Tuesday marked the 17th anniversary of President Bill Clinton’s appearance alongside Rachel Robinson commemorating Jackie Robinson Day during that night’s Dodgers/Mets tilt at Shea Stadium. I attended said contest, one marked by a heavy security presence given Clinton’s visit to Queens and until now, I’ve thought Mr. Met being stuck in the Diamond Club elevator next to myself and Spike Lee was the beloved mascot’s biggest thrill, but it turns out, I’m not even close, as author AJ Mass explains. In excerpts from ‘Yes, It’s Hot In Here’ that appear in today’s New York Daily News, Mass, a former Mr. Met, claims his attempts at having his picture taken with Clinton were stymied by an overzealous Secret Service :
Mass recalled how the agent stared directly into the mouth of his huge faux leather head to deliver a warning that sent chills through all eight of Mr. Met’s fingers.
“’We have snipers all around the stadium, just in case something were to happen,’ he says. ‘Like I said, do whatever it is you normally do. But approach the President, and we go for the kill shot. Are we clear?’
“He pauses for a moment to let the words sink in, and it feels like he isn’t only looking into my eyes, but also into my very soul with his blank, unblinking stare,” Mass writes.
“’Approach the President, and we go for the kill shot,’ he repeats. ‘ARE — WE — CLEAR?’”
On Wednesday, the New York Times published a detailed report that concluded Florida State University and the Tallahasee Police Department had barely lifted a finger to investigate December 2012 rape allegations against FSU QB and eventual Heisman winner Jameis Winston. While FSU frames their lack of cooperation wish said story as tied to respecting “state and federal privacy laws”, the Gannett-hosted FSView, touted as an independent, “fair and objective” publication covering the school, has gone the entire day with no analysis, opinion, or even mention of the Times’ findings.
Trouble is, as SBN’s David Roth points out, the mental sports trainer in question is not exactly Dr. Allan Lans.
Freeman’s bio is notable for a wealth of unmotivated capitalization — “Whether its, Cheer leading Baseball, Hockey, Basketball, Football, Soccer, Arena Football or Olympic type of sports figure skating, weight lifting, track the list is endless…Sports is competitive and it’s all mental,” all (sic)’s in the original — and for Freeman’s tendency to compare herself to Dr. Dani Santino of the short-lived USA Network show “Necessary Roughness.” (“She has been called the ‘Dr. Dani Santino of Necessary Roughness’ Because of her techniques of overcome fears and doubts with athletes.”)
It’s a pretty extraordinary website, and one that mostly reads — in syntax and capitalization and general half-distracted grandiosity — as if it was written on a smartphone during a bumpy bus ride. The parts of the site that read best, on baseball and baseball slumps, appears to have been lifted wholesale from this website. Freeman’s other website, hypnosisbypattie.com, is more concerned with selling Freeman as a hypnotist-entertainer for corporate events. It is written much the same way — “Pattie is one of the Top Rated Female Stage hypnotist in the US. Voted #1 Entertainer of the year” — and notes that Freeman was the “Arizona State Fair hypnotist for 2012.”
This all raises various questions, starting with why the Mets couldn’t connect one of their players with a visualization specialist or hypnotherapist who is 1) an actual doctor and/or 2) whose bio does not contain the words “Pattie’s Comedy Hypnosis Shows is a SOLD OUT hit at Dave & Buster’s.”
Much as I hate to tell the WWO’s bookers how to do their jobs, how did they blow the chance to schedule a Justin Toxic vs. Justin Credible match? QUEENS BOULEVARD ISN’T BIG ENOUGH FOR TWO GUYS NAMED JUSTIN.
Also, a mere 30 minutes for the meet and greet? That can’t possibly be enough time to have a serious discussion with The Caveman.
There’s nothing beyond the sheer volume of food product and its unique serving vessel that makes these nachos any different than your garden variety stadium nacho; and even so, hasn’t everyone enjoyed a “helmet ice cream” at some point or another at the ballgame? The chips were nice and crunchy, the cheese a pleasing shade of mustard, the pickled jalapenos spicy as all get out; in other words, exactly what you want out of a big ass bowl of nachos.
Would I order the helmet again? Probably not, unless I hadn’t eaten for several days and had no further food ingestion plans for the foreseeable future. Even my seemingly endless capacity to eat cheese was no match for the gargantuan portion; and at $20 for one item, it’s steep even for ball park prices. Once you dump the excess and give it a rinse, you do get a souvenir helmet out of the deal, which would make for easy re-gifting to some kid you don’t care much about.
In the promo buildup for this summer’s World Cup, ESPN’s attempted to fashion a personality cult of sorts around soccer commentator Ian Darke. Not wishing to stand pat after Darke’s acclaimed work in South Africa 4 years ago, ESPN marketing manager Brandon Gillen commissioned a series of straight-t0-You Tube clips of Darke providing play-by-play in a series of non-soccer scenarios. Gillen, who tells the New York Times’ Richard Sandomir he’s not familiar with Woody Allen’s 1971 comedy, “Bananas”, penned a spot in which Darke presides over a blind date at a Brooklyn eatery.
Mr. Darke starts his commentary while sitting on a bar stool, then rises to stand beside the actors playing “Jim” and “Stacey” before he sits between them at their table. He describes the action in the parlance of a soccer match, his voice rising and falling with the encounter’s ebbs and flows.
When Jim spills wine on Stacey, Mr. Darke says, “Desperation time now. It might take a miracle.”
But when prospects perk up for the couple, he says, “Go, go, Jim! Call him the comeback king! Oh, it’s incredible. Who is writing this stuff?”
“We hoped it would be viral,” Mr. Gillen said. “It’s the kind of digital content that people pass around.”
It’s almost the 20th anniversary of the last time the New York Rangers won the Stanley Cup, a Game 7 defeat of Vancouver at MSG that was preceded — like most big Rangers game of the past generation — by a rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” sung by John Amirante. Speaking with Newsday’s Neil Best, Amirante describes the thrill of performing the national anthem….for a crowd so pumped up, he was pretty much unheard.
“I was on cloud nine, excited and thrilled to be there,” John Amirante said, recalling June 14, 1994, the night the Rangers hosted the Canucks in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final.
It was and remains the most memorable anthem on the career list of a guy who estimates he has belted it out more than 1,000 times in public – more, as far as he knows, than anyone else alive.
What’s ironic is that night’s performance was all but inaudible, a guy performing his signature song in a crisp 90 seconds while Rangers fans drowned out his words almost entirely with anticipatory cheers.
“I couldn’t even hear myself when I was out on the ice,” he said. “It was so loud.”
Was he offended? Hardly.
“No, I wasn’t,” he said. “No, no, no…my first concern was: Am I going to hear the organ?” Amirante said.”
Swansea defender Chico Flores’ 2nd yellow card in a matter of minutes —- this one for fouling Chelsea’s André Schürrle — resulted in a dismissal that left the hosts shorthanded for more than 70 minutes of a 1-0 loss Sunday. The Guardian’s Stuart James reports that Chelsea in general, John Terry in particular, had undue influence on referee Phil Dowd :
Asked about his part in the Flores incident, Terry said: “I just said, ‘It’s a second yellow for me’. He gave him one a couple minutes before on the halfway line and that one just outside the box is probably even more a yellow than the other one. Fair play to Phil, the ref, it was a big decision to make and I thought he made the right one and credit goes to him for that.
“I’m speaking as a Chelsea player, but when we all sit back and look at it then it’s definitely two yellows. It’s simple as that. If it’s a minute, two, five minutes into the game and it is a yellow or red card then it doesn’t matter. Thankfully we managed to take advantage.”
Garry Monk, the Swansea head coach, was bitterly upset at the time, in particular with the reaction of the Chelsea staff and players. “If you go by the letter of the law, it is a sending off. The more disappointing thing was that it looked like he [Dowd] had signalled straight away ‘no’, as if to signal it doesn’t warrant another yellow,” Monk said. “For their bench and manager to [then] surround the fourth official, and their players surround the referee himself, and then the red card comes so [much] later on, it makes you wonder.
While Mets starter Bartolo Colon allowed 3 consecutive HR’s to Angels hitters in the first inning of today’s game in Anaheim, early indications this season were the 17 year veteran still had something or other in his (very large) tank. “At 40, Colon Continues to Defy Time and Weight” declares the headling of Tim Rohan’s Colon profile in Sunday’s New York Times, a piece that somehow manages to avoid any mention of El Barto’s 2012 suspension for PED use (“if he keeps pitching well, he could turn into a New York folk hero: big, fat and sort of fearsome, defying all logic as he keeps winning games”)
Colon does stretching exercises to try to remain nimble. He also keeps a blue foam cylinder, which is used as a massage roller, by his locker. But lately, he has started smacking the roller as loudly as he can on the floor of the clubhouse, or on nearby chairs and tables, in an apparent effort to entertain his teammates.
“Everybody thinks Bartolo’s a big guy,” said Jose Valverde, recently anointed as the Mets’ closer. “I don’t think so. He’s got a lot of muscle. He’s in great shape for 40 years old.
“A lot of players have a stomach,” added Valverde, no slender guy himself. “It’s no big deal.”
“He’s not transitioning to the backcourt or covering a wide receiver,” strength and conditioning coach Jim Malone said. “Pitching is a skill. Obviously, it would be helpful to be in shape. But he knows how to pitch.”
In an endeavor to make cross-country phone calls stimulating, Reitman toys with an enhanced (and constantly shifting) split-screen effect that, if it weren’t for a commanding turn from Costner, could have been dizzying. Fortunately, the veteran actor appears to relish in GM Sonny Weaver’s view of the Draft Day dilemma, which requires idealism, pragmatism, as well as a sense of humor, resulting in an absorbing and often downright relatable protagonist. That said, the character’s evolution throughout the movie isn’t particularly nuanced – making it hard to believe that Weaver is actually in control of the situation (as opposed to just a lucky opportunist).
Outside of the principle characters, most supporting players are thinly scripted caricatures – which also make it relatively easy to predict where all the puzzles pieces will fit as the narrative plays out. This isn’t to say that audiences will guess every plot point ahead of time, but in spite of high-powered trades, Draft Day rarely offers truly engaging surprises. Ultimately, the only genuinely shocking revelation is just how far Reitman ventures to test disbelief in the final thirty minutes.
Accusing his beloved Miami Heat of intentionally trying to miss out on the Eastern Conference’s top seed, 2 Live Crew’s Luther Campbell takes to the pages of Miami New Times to argue,”a ball club chasing its third title is supposed to do what the San Antonio Spurs are doing — beating the shit out of mediocre teams,” adding, “sometimes, you gotta channel a young Mike Tyson and knock motherfuckers out to prove you are still number one.”
The road to the Eastern Conference finals is much easier for the team that finishes as the second seed. That means the Heat would play the Charlotte Bobcats in the first round and the winner of the Toronto Raptors-Washington Wizards matchup in the second round.
Interestingly, the Heat has posted a combined record of 10-1 against those teams this season. If Miami gets the top seed, the opponent in the second round might be the Chicago Bulls or the Brooklyn Nets, two teams that have proven they can beat the Heat with size and defense.
The Heat revolutionized the game by allowing players to rest throughout the regular season. It began when Pat Riley brought in Shaquille O’Neal. One of the organization’s major selling points to veteran players is that the Heat adds more years to their careers by not playing them the full 82 games. The problem this season is that strategy hasn’t allowed the team to build a chemistry.
When Dwyane Wade did play, he and LeBron appeared out of sync. They need some time to get comfortable with each other. That’s not gonna happen with the Bulls or the Nets.
Another fact is that Fitzgerald received a $2.5 million loan from the school upon signing his last contract. The players, meanwhile, are asking for a seat at the table and an extension of health and educational guarantees. Even if they vote yes, there will be years of appeals. In fact, Northwestern filed suit on Friday, to appeal the original NLRB ruling. Yet despite all of this, it is too much for the ball coach to abide.
Why is Fitzgerald, a former player, pushing back so hard against the efforts to unionize? Is it pressure from the NCAA, which sees unionization as a threat, in its own words, to “blow up” its entire operation? Is it those in power on a Northwestern University campus that has been hostile to any kind of on-campus organizing? Is it pressure from well-heeled alumni who are being very public about why the players need to vote no? Does Fitzgerald simply not want to break the time-honored power dynamic in a college locker room of Coach as God? Maybe it is as simple as the words of ESPN legal analyst Lester Munson who said, “Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald is now in the position of being an employer whose employees are entitled to vote on whether to unionize.” Like so many bosses, maybe he does not want his workers to have a seat at the table. Clearing the table, maybe, but not a seat.
For a variety of reasons, I’ll not be able to attend this May’s Hozac Blackout in Chicago featuring The Boys, The Dictators, Shocked Minds and A Giant Dog amongst others, but I hope to be able to live vicariously through the exploits of the gentleman pictured above. That is, provided you do the right thing and chip in towards his travel expenses. PERCY ROSS IS DEAD, people, don’t make Ben resort to something desperate.
Putting aside for a moment the plausibility of anyone listening to Adam Schein’s radio show, Tigers reliever Joe Nathan claimed Wednesday he was suffering from a dead arm. Speaking with 730AM’s Fred Heumann, the following day, veteran starter / organist Denny McLain asked, “what the hell is a dead arm?”
“Get a shot of cortisone, put a little dirt on it, Joe, kick yourself in the ass and get out there,” said McLain, baseball’s last 30-game winner. “I am tired of excuses. Everybody’s got an excuse in this game today. Get dressed, go play. They’re paying you tens of millions of dollars to play the game and you want to come up with a dead arm?”
“Let’s step up, let’s be a man, let’s retire from the game because our arm is tired and let’s find another guy who can pitch, if your arm is dead,” he said. “That’d be the right thing to do, wouldn’t it? Just walk away from the game, leave $30 million on the table and go home? Wouldn’t that be the right thing to do if you can’t help us?”
Trouble is, the show in question was Monday’s Angels / Astros game, which registered a 0.0 in a survey of Nielsen households in the Houston area. “It probably didn’t help that the Angels jumped off to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning,” muses the Houston Chronicle’s David Barron, though Yahoo’s Mike Oz figures despite myriad poor circumstances (chiefly the poor reach of CSN Houston, currently unavailable on Dish, Direct TV or U-Verse), “0.0 is still troubling news…the last 0.0 came in September, when the team’s season was long over, and it was dwindling in a 15-game losing streak.”
We’re only a week into the 2014 MLB season. It’s the time of the year that every team still has a chance, even the Astros — a team that has lost 106, 107 and 111 games in the last three season. The team’s in a middle of a rebuild and because of that, there aren’t too many players with big names on the field.
But, heck, it’s April. Baseball is still new. Even the perrenial losers haven’t sunk too far down in the standings yet. The Astros won their first two games of the season (against the New York Yankees!) so that was kind of exciting. Momentarily, at least. Houston is 3-5 now, tied for last in the AL West, but with a couple of wins they could be first place by the end of the week. Such is April baseball
Iimagine all the crying about the death of this recent drug-soused entertainment freak has most to do with the unfortunate inconvenience that the other drug-soused entertainment freaks now face. They will have to look for another local, safe and reputable babysitter. No longer will they be able to drop their kids off down the street at Jacko’s to be watched for the afternoon and spend some play time with his own kids.
I hate the paparazzi, and think they should all be shot for the obsessive invasion of privacy. But I’m really going miss ALL those TMZ and Entertainment Tonight video clips of Jacko’s and other celebrity kids playing together. You ever see any of those? Weren’t they great? Didn’t they make you feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside? Worked for me. Every time I caught one it made me believe maybe he wasn’t a pedophile. After all, famous and rich entertainers, with all kinds of money to go to any expense to have things accurately checked out for themselves, wouldn’t let their own little babies near a pedophile…would they?!
Well, you gotta give him credit for one thing. He spent all his money (and then some) before he died. And that’s not an easy thing to calculate. Go ahead, ask your financial planner if he has a plan to pull it off. For all the horrific mismanagement of millions and millions and millions of dollars, here at the end, Jacko did a pretty damn good job at balancing the books in his favor. Sorry, at my new age and with the way the Obama economic plan is going, I couldn’t help but recognize this stunner.
“It was kind of a throwaway comment at the end of NFL Live,” Schlereth explained on Mike and Mike this week, when asked how he attracted the ire of #RGIIINation. “Trey [Wingo] asked me and Mark Brunell what we thought. And I’m like I understand if you create a logo for your foundation, or I understand if Adidas creates a logo because they’re releasing your RGIII training shoe or something. But to have your own personal logo, I just thought, was like the cart before the horse.
“You know, are we working on branding ourselves, or are we working on becoming a great football player?” Schlereth went on. “You were benched at the end of last season. And so, to me, [the comment] was not a big deal. Well, apparently he was offended by that.”
“All his legion of fans – and good for them, they support their quarterback – were on me,” Schlereth went on. “Bottom line, what do you do with [a logo]? I don’t know if you know who I am, but here’s my logo. You know, it just seemed goofy to me. Again, it seemed like the cart before the horse to me. And so then I was just getting inundated on Twitter with all these crazy things about me being a ‘hater,’ which is one of the most ridiculous terms ever. I just [thought] the whole aspect of creating your own personal logo is kind of ridiculous. That’s how I look at it….I just thought that whole I’m releasing my personal logo, I mean, what are you, a superhero? I don’t know. It just seemed weird to me.”
Baltimore’s 14-5 rout of the Yankees was briefly interrupted this afternoon when a pair of fans took to the hallowed Nu Stadium turf, only to be escorted from the premises by Randy L.’s Crack Security Force. While this intermission had no impact on the game’s result, Orioles outfielder Adam Jones told the Baltimore Sun’s Eduardo A. Encina, “Anybody who does it, I wish the cops tase the [hell] out of them.”
“I think it’s idiotic for people to run on the field, and I think the punishment needs to be a lot harsher, and they should let us have a shot to kick them with our metal spikes on because it’s stupid,” Jones said. “You look like an [idiot] when you run on the field.”
“We don’t go to any other events,” Jones said. “We don’t go to other sporting events and do that to their jobs, but they come to ours and do that. I get it, you’re drunk and you want to be on SportsCenter. Your [butt] is going to jail with a fine, and you might not be allowed to come back to the ballpark. I remember a couple of years ago, one dude broke his ankle in Baltimore. I was laughing at him. I wish he shattered his femur because it’s stupid. It’s just plain old stupid.”
Heck, I’d hate to have to explain it to you. Much respect, as usual, is due to the talented Mike Zaun, but I must nitpick about the performance of the fella who’s meant to be Chris Russo. The real-life Mad Dog isn’t nearly that easy to understand.
Because of Sports Illustrated and the recognition that has come along with it, I still have a voice that people listen to 14 years later. I still get interview requests from names like Geraldo Rivera, Neil Cavuto and Michael Savage where I proudly spread the word about Save Homeless Veterans. I don’t know too many Big Leaguers who haven’t seen action in 11 years that can still do that. I receive requests on a regular basis to speak inspirationally at various charity events as well as a variety of adult and adolescent groups. And the slate of invitations to simply attend and/or sign at charity functions is always full. I truly believe that my time in a Big League uniform in conjunction with the notoriety of SI has allowed me to do more things in my personal life and, more importantly, in the lives of others than I can ever accurately assess.
For several years, though, I took the gross misperception of me by Pearlman personally. I know I’m a good person, and the dozens of individuals from all races and nationalities that came to my defense know it, too. Yet in their rapid lust for the sensational, media largely refused to acknowledge what former teammates like Javier Lopez, CC Sabathia or Eddie Perez had to say about me and our friendship. For years they have refused to observe my life and such aspects of it as my very public three-year relationship with a black woman or my relationship with the daughter of (should be Hall of Famer) Denis Martinez. To publicize any of that would be for media to second guess a member of their own fraternity, which is why the Pearlman description of me is still fact to many.
Honesty has gotten you in trouble with some of the players, right?
You know what? I don’t really care what they think. If they’re a mature ballplayer, they’ll understand what my job is. The older guys, the Jose Bautistas and Adam Linds of the world, they get it. They know I’m holding them accountable, in the same way I [was] when I was playing.
As far as the team not always playing the game the way it should be played, can you give an example of the Jays playing the wrong way?
The fact that a guy like Anthony Gose can’t [use his speed to hit] .300 speaks volumes to me about what’s going on in the minor leagues. The fact that he doesn’t spend an hour a day in the batting cage with a coach, whether it’s by his design or whether they have to grab him by his shirt collar. The Jays don’t draft well and they don’t develop players well. There’s a lack of accountability in this organization, from the top to the bottom.
…or the Newark Star-Ledger in particular. No doubt holding a deep grudge from the way local papers had the temerity to report a 2008 sexual discrimination lawsuit that proceeded her appointment as Rutgers Athletic Director Julie Hermann told a bunch of journalism undergrads the Star-Ledgers recent layoffs were a cause for celebration. From the paper’s Steve Politi :
“If they’re not writing headlines that are getting our attention, they’re not selling ads – and they die,” Hermann told the Media Ethics and Law class. “And the Ledger almost died in June, right?”
“They might die again next month,” a student said.
That two of the 167 people laid off, Brendan Prunty and Dave Hutchinson, had in recent years dedicated their professional lives to chronicling the accomplishments of her university’s athletes just brings it to a perfect level of awfulness. Dozens more we let go at properties owned by The Star-Ledger’s corporate parent – outlets like NJ.com, The Times of Trenton and the South Jersey Times. Included in their cuts, too, were people who have covered Rutgers and its athletes for years.
In a statement from Rutgers, Hermann did not apologize or explain her attack on the newspaper, instead stating that she was sharing her experiences “in an informal way and out of the glare of the media spotlight.” Because who would have imagined that journalism students would have recording devices?
Prodded by the Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn for some explanation why the modern NBA is relatively rivalry/enforcer free, ten-year veteran Charles Oakley opines, “back in the ’60s and ’70s, they looked like they were more finesse and they are finesse now.” Asked to elaborate, Oak blames it on a combination of analytics and wussiness.
“The coaches in this league, in this day and era, are soft; the players are soft, how can you build something?” he said. “They put all these stat guys, these analytic guys, and put them on the bench and make them GM because of numbers. My thing with basketball, you’ve got to have efficiency within your structure, like San Antonio. You’ve got to have your players to buy in. That’s what wrong with the league, you’ve got guys worried about social media, my brand. You brand once you get drafted, when you win as a team, you get your brand. When your team wins, then all of those commercials will come. Everything is all about hype.”
Oakley has an interesting theory. He believes in order to globalize the league, ex-commissioner David Stern had to change the rules to make the NBA more inviting for European players. While the rule changes to increase scoring were effective, they made the league less physical.
“When we played in the ’80s, it wasn’t OK [for European players to play in the NBA],” Oakley said. “They weren’t coming over here. They were scared. The game was tough and they weren’t tough. Back then it was 1 percent and now it’s 40 percent and it’s going to keep going up. The dollar is international now. I don’t like 7-footers shooting threes, it’s a disrespect to the game for me. Dirk [Nowitzki] is good, point blank. [Larry] Bird got away with it. A few guys can get away with it because they can flat-out shoot.”