This Ben Crane character is quite the hoot. Back in April, we shared the dance video he made to prove he wasn’t some boring stiff. Now he’s released a video called “The Lost Love,” where he talks about returning to his gymnastics roots. The video was made in tandem with Farmers Insurance and it was well done. Now Crane is challenging Bubba Watson for the title of bloggers’ favorite golfer.
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- Ben Crane
The NFL is always looking for ways to spice up the Pro Bowl. As we all know, the Pro Bowl now takes place between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl. Although the game is still painfully boring, the NFL thought more people would tune in if the Pro Bowl took place before the season ended rather than at a time when everyone was done with football for the year. The latest idea for spicing things up involves — what else — Twitter.
“NFL will allow players to in-game Tweet during Sunday’s Pro Bowl,” Darren Rovell wrote on Twitter Wednesday. “There will be (one) designated area per sideline. Pro Bowl players will not be able to tweet from personal devices on sidelines. Will be computer station on each sideline.”
Bummer. When I heard that the NFL was going to allow this, the first thought that popped into my mind was a bunch of dudes just sitting around in a circle on the sidelines, laughing and firing out tweets from their iPhones and Droids. Rovell also pointed out that the NFL is not considering allowing the same type of practice to occur during regular-season games, so guys like Ochocinco shouldn’t get any whacky ideas after hearing this. You’ll still be fined upwards of $25,000 for hopping on your smart phone in the middle of a game. Even worse, it will get you verbally assaulted by a certain former Patriot.
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Cleveland Sports Writer Reportedly Pulled from Browns Beat for Calling Team Owner ‘A Pathetic’ and ‘Irrelevant’ Figure
Tony Grossi used to be the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Browns beat writer. Cleve Scene says Grossi was pulled from the job because of a spiteful tweet directed at team owner Randy Lerner. Here’s what he wrote about Lerner last week:
Some people figure that message was intended to be private but it ended up shared on his Twitter feed. Apparently the paper didn’t like how the tweet showed a negative bias towards the team’s owner and he apparently lost his beat because of it. Grossi did reach out to Lerner to apologize but it looks like it didn’t matter.
Good thing columnists and radio hosts don’t lose their jobs for hatred towards team owners — there wouldn’t be any left.
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Alex Ovechkin is currently serving a three-game suspension for a hit against Pittsburgh’s Zbynek Michalek that the NHL deemed illegal. Whether he deserves the suspension or not has become overshadowed by Ovechkin’s decision to skip the NHL All-Star game this weekend. Under the current rules, a suspended player is allowed to participate in the All-Star game festivities. However, Ovechkin has decided that since he is suspended he will stamp his feet and voluntarily extend the suspension to cover the exhibition as well.
“My heart is not there,” Ovechkin said according to the Washington Post. “I got suspended, so why I have to go there?”
For most players, taking part in the All-Star game isn’t a chore. Many of the fans want him there because he is one of the game’s best talents, but apparently this is Alex’s way of trying to punish the NHL for their decision. Fans and players around the league have not taken kindly to the decision. Here is what St. Louis Blues forward Andy McDonald had to say about it on Twitter:
McDonald is right, and I like the way he included Ovechkin’s Twitter handle in the tweet so he can’t be accused of saying it “behind his back.” In the world of social media, an @ mention qualifies as saying it to someone’s face. What a childish move by one of the game’s biggest stars.
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What do you think? Personally I think they all look too similar. According to a press release that Kentucky Sports Radio passed along, Nike will soon be introducing the Nike Hyper Elite Platinum uniform for select college basketball teams, all of which you see in the photo above. I certainly like them better than most of the Pro Combat uniforms, but they are nowhere near the type of home run Nike hit with Oregon’s Rose Bowl gear. Fear not, environmentalists — these aren’t just new jerseys and shorts. According to Nike, the shorts are made from 100 percent recycled polyester while the jerseys are at least 96 percent of the same. Isn’t that nice?
The nine teams who have been chosen by Nike have all won national championships wearing Nike gear. They are Arizona, Baylor, Duke, Florida, Kentucky, Syracuse, North Carolina, and UConn (men’s and women’s). The silver is a little too overpowering for my taste, but each team does get a personalized touch on the back which scores some points. Here are some more pictures of the individual uniforms, courtesy of Complex.com:
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- College Basketball
Mark Cuban Says Letting Players Play for Olympic Team is ‘Stupidity,’ Calls Olympic Basketball ‘Meaningless’
Above all else, Mark Cuban is a businessman. That is the reason he is one of the most successful men in America. He may love guys like Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd on a personal level, but at the end of the day, they are assets to his company. Cuban pays them to play for the Mavericks, so if they are going to get hurt and jeopardize their careers, he wants to make sure it is done on company time. Dirk is currently nursing an knee injury that may have been caused while playing for Germany in international competition, and Cuban is not happy about it.
“It’s just the epitome of stupidity that we would allow ourselves to be used so other corporations (like the Olympics) can make tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars,” Cuban said according to ESPNDallas.com. “There’s some guys sitting at the Olympic headquarters going, ‘Those dumb-asses, we’re taking all their best guys for nothing.’
“I understand from Dirk’s perspective. We should never put our athletes in that position. For some sports the Olympics are very, very important. For basketball, it’s meaningless. It’s not that they’re not decent games. All things being equal, it’s fun to watch us play Argentina and Spain, but it would be just as fun if they were 21 and under.”
Cuban said he has tried to get the debate put up for vote but has had no success. Obviously his belief is shared by other owners, as evidenced by the fact that Amar’e Stoudemire may have been left off the Team USA roster this year over a similar dispute.
It’s easy to understand both sides of the argument. Cuban has a valid point; he and other NBA owners pay their players hundreds of million of dollars, and the Olympic teams get to borrow them without offering compensation. If someone should suffer a serious injury, it would be accompanied by nothing more than an “oops.” On the other hand, it is important to some players to be able to represent their country. It’s a matter of pride. Unfortunately for Cuban and others, pride is likely to continue to win out — at least for the immediate future.
Any highly-paid player who does not bring a championship to a bitter fan base is at risk of becoming a scapegoat. When the Mets signed Carlos Beltran to a seven-year, $119 million contract back in 2005, their fans immediately began thinking “World Series or bust.” They were almost treated to a World Series trip in 2006, but they fell just short in the NLCS and remained — well — the Mets. More than five years later, Beltran thinks it is time for Mets fans to get over that loss.
“I just want to have the opportunity to be in the playoffs,” Beltran told the NY Daily News after signing with the Cardinals, the team that defeated the Mets in that 2006 NLCS. “What happened in 2006, you have to turn the page. That’s over. We can’t bring 2006 back to 2012. It has been six years. If they want to continue to think about that moment, then that’s their problem. Like I said, I have turned the page. I have really moved on.”
Beltran, of course, struck out to end that series. What he doesn’t realize is that New York fans don’t forget. Even worse, Mets fans have not been given a reason to forget anything since 1986. They are used to having high expectations each season and awaiting an inevitable meltdown. This is a fan base that needs something to harp on. Until Beltran makes his way into a disgruntled obituary, fans questioning his 2006 performance should be the least of his concerns.
Fist pound to Hardball Talk for the story
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Unfortunately for all you die hard Pro Bowl fans out there, the best receiver in the NFL will not be able to participate this weekend. Calvin Johnson has been nursing a sore Achilles tendon, meaning he will have to miss the big game. However, he is still going to attend. According to the Detroit Free Press, he’s even bringing some friends along for the ride.
Johnson flew all of his fellow Lions wide receivers out to Hawaii on Tuesday by way of a private jet — including those who are on the practice squad. He may not be able to play in the game, but how can you say no to a week-long vacation in Hawaii after a long season of getting tossed around?
Kudos to Calvin for the nice gesture. If he had stayed home and watched the game or flown out by himself, no one would have said he’s a jerk for not including his teammates. Not all professional athletes light up the newspaper headlines by saying and doing boneheaded things.
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- Calvin Johnson
The time has finally come. The Dallas Mavericks are set to receive their championship rings on Wednesday night before they play the Timberwolves. After some speculation that Mark Cuban was going to come up with something more unique than rings, he has decided to keep it traditional. Jason Terry will be receiving two rings — one to keep and a duplicate which he is going to be raffling off.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Terry is going to be selling $10 raffle tickets over a month span. The winner gets to keep a ring that is exactly like the one the Mavs are receiving and the money will go toward taking the girls’ traveling team he coaches to China.
“We need to raise some funds,” Terry said on Tuesday. “I think that’ll be a great way. And it’ll give a fan a unique experience that they would never have. It’ll be a duplicate Terry ring for some lucky fan.”
Sounds like a good idea for a good cause. As for the ring itself, Terry likened it to one of his children.
“It’s a symbol of what we accomplished. It’s going to be special. We’ve only seen a brief design of it. Once you get it, see it, touch it, hold it. It’s probably like a baby. I got four of those. That’s probably what it’s like.”
Maybe it’s a good thing Cuban stuck with the traditional symbol. Did he spend $200,000 on each ring like Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd were looking for? I wouldn’t doubt it.
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- Jason Terry
I hate to say I told ya so, but I did. People were blasting this Bruins fan last week for flipping out on the Tampa Bay Lightning Mascot, Thunderbug, after Thunderbug sprayed him directly in the face with silly string. After the fan became enraged and tackled the mascot, Lightning security removed him from his seat and had a chat with him. We’re not sure exactly what was said during the discussion, but we do know the person who plays Thunderbug at the games has since been fired.
According to WTSP in Tampa, a Lightning spokesman said the altercation with a Bruins fan played a role in the decision to let the person go but was not the only factor. Was he late for work a few times or something? I can’t imagine the mascot would be looking for a job right now if he had kept that can of silly string by his side.
As Off the Bench pointed out, Lightning fans have started a Facebook page in an attempt t0 save Thunderbug’s job. Does anyone really care that much? The group was started on Monday and has racked up 253 likes, which is not that impressive considering the creator is trying to rally an entire fan base. Maybe the page has yet to catch on. Unfortunately for Lightning fans, this generation does not tolerate bullying and/or people being meanies.