Cam Newton Is Still Gene Chizik's Golden Calf

Your morning roundup for May 17, the day the greatest two-sport athlete you've probably never heard of turns 99. (Photo by random Auburn student, via SportsFeeder. Full photo here.)

What we watched: A car wreck, basically. A two-and-a-third-inning, 77-pitch, 11-hit, 14-run car wreck. And when it was all said and done, Vin Mazzaro, the pride of Hackensack, N.J., was told to take his 22-plus ERA all the way back to Triple-A Omaha.

The Royals were scrambling for pitching after their starter exited with just one out with a shoulder injury. They turned to Mazzaro, who was scheduled to start today. "My thinking was I could get five innings out of him and keep us in the ballgame," said Ned Yost. "But it didn't work out that way."

No, it did not. There's a bit of history here, as no reliever has given up 14 runs in an outing since Truman was in office, and no one's ever done it in as few innings. But we suggest Mazzaro commiserate with teammate Joakim Soria, who also gave up 14 runs — in the entire 2009 season. (Barry Petchesky)

What we're watching: It's the first time since 1998 that neither the Spurs nor the Lakers have earned a spot in the Western Conference Finals, and this brief spell of something like parity is something to celebrate. The Dallas-OKC series is alluring because — as simple a storyline as it may be — it is the old order taking on the new. We're almost watching a generational battle, dad trying to punch the shit out of the son. Rick Carlisle won't even let Jason Kidd, the best slow point guard in the league, go head-to-head with Russell Westbrook, the kid who likes spin moves off his first step. The match-ups will need some adjusting: Shawn Marion will get the nod against Kevin Durant, while Serge Ibaka will try to stop Dirk Nowitzki's jumper, which is of course an impossible task. Still, Dallas just outrightly needs a title more than any other team remaining. Their guys are all in their 30s; OKC's top four are all 23 or younger and the team superstar still lives with his mom. Dirk Nowitzki seems to be operating half off of his will in this post-season, and it'll be great to see him attempt to pick apart the new kids. Game 1's at 9 Eastern tonight. (Emma Carmichael)

Elsewhere

At last, someone sticks up for the plutocrats of America: "'Both sides raise valid points, and this is a case in which one party or the other likely will suffer some degree of irreparable harm no matter how this court resolves the motion for a stay pending appeal,' the majority wrote. 'We do not agree, however, with the district court's apparent view that the balance of the equities tilts heavily in favor of the Players. The district court gave little or no weight to the harm caused to the League by an injunction issued in the midst of an ongoing dispute over terms and conditions of employment.'" [ESPN]

The NBA: Where union-busting happens: "The details, spelled out in an April 26 memo issued by National Basketball Players Association Executive Director Billy Hunter, marks the league's push for a major overhaul of the NBA's economic model and emphasizes to players an aggressive bid to significantly slash costs and shorten contracts. The memo was sent to all NBA players and was dated just days prior to the league delivering to the union a new labor proposal, which a source said still included the $45 million hard cap but added a phase-in of the cap over a few years. Union president Derek Fisher publicly dismissed the latest proposal as too similar to the original proposal. The memo's most eye-popping element is the league's proposed $45 million hard cap, which cuts the current $58 million soft cap by nearly 25 percent." [SBJ]

Olympic marathoner's death gets progressively weirder: "[Sammy] Wanjiru came home Sunday about 11:30 p.m. with a woman, his wife arrived soon after and an argument broke out, Jasper Ombati, the police chief of the area where Wanjiru lived, told The A.P. 'They got into an argument,' Ombati said. 'His wife locked them in the bedroom and ran off. He then jumped from the bedroom balcony. He is not here to tell us what he was thinking when he jumped. We do not suspect foul play. In our estimation, he wanted to stop his wife from leaving the compound.' Reached in Italy on Monday morning, Federico Rosa, Wanjiru's agent, said he, too, could not believe that Wanjiru had killed himself. 'I am 100 percent sure there was no suicide,' Rosa said. 'That's completely out of the question.'" [NYT]

Cam Newton Is Still Gene Chizik's Golden Calf

A couple angry men: "'Once the trial was over, I got on the Internet and saw how much incriminating evidence was out there that we weren't allowed to see as jurors,' Steve Abfalter, a juror [in the Barry Bonds trial] from Antioch, Calif., said. 'So knowing what I know now, it would be hard to handle if the conviction was thrown out because he was obviously so guilty.' … On a third perjury charge, which claimed that Bonds lied when he said he never was injected by someone other than his doctor, the jury voted, 11 to 1, for his conviction. 'Bonds ought to be on his knees thanking God for the naïveté of that one juror,' said James Stephens, a juror from Livermore, Calif., who voted to convict Bonds on all charges. He added that the holdout juror had initially voted for conviction on that count during the jury's deliberations but changed her mind the next day." [NYT]

This story about Heat-Bulls is so stupid that the fact it quotes the guy who wrote Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance isn't even the dumbest part: "The contrast is simple — one represents the game and the other represents the player. … This series — which continues with Game 2 on Wednesday — has come down to the glory of team basketball vs. the glory of the individual.It is old-school NBA against the generation of me." [Washington Examiner]

All is far from well in Yankeeland: "Before long they were wrestling among the clubhouse urinals, and Johnson was shoving Gossage into the shower, and by the time order was restored Gossage had a torn thumb ligament in his pitching hand and the season was lost. That was The Bronx Zoo, the one that once inspired Steinbrenner to fume: "Is it too much to ask teammates to be friends once in a while?" This is the Bizarro Zoo. This is the Yankees in 2011, a team in which, apparently, the captain of the team can get in Dutch with his bosses for being too kind to his best friend." [NY Post]

Today in Derek Jeter's batting line: .255/.312/.314

Days since "Cap'n" got his "crunch" back: Nine

Cam Newton Is Still Gene Chizik's Golden Calf

Cowboys cheerleaders hold auditions, TV station runs 800-picture photo gallery: "I'm from Illinios, but I just moved to Lewisville to tryout for the cheerleaders. They're role models to me, and I grew up watching them and everything the cheerleaders stood for." [The 33 News]

If the Thrashers move, at least Atlanta knows what it's like to lose an NHL team: "You can always tell when the commissioner of the NHL has his back against the wall. He immediately starts looking for messengers to shoot." [The Globe And Mail]

You can probably afford the NHL's Qatari broadcasting rights: "The pro league on Monday unveiled a tender process for international media rights to live hockey games to be sold throughout Europe and the hot tropics of the Middle East and Africa. The NHL said Evolution Media Capital will conduct an open auction for the foreign rights to live NHL games covering the 2011-12 through 2014-15 seasons." [The Hollywood Reporter]

Pitchers & Poets' 1990s First Basemen Week rolls on: Tributes to the Cardinals' non-McGwires, "Frehnlos McOlergado," Rico Brogna, proto-J.T. Snow Pete O'Brien, Saved by the Bell, John Olerud, Fred McGriff, and many, many more. [Pitchers & Poets]

Cam Newton Is Still Gene Chizik's Golden Calf

New Japan takes New York: The legendary wrestling promotion put on their first ever New York show this weekend. [PWInsider.com]

Drew Magary and Chris Jones talk prose, dicks: "I think it's really easy to fall into this mentality where you're a Big Writer with Important Ideas and a Big Dick, and the second that happens you become unbearable. You can see the strain when people write like that. Just read any review at Pitchfork." [Son of Bold Venture]

Emma Carmichael talks Odd Future, white boys with black faces: "Young white men, Tyler masks strapped on, were clamoring for that right on Friday, while the women tried to find a place for themselves. That meant either dancing awkwardly onstage, because that's what seems true to the form, or retreating to the back, amongst the stripper-bitch-faggot-asses, and watching passively from a distance." [The Awl]