Why Couldn’t It Have Been Howie Long Instead?

Posted in The World Of Entertainment at 8:55 am by

I anticipate a run on copies of “Hijinx” and “Hijinx 2″ at the local video store.

(Update : kudos to the programming gods at Turner South for their sensitivity in scheduling a showing of “Troop Beverley Hills” for this morning.)

Hubie Brown Sits Down

Posted in Basketball at 8:40 am by

71 year old Hubie Brown has quit as coach of the Memphis Grizzlies, citing previously unforseen “health-related issues” (though being 71 years old and having to deal with Jason Williams every day is probably reason enough).

Brown, whose previous coaching tenures included stops in Atlanta, New York and Kentucky, will be replaced by Lionel Hollins on an interim basis. Former Cavs/Hawks coach Mike Fratello, so close to taking the Knicks job last year, would be the bookies’ choice to take over, if the bookies were awake yet.


Strachan’s Eye On Spies

Posted in Football at 9:56 pm by

With Jacques Santini and Harry Redknapp have bolted Premiership jobs in recent weeks, ex-Coventry boss Gordon Strachan (above) takes a dim view of those dubbed Director Of Football in tomorrow’s Guardian.

If you ask British managers what a director of football is, a lot would probably answer: “A spy.” I don’t want to be disrespectful, but I think they’re mainly a way for chairmen to make sure they know what’s going on throughout their club. They want to know what training’s like, what are the players thinking, whether they’re happy with the manager.

It gives them a legitimate way to find these things out. As it is, some chairmen will go to a player, a coach or someone behind the scenes, like a physio or masseur, and ask questions. But the manager gets to know because there are no secrets at a football club. It’s like having 20 old women together.

I wonder whether anyone can assure me that a director of football really makes a positive difference. And if the director of football is so important, why doesn’t he go when the coach gets sacked?

Competitive Eating Hits The Big Time

Posted in Food at 9:10 pm by

Newsday’s Michael Dobie on the evolution of gluttony-as-sport.

Signs of social acceptance abound. Cable television, such as ESPN and the Food Network, broadcasts events, and top eaters appear regularly on Jay Leno, Carson Daly and “Good Morning America.” The puzzle page in this weekend’s Life magazine asks readers to match the eater’s face with his or her food of choice.

“It’s been a very steep rise the last couple of years,” said George Shea, who along with his brother Richard used to do public relations for the Nathan’s contest. Sensing possibilities for expansion, the Manhattan-based duo founded the International Federation for Competitive Eating in 1997 and turned an innocent pastime into, well, something of a niche sport so serious it’s funny. Or vice versa.

“We’re serious about it without question. No one can doubt our chili record or our corn on the cob record is legitimate,” said Richard Shea, his tongue planted firmly in cheek.

So, too, the brothers say, no one can doubt their enterprise is a sport. It might be an “entertainment product,” they admit, but that’s true of every sport.

“The definition of sport is any physical activity governed by a set of rules. An awful lot of things are that, but ours is clearly that,” Richard Shea said. “Eating is as inherent to man as running or jumping or other survival skills that are in the Olympics.”

Competitive eating certainly has the trappings of modern sport.

There’s a clock. There’s a final score (the weight or pieces of food consumed). There’s prize money. There are world records and rankings.

There is scouting. Badlands, a 35-year-old conductor on the No. 7 subway line, watches tapes of Japan’s Takeru Kobayashi, the four-time Nathan’s champion universally considered the best in the business.

There are rules. Vomiting, for example, is not allowed (the V word never is used in the business; the IFOCE prefers “reversal of fortune” or “the Roman method”). Competitors must be at least 18. And as in football, every sanctioned competition has an emergency medical technician.

Perhaps the simplest justification is the one offered by 38-year-old Ed “Cookie” Jarvis, a 6-6, 409-pound real-estate agent from Nesconset who holds 11 world records: “They wouldn’t put it on ESPN if it wasn’t a sport.”

Kandy Man Gets The Taser

Posted in Basketball at 5:38 pm by

The Associated Press is reporting that T-Wolves center Michael Olowokandi was tasered and stunned by Indianpolis police early this morning when he refused to leave a local nightclub.

Surely the authorities knew the Allure record release party would an intense affair?

He’s (Not) So Fine : Jokey Judge Enrages Cancer Kin With Beatle George Parody

Posted in The Law at 2:38 pm by

From the NY Daily News’ Dave Goldiner.

.A frustrated songwriter who doubles as a Staten Island judge has issued a bizarre ruling in a case involving George Harrison’s controversial cancer doctor – writing his decision in a parody of the late Beatle’s classic “Something.”

When Dr. Gil Lederman asked Supreme Court Justice Robert Gigante for a change of venue over negative publicity, the judge agreed – in song.

“Something in the folks he treats,” Gigante wrote. “Attracts bad press like no other doctor.”

In moving the case to Albany, he mused, “If this case I were to keep, defendant would gently weep.”

Lederman has drawn rebukes for publicly discussing Harrison’s case after the famed musician died in 2001. He also got into a legal tangle with Olivia Harrison over a guitar her husband autographed on his deathbed.

The doctor’s latest problems center on a wrongful death suit filed by the family of a colon cancer patient who was lured to Staten Island by Lederman’s much-publicized claims of revolutionary cancer treatments.

A lawyer for the family of cancer victim Suzanne Mikul called the judge’s song-parody ruling outrageous. “I think it’s an insulting decision,” attorney Steven North said. “It’s very offensive.”

North contends that Lederman and his colleagues at Staten Island University Hospital gave the 66-year-old New Mexico woman too much radiation in December 2001, causing her death two months later.

Aside from the sour notes struck by the judge, North disagreed with the substance of the decision – that negative news coverage of Lederman poisoned the jury pool in the city.

He said plenty of New Yorkers never heard about the Harrison guitar case, and could be open-minded about the case even if they had. “I think they know George Harrison in Albany, too,” North said

Arthur Hailey Picked A Bad Week To Stop Breathing

Posted in Dead Authors at 2:22 pm by

Novelist Arthur Hailey, author of “Aipport”, “Hotel” and “The Moneychangers”, has passed away at the age of 84.

Hailey’s TV screenplay, “Flight Into Danger” formed the basis for the Zucker Brothers’ “Airplane!”, and for that alone, he deserves a very special spot in CSTB’s Hall Of Fame, if not being brought back to earth as a more attractive person.

“Pitching CEO” Wants Leiter Back

Posted in Baseball at 1:58 pm by

If Al Leiter ultimately signs with a team other than the Mets, t wasn’t Rick Peterson’s decision, writes the NY Post’s Michael Morrisey.

The team’s pitching coach cautioned that his opinion was asked before negotiations with Leiter began ” and that he’s only one of many organizational voices.

But in no uncertain terms, Peterson spoke of his enjoyment working with the Met lefty, who went 10-8 with a 3.21 ERA in 30 starts last season.

“Quite frankly, I feel as close to Al as any pitcher I’ve ever had,” Peterson said yesterday. “They asked, ‘What do you think about having Al back?’

“I said, ‘I’d love to have Al Leiter back.’ “

Just to make sure everyone has a say in this, perhaps someone could call Scott Kazmir?

Hurry Up, Harry : Redknapp Leaves Pompey, Next Stop Molineux?

Posted in Football at 1:15 am by

(Jimmy Pursey & pals are waiting for an answer just like the rest of us).

Sick of being undermined by ownership, Harry Redknapp has left the managerial post at Portsmouth and is a prime candidate to take over at Wolves, writes the Guardian’s Jon Brodkin.

Harry Redknapp resigned as Portsmouth manager yesterday after he decided he could no longer work with the chairman Milan Mandaric and executive director Velimir Zajec.

Redknapp, 57, felt his position had been compromised by the arrival of Zajec and has terminated a relationship with Mandaric which has been tense for some time. He could be offered an instant return to management by Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Zajec will take temporary charge of Portsmouth for their game at Bolton on Saturday and will have a major role in deciding on a replacement.

“It was my decision and something I have been thinking about for some time,” Redknapp said. “I made it without any pressure from the chairman or the board. I feel very proud of both my own and the club’s achievements over the last two years, leaving them in an excellent position.”

Publicly, Redknapp insisted that he wanted “a break”. But his assistant Jim Smith, who has also left, hinted at the underlying problems. “If you believe Harry has left to take a break from football you will believe anything,” said Smith, who at 64 is the oldest coach in English football. “The writing has been on the wall for months. Velimir Zajec coming in was a major factor but it was not the only thing. Things have not been right for some time.”

Redknapp and Mandaric rowed publicly over Smith’s future at the end of last season. Mandaric said he had been caught “a little bit by surprise” by the timing of Redknapp’s departure but added: “We have been talking about Harry leaving for some time, I knew he would go, unfortunately. He has done a wonderful job.”

Redknapp’s resignation yesterday follows speculation last week that Wolverhampton would make a move for QPR manager Ian Holloway, or perhaps Mickey Adams, recently fired by Leicester.

Break Up Da Bulls

Posted in Basketball at 12:47 am by

(David Stern and the rest of the NBA are counting on the Deng/Kirilenko rivalry to repair the league’s tattered image. OK, maybe not)

Rather than dwell on the Knicks’ matador (small “m”) defense against Vince (dunking again) Carter and the Raptors, or LeBron burnishing his MVP credentials against the Pistons (sans Ben Wallace), how about those Bulls getting off the schneid in SLC?

(Seattle’s Ray Allen, perhaps too old to play Denzel’s son, still young enough to fight his way past Milwaukee’s Earl Watson)

In all seriousness, Thanksgiving Eve was a night in which the Spurs, Suns and Sonics all staked a claim as the league’s elite thus far, but no one has been hotter than surprising Seattle.


Mets, Yanks Plans On Hold Over Thanksgiving

Posted in Baseball at 11:22 pm by

From tomorrow’s The NY Times, Lee Jenkins & Tyler Kepner on the Hot Stove action surrounding New York’s clubs.

The Mets and the Cubs are both interested in a swap that would send Cliff Floyd to Chicago for Sosa, but there is a serious financial hang-up that could easily block the deal. The Cubs want the Mets to pay most of Sosa’s $17 million contract, and the Mets want the Cubs to assume a large portion of his salary. Because so many Chicago fans have turned on Sosa, and so few teams are interested in him, the Mets have the luxury of leverage and can wait for the price to drop.

While Sosa’s stock has plummeted, the price for first basemen may be on the rise. Carlos Delgado of the Toronto Blue Jays and Richie Sexson of the Arizona Diamondbacks are the only marquee first basemen on the free-agent market, and according to one executive in baseball, the Seattle Mariners are plotting a way to snag both players. The Mariners would put one at first base and use the other as the designated hitter, and the Mets would have to scramble for a solution.

Finding a first baseman will be much more difficult than luring a starter to replace Leiter. The Mets are exploring the possibility of signing one of the top two free-agent pitchers, Pedro Martínez of the Red Sox or Carl Pavano of the Marlins, but they are considered long shots because the Yankees and the Red Sox are also interested in them. The Mets would probably have a better chance with Derek Lowe of Boston or Kevin Millwood of Philadelphia, who some in the organization think would thrive under the pitching coach Rick Peterson.

Right now, many of the Yankees’ moves depend on other parties. They are waiting for Leiter to reciprocate their interest and hoping the Diamondbacks open trade talks for starting pitcher Randy Johnson. So far, the Yankees’ focus has been on retaining their players: starting pitcher Jon Lieber, second baseman Miguel Cairo and the backup catcher John Flaherty. The Yankees have had disjointed talks with starting pitcher Orlando Hernández, who has been unclear about whether he wants to negotiate directly or through an agent.

Cashman is flying to Disney World in Orlando, Fla., and will not return until Tuesday night. “That should give you an idea of how close things are, which is not very,” he said.

You can count ESPN’s Peter Gammons amongst those pouring cold water on a potential Randy Johnson for Javier Vazquez trade.

What makes no sense is Arizona taking on Vazquez. Wink, wink  we know the Yankees would take on some of the money, but Vazquez has $25M guaranteed in 2006 and 2007. Now, the Diamondbacks likely will be worse than any of Vazquez’s Expos teams, so he’ll demand a trade at the end of the ’05 season. If he has a good year, Arizona will be embarrassed. If he has a bad year, he will be virtually untradable at that price. Then there’s the matter of Diamondbacks owner Jeff Moorad being the agent Vazquez fired.

Mourning Vs. Ratner

Posted in Basketball at 7:53 pm by

Prior to an tough loss to K-Mart’s Nuggets, the Nets’ Alonso Mourning defied a gag order and continued to vent about the direction of Bruce Ratner’s franchise. From the Bergen Record’s Al Iannazone.

Earlier in the day, Mourning spoke with disappointment and disgust about his first meeting with Ratner. That encounter Monday left Mourning more convinced than ever that the Nets’ principal owner cares more about relocating than winning.

“I just asked him, other than the fact that it’s an investment and you want a return, tell me the reason why you bought this team,” Mourning said.

“And, you ask anybody in here, he said, ‘To move it to Brooklyn.’ I just shook my head.

“I mean, I didn’t hear ‘to win, to win a championship.’ I didn’t hear that come out of his mouth,” he said.

Ratner addressed the Nets at their practice facility Monday before they left for Denver. Everyone was in attendance except Jason Kidd, who was off-site rehabbing his left knee.

It was the first time Ratner, who purchased the Nets for $300 million, spoke to the team as a whole. At the end of the 10-minute meeting Ratner asked if there were any questions.

Mourning, upset with the many off-season moves starting with letting Kenyon Martin go to Denver, had the only question.

Although Mourning wasn’t satisfied with Ratner’s answer, Nets president Rod Thorn said it was “innocuous,” and that Ratner said, “he wanted to win.”

Ratner spokesperson Barry Baum issued this statement: “We won’t discuss specifically what Mr. Ratner said to the team in private beyond confirming that he met with the players, he thanked them for their enormous effort and made it extremely clear he wants to win.”

Mourning said he “didn’t get that from the conversation.”

Mourning also sounded appalled that it took this long to meet Ratner, who prefers to stay behind the scenes. On opening night, Ratner donated $25,000 to Mourning’s charity. Thorn presented the check.

“Any chief investor in a franchise, in order for your players and the people who work for you to be even more dedicated and for them to work their butts off on the court, you’ve got to show some personal interest as well,” Mourning said. “This is my first time meeting him. Going through what I’ve gone through, I would just [have] expected to meet him a long time ago.”

Sucking For A While Under The Leadership Of Scott Skiles

Posted in Basketball at 7:09 pm by

As the winless Chicago Bulls (gunning for 0-10 with a visit to Utah later tonight) take stock of yet another rebuilding year, the Arlington Daily Herald’s Mike Imrem thinks the coach oughta fall under heavy scrutiny.

In theory, Scott Scowls’ methods are appealing. Rosters are filled with overpaid underachievers, so fans love disciplinarian coaches.

In reality, it’s probably a race on the Bulls between veterans and youngsters to see who quits first on Skiles.

Tyson Chandler received a technical for slapping the backboard on a dunk? That had to be addressed. Eddy Curry is lackadaisical? That has to be addressed.

But disciplining them publicly or allowing punishment to become public … I doubt whether that’s productive.

Maybe I’m misjudging Skiles. I’m just drawing impressions from what I see. What I see is a tightly wound coach, which usually tightly winds players.

Not even college coaches can summarily demand players play a certain way these days. As Villanova coach Jay Wright told ESPN last spring, “You can’t tell (players), ‘I’m the coach, so do it.’æ”

It’s hard enough being beaten game after game. It’s even harder to be beaten on by a coach day after day. The danger is young players will be lost forever – their minds, then their bodies, ultimately their potential.

Skiles came to the Bulls with a dubious reputation. During his first NBA head-coaching stop, he reportedly repulsed assorted Suns. The last thing the Bulls need is another authority figure whom imminent free agents around the league can’t embrace. They already went through that with former general manager Jerry Krause.

Phillies Sign HiWatt Radio Deal

Posted in Baseball, Sports Radio at 6:36 pm by

from the Philadelphia Daily News’ Bill Conlin :

When the Phillies and WPHT (1210-AM) failed to renew their contract before the 2002 season, millions of words went unheard by hundreds of thousands of ears.

Fans both near and far who were accustomed for decades to the 50,000-watt clear channel power of Phillies broadcasts on the 1210-AM frequency by WCAU-AM and successors tuned to the new rights holder, WPEN (950-AM), and got nothing but the crackle of static.

The Phillies had been available after sunset in a vast swath of the eastern half of the country from Florida to Maine, from the Great Lakes to the Smoky Mountains. WPHT is picked up – particularly when atmospheric conditions are just right – in 42 states, including Alaska. I have heard 1210 in Canada. It comes in to ships halfway across the North Atlantic.

That comforting signal provided a home away from home for transplanted Phillies fans by the thousands from the Carolinas to the Upper Midwest. I believe I read the e-mail outrage of most of them in the weeks after the Phillies signed a 3-year deal with WPEN, a well-intentioned, 5,000-watt station assigned the 950-AM frequency. For many listeners in the tristate suburban area, reception was dicey at best, particularly at night. And no matter how the engineers tweaked their signal and tried to fine-tune the Phillies’ coverage area, there were significant blanks where the signal faded in and out or was distorted by the variety of interference that have made the amplitude modulation method of transmission all but obsolete.

Until it became obvious the Phillies finally were listening to the anguish of their electronically excommunicated fan base and were considering a return to the station that now bills itself as “The Big Talker,” a lot of us were praying Major League Baseball will sign a deal with Sirius, the satellite pay-radio company that beams down the entire NFL schedule in digital quality. It turns out that MLB games will be carried on rival satellite service XM next season.

So, on May 2, a Monday, the missus and I will begin the long drive up I-95 from Florida and a gaping void will be filled. No more hallelujah-shouting preachers, no more gee-tars twanging or news of widow Jones’ lost cat. The Phillies play the Mets at Shea Stadium that night. We will hit the 1210 preset and Marconi’s miracle will deliver the play-by-play to us somewhere in South Carolina.

There is a terrific seafood place we discovered at an exit about 30 miles north of the Georgia border. After dinner, we will hit South Carolina around sunset. By the Hardeeville exit, or the Beaufort exit at the latest, 1210 will crackle through the interference, sporadic at first as the 50,000 watts begin dominating the bandwidth. By the long bridge over Lake Marion that ends in Santee, the voices will be identifiable. The Phillies and Mets will carry us past the annoying neon blitz of South of the Border and well into North Carolina. Sorry, Pedro. It will be a swift 210 miles or 3 hours – whichever comes first.

But the big winners, of course, will be all the fans in the immediate Philadelphia area inconvenienced at best and shut out at worst by the ballclub’s ill-advised decision to hitch its wagon to a station with such a limited signal. That is no rap at WPEN, which has provided its signal-limited audiences with a variety of quality programming over the years. Business is business.

Baseball, however, was made for the clear-channel powerhouses, for mighty KMOX, voice of the Cardinals, for Pittsburgh’s KDKA, first station to broadcast baseball. It was made for Detroit’s WJR, Chicago’s WGN, Cincinnati’s WLW and Boston’s WBZ. They have talked generations of baseball junkies through the long, hypnotic nights of Highway America.

Kendall To Oakland?

Posted in Baseball at 5:54 pm by

The AP is reporting that the A’s are on the verge of trading Mark Redman (11-12, 4.71 ERA) and Arthur Rhodes (9 saves, 5.12 ERA) to the Pirates in exchange for 3-time All Star catcher Jason Kendall (above), who has seemingly been the subject of trade rumors since the begining of time. The big question is how much of Kendall’s remaining $34 million salary (over 3 years) the Pirates will assume.

After weeks of speculation, .the Dodgers have extended manager Jim Tracy’s deal by another two years

Knicks Unlikely To Acquire Carter

Posted in Basketball at 11:49 am by

The Daily News’ Frank Isola on the first-place (!) Knicks and the decreasing odds that Vince Carter will end up in New York.

Carter is playing and talking his way out of Toronto, but a deal with the Knicks remains a longshot, even though Carter told Raptors management last summer that he wanted to be traded to New York.

Isiah Thomas, who is always looking to upgrade his roster and add a legitimate superstar, is said to be interested in dealing for Carter. But the Knicks president is realistic about his chances, especially since Thomas would have to part with his best player, Stephon Marbury. Toronto wants no part of Allan Houston.

The Raptors, however, are coming to the realization that they may not get equal value for Carter, whose game and production have declined for three years. Toronto talked to the Portland Trail Blazers about a deal for Shareef Abdur-Rahim. Other reports had the Raptors looking to trade Carter, Jalen Rose, Milt Palacio and Jerome Moiso for Abdur-Rahim, Nick Van Exel, Derek Anderson and Vladimir Stepania.

Abdur-Rahim appeals to the Raptors because his contract expires after the season. The Knicks traded all of their expiring contracts in last summer’s deal for Jamal Crawford.

The Knicks are willing to trade Tim Thomas (above), whose value has never been lower. He also has been booed repeatedly at home games. Some executives around the league feel that a change of scenery and a change of positions – from small forward to power forward – will benefit Thomas.

A Carter-for-Thomas trade would not have seemed plausible over the summer, but Toronto may be willing to make the move if the Knicks would consider taking on Rose’s contract. Coincidentally, Carter criticized Knicks coach Lenny Wilkens after Wilkens left the Raptors, saying that the game had passed the coach by. Also, Rose feuded with Isiah Thomas, who was then coach of the Pacers and orchestrated a trade that sent Rose to Chicago.

Mets Resume Hunt For Their Elusive 5th Starter

Posted in Baseball at 9:54 am by

It would appear as though Al Leiter will be channeling Bill Pullman in a uniform other than that of the New York Mets next season.

The more things play out, one has to assume the Mets have some reasonable assurance they’re going to sign a free agent of at least no. 3/4 starter caliber, as Jae Seo and Aaron Heilman are not the answer. Going into April with a rotation of Glavine, Benson, Trachsel, hopefully Zambrano and fill-in-the-blank, while not awful, also wouldn’t represent enough of an upgrade on ’04′s 1-5.

Of course, if push came to shove and the Mets really had to lower their sights, there’s always the chance they’d settle for Pedro Martinez.

Fatal Flying Shrimp On Long Island

Posted in Food at 12:11 am by

(above : craftstman/entertainer at work)

Newsday’s Jennifer Sinco Kelleher on the latest nuisance suit to hit one of the world’s classiest eateries.

Attorney Andre Ferenzo, representing Colaitis’ widow, Jacqueline Colaitis, said the family sat around a hot steel grill that night when a chef flung a piece of hot shrimp at Colaitis’ son, burning his arm.

The family asked the chef to stop throwing, Ferenzo said, but another piece was lobbed at a relative. Again, they asked the chef to cut it out. However, a piece was flipped toward Colaitis, who moved out of the way, Ferenzo said.

That night, Colaitis began to feel pain in his neck, the attorney said, and later went to see a chiropractor. When the pain didn’t subside, he went to see three neurosurgeons.

Colaitis underwent neck surgery at New York University Medical Center in Manhattan in June. About a week later, he was back at NYU because of complications, Ferenzo said.

“By September and October, there was numbness in his arm and stinging in his back,” Ferenzo said, adding that his client also began experiencing memory loss.

On Nov. 21, Colaitis checked into St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn with a 105-degree fever, Ferenzo said, and the following day, he died. The cause of death was sepsis, a severe infection.

Jacqueline Colaitis, who declined to comment yesterday, is demanding $10 million, Ferenzo said, and believes that the chain of events that led to the death her husband, who was in the fur business, started because of Benihana’s shrimp.

The Munsey Park restaurant is closed for renovations. At the Westbury location yesterday, customers enjoying lunch said the lawsuit wouldn’t stop them from appreciating the chefs’ engaging cooking style.

“I think it’s the stupidest thing I’ve heard in my life,” said John White, 40, of Hicksville, of the lawsuit. “It’s reaching for straws.”

But on the other side of the table, after enthusiastically thanking a chef for the finale — flipping shrimp tails into the air and catching them in his chest pocket — Suzanne Beyer said the lawsuit has merit.

“I’m always worrying it’ll hit my kids,” said Beyer, 47, of Dix Hills. “When they do all those tricks, I’m afraid food will get flung into an eye.”


Shorthanded Pacers Defeat Celtics

Posted in Basketball at 11:54 pm by

(Ron, frustrated that a local radio outlet doesn’t have Dow Jones & The Industrials’ “Can’t Stand The Midwest”, settles for the new Allure album)

Shame for Indiana they don’t have 71 more games this season against Boston.

NFL To Introduce Pricey Seats With Shitty Sightlines

Posted in Gridiron at 10:20 pm by

from the Associated Press :

A long-planned NFL experiment with on-field seating will begin Sunday with the Jacksonville at Minnesota game.

Four field seats for each game will be made available. The host teams, all of which volunteered to conduct the experiment, will choose which fans will sit in chairs located 12 yards from the sideline and not near bench areas. The home teams also will choose exactly where the seats are located.

The other games in the experiment will be the New York Giants at Washington on Dec. 5, Houston at Chicago on Dec. 19 and New England at Miami on Monday night, Dec. 20.

Steve LaCroix, Vikings vice president of sales and marketing, said four corporate sponsors or franchise guests will sit on the visitor’s side toward one of the end zones Sunday. They will be partially enclosed in a padded box and will sit on recliners with small TVs and cup holders.

“We have the space at our facility, whereas a lot of other facilities don’t,” LaCroix said.

LaCroix also said the seats could benefit the Vikings if the NFL goes through with the plan.

“Certainly we’re revenue challenged in the Metrodome, so that could be a potential benefit,” he said.

Innovative, perhaps, but not as envelope-pushing as my proposal to the league’s owners in which several lucky fans could experience NFL action firsthand, after being devoured alive by Sam Adams as part of the Bills DT’s pregame meal.

Ricky Redux

Posted in Gridiron at 9:54 pm by

Supplanted by Ron Artest and not content with being the sports universe’s Public Enemy No. 2, exiled Dolphins RB Ricky Williams is close to reinstatement according to ESPN.

I’m sure Williams has mixed feelings about this development, given that he’s only completed four weeks of a 17 month holistic healing course.

Mets Introduce New Coaches

Posted in Baseball at 6:41 pm by

Sandy Alomar Jr. (bench, above), Manny Acta (3B), Guy Conti (bullpen) and Jerry Manuel (1B/OF) form the foundation of Willie Randolph’s coaching corps, with Rick Down expected to be named hitting coach sometime after December 31 (at which time he’ll have fulfilled his contractual obligations to the Yankees).

Rick Peterson will continue to serve as the windbreaker-wearing guru of all things pitching.

Videogames Are A Great Way To Improve Hand-Eye Coordination

Posted in Technical Difficulties at 6:19 pm by

If you’re wondering what to get Phil Mushnick’s kids for Xmas/Hanukkah, here’s the answer.

Smoochie Claims Bias

Posted in Basketball at 5:17 pm by

From the Seattle Times’ Percy Allen :

Between his broad shoulders and just below the nape of his neck, Danny Fortson had a tattoo artist stencil “Smoochie,” a nickname that he had been given a long time ago, across his back.

To listen to the Sonics forward as he sat comfortably in a plastic folding chair after yesterday’s practice, he believes his tattoo has been replaced by a oversize bull’s-eye, which has made him a target for NBA officials.

“It’s obvious,” he said. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see what’s going on. They’re taking me out of the game and I’m trying to help the team win.

“It feels like I’m having that (physical play) taken away from me. For whatever reasons, I don’t know. I really don’t understand it.”

The Sonics forward, acquired from Dallas during the offseason in a trade for Calvin Booth, has been an asset to his new team when he can stay in the game.

He was largely responsible for wins against San Antonio and Sacramento, as he dominated the middle defensively, and controlled the glass, registering double figures in points and rebounds in each victory.

But too often, his aggressiveness has been rewarded with a bevy of fouls, which has limited his effectiveness and playing time.

Five times, he has played fewer than 14 minutes because of foul trouble. He has fouled out twice, and, in every game, he has collected at least four. Fortson has also been suspended by the NBA for a game after receiving a flagrant 2 foul for throwing an elbow at Toronto’s Chris Bosh.

In Sunday’s 102-83 defeat at Boston, Fortson played just 13 minutes and finished with six points and four rebounds before fouling out.

Fortson also collected a technical foul, his league-high fourth of the season, while talking to Antonio Daniels about the tight officiating.

“I tell Antonio Daniels, ‘Be careful. Set your man up so I can get good screen because the referees are looking to nail a guy so they can call a foul’ and boom a T,” Fortson said. “I’m talking to Antonio Daniels and I get a technical foul. That’s not fair. That’s really not fair.”

Bumrushing The DC Unveiling

Posted in Baseball at 4:34 pm by

Were it not for Artestmania, the following incident, as reported on by the Washington Post’s Barry Svrluga, might’ve gotten more play. And trust me, it looked good.

Yesterday’s gathering was preceded by a brief protest when District resident Adam Eidinger, 31, stormed to the podium and yelled, “This is a bad deal, people!” Eidinger remained on stage yelling before several officials — including 73-year-old Charlie Brotman, the former public address announcer at RFK Stadium for the Senators, and District Councilman Harold Brazil — wrestled him away, with the help of security.

Eidinger, a former candidate for the District’s shadow representative to Congress, called the deal with baseball “half-baked” and a “rip-off,” and other protesters made their presence known as well. John Capozzi, who leads a group called NO DC Taxes for Baseball!, held aloft a seat cushion that read, “I am a DC taxpayer/business and paid $500 million for a baseball stadium and all I got was a lousy seat cushion.”