Shaun O’Hara, Art Fim Buff

Posted in Gridiron at 11:48 am by

With Big Blue traveling to Seattle later today, the Giants’ C Shaun O’Hara recalls November’s 24-21 OT loss to SeattleFrom the Newark Star-Ledger’s Mike Garafolo.

“It was like ‘Wayne’s World,’ when Wayne and Garth are sitting on the hood of the car at the end of the runway and the planes are landing right over them,” O’Hara (above) said the other day. “You see their mouths moving while they’re cursing each other out, but all you can hear is the sound of the airplane.

“It was kind of like that.”

Amidst all the conjecture surrounding Qwest Field’s Is-It-Real-Or-Memorex crowd noise, The Tacomna News Tribune’s Mike Sando reminds us that as gaffe-prone as the Giants were that afternoon, the Seahawks’ sputtering offense didn’t fare much better.

As the teams prepare to play again at Qwest Field today, one important detail has gone unexplored: Seattle needed those false starts and missed field goals because its offense was so inconsistent.

The Seahawks finished the game with nine punts, six of them after three-and-out possessions. Two additional three-play drives ended with turnovers, including an interception deep in Seattle territory.

The Eagles™ offense went three-and-out on its only overtime possession, while the Giants hogged the ball for 20 snaps.

The Giants rolled up 490 yards on Seattle last season, nearly as much as the Seahawks have allowed against Detroit and Arizona this season.

That 2005 Seattle defense did not have current starters Ken Hamlin and Julian Peterson. Their presence today gives the Seahawks additional speed to combat Giants tight end Jeremy Shockey, who burned Seattle for 10 catches and 127 yards last season. Peterson, arguably the NFL™s most athletic linebacker, is relishing the matchup.

Lest anyone doubt the New York Times is totally in touch with the cultural zeitgeist, The 5th Down’s Toni Monkovic tackles the heady topic of how to cope with ridiculous fantasy trade propositions.

In advance of the 1pm clash between the Bears and Vikings, Football Outsiders‘ Aaron Schatz, writing in the New York Sun, is less than blown away with 2-0 Minnesota, nor the former Ravens running back described below.

Chester Taylor provides a good example of how public perception doesn’t line up with Minnesota’s actual play on the field. Television announcers continually refer to the ex-Ravens backup as a workhorse who wears down opposing defenses. Even though the Vikings improved their offensive line with the return of Pro Bowl center Matt Birk from injury and the signing of Steve Hutchinson, the best guard in the game, Taylor is averaging just 3.7 yards a carry.Six of his 55 carries have lost yardage, seven more have gained nothing, and more than half have gone for two yards or less. He isn’t running better late in games, either; even considering a 33-yard overtime run last week, Taylor averages just 3.75 yards per carry in the fourth quarter or overtime.

Never let it be said there’s nothing worth doing in Canton, OH.

Home Depot Would Appreciate It If Victor Conte Stopped Mentioning Their Company

Posted in Baseball, Medical Science, The Law at 10:05 am by

Not only is Victory Conte still in the sports nutrition racket, but he’s very comfortable with his notoriety, report the New York Daily News’ TJ Quinn and Terri Thompson.

There are two bowling ball-sized holes in the ground where the “BALCO” sign used to be, the blue one with the white bridge that was in the background of every television camera shot about the steroid scandal for three years.

“People were taking their pictures in front of it, giving the muscle pose,” Conte says, referring to the double-biceps pose he struck coming out of the Burton Federal Building in San Francisco in 2004. “It became another tourist site, like the Golden Gate Bridge.”

Somewhere there is a stigma about giving steroids to athletes and going to prison for it, but not in Conte’s circles.

“I was the prison celebrity,” he says. “I have people stop me in Home Depot and say, ‘Dude! Can I have your autograph?’ The girl in the checkout line in the grocery store said, ‘You’ve got a lot of courage.’”

“People need to look at themselves in the mirror and in the medicine cabinet,” he says. “They get boob jobs, nose jobs, butt jobs; they increase their performance between the sheets with Viagra, the top-selling drug in the world. We’re a performance-enhancing society. There’s been too much hate. It’s time for a change. It’s time to put the spotlight on Olympic body officials and the owners and the players’ union officials who allowed this system to develop.”

ESPN Leaving ‘Skins Radio

Posted in Gridiron, Sports Radio at 9:45 am by

From Sunday morning’s Pro Football Talk :

A radio industry source tells us that ESPN has put Dan Snyder on notice. We’re told that Snyder (above), who has bought three ESPN radio affiliates in the D.C. area and has dubbed them “Triple X” radio, must boost the signal strength of the three radio stations by January 1, or ESPN will yank its programming from each of them.

The stations, bought by Snyder’s Red Zebra company for a reported $33 million in January 2006, carry primarily ESPN Radio content during weekdays, with a three-hour show hosted by John Riggins replacing the Eric Kuselias Sports Bash from Bristol and a one-hour noon-time show with Larry Michael pre-empting the final hour of Colin Cowherd’s show.

“Triple X” is WWXT-FM 92.7 in Prince Frederick, Maryland, WWXX-FM 94.3 in Warrenton Virginia, and WXTR-AM 730 in Alexandria.

So essentially, ESPN’s whooping sticks in this instance are the Goldberg/Golic program (which can be seen/heard on ESPN2, along with the net) and Dan Patrick Show (again, a program that is streamed over the net). As unaccustomed as I am to siding with Daniel Snyder, the question has to be asked of the Worldwide Leader, is this a threat or a promise? That ESPN Radio ranks as the best of a very bad lot when it comes to networks isn’t saying very much. Snyder’s already choosing to cherrypick from Bristol U.’s thin talent pool and if the latter’s most bankable assets aren’t even available on an exclusive basis, where’s the leverage here?

Two of the Ravens’ team buses collided en route to the airport prior to today’s game at Cleveland. Brian Billick’s sense of self-importance was uninjured.

Fox Sports’ John Czarnecki reports Jets WR Laveranues Cole is more doubtful for today’s game with Buffalo than a Mark Gastineau / Adrenalin O.D. collaboration. Not in those exact words, but you get the idea.

There is, as it turns out,  a purpose for Marcus Vick in this world.

Isola : No Mo’ Mo At MSG

Posted in Basketball at 9:22 am by

From the New York Daily News’ Frank Isola :

Maurice Taylor’s days with the Knicks appear to be numbered. According to a league source, the Knicks and Taylor’s representatives are trying to negotiate a buyout that would make the veteran forward a free agent.

Taylor is entering the final season of a multiyear contract and is due $9.8 million. Knicks president/coach Isiah Thomas conceivably could wait until the February trading deadline to try to deal Taylor’s expiring contract, which is what the club did last season with Penny Hardaway.

But Thomas also wants to rid his roster of veteran players whose minutes will be dramatically reduced. Taylor figures to be low on the depth chart behind forwards Channing Frye, David Lee and Malik Rose. Also, newcomer Jared Jeffries can play both forward positions.

Interestingly, former coach Larry Brown last season tried to persuade management to cut players because he felt it would improve team chemistry. Taylor and backup center Jerome James were two players Brown wanted off the team. Brown also talked about wanting to release Jalen Rose and rookie guard Nate Robinson as well.

Jalen Rose also is entering the last year of his contract and is a prime candidate to be traded by the deadline. There also is a possibility that the Knicks would look to buy out Rose’s contract if Quentin Richardson cannot be traded. Over the summer, the Knicks came close to trading Richardson to Portland for Darius Miles, a player with a history of having a negative impact on team chemistry as well as the won-lost record.

You Can’t Tear Antonio Davis Away From His Family

Posted in Basketball at 2:22 am by

While Da Bulls’ recent search for a 12th man has included such hoops legends as Andrew DeClerq, Darvin Ham and no-show Shawn Kemp, the Daily Herald’s Mike McCraw reports that Antonio Davis has told the club he won’t be playing in the NBA this autumn.

Presumably, tending to Kendra’s needs is a full-time concern.

Slam Online named Stephon Marbury the 39th best player in the NBA. I’ve not seen the other 38, but there’s no way none of them are point guards. Basketbawful is unimpressed with the ranking.

It’s like naming Frankenberry the 39th best cereal on the market. Yeah, I know Stephon can go off for 20 points and 10 assists on any given night, but he’s also good for at least 50 losses a season. Hasn’t anyone noticed that teams get demonstrably worse when “Starbury” arrives, or that they get remarkably better as soon as he leaves? Stats are meaningless without W’s to go along with them, and Marbury has a long and storied history of losing.

What makes it even worse is that Stephon is listed above Mike Bibby, Josh Howard, and Antawn Jamison…three guys who give you numbers without the locker room cancer. And all the money they save on chemotherapy could go toward getting their wives boob jobs. Sweet!

Ben Maller reports that Patrick Ewing, speaking on MSG’s Boomer Esiason Show, wishes he’d retired as a Knick. I realize that Maller tirelessly hunts for such tidbits (and if pulling him off the radio would allow more time for such pursits, I’m all for it), but every now and then, I have to question Ben’s credibility. I don’t know which is harder to believe, that Boomer Esiason still has a show on MSG, or that Maller found a single person that viewed it recently.


Mets’ Bats Come Alive, Nats’ Johnson Badly Injured

Posted in Baseball at 7:29 pm by

Mets 12, Nationals 6

After failing to score more than 4 runs in their last 6 games, New York broke out against DC at Shea earlier today, chasing the Nats’ Mike O’Connor with a 6 run, 8 hit 5th inning. David Wright had a 3 run HR (no. 25), a single and a triple (more on that later), Jose Reyes reached base 5 times and knocked in 3, and Paul Lo Duca clobbered his 5th home run of the season.

Wright reached 3rd with a bloop to sort right field in the last of the 8th that led to an ugly collision between 1B Nick Johson and RF Austin Kearns. From MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch :

Johnson raced back from first base, looking over his shoulder as right fielder Austin Kearns rushed in. Neither player called for the ball, which dropped to the turf as both Johnson and Kearns slid, colliding and creating a spray of sunglasses, caps and gloves.

The ball was eventually picked up by second baseman Jose Vidro in right field. Vidro’s first reaction after the crash was to cover his ears, having heard a crack or pop in the collision, followed by Johnson’s screams of anguish.

“I was like, ‘Oh my God,’” Vidro said. “My stomach got really bad right there. It’s really a tough situation for Nick and the ballclub.”

Center fielder Nook Logan saw the play develop and was able to hear the same sounds from his position.

“I was yelling, ‘Look out!’” Logan said. “I saw Nick and Kearnsie going after the ball, and I heard a snap. I stopped and didn’t even want to go over there. What can I do? Just call out the trainers.”

Philadelphia’s 8-6 defeat of Florida
moved the Phillies into a tie with Los Angeles for the NL Wild Card. The Dodgers will send Brad Penny to the mound later tonight against the Snakes, losers of 12 of their last 14 road games.

As the AL Central battle continues — with the loser likely to qualify as AL Wild Card, the Twins lead the Orioles, 7-5 in the last of the 5th. Tori Hunter’s 25 home run, a two run blast off Eric Bedard, put Minnesota in front.

The Tigers seem likely to keep pace, as their 10 run first inning against the Royals at Andy Kaufman Stadium should prove insurmountable. Nice pitching line for AL All-Star Mark Redman : 10 batters faced, 9 earned runs allowed, 7 hits, 2 walks. Craig Monroe was the only Detroit hitter who failed to reach base against Redman.

If the carefully arranged snippy snaps over at Soft Hands are anything to go by (and from my recollection, the sequence seems pretty accurate), the YES Network’s Kim Jones should make it very, very clear that she doesn’t date musicians. Drummers, either.

Bulldogs Leave It Late, Survive Colorado Scare

Posted in Gridiron at 5:43 pm by

Georgia 14, Colorado 13

(Georgia’s Materz Milner, catch a game-tying TD pass from Joe Cox late in the 4th quarter)

With a wild 4th quarter comeback erasing a 13-0 deficit (and supplanting Matt Stafford at QB), Georgia extended Colorado’s winless streak to 8 games dating back to last season ; new coach Dan Hawkins is still looking for his first victory.

(G-d shows his or her displeasure with Iowa State’s performance today. Not shown, my house in flames somewhere in the background)
An impending thunderstorm has just knocked out our satellite signal at CSTB HQ, moments after beating the traffic from Texas’ romp in progress over Iowa State. Though leading 37-14 entering the 4th quarter, the Longhorns’ loss of DE Brian Robison to an apparent knee injury in the first half could prove very costly as the season progresses.

The game to flip to — right now, seriously. ‘Bama/Arkansas, tied at 17 with about 5 minutes left.

(UPDATE : Arkansas 24, Alabama 23, 2 OT.  No truth to the rumor Leigh Tiffin (3 missed FG’s, one missed extra point in OT) has been invited to tryout for the Cowboys.  The Razorbacks’ Mitch “Peace Sells, But Who’s Buying?” Mustain is unbeaten as starting QB, despite a Chris Simms-esque afternoon)
A week after Texas put up 52 against Rice, Florida State are well on their way to passing that total. Though Major Applewhite’s tenure as offensive coordinator is off to a rough start, there must be no shortage of Top 25 teams eager to schedule the Owls.

Indiana runs the considerable risk of dropping a home game to Connecticut this afternoon. No truth to the rumor Mike Davis will be asked to appear at a press conference just so they have someone to throw things at.

Ben Schwartz Urges Tribune Housecleaning

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 2:16 pm by

Ben writes,

The question for Cub fans this morning is who the Tribune Co. will drop first, Dusty Baker or the Cubs as a whole. The New York Times reports today that selling the Cubs is now on the table as one of “management™s exploration of alternatives for creating additional value for shareholders.” Personally, I think Dennis Fitzsimons’ mismanagement of the Tribco as a whole — re: cheating the United States government, lying about circulation rates, not getting the Cubs a decent closer, and goddammit, not accepting any of my Dick Tracy about Tracy going to Afganistan and finding Flattop and B.O. Plenty working with al-Qaeda, plus a deftly woven in romantic subplot involving the return of Moon Girl — pretty much makes the case for Fitz (above) as the one to go first. And I emphasize the word, “first.”

Grandstanding Boston Pol : Citgo Must Go

Posted in politics at 12:17 pm by

From the AP  :

-A city councilor wants to take down the famed Citgo sign in Kenmore Square in response to controversial remarks by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, who called President Bush “the devil.”

The Citgo sign has been a Boston landmark for decades, in part because it is so prominently visible over the left-field wall at Fenway Park.

But after Chavez called President Bush “the devil” during a speech Wednesday at the United Nations, Councilor Jerry McDermott said the sign has to go. Citgo is subsidiary of Venezuela’s state oil company. McDermott wants replace the sign with an American flag.

“Given the hatred of the United States displayed by dictator Hugo Chavez, it would be more fitting to see an American flag when you drive through Kenmore Square,” McDermott told The Boston Herald. “I think people would soon forget the Citgo sign.”

I don’t see what the big deal is. First of all, it’s not as though cutting a promo on W. wasn’t the sort of thing countless other world leaders have considered.  And McDermott cannot  really expect anyone to believe that Kenmore Square is part of America.

Edes : Manny’s A Quitter

Posted in Baseball at 12:09 pm by

Citing the enigmatic left-fielder’s inavailablity in 22 of Boston’s last 30 games, the Boston Globe’s Gordon Edes opines that it’s time to “let Manny be Manny somewhere else.”

Do you suppose that 20 years from now, Ramírez will feel even the slightest bit of remorse for the way he quit on his Red Sox teammates in 2006, refusing to honor the code that is an article of faith for Jason Varitek and Mike Lowell, Curt Schilling and Coco Crisp, Trot Nixon and Alex Gonzalez, and Mark Loretta — even the now-departed fat man, David Wells — that you do all within your power to play hurt.

Barring a midlife conversion experience, I doubt it.

While the Red Sox crumbled when Ramírez went on hiatus — last night was the 22d game out of 30 Ramírez has missed since taking himself out of the last game of the Yankee massacre Aug. 21, during which he has been paid $1.918 million (calculated on his base salary of $15 million this season) — he had the audacity this week, through agent Greg Genske, to reiterate to the Red Sox his desire to be traded this winter.

The eight games he did play in, Ramírez had two hits in 22 at-bats, an .091 average. You could cut off one of David Ortiz’s legs and he’d do better than that, or keep coming back until he did. The difference, of course, is that Ortiz cares. Ramírez, by any barometer, does not.

So why hasn’t anyone called out Ramírez? Sox management, bedazzled by his performance when he does play and afraid they’ll lose him forever if they do raise objections to his behavior (see Tampa Bay last July), instead cover for him, and in so doing diminish Francona every time he does so, compromising principles that have guided him through a lifetime in baseball.

Readers of the always entertaining and informative Metsblog are entitled to a 15% discount at memorabilia pushers Steiner Sports.

This is truly awesome news.  At $79.95, there’s no way I could justify purchasing a baseball autographed by Da Edge.  At $67.95, however, I feel like I’m the one ripping off Steiner Sports.

Maybe His Sister Isn’t Very Attractive?

Posted in Gridiron at 11:44 am by

(stereotypes be damned, the Algonquin Round Table had nothing on these folks)

No. 4 West Virginia travels to Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium later today to take on East Carolina
, and while Jude from We Must Ignite This Couch penned a preview to said clash, I’d prefer to hop in the time machine and review his comments prior to the Mountaineers’ win over Maryland 9 days ago.

In my encounters with Maryland fans (which has included quietly sitting in the Maryland section twice in away games and once at the Gator Bowl, as well as run-ins with fans in the Morgantown games), it seems like they are more willing to fall back on the same tired, generalized stereotypes that West Virginians face everywhere. Want an example? Last year, I bought two tickets to UM/WVU on ebay. Great seats, but I was in the Maryland section wearing WVU shit. No biggie to me. As the game goes on, the two guys in front of me continuously rag me about being from West Virginia, culminating in a œWhy don™t you go back to your trailer and f*@# your sister comment which was immediately followed with my obnoxious laughter while pointing at the scoreboard, which now had WVU winning comfortably.

Every Maryland fan I™ve ever encountered in my extensive dealings with them has made at least one or two comments of this variety, inevitably bringing up the stereotypes of our State as if it was a trump card to any discussion based on a completely unrelated subject- football.

Never mind the fact that I live all of 6 minutes from the border of Maryland, and I seriously doubt the socioeconomic status changes all that drastically over the course of those 6 miles, I just wonder why the arrogance is so THICK coming from the other side of the Potomac.

Charlie Weis & The Spartans’ Grand Old Flag

Posted in Gridiron at 11:31 am by

The man with an identical Notre Dame coaching record as Ty Willingham after 15 games supposedly guaranteed a win over Michigan State today. And for the rest of his tenure, too. From the Indianapolis Star’s Tim Prister.

Notre Dame’s Charlie Weis and Michigan State’s John L. Smith have developed a professional disdain for each other that took root last season after the Spartans’ 44-41 overtime victory over Notre Dame.

More than a dozen Michigan State players planted the Spartans’ flag in the middle of Notre Dame Stadium. Weis didn’t see it. He was preoccupied. He had just lost his first game as Irish coach. But his 13-year-old son, Charlie Jr., saw it, and later described the scene to his father.

Weis vowed revenge, if not publicly, privately. Smith insists that Weis said the Irish “will never lose to Michigan State again on my watch” during an alumni function. Weis said he doesn’t talk to anyone other than his family during the offseason, yet he never denied making the statement.

Asked if he had heard that Weis would be using Michigan State’s flag planting act as motivation, a sardonic Smith replied, “Good for him.”

Oh, but there’s more. There’s a megaphone trophy the two programs have exchanged through the years, with the winner taking home the prize. Notre Dame dominated the series for so long — 23 victories in 26 games from 1969 through 1994 — the megaphone remained in the Notre Dame trophy case for the better part of 21/2 decades.

But then Michigan State won seven of the past nine, including all five in Notre Dame Stadium. Spartans quarterback Drew Stanton said the megaphone was nowhere to be found in Notre Dame Stadium a year ago because the Irish assumed they would win.
Weis insisted he had more to worry about this week in the aftermath of Notre Dame’s 47-21 shellacking by Michigan than flags, megaphones and bulletin board material.

“We have to put the flag incident and Michigan behind us because if we try to use something like the flag incident as motivation for the game, that lasts for about five minutes once the game starts,” Weis said. “Once you start hitting each other in the mouth a few times, that stuff is over with.”

Reading this might spare you actually having to watch Penn State/Ohio State later today.

I don’t wish to sound cavalier about today’s student-athletes breaking the law, but if you’re gonna get yourself suspended, it really oughta be over something hotter than stealing a moped.

The wit and wisdom of Baylor CB CJ Wilson, as quoted by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s John Miller.

I still can’t get over that [a quarterback threw his way to start a game]. What’s even worse is even running at me the last play of the game [against Washington State]. I need to talk to somebody about that. I need to get a shrink. If there are any shrinks around Waco, I need some numbers. I’ve got to talk to some people so I can get over this. This is crazy.

There’s been a couple of comments made about Miss Wilson [his mother]. The next couple of plays, that’s usually when you see me at my best, probably jamming a guy to the ground, or hitting somebody extremely hard. When you see me doing plays like that, you’ve got to go back and watch the film. You’ve got to see if a receiver came up to me or walked past me and said something. He probably said something about my mamma. All I have to do is point [to his mother], and if she points back, it’s over. If she gives the thumbs down, I have to get him.

Bill Simmons’ Fear Of A Baltimore Planet

Posted in Blogged Down, The World Of Entertainment at 10:40 am by

Rough enough for the Sports Putz that Tottenham were slaughtered earlier today ; ESPN.com’s Bill Simmons had the temerity to admit he’d previously found “The Wire”‘s charms elusive, and for his trouble, he’s been Straight Banged. As Joey explains,

When you’re like Simmons–white, from Boston, a graduate of Holy Cross–it probably is easier to partake in your urban escapism through the happy Hollywood lenses. That’s also probably why it’s fun to love Young Jeezy, or Juelz Santana, or even 50 Cent: their drug- and violence-fantasy versions of a bleak world come replete with cartoon renderings of reality and rags-to-riches stories. I mean, they wear gold chains and everything! And that isn’t nearly as daunting as the truth.

Much as I hate to cut Simmons any slack, he’s got slightly more street cred than that. Neither Joey or I have any idea what it is like to matriculate in a city whose most prominent local landmark is a statue of a Boy Fucking A Turtle. A lot of gritty, intense individuals have taken the long walk in Wormtown (Denis Leary, Bob Cousy, Sam Fuller, Jordan Knight) and who are the rest of us to say Worcester’s story is any less compelling than that of David Simon’s Baltimore?

Pondering The Injustice That Is The EPL Overflow On US Satellite

Posted in Football at 10:17 am by

At this very moment, persons willing to fork over far too much of their monthly income to the great god of sports programing, DirectTV, have the priviledge of choosing from 3 live Premiership matches taking place simultaneously ; Arsenal v Sheffield United (many shots of Neil Warnock screaming) on FSC, Fulham v Chelsea on Setanta US (at least one shot of Terry Venables looking like he fell asleep on a tanning bed) and most curiously, Man City v West Ham United on the newly launched Setanta Xtreme.

Tough to choose between the 3 ; I’d opted for the Stuart Pearce deathwatch, but the Xtremely incompetent folks at Ch. 670 didn’t manage to flip the switch until the match was some 15 minutes old. That said, all of the above remain blacked out on live television in the UK.

It would, however, be unfair for me to suggest that American footie junkies have the better deal. Not only are US viewers deprived frequent cut-ins to Chris Kamara bellowing over what can be described as moderate crowd noise, but we’re also screwed out of other enticing small screen morsels. For instance, later this afternoon, Ch. 5 UK are showing “Dennis The Menace Strikes Again”, starring Betty White, Carrot Top, Brian Doyle Murray, George Wendt and Don Rickles as Mr. Wilson.

Through the glory of econo internet audio, I’m currently listening to John Gregory’s first match in charge of QPR, a scoreless thriller with Hull, midway through the first half. The BBC London commentary team have suggested that “we might not see a goal from open play,” which a polite way of saying both sides are as poor as you’d think.

Over on the sadly neglected (by me, anyway) Gol TV, Bayern Munich are clinging to a 2-1 advantage over Alemania Aachen, Mark van Bommel’s 55th minute strike being the difference. They claim Oliver Kahn is 37 but he doesn’t look a day older than Grant Fuhr.

Earlier this morning, Liverpool scored 3 second half goals against visiting Spurs for their 2nd home win in 4 days.

The former MetroStars broke ground on their new stadium earlier this week in Harrison, NJ. In the future, if anyone asks Tony Meola to kiss them where it smells, the commute will be rather brief.

The Highlight Of Joe Randa’s Season

Posted in Baseball at 12:27 am by

The acquistion of Joe Randa from K.C. wasn’t enough to prevent the Pirates from being the NL’s 2nd worst club, but Randa’s pinch-hit, 2-run HR in the top of the 9th meant the Bucs avoided being no-hit by San Diego’s Chris Young.

Young (8.2 IP, 3 walks, 6 K’s) was two outs away from the no-no before walking Jose Bautista, then allowing the HR to Randa. Adrian Gonzalez and Todd Walker each homered in San Diego’s 6-2 victory. And something nearly history did occur ; Mike Piazza tripled for just the 7th time in his career.

Regardless of how things turn out in Los Angeles tonight, the Padres will have maintained at least a half game lead. At present, the Dogers are leading the D-Backs, 2-0 in the last of the 8th, with Takashi Saito being called upon to earn a 4-out save.

I suppose if Chris Carpenter can pitch on zero days rest, the Cardinals have a slim chance in the NL playoffs. But Tony La Russa is probably all too aware that as messed up as Jason Isringhausen was throughout ’06, Izzy at 75% was preferable to Braden Looper under any circumstances.

Congrats to the Sultan Of Surly on tying Hank Aaron as the National League’s Career HR King with his 733rd longball in tonight’s losing effort against Milwaukee. I kinda thought the mid-game ceremony was a bit much (speeches from Bud Selig, Aaron, Butch Vig, etc.) and some will question whether it was really necessary for President Bush to phone Barry run after the game.

Pending the results at Chavez Ravine, Philadelphia will either remain a half game out of the NL Wild Card lead or they’ll have overtaken the Dodgers, courtesy of Friday’s 5-2 defeat of the Fish. Ryan Howard (above) hit his 58th HR, and Cole Hamels whiffed 10 in 6 and two-thirds innings of work, picking up his 9th win.


Cover Thy Feet With Wings Of Peace

Posted in Fashion, Leave No Child Unbeaten, Religion at 9:36 pm by

World famous musician/social commentator supreme Sally Crewe describes Armor Of God’s pajamas for kids as “the creepiest shit ever.”

While I cannot disagree with Ms. Crewe, I do find it curious the market for Lamb Of God PJ’s isn’t nearly as robust.

We’re Talking About Practice, But Anthony Hargrove Isn’t Listening

Posted in Gridiron, Sports TV at 5:14 pm by

From the St. Louis Disparth’s Jim Thomas.

Rams defensive end Anthony Hargrove missed his second straight day of practice today after failing to show up for a meeting with coach Scott Linehan on Thursday, and will not play in Sunday’s game at Arizona.

Rookie Victor Adeyanju, a fourth-round pick, will replace Hargrove in the lineup.

Linehan said today that he spoke briefly to Hargrove about 4 p.m. Thursday and told him to be at Rams Park by 6 p.m. to meet with him. He said the team has had no contact with Hargrove, a third-year player out of Georgia Tech, since then.

However, Post-Dispatch reporter Jim Thomas saw Hargrove arrive at Rams Park at 11:30 a.m. today. Practice ran from 10 a.m. until noon.

Linehan would not say if the team would suspend Hargrove, saying simply, “He’s just not playing. You can call it what you want.” He did say that the third-year player would be fined.

Linehan said he had no idea what prompted Hargrove to go AWOL. The coach said Hargrove had “general things” just like other players, “but nothing to this extent at all.”

In the event there’s nothing really serious going on and the player has merely overindulged, I’d suggest that Hargrove play the G-d Card. Simply tell Linehan that his religious beliefs preclude maiming Mr. Brenda Warner.

Pro Football Talk cited published reports that potential stadium conflicts between the playoff-bound A’s and Raiders, Twins and Vikings, could lead to addtional Monday Night Football doubleheaders in October.

The October 8 game between the Lions and Vikings would conflict with Game 5 of the American League Division Series involving the Minnesota Twins, if the Twins manage to overcome their current 0.5-game deficit to win the AL Central — and if the Twins finish with one of the top two records among the three division winners.

If that happens, ESPN would probably (in our estimation) air the Lions at Vikings game at 7:00 p.m. on October 9, and the Ravens at Broncos game at 10:15.

The other two games apparently involve the Oakland Raiders, who share a stadium with the Oakland A’s.  If the A’s make it to the World Series, which due to the All-Star Game victory by the junior circuit would give them home-field advantage, Game Two and Game Seven would conflict with Arizona at Oakland on October 22, and Pittsburgh at Oakland on October 29, respectively.

Both games undoubtedly would start at 10:15 Eastern, with the Giants at Cowboys getting the 7:00 p.m. start on October 22, and the Pats at Vikings seeing the early kickoff on October 29.

“The Model” Will Never Sound Quite The Same

Posted in Leave No Child Unbeaten, Rock Und Roll at 4:56 pm by

WFMU’s Billy Jam and Scott W. propose John Mark Karr (above, far left) as Kraftwerk’s unheralded 5th member. (link taken from Ken Friedman and Beware Of The Blog).

Will Arnett
, unavailable for comment.

Studio 60′s Fauxblog : The New Coke Of Viral Marketing

Posted in Blogged Down, The World Of Entertainment at 4:43 pm by

(Hey now! Been there, done that!)

Since it isn’t easy to generate buzz for one of two competing network comedies not-so-loosely based on SNL’s backstage politics, the one that doesn’t feature Tina Fey has launched a bloggeroony with name, font and format obviously lifted from one of Gawker Media’s occasionally entertaining properties.

Perhaps the creators of Defaker should’ve taken a tip from the real deal — unmoderated comments can be a real bitch.

yeah studio 60 used to be cool when the cast hoovered up coke in the green room with billy preston. now it is like watching skit night at a sorority house. no wait, that’s saturday night live.

shouldn’t a show like studio 60 have 2 showrunners? one non-sorkin to write stuff that actually makes people laugh and one sorkin to write self-indulgent pap for people who take the entertainment industry waaayyyyyy to seriously? that isn’t a rhetorical question. - – rupert pupkin

I heard that Jeff Zucker has a monster cocaine habit. I also heard that he’s only kept his job so long because he’s been blackmailing NBC CEO Bob Wright with photographs showing Wright in a compromising position with a Cambodian boy! (These aren’t facts — just rumors I’ve heard circulating through Hollywood). – Barry

I’d like to be a fan of Studio 60 too, but I keep running in to the harsh reality of Studio $6.75 – where janitors work full time for poverty wages and no health care benefits. Somehow a critique of the harsh corporate realities of the studio system doesn’t work as well when it is being put out by a company that is fighting its lowest paid workers’ efforts for a better life. – Steve

Is it true that Jamie Tarses got Matthew Perry hooked on Vicodin? I heard it from Matt Albie and Jordan McDeere. Boycott NBC and their advertisers. – Naomi Klein No Logo

Unsafe At Any Speed : NHRA Vet Would Like To Show You His Hot Rod

Posted in Leave No Child Unbeaten, The Law, Vroom Vroom at 2:46 pm by

From KTLV TV :

A noted drag racer from Texas is accused of repeatedly molesting a boy for years.

Gene “The Snowman” Snow of Bedford surrendered to the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Department on September fifth. Authorities had issued a warrant for the 69-year-old man on suspicion of aggravated sexual assault of a child.

Snow posted 25-thousand dollars bail and was released the same day.

Snow is listed on the National Hot Rod Association’s Web site as one the top 50 drivers in the organization’s history.

Snow’s attorney didn’t immediately return calls for comment.

Court documents indicate a 17-year-old went to investigators in July and said Snow began molesting him when he was in fifth grade.

Snow has seven misdemeanor citations for public lewdness and obscenity dating back to 1978. All were dismissed except for one public lewdness charge for which he paid a fine.

Hearts’ Romanov : It’s My Club And I’ll Pry If I Want To

Posted in Football at 2:19 pm by

Hearts Of Midlothian are only 3 points behind Celtic for the SPL lead, and they have key players returning from injury. Nice timing then, for chairman Vladimir Romanov to issue the following statement (Ted Turner, Ron Noades, eat your, ahem, Hearts out)

“I want to dedicate Hearts victories to those journalists who, because of their hate towards us, only notice our defeats and say it is fair criticism when in fact it is simply hysteria with only one aim – to dismantle the club.

“They remain blind to unfair refereeing, even the ruthless one of Athens. We can’t do much if the referee does not give us four penalties which we deserve. I am sure fans see and remember everything.

“Despite your hysteria I do not only give my approval to every team selection, but also to the plan of the training process. I do, as well, participate in the selection of new players.

“Having said this, I am expecting more outbursts of hysteria. They give me confidence that I am on the right way.

“You remind me of those Bolsheviks in Soviet times who wanted to shoot a peasant only because he planted the seeds following his own way, and not their instructions.

“Once they were ready to shoot a peasant, but a clever one who stopped them and said: ‘let’s shoot him in the autumn after he has gathered his harvest.’

“I guess that if you could, I would have already been shot by now, but whilst you can’t, full of hate and anger, you are spreading manure on my crops.

“Naturally this is disgusting and offensive to clear up after you. Unfortunately you are bothering the heads of fans and the general public.

“The journalists conduct interviews with players and after that wish to turn them into being about the support of Valdas. Indeed, by doing this they act just like small provocateurs, manufacturing a situation where Valdas needs support.

“Last season Hearts proved everything that was possible to prove. You will have to fight with our shadow for quite a long time.

“As for my naval service I was serving not in the name and ideals of Marx and Engels which were brought up in the west, but to my motherland on the legendary K19 submarine.

“Together with other submarine crews we made Cold Wars ideologists sign a peace deal with rescued the whole world from a catastrophic nuclear war.

“The sailors were dying, not for the people like you, who are spreading poison on the beautiful vastness of the earth.

“Actually, The K19 crew from that horrific nuclear accident has been nominated to get the Nobel Peace Prize. It will be an award to all submariners that conquered the ocean and won against the Cold War’s crazy ideologists.”

Apparently, there’s a feature length, somewhat experimental film in which several cameras follow Zinedine Zidane over the course of a 90 minute match. On the plus side, the score is provided by Mogwai. The bad news : not one shot of Zizou’s sister.

Raismann : Fox, MLB Filled With Subway Series Dread

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 1:51 pm by

With his mint copy of the Randoms’ “Let’s Get Rid Of New York” blaring in the background , the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman predicts that in the wake of lower-than-low ratings for the 2000 Subway Series (third-worst in TV history), Fox will have to contend with “an anti New York stance” should the Yanks and Mets win their respective league championships.

It will only get deeper as the Mets and Yankees are hyped over the next couple of weeks. In 2000, the Mets reached the World Series as a wild card. The equation is different now. The Mets stormed through the NL East. They, along with the Yankees, likely will be favored to make it to the Series.

The two networks airing division series games – Fox and ESPN – will play on this, showcasing both New York teams. In the early rounds, the Mets and Yankees will produce ratings.

With its postgame coverage, along with “Baseball Tonight” and “SportsCenter,” ESPN will be able to overexpose the Mets and Yankees. Depending on how Alex Rodriguez is doing, you will hear the latest A-Rod saga over and over and over again. You might even find out Pedro Martinez is planning a postseason reunion with Nelson de la Rosa, his tiny pal.

If the two teams continue moving toward a final showdown, the Joe Torre/Willie Randolph angle will be pushed to the max. No doubt some of these stories will start with the “Subway” commercials in which the two managers appear together. By the time Oct.21 arrives, fans in places such as Chicago, Detroit and Los Angeles will not want to see another Cold Cut Combo.

They will be New Yorked out.

They also will be in no mood to see the gratuitous shots of Rudy Giuliani wearing his Yankees hat. Or Jerry Seinfeld in Mets blue and orange. The last time America got a look at these scenes, it turned off the World Series – in droves.

M’s Mouthpiece / Piniella Chauffer Packs It In

Posted in Baseball, Sports Radio, Sports TV at 1:16 pm by

From the Seattle Times’ Dave Bowman

Ron Fairly announced Thursday that his announcing days are over at season’s end.

After 14 years doing radio and television for the Mariners, Fairly (above) will end his 27-year broadcasting career with the season-ending game at home on Oct. 1.

“I have been at the playground or at the ballpark my entire life,” the 68-year-old Fairly said. “I figure I have played in or broadcast 7,000 games. It is time to take my bat and ball and go home. I have been here long enough.”

What he will remember most from broadcasting the Mariners is driving former manager Lou Piniella home at times and “listening to Lou rant and rave driving across the [I-90] bridge,” Fairly said. “A few times, I thought I was going to lose my dashboard.”

Earlier this week, David Scott characterized CBS4′s Bob Lobel as “rapidly-fading, aging and disengaging.” Insulting, sure, but not libelous.

Perception Vs. Reality : Marchman On A-Rod

Posted in Baseball at 10:40 am by

Before we get into further discussion of all things Alex Rodriguez, a little tip of the cap here to the New York Sun’s sports section. Tim Marchman’s baseball coverage is quickly becoming the most linked to source around these parts that doesn’t feature news of Tom Sizemore’s legal hassles. John Hollinger’s hoops coverage is suitably illuminating, and registration/subscription is no longer required to read Allen Barra or Jay Jaffe’s contributions.

Anyhow, the knocks on Alex Rodriguez are plentiful. He’s a phony. He’s not saved enough kids and kittens from burning buildings. He’s not a “real Yankee.” His effeminate, preening mannerisms are a distraction from his gaudy numbers, etc.

The Sun’s Marchman tackles the notion that A-Rod’s stats are padded in meaningless spots, pointing out the Third Baseman’s performances against the game’s best pitchers (Santana, Halladay, El Barto, Clemens, Zito, Pedro, and Tim Hudson) compare favorably with those of Derek Jeter and Jason Giambi. (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory).

There is a lot of subjectivity in watching baseball and judging baseball players, and you can chop statistics a lot of ways to make different points, but I think the numbers here speak pretty plainly for themselves. And the fact that most everyone thinks the exact opposite of what the numbers reflect also speaks pretty plainly about the kind of impression these three players leave on people. Think about Giambi and you’ll think about him posing at home plate while watching a ball disappear into the upper deck; think about Jeter and you’ll think of him pumping his fist, think about Rodriguez and you’ll probably think of Bronson Arroyo’s glove.

Luckily for the Yankees, baseball games aren’t won and lost based on the impression players leave with spectators, but on what players do on the field, and especially what the best players on a team do against the toughest competition.

Though I take Marchman’s general point, when I think of Jason Giambi, I usually recall him winning the American League Comeback Player Of The Year Award without specifying what he came back from.

The Battle Of Bucharest

Posted in Football at 10:08 am by

From Reuters, Sept. 19 :

Dinamo Bucharest banned women from buying tickets for Wednesday’s soccer derby against Steaua Bucharest for two hours on Tuesday, amid accusations that they were infiltrators from the rival club.Animosity between the two clubs is fierce, with a history of fights in the stands and on the streets, and Dinamo said they feared male Steaua fans had sent wives and girlfriends to buy extra tickets for the derby.

Police intervened to stop a fight when a mobile telephone belonging to one person in the ticket queue at Dinamo played the Steaua anthem as its ring tone.

Dinamo lead the Romanian standings with seven wins from seven matches, four points ahead of second-placed Steaua.

On Wednesday night, Dinamo took the 3 points with a 1-0 victory, the lone goal coming on an injury time strike from Denis Serban.

Though I’ve not seen the highlights on Fox Sports World (I’m too upset over the impending departure of Michelle Lissell), an individual has risked life and limb to capture some footage of the heavy shit going down (link taken from Megafone)