sports

Soccer star Christian Benitez dead at 27

Promo photo

Promo photo

DOHAR, QATAR –Christian Benitez, Ecuador’s top scorer from last year died suddenly on Monday at the age of 27.

The striker popularly known as ‘Chucho’ died in the Qatari capital Doha, only a day after his first game for El Jaish.

Benitez was considered an important component of Ecuadorian side bidding to reach next year’s finals in Brazil.

He was ranked the third highest scorer for Ecuador’s national team, with 24 international goals.

Benitez’s agent, Jose Chamorro, told an Ecuadorian television station that Benitez had suffered a heart attack and later died at the hospital. He was rushed to the hospital after complaining of abdominal pains.

Ecuador’s interior minister Jose Serrano tweeted, “Dear Chucho, thank you for your goals and your happiness.”

Sunderland’s Craig Gardner also wrote, “Can’t believe Christian Benitez has died. I had the pleasure to play with him. He was a top bloke. My thoughts go out to his family.”

El Jaish in a statement on their website said, “The club would like to offer its sincere condolences to the family of the player.” Continuing they wrote, “Benitez had recently joined the club from Club America for three seasons. The player participated for the first time with the team during yesterday’s match against Qatar Sports Club in the Sheikh Jassem Cup without complaining of any health problems.

“His sudden departure is a big shock for each member of the technical and administrative staff. He was a player that over the short period he was here was regarded for his high moral character.”


ESPN Friday Night Fights at Thunder Valley

Burgos vs Amidu

Burgos vs Amidu

LINCOLN, CA – ESPN’s Friday Night Fights shined the boxing spotlight on Thunder Valley Casino Resort as Juan Carlos Burgos battled Yakubu Amidu.

Burgos was scheduled to fight Arash Usmantee of Montreal, but Usmantee was unable to fight due to an injury and late comer Amidu stepped in.

Burgos’ last fight in January ended in a gut-wrenching draw against Roman Martinez, with many fans upset with the final outcome and Burgos feeling unfairly treated by ringside officials.

Burgos vs Amidu

Burgos vs Amidu

While Burgos was dealt yet another draw in his fight with Amidu, it appeared both fighters were fine with the decision and more than happy to see the end of the fight, as the sweltering weather was over 100 degree at fight time.

Amidu is stunned in 11th round

Amidu is stunned in 11th round

Amidu’s last fight in April saw a loss from a split-decision to Haskell Rhodes in Oklahoma.

Burgos was able to keep Amidu at bay early on, as Amidu struggled to put together any kind of assault. Burgos utilized the ring and remained a moving target preventing Amidu from mounting any type of attack.

Burgos was relentless with his body punches throughout the fight.

Dos Santos vs Gonzalez

Dos Santos vs Gonzalez

Amidu dominated the third and fourth rounds as he came alive towards the end of round three, backing Burgo into the ropes with some well-timed combinations, but the bell rang too soon sending both men to their corners.

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Feeling the momentum from the third round, Amidu continued his assault on Burgos, but landed a low-blow to Borgos, who immediately went into a crouched position, Amidu was given a warning.

In the 11th round Burgos went on the attack with several combinations that put some hurt into Amidu. It was the first time in the fight that Amdiu seemed phased by Borgos’ combinations.

Dos Santos vs Gonzalez

Dos Santos vs Gonzalez

In the 12th and final round the two went at it realizing the fight hung in the balance as both boxers landed several solid combinations.

In the end, the judges scored it 116-112 for each fighter respectively, with a 114-114 score ruling it a draw.

In a battle of fringe lightweight contenders, Miguel Gonzalez (22-3, 16 KOs) of Cleveland, Ohio put down Brazilian Josenilson Dos Santos (26-2, 16 KOs), eventually knocking him to the mat in the eighth round with a body shot.

Dos Santos on the ropes

Dos Santos on the ropes

The start of the fight saw the mercury rise to 110 degrees. According to ESPN the mat surface was a toasty 132 degrees at fight time.

Dos Santos appeared to be the more active fighter in early rounds, but that was misleading as Gonzalez was obviously in better condition and a better technical fighter than Dos Santos.

Dos Santos Down and out

Dos Santos Down and out

There was a lot of holding with the referee continually breaking the two fighters up.

As the fight wore on you could see exhaustion set in for both fighters, but more obviously with Dos Santos. In the eighth round Dos Santos went down after a body shot from Gonzalez, landing on his butt in his own corner. Dos Santos didn’t get back up as exhaustion got the better of him.

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Huey Lewis bares his “Heart and Soul”

Huey Lewis

Huey Lewis

LINCOLN, CA – Huey Lewis and the News performed before a packed house at Thunder Valley Casino Resort on Saturday.

Lewis is currently touring the country in celebration of the 30 year anniversary of their iconic ‘Sports’ album which included mega-hits such as “I Want New Drug,” “The Heart of Rock and Roll” and “Heart and Soul.”

Selling over 10 million records, ‘Sports’ went on to place second only to Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ in 1984.

In their usual style, the band stormed the stage while a booming heartbeat played in the background. As the crowd cheered, Lewis arrived onstage singing “The Heart of Rock & Roll,” followed by “Heart and Soul.”

Johnny Colla

Johnny Colla

The 64-year-old Lewis weaved his way through the entire ‘Sports’ album as the older audience members sang along.

As he finished side one of the album, he explained to the younger members of the audience, that you had to actually flip the vinyl record over, referring to the original format of the album. However, fans can now get their hands on the ‘Sports 30th Anniversary Edition.‘ The anniversary edition includes re-mastered versions and a second disc with unreleased live versions of the songs.

Read: Huey Lewis has car stolen

Huey Lewis and the horn section

Huey Lewis and the horn section

“We aimed every song on ‘Sports’ to be a hit, so in that sense it’s really a collection of singles,” Lewis told USA Today in an interview, “They were for commercial radio, because that was the only way to success in those days, just before the real boom of MTV. We made no apologies about that mission, and we’re very proud of it in retrospect.”

Original band members on the album were Sean Hopper (keyboards), Bill Gibson (drums), Johnny Colla (sax), Mario Cipollina (bass) and Chris Hayes (guitar).

Performing at Thunder Valley were original members Lewis, Colla, Gibson and Hopper along with John Pierce (bass), Stef Burns (guitar), Marvin McFadden (trumpet) and Rob Sudduth (tenor sax).

Cocktail waitress helps out Lewis

Cocktail waitress helps out Lewis

There were a few songs that were not familiar to some audience members, so when Lewis completed the album and started playing some of their more recent songs (26-year-old songs and newer), the crowd came to life.

Traditionally Lewis and The News perform a few songs a cappella, but they disappointed on this night as the ‘Sports’ album dominated the performance.

Lewis’ gravelly voice has gotten better with age. There were a couple of songs where he struggled to hit the higher registers, but it didn’t matter – it was Huey Lewis.

Photos: Randy Miramontez

Click for more photos

Huey Lewis and The News – ‘Sports’ turns 30

Huey_Lewis_y_The_News-Sports

Photo: Capital Records

It was 30 years ago that Huey Lewis and The News released their iconic album ‘Sports,’ which included mega-hits such as “I Want New Drug,” “The Heart of Rock and Roll” and “Heart and Soul.”

‘Sports’ has sold over 10 million records and in 1984 the album placed 2nd to Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller.’

On May 14, fans will be able to get their hands on the ‘Sports 30th Anniversary Edition.” The anniversary edition will include re-mastered versions and a second disc with unreleased live versions of the songs.

Huey Lewis and The News will be making a special appearance on Dancing with the Stars on April 2 and they will also be paying a visit to Jimmy Kimmel on May 15.

They will be kicking off their U.S. tour in May at the State Theater in New Brunswick, N.J., with dates through late August. This includes a stop at Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln, Calif.

 

Huey Lewis

Huey Lewis and The News performs at Thunder Valley Casino
Photo: Randy Miramontez

Click for photos of Huey Lewis and The News

“We aimed every song on ‘Sports’ to be a hit, so in that sense it’s really a collection of singles,” Lewis told USA Today in an interview, “They were for commercial radio, because that was the only way to success in those days, just before the real boom of MTV. We made no apologies about that mission, and we’re very proud of it in retrospect.”

Original band members on the album were Sean Hopper (keyboards), Bill Gibson (drums), Johnny Colla (sax), Mario Cipollina (bass) and Chris Hayes (guitar). Their tour will include original members Lewis, Colla, Gibson and Hopper, and five newer members.

“Fashionista Daddy” wins Dorito’s ‘Crash the Super Bowl’ grand prize

doritosToday Dorito’s announced the winner of their annual “Crash the Super Bowl” contest with “Fashionista Daddy” walking away with top honors.

Ranked among the most popular ads of the Super Bowl, as measured by USA Today and Ad Meter, tow of Dorito’s user-generated submissions were in the top ten with “Fashionista Daddy” coming in at number four and “Goat 4 Sale” at number seven.

Airing for the first time nationally during yesterday’s Super Bowl XLVII broadcast, “Fashionista Daddy” has earned its creator, 29-year-old Mark Freiburger, the opportunity to work with acclaimed film director Michael Bay on the next installment of the blockbuster “Transformers” movie from Paramount Pictures and Hasbro “Transformers 4.”

Five finalists were chosen from thousands of entries, with each finalist receiving $25,000 and a trip to Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.

Ben Callner’s “Goat 4 Sale” scored the 28-year-old second place.

Since Crash the Super Bowl began in 2007, consumer-created Doritos ads have consistently ranked within the top-five spots on the USA TODAY Ad Meter, and three of the last five years they have scored the No. 1 ranking.

“The Doritos brand has always been about offering our consumers the biggest, boldest opportunities imaginable. And it doesn’t get much bolder than turning over the world’s biggest advertising stage to our fans,” said Ram Krishnan, vice president of marketing, Frito-Lay North America. “We are so excited to award Mark the chance to work with one of the most acclaimed directors of our time. It’s an exciting finish for one of the most exciting engagement programs the Doritos brand has created to date.”

Past winners include:

Super Bowl XLI “Live the Flavor” by Dale Backus
Super Bowl XLII “Message From Your Heart.” By Kina Grannis
Super Bowl XLIII “Free Doritos” by Joe and Dave Herbert
Super Bowl XLIV “Underdog” by William Kyle Gerardi
Super Bowl XLV “Pug Attack” by J.R. Burningham
Super Bowl XLVI “Man’s Best Friend” by Jonathan Friedman

 

Top 10 Super Bowl XLVII ads

rafaeli2f-2-webLast night’s Super Bowl ads have everyone buzzing as ratings roll in. The latest poll released today shows Anheuser-Busch’s heart-tugging spot “Brotherhood” featuring a Clydesdale horse and his former owner taking top spot.

According to USA Today and Ad Meter, “Brotherhood” won by a nose over Procter & Gamble’s Tide spot “Miracle Stain.”

According to AdBowl’s survey released last night, the top honors went to Dodge’s “Farmer” featuring their Ram Truck and the radio voice of the legendary Paul Harvey, with second place going to “Miracle Stain.”

Ad Meter ranks two user-generated submissions from Doritos in the top ten, while AdBowl ranks two low-budget cat commercials in the top ten, with no mention of the Dorito spots. AdBowl wrote in a press release, “Two everyday Internet kitten videos outperformed most of the big-budget commercials.“ Huh? I don’t even recall seeing the commercials they’re referencing.

Looking at AdBowl’s latest update on their website, it appears the cat commercials have gone to the dogs, as they are no longer listed in their top ten list.

One of the most talked about videos has got to go to Go Daddy’s spot featuring super model Bar Rafaeli kissing a nerd.

Ad Meter’s top ten:

  1. Anheuser-Busch: “Brotherhood
  2. Tide: “Miracle Stain
  3. RAM: “Farmers
  4. Doritos: “Fashionista Dad
  5. JEEP: “Whole Again
  6. Kia: “Space Babies
  7. Doritos: “Goat 4 Sale
  8. NFL: “Deion Sanders returns”
  9. Hyundai: “Kid assembles team
  10. Audi: “Prom

AdBowl’s top ten:

  1. RAM: “Farmer”
  2. Tide: “Miracle Stain”
  3. Budweiser: “Brotherhood”
  4. Coca-Cola: “Security Camera
  5. Audi: “Prom”
  6. VW: “Get in Get Happy
  7. Taco Bell: “Viva Young
  8. Kia: “Space Babies”
  9. Jeep: “Whole Again”
  10. Oreo: “Whisper Fight

 

Sacramento King: Going, going, gone!

CaptureThe Sacramento Bee is reporting this morning that the Sacramento Kings have been sold to an investor group out of Seattle.

In a statement released by The National Basketball Association this morning, they said:

“The NBA received an executed Purchase and Sale Agreement for the transfer of a controlling interest in the Sacramento Kings from the Maloof family to an investor group led by Christopher Hansen and Microsoft billionaire Steve Ballmer. The proposed transaction is subject to the approval of the NBA Board of Governors and has been referred to the Board’s committee process for review.”

Sunday night there were reports that the Maloof family had sold the team.

If the deal is approved by the NBA’s board of governors, the team would move to Seattle next season and would be renamed to the Super Sonics, after that franchise left Seattle for Oklahoma City in 2008.A sale price wasn’t release, but the entire franchise is believed to be worth around $525 million.

Sacramento officials are vowing to continue moving forward with plans to bring in a rival investor group and make the case for keeping the team in Sacramento.

“When it comes to keeping the team in our community, Sacramento is playing to win,” the mayor said Sunday night in a prepared statement.

There have been a number of suitors eying the Kings over the past year, but nothing has solidified

Arena operator AEG recently committed $59 million to a downtown project to help build an arena. The deal may prove to be a strong argument to keep the team in Sacramento.

Sleep Train Arena is woefully unsuited for an NBA team and has proved lackluster in drawing larger acts to the arena due to their low capacity compared to larger concert venues in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Let the games begin.

Questions/comments? Email me at randy@sacandbeyond.com or visit SacAndBeyond.com

 

Kicking it at Thunder Valley

Jeff Morris and Justin Baseman - Click for more images

A few weeks ago I covered the Chippendales out at Thunder Valley Casino Resort. If you recall, I really started to question my “maleness,” since I kind of enjoyed the show. So to test my maleness I decided to take in a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) event.

It just so happened that Gladiator Challenge, a promoter of all things MMA, was hosting an event out at Thunder Valley Casino Resort. There were sixteen fights on tap, so I was going to get my fill of fights.

It was nice of Gladiator Challenge to have some really nice young ladies walking around in between rounds letting us know what round it was. I found them extremely helpful.

For those of you who may not know, an MMA event consists of two fighters getting into a cage that resembles a boxing ring, only this ring has a cyclone fence encircling it so spectators don’t end up getting a lap dance from one of the fighters being thrown out of the ring. There are three rounds for non-championship matches and five rounds for championship matches, with each round lasting five minutes each with one minute breaks in between.

The two fighters wear small gloves and have complete control of their fingers, unlike boxing gloves. Some wear little booties while others go barefoot. I guess they probably don’t call them little booties. Let me see – tiny little shoes?

Just prior to entering the ring their faces are given a coat of grease. As the half-naked men enter the ring you get a sense that the grease is bothering them, because that’s when they start looking all mean and nasty like they want to kill somebody.

Jordan Beaver and Sid Finen - Click for more images

Keep in mind this is the first time I’ve watched an MMA match, so I’m still somewhat unclear as to the rules. It appears that once they’re in the ring, they are required to run around in circles screaming at the audience and pounding their chests for effect ““ such brutes.

With sixteen fights scheduled, I thought I would be there for quite some time. Turns out these fights don’t last nearly as long as a boxing match. Most ended just minutes into the first round. A couple went to the second round and that was it. One ended within 45 seconds!

First up were John Younger and John David Reynolds. Reynolds, fists blazing, had Younger on the mat and in less than a minute – BAM! Game over.

In the fourth bout it was Jamie Hantz and John Wigglesworth, with Hantz winning by a technical knockout. Hantz came into the ring kicking and screaming ““ seriously kicking, because he proceeded to kick the crap out of Wigglesworth. I don’t think Hantz threw a punch. All I saw were his legs pumping out the kicks.

Oh, yeah. In between bouts someone had the unlucky role of cleaning up the blood spattered on the mat. Oh, joy.

There were several title fights, which I’ve listed below with the winner in bold.

Light Heavyweight: Don “The Predator” Frye vs. Reuben Villareal
Heavyweight:            Rob “The Caveman” Jackson vs. Josh Appelt
Welterweight:           Jeff Morris vs. Justin Baseman
Super Fight:              Chris Wood vs. Cal Worsham

Jamie Hantz and John Wigglesworth kicking it at TVCR

So did I pass my latest maleness test? Yes and no.

Yes – I found it appalling that these guys would get into a ring and simply beat the crap out of each other for the sport of it, but at the same time I found it oddly entertaining. So I’m counting that as a good thing – in a macho kind of way.

No ““ I couldn’t help but think of the similarities between an MMA fight and the Chippendales. Both are half naked, in good physical shape, and greased down prior to the show.

Since you rarely see men out at a Chippendale performance it’s obvious that guys would rather watch half naked, greased up men, roll around with each other rather than watch them dance around.

Sadly I believe I have failed my maleness test yet again, since I would rather go to a Chippendales show than watch a fight.

The whole blood and sweat spraying all over the ring didn’t work for me, and I found myself surrounded by testosterone laden men.

Now at a Chippendales show, I’m guaranteed to be surrounded by women.

I rest my case.

Free counters!