12.29.04

Chicago’s WMVP Boots Mariotti

Posted in Sports Radio at 6:30 pm by

Jay Mariotti’s radio show on the flapship station of nemesis Jerry Reinsdorf’s White Sox and Bulls lasted almost 10 months. From the Chicago Tribune’s Teddy Greenstein.

Jay Mariotti is off Chicago’s airwaves, and he says his departure from ESPN Radio’s WMVP-AM 1000 is the result of the station’s desire to curry favor with the White Sox and Bulls.

Mariotti said the station asked him to tone down his criticism of the Bulls and White Sox, whose games are broadcast on WMVP and whose contracts are close to expiring.

The station is in negotiations with the teams on a new deal.

A source said Mariotti received a written edict last month ordering him to ease up on the Bulls and Sox. Station executives followed that up with oral reminders.

Both sides finally had enough.

“We agreed that if I wouldn’t agree to their editorial conditions, then I should leave,” Mariotti said Tuesday.

“I’m not going to compromise my integrity to do favors on the air for the White Sox and the Bulls. When they ask me to treat two teams differently than the others, that’s a red flag for me, and it has been happening quite a bit over the last few months.”

Mariotti also has feuded publicly with Sox broadcaster Hawk Harrelson, Reinsdorf’s friend and adviser.

Their verbal war nearly escalated into a fistfight in the press box at the Metrodome in Minneapolis before and after a Sox-Twins game in July.

Told Tuesday that Mariotti was off the air in Chicago, Harrelson couldn’t hide his glee.

“I’m happy for the fans,” Harrelson said, “because he’s a vicious guy.

“I said he wouldn’t have that [radio] job long and I don’t think he’ll be a columnist much longer. He never lets the truth get in the way of a story. The city will be a lot better off without him.”

If Kurt Warner Ain’t Starting, He’ll Be Departing

Posted in Gridiron at 5:43 pm by

Apparently, the selfless act of Kurt Warner couldn’t last all the way to Week 17.

“My whole goal was to show people I could throw the football, I could lead and I could win,” Warner said. “I think I showed people I could do that. Coming in, nobody had any expectations for this football team and to be a leader of a team that was 5-2 and had the second best record in the NFC, I’m happy with that.”

Much as I love second-guessing Tom Couhglin’s decision to give Eli Manning the Giants’ starting QB job with the team still squarely in playoff contention, it’s pretty astonishing that Warner is so proud of having the second-best record in the NFC…after 7 games. I mean, he was also the leader of a team that was 5-4 and had lost 3 of its last 4 games.

Karl, Jacskon, Amongst Vultures Circling Over Denver

Posted in Basketball at 10:39 am by

The Rocky Mountain News’ Chris Tomasson is reporting that former Bucks/Sonics coach George Karl and ex-Lakers/Bulls zenmaster Phil Jackson are amongst the names in the mix for the Denver Nuggets coaching position , if and when GM Kiki Vandegwhe decides not to give the job to Michael Cooper on a permenent basis.

I can understand Jackson’s name popping up in reference to every NBA opening — unless of course Doc Rivers left the Celtics — but Karl is a mystery to me. The Tar Heel alum took a boatload of money to lead the Bucks and got nothing done, despite some serious talent that he had a hand in assembling. If Vandegwhe’s gripe with deposed coach Jeff Bzdelik is that Carmelo Anthony & crew had stopped listening, what’s on Karl’s resume that that would preclude a similar result?

Unit/Vasquez Deal Back On?

Posted in Baseball at 10:13 am by

Javier Vazquez, Brad Halsey, Abel Gomez and a bag of cash for Randy Johnson. Supposedly. And the 41 year old Unit gets a contract extension. How this might impact, if at all, the Yankees’ ability to outbid the Mets and Astros for Carlos Beltran, I hate to guess…only because I suspect it will make no difference whatsoever.

Snapple Dissess Smelly Borough

Posted in The Marketplace at 7:35 am by

From the New York Daily News’ Lisa Colangelo and David Saltonstall :

Snapple, the unofficial drink of New York City, may need a lesson in good humor – not to mention good taste.

On its Web site, company officials had the gall to poke fun at Staten Island – then hurriedly pulled the punch line when contacted by the Daily News.

In explaining how to play Snapple’s “Real Facts Game,” a fill-in-the-blank question asked, “The most recognized smell in the world is —–?”

Then came the company’s insulting answer: “No, it’s not Staten Island. It’s coffee.”

City Councilman James Oddo (R-S.I.) said the putdown dredged up old stereotypes about the borough – the infamous Fresh Kills landfill closed in 2001 – and left a bitter taste in his mouth.

“This from a company allegedly teaming with New York to market the city,” said an incredulous Oddo. “That is one hell of a partner we have. Normally one has to be dealing with France to be treated so badly by a ‘friend.’”

Oh, for fuck’s sake. First of all, the stereotype in question might be old, but can Oddo say it wasn’t deserved? And isn’t there a better way of stressing the beauty and splendor of Staten Island than resorting to tired francophobe bullshit? What have the French ever done to Staten Island?

SI’s Swimsuit Frontlash

Posted in Sports Journalism at 1:32 am by

One of the highlights of the winter occurs each February when approximately two weeks after the publication of Sports Illustrated’s insanely profitable Swimsuit Issue, the magazine publishes the inevitable pile of mail from readers vowing to cancel their subscriptions. Perhaps anticipating the outcry of this vocal minority, SI has run the following item on the Letters page of their year-end double issue.

The annual SI Swimsuit Issue will be published in February. If you’re a subscriber and would prefer not to receive it, call our customer service center toll-free at 1-866-228-1175 and let us know. If you choose to not receive the SI Swimsuit issue, we will extend your subscription by one issue.


(this young man swears he was just looking for Bill Sheft’s column)

No word yet if SI will set up a hotline where other subscribers can order emergency replacement copies. It also seems like this would be a fine opportunity for Time, Inc. to send the rejected Swimsuit Issues to elementary & junior high school libraries around the country. It’s never too early to get kids hooked on the magic of reading, the photography of Bob Rosato, the pithy commentary of Rick Riley, etc.

Martz Denies Turley Death Threat

Posted in Gridiron at 1:15 am by

St. Louis’ Mike Martz has denied filing a report with NFL Security, accusing injured OT Kyle Turley of threatening to kill the Rams’ head coach. Turley for his part, has also refuted the story.

I would assume there are so many people in the St. Louis area threatening to kill Martz on a daily basis, the coach must have trouble keeping track.

More Critical Acclaim For CSTB

Posted in Blogged Down at 12:47 am by

From ChezMeowMeow

Speaking of sports, I found Gerard Cosloy’s blog today. I guess I’m not as disappointed in the content as I am the rather toothless nature of it. I thought there’d be some seething analysis, the tearing down of boring league stooges (Hi, Tom Brady!) and the celebration of banal excess (do you guys need me to post my shipping address for the Artest thing or what?). Instead it’s just dry re-hashing of the same old hacks, with little to no original writing at all.

Hey, guilty as charged. As anyone who reads CSTB every day can tell you, I revere boring league stooges — all of ‘em! And this guy nailed me on the lack of orignal content. I mean, I’m tempted to share intimate details about my personal life, but compared to the scintillating stuff at CMM, it wouldn’t possiby stand up. I have no doubt that when you check out the aforementioned blog and get a load of this guy’s thrill-ride existence, you won’t be coming back here again. For instance, you’ll be dazzled with entries like :

I’m working 8-5 this week, which is completely rotten. At least I have computer access, but I haven’t worked like this in so long that a lot of the tips I learned to help whittle away sloooow days have disappeared from my memory. It doesn’t help that I’m stuck in this cycle where friends are in town, friends are leaving town, more friends are in town, different friends are leaving town that seems to translate to “get three hours of sleep before going into work a mind-numbing 9 hour shift with nothing to do and no iPod access because you might have to take a few phone calls.” I don’t do stuff like play games at work or anything that bold yet time-wasting, so I’m kinda stuck looking at the same handful of things on the internet and AIMing the crap of H*BOMb and Willis.

Hot stuff, eh? I’m enough of a good sport to admit when I’ve had my ass kicked. I just wish the horrible realization of CSTB’s lameness hadn’t hit me during this, the Suicide Season. Why, oh why, has it take so long for a superior talent to put me in my rightful place?

12.28.04

Catching Up With Wobbly Legs Grobbelaar

Posted in Football at 11:59 pm by

Goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar is an accused match-fixer and regarded by Roma fans as a cheat. He also owes The Sun a lot of money. The Guardian’s Rory Carroll traveled to South Africa to catch up with a football pariah.

Two decades after the rubber-legs act in Rome, a decade after the allegations of match-fixing and two years after his financial ruin, the so-called clown prince of English football has wound up coaching a team on the southern tip of Africa, broke, unrepentant and defiant. “The Britons bankrupted me. I came to their country with £10 in my pocket and they gave me £1 back. But in between I had one hell of a ride.”

Glory has not blossomed in South Africa. In five years he has coached six teams, including big hitters like SuperSport United, Seven Stars and Hellenic before moving on – and down – to poorer clubs. Apart from Manning Rangers he denies being fired from any of these jobs, but there was a cloud over each departure. Typically he would start well and push his new team up the league before faltering and dropping down. “He is sliding down the ranks,” says Julia Beffon, sports editor of the Johannesburg Mail and Guardian. “I don’t think he is a very good coach. Not very technically aware.”

In a blaze of statistics and anecdotes, Grobbelaar begs to differ, casting himself as a savvy saviour of underperforming teams who is nevertheless cast aside by managers too dumb or stingy to keep him. The body language is expansive and, appropriately for a goalie, includes numerous references to landing on his feet. But the sense of victimhood is unmistakable. He is the victim of Ian Smith’s Rhodesia which made him an army corporal in a doomed bush war against Robert Mugabe’s guerrillas in the 1970s: “It was a struggle to survive.” The victim of a supposed friend, Chris Vincent, who secretly videotaped their conversations about match-fixing: “I went into business with an arsehole.” The victim of a vindictive newspaper, the Sun, which splashed on the allegations and defended them in an epic, eight-year legal battle: “I wouldn’t even wipe my fucking arse with it.” The victim of a legal lottery whereby juries refused to convict him and he won a libel award only for judges to overturn everything and ruin him: “You win in the court of law and yet they decide that you have to pay the opposition.”

He reminisces about that famous night at Rome’s Olympic stadium in 1984 when Liverpool and Roma went to penalties to decide the European cup final. As Francesco Graziani prepared to take his kick, the figure between the sticks wobbled his knees in a parody of terror. Unnerved, the Italian missed, and another cup was on its way to Anfield. “The idea came when I bit the net before his kick. It felt like spaghetti so I did spaghetti legs.”

Grobbelaar splutters at suggestions it was not very sportsmanlike. “When you go out on to that field it’s going to be war. Sportsmanship is playing to the best of your abilities and then, afterwards, shaking your opponent’s hand.”

Nets Sign Mosio

Posted in Basketball at 11:44 pm by

F Jerome Mosio, freed from Sam Mitchell’s Toronto doghouse since being waived last month, was signed yesterday by the New Jersey Nets. G Ron Mercer, currently in rehab following arthoscopic surgery on his left knee, was placed on the injured list.

Vince Carter, not quite recovered from last night’s cramping, scored 25 points after a miserable start, leading the Nets to a 84-80 win over the Bulls. Jason Kidd had another brutally cold night, scoring 4 points, but collecting 11 rebounds and 11 assists

Milwaukee placed F Keith Van Horn on the injured list yesterday. Van Horn has missed the last 10 games and is expected to be out for another two weeks. The Bucks improved to 8-16 last night, crushing the underachieving Rockets, 115-87 in the city Jeffrey Dahmer built.