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Thursday, October 16, 2008

FIA wants French GP clarification

Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari in action at Magny-Cours
The French Grand Prix was due to take place at Magny-Cours in June 2009

Formula One's governing body the International Automobile Federation (FIA) has expressed its concern over the French Grand Prix's cancellation.

The 2009 French GP was cancelled after the French Motorsports Federation (FFSA) withdrew its financing.

"Up until today we have heard nothing and we are gravely concerned," said a FIA spokesman.

Magny-Cours was due to stage the race on 28 June 2009 but France will now not feature on next season's FIA calendar.

"The FIA secretary general has written to the president of the FFSA today to seek an urgent clarification of the situation of the French Grand Prix," added the FIA spokesman.

The FFSA confirmed that all those who had already booked tickets would be reimbursed and apologised for the inconvenience caused by the cancellation.

France has only once been absent - in 1955 - from the F1 calendar since the championship started in 1950.

The FFSA has a contract to run the French Grand Prix until 2011 but F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has long wanted to move it to a track closer to Paris from 2010.

Next year's race had already been billed as the last at Magny-Cours, a circuit in the depths of rural France that has fallen out of favour with teams and sponsors.

Ecclestone had wanted to axe it but agreed to a reprieve and the circuit retained its slot on an 18-round calendar published last week.

That calendar was notable for the absence of the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, which had been on an earlier 19-race provisional list.

F1 is not immune to financial crisis - Jordan

Poor accommodation facilities and difficult access were regarded as the main weaknesses of the Magny-Cours track.

Disneyland Paris is reportedly a favoured option for a future French Grand Prix, with plenty of hotel rooms and easy rail access from Paris and the rest of Europe.

The FFSA said it was studying six "serious and worthwhile" projects, most of which involved a new track near the French capital.

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Blackhawks fire Savard after 4 games, hire Quenneville

By Pierre LeBrun

The Chicago Blackhawks fired head coach Denis Savard just four games into the season on Thursday, replacing him with NHL coaching veteran Joel Quenneville.

Denis Savard


"I'm disappointed but I guess it's the nature of the business," Savard said from his Chicago home Thursday.

"I know I was doing a good job, I'm dedicated to my work. Obviously they felt they had to make a change, so what can you do." Savard, who was in the last year of his contract, was told he'd been fired Thursday morning by general manager Dale Tallon.

"I knew I had to do well this year. We talked this summer and I was aware of that," Savard said.

Tallon said letting Savard go was the most difficult decision he'd ever made. Telling him was just as tough.

More on Savard firing

The Hawks' front office believed Denis Savard was still too green as a head coach to lead Chicago to the promised land. Well, we'll never know if that's true, since Savard only got four games the new season. LeBrun

With Denis Savard's firing, the feeling that the Hawks had turned a corner and was ready to return to elite status is on hold. Make no mistake, this means the stakes are suddenly very high. Burnside

New Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville, never accused of being a goalie whisperer in his days at St. Louis and Chicago, is inheriting an in-the-crease soap opera. So, what should Chicago do with Mr. Khabibulin? Frei

"There was some silence and a lot of emotion. He handled it with tremendous class and dignity as he always does," Tallon said at a news conference. "He accepted it and we're going to move on."

The dismissal came hours after the team won its first game by beating Phoenix 4-1. The Blackhawks are now run by owner Rocky Wirtz, and the combination of a slow start and a big public relations push may have led to Savard's abrupt ouster.

Wirtz took over the team following the death of his father, Bill Wirtz, a little more than a year ago. Since then, he has hired former Chicago Cubs president and marketing guru John McDonough as president. The team has mended fences with former stars such as Bobby Hull, made sure that home games are televised -- something Bill Wirtz was opposed to -- and allowed Tallon to spend in the free-agent market.

Tallon said the evaluation process had been ongoing since training camp. He said the Blackhawks seemed to come out in the preseason without the same energy they displayed at the end of last season.

"It was a flat camp and we got out of the gate flat," Tallon said. "It just didn't seem that we carried over the energy that we had to finish the year last year. We felt we needed to send a message and invigorate this team.

"It's about moving forward, about achieving and winning and developing a consistent approach. And we felt we needed a more experienced person in that position and that's why we made the decision."

Elias Says

The firing of Denis Savard after just four games did not rank as a record for an NHL coaching change.

• Bill Gadsby left the Detroit Red Wings after just two games of the 1969-70 season.

• Fred Glover departed the California Golden Seals after three games at the start of the 1971-72 season and went on to coach 68 games as head coach of the Los Angeles Kings.

• In 2001-02 the Pittsburgh Penguins fired Ivan Hlinka, the first European-born and trained NHL coach (along with Alpo Suhonen who coached in Chicago at the same time) after the Penguins lost the first four games of the season.

• Jacques Demers saw his tenure as head coach of the Montreal Canadiens end after four games at the outset of the 1995-96 season ( indicates Demers coached five games that season).

• Read more Elias Says

Quenneville, who had been working as a scout for the Blackhawks, coached the Colorado Avalanche from 2005 through 2008 and led the St. Louis Blues for seven seasons (1996-2004). He has a 438-283-118 career record, including a 44-31-7 mark in Colorado last season. "Joel brings us a wealth of experience and a winning track record that will have an immediate and lasting impact," Tallon said.Quenneville said he'd watched the Blackhawks play in his role as a scout but had planned to spend the season away from the bench, even though he explored a coaching vacancy during the offseason. "It was a little different watching from afar. The appetite and the passion that creeps in when you coach hopefully comes out tomorrow. I expect it to," Quenneville said. Led by sophomore stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, the Blackhawks have high hopes to make it into the playoffs this season. They lost their first three games before finally winning Wednesday night. "They promised to bring a Stanley Cup here, and they felt maybe I wasn't their guy. It's very well understood," Savard said. "The only thing I can say is that last year I thought I did a heck of a job with our young kids," added Savard. "Eight to 10 rookies in our lineup. We had a bit of a slow start this year but I thought the team was on the right track. I guess it goes with the territory. As a coach you're judged on wins and losses." Savard posted a 65-66-16 record in parts of three seasons as coach of the Blackhawks. Last season, Savard led Chicago to its first 40-win season since 2001-02. The Blackhawks went 40-34-8 but still missed the playoffs. A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame as a player, he had 473 goals and 865 assists in 1,196 career games with the Blackhawks, Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning.

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Official price of some Super Bowl tickets now $1K for first time

NEW YORK -- The official price of Super Bowl tickets will reach $1,000 for the first time this season.

The NFL confirmed Thursday that 25 percent of the tickets for the Feb. 1 game in Tampa will be priced at $1,000. It also announced it will drop the price of 1,000 tickets at Raymond James Stadium by $200 to $500, the first time the league has cut prices for a Super Bowl.

Tickets for last year's game in Glendale, Ariz., between the New England Patriots and New York Giants were priced at $700 and $900, up from $600 and $700 the year before.

Overall, the official price for 17,000 suite and club seats will be $1,000 each. Another 53,000 tickets will go for $800, with the remaining 1,000 at $500.

At last year's game, the average price of tickets on StubHub, the online resellers, was $4,300.

Ticket prices for the first Super Bowl, played at the Los Angeles Coliseum 43 years ago, were $6, $10 and $12. They went over the $100 mark in 1988 and have increased regularly since.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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He Ain't Heavy, He's My Point Guard

When Machochip Editor Alex Ferreyra heard that the new [Los Angeles] Clippers guard Baron Davis has to go to Jenny Craig to lose all the weight he gained in the off-season, he cringed. Too many times he’s seen athletes with great careers stall or sputter because of weight gains. It’s time to stop! To that end, he’s compiled a list of cautionary tales to warn any athletes who might be thinking about skipping gym time for the buffet line and that second helping of sesame chicken.

As Homer Simpson once said, “Athletes… always wanting more.” Unfortunately for them, “more” isn’t reduced to bling, road mistresses and gambling, but food, as well. If there’s one thing sitting over a computer for ten hours a day has taught me, it’s that skipping the gym can be detrimental to your career. But don’t just take my word for it. Let’s look at some of the professional athletes in recent history who’ve grown their waistlines rather than their stat lines and rank them in terms of lost potential.

(And a note on injuries: Plenty of professional athletes have been hurt a lot worse than the guys on this list and managed not to gain 45 pounds—We’re looking at you, Mo Vaughn!—over a five-year period. Long story short: Injuries are no reason to give them a slide, especially when they’re collecting over $35 million over two years—again, that’s you Vaughn.)

  • Name: Mo Vaughn
  • Sport: Baseball
  • Low/High Weight:230/275
  • One of the funniest stories about Mo Vaughn is when then Disney CEO Michael Eisner, while being deposed in the Michael Ovitz case about the failings of the company, said he wished he had one do over. That was to never sign Mo Vaughn to a contract with the Anaheim Angels when the hitter was more broken down than the script to the third Mighty Ducks movie. Indeed Vaughn is the poster child for athletes broken down because of their weight. Coming up in 1991 with the Boston Red Sox, he was a powerful first baseman who had a stocky frame, but could play. He was the 1995 AL MVP and led the Sox to the ‘91 and ‘95 playoffs. But then the injuries came, and the weight gain soon thereafter. In one four-year span, Vaughn missed more than 200 games with injuries to his left ankle, left arm, right hand and left knee. In parts of two seasons with the Mets, Vaughn hit a piddling .249 with 29 homers in 166 games, as well as committed 19 errors at first base. It’s not easy to dive for line drives down the line at first when you’re carrying an extra 45 pounds and injuries.
  • fielder_fatfinal.jpg
  • Name: Cecil Fielder
  • Sport: Baseball
  • Low/High Weight:230/300 (ESPN estimate)
  • Looking at Cecil Fielder’s son Prince, who currently plays for the Milwaukee Brewers, we know we really shouldn’t pounce on “Big Daddy.” Sometimes guys just get big after a while because of genetics (or in Prince’s case, they start off that way.) But during Fielder Senior’s career he gained up to 70 pounds, which must’ve weighed his swing down. Because he’s in the tainted, steroids era of baseball, some will say his drop in home runs after his prodigious run in the early-90s is related to that. But reports say that Fielder wasn’t a part of the ‘roids scene, and it was truly his bulk alone knocking those dingers. So the numbers suggest at some point his bulk became too much, a point where it because a hindrance rather than a trait. This was probably once he broke 275 and couldn’t shift his big frame fast enough.
  • curry_fatfinal.jpg
  • Name: Eddie Curry
  • Sport: Basketball
  • Low/High Weight:285/?
  • Now, Eddie Curry’s always been a big guy, but it became clear he’s reached the requisite weight to be on this list when he sat on an exercise ball in the Knicks locker room this week and blew it up. Though he’s still listed that way, I’m pretty sure no NBA baller weighs, six years later, what he did coming out of high school. Especially one that’s 6’11, has a 7’6 wingspan and looks like he ate the person in the before picture. He blew up an exercise ball. How could 285 pounds do that, even if the ball was slightly over-inflated? And what about his performance? Well, let’s just say his physical attributes (height and span) have saved him from his lack of athleticism. We’re sure gaining weight didn’t help. When a reporter asked Scott Skiles, Curry’s coach in Chicago, what Curry needed to do to become a better rebounder, Skiles simply replied, “Jump.” Harsh words for a guy who’s supposed to be a center.
  • Name: Shawn Kemp
  • Sport: Basketball
  • Low/High Weight: 230/317
  • Even though I was a Lakers fan growing up, I was always in awe of the Seattle Supersonics’ Shawn Kemp. They called him the “Reign Man” and he was a beast to the basket. The way he dunked it was the antithesis of Michael Jordan’s grace. But as his career started to decline following a trade to the Cleveland Cavaliers, his weight went the opposite way. He may have posted career highs in points scored with the Cavs, but his defense suffered and he started drinking more. After only two years he returned to to the Pacific Northwest to play for Portland, but it wasn’t the same Kemp. He ballooned up to 285 and he looked like Krusty the Clown after chugging all those regular shakes. It was at this time that he started to heavily abuse cocaine which, come on. Get fat or ski, you can’t do both. While he’s tried to make it back to the league after dropping weight and the drug habit— actually fielding a few offers—looking at him now it’s hard to remember the Shawn Kemp that would unhinge the baskets at The Forum with his ferocious dunks. Now it’s easier to imagine him unhinging his jaw to fit a triple Angus cheesburger in his maw.
  • rrodriguez_fatfinal.jpg
  • Name: Ricco Rodriguez
  • Sport: MMA
  • Low/High Weight:250/350
  • Ricco Rodriguez was, at one point, one of the baddest men in Mixed Martial Arts. Early in his life, he was once the most decorated high school wrestler in New York state history. Fighting in the UFC, he took down big names like Andrei Arlovski and Pete Williams. But after a controversial fight while representing the UFC in a PRIDE match, it seemed to go downhill for Rodriguez. The UFC didn’t renew his contract and he began fighting in smaller venues and leagues like the WFA, which I thought was a New Deal program. This, of course, led to substance abuse, which again included coke and food—a combination only athletes and David Crosby seem to be able to pull off. But he was cognizant of where he was in life, at one point commenting “I’m fat but I still got skills,” when he ballooned up to 350 pounds. It got so bad that he even made it onto VH1’s “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew,” which you know is the bottom. (It’s not even the classy rehab show on A&E.) But now his weight is back down and he’s kicking ass again in normal leagues after his suspension for having coke and pot in his system. It just shows to show that sometimes, all you need is a guiding hand—and to lose 100 pounds.
  • ronaldo_fatfinal.jpg
  • Name: Ronaldo
  • Team, Sport: Soccer
  • Low/High Weight: 165/208
  • When the leader of your country is asking about your weight, you know it’s a serious problem. But that’s the type of panic you cause when you’re one of the best players in the world and you gain 43 pounds in less than seven years. Which is exactly the situation Brazilian soccer maestro Ronaldo found himself in before the 2006 World Cup when the president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (or Lula), asked the team: “So what is it? Is Ronaldo fat or isn’t he?” While Ronaldo’s weight gain has been due, in part, to reoccurring injuries that have marred him since ‘99, that much gain that fast isn’t good for anyone, let alone a soccer star. The result? In the past two years, the once proud FIFA scoring king has had only 10 goals in 27 games when he used to score double that in a single season-and in as many games.
  • Extra Bonus Round… Not all athletes who gained a ton of weight became an extra crispy fried shell of themselves… just a majority of them. Here are three that we found who stood up to the greatness when their pants size started growing along with their age.

  • Name: Tony Gywnn
  • Sport: Baseball
  • Low/High Weight:185/225
  • Despite the addition of forty pounds to his stout frame, former San Diego Padre Tony Gwynn never had his Hall Of Fame numbers drop off until injuries shortened his last two seasons of pro ball. Even including those last years, Gwynn never hit under .309 after his rookie year and ratcheted up five 200-plus hit seasons. Add to that the fact that, most of his career, he missed 20-40 games due to days off and it makes you wonder what kind of numbers he could’ve put up if he didn’t get tired as much as he seems to.
  • sabathia_fatfinal.jpg
  • Name: CC Sabathia
  • Sport: Baseball
  • Low/High Weight:235/290
  • Similarly to Gywnn, Sabathia shouldn’t be as successful a pitcher as he is considering his massive size . During Milwaukee’s recent playoff run, the Brewers trotted him out four straight times on three days rest, might have been one too many. The last came in the second game of the NLDS against the Phillies where he chose a bad time to have his worse game as a Brewer. But considering his close-to-300 pound frame, the fact that he has the stamina to roll off that kind of performance as a pitcher is amazing.
  • foreman_fatfinal.jpg
  • Name: George Foreman
  • Sport: Boxing
  • Low/High Weight:212/262
  • Do I feel bad about putting Foreman on this list because his he reached his weight max during his mid-to-late forties? Nope. Considering he became the oldest person to win the IBF and WBA titles, it’s fair game. Also, his metamorphosis from in-shape bad guy pugilist (remember he was the villain to Muhammad Ali’s good guy in the “The Rumble in the Jungle ”) to jolly, fat-guy fighter certainly helped his post-career transformation into grill pitchman. I mean, it kept his face in the news, and to be honest I’d rather buy a fat-draining grill from a someone I thought wanted to help me, not punch my face in after my turkey burger’s done.

So there you have it, the good and the bad side of fat athletes. While a majority of them do falter, there are a few that make good on their promise to entertain fans regardless of their excess weight.

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Former major league pitcher Foster dies of cancer

CHICAGO -- Kevin Foster, who was drafted as an infielder before becoming a pitcher and spending seven years in the majors and pitching mostly with the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago Cubs, has died of cancer. He was 39.

Kevin Foster

Jonathan Daniel /Getty Images

Kevin Foster, seen pitching against the White Sox in 1997 in a Cubs "throwback" uniform, was an minor-league infielder before becoming a pitcher.

He died in an Oklahoma City hospital Saturday after a six-month bout with renal cell carcinoma, brother Mark Foster said. "He loved baseball, he loved people and people loved him," Mark Foster said. "He was a happy person who got along with everybody, and we will miss him." Foster was selected by the Montreal Expos in the 29th round of the 1987 amateur draft. He converted to pitching three years later. The right-hander was traded to Seattle and then Philadelphia, where he made his first major league appearance in 1993. "As a low [draft] pick, he was a tough competitor and an overachiever to make it into the majors, and he pitched well for us at times,'' said Ed Lynch, the Cubs' general manager during Foster's time with the team, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. ''As a person, he was also a very personable, popular, articulate individual who stuck up for his teammates.'' Foster spent five seasons with the Cubs after being acquired from Philadelphia for Shawn Boskie in 1994, going 32-28 from 1994 to '98. His best season with the Cubs came in 1995, when he was 12-11 with a 4.51 ERA. He struck out 146 batters that season, but also led the National League in home runs allowed with 32. "He was very popular with his teammates, the organization and fans, and he will be tremendously missed," the Cubs said in a statement. Foster battled arm injuries after 1997 and made a brief comeback with Texas in 2001. He finished with a career record of 32-30 in 100 appearances and a career 4.38 ERA. Foster, who was raised in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, was working as a truck driver at the time of his death. In addition to his brother, Foster is survived by four sons and three sisters. He was divorced and engaged to be married.

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Armstrong reveals Tour concerns

Lance Armstrong
Armstrong will make his comeback at the Tour Down Under in January

Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong may not ride in the 2009 race but has confirmed he will compete in the Giro d'Italia for the first time.

The 37-year-old will make his comeback at the Tour Down Under in January after coming out of retirement last month.

And Armstrong told Gazzetta dello Sport's website: "There is the possibility that the Giro is the only three-week stage race that I will run.

"Still today, there are doubts over the Tour de France."

The American used to concentrate on the Tour exclusively but insists he will "give his utmost" in the Giro.

And he added of his participation in the Tour: "Everybody knows its importance but the problems I have with the organisers, journalists and fans could be distracting for my mission - to focus world attention on the battle against cancer."

It had been widely assumed when Armstrong announced his comeback that he would concentrate on the Tour - but the American has still not heard from the organisers about his participation.

"I hope there will be a diplomatic and peaceful solution. Before announcing my return, I contacted organisers but still I have had no reply," he told Gazzetta.

"Is it possible they won't invite me? Everything is possible but I would find it incredible, a sort of own goal. I want to be in Paris but in a calm situation."

The three-week Giro, one of the three major stage races along with the Tour de France and the Tour of Spain (Vuelta), will end five weeks before the Tour de France begins on 5 July.

"I've raced for a long time and I never did the Giro which was one of the biggest regrets I ever had," he said.

"Fortunately for myself I get to erase that regret and be there for the 100th year anniversary and maybe get a good result, who knows."

Angelo Zomegnan, the cycling director of RCS Sport - the Giro d'Italia organiser - said he was not surprised that Armstrong had decided to compete in the race for the very first time.

"No cycling champion had ever considered not taking part in the Giro d'Italia and Lance is the only one that, having won the Tour de France in its centenary, could achieve the same mark in the Giro d'Italia centenary," he said.

"Lance knows how much affection the Italians have for him dating back to the years when he lived in Lake Como.

"We should also mention the project of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, Livestrong, in which Italy and the Giro will represent the ideal territory to highlight the problems regarding the fight against cancer."

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Barcelona make MLS franchise bid

Barcelona's Lionel Messi
Barcelona want a base in Miami - which lost its last MLS franchise in 2001

Barcelona have lodged a Major League Soccer franchise bid in a joint venture with a Bolivian-born entrepreneur.

With the MLS set to add two teams to its league for the 2011 season, Barca have linked up with Marcelo Claure to produce a bid for the city of Miami.

The MLS has received six other bids with Atlanta, Portland, St Louis, Ottawa, Montreal and Vancouver also submitting franchise proposals.

If chosen, Barca would become the first MLS team owned by a European club.

Claure owns Bolivia's FC Bolivar, with whom Barcelona already collaborate.

"This is a very important day in our club's 109-year history," said Barcelona president Joan Laporta in Miami.

"This is an opportunity to penetrate the US market. We are a global brand and it is important to be present in the American market and in the sport in America.

"We needed to find the right partner and the right place and we have done so in Marcelo Claure and Miami."

Miami had an MLS team, the Fusion, between 1998 and 2001 but they played in neighbouring Fort Lauderdale and lost their slot when they league contracted in size.

MLS currently has 14 teams with Seattle due to join in 2009 and Philadelphia in 2010.

The league plans to add two more sides for the 2011 season although the Miami bid has asked to join a year earlier.

George Gillett, owner of the NHL's Montreal Canadiens and joint owner of Liverpool, is part of the ownership group for the Montreal franchise bid.

The owner of the NFL's Atlanta Falcons Arthur Blank is behind the bid from the Georgia state capital while Canadian NBA player Steve Nash, of the Phoenix Suns, has teamed up with businessman Greg Kerfoot in Vancouver's bid.

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91-0: A rout nobody's proud of

ESTERO, Fla. - The Estero High football staff gathered in head coach Rich Dombroski's office late Friday, almost in stunned silence.

Earlier that night, Estero lost to Naples High by 13.

Not by 13 points. By 13 touchdowns. That's right: Naples 91, Estero 0.

All-purpose back Greg Pratt helped Naples pile on the points.
The rout fallout has been growing since the game ended.

"Hey," offered Estero defensive line coach Pat Hayes after the one-sided affair, "I didn't even know 91 was a multiple of seven."

With that, the coaches all got a much-needed laugh.

A half-hour away in Naples, Eagles coach Bill Kramer—the man on the winning end—could use one of those.

He looked at the scoreboard late in the game, saw 91-0, and said he felt sick to his stomach. Kramer's team ran only 31 plays and he kept most of his best players on the sideline—for the entire game in some cases. But still Kramer knew what was coming.

Soon after the game ended, his inbox began filling with angry e-mails, some from Estero parents wondering why so many points were necessary, some from Naples parents wondering why their kids didn't play more in an effort to pad their stats.

"There's only one way to describe it," Kramer said. "Just bizarre."

The schools aren't far off in size: Estero has about 1,400 high schoolers, Naples roughly 1,700.

But the pedigree of the football programs couldn't be more different.

Estero is rebuilding from the lowest level, with Dombroski in his first year at the school and having inherited a program that had simply crumbled. Naples is the reigning state Class 3A champion, and a contender to win the title again. Naples has players committed to Division I schools like Ohio State already and a roster filled with talent at every position. Estero has no college prospects and only about 25 healthy or so players remaining on its roster.

"Some of us, most of us, well, all of us were intimidated," said Tyler Eastridge, a free safety who may be exaggerating when he says he weighs a 150 pounds.

Naples led 70-0 at the half; only four of the 1,420 games reported by member schools to the Florida High School Athletic Association this season have seen teams score more than 70 points.

"It was David versus Goliath," Dombroski said, "and David didn't have a stone to throw."

The national record books are incomplete, but a score like 91-0 won't register a blip on the list of all-time defeats. It wasn't even the most lopsided score in the country this weekend—in Ohio, Beechcroft beat Centennial 96-0, taking knees on plays in the fourth quarter to avoid triple figures.

According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, five teams have scored more than 200 points in a game, with the record believed to be 256 by Haven (Ky.) High in 1927.

Dombroski isn't blaming Naples.

"Naples did absolutely nothing wrong," Dombroski said. "We just didn't do anything right."

Kramer has been in this spot before.

In 2001, the Golden Eagles scored 63 first-quarter points and beat Lely High — ironically, where Dombroski's girlfriend teaches today—85-0, and Kramer suddenly became the target of perceptions that he intentionally ran up the score.

But in that game, just as on Friday, Naples had some of its starters not play at all, and others just for one or two series.

Carlos Hyde paves the way
"We've been through it before and you never want to go through it again," Kramer said. "There were people ready to burn my house."

It's an unsettling time again.

The Naples Daily News ran a poll asking if Kramer and his team "should be ashamed" over the result, and by Monday afternoon, the vote was nearly dead-even: 239 no, 225 yes.

Hearing that, even Dombroski shook his head. He e-mailed Kramer on Monday to reiterate that Naples did nothing wrong, but that's hardly the only opinion swirling around Naples these days.

"My daughter plays basketball and there's a local team that's really good and when they're about to score 100, there's no polls about that," Kramer said. "When the local lacrosse team wins 24-0, where's the outrage? Or when kids win 6-0, 6-0 in tennis? We score 10 touchdowns and everybody loses their minds.

"The real irony is we've got some of our parents upset that their kids didn't play or didn't play enough. And you just say, 'Wow."'

Dombroski knew when he took the Estero job that there would be days like Friday, but he said the 91-0 thumping might help him turn the program around.

"We won't forget this. I won't forget this," said Dombroski, whose freshman program is off to a 4-1-1 start this year, a sign that better days could be ahead for Estero. "We're not going to lay down. We're going to fight for 48 minutes, every time we're out there."

So on Monday afternoon, when school got out at 1:45, the Estero High football team headed to its locker room and prepared for practice. New scouting reports were waiting for them, and soon the team headed onto the field for practice, their blue jerseys whipping in the wind as they stretched.

"Our team might not be winning or might not be on top right now," said right guard Mike Perez. "But we all have to do the best we can do. We can't forget that."

And so, they were back to work, which they'll need. This week, Estero plays Cape Coral—a team that nearly beat Naples.

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8 Reasons Why The Red Sox Are Failing In The ALCS

The Boston Red Sox have returned from 3-1 deficits in the playoffs 3 times in their team history. Now down 3-1 to the Rays in 2008, the Red Sox will have to make a few major adjustments to have any hopes of advancing once again. Here are 8 reasons why the Red Sox are failing in this year’s ALCS.

1. The Red Sox have surrendered 31 runs in the last 3 postseason games. Blame the pitching if you must, but the other areas of the defense have also tipped the bucket this postseason.

2. They can’t pitch! Pitching has allowed 14 combined runs in the first three innings of the last three games. Enough said.

3. The only thing the Boston bullpen can produce is runs for the Rays. Time after time the Rays are simply crushing the ball no matter who Boston sends to the mound.

4. Oh no! Papi left his bat at home. Big Papi is 1-14 against the Rays, and in the process he has left 10 runners on base. You can’t blame David Ortiz for everything, or can you? When his bat does not hit statistics show that the Red Sox will struggle to win games. The ignition for the Sox offense is “spuddering”.

5. Everyone is focused on Ortiz not crushing the ball. Baseball is a game of failure and instead of dwelling on one individual player the Boston Red Sox need to step up and deliver when David is not. Jimmy Rollins of the Phillies lead his team from the top of the lineup all season until the playoffs. As soon as Rollins began to slump Shane Victorino picked up the slack leading the league in postseason RBI’s. In other words, Boston needs a Victorino, someone who can ignite the offense.

6. Manny Ramirez is playing for the Dodgers! Ouch! Sorry Red Sox fans, I just had to bring it up. is reporting that since the “Manny Trade” Ortiz batted .262 in 49 games, with nine homers and 42 RBIs. These stats are not particularly terrible, but they are way under the bar in respect to Big Papi standards. In 2007, Ortiz finished the year with 117 RBI and a batting average of .332-incomparable to his average of .264 in 2008.

7. Last year’s World Series MVP, third baseman Mike Lowell is on the bench with a hip operation pending. In the regular season Lowell had 419 plate appearances, 27 home runs and 73 RBIs. His presence is definitely missed in the 6th spot.

8. Wakefield’s knuckleball is not working! Heading into game 4, Wakefield had an ERA of 5.87. When a knuckleball pitcher’s most deadly weapon is not deadly anymore, one side of the score board will rise just like gas prices do when a thunderstorm hits Florida.

The Rays have proven themselves fearless with nothing to lose throughout the entire playoffs, hitting the ball hard in every at bat. However, these failures mentioned above do not necessarily mean Boston can not adjust. As history tells us, THEY”VE BEEN HERE BEFORE!! Rallying from a 3-1 deficit seems to be always in reach especially for the Boston Red Sox (last year against the Yankees down 3-0, and the Indians down 3-1). Anything is possible in October and I think Boston fans will be glad to see Daisuke Matsuzaka on the mound as we head into game 5 Thursday night.

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