Monday, April 6
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Truth & Rumors
Canseco: Ramirez likely on steroids list
Jose Canseco laughs and offers his theory. A-Rod was exposed only when his name was leaked from a list of 104 major leaguers who in a 2003 test showed up positive for steroids. Because the test was anonymous, those names were not supposed to be made public. But in Canseco's mind, baseball's power brokers know who is on it: players he is sure will be seen as toxic if the truth comes out. He says this, despite the fact that A-Rod isn't being treated as toxic, nor are other players who were caught up in the steroid scandal but publicly apologized, including Miguel Tejada, starting shortstop for the Houston Astros, and Andy Pettitte, a starting pitcher with the New York Yankees. Why didn't Manny Ramirez get a long-term deal? Canseco asks. Why were owners gun-shy about signing arguably the game's best hitter? Never mind that Ramirez was asking for a mega-deal at age 36. Or that he was negotiating in a sickly economy, while weighed down by the heavy baggage of a surly reputation. Canseco will have none of it. To Canseco, the drawn-out negotiation, the lack of a long-term deal, the lack of interest all raise red flags, and so he tells the Bovard crowd that Ramirez's "name is most likely, 90%," on the list. Canseco admits later that he has no way of knowing. But it makes sense to him, so he threw it out there -- kaboom! -- swinging for the fences, still. (Los Angeles Times)
Posh home confinement for Vick
Michael Vick will be a nearly free man soon, able to gaze at a placid lake from his five-bedroom house here or take a dip in his backyard swimming pool. The suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback will be able to exercise on one of the five workout machines in his 3,500-square-foot brick home. He could watch a movie on his 50-inch flat-screen television. Or he could just relax and listen to the birds chirping in the tall, thin pine trees surrounding his neighborhood on Haywagon Trail. Vick, who is serving a 23-month federal prison sentence for his role in a dogfighting conspiracy, is scheduled to be released two months early from prison in Leavenworth, Kan., to home confinement on May 21. In practice, though, Michael Vick doesn't appear to be getting special treatment. Federal Bureau of Prisons officials declined to comment on the specifics of Vick's release, and they did not respond to a request for related records under the Freedom of Information Act, except for sending an automatic e-mail reply. Generally, though, a spokeswoman for the federal agency said it is not unusual for federal inmates to be released early to a halfway house or to home confinement. Vick initially was to be released into a halfway house, but all such facilities in this area are full, so he was given home confinement, said Daniel Meachum, his business manager and one of his attorneys.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Is Thabeet tough enough for NBA?
I don't need to talk to a scout to get mixed emotions about Hasheem Thabeet. I've watched and played enough basketball in my life to know the kid has obvious talent and rare size and agility, but lacks one thing that makes me wonder if he will be an effective player at the NBA level: grit. His size has allowed him to dominate at the college level, but you can't help but notice that whenever he goes up against aggressive opponents he winds up on the floor an awful lot. Thabeet hurt his back down the stretch in Saturday's Final Four loss to Michigan State when he was undercut late in the game on a box out. It might have been the fourth or fifth time the 7-3 center hit the deck in the game. That troubles me. (New York Newsday)
Must-See Photo
The Louisville band cheers their team on to its first National Championship Game berth. The Cardinals beat Oklahoma in the Womens Final Four Semifinals at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, MO on April 5. (Elsa/Getty Images)
Must-See Video
The game ball makes a dramatic entrance to Opening Night at Citizens Bank in Philadelphia, courtesy of the U.S. Army's 82d Airborne paratroopers.

Game To Watch
Michigan State vs. North Carolina, 9 PM ET -- The underdog Spartans try to deliver a dream to downtrodden Detroit by beating the mighty Tar Heels in the men's NCAA Championship Game.
Michigan State Spartans
North Carolina Tar Heels
This Day In Sports History

SI Vault: More Yankee Stadium
1896 -- James Connolly of the United States becomes the first modern Olympic champion when he wins the triple jump gold medal in Athens,Greece.
1958 -- Arnold Palmer wins his fist major golf tournament: The Masters.
1974 -- The Yankees play their first "home game" at Shea Stadium while Yankee Stadium is renovated. They beat the Indians, 6-1.
1987 -- L.A. Dodgers GM Al Campanis appears on ABC-TV's Nightline and sparks racial controversy by saying, "It's just that [black men] may not have some of the necessities to be, let's say, a field manager, or, perhaps, a general manager."

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