Who Says Atlanta Doesn’t Have Real Fans?

Posted in Baseball, Mob Behavior at 11:42 am by

Well, Terrence Moore, for one. But perhaps he’s not noticed them….as they’re all wearing stupid costumes.  From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Michelle Hiskey.

When it’s 100 degrees the day your hapless Atlanta Braves play, and you’re dressing up as a beverage can, a bit of plumbing is your best friend.

Thumb-wide circles of PVC piping ring your shoulders and knees. Those form your can’s lightweight rims. Your costume hangs between like a shower curtain, the fabric slit so air can flow through.

You are one of McCann’s Cans, cheering on the Braves’ catcher, Brian. Passing out would not be cool, especially right now. As the temperature soars and the team record dives, the Braves need all the support they can get.

The 30-43 season has tested whether it’s cool to dress up as McCann’s Cans, Francoeur’s Franks, Edgar’s Eggs and Adam’s Army. They followed the dress-steps of folks like Sheffield’s Chefs.

“It’s just about coming and supporting the team,” said Robert Walls, 38, of Roswell, who has put on a headdress and American Indian costume for more than 700 consecutive home games. “I’m not going to stop because they’re not doing well.”

The Cans and others are cut from the same pattern as folks who dress up as Trekkies, for the rock group KISS or in red, white and blue at political conventions.

“They dress up due to a significantly powerful identification with that person, a desire to emulate specific characteristics of that person, perhaps a certain feeling of kinship with that person based on real or perceived characteristics in common,” said Atlanta psychologist Dr. Barbara Rubin.

Inquirer’s Salisbury : Phillies’ Shame Transcends Baseball

Posted in "Wife Beater" Is Not A Fashion Statement, Baseball at 10:48 am by

Finally, a day in which the question “when did you stop beating your wife?” is not only appropriate, but the most important one to pose. From the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jim Salisbury.

Brett Myers, 25, arrived in the visitors’ clubhouse at Fenway Park about 4 p.m. yesterday. He came through the door wearing dark sunglasses, even though it was raining outside. He changed into his uniform, then told a group of reporters that he’d been advised by his legal counsel not to comment on the matter.

Myers (above) hurriedly answered a question about his readiness to pitch today – he’s a go, although that seems pretty unimportant, really – then walked away with a team official.

Shucks. There was one other question that Myers needed to be asked: Were you absent from school that day in kindergarten when they told you not to hit girls?

The Phillies issued a statement saying they’d have no comment until the matter was resolved by the courts. It was all so understandable, especially if you know anything about the circumspect Phillies front office. It would have been nice if the release had said: “We’re revolted by even the allegations that one of our players assaulted his wife. It’s embarrassing to the organization and most of all, the player. If this proves true, he will face serious sanctions from the team.”

In some cities, the big-league baseball team is a source of pride. In Philadelphia, it is a source of frustration. This is just one more log in the frustration fireplace, and a terrible one, much worse than the 10-2 beating Josh Beckett and the Red Sox laid on the Phillies last night. Domestic violence is worse than losses and playoff droughts and high ERAs. Real men don’t hit their wives.

No, Phillies management cannot hold the hands of its players 24 hours a day. No sports franchise can. Players must act responsibly. They can’t get into altercations with police officers (see Jason Michaels last summer) and they most certainly can’t hit their wives. When they do, they act alone, but their actions cast an entire franchise in a bad light, as you’ll see today when Myers’ incident is mentioned during the national TV broadcast. Unfair? Probably. But that’s just the way it is.

Rozner : Opportunity Blown In Ozzie/Mariottigate

Posted in Baseball, social crusaders at 10:37 am by

Claiming that O.G.’s recent fag flap has provoked “zero discussion or genuine concern about whether an openly gay athlete could survive in high school, college or pro sports today”, the Daily Herald’s Barry Rozer raises the point himself.

In every major league today, there probably is at least one gay player on every team, living a painful and phony life complete with wife and children, a player who can™t be himself because it would mean being ostracized by a small but vocal percentage of his teammates.

And I don™t think Ozzie Guillen would be one of the offenders. Look, he used a bad word, true, but word meanings change over the course of time.

I™ve been playing hockey since I was 5 years old, almost 40 years now. Not a game goes by without hearing that word ” I heard it earlier this week ” and it has been decades since it became a generic insult, used frequently and not intended to disparage gays.

But that doesn™t make it OK, says a gay friend, because by using it as a putdown it is by definition insulting and offensive to the gay community.

And if it™s not OK to offend blacks, Hispanics, Indians or Arabs with words most people would never dream of using, asks my friend, why is it still OK to use gay-bashing language?

Guillen doesn™t understand that concept today, and he won™t tomorrow, not because he™s Venezuelan or because of the language, but because he was a baseball player.

It is a part of baseball, and they can send 750 players to sensitivity training, and bad language and insults will remain a part of clubhouse life. Except they will be more careful around whom they say it.

Softy Skull Presses Anti-Soccer Agenda

Posted in Football, Sports Radio at 10:12 am by

Fascinating stuff this morning from Fox Sports Radio’s Dave “Softy” Mahler, who argued the United States’ poor recent showing in the World Cup, if not soccer’s struggle to emerge as a major sport in America, can be traced to “no one knowing who the best American player is.”

(annoying, untalented person with little of interest to share about sports. On the left, Dave Mahler.)

Though I’ll admit it doesn’t help matters if Tyler Twellman isn’t even picked for the team, Mahler went on to extrapolate that “the game has no stars, no personalties”, hence, it was unlikely to ever catch on, stateside.

Contrary to Mahler’s claims, you can purchase a jersey with the name and number of an American player — there’s a shop right down the street from my house that sells ‘em, and I’m not in a town with an MLS franchise. That soccer’s elite players aren’t Americans may or may not be a decisive factor in whether or not kids take up the sport, but what will happen to the NBA once it becomes common knowledge that Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki, aren’t in fact, from North Carolina?

Over on ESPN Radio, Doug Karsch sought to add some calm to the Ozzie Guillen Fag Furor, opining that it would be unfair to disparage someone “for choosing that lifestyle” just as it would be unseemly to berate a friend “for dating an ugly woman.”

Later, Karsch took a call from a gentleman who argued that “society has a double standard” when Guillen is punished, “but there’s so much cursing on the television.”

“…well, the cursing on television and radio, that’s something the FCC is trying to do something about,” mused Karsch, “and they rule with an iron fist overseas.”

I wasn’t aware the Federal Communications Commission’s powers had extended beyond the U.S., but when you wake up early on a Saturday, you’re bound to learn something useful.

Purveyor Of Shit TV, Finally Unplugged

Posted in The World Of Entertainment at 1:30 am by

Aaron Spelling, RIP.

Though history will find Mr. Spelling guility of aesthetic atrocities the likes of which today’s TV producers can barely imagine, let alone aspire to, I would like to thank him for a few things…
1)  I’d never have looked up Moldavia on a map without the sixth season finale of  “Dynasty”.

2) Adam Carrington’s use of poison paint in Steve Colby’s office.  Very, very inspirational.

3)  Not caving in to Pamela Sue Martin’s excessive salary demands. Otherwise, we’d probably never have been blessed with “Torchlight”, an invaluable addition to Steve Railsback’s filmograpy.

Guillen Plays The “I Don’t Know What You’re Talking About” Card

Posted in Baseball at 1:14 am by

Speaking with ESPN Deportes’ Enrique Rojas, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen expressed reluctance to attend his MLB-mandated sensitivity training.

“I don’t think I’ll be going, I don’t think that’ll happen,” Guillen told ESPNdeportes.com in an interview at U.S. Cellular Field on Friday. The interview was conducted in Spanish.

“I think the commissioner ordered that in order to calm things down, but, obviously, to attend one of those, I’ll have to take English lessons first,” he added.

“I’ll do what I have to do, at least when I have time, but I don’t think I’ll take those sensitivity lessons,” Guillen said.

“I want to make it clear that I left school a long time ago and that I learned English in the streets. I have three boys at school and I am too old to return to a classroom,” he said.

When asked about his comments after the game, Guillen responded with a lengthy diatribe in which he said he first needs to take English classes “to understand what they’re talking about” and threatened to “start being nasty with the media” if they continued to ask questions about that.

“It’s a really uncomfortable situation for me,” Guillen said. “I don’t need this job. It’s hard everyday. … If someone tries to play games, I’m sorry, but you’ve got the wrong guy.”

At the risk of pointing out the obvious, it isn’t difficult to find firms that offer sensitivity training in Spanish.

Sultan Of Surly, Noted Sleazebag In Private Jet Shocker

Posted in Baseball at 12:46 am by

Man, some people will got to amazing lengths to avoid sitting next to Armano Benitez. From the South Florida Sun-Sentinenl’s Mike Bernadino.

When the San Francisco Giants were in South Florida last month, according to multiple baseball sources, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria (above) sent word through an intermediary that Barry Bonds was welcome to join him on his jet for the flight to New York.

The Giants team charter also was headed to the Big Apple after a May 31 day game at Dolphin Stadium, but Bonds accepted the unusual offer within earshot of multiple teammates and other club employees.

According to a National League club official who has spoken with the Giants, the club’s front office “wasn’t happy about it by any means.” The club official said the offer was made “openly and haphazardly.”

Baseball has strict tampering rules regarding unauthorized contact between clubs and players from rival teams. The club official said the Marlins did not clear the Bonds offer with the Giants, who weren’t pleased with Bonds, either, for accepting.

“Nobody else would even take that offer,” the NL source said. “Barry is just Barry. Maybe Barry thought he might have had a nicer seat on [Loria's] plane.”

Bonds (above) managed to steal 2nd after being caught leaning the wrong way in the 8th inning of tonight’s A’s/Giants tilt, his first swiped sack of ’06. Alas, Armando Benitez blew a 3-2 lead in the 9th inning ; singles from Jason Kendall and Bobby Kielty, a Mark Kotsay sacrifice fly and a subsequent triple from Nick Swisher completed the damage. A’s 4, Giants 3, the game ending on a nifty grab of a foul pop heading for the first baseline dugout by Kendall.

In the wake of the not-so-mind-blowing revelation that Victor Conte was the source for much the nitty gritty contained in ‘Game Of Shadows’, the Philadelphia Daily News’ Marcus Hayes writes,

So, let’s get this straight.

The press is accused by politicians and fans of turning a blind eye to steroid use in Major League Baseball.

Then again, the press legally cannot implicate suspected steroid users because to do so would precipitate accusations – probably substantiated accusations – of libelous intent, since there were no investigations under way and since there was no steroid ban in baseball.

The press then breaks the story of the BALCO case, based on leaks of grand jury testimony.

That, in turn, prompts MLB to finally address the raging steroid problem for the first time. In fact, the government, unsolicited and unwanted, plays politics with the issue in farcical congressional hearings staged, it appeared, purely for the benefit of Congress.

Now the Bush administration wants a federal judge to make the two California reporters who wrote “Game of Shadows,” Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada, divulge their sources (because the feds can’t figure out whom the sources were. Nice work, fellas).

The federal prosecutors have the gall to cite a 2003 case that made reporters divulge their sources – a terrorism case, that is.

So, to review: George W. Bush and his Congress can tsk-tsk over the tardiness of the press in pursuing the story, laud said stories, use them as political fodder… then seek to bite off the hand that fed them months of profile-enhancing material?

By comparing a steroid investigation with a terrorism case?


Pettitte Punished In World Series Rematch

Posted in Baseball at 9:36 pm by

White Sox 6, Astros 0 (bottom of the 4th)

Andy Pettitte continues to struggle, having allowed 6 earned runs in the early going, 4 of ‘em on a Scotty Pods grand slam. Other than a Morgan Ensberg double and a Lance Berkman single and a bunch of walks, Jose Contreras (above) has had an easy time of it, helped to no end by a double play Jason Lane hit into during the top of the 4th.

(UPDATE : Chris Burke and Lance Berkman have just gone back-to-back off Contreras ; 6-3, White Sox.

The Chicago Sun-Times’ Rick Telander received some sterling character references today
from two of Ozzie Guillen’s gay friends. One is described as an interior decorator, the other, a hairdresser. To paraphrase Woody Page, Ozzie (above) can’t stop perpetuating stereotypes even when he’s not talking.

Aaron Harang tonight against Cleveland : 9 IP, 117 pitches, 7 hits, 6 K’s, 2 walks, no runs. Reds win, 3-0. The Indians are 8 games under .500 and have to be considered one of the bigger disappointments of ’06. Well, them and the new Mobb Deep album.

Much as I’d love see David Wright and Carlos Beltran’s names engraved as co-MVP’s in the NL, the odds of one or both receiving the award took a turn towards doubtful tonight, as Albert Pujols showed no ill-effects from his recent oblique strain. In the Cards’ 10-6 loss to Detroit, Pujols was 4 for 4 with a pair of runs scored and a 9th inning home run off paragon-of-sensitivity Todd Jones. The Tigers’ Justin Verlander (6 IP, 7 hits, 4 earned runs, 5 K’s) picked up his 9th win, no doubt earning him the firmest handshake of all time from Jimmy Leyland.

Mets’ Sanchez Injured

Posted in Baseball at 8:48 pm by

Mets 6, Blue Jays 1 (top of the 8th)

On a night when yet another solid out from Tom Glavine, a 3 for 4 night by Paul Lo Duca, sparkling defense from Lastings Milledge and HR’s from Milledge and David Wright (above) ought to command full attention, instead, it’s doom and gloom time.

Duaner Sanchez relieved Glavine in the bottom of the 8th and threw a mere two pitches to Alex Rios, the second of which landed about 4 feet to the right of home plate. Doubled over in pain, Sanchez would depart to make way for Chad Bradford.

Regardless of how far ahead of the rest of the division the Mets might be at present, they can ill afford to lose Sanchez. Though Omar Minaya’s decision to trade away starters Jae Seo and Kris Benson was questioned often last spring, it cannot be disputed that New York’s bullpen has proven to be deeper and better than any time since the mid 1980′s. Sanchez has been a huge component.

UPDATE : Pedro Felicano had an uneventful 9th ; Tom Glavine is now the NL’s sole 11 game winner, and the Mets have tied a club record with their 9th consecutive road win.

Ben Hendrickson (above) of the PCL’s Nashville Sounds saw a no-hit bid come to an unfortunate end last night in Round Rock. Hendrickson had held the Express hitless through 6 innings before being removed with a broken nail on his pitching paw. Round Rock’s Joe McEwing would go on to break up the no-no in the following inning, a 2-0 win for the Sounds that ended the Express’ 9 game winning streak.

This evening at the Dell Diamond, the Express lead the Sounds, 5-4, after 5 innings. Nashville’s Dennis Safarte has allowed HR’s to Cody Ransom and Mike Rodriguez.

The plight of Hendrickson brings to mind the frequent woes of Boston’s Josh Beckett. Mr. Blister’s bid for a perfect game ended tonight on a David Bell single in the 6th inning. Chase Utley just hit a 2 run HR in the bottom of the 7th, narrowing Boston’s margin to 6-2.

Moore : The Braves Suck And It’s The Public’s Fault

Posted in Baseball at 8:22 pm by

There are certain American cities where the distractions are so compelling and varied, going to a ballgame ranks awfully low on the totem pole of cultural activities. Take Atlanta for instance. You’ve got Freak Week. Parties at Andrew Young’s house. The Varsity. The Dan Baird Birthplace & Museum. The Aqua Teen Hunger Force Theme Park.

Reminding us yet again that ATL’s professional sports fans are a fickle, if occasionally invisible bunch, the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Terrence Moore bemoans the Braves’ lack of support.

If there ever was a city that didn’t deserve a team doing the unprecedented and the unthinkable such as the Braves along the way to 14 consecutive division titles, that city is right here in the heart of Dixie. Or should I say that city is right here in the heart of apathy? Take it from Chuck Tanner, the Braves’  manager during their previous dark days of the 1980s. He sighed over the phone the other day after reflecting on those who have shrugged during the Braves’ nice run. “I mean, what do you want?” Tanner said, before easing into a chuckle. “I’ll tell you what they wanted. They wanted 14 consecutive world championships.”

Which brings me to this: Unless an Atlanta professional sports team is doing something or has somebody that appeals to the lowest common denominator of sports fans, you can forget it. They aren’t coming. To keep their focus away from what the Bulldogs are doing, they need a ‘Nique or a Vick or a worst-to-first miracle.

The Hawks have finished among the bottom two in NBA home attendance for each of the past five years, and even when they were at least good during the Mookie Blaylock, Steve Smith and Dikembe Mutombo years, they barely showed a pulse at the gate. The Falcons’ recent popularity is a No. 7 thing. Period. Before the 2003 season, the Falcons sold every ticket for every game, but after Michael Vick broke his leg during the preseason, the only place more empty than the parking lots around the Georgia Dome during home games were the many sections inside. The Thrashers still draw well because they remain a novelty to many, but their honeymoon is another trip away from the playoffs from becoming a nasty divorce.

Then you have the Braves, the epitome of it all with an asterisk. In contrast to the Hawks, for instance, the Braves have perfected victory. It mattered at the start of their run to the masses, when the chopping and the chanting was unique, but then winning became passe.   Actually, that’s being kind when describing the Braves’ shocking lack of physical and vocal support during the past decade, especially when it counted the most in October.

The place was packed this past weekend for the Braves’ regular-season games against the Red Sox, and that was good for the Red Sox. While the Red Sox players contributed to the Braves’ slide in the standings, the Red Sox fans made so much racket compared with their counterparts that you’d have thought there was a Green Monster in left field

The bottom line is that Atlanta fans need a wake-up call regarding pro sports, and maybe they’ll get one now that the Braves’ dominance is going to sleep.

This evening, the Braves and Devil Rays find themselves tied at 2-2 after 7 innings at that hotbed of wild partisan support, Tropicana Field. John Smoltz lasted just 29 pitches before leaving the game with an as-yet undetermined leg injury.

Knicks To Larry : We Fired You For Rolling Down The Window

Posted in Basketball at 6:19 pm by

If you’ve been wondering what possible justification the New York Knicks might come up with to avoid paying Larry Brown the remaining $40 million on contract, you’ll love this. Not since Hugh Grant offered Divine Brown a lift has pulling over for a chat been held to such intense scrutiny.

From CBS Sportsline :

The New York Knicks contend Larry Brown broke Madison Square Garden policy with his roadside interviews, a decision the team believes could wind up saving them millions.

Since James Dolan became owner of the Knicks and Rangers, Madison Square Garden policy specifies that any interviews must be done with a public relations official present — with no exceptions, according to a person familiar with the policy, who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because this matter has not been resolved.

Assuming David Stern has any jurisdiction in this matter, not only should Brown be paid in full, I eagerly await some kind of punative action against James Dolan for wasting further time and money with such a flimsy scheme.

Ingle : Let’s Go To The Videotape!

Posted in Football, Sports TV at 4:15 pm by

Despite being hammered by Spain in their opening match, the Ukraine are through to the round of 16 as Group H’s runner-up, after this morning’s 1-0 defeat of Tunisia. Andiry Schevchenko’s 70th minute penalty was the margin, though a tie would’ve been enough for the Ukraine, given Spain’s JV team having their way with Saudi Arabia, 1-0.

Schevy’s penalty and the sending off of Zied Jazieri were hotly contested…like virtually every major refereeing decision of the tournament. The Guardian’s Sean Ingle suggests that FIFA employ some high-tech assistance.

First, football is faster and more frantic than ever before. Second, there are fewer goals than ever before, which also exacerbates the impact of poor refereeing. Decisions may even out over a season, but they rarely do so over the course of a match.

Technology would clearly help. Yesterday, Ghana were given a penalty that wasn’t, while Australia were robbed of one that was. Within 10 seconds of both incidents, TV replays had made this stunningly clear.

Sure, video evidence would slow the game down slightly, but not as much as the luddites would have you believe. The ball is only in play for 60-odd minutes anyway and double-checking, say, a goal-line clearance, penalty or offside appeal would add seconds not minutes. If there were any doubts at all about the TV replays, the referee’s original decision would stand.

Introducing technology would also change the risk v reward debate that zips around a player’s head: there’d be no incentive to dive for a penalty when someone in the stands could alert the referee, who would soon be waving yellow in your direction. And why pretend to be punched, when in 30 seconds’ time you’d be receiving red for play-acting?

Clearly there’s a balance to be struck between maintaining the flow of the game and making the right decision but if other sports can do it, so can football. Ultimately, it boils down to what is preferable: a 30-second delay in play, or the Hand of God? Getting it right, or allowing cheats to get away with it? Certainty, or random chance?

Switzerland and France will advance from Group F ; the latter beating Korea, 2-0 to win the group, while runners-up France handled Togo, 2-0, courtesy of goals from Patrick Viera and Thierry Henry (above, right) after the intermission.

Believe it or not, there might be football commentary taking place during this World Cup every bit as bad as that offered by Brent Musberger and Marcelo Balboa. OK, that probably isn’t true. But poor just the same. From the Times’ Giles Smith.

Yesterday UKTV was the only place to watch Ghana versus the United States, live and unexpurgated. Thus, wobbly scenery and bad jokes or not, the channel became a compulsory stop for those of us who, over the past fortnight, have decided that we rather like the cut of Ghana™s jib.

And we were amply rewarded with victory and progress, though not before John Anderson, the UKTV commentator, had accused Ghana of œnaivety at this level. Blimey, that took one back. In the World Cups of yore, œnaive was routinely used by pundits in the description of African nations and was, essentially, the default synonym for œblack.

But as enlightenment slowly dawns, even across the punditry business, œnaive has been seldom heard in Germany. To the extent that the notion flickers on at all, it seems to be in the shape of the slightly more politically acceptable œgullibility, as in the John Motsonism from earlier in the tournament: œI think there was a bit of Ghanaian gullibility about that second goal, wasn™t there? Of course, in terms of simple things such as being able to pass the ball, retain a formation or mark up at a set-piece, whom, on the evidence of Germany 2006, would you call the more naive ” Ghana or England? Come to that, whom would you call the more gullible? Anyway, Ghana march on, and thank you, UKTV, for sharing it with us.

On a broader point of etiquette, one noted with some disquiet the failure of Rio Ferdinand to remove his iPod for an interview the other day. Now, one realises that answering simple questions from the likes of Garth Crooks and Gabriel Clark is one of those low-watt activities that a person can perform perfectly well, even while engaged in something else altogether more absorbing, such as watching a programme on the television or doing the ironing or completing a Samurai Su Doku. Even so, it does seem a bit rude, not to say a touch discouraging, not to give Garth, Gabriel and Co at least the semblance of one™s full attention when they take the trouble to come a-calling, so I think if Rio could try to remember, from now on, to get his plugs out, we would probably all benefit in some small way and a standard of decorum would be maintained.

Responding to England’s defensive negligence against Sweden on Tuesday, Sven Goran Erikkson declared “I’m not married To David Beckham.” Good thing, too, as I don’t think the England captain would be very patient with Sven’s zipper problems (or vice versa).

Thank God It’s Friday…

Posted in Free Expression, The World Of Entertainment at 3:31 pm by

…and because I know all of you weekend warriors can’t wait for the whistle to blow, so you can slide down the dinosaur and rush home to change into your Paul Lo Duca Disco 2000 pants, what better way to get the party started than with a little taste of Wally George?

Hot Linkers Beware, Pt. II

Posted in Blogged Down, Internal Affairs at 2:55 pm by

Shea Nation, you’re what I like to call a slow learner.

MLB Spits On Your Grave

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 12:46 pm by

Once again, Gene Simmons is way ahead of the marketing curve. From Marketwire.com (link courtesy Jon Solomon)

Baseball fans, some of the most devoted in all of sport, will soon be able to proclaim their loyalties in a whole new way. Eternal Image, Inc. (PINKSHEETS: ETIM), a public company engaged in the design, manufacturing, and marketing of customized designer caskets and urns, today announced it has signed a licensing agreement with Major League Baseball (MLB).Under the terms of the licensing agreement, Eternal Image is authorized reproduce the names and logos of all 30 major league teams on a new line of caskets and urns. The products are in the development phase and delivery is planned for 2007.

“Millions of Major League Baseball fans wear caps, t-shirts and jackets to show their loyalties each day, while others have customized license plates on their cars, and linens, artwork and collectibles such as bobbleheads in their homes,” said Clint Mytych, CEO of Eternal Image.

“The trend of including baseball in major lifecycle events is growing vastly: from birthdays to bar mitzvahs, weddings to anniversaries, fans incorporate baseball in nearly every aspect of life. This new line of team-specific funeral products opens a whole new market for our company — a market that is just waiting for a way to make team loyalty a ‘final’ statement of a great passion in their lives,” Mytych added.

Trib’s Morrisey Conjures Up Images Of Mariotti In His Underwear

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 12:33 pm by

Ozzie Guillen has claimed the Chicago Sun-Times’ Jay Mariotti (above) is “a coward” for refusing to turn up in the White Sox clubhouse. Jay has replied that a) he’s too busy covering major sporting events and b) he won’t personally meet with a guy he considers to be “out of control” , along with referencing prior run-ins at the Cell that he claims the White Sox have turned a blind eye to.

The Chicago Tribune’s Rick Morrisey would like to see Mariotti “face the music”. And he’s not talking about a Madonna concert. (link courtesy Tim Midgett)

Let’s say I criticize Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski for something he did in a game. And let’s say I do it in the Sunday Tribune, which has a circulation of about 960,000.

Isn’t it reasonable for Pierzynski to have an opportunity to lash out at me in front of media and teammates in the clubhouse if I’ve treated him similarly in print? It seems pretty straightforward to me. It’s what I was taught to do. It’s what nearly all of the columnists in the country do. The honorable thing.

Look, it’s not always fun walking into a locker room. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable. But it comes with the territory of being a columnist.

Showing up also makes for a better columnist. Anybody can have an opinion. That’s the beauty of being a walking, talking human being. But asking questions of players, managers and coaches helps give a columnist an informed opinion. It doesn’t mean you’re being co-opted by the people you’re dealing with, not if you have an ounce of integrity. It means you’re being thorough and professional. And you just might learn a thing or two.

One of the best and worst things that has happened to our society is the blog”best because everyone can have his say, not just us so-called experts; worst because everyone can say anything with almost no accountability.

I’ll give Mariotti this: Whether he realizes it or not, he might have been the nation’s first blogger, without actually writing one.

He has led the way by not leading the way to the locker room or the clubhouse. He writes what he wants without ever talking to a soul.

The only difference is he travels often to events, unlike bloggers, many of whom sit in their underwear all day and update, update, update.

But it’s not the way most columnists do their jobs. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Guillen spent part of Thursday night ripping Mariotti again.

I should know.

I was in the Sox’s dugout, before the game. It was another day at the office for a lot of us.

Logan : Brown’s Support For Rose, Francis Acquisitions Disputed

Posted in Basketball at 12:09 pm by

When James Dolan and Isiah Thomas claimed Larry Brown was fully in favor of the Jalen Rose and Stevie Franchise deals, were they just hearing what they wanted to? From Newsday’s Greg Logan.

Dolan and Thomas issued statements but were not available for comment yesterday, and Brown did not make himself available. But a person familiar with Brown’s position recently suggested this is the ending Thomas wanted all along.

“The bottom line is Isiah wants to coach the team,” the person said. “That’s it. If you’re going to tell everybody, ‘These are great players and we should have won a lot of games,’ what are you left with?”

Brown upset the Knicks during the season when he feuded with point guard Stephon Marbury, was highly critical of a variety of players and used a league-record 42 different starting lineups in an effort to find a combination he liked. Dolan was particularly upset that Brown approved trades for high-priced Jalen Rose and Steve Francis and then quickly soured on both.

That subject came up at yesterday’s meeting, which also included Garden sports operations president Steve Mills. When Brown said he simply went along with Thomas on those deals, Dolan challenged Brown’s version and essentially called him a liar.

According to a person familiar with details of the firing, Brown “begged for [Rose and Francis]. Two weeks later, he said, ‘You’ve got to get rid of them.’”

The person familiar with Brown’s thinking said the coach agreed to the Rose trade only after other deals he wanted were turned down. According to his version, .Thomas wanted Rose’s expiring contract as an asset to trade and told the coach that Rose wouldn’t be on the team next season.

The Francis deal at the February trade deadline raised eyebrows around the league because he has three years and $48 million remaining on his deal and plays the same position as Marbury. Brown wanted Denver point guard Earl Watson to run the offense and allow Marbury to shift to a shooting-guard role.

“At the last minute, Isiah said, ‘This guy is a huge asset, and I can do something with him,’” the person familiar with Brown’s thinking said.

Possibly taking a tip from an old Al Franken bit on “Weekend Update”, the New York Post’s Peter Vescey survey’s Larry Brown’s departure from MSG and wonders how this will affect…Peter Vescey.

My initial selfish reaction regarding the fit of temporary sanity by the boss of Cablevision, or, for that matter, anything that’s particularly newsworthy, never wavers: Is it good or bad for the column?

Not having Next Town around anymore to rubdown on a regular basis can only be viewed as detrimental. How many other sports collectibles can be counted on to leave themselves incessantly wide open for censure while building a gaudy 23-59 resume?

I’m certainly not about to fault Brown for failing to capture the hearts and minds of New York’s citizenry like the 2012 Olympics. I can’t remember my go-to guy, long after his team had qualified for a lottery it was no longer eligible to compete in, lasting four rounds into the playoffs. I’m already fretting about the bin of blank space in the coming weeks and months I’ll have to figure out how to fill on my own.

On the other hand, tapering the targets does have its benefits. Sans Next Town, there’s one less person liable, ahem, should the lunacy continue under the exclusive auspices of Dolan, Steve Mills, Isiah Thomas and Stephon Poisonbury. As a career special prosecutor, I’ve found having one fewer Knick to blame is a blessing.

Say this much for the one-year wonder: Brown now has my dream job – getting paid fill-in-the-blank millions to sit on his repaired bladder.

Wizznutzz’ Rex Chapman provides some inside info on several of Washington’s potential draft targets, including :

PG Junichiro Sugiyama, 6’1″, 180 (Japan):  You already knew that China was big into b-ball (or at least that China was full of big b-ballers – Yao-za!), but “Shugi Shugi” proves that hardcourt talent can emerge from the Land of the Rising Sun as well. His secret? He has mastered the “hadoken” move from Street Fighter (above), turning his passes into blue fireballs that no opposing defender can intercept, no matter how well he plays the passing lane. Of course, none of Shugi’s teammates can catch the hadoken passes either, but the good people at Wizzarddz Labbz are working on fortified asbestos gloves for Gil and co.

Reader’s Poll : Pick The All-Time Wife Beater Starting Nine

Posted in "Wife Beater" Is Not A Fashion Statement, Baseball, The Law at 11:38 am by

Beer Leaguer passed along the sordid tale earlier today of Phillies SP Brett Myers being arrested in Boston for punching his wife, Kim. Details aren’t available, but suffice to say, the argument over whether or not interleague play has run its course can become very heated amongst couples (and I speak from personal experience).

Without wishing to seem cavalier about the serious subject of spousal abuse, Myers’ bust does give us an opportunity to select the All-Time Wife Beater All-Stars. Atlanta’s Bobby Cox can skipper the squad, and Julio Lugo is firmly ensconced at 2B, as is Darryl Strawberry in right. Will Cordero and the late Kirby Puckett are both pretty versatile (though Kirby might have to settle for DH). Further nominees, please!

(With apologies to Kim Ng, there’s only one choice for GM of this virtual team : Tawny Kitaen).

Foiled Sears Tower Bomb Plot Fails To Dent Chicago’s Inferiority Complex

Posted in Total Fucking Terror at 10:50 am by

Is anyone else unimpressed with the chosen target of the recently nabbed Miami extremists, accused of plotting to blow up Chicago’s Sears Tower?  One of America’s tallest buildings…doesn’t Al Qaeda know the meaning of “been there, done that”?

Besides, the people of Chicago have already survived Steve Dahl.  If these terrorists have any insight as to what kind of action would really represent a deadly blow to the cultural spirit of America, they’d consider some kind of action directed at the Journey Sing-A-Long, taking place tomorrow night at Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse, or arranging a strike on Odessey, “Travis County’s premier Journey cover band.”

If nothing else, it would really fuck with Cliff Politte’s head.

Ozzie’s Tears Of A Clown

Posted in Baseball at 12:03 am by

Prior to this evening’s Cards/White Sox contest, the recently chastised Ozzie Guillen was asked by Comcast Chicago what he thought his sensitivity training would be like.

“I’ll probably have to sit with Joey Cora for a couple of hours,” laughed Guillen.

St. Louis starter Anthony Reyes took a no-hitter in the 7th before allowing a Jim Thome solo HR, the only offense in Chicago’s 1-0 win.

Highlight of the night if not the year : the Fish and O’s are tied at 5 in the top of the 10th, nobody out and Hanley Ramirez on 2nd base, Todd Willaims (above) attempted to walk Miguel Cabrera intentionally. Miggy pulled a Kelly Leak and hit an outside pitch that wasn’t nearly outside enough for an RBI single into centerfield. The Marlins went on to win their 10th out of 11, 8-5…and perhaps Rockin’ Leo can hold a clinic tomorrow with the Baltimore staff about how to properly issue a free pass.


Tivo Alert!

Posted in Hot Fads, Sports TV at 10:35 pm by

For the first and quite possibly last time in CSTB history, I am urging one and all to tape or watch “Quite Frankly With Stephen A. Smith” tonight at midnight (eastern standard time) on ESPN2.

Though I’ve never made it through an entire episode before, I am pretty confident tonight’s will be a televised abortion of Morten Downey Jr. / Wally George proportions.

I say that, because tonight’s episode is touted as Stephen A.’s inside look into the kooky world of college hazing.

The interview segments alone, never mind the Q&A, should be You Tube Valhalla for days to come. Don’t miss it.

Was It Really Necessary To Drag Whataburger Into This?

Posted in Parental Responsibility, The Internet, The Law at 9:54 pm by

As you might’ve heard, a 14 year old Travis County female and her parents are suing MySpace and News Corp. for $30 million, claiming the social networking site provided the means with which she met a 19 year old guy that sexually assaulted her.  Time’s Hillary Hylton reports the alleged predator plans legal action of his own.

The defense attorney for Pete Solis (above), the 19-year-old Texas community college student charged with sexually assaulting the girl dubbed “Julie Doe” in her lawsuit, told TIME that if the Texas courts accept the premise that MySpace is liable because the two met there, then his client also has a claim, since the alleged victim falsely portrayed herself on the webiste as 15 years old.

“He’s been, in effect, just as much a victim ” if not more,” says Adam Reposa, the attorney for Solis, who is facing up to 20 years in prison on charges of second degree felony sexual assault. Since the lawsuit against MySpace also names Solis as a defendant, Reposa said he will “cross-file” and also sue MySpace and its owner, News Corporation. “MySpace wasn’t there when they went to Whataburger. MySpace wasn’t there when they went to the movie and MySpace wasn’t there when they climbed in the backseat,” Reposa said. “Meeting on MySpace ” if that alone is enough, then we can make the same claim for damages.”

Ben Schwartz Versus The High Price Of Mediocrity

Posted in Baseball at 9:12 pm by

From the mail bag of the Chicago Tribune’s Paul Sullivan :

Q: It was just a few short years ago that Detroit lost 119 games. It was just a few short years ago that the White Sox were a so-so team. If these guys can rebuild in a short time, why can’t the Cubs?

Chet Dombrowski, Texas

A : The Cubs aren’t allowed to rebuild like the Tigers and Sox because Wrigley Field is almost always sold out and they’d be accused of pocketing the money with a low-payroll team full of kids.

Replies Ben Schwartz,

Yep, every dime is right there on the field.  Who knew a .394 season to date could cost over $100 mil in payroll?  Well, now that the Trib has explained that the Cubs will never get into the World Series in order to maintain Tribco’s world class rep for ethical accounting, I feel much better about our losing streak.  At least it’s honest.  The news this week is that Derrek Lee is taking batting practice but won’t put a date on his return, and is apparently still resisting a stint in the minors before starting with the Cubs.  Lee’s point is well taken — my question for the reporter is, what’s the difference between starting in Iowa or Wrigley these days?

Clemens Returns, Noted Blogger Yawns

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 5:25 pm by

(Preston Wilson, left, and Roger Clemens, right, make plans to catch a Houston Comets game on one of the Rocket’s many days off)

As you may or may not be aware, despite my almost bi-weekly visits to Mondo Kim’s to complain about the paucity of their Comedy CD section, I do live and work in lovely Travis County, TX. In this part of the country (and most neighboring ‘hoods), the only debate surrounding Roger Clemens is something along the lines of

a) Is The Rocket merely the greatest pitcher of all time, or

b) the Greatest Human Living Human Being?

And in the spectre of that kind of unquestioning, all-encompassing lust for no. 22, I’m all too pleased to quote Mike of Mike’s Mets.

I’m really bored with Clemens’ comings and goings. He’s like an aging beauty queen still desperately drinking in the attention of men. My only hope with fatass is that sometime in the near future he will go away for good.

Calling Clemens “a complete phony”, TravelGolf.com’s Chris Baldwin goes a step further.

There’s no more money grubbing athlete in all of sports than Clemens. He’s always been up for sale to whoever would pay him the most, bend to his demands the easiest.

Clemens is a much worse example of athletic greed than Terrell Owens. Yet TO’s savaged while The Rocket is celebrated.

Please. Clemens drags out these so-called retirement decisions every year, just to pump up his purchase price. And bring out an extra perk or three hundred. The Rocket never planned to retire. Not when he took Steinbrenner’s Hummer, not after he squeezed another $22 million out of the Astros and a spot for his son in the minors.

It’s all a game for him and his agents and he’s played major league baseball teams in a way Ari Gold could only dream of. Can you imagine if Allen Iverson or Dodgers hothead pitcher Brad Penny decided that they only wanted to travel on certain road trips? They’d be crucified on sports talk from coast to coast.

Wright Cleans Up, Mets Extend Lead To 10 Games

Posted in Baseball at 4:49 pm by

Mets 6, Reds 2

How’s this for destructive thinking : after observing David Wright punish Eric Milton to the tune of a pair of two run homers, I can’t help but wonder, how many more games would the Mets have won in 2005 had Wright been moved to 3, 4 or 5 in the batting order? What sort of pitches would Carlos Beltran have seen in the first half of the year if Wright had been hitting behind him instead of Mike Piazza?

From the Is-He-Still-Playing? Department, I saw Quinton McCracken doing his thing for Louisville a few weeks ago, and I cannot believe he’s almost 36 years old. He doesn’t look a day over 34.

Pedro Martinez picked up his 7th win today, striking out 8, walking 5 and allowing 2 runs and 2 hits over 6 innings.  Look ahead to next week’s visit to Fenway Park, Martinez spoke with the Boston Herald’s Michael Silverman :
œI™m very optimistic that the reception will be what I have in my heart for them, not a back and forth between me and the fans, said Martinez. œI realize business is business and when it comes to arguing money, anything is fair in baseball. Anything seems to be fair.

And to be fair, Martinez feels, fans should separate his decision and the Red Sox™ decision from the man who is taking the mound. Try to forget that the bitterness in his heart and on his tongue when he left has left him.

œI was honest without hurting anybody, without disrespecting anybody, said Martinez of his immediate post-Red Sox comments. œWhat was it I said that I should regret? Did I say I wanted to leave Boston? Maybe I should have said that. They knew that my heart was there, in Boston.

He feels that someone, he™s not sure who, tried to damage his reputation by talking about how he was always late and on his own program.

œI thought that was a little out of place but I guess when it comes to trying to get you cheaper, you have to actually do anything possible, right? he said. œThat™s the world? That™s why I was a little bit bitter but I realized I™m not the only one who™s had that done to them.

At the risk of an admonishment from Mike’s Mets, I will merely mention that Tampa Bay’s Scott Kazmir was fan-fucking-tastic against the free-falling Diamondbacks today.

Bud Selig has ordered Ozzie Guillen to attend sensitivity training after the latter called Jay Mariotti a fag. I look forward to future O.G. discussions with beat reporters, in which he’ll carefully describe how Jay makes him feel.