02.28.06

Something About A Keg : The Giambino’s New Trainer

Posted in Baseball at 8:55 am by

Estranged from his longtime personal trainer/running mate Bobby Alejo, Yankees DH/1B Jason Giambi has enlisted the services of a new bulk-up expert writes the New York Daily News’ Sam Borden.

Sure, Jason Giambi can smash home runs over the fence of just about any ballpark, but how would he do pulling a car down the street? Or carrying a boulder? Or lifting a keg?

The Yankees first baseman very nearly found out how he measures up in those situations because his new personal trainer this winter was power lifter and World’s Strongest Man competitor Mark Philippi (above).

Alas, while Philippi had Giambi do a number of exercises that might be unfamiliar to the average gym-goer, Giambi never hooked his harness to a Chevy or tried to throw a telephone pole as seen in WSM competitions on TV.

“He’s got all that stuff at his house,” Giambi said. “He’d be like, ‘Hey, you want to come over and work with those things?’ and I’d be like, ‘Uh, no man.’”

That doesn’t mean it might not happen in the future. Throughout their training, Philippi joked with Giambi, saying that, “I don’t want to take you over to the garage (where he keeps his WSM equipment) and screw you up,” but he said he does think that kind of training could be beneficial if the two work together again in the future.

“Sled-dragging, pushing of cars, that could be really helpful in strengthening his legs,” Philippi said in a telephone interview. “I could see that making a difference. Things you could do that would translate well to the baseball field.”

Buck O’Neal, Class Act

Posted in Baseball at 8:43 am by

The next time Goose Gossage fails to make the Baseball Hall Of Fame, Harry Carson is asked about his longtime Canton snub or Kanye West gets stiffed for some lame trophy, consider the way Buck O’Neal reacted yesterday to the news that he wasn’t amongst the 17 Negro Leagues alumni inducted into Cooperstown. (From the Kansas City Star’s Sam Mellinger and Jeff Passan).

œShed no tears for Buck, he said. œNo, no. Ol™ God™s been good to me. You can see that, don™t you? If I™m a Hall of Famer for you, that™s all I need. Just keep loving ol™ Buck.

O™Neil put a happy spin on the day, just like always. There was no disappointment, no how-could-they-leave-me-out talk. He focused more on how far America has come, that the grandson of a slave was given a fair chance at the national pastime™s highest honor.

He said not being elected didn™t hurt nearly as much as the real disappointments in his life, like when he was denied attendance at his local segregated high school in Florida. There will be no bitterness from O™Neil, only smiles.

œThis won™t stop me, he said. œI™ve got a whole lot to live for. It would have been ˜Buck O™Neil, Hall of Famer.™ Now it™s just ˜Buck O™Neil,™ which is all right. Or how about ˜Buck O™Neil, humanitarian™? That sounds better anyway.

Barca’s Eto’o Vs. The Numbskulls

Posted in Football at 1:33 am by

Whether or not the latest stain on Spanish soccer will result in greater action than just minimal fines, I have no idea, but at some point, La Liga officials have to recognize these episodes are not only overshadowing the terrific football being played…but they render it irrelevant.

From the Telegraph’s Sid Lowe.

Spanish football was last night bracing itself for another wave of condemnation after Samuel Eto’o, Barcelona’s Cameroon striker, threatened to leave the field in protest at racist abuse during his side’s 2-0 victory over Real Zaragoza.

76 minutes into Saturday night’s clash at the Romareda, when Barcelona won a corner, Eto’o, who had been subjected to sporadic abuse by a small section of the crowd throughout the match, went to collect the ball and bottles thrown at him before a chorus of monkey chants went up.

Eto’o pointed at Alvaro, Zaragoza’s black Brazilian defender, in an attempt to underline the absurdity of the abuse, but his response served merely to increase the vociferousness of the chants. Victor Jose Esquinas Torres, the referee, ran over to a club official and demanded that an announcement be made over the PA system. His point was clear: if this behaviour did not stop, the game would be abandoned.

As Esquinas Torres returned, Eto’o, who was clearly upset, had decided to march off, saying: “I’m not carrying on like this. I’m not playing any more.”

The referee sought to stop him, but it was not until players from both sides, and Barca’s coach Frank Rijkaard, had spoken with him that he agreed to continue.

When Ronaldinho finally took the corner, Zaragoza’s concentration had been broken. Edmilson latched on to the ball and his shot beat the keeper, Cesar, but was tipped over the bar by the midfielder Albert Celades, who was sent off.

Ronaldinho then scored from the penalty and ran over to embrace Eto’o to celebrate. Three minutes later, Eto’o crossed for Henrik Larsson to make it 2-0. By now, Eto’o was being booed by virtually the whole stadium.

The Spanish Coalition Against Racism (Cecra) is calling for players to take part in a 5 minute delay of next weekend’s kick-offs, as a show of protest against the Spanish Football Federation’s inaction.

The Mirror is reporting — as tipped some weeks ago — that Newcastle have offered Celtic’s Martin O’Neal their managerial job, which might interfere with the England F.A.’s hopes of making O’Neal the successor to Sven Goran Ericksson.

I’ve never heard U.S. national goalkeeper Kasey Keller sing, but apparently, his vocal stylings are considered criminal in Germany.

On a day when both Will Leitch and Jim Rome took the time to sneer at ill-advised remarks by David Beckham, perhaps these unfunny Twin Brothers Of Different Mothers might want to consider that Becks might still be able to manage double digits on the Wonderlic test.

Rome, whose soccerphobia is so played out that Nike used a soundalike in one of their dopier footie commercials, declared Beckham, “the World’s Greatest Soccer Player.” In 2001, that would’ve been a huge stretch. In 2006, well…lemme put it this way. There isn’t anyone in Leytonstone, Manchester or Madrid declaring Kurt Warner the best player in the NFL.

There’s something a little screwy about ESPN giving Jim Rome a vehicle to laugh at Beckham’s grammar. Granted, the midfielder has never proven himself to be anything other than a comical public speaker, but Rome and his radio callers manage to rape the English language at every available opportunity.

In Springtime, A Boy’s Thoughts Turn To Kissing Jose Lima

Posted in Baseball, History's Great Hook-Ups at 12:05 am by

Jeremi Gonzalez shows the entire world that he doesn’t care about the rumors.

02.27.06

Berman On The Quick-To-Quit Knicks

Posted in Basketball at 9:51 pm by

Declaring that coach Larry Brown “is is no different than his players now. Overpaid, underachieving ” stealing Knicks owner James Dolan’s money”, the New York Post’s Marc Berman reveals the club’s biggest transgression to date ; somebody on the roster is spending their meal money on something other than food.

Brown has practiced his players too hard, demeaned them too often and changed their roles too often. Those are not traits of a great coach. Ultimately, that is why he has lost the locker room, why the young players have regressed instead of gotten better, why they are 15-40, the joke of the NBA, the shame of the city.

“We have too many young players right now,” the $40 million defensive genius said as recently as Friday night.

Brown should stop his whine about the Knicks being too young and start doing what he was brought in to do ” get the most out of them, make them a team.

The Knicks’ core group now isn’t as green as Brown wants you to believe. The starting perimeter is Stephon Marbury, 29, Steve Francis, 29, and Quentin Richardson, 26.

The two perimeter players off the bench are Jalen Rose and Jamal Crawford. The starting center, Eddy Curry, has been in the league five years. Brown now starts rookie Channing Frye at power forward, but he’s worthy. Last time we proofed them, Malik Rose and Maurice Taylor weren’t teenagers.

The veterans have shown no leadership and Brown has been incapable of motivating this group. The players want to run. Brown wants to run set plays.

The players don’t seem to care about winning anymore. Two Knicks ” without mentioning names ” munched down on Chicken McNuggets and McDonald’s fries an hour before tip-off Saturday night in Washington.

During the Wizards’ rout, a heckler yelled at new Knick Steve Francis, “Hey Stevie, Where are you going next?” Francis turned to the fan and quipped, “To the bank.” It took only three days for Francis to feel the emptiness of a lost season.

I already wasted the joke about Jerome James and “conduct beneficial to McDonald’s” last week, so it couldn’t have been him.


(it’s hard ’nuff to contend with Tim Duncan, but now Malik Rose has to ignore the scent of those french fries, too)

Tony Parker has 20 points and 12 assists through 3 quarters tonight, with San Antonio leading New York, 100-70. Gilbert Arenas managed to score 46 against NY the other night on a mere 16 shots ; Michael Finley has 22 on only 8 attempts from the floor.

Apparently, Robert Horry’s hips have been realigned. Not at a garage, either.

It was a tough loss for the Nets this evening, falling in overtime to the Hawks, 104-102. Jersey had no answer for Atlanta’s Josh Smith down the stretch, and Vince Carter narrowly missed a 3 at the end of O.T. that would’ve won the game; Nenad Kristic gathered the rebound but blew the lay-up that would’ve forced another extra session.

There’s nothing funny about spousal abuse. Well, usually. Depends on the spouse, I suppose. But based on Maute Bol’s performance on “Celebrity Boxing” a while back, is there any surprise in learning he and his wife filed complaints against each other “after a verbal dispute turned physical”, yet “neither was injured”?

The Most Sickening Story Of The Week Arrives Early

Posted in Baseball at 5:33 pm by

From the Associated Press :

Roger Clemens’ son took dad deep on the Rocket’s first pitch of spring training, crushing a trademark fastball over the left-field fence Monday.

“That was probably one of the harder fastballs I cut loose,” Roger Clemens said after throwing to Koby and other Houston Astros minor-leaguers. “He got my attention.”

Then the Rocket got Koby’s. The next time his oldest son came to the plate, Roger buzzed him high and tight with another fastball. The younger Clemens dodged the pitch and then smiled at his father.

“He was like, ‘Sorry about that pitch inside. I was trying to change the view of the ball for you a little bit,’” said Koby, a third baseman who was drafted by Houston last summer. “I said, ‘I knew what you were doing.’”

Aside from the only normal human reaction —- ie. I’ve seen “The Great Santini” once and I really don’t need to see it a second time, thanks — this incident brings us two points to ponder ;

1) If an 18 year old is taking the Rocket deep, perhaps Team USA should look elsewhere for pitching help
2) If an 18 year old is taking the Rocket deep, why hasn’t the former been recruited for Team USA’s WBC squad?

Open Season On Philly Fans, Pt. II

Posted in Baseball at 5:19 pm by

Yesterday it was Billy Wagner. Today, it’s Tim Worrell weighing in on the paying customers who fill Citizens Bank Ballpark. From the Philadelphia Daily News’ Paul Hagen.

Phillies fans might recall Tim Worrell as a relief pitcher who habitually wore the dour look of a man who had just sucked a lemon during most of his tenure in red pinstripes.

Or they might recall him as the guy who asked to be placed on the disabled list for “personal psychological reasons” 2 months into last season, collected about a million bucks while sidelined and then forced a trade to the Diamondbacks.

They probably would not have recognized the jolly fellow who was horsing around with his new Giants teammates recently at Scottsdale Stadium after signing a 2-year, $4 million free-agent contract this winter.

Even when asked if he had a moment to discuss his impressions of Philadelphia, he continued to smile. He also continued to walk toward the door. “That’s past. Looking forward,” is all he had to offer.

Worrell, however, wasn’t as brusque with the Sacramento Bee. He made it clear that, on the whole, he’d rather not be in Philadelphia.

“Philly is a tough place to play when things go right,” he told veteran Giants beat reporter Nick Peters. “I’m a West Coast guy. I grew up in California [Pasadena] and I live in Arizona. It’s a different mentality back there. I don’t want to say it’s wrong, but I’m just not used to it.

“It was a night-and-day difference, a shock to my family. [Philly fans] want to win, but they seem happy being miserable.”

OSU’s Damage Control, 55 Years Later

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 4:44 pm by

Oklahoma State President David Schmidly has sent a letter of apology to his Drake counterpart, David Maxwell, expressing regret over Johnny Bright being sucker-punched by Oklahoma A&M’s Willbanks Smith during an October, 1951 football game.

The Oklahoman’s Barry Tramel discusses the incident, along with how it came to be documented.

It almost never happened.

The publicity. The outrage. The scars. The apology.

Only the football gods made it possible for Iowans and Oklahomans, much less all Americans, to know the ugly tale of that day at Lewis Field.

So says Don Ultang, one of the Des Moines Register photographs who won the Pulitzer.

Ultang, long retired and now living in Johnston, Iowa, refutes many of the long-standing legends from the Johnny Bright incident.

First, the Register photographers were not dispatched to Stillwater in anticipation of racial problems. The Register regularly sent photographers to Drake, Iowa and Iowa State football games. Even bought a plane, a Beech Bonanza, with Navy veteran Ultang as pilot, to get to games all over the Midwest.

Ultang said his editors never mentioned the possibility of racial problems in Stillwater. At the game, a friend, Bob Speigel, said he had heard rumors around campus about A&M™s desire to knock Bright from the game.

œWe had no idea what we were getting into, Ultang said.

Thus, the Register cameras were not focused exclusively on Bright. In fact, the initial hit by Wilbanks Smith was captured by Ultang only in the background of the photo.

The photographers routinely stayed only for the first 10 minutes of road football games. Then they would scurry back to the airport, fly back to Des Moines, process their film and make the first-edition deadline for Sunday™s paper.

Ultang and his sidekick, John Robinson, shot the first few minutes and left Lewis Field with no idea of what they had photographed.

œThe football gods wanted us to have this, Ultang said. œIf a lot of things hadn™t been just right, nobody would have known it had happened.

Oh, The Vulgarity

Posted in Baseball, Sports Radio at 4:05 pm by

The St. Louis Cardinals’ move from KMOX to KTRS has been mentioned in this space previously, but not with the impassioned plea for decorum provided by the following gent’s letter to the St. Louis Post Dispatch ,

I live 120 miles from St. Louis and have listened to KMOX for years, attend six or seven Cardinals games each year, and am a baseball fan.

I don’t listen to KTRS much simply because it just doesn’t have the class of KMOX. I’m not sure of the market that KTRS is trying to reach, but listening to on-air personalities using vulgar phrases seems pretty tasteless to me.

I’m certainly not a prude, but have found a long time ago that I can communicate just as effectively without marginal talk like that.

I’m sure the Cardinals will make more money in the short run with KTRS ownership. But in the long run, I’m not sure the dumb-down image of KTRS as the Cardinals flagship station will serve the Cardinals’ image well.

Max Jaeger, Mattoon, Ill.

Mr. Jaeger has a point. I checked out KTRS’ daily schedule and was dismayed to see that legendary shockjock Paul Harvey (above) appears on the station 3 times every weekday.

It’s The Pits : NBA’s Love Affair With Killer Canines

Posted in Basketball, Dogs at 2:04 pm by

In Sunday’s Boston Herald, Mark Murphy spoke with a number of players — Mike James, Gerald Green and Rip Hamilton, to name 3 — who are devoted pit bull owners.

New York’s Qyntel Woods, as we know all too well, has already demonstrated his own brand of TLC for the breed in question.

There does seem to be a certain cachet associated with the care and breeding of these powerful dogs, and with that mind, I have the perfect pet to recommend to a certain 7-footer recently relocated to Orlando.