From Sidelines to punchlines

A different view of sports

Clearing my mind and notebook while noting that dozens of high schools nationwide have announced they are dropping football because of low participation numbers. And so, the soccer revolution finally begins, right?:

Flurry of Aces

Some girls have all the luck.

Scotland’s Ali Gibb, who now lives in London, won the 36-hole Ladies Club Championship at Crohum Hurst Golf Club on Thursday when she compiled a two-day score of 163, following up her first round 81 with a closing 82.

But the bigger news is that she had three hole-in-ones on par-3 holes during the tournament in South Croydon outside London. She owned the 144-yard No. 5 hole twice and also aced the 190-yard No. 11, according to Golf.com’s Sean Zak.

The chances of an average golfer coming away with a hole-in-one in an 18-hole round is estimated at 12,500 to one, but three in 36 holes? Or three in five hours? The best guesstimate a Cambridge mathematician could offer was “in excess of 160 million to one,” according to the Sun.

We also should mention that she defended her title, but it wasn’t so easily done despite the three aces. On back-to-back holes that bridged the two rounds, she needed 17 strokes – giving her something to agonize over.

“On my card I had a nine, two eights, sixes, fives, fours, three, twos and three ones,” said Gibb, who began playing golf 25 years ago when she was invited to a corporate outing.

The 51-year-old amateur had previously aced the 151-yard No. 7 hole and also had pocketed two other hole-in-ones in her outings since 2009. But three in two rounds and three in one tournament?

“The club gives out a bottle of Champagne for every hole-in-one, so they gave me three,” she said. “We had a great night. It was just a weird, weird day.”

“My mother scored a hole-in-one at St Andrews in sixties,” she said. “So I guess it runs in the family.”

If it does, she’s taken it to a new level with a half-dozen in less than 10 years.

Marlins 101

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick has reported that the Marlins have implemented an educational program for players and staff that is designed to create better communication and camaraderie.

It’s simple, really. If you speak English, you’ll be learning Spanish. And if you speak Spanish, you’ll be learning English.

No one gets off the hook. Not even Marlins part owner and CEO Derek Jeter.

“Everybody expects the Latin players to make an effort to speak English,” said Jeter. “Well, especially here in Miami, if you don’t speak Spanish, you don’t fit in. I think it’s important.”

The Marlins are also tutoring their younger players on budgeting, shopping and cooking.

But if the Marlins aren’t going to go shopping for veteran talent, the pressure is on manager Don Mattingly and his coaching staff to teach the young Marlins how to win. And that’s going to take a considerable investment in time.

They said it

RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com: “Browns rookie QB Baker Mayfield reportedly told Hard Knocks they couldn’t film inside his motorhome. To some guys an RV is prime wheel estate.”

Omaha comedy writer Brad Dickson on Twitter: If you aren’t planning to cash in your IRA or 401K early and take the penalty in order to afford more “Frost Warning” T-shirts YOU ARE NOT A REAL FAN.”

Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “Aug. 4 marked the 25th anniversary of White Sox hitter Robin Ventura charging the mound and taking a pummeling after Rangers pitcher Nolan Ryan put him in a headlock and delivered a series of quick punches upside the noggin. It’s believed to be the only bobblehead night in baseball history in which no dolls were given away.”

Janice Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe: “Bud Light will be giving out free beer at 10 Cleveland-area bars when the Browns win their first regular-season game. Prompting the obvious question – so how long can beer age?”

RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com, again: “The NFL preseason opened with the Ravens beating the Bears 17-16 in the annual Hall of Who Cares game.”

Omaha comedy writer Brad Dickson on Twitter, again: “I was expecting the following first question at the Brooks Koepka presser after winning the PGA: ‘Can you get me Tiger Woods’ autograph?’ ”

Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times, again: “Antonio Callaway turned a short pass into a 54-yard TD in the Browns’ exhibition opener, just days after the rookie receiver was pulled over and cited for marijuana possession. Just one question: If the cops can catch him, why can’t the New York Giants?”

Bob Molinaro in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot, trying to look on the bright side of Johnny Manziel throwing four interceptions in his CFL debut: “That did give him an opportunity to make two tackles.”

Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times, again: “Death Valley, Calif. recorded the hottest month on record with an average of 108 degrees in July. Though Urban Meyer’s seat at Ohio State already is threatening to break it.”

Hoops pioneers

Lindsey Harding is the latest former WNBA player to join the coaching staff on an NBA team after the Philadelphia 76ers hired her as a full-time scout for the 2018-19 season.

Harding joins three other women making inroads in the NBA – San Antonio Spurs assistant Becky Hammon, Dallas Mavericks assistant Jenny Boucek and Los Angeles Clippers assistant Natalie Nakase.

“Your gender shouldn’t even matter,” Harding said. “It should be about if you can do it, if you’re good, you’re experienced, if you know what you’re doing and what you’re talking about.”

Harding was the WNBA’s No. 1 overall pick in 2007, but retired after last summer after nine seasons with six teams. Harding told ESPN her goal is to parlay her scouting position into a coaching or front office job in the NBA.

“I would love to be in the front office and really understand how to put a team together,” Harding said. “I still love being on the floor and having the opportunity to coach. But I really just wanted to get my foot in the door.”

Cutting edge

Cleveland Browns safety Jabrill Peppers, who played for suspended Maryland head coach DJ Durkin when he was the defensive coordinator at Michigan: “His tactics were different. It felt extreme a times … I thought once he became a head coach that he would calm down a little bit, become more of a people person, a player’s coach.”

Omaha comedy writer Brad Dickson on Twitter: “I know. To really punish Urban Meyer make him the new head coach at Maryland.”

Serena Williams on how she reacted after coach Patrick Mouratoglou told her a few months ago she needed to put tennis first and quit breastfeeding her daughter Alexis, who was born last September: “He’s not a woman, he doesn’t understand that connection, that the best time of the day for me was when I tried to feed her. I’ve spent my whole life making everyone happy, just servicing it seems like everyone. And this is something I wanted to do.”

Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: “Urban Meyer would tell you anything just to get through the next 5 minutes of the press conference. It didn’t matter if it was true or not…he’s probably the most disingenuous coach I’ve ever covered.”

RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com, again: A sure sign the Montreal Alouettes already consider this a lost CFL season? The Als gift shop is selling cushions in the shape of a toilet seat.

Janice Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com, again: “SF 49ers now say there’s nothing they can do about the intense sun & heat faced by fans on east side of Levi’s Stadium. But they will lower the price of bottled water from $6 to $2 so fans can stay hydrated. The NFL equivalent of ‘thoughts and prayers.’”

Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg: “Swimmer Ryan Lochte has been banned for a year after posting a picture of himself getting injected with a performance-enhancing substance. The number of Olympic medals Lochte has is 12. The exact same number of his IQ score.”

Unruly changes

ESPN the Magazine’s Steve Etheridge provided “The Unwritten Rules of Baseball – Written” in a recent column. My top five favorites:

  • Don’t hit a home run if they opposing team has already hit a home run. Find your own thing.
  • If a pitcher hits a batter with a pitch, he has asserted his dominance and is now the father of the batter’s children.
  • If a bunt is rolling down the line teetering between fair and foul, do not use a leaf blower to change the ball’s trajectory in your favor.
  •  Never question why your uniforms have belts. Just go with it.
  •  If it’s been a while since the third-base coach had gotten to do the “Run home!” windmill gesture, call timeout and let him go wild for a minute or two.

Minor accomplishment

According to Seattle Times’ Dwight Perry in his Sideline Chatter column, two pairs of minor league baseball teammates, Gio Brusa and Jalen Miller of the Class A San Jose Giants, and Kevin Newman and Jacob Stallings of the AAA Indianapolis Indians, have managed to hit for the cycle this season in the same game. That’s a remarkable accomplishment – even more so since no MLB teammates have ever done it.

Headlines

TheOnion.com: “Should the MLB ban infield shapeshifting.”

SportsPickle.com: “Nick Foles looks bad. Time to end this experiment and return him to his natural position of wide receiver.”

Fark.com: “Kobe Bryant must be good at investing, where a $6 million investment turns into $200 million.”

SportsPickle.com: “It’s time for the NFL to ban shots to the head in training camp fights.”

TheOnion.com: “Bill Belichick announces this final season he will coach in current mortal form.”

Fark.com: “You’re 3-12 this season, and your  opponent’s first batter is a hot rookie who has homered in 5 consecutive games. What do you do?”

TheOnion.com: “If Urban Meyer didn’t want to get up in an abuse scandal, why was he hanging around college football.”

SportsPickle.com: “Being placed on paid administrative leave is the American Dream. Congratulations to Urban Meyer and DJ Durkin.”

TheOnion.com: “Scouts highly doubtful Tim Tebow will ever make it to heaven.”

Fark.com: “Ryan Tannehill kicks rookie RB out of Dolphins’ huddle, forces him to eat lunch by himself.”

Tortoise torture?

No one can accuse Maryland interim head football coach Matt Canada of being a cruel and heartless taskmaster.

”The focus of our player’s health and safety is No. 1, and our players are feeling that and understanding that,” Canada said Wednesday.

Yeah, good job reading the tea leaves, Matt.

Canada is seemingly taking credit for having two tents installed at the Terrapins’ practice fields to provide relief for players needing to escape the heat, take a drink, get some ice and cool off in front of misting fans. Most practices are also now limited to two hours.

Of course, school officials mandated such corrective actions after the death from heat exhaustion of freshman offensive lineman Jordan McNair.

McNair collapsed on May 29 while running 110-yard sprints and no one on the training staff immediately diagnosed him with heat exhaustion. Thus, the treatment protocols that might have saved him – fluids and ice – weren’t provided in a timely manner. He died in the hospital on June 13.

With former players and athletic staff leveling accusations that suspended head coach DJ Durkin had a “toxic environment” in his program, the university’s athletic department will be sliced and diced under the microscope for the foreseeable future. There’s no way Durkin isn’t fired after an independent investigation is completed.

Already Durkin’s choice of strength coach, Rick Court, has been forced to resign – if you can consider it a resignation when someone receives a $300,000 parting gift.

Durkin and Court should be joined in the unemployment line by University of Maryland President Wallace Loh, who chose one year ago to reject a plan that would have had all athletic trainers receiving training and guidance from the UM medical school in Baltimore.

Friendly fire

When Furman University serves as the sacrificial lamb for Dabo Swinney’s powerhouse Clemson program on Sept. 1, Paladins’ quarterback Harris Roberts could be staring into the familiar faces of a classmate or two.

There may even be a few Clemson students in the stands cheering him on if he steps on the field.

When Roberts chose to play football at Furman, he knew that in order to accomplish his academic goals that he would have to enroll in a cooperative educational exchange program that would allow him to obtain a mechanical engineering degree at Clemson.

So after earning his pre-engineering degree at Furman in three years, he took aim at receiving a second bachelor’s degree from Clemson, which is 30 miles away.

“The drive back and forth sometimes gets a little monotonous,” said Roberts. “That takes a lot of time out of the day that I could use for studying for class, studying film or taking a nap. Being able to manage my time is the most difficult part, but it’s been going well.”

According to sports information director Hunter Reid, Roberts would be the first Furman player enrolled in the co-op program at Clemson in at least 30 years who is on track to play against the Tigers.

Follow the DNA

For now, the days of David Stockton dribbling in his dad’s footprints are over after he was waived by the Utah Jazz.

The son of Hall of Fame guard John Stockton finished the 2017-18 season with the Jazz but only played three games as a backup. Like his father, David also played in college at Gonzaga, helping add to the Zags’ NCAA tournament history.

Stockton, who spent most of the past four years playing for the Reno Bighorns of the NBA G League, plans to play for Medi Bayreuth in Germany this season. His older brother Michael has played for several German teams.

My takes

Rehastagging this week’s top Tweets from @Randy_Beard11

  • In addition to being an alleged serial wife abuser, former Ohio State assistant Zach Smith reportedly had sex in coaches offices with a OSU staffer and also took photos of his genitalia, including possibly during visit to White House in 2015. Hey, he was an OFFENSIVE assistant.
  • newarena.com‘s Top 5 NFL quaraterbacks:
    1. Tom Brady, Patriots; 2. Aaron Rodgers, Packers; 3. Drew Brees, Saints; 4. Carson Wentz, Eagles; 5. Russell Wilson, Seahawks.
  • So, Eagles’ Nick Foles isn’t one of the 32 best QBs in NFL in listing by http://newarena.com? He’s just the returning
    Super Bowl MVP even if he did chose to be Carson Wentz’s backup. Foles led Eagles to win over Patriots and Tom Brady, who is No. 1 on list.
  • Marlins are taking a bilingual approach to baseball, requiring English-speaking players to learn Spanish and Spanish-speaking players to learn English. But wHich language does Taiwan pitcher Wei-Yin Chen speak?
  • IU’s Lilly King finished 2nd to fellow American Micah Sumrall in 200m breaststroke at Pan Pacific swimming Sunday. The Evansville native had .05 lead at 100m but finished .71 hundredths behind her U.S. rival, posting final time of 1:08.88.

From Sidelines to punchlines

A different view of sports

Clearing my mind and notebook while wondering what Donald Trump thinks of the coin-flip, flag flap between two U.S. Olympians, luger Erin Hamlin and speedskater Shani Davis:

Just desserts

A pudding in the shape of the Korean peninsula divided by a dark chocolate “barbed wire” was served as dessert at a pre-Olympic reception Friday. When it was topped by melted white chocolate, the “border” partially dissolved, signifying the future potential of a unified Korea.

The two Koreas are competing as one nation and under a unified flag at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games. But that doesn’t mean the United States is supportive of such diplomatic outreach efforts.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence certainly hasn’t been. When South Korea’s president Moon Jae-in greeted Pence and North Korea’s ceremonial head of state, Kim Yong-nam, at a reception Friday, it didn’t go well. Pence and Yong-nam did not shake hands and Pence left shortly afterward when he learned they would be seated for dinner at the same table.

Pence also snubbed Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, when they were seated near each other during the Opening Ceremonies. He and wife Karen also remained seated when the unified Korean team marched into the stadium.

Meanwhile, one Twitter user not named Donald Trump said photos of the dessert “looked like the whole Korean peninsula getting nuked.”

That should tone down the rhetoric.

They said it

NBC comedian Seth Myers: “Injured Philadelpia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast dinner this evening and what better metaphor for our country right now than a prayer from an injured Eagle.”

RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com: “A man frolicked buck naked for over two minutes on a fairway during the Phoenix pro-am. And where better than the Waste Management Open to show off your junk?”

Janice Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com: “It’s that time again – when Americans who might last have set foot on an ice rink in high school suddenly become experts on triple axels.”

TBS comedian Conan O’Brien: “The New England Patriots were beaten by the Philadelphia Eagles 41-33. Eagles fans started fires and punched police horses, then they sat down to watch the Super Bowl.”

Greg Cote of the Miami Herald: “New York Mets announced their spring training would include a circus again this year. Welcome back, Tim Tebow!”

Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “The London Daily Mail says a jet-powered mobility scooter was successfully tested, boasting a top speed of 70 miles-per-hour. So if NASCAR was ever thinking about starting a senior circuit.”

Comedian Steve Hofstetter: “Don’t let the Patriots coming back from a 22-12 halftime deficit distract you from them blowing a 33-32 lead.”

Focus on Finnishing

As Andrew Keh reported in the New York Times, Finland won an average of 24 medals during the Summer Olympics from 1908 to 1948. However, at the 2016 Rio de Janiero Games, the country took home only a bronze in women’s lightweight boxing by Mira Potkonen.

Predictably, it’s a slightly different story in the Winter Games, where Finland won as many as 12 medals as recently as 1998. The country won five medals in 2014 in Sochi, including gold in men’s team sprint cross country skiing and bronze in men’s ice hockey.

But as Keh’s noted, the country has since become “fertile ground for whacky sports” like the Swamp Soccer World Championship, the Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships, the Mosquito Killing World Championships, the Wife Carrying World Championships, the World Berry Picking Championships, the World Air Guitar Championships and Competitive Hobby-horsing.

From 1999 to 2010, Finland also hosted the World Sauna Championships, but that endurance event ended with the unfortunate death of a competitor to third degree burns.

To quote Keh on why Finland has invented ways to compete:

“There’s no simple answer, but Finns offer various deep-seated factors, including an enthusiastically outdoorsy populace (that goes slightly stir-crazy during the region’s oppressively dark winter months), widespread public access to recreational spaces, and a continuing relaxation of the traditionally reserved national character. (Also, alcohol.)”

Sports psychologist Pasi Koski puts it another way, “We learned to laugh at ourselves. What’s so serious?”

 Headlines

Fark.com: “Philly closes schools because teachers too drunk to teach.”

TheOnion.com: “Flustered father struggling to answer all of son’s questions about what a catch is.”

SportsPickle.com: “Report: Nick Saban pondering retirement to spend more time criticizing his family.”

LeftcoastSportsBabe.com: “Well, at least the Colts were undefeated in the Josh McDaniels era.”

TheOnion.com: “Minneapolis shocked  to discover thousands of Super Bowl attendees left without seeing rest of the city.”

SportsPickle.com: “Jimmy Garoppolo offers Tom Brady a loan to help him build his struggling supplement business.”

TheOnion.com: “2018 Winter Olympics cancelled due to inclement weather.”

Fark.com: “NFL quarterback, sports broadcaster, PGA golfer — is there anything Tony Romo can’t do? Besides win a Super Bowl.”

Drop the Trop

For their 20th anniversary, the Tampa Bay Rays elevated their game Friday by announcing that a new stadium will be built in the Ybor City neighborhood of Tampa.

It’s still unknown how much longer the Major League baseball team will play at Tropicana Field, which opened its doors in St. Petersburg in 1990 but didn’t become the home of the Rays until 1998.

St. Pete officials decided to build the ballpark in 1983 and broke ground on its construction in 1986, but it took another five years to get a regular tenant — and it wasn’t a MLB team despite being used by several teams as a bargaining chip to get new stadiums in their home cities.

By breaking ground on a barebones roofed stadium in 1986, St. Pete only managed to win the baseball war with Tampa. But before baseball, the arena was home to  the NHL’s Lightning (1993-96) and the Arena Football League’s Storm (1991-96).

Those teams moved to a new arena in Tampa in 1997 ahead of the Rays coming to St. Pete. And now the Rays have confirmed their intentions to move to Tampa.

It’s just not known when, what the new stadium will look like, how much Tampa is willing to spend, or what the final cost will be. The Rays have reportedly committed $150 million to make the move.

For comparison purposes, St. Pete initially spent $130 million, and the dome underwent more than $115 million in renovations over the next 20 years, and it still doesn’t meet today’s standards of a MLB stadium.

I was working in St. Pete when the decision to build The Trop was made but I had moved to S.C. by the time it opened. I hope to make it back before the final out is recorded.

From Sidelines to punchlines

A different view of sports

Clearing my mind and notebook while celebrating the fact that my oldest son is finally getting married. Two down, one to go:

Super outcome?

Conventional wisdom suggests Sunday’s Super Bowl LII will be a defensive standoff because Philadelphia and New England each ranked in the top five in scoring defense and total defense during the National Football League’s regular season.

The Eagles were second in yardage allowed (307) and fourth in points allowed (18.4 points).

The Patriots were third in total defense (320.5 yards) and fifth in scoring defense (18.5 points).

But the counter argument is that both teams also are explosive on offense, ranking in the top five in total offense and scoring offense.

The Patriots are second in points scored (29.5) and fourth in yardage allowed per game (391.0). Not to be outdone, the Eagles are third in total offense (395.0 yards) and fourth in scoring defense (26.5 points).

Does defense really win championships? We’re about to find out.

I tend to believe we’ll see a similar score as last year’s 34-28 victory by the Patriots. Only let’s hope the script is rewritten. The last thing we need is another epic collapse by one of the teams.

Well, unless its the Patriots.

Last year the Atlanta Falcons led 17-0 at halftime before Tom Brady added another chapter to his legacy to win his fifth championship.

Let’s hope the collapse is just a Georgia thing. Or is it merely a coincidence that the University of Georgia blew a 13-0 halftime lead in the national championship game last month to lose 26-23 in overtime to Alabama?

Tony Dungy, for one, doesn’t think defenses will rule the day on Sunday.

“I think the Patriots spread them out, throw the ball fast and quick to the inside guys,” said Dungy. “Philadelphia’s going to move the ball better than people think. I think it’s going to be an entertaining game, it’s going to be fairly high-scoring, it’s going to be tight.”

By the book

From Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “Spotted on the reader board at Crossroads Community Church in Carver, Mass. ‘The Bible mentions Eagles 33 times and the GOAT 42. Patriots win by 9.’”

Blind justice

All Randall Margraves wanted was to be in a room alone with Larry Nassar. Sounds reasonable. After all, the USA Gymnastics doctor had spent time alone in a room with three of his daughters as part of his sick pursuit to sexually abuse female athletes.

Eaton County Judge Janice Cunningham understood Margraves’ request, and probably would have granted it if not for vowing to follow the law and sentencing guidelines.

So she denied Margraves’ request for “five minutes in a locked room with this demon.” Once denied, Margraves asked to have one minute alone with Nassar. He was again denied.

And that’s when he snapped, making an attempt to get past sheriff deputies to land a few punches on Nassar. He was tackled before he could reach Nassar and led out of the courtroom.

His unruly actions could have landed him in jail, but Judge Cunningham wasn’t going to be the one to do it.

“I don’t know what it would be like to stand there as a father and know that three of your girls were injured physically and emotionally by somebody sitting in a courtroom. I can’t imagine that,” the judge said.

They said it

Patriots coach Bill Belichick to reporters when asked the difference between this Super Bowl and his previous seven: “This one is in Minnesota.”

Janice Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com: “MLB says all 30 teams will extend protective netting to “at least the far ends of both dugouts by opening day. So future generations of kids won’t be able to score foul balls (or get autographs)  because this generation pays less attention to game and more to their phones.”

RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com: “Bill Macatee asked Aussie Open co-host Martina Navratilova if it’s mentally tough to play someone you have a “lopsided losing record against.” How on earth would Navratilova know?”

Bill Barnwell of ESPN.com, on Washington earning kudos for landing QB Alex Smith after botching the Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins situations: “You shouldn’t congratulate a company for doing a great job of cleaning up its own toxic waste spill, though.”

Xander Schauffele to Golf Digest on why he’s still driving the same “scuffed up” Toyota Camry he had well before he won PGA Tour Rookie of the Year: “The lease isn’t up yet.”

NBC comedian Jimmy Fallon on the man who broke a Guinness world record by walking barefoot on a 120-foot path of loose Legos: “This beats the old record set by every dad getting up to use the bathroom at night.”

Money for nothing

Arkansas is on the hook for nearly $12 million dollars for the decision to fire Bret Bielema as football coach.

Bielema’s contract calls for him to receive severance pay of $322,567 a month through the end of 2020. It computes to nearly $4 million a year and it’s all guaranteed unless Bielema lands another job that pays more.

For lesser pay, Arkansas only gets to subtract Bielema’s monthly pay from its buyout sum. So if Bielema takes a job that pays him $125,000 a month ($1.5 million), Arkansas would only be on the hook for $200,567 per month.

Headlines

Fark.com: “1 in 4 Americans believe God will listen to their prayers and not those loser fans’ prayers.”

TheKicker.com: “Generous? Patriots offer to spot Eagles 25 points.”

SportsPickle.com: “Breaking: Trump to replace Obamacare with NFL’s Head UP Football Initiative.’

TheOnion.com: “Cleveland Indians owner admits Chief Wahoo no longer compatible with modern revenue-growth expectations.”

SportsPickle.com: “America sick of Aaron Rodgers’ cocky  behavior after learning he’s 1/16th black.”

TheOnion.com: “87 percent of Eagles home crowd listening to NFC Championship on car radio after getting thrown out of stadium

SportsPickle.com: “Ben Roethlisberger discloses he’s been given between 1 and 700 months to live.”

Fark.com: “Olympics athletes get ambitious condom allowance, enough for sex three times a day for 14 days.”

SportsPickle.com: “Report: NCAA considering death penalty for NCAA.”

Who’s he?

In the first episode of the documentary series, “Tom vs. Time”, Tom Brady’s 5-year-old daughter Vivian interrupts him while he’s on the phone to whine about how she wanted a friend to sleep over so they could play soccer in the backyard.

Alex Reimer, a sports talk host for WEEI, called the scene “staged” and said Brady’s young daughter was an “annoying little puissant.”

Really? During a time when we’re raising a generation of very  tech savvy but overweight video gamers, should anyone pick on a kid for wanting to have a friend over to play a sports in the great outdoors?

Pissant? It means someone is insignificant, worthless and contemptible? To say that about one of Brady’s kids is what’s contemptible.

The scene very well may have been staged. “Tom vs. Time” is meant to provide viewers a glimpse into Brady’s life on and off the field. While we can debate the wisdom of Brady shining that kind of spotlight on any of his children, it’s going to happen sooner or later. After all, their father is a NFL quarterback with five Super Bowl rings and their mom Gisele is a Brazilian Super Model.

And Reimer? He’s a radio shock jock, which makes him the true pissant in this story.

Tapping out

After the once unbeatable Rhonda Rousey had her mixed martial arts career shaken to its core with back-to-back losses to Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes, it was widely assumed she was done with the fight game.

Suddenly. Rousey was no longer being billed as the meanest, toughest, scrappiest UFC female fighter. She also no longer craved the MMA spotlight, refusing to do interviews after her second loss.

No one would have been surprised if the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist in judo went all in on Hollywood. She already had used her celebrity status to land roles in three movies, including Furious 7.

But it turns out that appearing on the big screen is not the only acting opportunities she’s pursuing. She’s decided to take the path to WWE stardom. A fan of former wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper, she used the nickname Rowdy during her UFC days. In WWE, she has joined Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir to form “The Four Horsewomen.”

Super suite

Chelsea and Courey Marshall are Denver Broncos fans, so when it comes to Sunday’s Super Bowl clash between Philadelphia and New England, they don’t have a horse in the race.

But they’ll still be a strong bet to be the first ticketholders to get to their seats at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

That’s because the Marshalls won a Courtyard by Marriott contest to spend the night before the big game in a luxury suite inside the stadium.

”I’ve never been in a completely empty stadium, let alone the Super Bowl stadium,” Courey said. ”And to have my wife with me, and to wake up on game day in the stadium, that’s pretty special.”

The two were in Santa Clara, Calif., in February 2016 when Peyton Manning and Denver beat Carolina, 24-10, so it was a treat when Manning made the phone call to tell them they had won the contest.

”You’re right there in the dome and get to see all the behind-the-scenes stuff,” Courey said. ”Then you wake up on Super Bowl Sunday right there. Has to be a wonderful experience.”

Sidelines to punchlines

A different view of sports

Clearing my mind and notebook while still waiting for NBC’s Lester Holt to admit that he got snookered by propaganda from North Korean officials with his Olympic reports from a ski resort:

Sexual revolution

The Dominos are falling fast.

It all began with Wednesday’s sentencing of Dr. Larry Nassar on sexual abuse charges, which has led to the resignations of the USA Gymnastics Board of Trustees, Michigan State President Lou Anna Simon and MSU Athletics Director Mark Hollis.

Nassar, who was also employed by Michigan State, began working as a trainer for USA Gymnastics in 1986 and served as the organization’s national medical coordinator from 1996 to 2014. He graduated from the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1993.

In September 2016, the Indianapolis Star reported that two former gymnasts had accused Nassar of sexual abuse during his treatments. After years of denials, the floodgates finally opened and by the time of this week’s sentencing more than 150 gymnasts had testified against Nassar. His victims have included several Olympic gold medalists, including McKayla Maroney and Aly Raisman.

With the sentencing handed down Wednesday, the 54-year-old Nassar faces up to 175 years behind bars. He had previously been sentenced to 40 years on pornography charges.

Michigan judge Rosemarie Aquilina told Nassar that she had “signed your death warrant.”

Because of his actions, there are lawsuits filed against USA Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic Committee and Michigan State.

While some of the incidents have nothing to do with Nassar, the practice of covering up allegations of sexual assault at Michigan State goes beyond gymnastics.

The allegations that have forced Michigan State football coach Mark Dantonio and basketball coach Tom Izzo to defend the policies of their programs could lead to more resignations.

Even the highly respected Dantonio and Izzo may not survive this purge.

Yes, the Dominos are falling.

Women’s voices are finally being heard loud and clear. And that’s a good thing.

They said it

Jim Barach of WCHS-TV in Charleston, W. Va.:  “Former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison for molesting patients. It was the first time gymnasts ever gave a judge a 10.”

RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com:  A snowstorm prompted the AHL Charlotte Checkers to play a home contest with no fans in attendance. The arena was so empty, it felt like a Florida Panthers game.”

TBS comedian Conan O’Brien: “North Korea has announced that it will send a group of citizens called the “cheering squad” to next month’s Winter Olympics. And many of them are expected to actually compete in a new event called the ‘400 Meter Defection.’”

Brad Dickson of the Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald after a collision left Rangers left winger Jimmy Vesey playing most of a game with two teeth embedded in his lower lip: “It’s not as gross as it sounds — he’s pretty sure one of the teeth is his.”

Janice Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com: “MSU lineman David Beeble on Nassar situation: ‘As a MALE football player, situations such as this are rare so if it was to arise in football, I feel that action would’ve been taken immediately.’ He’s right, unless maybe it was a football coach.”

Travis Krol, former college roommate of Matt Patricia to the Detroit Free Press on why the New England Patriots’ defensive coordinator has a beard: “He’ll probably kill me, but he’s got dimples. You can’t be a coach of men with dimples.”

Vin Scully recalling the time he played golf with fellow broadcasting icon Keith Jackson to the L.A. Times: “He was not only a great player, but he kindly spent a lot of time helping me look for my ball.”

The briar patch

Since she resigned, we can assume Michigan State President Lou Anna Simon was admitting that she hadn’t done enough to react to the criminal actions of Dr. Larry Nassar or the allegations of other sexual assaults within the athletics department.

But if she was admitting any sort of guilt, she certainly isn’t being punished for it.

Her separation agreement allows her to take a 12-month research leave in the College of Education at her current salary of $750,000 and then return to the faculty at full salary for a second year and 75 percent of her salary ($562,500) for two more years. She will also receive office space and secretarial support and hold the title of “president emeritus.”

That’s not all. She’ll also receive:

  • Parking passes for on-campus parking
  • Parking pass for all home sporting and cultural events
  • Two free tickets to home football games for the Spartan Club suites
  • Two free tickets to women’s basketball games
  • The option to buy up to four men’s basketball tickets in the same location she currently has seats
  • Reduced-price tickets for bowl games and post-season play for football, men’s and women’s basketball and ice hockey

Yep, that really is making her pay a price for poor leadership.

 Headlines

TheOnion.com: “Fired-up Patriots ready to give full 60, maybe 70 percent against Jacksonville.”

SportsPickle.com: “Steelers vow to bounce back strong at Pro Bowl.”

Fark.com:  “Johnny Manziel’s deadline to sign a CFL contract is ‘fluid’ – just like his diet.”

TheOnion.com: “Blake Bortles out to prove he’s worth franchise-crippling contract.”

TheKicker.com: “James Harrison petitions to have the Eagles play in Steelers uniforms.”

Fark.com: “USOC to USA Gymnastics board: ‘Resign of GTFO.’”

SportsPickle.com: “LeBron posts message to his future self on Instagram, congratulating himself on leaving Cleveland again.”

TheKicker.com: “Doc Rivers forces Clippers to take self-defense class at local mall.”

Ring, ring, ring

Brandon Marshall, who has been in the NFL for 12 years and never experienced the playoffs, should start angling for a free-agent contract with the New England Patriots.

The New York Giants receiver is clearly jealous of the Patriots’ success.

With Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick advancing to the Super Bowl for the eighth time (they’ve won five of previous seven), Marshall went off on a rant on sports talk radio.

“Players should be ashamed, coaches should be ashamed, owners should be ashamed,” said Marshall. “How do we let these guys do this year in and year out?

“Congratulations, you guys are phenomenal, you guys are great …. Can’t get any better. But how do 31 other organizations let this happen?”

My takes

Rehastagging this week’s top tweets from @Randy_Beard11

  • “As part of lawsuit settlement with USA Gymnastics, MaKayla Maroney signed nondisclosure agreement and could have levied fine of more than $100,000 for speaking about abuse. After several celebrities offered to pay the fine, the organization allowed her to testify without fine.”
  • At least someone will be getting a ring. South Carolina alum Stephon Gilmore, now a cornerback with the Patriots, will be covering South Carolina alum and Eagles receiver Alshon Jeffery in Super Bowl LII.
  • Who are brainiacs who do the videos that are part of the pregame “analysis” for NFL games. I’m speaking of the Tom vs. Tom nonsense CBS did to preview mental matchup of Tom Brady vs Tom Coughlin? I also have no use for Jim Rome’s opinion. I want to be informed, not entertained.
  • Zion Williamson picks Duke, which reels in top 3 recruits with No.1 R.J. Barrett (SF), No. 2 Williamson (PF) and No. 3 Cam Reddish (SF). We need NCAA to appoint a special prosecutor.
  • Know Your Audience Department: Got offer today to subscribe to Evansville Courier & Press for $4.31 per month signed by Patricia Miller, President of Indiana Gannett, which forced me to retire 2 years early and after I won 2 SPJ Indiana Awards in May. Hah! #gannettcankissmyass

 X marks the sport

SportsPickle.com’s 10 most amazing aspects of the new XFL:

  1. All tackles that are not helmet-to-helmet result in immediate ejection from game.
  2. He Hate Me is now named He Mid-Level Assistant Coach.
  3. When someone catches the football it will count as a catch.
  4. Players who kneel for the anthem will be hit in the back of the head by a metal chair.
  5. Also, the anthem is “Welcome to the Jungle.”
  6. Every drive that picks up more than one first down will be accompanied by this GIF (promoting Hulu) on the stadium Jumbotron.”
  7. You want Tommy Maddox? You got Tommy Maddox.
  8. The actual football will be slightly less shitty than it was before.”
  9. Johnny Manziel has promised not to do meth on game days.
  10. The MVP of each season’s XFL title game will be given a cabinet position of his choosing.”