05.31.05

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.

05.30.05

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.