As a postscript to yesterday’s tale of the eBay winner who wanted to rename the FleetCenter, “Derek Jeter’s Range At Short Isn’t That Bad Center”, the following is from ESPN’s Darren Rovell.
There will be no Derek Jeter Center after all.
On Tuesday, New York attorney Kerry Konrad won the right in an eBay auction to name Boston’s FleetCenter for a day. For his $2,325, Konrad wanted to honor the New York Yankees shortstop.
But, on Friday, FleetCenter officials rejected the name, which Konrad hoped would add to the 25-year rivalry he has had with his former college classmates who are Boston Red Sox fans.
“We decided that all the names had to be rated G, and this name was determined to be obscene and vulgar,” said Richard A. Krezwick, president and chief executive of the FleetCenter, which has auctioned off daily naming rights to about a dozen companies since its contract with the bank was terminated. “We were afraid of the volume of phone calls bogging down our switchboard, the number of e-mails clogging our portal and the potential graffiti on the side of our building.”
When reached at his office, Konrad said he was not disappointed.
“I had no idea that this joke would get so much attention in the first place,” Konrad said. “It was a joke. I’ve already had my laugh. But I could have made it much worse, like the A-Rod Center, Bucky Dent Center, the Aaron Boone Center, or the ‘Only 25 More [championships] To Go’ Center.”
To be fair, the Red Sox are only 20 championships behind the Yankees’ major league record 26.
Instead, on March 1, the building will be named the Jimmy Fund Center. Jerry Rappaport Jr., Konrad’s ex-college roommate and Red Sox fan, added $6,275 to Konrad’s bid — to reach $8,600 in total to signify the 86-year Boston Red Sox curse that was broken in 2004. The money will go to The Jimmy Fund, which supports the fight against cancer through Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
(Jimmy Key, thrilled to have an empty building in downtown Boston named after him, if only for a day)
Andy Breckman of WFMU’s “7 Second Delay” suggests pretending you’re retarded when the telemarketers ring.
I’ve found that pretending I’m turned on usually ends the call rather quickly — even faster if I’m not pretending.
As hinted at yesterday, Gary Payton is not expected to report to Atlanta following yesterday’s Antoine Walker trade. The veteran point guard has requested a buyout of his contract, according to the Boston Herald’s Mark Murphy.
Payton may return to the Celtics under a new free agent deal.
Atlanta, according to multiple sources, has agreed to buy Payton out of what’s left on the final year of his contract.
Though agent Aaron Goodwin declined comment last night, his client is already believed to be receiving inquiries from several teams in anticipation of the buyout.
Though Miami has reportedly expressed interest, the Celtics are still considered a favorite to keep Payton in green, based on the starting role they can offer him. With Dwyane Wade now in a shooting guard role, and Damon Jones also commanding major backcourt minutes, the Heat may not have the same opportunity for Payton.
The 36-year-old point guard, reportedly in Los Angeles visiting his family last night, was unavailable for comment.
In what sounds like it was the lamest WFAN promo-stunt since Don Imus began dragging sick kids to his ranch in an atempt to become Michael Jackson with jowls, the NY Daily News’ Bob Raissman attended the FAN’s NHL “funeral”.
The Rosenberg and Benigno show might have been delivered to WFAN dead on arrival, but yesterday the casket was not reserved for sports talk radio’s version of the Bowery Boys.
The box was meant for an organization as twisted as any of Sidiot’s “comedy” stylings. An organization as irrational as some of Benigno’s old midnight monologues.
The National Hockey League.
That’s who this mock funeral was for. That’s why so many people in the small crowd were smiling. A joke is supposed to be funny. And there is no bigger punch line in sports than the NHL.
Gary Bettman’s league is nothing more than a resource for Letterman and Leno.
This did not dawn on Benigno. He was a few minutes away from being able to dump on Bettman and Bob Goodenow, two humorless bureaucrats, but seemed reluctant to seize the opportunity. Deep in conversation with FAN GM Lee Davis, Benigno said something about facing “an embarrassing” moment. Davis put his arm around Benigno. The talkie just dragged on a cigarette and threw it to the ground.
Perhaps Benigno was embarrassed over the size of the turnout. Forty. Tops. Maybe less. Math ain’t my thing.
There was a mixture of FAN employees, a few true fans, and some curious bystanders who wandered out of the restaurant.
Sidiot stood at the podium looking down at the casket, which contained a pillow and a couple of hockey sweaters. Someone asked if he was cold.
“If I stand here 20 more minutes I may be in there,” said Rosenberg, pointing to the casket.
Sidiot’s detractors could only hope.
Someone read a hockey poem (fortunately it was short) before Benigno took over the microphone.
“I’d like to thank everybody that showed up here today,” Benigno said. “I question your intelligence.
“… It’s tough for a Rangers fan. It’s another year where we won’t make the playoffs, but nobody else will, either.”
Adding more ice to the atomosphere, Benigno segued into a somber spiel. Another dissertation on the salary cap would not bring any heat to this soiree.
Rosenberg broke the ice. He said the lost season has left fans with many important questions.
“The most pressing of all is: What’s Carol Alt going to do now?” Rosenberg asked.
Another question offered by Sidiot? “Is a former haberdasher turned prostitute now a hat trick?”
Rosenberg obviously consulted with spiritual scholars to find the most appropriate line to close out his eulogy.
“So, to the NHL, puck you. And oh yeah, Potvin sucks.”
How darn moving.
From Peter Vescey in Friday’s NY Post :
On a day it might’ve been easier for the NBA to relocate franchises rather than move the multitude of traded players, Isiah Thomas almost did exactly the opposite of what he’s been saying over the last couple weeks he wouldn’t do.
There’s nothing more damning than spouting a conflicting philosophy.
Once again the Knicks have exchanged two bad players with undesirable contracts – plus their one and only pro center – for a pair of fringe starters with longer and higher salaries.
In the opaque opinion of the team’s patronizing president, anybody who can’t see the above deals are perfectly reasonable deserves to be demeaned.
In his murky mind Thomas believes he’s justified swapping Nazr Mohammed ($5.5M) and Jamison Brewer to the Spurs for Malik Rose ($6M, $6.55M, $7.1M, $7.64M) as well as Moochie Norris ($4.2M) and Vin Baker ($3.85M) to the Rockets for Maurice Taylor (above) ($9.1M and $9.7M).
Why? Because the Knicks got two first-round picks pre-owned by Phoenix and San Antonio as part of the package.
According to Thomas’ shadowy genius, their mutual irrelevancy is worth more than competing with a halfway competent center. His lame logic is biting and sweeping:
“Who did I have playing center for me now?” Thomas submarined.
“Come on, Mohammed was that bad?” I replied.
“No, not that bad,” Thomas qualified. “But everyone in the Eastern Conference is playing without a pure center except the Heat [Shaq], the Cavaliers [Zydrunas Ilgauskas] and now the Bulls [Eddy Curry].”
Like, whoa! I could’ve sworn I heard Thomas repeatedly defend the Keith Van Horn-Tim Thomas transaction back when by claiming his sole motive for making it was to get Mohammed in the three-way deal.
In Thomas’ jumbled judgment he thinks compiling immaterial draft picks (two No. 1s this June and two the year after, he gleefully notes) is vital to rebuilding.
“Look how many quality players were drafted low in the first round and early in the second,” he stresses. “We drafted [traded for, actually] Jamaal Tinsley at No. 27 at Indiana and my other choice was Gilbert Arenas [taken No. 31 by the Warriors].
Fine, we all know the league’s elite talent scouts make their fair share of mistakes every draft. Josh Howard went No. 29, Tony Parker went No. 28, while Auburn’s Marquis Daniels went undrafted, for crying out tears despite winning player of the year in the Southeastern Conference.
Rashard Lewis (No. 32), Manu Ginobili (No. 57) and Arenas are ideal examples of players who were criminally overlooked. But just because Thomas uncovered Trevor Ariza at No. 43 last June it doesn’t mean he’s assured of a superior being (on the scale of the above three reigning All-Stars) slipping through the cracks, nor has he proved he can identify it if it’s there for the plucking.
In this salary-cap restrictive age, I don’t care how much a team is on the books for luxury tax; hindsight and some sideline experience has taught me it’s unnecessary to tear a team apart in order to rebuild it a championship contender/conqueror.
A gloating Paul Sommerstein forwarded a link from the AP claiming that Boston’s characterless Fleet Center might be renamed the Derek Jeter Center, if only for a day.
Plans to rename Nickerson Field after A-Rod hit the skids when everyone pointed out that said venue isn’t a real top-flight sporting facility.
When you consider the way some of these squabbles sprial out of control, perhaps the occasional “no comment” here and there wouldn’t be the worst thing on earth. From the Chicago Tribune’s Paul Sullvan :
Cubs manager Dusty Baker believes Sosa was conjuring up some revisionist history Wednesday when he told reporters in Ft. Lauderdale that he walked out on the final game last season because Baker had given him the day off.
“Sammy’s gone,” Baker said. “But at least you should be able to tell the truth about things.”
Sosa maintained his final-day walkout came only after Baker had told him he was off. Baker said former assistant trainer Sandy Krum served as the go-between, telling Baker the day before the final game that Sosa was feeling a little nicked up and wanted out of the lineup for the finale.
“Actually, [Krum] came in the night before and told me that he said he wanted off,” Baker said. “I said [to Krum], ‘Fine. If that’s how he wants it, if you don’t want to play, I’ll play [Jason] Dubois.’ ¦ I didn’t give him the day off”he asked for it. Again, it’s a matter of who you believe.”
Baker reiterated he never gave Sosa permission to leave the ballpark. He expected Sosa to be on the bench with the rest of the position players who weren’t in the starting lineup.
“Where I come from, that’s what [a day off] means,” Baker said.
Sosa refused to confirm to reporters in Florida that Baker had called him after the trade, leaving the impression he hadn’t.
“He insinuated he didn’t call me in Milwaukee either,” Baker said, referring to the late-night phone call Aug. 17 in which Sosa allegedly volunteered to be dropped in the batting order. “Yeah, we spoke on the phone. I wouldn’t say we’d spoken if we didn’t. It depends on who you believe.”
Sosa also said his new manager, Lee Mazzilli, whom he has met with twice, is the first one he has had who has dealt with him honestly, implying Baker, Don Baylor, Jim Riggleman and many others for whom he has played didn’t do so.
“He said the same thing about me when I got here,” Baker said. “And when Baylor got here.”
Baker was more than perturbed by the inference he hasn’t been honest with Sosa. Over the winter, Sosa complained that Baker “embarrassed” him by dropping him in the order. Baker maintains Sosa not only asked him to drop him during their late-night phone call in Milwaukee but also asked him to tell reporters it was Sosa’s idea.
“If you talk to most people who know me, they’ll tell you I’m too honest,” Baker said. “So [the Sosa accusations] are contradictory to my personality.”
Cubs players who were asked about Sosa’s comments were hesitant to criticize him. Most believe reporters misinformed Sosa during questioning, leading him to believe players were saying the team is better off without him.
…that this guy is a moron and hacking into his cell phone just to get Paige Hamilton’s digits really isn’t worth it.
This morning’s UK papers are filled with wild accusations that intermisison of Wednesday night’s Champions League clash between Barcelona and Chelsea (won by Barca, 2-1) was marked by Frank Rijkaard visiting referee Anders Frisk in the latter’s dressing room. The Guardian’s Matt Scott is reporting that Barcelona assistant coach Henk Ten Cafe “assualted the Chelsea manager with a kick to the backside,” which Chelsea deny As for Frisk, the Independent’s Nick Harris recaps “Lowpoints Of A Limahl Lookalike”.
An accountant by trade, and an Red Cross ambassador, he has been been involved in few controversies, not all of his making, including:
Champions’ League group game, 7 Dec 2004
Valencia 0 Werder Bremen 2
Frisk booked five Valencia players and sent off a sixth as Claudio Ranieri’s side was eliminated. “When you see the referee give them more than you, you feel as though you are being shafted,” Ranieri said. He later apologised, saying: “I was in a very agitated state.”
Champions’ League group game, 15 Sep 2004
Roma 0 Dynamo Kiev 1 (abandoned at half-time)
Frisk abandoned the game after being hit by a missile thrown from the crowd following his decision to send off Roma defender Philippe Mexes.
Euro 2004 semi-final, 30 June
Portugal 2 Netherlands 1
Ruud van Nistelrooy accused the referee of being a “home whistler” and was handed a two-match ban for insulting behaviour towards Frisk.
World Cup, first knock-out round, 16 June 2002
Spain 1 Rep Ireland 1 (Spain won on penalties)
Frisk awarded two penalties to Ireland in normal time. The first – deemed soft by some – went unconverted. The second, in the final minute, was generally regarded as fair, for shirt-pulling. Robbie Keane scored, but the Irish went out on spot-kicks.
19 points out of first place in La Liga, Valencia have parted with ways with manager Claudio Raneiri.
Since I last staggered though an airport earlier today, here’s what went down :
1) Baron Davis to the Warriors, Speedy Claxton and Dale Davis to the Hornets.
New Orleans successfully clears a ton of cap room ; Golden State has an All-Star guard (alibet one who is injured) to pair with Jason Richardson. Let this be a lesson to those superstars who don’t impress Byron Scott with their rehab efforts — piss him off and you’ll be shipped to a team slightly less sucky.
2) Gary Payton, Tom Gugliotta and Michael Stewart to Atlanta, Antoine Walker (above) returns to Boston.
‘Toine and Danny Ainge bury the hatchet and Boston essentially keeps Raef LaFrentz for nothing. Gary Payton, longing for a trade to a western contender…might not report to Atlanta?
3) the much traveled Keith Van Horn to Dallas, Alan Henderson, Calvin Booth and a bag of money to Milwaukee.
The Bucks escape from Van Horn’s remaining $15.7 million, which can now be aimed at re-signing Michael Redd. Dallas, for their part, can now give the public the Van Horn/Shawn Bradley tandem they’ve been gagging for all these years.
4) Maurice Taylor to New York, Vin Baker and Moochie Norris to Houston.
Because what’s another $28 million over the next 3 years on an unspectacular forward like Taylor? Why not see if the Knicks can miss the playoffs and have a $200 million payroll in the same season?
5) Malik Rose (above) and two first-round picks to New York, Nazr Mohammed and Jamison Brewer to San Antonio.
Isiah Thomas wants to stockpile future draft picks so badly, he’s willing to assume the remaining four years and $27 million of Rose’s salary in order to obtain two first rounders…from a likely title contender.