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.



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.”


“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.