There was an error in this gadget

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Adults rush to play dodgeball, duck-duck-goose

NEWPORT, New Hampshire (AP) -- When "spastic ball" starts, it's better to duck first and ask questions later.

Glenn Halleck goes for the ball during a game at the recreation center in Newport, New Hampshire.

Glenn Halleck goes for the ball during a game at the recreation center in Newport, New Hampshire.

Click to view previous image
1 of 3
Click to view next image

This is Old School P.E., a two-hour exercise program strictly for adults, built around grown-up versions of gym class staples. Participants say getting in shape is a bonus to the main attraction -- a Friday night out with friends, away from the kids.

"From the very beginning, we decided on a very small set of rules because we didn't want it to get that 'league' kind of feel," said co-founder Mike Pettinicchio. "You want to go out, have some fun, be a little competitive, but we all have lives. There are not going to be any scouts in the stands." Watch players talk about the fun »

In fact, there aren't any stands or bleachers in the Newport Recreation Center, just a narrow bench inches from the action. So when a game of floor hockey or spastic ball (think soccer mixed with basketball) gets going, spectators must stand ready to jump out of the way of a flying stick or ball.

The rules are simple: Spouses or significant others must play on opposing teams. Keeping score is prohibited. The commissioner -- a new one is chosen each night -- decides which games are played and can alter them as he or she sees fit. Want to play floor hockey with a dodgeball? Go for it. Two balls? The more the merrier.

Following on the success of grown-up dodgeball and kickball leagues, classes like Newport's Old School P.E. or Urban Recess in Portland, Oregon, are a way to enjoy childhood activities without all the rules.

Newport Recreation director P.J. Lovely, who has been asked to speak about the program at a state conference for recreation officials, says he often has to turn people away when a new eight-week session starts because the gym is too small to accommodate more than about two dozen.

"We're almost a victim of our own success right now," he said.

During the most recent gathering, participants started with a quick warm up session (four sit-ups, three push-ups, two jumping jacks) followed by three games: floor hockey, spastic ball and Ultimate Frisbee. They moved outside for the last activity, stretching out across the picturesque town common for a men vs. women competition.

"It's a way to keep a little bit active, because that's always hard to fit into our schedules as full-time parents and full-time workers," said Deb Gardner of Croydon. But she also appreciates the chance to meet new people in a welcoming environment.

"It's not really competitive," she said. "The guys will act kind of serious, but we really just joke and have a good time all night and pick on each other and laugh."

Ethel Frese, a professor of physical therapy at Saint Louis University and board certified cardiovascular and pulmonary specialist, said Old School P.E. fits into a trend toward fitness programs that move beyond the traditional bike or treadmill by emphasizing entertainment.

"The nice thing about doing a group activity is that you get the social interaction, which is also part of general health," she said, noting research that shows people with lots of friends and strong social networks living longer. "I do think there is a huge social benefit of exercise."

While certain activities might be better for strengthening or cardiovascular health, any activity that gets people moving is good, Frese said. And the variety offered by different games keeps the workout from getting stale, she said.

Karin Schmidt has seen that first hand in the Urban Recess fitness classes she runs in Portland. Activities like relay races, tag or even duck-duck-goose all are forms of efficient interval training that allow participants to stay within a target heart rate throughout their entire workout, she said.

"You get sort of distracted from the fact that you're actually working out," she said. "And I've seen some women get pretty ripped in six weeks."

Her program was coed when she started it in 2002, but she quickly restricted it to women-only because the guys "couldn't contain themselves."

"Girls were getting their eyes poked out or boobs grabbed because the guys were so competitive about it," she said.

She came up with the idea while talking to a fellow personal trainer about why some clients had trouble sticking to an exercise program: "We said, 'Well, you didn't have to twist a kid's arm to play at recess, why can't we do that as adults?"'

At Old School P.E., there are some concessions made for age, says Pettinicchio, who vetoed one commissioner's plan to play Red Rover because "we felt pulling shoulders out of bodies at 35 or 40 years of age is not a good thing."

He also offers a warning to newcomers.

"One of the things we try to stress is, it's probably been 15 to 20 years since you stepped on a gym floor," he said. "Saturday is probably going to be OK, but Sunday may be very difficult. Some people can't get out of bed until Monday."

Original here

Pentathalon Loser Fist Fights his Horse (and 5 other Unlikely Sports Brawls)

Ethan Trex
by Ethan Trex

Picture 263.pngWhile I usually don’t pay much attention to the WNBA, it’s hard to ignore what Candace Parker is doing to kick-start interest in the league. She’s dunking, she’s rebounding, and on Tuesday night she went one step further and became embroiled in a melee during the Los Angeles Sparks’ road game against the Detroit Shock. If you sat down to make a list of “sporting events at which you’re least likely to see a brawl,” a WNBA game would have to be near the top, but was it the most unexpected throwdown of all time? Here are a few other notables you may have missed:

1. Stock Car Racing Goes Kung Fu

Before the event started, there was relatively little chance of the 2006 Glass City 200 at Toledo Speedway becoming an object of international fascination. After all, it wasn’t even a NASCAR race; it was part of the ARCA series, a sort of minor league level of the sport. All of that changed when Don Saint Denis spun out Michael Simko during the race. With the red flag up to stop the race, Simko decided it was time for some revenge. He hopped out of his car and ran full-steam towards Saint Denis’ ride before giving it a flying Mortal-Kombat-style kick through the windshield. Simko then removed his helmet and started punching his foe through the driver’s window. Saint Denis wasn’t going to go down without a fight, though; he crawled out of the car and started defending himself. The dustup was shown on television stations around the world and quickly became a YouTube classic; both riders drew suspensions for their actions. Here’s video of the scrape:

2. NASCAR Fights Its Way National

The 1979 Daytona 500 is considered one of the most important races in the sport’s history, but not completely because what drivers did behind the wheel. Although the race was the first of its length to be shown on live television in the U.S., what happened after the checkered flag dropped made it legendary. In the last lap of a tight race, Cale Yarborough tried a risky pass of leader Donnie Allison. Allison successfully blocked Yarborough’s advance, but Yarborough hit the infield mud and lost control of his car. The two drivers careened into the wall and ended up crashed in the infield as Richard Petty zipped past them to take the win. Allison and Yaborough got out of their cars and started arguing in the infield, and within a few seconds were throwing punches, as was Allison’s brother Bobby. CBS broadcast the fight nationwide, and the story hit the front of the New York Times’ sports section, which helped propel NASCAR to much greater national popularity.

3. Jockeys Throw Diminutive Blows

Jockey Eddie Taplin was a legendary ironman in the horseracing scene of the early 20th century. He ran over 9,000 races in a career that spanned over three decades before retiring in 1936. He also wasn’t afraid to shred some silks after a race was over. Taplin lost the 1910 Martinez Handicap to E. Martin, who was aboard the horse Binocular. During the stretch run, though, Taplin had cracked Martin with his whip, which he claimed was justified since Martin crowded him. The two jockeys jawed about the contact after the race, and eventually Martin lost his temper and threw a punch. Taplin may not have started the fight, but he ended it: he punched Martin hard enough that he dislocated two of his own fingers. The tiny pugilists eventually separated and received suspensions.

4. Man Fights Horse

Taplin and Martin’s spat may not have been all that classy, but at least they attacked each other and not their horses, which is more than can be said for Hans-Jurgen Todt. The West German modern pentathlete was competing at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics when his horse for the riding portion of the competition began giving him trouble. The horse, Ranchero, balked at three different obstacles, effectively killing Todt’s chance at a medal. Todt then came unhinged and started attacking the horse. It took several teammates to eventually break up the one-sided fight, and Todt became a strange Olympic footnote as a sort of anti-Nietzsche.

5. Water Polo Gets Physical

Picture 241.pngWater polo is already a taxing game, but in one match early in the 20th century, it turned downright violent. Teams from New York and Chicago met in Pittsburgh for a preliminary match to crown a national champion in the sport, and things quickly turned rather gruesome. Early in the match a scrum broke out, and it escalated until four men were taken from the water unconscious. At that point, it probably seemed the fight was over, but Chicago’s coach Joe Choynsky had a different idea. Choynsky, a former prizefighter, reignited the melee by delivering a picture-perfect blow to the jaw of New York player Joe Ruddy. According to Time magazine, a riot then broke out as female spectators yelled “Shame!” at the men. Following these antics, the Amateur Athletic Union dropped water polo from its program for over twenty years before picking it back up in 1934.

6. Snooker Players Take It Outside

Picture 252.pngBefore he became a professional pool player, Australian Quinten Hann was a hotheaded pro snooker player known for his temperamental outbursts. One particularly notable incident occurred at the 2004 World Championships while he was playing Andy Hicks. Throughout the match Hann taunted the unseeded Englishman, and after Hicks dropped Hann 10-4, Hann challenged Hicks to a fistfight outside. Match officials separated the players, but they eventually came to blows. After the fistfight, fellow snooker pro Mark King decided to take up Hicks’ cause in a charity boxing match after the event. Hann apparently decided he was something of a pugilist after this win and scheduled another fight against Gaelic footballer Johnny Magee; Magee promptly broke Hann’s nose in that bout.

Original here

Pic: Beijing's Air After 4 Days of Anti-Smog Measures

By Alexis Madrigal
Last week, we reported on how China's herculean efforts to clean up Beijing's air ahead of the Olympics wouldn't work if the weather didn't cooperate.

Starting last Sunday, the air-cleaning regimen went into effect. Some trucks were banned from the road, traffic curbs were instituted, regional factories were shut down and in-city construction work stopped.

But yesterday, at least, the weather didn't cooperate.

Take a look at this picture snapped by our friends at the Chinese research firm, Pacific Sun Investment Management, at 3 o'clock Beijing time yesterday from the 20th floor of a building in the Central Business District.

Surely, air like this would send off air-quality alarm bells, right? Well, any day with enough particulate matter in the air to register over 100 on China's pollution index is considered bad. Over the last decade, Beijing has been measured to regularly reach 200, and sometimes even 500. The day this picture was taken rated a mere 113, or "slightly polluted," on the possibly rigged official rating. Yikes: what would a 300 look like?

If you're interested in following along as China conducts one of the largest atmospheric science experiments ever, check out the new Beijing air quality widget over at the Wall Street Journal's blog about China.

Original here

Rob Dyrdek - I just want to build real skate spots!

Rob Dyrdek DC Shoes Skate Plaza
A NO TRESPASSING SIGN hangs on a chain in front of Rob Dyrdek’s Hollywood Hills home like a blunter, more imposing version of a velvet rope. As I approach, Dyrdek happens to be on his way down the front stairs that lead to the street He squints, cocks his head, and looks me in the eye with mistrust until I ntroduce myself, then extends his bling- ringed hand, and leads me into the garage.

“Some kid came here the other day with his parents, and rang the doorbell for like 45 minutes until I came down,” he says. “I had to say to his parents, ‘What kind of parent lets their kid ring someone’s doorbell for 45 minutes?”‘ Hence the new sign. Since Rob and Big, the reality show starring Dyrdek and his bodyguard Christopher Boykin a.k.a. “Big Black” premiered on MTV two years ago, the house-the show’s primal set-As become a destination for fans. Dyrdek has now finished with the show (”I’ve never been so happy in my life,” he says about having shot the final episode a few weeks ago) and is moving on to a new project for which he has a little more enthusiasm: designing and building a network of skate spots around Los Angeles.
Kettering Ohio Skate Plaza Overview
We walk upstairs, past the entryway with the billiards table and the ATM machine (yes, an Atm machine to the upper level with the pool “he bottom of which is painted with frescos of Dyrdek and Big as Greek Gods) and into the kitchen with the fridge full A Muster energy drinks (one of Dyrdek’s numerous sponsors). Here, Meat, Dyrdek’s feisty omnivorous bulldog, has his teeth sunk firmly into a beach towel.

Dyrdek’s phone won’t stop ringing. “I gotta take this fuckin’ call it’s fuckin’ Fox,” he says, putting in his earpiece and heading to the backyard to talk about a new television show. When he returns, he shows me some of the renderings of the sites on his digital camera. Speaking excitedly, in a series of rapid-fire monologues like a guy whose lips can barely move fast enough to keep up with his breakneck-speed brain, he lays out his plan. “In the past I built this giant $700,000 plaza, “he begins, referring to the legendary skate park he built in his hometown of Kettering, Ohio. “I designed that plaza myself, to the millimeter. It took three years, and the problem was it goes through all this red tape and community meetings and council meetings and it has to go out to bid…” So Dyrdek realized there might be fewer headaches in trying to develop a network of small skate plazas all over the city.
Rob Dyrdek and Big Black
As part of his presentation to the city council, Dyrdek brought in a four-foot high basketball hoop with a bent rim and twisted backboard and rhetorically posited if one could play basketball on it. The answer was, of course, ‘yes.’ “But is this the way basketball’s meant to be played?” Dyrdek asked them. “No,” came the response, “it isn’t.” Surprisingly, the city was immediately responsive to Dyrdek’s idea.

“It’s been a dream come true,” says Dyrdek. “As soon as I made contact with the one main dude, and he sat down with all the architects and city planners, he said `We have 400 parks, and we’ll do a spot in every single one.”‘ Dyrdek’s goal is to build a skate spot in each of L.A.’s 15 districts, enabling him to essentially create one giant skateboarding network in Los Angeles. Southern California is the epicenter of the entire skateboarding business,” he says. “All the money, all the pros, everything; and yet no one is doing anything. All they do is worry about their sales… nobody cares about the fact that skateboarding is just so fucked. You got shit like the X Games and the Mountain Dew tour and all this shit that has nothing to do with skateboarding, and you have all these people building these shit skate parks-concrete eyesores with fences around ‘em.”
Rob Dyrdek Big Ollie over picnic bench
Skateboarding evolved from backyard pools, to ramps and ultimately, skate parks, which were shut down because of insurance liabilities. As the skate parks disappeared, kids went to the streets and the urban environment became the standard by which skateboarding was judged. The insurance laws have changed now that skateboarding, as of 1997, has been designated a “hazardous recreational activity,” offering cities some immunity from lawsuits. Since then, skate parks have started cropping up again. In the meantime, locations that have become legendary skate spots throughout the city have been skate-proofed with knobs soldered to handrails, giant planters placed in annoying places, and cops and security guards posted on watch.

“The cities realized that skateboarding is huge and so they build these shitty concrete bowls,” says Dyrdek, “and in the streets they come down harder on the kids saying `Look, you have this now.’ How do you explain that’s not what we skate? That’s not what skateboarding is anymore.”

For Dyrdek and the 10 million street skaters in the U.S., accessing urban skate spots has become more and more difficult.”It used to be like, Los Angeles was this vast lake and everyone could come and drink and drink and drink,” he says, metaphorically. “Anywhere you went there were spots to skate, and now, it’s basically a dry desert with a handful of muddy water holes. This is all that’s left so we have to drink the muddy water because all the clean water’s gone: There’s nowhere left to go.”

Now, in order to skate, kids have to sneak in, avoid security guards and cameras, break off the soldered-on knobs and go guerilla. “These two marble benches at the Department of Water and Power building downtown are one of the most popular places in the city,” he says. “It’s just two marble benches in a row, but they are world¬renowned because they are so perfect. You gotta go through this pathway, that’s all surrounded by water and the security system is in the front so you gotta sneak around the side past them and hope they don’t see you and then try to skate for as long as you can. And it’s just two marble benches-that’s it; but it’s one of the most famous spots in the world.”

If Dyrdek can recreate something like those two marble benches in one of his city¬ordained locales, he says, “It will be one of the most filmed and sought after skate spots in the world. That’s how simple it is.” Then, I ask the question that apparently many have before me, much to Dyrdek’s disapproval: Isn’t breaking in and getting chased by cops and security guards part of the appeal? “No-it’s not!” he groans. “Everyone that doesn’t know anything about skateboarding is always like, `Isn’t that half the allure?’ No! We’re not doing it because it’s fun; we’re doing it because there’s no legal place to do what we do. Our only option is to sneak in. If you put those same benches in a field somewhere on a slab of concrete we wouldn’t have to break in. We don’t like the fact that we have nowhere to skate, like ‘Oooh we’re outlaws.’ It’s about skateboarding.”
Rob Dyrdek Nose Grind on a Rail
Dyrdek argues that the loss of these locations is genuinely hurting the sport. “There are these skate landmarks where if you go and do a trick on them, you’re in the game. There’s a 16-stair and a 10-stair at a business on Wilshire, and if you want to come up you come to the streets of L.A. You go to that rail and do a trick that’s never been done, people take notice. But now those spots that people built their reputations and careers on are isappearing-they don’t exist anymore. Everything is skate-proof.” He himself is fairly pragmatic about the situation, and though he still goes out on weekends and jumps fences to skate (”I still run from cops to this day,” he says) he understands the businesses’ points of view as well. “A kid’s flying down a 16-stair handrail in front of your business-it’s not the safest or the coolest thing.”

While the skate-spot network may seem less ambitious than the Kettering park project, Dyrdek thinks it has the possibility of changing the sport entirely, which explains his passion and dedication. “I’m not making any money here,” he says, noting that the first proposed location-a $100,000 installation in Lafayette Park at Wilshire and Rampart-will be donated by his own foundation. “This isn’t for money. This is for my sport. I have plenty of money and I have a million other projects where I’m going to make my money from. I’m using my celebrity to try to bring awareness and make a change-a permanent change in the sport. It’s going to be the case study model for the future of the sport for every city in the world.” Considering how much his ambition is matched by
his enthusiasm, I suspect Rob Dyrdek might be right.

Original here

Buck O’Neil becomes an immortal

In this undated file photo provided by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Buck O'Neil stands on the dugout steps in Kansas City, Mo.

Yahoo! Sports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Sometimes Buck O’Neil would walk toward the Field of Legends and stop. He would stare at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum’s statues of the greatest black ballplayers, Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige and Oscar Charleston and Cool Papa Bell and half a dozen others and, after soaking in the glory of it all, start to tell stories about each of them.

Only one of the statues didn’t receive the standard Buck treatment of grandiosity: his own. Buck’s rests behind home plate and through a netting, his favorite place to soak in a ballgame. It catches him in the famous pose: left leg on dugout step, elbow on knee, right hand on hip, head cocked just to the left, hard and pronounced cheekbones belying the gentlest of gentlemen.

When the museum commissioned the statues, it figured to be the greatest work of physical art honoring Buck. Ken Burns’ documentary “Baseball” had allowed Buck to spin his yarns, and Joe Posnanski’s book “The Soul of Baseball” later took everyone into his beautiful life, but this image of the youthful Buck somehow captured his essence in one snapshot better than anything else.

Or so it seemed. Because there’s a new sculpture of Buck. He’s wearing a suit and a smile, his two sartorial necessities. In one hand, he holds a Kansas City Monarchs hat. He looks about 75, though that’s just a guess because up to his death two years ago, not even the expert on the carnival midway could’ve guessed he was 94.

The best part: The National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., long the place Buck yearned to be, will showcase it forever, a bronze monument to a golden figure in baseball history.

On Friday at noon, the Hall awarded the first Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award to O’Neil with the unveiling of the statue next to where patrons buy tickets, as high-traffic an area as there is next to the gallery of plaques.

“It’s a day we’ve been looking forward to for a long time,” said Jeff Idelson, the Hall’s president. “It’s a recognition he’s certainly deserving of. The award is as high an honor as we can give. The fact that it’ll be presented no more often than every three years speaks not only to the selectiveness but to how we felt about Buck.”

Buck likewise admired the Hall and its willingness to honor players from the Negro Leagues, many posthumously. Every year he traveled to Cooperstown for the induction ceremonies, though none more famously than in 2006.

Earlier that year, the Hall allowed a dozen experts on the Negro Leagues to vote in a special election that would honor previously snubbed players, owners and executives. The intent, as much as anything, was to get Buck into the Hall.

The group chose 17 people. Buck wasn’t one of them.

Outrage leeched from his friends, admirers, people all around the game. How? Why? He had fallen one vote short. The voters declined to reveal their votes and still haven’t to this day. Buck, crestfallen though he was, soldiered on to speak with his friends and supporters who had gathered expecting a celebration.

“If I’m a Hall of Famer for you, that’s all right with me,” he said. “Just keep loving old Buck. Don’t weep for Buck.”

The Hall invited Buck to speak on behalf of the inductees, and he accepted. He encouraged the crowd to sing along with him. People laughed. They cried. Buck knew how to inspire in people the gamut of emotions, and even though he wasn’t a Hall of Famer yet, he gave a worthy Hall of Fame speech.

“His star rose probably even more than it already had,” said Bob Kendrick, the museum’s marketing director and O’Neil’s travel companion. “Folks became even more greatly endeared to him by the way he handled the disappointment of not getting in. It was perhaps the most selfless act in sports history: Put yourself past your disappointment and give those folks their proper tribute.”

Buck understood who they were because he was one of them. The grandson of a slave, Buck grew up in Florida playing baseball and football. When the Negro American League formed in 1937, he signed with the Memphis Red Sox and the next season ended up in Kansas City, where he would spend the rest of his life.

He was a solid first baseman, distinguishing himself with a batting title and great defense. His lack of a great on-field résumé hurt him in the special election, even though O’Neil’s candidacy was based more on all-around accomplishment. He managed the Monarchs from 1948 to 1955 before becoming a scout for the Cubs. He discovered Ernie Banks, Lou Brock and Joe Carter, among many others, and impressed the organization enough that in 1962, he became the major leagues’ first black coach.

Photo Buck O’Neil stands with a statue of himself in this Feb. 11, 2005 photo at the Negro League Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Mo.
(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Few beyond Kansas City knew of Buck until 1994, when Burns’ documentary starred him as the Negro Leagues’ representative, their embodiment, their soul. From there, he helped turn the museum from a one-room compendium of memorabilia to a gorgeous showcase just down the road from where the Negro Leagues were established.

Inside, a movie narrated by James Earl Jones introduces novices to the Negro Leagues’ history: their formation because of segregation, their triumphs and tribulations and their dissolution less than a decade after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. The rest of the museum showcases the greats and lesser-known stars, skewing harmlessly toward hyperbole. Maybe Gibson did swing one-handed and hit a home run into the right-field upper deck at Yankee Stadium, and maybe Double Duty Radcliffe pitched two games and caught two more every Fourth of July.

At the end of the tour, right before the Field of Legends, is a trophy case honoring Buck. There is a bronze mini-bust and a set of bronze hands, a first baseman’s mitt from 1955 and the Mike Murphy Honorary Irishman of the Year award. It’s a small token of appreciation for a man whose life never would fit in any box.

Next to the display is a visitor’s log. In the last week, people from 34 states, Puerto Rico and Canada have signed in.

“Amazing,” wrote Roy Watson of Oklahoma City.

“Much, much better than I thought,” added Neal Jacobstein of Culver City, Calif.

“It was worth every mile traveled,” said Janice Smith of Garner, N.C.

Buck always wanted the museum to think big and act bigger, to honor his friends in the best manner possible, and so it’s in his spirit they are raising money for the Buck O’Neil Education and Research Center. The museum’s executives hoped it could open by late summer 2010. The $15 million they need to raise isn’t coming in quickly enough, pushing back the timetable.

Surely Buck’s entrance into the Hall will help. People will see his name, read his story, learn what he stood for – love and happiness, ideals so simple they’d seem disingenuous in anyone else – and give in his honor.

“I know he’d be excited for everything that’s going to happen,” Kendrick said. “Buck had great admiration and love for the Hall of Fame. He’d be as thrilled and pleased as to what’s transpiring this week as he would’ve been had he gotten in ‘06.

“I’m also sad because it reminds us we don’t have him anymore. We would’ve liked nothing more than to be able to celebrate this moment with him. We wanted to see this big smile.”

Instead, Kendrick and thousands of others will have to imagine he’s there. They’ll see Buck in the image of his brother, Warren, and his nephew Frank, who plan on attending. They’ll think about him looking down from above and giving a thumbs up. They’ll beam knowing Buck’s legacy finally will reach baseball’s ultimate shrine.

“The baseball world will now never forget Buck O’Neil,” Kendrick said. “You can’t.”

Original here

Brett pine-tar video proves hard to find

George Brett's nutty

There is an expectation these days that any famous video clip is but a YouTube search away. Not so.

Today is the 25th anniversary of the George Brett pine-tar incident. The tubes are clogged with stories and photographs recounting the event, which as any baseball fan knows captures a display of human anger that may never have been topped and may never be exceeded. I never tire of watching it ... and wanted to do so again this morning.

Couldn't find it on YouTube. Odd.

A Google search turned up a number of links that promised to have it but visits to maybe a half-dozen sites came up empty. Very Odd.

Even my first search of Major League Baseball's official site,, was fruitless.

At last, I did find it there ... and by that point I half-expected to see the clip surrounded by armed guards. There can be no doubt but that an army of copyright lawyers is protecting that baby.

If by some chance you are the last person on the planet who has not seen this video, take a moment and join the club.

And, if you're in the mood for 25th anniversary coverage of a more technical variety, check out "This Year's 25 Geekiest 25th Anniversaries." Much easier to find. Much less violent.

(Update: ESPN's Tim Kurkjian has an interesting interview with Brett about The Nutty here. Even mighty ESPN had to settle for a photograph, though.)

Original here

Bartman turns down $25,000 for appearance

ROSEMONT, Ill. - Steve Bartman refused yet another offer to cash in on his infamy following his interference with a foul ball in the Chicago Cubs’ 2003 playoff loss to the Florida Marlins.

Bartman’s friend Frank Murtha said the infamous fan won’t accept an offer of $25,000 to attend the National Sports Collectors Convention and autograph a photograph of him tipping a foul ball. The ball seemed destined for Cubs outfielder Moises Alou’s glove during the critical game.

Bartman was vilified by Cubs fans, who thought he helped prevent the team from reaching the World Series for the first tome since 1945. Alou has since said he wouldn’t have caught the ball.

Bartman has declined all offers to appear or make money off his brush with fame.

Original here

Report: Cubs cut number of bids to at least three, including Cuban

NEW YORK -- Tribune Co. is inviting at least three potential buyers who each submitted bids for the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field near or above $1 billion to participate in a second round of proposals, according to a person involved in the process.

Several bidders offering between $700 million and $900 million for all the properties have been excluded from the second round, according to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of nondisclosure agreements governing all talk about the bids.

A Tribune spokeswoman said the baseball team would not have any comment on the status of the sale, which also includes the team's minority stake in a Chicago regional sports TV network.

Included in the second round are Internet billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban; the Ricketts family, which founded the brokerage that is now TD Ameritrade Holding Corp.; and a group led by Sports Acquisition Holding Corp. that includes former baseball home run king Henry Aaron and former Republican Congressman Jack Kemp. The last group is believed to be teaming with another bidder who submitted an offer in the initial round.

All three of the reported potential buyers refused Thursday to comment publicly. However, the person involved in the bidding provided to The Associated Press an outline of the conditions for the second round.

Meanwhile, Comcast SportsNet has learned that Cuban is the highest bidder to buy the Cubs at $1.3 billion.

John Canning, the chairman of private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners LLC, which had been treated as the front-runner, did not make the initial cut, according to the person, who said Tribune is not letting any bidder eliminated after the first round submit a new higher proposal in the second round.

Canning is a minority owner of the Milwaukee Brewers and close friends with Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig. Any successful sale must be approved by three-quarters of the owners of other major league teams.

Canning did not return calls seeking comment.

The bidders still in the running will get more detailed financial information on the Cubs, Wrigley and the sports network before they are required to submit a new proposal.

A person familiar with the Ricketts family bid confirmed that it is one of those invited back.

The Cubs -- lovable losers who haven't won a World Series in 100 years -- are expected to fetch more than the record $660 million paid for the Boston Red Sox, their ballpark and 80 percent of their TV network in 2002 by a group headed by Florida commodities trader John Henry.

Tribune paid $20.5 million for the team in 1981. It is now seeking to sell the team and its stadium to help pay off the $8.2 billion cost of going private last year.

The value of Wrigley Field has apparently been harder to quantify, since it may require hundreds of millions of dollars in renovations.

The state-run Illinois Sports Facilities Authority offered about $400 million to buy Wrigley using taxable bonds that would be repaid with lease revenue. Those talks broke down in May over how the ISFA would finance renovations and improvements at Wrigley, the second-oldest ballpark in the country behind Boston's Fenway Park.

Former Gov. Jim Thompson, who is chairman of ISFA, said his agency estimated the cost of improving the stadium structure and the player and fan amenities between $400 million and $600 million.

Tribune has said it is willing to sell the properties individually.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Original here