Sunday, August 24, 2014





Last weekend, the gang at Deadspin noted that a game between the Oakland A’s and the host Atlanta Braves was delayed by a “naked idiot on the field.” To which Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle tweeted: “Why do we assume he’s an idiot? Might be MIT grad getting healthy dose of sun.” . . . Ostler was in attendance last Sunday as the San Francisco 49ers players their first game in their new park, Levi’s Stadium. He pointed out that there is a “cobbler station” in the press box, with “your choice of peach or mixed-berry, with ice cream and caramel drizzle . . . I was disappointed in the folks at the cobbler station. They said they couldn't fix my shoe.” . . . You should know that Ostler is working on his bucket list. Last week, he writes, “I crossed off ‘driving-range balls’ and ‘KFC.’ ” . . .

Because I know that you wanted to know, one beer at Levi’s Stadium will set you back $10.25. . . . I seem to recall buying a dozen and getting change back from a 10 spot the last time I was in Bellingham, Wash. . . . “Tennis player Maria Kirilenko called off her wedding to NHL star Alex Ovechkin,” writes RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com. “Probably just as well; Ovie disappears when he gets close to a ring.” . . . One more from Currie: “Hanso won the California canine surfing competition in the large dog category. I’m guessing he’s a boarder collie.” . . . Headline from TheOnion.com: Pure-hearted Little League World Series players playing simply for love of ESPN’s bottom line. . . .

If Johnny Football is going to make a habit of flipping the bird to the opposing team’s bench, he won’t finish the NFL season. Heck, he might not even start it. . . . Here’s money in the bank from contributor Bill Littlejohn: “Little League World Series player Blake Money has a brother named Cash — as in Cash Money. I hear Cash never takes check swings." . . . Littlejohn, again: “With one gesture to the opposing sidelines, Johnny Manziel is no longer Johnny Football. He’s more like Ilie Tennis.” . . .

"Philadelphia pitcher A.J. Burnett says he is thinking of retiring after the season," notes Janice Hough (aka The Left Coast Sports Babe). "As opposed to the rest of the Phillies, who called it quits before the All-Star break." . . . Sports Illustrated put Mo’Ne Davis on its cover and her Philadelphia team lost two straight games and was eliminated from the Little League World Series. . . . Obviously, the SI cover jinx doesn’t discriminate by age. . . . Here’s Brad Dickson, in the Omaha World-Herald: “A NASCAR fan shaved the American flag into his chest hair. A San Antonio Spurs fan had the likenesses of Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard cut into his hair. And, still, my barber can’t get my sideburns even?” . . .

On Wednesday night, with the Los Angeles Angels playing the host Boston Red Sox, ESPN’s Dan Shulman tweeted that announcers Dave O’Brien and Aaron Boone were having a good discussion on “speeding up the game. (Boston pitcher Clay) Buchholz giving them plenty of time between pitches to discuss.” . . . MLB’s biggest problem these days is the speed of play. It is completely out of hand. There is no way a nine-inning game should even approach four hours. . . . The other major problem faced by new commissioner Rob Manfred when he succeeds Bud (Light) Selig? The beards. Baseball is home to some of the ugliest beards in the history of the universe. . . . In Oakland this week, Selig said the slow pace “drives me crazy.” Just not crazy enough to do something about it. . . .

When Mark Cohon leaves as commissioner of the CFL will his legacy be the horrid helmets and uniforms that have been unveiled in recent days? . . . When you see the mess the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have to wear, you are left to wonder if there were any other designs in the contest. . . . The University of the Fraser Valley, which is based in Abbotsford, dumped athletic director Rocky Olfert last week. He had been the AD since June 2012. Continuity and stability? Not at UFV. Al Tuchscherer, the head coach of the women’s basketball team since 2002, has seen six athletic directors come and go. That number is seven if you count one who was there on an interim basis. . . . Why did Rocky get his ticket punched? No one’s talking. . . .

In a recent conversation with the Chicago Sun-Times, former NFL player and head coach Mike Ditka offered up this: “There’s no excuse for domestic violence. None. If you have a problem, go outside and walk around the block. If that doesn’t work, keep walking.” . . . As usual, Iron Mike is right. . . . Earlier this month, the Detroit Tigers honoured Miguel Cabrera with a bobblehead night. They handed out 10,000 of the precious little things, each of them with Cabrera’s likeness holding a pair of National League MVP awards. . . . Oh well, at least they didn’t call him Melky. . . . For the record, Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants are the last two NL MVPs.

Frank McCrystal, the head coach of the U of Regina Rams football team, announced this week that he will retire following this season. Back in the day, when he played and coached for the junior Rams, he helped forge one of the great rivalries in Canadian sporting history, that between the Rams and the Saskatoon Hilltops. In fact, I would bet that he still has to wear a disguise when he’s in Saskatoon. . . . McCrystal, 60, was with the junior Rams for 25 years -- five as a player, five as an assistant coach and 15 as head coach. He is into his 16th season as head coach of the U of R Rams. . . . “His departure,” wrote Ian Hamilton of the Regina Leader-Post, “will leave a void in a program that hasn't seen a coaching change since Pierre Trudeau was Canada's prime minister.” . . . It often is hard to follow a legend, but McCrystal did just fine after taking over from Gord Currie. . . . If there is such a thing, McCrystal should be a first-ballot Canadian Sports Hall of Famer.

(Gregg Drinnan is a former sports editor of the Regina Leader-Post and the late Kamloops Daily News. He is at gdrinnan.blogspot.ca and twitter.com/gdrinnan. Keeping Score appears here on weekends, except when it doesn’t.)

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