Saturday, May 25, 2013

Bizarre play and blown call leads to phantom 3-6-3 double play for Rangers (Video)

Weird baseball reached a whole new level on Friday night in Seattle.
To be completely honest with you, I'd like to say what happened was worthy of consideration for the worst call we'll see all season. As you know, that would be saying a lot when you consider the botched home call in Cleveland (that Angel Hernandez himself admitted was blown), among other inexplicable rulings and misapplications. But I think the call itself might be offset by just how plain strange the entire play was.
Here's the set up: Rangers lead the Mariners 2-1 in the second inning. Seattle has runners at first and second with nobody out when rookie Jesus Sucre raps one on the ground to Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland. Moreland then throws to Elvis Andrus to get the middle runner. There's one out. Andrus returns fire in the direction of the first base bag where Moreland and pitcher Justin Grimm  are converging to receive the throw.
Typically, when two defenders arrive at a base simultaneously the result is somewhere between comical and disastrous. In this case, though, we end up in a whole different category thanks to first base umpire Jeff Nelson.
Moreland was actually back at the base and in position to receive the throw. However, Grimm, who was not on the bag and never did get to the bag, stuck his glove in front to intercept it. At this point, Sucre is a good step and a half short of the base, making it an easy out call if Moreland catches it. But again, the ball is picked off by Grimm, so Sucre beats it out easily.
At least that's what most of us either saw or thought we saw. Nelson, though, missed that most important detail and instead ruled Sucre OUT. He then missed Grimm fiddling with the ball in his glove immediately after the call — or thought some type of optical illusion had taken place before him — so he continued back into position without so much as considering changing his call.
Needless to say, the result drew an immediate argument from Seattle manager Eric Wedge. But here's the funny thing. I assumed throughout the rest of the game that Wedge had known of Grimm's interception and based his argument around that. According to his comments after the game — courtesy of's Doug Miller — it turns out Wedge had just as little clue as Nelson did.
"Everybody's just focused on the bag," Wedge said. "I thought he came off the bag. That's what I was out there arguing. And then I come to find out later, with the replay, that he didn't even catch the ball. ... It would have been a much bigger argument if I had known that at the time, no doubt about it."
I thought for sure we were in for more discussion about replay and umpire accountability, but instead Nelson comes off as somewhat sympathetic when the arguing manager admits he didn't fully understand what his argument should have been. It all makes more sense now, too, because when the umpires huddled briefly there was no movement to overturn it.
All they were asked to determine is whether or not Moreland's foot had come off the bag on the play. It didn't, so even if they wanted to overturn the call, they couldn't based on what they were asked to reconsider. Maybe those rules need to be tweaked. Maybe they don't. But regardless of rules, the human element and all of those considerations, this was simply a bizarre play that we might not see duplicated for a long time.
Oh, and yes, there's a decent chance it cost Seattle one run, and maybe more. Brendan Ryan followed with an RBI double that could have been the opening to a huge inning. Instead, Seattle settles for one, and then eventually falls 9-5. - Big League Stew

Thousands run Boston Marathon’s final mile

Thousands of athletes joined victims of the Boston Marathon bombings to run and walk the last mile of the race Saturday, reclaiming the triumph of crossing the finish line. About 3,000 runners and bombing victims gathered in light rain to run the final mile of the world’s oldest annual marathon, said Kathleen McGonagle, spokeswoman for those organizing the event known as OneRun. The 1-mile run began at Kenmore Square and ended at the official finish line, where participants hugged and cheered.
(Jessica Rinaldi/Globe staff)
Explosions near the finish line killed three people and wounded more than 260 on April 15.
OneRun honors victims and emergency workers and allows runners to reclaim the final mile, McGonagle said.
‘‘For the runner that didn’t get the chance to finish the marathon, this is the chance for them to experience the final mile that was taken away from them,’’ McGonagle said.
Although the event wasn’t a fundraiser, donations from some corporate sponsors covered OneRun operating costs, McGonagle said. Any leftover funds will be sent to a charity set up to benefit bombing victims.
The National Anthem was sung by the choir from St. Ann Parish, where 8-year-old victim Martin Richard’s family worshipped.


Rams make a lot of roster room for 6-foot-10, 403-pound lineman Terrell Brown

Some will tell you that the NFL is a height/weight/speed league, and St. Louis Rams undrafted rookie free agent Terrell Brown certainly has the first two nailed down. Brown, who played predominantly for Mississippi as a defensive lineman and will switch to the offensive line for Jeff Fisher, measured at 6-foot-10 and 388 pounds at his pro day on March 7. However, when the Rams signed him and weighed him in, it seemed that Brown had been spending extra time at the wrong training table.
"Actually, we weighed him in at 403," Fisher said on Thursday. "We had him in for the tryout, and he had some issues that we had to clear up from a physical standpoint. But he got that put behind us. We worked him out on both sides of the ball, defensive line and offensive line, and we felt like his best position would be right tackle. [Rams offensive line coach Paul Boudreau] said he'd love to have him. He's a defensive lineman that we've converted to offensive lineman."
Brown actually played on both sides of the ball in college, and Fisher also joked about using him to block kicks. And why not? As Gil Brandt of said of him, Brown "just might be the biggest player we’ve reported on."
And as you can see from the video below, the Rams had best reinforce their folding chairs.

As for the speed part of that height/weight/speed equation ... well, Brown's still working on that. At his pro day, he ran the 40-yard dash in 5.80 and 5.88 seconds, but it was his raw measurements that set NFL teams off. Brown measured in with 38-inch arms and a 92 3/8-inch wingspan, far above the norm, even by NFL standards.
That said, if he makes the Rams' roster, Brown would not be the tallest player in pro football history -- that honor goes to Richard Sligh, who played a few games for the 1967 Oakland Raiders at seven feet tall even, and was a reserve in Super Bowl II. The heaviest player ever to make an NFL roster (at least, we're talking official weight here) was Aaron Gibson, who cracked the 400-pound bar with the Dallas Cowboys in 2002. - Shutdown corner

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Is that a misspelling in Kevin Durant’s giant back tattoo??

This week Kevin Durant used some of his free, unexpected free time to get it his tattoo finished. In the caption included when posting the photo to Instagram, Durant informed us that the script along the right side of his lower back next to Jesus' face is Scripture, specifically James 1:2-4, and suggested we "look it up." So we did
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
Cool tat, KD.
Just one thing, though ... from our eagle-eyed pal Sarah Kogod of the Washington Post's D.C. Sports Bog:
Wait, what?
Hmmm. (Photo via sniperjones35 on Instagram)
That does kind of look like "mautre" rather than "mature," doesn't it?
Um, maybe the tattoo isn't quite finished after all.
It seems Mr. Durant has caught wind of the "mautre" controversy, as he's offered a follow-up Instagram post: "I got mature spelled the right way lol."
KD responds. (Photo via sniperjones35 on Instagram)
It's still kind of hard to see, what with all that shine, but we'll take the man's word for it. We can be mautre about stuff like this. - Dan Devine

Why are pitchers cheating so much!?

C'mon, guys! This is getting embarrassing. Major League Baseball used to be a place where cheating was an art form, an heirloom, something passed from old to young like a family recipe. From spitballers to bat corkers to sign stealers, cheaters' nefariousness is part of baseball lore.
Embedded in the sport's culture is an underlying lawlessness borne of its early days, when rogues, rapscallions and syphilitic vagabonds did whatever the hell they wanted to a baseball. Think about these pioneers' tool kits: nail files, emery boards, globs of Vaseline, hair tonic and, of course, the gift that made an in-season chest cold welcome – the magic loogie.
When television cameras caught Miami Marlins pitcher Alex Sanabia hocking a goober on a new baseball in the immediate aftermath of a Domonic Brown home run Monday night, it marked the second time in three weeks a pitcher had done the baseball equivalent of robbing a convenience store while smiling at the security camera. Sanabia should be ashamed that he so grievously disrespected the legacies of fine cheaters before him with such a plain-sight spit. Any pitcher knows if you're going to spit on the ball, do it inside the glove. Even though they're terrible at it, the old chestnut hasn't changed: In baseball, cheaters always prosper. source: yahoo

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Did Sergio Garcia cross the line with 'fried chicken' comment about Tiger Woods? Let me know!

 COMMENTARY | Sergio Garcia crossed a line Monday he never should have toed.
At the European Tour's annual gala dinner ahead of its flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship in England, Garcia responded to a question asking if he would have dinner with Tiger Woods at next month's U.S. Open at Merion.
His reply, according to The Guardian: "We will have him round every night. We will serve fried chicken."
The comment can only be construed as racially charged, particularly if one harkens back to remarks made by Fuzzy Zoeller in 1997 after Tiger Woods won the Masters. Zoeller, the 1979 Masters winner, was asked about Woods' record-setting performance and injected several racial undertones – not to mention some overtones – into his response.
 "That little boy is driving well and he's putting well," Zoeller said. "He's doing everything it takes to win. So, you know what you guys do when he gets in here? You pat him on the back and say congratulations and enjoy it and tell him not serve fried chicken next year. Got it? ... or collard greens or whatever the hell they serve."
That comment haunts Zoeller to this day. It's one he regrets. He should.
Garcia will likely regret these comments. They are inappropriate and uncalled for under any circumstance. They're not justified. It's not merely an escalation in the exchange or verbal barbs        traded by Garcia and Woods after an incident of  etiquette that unfolded during their third-round pairing in The Players Championship. -source: Yahoo

Trading card of 7-year-old Nebraska spring game star, Jack Hoffman, fetches $6,100 on ebay for charity, but the bidder won’t pay!!!

The Jack Hoffman promotional rookie card that was auctioned off to help benefit pediatric cancer research is still waiting to be claimed.
Upper Deck made a handful of promotional cards for the 7-year-old cancer patient, who scored a touchdown during Nebraska’s spring game, in an effort to raise money for Hoffman’s charity, The Team Jack Foundation. Hoffman signed four of them (three in silver and one in gold) and auctioned one of the silver signed cards on ebay.
The auction received a lot of attention and the final bid was $6,100.
Only the man who supposedly made the bid has no plans to pay up, according to
Prep 2 Pro Sports owner Mike Schnoor, who is selling the cards on behalf of the Hoffman family, said efforts to contact several other bidders also have failed.

So what should have been a continuation of the heartwarming story that had touched the nation this spring has actually turned sour.
“It’s a pretty sore subject around here,” Schnoor told Beckett Media. “The guy who ended up winning said a guy logged into his account and bid on it as a joke. It goes from a great story to kind of sobering.”
Schnoor told he was thinking of other ways to auction the card, including relisting it as a “Buy It Now” or auctioning it off locally.
It’s just unfortunate that it’s come to this. Hopefully, Hoffman and his family won’t be too disheartened by the uncouth tactics of a few people. Hoffman’s 69-yard run in front of 60,000 people watching Nebraska's spring game remains one of the most inspirational stories of the year.

Phil Jackson: Future baseball coach? Zen adviser to MLB managers?

Here's a fun fact: The number of NBA championships won by Phil Jackson as a basketball player and coach is more than every baseball team except the New York Yankees has won World Series rings. Jackson has won 13 NBA Finals. After the Yankees' 27 titles, the next highest is the St. Louis Cardinals, who have 11.
That's a weird set-up for two weird tidbits: (1) Phil Jackson might want to be a baseball coach. (2) He's already an adviser to a couple MLB managers.
The New York Times' magazine detailed at length how NBA teams are still chasing Jackson and how he can't really leave the game. One passage reads: "Jackson will almost certainly return to basketball. One of his other great talents is coming out of retirement."
But about three-fourths into the story comes this baseball-centric nugget:
Jackson has been serving as a kind of intersports guru, giving informal advice to an Israeli soccer coach — “All soccer involves triangles,” Jackson says — as well as to a couple of baseball managers. He grew up playing baseball and still thinks he would make a good coach. He has told the owner of the Chicago White Sox — his former boss with the Bulls, Jerry Reinsdorf — that he’s available. He seems to be only half joking.
Phil Jackson, baseball coach. How crazy would be if the guy all these NBA teams are chasing made the jump — like a certain star player of his did — to baseball? Maybe Jackson could take over the Dodgers. L.A. fans could get behind that, right? I mean, they've already accepted Magic Johnson as their savior.
OK, so Phil Jackson in baseball probably isn't not going to happen, but it is interesting to learn that Jackson is giving advice to MLB managers. Who do you think they are? I dunno, but it sure would be funny if it were Jim Leyland. Let's hope it's not Don Mattingly. That wouldn't bode well for Jackson's coaching prospects. - Big League Stew

Eric Spoto benches 722 pounds

Eric Spoto claims to have set a world record by raw-benching 722 pounds!!!! Good LAWD!

Kevin Durant to donate $1 million

         Oklahoma City isn't just a place where Thunder star Kevin Durant lives these days. It's home. So as he watched the horrifying images Monday as a tornado ripped through suburban Moore, the emotions came bubbling to the surface and so did the need to help. Durant pledged $1 million for tornado relief through his family foundation on Tuesday, eager to help a devastated area begin to rebuild.

 "As the day went on and I saw the footage and the casualties and the houses being blown away, it was tough to see. I call Oklahoma City my home. I go through Moore all the time. It's unfortunate. We're going to come together as a city like we always do and we're going to bounce back. -- Kevin Durant's reaction to Oklahoma tornado

Durant has been in Oklahoma City for five years now, ever since the Seattle SuperSonics moved there in 2008. He's become a fixture in the community, in addition to establishing himself as one of the very best players in the NBA. He said he was hoping to return home Wednesday to try and lift the spirits of an area reeling from the deaths of some two dozen people, including children.
"Just to get to the hospital, see some kids," Durant said. "Something. Just something to give some hope. Playing for the Thunder, we mean so much to the state. So many people support us and I just want to go back and support those people."
The American Red Cross said the gift from The Durant Family Foundation is meant to match other donations and be an incentive for more people to give. The Thunder also announced a $1 million donation, as did the NBA and players' union. Source: AP

Monday, May 20, 2013

Skylar Diggins gets car from Jay-Z

What a graduation present. On the day Skylar Diggins graduated from Notre Dame, she was presented with a new Mercedes by Roc Nation, the company founded by Jay-Z that represents her.
"I got 99 problems but a BENZ ain't one," a tweet on Diggins' account said, riffing off a Jay-Z hit.
Jay-Z was a former part-owner of the Brooklyn Nets, but he divested himself of that interest to start a sports-representation agency. Diggins is among his first high-profile clients, who also include the Yankees' Robinson Cano and Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz. Diggins was an All-America guard for the Fighting Irish who was taken third overall in the WNBA draft by the Tulsa Shock. - ESPN

D's Highlights May 20th 2013.

Zenit player sent off for celebrating goal with rude gesture aimed at own fans

In the 59th minute of Zenit St. Petersburg's final home match of the Russian Premier League season, 31-year-old Russian international Roman Shirokov was brought on to boos and jeers. In the first minute of injury time, Shirokov put away the final goal in Zenit's 3-1 win against Volga Nizhny and he celebrated by giving fans behind the goal an "up yours" gesture as payback for his reception half an hour earlier. The referee then showed the striker with a history of being unfriendly a straight red and he was off.
Shirokov was probably jeered in the first place because he tweeted "CSKA deserved the championship!" after CSKA Moscow sealed the league title on Saturday, leaving second place to Zenit. This isn't the best way to endear yourself to your own fans. source:

Redskins Robert Griffin III gets a wedding registry hook up!

On July 18, 2012, Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III signed a four-year, $21,119,098 contract that is fully guaranteed. That's commensurate with his status as the second-overall pick in the draft, and it pretty much insures that unless he really messes up the numbers, he'll never have to worry about money again.
Still, Redskins fans have decided to help RG3 out a bit with the expenses on his upcoming nuptials to the future former Rebecca Liddicoat by finding the couple's wedding registry on the Bed Bath & Beyond website ... and fulfilling all sorts of orders.

This was confirmed by Griffin on Twitter.

Now, before the expected outrage that fans of a player making this much money would pitch in to buy these things for the happy couple (who are tying the knot on July 6), Griffin has an answer for that. The fans found his registry without his prompting and threw down of their own volition.