Monday, June 30, 2008

You've Got To Be Joking

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

The Green Bay Packers are crying poor after clearing just $21 million last season. Things are so dire, they might have to start eating those giant cheese heads.

San Francisco 49ers coach Mike Nolan recently visited military personnel serving in Kabul, Afghanistan. It was a natural setting for Nolan since he’s used to coming under heavy fire.

Pacman Jones has informed the media that he no longer wants to be referred to by his nickname. Instead, he will answer to "Adam," "Mr. Jones," or "Prisoner No. 345279.”

A horse trained by Rick Dutrow has tested positive for twice the allowable level of Clenbuterol, a bronchodilator that helps burn fat and promote muscle growth. Why do horses know about this drug and John Daly doesn’t?

A photo taken during the early stages of the Belmont Stakes shows that Big Brown was running with a loose shoe. Given his poor finish it must have been a stiletto.

The Toronto Raptors have agreed to trade T.J. Ford to the Indiana Pacers for Jermaine O’Neal. The deal will also include center Rasho Nesterovic, a first round draft pick and 3,000 pages of medical documentation.

John Daly and Kid Rock teamed up yesterday at the Buick Open pro-am. It’s unclear who was left in charge of the trailer park while they were out.

China's top backstroker Ouyang Kunpeng has been banned for life for failing a doping test. Terms of the ban are so restrictive that Kunpeng won’t even be allowed to wash his face without permission.

Willie Randolph has been informed he’ll be replaced by Cubs manager Lou Piniella on the coaching staff for next month's All-Star game. And here’s a shocker, he was actually told about it during the daytime.

Warren Sapp says he plans to accept an offer to appear on Dancing with the Stars. Now it’s up to producers to find a woman with a 7’8” wingspan so she can wrap her arms around his waist.

David Beckham recently admitted on his blog that he's astonished by the reaction his new underwear ads for Emporio Armani are generating. "To be honest, I was amazed by the huge billboard poster outside Macy's department store, but even more amazed by the amount of people who turned up to see it!" he said. Frankly, we're just amazed that David Beckham knows how to write.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Question of the Week

Wade, Huntsville, AL
Subj: Name game
Greetings Ryan, can you tell us what is the most common last name is baseball? First name too if you are really good.

No problem, Wade. It took a little digging (and a whole lot of caffeine), but I discovered that 25 Major Leaguers have Johnson written on the back of their jerseys, making it the most common name in professional baseball. Rounding out the top ten are Perez (23) Gonzalez (23), Smith (20), Hernandez (20), Martinez (20), Rodriguez (19), Miller (18), Garcia (17), Ramirez (16) and Jones (16). The most common first name, meanwhile, is Michael which is shared by 110 players. Incidentally, there’s even a Michael Johnson who is a farmhand with the Padres. Johnson has yet to suit up with San Diego, but based on his outstanding pedigree you might want to nab him for your fantasy league team when he does.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Talking Points - Shaq Attack

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 Shaq’s rap, Pacman Jones’ new identity and the U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team. Read all about it here.

Monday, June 23, 2008

You've Got To Be Joking

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

Presidential hopeful Barack Obama has said that if he wins this fall, he will install a basketball court at the White House. And if John McCain wins, he’ll install a shuffleboard deck.

MetLife Inc. has become the first of five major sponsors for New York’s new Meadowlands stadium. The $15 million deal will certainly help financially, but as Willie Randolph will tell you, Met life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano was lifted from a game against the Rays after tweaking his shoulder. Doctors fear the injury may prevent him from punching out any of his teammates for at least two weeks.

Prince Fielder allegedly owes more than $400,000 in unpaid taxes. Although that may sound like a lot it’s still considerably less than his weekly grocery bill.

Charles Barkley is headed back to Las Vegas to play in a charity poker tournament a month after pledging not to gamble. It’s not as bad as it sounds, though. Barkley will be donating all of his winnings to Hypocrites Anonymous.

An angry Mets fan shipped five chickens to the team's owners to protest the cowardly way in which they fired manager Willie Randolph. On the positive side, two of the birds have already found a regular place in the Mets rotation.

Ron Artest has a new song out in which he freestyles over Alicia Keys' single, No One. It’s a big step forward for a player whose greatest hits have all included Detroit Pistons fans.

Rotund hurler C.C. Sabathia hit a tape-measure home run in a game against the L.A. Dodgers. Sadly, the episode was mired by the three heart attacks he suffered while rounding the bases.

Sports broadcaster Pat Summerall is recovering from an emergency procedure to stop internal bleeding. It’s the first time in medical history that a patient has actually provided play-by-play for his own surgery.

Pacman Jones has informed the media that he wants to be referred to as Adam or Mr. Jones. You have to admit that it will certainly look a lot classier on a police blotter.

Kobe Bryant is headed to China after being selected to the U.S. Olympic team. The Lakers star can barely wait to alienate a whole new continent of fans.

Los Angeles Spark forward Candace Parker became the second woman to dunk in a WNBA game in a 77-63 win over the Indiana Fever. The event was so exhilarating that it brought all three fans to their feet.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Question of the Week

Reggie, Las Vegas, NV
Subj: Big shoes to fill
Hey Ryan, I’m hoping you can help me resolve a bet. Who has the largest feet in NBA history?

That honor belongs to Big Bob Lanier, a 6’11” behemoth who wore size 22 shoes. In fact, The Dobber’s Nikes were so large that they made it into the Hall of Fame before he did, becoming part of Springfield’s interactive museum. "A lot of people, can put both feet into one of my shoes,” he boasts. Mind, you Lanier wasn’t always so proud about his feet. Even today, he still remembers coming home in tears after children teased him at school. “Do you think I have the wrong feet?” he recalls asking his mother. “Those are the feet you were given the day you were born, so I’m sure they are a perfect fit,” she sagely responded. “Those feet will take you to great places.” She was right. Lanier was an eight-time All-Star who finished his career with averages of 20.1 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. He officially joined his shoes in the Hall of Fame in 1992.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Talking Points - Carolina On My Mind

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 North Carolina’s loaded roster, the New York Yankees’ injury woes and the Celtics’ championship season. Read all about it here.

Monday, June 16, 2008

You've Got To Be Joking

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

Jessica Simpson is launching her own range of sexy lingerie. The announcement means that Tony Romo will no longer be the only one able to get into Simpson’s panties.

The New Jersey Nets plan to give away more than $250,000 worth of free gas, or as most people call it, a full tank.

The New York Yankees are seeking another $350 million in public financing to help finish their new stadium. Things are getting so desperate the team might have to set up a Derek Jeter Kissing Booth.

Good news and bad news for Marshawn Lynch. The good news is the Bills runningback finally had Lasik surgery to correct his vision. The bad news is he can now see just how bad the Bills actually are.

Milton Bradley tried to physically assault Ryan Lefebvre after the Royals broadcaster made disparaging remarks about him during a TV broadcast. When are journalists going to learn? If you’re going to criticize Bradley you have to do it in print.

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Marko Jaric is now engaged to supermodel Adriana Lima. The announcement comes as a surprise to many observers since Jaric is such a horrible penetrator.

Scientists at the University of Miami are studying whether Viagra can make men better cyclists. So far the only thing they’ve been able to confirm is that after popping a couple of tablets a bicycle is the last thing most men want to ride.

18-year-old Joey Longano became the youngest winner in Nationwide Series history by cruising to victory in the Meijer 300. Unfortunately his celebration was short-lived when his father grounded him for borrowing the car without permission.

Brad Penny extended his winless streak to eight starts in the Dodgers' 12-7 loss to the Detroit Tigers. The value of a Penny hasn’t been this low since the turn of the century.

A person associated with the Cowboys was electrocuted over the weekend when they touched a high voltage line at the team’s new stadium. And here’s the really bad news: it wasn’t Jessica Simpson.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen and Cubs manager Lou Piniella are teaming up for a series of television commercials for the Chicago Chevy Dealers Association. Censors are standing by.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Question of the Week

Lance, Flushing, NY
Subj: King of the hill
Hey Ryan, what’s America’s most recognizable sports brand? I say it’s the Yankees, but my friend says it’s the Celtics. Can you solve our argument once and for all?

I’m afraid you’re both wrong, Lance. According to a new consumer survey conducted by the good folks at Keleman Associates, the planet’s most recognizable sporting brand is ESPN, which was identified by 97% of Americans age 12 and older. Rounding out the list were the Olympics (89%), the NFL (85%), Gatorade (83%), Nike (82%) and the NHL, which was recognized only by a pair of toothless Canadian seal hunters.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Talking Points - Strahan Steps Down

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’ Viagra dependency, Michael Strahan’s retirement and Dontrelle Willis’ demoralizing demotion. Read all about it here.

Monday, June 9, 2008

You've Got To Be Joking

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

Lance Armstrong and Kate Hudson were spotted having a ball a Dolce & Gabbana party in Cannes. Just one ball, mind you, but it was a ball nonetheless.

The NBA has confirmed that Michael Beasley is 6-8 and not 6-10 as he previously claimed. The Kansas State forward has blamed his loss of two inches on a recent circumcision.

A New England man has been found guilty of impersonating a Seattle SuperSonics front office executive. Authorities first became suspicious since not even the team’s real employees are willing to admit they work for the Sonics.

Actress Nikki Ziering has signed on to participate in Hulk Hogan's new reality show, Celebrity Championship Wrestling. It should be a natural fit for her since she’s used to spending long periods of time on her back with her legs in the air.

The IOC has suspended Iraq's national Olympic committee thereby leaving Iraqi athletes in danger of missing the Beijing Games. Ironically the committee was one of the few groups in the country that actually had an exit strategy for getting out of Iraq.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are expected to pay a local radio station $2,000 per broadcast next season. No word yet on how much the team will have to pay fans to actually listen.

North Carolina point guard Ty Lawson has been charged with driving under the influence. Authorities first suspected Lawson was drunk when they spotted a fat chick sitting in his back seat.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger are making a friendly wager on the outcome of the NBA finals. If the Celtics win, Schwarzenegger has promised to donate Californian food and beverages to a charity of Patrick's choice. And if the Lakers win Patrick must sit through all of Kindergarten Cop.

Shaquille O’Neal showed up to the Belmont Stakes dressed like a jockey. The Big Aristotle’s outfit was so realistic that it reportedly caused three horses to faint.

Barry Bonds has pleaded not guilty to 15 counts of lying to federal investigators about steroids. The plea would have been even more convincing if Bonds’ pants hadn’t caught on fire half way through.

Country singer Mindy McCready recently took part in the World Series of Poker. It’s the first time in weeks we’ve been able to say the words “McCready” and “poker” without mentioning Roger Clemens.

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick was spotted canoodling with his girlfriend Linda Holliday at a romantic restaurant in Boston. We’re not sure what happened after that but something tells us Belichick probably has it on tape.

Randy Johnson has passed Roger Clemens on the career strikeout list by notching his 4,673rd K. It’s quite an accomplishment for a man who looks like he should be operating carnival rides in Oklahoma.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Question of the Week

Jonathan, El Paso, TX
Subj: Doing it by the book
Hey Ryan, I’m about to go on a two-week vacation with my wife’s family (faking my own death was out of the question). Can you recommend a good sports book so I don’t have to talk to my mother-in-law?

You bet, Jonathan. One of the finest books I’ve read in the past five years is The Great American Novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Philip Roth. The hilarious tome tells the story of the Port Ruppert Mundys, a hapless wartime baseball team that featured a one-armed outfielder, a one-legged catcher, a narcoleptic third baseman, a 14-year-old infielder and a flame-throwing pitcher famous for his “snot” ball. It’s satire at its best and Roth hits a grand slam with every page. The New Republic has called The Great American Novel “An awesome performance,” praising Roth for reinventing baseball literature as pure slapstick.

If you prefer something with a little more historical accuracy I’d recommend Loose Balls, a rollicking page-turner about the short, wild life of the ABA. Author Terry Pluto wisely lets the league’s stars tell the stories in their own words as they recount tales of two-foot high afros, disappearing franchises and bloody melees erupting on “Kid’s Day”. It’s been called “The best sports book of the year” by USA Today and it’s easily the funniest basketball book on the market. Good luck, and enjoy your vacation!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Talking Points - Deja Vu All Over Again

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 heavily hyped NBA Finals, the beginning of a Motor City makeover and the remarkable rise of Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton. Read all about it here.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Speculation on Sirius Satellite Radio

I recently had the pleasure of appearing on Speculation, a seriously hip call-in show hosted by fellow sports junkies Dave Golokhov and Matt Cauz. You can listen to my segment by clicking here.

Monday, June 2, 2008

You've Got To Be Joking

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

Alex Rodriguez reportedly told a ten-year-old boy to “beat it” when the young fan approached him for an autograph at a Baltimore Hooters. Oddly enough A-Rod also said the exact same thing to his chesty waitress minutes later.

Noted horseplayer Joe Torre has gone on recording stating that Big Brown will win at Belmont. If Torre is so good at picking winners why did he agree to manage the Dodgers?

The San Francisco 49ers have waived free agent Ezra Butler after police found a small amount of marijuana in his car. It’s one of the few times in law enforcement history that the Butler actually did it.

Tennessee Titans wide receiver Mike Williams has lost an impressive 30 pounds during the off season. Unfortunately for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Andruw Jones seems to have found it.

James Blake was ousted in the second round of the French Open by 19-year-old Latvian phenom Ernests Gulbis. An athlete hasn’t had this much trouble with a teenager since Roger Clemens.

Sammy Sosa says he may retire after next year's World Baseball Classic. It’s nice to hear he’s finally going to put a cork in it.

A blind wrestler has qualified for the Maryland high school state championships. Whether he finds his way there is another matter altogether.

Manny Ramirez hit his 500th homerun in a 6-3 victory against the Orioles. The Red Sox outfielder is now a lock to become the first man inducted into both the Baseball and Rastafarian Hall of Fames.

Randy Johnson has tied Roger Clemens for second place on the career strikeout list with his 4,672nd K. However, the Rocket still has a chance to regain the lead if he strikes out with the jury at his upcoming trial.

Members of the New York Giants have finally received their $25,000 Super Bowl rings from Tiffany and Co. The rings are so stunning that Kobe Bryant is considering buying three of them for future transgressions.

Experts in the field of concussion management claim the Mets have put Ryan Church at significant medical risk by having him play through dizziness, lethargy and headaches. The team has dismissed the charges since those are the exact same conditions that Willie Randolph manages under.