right?) a Hall of Famer, Gary Sheffield was released by the Tigers today. Sheff was batting under .200 this Spring, but it takes awhile to get up to speed at a certain age.

This is just true of people who already have their places in Cooperstown sewed up. Take, for instance, Hall of Fame honoree Peter Gammons, whom I like but whose softball TV interviews and rambly, ultra-positive writing work have him looking more and more like the baseball world’s answer to Larry King. Two weeks ago, Gammons dropped this bit of happy talk into a Spring Training roundup:

The way Gary Sheffield has gotten back his bat speed and leverage through the hitting zone after a year and a half of shoulder problems makes him look like a serious comeback of the year candidate.

This latest turn of events would, admittedly, make Sheffield’s comeback candidacy that much more dramatic. You know, provided he finds a job somewhere.

ITV’s Pseudo Springer Headed For The Scrap Heap

Posted in The World Of Entertainment at 10:12 am by

The Daily Star’s Michael Booker reports Jeremy Kyle, the former life insurance salesman turned chat host / chav-tastic TV icon, will be removed from the small screen next February.

Kyle, 43, has come under fire for œexploiting dysfunctional families since he hit TV screens in 2005.

His shows have included œBrother, I™ll Prove I™m the Father Of Your Ex-Girlfriend™s Baby and œIf I Can™t Have Children, How Can It Be My Baby?.

Angry guests have tried to assault the ex-radio DJ when they objected to his comments about their personal problems.

In 2007 when a man head-butted his love rival. Security guard David Staniforth, 45, attacked bus driver Larry Mahoney, 39, after discovering he had begun an affair with his wife Jennifer after moving into their home as a lodger.

Staniforth, of Chesterfield, Derbys, is believed to be the first person convicted of assaulting someone on a British talk show. District Judge Alan Berg, sitting at Manchester Magistrates™ Court, branded the show a œhuman form of bear-baiting.

And he added: œIt seems to me the purpose of this show is to effect a morbid and depressing display of dysfunctional people whose lives are in turmoil.

Cash-strapped ITV bosses now say the cost of screening the show daily is too high.

And one of the biggest bills was paying for œguests to stay at hotels near the Granada studios in Manchester.

An ITV insider told the Daily Star Sunday last night: œPeople appearing on the show love to get the chance to stay in a hotel at ITV™s expense but it™s too much to keep paying out.

œThe screenings will be scaled back until next year when the show will go for good. It is unfortunate but everything has a shelf-life and this has come to an end.

Chavez Ravine Is Not A River In Egypt : Lasorda Vouches For Piazza

Posted in Baseball at 9:31 am by

If this is the sort of defense that’s going to be mounted in support of Mike Piazza, MLB’s All-Time Leading Savatage Fan might as well throw himself on the mercy of Peter Gammons.  The LA Daily News’ Ramona Shelburne pestered former Dodgers skipper Tommy Lasorda about The Backne Heard Around The World, and the response from Piazza’s godfather was as thoughtful as it was unexpected.

“I don’t believe that at all,” said Lasorda. “He worked so hard. I saw him in the weight room working out all the time. Whatever (is in the book) is hearsay. I just don’t believe it. He comes from a family that’s full of good people. “I wouldn’t comment on it if I didn’t feel strongly about it. He has too much to lose. And he’s such a nice young man. He goes to church, he’s got a nice family. I know him. I know what kind of man he is and I just don’t believe it.”

There is no proof, and Piazza has not commented or confirmed anything. Lasorda said he was saddened to hear of the accusations.

“This is a guy that should be in the Hall of Fame. He’s out-homered every catcher that’s in there,” Lasorda said. “I just don’t believe it. Mike Piazza? No way. He worked too hard. I saw him.”

I’m no Dick Pound, but wouldn’t PED use enable a person to be in the weight room “all the time”? I have few strong opinons about Piazza’s guilt or innocence (after all, he never played for the Yankees — I kid, I kid) but you won’t find many ballplayers as pious as Andy Pettitte. Going to church (and refraining from masturbation) didn’t stop him from using HGH.

The comment about Metal Mike having too much to lose is utter nonsense. As an unheralded zillionth round draft choice, he had everything to gain.

03.30.09

Wales’ Craig Bellamy Adds Memorable Soundbite To Forgettable WC Qualifier

Posted in Football at 9:32 pm by

Manchester City’s Craig Bellamy has previously revealed himself to be something less than a master of diplomacy, but his text harassment of Alan Shearer seems somewhat tame compared to his public statements in the wake of Wales’ 2-0 defeat to Finland over the weekend. When Bellamy’s playing career has run its course, surely an analyst gig with Sky or Setanta awaits?