Sports Outside the Beltway

Will someone at Associated Press please pick up the black courtesy phone

The wire service employs clueless people to cover golf not just in the United States but South Korea also.

Fellow South Korean Chae Young Yoon is one shot back in third, and eight others were in a pack at 2-under, including Christina Kim and Mi Hyun Kim.

Who is AP neglecting to mention at 2-under? How about Ji Yai Shin, the defending British Open champ. Also at 2-under are former major winners Jeong Jang and Karen Stupples. I think they all rate a mention over Christina.

Is Doug Ferguson in the ROK right now or has his sloppy golf reporting spread to other writers at Associated Press?

Katherine Hull leads after the first round. Hound Dog and The Constructivist are both commenting.


Mike Singletary dropped pants at halftime to make point to 49ers

What? To prove the head coach is a anal cavity? From ESPN-

The San Francisco 49ers were losing badly through 30 minutes of play on Sunday against the Seahawks. And interim coach Mike Singletary pulled no punches during his first halftime speech — but he did pull down his pants.

A team spokesman Thursday confirmed a report by Arizona radio station XTRA’s Mike Jurecki that Singletary dropped his pants in front of his team at halftime.

“He was just dramatizing how embarrassing it was,” 49ers director of public relations Aaron Salkin said.

The halftime talk went something along the lines of “We’re getting our tails whipped out there, now let’s get back out there,” according to Salkin.

Pardon my pun, but I think Singletary’s behavior was asinine.

Mike Sando writes-

I’m not sure what options remain for Singletary if the 49ers fail to respond with victories. Dropping one’s pants two quarters into a new coaching job leaves little room for an encore. Really, what’s left for future halftimes? Anything short of chewing off a finger is going to have a hard time measuring up.

And while his postgame rant to reporters seemed to satisfy fans, my experience in NFL locker rooms tells me Singletary risks becoming a punch line in his own locker room, if he hasn’t become one already.

Singletary is a joke now only days after replacing Mike Nolan. He’ll make it through this season, and probably into next. I don’t expect Mike Singletary to have a long career as a NFL head coach.


Florida Panthers re-sign Jassen Cullimore

Only 8 games into the 2008-09 NHL season and the Cats are already banged up at defenseman. From the Palm Beach Post-

CORAL SPRINGS — The Florida Panthers will turn to a familiar face to help get through its series of early-season injuries on defense.

General Manager Jacques Martin announced the signing of defenseman Jassen Cullimore on Tuesday. The 6-foot-5, 244-pound veteran played for the Panthers last season and was in training camp this year.

“I think he probably doesn’t need any transition time,” Martin said. “He’s familiar with our system. He was here in training camp, so he’s probably a good fit.”

Cullimore will replace defenseman Bryan Allen, who Martin said underwent successful knee surgery.

In 65 games last year, Cullimore tallied just 13 points, but his plus-21 ratio led the Panthers.

“He played real well here last year,” Panthers’ coach Peter DeBoer said. “He’s capable of playing in a shutdown role.”

Immigration issues in Canada may keep Cullimore from joining the Panthers before Thursday’s game against Ottawa. DeBoer had forward Wade Belak work with the defense on Tuesday to add some depth.

Martin also said that injured defenseman Cory Murphy will likely miss at least one month, but his injured shoulder will not need surgery.

Cullimore won’t be playing tonight against Ottawa. Cory Murphy is out for a month, Bryan Allen out indefinitely and Bryan McCabe isn’t ready to play after hurting his back. Wade Belak is going to play defense. Belak can fight and intimiidate but passing and shooting are beyond him.

I don’t think much of Cullimore, and neither does most of the NHL apparently. He couldn’t find work after not making the Panthers at the end of camp. On the other hand 38-year-old Bret Hedican(husband to Kristi Yamaguchi) got work again with Anaheim. What’s wrong with this picture?

Former Panther Alex Auld will be in goal tonight. Florida will also be without Center Stephen Weiss who is hurt too. Why then is Shawn Matthias still at Rochester then? I got the answer- The Florida Panthers management is hopeless.

Update- Florida called up Matthias. He is in uniform tonight.


Ken Macha hired to manage Milwaukee Brewers

He will replace interim manager Dale Sveum who took over from Ned Yost barely a month ago.

MILWAUKEE – Ken Macha was hired Thursday as manager of the Milwaukee Brewers, taking over from Dale Sveum following the team’s first postseason appearance since 1982.

The 58-year-old Macha, who managed Oakland to a pair of AL West titles, agreed to a two-year contract. He replaces Sveum, who became interim manager when Ned Yost was fired with 12 games left in the regular season.

“It means a tremendous amount to me,” Macha said. “The players are the guys that go out there and win or lose the games for you, and I think the job of a manager and a coach is to get these players as prepared as you possibly can.”

Macha immediately tried to dispel the notion that he lost touch with his players in Oakland, including Jason Kendall, now the Brewers catcher.

“I’ve got a couple things to say about that. No. 1, the job of the manager is really not to be buddies with all the players. You have to make very difficult decisions over the course of the year,” he said. “Sometimes players get a little personal and think it’s personal. It really isn’t.”

Macha led Oakland to a 368-260 record. He was fired two days after the Athletics were swept by Detroit in the 2006 AL championship series, a result that frustrated players.

I don’t think Macha got a fair shake in Oakland. Will he keep the Brew crew in contention? I think we have to wait one more year to see if the team is for real.


The LPGA in South Korea or where in the world is Carolyn Bivens?

For their once a year tour stop, The Hana Bank Kolon Championship. It will be played October 31-November 2nd at The Sky 72 Golf Club, Ocean Course in Incheon. The tournament dates back to 2001, when the inaugeral event was canceled after 9-11 occured.

This is a limited field event, with just 69 players. 12 of whom are KLPGA players, including this year’s British Open champ and Rolex#8 player in the world, Ji-Yai Shin. While Lorena Ochoa, Annika Sorenstam, and Yani Tseng aren’t playing, the field is still pretty strong. Defending champ Suzann Pettersen, Paula Creamer, and likely 2008 Comeback Player of the Year Helen Alfredsson are in the field.

Suzann Pettersen won last year’s event by one shot over Eun-Hi-Ji. The tournament was called after 36 holes due to bad weather.

Last year’s event was notable for a few things.

1- Pettersen was the first non-Korean winner of the tournament. Past winners include LPGA major champs Se Ri Pak and Grace Park, plus first time winners Shi Hyun ‘Cinderella’ Ahn, Jee Young ‘Jelly’ Lee, and Jin Jong Hong. Ahn, Lee, and Hong were all non-LPGA players at the time, and their wins earned them LPGA Tour cards. Could a KLPGA player do the same in 2008? Here’s one name to look out for, Sun Ju Ahn.

2- After the Sunday final round was canceled, some golf fans got upset. In a season ending post on the good, bad, and just bizarre for 2007 on the LPGA tour, I gave these protesters my ‘Pitchforks and Torches’ award. Who says LPGA golf fans aren’t enthusiastic.

A picture of Se Ri Pak(center) and company. Many of the golfers behind Se Ri publicly state that they took up the sport after seeing the Hall of Famer excel at the LPGA Tour starting in 1998.

It has been an excellent year for the South Korean ladies after the off 2007 where only four of them won on tour, and none took home a major Championship. After a ten month victory drought, Seon Hwa Lee, Eun Hi Ji, In-Bee Park, Ji Young Oh, Ji Yai Shin, and In-Kyung Kim all took home titles. Lee actually winning two times. Seven tournament wins, including two major championships. Shin at the British Open, and In-bee Park at the US Open. Three players from South Korea rank in the top 10 money winners, eight in the top 20*.

This tournament is important for players wanting to make the tour ending ADT Championship. The ADT has a one million dollar purse for the golfer who wins it. At present, Eight South Korean players have qualified for the field. At least Another five would qualify if the current points standing holds.

As of yet, no Carolyn Bivens sighting this week . Would she show her face in South Korea after the ‘English language policy‘ debacle of two months ago?

There is no North America television coverage of the tournament. The LPGA is off the air for 3 weeks as the tour travels through Asia.(China last week, Japan next week)

LPGA bloggers Hound Dog and The Constructivist have their own previews up.

*- 2007 LPGA Rookie of the Year Angela Park was born in Brazil, but has lived in the United States since age 8. She recently became a naturalized US citizen and has two brothers at present serving in the American armed forces. Some members of the media can’t keep it straight that Angela isn’t from South Korea. She’s never lived in the country. Park is currently #3 in points in order to qualify for the ADT Championship.


Boston Bruins’ Goalie Tim Thomas makes 30 saves en route to second 1-0 shutout

It appears Marty Brodeur isn’t the only hot goalie in the NHL at present. From AP-

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Boston coach Claude Julien didn’t waste any time picking his starting goaltender against Vancouver.

After watching Tim Thomas backstop the Bruins to a 1-0 win against Edmonton on Monday night, Julien ended his back-and-forth goalie rotation. He passed over Manny Fernandez and gave Thomas a second straight start. The decision paid immediate dividends.

Michael Ryder scored his second goal of the season midway through the first period and Thomas made the best of his 31 saves in the frame en route to a second 1-0 win in two nights, leading the Bruins over the Canucks.

“As soon as the game was over Monday, I knew who I was going with,” Julien said after Boston’s third straight win. “Not only did he get a shutout, but he played well. When I say something I keep my word, and my word is, if somebody is going to get hot, he’s going to get the chance to take the ball and run with it.”


“The composure we kept in the third was awesome,” said Thomas, who also blanked the Canucks in their only other meeting, a 39-save, 2-0 win on Dec. 21, 2006. “Hopefully it gives us confidence that in tight games we can come out with the win, whether it s 4-3 or 1-0.”

At first I thought AP got it wrong. Thomas, who’s 34 years old, had to played against Vancouver more than once. A check of his NHL profile showed me he has only been a full-time NHL goaltender since the 2005-06 season. Until a recent rule change, Eastern and Western conference teams only played the other two out of every three years.

Back to back 1-0 shutouts by the same goalie happened in the 2007-08 season. Florida’s Craig Anderson pulling off the feat.

If I was Julien, I’d continue to play Thomas till one of three things occur-

1 The hot streak ends

2 Boston plays games on back to back nights and one of the games is played on the road

3 The next Bruin game against Florida. Thomas has been awful against the Panthers in the past.

On second thought, let Thomas face my favorite hockey team.


Former Minnesota Viking safety Karl Kassulke dead at 67

He was a pro bowler and took part in Super Bowl IV. Kassulke’s career was cut short after he was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident. RIP


New Orleans Saints give boot to kickers

I can’t recall a team ever releasing both punter and placekicker in mid-season. From AP-

METAIRIE, La. — The New Orleans Saints have released kicker Taylor Mehlhaff and punter Ben Graham, leaving the team to spend its bye week trying to fill each position for a third time this season.

Team officials confirmed the cuts Tuesday night, hours after head coach Sean Payton had met with reporters. Payton had not indicated that any roster moves were planned.

Mehlhaff, who the Saints drafted last spring but cut after training camp, was brought back to replace injured kicker Martin Gramatica in Week 6. In three games since, Mehlhaff was 3-of-4 on field goals and 9-of-10 on extra points.

He missed an extra point in last Sunday’s 37-32 victory in London over the San Diego Chargers.

The Saints have had five different kickers on their active roster during the past three seasons, the other being Olindo Mare, Billy Cundiff and John Carney.

Carney, now 44, has been kicking for the New York Giants this season.

Graham replaced Steve Weatherford, who was cut after the Saints’ loss to Carolina on Oct. 19. Graham’s only appearance for the Saints came last Sunday in London. He punted three times, averaging 42 yards.

As the article notes, kickers can play in the NFL for a long time. The Saints should bring in 3 or 4 placekickers and punters each and see who best fits their needs. This old HS kicker won’t be trying out. Maybe NFL bust John Lee finally learned how to kick without a tee and try a comeback.


Houston Cougar WR fractures leg after running into cart

2008 must be the year for fluke injuries in sports. The latest happened in Marshall’s 37-23 defeat of Houston last night.

Nothing seemed to go right for the Cougars. They lost tackle Josh Bell to a torn Achilles tendon then later lost freshman wide receiver Patrick Edwards after he suffered a serious leg injury in the third quarter.

Edwards, running deep for a pass from Blake Joseph, ran out of the back of the end zone into a band equipment cart parked just beyond the out-of-bounds line. The impact, captured by ESPN’s cameras, caused a compound fracture of Edwards’ right leg according to the Houston Chronicle.

Cougars coach Kevin Sumlin told the Chronicle that while he had “his opinions” on the subject, he would offer no comment on such a dangerous situation. Houston athletics director Dave Maggard said he will pursue the subject with Marshall officials.

Having watched the video, I think Houston has a legitimate gripe. Equipment like the cart shouldn’t have been anywhere near the playing field.

If you want to see the video, click on the link at the top of this post.


Tampa Bay Rays get kicked out of Philadelphia hotel

No the participants in this year’s World Series aren’t homeless. From the Tampa Tribune-

PHILADELPHIA – The Tampa Bay Rays had to scramble for hotel rooms when Game 5 of the World Series was suspended because of bad weather.

The Rays had booked rooms at the Westin Hotel in downtown Philadelphia only through Monday, believing they would be heading back to St. Petersburg on Tuesday.

When Monday night’s game was suspended because of rain, the Rays found that the rooms they had rented at the Westin were already booked.

After some calls, the team found a hotel that had enough rooms for all the players – the posh Hotel du Pont in downtown Wilmington, Del., about 25 miles south of Citizens Bank Park.

At least the Rays found quality lodgings, even if a bit distant from the ballpark. If the Rays had to be booked into a Days Inn, the team may have had a legitimate grievance.


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