Sports Outside the Beltway

Former MLB Umpire John Kibler dead at age 81

He umpired in the National League for 25 years and had a birdseye view of Bill Buckner’s gaffe during game 6 of the 1986 World Series. Kibler was working first base that night. RIP.

Longtime National League umpire John Kibler has died.

Kibler’s family says he died Thursday in Palo Alto, Calif. He was 81.

Kibler was a full-time NL umpire from 1965 through 1989.


Tiger Woods- No set time for his return to golf

From his public statement* today-

As for coming back to the PGA Tour, the world’s No. 1 player said “I do plan to return to golf one day. I just don’t know when that day will be. I don’t rule out it will be this year.

So we can expect many more columns written by sports writers saying they know when Woods will be back. One absolutely certain Australian writer had Woods playing in Tuscon this week.

Woods will play again and I think it will be by summer of this year. That’s an opinion only.

Tiger’s wife Elin wasn’t there today. Woods mother was, and IMHO she looked to be in a lot of pain from what her son did.

I haven’t commented much on the Woods scandal. Mainly because it has gotten over saturation from the media, golf bloggers, and more importantly what’s been written has been so pathetically wrong time and time again, I don’t want to throw myself into that cesspool. Woods was dumb on so many levels. How he thought would never learn about his deeds or not possibly care is beyond me.

*- While there were members of the press permitted to be there when Woods gave his statement, the golfer took no questions. That makes it not a press conference IMHO. Yes and I’ve been to golf press conferences.


New Jersey Nets to play games in Newark starting with the 2010-11 season

How much does it cost to go from East Rutherford to the Presidential Center via the New Jersey turnpike? From AP-

The New Jersey Nets are going to play in Newark, at least for the next two seasons.

The NBA team reached a deal with the state to move their regular-season games to Newark’s Prudential Center until their new arena is built in Brooklyn.

Under the deal, the Nets will pay a $4 million penalty over two years to get out of their lease at the Izod Center in the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, their home since 1981.

The Nets plan to finish the current season at the Izod Center and move to “The Rock” in downtown Newark for the 2010-11 and the 2011-12 seasons.

Few people remember this, but in the last days of the Brooklyn Dodgers, the team played seven home 1956 or 1957 home games in Jersey City rather than Brooklyn. A sports team is taking the reverse path back to that New York borough and I find that interesting.


Venus Williams defeats Israel’s Shahar Peer at the Dubai Tennis Championships

It was a year ago that Peer was denied a visa to enter the United Arab Emirates. From AP-

Venus Williams has ended Israeli Shahar Peer’s run at the Dubai Tennis Championships with a 6-1, 6-4 victory in the semifinals.

The defending champion and third seed needed 1 hour, 23 minutes Friday to defeat Peer, who was not allowed to play in the tournament a year ago when she was denied a visa by the United Arab Emirates government, citing security reasons.

The win by Venus Williams comes as no surprise. Peer was unranked for this tournament.

I hope Peer received more than the polite applause she was getting in earlier rounds. Sports should be about who is the best athlete at a particular point in time. A winning performer deserves to be congratulated by fans watching him or her.


Buffalo Bill OT Brad Butler announces his retirement

He is just 26-years-old. From AP-

Buffalo Bills starting right tackle Brad Butler announced his retirement on Thursday.

The news comes as a surprise to the Bills after the 26-year-old Butler completed his fourth NFL season.

Butler majored in government studies at Virginia, and spent the 2008 offseason interning at Kemp Partners in Washington DC with former and late Bills quarterback and congressman Jack Kemp.

“My passion for education, country and community is something that I am ready to devote my full attention to,” he said in a statement released by the team. “I believe the best way to pursue these spheres of interest is to step away from the game of football at this point in my life.”

Butler was probably more interested in non-football matters. He spent most of the 2009 season injured. I make a bet that influenced his career decision.


Oregon RB LaMichael James arrested on domestic violence charges

He rushed for over 1,500 yards last season. From ESPN-

Oregon running back LaMichael James, one of the top freshmen in the nation, was arrested on domestic violence charges after his girlfriend said he grabbed her neck during an argument and pushed her to the ground.

James, 20, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to misdemeanor charges of menacing, strangulation and assault. He remained in the Lane County Jail on $40,000 bail, according to a jail deputy. His attorney, Michael Buseman, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Springfield police Sgt. Tom Borchers said the incident happened Monday evening outside a Springfield apartment complex. The 22-year-old woman, whose name has not been released, contacted authorities the following day and police located James in Eugene late Tuesday.

With the exception of self defense, there is no excuse for violence against a woman. If the charges are true, James needs to be disciplined. Including possibly kicking him off the Ducks football squad.


Streaks of one- Miami beats New Jersey 87-84

Are the 2009-10 Nets the worst team in NBA history? From AP-

Michael Beasley had 23 points and 11 rebounds and the Miami Heat overcame the early loss of All-Star MVP Dwyane Wade in beating the New Jersey Nets 87-84 on Wednesday night for their season-high fourth straight victory.

Jermaine O’Neal, who strained his lower back in a first-quarter fall, hit three free throws and had two blocks down the stretch as the Heat used a game-closing 13-4 spurt to prevent the Nets from winning consecutive games for the first time this season.

Wade strained his left calf sometime in the opening 7:26 and did not play again. He finished with eight points, snapping his streak of 148 straight games in double figures, the second-longest active streak in the NBA behind LeBron James (255).

Quentin Richardson added 16 points — including a tying 3-pointer with 1:52 to go, and a game-high 14 rebounds for Miami.

Brook Lopez had 26 points and 10 rebounds for the Nets, whose only basket in the final 4:56 came on a goaltending call at the buzzer. Devin Harris added 18 points.

The Nets appeared to headed for their sixth win of the season when Keyon Dooling (14 points) converted a three-point play with 4:56 to play to put them ahead 80-74.

The prospects looked even brighter when O’Neal missed two free throws on the Heat’s ensuring possession.

However, the Nets went ice cold and Miami just kept on coming.

I do think the answer to my question is yes. New Jersey isn’t just 5-49 right now but also unable to win two games in a row at any time this season. They would have gotten to two with a win tonight. Dwyane Wade gets injured, the Nets get a six point lead with less than five minutes to go in the game and the team still finds a way to lose. New Jersey is the worst. They will not get to double digits in wins this year. There are 28 games left in the season and gaining their getting six wins will nothing short of miraculous.


Former MLB Pitcher Jim Bibby dead at 65

I remember Bibby quite well. He was a good MLB pitcher who went 111-101 in a 13-year career. He was most remembered for his time in Texas and Pittsburgh but played for St. Louis and Cleveland also. Here’s something you probably won’t hear in reports on his death.Jim Bibby

He was originally in the New York Mets organization. A poor man’s black version of Nolan Ryan. Hard throwing righty with arm and control issues. The Mets gave up on Bibby at the same time they did the same with Ryan. Ryan went to California for Jim Fregosi and Bibby went to St. Louis for among other others Jim Beachump and Harry Parker. A pinch hitter and long reliever respectively on the 1973 pennant winning Mets but hardly compensation for a pitcher who went on to win 111 games. The Mets made a lot of bad trades and this is one of them though it was lesser known than others.

Thanks for memories Jim Bibby. RIP.

Community Funeral Home in Lynchburg said Wednesday that Bibby died Tuesday night at Lynchburg General Hospital. The cause was not disclosed. The family asked for privacy but said a statement would be released later.

Bibby played 12 years in the majors and pitched the first no-hitter in Texas Rangers history, beating Oakland 6-0 in 1973.

He was a member of the Pittsburgh team that won the 1979 World Series, starting two games against Baltimore — including the deciding seventh game.


Baltimore Ravens acquire WR Donte Stallworth

He didn’t play a down in the NFL during 2009 because of his being suspended by the NFL. From AP-

The Baltimore Ravens say they have signed wide receiver Donte’ Stallworth to a one-year contract.

Stallworth was recently released by the Cleveland Browns after being reinstated by the NFL following a one-year suspension. He was suspended for violating the league’s personal-conduct policy for a DUI vehicular manslaughter charge.

Stallworth served 30 days in a Miami jail for striking and killing a Miami construction worker with his car while driving under the influence of alcohol.

I thought the sentence was a travesty of justice at the time it happened and still believe so. Stallworth got special treatment because he is a pro athlete. If I had killed someone while DUI, my sentence would involve years in jail.

From strictly a football point of view, the Stallworth signing is a good move by Baltimore.


2010 LPGA Tour preview

After a 3-month layoff, The American Women’s Professional Golf circuit will begin the new year with its first tournament. The Honda PTT LPGA Thailand which will begin Thursday. Lorena Ochoa is the defending champion.

This will mark the first time in almost 2 decades that the LPGA began a new year overseas. Much has been made about the tour’s international flavor. I remark to those critics- Would you rather just have a 14 tournament schedule. That’s what would be left if you just had the American stops and the British Open.

Due to the tour’s new Commissioner Michael Whan the LPGA’s overall picture looks much brighter than it did as little as six months ago. He has brought back several old sponsors to the tour that former Commissioner Carolyn Bivens drove away and it looks like he may one or two more up his sleeve yet. I haven’t been this optimistic about the LPGA in about five years. Yes work has be done, but I haven’t seen anything but positive news coming out of Daytona Beach for at least three months.

My predictions for the upcoming year-

Player of the Year- Ji Yai Shin. She was last year’s leading winner but Lorena Ochoa won Player of the Year. I expect Ochoa to drop further this year from her glory days in 2006 and 2007.

Most likely player to beat out Shin- Na Yeon Choi. Choi has never missed a cut on tour and won two tournaments late in 2009. She has found her groove. Pardon the golf pun.

Sleeper for Player of the Year- Anna Nordqvist. She only won the LPGA Championship and Tour Championship as a rookie in 2009.

Rookie of the Year- Mina Harigae, last year’s Duramed Futures Tour player of the year, edges out the more heralded Blumenhurst.

How many rookies win in 2010?- One.

How many tournaments will Michelle Wie- Two. See more below.

Comeback Player of the Year- Jeong Jang. She returns to form from wrist surgery. My 2009 Comeback of the Year selection did pretty good last year.

Major Champions for 2010- Shin, Michelle Wie, Choi, and Paula Creamer

We’ll end this post with my top 30 players for 2010

1 Shin

2 Choi

3 Wie

4 Nordqvist

5 A Miyazato

6 Creamer

7 Tseng

8 IK Kim

9 Ochoa

10 Pettersen

11 Yoo

12 SH Kim

13 Kerr

14 Jang

15 V Hurst

16 Webb

17 Stanford

18 Harigae

19 McPherson

20 EH Ji

21 JY Oh

22 SH Lee

23 Lincicome

24 MH Kim

25 Han

26 Pressel

27 Wright

28 HY Park

29 Blumenhurst

30 Lang

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