Graziano : Mets Still In Manny Mix

Posted in Baseball at 11:54 am by

From the Newark Star-Ledger’s Dan Graziano.

According to two baseball officials familiar with the talks, the Mets have been involved in several complicated trade discussions with the hope of landing Manny Ramirez. Both officials said the large, complex deals still required a lot of work, but that the Mets were keeping their toe in the water in case they still had a chance to add Ramirez to their 2006 lineup.

One of the possibilities would involve a multi-team deal in which Mets pitcher Kris Benson would end up in Baltimore, Tejada in Boston and Ramirez with the Mets (with a variety of other players and cash bouncing around in the deal as well). The Orioles like Benson and, earlier this off-season, offered reliever Jorge Julio for him. The Mets have been looking to trade him and certainly would do so if it meant bringing in Ramirez for right field.

The “variety of other players” portion of this seems to be the most complicated part of the equation. There’s no way the Orioles can sell their fans on the notion that Kris Benson for Tejada represents fair value, to say nothing of the message it would send to Jeromy Burnitz.

Marbury Declares Love For Dolan, Fails To Speak With Brown

Posted in Basketball at 11:39 am by

Newsday’s Greg Logan on the Knicks’ Stephon Marbury, who says (some of) the right things after being buried by Larry Brown in the coach’s postgame press conference Wednesday night.

“Hey, man, I love New York, and I want to be here more than anything,” Marbury volunteered in an interview after practice. “Whatever it’s going to take for me to win, I’m going to do it because I feel like New York deserves it … If it’s sacrificing my game, I’m willing to do that.”

In Marbury’s view, that’s exactly what he was doing in Orlando when he took only three shots in the first three quarters and finished with five points, 0-for-7 shooting and three assists.

Marbury said he passed up open shots to get better ones for teammates, which is what Brown wants from his point guard.

Brown was in no mood to add fuel to the fire yesterday, declaring the incident over. But he did not back off his critical postgame comments. Performance fluctuates from game to game, but Brown said, “In my mind, he had a lot of good looks [in Orlando] that he didn’t look to take. I think you can hurt your team by doing that.

The point guard from Coney Island (above), who has been traded three times, acknowledged the possibility of a fourth trade, but he’s not asking out.

“I can’t do nothing about that, but like I said, I love New York more than anything, and I’ll do anything to be in New York,” Marbury said. “This is the place I grew up at, loving to play basketball and being a fan of New York.”

Marbury said the thought of leaving “never crossed my mind.” He hasn’t talked to Thomas about his desire to remain with the Knicks, but then again, Marbury said that’s not necessary.

“My heart and my soul say that,” Marbury said. “My heart and my soul bleed New York colors. I know that, and I believe everybody else knows that.”

It’s plain to see Marbury doesn’t enjoy Brown’s emphasis on defense and a structured offense that takes the ball out of his hands to stress ball movement and an inside-out attack. But Marbury insisted, “I made the adjustment. So I’m willing, and I’m ready.”

Curiously, Brown and Marbury discussed their views openly with reporters but never spoke to each other about what happened in Orlando. The one question Marbury refused to answer was about his relationship with Brown, and when asked if he needs to talk to Brown about his role as point guard, Marbury snapped, “I don’t need to talk to him. He needs to come tell me what he wants me to do if that’s what he feels is the case.”

So things aren’t exactly hunky-dory in paradise, but Marbury even went so far as to say, “I love [Cablevision CEO James] Dolan for bringing me here. Like I said, once we all get to the point where we’ve had enough [of losing], then that’s when it’s going to be enough.”

The New York Post’s Peter Vescey, unsurprisingly, finds much to mock in the Marbury/Brown stalemate.

Only genius can get away with the infantile concept of starting players in their college or home town, or in David Lee’s case, home state. One day you’re thrown into Brown’s moth ball drawer, the next day you’re being introduced with four other irregulars. And here all this time I believed sports was about winning, not playing to the crowd.

The catch is, Lee hails from St. Louis, Mo., and played at the University of Florida at Gainesville, not anywhere near Orlando. Worse yet, Brown assigned the 6-9 power ranger to cover Grant Hill, who, despite four ankle operations, is still infinitely more mobile than Lee.

It’s as if Brown picked his starting lineup out of hat in anticipation of getting sawed in half at the Magic Kingdom. I’d like to see the alpha waves that comprise Brown’s thought process when he Etch-A-Sketches his nightly starters. Is there some essay contest on the team plane? Does he go up and down the aisles asking, “I’m thinking of a number between . . . ?” Is there speed-dial with the Psychic Friends Network?

Adding insult to our already insulted intelligence, four members of Wednesday night’s queasy quintet didn’t see as much as 17 minutes of daylight. Stephon Marbury (0-7, three assists in 40 malicious minutes) was the only one who did, and he didn’t deserve 17 seconds of unsupervised activity.

Transit workers, who recognize a strike when they see one, claim they gave New York City more production than that during their nearly three-day work stoppage. Question is, why would Brown leave Marbury in there for so long if he felt he was laying down on the job? Seems like both men went out of their way to embarrass each other and each was very effective.

Great Moments In Beauty Pageant History

Posted in Sports Radio at 10:50 am by

From today’s edition of Scott’s Shots :

The blurry, amateur pictures from the Miss WEEI contest found at the woeful WEEI website showed once again, what a œhigh class organization the radio station truly is. Over/Under on the total number of Revere and Worcester hair bimbos was four and a half. The pictures probably don™t justice to the, ahem, lovelies, but it was a motley crew to be sure. And it begs the question: What kind of woman would want to be Miss ˜EEI? And what are the benefits?

Old Coot Demands Ballplayers Spruce Up

Posted in Baseball, Fashion at 10:41 am by

From the land that time forgot (ie. Palm Beach), here’s the TC Post’s Bill Vaylo, advocating an MLB dress code (thanks to Repoz for the link).

There is only one conclusion that can be reached after George Steinbrenner, the owner of the New York Yankees, made Johnny Damon get rid of his beard and long hair before he becomes part of the again new New York Yankees lineup ” make him head up the dress code committee for Major League Baseball.

Steinbrenner has not been one of my favorite baseball owners. He interferes much too much with the manager. What he does do right, however, is make sure that his team looks good on and off the field.

Baseball players have become sloppy over the years. With all the money the make (yes, I will add this much used phrase), you would think that they could afford a haircut and a shave.

Most teams in the majors are poor examples for the cities they represent. City officials should put in a clause in the contracts they sign with owners when money for a new stadium are bantered about. It should read “we will give you the money, provided that your ballplayers get haircuts and beards removed” and that they set a fine example on and off the field.

Social fashion trends have molded the attitudes of ballplayers throughout the years. It seems that long hair, moustaches, beards, sideburns and goatees are common in lineups today.

In the late 60s and 70s, baseball dress on the field was conservative. Facial hair was out during this period. I remember when Dick Allen, the powerful first baseman, came to Philadelphial sporting a moustache and beard in the 70s. My loyalty to the team took a dip during his tenure with the Phillies.

Sherman : Mets Closing In On Baez

Posted in Baseball at 6:43 am by

From the New York Post’s Joel Sherman.

In a move that could give the Mets perhaps the finest 1-2 closing punch in the National League, GM Omar Minaya is working to finalize a trade that would bring Danys Baez from Tampa Bay to serve as the primary set-up man for Billy Wagner, The Post has learned.

The Mets have spoken regularly to the Devil Rays for weeks about both Baez and shortstop Julio Lugo, who the Mets would play at second base. But over the last few days, the Mets have narrowed their focus to Baez, who had more saves for Tampa last season (41) than Wagner did for Philadelphia (38).

The Devil Rays would receive a package in return that would be headed by either Jae Seo or Aaron Heilman.

Though such a transaction would give the Mets the sort of bullpen depth we’ve not seen in Flushing since the mid ’80′s, it does seem as though little consideration is given to Heilman’s huge potential, as a set-up guy, closer when/if Wagner does down or a starter. If not traded this time, it seems like he’ll be bait as long as he wears a Mets uniform.

Conversely, it is easy to project any number of games next season in which neither Martinez nor Glavine are going to pitch beyond the 7th inning. Baez’s value, if obtained, could go far beyond that of a mere middle reliever.


Miggy Unimpressed With Burnitz Signing

Posted in Baseball at 9:18 pm by

From the Associated Press :

On Thursday, the disgruntled All-Star shortstop Miguel Tejada said he was upset by the Orioles’ failure to make trades that would strengthen the team.

“Now, I am more upset than when I requested the trade because it’s been a month and they haven’t done anything,” Tejada told The Associated Press on Thursday.

“I don’t want to say anything bad that can hurt my teammates, but look at Toronto, they have strengthened themselves and we haven’t done anything,” said Tejada, who hit .305 last season with 26 homers and 98 RBIs.

Tejada noted that division rivals New York and Toronto made moves to improve. The Yankees acquired outfielder Johnny Damon and the Blue Jays signed closer B.J. Ryan, starting pitcher A.J. Burnett and third baseman Troy Glaus.

“If the Orioles don’t do anything, I want them to trade me because I am tired of losing,” Tejada said before a winter league game.

If he isn’t traded by the Orioles, Tejada said he would “respect the game as I have always done.”

“I am not asking for a team of superstars, I only want a good group that helps me to win,” he said.

Apparently, Baltimore’s acquisitions of Jeromy Burnitz and Jeff Conine weren’t enough to satisfy Tejada. Though he did say he’s not asking for a team of superstars.

Artest To Lakers Trade Disputed

Posted in Basketball at 8:58 pm by

Earlier today, Pro Basketball News’ Sam Amico reported the following :

Indiana is nearing a three-team trade that would send swingman Ron Artest to the Los Angeles Lakers, a league source has told ProBasketballNews.com.

Meanwhile, Lakers forward Devean George would end up in Indiana.

The third team involved in the proposed trade is the Toronto Raptors, according to the source. The Raptors would send Jalen Rose to Los Angeles — and in return receive Pacers forward Austin Croshere and at least one player from the Lakers.

The source added that George and an undetermined player from the Raptors — or perhaps a draft pick — would be to dealt to the Pacers.

“Basically, it’s Artest for Devean George, with the Raptors getting involved to make it work financially,” the source said. “When and if it happens, this will be a trade that consists of plenty of throw-ins.”

Rotoworld quotes the Indianpolis Star’s Mark Montieth as dismissing said deal, suggesting a swap with the Nuggets for Nene is the more likely scenario.

Sonics F Danny Fortson, no doubt ready to blame the whole thing on Peter Vescey, has been suspended by the league for two games for the wonderfully worded “failure to leave the court in a timely manner” after his ejection in last night’s visit to Minneapolis.

Quote Of The Day…

Posted in Baseball, The World Of Entertainment at 6:53 pm by

…if not the calendar year comes from actor John C. McGinley (Dr. Perry Cox on NBC’s “Scrubs”), as interviewed by Dodger Thoughts’ Jon Weissman (link swiped from Baseball Musings’ David Pinto)

Obviously, McGinley is not alone among actors in his sports infatuation. John Cusack is deep into it, according to McGinley, though no one may be more hardcore than D.B Sweeney of Eight Men Out and The Cutting Edge.

“Sweeney is right up there,” McGinley said. “And (Tom) Sizemore, before he got into all this trouble, he had close to a photographic memory. He was kind of like Bob Costas; he was unbelievable.

Unless someone (any bloggers from Albany feel up to it?) wants to testify that Tom Sizemore is a really nice guy, I think we’ll have to let McGinley’s comment stand. The Bob Costas comparison is a curious one — maybe he really meant Jean Louis Costes?

Race and Reason With Sir Charles

Posted in Sports Radio at 6:27 pm by

ESPN Radio’s Dana Jacobson spoke with Charles Barkley today on the subject of Tiger Woods’ 30th birthday. Barkley, being a pal of Woods, was asked “what do you get the man who has everything?”

“I’m gonna get him him some CD’s. I need to blacken him up.”

“Any CD in particular?”, inquired Jacobs0n.

“That new Eminem CD, ‘Curtain Call’.

FSU’s Nicholson Suspended

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 1:30 pm by

Oh for the days when the words “Butkus Award semi-finalist” and “rape allegation” didn’t appear alongside each other in the newspaper.

I don’t actually remember those days, but maybe a handful of you are older than me.