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.