Plaschke : DePodesta “Never Should’ve Been Hired”

Posted in Baseball at 11:23 am by

I suppose congratulations of some sort are due to the LA Times’ Bill Plaschke (above), who has proven that despite being barely capable of stringing a sentence together, he can run a Harvard educated executive out of town if he writes the same column enough times.

Some will say Paul DePodesta wasn’t given a fair chance. I say he never should have been hired in the first place.

Some say this makes Dodger owner McCourt look like a man who has lost control. I say this is about him finally taking control, however clueless and callous he appears.

Some say, a hasty firing. I say, a smart trade.

DePodesta and his strange managerial candidate list have been dealt into our memories for Pat Gillick, Orel Hershiser and Bobby Valentine.

Here’s guessing Gillick and his World Series rings will be the new general manager. Hershiser and his World Series ring will be the assistant. Bobby Valentine and his World Series appearance will be the manager.

None of this would be possible if DePodesta were still around.

The kid’s computer, once foolishly hailed by McCourt as the organizational savior, had become little more than a flashy box blocking the door.

McCourt should have known better. Or, at least, he should have asked someone other than Oakland’s Billy Beane, the most famous general manager who has never won a playoff series.

To fill shoes once worn by Branch Rickey and Al Campanis, should McCourt really have hired a 31-year-old who, when with Oakland, had been the most invisible No. 2 executive in the game?

Remember when, during DePodesta’s hiring news conference in February 2004, McCourt mentioned how it was so cool that his teenage son had been surfing chat rooms that claimed DePodesta joining the Dodgers was like Alex Rodriguez joining the New York Yankees?

An opposing viewpoint (to say the least), can be found here.

Matthews : King Roast Didn’t Go Far Enough

Posted in Boxing at 11:02 am by

A number of comics and z-list celebs recently gathered at the New York Hilton for a Friar’s Club Roast of Don King. Newsday’s Wally Matthews wasn’t laughing very hard, though he does bring up some valuable tidbits from King’s biography, in case they ever do a 2nd roast.

Far too many of us have bought into the popular image of King as a flamboyant but basically harmless boxing rogue.

Freddie Roman, Pat Cooper, Norm Crosby and the rest of them have certainly swallowed it, and though they may be accomplished roastmasters when the subject is your standard-issue celebrity, when it comes to King, they are as clueless as any of the dozens of well-heeled suckers who have fallen under King’s spell, only to be kicked to the curb. As a result, the “roast” was a series of gentle slaps, followed by professions of deepest love and respect for this man who “has done so much for boxing.”

Truth is, the Friars were not qualified to give King the roasting he deserves. That could be done only by those King already has roasted.

People such as Sam Garrett, who worked for King (above) as a numbers runner in Cleveland back in the 1960s. But Garrett couldn’t be there because he was dead, stomped into a coma by King over a $600 debt. According to the police report, Garrett’s last words were, “I’ll pay you, Donald, I’ll pay you.”

People such as Jeff Merritt, King’s first heavyweight, the one who got boxing people to pay attention to his ex-con manager because he could hit like a ton of bricks falling off a roof. But Merritt wound up a junkie and a failure; when last seen, he turned up at the Mike Tyson-Peter McNeeley fight begging his old manager for a few bucks. King had him thrown out by security.

People such as Earnie Shavers, King’s second fighter, whose huge punch propelled King into big-time boxing. He wound up having to cut the lawn at King’s mansion after he was betrayed by his trusting nature – and glass chin.

People such as the employees of financially ailing Forest City Hospital in Cleveland, who in the early ’70s believed King would save them with a boxing fundraiser at which he had convinced Muhammad Ali, whom he had never met, to appear. According to a book by the late journalist Jack Newfield, Ali got $10,000, King got $30,000, the hospital got $15,000. The hospital folded anyway but King met Ali, and the rest is boxing history.

Most of all, you need to talk to Ali, now 62 and in the grip of Parkinson’s disease widely believed to have been caused by repeated blows to the head. The most damaging of those were likely inflicted in his last two fights, against Larry Holmes and Trevor Berbick. Both bouts were promoted by King despite medical reports, as detailed in Thomas Hauser’s comprehensive Ali biography, showing that Ali already was suffering brain damage and should not have been allowed back in the ring.

Mushnick Breaks New Ground, Attacks Greedy Dinosaur Rockers

Posted in Rock Und Roll at 10:48 am by

This was a slow news week for the New York Post’s Phil Mushnick. Since his last entry, incredibly, nothing has occured to justify trashing Mike Francesca, Chris Russo, Spike Lee, Vince McMahon, Nike, Stuart Scott or Stephen A. Smith. In Sunday’s column, he could only manage a very brief, negative reference to the video game industry, along with the following revelation :

Sports fans should know they’re not alone in being forced to buy tickets with outrageous face values and added, dubious service charges that are designed to beat scalpers to the sucker punch.

Tickets to the three Cream concerts at the Garden last week were priced at $365 (apiece!), $185, $148 and, if you wanted only to hear the concert, as opposed to also seeing it, $80.

Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce did perform one of Cream’s great old numbers, “I Feel Free,” but apparently they didn’t mean it.

Phil should be encouraged to know, however that tickets for the recent Danzig/Doyle reunion gig in San Antonio were far cheaper.

If This Is Too Expensive…

Posted in Modern Art at 1:41 am by

….I’ll make you a CDR of the Mentally Ill’s “Gacy’s Place” for $10.

(link courtesy Derek Erdman)


Wigan Continue Their Unlikely Run

Posted in Football at 11:54 pm by

How to pick Saturday’s top soccer story? The 1-1 draw in the North London derby? Manchester United’s worst Premiership defeat in 6 years, 4-1 to hosts Middlesbrough?
Ten man QPR winning at Derby? (ok, probably not the top story) How about Paul Gascoigne, victorious in his managerial debut with non-League Kettering? A nightmare showing for Wisdom Weasel’s Norwich City, 1-0 losers to Sheffield Wednesday, as calls for Nigel Worthington’s head rise to a crescendo? Inter Milan falling to 3rd place in Serie A after a 2-2 draw at Sampdoria?

I’m not gonna pick the MetroStars getting knocked out of the MLS Playoffs on the grounds that it was totally unfair of New England to activate Tedy Bruschi.

(Wigan goalscorer Pascal Chimbonda — actually, they’re number 2)

With apologies to all of the above, Saturday’s mind-blower goes to Wigan Athletic, not so much for their referee assisted 1-0 defeat of Fulham, but rather, for how difficult it is to absorb the following : the Lactics are now 2nd in the Premiership.

Bubble Gum & Noogies For All

Posted in Baseball at 7:05 pm by

The above headline comes courtesy of Maura Johnston, who alerts us to the news that the Atlanta Braves have named former Mets/Phillies reliever Roger McDowell (above) as their new pitching coach. The anti-Leo, if you will.

Schmidt Lobbies For D-Rays Job

Posted in Baseball at 6:43 pm by

From the Tampa Tribune’s Carter Gaddis :

“A couple of years ago, I actually sensed that what’s in my heart is baseball,” Mike Schmidt said Friday during a conference call with reporters, shortly after he interviewed for the Devil Rays’ vacant manager position. “It was sort of wasting away, a lot of knowledge, secrets I’d learned about how to win a baseball game. I’m a baseball man, and I’m a baseball man without a place to prove it.”

Schmidt, 56, requested the interview with Rays team president Matt Silverman and director of baseball development Andrew Friedman. After a tough 2004 season as manager of the Single-A Clearwater Threshers — during which he became convinced life in the low minors was not for him — Schmidt said he was intrigued by the chance to help shape the direction of an organization being rebuilt “from the ground up.”

Schmidt had hoped merely for a foot in the door. He came away after spending the early afternoon with Silverman and Friedman feeling confident about his chances to at least be considered a finalist for the job as Lou Piniella’s replacement.

Schmidt said he hopes his status as a Hall of Famer could be an asset to the organization off the field, as well as on it. He also said he learned a lot in ’04 with the Threshers, despite resigning after a 55-81 season.

“I’m a communicator. I think my strongest asset going is my bedside manner,” he said. “I love to create relationships with the young men on the team and create an environment where they have their best chance of reaching their potential in the game. In any way, shape or form … having passed through my watch, it’ll make them a better player.”

I suppose part of baseball’s universal appeal is that it is such an incredibly simple game to manage, so much so that a guy can leave the game for 14 years, lead a club in the lowest rung of the minors to the worst record in their league, and still be considered a viable candidate for a big league opening a year after quitting.

Or failing that, be considered a candidate for the Devil Rays vacancy.

Irish Extend Weis ‘Til 2015

Posted in Gridiron at 4:26 pm by

No doubt chuffed to bits over their 5-2 start and no. 9 ranking,
Notre Dame has signed head football coach Charlie Weis to a new ten year agreement that will bind him to the school until 2015. This agreement supplants a prior deal that ran through 2010.

Not only should said agreement end speculation that an NFL club might buy Weis out of his contract for a million or so, but will also provoke comparisons to the Irish’s treatment of Tyrone Willingham (8-0 after his first two months at South Bend).

In other happy news, Air Force are currently trailing those masters of urban recruiting, BYU, 31-7 in the third quarter.

Dodgers GM DePosed, Plaschke Claims Scalp

Posted in Baseball at 3:04 pm by

ESPN Radio and a number of other outlets have already reported this is a done deal. From the San Bernadino County Sun’s Tony Jackson.

Dodgers general manager Paul DePodesta (above), the primary architect of a team that went 71-91 and finished fourth in the National League West, appears to be on the verge of being fired, a source with knowledge of the situation said late Friday night.

The move comes at a curious time, given that DePodesta was four weeks into a managerial search, the result of Jim Tracy having left the club on Oct. 3 in what officially was termed a “mutual agreement.” It isn’t clear what the move will mean for that search, which DePodesta had whittled to three final candidates in Dodgers player development director Terry Collins, Texas pitching coach Orel Hershiser and former Detroit manager Alan Trammell.

Hershiser became the first managerial candidate to meet with Frank McCourt earlier this week, but the fact he didn’t meet face to face with DePodesta (the two had spoken previously by telephone) was curious, at best, even though DePodesta was busy for three days this week with the club’s annual organizational meetings.

Collins was scheduled to meet with McCourt on Friday night. But when reached in his downtown hotel room, Collins, who lives in Florida, said that meeting had been postponed until sometime next week because “something came up.”

Miller Sticks Up For DeBerry

Posted in Gridiron, Racism Corner at 2:00 pm by

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s Ted Miller writes that Air Force football coach Fisher DeBerry is merely guilty of speaking the truth.

We are so hung up on not offending someone — and many seem to relish being offended — that the public discourse has moved beyond being sanitized: It has become dishonest.

Perhaps DeBerry should have stuck to acceptable, disingenuous football-coach code.

If he had said, “TCU has better athletes than we do; we need to recruit better athletes,” everyone in the room would have known that he was saying the Falcons needed more African American players, but they would have felt comfortably ensconced in unoffensive code.

Here’s some more code translation:

When coaches talk about the athleticism of the SEC, they are talking about a recruiting area with a significant black population.

When coaches talk about recruiting hotbeds in Florida, Texas, Georgia and Southern California, they are talking about areas with a large black population.

To localize it: When Pac-10 coaches outside of Los Angeles talk about recruiting in Southern California, they are talking about recruiting black players.

Those in the arena — the athletes and coaches — recognize the reality. The vast majority, apparently unlike DeBerry, know to keep quiet about it, at least on the record.

Make a list of the most spectacular athletes in history. No, Larry Bird, one of the greatest basketball players in history, wasn’t a spectacular athlete. What’s the racial makeup of your list?

No one is saying whites or Asians can’t be fast or jump high. It’s just that every single piece of empirical evidence suggests that blacks are more likely to run fast or jump high. The sociological theories, convincing when used to explain academic gaps between the races, feel as substantial as cobwebs when applied to times in the 100 meters.

DeBerry critics also are pointing toward the racist stereotype that blacks are physically gifted but mentally deficient, an extreme extrapolation that has no launching pad in his comments.

Where did the idea develop that physical ability automatically diminishes mental ability anyway? There’s no scientific basis for the idea that physical and mental abilities are a zero-sum allotment.

Black folks on a daily basis face slights, sideways glances and inconveniences that are foreign to most white folks. Being told they, on average, are faster than white people probably isn’t very high on the list of annoyances.

Seems to me that attributing TCU’s dominance over Air Force to the former’s pleathora of black athletes diminishes their accomplishments and implies, however slightly, that the Frogs had a competitive advantage solely due to the racial makeup.

Not because they were smarter, worked harder, “wanted it more” or any of the other labels regularly slapped on white athletes. Or because the opposition had a better coach. But perhaps I’m just looking for a reason to be offended.

Knicks Stink Up MSG, Commemorate Brown’s Slutty Past

Posted in Basketball at 1:36 pm by

(“Dokken” rhymes with “rockin’”, which almost rhymes with “Larry-Brown-stalking”)

After the turnover-crazy Knicks dropped last night’s exhibition tilt to the Jason Kiddless Nets, the Newark Star-Ledger’s David Waldstein hinted that Larry Brown and George Lynch (above) might be reunited. Waldstein also noted the following bit of creativity from the MSG Sales Department :

The Knicks have an innovative new partial season-ticket plan that commemorates the migratory career of their new coach. It’s called the Brown Seats Plan and includes tickets to games against teams Brown coached in the past. Fans can choose seven games from among the seven teams Brown led before coming to the Knicks: the Pistons, Sixers, Clippers, and the four former ABA teams — Nets, Spurs, Pacers, Nuggets.

Plus, there are two twists. The fans can also choose a Charlotte Bobcats game as a substitute for the old Carolina Cougars, the first team Brown coached in the ABA from 1972-74. Of course, Brown also coached the Kansas Jayhawks to a national championship, so fans will be offered a discounted ticket to the Kansas-St. Joseph’s game at the Garden in December.

Additional kudos to NY’s marketing geniuses for the catchy slogan “You Gotta Be There To Say You Were There”, which easily beats my suggestions of “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere” and the Rick Pintino-inspired “Louis Orr Ain’t Walking Thru That Door”

Manny Demands Trade, Threatens Not To Honor It When Completed

Posted in Baseball at 1:12 pm by

Here we go again. From the Boston Globe’s Chris Snow.

Gene Mato, one of Manny Ramirez’s representatives, communicated to Red Sox owner John W. Henry yesterday that Ramirez wants to be traded, and will not report to spring training if his wish to be dealt is not met, according to a team source.

Ramirez is a 10-5 player, meaning he has 10 years of major league service, five consecutive with the same team. That seniority entitles Ramirez to block a trade to any team he doesn’t wish to join. With that in mind, Mato told Henry that Ramirez might decide during the process of being shopped that he wishes to remain with the Sox.

How can these conditions not undermine Boston’s ability to get anything approaching fair value? If Ramirez has specified only two teams that he’ll accept a trade to — one without young talent to spare yet capable of absorbing the salary hit (Angels) and another with a surplus of quality younger players, yet unlikely to take on Manny’s full salary (Indians) — there’s no reason to think this will be resolved in the near future.

OLN, Cablevision End Spat

Posted in Hockey, Sports TV at 11:03 am by

Great news for many NYC TV viewers —- cloudy looking Rangers games and “Survivor” re-runs are headed your way. From the NY Post’s Phil Mushnick.

The dispute that kept OLN’s NHL cablecasts off Cablevision systems has been resolved.

Cablevision’s digital basic subscribers thus will be able to watch Monday’s Canadiens-Rangers, as well as the rest of OLN’s regular-season telecasts and exclusive Stanley Cup playoff telecasts, including the first two games of the finals. OLN will no longer be sold by Cablevision within a $4.95 per month digital tier package.

OLN is owned by Comcast, which, with Time-Warner and the Mets, will this spring launch SportsNet New York, the Mets’ new cable TV home. Met rights previously were owned by Cablevision.

The NHL/OLN- Cablevision settlement, however, does not indicate that Cablevision will be any more willing to clear the Mets’ new station than it was when it lost Yankee rights to YES.

Putting It All In Perspective Dept.

Posted in Blogged Down, Will Leitch Sucks at 2:19 am by

“Press boxes are the most depressing places on earth.” – Will Leitch, interviewed on yesterday’s Metsblog podcast.

Indeed, I’ve often heard that the atmosphere in Busch Stadium’s press box is far worse than say, Rwanda circa 1994.

In the course of the brief chat, Will did stress that today’s new generation of bloggers have a degree of credibility/autonomy that old media fucks jockeying for positions on “Around The Horn” cannot claim.

Quite frankly, what’s so bad about a guy that’s dying to be on TV?

Mike Cameron Impersonator Nabbed

Posted in Baseball at 1:57 am by

(memo to all Long Island hospitals and CVS employees : the man on the left is Mike Cameron)

From Newsday’s Michael Frazier :

It seemed improbable that New York Mets outfielder Mike Cameron would roll up to various hospitals in a borrowed white limousine, seeking painkillers. And sure enough, Nassau police said Friday they arrested a Freeport man and accused him of using the outfielder’s highly publicized season-ending injury to score drugs.

Police arrested Michael Davis, 35, of 156 Washburn Ave. Wednesday on a charge of second-degree identity theft. He is being held on a $50,000 bond at the Nassau jail and is scheduled to appear in Nassau County Court Monday

Davis also dropped Cameron’s name to arrange limousines, stay at upscale hotels and lure women, police said. “The guy really went all out,” Det. Dave Lesko of the Sixth Squad said. “It’s really strange that people would believe this much without seeing some proof or identification.”

Acting as Cameron, Davis persuaded a Connecticut car dealer to let him borrow a car on a promise of future purchases. He also signed autographs as part of the role.

Cameron’s season ended Aug. 11 when he collided with Carlos Beltran while both dived for a fly ball in a game at San Diego. He suffered multiple facial fractures, but should be ready to play next season.

Cashing in on the well-publicized injury, Davis made special arrangements for hospital visits, police said.

First, he called the hospital and acted as if he was a Mets official, telling the staff that Cameron was coming in and to “not make a big deal,” Lesko said. Davis then had a white limo drop him off at the hospital, Lesko said.”

There’s no truth to the rumor that once informed of the ruse, Omar Minaya attempted to trade Davis to the Yankees in exchange for someone who can impersonate Gary Sheffield.

Clay Collins Goes Country

Posted in The World Of Entertainment at 1:48 am by

(a stunned Coach Madden tries to explain to Country’s Newest Hitmaker that Tinactic is only to be used topically)

The New York Times’ Neil Genzlinger on Rick Moranis’ new country CD.

His album, “The Agoraphobic Cowboy,” 13 sly songs delivered in deadpan style atop some intricate string-playing, went on sale this month. Those who know Mr. Moranis as the bespectacled father of the “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” movies, or as Dark Helmet in Mel Brooks’s “Spaceballs,” or as Bob McKenzie of the dim-bulb Canadian comedy team the McKenzie Brothers, may have a hard time picturing it, and they should: Mr. Moranis is a long way from the rugged, shaggy country look of Alan Jackson or Toby Keith.

“For some reason I just started writing these songs,” said Mr. Moranis, 52, who is from Toronto but has lived in New York for 20 years. “And I was singing them to a couple of friends on the phone. After I had three or four, they started saying to me that I should do something with them.”

So he did, and the result is an album of original songs that might strike some as mere novelties, others as sublime comic gems. Sure, there are lyrics about booze and babes, but there’s an opening track, “Nine More Gallons,” whose chorus drops references to Truffaut and Nicholson:

“Two more times a lady,

Three more hundred blows,

Four more easy pieces,

Five more days on the road.

Seven more days a week, now,

Eight more lives, a cat,

Nine more gallons and I’ll have me a hat.”

Our Hot Stove Runneth Over

Posted in Baseball at 12:57 am by

I don’t know how they managed not to break into the Kings/Lakers exhibition game tonight with the news that Cincinnati have declined their $2 million option on Rich Aurilia for 2006.


October’s Hottest Story

Posted in Hockey at 11:41 pm by

The ChiSox Sweep? Swoopes Coming Out? Manny Legace Being Manny? A NYC-based social climber continuing to bore us with his blatant homesickness for St. Louis?

(cold, cold medicine, brewing again for Bruins fans)

All worthy nominees, but instead, I submit the following, culled from the Providence Journal’s Joe McDonald . Not only are the Providence Bruins wearing a 3rd jersey (gold, ala the 1960 Boston Bruins), but the Baby B’s venue, the unfortunately named Dunkin’ Donuts Center (formerly the Providence Civic Center) is now servingNarragansett Beer for the first time in 25 years.

Seagulls Win Stadium Approval

Posted in Football at 9:32 pm by

Exiled at Withdean track & field facility for the past 6 years, Brighton & Hove Albion will finally have their own stadium writes the Independent’s Andy Tiley.

Brighton’s manager, Mark McGhee, is determined to go down in club history as the man who led them into their new stadium. Despite fierce opposition from local residents, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has ruled the club’s new 23,000 capacity stadium can be built on the South Downs at Falmer.

The Seagulls hope to move from their 6,500-capacity temporary home at Withdean into their new home by 2008 after being without a home since the Goldstone Ground (above) was sold by the previous owners in 1997. They have been playing at the ill-suited Withdean since 1999 following a groundsharing spell at Gillingham.

There was a message of goodwill from Championship rivals Coventry City, where former Brighton manager Micky Adams, who led Albion for two and a half years, is now in charge.

“When I was Brighton manager we were groundsharing at Gillingham and the supporters were making 140-mile round trips just to watch their team play. The club have already done fantastically well to survive on gates of 6,000 at Withdean. But now the Premiership is not out of the equation, is it?”

The Seagulls chairman, Dick Knight, said: “This is the greatest home win ever in the club’s history. Brighton deserves a stadium and we’ve been very patient because it’s been the longest-running inquiry in football history.

“Never mind over the moon, we’re over Jupiter.”

Woelfel On Milwaukee’s Woeful Handling Of Bogut

Posted in Basketball at 7:31 pm by

Surely the Bucks didn’t draft Utah’s Andrew Bogut as the first overall pick to serve as Jamaal Magliore’s understudy? That’s the question being posed by the Racine Journal Times’ Gery Woelful.

According to Bucks officials, Bogut simply isn™t ready for prime-time action. Excuse me for being a tad cynical, but what™s being ready? Wednesday night against Denver, Bogut played 37 minutes. He competed against two quality big men in Marcus Camby and Nene. Bogut scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds. He also made seven of 10 shots from the field. Most centers in the NBA would only dream of posting such numbers.

And he™s not ready?

After drafting the 7-foot center, the company line among Bucks officials was that Bogut was more equipped to play immediately than Williams because of his vast international experience. They said Bogut was more mature, more physically able for the rigors of the pro game. They acknowledged Williams had an enormous upside, but they simply couldn™t wait for him develop.

But now they™re waiting for Bogut to develop. When he will develop into a starting-caliber center, at least in the minds of the Bucks™ brass, is anyone™s guess. After all, Magloire isn™t going anywhere. The Bucks invested too much in him: they gave New Orleans a starting small forward in Desmond Mason and their No. 1 pick in next sumer™s draft. Magloire is also only 27 years old. Is it too farfetched to speculate even now that Bogut will never supplant Magloire as the team™s starting center?

The NBA™s last 10 Rookie of the Year performers have been Emeka Okafor, LeBron James, Amare Stoudemire, Pau Gasol, Mike Miller, Steve Francis, Elton Brand, Vince Carter, Tim Duncan and Allen Iverson.

With each of them, they were a starter from Day One and remained a starter for virtually all of their rookie seasons. Each of them, with the exception of Miller, has evolved into an outstanding player.

It™s way too eary, way too premature to write off Bogut, but the early signs definitely aren™t good.

White Sox To Defend Tainted Crown Against Bob Klapisch And/Or The Onion

Posted in Baseball at 6:59 pm by

(several thousand White Sox fans try to decide which is more offensive, the sound of Steve Perry or an item from yesterday’s Onion)

Witth Chicago’s World Series championship less than two days old, already the challenges are flying fast and furious, one from overseas , another from closer to home. (the latter link courtesy of Jay Strell).

(If Bobby Valentine tried leaping from the roof of, say, Minute Maid Park, it is doubtful there’d be as many people waiting to catch him)

McGee Re-Ups With Buffalo

Posted in Gridiron at 6:15 pm by

Third-year CB Terrence McGee has signed a 4 year extension with Buffalo worth a reported $18 million, $5 of that from an immediate signing bonus.

Eagles CB Lito Sheppard is questionable for this Sunday’s game with Denver after colliding with WR Greg Lewis yesterday in practice. Rod Hood will get the start if Sheppard is unavailable.

Ravens FB Alan Rickard was placed on injured reserve earlier today, ending his 2005 campaign after a series of calf injuries. Rickard’s non-prescence so far this season has surely been a factor in Jamal Lewis’ poor showing.

It isn’t often a team is rewarded for their inability to count to 11, but sometimes it’s better to be lucky than fully manned.

D-Backs Name Epstein Assistant As New GM

Posted in Baseball at 2:56 pm by

From the Boston Herald’s Tony Massarotti.

According to baseball sources, current Red Sox assistant GM Josh Byrnes will be named the general manager of the Diamondbacks as soon as today. Byrnes, 34, joined the Red Sox staff shortly after Epstein became general manager following the 2002 season and has remained a confidant of Epstein ever since.

Byrnes (above, right) could not be reached for comment, but he likely will take over a Diamondbacks operation previously headed by former GM Joe Garagiola Jr. Garagiola left the team during the season to become the executive vice president for baseball operations at Major League Baseball, where he replaced Sandy Alderson, now CEO of the San Diego Padres.

Along with current Padres GM Kevin Towers, Byrnes was one of only two real candidates for the Arizona opening. Continuing what is a growing trend in baseball, the Diamondbacks opted for a promising, young executive with no previous experience as a GM. Earlier this month, following the departure of GM John Hart, the Texas Rangers similarly settled on 28-year-old Josh Daniels as Hart’s replacement.

Oh, The Humanity

Posted in Baseball at 2:12 pm by

White Sox fans had to endure 88 years of disappointment, but how does that legacy of failure compare to the horror inflicted upon those good people by Journey vocalist Steve Perry?

Today’s White Sox victory parade was culminated with an excrucitating acapella rendition of “Don’t Stop Believing”, as Perry (joined by would-be Bronson Arroyo’s AJ Pierzynski and Joe Crede) attempted to lead thousands of well-wishers in a singalong few seemed willing to participate in.

The embarrasing sight of the Lakers’ Mark Madsen dancing will forever burn in the memory of Los Angeles fans, much as the rap stylings of Tony Parker completely confounded Spurs supporters at the end of San Antonio’s victory parade last June. But neither of those men brought Perry’s long history of musical atrocities to the table, and as such, the organizers of these events could be excused for not knowing what they’d unleashed. There are no such mitigating circumstances in this instance.

Banner of the afternoon : “TRIBUNE CO. GET OUT OF BASEBALL”. Nice to see Ben Schwartz took part in the festivities.

Sandomir Spoils Dan Patrick’s Fantasy

Posted in Sports Radio, Sports TV at 1:38 pm by

This afternoon, ESPN Radio’s Dan Patrick has offered his own, not-so-scientific analysis of the World Series’ lower than low ratings, along with the annual plea (echoed by several listeners) that perhaps Fox could think of the kids, ie., schedule a Series game or two in the afternoon.

Says the New York Times’ Richard Sandomir, dream on.

The notion that baseball – or any sport – would accept less money is absurd even if it is logical to those who advocate earlier games to appeal to young or dozing fans. But leagues never willingly accept less cash from the television networks; if a network wants to pay less, leagues find more willing suitors.

The flip side is that networks pay dearly to carry marquee sports that will help in prime time, but those hefty price tags must be supported by selling more commercials, which cause the length of games to bloat.

Some fans resist the idea that baseball is a prime-time entertainment product like a drama, a comedy or a reality series. Fox uses World Series games as prime-time chess pieces; the games would wield less power in the day. Prime time begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time on every day but Sunday, when it starts at 7, but Fox will not cut football (which is much costlier) to start the World Series earlier. An N.F.L. game is a most powerful lead-in.

There is nostalgia about daytime World Series games, a fuzzy feeling that returns us to the pre-Walkman, pre-iPod days of sneaking transistor radios into classrooms while feigning interest in biology. Until 1971, every World Series game was carried in the daytime, according to Nielsen Media Research; that year, one game was carried in prime time. In 1972, there were two night games, but there were three in each of the next two years. In 1975, the tide turned, and five of the seven games in the Boston-Cincinnati Series were in prime time.

From 1977 to 1984, there were two weekend day games in each Series and none during the next two years. The last one was in 1987, when the Minnesota Twins defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in a seven-game series.

Patrick should be enouraged, however, that his parent company’s telecast of the MLS Cup will take place in the afternoon.

It was quite an afternoon for Olbermann’s past running mate yesterday, as his guests included Lawrence Taylor (plugging his new “Playmakers”-esque video game) and George Bush The First. I tuned in earlier in the day just in time to hear a squeaky voiced male rambling on about all the things Bill Romanowski was forced to do during his playing days in order to “slay the dragon”.

My first thought was, “wow, this guy has quite a crush on Romo.” It took me about 5 minutes to figure out that this was, in fact, Bill Romanowski himself. Apparently, Romo’s Promo tour is all part of the healing process.