ROCKVILLE, Md. — One of the latest trends in sports uses an old routine to bring fans and players closer together: Wearing eye black, the patches athletes use under their eyes to blot out glare from the sun.
While watching a baseball game, former sales executive Peter Beveridge thought: Why not put team or corporate logos on those little pieces of tape? So he went to patent office, and nine years later is the sole owner of EyeBlack, a multimillion dollar company that last year sold more than six million pairs.
Athletes and fans can buy black patches produced by a variety of companies at hundreds of stores. Wilson, for instance, sells eye black stickers and eye black grease in “a handy tube applicator.”
But EyeBlack owns the patent on under-the-eye tape with logos, pictures, phrases and yes, even bible verses.
When Tim Tebow listed religious psalms on his patches while quarterbacking the Florida Gators and when former USC running back Reggie Bush wore San Diego area code 619 on the tape under his eyes, they were treading on Beveridge territory.
“It was an infringement of the patent but we had no intention of filing a lawsuit,” he said. “Instead, we immediately made the product and sent it to the athletic trainers of both schools.”
EyeBlack is also licensed by Major League Baseball, which is distributing patches to players this spring for use in practice, exhibition games and during the regular season.
“The product is interesting in that offers a new look and a new way for the club to show off its logo,” said Matt Bourne, an MLB spokesman. Continue reading →
Snoop Dogg has a 12-year-old daugther, Cori B, who just released a song called “Daddy’s Girl.”
Cori describes how her famous dad gives her everything: “And you say yes every time, I’m so lucky you are mine / And you spoil me all the time, I’m so glad you’re my daddy!”
Snoop provides the verse, rapping about protecting Cori and being a great provider for her, insisting: “I’m gonna make all her dreams come true.”
Because that’s the kind of guy he is.
The multi-platinum recording artist and entrepreneur is also trying to make some other young ladies’ dream come true by announcing his new part ownership of the Los Angeles Rideretts, an entry into the fledgling Lady Arena Football League.
Don’t believe it? Tryouts are this Saturday at Del Amo Park (703 E. Del Amo Blvd.) in Carson from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.. Those interested in attending should “come prepared in fitted sportswear; shorts, leggings, sports bra, running shoes and/or cleats (not required)” and be prepared to pay a $25 fee.
According to the press release accompanying the announcement, this Lady Arena Football League is an 8-on-8 full contact sport in “lingerie-style uniforms,” planning for a season that opens this May and runs through the summer.
How it differs from the already established Lingerie Football League isn’t clear, but expect some of the same player to go in both operations, since the LFL operates in the winter and ends with a title game on the same day as the NFL’s Super Bowl in February.
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott confirmed today that he is close to decision whether the site of next year’s conference basketball tournament may move from Staples Center after 11 years, and it could possibly be announced as soon as this weekend after he meets with school presidents and chancellors on Saturday.
The contract to continue at Staples Center is tied to the TV rights package, both of which expire this season. New deals with ESPN and Fox have the networks rotating the final starting in 2013, as well as taking a semifinal and quarterfinal game, with all the other contests set to be on the new Pac-12 Network.
The MGM Grand in Las Vegas is the rumored front-runner for hosting the four-day event. Even though the West Coast Conference, Western Athletic Conference and Mountain West Conference currently hold their post-season tournaments in Las Vegas,
Scott said the determining factor would be more on how it fits into a TV schedule and gain the largest national exposure.
The women’s tournament could also be combined with the men’s in the new format and venue.
“I know there’s a lot of speculation,” said Scott. “With our agreements expiring, no decision has been made about next year. We’ve had very extensive request and proposal processes, a testament to AEG and Fox for building this up over the years. It has prestige and statue and is a coveted event.
“Some have bid very aggressively and we have tough decisions to make going forward. We’re in the process of our stakeholder groups meetings. No decision has been made but we’re close to that point.”
Two days after Lenny Dykstra was sentenced to three years of jailtime for his involvement in a grand theft auto and fradulent financial statements (linked here), Sports Illustrated’s David Epstein reveals some more titillating tidbits involving the former Mets and Phillies outfielder who trolled the San Fernando Valley in the current issue of the magazine.
SI’s interviews with law enforcement officials and personal and business associates of Dykstra, as well as police and court records, uncover in the story released today on the SI website (linked here):
== Dykstra used his connection to Charlie Sheen to entice some of his associates into fraudulent activity. He said that Sheen and he were working on a number of ideas including an energy drink and promised his associates pieces a company that never existed.
== A common associate in many of Dykstra’s plans was Robert Hymers, a onetime accountant who became infatuated with Dykstra’s lifestyle, said in an interview with police that one night while working late with Dykstra at the Intercontinental hotel in L.A., he fell asleep and when he woke up, his laptop was gone. Dykstra told him that a prostitute had come in, threatened him with a taser and taken the laptop. That laptop contained personal information of a person that Dykstra attempted to use credit checks for at two car dealerships.
== Dykstra tried to sell Hymers some HGH that he had kept in his refrigerator, explaining that the drug had come from Sheen. Last year, Sheen admitted to SI that steroids put some extra heat on his fastball during the filming of the 1989 movie “Major League.” Sheen did not respond to a series of questions from SI sent to him through his publicist.
== How Galpin Ford in North Hills was the wrong place for Dykstra to try to perpeturate any kind of fraud since its general counsel is Alan J. Skobin, one of five commissioners–essentially a board of directors–of the Los Angeles Police Department.
== Dykstra got a model and mother of five named Jessica Costa into his scheme, convincing her to lease a Porsch 911 under her name that he would make the payments on, with her credit application. No one knows where the Porsche is now.
== Dykstra did a documentary about the $18.5 million home in Thousand Oaks’ Sherwood Country Club that he bought from Wayne Gretzky, calling it “the most beautiful masterpiece ever built.” It was never released, but SI obtained it.
ESPN says today that its ABC telecast of the Lakers-Heat game Sunday from Staples Center was the network’s most-viewed non-Christmas Day regular season NBA game. Ever.
The broadcast averaged 7,037,000 viewers, according to Nielsen, a number extracted from the 4.3 rating. That’s the same rating that a Lakers-Celtics game on Jan. 30, 2011 generated, but at that time, it didn’t represent as many viewers.
The game did a 9.6 rating in L.A. and 13.9 in Miami.
(AP Photo/Nick Ut) Lenny Dykstra speaks to judge Cynthia Ulfig before sentencing for grand theft auto in San Fernando today.
The Associated Press
Lenny Dykstra was sentenced today to three years in a California state prison after pleading no contest to grand theft auto and providing a false financial statement.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Cynthia Ulfig sentenced Dykstra in her San Fernando court room after refusing to allow the former Major League Baseball outfielder to withdraw his plea and said the scam to lease high-end automobiles from dealerships by providing fraudulent information and claiming credit through a phony business showed sophistication and extensive planning.
“He obviously didn’t have the money to get the vehicles,” Ulfig said. “His conduct was indeed criminal.”
The 49-year-old Dykstra has had a series of recent legal troubles and the prison sentence is part of a post-career downward spiral that has included a stint at a sober living facility.
In a rambling and impassioned plea for probation, Dykstra said he has tried to make amends for his past transgressions and said he would be cleared of any wrongdoing had his motion to withdraw his plea been granted.
“I do have remorse for some of the things I’ve done,” he said. “But because I wasn’t a perfect person am I a criminal? Everyone wants to make me out to be a monster. … I’m doing everything in my power to be a better person.”
Dykstra, wearing a gray suit with a blue shirt, was immediately remanded to custody as he walked into the court’s back room, hands in his pockets. Dykstra has earned nearly a year’s worth of credit toward his sentence for time already served.
A Bob Costas-narrated piece on the MLB Network the aired recently looks back at when Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale held out from the Dodgers’ 1966 spring training in a contract dispute — a plan hatched by Drysdale’s first wife, Ginger — and with interviews featuring former teammates Wes Parker and Maury Wills:
Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:
THIS WEEK’S BEST BET
College basketball: Pac-12 men’s tournament, Wednesday through Saturday, Staples Center, Fox Sports West and CBS:
Perhaps the new, improved Pac-12 had visions of its first expanded cash-call hoops tournament playing out as epic as “Project X.” You know this could end badly, right? There seems to be more kids laid out on the front lawn with their red plastic cups empty, and the others who didn’t get arrested are hoping they get an e-vite to the NIT. Time to pull the little guy out of the oven and get down to business. There’s time to clean up this mess. Washington had star guard Isaiah Thomas when it won the last two Pac-10 events (over Cal in ’10 and Arizona in ’11) and should be a viable candidate to do it again with conference player of the year candidate, freshman Tony Wroten. Cal, Arizona and Oregon also have favorable seeds and get to skip the first day’s action. But if you’re looking for some longshot to mess things up, just remember that it wasn’t too long ago — 2009 — when sixth-seeded USC came from the farthest back to snatch the bit. With a slight format tweak, there’s four games starting at noon on Wednesday, and the one to focus on should be fifth-seeded UCLA (18-13, 11-7), the pre-season favorites to win the conference, matched up against 12th-seed USC (6-25, 1-17) at 2:30 p.m.. The Trojans have lost nine in a row, including both to the Bruins in the regular season. Washington State faces Oregon State (noon), and Arizona State meets Stanford (6 p.m.) followed by Utah-Colorado (8:30 p.m.) in the other openers Wednesday, which leads to the quarterfinals on Thursday (as the top four seeds have byes; the USC-UCLA winner meets Arizona on 2:30 p.m.). That funnels into Friday’s semifinals at 6 and 8:30 p.m. Saturday’s final is back at 11:30 a.m. on Channel 2.
The women’s 12-team tournament also starts Wednesday at USC’s Galen Center (games are available on the Pac-12′s YouTube channel), leading into the final on Saturday at 11:30 p.m. on FSN. Michael Cooper’s USC squad (18-12, 12-6) goes in as the No. 3 seed and has a first-round bye, opening Thursday at 7:15 p.m. against the Washington State-Oregon State winner; UCLA (14-15, 9-9) is seeded fifth and faces Arizona on Wednesday at 2:15 p.m.
College basketball: West Coast Conference men’s tournament final: Gonzaga vs. St. Mary’s, 6 p.m., ESPN:
No. 21 Saint Mary’s (26-5) split their regular-season series with Gonzaga (25-5), including a 14-point road loss on Feb. 9. Meanwhile, Loyola Marymount, which lost its first-round game, should be continuing practice as the NIT comes around soon.
MLB exhibition: Dodgers vs. Chicago White Sox, Glendale, Ariz., 12:05 p.m.; Angels vs. Oakland, Phoenix, noon:
Jerry Sands is now wearing No. 23 — Eric Karros’ old number — and taking grounders at first base. Adam Kennedy is wearing No. 3 — Steve Sax’s old number — and turning the double play at second base. Spring has sprung in Arizona, and the practice games are officially taking place. MLB Network also treats this like Opening Day, with the N.Y. Yankees-Philadelphia at 10 a.m., Washington-N.Y. Mets at 3 p.m. and Milwaukee-San Francisco at 6:30 p.m., plus, on delay, Pittsburgh-Baltimore at 10 p.m. and Cleveland-Cincinnati at 3 a.m.
NBA: Clippers at Minnesota, 5 p.m., FSW:
The Clips’ main hope: Derrick Williams and Michael Beasley don’t score 27 apiece again off the bench, and 13 each in the fourth quarter, as they did in a Staples Center guest appearance last week. The T’wolves have 47 wins in their franchise against the Clippers — the most against any opponent.
NBA: Lakers at Detroit, 4:30 p.m., Channel 9:
Let’s see what the residual effect of Sunday’s game against Miami has as the Lakers hit the road. Pistons second-year center Greg Monroe, the 21-year-old out of Georgetown, leads his team in scoring, rebounds and steals. Which explains how Detroit — the team, and the city — has a long way to go for a rebound.
NHL: Kings at Nashville, 5 p.m., FSW:
Weren’t they just here a week ago? Yes, as evidenced by a 2-1 loss. This is the first of four in a row on the road. The Kings have another tough four-game trip at the end of the month, but this could have more of an impact on their playoff prospects. If they’re not careful, they may not be the NHL’s lowest-scoring team any longer.
NBA: Lakers at Washington, 4 p.m., Channel 9:
Wiz center JaVale McGee is one five players to average at least 11.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and two blocked shots this season – along with Dwight Howard, Marc Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Josh Smith. But he’s in a class by himself when it comes to making ESPN “SportsCenter” highlights for stupid moves on the court. The son of former USC women’s star Pam McGee insisted to the Washington Post recently that her kid “is not a knucklehead. JaVale is a good kid. My son is special. He has gifts you can’t teach: hands, height, and heart. If I’m the Wizards and I’m really trying to build a franchise, really committed to rebuilding and developing, I would nurture that talent. I would help a kid like JaVale the best I could.”
NBA: Clippers at New Jersey, 5 p.m., Prime:
The Clippers only beat the Nets by 10 in their last Staples Center meeting a few weeks ago, and that was without Chris Paul. The Nets’ Jordan Farmar has been nursing a strained groin and missed a stretch of games last week, but returned in a 107-94 loss against Boston the other night. In that same game, Nets forward Kris Humphries played 25 minutes and had a minus-32 rating, while guard Deron Williams was minus-31. Every starter, to that point, had a minus rating; every member of the bench who played, including Farmar, had a plus rating.
Tennis: BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells:
The absence of any Williams sister doesn’t matter anymore. The event that gives anyone looking for a spring break in the desert through the final on March 18 includes almost all of the sport’s top names — defending men’s champ Djokovic, runner up Nadal, Federer, defending women’s champ Wozniacki, Sharapova — as well as wildcard entrants such as Thousand Oaks’ Sam Querrey (pictured) and Steve Johnson, the reigning NCAA singles champion who has led USC to three straight NCAA team championships and has returned for his senior year. Television coverage begins in the second round Saturday on Tennis Channel.
NHL: Kings at Columbus, 4 p.m., Prime:
Jeff Carter, meet Jack Johnson, face to face. Care to trade any inside information?
NBA: Lakers at Minnesota, 5 p.m., Channel 9:
The Wolves haven’t beaten the Lakers since March 6, 2007 — the 17 games are the longest active streak of victories in an NBA matchup.
NBA: Clippers at San Antonio, 5:30 p.m., Prime:
No matter how you think the balance of power in the west has changed, the old Spurs still have won 10 in a row against the Clippers and 20 of the last 21 meetings. Included in that is the 103-100 win at Staples Center two weeks ago when Gary Neal hit the 3-pointer to tie it in regulation and the go-ahead 3 in OT to put it away. Tony Parker added 30.
NHL: Kings at Detroit, 4:30 p.m., Channel 13:
At Joe Louis Arena, the Red Wings are … unstoppable? Almost. After an NHL-record 23-game home win streak was snapped recently, Detroit actually had a two-game losing streak on their home ice before beating Minnesota, 6-0, last Saturday. The Red Wings have scored 12 goals against the Kings in two wins so far this season, including an 8-2 decision in Detroit on Dec. 17 when Jonathan Quick was pulled in the first period. Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard (pictured) won both of those games, but he’s been struggling a bit lately since coming back from a broken finger. These two teams will meet again next week at Staples Center.
College basketball: Big West tournament final, 7 p.m, ESPN2; Big East tournament final, 6 p.m., ESPN; Big 12 tournament final, 2:30 p.m., ESPN; WAC tournament final, ESPN2, 9 p.m.; Conference USA tournament final, 8:30 a.m., Channel 2; American East tournament final, 8 a.m., ESPN2; MEAC tournament final, 10 a.m., ESPN2; Southland tournament final, noon, ESPN2; SWAC tournament final, 5 p.m., ESPNU; MAC tournament final, 5 p.m., ESPN2:
Long Beach State, make your case.
MLS: Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake, Home Depot Center, 7:30 p.m., KDOC Channel 56:
Less than four months after hoisting the MLS Cup, the Galaxy kick start a new season, with David Beckham generously agreeing to return. Everyone who shows up gets a championship banner replica. And, if the oddsmakers are right, expect another. The online betting service Bovada (linked here) has the Galaxy as the 2/1 favorites to repeat, with only Seattle (5/1) and Real Salt Lake (7/1) remotely close (and that includes Chivas USA at 40/1). This is the first of 34 in a slate that stretches all the way to the end of October. The ’12 campaign actually begins with a CONCACAF Champions League match Wednesday at Toronto (5 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel).
After the Atlantic 10 (10 a.m., Channel 2), SEC (10 a.m., Channel 7), Big Ten (12:30 p.m., Channel 2) and ACC (10 a.m., ESPN) figure out their automatic bids, then the charts come out. What if the NCAA selection committee does all its slide-rule formulas and comes up with a reason why the Pac-12 shouldn’t be allowed to send any team to the field of 68? Butler, the Horizon League champs the last two seasons who made it all the way to the Final Four both times, didn’t make it out of their conference tournament this year, but still won 20 games. Any room for the Bulldogs?
NBA: Lakers vs. Boston, Staples Center, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7:
Flash back to Pau Gasol tipping away Ray Allen’s last shot to preserve the Lakers’ 88-87 overtime, playoff-fever triumph in Boston on Feb. 9. “I was in the perfect position,” Allen said, “and he came out of nowhere.” The Lakers’ front court — Gasol had 25 points and 14 boards, while Andrew Bynum had 16 points and 17 rebounds — made the Celtics look even smaller and older than usual. The Lakers had more than half their points (46) in the paint. Kevin Garnett was just 6 for 23 from the field and Paul Pierce was 7 for 18, including a clean-look jumper at the end of overtime, which went instead into Allen’s hands. And was knocked away. Another lasting image: The Lakers were just 1-of-15 from 3-point range in this game. Stats Inc., says that the last time they shot worse than that and won on the road was on December 16, 1999 — a 95-88 win in Atlanta despite going 0-for-5 from three.
NBA: Clippers vs. Golden State, Staples Center, 6:30 p.m., Prime:
With their six-game road trip over, a six-game home streak begins. Everyone watch the doors to make sure Clipper Darrell doesn’t try to barge his way in. He could have been hanging out at the early game and is hiding in a restroom.
NHL: Kings at Chicago, 4 p.m., NBC Sports Channel:
The Blackhawks hope to have captain Jonathan Toews back on the ice after a prolonged upper-body injury that knocked him out of their recent road trip. Dustin Brown’s hat trick sparked a 4-0 Kings’ win over Chicago two weeks ago.
NASCAR: Kolbalt Tools 400 Sprint Cup at Las Vegas, 11:30 a.m., Channel 11:
Denny Hamlin is the Sprint Cup points leader coming to Vegas after winning last week in Phoenix. “This is huge momentum,” Hamlin said. “We’ve never been in this position this early in the season. We’ve always struggled, taken our time (going) five or six races in before we hit our stride.”
Sugar Ray Leonard’s golf game could use a little punching up.
So you’ve got to hand it to teaching guru Hank Haney, who right away pointed out to the boxing hall of famer that he wasn’t using his hands enough to get more power out of his swing.
“Can you believe no one ever told me that?” Leonard said on the first episode of Golf Channel’s “The Haney Project,” where the 55-year-old with a membership to Riviera Country Club is one of four star pupils for this installment of the series.
Here’s someone who has been smacking the Titleist around the yard for more than 20 years – starting it at the tail end of his fight career as something to do since he wasn’t in the gym anymore.
Leonard, living with his wife and teenage daughter in the Pacific Palisades, knows about TV reality shows, having once produced “The Contender” boxing series and competed on “Dancing With The Stars.” He explains more why he would subject himself this genre: Continue reading →