12.29.05

Finnegan : Mariners Chasing Lester, Papelbon

Posted in Baseball at 1:18 pm by


(most assuredly the wrong Lester)

From the Seattle Times’ Bob Finnegan :

An East Coast source said the Mariners are offering pitcher Gil Meche as well as center fielder Jeremy Reed, in an effort to obtain one of Boston’s prized pitching prospects, Jon Lester (a Puyallup native) or Jonathan Papelbon, in a trade.

Boston began the talks when it became apparent it would lose center fielder Johnny Damon. In its initial inquiry about Reed, Boston was believed to have talked about giving hard-throwing Matt Clement, who will make $19 million over the next two seasons.

Since signing left-hander Jarrod Washburn to a $38 million contract, Seattle has focused on sinker-baller Bronson Arroyo in recent discussions since he made only $1.85 million in 2005 and is arbitration eligible and under club control for three more years.

“It might be tough to get Lester or Papelbon,” a National League scout said. “Every team who has talked to the Sox about a deal has asked for one of them.”

While the Mariners are said to be more proactive in pushing a trade with Boston, they apparently are down on the Red Sox’s dance card.

The Sox, in need of a shortstop as well as a center fielder, are reportedly focused on a multi-player deal with Tampa Bay, trying to land shortstop Julio Lugo and outfielder Joey Gathright.

The Kansas City Star’s Jeff Passan reports the Royals will host one of the World Baseball Classic’s Group A qualifiers —- Korea, China or Japan — in a March 8 exhibition in Surprise, AZ. There’s a whole ‘nuther continent dying to get a first glimpse of Doug Mientkiewicz in a K.C. uniform, apparently.

The Nationals have agreed upon a one-year deal with righthander Ramon Ortiz (source, the Associated Press).

Whoever is handling Frank McCourt’s public relations needs a raise. Either that, or an online petition convincing he or she not to kill themselves.

Tom Hicks Takes His Licks From Bill Conlin

Posted in Baseball at 11:36 am by

From the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Bill Conlin.

Kevin Millwood is not the first .500 pitcher Tom Hicks made a little richer. Ross Perot’s good buddy and fellow billionaire bought the Texas Rangers from George Walker Bush and his partners for $250 million in 1998.

As usual, Hicks (above) appeared to overpay. But is it overpaying when you’re always coming to the table loaded with the casino’s money, the public’s money or the cable subscribers’ money?

Baseball men wondered if Hicks would ever do business again with his Rangers “shadow partner,” agent Darth Boras, after the $252 million Alex Rodriguez contract launched the Rangers to last place.

But old Tom must be selling scads of premium-tier packages on the cable system that also

carries his Rangers and lots of other sports. He must be renting truckloads of those shiny little boxes that let you watch a recorded show while recording two more shows on different channels at the same time. And in the afternoon, instead of watching soaps you can watch all the HBO goodies you missed on demand. What a thing.

After Scott Boras burned him big-time on the Pudge and Alex Rodriguez contracts, Hicks swore up and down he would not lavish any more 5-year deals.

Then Kevin Millwood came along with that soft body and country way of sounding humble and sincere.

Kevin now stands as king of the mountain of wretched salary excess. With his numbers well-adjusted for inflation, his $60 million for 5 years is now the analog to Claudell Washington in 1980. At least Hicks didn’t buy the whole fifth year.

Strahan Sacked At Rangers/Isles Derby

Posted in Gridiron, Hockey at 11:14 am by

Though the New York Rangers running riot over the Islanders last night at the Nassau Mausoleum (potentially a new piece in the Wilpon empire?) is gratifying enough, thumbs up to the NY Post’s Evan Grossman for the following aside about Giants DE Michael Strahan.

Perhaps the only thing more disgusting than the Islanders’ performance last night at the sold-out Coliseum crowd was Michael Strahan trying to plug his line of pork products on the Jumbotron during an in-game interview in the tunnel.

The Giants’ gap-toothed sack artist apparently did not realize ” as he was booed by the fans he blindsided with the shameless plug ” that the building already housed its share of swine.

Mets Fan, 13 Others Swaying Kaz From Seppuku

Posted in Baseball at 10:55 am by

Miracle Mets’ Chris Wilcox has posted the following online petition :

To : Kaz Matsui

The undersigned agree that the life of Kazuo Matsui, second baseman for the New York Mets, is ultimately far more important than however poor his performance on the field may be. The Japanese culture is such that suicide is accepted for those who may feel as though they have disgraced their family. We would not like to see Mr. Matsui commit an act that would take his own life, and take a father away from a child, a husband away from a wife, and a son away from their parents. It is with that intent in mind that the undersigned agree to not boo Mr. Matsui, and agree to attempt to encourage him in the upcoming season to achieve greater heights. Whether or not he achieves those heights, we would still like to see to it that Mr. Matsui one day returns to Japan to his family, and that no harm comes to him from his own hand

下記によってはしかし貧乏人が分野の彼のæ§èƒ½ãã†ã‹ã‚‚しれないことをことがKazuo Matsui ニューヨークMets のための二塁手のãç”Ÿå‘½ã§ã‚ã‚‹æœçµ‚的に遠い重要よりä¸è‡´ã™ã‚‹ã‚日本文化は自殺が彼らが彼らの家族を恥となったように感じるかもしれない自殺のために受け入れられることそのような物であるã‚私達は彼自身の生命を氏が行為を託すのを見ることをMatsui 取る望まなかったしãå¦»ã‹ã‚‰ã®å­ä¾›ãå¤«ããŠã‚ˆã³å½¼ã‚‰ã®è¦ªã‹ã‚‰ã®æ¯å­ã‹ã‚‰çˆ¶ã‚’é£ã‚ŒåŽ»ã‚‹ã‚それはないブーイングの氏にMatsui 下記によってがä¸è‡´ã™ã‚‹ã‚ã‚Šãæ¬¡ã®å­£ç¯ã®å½¼ã‚’すばらしい高さを達成するために励ますように試みることに同意する心のその意æã¨ã‚それらの高さを達成するかどうか彼ãç§é”はまだ害が彼自身の手から彼に来ないことããã—て彼の家族にそれにそのMatsui 日本への氏の日帰りを見ることを望ã‚ã‚

Sincerely,

The Undersigned.

This is quite a coincidence, because I was just about to bulk e-mail the following to all of my friends and colleagues ;

TO: Fred and Jeff Wilpon

The undersigned agree that the lives of Fred and Jeff Wilpon, owner and devoted son of the owner of the New York Mets, are ultimately far more important than however ill-advised some of their decisions have been. American business culture is such that forcing an underling to fall on his or her sword is an acceptable practice, though sometimes, suicide is attempted by those who may feel as though they have disgraced their family and/or have listened to Mike and The Mad Dog too often. We would not like to see Fred or Jeff commit an act that would take their own lives, and take a father away from a child, a husband away from a wife, and a son away from their parents. It is with that intent in mind that the undersigned agree to continue spending as much money as possible on New York Mets tickets, parking, concessions and subscription fees to Fred and Jeff’s new cable network.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned.

If anyone would like to take a crack at translating the above for the Wilpons, please let me know.

B.C. Football Vs. The Cosmopolitan Sensibilities Of Boise, ID

Posted in Gridiron at 9:37 am by

From the Boston Herald’s Steve Conroy.

When Monday night™s banquet turned into a rah-rah event for Boise State, the Boston College players let it be known they might have a little extra motivation for the MPC Computers Bowl.

After last night™s 27-21 victoryl, it became clear just how upset and offended the Eagles were. BC took offense at Mayor Dave Bieter™s open rooting for Boise State at the banquet, but particularly galling was the fact that MPC Computers CEO Mike Atkins made a running joke of mispronouncing Mathias Kiwanuka™s name.

Kiwanuka (above), whose grandfather was the first prime minister of Uganda, is extremely proud of his African heritage and his family name. The jokes hit him hard.

œI thought the banquet was extremely disrespectful, Kiwanuka said. œI™ve never been that disrespected so much as a Boston College football player, as a person from the city of Boston and as an individual. To see the mayor get up and say some disrespectful things, then to have the CEO of the title sponsor get up and say what he said and attack me personally, that was ridiculous.

BC coach Tom O™Brien was clearly angered.

œWe got to a banquet that turns into a pep rally, he said. œI didn™t have to say anything to this team. I ought to thank the mayor and the people of Boise. They did everything to get this team (ready). I™ve been to 19 bowl games and I™ve never seen anything like that in my life. It was a banquet. The pep rally was the next night. You don™t disrespect the best player on the opposite team by making fun of his name and having everyone in the audience laugh at him. There wasn™t anything I had to do to get this team ready. You all did it for us. Thank you.

Grizzlies Survive Kobe’s 45, Forearm

Posted in Basketball at 1:18 am by

Grizzlies 100, Lakers 99 (OT)

It was an huge win for Memphis at the Staples Center tonight, particularly with the ejection of Eddie Jones and Mike Miller and Shane Battier having fouled out. And while I’d prefer to focus on the clutch play down the stretch by Damon Stoudamire (having a bit of a revival this week), the real question is how did Kobe Bryant stay in this game? Bryant was bloodied in a collision with Mike Miller (above) during the 3rd quarter, but the foul was correctly called on the former. After being bandaged, Bryant returned to hit 3 successive 3 pointers….and delivered a blatant forearm to Miller’s throat when the Memphis guard tried to drive the lane.

Retaliation is one thing, but Bryant was settling a score over contact he initiated. ESPN’s Dee Brown observed that had a similar foul been committed by Ron Artest or Danny Fortson, either would’ve been ejected (and presumably, fined or suspended afterwards).

Had such an incident occured in a city other than L.A., the failure to run Kobe would’ve resulted in a riot. This was about as premeditated a mugging as it gets, and nonsensical to boot.

12.28.05

Carroll Staying At USC

Posted in Gridiron at 10:18 pm by

In a development that should surprise absolutely no one, USC head football coach Pete Carroll has agreed to a contract extension with the school, the length of which is unspecified. There’s a Matt Leinart joke in here somewhere, but I’ve got to get up early tomorrow.

Given that say, unlike Charlie Weis, Carroll has actually won something, he had more than a little leverage. And while the prospect of Carroll ever returning the NFL seemed terribly farfetched, it would’ve been great to see how the league might’ve coped with his unique sense of humor.

Shame they can’t give Reggie Bush a contract extension, though.

Michigan are currently leading Nebraska, 21-17 in the Mastercard Alamo Bowl, with another quarter to play. Though I have no rooting interest, every time a Bill Callahan-coached team, pro or college, loses, another dead kitten comes back to life, break dances and hands out free gum.

(postscript : hillarious finish to this one, all it needed was a tuba player getting creamed. Well, that and Bill Callahan being electrocuted. The Wolverines lost 5 games this year by a combined total of 21 points. Even Marty Schottenheimer is shaking his head).

Brown : Marbury’s Lousy Night No Accident

Posted in Basketball at 9:08 pm by

Magic 105, Knicks 96

“I think he just didn’t want to shoot the ball. So I thought he’d have 15 or 20 assists. Just one of those nights. (pause). Maybe he didn’t feel like he was on. He played 40 minutes, shot 0 for 7 with 3 assists. He got the ball all the time. I ran plenty of stuff for him. He had 3 assists and no steals. By accident, you can get a steal. “

I’ve listened to a lot of depressing stuff in my time, but nothing worse than a disconsolate Larry Brown telling the truth.

Spurs’ Ted Ditchburn, RIP

Posted in Football at 7:55 pm by

Former Tottenham goalkeeper Ted Ditchburn has passed away at the age of 84.

From the Spring of 1946 to March 1954, Ditchburn missed only 2 matches for Spurs, appearing in 247 consecutive games. Ditchburn also made 6 appearances for the England side.

Charlton Athletic’s Wednesday evening match at Newcastle, scheduled to kick off at 7:45pm, was cancelled at 7:15 due to snow throughout the day. A nice surprise, in that case, for Charlton fans who’d travelled some 300 miles for the privilege of turning around and going home.

The Holiday Tradition That Is The MPC Computers Bowl

Posted in Gridiron at 5:47 pm by

Boston College 24, Ball State O (halftime)

As you probably know, there is no bigger fan of the pomp and pagentry of big time collegiate athletics than yours truly. I woke up early this morning and watched the MPC Computers Parade, then spent most of the afternoon listening to old Eyeless In Gaza albums in homage to Boston College’s terrific WZBC.

That said, I’m not sure any contest, let alone one with this game’s rich history, is worthy of blowing off a D.U.I court date.

Nor can I understand, after trying in vain to adjust the settings of my very expensive television set, why the field is blue. What’s up with that?