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.

The Fantasy World Of Rep. Mark Foley

Posted in Leave No Child Unbeaten, politics, The Law at 11:33 am by

As you might’ve read elsewhere Republican Rep. Mark Foley (FL) has resigned following allegations he a) sexually harrassed Congressional pages and b) engaged in the sort of instant messaging “have you ever been in a cockpit?” type banter so beloved by predators and aspiring wrestling promoters alike.

With Foley (above, left) facing prosecution under some of the same child protection laws he worked so hard to enact, the Sarasota Herald Tribune provides a bit of background on Foley’s unique career path.

At 23, he launched his political career with an appointment to the Lake Worth City Commission.

In 1990, he became that area’s Republican representative in the state House. Two years later, he moved up to the state Senate.

While a state senator, he fulfilled a longtime fantasy by briefly working as a roadie on an Allman Brothers Band tour.

Though I’m not a member of Foley’s constituency, I find the above passage far more disturbing than his hunting for teen cock online. What sort of a person fantasizes about being Dickey Betts’ guitar tech or Gregg Allman’s beard valet, and how could they be allowed to rise to such a position of influence?

Rating The NFL’s Shittiest QB’s, Statistically Speaking

Posted in Gridiron at 11:06 am by

Setting the standard of “the Kordoza Line” (ie. Kordell Stewart’s career passer rating of 70.7, “the point at which the mediocre are separated from the crappy starting quarterbacks”), Pro Football Talk serves up a rogue’s gallery of underachievers.

Last week, the K-Club included Packers quarterback Brett Favre (70.0), Dolphins quarterback Daunte Culpepper (69.2), Cowboys quarterback Drew Bledsoe (68.0), Redskins quarterback Mark Brunell (67.7), Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme (61.5), Browns quarterback Charlie Frye (above, 56.0), Bucs quarterback Chris Simms (40.0), Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (38.7), Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer (38.6), Titans quarterback Kerry Collins (26.9), and Raiders quarterback Andrew Walter (19.0).

Through the third weekend of action, several of the guys have graduated, and Chris Simms has been knocked out due to injury. So here’s where they stand as of right now, focusing only on starting quarterbacks: Charlie Frye (68.1), Drew Bledsoe (68.0), Jake Plummer (60.6), Bruce Gradkowski (43.8), Kerry Collins (42.3), Ben Roethlisberger (34.3), Andrew Walter (19.0).

Byron Leftwich narrowly has avoided inclusion on the list with, you guessed it, a passer rating of 70.7.

I don’t mean to tell the New York Post how to conduct business, but Jeremy Shockey’s Friday column has been so boring, I’m tempted to believe he’s actually written it himself.

The Brutal Environment Of The Chinese Super League

Posted in Football at 10:38 am by

From The Offside :

If anyone ever tries to convince you that football isn™t a violent sport just have them call Shenyang Ginde player Liu Jianye (not shown above) and have them ask his opinion on the matter. The teenager will miss the rest of the China Super League season after sustaining a split scrotum in a match on Monday when an opponent kicked him in the nether region.

Liu™s injury might be the second most gruesome to happen to a Shenyang Ginade player this season. In July, Guinea international Ousmane Bangoura lost sight in his right eye after his eyeball was ruptured by an opponent™s cleat.

The Cubs’ Michael Barrett was unavailable for comment.

After falling behind to Southampton earlier today, 1-0 on Jermaine Wright’s strike 2 minutes into the game, QPR have stormed back to take a 2-1 second half lead courtesy of goals from former Saint Dexter Blackstock and the immoveable object that is Ray Jones. The latter goal will likely be a candidate for year-end blooper reels, due to the laughable effort of Southampton keeper Kelvin Davis.

That said, I’m not tempted to start singing “John Gregory’s Blue & White Army”, partially because the gaffer has requested the Boss’ “Jungleland”.

While Peter Crouch was scoring one of the goals of the year against Galatasary in the Champions League this Wednesday night, his house was being trashed and burgled. Earlier today, Crouch’s Liverpool side dropped their third consecutive away match in the Premiership, a 2-0 defeat to Bolton at the Reebok.

In advance of his annual return trip to White Hart Lane tomorrow , former Spurs icon Sol Campbell, currently toiling for Portsmouth, has heard himself described as “the easiest defender I have played against,” by Tottenham’s Mido.  A heck of a statement to make considering Spurs haven’t scored a league goal since August.

There’s a pair of terrific Premiership matches taking place on FSC and Setanta right this moment, respectively, Chelsea v. Aston Villa and Arsenal at Charlton.  In the latter contest, Robin Van Persie just scored his 2nd goal, an absolutely vicious volley taken from just outside the penalty area.  Things have been a bit on the chippy side at the Valley, which brings to mind the logical question, why is the delicious frozen treat known as the Chipwich so difficult to find in Southwestern U.S. supermarkets?

Mike Stanton Sucks Up A Storm For Tim Cook’s Entertainment

Posted in Baseball at 1:30 am by

Dodgers 4, Giants 3

Shortly before SF’s Mike Stanton made a 9th inning hash of Noah Lowry’s competent work, allowing a pinch-hit single to the Dodgers’ Olmedo Saenz, followed by a run-scoring wild pitch, Tim Cook made use of modern technology to file the following reports from San Francisco.

I wound up with seats to see the Dodgers/Giants dustup at AT&T Park (currently 1-0 Giants, T4 1 on, 2 out w/ Lt. Dangle up). Anyway, for some unknown reason, I can’t take my eye off this human obstruction, my section’s usher lady.

Bottom 6th, 3-0 on Randy Winn’s first good at bat in a month, singling
home Eliazer Alfonzo. Winn just doubled off Aaron Sele to start the current frame.

Plus, I made a new friend!

The Name Of Earl Boykins Is Not Dropped Lightly

Posted in Fashion, Internal Affairs, The Mailbag at 1:04 am by

Dear Coco Chanel,

I am interested in purchasing CSTB merchandise, but first I would like answers to the following questions.

1. Why is the “Hooded Sweatshirt” not offered in size small?


2. In your experience, would you say that the “Medium” size would look funny on Earl Boykins (above), or someone who is an inch shorter than Earl Boykins, with extra juggs, and less black?

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Christa Min

Dear Christa,

The CSTB Customer Service Dept. is happy to hear from you.

Due to circumstances beyond our control, Cafe Press show a decided bias towards the hefty and/or lumbering. While our merchandise supplier does not offer the Hoody in size “S”, other products are available in dimensions more appropriate for those of modest height/weight.

09.29.06

Coming Next April : The Boston Flowmax Red Sox

Posted in Baseball, Sports Radio, The Marketplace at 9:27 pm by

Apparently, WEEI selling the naming rights to their Red Sox broadcasts wasn’t nearly enough. The Boston Herald’s Scott Van Voorhis claims the club is eager to get in on the action, too.

For sale: The 2007 Boston Red Sox season.

Just be ready to ante up several million.

Selling the naming rights to a season may be one of the next money-raising gambits by financier John Henry™s business savvy ownership group, the team™sspokesman, Charles Steinberg, confirmed.

That and selling the right to plaster corporate names and logos on homestands and series, too. The Sox marketing whizzes have already taken some batting practice here, selling two series sponsorships in the season™s waning days, including one to the state Lottery.

œIt is a growth area, Steinberg said. œIt™s a good way to augment your revenue, without affecting ticket prices or threatening the ambience (of Fenway).

So the 2007 Red Sox, presented by Mohegan Sun?

As tipped by David Scott some 4 months ago, Red Sox mouthpiece Jerry Trupiano is not expected to return to the club’s radio booth, according to the Globe’s Susan Bickelhaupt.

St. Louis can increase their NL Central lead over Houston to 1 1/2 games if they’re able to hang on to a 8-3 lead over Milwaukee tonight. With Braden Looper in uniform, there’s no sure thing, of course. Houston’s 9 game winning streak came to a halt with a 4-1 loss to Atlanta, a game that might’ve been Roger Clemens’ final big league appearance (as we were reminded about 3 dozen times). Until his next one.

When Will Laptop Wielding Provocateurs Learn To Leave Ricky Manning Alone?

Posted in Gridiron, The Law at 9:04 pm by

From yesterday’s Chicago Sun-Times and Brad Biggs

Facing a felony assault charge and still on probation for a 2002 assault, Bears CB Ricky Manning (above) struck a no-contest plea with prosecutors Tuesday to avoid a possible prison sentence in exchange for three years of probation. Manning, who also must attend 52 weeks of anger-management classes and do 100 hours of community service, maintained he wasn’t to blame for any injuries Soroush Sabzi may have suffered. ”Hopefully [the league] will be fair,” said Manning, who is subject to a fine or suspension for a violation of the personal conduct code. ”I don’t think I deserve a suspension, a harsh punishment. My story hasn’t changed. I said I walked away, and I’m still saying I wasn’t [involved].”

Manning entered the restaurant in the early hours of April 23 and says he asked Sabzi what he was doing working on a laptop computer.

”He responded to me aggressively,” Manning said. ”He told me to go ‘F’ myself. Come to find out later, the guys that he got into it with [after Manning says he left] were messing with him before I got there.

”So I got in the guy’s face and told him, ‘Don’t talk to me like that,’ and I did push him in the face. That’s the only thing that I did was push him in the head. I left it at that. I walked away from the situation. I thought it was done, and that was it.”

Manning claims that after he left, other patrons brawled with Sabzi, knocking him unconscious. Sabzi’s attorney, Aviv L. Tuchman, said his client tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee and suffers from post-concussion syndrome. Sabzi has filed a civil suit against Manning.

”[A jury] can say I conspired with those other guys that beat this guy up and because of my involvement, this guy got beat up,” Manning said. ”I just can’t risk that. I would rather put it all in my hands, be on probation, keep my nose clean. … I have to take anger-management classes when I don’t have an anger problem.

”Hopefully the NFL will be more active in this and not let people just take advantage of their players, because I was accused of something that I didn’t do.”

The Chicago Tribune’s Rick Morrisey challenges Lovie Smith’s assertion that Manning is a “high character guy.”

On the day it was revealed cornerback Ricky Manning Jr. had asked a man, “Are you a faggot?” before jabbing him in the head, do you know what the Bears were doing?

Publicly admonishing him for his insensitivity? Asking him why he was with a group of people who, according to a Los Angeles County probation report, called the man “gay,” “geeky,” “a [expletive] Jew” and a “faggot?” Voicing displeasure at having someone on their roster who apparently has trouble handling his anger?

They were taking a few media members to task for their criticism of running back Cedric Benson. They were analyzing film of the Bears’ on-field celebration after the Minnesota game to prove Benson had not been sulking, as several newspaper columns had implied. They were summoning at least one reporter to watch the Happy Cedric film to prove their point.

Remembering Bill Shankly (Frankly)

Posted in Football at 8:43 pm by

Though Liverpool supporters with their minds on the present are still abuzz over former QPR striker Peter Crouch’s wonder goal against Galatasary the other night (YouTube footage), the Fiver’s Paul Doyle and Barry Glendenning take a little stroll down Anfield’s memory lane.

Bill Shankly is the man who kick-started the “50 years of tradition you can’t buy” that Liverpool fans are always screeching about on radio phone-ins and, with today marking the 25th anniversary of his death, it’s no surprise to hear that there was a run on black ribbon across Merseyside today – or that opportunistic scallies are now making a killing in the lucrative bootleg black-armband market.

A commemorative ceremony is being staged at Anfield today for Shankly, who famously led Liverpool to three League titles, two FA Cups and the Uefa Cup. But the Fiver would like to do its own small bit to mark the anniversary of the passing of the man loved so much by Liverpool Football Club that they ejected him from the training ground shortly after his retirement and asked him not to come back, leaving him harbouring no end of resentment and bitterness.

Of course these weren’t the only traits the Scot shared with your average Scouser. Shankly was also renowned for his famous “wit” – having peddled a mediocre line in observations that were only marginally less bland than the kind spouted today by Alan Shearer. Most often misquoted is that one about football being more important than life or death, but the Fiver’s favourite came when Shanks was asked what he thought about the team on the other side of Stanley Park. “There are only two teams in Liverpool,” he harrumphed. “Liverpool and Liverpool reserves.” No doubt he changed his tune when Liverpool showed him the door, forcing him to live out his dotage helping Everton’s youth team.

MLB.com Zeroes In On The Incontinent Demographic

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 8:21 pm by

Perhap acknowledging the unparalleled prosperity experienced by the National Basketball Association and National Hockey League once they made Tommy Heinson and Don Cherry the public faces of their respective sports, MLB has chosen the fetching image above for their postseason campaign.

Horn Tootin’ Time : Roth’s Topps Of The Pops

Posted in It's A Living, Sports Journalism at 8:07 pm by

Frequent CSTB contributor David Roth broke thru to the rarified strata of Slate earlier this week, revealing that his former employer, Topps Inc. was not “a gum-scented, Willy Wonkafied dream palace.” But apparently, the gig had its moments.

My favorite was a card for the St. Louis Rams’ Harvard-educated backup quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick. The back text dealt with a question posed to him by his offensive line. Figuring that perhaps he’d covered this in Cambridge, they asked Fitzpatrick what would hurt more: getting kicked by a donkey or whipped in the face by an elephant’s trunk. Fitzpatrick went with the elephant slap. Bruce provided a source, and I checked it. All true.

CSTB’s 3rd Birthday Bash : Picking Up The Pieces

Posted in Internal Affairs at 7:48 pm by

Strangely, Lastnightsparty didn’t manage to cover the glittering event that was Can’t Stop The Bleeding’s ultra-exclusive 3rd Birthday Par-tay this past Wednesday night at Ludlow Street’s Max Fish.

Since the photos I took are about as blurry as my memory, you’re gonna have to settle for this one :

(Disclaimer : none of the above individuals actually attended CSTB’s 3rd Birthday Party. In fact, I have no idea who any of them are. But they appear to be enjoying each other’s company, and isn’t that the only thing that really matters?)

Sincere thanks to everyone who has contributed, advertised or webhosted CSTB since 2003.

I thought about thanking you, the lucky reader, but I grow weary of pandering. If you’re bummed about not receiving an invitation to this select event, buck up. There’s still time to purchase a commemorative t-shirt.

Cardinals’ New Barn (And Half The Sites On The Web) Have A Crummy Sponsor

Posted in Gridiron, Lower Education, Religion, The Law at 12:35 pm by

From the Salt Lake Tribune’s Pamela Manson.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed suit accusing the University of Phoenix of discriminating against non-Mormon employees.

The legal action, filed this week in U.S. District Court in Phoenix, alleges the employment conditions at the private college were less favorable for these workers in regard to enrollment leads, tuition waiver grants and reprimands. In addition, three non-LDS employees in Arizona were transferred and one was fired in retaliation for complaining, according to the suit.

The lawsuit is seeking an injunction barring the university from discriminating based on religion and from retaliating based on complaints about unlawful practices; the institution of policies to provide equal employment opportunities for non-members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; a written apology; financial compensation and reinstatement for the affected employees; and unspecified punitive damages.

Mavs Owner With A Boner : YouTube Suitors Are Morons

Posted in Basketball, The Marketplace at 12:15 pm by

From ZDNet.com :

Billionaire investor and dot-com veteran Mark Cuban had harsh words Thursday for YouTube, the online site that lets people share video clips, saying only a “moron” would purchase the wildly popular start-up.

Cuban, co-founder of HDNet and owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, also said YouTube would eventually be “sued into oblivion” because of copyright violations.

“They are just breaking the law,” Cuban told a group of advertisers in New York. “The only reason it hasn’t been sued yet is because there is nobody with big money to sue.”

Surely YouTube’s present and future ownership could mollify Cuban by guaranteeing that no footage from “The Benefactor” would be uploaded to or downloaded from the wildly popular service?

Rosenthal : Mets Goofed In Not Dealing Milledge For Zito

Posted in Baseball at 11:17 am by

In the wake of Pedro Martinez’ latest setback, Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal — failing to credit Omar Minaya for the Jorge Julio/El Duque trade, opines the Mets will greatly regret not making a move for Barry Zito.



Left-hander Tom Glavine is 40. Right-hander Steve Trachsel is 35. Right-hander Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez is believed to be significantly older than his listed age of 36. And now he’s the Mets’ Game 1 starter. Think maybe now the Mets regret keeping outfield prospect Lastings Milledge (above, left) when they could have traded him for left-hander Barry Zito before the July 31 non-waiver deadline?

Rest assured, A’s general manager Billy Beane would have made the deal, even though his team went on to win the AL West. Milledge’s stock has since fallen, and he never was more than a promising corner outfielder to begin with.

Zito, a potential free agent, might only have amounted to a two- or three-month rental. But the Mets would have had the resources to re-sign him ” and his former pitching coach with the A’s, Rick Peterson, as a selling point. As it stands, there’s no Zito and no Pedro. The Mets are in trouble.

Even before the team announced Thursday that Martinez would not pitch in the postseason, one National League executive predicted that the team was a first-round knockout waiting to happen. If the executive was overstating the case, his forecast seems rather prescient in hindsight

Much as I can understand the panic surrounding Pedro’s indisposal, and without disagreeing with Rosenthal’s assertion that “The Padres boast the league’s best overall staff. The Astros, Phillies and maybe even the Dodgers all boast stronger rotations than the Mets,” I don’t think it is a stretch to claim the Mets have a better everyday lineup, and a far surperior bullpen to any of the clubs cited. But if we’re supposed to be terrified by the prospect of young arms like Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux or the Sultan of Sloth facing the Mets in the playoffs, by all means, why not just forfeit now and spare us the embarrassment?

Hot Foot helpfully points out that El Duque’s career playoff record is 9-3 (2.55 ERA) and Glavine has the second most starts in postseason history.

Pedro’s Season Is Over

Posted in Baseball at 12:57 am by

Beware The Curse Of Nelson De La Rosa. Newsday’s Bob Herzog delivers the baaaaaad news.

The other calf dropped on Pedro Martinez Thursday, ending a season of stress, strain and pain for the 34-year-old righthander.

The fragile Mets ace, disabled for a month with a strained right calf, was found to have a muscle tendon tear in his left calf, a new injury apparently suffered during his rough outing Wednesday night. The discovery was made after an MRI was taken in New York Thursday

Mets general manager Omar Minaya, in an impromptu press briefing at the rear of the press box at Turner Field last night, said that Martinez would be out 4-6 weeks. “He won’t be available to us for the playoffs,” Minaya said. “He won’t be able to pitch for us for the rest of the season.”

Instead, the worst season of Martinez’s career, statistically, now becomes the most difficult physically and it ends prematurely. Martinez finished 9-8 with a career-worst 4.48 ERA, pitching only 132 2/3 innings, the fewest he’s pitched since 2001 when he threw only 116 2/3 innings for the Red Sox.

Tom Glavine saw something positive in the initial news that Martinez wouldn’t pitch in Games 1 and 2. “There’s certainly been an amount of uncertainty,” is how he so aptly put it. “That’s gone now. There’s no more speculation. I’m not saying it’s a good thing that Pedro won’t pitch, but at least we know where we stand.”

El Duque had 9 K’s in 5 innings (3 hits, 0 earned runs) in his final tune-up start before the NLDS, as the Mets finally put some runs on the board, beating the Braves, 7-4. Carlos Delgado had a pair of doubles and 4 RBI’s, and Carlos Beltran’s 6th inning solo HR off Pete Moylan tied the club record of 41 in a season, a mark co-held by Todd Hundley.

The Cardinals’ lead in the NL Central is down to a half game ; St. Louis lost their 8th of 9 Thursday night, a 9-4 drubbing courtesy of the Brewers. Bill Hall teed off on losing starter Jason Marquis, who only managed to retire 6 of the 15 Milwaukee hitters he faced.

After a lengthy rain delay, the Phillies risk falling a further half game behind the Dodgers, as they trail the Nationals, 3-1 through 6 innings. Saul Rivera pitched a scoreless 7th for the Nats, inducing Chris Coste to ground into a 6-4-3 double play, then retiring the oughta-be-retired Abraham Nunez. I’m not sure how many people are left in the DC stands at 1:38am, but I’ve watched louder country cricket matches. Not many, mind you.