God Just Wants To Know When Foulke Is Coming Back

Posted in Baseball, Religion at 5:55 pm by

Former Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy once described golf and God as the biggest distractions faced by his players. Lord knows what he’d make of the pregame prayer sessions undertaken by several devout members of the Boston Red Sox. From the Globe’s Bob Hohler (thanks to Mac for the link) :

Trot Nixon, Mike Timlin, Tim Wakefield, Jason Varitek, Curt Schilling, Doug Mirabelli, Bill Mueller, Matt Clement, John Olerud, Mike Myers, Tony Graffanino, Chad Bradford: Each Sox player considers himself an evangelical Christian who believes in the sacred authority of the Bible and the promise of Jesus Christ as his savior.

”In terms of coming to Bible study and chapel, this team has more guys involved than any team I’ve ever been with,” said Olerud, who has played for five teams over 17 seasons in the majors.

The evangelical Sox believe in sharing the ”good news” of their faith, as they demonstrated after their remarkable comeback last October when they climbed out of a three-game chasm against the Yankees in the American League Championship Series and swept the Cardinals in the World Series.

”I wanted to be able to glorify God’s name when all was said and done,” Schilling proclaimed after he won Game 2 of the World Series while bleeding through his sock because of an experimental medical procedure that enabled him to pitch with a dislocated ankle tendon.

Win or lose, Schilling and his fellow evangelicals said, the message remains the same.

”This is our platform, our place to speak our faith and live our faith,” Timlin said. ”This is a special gift from God, to play baseball, and if we can spread God’s word by doing that, then we’ve almost fulfilled our calling.”

Schilling and Timlin share a corner of the Sox clubhouse with Varitek, Wakefield, Mirabelli, and Bradford. Most of the other evangelical Christians occupy lockers across the room in a row with players who do not attend chapel. And the players who are not evangelicals have praised those who are for their inclusive influence.

”Everyone is very respectful of one another and what they choose to believe in,” said Gabe Kapler, who is Jewish. ”The guys in this clubhouse live in harmony when it comes to that kind of stuff.”

Nixon suggested it would be sinful for Christians to do otherwise.

”It would be terrible for me or anyone else to look down on someone who may not come to chapel or Bible study,” he said. ”We love and care about everyone a great deal.”

The Sox evangelicals said they often have been asked if they believe God wanted them to win the World Series rather than the Yankees or the Cardinals.

”I don’t know what he thinks,” Myers said. ”If I knew that, I’d be God.

Regardless of when they discovered their faith, the Sox evangelicals have converged at a unique time in franchise history. Nixon said the organization’s religious tolerance has dramatically improved under the new ownership. Under the previous regime, Day was not allowed in the clubhouse, as he has been since former manager Grady Little helped clear the way after the team changed hands in 2002. Day’s access to the clubhouse has increased his opportunity to meet with players. Previously, chapel was held outside the clubhouse, as it continues to be.

”That has made a huge difference,” Nixon said. ”The organization has become more receptive to our faith.”

Unavailable for comment : Derek Lowe.

Say What You Will About His Music…

Posted in Rock Und Roll at 5:21 pm by

….but Jimmy Gestapo has aged pretty well.

Going Radio Ga-Ga With Bob Wickman

Posted in Baseball at 1:49 pm by

I read an interview in which Nurse With Wound’s Steve Stapleton (above) claimed to pay no attention to any reviews of his work, be they print, internet, etc. Perhaps Stapleton has a valuable life lesson to teach Indians reliever Bob Wickman, who in the words of reader Mike Jordan, will be thinking about sports talk radio when he signs his next contract.

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Burt Graeff : (thanks to Mike for the link)

“I hear a lot of what it said about me on those shows,” said Wickman, who leads the American League with 35 saves, “and it really ticks me off.

“Guys who call and blast me will have an effect on whether I want to come back here next season. My kids hear this stuff and it makes me mad.”

Not to get all Phil Mushnick on you or anything, but what kind of parent allows their children to listen to sports talk radio? (Alex Reimer, please put your hand down).

Yao Signs Max Extension

Posted in Basketball at 1:33 pm by

C Yao Ming has re-upped with the Rockets for another 5 years. ESPN.com’s Ric Bucher is amused that Yao didn’t have the entire league jumping through flaming hoops over the summer.

Didn’t he read the manual? Doesn’t he know this was his chance to hold the franchise hostage and make sure everyone in Dubya’s stomping grounds danced to Yao’s xiao*? To induce GMs around the league to prostrate themselves before his size 18s and shower him with gifts and expound on how magnificent he would look in their uniforms? (Heck, even Tim Duncan went the sampler route.)

To inspire media and fans to speculate and chatter and raise a general ruckus about where he should go and why? (Several sources say Lakers rising exec Jim Buss — son of owner Dr. Jerry Buss — thought he could lure Yao to L.A. but is now targeting LeBron James.)

Yao could’ve been the center of attention for at least a month, if not an entire year, had he played out his option — and, instead, he does this. Quietly negotiates a max extension. Quietly arranges to call from China to make the announcement. Quietly hitches his wagon to a franchise and a market that, quite frankly, are not big enough to fully exploit his worldwide drawing power.

Here’s how it’s done: Keep a checklist of grievances and see this as the perfect time for full-bore payback. Poke fun at those who tagged him a bust before his first NBA game. Steal the spotlight from those who insinuated his All-Star starts are bogus because he comes from a country of 1.3 billion people. (As if that’s something he should be sorry for, especially considering a billion are not believed to have Internet access.) Drop hints about how honored he’d be to follow in the purple-and-gold pivots of Kareem, Wilt and Shaq. That might’ve even induced Phil Jackson to say how much better suited Yao is than the Diesel for the triangle offense. Or how much New York reminds him of his native Shanghai. Or how he might just have to leave the league entirely if the referees don’t start cutting him a little more slack.

Dilbeck : Dump Bradley

Posted in Baseball at 1:05 pm by

So much for due process. Though the Dodger outfielder faces no criminal charges at the moment, the LA Daily News’ Steve Dilbeck says enough is enough.

It is time for the Dodgers to make a stand and cut Milton Bradley.

Time to make it known they will no longer tolerate his unpredictable behavior. To make a statement that their recently proclaimed fondness for character is not just lip service. To admit to a mistake and move past it.

There should be no hiding behind a too-convenient knee injury. No vague comments of support. No condoning Bradley’s failings by not speaking and acting against them.

Bradley’s unpredictability as a player never translated off the field. He seemed the emotional man-child, earnest and so immensely likeable one moment, outrageous or enraged the next.

Now comes a report from the Daily Breeze that Bradley’s anger issues exceed throwing a plastic bottle at the foot of a fan at Dodger Stadium or calling a black reporter an Uncle Tom during the postseason.

Three times this summer police have responded to domestic-violence calls at his Redondo Beach home, the newspaper reported, including one where he allegedly choked his pregnant wife, bloodied her lip and threw a cell phone against the wall.

No charges were filed against Bradley or his wife, but the police report is unnerving, particularly in light of his past public battles with anger.

At the beginning of the season, when he seemed on the right track, you pulled for Bradley, hoped he could overcome his anger issue and find happiness on his home team, but it proved too foreign.

Bradley clearly has bigger concerns than his knee to overcome. The Dodgers have been more than patient. Now they clearly need to be decisive.

The Fiver Celebrates Newcastle’s Signing Of Michael Owen

Posted in Football at 12:04 pm by

From the Guardian’s Barry Glendenning and Sean Ingle :

Upon hearing that 20,000 Geordies had assembled inside St James’s Park today, the Fiver assumed it was a typically over-the-top send-off for Jermaine Jenas, who’d just agreed to a £7m move to Spurs. The truth turned out to be even more disturbing: the gullible hordes had come to welcome an England striker who only signed for them as a last resort. Even more worrying was the sight of Sky Sports News presenter Jim White abandoning any semblance of journalistic impartiality as he whipped the aforementioned mob into a waheying frenzy in his role as cheerleading MC for the latest gag-packed extravaganza at Newcastle United Comedy Club.

“You’ve done so much in football but this must be one of your proudest moments,” simpered Jim to Magpies boss Graeme Souness, whose numerous high-profile trophy wins as a player and manager (of other teams) clearly pale into insignificance compared to securing a Real Madrid reject nobody else wanted on a four-year deal. “We’ve really done the business today,” agreed Souey, adopting a turn of phrase not heard around St James’s Park for several months. “He was my first choice, we’ve got him and the supporters will love him. He’s an honest up-front guy as well as a top-class footballer.”

And as hordes of in-no-way-fickle Newcastle fans chanted the name of a manager they wanted sacked as recently as last Sunday, the object of their affections was quick to pay homage to the man who really runs first-team affairs. “Alan [Shearer] reminded Michael he had this same decision a decade ago when he left Blackburn and could have gone to Manchester United. He chose Newcastle and look what it’s done for him,” insisted Souness, presumably alluding to the extra low premiums Shearer pays on insuring the contents of his trophy cabinet.

As expected, midfielder Jermaine Jenas has moved to Tottenham as the transfer deadline hits. QPR can take considerable solace the morning after being trounced by Wolves in their acquisitions of West Ham midfielder Steve Lomas and one-time R’s fixture Richard Langley (above), the latter returning to Loftus Road after a spell at Cardiff City.

World Oldest Person, Dead At 115

Posted in Medical Science at 10:55 am by

From Reuters :

A Dutchwoman, the world’s oldest person on record who swore by a daily helping of herring for a healthy life, died on Tuesday aged 115.

Hendrikje van Andel-Schipper, a former needlework teacher born on June 29, 1890, died in her sleep at a nursing home in the northern Dutch town of Hoogeveen.

“In the last few weeks she became weaker but she was bright up until her last. She was ready to say goodbye,” Johan Beijering, director of the Westerkim nursing home, told Reuters.

“She thought it was great she was the world’s oldest given that she weighed only three pounds when she was born. She was an optimistic woman.”

With the passing of Andel-Schipper, the World’s Second and Third Eldest Persons each move up one spot on the charts.

Heyman : Mets Fans “Abysmal”

Posted in Baseball at 9:52 am by

Newsday’s Jon Heyman bravely directs his sights towards those Mets fans who aren’t packing Shea Stadium…neglecting to mention, of course, how many major league ballgames he’s paid his own money to see recently.

This is a contending Mets team, one that has as good a chance as anyone of winning the National League wild card.

Ya Gotta Believe, no?

Maybe if the team makes the playoffs, it will sell out then.

Maybe not.

The only games that fill Shea Stadium lately are the ones that guarantee the merengue, the Latin appreciation nights. How about some plain ol’ baseball appreciation nights? Maybe the better business model is to 86 the baseball and salsa their way through September.

If something doesn’t change, the Mets’ September will be filled with meaningful yet rarely seen games.

They returned from a hugely successful 5-2 trip, after finally proving they can win away from Shea and put a nice streak together, to face the wild-card-leading Phillies and a too-empty house. I wonder which was more demoralizing, the unoccupied seats or the first-inning home runs by Phillies Kenny Lofton and Pat Burrell.

No matter, the Mets bounced back from both, erasing a 4-1 deficit to win, 6-4.

“I think they’re missing something if they don’t come. This is a very exciting team they should be proud to come see,” manager Willie Randolph said. “I don’t know who’s here and who isn’t, as long as there’s a few.”

The players’ performance was typically enthralling last night. The fans’ performance was abysmal. The announced crowd was 36,505. That’s 20,864 less than it should have been.

“The weather didn’t help us tonight. I would be more upset if the weather was perfect,” Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said. “The weather’s been threatening all day. There’s a hurricane out there.”

Wilpon was talking 15 minutes before game time, and Shea was mostly empty. There were a decent number of late arrivers. Yet, even after everyone filed in, the green mezzanine section was nearly half empty and the red upper-deck section was half empty.

This team isn’t a mirage. The fans need to stop treating it like one. This team deserves your attention, your patronage, your respect.

Sure, Mets fans are skeptical after enduring the Mo Vaughn Era, which partly coincided with the Art Howe Error. That’s understandable.

But 130 games have been played. It’s time, Mets fans.

It’s time to forget the past, to embrace the present, and to realize the Mets are worth your time.

Mike Cameron made it to the ballpark yesterday. If Cameron, who broke his face diving and colliding for a liner, can make it to Shea, you can make it, too.

George Will made it to the park, and he brought family members. Davey Johnson made it to the ballpark to promote the Viagra Comeback Player of the Year award. What, you were expecting Rafael Palmeiro?

Much as I appreciate Heyman’s acknowledging that the Mets are a legit contender, this is much ado about zilch. Mike Cameron, George Will and Davey Johnson have far nicer walk-up seating options than the average Mets fan. OK, maybe not Davey, but you get the idea. Heyman wonders why the Cyclones can sell out but not the Mets, yet the capacity and ambience of the respective ballparks answer that question for him, if not the ticket prices. And 36K on a Tuesday isn’t that embarasing. Were the Mets to sell that many tickets every game, their annual attendence would be just shy of 3 million. Not the rarified air of the Yankees, but a more than acceptable sum for a club that hasn’t won anything in 5 years.

Either The Mets Just Came Back To Beat The Phillies…

Posted in Baseball at 9:33 am by

….or King’s X tickets have gone on sale. Writes David Roth,

Not that we’re terribly likely to be seeing him again this year, but here’s a Piazza photo to keep handy in case you need it. Like in case he embarrasses himself at a Soulfly concert or something.

As for last night: awesome, an absolute me-high-fiving-my-girlfriend Mets moment. I think you’re right on in your post, but while it’s hard to imagine Castro staying on this sort of pace, a month-long emergence of just one bottom of the order hitter — Jacobs may not be it, but Castro or Diaz could easily be, and my dark-horse is Matsui (admittedly a very, very dark horse) — changes the whole equation. Good times, for the time being.

Thanks, David. Though for the record, it should be stressed that Milton Bradley says he was just high-fiving his wife, too.

Ramon Beats On Ugie The Brat, Mets Inch Closer To W.C. Lead

Posted in Baseball at 12:44 am by

(Mike Cameron, recovering from the laundry list of injuries suffered in his face to face collision with Carlos Beltran last month in San Diego, congratulates Ramon Castro)

At yesterday’s close of play there were 4 National League clubs with a total of 62 losses, each flawed in one way or another. Of those playoff hopefuls, the New York Mets’ resilience since the loss of their everyday right-fielder and catcher has been astonishing. Ramon Castro provided the heroics Tuesday night, hitting a 3 run HR off Philly’s Ugueth Urbina, to give New York a 6-4 win at Shea. Jae Seo, who came back to earth slightly sooner than Shawn Chacon, allowed first inning HR’s to Kenny Lofton and Met-killer Pat Burrell, but Carlos Beltran (described by Keith Hernandez as “tentative” early in the broadcast) would reply with a first inning solo HR, a subsequent RBI single and a crucial outfield assist, gunning down Lofton trying to score in the visitors’ 5th.

Of the clubs contending for the NL Wild Card, Houston have the easiest remaining schedule….and it is very hard to imagine the Mets continuing to get as much mileage from the bottom half of their batting order as they have during their recent surge. But not nearly as hard to envision, however, Beltran, Cliff Floyd and David Wright fashioning a deadly 3-4-5 combination over the season’s final month.

Apparently, it would take more than leaving Chicago for Joe Borowski to morph into Mariano Rivera. More than a dye job for Curt Schilling to morph into Curt Schilling, too.

Rattled By The Rush, Pt. II : AFL’s Shell Loses His Shirt

Posted in Gridiron at 12:12 am by

From the Arizona Republic’s Senta Scarborough, Richard Obert and Josh Kelley : (link courtesy Kevin Murphy)

The head coach of the Arizona Rattlers arena football team admitted snorting cocaine behind a Mesa business early Tuesday and faces possible drug charges, police said.

Former 49ers linebacker Todd Shell was shirtless and sweating profusely when an officer found him pacing around his Land Cruiser about 1 a.m. behind a business near Ivy Street and Greenfield Road, Mesa police Detective Tim Gaffney said.

Shell told the officer he owned the business and kept looking north. When the officer asked why he was looking in that direction, Shell told him he was alone but said a “guy wearing camouflage is in the tree,” police said. The officer found no one else in the area.

At first, Shell, 43, of Mesa, said he found the bag in the parking lot but later admitted the substance, which he identified as cocaine, was his. He said he had an “eight ball,” or an eighth of an ounce.

Shell told the officer he went behind the business to use the cocaine, and told the officer he had only used cocaine three times and he had obtained the drug from a friend.


Putting The “Awk” In Rawk

Posted in Rock Und Roll at 7:41 pm by

Have you ever said to yourself, “classic tunes by AC/DC, and Black Sabbath would sound so much better if they were performed acappela by an aging dude with considerably less range than Bon Scott covered in dirt?” Me neither. But if you’re curious, the Rawker should sort you out (culled from WFMU’s Beware Of The Blog.)

Nuts To That : Indie Saints Cater To Peanut-Phobic

Posted in Baseball at 6:58 pm by

From KBLT.com :

The St. Paul Saints are adding “peanut-free” seating for Friday night’s game against Sioux City at Midway Stadium.

The Saints first tried in July to offer an area of seats where people with peanut and other food-related allergies could sit without worry. But that game against Gary was rained out.

The “peanut-free” seats are the top rows of Section K, a non-smoking area located behind first base. The reserved seats cost ten dollars.

To ensure the safety of those buying the seats, the Saints will leave a row of seats empty in front of the group.

The team has worked with the Food Allergy Support Group of Minnesota on the event.

Buehrle : Rangers Are Stealing Signs

Posted in Baseball at 6:27 pm by

From the AP :

Chicago White Sox left-hander Mark Buehrle called the Texas Rangers cheaters on Tuesday, claiming that the team signals pitches to batters through a high-tech light system in center field.

Buehrle suggested Monday night that the Rangers knew what he was throwing during Chicago’s 7-5 loss, and he repeated the accusation before Tuesday’s doubleheader.

“I’ve heard rumors, so it’s not just me saying this,” Buehrle said. “I’ve heard it from tons of people. It’s not just me saying this. … Something’s going on because they hit so good at home. The way they hit here, you’d have to raise an eyebrow to figure something’s going on. Look at the stats. I’m not just making this up.”

Texas entered Tuesday batting .285 with 125 homers at home, compared to .256 with 86 homers on the road.

The Rangers dismissed the allegations – in some cases with a chuckle.

“It’s crazy and it’s funny,” said Rangers home run leader Mark Teixeira (shown homering off Buehrle, above). “It’s an outrageous comment, an outrageous claim.”

Texas DH Phil Nevin jokingly asked Rangers manager Buck Showalter why the lights weren’t working when he went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts on Monday night.

Hopefully MLB will take these accusations seriously…and they’ll figure out what sort of high tech chicanery has been employed letting the visiting teams know actualy what pitches Texas’ hurlers are about to deliver.

Seriously, though, Buck’s sneaky ways are paying dividends again this evening, with the Rangers leading the White Sox, 8-6 through 7 innings in the front end of a double dip Mark Teixeira, clearly struggling with Jon Garland’s savvy pitch selection, already has 2 HR’s, a double and 6 RBI’s.

Police : Moody Milton Battered Pregnant Wife

Posted in Baseball at 6:03 pm by

At least no one can accuse Frank McCourt of disregarding character in the makeup of the Dodgers’ clubhouse. From the LA Breeze’s Larry Altman :

Police have responded to the Redondo Beach home of Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Milton Bradley three times this summer on domestic violence calls, including one instance in which he allegedly choked his pregnant wife, bloodied her lip and hurled a cellular telephone into a wall.

On Monday, Bradley — out for the season with a knee injury and not accompanying the team to Chicago — angrily dispatched a reporter from his driveway.

“You come here snooping around,” he yelled from his upstairs balcony. “Get off my property. Write that down. Get off my property.”

No charges were filed against Bradley or his wife stemming from any of the three police responses. In two of the cases, police officers counseled the couple. In a third, Bradley was not home when police arrived.

Bradley’s wife, who was four months pregnant at the time, told officers she and her husband had argued about “relationship issues.” Bradley, she said, grabbed her right hand and pushed it against her mouth, causing her to hit herself. The inside of her lip began to bleed, the crime report said.

He then grabbed her cellular telephone from a bedroom table and threw it toward a wall. The phone hit a headboard, struck the wall and shattered into several pieces, the report said.

Bradley picked up the phone and walked into the hallway, followed by his wife.

“Victim said her husband turned around and used his right forearm and pushed her against the wall,” an officer wrote. “Victim stated (Bradley’s) forearm was against her throat and she was having a difficult time breathing.”

When Bradley let go of her, she ran to the bathroom and vomited.

“Victim said her husband went around the house and picked up all the cell phones, house phones, her car keys and credit cards and left the location,” the report said.

A police officer said Bradley’s wife was crying and upset when she answered the door. Her lip was bleeding.

Officers found a scuff mark on the headboard and a small dent in the drywall above the bed from where the cellular telephone hit, the report said.

Lt. Dangle of the Reno P.D. was unavailable for comment.

Romania’s Gymnasts Fight For Their Right To Party

Posted in olympics at 5:47 pm by

From the Associated Press :

The future of Romania’s storied gymnastics program is in question after two top gymnasts violated their contracts by leaving a training camp over the weekend to attend a birthday party.

Catalina Ponor (above), winner of three gold medals at last year’s Olympics, and teammate Floarea Leonida were seen at a birthday party for a male gymnast Saturday night.

That led Romania’s gymnastics federation to disband its women’s team Tuesday. Adrian Stoica, the federation’s secretary general, said all gymnasts would now train at their own clubs.

Ponor, 18, told a Romanian television station that only athletes were present at the party. She denied reports that she drank alcohol and vowed to train hard for the world championships in November in Australia.

“I hope I will prove that it’s possible to perform well even without the tough restrictions at the training camp,” Ponor said.

Another gymnast on the team, Daniela Sofronie, has threatened to retire.

All this talk of lady gymnasts brings back happy memories of Rufus From Queens, who used to regale the hosts of WNYU’s evening sports yack show with his ferverent desire to “fuck Mary Lou Retner up the ass.” Either WNYU has since employed a 7 second delay, or Rufus has retired.

Starstruck Schmoe Saddened By Starlet & Strokes Sticksman’s Smoking

Posted in Baseball at 2:02 pm by

From today’s Chicago Tribune (link courtesy Scott Comeau) :

America’s sweetheart, Drew Barrymore, behaved like a drunken sailor at a recent Mets game–drinking, smoking and cussing up a storm in front of an appalled family, one former fan of the actress claims.

Michael Delvecchio, who was in an adjacent luxury box, told the New York Daily News: “Her image is of this sweet, down-to-earth girl, but she was the exact opposite. She was drinking and smoking like a chimney with her boyfriend [the Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti] and their friends, so we asked the security guard to tell her to put out her cigarette because there were young children present, but she just kept on doing it.”

Delvecchio also said Barrymore berated one of his friends for taking her picture.

(Ms. Barrymore, shown here preparing to kill the family-friendly vibe at a Toronto Blue Jays game, circa 2004)

Could there possibly be more shocking news that a famous actress and rock musician were seen drinking and cursing at a Mets game? Celebrities or not, what else are you supposed to do when Danny Graves is pitching?

Astros Recall Scott

Posted in Baseball at 1:06 pm by

Round Rock are only 2 games behind Oklahoma with 7 remaining in their chase for the PCL’s National Southern pennant, but they’re gonna lose the league’s leading HR hitter just the same, writes the Houston Chronicle’s Jose De Jesus Ortiz.

The Astros recalled hot-hitting outfielder Luke Scott from Class AAA Round Rock on Monday after waiving relief pitcher Chad Harville.

Scott, 27, the Astros’ opening-day left fielder following a hot spring, struggled with big-league pitching in April and joined Round Rock on May 3, where he hit .286 for the Express with a Pacific Coast League-leading 31 home runs, along with 87 RBIs and 25 doubles.

“That hopefully will be an offensive boost for us,” general manager Tim Purpura said. “(Scott) has played very well. He leads the league in home runs. He’s really been steady. Hopefully, we’ll get some offense out of him. (His role) to be determined. I’m sure he’ll get some starts.”

Trying to make the jump to the majors straight from Class AA didn’t go well for Scott. After playing in 14 games and hitting only .154 (6-for-39) with one RBI, he was demoted to Round Rock.

The Astros have 38 players on the 40-man roster and 11 pitchers on the 25-man roster, leaving two slots to be filled soon. Class AAA Round Rock catcher Raul Chavez, who was taken off the roster last month, likely will be added to the 40-man roster soon.

A former Indians prospect, Scott’s final at bat for the Express resulted in an 8th inning 3 run HR Sunday night, giving Round Rock a 4-3 win over Nashville, former Mets reliever Scott Strickland collecting the save.

Magpies Acquire Owen

Posted in Football at 12:37 pm by

In a move that should end discussions about Michael Owen returning to Liverpool for at least another 2 years or so, Newcastle United have announced the signing of the England striker following his physical exam earlier today. From the Times :

Newcastle United pulled off a sensational transfer coup when they finally managed to persuade Michael Owen, the England forward, to keep his World Cup dreams alive on Tyneside.

In a move which dashed the hopes of former club Liverpool of securing the 25-year-old’s return, the Magpies completed their club record swoop – believed to be in the region of £16million – for the Real Madrid star to hand Graeme Souness, the Newcastle manager, a massive boost.

Owen underwent a medical this afternoon after agreeing a four-year deal and the club has now confirmed that they will present him to the media at a press conference at St James’ Park at noon tomorrow and then afterwards to the fans.

“Bringing Michael to St James’ Park will rank alongside the signing of Alan Shearer as my proudest moment at Newcastle United,” chairman Freddy Shepherd told the club’s official website.

(that’ll be £37.99 please, though the lettering is extra)

Presumably a prouder moment than being quoted as calling the women of Newcastle “dogs” or bragging about the mark-up on replica shirts.

Aston Villa have found sufficient cover in the wake Martin Laursen’s knee problems, signing PSV Eindhoven defender Wilfred Bouma (above) in £3.5 million transfer deal. Bouma will join other recent arrivals including Milan Barros, Kevin Phillips and Patrick Berger, as David O’Leary shows he’s as adept at spending money as he was at Leeds.

Jumping The Queue With Isiah

Posted in Basketball at 12:17 am by

From the NY Post’s Richard Johnson :

Who knew there was a VIP line at the Department of Motor Vehicles? One frustrated driver, financial analyst Marty Kindler, tells PAGE SIX that when he was trying to register a change of address at the DMV in Peekskill, he spotted Knicks president Isiah Thomas cutting the line with DMV employees’ approval. “I am outraged that Isiah did not have to wait along with the general public,” Kindler declares. We tried to contact the DMV in Peekskill but ” surprise! ” we couldn’t get through to a human there. A faxed request for comment went unanswered.

Trachsel To Boston?

Posted in Baseball at 12:01 am by

Despite his fantastic showing against the Giants last Friday night, there’s no room in the Mets’ starting rotation for Steve Trachsel. The New York Times’ Ben Shpigel reports the Red Sox might have a spot available in theirs.

A major league executive with knowledge of the discussions between the Mets and the Red Sox said that no deal seemed imminent, although the two teams might talk again. If the Red Sox were to acquire Trachsel, they would presumably want to do so by midnight Wednesday, because any player acquired after that point would not be eligible for the postseason. And if Trachsel has previously cleared waivers, no team could move to block the trade by claiming him before a deal is made.

The executive who acknowledged the discussions between the two teams said he did not want to be named because he felt that doing so might jeopardize chances, slim as they might be, for a deal.

Although a trade for Trachsel makes sense for the Red Sox, whose pitching is in disarray, it is not clear what players Boston could afford to offer the Mets who would be of immediate help in the National League wild-card race.

Like many teams, the Mets could use bullpen help, but the Red Sox bullpen is not in particularly good shape, either. The Mets could also stand to upgrade at catcher, first base and second base, areas of depth in the Boston farm system, but the Red Sox may not want to trade a solid prospect for what could be merely a stopgap acquisition. Nor is it clear that the Mets would want to surrender Trachsel now for someone who could not help them for the rest of this season.

The Red Sox may be willing to part with the backup third baseman Kevin Youkilis, who is 26 and does have potential as a major league hitter, but the Mets already have a rising star at third base in David Wright.


Nobody Saw Shit…

Posted in The Law at 11:37 pm by

…and they wouldn’t tell you, even if they did.

Rosenthal : Sox Will Eat Millions To Move Manny

Posted in Baseball at 11:25 pm by

From the Sporting News’ Ken Rosenthal :

Look for the Red Sox to finally trade LF Manny Ramirez this offseason. A thin free-agent market for sluggers will intensify the demand for Ramirez, and the Sox likely will be willing to pay some of the $57 million remaining on Ramirez’s contract through 2008 and/or take back salary in return.

The Mets, Marlins and Rangers are potential suitors for Ramirez. And don’t rule out the Nationals under new ownership ” especially if Jim Bowden remains general manager.

Implosion of the week, by the way, comes courtesy of Manny’s teammate, the Sultan Of Sloth.

Heard This Before? Cubs’ Wood Faces Surgery, Season Over

Posted in Baseball at 6:51 pm by

From the Sports Network :

Chicago Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood has decided to undergo surgery on his troublesome right shoulder, the team announced Monday, which will signal the end of the oft-injured right-hander’s season.

Wood (above), who has spent two separate stints on the disabled list this year, will have the procedure Wednesday at Beacon Orthopedics in Sharonville, Ohio. Cincinnati Reds team physician Dr. Timothy Kremchek will perform the operation.

The Cubs expect Wood to be at full strength in time for spring training and is slated to return to the starting rotation in 2006.

…with a return to the DL scheduled for sometime in May of next season.

Mighty Casey Going Deep, Fan Abuse, Unrelated

Posted in Baseball at 3:03 pm by

From MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince :

“Hey Casey,” the Pirates fan screamed from the upper deck at PNC Park in the ninth inning on Sunday. “I don’t care where you’re from. You still stink!”

Pittsburgh native Sean Casey didn’t hear the catcall. But he responded, nevertheless, taking John Grabow’s very next pitch 457 feet out to center field for a two-run home run that put the final stamp on the Reds’ 7-2 win over the Pirates.

“That’s great,” Casey said when informed of what had transpired. “That’s classic. You gotta love when that happens.”

The Reds have a lot to love about the way they’re playing lately.

They’ve responded from their well-documented struggles of the season’s first half much in the same way Casey responded to that jeering fan.

Yeah, except Casey wasn’t responding to that jeering fan. As Castrovince notes above, Casey couldn’t hear the guy in the upper deck. In fact, it is hard to figure out how Castronivce could hear him.

Of course, properly equipped, the hardcore fan does have the power to affect the outcome of such a contest.