Bud Shaw's Year in Review

Mike Ehrmann, Getty Images
Mike Ehrmann, Getty Images

In 2010, retired heavyweight Mike Tyson appeared on Animal Planet.

As a pigeon racer.

The Pittsburgh Pirates fired a pierogi mascot for ripping the team on Facebook.

A Norwegian cross country skier blamed failing to win a gold medal in the Winter Olympics on watching too much porn.

A Phillies fan purposely threw up on a man and the man's daughter during a game.

An NFL executive asked a draft prospect if his mother was a prostitute.

Baltimore Orioles player Brian Roberts missed the last six games of the season with concussion-like symptoms after hitting himself in the helmet with a bat in frustration after a ninth-inning strikeout.

Joslyn James, one of Tiger Woods' mistresses, complained that Woods led her to believe she was the only one in his life...other than his wife.

And thus was the sanctity of adultery compromised.

We come today not to salute the last 12 months as much as shake a finger at the sky and blame it on the heavens.

In November, Buffalo Bills receiver Steve Johnson dropped a sure touchdown pass in the end zone in overtime. The Steelers prevailed over his Bills.

Johnson did not blame his hands, a case of nerves or even the sun (this was Buffalo after all). He blamed God.

Tweeted Johnson: "I praise you 24/7!!! And this how you do me!!! You expect me to learn from this??? How??? I'll never forget this!! Ever!!"

As if to mitigate the fallout of angering a vengeful deity, he added:

"Thx tho."
* * *
Atlanta Falcons receiver Roddy White tweeted that the New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl last February because "the grace of god gave them tht championship so tht city wouldn't wouldn't fall apart."

White apologized (sort of), saying, "I'm sorry. I really didn't say anything about the hurricane but they took it that way."

So what did he mean? Mardi Gras?

Not all the signs from above were divinely inspired.
Tiger Woods, who talked of his re-commitment to Buddhism after months of scandal linked him to women all over the country, was greeted on the first tee at The Masters in April by a plane trailing the following message:

"Tiger: Did you mean bootyism?"

Some people showed they literally do not know what "literally" means.
After losing lots of weight, golfer John Daly signed a deal with Slix underwear.

The press release called Slix "thoughtfully designed garments that literally change lives" and that "literally put a spring in your step."

Ben Roethlisberger, for one, literally changed one aspect of his life.
That was his vow after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended him for another off-field incident.

So the former pride of Findlay, Ohio, reportedly changed his biographical information in the Steelers' media guide.

The Associated Press said Roethlisberger was upset with some unflattering things said about him in his hometown after he was accused (but not charged) in a sexual assault incident in the offseason. So he dropped Findlay and listed Corey Rawson, Ohio as his hometown.

Introducing the greatest, unparalleled, best-ever, life-changing "Overstatements of the Year."
"Tim Tebow is 250 pounds of concrete cyanide." -- Jon Gruden, before the April NFL draft.
* * *
"He came from a team that was always looking for a savior to a team that knows how to win. No one would understand what he's been through unless you've been drowning." -- Malesa Plater, Braylon Edwards' mom, to the New York Times on the tribulations her son endured while playing in Cleveland.
* * *
Sociologist Harry Edwards explained the cultural divide between white college coaches and black players this way to Yahoo! Sports.

"At the end of the day, you have a situation where it's Lawrence Welk and Pat Boone talking to Snoop Dogg, Ludacris and Vanilla Ice in the locker room. They don't get it. They don't understand it."

At least not like they get Lawrence Welk references.
* * *
Curtis Wenzlaff, the man who supplied steroids to baseball slugger Mark McGwire, told ESPN's Outside The Lines the combination of steroids McGwire used would make anybody bigger, stronger and faster.

"Will it help you hit a baseball?" Wenzlaff said. "Let me put it to you this way. If Paris Hilton was to take that array, she could run over Dick Butkus."
* * *
And the winner is...
"We've become a nation of wusses. The Chinese are kicking our butts in everything. If this was in China do you think the Chinese would've called off the game? People would've been marching down the stadium. They would've walked and they would've been doing Calculus on the way down." -- Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell after the NFL canceled Vikings-Eagles this past Sunday due to a blizzard.

Of all the reasons the U.S. has fallen behind China, not being willing to risk life and limb to get to a football game is somewhere down the list.

When some athletes don't feel the love, they make up for it by taking a hard look at themselves...in the mirror.
"I feel love for me. I love me." -- baseball player Milton Bradley on Milton Bradley.

"People love me everywhere I go. I'm excited to bring a lot of joy to a lot of people." -- Manny Ramirez.

"I am a complete football player. If anybody wonders about me I'm a complete football player. I can say that twice. You can't do better than me." -- wide receiveer Michael Crabtree.

"I mean, even my family gets spoiled at times watching me doing things that I do, on and off the court," LeBron James telling GQ Magazine he didn't regret saying during a season-ending playoff loss to Boston that he spoiled Cleveland fans with his "greatness."

Sometimes logic was downgraded from "probable" to "ridiculously doubtful."
Bengals' receiver Chad Ochocinco said he jogs naked on the wooded property he owns.

"What's wrong with that?" Ochocinco told SI.com. "I take a shower naked."

Indianapolis Colts' punter Pat McAfee was arrested for public intoxication after he appeared to take a pre-dawn swim in a canal. The shirtless McAfee was soaking wet. He blamed it on rain even though it hadn't rained for days. Asked by police how much he had to drink, said McAfee, "A lot cause I'm drunk..."

A 69-year-old Michigan man delayed getting a pacemaker so he could watch Michigan State play Michigan in football. "Whatever happens," he told The Detroit News, "I want to see the game."

Joseph Rimmer, an amateur English soccer player, didn't like a referee's call. So he drove his Range Rover onto the field and got the ref in his sights.

That upped the discipline from a yellow card to a six-month jail sentence.

No marijuana was used (that we know of) in the making of this statement.
Snowboarder Graham Watanabe was asked what it was like to make the U.S. Olympic team.

"Try to imagine Pegasus mating with a unicorn and the creature that they birth. I somehow tame it and ride it into the sky in the clouds and sunshine and rainbows. That's what it feels like."

If only mulligans applied off the golf course...
Oprah Winfrey got up out of her chair to wipe at the smudge she thought was lipstick on the side of New Orleans Saints' quarterback Drew Brees' face during a post-Super Bowl guest appearance.

It was a birthmark.

(Fortunately, she fought the urge to scream to her audience, "You get a permanent blemish, you get a permanent blemish, e-ver-y-bod-y gets a permanent blemish.")

"The pregame altercation got us going. We were like pit bulls, ready to get out of the cage." -- Eagles' receiver DeSean Jackson on a pre-game scuffle with the Washington Redskins.

(Come on, your teammate is Mike Vick. Do I have to say more?)

"You can't have the cavalry come in and save your butt every time you feel a little stiff shoulder, sore elbow," Washington Nationals TV analyst Rob Dibble on his XM Sirius Radio show after Stephen Strasburg grabbed his elbow and left the field.

(A week later, Strasburg was scheduled for Tommy John surgery and will miss at least a year. Dibble was fired.

LeBron James denied he said contraction in the NBA would be good for the league.

"That's crazy, because I had no idea what the word 'contraction' meant before I saw it on the Internet," James said. "I never even mentioned that. That word never even came out of my mouth. I was just saying how the league was back in the '80s and how it could be good again. I never said, 'Let's take some of the teams out.'"

As comedian Jay Mohr pointed out, James' statement that he didn't know the meaning of the word "contraction" contained three contractions.

The stone-cold lock of the year...
Sept. 11, 2010 was the 25th anniversary of Pete Rose breaking Ty Cobb's all-time record for hits.

Rose is banned from his sport for life for betting on baseball but the Reds got clearance to honor him.

Except they had to move the celebration to Sept. 12 because Rose had a previous engagement.

He was making an appearance in Lawrenceburg, Indiana.

At a casino.

Some showed razor-like focus and child-like tendencies.
Guard Larry Hughes reportedly grew his beard in protest of his diminished playing time with the Knicks.

Hughes has played for seven teams. After the beard incident, his fan club consisted only of ZZ Top band members.

NBA big men Shaquille O'Neal and Dwight Howard actually spent time debating which of them should get to call himself "Superman."

Once again, it was good advice to be wary of false advertising.
A website dedicated to Major League Umpire and self-proclaimed Renaissance man Joe West describes him as a "true Patriot, Humanitarian, a Believer and a person with millions of funny stories to tell but also a man that will give an answer to any question."

After getting fined by Major League Baseball for his antagonizing a situation during the White Sox-Indians game, West was asked for a comment: "I will say that's none of your business," was his non-answer.

The Surgeon General warns you could put a hole in somebody'e ear lobe with one of those things.
Nine Miami Dolphins' players raked the field in search of defensive end Kendall Langford's diamond after Langford forgot to remove his earrings and lost one during practice.

The size: 2.5 carats.

The value: $50,000.

Knowing you out-blinged Zza Zza Gabor: priceless.

The fine line between sharing athletic insight and giving too much personal information. Norwegian cross country skier Odd-Bjoern Hjelmeset attributed his disappointing silver medal in the 4x10-kilometer relay at the Winter Olympics to less than focused preparation.

"I think I have seen too much porn in the last 14 days," he said.

At least he didn't blame God.

6 Times the Olympics Have Been Postponed or Canceled

Sander van Ginkel, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 2.0
Sander van Ginkel, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 2.0

The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo have been officially postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan agreed to push the start date back to 2021 after Canada, Australia, and other countries announced they would not send athletes to the Summer Games this July.

The Summer Olympics is the biggest sporting event in the world, typically bringing more than 10,000 athletes from dozens of countries together every four years, The New York Times reports.

It's extremely rare for the Summer or Winter Olympics to be postponed or canceled. Since 1896, when the modern Olympic Games began, it has happened only six times—and it usually requires a war.

The Olympic Games were canceled during World War I and World War II. The 1940 Summer Games, scheduled to take place in Tokyo, were postponed due to war and moved to Helsinki, Finland, where they were later canceled altogether. The current coronavirus pandemic marks the first time the competition has ever been temporarily postponed for a reason other than war. Here's the full list.

  1. 1916 Summer Olympics // Berlin, Germany
  1. 1940 Summer Olympics // Tokyo, Japan and Helsinki, Finland
  1. 1940 Winter Olympics // Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
  1. 1944 Summer Olympics // London, United Kingdom
  1. 1944 Winter Olympics // Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
  1. 2020 Summer Olympics // Tokyo, Japan

6 Surprising Ways Baseball Actually Favors Lefties

Left-handed pitcher Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers during game five of the National League Division Series in 2019.
Left-handed pitcher Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers during game five of the National League Division Series in 2019.
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

If you grew up playing baseball, tee-ball, softball, or any other derivative of America’s favorite pastime, you might be familiar with certain positions left-handed people are unofficially prohibited from playing—you’ll hardly ever see a left-handed shortstop or third baseman, for example, because they’d be facing the wrong direction for any throws to the right side of the field. However, there are plenty of other parts of the game that are equally important as efficiently making outs at first or second base, and some of them can even favor lefties. Read on to find out how left-handed batters, pitchers, and more have an edge against their right-handed competitors below.

1. Left-handed pitchers have a better view of first base.

Since a left-handed pitcher faces first base when he’s gearing up to pitch, he can easily see if a first base runner is leading off (i.e. taking a few steps off the bag, with the intention to steal second base). This makes for some pretty spectacular fake-outs where a pitcher will feign throwing a pitch and instead flip it to the first baseman, who can tag the runner out before he can get a foot (or finger) back on the bag.

2. Left-handed batters are closer to first base.

Left-handed batters are simply standing a little closer to first base than right-handed batters. As former MLB player Doug Bernier explained for Pro Baseball Insider, an extra step or so can be the difference between getting thrown out at first base or making it safely there, especially if it’s an infield hit. That said, not everyone agrees the slightly shorter distance to first base is enough to give left-handed batters an advantage on infield hits in general. In a 2007 article for The Hardball Times, John Walsh argued that since lefties hit more ground balls into the right half of the infield—giving first and second basemen a shorter distance to cover to make the out at first—their one-step head start isn’t statistically significant overall.

3. Left-handed batters’ momentum is already carrying them in the direction of first base.

Even if a shorter distance to first base isn’t enough to give a left-handed batter the edge on every occasion, he also has the laws of physics on his side. When a lefty swings, the momentum of the bat is moving to the right—i.e. toward first base—so he gets to run in the same direction he’s already moving. Righties, on the other hand, swing toward third base and have to break the momentum to sprint in the opposite direction. Dr. David A. Peters, a professor of engineering at Washington University in St. Louis (and baseball aficionado), calculated that lefties’ momentum means they’re able to travel to first base about one-sixth of a second faster than righties.

4. Left-handed first basemen are facing the right direction to throw the ball to another infielder.

If the ball is hit to a left-handed first baseman, he’s already in the ideal position—with his right foot closest to his target—to throw it just about anywhere else in the infield. This is especially helpful when there’s an opportunity to make an out at second or third base, which he’d usually prioritize over the first base out. A right-handed first baseman, on the other hand, might have to pivot as much as 180 degrees to get his left foot where it needs to be to throw it to another infielder.

5. Left-handed batters perform better against right-handed pitchers, which are more abundant.

In baseball, it’s generally agreed that batters fare better when hitting against opposite-handed (OH) pitchers, so much so that coaches sometimes stack their batting lineups with lefties when they know a righty will be pitching, and vice versa. “With the dominance of right-handed pitchers in the game,” Dan Peterson writes for gameSense Sports, “the left-handed hitter comes to the plate with a built-in advantage.” The advantage itself has to do with the direction of the pitches.

“With a right-handed release to a right-handed batter, the ball seems to be coming right at him,” Peterson explains. “The same pitch coming from the opposite side provides a better view across the body.”

6. Right field is shorter than left field in some parks.

detroit tigers comerica park aerial view
An aerial view of the Detroit Tigers' Comerica Park.
NASA, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

When professional baseball stadiums first started cropping up in the late 19th century, there wasn’t a league-wide set of dimensions to standardize their size and shape (in fact, for the most part, there still isn’t). Since the majority of batters were right-handed—and, as such, more likely to hit the ball into left field—some stadiums featured left fields that were significantly deeper than their right fields. Take Philadelphia’s Columbia Park II, which opened in 1901 with a 340-foot left field and a 280-foot right field. Those short right fields meant left-handed batters would have an easier time hitting home runs. While most modern stadiums have quite literally evened the playing field with more symmetrical dimensions, some of them still have discrepancies; the right field foul pole at the Detroit Tigers’ Comerica Park, for example, is a whole 15 feet closer to home plate than its left field foul pole.

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