Stephen A. Smith, Sideline Reporter

Posted in Basketball, Sports TV at 10:41 am by

That’s Stephen A. Smith on the right, shown interviewing Tommy “Hit Man” Hearns during the 2nd half of last night’s Lakers/Pistons game at the Palace.

Though Stephen A. neglected to pester Tommy about the child abuse charges the latter is facing, this wasn’t the worst job of sideline reportage ever seen or heard. Though not quite Jim Gray, Smith will have to try pretty hard to top Al Trautwig’s recent chat with Roger Waters of Pink Floyd.


Boom! Madden’s Coaching Career Considered

Posted in Gridiron at 11:55 pm by

The younger set know him from the illustrious announcing career, the video games that sometimes-get-better-from-year-to-year, the Madden Cruiser and the Tinactin ads. The SF Chronicle’s Ira Miller, however, would prefer to go back a bit further with John Madden (shown above, right, with Kenny Stabler).

John Madden was a coach, one of the best ever. It was so long ago that many people might not even remember it, but the Pro Football Hall of Fame will have a chance to correct that oversight Saturday when its 39-man board of selectors chooses its next class of enshrinees.

In 10 years as the Raiders’ coach, he won a Super Bowl, took his team to the conference championship game seven times, compiled the second-best winning percentage (behind Vince Lombardi) in NFL history and had a winning record against each of the 10 Hall of Fame coaches with whom he competed.

It’s somewhat a mystery why Madden was not voted to the Hall of Fame long ago, but he had to overcome the perception he would coach again after retiring at age 42, plus what some former voters say is the committee’s built-in bias against players and coaches who become television icons.

Then there’s this. Outsiders long have believed that the Raiders are so much a product of Al Davis that the coach is insignificant, certainly a perception that most recent coaches, except for Jon Gruden, have done nothing to change.

Of course, that doesn’t explain, if Davis were pulling the strings, why he managed to pull them so much better when Madden was his coach than at any other time. Madden’s regular-season winning percentage with the Raiders was .759. Under eight coaches since he retired, the team’s winning percentage is .533.

It’s The Year Of The D-O-Single G

Posted in Going To The Zoo, Internal Affairs at 10:17 pm by

…and a certain high-maintenance CSTB mascot would advise you not to forget it.

Padres Sign Piazza

Posted in Baseball at 6:23 pm by

If you’d told me last Autumn that Mike Piazza would return to Southern California, I’d have wagered it would’ve been as either a) a DH in Anaheim or b) partners with Rikki Rachtman in some ill-fated nightclub/satellite radio venture.

As luck would have it, neither turns out to be the case. Metal Mike has signed a one year, $2 million contract with the San Diego Padres. Piazza’s agent, Dan Lozano is quoted as saying “”The Padres told Mike that he could pretty much catch as much as he wanted to,” which presumably applies to Major League Baseball games as opposed to warming guys up in the bullpen.

A catching tandem of Piazza and Doug Mirabelli isn’t so bad for San Diego, just so long as their groundskeepers remember to keep the infield super muddy. And then there’s the bit about moving the fences in another 75 feet.

In all seriousness, I do wish Piazza nothing but the best in San Diego, though I’m glad I won’t be around when the news is broken to Eddie Trunk.

January Can’t End Soon Enough For Tom Penders

Posted in Basketball at 3:50 pm by

It can’t get much worse for Houston coach Tom Penders. Just to recap his first month of 2006 :

a) an accusation from that paragon of virtue, Will Leitch, that his private statements —- from some 5 + years earlier — were inappropriate.

b) a pair of losses to national powerhouses Rice and Central Florida.

c) suffering a near hear attack during a loss to UAB, and receiving a technical foul for his troubles.

In today’s Houston Chronicle, Michael Murphy reports that freshman F Lamar Roberson (above) has walked out on the team and is considering transfering to another school.

No doubt choosing his words carefully, not wanting to tar an 18 year old with an unfair characterization, Penders said “I don’t know what in the world he is thinking. Maybe this week he thought he was Ron Artest.”

Judging Cowher’s Legacy A Week Early

Posted in Gridiron at 3:38 pm by

Goddamn, welcome to Nitpick Central. As the Steelers’ Bill Cowher prepares to lead his Pittsburgh squad to his 2nd Super Bowl appearance, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac considers where Mr. Crazy Jawline stacks up in the All-Time Coaching ranks.

And so it is that despite winning 152 games, despite winning more division titles (8) than all but four coaches in NFL history, despite making 10 playoff appearances in 14 years and becoming the first coach since Paul Brown to start his career with six consecutive playoff appearances, Cowher ultimately will be judged on his ability to win a big game.

Never mind that he reached the Super Bowl in only his fourth year as a head coach. Or that the Steelers, needing four victories merely to make the playoffs, became the first team since the New England Patriots in the 1985 season to win three consecutive playoff games on the road to make the Super Bowl.

In the end, if the Steelers don’t beat the NFC champion Seahawks at Ford Field, Cowher will start to be remembered as the Bud Grant of his time — a coach with plenty of division titles but no Super Bowls.

Since the Super Bowl began in 1967, Grant is only coach with more tenure with one team — 17 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings — not to win a Super Bowl. That’s why Cowher is not satisfied merely making the Super Bowl for the second time in the past 10 years.

Should Buffalo’s new head of football operations be relieved or insulted that Cowher be remembered as “the Marv Levy of his time”?

Mushnick Weighs In On The Minaya Furor

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 1:44 pm by

From Phil Mushnick in today’s New York Post,

The first guy to accuse Omar Minaya of trying to sign someone through a “We Hispanics gotta stick together” pitch was Carlos Delgado, who last winter claimed that both Minaya and his assistant, Tony Bernazard, who’s Puerto Rican, turned him off by engaging in such an unsavory sell.

A year later, if a white fan merely suggests such a thing, he or she is a bigot. That makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?

Phil is intentionally confusing the issue here. I’ve yet to hear a white fan (or a white talk radio host) complain that Minaya was playing the “Latinos In The House” card when trying to sign Delgado —- though it was reported on in print a number of times after Delgado and his agent, David Sloan, chose to engage in a pissing match with the Mets.

Sadly, though, I did hear several supposed-Mets fans (and at least one talk radio host) imply, if not claim outright that Minaya’s bias towards Hispanic players unduly influenced his decisions, along with the classic proposition on “Mike & The Mad Dog” that the club would be re-named “The New York Hispanics”.

A reasoned criticique of Minaya’s tactics when pursuing free agents would be welcome. And given that he’s acquired most of the high profile players he sought, I don’t think his ability to seal a deal is really in question. But moaning that the Mets have a mostly-Latino team — when several of those players are amongst the game’s brightest stars — is, if not outright bigotry, sets a strange double standard unless the complainers have aimed similar charges against mostly white clubs.

JV Hoops Sex Abuse Affords CSTB Another Shot At Strong Island

Posted in Leave No Child Unbeaten, Lower Education at 1:22 pm by

This blog’s deep affection and respect for Long Island is a matter of record. With cultural exponents including (but not limited to) Howard Stern, Joey Buttafuoco, Joel Rifkin, The Good Rats, Wayne Chrebet, Mike Cameron impersonators, indie baseball teams that hire John Rocker (and Pete Rose Jr.), Lindsay Lohan’s Dad, the Nihilistics, Lee Ranaldo, Dennis Potvin (Sucks!), Hal Hartley,, Dr. J. tearing it up at the Nassau Mausoleum, etc…What’s Not To Like About Long Island?

Well, how about this?

Seriously, between this nasty bit of gonad grabbing and the Island’s relatively recent episodes of pine cone sodomy (as recounted by the lovely and charming Amy Fisher), the question has to be raised ; what’s up with the male teen jocks of L.I.? If this stuff was consenual, fair enough (said in measured Bill O’Reilly-esque tones), but there does seem to be a pattern emerging.

Madden Second Guesses Benson Trade

Posted in Baseball at 12:45 pm by

Though Mets GM Omar Minaya is the beneficiary of two defenses today against his alleged stockpiling of Hispanic ballplayers, one from the New York Times’ George Vescey, another from colleague Murray Chass, the New York Daily News’ Bill Madden questions Minaya’s most recent deal purely on baseball terms.

The Mets embarked on their annual winter caravan last week swirling in controversy over the influx of Latin players being acquired by Omar Minaya. It probably didn’t help that the day before the caravan began, Minaya traded Kris (and Anna) Benson to the Baltimore Orioles for Venezuelan reliever Jorge Julio and a (very) fringe starting pitching prospect, John Maine.

From strictly a baseball standpoint, this doesn’t look like a good deal for the Mets, even if it does rid them of a public relations nightmare in Anna Benson and save them about $5 million.

For it to be a good deal too many things have to go right: (1) Julio has to shed his image as a head-case with explosive but straight stuff, and become a dependable No. 1 setup man (or at least as dependable as Aaron Heilman was last year); (2) Heilman has to become a consistently effective starter; and (3) the starting rotation needs to stay healthy.

Otherwise, if you eliminate the Anna equation, you have to ask yourself: Why was this deal necessary? We’ve heard for ages the baseball axiom, “You never have enough pitching,” and while Benson seemingly has yet to reach his potential, he’s only 31, had less hits-per-innings last year and a nearly 2-1 strikeouts-to-walks ratio. Starting pitchers with that kind of resume are hard to come by and, even at $7 mil per year, almost a bargain. Meanwhile, Heilman was about as effective a setup man as the Mets could have hoped for while also providing them an invaluable insurance policy for the rotation. That’s all gone now.

The Times’ Vescey, however, is amongst those who view bannishing Anna Benson (if not her husband) to Baltimore as addition by subtraction for the Mets.

I don’t worry about Minaya’s eye for talent and temperament. We’ll find out if he was wrong about Seo, but he did the right thing in getting Benson out of town. I’ve met some bright and outspoken baseball wives, like Arlene Howard, who raised racial issues that her husband, Elston, could not afford to bring up when he broke in as a catcher with the Yankees in the 1950′s. Anna Benson is no Arlene Howard.

She went on Howard Stern and talked dirty, which is what passes for independence these days. She became known for her racy talk as well as the low-cut dress she wore to the Mets’ Christmas party. A model who does not know how to dress around children is going to be a liability to an organization that likes to think of itself as a family operation.

(from Mets.com, Kris Benson on the left, as Santa. Not shown — model wife whose photos guarantee a massive, if short-lived traffic boost for CSTB, that I really don’t need because I’m not selling ads to shitty gambling sites).

When the Mets obtained Delgado, Anna Benson could not resist speculating that fans might boo him because he had criticized United States policies in Iraq. I also caught her on a television talk show saying female reporters should not be allowed in men’s locker rooms because they just wanted to peek at the players.

This was not a liberated woman but somebody with a low opinion of women, including the professionals I see on the sports beat.

Her husband could have told her that players can avoid modesty problems with a towel or a robe, but it sounded as if he had never told her the facts of life. Omar Minaya traded them? Good riddance.

NY Post Gets Our Hopes Up

Posted in Basketball, non-sporting journalism at 10:55 am by

In the midst of Isiah Thomas’ other zipper problems, what do we make of the New York Post’s inflammatory choice of a front cover today?

Should we presume that Zeke is the target of a paternity suit? That the Knicks GM has a secret son or daughter that he’s neglected all these years?

Alas, it’s nothing nearly as sensational. The Post’s Susan Edelman merely interviews Thomas’ 17 year old son Joshua, who, y’know, loves his father very much.

Nice cover, though.

(AHEM – CORRECTION CORNER : As Nick points out in the comments below, the Post does indeed have a big story about — yep, one of those — a paternity suit against Zeke. My apologies to the New York Post, News Corp, Steve Dunleavy, Rupert Murdoch, the entire Rawkus artist roster and anyone who was responsible for “Get A Life” being on TV for more than 3 weeks).

Hoddle Suggests Sports Shrink For Loony Rooney

Posted in Football at 12:49 am by

Wolves manager Glenn Hoddle, whose views on faith healing and reincarnation ended his tenure as England manager, has recommended that Manchester United’s hot tempered Wayne Rooney seek the counsel of a sports psychologist. From The Independent’s Nick Townsend.

As his Wolverhampton Wanderers side prepare for their fourth-round FA Cup tie with Manchester United at Molineux today, the former England coach said that the 20-year-old striker “could become greater than anything England’s ever had. I really believe that”. However, Hoddle added that though Rooney’s demeanour (referring to his aggression on occasions towards officials, opponents and even his own players, notably David Beckham against Northern Ireland) was “a part of his power, a part of his mental strength, part of his make-up, there’s definitely some work that could be done with sports psychologists that would help him.

“I believe that, from what I’ve experienced as a player. If you try and curb it too much, it’s going to change him. But I do think there’s something in there that you can trigger to help him deal with it.”

Hoddle, who arrived at Molineux 13 months ago, added that Rooney could be the special player who, over the years, had been the catalyst for a World Cup-winning performance. “Bobby Charlton, Pele, Maradona, Zidane,” he suggested. “Cruyff was the only special player that never won a World Cup. We’re all hoping it might be Wayne this summer – but a Rooney in four years’ time could be even better.”

What The Not-So-Well Dressed Kobe Acolyte Is Wearing This Winter

Posted in Basketball at 12:23 am by

The NBA Shop is ready to flog the above garment, which should come in handy as my “Wilt 100″ hoodie is at the cleaners.

I’m not sure when the t-shirt commemorating the Knicks’ inability to beat the Sixers without A.I. will be ready, but check back on Monday.


Times’ Mallozzi Blows Leitch, Story

Posted in Blogged Down, Sports Journalism, Will Leitch Sucks at 9:07 pm by

Despite the very cozy “you link me, I’ll quote you” relationship between the NY Times’ Warren St. John and Deadspin’s Will Leitch —- a mutual masturbation session that should at the very least, prove troubling to the former’s editors (the latter having already shown no conscience to speak of) — the Gray Lady is at it again, throwing more plaudits in Leitch’s direction in tomorrow’s Sunday edition courtesy of Vincent M. Mallozzi. (thanks to Repoz for the link)

Will Leitch, a lifelong Cardinals fan, took a job in 1996 covering his favorite baseball team for The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Keep dreaming.

“I learned that there is no place in the world less joyful than a press box,” said Leitch, 30.

Yeah, tell those sorry ass motherfuckers in Rwanda to stop their sobbing.

“If ESPN gets a story that they don’t consider news or might not be in their best interest to run, well, it’s no longer a story and we never hear about it,” said Leitch, who worked briefly for New York Times Digital in 2000. “But if I get a really good scoop from one of my sources or something really interesting from a fan, I have the freedom to post it without having to deal with any political pressure.”

“One of my sources” = old issues of USA Today Baseball Weekly or RSS feeds from other blogs. Really, where’s the Paper Of Record’s love for On The DL?

“Basically, the site allows me to be a reporter, and it allows sports fans to serve as my fellow reporters and editors,” Leitch said. “I think a lot of people out there were waiting for something like this. It puts a lot of fun back into sports.”

Yes, people were waiting on pins and needles for a well-financed, less idiosyncratic ripoff of Sports Frog.

(take it from me, pal, you won’t see 35, never mind be able to perform in the sack, if you don’t improve that blogging-while-watching TV posture).

Mallozzi, who most recently penned a questionable profile of an Illinois-obsessed chap (besides Will, I mean), seems to be of the opinion that Leitch’s chronic ethical lapses and predilection for easy targets are unworthy of examination. No point in killing a great American success story.

Motown Scribe Starts Idiot Club For Men

Posted in Gridiron at 8:04 pm by

From the Detroit Free Press’ Shawn Windsor (January 25) :

He doesn’t look like an NFL quarterback, they say. Troy Aikman had the jaw and the blond hair. Dan Marino’s brown mane helped him sell leather gloves on television. Joe Namath’s wave suggested macho frolick and opened doors to Manhattan’s playboy scene.

But Matt Hasselbeck? The Seahawks quarterback who torched the Carolina Panthers in the NFC championship game?

He’s bald.

Quarterbacks aren’t bald. They aren’t supposed to sport receding hairlines. Maybe that’s why Hasselbeck won’t be the most highly touted quarterback in the Feb. 5 Super Bowl at Ford Field. Maybe that’s why Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, possessor of a manly brown beard, was bronzed Sunday when his team beat the Denver Broncos in the AFC championship game, even though Hasselbeck’s play was equally dominant.

QB’s aren’t bald?

Filling Seats At The Africa Nations Cup

Posted in Football at 7:07 pm by

The Africa Nations Cup is, sadly, not being shown on any US cable or satellite channel. So we’ll have to take the Observer’s Brian Oliver at his word about the organizers’ efforts to make the stadiums look full.

“Is this a football match or a Devo concert?’ a bemused television technician asked on his way to work at the Cairo Military Stadium on Wednesday evening, where two of this summer’s World Cup finalists featured in an African Nations Cup double-header that was beamed around the world. ‘I don’t know,’ said his colleague. ‘I think they look more like colour versions of the spermatazoa in that Woody Allen film.’

For those who do not recall the dress code for fans of the early-1980s post-punk band, or who did not see Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex but Were Afraid to Ask,, just think young men in brightly coloured jumpsuits: red, orange, yellow, green, dark blue, light blue. Lots of them. A convoy of 32 battered army trucks disgorged 600 or so in the stadium car park, and another 3,000 marched in from the military academy next door. They were there – and have been in lesser numbers at other matches in Cairo, Port Said and Alexandria – to put bums on unsold seats and add a welcome touch of colour and atmosphere.

In the spirt of harmony and goodwill, I’m willing to make the following deal with the Human Whoopie Cushion’s weekend understudy. If he or she is willing to discontinue their pathetic, unfunny attempts at covering soccer, I vow not to live-blog from Lowell, MA during the Curling World Championships.

Baird To KC Fan : Fuck Off

Posted in Baseball at 6:40 pm by

Though the Kansas City Royals will soon introduce new uniforms, treating the paying customers with condescension never goes out of style writes the Kansas City Star’s Jeff Passan.

Thomas Geha stole the show Friday.

No, he™s not a new Royals acquisition or a top prospect. Just a fan who™s rather disgruntled with the amount of action outfielder Aaron Guiel saw last season.

Geha received a smattering of claps during the Q-and-A portion of the luncheon for asking general manager Allard Baird about Guiel™s playing time, then pushed further and drew the line of the day when questioning the Royals™ coaching of third baseman Mark Teahen.

œThat guy, Sweeney said, œlooks like if you don™t play Aaron Guiel in left field, Allard, you™ll end up in the back of his trunk.

Geha, a season-ticket holder from Kansas City, wasn™t exactly in a joking mood. He said he saw Teahen resting his bat on his right shoulder most of the season. The team™s coaches, Geha reasoned, should have seen that and changed it.

œSir, Baird said, œif this game was that easy, you and I would be playing it right now.

I wasn’t there for this luncheon, but it would appear as though Geha wasn’t suggesting the game was easy at all. Rather, that the Royals should be employing a manager and coaches with the requisite expertise to offer some advice in such instances. The game isn’t easy, precisely why it might’ve been a mistake to hire Buddy Bell.

CSTB Debuts Agony Aunt Column

Posted in Gridiron, History's Great Hook-Ups at 5:57 pm by

Some shitty tabloids offer advice to the lovelorn and/or unattractive. And some major sports portals offer fantasy sports tips for persons Colin Cowherd charitably calls “nerds”.

Here at Can’t Stop The Bleeding, I’ve often considered both features to be an utter waste of time. However, if some enterprising person were to say, mix up the mailbag a bit, you might have a terrific new column.

And with that, I’ve taken the liberty of combining some random letters to (and responses from) ESPN’s Fantasy Games expert Scott Engel and The Mirror’s resident Sex & Health guru Dr. Miriam.

Q: I’m 17 and sex for the first time with my girlfriend was painful as my foreskin has always been quite tight. When I’m erect, it doesn’t pass over the tip of my penis. Will this problem go away?

A: As I have said many times, drafting Antonio Gates gives you a clear advantage over your opposition on a regular basis. But he still doesn’t quite match up to the elite WRs in terms of overall yardage. Plus, RBs will be flying off the board in the first two rounds, and you must grab the best one available with one of your first two picks. Drafting at the end of round one can still give you a shot at a very good RB (Rudi Johnson or Steven Jackson might still be available).

Q: I’m in a 12-team league where we are only allowed to retain one keeper. My options are Larry Fitzgerald (I sacrifice a sixth-round pick in 2006) and Steven Jackson (10th-round pick). The other owners will be keeping some good RBs as well, (Larry Johnson, Tiki Barber, Willis McGahee, Thomas Jones, Willie Parker and Warrick Dunn to name a few). With these factors in mind, who would you keep and why?

A: A domineering, self-centred and uncaring person who is smugly convinced of his own importance is a turn-off.

Power struggles and jealousy can create anger and resentment and these dangerous emotions get acted out in sex. You feel bullied and controlled out of bed so your sexual response levels have plummeted. You can’t give your all to someone arrogant about receiving it.

Q: I’M a 54-year-old man whose libido seems to have died.

I’ve had a couple of girlfriends over the past few years and really enjoyed sex with them. One was a lot younger and a bit too demanding. She wanted sex at night and in the morning and I just couldn’t cope. But things aren’t going too well with my new girlfriend either.

The worst thing – apart from the loss of confidence – is the thought I may never be able to form another relationship again.

I don’t expect to be a three-times-a-night 20 year old again, but it would be nice to be able to perform when needed.

A:I would never use a keeper pick on a defense/special teams, as you can always grab a quality unit in your next draft, and top skill position players are much more important. Plus, defenses often vary in performance more often than skill players on a year-to-year basis, so even the best defense comes with some amount of risk. You’re talking about an 11-player unit that could undergo changes, deal with injuries or simply suffer if the offense plays worse next year and puts them on the field too often.

Q: If the Colts don’t re-sign Edgerrin James, what would be the value of Dominic Rhodes? Can he be a top running back behind the same line in the same system if the Colts use him as their featured back?

A: It’s one thing to fantasise about being spanked hard, but a good dose of the cane could cause him an injury and he’s being unfair placing you under this kind of pressure.

For starters, forget the cane. If you’re new at this, stay with your bare hand. Not only are you far less likely to do any real damage this way, you’ll find it far easier to develop a feel for what you’re doing.

Ozzie : Big Hurt Had A Good Day

Posted in Baseball at 5:14 pm by

With the possible exception of Jose Mourinho, there’s not a manager in professional sports as skilled in pouring kerosene on a fire as Chicago’s Ozzie Guillen. As you might’ve seen, Frank Thomas took some shots at the White Sox and their addition of Jim Thome, and Ozzie responded thusly to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Chris De Luca.

‘I heard him say we got rid of one old man to get another one,” Guillen said. ”Frank the last two years only gave me 40 at-bats [345 actually]. It’s not fair for me or for Kenny or for the team to not know exactly what we were going to get from him.

”Unfortunately, when I was managing, Frank couldn’t play for me for two years. The day he played for me, he played good. He respected the team. He did everything perfect for me since I had this job. That’s the Frank Thomas I like to have and want to have.

Never Has The Phrase “Intellectual Property” Seemed So Inappropriate

Posted in Gridiron, The Marketplace at 4:53 pm by

From the AP :

The Seattle Seahawks are facing the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl, but they have an off-the-field battle brewing with Texas A&M.

School officials are upset with the Seahawks’ use of the “12th Man” theme to recognize their fan support. A&M has legal claims to the “12th Man” moniker, a school tradition that dates to the 1920s.

Texas A&M contends the 12th man lives at Kyle Field, not in Seattle.

The Seahawks have celebrated their fans as a “12th Man” since the 1980s, when they used to turn the now-demolished Kingdome into one of the NFL’s loudest venues.

The team retired the No. 12 in 1984. Now, a No. 12 flag waves atop the city’s signature Space Needle and the team has raised a “12th Man” banner at their new stadium, Qwest Field.

A&M’s “12th Man” tradition started in 1922, when a student, E. King Gill, was called from the stands to suit up for the injury-depleted Aggies as they faced top-ranked Centre College. Gill never got in the game, but the Aggies won 22-14.

The tradition has evolved into a campus-wide commitment to support the football team. Students stand for entire games at Kyle Field and at times, they join arms and sway in unison, causing the stadium to literally shake.

A&M has twice registered trademarks for “The 12th Man” label — in 1990 and 1996 — that include entertainment services, “namely organizing and conducting intercollegiate sporting events,” and products, such as caps, T-shirts, novelty buttons and jewelry.

Athletics director Bill Byrne said this week he’s received e-mails from A&M supporters complaining about the Seahawks’ “brazen use of the 12th Man theme at their home playoff games.”

Much like our friends in College Station, I’m outraged. I think the entire concept of a “home field advantage” is very much the Aggies’ invention and the mere act of packing a football stadium — or any sporting venue — for anything besides a Texas A&M game should be subject to some kind of royalty payment.

Just to be certain, it might be time to ban all bonfires in the Pacific Northwest, too.

Gunners Crash Out Of F.A. Cup, Dudley Does Right For The Bees

Posted in Football at 2:55 pm by

Bolton 1, Arsenal 0 (F.A. Cup, 4th Round)

(Bolton’s Kevin Davies battling with Arsenal’s Sol Campbell)

Bolton have advanced to the 5th round of the F.A. Cup ; Wanderers’ Stelios Giannakopoulo headed in a Ricardo Gardner cross in the 84th minute. Arsenal’s Robin van Persie had been denied by the woodwork moments earlier.

It’s been a heck of a week for Arsenal . Knocked out of the Carling Cup by Wigan on Tuesday, and then booted out of the FA Cup by Bolton after Arsene Wegner opted to rest Thierry Henry, Jens Lehmann, Lauren, Roberto Pieres, Ray Parlour, Ian Wright, Patrick Viera, Tony Adams, Alan Ball and Nick Hornby. And why not, with so much else to play for these next few months?

Congrats to Dudley “DJ” Campbell of Brentford, whose pair of terrific 2nd half goals managed to eliminate Sunderland, 2-1 in earlier action from that glittering temple of football (cue up massive coughing fit with plenty of phlegm) Griffin Park.

B.U. Grad In Groin Spearing Incident

Posted in Hockey at 2:39 pm by

Funny how this incident hasn’t become a You Tube cause celebre. From TSN (link courtesy Laure and I’m Sorry I Had To Kill That Guy)

Pittsburgh defenceman Ryan Whitney (above) has been fined $1,500 by the NHL for spearing Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin in the groin during the Penguins’ 8-1 victory at Mellon Arena Wednesday.

NHL executive Colin Campbell assessed the fine after a telephone hearing with Whitney Thursday morning.

”He was pretty sure by watching it wasn’t your normal kind of spear, where there’s a lot of intent,” Whitney told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. ”At the same time, he said that on the video, you could see my stick bend, which means I did get (Ovechkin) pretty good.”

Campbell pointed out to Whitney that his club would have done the same thing if their star player Sidney Crosby had been speared.

”He’s one of the young stars,” Whitney said, ”and Colin Campbell said, ‘I’m sure Craig and the Penguins would be calling, just like Washington was, if someone did that to (Sidney Crosby).’

Whitney’s alma matter, B.U., beat no. 1 ranked Boston College 4-3 last night at Chestnut Hill’s Conte Forum. Eagles goalie Cory Schneider (above), a Vancouver Canucks draft choice, saw his run of clean sheets snapped at 5 games, coming just 12 minutes short of beating the NCAA record for the longest scoreless streak.

ATX Wins Bush League Triple Crown

Posted in Basketball, Gridiron, Hockey at 1:41 pm by

For one night, at least.

Friday, the CHL’s Austin Ice Bats finally hit .500 with their 6th straight win, a pair of Jason Kenyon goals pushing the Bats past Fort Worth, 3-2. Tonight’s game against Oklahoma City will mark the farewell of Ice Bats captain Dave McIntyre, who is retiring from hockey in order to take a position with the Toronto police. At least that’s his story. Another winter of post-game concerts by Vallejo would be enough to make anyone hang up the skates.

No word yet on who the new captain will be, but I think John Franco has an outside shot.

In the exciting world of the NBDL, a 26-6 3rd quarter run was the catalyst for the Austin Toros’ 120-101 defeat of Arkansas. Marcus Fizer scored 24 for the Toros with Ramel Curry (above) adding 18.

And finally, to top off an unprecedented (please don’t make me look it up) evening of local minor league success, the Austin Wranglers kicked off their third season in that hothouse of creative thinking that is the Arena Football League with a 64-46 home opening victory over the Las Vegas Gladiators. Over 11,000 persons — clearly unable to cope with this weekend’s relative lack of football action (save for the Leitch-maligned Senior Bowl and uh, other AFL games) — filled the Erwin Center, a total that compares favorably to some of the crowds Texas’ nationally ranked Men’s Basketball team have drawn this season. Football remains the most popular sport by far here in Texas, closely followed by b) football and c) football.

Tags ‘Fesses Up To NFL Network’s Bloodless Coup

Posted in Gridiron, Sports TV at 12:14 pm by

Chatting this afternoon with ESPN’s Sean McDonough during coverage of the Cincinnati/Georgetown basketball game, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue didn’t deny published reports that his league will place 8 prime-time games next season on the NFL Network.

“Uh, we’ll probably do that, yes. We seem to be moving in that direction and we’ll hopefully have an announcement real soon. (long pause). Of course, our biggest reliance will be on our traditional partners, including right here on ESPN with ‘Monday Night Football’”

Were the Tagster as quick on his feet as say, David Stern, he might’ve added “And we’re hopeful this development will prove to the millions of Americans who don’t watch VH-1, that Rich Eisen is still alive and well.”

Pedro : Princess A-Rod Should “Prepare For Nasty Comments”

Posted in Baseball at 11:48 am by

While discussing his toe woes, the Mets’ Pedro Martinez has managed to breathe new life into one of the off-season’s least interesting debates. From Newsday’s Ken Davidoff.

“Alex is American because he was born in the United States, but after what Mike Piazza — a future Hall of Famer — did, who will be playing for Italy, and Nomar Garciaparra, who will be playing for Mexico, he had an excuse to do the same with the Dominican Republic,” said Martinez, who intends to pitch for his native Dominican Republic. Martinez’s statements were spoken to the Dominican-based television network Color Vision. ESPN.com first reported of the interview here.

“Now Alex must prepare for the nasty comments that will arise in the Bronx, where almost half of the citizens are Latino and purely Dominican,” Martinez said. “In fact, when Alex gets [to the Dominican Republic] it’s possible that not even the reporters will be here to welcome him.”

I’m still waiting for Chris Russo to imply that Rodriguez’ inclusion on Team USA is a cynical attempt to market to Americans.

XM Continues Tradition Of Hiring Unqualified Loudmouths To Talk About Sports

Posted in Sports Radio at 3:06 am by

The announcement that Eddie Andelman is returning to the Boston area airwaves is hardly the worst radio news of the week ; satellite broadcaster XM, perhaps emboldened by the pairing of Rob Dibble and Kevin Kennedy, has another dubious duo on tap.

From Media Buyer Planer :

XM Satellite Radio continues the development of its sports content with a new weekly sports show starring James Carville – Democratic political strategist and commentator – and Luke Russert, a sophomore at Boston College and son of NBC journalist Tim Russert, Mediaweek reports.

Carville and Russert engaged in entertaining, heated exchanges during various Washington Nationals home games, which Eric Logan, executive vp of programming for XM, believes will entertain XM’s listeners.

Y’know, just because someone who had the misfortune of sitting near Carville and Russert was heard to remark “why don’t you assholes get your own radio show and leave the rest of us alone?” was no need for XM to act on it.