PUT ME IN, COACH
Albert Pujols is angry at everyday manager Tony LaRussa after Pujols was the only position player not to get into the All-Star Game for the National League. LaRussa clearly needed a safety valve for possible extra innings and figured it would be easier to deal with one of his own. Memo to fans: Most major leaguers don’t give a damn if the game ends up tied every year, because they’re bigger than the game itself.
Reports say Anheuser-Busch is shopping around its Budweiser NASCAR sponsorship and won’t be back with Dale Earnhardt Jr. next season. Studies show that NASCAR fans are sponsor loyal more than 85 percent of the time. And 85 percent of Junior fans are certifiably nuts. Be afraid, Budweiser. Be very afraid.
DON’T HOLD YOUR BREATH
Cincinnati Bengals’ linebacker Odell Thurman has reached the one-year anniversary of his indefinite suspension for repeated violations of the NFL drug policy, meaning that he is eligible to petition Commissioner Roger Goodell for reinstatement. Does the team “pocket veto” mean anything to you, Odell?
WAIT AND SEE
Lakers draft pick Marc Gasol will reportedly wait at least a year to join brother Pau in the NBA, choosing to stay in Spain. Good call, kid. There have been plenty of good years to become a Laker. This isn’t one of those years.
The Portland Trail Blazers may offer Steve Francis a $30 million contract buyout. Forget the “million” part. I’ve yet to figure out how to get anyone to give me $30 for not working.
MONEY IS NO OBJECT
Speaking of obscene dollar amounts, the Pittsburgh Penguins have signed wunderkind Sidney Crosby to a $45 million contract extension. I’m not sure where the Penguins are going to come up with $45 million. I’m not sure they care.
ONE WAY OR ANOTHER
Ron Artest says he wants to retire with the Sacramento Kings. All he needs to do is jump the scorer’s table and go after one more heckler and it’ll pretty much guarantee that.