Iannazzone : Nets Want McCants

Posted in Basketball at 1:18 pm by

Once upon a time, I turned down a hot dinner invitation to stay home and watch the NBA Draft.

That’s why no one invites me to dinner anymore. The Bergen Records’ Al Iannazzone rubs his crystal balls and predicts the New Jersey Nets’ likely selections.

When the Nets pick 15th in the NBA draft tonight, they might be feeling blue. Carolina blue, that is.

Vince Carter probably loves that the Nets have fellow North Carolina products Rashad McCants (above) and Sean May on their draft board. Carter would be even happier if one of them is a Net by tonight.

According to league sources, the Nets are strongly considering taking McCants with the No. 15 pick. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard averaged 17.6 points at North Carolina, and along with May, helped the Tar Heels win the national championship.

McCants, power forwards May, Arizona State’s Ike Diogu, Connecticut’s Charlie Villanueva and Kansas’ Wayne Simien; Syracuse small forward Hakim Warrick, Louisville shooter Francisco Garcia and prep point guard Monta Ellis (a very long shot) are on the Nets’ list of potential picks, depending on how the draft plays out.

Conventional thinking says the Nets, who pick No. 43 in the second round, need a power forward. May, Diogu and Villanueva fit the bill. But the Nets plan to address that need in free agency where Shareef Abdur-Rahim is priority No. 1, then Donyell Marshall and Stromile Swift.

McCants is considered good enough to be a lottery pick, but some character issues could be the reason he’s there for the Nets at No. 15. Minnesota, which selects 14th, also was said to like him.

Rubin On The Mets’ Poor Prospects

Posted in Baseball at 12:47 pm by

The New York Daily News’ Adam Rubin casts a largely disapproving glance at the state of the New York Mets farm system…without even mentioning Benji Gill or Benito Santiago!

Say this about the latest Mets call-ups: They have experience. Jose Offerman, Gerald Williams and Brian Daubach, all promoted from Triple-A Norfolk in the past two weeks, have played a combined 37 big-league seasons.

What they don’t have is “prospect” status. And that’s a major issue, with the Mets wanting to annually infuse their roster with young talent, plus have chips for trades. While it’s not Yankee dire, one Mets official acknowledged the number of sure-fire major-leaguers is slim. Not that the promotions of the 36-year-old Offerman, 40-year-old Williams and 33-year-old Daubach suggested otherwise.

One scout responsible for the NL East, who has watched the Mets’ three highest-level farm teams, said the organization lacks a blue-chip prospect like Philadelphia first baseman Ryan Howard in the upper minors, but the overall depth – while concentrated in A-ball and in pitching – ranks in the middle among organizations.

“They’ve got kids that aren’t too bad,” the scout said. “They have as many as anyone else, expect for one other I’ve seen. I think they’re wise to call up those veterans. When you bring up the young kids, you don’t know what you’re getting and you can damage their immediate futures.”

(OF Lastings Milledge — too polite to say “please don’t trade me for Jose Mesa”, so we’re saying it for him)

Robbie, Showalter Lose Popularity Contest

Posted in Baseball at 12:03 pm by

From the Washington Post’s Bob Cohn.

Buck Showalter of the Texas Rangers and Frank Robinson of the Washington Nationals are the two worst managers in major league baseball, according to a poll of 450 players conducted by Sports Illustrated during spring training.

That would be the same Buck Showalter who was named American League manager of the year in 2004 — he also won the award in 1994 with the Yankees — and who has the Rangers in contention in the American League West. And that’s the same Frank Robinson who has Washington atop the National League East in defiance of all those last-place predictions.

What gives?

“A popularity contest,” Robinson said.

True, neither man could be called beloved. Showalter is regarded by many as a micromanager who once criticized Ken Griffey Jr. for wearing his cap backward. Robinson, during his Hall of Fame playing career, was abrasive and a fierce competitor. Now, approaching 70, he can come across as a curmudgeon.

“I rub players the wrong way,” Robinson conceded. “I get under their skin. That doesn’t bother me. I know for a fact Buck Showalter and I are not the two worst managers in baseball.”

But isn’t a manager supposed to do everything it takes to win and stand up for his players? And what about results? Robinson and Showalter are getting results. Colorado Rockies manager Clint Hurdle, among others, questioned the validity of polling athletes who carry their own agendas.

“If you’re gonna buy a car, do you talk to players?” he asked. “They’re gonna tell you to buy a car that you can’t afford.”

If only Larry Bowa were still managing, we’d see where he ended up on the list.

Inside The Mind Of Bruce Ratner

Posted in Basketball, Ugly New Stadiums at 1:56 am by

Nets owner Bruce Ratner, as interviewed by Deborah Solomon in the Sunday New York Times Magazine (link courtesy Stay Free! Daily).

Q: How do you explain the sudden vogue for stadiums and arenas? So many teams want a new home — the Mets in Queens, the Yankees in the Bronx, the Jets with their doomed project in Manhattan. And you’re building a new arena for the Nets in Brooklyn.

A: It has to do with the economics of sports. The high salaries of athletes drive the whole thing, because it creates a need for revenue. In the case of the Nets, we need an arena that has suites and luxury seating, and where you can put up advertisements all over the place.

Q: Since you’re the principal owner of the Nets and paying Vince Carter $15 million a year, why not just slash players’ salaries, lower ticket costs and preserve the old, historic stadiums?

A: Is that a joke? We have to be competitive.

Q: You and your fellow investors bought the Nets last August for $300 million. Have you always loved basketball?

A: I was never a basketball fan, but I wanted to bring a team to Brooklyn, a team that could be like the Brooklyn Dodgers. There’s something intangible that a team contributes, something as intangible as a soul.

Q: What do you think of the Meadowlands, out in Jersey, where the Nets currently play?

A: It’s hard to get to the Meadowlands if you don’t have a car. There’s no train from New York, and you can’t take the bus because when the game is done, you’ve got to wait.

Q: What’s wrong with waiting for a bus?

A :Nothing. I love waiting for buses! I love Port Authority! I spend my afternoons there! I love panhandlers!

In Ratner’s defense, if someone asked me if I thought the Meadowlands was a historic venue worth preserving, I might think it was a put-on, too.

AL East Blooper Reel – Kline Loses Mind

Posted in Baseball at 1:03 am by

Hard to pick the more ghastly highlight from Monday evening, Was it Boston’s Mark Bellhorn and Trot Nixon (above) doing their finest impersonation of. well, the New York Yankees fielders, with mind-blowing gaffes that allowed Cleveland to run roughshod over Bronson Arroyo — Bellhorn dropping a throw that shall we say, hit him the in the bad part of the glove (ie. right inside it), while Nixon turned a 7th inning deep fly by Grady Sizemore into a 2 run HR when the Boston right-fielder knocked the ball into the Indians’ bullpen.

(how many games for slugging your own skipper in the back?)

Or was it twitchy Orioles reliever Steve Kline’s 8th inning balk, putting the Yankees’ Jorge Posada in scoring position…and leaving Kline in line for a probable suspension after Mr. Formerly Filthy Cap when nuclear on home plate umpire Marty Foster (above).

The 2005 Kevin Brown Shit For Brains Award goes to Kenny Rogers of the Texas Rangers, due to miss his next start after busting a bone in his non-pitching hand while punching a water cooler. I’m weary of seeing frustrated pitchers demolish defenseless water coolers. And why couldn’t Kenny take a swing at another inanimate object, like say, Buck Showalter?

Reader B. Hogg from Decauter, GA wants to know when I’ll have something to say about Andruw Jones’ recent exploits. The Braves center fielder has carried his club over the past month and with all due respect to Derek Lee, Cliff Floyd and Dontrelle Willis, is a legit MVP candidate. So presuming you actually follow the Braves, what else is there to say other than, “it’s about time”? Haven’t you been waiting for this kind of breakout season from Jones for what, 9 years?


Ben Schwartz On Joe Borowski’s Job Security

Posted in Baseball at 11:59 pm by

Dusty Baker on Joe Borowski in Monday’s Chicago Sun-Times :

Manager Dusty Baker was asked point-blank Sunday about whether right-handed reliever Joe Borowski was at risk to be a roster cut when Kerry Wood is activated Wednesday off the disabled list to start that day against Milwaukee.

His reply should be less than comforting to Borowski.

œYou can™t really say at this point about anybody, Baker said. œThey™re still here. How would you like to hear that your job is in any kind of jeopardy while you™re still in the job?

œYou got to wait until these things happen rather than forseeing something bad happening before it happens. I can™t really answer that question.

Responds Ben Schwartz,

Dusty is reaching Donald Rumsfeldian levels of precise imprecision in his language these days, and all anybody asked him is will Joe Borowski be cut? Exactly what is Dusty trying to avoid by Wednesday? That Joe might choke before a big game that He’s Not In? Btw, “in” the job v. “on” the job?

That said, with Wood coming back into the line-up, this going to be the Cubs best shot at picking games to better lock in the wild card. It’s possible that something could happen between the all-Star break and October with the Cards, but I’m not counting on it.

Racist Fuck Is No Longer A Duck

Posted in Baseball at 6:08 pm by

He’s still a millionaire, right?

(UPDATE : the full spiel can be found at Rocker’s very impressive website. I don’t know which is hotter, that he has a link to his PR lady on the front page, or a pic of himself with a kitten)

When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Lift Weights

Posted in Baseball at 6:00 pm by

From the Associated Press :

George Steinbrenner is growing impatient, a sign that changes are ahead for the New York Yankees.

“My patience is a little short by the fact that the team is not performing up to its great capabilities,” Steinbrenner said in a statement issued by spokesman Howard Rubenstein. “The players have to want to win as much as I do.”

Rubenstein said the Yankees owner dictated the statement to him while lifting weights. Steinbrenner wouldn’t discuss the substance of the meetings.

“He hasn’t lost his fighting spirit,” Rubenstein said. “He said, ‘We’ll never give up.’ He wants this message to be conveyed.”

I’m sure Joe Torre and his players will take great inspiration from the thought of the Boss pumping iron.

Globe Owned Sox Site Vs. The Easily Offended

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 5:42 pm by

From today’s Boston Sports Media Watch :

Last Friday, Boston Dirt Dogs ran a headline “Welcome Back Tito” and under the headline was a black and white photo, presumably from the 1950′s, of a black man surrounded by a mob of white men, one of whom was kicking him in the chest. Underneath the photo was the caption “Philly Fans Greet Francona as He Returns Home”. The photo was only up for a short time before it was yanked, and then later on that night the following statement was issued on the site by Boston.com management:

Note to users: Earlier today, Boston Dirt Dogs used a photo on this page that was offensive and inappropriate. There was no malicious intent behind the posting. We removed the photo immediately, and we apologize to any users who saw it during the brief time it was on the site.

I also received copies of emails from several readers who had written in to the Boston.com general manager to protest the use of the photo, and they all received the exact same response, which was very similar to the above statement. The story was significant enough to be mentioned on the FOX25 newscast that night.

(above, the new illustration as it appears on the Dirt Dogs front page).

Mavs & Finley To Part Ways

Posted in Basketball at 5:15 pm by

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Art Garcia on the Mavericks’ plans to eliminate one of the most important players in franchise history.

Barring the unexpected, Michael Finley’s career with the Mavericks is effectively over. The financial implications of waiving the longest-tenured member of the team far outweigh keeping Finley, making his release “academic,” according to a team source.

Finley (above) is eligible to be waived under a one-time-only exception in the new collective-bargaining agreement recently agreed upon by the NBA and the players’ association. Teams above the luxury tax threshold, such as the Mavs, are permitted to release one player this summer and avoid the luxury-tax penalty from that player’s contract.

“Whatever decisions [we make] will be made in the best interest of the franchise,” Mavs coach Avery Johnson said Sunday. “That’s pretty much what we promised our players and our fans. The part of the business of losing anyone on our team isn’t a good feeling, especially Finley.”

A player released would still receive his full salary for the length of the contract and count against the salary cap, but that salary would not be used to calculate the luxury-tax penalty. In Finley’s case, he’s on the books for $51.8 million over the next three years.

Assuming the Mavs remain above the luxury-tax threshold — a safe assumption — Finley’s deal would cost the Mavs up to $103.6 million. Waiving Finley would save Mavs owner Mark Cuban up to $51.8 million in luxury-tax payments.

But that’s only part of the savings for the next three years, because Finley’s contract is substantially deferred. The Mavs would pay Finley approximately $5 million of next season’s $15.9 million salary, with the remainder spread out over a number of years. It’s a similar situation for the last two years of his deal, meaning the overall bottom-line savings for the next three seasons could fall in the $80 million range, a figure even the billionaire owner can’t ignore.

Bobby V. Sneers At WBC

Posted in Baseball at 4:10 pm by

From the Associated Press.

Bobby Valentine calls the plan for the World Baseball Classic misguided and insulting.

Major League Baseball and its players’ association have approved the 16-nation tournament, a World Cup-style event that would be played in March 2006. But the former New York Mets manager, who is currently managing in Japan, is not sold on the idea and thinks Japan should not take part.

“I’m all in favor of doing anything to help promote baseball internationally,” Valentine said Monday. “But this idea is misguided. As a manager, there is no way I’d want one of my players to take part in a tournament like this before the start of the season.”

Officials of MLB and its union traveled to Japan this month and set an end-of-the-month deadline for an agreement with the Japanese owners and players. MLB has been planning an announcement of the World Baseball Classic for July 11, the day before the All-Star Game in Detroit.

“We told the Japanese we needed their decision by June 30, that was the absolutely outermost limit of time we had,” Gene Orza, the union’s chief operating officer, said a week ago.

Japanese baseball officials have objected to both the timing of the event and the distribution of revenue, which they say overwhelmingly favors the major leagues. Valentine, who manages the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League, agrees.

“It’s just insulting for Orza to come over here and give the Japanese an ultimatum like that,” Valentine said. “The revenue distribution is something like 60 or 70 percent in favor of the major leagues.”

Much as I loathe the prospect of Carlos Beltran tearing up a knee during the WBC, this is the same squeeze that soccer players around the globe find themselves in. Would the World Cup be the planet’s most watched sporting event if top players weren’t allowed to compete? Of course, soccer’s governing body FIFA, for all it’s faults and ethical lapses, represents the interests of more than one national association.

Mariners Prepare For Fire Sale

Posted in Baseball at 11:53 am by

Currently in last place in the AL West, the Mariners will approach the trading deadline as sellers, writes the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s John Hickey.

The Houston Astros apparently turned down the Mariners last week when the Seattle club offered outfielder Randy Winn for pitcher Brandon Backe, who is 6-6 for the Astros. It’s possible that trade is being revisited.

No deal was in place last night, but Mariners general manager Bill Bavasi spent plenty of time over the weekend talking with his San Diego counterpart, Kevin Towers. The two have been frequent trading partners in the past.

While one Seattle club source said something could happen before tomorrow’s first game of a series in Oakland, another high-ranking member of the Seattle brain trust said after the game no deal is close.

Boone is in the last year of his contract, and he’s known a trade would be a real possibility if the Mariners weren’t in contention. He’s had a down year (.237, six homers and 33 RBIs) but after some time off to work on his swing, Boone had six hits in the three-game series against the Padres, including his first home run in four weeks.

Rookie Jose Lopez (above), the heir apparent at second base, is still on Seattle’s roster. Lopez started four games for Boone last week when Boone was given time off.

The Mariners have made it clear they want Lopez, 21, to play every day, either in Seattle or at Triple-A Tacoma, and the fact he is still on the roster may indicate Boone’s days with the Mariners are dwindling. If no deal is done by tomorrow, it’s likely Lopez would be sent back to Tacoma.

Moyer would be more difficult to trade because he’s a 10-and-5 man, a 10-year veteran who has played the past five years with the same team. Winn has been among the club’s most consistent hitters, and with a relatively modest contract ($3.75 million this year and a possible $5 million next) could be attractive to clubs who don’t have money to burn.

Drudge Says GOP Sore Over Soros’ Nats Bid

Posted in Baseball at 11:00 am by

From today’s Drudge Report (link courtesy Ben Schwartz) :

Despite the Washington Nationals’ successful start to the season, to some Capitol Hill Republicans there is a dark cloud on the Nats’ horizon: the potential that their newly adopted home team could be purchased by billionaire financier George Soros!

Soros has joined an ownership bid being led by entrepreneur Jonathan Ledecky that is angling to take over the Nats, who are currently owned by Major League Baseball.

ROLL CALL reports: Soros pumped more than $20 million in the last cycle into groups seeking to unseat President Bush and elect Democrats and relates that the very prospect that Soros could have a stake in the team is enough to irritate Congressional Republicans.

“I think Major League Baseball understands the stakes,” said Government Reform Chairman Tom Davis (R), who recently convened high-profile steroid hearings.

Davis said that if a Soros sale went through, “I don’t think it’s the Nats that get hurt. I think it’s Major League Baseball that gets hurt.

They enjoy all sorts of exemptions’ from anti-trust laws. Rep. John Sweeney (R-N.Y.), vice chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee that covers the District of Columbia budget, said if Soros buys the team and seeks public funding for a new stadium or anything else, the GOP attitude would be, “Let him pay for it.”

If MLB went with a buyer willing to pay less than Soros’ group, it wouldn’t be the first time such a thing happened. But there’s been little outcry about the prospect of a consortium led a former member of the Bush cabinet trying to purchase the team, nor has an (illegal) Nixon campaign contributor owning the New York Yankees bothered anyone in a long time.

Boss Messing With Torre’s Lap, CSTB Offers Solutions

Posted in Baseball at 9:07 am by

From the New York Daily News’ Sam Borden.

George Steinbrenner said through his spokesman that “it’s in Joe Torre’s lap” when asked about the Yankees’ recent run of erratic play, but that doesn’t mean The Boss isn’t actively seeking answers. Steinbrenner has called for a total evaluation of the organization by his executives over the next few days, with potential trades being one of the key issues up for discussion.
As the trading deadline draws nearer, there are always a handful of teams who are described as being “one move away” from legitimacy. The Yankees are not one of those teams.

They believe they need more than that.

“We feel like we’d like to make a few moves,” Cashman said. “Obviously you have to look at one thing at a time, but we feel like there are several areas that can be addressed.”

Although the bullpen might seem like the least of their concerns, there has been discussion about moving Tanyon Sturtze back into the rotation, particularly since Kevin Brown’s balky back is unpredictable and no one is certain when he will return. Torre has said he does not want to use Sturtze as a spot starter, but the righthander could be a viable long-term solution if the Yanks find it easier to deal for a reliever.

As for a bigger deal, names like Oakland outfielder Mark Kotsay and Giants pitcher Jason Schmidt have been floating around, and while Cashman has said numerous times he wouldn’t favor trading either Chien-Ming Wang or Robinson Cano, anyone who has been around the Yankees knows that potential doesn’t mean much if the situation gets dire enough.

Given the Yankees’ reluctance to part with prospects, you’d think they’ve considered bringing in some talent from the indie leagues. John Rocker can ride the 4 train and take Sturze’s spot in the pen, and Rickey Henderson can be the new starting center fielder. With Kevin Brown and Jaret Wright both on the DL, why not take a flyer on Oil Can Boyd and Bobby M. Jones (just signed this past weekend by the Newark Bears)? We all know how much George loves a reclamation project, and if nothing else, bringing some or all of the above names into the Yankee clubhouse would add even more veteran leadership to a team that can’t possibly have too much of it.

Raiders Shut Out Niners, 16-0

Posted in Baseball at 12:24 am by

Or something like that. Brett Tomko (above) is on pace to lose 20 games, Rich Harden’s one hitter gave the A’s their 11th win in their last 14, and maybe Barry Zito is sticking around after all.


Yanks Salvage Subway Finale, Looper Saves Torre’s Job

Posted in Baseball at 11:06 pm by

Yankees 5, Mets 4

3 outs away from sweeping the Yankees in the Bronx, the Mets’ Braden Looper relinquished a one run lead in little time ; walking Tino Martinez to start the home 9th, allowing a double down the left field line to A-Rod, intentionally walking Matsui and then leaving a fat one over the plate for Jason Giambi to drive into the gap, scoring Martinez and Rodriguez. Game Over. Fuck you very much. Looper walking Tino wasn’t a matter of nibbling, either.

Some measure of redemption, then, for AJ Soprano (above right), whose 7th inning miscue (along with that of Robinson Cano) gave the Mets 3 unearned runs in the 7th inning. If you’re counting, the Yankees are now 2-36 when trailing after 8 innings, both comeback wins coming on game-ending hits by Giambi.

First base umpire C.B. Bucknor blew a call when Gary Sheffield beat out Marlon Anderson’s throw in the 7th, but there’s no way Sheff stays in the game after tossing his helmet and hopping up and down. Mr. Creamy Clear Chanel has been around long enough to know as much, but if he doesn’t mind leaving the game in Russ Johnson’s hands, who am I to argue? Hopefully there will be at least one NY Times column tomorrow about Sheffield’s maturity and restraint.

On a night when the Yankees were particularly pathetic in the field, the Mets proved to be nearly as inept. Carlos Beltran allowed Derek Jeter to take 2nd on his RBI single in the 7th (perhaps CF novice Tony Womack can provide a demonstration of hitting the cutoff man. If anyone could find the cutoff man). David Wright’s error to start the 6th led directly to the first Yankee run, the only one Kris Benson would allow.

From the “when it rains, it pours” department, Mets 1B Doug Mientkiewicz joined Kaz Matsui and Miguel Cairo on the disabled list. The Mets have called up Jose Offerman (currently hitting .167) from Norfolk.

That’s right. Jose Offerman. Coming on the heels of Gerald Williams’ promotion, can Benji Gill be far behind?

Texas Wins 6th CWS

Posted in Baseball at 6:07 pm by

I’ve got some good news and bad news for my dear friends who live and die with the exploits of the New York Yankees.

The good news is that your 2005 2nd Round Draft Pick, reliever J. Brent Cox just completed a remarkable season for the newly crowned National Champion Texas Longhorns, saving 19 games, two of ‘em in the College World Series. Cox didn’t allow an earned run in any of his 5 CWS appearances, and he recorded the final 5 outs of today’s 6-2 clincher over Florida.

The bad news is, he was stomped to death seconds later (above).

Dale Sveum’s Easiest Decision Of All-Time…

Posted in Baseball at 5:58 pm by

…was giving David Wells the stop sign as the Sultan Of Sloth rounded third base as David Ortiz singled in the 4th inning. To what extent Wells’ adventures on the basepaths left him too tired to compete far into Boston’s 12-8 defeat of Philadelphia, I can’t say for sure. Brett Myers’ conscience will survive allowing a grand slam to Manny Ramirez, butallowing David Wells to make contact twice, however, that’s gonna haunt the Phillies’ starter to his grave.

Philadelphia managed to claw back from a 7-0 deficit, only to see Rheal Cormier serve up a 2 run shot to Jason Varitek (above), part of Boston’s 4 run 8th inning to seal the deal. After vaulting their way into the NL East race, the Phillies have now dropped 5 of their last 6.

Fisk Longs For Reinsdorf’s Voice

Posted in Baseball at 1:54 pm by

White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf doesn’t mind pedding Mitchell & Ness jerseys with Carlton Fisk’s name and no. 72 on ‘em, but he draws the line at phone sex, writes the Chicago Tribune’s Fred “Don’t Call Me Fred Ex” Mitchell.

Carlton Fisk and White Sox management have not always been battery mates, in a manner of speaking. Which makes the organization’s plans to honor the Hall of Fame catcher with a statue to be placed on the left-field main concourse a significant act of public reconciliation.

An official announcement from the White Sox is expected Sunday.

Fisk (above), who starred for the Sox in 1981-1993, says he is humbled and honored to receive such recognition. But a simple phone call from club Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf might be equally meaningful.

“I have heard from [Sox executive] Bob Grim, but I have not heard anything from Jerry Reinsdorf,” Fisk said Friday.

Asked Saturday about his relationship with Fisk, Reinsdorf tried to diffuse any sense of historical tension.

“If I hadn’t been reading in the newspapers that Carlton Fisk and I didn’t get along, I wouldn’t know it,” Reinsdorf said. “We have never had a cross word with each other. And I have seen him periodically over the years. We have always been cordial to each other. As far as I know, there are no problems.”

Fisk haggled over money with Sox management repeatedly and was miffed when he was released during midseason in Cleveland after breaking the career record for most games by a catcher in 1993. Later that year, Fisk was upset when he was denied access to the Sox’s locker room during the playoffs.

Asked to describe the differences in the game compared to when he played, Fisk said, “Obviously, the pay is so much better and the way the players are treated is so much better. You have to battle within the game, but you don’t have to battle outside the game as much anymore. Every year you used to have to battle for the next year.”

Bucs Promote Snell

Posted in Baseball at 1:29 pm by

Pittsburgh has called up starting P Ian Snell from their Indianapolis AAA affiliate. Snell, 23, was 9-2 with a 4.06 and was leading the International League with 90 K’s so far in ’05. Previously, he had no-hit the Mets’ Norfolk Tides on May 15.

Roenick Unsure Of Return

Posted in Hockey at 12:38 pm by

Flyers C Jermey Roenick spoke with Sporting News Radio’s slow-witted Scott Weitzel on Friday, and expressed doubt that he might return to the ice, when and if a new collective bargaining agreement is signed between the NHLPA and NHL.

“I have to see how my body reacts to some really, really, really hard training regimen here coming up in the latter part of the summer,” Roenick said. “It’s very hard to get motivated without a deal. Once that announcement comes, I think the motivational factor will definitely be lifted.

I know exactly what Roenick is talking about. But when Wayne Root is your motivational guru, anything is possible.

Escape From Tampa

Posted in Baseball at 12:27 pm by

When the manager is trying to provoke his own early termination, should anyone be surprised that that Devil Rays closer Danys Baez (above) is lobbying for a trade to Miami, or that the club’s opening day starter went AWOL?

There’s a dignified way to get your ass kicked virtually every day, and there’s the Devil Rays’ way.

Vescey Waves Goodby To Kurt

Posted in Basketball at 12:14 pm by

The New York Post’s Peter Vescey on the pending Kurt Thomas/Quentin RIchardson swap, and the Knicks’ current search for help at center.

As many tangibles and intangibles as Kurt Thomas offers, and as difficult as it is to surrender the Knicks’ only hombre, his presence proved fairly meaningless in the win column. At this point in his career, Kurt’s biggest contribution to their cause is he’s considered enough of an asset at almost 33 to be worth a 25-year-old compulsive scorer and a first-round draft pick to one of the NBA’s most enchanting teams.

If you’re scoring at home, that reduces the Knicks’ resources, and I’m being kind, to a precious two; Crawford, perhaps, and maybe Mike Sweetney to a lesser degree. Other than that Isiah Thomas is fresh out of genuinely desirable commodities, exempting the No. 8 pick in Tuesday’s draft.

Oh, yeah, and the players on the end of their obscene contracts that the Knick president insists are so coveted. Look, ma, no nibbles on Penny Hardaway and Maurice Taylor, or the stretch jobs belonging to Malik Rose and Jerome Williams; all four fetched to New York by the man with the forever-fluctuating fix-and-repair-daily scam, er, plan.

Given a brief meeting with my cabinet of column castigators, I’m leaning toward liking this latest one:

Assembling a venomous 3-guard rotation like the one Isiah ruled over in Detroit (don’t tell me Bill Laimbeer’s familiarity with the system gives him an edge over Herb Williams) figures to get the opposition’s immediate attention, if not respect; Stephon Marbury, 28, is the oldest of the trio.

Locating a mobile center and a portable power forward is where Isiah must come through (this is where it gets tricky) or else his renovation is going to be time consuming – which is OK, I promise to be very understanding.

If the Knicks intend to take full advantage of their perimeter shooting, it’s somewhat imperative either to obtain (Kwame Brown is worth a gamble; giving the Wizards’ No. 8 doesn’t scare me), sign (I’d offer Reggie Evans or Udonis Haslem the mid-level max), draft (Gerald Green is the most enticing HS player, meaning he’ll probably be gone when it’s Isiah turn), or discover an authentic post up player who’ll force the defense to double.

Idle chatter about working out a deal for Zydrunas Ilgauskas doesn’t get any emptier; Camp Cablevision has nobody that interests the Cavaliers. Even if they could be sufficiently compensated, Isiah doesn’t need to take a chance on a soft 7-foot defender/rebounder with a history of foot problems that can’t be insured.

Parker Busts A Move, Jacobs Busts A Bloodvessel

Posted in Basketball, We Aren't The World at 3:08 am by

Granted, the lyrical flow of MC Tony Parker, as replayed continuously on the evening sports news, is not the sort of thing Nas will be losing sleep over. Nor, however, was Parker’s performance “a disgrace”, as characterized tonight by Fox Sports Radio’s Bruce Jacobs, who helpfully suggested that Parker “speak American” in the future.

“The French!” snorted Jacobs. “They don’t like us and we don’t like them. What did the French ever do for us but stab us in the back? And did we do for them except save their ass, time and time again?”

With such a keen grasp of world history, I certainly hope Jacobs considers running for elective office someday. If nothing else, that should get him off the radio.

Mets Nearing Sweep At The Stadium

Posted in Baseball at 2:52 am by

To borrow from CSTB entries of July 2-4, 2004, Robert Merrill, Adrienne Shelley, Spike Lee, Suzyn Waldman, Michael Kay, Rudolph Giulliani, Andrew Giulliani, Billy Crystal, Dean Wareham, heck, even Paul Sommerstein…this one’s for you!

Watching Bernie Williams continue to struggle in CF makes me ache for my friends who follow the Yankees. Surely Brian Cashman knows that Roger Cedeno is available?

I hope someone takes the jerk behind the Won’t The Bloodletting Cease blog to task for all of his nasty remarks last year wishing that Cliff Floyd would retire.

John Sterling today claimed that Tom Glavine was “a joy to watch” because the Mets pitcher “does it all with his brain, his arm doesn’t have much left.” Yeah, it’s a thing of beauty. Especially if your eyes are closed.