Your morning roundup for July 20, the day we failed trying to tell Twins play-by-play man Dick Bremer we went to Staples High, too. H/T to Tim for the photo. Got any stories or photos for us? Tip your editors.
What we watched: U2's apparent destruction of a baseball park near you. According to this report in STLToday.com, when Bono and the boys rolled into town on Sunday, the logistics of their show, which included what was described as "the largest concert stage ever assembled," completely trashed the place. "This is pretty much a complete destruction of your field," said assistant head groundskeeper Bill Findley, who has until Monday to get things in order for the Cardinals' next home game.
The steel assembly is 167 feet tall and transported to and from concert sites by 120 trucks. The U2 tour includes a production crew of 137 workers, which is supplemented at each concert location by some 120 hired hands. Daily costs of the production are estimated to be around $750,000, which does not include the actual construction of the stage.
St. Louis was the last of U2's three stops at baseball parks this summer. Anaheim also got beaten the hell up, while the Marlins were forced to move a series to make way for the band, which at least was sporting enough to pay for its mash-up of Michigan State's Spartan Stadium.
Whatever it takes to end hunger in a world of plenty, right?
CORRECTION: From reader Nate: "Somebody please tell Don that U2 played in Oakland on June 7. If you count the Marlins as a baseball stadium, you have to count the Coliseum. Get it together."
Thanks for the heads-up, Nate. And my name is Dom.
Pro football is the new tobacco: "Seventy-five former professional football players are suing the NFL, claiming it intentionally concealed the harmful effects of game-related concussions for NINETY YEARS. According to the lawsuit, filed today in L.A. County Superior Court and obtained by TMZ, the players and their wives claim, 'The NFL knew as early as the 1920's of the harmful effects on a player's brain of concussions; however, until June of 2010 they concealed these facts from coaches, trainers, players and the public.'" [TMZ (boldface and all-caps are theirs)]
Old men will stare at glowing boxes more frequently: "The change in [NFL] replay involves scoring plays. If an official rules a score (touchdown, field goal, safety or extra point) during a game, the replay official will automatically review the play. If there is any question as to whether the ruling is correct, they will buzz down to the referee and ask him to come to the monitor to review the play. If the replay official confirms the ruling is correct, they will buzz the referee indicating he is clear to let the scoring team attempt the extra point, or kick off if the scoring play was a field goal, safety or extra-point attempt. A coach will not be allowed to challenge the ruling of a score. The intent is to save the coach from having to challenge the ruling of a score and, thus, increase his chances of not running out of challenges or timeouts. Sounds good, but there will be an unintended consequence. There will be a lot more replay stoppages in 2011, and the length of games will increase. Neither of those is good for the game." [FoxSports]
Yao Ming makes his retirement official in Shanghai, David Stern sends "video link": "'Today is an important day for me and holds a special meaning for both my basketball career and my future,' Yao said in comments translated into English. 'I had to leave the court since I suffered a stress fracture in my left foot for the third time at the end of last year. My past six months were an agonizing wait. I had been thinking (about my future) over and over. Today I am announcing a personal decision, ending my career as a basketball player and officially retire. But one door is closing and another one is opening.' Yao said he will return to work with his former Chinese team, the Shanghai Sharks, with the possibility of becoming general manager. He plans to continue his philanthropic work with his Yao Foundation. NBA Commissioner David Stern sent a message via video link."[AP]
Whither Ubaldo?: "For one night, anyway, the whirring of the rumor mill was drowned out by a sound Ubaldo Jimenez is more accustomed to. A standing ovation at Coors Field." [Denver Post]
Freestyle Sky Tower interlude:
Help Awful Announcing replace Joe Morgan on the Mt. Rushmore of awful announcers: They're down to the Elite 8. Today, Stephen A. Smith takes on Craig James. Go vote! [Round 2 Results & Bracket, Smith-James]
We are all Dave McKenna CLI: Here's your daily link to Dave McKenna's brilliant "Cranky Redskins Fan's Guide to Dan Snyder," which we'll be posting every day until Snyder's dumbass libel lawsuit is thrown out, so not that much longer.
And reporters can't help but keep asking him about it, apparently: "'You can't help but think about it sometimes,' Josh Hamilton said before Tuesday's game against the Angels at Angel Stadium. That day, during a game against Oakland, 39-year-old Shannon Stone, a firefighter and father, fell to his death after reaching over the railing to try to catch a ball Hamilton threw into the stands. Hamilton said he doesn't think about it all the time, but since it occurred on the field, it comes up during games, such as when a fly ball is hit his way." [LA Times]
Well, this is dumb: "I think we might have all been hustled by the NFL, its commissioner Roger Goodell and its owners. By we, I mean America. Was the whole lockout actually just a hoax?...Because for the past six months, the NFL has been covered more and talked about more than any offseason in league history. The lockout has conditioned the media to cover the NFL all year. Before the lockout, you would hear people joke 'there is no offseason in the NFL.' Now, there's no doubt. That's just what Goodell and the owners want." [Florida Times-Union]
Planking is out; owling is in: "As the build-up to the 2,000th Test cricket match reaches fever pitch, some of England's cricketers have taken a novel approach to trying to relieve the tension: 'owling.' No, the start of that word isn't missing a 'B.' The cricketers, led by pranksters James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Steve Finn — the latter narrowly missing out on selection for the Lord's Test against India starting Thursday — are leading proponents of the owling trend. This stunt involves squatting on your haunches and staring into the distance, 'just like' an owl (or, dare we say it, a man waiting by the roadside in India). Rotating your head 360 degrees and saying 'Whoooo' isn't necessary." [WSJ]
Peyton Manning reportedly wants to walk out post-lockout: "With the owners and players about to strike a deal for a new collective bargaining agreement, Manning, a named plaintiff in the lawsuit against the league, is reportedly making a power play. According to a report from the Boston Globe, and later confirmed by CBSSports.com, Manning is looking to hit the open market when the lawsuit is settled. Manning would like his current franchise tag from the Colts removed and to never have that designation again. That would take Manning from being locked with Indianapolis for one year at about $23.7 million to an unrestricted free agent, making him a high priority to re-sign for a lucrative long-term deal." [Sporting News]
Everything you never wanted to know about Ben Roethlisberger's soon-to-be bride: "Friends, coaches and others who know Harlan, who celebrated her birthday Sunday, describe the physician's assistant at UPMC Presbyterian in Oakland as smart, athletic and down to earth. 'Ashley is a fine young woman — young lady, I should say,' said the Rev. Jerry McCauley, who was pastor at First Alliance Church for 11 years, including when Harlan was born... 'That is one of the finest Christian families I've ever met in my life,' McCauley said." [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review]