O’s Opt For Sammy

Posted in Baseball at 11:30 pm by

Omar Minaya’s hopes of luring Sammy Sosa to Flushing took a fatal blow (thank god) this evening with the news that Baltimore are on the brink of acquiring the corky Cubby in exchange for Jerry Hairston and two prospects.

With the Orioles still smarting from being blown off by Carlos Delgado and Carl Pavano, the addition of Sosa should prove very exciting for any Birds fans who haven’t noticed how Sammy’s body and batting average have shrunk at roughly the same time. Perhaps Albert Belle’s old locker is still available?

Vescey On NBA Damage Control

Posted in Basketball at 6:06 pm by

Provocative stuff, as always, from Peter Vescey in today’s New York Post, in which the poisonous one wonders why David Stern has turned such a blind eye to Alfonso Mourning and Jim Jackson refusing to report to new clubs upon being traded.

“The Admissioner” is deeply alarmed about his league’s stained image; a large clump of Middle America has been turned off by acts of civil disobedience perpetrated by the pampered.

This was David Stern’s most salient reason, it says here, for coming down so hard on Ron Artest, Stephon Jackson and Jermaine O’Neal. Demonstrating unqualified abhorrence for extremist behavior was as much of a tactic to regain the confidence of fans and advertisers as it was a technique of punishing the perps.

Not that we can expect stiff sentences to deter players from attacking fraternity members (see recent exchange between Nene and Michael Olowokandi and the resulting four-game stretches in stir), but it’s likely we’ve seen the last of players launching themselves into the expensive seats as long as The Admissioner reigns.

OK, so at least that much was accomplished. Give Stern a rousing ovation, if you feel the urge. From where I’m meddling, though, penalizing players for rough stuff with fans and each other is easy; all it takes is a proper investigation and common sense . . . oh, well, never mind.

Stern’s command decision might have temporarily won back some in the red states, but you can’t fool all the people.

The only approach to assure that the hordes of defectors aren’t irrevocably repulsed is to confront each and every contempt of court. Instead, Stern seems to have carefully picked his plights, ignoring other outbreaks of insurgence that are sullying his system.

For example, the vulgar refusal of Jimmy Jackson and Alonzo Mourning (exercising their birthrights, I suppose) to report to their respective teams following trades because the state of the organizations failed to meet their sacrosanct standards.

And what was Stern’s response? Not a peep. With desolation and doom swallowing up vast regions of the world, The Admissioner allowed Jackson to extort the Hornets into re-routing him to the Suns. With millions of people starving and homeless Jackson was allowed to contemptuously stage a sit-down on the suspended list and shrug off dockage amounting to 302G.

Yeah, I’ll bet that power play went over real big in the red states. Blackmail pays, that’s a great memo to the masses. Could the league have looked any lamer?

What should Stern have done? Something drastic! Definitely not nothing, that’s for sure! Regardless of whether or not The Admissioner is empowered to junk Jackson for the season, he was indebted to react to such abject defiance.

Here’s my retort to any malignant malingerer declining to report within a reasonable period: Nobody in that position would be permitted to be traded; only when they spent as much time on active duty as on the suspended list would they be eligible to leave; and if AWOL past a certain point, throw ‘em out of the league for the rest of the season.

Reggie Denies Retirement Rumor

Posted in Basketball at 5:38 pm by

The bad news is, Reggie Miller isn’t planning to retire after this season. The good news is that Reggie managed to make Craig Sager look dopey while denying the latter’s story , as captured by the Indianapolis Star’s Mark Montieth.

When Reggie Miller emerged from the shower Thursday night, the swarm of media members surrounding his locker took him by surprise.

“What’s going on?” he asked, with genuine bewilderment.

It turned out TNT’s Craig Sager had reported during the Indiana Pacers’ game against Detroit that Miller had told his teammates Monday this would be his last season.

That came as news both to Miller and his teammates.

“That’s absolutely false,” Miller said upon dressing while looking at Sager, who was kneeled in front of him. “Once again, Craig Sager, inaccurate reporting.

(Craig, about to find out that the gentlemen on his left is not Rik Smits)

If and when I was to say something like that, there’s two people I would talk to first from TNT. Sir Charles (Barkley) and (his sister) Cheryl Miller. They would have the two exclusives. For you to report something like that is very inaccurate, Craig. I’m very disappointed.”

Miller made it clear before training camp that this likely will be his last season. He drops casual comments to his teammates on occasion about missing them next season but has made no formal statements.

Miller said three summers ago he would not play past the age of 40, and he turns 40 in August. He has one year remaining on the contract he signed in 2003.

Miller declined to comment on his future Thursday.

NJ Governor Defends Wife’s Microwave Contemplation

Posted in politics at 5:07 pm by

This is almost as priceless as the Hot 97 Tsunami blowup. Thanks to Brian Turner for providing this link from the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Kaitlin Gurney….yet another example of the mentally ill being treated with sensitivity and respect at CSTB.

To acting Gov. Richard J. Codey (above), they were fighting words.

And while there is some question about what exactly was said, it became clear yesterday that there is no love lost between Codey and a shock jock named Craig Carton.

It all started Monday, when Carton (above) used his Jersey Guys show on New Jersey 101.5 (WKXW-FM) for a rant on postpartum depression. Carton tore into Mary Jo Codey’s accounts of battling mental illness, arguing that thoughts of harming a child were “dastardly” and that women who have them “must be crazy in the first place.”

When Codey ran into Carton outside the studio Tuesday before his regularly scheduled Ask the Governor radio show, Codey said, he did what any devoted husband would do – he defended his wife.

“I said that if I weren’t governor, I would take him outside,” Codey recounted at a news conference yesterday. “I have a right to defend my family, and I will, tonight and tomorrow.”

Standing nose to nose, both said, they stared each other down, the governor’s security detail watching closely. There were no blows.

On the air yesterday, Carton matched what he termed Codey’s “threat of bodily harm” with a challenge of his own.

“Shame on you, Mr. Governor,” he said. “You have 24 hours to apologize to me, or you will not be governor come November. That’s the power of this show.”

Codey’s office said he “would not dignify those comments with a response.”

Since he became acting governor when Gov. Jim McGreevey stepped down in November, Codey has championed the cause of mental health. He has said he had learned about mental illness when his wife struggled with postpartum depression after the birth of their first child, Kevin.

Codey and his wife have said she grew so depressed that she contemplated harming her baby – and wondered whether he would fit in a microwave.

Carton seized on that image while discussing mental illness Monday, according to a partial transcript of the show obtained by the Governor’s Office: “What Gov. Codey ought to do is approve the use of medical marijuana so women can have a joint and relax instead of putting their babies in the microwave. Then all they want to do is cook Doritos. Women who claim they suffer from this postpartum depression… they must be crazy in the first place.”

At the beginning of his Ask the Governor show, Codey read a rebuttal: “These remarks hurt me, my wife and our sons. But I am even more disturbed that they reinforced a negative stigma and hurt hundreds of thousands of other New Jerseyans who deal with this disease every day.”

As the state’s reporters converged on the station’s Ewing headquarters yesterday, program director Eric Johnson said he stood by Carton.

“We’re surprised the governor of the state of New Jersey would choose to take a Sopranos approach to settle an honest dispute,” he said.

It is not the first time The Jersey Guys has sparked controversy. Long before McGreevey announced he was gay and acknowledged an adulterous affair with a man, Carton and cohost Ray Rossi speculated about McGreevey’s sexuality. After McGreevey’s announcement, the two hosts said he had had an affair with the state’s former labor commissioner, which McGreevey’s office hotly disputed, threatening legal action.

“If ever there was a governor who should have threatened to kill me, it was the last one,” Carton said yesterday. “But Jim McGreevey came on the show and drank a beer with me.”

When Carton worked for Philadelphia’s WIP-AM (610) sports radio in the 1990s, the Flyers sued the station over his allegation that star Eric Lindros missed a February 1997 game because of a hangover. The station and the hockey team settled the case a year later.

He Can Sit For Miles And Miles

Posted in Basketball at 4:25 pm by

At the age of 23, Blazers F Darius Miles has already worn out his welcome with two prior clubs and might be preparing to exit a third. The AP is reporting that Miles has been suspended for two games following a verbal confrontation with coach Maurice Cheeks during Thursday’s practice.

(UPDATE : The Oregonian’s John Canzano has some details on the incident :

In a team film session Thursday, coach Maurice Cheeks reportedly was making a coaching point to Darius Miles. The player then directed a racial slur at Cheeks and shouted something about not caring about losing “20″ games in a row because Cheeks is going to get fired anyway.

It went on and on. And Miles was asked to leave the practice facility by Cheeks, to which he basically said, “Make me.”

If waiving Qyntel Woods wasn’t just for show, then suspending Miles is a no-brainer.

Suspend him for 20 games, in fact. Because after Miles promised in front of his teammates to lose exactly that many for his coach, how can the franchise justify putting Miles back in uniform in any of the next 20 games?)

Myers Flips Out Following Press Luncheon

Posted in Baseball at 2:00 pm by

From The Times Of Trenton’s Mike Olshin :

Brett Myers made it clear that he’s still not happy with his 2004 performance, as the brash pitcher took out his frustration at a variety of targets – himself, the media, and even Phillies fans.

With bitterness matched by the cold air outside, Myers snapped at a host of beat reporters during an otherwise cordial media luncheon yesterday at the Diamond Club in Citizens Bank Park.

The 24-year-old righthander struggled mightily a year ago, his second full season in the majors. He finished 11-11 – actually the second-most wins for an injury-depleted staff – but his 5.52 ERA was second-worst in the National League (fifth-worst in the majors) for pitchers with at least 162 innings.

So the fireworks started yesterday when a reporter asked about his 2004 season and whether Myers was hoping for a fresh start.

“How did I not have a great year?” Myers said. “I had 11 wins, didn’t I? Isn’t that good enough? There are guys making $10 million that didn’t get 11 wins. What are you talking about that’s not a good year? Because my ERA was bad? I won 11 games. Just drop it at that.”

Obviously that wasn’t going to happen. Especially when Myers (above) was asked with the next question whether he thought he had a good year.

“No, but I got 11 wins out of it,” Myers said. “So anybody who wants to talk about how I didn’t have a good year, you can look back at the other guys who didn’t who are making $10 million.

“In my personal opinion (I didn’t have a good year),” Myers continued. “But for (the media) to say it is not right.”

“You can’t name guys who didn’t struggle their second year,” Myers said. “You guys love (Curt) Schilling. How good was he his first three years? He wasn’t outstanding. He was supposed to be outstanding. You got molded into that pitcher. I’m just irritated of all the (stuff) you guys have been writing in the papers how I’m fat and out of shape and all that (stuff).”

Dick Cheney, Sharp Dressed Man

Posted in Fashion at 11:04 am by

From Robin Givhan in today’s Washington Post (thanks to Jon Solomon for the link) :

At yesterday’s gathering of world leaders in southern Poland to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the United States was represented by Vice President Cheney. The ceremony at the Nazi death camp was outdoors, so those in attendance, such as French President Jacques Chirac and Russian President Vladimir Putin, were wearing dark, formal overcoats and dress shoes or boots. Because it was cold and snowing, they were also wearing gentlemen’s hats. In short, they were dressed for the inclement weather as well as the sobriety and dignity of the event.

The vice president, however, was dressed in the kind of attire one typically wears to operate a snow blower.

Cheney stood out in a sea of black-coated world leaders because he was wearing an olive drab parka with a fur-trimmed hood. It is embroidered with his name. It reminded one of the way in which children’s clothes are inscribed with their names before they are sent away to camp. And indeed, the vice president looked like an awkward boy amid the well-dressed adults.

Like other attendees, the vice president was wearing a hat. But it was not a fedora or a Stetson or a fur hat or any kind of hat that one might wear to a memorial service as the representative of one’s country. Instead, it was a knit ski cap, embroidered with the words “Staff 2001.” It was the kind of hat a conventioneer might find in a goodie bag.

To which I can only say in the Veep’s defense, perhaps Putin and Chirac aren’t in danger of dropping dead at any second. When you’re a heartbeat away from the most important job on earth, better safe than sorry, right? Right? On such a solemn occasion, aren’t there more important things to relect upon than Dick’s chosen ensemble (described by Mr. Solomon as “Bob Weston in winter”)?

Unfunny Tsunami Parody = Career Killer

Posted in Racism Corner at 1:19 am by

Newsday’s Rafer Guzman on the aftermath to an incident Byron Crawford has been all over for several days.

Hot 97′s controversial song that mocked tsunami victims is claiming some victims of its own.

Show host Miss Jones and her entire morning team were indefinitely suspended Wednesday after a week of growing public outcry — and after a number of high-profile advertisers began pulling their support from the station.

“What happened is morally and socially indefensible,” Rick Cummings, president of Emmis Radio, which owns Hot 97, said yesterday in an statement. “All involved, myself included, are ashamed and deeply sorry.”

At least three advertisers have abandoned the station. McDonald’s Corp. suspended its advertising Monday. The tax services company Jackson Hewitt Inc. followed on Tuesday. Wednesday, Sprint announced that it would withdraw its advertising.

What began as a cruel joke about a natural disaster has turned into a catastrophe for Hot 97 (WQHT/97.1 FM). The song, which first aired Jan. 18, included slurs against Asians and jokes about floating bodies and orphaned children. It was set to the tune of the 1985 famine-relief song “We Are The World.”

Despite Miss Jones’ subsequent on-air apology, New York City councilmen and Asian advocacy groups called for the hosts’ resignations. Councilman John Liu of Flushing called the song “reprehensible,” and councilman James Gennaro of Fresh Meadows threatened to “go after” the station’s advertisers.

The offending song aired the day after Hot 97′s rival station, Power 105 (WWPR/105.1 FM), broadcast a new morning show with Star and Buc Wild, two shock-jocks who are challenging Hot 97′s dominance in the New York market. Mayo says the song was not a response to their arrival. But the timing is difficult to ignore.

Hell No, Carlos Won’t Go (To The Top Step Of The Dugout)

Posted in Baseball at 12:37 am by

Steve Wine of the Associated Press on the highlight of yesterday’s press conference to announce the signing of Carlos Delgado to the Florida Marlins (well, except for the introduction of David Sloane and his wife).

Carlos Delgado is willing to stand up for his beliefs – or, in his case, not stand up. At his introductory news conference Thursday with the Florida Marlins, Delgado said he’ll continue to not stand up this season during the playing of “God Bless America.”

An opponent of the war in Iraq, Delgado refused to stand when “God Bless America” was played last season at games involving his Toronto Blue Jays. Instead, he would stay on the bench or go into the dugout tunnel.

“I wouldn’t call it politics, because I hate politics,” Delgado said Thursday after finalizing his $52 million, four-year contract. “The reason why I didn’t stand for `God Bless America’ was because I didn’t like the way they tied `God Bless America’ and 9-11 to the war in Iraq in baseball.

“I say God bless America, God bless Miami, God bless Puerto Rico and all countries until there is peace in the world.”

Marlins officials, who gave Delgado the richest per-season contract in the team’s 12-year history, made no objection to his war protest.

“The Marlins don’t support it, and we don’t not support it,” team president David Samson said. “He’s an adult. The club’s position is that what he does is up to him.”

Keep in mind that it was just this past December that Delgado’s agent promised that his client would abide by the rules of whatever club was paying his salary. Apparently, this is not an issue for the Marlins organization or the people of Miami, and why should it be? What’s a lapse in patriotism on the club’s part compared to moving to Las Vegas?


Doomed Idea Comes To Small Screen

Posted in The World Of Entertainment at 11:52 pm by

Much as I’d love to credit American broadcast TV for trying anything that isn’t a variation on kissing some zillionaire’s ass / eating maggots / pretending that Jim Belushi is funny, the US version of “The Office” should be approached with great trepidation. I’d echo Andrew Hearst’s sentiments except to say it is absolutely stunning to see the lengths the adaptors have gone to mimmick the ambience of Wernham Hogg, only to end up approximating the recent series of workplace-bullying Burger King commercials — a ham(burger)fisted appropriation of “The Office”, in themselves.