Sunday, March 3, 2013

Family of Tigers' Brayan Villarreal escapes armed kidnapping

Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Brayan Villareal is breathing a bit easier today after his family was unharmed after an armed kidnapping attempt in his native Venezuela.

The Tigers confirmed Sunday that the family of relief pitcher Brayan Villarreal was the target of an unsuccessful armed kidnapping on Friday night in Venezuela.

No members of Villarreal's family were harmed, however, and the incident won't require him to leave spring training.

Villarreal was not with the team on Sunday when it played the Braves. His next scheduled appearance is for Monday's game in Lakeland against the Braves.

Tom Gage of the Detroit News also confirmed that there was gunfire involved in the attempt.

It's not uncommon for players and their families from Latin and South America to become targets for financial gain. Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos was kidnapped and freed less than two years ago.

Hopefully the Tigers will help Villarreal get his family out of there so they'll never have to live through something like that again.

Florida Panthers have their goaltending coach in uniform

It's been quite a while since we've seen a player/coach in any sport. Today that came to an end.

With a little misfortune the Florida Panthers had no choice but to suit up their goaltending coach, Rob Tallas.

How did this happen? On Saturday, Jose Theodore tore his groin against the Carolina Hurricanes. So the next option was to call up minor league netminder, Jacob Markstrom, from their San Antonio affiliate. Problem solved. Not so fast. Markstrom made it to Florida for the game but his equipment didn't. It was lost with the other luggage at United Airlines. So that left Tallas as their lone option as the back up to Scott Clemmensen. So they signed the 39 year old coach to a one day contract until Markstrom's equipment arrived.

Tallas played 99 games in his NHL career, most recently in 2000-01 with the Chicago Blackhawks. He posted a career save percentage of .891 with the Hawks and Boston Bruins compiling a 28-42-10 record. So for those keeping score at home, that's 12 years in between games wearing a team sweater and gear for Tallas. (

Good thing that he didn't have to hit the ice. It might've turned out bad for the Panthers but good for anyone intrigued by seeing a coach actually playing and knocking off some rust in the process.

Grambling State completes a winless regular season

You gotta have a soft spot for the Grambling State Tigers basketball team. After getting losing once again, this time to Alcorn State (again), the Tigers managed to complete a winless regular season going 0-27.

Through 27 games you have to figure the law of averages would've kicked in by now. You have to win at least one game. Besides they play in the SWAC not the ACC. Not exactly known as a powerhouse conference. I know the chances are very slim but they do get a chance to make it to the NCAA tournament.

I doubt it happens, since they lost very game by double figures. Their closest loss was a 10 point loss to Prairie View A&M. They've lost by 40 points four times and by 50 to Auburn. Not exactly the Dukes and Kentuckys of the world.

The Tigers do have a chance for one win and a little March magic when the SWAC tournament starts. They'll be facing Alabama A&M on March 13. We'll see if the Tigers can get their one shining moment before their season officially comes to a close.

You have to feel for the kids that had to go through one of the worse seasons in college basketball history. But there is some upside since the only way you can go is up.