Miklasz On The Collapsing Cards

Posted in Baseball at 1:02 pm by

Houston’s win at Philly and the Cardinals’ latest failure against San Diego brought the Astros within 2 1/2 games of the NL Central lead with less than a week remaining. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Bernie Miklasz writes the Redbirds’ miserable finish to the 2006 campaign has echoes of another infamous fold.

The late Gene Mauch managed the 1964 Philadelphia Phillies, and his name always will be bordered by cobwebs and black crepe. An otherwise respected manager, Mauch’s reputation took an eternal, irreversible hit that year when the Phillies choked on a 6½ game lead with 12 games remaining.

The benefactors of Philly’s epic fold were the Cardinals. Perhaps the baseball gods figure the Cardinals owe them one, to balance history’s ledger.

Or maybe this is simply a shorthanded and bad Cardinals team, one more reminiscent of the old St. Louis Browns than of the 105-win Cardinals of 2004, or the 100-win team in 2005.

At times like these it’s hard to remember, but the Cardinals are in first place, and they are still kicking. Jeff Suppan, emblematic of the recent reversal of fortunes, lasted only 32ž3 innings Monday, getting drilled for five runs (four earned), as the Padres opened a 5-1 lead.

The Cardinals gamely picked themselves up, drawing even at 5-5 on a dramatic stroke by prodigal center fielder Jim Edmonds. In a classic Edmonds’ Hollywood moment, Jimmy Baseball pinch hit in the fourth, hoisting a bat in a game for the first time since Aug. 26, and promptly rocketed a three-run homer to the seats in right.

It was an emphatic response by Edmonds, who was dogged in absentia by La Russa over the weekend in Houston. Gradually shaking off the symptoms of post-concussion syndrome, Edmonds endangered his improved health in absorbing a post-home run pounding from exuberant mates.

“If this was a movie, we would have won the game,” La Russa said of the Edmonds homer. “But we didn’t.”

Actually this was a movie. The latest scene in a horror film.

The Sultan Of Sloth was a late scratch last night due to reccuring gout. Amazing how rarely we get to use the word “gout” when discussing professional athletes.

If you’re a lonely, misunderstood, married woman living in the Nation’s Capitol, cheer up. Tony Peña might be headed your way.

Holla? Newsday’s Best Says Enough With The Jew Jokes

Posted in Sports Radio, Sports TV at 12:40 pm by

In addition to furiously transcriping Mike Francesca’s thoughts regarding All-Mouth TE Jeremy Shockey, Newsday’s Neil Best is through giggling over the religious background of the Mets’ newly acquired right fielder.

Joking references to Shawn Green’s Jewishness are getting old. When Howie Rose used a Yiddish phrase to call his first Mets homer, it was cute. When ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt yelled “Challah!” over a replay of a Green catch, it wasn’t.

Though I’m sure Steve Lyons would concur, it might be interesting to check back with Neil in a few days to see if he has any interesting voice mail.

Kornheiser Attatches Great Import To The 3rd Game Of The Season

Posted in Gridiron, Natural Disasters at 12:17 pm by

Summing up an emotional night at the Superdome, Monday Night Football’s Tony Kornheiser reflected, “Everything that the people of New Orleans could’ve hoped for, happened tonight,”, adding moments later “It doesn’t minimize, by any stretch, what has happened outside these walls.”

New Orleans must be a very unique place if 100% of the population gives a fuck about the NFL. Surely those immune to the charms of the Saints, Tom Benson and pregame concerts featuring the Goo Goo Dolls deserve to be uplifted, too?

Silva Loses Leg

Posted in Football, Sports TV at 7:16 am by

Former Portsmouth striker / Uruguay international Dario Silva’s right leg has been amputated after a car wreck Monday. From the Guardian.

The 33-year-old, who left Pompey in February, lost control while driving his pick-up truck in Montevideo yesterday and hit a lamppost. He was placed in a medically induced coma.

Doctor Mario Canela, of the La Española hospital in the capital, said the emergency surgery was “to amputate the leg from the knee down”. He added: “Silva’s situation is not solved with the amputation. We are worried about a possible infection.”

Joe Thiessman is expected to vouch for Silva’s toughness later today on a segment during “The Dan Patrick Show”.

MLS has signed a new 8 year rights deal with Univision. Hopefully, terms of the deal will preclude The Click Five from participating in a league All-Star Gala ever again.

8 Mile(s of Horse Porn)

Posted in Going To The Zoo, The Mailbag at 2:25 am by

It might be training camp time for the Washington Wizards, but Wizznutzz is in mid-season form.


We are still alive & full of peyote, just taking a break to brush up on our Halo 2 skills — which might make you think we’re young. But truly, peyote is an old person’s hallucenegogocicc and WE’RE ANCIENT. For instance, when you wrote “any knowledge of Greystone Hall’s Scary Carey” in your Tigers playoff posting we collectively spit out a whole mouthful of Bartles & James. You see, despite our love of all this Wiz, one half of our team is a Detroit native. Greystone Ballroom was our stomping grounds, and Scary Carey was the person we often wanted to stomp, especially when he promoted a show featuring Uniform Choice and a bunch of hippies called Dinosaur showed up instead. Or maybe it was The Fluid. Either way, HIPPIES. And then there was the time that we walked into the Greystone and saw a horse fucking someone. On VHS, not live, but it was still a horse fucking someone. Scary Carey offered to refund our money.

We took him up on it, but not before meeting a lad called “Mute” who didn’t speak but had the letters M-U-T-E on his knuckles. But why was he at a punk club if he couldn’t hear? BUT WE DIGRESS. Just the offhanded mention of Scary Carey was reason enough for us to reaffirm our love for you, G. In your honor we’re gonna pop in a DVD of a horse fucking someone (hey, we got over it) and play some Negative Approach REALLY FRIGGIN SOFTLY. It’s meditation time, friend, it’s meditation time.

xoxoxoxo straight & alert, WNTZ

Not Since “Buster Douglas Boxing” For The Sega Genesis Has The Sweet Science Tasted So Sour

Posted in Boxing, Cinema at 2:07 am by

Director Uwe Boll challenged his critics to a fight. 15 of ‘em, incredibily, accepted. From CNN.com, link courtesy Sam Frank who describes Boll’s “BloodRayne” as “abysmal. ‘Alone In The Dark’ is worse.”

First in the ring with the director — now dubbed “Raging” Boll — was Richard Kyanka of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, webmaster of www.somethingawful.com. He entered the ring clad in Stars and Stripes shorts.

“You are harboring a terrorist,” he said of Boll to the Canadian crowd of about 600. “You are all guilty.” Boll, grim-faced, KO’d him in the first round.

Jeff Sneider of Los Angeles, a journalist with Ain’t It Cool News, went down in a technical knockout in the first round after his trainer threw in the towel.

He said Boll, 41, had told him it was just a joke, a public relations stunt.

“Then he started beating the crap out of my head,” he said. “I think he’s a jerk. This might be PR but I don’t want to keep getting punched in the head.”

Chris Alexander of Toronto, Ontario, a horror-move journalist with Rue Morgue radio and magazine, also went down in a knockout, but not before making an artistic statement.

While on the receiving end of a series of blows to the head, Alexander took Boll aback when a stream of blood spewed from his mouth. It turned out Alexander had taken a page from Boll’s filmmaking book; the blood was fake.

“I had the fake blood in reserve,” he explained.


The Madden Curse Lives On

Posted in Gridiron, Video Games at 9:22 pm by

Though if anyone would like to blame an injury to the usually durable Shaun Alexander on the ESPN mobile commercials (or on John Clayton individually), please, be my guest.

Plaxico Burress : Underpaid Player Of The Week

Posted in Blogged Down, Gridiron at 6:31 pm by

Giants WR Plaxico Burress was benched for the 2nd half of yesterday’s crushing defeat to Seattle, and he seemed pretty contrite, as quoted by the New York Post’s Steve Serby.

“I let my team down,” Burress said after Seahawks 42, Giants 30. “I went out there and had two turnovers. If I wouldn’t have made those turnovers, we probably could have won the football game. “Those things I put on me. I’m not gonna sit here and make excuses. I chose to go out there and play, and that was the outcome of the way I played. You better believe that when I come back in two weeks [after the bye] I’ll be ready.”

Burress let an Eli Manning pass slip through his fingers that was intercepted by Michael Boulware early in the second quarter. Regarding his fumble, Burress said: “The guy just came over and stripped the ball away. It had nothing to do with my back.” What a difference a week makes. Burress was one of the heroes of the Giants’ comeback victory over the Eagles when he caught the 31-yarder in overtime.

“I was out there just giving everything I had,” Burress said, “but it just wasn’t enough.”

Burress said he could have continued to play. “I’m not gonna go out there and hurt myself in one game,” he said. “I’m looking at the big picture, not just trying to go out there and kill myself to get through one game.”

The above explanation, however, isn’t enough for AOL Sports’ resident medical expert Michael David Smith.

Burress missed most of last week’s practices with a back injury, but if he was healthy enough to play at all yesterday, he was healthy enough to give an effort worthy of his contract.

How exactly is it, that Smith or anyone else, quantifies effort? Was Burress tanking it because that’s what Tom Coughlin would have us believe? Smith considers Burress’ salary ($25 million over six years — as though he’ll ever see the end of that deal) relevant in this discussion, as though earning crazy loot precludes a player from serious injury.

Had Burress begged out of starting yesterday, he’d be catching serious heat. Unless and until I’m willing to post YouTube video of myself absorbing a serious beating (and no matter how often you ask for it, it’s still not gonna happen), I have a funny thing about questioning another man’s threshold for pain.

Smith nominated Burress for “Overpaid Player Of The Week.” If he’s putting up with Coughlin’s breath, I think Plaxico deserves a raise.

I haven’t read most of Monday’s injury news yet, but it appears as though the Bengals’ Chris Henry has an upset stomach.

After failing to seal the deal against the Bears yesterday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Kevin Seifert reports on the Vikings’ mature ‘tude in coping with defeat.

Several players inexplicably took time from their postgame routine to complain about a full-page photo of Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher in Sunday morning’s Star Tribune. Although the accompanying story chronicled the Vikings’ progress on defense, and, most importantly, had nothing to do with the outcome of the game, some Vikings took offense that Urlacher was the visual emphasis. Even Childress fell victim to the pettiness, spending only 2 minutes and 11 seconds in his postgame news conference. Scheduling confusion left many reporters unaware that he had entered the Vikings’ interview room; Childress answered only three questions and ended the session as reporters were still arriving, leaving many of the game’s key issues unaddressed by the purported singular voice of the franchise.

Noted Drunk / Anti-Semite Invades 78704

Posted in Internal Affairs, The World Of Entertainment at 5:42 pm by

I don’t know how y’all celebrated Rosh Hashanah, but mine was pretty uneventful (a late evening / early AM screening of “The Proposition” — excellent work by up and coming non-jews Ray Winstone, Nick Cave and Guy Pierce).

I’m not sure what to make of the fact that within a stone’s throw of Chez CSTB (ok, maybe if you had the arm of a young JR Richard), hebrew-hating Mel Gibson took a break from rehab to showcase his latest unwatchable epic.

At least that’s his cover. I’m not so easily fooled. With this very blog’s 3rd birthday approaching on Wednesday of this week, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Mel came to Austin because he’s bent on holy war. A terrorist act, perhaps a little auto de fe at my expense, would have tremendous symbolic value for Gibson’s movement.

That’s why I’m getting the fuck out of Dodge. For a couple of days, anyway. Never let it be said I don’t know when to run from a fight.

If any of the NYC readership are interested in attending the mega-exclusive CSTB birthday bash on Wednesday, drop me a line. For one thing, I’m not dumb enough to issue public invites that every Tom, Dick and Harry Connick can easily pass around to their less-connected friends. For another, I’m not sure the Rainforest Cafe is still in business.

ProJo’s McAdam : Red Sox Won’t Have Nixon To Kick Around Anymore

Posted in Baseball at 5:14 pm by

In addition to predicting Mike Timlin will once again be serving ‘em up in a Boston uniform, the Providence Journal’s Sean McAdam reviews which Red Sox will be out of contract this winter, and has sad predictions for Trot Lovers and Nervous Eaters fans alike.

Trot Nixon: Nixon spent significant time on the disabled list for the third straight season and goes into the final days with just 31 extra-base hits (23 doubles, eight homers) in 360 at-bats.

Some of the fall-off can be attributed to Nixon’s biceps strain, which he played through for a time before succumbing to a DL stint. But at 32, Nixon will be looking for a multiyear deal and the Sox, noting his proclivity for breaking down coupled with the power drop-off, have to be scared about bringing him back.

If Nixon would accept a one-year deal, he might be able to continue playing for the only organization for which he’s ever played. But that’s highly doubtful.

Back or gone? Gone!

MARK LORETTA: Loretta has been the consummate professional and has delivered steady defense and a productive bat in the No. 2 spot. But the Sox have Dustin Pedroia waiting in the wings and will be able to save themselves $4 million or so by going with the rookie next year.

Back or gone? Gone!

ALEX GONZALEZ: For those who never got to see him much in the National League, Gonzalez has been a revelation in the field, the equal of any shortstop in the game defensively. Gonzalez has made just seven errors and if he’s not the Gold Glove winner in the American League, there should be an investigation.

But Gonzalez’s is hitting just .255 and has been notoriously streaky at the plate, going from under .220 for much of the first few months, up to as high as .291, then back down to his current number. If the Sox are intent on starting Pedroia at second, it’s highly doubtful they would go into the year with so little offense from their double-play combination. In the A.L., shortstop is often an offensive position and the Sox believe they need to upgrade here.

Back or gone? Gone!

Doug Mirabelli: With the benefit of hindsight, the trade for Mirabelli was one of the biggest missteps of the 2006 season. The Sox gave up a far better catcher (Josh Bard) and tossed in a quality reliver (Cla Meredith) in order to get Mirabelli back to handle Tim Wakefield’s knuckleball.

But Wakefield missed a good chunk of the season with a rib fracture and Mirabelli’s one obvious skill went unused for months. In the meantime, he’s on pace to be the first Red Sox hitter in more than 30 years to get 150 or more at-bats and finish under .200.

It won’t be easy to find someone to catch Wakefield’s signature pitch, but the Sox have little choice here.

Back or gone? Gone!

When Maiming Olbermann’s Mother Just Isn’t Enough

Posted in Baseball at 12:27 pm by

From the Associated Press :

The odds of such an occurrence seem insurmountable, yet Jay Gibbons pulled off the unimaginable feat: He hit a foul ball that injured his wife.

The scene occurred in the ninth inning of the Baltimore Orioles’ game against Minnesota on Saturday. Gibbons fouled a ball straight back over the screen and into the rib cage of his wife, Laura.

“She’s just a little bruised up. She’s going to be OK,” Gibbons said Sunday.

Long before the matter became personal, Gibbons had asked team officials to do something about making it safer to sit in the seats behind the plate. He contended that the 20-foot screen just doesn’t offer enough protection from hard-hit foul balls.

“It’s something you think about every day here. Obviously, it’s something I’ve talked about (to) deaf ears,” said Gibbons, Baltimore’s designated hitter and player representative. “I’ve got players coming to me every day saying that one of their family members got hit or almost got hit. I had an usher take one for my wife the other day.

Gibbons has also inquired about the possibility of a day care center, so the players’ wives don’t have to put their kids at risk.

“It’s either come to the game and play Russian Roulette with your 3-year-old or stay home,” Gibbons said. “That’s what we’re dealing with. Or move the family section, but then you’ve got other fans that are endangered.”

Kudos to Gibby for having the courage to come forward. I’d have hoped the Bensons could’ve spoken eloquently about the hazards of balls to the face at Camden Yards, but it’s the message that is important, not the messenger.

Spider’s Web : Say Hello To Commissioner Salley

Posted in Basketball at 12:10 pm by

When past and present owners have included the likes of Tim Hardaway and Ann Iverson, it isn’t as though the American Basketball Association is desperate for credibility, no sir.

So with the news that former Pistons great / Tom Arnold associate John Salley is the league’s newest commissioner, I am confident that before long, the ABA will be challenging some of this nation’s other more minor-than-minor leagues for your entertainment dollar. At the current rate, they’ll soon have more teams than America has cities, and as another hoops commissioner could tell you, there’s strength in numbers.

Speaking to SI.com’s Alexander Wolff, Salley said of the challenge ahead,

“I love to laugh and giggle and smoke cigars and drink cognac. But I have a reputation and a name. My father taught me never to embarrass my name. Growing up it was always funny enough with the name Salley.

“‘John Salley, didn’t he have the ABA? Didn’t Isiah have the CBA?’ I’m not gonna embarrass my name. If you’re not ready, I will take your team from you.”

Hey laugh all you want, but he’s at least as qualified as Gary Bettman.

Norfolk To Flushing : Drop Dead

Posted in Baseball at 11:38 am by

(I hate to say it, but John Stearns has really let himself go)

Opining that Norfolk Tides officials had their fill of “the bitter aftertaste of a rag-tag team made up primarily of has-been free agents who could muster nothing better than a 57-84 record,”, the Virgina Pilot’s Rich Radford suggests the parent club showed little respect for its Triple A affiliate, before or after last week’s announcement the Tides were hooking up with the Orioles.

A delegation of Mets officials visited Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday. When they learned that the Red Barons were going to align with the New York Yankees, the Mets’ concerns grew. That’s when they asked All-Star third baseman David Wright, who was born in Norfolk, grew up in the area and played briefly with the Tides in 2004, to call Young and plead the Mets’ case late Wednesday night.

Said Young: “I hope they didn’t pull him out of the lineup to make that call.”

Calls to the Mets were not returned on Friday. But here are some of the comments made in a Mets news release and to members of the New York media.

Said Jeff Wilpon, Mets chief operating officer: “We thank the fans of the Virginia Beach area for their support for the past 38 years.”

The Tides played one year in Portsmouth and 37 in Norfolk. They never played in Virginia Beach.

Add Wilpon: “In some cases, being in a major airport like New Orleans, you’ve got a much easier time moving guys. In Norfolk, they usually had to go somewhere else before they could get where they had to go.”

Wayne Shank, deputy executive director of the Norfolk Airport Authority, has news for Wilpon. Norfolk flies direct nonstop to 26 cities, including many with National League teams.

New York?

“Direct,” Shank said.

Philadelphia? Atlanta? Miami? Cincinnati? St. Louis?

“Direct, direct, direct, direct, direct,” Shank said. “And when I say direct, I mean nonstop direct.”

Mets GM Omar Minaya said the franchise preferred New Orleans because “we also wanted to be in a warm-weather area.”

Aside from the possibility of a chilly week in April, the weather in Hampton Roads is hardly arctic.

Trachsel Taking Pride In His Win Total / Run Support (Or Just The Win Total)

Posted in Baseball at 11:20 am by

With the Mets needing to run the table to hit 100 victories for the year, the New York Daily News’ Peter Botte hangs around after yesterday’s 5-1 loss to Washington and remains focused on everything but Philip Humber pitching a scoreless 9th in his big league debut.

Carlos Beltran (strained left quad) hoped to return tonight after missing six straight games, and Pedro Martinez (calf) remains on target to start Wednesday after coming through what he termed a “good” bullpen session before yesterday’s game. Martinez otherwise offered a dismissive “no comment” after the loss, although he semi-playfully had referred to himself earlier in the day as “as a dead raccoon being picked at by 50 (media) vultures.”

Trachsel also felt that way after he followed his finest performance of the season – 6-1/3 shutout innings Monday in the division clincher over Florida – with another uneven outing. Trachsel was lifted trailing 3-0 after allowing eight hits in five-plus innings of work. He limited the damage by wiggling out of trouble as he consistently has maneuvered around repeated questions about his spot in the postseason rotation.

“Tryouts are for spring training. If 15 wins are not enough, I don’t know what to tell you,” said Trachsel, whose ERA nudged up a smidge to 4.97. “What else would I do? You’re going to put somebody in the bullpen who’s never pitched in the bullpen before? All possibilities exist, but I don’t have any answers except that I’m a starting pitcher.”

Full credit to MASN’s Bob Carpenter and Tom Paciorek, who upon reviewing the replay of Alfonso Soriano’s threw cutting down Fred Sanford at 2nd base in the 4th inning, admitted the Mets were jobbed.

With a pair of steals yesterday, Jose Reyes became the first Met to swipe 60 bases in back to back campaigns.  Considering that as recently as two seasons ago, Reyes spent as much time on the DL as he did sliding headfirst, this is a remarkable achievement.

C Ramon Castro, last seen straining an oblique muscle while warming up for the Cyclones, caught 5 innings in an instructional league game yesterday, and is eligible to come of the DL.   No word on when ceremonies will be held to retire Kelly Stinnett’s number.

Rumsfeld : Cold Blooded Killer, Aspartame Mogul…And A Squash Cheat

Posted in The Woah at 3:24 am by

Though the highlight of Sunday’s NY Times was the latest work by Mr. Tabitha Soren in the Magazine section, the front page included the following description of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s approach to squash, as penned by David S. Cloud.

Pentagon officials and employees say Mr. Rumsfeld™s play closely resembles the way he has run the Defense Department, where he has spent six years trying to break the accepted modes of operating.

œHe hits the ball well, but he doesn™t play by the rules, says Chris Zimmerman, a devoted squash player who works in the Pentagon™s office of program analysis and evaluation and is sometimes in the Pentagon athletic complex when Mr. Rumsfeld is on the court.

Mr. Zimmerman has never actually played his boss. But he says he has noticed that Mr. Rumsfeld, 74, often wins points because, after hitting a shot, he does not get out of the way so his opponent has a chance to return the ball, a practice known in squash as œclearing.

Nice one, Zimmy. Hopefully they’ll forward your mail to Guantanamo.

E6 – Bud Harrelson’s Kid In Botched Depcapitation Plot

Posted in Baseball, The Law at 2:21 am by

From Newsday’s Christina Armario.

The son of former Mets shortstop Bud Harrelson has entered into a “cooperation agreement” to testify against a friend who allegedly slashed his sleeping stepfather to death with a samurai sword in Hauppauge.

Troy Harrelson has agreed to provide testimony, if called upon, in the upcoming trial of Zachary Gibian, who is accused of nearly beheading his stepfather, Scott Nager, 51, in February 2005 as Nager slept on his sofa.

Police say they believe Harrelson picked up Gibian at his family’s Hauppauge home shortly after the killing took place. At a pretrial hearing in March, Det. Alfred Ciccotto testified that Troy Harrelson drove his friend to a trash bin, where Gibian disposed of the murder weapon.

Jury selection in the case begins Oct. 4, Clifford said. Nager, a former New York City police officer, was sleeping on a couch when his stepson allegedly came up from behind and struck him with the sword. Nager woke up, and Gibian nearly decapitated him, prosecutors said.

Gibian’s attorney has described his client as having been taunted and threatened repeatedly by his stepfather, who kept a large collection of handguns, grenades and swords, including the murder weapon, in his home.

Bud Harrelson (above), who played with the Mets for 13 seasons and went on to manage the team, now is co-owner of the minor-league Long Island Ducks, of Central Islip. He could not be reached yesterday. Troy Harrelson’s lawyer, Paul Gianelli, did not return calls.

While this is obviously a tough time for Harrelson, at least he can rest easy knowing that his mistakes as a parent aren’t even close to the worst of any former Mets manager.

A Giant Mess : Turmoil In Camp Coughy X-Ray

Posted in Gridiron at 1:17 am by

The Newark Star-Ledger’s Mike Garafolo got a load of the contentious vibes surrounding the visitors’ locker room at Qwest Field. No one who viewed a certain uptight tight end’s temper tantrums will be surprised at Mike’s findings.

“We got outplayed and outcoached,” Jeremy Shockey said after yesterday’s 42-30 loss to the Seahawks, raising his voice to emphasize the “outcoached” part. “You can write that one down. (I) don’t give a (bleep).”

Coach Tom Coughlin, who arrived at his postgame press conference red-faced and sweaty (on a 65-degree day), tried his best to take the blame for the embarrassing loss, in which the Giants trailed 35-3 at halftime and 42-3 in the third quarter before making their futile fourth-quarter run.

“To play the way we played in the first half today, I take full responsibility for it,” he said. “But it’s inexcusable.”

When asked what he meant by “outcoached,” Shockey said, “You saw the game. They were in different defenses (than what) we thought they were going to be in, they did different things that we hadn’t seen.

“The coaches’ jobs are supposed to put us in the best situations to succeed …”

Shockey never quite finished that thought, choosing instead to recount all the mistakes the team made yesterday. But by that point, the impact of his words was evident on the faces of center Shaun O’Hara and tackle Luke Petitgout — two of a handful of players still in the locker room when Shockey interrupted Petitgout’s interview session to voice his opinions.

“‘Shock,’ come on. The bus is leaving,” Petitgout finally said to cut Shockey off.


“The Simpsons” Pays Tribute To The Last 21 Years Of K.C. Baseball

Posted in Baseball, The World Of Entertainment at 8:06 pm by

Marge S., browsing at the Springfield Mall’s Halfprice Bookstore. Not shown, “How To Please A Woman : The Tony Pena Way.”

Nomar, The King Of L.A.

Posted in Baseball at 7:07 pm by

Dodgers 5, Diamondbacks 1

Some of the more enduring recent images of Nomar Garciaparra were either the former Red Sox SS sulking in the dugout or writhing around in pain. So what a change then, to see Nomar — for the second time in a week — engaged in pseudo-Kirk Gibson first pumping, teammate-hugging, baby-kissing, etc.  following a huge, game winning homer for the Dodgers.

Roger Clemens is pitching on three days’ rest for the Astros tonight against the Cardinals and Wevie Stonder I. Though the St. Louis still holds a 4 1/2 game cushion in the NL Central after dropping 3 straight to Houston, a total Cards collapse wouldn’t shock me. With Braden Looper in the St. Louis pen, anything’s possible.

So Loud, I Can’t Hear Tom Coughlin Think

Posted in Gridiron at 6:13 pm by

Seahawks 42, Giants 3 (start of the 4th quarter)

I’m curious, can the referees assess penalties to the Giants during halftime? Perhaps during the post-game wrap? Today should be a valuable reminder to everyone how important it is to have a disciplinarian for a coach. Y’know, all that attention to detail, the elimination of mental mistakes, etc. that sort of thing.

I’m trying to remember the last time I saw seven penalties assessed to a team moments into the 2nd quarter. It might’ve been the Giants a few weeks ago.

In Eli Manning’s defense, were the trio of Shockey, Burress and Tom Carter holding on to catchable balls, Seattle’s would only be up by say, 4 touchdowns.

By far the most exciting part of the day has been Curt Menefee totally cutting off Terry Bradshaw when the latter tried to get a word in edgewise about the Giants’ putrid performance. It couldn’t have gone smoother had Joe Buck been sticking pins into a Menefee doll.

(UPDATE : Seahakws 42, Giants 30. For the second week in a row, Eli goes nuts in the 4th quarter. After a failed 2 point conversion, the Giants couldn’t take possesion with an onside kick with two minutes and change remaining.)

Cleveland’s Kellen Winslow has 7 catches (92 yards) with about 4 minutes against Baltimore, with the Browns nursing a 14-12 lead. Apparently, all that campaigning through the media really paid off. Ravens CB Chris McAllister just picked off a Charlie Frye pass in the end zone, so Steve McNair will have another shot at getting Baltimore into field goal range.

(UPDATE : Ravens 15, Browns 14. Matt Stover kicked a 52 yard field goal with 20 seconds remaining.)

Kurt Warner’s been intercepted 3 times today by his old pals. Once again, the Rams show no respect to Kurt, Brenda or their faith.

(UPDATE : Rams 16, Cardinals 14. Bulger and Warner exchanged fumbles before the whistle and handshakes afterwards.)

Tigers Punch Their Playoff Ticket

Posted in Baseball at 5:06 pm by

Tigers 11, Kansas City 4

Congrats to Mags (get a haircut) and Justin Verlander but most of all, to Motown’s billion year-old, chain-smoking curmudgeon of a manager. Jim Leyland began his Detroit tenure professing ignorance about the club, the AL and most disturbingly, any knowledge of Greystone Hall’s Scary Carey. Today, all of that means about as much as Denny McClain’s musical career. The Tigers are headed back to the postseason for the first time in 9 years, and while I’d be remiss without acknowledging the addition of quality citizens Kenny Rogers and Todd Jones (cue up sound effects of a massive coughing fit), I doubt it would’ve happened without Leyland, a guy I’ve dumped on at every available opportunity.

Grossman’s Late Recovery

Posted in Gridiron at 3:12 pm by

Vikings 13, Bears 9 (13:13, 4th quarter)

I had the misfortune of seeing the remake of “The Longest Yard” on cable earlier this week. Y’know the scene where the dive-taking Adam Sandler overthrows the Playmaker by about 15 yards for a gift-wrapped INT? That was a better looking pass than the one Rex Grossman just threw to Antoine “Mr. September” Winfield.

(not the Chicago Bears starting QB)

On the next series of place, Grossman tried to dump it off to Thomas Jones…who’d already hit the turf while blocking. Granted, Grossman was under pressure — Purple jerseys were within almost 5 yards of the QB.

(UPDATE : Grossman to Davis, 24 yard TD with 1:53 remaining, Bears 18, Vikings 16. The first TD by either offense today, and the first 4th quarter TD pass of Grossman’s career)

Brett Favre’s thrown 3 TD passes today against the pathetic Lions. His giddy reaction to the first of the 3 — the 400th of his career — was all about the team and had nothing to do with an individual honor, I’m completely certain.

While Steve Smith started his game of ’06/07 for Carolina today (7 catches, 116 yards so far), Meshawn has been a major beneficiary, too (6 grabs, 1 TD, a fair bit of face time). Despite Chris Simms being, well, Chris Simms, the Bucs are actually leading, 24-23 with 2:38 left).

(Update : Panthers 26, Bucs 24, John Kasay kicked his 4th FG of the day, a 47 yarder with 7 seconds left. The knife in Chucky’s heart was brandished by Jake Delhomme, whose QB draw on 4th down set up Kasay’s winner.)

(Update Dos : Simms was hospitalized Sunday night. NBC’s Peter King, via telepathic communication with Chris’ parents and all other important persons on Planet Earth, reports the former Longhorns QB had his spleen removed.  So that’s what was holding him back.)
Q : What’s Carson Palmer’s favorite Black Flag song?

A: Trick question. If you were gonna say “Revenge”, well, that’s a nice thought and all. But we have no knowledge to indicate that Palmer — despite matriculating in greater L.A., is even remotely familiar with Greg Ginn’s canon.

(There might be a B’last CD in his locker, however)

Big Ben is, to coin an already overused phrase, making Chris Simms look terrific. There’s a joke in here somewhere about a guy with a huge jawline and an anal thermometer, but I’m still working on it.

Not bad for 36 years old and washed up : Mark Brunell completed an NFL record 22 passes in a row to open the ‘Skins’ tangle with Houston. And yes, it does count, despite coming against the Texans’ secondary.

Daunte Culpepper has his first win as Dolphins QB, a grim 13-10 defeat of the Titans that provided ample entertainment for absolutely no one. Except for Billy Volek.

Renck On The Rockies’ Marketing Negligence

Posted in Baseball at 12:42 pm by

(anonymous, hardworking, god fearing ballplayers, eagerly await the public relations support they richly deserve)

While suggesting the Colorado Rockies goofed in not inviting some of their all-time greats to attend Vinny Castilla’s final home game (perhaps kerb crawling Denny Neagle is a little shy about driving past Coors Field?), the Denver Post’s Troy Renck would like to see a more aggressive promo campaign for the young team.

Show pride in the kids. Put them in a TV ad or on a radio commercial, for heaven’s sake. As it stands, you could line up the Rockies shoulder to shoulder in Union Station and even the bloggers on purplerow.com would be challenged to identify them.

If the next step is really the playoffs, put money in promotion (and payroll, but that’s another column). The team’s marketing arm should not be Fox Sports Rocky Mountain. The network has done a terrific job trying to maximize its investment, but the team needs to do more.

Throw Jason Jennings, Aaron Cook and Francis in a clever commercial poking fun at the humidor. Put Holliday at a carnival ringing the bell with his Paul Bunyan bat. Show Atkins line-driving apples and oranges into his grocery cart.

I think Renck is onto something. An ad showing Dan O’Dowd confiscating Todd Helton’s copies of Maxim would be a real winner.

Davidoff : Make The Wild Card Work Harder

Posted in Baseball at 12:26 pm by

In addition to deliberating the impact last Spring’s World Baseball Classic had on the physical fitness of MLB’s workforce this season (to wit, El Barto and Brad Lidge could’ve used the rest, while Johan Santana doesn’t seem to have suffered), Newsday’s Ken Davidoff has yet another plan to fix baseball’s postseason.

Few would disagree that baseball’s playoff system could use some tweaking. There’s not enough disincentive to make the playoff as a wild-card contender rather than a division winner; the difference is just one home game. And the Yankees don’t seem particularly excited about securing the American League’s top seed in this final week.

Let’s look to Japan’s Pacific League for inspiration. In the Pacific League, the non-division winners enter a “losers’ bracket” in which they have to win one more game than their opponent in order to advance.

Applying this to the major leagues, let’s say the top-seeded Mets play the wild-card Dodgers in a Division Series.

Make it so that the Dodgers, for being in the losers’ bracket, have to win four games to advance to the NLCS and the Mets have to win only three. What an edge the Mets would have earned by getting the top seed.

Such an alteration would make September games more meaningful, as teams would fight harder to both avoid the wild card and capture the top seed. To make this work, you’d have to allow the top seed to play the wild-card winner even if they were in the same division.

This would take some time for people to fully grasp, but I have faith that we’d all eventually catch on.

Maybe Greg Cote Should Try Decaf

Posted in consumer affairs, Sports Journalism at 12:10 pm by

In addition to trotting out a few lines that even Neil Hamburger would find unfunny (“Daunte Culpepper was driving to the stadium earlier this morning for today’s game, passing another car, and the pass got intercepted.”), the Miami Herald’s Greg Cote (above) makes a feeble attempt at social critique.

Starbucks is raising coffee prices.

Here’s an idea, Starbucks. Keep prices the same, but charge rent to those annoying laptopheads who turn the place into their mini-office and glom the best tables.

Perhaps Cote is unaware those many of the annoying laptopheads are paying a wireless carrier a daily or monthly fee as part of a package Starbucks enthusiastically co-markets. They are paying rent, Greg, and what sort of cretin actually hangs out at Starbucks for the atmosphere or coffee?