Newcastle Can’t Get Enough Of That Wonderful Duff

Posted in Football at 9:10 pm by

Pointing out that Damian Duff’s transfer from Chelsea to Newcastle cost the latter £12,000,000.00 less than the former paid for the winger 3 years ago, the Guardian’s Barry Glendenning surveys the Republic Of Ireland international’s unveiling.

After running the now customary gauntlet of unemployed, topless and tattooed Geordies outside St James’s Park, Duff himself was asked to explain why he’d decided to move to Newcastle when clubs that have won things on colour TV were equally interested in him. “I listened to my heart,” explained the blond winger, who clearly numbers Swedish popsters Roxette among his advisers. “Maybe there are a lot of Liverpool supporters in Ireland saying ‘why didn’t you sign for us?’, but my heart told me to come to Newcastle.” Here’s hoping the club doctors gave the same ticker a thorough going-over during Duff’s medical, because it sounds like it might need a check-up to us.

Liaise With Dan Uggla For $20 (Handjob Not Included)

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 8:32 pm by

As a Ponson-esque pitching performance by Steve Trachsel has the Mets in a 8-4 hole (and the denizens of the Hot Foot chatroom debating the merits of the Fleshlight), Kevin of So Much Silence turns our attentions to the entrepreneurial scheming of Marlins rookie Dan Uggla.

Dan Uggla of the Florida Marlins, believed to be the first player iselected in a Rule 5 draft to make the major league baseball All-Star Game in the same year, will sign autographs Aug. 12 at a card show at North Phoenix Baptist Church, 5757 North Central Ave. Fee is $20 per autograph, and Uggla, a former Diamondbacks farmhand, will sign from 11 a.m.-noon.”

Kevin seems to think this is an exhorbitant sum for Uggla to charge, and I can’t say I disagree. For $5, Bob Feller will autograph a ball, cap or baseball card, and he’ll urinate on a 8X10″ photo of Pete Rose.

Randolph’s Rotation, ‘Pen Options

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 7:55 pm by

(David Wright, connecting for a salvation miracle single against Greg Maddux in the first inning)

As we observe Greg Maddux — resembling the schlumpiest version of Matthew Broderick this side of “Election” — laboring through a rough night (the Mets are leading, 4-3 on Xavier Nady’s 4th inning double), Newsday’s David Lennon supplies the following update concerning the state of the Mets pitching staff.

With Pedro Martinez scheduled to start Friday in Atlanta, manager Willie Randolph said today that the Mets will use six pitchers this time through the rotation and then figure out what to do with the spare arm. Mike Pelfrey, John Maine and even Orlando Hernandez all are candidates for the bullpen, but the decision could come down to a variety of factors. Maine seems best suited for the bullpen, but he pitched a four-hit shutout on Saturday, and could be more valuable as a starter. If Pelfrey becomes the odd man out, the Mets would rather keep him on turn at Double-A Binghamton, and El Duque, who may be as old as 43, is probably not durable enough to handle the bullpen workload.

Apparently, Brooks Robinson doesn’t think A-Rod’s been taking his name in vain. (Chuck Knoblauch, unavailable for comment)

Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels has struck out 12 through 5 innings tonight against Atlanta. That said, he still trails the Braves and sexual dynamo Tim Hudson (above), 2-1, thanks to back to back HR’s from Adam LaRoche and Todd Pratt in the 3rd inning.

While quipping that “Bud Selig is considering extending the trade deadline to allow Peter Gammons to recover,” Will Carroll drops the following science :

Lindsay Lohan … I get. It’s like finding a muddy dog, washing it off and finding that it’s a show quality purebred. With Lindsay, if you could just get the muck off and out, I’m convinced that young Ann-Margret is still there. There’s flashes now and again. Not that kind.

Funny, but I was about to write the exact same thing about Chris Cotter.

Cubs’ Lee Returns To The D.L.

Posted in Baseball at 7:13 pm by

After missing nearly two months, Cubs 1B Derrek Lee was placed on the 15 Day disabled list, suffering from what MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat “Love” describes as “post-traumatic inflammation of the wrist.”

Iowa IF Ryan “Quiet” Theriot has been called up to take Lee’s roster spot.

While we’re on the subject of trauma, don’t ask Greg Maddux about the double play combination of Nefi Perez and Ronnie Cedeno. Even on his best of days, Cliff Floyd isn’t exactly Carl Lewis beating it down the line, but the Cubs’ failure to double him up in the bottom of the first has their contest with the Mets tied at 3.

Detroit’s Jeremy Bonderman is looking for his 11th win tonight, and the Tigers have already staked him to a 5-0 lead after 2 innings. Brandon Inge his his 18th HR of the season off Cleveland’s Cliff Lee in the first inning, a 3-run shot that was the 18th longball Lee’s allowed in ’06.

Reunited with his hitting coach, Rudy Jaramillo, Texas’ Mark Teixeira continued his 2nd half rebound, hitting his 14th HR of the season in the bottom of the 2nd tonight against the Yankees. New York tied the score at 1 against Kevin Millwood in the visitors’ half of the 3rd when Derek Jeter tripled to center, scoring Melkey Cabrera. Before the game, the Yankees recalled T.J. Beam from Columbus. Once they recall he’s not very good, he’ll no doubt return to Cowtown.

Toledo Mud Hens P Humberto Sanchez, supposedly mentioned in trade chatter between Detroit and multiple suitors, was scratched from his scheduled start tonight. Though the Tigers are supposedly out of the running for Alfonso Soriano, rumors of a move for Milwaukee’s Carlos Lee persist.

A mooted deal from earlier in the day came to fruition when the White Sox sent LHP Tyler Lumsden and RHP Dan Cortes to Kansas City in exchange for Royals reliever Mike MacDougal (above). Amriorix Burgos is your closer now, KC fans. On the bright side, there’s only two more months of punishment to endure…and then you can turn your full attention to Herm Edwards’ press conferences.

Mushnick : Flushing = Hell

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism, Tourism at 6:07 pm by

(Topper?  I just met her!)

Though it was gracious of the New York Post’s Phil Mushnick to acknowledge the passing of Jack Warden in his column Monday, the self-appointed Conscience of News Corp. is once again, having trouble remembering that  much of his readership resides in the City That Never Sleeps.

Excuse the indelicate language, but every time I hear Uncle Bud Selig express his great regard for baseball fans, I want to puke. Friday night’s Brewers-Reds game began after a three-hour weather delay. Three hours. The game itself ran 3:10.

The Mets, within their warmly named “Family Pack,” sold tickets for a 1:10 start against the Phils on Sunday, Aug. 6. On Friday, that game was moved to an 8:05 start for ESPN, so you and your family can now go to hell.

I’ve heard an ugly rumor there are a number of movie theatres in the tri-state area that show films — including those that aren’t rated R or X — with start times as late as 9pm.  But Phil’s characterization of Flushing as “hell” is far more offensive.  Seems to me that bringing the kiddies to a night game at Shea could be wildly educational, especially if parents take the time to view the Queens Borough Monument Park, located just beyond the right field fence.  With plaques honoring Grand Funk Railroad, Geoffrey G. Lindenauer, Lindsay Nelson, Mike Glavine  and Anthony Young, a night at the ballpark can’t possibly be long enough.

Shell Game : Soliday On The Commitment To Mediocrity

Posted in Gridiron at 4:15 pm by

No one is getting their hopes up regarding the 2006 Oakland Raiders, except for the rest of the AFC West. Inside Bay Area’s Bill Soliday, however, grasps at the optimism straws.

The Oakland Raiders have an instant advantage going into this season. Hardly anybody expects much from them.

That contrasts to last year when nobody was sure what might happen if Kerry Collins was tossed in with Randy Moss and LaMont Jordan. At least potentially the team looked scary.

It turned scary all right ” a 4-12 finish after a 4-6 start, Moss injured, Collins booed out of town and Jordan making do with subpar blocking.

Jump to today as the team reports to Napa for a month-long training camp. There’s a new coach, a new quarterback and assorted other trinkets but no wholesale change.

What would pass as achievable improvement? There are even optimistic fans who say 8-8. To Art Shell (above), that is minimalist thinking.

“We have some good football players on our team, we really do,” Shell said. “But we have to have more than just talent. We have to develop it, get them to the point where they know how to win and understand what it takes.”

Benched in New Orleans for erratic play, QB Aaron Brooks is getting a fresh start in a new system. The key is not to place the entire burden on him. If the Raiders run effectively as planned, Brooks needn’t pass often. And when teams learn to respect the run, Moss and Jerry Porter should be open deep.
Some of the best Raider football in Shell’s playing days came with the quarterback throwing 15-18 passes a game. If Brooks has to throw 30-35 times a game, watch out.

Pro Bowl fixture Ty Law (above) is jumping from the Jets to Herm Edwards’ Chiefs, signing a 5 year deal pending the results of a physical exam. The Boston Herald’s John Tomase reports that having been rebuffed in their attempts to bring Law back to Foxboro, the Patriots will see some competition at the corner this preseason.

Now entering his 12th season, the 32-year-old Law was the top remaining free agent on the market and a target of the Patriots, who endured secondary troubles last season. With Law out of the picture, the competition at corner now boils down to Ellis Hobbs, Asante Samuel, free agent signee Eric Warfield, whom Law replaces in Kansas City, Randall Gay and Chad Scott.

Musing that “most of us were convinced that the Wild would become the first sports franchise to call a news conference for the sole purpose of announcing the dates of future news conferences,”, the St. Paul Pioneer Press’ Tom Powers congratulates Vikings owner Zygi Wilf (above) on “holding a news conference last week to announce that there was no news.”

If it were in my power, I would grant the Vikings a new stadium if they promise to stop talking about one until January. In fact, I’d grant them two.

Zygi is a beauty. First he meets with the Minneapolis mayor, with whom talk turns toward a downtown stadium ” as if that’s going to happen in a million years. Then virtually hours later, he meets with Blaine and Anoka County officials to announce that he remains committed to them, even though he won’t rule out Minneapolis.

That flurry of activity got the words “Vikings” and “stadium” in the paper quite a few times, just in case anyone had forgotten how critical the situation is. That’s a real public relations bonanza.

The Smooth Chemistry Between Coco & Manny

Posted in Baseball at 3:12 pm by

Had Adrian Beltre been thrown out at the plate, Manny would’ve added to his impressive total of outfield assists.

Kurkjian : White Sox Close To Acquiring Soriano

Posted in Baseball at 2:59 pm by

From ESPN.com :

The White Sox are “extremely close” to trading for Nationals outfielder Alfonso Soriano, a source close to the situation told ESPN The Magazine’s Tim Kurkjian. The Nationals have great interest in pitcher Brandon McCarthy (above).

The White Sox, said the source, also are close to acquiring pitcher Mike MacDougal from the Royals in exchange for minor league pitcher Tyler Lumsden.

Your other hot Monday rumors :

* – Sean Casey to Oakland?

* – An error-prone third baseman to the Cubs?

* – Cats are “the new dogs.”

* – The Phillies, supposedly holding out for Philip Hughes, rejected a Yankee trade proposal for Bobby Abreu.

After shutting the door (and, uh, protecting a 4 year lead in the 9th) on the Mets Sunday afternoon, Astros closer Brad Lidge receives a vote of confidence from the Houston Chronicle’s Richard Justice.

Here’s my take on Brad Lidge: I wouldn’t trade the guy on a dare. No way. As the Astros look toward 2007, he’d be one of the building blocks if I were general manager.

If he’s the key to bringing in a bopper for the middle of the lineup, then obviously I might change my mind. And by the way, for all the suggestions about what to do and not to do, the truth is simple: the Astros need more power.

Not more speed. You can count on one hand the number of championship teams built with speed as a significant component. Not a new manager or new coaches. It’s simplistic to suggest firing coaches is a solution. These coaches aren’t incompetent.

Wait, you’re saying, didn’t the general manager just fire the hitting coach? Yes, he did. I’m hoping Drayton McLane forced that move on him. I can’t believe he thought firing Gary Gaetti was a step in the right direction. There’s no way he believes firing the hirring coach would shake up the clubhouse. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

There’s Been A Marco Killingsworth Sighting

Posted in Basketball at 1:34 pm by

From the Montgomery Advertiser’s Louise Emegai.

Marco Killingsworth, a 6-foot-7, 268-pound power forward who played college basketball at Auburn and Indiana, was bypassed in the 2006 NBA Draft but was offered the opportunity to participate in summer league action with the New York Knicks.

Instead, he declined that offer and attended the Orlando Magic’s rookie/free agent summer league and mini-camp. There, he was one of 13 free agents vying for a spot on the Magic’s roster or at least an invitation to veteran camp that begins in early October.

“Three other NBA teams have shown an interest,” said Daymeon Fishback, who serves as Killingsworth’s financial advisor. “He’d like to play at Orlando if they want him.”

The Magic had expressed interest in Killingsworth before the draft and had considered taking him in the second round. He was eager to impress coach Brian Hill during the Pepsi Pro Summer League in Orlando, Fla., from July 10 to 14.

Though Killingsworth played in four of Orlando’s five games, averaging 10 minutes per contest, he failed to make an impact. He averaged more turnovers (2.3) than points (2) while pulling down one rebound each game.

“If you don’t get the ball, you can’t score,” he said.

Dallas’ Owner With A Boner has fun afoul of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Jennifer Flloyd Engel, who can’t fathom why Avery Johnson is out of contract with the Mavericks.

In response to my e-mail trying to determine what exactly is going on, Cuban called the story “ridiculous.”

He did not elaborate when asked what portion he felt to be wrong; that he is unwilling to renegotiate Avery’s deal or that failure to do so may create or already has created problems between them.

What I found “ridiculous” was Avery’s pay ranks in the bottom third of NBA coaches, he is the lowest paid of the Western Conference playoff coaches, Cuban chose this moment with his coach to get randomly tough and randomly cheap, and he does not think Avery is worth the $1.5 million necessary to get him on par with Wizards coach Eddie Jordan.

So I e-mailed Cuban to ask: “What does it hurt to reward Avery for a good year?”

“Time to take a business class, Jen,” he responded.

Fair enough. My “A” in Walter Johnson’s statistics class, my lone business offering at Mizzou, was a long time ago. Let’s make a deal, though, Mark. If I enroll in Cuban’s School of Business, you have to take Common Sense 101.

Lesson 1: Do not tick off your most valuable employee.

Lesson 2: Do not draw a line in the sand with arguably the most popular sports personality going in Texas because you will lose. Especially now with plenty of Mavs precincts still fuming about your boorish Finals behavior.

Homework: Quit screwing around. Pick up your phone. Call Avery. Ask him how many millions, four or five, sound good to him. Then say, “In appreciation for everything you did this season, I’d be happy to pay that number.” Sign the deal. Start sending bigger checks.

The Association’s Craig Kwasniewski sizes up new Sonics owner Clay Bennett :

…Clay Bennett with his buzz cut, pot-belly and uncomfortable smile. He looks always itchy in a suit and would rather roll in a wife-beater with boxers, pouring beer in his Sugar Puffs for dinner. Not very Seattle. He could even attempt suicide just to fit in and he STILL wouldn’t come off as a Seattleite or Seattle-ian or whatever you call them.

Nats Owner In Classy Gesture That Doesn’t Involve Cutting Jose Guillen

Posted in Baseball at 11:21 am by

If Nationals fans weren’t already thrilled a dog killer hadn’t taken over the club, they oughta be today. From the Washington Times’ Thom Loverro.

Charles Damico, 71, is a regular at Nationals games. He sits in the disabled section on the Nationals dugout side of the stadium and uses a cane because of two hip replacement operations and a heart condition.

He also brings his glove to every game, just as he has since he was a 5-year-old attending White Sox games at old Comiskey Park in Chicago.

He hopes to use that glove to catch a foul ball, but he never has gotten one.

“I’ve never even come close,” Damico says.

During the final homestand before the All-Star break, Damico was with his wife at a game when he was talking to a team photographer taking pictures in the stands.

“A ball came near here, and I had my glove out,” Damico says. “The photographer asked, ‘How long has it been since you caught a ball?’ I said I’ve been coming to the ballpark for more than 65 years, and I’ve never caught a ball.”

The story got back to Mark Lerner (above), and he decided that Damico had waited long enough.

“My wife and I were sitting here when someone came up behind me and said, ‘Is this the guy who hasn’t caught a ball in 65 years?’” Damico says. “I didn’t know what was going on. He came over to me and shook my hand and said, ‘My name is Mark Lerner.’ I didn’t catch it at first, then I realized this was one of the guys that owns the team now. He had his wife with him. He introduced her.

“He said, ‘Here’s a ball autographed by the team.’ I was touched by it. It was a total surprise. I had no idea something like that would happen. I am very grateful.”

There is no truth to the rumor that Lerner, mindful of Felipe Lopez’ difficulties executing routine plays at short, presented the new acquisition with an autographed baseball upon his arrival from Cincinnati last week.

Ozzie : Can’t Anyone Here Dust Off A Ranger?

Posted in Baseball at 10:52 am by

(something tells me Jon Garland isn’t being demoted to Charlotte anytime soon)

From the Chicago Tribune’s Dave Van Dyck.

While manager Ozzie Guillen was happy with Garland’s effort in the 5-0 victory, he was less enthused about his effort at plunking Ian Kinsler in the fourth inning. Garland’s first two pitches sailed behind Kinsler, and Guillen spent an animated minute on the mound chewing out his pitcher.

“He just missed it, and I expect next time to do a better job,” said Guillen, who could face a suspension. He was suspended for one game last month when he admitted ordering David Riske to hit the Cardinals’ Chris Duncan.

The latest throwing incidents stemmed from a game in Texas five weeks ago when Padilla hit A.J. Pierzynski twice, but Sox reliever Sean Tracey missed in retaliation. Guillen vowed revenge if Padilla hit another Sox player, which he did Sunday when Alex Cintron was struck in the leg in the third inning.

“He might not have hit [Cintron] on purpose, but I’m a man of my word,” Guillen said. “I said if something happened, we would return it. Unfortunately, Garland missed [Kinsler] a couple of times, and that’s not enough.

“I’m not a guy who’s going to sit and take everything. It’s not fair for us. I have to protect my players. My players have to know I’m behind them 100 percent.”

Garland didn’t say much about the incident but acknowledged: “I know how Ozzie is. It’s one of those things.”

Yikes. Shawn Estes, unavailable for comment.


Mets Prospect Pinango Fires No-Hitter

Posted in Baseball at 10:41 pm by

While the parent club has yet to manage a no-no in their 44 year history, Binghamton starter Miguel Pinango (abov) held the Portland Sea Dogs hitless over 7 innings in the B-Mets’ 7-0 win in the nightcap of a doubleheader. (Binghamton won the first game, 9-7). In ’02, Pinango had a no-hitter through 8 2/3rds innings while pitching for the NY-Penn League Brooklyn Cyclones.

Though Seth Mnookin’s “Feeding The Monster” has already been mentioned in this space, I figured you might enjoy the following footnote from page 329, meant to illustrate Pedro Martinez’ “quirky sense of humor and impish enthusiam”.

In 2001, the Herald’s Jeff Horrigan was doing an interview with Martinez for Sports Illustrated For Kids. Horrigan asked Martinez his favorite color. “Green.” Favorite book? “Whatever.” Favorite actress? “Sandra Bullock.” Secret ambition? “I would like to fuck Sandra Bullock,” Martinez replied with a grin. Horrigan explained that likely wasn’t an appropriate response for children’s magazine and asked the question again. Martinez dutifully amended his answer. “I would like to sleep with Sandra Bullock.”

Raissman : Clyde’s MSG Gig In Jeopardy?

Posted in Basketball, Sports TV at 9:37 pm by

Mindful of Marv Albert’s ugly exit from MSG TV, the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman points to a recent exchange between Walt Frazier and Stephon Marbury as indication the former might receive his walking papers.

There is a situation between Frazier (above) and Marbury that has been flying under the radar, probably because not many people tune in to the MSG Network. Let’s go back to July 8, when MSG aired a summer league game between the Knicks and Suns.

During this meaningless exercise, Marbury, who came to Las Vegas to “support” his team, joined Frazier and Gus Johnson at the broadcast table. Marbury must have thrilled Knicks fans when he proclaimed: “I don’t have anything to prove to anyone. The only person I’m competing against is myself.” I’m sure all NBA players also breathed a sigh of relief after hearing that.

Marbury, in an introspective mood, went on to alert viewers that he “became a man” during his public feud with Brown. “I was pro-active,” Marbury said. “Somebody told me I went from Gandhi to Malcolm X.”

This vivid imagery reflected the self-absorbed path Marbury was driving on. Perhaps sensing that, and not wanting the interview to degenerate any further, Frazier challenged Marbury. Clyde made an excellent point that needed to be made. He reminded Marbury that Brown had put the same kind of verbal heat on Chauncey Billups and Allen Iverson.

“(Brown) always tested guys,” Frazier told Marbury. “That’s what he was looking for. He wanted to see what you were able to come up with to be a man, to handle it.”

Marbury developed a sudden case of amnesia.

“No, I’m not giving (Brown) that much credit,” Marbury said. “I’m sorry, Clyde.”

Instead of letting Marbury off the hook, Frazier dug in.

“Then where did (the motivation to become a man) come from?” Frazier, his voice raising, asked. “If (Brown) didn’t do it….”

Marbury cut off Frazier. “No, I’m not giving (Brown) that much credit,” Marbury said. “And I’m not even supposed to be talking about it. He doesn’t get that much credit.”

Only in Bizzaro Knicks World would the suits jettison Frazier, a Knicks icon – a Hall of Famer – for telling the truth.

RaptorBlog.com’s Scott Carefoot
can’t resist taking a poke at poor, misunderstood Jerome James, saying of Marc Berman’s report on Jackie Butler signing with the Spurs,

There’s all sorts of unintentional comedy in the linked NY Post article. First of all, he calls the contract “staggering”, which is how I would describe the Knicks’ refusal to match the offer. Even better? The way Butler’s value to the Knicks is described as “valuable in case Jerome James were to report out of shape.” Is this in question? Did Isiah arrange to have Burger King discontinue late-night drive-through?

Serbia & Montegnegro defeated Canada, 95-83 yesterday in the Diego Gianatti tournament taking place in Italy (link courtesy Nets Daily), as Mile Ilic (above) scored 14 points for the Darko-less S&M.

Putz Can’t Put ‘Em Away

Posted in Baseball at 6:59 pm by

Red Sox 8, Mariners 8 (top of the 9th)

After allowing a big, fat gopher ball to V-Tek, Seattle’s J.J. Putz considers that a) they’re gonna have to change the score over his head, b) he can feel Eddie Guardado’s sticking pins into his head all the way from Cincinnati and c) it’s all well and good to organize a Shannon Hoon Hoot Night, but if you don’t send out any invitations, the bar’s gonna be pretty empty.

On the matter of voodoo, David Wright — recently revealed to be into all kinds of wild shit — might’ve gotten even with Coco Crisp today.

(UPDATE : Mariners 9, Red Sox 8. Mike Timlin-a-throwing, Richie Sexson-a-swingin’. Boom boom, out go the lights, Robin Trower vinyl available for a buck or less all over this great land of ours.)

The how-can-they-be-in-first-place Giants squandered a chance to put some distance between themselves and the rest of the exceedingly average NL West earlier today, when Armando Benitez allowed a 9th inning HR to the Padres’ performance enhancing drug abuser Terrmel Sledge. San Diego and San Francisco are tied at 5 in the 11th, and the Sultan Of Surly has long since departed, perhaps to take Selena Roberts’ implied advice and purchase a house for Greg Anderson.

(K-Rod celebrates his 25th save by blatantly mocking Carlos Zambrano)

Wevie Stonder II collected his 7th win versus zero losses, as the Angels beat the Royals, 3-1. Not to be outdone, the AL’s other terrific rookie pitcher (who should’ve been starting back in April), Francisco Lirano and a quartet of Twins relievers combined for 17 K’s in the Twins’ 3-1 defeat of the Indians.

Minnesota have announced plans to give away replica Joe Mauer sideburns at their August 10 game against Toronto. On a similar tip, the PCL’s Round Rock Express will be giving away a bag of Joe McEwing’s pubic hair this Tuesday night, in a promotion euphamistically titled “Christmas In July”.

Coming Soon To A Courtroom Near You : The Footloose Defense

Posted in The Law at 6:11 pm by

(Darla Adams — someone killed his entire family so he could take her to the prom)

From the AP

South Bend, IN – A jury convicted a man Friday of killing his father, stepmother and two stepsisters 17 years ago inside their church parsonage home so he could attend some high school prom events.

The St. Joseph County jury found Jeffrey Pelley, now 34, guilty on four counts of murder after deliberating more than 25 hours since Wednesday. Pelley faces up to 260 years in prison when he is sentenced September 15.

Investigators said Pelley was angry because his father had grounded him for stealing and would allow him to attend only the prom dance, causing him to miss a prom dinner, a bowling alley party and an outing the next day at an amusement park outside Chicago.

Prosecutors alleged Pelley shot his family members on the evening of the prom, disposed of the shotgun and shells, took a shower, put his clothes in the washer and left for the prom.

Pelley’s defense attorneys argued there wasn’t enough time for him to have done all that and still make it to the LaVille High School prom.

They also said no one could commit such a gruesome attack and still act “normal” during the prom events, as his friends testified during the trial.

Were he not a) so long in the tooth and b) priced a little out of their stratosphere, Liev Schrieber might be perfect for the inevitable Lifetime movie.

Superhoops Reveal Confusingly Subtle New Actionwear

Posted in Football at 5:19 pm by

As if news of yesterday’s 1-0 win in a friendly at Gillingham wasn’t enough tonic for the upcoming Championship campaign, QPR have unveiled a new shirt, designed to commemorate the club’s 125th Anniversary.

According to the official QPR website, “The fitting Latin motto beneath the badge states ‘Spectemur Agendo’ – Let us be judged by our acts.”

In light of recent goings-on at Loftus Road, perhaps a simple “Fuck Off, Who Wants To Know?” would’ve been more appropriate.

WBAzone.com reports that West Brom have interest in QPR defender Danny Shittu, while VitalFootball.co.uk has the charming news behind Gillingham’s unpaid utility bill.

Wayne Rooney’s Liverpool home has been robbed. On the bright side, there’s no evidence A.J. Nicholson had anything to do with it.

Red Bull NY’s 1-0 home win over Kansas City last night was the former’s 3rd straight win, as well as their third clean sheet in a week. That sound you just heard wasn’t hell freezing over, it was John Kruk uttering a coherent sentence.

Cubs’ Eyre Details Butt-Rub Proceedure

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 2:52 pm by

The Daily Herald’s Bruce Miles might want to apply for combat pay. It’s safe to say that no other sportswriter this Sunday morning came up with a headline quite like “Consistent Attention Soothes Eyre™s Derriere.”

That said, it’s been another ass-kicking for Eyre’s pals on the Cubs pitching staff this afternoon, as the Nationals are leading, 7-1 through 8 innings. Alfonso Soriano has hit his 31st HR of the season, while Ryan Church hit his 5th. Tony Armas Jr. allowed just 3 hits and one earned run over 7 innings.

Incredibly, Bob Timmerman encountered some St. Louis Cardinals fans who acted like assholes. Seems farfetched to me.

Newsday’s Mark Herrmann hails the Atlantic League’s Long Island Ducks as “a class act from top to bottom.” As long as they aren’t paying John Rocker or Juan Gonzalez, there’s no reason to challenge that assessment.

6-4-2 reminds us that today marks the birthdays of both Pee Wee Reese and Don Drysdale. No mention, however, that July 23rd is also the birthday of Schottzie (above, right), but there’s a West Coast bias, presumably.

After witnessing the ugly reaction of Mets fans during today’s 8th inning at Shea, I think the following is long overdue : Derek Jeter needs to speak out in support of Aaron Heilman.

Voice Of God’s Kin In Legal Spat

Posted in Gridiron, The Law, Video Games at 2:13 pm by

From the Courier Post Online :

The son of the man whose voice is synonymous with NFL Films has filed a lawsuit against the NFL in which he claims his father’s voice was misused in promoting a video game.

The deep baritone voice of legendary announcer John Facenda (above) was part of NFL Network program titled “The Making of Madden 2006″ last year, violating an agreement with the league, according to the lawsuit.

John Facenda Jr.’s attorneys filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia on Monday against the league, NFL Films Inc. and NFL Properties LLC.

The league is allowed to use Facenda’s voice as long as it does not constitute the endorsement of a product or service, attorney Paul Lauricella said. But Facenda’s voice opened the program and was used again in what Lauricella called a “30-minute commercial for the Madden game.”

Facenda Jr. has already proven to be rather litigious ; in 2004, he sued Campbell’s Soup for their use of a Facenda Sr. soundalike in a series of television spots. The two sides settled out of court in 2005.

Encina On The D-Rays’ Tasty Bait

Posted in Baseball at 1:47 pm by

The morning after Tampa Bay executive VP Andrew Friedman declared that no one on the Devil Rays’ roster is untouchable, The Tampa Tribune’s Eduardo Encina warns the club should be very careful before allowing anyone else to touch Julio Lugo.

It’s obvious that of all the trading pieces the Rays have swapped this season – third baseman Aubrey Huff, pitcher Mark Hendrickson and catcher Toby Hall – Lugo is the player the organization would most like to retain.

He’s proven his worth this season. Rays manager Joe Maddon called Lugo “the prototypical leadoff hitter.” His .372 on-base percentage leads the team. With 10 homers – despite missing 28 games because of injury – he will likely break his previous career high of 15. If he maintains his .307 average, that will be a career high. His 16 stolen bases could threaten last season’s 39. And he plays an above-average shortstop and serves as the clubhouse’s de facto leader.

Friedman’s mission to stockpile young talent for the future is great, but to ship Lugo, the Rays need a high-level prospect. With all respect to the Mitch Talbots and Ben Zobrists of the world, the Rays need a name we all know.

Rays fans have been finicky when it comes to trades, as they expect every deal to be like the fleecing of the Mets, who sent Scott Kazmir to Tampa Bay.

Obviously, that’s not realistic. And the usual post-trade news conference banter included the oft-used cliche, “You’ve got to give something to get something.”

Well, the Rays have something to give in Lugo.

On the matter of the Kazmir/Zambrano deal, the New York Post’s Mike Vaccaro takes the unusual approach of deeming said transaction, “The Best Bad Trade They Ever Made”. Vaccaro surmises that had the ’04 Mets not gone into the tank shortly after the arrivals of Kazmir and Kris Benson, the sweeping changes to follow (the hirings of Omar Minaya and Willie Randolph, a couple of winters’ worth of free agent signing sprees) might not have turned out nearly the same. Not only will I buy what Vaccaro is selling, but perhaps Jim Duquette can be voted a playoff share this season?

Inspired by Vaccaro’s brave stance, I have a slightly controversial (ahem) position I’d like to take this afternoon. Sidney Ponson’s brutal performance against the Blue Jays today is completely unrelated to the JetSki-enthusiast being a washed-up, dimwitted tub of goo. Rather, it is very difficult to pitch effectively if you’ve been watching highlights all week of your third baseman impersonating Chuck Knoblauch.

Buck Showalter, suffering from dehydration, is missing this afternoon’s Texas/White Sox game. Remember, if you’re thinking of adopting a Showalter, be sure to water him 2 or 3 times a day.

Big Mac’s Hall Of Fame Campaign : Curry’s Peers In No Hurry To Talk About The Past

Posted in Baseball at 1:24 pm by

Even worse than the slim chances, illustrated below, of being inducted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame on the first ballot, Mark McGwire must cope with the indignity of being compared to Dave Kingman. From the New York Times’ Jack Curry.

In a poll of 50 writers who are eligible to vote for the Hall as 10-year members of the Baseball Writers™ Association of America, only eight said they would vote for McGwire, a former first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals and the Oakland Athletics. Twenty-six said they would not vote for McGwire and the other 16 were undecided. A player needs 75 percent of the votes for induction.

Although the poll was limited to a fraction of the writers who will vote, it could be an ominous sign for McGwire. If this sample is remotely emblematic of how the remaining voters feel, McGwire™s chances of being elected could be flimsy.

“This might sound overly simplistic, but if McGwire did not feel the need to defend his career while appearing before Congress, why should I certify his career with a Hall vote? Gerry Fraley of The Dallas Morning News said.

Steve Buckley of The Boston Herald said the refusal to talk about steroids would cause him not to vote for McGwire. œWhenever someone asks me to expand on my answer, I simply say, ˜I™m not here to talk about the past,™  he said.

Jeff Blair of The Toronto Globe and Mail, who said he would vote for McGwire, said: œPlease spare me the drivel about McGwire™s performance before Congress. Seems to me that stonewalling congressmen is an accepted fact of life on Capitol Hill.

A handful of voters said they would simply judge McGwire on what he did on the field, not what he might have done off it.

œThe steroids won™t enter into it, said Ray Ratto of The San Francisco Chronicle. œThe Hall of Fame isn™t a church. It™s the history of baseball, good and bad.

Other voters also questioned whether McGwire, regardless of steroids, belonged in the Hall. Joe Posnanski of The Kansas City Star was one of many voters who compared McGwire with Dave Kingman, the one-dimensional, swing-for-the-fences hitter who finished with 442 homers.

Posnanski detailed the remarkable similarity between McGwire™s and Kingman™s statistics before they turned 32. McGwire had 277 homers and a .252 average in fewer than 4,000 at-bats; Kingman had 270 and a .243 average in fewer than 4,000 at-bats. But McGwire had 306 homers in his next 2,528 at-bats.

œHe was closer to Kingman than Cooperstown, before his incredible power surge, said Posnanski, who said he was leaning toward not voting for McGwire.

Police Harrassment Of Bengals Continues

Posted in Gridiron, The Law at 1:05 pm by

Cincinnati DT Matthias Askew was tasered and arrested last night after ignoring orders to move an illegally parked car, then breaking free of officers trying to handcuff him.

Askew’s bust comes on the heels of a succession of embarrassing off-field incidents for the Bengals, including Chris Henry’s multitude of legal troubles, A.J. Nicholoson’s burglary arrest, and spousal battery charges against DE Frostee Rucker.

Much like the Portland Blazers of recent vintage, I would hope Marvin Lewis and the good people of Cincinnati would understand that their players are being unfairly targeted by law enforcement.

With news of Ricky Williams’ latest career setback making headlines across the continent, I’d like to be the twenty thousandth person to suggest something other than medical marijuana during the former Longhorn’s convalesence.

The Curse Of Todd Walker

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 12:39 pm by

Last Sunday, I made brief mention of a piece in the Austin American-Statesman, profiling the Nokona Ballglove Company, the last major baseball glove manufacturer to assemble it’s wares on U.S. soil (Rawlings and Wilson have long since opted for cheaper foreign labor, even for their top-of-the-line models). Also noted was that Cubs 2B Todd Walker was Nokona’s sole paid endorser.

Later that day, Walker made a pair of costly errors in the Cubs’ 13-7 loss to the Mets.

On Tuesday, Nokona’s plant in Nocona, TX burned to the ground.

The Statesman’s Kevin Robbins writes that Nokona insists they’ll rebuild, and for this, I am terribly grateful. Having graced the doofus adult softball leagues of two different countries with my Nokona-assisted glovework (my career fielding percentage is approaching .400), I can personally vouch for the TLC that goes into each mitt made by these master craftsmen and women.

When and if they do reopen for business, I have but one suggestion : replace Todd Walker as the company spokesmodel. Nokona deserves far better. And Alex Rodriguez might be available.

This Is What Show Business Looks Like

Posted in The World Of Entertainment at 12:01 am by

On far too many occasions, I have harrassed you, the dear CSTB reader(s) with links to the legendary J&H Productions answering machine messages. Said recordings have so invaded my daily thought process, that I cannot type, pronounce or hear such simple words as “pertaining”, “coliseum” or “industry” without being reduced to a giggling spasm that at least one observer has suggested is just cause for my being institutionalized.

Now, with a link culled from Bedazzled, to paraphrase the Buggles, Video Killed The Underground Cassete Star:


Better Safe Than Sorry Dept.

Posted in Baseball, Golf, Total Fucking Terror at 11:10 pm by

…though if you ask me, when and if the terrorists strike, it’s Jeff Nelson who oughta watch his back.

Rebuilding Year passes along the news of billion-year-old Byron Nelson (above) having his mail blown up real good on account of suspicious circumstances (ticking noises, return address, “Osama’s Cave”, etc.).

In a related note, the AP reports that Homeland Security has named Hugo Teuful III (above) the agency’s new chief privacy officer. Though Teuful has little experience to speak of in the privacy realm, under his better recognized nickname, “Tim”, he does have a World Series ring as a member of the 1986 Mets, along with a short tenure as manager of the short-season A Brooklyn Cyclones.

Arturo Gatti Continues Suffering For Our Entertainment

Posted in Boxing at 8:57 pm by

…though he’s dished out no shortage of punishment, himself.

We’re about an hour away from Baldomir/Gatti, live from Atlantic City, and knowing that everytime the latter steps into the ring it could well be his last, here’s a word or two on behalf of Jersey City’s finest (boxer).

From the Sweet Science’s Patrick Kehoe.

Boxing or slugging, Gatti never ceased finding ways to entertain by defying the laws of entropy. Still, as his 14 minutes of torture against De La Hoya in 2001 was followed by the Ward trilogy and the June 2005 debacle against Floyd Mayweather, Gatti reentered boxing™s big time as a situational nemesis of ordinary men with alphabet title belts, THE classic example being Denmark™s Thomas Damgaard, who defied reason in coming to face Gatti with an unblemished record, 37-0 with 27 stoppages, having never fought in Iowa. Yet in being totally outclassed by Mayweather, the victory over Damgaard moved Gatti and his platinum plated popularity right into the line of site of Carlos Baldomir, unlikely successor to Zab Judah. After his being handled so easily by Mayweather, who would have believed that a year later he™d be on the threshold of the universal welterweight championship?

Well, we understand that logic has little to do with boxing, certainly at the championship level. The fault lines of destiny are regularly shaken by the tectonic forces of chance. It matters not how Gatti arrived at a fight for the welterweight championship “ be that defined as the WBC version or the universal crown, implied “ he™s right there, one decent outing away from yet more glory. Hard won glory, for it always comes at a price does glory, for men like Arturo Gatti. If he™s able to handle Baldomir™s energized assertions, if his fragile 4th metacarpal holds up, if the skin around his eyes neither swell up or cut, if he™s as motivated as we expect and if age does not present him with the tolling bell bill for all that™s transpired during his career to date, Gatti might win.