06.30.06

Mother Nature Fucking With Moose’s No-No

Posted in Baseball at 7:48 pm by

Yankees 1, Mets 0 (bottom of the 4th, 2 outs, rain delay)

This might not sound particularly sporting, but faced with a choice of a washout and Mike Mussina taking the hill again tonight, I’l pick the former. Save for a Miguel Cairo error in the first, he’s not allowed a Met to reach first.

The Yankees’ clever employ of the Boss’ turgid “Cover Me” (as the grounds crew scrambles with the tarp), “Summertime Blues” and “(I’m Only Happy) When It Rains” (still Jaqui Delaney’s most enduring pop hit) is inoffensive enough, but Supertramp’s “It’s Raining Again”? Sorry, but that’s just irresponsible with a crowd of this size. Or any size. If the ratings for Steve Somers’ rain delay rap just spiked, by all means, lay the credit (or blame) at the feet of Supertramp.

I’ve had a fascinating chat this evening in Tier 6 with a not-so-young woman who could earn a living as a Mercedes Ruhl impersonator. Not a very good living, mind you, but not everyone has to maintain the lifestyle of the Strahans. Or the blogging elite.

There’s Been A Mr. May Sighting In The Bronx

Posted in Baseball at 6:39 pm by

Dave Winfield threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to tonight’s Mets/Yanks game. Not to be outdone, Mike Tyson’s mother-in-law has been invited to Flushing next week.

The Yankeesa are up, 1-0, thanks to a first inning solo HR by Jason Giambi. Cliff Floyd is starting in left for the Mets, one night after going hitless in a rehab stint for Brooklyn.

Carlos Delgado was not seen saluting the ghost of Robert Merrill earlier tonight, nor is he in the starting lineup for the second evening in a row. Seems to me that if a guy wants to see the Futureheads at Webster Hall, he should just come clean and drop all this ribcage nonsense.

I checked out Monument Park for the first time in many years earlier today — I could’ve sworn Ken Phelps had a plaque the last time I visited.

Weavie Stonder Brothers To Split?

Posted in Baseball at 2:22 pm by

Apparently, there’s not enough room in Anaheim for two guys that make Jeff Spicolli look postively high energy by comparison. From the LA Times’ Bill Shaikink.

Derek Lowe and Jeff Weaver, friends and teammates on the Dodgers last season, catch up every so often.

“We can talk about our last games and compare notes,” Lowe said.

Lowe got pounded by the Minnesota Twins, giving up nine runs in five innings, an atypical start in a fine season. Weaver got pounded by the Colorado Rockies, giving up six runs in two innings, another dreadful start in a poor season.

They could reunite soon, at little cost to the Dodgers. The Angels might send Weaver to the bullpen ” or release him ” if they cannot trade him. The Dodgers are looking for another pitcher.

“He’s had success here,” Lowe said. “I know he’s happy there. He probably hasn’t pitched the way he’d like to or the way he can.”

Weaver signed a one-year deal with the Angels instead, but he has not pitched well and they have not played well. The Angels would like to make room in their starting rotation for his younger brother, Jered (above)

Jeff Weaver is making $8.3 million this season, but the Angels already have paid half and might pay some of the remaining half in a trade. If they release him and he signs with another team, the Angels would be responsible for all but a prorated part of the $327,000 minimum salary.

Observes Dodger Thoughts’ Jon Wiseman,

An Aaron Sele-like no-harm flyer on (Jeff) Weaver would be a good experiment. It would be worth a shot to see if Weaver can return to the level he showed with the Dodgers at his best, at the risk of finding out he will pitch as poorly as Perez has.

Raffy’s Latest Defense…

Posted in Baseball at 2:03 pm by

….can be summarized thusly,

“With all the great products that are apparently out there that are undetectable, for me to take something like that … when people take things that now aren’t even being tested for, does it make any sense?”

Rafael Palmiero also tells the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connelly that he has a batting cage at home and he’s ready and willing to come back to the big leagues.

“I love baseball, and the door remains open,” he said. “There may be somebody interested and that would be great. … I don’t see myself as someone that brings a lot of luggage. I’ve never been a problem. I’m a good team guy.”

Sultan Of Cycling Forced To Sit

Posted in cycling at 1:36 pm by

Before we start, I’d just like to say that any comparisons between Lance Armstrong and Mark McGwire are totally unfair. McGwire’s crap on a bike.

From DW-World.De :

The Tour de France was thrown into its biggest crisis since the 1998 drugs scandal following the suspension of three of its biggest names on Friday.

Germany’s Jan Ullrich, Spain’s Francisco Mancebo and Italy’s Ivan Basso were all dropped after being implicated in a doping investigation in Spain. Organizers suggested even more riders could also be suspended from their teams.

The 1997 winner Ullrich, and his Spanish teammate Oscar Sevilla, were suspended by T-Mobile when fresh evidence from the ongoing doping probe — which had implicated them among a reported total list of 58 riders — arrived late Thursday.

Spanish allrounder Mancebo was suspended by his French AG2R team because his name appears on the list.

Less than an hour later, the CSC team pulled yellow jersey hopeful Basso out of the race due to the suspicions aroused by his name being on the list.

Ullrich, a hero in his native country since winning the 1997 Tour, was expected to challenge strongly if not win the Tour de France this year.

In even worse news for the Tour, Lars Ullrich (above) is still fully eligible.

Germany Makes The Final Four

Posted in Football, Racism Corner, Sports TV at 1:21 pm by

Germany 1, Argentina 1 (after extra time, Germany, 4-2 on penalties)

(there’s no better way to celebrate than by donning yellow vests that make you look like you’re picking up trash on the New Jersey Turnpike)

Surveying the post-match scuffle, Marcelo Balboa (fast becoming the Rick Sutcliffe of international soccer) mused “It’s been a great match….we don’t need this sort of thing, players trying to get in each other’s mouths.”

Hey, he’s the expert.

Back in Bristol, a near breathless Reese Davis declared, “there’s nothing more exciting than a match decided on penalty kicks.” Perhaps there’s a commentator somewhere on earth who thinks the most exciting thing about the Super Bowl is the coin flip. But I hope not.

Prior to the kick-off of this afternoon’s other quarterfinal, Italy v. Ukraine, the latter’s manager, Oleg Blohkin is profiled by the New York Times’ Nathaniel Vinton.

He is respected at home, despite his racist comments about African players competing in Europe. Earlier this year, talking about the development of Ukrainian players, Blokhin told reporters: “The more Ukrainians that play in the national league the more examples for the young generation. Let them learn from Shevchenko or Blokhin and not from some Zumba-Bumba whom they took off a tree, gave him two bananas and now he plays in the Ukrainian league.”

Replies Sam Frank,

I do like the word Zumba-Bumba, though. Couldn’t Ozzie Guillen and Jacques Le Pen be as creative?

Vescey : Balking At Balkman Criticism

Posted in Basketball at 12:29 pm by

In what he warns (!) is his last column for several weeks, the New York Post’s Peter Vescey does the unthinkable Friday morning….he defends Isiah Thomas. Or specifically, Zeke’s much maligned draft pick at no. 20 over, Renaldo Balkman.

How can I knock Isiah Thomas’ selection of Renaldo Balkman at No. 20 after recently singling out the 6-8 South Carolina spiraling hank of hair (and UCLA’s Jordan Farmar) for their recital in Orlando’s pre-draft camp? I’m also down with Mardy Collins at No. 29.

Let’s face it, nobody who was available to the Knicks this late in the proceedings, including Marcus Williams, has any chance of starting. So, it makes sense Thomas’ focus was on defense and role players.

Projected as a lottery pick last year, the 6-6 Temple product had a relatively mediocre senior season. Due to scouts’ emphasis on lighting-quick guards, Collins’ stock plummeted. Obviously, he’s not without weaknesses, but in the experienced view of Jim Clibanoff, President of ClibHoops Scouting Services (subscribed to by 16 teams), a leading independent evaluator of professional prospects, who has seen Collins play roughly 18 times, accentuates the following:

“There are a lot of things he is not – not a great shooter, not too quick, not too fast, not too athletic. Even with all those negative attributes, he has great poise and savvy and his knowledge of the game is top-notch for a college player. He plays the game as if he is an extension of a coach and it often seems as if he has the demeanor of an NBA veteran. Recognizes mismatches extremely well, rarely forces anything in the flow of a game and keeps his turnovers to a minimum.”

Isiah, all smiles on “SportsCenter” this morning, claimed that Balkman received a glowing recommendation from Florida’s Billy Donovan. Balkman’s Gamecocks, Zeke reminded the doubters, beat Florida twice last season. And Balkman a combined 22 points in those two contests. OK, I’m sold!

Griffin To NBA Career: Drop Dead

Posted in Basketball, Get Out Of Jail at 12:28 pm by

The two things Eddie Griffin did not do wrong in Minneapolis on March 30 of this year: punch Ty Shine and have pit bulls fighting in the back of his SUV. Everything else he pretty much nailed. From WCCO, Minneapolis’ CBS affiliate:


Minnesota Timberwolves center Eddie Griffin was drunk and masturbating when he crashed his luxury SUV into a parked Suburban outside a store in Minneapolis, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday by the man whose Suburban was hit in the crash…

One witness said Griffin told him he was watching pornography in a DVD player mounted on the dashboard of his Cadillac Escalade SUV when he struck a Chevy Suburban parked on University Avenue Southeast…

Abed Hassuneh, who is the brother of the victim, said Griffin told him, “That he was masturbating himself going down that street. That’s how the accident happened because he was not paying attention. He’s paying attention to that video and all of a sudden he’s shoveled somebody’s car on the top of the sidewalk.”Interim Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan ordered an internal affairs investigation of the conduct of the two officers who responded to the scene, after WCCO-TV made Dolan aware of allegations about the incident.Key questions are why Griffin wasn’t tested for alcohol and why the officers drove him out of the city to his home in St. Paul. Griffin also received tickets for not having a license and inattentive driving.

Because this report sadly lacks the AP-style insertion of the arrested athlete’s stats at the end of the article, I’ll mention that Griffin was on his way home from a 103-91 Timberwolves win over the Magic in which he scored two points and got three rebounds. Thanks to Bruce Herman for the link.

Raissman : YES’ A-Rod Bashing An Organized Effort

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 6:37 am by

Presumably, the paying customers at Yankee Stadium are still expressing themselves without the benefit of a prior memo. From the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman.

David Justice’s pointed critique of Alex Rodriguez Tuesday night on the Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network was not a solo act.

A variety of moles, some embedded inside YES, said Justice (above, right), the network’s pre- and postgame studio analyst, was strongly encouraged – perhaps even ordered – to criticize A-Rod, by YES brass, including the network’s production boss, John Filippelli.

“It (Justice’s A-Rod rip) was verbatim what they wanted him to say,” one mole said.

The question is, did the order to verbally hit A-Rod come directly from the Yankees’ high command?

Justice was not the only YES voice approached to put the wood to Rodriguez, who was mired in another slump until breaking out Wednesday with a game-winning home run. The three voices who worked Tuesday night’s game on YES – Michael Kay, Jim Kaat, and Al Leiter – were also “encouraged” to come down on A-Rod. Saying Rodriguez was not the only problem the Yankees have, they flat out refused to single him out and trash him.

When asked about the situation, Eric Handler, a YES spokesman, would only say: “As always, there is a healthy give and take among production personnel regarding the direction of the show.”

Apparently, this particular “give and take” lingered after Tuesday night’s postgame show ended. After hearing Justice’s spiel on A-Rod, the three voices were stunned by the length and intensity of the spew. “They (Kay, Kaat, Leiter) could not believe this —,” one source said. “They were all still steamed when they came back to the Stadium Wednesday morning (to work Braves-Yankees game).”

The timing of Justice’s soliloquy was curious for one reason: He had recently encouraged fans to lay off A-Rod and stop booing him.

The Independent’s World Cup Coverage Goes To The Dogs

Posted in Dogs, Football at 12:12 am by

With a little more than 24 hours to go before England v. Portugal (and, incidentally, Frank Lampard’s participation in doubt), I think it is fair to say that even the more thoughtful of the English papers are running out of angles. From the Independent’s Terry Kirby.

Of course, this being England footballers, with their massive salaries and their glamorous girlfriends, this is not just about having a family pet, such as a humble terrier or a mongrel from the local dogs’ home. No, this is about lifestyle choices, where your dog is selected with the same care that you might lavish on the decision whether to have a Porsche or a Ferrari, for instance, or whether the built-in sound system at your country mansion is sufficiently state-of-the-art.Even so, the choice of doggy chums does reveal some intriguing selections. Is it sexist to assume that an extravagantly coiffured Maltese could not really be the automatic companion of the more bulldog-like Wayne Rooney? Do we sense the hand of his girlfriend Coleen McLoughlin here?

Similarly, one feels that the brace of chihuahuas owned by Ashley Cole and his intended, Girls Aloud member Cheryl Tweedy, probably owes more to the trend for dogs as beribboned fashion accessories you can pop in your Burberry bag than to any other consideration.

And should we draw any conclusions from the fact that those among the England squad who are less, shall we say, prone to the celebrity lifestyle – such as Paul Robinson or Frank Lampard – seem to lean towards more traditional bulldogs and boxers? Ironically, these are the very dogs that epitomise the kind of spirit the England team has been accused of lacking.

06.29.06

Surf’s Up : Indie Club Signs Canseco

Posted in Baseball at 11:33 pm by

Presumably, this is a step up from the Los Angeles Senior Men’s League. From the AP’s Bernie Wilson and the Los Angeles Times :

Jose Canseco returned to baseball Thursday when he agreed to a contract with the independent San Diego Surf Dawgs, planning to be their designated hitter and — get this — pitch.

The Golden Baseball League announced the deal Thursday night, saying the former AL MVP and Rookie of the Year will make his Surf Dawgs debut Monday night on the road against the Chico Outlaws.

The news release announcing the deal said Canseco will be the DH “and will showcase his knuckleball as a member of the team’s pitching staff.”

Canseco will be playing for the league maximum of $2,500 per month.

Before you smirk at the above tale, keep in mind that allowing Jose to pitch isn’t nearly as crazy as letting Kevin Kennedy manage (or host a radio program).

I’m doing my best to find something more entertaining to fixate on late this evening than the job Curt Schilling, Coco Crisp (above), David Ortiz and Jonathan Papelbon did on the Mets — the first time New York’s been swept in a 3 game series this year. And Jorge Julio’s implosion against the Mariners will have to do. Mark Grace described this disaster for the Snakes as something akin to “someone reaching deep inside your stomach and squeezing as hard as they can.”

Gracie is truly a man of the world. I’ve not had that particular life experience.

Anderson Won’t Roll Over On The Sultan

Posted in Baseball, The Law at 10:00 pm by

From the San Francisco Chronicle’s Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada.

Greg Anderson, the Peninsula steroid dealer who was Barry Bonds’ personal weight trainer, refused to testify Thursday before a federal grand jury investigating the baseball star for perjury.

A judge said he would rule next week on whether Anderson should found in contempt of court for refusing to testify against his childhood friend, thus facing a possible return to prison.

Anderson’s attorney Mark Geragos argued that the personal trainer should not have to testify because he was the victim of an illegal government wiretap that he said resulted in a recording of Anderson saying he provided Bonds with “undetectable” drugs to help him beat baseball’s steroid testing program in 2003.

The recording was first revealed in an Oct. 2004 Chronicle story after a copy was provided to the newspaper by a confidential news source.

At an unusual hearing in U.S. District Court in San Francisco Thursday, prosecutors revealed they have obtained that recording. Federal Judge William Alsup, who closed the hearing to the public on three separate occasions, ruled that the recording was “not a wiretap, but a privately recorded conversation with a witness.”

Writes Tim Cook, “I wish SUNN O)))’s Greg Anderson (left) could one day tell his side of the story.”

Indeed, but probably not as much as Sunn O)))’s Anderson would prefer to be mentioned in another context.  Still, I wasn’t gonna turn down the photo.

Lilian Thuram Asks “Whatever Happened To Frederic Weis?”

Posted in Football, The Law at 6:47 pm by

Days after France’s black players faced monkey chants in their round of 16 win over Spain, Front National leader / Holocaust revisionist Jean Marie Le Pen has raised the ire of France’s Lilian Thuram (above). From the Times’ Tom Dart.

Le Pen suggested on Monday that the country could not empathise with the side because there were too many non-white players. œWe feel that France doesn™t totally recognise itself in this team, he said.

œ[Le Pen™s] the type of person who would turn on the television and watch a game of basketball and wonder to himself: ˜Hold on, there are black people playing in the American NBA. What™s going on?,™  Thuram, France™s most-capped player, who was born on the French-Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, said.

œWhen we take to the field, we do so as Frenchmen. All of us. It doesn™t matter if we™re black or not, because we™re French. I™ve just got one thing to say to Jean-Marie Le Pen. The French team are all very, very proud to be French. So vive la France, but the true France. Not the France that he wants.”

When Sven-Goran Eriksson says “I’m prepared to do whatever it takes”, you’d better take him seriously. Unless he wasfully clothed when he said it. From the Independent’s Andy Hunter.

“Don’t tell me that I don’t know what to do, I know exactly what to do,” said the England manager at the insinuation he will experiment with his team once again against Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Portugal in Gelsenkirchen. He added: “Of course I have a clear vision – we all have, together with the other coaches. What do you think we do – let them [the players] go out and say good luck to them, do what you want to do? If it’s right or wrong, that’s another thing. But of course it’s clear what we do. Every minute we are together it’s clear what we are going to do.”

The England manager dismissed rumours that goalkeeper Paul Robinson’s inauspicious command of his penalty area in Germany – a weakness highlighted by Portugal striker Pauleta this week – would prompt a surprise recall for David James. “No, no, no, Paul Robinson will start the game on Saturday, he has my absolute confidence,” Eriksson said. “That [Pauleta's comment] is a mind game, I suppose, and I am not interested in mind games.”

The Mirror’s Martin Fricker and Matt Roper claim that Sven’s counterpart on Saturday, Portugal boss Felipe Scolari, is very keen on motivational tactics.

Brazil’s former media chief Ricardo Setyon told how Big Phil laid into his stars during the 2002 World Cup in astonishing tirades.

He said: “When Brazil were not playing well he would tell the players their performance was an insult to their families.

“Then he would start cursing their mothers, swearing and shouting and saying all sorts.

“He’d call them motherf***ers and bitches. At half-time he’d come in and stand in silence for five minutes, staring at them.”

Alex Barroso, who worked with Scolari at Brazilian club Cruzeiro told how he would tell players to be “more violent”.

He said: “The A and B teams were playing each other and we were being fouled by his players. Phil said to my mine they were playing like girls and yelled: ‘From now on I give you permission to break legs.’”

Scolari was caught on camera telling players to spit at rivals when boss of Palmeiras in 2002.

He spouted about one player called Edilson: “You’ve got to smash into him, kick and spit at him. Spit in his face.”

Scolari was unaware his rant was being recorded by Brazilian TV.

Former QPR director David Morris was found not guilty last week of conspiracy and blackmail charges related to Rangers chairman Gianni Paladini being held at gunpoint last August. Today, charges against 4 of Morris’ alleged accomplices were thrown out.

Had I known it was so easy to threaten someone at Loftus Road with a gun, Matthew Rose would’ve left the club far sooner.

Wife Beater Bearing The Legend “Wife Beater”, Considered In Poor Taste

Posted in "Wife Beater" Is Not A Fashion Statement, Baseball at 5:53 pm by

Does this mean my order hasn’t been shipped?

(there’s nothing funny about copyright infringement)

I’m not surprised there is unrest in Philadelphia concerning the state of the Phillies. But surely the disgruntled parties can muster up just a little bit of original content?

While sneering at Lastings Milledge’s misdventures with the Green Monster, the Boston Globe’s Chris Snow suggests that when Cliff Floyd finishes his latest rehab assignment, the Mets’ rookie outfielder will be sent to Binghamton. Which would a heck of a demotion, considering Milledge was performing well in at Triple-A Norfolk prior to his call-up.

Bronx Banter’s Cliff Corcoran makes his picks for the AL and NL All-Stars. Corcoran correctly points out that Florida second baseman Dan Uggla is the obvious choice for the senior circuit’s squad.

The Griddle’s Bob Timmermann
notes that Milwaukee reliever Matt Wise has missed playing time due to a salad-tong mishap. Even Jeff Kent is embarrassed to read about this.


While reminding us that Mariners catcher Kenji Johjima became the first Japanese player to have consecutive multihomer games in the U.S. majors this week, Japan Baseball Daily observes Joe Mauer’s rise to prominence…in Japan.

With Ichiro tearing it up right now and appearing headed for another all star starting slot, the Japanese press has turned its attention to Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer because he is keeping Ichiro out of first place in the American League batting race by hitting at a near .390 clip. In fact, Sports Nippon frowned on this state of affairs with a headline that used the word for “shove aside” to describe how Mauer is fending the Mariners all star off by rudely collecting nine hits in his last two games. Joe doesn’t have to worry about Japanese hating him or anything, but they will nonetheless be frustrated by their hero not being on top. Heavy is the bat that is hotter than some country’s national hero.

With Oakland leading San Diego, 5-3 in the bottom of the 9th today at Petco, Ken Macha opted to have Huston Street intentionally walk Brian Giles with runners on third and second and two out. Josh Bard proceed to hit a single up the middle, scoring Josh Barfield and Mike Cameron. Adrian Gonzalez struck out to end the inning moments later, but the damage was done ; Street’s 6th blown save, with a small assist by Macha. Trevor Hoffman (above) is on for the Padres in the top of the 10th, facing Oakland’s 2-3-4 of Swisher, Chavez and Crosby.

Ric Bucher Takes His Eyes Off The Prize

Posted in Basketball, Sports Radio at 4:40 pm by

Yammering via the OnStar Hotline (do I get paid for mentioning that firm?), ESPN’s Ric Bucher claimed today that Portland’s 31st overall pick, Joel Freeland (of the Spanish 4th Division’s Gran Canaria) lent a festive touch to last night draft by giving David Stern an England soccer jersey (and I didn’t know Umbro made them in that size).

“I’ve never seen a player give the commissioner a gift on draft night!” declared Bucher, perhaps forgetting that LaMarcus Aldridge had placed a Texas Longhorns cap atop his Sterness’ skull just a few hours earlier.

True Hoop’s Henry Abbott — whom it must be said, had a totally career day yesterday (now we know what Norman Mailer saw in him, and I’m not just saying that because I don’t want to be stabbed) — surveys the Kings’ selection of Quincy Douby (above) and surmises that Bonzi Wells is very much On The Block.

Preceeding today’s news that Larry Brown has filed a grievance with the NBA to recover his $40 million from the Knicks, the New York Post’s Todd Venezia and Ben Weinberg checked out the anti-Dolan protests taking place in and around MSG yesterday.

With shouts of “Fire Isiah!” – and the more suggestive “Duck Folan!” in reference to team owner James Dolan – the crowd of some two dozen roundball radicals made their displeasure known to all who would listen on the sidewalks of Times Square and Seventh Avenue.

“I’m angry – I’m gonna rip my shirt,” declared disgruntled fan Bobby Rahni, 20, who brandished a florescent pink sign reading “Sell the Knicks!”

The marchers, organized by the Web site selltheknicks.com, gathered at the Mercury Bar in Hell’s Kitchen to, ahem, prepare for the march and were led by a mystery man who goes only by the nom de guerre “Mr. Orange.”

Dolan was brutalized by the crowd as everything from a no-brain rich kid ruining his daddy’s company to a lousy guitar player.

“Dolan’s a baby,” said marcher Dave Sorani, 23. “When the baby gets nervous he makes rash decisions and wets his bed.”

The march began at Ninth Avenue and 46th Street – but the crowd of young men was not large enough to stop traffic and was forced to patiently wait until the light changed before heading off through Restaurant Row.

Some of the protesters admitted that, as social outrages go, the performance of the Knicks really isn’t that important.

“It’s not for world peace, which I guess would be better,” admitted protester Dave Hornung, 20, who came all the way from Riverhead, LI. “But it’s all for the cause of making the team better.”

Isiah, Reconsidered at Slate

Posted in Basketball at 2:46 pm by

Well, maybe not so much reconsidered as discussed by a writer less prone to puns than Vecsey. Stephen Metcalf, at Slate, delivers a fairly lengthy and somewhat less than full-throated defense of the Knicks Coach/GM. It’s not a defense of Isiah’s personnel decisions — I’m stuck trying to imagine a writer smooth enough to justify yesterday’s draft picks — as a presentation of a figure we might call Isiah Agonistes, “an angry and complicated man, no one’s native son, and a poster boy for nothing redemptive.” It’s interesting stuff, although Isiah, sadly, was unavailable for comment on the piece, since he’s hiding alongside a terrified Renaldo Balkman in a secret bunker seven stories beneath Madison Square Garden. Unless Spike Lee has those tactical nukes Rummy wants so badly, Zeke should be safe there.

Anyway, here’s Metcalf at somewhat more length:



Isiah Thomas was supposed to be the greatest ex-jock of all time. He is shrewd, articulate, fiercely competitive and, at least superficially, very likable. Since retiring as a player, he has done everything an ex-jock can do: He’s been an announcer, a coach, a general manager, and even, for a stretch, a kind of mini-mogul, owning the Continental Basketball Association, the minor leagues of basketball. He has done each, according to multiple reports, disastrously, though this may be a blushing understatement. Were it only a question of incompetence, of being yet another recyclable in the hermetic ecosystem of bad managerial talent that is pro sports, Isiah would not inspire anything like the enmity he does. For all his professional shortcomings, Thomas’ biggest liability may be a perception problem, rooted in his trademark smile.

Okay, so not entirely a defense — but when combined with the biographical and contextual analysis that follows, an interesting enough profile of a man who, if not really much of a tragic figure, is at least, for the moment, the nation’s most flagrantly obvious lame duck.

Gene Collier Struggles With The Historical Impact Of The Pirates’ Futility

Posted in Baseball at 12:35 pm by

Pirates fans, I’m really trying to find a silver lining. Y’know, a Rick Pitino-style quip like “Derek Bell isn’t walking down that gangplank.” Alas, I don’t have the same kind of pen pals as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gene Collier.

You have to go back through two centuries to unearth a 13-game Pittsburgh losing streak, a matter best left to academics, preferably actual historians, and that’s why yesterday’s e-mail from Purdue University professor Frank Lambert was so very welcome.

The subject line read, EXPERT SINKS PIRATES MYTHS, STEREOTYPES WITH REAL HISTORY.

Perfect.

What better accompaniment, after all, to such an historical loss as the 4-3 pie in the face from the White Sox last night than a serious, studied discussion of the all-time No. 1 Pirates myth: The House Untruth Built, the untruth being that a new baseball-only stadium would leave this franchise up to its crossbones in gushing revenue streams, the very public prescription for not only competitive baseball, but probably a return to the kind of National League plundering the city had grown accustomed to in the 1970s.

More currently, there is Myth No. 48, namely that left-handed pitcher Oliver Perez was the second coming of Sandy Koufax or Steve Carlton. Shame on us all for that little associative spasm. Now, as Perez sits in exile in the Pirates’ bullpen awaiting the next Greyhound to Indianapolis, we’re pretty sure we’d have settled for the next Larry McWilliams.

For the real sunken myths, and the import of buried treasure the Pirates never seem to find anymore, here’s professor Lambert.

“When historians try to put the Pirates into historical context, it only raises more questions about who was a real Pirate,” Lambert wrote.

Exactly, like Jeromy Burnitz. Is that a real Pirate? Bounced a 3-0 pitch from Freddy Garcia into an inning-ending double play in the third with Freddy Sanchez on third. Garcia had just walked Jason Bay, but Burnitz was apparently in no mood to let Garcia help this offense.

“You might say a Pirate is in the eye of the beholder,” professor Lambert went on. “The definition of a Pirate is a robber at sea without sanction from a nation. But under that definition, the Barbary Pirates, perhaps the most famous of all, are not Pirates. They were privateers, many from Europe, encouraged by Britain to raid American shipping because the new country was a competitor.”

Uh-oh.

“Disney is making piracy safe with these movies,” Lambert went on, oblivious to our topic. “These are romantic figures in a magical, mythical story. The Pirates in fiction, as well as the Pirates from 200 years ago, are a lot safer than the Pirates we face today.”

Piniella, Neither Interferring Nor Tampering With A-Rod

Posted in Baseball at 11:47 am by

What sage figure could’ve been the key to Alex Rodriguez’ 12th inning HR to beat the Braves yesterday? His fair weather buddy, the shortstop? His manager? His motivational guru? Or was it his former Seattle manager? Guess which of the above took credit when speaking to the New York Daily News’ Bill Madden?



“I was leaving the park myself when Cynthia came up to me and said Alex would really like to see me,” Piniella said yesterday. “I’ve felt terrible for him, seeing what he’s been going through. You have to remember, he was our ‘baby’ in Seattle. I watched him grow up in the big leagues. I’ve always felt very close to him and I’m very proud of all he’s accomplished and if there was anything I could do to help him, I would.”

And, as a matter of fact, there was.

“Basically, I just told him to trust himself. We talked about mechanics, staying confident, being positive. This was nothing new. He needed a friend to talk about hitting and I was glad to be there. That’s all. I wouldn’t want Donnie (Mattingly) to think I was interfering or anything.”

At the mention of Mattingly, I had to remind Piniella that whenever “Donnie Baseball” would get into a slump he, too, would reach out to his first hitting mentor with the Yankees. “Yeah, I guess he did,” Piniella said with laugh, “but I’m still employed by the Devil Rays and I don’t want to get into any trouble here. I just care a lot about Alex and he wanted to talk.”

This Doesn’t Neccessarily Mean You’ll Hear Embrace On WFMU

Posted in Football, Radio at 11:28 am by

Coming to WFMU, Monday, July 3, 7-8pm EST on Do Or DIY With People Like Us :

People Like Us have been gathering the best of the worst football music from around the world to bring to you, dear listener, on 3rd July at 7pm. Open up a cheap beer, tune your TV into football with the sound turned down and weep while your country gets thrashed by another far inferior to your own.

Given the promise of “worst football music”, I’m tempted to think this might represent Kunt & The Gang’s big break. But I’m also fairly certain Vicki Bennett (above) will have slightly more interesting tricks up her sleeve.

Strahan Facing Lipo Allegations

Posted in Gridiron, History's Great Hook-Ups at 10:34 am by

(guys’ night out!)

In the overall scheme of things, this might be more damaging to Michael Strahan’s rep than his friendship with the doctor from “Celebrity Fit Club” From the Newark Star-Ledger’s William Kleinknecht. (link courtesy Scott DeSimon)

Along with the bickering about marital assets and child support, the Michael Strahan divorce trial yesterday yielded an intriguing mystery — the undisclosed nature of surgery he had last year.Ellen Marshall, Jean Strahan’s attorney, mentioned while discussing Michael Strahan’s medical expenses that he underwent some kind of plastic surgery with a Dr. Rothaus, no first name disclosed.

New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan faced no such questions because sheriff’s officers have allowed him to leave though a special exit not usually made available to parties in a divorce case.

There was no way of knowing whether the surgery was performed by Kenneth Rothaus, a Manhattan physician who specializes in cosmetic procedures, including liposuction.

The press did take note when Strahan, once 275 pounds, tipped the scale last December at a mere 248, part of what he said was an effort to improve his health and agility.

Fenway Welcomes Pedro…

Posted in Baseball at 12:42 am by

Red Sox 10, Mets 2

….and they’ll gladly have him back, whenever he can make it.

What looked like a pretty capable road team a few days ago has now allowed 19 runs in 18 innings since hitting Kenmore Square. While I like the odds of Tom Glavine putting on his Stopper Suit tomorrow night, Newsday’s Ken Davidoff suggests Pedro Martinez should be very grateful that facing the cream of the AL crop is rare occasion.

Chew on these numbers, entering last night: The Dodgers led the National League with a .281 batting average; five AL teams, including the Red Sox (.288), were better. The Dodgers’ .355 on-base percentage topped the senior circuit, and three AL clubs, including Boston (.371), topped that. The Mets’ .461 slugging percentage paced the NL, while two AL teams bettered it and the Tigers matched it. The Red Sox trailed here, barely, at .457.

This stretch of interleague play, with the Tigers, White Sox, Twins and Mariners joining the Red Sox as NL dominators, has exemplified how difficult life can be for pitchers trying to tame those lineups.

Last night’s winning pitcher, Josh Beckett, has defied the odds in successfully converting from the NL to the AL. Said Beckett, now a 10-game winner, of his new league: “It really makes a difference not having the ninth hole. A lot of National League teams have guys that do something specific well. In the American League, it’s one through nine. You get really good hitters.”

Enter Pedro, who, previously this season, dominated a thinned-out Yankees lineup on May 20 (Miguel Cairo started in leftfield and hit sixth) and lost to the Orioles June 17 with a respectable outing. One certainly can’t contend that Martinez would stink if he remained in the AL. But certainly, he has much more room for error against your standard NL lineup.

For the second night in a row, Lastings Milledge had great difficultly in left field. In the rookie’s defense, the warning track is murder on high heels.

The Red Sox have now gone 15 games without an error. You don’t have to be very old to recall Boston teams that couldn’t go 15 innings without an error.

Mets OF Cliff Floyd will instantly become the most accomplished active player to take the field at Coney Island’s Keystone Park tomorrow night when he begins a rehab assignment with the Brooklyn Cyclones (link courtesy Jesper Eklow). The Mets’ NY-Penn League affiliate finally won their first game of 2006 season on Wednesday beating Hudson Valley, 4-0. Starter Jeramy Simmons (above) struck out 7 and allowed just 3 hits over 5 innings.

Incredibly, the Mets’ lead in the NL East increased Wednesday, as the slip sliding-away Phillies dropped a twinbill to the Orioles. Even before this latest indignity, the Philadelphia Daily News’ Stan Hochman raised the spectre of —- who else? — Dallas Green offering his two cents on the state of the ballclub.

“Twelfth inning Monday. Ball hit to leftfield. [Shane Victorino] bobbles it and then throws home. That was the tying run that scored. Meanwhile, the winning run goes to second. That can’t happen.”

It happened. Writers would have found the wallpaper peeling after the game. It wasn’t all whips and chains with Green, though. There was the occasional pat on the back. Perhaps that’s something Bobby Abreu could use about now.

“Charlie has tried,” Green says. “I’m a Bobby Abreu fan. I know defensively he’s gone downhill lately. But I know what he brings to the table offensively, the homers, the on-base percentage. I guess everybody wants him to be a superstar. In his mind, he could care less about that status.”

And along came Bowa to muddy the waters. Had a long talk with Abreu when the Yankees were in town. Shared some of that conversation on a WFAN talk show. Said Abreu said a change of scenery could help a player. That sounds like tampering to some. The Phillies looked the other way. “With the way we’re playing and the Brett Myers stuff,” Green says, “the Bowa thing isn’t gonna get any attention.”

06.28.06

NBA Draftyness Continued…

Posted in Basketball at 10:08 pm by

28) Dallas, Maurice Ager, SG, Michigan State

29) New York, Mardy Collins, PG, Temple
30) Portland, Joel Freeland, PF, Gran Canaria
31) Portland, James White, SG, Cincinnati (highest pick ever for a former Ze recording artist)
32) Houston, Steve Novak, SF, Marquette
33) Atlanta, Solomon Jones, C, S. Florida
34) Clippers, Paul Davis, C, Michigan State
35) Toronto, P.J. Tucker, SF, Texas
36) Minnesota, Craig Smith, PF, Boston College
37) Minnesota, Bobby Jones, SF, Washington
38) Golden State, Kosta Perovic, C, Partizan Belgrade
39) Milwaukee, David Noel, SF, North Carolina
40) Seattle, Denham Brown, SG, UConn
41) Orlando, James Augustine, PF, Illinois

ClipperBlog’s Kevin on the Knicks’ 20th pick, Renaldo Balkman :

Both Justin (who had to go up to the Egyptian for some function) and I saw Renaldo Balkman live at the Great Alaska Shootout last Thanksgiving weekend. Balkman had a nice game against Marquette, but seemed to find himself out of position on the floor constantly — which is a product of not having a position. He turned the ball over eight times against eight assists and was in foul trouble throughout the invitational. It’s a lousy pick for the Knicks who, unless they’re wed to Nate Robinson, could’ve used Marcus Williams. Watching Balkman for a full week from the fifth row in Anchorage, there was nothing that screamed NBA career, even thought he shot at a high percentage against the likes of Alaska-Anchorage and Monmouth.

Spalding has introduced a new, official composite ball for NBA useage. Aside from giving Will Leitch the excuse to use the line “You’re Not With Me, Leather”, the Association’s Brett Edwards might not be purchasing one in the near future.

The features of the new ball include “a new design and a new material that together offer better grip, feel, and consistency than the current leather ball,” as well as “moisture management that provides superior grip and feel throughout the course of a game.”

Whatever. Funniest part of the press release is where they assure us that the ball has been tested thoroughly, by using it in All Star Weekend activities, and the fact that “NBA retired players Steve Kerr and Mark Jackson participated in testing the new ball as well.”

Oh good, with Mark Jackson testing it we can see how the ball will perform when handled by an overweight point guard who makes crosses to praise God during game play, and with Kerr testing it we know that the ball handles well when used by a slow white guy who can’t dribble and just jacks up 3s. Hell, if that was the criteria, they might as well have had me test it.

Of the Sonics’ selection at no. 10 overall, Saer Sene, Supersonic Soul’s Paul Merrill writes,

Wait a minute, didn’t we already draft this guy? Like four times? I guess you can never have too many 7-foot “projects” that no one has ever heard of.

Raptorblog’s Scott Carefoot sounds like he’s ready to check out one of the CBC’s many entertaining Wednesday night offerings :

Russ Granik comes out to announce the second round of the draft for the last time. He always reminded me of the stripper that comes on stage after the feature dancer and right when last call is announced. I’ve always kind of felt a little sorry for him.

Take A Good Long Look, Isiah

Posted in Basketball at 8:52 pm by

The gentleman on the right is LaMarcus Aldridge, the highest draft pick in Texas Longhorns history. Barring a mooted swap with Portland, he’ll be suiting up for the Bulls next Autumn. Eddy Curry, however, is all yours! Nice work.

(ADDENDUM – Portland steps up to get Aldridge, Chicago has the rights to Tyrus Thomas, plus the Bulls acquire Viktor Kyrapa as part of the deal.)
Your draft results thus far :
1) Toronto – Andrea Bargnani, F, Benetton Treviso
2) Chicago – LaMarcus Aldridge, F, Texas (rights traded to Portland)
3) Charlotte – Adam Morrison, F, Gonzaga (highest Gonzaga player selected since John Stockton)
4) Portland – Tyrus Thomas, F, LSU (supposedly grew 8 inches between his sophmore and senior years of high school — imagine how tall he’d be had he never graduated!…negotiating rights held by Chicago in exchange for Aldridge)
5) Atlanta – Shelden Williams, F, Duke
6) Minnesota – Brandon Roy, G, Washington (traded to Portland)
7) Boston – Randy Foye, G, Villanova (traded to Minnesota via Portland)
8) Houston – Rudy Gay, F, UConn (rumors of a trade to Memphis flying around)
9) Golden State – Patrick O’Bryant, C, Bradley (a smart move — a team full of perimeter threats that sorely needs an inside presence, one they aren’t likely to get from Adonal Foyle)
10) Seattle – Saer Sene, F, Senegal (lots of talk about a 7’8″ wingspan, but I am assuming he has arms rather than wings)
11) Orlando – J.J. Redick, G, Duke (I’ll drink to that!)
12) New Orleans – Hilton Armstrong, C, UConn
13) Philadelphia – Thabo Sefolosha, G, Angelico Biella
14) Utah – Ronnie Brewer, G, Arkansas
15) New Orleans – Cedric Simmons, F, NC State
16) Chicago – Rodney Carney, F, Memphis
17) Indiana – Shawne Williams, F, Memphis (groans are heard in the Knicks war room, and not merely because J.D. is tuning his guitar)
18) Washington – Olexisy Pecherov, PF, Paris Basket Racing
19) Sacramento – Quincy Douby, SG, Rutgers
20) New York – Renaldo Balkman, F, South Carolina (the crowd is booing, presumably they know that Isiah has not drafted Ronaldo Blackman. Balkman hasn’t turned up, perhaps warned that he might have to attend a J.D. & The Straightshot gig after the draft. Stephen A. is “almost speechless”, the key word being “almost”.
21) Phoenix – Rajon Rondo, PG, Kentucky
22) New Jersey – Marcus Williams, PG, UConn (amazing, the Nets have not attempted to trade the 22nd and 23rd picks)
23) New Jersey – Josh Boone, C, UConn (shot-blocking demon, has also chosen to skip this beauty pageant. I like him already!)
24) Memphis – Kyle Lowry, PG, Villanova
25) Cleveland – Shannon Brown, SG, Michigan State

26) Los Angeles – Jordan Farmar Superstar (above, left), PG, UCLA
27) Phoenix – Sergio Rodriguez, G, Adecco Estudiantes

(UPDATE : Houston have completed the deal, sending Rudy Gay and Stomile Swift to Memphis in exchange for Shane Battier).

(UPDATE II : Philly and Chicago have swapped the rights to Sefolosha and Carney)

(UPDATE III : Boston are sending Randy Foye, Dan Dickau and Raef LaFrentz to Portland in exchange for Sebastian Telfair, Theo Ratliff and a 2008 2nd round pick).

Meet The (Crossdressing) Mets

Posted in Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl?, Baseball at 5:44 pm by

Don’t hate them because they’re beautiful.

swiped from the Daily News’ Adam Rubin.

A-Rod Goes Boom, Sterling Strikes Again

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 5:05 pm by

Yankees 4, Braves 3 (12 innings)

I hate to repeat myself, but sometimes I’m left with no choice.

Dear Mr. Sterling,

Your frequent outpourings of emotion on behalf of your employer are neither unexpected or without precedent in your chosen field. That said, repeated references to home runs hit by Alex Rodriguez as “an A-Bomb by A-Rod” only serve to diminish the suffering and devestation experienced by those who were victims of a genuine atomic blast.

I do hope you’ll take this into future consideration.

Thank you.

A Loyal Listener.

Other than that, Suzyn Waldman’s postgame wrap was unusually informative, in that we’ve learned John Smoltz “still has the groin.” Were he functioning without one, then, I think Suzyn would really have a story.