A satirical look back at some of the quirkiest, most eyebrow-raising things that happened in the sports world this week.
The Dead-Ball Era lives!
Stew Thornley’s hobby is visiting Baseball Hall of Famers’ grave sites, and he’ll pad his total to 222 when he adds Tony Gwynn and Duke Snider this year. (You can get the lowdown on them all, complete with pictures of grave sites and their GPS coordinates, atStewThornley.net.)
“I am kind of morbid,” Thornley, 63, told the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Or, as Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach (Fla.) Post put it: “The Sultan of Cemeteries.”
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• At Fark.com: “Adam Vinatieri creeps closer to becoming first active NFL player with an AARP membership.”
• At TheOnion.com: “Furloughed bison pour back into national parks after government reopens.”
Balls in their court
There’s rumblings out of L.A. that the Lakers are itching to swing a three-city trade to land Pelicans big man Anthony Davis.
In return, the Lakers would send Lonzo Ball to New Orleans, and LaVar Ball to Flin Flon.
Shouldn’t an errant hike over the punter’s head be known as a snapfu?
The only single digit not retired by the Yankees can be seen this season on:
a) the back of pitcher Adam Ottavino’s jersey
b) the hand of any hardcore Red Sox fan
Germany’s Sabine Lisicki reeled in horror after a ballgirl at the Thailand Open — called out to remove a humongous insect from the court — instead stomped on it.
Tennis purists immediately declared it the jump smash of the year.
Sean McVay, the 33-year-old Rams coach, is yet another Miami of Ohio product.
Is it any surprise that the youngest head man in Super Bowl history came from the Cradle of Coaches?
Who Dat Mad, Bro?
“Anger rooms,” where people pay to vent their frustrations by smashing things with baseball bats, are the latest craze in China.
Unfortunately, they’re totally booked with Saints fans right now.
And the first sack of Super Bowl LIII goes to …
Pittsburgh’s KDKA-TV, which fired an employee who flashed a two-second graphic reading “known cheater” below video of Patriots QB Tom Brady during a pre-SB newscast.
The entire cheerleading squad at Grady High School in Atlanta has been benched for the rest of the school year after members were caught on video making offensive remarks to opponents, taunting and exhibiting other rude behavior.
Four words of advice for next year’s squad: Hold that offensive line.
Burning up the track
A charter bus carrying the Stanford track team to a meet caught fire near downtown Seattle and, after all 31 passengers escaped, was totally engulfed in flames.
Suggested title for the team’s 2019 highlight video: “Chariot’s afire.”
Exit velocity explained
Whacky ex-slugger Jose Canseco tweeted that aliens have been trying to teach mankind the fine art of time travel but, alas, our species has just been too reluctant “to change our body composition.”
Which raises the question: Is there a concussion-protocol statute of limitations for home-run balls off the top of the noggin?
Talking the talk
• Brad Rock of Salt Lake City’s Desert News, after Bill Walton endorsed Barack Obama to succeed the fired Steve Alford as UCLA basketball coach: “What, Gene Hackman was busy?”
• Comedy writer Brad Dickson, going out on a limb after Nebraska landed a four-star cornerback recruit out of Hawaii: “I’m going to guess he doesn’t watch the Weather Channel.”
He can go deep, too
Brody Oliver, who’s putting in four 12-hour stints a week in preparation for the NFL draft, is the all-time leading receiver at Colorado School of Mines.
Incredulous scouts say he’s dynamite on dig routes.
Some beer deliveries in the upper Midwest had to be canceled last week because kegs were freezing en route.
Coupled with the Packers missing the playoffs, flummoxed locals are claiming it’s the first two signs of the apocalypse.
Stan & Ollie in cleats
The Twins would seem to have opposing dietary challenges when it comes to 6-foot-4 third baseman Miguel Sano, who finished last season at 297 pounds, and 6-foot, 160-pound shortstop prospect Nick Gordon.
“No comment,” said team nutritionist Jack Sprat.
• Bob Molinaro in the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, after the Hampton Roads market came in third-highest (behind K.C. and Pittsburgh) in the Pro Bowl TV ratings: “Hey, neighbors, maybe it’s time we got out of the house more often.”
• Jim Barach of JokesByJim.blogspot.com, reinforcing Miami columnist Armando Salguero’s assertion that the Dolphins are trying to tank next season: “They just signed Ray Finkle.”
• Jeff Gordon of STLtoday.com, having a hard time getting excited for a Super Bowl pitting the hated Patriots against a Rams team that jilted St. Louis: “So what time is the Puppy Bowl?”
• Steelers WR Ju-Ju Smith-Schuster, to reporters, on his team’s soap-opera season: “Everyone has to stop being divas. … we need to stop being the Kardashians and just play ball.”
Putting for … d’oh!
Chinese golfer Haotong Li lost about $98,000 in prize money — dropping from a third-place tie into a tie for 12th at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic — after being hit with a two-stroke penalty because his caddie was caught standing close to an extension of the line of play on the final hole.
Or as Mike Burrow’s faux pas is now known in golfing circles, an unpayable lie.
Three “Sydney Roosters world football champs” billboards sprang up in Atlanta during Super Bowl week.
“Americans always claim their domestic-league winners, whether it’s NBA, MLB or NFL, are the world champions,” Australian National Rugby League official Andrew Abdo told the London Daily Telegraph. “If they can make this claim, why can’t we?”
Quote, end quote
• RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com, after the NBA fined Pelicans star Anthony Davis $50,000 because his agent made his trade request public: “Tsk. There’s seven minutes salary he’ll never get back.”
• Janice Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com, after the Nationals hired octogenarian Jack McKeon as a senior adviser: “Good for McKeon. But at 88, isn’t ‘senior adviser’ redundant?”
• Cam Hutchinson of the Saskatoon Express, on the best NHL defensive tandem he ever saw: “Bobby Orr and anybody.”