Saturday, June 14, 2008

NEWSFLASH: MARCUS VICK IS NOT SMART

Oh, yeah…we already knew that...

Here’s a twist…when you were thinking about famous, potentially famous or infamous athletes from Tidewater, VA you might have lost a bet or two if you wagered that the Vicks would pile up a bigger rap sheet than one Allen Iverson. The Answer has been quiet lately, but the Vicks…well, they're just a big old bundle of police blotter.

According to the AP, former Virginia Tech quarterback Marcus Vick was arrested early Friday and charged with driving under the influence and eluding police.

Vick, the brother of former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, signed as a free agent receiver with the Miami Dolphins after a troubled career at Virginia Tech. He was released by the Dolphins in 2007.

Police said a uniformed bicycle patrol officer observed Vick and a female involved in an altercation in a car around 2 a.m. The officer asked if his assistance was needed, then asked Vick for his driver’s license. Police say Vick then sped away, but was stopped minutes later.

Vick, 24, failed a field sobriety test and was charged with DUI, misdemeanor eluding police, reckless driving, driving on the wrong side of the road and driving on a suspended license. The passenger, Delicia Cordon of Miami, Fla., was charged with being drunk in public.

Vick was released from jail at 6 a.m. Friday on $1,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court Monday, said Maj. Mike O’Toole of the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office.

(AP Photo/Norfolk Police)

FORMER DUKE GOLFER SHARED BRIEF LEAD IN U.S. OPEN

Former Duke golfer Kevin Streelman shared the top of the leader board with journeyman Justin Hicks after the first round of the U.S. Open.

Before Thursday, Streelman's claim to fame came at the Buick Invitational on the same striking city-owned golf course perched on cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

As the third alternate, Streelman figured that he probably wouldn't get a chance to play. So he was rapping a few putts to kill time when somebody tapped him on the shoulder and told him he was teeing off in a few minutes. When he looked up, he was startled to see Woods in front of him, but he was too intimidated to say hi.

He was in second place after two rounds, earning himself a Saturday tee time with Woods in only his third PGA Tour event. Streelman shot 75 on Saturday, 77 on Sunday, but the scars didn't cut deep.

"It was eye-opening, but it was one of the coolest experiences of my life," Streelman said Thursday evening.

(Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. MEDIA REACTS TO DUKE GOLFERS SUCCESS

According to various U.S. media outlets, if former Blue Devil Kevin Streelman ultimately wins the U.S. Open the world will come to an end at 12:01 a.m. Monday, June 16. Here is a quick sample of some of the headlines:

The New York Times: DUKE GOLFER TO END WORLD
Capsulized History of the World Page A12

The Washington Post: WORLD TO END MONDAY, Guantanamo Detainees and Minorities Hit Hardest

Fox News: DUKE LIBERAL RUINS PRO GOLF -- He’s a liberal, his parents are liberals, his grandparents were liberals, PGA in panic mode

EARLY LEADERS FOLD

…world saved.

Justin Hicks and former Duke golfer Kevin Streelman both came crashing down to earth in the second round of the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. Hicks, who got behind on the first hole and was put on the clock by USGA officials, tossed up a nice 80 and Streelman shot 77. Both made the cut.

(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

NBA DRAFT UPDATE

College basketball staff writer Andrew Skwara of Rivals.com has this to say about the NBA draft:

Wayne Ellington, North Carolina
STATUS: Should head back to campus THE BUZZ: Ellington looked great at times at the pre-draft camp ¨C but he also looked terrible at times, too. He is a second-round pick at best.

Danny Green, North Carolina
STATUS: Should head back to campus THE BUZZ: Racked up multiple injuries at the pre-draft camp. He's hoping to get a second-round guarantee, but that is a long shot.

J.J. Hickson, N.C. State
STATUS: On the fence THE BUZZ: Needs to impress in workouts to lock up a spot in the first round. Otherwise, draft day will be a nerve-wracking experience.

Ty Lawson, North Carolina
STATUS: Likely to stay in THE BUZZ: Remains a probable first-round pick despite a recent arrest for driving after drinking alcohol. The Denver Nuggets may take Lawson with the 20th pick.

"NO ONE DESTROYS MY DREAM"

Wrong.

Hey, we know crazy, and after you read this, we think you might agree.

According to the AP, a man accused of planning a massacre at this year’s Super Bowl was convicted Thursday of federal charges.

Kurt Havelock faced six counts of mailing threatening communications in U.S. District Court in Phoenix.

Authorities alleged the 36-year-old Havelock bought an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle and 200 rounds of ammunition from the Scottsdale Gun Club on Jan. 30. The documents say Havelock wanted to kill people at the Feb. 3 Super Bowl in Glendale and was armed when he reached a parking lot near University of Phoenix Stadium where pregame activities were happening.
However, Havelock had a change of heart. He called his parents, and they persuaded him to turn himself in to Tempe police.

Havelock told the FBI he wanted to commit the slayings in retaliation for the Tempe City Council rejecting his liquor application for a restaurant he had recently opened.

In a manifesto mailed to various media outlets, Havelock vowed to “shed the blood of the innocent,” according to court documents. “No one destroys my dream,” he wrote.

THE DEFINITION OF “CRAZY”

So Mr. Havelock says Havelock Jr. is “generally a good person who was being punished for momentarily snapping.”

“I know what kind of kid he is. If he was a bad kid, I’d say, ‘You deserved what you got.’ But he’s not,” Frank Havelock said. “He needs to talk to a counselor. He doesn’t need to be incarcerated.”

Hmmm…

He threatened to shoot unrelated innocent parties at a major sporting event with an automatic rifle because he didn’t get a liquor license for his restaurant? That’s a momentary snap?

We don’t think so. As far as a momentary snap goes on a scale of 10, a one is kicking the dog. A 5 is grabbing your chainsaw and cutting down all the trees in you’re a-hole neighbors yard, and a rock solid 10 is pushing your wife/girlfriend/spouse/partner/little brother out of a moving car.

Shooting innocent people because you didn’t get a liquor license is not in the “snap” column. No, you must look over to the right at the “crazy” column. First it’s threats over the liquor license then you send bombs to people who don’t leave big enough tips, right Mr. Kazyinski?

We know it’s close to Father’s Day, but sorry dad. Lock him up.

By the way, kudos to the Arizona Alcohol Beverage Control Board for having “crazy” as an official reason for denying an application.

PICTURE OF THE DAY

A TORREY PINE...? Adam Scott of Australia hits a shot from the rough on the 18th hole during the second round of the 108th U.S. Open at the Torrey Pines Golf Course (South Course) on June 13, 2008 in San Diego, California.

(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

YOU MIGHT BE TOO YOUNG...to remember Earl Weaver or to have every been to old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. Both were classics.

The feisty Orioles' manager was known for his baseball savvy, his tantrums and the tomatoes he grew in the bullpen. Here, Weaver waves to the crowd during a celebration in honor of the 1979 Orioles AL pennant winners before the Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game Friday, June 13, 2008 in Baltimore.




(AP Photo/Gail Burton)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 3

SPEAKING OF BAD NAMES...Horses and jockeys make their way back to the parade ring after Race 6 Le Pine Funeral Services Plate during the Australian Hurdle and Steeplechase meeting at Sandown Racecourse on June 14, 2008 in Melbourne, Australia.

(Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

COLLEGE STUDENT ARRESTED FOR ACTING LIKE A COLLEGE STUDENT

Like many other college towns, Chapel Hill is full of idealistic kids and academic types looking to make the world a better place (their version of better.) To no one’s surprise, Chapel Hill has historically tended to be politically liberal, and some might say “soft” on crime.

In fact, disgruntled conservatives have referred to the town as "The People's Republic of Chapel Hill," while former U.S. Senator Jesse Helms once said that “North Carolina doesn’t need a zoo, they could just build a fence around Chapel Hill.”

So, the Chapel Hillians may be agoggle over Obama while hugging trees and holding their 1,423,569th anti-war rally, but now they are CRACKING DOWN on crime too.

Just this week, Chapel Hill police chief Brian J. Curran has announced that his squad will start enforcing some obscure North Carolina laws. “Although these laws have been on the books for many years,” said Curran, “we have never seen any reason to pursue them until now when one of our young student athletes placed himself in atypical harm’s way.”

“The traumatic events of last week made all of us with a law and order focus realize that certain crimes simply must be addressed if we are to protect the welfare of our citizens from both themselves and others,” he continued.

Last week, UNC point guard Ty Lawson, who is in the process of trying-out for various NBA teams prior to this month’s draft, was charged with “driving after drinking.” Evidently, under age Ty made the mistake of having a few pops and riding down the main drag at 3 a.m. with the tunes in his car blasting. Evidently, the fair folks of Chapel Hill may be extremely tolerant of certain things but they do like a good night’s sleep (unless, of course, they are conducting their 1,423,570th anti-war rally.)

Subsequently, the Chapel Hill police are now actively seeking arrests for a variety of crimes ranging from the Class 1 felony of “smoking after sex” to the misdemeanor crime of “sleeping after working.”

“Crimes such as “driving after drinking” and “yelling obscenities after striking one’s thumb with a hammer” simply cannot, and will not, be tolerated in our community,” said Chapel Hill mayor Kevin Foy.

“Never mind that we have limits which determine whether or not a driver’s ability is impaired or under the influence, in our fair city, we don’t want anybody to get in a car after they have been drinking at all, which might explain exactly why nobody from the water or sanitation departments showed up for work today."

LAWSON TWISTS ANKLE, BUT NOT ARRESTED

by Ken Tysiac, The Charlotte Observer

North Carolina point guard Ty Lawson missed a scheduled workout with the Denver Nuggets on Sunday, then twisted his ankle near the end of a workout Monday with the Washington Wizards.

"I think I did well today," he said in a quote provided by the Wizards. "I rolled my ankle near the end. I stopped to get the ball and I slipped, but it is not that bad. It will be fine in a couple of days."

Nuggets media relations director Eric Sebastian said Lawson informed the team Saturday that he would not work out Sunday, apparently because of a minor injury. But the Nuggets said he is scheduled to work out today.

Lawson has declared for the draft but can return for his junior season if he withdraws by Monday and does not hire an agent.

Point guard is considered a position of need for the Nuggets, and Lawson was expected to work out along with Kansas point guard Mario Chalmers on Sunday. Chalmers showed up; Lawson didn't.

(AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)

THREE ACC TEAMS HEADED TO CWS

UNC, Miami and Florida State are heading to the College World Series

UNC’s Adam Warren threw six innings of two-hit ball, Dustin Ackley drove in three runs and North Carolina beat Coastal Carolina 14-4 on Sunday to win the Cary Super Regional and reach the College World Series for the third straight year. The Tar Heels have lost in the finals the past two years.

Further down south, Jack Rye's three-run homer capped a six-run first inning in Tallahassee, Fla., as Florida State reached the College World Series for the first time since 2000 with a victory over Wichita State 11-4. The Seminoles (54-12), who have never won the national title, are headed back to the CWS for the 13th time in coach Mike Martin's 29 seasons.

“Over” Yonder Alonso homered and Enrique “Jerry” Garcia pitched six effective innings as Miami defeated Arizona in Coral Gables, Fla., to advance to the Series for the 23rd time.

Unfortunately, NC State's bid to earn the second College World Series berth in school history ended early Sunday afternoon, as nine of Georgia's first 10 batters scored in the bottom of the first inning of a 17-8 Bulldog victory.

North Carolina State right fielder Devon Cartwright can't reach a ball hit for a home run by Georgia's Ryan Peisel in the seventh inning of an NCAA Super Regional baseball game. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)





PICTURE OF THE DAY

BIG SOCCER MATCH TODAY...Spain vs. Russia in the UEFA EURO 2008 Group D match at Stadion Tivoli Neu in Innsbruck, Austria.

At the time of publication Spain was up two nil (that's soccer talk) at halftime.

(Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

GOOD UNIS...Let's hear it for the Russian team.

Nice unis.


(Photo by Javier Soriano/AFP/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 3

HOLY TORREROS, BATMAN...! Spanish supporters dresssed as toreros cheer before the Euro 2008 Championships Group D football match Spain vs. Russia.

The guy on the right needs to lose the chin strap. It's not a good look for him.


(Photo by Michal Cizek/AFP/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 4

MARX BROTHERS...? Spanish supporters dressed as Spanish policemen (L and R) cheer with a man dressed in Spanish colors before the Euro 2008 Championships Group D football match Spain vs. Russia.

(Photo by Michal Cizek/AFP/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 5

NICE HAIR...Russian soccer supporters wait for the start of the group D match between Spain and Russia in Innsbruck, Austria, Tuesday, June 10, 2008, at the Euro 2008 European Soccer Championships in Austria and Switzerland.

(AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Monday, June 9, 2008

THE BELMONT STAKES EXPLAINED

Well, "explained"is a bit misleading.

A few theories espoused.

First off, forget the quarter crack...not a factor.

The steroid -- Winstrol -- that the trainer had used in April and May leading up to the race really is not a big deal either. The media would have you believe that if you took Winstrol, you'd turn into Brian Urlacher and then when you stopped you would suddenly be Alfred E. Newman. That's not exactly how it works, but, hey, why let the facts bugger up a good story?

Granted his break from the gate and the run to the first turn was a little rough, but that should not have stopped a horse with as much talent as Big Brown.

We attributed his poor race to five factors in no particular order of importance:

1) HEAT - Did you go outside Saturday? Did it feel good? Did you feel like running farther and faster than you have ever run...? Didn't think so.

2) STRESS - Racehorses aren't particularly smart, but they are sensitive. They are also creatures of habit. When the folks around horses are stressed, the horses stress. Stress leads to fatigue. Horses like Big Brown are typically best with a routine. There is nothing routine about the circus leading up to the Belmont when there is a Triple Crown on the line. We assure you the $10,000 claimers running this afternoon at Colonial Downs aren't posing with the Hooters Girls pre-race.

Too much going on, too much stress, too many interruptions to the routine and pretty soon there isn't enough $4 gas in the tank...

3) TRAINING - Big Brown missed a few days of training prior to the Belmont and since he was on a very light regimen to start with, this may have cost him some critical core conditioning. This is a bit of a reach, but...

4) THE RACETRACK - We surmise the boys at Belmont were damned worried about another 8-Belles debacle. Our guess is they did everything they could to make the track safe, but it doing so they created a very "deep" track that Big Brown didn't like. The weather and some water issues could have confused an already tricky process, and a close viewing of the race will show you the horses going into the track up over their ankles.

Big horses like Big Brown often have trouble with deep tracks "breaking away" under their feet. Imagine running across the ice rink in your dress shoes. It doesn't inspire confidence...

5) KARMA - His owner lied on his resume and his trainer just couldn't shut up. See #2 above.

(Photos by Anne M. Eberhardt, Al Bello/Getty Images and Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)



BIG DISAPPOINTMENT

Here is a very good piece by Ray Paulick of ESPN. Covers a lot of the other issues quite nicely:

Trainer Rick Dutrow said he was "numb" as he watched his failed Triple Crown runner, Big Brown, stagger across the finish line far behind the rest of the field in Saturday's Belmont Stakes.

Weren't we all.

Many of us had numbed ourselves into rooting for the horse to become the sport's first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. We pulled for him, even though it somehow didn't feel right.

We didn't like the people around Big Brown, especially his boorish, bad-boy trainer, yet we pulled for him to win. We didn't like the fact Big Brown was a Winstrol wonder, getting a monthly injection of the synthetic steroid to boost his performance, yet we pulled for him to win.

We didn't like the fact his majority owners, the too-slick-to-trust boys from IEAH Stable, were money hustlers who would retire Big Brown to stud as soon as the check cleared the bank from his stallion suitors at Three Chimneys Farm.

Yet we pulled for him to win.

It's about the horse, we constantly reminded ourselves, not the people.
On this hot and humid June afternoon, however, it became impossible to separate racing people from the horses who play the game. The history of the sport has been graced with so many good and decent men and women. Do we really need to celebrate those who would bring it dishonor?

When dawn broke and news reports confirmed the injury-forced scratch of Casino Drive, the colt expected to be Big Brown's chief rival in the Belmont, thoughts went to that colt's owner and trainer, along with the many Japanese fans and media members who followed him halfway around the world to see if he could make history of his own.

Then came word that racing lost two stalwarts, Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Croll and the legendary sportscaster Jim McKay. It would be difficult to find two finer gentlemen than Croll, who is best remembered as trainer of 1994 Horse of the Year Holy Bull, or McKay, a Maryland Thoroughbred owner and breeder and the longtime host of Triple Crown telecasts on ABC Sports.

So it was with mixed emotions as I watched Big Brown break from the starting gate in this 140th running of the Belmont Stakes, the so-called test of the champion, a race that has foiled 10 other Triple Crown attempts since 1978.

I had bought into the "foregone conclusion" theory Dutrow had been preaching in the wake of Big Brown's winning performances in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. I admired the way jockey Kent Desormeaux tried to leave something in the tank while dusting his Preakness foes three weeks earlier. I was only moderately concerned that Big Brown had to miss a few days of training two weeks before the Belmont when one of his brittle feet popped a small quarter crack.

The unfortunate withdrawal of Casino Drive virtually assured that Big Brown would become racing's 12th Triple Crown winner.

Or so I thought.

Big Brown never looked entirely comfortable in the early going, yet when Desormeaux began moving his hands on the colt's neck going into the far turn, I still expected Big Brown to overtake the front-running Da' Tara. In a flash, it was clear that wasn't going to happen.
The energy drained from the crowd of 94,476 just as quickly as it had from Big Brown, who faded to last as Da' Tara galloped on to an easy victory.

Big Brown walked off the track apparently uninjured. The damage to the egos of Dutrow and the IEAH partners was far more severe.

"This horse winning the Triple Crown wasn't going to do a damned thing for racing," a friend said while Nick Zito walked his second Belmont Stakes winner down victory lane.

It was the slap of reality I needed. I knew then that I'd fooled myself, falling for the "good of racing" argument that somehow a Triple Crown winner would help a sport that often can't seem to help itself.

Meanwhile, on the victory stand, Zito was talking about the importance of humility and grace in this sometimes humbling game. It's a lesson Dutrow and the Big Brown team could learn.

(Photos by AP Photo/Peter Morgan, Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images and Al Bello/Getty Images)

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