Sports Outside the Beltway

Minnesota Timberwolves suspend C Al Jefferson after DWI arrest

He is the team’s leading scorer. From AP-

Minnesota Timberwolves star center Al Jefferson apologized to the team and fans Sunday after his arrest on suspicion of DWI following a weekend loss to Portland.

The Timberwolves suspended Jefferson for the next two games without pay — a punishment Jefferson said he accepts.

“I want to apologize to the entire Timberwolves organization, owner Glen Taylor, my teammates, coaches and Wolves fans everywhere for my actions last night,” Jefferson said in a statement released Sunday by the Timberwolves. “I made a very poor decision and I am truly sorry for that. As a leader on this team, I know that more is expected of me, and I am disappointed in myself.”

A Minnesota State Patrol trooper stopped Jefferson, 25, on Interstate 394 near downtown Minneapolis early Sunday for speeding and changing lanes without signaling, patrol spokesman Lt. Eric Roeske said.

After taking a field sobriety test, Jefferson was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center for a blood test, which he had agreed to, then to Hennepin County Jail on suspicion of fourth-degree driving while impaired, Roeske said. Jefferson was released after an hour in jail and faces an April 23 court appearance.

A forth-degree crime will probably result in a fine not jail time. If convicted, Jefferson should accept the fine like he did the suspension. I’m thinking he probably will.


Canada Beats USA in Overtime for Olympic Hockey Gold

Team Canada beat Team USA 3-2 on an overtime goal by Sidney Crosby.

A shame for Team USA, which outplayed expectations, beating Canada in the early rounds and arriving undefeated in the gold medal game.Canada Hockey Gold

It’s a rather odd tournament structure for an undefeated team to face a rematch in the championship game against a team it beat along the way and then play a single-elimination showdown. There’s not much incentive to win the first game if the two teams contend as equals in the finals.

Still, Canada had to fight their way to the game the hard way, beating the Russians along the way. It’s probable that the better team won. And they were at home, to boot.

Team USA fought back after being down 2-0, scoring the tying game with an empty net with just seconds to go. Stellar stuff and, certainly, nothing to be ashamed of against a favored team with more veteran talent playing in front of its home crowd. Let alone with the winning shot made by a man widely considered the best hockey player in the world.

Still, being 1-1 against Canada in the tourney and finishing in second place behind Canada is rather hollow. Obviously, you’d much rather have lost the first one and won the second.

Ah, well. Back to not caring about hockey for another four years.


NFL may change overtime rules for playoffs

No sudden death for sudden death? From AP-

An NFL spokesman said Saturday the league could change its overtime format for playoff games at a meeting next month.

Under the new format, both teams would get the ball at least once unless the first team to get the ball scores a touchdown, Greg Aiello said. If the first team to get the ball makes a field goal and the other team ties the game, action would continue until a team scores again.

Under the current rules, the first team to score wins.

“There have been various concepts that have been discussed in recent years, but this one has never been proposed,” Aiello said.

The competition committee will discuss the new concept with teams and players at league meetings March 21-24 in Orlando, Fla., when it could come to a vote. At least two thirds of the teams would need to agree to the changes for new rules to be adopted.

It is my prediction that the NFL does make some kind of change. Personally, I’m ambivalent on the issue. I believe the statistics show that the teams who lose the toss win slightly more often in regular season games. What the playoff record, I don’t know. Honestly, who says life or sports has to be fair?


Ai Miyazato wins HSBC Champions in Singapore

The #4 player in the world has won the first two LPGA tournaments of 2010 From AP-

Ai Miyazato won the HSBC Champions on Sunday to become the first LPGA Tour player in 44 years to sweep the first two events of a season, closing with 3-under 69 for a two-stroke victory over Cristie Kerr.Singapore HSBC Women's Champions Golf

Miyazato, the 24-year-old Japanese star who won the LPGA Thailand last week, took the lead with a birdie on the par-4 16th — a hole she played in 5 under for the week — and parred the final two holes to finish at 10 under on Tanah Merah’s Garden Course.

A 15-time winner on the Japanese tour, Miyazato earned $195,000 for her third career LPGA Tour victory — all outside North America. She won the Evian Masters last year in France for her first LPGA Tour title.

Marilynn Smith was last player to win the first two events in a season, accomplishing the feat in 1966.

Miyazato has come out blazing. Can she challenge for #1? I think so. Her winning streak is now on hold for a month. The next LPGA tournament begins March 25th in Carlsbad California.

For the 2nd week in a row, the LPGA had an exciting final round. Last week it was the Miyazato-Suzann Pettersen battle, this week 10 or so players fought it out on the back nine. If the LPGA can carry this over to the United States, the tour may benefit from Tiger Woods abscence from competitive golf. A win by Michelle Wie would help too. She’s off to a solid start in 2010.($32,090 in earnings, 18th on the money list)

Lorena Ochoa after opening with a 68, shot a 2nd round 79 and finished well back. Has Ochoa become a better version of the 2004 to pre 2006 LPGA Championship Se Ri Pak? Pak won two tournaments since pulling herself together but isn’t anything like the golfer she was from 1998 to 2003.

Also blogging on Miyazato’s win- The Constructivist at Mostly Harmless. He has a very detailed account of the back and forth battle for today’s tournament. He points out that since the HSBC began, the winner has gone on to be Player of the Year. Ochoa won both in 2008 and Ji Yai Shin in 2009. Miyazato has a head start on making three in a row.

Update- Hound Dog also blogged on the HSBC final round


Can anyone here play this game? Golden State beats Detroit 95-88

My nominee for the most embarrassing effort by both teams in a NBA game this season.

On a night filled with offensive ineptitude it was only fitting that missed free throws proved to be the deciding factor.

Stephen Curry scored 27 points and the Golden State Warriors used the hack-a-Ben strategy to finish their rally from a 14-point deficit in the second half and beat the Detroit Pistons 95-88 on Saturday night.

The Warriors shot 41 percent from the field and committed 17 turnovers but came up with their first win without scoring at least 100 points since Jan. 30, 2009, at New Orleans.

“Sometimes you don’t know how you win games, but we just stayed around long enough to make plays at the right time,” said coach Don Nelson, who has 1,326th career victories — seven shy of breaking Lenny Wilkens’ record.

Anthony Tolliver added 19 points and 14 rebounds, and C.J. Watson scored 17 points in place of injured leading scorer Monta Ellis as the Warriors snapped a five-game losing streak against the Pistons.

Golden State held Detroit without a field goal for the final 3:52, with the Pistons only point in that span coming on a free throw by Ben Wallace on one of three trips to the line after intentional fouls by the Warriors. Wallace missed five of his six attempts late in the game, including consecutive air balls in the final minute.

Air balls? There isn’t supposed to be air balls in the NBA fans.

Anyone who attended this game should ask for a refund. Requesting a better Golden State team is asking for a miracle.


Slow speed chase- Miami Heat’s Carlos Arroyo arrested after traffic violation

Among the charges he faces, is driving too slow. From the Miami Herald-

Miami Heat point guard Carlos Arroyo was arrested Friday in Coral Gables and is facing charges for a traffic violation and resisting arrest.Carlos Arroyo

According to the arrest report, Arroyo was spotted at 8:41 a.m. driving slow enough along the 7100 block of Old Cutler Road to the point that he was said to be impeding traffic.

Arroyo apparently was on his way to the Heat’s practice at AmericanAirlines Arena. He did not attend the workout in advance of Saturday’s game against Milwaukee.

“We are aware of the traffic stop involving Carlos Arroyo this morning, and while we fully support our players, this is a pending legal matter and we will have no comment at this time,” Heat president Pat Riley said in a statement.

According to the incident report, a motorcycle patrolman made several attempts to stop Arroyo’s vehicle. Additional police units were called because of Arroyo’s initial unwillingness to pull over his car, according to the incident report.

Arroyo, 30, eventually stopped but “attempted to resist” being handcuffed when he exited his car. He was also accused of being “confrontational and challenging” and “posing a threat to both himself and officers,” the report said.

Arroyo appears to have scratches and red marks on his face and neck in a mug shot taken by police when he was booked at the Coral Gables Police Department. He is charged with operating a vehicle at a low enough speed to impede traffic, resisting arrest without violence and failing to obey a lawful order. Arroyo was released on a promising to appear in court.

Resisting police without violence? Then why those cuts to his face? I have a very low opinion of South Florida law enforcement. They don’t believe the law applies to them, and I cite multiple instances that say just that. Plus my own personal experience of getting harassed by five to six policemen and almost arrested. My crime? Waving down an officer when my car broke down. Right now Arroyo has my sympathy.


Kim Yu-na wins Women’s figure skating gold medal

The long expected coronation of ice skating’s newest queen took place last night. From Yahoo Sports-

A women’s figure skating performance that likely will be remembered as one of the best of all time.Olympic Gold

The South Korean soared to the Olympic gold medal Thursday night, scoring 228.56 points and shattering her previous world record by more than 18 points. It is South Korea’s first medal at the Winter Olympics in a sport other than speedskating, and it’s sure to set off wild celebrations from Seoul to Pyeongchang.

Even Kim seemed to be dazzled by the show she put on, gasping when she saw the monstrous score. Coach Brian Orser gave a Rocky-like victory pump, shaking his clasped fists over each shoulder.

“I still can’t believe it,” Kim said. “I waited a long time for the Olympics, and it feels like a large weight has been lifted off.”

The 19-year-old grinned as she hopped up to the top spot on the podium, tugging at the bottom of her dress. When the gold medal was slipped over her head, she kissed both sides and held it up. Her lip quivered when the South Korean anthem began, and then came the tears.

She made a beeline for someone holding the South Korean flag as she set off on her victory lap, and carried it triumphantly as fans serenaded her with cheers and applause.

“Truly I still can’t believe that I did what I wanted to do at the Olympics,” she said.

Longtime rival Mao Asada of Japan won the silver medal, but it was no contest—even with Asada landing both her triple axels, one in combination with a double toe loop. Asada was more than 23 points behind Kim, a margin so big Kim could have done nothing but figure 8s for the last half of her program and still finished in front.

That is exaggerating just a tad. Asada is very talented but Kim’s juggernaut like run to the Gold medal was seen as inevitable by most knowledgeable people for at least two years. This blog rarely features posts about figure skating, but I also wrote about Kim beginning with this post. I learned about her in late 2008 and it gave me an idea for one of my online fiction stories.

The United States was locked out of the medals for the first time since 1964.(Which was a special case. The entire U.S. figure skating team was killed three years earlier in a plane crash) Again people who followed this sport the American skaters would need a miracle to just earn a bronze medal. It didn’t happen.

A big thank you to GI at ROK Drop. I used the links and photos from his post.


Dallas Stars waive Goalie Alex Auld

With the recent acquisition of Kari Lehtonen, the team had one more netminder than they needed. From ESPN-

The Dallas Stars placed Alex Auld on waivers Wednesday and are content to go with Marty Turco and Kari Lehtonen in goal the rest of the season.Alex Auld

Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk acknowledged there’s little chance of trading Turco, who played well the last six games leading into the Olympic break. Turco is 4-1-1 with a 1.15 goals-against average and a .967 save percentage in that stretch.


Lehtonen, 26, has not played an NHL game since last April. The Stars traded for him earlier this month in an effort to fortify their goalie position going into next season. Lehtonen is a restricted free agent next season, while Turco and Auld are unrestricted free agents.

The Stars are one point out of the eighth and final playoff spot and have games every other day in March.

“We’ll work Kari in there because we have so many games,” Nieuwendyk said.

Auld is a journeyman Goalie who has played for six teams since 2006. That says enough about how good he is. Could a 7th team on the horizon? I’d say the chances are about 50-50. If Auld can’t find work in North America, he can always go to play in Europe.


Former NFL Player Mosi Tatupu dead at 54

His son Lofa is currently a NFL linebacker. Very sad and RIP.

Mosi Tatupu (MOE’-see tah-TOO’-poo), a fan favorite who played 13 seasons for the New England Patriots, has died. He was 54.Mosi Tatupu

Ashley O’Brien, a spokeswoman for Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro, Mass., said Tatupu was pronounced dead at the hospital Tuesday. She did not give a cause.

Tatupu was chosen by the Patriots in the eighth round of the 1978 draft out of Southern California. He stayed with the team until 1990.

The running back rushed for 2,415 yards and 18 touchdowns. He was better known for his special teams play.

Tatupu had his own cheering section known as “Mosi’s Mooses.”

He coached his son, Lofa, now a linebacker with the Seattle Seahawks, at King Philip Regional High School in Wrentham.


Hold the relish- Baseball Fan claims injury by hot dog

And it isn’t because he had to pay $5 for some rubbery food. From AP-

Baseball fans who sit six rows behind the third-base dugout at the Kansas City Royals’ stadium know they might have to duck a few foul balls.

But a Kansas man says it was a flying hot dog, not a baseball, that almost put his eye out last year.

John Coomer has filed a lawsuit against the Royals seeking more than $25,000 for injuries he sustained Sept. 8 when he was smacked in the eye with a hot dog chucked by the team’s mascot, Sluggerrr.

Coomer said the wayward wiener caused a detached retina and the development of cataracts in his left eye.

The Royals declined to comment Tuesday.

The team denies this suit is a promotional stunt. As for the suit, it is a joke. All sporting event tickets come with a disclaimer. That a team won’t be held responsible for injuries that take place at the stadium or arena. I guess that covers hot dog throwing mascots too. They’re part of the entertainment.


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