Other than those who are employed by or related to the man, it’s difficult (though not impossible) to find anyone willing to say something nice about Stephen A. Smith.
When the “Quite Frankly…” host / Philly Inquirer columnist is castigated for being-full-of-shit-for-a-living, that’s fair play. By all means, convict Stephen A. for crimes against television, journalism or telejournalism.
All of that said, it is kind of astonishing that in the year 2006, the color of Smith’s skin is considered further justification for ridicule.
The person responsible for the above item seems to covet some kind of attention. I hope he receives exactly the sort he deserves.
The 2006 season is all done and dusted for the AL Champs, but the Nation’s Dave Zirin can’t help but compare and contrast the Tigers’ current fan base, ballpark and hometown with the climate that surrounded the ’68 squad that lost to the Cardinals.
The 1968 Tigers team–led by Al Kaline, thirty-game winner Denny McLain and prominent African-American players like Willie Horton and Gates Brown (above)–was seen as a force of calm in the Motor City. An entire HBO documentary called “A City on Fire” was made based on this thesis. Many at the time believed that the success and joy brought by this integrated team would stop the exodus known as “white flight” and revitalize the city. But professional sports doesn’t always herald revival. Often it mocks it.Detroit today is not a story of low-level insurrection but immiseration. Unemployment in 2006 was 13.8 percent (three times the national average), and more than one-third of the city’s residents live below the poverty line. As the Associated Press recently reported, “Much of the rest of Detroit…is a landscape dotted with burned-out buildings, where liquor stores abound but supermarkets are hard to come by, and where drugs, violence and unemployment are everyday realities.”
For the Tigers, the main difference between 1968 and today is where they play. In 1968, it was the historic Tiger Stadium. Today it is an amusement center known as Comerica Park. By all accounts, it is a very nice amusement park, complete with Ferris wheels, merry-go-rounds and beer halls. It also is a place decidedly not for the folks left in Detroit. Anita Caref, a teacher in the inner city, was at game one of the World Series, and this was what she wrote me:
“I realize that baseball has a preponderance of white fans, and I know that I didn’t get a look at all of the 42,000 plus in attendance tonight, but clearly there were hardly any people of color there. What a stark contrast to the city itself, which is 83% African-American and 12% Latino. Frankly, it was hard to believe we were in Detroit. I sat there wondering how many of the folks there actually live in the city, and thinking that Detroit would be a very different place if the majority of them lived in Detroit and contributed their taxes to the well-being of the city.
“Secondly, I thought the choice of music played was odd. Of all the songs played during and between innings, only one was a Motown song. Most of the songs were by white rock-and-rollers. I have nothing against rock music, but I thought that given where we were, it would have been fitting to hear the Supremes, Temptations, Aretha Franklin, etc. Finally, during one of the breaks, they showed a video of some of the great Tigers of the past. The most prominent player in the video was Ty Cobb, who was praised by any number of sports journalists and celebrities. Not a word was said about the fact that he was perhaps baseball’s most prominent racist. And of course there was the usual militaristic patriotism, including fighter jets flying overhead after Bob Seger sang ‘America the Beautiful.’”
Not so beautiful, if you live and die in the city of Detroit.
From the Bergen Record’s John Brennen.
A defense attorney for former basketball star Jayson Williams argued Monday before the New Jersey Supreme Court that admitting evidence of Williams’ post-shooting conduct during his reckless manslaughter retrial would be “potentially inflammatory in nature.”
But a Hunterdon County assistant prosecutor insisted that Williams’ botched coverup attempt “proves his state of mind and consciousness of guilt” following the Feb. 14, 2002 fatal shooting of limousine driver Costas “Gus” Christofi at Williams’ estate.
“To allow [the current court ruling] to stand is to withhold from the jury what truly happened that night,” prosecutor Charles Ouslander said.
Joseph Hayden, Williams’ attorney argued that if presented with the post-shooting evidence, “a jury could conclude that the defendant is unsympathetic and callous” and thus improperly be swayed toward a reckless manslaughter conviction.
Nat: I know you must be saddened by the passing of Red Auerbach. What was your favorite memory of Red?
David Stern: My favorite memory of Red is me calling him once to raise the baskets because the big players have too much of an advantage.
He said if they raise the baskets, who’s going to get the rebounds? The big guys. So get rid of that idea.
Commissioner Stern was hardly the only person today to fondly recall Auerbach’s storied career.
(what are you gonna do? arrest another blogger for sucking?)
Though the filmography of Sharon Stone is littered with errors in judgement, crap performances and improbable hairstyles, the lady-actress-human is not without her redeeming moments. For example ;
1) Were it not for “Basic Instinct 2″, Stan Collymore’s thespian debut would’ve been straight-to-internet instead of straight-to-video.
2) She was a-ok in “Broken Flowers”
3) Stone took her former husband to the zoo for his birthday. Though things turned out badly, it was a very nice thought.
So there you go. Sharon Stone isn’t all bad. So with that in mind, I was sad to see the following item in The Big Lead regarding Ms. Stone’s purported dalliance with former Laker Rick Fox.
If you ask us, this is a tremendous falloff from Fox™s ex-wife, Vanessa Williams. While Stone™s face may look presentable here, she™s got to be the clubhouse leader in Hollywood when it comes to botox and surgery. We shudder to think what her pussy looks like these days.
I’m sorry, full credit to The Big Lead on being a worthy alternative to reading Deadspin’s guest editor for a day (funny, the Cards win the World Series, but for one Wednesday in October, the rest of us are rewarded), but until the author is ready to put his cock on the block for public inspection, speculation about the condition of Sharon’s snatch is a little unfair.
Liverpool 3, Bordeaux 0
(left to right, Rise, Bickle. You should see what the other guys looked like)
Frank Lampard scored a ridiculous endline-walking goal in Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with Barca that you’re gonna have to see to believe. Totally worth taping “SportsCenter”, just on the off chance it might be shown.
In the Championship, QPR erased a pair of deficits against promotion hopefuls West Brom, Marc Nygaard’s 83rd minute strike earning the R’s a 3-3 draw at the Hawthorns.
Chelsea have supposedly put a £5 cap on their Secret Santa action. Keep in mind you could purchase a Kunt & The Gang single for a bit less.
From the Des Moines Register’s Andrew Logue (Oldham).
An announcer for ESPNU has been taken off the air due to a comment he made during Saturday™s telecast of the Iowa-Northern Illinois football game.
Brian Kinchen, a color commentator, will not work a game this weekend, according to Josh Krulewitz, ESPN™s vice-president of public relations.
Krulewitz told The Des Moines Register Monday night that the network made its decision after an internal review.
On Saturday, Kinchen was explaining to a television audience that receivers need to make catches with their hands because they are œtender and can œcaress the ball. He then paused and said, œthat™s kind of gay, but hey¦
œThe comments were inappropriate and we apologize, Krulewitz said
Monday. œHe will not appear on our air this weekend and his future appearance schedule is under review.
Kinchen, a former tight end who played in the NFL from 1988-00, issued a statement through ESPN: œI sincerely apologize for my extremely poor choice of words.”
Steve Lyons, Chris Moyles, unavailable for comment.
From the Boston Herald’s Stacey Hart.
Stephen Belichick, 19, of Weston, was arrested after an officer reported he had two subjects in custody on Winter Street at 9:25 p.m. Jonathan Pizarro, 18, of Roxbury, was also arrested and charged with possession of marijuana.
Belichick graduated from the private Rivers School in Weston in June and planned to attend Northfield Mount Hermon School this fall. He is committed to attend Rutgers University in New Jersey in the fall of 2007 on a partial athletic scholarship to play lacrosse for the Scarlet Knights™ nationally ranked program.
He was captain of both the football and lacrosse teams at Rivers School as a senior.
Belichick received an award last year for outstanding service to the football program at Rivers. The award is presented to a player for his strength and determination, personal sacrifices and selfless generosity.
Though I think marijuana possession is a victimless crime, one might also presume poor role models might have something to do with Hoody Jr.’s transgressions. When the patriarch is a Bon Jovi-digging adulterer, what kind of behavior do we expect from the children?
The Washington Times’ John N. Mitchell takes a break from selling flowers by the side of the highway to update us on the turmoil engulfing the Wizards on the eve of their opening night against Cleveland.
Etan Thomas will be the Washington Wizards’ starting center, coach Eddie Jordan announced yesterday, a decision that does not sit well with backup Brendan Haywood (above) or his agent.
While Haywood was unavailable for comment shortly after Jordan went public with his decision, agent Andy Miller said his client felt the decision was made along personal lines — not based on performance — and indicated Haywood may want out of Washington.
“He’s got a contract that he’s going to live up to, but this doesn’t bode well for his future in Washington beyond the contract,” Miller said of Haywood. “I’d like to seem him treated with the optimum level of respect, and that’s not going to happen in Washington. I don’t know how this situation is going to unfold.”
Jordan explained his reasons for naming Thomas the starter shortly after Haywood outperformed Thomas in practice.
“I’m ashamed to say it, but Brendan kicked his [rear] up and down the court, but that’s a good thing,” Jordan said. “What we saw as the preseason wound down with all of our evaluations and what we heard from our core players was that Etan showed a bit more force and a little more aggressiveness in terms of what we’re looking for to protect the rim and the paint.”
The tension between Haywood and Jordan also is well documented. Haywood felt slighted last season when he was benched and heard from reporters that Jordan had told Antawn Jamison — also temporarily benched at midseason — via phone conversation that he would be benched.
Both Haywood and Jordan have mentioned a meeting between the two this summer, but yesterday Miller said the outreach was totally on Haywood’s part, not Jordan’s
“We were the ones who tried to mend the relationship,” Miller said. “Eddie didn’t reach out to Brendan; Brendan reached out to him. I don’t know. Maybe he has a problem with my clients.”
Chucky Atkins, another Miller client, was the odd man out at point guard last season. The Wizards bought out his contract, and Atkins eventually signed with Memphis. Jared Jeffries, who signed with the Knicks, also employs Miller. The year before, veteran guard Anthony Peeler, also a Miller client, saw limited playing time with the Wizards.
“I can tell you that none of those guys knew what their roles were,” Miller said. “It seems like every year this is an ongoing situation where every year there is a veteran player that seems to be the focal point of Eddie’s frustrations, and now it appears to be Brendan’s turn.”
The New York Post’s Peter Vescey reviews the list of familiar faces who find themselves without a team as the 2006-07 campaign begins.
Typically, renouncements, retirements and joblessness have created a swell of departures. Some of the more notable: Jalen Rose (Pistons, Lakers and Heat will come a courtin’ once he clears waivers, say sources), Penny Hardaway, Keith Van Horn, Antonio Davis, Howard Eisley, Shandon Anderson, Walter McCarty, Nick Van Exel, Jon Barry, Derek Anderson, Jimmy Jackson, Brian Grant, Toni Kukoc, Greg Ostertag, Doug Christie, Lamond Murray, Tony Delk, Voshon Lenard, Alvin Williams, and Luke Schenscher, America’s retribution, no doubt, for the Aussies’ recent firing of Mark Price after only five games (all losses) as coach.
Think of how many different starting lineups Larry Brown could conceive if given his dream job to coach the above players.
From the Washington Post’s Jorge Arangure Jr. and Barry Svrluga.
The Baltimore Orioles, according to a team source, began preliminary discussions with Washington Nationals left fielder Alfonso Soriano , and were floored by the free agent’s initial contract outline.
According to the source, Soriano is seeking a deal similar to the seven-year, $119 million deal given to center fielder Carlos Beltran by the New York Mets before the 2005 season. It’s unlikely the Orioles will be in the running for Soriano if he doesn’t back off those demands. Teams can start bidding on free agents on Nov. 12.
Before the O’s start crying poorhouse, they oughta be a little more creative. Perhaps they could tell the converted left-fielder they’ve got a guy inhouse who gets great deals on B-12 shots?
San Diego has declined their $8 million option on Mike Piazza for 2007. While it seems unlikely Metal Mike will be unemployed next spring, there’s always a spot on Eddie Trunk’s couch. You’d think he’d get it cleaned, but you know how bachelors are.
From the Austin American-Statesman’s Marty Toohey.
Drew Brees (above) wants no part of his mother’s political aspirations.
The NFL quarterback and Westlake High School graduate has told Mina Brees, an Austin attorney, to stop using his picture in TV commercials as she runs for a spot on Texas’ 3rd Court of Appeals, saying their relationship is now “nonexistent” after souring six years ago.
“I think the major point here is that my mother is using me in a campaign, and I’ve made it known many times I don’t want to be involved,” he said Monday.
The commercial in question has been airing on local stations. It includes a picture of Drew Brees in a San Diego Chargers uniform (his former team) and notes Mina Brees’ football ties: She is also the daughter of a successful high school coach and the sister of former University of Texas quarterback Marty Akins.
Mina Brees, a Democrat, is running for a spot on the court that reviews civil and criminal cases from 24 counties in Central and West Texas. Her opponent is incumbent Republican Justice David Puryear.
Drew Brees said that when he heard about the spots, he called his mother and asked her to stop them. She did not return his calls or stop using his image, he said, and his agent sent her a letter Oct. 20 threatening legal action.
Mina Brees, 56, said a version of the spot that omits mentions of her son Drew was taped last week and sent to TV stations Friday.
During his senior year at Purdue, the QB said, their relationship crumbled after he refused to hire her as his agent. He said she later undercut his dealings with other agents and tried to sell a book about him to Sports Illustrated without his knowledge.
“There is definitely history,” he said. “It’s got nothing to do with my career path. I’ve just gotten older, and my eyes have opened to the lies and manipulation.”
He added that her commercials were sending a message of, ” ‘If you don’t know much about the election, vote for me because I know Drew’ . . . and that is a shame because the political process should be decided on your credentials.”
No word on how this might impact Marv Marinovich’s independent presidential bid in 2008, though he might wanna consider using pictures of Vince Young in his local commercials.
(photo taken from Jeopardy Archive, used without permission)
There were few glimpses of him during the Knicks’ preseason games, so I’ve got to ask ; just how out of shape was Jalen Rose if Isiah Thomas would sooner pay him $15 million + to play for someone else than have him poisoning the atmosphere? Is Rose that toxic a character or do the Knicks have way more depth than their 23 wins last year would indicate?
On the matter of being paid a tremendous sum of money to stay away from MSG, the Knicks and Larry Brown have resolved their longstanding dispute, and now we can return to the important task of monitoring the Isiah Thomas Death Watch.
The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir surveys ESPN and TNT’s all-star yack arsenals, with the NBA season set to commence this evening.
Mike Breen™s new partner at ABC will be Mark Jackson, the former Knicks point guard, who is the YES Network analyst for Nets games and also co-analyst on ABC™s pregame N.B.A. program. Jackson last year demonstrated a knack for describing the flow of a game that is not often heard so early in a career. Brown will stay at ABC as its No. 2 analyst (with Mike Tirico) and is ESPN™s top analyst (with Breen, MSG Network™s voice of the Knicks).
œI don™t see it as Mark replacing Hubie, Williamson said by telephone. œBreen and Jackson have a relationship from Mike covering the Knicks.
During an appearance at the N.B.A. store in Midtown Manhattan yesterday to herald the start of the 2006-7 season, Breen said, œI worked with Mark a few years ago; we were surprised at how things clicked right away. In a coincidence of TV timing, Breen will work nationally with Jackson, while on a local basis, Marv Albert, whom Breen replaced at MSG, calls Nets games with Jackson on SNY.
Reflecting on the difference between TNT™s stability and the changes at ESPN and ABC, TNT™s Charles Barkley said: œI™m not sure what they™re doing. It can™t be good to have different people all the time.
Kenny Smith made a foray beyond TNT last season as Walt Frazier™s substitute analyst for Knicks games on MSG. He will reprise that role 18 times this season. He said he enjoyed being around for the Knicks™ 23-59 debacle under Larry Brown.
œI must like misery, Smith said. He said he had told Isiah Thomas, the general manager who earlier this year replaced Brown as coach, that he should have been coaching the team from the start.
œI understood what he was trying to do, Smith said. œHe really believes Steve Francis and Stephon Marbury can play a Phoenix-type game.
Barkley said, œAre you kidding me?
Smith added: œHe™s good at evaluating talent. But putting a team together is different.
Later, at the N.B.A. store, Smith said of the Knicks: œTwenty-three wins was more than they deserved. I think they should have won 16 or 17.
Barkley said, œThen they should have made Larry Brown coach of the year.
Newsday’s Jim Baumbach and Ken Davidoff describe a trade of the Little ‘Stache as “inevitable.”
The Yankees’ auction of Gary Sheffield has progressed to the point that general manager Brian Cashman has a potential deal in place if he wishes to pull the trigger, an official from another American League team told Newsday yesterday.
But Cashman is not quite ready to make a trade. A person familiar with the team’s plans said “there is no urgency” to the process. The Yankees seem inclined to wait at least a little longer with the hope that the market for Sheffield improves.
The Cubs and Phillies are believed to be among the most aggressive teams in pursuit of Sheffield, who is an attractive, more affordable alternative to free-agent sluggers Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Lee. Those players will land long-term, multimillion-dollar deals, but all Sheffield costs is $13 million for one season, with at least $4.5 million deferred.
Although the Rangers and Indians are among the AL teams believed to be interested, the Yankees could decide to trade him to a National League team to avoid facing him next year. In addition to the Phillies and Cubs, the Padres, Giants, Braves and Astros are among potential NL landing spots for Sheffield, who wishes to play rightfield.
A Sheffield trade seems likely to happen before Sunday’s option deadline for a handful of reasons, including the desire of team officials to move on to other business on their offseason agenda.
Deposed ESPN analyst Harold Reynolds announced yesterday his plans to sue ESPN over his dismissal last summer. Though I suspect Jeremy Schapp will be assigned to another sitdown with Bobby Fischer before Reynolds’ former employer touches this story, perhaps there’s still a chance of resolution, especially if BBTN has chairs to fill. . Kruk might not survive the banquet circuit this winter, and it’s really just a matter of time before Steve Phillips is accosted in a hotel elevator by an admirer wishing to touch his throat.
New Orleans’ Reggie Bush claims he’ll be ready for next Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay, but not for a lack of trying on the part of Baltimore’s D. From the Sun’s Mike Preston.
Rookie running back Reggie Bush epitomized the Saints’ effort yesterday. The Ravens came into the Superdome and shoved the Saints around, and Bush quit in the second quarter.
With 7:36 left in the half, Bush took a handoff off the right side, ran about 5 yards and hit the brakes hard before diving to the ground. Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis was about to remove Bush’s head from his body, but Bush went down like he was taking a dive.
“He’s just a guy, simple as that,” Ravens outside linebacker Bart Scott said of Bush. “What did he get this week? He played like a kid who got chased from school.”
Scott said Bush tried to cheap-shot him on an interception return in the first half, and you could tell there was something personal between the two.
Every time Scott tackled Bush, he would purposely throw Bush around. Bush had to leave the game with an ankle injury after Scott tackled him with 6:50 left in the fourth quarter. Scott tackled Bush around the ankles, and gave them a little twist before he let go.
“The media darling, aka the golden boy of the NFL, tried to take a cheap shot at me, so I told him I was going to put some extra on it,” Scott said. “He must be used to playing against these guys in practice. He can do all those shakes he wants, but I wasn’t going anywhere. I put a little hot sauce on that ankle.”
Bad ideas in the broadcasting trade : A Bears pregame show featuring Chet Coppock, Mongo McMichael and Mike Ditka.
The Boston Globe’s Mike Reiss reports the Patriots spent most of the week indoors as a dress rehearsal for tonight’s visit to the Metrodome. I’ve been doing the same, though I’ve been diagnosed.
After consulting with Dr. Pedro Martinez of the NY Mets on arm care, Kerry Wood has filed for free agency. As the Chicago Tribune‘s Paul Sullivan points out below, it wasn’t long ago that Kerry Wood asked Cub fans for a second chance in 2007. Wood felt “obligated” to earn some of the tens of millions the Cubs have given him for his years long stint on the DL. Wood proved his heartfelt obligation by waiting an entire day of eligibility before filing for free agency, according to Ron Blum of the AP, and one can only hope grateful Cub fans are holding the clubhouse door open for the man who can’t even lift his own $13.75 million paycheck .
After receiving $32 million over three injury-plagued seasons, Wood said in September he felt an “obligation” to return.
“As a player, you feel”you don’t want to say guilty”but you feel like you haven’t done your job and earned your money and gone out and done what you’re supposed to do,” Wood said.
There’s no guarantee Wood can stay healthy as he lets his rotator-cuff injury heal on its own this off-season. When Wood considered surgery last summer, he conferred with Mets starter Pedro Martinez, who opted against surgery after 2001 then went 20-4 with a 2.26 ERA and 239 strikeouts in ’02.
But several weeks after he talked to Wood, Martinez’s season ended with more rotator-cuff problems. He underwent surgery three weeks ago to repair a tendon, which will keep him out for the first half of 2007.
Wood has acknowledged he’ll return as a reliever, but he isn’t discounting a starting role by 2008. If a team gambles by overpaying Wood in ’07 with the idea of moving him into its rotation in ’08, he’ll probably bolt.
Sports bloggery is a bit of a minefield these days. For every quality site with a discernable point of view, those who settle for aping the Screech aping Sports Frog are too numerous to mention. Suffice to say, I won’t link to ‘em and it’s pretty transparent who is engaging in comment spam for the sole purposes of driving traffic to their own snoozy offerings.
Luckily, we’re still the beneficiaries of inspired work by those who are truly devoted to the craft. Dave Zukauskas aka Brushback of Sidearm Delivery is one such individual. In the past week, Zukauskas has shed light on the following :
a) the number 84 making it’s first-ever appearance in an NHL game — the last available number that had never been claimed.
b) the dulcet tones of Hartford Wolf Pack radio mouthpiece Bob “Chicken Hawk” Crawford, subject of a stirring tribute by Zukauskas.
c) introduction of the long-awaited Al Montoya action figure.
There’s more than one Russian zillionaire wielding considerable influence in British football. Sadly for the SPL’s Hearts, theirs isn’t named Roman Abramovich. From the Independent’s Nick Harris.
Senior advisers to the Heart of Midlothian owner, Vladimir Romanov (above), will advise “mediation not madness” as the solution to the crisis which led to a players’ revolt on Friday. But Romanov insisted yesterday that he has faith in his unusual methods, and senior players fear the Lithuanian millionaire intends to sell key members of his team, as he threatened he would if Hearts failed to beat Dunfermline on Saturday. They drew 1-1 at Tynecastle.
“I think it’s very serious if you’re going to make those statements,” said the midfielder Paul Hartley yesterday. “He’s got his point across and I think he’ll stick by [his threat].”
Hartley was present when Romanov made the threat on Friday morning, and later joined his captain, Steven Pressley, and the goalkeeper Craig Gordon as Pressley read a players’ statement saying that the club lacked “backing, direction and coherence”.
Hearts finished as SPL runners-up in May and won the Scottish Cup. “What happens next is not our decision,” Hartley said. “I’d like to stay but it’s not up to me.” He added that the players had “no plans” for further criticism. “I think we got our point across. We felt we had to say what we said.”
Romanov has had four permanent managers in 17 months and has alienated all of them by his interference in team affairs. Valdas Ivanauskas, the current manager, is in a spa clinic, taking two weeks’ holiday because of stress, leaving Eduard Malofeev, a Russian, in charge. He speaks no English. “I want to honestly tell you that Vladimir was never interfering in any football matters,” he yelled on Saturday, via an interpreter. “I don’t know where this idea comes from.”
(giant, STD-carrying, criminal bird celebrates a big win by crushing puny citizens to death)
It has been brought to my attention that the conclusion of Friday’s World Series, CSTB has become a repository of sorts for poorly disguised anti-St. Louis invective.
For that, I’d like to sincerely apologize and offer the following alternative viewpoint and unrelated factoid, respectively.
1) The New York Sun’s Tim Marchman argues the tag of worst W.S. winner “isn’t even remotely” accurate.
Yes, the Cards were lucky to make the playoffs in the first place, but so were the Yankees in 2000 and plenty of other champions. What matters is how you do once you’re there, not how you got there.
The Cardinals team we saw over the last few weeks is the same one we’ve seen pretty much every year this decade, when they’ve been on one of the less-remarked upon runs of greatness I can think of. With the exception of this year and 2003, the Cardinals have won between 93 and 105 games every year this decade. In every year save 2003, they’ve either won the National League pennant or been beaten by the team that did. Short of the Yankees and Braves, no team has had a more successful run in the wild card era.
This wasn’t a one-off fluke, but the crowning and validating achievement of a truly great team that’s been truly great since before George W. Bush was in office and will probably continue to be great after he’s left office. During nearly all of this time they have had a transcendently great player in Pujols, likely future Hall of Famers in Rolen and Edmonds, several short-term aces like Carpenter and Matt Morris, and a legendary manager in Tony LaRussa, like his style or not (I don’t). That isn’t the makeup of a team that’s going to baffle baseball historians in future decades while they’re going through World Series winners trying to pick out the weak ones.
2) St. Louis might no longer be America’s Gonorrhea Capital, but the crown of “Most Dangerous City” sits atop the metropolis’ collective head just as surely as the World Series Tiara (thanks to Maura Johnston for the link). Camden’s been knocked all the way back to 5th place, which either heralds a renewal in South N.J. or more likely, St. Louis, Detroit and Flint picking up the slack.
In proof that you don’t have to go to journalism school (or even be able to read very well) to have journalistic instincts, I have been cultivating a source deep within the MLB.com hierarchy for some time. Mostly because he knows a lot about University of Kentucky sports. I’ve never believed him when he says so, but he insists that working there is not always a dream job. For one thing, Joel Hunt isn’t there anymore, which dampens things. And there’s the constant threat of A.J. Pierzynski’s “noogie patrol” and other unnanounced and frankly unwelcome visits from Big League figures. But the perks are considerable. For instance, he was the first to receive this press release from the Milwaukee Brewers regarding their “Very Meat Trick-Or-Treat” event:
(The) Famous Klement’s Racing Sausages are taking to area neighborhoods this Tuesday night with a not-so-scary surprise. Two undisclosed neighborhoods will be visited by the celebrity runners, who will ring doorbells and present residents who answer with free tickets to a 2007 game.
The Sausages seasoned their skills with a test run yesterday, visiting houses randomly in a neighborhood near Miller Park. The locations for Tuesday will remain undisclosed – not only to surprise the locals, but also out of The Sausages’ natural fear of attracting ghosts and goblins!
And so begins a long winter withut baseball. Milwaukee-area readers have been warned. New Yorkers should be advised that Carlos Beltran will be going door-to-door in Flushing, Queens and then staring helplessly at doorbells.
…but no kool-aid for Tom Coughlin?
Though Shaun Powell and the combined moral authority of Long Island’s schoolboy football power structure disapprove, the mutual admiration society consisting of the New York Giants and Jim Jones lives (above) on. From the New York Daily News’ Ralph “The Karate Kid” Vacchiano.
“My dude calls me and was like, ‘I don’t know if I was dreaming or I was sleeping, but I think I just saw Strahan do your ballin’ move in a game,’” Jim Jones told the Daily News in the Giants’ locker room yesterday. “I said, ‘No, get out of here.’ Then sure enough I got to see the news clip and saw Big Baby doing it.”
What “Big Baby” was doing was a move straight out of the video for Jones’ hit song, “We Fly High,” which includes the refrain “We fly high. No lie. You know this. Ballin.’” And in the video, when Jones says “Ballin,’” he makes the now-famous jump shot move.
Their Ballin’ move, though, also drew the attention of the NFL, which warned the Giants that multiple players were not to perform the move simultaneously. A solo act was fine, though, which is why they were still performing it with Jones in attendance when they beat the Bucs, 17-3, yesterday.
“I appreciate the fellas for going ballin’ with me,” Jones said. “To get that feeling out of a song, there’s no better gratification. When athletes get involved they take it to a whole new level. Plus, it’s New York. I’m a New Yorker. I grew up in Harlem. So this feeling is like at the top of my day right now.”
Jones, who said he’s been a Giants fan “since (Joe) Morris was the running back,” was so inspired by the Giants’ new sack dance that he did a remix of “We Fly High” that he said is “strictly for the Giants.” It includes lines such as “Guard your quarterback because Strahan is sacking. Defensive line, Osi is tackling. Tiki is the captain. Eli do the passing.”
And the refrain was changed to “New York Giants fly high, you know it. Super Bowl, no lie, we focused.”
I can only imagine that during all the years Archie Manning tutored young Eli, he forever dreamed of the day his younger QB offspring would be immortalized in song.
Discussing Chevy’s oft-played and mega-exploitive spots featuring John Mellencamp, The New York Times’ David Carr seems to hate freedom almost as much as the competent drumming of Kenny Aranof.
As the commercial begins, an industrial history rolls out, touching the usual icons of the Statue of Liberty, busy factory workers and Americans at their leisure. But then a more conflicted narrative emerges, quickly flashing on bus boycotts, Vietnam, Nixon resigning, Hurricane Katrina, fires, floods, then the attacks of Sept. 11, replete with firefighters.
All that™s missing is a plague of locusts, until the commercial intones œThis is our country, this is our truck as a large Silverado emerges from amber waves of grain.
The message seems to be that, even though America has been in the ditch several times during its history, it has always managed to pull itself out. And what is true for the country must be true for General Motors. It could be pointed out that Detroit and General Motors are in a ditch mostly because they drove there, ignoring global competition and consumer needs in pursuit of quarterly profits. But the back story of the disaster is obscured by the universal need to rebound.
As a piece of television craft and song craft ” I™m humming that sucker in spite of myself ” œThis is our country is a gorgeous, A.D.D. version of Ken Burns™s best work. But it is landing with a thud in the advertising community, and not just because it achieved the impossible: making viewers nostalgic for Chevy™s last anthem, Bob Seger™s œLike a Rock.
œThe message seems to be, ˜If you don™t buy our truck, we will go bankrupt,™ said Al Ries of Ries & Ries, a brand consultancy. œThe kind of people who buy trucks are not going to buy them because a company is in trouble. People like to buy from winners.
Now we have Mr. Mellencamp (above), who™s done some rebranding of his own, having dropped the œCougar from his name back when his image needed a folksy turn. His political values seem equally elastic. He and his spouse once wrote a jeremiad against the Bush administration that said, in part: œIt is time to take back our country. Take it back from political agendas, corporate greed and overall manipulation.
That was in 2003. Now he™s sitting on the fender of a Chevy truck, strumming a guitar and singing, œWell, I can stand beside ideals I think are right, and I can stand beside the idea to stand and fight. He can also stand beside a nice shiny truck, if the fee is right.
It oughta be stressed that while Mellencamp might not have nearly as many wives and kids to feed as Steve Earle, there’s something called a nest egg worth considering.
Dubbing the 2006 St. Louis Cardinals, “the worst World Series winners in history,” the Boston Herald’s Tony Massarotti writes “the question is whether to bury them or to praise them.” Guess which he ultimately chose?
For all of the praise the Cardinals deserve, there is one thing we simply can™t get past: They shouldn™t have been here at all. The baseball season is designed to weed out the weak, the mediocre, the inept and the brittle. The Cardinals simply slipped through the cracks. This St. Louis team won 22 fewer games than the last Cardinals club to reach the World Series, the 2004 edition that was steamrolled during the historic run of the Red Sox.
But at least those Red Sox won 98 games. They were championship-caliber. They were every bit as good, if not better, than any major league team that took the field that season.
But really, can we say that about these Cardinals? For all of the good baseball has experienced during the wild card era, parity has come at a price.
The San Diego Padres won the NL West last year with 82 victories. This year, the Cardinals won the NL Central with 83.
Neither of those clubs would have qualified for the postseason during another era and neither would have had a complaint.
Over the years, for whatever reason, one of the more popular theories in competition is that America loves the underdog. That is nothing more than rubbish.
What Americans truly love is excellence, primarily from our professionals, particularly over an extended period of time, from Tiger Woods to the New York Yankees to our very own Patriots.
The Cardinals? Let™s not put them there with the 1985 Villanova Wildcats or the 1968 New York Jets or even the 2001 Patriots. Those were good clubs that unexpectedly ascended to the heights of greatness at a time few expected.
Yesterday’s 1-0 home defeat to Villarreal leaves Real Sociedad glued to the bottom of La Liga’s twenty club table and there’s no doubt in the mind of the Guardian’s Sid Lowe that ” la Real are struggling because they are just not that good.”
There’s no Patxaran or pinchos here, no tasty tucker nailed on to a piece of bread with a strategically-placed and potentially lethal cocktail stick, because El Bar Antiguo is closed until further notice. And, let’s face it, is likely to be closed for some time. The reason is simple: the sign on the door reads: “This establishment will remain shut until la Real [Sociedad] win two consecutive games,” and that’s a pretty big ask. In fact, forget two successive games, winning one is a pretty bloody big ask right now. Because right now Real Sociedad are rubbish.
La Real have not won two successive games for over a year; they have not even won two successive halves all season. Back in August, when blind optimism still hadn’t given way to bitter truth, coach and sporting director JosÃ© MarÃa Bakero insisted that the aim was a European place and the Copa del Rey. Two months later, they have been stuffed 4-1 by Second Division MÃ¡laga in the Cup, gunned down by fighter-jet flying former Bolton striker Salva Ballesta, and have suffered the joint worst start in the club’s league history. Bottom of the table with just two points, they are the only side to have failed to pick up a single victory in eight matches. Small wonder Bakero is now the ex-coach and ex-sporting director – the first managerial casualty of the season; a man who, as one local columnist put it, “signed badly and coached worse”.
The last time la Real started a season this badly was under metaphor-mangling manager John Benjamin Toshack just six years ago, at the beginning of the 2000-01 season, and relegation battles are nothing new in San SebastiÃ¡n. While la Real were runners up in 2002-03, they had finished 13th in each of the previous three seasons and ended up 15th, 14th and 16th in each of the three seasons since. The surprise was that la Real got so close in 2002-03, not that they have struggled since; that season was a freak in which everything clicked perfectly under a coach who would be gone within a year. In which la Real massively over-achieved, when Sander Westerveld had the safest hands in Spanish soccer with his penalty-saving antics, when Xabi Alonso was the country’s best young central midfielder, when Valeri Karpin and Javier De Pedro provided cross after cross from the wings and when Nihat Kahveci and Darko Kovacevic both scored over 20 league goals.
Since then, Alonso has gone, Westerveld has gone, De Pedro has gone (in so many ways), Karpin has retired, Nihat has suffered a string of injuries and been hawked around half of Europe before finally being moved on this summer, and Kovacevic has failed to get into double figures. La Real are over ‚¬30m in debt, have a stadium with a running track that creates little atmosphere, there are cliques within the squad and no stability at the club with president Miguel Fuentes getting through three coaches last season alone.
The complex psyche of Gilbert Arenas has been under the microscope of the Washington Post’s Mike Wise via a two-part series that began yesterday. Wizznutzz’ Darvin Ham describes Mr. Wise’s Opus as “maybe just the greatest sports writing ever written. ” Of course, the former has no shortage of truth to impart, both on Arenas’ unique background, and “Freuds Psychosexual Stages Of Development (aka Agent Zero & The Plain Brown Wrapper).”
When Bill Walton says its important “to get your teammates involved” thats the genital stage. In fact Bill Walton is such a supporter of the genital Stage that he got that loving nickname “Dickface”
As luck would have it, this exhaustive entry was published on the very weekend I invited Wizznutzz to take part in CSTB’s 3rd Annual Fantasy Basketball Tournament. Luckily for the rest of the league, Darvin and Dana Ham have respectfully declined.
We are so flattered by your invite to FANTASY!!!
Last time we did roleplaying it involved Rod Strickland in a TGIFridays parking lot and Dana ended up with bruises all up her backside.
Also, Ledell Eackles was a first round draft choice!!!!
We can’t afford to pay for fantasy (except on K Street where hookers are cheap), but if you start a FREE lEAGue, please add us to your friends!! we love free fantasies!! In fact, intern Ken is acting one out right now where he plays the King of Prussia as a nude sado-masochist with a half-smoke fetish.