05.23.05

Ka-Boom! Coleman Ejected From Cubs Dugout

Posted in Baseball at 9:31 am by

From Sunday’s Chicago Tribune.

White Sox GM Kenny Williams and Cubs minor-league baserunning instructor Vince Coleman engaged in a heated exchange during Cubs batting practice Saturday as Sox coach Tim Raines, Cubs bench coach Dick Pole and others watched in disbelief. Coleman was upset Williams denied the Cubs’ request to let Coleman sit in the dugout during the City Series. Coleman hasn’t been with the Cubs since spring training, but appeared Friday to help give a “refresher course” to Cubs baserunners this weekend.

Teams are allowed to add a “seventh coach” in the dugout during September call-ups with Major League Baseball’s approval, and also may do it during the season if the opposing team OK’s it.

Because the Sox rely heavily on their running game, and because Coleman was one of his era’s great base-stealers, Williams believed Coleman’s presence could be detrimental to the Sox. Coleman was allowed to help out on the field before the game and pitched batting practice.

Williams approached Coleman near the batting cage before Saturday’s Sox-Cubs game as Coleman was talking to Raines. After Williams made an off-hand comment, Coleman stalked off in a huff. Williams asked Coleman to come back and talk, then got angry when Coleman refused. Williams yelled that Coleman should take it as a “compliment” the Sox were wary of his knowledge. He then walked off the field in disgust.

After cooling off, Williams acknowledged his friendship with Coleman probably was in jeopardy, but he was not about to apologize for putting his team first.

“It’s nothing personal,” Williams said. “I attended Vince’s wedding last winter. Our kids play on the same football and baseball teams in Scottsdale. But this man has a tremendous amount of knowledge and I wouldn’t be surprised if he helps out a major-league club as a manager some day.

“I can’t afford to let someone with such knowledge give them an edge [about] trying to stop our attack, especially when I have the option of [keeping him out of the dugout].”

Cubs manager Dusty Baker confirmed Saturday the Cubs had made the request to allow Coleman in the dugout, and the Sox denied it.

If the Cubs were serious about keeping Coleman nearby, they’d have explained to Williams that Coleman was in fact, the teams’s pyrotechnic consultant, surveying Wrigley in advance of the Cubs’ 4th Of July celebrations.

Cards Riled By Hurler With Herpes

Posted in Baseball at 9:08 am by

It turns out the women of Missouri aren’t the only ones pissed off at Jose Lima. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Joe Strauss explains.

Kansas City Royals righthander Jose Lima on Sunday defended his Saturday night antics, which drew a warning from plate umpire Doug Eddings and a request from Cardinals manager Tony La Russa that his uniform be inspected for a foreign substance.

“They know it’s my style,” Lima said. “It’s the way I pitch.”

In the aftermath of Saturday’s 6-5 win, several Cardinals expressed frustration with Eddings’ second-inning warning to both dugouts after Lima hit designated hitter Larry Walker and left fielder Reggie Sanders with pitches before nearly drilling John Mabry.

Center fielder Jim Edmonds later called Lima (above) both “a good guy” and “a clown.”

After Sanders was hit, La Russa came onto the field and demanded that Lima’s pants leg be checked for pine tar. “We know what it’s like. We’ve been on the other end of that one,” La Russa said, referring to reliever Julian Tavarez’s suspension last season for wearing a doctored hat. “It cost us 10 days.”

“If they don’t like what I do, just knock me out of the game quick,” Lima said. “Knock me around for five or six runs.”

Lima led the Cardinals 3-1 Saturday until allowing two fifth-inning runs. He left with a 5-3 lead only to watch the Royals’ bullpen give up a three-run homer to Walker in the seventh inning.

Lima, who at one point Saturday exchanged words with the Cardinals bench, suggested there were no hard feelings.

“When they hit a home run they can do whatever they want,” he said. “They can jump around. They can do what I do on the mound. It doesn’t bother me a bit.”

05.22.05

Ben Schwartz On Cubs Ownership

Posted in Baseball at 11:48 pm by

Writes Ben,

Tribune Co throws in the towel! The Trib Co. now claims the problem with Chicago sports media is that “real” Cub fans have no voice — despite the fact that they OWN the Cubs, the Chicago Tribune newspaper, and WGN radio & TV and chains of Midwestern papers and stations. Jeeziz, considering how Republican they are, its too bad there’s no “nuclear option” for them to
shut it all down.

From Steve Stone’s interview last Thursday, it seems like he’s the only voice in Chicago media they could bounce.

Behind Mark Prior’s complete game Sunday afternoon, the Cubs avoided being swept by the visiting White Sox, Jason Dubios hitting a 3 run homer for the northsiders off Luis Vizcaino in the 6th.

Cubs’ Zambrano Ordered To Log Off

Posted in Baseball, The Internet at 11:45 pm by

From the Associated Press ;

Cubs right-hander Carlos Zambrano has been told to cut back on his computer time because the hours he’s spending typing could be contributing to his elbow problems

Zambrano said he had been logging about four hours a day communicating via e-mail with his brother.

“I have to spend one hour and take it easy,” Zambrano said.

Zambrano looked fine Saturday, allowing just one hit in seven innings against the White Sox.

“It’s not carpal tunnel, but if you don’t watch it, who knows what it can lead to? We are trying to alleviate it,” Cubs manger Dusty Baker said.

The Cubs were told after Zambrano had to leave his May 14 start against Washington early with a sore elbow that was the result of a non-pitching condition and activity. So they also told Zambrano to lighten up on his batting practice.

“I feel completely healthy,” Zambrano said.

Most adult males can relate to what Zambrano is going through. The Cubs are obviously aware that Zambrano doesn’t need nearly 4 hours a day to correspond with his “brother”, but if they need a cover story to explain his deviant interest in web sites like this, well, who can blame them?

Weisbrod Exits Orlando

Posted in Basketball at 11:14 pm by

The Orlando Sentinel’s Brian Schmitz is reporting in tomorrow’s edition that Magic GM John Weisbrod will announce he is quitting. Said news comes right around the time the club are expected to name their new coach (Flip Saunders and former Orlando coach Brian Hill amongst the candidates).

In the days ahead we’ll learn whether or not this move is any way related to Orlando’s next coach demanding a greater say in personnel descisions, or if Tracy McGrady is in fact, better at voodoo than he is at winning first round playoff series’.

Francesca Doesn’t Know What To Do When Brown Turns To Blue

Posted in Sports Radio at 8:38 pm by

From Phil Mushnick’s “Equal Time” column in Sunday’s New York Post :

Mike Francesa and Chris Russo had a good thing going for listeners on Thursday when they talked with Gary Pomerantz, the author of “Wilt, 1962.” Pomerantz was eager and able to recount some fascinating tales about Wilt Chamberlain.

But Francesa won’t allow anyone to horde center stage for long. At one point, he interrupted to say, “I used to go to the old Garden when I was a kid, just to watch Wilt play. … I’d sit upstairs in what they used to call, ‘Blue Heaven,’ up at the top of The Garden …” and blah, blah, blah.

There was no Blue Heaven in the old Garden, and we’ve never heard that expression used for the top of the new Garden, either. What became known as the “blue seats” or “the blues” were the “cheap seats” in the new Garden – and were so named because they were blue. The old Garden’s seats, top to bottom, were brown.

Suitors Lining Up For Ray Allen

Posted in Basketball at 8:10 pm by

The Seattle Times’ Percy Allan (no relation) on the choices available to Denzel Washington’s celluloid son.

For the first time in his nine-year career, Ray Allen (above, 29), will become a free agent unless he and the Sonics reach an agreement before June 30, which seems unlikely.

General manager Rick Sund and Lon Babby, Allen’s agent, have had sporadic talks over the past 10 months.
Negotiations began with the two sides $20-plus million apart, but reportedly they narrowed the gap and were just $5 million apart when negotiations broke off in February.

Neither side has spoken publicly about the negotiations, but the Sonics’ offer of a five-year, $70 million deal had become widely circulated throughout the league, while Allen was expected to ask for a maximum deal of $90 million.

A team source confirmed that during the All-Star break in Denver, the Sonics increased their offer to $75 million and Allen countered with an incentive-laden package that would total $80 million.

Despite being the top free agent that will hit the market, Allen has little leverage because only a handful of teams can afford him.

Atlanta appears to have the most money beneath the salary cap at $22 million, but the Hawks finished with a 13-69 record and haven’t had a winning season in seven years. Still, league sources said yesterday that Atlanta plans to court Allen just as they did Kenyon Martin a year ago.

Cleveland, Charlotte, New Orleans and the Los Angeles Clippers will also have money to spend, but among those teams, only the Cavaliers are reasonably attractive.

Comparatively, the Sonics, who finished 52-30 and were eliminated in the Western Conference semifinals, are a better option if the team retains its core players.

Along with Allen, reserve guard Antonio Daniels has publicly stated he wants to return next season, though he’s expected to void the final year of his deal that will pay him $2.2 million.

I don’t know what kind of insane individual would claim the Spurs wouldn’t be able to run with the Suns, but thank god he’s not writing a basketball blog.

There’s Lots Of Fun Things To Do In Rancho Cucamonga. For Instance, You Can Drive Back To Los Angeles

Posted in Baseball, History's Great Hook-Ups at 7:22 pm by

(January 26, 2012 EDITOR’S NOTE : the post below was published during the spring of 2005. I’ve been informed by persons close to Hank Stickney that after his wife’s passing, he has since remarried. If you’re wondering why or how that’s relevant to the post below, some concerned has been expressed — in rather pointed terms, I might add — that if you happen to encounter Hank Stickney and a female companion on a cruise ship or in line at Sizzler, you’re almost certainly meeting his new wife, a very sophisticated and charming lady who’d never in a million years accuse yours truly of having “a hidden agenda” or “anger management issues”.

Theirs is a loving, 100% legit marriage, and only a very sad, lonely, troubled individual would imply otherwise.

Also, the original headline of this post has been changed in order to make it tougher to find if you’re looking for biographical information about Hank via Google, which seems to be the primary source of his associates’ frustration. Hopefully they’ll tackle his Wiki entry when they’re done harassing me. – GC)

During the 7th inning stretch of last night’s California League clash between the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes and the Visalia Oaks, Quakes management posted a scoreboard note of congratulations to Quakes’ owner Hank Stickney and wife Dee on their 5oth Wedding Anniversary.

The Stickneys, also part of the group owning the Dayton Dragons and Las Vegas 51′s, waved to the crowd from their luxury box. Though to be fair, “luxury” is all relative in Rancho Cucamonga.

I shouldn’t have to give advice to an accomplished captain of industry like Hank, but Class A minor league ball is a hard enough sell on date night, let alone a golden anniversary. I hope the Stickney sticky couch wasn’t too uncomfortable.

Kendry Morales (above), formerly of the Cuban national team and a recent Angels signing, made his U.S. pro debut with a HR in the first inning for Rancho Cucamonga.

Subject Of Acclaimed Fake Blog’s Privacy Invaded

Posted in The World Of Entertainment at 11:05 am by

Voice-mail maven Pat O’Brien (on the right), captured by this correspondent during his afternoon attending yesterday’s KROQ Weenie Roast in Irvine, CA.

“That’s going straight up on the internet, right?” quipped Pat. You know it, dude.

05.21.05

Mr. Koo, King Of Flushing (For A Day)

Posted in Baseball at 11:34 pm by

Mets 7, Yankees 1

Though his effort in relief of the resurgent Kris Benson would’ve been notable enough on any other day, its a real toss-up as to which incident was more stunning, Dae-Sung Koo’s 410 foot double to straightaway center off Randy Johnson, or the pitcher’s mad Enos Slaughter-like dash from 2nd to home on Jose Reyes’ sacrifice bunt moments later.

Sure, the call was blown at home, but thie was high entertainment from a very unlikely source.


(imagine how fast he’d run without the jacket).

Hopefully someone taped the game for the Bergen Record’s Adrian Wojnarokski.

Losing Carlos Beltran is gonna hurt the Mets, no question, but here’s another excuse to bit Victor Diaz 9th and perhaps experiment with Mike Cameron or David Wright hitting 3rd. Willie Randolph’s team have shown remarkable resiliance thus far (bouncing back after Friday’s miserable showing against Kevin Brown is a good example), and for all of my negative comments about the Mets’ depth, the contributions of various call-ups / non-superstars (Woodward, Cairo, Diaz, Heilman, Seo, Koo) thus far have been huge.

Merch Mania At Chavez Ravine

Posted in Baseball at 8:14 am by

As the Angels won round 1 in the battle of L.A. (whilst losing Vlad Guerrero in the process), CSTB can report the following questionable items being peddled by Frank McCourt’s minions at Dodger Stadium Friday night ;

1) caps bearing the legend “The Los Angeles Dodgers Of Los Angeles” (pretty funny, except for the $25 price tag).

2) “game worn” Brooklyn Dodgers cap from Turn Back The Clock Day, autographed by Friday’s losing pitcher, Scott Erickson (above). Opening bid in this charity auction was $50. At the end of the evening, no one had bid.

Baseball America’s John Manuel is reporting that the Angels’ 2004 first round draft pick, P Jerod Weaver (younger brother of LA’s Jeff) will sign with the Atlantic League’s Camden Riversharks. Unsigned Diamondbacks draftee Stephen Drew, younger brother of the Dodgers’ J.D., and like the Weavers, another client of Scott Boras, is already on the Riversharks’ roster.

05.20.05

Couldn’t They Have Just Rented “Airplane”?

Posted in Basketball at 7:52 pm by

The Associated Press on Kareem’s latest adventure.

Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is on a mission to teach trash talking in Shanghai.

The NBA’s career scoring leader will lead a camp exploring cultural differences between American and Asian players. Along with teaching his famous skyhook, Abdul-Jabbar will touch on using language to intimidate opponents.

Chinese players Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets and Wang Zhizhi of the Miami Heat came from a basketball tradition that is less physical and more team-oriented, and needed some guidance to get used to the more individualistic, aggressive American style of play.

Josh Smith of the Atlanta Hawks and the Desmond Mason of the Milwaukee Bucks will join Abdul-Jabbar in the camp, which begins Saturday. Players, coaches and psychologists hope to use the experience of Yao to prepare Asian players for real-life situations. Campers will also learn about footwork, rebounding, nutrition and mental preparation.


(Kareem, shown teaching Bruce Lee about footwork)

Type Fuckin’ A

Posted in Free Expression at 4:48 pm by

Every now and then, I’m asked why I don’t deviate from formula and use CSTB as a way of chronicling the important events of my day, of sharing my innermost thoughts with you lucky people.

This answers to this question, are pretty fucking obvious, but since many of you attended state colleges and universities, I’ll spell it out for you just the same.

1) There are no important events in my typical day. Sure, I could waste your time and precious bandwidth with the mundane details of some vocational hassle, a crude tidbit or twenty about a sickening entertainment industry encounter, but really, why would you want that kind of thing when you can catch up on thrilling stuff like this?

2) I have no original thoughts to convey whatsoever. Once upon a time, perhaps, but one of the (few) benefits of reduced THC consumption and/or no longer being surrounded by sycophants is learning that not every thought that pops into one’s skull oughta be documented and shared with the world.

That said, I’m happy to live vicariously through the exploits and excesses of others. One of the (few) benefits of spending lots of time in airport terminals is that all social graces and sense of personal space have been flushed down the toilet. I’m not bemoaning this fact —- I’m already on record as saying those who complain about other people’s cell phone calls oughta find another atrocity to complain about. And if all overheard conversations were nearly as hot as the one I listened in on this afternoon, well, I might never go home.

“Look, we’re not the police department. We’re not the fire department. That sort of thing is really none of our business until someone sues”

“Did you hear what I said? Do I have to fucking repeat myself? We’re not the fucking police department. We’ve got a job to do and I expect you to do it and leave the law enforcement to the professionals. ”


(for christ’s sake, don’t make him come back to the office and speak to you in person)

“Let’s get back to the real point here. Are you happy that Sharon doesn’t know what she is doing? Does it bother you at all that we’re paying $450 in finance charges because she can’t do her job? It should bother you. It bothers me. It bothers me that I have to explain this to you over and over again.

“So you’re saying that if I’m not physically in the office, I don’t have a right to complain about this stuff? Please tell that isn’t what you’re saying, ’cause I can find someone else who will give me a better answer.”

Princess A-Rod “Couldn’t Care Less” About Subway Series

Posted in Baseball at 12:31 pm by

The New York Post’s George King depicts the Bronx Bombers as being decidedly blase about this weekend’s trio of games at Shea Stadium.

Yes, the games count. Sure, the aging stadium in Queens will be alive. But the juice went out of Yankee-Mets in October of 2000 when the Yankees won the World Series, 4-1, over the Mets. When Mike Piazza’s fly nestled into Bernie Williams’ glove for the final out, the regular season Subway Series became irrelevant in the Yankees’ eyes. They beat the Mets easily in the World Series. What could six games in the summer mean?

“Last year I got caught up in it because it was my first one,” Alex Rodriguez said of the Subway Series in which he went 0-for-11 in the three games at Shea. “This year I could care less.”

You’d think a guy who is at the gym every morning at 7am while his peers are nursing hangovers or taking their kids to school would muster up a little more enthusiasm for this series, particularly when his team are still 5 1/2 games out of first place in the AL East. Then again, when you’ve won as many World Championships as Alex Rodriguez (I can’t remember the exact total but I’m pretty sure it ends with a zero), you can’t get too excited over this sort of thing.

We shouldn’t expect Rodriguez or any of the Yankees to be cutting promos like Ric Flair, but if the Princess can’t get pumped up about playing to a full house, at least half of whom think he sucks, maybe he’s in the wrong business.

Raissman Lauds Rose & Cohen, Lambastes Waldman & Sterling

Posted in Baseball, Sports Radio at 11:09 am by


(John Sterling, after stupidly leaving the cage open, describes a child’s escaped budgie as “high, far, gone, etc.” but can’t determine if it was flying towards right or left field)

The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman is a lot of things, but he’s not deaf.

Even if the Mets get swept over the weekend, even if the Yankees go on to win their 27th World Series in October, there is one area in which the Mets hold a decided advantage over this historic and revered franchise.

And that is in the broadcast booth. Television and radio.

This is the undisputed truth. The advantage is so clear-cut that in recent years the Mets have actually fired broadcasters – Tim McCarver and Gary Thorne – who are better than most current Yankee voices.

Even an unprecedented in-season, interleague broadcasters trade – tonight Suzyn Waldman works with Gary Cohen in the sixth inning on WFAN and Howie Rose joins John Sterling in the Yankees’ WCBS-AM radio booth – in no way tips the balance of talent or power.

Balance. A key word in this equation. The Mets’ TV and radio booths are not total propaganda organs for Fred (Skill Sets) Wilpon. The same cannot be said for Steinbrenner’s Al Yankzeera and Radio Al Yank.

Of course there are extreme exceptions on both ends of the totem pole. The Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network has straight-shooting Jim Kaat, the top analyst in town. The Mets, on the Madison Square Garden Networks (MSG/FSNY), have the dubious distinction of employing the annoying Fran Healy.

So, if you like, toss out these high and low cards.

The Mets still hold more aces.

On the radio, the Mets have the best baseball broadcast booth in the city – Cohen and Rose. They exemplify a Mets philosophy going back to the team’s origins. Mets brass has always placed a premium on play-by-play skills.

In Rose and Cohen, they have virtuoso performers. They are never behind a play. There is never a need for recapitulation. Both men, who are also Mets historians, have showed why you did not have to play the game professionally to analyze it.

Cohen and Rose never talk down to listeners. They don’t treat us like morons. They are never shy about ripping the Mets – or a player – when necessary. Sometimes their egos do surface, showing us they ain’t perfect. Cohen’s distaste for the Yankees, which will be on display tonight, can be extreme and petty. But you never feel cheated after listening to a Mets game on the radio. Fans always come away entertained and informed.

It’s the same old song – literally – in the Yankees’ WCBS-AM booth where Sterling croons with Waldman. Sterling’s shtick has been well-chronicled. A Yankee radiocast is more about Sterling’s style – and signature calls – than substance. His affected play-by-play cadence often leaves him trailing a play. With Sterling, there is excitement, but absolutely no balance.

In her rookie season, Waldman does have chemistry with Sterling (he’s not as condescending or pompous) but she clearly is still trying to find her way in terms of providing the analytical asphalt to fill Sterling’s potholes.

Heyman Breaks Down The Subway Series

Posted in Baseball at 10:58 am by

I’ll not bother quoting Jon Heyman’s latest Newsday column at length — suffice to say he’s got his favorite targets in both the Bronx and Flushing, and they get the expected treatment. But here’s what Heyman had to say about Pedro Martinez, supposedly scheduled to start Sunday afternoon’s tilt against Carl Pavano.

At least Pedro Martinez still leads his league in strikeouts, even after that last outing in which he was reduced to throwing 83-mph fastballs (yes, that was the actual reading on Mark Grudzielanek’s monster home run).

The hip injury that reduced Pedro to prep-school levels is a worry. But Martinez still has a lot in that unique arsenal of his, including his otherworldly changeup and curveball and that good-luck bright orange suit of his.

Heyman has been in a constant loop on “Sportscenter” since late last night, suggesting that Pedro’s injury is far worse than the Mets are admitting.

Hardcore Journalism With Joe Buck

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 10:50 am by

Fox is about to start its nationally broadcast slate of MLB action tomorrow, and when he isn’t dissing Tim McCarver, the Orlando Post Sentinel’s Scott Andera drags this gem out of Joe Buck.


(Mr. Know-It-All and his young partner share a laugh over the latter’s great press).

Don’t expect Buck and McCarver to dwell on steroids Saturday. Buck says he and McCarver never intentionally ignore a hot topic, but with no new developments, the two and Goren all feel talking in-depth about it turns to overkill.

“We don’t take things so seriously that people are looking to Joe Buck and Tim McCarver to tell them our heavy thoughts on issues like this,” Buck said. “If I’m at home listening to that, I’d turn it off, hit the mute button or start playing Xbox.”

And no network wants that.

Funny, Joe had no problem editorializing like a madman when Randy Moss feigned dropping his trousers against Green Bay last winter, but I guess some thoughts are heavier than others. I’m not sure which is a scarier vision, Buck’s impression of a sports audience that wants to remain ignorant, or Buck going fragtastic while playing Halo 2.

05.19.05

Stern Doesn’t Punk Out During Congressional Hearing

Posted in Basketball at 11:22 pm by

Congressman Stephen Lynch (R-MA), feel free to commiserate with Jeff Van Gundy and Billy Hunter. You’ve just been posterized, rhetorically, by David Stern. From the New York Times’ Dave Curtis and Richard Lenzin Jones :

The most heated exchange occurred after Representative Stephen F. Lynch, Democrat of Massachusetts, asked why the N.B.A., “given the connection between aggressive behavior and steroid use and your policies,” did not test the players on the Detroit Pistons and the Indiana Pacers who were involved in a fight with each other and fans in November.

“You don’t know – you don’t test the players,” Lynch said of the N.B.A.’s failure to determine whether steroid use played in role.

Stern (above) told Lynch that just because the league did not know for sure if the players involved had used steroids, that did not mean that they were guilty of taking them.

“And the reality is,” Stern added, “it worries me greatly if the absence of testing for any body – including the members of Congress – would somehow be used to say, ‘Well, if you don’t have it, that’s proof that it must exist,’ and then referring to a policy as pathetic.

“On behalf of the players of the National Basketball Association, I would like to say that the guilt you seek to attribute to them on the basis of this policy is ill-taken and very unfair.”

Charity Begins On The Bowery

Posted in Rock Und Roll at 6:08 pm by

Billboard.com’s Peter Romero reports that CBGB owner Hilly Kristal is working on a summer benefit tour to raise funds for his threatened venue.

Among the names dropped by Kristal as possible participants, David Byrne, Patti Smith, Green Day and the Beastie Boys.

While this would truly be a bill worthy of a high ticket price at some massive outdoor venue, it would only be fitting if the superstar talent turned up to find that Bill Popp & The Tapes, the Shirts, Rude Buddha and Genya Raven had been added, thus cutting everyone’s set to a length of no more than 15 minutes.


(David Byrne, overjoyed to be sharing a dressing room with Ray Cappo)

Kolb Can’t Close, Braves Opt For Committe

Posted in Baseball at 6:08 pm by

If you’re a Mets or Nationals fan wondering how your team has managed to stay within striking distance of the Braves, consider sending a candygram to desposed reliever Danny Kolb. From the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s David O’Brien.

The longest Braves road trip of the season is turning into the most brutal two weeks of Dan Kolb’s career.

The Braves closer lost his job after blowing another save — and another potential win for John Smoltz — when Kolb allowed two runs in the ninth inning of a 3-2 loss to the San Diego Padres on Tuesday.

Manager Bobby Cox said Wednesday that Kolb (above, 1-4, 6.48 ERA) would move to middle relief and the Braves would “piece together” the closer role by committee.

“It’s building a little too much,” the manager said, referring to the late-inning meltdowns in general and to the scrutiny on Kolb, who has blown two saves on the trip and three in 13 opportunities this season. “We need to straighten it out before it explodes. That’s what we’re doing.”

The Braves didn’t need a closer Wednesday when the Padres beat them 8-4 to complete a three-game sweep. Atlanta dropped to 3-6 on a 12-game trip that concludes with a weekend series at Boston.

Atlanta blew eighth- or ninth-inning leads in four losses on the trip.

Cox said any other reliever could be used in ninth-inning situations for the immediate future, depending on matchups, who’s rested and who’s hot..

Kolb, who is a $3.4 million middle reliever until further notice, looked distraught after Cox met with him Wednesday morning. “You’ve just got to respect what he says,” Kolb said, looking away as he answered a reporter’s questions. “He’s trying to do what’s best for the team.”

Kolb blew two saves in six days, costing Smoltz two potential wins.

First batters are hitting .231 with a .474 on-base percentage against Kolb, after hitting .177 with a .219 OBP against Smoltz during the 2002-04 seasons.

Kolb said after walking Ryan Klesko to start the ninth Tuesday, “Leadoff walks don’t bother me. I’m a ground ball pitcher; I can get double plays.”

He has the fourth-highest ERA among NL relievers, second-highest walks rate (16 in 16 2/3 innings), and fourth-worst baserunners-per-nine-innings (18.4).

Upskirt Enthusiast’s Technical Difficulties

Posted in Fashion at 5:42 pm by

From Wednesday’s New York Daily News.

A “panty cam” under an upper East Side subway grate has proved a bust.

The camera, planted at 88th St. and Lexington Ave., wasn’t set up properly, a police source said yesterday. The only images found on the device were old, grainy pictures of a school recital. Nothing sexual.

No one has been arrested, but police are focusing on subcontractors doing electrical work at the site, the source said. “It’s not a stretch to think these guys are there and one of them brings a gizmo from home and says, ‘Hey, we can plant this thing and maybe catch a woman without underwear,’” he said.

OK, now my mind is well and truly blown. There are women walking around Manhattan without underwear? And the police are hunting for someone who was unsuccessful in taking their pictures?

Surely the Daily News could step up and establish a fund to purchase underthings for those not fortunate enough to possess a pair.

Ugly Guy’s Ugly Pitching Line

Posted in Baseball at 4:31 pm by

The Boston Globe’s Chris Snow on the Sultan Of Sloth, David Wells and his miserable outing yesterday against Oakland.

Bunt single. Single. Single. Fielder’s choice. Sacrifice fly. Double. Single. Single. Fly out. Line out. Single. Single. Home run. And one maddening walk — off the mound, and into the dugout.

No sooner did David Wells rejoin the Red Sox pitching staff was he gone, lifted after 1 1/3 innings, nine hits, and seven runs yesterday in his return to the rotation, three weeks to the day after going on the disabled list with a sprained plantar fascia ligament in his right foot. He put the Sox in a 7-0 hole, which deepened to 13-2 before they pulled within 13-6, matching their largest deficit in defeat this season.

”It multiplied and got out of hand,” manager Terry Francona said, summarizing Wells’s outing. ”Once [Eric] Chavez hits the home run, 7-0, it seems silly to keep [Wells] out there any longer.”

Wells took the loss (his fourth in six starts), took the ERA hit (his climbed to 6.75), and took no interest in whether he might have been better served making a rehabilitation start with Pawtucket.

”I’m going to let you guys write what you want,” said the lefthander, who turns 42 tomorrow. ”I’m not going to answer any questions like that because obviously you guys think I should have. I know what I’m capable of doing. Because the game looked bad today, you guys are going to decide I needed one.”

On top of his base pay of $2.5 million, Wells’s contract pays him $200,000 for each start from 11 to 20 and $300,000 for each start from 21 to 30. Asked if he came back when he did to maximize his number of major league starts, given his age and the mileage on his body, Wells said, ”You write what you want. Anything else?”

I wasn’t there, but I can think of a few follow-up questions for Mr. Wells.

“Are you drunk right now?”
“Have you seen ‘Unleashed’ yet?”
“If Psycodrama and No Trend were both drowning and you could only save one of them, which would it be?”

VCR Alert : Michael Kay Visits The Center Of Steinbrenner’s Mind

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 11:55 am by

In a programing move that should forever squash the notion that the YES Network serves as a propaganda arm for the Yankee empire, Michael Kay’s 90 minute conversation with George Steinbrenner will be aired this Sunday at 5pm, EST.

I wonder if the number of times the names “Nixon”, “Spira” or “Winfield” are uttered will be greater than zero.

Isiah & Nate To Mate?

Posted in Basketball at 11:33 am by

I’ll apologize in advance for the above headline. I have a splitting headache and fighting off all the Xanax spam in the comments section isn’t helping matters. The New York Post’s Marc Berman touts Seattle’s Nate McMillan as the Knicks’ most recent coaching candidate.

The Sonics are one loss away from playoff elimination, trailing the Spurs 3-2 in their second-round battle. Thomas knows McMillan (above) is a longshot with Phil Jackson, with indications he wants to stay put in Seattle.

However, money talks and Thomas already has an in. He and McMillan share the same agent, Lonnie Cooper. Undoubtedly, Thomas will call Cooper and the Sonics to gauge interest when Seattle’s season ends.

Recent reports from Seattle estimated McMillan would seek a contract starting at $4 million per. Since the Knicks were willing to give Jackson $10 million per, they might get a bargain in McMillan and still outbid the Sonics. Seattle also could be in a disorganized state since its GM Rick Sund, too, is not under contract.

Berman also writes that John Starks will likely represent New York on the dais during next Tuesday’s NBA Draft Lottery.
The Knicks don’t have enough balls in the lottery as is, so what’s one fewer?

Mets Groundskeeper Indicted In Gambling Probe

Posted in Baseball at 1:41 am by

I’ve read the Newsday story twice and upon finding no menton anywhere of John Franco, I’ve decided to move on.

Much as I hate to take the gloss off Tom Glavine’s 2nd consecutive quality start, nor big offensive displays by Jose Reyes (above), Mike Piazza and David Wright, when was the last time a team as fundamentally challenged as these Cincinnati Red took the field at Shea? Other than the 2004 Mets, that is. Perhaps that spending spree on Joe Randa, Kent Mercker and David Weathers wasn’t quite enough to make the Reds competitive. It might be time for Dave Miley to start a rumor that he was having an affair with the same married lady as Tony Pena —- anything to escape watching Danny Graves’ version of “relief” pitching, thus clearing the decks for Larry Bowa or whichever other masochist wants the job.

Your pitching match ups for the not-so-special Subway Series are as follows

Friday : Kevin Brown vs. Victor Zambrano (advantage : hitters from both teams)
Saturday : Randy Johnson vs. Kris Benson (advantage : websites that mention Anna Benson frequently as a cheap device to increase traffic).
Sunday : Carl Pavano vs. Pedro Martinez (advantage : a tie between websites that mention Alyssa Milano frequently as a cheap device to increase traffic and the makers of cortisone.)