Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Here are the more interesting headlines from the world of sports along with my thoughts.


Niners promote No. 1 pick Smith to starting QB

Overall No. 1 draft pick Alex Smith was promoted to be the San Francisco 49ers' starting quarterback on Tuesday, ascending to the job after just four games as Tim Rattay's backup.
Smith will make his first NFL start on Sunday against Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts at Candlestick Park. The former Utah star played in two of the 49ers' first four games, mopping up in losses to Philadelphia and Arizona.
``I feel that Alex gives us the best chance to win, and I believe he's ready,'' San Francisco coach Mike Nolan said. ``Tim has handled everything very well, but at this time in the process, I believe it's time to get Alex in the game. ... At 1-3, we didn't draft Alex to just sit him on the bench. At 1-3, I believe we need to begin to utilize him.''

Good move, bad timing, this should have been done last week against the Cardinals. Instead, Smith will have to make his first pro start against the best team in the AFC. The Colts offense finally exploded last week and their defense has been punishing to this point of the season.

Nolan may feel like Smith is their best chance to win, but I feel like he is being put in a no win situation. Losing confidence by having your team destroyed in his first start may not be the best way to bring along a rookie quarterback. Arizona would have been a much better situation.

Police mace Chiefs tight ends coach before loss

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Police sprayed Mace on Kansas City Chiefs tight ends coach Jason Verduzco before Sunday's loss to the Eagles after he became combative when he wasn't allowed to turn into the stadium entrance he said he normally uses.
The 35-year-old Verduzco also was cited for trying to harm an officer.
According to a police report, the altercation started when police tried to stop Verduzco from turning into one of the gates because of heavy traffic from arriving fans. But Verduzco turned anyway, and police said he got so close to an officer that the bumper of his sports utility vehicle was touching the officer's leg.
The coach is accused of refusing to back up the SUV and cursing at officers, telling them he's a coach and frequently turns at the intersection.
Eventually, police said two officers tried to remove him from his vehicle while he slapped at them and pulled away. That's when another officer sprayed mace at the still cursing coach, police said.
Police issued a general summons for the coach that alleges he ``did intentionally attempt to inflict bodily injury'' upon the officer and refused to stop his vehicle.
After an ambulance crew washed out his eyes, Verduzco was released on a signature bond.
Bob Moore, a team spokesman, said the team was aware of what had happened but had limited information.

This is great stuff. Officer: “I’m sorry sir you can’t turn in here.”
Verduzco: “But I’m a coach. I should be allowed to do what I want”
Officer: “And I’m the tooth fairy. You’re going to have to back your vehicle out of this drive.”

I’m sure that is how the conversation went. I’m also sure the officer was reprimanded for doing his job. It’s not enough that the players have no respect for authority, now we find out apparently they have learned it from their coaches.

If you wanted the good parking spot maybe you should have shown up to work on time.


Red Sox Get Run Ruled in Game 1

The White Sox got the winning socks. Five of 'em. Now, after such a powerful start, maybe it's their turn to end a title drought.
Stunning the World Series champions with five homers -- two by A.J. Pierzynski -- Chicago routed the Boston Red Sox 14-2 Tuesday in their playoff opener.
``It's nice when you get a game like this, but we've played enough of the other ones to not expect this,'' White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko said. ``I don't think we really felt comfortable until we were up eight, 10 runs.''

I would have guessed this going the other way. The White Sox are the ones who struggled down the stretch and were my choice for a play-off fold. Boston has got to come back in game two or their play-off run will be very short this year.

This was really the only surprise in the play-offs on Tuesday. The Yankees handled the Angels and St. Louis seemed to already be looking ahead to the next series.


NBA approves Curry trade to Knicks

The New York Knicks are ready to take a chance on Eddy Curry. And while they want doctors to sign off on the health of the 22-year-old center's heart first, they won't be looking at Curry's DNA profile.
The NBA approved a trade Tuesday that sends Curry and veteran center Antonio Davis from Chicago to the Knicks for forwards Tim Thomas, Michael Sweetney and Jermaine Jackson.
The trade, like all others, requires that all players pass a physical. In Curry's case, it will involve tests by a team of doctors to determine whether an irregular heartbeat that forced him to miss the last 13 games of last season and the playoffs was an isolated incident or an indication of a more serious problem.
The Bulls had demanded Curry take a DNA test to see if he is susceptible to cardiomyopathy, the ailment that killed former Boston Celtics guard Reggie Lewis and Loyola Marymount star Hank Gathers.
But Curry refused, saying the test violated his privacy because it could also be used to determine if he was predisposed to a host of other conditions going into his fifth NBA season.

My first thought is, if there is something wrong with my heart I WANT TO KNOW ABOUT IT! Why in the world you not be willing to take a test to see if there were possible heart complications. Sure you may have millions of dollars at risk, but no amount of money is ever going to bring Reggie Lewis back. Someone needs to put their arm around Eddy Curry and give this kid some good advice.

After dropped season, NHL ready to drop the puck

The "new" NHL emerges from a yearlong work stoppage Wednesday with a salary cap, new rules and juggled rosters.


NCAA Football

USC keeps rolling but those sputtering starts are a concern

The problem with big comebacks is something bad has to happen to make them necessary.
No. 1 USC pulled off another one in grand style against Arizona State on Saturday, but for the second week in a row, the Trojans were awful in the early stages of the game.
``There was no excuse for those errors,'' Reggie Bush said. ``We are a national champion team.''
With their team down 21-3 at the half, Bush and fellow tailback LenDale White carried the weight of the comeback, running over, through and past the Sun Devils' defense in a 35-7 second half onslaught that gave the Trojans a 38-28 victory.
``Gosh, we finished so strong,'' coach Pete Carroll said. ``We just pounded the football in the second half.''

Does anyone remember when Carroll coached in the NFL? He often had that, “What in the world do I do now” look on his face. I swear I’ve seen that look a few times this season.

The Trojans are really good. I mean really talented! You kinda get the feeling they are surviving more on talent this season than they are on coaching. Could it be that the assistant coaches who left USC during the off-season played a much bigger role in making Pete Carroll look like a genus than we initially thought? Time will tell. I fear the day is coming when a team with a good defense will out coach the Pete Carroll and then the kingdom will crumble, but it won’t happen this weekend against Arizona.

NASCAR extends suspension of Harvick's crew chief by two races

Crew chief Todd Berrier was suspended an additional two races Tuesday for violations in Kevin Harvick's car, bringing his total events missed this season to seven.
NASCAR found several violations in the trunk of Harvick's car after he qualified second at Talladega Superspeedway. The Chevy was disqualified and Berrier was thrown out of the weekend's events.
Berrier's punishment was extended Tuesday when NASCAR said he can't attend another race until Oct. 19. He was also fined $10,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31.
NASCAR viewed Berrier as a repeat offender; he was suspended for four races earlier this year when Harvick's fuel tank was found rigged in Las Vegas.
Three other crew chiefs were also penalized Tuesday for infractions at Talladega.
Tony Gibson, crew chief for Michael Waltrip, was fined $10,000 for using an unapproved air directional device and unapproved wheel spacers.
Tony Eury Jr., crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr.; and Dustin Smith, crew chief for Morgan Shepherd, were both fined $2,500 for using unapproved fuel cell foam.

Is this like performance enhancing drugs for NASCAR? Could we put these guys in the same category as Rafael Palmeiro? The bottom line is this is cheating. Just like steroids they are rigging machines to run illegally. Are they not? Why was Harvick not suspended? I find it very hard to believe that he knew nothing about this. This is actually like suspending the doctor who supplied the drugs and not the athlete who took them.

But this is NASCAR and no doubt that after the suspension Berrier will be back looking for another way to “get an edge” at the encouragement of his driver.