….if you squint really hard, you can see Bobby Steele folding John Varatos tees in the background.
….if you squint really hard, you can see Bobby Steele folding John Varatos tees in the background.
WWE wasn’t sure what to do with him when he returned in 2012, but in the last year he has produced several memorable moments. At last year’s WrestleMania, Lesnar defeated the Undertaker – breaking the 21-0 streak that was the scripted sport’s one true record. It was probably the most shocking wrestling moment in many fans’ lives.
Putting aside for a moment whether or not the end of Taker’s streak was a more shocking moment than say, Chris Benoit’s double-murder/suicide or Owen Hart’s tragic death during a live PPV, was 21-0 really “the scripted sport’s one true record”? HOW SOON THEY FORGET BILL & RANDY MULKEY.
…and on the left, Richard M. Nixon.
OK, OK, I realize that’s not really what Dime’s Jordan White had to say regarding former Warriors head coach Mark Jackson’s remarks, both recent and ancient, in which he claims he’s “praying for” others who’ve either done him dirty, or y’know, live openly as homosexuals. In White’s view, Jackson should “save your prayers…no one asked for them, and no one needs them.”
“I’m praying for you.” Like religion, that phrase can be used in many ways. It can provide comfort to the mourning and bereaved, but it can also be condescending and spiteful. This isn’t “I’m praying for you guys to have success without me,” it’s “I’m praying for your soul because how dare you fire me, Mark Jackson, who Wasn’t Even Supposed To Be Here, who, despite having Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala couldn’t design a creative offense to save my life.”
Do not mistake Jackson’s comments as one of benevolence. Jackson’s true feelings rest in what is unsaid. He’s not praying for them the way one might pray for a sick friend or for guidance. He’s praying for them the way one prays for the damned — those who do not agree with his core beliefs. It’s at once petty, bigoted, hurtful and close-minded.
As it turns out, neither Jason Collins nor Joe Lacob needed Jackson’s prayers. Collins is seen, rightfully so, as a hero. Lacob, meanwhile, is the happy owner of the best team in the NBA, thanks in large part to a head coach who employs actual strategy to win games, rather than just cultivate an atmosphere of exclusion and a trite, “Us Against The World” mentality.
“I’m going to let the authorities handle this situation, but I’ve had enough of St. Louis,” Ford said in a phone interview Thursday. “You hear about this kind of stuff happening, and I always knew it existed because of my previous experience working here in St. Louis, but you try to keep away from it, and there is just no way you can do that unless you stay inside like a hermit.
“I just want justice. It’s all I want.”
Ford, 54, said the experience has made him consider moving, even though, “I care a lot about St. Louis and I love the people here.” He added, “The people I have been involved with are all very positive and all they want to do is work and pay bills. There are very nice people here.”
St. Louis County police from the Fenton precinct arrested James Street, 37, of the 400 block of Saline Road, a white man who allegedly slugged the black former Cardinals player Wednesday after shouting racial slurs at him and telling him to “go back to Ferguson,” the Post-Dispatch has learned.
“I was sucker-punched, blindsided,” Ford said. “I was walking into the store and hit from my blind side.”
Budget cuts from 2009-2013 at Citi Field, aka Fred & Jeff Wilpon’s Monument To Avarice, Greed
& Ruining David Wright’s Swing resulted in a 29 percent reduction in game day security personnel according to a report filed by 6 former Mets staffers. On the bright side, at least Fred Wilpon has proven himself impervious to post 9-11 paranoia. From DNAinfo’s James Fanelli :
“Due to the cut backs in the budget (2013) we will be unable to maintain the high quality of security that the ballplayers, guests and staff are accustom (sic) to,” a budget report reads. “In addition the greetings at the gates, exchange of pleasantries at the gates and along with the quailty (sic) of the seaching (sic) at the gates will be reduced.”
The axed event staff director, Bruce Smith, prepared the budget report for Robert Kasdon, the Mets vice president of security, according the legal filing. Smith oversaw security personnel and payroll.
The report points out in bullet form the repercussions of fewer security guards. It warns that “response time will be up,” that there will be “more alleracations (sic) with fans,” “more lawsuits,” “more complaints about service,” and that “searches will have to be cut back on to get fans in.”
The cuts also meant key sections of Citi Field would have fewer guards — and some would be completely unsupervised, according to the report.
“Beer garden cut one post which means one of the seating areas above the bullpens will be uncovered,” the report warns.
“Last year the the (sic) kids zone post was cut, where we are always getting calls there about adults staring at the kids,” the report adds. “Any additional cuts will leave the smoking area uncovered which is a big area for fights.”
Clearly, the kids zone issue is a serious one, but if the Mets are hellbent on saving money, perhaps they could simply take away Paul Lo Duca’s comped tickets?
No, not the Meadowlands parking lot, but rather the NBA franchise that represents the sole black eye (in terms of wins and losses, anyway) on his head coaching resume. In Wednesday’s Bergen Record, Steve Popper seriously suggests the best foot forward for the underachieving Brooklyn Nets would be to woo John Calipari away from Lexington, arguing the one-time Nets coach has little left to prove in the amateur ranks. More chillingly, Popper claims Calipari has remained buds with Brooklyn marketing maven Brett Yormark.
So consider this scenario — the Nets figure to have about $60 million in cap space in the summer of 2016, coinciding with a free agent market loaded with talent.
What would it take to draw Calipari from Kentucky back to save the Nets, to oversee a recruiting class on the NBA level? It’s easy to see how it benefits the Nets — an owner who promised a championship in a five-year timetable that expires at the end of this season given a star again, a second citizen in the New York market given a voice again. And for Calipari, coaching for a team in a large market with a deep-pocketed owner puts him squarely in the NBA game again.
For Prokhorov to make it happen, though, there is a path to clear. That would mean Hollins gets cut loose after one season (if it were to come this summer) or two, if they wanted to beat the free agent frenzy next summer.
To land Calipari it would likely mean that he is handed not only the coaching reins, but the keys to the franchise, too, the same ones they wouldn’t give Kidd. That means the sort of power that Stan Van Gundy got in Detroit, Flip Saunders in Minnesota and Doc Rivers with the Clippers.
It’s what Calipari has in Kentucky. It’s what sources close to him believe it would take to be the spot he will land. And all that Calipari could offer the Nets is everything they dreamed they could be.
If you’re Miami P Jarred Cosart and you’ve previously distinguished yourself on Twitter by calling Justin Bieber a fag, what do you do for an encore? How about openly boast of a gambling jones, then claim you’ve been hacked? New Times’ Tim Elfrink provides the details :
Cosart’s troubles started last night with a gambling expert on Twitter alleging he’d direct messaged a colleague asking for betting advice. Cosart later deleted his own account as tweets piled up accusing him of gambling and speculating whether he’d ever bet on baseball, which would be a serious violation of the game’s rules.
Before jumping into the tale, it’s worth noting: The entire firestorm stems from essentially anonymous Tweets from so-called gambling experts on Twitter. In other words, these are not the most reliable or transparent sources on the internet. So take every allegation with a Marlins Park-sized grain of salt.
The claims originated with a Twitter user named @GhostFadeKillah, who Tweets regular betting advice (and, it’s worth noting, includes among his activities “also troll a bit here and there.”) New Times has messaged @GhostFadeKillah for more background on the story, but we haven’t heard back yet.
(ok, this entire post was purely an excuse to run a pic of Roland Rat)
Former BBC Director General turned Football Association chairman Greg Dyke believes the future success of England’s national side is dependent on nearly half the domestic top flight league’s rosters being filled by natives. Good luck convincing Premiership club owners to adapt Dyke’s patriotic fervor, or as the Guardian’s Greg Bakowski puts it, “with £5.1bn of TV coin heading their way and a product to sell around the world to keep their reservoir of cash at a level only marginally less than that of the GDP of a small country, Dyke will need to do some Jake the Snake-level arm-twisting.”
“My fear for the future of English football is the Premier League ends up being owned by foreigners, managed by foreigners and played by foreigners. And, I think, certainly in terms of the playing, we can make a difference,” tubthumped Dyke, as Jack Wilshere exploded with pride behind him.This is all very admirable. Mr Roy currently has a pool of English talent available to him as shallow as a conversation between Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner. The desire to give scabby-kneed kids some hope that they may even have a slim chance of making it at the club they grew up supporting is something that even the Fiver can’t help but not sniff at either.
So on Thursday Dyke will take his huge bubble of optimism and place it on the table in front of 20 stern-looking Premier League suits representing the interests of wealthy people, many of whom couldn’t give a solitary one about the England team, and dare them to burst it. He may also need a tall tale too. Because getting a bunch of clubs, some of whom are being flogged for failing at Big Cup, and who regularly bundle managers aboard the good ship Do One after a just a handful of bad games to agree to persevere with less experienced – and in some cases – less talented English players throughout a season instead of buying in foreigners, will take more than a very good finger buffet. It’s like asking a scribe to use a stick of charcoal for a few months in the hope that it might turn into a beautiful quill. Good luck with that one.
But Dyke is a man who went into a room of stern-looking suits and persuaded them that breakfast TV needed Roland the Rat, Errol the Hamster and Kevin the Gerbil. Write him off at your peril.
NEW YORK METS BULLPEN CART, CIRCA 1967
A fantastic example of whimsical Major League Baseball marketing from the late 1960s, used intermittently at Shea Stadium for more than 20 years. Highlights of its use include a memorable appearance at the 1986 World Series versus the Boston Red Sox and then again in 2003 when Mets Captain John Franco drove Mets legend Tug McGraw onto the field as part of the team’s celebration of the legendary 1973 team.
Immortalized by its dramatic appearance at the monumental 1986 World Series Championship in which it entered the field of play following the culmination of the Game Seven win, it promptly ran out of power adding further delight to the victory celebration.
Presented in largely original condition and displaying a lovely patina throughout, it is fully operational and represents an iconic of piece of New York sports history celebrating one of the City’s most memorable and important World Series Championship wins.
(Sotheby’s link courtesy Joel Hunt)
…or straight to VOD or however you’re watching movies these days. Following a Hollywood Reporter item claiming “Imitation Game” director Teddy Schwartzman had acquired the rights to Roger Clemens biopic screenplay, Techonology Tell’s Stephen Silver took issue with the trade paper’s brand of biz puffery :
The Reporter story added that Warner Brothers had bid on the script- with the idea of Bradley Cooper both producing and starring, a la “American Sniper”- but were outbid by Schwarzman. It also includes an all-time terrible lede- “After tackling the true story of Alan Turing, The Imitation Game producer Teddy Schwarzman is now taking on another true-life figure tarnished during his day.” Yea, because the guy persecuted and hounded into suicide for being gay and the guy widely criticized in the media for using steroids were both “tarnished.” And only one of them was instrumental in winning a world war.
NY Post sports media critic Phil Mushnick claims the start of March Madness coincides with more eyeballs around his TV set, or to be more specific, “those who don’t normally watch basketball with us — wives, mothers, daughters, girlfriends, aunts.” Putting aside the terrifying prospect of Phil having multiple wives (girlfriends, too!), surely a man of his sophistication is not claiming women are the only viewers asking “annoying” and/or “good questions to which we have no good answers.” Either way, it’s good to know the tradition of being super upright at tattoos extends to females members of the Mushnick clan, and/or Phil’s guests.
“Why is that coach allowed to stand on the court and run up and down while the game’s being played?”
“How can these kids afford such elaborate tattoos?”
“Why do teams need four or five coaches to coach five players at a time?”
“Why is it important for refs to use TV replays to check calls with a minute left but not with five or 10 minutes left?”
“Why are coaches allowed to scream at the refs? Isn’t that setting a bad example?”
“Aren’t opposing players allowed to help each other up?”
“Why do coaches wear suits?”
“When do these kids go to school?”
“Why do the players slap hands after every foul shot, even after they miss?”
“That’s the coach’s wife? She’s too young to be his first. I’ll Google it.”
In which Adam Reposa claims responsibility for the recent spate of “Exclusively For White People” stickers that have popped up on the front windows and doors of selected East Austin businesses. The above clip is short, and as such, there’s no time for Reposa to point out his stickers might well have alluded to a rather unpleasant bit of Austin history.
Dallas’ decision to lavish up to $11 million on a one year deal for DE Greg Hardy —- who settled out of court last year after being charged with assault and death threats by his former girlfriend —- has been criticized by everyone from Mayor Mike Rawlings to WFAA’s Dale Hansen (above). The slightly more blase Tim Colishaw of the Dallas Morning News, however, argues, “the Cowboys’ lack of a moral compass is not a product of the Jerry Jones generation. He did not initiate the practice of bringing criminals to town to put stars on their helmets.”
The police were more lenient a half century ago about letting Cowboys escape jail time or in helping them keep things under wraps. Former all-pro guard John Niland saw his world after football unravel in a haze of drugs and alcohol before getting his life back in order. As he once put it, “When an active player gets busted, they squash it.”
How many did we never hear about? Who can say, but where do you suppose former wide receiver Pete Gent got his ideas for North Dallas Forty?
Even if protecting them was common practice, the Cowboys found their way to the police blotter. Nobody made a fuss when the Cowboys traded for the Vikings’ Lance Rentzel, even though the wide receiver had been arrested for exposing himself to underage girls in Minnesota. When he did the same thing to a 10-year old girl in Dallas in 1970 (while married to actress Joey Heatherton), the Cowboys reacted swiftly by…
Well, actually Rentzel asked to be placed on the inactive list. He was traded that off-season to the Los Angeles Rams (yes, there was still a market for him), and the NFL eventually got around to handing him a lengthy suspension two years later.
For possession of marijuana.
With the New Britain Rock Cats (formerly Red Sox) moving to new digs in Hartford in 2016 and with that came the inevitable contest to rename the ballclub. So congratulations then, to UConn grad Antohny Castora, whose submission “Yard Goats”, was inexplicably chosen the winner, as the Hartford Courant’s Paul Doyle explains.
“To me, Yard Goats just stood out,” Castora said. “I wanted something that would be fun, but have a double meaning. I know everybody has made fun of it … but this is unique.”
Castora also said that he submitted the name on his own and that he has no connection to Brandiose, the branding and marketing company that works with minor league teams. It was his idea and he was the only person to submit Yard Goats.
“No, this is all me,” said Castora, a teacher who took two days off from work to attend the press conference.
And he thought that Whirlybirds would win. “I would have been happy to lose to Whirlybirds,” he said.
When the Rock Cats announced their move, there was strong support for a name that connected the franchise to Hartford’s baseball history. But Dark Blues, Bees, Laurels and other historic names did not make the cut. Nor did names connected to Mark Twain’s presence in the city (Huckleberries led a Courant online poll as a write-in choice).
(Apologies to Alan Partridge for the use of the above headline). Given the number of insurance companies featuring former Oz cast members as pitchmen, shouldn’t one of televisions more murderous convicts be selling us on the importance of slander insurance? In Brooklyn Friday, lawyers for Roger Clemens’ former trainer, Brian McNamee, came to terms with The Rocket’s insurance carrier over a defamation suit filed in 2008. From Newsday’s Jim Baubach :
The actual settlement amount, which was not revealed, will be paid by AIG, which is Clemens’ homeowners insurance, Clemens attorney Chip Babcock said. He said it’s standard for homeowners policies to include coverage for defamation lawsuits.
“No one disputes insurance paid for it,” McNamee attorney Richard Emery said.
Clemens was not present in court Wednesday and Babcock said the pitcher did not have authority over the settlement negotiations, which were between McNamee and the insurance company.
“Clemens was a bystander, if you will, in the settlement,” Emery said, “but it does get him off the hook from going to trial in October.”
McNamee, of Long Beach, sued Clemens for defamation in 2008, saying the pitcher slandered him by saying his former trainer lied about having injected the pitcher with PEDs in 1998, 2000 and 2001. Clemens denied the accusations, including under oath before Congress, and in 2012 was acquitted of perjury and obstruction charges that stemmed from his denials.
Huge credit here to Mr. Francesa, who despite a tendency to sometimes doze off during his own program, had the presence of mind not to say, “hey, anything’s possible.”
Of the first 20 players taken in the 2006 NBA Draft, an even dozen did not play a single minute of NBA basketball in 2015, Tyrus Thomas played seven over the course of a 10-day contract that was not renewed, and another—first overall pick and human Crying Loudly emoji Andrea Bargnani—is Andrea Bargnani. Nine years sounds like a long time to do anything, let alone do it poorly, but perhaps this is a way to make that more clearly understood.
When the CSTBracket first became a thing, those of us picking our brackets were trying to ascertain just how far Shelden Williams could carry Duke, or whether Michigan State’s pro-ready trio of Maurice Ager, Shannon Brown, and Paul Davis would be enough to get them to the Final Four. We parsed Patrick O’Bryant, and then we did it again to be sure, and then made our (incorrect!) picks accordingly. If you are old enough to remember those names and those considerations, you are wincing, and not just because you—as I did, as most of us do—were also likely wrong about them. If you are not, then you are wincing at how old those wincing old fucks are. Either way, we should get used to it. This is the wincing season, and the CSTBracket is how we craft and create new winces, for a new era.
I know, as someone who wrote basketball cards—not just one, but like a dozen different ostensibly collectible little blurblets about Hilton Armstrong and Leon Powe and Cedric Simmons, all of whom are demonstrably and Google-ably real—just how little there is to know about all this. It is not that these players aren’t interesting or worth speculating about, and anyway who are we to not-speculate about things like this. It’s that we don’t know, we never know, and that the fullness of time reveals how little we know just as surely as the first four days of the tournament do. That is: viciously, totally, inexorably, and in a way that is both painful and fun.
So yeah: let’s get back to it. Nine years is a long time to be wrong. So is eight. So is Thursday. We will not stop being wrong, and college basketball—all beautiful and dumb and flawed and broken and great—is not going to stop making us be wrong. So let’s keep at it. Let’s be wrong together again. The password is cstbracket, and to click here is to be invited.
The gift bucket will, once again, be provided by our generous host GC—it will be either an autographed Vin Baker photo from his legendary tenure with the New York Knicks (autographed by GC, not Vin himself) or a championship-grade collection of 12XU swag. Only one of us will get to win it. The rest of us will only win the privilege of being wrong, in this way and around each other, for another year. Which, at least, is something worth coming back for.
(above, the helpless Deborah Harry being pummeled by Hollywood’s Andy Kaufman)
OK, the above headline is a bit of a stretch, but former ECW vet Lance Storm claims the recent proliferation of female vs. male matches on pro wresting’s indie circuit is “contributing to the deterioration of our industry” (“let the men fight the men and the women fight the women. If you can’t put on a compelling show, under those extreme limitations, you either aren’t trying hard enough or you’re in the wrong profession”).
When you do men vs. women matches and ignore the very clear differences in size, strength and style between the two, you completely destroy the realism of a match and contribute to the deterioration of the art form of wrestling by further numb fans to everything except the pop of a move.
While that in itself is bad, really bad in fact, there is a far bigger down side to consider. In addition to making us numb to the storytelling of pro-wrestling, I fear it makes us numb to man on women violence. Wrestling has been fighting the “Don’t try this at home” battle forever. Kids start thinking wrestling moves are fake and thus doing them on their friends is perfectly fine. This then leads to serious injuries and even deaths; and the finger of blame often gets pointed at pro-wrestling. At a time where other pro sports (most notably the NFL) are plagued with domestic abuse charges and countless cases of male athletes beating the hell out of their wives or girls friends, is it wise to be normalizing male on female violence?
As tragic as a guy accidentally injuring his girlfriend while imitating what they see on TV will be, how long before an abusive boyfriend throws his girlfriend down seriously injuring her, uses the defence, we were just imitating what they saw in a wrestling match? “It was just an accident, we were playing wrestling”. It has been used in court with kids, and it will be used in court with domestic violence. The more silly and light hearted we make the “violence” and competition in pro wrestling feel, the more acceptable it feels to do it to others at home or on the play ground. If we do the same with male on female “violence” I think we are making an even bigger mistake
A day after it was revealed a new radio program, “The Man Cave”, featuring frequent Redskins critic Jason Reid, had been pulled from it’s scheduled debut on Dan Snyder owned ESPN 980, DC Sports Bog’s Scott Allen reports that crosstown competitors, 106.7 The Fan have fired an timely salvo that addresses the situation in a roundabout way :
“Somewhere deep inside his man cave in Potomac, a diminutive billionaire tunes his trusty AM radio to 980 to listen to his favorite sports radio station. The station where he signs the checks and calls the shots. But meddle as he may, Mr. Snyder cannot control the sports discussion in Washington. For there is a station on crystal-clear FM, where fans of all genders and ages can talk freely about the Redskins. Where the Nationals, Wizards and Capitals actually exist. And you found that station. Unbiased, unfiltered, uncensored, sports radio 106.7 The Fan.”
You might’ve seen headlines yesterday that had NFL coaching legend John Madden taking umbrage at Will Ferrell’s recent spring training stunt for charity (” a lack of respect for the game and a [lack of] respect for what players have to do to get where they are”). What you might’ve missed, however, was the following portion in which Madden compares Ferrell’s act to Rick Barry masquerading as a football player. From KCBS.com :
“I’m in training camp in Santa Rosa,” Madden said. “Rick Barry comes walking by and he was playing for the Warriors at that time. He was a friend of [then Oakland owner] Al Davis’ and he said he was going to go in and suit up and go out on the field and practice, to fool Al. I swear this is true.
“Jack Tatum and George Atkinson walked by and I said, look, if this guy comes out on the field, he’s live bait, and I want you to go after him the way you would go after any other player that plays on another team. I said, go ahead and dress, but we’re going to treat you like a football player and not like an NBA player.”
Fortunately for Barry, he did not suit up and was not pulverized by Raiders players. And fortunately for Ferrell, Madden is not a coach in the majors, and his stunt went off without any beanball hitches.
Former NBA vet/fashion plate Charles Oakley was the guest of honor at Friday’s Heat/Raptors tilt, with hosts Toronto lavishing 5000 Oak bobbleheads to the early arrivals. The Toronto Star’s Dave Feshuk had the presence of mind to ask Oakley if ever envisioned such an honor (“well, I have a head, so you never know what can happen.”)
He was asked how he’d fare in today’s NBA. “I’d foul out in the first quarter.”
He was asked about his two years as an assistant coach in Charlotte a while back.
“I got some headaches watching film. I got a chance to see (today’s players) first-hand. It was pretty bad.”
Oakley’s immutable critiques— he’s been tsk-tsking the softness of NBAers since he was still throwing elbows among them — remain a lot like his playing style, rough and unapologetic, and certainly too harsh for the uber-sensitive present.
“It’s hard to watch. It’s a different game. There’s some good games and a lot of bad games,” he said. “More bad games than good games these days.”
Oakley, for all his matter-of-fact disses of current players — “You don’t have to be strong to play this game no more,” was another — wasn’t a cloud of negativity. He said he’ll be involved in next year’s all-star weekend festivities in Toronto and heaped lavish praise on the 416.
“Wait ’til you get there. You’ll be amazed,” he said, explaining how he’s been defending Toronto to its doubters. “Clean city. Got just as much as New York going on. Less crime. So at least you don’t have to worry about all that stuff.”
On the eve of ESPN’s “Why Does Everyone Hate Christian Latteaner?” documentary, the New York Times’ Benjamin Hoffman argues the former Duke standout has been unfairly barred from entry to Springfield, MA’s Basketball Hall Of Fame, though I suspect he’s allowed to purchase a ticket, provided he pays in cash :
Of the 12 members of the Dream Team, he is the only one who has not gained induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame as an individual. (The Dream Team was inducted as a unit in 2010.) In fact, according to the Hall of Fame, Laettner has not been nominated. This despite a process in which anyone can put together a package of information for the screening committee to consider.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, is unlike the institutions associated with Major League Baseball and the National Football League, which mostly consider the pro careers of athletes. The basketball committee would look at Laettner’s contributions as an amateur and a professional and to the national team. But Duke, for which he won two national titles, and the Atlanta Hawks, for whom he was an All-Star — not to mention fans, boosters and other teams — have never completed the process to propose him for the game’s highest honor.
When Duke was contacted about not having nominated Laettner, associate sports information director Matt Plizga responded that the university had never nominated an individual, allowing others to recognize the accomplishments of its athletes.
Apparently, Hoffman believes that in addition to Laettner’s impressive collegiate resume, being the 12th man on the 1992 U.S. Olympic team is a serious credential. Not to mention, ONE All-Star reserve nod in a 12 year NBA career! If being the last guy named to the Gold Medal-winning Dream Team is a big deal, how about never getting out of the second round of the playoffs in his pro tenure?
On Thursday night, San Jose GM Doug Wilson fielded questions from season ticket holders, one of ‘em being a request to clarify exactly how veteran C Joe Thornton was relived of the club’s captaincy during the last off-season. Wilson, careful to praise Thorton (“he cares about the game so much..he carries the weight of the team on his shoulders”), suggested this was an amicable decision (“I sat him down and said we need other players to step up and share this. Leadership group in this league is a shared thing, it’s not one guy. This says a lot about Joe. He got it.”), a version of events the latter took strong exception to, as the San Jose Mercury-News’ David Pollak reports :
“I think Doug just needs to shut his mouth,” Thornton said after his team’s morning practice. “I think that’s the bottom line.”
Thornton added: “All I’ve got to say is I’ve been here every day working hard. I haven’t taken a sabbatical. He just needs to stop lying, shut his mouth.”
Wilson declined requests for a response to Thornton’s comments, but the general manager told CSN Bay Area, “If (Thornton’s) got an issue, he knows exactly where I am, and I’ll be glad to talk to him about it. There’s zero issue here. I was asked a question at a season-ticket holder function, and my response was to do my job and be accountable to our season ticket holders and tell the truth.”
On Thursday, Capital New York published excerpts from Steve Kettman’s “Baseball Maverick”, which chronicles Sandy Alderson’s first four years attempting to rebuild the New York Mets. In several passages quoted by CNY’s Howard Megdal, Kettman details the club’s financial straits and Alderson’s inability to field a competitive club as a result, but the latter now insists a book for which he granted extraordinary access, has mischaracterized his position. Quoted by Newsday’s Marc Carig, Alderson insists, “some people want to interpret the last four years strictly in terms of what financial resources were available or not available to the Mets…that’s a point of view that some people have. And people will extrapolate from whatever might suggest that as a continuing theme.”
“Never talked about the payroll as an unfortunate limitation to us, haven’t talked about it recently, haven’t talked about it in the past, don’t intend to. It’s not relevant to me. The last four years is a story of putting the franchise back to a competitive situation on the field with good players. I think we’re on the cusp of doing that.”
Alderson is also quoted in the book as expressing disappointment that the Mets could not sign a reliever prior to the 2014 season, although the team upped the payroll over an $85 million threshold.
“Right now people think we’re incomplete, and you know, they may be right,” he says in the book.
“Everybody was like we had to meet this standard,” Alderson said Thursday. “And it became more about the payroll than anything else. Every team has a weakness. We saw the same thing this year where we made some moves early in the offseason and we didn’t make any thereafter. So what happens is the novelty of the acquisitions wears off and at some point people start looking for something else.
“That happened to us this year. It happened to us last year but if you go back and look at our bullpen situation, it rectified itself pretty well once we got into the season. So it’s not always about spending money. And I think that’s the approach that we’ve all taken over the last several years, not just last year or even this year.”
Keep in mind, this bullpen improvement that Alderson cites didn’t stop the Mets from compiling the 3rd most blown saves in the National League. That’s what you get for major league ticket prices from the New York market’s NL entry these days — self-congratulation (and contract extensions!) for finishing 17 games out of first place.