Right Field

Brief chronicles of our sporting times.

Jim Thome Returns to Cleveland While Minka Kelly Leaves St. Jetersburg


Jim Thome had his best years with the Indians and now, thanks to a trade between Cleveland and Minnesota, the lefty slugger gets a chance to hit a few more home runs with his old club.

Meanwhile, Derek Jeter and Minka Kelly recently split after three years of dating. (Maybe that explains the Yankee shortstop’s hitting prowess over the past several weeks?)

Tags: MLB

Now Hustling Violates the #### “Unwritten Rules?” (Groan.)


Big League Stew’s David Brown shares some details on Tuesday night’s incident involving the rather portly Brad Penny of the Tigers and the always-hustling Sean Rodriguez of the Rays.

On Tuesday night, during an at-bat in the seventh inning against noted cable guy/health inspector Brad Penny (notes), Rodriguez flied out to left field, but ran so fast he was nearly at second base by the time outfielder Delmon Young (notes) caught the ball.

Somebody please pop open the Unwritten Rule Book, because Rodriguez’s hustle apparently didn’t sit well with Penny, who glared and yelled at Rodriguez as he walked back to the Rays dugout. Rodriguez yelled back.

The exchange — which Detroit TV missed entirely, but Tampa Bay’s broadcast happened to catch live — seemed pretty mild as baseball yelling goes. But it appeared that Penny thought Rodriguez was showing him up by running hard.

Clearly exasperated, Brown points out why Rodriguez’s actions were justified:

It’s preferable to think that Penny is full of baloney, and that ballplayers should run as hard as they can whenever it’s feasible and advantageous. And you know what? It might have been advantageous for Rodriguez to run hard on that fly ball to shallow left field. There are at least three reasons why:

1. Professional ballplayers should run hard on every play, not only because they make a lot of money, but also because taking as many bases as possible is GOOD. Possible exceptions: injury/illness; pitchers who hit and don’t want to wear themselves out on “routine” plays; to decoy the opposing fielders.

2. Because Tropicana Field, with its translucent roof, unique electrical lighting and annoying catwalks, often plays haphazardly for outfielders. Balls get lost frequently up there.

3. Because Delmon Young was playing left field and, while he does have experience at the Trop, people don’t call him “Elmon” because he’s good on “D.” That ball might have dropped in — you never know.

More here, including Rays manager Joe Maddon’s “insane” response to Penny’s barking.

EDIT: Brown updated his post with this nugget: “Reporters finally tracked down Penny, who said via The Heater on Thursday that he was mad at Rodriguez for ‘screaming and cussing.’ … OK. Even though Penny was screaming (not sure about swearing) at Rodriguez? That screaming was OK? And what about the fact that Jim “Freaking” Leyland is the Tigers manager. He’s probably off somewhere swearing right now.”

Tags: MLB


Shakes at the Jake: “We Just Had a Freakin’ Earthquake!”


During yesterday afternoon’s Mariners-Indians game in Cleveland, tremors were felt in the Progressive Field press box. Incredibly, Shin-Soo Choo legged out a double as the shaking continued upstairs.

Tags: MLB

Holliday, Pagan Leave Their Games After TMI Incidents


An airborne creature hunting for untold riches buried itself deep into Matt Holliday’s right ear, forcing the left fielder from last night’s Dodgers-Cardinals game in the top of the eighth inning.

Meanwhile, issues with another orifice squeezed center fielder Angel Pagan from the Mets-Phillies game after the top of the fifth inning.

Tags: MLB

NFL Imposes Five-Game Ban on Pryor


Citing a desire to keep troubled NCAA players from using the NFL Supplemental Draft as a way to avoid NCAA sanctions, Commissioner Roger Goodell told Ohio State’s Terrell Pryor that if he entered the NFL Supplemental Draft, his NCAA five-game ban would become a NFL five-game ban. This is where it gets cloudy as early reporting indicated that Pryor had to accept the ban before Goodell would let him into the draft. Pryor indicated he’d accept this condition to get into the NFL, but later reports say he will appeal it with, NFLPA on his side:

Thursday, the former Ohio State QB earned a spot in the NFL’s supplemental draft, but was handed a five-game suspension, one that his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said they wouldn’t appeal.

But Pryor’s lawyer, David Cornwell, told ESPN Radio Friday that they planned to appeal the ban, incurred as a result of Pryor admitting to receiving illegal benefits as a collegiate player.

“(Commissioner Roger Goodell) indicated that we have the right to appeal within three days after Terrelle signs an NFL contract, and given some of the developments — both in reaching the decision and comments out of the (NFL Players Association) regarding the decision — I think it’s likely that we will file an appeal, and give the Players Association an opportunity to make its objections to this on the record,” Cornwell said.

Rosenhaus, who backed the deal, said NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith was involved in the decision with Goodell. The NFLPA planned to fight any suspension for Pryor relating to his time as an amateur, according to the NFL Network’s Albert Breer.

The NFL issued the ban as part of an effort to discourage college athletes using the league as an escape from amateur violations.

Stay tuned.

Tags: NFL


Raiders Draft Terrelle Pryor


Oakland gives up a third-round pick next year to acquire the Ohio State product in the supplemental draft — which seems at first blush a high price to pay.

But considering how the Bills coveted mobile QB Cam Newton, and given the fact that Buffalo acquired an extra fourth-round pick when they traded Lee Evans to the Ravens, you can’t fault the Raid for expecting the Bills to bid a fourth rounder. 

Tags: NFL

Oakland Raiders Pick Terrelle Pryor in the 3rd Round


As I wrote in my pre-season write-up on the Raiders, Al Davis loves a speed. And I guess Davis figured using next year’s 3rd round pick to get Pryor made sense. The only question is does Pryor play in the NFL as a QB or a receiver?

Tags: NFL

Ex-Hurricane Tyrone Moss vs. Yahoo! Sports


This is hilarious. Moss is denying he ever talked to Yahoo! Sports about taking cash and gifts from booster Nevin Shapiro:

“I never did a story,’’ Moss said from his parents’ home in Pompano Beach. “I never admitted to receiving $1,000 from anyone. I’ve never taken no phone call from anyone. I have not talked to anyone directly. I don’t know how this story got out about me, but it was a shame that I wake up and see all this negative publicity about me.

“I don’t know where they got those quotes from. …I never met him.’’

Oh really? Tyrone, over to you:

Gerry Ahern, managing editor for Yahoo! Sports colleges and investigations, told The Herald by phone Sunday that Moss’ phone interview was taped. Then, Yahoo! Sports investigative reporter Charles Robinson played the two parts of Moss’ interview that are in the main story that ran last Tuesday.

“We stand behind the story,’’ Ahern said. “Moss’ quotes were part of a taped on-the-record interview.’’

In the tape that was played for The Herald, Moss was asked, “That $1,000, did he [Shapiro] hit you with that the first time he met you?’’

Responded Moss: “Yeah, it was me and some other players with my incoming [class]. I’m not going to say the names, but you can probably figure them out yourself. When I was getting there my freshman year, it was me and a couple more players. … It was me and a few more of the guys in my incoming class that he kind of showed love to.’’

The second part of the tape that was played for The Herald on Sunday dealt with Axcess Sports agency. “Nevin basically was the front man,’’ Moss said on the tape. “Nevin got to be close one-on-one with a player. And when it was time to actually come out into the draft, it was like ‘You’re rolling with me and that agent.’ And the thing is, it was almost like he had given so much to where it was like you gotta ride with him with most players. That’s how that was.’

Tags: NCAA

Geaux Directly to Jail?


Problems in Bayou country:

Four LSU football players hired a defense attorney and put off a meeting with police about a bar fight that started when a patron honked at a crowd blocking his exit from a parking lot, Baton Rouge police said Sunday.

Quarterback Jordan Jefferson, offensive lineman Chris Davenport, defensive lineman Josh Johns and receiver Jarvis Landry had been asked to give their side of the story at police headquarters Monday, but attorney Nathan Fisher asked for a delay, Sgt. Donald Stone said.

Fisher requested “a 24 hour postponement so that he can meet with the players and get a better understanding of the incident,” he wrote in a news release. He said police would speak with Fisher on Monday to arrange the interviews.

Earlier, he said that the fight began when a driver honked his horn at a crowd blocking his way out of the bar’s parking lot. The driver was one of four people injured in the fight outside Shady’s Bar, according to a news release from Stone.

The football players weren’t asked to turn themselves in, Stone said in a telephone interview.

“They were asked to come in so they can be interviewed and tell their side of the story,” he said. The investigation will continue after that, and police may talk to other players, he said.

Stone said police interviewed four people who were treated and released — three for minor injuries and a fourth for a more serious injury that could bring a felony charge of second-degree battery. Some witnesses also have talked to police, he said.

Tags: NCAA

Scott Boras, Jered Weaver, and a $urprising Contract Extension


Hang on a sec: Mets shortstop Jose Reyes does not go with the supposedly uber-greedy Scott Boras as his agent but refuses to sign a handsome, hometown-discount contract extension mid-season, whereas Boras reps Angels pitcher Jered Weaver and yet the player agrees mid-season to a handsome, hometown-discount contract extension mid-season?


Tags: MLB

Baseball Reveille 8/22/11


Good morning, campers!

Here are recent links that will keep those dreaded TPS reports from being sent in on time:

Oversized outfielder Lucas Duda may be a quiet bloke but young Mets fans are excited.

Have a walk-off week!

Tags: MLB

I Went to See a Gunfight and a Raider Game Broke Out



The mayors of San Francisco and Oakland and the NFL called for an end to acts of violence at sporting events, after two men were shot and wounded following a San Francisco 49ers-Oakland Raiders preseason game.

Investigators Sunday looked for suspects and interviewed witnesses to the violence the night before in the parking lot at Candlestick Park after the matchup.

Motives for the shootings — including whether they were influenced by emotions surrounding a game involving fiercely rival teams — weren’t known.

But the shootings evoked memories of another recent disturbing act of post-game violence involving two rival California pro sports teams — the near-fatal beating this spring of a San Francisco Giants fan outside Dodger Stadium.

In Saturday’s attacks, a 24-year-old man, who reportedly was wearing a “F— the Niners” T-shirt, was shot several times in the stomach. Police said he managed to stumble to stadium security for help despite the severe injuries. He remained hospitalized in serious condition Sunday.

A second victim, a 20-year-old man, was treated for less serious wounds in a separate shooting, also after the game.

Sgt. Mike Andraychak said no arrests have been made and that police are looking for “a person of interest” connected to at least one of the shootings. He would not specify which shooting. Apart from the shootings, a third victim, a 26-year-old man, was also hospitalized in serious condition Sunday after he was knocked unconscious in a stadium bathroom during the game.

That attack appeared unrelated to the other two, police said.

The victims’ names have not been released as the violent spree overshadowed the 49ers’ 17-3 victory over the Raiders.

Tags: NFL

A Busy 48 Hours for Queens Park Rangers


Two days ago, AirAsia chief executive officer Tony Fernandes purchased a 66 percent stake in Queens Park Rangers of the English Premier League for a reported $57.6 million. The Malaysian tycoon has promised to run QPR like a “proper business.”

Earlier today, the West London club, newly promoted to the top tier, celebrated with an impressive road victory over Everton, its first victory in the EPL since 1996. More here.

Tags: Misc.

Free LoMo!


You don’t have to be a Marlins fan to appreciate the sentiments posted on this T-shirt. Logan Morrison may be MLB’s version of Livia Soprano: “between brain and mouth, there was no interlocutor.” Is it little wonder that the young outfielder has over 65,000 followers on Twitter? The Marlins’ recent demotion of Morrison, whose slash line this season is a respectable .249/.327/.464 with a .344 wOBA and 17 home runs, is generally viewed as punishment for not toeing the company line.

Tags: MLB

Cubs Fire GM Hendry


Multiple reports out of Chicago indicate that Jim Hendry, the Cubs’ general manager since 2002, has been canned. Despite having one of the highest payrolls, the Cubs are 54-70 and firmly entrenched in fifth place in the National League Central.

Tags: MLB

Bad Call Goes Against the Yankees (For a Change)


Perhaps unsurprisingly, MLB Advanced Media does not provide replay of Billy Butler’s long drive incorrectly ruled a home run, but allows us to hear some of the YES network’s broadcast booth commentary. Interestingly, manager Joe Girardi failed to lodge a protest immediately following the game, despite the heated insistence of several Yankees, including Mariano Rivera.

Tags: MLB

Biden Goes to China, Massive Brawl Ensues


The Veep is wheels down in China, and the next thing you know the Georgetown Hoyas — in country for a goodwill tour — are brawling with a Chinese semi-pro team during an exhibition game. Okay, so the one didn’t (necessarily) cause the other, but it’s a strange coincidence, no? 

This (admittedly partisan) account suggests things reached a boiling point after three quarters of comically lopsided foul calls against the Americans. It brings to mind the men’s World Cup last year and the rankly biased officiating.

Tags: NCAA

The ‘U’ Scandal Reaches Nancy Pelosi


Gird your loins! Business Insider:

Miami Booster Claims UFL Commissioner Provided Benefits To Student-Athletes

That would be UFL Commisioner Michael Huyghue, who is tied to Nancy Pelosi through her husband Paul’s ownership of the Sacramento Mountain Lions.

An excerpt from the Business Insider piece:

When the United Football League (UFL) was just beginning at the tail end of 2007, Michael Huyghue was asked to become the new league’s Commissioner.  Huyghue’s résumé spoke for itself.  He was Senior Vice President of Football Operations for the Jacksonville Jaguars prior to becoming the President and CEO of a successful Jacksonville, Florida based sports agency titled, Axcess Sports & Entertainment.   Upon receiving the offer from the UFL, Huyghue voluntarily relinquished his NFL Contract Advisor certification and focused all of his efforts on building the UFL product.

At one point in time, Huyghue represented NFL stars that included Jon Beason, Vince WilforkKyle Brady and Adam “Pacman” Jones.  It was well known that Huyghue and Axcess Sports & Entertainment recruited players from the University of Miami with the end goal of representing them in the NFL Draft and beyond.  What was not overtly alleged until earlier today, is that Michael Huyghue and Nevin Shapiro, on behalf of Axcess Sports & Entertainment, paid University of Miami student-athletes during the recruiting process.

Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports performed a masterful investigation regarding the benefits given to University of Miami student-athletes by former University of Miami booster Nevin Shapiro.  Michael Huyghue’s name appears a total of 14 times throughout Robinson’s article concerning that investigation.  The following is quoted from Robinson’s article.  It contains all 14 instances of Huyghue’s name.

Also among the revelations were damning details of [Nevin] Shapiro’s co-ownership of a sports agency – Axcess Sports & Entertainment – for nearly his entire tenure as a Hurricanes booster.   The same agency that signed two first-round picks from Miami, Vince Wilfork and Jon Beason, and recruited dozens of others while Shapiro was allegedly providing cash and benefits to players. In interviews with federal prosecutors, Shapiro said many of those same players were also being funneled cash and benefits by his partner at Axcess, then-NFL agent and current UFL commissioner Michael Huyghue.

Shapiro bought plane tickets for two of [Willis] McGahee’s female acquaintances to attend the 2002 Heisman Trophy ceremony and flew D.J. Williams’ mother from California to Miami to spend time with her son and meet with Shapiro’s partner at Axcess Sports, Michael Huyghue.

According to Shapiro, the system for recruiting players to sign with Axcess Sports was actually compartmentalized between himself and Huyghue. The booster would use his close relationship with players to make an introduction to Huyghue, and then he would retreat from agency talk from that point forward and leave it to Huyghue to grow his own relationship and sign the player.

And here’s how Street & Smith’s described the Huyghue/Pelosi/Pelosi partnership back in 2009:

Paul Pelosi, who has made money in real estate and stocks though his firm Financial Leasing Services Inc., was unavailable for comment. His wife is not an investor, Huyghue said, but her standing has been felt to some degree: Huyghue received a VIP ticket to the inauguration, and he said that 20 minutes after the ceremony, President Barack Obama walked up to Huyghue to congratulate him on the UFL.

Huyghue declined to comment on other members of Paul Pelosi’s ownership group.

The UFL is under financial pressure right now and there’s some uncertainty if there will be a 2011 season at all. But, hey. Since President Obama is a fan, maybe they’re up for some stimulus money.

Tags: NCAA

Allegations by Player at the University of Miami


Major kudos to Yahoo! Sports on this story. Here’s the latest — an interactive webpage that documents the allegations against each and every player or coach they’ve identified as a potential NCAA violation over the year-long investigation. Click on any name on the right margin to read the summary for that individual. For example, here’s NFL star Jonathan Vilma:

Jonathan Vilma was one of dozens of Hurricanes players named by Nevin Shapiro in recorded interviews with federal agents. During those interviews, the booster admitted supplying countless benefits to an array of Miami players from 2002 to 2010. Shapiro alleges he provided multiple extra benefits to Vilma during the player’s career with the Hurricanes. Among the benefits he claimed to have provided:

• Food, drinks and entertainment in Shapiro’s $2.7 million Miami Beach home.

• Entertainment on Shapiro’s $1.6 million yacht and personal watercraft.

• $2,250 in bounties. Shapiro said the bounties were: $1,000 for a hit and personal foul penalty by Vilma on Florida State quarterback Chris Rix during Miami’s 28-27 win on Oct. 12, 2002; $250 for a sack in a 38-33 win over Florida on Sept. 6, 2003; and $1,000 for a hit on Rix in a 16-14 win over Florida State on Jan. 1, 2004.

• Cash gifts.

• Drinks and VIP access in nightclubs.

• Meals at Miami-area eateries on multiple occasions.

Then Yahoo! goes on to document their evidence. I hate to say it, but I don’t think the proverbial NCAA “death penalty” is out of the question here.

Tags: NCAA

‘Death Penalty’ for U. of Miami Football?


Whoa. CBS Miami reports:

Former University of Miami booster, and federal convict, Nevin Shapiro said his evidence will spark the NCAA’s most severe punishment that could bring about the end of football at the University of Miami.

In an exclusive interview with CBS4’s Jim Berry, Shapiro said the information the NCAA has in its possession is “going to be so detailed and to the truth that it will be impossible for any former players or current players to go around it.”

Shapiro said for the first time that not only was it players who sought favor with him, but also Hurricanes football staff was involved. According to Shapiro’s attorney, Maria Elena Perez, the information first came out under questioning by federal officials and bankruptcy trustee attorneys.

Shapiro is at the heart of an NCAA investigation and his involvement with the school dates back to 2001-2002. Shapiro’s attorney has claimed that he provided UM players with the use of a yacht and various other favors.

In the interview with Berry, Shapiro was tight-lipped waiting for more information to come out, possibly as soon as Tuesday evening. But, he did reveal who he thinks is at fault and some of the things he was able to do with the program.

“The university, because of the desire to put money first, I was given carte blanche to do things I shouldn’t have been able to do,” Shapiro told CBS4. “I led the team out of the tunnel twice in the Orange Bowl.”

In CBS4’s video archives, Shapiro is seen in front of the tunnel as the Canes entered the field before a game. He is also shown getting excited after a kickoff return was taken back for a touchdown and jumping onto the field.

Shapiro said that he was “hurt” by his treatment by the very players he once thought of as friends. But, “there’s no jealousy or envy of the money they make, their position in life, none.”

The rest here.

Tags: NCAA


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