If the White Sox weren’t in danger of blowing their once massive lead in the AL Central, what would Jay Mariotti have to write about at this time of year? Thomas Jones vs. Cedric Benson? Eddy Curry’s refusal to take a DNA test? Jeromy Burnitz’ pathetic showing the National Air Guitar Championships?
From Sunday’s Chicago Sun-Times :
It should have been chicken soup for Ozzie Guillen’s tortured soul, this outbreak of runs and fireworks Saturday night that eased some of the raging Soxiety in town. Holy Cow, even Cubs mascot Ronnie “Woo Woo” Wickers was at the ballmall, dancing in the aisles in a lame publicity stunt. Unfortunately, Guillen is hopeless right now, capable of saying or doing anything while locked in a persecution complex.
The Indians keep winning. The Red Sox keep winning. And the Blizzard of Oz still has the tightest sphincter in baseball.
Someone please explain the last week to me. Just when nothing could be worse than a team treating a 15-game lead like a hand grenade, there’s worse: a manager spewing crazy thoughts — including garbage about quitting — as his team treats a 15-game lead like a hand grenade. Look us in the eye, Ozzie. If you’re tired of the occasional booing, the choke references and all the accompanying exhaust of a manic month, you should stop wasting your time and everyone else’s … and do something else for a living.
In a season of bizarre behavior from the Blizzard, no episode has been more damning than his recent series of comments about angst-gripped Soxdom and the general toll the job is taking on him. When a team plays wishy-washy baseball for two months and allows the Indians within 1-1/2 games of the lead, the last thing a manager should do is challenge fans who have issues with strategy, personnel decisions or the amount of resin in the bag. These people have waited decades for any postseason success, much less a World Series title, and they have every right to vent. But Guillen, as if he doesn’t have enough to worry about, foolishly fights back.
There are seven more days of this madness, this Ozfest. Tell you what: You get the man a straitjacket, I’ll buy him a muzzle.
With attendences throughout the Premiership and lower divisions sinking to levels even Jeffrey Loria would laugh at, expert observers have tried to determine what ended the Soccer Boom (other than Chelsea winning their first 7 matches to start the season). As ticket prices are often cited, the Guardian’s Jamie Jackson seeks to compare a Saturday afternoon football match with a night out at the cinema.
Red Eye at Apollo Regent Street, London, £8.50
Grays Athletic v Cambridge, £10
Some critics have hailed Wes Craven’s political assassination thriller for its psychological and sexual subtext as a female hotel manager duels with a blue-eyed terrorist on a flight to Miami – but there was more panache and subtlety down at the Recreation Ground, where Grays’ direct, effective football yielded four goals before half-time. Both venues have had a revamp. The Apollo has changed its regulation multi-screen livery to a sub-Blade Runner aesthetic featuring glittering stairways, in-toilet digital TVs and a bar lit like Stringfellows – mineral water £1.50, coffee £2. Down in deepest Essex, £5.10 buys a pint of Foster’s and a vodka and orange in Grays’ spruce new bar, while it’s £2.50 for an unconvincing burger (long queue, and the food ran out during the second half). Apollo staff were young and friendly; at the Rec the atmosphere was barrow-boy done good. This is Grays’ story, too, courtesy of local businessman Micky Woodward, who began investing five years ago and now has a full-time squad, a wage budget of £8,000 a week and annual bar takings of £750,000. The pitch is pristine, the ground a gleaming blue, and the club are second in the Conference, their highest position in their 115 years. It was enjoyable to stand close to the pitch, and the apartments that overlook one side offer individual charm. By the end of Red Eye, I was trying not to disturb the other four viewers with my laughter as Cillian Murphy’s hilariously unscary terrorist (above, right) had been reduced to croaking like a man in need of Lemsip rather than one hell-bent on murdering the heroine. It lacked the wit, even, of Cambridge United supporters singing ‘What a load of rubbish!’ to their own team. 1,543 turned up to see Grays win 5-3 and while it was hardly live theatre, it was certainly better than theme park cinema.
There’s nothing new about a legendary rock band going through a succession of lead singers. Heck, Black Flag had three of ‘em before Hank Garfield turned up. And while the New York Times’ Jeff Leeds finds such occurances a little more phenomenal than I would, there is one chilling proposition at the end of his article in this morning’s paper to consider.
Doc McGhee, who represents the rockers KISS, has been toying with the idea of recruiting an entire band to replace the original KISS and don the band’s famous makeup.
“KISS is more like Doritos or Pepsi, as far as a brand name is concerned,” he said. “They’re more characters than the individual person. I think they have a legitimate chance to carry the franchise.”
As long as Dale Torborg is not under consideration, I have no objection to this scheme.
With a rather full sporting calendar closer to home, I must admit that I’ve not been following Eurobasket 2005 nearly as closely as I should.
But if Krunoslav Cukrov and Karlo DÅ¾everlija of CroBasket.com were placed in charge of all future coverage, I can promise I’ll read about future competitions at every available opportunity.
The AP is reporting that Sammy Sosa’s miserable 2005 campaign is ending early. Kind of like 2004, just a bit earlier.
“He went about his business, probably too much, hustled all the time for us. He was a pleasure to be around and gave you 150 percent all the time. … He did all the things a good teammate is supposed to do,” Perlozzo said.
There you have it. Sammy’s poor production and eroding skills have nothing to do with the advent of tougher drug testing and everything to do with the right-fielder trying too hard.
With a starting outfield of Newhan, Matos and Gibbons, Baltimore is currently trailing Boston, 2-0 after 2 innings at Camden Yards.
Still smarting over his unceremonious dismisssal before managing a single game for Arizona, Wally Backman rails at the injustice of it all.
From the Arizona Republic’s Bob McManaman :
Backman, though, maintains his well-chronicled plunge was “full of half-truths” and that he was incorrectly portrayed as “a drunken wife-beater.”
“People tend to believe everything they read,” he said, “even when it’s not true. . . . You’d think I was so bad, I was playing for the Portland Trail Blazers or something, but trust me, I haven’t done anything bad enough to play for them yet.”
Backman laughs, but when the subject turns to Kendrick, his voice turns serious.
“Ken said some hurtful things, including a comment that I wasn’t big league material,” Backman said, referring to quotes by D-backs General Partner Ken Kendrick in an article this summer in the Oregonian.
Any team that hires Backman, even for a minor league job, will have to be prepared for a potential public-relations nightmare when his story is rehashed. That could prompt a negative response from the fan base.
“I can see how an organization could be interested by his personality and his passion, especially if they want to send a message to their players,” said an executive for a team in the National League East. “Wally’s a good baseball man and I’m sure he’ll make it back. He should be back.
“It just won’t happen with us.”
Especially not if Willie Randolph is under contract for a few more years.
“Welcome to Fenway Park South!” sneered WBAL’s Joe Angel during the final moments of the Orioles’ 6-3 loss to the Red Sox Friday night. “This is the 13th sellout of the year for the Orioles….and the home fans have done just that, sold out!. How do you think these Boston fans got their tickets?”
It is hard not to share Angel’s outrage. Those fair weather O’s rooters should at least wait until the team is 30 games out of first place before selling tickets on eBay. Seriously, if Angel is advocating that MLB segregate fans according to allegiances and/or limiting the number of tickets sold to visiting fans (much like they do for England’s professional soccer matches), he’ll have to explain to Jeffrey Loria why no one is going to see the Marlins anymore.
The morning after Carlos Beltran (above) got newly annointed Mets closer Roberto Hernandez off the hook, denting the Nationals’ short term hopes in the process, the Washington Post’s Thomas Boswell takes a grim view of DC’s long range plans, particularly if MLB approves the clubs’ sale to Jeff Smuylan.
Everywhere you go, you hear rumors that baseball may be considering another cynical “bag job” akin to the way the Red Sox were handed to the John Henry-Larry Lucchino group because they were “baseball insiders” rather than the high bidders. It worked in Boston. But if Jeff Smulyan of Indianapolis is awarded the Nationals, despite multiple qualified Washington ownership groups, it may be a disastrous decision for baseball, Washington and the Nationals.
The D.C. Council and the public would have every right to go ballistic if local buyers are bypassed, especially for outside ownership that smacks of old-boy-network string pulling. Smulyan (above) is a particularly poor choice.
His credentials as owner in Seattle (1989-’92) are unflattering. From the start, he was underfunded and his Mariners loan was called in by his bankers. He bad-mouthed Seattle as a baseball town and tried to find ways around his lease so he could move the Mariners to Tampa Bay. When he couldn’t bust his lease, he sold to a Nintendo-led group for $110 million. Three years earlier, he’d bought for $76 million. No wonder he wants back in.
Seattle cheered when Smulyan left. And this is the name baseball is running up the flagpole to see how Washington reacts?
In the last few years, music lovers have been blessed with the reformation of countless seminal bands, pioneers who changed rock history, and in some cases, challenged our preconceptions about the relationship between artist and audience. Mission Of Burma, Television, Soft Boys, Gang Of Four, Rocket From The Tombs, Throbbing Gristle, Wire, Buzcocks, the Pixies, Dinosaur Jr., etc. I could go on all day. As could some of the bands I’ve just mentioned.
But would any of us have dared to imagine that one day the Spin Doctors would put aside their petty differences and show 2005′s crop of young punks just how the Nightingales Generation used to do it back in the day? (link courtesy Sam Frank)
Not only is September 23 the anniversary of Sigmund Freud’s suicide and Richard M. Nixon’s infamous Checkers speech, but said date also marked the introduction of this very blog.
So thanks a lot for all of the cards, letters, candygrams and Whataburger gift certificates that came flooding through the door yesterday. Much as I’d love to continue taking all of the credit, so much of what makes CSTB a special place is down to the tireless contributions of dozens of people whose names I cannot remember. I’d thank them as well, but my lawyers have advised me not to.
From the Independent’s Ciar Byrne.
ITV is pinning its hopes on a remake of the cult 1970s television show Kojak to woo elusive male viewers to a new digital channel. Research conducted by the broadcaster has shown that younger men are no longer tuning in to its mainstream terrestrial channel ITV1.
Will Britain’s most boring commerical broadcaster succeed in finding a young actor with the charisma and poise of a modern Telly Savalas?
If not, I might have some casting suggestions.
The above question is posed by Ben Schwartz, who adds the following,
“I send this in with doubts that CSTB has the guts to Tell the Truth about Katrina, as Idaho weatherman Scott Stevens is doing. Barry Bonds is right, you sports writers are missing the real story.”
Since Katrina, Stevens (above) has been in newspapers across the country where he was quoted in an Associated Press story as saying the Yakuza Mafia used a Russian-made electromagnetic generator to cause Hurricane Katrina in a bid to avenge the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima. He was a guest on Coast to Coast, a late night radio show that conducts call-in discussions on everything from bizarre weather patterns to alien abductions. On Wednesday, Stevens was interviewed by Fox News firebrand Bill O’Reilly.
Thanks, Ben, but one Austin commentator has already gone on record blaming Rita’s wrath on Starbucks.
From Dallas Basketball.com :
Mark Cuban says Doug Christie is “one of those ‘my-body-is-my-temple’ guys.’ And Cuban says it reverently. Christie, 35, takes care of himself in unusual ways, of course, including enveloping himself in the love of his notable wife, Jackie. (And yes, Mavs fans, while the organization isn’t going to bend any rules for her, it has already arranged ways to be sensitive to her needs. If Doug needs guidance from the PR department, for instance, the guidance will come from a male staffer.) In addition to Christie’s defensive mindset, his leadership abilities and his point guard skills, he’s appealing to the Mavs because of the something-to-prove factor: Only the first year of Christie’s multi-year contract is guaranteed. He’ll spent the entire season trying to prove something to everyone, the entire season on a contract run of sorts.
…and there’s a hurricane headed for Texas and Louisiana, too.
The following was distributed to ESPN employees this morning :
The Bristol/Burlington Health Department has confirmed that we should continue not to drink Bristol water until further information is available. However, they stressed that this is a precautionary measure and that individuals should not panic. ESPN is taking several steps including posting signs on all water sources and we have removed any food that may have been touched or washed by the tap water in the CafÃ©. The company is also putting small quantities of bottled water in all the kitchenettes.
If you do begin to feel ill, please contact your physician.
In a completely unrelated story, Blues Traveler were guests on Colin Cowherd’s program earlier this week.
(somebody had a crazy Halloween last year)
The Austin American-Statesman’s Marty Toohey is attending the court martial of Lynndie England at nearby Fort Hood.
Military prosecutors on Thursday portrayed Pfc. Lynndie England as an eager participant in the 2003 scandal at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison, repeatedly referencing her appearance in now-notorious photos and carefully laying out a scene in which a rogue band of guards abused low-profile prisoners for their own amusement.
Pvt. Jeremy Sivits, a prosecution witness who served a year in prison for his role, said England appeared to be enjoying herself during the incident. Several other witnesses backed his characterization.
Prosecutor Capt. Chuck Neil said that England’s cohorts were not interrogating the prisoners, and England herself was a filing clerk who should have been nowhere near them.
In presenting their arguments for England’s guilt, the prosecutors painted a picture that sharply contrasts with the defense’s portrayal of a learning-challenged girl who fell hopelessly in love with a superior. In cross-examining prosecution witnesses, England’s lawyers framed her role as passive.
The Chicago Sun-Times’ Chris De Luca has a laundry list of examples illustrating just how Fundamentally Fucked the 2005 Chicago Cubs have been, then asking “did they even go to Spring Training?”
Manager Dusty Baker replies thusly :
‘I don’t like people saying my team is not fundamentally sound because I take that personally,” manager Dusty Baker said. ”But on the other hand, you can’t run and throw and hit and think for guys while they’re in the middle of the action.
”There is no Baseball 101 manual that you can just pass out.”
The furor over Barry Bonds’ use of creamy substances and/or the Sultan’s surly disposition are mere smokescreens designed to hide white America’s Fear Of A Barry Planet writes the Denver Post’s Mark Kiszla.
Go ahead. Name an American sports hero at the top of his game more despised than Barry Bonds.
When the boos rain down on the slugger as he steps to home plate, what do you hear?
I hear racism.
Bonds proves bigotry in this country is always as close as the back of a fan’s throat.
Resuming a brilliant career left for dead by his painful knee injury and a chronic steroid controversy, the 41-year-old Bonds is again bashing hanging curveballs and his detractors into the upper deck.
Bonds hits our town with 707 home runs to his name. Roll over, Babe Ruth. The king of baseball’s asterisk era has your hallowed statistic dead in his sights.
And White America hates it.
The same baseball poets who wrote odes to Mark McGwire cannot wait to tar and feather Bonds as a cheater.
Bigots who buy tickets heckle Bonds, until the boos are stifled with awe for the next moon shot launched from his bat.
In a country that pledges to fight for freedom of speech, Bonds is disliked for speaking the unpopular truth.
He is often 100 percent correct. A killer hurricane is a bigger national disaster than a national pastime that poisoned itself on juice.
Whether Bonds rubbed a cream on his body that transformed him into the San Francisco Hulk is not nearly as disturbing as the leaking of secret grand jury testimony, which is a crime against the U.S. justice system.
Cheater or not, Bonds is the only hitter I would pay to see. Yet I have felt the drop-dead glare Bonds offers the media horde when cornered in the Giants’ clubhouse, maybe because he has been bitten too often to give strangers the benefit of the doubt.
Bonds is easy to hate only because pity is so much more work.
Being the home run king should be a sweet blast. Too often, Bonds acts as if his job is shoveling manure.
It stinks when the boos leave such deep scars on a slugger’s heart that it is tough for Bonds to feel the love while circling the bases.
Where’s the joy in a home run if it doesn’t touch us all?
Good question, and if I had Dave Kingman’s home telephone number, I’d ask him right now.
Plymouth Argyle have announced the appointment of former Stoke City, Gillingham and Portsmouth boss Tony Pulis as their new manager following the recent firing of Bobby Williamson.
Save for pre and postmatch Champions League chit chat, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho claims he’ll not participate in further banter. There’s been no tally of the print and television journalists who have killed themselves in the wake of this edict, but we hope to have more news by Monday morning.
The New York Daily News’ Tracy O’Connor reports on the lovely reception afforded to fans of the exiled New Orleans Saints at Giants Stadium last Monday night.
“Where’s your swimmies? I hope you have your swimmies!” one ignoramus asked Diane Dias, 46, who splits her time between homes in New Orleans and New Milford, Conn.
“You deserve what you got,” another said. “New Orleans people are stupid.”
Dias and her husband bought seats on the 50-yard line on eBay so they could publicly show their support for the homeless Saints, who lost 27-10.
The NFL designated the Saints as the home team, and Dias was thrilled to see people in the stands wearing black and gold. But her excitement turned to disgust when she saw a girl from New Orleans crying in a rest room because she’d been harassed.
“We lost all interest in the game,” she said. “This is the strangest situation we’ve ever been in.”
Dias’ experience was not an isolated incident. On several Web sites, Saints fans recounted a torrent of abuse.
“After I reported an obnoxious fan for exposing himself to me, my friend and I were kicked out the stadium, apparently for having the nerve to complain,” read a Nola.com posting.
“One guy even said he was glad our city was under water. … I have had to sit here for FOUR YEARS and listen to all the New Yorkers complain and expect sympathy from the world [because] of 9/11 and this is what we get in return?”
The 9/11 analogy is valid, if only because I’ve been waiting weeks for the President to declare an all-out war on Mother Nature (as opposed to the undeclared one).
In a story that I find interesting only because I’m trying to imagine how Steve Somers would work in a gratuitous joke at the expense of Stan Fischler (above) were he reading it out loud, Newsday’s Mark Harrington reports on the possible move of the New York Islanders.
With the lease for their ambitious Lighthouse and Coliseum renovation project stalled in the Nassau legislature, Islanders executives have met privately with Suffolk County officials to discuss a backup plan for relocating the team across the county.
An Islanders official stressed that talks were preliminary, representing an option they hoped not to have to take. But they also signaled frustration with delays moving the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum project forward. After pressure from Nassau legislators, the project, which Islanders’ owner Charles Wang proposed developing primarily himself, was put out for a 45-day bidding process that could be extended. The proposal was made a year ago.
While skeptics may view the proposal as a move to push through the legislative logjam, Islanders officials denied that. “We have to explore options and prepare for all the different possibilities that could occur,” said Michael Picker, Islanders senior vice president of operations. “We’re clearly hoping Nassau County approves the lease, so we can move forward with the town of Hempstead to bring the Lighthouse to fruition.”
Geez, did I call this one or what?
In all seriousness, the only persons caught unaware by the implication of Miguel Tejada are those too occupied on the cocktail party circuit to bother with much else.
From the AP’s Ronald Blum :
Rafael Palmeiro said a vitamin he received from Miguel Tejada might have caused the positive test for steroid use that led to the first baseman’s suspension, an assertion his Baltimore Orioles teammate dismissed as implausible.
Palmeiro said he received vitamin B-12 from Tejada, a person familiar with Palmeiro’s unsuccessful grievance hearing to overturn the suspension said Thursday on condition of anonymity because the proceedings were secret.
“Right now I’m in shock,” Tejada, a former American League MVP, said after Baltimore lost to the New York Yankees on Thursday night. “I’ve never given anybody steroids before. I’ve been checked out three times already, and I’m clean. I’ve been clean all my life.”
Tejada said he gave Palmeiro the B-12 injection “a long time ago.”
“It doesn’t bother me because I’m not guilty. I’ve done nothing wrong. I just gave him B-12, and B-12 is legal,” Tejada said. “You don’t get caught for B-12.”
Innocent-until-proven-guilty Miggy went 2 for 5 (double, RBI, one run) with a throwing error last night in Baltimore’s 7-6 loss to New York, moving the Yankees a full game in front of Boston in the AL East.
Brushback writes :
One of the great fringe benefits of editing a site like Deadspin: you get to go to such cool parties!
Seems like Deadspin doesn’t let facts get in the way of a good fake story. This morning, they quoted a bunch of Red Sox blogs, trying to give the impression that “Red Sox Nation” was crumbling… only, according to one blog, they took some of the quotes out of context to make their fake story look better.
Of course, I’ve got my own issues with Deadspin’s way of giving a faulty take in order to make a story out of a non-story.
Thanks for the link to the party snaps, BB. It’s pretty amazing what some people will do to avoid watching sports on TV, and don’t think I’m without empathy. I went to a party with some similar types once, and you would not believe the kind of shit that went down after the drugs kicked in.
The bottom of the third inning of tonight’s Mets/Marlins telecast on FSNY was marked by a visit from Subway shill Jared Fogle.
Fogle (above), whose claims of having lost 200 or so pounds are disputed by a Dessert Town representative, plugged his products in a manner that would do Peyton Manning (if not the Goo Goo Dolls) proud.
Fran Healy, apparently starstruck, claimed not to know where Shea’s Subway stand was located.
(the hard working staff at Shea’s right-field Subway eagerly await the arrival of their new colleague, Mr. Healy)
Mets fans, showing their keen sense of recent history, booed David Wright after the third baseman grounded into an inning-ended double play in the 4th. But at least they’re the ones who bothered to show up —- it doesn’t appear as though a Pedro Martinez/Dontrelle Willis duel was sexy enough to pack the mezzanine, never mind the upper deck.
Though I’ve only mentioned it once previously, Howard Bryant’s “Juicing The Game : Drugs, Power and The Fight For The Soul Of Major League Baseball” (Viking, 2005) isn’t merely 2005′s most impressive baseball book, but also a provocative, well-researched meditation on the last 12 or so years in the sport’s history. Much like Bryant’s sobering “Shut Out : A Story Of Race & Baseball In Boston”, “Juicing the Game” provides historical context for an explosive issue that few of Bryant’s colleagues have looked at with an inquiring mind.
There’s a fine, albiet brief interview with Bryant posted yesterday at Boston Sports Media.
Q: The book finished up after the congressional hearings this spring. Since that point we’ve seen Rafael Palmeiro contradict his forceful testimony by testing positive for steroids. We’ve seen Jason Giambi’s career undergo a miraculous resurgence after he was nearly sent to the minors earlier this spring. We’ve also read about your source which mentioned a possible 50 more positive tests. Is what we’ve seen and heard just the tip of this iceberg? Is baseball headed for a cataclysmic downfall?
A: I don’t think baseball is near any type of cataclysmic downfall, mostly because like most complicated stories, few people care to assess the damage. The rest have blinders on and have come to accept a cheapening of the product as “progress.” I think the game has been reduced, certainly in the eyes of the younger generation, which does not hold the sport in any kind of high esteem. I think the lasting effect will be a slower ebb, much like the political world after Watergate. You still follow, you still vote, but you believe less and less in the institution. Over time, I think we’ll see the end of the sport as a “national pastime,” even as it continues to soar financially. It is a nuanced argument that requires real thought at a time when people don’t want to think. They don’t want to know, which is no different than how the baseball leadership responded. They just want to be entertained, at all cost, because they know what is behind the curtain. It is an attitude in of itself rife with cynicism