The Mark Lawrenson Medical Academy

Posted in Football at 7:28 pm by

The April issue of When Saturday Comes was a little late in turning up at Chez CSTB, which is a crying shame. I’ll blame my local letter carrier for denying me the pleasures of WSC’s provocative examination of whether or not it is permissible to call Spurs fans “yiddos” (regardless of whether or not they’ve “reclaimed” the pejorative for themselves), along with fascinating recollections of the 1980′s football fanzine boom.

As always, however, some of WSC’s funniest bits are at the expense of the pundits and commentators that make Fran Healy seem downright scholarly by comparison. From WSC’s Simon Tyers.

Ian Wright’s survived the BBC cull perhaps with half an eye on his light entertainment contract, even though his seated shifting and weaving is approaching attention deficit disorder proportions. Mark Lawrenson (above) should retain his loft position, too, despite contriving with John Motson, to cover the Liverpool v Manchester United FA Cup tie in as obtuse a manner as possible. John opened with the curious gambit that Liverpool’s previous Cup win over United “predated the invention of Chanel No.5″, a connective milestone that I’m sure was at the forefront of everyone’s mind, then conceeded that Peter Crouch’s goal “may have even hit the inside of the post” just in case we thought the ball had propelled itself over by means of voodoo. But they upped the ante with a bravura performance around Alan Smith’s injury, Lawrenson wondering first if he had “dislocated something with the force of the shot” before diagnosing from the monitor close-up a “sort of loose” leg and that it was his right. Mark Lawrenson is 47 years old. If he hasn’t learned to tell left from right by now, there truly is no hope for him.

Nikki Sudden, RIP

Posted in Rock Und Roll at 3:40 pm by

Nikki Sudden, formerly of the Swell Maps and more recently a veteran of countless recordings with and without partner in scarves Dave Kusworth, passed away over the weekend.

There are bigger fans and close friends more qualified to eulogize Sudden than this correspondent, but anyone whose brains were fried by the synapse-snapping proto lo-fi of the Swell Maps, or was moved by Sudden’s gorgeous, sweeping recordings for the Glass label in the 1980′s will surely feel a sense of loss today.

Times’ Fashionista : NBA Pimping Ain’t Easy

Posted in Basketball, Fashion at 1:02 pm by

The NBA’s much ballyhooed dress code has ushered in a new era of bland, as surveyed by the New York Times’ Alexandra Marshall (link swiped from True Hoop).

Fans of draft night know that newbie players haven’t pranced to the podium in, say, an all-white Nehru vest ensemble topped with a gleaming white derby since Samaki Walker in 1996 (above). No one could picture Charles Oakley’s creatively tailored, retina-searing suits on anyone anymore except maybe a criticproof caricature like Shaquille O’Neal. Dress code or no, with the exception of Wallace, Iverson and the flagrant fashion foul that is Tim Duncan, the league’s will to corporate homogeneity has been festering since Jordan’s foray into executive realness. “I don’t think too many people are taking the extra step,” says the dapper Philadelphia 76er Chris Webber, who recalls suffering a day of merciless teasing by his entire team simply for wearing a slightly-too-high-cut turtleneck. “We follow the national trend now: jeans and a shirt and blazer.”

The Knicks, the home team for the country’s fashion capital, are no exception. “You could say I’ve been housebroken,” says the Knicks’ clotheshorse president, Isiah Thomas, who, upon joining the organization in December 2003, instituted a more stringent dress code than the N.B.A.’s: no denim, ties required. (This from a man who cites Catholic school and his older brother, the neighborhood pimp, as his two strongest sartorial influences.) The Madison Square Garden locker room that once sheltered Anthony Mason’s black mink coat (emblazoned with his number) and the matching three-piece suits and fedoras of Walt (Clyde) Frazier could easily be mistaken for the locker room at the Equinox gym on Wall Street. A recent walk through the hapless Knicks’ formica warren of a changing room reveals a few flashes of flyness: LV’s and double-G’s on the shelves of the rookies David Lee and Channing Frye, Stephon Marbury’s colorful neckwear and the power forward Maurice Taylor’s canary diamond monogram cufflinks. But earth tones, rep ties and anonymous leather topcoats far outnumber Technicolor and fur in the cubbyholes. In a media-savvy response to the new code, this season Marbury, who is also the spokesmodel for the Joseph Abboud men’s-wear label, has given each member of the organization one custom Abboud suit, to be fitted by the company’s head tailor, Salvatore Mellace. It is up to each man to pick his cut and fabric. And so arises the perfect opportunity for a test case: have players truly lost the desire to match on-court skills with off-court flash? Left to his own devices, will the second-string center Jerome James ask for a five-button coat?

Dan Gilbert, Boss Of The Year

Posted in Basketball at 9:45 am by

From the Cleveland Plain-Dealer’s Roger Brown.

Cavs management has told Ronnie Duncan, the team’s public-address announcer, to stop using his creative call for point guard Eric Snow (“Eric Sn-oh-oh-oh-oh!”) whenever the player scores. But that’s only the latest example this season of management obsessively micro-managing what team fans see and hear. Among others:

TV broadcaster Michael Reghi was chastised by a team official for noting, on the air, that point guard Damon Jones and head coach Mike Brown were exchanging words on the sideline.

Staffers were directed to stop using music by Usher, the R&B superstar and team part-owner who’s largely disappeared this season;

Quicken Loans Arena ushers and security staff were ordered to wear Anderson Varejao wigs during a recent promotion featuring the wild-haired Cavs reserve.

Jacobs’ Epitaph For UConn

Posted in Basketball at 8:17 am by

(GMU coach Jim Larranaga risks Phil Mushnick’s ire by reinacting that stupid Nike ad and playing Onyx’s “Slam” at high volume)

If the pain of losing to George Mason weren’t enough for Connecticut’s Jim Calhoun, he now has a summation from his best pal, the Hartford Courant’s Jeff Jacobs to go with his Monday morning coffee.

If you’re going to whip a thoroughbred team to the Final Four, it’s really helpful – maybe even required – to have two jockeys. UConn had Marcus Williams.

Although you wouldn’t have known it by this 86-84 loss, UConn had more than enough big guys to get the job done. It didn’t have enough little guys.

“The first thing my son Jay [who went to Bowling Green and now plays in Italy] had said to me was Marcus Williams is the key to the game,” George Mason coach Jim Larranaga said. “He is the head. If you cut off the head, the body will die. I asked him if he had any suggestions. He said, `No, you’re the coach. You figure it out.’”

The column that most everyone figured would be written – if/when the Huskies had fallen in an upset of historic proportion – was that Rudy Gay disappeared when it mattered most.

Gay didn’t disappear. He was terrific in a loss that may have shocked a nation, but shouldn’t have shocked folks in Connecticut. Surprised? Sure. Shocked? Nope.

Don’t get this wrong. UConn was a really good team this season. Good enough for it to take a long-term shortcoming and a short-term collapse by the UConn longs to get beat. Yet when you add those two problems to the unrestrained joy that an underdog can play with – sans the weight of great expectations – well, you get NCAA Tournament history.

“The game takes instinct and takes a couple of guys to create plays,” Calhoun said. “We have one who does it as well as anybody. There are guys who can rebound and there are guys who can make shots, but they are not creative to make other people better at times.

“What Mason had is three guys – all the time – who can go by you. Three guys who could make threes, but most importantly beyond the shooting aspect, they could create situations for their big guys. We got by sometimes, despite the inability to transport the ball to better situations, because we were so unselfish. We do have talent, but it’s jammed into two positions. They wore Marcus down. No kid should have to handle the ball that many times in a game.”

Costello : MLB Ignoring Sultan’s Fertile Cocktail

Posted in Baseball at 7:43 am by

As everyone except Barry Bonds, Gary Sheffield and Jason Giambi continues to pour through ‘Game Of Shadows’, the New York Post’s Brian Costello suggests the Sultan Of Surly can still reap the benefit of performance enhancing drugs.

Barry Bonds’ alleged steroid regimen is laid out in the new book, “Game of Shadows.” Three of the drugs he’s alleged to have used still would go undetected by Major League Baseball’s newest steroid policy.

One year after Congress grilled them, MLB and the Players Association have a much tougher steroid policy, including a 50-game ban for first-time offenders. But an examination of a copy of the new program, obtained by The Post, shows several holes – including ones that could allow Bonds or others to continue a regimen of drug use.

“They’ve moved in the right direction,” said Dr. Gary Wadler, a steroid expert and a member of the World Anti-Doping Agency. “But they’re still woefully short.”

The drugs Clomid and insulin are not covered by the new policy and Human Growth Hormone is not tested for.

Neither Clomid nor insulin is a steroid, but both are often used in conjunction with steroids and appear on the banned substance list of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Clomid is a fertility drug taken by steroid users when they are coming off a cycle of steroids to jump-start their natural testosterone production. Insulin has become popular recently with steroid users for its anabolic effects.

Both drugs were part of Bonds’ steroids cocktail, according to “Game of Shadows.”

Soriano’s Struggles In Left Field

Posted in Baseball at 7:21 am by

Washington’s Alfonoso Soriano — described earlier this week by Charley Steiner as “the Butcher Of 2nd Base” — has yet to turn himself into a Gold Glove candidate in left field. This, after all of 4 days playing the position. From the Washington Post’s Barry Svrulga.

Alfonso Soriano, the Washington Nationals’ left fielder, had a line drive sail over him in the top of the first inning Sunday, then hit the first pitch he saw well over the left field fence in the bottom of the inning, a preview of the give and take he might provide all season. Yet he provided the performance against an uneasy backdrop, for some members of the organization don’t think he’s working hard enough to improve in the outfield.

On a cool, breezy Sunday morning, Soriano took some fly balls off the fungo bat of special assistant Jose Cardenal, then took batting practice, then slipped inside the clubhouse. Cardenal, though, feels he should stay on the field to shag flies so he can better learn to read balls coming off the bat.

“I cannot force him to do anything that he don’t want to do,” Cardenal said. “It’s up to him. I only can tell him, ‘Just go and do this, do that, for your own good. Then you can become a better outfielder.’ But if you don’t want to do it, I can’t put a rifle to him and say, ‘Do it.’ Sometimes, you have to know how hungry you are.”

The point was emphasized in the first inning of what became a 13-6 victory over the Houston Astros. Lance Berkman sent a line drive to left that Soriano tracked poorly. He eventually leaped, but the ball sailed over him and turned into a run-scoring double.

“I see the contact,” Soriano said. “But after awhile, when the ball left the infield, I lost it a little bit.”

It is instances like that that make Cardenal, who was a major league outfielder for 18 seasons, believe that every opportunity to work is important.

“I can give him 1,000 fungoes, and it’s not going to be the same,” Cardenal said. “Fungoes are only to loosen you up. He needs to see the way the ball comes off the bat during the game. Get the angles, see fly balls and grounders.”

Steve Keane Badgers Unlucky SNY Spokeslady

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, Sports TV at 12:08 am by

I don’t mean to diminish the vital importance of the Mets’ SportsNet NY being available to every cable and satellite subscriber on Planet Earth, but I’m also sorry to say I am incapable of chasing the story with the requisite zeal of Steve from the Eddie Kranepool Society.

(a dilligent customer service rep like the one shown above, braces herself for another call from Mr. Keane)

I finally got to speak to Meggan Bossett at SNY (she sounds about 12 years old) and she told me they are just finalizing some details with DirecTV. But when I asked if I would have SNY on my DirecTV system by Monday or opening day the latest she said “I can not comment on the negotiations”. Thanks a lot. Then she asked me if I contacted DirecTV myself.So of course I got sarcastic with her and said “WOW I never thought of that gee you think they would know more about this than you guys”? I guess it went over her head as she said “maybe”. So I bid her good bye as I think she was late for her Girl Scout meeting.

I’ve called DirecTV many times and they tell me the same thing, “We carry all the regional sports channels so we will most likely carry SNY as well”

That’s great everything tells you the same thing “we are in negotiations” “We are talking every day” “We are close” but no one can say what’s the fuckin’ hold up here.

Between Beltran bunting and no SNY my aggravation meter is just about off the charts.


There’s Something Else To Do In Oklahoma City Besides Yell At Byron Scott

Posted in Hockey at 11:17 pm by

I don’t care if they were giving away free Powerball tickets, pizzas and handjobs. 17,826 is a ridiculously big crowd for a CHL hockey game.

Closer to home, where four figure attendences (if lucky) prevail, the Austin Ice Bats won their season finale, 2-0 over Tulsa, with goalie Miguel Beaudry collecting his 3rd shutout of the year. Victories later in the day by Rio Grande Valley and Amarillo eliminated the Ice Bats from playoff contention, a development that should barely register on the local richter scale compared to UT’s loss to LSU, Vince Young’s time in the 40, or the growing outrage over the illegality of being drunk in a bar.

The Stigma Of Losing To Charlton

Posted in Football at 10:41 pm by

(Darren Bent scoring his 20th of the season — his England call-up should happen sometime between the end of the World Cup and 2010).

Going into Sunday’s meeting at the Valley, Charlton and Newcastle United were level on points. Following the Addicks’s 3-1 victory, however, you’d have a hard time convincing Newcastle caretaker manager Glenn Roeder this wasn’t a humiliating result. From the Independent’s Arindam Rej.

“It’s a huge, huge job to sort this out,” said Roeder, after watching Newcastle fall to their fourth successive defeat. “It wouldn’t be just as easy as clearing [the players] out. It’s a job that would not be achievable overnight.”

Roeder, whose own chances of staying in charge appear over, had harsh words for his players. “They’ve got to be big enough to take it,” he said. “If they are not big enough, they are not true Newcastle United players.

“Going to Charlton and losing 3-1, for Newcastle United, is not acceptable in the manner that we lost. I am angry and I don’t use that word about myself too often. Another manager might take things even further than I would.”

No. 1 Point Guard (Self-Proclaimed) Vs. The Autograph Hound

Posted in Basketball at 10:03 pm by

I’ve already gone on record bemoaning the NY Times’ ‘Cheering Section’, in particular, the tendency of Vincent Mallozzi to profile the hapless and the witless.

That said, writing of his own personal experiences, Mallozzi turned in a gem today, recalling his attempts to get Stephon Marbury and Patrick Ewing to autograph their respective pages in his 1998 compendium, ‘Basketball : The Legends & The Game’. Ewing’s John Hancock proved elusive, but Starbury came though. Not without some deliberation, however.

Just before Marbury’s game, I introduced myself and we began to chat about basketball. I eventually showed him my book, and asked if he would be kind enough to sign it. He stared at his page as he took my pen, and just before signing, pulled the pen back to his chest as if it had bitten him.

“What’s this all about?” Marbury asked.

“What’s what all about?” I replied.

“I’m the 214th-best N.B.A. player you’ve ever seen?” he said. “Are you kidding me?”

“Oh no,” I assured him. “The names are listed in alphabetical order so as not to create any controversy. You just happen to be on Page 214.”

“Oh,” he said, smiling. “That makes a lot more sense.”

After today’s T-Wolves win over the Knicks, the AP quotes Marbury and KG as both saying they’d be up for a reunion, though neither seems keen on moving to the other’s current team. Which is a shame, as we’re all dying to see more photos like the one above.

Going Old School With Josh Beckett

Posted in Baseball at 8:24 pm by

The Boston Globe’s Chris Snow, commenting on today’s Red Sox/Phillies exhibition from Clearwater.

Nearly had a real dustup here in Clearwater. The scene: In the bottom of the sixth inning Ryan Howard, the Phillies’ terrific young power-hitting first baseman, hit a ball to center off Josh Beckett that Howard thought was gone. It stayed in the yard, and Beckett took exception to Howard showboating down the line while the ball was in flight. ‘Tek went out to calm him down.

Come the top of the seventh, Howard went out to field his position, and Beckett kept yapping at him. Howard walked to his position and kept going, heading for the visiting dugout. He was within 10 feet of Beckett, who was on the top step, and it really looked like they were going to go. Howard is listed at 6-4, 252, Beckett at 6-5, 222. Wily Mo Pena, somewhere in the 245 to 260 range, was two steps behind Beckett. And Rudy Seanez, who trains with ultimate fighters in the offseason, was the first guy out of the bullpen.

Beckett was due up to begin the inning. No surprise: Tito pinch hit Willie Harris.

Beckett, as quoted by MLB.com’s Ian “I Wanna Be Adored” Browne.

“I’m kind of about respecting the game,” said Beckett. “Even if it is a home run, I don’t think it’s the right thing to do. I didn’t think it was the right thing to do. I’ve never been the type of guy to not say anything just because … That’s where it kind of started, after he was jogging in after it was a popup.

“It’s not like I wanted to fight the guy,” Beckett said. “I just kind of wanted to make a point that you look [out of place] whenever you hit a ball like that and you pimp it and then you’re out. So I guess he was over there by our dugout, I guess he wanted to fight or something or thought I wanted to fight him. I didn’t want to fight him — I just wanted him to know my point.”

I cannot think of a single player in the Major Leagues more qualified on giving lectures in baseball etiquette than Josh Beckett. The fact that he’s gone on the disabled list something like 87 times in his short career for blisters is in no way an indictment of his status as a gamer, top-notch teammate and all-around bad ass.

The Mets’ Pedro Martinez, slowly making his way back from a multitude of toe/foot/shoe issues, was pretty sharp in his spring debut earlier today. Martinez allowed one hit and one walk in three scoreless innings, striking out two in New York’s 8-0 win over the Orioles. That Victor Zambrano was equally impressive in 6 shutout innings is either a sign that Rick Peterson’s much ballyhooed 10-minutes-to-straighten-Zambrano-out took a bit longer than expected…or perhaps an indicator that Baltimore’s clubhouse TV was tuned to the GMU/UConn game. My money’s on the latter.

GMU Shocks Universe, Calhoun’s Head Explodes

Posted in Basketball at 4:51 pm by

George Mason 86, UConn 84 (OT)

In all seriousness, if you had GMU, LSU, UCLA and Florida and/or ‘Nova in your Final Four seventeen days ago, I’d like to put you in charge of my bank account and all future life decisions.

Motown Officials Accused Of Ignoring Plan To Save Tiger Stadium

Posted in Baseball at 4:05 pm by

Local magnate Harry Glans has a scheme to turn decrepit Tiger Stadium into a baseball museum / kiddie league haven. According to the Detroit News’ Neal Rubin, city officials don’t give a fuck.

Glans’ idea was not thunderously original, which of course the city didn’t know. He’d like to see the old ballpark scaled back to its Navin Field configuration, with 12,000 to 15,000 seats, and outfitted with conference rooms, convention space, catering service, shops and a museum.

What’s unique is his perspective. First, he coaches travel baseball for kids. Second, he makes a living dispensing money, and he knows lots of people who have heaps of it.

“I’d like to see what it would take,” says Glans, who lives in West Bloomfield. “Maybe pull some people together, see what could be done. A lot of people would like baseball to be played here, so let’s see how much it would cost to bring it back.”

The city’s stance on Tiger Stadium has been somewhat different. Let’s let it crumble, the unofficial policy has said, until the money for maintenance runs out at the end of this month and it’s easier to justify getting rid of the place.
Given Detroit’s less-than-urgent need for vacant land, Glans doesn’t understand the hurry. He does understand the lure of Tiger Stadium, something he feels is lost on all the people in charge of ignoring phone messages.

Youth teams, he says, “would drive in from all over the country to play here.” He’s done plenty of driving himself, taking his sons’ teams to places like Owensboro, Ky., and Kansas City, and as far as he knows, the dugouts there were never occupied by Babe Ruth or Willie Horton.

“Adults remember the history and they pass it along to kids. That’s the way baseball is,” Glans says. “With the money these parents are putting into athletics these days, give them a chance to come to Tiger Stadium and you’d better believe they’d do it.”

You also have to wonder why the city is so eager to level the stadium and yet wants to refurbish the Michigan Central Depot, which is so stripped and battered it’s like the setting for a Warner Brothers cartoon: One more brick plucked out of the wall and the whole thing will collapse on Sylvester’s head.

Alford “As Popular As Influenza”

Posted in Basketball at 3:38 pm by

But still funnier than Paul Provenza? Hawkeye Central’s Ryan Suchomel considers the shakey relationship between Indiana product / Iowa head coach Steve Alford and Iowa City’s fan base.

Alford got everyone excited for “the next level” when he arrived in Iowa City. He had talked about having Iowa ranked in the top 10 nationally on a regular basis.

That first trip to the NIT was followed by two more. Iowa was 16-10 last year before rallying for five wins to earn one of the final at-large spots in the NCAA tournament.

And then this year: In time, people will remember all the good things, but for the moment, the lasting image is a 3-pointer at the buzzer that made Iowa the ugly step-sister of the tournament.

With rumors flying, people who have 100 percent of their support behind Alford say two things: One, the first five years were spent learning, and now we’re seeing the real coach Alford. Expect big things from here on out.

Or two, what coach Alford has done over seven years is pretty good. Everyone bashing his record should be ashamed — this isn’t UConn or Duke.

The first requires some faith, and a lot of people had their faith burned up after five years with Alford. But I can understand it. Alford could return to Iowa and contend for a Big Ten title again, serving a big plate of crow to all the haters.

The second idea is just foolish.

Why is there a segment of the fan base that thinks doing slightly better than mediocre is fine for Iowa basketball?

Wednesday’s press release — the one that said coach Alford may be sticking around — trumpeted the fact that Iowa has had six straight winning seasons, and six straight post-season appearances.

These are good things, but they are not worth holding up as proof of greatness.

Last year, Alford’s former coach and mentor Bob Knight was quoted, responding to criticism of Alford, as saying “I don’t know what Iowa people expect.”

It isn’t wrong for Hawkeye fans to expect more.

Indiana’s place in college basketball history is assured. It is one of the top programs of the NCAA Tournament era, along with Kentucky, North Carolina, UCLA, Kansas, Louisville, Syracuse and Duke.

But I don’t think the University of Iowa has to settle for being a few games over .500 year after year.

George Mason University is leading UConn, 69-65 late in the 2nd half. GMU is about 3 minutes away from the most improbable Final Four entry since LSU in 1986, though this seems like a bigger surprise.

Vescey Regurgitates Statue Joke

Posted in Basketball at 12:36 pm by

From Peter Vescey in Sunday’s New York Post :

Is Karl Malone’s jersey retirement filibuster almost over? During Thursday’s halftime ceremony he thanked everybody at least seven or eight times excepting Vanessa Bryant and Isiah Thomas’ cut man.

The Mailman says he has but one fervent wish: to enter the Hall of Fame alongside pick-and-roll partner John Stockton. Here’s hoping Springfield’s authorities either hold up a year on voting in Stockton or advance his eligibility by a year.

Nice touch by Larry H. Miller, who unveiled a sculptured likeness of Malone outside the Delta center next to one of Stockton. “It was half empty out here,” the owner deftly noted.

Isiah was so moved he wants to pay tribute in the same manner to Jerome James. However, league rules prohibit building a 1,000-pound statue to honor another thousand-pound statue.

I see James more as the runway model for the Statute Of Limitations. Go ahead, ruin my day; tell me there’s another NBA center flaunting fewer rebounds (83) than fouls (88).

For those keeping track, Vescey’s already served up the statue gag, though it was at the expense of Carlos Boozer the last time.

Idiot Misheard, Panic Ensues

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV, The Mailbag at 11:56 am by

Scott DeSimon writes,

So I’m flipping through the channels the other night and I land on the YES network Johnny Damon/Michael Kay chit-chat show. Toward the end, Kay is firing off questions, like: favorite food, car, etc. When he asks: favorite band? I swear that I heard Damon say, “Sebadoh.” Kay seemed flummoxed as well.

How could could this be? How could this have happened? Just curious if you had any insight to this.

None whatsoever, Scott. Particularly as the words “Sebadoh” and “Alter Bridge” sound nothing like each other.


Ryan Howard Is A Good Sport

Posted in Baseball at 10:22 pm by

Few things would put a smile on my face this season like the Philadelphia Phillies making their long suffering fans suffer just a little more. My own screwy bias aside, the Jim Thome-replacing, HR crushing 1B Ryan Howard seems like an ok guy, if only for tolerating this line of questioning from City Paper’s Dave Hollander (link courtesy Maria).

CP: Comparisons have been made between you and former long-ball-slugging Phillies first baseman Dick Allen, who won Rookie of Year honors in 1964. At the 102nd Philadelphia Sports Writers Association banquet in February honoring the two of you, Allen publicly acknowledged you in his speech. What private conversations have you had with Dick Allen?

RH: I haven’t had too many. I talked to him while I was at the event, and I’ve seen him a couple times here then there at spring training. He basically told me to “keep doing it.” To have fun, keep after it and stay with what I’m doing.

CP: In 1969, the Phillies suspended Allen for 26 days. He returned to hostile hometown fans who pelted him with fruit, ice, garbage and batteries in addition to obscenities and racial epithets. Philadelphia sports fans can be tough on their stars even in good times. What advice did “Crash” Allen give you about dealing with Philly fans and media?

RH: Can we hold on just one second? I’m gonna order some food real quick and then I’m gonna kill that answer.

CP: Sure.

RH: [To the attendant at the drive-in window.] Can I get some large fries, crispy. And can I get two bacon, beef and cheddar sandwiches. Um ¦ and some Minute Maid lemonade. [To CP.] Sorry about that. Now about how much advice he gave me about the fans and the media? Not too much. I mean, I don’t know the entire story of whatever went on [with Allen] but I’ve learned a lot being up with the team last year and seeing how the fans are. So far I have had a pretty good reception, but the fans are tough. They expect a lot out of their teams, and rightfully so. Still, it’s been good for me and I’m happy that they welcomed me. I’ve seen nothing but good things from them so far. Hopefully I can stay on their good side.

CP: After Dick Allen had hit a home run over the left- centerfield roof of Philadelphia’s old Connie Mack Stadium, Willie Stargell said, “Now I know why they boo Richie all the time. When he hits a home run, there’s no souvenir.” After some of your signature tape-measure jobs last year, has anyone asked to check your bat?

RH: Ummm ¦ no.

CP: How about checking your urine?

RH: I think everybody has to do that.

CP: Your father, Ron Howard, has been a major influence on your personal and professional development. How often does he get confused with the Hollywood film director of the same name?

RH: Not at all.

CP: Some religious groups have come out squarely against Ron Howard’s new film, a big-screen adaptation of the best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code. How far should free speech go when so many people are offended?

RH: That’s what makes it free speech. Not everybody is going to like what you have to say about things. If it’s going to be the case where people will get upset I think there’s certain situations where you might want to exercise a little restraint. But any movie about religion is going to stir some things up. It’s pretty much expected. When they had that Mel Gibson movie, The Passion of Christ, it was the same way. You start offending people’s beliefs, they’re going to get upset.

Fearless Fop Leaps On Anti-Cowherd Bandwagon

Posted in Blogged Down, Will Leitch Sucks at 9:43 pm by

Friday afternoon, Will Leitch made perhaps his boldest public statement since making us read about his penis troubles. Yesterday, he took the unprecedented step of calling out the Ben Domenech of hate fuck radio, Colin Cowherd.

A note — once again — for those of you who read “the Internet.” The “Internet” is produced by people, human beings; it is not something that just appears, zap!, out of the ether. When you read something on “the Internet,” it was written by someone, a person who has a dog, eats cereal in the morning and pays his/her electric bill. It didn’t just show up; it belongs to someone. You can’t just take it. It’s pretty amazing we have to keep saying this.

Nice one, Will. I couldn’t agree more.

Aldridge Disappears, Longhorns Follow Suit

Posted in Basketball at 7:43 pm by

LSU 70, Texas 60 (OT)

After battling back to tie a game they had no business salvaging on Daniel Gibson’s 3 pointer, Texas were completely overwhelmed by LSU in the extra session — a ridiculous 3 from 315 pounds-and-counting Glen Davis (above) being the crucial blow in OT.

Save for 5 blocks (including a game-saver in the closing seconds of regulation) this was a rough day for Longhorns F LaMarus Aldridge (4 points, 2 for 14 shooting), overwhelmed most of the game by Davis and rarely a factor with the ball in his hands.

Senior F Brad Buckman can hold his head high — without his inspired play (14 rebounds, 2 blocks and several LSU shots altered), this one wouldn’t have been close.

LSU’s Tyrus Thomas did nothing to change his likely Top 5 NBA Draft status (if he comes out), with 21 points and 13 rebounds.

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, it turns out Gary Poole does have other wives.

The Kansas City Star’s Mike DeArmond is reporting UAB’s Mike Anderson will be named the new head coach at Missouri.

Putting The Plague Back In Plagiarism

Posted in Blogged Down, non-sporting journalism at 6:27 pm by

Now that the Washington Post has ended a brief association with the unethical creep Ben Domenech, we can only presume they’re searching for a qualified replacement.

Somehow, I suspect Colin Cowherd won’t have the time.

Touched By The Hand Of Drog

Posted in Football at 5:26 pm by

Mentioning Chelsea’s clinical dispatch of Manchester City earlier today, the Human Whoopee Cushion’s understudy writes,

Didier Drogba scored two goals, and one of them was even legal. City argued that Droga used his arm to control the ball before he scored.

It might come as a massive surprise to this mental midget that there’s this hot new invention called videotape. Thanks to said innovation, the interested parties around the world who actually watched the fucking match already know there wasn’t much to argue about. Drogba clearly handled the ball. His earlier goal was typically stylish, but Drogba’s 2nd is only a matter of controversy if you’ve not seen it.

That said, City are lucky they didn’t lose by a far more embarrassing margin.

Having witnessed Steve Coppell manuever through a fairly impossible situation at Crystal Palace, grudging respect is due to the Reading manager upon the Royals’ promotion clincher, a 1-1 draw with Leicester.

I can only hope that Coppell uses his influence with shirt sponsors Kyocera to push their research and development department into coming up with a ExpressCard/EVDO solution. Blogging from funerals is gonna be very tough, otherwise.

Bruins Fire O’Connell

Posted in Hockey at 4:59 pm by

The day after dropping a 4-2 decision to New Jersey, Boston has fired GM Mike O’Connell.

Just by way of comparison, the Bruins are currently 10 points removed from the final Eastern Conference playoff spot, with 6 teams to pass. San Jose, the current home of Joe Thorton, trail Edmonton by a mere 2 points, however, for the 8th spot in the Western Conference.

With all due respect to UCLA, Memphis and everyone who fondly remembers John Calipari’s “attitude adjustment” commercials for the New Jersey Nets, the hottest collegiate sports tilt of the night will probably be this evening’s BC/BU Northeast Regional Final.

If You Thought Abu Gharib Beatdowns Were Funny, Get A Load Of This

Posted in Baseball, Total Fucking Terror at 3:22 pm by

Peter Gammons shares the following heartwarming story in his ESPN.com insider blog :

There may never have been any better prankster than George Brett. Ask Andre David, now a coach on Buddy Bell’s staff.

(George Brett, shown with something else you can’t take on an airplane)

David was born in Afghanistan (“he’ll manage the Afghans in the next WBC,” says Brett). So, as a practical joke, Brett wrote “Ahmed Mohammed Ahi” on the inside brim of David’s cap, which he did not mind because he is very proud of his heritage.

Problem is, David got profiled in the Orlando airport and they rummaged through his equipment bag, where the cap with the name was found.

“I got taken into a special room,” says David. “Then they found a bunch of plastics knives George had put in my laptop bag. Fortunately, it all worked out.”

Only George could put someone into solitary confinement at customs and make him laugh.

Donaldson : Duke’s Rep No Longer Deserved

Posted in Basketball at 12:42 pm by

Writing that Thursday’s loss to LSU “raises a few questions about coach Mike ‘You guys shoot around while I shoot another commercial’ Krzyzewski”, the Providence Journal’s Jim Donaldson fires a salvo or two in the direction of Durham, NC.

For the third time in four years, JJ Redick came up small in the regional semifinals. Unable to get away from tenacious freshman defender Garret Temple, he was a dismal 3-for-18 against LSU.

Anyone can have a bad game, you say? True. But how about last year, when Redick was 4-for-14 as the Blue Devils lost to Michigan State in the regional semis? And what about his freshman year, when he scored only five points in a bittersweet 16 loss to Kansas?

Forget about how many points a guys scores against Wake Forest or Clemson in January or February. It’s what he does in the NCAA tournament in March that people remember.

Now, the truth is that, in every team sport, even a great player can be shut down. That’s when his teammates have to step up. And when his coach has to come up with alternative ways to win.

Let’s take a look at the material the legendary Coach K, already an enshrined Hall of Famer, had on hand Thursday night.

In addition to Redick, he had five other former McDonald’s all-Americans, primo recruits any team in the country would love to have had.

There was Josh McRoberts, the McDonald’s high school Player of the Year in 2005. There was Greg Paulus, honored by Gatorade as the national Athlete of the Year in 2005 because he also was highly-recruited as a quarterback. Sophomore DeMarcus Nelson is the all-time leading scorer in California high school history. Sean Dockery and Eric Boateng also were McDonald’s all-Americans.

In addition, the Dookies could call on freshman Jamal Boykin, who was the Gatorade Player of the Year last season in California, and senior center Shelden Williams, who twice was Gatorade Player of the Year in Oklahoma as a schoolboy.

Against that array of top-notch talent from all across the country, LSU had three kids from Baton Rouge — sophomore Glen Davis, redshirt freshman Tyrus Thomas, and Temple, who tenaciously followed Redick wherever he went.

Duke had all that talent, and Krzyzewski has all those Coach of the Year awards, and yet the Blue Devils were stymied and flummoxed, left frustrated and clueless — how’d you like it when Davis, after missing a foul shot late in the game, was able to grab the rebound, even though there were four Dookies in the lane, and he was the only LSU player on that side of midcourt? — by the Bayou Bengals.

This will be heresy to some, and lunacy to others, but it could it possibly be that Coach K is getting by on his reputation?

Yes, he’s won three NCAA championships, but just one in the last 14 years — an inability to finish that might have gotten the legendary John Wooten fired at UCLA.