In the latest example of strange celebrity bedfellows is the story of one famous NFL head coach who is a huge fan of one famous made-for-TV judge. 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh is an admirer of one Judge Judy and Monday's episode featured Harbaugh and his dad Jack in attendance. Harbaugh compared the NFL Combine to an appearance on Judge Judy and that quote was even included in a promo for the show in the Bay Area. Via CBS San Francisco...
Players from around Major League Baseball were asked in a recent poll to name their favorite non-sports TV program. Which did they say was their favorite? If you read the title of this article you probably already know the answer, but the majority of players chose A&E's Duck Dynasty as their top TV show to watch.
Of the players polled, 28% sided with the Robertson family. Are you surprised? You shouldn't be. The ratings for Duck Dynasty have been through the roof. The final episode in their third season drew 9.6 million viewers. If you're unfamiliar with the program, give it a shot and try not to laugh at Uncle Si. He's like an older, more senile version of Kramer.
After the Miami Heat defeated the Indiana Pacers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, TNT signed off with their NBA coverage for the 2012-2013 season. I have to be honest with you, I fell asleep watching Inside the NBA tonight (must have been the Bieber fatigue) and woke up at this exact moment. The crew in their "Gone Fishin" gear and Shaquille O'Neal nearly falling off the set with a fishing pole yelling "I'VE GOT A CHUCK WHALE ON THE LINE!"
Somehow, in that moment and with zero context all of this - Shaquille O'Neal being helped up by production assistants, Ernie Johnson shaking his head at the absurdity of it, Kenny Smith yelling "GET THAT ON A T-SHIRT, and Charles Barkley smiling and clapping - seemed quite normal and acceptable.
That in a nutshell is the artistic brilliance of Inside the NBA.
The above pic of Justin Bieber attending Monday night's Pacers-Heat Game 7 in a leather shirt, gold chains, indoor shades, and Miami Heat hat quickly went viral. And is that lip gloss? Hey, at least give the kid credit for appearing to escape the clutches of Keyshawn Johnson for a night. The Biebs (with his bodyguard standing behind him, presumably blocking the view of actual fans in attendance) represents all the negative stereotypes about the Heat and their fans. Namely, Heat fans are all frontrunners. And the Biebs may be the biggest of all. This single pic will actually drive more fans to the Spurs for the NBA Finals than Tim Duncan helping elderly ladies across the street, doing his taxes, or whatever it is he actually does.
Why, it was in ALL THE WAY BACK IN NOVEMBER Justin Bieber claimed in an interview with ESPN's Playbook that he's been a lifelong Lakers fan. When asked who his favorite team and player was, Bieber pledged his allegiance to the Lakers and said this:
"I love the Lakers, so I have to go with Kobe [Bryant]. He has unbelievable natural talent and he works harder than just about anyone in the league."
And here we thought LeBron James was the worst in shameless Heat frontrunners! Somewhat normal looking teenage Justin, we hardly knew ye...
In what is becoming a dangeous trend for MLB on Fox, Baseball Night in America once again lost the ratings battle to the NHL on NBC. Fox's MLB coverage, headlined by the Red Sox and Yankees, drew 3.27 million viewers while NBC's Bruins-Penguins matchup drew 3.43 million. Both games drew a 2.5 overnight rating, which was actually a high point for MLB on Fox so far this season.
There were strong emotions on display during Sunday's Canada-U.S. women's soccer friendly, and those emotions boiled over when Canadian-born striker Sydney Leroux scored the match's final goal in stoppage time to give the U.S. a 3-0 lead. Leroux followed that goal with a celebration that involved shushing the crowd and pointing to the U.S. crest on her jersey, and that caused plenty of Canadian fans and media members to react strongly. One of the most notable reactions came from former Canadian men's national team goalie Craig Forrest, who was serving as Sportsnet's colour analyst for the match. Here's how he reacted to Leroux's goal and celebration:
Here's a transcription of Forrest's comments after the goal and Leroux's celebration. "Oh, she's really full of class, isn't she? You can have her! YOU CAN HAVE HER!" Play-by-play man Gerry Dobson then adds "That's called rubbing it in," and Forrest breaks back in with "Are you kidding me! Every step of the way! That's way too American for me. And she got a yellow card. That's more like it. You know what she is, the word class...classless."
What's interesting is that Forrest's comments proved to be a key factor in the subsequent firestorm that erupted on Twitter and elsewhere. As ProSoccerTalk's Richard Farley writes, those comments encouraged a lot of the angry Canadian responses and also outraged a lot of Americans (once word of them spread across the border: ESPN had their own feed of the game and Leroux's goal, which didn't involve any such comments):
On the surface, Sportsnet’s remarks lazily play into an insensitive trope – the stereotype of the brash American – but said in the context of a 3-0 loss, as boos rained down on Leroux from a near-capacity BMO crowd, the comment carried none of the levity usually associated with the innocent jibes that often target Americans. It was bitter. It was ugly. It was reactionary and slightly venomous. The missive was a xenophobic response to a source of legitimate frustration, one with which U.S. fans could otherwise empathize. ...
If xenophobic commentary like Sportsnet’s becomes common, would if be fair of me to label it as “too Canadian”? Regardless of the source? Or if Sportsnet’s broadcasters don’t like this response, can they lump similar critiques in with their “too American” missive? Or perhaps we shouldn’t go there at all. Perhaps we should just learn not to begrudge athletes their responses, just as we should learn to respect the decisions of Leroux, Rossi, Sesselman, Owen Hargreaves, Neven Subotic, and Jonathan de Guzman.
Sydney Leroux’s goal at BMO did little to change the dynamic between her and her country of birth. Nor did her celebration. The only thing that changed was the language surrounding the conflict. And unfortunately, it’s changed for the worse.
Meanwhile, the Leroux debate heated up even further Monday with her sending out a tweet accusing Canadian fans of racist chants, something that can lead to severe FIFA sanctions or bans. U.S. Soccer later said she wasn't referring to Sunday's game, but there's still likely going to be a long and messy investigation into that. Even before that, though, it's worth critically examining Forrest's comments. Are they what you'd expect from a former national team athlete turned broadcaster, or did he cross a line? Should Sportsnet ask for a higher standard of professionalism from Forrest, or do Canadian fans want an unabashedly home team perspective and thoughts on American players' class or lack thereof? There should be plenty of debates around this one, and the Leroux situation's just getting started. Just wait until she and the rest of the American team head to Canada in 2015 for the Women's World Cup...
Bernardo LaPollo attended Saturday's Yankees-Red Sox game in the Bronx. So did 48,783 other people. But Bernardo LaPollo was the only one who claims to have been born in 1901. That predates all of the Yankees' 27 World Series victories and coincides with the founding of the franchise as the Baltimore Orioles. LaPollo also has the claim of shaking hands with both Babe Ruth and Derek Jeter.
LaPollo isn't like those other lame 111 year olds just waiting for their time to finally expire - he's out taking on the world. Look at this guy! He puts Bob Costas and his boyish charm to shame with how well he's beat Father Time into submission. LaPollo doesn't look a day over 60 and may be in better physical condition than half the Yankees bullpen.
Now, in the wake of his newfound publicity, there are folks trying to rain on LaPollo's parade disputing his age and saying he was born in 1910 instead of 1901. This would ONLY MAKE HIM 102 YEARS OLD!!!! Are you kidding me?!?! For this guy to be walking around the Yankee Stadium field and being closer to suiting up than Alex Rodriguez would be an accomplishment for anyone over 75. I don't care if he's 102, 111, or anywhere in between - this modern day Methuselah has found the proverbial fountain of youth. And, he gives a very coherent, interesting interview as witnessed with Fox's Ken Rosenthal.
Best of all, I think we just found our new frontrunner to replace Tim McCarver!
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