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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

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Buffalo Sabres Owners and Players Deliver Season Tickets to Fans

Unlike many other teams in the NHL, the Buffalo Sabres always seem to benefit from strong fan support.  Buffalo ranked 9th in overall attendance the past two seasons and has played in front of an arena that is more than 98% full on average.  It’s not secret that a huge factor in sustained attendance numbers is keeping your season ticket holders happy, and the Sabres have certainly found a way to do that.  As the team’s Twitter showed us, Buffalo owners and players spent the day on Wednesday personally delivering tickets to season-ticket holders’ homes.

Fan relations go a long way for a sports organization, and I doubt any season ticket holder out there would not want their tickets delivered by one of their favorite players or the teams owner.  A+ public relations maneuver.

Tom Brady Encourages Fans to Get Hammered, Team Backpedals

If this is the first you are hearing about Tom Brady telling Patriots fans to drink heavily before Sunday’s game against the Chargers, you have not been following sports for the past 24 hours. For those of you who missed it, reporters asked Brady on Wednesday if he had any advice for what fans can do while waiting around for the 4:15 start at Gillette Stadium. His response: “Star drinking early. Get nice and rowdy…plenty of time to get lubed up.”

Big deal, right? People were going to do that anyway. Fans don’t need their star quarterback to tell them a 4:15 start means more time to drink and tailgate. That’s just the way it goes. Naturally, the Patriots felt they had to release a statement assuring the public that their poster boy was not encouraging fans to drink excessively, even thought he was.

Patriots Spokesman Stacey James later told reporters that Brady meant he would like fans to “drink a lot of water, stay hydrated, and drink responsibly.” No he didn’t.

The fact that the Patriots and others even saw something wrong with the statement just further reiterates the fact that you can’t say anything anymore without getting into trouble.  Pick a side.  If you’re going to get on Brady for doing pansy Ugg commercials or crying on camera, that’s fine.  But you can’t make fun of him for his lavish lifestyle and then give him crap for talking like your average football fan.  Or you can because this is America.  It just wouldn’t make any sense.

Former Raven Chris McAlister Claims He is Broke, Living with Parents

Remember Chris McAlister? Sure you do. He was one of the most effective coverage cornerbacks in the NFL for the past decade. He helped anchor a Ravens defense that was considered the best in the league for many years and brought a Lombardi Trophy to Baltimore.  McAlister last played in 2009, but it would appear that he has been taking financial advice from Mark Brunell and Latrell Sprewell since his departure.  Either that, or he’s lying.

As Shutdown Corner outlined for us, McAlister signed a seven-year, $55 million contract with the Ravens in 2004.  Like any other contract, there was some bonus money included that he never earned and it should also be noted that the Ravens released him after year five of the deal.  However, between a signing bonus, roster bonus, and base salary, he had to have made somewhere in the neighborhood of $30 million on that particular contract.  Plus, McAlister was paid $6 million by the Ravens the season before.

It would be tough to imagine he blew through all that money.  According to court documents obtained by TMZ.com, McAlister now claims to be broke.  The former corner is wrapped up in a child support battle with his ex-wife, Marlene.

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NFL Picks Week 2 – Del’s Selections

Week 1 of our 2011 NFL picks quickly turned into a week to forget for Doc and Del, who did not fair well — particularly against the spread.  Doc Brown will post those weak percentages later when he posts his Week 2 picks but I can assure you of one thing: It will only get better from here.  As for Week 2, there are some tough lines with some confusing injury situations, but rest assured Del has spent plenty of time scouring over each game.  Here are Del’s Week 2 NFL picks, with analysis following after the chart.

NFL PICKS WEEK 2
(ATS = Against the Spread, SU = Straight Up

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Auburn Fans Turn Casket into Tailgating Grill (Pictures)

As if we needed further proof that Auburn fans are special — oftentimes disturbing — people.  The one thing we can say about this stunt is that it appears to be harmless.  Unless a dead body was removed from the casket and the casket was turned into a grill, these Auburn fans are not hurting anyone.  Let’s just say it’s a step up from plotting car crashes against Alabama players.  Check out this Auburn casket tailgating grill, courtesy of Kegs ‘N Eggs:

Looks like they have it all covered there — cooler on one side, grill on the other.  When you look at what these Columbian soccer fans did with a casket it kind of puts this whole thing into perspective.  The Tiger fans are just using their heads.

Chest bump to the War Eagle Reader for the pictures.

Todd Haley: Calvin Johnson Could Be One of Best Receivers of All Time

Throwing the “best of all time” phrase around over a young player is not always a good idea. The first issue that comes to mind with it is health. In order to become on of the greatest players of all time at your position, you have to stay on the field. Calvin Johnson is only 25 years old, so it would be way too early to speculate on whether or not he can join the likes of Jerry Rice and Cris Carter when all is said and done. Not for Todd Haley.

Mlive.com passed along a piece of Haley’s conference call with the Detroit media on Wednesday, during which he praised Calvin Johnson for being an extremely dangerous weapon.

“This 81, Calvin Johnson, was one of my favorite players as a receivers coach when he was coming out,” Haley said. “I thought he had a chance to be one of the best ever, and I think he’s kind of pushing toward that. You’ve got to handle him. If you just put the blindfold on, and hope a guy like that doesn’t hurt you, you’re probably going to have problems.”

Cris Carter and Al Davis would certainly disagree with Haley’s assessment. Trending he may be, but Johnson has been in the league only four years now and had two very good seasons and two very mediocre ones.  He has yet to catch more than 80 passes and cracked the 1,000-yard mark only twice.  The difference now is he has a quarterback who looks like he can play in Matthew Stafford, so we can truly see what Megatron is capable of.  In any event, receiving a compliment from an angry man like Haley is something Calvin can take to the bank.

Terrell Suggs: You Can’t Buy Bling When You Have Kids

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs had a monster game in his team’s season opener Sunday. The pass rushing specialist had three sacks in a blowout win against the Steelers. On Wednesday, he joined The Rich Eisen Podcast to talk shop.

The best part of their interview was when Eisen asked if Suggs still had the same bling that he showed off during his first visit to the NFL Network studios in 2004. Suggs said that while he still has the bling, he no longer wears it or buys it. His reason is great.

“Of course I still got [the bling]. It’s in the vault though — I don’t wear it too much. We got kids now — you can’t buy bling when you have kids,” Suggs said.

“I just don’t buy it anymore. I’m buying more like 529s now, college funds, CDs, trusts,” Suggs explained. “Things like that, put credit in my kids’ names.

“It sucks. I wanted to be a Toys R Us kid forever!” Suggs joked.

The entire exchange was pretty humorous and it actually says a lot about Suggs. Here is a man who may have thrown around his money and wasted it on jewelry earlier in his career. Now that he’s older and has a family, he’s much more responsible. I can think of several NFL players who could stand to learn from Suggs’ maturity. If JaMarcus Russell had heeded the message, maybe he wouldn’t have some of the problems he has now.

Josh Hamilton’s Grand Slam Earns Free Flooring for Lucky Customers

Many teams run quirky promotions during games but seldom do we see them payout. On Wednesday in Arlington, one finally came through.

Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton clubbed a grand slam to cap an eight-run fourth inning against the Indians. The grand slam came during a one-month promotion where customers who purchased and installed flooring and countertops from CC Carpet would be refunded if Hamilton hit a grand slam. Here’s the store’s ad that plays during Rangers games:

Hamilton had been to the plate with the bases loaded three previous times during the promotion without hitting a home run. He said after Wednesday’s game that he was very much aware of what was at stake.

“Yeah, the situation doesn’t come up all that often, so when it does, you can’t help but think about it,” Hamilton said with a smile. “I’m in the business of giving back. I like to help people as much as I can.”

Don’t feel too badly for the company either — the store’s president says they’re covered by an insurance policy even though $500,000 of flooring was purchased during the period. Let’s just hope they pay up unlike the last time we had a contest winner at a sporting event. Besides, having Hamilton hit the grand slam was probably worth it given the extra publicity they received.

49-Year-Old Phyllis Reffo Walks on to Pepperdine Swim Team

Phyllis Reffo has walked onto the Pepperdine swimming and diving team at the age of 49, becoming the latest athlete to prove that age cannot hold someone back. Reffo says she began swimming six years ago to maintain her fitness after undergoing major knee surgery. She was noticed by the swim coach at Santa Monica College, who invited her to begin practicing with the team. Reffo ended up swimming for SMC for two years.

When she applied to colleges, she contacted Pepperdine’s swimming coach, who helped her apply at the NCAA’s eligibility center. Despite her age, Reffo learned she had two years of eligibility left. She’s taking advantage of the eligibility and will be competing in the 100- and 200-yard individual medleys and the 50 and 100 breaststroke events.

Reffo was a model in her early days and also worked in the world of finances. Now, she runs a Pilates studio in addition to swimming and attending school at Pepperdine.

She has a very cool story, and we’ll be wishing her success. But if she really wants to break some records here at LBS, she has to swim for another 12 years to compete with this guy.

Thanks to Bryan D. Fischer for the story

UCLA Tries Out Soccer Manager at Kicker

In what could be considered a metaphor for the Rick Neuheisel era at UCLA, the Bruins have resorted to trying out the manager of the soccer team at kicker. The Bruins’ starting and backup kickers are both nursing injuries leaving the team thin at the spot.

Tyler Gonzalez, who is the soccer team’s manager, went 2-for-3 during his tryout at practice Wednesday. Gonzalez kicked one season at Fullerton High. Linebacker Glenn Love, who also kicked during high school, went 2-for-4 on his attempts.

Neuheisel is planning to have starter Kip Smith available for Saturday’s game against Texas but he’s working on backup plans in case Smith becomes unavailable. With the gameday roster limitations teams must meet, this is no laughing matter.

The Chargers had punter Mike Scifres kick for them Sunday after Nate Kaeding got hurt on the opening kickoff. Last season defensive tackle Ndakukong Suh had to kick an extra point for the Lions after Jason Hanson went down.

Every team goes about matters in different ways when it comes to kicking problems. Michigan’s coach was approached by a student last year when they were experiencing kicking woes. Lane Kiffin opted to constantly go for two-point conversions. And if worse comes to worse, UCLA can just get shutout and that will solve everything.

UPDATE: The Bruins have added Gonzalez to their roster and plan to have him serve as the team’s backup kicker Saturday against Texas.

Thanks to LBS writer Danny Lee for the tip

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