Lakers Better Off Without Shaq?

Posted in Basketball at 11:53 pm by

Though I’d think Dwayne Wade’s Jordan-esque performances would be more fun to obsess over, the Palm Beach Post’s Karen Crouse suggests that the Lakers made the right choice in picking Kobe over Shaquille O’Neal.

The Heat is deep into the playoffs and The Big Diesel is in the shop. In the Heat’s Eastern Conference semifinal four-game sweep of the Washington Wizards, O’Neal sat out the first two postseason games of his 13-year career, begging the question:

Was Jerry Buss right?

Buss ” or “that old man,” as O’Neal referred to him recently in a USA Today story ” is the Lakers’ owner who decided last summer that if he couldn’t keep both his superstars, he’d go with sizzle over size.

He paid a mint to keep Kobe Bryant, who is six years younger than O’Neal, and traded O’Neal to Miami. Call him deluded ” you wouldn’t be the first ” but Buss had the feeling O’Neal was a farewell tour waiting to happen.

Instead it was the Lakers that everybody waved bye-bye to this spring after they failed to make the playoffs for the first time in 11 years. While Bryant stumbled under the weight of his ego, O’Neal led the Heat to the best regular-season record in the Eastern Conference and mentored superstar-in-waiting Dwyane Wade.

O’Neal got to crow first. But who’s to say Buss won’t end up crowing last?

It could happen. Imagine Phil Jackson returning to coach the Lakers and Bryant allowing himself to be coached and the dynamism of Jackson luring a strapping free agent, say, Cleveland’s 7-foot-3 center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, to L.A.

O’Neal’s value to the Heat has been immeasurable, his presence immense. Wade may be the engine driving the team but O’Neal is the fuel. If he’s not good to go against Detroit or Indiana in the Eastern Conference finals, it’s going to end badly for the Heat.

And then what?

During his introductory news conference last July, O’Neal promised Miami he’d deliver an NBA championship to the city.

He didn’t say when. But you have to believe that O’Neal, at age 33, is on the clock.

He dropped a lot of weight and became a devout gym-goer because he wanted to prove Buss wrong. O’Neal got himself in great shape and his body still betrayed him.

O’Neal told USA Today that Buss “is not man enough to look in the mirror and say he (messed) up.”

Not to be contrary, but maybe, just maybe, upon further reflection Buss won’t have to.

There are more holes in Crouse’s premise than there are in Charlie Pickett’s underwear. Miami are 8 wins away from their first title, and even at 70%, Shaq is more than a match for anyone the remaining field can line up against him. The Lakers have a shot-hog, psuedo GM in Kobe, a bunch of parts that don’t fit, and not nearly enough balls in the lottery.

KC Columnist Beats The Drum For Bobby V.

Posted in Baseball at 9:00 pm by

The Kansas City Star’s Joe Posnanski has made his choice for the next manager of the Kansas City Royals. So what if Bobby Valentine is already occupied as manager of the Chiba Lotte Marines?

I look at the names. Gene Lamont. Jerry Manuel. Grady Little. Fine. Decent managers. Good baseball men. But no one seems to have the boundless energy and magic to turn this thing around. No one gets the heart pumping a little bit. No one. And then a name hits me.

There is one exciting choice. There is one guy who could get all of baseball talking. There is one guy who could save the Kansas City Royals.

I pick up the phone. I dial a cell phone in Hiroshima, Japan. A voice answers. œHello. œBobby, if asked, would you come to manage the Royals? œHey, Bobby Valentine says, œare you trying to start some trouble?

Oh yeah, we need some trouble. Right here in River City. With a capital T that rhymes with V that stands for Valentine.

Why is he despised? Generally, it’s because many people in baseball find him: A. Arrogant. B. Manipulative. C. Condescending. D. All of the above.

Maybe all of that is true. Here’s what I know: Valentine is relentless. He’s funny. He’s very smart. He demands winning. His teams do win. And after 9/11, he more or less showed up at every single fund-raiser that Rudolph Giuliani could not attend.

I’ve heard enough good stories about Valentine to believe that there’s more there than The Sporting News cover, more than just the guy who wore the Groucho glasses and sneaked back into the dugout after getting ejected.

Here’s something else I know: If Valentine is really and truly hated, well, it wouldn’t hurt the Royals one bit to have the most-hated man in baseball running the team.

Right now, nobody in baseball cares about the Royals. Nobody cares if the Royals live or die. Hire Bobby Valentine. Make them care.

I think Bobby Valentine seeks a challenge. He’s 55. He’s financially set. He’s known on two continents. He’s done almost everything there is to do in baseball. Almost. But he has never pulled off a miracle. And there’s a miracle to be pulled off right here in River City.

It would not be easy to grab him. A conversation with a couple of Royals officials leads me to believe that he is not on the list. Well, put him there.

Here’s what I think Bobby Valentine would do: He would come in, work 20 hours a day, sell the Royals at every Optimists Club and breakfast meeting in the Midwest, demand good baseball, fight with all he’s got, irritate the heck out of opponents and make the Royals a factor again, in and out of Kansas City.

He isn’t just the right guy for this job. He’s the only guy. And I think if the Royals go after him, he could be had.

œYou think so? Valentine says, and he laughs. œWould I be interested? Possibly. ¦ I’ll tell you one thing. You go ahead and write it. That way, people can write in to tell you what a complete idiot you and I both are. We all need to hear that now and again.

Stark : Bonds “Immobilzed”

Posted in Baseball at 8:35 pm by

If you’ve got Barry Bonds on your fantasy baseball team, it looks like your season is over. If you’re Brian Sabean and you’ve assembled some pricey veteran talent in a last ditch attempt to win a ring for/with Barry, your season might still have life in it, if only because the NL West has a smaller talent pool than the average fantasy league. From ESPN’s Jayson Stark.

Bonds, according to a number of sources, is attached to an I.V. full of antibiotics 24 hours a day — with no end to that ordeal in sight.

There is no answer because Bonds is no longer dealing with the aftermath of “just” a baseball injury or “just” a knee operation. He is dealing with a potentially serious post-operative infection that has him essentially immobilized for the foreseeable future.

So there is no timeline for Bonds’ rehab, because right now, there is no rehab. Bonds’ case is in the hands of Dr. Robert Armstrong, an infectious disease specialist. And that won’t change until Dr. Armstrong is certain the infection is completely absent.

That could be a matter of days, but it also could be a matter of weeks. Infections to the knee are particularly precarious — because of the risk of infection to the bone itself — and it’s believed that Bonds’ medical team plans to be extra cautious before deciding to clear him to resume his rehab.

By then, however, Bonds might be so weakened by several weeks of nearly total immobility that his rehab almost certainly will be significantly longer than the normal four-to-six-week schedule that faces most patients following arthroscopic knee surgery.

McLane’s False Economy

Posted in Baseball at 5:14 pm by

In the midst of an otherwise unrevelatory piece on the possibility of Roger Clemens escaping the going-nowhere Astros this summer, the Daily News’ Anthony McCarron coaxed this gem out of Houston owner Drayton McLane (above).

Clemens, 42, said he would retire after the 2003 season, but decided to sign with his hometown Astros after Andy Pettitte did. Clemens won his seventh Cy Young award last season, then hedged last winter before deciding to return. He signed a one-year deal for $18 million.

In ’04, he made $6.8 million, and the Astros enjoyed a bump in attendance from 2.45 million to 3.09 million.

Clemens has a special arrangement with the Astros that allows him to follow his own schedule. If he is not pitching during a road series, he has the option of staying in Houston. The pitcher enjoyed being able to watch his four sons play sports last season. “Roger helped revitalize baseball in Houston,” McLane said. “He is a vital part of our franchise.”

I hope you’re all paying attention. The 42 year old Clemens, making $18 million this season, is “a vital part” of the Astros, despite his tenure in a Houston uniform lasting all of a season and 6 weeks. Carlos Beltran, widely credited with getting the Astros to the brink of the World Series last season, was considered a poor investment compared to Clemens’ pact, or the contract extension given to OF Lance Berkman (who showed his commitment to the team by tearing up his knee playing flag football over the winter).

A neighbor of mine attended opening weekend at Minute Maid Park and brought back one of the Astros’ giveaway calendars. The smiling mugs of Clemens, Berkman, Biggio, Bagwell and Pettitte adorn the front cover.

The Houston Chronicle claims that Hispanics are nearly 40% of Houston’s population. I’m not suggesting that any portion of that population is more likely to attend Astros games merely because the club makes an effort to retain Hispanic players, any more than trading the halfway capable Richard Hidalgo for the downright diabolical David Weathers was racially motivated. I figure Hispanic baseball fans are like any other group of fans — they’d prefer to see a team that doesn’t suck. Tom House got his ass kicked for paying A-Rod $25 million a year, a figure that supposedly made it impossible to field a competitive team. McLane’s deal with Clemens seems to escape such scrutiny (and at least A-Rod played every day, as did Beltran).

In today’s Chronicle, former Astros manager Larry Dierker mounts a spirited defense of McLane, but I wouldn’t mind reading ex-GM Gerry Hunsicker’s take on the whole thing.

Acclaim For Pitcher That Shut Down Benji Gill

Posted in Baseball at 4:51 pm by

The Mets’ Norfolk affiliate was no-hit this past Sunday, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Paul Meyer is tipping the young hurler in question for a bright future.

There are people in the Pirates’ front office — and some major-league scouts — who believe Ian Snell’s long-range major-league niche will be in the bullpen.

Snell (above), however, continued to advance his case that he should at least get some consideration as a big-league starter.

Snell, a right-hander, pitched a no-hitter Sunday against Class AAA Norfolk, giving Indianapolis a 4-0 victory at Victory Field.

Snell threw strikes with 72 of his 101 pitches, walked one and struck out nine in pitching the Indians’ first no-hitter since May 24, 1974 (Tom Carroll, who later pitched for Cincinnati).

“It was impressive,” Indianapolis manager Trent Jewett said. “His fastball was setting up his slider. He maybe threw 10 percent changeups. The changeup is the least [polished] of his three pitches, but it did have some effectiveness and he used it.

“This kid looks like a major-league starter to me — especially if that changeup keeps coming.”

The knock against Snell is his stamina. People think that at 5 feet 11 and 180 pounds he won’t have the strength to hold up as a big-league starter.

“Ian had amazing stuff [Sunday],” Indianapolis pitching coach Darold Knowles said. “He seemed to get stronger as the game went on. He kept his velocity in the mid-90 [mph range] the entire afternoon. Not too many guys have that kind of stamina.”

“There was nothing cheap about it,” Jewett said of the no-hitter. “And he pitched it against what I consider the second-best hitting team in [the International League behind Columbus]. Norfolk has some veteran hitters — Brian Daubach, Gerald Williams, Benji Gil. It was a great performance.”

Weaver Pitching B.P.

Posted in Baseball at 4:08 pm by

I don’t wanna scare any Dodger fans, but the Miquel Cabrera HR ball that someone in the Chavez Ravine bleachers just threw back on the field had more zip on the return trip than Jeff Weaver managed in his delivery to the plate. Cabrera, Damion Easley and Carlos Delgado have each teed off on Weaver, who looks as though someone just spilled bongwater all over his futon.

Herb Thinks The Job Is His

Posted in Basketball at 12:33 pm by

From the New York Post’s Marc Berman.

A self-assured Herb Williams said yesterday he believes he’ll still be the Knicks head coach next season. Williams claims Isiah Thomas has not told him such, but he’s getting good signals.

Williams is even considering installing more triangle-offense principles next season after going to a coaching clinic last weekend in Seattle run by Phil Jackson’s former aide and triangle guru, Tex Winter.

“I feel confident right now,” Williams said. “To be honest with you, I always have. Right now I’m going about my duties as if I’m the head coach.

“They haven’t took my pass to the gym yet. My keys still work in my office. I’m still feeling pretty good. When I come up to the gate and I flash my pass and it doesn’t open, I’ll know what’s going on.”

Sports Bosses Pledge Tougher Sanctions On ‘Roid Abuse…

Posted in Medical Science at 9:49 am by

…though the best part was when Gary Bettman promised to shut down his entire league the minute anyone tests positive.

It’s nice that MLS’ Don Garber was invited, but I’ve got to wonder if the supremos behind NASCAR, rodeo, indoor lacrosse, arena football or roller derby are relieved or insulted.

‘Net S&M Fiend’s Dad Pines For WSJ Coverage

Posted in The Law at 2:01 am by

Most persons over the age of 18 have a passing familiarity with the notion of shame, so I can understand why being photographed on your way to arrangement on charges of internet sex crimes would be a drag. But the time honored perp-walk practice of covering one’s head with a coat only serves to say to the public, “fuck, I’m guilty.” As does having your elderly parents spazz out on the reporters. . From the New York Daily News’ John Marzulli.

Marcus is confined to his parents’ North Woodmere home and his father was forced to surrender his home computer. His parents stood by their son yesterday, posting their home to get him out of jail and lashing out at reporters as they left Brooklyn Federal Court.

“Go to hell!” Belle Marcus, 76, snarled from under a coat covering her head.

“Are you from The Wall Street Journal?” Gerald Marcus, 76, a hedge fund manager, asked a photographer. “I want to be in The Wall Street Journal. That’s my comment. Now get lost!”

Later, the father swatted a Daily News photographer with a cardboard box.

‘Roid Raging Romo Reveals Softer Side

Posted in Gridiron at 1:45 am by

“At the core, I compromised my integrity to become the best I could be, to perform at the highest level possible,” Romanowski said. “Deep down inside, I’m a kind, loving person that really enjoys people. I have a big heart and I always want to help people.”

Well, that explains why he spat in an opponent’s face or how Bill managed to break a teammate’s jaw. But I still don’t understand how illegal drugs made it easier for Romo to perform in the remake of “The Longest Yard”. Watching the film, sure, but not acting in it.

(a lot of wives aren’t lucky enough to have husbands who can introduce them to a life of pill-peddling / helping people, but clearly, Bill and Julie Romanowski are made for each other)

Tall Task Facing The Pacers

Posted in Basketball at 1:28 am by

The numbers don’t lie. 4 minutes. One rebound. Three points. If Indiana can’t stop Darko Milicic, there’s no ring for Reggie and plenty of time for everyone else to catch up on what’s been happening with Ron Artest’s record labe, hunt for Gizmos rarities, etc. l.

(due to the paucity of Darko action shots from last night’s game, CSTB instead presents a jpeg of competent role-player, Ben Wallace).

Braden Thrown For A Loop, Kaz No. 1 and No. 2 Shine

Posted in Baseball at 1:14 am by

If Kaz Ishii keeps pitching the way he did last night, the Mets will unretire Jason Phillips’ jersey. If Kaz Matsui (above) continues to come through in the clutch, he’ll only have to learn how to play 2nd base to stop the booing.

The New York Times’ Jack Curry on the Mets’ new closer controversy.

Willie Randolph, the Mets’ first-year manager, promised himself that he would be flexible about using closers, and he proved it last night by inserting Dae Sung Koo instead of the team’s regular closer, Braden Looper, in the ninth. But Randolph’s decision produced a sticky inning and might make him more cautious about trying it again.

With three left-handed hitters up for the Cincinnati Reds, Randolph used the left-handed Koo instead of Looper, a right-hander. Koo allowed two of the three batters to reach base, so Randolph had to summon Looper after all. Looper recorded two outs and saved the Mets and Randolph in their 2-1 victory.

Randolph said he told Looper about a month ago that there might be games where he would use Koo against lefty hitters in the ninth. Although Looper recalled the discussion, he still seemed jarred about being bypassed for a pitcher who has now allowed 20 base runners in 11 2/3 innings.

“I’m not an angry person,” Looper said. “I think surprised is a better word. I’m more disappointed. I’m not sure what the word is. I wanted to be in the game.”

In choosing Koo to pitch to Sean Casey, Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn, Randolph was relying on a modest statistical sample. Casey was 0 for 3 off both Koo and Looper. Griffey was 1 for 3 with two strikeouts against Koo and 3 for 6 with a homer against Looper. Dunn struck out twice in his at-bats versus Koo and was 2 for 6 with two homers versus Looper.

The numbers favored Koo, but Randolph said, “I always try to trust my instincts.”

Looper, who has nine saves in his last nine chances, was hovering around Randolph’s office after the game. It was unclear if they met. Looper repeatedly said he was not the one to decide who pitches the ninth, but it was obvious he expected it to be him.

“Looper is good, and he’s my guy and our guy,” Randolph said. “I got a lot of confidence in him. Who knows? Even if I had Mariano, I might have done that.”

When reporters politely chuckled at Randolph’s claim that he might have used Koo ahead of the Yankees’ Rivera, who is among the best closers in baseball history, Randolph asked if they believed him. No one did.

Looper was interviewed by WFAN’s Ed Coleman after the game and expressed more than a little frustration that he wasn’t asked to start the 9th inning. While acknowledging that this was the manager’s call, Looper did argue that his numbers this season are unduly tainted by the opening day collapse against the Reds (which, the last time we checked, was a loss that counted in the standings).


Greatest Goner Bulletin Board Thread Of The Past Month

Posted in Dogs at 8:10 pm by

Kinda like using a focus group, except cheaper.

C-Webb To Stephen A. : Blame O’Brien

Posted in Basketball at 4:07 pm by

It’s 70 degrees and sunny inside Stephen A. Smith’s skull any time an NBA superstar confides in the Philly Inquirer columnist that a) Allen Iverson is a beautiful person and b) Jim O’Brien sucks.

If it’s true that Chris Webber resorted to old form, running his mouth much better than we saw him running the floor in the last 21 games of the 76ers’ regular season and in the playoffs, mere criticism is too good for him. He needs to be insulted. Excoriated. Dragged through basketball purgatory for insulting a superstar who made Webber look much better than his own health would allow.

“But none of it is true,” Webber said yesterday in a telephone interview.

Webber was talking about a report in Sunday’s New York Daily News that had him wanting out of Philadelphia. It said Webber confided in a friend that he wanted out because of Allen Iverson, because the Sixers’ mercurial star dribbles too much, and that he would be willing to take a cut from his remaining $62 million over the next three years to do so.

It never mentioned coach Jim O’Brien as a reason, either.

“I’m telling you I never said that b.s. about A.I.,” Webber said vehemently over and over again, adding that he already had called Iverson. “I love A.I. I love being back East. I’ve got no problems with Allen and I don’t know where the hell anybody got that from.

“I have a problem with me. I’ve got a problem with the fact that I can’t run the way I used to, that my legs aren’t as strong as they need to be, that my game isn’t where it needs to be for me to be what I used to be. And that’s what I’m determined to work on.

“My plan is to take two weeks off. After that, I’m back in the gym working on my body, getting in tip-top shape so I can show this town what I’m all about. As for all that talk about me saying something about A.I., that’s a… lie. The person I have the biggest problem with is me.”

Talking about Iverson won’t get Webber anywhere in a town whose credo runs one word shy of Janet Jackson’s “What Have You Done For Me Lately?” challenge. But who knows what it eventually will do for him if he talks about O’Brien.

Webber isn’t fond of O’Brien. Plain and simple. While it’s been said that Webber mentioned Iverson’s propensity to shoot too much and always pass later near season’s end, I’ve heard it’s O’Brien he blamed for his travails. Not Iverson.

Webber believes that Iverson only does what O’Brien plans for him to do, that his desire to be a facilitator was squelched immediately upon his arrival, which set the stage for some of his struggles. He doesn’t believe that O’Brien can be talked to or reached, that the coach is even remotely interested in ingratiating himself with his players. That’s one of the reasons a few players privately intimated they would inquire about O’Brien’s future in Philadelphia once the season ended.

“Well, no player has approached me yet,” Billy King, the Sixers’ president and general manager, said yesterday after returning from a weeklong vacation. “No one has asked anything about him.”

If you’re O’Brien, that’s great news. Who knows what it is for Iverson? And if you’re Webber, one of two things is happening right now:

You’re bordering on misery, or you are preoccupied with acting lessons to hide it very well.

Benson Bounces Back, Wilson Wiped Out

Posted in Baseball at 3:29 pm by

Coming on the heels of sad displays against Matt Morris, Jason Marquis and Mark Prior, Cincy’s Paul Wilson was like a tonic for the Mets’ bats, those of Kaz Matsui, Jose Reyes and Mike Piazza in particular. Of all the no. 1 starters who have struggled thus far in ’05 (Schilling, Brown, Zito, etc.), Wilson, the Reds’ opening day pitcher, has perhaps been the most disappointing.

Lloyd McClendon’s favorite guy, Kris Benson, had his first decent start of the season and offered a glimmer hope that his massive new pact with New York might not be a mistake of Glavine-esque proportions.

The New York Times’ Lee Jenkins and Ken Belson on Kaz Matsui.

Just as American players in Japan are often viewed more critically than natives, Matsui is getting little sympathy in New York. He batted a respectable .272 last season and has a higher batting average than Mike Piazza this year, yet he has become the biggest target for frustrated fans since Roger Cedeño was chased out of New York.

When Matsui says that he does not regret signing with the Mets and believes the jeers have nothing to do with his being Japanese, it is hard to tell if he is being serious or diplomatic.

Without denying that Matsui might be an easier for target for some based on his nationality, it is also true that players who sign gigantic free agent contracts and are touted as saviors are often viewed more critically.

Rickey Who? Oil Can’s Revival

Posted in Baseball at 2:30 pm by

The Boston Herald’s Matt Murphy on the unlikely return of a local pitching legend.

His father, Willie James Boyd Sr., played against Satchel Paige as a member of the Meridian White Sox, and his uncle, Mike Boyd, was the Hall of Famer’s teammate on the Hattiesburg Black Sox.

Oil Can Boyd (above), his family’s deep tradition in the Negro Leagues considered, always has had great appreciation and knowledge of baseball, Paige in particular.

But as the former Red Sox [stats, schedule] right-hander, now a graying 45, made his first professional appearance of any sort in seven years last night for the Brockton Rox against Worcester in a Can-Am League exhibition game, the old legend had grown some legs.

“He is Satchel Paige,” said Rich Gedman, Boyd’s old Red Sox catcher and now the manager of his hometown Worcester Tornadoes.

It all seemed a bit surreal last night for Boyd, who struck out three and allowed just a hit and two walks in three solid innings of the Rox’ 17-5 win. He threw 43 pitches in his first appearance since 1997, when he played for the Lynn Mad Dogs and another old friend, George Scott.

“(Gedman) came in here before the game and told me, `Do what you do best,’ and that’s something he used to tell me 20 years ago,” said Boyd, seated in front of his locker wrapped in a towel with the book “The Mental Game of Baseball” in his hand.

As if he needed any help with the mental aspect now, after a career that has carried Boyd from Boston to Mexico and back, with long stops in his native Mississippi. That’s where Boyd was the past five years, attempting and failing to find backers for a minor league baseball franchise in Meridian.

“We had a lot of doors slammed in our face while we tried to get this going,” said Boyd, who has no doubt that race was at the root of his troubles. “That was probably 85 percent of it. The people there knew us very well, but these are people who don’t want to change.”

That quest likely is not finished, but the good news is that his right arm, thanks to years of weight training and rehabilitation, is strong again. He does not have the dead-arm sensation that marked his time in Mexico in the mid ’90s, or the troubling blood clots that surfaced towards the end of his Red Sox career.

“I love how my arm feels,” Boyd said. “It feels rejuvenated. I’m as good a pitcher. My body says so, my mind says so, and they work together pretty good.”

Boyd was untouchable last night against Worcester, and when he pitched around two second-inning walks, he hopped off the mound while pumping his fist on the way to the dugout, just like at Fenway.

His pitches have the same names too – the curveball he calls the “Yellow Hammer,” and the screwball he calls the “Backdoor Screwgee.”

Boyd used them all.

“It was fun to see the lefties going for my straight change again,” he said with a laugh. “I threw two screwballs, one for a strike and one for a ball. All my pitches had good location. There was a little twinge in my hammy that wouldn’t let me get the fastball down, but I felt good. I may have overthrown a bit trying to show you guys that I can still do it.

“I got some runners on base in the second inning, but I didn’t scare. . . . I just love to pitch. Throwing a ball 95 mph has little to do with getting people out. I threw in the high 80s tonight, and it was enough to get anyone out.”

Bloated Analyst Kruks Up Again

Posted in Baseball at 2:22 pm by

From the Miami Herald’s Clark Spencer (link courtesy Fishstripes)

ESPN Baseball Tonight analyst John Kruk tried to contact Jim Mecir on Monday to apologize for comments he made about the Marlins reliever on Sunday’s show.

Kruk, apparently unaware that Mecir was born with club feet and walks with a slight limp, questioned the Marlins for bringing in what appeared to him to be an injured pitcher.

Mecir, who gave up five runs in Sunday’s loss to the Padres, is not injured.

Crazy Like A Fox

Posted in Racism Corner at 2:09 pm by

No truth to the rumor, then, that President Fox has been invited to throw out the first pitch at the Long Island Ducks game against Nashua this Friday night.

Dibble, Kennedy, Vouch For Their Illiteracy

Posted in Baseball, Sports Radio at 1:01 pm by

On their daily XM yackfest yesterday, Kevin Kennedy and Rob Dibble fielded a call from a particularly long-winded acolyte who professed to being halfway through Michael Lewis’ “Moneyball”, though unimpressed (as though said tome had a particular doctrine to follow). “Have you guys read it?” asked Mr. First Time/Long Time.

“Ah….no.” replied Dibs.

“I haven’t read the book….and I have no desire to do so,” said Kennedy, adding “but I’ve talked with Eric Karros who told me that if he knew what kind of things were going on in Oakland, he never would have signed with them last season. He couldn’t believe they were running a baseball team.”

Karros, by the way, hit .194, with an OBP of .243 and a slugging percentage of .311 in 40 games for the Athletics last season. Clearly, this distinguished vet was the victim of discrimination on the part of laptop wielding stat-freaks. His failure to catch on with another club is just another example of the Beane/Lewis cabal’s ability to blackball the kind of guys whose attributes can’t so easily be measured on a spreadsheet.

Kauffman On Glazer

Posted in Football at 12:48 pm by

(who’s afraid of a Charlie Steiner lookalike?)

From the Miami Herald’s Michelle Kauffman.

With all due respect to the passionate soccer fans in England, aren’t Manchester United supporters going a little overboard by burning effigies of owner-to-be Malcolm Glazer? Are they really giving the man a fair chance when they burn their ticket-renewal forms before the ink has dried on Glazer’s takeover bid?

And what about all this anti-Yankee stuff? Is that really necessary? Must one be European to own a soccer club or decide to participate in the world’s favorite sport? Would Dolphins fans be as outraged if a rich British businessman one day bought their beloved team? Doubtful.

Sure, anytime a new owner takes over a team there is reason for concern. There is legitimate concern ticket prices could soar, management will be shaken up, and, in this case, there is a chance manager Sir Alex Ferguson could walk if he doesn’t like what he sees.

But so far, the Glazer family has done nothing to indicate any of those things will happen. Maybe, just maybe, Glazer will turn out to be like Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, the Russian tycoon who never had stepped foot on that club’s hallowed grounds before taking over a few years ago. Nobody is complaining about Abramovich, who poured mega-bucks into his team and is a big reason Chelsea now sits in first place in the Premier League — two spots ahead of Manchester United.

Besides, the Glazers have done wonders for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, turning a team that was once the laughingstock of the NFL (I know firsthand, having covered them for three years) into a Super Bowl champion. Analysts estimate the Bucs’ value has quadrupled to $779 million under Glazer’s ownership.

Opposition to Glazer’s ownership has less to do with his lineage (if Kauffman was paying attention she’d recall the outcry over Rupert Murdoch’s unsuccessful attempt to purchase the club) and more to do with suspicion that the new majority shareholder will be more concerned with with maximizing profits than anything else. Which isn’t necessarily so different than life under Martin Edwards and Peter Kenyon, but better the (red) devil you know.

Presumably, Kauffman, having covered the Buccaneers, is very familiar with their descent into mediocrity after winning one Super Bowl.

The Roman Abramovich analogy doesn’t hold water. The Russian zillionaire was eyed warily at first, despite taking over from the ferociously unpopular Ken Bates. And unlike Abramovich — who until this point has spent wildly in pursuit of football and hockey trophies — Glazer isn’t coming in to rescue a club with little recent success.

Employee Wastes Valuable Company Time Scouring Psuedo-Porn Blogs At Work

Posted in Blogged Down at 11:17 am by

David Roth writes,

The long-awaited (?) sequel to the best use of a blogspot url in recent memory, that ifuckedanncoulterintheasshard bit from earlier this month.

This one involves John Cusack, Redd Kross and the supernatural. Oh, and anal.

Enjoy, and thanks as ever for keeping me informed/entertained at work.



Charlie Muse, RIP

Posted in Baseball at 11:43 pm by

Charlie Muse, inventor of the modern batting helmet, has passed away at the age of 87.

Since I couldn’t find a decent photograph of Charlie, I’m instead gracing you with a recent snapshot of former Red Sox backstop / Pudge Fisk backup Bob Montgomery, who refused to take advantage of Mr. Muse’s innovation.

P(l)ay Rickey

Posted in Baseball at 5:53 pm by

Which Rickey Henderson quotes are real and which are invented? I can no longer tell!

Best Show On TV That Doesn’t Feature Dominic West Drinking Himself Into Oblivion, Renewed

Posted in The World Of Entertainment at 4:52 pm by

Before you get all excited by today’s happy news, let it be known that my pitch to Fox executives for a remake of “The White Shadow” starring Larry Cochell in his acting debut, was quickly shot down.

C-Webb Denies Friction With Iverson

Posted in Basketball at 4:38 pm by

Good thing, too, because with Webber’s age, mobilty and salary, where’s he gonna go?