Small Balls: Stinky shoes and other lingering aromas

La première étoile: Kash Beauchamp. The manager of the minor-league Wichita Wingnuts lost his mind—and his shoes—while arguing with the ump over a checked-swing call the other night (he’s trying to emphasize that the call “stinks,” in case you’re wondering). The clip is a classic on its own, but you wanna know the best part? Shoeless Kash Beauchamp was drafted first overall in 1982 by the Toronto Blue Jays, ahead of Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett. Nice choice, fellas. Talk about a stinker. Was JP Ricciardi still the GM back then?

Two minutes for…saying you’ll shut up, but not shutting up. To Brian Burke, the GM of the Anaheim Ducks. Days after NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman ordered an end to the year-long war of words between Burke and Edmonton Oilers boss Kevin Lowe, Burke issued a statement that essentially boils down to this: OK, I’m going to stop all this bickering, but not until I say all this nasty stuff first.

Who’s got tickets? Don’t worry, you won’t need a ticket to see this: the sad but inevitable demolition of old Tiger Stadium. If you’re the nostalgic type, take Mitch Albom’s advice. It’s worth the drive to Turnbull and Fisher, where, after nine years of political wrangling, the wrecking ball is finally starting to swing. So long, old friend (sniffle, sniffle).

Fun police: So Tiger Woods will be worth a cool $1 billion by 2011, according to the latest issue of Forbes. If that prediction pans out, the Chosen One will be the first athlete to top the billion-dollar mark in earnings. We at Balls couldn’t be happier for Mr. Woods. Maybe now he can afford to buy some class. Or at least Phil Mickelson’s house.

Extra bases: It’s no “Dying Cubs Fan,” but ESPN has a touching story about the healing power of baseball…Despite what you may have read this morning, Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer of all time, will not start the All-Star Game next week in the Bronx…And the Canadian Olympic team is going to win 17 medals in Beijing. You heard it here first, folks. Or here. But who’s really keeping track?