Donde esta Mark Sanchez? He’ll be there Domingo, says el entrenador

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The beauty of Mark Sanchez becoming a major player in the NFL is that the Mexican-American community wants more information about him.

Even though he admits he’s not that fluent in Spanish.

It doesn’t stop the Associated Press from issuing these kind of stories on its wire service (test your high school Spanish 101):

FLORHAM PARK, Nueva Jersey, EE.UU. (AP) — El mxico-estadounidense Mark Snchez, quarterback novato de los Jets de Nueva York, sufre una tendinitis leve en la rodilla derecha, pero no se espera que ello le impida conducir la ofensiva de su equipo el prximo domingo, frente a los Titans de Tenes.

El entrenador Rex Ryan dijo que Snchez “tena una ligera tendinitis” pero particip plenamente en el entrenamiento del jueves. El mariscal de campo de ascendencia mexicana pareci tocarse la rodilla algunas veces y hacer algunas flexiones durante el periodo de 40 minutos del entrenamiento al que tuvo acceso la prensa.

“No es algo tan grave”, dijo Ryan. “El tiene algo. No s cmo describirlo, sino diciendo que es una pequea tendinitis. Pero est bien, quiero decir, particip en todo el entrenamiento y creo que se movi muy bien”.

Por su parte, el coordinador ofensivo Brian Schottenheimer dijo: “Mark est totalmente bien”.

Snchez apareci en el reporte de lesionados del equipo, el jueves por la tarde, aunque se aclaraba que “particip en toda la prctica”.

“Por favor, cercirense de que est en esa lista”, dijo Ryan, lo que caus algunas risas entre los reporteros. “No quise decir nada con eso”.

Quizs s lo quiso decir. Los Jets fueron multados por la NFL la semana pasada por no colocar a Brett Favre en los reportes de lesionados durante el ltimo tercio de la campaa anterior, pese a que el equipo saba que el quarterback se haba roto un tendn del biceps derecho. El club fue multado con 75.000 dlares, mientras que el gerente general Mike Tannenbaum y el ex entrenador Eric Mangini fueron sancionados con 25.000 dlares cada uno.

Muy bien.

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Blackout update: Raiders go dark, Chargers save face

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The Oakland Raiders’ home game against the Denver Broncos will be blacked out locally because the team did not sell out the game in time, the NFL said today.

Games need to be sold out 72 hours before kickoff to avoid a blackout in a 75-mile radius. The Raiders got a one-day extension to sell out their home opener against San Diego on a Monday night but were unable to avoid the blackout against the Broncos.

The Raiders have had two games blacked out each season since taking over ticket sales from Alameda County before the 2006 season. This marks the first division game blacked out during that time.

The Chargers, meanwhile, were able to avoid embarassment and got its blackout lifted, after also requesting a 24-hour extension, for their game against Miami. The game will be shown in L.A. on KCBS-Channel 2 as planned at 1 p.m.

Last week, the Chargers needed a 24-hour extension to sell enough tickets to lift the blackout for its home opener, which they lost 31-26 to Baltimore.

Both of their exhibition games were blacked out, and the team has warned that there may be regular-season blackouts. The team hasn’t had a regular-season blackout since 2004.

The Detroit Lions also fell short of a sellout for their game Sunday against Washington.
More than 10,000-plus tickets were available on Wednesday. Last week, the Lions were able to sell 1,700 available tickets in time for the home game against Minnesota.

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Coming Friday: Banking on Merchant’s expertise

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Boxing remains a relevant sport, despite with mixed martial artists (like Herschel Walker) want to have you believe.

Saturday’s heavyweight title fight between Vitali Klitschko and Riverside’s Chris Arreola at Staples Center has historic consequences — Arreola could be the first Mexican-American to claim the title in this glamorous weight class.

“This one could be big depending on how it goes,” said HBO analyst Larry Merchant, who we will feature in Friday’s media column. “If Arreola wins, it really becomes a big deal. It could put boxing on the front page of a lot of sports sections.”

That’s a whole other can of Sugar Shane-coated worms. The media covering boxing has its feet planted in cable TV and the Internet. Newspapers try, but don’t always succeed, in following it as loyally as they once did. Maybe it doesn’t pack the same punch as it once did, and the 78-year-old Merchant understands the dynamic.

First, it needs a centerpiece, a place where people know — this is where a big event is taking place. Las Vegas has that for the most part, but even that’s pretty watered down.

Can L.A. be the place?

“I don’t think there’s any place where Madison Square Garden once was, or where Vegas is,” said Merchant, a Santa Monica resident for the last 30-plus years. “The casinos selling tickets for the high rollers … they’ll always get the big fights. But I would say outside of Vegas, with L.A. being in the heart of what you can say is Northern Mexico, and the fact that Latinos dominate boxing these days, L.A. is as a big a place as any outside of Vegas.”

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Our Daily Dread: We don’t usually take stock in TV ratings, but …

From the Sports Business Daily, with our commentary in italics:

ABC’s “Shaq Vs.” was the most-viewed sports-based reality TV show of the summer, averaging 3.97 million viewers over five episodes.

Notice how that was couched. How many other sports-based reality TV shows were there this summer? Too many, actually.

The show’s finale, which featured Cavaliers center Shaquille O’Neal challenging swimmer Michael Phelps in a race, was the series’ most-viewed episode with 4.432 million viewers.

Or, at least a million-plus TV sets turned on to “Jeopardy” and “Wheel of Fortune” but too lazy to change the channel afterward.

“Shaq Vs.” showed gains its final three weeks, but no episode finished higher than 46th in the rankings among all broadcast TV primetime shows in a given week.

Shaq also ranks 46th on the Cavaliers’ list of top 50 free throw shooters of all time. When he plays his first game, he’ll drop off that list.

The revival of “The Superstars” on ABC was close behind Shaq’s show, averaging 3.6 million viewers over six telecasts. The show’s premiere drew its highest audience with 4.274 million viewers.
VH1′s “The T.O. Show” scored the largest audience among sports-themed reality shows on cable, averaging 1.4 million viewers over seven episodes, good enough to have the series renewed for a second season.
Pro Football HOFer Michael Irvin’s show “4th & Long” on Spike started strong with 1.175 million viewers for the premiere, but the series never again drew an audience over 1 million for its remaining nine episodes.
Animal Planet’s “Jockeys,” which is in the middle of its second season, is averaging 439,000 viewers. The show averaged 498,000 viewers for 12 telecasts in its first season, which ran from February 6-March 13.

For the record, Keyshawn Johnson’s “Tackling Design” on A&E averaged 512,000 viewers for 11 episodes.

Now you see why.

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More LFL email: ‘Just call it a stripper/bimbo league’

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We follow up this email today (linked here) with one from a female reader:

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“I have to thank you for your article. Lot of very good, and serious female athletes that I know, or work with, were somewhat insulted that the LFL young ladies call themselves athletes…. really?!?

Just call it a stripper/ bimbo league, and have them go at it at an adult club…. all involved will get a better experience, and more $$ can be made…

I am a full time coach at a D1 University, and I was a very successful athlete for over 20 years. I do understand the need to sell this project, but it shouldn’t come at all cost.”

The reader says she also knows Tui Suiaunoa, the defensive coordinator of the Temptation quoted in our column this week. Suiaunoa’s Facebook page has the story, and “just about all of his bar buddies are ready take you down for a revenge,” she writes.

That would be at this link (linked here). We refuse Facebook access. Care to convey what some of the comments that have been posted? Just in case they’re needed in a court of public opinion….

According to Suiaunoa’s LinkedIn.com page (linked here), he lists his occupation as a “bodyguard” for Guil-T Entertainment.

Guilty as charged….

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Our Daily Dread II: More exodus matters — Hammond joins the Kings as an independent writer, paid by the club

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The Kings officially announced today that Rich Hammond, who has been the Daily News’ beat writer for the team the last few years, has been hired as its own beat writer/columnist for LAKings.com.

The move means that the Kings guarantee coverage of their team on a daily basis — home and away — but also with the understanding that, while it pays the writer, it also wants to have the editorial content be “independent” of just appearing to be a team- or fan-based slant on the day-to-day happenings of the organization.

In addition to covering the team practices, games, write feature stories, commentaries and video pieces, part of the deal is for Hammond to continue his popular “Inside the Kings” blog on the team’s official website.

The move allows Hammond to travel with the team fulltime and start providing exclusive content to LAKings.com starting Oct. 1.

“In this changing world as it relates to the landscape and consumption of sports news content, we are making an organizational commitment to give our fans one place to go – LAKings.com – to satisfy their appetite for Kings news and information ” said Kings president of business operations Luc Robitaille. “We feel this is a landmark step for us as Rich will have full editorial control in his new position. Kings fans deserve the best Kings coverage, and we’re excited that LAKings.com will be the new home for Rich’s insightful, objective and thorough reporting and analysis.”

Hammond, also the Daily News sports section’s deputy sports editor, leaves the paper after 10 years, covering the Kings since 2000, fulltime since 2005. The USC graduate also worked for the Orange County Register and the Daily Breeze.

Hammond announced his departure on today’s InsideSoCal.com/kings blog (linked here). In his comments, he wrote:

“I understand that this will raise some immediate, significant questions … To put it as plainly and simply as possible, I will draw a salary from the Kings, but none of the stories and/or blogs I write will be reviewed for approval by any member of the Kings’ staff. … This is not public relations. I have been told, pointedly, by the highest levels of Kings management, that I should continue to report and write as normal. … Be certain of two things: I will not “go easy” on the Kings out of any fear of retribution, just as I will not take gratuitous shots at the team and the organization simply because I have retained the right to be critical. Things will continue on course. Praise and criticism, to the extent I feel either is warranted, will continue to be distributed fairly.”

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Today’s best (or worst … or most memorable … or creepy) reader email

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In response to our column on the Lingerie Football League (LFL) which has its own website (linked here) for any additional information that one may want to procuree, including a replay of Friday’s Temptation-Dream game (linked here):

“I like to have the schedule games of lfl pls.”

Pls, type with two hands next time.

Especially if the other hand is taking cellphone pictures up women’s dresses.

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The NFL Week 3 on your L.A. TV: Time to celebrate the specialness of the 49ers

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The original pick for the Fox game of choice for the L.A. audience this Sunday was Atlanta-New England. That’s because Joe Buck and Troy Aikman were already dispatched there as the pre-determined matchup of the Fox weekend.

But then the Michael Crabtree-less 2-0 San Francisco 49ers, coming off wins against Arizona and Seattle, decided to crash the scene by those deciding which has more local interest, with their arena-league game at the Humphrey Metrodome this Sunday morn. Fox announced this AM that the switch was official.

Quick update of the 49ers roster (linked here): Mike Singletary is the coach, not the late Bill Walsh. Frank Gore, the top offensive player, not Jerry Rice. Shaun Hill is the QB, not Steve Young, Joe Montana or John Brodie. Or Alex Smith.

And those of you dog lovers wanting to bark at the screen with Michael Vick’s return to Philly, too bad. You’ve been Sanchezed.

Also, L.A. Raider fan has the Chargers to blame for not being able to see their team go up against rival Denver in Oakland.

Sort this out amongst yourselves:

SUNDAY:

== 10 a.m., Channel 2: Tennessee at N.Y. Jets (with Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf, instead of Kansas City-Philadelphia, Cleveland-Baltimore and Jacksonville-Houston)

== 10 a.m., Channel 11: San Francisco at Minnesota (with Sam Rosen and Tim Ryan, instead of N.Y. Giants-Tampa Bay, Atlanta-New England, Green Bay-St. Louis and Washington-Detroit)

== 1 p.m., Channel 2: Miami at San Diego (with Dick Enberg and Dan Fouts, instead of Denver-Oakland and Pittsburgh-Cincinnati; Fox has Chicago-Seattle and New Orleans-Buffalo in this window)

== 5:15 p.m., Channel 4: Indianapolis at St. Louis (with Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Andrea Kremer)

MONDAY:

== 5:30 p.m., ESPN: Carolina at Dallas (with Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski)

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Our Daily Dread: The randomness of it all

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AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
The Lasorda Five: From left — Harry, Morris, Tommy, Eddie and Smokey, at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington on Tuesday.

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The real story: The Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery officially installed a painting of Tommy Lasorda on his 82nd birthday Tuesday. The Dodgers’ Hall of Fame manager’s portrait, measuring 5 feet by 4 feet, also corresponds with the Dodgers’ annual visit to Washington D.C. to play the Nationals.

The backstory: How did Mrs. Lasorda manage to have these five characters in one lifetime (see photo above)? There’s kind of a Darwinian circle of life pulldown chart waiting to be painted next based on this photo. Or, it’s a before-and-after photo (with some inbetween) about the effects of Slim Fast.
And what do you we make of these two thieves making off with the portrait minutes after it was well hung and everyone left for a giant pasta reception?

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The real story: Charlena Rector, the mother of banished Chicago Cubs outfielder Milton Bradley, said her son would consider returning to the team if it will have him back. The Cubs suspended Bradley on Sunday for the rest of the season for what amounted to conduct detrimental to the team, one day after he criticized the franchise in a newspaper interview. “All the people on TV keep saying, ‘Oh, Milton has played his last game for the Cubs,” Rector told the Chicago Sun-Times. But, she added, that won’t be the case if Bradley has any say with management. “Milton eats, sleeps and drinks baseball. He loves it. That’s all he wants to do,” Rector said. Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said he decided to send Bradley home after learning of the player’s remarks in the (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald of Illinois. Bradley, who was scratched from Saturday’s lineup with a sore left knee, was quoted as saying, “You understand why they haven’t won in 100 years here.”

The backstory: The Cubs are on the hook for two more years and $21 million with Bradley. Is this any wonder why the Tribune Company has gone bankrupt? No matter how many newspapers Milton Bradley’s mom goes out to buy each morning?
For what it’s worth, Rector said part of her son’s problem with living in Chicago: His 3-year-old son has face racism problems in school. “When racism hit his 3-year-old baby in school, he couldn’t take that,” Rector said in a radio interview earlier this week, according to the Sun-Times. “Parents, teachers and their kids called him the n-word. He didn’t even know it was a bad word until his mom told him.” When asked why her son shared the information only with her this season, Rector said, “Milton is a quiet person. Stuff like that, he keeps to himself. He doesn’t want to talk about that because he doesn’t think anybody cares. It is a heartbreaking situation.”

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The real story: Kristin Armstrong of the United States has won the time trial race at the road cycling world championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland, this morning, likely ending her illustrious career at the top. The reigning Olympic champion timed 35 minutes, 26.09 seconds over two laps of the 16.7-mile course, defeating Noemi Cantele of Italy by 55 seconds. The 36-year-old Armstrong, who won her first time trial world title in 2006, has said she will retire after these championships.

The backstory: The last time an Armstrong retired from cycling … don’t even get us started. Why would Kristin be any different from Lance (no relation).

The real story: Manchester City soccer club is now completely owned by Sheik Mansour, a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family. “Manchester City can confirm that a transaction involving 10 percent of the shares of Manchester City Football Club Limited has been completed,” a statement on the club’s Web site said today. The 10 percent of shares, previously owned by Worldwide Investments Limited, was transferred to ADUG, the wholly owned company of Sheik Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, for an undisclosed sum. “As a result of the transaction, Manchester City Football Club is now 100 percent owned by His Highness Sheik Mansour,” according to the statement.
Since taking control of the club last September, Mansour’s wealth has transformed expectations at the underachieving club. City spent more than $200 million on new players in the offseason in an effort to break into the Premier League’s top four and qualify for the Champions League.

The back story: The headline on this story read: “Man City completely owned by Sheik,” which, at face value, really wasn’t any kind of news.

The real story: Mikhail Prokhorov, known around the world as Russia’s richest man, has a deal to buy a controlling interest in the New Jersey Nets and nearly half of a project to build a new arena in Brooklyn. Prokhorov’s Onexim Group announced the deal today with Forest City Ratner Companies and Nets Sports and Entertainment. They say they have signed a letter of intent to create a partnership for the development of the Atlantic Yards Project. According to the agreement, entities to be formed by Onexim Group will invest $200 million and make certain funding commitments to acquire 80 percent of the NBA team, 45 percent of the arena project and the right to purchase up to 20 percent of the Atlantic Yards Development Company, which will develop the non-arena real estate.
Prokhorov would be the first non-North American NBA owner.

The backstory: What a country. But buy an English soccer team and then pop off, Prokhorov.

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The real story: Phoenix Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes pleaded with Glendale council members Tuesday night to take a deal and let the bankrupt NHL team leave town, according to the Arizona Republic. The Glendale resident and trucking magnate used 2 1/2 minutes allotted him to plead with Mayor Elaine Scruggs and council members to take a $25 million offer from billionaire Jim Balsillie, a Canadian businessman who wants to pack up the team and move it out of Glendale. Council members were unable to respond to Moyes because his comments were not on the agenda. City spokesman Gary Husk reiterated confidence that a local owner will be found and will keep the team in Glendale.

The backstory: Refer to Gretzky’s Rules of Order folks: The NHL’s natural re-migration from the U.S. desert back to its roots in Canada should be encouraged. Motion approved? Second? Bang the gavel and move onto the next agenda item on tearing down the Glendale Arena.

The real story: Stephen Luecke, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., said today that the College Football Hall of Fame is moving from his city to Atlanta. Officials with the National Football Foundation, which runs the hall, told him Tuesday the hall was terminating its agreement with the city. Luecke says South Bend’s agreement with the hall runs through 2010, but that he would consider closing the hall before then. The hall opened in South Bend in 1995 to take advantage of its proximity to Notre Dame. Supporters predicted it would attract more than 150,000 visitors a year, but it drew about 115,000 people the first year and about 60,000 annually after that.

The backstory: That’s how a city gets things done — it lets outsiders make the decisions for them. But Atlanta? Why not Canada?

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(AP Photo/Harry L. Hall, File)
Fifty years ago — Aug. 31, 1949 — Notre Dame coach Frank Leahy, kneeling left, hands off a football to fleet halfback Emil Sitko, with football, as members of the squad look on during the opening day of college football practice in South Bend, Ind. Holding up the shamrock sign are the two co-captains, Leon Hart, left, and Jim Martin, right.
Notre Dame will honor the class of 1949 and all the teams of the ’40s on Saturday.

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If not in Calabasas, how about Lehi, Utah?

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Bryon Russell vs. Michael Jordan. A game of 21. In Lehi, Utah.

Brandt Andersen, owner of the Utah Jazz’s NBA Development League team, has offered a $100,000 to charity if Russell, the former Utah Jazz player out of Long Beach State, takes on Jordan, according to the Associated Press.

During Jordan’s recent Hall of Fame speech, he said he was motivated by Russell’s trash talk toward him during his first retirement. Jordan’s jumper over Russell in Game 6 of the 1998 NBA finals gave the Chicago Bulls a 4-2 series win over Utah. Jazz fans still insist Jordan pushed off Russell.

Andersen says he has spoken to Russell and left a message for Jordan through a mutual friend. Andersen’s suggestion: Jordan vs. Russell during halftime of the Utah Flash’s home opener.

Last week, Russell called out Jordan (linked here) to fly to Russell’s home near Calabasas and play him there, with his friends and neighbors, former NBA players Mark Jackson and Mitch Richmond, having a part in it.

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