Monday, March 31, 2008

You've Got To Be Joking

Sit back and relax as you enjoy this week’s Sports Shorts.

The Miami Heat have been tabbed to play several preseason games in Europe next October as part of NBA Europe Live 2008. The showcase is intended to show foreign fans that absolutely anyone can play basketball.

NFL owners are considering a proposal to ban players from having hair obscure the names on their jerseys. Luckily for offensive linemen, the potential policy does not include back hair.

Denver center Nene had to shake off the cobwebs in his first game back after undergoing surgery to remove a malignant testicular tumor. The 6’11 Brazilian attributed his rustiness to not handling enough balls during his layoff.

The Dallas Cowboys are continuing to pursue Titans cornerback Pacman Jones. Their latest offer is believed to include a seventh round draft pick, a player to be named later, a medley of fruit and thousands of tiny power pellets.

Rain, lightning and thunder forced the suspension of third-round play at the Zurich Classic. The foul weather proved for the first time this year that Tiger Woods isn’t the only force of nature that can take over a golf tournament.

Former NBA player Isaiah Rider must appear in court next month after being arrested for driving a stolen car. If he isn’t more careful he could start giving guys named Isaiah a bad name.

This just in: UNC center Tyler Hansbrough may have finally blinked. We’ll keep you posted as more details become available.

The Miami Heat scored only 17 baskets in an 88-62 loss to the Celtics. On the positive side, the WNBA has expressed interest in adding them as an expansion franchise.

Australian Olympic swimmer Nick D'Arcy was charged Monday with assault following a nightclub altercation in Sydney. Apparently swimming isn’t the only thing he does like a fish.

Chinese President Hu Jintao presided over the re-lighting of the Olympic torch Monday in Beijing. And here’s the really good news: not a single Tibetan was set on fire during the incident.

Commissioner Bud Selig has confirmed that Major League Baseball is hard at work on a more reliable HGH test. The new test will completely do away with science and simply flag any player who resembles his own bobblehead.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Question of the Week

Aaron, Chicago, IL
Subj: The best in the biz
Hey Ryan, who’s your all-time favorite sports broadcaster?

I’ve always been a huge fan of the incomparable Bob Uecker. Although this former Cardinal backstop was never an All-Star, he’s certainly a Hall Of Famer when it comes to poking fun at his limited abilities. According to Uecker, "Anybody with ability can play in the big leagues. But to be able to trick people year in and year out the way I did, I think that was a much greater feat." One of my other favorite Uecker quotes is about the importance of good timing. "If a guy hits .300 every year, what does he have to look forward to? I always tried to stay around .190, with three or four RBI. And I tried to get them all in September. That way I always had something to talk about during the winter." A winner of the Ford C. Frick Broadcasting Award, Uecker is now in his 38th year of calling balls and strikes for the Milwaukee Brewers.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Ask Ryan - Let The Madness Begin

Welcome back for another edition of Ask Ryan, the column where sports and entertainment go together like heartbreak and ice cream. This week's mailbag is bursting at the seams with queries about Kurt Russell's baseball career, the origins of March Madness and the greatest college ballers of all time. Read all about it at Fox Sports.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

You've Got To Be Joking

Sit back and relax as you enjoy this week’s Sports Shorts.

The Major League Baseball Players' Association plans to investigate why Barry Bonds remains unsigned. Bonds' agent, Jeff Borris has said it would take his client just two weeks to get ready: one week to regain his timing at the plate and one week to find a hat that actually fits.

Dodgers pitcher Chan Ho Park is still angry that Chinese security forces refused to let him sign autographs for a group of fans in Beijing. The news has come as a shock to many observers who didn’t realize that Park actually had any fans.

The NBA will consider an expansion of instant replay. In related news, the NBA will consider an expansion of instant replay.

France's foreign minister has backtracked from comments suggesting he is open to a boycott of the Beijing Olympics' opening ceremonies. Wow, a Frenchman backing down from confrontation. What were the odds?

The Miami Heat hit a new low by losing to the Toronto Raptors 96-54. The loss represents the third-lowest point total in the shot-clock era and the lowest since the game was played by men named Nat, Jellybean and Dutch.

A new poll has found that more New Yorkers are fans of the Red Sox then they are of the Knicks. It’s hardly surprising considering that the Red Sox are clearly the better basketball team.

Texas shortstop Michael Young had his house egged by his teammates as part of a Spring Training prank. Although Young isn’t certain who was responsible, he has ruled out the Rangers pitching staff since the eggs actually hit their mark.

Pacers forward Mike Dunleavy recently told reporters that his father is his biggest fan. Something tells me there wasn’t a lot of competition for the position.

Personal trainer Brian McNamee fainted while driving and crashed his car head-on into a city bus. Oddly enough, the incident was considerably more painless than having to deal with Roger Clemens.

The WWE has suspended wrestler Afa Anoai for violating their drug and steroid policy. Evidentially he forgot to take them.

Former Yankees third baseman Graig Nettles will undergo prostate surgery early next month. Fortunately for Nettles, the procedure won’t be nearly as a big of a pain in the butt as playing for George Steinbrenner.

New York Giants' season ticket holders will have to pay $7 more per ticket to watch the Super Bowl champions next season. Fans who can’t afford the pay increase can simply borrow Bill Belichick’s tapes of the games.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Question of the Week

Matthew, Syracuse, NY
Subj: The Magic Kingdom
Hey Ryan, I’m hoping you can settle a debate for me. Who was the first pro athlete to say “I’m going to Disney World!”?

Superb question, Matthew. That honor belongs to Phil Simms. The former New York Giants quarterback was approached by Disney representatives one week prior to Super Bowl XXI and asked to utter the phrase if his team won the game. He declined, but the reps kept on persisting and on January 25, 1987 he rattled off the now legendary line following the Giants’ convincing 39-20 victory over the Broncos. The iconic phrase has been uttered by nearly every Super Bowl MVP since, with the possible exception of Ray Lewis, who was famously not asked where he was going when Baltimore won the championship in 2001. Perhaps that’s because the phrase “I’m going to prison” isn’t quite as inspiring.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Ask Ryan - Legendary Little Leaguers

Welcome back for another edition of Ask Ryan, the column where sports and entertainment go together like March Madness and lost productivity. This week's mailbag is bursting at the seams with queries about the NHL's premiere two-sport star, the brainiest guy in baseball and the NBA's most improved player. Read all about it at Fox Sports.

Monday, March 17, 2008

You've Got To Be Joking

Sit back and relax as you enjoy this week’s Sports Shorts.

An Oregon urology clinic is offering a special deal on vasectomies to coincide with March Madness. It’s nice to know that you can still make the cut even if your team doesn’t.

NFL Films has laid off nearly 10 percent of its workers. Luckily they should have no problem finding work with the New England Patriots.

Bud Selig is the highest paid among the league commissioners of baseball, football, basketball and hockey. In fact, his salary is so high it’s almost like it’s on steroids or something.

Tampa Bay outfielder Rocco Baldelli will begin the season on the disabled list because of a condition that leaves him feeling extremely fatigued after short workouts. Doctors are tentatively calling it John Daly Disorder.

Miami guard Dwyane Wade has started to undergo shockwave therapy on his injured left knee. The innovative treatment is rumored to be almost as painful as watching the Heat.

Canada earned a berth in the Olympic baseball tournament, defeating South Korea 4-3. The victory was particularly surprising since the Canadians were using hockey sticks.

The Cavaliers have signed 6-foot-11 center Lance Allred to a 10-day contract, making him the NBA’s first legally deaf player. Ironically, Allred is the only one who hasn’t heard the news.

Daisuke Matsuzaka’s wife has given birth to the couple’s first son. The newborn weighs 6 pounds, 10 ounces and is expected to pitch fifth in the Red Sox’s rotation.

Indiana Pacers Jamaal Tinsley and Marquis Daniels have avoided a trial on charges stemming from a 2007 bar fight. You know your team is in a rut when your only victories come in court.

Chipper Jones now has his own signature beverage called Chipper Chardonnay. It’s the perfect product for a man who’s always been a whiner.

Michael Vick's trial has been delayed yet again. Prosecutors are believed to be waiting for the dog days of summer.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Question of the Week

Jake, Hibbing, MN
Subj: Who is that shadowy figure?
Hey Ryan, there’s something that’s been mystifying me for years. Whose silhouette is it that appears in Major League Baseball’s logo? Is it just some random model or was it a former player?

That depends a lot on whom you ask, Jake. According to many old-timers the silhouette belongs to none other than Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew, a former AL MVP and a member of the 500 homerun club. In fact, even Killebrew himself claims as much, although he doesn’t recall specifically posing for the image. Although there may be a grain of truth in his assertion, Major League Baseball has repeatedly refused to play along, claiming in no uncertain terms that “No one player has ever been identified as the model of the Major League Baseball batter logo.” What we do know for certain is that the logo was originally introduced in 1969, at which point Killebrew had been named to eight All-Star teams and was unquestionably one of the most recognizable faces in the game. That alone makes it very likely that an artist may have found inspiration in the man they called “Killer.”

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Ask Ryan - Better Than All The Rest

Welcome back for another edition of Ask Ryan, the column where sports and entertainment go together like Pat Riley and pomade. This week's mailbag is bursting at the seams with queries about California's premiere playground legend, the greatest player in baseball history and UCLA's pipeline into the NBA. Read all about it at Fox Sports.

Monday, March 10, 2008

You've Got To Be Joking

The Atlanta Hawks won the NBA's first replay since 1983 by downing the Miami Heat in a game that lasted just 51.9 seconds. Sadly for true fans of the sport, Miami will return to playing 48 minute games later this week.

A recent poll has named the Heat's Pat Riley as the coach that players would least like to suit up for. Many observers assumed Isiah Thomas would win the honor, but Stephon Marbury was only allowed to cast one ballot.

Brett Favre’s sudden retirement has Green Bay Packers fans racing to memorabilia stores, eager to buy autographed items like footballs, pictures and helmets. Let’s hope for their sake that John Madden doesn’t beat them to it.

The Red Sox have offered Jonathan Papelbon a new 1-year, $775,0000 deal. Boston wanted all along to give the closer a nice raise, but not so nice that it would prompt him to remove his pants and dance in front of them.

Pro golfer Tripp Isenhour has apologized for killing a protected hawk. Only in the world of golf could nailing a birdie or an eagle illicit cheers, while nailing a hawk can prompt talk of a lifetime ban.

Terrell Suggs has filed a grievance against the Baltimore Ravens over whether he should be classified as a defensive end or a linebacker. In related news, Bears QB Rex Grossman has filed a similar grievance against Chicago over whether he should be classified as a liability or a lost cause.

The new six-team All American Football League has decided to postpone its 2008 season unless it finds additional financial backing. That’s bad news for fans in Little Rock, Knoxville and Birmingham, who will now have to amuse themselves with their second favorite pastime of dating their kin.

Miami Heat coach Pat Riley may miss several games with the team to scout NCAA draft prospects. I’m sure it will be nice for him to watch some quality basketball for a change.

A new report suggests that the New England Patriots broke league rules by videotaping opponents' signals between 2000 and 2002. If charged, the team is expected to plead insanity since several of the tapes were of the NY Jets.

QB Aaron Rodgers has reached out to Green Bay Packers fans by insisting he’s not Brett Favre. Luckily for Rodgers, that should become abundantly clear as soon as the season begins.

John Daly was spotted hanging out the Philadelphia Phillies before a recent spring training game. It’s uncertain if Daly was there to watch the action or if he’s looking for a sport that requires even less physical exertion than golf.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Question of the Week

Maurice, Bakersfield, CA
Subj: The men behind the mic
In your opinion, who’s the worst NFL broadcaster of all time?

That honor belongs to former Monday Night Football commentator Joe Theismann. Although “The Squirmin’ German” may have been a great quarterback, his career as a broadcaster has been somewhat more dubious. In describing the tenacity of an NFL draft pick, Theismann once said, "He'll take your head off at the blink of a hat." On another occasion he tried to show off his mental acumen by claiming “Nobody in the game of football should be called a genius. A genius is somebody like Norman Einstein.” Let that be a lesson to all of you to remember to put on your helmet before taking to the field.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Ask Ryan - Tales From The Charity Stripe

Welcome back for another edition of Ask Ryan, the column where sports and entertainment go together like spring training and false hope. This week's mailbag is bursting at the seams with queries about the smartest guy in professional sports, the NBA's worst free throw shooter and the strongest man in the NFL. Read all about it at Fox Sports.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Picture This

Feast your eyes on the latest illustration from my good friend and fellow collaborator Harrison Wheeler. If you would like to see more of Harrison’s excellent work please visit his blog here.

Monday, March 3, 2008

You've Got To Be Joking

Sit back and relax as you enjoy this week’s Sports Shorts.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have announced plans to add an "all-you-can-eat" section for the 2008 season. It’s uncertain whether the decision was made to appease fans or to attract free agent pitcher David Wells.

LeBron James became the youngest player in NBA history to reach 10,000. Incidentally, that’s 10,000 points, not 10,000 women.

Roger Clemens could be facing jail time following allegations that he lied under oath. Luckily the former Cy Young winner has always looked good in pinstripes.

The Knicks have had preliminary discussions with Kiki Vandeweghe about replacing Isiah Thomas in the front office. No word yet on who will pick up the slack when it comes to harassing the franchise’s female employees.

Minnesota forward Antoine Walker missed a recent trip to Toronto because of a problem with his passport. It’s too bad there wasn’t a basketball hoop nearby or he could have proven his identity by missing 15 3-pointers in a row.

Stephon Marbury has been instructed by Isiah Thomas not to attend Knicks home games. Ironically, most of the team’s season ticket holders would love to receive the same order.

The Green Bay Packers are in hot water after erroneously reporting that Brett Favre was set to retire. The false report was so shocking it caused John Madden’s heart to stop for three full minutes.

Calvin Klein has offered Tom Brady a deal to appear in a high profile underwear campaign. It’s a natural fit for a man who was last seen getting undressed by the Giants’ defense.

Cornerback Randall Gay has agreed to a four-year contract with the New Orleans Saints. The deal was initially opposed by the Catholic Church who were uncomfortable with the words gay and saints appearing within the same sentence.

China dominated the World Team Table Tennis Championships in a tournament seen as a preview of this summer's Beijing Olympics. Sadly, none of the team members will be allowed to celebrate their victory at Disneyworld since they’re too short to go on the rides.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Question of the Week

Chad, Atlanta, GA
Subj: Taking your licks
What’s the most dangerous of the “Big Four” sports of basketball, football, baseball and hockey?

Great question Chad! That dubious honor belongs to football. According to a new study, playing in the NFL is the fourth most hazardous occupation in America behind only firefighting, race-car driving, and fishing. In fact the career expectancy of an NFL player is less than four years, although sadly, Chicago Bears fans may be stuck with Rex Grossman for a little longer than that. Below is a breakdown of the average career duration by position.

Running back - 2.57 years
Wide receiver - 2.81 years
Quarterback - 4.44 years
punter/kicker - 4.87 years