When a Philadelphia Phillies security guard Tasered a fan for running onto the field at Citizens Bank Park a couple of weeks ago, it apparently did little to strike fear into the hearts of prospective field-rushers. Actually, a fan tried it again at the same ballpark the following night and was not Tasered, so maybe security guards have been told internally not to do that again. In any event, fans continue to jump onto the field at baseball games — with less clothes on. Perhaps the Tampa Bay Rays security team should have used a Taser to subdue a shirtless fan who ran onto the field on Saturday. It would have at least saved them the embarrassment of making the fan look like Reggie Bush from his Heisman Trophy days. Four security guards chased the fan and of course were able to tackle him, but not before he put a highlight-reel move on them that caused one to hit the turf. The funny thing is the security guards don’t even appear to be in terrible shape. Check out the video of a shirtless fan juking security guards, courtesy of SI Hot Clicks via Busted Coverage.
Every general manager makes mistakes. To Brian Cashman‘s credit, he has made very few over the years. When he has, he hasn’t been shy about defending his manager and taking the blame for the New York Yankees’ struggles. Fortunately for Cashman, Phil Hughes is currently the best starter in the American League with a 1.38 ERA, which has been good enough to cover up the Yankees’ General Manager’s mistake of the 2009-2010 off-season — bringing back Javier Vazquez.
I suppose to a certain extent I understand Cashman’s motivation for taking the risk of bringing back a pitcher who was — to say the least — shelled quite often as a starter for the Yankees in 2004 when he posted an ERA just under 5.00. The Yankees went into the off-season short on starting pitching, and if nothing else Vazquez has been a workhorse throughout his career, making over 30 starts every season since 2000. Cashman probably looked at it as a situation where the Yankees would improve their staff if they could get over 200 innings from him, and that’s not a bad way to approach a lack of starting pitching. However, that doesn’t appear to be a realistic goal for the right-hander at this point.
Maybe Vazquez is a National League pitcher. Maybe he has a confidence issue. Realistically, both of those factors have probably lead to a 2010 season that is off to a disastrous start — a 1-4 record with an 8.10 ERA to be more specific. With the exception of 2007 — when he was 15-8 with a 3.74 ERA for the Chicago White Sox — Vazquez has not been overly effective in the American League. He was never what I would call a “lights out” pitcher until last season with the Braves, when he posted a 15-10 record with an ERA of 2.87. It was no doubt that performance that inspired Cashman to give Vazquez another shot in pinstripes.
Can you just imagine the imagery? 78-year-old boxing promoter Don King roaring down the highway with two duffel bags of cash holding 500 grand a piece? That was the case on Saturday night when the decrepit promoter sped in his car to a Florida courtroom to post bond and make an injunction official. To quote King: “I felt like I was Clint Eastwood in a movie, speeding down the highway with a fistful of dollars.” Why was he speeding to get there and make an injunction official? He was single-handedly ruining an entire MMA pay-per-view card scheduled for Saturday night that included his boxer, Ricardo Mayorga.
King’s lawyers had been arguing in a Fort Lauderdale courtroom that Mayorga couldn’t fight on the Shine Fights card taking place in North Carolina Saturday night. King’s contention is that he’s Mayorga’s boxing promoter while Shine Fights was saying they’re promoting Mayorga for an MMA event. The Broward County judge ruled in King’s favor so Don had to make the injunction official by posting the million dollars bond. SI says Mayorga was first told he couldn’t fight on the card and then later the North Carolina boxing commission canceled the entire card. A full on pay-per-view event set to take place in the Crown Coliseum down the drain, all because of King and Mayorga. Only in America can Don King get away with this (and two murders …).
King wins Mayorga fight dispute [Josh Gross/SI]
Last week it was Tim Tebow stealing headlines by putting on a show during batting practice for a local Memphis high school. Tebow impressed us by hitting 12 of 15 pitches out of the park — not too shabby for a football player. Well if we thought that was impressive, Packers first-round pick, Iowa OT Bryan Bulaga showed us true power on Saturday.
Bulaga was an invited guest at the Brewers game and took batting practice with the team prior to the game. The Wisconsin State Journal says Bulaga took about 50 cuts and blasted 14 out of the park. Not to knock Tebow’s incredible accomplishment, but to note a difference, we know that Bulaga used a wood bat and hit it out of a major league ballpark.
Miller Park goes 344 to left field and 371 to left center, so Bulaga obviously has some pop. Of course, he does have over 300 pounds behind him so some power should be expected. Still, that’s darn impressive. Now if only he can make as good of an impact with the Packers he’ll be set.
Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella vented his frustration on Sunday by saying that team needs to start winning games and earning their big salaries. He couldn’t be more right. The Cubs have some pretty big names on their roster like Carlos Zambrano, Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez. Zambrano used to be praised by Cubs fans and considered to be the team’s ace. That all changed when Zambrano struggled and was sent to the bullpen to make room for Ted Lilly. Zambrano was not living up to his pricey contract and even though setup men are not usually worth the type of money he makes, so far the move has worked out pretty well. As far as Lee and Ramirez go, they each have struggled mightily at the plate. Piniella wants his guys to play like the players they were when they earned their big contracts:
“They’ve had great seasons, and they’re rewarded for that financially. But at the same time, you’ve got to continue to do it if you want to win. You can’t stop the production.”
I agree with the skipper. When he arrived in Chicago, he was percieved as the one who would lead the Cubs to a place they haven’t been in over a century — the World Series. Now in his fourth year with the club, Lou’s failed to bring them past the NLDS. He’s right to be angry with his players; they were swept by the Pittsburgh Pirates just a week ago and lost two of three to Pittsburgh this past weekend. With the third highest payroll in MLB, they should be much better than 17-22. At least the Cubs have some hope in young shortstop Starlin Castroand other players like Marlon Byrd who have really stepped up. I don’t know how to fix the players’ production problems, but I’m never against sending them to Triple-A to humble them a bit.
Piniella Addresses Cubs Struggles [AP/ESPN]
Fans need to come to the realization that begging a superstar to play for their team doesn’t work. Not only that — it couldn’t be more unoriginal. As millions of basketball fans sit back and wonder what uniform LeBron will wear next season, I find myself growing extremely tired of listening to writers and fans beg The King to sign with their team. LeBron James is probably the best basketball player on the planet. What do fans do when their team signs the best basketball player on the planet? They cheer — loudly.
LeBron’s going to go wherever the money is (to a certain degree since he might have to leave money on the table if he leaves Cleveland) and wherever his agent, his family, and his “people” decide he should go — and the city he settles in will give him as warm a welcome as any of the others on his list of possible destinations would have. Rest assured, he’s aware of that. He’s not going to be wearing the colors of the team whose fans stayed on their knees and begged for the longest amount of time. Apparently the fan base of one of the NBA’s perennial bottom-feeders — the LA Clippers — would disagree with my opinion. They’ve decided to join the writers and fans of cities like New York and Chicago in pleading with King James to help bring their team to the Promised Land.
According to Arash Markazi’s twitter feed, via Sports by Brooks, Clippers fans have scheduled a LeBron Parade that will take place at 3PM on May 27th across from the Staples Center, before Game 5 of the Lakers-Suns series. I wonder if they’ll reschedule in the event of a sweep or just accept that it’s not meant to be. We’ll see.
Anytime sprinter Tyson Gay does something incredible on the track the ensuing headlines are too predictable. They’re filled with double entendres you’d expect to encounter in notes being passed by fourth graders. On Sunday, Gay broke a record for a 200m sprint, but the catch is that it wasn’t on a typical track where the second hundred meters was around a curve. Naturally it produced this headline that was on the front page of ESPN.com for part of the afternoon, as pointed out by LBS tipster Howie. Here it is:
Had to know that was coming. Nothing to this date though beats the headline used two years ago when LSU hired Trent Johnson as their coach. That was classic.