Countdown: Fighting cyclists! Biting harness riders! Brooklyn!

The Count learned vodka and plasma don't mix.

The Count loved his Schwinn "Stingray."

The Count went bike riding the other day with The Countess. He doesn’t like to brag, but let’s just say if they were handing out yellow jerseys, well, you know.

Notwithstanding the 94-degree temperatures and 98-percent humidity and the stretch of the green-way that happened to run right through a flood zone that led to water going up to The Count’s knees (while The Countess hovered about 50 yards behind and laughed because that’s what heartless and unfunny souls do in the underworld), it was enjoyable.

Even if at times, it may have looked something like this . . .

Anyway, this seemed like a good week to take a look at something suddenly of interest to the sports world: The Tour de Frenchy! Why? Because we’ve just come to learn that apparently you’re NOT SUPPOSED TO TRY TO WIN the race, even if somebody falls! It’s just not sportsmanlike. You know, I really love it when I don’t have to make this stuff up. We count down . . .


10. Isn’t the point of “racing” to win?

I’m sure you’re not paying attention to the Tour de France because Lance Armstrong isn’t winning. Also because whether the guy from Spain or Luxembourg or Belgium wins, you’re still going to be asking the same question, which is: “How does this affect the Auburn game?” But the Tour de France is getting interesting. It’s almost like not a bike race any more. First, there was this fight the other day between Carlos Barredo of Spain and Rui Costa of Portugal. Neither knows how to punch but by cycling standards it was Ali-Frazier. Barredo claimed Costa elbowed him in the stomach as he passed him. I say, if the ref didn’t see it, it never happened, and maybe Barredo needs to go find comfort in the self-help section at Barnes and Noble.

Note to cyclists: Hook off the jab.

9. But wait, it gets better . . .

It seems there is this unwritten rule — in the unwritten rulebook, in the unwritten book depository, next door to the Easter Bunny’s house — that a competitor should not take advantage of a crash or a breakdown by the race leader by passing him for the overall lead. I’m not sure why this unwritten rule exists. Maybe cycling is concerned that it might get too popular so it prefers if everybody just thinks the sport is stupid. Imagine if this unwritten rule existed in NASCAR. “Kyle Busch crashed! Everybody stop!” Actually, in NASCAR, I think they punch you if you DON’T pass somebody. I know fans would. So during Monday’s stage in the French Pyrénées, which is sort of like Darlington, Spain’s Alberto Contador decided to pass Luxembourg’s Andy Schleck while Schleck was fixing his chain. Contador gained 39 seconds, which was enough to take the overall lead with only four stages left before Sunday’s finale. Said Schleck: “I would not like to take the yellow [jersey] like that. I will take my revenge.” And with that, he slapped Contador in the face with a white glove, turned and walked away. Actually, I made that part up. French cycling fans actually booed Contador after the race. Maybe it would be better if everybody just got participation trophies and juice boxes, huh? What’s the French word for dolts?

8. How about Tyson vs. Litzow on pay-per-chew!

Mike Tyson feasted on Evander Holyfield.

Mike Tyson feasted on Evander Holyfield.

Gary Litzow is ready to take on the "chomp."

Gary Litzow is ready to take on the "chomp."

Keeping with the fighting theme: Of all the pathetic acts we’ve seen in sports, did you ever think the Mike Tyson bite attack would be repeated by anybody? Well, it has. In harness racing! And not by the horse! Gary Litzow, a harness racing driver in Australia, has been suspended after biting the ear of a harness board member, Allan Price, and not romantically. According to an Austalian news service accounting of the incident, “An inquiry by Racing Queensland Stewards heard that an altercation took place at Marburg, west of Brisbane, on July 3, in which Price flung Litzow to the ground. Shortly after, Price had a portion of his right ear bitten off by Litzow.” Both pleaded guilty under AHR 243 of behaving in a way that was detrimental to the industry .” I love that: “detrimental to the industry.” No word of the human race. It’s the most violence associated with a harness driver since Ben Hur. Surprisingly, Litzow did not follow up his his Tyson combination with post-fight commentary, “My style is impetuous, my defense is impregnable and I’m just ferocious. I want your heart. I want to eat your children.” How about Litzow for Tyson? Would that fight come with fries? Paging Don King.

7. Tennis tournament marketing 101

0212_largeThe Count has never understood why professional tennis tournaments have struggled in Atlanta, given the number of ALTA and USTA members here, some of whom are not even obnoxious about it. (Do not get between an “A” women’s player and her quest for a bag tag, less you want to be run over by a Lexus SUV).

So with the news that Andy Roddick is playing this week as the ATP tour returns, an obvious marketing hook became apparent. Brooklyn Decker! She’s the Sports Illustrated swimsuit model. On a lesser note, she’s also Roddick’s wife. Simply suggest that Ms. Decker will be attending the tournament, possibly every session, whether Roddick is playing or not, though exactly when she’ll appear is uncertain. It might also help to have her sing the national anthem. Does she sing? Never mind. Doesn’t really matter.

6. Ladies, in the interest of equal time . . .

51wMz0JT2CLSometimes The Count takes abuse for running gratuitous pictures of attractive women, merely for the sake of satisfying his mostly Neanderthal readership and to artificially pump up page views. Let me just echo the remarks of Captain Renault in Casablanca: “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!”

But in hopes of maintaining my women readership, I feel compelled to reciprocate and give the ladies a little bit of eye candy once in a while. And so, here is Baywatch Ken (Jet Ski and rock-hard abs included).

5. Will Kovalchuk still be scoring 44 goals at 44 years old?

The chances Ilya Kovalchuk ever was going to take the money back in Mother Russia? Nil-ski.

The chances Ilya Kovalchuk ever was going to take the money back in Mother Russia? Nil-ski.

Former Thrasher Ilya Kovalchuk, 27, just signed a 17-year, $102 million contract to remain with New Jersey. Folks who are bashing the Devils for giving such a deal, or bashing Kovalchuk for seemingly anything (it’s what jilted fans do) are missing the point. I know it’s hard for you get your arms on this but this guy really does want to win. If he didn’t, he would’ve taken the money in Atlanta. Or, to a greater degree, from the KHL in Russia. If it was all about glitz, he would’ve taken an offer from Los Angeles. The Devils afford him the best chance to win among the teams that were offering contracts, and the contract is sweet. From the Devils’ standpoint, they get one of the game’s premier goal scorers for an annual salary cap hit of only $6 million (a deal that had been on the table for a couple of weeks). From Kovalchuk’s standpoint, he gets an EXTREMELY front-loaded contract: $80 million in the first eight years, $95 million in the first 10, according to The Count’s sources. The last seven years on the contract? Forget it. Kovalchuk will never see it. He’ll retire or go back to Russia. Or, who knows, the CBA may change between now and 2020, allowing the last part of the deal to be re-done. Never say never. The point is, he gave up nothing financially and achieved his goal: He tested the market, got a great contract and landed with a winning and stable franchise, which wasn’t the case in Atlanta. So this would be a good time for certain knuckleheads in ownership to just say nothing and walk away.

4. Agent gives credit to Thrashers (the ex-GM, not the owner)

Gary Bettman can't be thrilled with how New Jersey is circumventing the salary cap, but he's got other issues.

Gary Bettman can't be thrilled with how New Jersey is circumventing the salary cap, but he's got other issues.

This was classic circumvention of the salary cap by Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello, who’s still one of the league’s best. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman probably would do something about it if he wasn’t busy trying to prevent franchises from going into bankruptcy. Meanwhile, Kovalchuk’s agent, Jay Grossman, had some kind words for former Thrashers general manager Don Waddell. We know that the only nastiness in negotiations with the Thrashers came from owner Bruce Levenson, not Waddell, and Grossman told The Countdown: “I’ve maintained all along that the people who’ve know Ilya the best have always been the most supportive of him, both in terms of how they’ve treated him and how they’ve compensated him, like Lou and Don. When we went out in free agency, we were never comparing apples to apples. We were comparing different locations, teams, offers, the KHL. It was hard to say, ‘This is better than that’ because there were so many factors. But Ilya was very patient and he made the best choice for him. He had a comfort level in New Jersey.” Hope so. He’s going to be there for a while.

3. Breaking up is hard to do . . .

You have to  like it when even a pastor is getting in on the LeBron James bashing. Dan Burgoyne of the NEOchurch in Independence, Ohio, is having people in his congregation put up signs that read, “King James Who? (Signed) God.”  Quoth the pastor:  “We want to make sure that people know the real king doesn’t leave you, He doesn’t forsake you, He is always with you.” OK, it’s starting to get a little thick now. Methinks the pastor should be packaging his spiritual message in some way other than through an NBA player because, like, dude, I think He created NBA free agency and South Beach, too, didn’t He? But I will give credit to the fans from BreakupWithLebron.com who came up with the “breakup’ T-shirts, “It’s not us, it’s you” and the video below:

2. From the ‘For what it’s worth’ department . . .

Bobby Petrino may have lost a few bucks on his house. Anybody want to take up a collection?

Bobby Petrino may have lost a few bucks on his house. Anybody want to take up a collection?

Real estate records show that on March 13, 2007, Robert and Rebecca Petrino (Bob and Becky to pals in Hades) purchased a six-bedroom home in Sugarloaf Country Club for $2.575 million. It has been reported that Mr. Petrino coached an NFL team in Atlanta but we have no record of that. For what it’s worth, that same home sold recently for $1.85 million, closing on July 9. There is no public record of the property changing hands and other time between March 2007 and July 2010, according to online tax and deed transfer records in Gwinnett County. That would translate to a $725,000 loss for Mr. Petrino. Real estate insiders can’t pinpoint the exact reason the home took such a dive in value. But in addition to general declining home values, it might have been the smell of brimstone and the strange items found around the Petrino house: wool of bat, toe of frog, eye of newt . . .

1. And finally . . .

Expect Babineaux to have a little bit of down time.

Danger, danger: Babineaux will have down time.

Remember that felony marijuana arrest of Falcons defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux last December? At first, the goofball denied during a traffic stop he was getting high, despite the malodorous clouds floating in his Escalade. Later, he suggested to a police officer he shouldn’t be charged because his friend had a medical marijuana license in California. Well, Babineaux has pleaded down to three misdemeanors, two of which can be dropped if he stays clean for one year. Bottom line: There’s an outside chance he could skate with only a one-game suspension from commissioner Roger Goodell. One of Babineaux’s game checks comes to $129,411.76 (gross), according to The Count’s accounting sources. That’s about 1,000 quarter-ounce bags of some good stuff.

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35 comments Add your comment

Innocent Bystander

July 20th, 2010
1:45 am

A quick scroll through the countdown and all I saw was Brooklyn Decker. Honestly though, that’s all I wanted to see. I promise to read it all in the morning, JS.

Bob in SF

July 20th, 2010
1:51 am

It give new meaning to Wes Durham saying “The S.S. Babineaux just smoked the ball carrier” or “Jonathon Babineaux is playing hungry today!”
Tip your wait staff, I’ll be here all night.

Heyward22

July 20th, 2010
2:02 am

Schultz, I love the tricycles, great touch! Well placed, made me laugh.

What does the count think about the Hitbatsmen gate? Sounds like all managers have to do is whine and they get what they want from Selig and the MLB rule is failed logic.

Keep up the good stuff!

NCBravesFan

July 20th, 2010
5:49 am

Kiddie faceplants are always a great way to start a Tuesday. Thanks for being there for us, Jeff.

F-105 Thunderchief

July 20th, 2010
6:10 am

A pretty perfect countdown … except (you knew that was coming, right?) Add a “click to enlarge” feature to the Brooklyn Decker photo and it’s a perfect game.

AlwaysAVol

July 20th, 2010
6:30 am

Does Baywatch Ken come with a video camera, cheeseburger, carpet burns, and a Baywatch Skipper dying to sell the video to ET?

AlwaysAVol

July 20th, 2010
6:31 am

F-105, I don’t know what you need to click buddy, … I’ll leave it at that.

Mitch (the one in Rome)

July 20th, 2010
7:12 am

I nearly spit my coffee out on number 9. Perhaps I need to go juice box in the morning to avoid such catastrophes. Jeff, that’s funny stuff. I love the countdown on Tuesdays. I look forward to it.

Thanks man!

layinlow

July 20th, 2010
7:32 am

Jeff knows the exact price of a quarter bag of some good weed. Hmmm?

left to right

July 20th, 2010
7:53 am

Have to say, I’m kinda enjoying the French de World Cup. ALTHOUGH THE Pyrenees are abit meh as far as alpine scenery goes.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

July 20th, 2010
8:04 am

Good Stuff JS- tricycle accidents and a smokin hot girl named Brooklyn. Why even bother working today??

Mister Bicycle

July 20th, 2010
8:31 am

The Tour has been hilarious this year. I like the guys spicing it up, good for tv, ratings are up. It’s not the most exciting sport to watch, but it’s an amazing sports for the knowledgeable fan.

Pi$$onaDawg

July 20th, 2010
8:37 am

The courts are letting Babinexau off way too easy. I hope the NFL isn’t in charge of Pee testing him or we all know he will pass every test. The NFL and NBA are so full of admitted pot smokers so, how are they rarely caught?

bugman

July 20th, 2010
8:48 am

If I was as buff as a pro cyclist, I would need to use a spare tire to cream that guy too.

Cyclists are strange cats and live in a world all their own.

Paddy

July 20th, 2010
8:54 am

Great Tue as usual. Jeff, you are wrong. Petrino did not coach in Atl. I loved how his players refered to him; “he is a mile wide but only an inch deep”. Sort of says it all!

Paddy

July 20th, 2010
8:55 am

Oh and kiddie face plants, priceless!

Cobb Jacket

July 20th, 2010
8:56 am

Good stuff Jeff, glad to hear that things are looking up for Bobby P. Hope all of his future endeavors pay comparable returns. On the upside, he can get a truly pimped out trailer in Arkansas for what that place sold for and have enough left over for a lifetime supply of pork rinds. May he enjoy them in good health.

Miss Minerva Schultz

July 20th, 2010
8:57 am

It was horrid seeing those precious children face plant!

Bob Didier Caught Here

July 20th, 2010
9:31 am

Shultzie!!

One of your best! EVER!! I am still laughing over the Tour De France! Which reminds me back in 2002 I was visiting my brother who lived in the Provance region of France. One day he and I had to go to a department store (yes they still exist in France) and there were these rows upon rows of TV’s showing the Tour. Literally EVERY FRENCHMAN who was in the store was glued to these sets! I thought that I was watching Alabama-Auburn!! That is how intense these french dudes were about the Tour!

Once again, you hit a Homerun with this column my man!

Paul in RDU

July 20th, 2010
9:36 am

Jeff – The fight after the stage wasn’t the only altercation in the Tour this year. An Australian rider was thrown out after pulling a Zinedine Zidane during the sprint at the end of stage 15

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2010/jul/16/tour-de-france-2010

No word on if he said “I just rubbed him”

J.B.

July 20th, 2010
9:51 am

I remain a big fan of Ilya Kovalchuk because he is an exciting player to watch and very pleasant to talk to in person which I had the opportunity to do on a number of occasions, but I am glad he’s no longer with the Thrashers. They need to move past him to succeed and with the change in staff and roster moves this offseason are well on their way to that success. That said, I really think L.A. is closer to hoisting the Cup than New Jersey, Jeff especially since the Devils will likely have to shed a player or two from their roster now. Lastly, excellent Casablanca reference; I love that line.

James

July 20th, 2010
10:32 am

Dang Jeff that’s pricey. You must find better weed in Atlanta than I do…
Or maybe I should just ask Babs…

Pi$$onaDawg

July 20th, 2010
10:34 am

Ladies in the office all cringed and gasped at the child face plants. All the guys laughed like hell. I guess that is why ball players say HI MOM. Mom has compassion & dad says rub some dirt on it and get back out there.

jim

July 20th, 2010
10:50 am

Jeff – When there is a wreck in NASCAR, they do all stop – it’s called a “CAUTION”.

Pi$$onaDawg

July 20th, 2010
10:55 am

jim they stay in position, but the wrecked car does not get back in line where he was when the wreck happened.

KimZ'sPackage

July 20th, 2010
10:59 am

Jim you really don’t know too much do you? A Caution means the cars slow and stay in position while the wreck is cleared. You rarely see a RED flag to STOP the race. RED means STOP and Yellow means Caution. I hope I don’t meet you at a caution light anytime soon.

[...] ♦ Countdown: Fighting cyclists! Biting harness riders! Brooklyn! [...]

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jeff Schultz, Jeff Schultz. Jeff Schultz said: Up late? You get the first look at this week's Countdown? (A harness racer who bites?) http://bit.ly/a8q3lb [...]

Ted Striker

July 20th, 2010
11:25 am

I think I know your accounting source.

Hot Phone Sex Princess

July 20th, 2010
11:38 am

Wait, you guys get B’klyn Decker Roddick and we gals get Baywatch Ken? No fair. You could have at least posted of picture of Jon Hamm in last week’s Celebrity Softball Game at the All Star Game.

Asheville Dawg

July 20th, 2010
12:49 pm

Enjoyed the tricycle racing. Maybe a new sport will evolve for the four and under crowd. I’m calling ESPN now. Finally a Brooklyn worth looking at.

signed

Neanderthal Club of Georgia

StingerSplash

July 20th, 2010
1:22 pm

Mr. Schultz,

It’s curious how you would know the price of a quarter ounce bag of, um, “stuff.”
Perhaps drug testing wasn’t in vogue when your employment began at Cox. And they’d probably find traces of blood in the chili cheese fries pumping through your veins.
Or … maybe your “sources” are just that, shall we say, well-rounded and experienced.

[...] ♦ Countdown: Fighting cyclists! Biting harness riders! Brooklyn! [...]

jim

July 20th, 2010
9:26 pm

KimZ, You don’t know too much do you?

When there is a mechanical problem in a bike race, they don’t all physically stop either. I realize that during a NASCAR caution the cars actually do not come to a halt. Good Lord. Cyclists simply do not press an advantage due to something random like a punctured tire. Now, if someone wrecks the bike (which is Jeff’s analogy) that generally is tough luck, just like in NASCAR. Lance Armstrong crashed a few days ago and skidded across the ground at about 40 mph…it was basically his own fault & no one, except his teammates, stopped or slowed down.

droopydawg

July 21st, 2010
11:17 am

The items about the French bike race and Petrino were absolutely hilarious. Keep up the good work, Schultzie.