Now that Magic Johnson’s group has won the Dodgers bidding, it is time to get down to business. Frank McCourt has left Dodgers fans depressed and dejected. Each and every one of them is hopeful that Magic and company can rescue a franchise that was once one of the best in baseball. Once the business aspect of the deal is worked out, assembling a winning team for years to come will be the top priority. The good news for the new ownership group is that Jose Canseco is willing to give them a great jump on things — and it won’t cost them a dime.
@magicjohnson congrats on buying dodgers need a 1b or pinch hitter of the bench? Will play for free. Will donate salary charity
— Jose Canseco (@JoseCanseco) March 28, 2012
How can you say no to that? There isn’t a team in the league that couldn’t use a 47-year-old former (current?) juice head to provide some pop off the bench and maybe even play the field. I fully expect to see Canseco in a Dodgers uniform by 2013, and maybe even before. What a break for L.A.
All joking aside, the sad part about this is Jose isn’t joking. There’s a little part of him that thinks the Dodgers might take him up on his offer. That’s the real shame here.
Photo credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
- Jose Canseco
The more fines and suspensions Roger Goodell hands out over head shots, the clearer his message becomes. Players may not like it, but helmet-to-helmet hits are no longer tolerated in the NFL. Neither is launching yourself at an opponent, leading with the crown of your helmet, hitting a defenseless receiver, or touching a quarterback’s head. That’s the way it is and that’s the way it’s going to stay.
The idea behind cutting down on head shots is to limit head injuries and improve the quality of life for players after they retire. While the new rules will certainly help acheive that goal, Ike Taylor recently raised an interesting point about the unintended consequences of all the new rules.
“Guys getting fined heavily, especially on our team, we see the commissioner is really putting his foot down,” Taylor said on NFL Network according to Pro Football Talk. “But then again, will knee injuries go up? As a football player — and it’s kind of crazy for me to say this — I would rather have a head injury than a knee injury. But long-term, I guess the commissioner is looking at the head injuries after football.”
Taylor has a point. Unlike James Harrison who does nothing but whine about the commissioner fining him and preventing him from being a dirty player, the Steelers corner raises a valid concern. The league wants players to avoid the head and aim lower. Ideally, they would like everyone to aim at the midsection and keep hits below the neck and above the knee — the way in which players are required to hit the quarterback. That would be nearly impossible to expect on all parts of the field.
Head injuries have longer-lasting, more serious consequences, but knee injuries can be more devastating to an actual career. With guys aiming for the knee, ACL tears will likely become more common. Taylor’s comments just remind us that complete player safety in a game like football is impossible.
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The Knicks have been one of the most inconsistent teams in the NBA this season, but their bench has been relatively stable. With players like J.R. Smith, Steve Novak, Baron Davis, and Iman Shumpert coming off the bench for New York, you could say depth is a strong suit for Mike Woodson’s team. Having realized that, Shumpert took to Twitter to search for a nickname for the unit back at the beginning of March. One follower came up with the name “Mob Deep,” and the Knicks have run with it ever since.
Of course, the nickname is a variation of the popular 1990s hip-hop duo “Mobb Deep,” which featured New York rappers Prodigy and Havoc. The duo is happy to share the name with their hometown team.
“I’ve heard them play our music before at different games, maybe during the highlights on the news and certain things like that,” Prodigy told ESPNNewYork.com. “But this is the first time where the team actually called something ‘Mobb Deep.’ That’s the Knicks. That’s what’s up.”
Havoc added that he can see the similarities between the Knicks bench and the way “Mobb Deep” came up with their name.
“It was a saying that we used to use in Queensbridge, describing how many of us it would be when we all went out, or if we saw another crew that had a lot of people rolling with them,” Havoc explained. “We would be like, ‘Yo, we were mobb deep last night at the movie theater,’ or whatever have you — as in a mobb of us, that we were rolling deep.”
Havoc and Prodigy used to roll deep and the Knicks bench is a deep unit. I get it. Now New York fans just have to hope that mob is deep enough withstand an injured Amar’e Stoudemire, who is out indefinitely with a bulging disk.
Photo credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE
- New York Knicks
Life as an NBA player requires adjusting on the fly — not only on the court, but off of it as well. One minute you could be playing in Charlotte and the next thing you know you’re halfway across the country in San Antonio. Just ask Boris Diaw, who was released by the Bobcats and signed by the Spurs last Friday. Having played four games in five days since joining the team, Diaw hasn’t had any time to look for a place. Fortunately, he has been able to bunk up with his good buddy Tony Parker.
“I’m sleeping on Tony’s couch for the moment. Like Jeremy Lin!” Diaw said with a laugh during an interview with RMC Sport. “We made a deal: I can sleep at his house but I have to pay for all of our meals.”
Depending on how much Tony eats, that seems like a pretty fair trade-off for now. The thing is, however, that Amar’e Stoudemire has labeled Diaw as one of the two smelliest players in the NBA, along with Ronny Turiaf. At least Lin was sleeping on his own brother’s couch and there are no rumors about him being a stinker. Hopefully for the sake of Parker’s furniture, Amar’e is wrong about Boris’ hygiene.
Photo credit: Soobum Im-US PRESSWIRE
The events that have taken place with Dwight Howard this season have been some of the most bizarre in recent NBA history. One minute, Howard was as good as gone. Whether it was via a trade or leaving in free agency, Magic fans knew they were enjoying their last days with Superman. Then in a moment’s notice, Howard was signing an agreement that stated he would not opt out of his contract with Orlando after this season. Not only is he sticking around for this season and possibly beyond, but he may actually re-sign with the Magic.
There has to be more than what meets the eye. One person who believes that is the case is Jeff Van Gundy, who said you’d be naive to think the Magic front office and Howard didn’t come to some sort of agreement.
“To me, only the most gullible fans would believe that this was about loyalty,” Van Gundy said according to the Orlando Sentinel. “I think it was about power and control. … I don’t know what they agreed to, but anybody who doesn’t think senior management and Howard have come to an agreement on either trading players to get people he (Dwight) likes or changing the coach or changing the general manager or changing the marketing of him. … Whatever they agreed to, there’s been an agreement made.
“What the Magic senior executives are doing right now is unbecoming. The groveling and begging is hard to read and watch. His (Dwight’s) opinion should matter, but the strong organizations stand for something rather than fall for anything.”
Dwyane Wade certainly agrees with Van Gundy, and I do too. You don’t just wake up one morning and decided loyalty is important to you. Dwight had plenty of time to think about loyalty, and it was clear throughout the entire ordeal that he wanted to leave for greener pastures. Obviously Orlando’s ownership did something to convince Howard they are going to fertilize their own grass over the offseason.
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If I wanted to take the easy approach, I could just rip Pat Riley apart for having pitch problems and being completely out of tune. But I’m not Simon Cowell. And let’s be honest — there have been far worse karaoke performances by professional athletes and coaches over the years. As you can see from the video above shared by Hot Hot Hoops, the Heat president busted out his rendition of “My Girl” during a charity event in Miami on Tuesday. The full audio of his performance can be heard here.
According to Heat writer Ethan J. Skolnick, Riley offered to donate $10,000 before he began singing if they didn’t make him go through with it. As you can see, the people were not interested in his money (I’m guessing he made a pretty generous donation, anyway). If you ask me, Riley gets the nod over Pau Gasol when it comes to charity karaoke.
Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
- Pat Riley
The creators of Twitter had their Mark Zuckerberg moment long ago. They already know they’ve made it. Try going through an entire day without hearing the words “tweet” or “twitter.” It’s almost impossible. Twitter is now the number one source of rapid news and breaking developments. We want speed, and Twitter does the best job of giving it to us. Not only that, but it has become a place where athletes and celebrities can connect with their fans on a personal level. The last part is the one that the NBA has decided to take advantage of. As @TasMelas pointed out, the NBA store is now selling shirts with players’ Twitter handles on them, and they are available for purchase here.
Mark my words: These things are going to sell. If not for Twitter, we wouldn’t be able to accuse Evan Longoria of hitting on a U.S. Women’s soccer player or criticize LeBron for calling out Kendrick Perkins. People need it, they love it, and they want more of it. The shirts will likely reflect that.
Dodgers fans rejoiced Tuesday night when it was revealed the ownership group fronted by Magic Johnson won the bidding to purchase the team. Their $2 billion winning bid blew away any previous amount paid for a North American sports franchise. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross paid $1.1 billion for his franchise in 2009 while the next highest amount for an MLB team was $845 million for the Cubs in 2009. The $2 billion figure is every bit as absurd as it seems, and it even calls into question the franchise’s ability to be big spenders.
With so much money spent on the purchase, what kind of payroll will the team have? That’s a legitimate question. The new owners are likely to negotiate a new TV deal for the 2014 season and will need a large up-front payment, but that money will likely go toward the purchasing debt. I honestly think $2 billion might be too much to pay for the franchise. This group will likely have to own the team for two decades to get into decent financial shape.
The real shame of the entire sale is that Frank McCourt makes out as possibly the biggest winner. His debt was estimated to be around $1 billion meaning he will have profited at minimum hundreds of millions. How can a guy who paid almost no money up front for the team in 2004 (he bought the team almost entirely off credit thanks to the value of parking lots he owned in Boston) walk away with such a hefty profit? It’s a great fault that this could occur. Oh, and if profiting possibly $1 billion off the sale wasn’t enough, McCourt will own half the $300 million parking lot.
The new ownership team gives fans plenty of reasons for excitement, both for who will now own the team and for who will not. But if ever there was a time a group spent too much to purchase a team — to the point they may be hamstrung — it was now.
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Mets knuckleball pitcher R.A. Dickey has a memoir coming out, and in it he details some of the darkest moments of his life — being sexually abused as a child and later contemplating suicide as an adult after cheating on his wife.
The book, entitled “Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball,” is co-written by the New York Daily News’ Wayne Coffey and comes out Thursday. On Tuesday, Sports Illustrated released a few excerpts, including one about a 13-year-old babysitter sexually molesting Dickey when he was 8:
The babysitter chucks the pillows and stuffed animals out of the way. She looks at me and says, Get in the bed.
I am confused and afraid. I am trembling.
The babysitter has her way with me four or five more times that summer, and into the fall, and each time feels more wicked than the time before. Every time that I know I’m going back over there, the sweat starts to come back. I sit in the front seat of the car, next to my mother, anxiety surging. I never tell her why I am so afraid. I never tell anyone until I am 31 years old.
Dickey, 37, also writes about another instance where he was molested by a 17-year-old boy and how in the winter of 2005-2006 he, filled with guilt and grief after cheating on his wife, considered ending his life.
“I betrayed my wife and there are not words that can adequately convey the guilt I felt for hurting the person who has given me so much love, who I share my life with,” Dickey told the Daily News. He says he was able to get over the anguish thanks to counseling and therapy and the forgiveness and unwavering support of his wife and kids.
While the book deals with serious demons he has faced in his childhood in Tennessee and playing career, Dickey actually thinks the overall tone is positive. No matter, he’s not concerned with whatever reaction the public will have.
“I hope that on some level that people will respect my honesty, and I would like to believe they will,” he said.
H/T Eye on Baseball
Photo credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE
- R.A. Dickey
Rhode Island has suspended freshman forward Jonathan Holton after he was arrested by campus police Tuesday for allegedly surreptitiously taping two consensual sexual encounters with female students on campus and later posting the footage on Facebook, according to a report in the Providence Journal.
Holton allegedly taped the sexcapades last fall, unbeknownst to his partners. When the two female students were alerted the footage was on Facebook, where 30 people reportedly were forwarded the videos, they notified URI’s student affairs office and campus police last week.
Holton averaged 10.2 points and 8.1 rebounds this season and was named to the Atlantic 10’s all-rookie team but now has been barred from all team activities. The 20-year-old faces two counts of video voyeurism and, if convicted, could receive up to three years behind bars.
“These are disturbing allegations that strike at the core of our commitment to make this a safe and civil campus community,” URI vice president for Student Affairs Thomas R. Dougan said in a university statement. “Respect for the rights and privacy of all of our community members is paramount. Campus police and Student Affairs are involved in separate intensive investigations surrounding these allegations.”
We’d advise against sending a friend request to Holton just to see the videos. Our guess is he’s already taken down the footage. Then again, this was a kid who thought it’d be a good idea to post videos of him having sex to Facebook.
H/T Lost Lettermen
Photo credit: Bruce Thorson-US PRESSWIRE