Sports Outside the Beltway

Denver Nuggets Coach George Karl has cancer

He was already a prostate cancer survivor. From ESPN-

Denver Nuggets coach George Karl informed his team Tuesday afternoon that he is in another fight for his life with cancer.

Karl, who had been cancer-free since prostate surgery in July 2005, discovered a worrisome lump on his neck about six weeks ago. A biopsy determined that it was “very treatable and curable” form of neck and throat cancer, Karl said, but it will still require an intense program of radiation and chemotherapy that will probably force him to miss some regular-season games.

“Cancer is a vicious opponent,” he said. “Even the ones that are treatable, you never get a 100-percent guaranteed contract.”

Treatment will consist of 35 sessions over the next six weeks, for what the Nuggets Web site called squamous cell head/neck cancer. The sessions are expected to leave his throat extremely raw, requiring him to be fed through his stomach in the final weeks. “Keeping up your nutrition is a big part of the challenge,” he said.

While the condition is treatable, his doctor, Jacques Saari, said Karl faces a taxing treatment regimen.

I’m a cancer survivor also. If the above account is true, I’d be surprised if Karl coaches at the same time he gets treatments. No matter I wish him success in his latest cancer battle.


Baltimore Oriole pitcher injures arm filming promotional spot

The lamest excuse for a baseball injury so far in 2010. From AP-

The Baltimore Orioles have instituted a new policy regarding commercial shoots after right-hander Brad Bergesen hurt his shoulder filming a promotional spot in December.

Bergesen strained his right shoulder while performing in a commercial promoting Baltimore’s 2010 season. He will see limited action for a week to 10 days after the Orioles pitchers and catchers begin workouts Thursday.

Bergesen had his rookie season cut short last year after being hit in the shin by a line drive on July 30. The right-hander had not thrown off a mound from August until the commercial shoot, and he hurt himself by throwing too hard.

Bergesen is expected to be ready before the start of this season. What happened to this pitcher reminds me of how Jose Canseco suffered a shoulder injury from pitching one inning in a losing Oakland A game. Pitching arms can get injured very easily at times.


Former Arizona State sports coach William Kajikawa dead at 97

Nicknamed ‘Kaji’, he led ASU’s basketball, baseball, and freshman football teams at one time or another. RIP.

William (Bill) “Kaji” Kajikawa, a legendary former football, basketball and baseball coach at Arizona State, died Monday morning. He was 97.Bill Kajikawa

Kajikawa began his coaching career at Arizona State in 1937 and retired in 1978.

He began coaching the Arizona State Teacher’s College freshman football team in 1937, when the players were known as the Bulldogs. During his tenure, Kajikawa watched the Bulldogs become the Sun Devils in 1946, and he saw his alma mater gain university status in 1958.

Before retiring in 1978, Kajikawa had worked as the freshman football coach under nine ASU head football coaches. In addition, he served as head basketball coach from 1948 to 1957, and he was head coach of ASU’s club baseball team from 1947 to 1957. He was inducted into the Arizona Basketball Hall of Fame in 1968 and the ASU Hall of Distinction in 1982.


The Gift that keeps giving- LPGA, IMG file counterclaim in SBS lawsuit

Another financial time bomb for the LPGA thanks to its former Commissioner. From Jon Show-

The LPGA and IMG filed a counterclaim this month in a civil action with Seoul Broadcasting System over the company’s refusal to make a payment in its final year as the tour’s Korean television rights holder.

The counterclaim follows a lawsuit filed last August by SBS, the LPGA’s exclusive Korean rights holder from 1995 to 2009, against the LPGA and IMG after they awarded the Korean rights to J Golf beginning in 2010. IMG brokers the tour’s international television rights.

At the root of the lawsuit is a claim by SBS that it had verbal assurance from the LPGA that it could match any final offer for the rights. In its motion to dismiss, the LPGA and IMG deny there was any such agreement.


According to court papers, SBS says the LPGA asked for $4.5 million under terms of a five-year extension that would have begun in 2010. SBS, which paid $2.25 million a year for the rights, was informed by LPGA Commissioner Carolyn Bivens that its $3 million counteroffer was below what she considered market value.

On Jan. 30, 2009, three days before a scheduled meeting between Bivens and SBS President Sang Chun to discuss an extension, the tour informed SBS that it had reached a tentative agreement with J Golf, according to court papers. SBS countered by offering to pay 5 percent on top of the offer from J Golf.

LPGA officianados know what happened last February. The LPGA announced its new deal with J Golf right when the SBS Open was being played. SBS President Sang Y. Chun was livid and now that LPGA tournament is history.

Would Carolyn Bivens ever make promises to a tournament sponsor and later renege or treat poorly a sponsor? Let me think.


Larry Ellison Wins America’s Cup

BMW Oracle owner Larry Ellison lifts up the trophy after winning the 33rd America's Cup in Valencia, Sunday.  Heino Kalis / Reuters

BMW Oracle owner Larry Ellison lifts up the trophy after winning the 33rd America's Cup in Valencia, Sunday. Heino Kalis / Reuters

Oracle’s Larry Ellison won the America’s Cup yacht race Sunday, becoming the first American winner in fifteen years.

American software tycoon Larry Ellison won the America’s Cup yacht race in the Mediterranean Sunday, defeating the defending champion Alinghi of Switzerland.

It’s the first time a US team has taken home the cup since Dennis Conner lost it in 1995 to Team New Zealand.

Victory, as it often does in this race, went to the team with the technological edge.

Mr. Ellison’s tri-hulled behemoth vanquished bio-tech billionaire Ernesto Bertarell’s catamaran two days in a row, in the best of three races.

This is a rich man’s event, with this year witnessing the most expensive entries in the contest’s 159-year history. Each team spent more than 100 million ($138 million) in pursuit of the most advanced, state-of-the-art sailing technology.

Oracle’s captain, for example, wore dark glasses hooked to a computer that projected on the lenses information about the wind speed, direction, and sail loads.

Both boats tapped aeronautical and material science engineers to create carbon-fiber aquatic missiles able skim the surface of the ocean at three times the speed of the wind.

What’s interesting to me about this story isn’t the return of the Cup to the USA or even that Ellison won it. Rather, it’s that I was completely oblivious to the fact that the race was even underway until I saw it in my feed reader yesterday morning. (The baby’s waking postponed my blogging on it until I happened to see the open tab again this morning.)

It wasn’t always the case. Despite being “a rich man’s sport,” the quadrennial America’s Cup competition somehow riveted American news coverage. This, despite the New York Yacht Club winning it umpteen straight times. It really got interesting in 1983, when a foreign challenger (Australia’s Alan Bond) won the race for the first time, ever. But, while that temporarily made the next couple of races more interesting — we Americans wanted the Cup back! — the race also marked the beginning of the end.

While technology was always a key factor, as it is in any sort of mechanical racing competition, the races were theretofore among quite similar yachts, at least giving the illusion that superior seamanship and tenacity were the keys to winning. But Bond won with a winged keel. The 1987 race featured a novel fiberglass hull design. Subsequent races then became about crafting boats that were technically permitted under the rules but totally dissimilar to the ones against which they were racing. Viewers quickly lost interest. (It probably didn’t help that American teams were shut out of the finals for the 2000, 2003, and 2007 matches.)

There’s a lot of competition for the sports viewer’s attention. Quite a few sports that were truly big a quarter century ago have been relegated to niche status. Yacht racing, horse racing and boxing all come to mind.


Break time- Anaheim beats Edmonton 7-3

There will not be another NHL game for two weeks. From AP-

Ryan Getzlaf made a strong case to keep his spot with Team Canada, scoring twice and adding two assists in his first game back from a sprained left ankle to help the Anaheim Ducks beat Edmonton 7-3 on Sunday.Edm-ANa

Saku Koivu, Corey Perry, Scott Niedermayer, George Parros and Bobby Ryan also scored for Anaheim, which trails Calgary by two points for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference as the NHL heads into the Olympic break.

Ryan Potulny, Ethan Moreau and Lubomir Visnovsky scored for the NHL-worst Oilers.

Getzlaf banged a rebound past Jeff Deslauriers off a scramble on a power play at 5:27 of the third period, then added another with the man advantage off a pass from Niedermayer with 3:02 left.

Before I saw this article, I had thought last night’s games was where NHL play halted. The Florida Panthers aren’t the barometer to measure the NHL by and I should know it.

The NHL’s trading deadline is March 3rd and while the Olympics are going on, there is trade ban in effect. IMHO there will be a lot of silent work resulting in a bunch of trades shortly after March 1st. Florida is definitely a seller but I just don’t know many quality Panthers are really available at this point. GM Randy Sexton says no one is untouchable but I believe that about as much as I do the team’s promises of a more successful franchise.

Note- Anaheim has 8 players participating in the Olympics. How will that affect the team’s performance when the Olympic break is over? Particularly against teams who are better rested. Anaheim is currently 30-25-7 and 2 points out of the last Western Conference playoff spot


Bump in the road- Jamie McMurray wins the Daytona 500

It was his 4th NASCAR Sprint Cup Victory. From AP-

Jamie McMurray has won the Daytona 500, holding off a hard-charging Dale Earnhardt Jr. over a wild, two-lap sprint to the finish of NASCAR’s version of the Super Bowl.NASCAR Daytona 500 Auto Racing

The race was stopped twice and delayed for more than two hours because of a pothole at Daytona International Speedway, and the setback nearly derailed the race. NASCAR struggled to patch the hole, and drivers knew the pavement could tear at any time after the final repair.

It meant they had to race hard the final 80 miles, and did they ever.

It was a great and crazy race like many other 500s. My personal favorite is the 76 edition where Richard Petty and David Pearson crashed coming down the home stretch. With a helpful push from his pit crew, Pearson got across the finish line first. If I remember right Benny Parsons(the 75 champ) was coming hard from 3rd place.

McMurray is wildly inconstent in his results. Just look at his 2009 Sprint Cup campaign. A win at Daytona is definitely career changing for a driver.


Dustin Johnson wins his second consecutive Pebble Beach National Pro-Am

He birdied the 18th hole to win by one shot. From AP-

Dustin Johnson had to work a lot longer — and harder — for another victory at Pebble Beach.

With a birdie from the bunker on the 18th hole Sunday, Johnson became the first player in 20 years to win back-to-back Pebble Beach National Pro-Am titles, closing with a 2-over 74 for a one-shot victory over David Duval and J.B. Holmes.Pebble Beach Golf

It certainly wasn’t as easy as last year, when Johnson was declared the winner after 54 holes because of rain.

“All you can ask for is a chance to win on the last hole,” Johnson said.

Johnson posted the highest final round by a Pebble Beach champion since Johnny Miller closed with a 74 in 1994. But when he stepped onto the tee at the famous par-5 18th that runs along the Pacific Ocean, he knew a birdie would make up for everything.

Johnson was the only one of the top 3 finishers to birdie 18. Duval, gunning for his first victory in almost 9 years, pitched it onto the green but too much backspin left the ball on the green’s front edge. Holmes, who has the length to reach 18 in 2, took that out of the equation with a bad drive. His pitch to the green was better than Duval’s but he couldn’t make the putt either. Johnson has to think today’s win was redeeming. He won last year’s tournament after the final round was canceled due to weather.

I was pulling for Duval today. He’s still trying to get his career back together. Despite a 2nd place finish at the U.S. Open in 2009, he was unable to make the top 125 money winners. He won’t ever be again the #1 player in the world like he was for a time in 1999 but a win would say he made some type of comeback.

The PGA Tour returns to Pebble Beach in June for this year’s U.S. Open.


Texas Community College Women’s basketball coach arrested

He and one of his players were arrested earlier this week. From AP-

The women’s basketball coach at an East Texas junior college and one of his players was released on bond Thursday after their arrests after a game.

Trinity Valley Community College coach Bill Damuth was freed from Washington County Jail on $1,500 bond Thursday, a day after Blinn College police arrested him on a charge of resisting arrest. Freed on $2,500 bond was Lesha Dunn, Trinity Valley’s 6-foot-4 freshman post player from Canada, who was charged with assault on a police officer.

According to Blinn spokeswoman Cathy Boeker, Damuth angrily charged game officials at the final buzzer of No. 4-ranked Trinity Valley’s 61-55 loss Wednesday night at Blinn, then struggled with a campus police officer who was trying to restrain him.

Boeker says Dunn came to her coach’s aid, grabbed the arm of the officer trying to restrain Damuth, then struggled from behind with a second officer who was trying to place Damuth in handcuffs.

Both spent the night in the Washington County Jail in Brenham before their arraignments Thursday morning.

The charge of resisting arrest is abused by law enforcement officials all the time. Without further facts, I won’t comment on the criminal charges. As for being angry at officials, Coach Damuth needs more self control.


MLB First Baseman Frank Thomas retires after 19 years

He said the highlight of his career was being part of the 2005 World Series Champion Chicago White Sox. From AP-

Saying he’s “at peace” with his decision, Frank Thomas announced his retirement Friday following a 19-season career in which he hit 521 homers and won two American League MVP awards with the Chicago White Sox.

Considering he didn’t play last season, the news was hardly shocking.

“It took awhile to get to this point,” the 41-year-old Thomas said during a news conference at U.S. Cellular Field. “I know I hadn’t played since 2008, but I had to get baseball out of my system before I made this announcement. I’m happy with this announcement. I’m at peace with it. I had one heck of a career. I’m proud of it.”

With his power and ability to hit for a high average and reach base, Thomas figures to land in the Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible.

AL Back-to-Back MVPs

A five-time All-Star who batted .301 with a .419 on-base average, Thomas is tied for 18th with Ted Williams and Willie McCovey on baseball’s home run list while driving in 1,704 runs. And in an era clouded by performance-enhancing drugs, he was outspoken against their use.

Thomas split his final three seasons between Oakland and Toronto, but he’ll be remembered most for a 16-year run with the White Sox.

He quickly emerged as one of the best players after debuting in 1990, winning MVP awards in 1993 and 1994 and a batting title in 1997 while setting club records for home runs (448) and RBIs (1,465) before a bitter split following the 2005 World Series-winning season.

Thomas was upset when the club bought out his option for $3.5 million that December, and things got particularly nasty during the 2006 spring training. He sounded off in an interview with The Daily Southtown of suburban Tinley Park, Ill., and general manager Ken Williams responded by calling him “an idiot.”

Thomas was angry with the organization for portraying him as a damaged player, although injuries to his left ankle limited him to 34 games and made him a spectator as the White Sox grabbed their first World Series title since 1917.

He criticized owner Jerry Reinsdorf for not calling him before the team decided to let him go.

“We all know Kenny Williams and I had a big blowup,” Thomas said. “We both moved on. When you’re pretty much considered an icon in a city as a player, it’s always hard to let those players go. It’s never a pretty or nice scene. We’ve seen it over the years. You think of a Brett Favre, [Shaquille O'Neal] leaving L.A., Allen Iverson leaving Philly — he’s back in Philly, I’m happy for him. When players get to a certain level, it’s never easy to say goodbye.”

Thomas wound up going to Oakland and hit 39 homers with 114 RBIs in 2006 before signing an $18.12 million, two-year contract with Toronto. The Blue Jays released him early in the 2008 season, a day after he became angry after being taken out of the lineup. Thomas wound up back in Oakland, appearing in 55 games with the Athletics before a right thigh injury ended his season — and, ultimately, his career.

Bagwell was a great hitter and 1st baseman who oddly enough shared the exact same birthday(May 27, 1968) with another great hitter and 1st baseman, Jeff Bagwell. I think Bagwell was the better of the two players but both are likely to be elected to the Hall of Fame in the future.


Visitors Since Feb. 4, 2003

All original content copyright 2003-2008 by OTB Media. All rights reserved.