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March 31st 2010: Daily Sports News-Gossip-Headlines

Wednesday Water Cooler – March 31, 2010

Here we go with today’s sports water cooler talk. Here, you won’t just find the straight news; you’ll find the stuff everyone is talking about – the ice breakers, the Twitter Sports Picks and topics…well, basically all the stuff you discuss at the water cooler.

Enjoy!

After a hiatus, the daily news beat is back and there’s plenty to discuss. On a relatively slow news day, we get to do some digging for our stories…and, as a result, we’ve uncovered some quirky gems.

MLB news: Ambidextrous pitcher throws for Yankees in spring training

Pitcher Pat Venditte isn’t a household name but you may have heard of him before. He’s ambidextrous, able to throw with both arms, and he doesn’t take his gifts for granted. Last year in a minor-league game he faced a switch hitter and famously alternated his pitching arm back and forth as the frustrated hitter stepped back and forth from one side of the plate to the other. The umpire eventually broke up the fiasco but Venditte’s legend was born.

Yesterday, he appeared for the Yankees, wearing his customized, six-fingered glove that lets him switch hands.

He allowed one run on two hits and walked one over 1.1 innings against Atlanta. Venditte plans to continue his switchy ways for the foreseeable future since he doesn’t feel his stuff is particularly dominant with one arm over the other. Cool.

Another shout-out goes to an equally astounding pitcher: Jamie Moyer. Now 47 years old, he’s still going strong – and just got named Philadelphia’s fifth starter to open 2010. How much longer can he live, let alone pitch?

NFL news: Dez Bryant flops at the combine

There are multiple schools of thought at the NFL combine – particularly when it comes to 40-yard dash times. For wide receivers, some scouts believe 40 times are crucial. Look at Mike Williams. We all knew he was slower than most tight ends but the Lions took him anyway. Others believe 40 times don’t accurately reflect in-game speed and other skills.

We all know it was a joke for speedy Darrius Heyward-Bey to go before Michael Crabtree last year.

Well, regardless of your school of thought, Dez Bryant raised eyebrows for all the wrong reasons yesterday. Bryant, the Oklahoma State product widely considered to be the draft’s top wideout prospect, clocked in no faster than 4.49 and as slow as 4.60 depending on hand-held times.

Time will tell if Bryant will struggle at the NFL level or if he really does “play faster on tape,” as NFL network analyst Mike Mayock suggested.

NHL news: Blackhawks fans enraged over “mural jinx”

When you haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1961 – yes, longer than the Leafs’ drought – it’s understandable for fans to think of every excuse in the book. Injuries, crazy owner, Marian Hossa on the team…cursed mural?

Huh? Well, believe it or not, some Chicago Blackhawks fans are losing their minds over a giant mural visible from the Eisenhower Expressway. It depicts Jonathan Toews (with an odd pig nose) beside the Stanley Cup.

Fans are convinced the premature cup presentation will jinx their team, which last reached the Stanley Cup Final in 1992 (or, according to the Jean-Claude Van Damme film Sudden Death, 1995. But I digress).

Most of us in sports media have been thrilled to see the return of Chicago Blackhawks fans as a force in the NHL, but I guess this lunacy comes with the territory.

Two much Polish sausage and deep-dish pizza grease on the brain.

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