Braves Clobber Trachsel, Mets Fail To Clinch NL East Before May 1

Posted in Baseball at 7:40 pm by

Braves 8, Mets 5

Atlanta RF Jeff Francoeur had struggled through most of April (5 for is last 45), but busted out in big way this afternoon, rocking the Mets to the tune of 4 hits (1 HR, three singles),5 RBI’s and a pair of runs scored. Mets starter Steve Trachsel was plagued by control problems and suffered through an outing that can best be described as Victor Zambrano-esque (5 BB’s, 8 hits, 6 earned runs). New York reliever Jorge Julio, reverting to earlier form, struck out 5 but served up a gopher ball to Francoeur.

Amongst the few highlights for the Mets, a long HR to left center off Kyle Davies (the 7th he’s allowed in ’06) by the recently returned Carlos Beltran, and perhaps most incredibly, 3 walks credited to Jose Reyes. Though Reyes’ on base percentage of .308 is still unacceptably low, he’s currently on pace to walk twice as often this season as he did in ’05.

Francoeur, as quoted postgame by the AP :

”I’ve really been down on myself and it was starting to take a toll on me,” he said. ”So last night, I decided to watch a couple of movies. I watched the end of ‘Gladiator’ and the end of ‘Rudy.”’

”I’m a little superstitious, and sometimes you need something to get you going,” Francoeur said. ”If ‘Rudy’ doesn’t do it, nothing will.”
I’d recommend the following the next time Jeff is looking for a little inspiration (they’ve always worked for me) :

“Arthur 2: On The Rocks”

(fuck that Knute Rockne bullshit, Griffin Dunne has a talking penis)
“Me And Him”

“Shanghai Surprise”

It’s a long season. Even if Francoeur is a-ok from here on in, I think Larry, Andruw and Smoltzy should consider purchasing the above triology on DVD and exercising some veteran leadership – the entire Braves 25 man roster needs to stay up all night before every game watching these films until they have every line of dialogue memorized. If this helps them win a 15th consecutive NL East title, I’ll happily accept a partial playoff share.

Binghamton’s William Collazo took a no-hitter into the 8th inning today against Erie, a game the Mets won, 4-2. Henry Owens earned his 6th save.

Smush Stole The Ball…

Posted in Basketball at 6:13 pm by

Lakers 99, Suns 98 (OT)

…shame Chick Hearn isn’t around to repeat the above words, over and over again. Your 2-time MVP / former Tottenham trainee (above) gave up possession at the end of regulation and at the end of OT (though on the second occasion, it looked more like he was mugged)…and Kobe took full advantage in both situations.

I’m the last person on the planet to acknowlege the following : the Lakers look like a fully realized team. Not at the Spurs or Pistons’ levels, naturally, but Odom, Kwame (12 points, 10 rebounds), Luke Walton (9 rebounds, tieing up Nash and winning the tip at the end of OT) are no longer mere props in the Kobe show (and haven’t been for some time, according to those who’ve actually been watching LA for the past few months). It’s been suggested that knocking off no. 2 Phoenix would be Phil Jackson’s greatest coaching accomplishment, but it might also say a bit about the roster assembly skills of acting General Manager Kobe Bryant.

90 Degrees Outside, Thinking About The NHL

Posted in Hockey at 5:08 pm by

Did the best NY Rangers campaign in 9 seasons have to end so miserably? Or more to the point, did the season really come to a crashing halt right around the begining of March? Either way, the Devils and Rangers entered their first round series headed in opposite directions, and the former’s late-season turnaround would rank as a huge achievment, even if their cross-Hudson rivals weren’t so banged up.

Tonight’s night’s Game 5 between the Predators and Sharks won’t be blacked out in the Nashville area, but not for a lack of trying on the part of Predators management, writes the New York Post’s Larry Brooks.

Steve Violetta, Executive VP in charge of blackmail, announced during the week that the team was 2,600 seats short of a sellout, and if 1,600 of those tickets were not sold by Friday morning, the Predators would exercise their right to black out the game. Violetta declared the decision was supported by both the NHL and OLN.

Never mind that the Predators reversed the decision on Friday, even though they’d fallen short of the stated goal. Never mind that Violetta had originally said the threat – my word, not his – wasn’t aimed at the fan, but rather was intended to stir the business community into greater support of the franchise.

The fact is, this ownership – with support from the league – not only somehow ever believed selling 1,600 tickets took precedence over getting the game exposure in the 904,000 homes that comprise the 30th largest television market in the U.S., but publicly announced that Wirtzian philosophy.

Exposing the game? How about exposing ownership? How about exposing the league? I thought the cap was going to take care of all this.

With Edmonton taking a 3-2 series lead over Detroit, Covered In Oil, pays tribute to the goaltending of Dwayne Roloson :

Ah, but this is where Dwayne Roloson’s .935 SV% shimmers like sparkling wine. It’s not like Roloson is making supersick saves in a 1997 Curtis Joseph sense; but he’s definitely looking more calm and assertive than he ever has in his 20-25 games as an Oiler. His glove hand looked good, and if he popped out any rebounds Roli managed to keep them clear from the high slot. His little eyes-shut zen meditation thing between plays seems to work, and more importantly it’s miles away from the scared flailing that passed for goaltending early in the season.

Unsatisfied with citing mere hockey attributes, the Edmonton Sun’s Jeremey Loome goes a little further in dismissing the Motor City (“a cruddy, decaying mess”), citing segreation, a high crime rate and the number of bodies moved from inner city cemeteries to other towns (“how bad a place is your hometown when even the dead people are leaving?”). A fairly mean-spirited drubbing of Detroit, without once mentioning the Insane Clown Posse.

Mike Modano and the Stars have been eliminated by the Avalanche, and even worse, it’s already too hot to play golf in Dallas.  The Jose Theodore Revival of 2006 continued with a 50 save performance in today’s OT win ; somewhere on Earth there is a bookmaker who will accept a bet on Montreal providing Colorado with a playoff caliber goalie in the year 2016.

Ozzie Challenges Laws Of Physics, Dares Escobar To Throw At Himself

Posted in Baseball at 3:59 pm by

MLB’s no. 1 heel A.J. Pierzynski was hit by a Kelvim Escobar pitch during the White Sox’s 2-1 win over the Angels last night. As you might expect, Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen had something to say about it to the Daily Herald’s Scott Gregor (link culled from Baseball Think Factory)

œIf Escobar is going to hit somebody, he should hit himself,™™ Guillen said. œA.J. didn™t have anything to do with the dumb(bleep) plays they made. Josh Paul and him, the two dumb (bleeping) plays they made and now they™re blaming A.J.

œYou have to be dumb enough to blame it on somebody when you screwed it up. If you™re going to blame somebody, look in the mirror. A.J. didn™t have anything to do with that. I think that™s a low-(bleep) way to play baseball.™™

Guillen was just getting warmed up.

œPeople in Los Angeles should remember that play like the Bill Buckner thing,™™ said Guillen, recalling Buckner™s infamous error in the 1986 World Series.

œIt™s nobody™s fault Josh Paul didn™t tag the guy. It™s nobody™s fault (Escobar) tagged the guy with the wrong hand. Blame yourself. And now you™re going to hit somebody for no reason? You can get somebody hurt with no reason.™™

Pierzynski appeared to have a few words for Escobar as he headed to first base after being hit, but he denied saying anything.

œI don™t know why the (heck) he™s hitting me,™™ Pierzynski said. œI just ran to first. Maybe he should hit the guy (Paul) that rolled the ball back to the mound. I didn™t do anything to show him up.™™

They’re tied at 2-2 in Anaheim this afternoon after 3 innings, with Jon Garland facing Ervin Santana. Jim Thome and Paul Konkero each have an RBI on a third inning single and sacrifice fly respectively.

Despite starting the season 0-13 in the Southern League, Atlanta catching prospect Jarrod Saltamacchia is apparently the subject of a tug-of-war between agents. As long as Salty stays far away from Michael Michaels (or Jay Mohr), things can’t be that bad.

Taylor Buchholz, obtained from Philly in the Billy Wagner trade, earned his second victory for the Astros today, throwing 6 and a third innings of 3-hit ball in Houston’s 3-2 defeat of Cincinnati. Lance Berkman (29 RBI’s in April) and Jason Lane homered for the Astros, while Brad Lidge collected his 8th save, striking out 3 in a scoreless 9th.

A’s Kendall : “You Can’t Throw Everybody Out”

Posted in Baseball at 12:51 pm by

…which sounds a little better than “I can’t throw anybody out.”  From the Contra Costa Times’ Joe Roderick.

Last season, Oakland catcher Jason Kendall threw out runners only 18 times in 119 stolen base attempts (15.1 percent), the second lowest percentage in the major leagues. This year, Kendall has nailed six of 10, including the last three who have attempted to steal.

When given a chance to fire back at his critics, Kendall backed off.

“I didn’t get upset at that,” he said. “I’ve got stuff to prove to myself. I don’t have to prove anything to anybody. I had a bad year last year, both offensively and defensively. This year I can’t find the holes (hitting). It’s early. I’ve got a lot to prove to myself.”

“That’s the hardest throw in baseball to make. You just got to be consistent. You can’t throw everybody out. It’s impossible. A lot of times you want to try to throw everybody out and you rush and you put more on it. I can launch a ball into center field with the best of them. There’s no shame in it.”

Last night’s A’s/Royals tilt was washed out ; in about an hour’s time, KC’s Scott Elarton will attempt to lose his 5th game in the month of April.  Elarton brings an ERA of 3.16 into today’s contest ; the Royals have scored a total of 5 runs in his 5 previous starts.

Cubs Receiver Disses Newfangled Helmets

Posted in Baseball at 12:38 pm by

Chicago’s Michael Barrett, his head like a hole, black as your soul, he’d rather die than give you control.

Sorry about that. From the Palm Beach Sun’s Joe Capozzi :

Eleven teams are using the Coolflo Batter’s Helmet, introduced during spring training by Rawlings Sporting Goods. The company’s goal is to have all 30 teams using them by 2007.

The Marlins were among the 19 teams that rejected the futuristic lids during a trial run in March.

“I started to size the players and five of the first six said, ‘Do we need to wear these?’ ” said John Silverman, the Marlins’ equipment manager. “I said, ‘No.’ They said they were comfortable with what we have. They like to be old school.”

Third baseman Miguel Cabrera first wore the helmets ” the first new design since 1983 ” when they were introduced at the All-Star Game last July.

“It’s a different look,” outfielder Chris Aguila said. “Maybe it was a little bit lighter, but I like the old ones.”

Cubs catcher Michael Barrett was skeptical of the Coolflo lids, which have 15 vents.

“A lot of times, it doesn’t feel like there’s a helmet there because it feels like my hair is sticking out through those big holes,” he said.

Barrett found out those holes are more than just for ventilation. “It’s supposed to be more shock resistant,” he said. “If the ball hits you in the head, it’s supposed to glide off a little bit easier.”

“I got hit last year and it’s no fun,” Barrett said. “If it’s better when it comes to getting hit in the head, then I’ll take their word for it. I don’t know how true it is and hopefully I won’t find out any time soon.”

Heyman Touting Piniella To Philly

Posted in Baseball, General at 11:31 am by

In addition to predicting that Roger Clemens ultimately returns to Houston, Newsday’s Jon Heyman rubs his crystal balls and tries to identify the next manager of the Philadelphia Phillies.

The speculation hasn’t yet started, but Lou Piniella could be the best choice to turn around the Phillies.

Jim Fregosi, Davey Johnson and Jimy Williams also might be in the mix once GM Pat Gillick does the inevitable and fires Charlie Manuel, a nice man who’s not cut out for Philadelphia. As the popular manager of the ’93 team, Fregosi might elicit even more reaction than Piniella in Philly.

Piniella (above) has told friends he’s waiting for the right situation, generally taken to mean the Yankees. But his old boss Gillick might have a chance to convince him the Phillies are better than they’ve played for Manuel, who finally got around to correcting his bizarre original lineup by moving Chase Utley up to second, where he belongs, and Ryan Howard up to fifth.

Piniella paired beautifully with Gillick in Seattle for 116 victories in 2001 before growing tired of what he saw as the tightfisted ways of ownership and going to Tampa Bay, which turned out to beeven tighter. Piniella originally told folks he wanted to take a year to decompress; when we called Friday, his wife said he was out water skiing.

Morrison’s Agent : My Client’s A Moron

Posted in Basketball at 11:23 am by

Gonzaga cut-up Adam Morrison, sabotaging his own draft prospects? From the Boston Herald’s Mark Murphy.

Both Morrison and his father talked about the long-term perils of diabetes – such as circulation and heart complications – during recent interviews. During one sit-down – in what agent Mark Bartlestein insists was merely an off-hand attempt at humor – the wise-cracking Morrison feigned concern over losing his fingers and toes, and that as a result he must enter the draft ASAP.

By the time news of that interview reached one league executive last week, doubt had settled in.

œWhy would he even say something like that, the executive said, unaware that Morrison was apparently speaking in jest. œIf you™re thinking about taking him, what are you supposed to think?

Can you say damage control?

œThe whole thing was taken out of context, Bartlestein said. œI™ve talked to his doctor – a guy he™s had since he was a kid – and he said there was absolutely no problem.

œUnfortunately, people ran with it, and now we have this. But I will make sure that everyone in the league knows what is up with that.

DC’s Jordan : Hoping That LeBron Gets Called For Hopping

Posted in Basketball at 11:08 am by

Claiming the Black President “doesn’t get the calls LeBron gets”, Wizards coach Eddie Jordan is steamed about the whistle swallowing that ensued after King James hopped his way to the winning shot with seconds remaining in Friday’s Game 2 between Cleveland and Washington.  From the Baltimore Sun :

Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said yesterday, what he thinks should have been a traveling call is part of a pattern of James’ getting protection from referees. He said that’s the type of help Washington’s own All-Star, Gilbert Arenas, isn’t receiving in the first-round Eastern Conference series that the Cleveland Cavaliers lead 2-1.

“I’m not going to get fined for saying what’s obvious. Everybody sees it,” Jordan said after practice ahead of today’s Game 4 against the Cavaliers.

“Officials are human, and they see a great move by a great player … or they see a hop-through move that’s a travel, and they say, ‘That’s a great move by a great player, and it’s an exciting move. It’s a great finish. We’ll let it go.’ That’s how I look at it,” Jordan said.

Reggie Evans Charged With Cock Block

Posted in Basketball at 10:58 am by

The NBA Playoffs are only 8 days old, but we’ll struggle to find a hotter story than today’s coverage of the Clippers’ Game 3 win over the Nuggets by the Denver Post’s Mark Kizla.

You don’t expect to tune in a playoff game on the tube and see a display so offensive it should be rated TV-14 for sexual situations.

It was obscene, not to mention cowardly, the way Denver forward Reggie Evans touched the private parts of L.A. center Chris Kaman during the second quarter.

“I felt violated,” Kaman said, ambushed below the belt by Evans, as the Nuggets scored on a rare clean jumper to cut L.A.’s lead to 30-27. “I felt I got a little violated by another man.”

There are many inventive ways to establish rebound position, but until Evans groped Kaman below the belt under the basket, I thought I had seen every dirty trick in basketball’s book.

Not to suggest the way Evans touched Kaman was risqué, but I’m not sure Kim Cattrall ever did a more graphic scene on “Sex and the City.”

Kaman angrily responded by knocking Evans to the floor.

“I think it would have been stupid to swing or throw a punch, so I just kind of shoved him,” Kaman said.

There are not many unwritten rules in sports. Evans, however, broke No. 1: Do not mess with a man’s private business.

“It’s just inappropriate for a basketball game. Or any sport,” Kaman said.

If the Nuggets’ basketball IQ were any lower, somebody would have to water them as plants.

Pelfrey’s Eastern League Debut

Posted in Baseball at 10:28 am by

Mike Pelfrey, the highly touted Wichita State alumn selected 9th overall in last June’s amateur draft, pitched 5 and 2/3rds scoreless innings in his first start for the Binghamton Mets last night. Pelfrey struck out 8 while allowing 3 hits in the 1-0 loss to the Erie Seawolves.

Norfolk beat Rochester on Saturday night, 4-3, a game that ended on Lastings Milledge’s two-out RBI single in the bottom of the 11th. Heath Bell collected the win with 1.1 innings of scoreless relief ; Jeremi Gonzalez allowed 3 runs and 7 hits in 6 innings in getting the start. On Friday, Jose Lima was relatively competent, giving up 3 runs and 4 hits over 7 innings (7 K’s, two walks) in a 5-1 loss to Scranton Wilkes-Barre.

Mays : Bonds Couldn’t Touch Me

Posted in Baseball at 1:26 am by

From the LA Times’ Larry Stewart :

In a taped interview to be shown on Bob Costas’ HBO show Tuesday, Costas asks Mays: “Have you ever seen anybody as a contemporary? Have you ever seen anybody who [made you say]: ‘That guy is as good or better than me?’ “

Says Mays: “I can’t. You name one and I’ll tell you no. Just name one. Anybody.”

Costas: “Barry Bonds?”

Mays: “No. Barry couldn’t throw with me. He might not have been able to run with me. Let’s give him hitting, since he hit 73 [in 2001]. Don’t think I can hit 73 home runs. I give him that. But what else?”

John Kenneth Galbraith, RIP

Posted in Dead Authors, The Marketplace at 1:11 am by

John Kenneth Galbraith, economist, political advisor, author and scholar, died yesterday at the age of 97.

Galbraith’s better known works included “The Affluent Society”, “The Nature Of Mass Poverty”, “The Anatomy Of Power” and “American Capitalism”. There is no truth to the rumor that his passing was in any preceeded by a cursory glance at the New York Knicks payroll.


Mets Extend Lead Over Atlanta To 7 Games

Posted in Baseball at 9:15 pm by

Mets 1, Braves 0

Don Sutton and Joe Simpson were quick to remind us that John Thompson “only made one mistake” (presumably leaving a fat one over the plate for Paul Lo Duca to knock over the left field fence), but these days, anyone facing the New York Mets will have to get used to having little margin for error. Tom Glavine — who not so long ago was dunking his former club — was masterful in allowing just 4 hits in 7 shutout innings. Aaron Heilman and Billy Wagner pitched scoreless 8th and 9th innings respectively ; Wagner is now 7 for 9 in save opportunities.

Carlos Beltran went 1 for 3 with a double in his first game back after an extended absence due to a sore hamstring. 2B Kaz Matsui extended his hitting streak to 8 games with a single in the 8th inning.

Carlos Delgado and Cliff Floyd were a combined 0 for 8, the former striking out 4 times and the latter seeing his batting average dip to .181. The latter, however, made a pair of terrific catches in left, the first of which saved a run.

some other post-game celebratory musings :

Prescription for beating the Braves: Take one vintage Tom Glavine, mix in one longball from Lo Duca, add a few splashes of near-flawless defense, a dose of Aaron Heilman at his unhittable best, and cap it off with our slider-slinging closer. For the second night in a row, that insidious tomahawk chop chant died in the throats of Braves fans that are losing faith in their old magic.

Question for that snazzy new Japanese second baseman: Who the hell are you, and what have you done with Kaz Matsui?Mike’s Mets

I’ve seen the Braves lie in the weeds until midsummer too many times to get giddy, NL East April records notwithstanding, and heard too much oddly dour/swaggering early-season talk from the respective clubhouses to doubt the Braves will be the thing under the bed until our division’s sun finally rises and proves them a figment of our collective imaginations. But something feels different this year, and I think I know what it is. And it’s corny as all get-out: Whatever this year’s crop of Mets believes about the Braves/Mets rivalry or Turner Field is a lot less important than the fact that this team believes in itself. – Jason, Faith & Fear In Flushing

Cliff Floyd had another awesome game, and of course looked terrible doing it. He runs like Muhammed Ali talks, and his dives are the belly-flops of a giant and diseased whale. I never think he will get to the ball ” but he does, and he did last year, and I think something changed last season. Not the healthy bit ” that much is obvious ” but I think in the way he approached staying healthy while playing hard enough at the same time. The ugly way he moves speaks of a very large man trying not to kill himself while simultaneously propelling his bulk at extraordinary speed. I think it works.East Coast Agony

The Braves’ little league offense has reached a new level of ineptitude, being completely shut down yet again, this time by Glavine and the Mets bullpen.  Thomson™s ERA for the season is 1.32. He has had 4 starts and hasn™t allowed more than one run in any of them. He doesn™t have any wins. That is extremely difficult to accomplish. – Jamie Kirby, Tomahawk

This is unbelievably depressing. The Braves have now lost five games in a row, mostly with good pitching. Tonight, John Thomson made one mistake, allowing an opposite-field homer to Paul Lo Duca in the sixth, and finally got a decision because the Braves couldn’t score at all.

We can complain about Bobby loading the lineup with righthanders after watching that fail against Glavine for a decade, but Brian Jordan had two of the team’s five hits, and the other two against Glavine were by Renteria and another of the platoon guys, Diaz. The Braves’ only real scoring chance was erased when the other platoon guy, Pratt, had a soft liner taken down by Floyd in left. – Mac Thomason, Braves Journal

The Return Of ECW

Posted in Professional Wrestling at 6:25 pm by

Encouraged by the brisk ticket sales for the 2nd of 2 annual Extreme Championship Wrestling revival shows at NYC’s Hammerstein Ballroom, WWE is said to be reviving the brand name as part of a worked promotion vs. promotion war, then as an developmental circuit with it’s own TV programming later in the year.

The Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s Dave Meltzer reports that ECW fixtures such as Sabu (above), Sandman, Tommy Dreamer, Axl Rotten, Balls Mahoney and C.W. Anderson are amongst those thought to be taking part, with Paul Heyman booking the matches.

The role for most those names, but not all, will be to put over the developmental talent and make them the next generation ECW stars. This can’t work if its’ only goal is for older fans to relive Sandman’s ring enterance, because that is the kind of nostalgia that will die quickly. Many, if not most of the names, will likely only be there short-term, until stars in the current WWE system take their spots.

No word on whether or not Joel Gertner has been recruited, but something tells me he’d be available.

Inside Wrestling Weekly’s Zip Whittle has some misgivings about the scheme.

The ECW atmosphere “ violent, bloody matches, original but unorthodox production values, minimal sets and maximum attitude “ seems like it would clash with the elaborate pyro, giant stages and carefully scripted nature of RAW and Smackdown shows. When WWE revived ECW for their ONE NIGHT STAND PPV last year, they had the luxury of performing in a separate venue (Hammerstein Ballroom) re-using a small location that had been established back when ECW first lived. An important part of the ECW appeal lies in the intimate settings and interactions with the personal crowd.

Some people have suggested storylines like RVD winning the WWE title from John Cena at the ECW One Night Stand 2006 and throwing it down ala Shane Douglas/NWA/ECW 1994 incident. Others have joked about ECW becoming ENTERTAINMENT CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING. The real question remains: can you bring back this environment and this atmosphere?

I’ve long admired Heyman’s ability to pick widely disliked figures from the world of pop culture (Divine Brown, Leon Spinks, Billy Corgan) and use them in angles. In other words, chin up, Delmon Young, Michael Brown and anyone that’s been booted from “American Idol” in the past year. Your phones might be ringing, soon.

Questionable Big League Promotional Gimmicks

Posted in Baseball at 5:03 pm by

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer :

May 5: Pepsi & Fred Meyer Mariners Collectible Train Night — First 20,000 fans receive the “A-Train” (Adrian Beltre Car)

Were it not a violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, I’m sure the Mariners would love to award fan number 20,001 with The Adrian Beltre Third Baseman.

The Orioles are in the process of making short work of the Mariners’ Felix Hernandez, the visitors holding a 4-0 lead after 3 innings. Much maligned ex-Cub Corey Patterson hit a 3 run HR in the bottom of the third.

On a day when gridiron degenerates and lovers of mind-numbing television alike are transfixed by the glorified slave auction that is the NFL Draft, how appropriate that we have a number of football scores from the major leagues.

Brewers 16, Cubs 2 – bad enough that the Cubs try to pass off Glendon Rusch as a qualified starter, but was it really a good idea to send out Babe Ruth’s daughter in relief?

Tigers 18, Twins 1 – OK, I suppose it isn’t possible to score a lone point in a football game. Miggy, I-Rod and Carlos Guillen were a combined 10 for 14 in this one. Congrats to Carlos Silva on making Brad Radke look downright dependable by comparison.

Yankees 17, Blue Jays 6 – two HR’s and 5 runs scored for Johnny Damon, a 3-run HR and 4 RBI’s for the Giambini (now hitting .345). Kind of sick how Jeter and A-Rod can have a combined 0 for 8 afternoon and the lineup still produces this many runs. Gary Sheffield and Shea Hillenbrand both left the game after a collision in the 5th inning ; The Little Mustache is said to have a sore left knee and right wrist. I’ve read nothing about Hillenbrand’s condition, but it’s safe to asume that everyone still hates him.

NFL Draft : I’m About To File For Conscientious Objector Status

Posted in Gridiron at 3:48 pm by

20) Kansas City – Tamba Hall, DE, Penn State

21) New England – Laurence Maroney, (above) RB, Minnesota

22) San Francisco (from Denver) – Manny Lawson, DE, North Carolina State

23) Tampa Bay – Davin Joseph, OG, Oklahoma

24) Cincinnati – Jonathan Joseph, CB, South Carolina

25) Pittsburgh (from the Giants) – Santonio Holmes, WR, Ohio State

26) Buffalo (from Chicago) – John McCargo, DR, North Carolina State

Jefferson : AJ’s A Fluke

Posted in Basketball at 2:41 pm by

As New Jersey prepared to face Indiana in the 4th game of their Eastern Conference playoff series, the Nets’ Richard Jefferson claimed he’s less than stressed out over the way the Pacers’ Anthony Johnson has matched up with Jason Kidd.

From the Bergen Record’s Adrian Wojarnowski.

Johnson, a third-string guard to start the season, made the plays in Game 1, and made more in Game 3, including 25 points and eight assists. He’s probably reached an expiration date on outplaying Kidd, but Johnson is so full of confidence, so full of belief, you’d kind of like Kidd to get out and cover him.

As usual Friday, Richard Jefferson was playing the part of contrarian, dismissing the alarms over his old teammate Johnson rising beyond a nuisance into a problem.

“Now it’s not like, ‘Oh my God, how are we going to stop the eight-time All-Star Anthony Johnson?’ “ Jefferson sniffed. “It’s not what are we going to do to stop Jermaine O’Neal from shooting 80 percent. They got hot and had unbelievable games. We don’t believe that it’s going to be the norm.”

Johnson is a better player. He plays with such a different confidence now, a different resolve. Still, Kidd doesn’t suffer embarrassment well. The great ones never do.

“Jermaine O’Neal really was their main guy for them, and then you try and collapse on him and [Johnson] gets hot out there,” Jefferson said. “A.J. has never done that before. He had a great game. To act like that’s going to be the norm over the series, I think everybody knows that’s not going to be the case. He got hot. He hit some big shots for them.”

Jefferson has 13 points midway through the 2nd quarter, with the Nets leading 33-20.

Greg Maddux – Smarter Than He Looks (And He Doesn’t Look That Dumb)

Posted in Baseball at 2:00 pm by

Ben Schwartz writes,

While the Cubs celebrate their defeat at the hands of Babe Ruth and the NY Yankees (even included in today’s pre-game highlight clips) back during the Roosevelt Administration, the NY Times was kind enough to write up Greg Maddux (above), king of the mind game.

“He does terrible interviews for a reason,” John Smoltz, his former teammate with the Atlanta Braves, said with an admiring chuckle. “Believe me, he knows a lot more about what he does than he lets on. He never wants anyone to know where he’s coming from.”

Conversely, Glendon Rusch might be just as brilliant as he looks. The Cubs starter has already allowed HR’s to Milwaukee’s Richie Weeks and Prince Fielder, with the Brewers leading 3-0 after two innings.

NFL Draft Pt. III : Mark Schlereth Is Looking More Satanic With Each Passing Hour

Posted in Gridiron at 1:48 pm by

13) Cleveland (from Baltimore) – Kamerion Wimbley, DE, Florida State

14) Philadelphia – Broderick Bunkley, DT, Florida State

15) St. Louis (from Denver) – Tye Hill, CB, Clemson

16) Miami – Jason Allen, DB, Tennessee

17) Minnesota – Chad Greenway, OLB, Iowa

18) Ohio State – Bobby Carpenter, OLB, Ohio State

19) San Diego – Antonio Cromartie, DB, Florida State

There’s been a little bit of squawking about Haloti Ngata not possessing the proper work ethic to play in front of the disgruntled, exacting Ray Lewis. Surely I’m not the only person watching TV today who suspects Ngata will be less inclined to take plays off if he’s fearing for his life?

Curbishley Quits Charlton, Pompey’s Escape, QPR’s Clearout

Posted in Football at 1:26 pm by

Alan Curbishley (above) has ended a 15 year tenure at Charlton Athletic with the announcement he’ll be stepping down at the end of the season.  Frequently mention in speculation surrounding the England job, it is rumored that Curbishley might be taking over at Aston Villa.

Chelsea clinched their 2nd consecutive Premiership title with today’s 3-0 demolition of 2nd place Manchester United.  Afterwards, Jose Mourniho (above) threw his championship medal, jacket, passport and collection of Peter & The Test Tube Babies 7″‘s to the adoring crowd at Stamford Bridge.

United’s Wayne Rooney was carried off the field following a challenge from Paulo Ferreira. The condition of Rooney’s right foot is unknown at present, but I’m certain if they X-ray his head, they’ll find absolutely nothing.

Per the result of Portsmouth’s 2-1 win at Wigan today, Pompey are staying up and West Brom and Birmingham are going down, down down.

Mired in 20th place in the Championship, QPR have confirmed that Georges Santos and Richard Langely (above)  are amongst the several players who have been released, with a number of other Loftus Road fixtures (Marc Bircham, Marcus Bignot, Tommy Doherty) placed on the transfer list.

NFL Draft Continued : Broncos Trade Up For Cutler

Posted in Gridiron at 1:01 pm by

11) Denver (from St. Louis) – Jay Cutler, QB, Vanderbilt

Chris Berman notes that Culter is just the 3rd QB to be drafted in the first round despite never having led his college team to a winning season, the other two being Phil Simms “and Tommy Kramer, pretty darn good with Minnesota, and might I add, had a pretty darn good time doing it.”

I can only assume Berman is refering to Two Minute Tommy’s penchant for crazy comeback victories, as opposed to the former Owl’s history of getting boozy behind the wheel.

12) Baltimore (from Cleveland) – Haloti Ngata, DT, Oregon

Jets Hit D’Bricks!

Posted in Gridiron at 12:38 pm by

The NFL Draft Thus Far :

1) Houston – Mario Williams, DE, North Carolina State
2) New Orleans – Reggie Bush, RB, USC
3) Tennessee – Vince Young, QB, Texas

4) NY Jets – D’Brickashaw Ferguson, OT, Virginia (above)
5) Green Bay – A.J. Hawk, OLB, Ohio State
6) San Francisco – Vernon Davis, TE, Maryland
7) Oakland – Michael Huff, S, Texas
8) Buffalo – Donte Whitner, S, Ohio State
9) Detroit – Ernie Sims, OLB, Florida State

Interesting to see Norm Chow’s Titans opting for VY over Matt Leinart, along with the claims that New Orleans are prepared to splash out heavily on Bush, despite existing commitments to Deuce McAllister (and the huge deal just signed by Drew Brees)

With all the crap Reggie Bush is going through this week…and Leinart slipping perhaps as far as the Cardinals at no. 10, how about LenDale White as the Trojan having the worst weekend of all?

(ADDENDUM : Arizona picks Leinart at no. 10. Bad news for the ballroom maven in terms of loot, but not the worst situation imaginable ; he’ll have a year to watch Kurt Warner, the Edge in his backfield, Larry Fitzgerald as a target…and, uh, well, that’s all the good things I can think of.)

Dave D’Allesandro Vs. John Mellencamp

Posted in Basketball, Sports Journalism at 11:29 am by

Henry Abbott describes the following missive from the Newark Star-Ledger’s Dave D’Allesandro as “the cultural equivalent of one of those hard playoff fouls”.  If you’re waiting for an Indy comeback that references Adrenalin O.D. and Uncle Floyd, well, don’t hold your breath.

(foreground : pop singer, background : Austin Croshere)

Coming to Indy is an annual rite of spring “ has been since ™92. Prior to that, we only came twice a year, and we didn™t know the place from God™s Little Acre. Can™t say we liked it much back then “ it was slow, sleepy, undeveloped, and we always suspected that somewhere outside of town there was a sign that read, œWelcome to Indianapolis “ This is what death is like.

The place seemed to be the most powerful hypnotic known to man, because hardly anyone left. You knew that by the fact that everyone looked 60 years old, including a few of the Pacers cheerleaders. We used to laugh at a catalogue they put in each hotel room, entitled œIndiana, Our Glorious State. And if you were bored enough to open the thing, you realized that the assortment of glories were a bit on the thin side, unless you had a real hankering to visit the creamery out in Zionsville.

None of that holds true today, though. By any standard, Indianapolis is a mecca of cosmopolitanism, a dynamic hub of commerce and culture and tall glass buildings, where people wear suits and dark socks, even simultaneously.

We experienced a profound depression watching Game 3 at Conseco last night. The place was dead, with only 14,700 bothering to show, and we™re told more than 1,000 of them were freebies. Nobody cares about the team around here anymore “ partly because No. 31 has left the building, partly because the Artest hangover that still makes the franchise so wobbly, partly because there has been a stunning disconnect between this group of players and its fan base.

We have no idea what the advance sales are for Game 4, but it™s not likely to change much. It™s enough to make you root for the visiting team, and get out of here ASAP. 

The Buzz On Bobee Bee

Posted in Leave No Child Unbeaten at 10:42 am by

Much as I’m tempted to make light of this attempt at reaching out to the Youth Of Today, (link taken from True Hoop) said tome is probably outselling “Catch”.