Friday, May 15, 2009
He disclosed that he has been diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma, a malignant tumor most often found in bone or soft tissue.
"Obviously, I was shocked," Herzlich said in a statement released by Boston College.
"I had been extremely focused on preparing for my senior season at Boston College and for life beyond that. Now, I must channel all that energy into facing my toughest opponent yet, and that is exactly what I will do."
Herzlich said he will return home to Pennsylvania for tests to determine the best course of action for treatment. He asked for his privacy to be respected.
Coach Frank Spaziani released a statement saying the Boston College community was "stunned."
"His integrity, determination and focus are unmatched. I know he will face this challenge with that same attitude," Spaziani said.
The Sport of Kings started declining in the 1950's when it failed to a) embrace television as a way to communicate with its fans (and potential fans) and b) notice that racing no longer had a monopoly on legal betting. Years of intense competition for people's time and entertainment dollars haven't helped.
Throw in some well documented calamities like Barbaro and Eight Belles, and horse racing finds itself over in the "dust bin" with boxing and track field - two other sports that once held prominent spots in the nation's sporting conscience.
So, of course, the sport could use a Triple Crown winner, but that's not as simple a solution as it seems. While a Triple Crown winner increases media coverage and fan interest and, theoretically, ultimately grows the sport, for the folks in the horse racing and breeding industry it's important that the "next big thing" also have a positive impact on the breed.
Virginia-bred Secretariat was an incredible racehorse - undeniable a freak of nature in terms of his athleticism. However, he wasn't a big success at stud and only his daughters (which have proven to be good broodmares especially when mated with stallions from the popular Northern Dancer line) will have a lasting impact on the breed.
Seattle Slew who won the Triple Crown in 1977 was a prominent sire and his blood still flows in the veins of famous thoroughbred sires via his son A.P. Indy. Affirmed the Triple Crown winner of 1978 was a useful sire, but his bloodline is hard to find today.
That brings us to the “what if” game. Many horses have come close to winning the Triple Crown. Back in 1981, Virginia-bred Pleasant Colony won the Derby and Preakness, but finished third in the Belmont. He went on to be a very productive Thoroughbred sire and his bloodline via his sire His Majesty was, and still is, an important outcross. Had he won the Triple Crown, he may have gotten more and better mares and he may have been an even more successful sire.
Then there's Real Quiet. In 1998, he lost the Triple Crown in the Belmont by a nose to Victory Gallop, and, in spite of being a product of the prolific Mr. Prospector sire line, his stud career has not produced a major champion or a high number of stakes winners.
And so it goes.
Enter Mine That Bird - a gelding. Perhaps he's the new Seabiscuit? Perhaps he can pull of the Triple Crown and the long term impact on the industry will be a happy moot point as he can't reproduce. Talk about nice and simple.
Without the crushing burden of future syndication value, maybe the little gelding-from-New-Mexico-that-could can become a populist hero the likes of Kelso, Forego, John Henry or, more recently, Funny Cide.
No, his owners aren’t as warm and fuzzy as the Funny Cide bunch that travelled the Triple Crown trail in a school bus. And, yes, it seems unlikely that T.A.H. Pop Culture Editor Young A.T. will deliberately march across an NTRA cocktail party in Saratoga to meet Mark Allen as she did Knowlton, but if Mine That Bird keeps winning that chip that clearly weighs heavily on the Derby winner’s connection’s shoulders might get a bit lighter and in some public relations sunshine might sneak. OK, it’s a longshot, but a horse has gotta dream.
Not that this week helped. First there was the “block Rachel Alexandra” news early in the week, and since then the Derby winner has been virtually ignored by the media.
While it’s easy to dismiss Mine That Bird’s victory as a fluke due to weather and track conditions and a brilliant ride, history tells us that Derby winners are good horses. A few have been a bit inconsistent (Virginia-bred Sea Hero comes to mine), but generally speaking, if you can win the first Saturday in May at Churchill you’ve got yourself a damn nice horse.
No reason, Mine That Bird can’t be that horse.
Don’t be fooled by the cowboy hats and the horse trailer. As jet setting Triple Crown vet and Hall of Fame nominee Bob Baffert recently said, “It doesn’t matter if he wears a cowboy hat or if he vanned the horse. I used to wear a cowboy hat and van my own horses. I started the same way. He did a good job and nobody’s giving him any credit for it. I think the horse is legit. You can’t throw him out.”
So the question is can Mine That Bird knock off the Super Filly? Can he become this generation’s Seabiscuit?
Maybe he's the "perfect" Triple Crown winner for right here, right now…
Paul Moran of ESPN also weighs in on racing's need for a hero.
Welcome the Lingerie Football League – the LFL for you pigskin types.
The LFL's inaugural season kicks off soon with 10 teams. They are currently holding mini-camps in places like Miami, Philadelphia, Chicago and Atlant next week and the 20-week season of Friday night games gets underway September 4th.
According to LFL chairman Mitch Mortaza, "The actual uniform is a basic sports bra and boy shorts." And, of course, the LFL is appealing to a certain demographic while utilizing the time honored tradition of huckstering their sport as “family friendly.”
Who knew Heff had kids?
"No. No. We're certainly not catering to everyone,” Mortaza told a Philadelphia radio station. “But could you bring your 15-year-old son or daughter to this? Absolutely. You're going to be exposing them to a similar environment as if you were to take them to an Eagles game."
Has he ever been to an Eagles game?
According to Mortaza players have to be “eager, athletic, confident, and obviously, beautiful" and about 125 pounds.The rules differ a bit from the NFL -- it's seven-on-seven, no punting, no field goals.
(Photo: Lingerie Football League (LFL) aspiring players take part in training drills during an open tryout session, for aspiring players to be selected to join the New York Majesty team, in Freeport, New York, May 14, 2009. Photo by Emanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images)
Gone are the morning lacrosse game and scaffolding which allowed those so inclined a view of more than the Preakness horses’ ears and the jockeys’ caps assuming they could scale their creation by late afternoon.
But the party has long been fueled by Pimlico’s policy of BYOB.
Josh Bacott of the popular sport’s blog Joe Sports Fan had this to say:
For the first time in recent memory, those grizzled horse racing fans that make up the infield crowd at Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course on Preakness day will not be allowed to bring in their most effective handicapping tool: booze.
If the Preakness had one clear-cut advantage over its more famous counterpart in Kentucky, it was that those who chose to brave the infield in Pimlico were rewarded with a free pass to haul in as much alcohol as they could shove into a cooler. While both the Derby and the Preakness still managed to crank out their fair share of YouTube clips featuring the time-honored tradition of port-a-racing, it remained a safe bet to assume that the Preakness was topping the trifecta in the race to see which Triple Crown event could produce more drunken meatheads.
To read the blog post, click here.
Sometimes, the more things change, the more things don’t stay the same…
Thursday, May 14, 2009
But the Orange, which hasn't had a winning season since 2001, has a designated starting quarterback and a senior backup who started 11 games in 2008.
"I understand going into it, there are no promises and no guarantees," Paulus said. "I understand what I need to earn."
Paulus' announcement capped off a unique seven-week process before deciding to go back to upstate New York, where he starred in high school for Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse before choosing basketball at Duke over college football.
Paulus finished his prep football career with 152 touchdown passes and a 42-3 record. He was considered one of the best quarterback prospects in his class but he hasn't taken a snap since the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in Jan. 2005.
The NCAA still needs to grant Paulus an academic waiver to be eligible for the 2009 season. Paulus, who graduated from Duke with a political science degree, said he would pursue a post-graduate degree from Syracuse's Newhouse School of public communications.
The quarterback situation at Syracuse is complicated. Senior Cameron Dantley, a former walk-on, started 11 games for the Orange, who went 3-9 in 2008.
But Dantley lost the job in the spring to redshirt freshman Ryan Nassib. First-year Orange coach Doug Marrone tabbed Nassib the starter in March.
How Paulus' arrival will change that equation is unclear. Under NCAA rules, Marrone can't comment on Paulus because he's an unsigned recruit, a school spokeswoman said Thursday.
Paulus started 139 games in four seasons for the Blue Devils' basketball team, helping them to the ACC title in his freshman and senior seasons. He finished his basketball career ranked among Duke's career leaders in 3-pointers (eighth with 210) and assists (ninth with 468).
Mr. Buffett, meet the ACC.
Sort of by default, the ACC is doing business with the Jimmy Buffett empire, Magaritaville Enterprises. Buffett has worked a deal with the Miami Dolphins to rename Dolphin Stadium after Buffett’s beer LandShark.
So you know, Anheuser-Busch brews LandShark.
Yesterday, T.A.H. got to have lunch with the brains behind the movie This Is Spinal Tap. While it remains both a classic and a true original, having created the genre of “mocumentary,” many film fans are more familiar with the follow-ups from its talented and cast such as Best In Show, A Mighty Win, Waiting For Guffman and For Your Consideration.
The movie was released in 1984 and it starred three old friends – Michael McKean (as David St. Hubbins, who also starred as Lenny in Laverne and Shirley), Christopher Guest (as Nigel Tufnel) and Harry Shearer (as Derek Smalls). The three were the guest at Nathans in Georgetown yesterday for the taping of the D.C. Cable Channel’s Q&A Café hosted by Nathans proprietor Carol Ross Joynt.
A full house packed the dining room to hear the three reminisce about various projects and to talk about their current tour “Unwigged and Unplugged.” Not only are the three actors extremely funny, all are also talented musicians.
We enjoyed the guys and our lunch companion, Jeff Dufour of the D.C. Examiner (the sister paper of the San Francisco Examiner). Here is Dufour’s take on the proceedings.
Here is a brief clip concering LPs and Sir Paul McCartney.
The addition of Painter, a 6-9 and 210-pound power forward, puts State at the scholarship limit of 13 for the upcoming season.
Painter originally signed with the University of Florida but was let out of his Letter of Intent, he said. Painter, who spent the past season at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va., grew up an ACC fan in Norfolk, Va.
"I wanted to play closer to home," Painter said. "I love the coaching staff and I fit in with the [N.C. State] players."
Did anybody mention to him that Charlottesville isn’t all that far from Norfolk? Guess not…
Seeking a bigger role, guard Hank Thorns will transfer, according to The Roanoke Times. Allan Chaney, a forward, will transfer into the program from the University of Florida.
Thorns, a backup point guard, averaged 3.7 points and 2.8 assists in two seasons. He started the first 11 games of his career but was relegated to backup duty when Dorenzo Hudson became eligible in the 2007-08 season.
Chaney, a 6-8 forward, appeared in 23 games with Florida and averaged 3.0 points per game. He missed nine SEC games with a sprained foot and was suspended for the final two games of the season by Florida coach Billy Donovan.
Donovan wanted Chaney to play a traditional forward role, with his back to the basket, according to Chaney, but he prefers to face the basket and play on the wing.
Chaney has sit out the upcoming season, under NCAA rules, and will be eligible in 2010-11.
The word from the ACC annual meeting on Amelia Island this week was that some of the ACC suits were contemplating an 18 game regular season. They currently play a 16 game regular season. The suits figured the coaches would oppose such a move and, sure enough, they did.
Objections from the ACC's men's basketball coaches squashed the idea of an 18-game conference schedule after discussions stalled when the league's basketball coaches unanimously opposed the idea, according to ACC associate commissioner for basketball media relations Brian Morrison.
ACC coaches are afraid that adding two conference games would make the schedule so difficult that they would be reluctant to arrange games with high-profile non-conference opponents.
However, don’t be surprised if the coaches get force-fed the 18-game format by the TV networks during the next round of contract negotiations. The current contracts expire after the 2010 – 2011 season.
The Kentucky Oaks winner, with Calvin Borel named to ride, drew the outside stall, and was installed by Pimlico linemaker Frank Carulli as the 8-5 favorite.
Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird drew post 2, and was made the co-third choice at odds of 6-1 with Mike Smith named to ride.
Pioneerof the Nile is the second choice at odds of 5-1 on Carulli's line, and will break from post 9 under Garrett Gomez.The other horse at 6-1 is Friesan Fire, 18th as the favorite in the Derby. Friesan Fire drew post 5, and will be ridden again by Gabriel Saez.
Big Drama seemed the most likely pacesetter even before the draw, and now seems sure to go to the front after drawing the rail. Big Drama, who will be ridden by John Velazquez and races with blinkers off, was made a 10-1 choice.
Rachel Alexandra won from the outside stall in a nine-horse field last fall at Keeneland, and her tactical speed should allow her to get decent position despite the wide draw.
$1.1 million Preakness Stakes – 1 Big Drama (10-1), 2 Mine That Bird (9-2), 3 Musket Man (10-1), 4 Luv Gov (50-1), 5 Friesan Fire (10-1), 6 Terrain (30-1), 7 Papa Clem (8-1), 8 General Quarters (20-1), 9 Pioneerof The Nile (5-1), 10 Flying Private (50-1), 11 Take The Points (50-1), 12 Tone It Down (50-1), 13 Rachel Alexandra (9-5).
Pat Forde of ESPN applauds Jackson’s Preakness move. To read the story, click here.
Here Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Caps and Sidney Crosby #87 of the Penguins shake hands.
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
(For the record, Duke, N.C. State, Maryland, Virginia, Florida State, Duke, Wake Forest, Boston College, Virginia, Duke, Georgia Tech, Duke, Virginia, Duke, Virginia Tech, Duke, Duke, Miami, Clemson, Duke, Virginia, Duke were not invited. We aren’t sure why – oh, that’s right, they aren’t the 2009 NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball National Champions!)
“I’m not sure whose luck rubbed off on who,” Obama said Monday as he greeted the team on the White House’s South Lawn. “I think there was just a good vibe going on there.”
Obama said almost everyone was excited to have the Tar Heels stop by. The one exception, he said, was his personal aide Reggie Love, who won a title as a player for UNC’s chief rival, Duke (who, coincidentally was not invited – see above.)
Obama picked North Carolina to win the national championship this year. He thanked them “for salvaging my bracket and vindicating me before the entire nation.” The president’s other picks for the NCAA tournament’s Final Four never made it that far.
Obama praised coach Roy Williams for instilling “the importance of academics into all these guys, which is why they didn’t just plow through the tournament field; they also had the highest graduation rate of anybody in the Final Four.”
(Bottom photo: University of North Carolina men's basketball head coach Roy Williams (L) present U.S. President Barack Obama with a team jersey at the White House May 11, 2009 in Washington, DC. The North Carolina Tar Heels are the 2009 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I national champions. A basketball fan, Obama picked the Tar Heels to win in his March Madness bracket. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Kyle Stanley, Clemson (Jr., Gig Harbor, Wash.)
Ben Martin, Clemson (Jr., Greenwood, S. C.)
David May, Clemson (Sr., Auburn, N. Y.)
Matt Savage, Florida State (Sr., Louisville, Ky.)
Drew Kittleson, Florida State (So., Scottsdale, Ariz.)
Cameron Tringale, Georgia Tech (Sr., Laguna Niguel, Calif.)
John Popeck, Maryland (Fr., Washington, Pa.)
Kevin O’Connell, North Carolina (So., Cary, N. C.)
Matt Hill, NC State, So (Bright’s Grove, Ontario)
Darren Blair, NC State (Sr., Johannesburg, South Africa)
Drew Weaver, Virginia Tech (Sr., High Point, N. C.Dustin Groves, Wake Forest (Sr., Keswick, Va.)
ACC Player of the Year: Matt Hill (pictured), NC State (So., Bright’s Grove, Ontario)
ACC Freshman of the Year: Brooks Koepka, Florida State (Fr., Wellington, Fla.)
ACC Coach of the Year: Bruce Heppler, Georgia Tech
“Please do what you can to realign the conference,” Miller wrote in the e-mail, obtained recently by The Orlando Sentinel through a public records request. “Put Georgia Tech in (the Atlantic) Division. Give them Maryland.”
If there were a movement afoot to realign the Atlantic and Coastal Divisions, it would likely be discussed at the ACC annual meeting this week.
Mike Kelly, the ACC's associate commissioner for football, said realignment could be feasible after the 2015 season, which he said is the last for which schedules have been formatted.
Until then, though, Kelly said talk of realignment is just that.
“I don't think there's a lot to it,” he said. “It could happen any time but we have not (discussed it). I wasn't in the (athletic directors') meeting today, I was in the coaches' meetings. But it wasn't on the agenda. We've never discussed it.”
It has been discussed, though, at FSU. Miller on Monday said he's still supportive of divisional realignment, and he suggested that moving Georgia Tech into the Atlantic Division would help foster a rivalry between the Seminoles and Yellow Jackets.
Florida State's campus in Tallahassee is a remote location for most schools in the ACC but Atlanta, home to Georgia Tech, is the closest ACC city to FSU. Miller said it makes geographic sense for the schools to be in the same division.
Yes, as it would make sense for Virginia, Wake Forest, North Carolina, Duke, N.C. State to be in the same division since they are all accessible via the U.S. Rt 29 corridor…but, they’re not.
They can't win an overtime playoff game. They can't beat the Pittsburgh Penguins when a series is on the line.
All that's ended, and it means a riveting, entertaining series matching the NHL's two biggest names and two of its best teams is anything but over.
David Steckel (left) scored on a deflection of Brooks Laich's shot and the Capitals finally won an overtime playoff game, beating nemesis Pittsburgh 5-4 on Monday night to force a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
"I think it's going to be great game," Ovechkin said. "I think the league wants us to play Game 7."
The Capitals, losers of their previous seven overtime games, failed to hold a 4-3 lead late in regulation when Sidney Crosby scored. They made up for it when Steckel went to the net immediately after winning a faceoff.
Laich wristed the puck from the right circle and Steckel tipped it past Marc-Andre Fleury 6:22 into the overtime for the win.
The Caps turned the game in the first period with a 5-on-3 penalty kill for 56 seconds that netted the Penguins four shots, but no goals.
Game 7 is at the Verizon Center on Wednesday night.
Monday, May 11, 2009
You might as well go home now, that's as good as it gets on your odd garden variety Monday.
Saturday, May 9, Baltimore: No. 8 Johns Hopkins 12, Brown 11 (OT)
Saturday, May 9, Chapel Hill, NC: No. 6 North Carolina 15, UMBC 13
Saturday, May 9, Ithaca, NY: No. 5 Cornell 11, Hofstra 8No. 5
Saturday, May 9, Durham, NC: No. 3 Duke 14, Navy 5
Sunday, May 10, South Bend, IN: Maryland 7, No. 7 Notre Dame 3
Sunday, May 10, Charlottesville, VA: No. 1 Virginia 18, Villanova 6
Sunday, May 10, Princeton, NJ: No. 4 Princeton 10, UMass 7
Noon: No. 2 Syracuse vs. Maryland ESPNU, ESPNUHD
2 p.m.: No. 4 Princeton vs. No. 5 CornellESPNU, ESPNUHD
Noon: No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 8 Johns Hopkins ESPNU, ESPNUHD
2 p.m.: No. 3 Duke vs. No. 6 North CarolinaESPNU, ESPNUHD
And then it got complicated…
Rachel Alexandra, who would be sent off as the favorite for the Baltimore classic, is not nominated to the Triple Crown, but her owners are more than willing to put up the $100,000 supplemental entry fee. However, the field is restricted to 14 starters and the horses pre-entered in the Triple Crown have preference when entries are taken later this week.
Enter Mark Allen, the co-owner of Mine That Bird who has been a controversial character on more than one occasion (including the bribery case of a U.S. Senator from Alaska), he now intends to enter a pre-entered horse to block Rachel Alexandra’s attempt to run for the Black-Eyed Susans.
Allen considered entering Indy Express solely to take away a starting spot from Rachel Alexandra.Allen said his motives were professional, not personal as jockey Calvin Borel, who guided the 50-1 long shot gelding to a stunning 6¾-length win in the Run for the Roses, has already agreed to pilot Rachel Alexandra for the rest of the year.
"I just want my rider back," Allen (right) told The Thoroughbred Times on Sunday.
But, Mine That Bird trainer Bennie “Chip” Woolley Jr. told The Associated Press late Sunday evening that Allen had changed his mind."He's rethought it and with the best interest of racing and the sport, he feels like it would be unfair to do that and she's going to run," Woolley said.
Allen wasn't the only one having second thoughts.Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas planned to enter a second colt, Luv Gov, in addition to Flying Private, who finished last in the Kentucky Derby.
Luv Gov is owned by Marylou Whitney, who also owned and bred Birdstone, sire of Mine That Bird. Whitney's husband John Hendrickson told several outlets on Sunday that Luv Gov will not stand in the way of Rachel Alexandra's bid to run in the Preakness.
And, now it’s OK.
The league said Friday the Mobile, Ala.-based GMAC Bowl will replace the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho, in the conference's postseason lineup.
The GMAC Bowl will have the ninth pick of eligible ACC teams this year, while the EagleBank Bowl in Washington, D.C., which had the final pick last year, moves up to the No. 8 pick of ACC teams.
The ACC champion once again will play in the Orange Bowl unless it is ranked either first or second in the final BCS standings. In that case, it will play in the BCS title game in Pasadena, Calif. Say what?
Whew, that's funny.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
The Pittsburgh Penguins overcame a third-period deficit, survived Alex Ovechkin’s tying goal late in regulation, then won on Evgeni Malkin’s(notes) power-play tally 3:28 into overtime Saturday night for a 4-3 victory in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
(Photo by Len Redkoles/Getty Images)
(Photo by Guillaume Baptiste/AFP/Getty Images)
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