Doug Ault, RIP

Posted in Baseball at 1:38 am by

Former Toronto Blue Jays 1B/DH Doug Ault, who hit the first home run in the club’s history, has passed away at the age of 54.

A native of Beaumont, TX, Ault played for the expansion Blue Jays between 1976 and 1980.

Another Personal Watercraft-Related Incident

Posted in Baseball at 1:29 am by

Can a player’s remaining $14 million salary be voided if he’s found guilty of assualting a foreign judge? I bet Peter Angelos would like to know.

Knicks 91, Bobcats 82

Posted in Basketball at 12:52 am by

Tim Thomas (above) has had a rough start to the 2004/05 campaign, but he achieved a small measure of redemption with a 20 point (7-11 from the field) performance in New York’s win over the same Charlotte team that embarrassed them earlier in the season.

That said, the Knicks’ season-long indifference to defense was manifest in 23 offensive rebounds to the expansion Bobcats, led by no. 2 overall pick Emeka Okafor (23 points, 15 rebounds).

In other good news for the Knicks, Jamal Crawford took fewer ridiculous shots than usual yesterday. He was on the injured list and wearing street clothes, but I think it is important to give the young man as much positive reinforcement as possible.


Shaq : Even More Hetero Than Mike Piazza & Randy Travis Combined

Posted in Basketball at 11:19 pm by

(from left to right : Corvette, Brick Wall)

Though I was more impressed with Dwayne Wade stepping up in the national spotlight, predictably, much of the coverage of yesterday’s LA/Miami tilt centered on the ongoing spat between Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. Our friend Sam Frank uncovered this gem from today’s NY Times.

When the fans rose for O’Neal before the game, Bryant stood and clapped with them.

But any pretense of a cheery reunion had dissipated by tip-off. As players exchanged greetings at halfcourt, O’Neal and Bryant found each other and – without making eye contact – exchanged brief pats on the back.

Asked about that lack of interplay, O’Neal said: “Being married, I have no interplay or foreplay with another man. I’m a married man. ‘Hey, how you doing?’ That’s it.”

Pats Clinch First Round Bye ; Jets Playoff Hopes In Jeopardy

Posted in Gridiron at 8:35 pm by

6 days after blowing an 11 point lead with 4 minutes left against Miami, New England rebounded big time, handing the Jets a 23-7 defeat that denied New York a chance to clinch a wild card berth. The Jets will have to win next Sunday’s game in St. Louis in order to make the playoffs.

(Pennington, wondering if that “greatest athletes in the world” line was such a good idea after all)

At 13-2, the Patriots guaranteed themselves a first round bye and at least one home playoff game. Tom Brady was 21-32 (2 TD’s, no INT’s, 264 yards) in a typically mistake-free performance. His counterpart, Chad Pennington, will have the NY press corps questioning just how priviledged they were to observe his
rough afternoon after being picked off by Teddy Bruschi and Gene Wilson. Some portion of Pennington’s struggles can be directed towards the Jets’ inability to establish their running game, as they gained a mere 46 yards on the ground, 33 of them courtesy of a frustrated Curtis Martin against his old team.

First Win Eludes Eli : Bengals 23, Giants 22

Posted in Gridiron at 3:13 pm by

(the celebration was short lived as the Bengals players soon realized they still have to live in Cincinnati)

Keiwan Ratliff, not content with reviewing jazz and classical recordings for the Times, returned a Jeff Feagles punt all the way to the Giants’ 24 yard line, setting up a Jon Kitna TD to Chad Johnson moments later. For those still keeping track, Eli Manning is 0-6 as a starting QB (though this was a in loss he didn’t deserve). Apparently his brother just set a record of some sort or another (perhaps for the most annoying TV commercials on the air simultaneously). Cut that meat.

Short People Ain’t Got No Reason To Live

Posted in Sports Journalism at 1:37 pm by

From Phil Mushnick in Sunday’s NY Post :

Media folks should come with sensitivity-warning labels – “sensitive to all (STA),” “sensitive to some (STS),” “sensitive only to mine (SOTM)” or “sensitive to none (STN).”

Because it’s amazing to listen to those who will find and condemn racism and bigotry – the real kind, the perceived kind or the fabricated kind – in some while ignoring it in others.

Pedro Martinez’s sideshow-reminiscent displays and pass-arounds of a little person – a man afflicted by profound dwarfism – has for months been presented as harmless fun.

But it’s neither funny nor harmless; it’s hurtful and outrageously insensitive. Ask any little person who doesn’t surrender to the circus stereotype. Ask any parent of a child born with dwarfism.

And yet, some media big shots who would quickly suggest that racism, and not Martinez’s me-first habits, is responsible for ill-will toward the pitcher, have had a slap-happy time with Martinez’s toy-full treatment of a fool with a birth defect.

Yet another courageous entry from Nobody’s Mental Midget, but how about naming names, Phil? Like, for instance, your editors at the NY Post who marked Pedro’s Shea Stadium press conference with a Page 3 photograph of another little guy lobbying to become Nelson de la Rosa’s replacement?

Reggie White, RIP

Posted in Gridiron at 1:13 pm by

Wire services are reporting that former Packers/Eagles LB Reggie White died earlier today from a heart attack. He was 43.

White had a voice that made Brenda Vaccaro sound pleasant, and managed to scare the living bejeezus out of countless NFL QB’s. He also had some less than enlightened things to say about homosexuals, but as he was paid to kill quarterbacks, not set public policy, well, let’s just say he was very good at his day job.

Without knowing the full details of White’s condition, 43 seems awfully young for a professional athlete to keel over, even by NFL standards.

Inmates Planning Riot At Camp X-Cough

Posted in Gridiron at 10:23 am by

Grown men, especially those with crazy salaries and a sense of entitlement instilled since Junior High, generally like being treated like grown men. Hence, you can file today’s story by the New York Post’s Ken Palmer under “It Was Only A Matter Of Time”.

Several Giants have told The Post that they “hate” playing for Coughlin and that the club will never be successful as long as he is in charge.

“Guys absolutely hate Tom Coughlin,” one Giant said. “He’s not the type of coach we’re going to go and put everything on the line for. Guys don’t play for him; we play because we have to play and you’re not going to win that way.

“Arguments go on every day in that building, cursing out between the players and the coaches.”

“We will not win here when he’s the coach,” another veteran added. “It’s coaches against the players. It’s Coughlin against the coaches. There’s no team atmosphere or camaraderie.”

Even Coughlin’s coaches apparently can’t stand him. Most coaches have privately expressed displeasure with how they’re overworked by Coughlin. “These coaches can’t wait to get out of here just like all of us,” one veteran said.

It’s no secret that the organization wasn’t thrilled with Coughlin’s inability to assemble the coaching staff that he had promised. As for his mistreatment of the players, The Post has learned of several examples.

A few weeks back, Coughlin referred to a starting player as “a loser” because he sat out practice with multiple injuries.

Even after hearing from head trainer Ronnie Barnes that the player was to sit out practice, Coughlin asked that player if he planned to go that day.

“[Coughlin] very well already knew [he] wasn’t practicing,” one player said. “When [the player] said he wasn’t going to go [and told Coughlin why], Coughlin said, ‘That’s what happens when the season gets tough. Guys don’t want to practice or do anything. I see the losers coming out right now. I see the losers.’ ”

Earlier in the year, Coughlin told Barrett Green that he had brought him in because he was a tough guy, but that he wasn’t impressed with his toughness in the least.

Speaking of Green, it was Coughlin’s overreaction to Green oversleeping during the bye week that really turned the whole team against him.

Coughlin fined Green the absolute maximum – $17,000 – when he showed up 90 minutes late for a bye-week meeting.

“That’s when he really started to lose guys,” one Giant said.

Coughlin also recently berated one of his offensive linemen for a penalty that squelched a potential scoring drive. He told the lineman, “You cost me a touchdown.” Coughlin didn’t refer to the team, but himself instead.

“He might be preaching ‘team,’ but it’s all about Coughlin,” one player said. “Honestly, everyone thinks the guy’s crazy.”

Several Giants believe the damage is already done and that Coughlin’s already lost control of the team – and has no hope of recovering it.

“Honestly, they might as well fire him now,” one player said of Coughlin, who has three years and $9 million left on his contract. “The players on this team have quit on him. That’s a very strong word, but mark it down: this team has quit on him and quit really caring and quit listening to what Tom Coughlin has to say.”

“Most guys are just hoping that either they’ll be gone or he’ll be gone after this season,” another Giant said. “Guys just tune him out, ignore him and don’t care what he says. They just want to play the season out and get it over with.”

Writes Jon Heyman in today’s Newsday,

Now that the Giants have turned this season into an extension of 2003, it’s time to review Tom Coughlin’s opening remarks. He ridiculed the previous regime for presiding over an undisciplined team that had too many penalties and injuries. Not to mention quit on its coach.

I hope you enjoyed “Groundhog Day,” Tommy Boy, because you’re living it.

Catching Up With Jose Canseco

Posted in Baseball at 12:56 am by

From the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson :

With baseball’s steroid controversy raging, the timing couldn’t be better for the release of Canseco’s book, Juiced, which is due out in mid- to late-January ($24.95 or $50 autographed on www.josecanseco.com), and will be preceded by an interview with Mike Wallace on CBS’ 60 Minutes. A secret preliminary copy, which agent Doug Ames said is not the final version, accuses several big-name baseball players of using steroids.

Canseco, 40, said he’s not surprised Barry Bonds used steroids and estimates 75 percent of players take them. “Are they testing the guys they know are using steroids? No,” Canseco relayed to me through Ames.

Canseco’s life after baseball remains bizarre. Having sold his 1988 AL MVP plaque for $30,000 and his Rookie of the Year ring for $5,100 on eBay, the Coral Park High grad is parting with everything that meant anything in his career.

“Baseball is over,” Canseco said through Ames. “I don’t care. I’m doing my new life, which is acting.” Ames insists Canseco “doesn’t need the money” but is devoid of sentiment. “We sold the MVP plaque because it was sitting around and the dogs were eating it,” Ames said.

He has sold at least 50 pieces, including All-Star Game rings and a jersey that Roger Clemens gave him. Soon, Canseco will sell his possessions from his 40/40 season in 1988: the 40th home run ball, the 40th stolen base, a bat, his shoes and a jersey. Asking price: $150,000.

And there’s no shortage of suitors. A fan in California, perhaps in need of medication, paid him $90 for a 15-year-old Canseco blowup doll. Canseco sold his Mercedes for $65,000 because “he has five cars and only a three-car garage,” Ames said.

Now living in Encino, Calif., Canseco remains on probation for a bar brawl for another three months. But his visit with his probation officer earlier this month was the last time he will be required to return to South Florida. “He can’t stand Miami,” Ames added. “He’ll never go back.”

Canseco, who has a street near Coral Park High named in his honor, takes acting lessons daily and will star in an action film to be shot next month in Charleston, S.C. The public can bid $2,500 to spend a day with him on the set.

While I’m sure Jose’s book is bound to be a classic (think “Ball Four” meets “Bad As I Wanna Be” meets “Perfect, I’m Not” meets the Penthouse Readers’ letters) it’s impending publication would have a bit more sizzle had Canseco’s ghostwriter finished the fucker before Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield been named and shamed. Other than the inevitable rolling over on Bash Brother McGwire, what could Canseco possibly be sitting on?

(Jose commiserates with Tommy Lasorda ; Madonna doesn’t return Canseco’s calls, either)

Though $2500 to hang with Jose sounds like a crap deal (and/or a Jim Rome routine brought to life), it would have to be considered a bargain compared to a $29.95 phone call from Tom Candiotti.


Royals Sign Lima

Posted in Baseball at 8:30 pm by

RHP Jose Lima, 13-5 last year (4.07 ERA) for the NL West Champion Dodgers, has signed a one-year deal with Kansas City.

In an unrelated story, the Missouri Board Of Health plans to distribute 40,000 pamphlets on the dangers of genital herpes to all fans attending opening day at Kaufman Stadium.

(Jose : he’s invited back, but he just can’t use the bathroom)

Dolphins Hire Saban

Posted in Gridiron at 6:42 pm by

ESPN is reporting that LSU’s Nick Saban has agreed to become the new coach of the Miami Dolphins, with a contract withsome $25 million over 5 years. Saban, who toiled under Bill Belichick as Cleveland’s defensive coordinator in the early ’90′s, won a national championship with LSU in 2003, and signed a 7 year extension a year ago while being pursued by the Chicago Bears. So presumably, Louisiana State are due some form of compensation.

(Coach Lou flings his headset aloft after learning that he’s just won Vanilla Ice’s Jet Ski at a police auction)

Saban is supposedly being guaranteed that he’ll full control of the Dolphins organization, which is great news as perhaps now someone can explain what Dan Mariano was doing for those 3 weeks he had a front office job last year. What is surprising, however, is that Saban took the Miami job. He’s going from crazy job security in a college program where he’s beloved by most, to a high pressure, 100-hour a week position with a team that seems at least 2 years away from mediocrity. Though Saban has enough experience in the pros to guarantee he won’t be out of his depth ala say, Steve Spurrier, it would be an understatement to say the former Michigan State and Toledo coach will have his work cut out for him.

If You’ve Got Nowhere To Go & Nuthin’ To Do Today…

Posted in Rock Und Roll at 1:12 pm by

….frequent CSTB contributor / Anna Benson stalker Jon Solomon can currently be heard on Princeton, NJ’s WPRB, hosting his 17th Annual 24 Christmas marathon. For another 4 hours, at least.

A Real Player / Windows Media feed can be found here.

Lenny Responds To Phil’s Knicks Interest, Shaq Preserves His Brain

Posted in Basketball at 12:32 pm by

From Marc Berman in today’s NY Post :

It has been simmering inside him for a couple of months now, and Lenny Wilkens finally let Phil Jackson have it.

In October, The Post quoted Jackson saying he would listen to the Knicks if they approached him to coach. A published report yesterday regurgitated The Post’s story, with Jackson again saying he could be interested in the Knick job this summer.

Knicks president Isiah Thomas reacted to The Post’s story two months ago, calling Jackson “an attractive candidate.”

Asked yesterday about Jackson, Wilkens spat, “I couldn’t care less what’s in the paper about Phil Jackson. Really. That’s his thing. I don’t worry about stuff like that.”

When asked if it were against coaching etiquette to address a position that is not vacant, Wilkens said, “Most coaches don’t.”

Shaquille O’Nel, as quoted today by the LA Daily News’ Ross Siler.

O’Neal was asked if there was anything he wanted to say to Bryant and responded, “No.’ He was asked if he saw Bryant’s apology and answered, “I don’t watch TV. TV corrupts the mind.”

Yes, especially if Cinemax is showing “Steel” at 3am.

More Money Than Brains Demo Hotly Pursued In London, Too

Posted in Technical Difficulties at 9:10 am by

Paying someone else to load your iPod is no longer an option only available to idle rich New Yorkers. Residents of London who either find iTunes confusing and/or like handing their money over for no reason, now have a service designed just for them.

Are You With That Special Someone This Xmas?

Posted in History's Great Hook-Ups at 12:41 am by

I’m sure you’re seen this guy before. Too many times, in fact. But regardless, it’s Christmas, he’s gonna wake up alone and maybe you are too. Think about it.


Wishing You A Happy Religious Occasion

Posted in Merry Fucking Christmas at 9:21 pm by

(photograph by Sally Crewe)

CSTB’s contributors, ownership and loyal corporate mascot (above) join in hoping you find something sticky in your stockings this Christmas.

Rockets Acquire Jon Barry

Posted in Basketball at 9:04 pm by

The going-nowhere-fast Atlanta Hawks sent SG Jon Barry (above) to Houston yesterday in exchange for PG Tyrone Lue. Barry, 35, a 13 year veteran, hadn’t played in 9 of Atlanta’s last ten games. Lue, for his part, found himself beneath Charlie Ward and Charlie Ward on the Rockets’ depth chart.

Captain ‘Tek

Posted in Baseball at 7:24 pm by

In addition to making Jason Varitek’s 4 year, $40 million contract official today, the Red Sox also named their veteran catcher team captain, their first since Jim Rice.

Wearing a Captain’s “C” worked out really well for John Franco (not to mention Alex Rodriguez), so it’s hard to imagine what could possibly go wrong here.

Astros, Yanks Vie For Beltran

Posted in Baseball at 6:42 pm by

From The New York Daily News’ Sam Borden.

After touring the Florida homes of the Yankees and Astros this week, Carlos Beltran returned to his own house in Puerto Rico with an upgraded offer from Houston in his pocket, reportedly a six-year deal worth as much as $16 million a season.

And that’s only the beginning.

The Astros are intent on doing everything they can to keep Beltran, and while Houston owner Drayton McLane denied to MLB.com the Astros had made that big of an offer, GM Tim Purpura told the Daily News yesterday that regardless of the current offer, Houston has not yet reached its financial ceiling.

“There’s always ranges in these things,” Purpura said. “We negotiate close to our range, but there is always room to keep going. You’re not going to put out one or two offers and that’s it. You have to get some feedback from the agent, talk about the parameters, see what else can be done to alter an offer if you have to do that.”

Beltran is the Bombers’ top priority among position players this winter, but McLane is determined to fight hard to keep the 28-year-old switch-hitter in Houston.

Purpura hesitated to rank Houston’s offseason priorities, but placed Beltran at the top along with bringing back Roger Clemens and locking up Lance Berkman.

Along those lines, the Astros are pushing for a quick resolution on Beltran, though that seems unlikely. Scott Boras, Beltran’s agent, is known for dragging negotiations out, but the last day the Astros are allowed to negotiate with the center fielder is Jan. 8, and he’s expected to make a decision just before then.

“I expect some resolution with us in the next two weeks,” Purpura said, noting that it will take a few days to actually hammer out the language on any deal of such magnitude.

McLane’s presentation to Beltran on Wednesday in Kissimmee included a highlight video, letters from several of the city’s civic leaders and a book laying out the benefits of living in Houston, according to the Houston Chronicle.

I think the book was probably overkill. How about just reminding Beltran that he’ll no longer have to share the locker room or travel in the company of Jeff Kent? That would speak volumes about the quality of life in Houston.

Former Angels SS David Eckstein, recently displaced by Orlando Cabrera in Anaheim, signed a 3 year, $10.25 with St. Louis yesterday. Eckstein led all major league shortstops last season with a fielding percentage of .988, and was also terribly effective in the motion picture, “Powder”.

Johnny Oates, RIP

Posted in Baseball at 12:03 pm by

Former Orioles and Rangers manager Johnny Oates has died at the age of 58. Oates had suffered in recent years from a brain tumor.

AL Co-Manager of the Year in 1996, Oates guided Texas to playoff appearances in ’96, 1998 and 1998. Drafted by the Orioles in 1967 Oates enjoyed an undistinguished playing career until 1981, playing for the O’s, Yankees, Dodgers, Philies and Braves.

‘Toine Back To Boston?

Posted in Basketball at 11:55 am by

From the Boston Herald’s Lenny Megliola :

The Atlanta Hawks are dangling former Celtic Antoine Walker as trade bait, and the Celtics are interested.

      “We’d love to have him,” a team official said. “The Eastern Conference is wide open and Antoine could put a team over the top.”

      The Celtics traded Walker and Tony Delk to the Dallas Mavericks Nov. 10, 2003, for Raef LaFrentz, Jiri Welsch, Chris Mills and the Mavericks’ 2004 first-round draft pick, which turned out to be Delonte West.

     Celtics coach Doc Rivers and director of basketball operations Danny Ainge want Walker, said the source. Walker was upset when he was traded, but would welcome a return to Boston. “Antoine would be on a bus tonight. He’d walk here,” said the source. “Boston has a chance to make the playoffs. Atlanta (5-20) has virtually none.”

     It was Ainge who traded Walker, who averaged 20.8 points in his seven years with the Celtics. “Ainge would love to have him back,” said the source.

     But, as usual, the problem is money. Walker is making $14.6 million and in order to offset a contract like that the Celtics would have to deal players with contracts who approximate that figure. The 76ers, said the source, are “desperate to get Walker.” Philly coach Jim O’Brien coached Walker when both were with the Celtics. The Pacers, without suspended star Ron Artest, are interested in Walker, too.

     Atlanta’s holding the trump card. “They’re going to deal (Walker) by Feb. 20,” said the source.

Crawford Out 3-6 Weeks

Posted in Basketball at 8:57 am by

Much as I hate to take pleasure in someone else’s misery, my birthday present arrived, well, on time this morning with the news that Knicks SG Jamal Crawford will miss the next 3-6 weeks with an injured toe. Look for New York’s team shooting percentage to show rapid improvement as Allan Houston reclaims his starting role.

Dibble Dumped By ESPN

Posted in Sports Radio at 8:49 am by

Though I hate to take pleasure in anyone else’s misery, I shall make an exception in this case. Christmas came early for those of us with…..I don’t know, ears? Common sense?…..with the announcement that ESPN will not renew the contract of baseball analyst/radio co-host Rob Dibble.

Dibble is expected to resurface at National Public Radio.

Phil & The Knicks

Posted in Basketball at 1:03 am by

Phil Jackson has far too much respect for Lenny Wilkens to aggressively campaign for the Knicks coaching job. But he doesn’t have nearly enough respect for Lenny to refuse to talk to the New York Times’ Howard Beck about it.

“There’s a process teams go through to put themselves in a competitive place,” Jackson said in a telephone interview. “And when they get to that position, I felt like if they want me to coach that team, I’d have to listen to them, because of my connections in New York and my connections as a Knick. But I certainly don’t want to step in and muddy the water around Lenny Wilkens. He’s a great coach. I’m very respectful of him.”

“There’s a process teams go through to put themselves in a competitive place,” Jackson said in a telephone interview. “And when they get to that position, I felt like if they want me to coach that team, I’d have to listen to them, because of my connections in New York and my connections as a Knick. But I certainly don’t want to step in and muddy the water around Lenny Wilkens. He’s a great coach. I’m very respectful of him.”

This is at least the second time Jackson has acknowledged interest in coaching the Knicks since leaving the Los Angeles Lakers after last season. In October, he told The New York Post that he would listen if the Knicks called. But he has been careful not to lobby openly for the job, and he has no plans to return to the N.B.A. this season.

“They have one of the great coaches in the game at their helm right now,” Jackson said, referring to Wilkens.

If he returns to the N.B.A., Jackson wants to coach a team that has a chance to contend for a championship within a few years. He ruled out any wholesale-rebuilding efforts.

“It has to be a challenge,” he said. “The team that has a glimmer of hope, that has potential, where you have a challenge that’s out there and an opportunity, I think is what every coach wants. You want to think you have an opportunity to win.”

This is at least the second time Jackson has acknowledged interest in coaching the Knicks since leaving the Los Angeles Lakers after last season. In October, he told The New York Post that he would listen if the Knicks called. But he has been careful not to lobby openly for the job, and he has no plans to return to the N.B.A. this season.

“They have one of the great coaches in the game at their helm right now,” Jackson said, referring to Wilkens.

Jackson knew then that he would coach again. This time, nothing is certain, although friends say he has already grown restless with his low-key life in Playa Del Rey, Calif.

“I haven’t reached the point yet where I feel the drive,” Jackson said of coaching. “But I anticipate that’s a possibility before this year is up. The internal spark of energy or light is there, to get back on this and drive a bunch of young men toward a championship or toward winning.”

If he returns to the N.B.A., Jackson wants to coach a team that has a chance to contend for a championship within a few years. He ruled out any wholesale-rebuilding efforts.

“It has to be a challenge,” he said. “The team that has a glimmer of hope, that has potential, where you have a challenge that’s out there and an opportunity, I think is what every coach wants. You want to think you have an opportunity to win.”

OK, in that case, Lenny can rest easy.