Talk sports, pop culture and more with SI.com's Jimmy Traina.
5/10/2007 12:52:00 PM
Most Famous/Infamous Body Parts in Sports
You can thank Gary Thorne, a rabid Red Sox Nation and a pitcher who thrives on being in the spotlight for this list. When you're done reading my top 10, be sure to send me yours.
1. Evander Holyfield's left ear: Mike Tyson's erratic behavior came to a head on a summer night almost 10 years ago when he was in the ring with Holyfield. During their rematch, boxing's bad boy couldn't resist the urge to chomped down on Holyfield's ear, which stopped the fight.
2. Curt Schilling's right ankle: Some would say Schilling's mouth (or should it be fingers, now that he's a blogger?) could be on this list, but his right ankle became a storyline in the 2004 postseason and still causes much discussion.
3. P.J. Carlisemo's neck: Who can forget the scratch marks left on Carlisemo's neck after the Warriors head coach was strangled by Latrell Sprewell?
4. Mel Kiper's hair: A slew of sports figures can make this list based on hair (Dennis Rodman, David Beckham, Don King, etc, etc), but nobody -- nobody -- can talk about the NFL Draft without mentioning Kiper's hair, which I don't really understand because after watching this year's Draft, I thought his hair looked normal.
5. Antonio Alfonseca's extra fingers and toes: He hasn't had a distinguished major league career, but the current Phillies reliever, who has polydactylism, will always be the answer to a triva question: Who is the only pitcher in history to have six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot?
6. Rich Garces' stomach: There have been plenty of baseball players of large girth, but for some reason, the former Red Sox pitcher became the poster boy for those living large in the late '90s.
7. Orlando Brown's right eye: You never know what you're gonna get when NFL referee Jeff Triplette makes a call, but he'll always been known as the ref who threw a flag into Brown's right eye, causing the Cleveland offensive lineman to miss three seasons.
8. Mike Tyson's face: Maybe Tyson was jealous that he caused Holyfield to make this important list. Whatever the case, as soon as Iron Mike got that massive tatoo on his face, he locked up his spot.
9. The Rock's eyebrow and elbow: You may not consider wrestling a sport, but you'd have to admit, for a period of time starting in the late '90s, the WWE's popularity exploded, let in most part by The Rock. And two of his trademarks were the "People's Eyebrow" and "People's Elbow."
10. Anna Kournikova's everything: She's still enormously popular even though she hasn't played tennis since 2000. Enough said.
What famous/infamous body parts have I left off? Let me hear from you.
Manager Joe Torre deserves the criticism for the Yankees' slow start.
I'm going to riff on the Yankees' awful start, but in the interest of full disclosure, let me remind you that I'm a diehard Yankees fan. So while you may be completely sick of baseball's most written about, most covered and most talked about team, this will at least give you a chance to tell me the Yankees suck.
OK, now to the Bombers. Blame for their awful start (and five-game losing streak) is being thrown in a lot of directions. They've been hit by injuries, their starting pitching is terrible, their bullpen is overused. This has been the mantra in 2007. Players who have barely been with the team (Carl Pavano), players who have been with the Yankees for five minutes (Kei Igawa and Doug Mientkiewicz ), hereos from last season (Melky Cabrera) and a legend in the game (Mariano Rivera) have all been beaten up on talk radio. And you can bet that if Alex Rodriguez wasn't off to one of the best starts in history, he'd be getting publicly flogged, too. Oh, and every single day, fans and some media members publicly beg the team to bring back one of the most popular figures in club history (Bernie Williams) because even though the Yankees lead the majors in runs scored, a 38-year-old part-time player will solve all the problems.
But the one person who escapes the criticism, especially from the media, is the person I blame the most for this mess: manager Joe Torre.
This is not easy to say. What Torre has done in New York is special. Part of me thinks that if a manager wins four World Series, he should never be criticized. However, Torre has never been a master at using the bullpen, but this season his cluelessness has hit another level. In the past, he's burned out Steve Karsay, Tanyon Sturtze, Tom Gordon and Paul Quantrill. It looks like Scott Proctor and Luis Vizcainio will be next.
But here's what Torre's biggest sin has been: He showed that he's scared of the Red Sox. It was blatantly evident last weekend. A lot was made in New York about how Torre managed the series opener like it was Game 7 of the World Series. Well, he also managed like he had a one-run lead when he had a four-run lead. He showed all of Boston that he was petrified of losing that game. And there's no doubt in my mind that the Red Sox (and their fans) could see it and smelled blood -- and got it.
After Proctor bailed out Andy Pettitte in the seventh inning (of course Torre had a quick hook with Pettitte for no reason. In Torre's book, allowing a starter to go seven innings is a criminal act) by getting two outs, Torre then decided to have Mike Myers start the eighth inning. Why? Because Myers is a lefty and David Ortiz was leading off the inning. As if Ortiz, one of the best hitters in the game and an absolute monster at the plate who owns the Yankees, is really going to be affected by a lefty. There's not much difference between Ortiz' average against lefties (.264) and his average against righties (.290).
But it wasn't about numbers and matchups (things to which Torre is a slave to). It was about pushing the panic button when you had a four-run lead and needed six outs to get a win.
Now, the Yankees have gotten off to terrible starts under Torre before and have always rebounded. But things have changed. When Torre came to New York in 1996, the Yankees weren't run like a corporation the way they are now. Torre also was nearly fired after the Yankees lost to Detroit in the first round of the playoffs last season, and does not have a contract past this season. He hasn't been in that situation with the Yankees before. Lastly, Torre will turn 67 in July. Is it really wrong to ask if: a) Torre, for the first time in his Yankees tenure, can't handle the pressure; and/or b) the game has passed him by? I'm not 100 percent sure it has, but I'm closer to believing that now than ever before. Am I wrong to blame Torre for New York's poor start? Do you think it's a valid point? Let me hear from you.
Other quick thoughts:
1. I don't want to get into a whole steroids debate, but I'll just throw this out there: Barry Bonds hit 26 homers in just 367 at-bats last year. This season, at age 42, he's hit six in 46 at-bats this year. There is steroid testing in baseball. I haven't seen anything that says Bonds has failed one of those tests. So when is it OK to say you are impressed with his performance? Are we allowed to say that Bonds is still an amazing hitter without people looking at you like you're crazy? I'll say this: Barry Bonds is the best hitter I've ever seen -- period. Is there anyone else out there, not from the Bay Area, who feels this way? Let me know.
2. I'm not one of these people who watches The Sopranos but always complains about it. I know many folks who do, but if I don't like something, I don't watch it (Lost lost Season Pass status after three week's this season). Having said that, I'm getting frustrated with the show. When there are a finite amount of episodes left, you have to make each count. This means you can't have shows where main characters are missing. Dr. Melfi has only been in one of three episodes this season. Carmela was on for two seconds this week, while A.J. and Meadow were nowhere to be found. Bobby was a big part of the season opener, but this week, nothing. Same with Janice. And now I'm worried that we've seen the last of Uncle Junior. His final scene on Sunday felt like his swan song. Anyone else agree? And what do you think about the show after three episodes this season?
As you know by now, snowy weather in Cleveland wreaked havoc on the Mariners-Indians series last weekend. Clevleand is now in the middle of playing a three-game set against the Angels at Miller Park in Milwaukee because Jacobs Field is a winter wonderland. And while unpleasant conditions in many cities was a big story during the opening week of the baseball season, most fans I know don't mind dealing with bad weather.
Sports fans are tough and they put up with a lot of crap -- exorbitant ticket prices, players who won't give fans the time of day, games that go on too long and networks that don't care about scheduling games at ridiculous hours, among other things. What's the big deal about snow and cold temperatures?
Having said that, I'm turning the blog over to my fellow readers today. I want to know your best story about going to a game in inclement weather. Would you do it all over again? Do you remember the game like it was yesterday? Was it a fun experience, or were you miserable?
The worst weather I've ever experienced at a game was Royals-Yankees, Yankee Stadium, Opening Day, 1996. The game took place during a blizzard, and I spent about $50 on hot chocolate. But it was worth it. You felt like you were apart of a something special, and the fans were happy to go with the flow make it a fun afternoon. There's no doubt that the snow and cold made for a memorable atmosphere.
Quick side story: The Yankees decided to reward fans who sat through the terrible conditions by giving them free tickets to an upcoming game (you had a choice of a few games to choose from). I picked a random Mariners-Yankees game that turned out to be Dwight Gooden's no-hitter. But I didn't use the tickets. I was on a baseball stadium road trip with a few buddies and we were in Cincinnati that night watching a Rockies-Reds game. To make matters worse, I bet on the game and took 8.5 as the over and the final was 5-3. Two morals to the story: One, if you have tickets, use them. Two, don't bet.
But this story ties into the snowy day at Yankee Stadium, making it even more memorable for me. So if you have tales of sitting through rain, snow, cold or even oppressive heat, let me hear from you.
I received a ton of great comments off The Sopranosblog entry. Since most of you seem to be into the show, here are a few thoughts on this week's episode. It was slow going, but executive producer David Chase set up a few things. Will Tony have Bacala killed for the sucker punch? Will Bacala, who mentioned how criminals get caught fairly easily these days thanks to DNA testing, be done in by having his shirt ripped by the guy he shot? Will Bacala want revenge on Tony for making him commit his first murder by turning on Tony? The seeds have been planted for Tony's downfall. Other highlights were watching the two rotund men duke it out; a monopoly game that was eerily similar to ones that take place in my family; Carmela and Bacala -- two Italian-Americans -- talking about how the United States should not let any immigrants into the country; and Frank Leotardo's welcome home party that evoked memories of Billy Bats' welcome home party in Goodfellas. Of course, actor Frank Vincent, who plays Phil, also played Billy. What did you think about this week's episode?
Carmela, Tony and Meadow have just nine more episodes left.
Photo by Stephen Lovekin/WireImage.com
The past couple of weeks have been a fun time to be a sports fan. We've had the NCAA Tournament, Opening Day in Major League Baseball, WrestleMania and the Masters. This Sunday night another event takes place. It has nothing to do with sports, but it should still be discussed -- the first episode of The Sopranos' final season.
When all is said and done, The Sopranos will go down as one of the top five dramas of all time. And while recent storylines and absurdly long hiatuses have hurt ratings and upset viewers, nobody should forget that for the first three or four seasons, this was the most-buzzed about show of its time. With that, here are the 10 Most Memorable Sopranos Moments. When you're done reading my list, be sure to send me yours.
1. Pine Barrens: This was the episode in which Christopher and Paulie had an altercation with a big Russian and ended up chasing him through the woods and snow. It was the funniest episode in the show's history, but also one of the most frustrating since fans wanted the Russian to reappear. Hmm, maybe this season. The entire episode is on YouTube, but here's a short clip (WARNING: this clip and others that follow are filled with profanities) that sums up a show that's nothing short of genius.
2. Tony, Silvio and Paulie kill Big Pussy: We knew it was going to happen, but it was still riveting television. From the foursome sharing tequila shots on a boat to Pussy asking not to be shot in the face to Tony, Silvio and Paulie throwing Pussy's dead body overboard, this was The Sopranos at its peak.
3. Janice shoots Richie Aprile: Unlike the previously mentioned shooting, this one was a shock. Richie had become a big headache for Tony, so you knew he'd be "taken care of." Nobody could've guessed Janice, who had just been punched in the face by boyfriend Richie right after cooking and serving him dinner, would be the one to do the job.
4. Uncle Junior shoots Tony: Part of the reason The Sopranos was so good during its first few seasons was Uncle Junior. The character always had the most memorable lines. But once the show gave him Alzheimer's, the character was wasted. He briefly returned to the spotlight in the first episode last season, when, in a state of confusion, he shot his nephew and then hid in a closet while Tony bled and struggled to phone for help.
5. Tony and Christopher put Ralphie's head in a bowling ball bag: Ralphie had become a thorn in Tony's side, but it wasn't business that caused Tony to snap. It was Ralphie burning down a stable in which Tony's horse, Pie-O-My, resided. After denying his involvement, Ralphie finally snapped, and said, "So what, it was only a horse." Bad move. Next thing you know, Tony strangled Ralphie to death after a scuffle in which Ralphie's toupee came flying off. To cover up the murder, Tony and Christopher chopped up Ralphie and put his head in a bowling ball bag.
6. Silvio kills Adriana: The storyline where Adriana was forced to become a government informant was one of the show's best. It culminated with Tony's crew creating a clever scheme (telling Adriana that addict boyfriend Christopher -- or, as she says it, Christafa -- had suffered a relapse) to get her alone. When Silvio picked up Adriana to take her to see Christopher, everyone knew the brass tough girl was history. And no one will forget the way she crawled away, begging for her life -- to no avail.
7. Janice steals her mother's caretaker's leg: I'm not sure what else needs to be said. Tony had hired a woman to look after his mother, Livia. The aide had a prosthetic leg. After Livia died, Janice wanted the caretaker to return Livia's record collection (which Livia gave to the aide). When the caretaker refused, Janice stole the woman's leg -- and held it for ransom (the records).
8. Carmela throws out Tony: Some fans thought this episode was too "soap opera-y," (Carmela got wind of yet another one of Tony's affairs after his mistress' friend who used to be Tony's old mistress called the Sopranos' home), but I disagree. The performance by Edie Falco, who couldn't have done a better job conveying Carmela's raw pain, was unforgettable.
9. Dr. Melfi gets raped: Like the episode with the Russian in the woods, this one left fans frustrated because they wanted Dr. Melfi to tell Tony she was raped. But that doesn't mean the show didn't leave an impression. The rape scene was disturbing and you had a hard time believing it was happening. Still, it was the episode's final scene that I'll never forget. Tony sensed something was wrong, prodded Melfi to tell him what happened, but, knowing Tony would kill the rapist, she kept the incident to herself. Powerful television.
10. Horrible special effects used to show Livia: I don't know if many people remember this, but after actress Nancy Marchand passed away, her character Livia appeared in one episode thanks to special effects that turned out to be anything but special. The show took past dialogue from Livia and poorly synched it up with and old scene of her sitting on a chair. The results were awful. You couldn't focus on the dialogue because the effects were so distracting. And it was even creepier to watch when you remembered that Marchand was dead. This Newark Star-Ledger article explains this mess better than I did.
What are you most memorable Sopranos moments? Let me know.
(Update: 3:30 p.m., ET -- Remember to keep the comments clean. A lot of good comments aren't getting posted because of words or content that can't be published. Using three of the four letters of a curse word with one asterik won't make the cut. If you're quoting the show, and you need to mention a curse word, just use "blank." Thanks)
Jon Heder and Will Ferrell play rival figure skaters in Blades of Glory, opening March 30.
Photo by Dreamworks
Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Luke Wilson have formed a clique so powerful that girls I went to high school with would be jealous of it. The group dubbed the "Frat Pack" have dominated comedies for the past six years or so, and they're about to release a new one.
Ferrell's Blades of Glory, a movie about rival figure skaters, co-starring Napoleon Dynamite's Jon Heder, comes out on Friday. Also making an appearance in the film, to no one's surprise, is Luke Wilson. It seems that none of the guys in this posse can be in a movie without another one of the other "fratters" making at least a cameo.
In honor of Ferrell's newest movie, I thought it would be fun to look at the recent comedies involving this group and ranking them from best to worst, and then getting your take. Using the guideline that at least two of the Frat Pack had to be in the movie (which eliminates Talladega Nights, which was not bad, not great.), here is the list I came up with:
(One side note: It's interesting to see that this group has an affinity for "sports" movies. I put sports in quotes because personally, I don't consider any of these flicks sports movies. Blades of Glory, Dodgeball, Kicking & Screaming and Talladega Nights are comedies, not sports movies. But I'm glad everyone puts these flicks in the "sports" genre because then I have a reason to discuss with you.)
OK, on to the list. Be sure to send me your rankings when you're done reading mine.
(WARNING: There are a ton of YouTube links to clips from the movies throughout the blog. Most, if not all of them, contain profanity. So if you're at work, plug in the headphones or turn down the volume a little bit.)
1. Old School (Ferrell, Vaughn, Luke Wilson): A no-brainer for No. 1. This was a classic from start to finish. Old School is known as Ferrell's breakout film, thanks to the lovable, yet psychotic Frank the Tank character, but there were many other memorable performances. Vaughn brought many big laughs, highlighted by the earmuffs scene. Jeremy Piven, pre-Ari in Entourage, was great as the villainous dean, and Sean William Scott made the most of a very brief role. And any movie with American Pie's Scott (except for Dukes of Hazzard) is OK in my book.
2. Wedding Crashers (Owen Wilson, Vaughn, Ferrell): I hated the last third of this movie, when it turned into The Young and the Restless. But the first two-thirds, especially the middle, was so funny that it still ranks No. 2. Ferrell's cameo was a surprise, and it was the only good thing about the end of the movie, thanks to his repeated demands for meatloaf. Wilson was fine as the sensitive guy. But the real showstopper was Vaughn, who did his best work since Swingers. His performance in the middle of this movie (from the touch football game, to getting his knee fixed up, to the brother coming on to him to his rant the next morning) was top-notch. And thanks to the must-read biglead.com, I'm reminded that Vaughn's character coined the current in phrase "make it rain" long before Pacman Jones.
3. Meet the Parents (Stiller, Owen Wilson): The highlight of this movie is Robert DeNiro showing off his comedic skills, highlighted by the volleyball scene(You gotta spike that, Focker!). But Wilson's role in this movie is underrated. The scene in which he refers to Jesus Christ as "JC" always makes me laugh. And even though Stiller mainly plays Ben Stiller, he was still funny.
4. Starsky & Hutch (Stiller, Owen Wilson, Vaughn, Ferrell): This is an underrated movie. The interrogation scene is a classic that had me rolling the first time I saw it. There's also a danceoff. How bad can a movie be when it has a danceoff? Lastly, Carmen Electra and Amy Smart make out in this movie. I rest my case.
5. Dodgeball (Stiller, Vaughn): I don't know many people who are fans of this flick, but I am. I'm such a Vaughn fan that I pretty much find anything he does funny (except for The Break Up), and his role in this movie -- as a slacker who needs to organize a Dodgeball team to save his gym -- is no exception. And as I touched on earlier, I think any Ben Stiller movie is better when he's playing a wild character, which he does in Dodgeball, and not Ben Stiller, a la Along Came Polly.
6. Zoolander (Stiller, Owen Wilson, Ferrell, Vaughn): I didn't get this movie at all. I know people who love it, and while I did laugh a few times, I thought it was dumb more than funny.
7. Anchorman (Ferrell, Luke Wilson, Stiller, Vaughn): OK, here's where I'm going to become Public Enemy No. 1 with most of you. I hated this movie. I didn't laugh once, and found it almost painful to sit through. Many people, including SI.com NFL producer and a staple of Dr. Z's mailbag, Andrew Perloff, says that I have to watch it again, and it gets funnier. Maybe he's right, but I don't know if I have it in me.
8. Night at the Museum (Stiller, Owen Wilson): I didn't see it, and don't plan to, so I can't comment, but if any of you saw it, let me know.
So, here are my questions for you guys: How would you rank these films? And do you consider yourself a Ferrell person or a Vaughn person? I'm a Vaughn guy. The movies he's carried -- Dodgeball and Wedding Crashers -- are better than the movies Ferrell has carried -- Anchorman, Kicking & Screaming and Talladega Nights. They both carried Old School, so it's a draw on that one.
Marv Albert and Bill Raftery make us stay tuned in longer. Joe Buck makes us reach for the mute button.
Graphic by Randall Grant
Let's talk announcers. With ESPN morning radio team Mike (Greenberg) and Mike (Golic) handling Arena Football League duties on television, and Billy Packer about to invade our homes for the next few weeks, there are a couple of questions I have for you.
1. Are there any announcers who will: a) make you watch a game you had no intention of watching; or b) make you stay on a game a little longer than you would have had someone else been behind the mic?
2. Are there any announcers who will make you: a) not watch a game; or b) watch the majority of the game on mute?
I thought it would be fun to go through different networks' top broadcast teams for various sports and do an evaluation based on these questions. When you're done reading my thoughts, be sure to send me yours.
Jim Nantz and Billy Packer, CBS: Packer is a "Lightning Rod Announcer" -- someone most people have very strong feelings about one way or the other. (Most of the top analysts fit that criteria, so from here on out, I'm just going to use "LRA.") Oddly enough, I'm indifferent to Packer. He doesn't bother me (good sign), but I can't say he makes me enjoy a game any more than I would have. Nantz is a solid nuts-and-bolts play-by-play guy. Nothing more, nothing less. Final word: I can't say this broadcast team adds or subtracts from my enjoyment of a game.
Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery, CBS: I wish this was CBS' No. 1 team. Lundquist is the definition of a grizzled veteran. He brings passion to each broadcast, without making it about himself. He knows when to let a moment speak for itself, as evidenced by this famous clip. Raft sometimes makes things about himself, but he toes the line, doesn't cross it, and that's what I love about him. I think he's the best analyst in the sport. He brings a lot of fun to the booth, without going too far, and he can still analyze the X's and O's. Give me more man to mans, onions, kisses, lingeries and my favorite, send it ins. Final word: This team gets an A+. They keep me from flipping the channel.
Brent Musburger, Bob Davie, Kirk Herbstreit, ABC: Last season was the first for this crew, and it quickly became one of my favorites. Musburger seems to be an LRA, but he does a very good job on play-by-play and seems genuinely excited to be doing games. (Plus, he's not afraid to show that he's up on today's technology and is down with "this Google thing.") Davie and Herbstreit had some chemistry, and provided a good mix of serious analysis and light-hearted banter. I don't expect any Michigan fans to agree with me on this, but that's OK. Final word: This crew should only get better with time.
Lundquist and Gary Danielson, CBS: Last season was also the first for this team, but I preferred the previous team of Lundquist and Todd Blackledge (who left for ESPN/ABC). Danielson seems to go over the top with his preaching. He sang the praises of the SEC all season long (and rightfully so), but it was hard to take him seriously when he never felt that passionate before about the conference, since he worked for ABC, which didn't air SEC games. Final word: Overall, Lundquist adds to my enjoyment of any game, but CBS could use a bigger personality as its top college football analyst.
Nantz and Phil Simms, CBS: Simms gets points for not talking down to his audience. He talks football like a fan would, and doesn't over-analyze a game. He often brings up his experiences as a player and makes it relevant to what's going on at that moment, which is the important thing. Final word: A solid, yet unspectacular team. CBS should've gone after Simms' former coach Bill Parcells and added him to this crew.
Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, Fox: Aikman has grown into one of the best analysts in football. His biggest strength is that unlike most former players, the ex-Dallas QB isn't afraid to rip anyone. Buck seems more toned down on NFL telecasts than MLB games (maybe the lack of down time means there's less time for his stand-up routine?), and that's helped put him and Aikman in the same class as other top NFL broadcast teams. Final word: Another solid, yet unspectacular team.
Al Michaels and John Madden, NBC: I can't say there's much different between the three network's top broadcast crews. Michaels and Madden, like Buck and Aikman, and Nantz and Simms, do a good job, keep the nonsense to a minimum and don't make you reach for a mute button. I think that's all you can really ask for from announcers. Final word: Madden is an icon, someone we grew up listening to. For that, his voice alone brings a special feel to a game. Makes it feel bigger, more important. That quality can't be ignored.
Mike Tirico, Joe Theismann and Tony Kornheiser, ESPN: I wanted to give Kornheiser a chance last season, but I couldn't make it more than a few minutes without having to mute the games because of Theismann. Tirico is a fine play-by-play guy, but Theismann destroys the broadcast because he never stops talking. I could go on, but I'll just let this tremendous letter do it for me. And he never stops talking. Final word: You have to mute Monday night games.
Buck and Tim McCarver, Fox: Both of these guys are LRAs. I don't mind McCarver. I grew up listening to him do Mets games in New York, so I have a soft spot for him. Does he belabor points? Sometimes. Does he say things every now and then that make no sense? Yes. But he still knows the game and can still teach you a thing or two. That's what he does best. Buck, however, is unlistenable on baseball. I'd say 90 percent of the time I'm watching a baseball game on Fox, I have the sound muted because of Buck. The lame jokes and corny sense of humor are impossible to stomach for three-plus hours. Final word: Gotta mute this team.
Mike Breen and Mark Jackson, ABC: They're working together for the first time this season and I'm going to hold out judgment until after the playoffs. I'm able to catch both men in action on local broadcasts. Breen, who does Knicks games, is a Nantz-type. No frills, straight play-by-play. Jackson, who does color on Nets games, is a must-listen. He's smart, witty and will get on players. Final word: TBD
Marv Albert and Steve Kerr, TNT: Marv is the premier broadcaster in sports. (he's come a long way from his days as a sports anchor on the local news), and he hasn't lost his touch one bit. And it seems that no matter who is paired with Albert (Mike Fratello, Doug Collins, Kerr), that person seems to shine, and that's been the case with Kerr. Final word: This duo keeps me tuned in longer than I would be if another crew were doing the game.
What do you think of these announcing teams? Who makes you hit the mute button? Who makes a game more enjoyable for you? Make sure you let me know.
They say things come in threes. That's certainly been the case with gruesome sports injuries the past week. Clippers point guard Shaun Livingtontore four ligaments in his knee Monday. Wisconsin lost forward Brian Butch on Sunday for four to six weeks because of a dislocated elbow. And Chelsea captain John Terry was knocked unconscious Sunday after being kicked in the face during a match against Arsenal.
Fortunately -- or in many cases, unfortantely -- all of these cringe-worthy incidents can be found on good ol' YouTube (just click on the links above). With that, here are the 10 most gruesome/bizarre injuries found on YouTube. (Some famous injuries aren't on the list i.e. Tim Krumrie, because there isn't a YouTube clip.) Let me warn you: Most of these are nasty. They will make your stomach turn. So if you're eating a meal, be careful. And if there are any other clips of injuries that I missed, please send them along.
1. Redskins QB Joe Theismannsuffers broken right leg: This is the granddaddy of gruesome sports injuries. Lawrence Taylor's reaction is unforgettable.
2. Alabama WR Tyrone Prothrosuffers broken left leg: The interesting thing about this clip is that the cameraman actually shoots a close-up of Prothro's leg. One thing you'll notice in most of the following clips is that the announcers usually tell the cameramen to turn away.
3. Dodgers pitcher Kaz Ishiigets hit in face with line drive: This isn't as nasty as when Red Sox pitcher Bryce Florie got hit with a liner, but it will still make you cringe. Make sure you stay with the clip and watch the "demonstration" that takes place afterward.
5. Sabres goalie Clint Malarchukgets his neck cut by skate: This is probably the worst injury, but luckily you can't see it. There's a collision and then some blood. But that's more than enough. The announcers' reactions are a must-listen.
6. Mets outfielders Mike Cameron and Carlos Beltranviciously collide: The amazing thing about this play is that Beltran only missed a week of action. Cameron ended up with a broken jaw and broken nose.
7. Celtics guard Tony Allensuffers torn ACL: This get filed under the "bizarre" category. Allen attempted a dunk after play was whistled dead and then blew out his knee. He's out for the season.
8. Tennis player Mary Pierceruptures her ACL: You can't really see how bad the damage is to Pierce's knee, but just listen to her scream.
10. Miami running back Willis McGaheesuffers broken left leg: Helmet on knee. Nothing more needs to be said.
If you're not queasy after viewing these clips, let me know which one you think is the most gruesome. And let me know if I've left any out. One thing to remember, though: There has to be a YouTube clip of the injury.
Sports Illustrated's annual Swimsuit Issue has been out for a few days now, so it's time to do what sports fans always do -- look ahead and discuss the future. I'm here to give the magazine some help for 2008. The editors made a buzz-worthy cover choice this year in Beyonce. If they want to go the celebrity route again, I have 10 recommendations, and a bonus choice, for next year's cover. It's an eclectic group, and each woman has an audience she appeals to. As always, send me your suggestions after reading my list.
1. Salma Hayek: Personally, this would be my No. 1 choice. If you need to see why, just go to YouTube and search "Salma Hayek on Ugly Betty" and you'll see why. I'd include the link, but it's probably not safe for work.
2. Jessica Biel: She's currently a Hollywood "It" girl, and she recently caused a stir by dating Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, and pictures of the two of them enjoying some fun and sun on the beach quickly spread all over the Web, and with good reason: Biel in a bikini is a sight to be seen.
3. Stacy Keibler: This former Dancing with the Stars contestant and WWE wrestler got her start as a Baltimore Ravens cheerleader. The theme of this year's Swimsuit Issue was music. How about a cheerleading theme next year, with Keibler on the cover? You couldn't go wrong featuring her legs. While on Dancing with Stars, one of the judges referred to her as a "weapon of mass seduction" thanks in part to her never-ending gams. The 5-foot-11 beauty has said her legs are 42 inches from hip to ankle.
4. Minka Kelly: My fondness for the Friday Night Lights star already has been chronicled in this space. While many people might not know who Kelly is since the show unfortunately has received low ratings, putting her on the cover could give the Lights the boost it needs if it's around for a second season. Plus, she'd be a natural fit for a cheerleading-themed issue.
5. Alyssa Milano: This was the first celebrity crush for most of the guys who grew up in the '80s, so she'd add a sense of nostalgia to the cover. And athletes would be interested in seeing her on the cover since it seems like Milano has dated about half of them.
6. Jennifer Lopez: She has one of the most famous body parts in the world, so this would be the easiest cover in the world to shoot. Get her in a thong bikini, have her stand with her back to the camera, face turned around toward it. Snap the picture and put it on the cover.
7. Mallory Snyder: This is a sentimental choice for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, she was in SI's Swimsuit Issue in 2005 and 2006 and was smokin'. Second, the former Real World castmember is probably the only sane female to ever appear on that show.
8. Erin Andrews: If SI wanted to pick a covergirl who has a connection to sports, who better than the one sideline reporter who fans don't mind seeing on camera? The ESPN broadcaster continues to build a following, as evidenced by this YouTube appreciation.
9. Shakira: This could be a stretch because to fully appreciate Shakira, you have to see her move, especially those hips. But after watching her performance at last week's Grammys, we say she'd be more than worthy for SI's cover.
10. Giada de Laurentiis: The Food Network chef not only has beauty, but she can cook, too! What man wouldn't appreciate that combination? She looks damn good in a bikini, too.
Bonus pick: Britney Spears: Before you write in to tell me I'm crazy, hear me out. I don't want this skinhead version of Britney on the cover. But if she can clean up her act, get some help and get her career going again, the SI cover would be a nice way to cap a comeback. But she needs to get back to the Britney who wore that snake around her neck at the MTV Music Awards or the Britney who kissed Madonna.
Before I get into today's topics, I want to ask for your help in putting together an upcoming project that will feature ... you.
Left: Jimmy's friend, PT. Right: Chicago White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski.
Here's the deal: My friend PT lives in Chicago, and often gets asked if he's White Sox catcher A.J. Piersynski. Upon recently hearing another tale of his mistaken identity, I thought it would be cool to see if you or anyone you know closely resembles an athlete, or any celebrity, for that matter. Consider this a version of lookalikes, featuring SI.com readers.
So, e-mail me your pics at firstname.lastname@example.org. Put "Attn Jimmy" in the subject line and please include your name, the name of the person who resembles the athlete or celebrity, your relationship to that person and your hometown. I will gather the pics and put together a photo gallery that you will see on the Scorecard Daily page in the near future.
Now on to some thoughts on items in the news:
1. Item -- MLB's Extra Innings to DirecTV So Major League Baseball is reportedly set to announce that it is putting its Extra Innings package exclusively on DirecTV. Obviously this is a bad move that can't be defended. It makes no sense to shut out millions of fans, and once again, as usual, baseball screws up. What's hard to take, though, is how MLB is bashed mercilessly for doing something that the NFL does. You barely hear a peep about Sunday Ticket only being offered through DirecTV. And what's even worse is that the NFL doesn't offer its games online -- Major League Baseball does. But that doesn't stop people from hammering MLB while just accepting the actions of the NFL. No matter if it's steroids, bad TV deals or anything else, the NFL only comes away with a bruise while MLB gets put in a body cast. My question to you: If you're going to bash MLB for this decision, shouldn't the NFL get just as much heat?
Would you mess with this man?.
Photo by AP
2. Item -- Tank does Media Day Speaking of the NFL's ability to avoid getting ripped, let's discuss Bears defensive tackle Tank Johnson. Johnson was arrested Dec. 14 after police raided his home and found three rifles, three handguns and 500 rounds of ammunition. His bodyguard, Willie Posey, was shot and killed two days later during an early morning fight at a nightclub in Chicago, where Johnson was present. Oh yeah, all this happened while Johnson was on probation. So how does Johnson explain this during Media Day? He says the media have "overblown" the story, and that it's the media's job to "hype the hot story." The NFL should ban him from playing in the game just for those comments. One more thought: After seeing Johnson at Media Day, I just have one question -- why does he even need a bodyguard or guns? Who would mess with this 6-foot-3, 300-pound guy? My question to you: Should Johnson be allowed to play in the Super Bowl?
3. Item -- Grossman in the Super Bowl Rex Grossman has been getting bashed for a long time now, so I'm not going to pile on. But he's proving something I've always believed: Theories about what it takes to get to a Super Bowl are dumb. You usually hear "a running game and defense wins titles" or "you can't go far without a good quarterback." It's all nonsense. The Bears and Colts have completely different styles of play. All that matters is staying healthy, peaking at the right time (look at the Colts defense) and getting lucky. My question to you: Do you believe in theories about what teams need to reach a Super Bowl?
4. Item -- Movement underway for Super Bowl holiday There now is a Web site -- with a petition -- devoted to making the Monday after the Super Bowl a national holiday. I hope they succeed, but let's be honest, the chances aren't good. And while I'm all for adding as many holidays to the calendar as possible, wouldn't a better idea be to put more pressure on the NFL to move the Super Bowl from Sunday to Saturday night? Since the league is intent on having the extra week off in between Championship Games and the Super Bowl, there is no reason not play it on a Saturday night so fans can enjoy it without having to worry about getting up early for work the next day. My question to you: Would you want the Super Bowl played on Saturday instead of Sunday?
5. Item -- NHL in trouble Two weeks ago, Sports Illustrateddetailed the slew of problems -- attendance is down, ratings are down, newspapers aren't staffing road games for certain teams -- that have hit the NHL. Now we get word that ratings for the league's All-Star game were down 76 percent. I asked colleagues if they thought we could actually see a major sport fold in our lifetime? Most said no. I'm not so sure. I don't see how the league can turn things around. My question to you: Do you think there's a chance the NHL will fold in the next 10-15 years?
When you think of an artist that a college football crowd would like, doesn't Ashlee Simpson come to mind right away?
Photo by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage.com
With Prince set to perform at halftime of Super Bowl XLI on Feb. 4, it's time to look at the most unforgettable performances (in no particular order) from various sporting events. These aren't necessarily the best performances, but a combination of the best, worst and most controversial.
1. Janet Jackson at Super Bowl XXXVIII: We start with the performance that caused more buzz and trouble than any another in history -- Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction. When Justin Timberlake sang the line, "Gonna have you naked by the end of this song," and then carried out the promise by ripping part of Jackson's top, it became the most rewound moment in TiVo history and changed the standard guidelines for TV broadcasters.
2. Whitney Houston at Super Bowl XXV: Before the singer's most famous moment on television -- telling Diane Sawyer that "crack is whack" -- Houston was best remembered for her emotional rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner during the Gulf War.
3. Marvin Gaye at the 1983 NBA All-Star Game: While Houston belted out a traditional version of the national anthem, it was Gaye's unique and soulful rendition that whipped the Great Western Forum crowd into a frenzy. How many times have you heard a crowd actually clap along to The Star-Spangled Banner?
4. U2 at Super Bowl XXXVI: On Feb. 3, 2002, just four months after the Sept. 11 attacks, the band performed Where the Streets Have No Namewhile the names of the victims scrolled upward on an enormous backdrop during the song. The result was an uplifting, moving and emotional rememberance.
5. Ashlee Simpson at the 2005 Orange Bowl: Before Ashlee got some plastic surgery and became hot, she was known as Jessica's younger sister who was busted for lip synching on Saturday Night Live in October 2004. A few months later, Ashlee took to the stage at halftime of the Orange Bowl, but unlike the folks who were in the audience at SNL, the Miami crowd let Simpson know what it thought of her screeching performance and booed her off the stage. For you maschochists reading this, here's a longer version of the clip.
6. Michael Jackson at Super Bowl XXVII: In what has to be the most bizarre Super Bowl halftime performance ever, Jackson sang a medley of his hits while being joined on stage (around the stage, actually) by 3,500 children. Michael Jackson and 3,500 children. I'll leave it at that. The best part of the clip comes at the 1:20ish mark when Michael is giving a speech about remaking the planet into a haven of joy while holding a microphone, but then quickly has to start singing and completely botches the lip synching.
7. Caroline Marcil at a 2005 U.S.-Canada exhibition hockey game: In a clip made famous on the Internet, poor Caroline twice botched the words to the anthem, went to the dressing room to get the lyrics, came back and fell hard onto the ice before leaving without trying to sing the song for a third time.
8. Carl Lewis at a 1993 Nets game: Lewis attempted to put his own spin on the national anthem, but from the first looooong note, you knew he was in trouble. And so did he. Midway through the song, Lewis promised to make up for his shaky start. Moral of the story: Lewis can run, but he can't keep promises.
9. Roseanne Barr at a Padres game in 1990: The sitcom star screamed the national anthem, spit, grabbed her crotch and almost caused a riot at Jack Murphy Stadium. The incident became a major news story and Barr received death threats. Could you imagine someone trying to do this today. Unfortunately -- or maybe fortunately -- there is no video of the incident online, but this link is more than enough.
10. Borat at the Rodeo: In his recent hit movie, the Kazakhstani reporter started off as a hit when he addressed the Salem, Va., crowd and told them he supported America's war of terror. However, when Borat tried to sing Kazakhstan's national anthem and said all other countries are run by little girls, the fans quickly turned on him.
Are there any performances I've left off the list? Which version of The Star-Spangled Banner is your favorite -- Whitney Houston's or Marvin Gaye's? Which performance is most disturbting -- Michael Jackson's or Roseanne Barr's?
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