There’s Plenty of Crying In Baseball, Pt. II

Posted in Baseball at 3:28 pm by

Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci, on Phil Garner’s bitch-fest following Houston’s Game 3 defeat.

What does their manager, Phil Garner (above), do in the first moments after the White Sox punched them in the gut by beating them in the 14th inning of Game 3, 7-5?

He rips his team.

Beautiful. Mind you, the guy says nothing to his team after the game. But he does march into the official interview room and drop these bombs for the media:

“Absolute rotten hitting.”

“We might have played 40 innings and it didn’t look like we were going to get a runner across the bag.”

“It’s embarrassing to play like this in front of our hometown.”

“I’m really ticked off.”

Way to bail on your team, Mr. Manager.

Not once did he credit the Chicago pitchers, especially the relievers, for holding his hitters to a 1-for-33 showing after Jason Lane hit his home run that wasn’t in the fourth inning. (The umpires blew another call. Please label it as evidence No. 463 that the commissioner of baseball needs to conduct a full review of postseason umpire assignments as soon as this World Series is over.)

Not once did the manager accept any blame or responsibility himself. But remember, this is a guy who showed up Brad Ausmus in the 10th inning by throwing a public fit when Ausmus flied out on a pitch when Orlando Palmeiro had second base stolen. And it’s the same guy who showed up his entire team by flinging a chair against the dugout wall when Geoff Blum hit his game-breaking home run in the 14th.

Way to show you’re in control, skipper.

Knicks/Blazers Talking Trade, ‘Toine Tangles With El Toro

Posted in Basketball at 1:47 pm by

The NY Daily News’ Frank Isola reports that New York and Portland are discussing the former acquiring Ruben Patterson and/or coach-killer Darius Miles. The Blazers want contracts that are coming off the books ; the Knicks have offered Malik Rose.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Sekou Smith reports on an actual interesting moment or two during Monday’s Heat/Hawks exhbition.

Keep an eye on Esteban Batista (above, left). El Toro (as he™s been nicknamed by members of the Hawks training staff) got under the skin of Heat forward Antoine Walker. It got so bad that they traded ˜bows and barbs before game™s end, with Walker scalding the Hawks bench for cheering Batista on (œThis guy™s a bum Walker said. He later apologized to Hawks coach Mike Woodson.

But Batista™s relentlessness around the basket and his willingness to mix it up with anyone in his way is what will keep him in the rotation and in his coach™s good graces.

Rangers Call Up Fedor Federov

Posted in Hockey at 12:56 pm by

From the NY Post’s Dan Martin,

Fedor Fedorov (hiding in the back, above) said he doesn’t know why he hasn’t been able to make any headway in the NHL.

The 24-year-old brother of All-Star Sergei Fedorov was recalled from Hartford of the AHL yesterday and said that regardless of the reason he has appeared in only 15 games in the league, he is ready to make an impact.

“My heels are against the wall,” Fedorov said after his first practice with the Rangers. “I haven’t played a lot at all.”

As for why Fedorov has been stymied in his NHL career thus far, Brushback can fill you in better than I.

Publicity-ho’ Hag Continues to Seek Attention, AP Delivers

Posted in The Law at 12:45 pm by

Just when you thought you’d never see Tonya Harding’s name in print again (or at least until the next time Fox needs to clean up during Sweeps Week), the Associated Press reports the following:

Tonya Harding tussled in her home with a man she described as her boyfriend, prompting an emergency call by the figure skater-turned-boxer and an arrest of the man.

Christopher Nolan was charged with assault and pleaded not guilty Monday. He told deputies Harding threw him down and bit his finger when he said she had too much to drink on Sunday. The 27-year-old Nolan was ordered to stay away from Harding and to avoid alcohol.

Harding had a small cut over her right eye and an abrasion on her left cheek.

Initially, Harding called 911 and said she was attacked by two masked men who came to her home and assaulted her before she could escape.

Nolan said he and Harding were roommates.

Obviously, assault is no laughing matter, but Harding’s continued, um, scrapes with the law are beyond redundant at this point.

As Seen In Front Of Minute Maid Park, 1:45 AM, Central Time

Posted in Baseball at 12:37 pm by

They just won’t leave Pierzynski alone, will they?

Boston’s New Mascot?

Posted in Baseball at 12:22 pm by

That’s the question posed by Ben Schwartz, who writes

At least I can stop taking Parrothead Day at Wrigley so personally, but I believe this fairly falls under the heading “Bad For Baseball.”

Bobby V’s Marines Sweep Japan Series

Posted in Baseball at 12:08 pm by

Congrats to former Mets Mr. Top Step (above), Benny Agbayani, Matt Franco and the rest of the Chiba Lotte Marines on wining the Japan Series, 4-0, after today’s 3-2 victory over the Hanshin Tigers.

Slow Thinker Seeks To Explain His Slow Roster

Posted in Gridiron at 12:00 pm by

From the Associated Press :

Air Force coach Fisher DeBerry, expressing frustration Tuesday with the Falcons’ slumping performance, attributed the latest loss in part to No. 20 TCU’s having more black players who “can run very, very well.”

DeBerry (above), in his 22nd year at the Air Force Academy, first mentioned the academy’s lack of minority players compared to other schools while talking to reporters Monday.

He said Air Force needed to recruit faster players. “We were looking at things, like you don’t see many minority athletes in our program,” DeBerry told The Gazette of Colorado Springs.

When questioned about the remarks during his weekly luncheon Tuesday, the coach didn’t hesitate to elaborate.

“It just seems to be that way, that Afro-American kids can run very, very well. That doesn’t mean that Caucasian kids and other descents can’t run, but it’s very obvious to me they run extremely well,” DeBerry said in remarks first broadcast Tuesday night by KWGN-TV in Denver.

I don’t have much to add except that when and if DeBerry is terminated, perhaps Paul Hornung won’t be the first guy interviewed.

Memo To Larry Dierker : Hawaiian Shirts Suck

Posted in Baseball, Mob Behavior at 11:53 am by

In the wake of Craig Biggio’s missus getting slapped in Chicago, former Astros manager/current team shill Larry Dierker decries the lack of decorum amongst today’s fans (mostly those from Chicago).

After Game 2, I was on a platform under a tent, doing a stand-up for Channel 11 sports with Giff Nielsen when the game ended with Scott Podsednik’s walkoff homer.

Some of the fans who exited the stadium set up a chant behind us, saying: “Houston sucks, Houston sucks.”

I turned to Giff when we were off the air and said, “Why can’t they say, ‘We’re No. 1,’ or ‘Go Sox,’ or something like that instead? Why would they rather put someone down than lift someone up?”

When I encountered Sox fans taunting the Astros, I just smiled at them and said, “Have a nice winter.”

I can, however, report that the Astros fans are a peaceful, polite lot, many of whom sought to beat the traffic last night when the game hit extra innings. And they’re an observant bunch, too, like the fellow a row behind me who was screaming “Wandy, what’s your fucking problem?” when Esquivel Astacio was laboring through the 14th inning.

World Series Game 3 – Total Blummer

Posted in Baseball at 5:19 am by

White Sox 7, Astros 5 (14 innings)

No more complaints about the standing room ticket from this corner — plenty of Houston’s high rollers headed for the exits ’round midnight, so I was fortunate to catch the finale from somewhere near the posh pit.

More about this one after I wake up, but suffice to say somebody was seriously outmanaged Tuesday night, and it wasn’t Ozzie.

Chances are, Houston was gonna lose this Series either way, but you can spend all winter wondering why Phil Garner stuck with Roy Oswalt in the 5th inning. Much as we can wonder how a consumate pro like Craig Biggio couldn’t manage to get a bunt down.

Though Guillen’s employ of Dustin Hermanson in the bottom of the 8th seemed questionable (doubly so after Hermanson blew the save), it’s quite a luxury when the last available pitcher out of your bullpen is named Mark Buehlre (as opposed to, say, Ezequiel Astacio).

Heck of a DP turned by Ensberg at the top of the 14th — at that moment, I was pretty certain Houston would find a way to win this one.

World Series Game 3 : The Never Ending Story

Posted in Baseball at 12:40 am by

White Sox 5, Astros 5 (bottom of the 13th)

As this is now the longest World Series game in history, I would like to donate what’s left of my brain to the National Baseball Hall Of Fame & Museum in Cooperstown, NY.

Not only am I a ridicuously nice guy, but I’m unselfish, too.

I’m pretty sure I just saw Charlie Kerfeld warming up in the Astros bullpen.


World Series Game 3 – Oswalt In Agony, Crede As The New Mr. October

Posted in Baseball at 8:36 pm by

White Sox 5, Astros 4 (top of the 6th)

This all-thumbs entry comes to you from Minute Maid’s charmless 9 Amigos restaurant (all the ambience of a Chilli’s with much higher ceilings). You have no idea how many dishes I’m supposed to wash to cover the costs of a standing room ticket (and I haven’t even mentioned who I’m standing on).

A little fan interference indicates that perhaps the cheap breaks are swinging the other way…though I did type that before the White Sox batted around in the 5th.

Craig Biggio is on pace to nicely avenge his wife’s slapping (if only Julio Lugo was still here to say the same), and while Mushnick nailed the Chuck Norris/Jeff Bagwell seperated-at-birth thing yesterday, I humbly submit Chris Burke and Bill Pulsipher.

Though Nolan Ryan put quite a charge into this well-heeled crowd when tossing the ceremonial first pitch, I’d like to think that J.R. Richard just hadn’t checked his voice mail.

It’s time to check Joe Crede’s urine. Not that I think he’s on something, mind you. Just trying to come up with a fun science experiment for Chris Myers while he’s killing time.

Seriously, folks, Houston’s an awesome city. All kinds of great things to do here. For instance, drive to Austin.

Paul Wall, Andy Pettitte Connection Explored

Posted in Baseball, Hip Hop at 5:44 pm by

Thanks to David Roth for the link to the story of the day, but excuse me if i’m not blown away. Didn’t the Last Poets have a song about Jim Leyritz once upon a time?

Raissman On Shaving Barber’s Carries

Posted in Gridiron at 12:45 pm by

From the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman.

Is the Giants’ offensive philosophy based on football or economics?

While discussing Tom Coughlin’s use (or lack thereof) of a running game, Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer indicated it is essential to follow the money. And in the case of Tiki Barber, Glazer said, yardage is not the only thing at stake when he carries the ball.

“If he (Barber) doesn’t rush for a certain number of yards this year, then his salary next year will drop anywhere from $500,000 to $1.2 million,” Glazer said on Fox’s “NFL Sunday.”

Glazer said Barber’s contract has a similar clause for 2006. “If Tiki fails to reach 900-1,250 yards he would have to give the Giants back anywhere from $800,000 to $1.5 million,” Glazer added.

Despite their thrilling 24-23 win over Denver, the Giants’ reluctance to run the football was evident and highlighted on CBS’ telecast.

After the Giants went three-and-out with 2:24 left in the third quarter, a clearly agitated Phil Simms said: “Run the football. You have to keep the defense honest.”

So, when you hear Glazer’s report, which no one denied, questions follow.

Is pressure coming down from the top?

Would Giants GM/Media Darling Ernie Accorsi be consumed enough by the bottom line that he would keep the ball out of Barber’s hands to whack his salary?

Would the Giants improperly use Barber, who was drafted by the late George Young, to collect from the running back later? Hey, for an organization as profitable as the Giants, $1.5 mil is chump change. So, Accorsi would not nickel and dime Barber, would he?

Though the paucity of Tiki touches earlier in the game is a fair point, it’s pretty obvious the Giants are gonna be passing when trailing by a sizeable margin late in the day.

White Sox Fans, In A Lique Of Their Own

Posted in Baseball at 12:33 pm by

Finally, a chance to use that headline. Thank you, Patty Biggio (and thanks to Soft Hands for the link).

Back in Houston, where Patty Biggio is active in local charities, news of the attack infuriated Astros fans who vented on the team’s Web blog, some citing past violence at the Cell, including a 2002 incident where a fan attacked a coach and a fan assault on an umpire in 2003.

“I hate to say it but it seems to be a theme for that stadium,” wrote one fan. Said another, “I just don’t see ANY Astros fan pulling that kind of stunt. A lot more class than that down [here].”

“White Sox fans are lower class of people,” said one blogger. “Seriously. The fact of the matter is [U.S. Cellular Field] is not a safe place to bring your family to see a ballgame.”

White Sox spokesperson Scott Reifert disputed that, describing the incident as the work of “one idiot.”

Sox manager Ozzie Guillen apologized to Craig Biggio. “I told the police, don’t put him in jail, bring him to me in the dugout,” Guillen said.

Hate It When That Happens, Dept.

Posted in The World Of Entertainment at 12:21 pm by

President of the New Jersey chapter for the CMA, Brian Turner forwards the following message from country superstar Chris Cagle,

To All My Loyal Music Fans:

“As many of you are aware, I had been anxiously awaiting the addition of a new baby to my life. The baby has been born and both mother and child are in good health. Since the birth, however, we have discovered that biologically, the child is not mine.

As excited as I was about becoming a new father, my disappointment is equally as strong. So out of respect for all that are involved, please allow this situation to remain private and know that I will not be commenting further on this very personal matter. I’m thanking you in advance for your kind cooperation and understanding.”

Chris Cagle

Aarton On Air Apolitical

Posted in Basketball at 12:13 pm by

You can count the NY Times’ Harvey Aarton amongst those less than impressed with Michael Jordan’s “60 Minutes” appearance Sunday evening. Dismissing Jordan’s chat with Ed Bradley as “an infomercial”, Aarton writes,

Jordan’s star power was always predicated on his coming through, then cashing in. He never attached himself to a cause that would enhance his legacy in his post-playing years. His most enduring quote comes from a book – Sam Smith’s “Second Coming” – not written by him.

“Republicans buy shoes, too,” Jordan reportedly told a friend, referring to his refusal to endorse an African-American candidate, Harvey Gantt, in a North Carolina Senate race against Jesse Helms.

“It’s a heavy duty to try to do everything and please everybody,” Jordan said, when Bradley mentioned criticism of his failure to be socially active or political. It was a familiar refrain for an unfocused question. Did Jordan ever feel guilt about not using his unparalleled leverage to speak out about the plight of impoverished blacks? What about his promise years ago to investigate Nike’s alleged workplace malpractices, but never quite getting around to it?

Jordan played it safe and never seemed sorry. His centrist strategy was certainly no crime, but if it was his personal choice to limit himself to being the immaculate corporate pitchman, then it is also fair, especially in light of the N.B.A.’s newly implemented dress code, to offer Jordan as exhibit A in the argument that clothes do not necessarily make the man.

Paging Lawrence Rocca

Posted in The Mailbag at 11:30 am by

Believe it or not, CSTB is not the best way to track down former (or current) Newark Star-Ledger reporters.

Good evening,

Paul Jones, Dirfector of Education and Instruction , Accordia Golf here in Japan.

I have read with great interest and been impressed by the performance of the Chiba based baseball team.

Not being a fan of baseball I was surprised to see whilst in new York last week Mr Rocca (above) quoted several times in leading publications and to take this further be brought up indirfectly in a conversation we had in regards to promotion of sport here Japan.

I am writing in and effort to contact Mr Rocca. I have a role with golf here in Japan that needs to use examples of success stories in order to change the game here in Japan.

J League to date has been a success and with what Valentine and Rocca are doing it is sure to be a success for baseball.

Japanese have 3 sports loves- Soccer, Baseball and Golf, it seems fitting that the next sport to grab recognition would be golf and I would like to share some of the thoughts and experiences we have had with Mr Rocca in and attempt to see what synergies may exist.

In brief accordia golf is almost 100 golf courses in size the largest of its type in the world. It has a significant role to play in developing the game, however perhaps as is the case with baseball in the past, golf has alot of old tradition which is reusing to make way for younger and more progressive attitudes.

If you can forward this email or advise Mr Rocca`s contact that would be greatfully appreciated.


Paul Jones

Tribune Corp. To Part With Cubs?

Posted in Baseball at 11:21 am by

In a piece that might only get Ben Schwartz’ hopes up, the Daily Herald’s Mike Comerford examines the possiblity of the Chicago Cubs being sold.

With its stock losing a quarter of its worth in the last year, Tribune Co. may be considering a sale of non-core assets such as the Cubs.

That™s the speculation from one of the Tribune™s top-five investors, Chicago-based investment firm Ariel Capital Management.

œIf their stock gets into the $20s, I think their management would have to look to sell non-strategic assets, including the Cubs, said John Miller, senior vice president of portfolio management at Ariel, whose firm holds 10 million shares of Tribune stock.

Its stock settled up 46 cents on Monday at $31.37. Its 52-week high is $44.32.

Non-core Tribune assets include the Food Network, WB Network, CareerBuilder.com and the Cubs, with an estimated value of $2 billion. Core assets would include broadcast stations such as WGN-TV and newspapers such as the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times.

But with a value of $400 million to $550 million, a Cubs sale alone wouldn™t be much of a boost to a corporation with $5.7 billion in sales last year. Some analysts interviewed called the Cubs sale a rumor and declined to speculate on the likelihood.

Because Tribune has long been a controversial owner of the Cubs, a sale might be good for the team, said Alan Sanderson, University of Chicago sports economist.

œYou probably don™t want a Chinese oil company to buy them, but other than that I don™t see the downside, Sanderson said.

Vescey On Artest

Posted in General at 11:13 am by

From the NY Post’s Peter Vescey :

Nothing quite launches a campaign (NBA Cares) than Tim Duncan ” commonly identified as the league’s most wholesome player ” branding David Stern’s dress code as retarded.
You now have an inkling why The Big Detrimental tends to be uncommunicative; it conceals his lack of sensitivity and smarts.

Plainly, between Duncan and Ron Artest, free speech is grossly overrated.

Stern must find the following fascinating: While he’s attempting to dress up his league’s image, Artest, fresh from a 73-game suspension for invading The Palace stands, is the latest to pose naked above the shoulders (surrounded by three scantily clad women) for a magazine that markets undress, and babbling about fighting Ben Wallace for $10 million on pay-per-view.

Today, Artest (above) is uncovered as a Penthouse Putz. Tomorrow, he’s on the cover (along with Pacer President Larry Bird) of Sports Illustrated. Naw, nobody on its honorable staff will be able to get him to say something remotely obtuse or controversial.

Yeah, right!

Shamefully, Artest has become the media’s most effortlessly exploitable person in the NBA. Like Dennis Rodman and Micheal Ray Richardson, anybody can get Artest to say anything at any time. Getting him to open up and bare his unsophisticated soul is as easy as offering him a Popsicle.

After hearing one yack radio howler after another, overcome with outrage at Artest’s Penthouse appearance (who knew Penthouse was still publishing?), I can only wonder why it has never occured to these Knights of The Kneejerk that Artest has some kind of condition, disability, whatever. For a guy who is regularly made out to be Public Enemy No. 1, I find him to be without guile (or much sophistication) and clearly unaware that each public statement makes him the subject of ridicule. Whether he needs medication or a minder, I can’t say for sure, but surely the image-conscious NBA, if not the Indiana Pacers can see the downside in one of the game’s finest all-around players generating so much over the top hatred.

Wellington Mara, RIP

Posted in Gridiron at 10:55 am by

Longtime NY Giants owner and Pro Football Hall Of Fame member Wellington Mara has passed away at the age of 89.

While our thoughts are with the Mara and Giants families this morning, it is nice to imagine that Mr. Mara and Leon Hess are having a heck of a Tecmo Bowl battle up in heaven.

Will Leitch points out that Mara was a committed anti-abortion advocate, which brings to mind the sage words of Mark Bavaro, who while appearing in a Mara financed pro life film, “Champions For Life” reminded viewers that if his mother had opted for an abortion, Bavaro couldn’t have caught Phil Simms’ TD passes.

Unnatural Axe

Posted in Rock Und Roll at 10:42 am by

Writes Sam Frank, still smarting over the Napalmed Smurfs debacle (I forgive you, Sam),

I hope Time Magazine hasn’t covered THIS.

Rosa Parks, RIP

Posted in Racism Corner at 1:40 am by

Rosa Parks, whose refusal to give up her Montgomery, AL bus seat to a white man in the winter of 1955 ranks as an historic act of civil disobedience, has passed away at the age of 92.

Dept. Of Wishful Thinking : Steinberg On The Knicks

Posted in Basketball at 12:59 am by

In a display of wild optimism that would make someone in the MSG box office blush, Pro Basketball News’ Mark Steinberg hails Isiah Thomas’ moves and boldy predicts that the Knickerbockers “will compete for a playoff spot.”

It may still be preseason and a little early to make judgements, but Nate Robinson is the most exciting player you may ever see. Why? Cause he™s me and you. At 5-9 and 180 pounds, he™s got the speed, the hops and the badass moves to rival nearly every guard in the league. Better still, he™s averaging close to five boards a game despite being the same size as Emilio Estevez.

These three on the floor with the silky three-point shooting of Q-Rich would be enough to make any fan happy. Not Isiah. Thomas then went out and signed the human buffet, Jerome James to a five-year deal. Has James ever done anything to warrant a contract quite like that? Probably not, but the Celtics are paying the same green to Brian Scalabrine and I™m fairly sure James can out-play and out-eat him any day of the week.

With all due respect to Mark, Nate Robinson might be “you”, but I’m pretty sure he’s not me. Actually, I really doubt he’s you, either.

That someone else is willing to overpay for Brian Scalabrine really puts my mind at ease, though the bit about Jerome James being “the human buffet” really lost me. Is Steinberg suggesting that James is a meal consisting of several dishes from which guests serve themselves? Or would he have us believe the center is a room or counter in a station, hotel or other public building selling light meals or snacks?


Racially Yours : The Commissioner Speaks

Posted in Basketball at 11:30 pm by

If ever a bullshit policy required an eloquent spokesperson, David Stern is most certainly the man for the job. From ESPN.com’s Chris Sheridan.

Sheridan: The policy has been called “racist.” Do people throw around a loaded word like that too easily?

Stern: Well, things involve race. Whenever you have a league in which some significant percentage is black, then things involve race. That’s just the way it’s going to be. When you have a league like the WNBA that has all women in it, you’re going to end up with gender issues. That’s just dependent on the composition of the league.

But there’s a difference between involving race and having actions interpreted as racist.

Sheridan: Are you surprised by the way racism has been thrown into this debate?

Stern: No, because it was thrown into the issue of raising the entry age. That was an issue that was absolutely, positively about basketball, to have better players, older and more experienced, to have better business by being able to look at players a year later so you can tell whether you were making a good investment or not.

And frankly, given the percentage of all players who happen to be African-Americans, all it means is you’d be drafting and signing 19-year-old African-Americans instead of 18-year-old African-Americans. But at least in the media it became an issue that was somewhat involved with race.

If you listen to the morning shows and you listen to the discussion, it’s actually kind of a healthy discussion. “Should there be a limit? Should there be a professional dress policy? Should athletes be any different than other workers who know what is expected of them when they’re on the job, in terms of dress … or not?” I don’t think it’s a bad discussion. I think it’s healthy, and it shows we have the capacity to engage.

Our season begins next Tuesday, and we’ve gotten as much ink on the dress policy than the preseason. But that shouldn’t surprise us. Magic Johnson, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Latrell Sprewell, Allen [Iverson's] rap record. It’s the NBA, we’re an accelerator, and actually, that’s OK. We’re live, unscripted drama, we’re a soap opera, on the court and off the court, and we provide an awful lot of programming in both places to a lot of outlets, including yours.