Salon Asks, “What Would Jesus Colome Do?”

Posted in Religion at 11:43 pm by

So, I’m pretty much piggy-backing on Gerard’s catch about the Colorado Rockies, but in reading about the Rox’ clubhouse-wide dedication to The Deity, I was reminded of a long piece that ran at Salon.com several weeks ago. I didn’t post about it because I usually only post on developments involving a possible new Mets stadium or how bad the Royals are. And also because Salon’s articles are sometimes hidden behind a premium subscription wall. If you’re a subscriber, you can read it. If not, you can watch a commercial in exchange for seeing a picture of George Wrighster and Kyle Brady praying together (that’s a plurality of Jacksonville’s tight ends!) and what I found to be a fairly interesting overview of clubhouse evangelicals. Turns out they’re rather conservative Christians. I was also shocked. Tom Krattenmaker reports:

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which claims the Bible is “the only infallible, authoritative Word of God,” strives to “see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of athletes and coaches.” Similarly, (Athletes In Action) states that it “exists to boldly proclaim the love and truth of Jesus Christ to those uniquely impacted by sport.” Houston Astros third baseman Morgan Ensberg (above), who has worked with AIA, put it succinctly in an interview with Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network. “The entire reason that I play baseball is so that I get a chance to speak about Christ,” he said.

To promoters of sports-world Christianity, faith is a wholesome force that helps players curb the worst temptations in pro sports — violence and greed, for starters. Chaplains of pro sports teams say their role is to offer prayer services and spiritual counseling to religious players, whose demanding schedules often prevent them from attending church. Today, by most estimates, anywhere from 20 percent to 40 percent of players on a team, sometimes more, participate in Christian Bible studies and prayer services held by team chaplains, a percentage that mirrors Americans who attend church weekly.

But the Christianizing of sports comes at a scarcely examined cost, both to fans who would prefer watching the game without a dose of in-your-face religion and, in the view of some critics, to religion itself. The problem is that the sports-world faith movement isn’t only bringing religion to professional locker rooms but a potentially divisive brand of conservative Christianity, replete with a worldview shaped by an intolerance of gays and lesbians, women’s rights and other religions.

There’s more, including the inevitable quote from Etan “More Than An Athlete” Thomas, and the slightly less-inevitable quote from wild Samoan Esera Tuaolo (above) :

“I went to a Bible study, and, lo and behold, it was about homosexuality,” recalls Tuaolo, who came out as a gay man after his retirement. “I was thinking, ‘Is this a sign?’ That was what really turned me off.”

The choicest bits, though, come from a former NFL journeyman named Anthony Prior, who went on to write a book entitled The Slave Side of Sunday.

“How can you say Jesus helped you score that touchdown when the player you beat believes in Jesus too?” asks Prior. “You’ve embarrassed him in front of his fans. God answers your prayer and not his?

In training camp, Prior adds, some marginal players vying for roster spots carry around their Bibles and attend religious services to impress management. If they’re still on the roster after the final cuts, “then their Bible is nowhere to be found,” Prior says. “Until they get injured, of course, and then the Bible is back in your hand.”

Cubs Acquire Nevin

Posted in Baseball at 9:04 pm by

The Human Trade Rumor, 1B Phil Nevin (above, right), is taking his .216 batting average to Wrigley. Texas traded Nevin to the Cubs Wednesday in exchange for Jerry Hairston Jr.

For Chicago, desperately seeking a way of replacing Derrek Lee’s production, there’s little to lose, particularly as the Rangers are picking up the lion’s share of Nevin’s salary. But even a lion would’ve known better than to have signed Chan Ho Park and A-Rod to those massive deals, so perhaps such a statement is grossly unfair to one of the animal kingdom’s most beautiful specimens.

The offensively challenged Cubs have continued to struggle tonight, managing just a pair of Juan Pierre singles against the Reds’ Eric Milton, as Cincinnati leads, 3-0 through 7 innings. Ken Griffey Jr.(above, rubbing noses with Ryan Dunn) has a pair of RBI’s, one of them coming on a solo HR off Carlos Zambrano in the 6th. Zambrano can commiserate with Pedro Martinez (and Brandon Webb) on the lack of run support they’ve received tonight, though hopefully Carlos won’t insist he was the winning pitcher if the Reds lose the game.

The Miz, RIP

Posted in Billiards at 6:00 pm by

Four-time US Open billiards champion Steve Mizerak has passed away at the age of 61.

Van Hammersly was unavailable for comment.

Praise The Lord And Pass The Coors Light

Posted in Baseball, Religion at 4:04 pm by

(Choo Freeman, Matt Holiday, Jamiy Carroll and Todd Helton show their disappointment upon viewing the long-awaited “Frantix Story” DVD)

Well, at least I know I’m not hearing things. The Colorado Rockies, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, have an agenda of some sort or another.

No copies of Playboy or Penthouse are in the clubhouse of baseball’s Colorado Rockies. There’s not even a Maxim. The only reading materials are daily newspapers, sports and car magazines and the Bible.

Music filled with obscenities, wildly popular with youth today and in many other clubhouses, is not played. A player will curse occasionally but usually in hushed tones. Quotes from Scripture are posted in the weight room. Chapel service is packed on Sundays. Prayer and fellowship groups each Tuesday are well-attended. It’s not unusual for the front office executives to pray together.

On the field, the Rockies are trying to make the playoffs for the first time in 11 seasons and only the second time in their 14-year history. Behind the scenes, they quietly have become an organization guided by Christianity ” open to other religious beliefs but embracing a Christian-based code of conduct they believe will bring them focus and success.

From ownership on down, it’s an approach the Rockies are proud of ” and something they are wary about publicizing. “We’re nervous, to be honest with you,” Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd says. “It’s the first time we ever talked about these issues publicly. The last thing we want to do is offend anyone because of our beliefs.”

What could possibly be offensive about describing your workforce as “all good Christians?” Unless, of course, you’re pretty confident that you’re doing business in a part of the world where non-Christians don’t exist.

If Simon Jordan Is The Mark Cuban Of The Football League…

Posted in Football at 3:16 pm by

…Charlton had better hope that doesn’t make Iain Dowie their Don Nelson. From the Guardian’s Andrew Fifield.

(please no comments like “Jordan and Dowie in happier times. How happy could one be having to listen to the guy on the left?)

Iain Dowie’s unveiling Tuesday as the head coach of Charlton Athletic descended into farce when he was served with a high court writ by his former employers Crystal Palace for allegedly misrepresenting the reasons for his departure from Selhurst Park.

Dowie had completed 20 minutes of his inaugural press conference at the Valley when he was interrupted by a bailiff representing Fladgate Fielder, the London-based law firm acting on behalf of Palace and their outspoken chairman Simon Jordan. The bailiff tried to serve him with legal documents and was initially prevented from doing so but succeeded later in the afternoon.

Jordan had jokingly said he would “not be very happy” if Dowie subsequently decided to join Palace’s local rivals, but his worst fears were realised yesterday when the 41-year-old signed a three-year contract to take over from Alan Curbishley and also suggested that he was ready to relocate to south London.

Palace’s claim for damages centres on a series of private conversations between Jordan and Dowie just prior to his departure on May 22. Jordan alleged that Dowie lied about his reasons for wanting to end his contract and that Palace consequently waived a £1m compensation settlement which would have applied had he resigned to take over at another club.

“The level of deceit that is being used needs to be in the public domain,” Jordan said. “The sole reason Iain Dowie was released from his contract was because he wanted to go to the north and I was empathetic to the fact that he didn’t see his boys. He also specifically told me that he wasn’t going to Charlton because of his relationship with Palace and the credibility he would lose by doing so.”

Baird Fired, Delicious Frozen Desert Innovator Expired

Posted in Baseball, Food at 3:04 pm by

It’s not that Kansas City’s Allard Baird didn’t have a job for life. But who knew that the lifespan in question would be that of Mister Softee inventor James Conway, Sr.?

From the Kansas City Star’s Bob Dutton.

The Royals fired general manager Allard Baird this morning in anticipation of announcing the hiring of Atlanta assistant Dayton Moore as his replacement.

The club declined official comment regarding the moves, but Baird confirmed he had been fired.

œI was told this morning, he said. œBeyond that, I don™t have anything to say.

Sources say Moore is getting a five-year contract and complete control over baseball operations in a commitment to turn around a franchise that has lost 100 or more games in three of the last four seasons.

Moore, 39, is expected to take control, officially, next week upon completion of baseball™s two-day draft. Sources said assistant general manager Muzzy Jackson will replace Baird on an interim basis.

Almost on cue, the Royals are blowing a chance to Win One For Muzzy. Scott Elarton allowed a first inning 2-run HR to Oakland’s Frank Thomas, and the A’s lead, 2-0.

Because Man (And Woman) Cannot Live By Old “Sportscenter” Ads & Slam Dunk Footage

Posted in Rock Und Roll at 2:25 pm by

Void, at the Wilson Center, July 1, 1983. Thanks to Jesper for the link.

Planet Flips Out In Anticipation Of Rocket’s Return

Posted in Baseball, Sports Radio at 1:12 pm by

(well, that’s another great artist whose CD’s are heading straight for eBay)

How fitting that during a period in which The Sultan Of Surly is almost universally loathed for the 24-and-one environment surrounding his swelled head, the Astros are again prepared to break the bank and every (unwritten) rule about team chemistry to gain the services of Roger Clemens for a final 4 months.

Jayson Stark was on Mike Greenburg and Mike Golic’s ESPN show this morning, opining that Koby Clemens’ (Kobe? Kory? Kruncy? Kasey? Krusty?) presence as an Astros farmhand was the deciding factor. “The Rocket’s tune up starts for Lexington might be the most watched minor league games of the year!” drooled Stark, further suggesting that heads might explode in a Cronenburgian frenzy were we to witness Koby digging in against his Dad during a competitive game.

I mean no disrepect to Stark, whose journalistic chops pretty much kill anything I can offer as a cut and paster. But as someone who watches the odd minor league contest every now and then, I’d like to point out the following :

1) Were Clemens to re-sign with the Astros, it is highly unlikely he’d be pitching against Koby. Not unless the younger Clemens was traded to another team. If Stark misspoke and meant Koby as a battery mate for Roger, perhaps he’s not noticed that Koby has been playing 3B this season.

2) Nothing against Lexington, KY, but Corpus Christi and/or Round Rock are far more likely venues for a trial launch of the Rocket. Particularly as Clemens has a small stake in both clubs.

(KORRECTION KORNER : Lexington, Corpus Christi and Rock Rock are all said to be sites of forthcoming tune-up starts for the Rocket, so I goofed. Stark was not incorrect, though I still don’t get what he meant by father-pitching-to-son.  If Lexington are going to move the recently injured Koby behind the plate after he’s been playing 3rd just for the purpose of forming a father/son battery, why not invite all other available members of the Clemens Klan to fill out the other positions?)

Even Kendra Davis Thought This Was Over The Top

Posted in Basketball at 9:22 am by

Phoenix 106, Dallas 86

(poster sales for Dirk should be through the roof in the Phoenix area this summer)

More coffee, please for the two guys on Sporting News Radio this morning who claimed that comparing Raja Bell’s presence last night to Willis Reed’s inspirational play in the 1970 NBA Finals 7th game against L.A. was “inappropriate”. In what way? While the Suns weren’t facing elimnation last night, does anyone doubt they’d have little chance of advancing were they trailing 3-1?

Wasn’t it Mark Cuban that said rivalries were good for the NBA?

 From the Arizona Republic’s Norm Fraunheim.

Two Phoenix fans filed a complaint against the wife of Dallas Mavericks coach Avery Johnson as the result of a confrontation Tuesday night during Game 4 of the Western Conference finals at US Airways Center.

Rebecca Kettle, 32, and Jose Martinez, 34, alleged misdemeanor assault after they got into an argument with Cassandra Johnson midway through the first quarter of the Mavericks-Suns playoff game, according to arena security.

Kettle and Martinez were escorted out of the arena not long after the incident.

Players on the Dallas bench turned around and looked up into the stands when the argument started. However, Avery Johnson said he wasn’t sure what happened.

“I heard something went on,” he said after the Suns evened the series at two games with a 106-86 victory. “We’ve been in situations before on the road. (Mavericks owner Mark Cuban’s) wife has had problems. My wife. Our president (Terdema Ussery).

“You know, when you’re on the road, you know things happen. People throw stuff at you. So, we’ll see what happens. I haven’t really talked to her, yet.”

The East Valley Tribune’s Mike Tulumello has a few more details including the always welcome allegation of “f-bombs” being levelled.

Sultan Of Surly Sullied By Fat Nick Association

Posted in Racism Corner, The Law at 7:31 am by

I sincerely hope that Tim Kurkjian doesn’t think this victim of racial hatred did anything to bring it upon himself. From the New York Daily News’ Scott Shifrel.

When hate-crime defendant Nicholas (Fat Nick) Minucci clubbed a black man with a baseball bat in Howard Beach last year, “It sounded like Barry Bonds hit a home run,” a former pal told jurors at his trial yesterday.

“Like ‘bing,’ [just] like that!” was how witness Frank Agostini described the sound of Minucci’s aluminum bat slamming against the skull of victim Glenn Moore.

He said Minucci, also 19, swung the bat a second time, again striking Moore, 23, in the head. Moore suffered a fractured skull, but survived the assault.

Then, as they fled the scene, Agostini recalled an angry Minucci saying: “N—-rs want to come to the ‘hood and rob s–t. They learned their lesson.”

Visibly nervous, Agostini avoided eye contact with Minucci and instead sought out his detective father in the back of the courtroom.

Minucci, meanwhile, shot daggers at Agostini, but also busied himself reading a Harvard Law School professor’s treatise on the N-word. He contends he used a variation of the vile slur as a hip-hop friendly greeting to Moore and his pals – and not as a racial slur.

The N-word, along with other profanities, was laced throughout Agostini’s testimony.

Surely Fat Nick’s defense team are aware that Barry Bonds hasn’t used an aluminum bat since his days at ASU?

Minor League Umpiring Strike Ends

Posted in Baseball at 2:56 am by

From the New Britain Herald’s Ken Lipshez.

The Rock Cats were notified early Tuesday that the striking minor league umpires union had ratified a new six-year collective bargaining agreement and will return to work on or before Monday’s game.

The new pact increases salaries by $100 per month and daily meal-money allowance by $3 a day. The union – Association of Minor League Umpires – rejected a similar deal a month ago. Salaries in the Eastern League average out at about $12,000 over the 5½ months of the season, according to the umpires.

Umps had said their salaries previously averaged $15,000 at Triple-A, $12,000 at Double-A, $10,000 in full-season A-ball and $5,500 in rookie leagues.

As part of the new deal, per diems rise $3 to $28 at Triple-A, $25 at Double-A and $23 at Class A. They will rise gradually to $40 at Triple-A in 2011, $35 at Double-A and $30 at Class A.

In the meantime, the incalculable damage done to the careers of Delmon Young and Tim Ireland won’t be redressed.

Life & Death Of A Rip City One-Tracker

Posted in Basketball at 2:49 am by

Jason Cohen forwards the following item from Chicago Tribune’s Sam Smith which ran on Monday :

The Portland Trail Blazers, the NBA’s most repressive regime, appear to be becoming more so with a new media policy that includes tape recording interviews between reporters and players. Not surprisingly, the dysfunctional Blazers already have had to apologize to the Portland Oregonian for getting quotes wrong in their transcript.

Commissioner David Stern, during a media session last week in San Antonio in which no member of his staff thought to record the questions and answers, was asked about Portland’s new policy, unheard of in the NBA, and responded: “I haven’t had the opportunity [to see the policy], but I think they ought to have some discussions with the Chinese government to see if they can align their policies.”

Stern joked he would “love to muzzle everyone in this room and have you print exactly the story that we’d like.” But he added, turning serious, that he was proud of the NBA’s media access, which is a conduit to its fans, and that it disappoints him when one of the teams doesn’t pursue that goal.

Of course, Stern said, “I don’t know all the facts. I read it in a newspaper, which is inherently unreliable.”

Have we got the funniest commissioner, or what?

In a completely unrelated note, Blazers GM John Nash was relieved of his duties yesterday. The Oregonian’s John Canzano figures it’s just as well, as Nash didn’t have nearly enough autonomy.

I asked Nash often about the team’s three-headed management team, and he usually said something like, “This franchise isn’t run unlike a lot of others. This is my job. I’m part of this.” And maybe some of that is true, but anyone who has observed the sociological experiment going on at One Center Court knows there is only one other show like this on Earth.Even that one has a ringleader.

This is one of those days I wish we could call in investigators, tape off the franchise with yellow crime-scene tape, and dust for fingerprints. I suspect we’d find that Nash’s prints would show up sparingly. He overruled scouts and drafted Sebastian Telfair two years ago, for sure. Best we can tell, he pulled the trigger, too, on signing free agents Steve Blake ($1 million salary), Joel Przybilla ($1.6 million) and Juan Dixon ($2.5 million).

That is, he had the juice to make the little moves. And you know, he jabbed with the best of them. But it’s haymakers — the knockout moves, for crying out loud — this franchise needed most during this era. And those were noticeably absent. Someone always stood in the way.


Waechter Lives, Dies By The Splange

Posted in Baseball at 10:31 pm by

Every wonder where new pitching innovations come from? Me neither. Fortunately, Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times is the inquisitive type. (link lifted from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory).

When Doug Waechter was warming up to pitch in Boston on Thursday, he didn’t have a good feel for the split-finger fastball he had debuted in his previous start.

He fidgeted with his grip until it felt comfortable and ended up somewhere between how he holds the ball for a splitter and how he holds it for a changeup, with his index finger on the side of the ball and his middle finger on a seam.

From that, the “splange” was born.

“I just figured I’d compromise. I decided I’d grip it right in between and let it rip,” Waechter said. “I’d never even thought about it before. It was one of those things that just comes to you.”

Waechter figures he threw the “splange” about eight times Thursday, including several to Boston slugger Manny Ramirez, and usually with good results. It isn’t as hard as his fastball, and it dropped dramatically out of the strike zone.

He plans to throw more “splanges” again tonight when he starts against the Orioles. “It worked, so I might as well stick with it,” he said.

Waechter may have invented the pitch, but manager Joe Maddon took credit for the name. Pitching coach Mike Butcher was working the other direction, trying to call it a “chitter,” but Maddon liked the sound of “splange.”

Sadly for the Devil Rays, the spalnge wasn’t working too well on Tuesday night, Waechter’s record falling to 0-4 in a 7-5 loss to Baltimore. Miguel Tejada hit his 14th HR of the season in the O’s 3 run 5th.

As long as Mets fans are allowed to moan endlessly about the price paid for Victor Zambrano, consider the cost of Kris Benson ; Ty Wigginton, 12 HR’s and 39 RBI’s in the season’s first two months. I’m not suggesting for a moment that Wigginton had any long-term future to speak of in New York, but he’s not doing badly considering where he was at a year ago.

Detroit’s Best Team In A Dogfight (With Apologies To The North Shore Animal League)

Posted in Baseball at 10:00 pm by

Yankees 6, Tigers 6 (top of the 11th)

With the Pistons headed for a likely exit and the Red Wings long since adjourned to the golf course, the Tigers’ insane start to ’06 rightfully takes center stage, and tonight’s encounter with the Highlanders hasn’t lacked for drama. Detroit came back from deficits of 5-0 and 6-1, as I-Rod’s remarkable career resurrection continues unabated ; Pudge (3-5, 3 RBI’s) hit a solo HR to left off Aaron Small in the 3rd, and his retrieval of a Fernando Rodney wild pitch in the top of the 9th was a possible game-saver ; Rodney tagged out Robinson Cano at the plate. At first glance, it appeared as though Cano got in under the tag, but replays revealed his left foot popped up slightly just prior to making contact with the dish. For all the occastions in which umpires are slaughtered in this forum and everywhere else, let it be noted that Tim Tschida make a terrific call.

Diamondbacks 7, Mets 2

Nothing like a couple of days in Flushing to make Eric Brynes look like an All-Star. The cause of animal over-population aside (I could go on about Chris Cotter all night), there’s not much to say here. Miguel Batista pitched a decent game for the Snakes (CG, 9 hits, 2 earned runs, a solo HR allowed to Jose Valentin), Conor Jackson should’ve already rendered Tony Clark someone else’s first baseman, Alay Soler was horrible, Darren Oliver just fine in relief….and Lastings Milledge (above) not only had a double in his 3rd big league at bat, but he’s got a huge gold crucifix that’s sure to create serious glare problems on a summer day.

CSTB’s Greatest Hits : Mets’ Promo Dept. In The Doghouse

Posted in Baseball, Dogs at 7:10 pm by

Though the big story for most is Lastings Milledge making his big league debut against the Snakes, the duo of Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez have reminded us that this evening marks the New York Mets’ 2nd Annual Dog Day (night?) at Shea Stadium, with a portion of the proceeds to benefit the North Shore Animal League.

The following item appeared on CSTB last August 18.

(they don’t care where the money is going…though perhaps they should)

On the surface, the New York Mets’ announcement that tomorrow night (Saturday, 8/20) is “Dog Day In The Park” at Shea, seems like fun-fun-fun for everyone. Canine fans of Jose Offerman, Gerald Williams and Braden Looper, can accompany their human guardians to Shea’s Picnic Area, where free Snausages will be offered to the dogs (Looper, however, has to buy his own).

There’s just one catch, however. Some of the proceeds from this event are being given to Port Washington, NY’s North Shore Animal League, the venerable non-profit organization that touts themselves as “the world’s largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption center.”

CSTB has tried over the past several days to find out a little more about NSAL. Remarkably, very few persons in the tri-state area’s animal rescue and/or animal rights community were willing to speak on the record, one woman citing NSAL’s alleged “$50 million war chest against litigation”.

John Contino (above) of New York’s Mighty Mutts, however, did not mince words in his characterization of NSAL :

“If i didn’t pick up a thousand animals with a NSAL tag on it, I didn’t pick up one. They simply don’t care who they adopt to. “

They claim that they’ve placed over 33,000 animals a year in homes…that they refuse 3 out of every 10 applications.” Contino, by contrast, says he approves adoption requests by fewer than 10 percent of those wishing to take home a rescue dog.

Then again, Contino doesn’t have a massive fund-raising apparatus to maintain, nor could an individual animal lover have anything whatsoever to gain by bringing thousands upon thousands of stray puppies and kittens into the NYC area and leaving other rescue organizations to deal with the aftermath of unwanted, unspayed or unneutered pets who’ve been abandoned.

I adopted a cat from NSAL in 1985. The process was slightly less arduous than buying a pack of gum.

Said Contino earlier today, “…if they (NSAL) were put out of business, New York City would be a better place.”

Vescey, D’Antoni Shoot The Messenger, Shit All Over The Message

Posted in Basketball at 6:41 pm by

So much for that Shawn Marion-to-Chicago rumor (one that was picked up by San Diego’s XEPRS today — hey, they’ve got the internet on computers)

From the New York Post’s Peter Vescey :

Despite how often Mike D’Antoni mocks reports that the Suns would entertain trading Shawn Marion this summer to Chicago or anywhere else, clueless reporters continue the stupid speculation.

“I don’t blame the Bulls or any team for wanting Shawn,” the Suns coach stated last week to a roomful of Phoenix media. “But how would we replace everything he does for us? It makes no sense whatsoever, especially with Amare coming off two surgeries!”

The Boston Herald’s Mark Murphy allows the Celtics’ Danny Ainge to take a bite out of the private-workout scene.

Depending on who is talking, University of Texas all-around center LaMarcus Aldridge and perimeter-oriented Italian big man Andrea Bargnani have the inside track on the top pick, held by Toronto.

Mark Bartlestein insists that his client, Adam Morrison, is the top guy. Tyrus Thomas, the raw LSU freshman forward, has passed through this territory. His agents, Brian Elfus and Mike Siegel, withdrew their invitation to a Thomas workout from the representative of one mock draft purveyor for pairing their athlete with the Celtics at pick No. 7.

But these agent-governed workouts appear to be increasing. Elfus and Siegel, who have yet to send their client on any individual team workouts – much less allow him to work out against another player – have indicated that their client will only work out for the top three teams.

It™s a good thing that in the event Thomas does indeed fall into the Celtics™ lap, Ainge already knows enough to make a decision.

œSometimes workouts can be tiebreakers, he said. œBut what™s becoming more and more bogus is that the agents are putting in more and more restrictions. Guys with late first-rounders want their guys to work out against guys (projected for) the lottery, and guys in the lottery don™t want to work out against guys who are expected to go lower.

œThere are guys you really want to see and a secondary group of guys you want to see if they hold up. But it™s a big thing trying to convince the agents that we™re serious about their guys. It™s gotten worse, but we™re prepared.

I don’t know what you were listening to several years ago, but those guys in Bristol were down with LCD Soundsystem a long time ago. (link ripped off from Basketbawful)

Dodgers Active Gagne, Reliever To Stay Inactive

Posted in Baseball at 5:38 pm by

Following a successful rehab stint with the PCL’s Las Vegas 51′s, Dodgers closer Eric Gagne has been moved from the disabled list. Since Gagne never served his two game suspension from 2005 — a ban related to his being on the Dodgers bench while on the DL — today’s move enables the Canadian to do the time while there’s no chance he’d be used before Thursday. Dodger Thoughts’ Jon Wiseman says this renders MLB’s punishment “meaningless”. Personally, I think A.J. Pierzynski should get a couple of days on top of this, just for living on the same continent as Gagne.

A day after Steve Henson hinted the Dodgers might be interested in DC’s Alfonso Soriano, Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal proposes Tampa Bay LF Carl Crawford as a likely target of Ned Colletti.

Rival clubs can do the math: The pending return of center fielder Rocco Baldelli from the disabled list will give the Rays five legitimate outfielders in the majors or at Triple-A.Baldelli, Crawford and Joey Gathright all are 25 or under.

Triple-A outfielder Elijah Dukes, one of the game’s most underrated prospects, ranks fourth in the International League in on-base/slugging percentage.

And Delmon Young, one of the best hitters in the minors, will return on June 19 from his 50-game suspension by the I.L. for throwing a bat that hit a replacement umpire in the chest.

By the off-season, at the latest, the Rays figure to entertain offers for at least one of those outfielders in their quest to stockpile young pitching.

Continuing on the Southern California tip, I’m happy to share the following :

1) Despite the noble efforts of neighborhood moralists, Reseda’s Frisky Kitty “has nine lives.”
2) Despite the passage of time, Kiss’ “I Was Made For Loving You” still occupies a prominent place on the jukebox at Barney’s Beanery.

Mets Promote Milledge, Place Nady On The DL

Posted in Baseball at 4:11 pm by

From MLB.com :

The New York Mets today placed outfielder Xavier Nady on the 15-Day Disabled List and recalled outfielder Lastings Milledge (above) from Norfolk (AAA) of the International League.

Nady underwent an appendectomy this morning at approximately 5:30 a.m. at New York Presbyterian Hospital. Xavier should be able to resume baseball activities in 7-10 days.

Clearly, the Mets have no interest in winning the International League this year.

In all seriousness, with Cliff Floyd suddenly coming alive over the past two weeks and Jose Valentin saving what’s left of his career, who’d have imagined Xavier Nady — drilled in the ribs last night  — would suddenly make way for Milledge?

Stephon Yearns For An MSG Urn

Posted in Basketball at 4:01 pm by

…and presumably, Larry Brown would settle for his death. From the New York Post’s Marc Berman. (link courtesy Jon Solomon)

While Knicks captain Stephon Marbury declined to discuss the ongoing Larry Brown saga, the star point guard from Coney Island was very clear about his own future, saying he wants to “die a Knick.”

“I want to be a Knick, I want to die a Knick,” Marbury told The Post in an exclusive Memorial-Day interview.

“If I ever was to be cremated, I’d want my ashes sprinkled on top of the Garden.”

“Playing here has always been my dream,” Marbury added. “I want to be in New York more than any place.”

He believes the current roster is playoff material, tons better than 23-59.

“I hope that every player on this team comes back next season,” Marbury said.

“I honestly mean that. Every player. I think we have a great team. I think it will be so much different next year.”

Replies Jon, “if the entire team returns, Marbury’s chances of dying a Knick should go up (as I assume Tommy Hoops will kill him.)”

Davidoff : Clemens Signs With Houston

Posted in Baseball at 3:54 pm by

(The Rocket, realizing that you can buy a lot of eye black and hair frost for $10 million)

From Newsday’s Ken Davidoff : (link courtesy Maura Johnston)

Roger Clemens is making yet another comeback with the Houston Astros, Newsday has learned. An announcement is expected as soon as today.

Clemens, 43, has signed a one-year deal that is believed to be worth about $3.5 million per month, which will probably equate to about $10.5 million for the season, depending on when exactly he returns to action.

(UPDATE : quoted by ESPN.com, Astros GM Tim Purpura has denied the Newsday report, claiming the situation is “status quo”. And who amongst us doesn’t love Status Quo?)

Theisman Goes Off On Ricky

Posted in Gridiron, Sports Radio at 11:44 am by

I suspect Cathy Lee Crosby might have something to say about about her ex’s degree of self-righteous outrage.

Still, it’s kind of sweet that Joe is “embarrassed right now to be a Toronto Argonaut,” (as opposed to say, a long retired player who is currently employed by the Walt Disney Company). How dare Ricky Williams tarnish the reputation of a club once owned by Bruce McNall!

Boras : Twins’ Treatment Of Lohse Is Lousy

Posted in Baseball at 9:17 am by

Though this is an instance where I don’t think the agent is doing his client any favors, I’m also surprised Kyle Lohse hasn’t been traded already. From the St. Paul Pioneer Press’s Gordon Wittenmyer.

As Kyle Lohse prepared to make his third start since his demotion to the minor leagues, his agent, Scott Boras, said Monday his client should be in the majors and suggested he would rather have the Twins trade him sooner than later if they don’t plan to bring him back.

“We know there’s a lot of teams interested in him,” Boras said from his dugout suite at Angels Stadium before Monday night’s game. “We’ve been told the Twins want a lot for him. Our frustration is that Kyle’s a major league pitcher; the Minnesota Twins know that, and we know that.”

Boras stopped short of saying he and Lohse have asked for a trade. “Terry Ryan runs the team. I don’t,” he said. “I’m not going to tell teams how to do their business.”

Lohse pitched his second complete game in three starts for Class AAA Rochester on Monday night but lost 3-1 to Toledo. He gave up two earned runs on four hits and two walks while striking out three. He is 1-1 with a 1.42 earned-run average in his 19 innings (the game he didn’t complete he left after four scoreless innings because of a lengthy rain delay).

He was 2-4 with an 8.92 ERA in eight starts for the Twins before being demoted.

Boras said he has been told at least six teams have been asked for top prospects in trade talks with the Twins.

The Dodgers’ Brad Penny was pissed off yesterday after being yanked against the Braves (a game won by LA, 12-5) and Dodger Thoughts’ Jon Wiseman would like the pitcher to put a sock in it.

The thing with Penny is this. With a seven-run lead, his job is to throw the ball over the plate. Thus, the first few hits that get smacked off him are excusable. Not desirable, but excusable. But after a certain point, Penny has to bear down and pitch. He might not have felt he reached that point until the Betemit hit – and then was disappointed to have (in his point of view) the grass pulled out from under him.

I apologize for tooting my own horn, but I think I was onto something when I warned the rest of you there was a scientific explanation for Jose Valentin’s sudden turnaround.

Surf’s up : Monday’s least convincing internet hoax. On a related note, Lastings Milledge was 3 for 6 yesterday in Norfolk’s 11-1 beating of Pawtucket, with a double and 3 RBI’s. Ewan McLane ran his record to 4-0, and lowered his ERA to 1.93 with 7 innings of one-run ball. Former Met / archery enthusiast / New Weird America figurehead Matt Ginter took the loss for the PawSox.

Describing the owners of Chicago’s sports franchises as “about as hip and 21st century as Engelbert Humperdinck” and stressing that Mark Cuban “likes rap music”, the Sun-Times’ maestro of mascara, Jay Mariotti would like to see the Dallas Mavericks owner with a boner purchase the Chicago Cubs.

Clearly, I am not the only one who has pondered the notion of this middle-aged frat guy — and the most successful of the new breed of sports owners — rescuing the Cubs from themselves. “Please ask Cubs fans to stop sending me e-mails asking me to buy the team,” Cuban wrote. “Between Chicago, Pittsburgh and K.C., it’s killing my inbox.”

The Doctor, Nearly Decapitated

Posted in Basketball at 12:03 am by

(link swiped from Supersonicsoul)


Bulls Ready To Trade Down?

Posted in Basketball at 10:03 pm by

Not only can the New York Knicks spend the summer regretting the Eddy Curry trade that cost them June’s no. 2 overall pick, there’s also a chance that said selection might’ve been enough to acquire Shawn Marion writes the Daily Herald’s Mike McGraw.

There is talk around the NBA that the Phoenix Suns may be willing to move Marion this summer. At first glance, the idea seems absurd, since the 28-year-old forward is coming off consecutive third-team all-NBA honors.

But here™s the theory: The Suns™ payroll is already close to $60 million for next season, just below luxury-tax threshold. The team also has a new owner, Robert Sarver, who paid a high price to gain control from the Colangelo family.

The Suns expect to have Amare Stoudemire back from a knee injury next year, and they found a capable small forward in Boris Diaw, who won the most-improved-player award and hit the winning shot against Dallas in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.

Marion is owed about $48.5 million over the next three years, so the Suns might be willing to make a trade if they can get a big man in return and lose a few million in salary. Trimming the payroll would help Phoenix re-sign Diaw and guard Leandro Barbosa, who are eligible for extensions.

The Bulls could send their two first-round draft picks to Phoenix for Marion, which would give the Suns a shot at LaMarcus Aldridge or Tyrus Thomas with the No. 2 selection and also lower their payroll by about $10 million.

Would the Suns be interested in such a deal? Hard to say, but former Phoenix general manager Bryan Colangelo is sitting in Toronto with the No. 1 pick and might jump on the same trade if it™s available.

The Association’s Brett Edwards seems to be suggesting that Larry Hughes is done mourning. Hey, life goes on.

To borrow a popular phrase from a prior generation, No Justice, No Peace.

(Flash — closing in on his first Finals)

Rasheed Wallace just fouled out with 3:30 remaining and the Pistons trailing the Heat by 11. There’s a pretty huge disparity in free throws tonight but the Pistons — one or two calls aside — aren’t being jobbed. One of these teams has been playing a smart, well executed game, and it isn’t the squad coached by Flip Saunders.

The Albert Pujols Question

Posted in Baseball at 8:18 pm by

I can understand how it might be a wonderous distraction for MLB from all the sleazy Sultan talk if Albert Pujols were to break Barry Bonds’ single season HR mark…but what’s it gonna look like if Pujols cracks 80 by September 1? The Cards’ 1B hit a 3 run HR off Houston’s Chad Qualls today, providing all the offense St. Louis required in a 3-0 defeat of the Astros, as a strong effort by Roy Oswalt (6 IP, 0 runs, 7 hits, 5 K’s) was squandered.

Short of intentionally injuring Pujols and/or mixing up his urine sample with that of Abraham Nunez, I don’t know you can defend against him. Not only is pitching around him adviseable, but if Pujols came to bat with the winning run on third and the bases loaded, I’d seriously consider walking him intentionally, just to preserve a little dignity.

Both starters have been removed due to injury in Philly tonight ; Jon Lieber leaving early with a strained groinoid, and the Nats’ Mike O’Connor taking a bullet off his shin. The Phillies have just taken a 5-2 lead, as Ryan Howard has hit his 18th HR of the year off Gary Majewski, a 3 run shot to the front row of the left field seats. Howard’s had a ridiculous May, as has teammate Chase Utley.

The Mets’ 4-1 2nd inning lead over the Snakes is in peril of being washed away ; if only the rains had come before Howie Rose expounded at length regarding a supposedly snazzy pink shirt David Wright was wearing yesterday. Rose, perhaps trying to send a message of some sort to friends and family, hoped that Wright’s bravery in wearing such a garment in public would give others the resolve to do likewise.

In what can only be described as a total coincidence, SNY segued from live action to an episode of a Rain Delay Theatre feature in which “Sopranos” star Joe Gannascoli expressed his admiration for the Mets’ rugged third baseman.