Gambler Goes Berserk, Hospitalizes Cameraman

Posted in Baseball at 11:44 pm by

MSNBC on the Rangers’ Kenny Rogers and his troubles with those pesky TV cameras.

Texas Rangers pitcher Kenny Rogers shoved two cameramen Wednesday, sending one to the hospital in a videotaped tirade that included throwing a camera to the ground and threatening to break more. ESPN reported that the man, Larry Rodriguez, filed a police report, claiming assault.

The report also said that police went to interview Rodriguez at about 9 p.m. ET at the Medical Center of Arlington where the cameraman was being examined for possible injuries. Detectives plan to interview Rogers on Thursday.

Rogers, who missed his last start with a broken pinkie he suffered during an outburst earlier this month, erupted at the cameramen as they filmed him walking to the field for pregame stretching before Wednesday night™s game against the Los Angeles Angels.

The 40-year-old left-hander first shoved Fox Sports Net Southwest photographer David Mammeli, telling him: œI told you to get those cameras out of my face.

Rogers then approached a second cameraman. He wrestled the camera from Rodriguez of Dallas-Fort Worth television station KDFW, threw it to the ground and kicked it.

The 6-foot-1, 210-pound pitcher saw two other cameramen who were recording from the Rangers™ dugout and walked toward them. He did not make contact with the men, who were backing away.

œI™ll break every … one of them, Rogers said before he was escorted to the clubhouse by catcher Rod Barajas.

Rogers’ attack can be viewed here (windows media player required).

Albert Belle and Sean Penn were unavailable for comment. Or, more accurately, I don’t have their phone numbers.

Sheff : I’m Not Going Anywhere (Unless You Make It Worth My While)

Posted in Baseball at 6:12 pm by

From the New York Times’ Tyner Kepner.

Brian Cashman has little flexibility to deal from the major league roster, partly because several players have no-trade clauses. Gary Sheffield, Hideki Matsui and Jorge Posada do not have such clauses in their contracts, but Sheffield would essentially create one if the Yankees tried to move him.

“I’m not going anywhere,” said Sheffield, who is signed through 2006. “If I have to go somewhere, I won’t go. If they said, ‘Wouldn’t you want to get paid?’ I’d say, ‘I’ve got plenty of money.’ I’m not playing nowhere else. I can promise you that.”

Speaking with MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, the Yankee right fielder struck a somewhat different tone.

Sheffield, who is reportedly being dangled by the Yankees in a deal with the Mets that would land Mike Cameron in the Bronx, said that if he is traded, his new team better be prepared to extend his contract and give him more money — and whatever else he can think of to make it pay for taking the pinstripes off his uniform.

“It was my first choice to come here,” Sheffield said. “I made a lot of concessions to come here, and I’ll make it very clear. If I have to go somewhere else, a lot of things are going to have to be changed or you’re going to have an unhappy player.

“I’ll ask for everything. Period. You want to inconvenience me, I’m going to inconvenience every situation there is,” he added. “The only reason I’m playing is that I wanted to play for the Yankees. If I don’t get that opportunity, things change.”

Hey, if its concessions Gary wants, no problem. In the Pedro era, the Mets are all about coddling their superstars. Among the special stipulations Omar Minaya should be prepared to add to Sheffield’s contract are the following :

1) a promise from the entire roster that no one will try to steal Gary’s chef.
2) use of the Wilpon private jet so Gary can spend his days off with Roger Clemens’ family
3) all recordings by R. Kelly, Aaliyah, Ronnie Isley or Dave Chappelle parodying R. Kelly, banned from the clubhouse
4) full use of Shea facilities when the inevitable Subway sequel commercials (co-starring Jason Giambi) are ready to shoot.

Biggio : Hit Me Baby, One More Time

Posted in Baseball at 5:38 pm by

If nothing else, it was a heck of a way for Byung-Hyun Kim to make it to the Hall Of Fame.

I don’t mean to diminish Biggio’s achievement, but craigslist is packed with individuals who have taken just as many balls to the face, and few of them have their own websites.

GOP Shithead Withdraws Threats Against MLB

Posted in Baseball at 4:05 pm by

The above charming headline comes courtesy of Ben Schwartz, on today’s clarification from Virgina Congressman Tom Davis, who now denies that he’ll seek legislative redress were MLB to sell the Nationals to billionaire Bush-basher George Soros.

Writes Ben,

It™s not a real political discussion unless someone gets compared to a Nazi, even MLB, as The Washington Post’s Sally Jenkins just has to bring up baseball™s ugly Nazi past.  Uh, well, Marge Schott™s anyway:  ”It was all right for Schott, the racist collector of Nazi memorabilia, to own a baseball team for years, but it’s not for Soros, the billion-dollar philanthropist and Nobel Prize nominee?”

Lakers Waving Grant?

Posted in Basketball at 3:59 pm by

From the LA Times’ Mike Bresnahan.

The Lakers are strongly considering waiving Brian Grant, using a clause in the NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement that would allow them to release the high-salaried forward acquired last summer in the Shaquille O’Neal trade.

The one-time exemption allows teams that pay the luxury tax to waive one player and erase his salary from their luxury-tax figure. The Lakers would still have to pay Grant’s salary, which would continue to count against the salary cap and keep the Lakers cap-strapped until the summer of 2007.

The Lakers would, however, save almost $30 million in luxury taxes over the next two seasons. Grant, who averaged 3.8 points and 3.7 rebounds last season and was bothered by knee and shoulder problems, will make $14.3 million next season and $15.4 million in 2006-07.

A decision on Grant, 33, would be strictly economic and would be made by Laker owner Jerry Buss, who has paid the luxury tax the last two seasons but could avoid a considerable hit for a player of limited value.

The LA Times’ Steve Dilbeck is amongst those puzzled by the Lakers’ selection of center Andrew Bynum with the 10th pick in yesterday’s NBA Draft.

A team needier than a teenage girl, and it uses its first-round pick on a player they all admit will make minor impact next season.

Well, of course.

Mitch Kupchak’s “unlikely” scenario became reality when the Lakers selected Andrew Bynum — who’s had a driver’s license for a whole month now — with the 10th overall pick of the draft.

Bynum is 17 years old. His last game was for St. Joseph High School in Metuchen, N.J.

He’s also a 7-foot, 285-pound center who plays with his back to the basket, has a nice touch and apparently oozes with potential.

“We thought it was an opportunity we could not pass up,” Kupchak said.

A team that a year ago still had the best center of his generation in Shaquille O’Neal is now hoping to find his replacement in a kid too young to vote.

It’s a gutsy pick by Kupchak, who risked further criticism over his drafting expertise and general managerial skills by gambling so much on such a great unknown.

Simple, logical, predictable — it’s all so unlike those zany Lakers.

Jackson, back home on the ranch, is expected to fulfill the three years on his contract and then call it a career. He needs help now. Needs a big man now. Could use a big ballhandler now.

And his top pick is a project.

“Certainly at 17, he has a long ways to go,” Kupchak said. “But at 7 feet, and with the reach of almost 7-6, and his athletic ability … ‘ ”

How could they say no?

Easily, really, what with several highly regarded players still on the board. Fran Vazquez, Sean May, Antoine Wright, Danny Granger, Hakim Warrick and Jarrett Jack were all still available with the 10th selection.

Though rebuilding isn’t Phil’s forte, was there really anyone left at number 10 (or available via trade) that would elevate LA to contender status?

Madden On Wilpon’s Half Full Glass

Posted in Baseball at 12:18 pm by

As the buy/sell debate continues to swirl around the NY Mets — winners last night against the Phillies, 8-3, despite the best efforts of Danny Graves, the NY Daily News’ Bill Madden opines on ownership’s optimism.

In the final analysis, it comes down to perspective. Steinbrenner looks at his third-place ballclub, floundering and fluctuating above, below and at .500, some six games back of the Red Sox in the loss column and asks: “Why?” Wilpon looks at his last-place ballclub and then at the four equally flawed teams ahead of it and asks: “Why not?”

Indeed, for all the unsettling aspects about this Mets team – Braden Looper’s psyche, Mike Piazza’s faded skills, the offensive black hole at first base, Jose Reyes’ .287 on-base percentage out of the leadoff spot – there is no reason why it shouldn’t be able to remain competitive in the anyone-can-win-it National League East. Of course, it sure would help to have a productive farm system.

Here’s how one scout who has been following the NL East for the past few weeks assessed the division: “The difference between the Mets and the Braves is that the Braves reach down to their system for help and bring up real prospects. The Mets reach down and bring up Gerald Williams, Jose Offerman and Brian Daubach. To me, that says it all about their system and it figures be an even bigger impediment for them when they want to make deals at the end of the month. Otherwise, the Marlins have their problems that may be deeper than we think, the Phillies can’t seem to make the adjustment on the road from their little ballpark and the Nationals are eventually going to realize their lack of depth, especially when they get hit with injuries.”

It’s hard to argue with that. Who’d have imagined the Braves suddenly playing their best baseball of the season at a time when their best player, Chipper Jones, and three of their top four starting pitchers, Tim Hudson, Mike Hampton and John Thomson, are all on the disabled list? The same scout went on to say: “If the Braves somehow wind up winning the division again this year, Bobby Cox should be allowed to report directly to the Hall of Fame without having to wait until he retires.”

Mrs. Met Will Not Be Pleased

Posted in History's Great Hook-Ups at 12:02 pm by

I’m not sure if anyone has ever been nearly this excited to be staring at the U.S. Secretary of State, but as Steve Earle will tell you, there’s never been a Secretary Of State quite like Condoleeza Rice. (pic link courtesy Sam Frank)

(shown above : empty-skull mascot. And Mr. Met)

Putin Swipes Kraft’s Ring

Posted in Gridiron at 11:48 am by

No word, however, on whether or not the Russian President will return Kraft’s astronaut pen. (thanks to Jon Solomon for the link)

Sherman Claims Sheff/Cameron Trade In The Works

Posted in Baseball at 11:29 am by

From the New York Post’s Joel Sherman :

Brian Cashman and Omar Minaya have engaged in preliminary talks about a blockbuster trade that would send Gary Sheffield to the Mets for a package headed by Mike Cameron, according to an executive from both an AL and NL club.
The two executives cautioned that talks are in their infancy and filled with major hurdles. After all, this would be the largest trade ever executed between the two New York teams, and neither wants to help the other make the playoffs and be endlessly ridiculed in the city. Nevertheless, the willingness to broach this deal shows the current thinking of both organizations.

The Mets have defined a late-inning reliever and a middle-of-the-order bat as their main needs, and have come to believe a quality bullpen arm at a reasonable return price may never become available. Sheffield, though, would be the run producer the Mets tried and just missed getting in the offseason with Carlos Delgado. Hitting between Carlos Beltran and Cliff Floyd, Sheffield (above) would give the Mets an elite middle of the order.

I know a few Mets fans who are freaking out over this deal, convinced that Sheffield is an aging, divisive force and that Cameron’s low salary makes him a far more valuable bargaining chip. But consider the following :

1) Sheff has already starred for such successful franchises as the Brewers, Padres, Marlins, Dodgers, Braves and Yankees — and he’s been a winner with most of ‘em! Would so many clubs be eager to employ Dwight Gooden’s nephew if he weren’t such a hot commodity?

2) Fringe benefits galore! Tasty meals prepared by his world class chef. Cutting-edge training techniques and guidance provided by a veteran leader who has worked with some of the biggest pioneers names in the fitness industry. And as recent incidents at Fenway and Yankee Stadium have shown, he’s a mature, cool-headed dude when the pressure is on. Just don’t mention the words “video” or “R. Kelly” in his presence and everything will be o.k.

Superhoops Score Classy New Shirt Sponsor

Posted in Football, The Marketplace at 2:29 am by

Presumably, Durex have already exhausted their marketing budget. From Unibond.com :

Sellotape and QPR are delighted to announce a brand new commercial partnership.

This lucrative deal will see Sellotape™s famous logo on all the player™s shirts until at least the end of the 2006 / 7 season.

This is a first for the Sellotape Brand and a prospect that excites Sales Director Colin Gadd “ who says œ This will place our brand at the forefront of peoples minds and target the consumer on a regular basis, through a format they relate to.

œQPR is a respected club, with a loyal fanbase. They have competed well in their first year back in the Championship and we are looking forward to even greater progress together

QPR’s club shop are promising, by the way, that the new home shirts will be available this weekend with or without the Sellotape logo, which seems to contradict Mr. Gadd’s lofty ambitions.