Monday, July 31, 2006

Re: Mets Make Moves [J. Mark English]

So long Xavier Nady, we hardly knew ya. But hey, when they traded Cameron to bring in Nady, who would have ever thought that Met fans might regret seeing Nady leave?
Minaya has a knack for finding gold in places you did not know existed. Valentin, Chavez, even Nady are all examples of this "gold" being found.
One can only hope that the same will prove true with Perez, and Hernandez.

Mets Make Moves at Deadline [J. Mark English]

From -

The New York Mets today acquired righthanded pitcher Roberto Hernandez and lefthanded pitcher Oliver Perez from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for outfielder Xavier Nady.
Perez, 24, was 2-10 with a 6.63 ERA in 15 starts for the Pirates. In 76.0 innings, he yielded 88 hits, 64 runs, 56 earned, with 51 walks and 61 strikeouts. In addition, the 6-3, 210-pounder started six games for Indianapolis (AAA) of the International League after he was optioned to the Pirates' Triple-A affiliate on June 29th...
...Hernandez, 41, was 0-3, with two saves and a 2.93 ERA in 46 games with the Pirates. In 43.0 innings, he's allowed 46 hits, 24 runs, 14 earned, with 24 walks and 33 strikeouts.

Nick Saban: Too Busy for President [J. Mark English]

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) - When the White House called with an invitation to dine with President Bush, Dan Marino took it. But the coach of his former team said no.

Miami Dolphins coach Nick Saban said Monday that his obligations at training camp took priority over a chance to meet the president.

"It was really a tough decision," Saban said. "I feel like my first responsibility is our team. That in no way disrespects the importance of the opportunity I would have loved to have had to spend dinner with the President."

The invitation was for dinner with Bush on Sunday night at Joe's Stone Crabs, a landmark Miami Beach restaurant. Marino, a former Dolphins quarterback and an NFL Hall of Famer, did attend, Bush said in a speech Monday.

Several Dolphins players said they weren't surprised that Saban put his team ahead of the president.

"We all know Nick is serious about what we're doing here and is committed to it," defensive end Jason Taylor said.

MLB Trade Dead Line Fix [J. Mark English]

  • Cardinals acquire Ronnie Belliard from the Indians in exchange for Hector Luna.
  • Cincinnati Reds get Rheal Cormier from the Philadelphia Phillies.
  • Yankees get away with high way robbery by stealing Abreu and Lidle from the Phillies for practically nothing.
  • Jon Heyman: Mets may trade Milledge for Roy Oswalt or Jason Schmidt.
  • Jon Heyman: Alfonso Soriano - It appears more likely he'll go to the Angels than the Tigers, Twins, Astros, Mariners, A's, Dodgers or Cardinals.
  • Scott Miller: A's making a push for Soriano.
  • Tigers have a new first baseman in Sean Casey from the Pirates. Chris Shelton demoted.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Conspicuously Absent [J. Mark English]

Apologies for the lack of updating. I have been down in the DC beltway helping a friend move. Will start posting again by either late tonight, or early tomorrow.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Are You Ready For Some Football? [J. Mark English]

Its not quite the regular season, and we have a whole month of meaningless football up ahead, but its time to get psyched for the start of training camp in the NFL. Here's a report from a writer for each team:

Michael Eisen - New York Giants. Randy Lange - New York Jets. Chris Brown - Buffalo Bill. Andy Cohen - Miami Dolphins. Elizabeth Propper - New England Patriots. Mike Duffy - Baltimore Ravens. Geoff Hobson - Cincinnati Bengals. Zac Jackson - Cleveland Browns. Bob Labriola - Pittsburgh Steelers. Nick Schenck - Houston Texans. John Oehser - Indianapolis Colts. Vic Ketchman - Jacksonville Jaguars. Teresa M. Walker - Tennessee Titans. Andrew Mason - Denver Broncos. Bob Gretz - Kansas City Chiefs. Tony Gonzalez - Oakland Raiders. Casey Pearce - San Diego Chargers. Nick Eatman - Dallas Cowboys. Chris McPherson - Philadelphia Eagles. Gary Fitzgerald - Washington Redskins. Larry Mayer - Chicago Bears. Nick Caminata - Detroit Lions. Mike Spofford - Green Bay Packers. Ben Stoterau - Minnesota Vikings. Michael Oldham - Atlanta Falcons. Pat Yasinskas - Carolina Panthers. Chris Pika - New Orleans Saints. Coach Jon Gruden - Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Paul Calvisi - Arizona Cardinals. Nick Wagoner - St. Louis Rams. Chrissy Mauck - San Francisco Forty Niners. Tommy Hicks - Seattle Seahawks.

New York Giants: Sign Kiwanuka [J. Mark English]

The New York Giants at least signed their first round draft pick from Boston College, defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka. They also came to terms with tackle Guy Whimper. Fortunately for the team, they will have all of their rookies reporting to camp.
Not for nothing, but Guy Whimper has got to be the worst name for a football player. Imagine the abuse he must get for having a name like Whimper...

From the Sport Arena to the Political Arena [J. Mark English]

As Ed mentioned below, Sir Charles Barkley would rather be called Governor Charles Barkely. At first glance, ones eyes might pop out in astonishment.
However, ponder this for a moment. What do you Jack Kemp, Jim Bunning, Steve Largent, J.C. Watts, Tom Osborne, Jim Ryun, Bob Mathias, Bill Bradley, Jesse Ventura, Heath Shuler, and Lynn Swan all have in common? They made their name in sports before taking on the political landscape.
Scott Shepard of COX News Service, writes a great piece on the transformation many of these men took to get from the field to seats of power:
Although politics is often called a contact sport, it isn't always easy for athletes to make the leap from one arena to the next. This political season, though, two more are trying to make the team: former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Lynn Swann and former Washington Redskins quarterback Heath Shuler...
...John Lapp, the executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), said it recently when discussing candidates the party had recruited to run against Republicans in this year's congressional races.
"We have over 40 candidates in top seats ... we have great candidates, like Heath Shuler, who is a better candidate than he was quarterback for the Redskins...," Lapp said...
...Still, the route from sports to politics is a difficult one, even if athletes have achieved the kind of success Swann did, as a wide receiver for the Steelers championship teams of the 1970s. In Pittsburgh, he is a football god, but in Philadelphia, home of intrastate rival Eagles, he is something else again.
John Pitney, a political science professor at Claremont McKenna College in California, explains it this way: "Athlete candidates may draw support but they face three sources of opposition. First are the fans who rooted for opposing teams. Second are the fans who rooted for the athlete's team but are angry about the game they lost. Third are the nerds who have never rooted for any teams, and still resent athletes for getting all the girls in high school."...

Barkley for Governor? [EdMcGon] is reporting that former NBA player Charles Barkley is considering running for governor of Alabama, Barkley's home state, in 2010.

Re: Landis Testing Positive... [J. Mark English]

Floyd Landis team suspended Landis, pending results of the backup "B" sample of his drug test.
If the results of the "B" sample come back negative, then would not have Landis' name have been besmirched? It seems irresponsible to leak the possibility of Landis having tested positive without waiting for the results of the "B" sample to come back.
This blog linked to what members of the mainstream, Associated Press...reported. There should be a stated apology to Landis should his test come back as negative.

NFL Rumors: Jerry Porter [EdMcGon]

First, howdy to the readers of American Legends!

I want to thank Mark for allowing me to blog here.

In the NFL rumor mill yesterday, reported rumors that the Raiders were "shopping Jerry Porter".

Also yesterday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Porter had requested a trade.

But today, the story has shifted dramatically. According to a new San Francisco Chronicle article, Art Shell had the following to say about a Porter trade:

"That's a non-issue, as far as I'm concerned. There's guys every year that might not want to be on a team but, hey, part of this business is you play with who you've got. If we have somebody on this team that ... said he wants to be here or not, if he's doing what he's supposed to do, then we'll go to work."

Reading between the lines, it sounds like Shell does not have many options here unless Al Davis manages to pull off a trade. Porter is quoted in yesterday's San Francisco Chronicle as saying the Raiders are requesting two first round picks. Even Porter thought that price was absurd.

The Raiders are stuck with Porter, and Porter is stuck with the Raiders.

FLOYD LANDIS SUSPENDED: Tested Postitive for Doping [J. Mark English]

Yesterday on this blog there was a report about an unidentified cyclist who tested positive for doping at the Tour de France.
Today, the world learned the identity of the cyclist in question. Floyd Landis, the American champion, has been suspended by his Swiss-based Phonak team:
Tour de France champion Floyd Landis tested positive for high levels of testosterone during the race, his Phonak team said Thursday on its website.
The statement came a day after cycling's world governing body said an unidentified rider had failed a drug test during the Tour.
The Swiss-based Phonak said in a statement on it website that it was notified by the UCI Wednesday that Landis' sample showed "an unusual level of testosterone/epitestosterone" when he was tested after stage 17 of the race last Thursday.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Re: Boxer Keeps Watch... [J. Mark English]

...He salutes the rocket’s red glare with a shot of vodka from his fifth-floor balcony...

How drunk must Andrey Foreman be by now?

Boxer Keeps Watch on a Fight for Life [New York Times]

Mitch Abramson, New York Times --

The noise of an incoming missile sounds like “Whoomp!” according to Andrey Foreman of Haifa, Israel. He salutes the rocket’s red glare with a shot of vodka from his fifth-floor balcony.
In Brooklyn, the sound of CNN and that of laughter, mostly at the expense of the correspondent Anderson Cooper, who wore a bulletproof vest during a telecast from Haifa, reverberates from the home of Andrey’s son, Yuri Foreman.
“How is that vest going to save him from a missile?” Yuri joked.
Since two Israeli soldiers were abducted by the Shiite militant group Hezbollah on July 12, Yuri, an undefeated junior-middleweight boxer who was born in Belarus and reared in Haifa, has been watching from his home in Cobble Hill as a war unfolds.
Haifa, a port city in northern Israel of about 267,000, has received a torrent of rocket attacks from Hezbollah in Lebanon. Air-raid sirens and plumes of smoke are plentiful.
Seven years ago, Yuri, who will turn 26 on Aug. 5, left Haifa to pursue a professional boxing career in the United States and to escape scenes like that. His initial steps after he moved were awkward ones — from a low-paying job in the garment district in Manhattan to problems with boxing promoters — but he has gained his footing.
At 21-0 with eight knockouts, he is on the verge of stardom, but he would give almost anything to be back in Israel with his father, who turned 46 last Tuesday.
“I would rather be there,” said Yuri, who won three Israeli national championships as an amateur. “I’m here doing my boxing career, and my dad is back in Israel. Every day is difficult. All I can do is sit here and watch the news and speak to him on the phone and speak to my friends. I told him I wanted to join the army to do some fighting. I want to help.”
His father told him the army did not need a boxer to lead the charge.
“Your war is in the boxing ring,” Andrey told Yuri during one of their daily conversations. “When you are in the ring, it’s like you are fighting for Israel.”

Why the Mets Will Miss the D-Train [J. Mark English]

Jon Heyman writes today that the Mets go out and get Dontrelle Willis at all costs:
Mets people have signaled that they'd surrender Milledge for Willis, and they're under the impression the Marlins would trade Willis for both the multitalented Milledge and hot-shot pitching prospect Mike Pelfrey, who'd have to be designated a "player to be named,'' since he isn't technically eligible to be traded until January.
Matthew Cerrone over at Metsblog seems to agree:
…it’s steep, but i am starting to think i would even pull the trigger on this deal…
When you think about it, the price is not that steep. In return for trading two unproven prospects your getting a young, already proven pitcher who will be an ace for years to come baring any unforeseeneen injuries.
Willis would solve the Mets immediate problems, as well as be a fixture for the team in the years to come.
If Milledge goes on to become an All-Star outfielder, great...good for him. Anyone who plays fantasy baseball knows that there are always talented outfielders available. Milledge is very replaceableble.
Pelfry may go on as well to be an ace for the Marlins or another team, but how much better could he be then what you already know Willis is capable doing?
However, the Mets front office are probably gun shy to trade two highly touted prospects for Willis. Will Met fans accept the loss of these two players, especially after what happened with Kazmir? The PR department does not want to suffer through another humiliating trade if Willis turns out to be a bust.
Omar Minaya would rather bank on the future then on the present. Before the season began he said his expectations this year were not to win the World Series, but simply to make the playoffs. Will he really take the risk of putting the team in danger of losing out at the chance of becoming a dynasty in order to win a World Series this year? Time well tell, but I think the train has left the station, and the Mets aren't looking to be on it any time soon.

Your Daily Fix 7.26.06 [J. Mark English]

  • Bartolo Colon leaves early due to elboy irritation.
  • Former NASCAR champion, Benny Parsons, has been diagnosed with lung cancer.
  • An unidentified cyclist was tested positive for doping during the Tour de France.
  • The NFL suspends Odell Thurman four games for violating its substance-abuse policies.
  • USOC: San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago remain in the running for the 2016 Olympic games.
  • Brian McBride retires from the U.S. National Soccer team.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Sausage Report: Chorizo to Join the Fab Four [J. Mark English]

Yahoo Sports: NFL's Burning Questions [J. Mark English]

Your Evening Fix 7.25.06 [J. Mark English]

Monday, July 24, 2006

NFL Network: New York Giants Mini Camp Report [J. Mark English]

Beltran: 80 RBI's [J. Mark English]

Carlos Beltran just drove in his 80th RBI of the season on a sac fly in the bottom of the seventh against the Cubs. With 80 RBI's, Beltran now holds the record for most RBI's for center fielders in a New York Mets uniform. And its July 24th, with plenty of season to go...

Video: Tiger Woods Jubilation [J. Mark English]

Video: Floyd Landis Miracle Stage [J. Mark English]

Deadly Lightning Kills Kids Playing Soccer [J. Mark English]

MONTVALE, N.J. — Two teenagers were recovering Sunday from a lightning strike that killed two other teens a day before on a school soccer field.
Lee Weisbrod, 19, of River Vale, and Steven Fagan, 18, of Woodcliff Lake, died at a local hospital Saturday after suffering severe burns and trauma, authorities said.
The survivors, identified only as 16- and 19-year-old Montvale residents, were treated at a local hospital Saturday night and released, authorities said.
The four had arrived at Montvale Memorial School around 6 p.m. Saturday, but waited for a rain storm to let up before taking the field to play soccer, police said. When a violent storm swept back in, the two unidentified teens ran for shelter while Weisbrod and Fagan began walking off the field.
One of the survivors turned around when he heard thunder and saw Weisbrod and Fagan knocked to the ground by lightning, police said.
Police officers from Montvale and Park Ridge performed CPR and used a defibrillator on the more seriously injured victims before ambulances arrived.

Your Daily Fix 7.24.06 [J. Mark English]

  • Keith Law on the success of Joe Mauer.
  • No horse play here...jockey probed for head-butting.
  • Bob Harig breaks down Tigers smashing victory at the British Open.
  • Toronto Raptors sign Spanish Cup Finals MVP, Jorge Garbajosa.
  • Barry Bonds' attorney wants the Fed to investigate a leak in the case.
  • Pacers and Mavericks swap guards.
  • Chicago White Sox snare closer Mike MacDougal from the Royals.
  • Randy Lerner, owner of the Cleveland Browns, may try to purchase the English soccer club Aston Villa.
  • Peter King says that fans of 32 NFL teams have reasons to hope.
  • CNNSI keeps up with the trade rumors in the MLB.
  • Ricky Williams undergoes surgery.
  • Buck Showalter, manager of the Rangers, released from hospital.

Tiger Woods Wins; Father Smiling From Above [J. Mark English]

Damon Hack, New York Times --

It was dinnertime in Britain when Tiger Woods appeared at Royal Liverpool Golf Club’s final bend, a hole that borders a row of modest homes on a street called Stanley Road. On the stoops out front and in second-floor windows, the locals gathered to bathe in the summer light while watching the last moments of a command performance in a year filled with personal upheaval.
When Woods rattled in a short putt for par to win the 135th British Open on Sunday by two strokes over Chris DiMarco, he punched the air with both hands, then buried his face in the shoulder of his caddie, Steve Williams. For 15 seconds, Woods’s body heaved as he cried in front of the grandstands.
“After my last putt, I realized that my dad is never going to see this again,” Woods said after winning his first tournament since his father, Earl, died of cancer on May 3. “I wish he could have seen this one more time.”
In a final-round tussle in which he never lost the lead, Woods carded a five-under-par 67 to win the 11th professional major championship of his career. He is tied with Walter Hagen and is seven short of the record held by Jack Nicklaus, his childhood hero.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

An American in Paris: Landis Wins the Tour [J. Mark English]

Injury of the Day: Ricky Williams Breaks Left Arm [J. Mark English]

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Your Evening Fix 7.22.06 [J. Mark English]

  • Pittsburgh Penguins supposedly reject Cuban-Marino group's bid.
  • New York Mets X-Man leads them to a rain soaked win over the Astros.
  • Oakland A's rally from five run defecit to beat the Tigers.
  • Cowboys lock up tight end Witten to a six year deal.
  • Roddick and Blake to face off in the RCA Championship final.
  • S.F. Giants acquire Shea Hillenbrand in a three player trade.
  • Floyd Landis could be closing in on victory, but Austin Murphy says its not over yet.
  • Feds had access to Barry Bonds medical records.
  • Browns sign rookie Kamerion Wimbley to a six year deal.
  • Police detonate a suspicious package sent to golfer Byron Nelson.

Photos of the Day: British Open [J. Mark English]

Friday, July 21, 2006

Your Evening Fix 7.21.06 [J. Mark English]

  • Barry Bonds relieved not to be indicted.
  • Hal Bock on Omar Minaya working the phones as the trade deadline nears.
  • Jon Heyman on who's in and who's out in regards to trading.
  • John Danowski named Duke lax coach...his son will play for him.
  • Former NBA All Star, Shawn Kemp, charged with drug possession.
  • Titans RB Chris Brown wants out.
  • Miami Hurricanes Willie Cooper shot in the rear end outside his home.

A-Rod Youngest to Hit 450 HR [J. Mark English]

Way to Be Landis [J. Mark English]

MÂCON, France, July 21In cycling, the time trial is known as the race of truth, where each rider goes by himself as fast as he can, with only the clock as an opponent.
On Saturday, all eyes will be on the clock as Floyd Landis and the other contenders in the Tour de France battle it out in a 35.4-mile sprint that winds through the wine country of southern Burgundy from Le Creusot to Montceau-les-Mines.
Landis spent much of the last week predicting that the three-week race would come down to the final time trial. Because the final stage, a 95-mile ride that finishes with eight laps on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, is largely ceremonial up until the final circuits, the rider in first place after the time trial is likely to win the Tour de France.
Landis, an American riding for the Phonak team, has also been saying that if that is the case, he likes his chances.
“I’m confident in my time-trialing,” Landis said Friday after finishing in the main pack on a hot, long stage down from the Alps, where he won Thursday’s stage in stunning fashion in Morzine.
“Today went fine,” Landis added. “It was a bit of a recovery day. I feel good.”

Insult of the Day: Donovan McNabb [J. Mark English]

Speaking to reporters after practice Friday, a cordial McNabb called Owens' recently released autobiography a "children's book," mocked the star receiver for saying he was misquoted in his own book and disputed some of the written allegations.

New York Fans v Media Agenda [YANKEEMAMA]

How much longer do Yankee fans have to endure the media's double standard? The print media litters the backpages with headlines which excoriate A-Rod ,while talk radio hosts and ESPN salivate at the thought of finding some nugget of information that they can exploit to spike their ratings. Yet, they quickly do an about face and chastise Yankee fans for A-Rod's problems. Yes, we have heard Michael " I'll do anything to spike my radio ratings" Kay scold Yankee fans. According to Kay, Yankee fans are spoiled and selfish. He was one of the first who suggested that A-Rod ask to be traded since he will never make it in New York. Kay's sentiments were echoed by fellow ESPN magpies Steve Phillips. Mike Greenberg, and, Harold Reynolds. Yet, when A-Rod is a guest on Kay's program, he masquerades as his best buddy! It is outrageous how Kay et al generalize about fans. From my perspective, there are "spectators" and then there are "fans". Spectators are the people who attend games and : 1) they never sit though an entire inning. They make multiple trips to purchase beer followed by a visit to the restroom . 2) They stand up holding their cell phones and engage in inane conversations with their friends who are seated somewhere in the opposite field. 3) They wear those trendy pink NYY caps with matching Jeter tees, halter tops, and of course, stilettos! For the spectator, Yankee games have nothing to do with baseball- it is simply a social event. They have little interest in baseball and no loyalty. These are the people who boo A-Rod and who jeered Jeter and Mo. Real fans do not ! Moreover, as a season ticket holder, I have attended games when the above players were booed and the media greatly exaggerated the extent of the booing. A case in point- the NYY v Mets game- A-Rod was loudly cheered for his Grand Slam, but the media focused on the fact that he was "loudly booed" when he made an out later in the game. The extent of the booing was sheer hyperbole and paled by comparison with the cheering that he received during the game. The sports media needs report sports, not soap operas... and not exploit real fans for their self-serving agenda.

Tiger Wood: He's Baaaack! [J. Mark English]

Associated Press, ESPN --

HOYLAKE, England -- Tiger Woods stood in the middle of the 14th fairway with a dazed look, so far away from the green he couldn't tell where his ball landed.
"It went in?" Woods asked caddie Steve Williams.
Yes, it did.
With another magical shot in a career already filled with them, Woods seized control of the British Open with a 7-under-par 65 Friday and cast aside the notion his poor performance in the U.S. Open was anything more than a rare off week for the world's greatest golfer.
Woods already had grabbed the lead when he stood over a 4-iron at No. 14, some 200 yards from the flag. He ripped a low shot that caught the edge of the green and hopped three more times before striking the stick, dropping straight in for eagle.
Walking toward the green, Woods heard the gallery roar but didn't know where his ball ended up. When Williams told him it was in the cup, the golfer broke into a wide grin, gave his caddie a high-five and shrugged his shoulders, almost as if he was apologizing. Williams jokingly attempted to put the bag on Woods' shoulder as the two made a triumphant walk up the fairway.
"It's a bonus," Woods said. "Trust me, I'm not trying to put the ball in the hole. I'm just trying to put it on the green and get out of there with a 4."

"6 Hours 40 Minutes: Cyclones Fall to Oneonta in 26 Innings" [New York Times]

The New York Times --

The Brooklyn Cyclones and the Oneonta Tigers played the longest game in the history of the New York-Penn League yesterday. Oneonta won, 6-1, at the Cyclones’ KeySpan Park in Coney Island in a 26-inning game that ran 6 hours 40 minutes.
The Pawtucket Red Sox defeated the Rochester Red Wings, 3-2, in 33 innings in 1981 in the longest professional game. The Brooklyn Dodgers and Boston Braves played a 1-1 tie, going 26 innings, in 1920, the longest major league game by innings.
Mark Wright, an outfielder, came in to pitch in the 25th inning for Class A Brooklyn after the Cyclones, a Mets farm team, had run out of pitchers. He threw a scoreless inning before allowing five runs, three of them earned, in the 26th.
On Kids Camp Day, a crowd of 9,004 attended the game, which started at noon.
The Cyclones’ manager, George Greer, was ejected in the bottom of the first inning after arguing a force play at second base and spent the rest of the afternoon in the clubhouse.
The Brooklyn starter, Eric Brown, in his second start of the season for the Cyclones, went the first seven innings, giving up a run and five hits. Earlier this season, he started a game for Hagerstown of the Class A South Atlantic League that went 22 innings.
Randor Bierd (1-0), who pitched the last two innings for Oneonta, got the victory.
By the time he walked off the mound at game’s end, almost 200 fans were still in the seats.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Your Daily Fix 7.20.06 [J. Mark English]

Shea Hillenbrand Cut [J. Mark English] news services --

Shea Hillenbrand was cut by the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night after he was chastised during a team meeting and he refused to sit in the dugout with his teammates.
Hours before, Hillenbrand criticized the organization and said he expected to be traded. The designated hitter and corner infielder was upset because he wasn't in the starting lineup for the second consecutive game and nobody in Toronto's front office congratulated him on adopting a baby girl last weekend.
The Blue Jays held a meeting before Wednesday night's 5-4 loss to Texas. Hillenbrand, reached by The Toronto Star during the game, said manager John Gibbons admonished him in front of the team.
"Gibby called a team meeting and then he stood up and reamed me out in front of my teammates," Hillenbrand told the newspaper. "I'm very disappointed about what he did and I find it very unprofessional."
Hillenbrand was designated for assignment during the game and was not in the locker room afterward.
"It will do wonders for the clubhouse," Gibbons said.

Barry Bonds: Tick Tock Tick Tock [J. Mark English]

David Kravets, Paul Elias, Associated Press --

No indictment was returned Thursday against Barry Bonds, though a new grand jury will be convened to consider possible perjury and tax-evasion charges against the star slugger as part of the ongoing federal probe into steroids.
Word that a Bonds indictment was not imminent came as one grand jury's term expired. The new panel will continue to investigate whether Bonds lied under oath when he said he never knowingly took performance-enhancing drugs.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Your Daily Fix 7.19.06 [J. Mark English]

  • CNNSI with its British Open predictions.
  • Jose Canseco lights up the All-Star HR derby, and then gets lit up on the mound.
  • Showing off for potential on-lookers? Barry Zito sparkled last night.
  • Floyd Landis struggles in the Alps.
  • Sammy Sosa says he's ready to play...just needs a team.

New York Mets: Faith Healer Crusade Ad Pulled [J. Mark English]

NEW YORK (AP) -- A TV advertisement for a faith healer's event showing Mets third baseman David Wright has been pulled from the air, the team said.

The ad, which aired during the Mets' broadcast Saturday, was made without the team's permission and through the misuse of a press credential, the club said in a news release. The man who put together the ad was credentialed to do TV and radio reports and was not authorized to use the Mets' logo in a commercial, a spokesman for the team said Tuesday.
In the ad, Wright invites the viewers to attend the "Salvation Miracles Revival Crusade" with Dr. Jaerock Lee at Madison Square Garden this month.
I believed that I was accommodating an agency which had been authorized by the Mets," Wright said in the release. "... Religion is purely a private matter and I would never endorse one religion over another. For anyone who was offended by the commercial please accept my sincerest apology."
Wright was approached at Shea Stadium and thought it was cleared by the organization because the man was on the field, the team said.

Catch of the Day: Fish with 'Human Teeth' [J. Mark English]

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

New York Islanders: Chinese Firedrill [J. Mark English]

NEW YORK (AP) -- Neil Smith was fired after less than a month as general manager of the New York Islanders and replaced Tuesday by goalie Garth Snow, who retired from the club to take over the position.

Smith was abruptly let go after getting back into the NHL following a six-year absence. He was a bit of a surprise choice to replace Mike Milbury last month. His replacement is even more of a shock.
It took the Islanders almost a decade to get rid of Mike Milbury, and took them just a few days to get rid of Neil Smith? I didn't know James Dolan owned the Islanders...

John "Buck" O'Neil Will Be an All-Star [J. Mark English]

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - John Jordan "Buck" O'Neil never got a free pass in life.
The grandson of a man brought to this continent as a slave, O'Neil moved to Kansas City to avoid racial persecution in the Deep South and played baseball during an era of segregation.
It figures that on Tuesday night, when the 94-year-old steps into the batter's box during a minor league all-star game, nobody will quibble over an intentional walk.
Except maybe O'Neil.
"I just might take a swing at one," he said before Tuesday night's Northern League event.
The Kansas City T-Bones signed O'Neil to a one-day contract, likely making him the oldest professional baseball player. He would surpass 83-year-old Jim Eriotes, who struck out in a minor league game in South Dakota earlier this month, by more than a decade.
"I imagine the bat's a little heavier than that club I've been swinging," said O'Neil, who maintains he can still shoot his age in golf. "It's been a long time since I've picked up a bat."
Nobody disputes that O'Neil's involvement in the game borders on a gimmick. But his supporters hope it also provides a boost in their quest to get him into Cooperstown.
In May, a special 12-member panel did not choose O'Neil for the Hall of Fame, though it did vote in 17 people from the Negro Leagues and pre-Negro Leagues eras.
On a day that was to be his crowning achievement, O'Neil quietly sat at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Mo., and accepted that his name wasn't called.
"It was a roller coaster for everybody except him," said Bob Kendrick, the museum's director of marketing. "Certainly he was disappointed. But he taught us how to handle disappointment. In the scope of things that have happened in his life, not getting into the Hall pales in comparison."
Since the ballot was cast, the T-Bones have become the unofficial champions of Buck O'Neil.
General Manager Rick Montean said the club has been passing petitions through the stands at all home games, asking commissioner Bud Selig or former commissioner Fay Vincent to intervene.
Team owner John Ehlert then suggested O'Neil actually play in the league's all-star game. The plan is to allow him one at-bat for each team, intentionally walking each time.
"The Negro Leagues were the original independent baseball," Ehlert said. "And Buck O'Neil is the patriarch of independent baseball."
A lifetime .288 hitter and two-time Negro League batting champion, O'Neil became major league baseball's first black coach with the Chicago Cubs. He went on to discover Hall of Famer Lou Brock and countless others as a scout, and now works tirelessly with Kendrick to keep alive the story of the Negro Leagues.
His exclusion from the Hall of Fame caught nearly everybody by surprise. Players including Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks and Brock took aim at the selection process, and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Kansas City, said the vote had left "a community in tears."
"He should be celebrated in baseball," said Kansas City T-Bones manager Al Gallagher, a former San Francisco Giants pitcher who met O'Neil in the late 1960s. "Why the commissioner hasn't put him in the Hall of Fame, I have no idea."

Your Daily Fix 7.18.06 [J. Mark English]

Monday, July 17, 2006

Your Daily Fix 7.17.06 [J. Mark English]

Heyman: Giambi Speaks About Testimoney [J. Mark English]

Jon Heyman, CNNSI --

While Barry Bonds awaits word as to whether he'll be indicted for perjury and possibly other charges (such as tax evasion), the Yankees' Jason Giambi is enjoying life again. Giambi's mind is clear, he's swinging the bat well again and, most importantly, he's out of the steroids spotlight.
Giambi and Bonds once engaged in a friendly rivalry as the Bay Area's top two power hitters. Then they experienced BALCO together. Now Bonds is alone in his predicament.
Giambi still has a soft spot for his former Bay Area rival. "I feel for him,'' Giambi said on Sunday at Yankee Stadium. "It's got to be very distracting for Barry. It's a very tough situation.''
The two sluggers' circumstances were different. Giambi had different friends, and different hangers-on. Both players behaved differently -- Giambi is as friendly as Bonds is abrasive. And while they both testified about BALCO before a grand jury, their testimony was vastly different. While Giambi admitted his involvement with steroids, Bonds contended he didn't knowingly take steroids, according to the San Francisco Chronicle's reports of the testimony.
Giambi took a lot of heat after his testimony became public, and he was briefly viewed as the face of steroids. Since then, the heat has moved to Bonds and Rafael Palmeiro.
While he can't speak directly about Bonds' situation, Giambi is sure he did the right thing by testifying truthfully.
"I had to go in there and do what I had to do," Giambi said. "I had to do what was best for me. It was tough at the beginning. Now that everything has come out and I've gone forward, it's been a lot better. I don't know anything that's going on with Barry. But for my situation, I did the best thing I could. It was the right thing to do at the time.''

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Joe Benigno on NBC 4 [J. Mark English]

His voice is hard enough to the listener on WFAN, but I'm pretty sure he does not belong on TV. As Mike Francessa, aka Jabba the Hut, is out on vacation, the fill in decided to have Benigno on to talk about New York sports vs. Chicago sports with a radio show host from Chicago. [as my friend says the Chicago guy sounds like Dan Aykroyd from Tommy Boy] Nothing like watching Mike'd Up on a sunday night.
Oh and Joe, whats with the hair greased up and pulled back hair? You trying to look like Pat Riley?

Mariano Rivera at 400 Saves [J. Mark English]

Your Evening Fix 7.16.06 [J. Mark English]

ESPY Awards Montage [J. Mark English]

Could Jack Bauer Take on Venus Williams? [J. Mark English]

Mets 6th: 11 Runs, 17 AB's, 2 Grand Slams [J. Mark English]

Top 6TH B:2 S:2 O:1
Chris Woodward flies out to center fielder Juan Pierre.
Top 6TH B:1 S:2 O:1
Carlos Beltran reaches on fielding error by second baseman Todd Walker.
Top 6TH B:0 S:1 O:1
Carlos Delgado singles on a fly ball to center fielder Juan Pierre. Carlos Beltran to 2nd.
Top 6TH B:0 S:0 O:1
David Wright singles on a soft fly ball to right fielder Jacque Jones. Carlos Beltran to 3rd. Carlos Delgado to 2nd.
Top 6TH B:1 S:2 O:1
Cliff Floyd hits a grand slam (9) to left field. Carlos Beltran scores. Carlos Delgado scores. David Wright scores.
Top 6TH B:4 S:1 O:1
Xavier Nady walks.
Top 6TH B:0 S:0 O:1
Pitcher Change: Roberto Novoa replaces Sean Marshall, batting 9th.
Top 6TH B:0 S:0 O:1
Ramon Castro reaches on force attempt, missed catch error by second baseman Todd Walker, assist to third baseman Aramis Ramirez. Xavier Nady to 2nd.
Top 6TH B:0 S:0 O:1
Offensive Substitution: Pinch hitter Endy Chavez replaces Pedro Feliciano.
Top 6TH B:1 S:2 O:1
Endy Chavez singles on a line drive to right fielder Jacque Jones. Xavier Nady scores. Ramon Castro to 3rd.
Top 6TH B:0 S:1 O:1
With Jose Valentin batting, Endy Chavez steals (7) 2nd base.
Top 6TH B:2 S:2 O:1
Jose Valentin singles on a ground ball to shortstop Ronny Cedeno.
Top 6TH B:1 S:0 O:2
Chris Woodward grounds into a force out, third baseman Aramis Ramirez to catcher Michael Barrett. Ramon Castro out at home. Endy Chavez to 3rd. Jose Valentin to 2nd. Chris Woodward to 1st.
Top 6TH B:3 S:2 O:2
Carlos Beltran hits a grand slam (26) to left center field. Endy Chavez scores. Jose Valentin scores. Chris Woodward scores.
Top 6TH B:2 S:2 O:2
Carlos Delgado doubles (15) on a ground ball to left fielder Matt Murton.
Top 6TH B:2 S:0 O:2
David Wright homers (21) on a fly ball to right field. Carlos Delgado scores.
Top 6TH B:0 S:0 O:2
Pitcher Change: Will Ohman replaces Roberto Novoa, batting 9th.
Top 6TH B:4 S:2 O:2
Cliff Floyd walks.
Top 6TH B:4 S:0 O:2
Xavier Nady walks. Cliff Floyd to 2nd.
Top 6TH B:1 S:1 O:3
Ramon Castro flies out to center fielder Juan Pierre.

Wojciechowski: Irish Eyes Can Smile Again [J. Mark English]

Gene Wojciechowski, ESPN --

Charlie Weis wasn't available. Vacation. The players? Not accessible until Aug. 6. And yet, you didn't need Mr. Buzzcut or anybody on the two-deep roster to tell you the differences between the Notre Dame football program of July 2005 and July 2006.
In one year so much has changed, except the expectations. That's why Bob Davie now works for ABC, why Tyrone Willingham works for the University of Washington, and why I'm mildly surprised Touchdown Jesus isn't sporting a crewcut.
Weis is the reason for the ND football renaissance -- that, and the fact Willingham was a better recruiter than anybody wants to acknowledge. If it's possible to quantify an attitude, a confidence, then this program feels different. It is more sure of itself. It has its swagger back, which figures, since Weis could write the definition of the word in your Webster's.
A year ago the Irish were unranked and unnoticed. They were no-shows in every meaningful Top 25 preseason poll. If you looked hard in the agate you could find them under, "Others Receiving Votes." But that was it. Notre Dame was reduced to mercy votes.
Now the Irish will be ranked in the top five, easy. And if they aren't, you have my permission to wet-towel snap the butts of any voters who stuck them lower.
A year ago the South Bend Marriott required a two-night minimum stay during a Notre Dame football weekend. I know, because my company credit card was billed $299 per night.

Now for the Sept. 9 home opener against Penn State the Marriott is requiring a three-night minimum for -- are you sitting down? -- $649 (plus tax) per night. By the way, the 298-room hotel is sold out. The Marriott loves Weis.

Photo of the Day: Sugar Shane Mosley - TKO [J. Mark English]

MLB: Saveless [J. Mark English]

For the first time in 28 years, not one team in all of baseball recorded a save yesterday:
There were six blown saves in the 15-game schedule, including two each in Pittsburgh's 7-6 victory over Washington, and Cincinnati's 3-2 win against Colorado. The Nationals and Reds both won with ninth-inning rallies.
The last time baseball went a complete day without a save was Sept. 15, 1978, when all 26 teams were in action during a 14-game schedule -- including a doubleheader, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Kobe A No Go for USA [J. Mark English]

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Kobe Bryant had minor surgery on his right knee Saturday and is unlikely to play for the United States in the world championships this summer.

You'd think he'd want to be as far away from Colorado as possible given his history there...

New York Mets: Guess Who's Back? [J. Mark English]

Edgardo Alfonzo is a Met once again... Okay maybe not on the major league level, but he has just signed a minor league contract, and will be assigned to Triple-A Norfolk.
"Fonzi" was one of my favorite players with the Mets during their winning run in the late 90's. He was star born out of the Mets system and helped make the Mets a perennial power in the NL East, and eventually being instrumental in their run to the World Series in 2000.
The Mets decided not to resign him after 2002 citing chronic injuries to his back as being one of the reasons. His career has not fair well since leaving Queens. Little chance he'll be back up on the major league level, but hey, you never know.

Mets Bullpen: Superb [J. Mark English]

Heading into today's action, the New York Mets relievers lead the league collectively with a 3.23 ERA. Through 87 games they are 18-10, with 273 K's, keeping opponents batting average to a mere .239.

Head of Iraqi Olympic Committee Kidnapped [J. Mark English]

South African Broadcasting Corporation --

Gunmen kidnapped about 30 Iraqi sports officials, including the head of the national Olympic committee, as they met in Baghdad today, just hours after parliament voted to extend a state of emergency.
The attack came despite a crackdown by Iraqi security forces in Baghdad. The government of Nuri al-Maliki', the Shi'ite prime minister, is struggling to get a grip on worsening violence in the capital, particularly sectarian bloodshed.
Later in the day, a series of bomb blasts in a commercial area of the southern Saidiya district killed seven people and wounded 12, police said. Both Sunnis and Shi'ites live locally.
Gunmen wore Iraqi security force uniforms...
Police and interior ministry sources said gunmen wearing blue camouflage interior ministry uniforms stormed a hall in central Baghdad at about 2pm and killed a bodyguard of Ahmed al-Hadjiya, the Olympic committee chief.
Hadjiya and about 20 bodyguards, along with at least eight committee officials and the hall's guards, were then bundled into a convoy of vehicles and driven off, making a total of about 50 people, police sources said.
Police said the body of a second bodyguard was found dumped in Street 52 in the central Karrada district, not far from the meeting hall. He had been shot in the head. The hall's security guards were later found unharmed, leaving about 30 abducted.

Your Daily Fix 7.15.06 [J. Mark English]

  • Barry Bonds' legal team prepares for looming federal indictment.
  • Have mercy! The Detroit Tigers are the best team in all the land.
  • Braves win in a battle of "field goals" against the Padres...Don't look now but the Braves are tied for second place, and have seven out of ten.
  • Spain's Oscar Pereiro takes the yellow jersey from the American Floyd Landis at the Tour de France.
  • Mary Burns proclaims that Brandon Roy & Randy Foye have been among the most impressive rookies so far in Las Vegas.
  • The heat has gotten to Michelle Wie. Literally.
  • Barbaro had another good night. Condition is now stable.

Photos of the Day: Tour de France [J. Mark English]

Friday, July 14, 2006

Your Daily Fix 7.14.06 [J. Mark English]

  • Barbaro is feeling much better after a good nights rest.
  • Terrell Owens claims he's misquoted in his AUTObiography.
  • Coach Arena has had enough, and will not return as USA soccer coach.
  • Brett Myers is set to return to the Phils in San Fran.
  • Chris Bosh inks a three year deal with the Raptors.
  • Discover team member Yaroslav Popovych win the stage at the Tour de France, while American Floyd Landis continues to wear the yellow shirt.
  • Surprise, surprise: Mark Prior is on the disabled list. Could Kerry Wood be far behind?
  • Don Banks has some big questions in regards to the AFC-North.
  • Three Italian soccer teams punished for role in scandal.
  • Jon Heyman keeps up with the Phillies upcoming fire sale, as the White Sox heat up the pitching market.
  • Despite near death experience, Ben Roethlisberger will not do safety helmet ads.
  • The Baltimore Orioles have to fix their bobblehead mishap.
  • Finally, please pay attention to what is occurring in the Middle East, as it directly affects America. We should always stand with the forces that combat terrorism, and pray for the terrorist eventual extermination from this planet.

Coaches Torturing Gymnists? [J. Mark English]

LONGWOOD, Fla. -- Two coaches at a local gym could face criminal charges for harming young athletes. Seminole County investigators said the coaches used drywall screws to discipline gymnasts.
One of the coaches admits to stabbing training gymnasts with drywall screws for years. Investigators said it happened at Ace Gymnastics in Longwood, where one of the owners is an Olympian.
The phrase "stick it" is used in gymnastics about dismounts and landings, but one of the coaches told investigators he was taught to stick them when the gymnasts don't have perfect form.
Gymnastics is physically grueling enough, without getting jabbed over and over with drywall screws until you bleed. Drywall screws are sharp, and the threads get progressively bigger.
Seminole County sheriff's investigators said Coach Mike Turner and another coach repeatedly stabbed one of the boys and a brother repeatedly with dry wall screws, breaking the skin on their buttocks, leaving permanent scarring.
Last year, their mother noticed the scars during bathing and found out what was happening. Investigators said she told the owner, former Olympian Joan Moore Gnat, about it and they said Ace Gymnastics hired a new head coach and made sure the practice stopped.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

David Wright on David Letterman [J. Mark English]

Photo of the Day: Barbaro in Peril [J. Mark English]

Phil Rogers: Forecast for 30 MLB Teams [J. Mark English]

Phil Rogers of ESPN forecasts the fortunes of all 30 MLB teams.
On the New York Mets -
On pace to win the division by 21 games with 96 wins, the Mets are the one New York team that can cruise. But look for GM Omar Minaya to make at least one or two deals as he tries to improve his pitching staff. Livan Hernandez is a possibility to join his half brother, Orlando, in a rotation that has seen constant change behind Tom Glavine, Pedro Martinez and Steve Trachsel.
And the New York Yankees -
No team is more under the gun than the Yankees, as this appears to be the first year since 2002 that the East won't get two teams in the playoffs. Will GM Brian Cashman be willing to trade right-handed pitching prospect Philip Hughes and other top prospects to give Joe Torre a better roster as he tries to reel in the Red Sox?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Zinedine Zidane Speaks [J. Mark English]

Christopher Joyce, National Public Radio --

Not since Garbo spoke have so many waited with so much anticipation the words of a celebrity.
Well, the suspense is officially broken. Zizou -- Zinedine Zidane, the French superstar soccer player who head-butted his way out of the World Cup final last weekend and into football history -- has revealed why he attacked an opposing Italian player.
"He (Materazzi) pronounced very tough words about my mother and my sister. I tried not to listen to him but he kept repeating them," Zidane said in a live interview on French television channel Canal Plus.
According to the Reuters news service, Zidane offered an apology to all children and to all fans for his behavior, but he said he did not regret it. "This was not something to do. I want to make it clear because it was watched by two billion people and by millions of kids," Zidane said. "I want to apologize to them, but I can't regret what I did because it would mean that he (Materazzi) was right to say what he said."
The news account says Zidane denied that Materazzi called him an Islamic "terrorist," a claim made after the game by a French anti-racism organization. Zidane is of Algerian origin.
The story's not over yet, though. Soccer authorities are opening an investigation of the incident. The soccer star could lose the best player award he won at the end of the tournament despite the red card ejection.

83 Year Old Man Plays Ball [J. Mark English]

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) -- No one in the bleachers at the Sioux Falls Canaries game was quite sure what was going on down on the field. They were all quiet, wondering and transfixed on the little old man digging into the batters' box.
The infielders moved up on the grass, giggling, and pitcher looked as uncomfortable as anyone else would have felt.
But to 83-year-old Jim Eriotes, it was serious business.
Eriotes led off Tuesday's game for the Canaries against the St. Joe (Mo.) Blacksnakes and took four big swings -- even fouling a pitch off -- before striking out.
The at-bat made Eriotes the oldest man to ever play professional baseball. It was his only at-bat in the game.
The record didn't mean much to the Chicago native and former minor leaguer.
"I don't give a damn about that stuff," he said, bothered by his failure to reach base. "If I got a couple more at-bats, I'd get a hit. Easy."
He wasn't kidding.
Eriotes said he had hit pitches thrown harder than the 83-mph fastball he whiffed against Blacksnakes starter Jesen Merle.
He has appeared on the "Today" show and said he has hit pitches near 100 mph -- although they were hurled by a pitching machine.
He did admit that stepping into the box with a professional on the mound is a different story.
"He wasn't throwing that hard," he said. "I fouled one off. You can be the best hitter in the world and you might not get a hit if you only get one chance. But it was a great opportunity. It was cool."

Your Daily Fix 7.12.06 [J. Mark English]

  • Eric Mack and his power rankings has the Mets, Yankees in positions 4, 5.
  • Italian soccer coach Marcello Lippi resigns: "At the end of an extraordinary professional and human experience, experienced as the head of an exceptional group of players ... I believe my role is over as the guide of the Italian national team."
  • E.J. Hradek breaks down the NHL schedule that has just been released.
  • Darryl Sutter resigns as the Calgary Flames coach. He'll remain as GM.
  • Cyril Dessel takes the lead in the Tour de France, as American Floyd Landis drops to fifth.
  • Friend of Barry Bonds is a key witness as his indictment looms.

MLB Trade: Huff to Houston [J. Mark English]

Trade season is off and running. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays trade Aubrey Huff to the Houston Astros for some prospects.

Quote of the Day [J. Mark English]

Glen Sather talks about the Rangers signing Brendan Shanahan:
"We are thrilled to welcome Brendan and his family to the Rangers," said Sather. "He continues to perform at an elite level and also brings outstanding leadership qualities to our organization. Brendan will be a tremendous player and person for our young players to learn from."

LeBron James Staying Put [J. Mark English]

At least for the next three years, LeBron James, will remain with Cleveland. Carmelo Anthony will likewise remain with the Nuggets over the next four years. Their big years of free agency could coincide with the Knicks finally getting rid of their big contracts by 2010. If Knick fans can tolerate three more years of losing, you could be looking at a Garden Party with Melo & James in 2011.

Barbaro Condition Worsens [J. Mark English]

KENNETT SQUARE, Pa. -- Barbaro's condition turned "potentially serious" again Wednesday, a day after the Kentucky Derby winner's veterinarian gave a more upbeat report, saying the colt was stable and resting comfortably.

Dean Richardson, the chief surgeon at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center, also said the colt faced "tough odds" and that doctors were looking at all possible treatments to keep the 3-year-old comfortable.

Nothing Doing Day [J.Mark English]

This the only day of the year in which not one of the four major professional sports in America (MLB, NFL, NHL, NBA) are in action.

Story Behind "Big Lo" [J. Mark English]

Walked into work today and my boss had a present for me: a one of a kind "Big Lo" Super Action Figure. Apparently he resembles my likeness.

As it turns out not only is "Big Lo" an action figure but he is a real person. Lorin Sandretzky is a resident of Seattle, and is big time sports fan.
Les Carpenter wrote an article about him recently for the Seattle Times in January of 2005:
It is a snowy night at Boeing Field, and Big Lo stands in the parking lot with a shovel in his hand. Before him, under the icy drifts, sits a fleet of elegant automobiles belonging to the Seattle Sonics. In an hour the team plane will land and the players will all spill out, tired, ready to go home. By then he figures he can have their cars shoveled, their windshields cleaned.
He won't ask for money. He doesn't want money. This is his duty as a fan. At 6 feet 8 and 470 pounds, Lorin "Big Lo" Sandretzky is bigger than the players he's waiting for. If you ask him, he will produce a business card proclaiming himself "Seattle's Biggest Sports Fan."
Who would argue? Nobody else would be out there. The wind howls, the temperature is 29 degrees, and as usual, Big Lo has made it to the airport before the team plane. He has been waiting for the planes as long as any of the players can remember. He's there when they leave as well — a one-man farewell committee in green and gold, waving signs, wishing them well.
"Maybe people think it's cuckoo, but I want to support these guys," Big Lo says. "It's just something I do because I don't want them slipping on their butts and breaking an ankle. I guess it's because I care."
There isn't a major pro sports team in town that doesn't have Big Lo waiting for it at the gate. The Mariners grew so accustomed to seeing him at the end of trips that former manager Lou Piniella once used him in a speech after a disastrous loss in Cleveland, imploring them the next day, "Come on, we don't want to let down the Big Fella."
Big Lo goes to every Seahawks game, leaning over the front rail behind the goalpost, waving a piece of a picket fence in one hand and three-foot high letters "SEA" in the other.
"SEA" fence.
Big Lo is also at every Sonics game. He sits in the third row right behind the north basket, wearing the same green jersey with gold sleeves because he thinks it brings good luck.
"He doesn't ask for anything. He's there to support you and he's there to encourage you," Sonics coach Nate McMillan says. "He's one guy who's all about the Sonics. Then I saw him at a Seahawks game and I said 'Are you all about the Seahawks, too?' He's all about Seattle sports."