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Ubaldo Jimenez Continues to Dominate

We covered the no-hitter Rockies pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez threw against the Braves a month ago and the guy hasn’t stopped dominating since. Jimenez handled the Astros’ weak lineup with ease, giving up just one hit over seven innings while walking two and striking out four. Although Ubaldo’s stud performance comes with the caveat that it was achieved against the Astros, Jimenez has dominated all opponents equally. Despite facing teams with an OPS of 742, Ubaldo leads MLB with an 8-1 record and 0.99 ERA — not too bad numbers for having completed around 30% of the season. As if the 0.99 ERA doesn’t already tell you how good Ubaldo has been, this might make you understand: Jimenez has allowed only four runs in the six starts since his no-hitter.

The crazy part about Jimenez’s dominant performance against Houston is that he didn’t even have his best stuff “At the beginning of the game I didn’t feel good because I was throwing everything high, but as the game went on, I started getting better. In the fifth and sixth inning I started pounding the strike zone and throwing my breaking ball for strikes.” Watching the game it was easy to notice Ubaldo’s elevated velocity. What I didn’t realize was that when he was throwing 98mph regularly, that was his sinker, not his fastball. Combining that ridiculous speed with his stuff, it’s easy to see why he’s been so successful. As long as his arm holds up over the course of the season, he should continue to have plenty of success and contend for the Cy Young Award.

Sources:
Rockies shut out Astros 4-0 [AP Recap/Yahoo! Sports]
Photo Credit: Scott Boehm/Getty Images

Marcellus Wiley on NFL Hotel Sex Parties: ‘Of Course it Happens’

Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe blew the cover for NFL players when he shared a story about his teammates setting up a hotel sex party during a road trip to San Diego. While it’s not surprising to hear that this stuff goes on, it’s a shocker to hear a player speak about it openly to the media (Bowe wrote it as a contribution to ESPN the Magazine). Former NFL player and current analyst Marcellus Wiley joined the Jorge Sedano Show on 790 the Ticket in Miami and discussed the Bowe story.

Wiley started off by saying that Bowe “broke the code” by publicly talking about a “dirty secret” like that. Wiley then shared a story that happened during his third year in 1999 when as a member of the Bills, they had a road trip to Seattle and had a similar setup to the one Bowe described. “There were a few ladies already setup, already there, already in the hotel,” Wiley said. His team wound up losing that game despite going 11-5 on the year.

Although Wiley noted that “of course it goes on, of course it happens,” he clarified by saying these organized groupie imports don’t happen every road trip, nor every other other road trip. That seems to make sense because you figure it takes a lot of time, money, and planning to orchestrate something like what Bowe described. Hitting up your girls in a given city the day before a game seems much easier to do. Wiley also estimated that 80% of NFL players cheat on their spouses/girlfriends. Any wonder why one of Bowe’s former teammates is trying to dispute the claims?

Sources:
Marcellus Wiley on The Jorge Sedano Show [790 the Ticket]

Tony Romo Reaches Sectionals of U.S. Open Qualifying

Tony Romo’s success story in the NFL is pretty well documented (although the success part would be debated by many). Much like Kurt Warner, Romo was an undrafted free agent who signed with the Cowboys before eventually taking over the team’s starting job from Drew Bledsoe. Before making it as a starting quarterback, Romo made attempts to qualify for golf tournaments such as the Byron Nelson Championship and the U.S. Open. Romo was planning to attempt to qualify for the Byron Nelson this year but his tee time conflicted with a Cowboys practice so he decided to skip the golf dream. Romo however is trying to make it into the U.S. Open this year as a qualifier and has moved one step closer to reaching that point.

As Todd Wright mentioned on Sporting News Radio, Romo won the a third playoff hole to become the sixth golfer from his local qualifier to make the sectional qualifier. Romo finished his 18 hole round at 2-under 69 and left the course before being called back to play in the playoff. Romo parred all three playoff holes and won when his opponent bogeyed the third playoff hole. He now moves onto sectional qualifying with a chance to become one of 90 sectional qualifiers who will make the U.S. Open field of 156. What’s the best part of all? Romo won’t have to miss any practice time with the Cowboys to participate in the sectional qualifying! Can you imagine if he does make it into the U.S. Open?

Sources:
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo advances in U.S. Open golf qualifier [Dallas Morning News]
Romo pars playoff holes, moves on [Calvin Watkins/ESPN Dallas]

Favre Finding New Ways To Make a Big Deal of Himself

Does Brett Favre really have no idea if he’s retiring or not every off-season, or does he just like creating a buzz about himself?  As he ponders whether or not to have minor ankle surgery which would allow him to play for the Vikings next season, Favre seems to be getting creative in finding ways to keep the media talking about another potential return.  It already seems like ten years have passed since the once teary-eyed quarterback announced his playing days were over, only to promptly unretire and yell his way out of Green Bay.

The Mississippi boy has seemingly found a way to kill two birds with one stone this time — motivate the Southern Miss baseball team to succeed while placing yet another stipulation on his return to football.  Favre reportedly told the Golden Eagles on Thursday that if they reach the College World Series — which would be an impressive feat considering they are currently 30-20 and in danger of missing the postseason — he will return to play for the Vikings next season.

Big deal.  Sure, this might be fun for the college kids playing for Southern Miss, but to the common fan (or, at least, to me) this is a continuation of the charade that has led to people resenting Favre and growing tired of his back-and-forth routine every off-season.  In his defense, I suppose he didn’t ask for this story to be run as headline news, but something tells me he doesn’t mind.  Let’s all cross our fingers the Golden Eagles can somehow secure a spot in the CWS.  After all, we wouldn’t want to run out of things to talk about.

Source:
Favre hangs NFL future on CWS [AP/ESPN]

Josh Beckett the Latest of Many Pitchers to Hurt Themselves While Swinging

In MLB, there is one main difference between the American League and the National League. In the AL, designated hitters are allowed but in the NL they’re not. That means pitchers don’t have to bat in the AL so their only job is to pitch. In the NL, more is asked of the pitchers because they have to bat too. Does the AL have it right? Should pitchers only be concerned about throwing the ball and not hitting it?

This idea has been debated for years and has been sparked by the injury to Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett who was placed on the DL because of a back injury. Beckett of course hurt his back while swinging in preparation for interleague play where he’d be forced to hit. Now if this isn’t downright pathetic, I’m not quite sure what is. When you play baseball at a professional level, you should have a certain level of athleticism. Unfortunately Beckett isn’t the only pitcher who’s been hurt swinging a bat (or trying to) over the last few years. Let’s take a look at some of the pitchers who need to stay on the mound and out of the batter’s box:

American League

1. Josh Beckett, Boston Red Sox – Beckett injured himself before the start of May 10th’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays by taking practice swings. Let’s examine this a little more closely shall we? Beckett was swinging the bat before a game against who? The Blue Jays? Ah, another American League team that he doesn’t have to hit against anyways. This makes my head hurt. The Red Sox said this was because the pitchers are getting ready for interleague play. The Red Sox’s first interleague game is on Sunday at Philadelphia. So, Beckett was practice swinging for a game that was 13 days away at that point? And now he’s on the DL. That is just plain dumb.

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Floyd Landis: Cycling’s Jose Canseco

Four years ago, cyclist Floyd Landis was the Tour de France leader and the new American hope to carry Lance Armstrong’s torch. After his surge on the 17th stage, Landis tested positive for elevated testosterone levels and he was later stripped of his Tour de France victory. Landis was then suspended two years by the USADA for using performance-enhancing drugs. Ever since his suspension, Landis has fought for his reputation by denying any use of PEDs. After four years of denial, Landis finally came clean on Wednesday night saying he wanted to clear his conscience. Landis added to ESPN that “[he doesn't] want to be part of the problem anymore.” Well, Landis has gone well beyond being part of the problem and he’s now taking the Jose Canseco approach to fixing things.

Much like Jose Canseco, the former baseball star who felt blackballed by MLB, Landis called himself a pariah who had little chance of ever riding for an elite team. I’m sure his status in the cycling world has driven him to his decision to blow the lid off the scandal in the sport. The Wall Street Journal says Landis fired off emails to USA Cycling and the International Cycling Union detailing his and others’ PED usage:

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Dwight Howard Won’t Be Suspended for Flagrant Foul On Pierce

Last year, Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy spent some time crying about certain players receiving preferential treatment regarding suspensions, depending on the situation.  He was specifically referring to the league’s decision to not suspend Rajon Rondo following a flagrant foul he committed on Chicago’s Brad Miller.  I’m sure Van Gundy has no problem with the officials giving stars preferential treatment in this year’s playoffs, because if they didn’t he’d be without his best player for Game 3 against the Celtics in Boston.  The NBA reviewed Dwight Howard’s foul on Paul Pierce in last night’s game — which was ruled a Flagrant 1 — and announced that the play will stand as called and will not be upgraded to a Flagrant 2.  That means, of course, that Howard will not be suspended.  In case you missed it, here’s the video of Dwight Howard’s flagrant foul on Paul Pierce during Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

I’m never one to complain about suspensions not being handed out — especially in the playoffs when it could potentially affect the outcome of a series.  However, there’s no doubt in my mind that if this foul is committed by let’s say, Kendrick Perkins, its a Flagrant 2.  Granted, Perkins is a loud mouth who loses his cool far more often than Howard, but this is absolutely star treatment at its finest.  Howard grabbed Pierce by the face and threw him to the ground.  If that isn’t considered trying to hurt someone, then I really don’t know how you can determine what is and what isn’t.  Maybe Van Gundy’s whining last year paid off.

Sources:
NBA: Howard won’t be suspended [ESPN]
Video Credit: YouTube user DontHateTheGhost