Saturday, May 31, 2008

Question of the Week

Kevin, Branson, MO
Subj: Tough break
Hey Ryan, how many bones did Evel Knievel break during his career?

Excellent question Kevin! According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Knievel snapped or fractured 35 bones during his career, easily making him the world’s most frequently injured daredevil. His extensive list of injuries includes everything from a fractured pelvis (which he did on three occasions) to a broken right femur (which he did five times). In fact, his staggering number of injuries have forced Knievel to go under the knife more often than Liza Minnelli and Michael Jackson combined.

Knievel’s most devastating accident occurred on January 1, 1968 when he attempted to clear the fountains at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. As you may recall, his ensuing crash left him in a coma for 29 days with a fractured hip, a shattered pelvis and a smashed right femur. On the positive side, at least it kept him from losing all of his money at the slots.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Talking Points - Feeling Chipper

Welcome back for another edition of Talking Points, a handy cheat sheet designed to help you hold your own in any water cooler discussion. In this week’s column, I’ll examine Chipper Jones’ torrid hitting streak, Andruw Jones’ downward spiral and the surprising rebirth of the NHL. Read all about it here.

Monday, May 26, 2008

You've Got To Be Joking

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

The Dodgers have placed center fielder Andruw Jones on the 15-day disabled list because of an injured right knee. The timing is especially unfortunate since Jones had finally gotten fat enough to patrol the entire outfield without actually moving.

Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester has revealed that his father has cancer, and unfortunately for the Lester family, it’s not the kind of cancer that helps you throw no-hitters.

Red Wings forward Johan Franzen has been cleared by doctors to play in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals. The news comes as a surprise to many observers who didn’t realize that the NHL lockout was finally over.

Former Mets and Red Sox pitcher Geremi Gonzalez was killed after being hit by lightning. We always suspected God was a Yankees fan.

Derek Jeter was forced out of a game against the Baltimore Orioles after being hit on the hand by a pitch. X-rays were negative, just like everything else about the Yankees.

The Chicago Bulls defied the odds by winning the NBA draft lottery despite having just a 1.7 percent chance of landing the top choice. Incidentally, that’s also the same chance the New York Knicks now have of reaching the playoffs.

Mike Piazza has decided to retire from baseball after discussing his options with his wife, his family and his agent. No word yet on what his boyfriend had to say.

Jason Taylor is planning to boycott the Miami Dolphins’ training camp. The defensive end intends to stay away for as long as it takes until the team agrees to incorporate more ruffles in their uniforms.

Major League Baseball may experiment with instant replay during the Arizona Fall League. In related news, Major League Baseball may experiment with instant replay during the Arizona Fall League.

Reports have surfaced that Kobe Bryant is having an affair with former Lakers Girl Vanessa Curry. The news is hardly surprising. After all, if Bruce Bowen can’t stop him from scoring, what chance does Kobe’s wife have?

An Atlanta Braves fan has serious head injuries after falling from the stands at Turner Field. The man fell so quickly and dramatically that many people mistook him for the Mets.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Question of the Week

Brian, Brooklyn, NY
Subj: Chase who?!
Hey Ryan, what’s up with all these college and pro athletes being named Chase over the last few years? Why is that name so popular all of a sudden...were they all named during O.J.'s slow speed chase to infamy or what? Please shed some light on the subject.

It’s mind-boggling, isn’t it Brian? Believe it or not, Chase was the 83rd most popular baby name in America in 2006 and it has been prominently featured in the top 100 for the past decade. I suspect the trend probably dates back to the late 1970’s when Chevy Chase first entered our nation’s consciousness as a member of Saturday Night Live. Consider this: Phillies second baseman Chase Utley was born in 1978, the same year Chevy Chase landed his first lead role in Foul Play, New York Giants linebacker Chase Blackburn and Cleveland Browns DE Chase Pittman were both born in 1983, the same year Chevy Chase starred in Vacation and Arizona Wildcats forward Chase Budinger was born in 1988, the year Chevy Chase appeared in The Couch Trip, Funny Farm and Caddyshack II. Hey, it could be worse; we could be rooting for a bunch of athletes named Keanu.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Talking Points - Blades of Glory

Welcome back for another edition of Talking Points, a handy cheat sheet designed to help you hold your own in any water cooler discussion. In this week’s column, I’ll examine the Chicago Bulls’ unlikely postseason victory, Jose Canseco’s fledging boxing career and Oscar Pistorius’ pursuit of Olympic gold. Read all about it here.

Monday, May 19, 2008

You've Got To Be Joking

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

The Mets clobbered the Yankees by a score of 11-2 in the final game of their Subway Series. The last time a Wang was hammered that badly was in a porno.

An NYU grad was tackled by a security guard yesterday after trying to steal home at Yankee Stadium. Sadly, it’s the best defense fans have seen in the Bronx all season long.

President Bush revealed this week that he has given up golf. Apparently having one handicap was enough for him.

Tony Romo has ended his relationship with Jessica Simpson. Cowboys fans will now have to come up with other excuses when their team inevitably self destructs in the playoffs.

Lance Armstrong is currently dating Kate Hudson. The seven-time Tour de France winner traded up for the bubbly blonde after accidentally snapping Ashley Olsen in half.

The owner of the Golden Nugget has sold his shares in the Houston Texans. You know you team is in for a rough year when not even a casino owner will take a gamble on them.

Former Patriots employee Matt Walsh met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for nearly three and a half hours on the Spygate scandal. Walsh’s tapes of the meeting should be available shortly.

Seattle Seahawks linebacker Lofa Tatupu was arrested for investigation of drunken driving. The Pro Bowler’s blood-alcohol level of .158 was so high that authorities first mistook it for the Seattle SuperSonics’s winning percentage.

Danny Ainge has been named the NBA’s Executive of the Year. The Celtics GM is still uncertain whether he will keep the award or trade it to Kevin McHale.

Charles Barkley has promised to repay a $400,000 gambling debt to a Las Vegas casino. The former NBA star originally tried running away from his problems before becoming seriously winded.

Disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding has just released her first book entitled The Tonya Tapes. Not only is the 300 page tome an entertaining read, but the hardcover version is also excellent for bludgeoning your opponents in the knee.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Question of the Week

Torii, Rockford, IL
Hey Ryan, I’ve heard that Tim Duncan likes to unwind by playing Dungeons and Dragons and attending renaissance fairs. Have you heard of any players with stranger hobbies than that?

You’ve obviously never heard of Tony Lavelli. The former four-time All American was a high-scoring forward with serious musical aspirations. In fact, Lavelli was so keen on entertaining crowds that he joined the Celtics on the condition that he could play his accordion at halftime during home games. Although this former Yale grad only stuck it out in the pros for two seasons (1949-1951), he went onto enjoy a long career as a songwriter and nightclub performer. If you’re a fan of accordion music, I’d personally recommend his two albums, All-American Accordionist and Accordion Classics, both of which are excellent for driving away unwanted houseguests.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Talking Points - O.J. Feels The Squeeze

Welcome back for another edition of Talking Points, a handy cheat sheet designed to help you hold your own in any water cooler discussion. In this week’s column, I’ll examine O.J. Mayo’s NCAA infractions, Steve Nash’s next destination and Brian Urlacher’s contract dispute. Read all about it here.

Monday, May 12, 2008

You've Got To Be Joking

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

Qualifying and practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway were cancelled for the day due to rainfall. On the positive side, the heavy precipitation gave thousands of rednecks their first shower in nearly a month.

Heisman winner Tim Tebow is currently spending time in an impoverished village in the Philippines helping to circumcise impoverished children. The missionary trip should pay major dividends next season when Tebow finds himself surrounded by dickheads.

HBO has picked the Cowboys for its next season of the training-camp series Hard Knocks. The network had considered documenting the Cincinnati Bengals before deciding viewers would simply think they were watching re-runs of Oz.

A new video clip has surfaced of Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis telling Michigan to “go to Hell.” Based on his performance last season we have no doubt that Weis can give them precise directions there.

Former Knicks enforcer Charles Oakley is planning to launch his very own cooking show. The one hour program will feature 55 minutes of meat tenderizing and five minutes of actual cooking.

Mike Tyson is set to star in a brand new videogame being produced by EA Sports. The game is reportedly so realistic that players will need five separate joysticks just to control him.

Dwyane Wade's Sports Grill in Boca Raton has closed after just two months. The restaurant had difficulty attracting patrons after it was revealed many of the dishes were cooked using the grease from Pat Riley’s hair.

Former 49ers quarterback Joe Montana is suing his first wife, Kim Moses, and a Texas auction house for selling love letters and memorabilia from his time at the University of Notre Dame. It’s the biggest disgrace in Notre Dame history since, well, last season.

A 78-year-old legally blind man from northwest Iowa has bowled a perfect game. It’s hard to say which is the bigger disability: being blind or being from Iowa.

KFC and the NBA have announced a new promotional partnership that will include activities in 22 countries and territories. Strangely enough, Grease is not one of them.

The Florida Marlins have agreed to a six year, $70 million contract extension with shortstop Hanley Ramirez. The deal is expected to leave the franchise with $21.50 to spend on their remaining 24 players.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Question of the Week

Steve, Cincinnati, OH
Subj: Extra digits
Hey Ryan, would you prefer to have a sixth finger on each hand or a third nipple on your chest?

It’s not even close, Steve. I would definitely opt for the sixth finger on each hand. After all, the male nipple is more useless than Britney Spears’ therapist, but a sixth finger can turn you into a Major League talent. Just ask Antonio Alfonseca. The former Philadelphia Phillies reliever has 12 fingers and 12 toes and he enjoyed a productive 11-year career. In fact, Alfonseca actually credits his success to the added rotation he gets from his extra digit. Maybe that’s why he embraces his condition so fully. "I see [people] staring sometimes," he admits. "It's OK. I don't care. It's no big deal to me. Some people see it as a bad thing. I don't." I’d like to think I’d feel the exact same way. Plus, it would be nice to have an extra finger to pick my nose.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Talking Points - Kobe Takes Home The Hardware

Welcome back for another edition of Talking Points, a handy cheat sheet designed to help you hold your own in any water cooler discussion. In this week’s column, I’ll examine Kobe Bryant’s latest achievement, Mike D’Antoni’s coaching prospects and Kosuke Fukudome’s surprising start. Read all about it here.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Question of the Week

Rod, St, Paul, MN
Subj: Pulling double duty
Hey Ryan, has there ever been an ambidextrous pitcher in the Major Leagues?

You bet, Rod. Since the game’s inception six players have pitched with both hands in the same outing. They include Larry Corcoran (1880-1887), Tony Mullane (1881-1894), Elton Chamberlain (1886-1896), George Wheeler (1896-1899), Moxie Manuel (1905-1908), and Greg Harris (1981-1995). Although these double duty specialists have been a rarity in recent years, there’s a good chance we’ll see another ambidextrous hurler in the near future. His name is Pat Venditte and he’s making headlines as a lights-out reliever for the Creighton Bluejays. Venditte, who wears an ambidextrous glove with two thumb holes and four fingers, finished the season 8-2 with a 1.88 ERA, leading many pundits to speculate he’ll be drafted next month. "He has the advantage with every batter," says Creighton head coach Ed Servais. "You don't have to go righty-lefty. He is a righty-lefty in himself. He is a bullpen in himself." The only question that remains is which hand Venditte will use to sign his first big league contract.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Talking Points: Brown Gets Around

Welcome back for another edition of Talking Points, a handy cheat sheet designed to help you hold your own in any water cooler discussion. In this week’s column, I’ll examine Roger Clemens’ fall from grace, Barry Zito’s surprising demotion and Larry Brown’s ongoing pursuit of coaching every team in the NBA. Read all about it here.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

You've Got To Be Joking

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

The University at Buffalo’s top basketball player has been suspended indefinitely by the school for posting an ad on the Internet offering to pay someone to write a course paper. Come on, he’s an athlete; shouldn’t people be writing his papers for free?

Notre Dame is considering shedding its independent status and joining the Big Ten. It would be a huge move for the school given that the only organization they looked fit to join last year was Pop Warner.

Alex Rodriguez is going on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right quadriceps. If you think that sounds bad you should hear his new nickname: A-Quad. The injury has been classified as a Grade 2 strain, which automatically makes his quad better educated than half of his teammates.

Scranton Penguins captain Neal Smith was caught running naked through town. The veteran player has since been charged with public drunkenness, disorderly conduct, open lewdness and high sticking.

Nearly 500 men age 40 and older lined up for a free prostate cancer screening Tuesday at a mobile clinic at Milwaukee’s Miller Park. It just goes to show you that being a Brewers fan can be a major pain in the butt.

Barack Obama scrimmaged with the University of North Carolina basketball team earlier this week. Players had no problem guarding the Democratic senator since he always went to his left.

President George Bush honored the New York Giants recently during a ceremony at the White House. By all accounts it was a joyous gathering of 50 guys who wear helmets and one who probably should.

Barry Zito has been demoted to the bullpen by the San Francisco Giants. The team knew he was in trouble when his ERA started getting larger than Barry Bonds’ hat size.

Byron Scott has been named the NBA’s coach of the year, or as Mike D’Antoni and Avery Johnson call it, The Most Likely to Be Canned in Two Seasons Award.

A seven-foot-tall bronze statue of Oscar De La Hoya will join similar tributes to Los Angeles sports stars Magic Johnson and Wayne Gretzky at Staples Center. De La Hoya’s statue will be especially easy to identify since it will be the only one dressed in women’s lingerie.

Question of the Week

Bob Bridgewater NJ
Subj: I Meant To Do That
Why is it that when a batter hits a cheap grounder that just happens to roll between two infielders the announcer will usually comment on the batter's ability in executing this "hit"? Am I wrong in thinking that this is merely luck?

Not at all, Bob. However, I do think you’re undervaluing the importance of luck in baseball. After all, the difference between a player hitting .230 or .300 is usually just a matter of 25 or so “lucky” hits finding their way through the infield or blooping into center. That’s why former Yankees pitcher Lefty Gomez once observed, “I’d rather be lucky than good.” It’s also why so many Major Leaguers try to control their luck through the practice of elaborate superstitions. Craig Biggio, for instance, tries to improve his performance by never washing his helmet, Wade Boggs hoped to raise his average by eating chicken before every single game and former Mets reliever Turk Wendell made a habit of chewing licorice and brushing his teeth between every inning he pitched. What makes these otherwise sane men slaves to these odd routines? It’s luck, and in baseball, it’s everything.