Glasgow Rangers Paging Dusty Baker

Posted in Football at 3:06 pm by

from the Guardian™s Fiver :

If God really exists, you™d think he™d have more important things on his plate than footballers™ injuries. Eradicating HIV or world poverty, perhaps. Or healing triple-jumper Jonathan Edwards of his I™m-going-to-heaven-me sanctimoniousness. But no. Instead, God seems to have spent April ensuring Rangers defender Marvin Andrews™ safe return for the fag-end of his club™s fruitless Scottish Premierleague campaign. Well, God does move in mysterious ways, etc and so on.

Andrews™ story is a strange one, mind. Last month, the Trinidad and Tobago international suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury against Dundee and was told he needed an operation. Instead Andrews, a devout Christian and faith healer, decided to trust in the power of prayer. Fast forward a month, and – stone the Eileen Drewerys! – the defender (above) was back for Sunday™s Old Firm derby. And today his manager Alex McLeish was hailing a modern miracle.

œUnless something untoward happens, he is available to me again, halleluiahed McLeish. œSome people have criticised the big fellow for not getting an operation, but you have to applaud his faith. Meanwhile Marvin™s healer, Joe Nwokoye, of the Zion Praise Centre International in Kirkcaldy, isn™t sure what the fuss is about. œIf Jesus can raise himself from the dead, he can heal a knee, he scoffed. œIn Nigeria, people are raised from the dead all the time. It™s about time people started believing in the word of God. If Rangers can pull back a five-point SPL deficit they just might start doing so.

AC Milan defeated PSV Eindhoven, 2-0, in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final, said match marking the debut of Setanta Sport™s new US subscription channel. The home side™s Andriy Schevchenko tapped one past Heurelho Gomes in the 21st minute. Tomorrow™s Chelsea/Liverpool semi-final from Stamford Bridge will be shown live on ESPN2 at 2:30 pm EST.

Bowden’s Short DC Tenure

Posted in Baseball at 1:33 pm by

When new ownership took over the Oakland A™s recently, GM Billy Beane was given a minority stake in the club as part of his contract extension. When Sandy Alderson™s recent hiring in San Diego was announced, he too, was reported to have received a share of the Padres.

Nationals GM Jim Bowden should not expect a similiar windfall, reports the Washington Post™s Barry Svrluga.

Jim Bowden (above), whose contract will expires Saturday, is still without a deal for the rest of the season, though team president Tony Tavares said last night he expects a resolution this week. œI™ve told Jim I™ll take care of him, Tavares said. œHe™s not worried about it. I™m not worried about it.

Though Tavares has the authority to determine Bowden™s salary “ Bowden likely will get a raise from the $300,000 he would earn annually at his current pay scale “ he must get approval from Major League Baseball, which owns the team, on the length of the contract. A source said MLB is reluctant to sign Bowden beyond this year, given that it would like to sell the team during this season.

Tavares wouldn™t comment on the length of how long a new contract would extend, but expressed a desire to take care of Bowden, who declined to address his status.

œWhy should he be made the sufferer? Tavares said. œWhy should there be all this uncertainty around him? He™s done a good job.

Dan Gilbert Vs. Stephen A.

Posted in Basketball at 12:52 pm by

Looks like Stephen A. Smith will have to go somewhere other than Quicken Loans if he wants a mortgage. From the Cleveland Plain Dealer™s Branson Wright.

Q: What™s the long-term plan for LeBron James? There have been rumors James will leave for the New York Knicks.

A: The œLeBron is disgruntled/is leaving stories did not come from LeBron or anyone else in his camp.

It came from short-term thinkers and media entertainers posing as journalists. These people want to boost ratings, sell more newspapers or believe the west and east coast cities are in some way superior to places like œCleveland or œDetroit and can™t figure out why anyone (with a big name) would want to stay there. They are dead wrong and we will prove them wrong.

Q: Why did you fire coach Paul Silas and do you have any second thoughts about firing him with 18 games left in the season?

A: No second thoughts at all. None. The team was in a nosedive at the time Silas was let go. We had lost nine out of 12 games (including a six-game losing streak). We looked horrible in nearly all of the losses and even two of the three wins. There was little to no communication going on with the players. In some cases none at all. We were 34-30.

There was no openness to listening to the assistant coaches or GM. For some reason, still unknown to me, Paul had decided he œwanted out. He told several people around him that he œwanted out including some reporters. It was a surprise to me because Paul and I did not even talk more than four to five times during the three weeks we owned the team and he was coach. We never had a negative exchange during those conversations. We never told Paul who to play or when to play anyone. That silly nonsense [reports he was passing notes to Silas during games] was simply started by TV or newspaper entertainers who should really stick to fiction writing and not present themselves as sports journalists.

Q: Is it true that you passed notes to Silas during a game asking him to play certain players? Why have rumors persisted about you as a meddlesome owner?

A: Obviously, that is completely false. Can you imagine an owner doing that? It is so absurd, you have to laugh at it. Then again, the œESPN Entertainer who said it is the same guy who made up the story about œJim Paxson being fired within 48 hours when it was completely untrue and never even discussed here at all. He is also the same guy who made up stories about œLeBron™s mother not liking the new ownership team. This guy, lets call him œJohn A. Doe is an entertainer, not a journalist. Most people who know basketball realize what a phony this guy is and how he primarily blurts out fantasy on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the Internet has sprung up a bunch of these lazy characters that just read each other™s nonsense and rewrite the same story with a few new adjectives. They don™t do any real work. They never called me or anyone else for comment. They never asked me if any of this BS was true or not.

Sooner or later, enough of their garbage is written that you become labeled a œmeddlesome owner or a œspoiled rich kid or your team is now œDan™s house of horrors.

At first, I became angry at it. Now I just laugh it off. I am too focused on the real job of building the Cavaliers into a championship organization than to spend my time paying attention to these muckrakers.

Thank heavens a news organization like ESPN is able to keep things balanced by having a truly unbiased commentator like Greg Anthony sitting alongside Stephen A. Smith. And what a shame it is for Dan Gilbert that all basketball studio shows don™t prominently feature the wit and wisdom of his hand-picked advisors / potential employees.

Dusty Denies Getting Creepy With Coed

Posted in Baseball at 12:38 pm by

From the Chicago Sun Times™ Mike Kiley.

Cubs manager Dusty Baker was aghast and upset at a titillating gossip item Monday in the New York Post that made its way across the Internet. The brief note implied that Baker had been flirtatious with a young female student when he spoke at Yale University on a day off April 14.

The item read: œWe hear ¦ that Chicago Cubs manager Dusty Baker “ at Yale the other day talking about the sports business “ gave his cell-phone number to a young lady and volunteered to get her a job in baseball. ˜Remind me you™re the cute one [when you call],™ Dusty told her.’™

Baker had been asked to Yale by Dr. William Sledge, who is with the school™s Calhoun College Masters Office. They attended an informal dinner after the talk, and Baker recalled four or five female students and three or four male students were there. He said that he gave out his cell-phone number to all of them but that his intentions were strictly to help the students if their postgraduate endeavors centered on jobs in baseball.

œI don™t remember saying that,’™ Baker said of the œcute’™ remark. œI talked to Dr. Sledge today, and he said if you need somebody to clear it up ¦ you can call him. How does this get started? That™s terrible. It™s like you can™t even help people now. I was upset about it when I heard it.’™

Sledge couldn™t be reached at his office after hours Monday.

œHe was right there with his wife,’™ Baker said. œIt was a special dinner afterward with six or seven students. [Sledge] said all the kids want to get into baseball. I was asking him why, and he told me boom-boom-boom, and I say, ˜Hey, I™ve got some connections. If you guys need some contacts for whatever it is, call me.™

œAnd I handed out, like, three cards or whatever I had and gave them my office number and cell number. He was standing right next to me. I can™t see her saying that. Dr. Sledge asked me, ˜How did that get out?™ I said, ˜I don™t know, Doc.™ Somebody in the room told somebody something.’™

Told that the Post item raised the specter of sexual innuendo, Baker was angry at the suggestion.

œThat™s wrong,’™ he said. œHow could I have sexual innuendo when she™s younger than my daughter? I was just trying to help young people get a job in baseball. I was going to make some calls. One of the kids called today, a senior at Yale. He™s a guy. Is that sexual innuendo, too?’™

The Dusty-leering-at-college-girls isn™t the most shocking part of the story, by the way. Why is Yale University inviting Baker to address their undergrads? Is Yale offering courses in faith healing? Studies in how to ruin pitching arms? Advanced Wearing Of Oversized Wristbands?

And yeah, it is crazy that this item œmade its way across the internet”, as though the New York Post is tiny publication no one reads.

Dolphis Sign Dopey QB

Posted in Gridiron at 2:03 am by

Brock Berlin, (above) starting QB at the University of Miami the past two seasons, has signed with the Miami Dolphins. Berlin is expected to rank 4th on the Dolphins depth chart behind AJ Feeley, Gus Frerotte and Sage Rosenfels. If you’re curious why Berlin wasn’t drafted this past weekend, perhaps it has something to do with his performance on the Wonderlic intelligence test, scoring a reputed 13 out of 50 (the lowest mark of any of the quarterbacks tested).

Berlin shouldn’t feel too bad about this. Anyone who knows how the real world works will acknowledge that aptitude tests are culturally biased against minorities. And what segment of the population could be a smaller minority than aspiring QB’s named Brock?

Courageous Firefighters Are Putting In Overtime…

Posted in Free Expression at 1:29 am by

…sending hate messages to a Maggie Gyllenhaal fan site.

(above, public enemy no. 1)

If you’re like me, not a day goes by that you aren’t filled with gratitude that these selfless, death-defying heroes are doing everything humanly possible to shout down the political observations of young actresses. Why , I wonder, haven’t other public servants, done their share? What is the NYPD doing to silence Zooey Deschanel? Are the paramedics and EMT’s even aware of what Jena Malone might be thinking of saying? Can the nation’s letter carriers take just a few minutes to devise ways to harrass Sarah Polley (who, by the way, is Canadian)?


T-Mac Tortures Mavs

Posted in Basketball at 11:58 pm by

After watching Tracy McGrady dissect Dallas for 34 and 28 points in games 1 and 2 of the Rockets’ first round series with the Mavericks, all I can say is, it’s nice that someone other than Jose Reyes and Nick Swisher could own Tuesday morning’s highlights. Jeff Van Gundy seemed to have trouble earlier in the season defining T-Mac’s role, but it is becoming clear that the rest of the Rockets have learned theirs —- get McGrady the ball and then get out of the way.

That said, Yao Ming (13 of 14 from the field) had an awesome first half, Bob Sura continues to show why he was such a valuable addition (a combined 8 for 11 with the gutty Jon Barry)….and who isn’t dying to see to the quote machine Van Gundy brothers facing each other in the finals?

How soon do the posters of T-Mac slaughtering Shawn Bradley go on sale?

Ming wasn’t called for a moving pick on the Rockets’ final possession. But rather than blame the officials for Dallas looking at an 0-2 deficit, let’s give some of the credit to Keith Van Horn, who at this very minute might be deciding just when and if he should bother guarding McGrady closely with the game on the line. The results of this decision should be available online sometime in the next several hours.

ESPN’s Ric Bucher was on the idiot box this evening claiming that Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson are meeting later in the week, presumably to discuss the Lakers’ coaching vacancy. Bucher says that L.A. want to wait until the new collective bargaining agreement is signed prior to hiring the Zen Master, for fear they might be paying Phil somc sick money to do nothing in the event of a work stoppage. This could present a window of opportunity for the Knicks, were they to guarantee Phil’s salary, lockout or not. Jim Dolan is already paying Don Chaney, Lenny Wilkens and Herb Williams, what’s one more big check?

No sign of Stephen A. Smith on “NBA Fastbreak”, perhaps because he’s researching which other dead-for-a-half-decade Houston DJ’s he can send ’round to Michael Corcoran’s house first thing in the morning.

Kruk : See No Evil

Posted in Baseball at 10:27 pm by

The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jim Salisbury speaks with nutrition/fitness buff John Kruk.

John Kruk admits that the 1993 Phillies swung for the fences when it came to partying.

But steroids?

“If someone was using steroids on that team, they were awfully quiet about it,” the former Macho Row stalwart said by telephone today, a day after the Los Angeles Times reported allegations of steroid use and baseball-related gambling activity by former teammate Lenny Dykstra.

“If someone was using steroids, they hid it really well. I never heard it spoken about and I never saw it.

“Let me tell you, we partied hard on that team. You’d have a couple drinks and, what’s that saying, ‘Loose lips sink ships?’ You’d think someone might have said something if they were doing something, but nothing was ever brought up. And we talked about everything on that club. That’s how close we were. Nothing was ever brought up, and that tells me that nothing happened.

“If someone had been doing it, they’d have no reason to lie to me, and I wouldn’t lie about it now. What’s it, 12 years ago? It’s not like it’s going to ruin someone’s career.”

Dykstra has had a falling out with his longtime friend and business partner, Lindsay Jones. A suit filed in California by Jones contains a sworn statement from Jeff Scott, a Florida man who claims to have provided and injected the former Phillie with steroids.

The Times story quoted Bobby Habeeb, a friend of Scott’s, as saying that Scott “hung out with half the team.”

Well, did he?

“I never heard of the guy, never saw anybody like that,” Kruk said.

Does Habeeb’s claim bother Kruk?

“Not at all,” the former first baseman said. “If you listened to everything people said about us, you’d think we were all alcoholics, drug addicts and steroid users. I wish we had that much fun.”

“One year he weighed next to nothing and the next he was all bulked up,” Kruk said. “I heard reporters wondering what he was on, so I asked him. I said, ‘What did you do?’ He said, ‘I just worked hard.’ I believed him. I had no reason not to believe him. He’d never lied to me before, and I knew he was big into weight lifting.

“You know, so many guys were getting big at that time from weights. When I first came in the league, I thought Jack Clark and Steve Garvey were big. Then all of sudden it seemed like everyone was that big. To me, Lenny was no different.”

Jays Fire Hitting Coach

Posted in Baseball at 5:05 pm by

If Vernon Wells doesn’t get off to a slow start and/or Carlos Delgado sticks around, does Mike Barnett still lose his job?

Kim Continues To Light Fires In Colorado

Posted in Baseball at 3:59 pm by

The Rocky Mountain News’ Tracy Ringolsby on the former Arizona/Boston closer, whom the Rockies inexplicably are using in games that actually count.

Former Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver once told general manager Hank Peters he would rather have a 24-man roster than take an extra player he didn’t want.

“If he’s in uniform,” Weaver said, “I’ll wind up using him, and then we’re all in trouble.”

Kind of like the Colorado Rockies with Byung-Hyun Kim.

Right in the midst of a feel-good weekend, Kim entered the scene against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday afternoon at Coors Field. The next thing the Rockies knew, their visions of a weekend sweep of the National League West-leading Dodgers had been wiped out by

Ostensibly, when the Rockies felt the urge the final week of spring training to allow Boston to dump the unwanted Kim on them, they had visions of a quick fix for the one-time closer in Arizona. Kim is only 26 but his career crumbled with the Red Sox.

Kim had problems with Coors Field when he was good – a 6.50 career earned-run average during his days with the Diamondbacks. So it should be no surprise that while he has lost 6 or 7 mph off his fastball and can’t command the ball down in the strike zone, he has given up six runs in 4 1/3 innings at Coors Field this year.

He didn’t even get an out Sunday.

Hurdle wanted to take advantage of matchups, and he brought left-hander Brian Fuentes into the game in the seventh. The thought was Fuentes would face left-handed-hitting J.D. Drew in the eighth, then give way to Kim. Fuentes got through the seventh untouched, but he hit Drew with an 0-2 pitch to open the eighth.

On came Kim, and on went the Dodgers. First, Kim hit Jeff Kent with a 1-2 pitch. Then he gave up a double to Milton Bradley. A single by Olmedo Saenz followed and the Dodgers were on their way to a winning five-run rally after a 5-3 Rockies lead.

Hurdle deflected questions about Kim.

“We need somebody to step forward, a couple guys to step forward,” Hurdle said, referring to the bullpen. . . . We are going to give them a chance to make an impact until we get to the point where they are not giving us anything to hold onto. We have to see growth. We have to see positive growth.”

There have been no tangible signs of growth from Kim. He is supposed to be able to throw strikes but that hasn’t been the case with Colorado. He has allowed only six hits in 9 1/3 innings but he has given up 10 runs, primarily because he has walked 11 batters and hit two others.

There Goes The Neighborhood

Posted in Sports Journalism at 1:31 pm by

A week after comparing Stephen A. Smith to Eddie Murphy’s character in “Trading Places”, the Austin American-Statesman’s Michael Corcoran continues to show great cultural sensitivity with his “Game On” column.

I set aside Saturday — all of Saturday — to watch the NFL draft in undisturbed bliss. But when some crunkhead on the next block popped his trunk o’ bass and turned the neighborhood into a disco, I ended up having as long an afternoon as Aaron Rodgers, though I didn’t curse Ryan Leaf under my breath.

I finally dialed 3-1-1. An hour later, DJ Screw was still at it, making my dishes dance in the sink, so I called the cops again.

“They’re all out on higher-priority calls,” the dispatcher said. “You know, armed robbery, domestic disputes, stuff like that.”

For more than four hours my house shook like Kirstie Alley was doing jumping jacks on the roof, but APD, out fighting all that real crime in Austin on a Saturday afternoon, never showed.

If 9-1-1 is a joke, 3-1-1 is an HBO comedy special.

Corcoran may or may not be aware that Robert Davis Jr., aka DJ Screw (above) died in 2000.

When Smallball Is Just Too Small

Posted in Baseball at 1:11 pm by

From the New York Daily News’ Peter Botte :

When is bunting for a base hit with runners on base a good idea? When it works, of course.

Take these two isolated incidents during the Mets’ 11-4 loss yesterday to Washington:

First-year manager Willie Randolph had no problem with $119 million slugger Carlos Beltran successfully dropping a bunt to set up Mike Piazza’s three-run double in the first inning. But he took issue with Kaz Matsui attempting to lay one down with two runners on in a 3-3 tie in the second, getting pitcher Victor Zambrano forced out at third base.

“Probably not a good idea,” Randolph said. “I didn’t put it on, but (Matsui) probably thought he could beat it for a hit. We’ve been asking him to do that more, but that was probably not the right time to do it. … But if he gets it down, we’re probably not even talking about it.”

Tigers/Twins Matinee

Posted in Baseball at 12:57 pm by

Detroit are leading Minnesota, 3-0 in the 2nd inning today at Comerica Park, where remarkably, it is not snowing.

Today’s rain-check special isn’t being carried by the cable or broadcast outlets for either team, so the only way to pay witness to this somewhat secret affair (there appear to be no more than a few dozen fans in attendence) is via MLB.com’s exclusive webcast. Let’s just the the production values aren’t quite major league ; there is only one camera in use, seemingly positioned somewhere in front of the press box. An interesting perspective from which to watch the pitcher’s delivery….if you’re at the game. On the laptop, however, it doesn’t really work. The play by play feed is coming from Detroit’s WXYT.

I’ve seen a couple of Division III college baseball games this year where the players and groundskeepers outnumbered the fans. I’ve been to county cricket matches in England where the paid attendence barely nudges triple digits…but I have never seen a (supposedly) big time sporting event take place in front of so many empty seats. Though Inter’s first few home matches in the Champions League next year should come close.

UPDATE : if you missed the Ivan Rodriguez / J.C. Romero shoving match, Batgirl has pictures and accounts of said event.

Fascist Creep Disses Wannabes

Posted in Hate Fuck Radio at 10:08 am by

From the New York Post’s Richard Johnson.

Rabid radio host Michael Savage is whining that he has been banned from the Fox News Channel after he dissed Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity.
The controversial conservative ” who was fired by MSNBC in 2003 after referring to a caller to his show as “a sodomite” who should “get AIDS and die” ” recently burned more bridges by calling O’Reilly a “Leper-Con who poses as a conservative” and Hannity another Republican bootlicker who began as a Rush [Limbaugh] understudy”” on his “Savage Nation” radio show.

Savage claims that he’s been bumped off four scheduled appearances on Fox News Channel in the wake of his caustic comments.

“These two are now acting the way the mainstream media has been acting for decades, thinking they are the gatekeepers of who shall be heard in the conservative world,” Savage sputtered in a statement.

“Both are jealous of my audience and are trying to silence me because they do not want the competition.”

Savage boasted that the supposed “ban” has not affected sales of his new book, “Liberalism Is a Mental Disorder,” which debuts at No. 6 on the New York Times best-seller list next week.

Bidding War Alert, Pt. VIII

Posted in The World Of Entertainment at 9:39 am by

Writes Doug Mosurock,

This has been sent my way and you might need to check these guys out. If you don’t, they might “ninja” you.

Ben Schwartz On The Cubs

Posted in Baseball at 1:41 am by

Ben writes :

Saturday’s loss is Dusty and Hendry’s incomprehensible off-season maneuvering come home to roost: a) don’t spend money, b) trade away bats like Alou and Sosa (who needs’m with Nomar around?) because they have attitude problems, and c) don’t sign a closer. Personally, I don’t believe Joe Borowski is an actual ballplayer, but that his spot on the roster is a mob no-show job. That the Chubs are playing .500 ball shows how far they could go had some needed and obvious changes been made. I still think they can still produce a respectable winning season as is, but Peter Gammons prediction that the Cubs are the likely NL wild card feels like a distant longshot. Btw, I don’t blame LaTroy one bit. Dusty put him in a position that everyone already knew he couldn’t handle. Imo, he should be a Cub set-up man or an American Leaguer.

As for the new Cubs announcers, it’s hard to forgive anyone using the phrase “boo-birds” in the beloved ‘GN booth.


Scary Kerry : Fate Fucks With Cubs (Again)

Posted in Baseball at 11:18 pm by

(Cubs SS Nefi Perez ushers in the era of trashing Nomar’s rep with a 2nd inning HR off Dave Williams)

The Chicago Tribune’s Dave van Dyck on the latest bit of misfortune to behalf the great healer Dusty Baker and his snakebitten Cubs.

We’ll know for sure in another six days if Kerry Wood can’t make his next scheduled start Saturday in Houston.

Right now, plans are for him to start.

But Wood is back to nursing tendinitis in his valuable right shoulder. That didn’t stop him from going five innings Sunday in a 5-2 Cubs victory over the Pirates. But it did keep him from going further despite throwing only 76 pitches.

“There’s nothing wrong with him, he just has a little tendinitis,” Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. “We thought it best, to calm it down, to throw a designated amount of innings. We think he’s OK, doctors think he’s OK. He’s still kind of in spring training (conditioning-wise) and that happens a lot.”

In real spring training, Wood was limited to three official games and nine innings because of the same tightness in the same area, which forced him back to Chicago for tests.

The soreness “was gone for a while. It was just a little cranky [Sunday],” Wood said. “It was the coldest day I pitched in so far this year and we made the decision [five innings] was enough and to get ready for my next one in five or six days.”

So he’ll make his next start Saturday?

“Yeah, we hope so,” Baker said. “We think so.”

Will his pitches be limited again?

“It all depends on how it calms down between now and then,” Baker said. “We’re just trying to get it calmed down and get rid of it completely. There’s always something with everybody, it’s just a matter to what degree.”

The only way Dusty can end baseless speculation as to the source of Wood’s arm woes is by hinting to Bob Ryan that Kerry’s been looking awfully muscular lately.

Nats Punish Zambrano, CSTB Ignores The Wreckage

Posted in Baseball at 10:12 pm by

Though Mike Piazza was hitless for the 3 game series with Washington prior to this afternoon’s finale, Gary Cohen cited the catcher’s “excellent defence” as of late. Right as if on cue, the Nationals stole four bases off the Mets in their 11-4 victory, the enigmatic Victor Zambrano (above) walking 3, hitting two batters and allowing 8 runs in 3 innings of work. The New York Times’ Lee Jenkins reports that Willie Randolph has forged a fast friendship with Herb Williams, though Randolph will have enough opportunities to learn about losing with diginity without any tips from the (current) Knicks head coach.

I don’t know how long Brad Wilkerson can keep up his Brian Roberts impersonation, but hopefully not much longer.

Since events at Shea are too depressing to detail, I’ll instead remain mesmerized by Sunday’s Norfolk/Durham box score, which shows the Tides’ Brian Daubauch going 2 for 5 with 6 RBI’s via a pair of three run HR’s in a 12-1 victory. Eric Junge (above, showing the good looks that served him so well in the Phillies organization) struck out 11 in 5 shutout innings, allowing just 3 hits.

Just to prove to Don Smith that I have no bias towards DC’s new (though ultitmately doomed) franchise, much credit is due to former Expos P Sun Woo Kim (above), who struck out 5 and allowed 3 hits in 6 scoreless innings, leading the PCL’s New Orleans Zephyrs to a 7-0 win over the Round Rock Express. Along with Kim’s sharp performance, the nearly comatose Round Rock patrons have been graced with the play of such one-time major league standouts as Joe McEwing, Ben Grieve and Dave Burba over the past two weeks. While local fans cope with the realization that the Astros’ hottest prospects are probably learning their craft with the Texas League’s Corpus Christi Hooks, surely the star power of the above names and others coming in and out of Houston’s taxi squad will be enough to dazzle the paying customers. If not, there’s always the WiFi access. A trip to the ballpark just isn’t the same if you can’t check out Byron Crawford.com every few innings.

MLB Extends Iron Grip To Blogdom

Posted in Baseball, The Internet at 7:01 pm by

If you’ve always wanted to start a blog called They Saved Bud Selig’s Cock, there’s finally a cheap, user-friendly way to do so that also fills the coffers of MLB Advanced Media.

BoSox Beer Bonanza

Posted in Baseball at 5:18 pm by

(Chris Singleton and Jason Varitek contest the centuries-old “less filling/tastes great” debate)

Though I am still waiting for a press release from Tom Werner, John Henry or Larry Lucchino declaring that “enough is enough” after losing two straight to Tampa Bay prior to today’s 11-3 ejection fest at Tropicana Field, perhaps we should just hold out for more stern pronouncements about fan behavior in light of Andrea Estes’ report that sudsy sales are up, up and away at Fenway Park. From Sunday’s Boston Globe.

The new owners of the Boston Red Sox have greatly expanded alcohol sales at Fenway Park, adding at least 16 new stands where beer is sold since taking over in 2001, according to the city licensing board. The team has also increased by a third the size of beer cups, from 12 ounces to 16 ounces.

The volume of beer sold at Fenway last year jumped roughly 20 percent from the year before, according to information provided by the Red Sox. Two employees of Aramark, the company that manages Fenway concessions, and a beer salesman who supplies the ballpark said they believe that since the new owners took over beer sales have increased significantly more than 20 percent.

Concerns over alcohol consumption at the ballpark have triggered complaints from some fans and Fenway neighborhood activists who say home games have become marred by rowdy behavior. The recent altercation between a fan and New York Yankees right fielder Gary Sheffield has drawn attention to a problem that some say has grown worse in recent years. Boston’s Licensing Board has scheduled a hearing with Red Sox officials May 10 to investigate alcohol-related complaints.

”I have had a number of complaints from individuals and from families who have said they were in the stands and, ‘My God, we couldn’t wait for them to shut off the beer,’ ” said Michael Connolly, a licensing board member. ”They were rowdy and the profanities were going.”

Red Sox officials denied that alcohol problems have increased at Fenway. The officials said the team expanded points of sale for beer in order to reduce the time fans have to wait in line and said that the number of beers sold dropped in 2004, to 3.1 million, despite an increase in the number of fans attending games. They conceded that with larger cup sizes the volume of alcohol being sold might be higher.

LeBron Vs. Ralph Nadar

Posted in Basketball at 11:17 am by

I was hoping the “Unsafe At Any Speed” author would use his valuable time to go after Sprite for ripping off the ‘Lil Penny character, but I guess that’s not really part of his agenda. From the Boston Globe’s Peter May.

Not that LeBron James needed anything more to tie up his time, but the Cavaliers’ sensation is now in the crosshairs of one Ralph Nader.

The longtime consumer advocate wants James to push for child marketing curbs in his supposed new endorsement deals with McDonald’s and Coca-Cola. In a letter to James, Nader reminded the Cavs’ star that he was asked two years ago to address the issue of sweatshop labor and Nike. Didn’t happen, according to Ralph.

Now, Nader said, “We would like to extend our hope that, prior to signing [these deals], you will do something positive for the many children whose health and well-being are put at risk by the marketing practices of these junk-food giants.”

Nader closed by saying, “We wish you continued success in your professional career and look forward to your response, unlike two years ago when your agent recommended that you not have the courtesy to reply to our first letter.”

Efforts by the Globe to reach James’s agent, Aaron Goodwin, were unsuccessful.

Ichiro Bobblehead Looks Like Edgar

Posted in Baseball at 8:01 am by

From the Oregonian’s John Hunt.

Ichiro Suzuki checked out his “likeness,” the latest Ichiro bobblehead doll, given away Friday night at Safeco Field.

As the doll, commemorating Suzuki’s 262-hit season of 2004, bobbled, Suzuki inspected its hair and smiled.

Then he gave the doll a sideways flick.

“No, no, no, no,” he said.

Despite Suzuki’s unfavorable review, others were impressed with the doll’s hair — and its uncanny resemblance to that of retired designated hitter Edgar Martinez.

Nails Accused Of Baseball Gambling, Steriod Use

Posted in Baseball at 7:13 am by

Former Mets/Phillies OF Lenny Dykstra (above) is facing allegations from a partner in his “Taj Mahal Of Car Washes” business that he bet on baseball and engaged in steroid use in the early ’90′s. From the LA Times’ Lance Pugmire.

A longtime friend and business partner is suing Dykstra in Ventura County, seeking to regain an interest in their lucrative Southern California car wash business. In the suit, Lindsay Jones, 42, of Irvine, alleges that Dykstra advised him to bet thousands of dollars with a bookmaker on selected Phillie games in 1993.

Jones said in a sworn statement that his baseball wagers were a form of payment to him, made “on the basis that Lenny would cover all losses, and I would use the winnings to live on.”

Dykstra’s lawyer, Daniel Petrocelli, said the three-time All-Star “absolutely denies” the allegation, calling it “unsubstantiated” and “a fabricated story from a disgruntled partner.”

The suit includes a sworn declaration from a Florida bodybuilder ” a convicted drug dealer ” who said Dykstra paid him $20,000 plus “special perks” during their eight-year association to “bulk up” the once-slight ballplayer. In an interview, Jeff Scott said he injected Dykstra with steroids “more times than I can count,” and that Dykstra stepped up his steroid use in spring training of 1993 because “it was a contract year.”

Petrocelli, citing Scott’s criminal past, said the steroid allegation was not “reliable or credible,” and called the former bodybuilder “biased and aligned with Jones.” In the past, Dykstra has denied using steroids.

Petrocelli said the allegations by Jones and Scott are an effort to sensationalize the lawsuit and pressure Dykstra into a settlement. “It’s not appropriate that they are using this lawsuit to advance these arguments in an effort to collect money,” the attorney said.

Scott said he served as a “middleman” in Dykstra’s steroid purchases, obtaining the drugs from friends at Clearwater workout spots.

Scott said he injected Dykstra either at Scott’s residence or Dykstra’s various spring training homes: a penthouse at a resort known as Altamar, the Safety Harbor House and the Bayou Club in nearby Largo.

cott said he provided nutritional guidance and “spotted and packed the weights” during Dykstra’s gym visits. Scott said Dykstra took five types of steroids in 1993, two in tablet form and three as liquid injected into his buttocks.

The tablets were Anadrol and Dianabol; the injectibles were Sustanon 250, Parabolin and Deca-Durabolin, Scott said. After 1993, he added, Dykstra began taking testosterone and human growth hormone injections.

Scott said Dykstra paid him $100 for each injection, telling him, “You give shots better than my nurse.”

To baseball observers, Dykstra appeared far more muscular than he had as a 160-pound leadoff man for the 1986 Mets, who won the World Series.

ESPN reporter Jayson Stark told the Chicago Tribune last month about a 1993 clubhouse meeting with a shirtless Dykstra.

“I said, ‘Look at you. What did you do?’ ” Stark recalled. “[Dykstra] said, ‘I took some real good vitamins.’ ”

Scott said Dykstra used human growth hormone and steroids, while trying to rehabilitate his back. He said he injected human growth hormone into the fatty tissue on Dykstra’s midsection.

Erin Scott, the trainer’s ex-wife, a Florida schoolteacher, said she witnessed several of Dykstra’s visits to her home for injections in 1997 and 1998.

“[Dykstra] came over a lot after his spring training games, sometimes just to get the shot,” Erin Scott said. ” ¦ It was pretty obvious. Sometimes, they’d even leave the bathroom door open. I remember Lenny walking out of there holding his butt ¦ he said, ‘Ooh, that hurt.’ ”

In 1993, Jones alleged, Dykstra was advising him on baseball bets.

“Lenny would instruct me to bet on baseball games in 1993 at an average bet of $2,000 per game,” Jones said in a sworn statement. “Together, we won 11 straight Phillies’ games in a row before being cut off by the bookmaker who was convinced that I had inside information.”

Jones does not allege that Dykstra, his friend since their days growing up in Garden Grove, ever recommended betting against the Phillies. He declined to elaborate on his sworn statements, citing a gag order from the lawsuit arbitrator.

Hawkins Fails Again

Posted in Baseball at 1:23 am by

With the crosstown White Sox off to the hottest start in their history, the Cubs marked Saturday with LaTroy Hawkins’ 2nd blown save of the year. The Chicago Tribune’s Dave Van Dyck isn’t promising that he won’t blow a third, but claims it won’t come as Dusty’s closer.

If you think the weather was cold Saturday, you should have seen the icy treatment the Wrigley Field crowd gave LaTroy Hawkins.

He lost the save, lost the game and apparently lost his job as the Cubs’ closer during a brutally cold and bitterly disappointing 4-3 loss to Pittsburgh.

About the only thing Hawkins didn’t lose was his cool as he answered questions afterward.

“It’s frustrating,” he said. “But you have to get back out there and right the ship.”

It may to be too late for him to do that because manager Dusty Baker appears to be taking applications for his role.

“We have go back to the drawing board on something else, that’s what we have to do,” a subdued Baker said. “It seems like he hasn’t been good with one-run leads. I can’t figure it out. He has the stuff. I can’t figure it out right now.”

In his two seasons as a Cub, Hawkins has blown 10 of 16 one-run leads, including 2 of 4 this season. Saturday’s came on a home run against the wind and a walk.


“Oh, boy,” Baker said, “at this point I’m lost for words.”

The options?

“Oh, boy,” Baker said, “I’ll think about it tonight.”

The logical options right now are Chad Fox, who has had the job with two other teams; Mike Remlinger, who saved 12 games for the Braves in 2000; or Michael Wuertz, who saved 19 games at Triple-A Iowa last season.

The Financially Successful Devil Rays

Posted in Baseball at 12:22 am by

We’ve had a couple of items in the past week concerning Tampa Bay’s low payroll and Lou Piniella’s alleged dissatisfaction. Would it surprise anyone to learn that Devil Rays figurehead Vince Naimoli is well on his way to establishing himself as the Donald Sterling of Major League Baseball? From this past Wednesday’s Tampa Tribune and Alan Snel.

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays may have one of the worst records and lowest player payrolls in Major League Baseball, but their financial picture apparently is strong.
In fact, the team is among the most profitable teams in baseball, booking $27.2 million in operating income in 2004, according to new financial analysis by Forbes magazine.

The Rays had a higher operating income – earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization – than any other team in the major leagues last year except the Baltimore Orioles, according to an estimate published in the latest edition of the magazine. The Orioles, Forbes estimated, had operating income of $34 million. The Cleveland Indians matched the Rays at an estimated $27.2 million in operating income, Forbes said.

The rosy financial picture for the Rays, which drew an average turnstile crowd of 10,570 fans a game in 2004, was aided by a $20 million subsidy the team received under an MLB revenue-sharing program.

Vince Naimoli, the team’s managing general partner, declined to comment Tuesday on the Forbes analysis and ranking. Devil Rays spokesman Rick Vaughn, though, said the magazine is historically inaccurate.

“It’s recognized through baseball that those numbers are not accurate,” Vaughn .