Know Your Role – Mulligan On Saban’s Spiel

Posted in Gridiron at 10:19 am by

In the aftermath of Dolphins coach Nick Saban’s poorly-received “results don’t matter” press conference last week, the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mike Mulligan has no quarrel with Miami’s long term goals. He’d just prefer that Saban not talk about them.

The role of a general manager is to save the team from the coach. The GM looks at the bigger picture, evaluates personnel on a game-to-game basis against the rest of the league and tries to direct the coach toward lasting success instead of the shortsighted type that fuels successful seasons. Saban (above) was talking like a general manager when he evaluated his 3-7 team after last week’s loss.

He started backpedaling like the old defensive back he is when he realized the big story in Miami was the coach had raised a white flag on the season. Forget talk about a playoff run, the Dolphins were trying to figure out whom they wanted to replace for next season. How about a new quarterback, for one?

The fact of the matter is that Miami is coming off its second-worst season. And the unit the Dolphins were built around in the past, the defense, is aging rapidly and losing longtime stars to injury.

Saban, a former defensive coordinator under Bill Belichick back in Cleveland, might know the secret formula for success that Belichick and his family tree have been spreading around the NFL. Saban has reportedly been teaching his handpicked GM Randy Mueller a system of evaluating players that takes into account intelligence and character as well as physical ability.

It all sounds great. But in many ways, some of the things that Saban has struggled with — controlling the media, staying on message, keeping the fans happy — are problems Belichick had in Cleveland in his first go-around as a head coach. Saban has been a head coach on the college level, but he has been out of the NFL for 10 years. A lot of solid football people believe Saban eventually will win. He needs to talk like a coach until he does.

Vescey : Brown’s No Red

Posted in Basketball at 10:06 am by

The New York Post’s Peter Vescey on Knicks coach Larry Brown, from whom never is heard an encouraging word.

After each and every loss, sometimes even following a win, you can count on Brown to unravel at least one of his players and glorify an opponent.

“That’s Larry in a nutshell,” one of his former prized pupils substantiates. “He loves everyone on the other side and hates everyone on his team, except the last guy on the roster whose hustle and attitude Larry uses as an example to motivate everyone else.”

So far, off the top of my head, Brown has professed love for Eric Snow, Larry Hughes, Baron Davis, Kevin Ollie, George Lynch and Brevin Knight.

Give Brown a little more time and a few more leading questions and Brown is bound to playa hate 99 percent of the payroll, including Allan Houston, in the same manner he’s dishonorably mentioned Stephon Marbury, Nate Robinson, Jerome James, Quentin Richardson, Jamaal Crawford and Eddy Curry; I apologize if I’ve left anyone out.

It’s worthy of note that Red Holzman, the man Brown supposedly emulates and idolizes, never spoke unfavorably about one of his players, on or off the record. If they deserved it, Holzman would let them know what he thought of their effort or execution. But once he left the locker room to meet the media, he never came close to uttering a disparaging word about the team or any individual.

If Holzman were alive, I guarantee you he’d seek out Brown, one Hall of Famer to another, and try to impress upon him how disloyal his nightly exposés make him look.

It’s a shame nobody living off Brown has ever been man enough to do it. Either that, or he doesn’t want to listen to anybody who tells him something he doesn’t want to hear.

Toros Drop Home Opener

Posted in Basketball at 9:51 am by

Fayetteville 100, Austin 95

A fairly mixed bag for Austin’s home NBDL debut Saturday — despite a handful of sublime moments from Ezra Williams and former Texas Tech standout Andre Emmett, much of last night’s loss to the Patriots was characterized by sloppy passing, lackadaisical defense and curious shot selection.

As a follower of the New York Knicks, I felt right at home.

I thought Toros management didn’t do a bad job of making the Austin Convention Center vaguely resemble a basketball venue — though it would help if the scoreboard operator reviews the manual before the next game. Likewise, the usual cheesy trappings of most minor league sporting events were in abundance. “Couldn’t they get real cheerleaders instead of these cheap sluts?” inquired a friend. I’m sorry, but that’s no way to talk about Mayor Wynn.

Kermit Washington sparring partner Rudy Tomjanovich was introduced and given a warm ovation before the game. Having seen a sprightly Rudy T. exiting the Men’s Room at halftime, I can report that no longer having to coach Kobe Bryant seems to have done wonders for his appearance.

Mets’ Manny Manuevering To Resume

Posted in Baseball at 9:12 am by

Here we go again. Newsday’s Jon Heyman writes that despite the addition of Carlos Delgado, the ever-ambitious Mets aren’t quite finished looking for star power.

Mets and Red Sox execs have agreed to discuss Manny Ramirez at the winter meetings in Dallas in early December, and Omar Minaya recently told one baseball person, “I’m going for it.”

One thing about Minaya, he loves offense. Another thing: When he falls in love, he falls hard.

While one Mets official characterized their chances to squeeze Ramirez into their budget as “not impossible,” he acknowledged that a deal for Ramirez, which would necessitate clearing significant salary space and involve “several moving pieces,” won’t be easy. And that’s only if Ramirez consents to coming home.

Minaya’s infatuation is so well known that one of Carlos Delgado’s first questions about his new employers was, “Are they going to trade me to Boston for Manny?” The answer, Delgado was told, is no. He’s here to stay.

The Angels, deep in young pitching, competed with the Mets for Delgado. Their next logical target could be Ramirez. With Ramirez preferring a slow-paced lifestyle, perhaps they can sell him by changing their name back to Anaheim.

Though Delgado is technically allowed to demand a trade after 2006, there’s NO SHOT (the first- ever appearance of all caps in this column) he’d follow through and walk away from his heavily backloaded contract ($34.5 million total in ’07 and ’08). Which means the Mets have him for three years if they like, whether he likes it or not.

Just guessing here, but it would take Milledge, Cliff Floyd and Steve Trachsel and perhaps further bodies to get this done. And as tantalizing as the Mets’ near term future might be, what do you reckon the vibe around Shea will be like in 3 years when Martinez, Delgado and Ramirez are making a combined $45 million or so (at the combined age of 111?).

With the Marlins folding, Phillies and Nationals obviously vulnerable and the Braves less imposing than anytime in the past 15 years (pending Rafael Furcal’s status), Omar Minaya can see the wide-open window of opportunity. Of course, the Mets have yet to resolve their closer situation, add a top flight catcher, appoint a right fielder (unless Nady and Victor Diaz are expected to platoon) nor determine if the Kaz Matsui Disaster is allowed to continue for a 3rd season.

Chass On The MLB-Owned Nats

Posted in Baseball at 2:44 am by

Until Major League Baseball finally determines which of the 8 competiting consortiums will be allowed to purchase the Washington Nationals, the team remains at a competitive disadvantage argues the NY Times’ Murray Chass.

Bob DuPuy, the president of Major League Baseball, told reporters at the recent owners meeting in Milwaukee that the delay in selecting an owner isn’t affecting the Nationals. But of course, it is. No matter how well the staff representing the current owner is doing its job, the eventual owner is being deprived of a chance to make his own player moves.

If there’s a free agent or two a new owner may covet, if there’s a trade or two a new owner may want to make, the moves cannot be made. The incumbent regime is not empowered to spend someone else’s money.

For example, the caretaker regime would like to sign the free-agent pitcher A. J. Burnett. The Nationals have spoken with Darek Braunecker, Burnett’s agent, but they have not made an offer. They will probably not be able to make a competitive offer because no new owner is in place to authorize it.

General Manager Jim Bowden (above) and before him Omar Minaya have had to stay within a budget dictated by baseball, forcing them to make difficult choices and pass on players they might have wanted.

Commissioner Bud Selig has said that all teams face similar decisions. But the owners of those teams are free to make decisions. Bowden and Tony Tavares, the Nationals’ president, are not similarly free to make decisions for their team.

If Jerry Reinsdorf wanted to give Jermaine Dye $10 million to play for the Chicago White Sox for two years, he was free to make that decision, a good one as it turned out because Dye was the World Series most valuable player. If Frank McCourt wanted to give the oft-injured J. D. Drew $11 million a year to play for the Dodgers for five years, only to see injury limit him to 72 games this year, it was his money and his prerogative to do it.

The Nationals are not free to be smart or foolish.

Portsmouth In Turmoil, Sir Bobby To The Rescue?

Posted in Football at 2:31 am by

I’d like to say the field for the new manager at Portsmouth is shaping up, though other than Bobby Robson, it’s hard to say who wants the job or who’s available.

Just to recap, Portsmouth fired manager Alain Perrin on Thursday, followed by a 2-0 home defeat to table toppers Chelsea on Saturday.

Crystal Palace’s Simon Jordan has denied 17th place Pompey the opportunity to interview Iain Dowie. And the much-travelled Neil Warnock, otherwise occupied at Sheffield United (beaten by Leicester yesterday, 4-2 ), says he’s uninterested .

Despite Warnock sort of being like a younger, less miserable Larry Brown, I think he means it.

A Vote For The Dog-Faced Gremlin Is A Vote For The Future

Posted in Lower Education, Professional Wrestling at 2:08 am by

(the former Robert Reichsteiner, then and now)

Though this story is over a week old, it has only just been called to my attention. You could blame me, or yourself for not calling it to my attention sooner.

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Chris Reinolds.

Without so much as a body slam, real estate agent and former professional wrestler Rick Steiner became Cherokee County’s newest school board member.

The board voted 4-2 on Nov. 10 to appoint Steiner to the seat vacated by Fred Larsen in September. Steiner will stay in the post until the end of 2006, when the seat is up for re-election.

Steiner, 44, said he has quit wrestling and works for Keller Williams Realty in Woodstock. He spoke to the board before the vote.

“Last time I was in front of a microphone five years ago, I was hollering and screaming and ranting and raving. ? This is a lot more terrifying,” he said.

Steiner praised the district’s anti-bullying program and said he would encourage the district to use retired teachers as volunteer tutors. He wants to provide more learning opportunities for teachers and improve technology use in the schools. On the issue of growth, Steiner said more pressure should be put on land developers to donate sites to the school system. He also emphasized his experience as a teacher, fund-raiser and businessman.

Steiner is expected to be sworn in this morning.

“I want to focus my attention on what’s best for the kids,” he said. “I want to be a spoke in the wheel and do whatever I have to do for the kids.”

Steiner has three children who attend E.T. Booth Middle and Harvest Baptist School. He said his younger sons will eventually attend Chapman Intermediate School. He enrolled them in the private Christian school because it gives them a moral base, he said.

While I’m not questioning Steiner’s integrity, I am hopeful that nepotism doesn’t result in Big Poppa Pump being hired as a P.E. teacher.

Rangers Win Never-Ending Shootout

Posted in Hockey at 12:58 am by

Rangers 3, Capitals 2 (shootout)

A few too many highlights from this insane night at the Garden, New York winning their 5th straight (their longest streak in 4 years) and further establishing their status as CSTB’s “Most Exciting Team In The Tri-State Area That Wears Ice-Skates”. Jason Ward’s short-handed goal (the Rangers’ first of the season), Jed Ortmeyer (above) scoring off Dominic Moore’s rebound in the 2nd period…. Alexander Ovechken’s incredible sliding stop on Ortmeyer’s breakaway in the 3rd….Jaromir Jagr losing his illegal stick in OT (presumably borrowed from Sammy Sosa)…Lundquist and Kolzig putting on a clinic during the shootout …..culminating in Marek Malik’s preposterous between-the-legs winner in the 15th round, his first goal of any sort in 44 games.

This was a brain-fryer of the first order, and coming in the same week as Michigan State/Gonzaga’s hoops masterpiece, there’s not much else to say other than those who’ve paid their cable or satellite bills this month are for once, getting their money’s worth.


Cyclones Stumble, Colorado Backs Into Big 12 Title Game

Posted in Gridiron at 6:25 pm by

Would the fans in Boulder have been so quick to pelt the Buffalo with rocks and garbage yesterday had they envisioned Colorado making it to the Big 12 Championship Game anyway? Kansas knocked off Iowa State earlier today, 24-21 on a Scott Webb 34 yard FG in overtime, giving the Cyclones a 6-5 record for the year and rending the Jayhawks eligible for a bowl.

(if the dramatic win over Iowa State wasn’t tonic enough for Mark Mangino, he also had a young man tell him he looks just like Bono in those cool glasses)

Iowa State’s Brent Culbertson missed a 41 yard FG in overtime that would’ve sent the Cyclones to Houston for next Saturday’s title game against Texas.

There’s no truth whatsoever to the rumor Bill Parcells has already invited Culbertson to Cowboys practice on Monday.

Technology Grinds To A Halt At USF

Posted in Basketball at 6:06 pm by

As any degenerate with a broadband connection can testify, high-speed connections have brought incredible advancements to the ways we watch sports on the internet. Multi-camera shoots, clearly visible scores and stats, near-TV quality video, people in other countries get to hear Fran Healy, etc.

Today’s Yahoo Sports webcast of the University of San Francisco / Sacramento State game featured none of those things. There seems to be a thin film of phlegm covering the sole lens capturing the action. The otherwise acceptable play-by-play, culled from Quake 940 AM, is running some 10-15 seconds behind the video feed. As such, it’s been a difficult afternoon following the exploits of the Dons’ Alan Wiggins Jr. (above) , son of the late Padres 2B/OH/DH Alan Wiggins.

No. 2 Texas are having a rather easy time of it thus far, leading Louisana Monroe, 43-29 at halftime. LaMarcus Alrdrige has 11 points for Texas, as does junior P.J. Tucker. Texas’ December 10 clash at the Meadowlands with Duke could well be one of the earlier No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchups, but as long as there’s plenty of prayer space for all faiths, that’s all I’m really concerned about.

Faking The Funk : Gender Issues Explored At The Skins Game

Posted in Golf at 4:39 pm by

The first CSTB commentator to write “I’d hit that” is bannned for life. I’m not kidding.

Rosenthal : Ryan Contract Is Nuts

Posted in Baseball at 4:27 pm by

Commenting on Toronto’s pact with reliever B.J. Ryan, “on the list of bad contracts, this would rank as one of the worst”, the Sporting News’ Ken Rosenthal is unscathing in his criticism of the Blue Jays.

Five years, $47 million for left-hander B.J. Ryan, a free-agent reliever who has been a closer for exactly one season and never pitched in a late-season pennant race.

Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi (above) and club president Paul Godfrey would not confirm the signing Saturday night, perhaps sensing that they’re about to be fitted for industry dunce caps.

Several major-league executives were in disbelief when they heard the reported terms. Their shock will turn to anger if the deal is completed and they are forced to bid for free agents in a grossly inflated market. Major League Baseball officials would be equally outraged, knowing their pleas for fiscal responsibility are again being ignored.

Ryan’s contract would be the largest ever given to a reliever in total dollars ” yes, bigger than anything the Yankees ever awarded Mariano Rivera, a future Hall of Famer. The last reliever to secure a commitment of five years or more is believed to be Bruce Sutter, who received a six-year deal from the Braves after the 1984 season. Sutter’s total package was worth $10 million ” slightly more than Ryan will earn per year.

Every free agent would figure to benefit from the Ryan deal, starting with left-hander Billy Wagner, who is the most attractive closer in this year’s market. Wagner, who has 284 career saves to Ryan’s 42, has been trying to wangle a fourth year out of the Mets. Cough it up, Metsies ” and maybe add an option for a fifth year.

That’s how free agency works, and Ryan’s contract would dwarf last year’s market-buster ” the three-year, $22.5 million gift that the Mets awarded right-hander Kris Benson. That deal merely elevated salaries for other mediocre starting pitchers. Ryan’s contract, much as teams might try to portray it as an aberration, could have an even greater trickle-down effect:

It could raise the bar not just for Wagner, but also the other closers in this year’s free-agent class: Trevor Hoffman, Tom Gordon, Bob Wickman, Todd Jones, Kyle Farnsworth, etc.

It almost certainly would elevate the prices of other top free agents. If the Jays were willing to give Ryan $47 million for five years, how high would they go for right-handed starter A.J. Burnett, to whom they offered $50 million over five years? How high would the Cubs go for shortstop Rafael Furcal, who is believed to be seeking $50 million over five?

Finally, it would influence future arbitration numbers for fifth-year closers, who are permitted to compare their accomplishments to past free agents.

The deal would make no sense for a pitcher with Ryan’s job description or track record, no sense for the Blue Jays, no sense in any historical context.

67 Year Old Makes A Mockery Of The AHL

Posted in Hockey at 3:45 pm by

Of course, The Golden Jet could be 100 years old there’s a team somewhere that would find a way to put him in uniform. From the Chicago Tribune’s Luis Arroyave.

He may be turning 67 in January, but former Blackhawks great Bobby Hull isn’t ready to hang up his skates just yet. The Hall of Famer will be in uniform for the Wolves when they face the Milwaukee Admirals on Dec. 17 at Allstate Arena. “I’m proud to be with the Wolves,” Hull said. “They’re a part of Chicago and I’m pleased to be back because it’s the greatest city in the world with the greatest sports fans in the world.” No word on what number the Hockey Hall of Famer will wear. His No. 9, which is one of five numbers retired by the Blackhawks, would have to be loaned (or purchased) from Kip Miller, a 5-foot-10-inch, 190-pound center from Lansing, Mich.

Toros Winning Streak Begins

Posted in Basketball at 3:20 pm by

Marcus Fizer (above) , the 4th overall pick in the 2000 NBA draft, scored 21 points in his NBDL debut last night, as the Austin Toros defeated the Arkansas RimRockers, 113-111. Former Georgia G Ezra Williams hit a 3 pointer at the buzzer to clinch the victory for the Toros in the franchise’s first contest.

The Toros begin the home portion of their inaugural campaign later today when they tip off against Fayetteville. CSTB will be covering this historic event, coaxed in no small part by the promise of free magnetic schedules, because after all, fixture lists and refrigerators go together like Marcus Camby and injuries. Austin coach Dennis Johnson has promised to sign autographs after the game, which strikes me as slightly presumptuous on his part. Of course, if Johnson refuses to do so, he ends up being mocked by Will Leitch, so you just can’t win.

Ronaldo Cleared Of Rape Charges

Posted in Football, The Law, Will Leitch Sucks at 1:18 pm by

Last month, Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo was questioned and arrested following rape allegations stemming from a hotel incident on October 2.

Will Leitch gleefully reported the arrest on October 19, adding “few details are known, including whether or not Ronaldo used his hands”. This was perhaps the best line Leitch has penned thus far (admittedly, that isn’t saying much) and one well worth remembering if he or any of his loved ones are ever the victims of a sexual assault.

Yesterday, Ronaldo was officially cleared of all charges.

Few details are known about why Leitch has failed to mention this, but given that he’s as ethically challenged as he is funny, perhaps I shouldn’t hold my breath.

McLaren : I’ve Got A Lot Of Lou In Me

Posted in Baseball at 12:42 pm by

From the LA Times’ Tim Brown.

The Dodgers will interview former Tampa Bay Devil Ray bench coach John McLaren for their vacant manager position Monday.

A finalist for the Devil Ray job that went to Angel bench coach Joe Maddon, McLaren has worked under Lou Piniella for the last 14 seasons, in Cincinnati, Seattle and Tampa Bay. Piniella, whose contract was bought out last month, declined to be interviewed by the Dodgers.

(the available pics of John McLaren are pretty bad, so you’ll have to settle for Malcolm McLaren, instead)

“I’ve got a lot of Lou Piniella instilled in me,” McLaren said Friday night.

The Dodgers continue to track free agents Brian Giles, Rafael Furcal and several pitchers, including Kevin Millwood and their own Jeff Weaver, and Florida Marlin center fielder Juan Pierre, and shop Milton Bradley.

Dodger executives are telling other organizations they have about $18 million to spend, assuming they trade Bradley or don’t make him an offer.

Thomas’ Memories Of Marbury

Posted in Basketball at 12:24 pm by

With the Nets visiting (and losing to) the Suns last night, the NY/NJ media had a chance to sitdown with CSTB’s 2nd favorite KT, former Knicks F Kurt Thomas (above). Thomas, never a fan of Stephon Marbury when the two were teammates in New York, was only too happy to comment on the contrasts between the 2nd Best Point Guard from Coney Island and Steve Nash. From the New York Daily News’ Ohm Youngmisuk.

Kurt Thomas misses his old point guard from New York. No, not that one.

“I enjoyed playing with Charlie Ward,” Thomas said yesterday morning when asked if he were surprised that Larry Brown and Stephon Marbury have had their difficulties.

When told that Tim Thomas recently had said how excited he was to be playing in Chicago with point guards who pass, the Suns’ forward smiled.

“Oh definitely, total agreement,” Thomas said. “Total agreement. Totally. Totally.”

Thomas was asked to describe the difference between playing with Marbury and Nash.

“I can’t even think of the words,” Thomas said.

Shooting at a 28% clip from the field, the Knicks are trailing the Sixers, 36-23 midway through the 2nd quarter at MSG. My favorite part of the box score is where it says Jerome James, “has not entered the game”. If someone were to change that notation to “will never enter the game”, I doubt there’d be much complaint.

“Not a lot of celebrities here in the early hours. Mike” bemoaned Walt Frazier, as the cameras scanned a less-than glittering row of courtside seats. “John McEnroe is here,” replied the hopeful Mike Breen, “but I’m getting so old I can’t even name some of the celebrities.”

“That’s not a good sign.” agreed Clyde.

In defense of both broadcasting giants, when even Matthew Modine has something better to do on a Saturday afternoon, the Knicks clearly fallen off the cultural radar.

Even without Tracy McGrady and Rafer Alston, are the Houston Rockets really so messed up that they’ve lost 6 in row and are stuck at 3-10? The evidence is hard to argue with, much as it seems like Jeff Van Gundy will grow even older waiting for Yao Ming to take over a game.

Marcus Camby has to be considered an early candidate for the Western Conference’s center in the All-Star Game. That said, such a proposition assumes Camby will be healthy by next February, hardly a sure thing.

(UPDATE : on a subsequent glance at celebrity row, Mike Breen pointed out that Rosario Dawson and Chazz Palminteri were in attendence. “Who was that girl, again?” asked Clyde. The Knicks erased a 16 point halftime deficit, survived a 40 point effort from Allan Iverson, and won, 105-102 on a Nate Robinson 3 pointer in OT, the diminutive guard (above) connecting with AI’s hand in his face. Rookie C Channing Frye continues to impress, scoring 21 points and gather 11 rebounds in his first start. Stephon Marbury scored 33, shooting 14 for 26 from the field)

Shipgel : Wagner-Mets Hardly A Lock

Posted in Baseball at 1:57 am by

Despite the Mets’ lucrative offer to free agent reliever Billy Wagner — supposedly the only one he’s received so far, the NY Times’ Ben Shipgel predicts that as many as 3 other clubs will have something to say about this.

The Phillies, because they rid themselves of $24 million on Thome’s contract, are in position to improve their initial $30 million offer, and there are two other teams expected to make a play for Wagner.

The Boston Red Sox, who have added the front-line starter Josh Beckett and the potential set-up man Guillermo Mota this week in a trade with Florida, would love to add Wagner, according to a person with knowledge of the interest who was granted anonymity because he did not want to jeopardize the talks. And the Braves, if they do not re-sign the free-agent shortstop Rafael Furcal, may elect not to pursue re-signing Kyle Farnsworth and use the saved money toward Wagner.


Toronto Signs Ryan

Posted in Baseball at 11:12 pm by

Maura Johnston says that the Daily News says that the Blue Jays say they’ve signed reliever B.J. Ryan (above) to a 5 year, $47 million deal.

I say that Billy Wagner’s price just went up.

Proper links to follow when I’m not standing in front of a record store.

(Update : the Daily News item is here. Writes Bill Madden,

The Toronto Blue Jays, with a payroll surplus of $25-30 million for next year, have made a bold statement that they intend to be big players in the AL East by signing lefty free agent reliever B.J. Ryan to a five-year $47 million contract, the Daily News has learned.

With the signing of the hard-throwing Ryan, the Blue Jays appear poised to now deal their previous closer, Miguel Batista. They have reportedly had discussions with the Texas Rangers about an exchange of Batista for outfielder Kevin Mench. The Blue Jays were also pursuing righty free agent starter A.J. Burnett and were said to have also offered him a five-year deal. It was unclear if the Ryan signing would now preclude them from continuing their efforts to land Burnett.

Busch Urinal Auctioned For $2173.82

Posted in Baseball at 7:51 pm by

I admit, my first reaction was, “wow, they’re really paying Will Leitch too much money.”.

As it turns out, someone else purchased the urinal. And as you all know, given what he’s been putting up with lately, Will isn’t being paid nearly enough.

For those of you unable to get your bids in, you might be able to fashion a screen saver out of this.

Boston To Keith : Foulke Off?

Posted in Baseball at 6:09 pm by

MLB Trade Rumors claims to have information pointing to the Red Sox shopping closer/BBQ enthusiast Keith Foulke. Supposedly, Boston would be willing to eat a large portion of Foulke’s salary if they were successful finding a taker.

My Boston source is telling me Foulke will get some attention as a setup man this offseason after the free agent market runs dry. Despite the surgeries, several teams feel that Foulke’s problems in 2005 were largely mechanical and can be fixed. The Sox are looking to shed Foulke, and may be willing to pay half of his $7.25MM 2006 salary. Foulke has a $7.5MM option for 2007 that could vest with a strong 2006 performance (53 games finished would do the trick). The recent of Guillermo Mota makes Foulke slightly more expendable.

Though I’d feel a lot better knowing for certain this source has never been a member of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, I’m willing to make the leap of faith if you are.

It would appear as though whatever little leverage Boston might have in dealing Manny Ramirez has decreased , as one of the two of teams the spacey LF would accept a trade to says they’re uninterested.

Brown To Robinson : Be Kind, Don’t Rewind (The Highlight Reel)

Posted in Basketball at 3:35 pm by

(Robinson in his Washington days, dealing with the Oregon chapter of his fan club)

Having learned little from the public dressing down of Stephon Marbury, Knicks coach Larry Brown has turned his attention to the erratic play of rookie Nate Robinson. From the NY Post’s Marc Berman.

Brown’s displeasure with Thomas’ imbalanced roster came into play again in Wednesday’s 108-95 loss in Charlotte. “We got to figure out what we could do with the [lack of] depth we have right now at the perimeter,” Brown said.

Brown is losing his patience with Robinson, who spelled Marbury Wednesday when Marbury got into foul trouble in the first quarter. Of his many miscues in trying to run the offense, Robinson stepped out of bounds as he brought the ball up court under pressure.

Brown said bluntly afterward, “He’s not a point guard. Right now he’s a highlight film.”

Robinson was a combo guard at fast-paced Washington. “We had more of a run-and-gun team like Phoenix,” Robinson said. “We tried to push guys to play at the pace we play at. Learning the point guard role is something new. In Washington anybody could bring it up any time. It’s different now, bringing it up, running every play.”

Brown’s frustration with Robinson began in the preseason opener. On his opening possession, Robinson tossed the ball off the backboard seeking to dunk it. Brown yanked him and told him if he ever did that again, he’ll never play again.

“I get tired of hearing ‘my fault, my bad,’ ” Brown said. “But you got to keep demanding it.”

Berman, along with Newsday’s Greg Logan, suggest that Brown covets Charlotte’s Brevin Knight.

Knight’s name has been mentioned in trade speculation along with Cleveland’s Eric Snow and Denver’s Earl Watson as possible Knicks targets. Snow played for Brown in Philadelphia and maintains regular contact with him. He’s a starter, but the Cavaliers also signed free agent Damon Jones last summer. Knight is in a similar situation as a vulnerable starter because the Bobcats drafted point guard Raymond Felton.

“Being from New Jersey, everybody from home is calling me and asking me about it,” said Knight, who is from Livingston, N.J., and attended Seton Hall Prep in East Orange. “They hear my name on the radio and see my name in the paper. I’m flattered if the Knicks think that much of me and that’s a consideration. But I like my position here and the things I see in the future for this organization.”

It’s one thing for Phil Jackson to say he’d rather work for his girlfriend’s dad and kiss up to Kobe than take Chuck Dolan’s money. But when members of the Charlotte Bobcats talk about their team having a future instead of lobbying for a trade to the Knicks, I’m afraid a new low has been reached.

Stupor Model Stumps For Superhoops

Posted in Football at 1:31 pm by

Perhaps it was her desire to curry favor with Mick Jones, Glen Matlock or the Bevis Frond. Or maybe it was an error in judgement, not unlike sleeping with David Copperfield. Most likely, this was a photo op gone horribly wrong. In any event, here’s Claudia Schiffer, visiting Loftus Road earlier this week.

Basketball Bigamy With Brendan Malone

Posted in Basketball at 1:16 pm by

With Thanksgiving in our rear view mirror, I think it is safe to say there are some individuals who have more to be thankful for than others. Men whom I’m sure you’ll agree, are living the American dream. And with all due respect to iconoclasts like Bill Simmons, Dov Charney and Derek Bell, the real role model for Dudes of Today oughta be Brendan Malone, who somehow managed to be a paid consultant to the Sonics and Cavaliers at the same time.

Little Love For NFL’s Ripken

Posted in Gridiron at 12:46 pm by

It isn’t that I didn’t care that Giants punter Jeff Feagles was on the brink of becoming the NFL’s Iron Man. It has more to do with staying up very late the other night thinking of ways to combine “Feagles”, “Beagles” and “Wrong Way Reagles” in a joke and not getting the job done.

And isn’t that I don’t respect Jeff Feagles. It’s just that he now reminds me of my own shortcomings…and I can’t handle it.

From Newsday’s Arthur Staples.

On Sunday in Seattle, Feagles will break a tie with defensive lineman Jim Marshall for the record for consecutive games played, though few people in the NFL and outside of it would equate Feagles’ new record of 283 consecutive games with Marshall’s.

Ray Guy (above), who on Tuesday was named among 25 NFL greats for 2006 Hall of Fame consideration, once again is vying to become the first punter enshrined in the Hall. The voters for that honor repeatedly have turned Guy away, forcing the player considered the first of the great true punters to justify why he merits consideration alongside offensive and defensive stars.

Feagles hasn’t missed a game since he broke in with the Patriots in 1988 as an unsigned free agent out of Miami. He’s been cut only once, by the Patriots after the 1990 season. For a punter with more than a few years’ NFL service, that is certainly a record, one that testifies to Feagles’ ability.

“Health is one thing, but you’re not going to play 18 years if you’re not that good,” said Feagles, who broke his arm in 2001 when he was with the Seahawks and suffered a concussion in the season opener a year ago on a hit by the Eagles’ Jeremiah Trotter.

“It is pretty remarkable that I’ve been able to do this up until almost age 40. [No. 283] is just a number, but it’s a pretty historic number.”

Feagles owns almost all the other NFL punting records now, too, having broken Sean Landeta’s record for number of punts in the season opener. But breaking Marshall’s record puts Feagles in the record books among the “regular” players, and that’s where things get dicey.

Marshall himself has been cordial in interviews, saying little to disparage Feagles. Vikings defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell got the negativity ball rolling two weeks ago, saying Feagles’ record deserves an asterisk because the punter is, at most, a 5-to-10-play participant. And Cottrell had been a Cardinals assistant coach when Feagles played for Arizona, too.

“Hey, every play is critical, and coaches should know that,” said Guy, who runs a lumber company in his hometown of Thompson, Ga. “What [Feagles] has done is great, 18 years, five different teams. You know he’s doing it right, because you don’t get many chances to mess up as a punter.”