Albert Pujols' wife was insulted that the St. Louis Cardinals wanted to pay her husband $150 million to play baseball, the cash-strapped New York Mets borrow $40 million, and the New Jersey Nets endorse Mikhail Prokhorov for the Russian presidency.
- Last week our colleagues down the hall at The Atlantic wrote a sensible plea to the fine citizens of St. Louis asking them not to be bitter and resentful about the departure of Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols. For the most part they've succeeded, but Pujols' wife Deidre may be testing their patience. Today, she went on the St. Louis-area Christian radio station KLJY and called the Cardinals original five-year, $130 million offer to her husband "an insult." She also pushed back against the team's claim they offered the first baseman a ten-year guaranteed contract. Said Deidre, somewhat confusingly: "The devil has overplayed his hand because I have Christian folk trying to throw the Word in my face." She added that since her husband signed with the Los Angeles Angels she has "never seen hatred spread so fast," which would be hyperbole, if Cardinals fans even hated Albert Pujols a little bit. Which they don't, not really. [St. Louis Post Dispatch]
- The New York Mets lost $70 million last season and are owned by men currently being sued by the bankruptcy trustee for the victims of Bernie Madoff. Financially, the club is not in a good way, which is why owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz took out a $40 million bank loan at some point during the last six weeks. Last year, ownership borrowed $25 million from Major League Baseball. The team has been trying to sell off minority ownership stakes to cover operating costs, but so far has found few takers. Vince Gennaro, a financial consultant who advises multiple big league teams, tells The New York Times the new loan makes the Mets even less attractive as an investment. Even if Wilpon and Katz are able to sell off $200 million of their interest, Gennaro points out they're in a deep hole because of these loans. "[T]he first $65 million has to go out the door," he notes. [ The New York Times]
- The NFL has suspended Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison for one game after he put a helmet-to-helmet hit on Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy in the fourth quarter of Thursday night's game. Browns coach Pat Shurmur put McCoy back into the lineup after just two plays on the sidelines, which angered McCoy's father, a former high school football coach, who told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer that his son was clearly concussed and had no memory of returning to the game and throwing an interception on Friday morning. Now the NFL and NFL Players Association are sending their chief physicians to "hold a joint review about the handling of McCoy's concussion with the Browns" about how they handled McCoy on the sidelines. The NFLPA's early internal review of the situation called McCoy being allowed to reenter the game a "blatant system failure." According to a source, Cleveland's medical staff "didn't conduct the proper testing before sending their quarterback back into the game" and that "it wasn't until Friday morning that McCoy was administered the mandatory Sport Concussion Assessment Tool review (SCAT 2), despite the fact the quarterback had obvious symptoms." The likely outcome of the investigation, according to one source, will be "the placement of independent neurologists at each game site in time for the 2012 season" who will give the final go or no go on whether a player with a head injury can reenter a game. [ESPN]
- New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is running for the Russian presidency against Vladimir Putin. This is quite a risk for the world's 32nd richest man to be taking, considering what's happened to some of Putin's previous political opponents, but he has the complete backing of the New Jersey Nets roster and coaching staff. Witness, the stirring endorsements he received from his players and head coach. [AP]
Head coach Avery Johnson: "He is pretty smart. He has great leadership skills. When you are behind the scenes and you are talking to him you know he is a special person. It wouldn't surprise me. He just wants us to stay focused on basketball. Whatever is happening in Russia will take care of itself in March sometime."
Guard Anthony Morrow. "He is a man of little words, but he's cool, a laid-back guy," said "I can tell he is one of those guys who walks into a room and has this presence about him, a tall guy. He's a good dude. Any conversation I've had with him, he's been cool."
Center Brook Lopez: "I can't say I'm too surprised. He just seems like that kind of guy, very, what's the word I'm searching for, motivated. He definitely likes to be in position to help, help people flourish and help create change."
Point guard Derron Williams: "I don't know enough about him to know his personal background, but I'm sure he can do it."