Vescey At The Trading Deadline

Posted in Basketball at 10:49 am by

From Poison Pete in today’s NY Post :

The guy the Kings prefer to kiss off is Chris Webber, who’s close to averaging a triple-double over the last two weeks or so. On one good defensively exploitable leg! And, by all accounts, he’s a pain in the posterior on and off the court, who’s owed $50 million over the next two seasons. So much for the franchise looking forward, so to speak, to its future.

In a concerted effort to dip below the salary cap next season, New Orleans is this space’s nominee to make the most noise before the deadline. Bad back and bad contract ($63M over next four seasons) notwithstanding, Baron Davis is almost guaranteed to go, along some with lesser lights.

I presume it’s no surprise to learn the Raptors are offering to provide asylum for the puffy point guard ($12.3M), a squatter for all but 17 games. Sources say Sam Mitchell’s pet antagonist Rafer Alston ($3.5M), Lamond Murray ($4.8M) and Donyell Marshall ($5.8M; currently, perhaps, the most desirable rising free agent) may want to start getting their Cajun groove on.

Of course, Babcock may want to ask himself: “Hmm, if Davis is unhappy and unhealthy [his people swear to me he doesn't need back surgery] playing for a Bourbon Street Walker, why would anything change in Toronto?”

Were Davis able to join Vince Carter and Chris Bosh at the hip, now we’re chatting up a sparkling new outlook. As it stands . . .

The glitch to the above scenario, as I understand it, is the 76ers, who, by the way, would love to plant Davis alongside Allen Iverson; the Hawks also are said to be interested in his perishable goods.

Before the Hornets send Davis on his miserable way, they’re determined to relocate Jamal Mashburn ($9.3M, $10M), whose retirement will become official at year’s end (insurance will assume 80 percent of next season’s salary) and Rodney Rogers ($2.7M) for Glenn Robinson ($12.07M).

I Saw The Headline And Hoped It Was Larry Brown

Posted in Hockey at 10:15 am by

Alas, no dice.

(bounties are nothing new for Mechanics coach Steve Shannon, shown above during his player/coach tenure with the Charlestown Chiefs)

Heyman On The Slim Demand For Cameron

Posted in Baseball at 1:15 am by

I read over the weekend there’s evidence to suggest that the Mets’ former CF Mike Cameron showed defensive range in ’04 comparable to that of the Cardinals’ Jim Edmonds. And that’s the great thing about stats that can tell you things that just watching a guy play center every day might not. Especially as the Mets are apparently having trouble convincing the rest of baseball that Cameron is capable of winning another Gold Glove. From Jon Heyman in Tuesday’s Newsday.

A person familiar with the Mets’ various trade talks told Newsday “the market wasn’t what they thought it would be” for Cameron. Which explains why general manager Omar Minaya abruptly removed Cameron from the trade market yesterday after weeks of talks. “Mike Cameron is going to be our rightfielder,” he said.

It’s hard to imagine what great windfall the Mets expected to reap for Cameron, who’s injured and disgruntled, and who gets on base far too infrequently, whiffs far too often and looked oddly lost in centerfield at Shea at times last year.

It shouldn’t have shocked anyone that it wasn’t much. There were chances to acquire Eric Byrnes, who’s really a fourth outfielder, and Preston Wilson, whose 2005 salary is double Cameron’s. But that’s about it.

Although Cameron obviously has a high opinion of himself, as he has refused to concede he should move quietly to rightfield, the reality is he’s no bargain with $12.5 million remaining on his Mets contract over two years. The reality is he’s a rightfielder now, at least until he can stir something else up.

Cameron wants everything both ways, his ways. He wants to play centerfield but doesn’t want to go to Oakland to play centerfield. He wants to win, but he acted put off for weeks after the Mets improved significantly by signing superstar Carlos Beltran. He suggests he’s a team man. But he’s acting as self-interested as anyone could.

Cameron’s had plenty of time to deal with the disappointment of being replaced, and he had better adjust fast. Club execs recently visited Cameron in Atlanta and Minaya has made him a regular calling partner in the team’s continuing efforts to stroke his ego, more outsized than anyone realized.

The penultimate player in camp (he beat Gerald Williams), Cameron acts as if centerfield is his birthright. He plays coy when asked about his feelings, but when pressed yesterday, he asserted, “We all know what I am.”

Cameron is pleasant, which explains why he’s getting absurd slack. But the reality is he’s acting like a spoiled rich kid, and has been for weeks.

Cameron talks about the importance of making Beltran feel comfortable in his transition but does nothing to facilitate that. When asked his opinion about Beltran’s centerfield ability, he uses lukewarm words such as “good” and “improving.”

The correct answer, which has eluded Cameron so far, is that Beltran (above) is a superb all-around player and the team’s future. And that he, Cameron, will happily try to become the best rightfielder he can be.

What Cameron needs to change are his ways. He’s the only one balking at Willie Randolph’s rules changes, designed to promote teamwork. When Cameron heard that Randolph frowned on loud clubhouse music, Cameron responded, “I’m going to tell Willie you’ve got to have rhythm. It will be a long year if you have to go the year without music.”

For a guy who hit .231 with 143 strikeouts, and who’s been replaced in center and is currently sidelined, Cameron sure is full of demands, isn’t he?

The New York Post’s Mark Hale quotes a source as claiming Cameron will be gone by Opening Day.

Who the Mets would get in return for Cameron is also somewhat unclear. The Astros could net Cameron in a three-way trade that would send A’s outfielder Eric Byrnes to the Mets and move Houston second baseman Chris Burke, a top prospect, to Oakland.

As for Seattle, Cameron thrived there from 2000-03, and reacquiring him would leave the Mariners with four starting outfielders (Ichiro Suzuki, Raul Ibanez and Randy Winn are the others) along with top prospect Jeremy Reed. So it stands to reason that either Winn or Ibanez could be involved in a potential swap.

The A’s also have strong interest in Cameron ” GM Billy Beane is a longtime admirer ” and an NL GM said one name he has heard in connection with Cameron is flame-throwing closer Octavio Dotel (though the A’s have disputed that Dotel is even available). But Cameron’s partial no-trade clause includes the A’s and he’s unwilling to waive it. Neither Seattle nor Houston is on Cameron’s no-trade.


England F.A. Reviews Ugly Weekend…

Posted in Football at 7:11 pm by

…and comes to the conclusion, upon being schooled by Michael Corcoran (below) that punters were going batshit because they were bored.

OK, probably not. The Guardian’s Dominic Fifield and Owen Gibson sort it out.

The Football Association is to review the viability of early evening kick-off times following the violent scenes at Goodison Park on Saturday which saw missiles hurled at opposing players during Everton’s FA Cup fifth-round tie against Manchester United. After the game there were clashes between opposing fans which resulted in 33 arrests and left five police officers injured.

An investigation is under way to ascertain the identity of the fan who struck United’s goalkeeper Roy Carroll with a coin, with Merseyside police and Everton still scrutinising television footage of that and two other incidents where objects were flung on to the playing area. The FA has welcomed that inquiry as well as the jailing of a Burnley supporter, Michael Lewis, for five months for invading the pitch during his side’s tie with Blackburn.

The violent scenes at Goodison Park and Turf Moor – exacerbated by the injury sustained by the Rangers midfielder Fernando Ricksen after he was struck by a cigarette lighter thrown during Sunday’s Old Firm match at Celtic Park – saw the game’s governing body vow to act against the “mindless individuals” whose actions seriously tarnished the image of the game over the weekend.

That will see greater consideration taken before staging 5.30pm kick-offs for potentially volatile fixtures, such as Wayne Rooney’s highly emotive return to Everton on Saturday, given that supporters can spend the afternoon drinking in local pubs before attending such games.

The MP for Liverpool Walton, Peter Kilfoyle, yesterday accused the FA of “idiocy” and, alongside the BBC, of putting financial considerations ahead of common sense in staging the tie at that time.

“I’m concerned that the FA should come to a commercial arrangement without any regard for public safety,” he said. “I wonder whether there would be as much trouble if people did not have the opportunity to have too much to drink. It is unfair to scapegoat the police. It is unclear to me who actually takes the final decision – I can understand why the police wouldn’t want to be seen to be penalising the majority of decent football supporters because of a hooligan minority.”

The reason for screening the tie of the round in the evening is clear. The audience for the Goodison Park match peaked at 11m people, averaging 7.3m. Arsenal’s earlier clash with Sheffield United drew an average 3.8m, and Burnley’s tie at Sunday lunchtime 2.6m.

The game at Turf Moor saw three fans invade the pitch, with the FA encouraged by the jailing of Lewis (above) yesterday by Burnley magistrates. The jobless 42-year-old had already been banned for life by the club. Neil Smith, chief superintendent of Lancashire police, admitted there was little stewards could have done to prevent Lewis or the other two alleged offenders – also charged – running on.

Assuming Brentford can get past Southampton in their 5th Round FA Cup replay, the Bees will be rewarded with a visit by Manchester United to tiny Griffin Park. Full details of the quarter-final draw can be found here.

Local Scribe Disses Safe Targets

Posted in Sports Journalism at 4:51 pm by

The Austin American-Statesman’s Michael Corcoran is a funny guy — and I don’t just mean the photo that accompanies his column — and he’s been in the scribbling game much longer than yours truly. But from one pop critic turned sporting pundit to another, I can honestly say there’s something thoroughly satisfiy, cleansing if you will, about identifying a minority interest (say, trepenation for instance) and disparaging those who enjoy it for no other reason than I’ve got fuck all to say about anything of consequence. And in that respect, Corcoran and I have loads in common. The thing is, how much courage does it really take to belittle baseball fans in the local paper of a town without a major league franchise, and likewise, the ultra predictable soccer-sucks rant in a place where the game barely registers? When Mike lets his readership know that college football is more rigged than wrestling (or that the Daytona 500 is just a bunch of saloon cars going around in a circle), then I’ll be impressed.

I don’t know which I’m more highly anticipating, the start of the baseball season or Ashlee Simpson’s April 19 show at the Austin Music Hall. Although it’s kinda fun to go out to a major-league ballpark, baseball is one of the worst sports to watch on TV, with more spitting than hitting, more, um, adjusting below the belt than belting above the fence. There are real sports fans and then there are baseball-only fans. Baseball-only fans have bought cheese online.

Folks who like baseball but don’t care for football or basketball are easier to figure out than soccer fans (also known as 75 percent of the world), however. Up and down, up and down the field the players run, and about as often as an Eddie Murphy movie is shown on the Independent Film Channel, someone kicks the ball into the net. Made uncontrollable by such action, the crowd then riots in the streets. How could something so boring inspire violence? It makes about as much sense as a mob of ballet fans turning over cop cars after an especially zestful performance of “Swan Lake.”

Why Keith Hernandez Never Would’ve Made It In Japan

Posted in Baseball at 2:19 pm by

From the Associated Press :

One of the most promising players looking to enter Japanese professional baseball this season is in hot water for smoking a cigarette.

Yu Darvish, an 18-year-old top draft choice of the Nippon Ham Fighters of Japan’s Pacific League, was grounded Monday after it was learned the rookie right-hander was caught smoking underage while taking part in the team’s minor league camp.

A picture of Darvish smoking in a pachinko parlor was taken by a weekly gossip magazine that will hit the stands Tuesday. It is illegal in Japan for people under 20 to smoke.

The Fighters have ordered Darvish not to leave the team dormitory except for specified practice sessions. He has also been assigned to do community service at a later date.

Darvish, whose father is Iranian and mother Japanese, tossed a no-hitter for Tohoku High School in the high school baseball championship last March. In December, he signed a $145,000 US contract with the Fighters.

NFL Hot Stove, AKA Wondering What It Must Be Like To Have A Players Union With Teeth

Posted in Gridiron at 1:39 pm by

Pass-grabbing malcontent Laveranues Coles (90 catches in ’04) is said to be on the brink of being waived by the Redskins. Coles, supposedly surplus to requirements in Joe Gibbs’ ball-control offensive, will represent an interesting free agent option to anyone unwilling or unable to make a run at Randy Moss.

Shaun Alexander, one yard shy of the league’s rushing mark last season, will probably become a free agent following a report that the Seahawks are about to put the franchise tag on 17-ranked QB Matt Hasselbeck.

Odom/Boozer Deal Denied

Posted in Basketball at 11:12 am by

With both the Lakers and Jazz refuting claims of a pending Lamar Odom/Carlos Boozer swap, I’m free to spend Monday working myself into a Jo’s Coffee-induced frenzy at the dubious prospect of the Knicks sinking further into cap hell by making a run at Chris Webber.

Free agent-to-be Ray Allen yacks with the Rocky Mountain News’ Sam Adams this morning, hoping aloud that the Sonics don’t stand pat. Keep that in mind as Gary Payton lobbies to finish his season in the West.

CSTB’s Ex Cell Phone Co. In Legal Spat With Cheapo Airline Creep

Posted in The Marketplace at 10:41 am by

A real shame neither of these companies figured out how to patent fucking their customers up the ass, or there’d be an endless spate of infringement lawsuits to come.

(self described “serial entrepreneur” Stelios Haji-Ioannou reminds us that toilets are for employees only…and that the sharks have already eaten Tom Vu, so there’s no point diving in to save him).

Styling & Profiling At Harvard

Posted in Lower Education at 1:49 am by

As you’ve probaly heard,, Harvard President Lawrence Summers has been under fire for recent remarks in which he questioned the “intrinsic aptitude” of women in the fields of science and engineering. More recently, it was revealed that Summers, perhaps hoping to become the Al Campanis of higher education, also spoke of “the relatively low number of women in the sciences to the numbers of Catholics in investment banking, whites in the National Basketball Association and Jews in farming.”

(hey ladies, it’s Larry Summers, and he’s ready to talk science)

Much as I hate to see stereotypes perpetuated, Summers might have a point about farming —- I tried for years to grow my own pot and it never really worked. I’m not sure what the Doctor would have to say about the relative paucity of black serial killers (Wayne Williams and the D.C. Sniper excepted), Amish hip hop MC’s or Boston University students without STD’s, but maybe he can write about that after he loses his job.

Graziano Calls Out A-Rod

Posted in Baseball at 1:28 am by

The Newark Star Ledger’s Dan Graziano takes on that shrinking wallflower, Alex Rodriguez.

Contrary to what’s being reported, Alex Rodriguez did not show up in the Yankees’ clubhouse at Legends Field yesterday.

In fact, it has been a year now since the Yankees traded for Rodriguez, and they’re still waiting for him to show up.

What A-Rod did yesterday, when he put on his trademark look of false sincerity and spent 16 minutes spinning clichés, was the verbal equivalent of going 2-for-17 in the final four games of the ALCS when your team needs to win only one. He had a chance to show his tough side, if he has one, to the incessantly chirping Boston Red Sox, his own Yankee teammates and (maybe most importantly) his fans, and he passed it up.

Now, once again, as we were at the end of his unsatisfying debut Yankees season, we are left to wonder just how tough this guy is.

Some, including Rodriguez, will say he’s just doing his part to fit in as a coolly professional Yankee. But whether the Yankees like it or not, their rivalry with the Red Sox has become a street fight, and you have to get dirty to win those.

Imagine the way the Red Sox are going to receive this pitiful non-response. When an opposing pitcher hits you with a pitch, and you don’t get angry (and your teammates don’t stand up for you, as Rodriguez’s haven’t here), that pitcher has reason to believe he can keep doing it. Rodriguez’s nonchalance should have the same impact on the Red Sox.

The question is: Why won’t he take them on?

“Our approach here is, and I’m getting to understand this more and more, we don’t get into the back-and-forth bulletin-board stuff,” Rodriguez said. “If you look at my track record, I’ve never done that.”

But that last part is, quite simply, false. Rodriguez actually has a somewhat extensive history of bulletin-board stuff. Examples:

Jan. 21, 2005: In a conference call with reporters, Rodriguez accused Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling of “crying on the bench” after losses to the Yankees and spoke of an enhanced desire to “beat him up in the future.”

November 2003: In a conference call to announce his selection as MVP, Rodriguez was asked four times about his relationship with Texas Rangers manager Buck Showalter. All four times, he simply said, “No comment.”

Spring 2001: In a story in “Esquire” magazine, Rodriguez took on shortstop Derek Jeter, saying Jeter had “never had to lead” and was “never your concern” as an opponent.

December 12, 2000: In a news conference to announce his signing of his $252 million contract with Texas, Rodriguez ripped into the Mets and then-GM Steve Phillips for failing to make an effort to sign him. “I wish I can play against Steve Phillips’ team and lead 24 guys to beat ‘em up,” he said.

So where’s that feisty, scrappy guy now? If ever that Alex Rodriguez had an opportunity to show up and start swinging, it would be now, when he’s under assault from every Red Sox player who walks through the clubhouse doors in Fort Myers.

(Update : For those who rightly wonder, “what is up with the Red Sox and why can’t they just shut up about A-Rod?”, consider Murray Chass’ thoughtful piece entitled “Ask Stupid Questions, Get Distorted Answers”)

Hunter S. Thompson, RIP

Posted in Dead Authors at 12:59 am by

Hunter S. Thompson, author of “Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas”, “Fear & Loathing In America”, “Hells Angels”, “The Great Shark Hunt” and many others, has died of a reportedly self-inflicted gunshot wound. Thompson was 67.

I have no proof that Thompson’s suicide was in anyway provoked by viewing Big & Rich’s appearance during halftime of tonight’s NBA All-Star Game, but that would explain an awful lot.

Longhorns Stay Unbeaten On Stubbs HR

Posted in Baseball at 12:34 am by

Perhaps even more remarkable than no. 1 Texas sweeping no. 5 Stanford this weekend was the manner in which the series’ 3rd game was won ; a lead-off inside the park HR by sophmore CF Drew Stubbs (above, right) to break a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the 9th. This was Stubbs’ 2nd inside the park home run in two days.

Texas ran their record to 11-0, their best start to a season since 1995.

The past week saw two notable Texas debuts, RF/1B Thomas Incaviglia (a transfer from Oklahoma State and nephew of former big leaguer Pete) and freshman pitcher Jordon Street, the younger brother of former Longhorns relief standout/current Oakland prospect Hutson.


2nd Greatest Goner Bulletin Board Thread In Recent Memory

Posted in The Internet at 8:04 pm by

The deep thinkers of the Goner BB weigh in with their picks for “The Greatest Invention Of All Time”.

As The A-Rod Spins

Posted in Baseball at 7:47 pm by

Alex Rodriguez arrived in Tampa today and was quoted by the AP with the following comments in response to the unrelenting criticism eminating from Boston.

“As far as earning your stripes, I really couldn’t agree [more] with Trot Nixon and the guys that have said that because hopefully in due time, when I pay the price like Paul O’Neill and Roger Clemens did, then the fans of New York would realize that, hopefully, I’m a Yankee,” Rodriguez said.

Reporting two days ahead of the first full-squad workout, Rodriguez said he had not been keeping up with what he called the “bulletin board stuff,” relating how he was occupied with his 3-month-old daughter and illnesses to two family members.

Yet, he was aware of at least a few of the zingers fired from Fort Myers, where the World Series champions opened camp last week. The $252 million man said the attacks were “a little perplexing.”

“The bottom line is they won. They’ve earned the right to say whatever they need to say,” Rodriguez said.

As usual, Rodriguez sounded quite polished. He didn’t mind that none of his teammates responded to the Red Sox.

“It just tells you how classy our organization is. Our players, they don’t get caught up in that everyday stuff,” he said. “And I appreciate their position. I’m going to say the same thing, probably. They’ll say that I’m not supporting myself. And that will probably be a big story, too.”

OK, I’ll bite. What exactly does “pay the price” mean in this instance? Does Rodriguez mean he won’t be accepted until he wins a ring in NY, or that O’Neil and Clemens went through some sort of painful initiation rite?

And it seems less than smooth that days after being raked over the coals for mocking his fellow players for picking up their kids from school, A-Rod stresses that he’s been too busy with his new daughter to read how much everyone thinks he sucks.

25 Years Ago This Week…

Posted in Hockey at 7:18 pm by

…a pretty cool fringe sport, one that is slipping into obivion at this very moment stateside, briefly found itself at the epicentre of the US sporting zeitgeist.

And with nothing but found memories of that Winter Olympiad, CSTB pays tribute to the educators, students and dorm staff of Boston University. Some people will say your diplomas aren’t worth the paper they are printed on. Others will claim your female students are a wanton, disease-ridden lot. But I’ll stick up for you every time. Without the hardcore contributions of Terrier alumni, the US doesn’t beat the Soviets in those Lake Placid Olympics, we lose the cold war and end up listening to Aquarium instead of Creed.

So thank you, Boston University. You’ve bought up every inch of available real estate up and down Commonwealth Avenue, but more importantly, you’ve helped preserve Our Way Of Life.

Chelsea’s Quadruple Hopes Dashed

Posted in Football at 6:41 pm by

Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea were knocked out of the FA Cup on Sunday, losing 1-0 to Newcastle at St. James Park in a match that had been threatened by steady snow earlier in the day. Patrick Kluivert’s header after 4 minutes provided the difference for Newcastle, with 3 second half substitutions coming back to haunt the London side. Chelsea struggled with 9 men after Wayne Bridge (below) was carried away and Carlo Cudicini was sent off in the final moments ; Damien Duff suffered an injury as well.

Jose Mourinho’s efforts thus far to juggle Chelsea’s League challenge, Carling Cup, FA Cup and Champion’s League aspirations have been nothing short of masterful. Today, not only did his luck seemingly run short, but the Blues will sorely miss Bridge in the days and weeks ahead, including next Sunday’s Carling Cup final against Liverpool.

Lawrence On Phil, Carmelo and ‘Zo

Posted in Basketball at 12:24 pm by

With the inexplicable absence of Peter Vescey from the NY Post on the day of the NBA All-Star Game, we instead turn our attention to the NY Daily News’ Mitch Lawrence.

It’s still difficult to imagine Jackson landing with the Knicks, because Isiah Thomas needs to be the entire show. It’s not hard to imagine Jackson ending up in Portland, where there’s another franchise sinking before its owner’s eyes.

In this case, Paul Allen has deep enough pockets to scuttle his GM, John Nash, and embattled coach, Maurice Cheeks, and bring in Jackson to run the whole show.

Jackson wanted $16 million per to return to the Lakers last season, a nice little raise off the $6 million per he was getting (with another $2 million every time he won a title).

Portland is a mess and it only figures to get worse. Since no one is really in charge there, it makes sense for Allen to go after Jackson. And from what sources say, that’s exactly what Allen intends on doing.

(Carmelo, shown scoring 2 of his 31 points from Friday night’s meaningless exhibition prequel to another meaningless exhibition)

Carmelo Anthony’s absence from today’s All-Star Game hardly caused a stir in the Mile High City. For one thing, he didn’t deserve a spot. And, only in his second season, he is hardly considered a Denverite. Now if the Broncos’ Jake Plummer had been left off the Pro Bowl roster in a deserving season, you’d hear the howls all the way back to New York. One last thing about the Nuggets: If the Kenyon Martin trade was such a fiasco for the Nets, why isn’t Martin playing in the All-Star Game, as he did as a Net a year ago? You can’t make the All-Star team averaging only 16 points and eight rebounds a night. For $93 million, the Nuggets got fleeced. At the least, they should have figured out how to get Jason Kidd.

Alonzo Mourning needs to show a little humility. When asked about going to the Heat, he said, “I want a ring because I think I’ve worked hard enough and paid my dues.” Plenty of guys have worked long and hard and left the game without a ring. Mourning’s Miami teams were always undermined because he never delivered in a critical playoff spot against the Knicks. His return to the Heat is perplexing from the standpoint that Shaq had no use for Mourning when they used to go head-to-head. “But I trust coach (Pat) Riley,” O’Neal said, which leads one to believe that Riley did a major selling job on his big man.

Heyman Delights In A-Rod’s Discomfort

Posted in Baseball at 11:57 am by

If there’s anyone who enjoys laughing at Alex Rodriguez more than the Red Sox, it has to be the New York press. Jon Heyman gets his licks in Sunday’s Newsday.

Star wars already are starting inside the Yankees’ clubhouse, even before regulars officially report to Tampa. Things are unsightly now, and they’re heading toward ugly.

All eyes will be on Jason Giambi, aka “The Most Obvious Juicer in the Game” (Chapter 15, “Juiced”).

And also on Alex Rodriguez, who’ll unhappily share the spotlight with Juiced-Up Giambi because A-Rod’s teammates didn’t exactly rush to his defense when Boston’s Trot Nixon called him “a clown,” promoting the notion that A-Rod’s teammates agree with Nixon.

If A-Rod could laugh at himself, he would show up today in a big red nose and floppy shoes. The guess here is he wears thousand-dollar Ferragamos instead.

What’s shocking is Yankees players instead supported Giambi, a .208-hitting, ‘roided-up partier who annoyed them by begging out of Game 5 of the 2003 World Series because, in the words of one Yankee, “he was afraid.”

Unlike Giambi, Rodriguez is prepared and a gamer. But he was dead wrong to tell the Bergen Record, “I know there are 650 or 700 other players who are sleeping this morning. Either that, or they’re taking their kids to school. But there’s no way they’re going to be up running the stairs or doing what I’m doing.”

What A-Rod’s doing is ruining a great thing through a series of missteps. Not only that, but his Father of the Year support is shot.

Things will simmer for now because Giambi and Rodriguez are non-confrontational types. But the steroid controversy still carries the potential to rip apart the clubhouse. “If there are issues or feelings, let’s get them out now,” GM Brian Cashman said. “It’s not a pretty situation.”

Gary Sheffield’s attempts to distance himself from Giambi are typically rude, self-centered and uncalled for. Although, as opposed to Sheff’s incredible new assertion that he never took steroids, there was truth to what he said about Giambi, whom he suggested is a “crybaby.” Said Cashman, “Whatever negatives are in Giambi’s life, he has himself to blame. We’re all responsible for our own actions.”

Of course, that goes for Sheffield, too. The thing about Sheffield is he thinks he’s being hit too hard when it’s the opposite; he’s getting off way too easy.

Yankees execs privately must like the heat lamp being shined on Giambi. However, they hold little hope he’ll be embarrassed into walking away from the $82 million he’s owed.

Cashman said the Red Sox’s rips of A-Rod are becoming like “noise” you just “tune out.” But there’s little doubt that rips of Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada or Bernie Williams would have been met with counterpunches from the Yankees’ clubhouse.

Mushnick Vs. Torre, Will Carrol On Jose

Posted in Baseball at 6:02 am by

NASCAR and poker might be tied for the stauts of America’s Pastime, but at CSTB HQ, Mushnick bashing is third only to breathing and rotissierre chicken eating. Which is why, on the rare occasion that the Bearded Conscience of All Things Sporting makes a valid point, I’ll quote him at length. Sir Phil, from today’s NY Post :

Off all the responses to Jose Canseco’s published claims, none seemed odder – or more disturbing – than Joe Torre’s. In an interview seen on Ch. 2′s Tuesday night newscast, Torre seemed to throw his support behind the darkness. He clearly suggested that steroid use in baseball – illegal steroid use – is a nobody’s-business issue.

“I’m put off by books,” said Torre, who in 1997 co-authored a revealing book about his life. “What goes on in the sanctity of the clubhouse,” he continued, “like the sanctity of the kitchen at home, needs to stay there.”

Coming from Torre, that’s bizarre. Through his Safe At Home Foundation, Torre has valiantly lent his name and private experiences to bringing the “sanctity” of domestic abuse out of the kitchen and into the light.

That he’s “put off by books” that violate both clubhouse and kitchen as secret-sanctified harbors flies in the face of his book and his very public personal stance against indulging domestic abuse as a behind-closed-doors, keep-out matter.

In fact, early in his book Torre details instances of his father’s abuse of his mother, writing that she was once driven to threaten his father with a knife. Might that have been a kitchen knife?

And when Torre writes of how his family gathered to ask his father to get out and stay out, the meeting is held in the family’s dining room, surely, next to the kitchen.

Torre lived with an old-world, traditionally secretive and illegal evil. He then nobly exploited his public stature to identify and combat that evil by meeting it head-on, dragging it, shoving it into the light.

That he would consider steroid use a what-happens-here, stays-here matter for the clubhouse or any house is shocking.

Will Carroll, who has his own steroids & baseball book coming out, has the following questions for Mr. Canseco :

1. Why no mention of your brother, Ozzie? Did you not help him the same way you allegedly helped others?

1a. Ozzie was good enough to make the majors, if not stay there, and to play in credible leagues until recently. Would you have been Ozzie without steroids?

2. How did you get access to hGH in 1985, just as it became available to the public as Humatrope? At an estimated cost of $30,000 for a therapeutic dose (presumably much smaller than used for performance enhancement), why would he share it?

3. A™s, Rays, Rangers – what about your time with the Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays, and White Sox? Why no steroid lessons there?

4. After 1991, you only played 150 games or more once. Was THIS also an effect of your steroid use?

5. Why inject in the stadium? What™s the value?

5a. Why inject œbefore games or batting practice? There™s NO medical reason to do so.

6. If you used steroids regularly and with as much knowledge as you allege, what happened between 1992 and 1997?

6a. What changed in 1998?

6b. Why didn™t you keep doing that?

7. How much was the advance on your book? Why sell your World Series ring on Ebay just months before what you had to presume was going to be a big payday?

Here™s another thing ¦ when Mike Wallace shows up at your door, bad things are about to happen. Has anyone ever sat across from that man and come out looking good?

Stern vs. Koyen

Posted in Free Expression at 12:58 am by

Thanks to the essential WFMU blog and Mike Lupica for this link, former Crank publisher (and current NY Press fixture) Jeff Koyen’s face-off with the self-proclaimed King of All Media, Howard Stern.

Koyen’s take on this, can be found here.

Gray Lady Romances Petit In A Big Way

Posted in Baseball at 12:05 am by

The New York Times’ Lee Jenkins on Mets pitching prospect Yusmiero Petit.

The first thing most people notice about Yusmeiro Petit is that he is not, as his surname suggests, petite.

One of his minor league managers compares him with Sid Fernandez, the portly left-hander who spent 10 seasons with the Mets. One of Petit’s coaches has playfully called him “a jumbo shrimp.” One of his teammates said, “I think we’re going to have to get him a new last name.”

Petit (pronounced pe-TEET), a right-hander, is listed at 6 feet and 230 pounds – 3 inches shorter than Mike Piazza and 15 pounds heavier. When Petit reported to his first major league spring training workout Saturday, a couple of Mets assumed he was a young slugger.

Petit is actually considered among the best pitching prospects in minor league baseball, and he is probably one of the biggest. He led the minors last season in strikeouts per nine innings. He played at three different levels and made the Mets temporarily forget about Scott Kazmir, the top-rated pitching prospect they traded to Tampa Bay in July.

Petit, 20, is almost a year younger than Kazmir and posted better statistics in the low minor leagues. He struck out 20 batters in 12 1/3 innings at Class A Brooklyn, recorded 122 strikeouts and just 22 walks at Class A Kingsport and went three consecutive games at Class A St. Lucie with at least 10 strikeouts. As a reward, Petit was promoted to Class AA Binghamton and invited to major league spring training.

“It’s incredible to be here,” Petit, a Venezuelan, said through an interpreter Saturday. “I don’t expect to make the major leagues this season. I’m just very happy the organization has noticed what I have done.”

In the two games Petit pitched for Binghamton last season, catcher Joe Hietpas watched a string of opposing batters whiff on 88-m.p.h. fastballs. Puzzled, Hietpas started to quiz the batters on how hard they thought Petit was throwing. “Everyone guessed 95 miles per hour,” he said. “I can’t explain what he does out there, but guys cannot pick up the ball. They’re completely deceived.”


Nen’s Rehab Stalled

Posted in Baseball at 8:36 pm by

Sad news for former SF Giants/Marlins relievers Robb Nen, stymied thus far in his attempts to recover from a mostly torn rotator cuff. Nen, one of his era’s more dominant closers, sounds like a longshot to ever return to competitive baseball. Which doesn’t explain why the Rockies are shying away from him, as they’re years away from being competitive.

The severity of Nen’s condition can be summed up thusly ; John Franco has a job this spring. Robb Nen does not.

Ben Schwartz on Moreno’s Manuevering

Posted in Baseball at 8:21 pm by

Says Mr. Schwartz,

Maybe you can find more information on this, I couldn’t, but this blog and this newspaper are spreading the rumor that Artie Moreno and the Angels want to buy Pat Boone’s KDOC for $250 million and build their own network ala the Cubs and WGN. It’s a weird signal to send out — I want a new stadium or I move but I’m still buying heavily into your community. Considering how lame duck the Dodgers look as to their LA presence, a truly aggressive move.

Thanks, Ben. I spent a day and a half in LA this week and saw far more Angels signage than I did posters, billboards, whatever for the Dodgers. I like Artie’s TV gambit —imagine all the programming hours Rex Hudler can fill during the off-season with 420-friendly films? And if it doesn’t work out, maybe Dr. Gene Scott will buy the station?

NBA All-Star Saturday : Broken Glass Everywhere, People Pissing On The Game Like They Just Don’t Care

Posted in Basketball at 8:03 pm by

The broadcast kicked off with Kelly Clarkson (above) screeching her way through a particularly leaden version of the superfine “Since U Been Gone” ; all of the song’s not-so-subtle “PDA” / “Obstacle 1″-isms were lost amidst well, the sound of Ms. Clarkson’s voice. I’ve got a broken chandelier in my living room and I’m sending the bill to David Stern. But no sweat, nothing says Black America’s Thanksgiving quite like channeling Interpol on the verse and bridge, Alanis on the chorus.

Swin Cash (above, left) missed about a hundred 3′s in the annual man + woman + dinosaur competition, prompting Chuck Barkley to suggest she had attended the Steve Kerr School of Shooting. It seems to me that something called the Radio Shack Shooting Stars Competition ought to involve forcing home mailing addresses out of Radio Shack customers (I bet Dan Marjele would be great at that). Likewise for the Playstation Skills Challenge, in which Steve Nash, Earl Boykins and Luke Ridenour will display many skills, none of which, sadly, employ a Playstation.

(UPDATE : Former Tottenham trialist Steve Nash heads the assist to Amare Stoudemire for the latter’s one-handed 360 dunk…which wasn’t even the hottest move of the night. And said award shouldn’t even go to Dunk Contest victor Josh Smith ; rather CSTB’s man of the night is New Orleans’ Chris Anderson, who needed 16 attempts to complete 2 dunks. Anderson’s exercise in futility was a spectactular low in an unsually inventive competition.

I wasn’t aware that the Goo Goo Dolls were doing something other than the state fair circuit, nor did I know that the Westerberg-imitator vocalist had mutated into a taller Jon Bon Jovi. A friend says the Dolls’ manager (presumably not Malcom McClaren) is a very wealthy man. I’d say he’s earning his money — anyone capable of getting a band this dull on TV must be a wizard of some sort).