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Right Field

Brief chronicles of our sporting times.

Holy Promotional Days!



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USA Today reports on the effort by various professional-sports franchises to boost group-ticket sales by hosting religious fan days for Christian, Jewish, and Mormon groups.

They found a CAIR spokesman to chime in, who sees the phenomenon as an opportunity to demonstrate Americans’ fabled anti-Muslim attitudes, natch.

But some religious and secular groups don’t think such fan day promotions are appropriate.

For example, the Muslim advocacy group Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) wants equal time for other religions.

“The ultimate test of this kind of policy would be to have a Muslim Family Day — and gauge the public reaction to it,” says spokesman Ibrahim Hooper. “Given the heightened state of anti-Muslim sentiment in our society, I have a feeling there would be some objections to that.”

The Colorado Rockies, of course, have a Faith Day, where people of all creeds are invited.

But what about no creed?

Teams have pushed ethnic heritage days for years. But religion? That’s problematic, answers Blair Scott, spokesman for American Atheists. It’s not illegal, but Scott believes it’s unethical.

“They’re out to make a buck. They’re taking advantage of people’s religiosity to make that buck. “

Scott doubts he’ll ever see “Atheist Day” at stadiums.

“When you have a Super Bowl party in the atheist community, two people show up. We don’t tend to be big sports fans.”

Tags: Misc.

Sidd Finch is Alive and Well



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 . . . and pitching for the Cincinnati Reds.

Aroldis Chapman threw a fastball so hard Monday night it baffled the radar guns, with one recording his ninth-inning pitch at 106 mph and another showing 105 mph.The Cincinnati Reds’ 22-year-old flamethrower, who defected from Cuba in 2009, currently holds the Major League Baseball record for the fastest pitch with his 105.1 mph hurl last September.

Tags: MLB

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Can Michael Vick Play Football in Canada?



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Vick’s Eagles open up the NFL season in Toronto — and Canadians aren’t too keen on admitting felons into their country.

NBC Sports:

Few details have emerged regarding the 2011 regular-season NFL schedule, which will be released tonight.  We know that the Packers will host the NBC Thursday night opener on September 8 (we think they’ll face the Saints or the Bears; we’re leaning Bears), we assume one of the New York teams will host the NBC prime-time game the 10th anniversary of 9/11 (we think a Jets-Giants game is unlikely for that evening), and we know that the Lions and Cowboys will play at home on Thanksgiving.  (Given the network assignments for the 2011 Thanksgiving games, the Lions will host one of their NFC opponents, and the Cowboys will welcome either the Dolphins or the Bills.)

Thanks to the folks at the Fan 590 in Toronto, we know that the Bills will face the Eagles in Toronto.  Per the report, the game will be played on November 13 or 20 at Rogers Centre.

The fact that the Eagles are making the trip is a bit curious, given:  (1) the stringent Canadian rules on the admission of felons into the country; and (2) the fact that the Eagles’ starting quarterback is a convicted felon.  Our guess (and it’s just a guess) is that the NFL has worked out these details in advance, ensuring that Mike Vick will be able to play.  If, for some reason, Canada refuses to allow him onto their soil, the NFL will look foolish in hindsight for sending the Eagles north of the border.

The rest here.

Tags: NFL

If You Like Boise State’s Blue Turf . . .



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. . . get ready for the purple and gray of Central Arkansas.

Installation of a new artificial turf field begins today at Central Arkansas, an FCS program in the Southland Conference. That’s noteworthy because the field will be painted purple and gray.

Purple and gray will be alternated in 5-yard sections from the goal lines out to the 45-yard lines. Between the 45s will be a 10-yard gray segment with the logo centered at midfield. The end zones will be black with “Bears” in white lettering, with bear-paw logos on either side of the nickname.

UCA’s field will be the third NCAA field to be a color other than green. Boise State has its blue field, and defending FCS champ Eastern Washington unveiled a red field last season.

Tags: NCAA

Say It Like Yoda: There is . . . another . . . Woods . . .



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Tiger’s niece, Cheyenne Woods, just won the ACC Championship.

Tags: Golf

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Re: Notre Dame Issues Report on Student’s Death



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Both head coach Brian Kelly and athletic director Jack Swarbrick, who was at practice that day, should have been fired.

David Haugh has more in the Chicago Tribune:

It’s unfathomable that Sullivan can lose his life because of a stunning lack of common sense and nobody in charge of his welfare loses a job or income as a result of disciplinary action.

“Insofar as the president is responsible for the university as a whole, I am the individual who bears the most responsibility, and I accept that,” Jenkins said.

That’s noble as the head of the university, but it was empty rhetoric. Jenkins and athletic director Jack Swarbrick did not resign, and neither did anyone else. Nobody got reassigned, fined or suspended. Heck, former head athletic trainer Jim Russ got a new title with more responsibility in January.

Claiming “collective responsibility” without consequences for anybody involved sounds like a lawyered-up cop-out. That’s like rehiring a babysitter who let your kid burn himself playing with fire because the sitter claimed not to know how hot the flame was.

The most egregious part of the dissatisfying 145-page report? It suggests when Sullivan tweeted, “Gust of wind up to 60 mph today … I guess I’ve lived long enough,” minutes before a 53 mph gust blew the lift over, it reflected his joking nature, according to friends. And presumably it was Sullivan’s sense of humor, not foreboding, that provoked him to tweet, “Holy (expletive), this is terrifying.”

His whole piece here.

Tags: NCAA

Notre Dame Issues Report on Student’s Death



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So no one is responsible for videographer Declan Sullivan’s death? I can understand Notre Dame’s reluctance to hire its fifth coach in a decade, but Brian Kelly should face some sort of disciplinary action for Sullivan’s death.

Tags: NCAA

Blow Up the NCAA



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That’s the advice from ESPN’s Gene Wojciechowski. I have to say, I’m on board with this. The NCAA is less concerned about the student-athlete (despite their best efforts to tell us otherwise), and far more concerned about protecting its member institutions and the billions of dollars they rake in every year. For those who complain that regulators have a too-cozy relationship with those they oversee, look no further than the NCAA.

Tags: NCAA

Not that It Means Anything, But . . .



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A refurbished Grady Sizemore and his AL Central-leading (!) Indians are in Kansas City today to begin a four-game series with the second-place (!) Royals. Just for fun, I looked up on Baseball-Reference how Cleveland has fared historically when starting out a season 11-4. In the nine previous instances, the Tribe has finished first only twice and three times ended up with a losing record. In contrast, plugging in 10-5 and the Royals, who started play in 1969, reveals that KC has enjoyed only one other identical beginning; the club finished in second place in 1973.

Game time at Kauffman Stadium is 7:10 pm CDT.

Tags: MLB

NHL vs. Tradition



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The NHL apparently has declared war on the ancient tradition in Detroit of tossing octopi onto the ice during the Stanley Cup playoffs. This is really dumb. Gary Bettman: Please stop this right now.

Tags: NHL

Baseball Reveille, April 18



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Good morning, campers!

If you are playing catch-up, here are topics we discussed in Right Field over the past seven days:

And here is some other interesting stuff that transpired:

Tags: MLB

Hoops Picks



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Miami over Philly in five

Celtics over Knicks in five

Chicago sweep

Orlando over Atlanta in five

San Antonio over Memphis in five

Dallas over Portland in seven

L.A. over N.O. in a sweep

OKC in six over Denver

Tags: NBA

NBA Playoff Predictions, Round One



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My NHL picks are looking fine thus far — Ovechkin stole one from the Rangers, but the pesky Sean Avery returns for game two and, to my mind, that spells power-play chances for the Blueshirts; and the Sabres have taken away the home-ice advantage from the Flyers, but that’s OK by me! — so why not toss out some NBA predictions?

Heat over 76ers in five. We might even have a Chris Bosh sighting. (Zing!)

Bulls sweep Pacers. Rose wears Number 1 for a reason.

Hawks upset Magic in seven. 

(Homer alert!) Knicks in six, baby — Shaq or no Shaq (preferably no Shaq). The Knicks can’t defend, but the Celts can’t rebound. Here’s to hoping Rondo’s funk continues.

Spurs over Griz in six. Five if Ginobili’s elbow doesn’t keep him out long.

Mavs over Blazers in six.

Lakers sweep Hornets. Lebron Schmlebron. Kobe may be a creep, but he’s the league’s best one-on-one player on both sides of the court. 

Thunder over Nuggets in seven. Kendrick Perkins averages 10 boards a game — and he won’t be wearing Celtics green. (Zing!)

Tags: NBA

The Goldwater Institute vs. the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes



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If you missed John Miller’s post below, the Goldwater Institute in Arizona is leading the fight to keep taxpayer money from subsidizing the city of Glendale’s proposed financing of the local hockey team, the Coyotes. A great interview with Goldwater’s Clint Bolick discussing the issue here.

Watch until the end when Bolick asks Senator McCain, who is in favor of the taxpayer-funded deal, to put his own money up rather than rely on taxpayer bucks.

Tags: NHL

No. 42



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Tags: MLB

President Obama and Kobe Bryant



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So, will the President meet with Kobe Bryant, as he has in years past, if the Lakers win the NBA championship? If an alleged sexual-assault didn’t stop the smiles, I really don’ see why a little “f***ing f****t” between friends should keep the president from his photo-op.

Tags: NBA

The Earth Is Flat. Who Knew?



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In the wake of the Barry Bonds verdict — the retired slugger was convicted of a single count of obstruction of justice — Bob Costas unleashed the fury on MLB Network:

Seventy-three is not an authentic number. Seven-sixty-two is not an authentic number. … The authentic single season season home run champion is Roger Maris. The authentic career home run king is Hank Aaron. You would have to think the world is flat to believe anything other than that.

As George Will might say, “Well.”

Bonds almost certainly used performance enhancing drugs, as did many of his peers, but lest we forget about our National Pastime:

  • Babe Ruth never had to face African-American pitchers.
  • Roger Maris competed at a time when amphetamines and other dangerous, performance-enabler “greenies” were everywhere.
  • Cocaine was plentiful in 1970s and 80s clubhouses.
  • Hundreds of players have cheated, from runners stealing signs to pitchers using emery boards and other foreign substances to batters lying about whether they were hit with a pitch.

Are we really qualified to make judgments as to whose home-run numbers are legit and whose are to be discarded?

By the way, much has been made about how Bonds was 37 when he broke the single-season home run record. As former relief pitcher Bob Tufts has pointed out:

Hank Aaron had his highest HR total (47), highest SLG (.669), highest OPS (1.074) and highest OPS+ (194) [when he was 37 years old]. His best 3 year HR total was from ages 35 to 37, and he hit 40 HR’s at age 39. … Do you really want to go there?

Whadduya say, Mr. Costas? Will you go there for us flat-earth types?

Tags: MLB

Go Mud Hens



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Toledo Blade:

For many Mud Hen fans, the first home game of the new season is special.

But Thursday’s home opener, which begins the celebration of the Hens’ 10th year at Fifth Third Field, will be special for another reason.

Why? Toledo will host what is believed to be the first scheduled season-opening doubleheader in professional baseball history.

Tags: MLB

Tom Brady Reacts to Pia’s Elimination from American Idol



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Tags: NFL

Re: He Was Asking for It



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Fred,

To paraphrase our President, “This is not the Chavez Ravine I thought I knew.”

Growing up in Los Angeles, I’ve been to more Dodgers games than I can count. I still have the felt pennant commemorating their winning of the 1974 NLCS, complete with the stain from a Carnation chocolate ice cream when I used the pennant, much to my father’s chagrin, as a napkin. My last game was in 1988 before I moved to New York City and I ended up catching a foul ball off Kirk Gibson.

In California, you can get your driver’s license at sixteen, which meant the freedom to go to a game whenever you wanted. For the life of me, I can’t remember my parents ever expressing the faintest hint of concern that I was spending the night at a Dodger game with friends. Everything else they worried about, but not a Dodgers game.

New security measures will be in force tonight — hopefully they help return the stadium to its former self.

Tags: MLB

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