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.