Friday, July 3, 2009


Have a fun and safe Independence Day weekend, and we will see you right back here next week.


Being as it’s the Fourth of July weekend where we yanks celebrate our shedding of the yoke of English tyranny, tea, boysenberry pie, boiled meat and bad teeth, we thought we’d show our friends from across the pond some Independence Day love…

You were probably wondering how cricket bats were made. Yes, you probably were, you just didn’t realize it.

Well, somebody has to make them.

Enter J.S. Wright & Sons of Great Leighs, Chelmsford, Essex, England (what’s up with the big long address limey dudes?). Their company has been growing and harvesting willow trees for cricket bats since way back in 1894. With the help of a gentleman he met in a pub named Mr. Odd (not kidding, that’s was his name), company founder Jessie Wright figured out making cricket bats could be more profitable than garden variety building supplies.

Now, J.S. Wright & Sons is both the olds and largest suppliers of cricket bat willow to various bat manufacturers. They supply willow "clefts" from which the bats are cut and handles added. Tree Hugger Alert: Don’t panic J.S.W. & Sons plant three times more willow trees annually than they cut down.)

Why is this timely you ask? Because, according to various cricket savvy news sources, sales of cricket bats are expected to increase sharply in the coming months due to The Ashes series being played in the UK starting on July 8, 2009. And you know, that here at T.A.H. World Headquarters, we love us some cricket! And we like the word "sawn."

Photos from top: 1) Graham Marshall (r) and Lee Brett, employees at J.S. Wright & Sons, Split willow logs in half. 2) Oliver Wright, a Director at J.S. Wright & Sons, examines the drying willow clefts which will be sawn down to be made into cricket bats. 3) Tony Childs, an employee at J.S. Wright & Sons, saws willow clefts from logs. 4) Tony Sains, a cricket bat maker with Warsop Stebbing Bats, sands down the face of a bat in his small workshop. 5) Sains (r) and John Bowles, cricket bat makers with Warsop Stebbing Bats, construct bats by hand. 6) Partially complete bats stand awaiting sanding in the small workshop of Warsop Stebbing Bats, and 7) Wright examines some of the finished cricket bats made by the companies he supplies with willow clefts on June 30, 2009 in Chelmsford, England.

(Photos by Julian Herbert/Getty Images)



Anthony Kim shot a course record 62 to lead the AT&T National presented by Tiger Woods at the Congressional Country Club on July 2, 2009 in Bethesda, Maryland. Tiger shot 64.

If the Michael Jackson scenario hasn’t reminded you of what a celebrity-crazed society we live in, consider this.

There are 225 golf photos on Yahoo this morning – 48 are of Tiger and 11 are of Kim.

Not to mention, that Tiger, who purports to be a sports fan, invited Dallas Cowboy QB Tony Romo to play with him on Wednesday in the Pro-Am. Then in the press conference when an always Tiger-wary media ribbed him the littlest bit about his lack of NFL rivalry discretion, Woods said he didn’t realize it was “such a big deal.”

Maybe next year Michael Jordan will ask Christian Laettner to play with him?

What next? Dogs and cats living together?

(Photos by Scott Halleran/Getty Images and Win McNamee/Getty Images)


Running back phenom and future Hokie David Wilson who wracked up four touchdowns and something link 832 yards like a warm knife through faux guaw in a 78-zippo victory over france, could manage but a paltry 146 yards in 11 carries against Junior pigskin powerhouse(?) Mexico. Wilson scored three touchdowns including one from the first play from scrimmage.

Game over. U.S.A. 55, Mexico Nada.

"It may appear easy, but I put in a lot of hard work on and off the field," Wilson said. "There are a lot of things that I go through that people don't see, the sweat and the struggle. Each time I step on the field, I want to be that much better."

Quarterback Bryce Petty and the rest of Team USA will face Canada in the Junior World Championship Gold Medal Game on Sunday at 1 p.m.

On Wilson, "It's funny because I came off the field and I go 'I can't explain it,'" Petty, a Baylor recruit, said. "I have been around football awhile, but I have never seen anyone like him. It's like freakish."


We are two weeks away from the biggest horse race in all the ACC states – Virginia’s $750,000 Virginia Derby Gr.2 at Colonial Downs. OK, when Gulfstream hosts the Breeders Cup there are some bigger races in Florida, but…

Obviously, this weekend there will be a host of big horse races held across the country, but the best racing in the world for a weekday took place yesterday in Italy.

The Paoli Di Sienna.

Every year on July 2 and August 16, the beautiful medieval city of Siena comes alive for one of the world's most breathtaking folk festivals, Il Palio. The event is known around the globe for its totally unique horse race.

The seventeen contradas (neighborhoods) in the city compete for bragging rights with a win in the race. To prepare for the actual race they eat and drink, drink and eat, eat and drink…you get the point.

They have a big party where they eat and drink the night before in each of the contradas and then 50,000 folks (locals and tourists) descend on the Piazza del Campo for the main event.

The rules are simple: The first horse across the finish line wins, and it doesn’t matter if he has a jockey on his back or not. First is first.

There is a great deal of pomp and circumstance and, evidently, a bribe or two…Hey, it’s Italy. The locals call this making “secret deals.”

Like the big horse races in America – the Kentucky Derby and Preakness to name two – the race draws a large crowd to the center of the plaza, or the “infield” in American parlance. Of course the party rages on in the middle where little is seen of participants other than the jockey’s heads and horses’ ears. Some things are the same worldwide.


GROOVY, BABY. Mr. Powers, meet Mr. Daly. Mr. Daly, meet Mr. Powers. Our main man John Daly during the first round of the Open de France ALSTOM at the Le Golf National Golf Club on July 2, 2009 in Versailles, France.

(Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)


SISTER ACT 4. Serena Williams of USA (R) and sister Venus Williams of USA talk tactics during the women's doubles semi final match against Cara Black of Zimbabwe and Liezel Huber of USA on Day Eleven of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 3, 2009 in London, England.

The sisters will face-off for the fourth time for the Women’s Singles title this weekend.

(Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Add Duke's Mike Krzyfhd4ski to the list of college basketball coaches speaking out this summer against what's become known as the NBA's "one-and-done" rule. We don’t blame him.

Three years ago, a new collective bargaining agreement between the NBA's owners and players association passed a rule requiring players to be at least 19 years old and one year beyond the graduation of their high school class before they can enter the NBA draft.

That's led to a lot of players such as Greg Oden, Kevin Durant, Michael Beasley, O.J. “Cash On The Barrelhead” Mayo (left) and Derrick “I’m The NBA Rookie of the Year, But I Still Don’t Know Who Took My S.A.T.s for Me” Rose (below) enrolling in college for one year of basketball before moving on to the pros.

Krzyjklm9ski said at his annual summer news conference that one-and-done has helped the NBA by making players household names before they turn pro, but he questions its value to college basketball.

"It's a smart move (by the NBA). They don't have to pay a cent. They get to see a kid for a year longer. And they're marketed. I think it was fool's gold, really (for college basketball). Oh, we get a kid for a year. I don't think college basketball has benefited from that."

Other coaches, including Oklahoma's Jeff Capel (Duke), are bemoaning the rule that essentially forces some players to attend college against their will even though they may be ready for the NBA. Capel told the Kansas City Star that the rule makes a mockery out of education.Krzymnb6ski said a culture has developed among elite players outside of academic programs where it's best that they go to the NBA.

Krzydkghs5ski points out that “one-and-done” kids frequently come from a different background than even the above average college basketball player.

"I'm not saying it's a bad culture," Krzywww7ski said. "I'm saying it's a different culture that leads to the NBA. Now you're forcing them to go into our culture for eight months. I'm not sure that's (good). We’ve already seen problems from it."

Nonetheless, Krzycxzs3ski sounded pessimistic that the one and done rule will change. It's in the hands of the NBA players' union and the owners, and Krzyqwr8ski said it's not the most pressing issue those parties bring to the bargaining table.

Krzylkjg2ski said college basketball would remain popular without one-and-done players, because it can market the tradition of schools such as Duke vs. North Carolina while the pros hype player matchups such as Kobe vs. LeBron.

Krzynhtd3ski doesn't have an easy solution – “I don't know," he said. "I don't know how you change it."


Duke alum and well known author/columnist/broadcaster John Feinstein underwent successful heart bypass surgery on Monday "and is recovering well," according to an update on his website,

In a Sunday blog post, Feinstein announced that he was undergoing surgery the following morning. He said that an angiogram late last week revealed “'four to six,' blockages in my heart—one of them 100 percent."

Feinstein known for such works as A Good Walk Spoiled, A Season On The Brink, The Last Amateurs and Caddy For Life recently RIPPED the BCS a new one for the comments Oregon Athletic Director David Frohnmayer made following the BCS’s rejection (SHOCKING!!) of the Mountain West Conference’s recent request for an eight team D1 football playoff.

Feinstein pointedly stated that Frohnmayer was sent “to dispense with the usual lies.” One such “lie” involves the NCAA’s dedication to student athletes and how a football playoff would disrupt the academic calendar…Evidently, the D1AA, D2 and D3 student athletes have a different “academic calendar” never mind what NCAA D1 Men’s Basketball Tournament (recently won by the North Carolina Tar Heels) does to the “academic calendar.”

Feinstein makes the points eloquently and then says: “Final words to Frohnmayer and the other 66 BCS presidents on this issue: Shut up.”

That’s all we’re giving you. Go read it yourself by clicking here.

On his blog he followed up by noting that he likes almost everybody he meets in his job with the exception of college/university presidents and that the BCS presidents are the worst of the lot: “I swear these people must have to pass a rigorous test in pomposity and hypocrisy before they are sworn in. Here’s the oath they take: ‘I David Frohnmayer promise to lie, obfuscate and say anything that comes into my head to defend the BCS, regardless of what might be right for the so-called ‘student-athletes,’ representing my school.’”

Click on his blog link abvoe and scroll down – the man is FIRED UP!

As of Wednesday night, according to his brother Bob, "John is getting back to his normal cranky self. He is out of ICU and has seen family, has had a few visitors and is on the road to recovery."

We guess the BCS (headed up by ACC Commish John Swofford) didn’t send flowers…


Now that we’ve established that NCAA sports is all about the student athletes thanks to some educatin’ by Oregon University prez David Frohnmayer, we were shocked to find out that the University of North Carolina Athletic Department is selling the Tyler Hansbrough autographed segments of the Final Four floor.

SHOCKED, we tell ya, shocked!

How could this possibly benefit student athletes and the academic calendar? Surely, signing 250 pieces of wood must have interfered with Psycho T’s studies? Does that guy from Oregon know about this?

But, then again, they have already sold the nets piece by piece to, no doubt, purchase “school supplies."

Here’s a few excerpts from the email we got:

Limited Edition of 250!

As the final buzzer sounded and the 2008-09 North Carolina Tar Heel Men's Basketball Team began celebrating their 5th National Championship, Tyler Hansbrough stated, "This is the best way to go out. I couldn't picture it any other way."

For a limited time you have the opportunity to own an actual piece of the Championship Floor, signed by one of the All-Time Great North Carolina Players, Tyler Hansbrough. This is a 6 x 6 section of the floor, taken directly from Ford Field immediately following the Tar Heels 2009 Men's NCAA Basketball Championship. There are only 250 Tyler Hansbrough Signed Final Four Floor pieces. Like the 12 x 12 multi-signed piece, it is expected this will sell out in a couple weeks, so don't be left on the bench, order now before it is too late.

This is not a replica, but an actual piece from the floor the players captured their fifth title on! Each collectible includes its own Certificate of Authenticity from memorabilia leader Steiner Sports.

Note: A $13 handling charge will be applied upon checkout.

PRICE: $199.99

As a famous boxer once said (and, yes, you’re gonna have to be a bit long in the tooth to get the reference) “Unbelievable, Howard, unbelievable.”


…they are the 2009 NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball National Champions so they do get a bit more press than other schools especially now between seasons when news is slow.

Hey, we don’t send out the press releases, we just publish them with a few insightful comments.
THE RICH GET RICHER (Not the actual headline)

North Carolina has signed a 10-year deal with Nike estimated to be worth nearly $38 million to be the exclusive supplier of athletic footwear, apparel and accessory products to the Tar Heels, the school announced.

This marks UNC's fourth contract with Nike, and it is retroactive to July 1, 2008.

What he said: “The University of North Carolina is proud of its long-standing relationship with Nike,” UNC athletics director Dick Baddour said in a prepared statement. “This partnership hasbenefitted all 28 varsity sports and provided millions of dollars for academics and student scholarships at the University.”

What he meant: “Show me the money!!”
In addition to apparel and equipment — the value of which ranges from $2.8 million in the first year of the contract, to $3.4 million in the 10th – Nike will give the University $2 million to the Chancellor’s Academic Enhancement Fund. Chancellor Holden Thorp says he will direct the funds to faculty support, according to the news release. The athletics department will also receive $1 million for signing the contract; those funds are being used to overhaul lighting and sound at the Smith Center. Maybe some new paint on the seats would be a good call…?

Nike has also entered into individual contracts with each of UNC’s head coaches; only seven coaches had individual contracts with the company in the past.

The coaches collectively released a statement to the press saying, “Woo-hoo, they showed us the money!!”

Yes, sports are expensive, and, yes, they pay big dividends to the schools, but when there are no games to focus on the hypocrisy of it all becomes even more glaring…

Oh well, football starts in 63 days…


PLAYED THE COURSE, BOUGHT THE SHIRT. And, yes in honor of John Feinstein, it was, in fact, a good walk spoiled – can’t remember playing worse any time in recent history.

Here, Chris DiMarco, a PROFESSIONAL golfer, pitches to the 10th green on July 2, 2009 during the first round at the AT&T National golf tournament hosted by Tiger Woods at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland.

(Photo by Karen Bleir/AFP/Getty Images)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


TEST PATTERN. John Daly of good ol' USA during the pro-am prior to the Open de France Alstom at the Le Golf National Golf Club on July 1, 2009 in Versailles, France.

Is there a Hooters in Versailles...Really?

Apparently, you can still smoke in France, something Virginia will make illegal sooner than later. Virginia's "no smoking" law set to go into effect in bars and restaurants will not become law today (like all other VA laws), but was set back to December 1st.

Smoke 'em, if you got 'em.

(Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)


Multimedia - Coach K says he's staying at Duke blogs

Before a single question was asked at his press conference Tuesday, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski put to rest any unsubstantiated rumors that he was leaving for the Los Angeles Lakers.

"I will never leave Duke until I leave coaching," he said. "I'm not going to the Lakers. They have one of the great coaches in the game [in Phil Jackson]. I can't do it as well as he can."
Krzyzewski had flirted with joining the Lakers in the summer of 2004, but ultimately decided to stay with Duke after turning down a five-year, $40 million deal.

Krzyzewski also said USA Basketball will announce the coaching staff for the national team on July 21 in Las Vegas at the conclusion of a four-day basketball camp featuring 25 NBA players, including younger stars Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant and recent No. 1 draft pick Blake Griffin.

Discussions are still ongoing for who will be on the staff, but Krzyzewski said he will be a part of USA Basketball in some form.

"Whether I coach or not, I've put in too much to leave," he said.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Sources close to the ACC corporate office (they live a couple a blocks away) tell T.A.H. that Athletic Department officials and football coaches from from Virginia, Boston College and Wake Forest hastily gathered for an emergency meeting yesterday in Charlotte.

The first item on the agenda: "What the hell just happened?"

Seems as all three were courting a Georgia running back named Juwan Thompson, but Thompson threw in the ultimate football curve ball announcing his decision to attend Duke.

Yes, Duke - the Basketball University of New Jersey at Durham.

Thompson, who has 4.44-second speed in the 40-yard dash, picked the Blue Devils over the Eagles, Cavs and Deacs, he also had offers from Mississippi, Minnesota, Stanford, Syracuse and Tulane.

"I visited Duke late in May right after I got out of school and I knew during that visit that I was going to Duke," Thompson said.

Thompson, a rising senior at Woodward Academy in College Park, Ga., is 5-foot-11 and 212 pounds. He said he felt comfortable with the coaching staff.

"When other schools came to recruit me, it wasn't the same as Duke," he said. "Other coaches acted different and did not make it as much fun as they did. They were always happy, easy to talk to."

The three jilted ACC schools are considering legal action. "We've contacted social services in Georgia," an anonymous spokesperson said. "We think this is another case of an athlete's family, posse, agent, enablers and so-called friends pushing a good kid in the wrong direction."




Yep, Frogville, baby. And we whupped ‘em good.

Evidently, the ACC may not quite be up to par with football powerhouse SEC, but they all up in France’s grill in the inaugural International Federation of American Football Junior World Championship tournament last Saturday at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio.

The United States, led by a couple of kids headed to Blacksburg and Charlottesville, displayed the talent, skill, confidence and swagger of a champion in its 78-0 victory. The Americans were superior to the French in every aspect of the game — speed, size, quickness and strength. France, being the tough guys that they are, gained a total of seven yards. Not a misprint, that would be seven (7).

''I don't like games getting like that, but I don't know how I can change that when you only have 45 guys on your squad,'' said Team USA coach Chuck Kyle, who has led Cleveland St. Ignatius to 10 Division I state titles. ''Some of the first-round games were high scores, and I am so glad the second and third rounds aren't going to be. There should be some closer football games.''
Team USA, made up of 19 or younger players, rested Sunday in anticipation of playing Mexico in the second round at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Fawcett Stadium.

Virginia Tech recruit David Wilson rushed for four touchdowns and Western Michigan recruit Brian Fields rushed for two touchdowns to lead the Americans on offense.

''I was motivated to have a great game, but nothing like this,'' said Wilson, who rushed for 181 yards on 12 carries. ''You only dream about playing against another country and scoring four touchdowns. This is almost like the Olympic competition when they bring countries together to play in a tournament."

South Carolina recruit Chris Payne (eight tackles, one sack), Virginia Tech recruit Tariq Edwards (six tackles, one sack) and Virginia recruit Corey Lillard (two interceptions) led the Team USA defense.

Other scores: Canada 55, New Zealand 0, Japan 10, Germany 7 and Mexico 41, Sweden 0.



What’s Wimbledon without a little media controversy?

Seems as the Daily Mail (like all good English tabloids, always good for a few chuckles) has ratted out the All England Club’s tendency to prioritize the best looking players over the best players.

Evidently, the good looking women tennis players such as Gisela Dulko of Argentina (pictured) and Maria Sharapova of Russia play on the main stage which makes sense since they are headliners, but what about Victoria Azarenka of Belarus and Romania's Sorana Cirstea? Not exactly household names as one is seeded 28th and the other eighth.

In a story gloriously headlined “Babe, Set, Match,” the Daily Mail said “When it comes to choosing which women play on Centre Court, good looks count for more than big shots. While a succession of easy-on-the-eye unknowns have appeared in Wimbledon's prime arena, the top women's seeds have been relegated to lesser courts.”

To read the entire story, click here.


On June 23rd, the Brooklyn Cyclones were transformed into the Baracklyn Cyclones, honoring the 44th President of the United States with a night of patriotic partying at the ballpark.

The team wore alternate red, white and blue jersey’s and the first 2,500 fans in attendance got a Barack Obama bobblehead.

The team cleverly offered an “Economic Stimulus Package” which sold discounted tickets and provided “Universal Health Care” (free Band-Aids for the first 1,000 fans).

Of course there was a “Joe The Plumber Special” as well where any plumber named Joe got two free tickets – one for himself, and one to “spread the wealth” with a friend.

Finally, there was the “Bi-Partisan Consolation Prize” as anyone named McCain or Palin recieved a free seat. Not one of the better ones, mind you, but one out in the outfield bleachers.

Those minor league baseball marketing folks, they’re clever.


YAWNER. Evidently, Psycho T found all the proceedings a bit tiring…

(Photo by David Bergman/Sports Illustrated)


TOLD YOU SO. It’s just a matter of time before somebody ends up upside down. Hiroshi Aoyama of Japan steers his #4 Honda motorcycle to victory, as Spains' Alvaro Bautista crashes his Aprilia during the Dutch Motorcycling Grand Prix in Assen, Netherlands.

(Photo by Bas Czerwinski/AP Photos)


CLOVERFIELD? No, just Citi Field. The Mets take on their crosstown rivals, the Yankees, in the second inning after a rain delay at Citi Field in New York.

(Photo by Frank Franklin II/AP Photos)

Monday, June 29, 2009


According to the Raleigh News & Observer, N.C. State linebacker Nate Irving's surgery was successful and went as expected after he suffered a broken leg and collapsed lung in a car crash early Sunday morning, school sports information director Annabelle Myers said today.

Irving suffered injuries that were serious but not life threatening in a one-vehicle crash on Interstate 40 while returning to campus from his home in Wallace, N.C., northwest of Wilmington.

Myers said coach Tom O'Brien visited Irving at the Wake Med Trauma Center on Sunday and said Irving feels extremely fortunate to be alive after the crash.

According to a state highway patrol report, Irving ran off the road at 4:40 a.m. near the 314-mile marker in western Johnston County. He was cited for careless and reckless driving.

Irving is a junior who was expected to be one of the top linebackers in the ACC this season. Myers said Irving's playing status for the 2009 season has not yet been determined.


To compliment one of our favorite features “Things That Make You Go…Hmmm,” T.A.H. is adding a new horse to the stable – “Jobs We Don’t Want.”

We know there is a recession and any job is a good job so this is more of a theoretical presentation. This was inspired when we woke up one morning last month and saw President Obama giving a speech in Egypt with a live audience of thousands.

Our initial reaction was pretty simple – wouldn’t want to be in charge of the security detail today. That’s a job we don’t want.

That brings us to the 2009 Glastonbury Music Festival and being in charge of this amazing event in another job we don’t want. The biggest musical festival in Europe, Glastonburry takes place on an 1,100 acre cow farm in Somerset, England.

It attracts about 140,000 folks and features more than 300 acts on too many stages to count. Acts this year included Bruce Springsteen, CSNY, Black Eyed Peas, Spinal Tap, Tom Jones, Lady Ga Ga and Roger McGuinn to name a diverse few…and, yeah, that’s Spinal Tap of Spinal Tap the movie.

Aside from all the obvious logistical issues, it being England and all, it’s prone to rain. In fact festival organizers say the place is famous for its “music and mud.”

Of course, like any gathering in excess of 100,000 there are a few rules. Like no glass, no fireworks, and no boom boxes. Here’s what the organizers had to say about the latter:

Please don’t bring your own sound system - the Festival has music pretty well covered. The campsites are patrolled for rogue systems, which will be confiscated.

And we liked this tidbit from the section of the brochure titled Getting Around:

The Festival covers a massive 1,100 acres. Not counting endless distractions, or carrying baggage, it takes at least an hour to walk across the site. If it is muddy, or you are carrying an injury, it will take even longer. And that’s in daylight and sober.


SO CLOSE. Sacha Kljestan of USA shows his dejection as Brazil celebrates thier 3-2 victory in the FIFA Confederations Cup Final at the Ellis Park Stadium on June 28, 2009 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

(Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)


IT’S NOT RAINING. Serena Williams of USA serves during the women's singles fourth round match against Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia on Day Seven of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 29, 2009 in London, England.

(Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

Sunday, June 28, 2009


DEFYING GRAVITY. Ben Spies of the USA and Yamaha WSB team leads Max Biaggi of Italy and Aprilia Racing during race one of the Superbike World Championship at Donington Park, on June 28, 2009 in Donington, England.

(Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

Below, Noriyuki Haga of Japan rides to third place.


Former Tar Heel star Eric Montross holds his 15th annual Father's Day Basketball Camp for fathers and their kids at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill on Saturday, June 20, 2009.

Everyone at the camp wore Montross’ 00. The camp is in its 15th year and has raised more than $850,000 for N.C. Children’s Hospital.

(Photos by Robert Willett, Raleigh News&Observer)

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