09.30.06

Astros Survive, Lidge Fumes

Posted in Baseball at 11:34 pm by

Astros 5, Braves 4

(Scrappy delivers the no-confidence vote ; Lidge has the presence of mind to avoid saying “fuck” on television)

Innocent-until-named-in-the LA Times Andy Pettitte pitched 7 strong innings, and a 9th inning throwing error by Atlanta’s Edgar Renteria provided what proved to be a crucial insurance run for the Astros. I don’t mean to bitch about the quality reportage of the Houston Chronicle’s Jose De Jesus Ortiz (after all, he’s on deadline and doesn’t have the benefit of reading his own stuff to see what’s he’s missed, nor can he simply cut and paste from the Houston Chronicle), but how do you not mention Phil Garner dissing Brad Lidge in favor of Dan Wheeler?

Congrats to the Sultan Of Sloth’s San Diego Padres and the DePodesta Free Zone that is Dodger Blue on each qualifying for the postseason earlier today. We’ll not know which of the pair has won the NL West and who will travel to Flushing as the Wild Card until Sunday’s games are done, but we are 100% certain the Phillies’ valiant late run has come to a close. Though a blown call on Chase Utley’s 3-run HR that wasn’t this past Tuesday cost Philadelphia dearly, perhaps calling up Cole Hamels sooner might’ve made a 2 or 3 game difference, too.

LA Times : Rocket, Pettitte, Miggy Were Named In Grimsley Affidavit

Posted in Baseball, The Law at 11:02 pm by

From the LA Times’ Lance Pugmire and Tim Brown :

Roger Clemens, 44, one of professional baseball’s most durable and successful pitchers, is among six players accused by a former teammate of using performance-enhancing drugs, The Times has learned. The names had been blacked out in an affidavit filed in federal court.

Others whose identities had been concealed include Clemens’ fellow Houston Astros pitcher, Andy Pettitte, and former American League Most Valuable Player Miguel Tejada of the Baltimore Orioles.

The discovery ends four months of speculation surrounding the possible identities of Major League Baseball figures whose names were redacted from a search warrant affidavit filed in Phoenix on May 31. The document was based on statements made to federal agents by pitcher Jason Grimsley (above).

A source with authorized access to an unredacted affidavit allowed The Times to see it, but retained it to read back what had been blacked out of the public copies. A second source and confidante of Grimsley had previously disclosed player identities and provided additional details about the affidavit. The sources insisted on anonymity.

According to the affidavit, Grimsley told investigators that Clemens and Pettitte “used athletic performance-enhancing drugs.” He also said Tejada used anabolic steroids.

Clemens and Pettitte did not respond to requests for comment made Saturday through their agents and the Astros. Tejada had previously declined to be interviewed.

The affidavit also alleges that Grimsley told federal agents that his former Oriole teammates — Tejada, Brian Roberts and Jay Gibbons — “took anabolic steroids.” Roberts was the American League’s All-Star second baseman in 2005 when Grimsley was an Oriole.

All three Baltimore players declined to be interviewed. Roberts said he had “nothing to talk about” and didn’t know why Grimsley named him. A sixth player, retired outfielder David Segui previously came forward to say that his name was among those blacked out in the affidavit provided to the public.

Presumably, at least half of those persons who’ve demanded The Used Car Salesman suspend Barry Bonds and/or have his achievments denoted with an asterix in the Baseball Encyclopedia….will now apply the same standard to Jay Gibbons’ illustrious career. Who amongst us will be able to look at Gibby the same way?

Meanwhile, how’s that Mitchell investigation shaping up? Is that a rude question to ask, or can we look forward to Pugmire and Brown being imprisoned for digging up the information MLB can’t acquire?

For A Big Guy, Jason Whitlock Must Be Unusually Limber..

Posted in Sports Journalism, Sports TV at 5:52 pm by

…because he can’t stop blowing himself. (link courtesy Jason Cohen) Following Whitlock’s Scoop Jackson-bashing interview over at The Big Lead, the KC Star columnist found himself banished from Bristol U. Which, in a funny way, sets up his inaugural AOL column nicely. Well, other than the part where Whitlock’s bio declares “Jason Whitlock has the most unique, important and insightful voice in the world of sports.”



The place I just left (ESPN.com) and the place that just dumped me (ESPN television) still don™t have a clue about me. They think I™m like most sportswriters, fantasizing about being associated with the World Wide Leader and in love with the idea of being a TV celebrity.

No disrespect to ESPN, but I™m most in love with me and the opportunity to express who I am.

That™s why I™m here now. I™m here because I want to introduce you to Real Talk about the sports and entertainment world. There™s not nearly enough Real Talk in the media today.

We dance around issues. We take positions based on not-well-hidden agendas. We™re predictable. We conform to stereotypes. We choose sides according to skin color, political affiliation and friendships just to start an argument.

Not anymore. Not here. Not when it™s Real Talk.

I have big plans for us. We™re going to rule the sports and entertainment world and eliminate much of the stupidity that separates us or gets in the way of enjoying sports and entertainment.

There will be a major reduction in “bojangling for dollars,” which is the art of black men building television and movie careers by impersonating Al Jolson and Nat X at the behest of major networks.

I would list names here, but I want to give the Friends of Flavor Flav fair warning before taxing them for their embarrassing shticks.

Mets : No Pedro Next Spring, Either

Posted in Baseball at 5:28 pm by

Whether or not anyone in Boston’s front office feels vindicated reading the sad news below, I cannot say. Nor can I tell you how successful Omar Minaya’s recruitment of other free agents might’ve been had the Mets not brought Pedro Martinez into the fold. Without questioning Pedro’s tenacity one iota, it is only natural to wonder if we’ve not seen the end of his tenure as a frontline starter. From MLB.com’s Marty Noble.

The New York Mets announced Saturday that Martinez has a tear in the rotator cuff of his right shoulder and will require surgery to repair it. The prognosis is that he could be pitching again in eight months, meaning he is lost to the Mets until after the All-Star break next season.

The club received word of the injury Thursday but withheld public announcement until Saturday to afford Martinez time to decide whether he wanted to undergo surgery or rehab his latest maladay.

Martinez had said publicly that all his physical problems — the large toe on his right foot, his right hip, his right calf and his left calf — were below the waist. He gave no public indication of trouble with his arm. However, after learning of the rotator cuff tear, he told the Mets that he felt sensations that were new and unusal in his arm while pitching Wednesday night in Atlanta.

Observers, including former Pirates manager Chuck Tanner, had noticed almost immediately that Martinez had dropped his arm slot during his first start since returning.

Martinez barely completed the second year of a four-year, $53 million contract he signed in Decemeber 2004.

Steve Trachsel, scheduled to pitch the Mets’ season finale against the Nationals — Frank Robinson’s final game as DC skipper — has gone home to San Diego for “personal reasons” according to SNY’s Gary Cohen.

Mets Vets Gang Up On Lonely Lastings

Posted in Baseball at 5:13 pm by

Newsday’s David Lennon with a story that should do wonders for the trade value of Lastings Milledge.

WASHINGTON – KNOW YOUR PLACE, ROOK!

The hand-scrawled message hung above Lastings Milledge’s locker after Friday’s 4-3 victory over the Nationals. At the bottom of the two sheets of paper was written, “Your Teammates.”

Milledge, as usual, ate dinner alone seated at his locker, facing inward, as the rest of the Mets crowded the clubhouse cafeteria. Someone had hidden Milledge’s street clothes, and one player thought they had been replaced by a dress.

The reason? According to one person familiar with the situation, Milledge – whose reputation is deteriorating quickly – mouthed off to a veteran teammate in Atlanta. Friday’s rebuke followed. Apparently, his teammates are becoming more and more annoyed by Milledge’s attitude.

“How much does it take to finally wake up?” the person said. “How long before you realize the way you’re acting is the opposite of how you should be acting? Fine. Stay asleep, then.”

Milledge shrugged when reporters asked him about the sign. When the questions continued, Orlando Hernandez waved them away in an effort to protect the rookie outfielder.

Though I’ve defended Da Edge in the past, I’ve just about had enough. For one thing, I’d like to blame the player for Omar Minaya’s inability to wave a magic wand and turn him into Barry Zito. For another, if he’s not gonna approve my MySpace friend request, fuck him. If Milledge is going to guard his MySpace friend list like so much cultural capital, he’s no real friend of mine.

The New York Times’ Michael S. Schmidt reports Saturday on various Yankee and Mets players taking the 4 and 7 trains to and from their respective respective offices.

After regular-season games at Shea, Bell waits for fans to clear out of the stadium before he heads for the elevated platform above Roosevelt Avenue. If the fans are still around, he puts on a shirt and hat given to him by security personnel at Shea so he looks more like a security worker and less like Heath Bell ” not that Heath Bell is all that recognizable. He heads to the front of the station™s platform and boards the first car, aiming to avoid the crowd.

I, for one, would welcome any attempt by the player to “look less like Heath Bell” when he takes the mound for the Metropolitans. That said, this was a funny article, and I look forward to future tales of Mike DeFelice’s offseason plastic surgery. It might sound extreme, but I’m sure he’d like to be able to go to the mall or the post office without being mobbed.

Pumped-Up Pop Warner Coach Romo : Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Posted in Gridiron, Leave No Child Unbeaten at 4:31 pm by

What better role model for a youth football squad, than a former NFL linebacker who broke a teammate’s jaw, spat in an opponent’s face and was one of the more prominent BALCO clients? Or were they just not able to find Jack Tatum’s cell number? From last Wednesday’s SF Chronicle, as reported by Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross

Late in the game, one of the Lafayette kids tripped a Piedmont player — or so it apparently seemed to Bill Romanowski (above, background). People who were there say Coach Romo got in the face of the Lafayette seventh-grader, accusing him of playing dirty.

“That’s cheating, and you can’t win by cheating,”
Romanowski told the boy, according to the mom of one of the Piedmont players.

“It felt inappropriate — but not scarily inappropriate,” said the mom, who didn’t want to be quoted by name

There were no video cameras filming Thursday’s action — no doubt if there had been, the footage would have shown up on the Internet by now.

Phil Mushnick will be thrilled to learn that Romo has joined Lawrence Taylor as celebrity spokesmodel for the v.2 of “Blitz : The League”.

World Chess Championship Flushed

Posted in Chess, Sad Toilets at 4:03 pm by

Alternative headline : “Searching For Bobby Fisher(‘s Key To The Executive Washroom”)

Much like Vince Naimoli and Ian McCulloch, defending Chess King Vladimir “Don’t Fuck With Me” Kramnik (above) will not tolerate tampering with his private toilet. From the New York Times’ Dylan Loeb McClain.

The problems began when Silvio Danailov, the manager of the Bulgarian player, Veselin Topalov, the world™s top-ranked player, filed a written protest with the federation about the number of times his opponent, Vladimir Kramnik of Russia, was retreating to his bathroom during the games. Mr. Kramnik is the No. 4-ranked player in the world. Before the protest, Mr. Kramnik led the match, 3-1, with 6.5 points needed for a victory.

Mr. Danailov said in the letter that the videotape of the area outside Mr. Kramnik™s bathroom captured him making more than 50 trips a game.

The federation reviewed the protest and determined that Mr. Kramnik was using his bathroom considerably fewer than 50 times a game. Still, the federation announced that it would lock the private bathrooms of the players. Instead, they would be required to use the same bathroom for the rest of the match.

Carsten Hensel, Mr. Kramnik™s manager, said the committee showed bias in favor of Mr. Topalov. He demanded that the members be removed and that their decision be overturned.

Furthermore, he said, the contracts signed by the players before the match stipulated that each would have a private bathroom. He said Mr. Kramnik made the frequent trips to the bathroom because he drinks a lot of water during games, and because Mr. Kramnik likes to pace and œuses the space of the bathroom.

The letter concluded that Mr. Kramnik would not play unless the federation was œready to respect Mr. Kramnik™s rights, in this case to use the toilet of his own restroom whenever he wishes to do so.

Details of the fracas were described by Mikhail Savinov, one of the few reporters able to get to this remote area of southern Russia.

As the match began yesterday, Mr. Topalov sat down to play. But Mr. Kramnik went to his private area and sat down in his room outside of his bathroom, demanding that it be unlocked.

Mr. Kramnik refused to budge. He was given a letter from Mr. Ilyumzhinov in which the president said he supported the decision of the appeals committee and urged Mr. Kramnik to play, Mr. Balgabaev said.

Mr. Kramnik continued to sit in his room. After an hour, according to the rules of chess, the game was declared forfeited in Mr. Topalov™s favor.

Afterward, Mr. Savinov reported, Mr. Kramnik said at a news conference, œMy dignity does not allow me to stand this situation.

Forget About Pujols…

Posted in Baseball at 3:43 pm by

…this schmuck just save the Cardinals’ season. Thanks to Scott Spiezio’s 3 run triple to right with 2 out in the last of the 8th, St. Louis have clinched at least a tie for the NL Central. Houston’s remaining hopes rest on a win tonight over the Braves (recent Round Rock alumnus Chris Sampson taking the mound for the Astros), another victory on Sunday, coupled with Cards losses on Sunday and yet another in a make-up game against San Francisco Monday afternoon, thus requiring a one game playoff to decide the Division championship on Tuesday.

With the Reds’ elimination today, Death Wish has nothing to pitch for tonight. Other than pride and the respect of the Gallagher Brothers, of course.

The SF Chronicle’s Henry Schulman reports that Lou Piniella is interested in the Giants gig, when (not if) Felipe Alou cleans out his office.  Having spent a healthy chunk of my Saturday hearing Sweet Lou’s observations during Fox’s Brewers/Cards telecast, I am urging, nay, pleading with the Giants, Cubs, Nationals, Marlins, heck, anyone with a managerial vacancy, to make him an offer ASAP.

Randy Wolf got the quick hook in Miami earlier today, the Phillies starter lasting just 11 batters before Charlie Manuel had seen enough.  Philadelphia is up, 4-3 in the top of the 7th, as they attempt to stave off elimination.  They’ll need some help from the Giants, who are currently tied with the Dodgers, 1-1, in the 2nd.

CFB Week 5 : Future Billy Beane Assistants, Conan O’Brien Writers, Weezer Vocalists Beating Up On Lehigh

Posted in Gridiron at 3:16 pm by

I have to confess, the only reason I tuned in to see Harvard thrashing Lehigh (the Crimson are leading, 35-24 at the end of the 3rd quarter) was in the vain hope that John Sterling would be doing the play-by-play.

The next time I’m feeling bad about keeping up with the Parallelism website, I’ll just remember the awesome job Harvard’s A.D. is doing on behalf of the football team’s web presence.

Congrats to the University of Illinois’ Fighting Leitches on getting off the schneid, thus ending Michigan State’s 2006 season before the end of September.

It was a very rough homecoming day for the Dookies versus Virginia. Not even playing old MSG clips of Al Groh’s Jets press conferences, nor the Frogs’ “(Everyone’s Making A Big Deal Outta The Fact That) I Raped Someone” managed to rouse the Blue Devils.

LSU QB Jamarcus Russell has been carving up Mississippi State to the tune of 3 TD passes (18 for 20, 327 yards), as the Tigers hold a commanding 35-10 lead after 3 quarters.

No. 2 Auburn endured a late run by South Carolina, before slamming the door on the Gamecocks, 24-17. Sadly, home viewers were not treated to a sideline celebration of any sort from S.C.’s Cory Boyd (3 catches, 26 yards, 28 yards on 5 carries).

Sharp Demands Satisfaction : Was Weis Slapped?

Posted in Gridiron at 12:54 pm by

I’m right there with the Detroit Free Press’ Drew Sharp on this one : any storyline that ignores how badly Michigan State choked last Saturday night is a-ok with me.

Who has legislative oversight of Notre Dame when its coaches go wild?

Does the pope not immediately return Charlie Weis’ phone calls as punishment for conduct unbecoming a deity?

The fallout from Weis’ assertion that he was slapped by an unidentified player in that second-quarter sideline scrum last week against Michigan State crystallizes another significant advantage Notre Dame football has because of its lack of a conference affiliation: There is no governing body policing its program, leaving any investigative inquiries strictly up to the university’s discretion.

And, apparently, there’s no motivation from the university to look into the actions of those coaches on the Notre Dame sideline who threw Michigan State players away from the pile after the Spartans’ quarterback, Drew Stanton, sailed out of bounds and into some Irish players.

Weis’ insistence afterward that he was slapped (he didn’t directly accuse a Michigan State player of the act, but the intimation was evident) should have inspired more than just an indifferent shrug from Notre Dame.

I won’t be so bold as to call Weis a liar, but I would think Notre Dame would want some answers as to what occurred. If Weis’ claims were proved false, he should face disciplinary sanctions, just as a player would in a similar circumstance.

The hypocrisy is sickening.

Texas tailback Selwyn Young won’t be available for the Longhorns’ impending rout of Sam Houston State later this evening. Rhett Bomar won’t be suiting up for the visitors, either, but perhaps he can take the time to visit one of Austin’s more exclusive sportscar dealerships.  Just to, y’know, compare notes.

From the Where Are They Now Dept. :  Former Michigan QB / Yankees and Cowboys bust Drew Henson is toiling on the Vikings’ practice squad. Henson says he’s doing it for the love of the game, a sentiment another former great must truly empathize with.