More Earth Day statements in sports from Wednesday

It’s too bad all sporting events on Wednesday couldn’t have been played outdoors on Earth Day… Yes, even the NBA and NHL playoffs.

Some scenes from the day in sports that may help keep you grounded:

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AP Photo/Jeff Chiu
Chris Andrews, chief of public programs and director of the Steinhart Aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences, holds up Balthazar, a red-tail boa constrictor, while throwing out the ceremonial first pitch to celebrate Earth Day before the Padres played the Giants in San Francisco.

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Our favorite Earth Day sports-related thing for the golfer

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It’s the Wilson Staff Eco-Carry golf bag — the first on the market made with 100 percent recycled material, from reused plastic bottles.

They call it GreenPlus fabric, made from the equivalent of 12 plastic gallon bottles, similar to two-liter soda bottles. The bottles are crushed into plastic flakes, which are then transformed into a stable fiber through de-polymerization and re-polymerization. Then the fibers are woven into a filament yarn. The process also reduces the release of carbon dioxide by 70 percent as compared to normal polyester production that can be harmful to the environment.

Its lightweight (3.7 pounds) and durable, with the ergonomic hip pad. And, it’s green.

Suggested list price: $129.99. Find it at wilsonstaff.com (linked here).

== How about a ball the disegrates 24 hours after it lands in the water? Think about what happens to golfballs when you’re on vacation and hitting them off the mat on a cruise ship. OK, a bit of an extreme, but you’d feel better that you’re not polluting the ocean if you used the EcoGolf Water Soluble golf ball (linked here).

== We like tees, ball markers and divot repair products made from surpluss wheat here at GreenByDesign.com (linked here) in Nebraska, guaranteed to return to the Earth in 90 days.

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== Zero Friction golf tees, biodegradable, are among our favorites to use (linked here).

== For more Earth-friendly corn-based golf tees, try Ecogolf.com in Knox, Indiana (linked here). You can also find some biodegradable golf tees from CompostableGoods.com (linked here).

== More travel gear information (linked here) at TreeHugger.com.

And don’t forget sunscreen.

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Day 22: 30 baseball books in 30 days of April, ’09: Keeping the Green (Monster) theme — No, no Shaughnessey

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The book: “It Was Never About the Babe: How the Boston Red Sox Overcame Decades of Mismanagement and Racism and Built a Dynasty”

The author: Jerry M. Gutlon

How to find it: Skyhorse Publishing, 336 pages, $24.95

Where we’d go looking for it: It’s here on Barnes & Noble (linked here) but otherwise not that easy to find.

The scoop: We hesistate to even bring this one up. Somehow, we are. Maybe because we’re amused in some way that this even got printed.

Gutlon, listed as “an award-winning print and broadcast journalist who has been published in the New York Times and The Washington Post,” uses 96 book references, 12 magazines, 14 online resources (including Wikipedia) and 24 newspapers to make a case that this is the “real” history of the Red Sox – owner Tom Yawkey owned a brothel, Jackie Robinson had a tryout at Fenway Park but was rejected because of his race, and Babe Ruth was never sold to the Yankees because owner Harry Frazee wanted to fund his Broadway play, “No No Nannette,” but because baseball commissioner Ban Johnson wanted to throw Frazee out and Ruth was a major distruption in the clubhouse.

Gutlon contends that ownership picked its managers and players not by their talent but by who they drank with, there was insitutational racism.

OK, you got us interested….

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Our Daily Dread: Feeling earthy, doing something about it

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WePlayGreen.org VP of corporate development Jennifer Corace is joined by Jack Cassel and Chris Dickerson in handing out company produced recycled canvas bags at Kevin Costner’s Super Bowl party last January in Tampa, Fla.

The path that led us to tracking down Cincinnati Reds outfielder Chris Dickerson for a story today (linked here) on his eco-friendly project WePlayGreen.org (linked here) started with a call out of the blue to the Tucson, Ariz.-based Global Sports Alliance USA (linked here).

It was an organization that I came across in trying to figure out what was being done sports-related for Earth Day — especially in Southern California, where surfers are concerned daily with the water quality, skiiers are concerned with global warming and golfers should be more concerned about courses that use reclaimed water and pesticides that could be counterproductive to the liveihood of a playing surface. Any sport played outdoors is much more earth conscious, but the fact that indoor facilities can do just as much work with recycled cooking oils, low-flow toilets and recycled napkins and corn-based cups and plates is just as necessary to talk about.

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Coming Wednesday: A green story by a Cincinnati Red

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Maybe you’ll get a chance to see Chris Dickerson (bio on MLB.com linked here) play for the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night on the MLB Extra Innings package against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

The left-handed hitting Dickerson, out of Notre Dame High of Sherman Oaks, won’t usually start against the left-handed pitching Ted Lilly — that’s just the method Reds manager Dusty Baker has been using so far this season.

But if he gets in, check out the green-laced special Rawlings glove, or the green-stamped Max bat that Dickerson plans to use. It’s not just for looks.

It supports his non-profit company, WePlayGreen.org. And one of the goals, along with raising awareness of Earth Day being every day, is to have a major-league game where players on both sides wear green uniforms — and it’s not a St. Patrick’s Day exhibition game. The idea of a color-themed day has already been introduced with pink on Breast Cancer Awareness Day — usually on Mother’s Day. A green day baseball game, either on Earth Day or another designed day, is easier to implement now on the minor-league level, said WePlayGreen.org VP of corporate development Jennifer Corace .

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In other words, it’s not that easy being green on the big-league level. But as long as players like Dickerson can get friends like Ryan Braun, the Cassel family and, most recently, Russell Martin and Joe Mauer, the future looks greener. Read more about it Wednedsay morning.

More background:

== A story on Dickerson posted on MLB.com last November (linked here)

== Another MLB.com story on him when he was at Louisville in Triple A last July (linked here)

== Catch a little of Dickerson’s personality here:

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As long as the NCAA Final Four consists of four Southern California teams, we’ll be good with NCAA women’s ‘sand’ volleyball

This just in from the AVP, from a story we first posted last summer (linked here):

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The NCAA Division I Legislative Council added sand volleyball to the list of emerging sports for women, it was announced today, clearing the way for schools to use the sport toward minimum sponsorship requirements and minimum financial aid awards.

NCAA Division II had already voted to add sand volleyball to the emerging sports list at the 2009 NCAA Convention in January.

“The opportunity to play sand volleyball in the spring will spur growth in the sport. I wish I had that opportunity when I was at Stanford,” said 2008 and 2004 Olympic Beach gold medalist Kerri Walsh. “Additionally, this development will give more women an opportunity for a professional volleyball career in the United States.”

Capitalizing on the recent success of USA Volleyball’s beach teams in the Olympics and the growth in grassroots programs, the NCAA’s Committee on Women’s Athletics made the recommendation to add the sport to the emerging sports list last summer.

“The United States has a proud and successful history in sand volleyball, having won at least one gold medal in every Summer Games since the discipline was added to the Olympic program in 1996,” said USAV CEO Doug Beal. “This move by the NCAA is wonderful, particularly in light of the increased varsity athletic opportunities for young women at the collegiate level and the synergy with already existing USA Volleyball programs.”

The NCAA will call the new sport “sand” volleyball, rather than “beach” volleyball, in hopes that the sport will have broad appeal across the country and not be confined to coastal areas. Already schools including Texas, Nebraska and Utah are competing in collegiate competitions in the spring.

“The addition of sand volleyball to the list of collegiate options is significant for our sport,” said Kathy DeBoer, Executive Director of the American Volleyball Coaches Association. “With more than 400,000 girls playing high school volleyball, we welcome the addition of collegiate roster spots.”

“We are thrilled that the NCAA has voted to make sand volleyball a collegiate sport,” said Jason Hodell, CEO of AVP Pro Beach Volleyball. “The vote confirms the momentum behind the sport of beach volleyball, and we are excited to help grow our sport on the college level and create new beach volleyball stars around the country.”

The NCAA will spend the next year developing the rules that will govern sand volleyball as a collegiate sport, including regulations on financial aid, playing dates and recruiting. Institutions will be able to sponsor varsity programs starting in the 2010-2011 academic year.

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Another false launch of Reilly’s ‘Homecoming’

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Back in January, ESPN aired a couple of episodes of “Homecoming,” hosted by Rick Reilly, which featured the Texas Rangers’ Josh Hamilton and former Denver Broncos quarterback (and Granada Hills High star) John Elway.

That was the “soft” launch. Now, it’s hard. Well, not really.

Wednesday at 4 p.m., ESPN replays the Hamilton episode, followed by the Elway episode again (from the Granada Hills High gym) on Thursday at 4 p.m.

They’re the first of the eight one-hour episodes Reilly was able to put together as kind of “This Is Your Life” for athletes. The remaining six episodes, however, don’t air until this summer, starting July 2 and going through Aug. 6, on Thursdays at 4 p.m. The schedule:

== The Detroit Pistons’ Rip Hamiton, in his hometown of Coatesville, Pa.
== Skateboarder Tony Hawk, at his middle school in San Diego
== Olympic swimmer and waterbong expert Michael Phelps, in Baltimore
== Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice, in San Francisco (not his real hometown)
== Arizona Cardinals QB Kurt Warner, in his hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa

“I hope people enjoy these Homecomings more than I enjoyed my Homecoming, in 1976, when my date threw up in my Rambler,” said Reilly in an ESPN release.

More info: www.espn.com/homecoming

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Day 21: 30 baseball books in 30 days of April, ’09: Another LaRussa LeLegacy LaMakeover

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The book: “Tony LaRussa: Man on a Mission”

The author: Bob Rains, forward by Joe Buck

How to find it: Triumph Books, 295 pages, $24.95

Where we’d go looking for it: Amazon has it (linked here)

The scoop: From Buck’s forward: “You don’t know Tony LaRussa. You think you do, but you don’t. I guarantee you that what you think you know about this man is not accurate. I have never met a man in sports, or life, who is more misunderstood.”

OK, we’ll give you that. Now change our mind.

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A Dodger mixed menu from Houston … where to find the games, and what to wear?

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Tonight’s Dodgers-Astros game from Houston — the debut of Eric Collins and Steve Lyons as the road TV broadcast team — lands on KCAL Channel 9 (5:05 p.m.), with the pregame at 4:30 p.m.

Wednesday’s Dodgers-Astros game at 5:05 p.m. bounces to Prime Ticket. Same broadcast crew.

Thursday, we got problems.

KCAL Channel 9 was originally scheduled to do it at 5:05 p.m., but then the Lakers-Utah playoff series Game 3 from Salt Lake City landed in their laps, and they’re committed to doing them first (makes some sense, even though the game is also on TNT) with Joel Meyers and Stu Lantz. That one tips off at 7:30 p.m. (with the pregame at 6:30 p.m.).

Could the game then bounce to Prime? Nope. The Ducks-Sharks Game 4 of the NHL playoffs is set for Prime at 7:30 p.m.

Could the game bounce over to Fox Spors West? Nope. The Angels-Tigers game is set for 7 p.m.

So, if you have the MLB Network, you’re in luck because the game will be there, with the Astros’ Fox Sports Houston feed but with MLB Net broadcasters Matt Vasgersian and Joe Magrane, who are at Minute Maid Park for the contest (not back in the New Jersey studios). If you don’t have it, you have, of course, the Dodgers’ radio crew of Charley Steiner and Rick Monday on KABC-AM (790).

Remember back in the day, when not all the Dodgers’ games were on TV, and if they were, you knew exactly where to find ‘em? Now, not only is it a daily search and find for each game — time, network, broadcast crew — but we’re not even sure what to wear for it.
Dress up, or casual Thursday?

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Jeff Kent … suuuupastar

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This new incarnation of ABC’s “The Superstars” competition set to come back to TV screens this summer — June 23, if you need ample warning — has a lineup of competitors.

Hold your applause to after you’ve consumed your Egg McMuffin.

Former Dodger Jeff Kent is in.

Let that soak in for a few seconds …. and …. OK.

So is Sparks center Lisa Leslie. And former Laker forward Robert Horry. Add in former tennis player Jennifer Capriati, women’s soccer star Brandi Chastain, former freestyle skier Kristi Leskinen, Olympic skiier Bode Miller and … new Buffalo Bills receiver Terrell Owens.

Put ‘em in a house for a week and let the cameras roll? Nope, that’s not how this show rolls.

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They will be paired up with eight “celebrites” — actress Ali Landry will be with Kent …

Again, pause for effect. Now you know why Kent’s in. He’d be nuts to decline.

Then, there’s actor Dan Courtese (with Leslie), actor David Charvet (with Capriati), “Dancing With The Stars” performer Maksim Chmerkovskiy (with Leskinen), “Extreme Makeover” star Paige Hemmis (with Miller), singer Julio Iglesias Jr. (with Chastain) and actresses Joanna Krupa (with Owens) and Estella Warren (with Horry).

Did we mention Ali Landry? With hard-ass Kent? There’s no crying in “Superstars,” OK?

They’ll do biking, running, swimming and kayaking, all in the Bahamas, with one team getting eliminated each week.

Our early favorite — Chmerkovskiy and Leskinen. Becuase we have no idea who they are or how well they’ll do, meaning they’re likely to surprise everyone and run off with this.

Classic. Maybe they can get Keith Jackson out of retirement to narrate. Just so he can “Whoa Nellie” an Ali Landry dive into the pool.

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