Grant On The Rangers’ Latest Swoon

Posted in Baseball, Leave No Child Unbeaten at 2:39 pm by

Looks like it’ll be another September of meaningless baseball in the Metroplex, and the Dallas Morning News’ Evan Grant has seen it all before.

Less than 24 hours after falling nine games behind Oakland in the AL West, the clubhouse was as quiet as a mausoleum and just about as lively. Those few players who made appearances at their lockers would have preferred to talk fantasy football, their love lives or even Middle Eastern politics rather than broach one tiny little question about the club.

That question: How did this team get into the position in which it now finds itself?

That position: Forgotten, if not officially gone, in the AL West race. Even with a win Sunday night, the Rangers trailed Oakland by eight games with 30 to play. A comeback would be truly historic. This team, however, hasn’t shown enough consistency to suggest anything of historic proportions is possible.

“We just haven’t played well,” shortstop Michael Young said. “It’s not going to do me any good to look back at the last few months. All I know is we’re definitely capable of more.”

So why haven’t the Rangers accomplished more? Why do they seem headed for a seventh consecutive third- or fourth-place finish in a four-team division?

Grant points to the a leadership void in the clubhouse (blaming, in part, the trade of David Dellucci, above), lack of bullpen experience or defined roles in the wake of the Francisco Cordero trade, and poor 2nd halves from Kevin Millwood, Adam Eaton, Vicente Padilla and Kip Wells.

Strangely, the name “Buck Showalter” doesn’t appear once in this piece.

Rehabbing Mets LF Cliff Floyd was 0-3 earlier today in St. Lucie’s 5-1 loss to Palm Beach.

Newsweek reports the NFL has finally taken Gary Glitter’s “Rock And Roll, Pt. II” off the playlists of stadium tannoy operators (link courtesy Stereogum). This could be the big break the Billy Preston estate has been waiting for.

The Motherfucker Of All Flame Wars…

Posted in Blogged Down, Will Leitch Sucks at 2:08 pm by

…is not, sadly,between myself and a pseudononymous Spicy Crunchwrap Supreme acolyte, aka “jblo” who contributed the following to Deadspin’s (registration-required) comments section :

I’m sorry, but that’s just plain unfair.

I hate Will far more than Mel Gibson hates Jews. And unlike Mel, I can be completely sober when stating publicly that ethically challenged, xenophobic, frat-fuck pandering “nice guys” like Will are responsible for all of the wars in the world.

Instead, the real virtual brawl to settle it all is taking place right this moment between Michael Kay and Larry Bowa. Sort of.

Mangini Dubs Pennington The Best Of A Bad Lot

Posted in Gridiron at 1:22 pm by

From the Sports Network :

Chad Pennington will line up under center for the New York Jets in the season opener on September 10 against Tennessee, winning a four-man quarterback competition during the preseason.

Head coach Eric Mangini made the announcement on Tuesday, three days before New York will wrap up the preseason against Philadelphia. Pennington will not play in the exhibition finale.

“His presence, his ability to move the team, his leadership – all those things I’ve been looking for – he’s done an outstanding job with and its clear to me that he should be the starter,” said Mangini.

Yes, all that, plus the alternatives were Patrick Ramsey and Brooks Bollinger.

Here’s a nice quote from Dr. Gary Wadler, the US Attorney’s inhouse steroid advisor, concerning current Rams (and former Bucs/Panthers) tackle Todd Stuessie.

According to the Charlotte Observer, Steussie had three prescriptions for testosterone cream from between March 1, 2003, and March 16, 2004, with each prescription renewable five times.

“This wasn’t just a passing flirtation with these prohibited substances,” Dr. Gary Wadler told the Observer. “When I see (prescriptions) renewed five times, I say, ‘What are you trying to accomplish?’ “

Trying to look good for the ladies?

Watching The Defective : Post’s Costello Goes Inside A-Rod’s Head

Posted in Baseball at 1:00 pm by

This might be the lamest New York Post piece of all time that didn’t bear Steve Dunleavy’s byline.  From Brian Costello :

Like most Yankee fans, the psychologists believe A-Rod’s problems are 100 percent mental.

“It seems like it is in his head,” said Jonathan F. Katz (above), director of sports psychology for Altheus, an advanced performance center in Rye. “For an athlete, that means they’re starting to think about it. What athletes do best is react and play. The more they can trust their instincts and not think about it, the more likely they’re going to succeed.”

Anyone who watched Rodriguez go 2-for-20 with 14 strikeouts on the Yankees’ West Coast swing last week saw a player desperately trying to shake himself from a funk.

“The guy’s obviously pressing too hard,” said Robert Reiner, a clinical psychologist and the executive director of Behavioral Associates in Manhattan. “He’s human, remember that. A lot of guys before him in New York have gone through this. Ed Whitson is the poster boy for this stuff. Then you have [Chuck] Knoblauch and Mackey Sasser.”

Both of the psychologists agreed there is one thing Yankee fans can do to help Rodriguez: stop booing.

“Anybody who is a Yankee fan who is booing this guy has their head up their [backside],” said Reiner, a Yankee fan himself. “If you think you’re helping him by booing him, you’re wrong.”

Whoa, Nellie : Montgomery Bounced In Oakland

Posted in Basketball at 12:25 pm by

From the SF Chronicle’s Janny Hu :

In a bold and surprising attempt to end 12 years of playoff futility, the Warriors severed ties with Mike Montgomery this week and will replace him with former coach Don Nelson (above), the Chronicle has learned. The team announced Tuesday morning that it had parted ways with Montgomery, the former Stanford coach who compiled a 68-96 record in two seasons with Golden State. The team will introduce Nelson as its new coach at a public event Wednesday night at the Arena.

Several members of the coaching staff admitted unease this summer as they awaited a possible shakeup. Two league sources also said that Mullin recommended Montgomery be fired after the regular season but was overruled by ownership.

It’s unclear what prompted the reversal of opinion. According to one of the sources, the Warriors waited until Montgomery returned from vacation to negotiate a buyout. He was in Las Vegas last week working in Michael Jordan’s annual basketball camp.

That the Warriors are switching coaches perhaps isn’t as surprising as the identity of their incoming coach. Nelson was sued by Warriors owner Chris Cohan when he resurfaced with the Knicks for the 1995-96 season. While Nelson’s stop in New York lasted less than a year, his litigation with Cohan dragged on until 1999.

Surely I’m not the only person who’d love to see C-Webb as a mid-season addition to Nellie’s coaching staff? Seriously, if Nelson can return to the Bay Area, who’s to say Spree can’t be lured out of retirement, too?

Ortiz Facing Further Heart Tests

Posted in Baseball at 7:00 am by

From the Boston Globe’s Gordon Edes.

A season slipping away took another crushing turn last night, even before a ragtag team of Red Sox was beaten, 9-0, by the Oakland Athletics.

About 20 minutes before the first pitch, David Ortiz was scratched from a starting lineup that once again was missing Manny Ramírez. “He isn’t feeling well,” said PR man Peter Chase, who had been briefed on Ortiz’s condition in the dugout by Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein.

But it wasn’t until after the game that manager Terry Francona revealed that Ortiz had experienced another episode involving an apparent irregular heartbeat, the one that had sent him to the hospital overnight during the recent Yankees series.
The team isn’t taking any chances, Francona said. Ortiz is flying back to Boston today to be examined by doctors.

This is the first instance of Ortiz missing playing time since these heartbeat episodes began over a week ago. If you’re thinking Carlos Pena’s gonna make the most of his latest big break, well, I admire your optimism. Jon Lester went on the DL with back trouble yesterday — but if anyone would like to remind us (again) how none of Boston’s injuries woes can possibly compare to losing Matsui and Sheffield’s Little Mustache, please, go right ahead. I reckon that had Varitek not gone down, the Yankees’ 7 game lead would be closer to 2 or 3 at this stage.

In any event, losing 17 of their last 21 and showing little fight, undermanned or not, all pennant race considerations rank a distant second compared to Papi’s condition. Particularly as there’s not likely to be much of a race remaining.

This Is A Public Service Announcement

Posted in Rock Und Roll at 12:40 am by


Even Victor Zambrano Is Disappointed In Carl Pavano

Posted in Baseball, General at 11:44 pm by

I guess the old “I strained something defending myself from verbal abuse” excuse only worked for so long. From the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner.

Just as he was closing in on returning to the Yankees after a 14-month absence, Carl Pavano (above) told club officials last weekend that he had been in a car accident in West Palm Beach, Fla., on the morning of Aug. 15. Pavano said the accident caused pain in his ribs, and tests yesterday showed that two ribs are fractured.

œOf course I™m angry, said General Manager Brian Cashman, who did not rule out fining Pavano.

œI™m trying to get a clearer picture of what we™re dealing with, Cashman said, referring to Pavano™s version of the accident. œIt™s kind of premature.

The Yankees owe Pavano roughly $20 million over the next two seasons, a hefty price for a pitcher whose desire has been questioned by teammates. By failing to report the injury when it happened, Pavano could be in violation of the terms of his contract and may give the Yankees an opening to void some or all of the deal.

Note to all accident-prone / ethically challenged pitchers considering signing with the Yankees in the future ; insist on removing any clause that require you to a) report such incidents, b) tell the truth and c ) pitch in the major leagues.

World’s Oldest Person Shuffles Off This Mortal Coil

Posted in Fitness, Medical Science at 9:24 pm by

From the Associated Press :

Maria Esther de Capovilla, a 116-year-old woman believed to have been the world™s oldest person, has died in her native Ecuador, her granddaughter said Monday. Her successor is likely a woman from Tennessee.

Capovilla died early Sunday in a hospital in the coastal city of Guayaquil, said Catherine Capovilla, a property manager and real estate agent in Miami. A funeral was planned for Monday.

Capovilla died two days after coming down with pneumonia.

In an unrelated story, the World’s 2nd Oldest Person, Julio Franco of the Dominican Republic’s Hato Mayor, was 0 for 1 in a pinch-hitting appearance in the New York Mets’ 8-3 defeat of Philadelphia earlier today.

McNabb’s New Target : Eagles Trade For Stallworth

Posted in Gridiron at 9:16 pm by

From the Cherry Hill Courier-Post’s Don Devento :

The Eagles have acquired wide receiver Donte’ Stallworth (above) from New Orleans in a trade that sent linebacker Mark Simoneau and an undisclosed draft pick to the Saints.Stallworth’s presence should immediately bolster a receiver corps that has been considered suspect by a number of analysts.

While it’s bound to take some time for Stallworth to fit into the Eagles’ West Coast offense, he would seem to immediately become the team’s No. 1 or 2 receiver, depending on the progress of Reggie Brown.

700 Level
surmises “this could mean the end of Todd Pinkston in Eagles Green,” and would that be such a bad thing?

Carson Palmer’s first game since being taken out by Kimo von Oelhoffen last January would have to be considered a wild success ; 3 first half TD’s against an overmatched Packers secondary (9 for 14, 140 yards, no INTS), as the Bengals lead Green Bay, 34-7 midway through the 3rd quarter of a semi-meaningful, meaningless contest.