The A’s decided to attack the new market inefficiency, ambidextrous pitchers, by signing Pat Venditte, who was in the Yankee system for awhile. How he never got a look with New York is anyone’s guess, but Curt Young is already being asked to see if he can learn to throw with his feet.
But why is he a market inefficiency and not just a weird little story? Because Hawaii’s 28-year-old punter, Scott Harding, kicks with both feet. He did his training playing Australian Rules Football, which is convenient given that he is Australian, but he got a scholarship from former Hawaii coach Greg McMackin as a wide receiver. You see, you have to be able to catch in Aussie Rules, too, and Harding could grab the larger more rounded ball with some facility.
He was a slot receiver and punt returner until he was seen kicking with both feet, and suddenly, a fully bearded Rainbow Warrior was born. And he still has caught 34 balls this year.
The next sound you hear is Billy Beane sending him a glove and asking what he knows about being a shortstop.
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Charlie Pierce, who toils for Grantland, Esquire and Pravda for Kids, has caught on to the college football scam that is the four-team playoffs: Nobody likes it, so they want more teams in it.
“It will not be long before we hear calls for an expanded playoff system because the current one is unfair to 'the kids' who play in leagues less beloved by television executives. And it will become a genuine tournament, which means it will get bigger, louder, and all of its faults will become worse.”
And he expected what else? It’s college football, a subsidiary of college athletics, where if there’s a dollar, three hands shoot out to grab it. Naïve bunny rabbit, that Pierceling.
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Smriti Sinha of Vice Sports has discovered that China and the Toronto Maple Leafs are becoming fast television friends as part of a marketing arrangement, just in time for the Leafs to lose 9-2 to Nashville, have fans erupt in deafening boos, and head coach Randy Carlyle declared a dead man walking.
Knowing how that level of joy plays in the People’s Republic, the next few Leafs games will be heavily edited, in exchange for which Gary Bettman will claim that Guangzhou and Shanghai are now on the short list for expansion, with Seattle, Quebec City, Milwaukee and Dar Es Salaam.
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FC Torpedo Moscow player Kirill Kombarov is either the most doting parent ever, or an idiot. Or maybe both.
Either way, he threw a party for his two-year-old son Timofei and hired a . . . no, not a clown . . . and no, not a magician . . . and no, not a jumpy either. A live, real bear. Apparently Timofei saw the bear performing with a circus on television, and well, you know the rest. Muzzled, in a gold tie, and probably fairly pissed about his new day job.
If Timmy’s third birthday is predated by a documentary on Russian air power, Dad is going to have to come up with a Sukhoi SU-47, because we know who runs that house.
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And now, a vicious cat, courtesy Who Ate All The Pies.
Mikael Forssell, a Finnish player who began his career in England, called in late for practice with his current team VfL Bochum Tuesday because he was trapped in his house by a rogue cat that was sitting very close to his car. Of course he was.
But there’s a story, because there always is. Forssell has a serious cat allergy, so much so that if he approached the cat his face would turn into a gigantic boxing glove with ears.
And Dwight Howard didn’t play in Houston Wednesday night after Kevin Durant just called him a cat . . . of sorts.
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And finally, Billy Butler’s nickname, “Country Breakfast,” is going to mean a lot less in his new digs, and “All You Can Eat Kale And Quinoa Bar” just sounds wordy and stupid. Maybe you bitter A’s fans can start him off by calling him “Cespedes” until you get more data.