Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Barber fined $30,000

NEW YORK (AP) -- Tampa Bay's Ronde Barber was fined $30,000 by the NFL on Wednesday for punching an official during last Sunday's game with the New York Jets.
Two other prominent players, Baltimore's Terrell Suggs and Ed Reed, were fined $15,000 each for making contact with an official during the Ravens' game in Detroit.
Of the three players, only Suggs was ejected. The Ravens' B.J. Ward, who was ejected from the Baltimore-Detroit game, was not fined.
``I think my dad was more upset about the fine and mom was more upset because I'm not supposed to get angry on television like that,'' Suggs said.
Barber inadvertently hit umpire Butch Hannah in the eye during a scuffle with the Jets' Kevin Mawae in the second quarter of the game. Normally one of the NFL's solid citizens, the Pro Bowl cornerback said after the game: ``It was two guys with their triple testosterone running high, acting like idiots.
The league said the fine was levied for ``impermissible physical contact with a game official.''
Suggs was fined for the same offense. He was called for roughing the passer by referee Mike Carey and was ejected after his face mask made contact with the bill of Carey's cap.
``I owe my team big and I'm apologizing for not upholding our Ravens' name,'' Suggs said.
Reed, last season's NFL defensive player of the year, was fined for grabbing an official and shoving him after an extra-point attempt. Ward was thrown out after attempting to intercede in the melee involving officials and Detroit players following the play.

I’m not really sure what to say about this other than if you are going to take a swing at another player it’s less expensive if you actually hit him.

Thirsty for a title, Chicago must overcome 1-0 deficit

CHICAGO (AP) -- Three time zones in three nights. No matter, the Los Angeles Angels were plenty fresh thanks to Paul Byrd and his bullpen.
Byrd pitched effectively in a pinch, Garret Anderson homered and baseball's most frequent flyers edged the Chicago White Sox 3-2 Tuesday night in the opener of the AL championship series.
The Angels were supposed to be more than a little jet-lagged. Sunday night, they were on the East Coast, playing the Yankees. Monday night, they were back on the West Coast, beating New York. Now, they're in the Midwest, with no off-day until Thursday.
``We've had a couple of redeye flights and guys haven't really complained. I don't know if we're delirious or what,'' Byrd said.

I picked the Angels in the Championship Series Preview and so far so good. I’m more confident about this pick than I am about my Astros pick.

Stoudemire will be sidelined four months after knee surgery

PHOENIX (AP) -- The Phoenix Suns intend to keep running while their dynamic young center heals from knee surgery.
All-Star Amare Stoudemire is out for about four months, and Suns coach Mike D'Antoni insists the style will not change despite the absence of their slashing, slam-dunking man in the middle.
``We've got a lot of offensive weapons on the floor,'' D'Antoni said. ``We lost our biggest weapon, but we have a lot of others. We're not hanging our heads at all. It's just too bad for Amare, but the Phoenix Suns are going to go on.''

No Doubt this will hurt the Suns. If they can stay in contention in his absence they could make a serious run during the last half of the season.

NCAA Football
Former NFL coaches Carroll, Weis match wits again

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Pete Carroll and Charlie Weis used to scheme against each other in the NFL. Now the coaches find out who can one-up the other in a college game.
Carroll, considered a defensive guru, and Weis, whose genius with offense helped make the New England Patriots an NFL powerhouse, will be on opposing sidelines Saturday in South Bend, Ind., when Carroll and top-ranked USC go against Weis and No. 9 Notre Dame.
Both coaches' backgrounds include stints with the New York Jets and the Patriots, although never on the same staff. They've only spoken a few times, but obviously share a great mutual respect.
``Pete and I, we go back a ways, back to when he was a defensive coordinator with the Jets, then the head coach with the Jets, then the head coach of the Patriots,'' Weis said. ``Because we were in that northeast corridor together, we had an opportunity to compete.
``I think he is a really good coach. He has been good for college football. He came in there when that program was a little down. Obviously, they're setting the bar now.''

I’ll take Weis’ intelligence and Carroll’s players. I do think the Weis is the better coach and if he can recruit anything like Pete Carroll he will quickly catch up to the Trojans as one of the best teams in the country. Look for the Trojans to win this weekend, but if there ever was a coach who could exploit USC’s defense, it’s Charlie Weis.

Spotting trouble

It has become a regular occurrence in NASCAR.
Two cars attempt to claim the same space on the race track ... at the same time. The result usually is not very good and often is catastrophic.
One or both cars end up either in the wall or upside down, as we saw during the Cup race in Talladega two weeks ago and during last month's Busch race at Richmond.
After these types of incidents, drivers involved often make comments like "Where was his spotter?"
Or worse yet, "Where was MY spotter?"
The spotter is a team member with a radio who is placed in a high position where they can see as much of the entire race track as physically possible – usually on top of the highest grandstand. His or her primary job is to make sure the driver is safe during the race and to be a second set of eyes.
Spotters first were used by some NASCAR teams as early as the 1950s. But it wasn't until after Darrell Waltrip was seriously injured in a practice crash at Daytona in July 1990 that NASCAR mandated all teams have at least one spotter using a two-way radio at all times. Today, NASCAR views the spotter as an important safety device.
Ironically, with all of the safety improvements NASCAR has instituted in the past five years, a driver's vision from inside the race car has become very limited, particularly off to the sides and behind the car.
"They really can't see all around them. It's a double edged sword, to be sure," said Mike Calinoff, spotter for '03 Cup champ and current Chase contender Matt Kenseth. "The safety improvements help the driver in the event of a wreck, but they've also made it more difficult for the drivers to do their job."

This just goes to prove that NASCAR is more of a team sport than many people give it credit for. There is a lot that goes into a driver’s chances on race day and just as in any other sport the better the team the better the results.