10.31.05

‘I Am Trying To Break Your Heart’ Meets ‘One Trick Pony’…

Posted in Cinema, Rock Und Roll at 9:51 pm by

…but with a younger cast. From the NY Times’ Robert Levine.


(the Hanson Brothers, before it all went wrong. Actually, long before it all went right, too. Pic courtesy Kim Fowley.net)

Plenty of bands have written songs complaining about their frustration with record labels. But Hanson, the band of three brothers that helped usher in a teenage pop craze with the 1997 hit “MMMBop,” has made an entire documentary film about its dismal experience on the label Island Def Jam.

Originally signed to Mercury Records, Hanson found itself with Island Def Jam as a result of major label mergers. In the fall of 2000, Hanson began recording what was to be its third major-label album of new material and hired a director, Ashley Greyson, to film the process. “About eight months in, we realized there was going to be more difficulty than we thought,” said Taylor Hanson, 22.

The movie, “Strong Enough to Break,” follows the band’s disagreements with label executives – over the choice of producer and the need for an upbeat single, among other things – and ultimately its decision to leave the label and found its own, 3CG Records. The album, “Underneath,” finally came out on Hanson’s own label in April 2004 and sold 130,000 copies, a healthy figure for an independent release.

Between concerts on its current tour, the group is screening the film at colleges. The brothers, who have made it into their 20′s without attracting much attention from tabloids, say they would like to educate students about the music business; they take questions after the screenings. Of course, Hanson is also hoping to arouse interest in its new live album and its current tour. “We’re not unaware that we’re reconnecting with people and a few of them might come to the concert,” said Zac Hanson, who is 20.

Mets Jettison Looper, Mientkiewicz

Posted in Baseball at 8:07 pm by

From the AP:

Closer Braden Looper’s $5.5 million option was declined Monday by the New York Mets, who will pay the reliever a $250,000 buyout.

New York also exercised right-hander Steve Trachsel’s $2.5 million option and declined a $4 million option on first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, who gets a $450,000 buyout.

And now the attempts to overpay BJ Ryan or Trevor Hoffman can begin in earnest.

The White Sox have exercised a $1.2 million option on reliever/Journey lover Cliff Politte, along with declining the club option for ’06 on noted paleontologist Carl Evertt.

Silverman : Theo Was Fed Up With Lucchino’s Sneaky Leaks

Posted in Baseball at 6:55 pm by

From the Boston Herald’s Michael Silverman :

Theo Epstein stunned the Red Sox and the baseball world this afternoon by walking away from his job as general manager.

Just hours before his deal was set to expire at midnight, Epstein told his bosses and associates at the Red Sox™ Yawkey Way offices that he had decided not to accept a three-year deal worth $1.5 million a year, an extension for the contract he signed on Nov. 25, 2002.

Epstein had done some agonizing soul-searching the past few days, torn between staying at the job he had always coveted since his childhood days in Brookline and leaving because of intra-organizational politics and power struggles that he ultimately decided he could not live with any longer.

Epstein had come close to agreeing to a deal Saturday evening but had not officially conveyed acceptance of it. On Sunday, he began having serious misgivings about staying on. A leading contributing factor, according to sources close to the situation, was a column in Sunday™s Boston Globe in which too much inside information about the relationship between Epstein and his mentor, team president and CEO Larry Lucchino, was revealed — in a manner slanted too much in Lucchino™s favor. Epstein, according to these sources, had several reasons to believe Lucchino was a primary source behind the column and came to the realization that if this information were leaked hours before Epstein was going to agree to a new long-term deal, it signaled excessive bad faith between him and Lucchino.

Interestingly, Toronto’s J.P. Riccardi is not included on Silverman’s short list of candidates for Boston’s new opening.

CSTB Obituary Department Fired – The Crusher, Dead At 79

Posted in Professional Wrestling at 6:07 pm by

Turkeynecks around the world are in mourning. Or at least they were, last week.

Thanks to Dave Martin for the link. Needless to say, I’ve been reading the wrong newspapers.

Theo Later: Epstein Resigns as BoSox GM

Posted in Baseball at 5:39 pm by

The Associated Press is reporting that Boston Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein has resigned:

Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein resigned Monday, surprising Boston and the baseball world just one year after he helped build the franchise’s first World Series championship team since 1918.

The team said in a statement that Epstein will continue working for several days to assist in the transition and prepare for the offseason.

The Boston Herald, which first reported the news on its web site, said the Yale graduate has told associates that he may leave baseball, or at least take a year off.

Searching For Bobby Fischer’s Fist

Posted in Boxing, Chess at 3:16 pm by

Chessboxing : not since Gymkata have two disparate sporting endeavors made for such a hot combination. From the Guardian’s Georgina Turner.

The brainchild of Dutch artist Iepe Rubingh, chessboxers alternate between board and ring, engaging both brains and brawn through 11 rounds (four minutes’ chess, two minutes’ boxing), to see who comes out on top. Contests are won by checkmate, knock-out, retirement, exceeding the time limit at the board or a refereeing decision. If the chess game ends in stalemate, the highest scorer in the boxing rounds wins. Ties are won, for no apparent reason, by the player with the black pieces.

On first inspection, there are probably no two sports that are more ill-matched: one minute you’re having your skull battered, the next you’re sat down trying to work out why you appear to have 48 pawns, let alone what to do with them. Wrong again, apparently.

“The combination is just fascinating,” says German fighter Andreas Dilschneider. “There are parallels. Both are about giving and taking, reacting to the move your opponent just made, whether they’ve thrown a punch or moved a piece.

“You always have to think about the end goal, what you want to do.” The World Chess Boxing Organisation (WCBO) highlights this philosophy in its motto: ‘Fighting is done in the ring and wars are waged on the board’.

Gunning For Frank McCourt…

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 1:05 pm by

…with a zeal that would make a rational person (well, Harris Bloom at least) wonder “what’s the big deal?”, presenting DePodesta For President.

Imitation Is The Sincerest Form Of Flattery Dept.

Posted in The Mailbag, Will Leitch Sucks at 12:36 pm by

Easily excited reader Gawkastalka writes,

Thought you might go completely overboard (as usual) when you compare the following Will Leitch quote from this morning ;

“If there™s one team that has more luck than Air Force at recruiting the type of athletes DeBerry was talking about ¦ it™s totally Brigham Young.”

To your own comment from Saturday afternoon, “In other happy news, Air Force are currently trailing those masters of urban recruiting, BYU, 31-7 in the third quarter.”

It isn’t that Will is plagerizing you, of course. It just seems like your brand of topical humor improves 48 hours later when someone else says the same thing.

Hmmm, interesting theory GS, but if that’s the best he can come up with two days after the fact, somebody should demand a refund.

Bulls, Pistons Prepare To Break The Bank For Big Ben

Posted in Basketball at 11:53 am by

Along with predicting that Phoenix’s Amare Stoudemire will miss the entire 2005-2006 season, the Detroit News’ Chris McCosky looks ahead to Ben Wallace’s impending free agency.

Keep your eyes on the Bulls next July, when they take the $20 million in cap space they will have and start wooing free agent Ben Wallace (above).

The Bulls were a playoff team with Eddy Curry in the middle. With Wallace, they could be a title contender.

The Bulls and the Atlanta Hawks, the franchise closest to Wallace’s home in Alabama, will be the two teams that come after Wallace the hardest.

But rest easy for now. The Pistons aren’t going to let their foundation, the face of their organization, simply walk out of the door.

The Pistons have been prudently preparing for Wallace’s eventual free agency the past few years. They should be in a position to reward him with the most lucrative contract offer in Pistons history.

The Pistons have signed defensive wiz Tayshun Prince to a 5 year, $47 million extension.

Daughtery Tolls The Bell For Brett

Posted in Gridiron at 11:44 am by

That Green Bay’s Brett Favre almost pulled a comeback out of his hat amidst a 5 INT day with a botched fake-spike ala Marino finale either says something about his being a gutsy gamer, one of the all-time greats, guh-guh-guh-guh-guh….or perhaps the reality is that sans Ahmad Green, the ’05 Pack really suck and Favre ought retire. From the Cincinatti Enquirer’s Paul Daughtery.

The Bengals beat Green Bay on Sunday because Favre™s skills and Favre™s supporting cast are no longer a perfect match for his forever-brash mentality.

Credit Cincinnati™s ball-aware linebackers and secondary. Rookie Odell Thurman swiped two passes. Deltha O™Neal took two more. Props to the entire defense, which, as offensive tackle Willie Anderson noted, œplayed their tails off today.

Favre helped. His appearance at Paul Brown Stadium was equal parts swan song and swan dive. The quarterback who never knows when to say when tried to make some impossible throws. All it cost him was five interceptions, including four in four possessions. In a 21-14 game, that was the difference.

Either that, or it was the fan who ran across the field with 28 seconds left, swiped the ball from an astonished Favre™s hand, and sprinted some 60 yards to the opposite 15-yard line. Cops stopped him there and buried him in a pile. If you get in the red zone, you have to score. Everybody knows that.

In the closing moments, helped by a ridiculous pass interference call, Favre moved the Packers from his 5-yard line to the Cincinnati 28, with no timeouts remaining. As bad as Favre had been to that point, he appeared poised to be Superman once more.

The Bengals have been good at beating the teams they™re supposed to beat. As coach Marvin Lewis put it, œWe™ve taken care of business when we had to.

They did it again Sunday, beating the overmatched and undermanned Favres, who live and (mostly) die on Favre™s audacity.

He™s still fun to watch, though. Then again, so was the fan on the field.

œThe 12th man, Robinson called him, jokingly. œIt takes that kind of effort to win.

Added Chad Johnson: œI might streak next week.

Milledge : Mets’ Future Or Present Bait?

Posted in Baseball at 8:28 am by

That’s the question posed by the NY Times’ Ben Shipgel, as he catches up with Mets prospect Lastings Milledge, currently toiling with the AFL’s Grand Canyon Rafters.

At 20, often the youngest player on the field during these Arizona Fall League games, Milledge (above) boasts exceptional speed, tremendous outfield range and a frighteningly quick bat. During a showcase event in high school, his throws from the outfield were clocked at 96 miles an hour. He tore through Class A St. Lucie in the first half of last season before being promoted to Class AA Binghamton, where he batted .337 in 193 at-bats. And while Milledge acknowledges that he still needs some polish, Kevin Morgan, the Mets’ director for minor league operations, raves about his precociousness between the foul lines.

Milledge, it would seem, is one of those can’t-miss prospects. Except, of course, he still can. Even though the Mets project him as a fundamental component to their future – billboards with his face alongside those of José Reyes and David Wright should be ready for 2007 – Milledge is caught squarely in the crosshairs of an organizational predicament. With the World Series over and off-season maneuvering picking up steam, the quandary facing General Manager Omar Minaya as he tries to move the Mets up a notch is whether Milledge could help them more if he were playing somewhere else.

That is, should the Mets hold on to Milledge, a player with a seemingly endless upside, or, bowing to the transitory nature of the sport, package him in a deal in coming weeks that could supply immediate help, perhaps the big bat they need to turn an 83-victory team into a contender?

“If the Mets are looking to trade him, I know 29 teams who would be more than happy to take him off their hands,” said a veteran National League scout, who asked that his name not be used because he was commenting on another team’s player.

Our Suggested Excuse For Tom Benson

Posted in Gridiron at 8:17 am by

The Saints owner can explain that he was going as Kenny Rogers this Halloween, and just wanted to get into character.

(video footage here, WMV required)

Yanks To Hire Noted Fornicator?

Posted in Baseball at 8:04 am by

With Luis Sojo displaced after the hiring of Larry Bowa, the Yankees might be adding former Royals manager Tony Pena to Joe Torre’s staff, writes the NY Daily News’ Sam Borden.

There are several advantages to bringing in Pena, who won the 2003 AL Manager of the Year award in Kansas City but stepped down in May after a difficult start. First, the Bombers are looking for a Latino presence on the staff since former third base coach Luis Sojo is not expected to be with the major league club in 2006. Sojo, who will be replaced by former Phillies manager Larry Bowa, has expressed interest in becoming the manager of the Class-A Tampa Yankees because that is where he lives, and he likely will be accommodated.

Sojo was very popular with the Spanish-speaking players on the Yankees and had a particularly good relationship with Robinson Cano. Joe Torre often used Sojo to help gauge the rookie’s emotional status, so there is the hope that Pena might develop a similar chemistry.

The second benefit to adding Pena is that the Bombers currently are without a specialized catchers coach. Bench coach Joe Girardi worked with Jorge Posada, John Flaherty and the other catchers during spring training and continued that responsibility during the season, but he has left to become the manager of the Marlins.

Another benefit, unmentioned by Borden, is that with Sojo having already refused a demotion to coach at 1st, Pena is a natural for the position. If reports out of K.C. are to be believed, who would know more about how to get to first base?

Mushnick Can No Longer Live A Lie…

Posted in Sports Journalism at 7:38 am by

….and what took him so long? From Phil Mushnick in Monday’s NY Post.

We’re supposed to applaud Sheryl Swoopes’ courage in revealing that she’s gay when her self-outing coincided with her paid endorsement of a cruise line that caters to lesbians? Until dough was dangled, her seven-year relationship with a woman was no one else’s business? How’s that for the courage of one’s convictions?

Heck, if there’s money in it, I’ll admit it, too. I’m a lesbian. Bon voyage!

Though Phil is correct in implying there’s something screwy about such an announcement having a corporate sponsor (in this case, Olivia Cruises), surely Mr. Integrity can acknowledge that Swoopes is waving goodbye to any number of other endorsement opportunities?

And besides, Fred Smoot already turned the gig down.

Al Lopez, RIP

Posted in Baseball at 2:51 am by

Hall Of Famer Al Lopez passed away this weekend at the age of 97. Lopez wore the tools of ignorance in some 1918 games, a record that stood for more than 40 years.

As a manager, Lopez led the ’54 Indians and ’59 White Sox to American League pennants. The former club won 111 games in the regular season before losing to Willie Mays’ New York Giants in the World Series.

Bills Add Minor Chapter To Their Legacy Of Failure

Posted in Gridiron at 1:35 am by

You don’t have to be Vincent Gallo or Leah Archibald to know that Buffalo’s 21-16 loss to the Patriots on Sunday barely registers on the Bills’ list of All-Time Chokes. Just the same, Bills fans can take the following away from the experience :

a) you had a banged-up, beatable New England squad on the ropes, and couldn’t get the job done.
b) On 4th and 7 with 2:03 left and trailing by 5, maybe Kelly Holcomb has to thrown the ball further down the field?


c) YOU JUST GOT BEAT BY A STROKE VICTIM

Coach-Slash-Educator Of Young Men Loses It

Posted in Gridiron at 12:30 am by

Now that a not-so-good Oklahoma team has beaten Nebraska in Lincoln for the first time in 18 years, what better time to decide if the overstressed Bill Callahan was making a throat-slash gesture or merely scratching his own neck? (link courtesy View From A Zoo).

10.30.05

McNabb’s Awesome Sunday

Posted in Hockey at 9:36 pm by

The above headline does not refer to the Eagles’ Donovan, who came out on the short end of a 49-21 decision to the Broncos Sunday afternoon. Instead, I pay homage to the Austin Ice Bats’ veteran F John McNabb (above), whose 2 goals —- one on a nifty breakaway, another on a 3rd period powerplay — helped the local CHL side get off the schneid with a come from behind 5-4 win over Lubbock, their first of the season.

Trailing 4-1 entering the 3rd, 4 unanswered goals in an 18 minute span improved the Ice Bats’ record to 1-4, this after being outscored 12-4 in the weekend’s previous losses to Bossier-Shreveport and Rio Grande.

If I’m ever again tempted to refer to the likes of Shea Stadium or Brentford’s Griffin Park as “charmless”, I need only compare either venue to the sparsely populated Travis County Exhibition Center (which in all fairness, has to be a far more happening joint for non-matinees and/or motocross. I’m not actually sure about the motocross, but Lt. Dangle isn’t returning my calls). However, Ice Bats management are doing their very best to improve the ambience and if the heavy rotation of Local H and Sponge wasn’t enough to keep hockey neophytes entertained, they could also enjoy the smooth between-periods stylings of the Concordia University Jazz Ensemble. John Coltrane, Albert Ayler, Cecil Taylor, Art Ensemble Of Chicago, Thelonious Monk, Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry, Pharoah Sanders, etc. move the fuck over. I’ve heard the CUJE’s version of the “Peter Gunn” theme and everything I thought I knew about life and love, never mind music, was wrong, wrong, wrong.

Tommy, Can You Hear Me?

Posted in Baseball at 6:41 pm by

Not having spent a moment in Frank McCourt’s company, I can only speculate as to whether or not Tommy Lasorda has been whispering in the Dodger owner’s ear. Though some of you seem pretty certain that’s exactly what has been going on in the wake of Paul DePodesta’s sudden firing.

Though I wouldn’t ordinarily recommend checking out Lasorda’s blog at MLB.com (Tommy needs a new ghostwriter even more than Bill Romanowski), some of the reader comments that have gone up in the past two days are priceless, in their own special way.

You wouldn’t have anything to do with DePodesta’s dumping, would you? I remember how big you were on loyalty, when did that change? You had a couple of bad years (remember 1992? I sure do), thank goodness your owner wasn’t so fickle.

Posted by: bokonon42@hotmail.com | October 29, 2005 02:51 PM

Screw you Tommy. And screw Bobby Valentine while you’re at it. They should have kicked your old antiquated carcass out to the curb when they had the chance. Now you’re going to run this organization you claim to love into the ground. I can’t wait for the next Shaw-for-Konerko stroke of genius. You and McCourt can go to **** as far as I’m concerned.

Posted by: sangabrielad@yahoo.com | October 29, 2005 02:53 PM

Mr. Lasorda,
I’ve always had affection for you. You’ve obviously suddenly gained great influence over the future direction of the Dodger franchise. The McCourts have demonstrated nothing but sheer ignorance and vanity in how they approach running the team, so your role is crucial.
Given that, here’s what fans need to hear you say:
“I made a mistake trading Paul Konerko.”
“I made a mistake dismissing the potential of Pedro Martinez.”
“I’ve learned from these stupid blunders, and will not advise that the Dodgers repeat them now. Specifically, I will make sure the McCourts continue to recognize, as they did when DePodesta was here, that trading our blue chip prospects for over the hill ‘name’ players might be a PR dream but is bad for the long term future of the franchise. If I see Frank or Jamie heading in that direction, I will come to them and say, Frank and Jamie, I tried that before, and I failed, and I’m still miserable about it. I personally cost the Dodgers at least two division championships in this decade because I so devalued Konerko.”
Tommy, I don’t know if you can do this. But if you did it, and did it publicly, the sting of this unjustified firing would be much eased.

Thanks.
Posted by: dzzrtratt@hotmail.com | October 30, 2005 02:44 PM

Watching The 1pm Games Whilst Searching For Aspirin

Posted in Gridiron at 3:03 pm by

A Bengals fan just took a handoff from Brett Favre. Given that the Packers QB has been throwing balls to dudes in orange all afternoon, Mr. Gatecrasher can be excused for thinking he was entitled.

I can already see Mike Tice’s new job —- celebrity spokesperson for StubHub.com

I’m still trying to figure out which performance was more awkward, Jeff Garcia hosting SNL last night, or his futility against the Bears.


(it’s been a career day for Tiki Barber, 206 yards on 24 carries and one TD)

While watching the Giants humiliate the Redskins, I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t the former’s finest all-around performance since the 2001 NFC Championship win over the Vikings. Not that I haven’t already quit up on this one —- with Pat Ramsey in the game, presumably Washington has, too.

McMillan & Strife : Randolph’s Poor Timing

Posted in Basketball at 2:40 pm by


(the hottest ticket since McGovern/Eagleton)

As Tavares once sang, “It only takes a minute….” to end up on the shit list of Portland’s Nate McMillan’. From the Oregonian’s Jason Quick.

If Nate McMillan has a proverbial doghouse, the Trail Blazers coach says it is vacant — even if it appears that his star player, Zach Randolph, is doing everything possible to take up residence.

On Oct. 10, Randolph was kicked out of a practice for loafing. Two days later, he was late to the team’s morning shootaround — a pregame practice in which the team goes over its plan for that night’s game — resulting in Randolph losing his starting role for the night. Then, last Wednesday, Randolph was late again to the team’s morning shootaround, resulting in another benching.

“Pfft. He be all right, I guess,” Randolph said Friday in Spokane when asked what he thought of his coach. “I got kicked out of a practice, nothing I can do about that now. And I have been late — everybody be late at times. I just can’t be late anymore.”

“What came after the part where he said, ‘only one minute’?” McMillan asked.

Before it was relayed to him, McMillan finished the sentence himself.

“Late. Whether it was one minute or whatever, and the end of that was late,” McMillan said.

“See, what it comes down to is execution. If we are one second late in where we are supposed to be in a game, it costs you a basket, it costs you a game. Everything we do, really, is based on time, and that’s the discipline I hope we get.”

Vescey’s 2005-06 Predictions

Posted in Basketball at 1:08 pm by

Though picking the Spurs to repeat next June, the NY Post’s Peter Vescey presumes that Indiana and Miami will be the likely finalists in the Eastern Conference.

The Pacers, despite flaunting six guys who can go goofy at any time, will provide stiffer resistance than the Spurs are accustomed to coping with in the Finals.

For the first time since the Indy 500 was raced with a horse and buggy, the Pacers are without the retired Reggie Miller. Not having him holding them back anymore is reason alone to pick them. By remaining loyal to Miller two years more than common sense dictated, the Pacers were financially forced to move free agent Brad Miller to the Kings in a non-productive sign-and-trade transaction and deal unhappy Al Harrington for Stephen Jackson.

Yeah, Miller could still fill it up at the end of his career, but so could James Jones (averaging 16.6 points and 42-percent FG from deep as a Sun), whose growth Reggie stunted, to single out one former teammate. And, guess what, the 6-8 Jones also rebounds and plays defense.

Afterthought: Let’s not dwell anymore on the past. Fans now get 82 fresh chances to guess when Artest will visit the special prosecutor. How can anyone not like the Heat to sail through the ashy Southeast Division, despite all the new sailors Pat Riley has welcomed aboard? (Coaches have no input regarding personnel changes in Miami and Detroit, to name two places.)

Isola : Curry Took Ephedra

Posted in Basketball at 12:54 pm by

Amidst continued questions regarding newly acquired Knicks C Eddy Curry’s physical condition, the New York Daily News’ Frank Isola throws a new revelation into the mix.

In the summer of 2004, Curry, in an attempt to lose weight, either knowingly or unknowingly began taking ephedra, a controversial diet supplement that increases metabolism. It is not recommended for anyone with a heart condition and federal investigators have linked ephedra to at least 100 deaths – including that of Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler – and to strokes, seizures and heart attacks. It was banned by most sports leagues, including the NBA, long before the federal government finally outlawed its sale last year.

According to a source, the pills were provided by Tim Grover, the Chicago-based trainer whose A-list clients include Michael Jordan and Alex Rodriguez. Curry denied taking ephedra, saying the weight loss was the result of a low-carb diet. Grover did not return phone calls made to his office.

“I wasn’t taking any supplements,” Curry says. “I cut out bread and sugar from my diet. I lost something like 35 pounds and I came in at 275 pounds. I felt uncomfortable. I didn’t feel like myself at all. I wanted to play at 285 or 290.”

According to a source, the Bulls noticed Curry’s dramatic weight loss and became suspicious. Curry gained a reputation as a player who gained weight during the off-season and avoided the Bulls’ training facility during the summer. Curry contends that he preferred to use Grover, whom he hired four years earlier, to monitor his workouts at Hoops the Gym in downtown Chicago.

Although Curry resumed his workouts in early August, there is some debate over just how strenuous Grover’s program was. When Curry arrived for Knicks training camp in Charleston four weeks ago, he was badly out of shape.

Tabloids Being Tabloids : Red Sox Angry, Mets Hopeful

Posted in Baseball at 12:03 pm by

The Boston Herald’s Michael Silverman writes that Red Sox ownership is fumingover yesterday’s reports of Manny Ramirez demanding a trade, yet reserving the right to change his mind.

œI echo Theo™s remarks today that deplore leaks to the media regarding private conversations, John Henry said in an e-mail. œI was able to ascertain that today™s story on Manny did not come from the Red Sox.

A source on the Red Sox said the team was œfurious about the story but given that Ramirez has made and withdrawn similar requests in the past, having him possibly express a desire to be traded once again did not raise anybody™s eyebrows along Yawkey Way. Still, the breach in confidence reportedly bothered the Red Sox a great deal, even if the source was discovered not to be on the payroll.

However, if Ramirez™ request to be traded does remain on the table for a long period of time, the leak does no favors for the Red Sox, who would lose leverage if potential trading partners believe that Ramirez is forcing a trade.

Despite the Mets being on Ramirez’ list of teams that he’d reject a trade to, the New York Daily News’ usually reliable Adam Rubin claims there’s still a chance of such of a transaction being completed.

Ramirez’s agent, Greg Genske, has said Ramirez would want no part of the Mets if he were traded. But that won’t stop the Mets from pursuing Ramirez, according to someone familiar with the team’s thinking.

Given Ramirez’s oft-changing stances, it seems plausible Ramirez could be convinced by Omar Minaya and Pedro Martinez to join the Mets if the teams could strike a deal.

Bucs Explore Gender Issues, Prepare To Kill Niners

Posted in Gridiron at 11:41 am by

Of today’s four late afternoon games that I won’t be watching, Tampa Bay/SF seems like the least attractive matchup. Though if Halloween would come a day early to Monster Park, I might change my mind. From the St. Petersburg Times’ Stephen F. Holder.

Bucs players enjoy Halloween as much as anybody, but we found talking to these guys about their Halloweens past was downright scary. And not because of the frightful reasons usually associated with the holiday.

Players’ memories covered the spectrum, some boasting of clever costumes, others recalling ones that could be described only as bizarre.

Take tight end Anthony Becht (above).

“When I was about 8, that’s when Pac-Man was real big,” he said. “So my mom, she cut a Pac-Man shape out of cardboard that covered almost my whole body. Then she made me wear these yellow tights with some yellow Converse (sneakers). And my sister dressed as one of the ghosts (from the video game). I wasn’t feeling too masculine walking around in that thing.”

If that’s the case, then what eventually happened must have crushed his manhood. Some of his neighbors remarked to his mother, “Your daughter is so cute,” Becht recalled. One problem. They were talking about Anthony, not his sister.

“I was like, “Come on, I’m a guy!’ ” Becht said. “They couldn’t see my face because of the costume. There were just two holes poked into the cardboard for my eyes. I did get a lot of candy, though.”

As an eighth-grader, tight-end Alex Smith, running out of fresh costume ideas, decided to dress as a drag queen. Turns out, it was quite the hit. Then again, that’s the problem.

“The thing was, everybody said I looked good, which is kind of scary,” he said. “I don’t know how I feel about that.”