Monday, December 29, 2008

NBA Player's Minutes "Just Right"; Doesn't Want Any More Or Any Fewer

Detroit, MI (Dec. 29) - In a refreshing change from the whining typically engaged in by NBA players regarding the amount of minutes they play, Detroit Pistons guard Rip Hamilton says his amount of playing time is "just right" and doesn't want to play any less, or any more.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it," Hamilton said after practice yesterday.

Hamilton averages 33:44, which he says couldn't be any better.

"If I play any more than 34 minutes, I get fatigued," the energetic Hamilton said, referring to his frenetic style of running through screens and moving without the ball. "But if I play less than 33 minutes, I don't feel like I'm in rhythm. So everything's just right."

Pistons coach Michael Curry said that when he took the job last July, he was informed of Hamilton's strict regimen and tiny window of optimum minutes.

Hamilton's minutes are right where they should be, and should never change, lest the All-Star guard convulse or collapse

"Oh yes, I was quite aware of it," Curry said after being informed of Hamilton's comments yesterday. "So we hired a special 'minutes coach' who keeps track of Rip's playing time."

The narrow margin of sixty seconds -- to ensure that Hamilton's minutes stay between 33:00 and 34:00 -- is still somewhat of a challenge, though.

Just last week, in a tight game against Oklahoma City, Curry had to pull Hamilton from the game in the middle of a fastbreak. A couple weeks prior to that, Hamilton was inserted into a blowout win over Washington with only 3.3 seconds remaining, to push his minutes played to 33:02.

"It's not always easy," Curry admitted, "but that's what Rip is comfortable at."

The last time the Pistons played Hamilton for longer than 34 minutes, in early December against the Knicks (he played 34:15), Hamilton went into convulsions and had to be removed during the next stoppage of play. In New Jersey earlier this season, Hamilton played just 32:21 and collapsed in the team shower afterward.

Curry says that he plans on playing Hamilton for 33:40 tonight against Orlando, "God willing."

Just in case, team doctors are standing by.

Monday, December 22, 2008

NHL To Hold Some Sort Of Outdoor Event Thingie

Chicago, IL. (Dec. 22) - Curious onlookers have been gathering in recent days near Wrigley Field as quite a lot of activity, very unusual for this time of year, has been taking place around the ballpark.

Sources theorize that the goings-on have something to do with the National Hockey League, believe it or not.

"I saw some trucks with 'NHL' on them," said Dennis Coleman, 36, who works as an accountant near the stadium, as he stopped for a moment to look at workers moving in and out of the ballpark, usually dormant around Christmas time. He said he was on his lunch break.

Coleman and others who refused to be identified said that they heard the NHL was planning to "put something on" inside Wrigley.

"If you ask me, it looks like something pretty big," one onlooker said. "All these trucks and stuff."

Whatever it is, it clearly will be happening outside, which confused many North Side residents who passed by.

"Who the f*** would want to be at Wrigley Field NOW?," one man said. "It's five freaking degrees out. I mean, Jesus H. Christ!"

Rumors then quickly spread that the activity was in preparation of an outdoor NHL event, perhaps even a game.

"You gotta be sh****** me," a local beat cop said. "A GAME? Outdoors? In December?"

A financial planner who would only reveal his first name, Robert, went on his BlackBerry and did some quick research as he waited for the El train.

"New Year's Day! Outdoor game! Blackhawks and Red Wings!" he shouted as he got onto the train.

That information left the dozen or so gawkers in disbelief.

Phone calls placed to the NHL offices in New York were met with a recorded greeting that said the league would be back "after the holidays."

Friday, December 12, 2008

Lions To Peyton Manning: OH NO, OH GOD....NO!!!

Indianapolis, IN. (Dec. 12) - The 0-13 Detroit Lions showed up at the Indianapolis Colts' practice facility today in advance of their game here on Sunday and laid themselves at the feet of Colts quarterback Peyton Manning.

Grabbing onto Manning's ankles, Lions head coach Rod Marinelli began screaming in anguish.

"Peyton, NOOOO! OH GOD, NOOOO. PLEASE don't!!," Marinelli said, begging the Colts' star QB to not seriously hurt his football team.

Lions players then quickly joined Marinelli, sobbing uncontrollably and openly praying that Manning would "show even the tiniest amount of pity" and try to limit his touchdown passes to "no more than six" on Sunday.

Lions linebacker Paris Lenon led the impromptu prayer session, calling his teammates to kneel down, within several feet of Manning. At that point, Lenon began a prayer that lasted nearly three minutes and beseeched Manning to "look inside himself and find compassion" for the winless Lions, who are listed as "bajillion" point underdogs.

As Manning tried to shake Marinelli from his leg, Lions players converged, hugging Manning and otherwise trying to lay hands on him. All the while, Gregorian chants were heard from a portable CD player brought along by Lions PR man Bill Keenist.

Colts players were said to be too awestruck by the spiritual plea to interrupt it.

Manning himself eventually ceased his resistance and bowed his head, holding his hands up and murmuring a prayer of his own. Sources say Manning's prayer was a direct wish that the Heavenly Father have mercy on the souls of the Lions' defensive backs. In the prayer, the sources said, Manning told the Holy Spirit that how much punishment he inflicts on the Lions secondary was out of his hands and instead "in God's."

Marinelli was finally extricated from Manning's leg and then collapsed from emotion. He was then led away on a stretcher.

Colts head coach Tony Dungy, a longtime friend and colleague of Marinelli's, expressed sadness after the incident, which interrupted Colts practice for about 15 minutes.

"Brother Rod isn't heavy. It's a long, long road," Dungy said. "With many winding turns. That leads us to where? Who knows where?"

Then Dungy added, "Rod's a great competitor. I'm sure he'll have his team ready on Sunday."

Monday, December 8, 2008

Area Man Named Greg Thinks Dan Dierdorf Talking To Him

Landover, MD. (Dec. 8) - Friends say that 47-year-old truck driver Greg Philemon enjoys watching NFL games broadcasted by analyst Dan Dierdorf because he's convinced Dierdorf is referring to him whenever he uses the name "Greg" on the air.

Dierdorf works for CBS and is partnered with play-by-play man Greg Gumbel.

Still, Philemon's friends say that he "can't be convinced otherwise" that Dierdorf is speaking to him and not broadcast partner Gumbel.

Greg Philemon (above) is convinced he's the "Greg" mentioned in NFL broadcasts by Dan Dierdorf (top)

"It's kind of sad, really," says long time Philemon friend Robert Maloney. "Greg subscribed to NFL Sunday Ticket on DirecTV just so he can make sure he never misses a Dierdorf game."

Maloney said that Philemon began believing Dierdorf was speaking to him "about three years ago."

"We were all at Ricky's house," Maloney said, referring to mutual pal Richard Meminger, "and the Colts-Bengals were on Sunday Ticket. And it was a Gumbel-Dierdorf game. All of a sudden Dierdorf says 'Greg' and starts talking about the play. So Ricky kids and says, 'Hey, Philemon -- Dierdorf's talking to you!' We were pretty toasted."

But apparently, Philemon took Meminger's words to heart, and said, "He IS?"

"We all kind of looked at each other," Maloney said.

What started out as a curious remark by Philemon to his friends turned into an all-too-real belief.

" convinced....that Dan Dierdorf is talking to him," Maloney said, sighing.

Maloney added that Philemon now even responds to Dierdorf.

"He'll say things like, 'Thanks, Dan', or 'No kidding?', or 'Good point.' He has these conversations with Dierdorf throughout the game. Just last week, he bragged that 'Dierdorf told me that the Colts like to run three wides on first down inside the 20 yard line.'

"I didn't have the heart to tell him that Dierdorf was saying those things to Greg Gumbel, and NOT him," Maloney added sadly.

This Sunday, Philemon is looking forward to "another Sunday with Dan," according to Maloney.

"That's what he calls it: 'another Sunday with Dan.'"

Philemon couldn't be reached for comment, as he was out Christmas shopping, which sources say includes "picking up something for Dan."

Monday, December 1, 2008

Oklahoma City Wants To Return Thunder To Seattle, But Is Still Looking For Receipt

Oklahoma City, OK. (Dec. 1) - Struck by a nasty case of buyer's remorse, the city of Oklahoma City wants to return the NBA's Thunder back to Seattle, but as of this morning hadn't located the receipt the league says is necessary to complete such a transaction.

"No ticky, no washy. That's pretty much what the league is telling us," said Oklahoma City councilperson Renee Wilgard yesterday. "The season is less than sixty days old, so we're still within the window of returns. But if we don't find the receipt, all [the NBA] will give us is league credit."

The Thunder, formerly the Seattle Supersonics, are 2-16 and only Saturday broke a 14-game losing streak.

"They (the NBA) said we could return the Thunder within 60 days," Wilgard said, "but that we would need the receipt. Well, you can't keep EVERY receipt you get! I hope to talk to the manager."

NBA spokesman Frank Meagher said that the league will "cheerfully refund" Oklahoma City's $45.4 million relocation fee, but that without a receipt, "our hands are tied."

"The city is entitled to league credit for 180 days," Meagher explained. "Meaning that they could spend the money elsewhere within the league. But a cash refund is impossible without that receipt."

Wilgard said she "thinks" fellow councilperson Andrew Schmidt "put the receipt in his glove box", but that hasn't been confirmed.

"Maybe Andy still has it in there. Or possibly (city treasurer) Cindy (Kohn) might have it. She's pretty good about that kind of stuff," Wilgard said.

Meagher said several NBA employees have verified that when the deal was consummated, a hand written receipt was slipped inside a bag of complimentary NBA souvenirs that was given to Schmidt at the time of the transaction. Also, Meagher said, a more "official" receipt -- "printed from a computer and everything," was mailed to city hall the next day.

Wilgard thinks that the league should soften their return policy in this situation.

"We've spent quite a bit of money with them," she said. "And we're honest people. It's not like we just tried the Thunder out to impress people then want to return them."

Meagher says if the league bends its rules here, everyone will want to do it. He added that the NBA is "still going round and round" with the New York Knicks about returning Stephon Marbury.

Wilgard says she might try to say that the Thunder were already broken, to defeat the return policy.

"We could always just say that they were like this when we got them," she said. "But like I say, we're honest people. I wish they would just make this one exception."