Paging Jon Solomon…

Posted in Baseball at 11:26 pm by

Anna Benson, as profiled in this week’s New Yorker (note to David Roth : no photos, so this is “work safe”).

Anna’s less interesting half, Mets starter Kris, was on the losing end of tonight’s 7-0 defeat at the hands of the surprising Arizona Diamondbacks. Jose Cruz Jr. connected for a 2 run HR off Benson in the visitors’ half of the first, while Arizona’s LHP Brad Halsey (above, 4-2) struck out 6 over 7 shutout innings. That Halsey proved more dominant against the Mets than the pitcher he was traded for (Randy Johnson) is something else for George Steinbrenner to groan about.

CF Carlos Beltran made his first start for New York in 9 games, going 0 for 4 while stranding 5 runners. Beltran was hitting .340 against lefties entering tonight’s game, Mike Piazza hitting .367. Neither managed anything off Halsey.

Taking a tip from Frank Thomas’ notebook in how not to make a full recovery, Juan Gonzalez made his 2005 debut for the Indians….and was promptly removed after aggravating his hamstring injury during the first inning of tonight’s victory against the Twins.

Despite all the intense cost cutting measures that have taken place at Time-Warner the past few years, the Atlanta Braves still managed to waste a million bucks on Raul Mondesi. If they raise the prices on Meatwad merchandise, you’ll know why.

CSTB’s Invasion Of Troubled Celeb’s Privacy Not Acknowledged

Posted in Blogged Down at 10:55 pm by

Defamer thinks there’s something noteworthy about sneering at Pat O’Brien’s most recent public appearance.

And there was….the day after it happened.

I’m not gonna claim I invented harrassing famous people. Truth be told, I’m not very good at it (and the Pat-ster was already photographed by one and all at Coachella many weeks ago). Which makes a snub like this doubly frustrating.

Royals Ring Bell

Posted in Baseball at 5:33 pm by

K.C. announced today that they would somehow resist the opportunity to give Terry Collins or Art Howe another major league managing job, instead opting for that glittering prize Buddy Bell.

Bell, whose record of 345-462 over six years skippering the Tigers and Rockies makes him all-too qualified to lead the Royals to a last place finish (they have one heck of a head start already) would’ve been my 6th or 7th choice for the job after Whitey Herzog, Dallas Green, Bobby Valentine, Darren McGavin as “Kolchak : The Night Stalker”, Leon Lee’s trousers, Stump Merrill and John McGraw.

All You Need To Know About Our Debt-Crazy Society…

Posted in Boxing at 1:37 pm by

…is that Mike Tyson can still get a mortgage worth $1.7 million. From Newsday’s Wallace Matthews.

Tyson creaks when he gets out of bed, worries about his children, frets over how classmates will taunt them about their infamous father, and wrestles with precisely how to break the news to them about his past before someone beats him to it.

He owns fast motorcycles he has grown leery of riding. He recently – get this! – turned down the offer of a free Aston-Martin AR-1, James Bond’s ride, because what he needs more than anything now is a house.

He lost his palatial homes in Las Vegas, Ohio, Connecticut and New Jersey to ex-wives or bankruptcy. Right now he’s sleeping on the couch in the home of the mother of his two youngest children. Last year, home was a rented one-bedroom house in a Phoenix suburb.

Tyson tries to keep up appearances, arriving at the gym in a gleaming white Hummer H2. “It’s all I got left, man,” he said.

Like a lot of people his age, Tyson is downsizing. But “downsizing” is a relative term.

Despite filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November 2003, claiming $55 million in debts and $5,583 in cash, Tyson last week was able to scrape up $420,000 for a down payment on a $2.1-million house in Paradise Valley’s exclusive Mummy Mountain district. Despite the bankruptcy and continuing debt, he secured a mortgage with a monthly payment of nearly $11,000.

“His ‘broke’ is a little different from your ‘broke’ or mine,” said Steven Espinoza, Tyson’s bankruptcy attorney.

Epinoza, a master of understatement in this instance, must be one hell of a lawyer. Clearly, solvency is overrated.

Big Hurt Hobbled

Posted in Baseball at 10:17 am by

Chicago’s Frank Thomas (above) returned from his Charlotte, NC rehab assignment yesterday, just in time to strain his right hip flexor in his team’s 5-4 win over the Angels.

On the same afternoon the White Sox announced a contract extension for manager Ozzie Guillen, it would seem as though GM Kenny Williams has been wise not to negotiate a new pact with Thomas, much as letting Magglio Ordonez walk has yet to kill Chicago.

The Rangers Are In First Place Because : Kenny Rogers, 5-0 with a 0.92 ERA in the month of May. The guy is amazing when pitching in a place where no one gives a shit.

Lawrence On Detroit Disharmony

Posted in Basketball at 9:50 am by

Wondering why the Cavs couldn’t have waited for Detroit’s season to end before interviewing/hiring Larry Brown? The New York Daily News’ Mitch Lawrence suggests — as will many if the Pistons don’t repeat — that their coach’s latest case of wanderlust has undermined his authority.

As the Pistons melted down late in the fourth quarter Sunday night, they displayed the classic signs of a team that knows that its leader has one foot out the door. How else to explain the two technical fouls assessed to Rasheed Wallace and Chauncey Billups, 40 seconds apart, with the Pistons still having the chance to win? How else to explain a veteran championship team coming totally unglued at the end of a crucial home playoff game? How else to explain a team that seemed to tune out its coach while falling behind to the Heat, 2-1?

Asked if he thought his rumored run to Cleveland is posing a major distraction, Brown, stopped as he walked off the practice floor and wore a quizzical look.

“This has been going on how long?” he said yesterday. “I mean, it was New York. Then it was L.A. Now it’s Cleveland. Before, it was Denver.”

“I’m In Rehab With Christian Slater” Domain Name Already Snapped Up

Posted in The World Of Entertainment at 9:02 am by

To paraphrase Dean Wormer, drunk, stupid and mimicking Jack Nicholson is no way to go through life.

Angels Sign (The Other) J. Weaver

Posted in Baseball at 8:50 am by

On the brink of his re-entry into the Amateur Draft, P Jered Weaver has come to terms with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Which Is Located On Planet Earth, writes the LA Times’ Mike DiGiovanna.

In the negotiating equivalent of a game-winning, 65-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass with the final seconds ticking off the clock, the Angels and 2004 first-round pick Jered Weaver agreed to a $4-million signing bonus in the final hour before Monday’s 9 p.m. deadline to sign the former Long Beach State ace.

With the sides at an impasse for almost a year and about $1.5 million apart going into the weekend, Weaver, the 12th overall pick in last June’s draft, essentially yielded to the Angels’ demands, agreeing to a minor league deal, pending the passing of a physical this week, for the same amount offered to the right-hander in late February.

Had Weaver, 22, not signed Monday he would have reentered next week’s draft, a prospect that seemed to grow less attractive by the hour Monday, considering there was no guarantee the team that drafted Weaver would accede to his demands, especially knowing Weaver probably wouldn’t sit out a second consecutive season.

“I had no indication that this was going to happen, really, until [Monday], and it still took most of the day,” Angel General Manager Bill Stoneman said on a conference call. “There were a lot of last-minute discussions. It was finally completed fairly close to the deadline.”

Though the Angels’ hard-line stance in negotiations clearly paid off ” it was Weaver who blinked in what seemed like a high-stakes game of chicken, but it was Weaver who initiated talks that led to the agreement and who compromised the most.

Weaver, who went 15-1 with a 1.62 earned run average at Long Beach last season, striking out 213 and walking 21 in 144 innings and winning the Golden Spikes Award, sought a signing package in the $10-million range before dropping his asking price to $8 million in March to $6 million last week.

Negotiations grew testy at times, with Boras criticizing the Angels for selecting Weaver when they had no intention of meeting his original asking price, Stoneman accusing Boras of putting “a spin on it to make it look like he’s made major concessions to get a deal done,” and Angel scouting director Eddie Bane rebutting Boras’ claim that Weaver could be ready to pitch in the big leagues this season.

Weaver even went so far as to sign with the Camden (N.J.) Riversharks of the independent Atlantic League this month, but he did not pitch in a regular-season game. Instead, Weaver will return to Southern California this week, and speculation about when he can help the Angels’ big league club can really begin.

“I just don’t know enough about him,” Stoneman said, when asked how close to the big leagues Weaver is. “He hasn’t pitched competitively in a year, and we’re not sure what kind of shape he’s in. We definitely don’t want to rush things ¦ but as soon as he’s ready for a challenge, we want to give him one.

Down On The Farm With Eli Gelman

Posted in Baseball at 8:36 am by

Those wishing to learn about the ups and downs of various prospects scattered throughout the Mets’ minor league system could do worse than pay attention to the reporting of the Newark Star Ledger’s Eli Gelman. They could, for instance, read back issues of Hello! magazine, which feature little to no coverage of the Mets’ stars of tomorrow.

On broadcasts of Hagerstown Suns games, the announcer refers to Dante Brinkley as “The Inferno.”

Brinkley (above), the starting left fielder for Hagerstown, laughs at the nickname he has been given for being the team’s top hitter.

“Right now, I’m just trying to stay even-keeled and not get too high or low,” said Brinkley, hitting .371 with 12 doubles, three triples, eight home runs and 32 RBI through Sunday’s games. “I don’t look at my stats. I don’t think I’m Dante’s Inferno like everyone else. I’m just picking up a couple hits and minimizing the 0-for-4 games.”

Brinkley’s maturity has impressed his manager Gene Richards, who calls the 23-year-old “a gamer” and said he reminds him of Darin Erstad, the first baseman for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, whom he coached as a roving instructor with the club.

“He’s a throwback. He reminds you of an old-time ballplayer who wants to fight if things don’t go right,” Richards said. “He’s my leader. Players tend to listen to their peers and Dante’s not afraid to tell guys what he sees. He criticizes, points them in the right direction.

“He’ll bunt, hit and run, throws his body around out there, will go into the wall. He does a lot of the dirty work that others wouldn’t do.”

Gelman also notes that the Mets’ no. 1 pick from the 2004 draft, Rice’s Phillip Humber (above), allowed 7 earned runs and 8 hits in 3 innings of work against the Yankees’ FSL Tampa affiliate last Wednesday. Compared to fellow ’04 Big 12 grad Huston Street (seen collecting the win in Oakland’s come from behind victory over Tampa Bay late last night), Humber’s path to the big leagues should be a bit longer.


One Foot Out The Door With Larry Brown

Posted in Basketball at 11:31 pm by

ESPN.com’s Chad Ford is reporting that Larry Brown has already accepted the position of Director Of Basketball Operations for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Given that the league showed no inclination to force the likes of Alonzo Mourning, Glenn Robinson or Jimmy Jackson to live up to their contractual obligations earlier this year, should it surprise anyone that the Head Coach of the defending champs, whom ideally should be solely focused on the task currently at hand in the Eastern Conference Finals, can so easily be tampered with?

(Larry calmly reacts to Darko asking “who gets your parking space?”)

When Jeff Van Gundy questioned the integrity of the league a few weeks ago, he was only skimming the surface of what’s wrong. Detroit players, management and fans alike oughta be pissed. Larry Brown is obviously one of the game’s sharpest minds, and recent reports of serious health problems would certainly explain his reluctance to continue coaching. But it really makes the league and the Pistons look like saps for Brown to be negotiating a new gig with a division rival while Detroit are still fighting for a repeat crown.

Powell Sniffs Around The Nats

Posted in Baseball at 7:02 pm by

Says Ben Schwartz,

I have no problem with Colin Powell buying into MLB baseball. I wish George W. Bush still was a baseball owner, so let’s hope it starts a trend.

(most of the photos of retired General Powell on Google Image Search are pretty dull, so instead, here’s a gratuitous snapshot of Sgt. Slaughter and Jim Cornette, at least one of whom would make an excellent owner of a baseball club. Lots of good stuff available if you type “Corporal Punishment”, however).

Carlos D.’s Green Light = The End Of NY’s Love Affair With Mr. Koo

Posted in Baseball at 4:48 pm by

The Newark Star Ledger’s Don Burke on the oft-replayed moment from the Mets’ 6-3 loss to Florida on Sunday.

Dae-Sung Koo still doesn’t know all that much about baseball here in the United States. But his education is an ongoing process and the Korean reliever learned a very important lesson yesterday.

Grooving a 3-0 fastball to Carlos Delgado is a mistake in any language.

Brought in specifically to face the Florida Marlins first baseman, Koo threw one right down Main Street and Delgado nearly hit it all the way to South Beach. His three-run homer in the seventh inning erased a one-run Mets lead and helped the Marlins avert the sweep with a 6-3 victory.

“I didn’t expect him to swing at it,” the reliever said. “Most of the batters in Korea and Japan don’t swing.”

Of course, Koo isn’t in the Far East anymore. And, as he found out the hard way that when major-league hitters see a fastball that’s just begging to be hit, they usually oblige.

“That was about as grooved as you can groove one,” Mets manager Willie Randolph said.

“I’m employee No. 25,” Delgado said when asked if he knew he had the green light. “I follow orders.”

(Delgado, center, congratulates reliever Todd Jones, left, on a) staying straight, b) not engaging in sex outside of marriage and c) earning his 8th save, not necessarily in that order).

In Koo’s defense, even the screamers doing the game for Fox Sports Miami were predicting that Delgado would take the 3-0 pitch (presumably neither of those guys should be relieving for the Mets, either). I’m not sure if Mike Difelice has learned how to say ‘don’t throw one right down the middle to Carlos Delgado” in multiple languages, but had Koo walked the bases full, we’d probably be hearing about it today as well.

The Bergen Record’s Steve Popper submits that the Mets are haunted by Delgado’s decision to spurn New York’s offer and instead sign with the Marlins, while the Times’ Charlie Nobles wonders along with the rest of us when Carlos Beltran will return to the starting lineup. (Maybe tuesday, maybe not.) Meanwhile, Newsday’s Jon Heyman is puzzled as to how Kaz Matsui managed to talk his way into yesterday’s game.

When Mets writers were looking for Jerry Manuel in an apparent attempt to uncover the story of how a man without a pulse might be hired to manage again (just a joke; the low-key Manuel would make a better hire than the no-key Art Howe), Manuel got a colorful heads-up from a Mets reliever who didn’t like their early reviews.

“Hey,” Roberto Hernandez yelled, “the rats are looking for you.”

Hernandez either has the idea that “rats” and “reporters” are synonymous or tried to reassert the clubhouse caste system, which still places reporters several pegs below relievers, even mediocre ones.

Anyway, we “rats” have to hand it to Hernandez. He still throws cheese (sorry, couldn’t resist), as does Bell, a nice surprise, and all their mates aren’t yet forming the disaster area everyone figured.

The Mets returned home relieved after the trip’s 0-3 start, and one thing to cheer is not playing the Braves in the next 37 games. You can say great things about the new, improved Mets, but everyone knows who’s the daddy in that relationship.

The Mets still turn to goo against Atlanta, responsible for the ugly part of this 3-4 trip. About Atlanta, Cliff Floyd conceded: “I think we’re thinking about it, and I think they know we’re thinking about it. It’s not that we’re waiting for something to happen. But when it does, we say, ‘Oh, –, here we go.’”

Funny, that was my very reaction to Matsui being back in the lineup after an eight-day hiatus. Matsui replaced Miguel Cairo, who had three hits, three runs and two steals in Saturday night’s victory (a good month for Matsui), after finally telling Randolph he was good to go.

Previously, Randolph said Matsui had described a less-than-perfect health situation. But once Matsui finally understood that Randolph wouldn’t play him until Matsui assured him he was perfectly fine, Randolph penciled Matsui back into the lineup.

Matsui and Randolph may understand each other now, but the game still confounds Matsui. When he failed to catch Matt Treanor’s pop-up, it was such a sophomoric miscue that Randolph wrongly figured it must’ve been part of some ingenious strategy to swap Treanor for the faster Alex Gonzalez, whom Matsui forced at second.

“I think he let it drop to change the runners,” Randolph guessed. Not in this lifetime. “I completely lost it in the sun,” Matsui said.

In any language, or in any culture, Matsui continues to play like garbage.

Another Clemens Start Wasted, Astros Sink Futher Into Oblivion

Posted in Baseball at 4:25 pm by

A day after winning their first away series of the season, Houston returned to Minute Maid Park with Roger Clemens on the hill, and true to form, provided no run support whatsoever for the 7 time Cy Young Award Winner, succumbing to the lowly Reds, 9-0. Clemens (7 K’s, 2 earned runs, 4 hits over 7 IP) saw a 2-0 deficit turned into a 9 run margin as John Franco and Russ Springer combined to face 8 batters and retire just one. Captain Fucko saw his ERA rise to 7.36 ; Springer , 8.62.

Cincy’s Aaron Harang (4-1) struck out 10 in 7 scoreless innings.

Morales Feasts On California League Pitching

Posted in Baseball at 2:35 pm by

This jet-lagged correspondent caught Kendry Morales homering in his U.S. pro debut for Rancho Cucamonga last weekend, and the LA Daily News’ Joe Haakenson reports that the young slugger has yet to cool off.

Kendry Morales is making a good first impression on the Angels’ organization. Going into Sunday’s game, Morales was hitting .343 with two homers, seven RBI and a .571 slugging percentage in eight games at Single-A Rancho Cucamonga. He struck out only four times in 35 at-bats.
How soon the 21-year-old Cuban defector rises through the ranks of the organization remains to be seen.

“It’s a daily evaluation of him,” said Tony Reagins, the Angels’ director of player development. “The coaching staff, the rovers, the front-office staff will see him as much as possible to see when is the right time to move him. Right now, there’s no timetable.”

Reagins would not rule out Morales reaching the big leagues this season.

“Anything could happen in this game,” he said. “If he shows progress that warrants him being here, he’ll be here. But to say it’ll be next month, or in two months, I don’t know if that’s fair to say.”

Morales (above) has been playing first base for the Quakes, but he also can play third base and the outfield. His biggest adjustment has been off the field.

“He does things fluidly and has power to all fields,” Reagins said. “But he’s still getting acclimated to the States. The language barrier is something he has to get comfortable with. He speaks almost no English. It’s just a different environment for him.”

The Hammers Are Going Up

Posted in Football at 12:36 pm by

Courtesy of former Brighton/Spurs striker Bobby Zamora’s 57th minute goal, West Ham United are back in England’s top flight after a two season exile, beating Preston North End 1-0 earlier today in Cardiff.

Rumors that Michael Jackson will commemorate the event by rush releasing a single of “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” are not only untrue, but the joke is older than dirt, too.

Davidoff : Nippon Professional Baseball Cool Towards WBC

Posted in Baseball at 11:30 am by

In Sunday’s Newsday, Ken Davidoff writes that Japanese baseball officials aren’t yet sold on the idea of MLB’s World Baseball Classic.

The NPB’s concerns are: 1) Money, of course. The Japanese professional teams think Major League Baseball wants too big a piece of the pie, believed to be 35 percent. A person sympathetic to MLB countered that the 10 Japanese teams would make more, per team, than the 30 MLB clubs, and that MLB, assuming far more risk, should get far more in return.

2) Timing. The Japanese team would begin practice in the second week of February, and if it did well, it could be together until the March 20 final. That would devastate NPB’s spring training, which it regards more seriously than MLB does its own. The Japanese clubs place a premium on team harmony.

3) Personalities. Key Japanese officials simply don’t seem to care for either Selig or Archey. And the wide cultural void as to what constitutes a negotiation has caused further tension. The Japanese generally don’t enjoy the “give and take” of an American-style negotiation. Ideally, a mutually acceptable solution is found at the beginning, and that hasn’t happened.

Of course, Japan could look petty, and perhaps even cowardly, if it declined to play. So the NPB would have to pin the blame on MLB.

With Japan around or not, we just don’t see how this whole idea – brilliant in theory – plays out. If you’re Selig ally Fred Wilpon, for example, how do you explain to your ticket-holders that you’re pushing Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran to exert themselves physically for contests that have nothing to do with the Mets’ playoff run? If you’re Randy Johnson and you’re racing the clock to reach 300 career victories, do you really want to make a “withdrawal” from your finite pitch account to help win an exhibition game?

If Only His Mom Tried This Hard, “GLOW” Would Still Be On The Air

Posted in Boxing at 11:00 am by

From the NY Times’ Ben Sisario.

In Tuesday’s season finale of “The Contender,” NBC’s boxing reality show, Sergio Mora defeated Peter Manfredo Jr. in seven rounds, winning $1 million. But viewers were treated to a pummeling of their own during the blow-by-blow commentary, as Sylvester Stallone and Sugar Ray Leonard repeatedly called for a sequel.

“I know the fight’s not even over yet,” Mr. Stallone said roughly 15 minutes into the bout, “but I gotta start thinking about a rematch.”

“I think it’s natural, Sly,” Mr. Leonard replied. “Rematch is natural.”

Given the show’s absence from NBC’s recent presentations of its fall lineup, were their calls for a rematch a coded appeal to television executives to give the show a second chance? Mark Burnett, who created “The Contender,” insists they were not.

“It was just natural exuberance from Sly and Ray – the fight was so close,” he said in a telephone interview late last week, adding that he expected to announce another fight this week and that a rematch of the two fighters is a strong possibility. “You’ve got to remember,” he said, “we don’t consider ‘The Contender’ to be in the reality TV business. We’re in the boxing business. Our business plan all along was to continue along with these fighters.”

Olney’s Journalism Tips For Sabean

Posted in Baseball at 12:23 am by

ESPN’s Buster Olney on Brian Sabean and the Giants GM’s complaints about recent media scrutiny of Barry Bonds.

On Friday, he told reporters that the coverage of Bonds has been “absurd” and “National Enquirer-type” over the past few months, taking aim specifically at MLB.com and ESPN. “I understand why, but the frustrating thing is there’s a season going on and other storylines,” said Sabean. “It’s reached an all-time low — it’s not journalism in any form. We’re all having to respond to non-stories and non-issues that are fabricated, contrived, you can paint whatever picture you want ¦ The absurdity is that all this attention is being paid to someone not in uniform.”

Too bad. Because now we know Brian Sabean could never be a good news editor. See, you have to have some degree of toughness to do that job.

If Sabean was tougher, he wouldn’t whine about the messengers. He’d take his beef about specific stories right to the source of some of the information: Barry Bonds. The reason why MLB.com, in particular, has had some Bonds stories is that Barry Bonds trusts the reporter, Barry Bloom. If Sabean has a problem with some of the information going through MLB.com, he could simply confront Bonds. The guess here is that he won’t be doing that any time soon.

If Sabean was tough, he wouldn’t go after Bloom, a reporter who is just doing his job; Sabean would go after the guy who ultimately oversees the company for which Bloom works. Sabean might’ve heard of him: His name is Bud Selig. The guess here is that Sabean won’t be doing that any time soon.

I attended the winter meeting when ESPN discussed the idea of assigning a reporter to Bonds daily this season. There was no discussion of knee infections or IV bags or crutches at the time. It was all about chronicling Bonds’ pursuit of Aaron’s record. The estimate was that he would probably break the record in May of 2006. We talked about interviewing peers, rivals, and retired players about Bonds. And we talked about steroids, of course; that’s now a part of the story that will follow Bonds right into history.

Since then, the story has taken a right-hand turn. The story didn’t end; it veered. Pedro Gomez continues to report, aggressively. And because the Giants haven’t had control of Bonds’ regimen — for years, actually — it’s gotten inconvenient for Sabean and other club executives. That’s why he is attacking the messenger and has become a news editor.

Maybe they didn’t teach Sabean the meaning of the word ‘fabrication’ in the ombudsman classes he apparently took: To concoct, in order to deceive.

That’s a pretty strong accusation, and it’s absurd. He is suggesting that Gomez is simply generating stories with his imagination, based on no factual information. That would be like saying that Sabean’s failure to sufficiently stock the Giants’ bullpen last year was because of some secret desire for the Dodgers’ to win. Ridiculous, and irresponsible, and he should know better. Sabean’s claim that stories have been fabricated is a fabrication, in itself.

The guess here is that Bonds will be back, reporters will once again flock to Giants’ games, ticket sales will increase — Ka-Ching — and Sabean won’t complain about the buzz swirling around his team.


Heyman On The Mets’ Amateur Draft Plans

Posted in Baseball at 9:58 pm by

from Jon Heyman in Sunday’s Newsday :

Omar Minaya and his execs have seen St. John’s reliever Craig Hansen (above) so much, you’d think it’s a done deal at No. 9. But some insiders suspect the Mets are watching the local product (Glen Cove) partly for positive press and might take Florida prep outfielder Andrew McCutchen, 6-7 Wichita State righthander Mike Pelfrey or University of Miami third baseman Ryan Braun instead. USC catcher Jeff Clement is moving up but might go to Milwaukee (fifth) or Toronto (sixth).

One scout is convinced the Mets will take Pelfrey (above) after Minaya saw him in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. “The Tigers [picking 10th] are absolutely sick. He was throwing 95, 96 all game,” the scout said.

Mets VP of player development and scouting Gary LaRocque’s draft power has been diminished. The problem isn’t first-rounders (burgeoning star David Wright offsets all the misses) but rounds two and down, which have produced little.

The night after the Red Sox punished Yankee pitching to the tune of 17 runs and 27 hits, it was crucial that the Pinstripes received a solid outing from Mike Mussina (above). It figures then, that Moose exited after just 3 innings and 3 home runs allowed, two of ‘em on bombs by David Ortiz, another by the suddenly resurgent Edgar Renteria. After serving up a pair of first inning HR’s to Derek Jeter and Gary Sheffield respectively, David Wells, seems to have settled down, though no 4 run lead is safe with the 2005 version of the Sultan Of Sloth on the mound.

With both teams’ starting pitching woes, I’d call the Red Sox and Yankees the AL’s premier softball sides, though such a dubious honor do a disservice to this year’s Rangers…and Texas have some serious pitching, with the oft-maligned Chan Ho Park (above) finally contributing.

The Old “Throw Your Glove At A Ball In Play” Trick

Posted in Baseball at 4:12 pm by

As the D-Backs and Padres continue to put distance between themselves and the rest of the NL West, the trailing clubs keep finding new ways to lose. Rather than recap the bizarro last few innings of last nights Arizona/LA game, I’ll let Dodger Thoughts’ Jon Weisman do it for you.

(Javier Vazquez, remained in the game for offense)

The Dodgers have staked Jeff Weaver to a 3-0 lead early in today’s contest in Phoenix. Weaver is looking more and more like Jeff Jarrett gone hackey-sac, and I apologize in advance if Michael Corcoran already made that observation in one of his columns. If you’re a Mets fan not quite sickened enough by today’s defeat at the hands of Carlos Delgado and the Marlins, you’ll note that Jason Phillips’s batting average is nearly 30 points higher than that of Mike Piazza, their slugging and on base percentages are pretty close…and the former is earning about $15 million less than the latter.

Moribund Franchise Vows To Keep Dopey Name

Posted in Hockey at 3:48 pm by

(David Puddy contemplates washing his face)

From the Associated Press (thanks to Jon Solomon for the tip) :

What chance do the New Jersey Devils give a proposal that would give the NHL team a less demonic name?

Think hell freezing over.

œI can assure you the Devils name will never change, and I think there are more important things to be thinking about than something that will never happen, chief executive officer Lou Lamoriello said. œIt™s who we are and what we want to be.

State Assemblyman Craig Stanley is taking issue with a satanic symbol representing the team, which has won three Stanley Cup championships.

œThis is an age where symbolism is very important, said Stanley, a Baptist deacon whose resolution to rename the team is to be introduced in the Assembly next month. A new name would be chosen in a statewide competition.

Stanley™s legislative district includes parts of Newark, where the Devils are scheduled to move into a $310 million, 18,000-seat downtown arena in September 2007, from the Meadowlands sports complex in East Rutherford.

œI™ve always cringed when people say they™re going to see the Devils, Stanley said. œThe merchandise, the paraphernalia is based on the actual demonic devil. Personally, it causes a little bit of an issue with me.

For more reminders of the days when top-flight professional hockey was played in North America, Newsday’s Pat Calabria commemorates the 25th anniversary of the New York Islanders’ first Stanley Cup victory. Coming in September, an article marking the two year anniversary of the last time the chant “Potvin Sucks” was heard in public.

Piazza Busts Out, Ishii Beats Fish

Posted in Baseball at 12:33 pm by

Kaz Ishii’s first win in 8 months, Mike Piazza’s first RBI’s in 60 at bats, and all of a sudden the same Mets that looked so overmatched against the Braves earlier in the week have won 3 straight and are just 2 games out of first place.

Glowering Tom Glavine is facing the hot tempered Josh Beckett this afternoon, with Mike DeFelice getting the start catching for the former. I look forward to a crazed controversy over whether or not Glavine has a personal battery-mate.

Blood, Sweat And Beers

Posted in Blogged Down at 12:04 pm by

As chronicled in today’s New York Daily News, 60 something Dan Freeman is a man on a mission.

Mushnick In Recycled Lookalike Joke Shocker

Posted in Sports Journalism at 11:15 am by

Phil Mushnick in today’s NY Post :

An NBA playoffs lookalike worth reprising: Steve Nash and actor Jackie Earle Haley, who played Kelly Leak in “The Bad News Bears.”

Hoo ha. Maybe Phil might wanna check out a rarely watched program called “Pardon The Interuption” on the obscure ESPN cable network. If he does so, Mushnick will find no shortage of gags that have been repeated over and over again.


Unprecedented Behind The Scenes Access To Two Bands That Suck

Posted in Cinema, Rock Und Roll at 11:58 pm by

One band is despicable, the other merely loathesome. Can an entertaining, evocative documentary be made about bands that are monumentally untalented? Perhaps. But Ondi Timoner’s”Dig” is far more interesting if you’ve never previously encountered someone who is totally attention starved.

(Gallant, Goofus in happier days)

One of the doc’s slower thinkers describes the Brian Jonestown Massacre as “the Velvet Underground of the ’90′s”. Well, yeah, they wear sunglasses really often.