Friday, March 02, 2012
A day after Pittsburgh acquired pitcher A.J. Burnett from the Yankees he literally knocks himself out of the lineup and is expected to miss two to three months while recovering from surgery for a facial fracture. He was injured when he fouled a ball off his face Wednesday during a bunting drill.
Should have stayed in the American League where pitchers never pick up a bat.
So last season Burnett was paid all that money to blow games. This season he gets paid not to play.
Roger Dean Whitt wanted to do a good deed when he approached a Florida Highway Patrol trooper in a Steak 'n Shake parking lot this week to turn in driver license he found.
But Whitt's discovery wasn't as interesting as his unusual makeup, alcohol-infused breath and the drug pipe reportedly found in his gold purse.
Whitt, 59, was wearing makeup that made him look like a masked robber when he approached the trooper at about 4 a.m. Monday outside the Merritt Island restaurant.
Whitt also also had an image of a rabbit painted on his cheek.
The Merritt Island island man spontaneously insisted the trooper should inspect his bag on his right arm and was charged with possessing drug paraphernalia after the trooper found the pipe, a report said.
It had marijuana residue on it, the report said.
The trooper also found "assorted makeup and other personal products normally used by females."
Whitt said this about the pipe: "That's mine, I use it as an incense burner to burn "Mojo'" or synthetic marijuana, according to the FHP report.
What is wrong with America? When did it become illegal paint a rabbit on your face while wearing a vest with no shirt and smoking fake weed? What kind of cop arrests a Good Samaritan? This just makes cynics of us all.
Great MLB has added another wild car team to both leagues. But over the past 18 years that extra playoff team would have provided the Blue Jays with just one playoff appearance in 1998. So will this actually mean anything for the Jays?
Well it's hard to predict how management would have reacted in the past if there had been another wild car team to compete for. By the MLB trading deadline the Jays were so far back that they were usually sellers and almost never buyers. So perhaps two or three times they might have actually pushed for the second wild car spot if it had been available.
So what is really different now? Not too much because 80 to 85 wins will still not get you into the playoffs. More like 90 or more will be the target. The low spending Jays just haven't had much success in manufacturing that many wins in the competitive AL East. Since the Jays remain in the East that won't change. Lets not forget the spending spree by the Angels and Tigers during he off season. The competition will be tougher than ever.
Sure Alex Anthopolous has done a great job in rebuilding the farm system and stocking it with good young talent. Our hopes remain in the belief that he will create a team that can compete with a payroll south of $100 million. It could happen this year but like every other season there are a lot of "ifs" that need to happen.
The bullpen has been completely rebuilt and should be on par with the better relief staffs in the AL. But when you look at the starters there is a lot of potential but few guarantees.
We all know that Ricky Romero can hold his own against any starter in baseball. After that we can only keep out fingers crossed. Brandon Morrow has great stuff but is inconsistent. So if he finds his consistency then the Jays have a great one-two at the top of the order. Then there is Brett Cecil who had a great rookie season two years ago but was a disaster last season. He has come to camp 35 pounds lighter so if he regains his velocity and control then the Jays have a solid number three guy. Henderson Alvarez was the big surprise last season when he was brought up straight from AA ball. So if he can continue to develop and not slip back in his sophomore year then the number four spot is fine. Finally if Dustin McGowan can stay health or if Kyle Drabek can mature into a major leaguer this season then the Jays rotation would be complete. That's a lot of "ifs". Normally teams with so many question marks run into a few disappointments along the way. Unless someone else comes out of nowhere to surprise us, there may not be enough pitching to contend.
Wilt Chamberlain didn't just tower over his peers, he left records that endured for decades.
And for 50 years, one mighty number has stood as the Mount Everest of sport's magic numbers.
At 25, Chamberlain was already a legend. Playing at 7-foot-1 and 260 pounds for the Philadelphia Warriors, Chamberlain held the single-game record of 78 points (in three overtimes) and the regulation mark of 73 in January 1962.
His legendary game on March 2, 1962 was played in Hershey Sports Arena in front of barely 4,000 people who paid $2.50 to see the game against the Nicks. There were no TV cameras. Sports writers were scarce. Yet like Woodstock in 1969 the number of people who later claimed they were there to witness history was huge.
Kobe Bryant came close with 81 points in the era of the 3-pointer. Michael Jordan never hit 70 points.
I can't even imagine that kind of scoring binge. I wish I had seen. No I wasn't there. I was still a 5th grader at Palmerston Public School.
Thursday, March 01, 2012
An auto corrected text message, accidentally sent to the wrong number, was the catalyst to lockdowns Wednesday at West Hall middle and high schools.
Just before noon, law enforcement and school officials issued the lockdowns after a West Hall community member reported a threatening text message.
The text, saying "gunman be at west hall today," was received and reported to police around 11:30 a.m. But after police tracked the number, they learned the auto correct feature on the new cellphone changed "gunna" to "gunman."
The message being sent to the wrong number added to the confusion.
As law enforcement learned of the text message, the schools were notified to go into lockdown as authorities investigated the origins of the message.
"The school system always relies on law enforcement for school safety and anytime they request a lockdown we go with that request," said Gordon Higgins, Hall County Schools spokesman. "We always take every precaution concerning a potential threat or danger."
Authorities say the person who received the message "did the right thing."
"It was a combination of odd circumstances," said Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks of the Hall County Sheriff's Office. "We want to emphasize that the recipient did the right thing in reporting the message."
Hall Superintendent Will Schofield said in a statement that locking down the campuses was "standard procedure" and he was pleased with the handling of the situation.
"I am extremely proud of our school team members as they handled a challenging situation well," he said. "While this event caused a great deal of anxiety among students, staff and parents, be assured that we will always err on the side of caution when it comes to the safety of our boys and girls."
Florida police have arrested a 26-year-old meth user who they believe set a massive brush fire that burned down one of the oldest trees in the United States last month.
Sara Barnes, 26, of Winter Park, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with setting the blaze that destroyed a 3,500-year-old bald cypress, known as “The Senator,” at Big Tree Park in Longwood, north of Orlando, last month, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Barnes told police that she regularly hid out in the park to get high, and on Jan. 16, she lit a fire so she could see better. The fire got out of control and spread to the 125-foot state treasure.
A local reported the fire at around 5:45 a.m., and more than a dozen firefighters responded to the scene, weaving more than 800 feet of hose through nearly a mile of the forest’s dense brush.
The hollow tree burned for more than three hours from inside out, creating a chimney effect, before collapsing.
Just 25 feet of charred bark remained standing.
Police said Barnes told some pals about the fire, and a tipster eventually alerted police.
During a raid on her apartment on Tuesday, cops found methamphetamine, a glass pipe and other drug paraphernalia, as well as pictures of the tree fire on Barnes’ laptop and cellphone.
One source told local station WFTV that Barnes had showed the pics to pals and bragged, “I can’t believe I burned down a tree older than Jesus.”
The Senator was the oldest Pond Bald Cypress in the United States, and the fifth-oldest tree on the planet.
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
A driver with a "sexual anus plug in his rectum" was jailed after investigators say he rear-ended another driver and had more than five times the legal limit of alcohol in his blood, according to a recently released arrest affidavit.
What could be called the case of the soused driver with the sex toy in his hindquarters happened about 11:20 a.m. Feb. 24 as Martin County Sheriff's investigators went to a two-vehicle crash at U.S. 1 and Seabranch Boulevard in Hobe Sound.
A deputy determined Kevin Brann, 41, had rear-ended another vehicle. Officials also determined Brann smelled strongly of alcohol.
Brann's speech was slurred and mumbled, his eyes bloodshot and glassy. A deputy gave Brann, who'd urinated in his pants, field sobriety exercises before arresting him on a DUI with property damage charge. Brann "soiled himself" en route to the slammer.
"The defendant had a sexual anus plug in his rectum, which he removed, or it fell out in the rear of my patrol car," an affidavit states.
The length, girth and color of the "sexual anus plug in his rectum" was not listed in the affidavit. Also not specified was the make and model of the plug and an explanation of how it ended up in his bottom.
University of Georgia soccer player is charged with trying to steal an order of hashbrown potatoes in her pants.
According to UGA police records, Carli Shultis, 19, was arrested around 8:30 a.m. Feb. 21 at the Bulldog Cafe in the Tate Center on campus.
The student newspaper, The Red & Black, obtained a copy of the police report, which stated that a food services worker detained Shultis after seeing her attempt to steal the potatoes while making a food purchase.
Shultis admitted to a police officer that she had stuffed the hashbrowns in her pants to avoid paying for them, the Red & Black reported.
Shultis also told police that she had enough money to pay for the hashbrowns, which were valued at $1.06, the paper said.
The police report also stated that Shultis removed the hashbrowns from her pants and tried to put them back on the food counter when she realized she'd been spotted.
She was arrested and taken to the Clarke County jail. She also received a one-year ban from campus eateries.
Mom is not going to be happy with this news. Arresting her is a bit extreme but the ban makes sense. They probably called the police to give her a bit of a scare. Perhaps she was exhibiting some attitude.
After eight years running a bar, Laura Maggi suddenly found men beating a path to her door.
Not for the quality of her coffee and aperitifs, but because she had started appearing for work in highly revealing outfits.
Hundreds of male customers flocked there day and night, leaving their cars double parked in the surrounding streets.
Congestion became such a problem that the lady mayor announced she was considering an emergency bylaw to limit traffic in the area.
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Orthodox Jewish high school team forced to forfeit Texas state semifinal game because it conflicts with Sabbath
An Orthodox Jewish high school in Texas is forfeiting a chance at a state tournament run after the most successful regular season in school history because times for playoff games conflicted with its worship of the Jewish Sabbath.
The Houston (Texas) Beren Academy boys basketball team announced on Monday that it would forfeit the Stars' scheduled state semifinal game in the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools Class 2A state tournament because its scheduled game time conflicts with the Jewish Sabbath.
As scheduled, Beren was set to face off against Dallas (Texas) Covenant School at 9 p.m. on Friday, after sundown to begin the Sabbath. Beren officials filed an official appeal of the game time with the TAPPS state office , but that motion was denied, sending Dallas Covenant on to the state title game without having to hit a single shot in the semifinal.
The team had already rescheduled two prior playoff games to keep its magical 23-win season alive, playing a first round game against Austin (Texas) Hill Country School at 8 p.m. on a Saturday evening (after Sabbath was officially over) and moving the start time of its third-round game from 7:30 p.m. to noon on Friday.
Victories in those matchups set up a shocking semifinal for Beren, a tiny Orthodox Jewish school of just 67 total students in Houston. At 23-5, the 2011-12 campaign finished as unquestionably the best in school history, even if students are now left feeling cheated out of a potential state title game appearance by devotion to the very faith they share.
It's nice to see that the Texas educational system doesn't feel that diversity is something that children in the state should value. The Jews got far enough lets make sure that real Texans take the championship.
According to Heidi, her blog Tit Thinks It's People has received 50,000 views in a mere 3 weeks.
Below is Groucho. Enjoy!
One Malverne couple was enjoying the mild night Thursday when they became covered by sludge as a plane taking off from Kennedy Airport flew overhead.
“A plane was coming over. Next thing you know she says ‘Oh my God it’s raining.’ I said ‘No it’s not’,” Artie Hughes told 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon.
“Some black liquid, black oil came off on her face, and I walked around and I looked and said ‘Oh my God.’ There was quarter-sized, nickel-sized, dime-sized drops all over my deck, my barbecue, my table,” he said.
Thinking something was wrong with the plane, they called police.
“It was oily in substance, blackish-greenish oil. I thought it was hydraulic fluid and then the policeman came down and said ‘No I don’t think so. Looks like something nastier than that’,” Hughes said.
The officer suspected it was most likely treated sewage, returning after making several phone calls for confirmation.
“He had spoken to somebody down at either the Port Authority or the FAA and said ‘Yeah, it looks like there was an incident,” he said. “Some lavatory excrement had leaked out.”
Monday, February 27, 2012
That was pretty boring.
But it shouldn't come as a surprise. NHL parity has made the trading deadline a non-event with the exception of the Canadian sports media who spend an entire day speculating about trades that will never happen. Few teams are sellers because most teams still have a shot at the playoffs. So with a ratio of 1 in 5 between sellers and buyers, the few players on the market on grossly over-priced. Of course this is fine with those players because most do not want to change teams this time of the year.
Teams fighting to make the playoffs are not going give up young players, prospects or draft picks just for the privelege of getting their ass kicked in the first round of the playoffs. Only a serious contender will actually over pay this time of year but only to add some depth in their lineup. If you have a hole in your lineup, convention wisdom suggests that this is not the time of the year to address it. Brian Burke has been saying this for some time.
The Leafs did make two deals involving minor leaguers. They shipped Keith Aulie to Tampa Bay for Carter Ashton. Aston is a 6'3", 205 lb winger playing for Norfolk, Tampa Bay's AHL affiliate. He has 19 goals and 16 assist in 56 games. He was Tampa's 1st round pick, 29th overall in 2009 and is the son of former NHL journeyman Brent Ashton. This seems to make sense for both teams. The Lightning need to rebuild their defense and goaltending. For the Leafs, the organization is deep at defense position with Korbinian Holzer and Jesse Blacker both ready to compete for jobs with the Leafs. Ashton is a big physical winger, something the Leafs need. He has the potential to be a 2nd or 3rd liner.
The other deal also involved minor leaguer. The deal was with the Ducks, sending forward Dale Mitchell to Anahiem in exchange for blueliner Mark Fraser. Neither have done much in the pro career although Mitchell is 2 years younger. The Leafs have given up on Mitchell who has played almost as many games in the ECHL as in the AHL over the past two seasons. He was also a Ferguson draft pick so I expect the current regime does not feel it has to invest too much time waiting for him to develop. Fraser provides the Marlies with some depth at defense with the loss of Aulie as Burke expects the Marlies to do deep in the AHL playoffs.
The moment heard about this trade I hated. At the World Juniors earlier that year Rask had been named the top goalie at the tournament. Raycroft was coming off a season where his save percentage was a dismal .879 and just eight wins in 30 starts. What was there to like? And there have been quite a few goalies who after great rookie season have had their careers crash and burn. The classic example was Jim Carey. And of course my worst fears came true. This past season Rask has become one of the top goalies in the league and pushed the previous season's Vezina Trophy winner to the bench as a back up. As for Raycroft, he is will finish his career as a backup too.
Modin developed into a solid winger for Tampa Bay and is still playing in the NHL. The Leafs lacked that big winger to play with Sundin until they signed Gary Roberts as a free agent. Cross was one of the largest soft players ever to play in the NHL. He was a frequent healthy scratch with the Leafs and booed by the fans.
Larry Murphy had a stellar career stretching 21 seasons. He was on 4 Stanley Cup teams and inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004. In 1995 after being named to the second-team All-Stars Murphy was traded to his hometown Leafs from the Penguins for Dmitri Mironov and a second round pick. Leafs fans booed Murphy, the highest paid player on the Leafs, mercilessly as a scapegoat for the lack of success the team was having. So they literally gave him away and paid one-third of his salary too. Fortunately for Murphy he was able to win 2 more Cups with Detroit.
7. Kenny Jonsson, Sean Haggerty, Darby Hendrickson and a 1st Round Pick in 1997 (Roberto Luongo) to the New York Islanders for Wendel Clark, Mathieu Schneider and D.J. Smith (1996)
I should tell you that I ignored the fact that the draft pick sent to the Islanders turned out to be Luongo. There is no guarantee that the Leafs would have picked him. Had the Leafs actually traded to Luongo to New York, then this trade would be much higher on the list. After trading Wendel Clark when his market value was at its peak (how often have the Leafs done that) they bring back the broken down winger two years later. The trade was only to appease the fans who fell in love with the hard working Clark. Leaf fans have always favoured rugged players over skilled players which is why Clark was so much more popular than Sundin. Meanwhile, while Haggerty was a bust and Hendrickson was back in Toronto the next season, Kenny Jonsson was a fixture in New York for a decade. He played 597 games for New York, recording 232 points, many of them in a time where quality Leafs blueliners were few and far between. Mathieu Schneider is the only reason this trade wasn't higher on this list. But he couldn't make up for the mediocre play of Clark.
This was a trade that began the franchise’s descent into the hell that was the 80s, a decade in which the Leafs had a record of 301-481-98 between 79-80 and 89-90 (a win percentage of .398, during a time in which surrendered 660 more goals than they scored). It is also widely reported that the deal by Punch Imlach was intended to hurt Leafs captain Darryl Sittler and make him waive his no trade contract. Only in Toronto would a personal vendetta come before the success of the club. At first glance, the stars in this trade worked out well. Toronto got 187 games and 203 points out of Paiement, while Colorado got 142 games and 141 points from McDonald. Paiement even recorded a 40 goals and 97 points in his first full season in Toronto. But when he dropped to 18 goals and 58 points the following seasons, the Leafs traded him to Quebec for Miroslav Frycer and a 7th rounder. Yes, that’s right; Miroslav Frycer was all the Leafs had to show for dealing heart-and-soul Lanny McDonald. This trade might have moved up a notch or two on this list if the Rockies had gotten more out of McDonald. But he moved on to Calgary where he scored 66 goals one season and a Stanley Cup.
I'm still angry about this deal. The Leafs traded their captain, their best player since Dave Keon, and a man just 84 points away from becoming the first Toronto player ever to record 1,000 points in a Maple Leaf uniform. They got garbage in return.
Thank you Mr. Stellick! The Leafs needed a goon, and the Habs were interested in Russ Courtnall. Since Leaf Head Coach John Brophy didn't think much of the smooth skating Courtnall the deal was made. Kordid got 446 penalty minutes and 16 points in 104 games as a Leaf, while Courtnall gradually improved over parts of four seasons with the Habs. He ended up with 82 goals and 195 points in 250 games for Montreal. Meanwhile, the Habs turned Russ Courtnall into Brian Bellows, who won a Stanley Cup with the Habs. And Courtnall kept on being a decent offensive player in the NHL. Kordic wasn't really a hockey player. To add insult to injury he wore #27 with the Leafs - the number worn by Frank Mahovlich and Darryl Sittler. On August 8, 1992, after overdosing on drugs and being involved in a struggle with police at his hotel, Kordic died.
It's not every day you get to trade away a Hall of Fame goalie. Bernie Parent was a a young Toronto goalie that left the club to play in the World Hockey Association, which instantly made him an outcast in the eyes of Leafs management and ownership. Having played previously in Philadelphia with the NHL’s Flyers and the WHA’s Blazers, he requested a trade to Philadelphia. His request was granted… and in his first two seasons with the Flyers, Bernie Parent won two Stanley Cups, two Conn Smythe trophies as the MVP of the playoffs, and two Vezina trophies. So he was the best goaltender in the league, and the most valuable player on the back-to-back Stanley Cup champions. Doug Favell meanwhile was a complete bust. The Leafs didn't get much value out of the draft pick. Bob Neely posted decent numbers as a defenseman, but after four seasons and change he was gone.
2. Randy Carlyle and George Ferguson to the Pittsburgh for Dave Burrows (1978)
1. 1st Round Pick in 1991 to the New Jersey Devils for Tom Kurvers (1989)
The mother of bad trades thanks to GM Floyd Smith. Once again the GM was convinced that journeyman defenseman Tom Kurvers was all the Leafs needed to compete for a Cup. Although earlier in the list I ignored a draft pick that turned out to be Roberto Luongo, this trade was a straight exchange for first round pick so it is hard to ignore. Similar to the Kessel trade, Smith did not anticipate when he made the trade that the team would collapse the following season. But they did. In fact the Leafs were pretty competitive during the 1989-90 season with a potent offense led by Gary Leeman's 51 goals. The Leafs were bad in 1990-91… so bad that they were on pace to finish last in the NHL behind the Quebec Nordiques. And Toronto was feeling the sting of Kurvers not working out as expected. So the Leafs traded prospect Scott Pearson and a pair of 2nd Round picks to Quebec for Aaron Broten, Lucien Deblois and Michel Petit. The trade was solely so they wouldn't finish last overall and giving the Devils the right to draft Eric Lindros. So New Jersey ends up picking third and has to settle for Scott Niedermayer. Niedermayer was only one of the best defenseman to play the game. He's the only player in hockey history to have won a Stanley Cup (4 to exact), Olympic gold medal (2), World Championship, World Cup, Memorial Cup and World Junior title. He won the Norris Trophy in 2004 and the Conn Smythe in 2007.
Sunday, February 26, 2012
John Knight woke up Wednesday morning thinking he would finally take his car in to get fixed. He went to sleep that night with his car in worse condition than before and an image in his head that he’ll probably never forget.
The 25-year-old said he was driving his dark blue Volvo station wagon down Church Street through San Francisco’s Noe Valley neighborhood at about 10:30 a.m. when he came across a strange scene.
At the intersection of 24th Street, a heavyset woman stood wrapped in a blanket, surrounded by medical personnel. A J-Church train was stopped, with passengers crowding and trying to see what was happening.
Suddenly, the woman whipped the blanket off and threw it at the medics, revealing that the only item of clothing she had on was a pair of closed-toe shoes, Knight said. And then she turned around and noticed Knight, still stopped and now shocked behind the wheel, about 50 feet away.
“She walks directly to me,” he said. “She walks up the hood of my car. And she begins stomping on my windshield, completely naked.”
The woman, who Knight estimated to weigh about 250 pounds, cracked his windshield with the first stomp. She got a couple more in before plainclothes officers pulled her off and handcuffed her as she screamed and wailed, Knight said.
Officers responded at about 9:38 a.m. to reports of a woman at 24th and Church, yelling, screaming and taking her clothes off, said Sgt. Michael Andraychak, police spokesman. Officers later found out that the woman had previously been on the J-Church train, already naked and causing a ruckus.
After officers pulled her off of Knight’s windshield, she was transported to a hospital for evaluation. Andraychak said there was no indication that she was arrested and that he cannot identify her.
Knight said he had his windshield replaced Thursday morning for about $300. He said police followed him back to his Noe Valley home and took a report from him, but he does not plan on filing charges against the woman.
Instead of getting his transmission fixed as planned, Knight said he spent Wednesday morning on the phone with his insurance provider.
“I told them my windshield was smashed and they asked if it was on the side of a street or in a parking lot,” he said. “I told them, ‘No, a naked woman just got on my hood and stomped on it.’ They didn’t really know what to make of it.”
The second law of thermodynamics is threatening to overrule the laws of Massachusetts as the only evidence against two Salem men charged with stealing the head of a dragon ice sculpture has been reduced to a puddle of water.
“The head of the dragon has melted away,” Salem Police Lt. Andre Ouellette said yesterday.
Psychologist William B. Hare, 47, and Rajendra Srivastava, 30, both of Pleasant Street, were charged with larceny over $250 for twice making off with the head of a dragon ice sculpture early Feb. 12 that was part of a downtown celebration that weekend.
The hunk of ice was put in a freezer in the evidence lockup, but Oullette said when officer Nancy O’Donnell was inspecting the fridge Tuesday, she discovered the department had indeed lost its head.
Ouellette said it appears a faulty plug is to blame for the now water-logged evidence.
In 38 years on the job, Ouellette said he’s never seen a case literally melt away in front of him, and he hoped it would not hurt the prosecution.