Thursday, August 31, 2006


Moving From Down Home to the Big Time - New York Times

The MAC Conference is turning heads. Be on the lookout for Northern Illinois’s Garrett Wolfe, at only 5-7, 177 pounds.

At Northern Illinois, there are cornstalks taller than the tailback, barns bigger than the football office, and games of enormous consequence played on Tuesdays.

To most of the country, the Northern Illinois Huskies look all mixed up. To the Mid-American Conference, they are a model member.

The MAC is made up of 13 universities, most of them spread across the heartland, in towns like Ypsilanti, Mich.; Oxford, Ohio; and Muncie, Ind. Despite fertile soil, the teams are traditionally undersized and underfinanced. They play in whatever time slot ESPN gives them, even if it means rescheduling homecoming.

And yet, when a major upset happens early in the season, a MAC team is often the one pulling it — Toledo over Penn State, Northern Illinois over Alabama, Bowling Green over Purdue, Miami of Ohio over North Carolina, all on the road and all in this century.

The MAC is to college football what the Missouri Valley Conference is to college basketball, and if the bowl season were traded for a 65-team N.C.A.A. tournament, Northern Illinois would be that pesky team seeded No. 12 that no one wants to play.

On Saturday, the Huskies will go to Ohio State with a tailback who is 5-foot-7, a coach who once lost 23 consecutive games, and a group of tight ends who meet on a racquetball court. Sandbagging is part of their strategy.

Guillen still sore about Delmon Young beaning

Guillen still sore about Young issue

Ozzie Guillen insists he didn't order Freddy Garcia to plunk rookie Delmon Young.

The idea that Guillen would have a pitcher throw at Young to regain the good graces of umpires was the theory he found most preposterous.

''It's funny when people say this kid got hit because of Major League Baseball and this kid got hit because Ozzie don't get along with the umpires,'' Guillen said. ''I don't get along with the umpires. I never got in trouble playing; I got in trouble managing because that's my job. When people talk about me that way, I hate it. It's not true.

''Again, if people think we did it, that's too bad. When I make mistakes, I have enough guts to apologize for what I did. Now I am not guilty, and people think [I am]. It's not fair. Not for me, the reputation of me and my team.

''You can call me anything you want -- don't call me a liar, don't call me a headhunter. You can call me crazy, idiot, loudmouth, whatever you want to call me. Don't say we're losing my team because of me, we're not playing now because of me. That thing is out of proportion, out of hand. People are saying stuff they don't know.''

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Schilling K's 3,000th, but Zito beats him

Schilling K's 3,000th, but Zito beats him

Stop the presses. Schilling garnered his 3,000th career strikeout. Red Sox fans will be talking about it on message boards for months to come. Well, Schilling will.

Zito outpitched Curt Schilling, who became the 14th pitcher with 3,000 strikeouts, Mark Ellis and Bobby Kielty each hit solo home runs and Oakland beat the Red Sox 7-2 Wednesday to complete a three-game sweep.

The A's won their season-best ninth straight at home and 15th in 19 overall.

Zito (15-8) pitched 6 1/3 strong innings to win his third straight start.

Schilling (14-7) lost his third straight decision. Boston has lost six straight and 12 of 14.

"It's very bittersweet," he said. "When 14 people in the history of the game have done it, that makes me proud to have achieved it. But going through what we're going through and doing what I did today kind of sucks a lot of the enjoyment out of it - most of it, if not all of it."

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

MURRAY CHASS: Arms Are Better Than Injured Ones

Tired Arms Are Better Than Injured Ones - New York Times

How pitching woes affect teams down the home stretch.

The Yankees suddenly have a larger division lead than the Tigers, the result of the recent five-game sweep of the Red Sox and a three-game sweep of the reeling Red Sox by the Seattle Mariners.

The Red Sox are not in good shape. Jason Varitek, their catcher, captain and soul, has not played this month, having had knee surgery. Manny Ramírez has been in and out of the lineup the past week with leg and knee problems. Shortstop Álex González is on the disabled list with a strained oblique muscle, and right fielder Trot Nixon is on the list, too, with a strained biceps.

David Ortiz had to be hospitalized overnight during the disastrous Yankees series because of stress.

Imagine the Red Sox’ stress when they discover there’s no room for them in the playoffs. After last night’s 9-0 loss at Oakland, they are nearly as far behind the Twins (six games) as they are behind the Yankees (seven), and there’s no other way for them to get to the postseason. They have to overtake the Yankees, or the Twins and the White Sox.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

MIKE WISE: Betts, Cartwright Can Help Keep Things Running

Betts, Cartwright Can Help Keep Things Running

Washington Post columnist says to Redskin fans, "don't worry about the running game."

Because if Portis were to miss extended time, more than the next few weeks with a partially separated shoulder, it's not as much of an emergency situation. Yeah, Gibbs misses Portis's explosiveness and the offense becomes more predictable.

But Al Saunders, the man Gibbs hired to run the offense, loves short-yardage backs who will make three yards out of minus-1. Ladell Betts is that kind of back. Rock Cartwright, who plunged in from the 1 against the Jets for a touchdown, is that kind of back.

It's why they're still here, the longest-tenured players drafted by the organization after Jansen and Chris Samuels in 1999 and 2000, respectively. Betts and Cartwright went from the misery of the ol' ball coach to the majesty of the really ol' ball coach.

"Class of '02, that's us," Betts said earlier this week. "We've seen a little of everything in five years."

"When we got here, we had Coach [Steve] Spurrier and there wasn't much discipline," Cartwright said. "Just didn't feel like an NFL atmosphere, you know. Now, with Coach Gibbs, you can't even compare. Different world, man."

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


In today's column the Sports Guy, Bill Simmons, said

My bosses won't allow me to say which six announcers I would deport to Eastern Europe, but here are their initials jumbled together backwards: WBMABCMJMTBJ.

Okay, who do you think are those six announcers?

1) JB

2) TM

3) JM

4) CB

5) AM

6) BW


Floyd Landis has gone from unknown to that weird Mennonite guy to inspirational to disappointing to pathetic.

I drank my kid's Kool-Aid: yeah,that's the ticket!

Here we go again. Next week, he'll go on "The View" and say he accidentally took his wife's birth control pills and the increased testosterone was his body's way of fighting off the invading estrogen.

Two weeks from now Floyd Landis will appear on "Martha Stewart" and say that somehow a secret ingredient accidentally landed in his souffle.


Jay Leno didn’t let Floyd Landis off easy, and the embattled Tour de France champion responded with yet another theory as to why he flunked a drug test.

Questioned by the “Tonight Show” host Tuesday, Landis said he may have unknowingly ingested something that made him test positive for a high testosterone ratio.

“I see you on these shows and I do want to believe you and evidence seems — I don’t know if it’s overwhelming — but it seems pretty conclusive, right?” Leno said.

Landis said yes, if one goes by the tests, and Leno shot back, ‘Why should we not go by the tests? Tell me why.”’

Landis responded that there were several possibilities, saying, “The tests and the people doing the tests would like you to believe that the only possibility is that I essentially took some drugs and that’s why the test is that way.”

He offered still another new theory: “Now there’s also the possibility, and it’s an argument that has been used by other people. At this point, I don’t know if it’s somehow or some way I ingested something that caused the tests to be that way.”

Landis went on to repeat some possibilities he and his defense team had floated earlier, that there was some type of natural occurrence in his body that caused the positive tests.

He added, “And I’m beginning to wonder about this myself after the way the situation’s been handled, is that after the (sample) leaves my hands ... after I give them the sample, I don’t know where it goes.”



Long Island teenager had dedicated MySpace page to her Major League player boyfriend, Paul Lo Duca.

Meet Krista Guterman, 19: Joey Buttafuoco had a Long Island Lolita. Now, Paul Lo Duca has one.

Paul Lo Duca has had quite a week. First, news of his divorce broke in the New York dailies. His wife alleged infidelity as a cause of action for the divorce proceeding.

The Mets catcher had a friend deny to the newspapers that any adultery took place. Then, the NYDaily News reported that Lo Duca is an avid bettor on horse races and has gambling debts.

[NYDailyNews]: Yet sources close to the Brooklyn-born four-time All-Star told The News that his divorce fight was only part of his woes. The sources said Lo Duca also had gambling debts, accumulating a big enough tab that Mets management was aware of it.

The morals clause within Major League Baseball doesn't prohibit a player from gambling at casinos or race tracks, but the league becomes concerned when one of its players runs up unmanageable gambling debts.

Lo Duca insisted to The News yesterday that he only gambled on horses, never on sports. He admitted betting through the Internet, but said all his wagers were legal.

He would not address his wife's allegations, saying only, "We decided to get a divorce six months ago and I wish it didn't happen, but it happens."

Lo Duca denied that any gambling debts existed.

Mets General Manager wasn't thrilled with the turn of events.

Sources told The News that the MLB security office would likely probe whether Lo Duca had engaged in any activity that would require intervention.

Mets General Manager Omar Minaya said the team was "definitely going to ask him about" the gambling allegations. "Once we ask him, we'll go from there," Minaya said.

Okay, Lo Duca is a good liar in some respects. Does his way with the (gullible, easy) ladies translate to more nefarious activities? Is he lying about the gambling debts? Is he lying about not betting on baseball?

Last night, Tuesday, Lo Duca assembled reporters (and even brought Tom Glavine and David Wright to his side) and spoke into television cameras saying, "I love my wife."

But, a Long Island teenager says that Lo Duca lied to her and told her he was alreaedy divorced when she dated him.

The girl's parents practically whored her out to the lothario Lo Duca. Would YOU trust your daughter with a Major League baseball player? Here is the NYPost's scoop.

[NYPOST:] A sexy Long Island teen revealed in an explosive interview yesterday that she and married Met catcher Paul Lo Duca have been carrying on a steamy affair since April, enjoying secret trysts at his pad and sharing intimate phone calls.

"He's fun - for an older man," bombshell brunette Krista Guterman, 19, said of the All-Star stud, whose wife recently slapped him with divorce papers charging adultery.

Lo Duca also was hit yesterday with the announcement that the Mets will probe claims that he has heavy gambling debts.

As the ball player tried to deflect both stories, Guterman told how she first met the 34-year-old dad while with a pal at "18 and Over Night" at the trendy Bridgeview bar in Long Beach in April. Lo Duca had just returned from spring training, she said, and she was home from college.

The fashion major said she and her friend, who corroborated Guterman's story to The Post, used a contact to land a spot in the hip club's VIP section, a celebrity stomping ground. That night, Met and Cincinnati Red players abounded, Guterman said.

The tanned teen said she and her pal were first approached by a member of Lo Duca's entourage, who pointed out the hunky player and asked if they knew who he was.

Guterman said she had no idea - she doesn't watch baseball.

"Paul thinks you're cute," Guterman said Lo Duca's pal told her.

"I thought he was cute," too, the teen said. "But I didn't have any idea who he was."

She said Lo Duca then approached her and her friend, and the trio partied until 3 a.m.

The teen said that as the night wound down, Lo Duca's pal suggested that she and her girlfriend give him a lift to his posh spread in Oyster Bay.

The young women declined, saying they wanted to get home. But before she left, Guterman gave Lo Duca her cellphone number.

She said that less than hour after leaving the bar, she received a casual text message from Lo Duca, telling her "hi." She said they met again soon after, and he began calling her several times a week.

The first time they went out, Guterman said, the red-hot slugger told her he was divorced - and that he had agreed to give his ex-wife $7 million in the settlement.

She said she learned that he was still married to his wife of six years, Sonia, only after reading The Post on Monday.

"I didn't know he was married. If I knew he was married, I wouldn't have dated him," insisted the leggy teen, who lives with her parents.

Asked how she felt after learning that the catcher was still hitched, Guterman replied, "He's a scumbag for lying to me."

The teen said that since Lo Duca is on the road a lot, they're left to burn up the phone lines until they can hook up. Her parents knew about the relationship, she said, adding that on nights they were getting together, he would pick her up at the house.

The couple went out only once in public, Guterman said, to a Manhattan restaurant.

Otherwise, "We would go to his place [in Oyster Bay] and hang out," Guterman said.

She described their dating as casual, explaining that they could both still date other people. Guterman said she didn't expect it to go anywhere.

"It was fun," she said. "I would call it a fling."

When asked if he was her boyfriend, she said, "No. We dated."

"He's a fun guy. He has a good personality," Guterman said. "We're good friends. We still talk a lot on the phone."

The teen even dedicated part of her Web page to Lo Duca - and posted a sexy photo of her perched on his lap at The Coyote bar in Island Park.

She also showed two photos of the slugger in action - tagged to romantic lyrics from Jessica Simpson's song "Angels."

"And through it all, he offers me protection. A lot of love and affection. Whether I'm right or wrong . . . my love," it read under the photos, which mysteriously disappeared along with the rest of her page yesterday.

At another place on the page, Guterman wrote: "I have an obsession with the Mets . . . OBV [obviously]!!!!"

Guterman said she last heard from the Brooklyn-born Lo Duca when "he called me a couple of nights ago."

Lo Duca wanted to warn her that some news about him might hit the papers in the coming days, she said.

She said that two days ago, he text- messaged her, saying, "I have to speak to you."



Mike Lupica, Daily News: He's Catchin' Grief During Amazin' 06

NYDaily News: Mets Star: You Bet It's Legal

NYDaily News: Lo Duca: I Love My Wife

Monday, August 07, 2006


Lots of Notre Dame stuff today...

1) RB Travis Thomas switching to linebacker

Thomas, though, hasn't given up the idea of running the ball. He wants to start as a linebacker and still carry the ball as a tailback.

"That's absolutely the vision," he said. "It's something I've been working toward all this summer. Playing offense is the love of my life. I love running the ball."

Weis said he will evaluate the move after about a week.

"I'm interested just like you to see what this project looks like," Weis said.

2) Easy bein' green by Dan Wetzel, Yahoo Sports

“National championship,” said quarterback Brady Quinn, the school’s Heisman Trophy candidate. “That’s the only thing we are thinking about.”

Notre Dame is bold and back in every conceivable way, not just as a team capable of winning it all but also as a program that has shed its woe-is-me skin and is full of the swagger missing since Lou Holtz was stomping the South Bend sidelines.

And college football is better for it. College football always is better when Notre Dame is Notre Dame.

This rebirth is the work of Weis, the second-year coach who overnight didn’t just turn the Notre Dame offense into a potent, powerful force but who also restored the appropriate arrogance that makes people either love, hate, love to hate or hate to love the Irish.

“I think that good or bad, we are judged … like we almost have an attitude, like we are holier than thou, which we certainly are not,” said Weis, who returns 16 starters from a team that went 9-3 last season.

3) Of Weis and Men: Demanding ND Coach Returns Fight to Irish by Lenn Robbins, NY Post

For the first time since the Lou Holtz era, Notre Dame also has a coach that affords no middle ground. Trenton-born Charlie Weis is a Jersey guy to the core, which means he's brutally honest, unflinchingly confident and as abrasive as sandpaper on sunburned skin.

"I try use the analogy that growing up being a Yankees fan I always found nationally, wherever you went, people had an opinion on the Yankees," said Weis. "You know they either liked them or they disliked them.

"I think that's very similar in its own vein to what we have to deal with. We're just trying to do things right. I would like to think people respect us for the way we run the program. Whether you like us or not is not really relevant."

So much for popularity contests. When asked prior to spring football who would back-up quarterback Brady Quinn, Weis said the job was up for grabs with Demetrius Jones, Zach Frazer and Evan Sharpley doing the reaching. Many coaches would coddle players vying for such a key position. Not Weis.

"Come August, I don't have time to worry about it," he said. "And I'm not here to make friends."

Weis has made admirers, if not friends, after one season in South Bend. He took over a team with a predictable offense, soft personnel and all the confidence of a squirrel stranded without a tree.

Notre Dame went 9-3, including a thrilling loss to USC in the best college football game of the season. That has propelled the Irish to the Top 10 in most preseason polls. Many coaches would be scrambling to restrain such expectations. Not Weis.

He told his players in the spring that their No.1 objective was to raise expectations. That message hadn't changed as Notre Dame begins spring practice today.

"We don't hide from anything here," said defensive coordinator Rick Minter. "Not under Charlie. You can't be afraid to face great challenges."

Notre Dame players felt Weis' wrath when they didn't meet the challenge. After an uninspired 34-10 win over Syracuse, Weis told his players about life on the Jersey shore. "He said, 'You don't put one toe in the ocean to find out if it's cold,'" said defensive tackle Derek Landri. "'You jump in with two feet.' The guy is nasty."

Other blogs reporting: Da Fighting Irish of ND, The Nittany Line,

Saturday, August 05, 2006


What is going on in San Francisco? Their inner rage exploded and they finally unleashed their passions last night. In a Barry Bonds related incident, fans threw garbage and beer bottles onto the field. Was it because they finally realized that they've been cheering for a fraud?

No, they felt they were cheated OUT OF the fraudster. You see, Barry Bonds got ejected last night, in the 9th inning, and the fans started going bananas.

Things had never turned this ugly in San Francisco's 7-year-old waterfront ballpark. Fan behavior this bad brought everybody back to the rowdiest of days at Candlestick Park.

Yorvit Torrealba hit a three-run homer against his former team and also scored a run on a balk, leading the Colorado Rockies past the San Francisco Giants 5-2 Friday night in a wild game that featured Barry Bonds' 723rd career home run and later the ejection of the slugger.

Bonds hit a solo shot to center in the seventh for his first home run since July 20 against San Diego, a span of 26 at-bats. He was batting in the ninth when he began arguing with plate umpire Ron Kulpa about a called second strike. Kulpa immediately ejected Bonds, who got in the umpire's face and began yelling.

"There were two unprofessional people out there at that moment," Bonds said. "He was very unprofessional and so was I. What happens on the field stays on the field and that's all I have to say about it."

Bonds returned to the dugout, sat down and crossed his arms as fans responded by throwing garbage, including beer bottles, onto the field from all directions. The Rockies left the field and retreated into their dugout to avoid being hit while fans chanted "Barry! Barry!"

"I don't care about that," Bonds said of the fans' actions. "We're trying to win games, that's all. It happened, it happened. It's over with. Let's go get ready for tomorrow."

Security came onto the field and so did a large cleanup crew, causing an 11-minute delay. Fans also threw things at the umpires as they were escorted off the field after the game.

Stay classy, San Francisco


Floyd Landis now claims dehydration. Even though he was so far ahead of the peloton that he had constant access to his team's car and its assortment of water bottles. He constantlly splashed himself with water throughout his climbs.

The only thing dehydrated is his brain.

Maybe Landis will now roll over and tell the authorities what he knows about Lance Armstrong in order to protect his skin? The man has to find a way to feed his family.

BBC: Landis returns positive B sample

Floyd Landis is set to lose his Tour de France title and faces a two-year ban after returning a positive B sample for excessive levels of testosterone.

The American, who could also lose his contract with the Phonak team, produced levels more than twice the legal limit after his solo victory on stage 17.

Landis, 30, has said the high levels detected were a "natural occurence".

He would be the first Tour winner to lose his title, with Spaniard Oscar Pereiro set to be declared the winner.

Pereiro, who would become the first Spaniard to win the Tour since Miguel Indurain's last victory in 1995, finished second overall behind Landis in the race which finished in Paris on 23 July.

The analysis of Landis' B sample took place at France's national laboratory at Chatenay-Malabry in the presence of the American's Spanish lawyer, Jose Maria Buxeda, and experts from the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and the International Cycling Union (UCI).

"In accordance to the anti-doping rules, the Anti-Doping Commission of the UCI will request that the USA Cycling Federation open a disciplinary procedure against the rider," the UCI said in a statement.