Zito On Fire, A’s Poised For The Sweep

Posted in Baseball at 4:38 pm by

Though I’m suffering a slight cultural hangover after witnessing Chan Marshall cover The Hot Boyz last night, the considerable charms of a Curt Schilling/Barry Zito matchup were too tempting to resist. Well, that and it’s Dollar Dog day at McAfee. I’ve got a labrador and a collie/greyhound mix at home in Austin, and they’d be furious if I passed up a chance to adopt another hound for a mere buck.

Oakland are ahead, 4-1, with Bobbly Kielty having taken Schilling deep in the 2nd.Barry Zito just induced Dustin Pedroia to fly oiut to left with the bases loaded in the top of the 6th ; Zito (above) has 7 K’s on the afternoon.

Boston’s vaunted traveling support are conspicous by their abscence. Either that 3-16 stretch really put a crimp in their swagger, or Oakland’s baseball fans aren’t nearly so quick to put up their seats on StubHub for the sake of filthy Boston lucre.

I thought I saw Mike Timlin signing autographs over by the Red Sox pen, but I must have been hallucinating. More likely he was chatting with a process server.

(UPDATE : Oakland 7, Boston 2. Turns out I have wildly misinterpreted the Dollar Dog Promotion. Quote of the day from KYCY’s Ken Korach, refering to Schilling’s drilling of Nick Swisher earlier this year : “You never want to see Bud Selig’s signature imprinted on any part of the body.”

Sadly, Korach then went onto explain that “Bud Selig, the Commissioner of Baseball, has his signature affixed to every official Major League baseball”, just in case anyone didn’t get the joke the first time).

Sky Vs. Saturday Football On Live TV

Posted in Football, Sports TV at 1:55 pm by

As Sky continues to pursue criminal cases against UK pub landlords who opt for foreign satellite feeds of otherwise unavailable live football, the Guardian’s David Conn takes a dim view of Murdoch Inc.’s role in the betterment of the game.

Landlords of locals in Portsmouth, Rochdale and West Bromwich have successfully defended prosecutions in recent months, arguing that they were not acting dishonestly when they bought boxes and smart cards to enable them to show live Premiership games from Greek or Arabic TV stations.Paul Dixon, a solicitor from the firm Molesworths Bright Clegg, who represented four of those acquitted and has nine further cases pending, accuses the Premier League of heavyhandedness. “It is arguable that the landlords are not even breaching civil laws or contracts by paying for a broadcast from overseas, but by mounting criminal prosecutions the Premier League is bullying publicans simply to protect Sky’s monopoly over football,” he said.

The Premier League is sensitive to that charge but argues that it is duty-bound to defend the exclusive TV rights for which Sky pays so handsomely. “That money goes into football, including the grass roots,” a spokesman said. “Landlords who show matches without paying Sky are breaching copyright law and we will prosecute. In the next month we will be targeting raids against the suppliers of the equipment.”

News Corporation has become one of the world’s most powerful media empires substantially on the payments of English people who have nowhere else to go to watch live league football. BSkyB’s most recently published figures boast 8.2m subscribers, a third of British homes, paying an average £388 each a year, making Sky’s total earnings from domestic subscribers £3.2bn. Industry research has found most football fans would drop their Sky subscriptions if it lost the rights to Premier League matches.

Prosecutions of modest provincial pubs might look a touch rabid, but as watching football in the pub has become a central feature of our sporting culture, it has become a huge business for BSkyB. Its charges have steepled, ranging up to £2,210 per month, £26,520 a year, for a town-centre pub subscription.

With 47,000 commercial subscribers, mostly pubs and clubs, it is believed that BSkyB recoups its whole outlay for the Premiership TV rights solely from this market. No wonder landlords are keen to explore beaming Al-Jazeera in for a fraction of the price, or that the Premier League is fiercely enforcing the crackdown.

It is remarkable that the Office of Fair Trading here and the European Commission, twice, have bludgeoned away at the Premier League’s monopolistic TV arrangements yet failed to ensure that a single live match is available on terrestrial TV.

Cote : Fins Are Snubbing Scott

Posted in Gridiron at 1:30 pm by

The Dolphins are inducting saftey Dick Anderson and tackle Richmond Webb into their Honor Roll, but the Miami Herald’s Greg Cote would like to see safety Jake Scott receive similar recognition.

It is believed that today, at age 61, Scott is living on Hanalei Bay in coastal Kauai, Hawaii, still steadfastly incommunicado. He has grown to the status of franchise legend from equal parts accomplishment and mystery. There is an odd nobility to the man with his back to the parade.

Scott is to this day the club’s career leader in interceptions with 35, one more than Anderson despite the latter playing 10 Dolphins seasons to Scott’s six. Scott had more Pro Bowl selections, five to three. Scott also was the Perfect Season Super Bowl MVP. And is Miami’s career leader in punt return yards, by the way.

Scott is being ostensibly penalized for his lack of longevity when Honor Roll inductee Paul Warfield played only five years with Miami.

Scott accomplished as much or arguably more in six years as Anderson did in 10. Moreover, his Dolphins career was cut short only because Don Shula abruptly traded him away, 30 years ago this week, in maybe the worst, most knee-jerk decision and deal Shula ever made.

Coming off yet another Pro Bowl season, Scott and a fourth-round draft pick were shipped to Washington in exchange for safety Bryan Salter, who amounted to nothing. Shula and Scott had sparred for years; the coach’s doghouse might as well have been named Jakeville. The trade came one week after Scott refused a club-ordered painkiller shot that would have allowed him to play in an exhibition game.

Scott never forgave Shula, the cause of his unending estrangement from the franchise.

The Dolphins’ company line is that Scott was among players under consideration and that his not going onto the Honor Roll is ”not based on personal relationships or whether somebody would be there [for the induction] or not,” club senior vice president for media relations Harvey Greene said Tuesday.

Decline Of Standards, Patriotism, Traced To Patrick Bateman’s Favorite Rocker

Posted in Gridiron at 1:13 pm by

From the Kansas City Star’s Jeffrey Flanagan.

Longtime Chiefs fan Hayden Abbott wants you to know he™s not a prude and he™s not interested in taking the fun out of Arrowhead Stadium.

But Abbott thinks it™s time Chiefs fans end their tradition of ad-libbing œChiefs to œhome of the brave during the national anthem. Abbott wants to start a campaign to stop the ad-lib, and he even called the Chiefs about it, though there wouldn™t seem to be a lot the Chiefs can do to prevent 78,000 people from singing whatever they want.

œI just think it™s disrespectful to change the word to ˜Chiefs,™‚ said Abbott, 70, an Air Force veteran.

œAnd I love the Chiefs. I™ve had season tickets ever since the Chiefs came here, and I have a great time out there. I tailgate and have a few ˜pops™ just like everyone else. But I think that™s one tradition that we need to change.

Abbott, who incidentally played on the great Kansas State basketball teams in the late 1950s, can™t exactly remember when the tradition of altering the anthem started.

But it is believed to have happened in 1993 when Joe Montana™s good friend, Huey Lewis (above), sang the national anthem before a Chiefs home game and belted out œhome of the CHIEFS! instead of œhome of the brave.

œWe live in a great country, and we need to respect what people have done to make it great, Abbott said. œThey were brave people, and we dishonor them by changing the words. I™m sure people will think I™m just some crazy guy complaining, but I know a lot of people who feel the same way I do and just don™t want to say anything.

Willie : On Returning, Floyd Might Not Start

Posted in Baseball at 1:08 pm by

(Kaz tells former teammate David Wright that he still can’t find that Salvation Miracle Crusade commercial on YouTube)

You’re not supposed to lose your gig to an injury, but then again, Endy Chavez wasn’t supposed to be a key cog in the Mets running away with the NL East. Newsday’s David Lennon discussed the matter of the oft-hobbled Cliff Floyd prior to the Mets’ 10-5 win at Pete Coors Is A Drunken Facist Field last night.

If Floyd expected his position to be waiting for him upon his return, manager Willie Randolph suggested otherwise.

“I’m not saying he’s going to take Endy’s job,” Randolph said. “A lot depends on how Cliff looks and how he starts to play. But I’m not going to change from what I think is best for the team. When you get to the postseason, you play the best guys, and that’s what I’m going to do.”

That hard-line stance is not shocking from Randolph, who loves Chavez’s defense and the additional boost of energy he brings to the lineup. Chavez, who started in leftfield again last night, is capable of making plays that the less nimble Floyd could not even consider.

Chavez also is batting .310 with a .352 on-base percentage in 106 games, and has delivered in a number of critical situations this season. Floyd, by comparison, has been a disappointment at the plate, hitting .245 with 10 home runs and 36 RBIs in 80 games. And with a potent lineup already in place, overstocked with lefthanded hitters, the Mets don’t really need Floyd.

Randolph dismissed the abundance of lefthanders as a weakness, saying they are capable of doing damage regardless of who is on the mound. But the Mets’ team average sinks 13 points to .260 against lefthanded pitching, and Floyd (.159) and Carlos Delgado (.232) look like they can be neutralized.

“You can’t always have the perfect balance,” Randolph said. “But we can be dominant and we’re going to face a lot of righthanders.”

With a day to go before new additions are no longer post-season eligible, Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports the Mets might have one last move to make.

The Mets, seeking to upgrade their backup catcher and add infield depth, are talking to the Rockies about acquiring catcher Danny Ardoin and infielder Luis Gonzalez for a minor-league pitcher.

Ardoin, 32, was designated for assignment by the Rockies last Friday. A poor hitter but strong defender, he likely would replace Mike DiFelice. Ramon Castro, the Mets’ primary backup catcher, underwent surgery last week to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.

Gonzalez, 27, primarily is a second baseman, but he has played all four infield positions in the past two seasons as well as left field and right. He would give the Mets protection if Jose Valentin again is slowed by his right hamstring injury. Chris Woodward is currently the Mets’ only backup infielder.

In return for Ardoin and Gonzalez, the Rockies likely would receive Class AA right-hander Matt Lindstrom, 26, or Class AA right-hander Henry Owens, 27.

While the Boston papers are packed with references to Reggie Lewis, the LA Times’ Tim Brown and Steven Springer point to David Wells being traded to the Dodgers.

Because “Clarett Crunch” Just Sounds Wrong

Posted in Food, Gridiron at 12:50 pm by

From the Columbus Dispatch’s Kathy Lynn Gray.

Buckeye HerOes cereal, the newest university-licensed food, will hit store shelves in time for Saturday™s football opener against Northern Illinois at Ohio Stadium.

“We couldn™t make them ˜block Os™, so we made them Os,” said Rick Van Brimmer, director of OSU trademark and licensing services.

Three OSU football stars from last year ” Bobby Carpenter, A.J. Hawk and Anthony Schlegel ” are starring on the HerOes box.

The honey-nut-flavored toasted oats will cost $3.49 for a 14-ounce box at Kroger stores, where they™ll be stocked as early as Thursday, said Monica Gordon, spokeswoman for the chain™s Great Lakes division.

Shoppers already can fill their carts with OSU pasta, chips, salsa, hot dogs, mustard and hot sauces, as well as candy Buckeyes.

“People get excited when football season rolls around and look for unique items to enhance the parties they have,” Gordon said.

If the cereal sells, OSU will come out with a box featuring another former Buckeyes star, probably in early January, and boxes with other OSU ex-athletes perhaps twice a year after that, Van Brimmer said. Some cereal-box faces under consideration: Woody Hayes, Jesse Owens and Jack Nicklaus.

Enough kids are skipping breakfast, as is, without subjecting them to the visage of Woody Hayes first thing in the morning.

Astros Pay Up For Roy O.

Posted in Baseball at 12:08 am by

I’m trying to recall the last time a player went from almost being traded at the deadline to signing an extension within a month. Barry Larkin is the only name that comes to mind, and presumably, this will have a more favorable result for the club in question. From the Houston Chronicle’s Jose De Jesus Ortiz.

Informed that the Astros had just given him a five-year, $73 million contract Tuesday night, ace righthander Roy Oswalt (above) immediately placed a call to Weir, Miss., to give his father Billy the news. In the ensuing news conference, Oswalt fought off tears as he acknowledged his father’s guidance.

Oswalt’s contract is easily the richest multi-year deal ever given to a pitcher by an Astros franchise that has had legendary aces such as Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens and J.R. Richard, to name just a few.

Oswalt, who could have tested free agency after the 2007 season, will earn $13 million in each of the first two years of the contract. His salary moves up to $14 million in 2009, $15 million in 2010 and $16 million in 2011. He has a complete no-trade clause and a $2 million buyout of a $16 million club option for 2012.

Craig Biggio, Jason Lane and Luke Scott all homered in Houston’s 10-3 beatdown of Milwaukee. Astros CF Willy Tavares saw his 30 game hitting streak come to a close, but not before suffering a beaning at the hands of Tomo Ohka.

Without the services of manager Joe Girardi, the Marlins won their 9th consecutive Tuesday night, putting the hurt on the, uh, still-hurting Mark Mulder to the tune of a 9-1 scoreline. Dan Uggla hit his 21st HR of the year, and ended with 3 hits and 4 RBI’s on the night. Florida are 1 1/2 games out of the NL Wild Card, pending the finish of the Reds/Dodgers game at Chavez Ravine.


Hanging Out At Zach’s Place

Posted in Basketball, Blogged Down, Dogs at 8:24 pm by

Though I kinda thought the Andy Dick episode was the nail in the coffin of MTV’s “Cribs”, True Hoop’s Henry Abbott caught a re-run of the Zach Randolph segment, and it sounds like it could’ve been the greatest reality TV moment since Michael Barrymore invited Dennis Rodman for a late night swim.

I had just a little moment of nervousness when Zach let his three pit bulls out of the fence and they just started running around free. They heeded his commands pretty well, though, and two out of three laid down when Randolph said something to them that sounded to me like German. Maybe the other one doesn’t speak German.

The dogs also factor into what is easily the creepiest moment of the whole Randolph episode: the mother of his daughter is there, totally pregnant, and never gets introduced. Not one word out of her. That could have been the fault of some MTV producers, not Randolph. But he cements her place in the household hierarchy somewhat by standing in the driveway with her and his dogs and saying he has “five babies.” The mother of his children comes in fourth by Randolph’s count. The dogs were one, two, and three, and the unborn daughter brings up the rear.

Hefty Lefty Heading To The NL?

Posted in Baseball at 8:01 pm by

Not only did the Red Sox front office wildly miscalculate whether or they had enough pitching to get through August, they’re now adding insult to injury by making plans to send The Sultan Of Swat to the Senior Circuit just as I arrive in Oakland. I guess this means our Harley ride to Sausalito later tonight is cancelled, eh, David? From the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo.

The Red Sox are talking to the Padres, Dodgers and Cardinals about a potential deal that would send lefthanded pitcher David Wells to them in exchange for a player that can help the Red Sox next season, according to a league source.

Wells prefers to pitch on the West Coast, but is OK with being dealt if it is to a contending team.

In order for Wells to be eligible for a playoff roster he must be dealt by midnight on Thursday.

SF’s Jason Schmidt is getting shelled thus far at Turner Field ; Andruw Jones just connected for a solo HR off the foul pole moments after Chipper cracked a 3-run shot. The Braves are leading 8-2, and there’s a guy sitting uncomfortably close to Jon Miller’s microphone who keeps yelling, “try throwing it underhand, Jason!” (I’m pretty sure it isn’t Mike Krukow).

(UPDATE : 9-4, Atlanta. Barry Bonds has just hit his 2nd HR of the evening, and for those still paying attention, he’s just 28 away from Hank Aaron. Assuming the Sultan Of Surly is neither a) incarcerated or b) in a wheelchair in 2007, it isn’t inconceivable he’ll break the record).

Open Bar, Eh?

Posted in Blogged Down, Will Leitch Sucks at 7:20 pm by

I have to admit, I’m very impressed the Taco Bell Spicy Crunchwrap Supreme spokesmodel would put his petty jealousies aside when issuing the above invites. On the other hand, if you were about to marry this, you’d no longer be so picky about who you were hanging out with, either.

Though it’s a nice thought, I have a prior engagement at Brian Bannister Bobblehead Night on Coney Island. And I’d sooner leave Von LMO in charge of my house than willingly spend time at Blondie’s of the Upper East Side. Was the Ground Round all booked up?

Still, just cuz I’m busy doesn’t mean the rest of you lot can’t crash the shindig. Tell Ariana Huffington I said hi!