02.27.06

Brown Wonders How Soon ‘Til Garbage Time Starts In The 2nd Quarter

Posted in Basketball at 1:25 pm by

The New York Daily News’ Frank Isola reports that Garden boss James Dolan will be joining the Knicks for tonight’s game in San Antonio. I’ve checked to see if JD & The Straight Shot have any Central Texas gigs to coincide, but sadly, this appears to be a basketball trip.

More happy stuff from Isola,

The Knicks’ players were unavailable one day after losing for the 19th time in 21 games. Washington’s Gilbert Arenas scored 46 points in 30 minutes Saturday night and could have done more damage had his team not been so far ahead that Wizards coach Eddie Jordan rested the All-Star guard in the fourth quarter.

Still, it was an incredible performance and one that again revealed the philosophical differences between Brown and Stephon Marbury, his point guard. Marbury reinjured his left shoulder during Saturday’s loss and likely will sit out tonight’s game against the defending champion Spurs.

Brown can accept the injury rationale, but had a hard time understanding why Marbury ran the team the way he did in the first half. Marbury, who was guarding Arenas, tried to keep pace and ultimately was outscored 33-15 in the half. Marbury recorded just two assists as the Knicks fell behind 71-45 at halftime.

“We tried to run with him and we gave up 71 points,” Brown said.

Later, Brown said that he has to gain control of the team, which may have been a veiled reference to Marbury breaking off plays. In previous seasons, teammates have criticized Marbury for ignoring plays called from the bench.

When asked what he meant by “control,” Brown said: “We can talk all we want but if the team is shooting 65% and we’re turning the ball over and we get in early foul trouble you can’t make it a high-possession game. The second half we didn’t make it a high-possession game. We can’t play like them.”

Marbury has said the Knicks should run more now that he and Steve Francis share the same backcourt. It was a surprising comment since Marbury knows that successful running teams must play defense and rebound. The Knicks, however, don’t stop anyone and they don’t do windows.

The Newark Star-Ledger’s David Waldstein does his part to jumpstart speculation that the Knicks are primed to make a run at Atlanta’s Al Harrington during the off-season. Harrington’s mom describes herself as a Knicks fan — Mike Woodson would like to see her fined for tampering.

There’s no byline on the following item from today’s St. Paul Pioneer Press, which is just as well, given as the situation is pretty obvious to anyone watching Minnesota squander their franchise player’s golden years.

Don’t be surprised if the Timberwolves begin evaluating whether Kevin Garnett, who turns 30 in May, has reached his peak. If so, Garnett, who is being paid $18 million this year and is signed for another $66 million through the 2008-09 season, could be traded while he still has marquee value.

Before the NBA’s recent trade deadline, only one team inquired about Garnett’s availability, and that was to determine whether media reports about his availability were accurate. They were not.

Smizik : Please Avoid Bashing Lloyd

Posted in Baseball at 12:27 pm by

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Bob Smizik, skeptical of reports that Jim Tracy can walk on water, has had his fill of criticism of the Pirates’ previous manager.

Poor Lloyd McClendon. He has been thrown under the bus so many times by the media and his former Pirates players that his features are barely distinguishable amid all the tread marks.

It started earlier this winter when, in an interview with Tim Benz of ESPN Radio, Zach Duke was critical of McClendon’s communication skills. Say what? Duke was 8-2 with a 1.81 earned run average as a rookie last season. The only thing McClendon needed to say to him was this: “Here’s the ball,” which he did just about every five days.

The message coming out of Bradenton so far has been somewhat more subtle but nevertheless disparaging toward McClendon. Everything about spring training is better. The drills are crisper, the players happier, the teaching more passionate. With all the adulation being directed toward Jim Tracy, McClendon’s replacement, and new pitching coach Jim Colborn it seems as if the only thing that stood between the Pirates and respectability was Mac.

Funny, I thought the reason the Pirates finished tied for the worst record in the National League was because they finished 12th or lower (out of 16) in the following offensive categories: runs, home runs, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, walks and pinch-hitting batting average. I also thought it was because they finished 12th or lower in the following pitching categories: ERA, walks and hits per inning, strikeouts-to-walks ratio and opposing batting average.

Usually, when a team is so deficient in so many areas, it will find a way to the bottom without any help from the manager.

Though Smizik makes a good general point or two, McClendon’s record of 336-449 between ’01 and ’05 is the sort that might have any new manager looking good by comparision. Though McClendon surely wasn’t the only person responsible for the club’s stranglehold on last place, along with Kevin McClatchy and Dave Littlefield, he’s pretty high on the list.

The Wonderlic Tears : VY Smeared, Apologies Slow To Come

Posted in Gridiron, Racism Corner at 10:23 am by

After yesterday’s widely repeated reports that QB Vince Young had scored a pitiful 6 out of 50 on his NFL draft combine Wonderlic test, the Houston Chronicle’s John McClain writes that that Young’s total was actually 16. Certainly not a score likely to improve Young’s standing prior to the draft, but not evidence of “a learning disability” as one national talk radio creep chortled last night, either.

Writes crusader for truth Will Leitch,

Ignoring the fact that Wonderlic scores are supposed to be confidential — we repeat: Nothing ever ends up confidential. Nothing — we have to wonder about the grading skills of the “guy” in charge. If you’ve seen the sample Wonderlic test — which we encourage everyone to take — it’s difficult to understand how one could grade a test (particularly one so high-profile) so wrong. Strikes us as a bit fishy, actually.

Indeed, it’s almost as though someone has a stake in publicly humiliating Vince Young, negatively impacting his earning potential and worst of all, engage in the scurrilous practice of mocking the intellectual capacity of prominent black sportsmen.

Not that there was anything remotely provocative about a headline that read “If Your Wonderlic Score Is Lower Than Your Jersey Number.”

Ladies of Long Island, Take Note:

Posted in Baseball, History's Great Hook-Ups at 10:13 am by

“To say I’m a lot more mature at 30 than I was at 24 or 25 is an understatement.”

T-Wolves Fan Wins The Lottery

Posted in Basketball at 10:02 am by

I Heart KG is right on top of this incident at the Target Practice Center. We can only hope the injured party was helicoptered to the nearest medical facility.

Sultan Of Sloth Bails On Team Picture, Arm Feels Fab

Posted in Baseball at 9:47 am by

Kudos to Gordon Edes of the Boston Globe for resisting the temptation to say something about a wide-angle lens not being available.

Maybe he thought there was no reason to waste perfectly good film or digital space, but David Wells took a pass on the team’s annual Photo Day yesterday morning, when the players smile for a variety of cameras — including in-house photographers and baseball card shooters.

Wells, whose good-natured media boycott is now eight days and counting — he jokingly told Bob Holtzman of ESPN he’d do an interview ”after Manny” — wants to be traded by the Sox, so why pose for mugshots in a uniform he is planning to shed by Opening Day?

Wells still isn’t putting any weight on his surgically addressed knee, but ”his arm is fabulous,” according to manager Terry Francona.

There’s some tough talk from the Mets’ Bret Boone in Ken Rosenthal’s latest Fox Sports entry. Claiming “I’m not interested in hitting 14 home runs with 56 RBI’s, hitting .260,” (which, would represent something of a huge comeback for the second baseman), Boone says,

I’ve been at the top,” he says. “I’ve been one of the better second basemen. I’ve been one of the better players in the game. And I’m not interested in going back to where you look at me and say, ‘Good little player.’ I’ve been that guy before. I’m not interested in playing at that level.

As for Boone’s immediate future, only one thing appears certain: He will not be a backup. Either he returns to being the one player he once was, or, in his words, “I’m gone.”

“I came into this game playing every single day at second base,” Boone says. “That’s how I’m going to leave.”

Neil Warnock To Blades Supporters : Start Snitchin’

Posted in Football at 2:26 am by

Apparently, blowing a 2-1 home lead to QPR fosters paranoia at Bramall Lane. The Independent’s John Culley explains.

Sheffield United’s players have had better weekends. As if a second home defeat in three games were not enough, encouraging Watford and Leeds to believe they might yet deprive them of automatic promotion, they have also had to stomach the news that if they are spotted drinking in public between now and the end of April they will be fined two weeks’ wages.

What is more, manager Neil Warnock (above, left) is encouraging United fans to “shop” their heroes if they see them flouting the ban.

It follows a disturbance in a public house the day after United won the Sheffield derby the previous weekend in the wake of which United’s former Wednesday midfielder Alan Quinn was arrested.

Warnock said that Quinn, who is currently out of the side through injury, will be cleared of any wrongdoing and therefore escape disciplinary action. But he is so determined that nothing will undermine United’s Premiership ambitions Warnock will not allow his players into a pub even for a soft drink.

“I’ve spoken to a number of people about the incident and Alan is in the clear as far as I am concerned, even though going into a Wednesday pub was not the brightest thing to do the day after the derby,” Warnock said. “But none of my players will be going into a pub between now and the end of the season because you can get into trouble even if you are only drinking orange juice.”

The Celebrity Roast (In Hell) That No One Deserves

Posted in Baseball at 2:19 am by

MLB.com is flogging the DVD, “One Night In Februrary”, a roast of Cardinals manager Tony La Russa that poses the question, was anyone really waiting for Mike Gallego’s stand-up debut?

From the San Jose Mercury News’ Daniel Brown.

Though La Russa has managed the St. Louis Cardinals since 1996, the evening has a decidedly A’s flavor. Notable amateur comedians include Eckersley, Gallego, Carney Lansford, Dave Stewart, Dave Henderson, Terry Steinbach and Mark McGwire. Jose Canseco shows up, too, but only in punch lines.

Stealing the show, as usual, is Tommy Lasorda, who kills with a long windup about seeing Gallego in heaven with the ugliest woman he had ever seen. God tells him that it’s because Gallego wasn’t such a good guy on Earth; this is Gallego’s penance.

Later in heaven, Lasorda sees La Russa with Bo Derek.

“Lord,” Lasorda said. “Tony must have been really good.”

“No, Tommy,” God replied. “Bo was really bad.”

Unfortunately, not all of the 90 minutes are as witty. It drags at times, and some of the rambling stories appear fueled by what must have been a hefty bar tab.

Sadly, no invites for Steve Kline or Ruben Sierra, either.

02.26.06

Percival Considering Retirement

Posted in Baseball at 9:55 pm by

P Troy Percival, out of action since tearing a muscle in his pitching elbow last July, suffered further pain in his right arm today during a simulated game. The Tigers reliever is expected to retire.

Signed as a free agent prior to the 2005 season, Percival has given Detroit a total of 8 saves for their $12 million investment. And they still like him better than I-Rod.

Baltimore has signed OF Richard Hidalgo to a minor league contract. Though maddingly inconsistent from year to year, Hidalgo is a relatively low risk acquisition for the Orioles. And as Chris Russso has reminded us, the film “Hidalgo” was very underrated.

I’m not sure which is lamer, Frank Thomas’ bitterness over his final year in Chicago, or the way Kenny Williams took the bait. Though Ozzie Guillen’s quote might be the funniest part,

I won’t put my nose in something above me,” Guillen said. “He never mentioned my name and if you don’t mention my name, I try to stay away from every part of the conversation.”

Indeed, it would be incredibly out of character of Ozzie to offer an opinion on this.

One of CSTB’s most devoted readers (who’d prefer not to be mentioned so he won’t lose his job at a prominent new media firm) sent me a link, purportedly of the new Willie Randolph/Joe Torre commercial for Subway.

I’m almost certain this was the wrong link.

Mets’ SNY, Cablevision Reach Accord

Posted in Baseball at 7:25 pm by

And with this, the employment options for Bud Mishkins of the future have become that much brighter.


(no studio anchors for SportsNet NY, just Herman Miller chairs looking snazzy).

From Bloomberg.com (link taken from Metsblog)

Cablevision Systems Corp., the New York-area’s No. 1 cable television operator, reached agreement to carry the network that shows Mets baseball games, people familiar with the negotiations said.

The accord between Bethpage, New York-based Cablevision and SportsNet New York ensures that the company’s 3 million customers will be able to see the Mets when they open the season April 3 against the Washington Nationals.

The agreement allows the sides to avoid a pricing standoff like the one in 2002 between Cablevision and Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network, which shows baseball’s Yankees.