…this probably isn’t what he meant.
(pic courtesy of Scott Comeau)
They’re in the top of the 3rd at Fenway, Chien-Ming Wang (above) having allowed a 2nd inning solo HR to Jason Varitek that put Boston in front, 2-1. Johnny Damon managed to take the bat out of Manny Ramirez’ hands in the bottom of the third, being caught in a run down after a David Ortiz tapper back to Wang. Not only did Damon make the third out of the inning trying to advance to third with Manny on deck, he did so after after he’d already been looked back to 2nd. I suppose he figured if he didn’t draw a throw from Wang the first time, why would Giambi try to execute a simple toss across the diamond. Idiotic.
Cleveland and Chicago are scoreless after 3. As you might expect under the circumstances, Paul Konerko has the night off, the always dangerous John Gload (0 HR’s, 3 RBI’s, .147 BA in 33 AB’s) batting 3rd for the White Sox.
I somehow managed to miss departing ESPN executive VP Mark Shapiro on Jim Rome’s radio program yesterday, but I’m sure host and guest spent hardly any air time whatsoever congratulating each other for their efforts in transforming sports entertaiment as we know it.
Over at the professional website that would have virtually no content were it not for the constant flirtations with ESPN employees (just send your fucking resume already!), Partyboy has a cute little list of the “hits” and “misses” during Shapiro’s tenure. Among the former, “Playmakers” (best known for being the launching pad for Omar Gooding’s eventual star turn in “Barbershop”. The TV show, not the film) and the NASCAR tear-jerker “3″ (best known for being an improvement over Barry Pepper’s performance in “Knockaround Guys”) ; on the thumbs down list, “Quite Frankly (White Journalists Resent Steven A. Smith)” and “ESPN Hollywood” (which, quite frankly, functions as a slightly less shitty TV version of a recently launched, non-ESPN website).
As always, readers are solicited for “tips”, in case the author has completely missed the boat.
It seems all too fitting that said ambulance chaser’s critical faculties are right down there with those of Bill Simmons. How can an adult with a supposedly functioning brain attempt to chronicle the most wretched moments in ESPN’s recent history without once typing the name “Tom Sizemore” or the words “You’re Playing Poker, They’re Playing You”?
From the The Last True Believer, Phil Mushnick in today’s NY Post :
A new policy will be in place at WFAN, effective today. Callers to the “Know-It-All and the Village Idiot Show” will now be asked, before going on the air, for their phone numbers and addresses.
Thus, callers who are, in any combination, unfairly trashed, bullied, shouted down, ridiculed and cut off by Mike Francesa and/or Chris Russo ” such as the caller Francesa buried Tuesday for providing data on MLB doubleheaders that turned out (as intelligent listeners immediately knew) to be correct ” can be contacted by program director Mark Chernoff.
Chernoff will then provide a “just between us” apology and, as a further conciliatory gesture, offer the caller a Vermont Teddy Bear (limited to the first dozen unfairly abused callers, each week).
WFAN’s public stance on what Francesa or Russo did or did not say to callers and invited guests will remain: They didn’t say it. And to prove it, WFAN will continue to fail to tape that particular segment.
(resemblance aside, not related to Phil)
Much as Francesca and Russo induce an almost instant migrane whenever I have the misfortune of hearing them, I don’t object to WFAN’s new policy. Those old enough to remember the fate of Denver talk radio host Alan Berg (above) are well aware there any number of kooks who might take exception to Mike & Chris’ radical social views.
At least that’s what I was counting on.
…and surprise, surprise, it isn’t for Travis Hafner. From today’s Boston Herald
Already trailing the Yankees by one game in the AL East, the Sox faced a 4-1 deficit entering the bottom of the sixth inning. They rallied for an inspiring 5-4 victory behind, largely, Jonathan Papelbon and David Ortiz, one a fountain of youth and the other an old faithful.
About Ortiz, in particular, there really is nothing we can say anymore. The designated hitter may or may not win the AL Most Valuable Player award, but there simply has not been anyone in baseball this season who has meant more to his team.
There may not even be anyone close.
“The guy’s unbelievable,” Kevin Millar said of Ortiz, who tied the game at 4 with a solo homer in the eighth inning and won it with a one-out single in the ninth. “He’s the greatest clutch hitter in the game, 100 percent. You just don’t see that. It’s not that easy.”
And what of the 24-year-old Papelbon? Slightly more than a year ago, he was pitching in the Single-A Florida State League. Now he is in the midst of a big league September during which he is 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA, including a sterling, scoreless, 2 2/3-inning performance last night in which he threw 23-of-30 pitches for strikes.
Papelbon has truly been a revelation for Boston, early to the extent of New York’s Aaron Small. It would only figure that in a season where Randy Johnson, Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright have struggled, the Yankees’ savior would be an unheralded 33 year old making $300,000.
Newsday’s Barbara Barker uses those misunderstood Hilton sisters to illustrate her point about the Knicks’ GM and his latest coaching hire.
Waiting for Larry Brown and Isiah Thomas to have their first gigantic clash of egos is like waiting for Paris and Nikki Hilton to utter their next stupid sentence. You know it’s going to happen; the only question is what it will be about.
The bet here is the honeymoon between Brown and Thomas will end sometime in training camp, after a particularly uninspiring practice. Or maybe the two will make it to the first month of the Knicks’ season before the frustration of a six-game West Coast trip sends Brown running into Thomas’ office.
Sooner, rather than later, Brown will tell Thomas that one of his beloved acquisitions, maybe even Stephon Marbury, needs to go. And the onus is going to be on Thomas this time to keep things from getting out of hand.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Stephon’s name pop up in these gloomy predictions, and I think Barker is correct, if only because Detroit will likely reject a Jamal Crawford for Darko Milicic trade proposal.
The New York Mets and the Mets Foundation are pleased to join former player, Todd Zeile, in a special fund-raising event to benefit the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The event features the New York premiere of the movie “Dirty Deeds,” the first film to be produced by Todd’s film production company, Green Diamond, and a post-premiere reception with a bevy of sports and film celebrities.
As a valued ticket holder, you are being offered the opportunity to join us for the film’s New York premiere and VIP party on Tuesday, October 4th. Festivities will kick off at 6:30 pm at the AMC Empire 25 Theatre (42nd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues) with cocktails and dinner to follow at the ESPN Zone in Times Square.
Attached please find the invitation with details on expected celebrity attendees and instructions on how to purchase tickets.
We hope to see you on the 4th!
The heck with the Division Series’, I think we’ve got Will Leitch’s Tuesday night all figured out.
FSNY’s Fran Healy, introducing Mets left-hander Tom Glavine prior to his first pitch tonight against Colorado.
“…he’s a brand new pitcher….he’s been a Hall of Famer…and he’s going to win 300 games as a member of the Mets organization.”
Hyperbole about Glavine’s improved 2nd half aside, Healy would have us believe that Glavine is the only active player currently enshrined in Cooperstown. He’s also asking us to accept that the Concord, MA native (who turns 40 next spring) will win 25 or 26 games for the Mets in 2006, despite not having won 20 since 2000 (and never having won more than 22 in a single season previously).
If this is indeed Healy’s last weekend behind the Mets microphone, he’s going out in style.
(one of these gentleman can look forward to a makeover)
The Boston Globe’s Shira Springer on a move that seems solely designed to make Allan Iverson look like a square.
As part of the new collective bargaining agreement, the NBA and its players’ union devised several new initiatives designed to improve the athletes’ accessibility and professionalism. Players will be required to attend pregame autograph sessions and participate in pregame giveaways of T-shirts, hats, and wristbands. Inactive players will greet fans and community groups on game nights. The league increased the players’ minimum number of community relations appearances from 10 to 12. Players must make themselves available to the media for at least 15 minutes after practice. And among other new rules, there will be a dress code Stern expects to include sport coats and collared shirts, and exclude bluejeans. When it was mentioned that some of the league’s most highly regarded players, such as Tim Duncan, dress more casually, Stern said, ”Well, the job description has changed.”
”We’re working on a job description,” said Stern. ”It’s to help the players understand what the job is. The job is not only to go to practice and win games. The job is representing the NBA to all constituencies. Community relations. Public relations. Sponsor relations . . . Maybe for a variety of reasons we pulled back too much. Or maybe we got spoiled by a generation of players who did these things as a matter of course and as we got younger we moved away from them. So, we have to slowly remind ourselves [what to do].
”Sometimes I worry that our players’ intensity can be misconstrued and their effort can be misconstrued. They are the most intense, the most dedicated. I think the younger base of our fans understands that, but perhaps, the mid-to-older aren’t quite as attuned to it. We’d like to use our convening power to have people focus on this game and our great players, who they are and how they play, rather than their variance from some norm . . . Being neatly attired in a certain way, that’s going to be our norm.”
Knowing that a savvy veteran left hander is just what they need to counter the Yankees’ recent addition of, uh, Mark Bellhorn, Boston has acquired Mike Stanton from Washington in exchange for righties Rhys Taylor and Yader Peralta.
(Rhys Chatham, not involved in the above 3 player deal)
A 46-42 stretch was enough for the Cincinnati Reds to remove the “interim” tag from Jerry Narron, as Dave Miley’s successor was given an extension through the end of the 2006 season. No details were revealed about how much money Narron is supposed to pay the club for the privilege.
The faces of victory, ladies and gentlemen;
The absolutely, 100% not crazy manager
The 100% committed to winning at all costs Chairman.
There’s no available footage of a nude Hawk Harrelson pouring champagne all over himself, but perhaps that’s because Comcast is wary of an FCC crackdown and/or scaring children just home from school.
Content starved bloggers across America are praying this team goes deep into the post-season, if for no other reason than hoping for a Carl Everett explosion on a national stage.
Miffed at the continued lack of respect from Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, and futher aggrieved over William Gallas’ disputed handball, Liverpool’s Jamie Carragher (above) vented after yesterday’s scoreless draw in the Champions League Group G (from The Mirror’s David Maddock).
“Oh, it was a penalty, a certain penalty, but we won’t spend our time bleating about it. Before the game, there was a lot of crying coming from their camp, they were crying about various things from last season, and there were some sour grapes.
“But we have a little bit more dignity about this club than that, and we will try not to cry too much about obvious decisions going against us. It was obvious though, wasn’t it!”
A typical reply from Mourinho in the Independent, speaking of Liverpool’s longball tactics since the arrival of tall drink of water Peter Crouch :
“A good game?” Mourinho queried. “It depends on what you love in football. Some like (Crouch), some don’t, some criticise direct play, some love it. As an opponent we don’t have to like or dislike it, just cope with it and we did that fantastically.”
Tired of playing a supporting role to College Gameday’s Three Amigos, Trev Alberts became the Butkis Award winner that wouldn’t kiss butt. As such, he’s now out of work and can’t say much on the record to the Lincoln Journal-Star’s Steven M. Sipple.
The 35-year-old former Nebraska football star was fired by ESPN earlier this month because of a disagreement regarding his role in the network™s œCollege GameDay lineup. He said Wednesday he can™t talk about the situation because of pending litigation. But he spoke enthusiastically and optimistically about his future, saying he™s keeping an open mind and considering various options.
He doesn™t envision resuming work as a college football analyst for another network.
œMy opportunities in broadcasting have probably been destroyed by ESPN, said Alberts, a native of Cedar Falls, Iowa, who now lives in suburban Atlanta. œMore than likely, I™ll be making a lifestyle and professional change, which I suppose isn™t always bad.
œMy wife and I have been praying a lot and looking for direction.
With his TV days apparently behind him, he said he™s become œintrigued by potential opportunities in construction and real estate, among other possibilities.
Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on “The Show”‘s Kevin Kennedy, “interested” but not “lobbying” for another managerial position.
Kennedy, the national baseball analyst for Fox Sports and host of an XM satellite radio show, doesn’t deny an interest in being the Pirates’ next manager.
“Everything would be interesting to me,” Kennedy said Monday when the Pirates were in Los Angeles. “I miss it, I really do. I get to manage from (the press box), but I miss the competition. No question about it, I miss the game.”
Kennedy, however, said he would not openly lobby for an interview. He would only be a candidate if approached first, and that has not yet happened.
“Out of respect to the people I work with, that’s the way it would have to be,” Kennedy said. “I have an ‘out’ in my contract, but it’s not a situation where I can really solicit a job when one comes open. I’ve got a great gig now. If somebody has an interest, my door is always open.”
Given his absence from the dugout, the 51-year-old Kennedy is a long-shot candidate, but no more so than, say, Kent Tekulve.
At least one XM patron is hoping that in the unlikely event Kennedy gets the gig, Rob Dibble is named pitching coach.
From Tampa Bay’s CBS affiliate :
Former Major League Baseball star Darryl Strawberry is in trouble once again, this time in Delray Beach.
Police arrested him on Wednesday, saying he failed to return a rental car after a month. He then loaned the car to a friend, and told the agency it was stolen.
Police found the car and returned it to the rental agency, and then arrested Strawberry.
And to think it’s Kornheiser who is always banging on about being in bed early. From Michael Wilbon in Thursday morning’s Washington Post.
It’s a sorry spectacle, watching Henry Aaron and Ryne Sandberg talk about catching cheaters in the last week of September when the games and the races ought to take up 100 percent of baseball’s agenda. It’s hard to watch Barry Bonds, who was a fabulously great player long before steroid allegations, pull his team within striking distance of front-running San Diego without wondering what he did and when he did it, or if some substance that is illegal in this country is the reason he’s still out there at 41 years old chasing Aaron. And if Bonds miraculously leads his Giants into the postseason, we’ll be wondering in October, too.
Never mind catching Aaron, if Barry Bonds can help the Giants erase a 5 game deficit with 4 games left to play, his ability to transcend the time space continuum is a power to be truly feared.
(Trevor Hoffman and Ramon Hernandez celebrate the Padres’ clinching the NL West crown, their enthusiasm tempered by the knowledge that news of their achievment might not reach Washington for several days)
Falling a game behind the Yankees with 4 to play might seem like a reason to panic, but if Red Sox fans take nothing else away from their tumultuous 2005, there’s always the knowledge that Manny Ramirez never pissed inside the Green Monster.
From the Boston Herald’s Michael Silverman.
Whizgate was a sham.
Back on July 18, the story went that Manny Ramirez was late popping out of the door of The Wall in left field after a break in the action because he had to urinate.
Ramirez said, or joked, that was the reason; manager Terry Francona repeated it. And the episode quickly was added to the growing backlog of “Manny being Manny” stories.
But now it can be told: Manny wasn’t taking a whiz.
Scoreboard operator Christian Elias said he was merely chatting.
“He just popped in, like he usually does,” Elias said, “and we started talking about this and that, the weather probably, and all of a sudden the phone started ringing and everything and we were like, `What?’ And then Manny said, `Oh, shoot,’ and ran back out there. There’s no bathroom back here, he didn’t go to the bathroom. We’ve kind of been puzzled about the whole thing, nobody ever asked us.”
The NY Post’s Marc Berman writes that the Knicks’ repeated attempts to acquire Chicago C Eddy Curry have come up short.
The Post has learned the Knicks offered Chicago a sign-and-trade package of Tim Thomas and Michael Sweetney for the ailing big center, but has been rejected repeatedly by GM John Paxson.
Barring a trade, Curry (above), suffering from heart irregularities, is expected to sign the Bulls’ one-year, $5 million qualifying offer before Saturday’s deadline, according to his Jersey-based attorney, Ed Milstein.
Curry has been commiserating on the phone almost daily with his best friend, Knick guard, Jamal Crawford, who’s worked behind the scenes to get him to New York.
The Knicks offered the Bulls a package that would start Curry at more than $13M and give Chicago cap relief after season. Tim Thomas’ contract ($13.5M) and Sweetney’s ($2.1M) expire after the season. Isiah has offered Thomas in multiple deals because of his tradable contract and the Knick glut at swingman.
The New York Daily News’ Lloyd Grove on a literary bash that brings together the worlds of basketball, publishing, high society and uh…the NRA?
It’s been just a year and a half since ex-Nets star Jayson Williams was acquitted of aggravated manslaughter – in the shooting of his limo driver Costas (Gus) Christofi in the chest with a 12-gauge shotgun – and convicted of four lesser charges of covering up the incident and trying to make it look like a suicide.
But apparently that’s enough time for Williams (above) and his wife, Tanya, to throw a book party tonight at Il Postino for his lawyer, Linda Kenney – who repped him in the Christofi family’s civil suit, which he settled for $2.75 million – and former New York City chief medical examiner Michael Baden, Kenney’s husband.
The return address on the invitation, which omits Jayson’s name, is the Williams’ Who Knew? Estates in Milford, N.J., the scene of Christofi’s death.
The husband-and-wife team’s crime novel, “Remains Silent,” conjures “a terrifying vortex of murder and deceit,” according to Random House’s PR material, “a mounting body count” and “a shocking cover-up.”
“I find your question bizarre,” Tanya Williams answered. “It would be along the line of saying that I shouldn’t see a movie that involves an accident. ¦ My husband’s read the book, my friends have read the book, you should read the book!”
Kenney told Lowdown: “The cases in the book are [drawn from real cases] ¦ but there’s nothing to do with the Jayson Williams case. It’s absolutely irrelevant.”
I can only presume that Benoit Benjamin and Dwayne Schintzius are not on the guest list. Though with any luck, Will Leitch received an invitation.
Newsday’s David Lennon reports that Braden Looper — relieved of his closing duties by the Mets —- is facing shoulder surgery that could well have taken place last spring.
Looper has been bothered by a damaged AC joint in his right shoulder since the end of last season, and chose to forgo the relatively minor operation because he didn’t want to miss the start of this year. Given the ragged state of the bullpen, the Mets figured they couldn’t afford to lose Looper early on, but the decision caught up to them when he imploded in the past month.
Looper converted 28 of 36 chances overall, but suffered blown saves in his last three opportunities before manager Willie Randolph demoted him for Roberto Hernandez and Aaron Heilman. Looper never let on that his shoulder was hurting, and neither did the Mets, until he admitted yesterday that he was scheduled for an MRI today and likely would have the operation done by team orthopedist David Altchek on Monday.
“We knew sometimes he felt discomfort,” Omar Minaya said. “But he always asked for the ball. I think that this late in the year, most guys are a little banged up. There were never signs from him that he was really hurting. That never got to my ears.”
Hearing Looper describe the sensation inside his shoulder made it sound like pain was an issue. The problem was caused by two bones rubbing together, and Looper said it felt like “having a quarter-inch rock in your shoe and running with it all the time.” The condition got progressively worse during the season, and Looper noticed it most when trying to “finish” his .pitches.
So instead of throwing a sinker that dropped sharply to a hitters’ shins, the pitch stayed up in the zone.
From Jose Reyes’ lost 2004, to Mike Cameron’s slow recovery from a wrist injury during the past off-season, and finishing with the above revelations about Looper’s ordeal, the Mets’ medical staff have quite a recent run.
From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer :
Three flight attendant unions want members to boycott last weekend’s biggest film — the Jodie Foster thriller “Flightplan” — because of the way it portrays members of the profession.
Attendants come off as “rude, unhelpful and uncaring” toward Foster’s character, a distraught widow who mysteriously loses her daughter during a transatlantic flight, according to the unions.
It gets worse than that, after Foster’s character goads the captain (Sean Bean), an air marshal (Peter Sarsgaard) and the flight attendants into a massive search that comes up empty-handed, they doubt that the child ever got on board.
“This depiction of flight attendants is an outrage,” said Patricia Friend, international president of the Association of Flight Attendants, the biggest of the unions with about 46,000 members. “Flight attendants continue to be the first line of defense on an aircraft and put their lives on the line day after day for the safety of passengers.”
Oh for the days when the airline industry was treated with respect by Hollywood.
Faced with a choice Tuesday of pennant race baseball on the TV or attending a Bill Simmons/Chuck Klosterman love-in, guess which activity Deadspin opted for?
(both of these men are praying they remembered to Tivo “America’s Next Top Model”)
No word on whether or not Arianna Huffington felt left out of the fun.
Anyhow, this particular subject was dealt with a long time ago. Case fucking closed. You’re welcome.
The Guardian’s Lawrence Donegan on the brewing battle between a golf industry monolith and those who prefer their balls un-juiced.
October 11 will be a happy birthday for the world’s most popular golf ball, the Titleist Pro V-1, but also a troubled one. Five years after it was unveiled at the Invensys Classic at Las Vegas the ball accounts for more than one in every four sold in the United States – a success rate that allows its manufacturer to dominate a $1bn-a-year market.
That is the good news for the birthday boy. The bad is that the Pro V-1 now finds itself in the middle of a civil war over the future of the game. In one corner stand the traditionalists, who argue that balls like the Pro V-1, which travel much farther than their predecessors, are destroying the game, rendering some of the great courses obsolete and removing the strategic subtleties that give golf its appeal. In the other stand companies like Titleist, who claim there is no conflict between their commercial interests and the interests of the game.
This being golf, the war is fought with at least a degree of etiquette. But spend an hour or two scanning the golf web sites and trade magazines and you will find a debate as passionate as any Ryder Cup match. Under normal circumstances one would expect the manufacturers to prevail. They are richer and more powerful than the likes of Geoff Shackelford, a Los Angeles-based course architect who writes a highly respected blog and is one of the manufacturers’ fiercest critics. “People like me are but flies on the backside of companies like Titleist,” he says, but he is being modest, not least because the debate appears to be swinging towards those demanding change.
From Wednesday’s Chicago Tribune :
Mike Ditka on Tuesday introduced his first hire as an Arena Football League owner–the Rush’s first mascot, Grabowski. “Twenty years ago I respectfully referred to my team as a bunch of `Grabowskis,’” he said. “That same description is even more perfectly suited for my Rush players–a bunch of hard-working, tough guys who play for the love of the game and its fans, not the paycheck.” Armed with a hard hat and lunch pail, Grabowski will wear Ditka’s number 89.
The above link is courtesy Rob Warmowski, who writes
Some polish bretheren and i were going to protest this outrageous stereotype of our heritage with a big keg party fundraiser in the backyard, but we lost the recipe for ice.
Vernon Wells takes Bronson Arroyo into the monster seats, and Mr. Retro-Mesh Jays Believer soaks it all in. It’s getting a little Vice Magazine in here, perhaps I’ll open a window…