Alonso downplays comment
Fernando Alonso and Ferrari were once again forced to downplay rumors of a rift after the Spanish driver lost his temper with team officials during qualifying for yesterday’s Italian Grand Prix. Alonso was heard calling his team “idiots” over the radio during his final qualifying lap on Saturday, but he insisted afterward he simply sarcastically called them “geniuses,” using the Italian term genii and not — as it sounded — scemi. The 32-year-old Alonso was angry that he was unable to benefit from Brazlian Felipe Massa’s slipstream as his teammate was too far ahead, with Australian Daniel Ricciardo’s Toro Rosso between the two Ferraris. Ricciardo let Alonso through and Massa did allow his teammate to catch up so he could benefit from his slipstream on the final lap. “I said thank you to the team, thank you to Felipe, for slowing down,” Alonso said. “They didn’t put the last radio message when I said thank you to Felipe, to the team, they put the radio message in front.
Balentien closes on record
Former major leaguer Wladimir Balentien hit his 53rd home run of the season yesterday to move within two of Japanese baseball’s season record. Balentien’s Yakult Swallows have 23 games remaining in the regular season for him to reach the record of 55 set by Sadaharu Oh in 1964 and matched by ex-major leaguers Tuffy Rhodes in 2001 and Alex Cabrera in 2002. Balentien’s solo homer in the top of the sixth inning at Nagoya Dome helped the Swallows beat the Chunichi Dragons 5-1. Balentien, who is from the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao, played for the Seattle Mariners and Cincinnati Reds before signing with the Swallows in 2011. The 29-year-old hit 31 homers in each of his first two seasons in Japan.
Ref turns to riot police
A referee called riot police on to the pitch during a Brazilian championship match to protect him from angry players following a bizarre incident involving a penalty. Two players from Portuguesa were sent off amid the confusion, which started when Gremio were awarded a decisive penalty 10 minutes from the end of Saturday night’s game. Portuguesa, who had fought back from 2-0 behind to level the score at 2-2, were angry about the decision, but their protests quickly died down. However, just as Gremio forward Kleber was about to take the kick, Portuguesa midfielder Bruninho walked into the area to point out that the ball was not properly on the spot. He was shown his second yellow card of the game and sent off, infuriating Portuguesa who surrounded the referee and gesticulated angrily. The referee signalled for police to come on to the field and six officials with riot shields and truncheons formed a cordon around him as the protests continued. Portuguesa defender Valdomiro was also sent off and Kleber finally took the kick after a five-minute delay, converting it to give Gremio a 3-2 win.
Miami extend Misi contract
The Miami Dolphins finalized a four-year contract extension with linebacker Koa Misi, the team has announced. The deal is worth US$17 million, FOX Sports said. Misi was entering the final year of his rookie deal. He is now signed through 2017. Misi had 65 tackles, 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles last year.