Letting The Spirit Come Inside

Posted in Religion at 2:27 pm by

Memo To D. Trump : stuffed animals are far cheaper than expensive baubles. Think about it.

Heyman Lays Waste To Dolan

Posted in Basketball, Hockey, Sports Journalism at 1:37 pm by

Newsday’s Jon Heyman is never as attractive as he is when jumping on the Let’s Kill James Dolan Bandwagon.

James Dolan killed the Knicks and Rangers, he ruined the Garden and he personally drove Marv Albert to New Jersey, a superfecta of sports management ineptitude that can never be duplicated.

Even if Daddy lets him keep his job a few more years.

“I don’t know what the opposite of the Midas touch is,” said Mayor Bloomberg’s press secretary, Ed Skyler, “but whatever it is, he has it.”

Already, perhaps no one has done more to devastate the New York sporting scene than Junior Dolan, chairman, president and chief executive officer of the lucky sperm society.

His leadership is so putrid, it smacks of sabotage. Now, apparently unsatisfied with contaminating half the major sports in New York, Dolan is spreading his plague by demonstrating a blind determination to kill the Jets’ goal of building a stadium on the West Side of Manhattan.

If Junior Dolan succeeds, that would leave baseball as the only major sport he hasn’t polluted. Although he tried hard. The Dolans once endeavored to buy the Yankees, and can you imagine this boob of the tube sitting in George Steinbrenner’s chair? Under Dolan, the Yankees would be Tampa Bay with a $200-million payroll.

If Dolan succeeds at destroying the West Side dream – and if anyone’s due for a win, it’s him – he’d be hurting not only the Jets by leaving them as second-class interlopers in the Giants’ home park in Joisey but also the City of New York by simultaneously crushing its chances of hosting the 2010 Super Bowl and the 2012 Olympics.

That the NFL consecutively awarded the Super Bowl to bland Jacksonville and frigid Detroit shouldn’t lead anyone to question the game’s enormous value. Brian McCarthy, director of corporate communications for the NFL, said the Super Bowl generates between $300 million and $400 million in revenue. With the Olympics another possibility, it isn’t hard to see how the West Side project could pay for itself.

Starting with that whopper of a $600-million bill that’ll go to taxpayers, there are some real arguments to be made for opposing the West Side project. But if anyone believes Junior Dolan is doing this for philanthropic reasons, they’ve never received a cable bill from him. His hard-to-figure motivation smacks of self-interest (and perhaps a little envy, given that he was a runner-up when Woody Johnson bought the Jets).

Besides the reported $600-million-plus bid he made for the site for what seems to be a very murky purpose (schools, housing), Dolan reportedly has spent $20 million on anti-stadium ads. That’s a mind-boggling figure, considering how little the project would seem to impact his own downtrodden organization. Anyway, it’s play money to him, as he’ll surely pass on the cost to Long Island cable customers who have no way out.

“He wants to protect his monopoly. He’s said that,” Skyler said. Beyond that, Skyler said, “We’re at a loss, and so is the rest of New York.”

Strachan On England’s US Field Trip

Posted in Football at 11:53 am by

The former Coventry boss Gordeon Strachan uses his fascinating as-told-to weekly column in the Guardian to castigate the England F.A. for their plans to play friendlies in the United States against the U.S. and Colombia.

In the summer before the World Cup a proper break would be much better for the players and the England team. A physical breather is important after a long season but a mental break is possibly even more vital.

t’s not as if the players will be interested in the friendlies against the US and Colombia in May anyway. Top players only want to play in games that matter because they’re competitive animals and they’ll want this even less at the end of the season.

I went on a similar tour once with Scotland to Canada to play three games and it was torture. I was at Aberdeen and had played 67 times that season so I didn’t want to be there, and it will be the same for these guys.

I think Eriksson has said the tour gives England a good chance to play opposition from outside Europe. But I don’t imagine the players will learn anything. How interested are Colombia going to be? And anyway, there are no surprises these days.

England’s top players are facing South Americans in the Champions League all the time because the best Brazilians, Argentinians and so on are in Europe. They know each other so well now that they’re the best of mates. You can see that from the way they shake hands after matches.

That the World Cup is in Germany means there will be European surfaces, familiar weather and more of a European mentality, so there’s no reason in going to America. If Sven wants to make a few points to his players next summer get them together and talk about it.

The only people who will want the tour will be a few press men and FA officials who fancy a couple of weeks away from the missus, and the finance people. The only reason to go is finance.

The only people who will want the tour will be a few press men and FA officials who fancy a couple of weeks away from the missus, and the finance people. The only reason to go is finance.

National associations need to play friendlies to make money and Sven is a £4m-a-year manager. Maybe the games could be called the Sven-Goran Eriksson testimonials. That’s nothing against Sven because I like him a lot, and he has to be paid somehow.

Getting Fingered At Wendy’s

Posted in Food at 11:47 am by

(they are not giving away copies of Richard Kern’s classic “Fingered” at your local Wendy’s. The restaurants are, however, open long past midnight for drive-thru purchases).

Ira Kaplan of the great state of New Jersey calls our attention to the tragic tale of a secret ingredient on Dave Thomas’ 99 cent Value Menu.

Cactus League Tilt Cancelled On Account Of Dubious Grooming Products

Posted in Baseball at 5:29 am by

Oliver said he had no idea why the bees picked on him, although he guessed that his hair gel may have attracted them.

“Coconut oil or something,” he said. “I smell good, I guess.”


Jim Hellwig On Schiavo

Posted in Medical Science at 5:13 pm by

Says Jon Solomon, “I wasn’t sure where I stood on this issue, so like many hot topics, I turned to Warrior.”

(A person whose brain has ceased to function properly. And Terry Schiavo.)

Though I’m baffled why the Anabolic One is strangely silent on the Barry Bonds front, writes Jon, “Give him time, give him time.”

Back From The Grave Dept. Roy Tarpley

Posted in Basketball at 4:50 pm by

Barred from the NBA a decade ago for repeated substance abuse violations, could F Roy Tarpley return to the bigtime? From Dallas Basketball.com’s Mike Fisher.

So many of the Roy Tarpley rumors that have surfaced in recent years have such a dark tone that one NBA exec recently told us, “I’m pleasantly surprised to hear he’s even alive.” But this Roy Tarpley rumor — talk of the former Mavs star making a comeback to the NBA — is more than just gossip, sources tell DallasBasketball.com, noting that at least five NBA teams have responded to his stated interest in returning to basketball by doing background checks on the troubled big man.

Want an indication of disinterest from the Mavs, Tarpley’s employer until December 1995 NBA? We get it from owner Mark Cuban, who politely tells DB.com, “We wish Roy well in his pursuits.”

But Tarpley, who recently appeared as a fan at a Mavs game and said, “I’ve got some big news happening soon. … It ain’t over yet,” has clearly piqued the interest of clubs who remember Tarpley as the rare 7-footer with all-around basketball skills. Teams are making phone calls to old Tarpley acquaintances around Dallas, wondering who he is associating with, wondering who he has new bonds with. One person with close ties to Tarpley says teams are doing this legwork because they seem interested in adding him as soon as possible, to be included in their a playoff run.

Skeptical? Who can blame you? Tarpley is 40, has not played big-time basketball in a decade, and carries an all-time volume of baggage. Yes, he had (or has) a chemical problem, having been suspended from the league for substance-abuse issues. But he likely also represents a chemistry problem. By reputation, Roy Tarpley is a walking, talking headache (except maybe for young teammates who don’t even remember who is he, which might be a good thing.)

When the teams complete their background checks, they will find that while Tarpley may have straightened up his act in many areas, there are still responsibilities yet to be met, debts yet to be paid, relationships far from being mended.

One friend says Tarpley is about 265-to-270 pounds, that he could play himself into shape in a month. There might be questions about whether he can still get up and down the court, but a 7-footer who can rebound and shoot has some value.

Ex-NBA star and coach John Lucas, who runs a drug-treatment facility in Houston, has been supervising Tarpley for a year. Lucas told the Dallas Morning News, “He’s doing what he needs to do. He might have the ambition to play basketball again.”

Can he still play?

“Skill-wise,” Lucas said, “absolutely.”

Do-Gooders Advocate Bogus Act Of Sportsmanship

Posted in Baseball at 4:30 pm by

Jon Solomon forwarded the following from the Associated Press :

Tensions were running high on the Merriam School playground in Acton, Mass.

Yankees fans and Red Sox fans were relentlessly taunting each other, and the fun of Boston’s comeback win in the 2004 American League championship series was being lost.

As school officials worked to calm the students, they had a radical idea: Why not extend their peacemaking efforts to the big league level?

Their project to get the Red Sox and Yankees to shake hands before the opening-day game April 11 at Fenway Park has since been endorsed by Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona called the school to tell officials he liked the “The Merriam School Handshake Project,” though he added he won’t force it on the players.

“If our guys want to go shake some hands, they’re going to do it,” Francona said. “I’m not going to make them.”

The plan goes against a big league rule that discourages fraternization between opposing players while in uniform, though the rule is occasionally flouted. In professional hockey, handshakes between opposing teams are a routine part of series-ending play in the postseason.

The Merriam School drew up the plan after school assemblies addressed sportsmanship. Students put together a PowerPoint show, and mailed and e-mailed it with letters urging team owners, managers and captains to support the opening-day shake.

The PowerPoint show begins with an image of students saying, “We look up to you.”

A series of photos follows, with one showing Boston’s Jason Varitek brawling with New York’s Alex Rodriguez. Another portrays children shaking their fists at one another. Beneath that image, a caption reads, “We follow your example.”

“Fans and players are getting too worked up about what’s just a game,” the students wrote in their letter to baseball commissioner Bud Selig. “The negativity and intensity is influencing children’s sportsmanship after our own sports games.

“After children’s sports games, we shake hands with the team we’re playing. If kids can show good sportsmanship, then professionals can, too.”

(A-Rod, ‘Tek, ruining children’s lives)

I cannot confirm that a letter to the President Of The United States asking him to set an example by not bombing the fuck out of countries was composed or mailed. And of course, no one follows his example, so what would be the purpose of that.

Perhaps the grandstanding jackasses at the Merriam School might want to spend half as much time explaining to the kids that this sort of violent behavior displayed by anyone other than highly paid professional athletes would land a person in jail. Followed by a trip….to jail! They can call it something like “Scared Straight” (please, by all means, use the name if you want)…and who knows? Maybe Karim Garcia (or doppelganger Tom Sizemore) can introduce the students to his new cellmates?

Sultan Of Sloth Takes Shot At Brown

Posted in Baseball at 11:40 am by

Following David Wells’ throwing batting practice to the Orioles yesterday, he made the following comments to the Providence Journal’s Sean McAdam.

After Wells got hit around yesterday, yielding four runs in the sixth inning of a rain-shortened 6-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles, his new teammates didn’t hesistate to give him a hard time. Wells said catcher Jason Varitek shook his head and smiled at him. Kevin Millar offered some more pointed comments, which Wells didn’t share.

“I didn’t know what to expect [from the rest of the Red Sox],” Wells said. “But I’m having the time of my life . . . They make you forget a bad outing.

“‘Some guys can’t handle [candid feedback from teammates]. I don’t know if [Yankee starter] Kevin Brown can. But guys like me, basically, you don’t care what they say.

“Coming in here, it’s like I’ve been here for 20 years. It’s very loosey-goosey.”

Wells gave up six runs on 11 hits, but he wasn’t concerned.

“I just want to build up my [pitch] count,” said Wells, who has one more exhibition tuneup on Monday before pitching the April 3 season-opener. “Good outing or bad outing . . . as long as I’m ready for the season.”

In any event, it is comforting to know that Wells is untroubled by such a poor outing… andhopefully he’ll maintain the same positive attitude after opening day.

Rob Neyer Explains It All

Posted in Baseball at 12:46 am by

ESPN’s Neyer, as interviewed at Royal Rooters.

RSN: Who had a better season, Bob Gibson in 1968, or Steve Carlton in 1972?

RN: Gibson. I know 1968 was a pitcher™s year, and I know that Carlton won five more games than Gibson, and I know that Carlton pitched 42 more innings than Gibson. But as great as Carlton™s season was, I still would argue that Gibson™s 1.12 ERA makes his season somewhat better than Carlton™s.

RSN: How much would Carlton going 27-10 for a team that finished 59-97 factor into the debate?

RN: That tells us he must have pitched brilliantly, but there™s a big piece of information missing: run support. Though Gibson™s team won the pennant and Carlton™s team lost 97, it™s at least theoretically possible that Carlton actually got more run support than Gibson did.

RSN: Your book has a “Lucky Bastards” section, looking at actual won/lost records and calculating what the pitcher deserved based on his other numbers. How would you compare Luis Tiant’s 1969 season (9-20) with Catfish Hunter’s 1973 (21-5)?

RN: There™s not a lot of difference between them. Hunter™s ERA relative to his league was better, but not by a lot. Most people still don™t understand how much luck goes into individual pitchers™ wins and losses.

RSN: Along with Tim Wakefield, the Red Sox have two other knuckleball pitchers in their system, Charlie Zink and Joe Rogers. Considering how rare a breed knuckleballers are, do you think this is a coincidence or a calculated move?

RN: It™s no coincidence. If you™re going to complete your Class A rosters with a bunch of guys with no apparent ability to reach the majors, then why not make sure that a few of them might eventually develop the ability? Most knuckleballers took years in the minors to develop the pitch, and it™s worth trying to identify them before it happens. The chances are that neither Zink (above) nor Rogers will ever reach the majors, let alone win 100 games. But it™s an exceedingly low-risk investment, and certainly worth making.

RSN: Compare Bill Lee and Bruce Hurst.

RN: Their careers have completely different shapes. Lee, because of the shoulder injury, started 25 or more games in only four times. Hurst did it 11 times. Also, Hurst was a strikeout pitcher, and Lee wasn™t, at all.

RSN: How about Ron Guidry and Sandy Koufax?

RN: Koufax was fastball/curveball, Guidry was slider/fastball. Koufax was brilliant for five seasons while Guidry was Cy Young just once. But the difference between them isn™t nearly as large as people think.

RSN: Babe Ruth and David Wells.

RN: At his best, Ruth was better than Wells. Quite a bit better. Ruth had a good curveball, but was known for his fastball. Wells had a good fastball, but was known for his curveball. One thing about Ruth that a lot of people don™t know: He won 20 games only twice, and in his last couple of seasons as a pitcher his strikeout rate was so low that I™ve wondered if he might have been nursing an injury. Which is to say — I™m not convinced, as many are, that Ruth would have made the Hall of Fame as a pitcher if he hadn™t switched positions.

RSN: Carl Mays and Don Drysdale.

RN: Mays was the better pitcher, and wasn™t lucky enough to spend most of his career in Dodger Stadium. But it™s close, and Drysdale never killed anybody.

RSN: Dick Radatz and Joe Page.

RN: Radatz (above) was more valuable over a three-year span than any relief pitcher™s ever been. After that he was JAG (just another guy). Page was brilliant in 1947 and ™49, but he simply wasn™t as dominant as Radatz. Both of them threw very hard, of course, but I™m pretty sure Radatz threw harder. And you know, Page never had to face the best team in the American League (because he was pitching for the Yankees).

Guns Don’t Kill People…

Posted in Organized Hate at 12:32 am by

…having a boner for Adolf Hitler is what kills people.

But seriously, as we learn more about what triggered (sorry) the tragic events in Minnesota earlier this week, hopefully the authorities will take a long look at this Hitler character and seek to ban his CD’s.

High On The Hog With A.I., Knicks Beat Celtics

Posted in Basketball at 12:20 am by

(The Sixers’ Andre Iguodala blocking the shot of the Pistons’ Tayshaun Prince)

On the same day ESPN’s John Hollinger published findings that revealed Philly G Allen Iverson to be the NBA’s biggest ball hog, Iverson tallied 10 assists (along with 39 points) and F Andre Iguodala earned the first triple double by a rookie in more than a year, as the Sixers destroyed the defending champion Pistons, 107-84.

(Tim Thomas takes out Ricky Davis with a little move Rob Van Dam taught him. Not pictured : Doc Rivers’ standing ovation).

Philadelphia maintained their 3 1/2 game lead over New York for the Eastern Conference’s 8th and final playoff spot, the Knicks keeping pace with a startling 107-82 knockout of what had previously looked like a surging Boston squad at MSG. Said contest featured a plethora of technical fouls on both sides, Boston’s Raef Lafrentz getting hit with a flagrant foul for mugging Michael Sweetny.


Clemens’ Car Kidnapped, Recaptured

Posted in Baseball at 9:46 pm by

If nothing else, the Rockets’ Hummer has worked out far better than Denny Neagle’s.

Austin NBDL Team To Be Named By Residents

Posted in Basketball at 7:03 pm by

So much for my idea that Austin’s NBDL franchise could be named The Stegalls. The Austin Business Journal is reporting that the club name will be chosen via a (zzzz) contest.

Still an outside shot at the team being named The Dicks as a Gary Floyd tribute, though.

Does The NAIA Have Probation Or A Death Penalty?

Posted in Basketball at 2:50 pm by

From ESPN.com :

Rollie Massimino, who led Villanova to the 1985 national championship, could coach again.

Massimino, 70, is discussing a position at Northwood University, an NAIA school in West Palm Beach, Fla., the Palm Beach Post reported in Wednesday’s editions.

“We’re in the process of talking and I really like the people there,” Massimino (above) told the paper. He hasn’t coached since leaving Cleveland State two years ago.

Northwood is in the process of developing men’s and women’s teams that won’t play until 2006-07.

“I miss it,” Massimino told the paper. “I miss the practices and the players.”

Massimino coached with Northwood athletic director Rick Smoliak at SUNY-Stony Brook in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

“We’re talking to him but still working out some details,” provost John Haynie told the paper. “We’ve been talking with him and he’s really interested in coming here. It’s really just steamrolled from there.”

Paging Mushnick : Celts Considering Black Uni’s

Posted in Basketball, Fashion at 11:36 am by

As part of CSTB’s never-ending quest to find more of the same old things for Phil Mushnick to complain about, we arrive at an item from Steve Bulpett in today’s Boston Herald, alleging that the Celtics are mulling over “an alternate uniform that will include black accents and a more updated look.”

 In a quick check with historians yesterday, no one could remember there being a color other than green and white on the Celts’ jerseys and shorts. If a change is made, it would be for a third uniform that, under league dictates, would need to be worn a minimum of six times (e.g. the Lakers wearing their whites on Sundays).

     While league sources say the new uniform is pretty much on its way, Celtics executive VP for sales and marketing Rich Gotham said, “We haven’t committed to it yet. The league wants us to commit to it, but we’ve sort of reserved judgment on it. We looked at it last summer and punted on the decision. Now we’re looking at it again.”

     Though the Celts switched away from the traditional dark sneakers at home starting last season, Gotham said, “We wouldn’t mess around with our standard uniform. If we do it, it will be a special edition, so to speak. It’s a decision we wouldn’t take lightly. We wouldn’t do anything without consulting Doc (Rivers), Danny (Ainge), Red (Auerbach) and probably the players. We’ll see if it’s something the fans are interested in and the players would enjoy and we’ll sort of go from there.

Catching Up With Head

Posted in Religion at 11:25 am by

Thanks to WFMU’s Beware Of The Blog for alerting us to the latest update from Born Again, ex-Korn rifffmeister Brian “Head” Welch.

Interviewer: Brian , few weeks ago, you felt so desperate that you wanted to die. You even asked God to end your life. What was God’s answer to your cry for help ?

Brian: Mathew 11:28 and to me it’s god saying, “come tell me and seek me with all your heart and i will take away all of your pain inside and will never judge you because i love you and all I want is for you to come to me with everything in life first.” i’m also getting another tatoo on the other side of my neck called mathew 6:19 which is also my birth date. that verse basically says don’t store your treasures on earth and don’t worship money or fame like it’s god. so with that said, i’m funding my life story to glorify god and i will put it out somewhere in the near future. and again i will not keep any of the profit. i’m gonna be like the osbournes but it’s focusing on me and god and how much of a sense of humor i have with him but also how much i obey him. for example, THE JESUS TATOO ON MY HAND KEEPS ME FROM MASTERBATING AND I HAVEN’T BEEN WITH A WOMAN SINCE MY EX WIFE LEFT ME ALMOST 5 YEARS AGO. I go to those extremes to be like christ and it works for me. I’m moving my own camra crew in my house on monday. my goal is to glorify god and show the world how much fun this life is. So I invite everyone in the world to get some popcorn and sit back and watch how he uses me to glorify himself. god rules and believe me, everything I say to you, 50 cent, or whoever it is, i’m also saying it to myself probably even more! i never said I was perfect and I fall everyday like every man, paster, preacher, woman, child, whoever, we’re all human.

I hate to take issue with Welch’s methods. I mean, if the tattoo of Jesus is a deterrent to onanism, that’s great. But for some members of the public, Jesus is, well, kinda hot. But given that you might have trouble finding a tattoo artist who could do an accurate Ruth Buzzi or Esther Rolle, I sympathize.

Mets Covet Urbina

Posted in Baseball at 1:41 am by

You don’t need to be Kimberly (or even Buddy) Bell to tell that the New York Mets will have difficulty handing a lead over to Braden Looper unless something dramatic is done to improve their middle relief corps. Hence this morning’s report from Newsday’s David Lennon about a possible move for an established, albiet pricey, pitching addition.

The Mets have told the Tigers not to trade reliever Ugueth Urbina without checking with them first, a person familiar with the situation said yesterday. But the Mets could face serious competition from the Cubs, who are now in the market for a closer after learning yesterday that Joe Borowski will be lost for a minimum of six weeks because of a broken right arm.

The Mets and Tigers already have discussed Urbina, but Detroit officials are split on whether to deal him, and the Mets do not appear desperate enough to meet their demands just yet. The Tigers have suggested they want a major-league player or top prospect in any swap, and they are reluctant to pay a portion of Urbina’s $4-million salary for the coming season.

The Mets are more willing to do a cash-heavy swap than surrender any significant players at this point, and with the Tigers in the market for a starting pitcher, it might be difficult for the two sides to find a match.

Urbina was demoted to a set-up role when Detroit signed Troy Percival this offseason. But with 227 saves on his resume, and a fastball clocked at 94 mph in his last outing, Urbina still has top closer credentials and would be a welcome upgrade for the Mets’ lackluster bullpen.

Even Looper has been ragged, with a 7.50 ERA, and opposing teams have batted .387 (12-for-31) against him over his six innings of spring-training work. Two years ago, when Urbina was acquired at midseason by the Marlins, he replaced Looper as the closer on a Florida team that beat the Yankees in the World Series.

When Urbina’s name was discussed last month, Looper said he had no problem with the Mets pursuing him, and would welcome his former teammate, despite the role reversal on the Marlins in 2003. As for the Mets, one team official said they would like the competition it would create in the bullpen. And with Looper in the final season of his two-year, $6.75-million contract, the Mets have little concern for any long-term ramifications if Urbina did wind up the closer.

The Tigers are unsure if Urbina will be content in his current role, but he has pitched well so far, striking out four in six innings with a 1.50 ERA. Given the club’s depth in the bullpen, it appears Urbina will eventually be dealt, and Detroit has the luxury of waiting for the right package. With the Cubs now likely to be in the mix, Urbina’s price will only go up, and the Mets are still deciding if they should ante up for him.

Selena Roberts’ Bye Bye To Barry

Posted in Baseball at 1:15 am by

Yesterday’s weary words from a disconsolate Barry Bonds have increased speculation that we’ll not see the Sultan of Surly resume his assault on the record books. Add the New York Times’ Selena Roberts to the growing list of those who will not miss the Giants slugger.

Are there asterisks for retirements? With his mercurial mood ring morphing to black yesterday, Barry Bonds launched into an unprompted catharsis that seemed a lot like a miserable goodbye to the game.

“You wanted me to jump off the bridge, I finally have jumped,” Bonds told reporters in Scottsdale, Ariz. “You wanted to bring me down, you’ve finally brought me and my family down. Finally done it. From everybody, all of you. So now go pick a different person. I’m done.”

I’m done, as in forever? A discussion about his finicky right knee – with Bonds indicating he might miss this season – slipped into a dire self-analysis about his will to continue at all.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Sunday that Kimberly Bell, testifying before a grand jury investigating Balco, said that Bonds told her several years ago that he was using steroids. If her story proves true, Bonds may have perjured himself before a grand jury. Bell told The New York Times that Bonds gave her $80,000 in bundled cash from autographing baseballs, with crafty instructions on how to parse and deposit it. If Bonds failed to report that income, a taxman will have some questions for him.

Bonds’s wife probably has a few queries of her own. Maybe his children do, too. What does he say to them? With his 15-year-old son, Nikolai, by his side yesterday, he simply blamed the news media for his predicament of despair.

“My son and I are just going to enjoy life,” he said. “My family’s tired. I’m tired. You guys wanted to hurt me bad enough, you finally got there.”

This is typical of Bonds’s aversion to accountability. Usually, it is his lawyers who do the finger-pointing for him. “It’s always been the U.S. versus Bonds,” Michael Rains, his lawyer, told The San Francisco Chronicle. “And they’re always just gunning for the big guy.”

But big-boy Bonds is the architect of his own trapdoor. He made choices about what substances to put in his body, about what to say to the Balco grand jury, about whom to trust as his mistress.

Now his choices may have caught up to him. Bonds’s blame game yesterday sounded like the ramblings from a paranoid man who realizes he could possibly lose it all: his chase for Hank Aaron’s record, the faith of his family and the joy of freedom. The reality may or may not be so dramatic, but this is how Bonds’s saga has unfolded, with him swaying from combative to irrational to despondent.

In late February, he had the audacity to say “What is cheating?” in his famously convoluted “Sanford and Son” news conference. In early March, he told a handful of reporters: “All this stuff about supplements, protein shakes, whatever. Man, it’s not like this is the Olympics,” before he went on to add: “We need to forget about the past and let us play the game. We’re entertainers. Let us entertain.”

Now he can hardly entertain a comeback from injury. Now he can hardly think about playing baseball again. And he shouldn’t.

Bonds may as well let yesterday be his retirement speech and his farewell to the farce of his own design. Just a hunch, but Bonds will never reach Aaron’s home run record because his body will not hold up anymore, because his power isn’t what it was, because his confidence is shot.

Writes the San Francisco Chronicle’s Ray Ratto,

Bonds is refusing to hold any interviews when The Chronicle’s Giants beat reporter Henry Schulman is present, even though Schulman has not been involved in the BALCO investigative stories the paper has produced. Thus, Schulman is the unwilling face of Bonds’ latest “The media is after me” component, one which he reiterated in Tuesday’s interview. “You finally got me,” he said to the gathered notebooks allowed to watch him lecture them. “You wanted me to jump off the bridge, and now I finally have. …”

Bonds’ latest media appearance must be understood in a different way as well. He has long been acutely aware of the media’s uses and dangers, and the ways in which to make them snap to his needs. Thus, on Tuesday, Bonds showed what he wanted them to show, to paint him as a sympathetic figure being crushed by government and media alike. His son, Nikolai, was there, and Bonds referred often to finding solace with his family away from an outside world that has to a significant level rejected him. He is, in fact, caught on ESPN tape requesting to the cameraman to make sure his son is shown during the interview.


Red Sox Swap Hydzu For Neel, Nomar’s Spring

Posted in Baseball at 7:06 pm by

33 year old OF Adam Hyzdu, buried somewhere below Dwight Evans on the current Red Sox depth chart, has been traded to San Diego in exchange for right-handed reliever Blaine Neal (above).

Neal, 25, pitched a career-high 40 games last season with San Diego and went 1-1 with a 4.07 ERA. He spent the previous three seasons with Florida, and compiled a 3-0 record in 54 total appearances. He has a career ERA of 4.61

In case you’re wondering : Nomar Garciaparra was hitting .469 in Cactus League play entering today’s games, with 5 HR’s and 10 RBI’s.

The Return of The WHA

Posted in Hockey at 6:51 pm by

If you’re like me, the initials W.H.A. conjure memories of someone overpaying for Derek Sanderson and the New England Whalers playing to a half-full Boston Garden. If you’re like dozens of agents and countless players, said initials signal some way of being paid without flying to Siberia. But that’ll come later.

The Varying Tenures Of Black & White NBA Coaches

Posted in Basketball at 2:14 pm by

Interesting stuff from the New York Times’ David Leonhardt and Ford Fessenden, though it should be said that if you take Tim Floyd’s term with the Bulls out of the mix….the numbers are even worse.

The men coaching N.B.A. teams in recent seasons have looked like no other group of head coaches in the history of major American professional sports. Today, 10 of the league’s 30 coaches are black, ranging from young former players like Terry Porter in Milwaukee to veterans of multiple coaching jobs like Bernie Bickerstaff in Charlotte.

At a time when the National Football League can count only 10 black head coaches in its history, the National Basketball Association has reached a position rare for any business: when a black coach or executive is hired or fired, almost nobody mentions race. Opportunity in the N.B.A. appears to have become color blind.

But the coaches who have received those opportunities have not had much time to enjoy them. In a pattern that has gone largely unnoticed, except among black coaches themselves, white coaches have been holding on to their jobs for significantly longer than black coaches. Yesterday, the Cleveland Cavaliers fired Paul Silas, who was in his second season with the team.

Over the last decade, black N.B.A. coaches have lasted an average of just 1.6 seasons, compared with 2.4 seasons for white coaches, according to a review of coaching records by The New York Times. That means the typical white coach lasts almost 50 percent longer and has most of an extra season to prove himself.

This month alone, three of the six black coaches who had held their jobs for more than a season have been fired, including Silas, who had eight years of N.B.A coaching experience before joining Cleveland. The Orlando Magic dismissed Johnny Davis last Thursday after less than two seasons. On March 2, the Portland Trail Blazers fired Maurice Cheeks, then the black coach with the second-longest tenure; he had lasted almost four seasons.

“Our white counterparts are given more the benefit of the doubt,” Silas said in an interview in January. “Things have changed dramatically in our society, but it still has a long way to go.”

The gap has created a deep division among coaches and executives, one that splits largely but not exclusively along racial lines. Some, including Commissioner David Stern, said the numbers surprised them and called them largely a coincidence. Doc Rivers, the coach of the Boston Celtics, who is black, said he thought that owners and general managers now gave white and black coaches equal chances to succeed.

“Does race have anything to do with this? Now I’m sure the people who do the hiring say no,” said Al Attles, an assistant general manager of the Golden State Warriors, who in 1969 became the third black coach in N.B.A. history and later won a championship. “But it surely has to be something more than wins and losses. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, eventually you have to say it’s a duck.”

Even if the cause was rarely conscious racism, coaches said, age-old athletic stereotypes – the black athlete as a prodigal talent and white athlete as hard-working gym rat – can make blacks seem particularly unsuited to be good teachers. Some black coaches said they thought that team owners and general managers, a largely white group, were probably most at ease with people similar to them, just as most people were.

And players, both black and white, are still far more accustomed to seeing whites in positions of authority than blacks, coaches said. Some black coaches, including Cheeks in Portland and Byron Scott with the Nets, lost their jobs after clashing with a black player.

The N.B.A. coach with the longest tenure today is Jerry Sloan, who is white and is in his 17th season as coach of the Utah Jazz. The calculations of average tenures by The Times included only coaches whose tenures had ended. But when Sloan and other active coaches were included, the gap between white and black coaches was nearly identical.

To many white executives, the lack of a clear connection between race and individual firings makes the pattern seem all the more likely to be a coincidence.

“My general feeling is that it’s a performance league, and there is equality in it in that sense,” said Donnie Walsh, the chief executive of the Indiana Pacers. “If you do well, you’re going to move on to a better job or another job. Those that aren’t performing are going to get fired.”

“For black coaches, you have to be a Jesus miracle worker,” said Butch Beard, who was fired after two disappointing years with the Nets in the mid-1990′s and is now the head coach at Morgan State. “With a bad team, ownership wants you to do more than what the team is capable of doing. If you don’t pull it off right away, they think it is the coach’s fault.”

Beard added: “This won’t get me another job, but that’s the truth. It’s very disturbing to me.”

Glavine Vs. Braves, Rubin On The Mets Roster

Posted in Baseball at 1:10 pm by

Full credit to Mets P Tom Glavine on not ducking the Atlanta Braves this time around.

OK, the game doesn’t mean anything, but Glavine’s scoreless 3 innings of work this afternoon was nothing if not encouraging. Just two more weeks until he can start picking and choosing who to pitch against.

The Daily News’ Adam Rubin has some thoughts on who will be heading north with the parent club.

After Willie Randolph indicated that Andres Galarraga had slim chances of making the team, the Big Cat homered on back-to-back days over the weekend, raising his average to .192. That doesn’t figure to protect Galarraga, whose roster spot probably will go to an extra pitcher. That need is more pressing with Kaz Ishii replacing innings-eater Steve Trachsel in the rotation. Miguel Cairo, Chris Woodward, Marlon Anderson and Eric Valent – who all figure to make the team – have played a combined 47 games at first, enough coverage in the event Doug Mientkiewicz is not available. Still, the Mets could use a righty bat with pop off the bench like an in-his-prime Galarraga would provide.

Felix Heredia’s $2 million contract (and the extra million shipped to the Yankees to cover Mike Stanton’s $4 million salary) means he’s a near-lock. South Korean Dae-Sung Koo (above, 4.05 ERA this spring), who has a split contract that means he can be sent to Triple-A Norfolk at reduced cost, doesn’t have the same assurance. Though Koo turned in two scoreless innings Saturday, he has been outpitched by Mike Matthews (1.13 ERA) this spring. Matthews went 2-1 with a 6.30 ERA in 35 appearances for the Reds last season, so he figures to get the ticket to Flushing.

After Braden Looper and Mike DeJean, there are no locks for the other three spots, though Heath Bell (no earned runs in eight innings) seems the safest bet. Matt Ginter – who hasn’t allowed an earned run in 11 innings, and who likely would be lost on waivers if he didn’t make the team – helped his chances of claiming a spot with four scoreless innings Sunday against the Orioles. That could leave Roberto Hernandez (five scoreless innings) and Scott Strickland (3.00 ERA) going head-to-head for the final spot, with Manny Aybar (2.35 ERA) seemingly lagging.

Strickland is returning from June 2003 Tommy John elbow surgery and has yet to pitch on back-to-back days. He has an out in his contract if he doesn’t make the big-league team and may need to exercise it if the 40-year-old Hernandez can sustain his success. Bartolome Fortunato (1.80 ERA) can be sent to the minors without passing through waivers – like Bell, Jae Seo and Aaron Heilman – seemingly the deciding factor against him

Bonds – Not Coming Back?

Posted in Baseball at 1:06 pm by

ESPN has interupted their coverage of this afternoon’s Dodgers/Mets exhibition game to air comments from a glum Barry Bonds, announcing that he’ll be out of the Giants’ lineup for some time. Bonds, described himself as “tired” about a dozen times, adding “if you guys wanted to hurt me bad enough, you finally got there.” Pressed further, Bonds implied that a mid-season return might not happen.

Welcome To W. 43rd St., Bitch

Posted in The World Of Entertainment at 11:41 am by

(Beecher and Schillinger cracking up over the latest episode of “The O.C.”)

It was Eazy-E (and I don’t mean Eric Bischoff) who opined “a bitch is a bitch”, but things aren’t so simple these days writes the New York Times’ Virginia Heffernan.

Television’s word of the day is bitch, but this is not your mother’s bitch. That classic version designates a dog, a hardship, a way of complaining or a spiteful woman, the one whose sharp edge, according to the fearsome sexist double standard, would surely make her a respected surgeon or astronaut if only she were a man.

But the new “bitch,” in a usage that has become popular on network television, refers not to dogs or women, but to men. And while parody and overuse are taking the misogynistic sting out of the old one, this new bitch is just getting its claws.

“Bitch” used for men appears to have come into currency on cable, chiefly on HBO’s “Oz,” which ran from 1997 to 2003. “Oz” was the first show to follow the relentless hints of prosecutors on network cop shows that the pain of prison was not in the work detail or in the bread crusts but in the de facto sexual torture practiced by the inmates. Suspects on those shows understood the intimations, though the word “bitch” was rarely used, and they knew, as viewers increasingly did too, that a bitch was what a vulnerable prisoner would surely become, the weaker partner in a prison-sex arrangement, a kind of sex slave.

Incarceration “didn’t make you a bitch,” one character told another on “Oz.” “You were born one.”

The cartoon version of prison politics – in which black inmates are said to dominate white ones – is also invoked by this use of “bitch.” As Jeffrey Goldberg wrote about “Oz” in Slate in 1997, when the show first appeared: “In the Jim Crow era, white men oppressed black men partially out of fear that the blacks would ravish virginal white women. Today, white men fear ravishment themselves.”

On America’s extensive roster of tough-on-crime cop shows, therefore, “bitch” has become a one-word reason to cooperate with the authorities.

But somehow “bitch” (masculine) – as a word that is violent, sexual, demeaning and arguably racist – has also migrated from the far reaches of the salty comedy playbook to a convenient option for mainstream shows trying to look tough. Because we know the word in cute contexts like “Stitch ‘n Bitch,” the influential knitting book, “bitch” is still seen by network censors as safe; its darker meanings seem to escape them.

On Fox, “The O.C.” exploited the new use of the word on its premiere episode in 2003. First, Ryan, the sensitive juvenile delinquent, was warned against being “a little bitch” by his criminal brother. Then, as Ryan lay battered and bleeding after being beat up by a rich Orange County boy, his assailant greeted him: “Welcome to the O.C., bitch.”

This line was widely quoted but rarely criticized in the United States; in Britain, by contrast, media regulators reprimanded Channel 4 last month for using the line in a promotion for the show. Channel 4 argued that the word was intended “as irreverent mockery rather than in an abusive or aggressive manner,” in spite of its being the final blow in Ryan’s beating.

The word is not uncommon as a component of abuse, even torture. On ABC’s “Alias,” one of the heroes turned the tables on an interrogator in the first season, stabbing him in the neck with a needle full of truth serum while calling him “you little bitch.”

But one of the most incongruous places for it to turn up was on ABC Family, in an inspirational February movie called “School of Life.” A luckless middle-aged schoolteacher finds his car vandalized by thugs from a bad neighborhood, who spray-painted “Bitch Boy” on it. This language seemed extraordinarily rough for a children’s movie otherwise characterized by smarminess.