A trip the Super Bowl didn't turn into a financial gold mine for the Steelers. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Troy Polamalu had one of the biggest freefalls in monetary popularity. The Steelers safety played in 14 games for the AFC champs in 2010 with 63 tackles and seven interceptions, but that wasn't enough to help his endorsement value.

Polamalu, known for his long hair, saw a rapid decline in his NFL royalty check from over $1,000,000 in 2009 to $139,577 in 2010, reports the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

The safety was joined by Steelers stars Ben Roethlisberger, James Harrison and receiver Hines Ward among players who received a lot less from moving products with the NFL logo.

Roethlisberger, despite having the highest 2010 merchandise check on the Steelers, witnessed his NFL royalties plunge more than 70 percent to $153,759 last year. Among the 14 starting quarterbacks, he was tied with little known Josh Freeman for the biggest percentage drop.

Tight end Heath Miller and running back Rashard Mendenhall were the only Pittsburgh players whose royalty checks stepped up. But that was before Mendenhall showed sympathy for the death of terror mastermind Osama bin Laden.

Overall, in part because of the terrible U.S. economy, the NFL Players union paid out only $198.9 million in royalties to athletes, workers and vendors. That's down $1,300,000 from the preceding year.

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These feathered friends are making some enemies.

The Giants are creatively trying to put a stop to a seagull uprising at AT&T Park. The world champs have long gotten help from the birds scavenging leftover hot dogs, garlic fries and other discarded food rubbish after games.

But Jorge Costa, the Giants senior VP of ballpark operations, says this season has been different. The bird population has exploded and these winged warriors are no longer interested in waiting for the 27th out before having dinner.

"This year we're seeing larger numbers of the seagulls, and sometimes they've not been stationary," Costa told the AP's Janie McCauley. "There have been a couple of games this year when they've started swirling around while the game's still going on. It's not pleasant if they're dropping things and they're sitting there (with fans)."

Being in the animal-friendly Bay Area, the Giants have to walk very gently and humanely around this issue.

"The gulls are more like your guests," Costa said. "They see a food source and opportunity. They're transient. There's a window of time they're around: they see it, they hear it, they smell it. Most of the time they're up on the roof of the building, on the glove (in left field), on the light towers. When people leave, they come down."

The AP reports the Giants are weighing whether to add a ballpark falcon to assist in keeping the seagulls at bay.

Wingmaster Falconny Inc., is a company the Giants have spoken with about adding a security officer style Falcon to help restore order. Much like on your favorite animal reality show, the gulls will eventually sense when the falcons are at the ballpark, and they will head to the safety of McCovey Cove. Or at least that's the plan.

But it costs money to bring in a nesting falcon, so the champs will likely end up waiting untill next year -- unless these seagulls continue to be angry birds.


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Rick Kaminski never hit a home run, drove in a run or pitched in a major league game, but he's getting a full baseball style memorial.

Kaminski died this week at age 67. Known as "The Peanut Man," Kaminski worked Mariners games from the Ruppert Jones days to the Ichiro era. He was acclaimed for his behind-the-back and over-the-shoulder peanut tosses to generations of baseball fans.

He worked in the printing business when he took a part-time gig at the Kingdome in 1977. Rick gave up plans to attend law school after becoming hooked on slinging nuts for what was then an expansion franchise.

Seattle's pro baseball franchise hasn't had much of a history on the field; the M's have the third-longest active pennant drought in baseball. Only the Cubs (65 seasons) and Nationals/Expos (42 seasons) have gone longer than the M's 34 years without reaching the World Series. But they get extra credit in my book for paying respects to one of the characters of the game.

The M's will have a moment of silence in honor of "The Peanut Man" before tonight's game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Seattle Times reports fellow vendors will take part in a ceremonial peanut bag toss in the stands in Rick's honor.

Kaminski's name will even be written in the dirt behind second base.

A special video will play after the first inning, honoring Rick's impact on Mariners fans.

Safeco Field vendors will wear a patch with Rick's name on their sleeves for the rest of the season.

An exhibit of memorabilia from Kaminski's career will be displayed at the Baseball Museum of the Pacific Northwest and at the Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame at Safeco Field until season's end.

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Sheldon Bailey never reached his dreams of playing in the NBA, but he's picked up a few pretty cool consolation prizes. A 6-6, 225-pound forward who called Amar'e Stoudemire and Jarrett Jack teammates went to Winthrop and Florida International University before a brief career overseas.

Since hanging up the sneakers, Bailey has been the on-set double in 12 national and international commercials for LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard.

And now, Sheldon has been named head coach of the Lingerie Basketball League's LA Beauties. Not bad work if you can get it.

Over the years, Bailey has been part of seven commercials for LeBron as an extra and stunt double. He was asked by Dime Magazine what life's like on set for King James. "Before the shoot, I stand in so they can get all the camera angles right," he said. "That way everything is prepared so when LeBron comes to the set he just steps right in. His time is at a premium. There are also different things that may be too dangerous for him to do, or extra things he doesn't have to do like dunks or ball-handling."

Bailey spent nine hours getting fake tattoos matching LeBron's before his first commercial shoot. He's also been a stand-in for Kobe Bryant's Guitar Hero commercial and a Dwight Howard Adidas ad.

In addition to coaching and acting, Bailey also has had time to author "180 Degrees: A Book Of Poems."

The "Lingerie Basketball League," is beginning its inaugural season in Southern California this weekend. The four-team league features teams nicknamed Divas, Glam and Starlets in addition to Beauties.

The league will use the same rules as traditional women's basketball, with a few tweaks. The Red Light Special gives a player a 60-second opportunity to score a bonus point.

Coach Bailey's LA Beauties open up the league with a matchup against the LA Divas in the first regular season Lingerie Basketball League game to be played at Montclair Prep, a high school in Van Nuys. Teams will play each Friday night and the events are all doubleheaders.

Ticket prices for a single game are $20, with $30 for the doubleheader.

Without the NBA's help the WNBA would have gone out of business long ago, as most of the teams lose money each season. Smart money says you won't be seeing the Lingerie Basketball League around long.

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With the NBA lockout in effect, the Lakers have no control over what any players under contract do during down time. With that extra freedom, Kobe Bryant is trying soccer on for size. Kobe has been added to the roster of Mia Hamm & Nomar Garciaparra's Celebrity Soccer Challenge this Sunday morning in Washington, D.C.

Despite being born in Philadelphia, Bryant spent lots of time in Italy, and while traveling to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup, he told CNN he's a huge soccer fan.

"AC Milan was always my favorite team growing up," he said. "It actually started in Italy when I used to go to the basketball courts to play by myself and you used to have the little goalposts underneath the basket.

"I'd show up wanting to play basketball and there would be 12 kids waiting to have a match. They just put me in goal because I had these long arms and long legs, and I just had to stop everything that came my way. Then as months went on, they finally let me out on the field a little bit."

Bryant is by far the biggest name playing in the event. Other "celebrities" include Tony Reali, host of ESPN's Around the Horn, and local D.C. NBC 4 sports anchor Dan Hellie.

Alex Morgan headlines four U.S. Women's National Soccer players who are part of the event, which will be played at Kastles Stadium at The Wharf, a 3,000-seat tennis stadium on the Southwest Waterfront in Washington


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It's 5,099 air miles from Tampa, Florida to Venice, Italy. But Ryan Howard found a much faster way to see the legendary Venetian canals: he's building one in his new home.

A town not far from Tampa is considering a major change to its housing code to allow the Phillies slugger to build a $23 million, 17,500-square-foot home nicknamed Casa Del Howard.

The Philadelphia Daily News reports (via the Tampa Bay Weekly) Howard's architect had to testify before a town commission about the ridiculous plans for the house. At issue is the length of construction. City code says all homes must be finished in 24 months; the Howard palace could take as long as 3 1/2 years to complete.

Dan Dawson says the gulf-front property, covering over an acre of land in Belleair, Florida, features a Venice-style lazy river running from the swimming pool underneath a series of bridges. In case you believe Howard could do without the Italian influence on his home, Dawson told the commission the river is "a fundamental part of the design." He claimed the whole Howard family was looking forward to seeing the canal, and won't consider dropping it from the plans.

If Howard gets bored with baseball, he can try the Pro Bowling Tour. His castle will include a bowling alley on the ground level with breakaway walls.

Belleair is considering its options. The town could amend the law, or the ordinance could be left as is, and the case appealed to the special magistrate when the six month deadline is not met.

Howard has earned $45,255,000 over the course of his big league career, which began in 2006. The St. Louis native will earn $115,000,000 in guaranteed money from 2012 through 2016 from the Phillies.

While the 17,500 square foot home is silly in size, it's small next to Derek Jeter's new plantation.

Jeter made headlines in Tampa with his $7.7 million, 30,875 square foot mansion nicknamed "St. Jetersburg," that's said to be close to the size of a Best Buy electronics store and is the biggest house, square-footage-wise, in the country.

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Colby Rasmus got his wish, a trade from the St. Louis Cardinals and far away from the team's crusty manager. The Red Birds sent Rasmus to baseball's version of Baghdad, otherwise known as Toronto.

The best part of the story? Rasmus' father ripped the future Hall of Fame manager, blaming him for his trade to Canada.

La Russa, 66, the longest tenured bench boss among the four major American sports, got the back-and-fourth game going, telling KSDK-TV that Colby doesn't listen to the Cardinal coaches much and intimated he was listening to his dad instead.

Tony Rasmus, the father, a high school baseball coach in Phenix City, Alabama, responded with a few blows below the belt. The dad thinks the statement that his son was turning to him for hitting advice instead of Cards coaches is "100 percent fiction."

The father, in so many words, called La Russa a liar in an interview with the Toronto Sun. “Evidently Tony (La Russa) has absolutely made that stuff up. He's got it on the brain. If I was working with my son I'd tell people. Tony needed pitching and wanted to force the GM into making a trade, so he belittled Colby to the fans.”

St. Louis added starter Edwin Jackson from the White Sox, in addition to relief pitchers Octavio Dotel and Marx Rzepczynski from Toronto. “Tony would like to have 25 pitchers,” Tony Rasmus said, “like he (La Russa) thinks he has to put his stamp on every ball game. They had nothing else to trade. I think everyone is better off now.”

The Blue Jays should see Colby become the type of player scouts compared to a young Grady Sizemore of the Indians. His dad thinks he will "blossom" in Canada.

Tony Rasmus, playing the role of the ultimate big league dad, said he believes La Russa will find a new scape goat in the locker room.

"There are three or four guys in the St. Louis clubhouse right now, thinking 'oh-oh, who is the manager going to pick on next with Colby gone?'"

La Russa has a rich history of being a jerk with reporters over the years.

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One dollar can get you a hot fudge sundae, McDouble or McChicken Sandwich on McDonald's one dollar menu, or it can get you a .225 hitting back-up catcher. The Atlanta Braves used that one dollar to acquire catcher Wil Nieves from the Brewers.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports Brewers GM Doug Melvin called Atlanta to see if it wanted Nieves, who had been playing for Class AAA Nashville after star catcher Brian McCann went down with an oblique injury Tuesday.

Officially the Braves sent "cash considerations" to the Brewers for Nieves. Melvin quietly let it slip Nieves was worth only $1. Atlanta also took care of the $250,000 left on Nieves' contract, but that wasn't in the deal.

Nieves has played 282 big league games over parts of eight season. He's a career .221 hitter for the Padres, Yankees, Nationals and Brewers. Nieves brother Melvin hit as many as 24 homers for the Tigers in 1997.

You can officially add Nieves name to the list of odd baseball trades.

• The Reno Silver Sox traded Tom Fortugno to the Milwaukee Brewers organization in 1989 for a bag of 144 baseballs and $2,500 cash.

• The Minnesota Twins sent Dave Winfield to Cleveland two weeks into the 1994 MLB strike for a player to be named later. Since the season canceled, the Tribe front office staff took Twins executives out to dinner and picked up the bill as compensation.

• John McDonald was part possibly the most even trade in baseball history. McDonald was traded from the Blue Jays to the Tigers for future considerations. Detroit ended up shipping McDonald back to the Toronto after the 2005 season as those future considerations.

• Dickie Noles was traded from the Cubs to the Tigers for a player to be named later. After the 1987 season Noles was sent back to Chicago. Commissioner Peter Uberroth actually investigated the trade to see if the Cubs had cheated by helping the Tigers in the pennant stretch.

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The man fired as host of "Rick's List," on CNN after controversial comments about Jon Stewart and Jews has been hired by a college football team.

And it's the same school that hired Isiah Thomas as its hoops coach.

Florida International University hired Rick Sanchez as radio color commentator for its football team, replacing popular Miami sports radio and TV personality Jorge Sedano, reports CBS Miami.

Sanchez, who had a partial scholarship to play ball at Moorehead State, told the Miami Herald he has a passion for pigskin.

"I played college football. I love football," Sanchez laughed "That part of it is exciting. We all tend to think we could do play-by-play better than the next guy. I don't need money or to chase the next anchor job."

Sedano, busy with his radio and TV gigs, is not upset about losing the FIU job. In fact, he found it amusing that of all people, the controversial Sanchez replaced him. "Though, I do have to be honest," Sedano tweeted. "I did LOL when I heard about the Rick Sanchez news. I mean come on? That's hysterical. No?"

Sanchez, appearing on a SiriusXM radio show last year, called Stewart a "bigot" and claimed CNN and other major TV networks are all run by Jewish people.

How could an institution of higher learning touch a guy with all that baggage?

Turns out FIU athletic director Pete Garcia went to grade school and high school with Sanchez. "He's followed our program," Garcia said of Sanchez. "He did a piece on us for CNN a couple of years ago when we went to play Alabama. I brought [the broadcasting job] up to him to see if he was interested in it.

FIU president Mark Rosenberg, who is Jewish, apparently has no issues with the hire.

The former CNN star told the Miami Herald he still believes the comments he made that cost him his career.

"I stand by what I said -- generally, the news media, broadcast more so than print, has not given opportunities to people of color, particularly Latinos," Sanchez said.

FIU, following a 7-6 season, was picked to win the 2011 Sun Belt conference title.

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Blabbing about sports has led a veteran of Dallas radio wars to the coveted post of public address announcer for America's team.

Roger Emrich, a sports reporter for 105.3 The Fan has been named the new voice of Dallas Cowboys home games.

The seasoned broadcaster replaces Jody Dean, who retired citing heart problems and a desire to spend more time with his 6-year-old daughter.

Emrich, 55, started as a newspaper man, before breaking into the radio business. He's also worked at KRLD 1080 AM since 1993.

Cowboys Stadium features a capacity of 80,000 fans with 200 suites including 15,000 club seats surrounding the field and a 160 feet long by 71 feet high scoreboard the blind can clearly see.

The Dallas Observer reports in addition to Emrich, the Cowboys will have an in-game master of ceremonies. Armen Williams. The 27-year-old radio personality from Cowboys radio flagship 105.3 The Fan is fired up to have the gig.

"I'm very excited about this new opportunity with the Cowboys and heading into some uncharted territory. Its exciting times," Williams said on Twitter.

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