Manny : Invites Are For Losers

Posted in Baseball at 3:22 pm by

Who knew that the inspiration for the comedy hit of 2005 could be found patroling left field (when he’s feeling up to it) at Fenway?

Spurs Nearing Davids Deal

Posted in Football at 1:00 pm by

Football365 reports that Dutch midfielder Edgar Davids (above) will be signing with Tottenham on a free transfer from Inter.

The Champions League draw for the third qualifying round was announced today, summarized by the Guardian’s Fiver thusly :

Scouse conspiracy theorists (ie everyone on Merseyside) were quickly disappointed when it emerged that Liverpool and Everton would not face each other, a turn of events that left the red half of Liverpool with nothing to complain about and the blue half with a stinker against Villarreal. Assuming they see off FBK Kaunas, Rafa Benitez’s side will play KF Tirana or CSKA Sofia, although chief executive Rick Parry soon warned: “When you see what happened to Celtic in midweek, you can’t take anything for granted” – neglecting to mention that thing you can take for granted is that the MU Glazerballs always get an easy draw. This year their likely opponents are Hungary’s Debrecen. No, us neither.

Meanwhile in Scotland, the Queen’s Celtic have already stolen a march in the annual Old Firm race to see who can get knocked out of Europe earliest, but should they overturn their five-goal first-leg deficit against Hoxton side Artmedia, a tie against Partizan Belgrade or Sheriff Tiraspol awaits. Elsewhere in Glasgow, not even the Pope’s O’Rangers will be confident that they can be beaten by Anorthosis Famagusta or Trabzonspor. But having threatened to make the group stages last year, Irish outfit Shelbourne will fancy their chances of going one better. An away scoredraw against Steaua Bucharest next week would see them play Rosenborg, where a win would prompt no end of drink-related lazy national stereotyping and derring-do.

Queens Park Rangers celebrated the launch of their new red & black striped away shirt with a visit to Beano Land yesterday. March Bircham (above) posed for television and still cameras, shortly before head-butting Gnasher and being led away by security.

Graziano : Mets Still Fixated On Soriano

Posted in Baseball at 12:28 pm by

The Newark Star-Ledger’s Dan Graziano continues to insist that the Mets are close to acquiring Alfonso Soriano, while Will Carrol reports that the Cubs are also in hot pursuit (both links courtesy Marc Perlman).

From Graziano :

Yesterday found the Mets still hard at work on a deal that would bring them the Texas Rangers second baseman Alfonso Soriano (above). As of last night, the sides were discussing a deal that would send right fielder Mike Cameron, outfield prospect Lastings Milledge and a pitching prospect — possibly Yusmeiro Petit — to the Rangers for Soriano and 23-year-old first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. Final details had yet to be worked out, and some of the names could change, but the Mets are working to finalizing the deal in some form before Sunday’s 4 p.m. deadline.

There also was word circulating yesterday that the Mets were one of the teams interested in getting Aubrey Huff from the Devil Rays, but a Mets official said there was no truth to it. The Mets are not out to grab whatever hitter they can get — they like Soriano and are willing to stand pat on offense if they can’t get him.

The Mets were also trying to beef up their bullpen. Worried they won’t be able to get Danys Baez from Tampa Bay, they’ve been pestering the Mariners about left-handed closer Eddie Guardado, and an executive with one of those two teams said the Mets’ early offers had piqued Seattle’s interest.

If they can’t get either Baez or Guardado, they believe they have a chance to get Jose Mesa from Pittsburgh to help ease the workloads of Braden Looper and Roberto Hernandez in the season’s final months.

Raissman On Larry, Sid & Joe

Posted in Basketball at 11:42 am by

(Zeke and his new hire crack up while watching a tape of Jamal Crawford trying to defend)

Leave it to the Daily News’ acerbic Bob Raissman for finding the most thrilling moments from yesterday’s coronation of Larry Brown.

Larry Brown sat at the end of a table, holding a WFAN microphone, listening to Joe Benigno deliver a stern lecture on how recent Knicks teams have never made a commitment to defense.
Brown was making the rounds from radio to TV to print interviews yesterday at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, where the inevitable – his coronation as Knicks coach – occurred and reality began sinking in.

As Benigno rapped, his partner, Sid (Sidiot) Rosenberg, pointed to some kind of electronic board in front of him. The light on this gizmo had gone dark.

“Are we off the air now?” Benigno asked.

A serious-looking guy, holding a telephone, nodded yes. He looked at a technician who was fingered for the sudden silence. Brown surveyed this bizarre scene and smiled.

“You guys make mistakes like I make mistakes,” Brown said.

The line broke the tension. The techie and his serious colleague commenced their attempt to get the show back on the air. Sidiot started yapping about his beloved Brooklyn.

He asked Brown about his Brooklyn days and where he grew up.

“I would have gone to Midwood (High School) …” Brown said.

“My sister went to Midwood,” Rosenberg said.

Benigno: “Are we back on the air yet?”

They were not.

Yesterday’s Jocks, Tomorrow’s Leaders

Posted in politics at 3:19 am by

Writes David Roth,

Alright, you know how Republicans have scramblin’ token-con J.C. Watts, pass-catching anti-abortion butthead Steve Largent, and well-gelled tax-opponents like John Elway and A-Rod and (sigh) Carlos Beltran? And, like, every other pro athlete except for Fred Hoiberg and Bill Bradley?

Well, now Democrats have a strong right arm with some mild leftward leanings coming down the pike — Heath Shuler (above) is running against Charles Taylor (neither the Liberian dictator nor the Salon.com film critic) in North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District. And even weirder, it seems like he’s got a decent shot.

No news on whether Jeff George is going to challenge Denny Hastert. I’ll keep you posted.

If this Roberts guy doesn’t work out, perhaps Ryan Leaf still has a shot at the Supreme Court?

The (Near)-Fatal Flying Spikes Of Jose Guillen

Posted in Baseball at 3:09 am by

The day after Sammy Sosa did his finest Roy Keane impersonation, the Nationals’ Jose Guillen jumped on the bandwagon….and Little Larry was nearly lost in the process. From the Washington Post’s Les Carpenter.

Jose Guillen, desperate to keep a sixth-inning rally alive and break up a double play, flew feet first into Braves third baseman Chipper Jones, knocking Jones to the ground and igniting a war of threats tossed between clubhouses after Jones realized that Guillen’s spikes had cut him high on the right leg.

“There are correct ways to break up a double play,” Jones said. “Almost castrating somebody is not the way to do it.”

Then he glowered.

“I’ll remember that the next time I go into second base against them,” he said.

To which an agitated Guillen replied:

“Next time I come even harder then.”

Soriano – Not A Met / Chacon – No Longer A Rockie

Posted in Baseball at 2:40 am by

Writes David Roth,

For awhile, there was talk the Soriano trade was already done, But the only deals that really went down today were the Yanks adding a 9th starter in Shawn Chacon and the Pirates trading Dave Ross (I pretend to be him in Pittsburgh-area bars to get dates) for some fictitious Padres shortstop. I’d be surprised if the Soriano deal really happens. But whatever takes my mind off Dan Wheeler’s transformation into Mariano Rivera, you know?

Ausmus, Astacio, Humble Mets

Posted in Baseball at 2:13 am by

Astros 3, Mets 2

Much will be made of the Mets’ inability to score more than two runs off Houston’s Ezequiel Astacio, he of the 8.24 big league ERA entering Thursday’s game, but it is worth noting that Astacio won 5 games for Round Rock this past June, posting an an ERA under 1.00 during that month in earning his second call-up of the year.

Astros fans and members of the McLane family will recall Houston going 36-10 over their final 46 games last season to claim the NL Wild Card. By comparison, the Astros are a mere 32-14 over their last 46 games this season. Nothing for the Mets to worry about, then.

Though the Mets were felled by Astros C Brad Ausmus’ squeeze bunt in the 7th and game-winning double off Roberto Hernandez in the 9th, questions remain about manager Willie Randolph’s inaction. With the winning run on 2nd and first base open, Randolph had Hernandez pitch to Ausmus rather than walk the Astros catcher with the pitcher’s spot coming up next. Houston’s 2nd run was set up nicely by PR Eric Brunlett stealing 2nd — one of 3 steals against Mike Piazza on the evening. If ever there were an occasion to pull Piazza in favor of Ramon Castro, you’d think it would be with the Mets protecting a slim lead in a game where the opposition has made their intent to run pretty obvious.

Minute Maid was packed to the rafters with beer enthusiasts doning anti-Beltran shirts, Houston radio abuzz with accusations of “selling out”. How many of these geniuses wouldn’t switch jobs for an extra 2 grand let alone 20 million, is besides the point because it is unlikely they’ll be offered a raise of either amount in the near future.

Says David Roth, “Who knew anyone — let alone an entire fan base — could build up so much resentment towards a guy who was with them for all of 70 or so days?”

When Jose Offerman was introduced as a pinch-hitter in the top of the 9th, the gentleman sitting to my left asked “is he still beating his wife?”

“You must be thinking of Julio Lugo,” I replied, though I was still impressed. It is hard to answer when someone stopped beating their wife.

The local comedian in charge of the “Kiss-Cam” chose to focus on Chris Woodward and Doug Mientkiewicz. To their credit, the platonic couple fell into each other’s arms, almost on cue.

Showing that he’s not just sitting around groping Chris Woodward, Mientkiewicz warmed up Pedro Martinez prior to the home 8th inning. That he wore no protective gear whatsoever while doing so was either very brave or very stupid, but we’ll let Woodward hassle him about that when they get back to the hotel.


Radio, Radio : Tim Cook On USA Today’s Announcer Rankings

Posted in Baseball, Radio at 5:24 pm by

(noted surrealist Dave Niehaus)

Writes Tim Cook :

I was glad to see the Giants in 2nd (NL, behind Vin Scully), who I especially like because they’re really funny. One example is Krukow referring to excessive, redundant relief pitcher warm-ups as “dry humps,” a term probably invented to describe Dusty Baker’s managerial style. 

Taking a full measure of this list, however, I can see that it is crap. That is, they ranked the Oakland guys as 2nd place AL, and I hate listening to them. The Mariners’ broadcasters are so cornball, robotic, errant or cliched, with insights apropos of nothing, save perhaps for Dave Niehaus’ involuntary and at times surreal outbursts providing a listener some ear-arresting NOISE to listen for should the team ever return to significance.

I have a hard time imagining all the other teams’ play-by-play guys really being worse.

With all due respect to Mr. Cook, he didn’t hear Ron Santo discussing his favorite childhood sandwiches (in detail) during the Cubs’ 6-0 loss to the Diamondbacks today.

Hickey : Yanks/M’s Deal For Winn Unlikely

Posted in Baseball at 12:35 pm by

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s John Hickey :

The New York Yankees have been considered the presumptive winners of efforts to get Randy Winn (above) from the Mariners.

It might not be as simple as that.

A confidant of Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Winn isn’t necessarily at the top of the Yankees’ wish list.

“Winn’s a nice player, but they just haven’t been convinced he can play center field for them,” the source said.

That said, there aren’t many options anywhere for the Yankees, who are looking to upgrade in center with Bernie Williams on the downside of his career.

Sources also are saying that, in contrast to some speculation, the Mariners have not offered starting pitcher Gil Meche to the Yankees. And there have been no discussions that would send Williams from the Bronx to Safeco Field.

Yankees starter Carl Pavano, suggested to be part of a Winn-to-New York deal, isn’t a factor in trade talks, either.

Pavano wasn’t going to be available to Seattle unless the Yankees got more pitching in return from the Mariners, but it hardly matters because Pavano is on the disabled list and can’t be traded.

The Yankees are currently leading the Twins, 3-0, courtesy of a 3 run HR by Gary Sheffield off Joe Mays in the first.

Piazza Persecution, Continued

Posted in Baseball, History's Great Hook-Ups at 12:24 pm by

I’m on my way to Houston in a few minutes, so if there’s a press conference to confirm or deny anything, I should be within earshot.

NHLPA’s Goodenow “Resigns”

Posted in Hockey at 11:35 am by

When Richie Phillips is laughing at you for poor leadership, well, it’s time to try something else.

Paging Mr. Blackwell & Paul Lukas

Posted in Fashion at 11:29 am by

If there weren’t enough problems in the state of Washington already, something needs to be done on behalf of the Class A Everett Aquasox.

Stiff Upper Lip vs. Trembling Lower Jaw

Posted in Total Fucking Terror at 11:19 am by

Now playing : John Cale’s “Fear Is A Man’s Best Friend”.

Pats’ Johnson Retires

Posted in Gridiron at 10:37 am by

Following last week’s announcement that the recovering Tedy Bruschi would miss the 2005 season, New England’s training camp was rocked this morning with the news that inside LB Ted Johnson (above), having suffered multiple concussions, is calling it quits.

A 3 time Super Bowl champ, 10 year vet, former Colorado Buffalo and mainstay of New England’s run defense, Johnson’s departure might present a new challenge for Mike Vrabel and rookie Ryan Claridge, among others. Could this mean the return of Roman Pfiefer? Roman Polanski is out of the question and I don’t think he could play for Bill Belichick, anyway.

Rays Coach Defends Lunatic Lou

Posted in Baseball at 10:24 am by

From the Tampa Bay Tribune’s Carter Gaddis and Bruce Lowitt :

Although Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella (above) won’t discuss the latest round of potshots taken at him by a veteran Red Sox starter, Rays bench coach John McLaren — whose experience on Piniella’s staff dates to the early 1990s in Cincinnati — spoke Wednesday out of loyalty to his longtime boss and friend.

“First of all, I think if David Wells and Curt Schilling ever pitched for Lou Piniella, they would love him,” McLaren said. “Because one thing Lou brings to the ballpark every night is a desire to win, a passion to win that is unbelievable.”

Boston manager Terry Francona apologized Tuesday to Piniella for Wells’ disparaging comments after Monday’s game. What Wells said boiled down to an indictment of Piniella’s ability to handle young players.

That’s a misconception, McLaren said.

“The thing about the young players, Lou likes to challenge players and they know he’s demanding,” McLaren said. “I’ve always told young players and other coaches have told young players, ‘Son, stand your ground with Lou, and you’ll never have a problem with him.’

“He wears his emotions on his sleeve. We know that. I think some of the shots he’s been taking, I think it’s uncalled for. I think his record speaks for itself.”

Piniella’s record as Devil Rays manager is 169-256.

While we’re judging track records, I’m having trouble determining which Chuck LaMar is for real and which isn’t.

“Pretend The Ball’s A Pie”

Posted in Football at 10:02 am by

Painfully low wages, “crowds” in the low triple digits, wins as rare as solar eclipses. The 2005 Tampa Bay Devil Rays? Nope, try East Stirlingshire F.C., the subject of Jeff Connor’s “Pointless : A Season With Britain’s Worst Football Team”, excerpted in today’s Guardian (link courtesy Jesper Eklow)

By the time I arrived at Firs Park, in the wake of the club’s worst season ever – eight points from 32 games – the relationship between Mackin and the hardcore East Stirlingshire support had reached an all-time low. The “Shire” fans hated the chairman; the chairman despised the fans. The fear of Shire fans was that Mackin and the board would simply sell up, walk away, and allow the club to join the ranks of other vanished Scottish football institutions such as Third Lanark, Clydebank and Airdrieonians. They felt the board – based on Mackin’s infamous decision in the summer of 2002 to set a wage cap of £10 a week and his lack of investment in Firs Park – was deliberately setting the club out to be uncompetitive. Mackin’s famous wage cut had made national news, along with what amounted to a mass walkout of senior players.

The warfare was brutal at times. Some fans alleged that Mackin, during one of his famously rare appearances at a game, had used binoculars to spy on them. Or maybe he was just counting them. If Mackin wasn’t going to dip in his own pocket, more money certainly wasn’t going to come from the turnstiles: the average home gate was about 200

Inured to the suffering that goes with being a Shire supporter, many have turned their side’s haplessness into a positive. A mordant sense of humour comes with the territory; travelling to see their team lose every week has become like a medal of honour. At one of their early matches, with the Shire still embedded in a dreadful losing run, I was seated in the Firs Park stand when a 10-year-old, face almost invisible under a black and white scarf, turned to his father and asked: “Dad, can I clap when we score?” “Yes, son, but you’ll be waiting a long time,” replied his father. On another occasion, 4-0 down against Stenhousemuir at Ochil View, one Shire fan shouted from the terraces: “Come on Shire, 5-4 will do.”

Home matches were invariably enlivened by four or five teenagers, quick-witted and sarcastic in the manner of Scottish youth, who always sat in the stand directly above the home dugout, a homemade Shire flag draped over the railing in front of them. The Dead End Kids, as I christened them, had a great line in patter and already possessed the sense of the absurd that goes with supporting the Shire. No one was safe.

“Pretend the ball’s a pie,” they would chorus at striker Ross Donaldson (above, middle). Once, when the Tony “The Cat” Mitchell went down at the feet of an opposing centre forward and took a blow to the head, one of them called: “Get the vet to put him down, he’s still moving,” as the poor goalie writhed on the turf.

Pick The Crazier Act From Last Night’s Mets/Rockies Game

Posted in Baseball at 9:41 am by

Mets 9, Rockies 3

Ladies and Gentlemen, which was the bigger What The Fuck moment at Coors Wednesday evening?

a) Mets 1B Doug Mintkiewicz getting himself tossed inbetween innings — with his club ahead by 8 runs.

b) Rockies CF Cory Sullivan stealing 2nd with two out in the 5th — and his club trailing by 8 runs.

c) The New Bash Brothers, Marlon Anderson and Ramon Castro, going back-to-back off Colorado starter Jamey Wright.

The New York Times’ Lee Jenkins reports that Steve Trachsel will be making his 3rd rehab start on Saturday, this one on behalf of the Eastern League’s Binghamton. Trachsel threw 3 innings for St. Lucie (FSL) last Sunday — since said stint was completed in less than 2 hours, Trachsel clearly isn’t in midseason form yet.

Manny The Unavailable

Posted in Baseball at 9:23 am by

A terrific performance by knuckleballer extraordinaire Tim Wakefield (above) was pushed to the background yesterday by the alleged selfishness of Manny Ramirez. With Trot Nixon unable to take the field against Tampa Bay, we’re led to believe that Manny refused to relinquish a day off (Kevin Millar would ultimately start in left). The condemnations begin with the Boston Herald’s Tony Massarotti :

Twenty million a year clearly is not what it used to be, because it cannot buy you even a hint of compassion, pride, sacrifice or dedication. All it seems to get you is blank stares and apathy, along, of course, with an annual request to be traded.

With their roster in a state of physical decay, the Red Sox took the field at Tropicana Field yesterday for the finale of a seven-game road trip. The Sox claimed a 4-1 victory without Matt Clement and Trot Nixon, each of whom was injured in Tuesday night’s extra-inning win. And they also won without Manny Ramirez, who apparently decided that a day off outweighed any responsibility to the team, even in a time of need.

Star players have received the kid-glove treatment for a long time in Boston, where the squeaky wheel gets more grease than fried calamari, Rhode Island style. Red Sox officials – and Francona, in particular – may take more than their share of grief for acquiescing to their adolescent left fielder, but here’s the problem:

If they do not give Ramirez what he wants, he is liable to quit on them at the most important time of the year, offering only further proof that he has positively no regard for their interests.

So, really, what are team officials to do? You want the home runs and RBI, you get the teenage behavior, too. With Ramirez, it is all part of the deal. The Red Sox won a World Series last year and Ramirez was a very big part of that, and the unfortunate reality is that the Red Sox need Ramirez more than he needs them.

Echoes the Boston Globe’s Gordon Edes :

Because he is the team’s cleanup hitter, has Hall of Fame ability, and possesses a contract, the second-richest in the game, that makes him unmovable, Ramirez is rarely held accountable. ”Manny being Manny” has become as much a part of the New England lexicon as pahking the cah in Hahvahd Yahd. One day someone from within the Sox clubhouse or in the Yawkey Way offices will rise up and condemn him for his selfish indifference.

That day has yet to come, mainly because his bosses and his teammates feel like Ramirez is, in essence, holding the team hostage. Speak out against him, and the fear is that Ramirez will withdraw like a petulant child and go into a three-year pout. Let it slide, and you have a man with the potential of repeating as the World Series MVP.

So the Sox mostly look the other way, though there were plenty of people angry that Francona ran out an outfield yesterday that had Kevin Millar making just his fifth start in left field and rookie Adam Stern making his first start in right. Maybe they did so because they’ve been through this drill before — think Labor Day 2003 in Philadelphia, when Ramirez refused to pinch hit, and last July in Anaheim, Calif., when he begged out because of a supposed hamstring injury that didn’t keep him from playing in the All-Star Game just days earlier. One Sox veteran blamed the media. ”You guys never hold him accountable,” he said. ”I’ve never seen a guy get such a free pass. You all think it’s a joke, ‘Manny being Manny.’ What is ‘Manny being Manny?’ Him disrespecting the game?”

Then there are the oddball demands to be traded, another annual event. Sports Illustrated’s highly respected Tom Verducci said Ramirez asked to be traded because he had no privacy in Boston. This from a guy who recently allowed the Globe Magazine to run a spread on his son’s bedroom


Dusty Decries Reckless Boo Birds

Posted in Baseball at 11:35 pm by

(the next time Derek Lee and Jeromy Burnitz do the chest-bump, Derek should try it without a family of baby chicks stuffed down his jersey)

From MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat :

Former Chicago Cubs pitcher LaTroy Hawkins, now with the San Francisco Giants, did not get a warm reception in his return to Wrigley Field. Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee called the fans’ taunting and booing of Hawkins “classless.”

“I can’t win, right?” Hawkins said after Wednesday’s game, a 4-3 Cubs win over the Giants. “My mother and father told me a long time ago, everybody isn’t going to like you.”

The fans who stuck around for the eighth inning Tuesday night soundly booed Hawkins, who was dealt to the Giants on May 28. He had gotten negative feedback last year and this season in Chicago, including threats to his family, but Tuesday seemed more intense.

“It was worse [Tuesday] night,” Baker said when asked to compare the fans’ response last season and now. “At least they didn’t say, ‘Hawkins [stinks]‘ before. That was bad. I was in the dugout saying, ‘Sorry, Hawk, but we’ve got to beat you.’ If you’re going to boo, you boo, get it over with and go about your business. That gave me chills a little bit to wonder who’s next on that kind of magnitude of the booing list.”

Wait a minute. Is Baker saying he’s next?

“I ain’t saying nothing,” Baker said, “but it’s a possibility.”

Responds Ben Schwartz,

What business does Dusty think people have at a ball game besides watching it? Dusty is unfair, because the fans did cheer the homer and the walks Latroy gave up in the 8th. Still, staying in line with Tribco management re the overly critical in Wrigelyville, it’s pretty obvious that the “boo birds” who sat in the rain for hours and stayed through an extra innings game past midnight CST are probably not “true” Cub fans.

Worst Excuse Ever For Missing Work :

Posted in Baseball at 7:02 pm by

You were commemorating Alex Rodriguez’ 30th birthday.

Then again, I don’t think I want to know how Michael Kay marks Jeter’s birthday.

You Can’t Polish A Turd Blossom…

Posted in Free Expression at 6:12 pm by

…but you can cut one out of the newspaper. From the AP :

It may be President Bush’s nickname for key political adviser Karl Rove, but some editors don’t think it belongs in their newspapers.

About a dozen papers objected to Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s “Doonesbury” comic strips, and some either pulled or edited them.

The strips refer to Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff, as “Turd Blossom.”

Lee Salem, editor at Kansas City-based Universal Press Syndicate, which distributes the strip to 1,400 papers, said the complaints from 10 to 12 newspapers weren’t unexpected. As opposed to other times when editors have objected to Doonesbury content, the syndicate did not send out replacement strips.

“Given the coverage of Karl Rove, we thought it was appropriate, especially given the history of the strip,” Salem said.

In the strip, Bush and an aide are lamenting the problems the administration has had over allegations that Rove leaked the name of a CIA officer to reporters.

Bush says, “Karl’s sure been earnin’ his nickname lately.”

The unnamed aide says, “Boy Genius? I’m not so sure sir …”

Bush then says, “Hey Turd Blossom! Get in here.”

The term is said to be one of several nicknames Bush uses for Rove, one of his closest allies and who is widely credited for Bush’s election in 2000 and re-election in 2004. The mainstream U.S. media have rarely mentioned the nickname, but it has gained traction in the international press and on the Internet.

Among those with concerns was the Providence (Rhode Island) Journal, whose editors removed the offensive word from the strip’s final panel.

“I didn’t think (taking out the word) hurt it,” Executive Editor Joel Rawson said. “I would prefer to run the strip and if we can edit it, that’s fine.”

Raissman On M.I.A. Sather

Posted in Hockey at 3:12 pm by

Though the New York Rangers are making a cursory effort to mend fences with fans dismayed by the NHL’s recent lockout (giving away free tickets, hot dogs and hugs from Rod Gilbert), the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman wondered in his Monday column about the club president’s conspicuous abscence.

On a Madison Square Garden Network special program signaling the return of the NHL, Sam Rosen opened an interview with Don Maloney, the Rangers’ assistant GM, by asking a question about Friday’s draft lottery.

Rosen should have started the interview with a more relevant inquiry: “Don, where is Glen Sather?”

The name of the MSG special was “Hockey’s Back.” A more appropriate title would have been: “Hockey’s Back – Sather’s Not.”

Considering that Rosen is the voice of those sappy, insincere radio commercials designed to sucker fans into buying tickets, there was no way the veteran Rangers houseman was going to ask a legitimate question. Especially one embarrassing to the pathetic disorganization employing him.

And yet, the absence of Sather, the team’s president/GM who according to Daily News Rangers beat man John Dellapina was off fishing somewhere north of Vancouver, was enough of an embarrassment in itself.

Sather’s absence again shows that the Rangers are a headless organization. It also shows Sather doesn’t care about fans.

Think about it. Appearing on the show, for the express purpose of informing and reaching out to their respective fan bases, were Devils boss Lou Lamoriello and Isles GM Mike Milbury. But on the MSG Network, the home of the Rangers, an assistant GM – Sather’s errand boy – is forced to do the shtick-handling.

If Sather (above) really cared about Rangers fans, he would’ve cut his vacation short. He not only would have appeared on the MSG program, but also attended that Manhattan gathering where NHL executives joined with commissioner Gary Bettman to formally bring back a league coming off a 310-day lockout – during which Sather had plenty of time to fish.

When it comes to fans and media, Sather is just an empty suit. So, some may say his absence on Friday was business as usual.

On a rare day like Friday, a man in charge of a team that has ripped off fans, an executive of a league that has bridges to rebuild with fans, needed to be front and center.

Instead of realizing the importance of this symbolic moment, and seizing it, Sather went fishing.

Surplus To Tampa Requirements, Nomo Nabbed By Yanks

Posted in Baseball at 2:42 pm by

The Yankees’ obsession with rehabilitating former Mets continues with reports that Hideo Nomo — waived yesterday by the Devil Rays — is about to join the pitching staff alongside Al Leiter.

If the thought of Nomo , deemed unworthy of a roster spot in Tampa, taking the mound for the Bombers doesn’t blow your mind, consider if you will, the sight of Randy Johnson behind the wheel of a Mini Cooper.

Ben Schwartz On The Cubs

Posted in Baseball at 1:30 pm by

Giants 3, Cubs 2

From Ben Schwartz :

The Cubs have been on an upswing lately, but they still manage to lose games they should be winning easily.

Couldn’t help thinking last night as Greg Maddux (above, left) clocked his 3,000th strikeout (and less than 1,000 walks) before the Cubs folded to the Giants in the 11th, that the Tribco Mascots are giving Maddux a Nolan Ryan season of milestones while losing crucial games. They’re at a point in the season where wins count now more than they will in September. But 10 hits and two runs says a lot, esp. when you’re playing a team that won with 13 hits and three runs. Even the much anticipated return of Latroy Walkins to Wrigley was bitter sweet. After every save he blew for us, it was nice to see him throw one our way. He handed a lead off, first pitch homer to Michael Barrett and walked more Cubs before ending the inning with the game tied. The Cubs never took the lead after that and SF did, proving they don’t need Latroy to lose games.

And after all the complaining I did last winter about the Tribco’s cheap off-season tactics and lame clubhouse feuding, I’d like to apologize to TribCo, since judging by the firing/retirement of their top editor out here, it’s apparently a company-wide policy. Hm, inflated circulation, dropping stocks, budget cuts for their most conservative papers — apparently you just can’t sell a Republican newspaper anymore.