Wednesday, October 26, 2011
About Last Night: La Russa Doesn't Have Free Nights & Weekends
By Shane Ryan
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Tuesday.
Tony La Russa has taken full blame for the bullpen phone gaffe that may have cost his team a win in Game 5 of the World Series. He promised Cardinals fans this would be the last time he did a funny Russian accent on the phone to try to make Albert Pujols laugh. "Or at least the last time in the playoffs," he said. "You just don't give up high comedy like that cold turkey."
Although NBPA executive director Billy Hunter told Bill Simmons on a podcast that Mavericks owner Mark Cuban proposed dumping the salary cap in favor of an expensive luxury tax, other executives have since said that the idea came from the players' side. Here at Grantland, we're just hoping this has nothing to do with Bill Simmons' incredible ability to mimic the voice of NBPA executive director Billy Hunter on podcasts.
Terrell Owens held his own workout in California, but no NFL teams showed up to evaluate the 37-year-old receiver. In an unfortunate twist, he hired Tony La Russa to inform the NFL owners of the workout, but La Russa mistakenly called Billy Hunter and told the confused union chief that the workout was being held by Cardinals reliever Lance Lynn.
With rumors circulating that Blue Jays manager John Farrell was a top candidate for the vacant Red Sox position, Toronto amended a policy that previously allowed employees to make lateral moves. Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill Kelly Johnson told reporters he wasn't concerned with the change, as he hasn't made a lateral move in years.
Red Sox pitcher John Lackey will undergo Tommy John surgery, likely missing the entire 2012 season. No word yet on whether he'll undergo John Lackey surgery, which is something I just made up that turns total assholes into normal people.
In other Red Sox news, Theo Epstein was officially introduced as the Chicago Cubs' head of baseball operations on Tuesday. Unfortunately, he'll miss most of 2012 with Theo Epstein surgery, a risky brain procedure designed to prevent him from signing John Lackey.
In the ongoing carousel ride that is conference realignment, sources have reported that West Virginia will soon be accepted into the Big 12, a move that has inspired me to experiment with musical text. The school heard the Big 12's voice. In the morning, it called them. The radio reminded them of their home, far away. And driving down the road, they got a feeling that they should have been there yesterday. Country roads, take them home. To the place they belongggggggg. West Virginia. Big 12 conference. Take them home, country roads. (Musical text update: Still doesn't work in 2011.)
After missing one practice for a "family issue," and another for an "academic issue," USC running back Dillon Baxter is no longer a member of the Trojans. "The decision has been made for Dillon Baxter to focus on his academics," head coach Lane Kiffin said. And let me just say how refreshing and surprising it is to finally see an elite college football player who cares so much about his education. I, for one, can't wait to see the stellar grade point average on his next transcript. If he keeps it up, this guy's going to make the quiz bowl team. As long as his love for family doesn't keep him too busy, anyway.