Sir Charles Swears Off Stockpiling Money, Mulls Gubernatorial Run (Again)

Posted in Basketball, politics at 1:25 am by

From the Birmingham News’ Charles J. Dean.

Charles Barkley, declaring himself a Democrat, said Tuesday he is seriously considering a run for governor of Alabama, maybe as early as 2010.

“Alabama, that’s my home. I’m thinking about running for governor; they need the help,” Barkley said as the crowd laughed. “If it wasn’t for Arkansas and Mississippi, we’d be dead last in everything. I think we can do better.”

“I’m serious,” Barkley said. “I’ve got to get people to realize that the government is full of it. Republicans and Democrats want to argue over stuff that’s not important, like gay marriage or the war in Iraq or illegal immigration. They push those issues because they play well on TV and because they deceive people. When I run – if I run – we’re going to talk about real issues like improving our schools, cleaning up our neighborhoods of drugs and crime and making Alabama a better place for all people.”

While Barkley said he has been mulling a run for governor for years, he believes he will soon reach a place in his life where he will stop thinking about it and start doing it.

“I really believe I was put on Earth to do more than play basketball and stockpile money,” he said. “I really want to help people improve their lives, and what’s left is for me to decide how best to do that.”

It really isn’t my place to suggest Barkley is unqualified for the position — even in his current state of physical fitness, he can probably get up and down the court faster than George Wallace in the latter’s prime. And if Chuck can do something to ban Big & Rich in ‘Bama, I might become a campaign contributor.

Dick Allen (Hearts) Ryan Howard

Posted in Baseball at 12:07 am by

Back in March of this year, a semi-gag interview with the Phillies’ 1B Ryan Howard ran in City Paper and provoked just a bit of discussion in this forum about a) the nature of Philadelphia fandom and b) whether or not it was appropriate to compare Howard to Dick Allen.

On both counts, we can now defer….to Dick Allen. From the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Claire Smith (link lifted from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)

Could it be that the Phillies will finally produce their first bona-fide black superstar?

“I think the city’s ready, don’t you?” said Dick Allen, the former Phillies all-star first baseman, now a Phillies community relations executive who works extensively with the team’s Reviving Baseball in the Inner City youth-development initiative. “A lot depends on the Phillies. If this opportunity does not happen, a lot will go out the window, because this is a very marketable guy.”

“That’s a wonderful kid we’ve got here, and we’ve never really had a billboard, marketable kid like this,” Allen (above) said. “I love Howard. I’m proud of him – not for what he’s done, but for what he really could be. And that’s a shining star for the 8-, 10-, 12-year-olds.”

Howard also gave the organization more evidence that he might finally be the guy the Phillies can count on to close a gap that has existed since, well, 1947.

“I’ll speak from my heart,” Allen said. “Jackie Robinson made very large footprints. He endured so much. But a lot of that has gone down the drain because his contributions and legacy have somehow been lost. What, only 1.9 percent of African American youth play baseball? Everyone wants to play basketball or football. Question is, where did it start to fall apart?”

“It was tough back then, particularly for a black man in the ’60s,” said Allen, who was rookie of the year in 1964 but became a bigger star in Chicago, where he was the American League MVP in 1972. “Things were crazy, going from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali – like they say, the times were changing,” Allen said. “Hippies, street gangs, the mob. But I looked at it like Joe Frazier – toughness was in the heart, that’s how you dealt with segregation and people coming at you, wanting to hurt you.”

Philly’s Chase Utley extended his hitting streak to 26 games with a 2nd inning, 2-run HR off the Snakes’ Brandon Webb, as Arizona dropped a 6-4 decision. David Delucci added a solo shot off Webb in the 3rd.

It’s Alex Rodriguez’ 31st birthday today, but the Rangers’ pitching staff was handing out the early gifts on Wednesday night. Texas relinquished leads of 4-2 and 7-6 during the 8th and 9th innings respectively, losing 8-7. Antonio Otsuka allowed a leadoff single to Derek Jeter in the top of the 9th, then grooved one to Jason Giambi that might still be traveling had it not collided with a satellite. Even more embarrassing for the Rangers was the massive ovation that greeted the Giambino’s blast — presumably there are sports fans in the Dallas area with bigger things on their mind than Cowboys training camp, but you can’t hear them when the Yankees are in town.


Not Only Does PBS Lack A Sense Of Humor…

Posted in Free Expression at 10:49 pm by

….but they’ve got a pretty cavalier attitude when it comes to stopping teen pregnancy. (link taken from Boing Boing)

Celtics Sign Pittsnogle

Posted in Basketball, Blogged Down at 10:34 pm by

Let the inevitable “he’s like Larry Bird, only with a ton of tattoos and a totally one-dimensional game” comments flow forth!

Celtics Blog’s Jeff Clark is less than blown away :

Why do we need 16 players going into camp (most of which are really young)? Is this another Will Bynum deal? I™m convinced that Bynum was signed last year as insurance in case Banks was packaged with Blount in an early season deal that never panned out. This could mean that the C™s are looking for similar coverage. Or maybe they really, really wanted to replace Raef with another big, slow, white guy that shoots 3™s.

He played poorly in the Rocky Mountain Revue, but I guess Danny Ainge liked enough of what he saw in college.

Forum Blue & Gold
attempts to draw some parallels between Mitch Kupchak’s playing career and his tenure as the Lakers’ GM. Beats stealing his son’s diary, I suppose.

A few years ago, then-Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy was heard to remark that the two worst things to happen to the NBA were God and golf. Jamal Mashburn can mull that one over, but if maiming strangers on the golf course didn’t hurt Spiro Agnew’s career, it probably won’t seriously dent what’s left of Mashburn’s.

Mariners Banish Everett, Land Broussard

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 7:28 pm by

Seattle acquirred 1B Ben Broussard earlier today from Cleveland in exchange for OF Shin-Soo Choo and a player to be named later. Earlier in the day, Carl Everett was designated for assignment, while OF Chris Snelling was summoned from Tacoma. Attempts to glom something insightful from U.S.S. Mariner have proven fruitless, as their server is under attack. I really have to feel for those guys — not being able to post on the day Carl Everett is DFA’d…for me, that would be like having my power supply blow up the day David Weathers was traded. That actually happened, too.

With the Yankees’ capture of Sal Fasano earlier today, the above gentlemen (photo swiped from the 700 Level) will have to find a new cult hero. Might I suggest Jimmy Saville, who is being dragged out of the mothballs to host the final episode of “Top Of The Pops”?

In light of Harold Reynolds’ recent departure, I paid special attention to Eric Karros’ microphone fiendnishness prior to this evening’s Yankees/Rangers game on ESPN. Let it be noted that Karros accomplishes the impossible : he manages to make Mark Gubicza sound like a cogent orator by comparison.

That Crack’s Moreish

Posted in The Internet, The World Of Entertainment at 6:34 pm by

He combines the musical genius of the early Liam Howlett with the decision making abilities of the young Joel Steinberg. His name is Superhans, and he wants to be your friend. (link courtesy Brian Turner)

Is $2500 Too Much To Sit Next To Steve Novak?

Posted in Basketball, The Marketplace, Tourism at 3:02 pm by

Chicago resident Scott Comeau calls our attention to an item in yesterday’s edition of Crain’s, citing the Bulls’ plans to introduce premium seats adjoining the visitors’ bench for $2500.00 a pop.

Though that seems like a small price to pay in order to be hit with Flip Saunders’ spittle, consider some of the other things you could purchase with $2500 :

* – about 6 pounds of primo weed (perhaps more if you buy from Benny Da Bull)

* 250 tickets to see the reunited Effigies at the Double Door (granted, this show already happened)

* 294 Effin’ Ozzie Guillen Tini’s at the Kit Kat Lounge and Supper Club.

* 769 servings of The Shawon Dunston from Hot Doug’s.

* 75 full size portions of fillet mignon from Mike Ditka’s Chicago.

* 75 bottles of Styropin Oray HGH Spray.

Putting The Colt Down

Posted in Baseball, Dogs, General at 2:10 pm by

On a day in which the Kansas City Star’s Joe Posnaski hails new Royals GM Dayton Moore as “the man with a plan” (though you could also say the Dodgers’ Ned Colletti was just taking out the trash yesterday), Star colleague Jeffrey Flanagan details the plight of former no. 1 pick Colt Griffin.

Right-hander Colt Griffin, the team™s top pick in 2001, has told the Royals he will retire rather than continue his comeback from major shoulder surgery.

œColt tried everything he could this spring to bounce back, said Royals senior director of minor-league operations Shaun McGinn.

œBut his fastball and his velocity just weren™t coming back. He started making hints that he was leaning toward retiring during the spring, and then he just said he wanted to try going another direction with his life other than baseball.

Griffin, 23, won™t exactly leave empty-handed. He was given a $2.4 million signing bonus after being the ninth overall pick in the June 2001 draft.

Coming out of Marshall High School in Texas, Griffin captured the imagination of many major-league scouts by topping 100 mph on the radar gun.

But Griffin™s brief baseball career was plagued by control issues. In 373 minor-league innings, Griffin walked 278 hitters, hit 44 batters and threw 82 wild pitches, including a league-high 23 in 2003 at Class A Burlington (Iowa).

œIt™s one of those stories not unfamiliar in baseball where you have a guy with a great arm who can™t get out of the minors because of command problems, McGinn said. œIt™s hard to advance if it™s taking you two or three pitches to throw a strike to each batter.

œColt tried everything and was receptive to everything, but it just didn™t pan out.

While Cardinals manager Tony La Russa maintained an address in fantasyland when it comes to the substance abuse of his superstars (Canesco, McGwire, but most certainly not Albert Pujols), his longstanding support for our Furry Friends has been one of the self-righteous, self-proclaimed brainbox’s saving graces. So with that in mind, our sincere condolences go out to La Russa over the passing of his labrador, Res (above, left).

Some of Shea’s not so sharp tools were booing Carlos Delgado today when the Mets 1B struck out with runners on 3rd and 2nd in the bottom of the 8th today. Tonight, Steve Phillips will encourage Omar Minaya to trade Carlos D. before the deadline.

Justin Verlander (above) and Joel Zumaya continued to toy with the Indians today, as the Tigers won their 67th game out of a hundred, 4-1, helped by a Magglio Ordonez’ 2 RBI double in the 6th.

Prior Holding The Mets Hitless, Your Correspondent Is Scared Shitless

Posted in Baseball at 1:08 pm by

Cubs 0, Mets 0 (bottom of the 6th)

Mark Prior’s working on a no-no, while John Maine has allowed just 3 hits (and survived a first and second, 1 out jam in the 6th).

(UPDATE : Prior’s gone. 103 pitches, 5 2/3rds innings, 4 walks, and a nice ovation from an otherwise hostile Shea crowd)

Harshly critical of kids playing hand-held videogames in the stands, Gary Cohen was tech savvy enough to ID the Sony PSP, but incorrectly noted a Nintendo DS as a Game Boy. Where Chris Cotter when we finally need him (preferably to ambush the kids, Dom Jolly-style with some kind of monumentally offensive questions that would result in several persons being fired).

I don’t know how much Geico paid Little Richard, but it wasn’t nearly enough.

(UPDATE : still scoreless at the 7th inning stretch.  Maine has 7 K’s on the day and has extended his scoreless innings streak to 17)

Bennett : Bring On Waynetta (Rooney)

Posted in Football at 11:35 am by

(no, not that Waynetta)

Following a report from a committe of MP’s urging England’s Football Association to amend their rules to permit mixed teams past the age of 11, the Guardian’s Natalie Bennett hails the decision.

Had Wayne Rooney not been a footballer, it would probably be fair to assume that he wouldn’t have much of a job, or much social status. Football was his way to those.

Imagine, for a second, a Wayne Rooney’s sister, as Virgina Woolf once imagined a Shakespeare’s sister. While he is receiving the adulation of the nation (well, until recently, anyway), she, with exactly the same natural skills, is playing on a grimy, chopped-up pitch behind the gasworks, as likely to be mocked for her “unnatural, unfeminine” skills as celebrated for them. And while this sister’s fate might not be quite so bad as that of Woolf’s creation, putting such talent in the local hairdressing salon and then marrying her off young, with a couple of kids, is hardly putting it to its best use.

And would it not be an awful lot healthier for a lot of the girls who are not of academic bent, who come from backgrounds unlikely to push towards decent-paying jobs and constructive futures, to dream of being footballers? It would certainly be better than dreaming of being a footballer’s wife.

The observant will have noted that I have not got back to the subject of contact sports such as rugby. Well that’s because I know that many readers whom I may have carried this far will have balked at this final barrier. Packing down beside a woman in a scrum? How could I?

Well, why not? I know the answer, in one form or another, will be that “physical contact equals sex”. Well, a lot of gay blokes play rugby against other blokes, gay and straight (and lesbian women against other women), and you don’t see reports of such games turning into mass public orgies, or indeed of rucks turning into rapes.

Reynolds Accused Of Frequenting Terrible Restaurant Chain

Posted in Food, Sports TV at 11:23 am by

The Big Lead.com, another outlet that can’t be bother to cite their source, cites Harold Reynolds’ firing thusly,

Over the weekend, Reynolds allegedly took a PA for a meal at Outback Steakhouse. Afterward, he hugged her in a way that may have been deemed inappropriate. Apparently, the PA felt weirded out, and decided to file a complaint.

Says Reynolds to the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand,

“This was a total misunderstanding,” Reynolds. My goal is to sit down and get back. To be honest with you, I gave a woman a hug and I felt like it was misinterpreted.”

I’m sure you’re all as shocked and dismayed as I am.  I know that Bristol ain’t quite Paris, but the (fucking) Outback Steak House?  Say what you will about the Worldwide Leader’s other past and present male employees with alleged zipper issues (Tirico, Phillips, Olbermann) but we’ve yet to hear anyone accuse of them of groping at the Sizzler.


Royals Punting: K.C. Sell-Off In Progress

Posted in Baseball at 11:42 pm by

All respect due to the NFL’s longest-tenured Appalachian State alum, but I refer to the Kansas City Royals. In the past 24 hours, the Royals have dealt reliever Mike MacDougal to the White Sox for two fairly well regarded prospects; long-reliever/depressing spot-closer Elmer Dessens (above) to the Dodgers for Odalis Perez and two more pitching prospects; and utility fellow Tony Graffanino to the Brewers for lefty swing-man Jorge De La Rosa. Next up to be dealt: anyone not named David DeJesus or Jeff Keppinger.

All this admittedly minor activity might not be much of a story to those of us not weirdly fascinated by the Royals’ desperate futility, but the combination of a slow pre-deadline period and a new GM (former Atlanta assistant Dayton Moore) who is clearly keen to deal has made the Royals a team to keep an eye on. Well, at least for me and mighty exemplars of Royals fan royalty Rob Neyer and Rany Jazayerli. The latter two get it on in their discussion of the MacDougal deal over at Robneyer.com:

Rany: I had two initial reactions when I read your message and found out that MacDougal was traded. The emotional response was that I’m going to miss the guy. The Royals’ bullpen in the post-(Jeff) Montgomery era (seriously–ed.) has been unfathomably, historically bad — we’ve covered this before — and Mac has probably been our best reliever of the last decade. Sure, he’s wild as sin and has the emotional maturity of a 12-year-old . . . but that was part of his appeal. He’s a good pitcher and a heck of a character. It’s going to be tough seeing him in black.

That was the emotional response. The rational response — before I even read far enough to see who we traded him for — was, “We just got something for a 29-year-old closer who was still rehabbing two weeks ago? Nice.” It’s not an easy move to accept, but it’s the right one.

Rob: In theory, yes. But I have to think that MacDougal has some value in the game, considering his fantastic arm and his (very) recent performance, as he’s looked excellent since coming off the DL. If neither of the guys the Royals got winds up reaching the majors, then this deal doesn’t look so hot because presumably Dayton Moore was offered — or would have been offered — some young pitchers who eventually will reach the majors. But yes, this is a good deal on the face of it. We just need two or three more like it.

Rany: It’s not a slam-dunk move by any means. It’s easy to forget that MacDougal really isn’teven arbitration-eligible yet; he’s making $430,000 this year, and won’t be a free agent until after the 2009 season.

… The very fact that (Moore)’s offering quality to get quality reassures me he has a plan in mind. The best general managers are almost all willing to give up talent in trades, and occasionally they do get burned. They simply trust that if they’re better prepared than the other guy, in the long run they’ll acquire more talent than they give up.

Rob: Right. I have to say, though, I didn’t realize just how cheap MacDougal still is. If he’s healthy — and yes I know that’s one hell of an if — he’s going to make somebody very happy over the next year or two. But Moore apparently understands that one (injury-prone) reliever in the hand is worth less than two starters in the bush(es).

The newish-look Royals beat the Orioles tonight, 7-5 behind two Mark Teahen (above, center) home runs and another solid outing from the undoubtedly soon-to-be-elsewhere Mark Redman. Old/new closer Ambiorix Burgos threw a scoreless ninth for his 15th save, lowering his ERA to 117.73 in the process.

Cubs Win A Pair In Flushing, Ben Schwartz Acts Like He’s Been There Before

Posted in Baseball at 11:26 pm by

Ben Schwartz, observing Carlos Zambrano (above) taking Tom Glavine deep, and the Cubs winning their second straight at Shea, 8-6.

Wrote CSTB recently, “As the Cubs look to end a rare beatdown of the Mets (7-2, bottom of the 7th) …”.

Increasingly less rare, I’d like to add. It somewhat bowled over the WGN booth this evening to see Dusty bounce Ryan Dempster (who looked like he got bounced) from the mound for Bob Howry after RD loaded the bases and let the NY Meths narrow the Cubs lead down to 2. Dusty, who has a reputation in some corners for overworking pitchers and refusing to yank them, is hopefully getting a little more ruthless about late inning losses where the Cubs blow leads.

And for no good reason at all, I’d like to add the irresponsible, and unverifiable, slander that Dempster was pulled for sexual harassment.

Andy Van Stupid

Posted in Baseball, Racism Corner at 9:21 pm by

œ(Ozzie Guillen™s) a guy who wears his emotions on his sleeve, Andy Van Slyke told Sporting News Radio. œHe is, if you want to call it, an atypical Latin baseball player.

œI don™t believe that it™s true for all Latinos, but a lot of people™s perception is that Latinos are hot-headed. He has certainly shown that he gets a little upset and a little excited about the littlest, silliest things.

If things don’t work out for Andy as first base coach in Detroit, Chris Russo might need a research assistant.

Sir Bob Geldof Shocker : There Are 45 People Anywhere On Earth Who Will Pay To See Him

Posted in Rock Und Roll, We Aren't The World at 8:36 pm by

Though it ain’t so neat to admit defeat, the Italians can see no reasons, ’cause there are no reasons…to shell out 40 euros to hear Bob Geldolf in the year 2006 (link courtesy Sam Frank).

Reynolds, Wrapped : Moron From Mattoon Renders Illinois Journalism Degree Worthless

Posted in Sports Journalism, Sports TV, Will Leitch Sucks at 6:38 pm by

Slightly overeager to detemine the true cause of Harold Reynolds’ dismissal from ESPN yesterday, Deadspin’s Will Leitch gleefully ran 5 seperate, unattributed items claiming the former Mariners second baseman’s termination was related to a specific charge of sexual harrassment, if not a longstanding pattern of behavior.

Having succeeded in publicly smearing Reynolds, Leitch followed the matter up later in the day with an “insider” denial of the sexual harrassment allegations (supposedly, Reynolds had an off-camera “meltdown” during discussions of “Baseball Tonight”s coverage of the A-Rod saga). Far from contrite in any role he might’ve played in libeling Reynolds, Leitch added,

The longer ESPN pretends like nothing happened, like they’re a corner shop with three employees, believing this stuff can possibly remain private, the more talk there will be. Still, this is the lone “it’s not sexual harassment email” we’ve received.

So there you have it. ESPN is obliged to provide full, explicit details of just what is happening within their walls, otherwise Will Leitch’s readers might die of curiosity. 5 anonymous tips calling Harold Reynolds a serial ass-grabbber obviously carry more weight than one denial. If Leitch can just find another dozen people to say the Holocaust never happened, well, that’s good enough for me.

Of course, even if he has no conscience to speak of, Leitch is perfectly entitled to go after whatever public figures he wants — though I suspect it might be a tad tougher finding financing for a blog that openly discusses Nick Denton’s sexual history. And on that tip, let’s not kid ourselves. A cocktail party or two turns out differently and the Taco Bell Spicy Crunchwrap Supreme eating motherfucker could just as easily have been writing gags for Page 2, while some other sad sack (preferably one with a personality and not nearly as obvious a browser history) is shitting all over the Connecticut-based Disney employees.

UPDATE :  Newsday’s Neil Best citing his sources as “three people who work at ESPN” reports tonight that “the cause was a pattern of sexual harassment, apparently culminating in a recent incident involving one of the network’s young production assistants.”

Sexual harassment charges are nothing new at ESPN, which operates out of a sprawling “campus” in relatively isolated Bristol, Conn., and employs many production assistants in their early 20s. The network has an extensive program of education and sensitivity regarding gender issues and an elaborate system for pursuing claims of sexual harassment.

Keith Olbermann of MSNBC, a former ESPN host, told The New York Observer in 2004 he had testified in “three or four major cases at ESPN.”

If push comes to shove, Best should be able to produce some documentation that these claims came from actual persons who work at ESPN.  Unless of course, he too, is comfortable with being 80% sure.

Cowherd Vs. Imp Of The Perverse

Posted in Gridiron, Rock Und Roll, Sports Radio at 5:48 pm by

Mulling the over the possibility of Prince headling the Super Bowl 41 halftime show next February, ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd — while praising the NFL’s efforts to attract mass-appeal acts like the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Aerosmith, etc. — suggested that perhaps the halftime show would be more watchable “if they got someone who was making popular music today.”

Either Cowherd is amongst those who don’t consider ’3121′ to be a return to form, or he’s the sort of cretin who thinks that stadium rock nostalgia acts should be limited to the pale variety. So it’s been a couple of decades since Prince was the planet’s hottest attraction — he should fit right in with the pantheon Cowherd considers acceptable.

World, Prepare To Crumble Under The Stifling D Of Bruce Bowen…

Posted in Basketball, We Aren't The World at 4:29 pm by

…if he makes the final cut, that is. Mike Krzyzeswki’s Life Isn’t About Playing Games, but for today at least, it was about cutting Adam Morrison, Luke Ridnour and the injured Shawn Marion. The 15 survivors :

Carmelo Anthony
Shane Battier (above, right)
Bruce Bowen
Kirk Hinrich
Dwight Howard
Joe Johnson
Dwyane Wade
Amare Stoudemire
Elton Brand (above, left)
Brad Miller
LeBron James
Chris Bosh
Gilbert Arenas
Chris Paul
Antwan Jamison

After an exhbition against Puerto Rico in Las Vegas on August 3, Team USA will recommence training in Guangzhou, China on August 6. You know what they say about Guangzhou —- if you can make it there, you can make it everywhere.

Pay Per Screw : NESN’s Satellite Blackouts

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 2:26 pm by

It’s not enough to merely subscribe to DirectTV’s MLB Extra Innings package. The real, unrepentant, degenerage out-of-market Red Sox fan will stump up an additional $12 a month for DirectTV’s “Sports Pak”, with the reasonable expectation that doing so will bring Dennis Eckersley’s mustache and other highlights of NESN’s Red Sox coverage into your home. Lori of Two Cents & A Schilling learned it’s a little more complicated than that.

We™re asking NESN to take our money and give us programming they have already produced. We™re willing to pay to watch Tina Cervasio fail to ask the obvious post-game questions, to watch Jim Rice (above, left) struggle to speak in complete sentences, to watch the NESN staff suck up to the Globe reporters as though they™re actually œinsiders, and to watch those incessant Philadelphia (œit™s like a baby New York) commercials.

If they™re going to expend such an enormous amount of effort selling pink hats and Varitek t-shirts to Mrs. Johnny Bandwagon, you™d think they™d realize they™re just playing with fire by preventing real fans from having access to the minimal programming necessary to ensure we remain educated and involved consumers.

Information deprivation. Taxation without representation. Second class citizens.

Red Sox Nation, my ass.

Salmons Signs With Sacramento, Bonzi Headed Elsewhere?

Posted in Basketball at 11:47 am by

From the Philadelphia Daily News’ Phil Jasner.

The 76ers’ unrestricted free agent G John Salmons (above) signed a 5-year, $25.5 million contract yesterday with the Sacramento Kings, giving himself a fresh start and ending one of the more bizarre episodes in Sixers history.

“We feel he’s still an emerging player in the NBA,” Geoff Petrie, the Kings’ president of basketball operations, told the Associated Press. “He’ll add to the youth and overall skill level of our backcourt.”

Having completed four seasons on his rookie contract with the Sixers, the 6-6 Salmons was a restricted free agent when Phoenix offered a 5-year sign-and-trade deal that would have paid him $22 million; at one point, the Suns were convinced he was coming to them.

Instead, he agreed to a sign-and-trade arrangement with Toronto that would have paid him $23 million. In both scenarios, the Sixers were to receive a second-round draft choice; the Suns’ deal would have created a trade exception for the Sixers worth $1.8 million, the Toronto version would have created a trade exception of $2 million.

Once Salmons was out of the picture, the Suns signed free-agent guard Marcus Banks, and the Raptors added free-agent guard Fred Jones; yesterday, the Raptors also signed 6-9 Jorge Garbajosa (above), the MVP of the last two Spanish Cup finals.

The Kings turned to Salmons when they could not reach agreement with Bonzi Wells, their free-agent guard; Wells reportedly turned down a 5-year, $36 million offer, and now might be used in a sign-and-trade situation.

Raissman On Steve Phillips’ Agenda

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 11:22 am by

King Kaufman’s Monday column at Salon.com aptly covered Steve Phillips’ bizarre insistence on Sunday’s “Baseball Tonight” that Alex Rodriguez was doomed in New York and should be traded at the earliest possible opportunity.  Yesterday, Newsday’s Neil Best quoted A-Rod’s agent, Scott Boras, as raising the notion that Phillips’ history with The Third Baseman might figure into such commentary, a charge Phillips denies.

In today’s New York Daily News, Bob Raissman has taken the handoff from Boras…and he’s running pretty fast down the sidelines.

The longer he continues to push for an A-Rod trade, the more recognition Phillips gets as a TV personality. This will help to further distance him from his halcyon days of Mo Vaughn and Roger Cedeño.

When Steve Phillips (above) now calls for the Yankees to trade A-Rod, is he simply reiterating his position of six years ago? Reiterating it with an agenda of ultimately being able to show everyone how right he was? With Rodriguez now a media and fan lightning rod, with all his self-analysis and verbal flagellation, have the Yankees actually become the “24-plus-one man roster” Phillips talked about in 2000?

Also, there was bad blood between Phillips and Rodriguez. Guys with big egos never forget this stuff. Immediately after A-Rod signed with Texas, he ripped Phillips for what he considered an unfair characterization.

“All I can say is, I wish I could play against Steve Phillips’ team and lead 24 guys to beat ‘em up,” Rodriguez said in 2000. “I don’t know Steve personally, but obviously he has an agenda against me. … Now everyone thinks I’m selfish.”

Phillips countered Rodriguez’s remarks, saying: “I think he doth protest too much for someone who just received a $250 million contract. We wish him the best with his new team. It doesn’t make sense to get into a response mode.”

Maybe not then, but now Phillips may be making up for lost time. By calling for the Yankees to trade A-Rod, Phillips is saying Rodriguez does not have the mental capacity, or the physical wherewithal, to deal with the pressure of playing in New York. And he’s saying it on ESPN, which is seen in 90 million households.

Yep, that’s a big get-even stick Phillips is carrying.

Then again, maybe his motives are pure.

After all, last season Phillips urged the Mets to trade Jose Reyes.

Gabba Gabba No Way : Noted Agriculturalist Ramonce Leaves Longhorns

Posted in Gridiron at 11:07 am by

How will Texas replace Ramonce Taylor’s production?  And never mind the weed, what about his 15 TD’s last year?   From the Austin American-Stateman’s Suzanne Halliburton.

University of Texas tailback Ramonce Taylor, who is facing felony drug possession charges, is expected to transfer. His decision to change schools could be announced as early as today.

A school official familiar with the situation confirmed late Monday night that Taylor would transfer.

The junior-to-be is expected to transfer to Texas College in Tyler, an NAIA school. Jay Brown, Texas College’s coach, said he has spoken with Taylor regarding a transfer.

Taylor was suspended from the team in January because of poor academics, and he did not sufficiently improve his grades in the spring. The source said he was not expected to be eligible to compete this fall, making his transfer necessary if he desired to continue playing.

Taylor also wasn’t included in the team’s media guide, which was released Monday.

Reynolds Expelled From Bristol U.

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 10:45 am by

From the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand.

ESPN yesterday fired analyst Harold Reynolds from Baseball Tonight, sources told The Post. The reason was not immediately known.

“We are not going to comment,” ESPN VP Josh Krulewitz said.

When asked how they are going to explain that Reynolds will never be on the air again, Krulewitz still declined comment.

Though I’m tempted to write something like “see what happens when you cut in front of Kruk at the cafeteria,” (and there you go, I just did it) in all seriousness, this is a baffling move.  Of all the talking skulls on “Baseball Tonight” whose jobs should be in jeopardy for their inability to make sense, Reynolds wouldn’t even crack the top 4.  I suppose we’ll have to wait for Harold’s side of the story at Yard Work to find out what really went down.

MLS’ Stephen Bishop Taunts Minnows

Posted in Football at 10:28 am by

(Dave Stewart just called. He wants his perpetually lame aura back)

In a result just a little more akin to Stevenage Borough defeating Swindon Town in the ’97 FA Cup third round than say, “the Tulsa 66ers ousting the Detroit Pistons from the NBA Playoffs” (mostly because the latter has never happened), the amateur side of Dallas Roma F.C. knocked Chivas USA out of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup earlier this month with a penalty kick win. The New York Times’ Jack Bell reports that in advance of the LA Galaxy’s quarterfinal showdown with Roma, the inexplicably employed Alexi Lalas has embraced the role of the bully.

œWe™ve all been captivated by the Cinderella story that is Roma F.C., but the fairy tale is about to come to an abrupt end, Alexi Lalas, the Galaxy™s president and general manager, said on the team™s Web site. œWe look forward to hosting the overachievers from Texas in the next round and exposing them to a quality M.L.S. side.

Schell was not amused by Lalas™s comments.

œHe™s already talking trash, Schell said. œThey™re supposed to beat us, but a lot of our guys are out to prove a point that a lot of M.L.S. teams are not looking hard enough for the good players. They™re looking for the young players who will take $27,000 a year to start out.

Which “quality M.L.S side” does Lalas plan on exposing his guests to? Only Dave Checketts’ hapless Real Salt Lake seperates the Galaxy from having the worst record in the Western Conference.

Who Would Win A Knife Fight Between Scott Boras & Steve Phillips?

Posted in Baseball, Sports Radio at 1:01 am by

If you’re expecting me to say “the human race”, nice try. Violence is wrong.  That said, I am very grateful that Newsday’s Neil Best listens to Michael Kay’s radio show so I don’t have to.

Some people dig ditches for a living. Others listen to endless talk radio babble about Alex Rodriguez.

For those of us among the latter, the tedium was broken yesterday by an intriguing exchange between two of A-Rod’s biggest supporters: his agent, Scott Boras (above), and ESPN-1050′s Michael Kay.

Asked about the suggestion Sunday night from ESPN analysts Steve Phillips and Harold Reynolds that Rodriguez be traded to escape bad New York vibes, Boras called the idea “absurd,” “media exploitation” and “ridiculous.”

He also suggested that in Phillips’ case, it “may be personal,” presumably because of Phillips’ dealings with Rodriguez and Boras when Phillips was the Mets’ GM. Phillips followed Boras on Kay’s show and denied it was anything personal, saying he believes A-Rod is being treated unfairly.

It’s anti-rumor time at 12:30 CST, ladies and gentlemen.  MetsBlog doesn’t know who started the Aaron Heilman-for-Gil Meche talk, but Matthew Cerrone isn’t falling for it.  Meanwhile, White Sox GM Kenny Williams is denying that Brandon McCarthy might be sent to Washington in a trade for Alfonso Soriano.

Sammy Sosa is miffed he’s not amongst the Cubs’ 5 nominees in MLB’s “Hometown Heroes” promotionFrom the Chicago Tribune’s Fred Mitchell.

“This is supposed to be the five best players?” said Sosa, the Cubs’ all-time leading home run hitter and the only man to hit 60 or more in three seasons.

“Let me say all of the respect that I have for [the five]. I would like to know who was the one who made that decision of the five best. I just thought I should say something about that now.

“Maybe if I had played in another city most of my career, maybe this wouldn’t affect me,” said Sosa, who spent 13 seasons with the Cubs after three with the White Sox. “But I played all of those years in Chicago. All of those glorious years.”
“The city of Chicago knows about baseball; I am not a bad player”no way, Jose,” Sosa said with a laugh. “With all the respect for Mr. Cub, my numbers can compete with everybody. When I heard that I was not on the list, I said, ‘Oh, my God.’ I was shocked and surprised. The five best players? You have to calculate my numbers.”

The 5 Cubs listed are Ernie Banks, Ryne Sandberg, Billy Williams, Ron Santo and Ferguson Jenkins.