Sports Outside the Beltway

No luck for the Irish- Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym wins WBA Super Bantamweight title

If he ever marries his fellow Thai, Virada Nirapathpongporn, LPGA scorers and golf headline writers will encounter their worst nightmare. From AP*-

Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym of Thailand has stopped Bernard Dunne of Ireland in the third round to win the WBA super-bantamweight title.Ireland Boxing Poonsawat Dunne

The Thai landed a trio of powerful left hooks in the third round on Saturday in Dublin, each time sending Dunne to the mat. The referee stopped the fight after the third knockdown as blood flowed from the Dubliner’s nose and left ear.

The 28-year-old Poonsawat (39-1) had waited 18 months for his shot at the title. It was his first professional victory outside Thailand. Before the fight he predicted he would knock out the hometown favorite within seven rounds.

Dunne only held the title for six months.


Ichiro Suzuki Ejected for First Time from Baseball Game

He is in a close fight with Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins for the American League batting title. From AFP-

Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki(notes) was ejected from Saturday’s game against the Blue Jays for arguing a called third strike, the first time in his career he’s been thrown out of a game.The prolific hitter used his bat to draw a line on the outer edge of the plate, demonstrating that he thought David Purcey’s(notes) strike-three pitch was outside.

Home plate umpire Brian Runge immediately tossed Suzuki, who argued briefly before Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu walked him off the field.

Here’s the video of what happened.

Did Suzuki deserve being thrown out of a game for drawing a line in the dirt. I’ve seen players and coaches go apeshit towards an umpire and not get ejected.

GI at ROK Drop writes-

I have to say that has to be about the lamest ejection I have ever seen given by umpire for ejecting someone for drawing a line in the dirt. I am willing to bet the umpire was just trying to make a name for himself and it worked.

The ejection was lame but I don’t think Runge was trying to make a name for himself. He just overreacted, IMHO.


Lewis Hamilton wins Singapore Grand Prix

It is his second win of the 2009 Formula One season. From AP-

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton has won the Singapore Grand Prix and Brawn GP’s Jenson Button has extended his Formula One championship lead by one point.

Hamilton started from the pole on Sunday and protected his lead to finish 9.6 seconds ahead of Timo Glock. The German equaled Toyota’s best Formula One result by finishing second.

Fernando Alonso gave scandal-hit Renault a lift by finishing third for the French team’s first podium finish of the season.

By cheating at last year’s Singapore GP, Renault has brought at least a temporary case of bad karma upon itself. If the racing team’s fortunes don’t improve, will we begin to hear talk of the Singapore curse?


Kimiko Date Krumm wins Korean Open

At the age of 38, she is the second oldest WTA champion ever. From AP-

Japan’s Kimiko Date Krumm became the oldest winner of a WTA Tour tournament since Billie Jean King in 1983, beating second-seeded Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain 6-3, 6-3 for the Korea Open title Sunday.South Korea Korea Open Tennis

Date Krumm turns 39 on Monday. King was 39 years, 7 months, 23 days when she won at Birmingham, England.

“Yeah, of course, very happy,” Date Krumm said. “I realized one more time after this game that we don’t know about tennis unless we actually play it.”

The title was Date Krumm’s first in 13 years and eighth of her career. Formerly ranked No. 4 in the world, she quit tennis in 1996 before returning last year.

She beat top-seeded Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-4 in the quarterfinals and defending champion Maria Kirilenko of Russia 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 in the semifinals.

After needing only 1 hour, 27 minutes to beat Medina Garrigues, Date Krumm ran to the stands to embrace her race driver husband, Michael Krumm of Germany.

“Above all, my husband’s love was a big help for my win,” she said.


Date Krumm won her last WTA title in August 1996, beating Spain’s Arantxa Sanchez Vicario at San Diego.

Krumm says she is confident about playing pro tennis for at least a few more years. I am less than confident she return to her mid 1990′s form. Still I congratulate Krumm on her win.


Grambling Basketball coach to resign fired after player’s death

Rick Duckett had only been at the Louisiana University for a little over a year. From ESPN-

Grambling State men’s basketball coach Rick Duckett will resign, the school announced Friday, nearly a month after one of his players died following a supervised conditioning session.

Henry White, 21, became ill at a preseason session on Aug. 14 and died on Aug. 26 at a hospital in Shreveport, La. The university and an attorney for White’s family both say they are investigating, according to reports in the Monroe News Star and the Ruston Daily Leader.

White, a prep standout in Milwaukee, transferred to Grambling for the 2009-10 season from Hill Junior College in Texas.

Duckett has been placed on administrative leave through Oct. 31, when his employment officially ends, the university said, according to the reports.

Earlier this week, WISN-TV in Milwaukee, White’s hometown, reported White’s family claims the players were made to run in 104-degree heat without water.

This news article states Duckett wasn’t at the practice in question. If it is true players were made to work out in that temperature, the coaches responsible should be criminally prosecuted.

Update- Rick Duckett is now claiming to have been fired by Grambling.


Wayne Gretzky resigns as Phoenix Coyotes head Coach

The beginning of the 2009-10 NHL season is only a week away. From ESPN-

Wayne Gretzky’s tenure as coach of the Phoenix Coyotes, a period marked largely by on-ice futility, ended abruptly Thursday when the “Great One” announced he would be stepping down amid the financial turmoil surrounding the team.Gretzky

The Coyotes hired former Dallas Stars coach Dave Tippett hours after Gretzky announced his departure, which had been rumored as the bankruptcy court battle between Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie and the NHL over the sale of the team dragged on.

“This was a difficult decision that I’ve thought long and hard about,” Gretzky said in a statement Thursday on his Web site. “We all hoped there would be a resolution earlier this month to the Coyotes ownership situation, but the decision is taking longer than expected.

“Since both remaining bidders have made it clear that I don’t fit into their future plans, I approached general manager Don Maloney and suggested he begin looking for someone to replace me as coach. Don has worked hard and explored many options. I think he has made an excellent choice, and so now it’s time for me to step aside.”

Gretzky, who was due to make $8.5 million this season, coached the Coyotes from 2005-2009, finishing with a 143-161-24 record, and the team missed the playoffs in all four seasons. Gretzky, 48, also owns a small piece of the franchise.

The Coyotes are in turmoil because of their uncertain ownership situation. It was also reported recently that Gretzky wasn’t being paid his coach’s salary. Those are probably two reasons, and maybe the biggest ones, for his quitting.

Pierre LeBrun writes-

For the time being, at least for the Coyotes, Gretzky’s decision Thursday relieved a muddied situation. The head coach is no longer in limbo. The head coach is expected to be Dave Tippett. That brings some stability to a situation still unsettled at the ownership level.

You may argue whether or not the Coyotes are better off without Gretzky, but the NHL (for now) has lost its greatest ambassador.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Gretzky gets another shot behind a NHL bench. It probably won’t be before 2010.


Well said wins The Little Brown Jug

It was on television too and I totally forgot about it. From

Well Said won the 64th Little Brown Jug Thursday afternoon at the Delaware, Ohio, fairgrounds, winning the $650,000 renewal in straight heats under rainy conditions. Driven by Ron Pierce, Well Said won his elimination in 1:51.1 and then wrapped up the race in straight heats by capturing the second in 1:51.4, over a racetrack rated as “good,” the first Jug ever contested on a track not listed “fast.”

Pierce worked Well Said into a second-over trip, following the cover of Mr. Wiggles. If I Can Dream, driven by Tim Tetrick, had the lead at the :56.3 half and still had control at the 1:23.2 three quarters, but at that point Well Said was in hot pursuit. The two elim winners battled side by side through the final turn and through the stretch, with Well Said winning out by one length. Straight Shooting and Dave Palone took show honors.Little Brown Jug Horse Racing


Owned by Jeff Snyder and Susan Grange’s Lothlorien, Well Said was bred by Fair Winds Farm and Steve Jones. A son of Western Hanover, he is trained by Steve Elliott, who won his first-ever Jug. With 10 wins in 12 starts, Well Said now has seasonal earnings of $1,929,014.

The Jug is one of the premier events in horse racing but it will barely cause a blip in the sports pages tomorrow. How sad. Why doesn’t harness racing get the coverage the thoroughbreds do from the media?


Nobody cares? Cincinnati beats Pittsburgh 4-1 in front of sparse crowd

The Pirates have won only 3 of 21 games they have played this month. From AP-

Bronson Arroyo limited Pittsburgh to one run over seven innings and the Cincinnati Reds completed their second sweep of the plummeting Pirates in less than a month, winning 4-1 on Thursday to push the Pirates closer to a 100-loss season.

Joey Votto had a two-run double following Drew Sutton’s RBI double in a four-run third inning against Charlie Morton (4-9) as the Reds won their eighth in a row against the last-place Pirates. The Reds are 15 games ahead of the Pirates in the NL Central standings after falling behind them following a loss on Aug. 22.

Since then, fourth-place Cincinnati is 21-10 — although it remain only one loss away from a ninth consecutive losing season — and Pittsburgh is 5-25. Five more losses by the Pirates will give them 100 on the year.

Pittsburgh, long since assured of a record 17th consecutive losing season, has lost six in a row, nine of 10 and 23 of 26 amid the franchise’s worst September spinout since it was 5-22 in September 1998.

The Pirates have obviously given up for 2009. Speaking from experience, it’s hard to impossible to remain interested in a game or a sport you’re competing in if the outcome is of little or no value. In such situations, the usual inclination is to put up no more effort than is absolutely necessary.

At least for the Pirates’ sake, there weren’t many spectators. The paid attendance was 15,892, but the turnstile count was about 3,000

So Pirate fans are about as enthusiastic as the players are about the closing games of the 2009 season. Or is there another factor at work?

the G-20 summit being staged in downtown Pittsburgh held down the turnout.

The crowd was so small that the Pirates closed PNC Park’s upper deck for the first time since the 38,362-seat ballpark opened in 2001 and allowed fans to sit in the lower level.

Were all fans allowed to sit at field level? May as well, it might encourage people to come back to a game next September when the Pirates are again out of the playoff race.

Crowds of under 1,000 are not unheard of for a MLB game. I remember Atlanta Braves games in the 1970′s being played before such small crowds. A no-hitter in the 1960′s was also played before like 1-2,000 fans.

Fans had to go through metal detectors to enter the park. Combine that with the inconveniences caused by the G-20 summit and the meaninglessness of any games the Pirates play this year, I don’t blame Pittsburgh baseball fans for staying home today.


Army fires basketball coach Jim Crews

He played college ball at Indiana for former Black Knights head coach Bobby Knight. From AP-

Army fired Jim Crews as men’s basketball coach after seven seasons with the academy.

“There was a series of events that led me down the path to determine that I needed to make a change in leadership of the men’s basketball program and terminate coach Crews’ contract,” athletic director Kevin Anderson said in a statement. “I am very disappointed with some things that have come to my attention in recent days and I have decided that it is in the best interests of the basketball program and the institution to terminate our relationship.”

The timing of Crews’ firing is odd considering teams were allowed to start team workouts for two hours a week beginning Sept. 15. Official team practice begins Oct. 16.

Army was 60-139 in seven seasons with Crews. Crews, who coached at Evansville and played for Bob Knight at Indiana on the undefeated 1976 team, recently came back from a goodwill mission to Iraq with other coaches and ESPN analysts Fran Fraschilla and Steve Lavin, coaching U.S. troops during a basketball tournament.

Based on his record, Crews firing is justifiable. In light of the military service required of cadets and how that affects recruiting, I just don’t think Crews replacement will be able to make Army competitive on a year to year basis.


U of Michigan bans all bags at next Saturday’s game

How many women will stay home Saturday rather than go without their purse? From AP-

Michigan is banning purses and all other bags from Michigan Stadium for security reasons, and the Pittsburgh Pirates are planning additional screening measures, too.

The University of Michigan said Wednesday it will require written permission from a medical professional before allowing any bags into the football stadium for Saturday’s game against Indiana.

Recent arrests in Colorado and New York related to a terrorism probe touched off a flurry of national security bulletins. Michigan said in a statement that “adjusting security measures is the prudent thing to do.”

School safety Deputy Chief Charlie Noffsinger said Michigan hasn’t received information on any specific threats but acted after consulting with federal officials.

The University can do what they want, but how much of our rights as citizens are we supposed to give up just for vague threats? I’ve all but stopped flying since 9-11. The last time I flew, my carry-ons were given extra scrutiny. When people feel the inconveniences outweigh the entertainment, they decide to stay home. I don’t blame them either.


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