With Randy Couture out, there's a big new hole in the middle of your cousin's favorite sport.
Wade Phillips: Peter King Misquoted Me; I Never Said Patriots' Titles Were Tainted: Phillips has a reputation for honesty and bland public statements, so it is a little hard to believe he'd first make a comment like that and then back off it. But of the two of them, King was presumably the one who was actually writing down what was said in the conversation.
Randy Couture Leaves UFC:
UFC President Dana White on Randy Couture: 'His Scumbag Hollywood Agent' Is to Blame: White seems to think that the real reason Couture is retiring is that he wants to get into acting, and that "his scumbag Hollywood agent" told him to leave UFC. White also says, "He hooked up with some Hollywood agent that I bitch slapped about a month ago, and these Hollywood agents are parasites."
UFC Didn't Pay Randy Couture Enough: Paying Couture $250,000 a fight -- even if those pay-per-view bonuses were substantial -- is absurd. Couture's presence can convince hundreds of thousands of people to spend $40 apiece on pay per view, and he ought to be paid accordingly.
Randy Couture on Leaving UFC: 'I'm Tired of Being Taken Advantage Of': "I know Fedor (Emelianenko) just signed with another organization and that's the only real fight that makes sense for me at 44 years old as the heavyweight champion of the UFC. That's the fight I wanted and if that can't happen it doesn't make sense for me to compete with all these other guys. And then obviously that's not going to happen now."
Report: Reds Leaning Toward Dusty Baker: He's a three-time NL Manager of the Year and has had playoff success, even if he doesn't have a World Series ring to show for it. Plus, the Reds have a stable of promising young pitchers just waiting to have their arms destroyed. (Unsolicited fantasy advice: if you're in a keeper league, start taking offers now for Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo and Homer Bailey ...)
Gritty! Scrappy! Hard-Nosed! Your Guide to NLCS Hyperbole: Likely cliche: "Man, this guy really just knows how to win ballgames. The truth: Somehow Josh Fogg and his career 90 ERA+ (100 is average and it's park adjusted, so don't blame Coors Field) have a 60-60 career record.
NLCS Game 1: The Live Blog
NLCS Game 1: The Live Blog, Innings 4-6
NLCS Game 1: The Live Blog, Innings 7-9
Maybe That Guy Wasn't Beat Up for Being a Red Sox Fan After All: It's impossible to say who's telling the truth, but I will stay that fighting over a girl probably happens a lot more than fighting over a baseball team. Just as silly, mind you, but probably more common.
Tony Clark Is in the Catch-Phrase Business: "The only reason I even copyrighted it or patented it was because I have a Christian clothing line myself and that thought process or slogan would fit well with what I was trying to piece together."
Scandal Alert: Arenas Cheats at Halo: For his part, Arenas thinks he's just exploiting a glitch. One that others are taking advantage of, and that therefore he should, too. That should tell you just how little PEDs have to do with basketball; no baseball or football player would ever be caught parroting that logic to anyone about anything.
Pat Riley Still Mad That Antoine Walker Is Fat: I'm all for this. However ... Walker was a victim of a home invasion robbery this off-season, which could deter even the most serious of athletes from their off-season training regimen. Plus, as my colleague Tom Ziller pointed out via e-mail, doesn't Walker have a built-in excuse here? Couldn't he just say, "They took my treadmill AND my SlimFast, I swear!"
Jerry Buss: We'd Consider Trading Kobe: When an owner explicitly says "maybe" on a guy, it create a vacuum in his heart and, if you're Kobe Bryant, in the entire team and city.
Stern: Stop Misquoting Me, NYT: "The headline said 'Stern not taking any action,' but the article will be searched in vain to find me saying that. Now that has been picked up as a fact because it appeared in a New York Times headline."
Vikings Fight: Chester Taylor-Erasmus James: Hmm. A shoulder injury is definitely something that can happen to a guy who has thrown a punch. For the record, the Vikings roster lists James as 6-foot-4, 266 pounds and Taylor as 5-foot-11, 213 pounds.
NFL FanHouse Roundtable: Do the Cowboys Have a Chance This Weekend? Larry: Well, if Wade somehow convinces the Broncos to trade him Champ Bailey, the Bears to trade him Brian Urlacher, and the Giants to trade him Osi Umenyiora all before Sunday, then yeah, there's a chance.