A – A.J. Burnett. Even with a payroll approaching the country’s national deficit, the best pitcher the Yankees could muster for a must-win Game 4 game was AJ Burnett?!?! He’s the owner of a 10-15 record and 5.26 ERA Burnett was trotted out in Game 4 and he quickly was tagged for five earned runs in six innings in a 10-3 Yankees loss. Even with all the money the Yankees spend they are still stuck with Burnett for Game 4. If they were forced to start Burnett, why not throw him in Game 3 opposite of Lee. The Rangers were going to win that game anyways, so why not just wave the white flag and send Burnett out as a sacrificial lamb and save Pettitte for a winnable Game 4?
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B – Big Ben Protesters. Before Ben Roethlisberger made his season-debut after serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal-conduct policy, 20 protesters took to the streets outside Heinz Field with various signs that read…. “Big Ben’s a Jagoff”…. “No Means No”….. “Don’t let Ben Rape Again” … and “Consent is Not a Game.” The protesters were drowned out by inebriated Steeler fans on their way into the game. Not far from the protesters was a stand selling ladies t-shirts that read ‘Big Ben’ on the back with a No. 7 and on the front it read “I Woulda Said Yes…”
C – Clairton High School. After close losses a losing team can often be heard complaining about being ‘robbed’. A high-school football team in Pennsylvania complained of being robbed, but their game was not close at all, they lost 52-0. The Bentworth Bearcats, the team in question, was robbed, literally. Playing at Clairton, the top-ranked Class A team in the state of Pennsylvania and owners of a state-best 22-game winning streak, the Bearcats were blown out on the field and once they returned to their locker room they found out they would be going home with a loss and without their iPods. Their locker room was burglarized during the game.
D – Dominique Piek. The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model may not be the most famous partner in her relationship with Texas Rangers pitcher C.J. Wilson. Toiling in relative obscurity in the Texas rotation, Wilson got the call for Game 5 of the ALCS. He has been dating the 25-year old South African swimsuit model for the past year, but the relationship took an interesting turn when the Rangers qualified for the ALCS opposite of the New York Yankees. Piek lives in New York City. But, alas, she will not have time to catch the series as she will be off to a photo shoot in Malibu. If that photo shoot were broadcast live the ALCS may lose to another show in the ratings battle (see M).
E – Excessive Celebration. Everything is bigger in Texas, including touchdown celebrations, apparently. For the second week in a row, a 15-yard excessive celebration penalty proved costly for the 1-4 Cowboys. Many thought wide receiver Miles Austin was the guilty party this week for leap frogging Roy Williams. But apparently that was okay. What was not okay was Sam Hurd flashing the “Hook’em Horns” sign. That drew the penalty.
F – Fantasy Factor. To a non-degenerate, non-fantasy playing onlooker Monday night, Chris Johnson’s fourth-quarter 35-yard touchdown scamper with 1:40 to play in a 30-3 blowout may have seemed inconsequential. But in fantasy reality the touchdown run was perhaps the Hail Mary play that so many fantasy owners were hoping for. His touchdown run likely decided many fantasy matchups, including that of Tennessee coach Jeff Fischer, who apparently has Johnson on his fantasy team. How else do you explain the franchise running back still playing in a blowout game with less than two minutes to play?
G – Grim LeRogue. Apparently there was some motivation behind the man who ran on the field in Game 3 of the ALCS besides just a drunken stroll to get on YouTube. Grim LeRogue, a 33-year old resident of the Bronx, hopped the fence at Yankee Stadium and stormed the field in pursuit of Alex Rodriguez. He never made it to Arod, but the source of his dispute with the Yankees third basemen was his relationship with Cameron Diaz. LeRogue had plenty of liquor in his system and pictures of Diaz in his back pocket.
H – Hedo’s Heckler. After an unfortunate one-year stand north of the border, former Toronto Raptor Hedo Turkoglu returned back to Canada to face the Raptors in a preseason game in Vancouver. Turkoglu met his former team and a heckler who took advantage of the near dead-silent crowd and heckled Turkoglu. The heckler called Turkoglu lazy, pathetic and said he had zero work ethic, this all was heard crystal clear on the court and on television. The source of the heckler’s ire was probably booze mixed with bad memories of Turkoglu making $10 million last season to sit out a game because of an apparent stomach virus only to be spotted by fans clubbing in the Yorkville district of Toronto. The Hedo Heckler received the loudest ovation of the night from the fans in attendance.
I – Ivor Wynne. Ivor Wynne Stadium in Ontario, Canada was the site of perhaps the ugliest fans vs. player brawl you will ever seen. The home-standing Hamilton Hurricanes were leading the high school football game 20-9 against the St. Leonard Cougars, who had been heckled most of the game. Nearly the entire St. Leonard team acted like anything but Saints as they climbed into the stands and a full-scale donnybrook broke out with fists and helmets flying and whatever else player could get their hands on. It was one of the ugliest scenes you will ever see, but nobody is stepping forward and chargers are not expected to be filed.
J – J Woww. Jenni Farley, better known as the big bitch with fake boobs from MTV’s Jersey Shore, made her Professional Wrestling debut this past week on TNA, which stands for Tits ‘N Ass (we think). J Woww had some down time before she films the next season of Jersey Shore (dear God, they’re making another season?!) so she hopped in the ring, fetched a $15,000 paycheck and got slapped by a female wrestler named Cookie, not to be confused with Snookie. For some reason TNA aired the show 9-11 p.m. EST on a Thursday night. Any fist-pumping fan of the show will tell you that Jersey Shore airs at 10 p.m. EST. J Woww even went so far as to tweet her fans to switch channels and watch Jersey Shore at 10 p.m. and not her wrestling debut.
K – Kentucky. If you need somebody to teach you how to Dougie you should probably attend a women’s basketball game at the University of Kentucky. Head coach for the Lady Wildcats, Matthew Mitchell broke it down on the Rupp Arena court during Midnight Madness with a full-blown “Dougie” that brought the crowd to its feet.
L – Lindsay McCormick. It seemed that only last week members of the New York Jets were allegedly sexually harassing NFL reporter Ines Sainz. Now Jets QB Mark Sanchez is apparently dating a female reporter. Sanchez and ESPN football reporter Lindsay McCormick have been spotted together on numerous occasions and are now rumored to be an item.
M – Monday Night Football. The Monday Night debacle that was the Titans and Jaguars, featured a 27-point blowout, timeouts being taken to appease ESPN, general apathy amongst the fans in attendance and two, yes two backup quarterbacks, Kerry Collins and Trent Edwards. But for some reason (gambling and fantasy football) the Monday Night mess drew better ratings than Game 3 of the ALCS.
N – NFL Hits. The sports story of the week has been the ferocious hits leveled in Week 6 of the NFL. First James Harrison, Brandon Meriweather and Dunta Robinson dropped the hammer and then Tuesday the hammer came from the NFL to the tune of $175,000 in fines levied against the three defenders. Harrison received the largest fine, $75,000, for decimating the Cleveland offense (not exactly a hard task) by knocking Josh Cribbs and Mohamed Massaquoi into next month with two vicious hits. He was giving out concussions like they were going out of style. Robinson’s hit on Philadelphia wide receiver DeSean Jackson looked the worst on TV with both players needing to be helped off the field, and then there was Meriweather’s cheap head-shot of Todd Heap that even had his own coach Bill Belichick shaking his head. The fines appear just to be the first step as the NFL has promised suspensions in the future.
O – Online Auction. Maybe Michael Jordan is just like the rest of us. When he has something to sell he goes to an online auction on eBay. Jordan recently posted his car for sale, a 2007 Mercedes Benz SLR. The ‘Buy It Now’ price is $429,998. Okay so maybe Jordan isn’t like the rest of us. But selling a car on eBay is probably a good indication that MJ has been racking up some more gambling debts.
P – Pat McAfee. McAfee became the next in a long line of liquored up former West Virginia University kickers with his pre-dawn escapades in downtown Indianapolis. Following in the illustrious footsteps of former Mountaineers such as Mike Vanderjagt and Todd Sauerbrun, McAfee took a shirtless swim late Tuesday night into Wednesday. He was arrested around 5 a.m. after the 23-year-old was found swimming in a canal. When asked if he was indeed swimming in the canal McAfee said, “I am not sure” and then when asked how he got wet McAfee claimed it had been raining when it actually wasn’t and as the officers tried to find the shirt for the shirtless kicker McAfee responded that it was in the water. In case there was any doubt police asked McAfee how much he drank and McAfee responded, “A lot cause I am drunk.”
Q – Quade, Mike. The Chicago Cubs managerial search brought up the ‘who’s who’ of former and current Major League managers. Names as big as Tony LaRussa, Ryne Sandberg and Joe Girardi were floated but when it came down to it the Cubs named relatively unknown Mike Quade as the next manager of the Chicago Cubs.
R – Robbie Aurich. The Division II linebacker from University of Minnesota-Duluth put on a drunken performance befitting of a Division I-A talent. Aurich was out celebrating a win over Minnesota State University-Moorhead (who knew such a school existed). Police officers spotted Aurich stumbling down steps with one shoe on at a popular restaurant Grandma’s. Now everyone knows that is no way to act at Grandmas. The officer told Aurich to step outside but the criminology major (yeah you probably want to change majors now) decided to push the officer and pushed a second cop who was offering backup. Aurich was then tased in the back and he responded with this gem, “I’m a baller. I’ll kick your ass! Do you think you can take me to the ground? I’ll beat you up right now. You’re embarrassing me.” Not that Aurich needed any help.
S – Seau, Junior. In case you missed the story on Junior Seau being arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, the former NFL linebacker made sure to remind everyone by driving his 2004 Cadillac Escalade off a cliff the very next day after being arrested. Seau’s car rolled off the roadway, got airborne, and thankfully stopped when the front end of the vehicle collided with the rocks on the cliff before flipping over. The pictures reveal just how close this came to being a catastrophe. Some may speculate that there is a relation between the domestic violence arrest and the Cadillac nearly tumbling down a cliff, but Seau said it was not a suicide attempt but rather he fell asleep at the wheel.
T – Tim Lincecum. Santa Claus, injured quarterbacks, former players and now you can add hippies to the list of people Philadelphia sports fans love to boo. Tim Lincecum was harassed for the better part of Game 1 when he took the mound for San Francisco in the NLCS. Signs in the first few rows of Citizens Bank Park read “Fix your Teeth”…. “Hippy Trash”… “Wanna Smoke”…. “This Guy Stinks.” Turns out the fans real enemy was Cody Ross, who somehow hit two home runs off of a pitcher that had not allowed a hit in the playoffs up until facing him.
U – Urban Meyer. Apparently there has never been a coach with the last name Meyer that deserved to be fired enough to warrant a Web site until two-time National Championship-winning Head Coach Urban Meyer. Apparently a delusional Florida fan got access to the Internet from his parent’s basement and cobbled together the funds to purchase the domain name, Firecoachmeyer.com.
V – Vancouver Canucks. It wasn’t quite the ‘Malice at the Palace,’ but the NHL version of player/fan altercation involved Vancouver Canuck forward Rick Rypien and a Minnesota Wild fan. Rypien was sent off after a 10-minute misconduct penalty for punching Minnesota’s Bad Staubitz and then he went off. As Rypien walked through the tunnel to the dressing room a Minnesota fan who was applauding loudly got his attention and Rypien went after him in the stands. A shoving matched ensued between Rypien, the fan and a friend of the fan.
W – Warner, Kurt. Seven contestants remain on ‘Dancing with the Stars 11’ and one of those is former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner. Jennifer Grey is the heavy favorite at 2/3 on Bodog, but do not count out Warner, who has odds of 10/1 and the sports star appeal that usually helps contestants win just like Emmitt Smith, Apolo Anton Ohno, Helio Castroneves, Kristi Yamaguchi and Shawn Johnson did. The only other former athlete remaining in the field is Rick Fox, who has better odds, actually, at 7/2.
X – eX Playmate. This does not technically start with an X or have anything to do with sports, but it is too juicy of a story to ignore. The 1968 Playboy Playmate of the Year has been charged with attempted murder. Victoria Rathgeb, now 66, is accused of shooting her boyfriend with a semiautomatic handgun at their apartment on Saturday on Hawthorn Avenue in Hollywood. The former Playmate’s boyfriend of 20 years, Bruce Rathgeb, is listed in grave condition. The former Playmate initially blamed a drug leader but officers have deduced that it almost certainly was Victoria pulling the trigger. The shooting happened only nine miles away from the practice facility of Los Angeles Galaxy of the MLS. So yeah there is a sports element to it.
Y – Yankees Fan. First Jeffrey Maier became a New York icon after his glove gave the New York Yankees a home-field advantage no other team has. That was in the ALCS against the Baltimore Orioles. Now it’s Jared Macchirole that is getting similar attention. During Game 4 of the ALCS the 20-year old Macchirole reached for a potential Robinson Cano home run ball and his hand came in contact with Nelson Cruz, who was trying to make a leaping grab. Umpires ruled that it indeed was a legal home run. Macchirole was mobbed my New York media and has become a folk legend around New York even though the Cano home run did little to help the Yankees, who lost 10-3.
Z – Zzzzzzz. Of all the parties guilty of devastating hits on Sunday in the NFL, the league came down the hardest on Harrison with a $75,000 fine. That may have something to do with his general apathy towards the condition of the players he decimated. When asked about Cribbs, Harrison offered this nugget of wisdom, “I thought Cribbs was asleep. He wasn’t really hurt, he’s just sleeping.”