random ramblings fred riecke, gamblersdata

..The New York Yankees spent $82.5 million on A.J. Burnett before the 2009 season, and are currently dealing with a bad case of buyer’s remorse. After another awful start on 10 days ago, Burnett could be headed to the bullpen. Against the Baltimore Orioles Burnett lasted five innings while allowing nine runs, on nine hits, while walking two and striking out five as the Yankees lost 12-5. It was just the latest in a line of bad starts for the 34-year-old Burnett. In 27 starts this season, he is 9-11 with a 5.31 ERA, a 1.44 WHIP and an American League-leading 20 wild pitches. In 161 innings he has surrendered 160 hits, 101 runs, 25 home runs and 72 walks. In five August starts, Burnett is 1-2 with an 11.91 ERA. In 22.2 August innings he’s allowed 30 runs on 44 hits, five home runs, and ninewalks with just 17 strikeouts. That follows a season in which Burnett went 10-15 with a 5.26 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP in 33 starts.  So what does this mean? Don’t look for Burnett on the post season roster.

…Except, much to the surprise of all, Burnett came back last week with a strong start against the NYY nemisis Boston Red Sox.  The Burnett sage will continue as will the race for home field advantage.

…Usain Bolt began his 100 meters world title defense with an easy win, posting a time of 10.10 seconds in the opening round of the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea. But Bolt would not have a chance to claim the latest title as the Jamaican Sensation was disqualified early Sunday morning for a false start in the 100-meter final. Usain literally bolted from the blocks prematurely, then removed his shirt in disappointment as he realized his mistake and subsequent disqualification.  Second chances are not allowed in this competition and Bolt’s Jamaican compatriot Yohan Blake won the heat in 9.92 seconds ahead of America’s Walter Dix in 10.08. Ex-world champion Kim Collins of St Kitts was third in 10.09.  I’m sure all the people that paid to see Bolt or tuned in to watch on television were thrilled.

…However, all is well as It was none other than the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt of Jamaica and his team that finally set a new world record on the last day of the IAAF World  Championships held in Daegu. The Jamaicans beat their own world record by  6-hundredths of a second in the last race of the championships crossing the line
in 37.0-4 seconds in the men’s 4-by-100 meter relay.

…People evidently don’t learn  from the mistakes of others.  A 24-year-old man was knocked unconscious after falling 21 feet from a stairwell at Ranger’s Ballpark during Saturday’s game while leaving the stadium. He was hospitalized, but initial reports indicate his condition is improving.  This incident comes on the heels of the death of Texas Rangers fan Shannon Stone who fell from the left-field bleachers at the Ballpark at Arlington on July 7th.

…Carolina Panthers tight end Jeremy Shockey has been a hero a few times on the football field during his time with the New York Giants and New Orleans Saints. On Monday, Shockey became a hero off the field by saving the life of one of his teammates-tight end Ben Hartsock.  According to Brad Biggs of the National Football Post Shockey rescued Hartsock after he had a piece of pork tenderloin stuck in his throat during lunch on Monday. Hartsock’s agent Mike McCartney told Biggs that the tight end couldn’t breath after heading into the bathroom and Shockey saved his life by giving him the Heimlich Maneuver.  Here’s what McCartney had to say about the situation courtesy of Biggs’ article:  “He started to go to the bathroom and I don’t know if he collapsed, but he couldn’t breathe,” McCartney said. “Some new guy came and tried to give him the Heimlich. It didn’t work. Then, Shockey hit him in the back pretty hard and out came the meat. The Panthers told me it was really scary.  Ben told me Shockey came over and gave me the Heimlich Maneuver and saved my life. He was in good spirits and he’s real thankful for   Shockey.”

…Sure to be a big hit with male viewers, Team USA soccer star Hope Solo will appear on the 13th season of Dancing With the Stars.  She will be joined by fellow athlete Ron Artest (or maybe Metta World Peace by then).

…Running back Cedric Benson pleaded no contest in Austin for an assault charge in a May 2010 incident and was sentenced to 20 days in jail. Benson will return to Austin and  turn himself in Oct. 17, the day after the Bengals play the Colts leading into their bye week. Benson is expected to serve about a week in jail with good behavior, Assistant Travis County Prosecuting Attorney Corby Holcomb told The Austin American-Statesman, and he will likely only miss one or two practices. Benson was accused of punching an employee at an Austin bar.  Benson was also arrested last month for assault after an early morning incident in Austin involving an ex-roommate, but The Statesman reported that he entered into a deferred prosecution agreement, meaning the charger would be dismissed as long as he stays out of jail for a year and completes 30 hours of community service.

…In a recent interview with Yahoo! Sports Michael Silver, here is what Vick had to say when asked about what defenses could do to stop him. “I’ve been hearing that for years,’ said Vick. “You can’t design a defense to stop me, especially not on this team. We have so many weapons, and some teams have tried to make that their primary focus. That’s when we run up the score.”

…Vick may be right.  But some people are saying that if defenses can force Vick to his right side, his level of effectiveness falls significantly.  Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles agreed on a six-year contract that makes the Pro Bowl quarterback one of the highest-paid players in the NFL.  With his new deal, Michael Vick has completed his comeback and the Eagles have made their franchise all about their embattled star. A league source told ESPN’s Andrew Brandt the deal is worth $100 million and a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that it contains roughly $40 million guaranteed.

…Add Vick – Vick guided the Eagles to an 8-3 record in 11 games as a starter in his first season playing full-time since 2006. He set career highs in yards passing (3,018), touchdowns passing (21), touchdowns rushing (9), completion percentage (62.6) and passer rating (100.2). Vick also rushed for 676 yards.

…Interesting final add Vick – there might be some truth to the idea that teams have found a way to limit Vick.  In their final 6 games last year the Eagles went 3-3.

…A report has surfaced which indicates several doctors have advised the Brock Lesnar to retire, saying that training and fighting could aggravate his diverticulitis, a condition which can be potentially fatal.  Lesnar has not been active in some time and has battled health issues since entering the UFC.  Lesnar could return to the WWE where his health would be less of an issue.  But diverticulitis is a serious matter.

…Evidently Oscar De La Hoya has decided to come clean about his drug use, thoughts of suicide, and oh yeah, those fishnet stockings. He admitted that the scandalous photos taken during a liaison with stripper Milana Dravnel at a Philadelphia hotel in 2007 were, in fact, real. She had snapped embarrassing photos of De La Hoya wearing fishnet  stockings, high heels and a tutu, to be specific, while he was posing in sexually suggestive positions. The photos found their way onto the Internet and he denied they were real.  And that’s the rest of the story! (See full story in MMA?Boxing section)

…A man has been found dead at the bottom of the swimming pool at the home of Houston Texans defensive end Antonio Smith. Fort Bend County sheriff’s spokesman Bob Haenel says the suspected drowning was reported about 9:30 a.m. Sunday at Smith’s home just north of the Houston suburb of Richmond. He says foul play is not suspected, but an autopsy has been ordered.  Haenel said the dead man was reportedly a 37-year-old family friend of Smith’s from the nearby suburb of Katy, and Smith had hosted a birthday party Saturday night.

…Lee Roy Selmon, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Hall of Fame defensive end who teamed with his brothers to create a dominant defensive front and led Oklahoma to back-to-back national championships, died Sunday — two days after being hospitalized for a stroke. He was 57.  Oklahoma went 10-0-1 with all three Selmon brothers playing together in 1973, then won the national title the next two seasons. Lee Roy Selmon won the Lombardi Award and the Outland Trophy in 1975. He ended his college career with 335 tackles, a school record for a linemen at the time, and 40 for a loss. He went on to record 78 1/2 sacks and earn six consecutive Pro Bowl selections during his nine-year NFL career. He retired after the 1984 season.

…Florida A&M women’s basketball player Shannon Washington died early Sunday morning after being stabbed in the neck in her apartment during an argument with a friend — and the friend has been charged with first-degree murder, police said. Starquineshia Palmer, 20, who had been visiting Washington this weekend, faces the murder rap. Palmer was in the apartment when Tallahassee officers arrived, according to the police report. Police said they arrived around 2 a.m. at Washington’s apartment on South Adams Street and found she been stabbed. She received medical treatment at the scene but later died at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, officials said.

…Terrell Pryor, the Raiders QB, has decided to appeal the five -game suspension imposed by Roger Goodell.  He may have a pretty good case since Goodell evidently had no problem with the hiring of former Buckeye vest Jim Tressell by the Indianapolis Colts.

…Last add “The Vest” – evidently Goodell had second thoughts and suddenly “postponed” Tressell’s starting time with the Colts by several weeks.

…Cedric Benson was released after serving 5 days of his 20 day jail sentence. The Cincinnati Bengals running back had his 20-day jail sentence for misdemeanor assault cut short due to good behavior, which included mopping floors and helping painting crews.

…It’s been a tough summer for the NHL.  Former Nashville Predator and Preds Radio color commentator Wade Belak has been found dead in a hotel room in Toronto. Belak, a former first round pick for the Quebec Nordiques, spent time with various NHL organizations including the Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames, Toronto Maple Leafs, Florida Panthers and the Predators. He was also a volunteer Williamson Country firefighter.  Belak is the third NHL enforcer to pass away over the past few months. Derek Boogaard of the New York Rangers was found dead May 13 and Rick Rypien, who had just signed a new deal with the Winnipeg Jets, was found dead August 15.  For the moment, the police continue to describe Belak’s death as an “apparent” suicide. Sources say Belak hanged himself.

…Final add Belak – TSN’s Michael Landsberg, who knew Belak well, has linked the 15-year NHL veteran’s death to depression, a condition Landsberg himself suffers from. The NHL and NHLPA linked Belak’s death to those of Rick Rypien and Derek Boogaard, saying “these tragic events cannot be ignored,” and “We are committed to examining, in detail, the factors that may have contributed to these events, and to determining whether concrete steps can be taken to enhance player welfare and minimize the likelihood of such events taking place.”

…Potential bad news, well, horrible news for Colt fans.  A report speculates that Peyton Manning might need an additional procedure to treat his troublesome neck. If accurate, the Colts QB could be out indefinitely.

…Who gets the MLB MVP and Cy Young awards always brings up the same question.  Should it be based on the success of the player’s team or simply the player himself.  That will definitely play out this year in the NL West because the Dodgers, hot as a firecracker of late, have worthy candidates for each award.  Matt Kemp is in the top 4 in his league’s batting average, home runs, rbi’s and stolen bases.  He plays the defensively premier position of center field. Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder of the first place Brewers offer similar stats, but neither as complete as Kemp.

…On the ballots sent to the baseball writers this sentence appears:  “The MVP need not come from a division winner or other player qualifiers.”  We shall see.

…The Cy Young is a little different as the word “valuable” does not enter into the decision officially.  If so, Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers may be in line to win it.  Kershaw is in the top 2 in wins, era, strike outs, whip and batting average against.  The Dodgers rank 11th in runs scored so imagine if he played with the Philies. I’d say Kershaw has a good chance to win, not so much for Kemp.  Remember last year’s Cy Young winner in the AL was Felix Hernandez who brought a 13-12 record to the table.

…It seems like even the jockeys are causing trouble these days.  Jockey Tyler Baze was suspended by Del Mar stewards after refusing to take a breathalizer test as agreed to in a previously signed agreement with the California Horse Racing board.  And jockey Kent Desormeaux, a 3 time Kentucky Derby winner, was arrested on misdomeanor charges he tried to run over a traffic cop outside Saratoga in New York.  Desormeaux was leaving the track when he hit the officer.

…Many people are ready to write off boxing and welcome the new King, mixed martial arts.  Having been a boxing fan for more than 50 years it pains me to see the state of the game today.  MMA just seems to be the game for the times.  A friend explained it to me like this and I have to say it makes sense.  He compared boxing to soft core porn and mma to hard core porn.  When all you have is soft core porn it is pretty good stuff.  But once you see the hard core stuff it brings things to a whole new level.


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