07.29.06

Nightmares, Courtesy Of The Associated Press

Posted in Baseball, Fashion at 10:25 pm by

You wouldn’t think the eve of the trade deadline would qualify as a slow news period, but the A.P.just couldn’t resist.

Shawn Green brings his own soap on every road trip. Mike Cameron never forgets his lavender linen spray and orange-scented spray for the room. Ichiro Suzuki depends on an electric massager that takes up nearly half his suitcase.

And then there’s Detroit closer Todd Jones (above), who wears only one pair of underwear when the Tigers leave town.

“I don’t pack any underwear,” he said. “I wear it into the park, it gets washed every day and I wear it out of the park. I guess that’s weird. I’m not proud of it, but I’m cutting down on space.”

Slade Vs. Kinks In Coke Feud

Posted in Rock Und Roll at 3:48 pm by

As noted earlier, the BBC is pulling the plug on “Top Of The Pops” after 42 years. With the final transmission scheduled for Sunday evening, Slade’s Jim Lea shares his fond memories with the Guardian’s Dave Simpson and  Dorian Lynskey.

There was a lot of rivalry. When we first went straight in at number one [with Cum On Feel The Noize], I remember walking in and other acts went quiet. Ray Davies came up to me in the BBC bar and said, “Don’t keep doing the same thing”, and I hummed his hits at him and said, “It didn’t stop you!” He threw Coca-Cola over me and it all kicked off. We were banned from the BBC bar for months. Jimmy Savile gave me the best advice: “Always remember the tide comes in and goes out again.” We were regular blokes who treated it like a night’s work and had a pie afterwards, and I think that’s why people loved us. But we went to town on the outfits, especially Dave Hill. He’d get changed in the bogs and every time he came out I held my head in my hands. Someone said, “Have you seen the state of your guitarist? He looks like a metal nun!”

An Injection Of Tejada News

Posted in Baseball at 1:32 pm by

According to the LA Daily Times’ Mike DiGiovanna, The Angels are amongst those eager to gain the services of Orioles 3B Miguel Tejada, while the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly cites no fewer than 4 other clubs in on the bidding.

Baseball Prospectus’ Will Carroll
gamely attempts to shift through the clutter :

The Astros and Angels have made their final offers on Miguel Tejada. The Orioles now have to decide if it’s enough to give up their star shortstop. The Astros have a backup plan in Julio Lugo, but need to act quickly because Toronto is also in on the Devil Rays shortstop. Tejada is more likely to move if the O’s are willing to absorb a bit of salary in return for him. One other team took a look at Tejada and decided to pass. “There’s some questions there. The Palmeiro thing and he’s checked out on the O’s. I don’t know if going to a contender changes him if it’s not the right manager,” I was told.

Aside from Lugo, could the Rays trade some of their disgruntled minor league studs? The organization seems to be at the end of their rope with B.J. Upton, Delmon Young and Elijah Dukes. Young won’t be traded–the Albert Belle comparisons are ringing more true, but remember Belle’s bat. Upton likely won’t be moved either, but Dukes could be sent out despite not getting value back just to send a message to the more talented pair.

Everyone’s still watching the Red Sox, an organization that’s plugged most of their former leaks. Whispers of Coco Crisp and Mark Loretta being shopped are coming from other organizations. The chattering masses (myself included) are trying to connect the dots here without much luck so far. Some of this–but not all–is smart use of misdirection. We’ll know soon, I’m told. One of my best sources says the first of the Red Sox deals will happen this afternoon

Devil Rays’ Player Development Continues The Summer Of Damage Control

Posted in Baseball at 12:37 pm by

Having spent the better part of Friday in airports and hotels, I’m not quite sure how I managed to miss the following article by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, but if you enjoy following the career trajectory of Devil Rays prospects BJ Upton, Delmon Young and Elijah Dukes, it was a doozy.

Devil Rays general manager Andrew Friedman, who called Upton two weeks ago and told him switching to third base could mean a quick call-up to the big leagues, isn’t tipping his hand. He is listening to trade offers for shortstop Julio Lugo and third baseman Ty Wigginton. So far, no trades.

No trades means no call-ups.

“I don’t know what they’re waiting for,” Young (above) says. “They’re what, 30 games (actually 20) out of first place? They think we’re going to mess up their clubhouse chemistry. B.J. should be up there. What are they waiting for? They always have excuses.”

Dukes is staring disgustedly at his baseball jersey while talking. It has dark stains around the collar. His pants have tears by both knees.

If this were the big leagues, the uniform would be in the garbage.

But this is Durham.

“In the big leagues, you throw your uniform on the ground, and it’s washed and hung up nicely in your locker,” Dukes says. “Here you do that, you come back the next day and find it still on the floor. Those guys up there (in the big leagues) shower in Evian. Here, we use sewer water.”

The Tampa Tribune’s Carter Gaddis collected the requisite outraged responses from the parent club.

“It’s pretty clear how they feel,” Andrew Friedman said. “I think it shows a lot of disrespect toward the game and the achievement of becoming a major-league player. The whole article is something we take great exception to.”

“I don’t know what qualifies people, at any age, to disrespect anybody in the manner that that article indicated to me,” Joe Maddon said. “It speaks to disrespect, and it speaks to the sense of entitlement that the athletes seem to have today and I totally disagree with.”

Rays veteran Ty Wigginton, when informed of Dukes’ remark about the Evian showers in the majors, begged to differ.

“Actually, we get individual scrubs from the trainers,” Wigginton said. “I go back there and I sit in a big Jacuzzi and [trainers Paul] Harker and Ronnie Porterfield give me a sponge bath.”

Salomon Torres Left His Hate In San Francisco

Posted in Baseball at 12:18 pm by

And know we know why Shea Hillenbrand’s addition to the Giants couldn’t possibly have caused any chemistry problems. From the SF Chronicle’s Henry Schulman (link copped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)


“If I could beg, I would beg. Send me where you want, but not to San Francisco,” said Pirates reliever Salomon Torres, who stressed he loves the city and people. He even made peace with Bonds and they chatted Friday. But Torres had such a rotten time in San Francisco, from 1993-95, the idea of going back revolts him.

“A terrible feeling went through my body because all of a sudden all the bad memories that I have, especially from ’94 and ’95, somehow I relived them in a matter of seconds,” Torres said. “It was a very difficult time for me, in part because of lack of experience and different issues I had to deal with, with Barry, at the time. It made my life miserable.”

Torres said he asked for a trade because Bonds often berated him. The Giants eventually sent him to Seattle.

“Many times I cried myself to sleep, because I was looking for a brother on the team, a mentor who could help me out, coming from another country, a different culture and all that,” the Dominican Republic native said. “I didn’t get that, because the clubhouse was very divided at the time and I was in the middle of it.”

“By far, that’s the worst time I had in my career,” Torres said, referring to his dealings with Felipe Alou. “It prompted my (temporary) retirement. He didn’t treat me the way I felt he should have been treating me. … He never went straight to me and told me what was going on, and I resent him for that.

“I don’t want to relive what I went through, especially in ’97 with the Expos with Felipe. I have the utmost respect for him, but if I stay away from him, it’s better. I’m just looking for my future sanity.”

Though Jason Stark and a few chat radio hounds were howling about the likelihood of Wily Mo Pena being traded, the Boston Herald’s Michael Silverman claims Coco Crisp is the Red Sox outfielder who might be dealt.

In order to add another starter to the rotation for the remainder of this season and possibly beyond, the Red Sox are making two-thirds of their starting outfield – center fielder Coco Crisp and right fielder Trot Nixon – available to other teams while also making it clear that young pitchers Jonathan Papelbon, Jon Lester, Craig Hansen and Manny Delcarmen are not going anywhere.

A major league source yesterday said the Red Sox had recently made a concrete offer that included Crisp to another team for a starter.

Crisp™s availability can be read any number of ways. The 26-year-old is having a mildly disappointing season so far – .275 batting average and 11 stolen bases after his 2-for-4 effort in an 8-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels last night – but his upside is still considered quite high. Cost control is another factor that would make him attractive, considering that he and the Red Sox agreed this April to a three-year contract extension worth $15.5 million, plus an $8 million option for 2010.

Newsday’s Bob Herzog
echoes a Stark claim from yesterday, that the Phillies are looking to move Jon Lieber and Bobby Abreu as a combo platter, and the Yankees might be one of the only suitors with enough of an appetite.

Pledging that he’ll not type the words “Lastings” or “Milledge” again until the Mets prospect is traded, Catfish Stew’s Ken Arneson is less than enthralled with the notion of Barry Zito being traded for Aaron Heilman.

Heilman is only six months younger than Zito, and he’s accomplished almost nothing in comparison. Olney mentioned Heilman’s “upside”, but Heilman is running out of time for upside. His ERA is 4.47. In a weaker league. As a reliever. If Heilman is the return, I’d much rather keep Zito, try to win this year, and get two draft picks in what is supposed to be a very strong draft class.

The bigger question is a philosophical one: should the A’s trade Zito at all, when they’re still tied for first place with 62 games remaining? Is there any way they could get anything for Zito that wouldn’t decrease their chances of winning the division this year?

It’s an interesting question. The A’s upper farm system is so barren, that it’s hard to imagine the A’s getting much better than they are now in the next couple of years. This may be there best chance to win a division for a while. On the other hand, Zito is probably their best, or only, tool they have to restock the upper levels of the farm system with some talent.

Perhaps the Zito dilemma shouldn’t be viewed in a vacuum. There are ways Beane can improve the A’s in other areas to make up for the loss of Zito, and give the A’s a chance to compete this year and next. For example, I’d like to see the A’s go out and nab a third baseman like Joe Randa, just so they can let Eric Chavez hit the DL and fix his tendonitis with rest. Randa, mediocre as he is, would still easily improve on the .100 batting average that both Chavez and Antonio Perez are putting up there right now. Then maybe you have a healthy Chavez for September.

Zeke Finds A Forward…Who Might Never Turn Up

Posted in Basketball at 11:58 am by

From the New York Times’ Howard Beck.

The Knicks signed the defensive-minded forward Jared Jeffries to an offer sheet yesterday, although it is possible he will never pull on a Knicks jersey.

Jeffries, who has played his entire four-year career in Washington, is a restricted free agent. Under N.B.A. rules, the Wizards have seven days to match the Knicks™ offer. (That window will not begin until Monday, when the Knicks are expected to file the paperwork with the league.)

It is believed the Knicks gave Jeffries the maximum terms allowed using the midlevel salary-cap exception ” about $30 million over five years. His starting salary would be $5.215 million.

The Wizards seem likely to match the offer. All of the Wizards™ key officials ” the owner, Abe Pollin; the president, Ernie Grunfeld; and Coach Eddie Jordan ” have said they want to keep Jeffries.

The Oregonian’s John Canzano details just how invisible the market has become for Darius Miles’ services.

On Thursday, an NBA GM told me the Blazers chances of trading Darius Miles before the season are “impossible.” Then, he said, “unless… the team was willing to part with either Brandon Roy or LaMarcus Aldridge as part of the deal.”

Take a minute with that one. Kick it around. Then, let it settle in the part of your brain that remembers how volatile, apathetic, disinterested and destructive Miles can be to a team.

There is no clean, easy way out of this for the team that gave him that awful six-year, $48 million free-agent contract two summers ago. If the Blazers trade Miles now, they will have to give up a promising young player to do so. If they keep Miles around, they put him in the center of a young, impressionable bunch.
You can cut Miles, and keep the prospects. Insiders will tell you that the franchise isn’t a fan of doing that because money is guaranteed and it sets a bad precedent. But I think letting Miles walk isn’t the worst idea around.

Miles by himself is unpalatable, but an NBA team would be willing to swallow him in order to get a sexy asset. If the Blazers had better veterans to use as carrots, they wouldn™t be here. Apparently, dangling Juan Dixon isn™t getting it done.

07.28.06

Betemit To The Dodgers, Baez To The Braves

Posted in Baseball at 10:59 pm by

From the AP :

The Atlanta Braves made another trade to bulk up their bullpen Friday night, acquiring reliever Danys Baez and infielder Willy Aybar from the struggling Los Angeles Dodgers for infielder Wilson Betemit.The deal was announced after the Braves’ 6-4 loss to New York, which left them 13 games behind the Mets in the NL East. Atlanta’s best hope for making its 15th straight playoff appearance is the wild card, and they are counting on Baez to provide a reliable set-up man for new closer Bob Wickman.

ESPN’s Buster Olney is claiming Oakland will send Barry Zito to the Mets if Lastings Milledge is part of the package the A’s receive in return. The other pieces of the package weren’t specified, but presumably their last names are either Pelfrey or Heilman.

All Over The Bronx, They’re Chanting “We Love Wang”

Posted in Baseball at 10:14 pm by

One night after the Staten Island Yankees honored their onetime pitcher with a commemorative bobblehead, the full-sized Chien-Ming Wang baffled the Devil Rays en route to a complete game, 2-hit shutout, as the Yankees defeated Tampa Bay, 6-0. Bernie Williams hit his 8th HR of the year, Derek Jeter was 3 for 5 with a double and a pair of RBI’s, and Alex Rodriguez….wasn’t charged with any errors (sorry).

Though I’m trying my best to concentrate on the Jon Lester/Kelvim Escobar duel taking place in Anaheim, I am somewhat distracted by Jason Stark’s insistence that not only are the Rangers and Astros very much in the mix for Miguel Tejada, but the Dodgers “have come down with a case of Tejeda Fever.” Nothing a B-12 shot shouldn’t clear up, I reckon.

The Phillies have traded David Bell to Milwaukee for 22 year old RHP Wilfrido Laureano. The latter was placed on the West Virginia Power’s suspended list earlier this month for undisclosed reasons, though perhaps a premonition that he’d someday be linked in baseball history with David Bell was enough to provoke some violation of club rules. Ned Yost’s son, Ned IV, is the Power’s first baseman (and presumably, the resident snitch), so perhaps there’s some greater insight at work. Greater than mine, anyway.

Nolasco’s No-No Disappears, Stanton Bound For S.F.

Posted in Baseball at 9:03 pm by

The Marlins’ Ricky Nolasco took a no-hitter into the 7th inning tonight in Philadelphia, only to see his bid at semi-immortality busted up by Abraham Nunez’ two out single. Chase Utley singled in the bottom of the 8th to extend his hitting streak to 28 games.

Earlier, former Met Mike Jacobs’ RBI double put the Fish on top, 1-0.

The Giants acquired LHP Mike Stanton from Washington today in exchange for Shairon Martis, whom you might remember from his no-hitter against the Netherlands during the WBC.

Continuing on the global tip, a couple the Cuban national side’s top players, Eduardo Paret and Yulieski Gourriel are said to have defected to Colombia. Apparently, the football team sucking like crazy didn’t put them off one bit.

Repeat after me : spreading misinformation about Alfonso Soriano’s destination is merely an honest mistake. Taking the intern to the Outback Steakhouse, however, is ground for termination and having Phil Mushnick’s Understudy call you “delusional“.

It’s a Salvation Miracle! David Wright just hit a solo HR to right field off Atlanta’s Oscar Villareal in the 7th inning, extending a Mets lead to 6-4. Last night, the Chicago Tribune’s Dave Van Dyck has floated the possibility of Greg Maddux (above) donning one of the Mets’ half dozen or so uniform styles. Presumably, Maddux can he had for a far more modest price than Barry Zito or Dontrelle Willis (and by the same token, would probably cost more than Tony Armas Jr. or Livan Hernandez).

Speaking of far-fetched, with the 3rd place White Sox losing (again) to Baltimore tonight, and the Cubs beating the Cards at Wrigley, will anyone take a bet on Dusty outlasting Ozzie in Chicago? Other than Jay Mariotti, I mean.

Congrats to recent Round Rock Express alumnus Luke Scott on hitting his first major league HR for the Astros tonight against the Snakes. And the same to Shin-Soo Choo (a frequent CSTB reader, I’m sure), who went deep for Cleveland’s sole run against his former club, Seattle.

Pacers, Hawks Test The Limits Of Space, Time

Posted in Basketball at 2:08 pm by

Here are some things that might happen before Al Harrington finally returns to the Indiana Pacers ;

1) a new My Bloody Valentine album hits the shelves

2) The New York Mets witness one of their (major league) pitchers throw a no-hitter. In a Mets uniform.

3) Dane Cook will say something funny.

4) Deion Branch and the Patriots will kiss and make up (this seems the most likely of the bunch)

5) Organized crime will finally be removed from the Connecticut sanitation business.

Corky To The Globe’s Footy Fans : Fuck Off

Posted in Sports Journalism, We Aren't The World at 1:49 pm by

As stated previously, the gracious words written on behalf of this blog by the Austin American-Statesman’s Michael Corcoran are very appreciated. Short of running another jpg of Jackie Christie, I cannot imagine what would create such a traffic boost.

Being a fairminded sort, I’d like to return the favor.  Corcoran has already made his disdain for baseball known to one and all (more than once!), and recently, as part of his B-List blog, extended the diss-fest to soccer.

Non-sports fans love baseball and soccer, two sports you can have a conversation while watching, but I™m more entertained by a dog show. If not for Zidane™s head butt, the recent World Cup Soccer tournament would™ve been completely forgettable. All that nonsense ” up and down, up and down the field ” and then it™s settled by penalty kicks. That™s like, instead of overtime, a tied NBA championship game would be decided by a free-throw contest. Here™s something that would make soccer interesting: land mines. Each team gets to plant one before the game.

Have you noticed how they don™t keep turnover stats for soccer? That™s because there are about 600 a game. Possession means next to nothing in soccer because players score about as much as a dweeb in a Member™s Only jacket on the prowl at Emo™s. Soccer is a worldwide sensation only because it™s affordable to poor people, who comprise about 80 percent of the world™s population. You can play soccer with a wad of masking tape; no need for a mitt or a hoop or a bag full of clubs.

Rangers Lasso Carlos Lee

Posted in Baseball at 11:01 am by

After the Brewers failed to come to terms on a contract extension yesterday with Carlos Lee, they’ve traded the outfielder to Texas, along with Nelson Cruz, for reliever Francisco Cordero, Kevin Mench and Lance Nix.

Aside from watching one fewer prodigious power hitter in the National League, I’m getting a headache trying to figure out how many 11-10 home games the Rangers will have to win between now and the end of September. As for the Brewers, perhaps the fan-friendly Cordero will fare better than Derek Turnblow.

Lee being off the market may or may not heat up talks on the Alfonso Soriano front, but if nothing else, some kind of price has been established for a premium two month rental.

Braves, Smoltz, Refuse To Seperate Church And Foam Tomahawks

Posted in Baseball, Religion at 1:03 am by

The only part of the following piece from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Michelle Hiskey that I liked was this quote :

“It’s a cool way to get the message across about Jesus Christ. No pressure or anything,” said Jamal Womble, who came from Augusta with friend Ben Palacz.

Seriously, if the former bassist for Public Image Limited can have an open mind about this Faith Day stuff, perhaps I need to reconsider my cynical attitude?

After emptying the ballpark from the game crowd, hundreds of spectators re-entered to fill the left field bleachers. They passed through a sponsor alley where groups such as Focus on the Family, Toccoa Bible College and Gospel Music Channel gave out camouflage Bibles and baseballs resembling Veggie Tales, a Christian comic series.

The 90-minute program began with John Smoltz ” who did not pitch in the game ” urging the crowd to avoid a “no decision” about God.

Smoltz said he once worshiped baseball. He planned charitable works, figuring that once he retired from the mound he would turn control of his life to God.

In 1995, when the Braves were headed to the World Series, a talk with the team chaplain made Smoltz realize that he had no guarantee of even his next breath. So he decided to give his life and plans to God.

“No-decisions ” I currently have 10, and that doesn’t bother me,” he said of games he has started and neither lost nor won.

“Because of the decision I made in 1995, I know where I will be [after death], and I can only hope and wish everyone here knows where they will be, too.”

The promotion, which included a concert by local contemporary Christian musician Aaron Shust, riled some longtime Braves fans. They complained online that Smoltz should stick to pitching and skip the proselytizing. They accused the Braves of seeking to profit off religious beliefs.

Though I respect the rights of such Christ-haters to badmouth the wonderful John Smoltz and the Braves organization, I would ask them to keep in mind that in this great land of ours, all sorts of crazy, even stomach-turning religious practices are protected under the law.

Earlier in the day, the Braves lost to the Marlins, 6-1. First person to write in with “where’s your God now, Smoltzie?” is banned from the CSTB comments section for 30 minutes.

For $2 Million, You Can Soak In Pedro’s Tub

Posted in Baseball at 12:47 am by

Tonight, the Mets return to action at Atlanta’s Turner Field, where Pedro Martinez — making his first start in a month — will take on the Braves, winners of 14 our their last 21.  Whether or not Martinez can hold his own as a member of New York’s new 6 man (!) rotation remains to be seen, but the Boston Globe has more compelling matters for us to fixate upon.  In a Cribs-esque frenzy, the Globe’s Real Estate secton has seen fit to showcase the former abodes of Pedro, Nomar Garciaparra and Johnny Damon, all 3 of which are on the market.

The Globe’s helpful caption for the above photo : “Before baseball fame, Martinez lived in a typical house in Manoguayabo, built with palm wood, dirt floors and a tin roof.”

Guy With Name Like Mine Slithers Off The Hook

Posted in Free Expression, Leave No Child Unbeaten, The Law at 12:26 am by

Though it was the legendry supergroup Steps that sang “Words Are Not Enough”, those sentiments were echoed yesterday by the New York State Supreme Court, which ruled that sending sexually explicit e-mail to a minor is permissible so long as you’re too lazy to attach a jpg of your private bits. From Newsday’s Ann Givens.

The decision by the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court, Second Department, hung on the meaning of the word “depict.” Jeffrey Koslow, a Manhattan lawyer who was convicted last year of attempted disseminating indecent material to a minor, appealed his case saying that his e-mails did not “depict” sexual conduct because they contained only words, not pictures.

The fact that the appeals court agreed with him means that local law enforcement officials who work to lure pedophiles on the Internet by pretending to be children will now have to convince those pedophiles to e-mail them sexually explicit photographs in order to secure a felony conviction.

I don’t mean to tell the experts how to do their jobs, but they might also consider discouraging children from learning to read. Based on what I’ve seen of the public school systems in Givens’ hood, some of the educators might have already taken this bold step without any prompting.

07.27.06

Chass Wonders “Where’s Wilpon?”

Posted in Baseball at 10:25 pm by

Despite presiding over what could well become the most successful Mets campaign in a generation, owner Fred Wilpon has been keeping a super low profile this season.  Good thing too, as I’d use every available opportunity to knock him for everything from his daughter in law’s cooking to Chris Cotter’s hair.  Fred’s nobody’s fool (except maybe the Glavine family’s) and as much, he’s in no hurry to chat with the New York Times’ Murray Chass.

What is Wilpon™s reason for not talking? Has the Mets™ owner taken a vow of silence? Is he superstitious? Does he think if he talks about his terrific team he will jinx it, that the Mets won™t win the National League East title? Or does he want to stay out of the way and let his baseball people get the credit for the great job they have done?

Wilpon, who at 69 is seven years younger than George Steinbrenner, has not been heard from throughout the Mets™ march to October. A request was made through Jay Horwitz, the team™s vice president for media relations, for an interview with Wilpon, but the owner declined, preferring to have General Manager Omar Minaya serve as the public spokesman for the team.

Now New York has two invisible owners. Wilpon never wanted to match Steinbrenner™s bombast. Now he has matched his silence.

Truth is, Fred is very aware that any one-to-one discussion with members of the Fourth Estate is bound to bring up the matter of Scott Schafer’s Cock or David Wright’s faith.

Rumble In Bristol : Kuselias’ Afternoon Cow(herd) Tipping

Posted in Sports Radio at 7:03 pm by

Maybe it’s just wishful thinking, but there might be a feud brewing at the Worldwide Leader that has nothing to do with A-Rod trade talk.

Professional dipshit Colin Cowherd has already stated his opposition to Prince as CBS and the NFL’s choice for the next Super Bowl halftime show. On today’s “Sports Bash”, ESPN Radio’s Eric Kuselias (above) took an opposing viewpoint, insisting that Prince was “very cool”.

“Who doesn’t like Prince?” wondered Kuselias. “If you’re not into Prince, you’re the kind of person that still champions grunge music and says ‘that’s how I roll’. ”

He forgot to add “and beats off to Courtney Love”, but I do understand this is mainstream radio. Anyway, not only would it be neat if Cowherd responded, but a knife fight in the parking lot remains a possibility, however remote.

Can The White Sox World Series DVD Top This?

Posted in Baseball at 5:17 pm by

“Sadly, yes,” writes Ben Schwartz, who adds,

I™d like to add the new Jimmy Buffett 2-DVD set to the list of reasons to demolish Wrigley. It should surprise no one that the people who brought us the 2006 season are the same highly placed Tribune executives that Buffett describes as œparrotheads. I have other names for them, but that will do. Btw, a quote deep in this article from Buffett demands credit for the Red Sox World Series win.

Plaschke Vs. Penny

Posted in Baseball at 4:27 pm by

Aside from Jake Peavy flashing the power (above), the big moment in yesterday’s Dodger loss to the Padres happened when Brad Penny and Kenny Lofton squared off in the L.A. dugout. For the LA Times’ DePodesta-hating Bill Plaschke, it was yet another reason to cuddle up with the Paul Lo Duca pillow and blast Penny.

Penny was mad because he felt Lofton lazily played an apparent third-inning single by San Diego’s Dave Roberts into a double.

Lofton was mad because Penny, as usual, decided to air this grievance in public.

Earlier this year, Penny yelled at Little on the mound while being removed after an awful outing in Atlanta.

Then, this month, Penny questioned his teammates’ effort after another awful outing in St. Louis.

And now, this, a tantrum over one base hit in a string of six consecutive base hits against him.

Penny was mad because he thought Lofton, who has struggled defensively, should have held Roberts to a single on a ball that rolled in front of him.

That was probably a fair assessment.

What wasn’t fair is that Penny didn’t get mad at himself for, one batter earlier, allowing a double to .152-hitting Jake Peavy, who later even homered off him.

And he didn’t get mad at himself for allowing a leadoff single to Geoff Blum, he of the .298 on-base percentage.

And he didn’t get mad at himself for putting his poor-hitting team in a hole for the second time in three starts, this All-Star game starter allowing four or more runs in four of his last seven starts.

Anti-Social Networking With Colin Cowherd

Posted in Sports Radio, The Internet at 12:42 pm by

“As a father, I’d be embarrassed to have a MySpace page,” insisted ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd (above) during his Thursday broadcast. Declaring those who waste their time on such trival matters to be “irrelevent…with irrelevent careers,” Cowherd stated with some authority that “no adult who is any sort of a player would be on MySpace,” comparing those who frequent such sites to “the sort of person who drinks 14 beers and pukes at a Hawks game, or someone throwing batteries at an Eagles game.”

Much as I hate to publicly disagree with a morning host whose grip on the cultural zeitgeist barely extends past disc one of ‘Buzz Ballads’, Cowherd is, as usual, hopelessly, out of touch and full of shit for a living. Gilbert Arenas isn’t a player? Scott Schafer isn’t happening? Jessica Hopper, “irrelevent”?

Still, there was some slight qualification in Cowherd’s hate fest. “Now, if you’re a record company executive,” he reasoned, “I suppose you have a good reason to be on MySpace.”

Your NYC Tax Dollars Hard At Work

Posted in Baseball, New York, New York at 12:11 pm by

(Yankee prez Randy Levine unveiling plans for a bust of Rudy Giuliani in Monument Park)

Though the Mets are running away with the NL East and the Yankees are in a dogfight for the AL Wild Card, there will always be one realm in which the Highlanders are far and away, the superior of the two clubs. And that’s when it comes to fucking over the people of New York. From the Village Voice’s Neil deMause (link courtesy Wojohowicz).

City documents newly uncovered by the Voice reveal that the New York Yankees billed city tax- payers hundreds of thousands of dollars for the salaries of team execs and high-powered consultants to lobby the city and state, thanks to the team’s sweetheart lease deal engineered by the Giuliani administration.”You’ve created this weird circular situation where the city is, effectively, paying with taxpayer money to have itself lobbied for potentially more taxpayer money,” says Common Cause’s Megan Quattlebaum, one of several government watchdogs who were dumbfounded when the Voice told them last week about the deal. “Taxpayers would not be pleased at all to hear that the city is subsidizing someone to come back and hold their hand out to lobby for more.”

The Yankees are apparently taking advantage of a clause in their lease with the city that allows “planning costs” of their new $1.3 billion stadium”groundbreaking for which could take place as soon as next week”to be deducted from the team’s rent. The planning deductions date back to a lease renegotiation arranged by Mayor Rudy Giuliani in his final days in office. Under the December 28, 2001, lease deal, both the Yankees and the Mets were allowed to deduct up to $5 million apiece from their annual rent payments to the city, to be used for planning the new stadiums that Giuliani proposed to build, with city aid, across the street from the teams’ existing homes.

One month later, incoming mayor Mike Bloomberg scotched Giuliani’s stadium plans, declaring it was “just not practical this year to go and build stadiums.” But he let the new Giuliani leases stand, even as Comptroller William Thompson insisted they were unnecessary giveaways and demanded they be renegotiated. As a result, according to the city parks department, which oversees the teams’ leases, from 2001 to 2005 the Yankees charged the city $15.97 million under the “planning cost” clause; the Mets, $20.2 million.

For starters, Yankees president Randy Levine (a former deputy mayor under Giuliani) and the team’s chief operating officer, Lonn Trost”the two top Yankee officials working for passage of the stadium deal”received a combined $312,500 in city money in 2004. The Yankees’ justification, according to the documents: The amount totaled 30 percent of Levine’s annual salary and 20 percent of Trost’s, representing the time each spent working on the stadium project.

Apology Corner

Posted in cycling at 10:52 am by

With this morning’s revelation that 2006 Tour de France victor Floyd Landis has flunked a drug test, I might have to finally accept the most sobering reality of all :

Lance Armstrong was the only competitive cyclist on the planet who wasn’t cheating. Maybe even the only person who has looked at a bicycle and not been on something. Well, that, or he’s the only guy who managed to stay one step ahead of the investigators. And it is all about being the best, I suppose.

Raissman On Reynolds’ Exit

Posted in Sports Journalism, Sports TV at 10:33 am by

Echoing Will Leitch’s insistence that ESPN is obliged to tell the public more than just “Harold Reynolds doesn’t work here anymore,” the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman takes a rather dim view of the deposed broadcaster and his former employer.

Reynolds told the New York Post he wanted his job back, explaining he was fired for “giving a woman a hug” that he felt was “misinterpreted.”

But Reynolds told USA Today he was ousted because: “They (ESPN suits) made a decision to have a change in direction. I respect their decision, but I don’t necessarily agree with it.” Reynolds added he already was considering several job offers while his attorney was working on a financial settlement with ESPN. This would seem to indicate he either does not want his ESPN job back or already knows ESPN won’t take him back.

When I asked Reynolds what happened, he said something about a difference “in philosophy” that he might talk about in a “couple of” days. “Don’t press me,” he said. “I’m a nice guy.”

That’s not really the issue here. Until someone offers concrete proof, Reynolds’ ultimate transgression will be open to speculation. This is bad news for him. It’s also bad for anyone who values the truth. And it has everything to do with the way ESPN brass chose to handle this situation.

By offering no reason for firing Reynolds, ESPN suits released a torrent of rumors. They also provided cover for Reynolds, allowing him to provide different answers to what likely were the same questions. Reynolds, a former major leaguer, certainly knows how to cover all the bases.

when reports of Reynolds’ firing surfaced, it was no shock that ESPN suits elected to stonewall. They have done it before. They have reasons for their silent treatment. An ESPN executive might ask a reporter that if someone at “your newspaper” gets fired, would it publish a story about why it happened? Or would your boss offer the media a reason for a particular dismissal?

This rationale fails to take into account that unlike your average newspaper reporter, Reynolds, like other high profile ESPN talent, is a celebrity. ESPN is a national TV network that goes into 90 million homes. When someone is suddenly fired, those who watch the network want to know why. They care about a guy like Reynolds.

Someone at ESPN also might tell you there are legal issues to consider. Or how there is no need, after someone is fired, to ruin his or her chances of ever getting another gig by releasing the gory details.

In some respects this is admirable. Still, like it has in the past, the policy allows some deviant who has preyed on a woman to move to another network and do it again.

Stravinsky, Throbbing Gristle, Move Over…

Posted in Professional Wrestling, Rock Und Roll at 2:16 am by

…you’ve got nothing on Mene Gene Okerlund. However, much the way Track Star owed a stylistic debt, however superficial, to early Pavement, I think we can conclude the above video might have been in frequent rotation in the home of the young James Dolan.

Hulk Hogan, though guilty of innumerable aesthetic crimes over the years, reveals himself to be every bit as awesome a bassist as Michael Anthony.

The link to the above clip is courtesy of the Jackie Harvey of the blogosphere, Sports By Brooks.

The Twisted Logic Of Rob Dibble

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism, Sports Radio at 1:59 am by

After reading the Dibster’s latest — a fascinating treatise on short term goals versus long term planning — I’ve decided that his considerable skills are being wasted on Fox and XM.

PBS sorely needs to re-run the entire 9-part “Baseball” series, except with Dibble providing new commentary for each episode, free-association style. If Ken Burns objects, just send him a link to Rob’s most recent column. You’ll hear no further complaints, because Burns will probably have shot himself before he reaches the end.