DRAFT: Pierre Thomas, RB, Saints Thomas broke out last year with 625 yards on just 129 carries. He also scored 9 rushing touchdowns and had another 3 TDs through the air on 31 receptions. Of course, Thomas will still have to split some carries with Reggie Bush again this year. But it looks like the Saints will continue to give Thomas the majority of the 4, 5 and 6-yard carries while Bush continues to lock down the 2 and 3-yard gains.
August 12, 2009 Column
Stuff You Might Have Heard
Tony LaRussa brings in Capricorn to pitch to a Leo
St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa, with the bases full of Cancers last night and only one out, pulled his Gemini starter to bring in a Capricorn reliever to pitch to a Leo. "It was a crucial point in the game. Things were aligned," said LaRussa. "I needed that Capricorn-Leo match-up. Capricorn and Leo don't mesh well and I hoped it would result in a strikeout or double play." Unfortunately for LaRussa, his move produced a bases-clearing double, but he says he is glad he played the odds: "It's no more insane than batting the pitcher eighth."
Rick Pitino hoped the sordid details of his personal life wouldn't affect his results on the court. But now it appears rival coaches are using the details of the Louisville head coach's affair against him in the always cutthroat battle for elite recruits.
The mother of five-star prospect John White says she began receiving calls from other coaches minutes after the Pitino news broke.
"They all said pretty much the same thing: 'Mrs. White, do not send your child to Louisville. Rick Pitino could abort him,'" claimed Sheila White. "I told them that my John is 17-years-old and 6-foot-9, 240 pounds, making aborting him very unlikely but they all insisted that Rick is capable of anything. Do I think it's likely? No. But is it worth the risk of sending my son to Louisville? Probably not. They made a good argument."
Myron Haney, the top-ranked point guard prospect in the country who already verbally committed to Louisville, says he has received texts from coaches of other programs about the Pitino news.
"Everyone is trying to get me to de-commit," said Haney. "They said that this will be a big distraction for Coach Pitino and it's in my best interest to go elsewhere. And, also, if I disappoint him in any way a down season, a missed free throw, not rotating quick enough on defense he may try to do away with me, especially because I'm not his own flesh and blood."
But Haney says that makes him want to go to Louisville even more.
"Am I scared? Sure. But I love a challenge," he said. "I didn't get this far in basketball by being scared and I am motivated to make it through four years at Louisville without Coach Pitino snuffing me out."
A fellow coach in the Big East, who asked to remain anonymous, says he is not ashamed by his new recruiting pitch of questionable ethics.
"This is a dirty business. We all know the rules," he said. "You do what you have to do to get top recruits. Heck, Rick has been telling recruits for years about the time I killed that hooker at the conference tournament."
Our reporter spent the day at San Diego Chargers training camp in San Diego. Here are his notes.
> With the contracts of Philip Rivers, Shawne Merriman, Darren Sproles, Chris Chambers, Vincent Jackson and Marcus McNeill all set to expire after the season, there is a definite sense in Chargers camp that the window of opportunity is closing. Plus, the Broncos, Chiefs and Raiders can't possibly suck to this degree for much longer, right?
> The Chargers are motivated to change the perception that they are soft. As such, they have begun attending therapy sessions to talk about how that perception hurts them.
> Despite turning 30 and coming off the worst season of his career, LaDainian Tomlinson says he is better than ever. And if he can be only 10 times better than Shaun Alexander was under similar circumstances at age 30, the Chargers might have an adequate complimentary back in Tomlinson this year.
> This is a photo I took at camp of Darren Sproles -> . It is magnified to 200-percent of life-size.
> You know how as a reporter you are supposed to be all impartial and everything? Well, despite all that it took the entirety of my will to stop myself from walking up and kicking Philip Rivers in the nuts.
> They are apparently still letting Norv Turner coach this talented team. Really.
CLAIRTON, NY > Triathlon
Holtz, 44, competed in the Hudson River Triathlon this weekend his first-ever triathlon and finished third-to-last. However, the completion of the grueling physical test allowed him to work through some inner demons about his father never loving him or some crap like that. Having to do a triathlon to feel like you are loved is a bit sadistic, yes, but this guy is also going through a midlife crisis. While he is still balding and is still increasingly impotent (something that wasn't helped by all the bike training), he knows he is at least capable of completing a triathlon. So that's a feather in his sad, pathetic cap.
Renowned sports orthopaedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews passed away today while conducting a botched – and quite painful – surgery on the injured shoulder of Dr. James Andrews.
“Unfortunately Dr. Andrews was the only one who could perform these delicate procedures,” said longtime apprentice Dr. Michael McGee. “I learned all I could these past 22 years, but I never could quite get the hang of it.”
Dr. Andrews tore his rotator cuff playing badminton at a family reunion this weekend and, upon an MRI revealing the tear, chose to go under the knife after consulting with himself.
The surgeon attempted the surgery at his Birmingham, Alabama, practice, bypassing anesthesia to keep a steady hand and using a mirror to be able to see the back of his shoulder.
“Dr. Andrews is exquisitely skilled,” said Dr. McGee. “And things were going well – he was biting down on a stick to deal with the pain – but then I dropped the mirror and things went bad.”
Suddenly unable to see the back of his shoulder, Dr. Andrews nicked an artery, began to bleed heavily and then passed out.
“I didn’t know what to do,” said Dr. McGee. “I’ve spent all this time trying to learn how to do all of these fancy surgeries and everything, that I totally forgot basic first aid.”
In a panic and not thinking clearly, Dr. McGee said he tried to perform Tommy John surgery on Andrews’ elbow to fix his mentor’s now gushing shoulder, but that only made the bleeding worse. Within a half hour, the renowned surgeon bled out and died.
“I want to apologize to Dr. Andrews’ family,” said Dr. McGee. “And also to all of the athletes he was going to treat in the future. I guess they will just have to retire now. Like an old Indian chief whose language dies with him, Dr. Andrews’ complicated sports surgeries die with him, too.”
The Buffalo Bills have adopted the no-huddle offense in training camp thanks to the influence of offensive coordinator and noted existentialist Turk Schonert.
"We reject the structure and necessity of a huddle. We will not be defined by it," said Schonert. "We believe in nothingness. We have stripped ourselves of the huddle and we are free. Also, we think the no-huddle will allow us to dictate the pace of the game and put up some points."
Schonert, a former quarterback at Stanford, studied existential thinkers in a philosophy class at the university and says it has impacted his play-calling throughout his career as a coach.
"I have always identified with existentialism," he said. "But there is such an established structure in football, we are so defined by the huddle, that I could never break free of those limitations."
But then something spurred him to take that leap.
"I had to coach JP Losman," he said. "If that doesn't lead you to question the point of a huddle, to question the meaning of life as a whole, there is something wrong."
Head coach Dick Jauron doesn't care about Schonert's philosophical approach to football and life, he just wants to win games.
"I don't know the first thing about exit-whatever Turk talks about," he said. "It all sounds pretty fay to me. I just want to win. I need to win or I'll lose my job. Turk tells me that makes me a utili-something."
But while Schonert espouses the no-huddle, others are not so sure.
"As the German philosopher Herbert Marcuse said, existentialism projects anxiety and meaningless into all aspects of life," said new Bills receiver Terrell Owens. "And Marcuse's criticism was apt. We will be full of anxiety without the huddle, without talking through the play. And I fear this approach will only make Bills football more meaningless. I already didn't really want to play here."
August 11, 2009 Column
Stuff You Might Have Heard
Catcher accuses pitcher of throwing at him
Tensions flared last night when White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski came out from behind the plate to accuse White Sox starting pitcher Mark Buehrle of throwing at him. "You've been doing it all night, you piece of sh!t," yelled the combative Pierzynski. "What's your problem?" White Sox batters have been hit the fifth most times in the league this year, but Pierzynski says it's the catchers who have it the worst. "Every inning, it's the same thing. I'm just trying to sit there and call pitches, and these guys are chucking balls right at me at 85 and 95 mph." If it continues, Pierzynski says he may have to start wearing padding and other protection.
Fantasy football team names have grown stale. Again.
This happens every few years. When fantasy sports first went mainstream, team names were pretty generic. You'd use your name and get something like Jim's All-Stars. Or you'd combine your hometown with your favorite team: The Bridgeport Cowboys.
Once that got old, everyone tried funny. Andy Reid's Love Handles. Ray-Ray's Dance Brigade. Some were funny. Most weren't.
Then funny quickly segued into attempts at being offensive. And that's where we are today. So this season you'll have teams in your league with names like Big Ben's Broken TV and Donte Stallworth's Roadkill. But here's the thing about offensive: it gets tired fast. I mean, when I was 11-years-old and another kid would use the F-word, it would wow me. Now? Not so much.
But where does that leave us? We still need to name our fantasy teams.
It's time for something new. It's time for fantasy team naming to evolve again. It's time we come up with names that will really rattle the other team owners in your league.
As offensive as Donte Stallworth's Roadkill may be, how is that helping you win your fantasy league? Unless Donte Stallworth is in your league and it's putting him off his game, it's not.
You need to rattle the other people in your league. Target the guy you think is your biggest threat to the title and think of a secret you know about him. Or something embarrassing. Then use it for your team name.
Chances are your 2009 fantasy football team will have a name something like this
Steve Has Halitosis
Ask Bob About His Pending Bankruptcy
Derek Has Low Sperm Count
Stop Asking Me To Swingers Parties, Jeff
Mrs. Thompson: Fat and Infertile
How's Your Gay Son, Will?
1 Ron + 2 Beers = 3 Hours Of Racism
Greg's Wife? Fingered Her In High School
Greg's Mom? Fingered Her In High School
Greg? Fingered Him In High School
No One Wants You In The League, Ray
AVOID: Brian Westbrook, RB, Eagles While an elite fantasy running back when healthy, Westbrook has battled injuries throughout his career. Now at age 30, he suffered a high-ankle sprain at mini-camp and is coming off of arthroscopic knee surgery. Plus, the Eagles drafted Westbrook's eventual replacement: LeSean McCoy. So put a huge question mark beside Westbrook for this season. Because, obviously: his fantasy potential is questionable. But, also and you may not realize this the question mark (?) was created to look like it does to visually represent Brian Westbrook's broken legs.