07.30.06

It’s Hard Out Here For An English Professor

Posted in Hip Hop, non-sporting journalism, Racism Corner at 12:35 pm by

The only thing more exasperating than today’s editorial (excerpted below) in the Chicago Tribune by Notre Dame’s William O’Rourke is the possibility, however remote, that he might be invited to speak at the next EMP Pop Conference.

Joe is now 15 (and I am 60) and he is overscheduled, which I don’t mind, except that it makes me overscheduled. I often drive him around and he plays CD compilations consisting mainly of rap tunes on the car’s player.

“I’m gonna get my gun!” Around our neighborhood here in South Bend, Ind., young folks do often go and get their guns.

I, of course, dislike Joe’s taste in music, but can’t keep from recalling that my parents abhorred my music. The Beatles? Janis Joplin? So, I try to temper my criticism–I don’t want to sound like too much of a hypocrite. So, I let Joe listen to his music of choice. The sexual content and language of a lot of it shocks me–me, a child of the ’60s! Petey Pablo’s “Freek-A-Leek” is one of the worst offenders.

We live in what’s called an “urban” neighborhood, which translates into poor black people living within shouting distance of the white college professors. So I make Joe listen to my anti-rap tirades. My tirades sound pretty much like the anti-rap speech the character played by the rap star Ludacris makes in the film “Crash.” Oh, the irony, Ludacris’ character sounding like Bill Cosby, or for that matter Bill O’Reilly, attacking rap for what it does to black culture, shortly after he and his buddy have carjacked a monster luxury sport-utility vehicle. I wondered, after “Crash” won the Oscar for best film this year, if a white screenwriter had penned that anti-rap monologue, or if a black writer had done it. In any case, the gangsta rap group Three 6 Mafia won the Oscar for best song, “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp.” Pick your irony.

Joe has forced me to listen to Eminem and his band D12, and after a while I began to realize M&M (my preferred spelling) has some talent.

J-E-T-S Vs. P-E-S-T-S

Posted in Gridiron, Sports Journalism, Sports Radio, Sports TV at 11:28 am by

Finding something a little self-serving about the New York Jets’ various exclusive tie-ins with CotterVision (aka SportsNet NY), the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman examines the club’s habit of treating the rest of the working media like shit.

D’Brickashaw Ferguson, practicing his postgame routine that will follow every Jets loss, ran away from the welcoming committee of boss scribes.

His actions prove he will fit right in with Gang Gone. Clearly, Ferguson is already a student of Jets history. Perhaps Eric Mangini (above) had Ferguson study film of Woody Johnson’s performance with the media last November following the Jets’ 27-0 loss to Denver in the Mile High City.

Walking briskly toward the exit, Johnson told reporters: “They gave everything they had . . . That’s my last comment.”

Unfortunately for everyone covering the Jets, and the faithful who follow them, that was not – and won’t be – Band-Aid Boy’s final public pronouncement. Moments like these are what those assigned to cover this second banana franchise have come to expect.

Still, there is a strange dichotomy when it comes to the media and the Jets. While the organization routinely has treated the print media like garbage, the current regime is overly concerned with the TV and radio products it controls and produces.

As for the players, well, some of them will oil their mouths up when they are paid for it. Who can forget those memorable words Checkbook Chad Pennington voiced during the 2004 season? “It’s not your right (to cover the Jets),” Pennington said. “It’s a privilege.” This is the same guy who, in 2003, authored his own media blackout, which conveniently did not extend to his paid gig on ESPN-1050 radio.

That’s just the Jets way.

Sunday’s Hottest Baseball Story..

Posted in Baseball at 8:47 am by

…isn’t the Yankees (supposedly) closing in on Bobby Abreu, nor is it Texas’ interest in Houston’s Brad Lidge. The day’s most overwhelming item has nothing to do with Barry Zito-for-Lastings Milledge, and it certainly has no connection to the fate of Alfonso Soriano, Miguel Tejada or Greg Maddux.

Actually, it isn’t even a story from this weekend. But it provides some documentation, however nebulous, that Junior Spivey is Alive, if not well, in Memphis. From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Joe Strauss.

Memphis Redbirds second baseman Junior Spivey reacted harshly to a three-game suspension he served after missing a sign and then having a dugout confrontation with manager Danny Sheaffer last Sunday.

Spivey described the suspension as “absurd” and “a crazy, crazy deal” to the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. The suspension and an accompanying $250 fine resulted from Spivey swinging through a third-inning take sign. He and Sheaffer exchanged words after the manager pulled him from the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader against Iowa.

Spivey, a former NL All-Star, returned to the club Friday but did not appear in the Redbirds’ win over Salt Lake. He did, however, share his feelings over recent events.

“I can understand fining me or making a point by yanking me,” Spivey told the Commercial-Appeal. “But suspending me? That’s embarrassing. And you know how that looks in the eyes of the fans. It makes it look like I’m the problem. I can’t be blamed for the struggles of this team.”

Spivey, signed to a $1.2 million guaranteed contract last December, is hitting .173 with 12 errors in 67 games.

Newsday’s Ken Davidoff takes note of Carlos Beltran’s dramatically superior road numbers compared to his production in Flushing and suggests “Beltran, the past Shea Stadium boos still ringing in his ears, does press at Shea Stadium. ”

Perhaps, but Beltran’s ’06 isn’t merely the “huge success” that Davidoff describes.  It’s also an MVP caliber campaign from a player who was jeered repeatedly during the Mets’ first homestand.  After witnessing Aaron Heilman and Carlos Delgado receive similar treatment from Queens’ cultured baseball experts last week, I have to wonder if it would take a 25 game lead in the NL East to shut some of these people up.

Todd Jones writes of Trade Deadline Nerves in today’s Detroit Free Press.  To coin a recent phrase from a popular commerical, there’s a future for Todd in the beverage distribution business.

Harold’s (Anonymous) Pal Plays The “He Hugs Everyone” Card

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV, The Mailbag at 1:06 am by

Other than my faith in our education system, I have no reason to believe the following message, received late yesterday evening, is not on the level.

Harold is a personal friend of mine (like my little brother) so I know his side of the story which will soon come out at his attorney™s discretion. Not only am I personal friend of Harold, I am a professional fact-finding investigator in discrimination cases, including sexual harassment cases.

Under the law, nothing that Harold did fits under the definition of sexual harassment. According to the law; œAny unwanted (unwelcome) words, touching, gestures or action of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment. In order to have a case of sexual harassment the allege victim must tell the person initiating the actions or gesture that their actions and gesture is unwelcome and unwanted. If the person ignore the victims warning and persist with the behavior, that constitute sexual harassment. This never happened in the case of Harold Reynolds and ESPN™s Human Resource manager should be fired for not knowing the law and the definition of sexual harasssment.

Unwanted sexual advances are determined by the allege victim. To one woman, a hand shake can be considered sexual harassment. To another a mere look could be considered sexual harassment and to another a friendly hug can be sexual harassment.

What is unusual about the ESPN case against Harold Reynolds is that none of the white victims have been identified. In contrast, in the case of the allege black victim vs Duke University, not only was the so called black victim identified, but all of her family members and ex-boyfriends were also identified.

What about the allege hug. I believe Harold hugged the girl, because he hugs everyone. I was at the hospital when he hugged a little boy who was dying of cancer and was his last dying wish to see Harold. Not only did Harold hug the little (in his isolation tent), he knelt down besides the bed and prayed for the little boy while the boy™s cried.

I was there when he hugged a homeless bum who said he was Harold™s fan. Not only did Harold hug the man, he invited the man and his homeless friends to be his guest at the next game (in his box seats) and instructed me to take care of the tickets, food and all the arangements.

I was there when he hugged the man that sell the peanuts at the game. The man was a guest at Harold™s home for a family barbeque. Harold always invite people to his home, against my advice.

I seen him hug a little Asian girl that was part of Major League Baseball commerical.

I seen him hug (male) the head of an inner-city Little League that needed uniforms for all 13 team in the league. The hug came after he had purchased uniforms and equipment for all 13 teams.

I seen him hug his team mates, church members friends and people whom he has met for the first time (men, women, and children).

Keep Harold in your thoughts and prayers

Sincerely,

Harold™s Friend

07.29.06

Eunuch Crushed By D-Rays

Posted in Baseball at 10:46 pm by

Nothing like a CSTB commentator suggesting a victory over Tampa Bay “should only count as half a win” to get the lowly Devil Rays all cranked up. They scored a club record 19 runs yesterday, chasing the nauseous (and nauseating) Randy Johnson (above) and snapping a 10 game road losing streak in the process.

The New York Times’ Jack Curry, no doubt mindful that the Yankees slipped behind the White Sox in the chase for the AL’s Wild Card bid, characterizes the deadline dealing on Mount Steinbrenner as follows :

Even as the Yankees continued their conversations with the Philadelphia Phillies about right fielder Bobby Abreu and starting pitchers Cory Lidle and Jon Lieber, they could not predict if the discussions would lead to any deals.

Because Abreu has $17.5 million left on his contract, the Yankees do not want to include valuable prospects like pitcher Phil Hughes and outfielder Jose Tabata in a deal. The Yankees believe that the Phillies could be growing more flexible about accepting lesser players or picking up a portion of Abreu™s contract.

Besides the Phillies, the Yankees are having the most active talks with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who could move relievers Roberto Hernández and Salomón Torres and outfielders Craig Wilson and Jeromy Burnitz. Cashman has been focused on adding pitching, but his continued interest in Abreu is intriguing.

If David Ortiz is gonna be shift-proof, it might be time for an opposing pitcher or manager to just set up a tee at home plate and have his club head to the showers. Late in the game, preferably. The Globe’s Gorden Edes reported earlier today that a Red Sox trade proposal that would’ve sent Coco Crisp to Chicago in exchange for Mark Buehrle was rebuffed.

The Oakland Tribune’s Josh Suchon writes “in the estimation of one executive with knowledge of the situation, there’s a 95 percent chance Barry Zito will remain with the A’s the final two months of the season.” That’s good news for Suchon, as it reduces the chances he’ll be run over by a speeding Hummer.

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.