You may have seen photos of Boston Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who is looking rather, shall we say, portly. Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg saw them and suggested: “Looks like Sandoval spent the off-season in Una Mas Burrito, Venezuela.” . . . Headline at TheKicker.com: Finally embracing the future, Lakers trade Jack Nicholson. . . . At least one open-water swimmer says he isn’t concerned about the sewage-filled venue that will be used during the Rio Olympic Games. American Chip Peterson told ESPN: “ ‘A little bit of diarrhea is worth a gold medal’ is something that I’ve heard from athletes out there.” . . .
Here’s Bill Littlejohn, our South Lake Tahoe, Calif., correspondent: “Liam Neeson, after tantalizing the press with news that he was dating ‘an incredibly famous woman,’ reveals that he was ‘just joking.’ Actually, I hear that he was being in character for Taken 4 in which he will be called on to track down Manti T’eo’s girlfriend.” . . . “Former NFL and CFL running back Ricky Williams has offered up some sage advice for Johnny Manziel,” reports Littlejohn, “but don't forget that SAGE is a medical marijuana.” . . . One more from Littlejohn: “In The People vs. O.J. Simpson, Robert Shapiro is played by John Travolta. In one courtroom scene, he objected by saying ‘Up your nose with a rubber hose.’ ” . . .
Hue Jackson, the Cleveland Browns’ new head coach, has said the club is “going to take a stand” with Manziel. “Right,” notes Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe. “Their previous stands have worked about as well as Custer’s last one.” . . . “Rams owner Stan Kroenke has purchased the 535,000-acre W.T. Waggoner Estate Ranch in Texas,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Kroenke, just to rub it in, reportedly plans to buy the city of St. Louis and move it there.” . . . With pitchers and catchers having reported to training camp, Perry notes: “Eighteen of Major League Baseball’s 30 teams have reached the playoffs in the past three seasons, and 29 of the 30 have since 2002. So, you there in the back row — yes, you, Seattle Mariners . . . Get with it!” . . .
After the news got out that Canadians have been banned from competing on the TV show Jeopardy, Vancouver comic Torben Rolfsen asked: “When did Gary Bettman start producing the show?” . . . Rolfsen, again: “Americans reacted negatively to the FIFA election process, calling it corrupt, biased and nonsensical, before turning their attention back to the GOP debates.” . . . My new favourite NHL player is forward Emerson Etem of the Vancouver Canucks. Why? Each of the Canucks has selected his goal music, something that is played whenever he scores a home goal. Etem’s choice is Come Fly With Me, by Frank Sinatra. It doesn’t get any better than that. . . . I’m thinking we could do worst than have to watch a Stanley Cup final featuring the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals. . . .
After running back Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks tweeted news of his retirement, Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald noted: “Knowing Lynch, he had 136 characters left over.” . . . “Big shakeup on Dancing with the Stars,” Dickson reports. “Judge Julianne Hough is leaving. This will have far more impact on the average American than that opening on the U.S. Supreme Court.” . . . Dickson, again: “Victoria’s Secret is referring to its models as ‘athletes.’ Put high hurdles, a long jump pit and wall to climb over on every runway and then we’ll talk.” . . . After a report claimed the Los Angeles Lakers attempted to deal Kobe Bryant for LeBron James in 2007, Dickson noted: “This would have been the first time two NBA teams ever swapped head coaches.” . . .
It has been interesting to watch some of the Vancouver media mob jump off the Willie Desjardins bandwagon. Scotty Bowman couldn’t get that lineup into the playoffs. At the same time, Mike Babcock is getting a whole lot of breathing room in Toronto with a Maple Leafs team that might not be able to compete in the AHL. . . . And we won’t even mention what’s going on in Edmonton. . . . RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com writes: “The Maple Leafs were recently dead last in the NHL, which hadn’t happened this deep in the season since 1996-97. They’re the only thing in Canada falling faster than the loonie.” . . . Really, shouldn’t it be embarrassing to the NHL to have any team, never mind one of the Original Six, so obviously tanking? . . .
“A new study has found running hard boosts a person’s brain power,” reports Currie. “Finally, an explanation for Cecil Fielder.” . . . You may have heard that Calgary Flames defenceman Dennis Wideman texted that he was only in his predicament — he drew a 20-game suspension for running into a linesman — because of “stupid refs and stupid media.” To which Gord Miller of TSN pointed out: “Refs aren’t stupid.” . . . According to Richmond, B.C., blogger TC Chong: “The Donald says he plans to build a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. In related news, Vegas bookmakers have just made Mexico the favourite for this summer’s Olympic pole vault competition.” . . . “The girls basketball team at Cleveland’s Gilmour Academy beat an opponent 108-1 (last week),” reports Ian Hamilton of the Regina Leader-Post. “Oh well, at least the Philadelphia 76ers tried their best and had fun.”
(Gregg Drinnan is a former sports editor of the Regina Leader-Post and the late Kamloops Daily News. He is at email@example.com and twitter.com/gdrinnan. Keeping Score appears here on weekends, except when it doesn’t.)