Soccer coach kicks annoying fan

541334.jpg

Soccer coach kicks annoying fan

From Comcast SportsNet Friday, September 23, 2011
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- Diego Maradona and his deft left foot have struck again, and this time the former Argentina great had to apologize for it. Maradona, who now coaches Al Wasl in the United Arab Emirates, kicked a fan's hand after a match because it was intruding on a photo Maradona was trying to take with a banner of support from his grandson. "As a surprise from my daughters in Argentina and Manchester, they put a sign up for me in the ground that read: 'Grandfather, I'm with you. I love you. Benja,'" Maradona said after a 3-0 win over Emirates in the Etisalat Cup on Thursday. "I'd like to apologize to one of the fans. I was trying to unfurl and see the whole banner and, by mistake, I perhaps injured him." The white banner was attached to a fence, with a throng of fans standing behind it. One of them stuck a hand through the a hole in the fence to lift the bottom of the banner, which had the message in both Spanish and Arabic. The 50-year-old Maradona then pulled the banner down, but the same hand raised it again as several fans tried to get a glimpse of the former Argentina captain. The second time, Maradona appeared to be a bit more perturbed, yanking the banner down with force. When the same fan lifted the banner a third time, it was all too much as Maradona landed a hard kick on the offending hand. He then glared into the camera for the picture. Although he may be more famous for scoring with his own hand, the left-footed Maradona was one of the greatest football players in history. His two most famous goals came in the 1986 World Cup quarterfinals. First, he punched a ball past England goalkeeper Peter Shilton in what has become known as the "Hand of God" goal. Four minutes later, he weaved past four opponents from halfway to beat Shilton for what FIFA later declared the greatest goal in World Cup history. Argentina went on to win the World Cup that year, but Maradona and his teammates lost in the 1990 final. Maradona retired in 1997, but he battled weight and an admitted cocaine habit even before he left the game. He even once fired an air gun at reporters outside his home and was threatened with jail. Maradona turned to coaching in 2008, taking over at Argentina and leading his country to the World Cup in South Africa. But after barely qualifying from the South American region, Maradona unleashed a string of profanities in yet another scandal. Maradona took over as coach of Al Wasl in May. He arrived in Dubai last month to start his two-year contract. His grandson, Benjamin, is the son of Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero and his daughter Giannina.

Does uncertainty for Carson Smith mean Red Sox need bullpen help?

Does uncertainty for Carson Smith mean Red Sox need bullpen help?

BOSTON — Tyler Thornburg’s gone for the season and there’s really no telling when the other set-up man the Sox expected to help in 2017, Carson Smith, will be back.

The Sox have already made inroads, if minor ones, in bolstering their third-base situation and rotation. Smith’s situation leaves a question of whether the Sox will need to pursue help in the bullpen as well.

There's not an easy answer to settle on at this point.

For one, the timetable with the right-hander Smith — whose shoulder has bothered him on the way back from Tommy John surgery — isn’t clear.

“He's in a no-throw [time] through the weekend,” Sox manager John Farrell said Friday afternoon at Fenway Park. “He'll be reevaluated on Monday to hopefully initiate a throwing program. He's responding favorably to the treatment. He continues to rehab as he's been. We have not closed the book in a sense on anything Carson can contribute this year.”

What does this year mean, though? Will they be able to know by July, by the trade deadline?

“Still too early to tell,” Farrell said. “We thought he was days from starting his rehab assignment after his last live BP session in New York [on June 6]. Unfortunately, that was put on hold for the time being. To get into any kind of timeframes, timetables, I don't know that any of us can predict that right now.”

The Sox relievers have done extraordinarily well without either Thornburg or Smith. Can that continue without reinforcements? The bullpen’s ERA entering Friday was 2.94, the second best mark in the majors. Its innings total, 217, was the second. lowest in the majors. 

So it’s not like the entire group is about to collapse from fatigue. But a guy like Joe Kelly, for example, isn’t someone the Sox want to use back to back.

It’s a young group and ultimately an inexperienced group. But Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has already fallen into the trap of trading for premium set-up men twice, and that’s a dangerous road to pursue again. Perhaps a smaller trade makes more sense.

“Well, at this point, we’re open minded to help,” Dombrowski said when asked if he was targeting either third-base or relief help. “I’m not going to get into specifics at this time on what else we’re looking for. Keep an open mind on a lot of ways on which we can improve. We have guys coming back and both the spots, I think Carson Smith is very important to us and our bullpen has pitched great. The other day, we struggled but that was one of the few times we really struggled all year. 

“I think Carson still has a chance to come back and help us this year.”