04.27.06

Dusty, Grateful For The Grope

Posted in Baseball at 5:18 pm by


(once again, Google Image Search lets the side down)

From the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mike Kiley
,

>Manager Dusty Baker sees the benefits in the group grope that has become the NL Central. Only the Pittsburgh Pirates are wallflowers, while the rest of the bunch clobber one another.

“That’s going to help us, hopefully, by stopping somebody from running off,” Baker said. “If you can keep them in sight, you can catch them. That’s helping us until we get our guys back, as long as we do our thing.”

Replies Ben Schwartz,

Group grope?”  Mike Kiley, despite his Letter to Penthouse style coverage, isn’t wrong.  The NL Central is turning into the most competitive division in baseball again.  That the Cubs are still playing .600 baseball since Lee was hurt bodes well for the next couple of weeks — but I’m sick of the “if we can just hold on until ______ gets back” PR releases re injured starting players in Wrigleyville.  They still haven’t said anything decisive about Wood or Prior yet, meanwhile, former Cub DL all-stars Joe Borowski (who beat us yesterday) and Nomar in LA are doing great.

Argos Coveting Williams?

Posted in Gridiron, We Aren't The World at 5:03 pm by

The Toronto Sun’s Perry Lefko reports that the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts have expressed interest in suspended Miami Dolphins RB Ricky Williams.

In a barely related note, Mel Kiper Jr. was just on “PTI” and after some coaxing from the two hosts who are jealous of his hair, admitted that the Monday after the NFL Draft is sort of like his day after Christmas.

Which leads me to the terrifying question : is there a CFL version of Mel Kiper Jr.? And if there is, what are the odds that he looks like this?

Negotiations Resume In Minor League Umpiring Strike

Posted in Baseball, General at 4:45 pm by

From the AP’s Ronald Blum :

Striking minor league umpires and management settled an unfair labor practice charge filed by the union after resuming bargaining this week following a layoff of 2 1/2 months.

Umpires, who have been on strike since the start of the season, claimed the Professional Umpire Development Corp. threatened to fire employees who went on strike.

“PBUC is required to post a public government notice in every minor league park in the country and mail the notice to all employees, informing the umpires, its employees, that it will honor their rights to engage in union activities, and that it will not threaten striking employees with discharge or other reprisals,” the Association of Minor League Umpires said in a statement Thursday.

Management made what it terms its final offer to the union on Jan. 31. Talks resumed with a federal mediator Wednesday in Cincinnati, and the union said there was no progress. Talks continued Thursday.

“We agreed to settle with no admission of wrongdoing,” management lawyer George Yund said. “The umpires are on strike over their demands for more money, not because of alleged unfair labor practices.”

Throughout the strike, minor league clubs have refused to identify the replacment umps. One of them, Ashville, NC’s Tim Bailey, is interviewed in today’s Ashville Citizen-Times by Keith Jarrett. Bailey says he’s not a scab because he’s not trying to take anyone’s job, but adds “I™m not going to turn down a chance to make money and do something I love. If I didn™t do these games, somebody else would.”

Pirates’ Littlefield : The Club Is Sucking Right On Schedule

Posted in Baseball at 1:47 pm by

People of Pittsburgh, don’t panic.  Despite a 5-18 start and the growing sense that perhaps Jim Tracy is no more qualified than Lloyd McClendon, Pirates GM Dave Littlefield wants you to be patient. He’d also like it if you’d stop egging his car.
From the Post-Gazette’s Dejan Kovacevic :

“These are the guys we’re going to grow with, the guys we’ve spent the past few years drafting and developing and, in the case of some of the veterans, players we were able to get because we got some more revenue,” he said yesterday after the team’s seventh consecutive loss. “Will there be adjustments? Sure. You’ve seen we’ve had to make some based on injury. And I’m sure we’ll make more.”

Regarding young players, he continued to stress patience.

“In general, yes, we will give these players a chance. But each player has specific differences than others relative to their skill level or performance record in the past. You’re going to see young players, in general, struggle. That’s the norm. Rare is the Jason Bay that comes in and performs consistently at a high level.”

Royals Farm Club In Laugh-Attack Coverup

Posted in Baseball at 1:35 pm by

From the Kansas City Star’s Jeffrey Flanagan :

The start of the O-Royals™ game on Monday was delayed five minutes, according to the Omaha World-Herald, because Omaha OF Kerry Robinson (above) had a chest muscle spasm in center field. Trainer Jeff Stevenson told the newspaper that the muscle spasm was triggered when Robinson was laughing at the antics of a youth team that was involved in a pregame promotion.

œCan™t we make up a better injury than that? McGinn asked. œCan™t we say he pulled a muscle while taking extra batting practice or by lunging for a ball in the outfield or something? That (injury) is crazy.

Robinson actually stayed in the game through the fourth inning, and contributed a single and a run scored. But the spasms continued, and he was forced to the clubhouse for treatment. The O-Royals were rained out Tuesday and had Wednesday off.

Omaha manager Mike Jirschele said by phone Wednesday that Robinson appeared OK on Tuesday and would have started.

Robinson, by the way, is hitting .351 with a team-high seven steals.

(More on Kerry’s illustrious history, from February, 2005)

The truth is, Robinson was really injured when watching internet video of Buddy Bell trying to put his uniform pants on. You Tube is gonna kill someone one of these days.

Adande Hails Kobe The Team Player

Posted in Basketball at 1:07 pm by

Yesterday’s leak that Steve Nash had won the NBA’s MVP Award for the second season running had more than a few Kobe Bryant acolytes crying foul. The brutal posterizing of Nash aside, the LA Times’ J.J. Adande testifies that Bryant’s unselfish side was the key to the Lakers’ Game 2 victory.

Bryant had all the necessary supplies to go into a me-against-the-world mode if he chose. A local newspaper here cited an NBA source saying Steve Nash won the most valuable player award. A poll of league GMs reached the same conclusion. Other L.A. and national outlets reported Bryant would switch from No. 8 to No. 24 next season, which agitated Bryant because he didn’t want the news to get out yet.

But Bryant didn’t come out to dunk on every Sun or silence the fans in US Airways Center. His response was to thread a bounce pass to a cutting Luke Walton, to find an open Sasha Vujacic on the other side of the court or to snatch a defensive rebound.
Bryant out-Nashed Nash. Would anyone have predicted that Nash would have more points and Bryant more assists at halftime?

Also, the Lakers did a better job of playing without their superstar. Nash sat out for most of a 7 1/2 -minute scoreless stretch in the first half. But when Bryant went to the bench with his third foul and three minutes left in the second quarter, the Lakers actually increased their lead.

On the MVP debate, True Hoop’s Henry Abbot opines,

If Nash and Bryant switched places, Bryant would no doubt to spectacular things in Phoenix. But Nash would still be winning titles with Shaquille O’Neal, because he knows how to be a good teammate.

Time To Lose The Pimp Cup

Posted in Fitness, Food at 12:36 pm by

I’m not questioning Formula 50′s choice of a pitchman for a competition designed at fostering healthier eating habits amongst teens…but it is a shame how many great opportunities slip through the fingers of Jerome James when he doesn’t return phone calls.

Mets Mulling Bannister’s Replacement

Posted in Baseball at 11:05 am by

After SP Brian Bannister was carried off the field miway through yesterday’s 9-7, 11 inning win in San Francisco, the Mets are considering calling up a starter from Norfolk, writes the New York Daily News’ Adam Rubin.

GM Omar Minaya named Darren Oliver – who picked up yesterday’s win in relief – as a strong possibility, but Willie Randolph suggested it’s more likely a Tides starter would be summoned.

If Bannister can’t go, the Mets would have four options: John Maine (1-3, 2.62 ERA), Jeremi Gonzalez (1-2, 3.52), Jose Lima (2-2, 6.00) and Yusaku Iriki (1-1, 2.70). Maine, obtained with Jorge Julio for Kris Benson, is the only one of those pitchers on the 40-man roster, meaning no one would have to be exposed to waivers to promote him.

Randolph ruled out Aaron Heilman, saying: “I like the way our bullpen looks right now.”

Maine allowed one run over 7 inning as the Tides beat Scranton/Wilkes-Barre yesterday, 4-2.

Yesterday, Michael Tucker was signed to a minor league deal. Depending on the condition of Carlos Beltran, Tucker might provide a (sort of warm body) in the Tides outfield if Victor Diaz or Lastings Milledge are brought north. Either way, he’s certain to bring just as much vitality and veteran know-how to the organization as Gerald Williams.

In the wake of the Sultan Of Surly connecting with an 99 MPH fastball from Billy Wagner, the following self-styled experts surveyed the scene :

If the Mets had lost this one it would have fell at the feet of the golden boy David Wright and his throwing error in the 9th inning. He gets that ball to Delgado it’s 3 outs and Bonds keeps his broken down steroid ass on the bench. – Steve Keane, The Eddie Kranepool Society

Did Wagner have any business giving up a game tying dinger to a watered down Barry Bonds? Maybe not. But here’s what I think about Barry Bonds: To me, Bonds has become a softball player. He takes big swings, jogs around the bases whether he hits it out or not, and is fast becoming the size of your normal softball player. I half expect Major League Baseball to institute a softball type rule where after Bonds makes contact, there’s a runner waiting at home plate to run for him. I also expect Bonds to catch fly balls in one hand with a beer in the other, like the third baseman on WKRP in Cincinnati during the big softball episode. But even though he’s a softball player, softballers can still hit. So tip your hat.Metsradamus.

With where we are in the season, intentionally walking in non-intentional spots is a no-no for me. Wagner is one of the best and he brought it at reportedly 99 mph so if you are not going after Barry with him, who are you going to go after him with? Also, Barry owns a career .231/.286/.538 line against Wags. Right call, bad outcome. Mets win, everyone is happy.The Metropolitans.

The intentional walk is almost always a bad idea, and in this instance it would have put the tying run on base and brought the potentional winning run to the plate. The Mets pitched to Bonds and he hit the ball a mile, but I still think it was the right call even if it didn’t work out this time. – Eric Simon, Amazin’ Avenue

If yesterday’s game were in the playoffs, it would probably rank as one of the top five or six most entertaining wins the franchise has had in the past 20 years. An exaggeration? Perhaps. But it had it all — a hobbled pitcher rounding the bases, a 47-year old man knocking in the go-ahead runs (and stealing a base!), and an excruciating error that led to one of the most dramatic home runs you’ll ever see. To top it all off, the Mets showed incredible resiliency, bouncing back in the top of the 11th to take the victory. You really can’t ask for more in a baseball game. – Ryan McConnell, Always Amazin’

It took either alot of guts or alot of stupidity to pitch to Barry Bonds when he represented the tying run at the plate in the bottom of the 9th inning and first base wide open, waving her arms frantically and alluringly.

Then again, Billy Wagner was on the mound, and pitching out of a situation like this to preserve a two run win is precisely why he was hired. Not to mention the fact Bonds had been only 2 for 12 against him in the past.

Wagner can’t really be faulted for extending this game unnecessarily, nor can Willie. Wagner had the Giants on the ropes in the 9th after striking out the first two Giants he faced before David Wright’s unfortunately timed throwing error put Moises Alou, who absolutely killed the Mets with a 7 for 12 series and 7 RBIs to boot, on first base and gave Barry Bonds the opportunity to pinch hit in the first place. – Jaap Stijl, Archie Bunker’s Army

England Tap Big Phil…

Posted in Football at 2:05 am by

…only problem is, he’s currently employed. From the Independent’s Sam Wallace.

Luiz Felipe Scolari is on the brink of being announced as the new England manager after it emerged last night that the Brazilian is in talks with the Football Association about the best way to handle his defection from the Portuguese Football Federation.

Scolari (above), 57, is under contract to Portugal until after the World Cup finals, but has publicly announced that he will not accept another job until after that competition. The FA is trying to find a way out of that agreement which is acceptable to all parties.

Negotiations are at such an advanced stage that the FA hopes to find a way that is acceptable to Scolari and does not undermine his authority as the Portugal coach and allows for a smooth transition after the World Cup finals in July.

The FA has set a budget of around £2.5m a year for the new manager’s salary but they could well be prepared to go higher to accommodate the inconvenience to Scolari, who could face criticism in Portugal for his decision.

There’s No Place On The Internet For Making Fun Of Keith Hernandez

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, Sports TV at 1:11 am by


(Mex and Clyde, dueting on their version of the Frogs’ “Men, Men, Men”)

Ahem.

1) The extremely liberated Todd Jones weighs in on the controversy du jour over at Yard Work.

2) Putting the “mmmmmmm”, in IM, the Dugout captures the nitty gritty from the SNY Chatroom.

Despicable, Contact-Phobic Celeb Buys Into AFL’s Wranglers

Posted in Gridiron at 12:43 am by

From News 8 Austin :

Former Pro Bowl cornerback Deion Sanders and the Austin Wranglers announced Wednesday that Sanders has joined the ownership group of the team.

Terms of the deal or how large of a stake he owns in the team were not disclosed. Sanders wouldn’t detail what his role with the team will be, but promised he will be visible in the Austin area. He even joked he could put on his pads again.

Tim McCarver and Carlton Fisk, unavailable for comment. But even if I had their numbers, I wouldn’t wanna wake them up.

04.26.06

International League Round-Up : D-Rays’ Young Goes Batshit

Posted in Baseball at 11:49 pm by

From the Providence Journal’s Paul Kenyon.


A Pawtucket-Durham game that began with the focus on the starting pitchers — top prospects Jon Lester and Jason Hammel — became memorable for all the wrong reasons. In one of the weirdest scenes in any game in any league, Durham outfielder Delmon Young (above), one of the top prospects in all of baseball, flipped his bat and hit the home-plate umpire in the chest after striking out in the first. Since the umpire had a chest protector on, he was not hurt.

Even without their star, Durham beat Pawtucket, 6-2.

The victory, though, could be very costly for Durham, the parent Tampa Bay Devil Rays and, especially, for the highly touted Young, the No. 1 overall pick in the baseball draft in 2003.

Batting with two on and no outs in the top of the first, Young was called on out strikes. As Pawtucket catcher Corky Miller stepped in front of the plate to make sure the runners stayed where they were, Young lingered at the plate.

“I heard the umpire say, you better get going,” said Miller, who thought the strike call was correct. “I turned around and saw he was still in the box. I didn’t hear him say anything. I think he took a little too much time.”

As Young began to walk away, the umpire ejected him. Young was four or five steps away when he realized he had been thrown out. He turned and flipped the bat underhanded at the umpire. The bat was going end over end as it struck the umpire in the chest and shoulder.

The situation was further complicated because the plate umpire, like all umps in minor-league baseball, is a replacement. The normal International League umpires are on strike. Because of reported threats against the replacements, their names are not being given out.

Reporters were not allowed to speak to any of the three last night.

More troubling for Red Sox fans, Jon Lester is now 0-4 with an ERA of 6.94.

Lastings Milledge was 1 for 3 in Norfolk’s 4-2 win over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last night, scoring two runs and walking once. Heath Bell (above) struck out a pair in a scoreless 9th inning to collect his 5th save.

Kris Wilson collected his first win of ’06, striking out 8 and allowing a mere 4 hits in 7 innings’ work, as Columbus defeated Louisville, 3-0. Scott Erickson pitched a scoreless 8th inning, lowering his ERA to 1.42 and increasing the chances that he might again have an opportunity to be shelled at the big league level.

Rangers Routed, Devils Up 3-0

Posted in Hockey at 10:59 pm by

Devils 3, Rangers 0 (Game Three, New Jersey leads 3-0)


If nothing else, I think we’ve firmly established that Jaromir Jagr isn’t Willis Reed. I think we’re also close to establishing — sorry to all the folks in recovery who are still allowed to read this — that Sandis Ozolinsh is out of his depth in this series.

With full credit due to Dirk Nowitzki and Bronson Arroyo (surely they’ll be collaborating musically before long?), CSTB’s Wednesday Wonder-Human is Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward.

Ward had 27 saves in the ‘Canes’ 2-1 OT win at Montreal, one of ‘em on a tremendous stop of a Frances Bouillon breakaway in the 2nd period. Without such heroics, the Habs would hold a commanding 3-0 lead.

7 power plays tonight for the Avalanche, and just one goal to show for it (Joe Sakic in the first period). Dallas is leading 3-2 with 2 minutes left. Even worse, Kenyon Martin was seen cursing at Joel Quenneville.

Trading Alice Cooper’s Time Like So Much Cultural Capital

Posted in Baseball, Basketball, The Marketplace at 5:52 pm by

Montreal’s Kyle McDonald is in a swapping frenzy. Over time, he’s parlayed a red paperclip into an afternoon of quality time with Alice Cooper.


Predictably, Kyle would like to trade his dream date with Alice. I suppose a handjob from John McCain is out of the question.

Alice’s beloved Snakes have just beaten the Padres, 3-2 at the big Monument To Animal Abuse, despite Metal Mike Piazza’s 400th career HR. Also of presumed interest to Cooper, the Phoenix Suns’ Steve Nash has just claimed his 2nd NBA MVP Award. Kobe Bryant advocates can commence flipping out.

Mets’ Bannister Pulls Up Lame

Posted in Baseball at 4:57 pm by

Mets 4, Giants 3 (top of the 7th)

Just when I was wondering if there was a slower major leaguer on the base paths than the Sultan Of Surly Circa 2006, I look up to see Mets SP Brian Bannister limping, hopping, staggering home on Kaz Matsui’s 6th inning double to left field.

The amateur diagnosis from the Giants TV crew is a pulled hamstring. Between Bannister’s injury and Victor Zambrano’s continuing struggles, there remains every chance that Jose Lima will get another start in the big leagues.

Carlos Delgado hit a solo HR off Matt Morris in the 3rd inning, his 9th of the season. Cliff Floyd, still looking to bust out for real, has hit 3 line drives to the warning track in left with nothing to show for it. Except a day’s pay and the love of his teammates.

Aaron Heilman is currently pitching in relief of Bannister. Presumably, Bannister will require two pulled hamstrings before there’s any serious talk of Heilman returning to the starting rotation.

(UPDATE : Mets 7, Giants 7.  After a two-out error by David Wright kept SF alive in the bottom of the 9th, Barry Bonds hit a 2-run HR to left field off Billy Wagner.  For the Sultan, that’s career HR no. 711. For Billy Wagner, blown save no. 2 on the year )

You know what they say about guys with big feet. That’s right. At some point, you might want to stop giving them such great pitches to hit. Texas’ Kevin Mench (above) hit his 6th HR in as many games earlier today, a grand slam off Kiko Calero, in the Rangers’ 6-4 loss to Oakland.

8 innings of one-hit ball today for the Angels’ Jon Lackey (above) ; maybe the Tigers had to catch another flight.

Good news, Nationals fans. Not only does your team finally have an owner, but it isn’t the guy who barbeques dogs.

Barca Reach Champions League Final

Posted in Football at 3:55 pm by

Barcelona 0, AC Milan 0 (Barcelona, 1-0 aggr.) Champions League Semi-Final


Though Schevchenko can blame this on the curse of the SportsCenter commercial (look how it ruined the Alligator Hunter’s swamp cred), full credit to Frank Rijkaard, the Avery Johnson of European Football, on having his side totally prepared to engage in as dull a defensive struggle as yesterday’s Villareal/Arsenal match.

That bit of cynicism aside, an Arsenal/Barca final should make for a great afternoon of TV, potentially marred by many advertisements featuring Thierry Henry, Ronaldinho and a lumbering Eric Cantona. Not since the days of “this car is like punk rock” has any commercial done so little to promote a product.

Bowden Defends Econo Approach

Posted in Baseball at 3:14 pm by

There’s at least one very good reason that Nationals GM Jim Bowden (above, right) is in no hurry to see the club’s ownership situation resolved — he’ll probably be cleaning out his office shortly after it happens. Until then, he’s happy to indulge the Examiner’s John Keim by (very) selectively replying to hate mail.(link taken from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)

I™ve had plenty of e-mails from fans suggesting if we had an owner we could have kept Esteban Loaiza and signed A.J. Burnett, Kevin Millwood and/or Jarrod Washburn. So, for a mere $35 million for this year alone, you could have had a starting pitching rotation that is a combined 2-9.

In fact, two of our signings, Billy Traber and Tony Armas, have as many wins as those pitchers combined. Obviously, a few weeks of play is not a good barometer. And if healthy, those pitchers will improve. However, injuries to Burnett and Millwood have to concern the Blue Jays and Rangers, respectively, who have committed large dollars for the next five years.

Further, I have additional e-mails suggesting that if the organization had drafted better over the last seven years, our rotation would have been championship caliber by now. Certainly, this is possible and improvement is needed. However, here is an alarming reality: the Braves, Cardinals, Mets, Red Sox and Yankees have 25 pitchers combined in their starting rotations; of those 25, only two were drafted and developed by their organization — Brian Bannister, a seventh-round pick of the Mets and Kyle Davies, a fourth-round pick of the Braves.

Take a look at the pitching staffs of the division winners over the last decade and you™ll find that none of the 30 teams found the perfect blueprint.

Yeah, it’s very complicated stuff, as Bowden illustrates. Signing free agents is no sure thing. Developing your own talent? Likewise. Bowden advocates trading for proven pitching talent, scanning the waiver wire, looking for guys other clubs have given up on and trading for other clubs’ prospects. Though without taking issue with his general points, the following comes to mind ; after today’s shutout loss to the Reds, the Nationals are 7-14. Is now really the right time to be gloating about AJ Burnett being a waste of money? If Kevin Millwood is a bust for the Rangers, how is Ramon Ortiz (0-3, 6.75 ERA) working out at $3,750,000.00?

The National Fuckhead League

Posted in Gridiron, Sports TV at 2:42 pm by

I was waiting at the barbershop last night and had the misfortune of sitting through at least half of a 90 minute (!) ESPN NFL Draft preview program. In addition to the usual attempts at mystifying a glorified slave auction, there was much hand-wringing over last night’s announcement that 420-friendly Dolphins RB Ricky Williams’ suspension for the whole of 2006 had been upheld.

One by one, beefy, no-necked white dudes skilled at talking with their hands waxed poetic about Ricky as a bad teammate and all the unspeakable things he had done to the Miami franchise.

I can only presume that a future installment of the same program will have a slightly different take on Brett Favre’s decision to play for the Packers next season. Favre being the ultimate gamer and all, not at all the short of person who could be accused of putting his own interests in front of those of the team, holding a club hostage, etc.

Kornheiser & Wilbon’s Trashing Of Mex

Posted in Sports TV at 2:06 pm by

Be sure to remember Michael Wilbon’s comments about “little boys’ treehouses” the next time he gushes about attending a party thrown by Maxim magazine. Likewise, easy enough for Kornheiser to label Hernandez a “neanderthal” when his own televised drooling over Jamie Salé was a daily visit to Squirmsville.

But since they’re all about enlightenment and modern thinking at PTI, the next time Tony and Michael are unavailable to do the show, how about two women as guest hosts? Shouldn’t be too much to ask, given that PTI could never be confused with a middle-aged mens’ treehouse.

Stalking Bob Sheppard

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 1:40 pm by

Describing himself as “Rupert Pupkin to his Jerry Langford”, Fitted Sweats’ Jeff Johnson thinks nothing of invading the privacy of Yankee Stadium P.A. announcer Bob Sheppard.

In an era of pink souvenir caps, steroids, and Randy Johnson’s unflinching homeliness, it’s reassuring to know that a man like Bob Sheppard still exists and does a lot of speaking into a microphone. He’s the anti-Michael Buffer. His voice is soothing and his ego could fit in a thimble and still leave room for your thumb.

Another Gratuitous Entry About Groins And Physical Therapy

Posted in Baseball at 1:31 pm by

From the Houston Chronicle’s Jesus Ortiz :

Bothered by a bruised left groin, Astros lefthander Wandy Rodriguez expects to go without a protective cup tonight when he starts against the Los Angeles Dodgers in his quest to remain undefeated this season.

Rodriguez has been plagued by a tender left groin in his last two outings. He attributes the bruising in the area to his cup digging into his left side.

Rodriguez (3-0, 2.52 ERA) says he has made some improvement through stretching exercises under the guidance of Astros athletic trainers Dave Labossiere and Rex Jones.

“I’m fine,” he said. “I’m ready to start. They were stretching the muscle, and I feel fine. I possibly won’t use the cup so I can see if it will help me get better. I’m not worried about not using a cup because I have real good hands.”

Red Sox pitching coach Al Nipper claims that Boston has a good shot at signing Roger Clemens, certainly good news for a team that is still looking to find a suitable substitute for likely NL All-Star Bronson Arroyo (currently working on a one-hitter against the Nationals).

In all seriousness, a 1-2-3 of Clemens, Schilling and Beckett would be kind of unfair. And the Rocket can help Beckett deal with his anger management issues (channel the aniexty through bat tossing, liberal application of eye-black, etc.).

Milwaukee’s Ben Sheets had a tough debut against the Mets ten days ago, but looks pretty deadly so far this afternoon, striking out 8 Braves in 5 innings, with the Brewers holding a 3-1 lead.

Brent Barry’s Game-Tying Three

Posted in Basketball at 11:51 am by

Spurs 128, Kings 119 (OT)

TNT showed the replay about a dozen times and I wish they showed it a dozen more.  With the Spurs down by three and and seconds remaining, Manu Ginobili’s sick pass through traffic to an unmolested Brent Barry is only part of what set up the shot that would ultimately doom Sacramento ; the pick Tim Duncan put on Mike Bibby needs to be described in contemporary terms.  Bibby got Umbergered.

After the blowout in Game One, hands up anyone who thought the Kings had even a remote chance in this one without the services of Ron Artest.

Wizards Beat Up LeBron

Posted in Basketball at 3:01 am by

Wizards 89, Cavs 84

There’s a lot being made this morning about LeBron James’ poor decision making and worse execution is last night’s Game 2 loss to Washington. But there’s another way of looking at it : the Wizards harrassed James, got in his head and in the above case of mugging-by-Brendan Haywood, tried attempted murder when push came to shove. Jarod Jefferies and Caron Butler, together and individually, proved highly frustating to James. And Gilbert Arenas’ presidential campaign is looking at least as strong as Pat Paulson’s.


The Nuggets have suspended Kenyon Martin for Game 3 of their Western Conference series against the Clippers. K-Mart is charged with that age-old fave, “conduct detrimental to the team” (or, conduct beneficial to the towel industry). The Rocky Mountain News’ Aaron Lopez points out that Denver is 29-9 over the last two years when Martin is out of the lineup, so perhaps there’s more strategy than discipline to George Karl’s move.

Your Friday Night, Already Sorted

Posted in Rock Und Roll at 2:16 am by

The Syrup Room, 100 Ingraham Street (between Porter & Knickerbocker Avenues, Brooklyn (Morgan Street L stop).

04.25.06

Brockton Haggling For Clemens

Posted in Baseball at 11:47 pm by

Sorry, that’s the closest I could manage to a Marvelous Marvin reference. But the Brockton Rox are at it again. Months after inviting the then-unemployed Theo Epstein to Thanksgiving Dinner with Oil Can Boyd, the indie league franchise has made a bid for Roger Clemens.

Though this gag — like the last one — seems entirely lifted from Lorne Michaels’ attempts to reunite the Beatles on an early episode of SNL (going so far as to offer the Fab Four $3000.00 — “split it any way you want, give Ringo less if you want.”), I really like the part about a parking space at Brockton High.

Barry Bonds hit his career HR no. 710 earlier tonight, a solo shot to left field off the Mets’ Steve Trachsel. It’s excruciating watching the Sultan Of Surly circle the bases. It’s probable he’ll reach 715, but it will be ugly watching him get there.

Billy Wagner just retired Bonds to earn his 5th save in New York’s 4-1 win ; earlier, Xavier Nady connected for a solo HR, and Cliff Floyd crushed a 2 run homer into McCovey Cove in the top of the 8th. Trachsel gave up just two singles and a pair of walks other than the HR to Bonds in his 7 innings of work.

It’s one heck of a night in the Lone Star State for ballgames that just won’t end ; Dodgers/Astros tied in the 14th at Minute Maid, or the Kings and Spurs slugging it out in O.T. in San Antonio.

The White Sox have punished Mariners pitching to the tune of 5 HR’s thus far tonight at Safeco, none of ‘em hit by Jim Thome. Maybe that’ll figure in Ozzie’s diary, maybe not.