Friday, June 24, 2011

Foul Territory: Breaks, Bribes, and Big Three

By Jeffrey Boswell

* Forearm Shiver, or Cast-Away — Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols will miss 4-6 weeks with a fractured wrist from a collision with a base runner over the weekend. Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa, when asked how the team would fare without their star, considered the question carefully, then asked to sleep on it, in his car, at a stoplight.

* Over the Hill, Gang, or Back By Grandpop-ular Demand, or Just Like "Old" Times — 80-year-old Jack McKeon was named interim manager of the Florida Marlins on Monday, nearly six years after he retired from the same position. McKeon took over for Edwin Rodriguez, who resigned on Sunday, with the Marlins in last place and saddled with a 1-18 record in June. McKeon craftily bridged the generation gap between himself and his youthful squad by unveiling his own stash of performance-enhancing drugs, and shocked his team by showing them a legitimate prescription for his PEDs.

* Devil Without a Pause, or Digit-al Undergraduate, or This Little Piggy Went to Market — The Cleveland Cavaliers snagged Duke freshman Kyrie Irving with the No. 1 pick in Thursday's NBA draft in Newark, New Jersey. Irving, who played in only 11 games last season for the Blue Devils because of an injury to his right big toe, insisted the toe is fully healed. With Irving's right foot such a hot topic of conversation in the New Jersey area, many onlookers were surprised that New York Jets coach Rex Ryan wasn't in attendance.

* Calm With Aplomb, or Time Off For Good Behavior — U.S. Open champ Rory McIlroy will take three weeks off before returning to action for the British Open at Sandwich, England in mid-July. McIlroy said he fully expects to be able to handle the pressure that comes with being the heir apparent to Tiger Woods. McIlroy, and nearly all of Woods former mistresses, would agree, there's quite a bit more fame and fortune to be had in being the "next Tiger Woods" as opposed to being "Tiger Woods' next."

* Standing Pat, or Erik the "Instead" — Miami Heat president Pat Riley said he has no plans to coach, offering support to head coach Erik Spoelstra, and said the Heat will contend for the NBA championship for years to come. Riley said he expects LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh to work hard to improve during the offseason, and Riley expressed optimism that the Big Three could make a big three should the Heat return to the Finals.

* Chad's Producer Should Be Very Careful When He Asks to "Go to a Break" — Miami Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington plans to skip the 2011 season while recovering from shoulder and knee injuries, and will instead work as an analyst for FOX Sports. Pennington has the charisma and knowledge to be a fine analyst, but, as his oft-injured reputation would suggest, he appears imminently more qualified as a "sideline" reporter.

* Wing's to Go, or Jagr Bomb-shell, or Pay Czech — Jaromir Jagr's agent said the Penguins and Red Wings are the front-runners in the race to sign the 39-year-old wing looking to make his NHL comeback. Jagr said he didn't know when he would make a decision, but welcomed interested parties to watch him ponder the situation on a television special called "The Decision on Ice."

* Am-nasty International, or Criminal Mic-Chief, or Resident Evil, or FIFA Kicks Back, or Son of a Pitch! — FIFA, the world's soccer governing body, said it had "compelling" evidence that Asian Football Confederation chief Mohamed "Mo' Money" bin Hammam and FIFA vice-president Jack "Boot" Warner conspired to bribe voters in the organization's presidential election. FIFA suspended the two, so, ironically, it turns out they did, in fact, pay for it.

* Refund, Yes, Yes, Yes, or She Can Hit a The Bottle, But Not a Note — British singer Amy Winehouse canceled part of her European tour after an erratic performance in Belgrade, Serbia in which she stumbled on stage and had trouble remembering lyrics. Winehouse's performance was reminiscent of pretty much any of her other concerts, or of Christina Aguilera's singing of the national anthem.

* Wolf Blitzer, or Kurt(esy) Flush — The Minnesota Timberwolves fired head coach Kurt Rambis on Thursday. Rambis was 32-132 in two years as the T-Wolves coach, and his relationship with general manager David Kahn had deteriorated over the course of the season to the point where they barely spoke. Insiders say the two rarely said "hello," but had no trouble at all saying "goodbye." Kahn justified the move by saying the only rings the T-Wolves would ever see with Rambis as coach were the ones Rambis himself was wearing.

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