More on paddleboarder Tom Horton and his ALS fundraiser

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Following up on today’s story on Hermosa Beach’s Tom Horton (linked here) on the “Paddling for Peacha with Sharks” event:

Pecha Horton spent 25 years as a third-grade teacher and was enjoying her life in retirement with your four grandkids before she started to have problems speaking. One day, she couldn’t muster the strength to take the keys out of her car’s ignition. Doctors thought it might have been a stroke, but they couldn’t be sure. Finally, the muscles that quickly wore her down were diagnosed as ALS, but her quality of life had already deteriorated to a point where she died within months of the acknowledgement of the disease. She was 77.

Peacha, Tom’s mother, is the focus of his fund-raising endeavor at the Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race coming up on Sunday, Aug. 30, where 100-some competitors will navigate through hand-numbing water temperatures, unpredictable ocean currents and not-so-swell swells can add or subtract two hours of paddling to their race time, depending on the conditions.

As for that part about the sharks . . .

“Last year during the race, there was a confirmed sighting of a Mako,” said Horton, accustomed to dodging schools of dolphins or cutting through the waves created by cargo ships. “There’s a lot of chatter about great white sightings, but it just adds to the anticipation. I think about it, but since we have escort boats for every paddleboarder, I don’t worry about it.”

Again, to donate directly to Tom’s cause, go to his website (linked here).

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Coming Sunday: Paddling for a purpose

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Hermosa Beach’s Tom Horton launches from the Catalina Island ithsmus a week from Sunday — Aug. 30, 6:30 a.m. sharp — for a 32-mile paddle across the frigid Pacific in hopes of reaching the Manhattan Beach pier before the other 100 or so competitors.

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But he’s got more on his mind than just the scenic trip.

His muscle memory will get him through most of it, but the memory of his mother, Peacha, battling through ALS — Lou Gehrig’s disease — will push him even farther. Horton has committed to raising $50,000 for the Agoura Hills-based ALS Association (linked here), serving the greater L.A. region, in his mother’s honor.

We talk to the 50-year-old regional account director for Genzyme’s Genetics division about his preparation for the Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race (linked here), and about how you can contribute to his cause (linked here).

Some other statistics about ALC to think about before you find this story:

== ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive, a neurodegenerative disease for which there is no cure.

== Most people survive only 2-5 years from the time of diagnosis.

== The only drug for ALS was approved by the FDA, it is called Rilutek. Riluzole is the generic name for Rillutek. It extends life by approximately three months.

== About 30,000 people in the U.S. have ALS; 5,600 are diagnosed each year and 5,600 pass away each year.

Here’s a shot of Horton with his paddleboard pals, “The Donkey Crew,” after last year’s race (Tom is third from the left in the front row):

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The Media Learning Curve: Aug. 7-21

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A two-week window to catch up on what seems to be important in the media world before the real shittake mushrooms hit the fan when football straps it on in a week or so (realizing that a week of vacation doesn’t mean there’s more stuff to include in a media notes column, but far more to exclude):

== How does the SEC intend to inforce those who blog or tweet at their events live … also known as: distributing photographs or video of its games in real time for commercial use? (linked here)

== The Tennis Channel and Cablevision have a problem now (linked here), which the NFL Network has no intention of helping mediate.

== Versus’ upcoming 54-game NHL regular season schedule has the Kings and Ducks … wait for it …. still looking … a combined one time. …. and it’s not Anaheim. (linked here). And NBC kicks in with … ziltch (linked here).

== There’s more soccer on TV … yet Jay Glazer is only upset with how ESPN is mocking him (linked here) and (linked here) and (linked here).

== The New York Jets want players to tweet … isn’t that sweet (linked here)

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== New ESPN.com ombudsman Don Ohlmeyer has learned how to sign on to his computer (linked here).

== Nicole Manske … enough said (linked here).

== Are the Cincinnati Bengals keeping up their end of the bargain with HBO’s “Hard Knocks” series (linked here).

== John Madden is still retired, although he says it really hasn’t started … not when you’re having a room with nine 63-inch monitors installed. (linked here)

== ESPN’s Jamelle Hill has another “moment” to reflect (linked here)

== How do you gauge if your blog is a “hot sports site”? (linked here) Aside from asking us — and no, we don’t really see it.

== Rick Chandler at SportsByBrooks.com has an answer to the “Shaq Vs.” theft protection story — it involves Kardashians swinging from monkey bars. (linked here).

== AND FINALLY:

== David Letterman’s Top 10 list related to Brett Favre’s return (not presented by Britney Spears, or Erin Andrews, in a bikini):

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Our Daily Dread: It’s 20 years later — anyone get run over, or the run-around, by Pete Rose lately?

Peter Edward “Charlie Hustle” Rose, Jr.

The inglourious basterd of baseball.

Monday marks the 20th anniversary of baseball commissioner Bart Giamatti making Pete Rose both a major-league martyr and a scorned hero. Rose gambled, and lost, that he could convince those in charge that he deserved all the benefits, and benefits of the doubt, that come in a post-Hall of Fame career — just without the induction ceremony.

On Aug. 24, 1989, Rose didn’t rise to the occasion. The bloom came off with a loud boom. The all-time hit king, as he signs baseballs, managed to ruin his reputation and soil the game’s dignity while a Cincinnati Reds manager, betting on games according to a Giamatti investigation.

For 15 years, Rose denied it. In 2004, on the eve of the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, he came out with a book with a bright red cover called “My Prison Without Bars” and admitted, yes, he made some bets. Daily bets, in fact. On his team. To win. Isn’t that proof that he was committed to excellence?

(Think of it this way — every big-league team is going to win 50 games and lose 50 games. It’s what happens in the other 62 that can make someone rich. Or poor. Or break even).

ESPN plans an “Outside The Lines” perspective of this anniversary with a Sunday episode that focuses on how three people — Fay Vincent, Joe Morgan and Mike Schmidt – perceive Rose’s place in history, past, present and future.

“I think he’s been punished enough, 20 years is a long time,” says Morgan, Rose’ longtime teammate with the Reds and Phillies, since admitted to the Hall. “People go to jail, get out and get on with their lives.”

“That’s not the issue,” says Vincent, who succeeded Giamatti as commmissioner. “If you’re the commissioner, do you want to loosen the anti-gambling sanction and deterent? It’s not about Pete Rose, it’s about gambling in baseball … I do not think there is a chance in hell that Bud Selig will reinstate Pete Rose. I hope I’m right.”

If only Pete Rose had killed someone. Or taken drugs. Or … started a mission to the Dominican Republic each year to bring food and supplies to those in need.

There are frequent Rose sightings around Cooperstown every summer, where he finds a baseball jersey shop, sets up a card table, and scribbles autographs (for a price) to anyone who wants him closer to their heart.

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He also sells stuff on his website (peterose.com). A baseball signed “I’m sorry I bet on baseball” goes for $279 (linked here). A long-sleve white T-shirt with a silk screen of his signature that says the same thing can be had (linked here) for $24.95. But sizes L, XL and XXL are sold out. There only available in sizes that women under 5-feet tall or kids who have no idea who he is could wear.

OK, we’ll take the gray hooded sweatshirt instead (linked here) for $45. What, no XL? Forget it.

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There are so many contradictions on his site — kind of like him. You can also buy an autographed copy of a Rose Sports Illustrated cover — but it’s from 1988, when he got a 30-game suspension for shoving an umpire (linked here). Most collectors probably didn’t even remember that cover. Now they do. Now they may want it. And Pete can get it for them, for $175.

For the same price, there’s a 1999 SI cover (linked here) that has an excerpt from an interview of someone ratting him out. That’s something you want on your wall of fame?

Yes, right next to the deluxe framed 2004 SI cover (linked here) with the headline: “Pete Rose’s Confession,” which sells for $350.

Can he (or his handlers) get any dumber?

Yes.

There are frequent Rose signings in, of all places, Las Vegas. He’s there every weekend and advertises this on his site (linked here). At the Forums Shopping Center at Caesars Palace. It’s in concert with “America’s Handicapper” Wayne Allyn Root’s “Winning Edge” TV show on Saturdays.

There are also frequent Rose signings around the San Fernando Valley. With his second family, Rose is the father of two recent Notre Dame High of Sherman Oaks graduates (one, an actress going by the name Chea Courtney). He has (or had) a $1 million condo on Chandler Blvd., in Sherman Oaks, which the IRS put a tax lien upon in ’04. There’s also reports that he’s in a 4,700-square foot, six-bed and five-bath home in the same area.

Does anyone really want to talk to Pete Rose these days? What’s to gain from it?

For the next 20 years, will there be a re-Pete performance — two more decades of a strange way of begging for forgiveness, followed by some stupid appearance somewhere the puts him in a bad light? Please, not a WWE cameo. Or a Home Shopping Network hawking.

Last time we tried to track him down, it was at least five years ago at, of all place, the Hollywood Park Casino. He was there for a big collectors’ show, signing balls and photos and bats and arms. He refused to be interviewed when we wanted to ask — why in the world, if you’re trying to get back in the game, are you at a gambling facility?

Last month, the New York Daily News ran a blind item, citing no sources, that Selig was “seriously considering” lifting Rose’s lifetime ban. Selig came out a day later vehemently denying that was the case.

Today’s USA Today tries to make a case that you, the fans, think steroid use is a far greater sin than gambling, so Rose’s current situation is ridiculous (linked here).

We’re actually going to try to do Pete Rose a favor — we’re not going to try to talk to him about this whole anniversary thing. The player who Sparky Anderson said was “the best thing that happened to the game since … the game” is best not grant any interviews this weekend. Lay low. Keep your cleat out of your mouth. Don’t inflame the situation.

Wanna bet that doesn’t happen?

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The Media Learning Curve: What was the name of that old ESPN show, “Beg, Borrow and .. Steal”?

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It was actually “Beg, Borrow and Deal,” (still linked here) a sort of a scavenger hunt where teams had to complete a list of sports-related stuff in an “The Amazing Race” sort of frenetic pace and then appear to host Rich Eisen (circa 2002 and ’03) with their bounty at the end to claim their prize.

If it was called “Beg, Borrow or Steal,” then maybe there would have been some copyright infringement on a phrase that everyone uses (talk to Pat Riley about how that works). Or, the creative twist was that, since everyone knew that the word “steal” was implied in the title, they changed it to “deal” because . . . what does it matter, the show only lasted parts of two years.

Eisen, by the way, has a prized possession arrive in L.A. this week (linked here), but that’s a whole other messy topic. The only begging he’s had to do was explain to his current spouse why this former workmate once sent him photos of her in skimpy clothing.

The topic we’d like to embolden ourselves with — is “Shaq Vs.” (linked here) really his reality idea? Or course it’s not. So who really came up with the plan for this “fish out of water” scenario — the pro athlete competes against another pro athlete in their sport? Stevie Nash? Todd Gallagher? David, from the Old Testament?

Our column today (linked here) has more context.

For the record, this email came in this morning from a New York talent agency, asking if we could include this information:

“Steve is a good guy and was a fantastic teammate. He has made great contributions as an Executive Producer on “Shaq Vs. and we are all excited about the show,” said Shaquille O’Neal.

As Steve Nash told the Arizona Republic: “We collaborated on parts of the show,” he said. “I support him 100 percent. I thought the first episode was a fantastic episode, and I can’t wait for the next one.”

Sure, that’ll fly.

By the way, Petros Papadakis was in the running to host this charade. Mike Goldberg, who’s been involved in pro beach volleyball broadcasting, got the job as the host, with Pat Tomasulo and sideline candy Charissa Thompson.

Todd Gallagher, when contacted about his involvement in a lawsuit claiming some credit for this show’s idea, had no comment, but we also found this unsourced story on TMZ.com (linked here) that gives more background.

More media stuff to borrow from other sources that can be presented as original material:

== Bob Costas has a sit-down with Jim Bouton airing on the MLB Network (Sunday, 5 p.m.) that gets into the near 40th anniversary of his book, “Ball Four.” Bouton says on why he wrote it: “I really wanted to share the fun in baseball. That was my purpose for writing it. It wasn’t really a tell-all book. I didn’t have racial comments, all the sexy stories are anonymous. It really was a great environment to be part of, a Major League Baseball team. I got lucky, I was with the right bunch of guys and I kept good notes. … (1970) was a time in our history where people were questioning things, questioning authority, doing things in different ways. You had the Vietnam War, you had men landing on the moon that year, and it [the Seattle Pilots] was a wonderful team. It was an expansion team, the Seattle Pilots. These guys were getting to know each other because they haven’t played with each other. They were always telling stories about their careers and I was sitting there with my notepad.”

A Q-and-A we did with Bouton recently (linked here).

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== When ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 launches its Little League World Series coverage today, check out “reporter” Moises Arias. With Brent Musburger and Orel Hershiser doing the main-game action, the 15-year-old Arias is an actor who, according to the press release, plays “the popular ‘Rico’ character on Disney’s ‘Hannah Montana’ show.” And he was in “Nacho Libre.” And he used to attend grade school in Sherman Oaks.
And he stars in an upcoming movie, “The Perfect Game,” about a team from Mexico that became the first non-U.S. squad to win the Little League World Series in 1957. The film was supposed to have come out by now, but the studio (LionsGate) has pushed it back for some mysterous reasons – maybe because it’s obvious that kids these days aren’t interested in watching anything Little League-related in August.
All 32 games of the tourney will be on either ESPN2, ESPN or ABC, starting with four games today and five Saturday (the U.S. team from the West is represented by Chula Vista).
And by the way, the official name is now “The Little League World Series Presented by Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes Reduced Sugar.” Moms will be happier with that. The final is Sunday, Aug. 30 at noon.

== The MLB.TV offers the rest of the regular season live or in demand for $34.95 (go to this link for more info).

== Versus starts a Tuesday night sports business show hosted by Rick Horrow called “The $ports Take,” starting next week (various times, including 3:30 p.m., repeated at 1 p.m. on Wednesday) and sandwiched around stuff like “Wacked Out Sports,” “Sports Soup” and “Fanarchy.” Episode one includes Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones showing off his new stadium.

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== NBC’s post-Madden existence as an NFL broadcaster will go to at least 2013, and then we’ll see what’s worth what.
The network’s decision to extend its NFL deal two more years and continue the Sunday Night package (with the 2012 Super Bowl), the opening night event and the wildcard weekend means the Peacock is in line with CBS, Fox, ESPN and DirecTV — all will expire in 2013 — and NBC will be paying about $600 million a year, same as Fox and CBS.
The most important part of this deal could be NBC’s ability to continue streaming all of its Sunday night games on NBCSports.com and NFL.com, adding four other camera angles and giving users the ability to pause, rewind and slow the speed of the video.
It can only open the door for the NFL to do similiar things with its other broadcast partners — and make the product easier accessable to all, as if it already isn’t.

== AND FINALLY:

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Boston.com

== Boston Red Sox analyst Jerry Remy returns to NESN coverage of the team’s games starting with tonight’s game against the Yankees at Fenway Park.

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The 56-year-old former Angels second baseman (’75-’77) who became an All-Star with the Red Sox in his first year with the team (’78) and stuck around until ’84, took a leave of absence in late May to recover from cancer surgery and a battle with depression.
Remy told the Boston Globe that he was glad he was able to do a pregame show last Wednesday before returning to the booth tonight.
“To get all this personal stuff out of the way I think was a great thing for me last week. But it is a little bit uncomfortable. You know I’m not a player, I’m just a broadcaster. To have that much attention put on you it means people care about you.”
Remy began broadcasting Red Sox games for NESN in 1988.

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Meanwhile, 63-year-old Nick Charles, the former CNN sports anchor and current Showtime boxing analyst (since 2001) is taking time off for treatment of stage four urothelial carcinoma, or bladder cancer. He started treatment last week at the University of Texas. “Like a fighter, just give me one round at a time and I’ll eventually win,” he said in a statement. “I have a positive attitude, a strong Christian faith, and an amazing support system especially within the boxing family.” Charles has a wife, Cory, a 3-year-old daughter, Giovanna, and three grown children from a previous marriage. Contact Charles at nickboxing@gmail.com.

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Our Daily Dread: Sounds like a broken (bat) record?

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AP Photo/Chris Pizzello
Albert Pujols breaks his bat on a ground out to second base during the fourth inning of Tuesday’s Cardinals-Dodgers game at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday.

The headline was across the top of the USA Today sports section on Aug. 4: “Baseball is getting a grip on broken bats” (linked here).

The story contends that, according to MLB research, incidence of bats breaking into multiple pieces in 2009 is so far down 30 percent from last year.

“We’re still trying to reduce it even further and we are pleased with the results thus far based,” said Dan Halem, the MLB senior VP and general counsel. “We’re not done yet.”

Bats busting up like balsa wood aren’t done yet, either. You see the last two nights of Dodger games?

The photo above of what Albert Pujols did in Tuesday’s game. Later, when the Dodgers’ Orlando Hudson was grounding out to end the seventh inning, the ball went back to the pitcher, but his broken bat nearly took out second base umpire Adrian Johnson, who ran to avoid getting smacked. The shot on the TV screen before the commercial was of the barrel of the bat sitting in shallow center field.

On Wednesday, the Dodgers’ Manny Ramirez shattered his bat in at least five pieces as Cardinals reliever Ryan Franklin jammed him inside. The grounder to short became an adventure for Brendan Ryan, who first had to sidestep the spinning barrel, field the grounder, and throw Ramirez out at first — but miss a shot at trying to start a double play. He lost a chance of trying to get the far easier putout on Andre Either, which put the game’s tying run at second base. That, in effect, could have changed the outcome of the game (the next two hitters failed to bring him in and the game ended with a 3-2 loss).

In the same USA Today story above, it points out that the sale of maple bats has dropped from 52 percent to 45 percent this season, as far as Louisville Sluggers go. Braves catcher Brian McCann, who still uses maple, responded to the stat that broken bats are down 30 percent this year: “I disagree. They might be down, but I don’t know about being down 30 percent. There still seems to be a lot of bats flying around.”

Seems to be correct.

Seems like no matter what they’ve told players to do — put the label up, stop ordering sticks with thin handles, cut back on maple — it’s not that impressive of a decrease.

You’ve decreased, perhaps, the chances of someone getting seriously injured — again — by a flying shard. But you haven’t eliminated it.

And that seems unacceptable.

No, it is unacceptable.

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AP Photo/Ben Margot
The White Sox’s Paul Konerko shatters his bat on a pitch from Oakland Athletics’ Gio Gonzalez in the third inning of a game on Aug. 15.

== More stories recently:
== A sidebar to the USA Today on the bat manufacturers (linked here)
== Another USA Today piece on how bats are made according to player specs (linked here)
== Another follow up on the development of the Radial Bat (linked here)

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Our Daily Dread II: The dirty (not so) little pictures of Erin Andrews

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What’s Erin Andrews’ next move? It’s already been made by, and for, her.

So now, who’s more at fault, the aspiring ESPN sideline reporter for dressing up for the GQ cameras back in April for a spread that has been released in the September issue (check out the sideline-friendly shoes)?

Or the magazine editors, for capitalizing on publishing them at a strange time in her existence?

Or us, for being among those that has chosen to even mention their existence. Now that they’re part of the media circulation, we can’t really ignore ‘em, right?

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Then why do we feel more dirty than Ms. Andrews at this moment?

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It’s still pretty fresh in our minds, hearts and adrenal glands — the story less than a month ago coming out that she’d been secretly videotaped through the peephole of a hotel room undressing, and then it being released on the Internet before ESPN stepped in (as did Andrews’ lawyers) with threats of big-time punishment.

Andrews has also has had to call 911 to get some “a&&holes” parked in a car outside her house to go away because, as she told the operator, and we’re paraphrasing, she’s suddenly become a sports version of freakin’ Brittney Spears.

Andrews has been laying low the last few weeks, awaiting her first assignment on ESPN’s college football coverage, set to launch in about two weeks. Reportedly, she’s also shopping her “story” around to the Oprahs of the TV world to get her side on the Importance of Being Erin.

It’s been far too long, in fact, since another Andrews story has surfaced. We thank GQ for its decision to put these pictures out there, despite what some may say is completely wrong. To our surprise, Columbia University still has a football team, and this provides the evidence.

(Just like GQ provided evidence earlier this year when it posted the photos of Sasha Baron Cohen prancing around as “Bruno” with the Birmingham High football team that got LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines’ jockstrap in a bunch).

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Well, she does clean up nicely.

Like, Philadelphia Inquirer columnist John Gonzalez (linked here), who writes that: “It’s too soon to be treating her as a sex symbol again.” That implies there is an apparent right time for her to be seen as a sex symbol again, but this just isn’t it.

In a story that appeared Tuesday on “Entertainment Tonight,” GQ Style Editor Adam Rapoport said Andrews, back in April when these photos were taken, was “up for doing anything” during the shoot. “It was the ESPN guys who kept saying, ‘Are you sure you want to shoot her in that?” said Rapoport.

Right, wrong or just still ridiculous, the EA Sports Chick, who does work now for EA Sports, remains her own smokin’ gun on an Internet looking for the next thing, or something recycled, to where even boundaries know no boundaries. Let the mud keep flying and expect an ESPN “E:60″ report on this sometime in 2012, when she disappears from the sports landscape and takes up a new career as a probation officer.

There’s more, moron, and hardly just from us:

== The GQ story and photos under the headline “Erin Andrews Can Score: The ESPN reporter, an obsession of the sports-blog set, consistently lands that perfect sideline interview that captures the glory, the heartache, the drama of college football. But until now, we had no idea how good she looks in shoulder pads” (linked here)

== A two-minute video called “sexy (and completely authorized)” that goes with the piece and pretty much offers nothing more except for a saucy soundtrack:

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What you’re missing on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” with the Bengals not showing their stripes

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With the Cincinnati Bengals, right?

What could you be possibly missing?

Episode 1, for starters.

Episode 2 launches tonight (10 p.m.), and according to the HBO turn-it-around-quickly editors, these are the highlights (should you choose to pass on this as well):

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== Quarterback Carson Palmer talks about his high standards for the perfect sports energy drink mix: “I’ve always been a Gatorade snob. Sometimes guys (who mix the drink) half-ass it. They don’t really put the right mixture of the Gatorade powder and water to create the best taste. Some guys mix is watered down. Some guys is too sweet. But (team athletic training staff member) Lemar (Mosley) has a wild-berry fruit punch mix, mixing three or four flavors, and it’s fantastic. That is an A-plus right there.”

== Linebacker Dhani Jones engages in a simultaneous application of acupuncture and an aggressive inside-the-mouth massage. His reaction to how he felt about the therapy: “What do you mean, ‘How do I feel?’ I am getting pain from all directions.”

== Receiver Laveranues Coles invites cameras into his dorm room to demonstrate his unorthodox therapeutic sleep recovery system.

== Receiver Chad Ochocinco visits a local establishment for an evening out on the town, but passes on all offers to buy him a drink. “You see how boring my life is?” he says. “All I have is Twitter.”

When do the cameras go to the police station for the perp lineup?

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Mannywatch, vs. what Manny’s watching (allegedly)

From The Onion Sports (linked here):

Documentary Manny Ramirez Talking About Turns Out To Be ‘Billy Madison’

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LOS ANGELES — After less than five minutes listening to Manny Ramirez describe a “powerful documentary” about a son who struggles to take over his father’s business, Dodgers teammates concluded that the perennial all-star was actually talking about the 1995 Adam Sandler comedy “Billy Madison.”

“I kind of figured it was ‘Billy Madison’ when Manny started talking about ‘the bad man’ who tried to take the company from the opera singer from ‘Saturday Night Live’,” teammate Mark Loretta said. “And when he said the most interesting part was learning that penguins can ‘grow to be as tall as men,’ that pretty much clinched it.”

Ramirez later told his teammates he was looking forward to a new documentary about the the auto industry, in which an overweight man and a skinny man travel across America in an attempt to sell brake pads.

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