Today in sports: A fight with a fire extinguisher may have doomed the Knicks playoff hopes, Andy Pettitte takes the stand in the Roger Clemens trial, and Albert Pujols is not loving the homerless life in Orange County.
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New York Knicks center Amar'e Stoudemire punched a glass encasement surrounding a fire extinguisher minutes after the team lost to the Miami Heat last night. This resulted in what the Knicks are gently calling a "lacerated" left hand, though the scene was grisly enough for reporters to be "kept out [of the locker room] as Stoudemire was attended by paramedics and the Heat team physician," notes The New York Post. When Stoudemire did leave the arena, he did so "with his left forearm and hand heavily bandaged and his arm being supported by a sling." (Pictured above, a very Denver loungewear brace, if you ask us.) A league source tells ESPN Stoudemire will "almost certainly" be out for Game 3, while Knicks power forward Tyson Chandler removed any doubt and declared Stoudemire "out." A team source says Stoudemire was moved to hydrant punching because he was frustrated, possibly because he only got to take 9 shots in Game 2 thanks to noted ball-stopper Carmelo Anthony. It's becoming increasingly obvious to outsiders that Stoudemire and Anthony can't play together, the same way Anthony couldn't play for ousted head coach Mike D'Antoni, who Stoudemire adored going back to their days with the Phoenix Suns. All the blood and locker room tension brought out the best in Daily News Knicks beat reporter Frank Isola, who found the perfect backdrop for Anthony to insist that the team was not in the process of cracking up. Reports Isola:
Anthony, standing on the blood- stained carpet inside the Knicks’ locker room, pleaded ignorance when asked about the Stoudemire incident. It’s unclear if Stoudemire was upset over the Knicks being in a 0-2 hole to the Heat or the fact that he took nine shots in 41 minutes, making six, while Anthony took 26 shots in 45 minutes, making 12.
'I don’t know what happened, to be honest with you,” Anthony said. “I haven’t seen him.'
Perfect. [New York Daily News]
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Andy Pettitte is taking the stand to testify against his former teammate Roger Clemens this afternoon. Clemens is facing charges he lied to Congress in 2008 when he said he never used performance-enhancing drugs. From the accounts coming out of the courtroom, it doesn't sound like Pettitte wants to be there. Washington Post federal court reporter Del Quentin Wilber noted that in his round of testimony prior to lunch, Pettitte spoke in "a southern drawl, answered most questions with one-word responses and seemed reluctant to be on the stand." Just before lunch, Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Durnham began asking Pettitte about the "toll" a season of baseball take on the body, with the pitcher replying "yes" to several questions about how it exhausts joints and muscles. Wilber believes these questions are "likely setting up a discussion by Pettitte about why he was talking to Clemens about performance-enhancing drugs and why he decided to take the substances" after the break. [The Washington Post]
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Some of the more excitable, short-sighted, and rambunctious NFL talking heads have spent the last three days chiding Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan for selecting Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins 105 picks after former Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, because they think it will lead to a quarterback controversy, and possibly Cousins -- acting on orders from veteran signal-caller Rex Grossman, he of the shifty eyes and inexplicable interceptions -- leading a failed coup of some sort. This is ridiculous, even as manufactured off-season storylines go. Thankfully, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh gave the excitable set something new to ponder today during a radio appearance, in which he said the three Super Bowls won by New England under Bill Belichick are "stained" and festooned with "asterisks" because of the increasingly quaint Spygate scandal, in which they filmed other teams relaying in their plays from the sidelines. Harbaugh noted before the end of the interview that he was "going to get accused of accusing somebody of something," which of course is exactly what he did. A forced apology via written statement soon followed, but Harbaugh managed to find a weird, Nixonian semantic wormhole that's probably just going to make things worse, or at least make the coverage more hyperbolic. "I answered a question about playing within the rules and referred to the perception that the Super Bowl championships won by the Patriots and Saints have a stain,” Harbaugh explained. “My reference was to the perception out there that came as the result of the league’s actions.” See, he was only talking about the perception -- widely held, he makes that clear -- that the Patriots cheated. [PFT]
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Albert Pujols hasn't hit a home run this year for the Anaheim Angels and the pressure seems to be getting to him, or at least causing him to get huffy over nothing. For example, it seems Angels hitting coach Mickey Hatcher told a few beat reporters that Pujols was very vocal during the hitters' meeting yesterday before the start of a series against the Twins. What's usually a standard rundown of the various pitchers the team will face in the upcoming series turned into a kind of "pep rally" for the struggling Anaheim lineup, with Pujols front-and-center. Hatcher then reportedly "told a couple of Angels beat reporters before the game that Pujols essentially stood up and told his teammates that he won't be flailing as he is all season, and that he's got first-hand experience with clubs that have conquered losing streaks and hitting slumps to win in the end." You know, baseball talk. But Pujols did not allow Hatcher to break the seal on his impromptu lecture about how everything evens out in baseball. "Mickey should have never told you guys that," Pujols told beat reporters after Monday's game. "That stuff needs to be private. He should have never told the media. What we talked about at the meeting, not disrespecting Mickey, but that stuff should stay behind closed doors." Then, apparently, he said he was going to find Hatcher and discuss it with him -- privately. [Sportsline]
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The $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers has been finalized. Finally. That means no more Frank McCourt, for good. It's the day Dodgers fans have been dreaming of for, well, at least half a decade. And now it's here. [AP]
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