The Rays had some momentum heading into the playoffs, having overcome a nine-game September deficit to the Red Sox to capture the American League wild card. Apparently, the fans didn't notice. Attendance for Tuesday's Game 4 of the ALDS was 28,299, more than 4,000 less than the previous game. Rays owner Stuart Sternberg showed his frustration as he watched his team get eliminated by the Rangers.

ESPN pulled Hank Williams Jr.'s song from "Monday Night Football" after the singer compared Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler during an appearance on a Fox News show earlier in the day. Williams, who also referred to Obama and Vice President Joe Biden as "the enemy," did not apologize in a statement released through his publicist later in the day, but he did claim "I have always respected the office of the president."

Williams' song, "All My Rowdy Friends Are Here on Monday Night," has been used in the MNF intro since 1989.

The Yankees suspended a longtime beer vendor for the first two games of the American League Division Series after he had a brief exchange with Red Sox reliever Alfredo Aceves during last Sunday's doubleheader at Yankee Stadium. Steve Lazarus, who also works as a standup comedian, said he had a playful exchange with Aceves when he saw the former Yankee pass by a freight elevator on the terrace level before the evening game.

The man who threw a banana peel on the ice as Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds was starting a shootout attempt against the Red Wings last week did not mean to make a racist statement and is "mortified" at how he is being perceived, according to his lawyer. Chris Moorhouse, of London, Ontario, was only hoping to prevent a goal, lawyer Faisal Joseph explained. "He was horrified when he saw the implications a day later as to how it had come out, and he said to me, 'If I had an apple or an orange, I would have thrown that out onto the ice.

The Philadelphia media is known for being tough, but usually the writers limit their vitriol to the athletes and coaches. However, on Wednesday a dispute between two writers became physical, and other media members were there to see it. According to reports, Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News accused Philadelphia Inquirer writer Jeff McLane of making up a story about Michael Vick starting Sunday. McLane responded by slamming Bowen on Twitter.

Former A's manager Art Howe is not pleased with his representation in the movie "Moneyball." Howe, who led the A's to the playoffs three times (2000 through 2002), went on to manage the Mets and now lives in Texas. He saw the movie over the weekend and did not like Philip Seymour Hoffman's portrayal. "I'm very disappointed, very disappointed," he told InsideBayArea.com. "I look at it as character assassination."

The month of September has been one of the worst in recent memories for the Boston sports fan. The Red Sox are on the verge of what might end up being the worst late-season implosion in baseball history. The Patriots blew a 21-0 lead in Buffalo.



JERRY THORNTON

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Jets legend Joe Namath apparently puts the blame for his old club's loss to the Raiders Sunday on coach Rex Ryan. Appearing on ESPN Radio Monday, Namath questioned Ryan's method of preparing his players. "It's rather alarming," Namath said. "It starts at the top. Coach Rex Ryan, he's been doing a great job, getting us to two conference championship games, but there's one thing about the athlete: You keep telling him how good he is, he's going to start believing it to the point that he may not be preparing quite the way he should.

Eagles quarterback Michael Vick injured his hand in Sunday's 29-16 loss to the Giants, and he isn't happy with the officials for failing to protect him. Said Vick: "I felt I got hit late. No flag. At some point something catastrophic is going to happen. Not to blame the refs, but more precautions should be taken. I'm on the ground all the time in the pocket."

Bryan Stow, the Giants fan who was beaten outside of Dodger Stadium at Opening Day, has shown dramatic improvement this week. Stow's family posted an update on its website and indicated he spoke his name asked to see his children. "We are blown away with all of this," the family said. "Literally one day we got some facial responses and the next, he's talking. His voice is gravelly and you have to close to hear him, but he is talking." The 42-year-old paramedic remains in serious condition at San Francisco General Hospital.