Pedro Challenges Definition Of “Losing Pitcher”

Posted in Baseball at 1:23 pm by

I’d hate to think that Pedro Martinez is getting a little prickly about the lack of run support the Mets have provided him over the past month, but perhaps he’s just kidding around.  From the New York Daily News’ Adam Rubin.

After the last-place Marlins beat the Mets, 5-1, handing the ace his first defeat of 2006, Martinez delivered a monologue during which he pronounced himself a winner – even though he allowed the go-ahead run to score in the seventh and the Marlins tacked on three runs an inning later against reliever Duaner Sanchez.

“Did I lose? Are you sure I lost?” Martinez asked. “I didn’t lose today. I went out to win and I finished the game as a winner. . . .

“You want me to translate that?”

Invited to go on, Martinez added: “I just did what I was supposed to do for our team to win. The fact that it didn’t come out, they were just a little bit better than we were. But I did what I was supposed to do to give my team a chance to win. So I was a winner today again.”

After taking Friday night off due to back spasms, David Wright is back in the Mets lineup today, and he’s 2 for 2 with a single and a two-out RBI double in the 3rd inning, scoring Chris Woodward.  C Ramon Castro has homered off Dontrelle Willis in the top of the 4th, and Tom Glavine has retired all 9 batter he’s faced, as the Mets lead the Fish, 2-0.

Steele Showers Praise On Bawling Robbie

Posted in Baseball at 12:55 pm by

Calling Frank Robinson, “a man who respects the game and its players as much as anyone who has ever suited up in the majors,” The Baltimore Sun’s David Steele, though impressed by the Nats manager getting teary while discussing Matt LeCroy’s Adventures In Catching, isn’t surprised.

It would stand to reason that when Robinson had to make the exceedingly rare change of a position player, particularly a catcher, in mid-inning, he would truly be empathetic to LeCroy, sympathetic to his feelings, and deeply concerned about how it would reflect on the player, on him and on the organization.

With all of that in mind, how coldhearted would a manager be if he didn’t shed a tear while explaining it publicly.

Most managers in Robinson’s position would have pulled an Adam Morrison long ago – or would have been gone, figuring a major league manager’s job wasn’t worth this.

Instead, Robinson has stuck around, and now weeps for his players.

They, and all of us, should be weeping for him.

Though The Blue Jays prospered with Troy Glaus playing shortstop last night against Chicago, the Toronto Star’s Richard Griffin claims the gambit “smacked of a little bit of desperation and lack of foresight.”

Yes, Ted Lilly was pitching and Lilly is a fly-ball pitcher. Yes, Lilly has allowed 10 earned runs in 11 2/3 innings over his last three starts and an extra bat in the lineup was probably more important than an extra glove.

But the Jays knew for a week that the fly-ball guy, Lilly, was pitching last night. If they wanted a bat and were not worried about the glove at short, why not keep Russ Adams around until today and then ship him out, instead of risking a Glaus injury in an unfamiliar position?

In describing the significance of the out-of-position start for the former World Series MVP, GM J.P. Ricciardi said, “Troy is the Ultimate Warrior.” Let’s see. In terms of WWE equivalency, does that make Bengie Molina The Big Show?

While the Cubs can ruminate over Ryan Dempster and Neifi Perez’ conspiracy to hand yesterday’s game to the Braves, the Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rogers has some advice for how catcher Michael Barrett can spend his 10 day suspension for punching A.J. Pierzynski.

I would recommend: A) Therapy, B) Neurological exams, or C) A retreat to a quiet Caribbean island. It is clear the Cubs’ starting catcher isn’t thinking clearly, which won’t help them get their season turned around.

Since popping his cork at home plate, Barrett has tried to rationalize his behavior with explanations that have made him seem increasingly deluded. He initially said it appeared Pierzynski was walking at him, even though Pierzynski’s explanation about wanting to retrieve his batting helmet seems totally plausible.

Pierzynski wasn’t just happy after foiling Barrett’s attempt to block the plate. He was delighted. He wasn’t looking for trouble. But the more Barrett talked, the sillier his explanations sounded.

“Like I said, I don’t like hitting another grown man, but something had to be done there in my opinion,” Barrett said, adding that he probably should have just pushed Pierzynski away.

Yes, that would have been better. But Barrett’s brain apparently isn’t wired that way.

This afternoon at Wrigley, the Cubs manufactured a run after a Juan Pierre infield single, as Chicago leads Atlanta, 1-0.

Keith Foulke, Fenway Faithful Exchange Pleasantries

Posted in Baseball at 11:22 am by

A typically giddy postscript to last night’s Red Sox win over the Devil Rays from the Boston Herald’s Tony Massarotti.

Keith Foulke was descending the dugout steps after allowing a home run to Carl Crawford when he apparently was heckled by a fan sitting directly behind the Sox dugout. The pitcher backed up slightly and exchanged words with the fan before entering the dugout, where television cameras caught him firing his glove in frustration.

The scene was somewhat reminiscent of an occasion several years ago when then-Sox pitcher Frank Castillo was similarly the target of pointed remarks after leaving the game. Castillo revealed later that a fan suggested he kill himself.

I have no reason to doubt the veracity of Massarotti’s reportage, but something doesn’t add up. Why would a fan tell Keith Foulke that Frank Castillo should kill himself?

Saying “It’s nice to get medicine three months after your diagnosis,”, Mono isn’t just one of Paul Westerberg’s better solo albums for the Angels’ Casey Kotchman (above), who kvetches to the LA Times’ Bill Shaikin.

Kotchman, the Angels’ starting first baseman, batted .421 in spring training but .152 through May 9, when the team put him on the disabled list. In the interim, he said, he received intravenous fluids three times a week and used a hyperbaric chamber in what he called “individual efforts to help myself, because I wasn’t getting it here.”

He said he kept team trainers informed of those treatments. He also said he believed the Angels did not send him to specialists because he appeared to play well enough while tolerating the illness.

During the last two weeks, Kotchman said, he had 10 doctor’s appointments, including visits to a cardiologist and an infectious-disease specialist, who prescribed the medication that he said has eased his fatigue and dizziness. He has yet to resume baseball activities, as he concentrates on regaining his strength. He expects to return this season, but he isn’t sure when ” or why his recovery should have taken so long.

“I’m just now seeing a specialist. They’re the ones who told me I had mono,” he said. “You guys make your own [conclusions]¦. If you wait to treat something, it might take longer, and you might have relapses.

“I just want to get my health back. My quality of life has been brutal.”

Dutton : Royals Offer GM Job To Braves’ Moore

Posted in Baseball at 11:08 am by

(even the opposition can’t help celebrating Derek Jeter’s 2000th hit)

As you’d expect, K.C. putting an end to their 13 game losing streak last night against the Yankees wasn’t enough to save Allen Baird’s neck. From the Kansas City Star’s Bob Dutton.

The Royals have offered the job of general manager to Braves assistant Dayton Moore but are ready to move on to other candidates if the two sides can™t reach agreement by this weekend.

The only major hang-up to an agreement, multiple sources have told The Star, is Moore™s demand that he receive written assurance of complete control over personnel matters from club owner David Glass.

If that proves to be a deal-breaker, the Royals appear ready to move into negotiations with former Phillies general manager Ed Wade and/or former Tigers and Padres general manager Randy Smith.

Neither Glass nor Moore could be reached for comment.

The negotiations have been ongoing even as Allard Baird continues to serve as the club™s general manager.

A mere 6 days after the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Bob Smizik declared of the 2006 Pirates, “Maybe It’s Time To Blame The Players”, manager Jim Tracy has decided that uh, maybe it’s time to blame the players. From the Post-Gazette’s Chuck Finder.

“When you’re getting photo-finished every day, there are ways and means of getting past that,” the first-year manager said before the Pirates played Houston in the opener of a 10-game homestand.

Nosing opponents at the wire hasn’t been part of his stable’s capabilities, what with three of his team’s past four losses and 14 of its past 18 coming by one run. Using a football metaphor as well as horse-racing parlance, Tracy added that it isn’t as if the Pirates are losing all these games by a touchdown. Coincidentally, through 47 games, the Pirates have scored 47 fewer runs than the competition — an average of a one-run loss per game.

Saying he doesn’t hit, field, throw or catch, Tracy laid the club’s National League worst record squarely at the players’ feet.

“Every … little … aspect of the game has to be important to you if you’re going to change the culture,” Tracy said slowly for emphasis.

There was no photo finish at PNC last night, as the Pirates jumped all over the Astros’ Taylor Buchholtz, winning 12-5 as Jason Bay (above) homered in his fourth consecutive game. Having dropped four in a row, Houston will send Wandy Rodriguez to the hill this evening.

Baylor and Texas Tech are tied at 1 after four innings in the Big 12 Tournament. To say the game  is sparsely attended would be a bit of an understatement — I think there are more people watching it on TV here at Chez CSTB.  I’m also fairly certain a couple of guys sitting in the grandstand along the first base line are conducting a drug deal of some sort.

Indie Scribe Suggests Victoria Beckham Is A Moron…

Posted in Football, Sports TV at 9:35 am by

…a stance almost as bold as declaring Child Abuse Is Wrong.  From the Independent’s Chris Maume.

The most remarkable moment of the sporting week wasn’t 16 England footballers getting through an entire game close to the World Cup without a single broken metatarsal (just one imploding groin); it wasn’t even those damned Sri Lankan tail-enders securing a draw in the first Test at Lord’s last Monday. It was Posh Spice quoting Nietzsche.

This moment to savour came in yet another film about Mr Posh (David Beckham: A Footballer’s Story, ITV1, Tuesday). They were driving home after a Real Madrid game and he was talking about the travails and vicissitudes of celebrity (no, he didn’t actually use those words), when Mrs Posh piped up from the back. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” she told hubby, adding her own rider: “It’s nearly killed you a few times.”

Not even old Wilhelm Friedrich himself would have made such an imaginative leap ( but then he did die from syphilis, or a brain tumour, depending on who you believe). But what’s next from Philosopher Spice? “God is dead – but Prada lives”? “Whereof we cannot speak thereof we must pass over in silence – so I ain’t never gonna say nuffink else about Jordan, Jodie or Sir Alex bloody Ferguson”? “Man is born free, but everywhere he is in Gucci loafers”? Answers on the back of a microdot, please.


Peter King Unleashes His Inner Mushnick…

Posted in Blogged Down, Free Expression at 10:27 pm by

(and it looks like an oil can!)

…and Joey at Straight Bangin’ puts the hammer down.

you’re the prude of the week. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it. Tell Mary Beth and Laura (his daughters) that they shouldn’t be watching it. Don’t tell us what should or shouldn’t be on television. And keep those opinions to yourself. No one likes thinking that their football news comes from a guy who apparently wishes that Heidi were shown in primetime every night when Big Papi isn’t available. (And you live in New Jersey; what’s with the New England dick riding?! It all seems so self-consciously reactionary, and that’s lame.)

On a completely unrelated aside, to my good friends at TNT, if “sometimes the hardest life to save is your own,” that makes it sound like being a paramedic is a breeze. Let’s see 40 minutes plus commercials about a guy who has to save his own life every week.

Guttormson’s No-No

Posted in Baseball at 9:42 pm by

American Rick Guttormson, formerly a Mariners prospect who earned 25 saves for the Texas League’s San Antonio Missions in ’04, pitched a no-hitter for Yakult yesterday, as the Swallows beat the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, 6-0.

Guttormson, an alumni of the indie Can-Am League, struck out 9 and walked none in a 139 pitch performance.

The above link, taken from the Daily Yomiuri, was culled from Bob Timmerman’s consistently entertaining The Griddle. Mulling the Royals’ draft plans, Timmerman writes,

Whichever young man gets drafted by the Royals, I am certain that in a matter of weeks, he will meet some misfortune. I’m betting on a dirigble accident. My second favorite is someone contracting one of those diseases that only turn up on “House.”

In light of the Mets’ inability to provide Pedro Martinez with much run support in tonight’s shoddy 5-1 loss to Florida, I do regret sneering at the Cubs’ recent failures against Joe Girardi’s young charges. That said, I think the Fish’s TV schmoes are overstating things just a tad when they declare that Mets fans are “having second thoughts” about having traded away Mike Jacobs.

At Fenway tonight
, the Sultan of Sloth took a Travis Lee line drive off his right knee during the 5th inning and had to be helped off the field. No word yet on the condition of those who helped David Wells off the field, but our thoughts go out to them.

Troy Glaus started a game at shortstop for the first time in his big league career, and handled all of three chances. He also hit his 14th homer of the season, a solo shot off Freddy Garcia, as the Blue Jays defeated the White Sox, 8-2. Lyle Overbay and Alex Rios had 3 hits apiece, the latter hitting his 10th HR of ’06 off Garcia.

Please Forgive My Skepticism…

Posted in Food at 8:35 pm by

…but the following item, supplied by Paul Sommerstein, might not be on the level.

From WCPO.com :

A Cincinnati man who claims he’s a vampire is planning to protest a new fast food sandwich made with garlic.

The man says White Castle has “angered the undead” with its new garlic cheese sandwich.

He plans to picket the Queensgate White Castle location on Sunday.

9News got this information from a media release sent by a public relations firm.

Run To The Hills : Shawne Williams Prepares For The Big Time

Posted in Basketball at 6:58 pm by

The Memphis Commercial Appeal’s Gary Parish catches up with 2006′s Conference USA Freshman Of The Year, F Shawne Williams (Memphis), currently engaged in private workouts with prospective NBA employers.

Parish makes mention of Williams’ enrollment at the $20,000-a-week Athletes’ Performance facility, along with his recent hookup with the Immortal agency.

Omitted from the story, however, is the hotter-than-hot factoid that Williams might become the first NBA Lottery Pick whose agent got into a fistfight with Iron Maiden’s manager.

The New York Post’s Peter Vescey, not at all resentful that someone else has a national television gig, takes aim at Scottie Pippen.

Last week Pippen demonstrated an urgent need for a cane for his brain. Hopelessly removed from reality, he questioned Nash’s MVP credentials, claiming three sub-par games against the Clippers, exposed him as unworthy of the award.

I hadn’t heard anything so unintelligent since the last time Sir Cumference opened his mouth and brayed on TNT.

Just wait until Stephen A. Material finds out Pippen has stolen his best blather.

In a previous segment, Pippen declared LeBron James better than Michael Jordan . . . at an equivalent age, I assume, maybe not. I’m actually down with that similar age premise. But, for most, comparing Kobe Bryant or James to His Airness is a stone sacrilege.

A source claims Pippen was asked off camera if he was for real? Ahem, or just looking to stir things up?

“Not only am I serious about LeBron being better,” Pippen blithered, “I believe I was better than Michael.”

Which was more amazing last night, Miami’s wild, close-but-no-cigar comeback or the performance of their venerable Sixth Man?

Post’s Greenburg : Mets Require Kaz-tration

Posted in Baseball at 6:20 pm by

After a day in which Mike Francesca — while crediting the former Seibu Lion for some nice play in the field — repeatedly reminded WFAN listeners that Kaz Matsui had “done nothing” at the plate this season, the New York Post’s Jay Greenberg jumps on the anti-Kaz bandwagon.

It’s good to again have options. One would be nice at second base, too, even if Cliff Floyd, who had another two hits yesterday, is really finding himself, reducing some need for Matsui to hit to even his disappointing .265 average of his first two Mets seasons.

So far, the Mets are only middle-of-the-pack in the National League in runs, hits and RBIs. Currently, the 8-hole is a black hole where Nady hits go to die.

With about $5 million yet to sift thought the hourglass marking one of the smaller bangs-for-the-bucks the Mets have ever received, what choice does Randolph have but to be positive?

“[Matsui] is not a very patient hitter but he’ll find some holes like any hitter.” said the manager. “He’ll pick it up in the next couple of days.”

A hush fell over the room.

“He’ll hit,” repeated Randolph. “He’ll be alright.”

Yeah? Wasn’t that said about Doug Mientkiewicz?

Sportsnet NY is reporting that Jeremi Gonzalez has been traded to the Brewers in exchange for left-handed reliever Mike Adams.

Wilpon-TV is also the bearer of the sad news that Mets 3B David Wright, suffering from back spasms, has been scratched from the lineup tonight against the Marlins. I don’t know much about back spasms, but they ought to put some disinfectant on that scratch.

In the wake of Neifi Perez’ crummy day, the Cubs have called up Tony Womack from Iowa.

For the time being, the Pacific Coast League record of 27 1/3 scoreless innings will remain a mark shared by Jered Weaver and Kevin Gregg. The former (above) was promoted from Salt Lake to Anaheim earlier today. Weaver is expected to make his big league debut tomorrow against Baltimore.

The Marlins have acquired OF Cody Ross from the Reds.  Never let it be said that Jeffrey Loria isn’t willing to do what it takes to field a contender.

Best : Russo & Francesca, “Not Half Bad” In Mets Play-By-Play Debut

Posted in Baseball, Sports Radio at 5:36 pm by

Not only does Newsday’s Neil Best reveal himself to be the Anti-Raissman in crediting Michael Kay for his “juggling act” handling both an ESPN chat show and calling Yankee games for the YES Network, he has a higher opinon of Chris Russo and Mike Francesca’s afternoon calling the Mets on WFAN than most CSTB readers.

Russo had predicted that critics would write about the event only if he and Francesa bombed. Which means, once again, he’s wrong.

Turns out the boys weren’t half bad, much more so in the innings when Russo handled the play-by-play and Francesa the analysis.

They played it mostly straight, focusing on action with minimal shtick. Three times Russo got to use his home run call, “This one is gone!” They talked strategy. They were well versed in each team’s personnel. They were more willing to be bluntly critical than home-team announcers ever are.

“All in all, I thought they did a really good job,” Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said on WFAN. (John McEnroe and Bill Parcells called in with less kind critiques.)

At times Russo forgot that as a radio voice, he had to describe everything. And there was his trademark, um, creativity with language, such as when he encouraged Jose Reyes to take a strike, then said, “And he does! And it’s a ball!”

There was some inevitable self-congratulation from two guys with healthy egos, and listening to them read endless commercials was just plain weird.

Funnily enough, I thought they did just fine with the endless commercials (of which there are more than a few during their usual afternoon gig).

Schmuck Recalculates The Value Of Jorge Julio

Posted in Baseball at 5:02 pm by

The Baltimore Sun’s Peter Schmuck takes note of Jorge Julio’s latest change of address.

Somebody is going to have to explain this to me. I thought that Jorge Julio was one of the biggest busts in recent Orioles history, yet he has been traded (twice) over the past five months for the top draft choice of 1996, baseball’s self-proclaimed sexiest wife and one of the best postseason pitchers of this generation.

That’s right. The Orioles got Kris and Anna Benson in the deal that sent Julio to the New York Mets and the Mets just got Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez from the Arizona Diamondbacks. In each case, the team getting Julio and his 98-mph fastball was hoping to catch lightning in a bottle. I guess that all depends on how you define lightning.

Just a hunch, but I’m guessing that Hernandez helps in the fourth slot in the Mets’ rotation and Julio will be playing for his fourth major league team next year.

The International League suspended Durham manager John Tamargo for 10 games yesterday, following an incident last Sunday in which Tamargo bumped the first base umpire in a 1-0 win over Charlotte. The IL’s decision comes on the heels of Delmon Young’s 50 game suspension and the PCL suspending Oklahoma City’s Tim Ireland for 10 games (Ireland was subsequently fired by the Rangers).

If the minor league governing bodies want to continue to insist the quality of the replacement umpiring isn’t having an impact on the game, they might want to consider opening secret prisons overseas to house anyone with a dissenting point of view.

Going Loony Over The Foot Of Wayne Rooney

Posted in Football at 4:32 pm by

Will England’s Wayne Rooney be ready for the World Cup?  That’s a question that seems to occupy the thoughts of royalty and working stiffs alike, according to the Guardian’s Paul Doyle and Barry Glendenning.

Tax-sponging British anachronism Queen Elizabeth II today fell victim to a cruel hoax perpetrated by Sky Sports News, the satellite television channel owned by the power-mad Aussie who rules much of the figurehead’s former empire. The crown-wearing 80-year-old awoke this morning to discover her nation’s great World Cup hope, Robert Green, was set to miss the entire tournament through injury, and was then rocked by a further setback around noon, when Sky pranksters issued a newsflash claiming portly striker Wayne Rooney would be out of action for six more weeks, meaning he’d play about as much part in the World Cup as Gordon Brown.

Freely-spouted hearsay suggests Buckingham Palace spooks quickly rumbled Sky’s game, and within minutes visibly chastened newscaster Mike Wedderburn returned to air to admit the station had goofed. The truth, it emerged amid much sweaty backtracking, was that a scan on Rooney found the youngster can resume full training six weeks FROM THE MOMENT HE FRACTURED HIS FOOT. That means he could be fit at lunchtime on June 14, when a further scan should confirm his availability for England’s final match, against Sweden on June 20.

The only snag is that the scan will be done in Manchester, lair of belligerent Glaswegian Sir Fergie. However, the feisty knight made a rare swear-free public utterance today to scotch suggestions he’d love to deprive England of their best player. “The most damaging thing which has been said is that we don’t want Wayne Rooney to go,” fumed Fergie. “If there’s one player I want to play in the World Cup, it’s him.”

Zambrano In Line For 4th Win

Posted in Baseball, College Spurts at 4:10 pm by

Despite allowing 6 walks to Atlanta hitters, Carlos Zambrano seems a good bet for his 4th win of 2006 ; the Cubs are leading the Braves, 5-3 in the bottom of the 8th. Earlier, Zambrano saw a no-hit bid come to an end when Jacque Jones tried to catch a Wilson Betemit fly ball with his mouth. Official scorer A.J. Pierzynski chose not to call it a two-base error, strangely.

(UPDATE : Braves 6, Cubs 5, middle of the 9th. Ryan Dempster blew the save, Neifi Perez allowed Marcus Giles to score the lead run on an Andruw Jones sac fly….thing is, Giles was on 2nd when the play began. Perez dropped Jacque Jones’ throw from right center, then fired the ball over Michael Barrett’s head. Perez, for those who like to dwell on horrible things, is hitting .198, has an OBP of .221…and can’t be counted on to perform some of the most routine tasks in the field, apparently).

Earlier today, Cubs C Michael Barrett received a ten game suspension and Pierzynski was fined an undisclosed amount for their brief, one-sided boxing match last Sunday at the Cell. I’m hopeful that in future, Pierzynski will refrain from attacking Barrett’s right hand with his jaw.

Since man cannot live by Too Cold Scorpio videos alone, I’ve tried to tune in Yahoo Sports’ promised free webcast of USF vs. Pedderdine, but sadly, only the audio is working. With Texas closing in on a Big 12 Tournament victory, it’s very likely the Longhorns will be one of the NCAA Regional hosts next week. There’s a lot to be said for intercollegiate day baseball-on-AstroTurf, especially as they sometimes forget to password protect the wireless internet connection at the Disch.

If Stephin Merritt Doesn’t Love This Video, He’s A Racist

Posted in Professional Wrestling at 2:15 pm by

Thanks to Paul Sommerstein for the above link. I’d been working on a longish presentation for next year’s EMP Pop Conference regarding this clip, but New Jack borrowed the VCR (and hit Vic Grimes in the face with it).

Fonzie Heads For The State Too Great To Abbreviate

Posted in Baseball at 1:39 pm by

Perhaps my earlier claim that Edgardo Alfonzo had played his last big league game was premature. From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Mike Rainey.

The Blue Jays assigned starting shortstop Russ Adams to Triple-A Syracuse yesterday primarily because he™s made nine throwing errors already this season. The Toronto Globe and Mail reports that second baseman Aaron Hill is likely to be shifted back to shortstop, his natural position, and the Blue Jays are discussing a trade that would send Shea Hillebrand (above) to the Angels for Adam Kennedy.

The holdup on the deal there is a $2.45-million (U.S.) difference in the 2006 base salaries between Kennedy ($3.35-million) and Hillenbrand ($5.8-million). The Angels want cash or another player to make the deal work, and the Globe and Mail reports that the Blue Jays™ signing of Edgardo Alfonzo to a minor league contract yesterday could be their way of telling the Angels that they are prepared to move on very soon if a deal for Kennedy isn™t completed by the weekend.

Alfonzo, who was cut by the Angels last Saturday after going 5-for-50 to start the season, will report to Double-A New Hampshire.

œWe™ll give him seven to 10 days down there, let him get about 50 at bats in, and go from there, Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi said. œI spoke to Edgardo (on Wednesday) and the guy just wants a chance to play somewhere. So it™s a shot for us. If he gets his swing back, he could be a productive guy and we know that he can play the position.

Terrific News For The Owners Of Scores

Posted in Basketball at 1:29 pm by

The New York Daily News’ Frank Isola, while throwing in a gratuitious jibe directed at James Dolan’s highly esoteric brand of blues rock (can’t a visionary businessman flex his artistic chops every now and then without jealous types like Isola making cheap shots?), reveals that a certain no. 33-wearing, guarantee-making, lap-dance loving big man might be returning to MSG.

The Knicks continue to say things are business as usual and Brown is apparently taking that same approach. According to sources, Brown is considering hiring Patrick Ewing to the coaching staff.

Ewing, currently an assistant with the Houston Rockets, has talked to the Knicks in recent years about rejoining the organization but has never been offered a coaching position. Ewing turned down a chance to join the Nets’ coaching staff last season.

However, Ewing has wanted to return to the New York area, where he recently purchased a home.

If Ewing joins Brown’s staff, that could mean that Brown is trying to move out two of Thomas’ close associates, Mark Aguirre and George Glymph. Both Aguirre and Glymph came to New York two weeks after Thomas was hired and Brown inherited the two plus Herb Williams.

Brown brought in Dave Hanners, Phil Ford and Brendan O’Connor from the Pistons last summer. It is unclear if the Knicks promised Brown that he could eventually hire an entire coaching staff.

The LA Times’ Jason Reid credits Sam Cassell with “changing the culture” surrounding the Clippers this past season, as Sam-I-Am-36-Years-Old begins campaigning for a two year deal.

Raja Bell might be out for the remainder of the Western Confernce finals, while Josh Howard is doubtful for tonight’s Suns/Mavs Game 2. Chances of a Mbenga/Tskiishvili battle before the series is over are that much less remote.

Surely I’m not the only person hoping that when the series moves to Phoenix, Paul Shirley is revealed to be the man in the Gorilla suit?

The Oregonian’s John Canzano has been in the biz long enough that he doesn’t mind giving the Blazers’ website a little guidance, particularly in light of the club misquoting a colleague.

They erroneously quoted Oregonian beat reporter Jason Quick in the original transcript. In response to a Steve Patterson comment of, “So I think it unfair to try to cast (Paul Allen) in an unfavorable light.” the Blazers had Quick saying, “I don™t think that™s unfair to do.”

What Quick really said: “I don’t think that’s what I’m trying to do.”

A little friendly new-policy advice for the Blazers: When you’re setting the microphone level for your digital tape recorder, be sure to have it set to “high” when you begin the interview. Setting it to “low” is a rookie mistake that some cub reporters make.

Raissman : Dolan Using Local Fuzz To Strongarm Press

Posted in Basketball, Sports Journalism at 10:47 am by

It’s no secret that I kinda like Bob Raissman’s column in the New York Daily News, and with today’s entry, I cannot help but fantasize how much better the Greenburgh Police Department would be run if Bob were elected Sheriff. Sort of like Buford Pusser in “Walking Tall” (or for you kids, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in “Walking Tall”). Sure, there’d be some kind of bloody standoff in the end, perhaps with Steve Mills and Isiah Thomas lying dead on the floor of an abandoned cookie factory, James Dolan attempting to fight off Raissman with an axe handle, etc., but what else do we have to look forward to?

On Tuesday “the Knicks,” which is just a euphemism for James Dolan (no suit in that organization would dare make a decision without first getting his approval), called on the Greenburgh police department to remove a small group of reporters – and a photographer – who were standing near an employee parking lot at the team’s training facility waiting for Larry Brown.

The police responding to “the Knicks’ ” request actually threatened to make arrests for trespassing. This was a waste of taxpayer money. It was nothing more than a billionaire bully using the police to harass – and intimidate – a group of reporters trying to do their jobs.Calling on the police to tell five people, albeit desperadoes heavily armed with notebooks and pens, which to Dolan are weapons of mass destruction, is just another warped decision authored by the Dolan regime.

The image of police arriving at Knicks camp to remove these dangerous characters from a parking lot overshadowed the truly pathetic sight of college kids, who came to the Knicks’ facility to participate in workouts, having to answer questions about how Brown coached. Or how he interacted with Isiah Thomas.

Sleepy Phil Vs. Pacific Standard Time

Posted in Basketball, Sports TV at 10:12 am by

The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick, on his continued crusade for those who can’t stay awake.

Doesn’t matter that the second half of Game 7 of the Suns-Clippers began at 12:20 a.m., Monday night/Tuesday morning – we know this only because we woke up in time to see it – there are those who still habitually identify NBA commissioner David Stern as “a marketing genius.”.

I dunno about “marketing genius”, but surely the Commish is aware that “12:20am” for Phil is in fact, 9:20pm for fans living in Los Angeles and Phoenix. I’m not sure how much marketing savvy is required for the television networks and major sporting leagues to completely kowtow to the sleepy schedules of East Coast sports journalists, but once, a little common sense, please. There are people west of the Misssissippi River who watch basketball, too, and some of them are prevented from viewing a 4:30pm local tip-off because they have jobs.

It’s Not Just In Billy Koch’s Head

Posted in Baseball, Medical Science at 9:56 am by

Sam Hunt graciously forwarded an item from KTVU TV about Morgellons Disease, a skin-crawling, muscle-twitcing condition that affects some 3000 persons nationwide, including former A’s/White Sox/Blue Jays closer Billy Koch and his family.

It started in Oakland four years ago. Koch saved 44 games and was the top reliever in the major leagues. His fastball wowed crowds. And then the strangeness began.

His wife, Brandi describes their symptoms: “It was the scariest thing I had ever realized in my entire life. There was matter and black specks coming out and off of my skin.”

Within two years — at age 29 — Billy Koch was out of baseball, partly because of the uncontrollable muscle twitching that went on for months at a time and often kept up him up all night.The disease is characterized by slow healing skin lesions that often extrude small, dark filaments, especially after bathing.”That’s when it would really just ooze — literally ooze out of my skin,” explained Brandi Koch.

The couple was at wit’s end after numerous doctors not only provided little in the way of relief, but actually were skeptical about their health problems: “There’s no reasonable explanation for it. I’m not seeing things. l’m watching it happen. We’re pretty sane people¦” lamented Billy.

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Neelam Uppal sympathized with the Kochs’ plight: “They’ve seen several doctors, [and] everybody’s told them they’re crazy. It’s in their head. They’re delusional.”


So Who Had The Worst Thursday?

Posted in Baseball at 11:56 pm by

Pat Riley? Ken Lay? Steve Karsay?

With all due respect to the above candidates, Nationals third string C Matt LaCroy is the clear winner. LeCroy was pulled in the middle of the visitors’ 7th inning Thursday after committing a pair of throwing errors and having allowed seven Astros stolen bases.

Though DC would hang on to win the game, 8-5 (yet another crap performance by Andy Pettitte, 3 IP, 8 hits, 7 runs), Washington manager Frank Robinson (above, right) was in tears afterwards. I think that’s a totally reasonable reaction to having to put Robert Fick in a game at any point in time.

The Royals blew a 6-0 lead this evening and squandered 3 first inning home runs against Detroit, en route to losing their 13th consecutive game, a contest eventually won by the Tigers, 13-8. I-Rod had 5 RBIs, and more importantly (ladies), he’s still single. No lead is safe when you have Ambiorix Burgos on your staff. I’d have nominated Buddy Bell for Worst Thursday, except for the following cavaets. For one, he’s having a shitty spring. For another, considering he’s still employed, things could be a lot worse

Roch Kubatko might think he’s a big shot, attending the same fitness center as John Mackey, but I’m not impressed. I was in an airline terminal today when Butch Huskey was paged. Top that, Kubatko!

Though I doubt VH1 Classic’s decision to show the video for Guns’n'Roses’ “November Rain” video this week was in any way inspired by Axl’s recently slapfest with Tommy Hilfiger, the frequent replays were pretty enlightening. I don’t wanna get all Miss Manners on anybody, but bad enough that Duff, Matt and Gilby couldn’t manage to wear anything formal to Axl and Stephanie Seymour’s lavish wedding….was it really necessary for Slash to smoke throughout the ceremony?

There’s also the continuity problem of Slash wearing a different ensemble during the wedding and when he strides out of the church wielding a Les Paul.

Other than that, however, everything else in the video makes perfect sense.

Congrats to the Atlantic League’s Newark Bears on coming up with “Bird Flu Awareness Night”, even if it just represents another chance to imply that Camden is festering with disease.

Time To Take Up A Collection For LeBron (Or At Least Buy Him A New Hat)

Posted in Basketball, Blogged Down, The Marketplace at 7:17 pm by

Travel hassles have made posting today a near impossibility — and to those two dozen readers whose spouses or employers have registered ESPN.com or Deadspin with Net Nanny, I sincerely apologize. Had this been a normal day at the non-office, I might’ve had something or other to say about Steve Nash’s tremendous 4th quarter against the Mavs last night, or teammate Boris Diaw playing the game of his life (in particular, hitting the game-winner while triple teamed). But others are more than on top of it, as the preceeding hyperlinks will illustrate.

Off the court, however, I’ll leave you with the following tidbit from the Akron Beacon Journal’s Brian Windhurst (from yesterday, sorry), addressing LeBron James’ choice of headwear.

Some suggested LeBron was trying to send a message by putting his Yankees cap down on the table during his Game 7 postgame press conference.

I’ve only written this about a dozen times, but here does again: LeBron’s Nike contract does not have location escalator clauses. He signed the deal for the maximum penny the night before the lottery, a lottery the Bulls, Knicks and Clippers were in. That was three years and three days ago and the deal has four more years to run. Some of his other deals do have such clauses, but even if those endorsement deals tripled they would not cover the difference in him signing with the Nets rather than the Cavs. Sure, you can argue that if he did go there he could get new deals. But that isn’t what people are writing. It should be pointed out LeBron hasn’t had a new sponsorship deal in more than two years and the word on the street is that Nike is still a long way for breaking even on his products. Don’t assume anything as far as his pitchman status goes.

Now, the reason LeBron took the hat off is because due to the new NBA dress code he is not allowed to wear a hat during an interview. He wears a Yankees hat all the time and has for years and all his buddies/staff members do as well. If you want to analyze the angle of how the hat was placed and all that junk, feel free.

Not only is Basketbawful fully capable of taking a good, long look at Dirks smooth armpits, but that’s one heck of a Bill Simmons dissection.

As always, I’m outclassed by our friends in DC. While I’m reduced to running guest editorials by a talking horse, The Daily Bacon is graced by the presence of “Love Story” producer Robert Evans.

Mets Acquire Williams From Reds

Posted in Baseball at 4:15 pm by

As tipped by Buster Olney several days ago, the Mets have acquired P Dave Williams and a bag of money from Cincinnati in exchange for RHP Robert Manuel.

Said move comes on the heels of Bobby Abreu and Ryan Howard (above) absolutely clobbering Jeremi Gonzalez earlier today.  Gonzalez has been designated for assignment, though perhaps the assignment should be something involving working in retail.

Nutmeg State To Enforce Anti-Blowout Edict

Posted in Gridiron, Lower Education at 3:52 pm by

(for these leaders of tomorrow, ritual humilation will soon be a pre or post-game activity)

Thankfully for our Connecticut friends, blowjobs are still protected under the law. From the Hartford Courant’s Shawn Courchense.

In what some are referring to as the “Cochran rule,” the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference football committee passed a score management policy to be instituted next season. The rule says if a team wins by 50 or more points, the coach is suspended for the next game.

Although many have accused New London High School football coach Jack Cochran of running up scores, he doesn’t see it that way. And he doesn’t like this rule. On that point, he has company.

“It won’t change anything with how I prepare for a game,” Cochran said. “Where it’s going to run into problems is when you’ve got your second team in or you’ve got your freshmen in; what do you tell them? One coach is saying he’s just going to have his guys take a knee. I would never do that. I would never tell a kid to run out of bounds instead of scoring.

“I will probably have to take a suspension next year. If it comes down to letting a freshman or a [junior varsity] player score at the varsity level or me being suspended, I’m not going to stop that kid from doing that. I cherish the sport too much and believe in it too much to tell some kid he can’t play the game the right way.”

Limits Placed On New IU Coach’s Ability To Stalk

Posted in Basketball, College Spurts at 3:40 pm by

From the Indianpolis Star’s Mark Alesia :

New Indiana University men’s basketball coach Kelvin Sampson is prohibited from doing any off-campus recruiting and making any recruiting phone calls for one year because of NCAA rules violations during his time at Oklahoma.

The sanctions, announced today by the NCAA Committee on Infractions, were in response to more than 550 impermissible phone calls made to recruits by Sampson and his staff from 2000 to 2004.

Sampson and the school admitted the violations. IU was aware of the situation when it hired Sampson in March.

A news release from the NCAA said Sampson “fostered an environment of deliberate noncompliance” in his program. It said Sampson personally made 233 of the 577 impermissible calls.

There’s a Pat O’Brien gag in here somewhere, but my head hurts too much to finish it.