Sports Outside the Beltway

Florida Marlin Ricky Nolasco strikes out 9 consecutive batters

He also finished the night with 16 strikeouts, a team record. From AP-

Florida Marlins pitcher Ricky Nolasco struck out nine consecutive batters against the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night, one short of the major league record.

The streak ended with a leadoff double by Adam LaRoche in the sixth inning, and Nolasco finished with a club-record 16 strikeouts. After throwing more than 120 pitches, he was lifted by manager Fredi Gonzalez with two outs in the eighth. The Marlins were leading 5-2.

The big league record for consecutive strikeouts in a game is 10 by Hall of Famer Tom Seaver for the New York Mets on April 22, 1970, against San Diego.

Seaver struck out 19 in that game at Shea Stadium, including his final 10 batters in a 2-1 victory.

The Mets were my favorite team while I was growing up on Long Island. I watched that 1970 game on television. The 19th strikeout was a outfielder named Al Ferrara.


U of Missouri sells old phones with coaches data stored on them

Who in Columbia need concern themselves with athletes twittering too much when the University is selling its own secrets. From AP-

The University of Missouri athletics department is changing its procedures after selling a box of old cell phones that included old text messages and contact numbers.

Mike Bellman paid $190 for 25 phones. They included text messages to and from basketball coach Mike Anderson, football coach Gary Pinkel and Athletics Director Mike Alden. E-mails and contact numbers were also on the phones.

The university offered to buy them back, but Bellman said he hoped to sell them to a sports collector.

Are there some sports fanatics who would cough up money for these phones or is it wishful thinking? I guess some people’s junk is sports memorabilia to other people.


Cleveland Browns go back to Derek Anderson as starting QB

The Browns have only scored 29 points in 3 games so far this season. From ESPN-

Derek Anderson will replace Brady Quinn and start at quarterback for the Cleveland Browns on Sunday against Cincinnati.

Coach Eric Mangini has decided to go with Anderson, a Pro Bowler in 2007, over Quinn, a former first-round draft pick who opened the season as Cleveland’s starter, but was benched at halftime last Sunday in Baltimore.

Mangini believes the Browns have a better chance to move the ball with Anderson.

“I’m excited about the opportunity,” Anderson said. “We’re all competitors, we all want to play. I’m ready to go.”

Mangini spent the entire training camp deciding on a quarterback before picking Quinn over Anderson. But after Quinn threw an interception on the Browns’ first possession Sunday, Mangini benched him after just 10 quarters this season and inserted Anderson.

Anderson had more success moving Cleveland’s offense, but threw three picks in the 34-3 loss to the Ravens.

The Browns are hapless with both Quinn and Anderson behind center. I don’t see this franchise turning around in 2009.

Quinn has been terrible so far in his short NFL career. Is it too early to label him a draft bust?


Cleveland Indians fire Manager Eric Wedge

He will be allowed to finish out the 2009 season. From ESPN-

The Cleveland Indians fired manager Eric Wedge in the final days of a terrible season.

Wedge guided the Indians to one playoff appearance in seven seasons, and this year the club fell out of contention early and is currently one game out of last place in the AL Central.

The Indians, who are 64-92, have scheduled a Wednesday afternoon news conference at Progressive Field to announce Wedge’s dismissal.

Cleveland recently lost 11 straight games and has dropped 20 of its last 25 games.

Wedge, who had one year left on his contract, will finish out the season as manager, including Wednesday’s doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox. Cleveland pitching coach Carl Willis, hitting coach Derek Shelton, bench coach Jeff Datz, first-base coach Luis Rivera, third-base coach Joel Skinner and bullpen coach Chuck Hernandez were also told they will not be retained, but some could be rehired by the Indians’ next manager.

The Indians are expected to begin interviews for a new manager in the weeks ahead. Among the names that figure to be mentioned are Boston pitching coach John Farrell, former Indians manager Mike Hargrove, former Arizona manager Buck Showalter and Torey Lovullo, who managed the Indians’ Triple-A Columbus franchise.

Cleveland has a long history of hiring within the organization. The last time the Indians went outside was in 1990, when they hired John McNamara.

I swear McNamara either was an Indian coach or worked for the organization at the time of his hiring. As for Wedge, the firing isn’t surprising. The Indians were one of baseball’s biggest disappointments this year.


Miami Dolphins acquire QB Tyler Thigpen from Kansas City

They also placed Chad Pennington on the injured reserve list. From ESPN-

The Miami Dolphins placed Pennington on the reserve-injured list to create a roster spot for quarterback Tyler Thigpen, who was acquired Tuesday from the Kansas City Chiefs for an undisclosed 2010 draft pick.

Pennington hurt his right shoulder in the third quarter Sunday at San Diego, an injury that leaves his career in jeopardy. At 33, he likely faces a third operation on the same shoulder — the previous two coming in 2004 and 2005.

Pennington will seek a second opinion from orthopedic specialist Dr. James Andrews, who performed the other two operations. On Tuesday, Jeff Darlington of the Miami Herald told ESPN’s “First Take” that the appointment is scheduled for Friday.

Thigpen shores up depth behind second-year pro Chad Henne, who is expected to make his first NFL start Sunday against Buffalo. Henne went 10-for-19 for 92 yards with an interception after replacing Pennington. Rookie Pat White is the Dolphins’ other quarterback.

Thigpen, a third-year pro, went 1-10 as a starter for the woeful Chiefs last year after both Brodie Croyle and Damon Huard went down with season-ending injuries. He threw for 2,608 yards with 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

I think the Thigpen trade was a good one for Miami. He played well last year with a bad team. I also remember the game he played against the fins. Thigpen leading the Chiefs to 31 points, but throwing 3 INTs also. Miami won that game, 38-31.

As for Pennington, his days in Miami are almost certainly over. His contract is up after this season, and I think Chad Henne is the Dolphins QB of the future. We’ll start finding out just how good Henne is beginning this Sunday.


Verizon ends sponsorship of S. Carolina PGA Tour stop

Not just the LPGA Tour is having difficulty retaining sponsors in present economic climate. From AP-

The Verizon Heritage, one of the PGA Tour’s most popular spring tournaments, is losing its longtime, namesake sponsor after 2010.

Verizon Business’ move came less than week after commissioner Tim Finchem discussed the potential loss of PGA Tour marketing partners and tournaments because of continuing problems with the economy.

“It’s never good news, but again what makes it tougher, is the economic climate,” Steve Wilmot, the Verizon Heritage tournament director, told The Associated Press by phone Tuesday.

Verizon Business, then MCI, first came on as a sponsor at the Hilton Head Island tour stop in 1987. Verizon Business marketing vice president Becky Carr says the company decided to restructure future involvement with the PGA Tour to focus on select events it feels offer more opportunities for development.

The PGA Tour has promised to look for a new sponsor so the tournament can continue on past 2010. Heritage has survived difficulties on the past. It severed ties with the bankrupt Worldcom corporation after the 2002 edition of the tournament.

Some interesting facts about this tournament beneath the fold.


Harness horse driver Peter Wrenn suspended for 30 days

The suspension was handed down in Indiana but Wrenn is presently driving in Kentucky. From

Peter Wrenn, a winner of more than 8,000 races and current leading driver at Indiana Downs, has been handed a 30-day suspension by the Indiana Horse Racing Commission. Wrenn was notified of the suspension, which took effect beginning Monday, Sept. 28, over the weekend.

Wrenn said Tuesday morning that he has appealed the ruling and asked for a stay, but since Indiana regulations stipulate that a stay would not go into effect for five days, he has filed an injunction in court. Wrenn is scheduled to drive at The Red Mile Tuesday afternoon and is awaiting word as of 9 a.m. from his lawyer on the status. However, Wrenn was taken off all his mounts at The Red Mile on Tuesday.

“As of right now I’m suspended until the end of October,” said a disheartened Wrenn. “I really don’t understand what’s going on. It’s a pretty sad deal.”

According to a notice posted in the Indiana Downs race office, Wrenn was suspended for driving the 12-1 outsider Magical Delight in an “unsatisfactory manner” in the eighth race Thursday, Aug. 6. Magical Delight finished fourth in the conditioned race, which carried a purse of $3,300. Wrenn’s suspension, which is for driving only, will conclude Oct. 27.

The suspension doesn’t happen at a good time for Wrenn. Lexington’s Grand circuit begins this week. I suspect racing officials knew that before handing down the suspension.


New Mexico Coach Mike Locksley reprimanded for fight with assistant

The altercation took place on September 20th. From AP-

New Mexico Lobos head coach Mike Locksley has been reprimanded for a fight involving an assistant coach, who told police Locksley struck him and split his lip.

Athletic director Paul Krebs said at a news conference Monday that Locksley was issued “a verbal reprimand” with a follow-up letter placed in his personnel file after the Sept. 20 altercation.

According to a police report, receivers coach J.B. Gerald said the fight occurred during a “heated” coaches meeting.

Locksley became angry, grabbed Gerald by the collar and punched him as other coaches tried to intervene.

Krebs downplayed the incident, saying it’s not unusual in college football for coaches to have “heated discussions.” He also expressed steadfast support for Locksley, whom he hired after last season.

No charges were filed. I do think Locksley could be in a great of trouble at this moment. He is being been accused of sexual harassment and the Lobos aren’t having much success on the field(0-4 in 2009). It wouldn’t at all surprise me if Locksley’s tenure in Albuquerque is a very short one.


Sources say Miami Dolphin QB Chad Pennington done for the season

He was injured in yesterday’s 23-13 loss to San Diego. From the Palm Beach Post-

Injured Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington has a torn capsule in his right shoulder and will miss the remainder of the season, a league source confirmed to The Palm Beach Post Monday.

ESPN Senior NFL analyst Chris Mortenson, quoting league sources, reported first that Pennington will miss the rest of the year. It also said Pennington will seek a second opinion from renowned orthopedic specialist Dr. James Andrews, who has operated on the same shoulder twice previously, after the 2004 and 2005 seasons.

Pennington underwent an MRI on his throwing shoulder Monday morning after leaving Sunday early in the third quarter of the Dolphins’ 23-13 loss at San Diego. Coach Tony Sparano remained optimistic at his press briefing later that morning, insisting that he had ruled anything out and “we’ll wait and see.”

Pennington’s contract expires at the end of the year; there had been no discussions reported on talk of an extension.

His absence hands the starting job to backup Chad Henne, who completed 9-of-19 passes for 92 yards Sunday, with one interception being returned 32 yards for a touchdown by Eric Weddle.

In light of Pennington’s career, a injury like this had to be considered likely to happen. Pennington has seldom been able to stay healthy two years in row.

Miami now has Henne and 2009 2nd round pick Pat White for quarterbacks. White however isn’t a pro-style QB, he’s ideal for the wildcat but not as dropback QB. So who could the Dolphins possibly dig up to back up Pennington?

Rookie Pat White becomes the backup for now, but the Dolphins are likely to seek a veteran for insurance if Henne were to go down. Among those who could contend for that job are Brooks Bollinger, Gus Frerotte and former Dolphins A.J. Feeley and Cleo Lemon.

I don’t know what’s more pathetic, those being the best options available or that the Palm Beach Post’s Brian Biggane can’t recall Gus Frerotte playing in 15 games for Miami during the 2005 season. He, Feeley, and Lemon were all on the Dolphins roster that year. Biggane regularly bungled his coverage of the Florida Panthers, so I shouldn’t be expecting much from his coverage of the Dolphins.

As for the Dolphins, their 0-3 start isn’t a shocker to me. They were the most overrated team in the NFL last year. Miami went 11-5 on a schedule full of games against Seattle, Oakland, Kansas City, Buffalo(twice), and St. Louis. Some of the NFL’s worst teams last year and Miami won their games against those teams by totals of 2, 2, 4, 13, 5, and 9 points. Hardly convincing fashion. Miami was 1-15 two years ago, their turnaround last year was helped greatly by a weak schedule. A regression to 2009 to something around a .500 record should hardly startle people. Miami will win between 5 and 8 games this year. That comes to you from a Miami Dolphin fan.


It’s over- Detroit beats Washington 19-14

The Lions hadn’t won a regular season game since December 2007. From AP-

The Detroit Lions ended their 19-game losing streak by holding off the Washington Redskins 19-14 Sunday.

Matthew Stafford threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Bryant Johnson in the first quarter and the two connected to draw a key penalty to set up a TD in the fourth quarter.

The Lions (1-2) had not won since Dec. 23, 2007 and their skid matched the second longest in NFL history.

Washington (1-2) pulled within five points on Jason Campbell’s second touchdown pass with 2:36 left in the game, but couldn’t prevent the Lions from picking up a first down that ran time off the clock and cost it three timeouts.

These are two of the worst teams in the whole NFL. If they win 10 games between the two of them this year, I’d be greatly surprised.


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