Who Says Homeland Security Has No Sense Of Humor?

Posted in Baseball, Total Fucking Terror at 6:33 pm by

(pic taken from Telstar Logistics’ Flickr page, link swiped from Boing Boing.net)

The next time we hear about the crap quality of the modern wood bat, just remember that Louisville Slugger is wasting valuable sticks on dubious works of conceptual art.

Mike Mussina would like it known the same point could just as easily have been made with an aluminum bat.

Slow Week For Sports News : 3rd Val Kimer Reference In 72 Hours

Posted in Cinema, The Marketplace, The World Of Entertainment at 4:29 pm by

Radar Online (link swiped from Defamer) on Val Kilmer’s Paul Newman-esque line of organic foodstuffs.

In Kilmer’s case, the revenue would be earmarked not for charities but to support his lavish lifestyle. “It will all be 100 percent organic, 100 percent profit,” he says. “Here’s why: I like my GTO convertible. And if you’ve got a vintage car, you’ve got upkeep. I have two gorgeous children. My son’s school costs more per year than my four years at Juilliard, plus rent and airfare back and forth.”

I can sympathize. So much so, that after David Pinto gets his cut from CSTB’s advertising revenues, I’m going to send an additional 5% to Val.  Based on the video evidence below, he needs the money far more than I do.

Urban On Dunleavy At The Crossroads

Posted in Basketball at 2:38 pm by

The Examiner’s Mychael Urban submits that Don Nelson’s 2nd tour of duty as Warriors coach will have one of two results for Mike Dunleavy, “with Dunleavy either having finally validated the Warriors™ decision to make him the No. 3 overall draft pick in 2002, or with him having made Chris Mullin look like a fool for giving him a five-year, $44 million contract extension last fall.”

(AP photo by Dino Vournas, SF Chronicle, 10/04/04)

Dunleavy, despite a combination of size and all-court skills that seem to scream NBA success, did very little in his first four seasons in the league. In fact, his greatest contribution to the basketball world over that time was in adding fuel to the fire of every Duke hater who likes to point out ” with plenty of supporting evidence ” that Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski runs a system that almost never produces a four-year player who can thrive at the next level.

Nellie™s run-run-run system, designed to create and exploit mismatches all over the floor, is built for multi-dimensional players like Dunleavy. So it™s possible that, with time, Dunleavy will flourish in this system and develop into a star worthy of his lofty draft status.

If that happens, he™ll either be a valued contributor here for a long time, or he™ll be shipped out at the February trade deadline while his value is high enough for a one-complementary-piece-away contender to willingly take on his salary.

If it doesn™t happen, Dunleavy will be here a long time ” or at least until the Nellie Era II ends ” without contributing, because (a) Nellie doesn™t dole out playing time based on cap figures (right, Adonal Foyle?) and (b) no team will want a seemingly prototypical œNellie player who can™t actually play for Nellie.

The Association’s Craig Kwasniewski would prefer to “wait until AK-47 and Boozer put in 30 games before we count the Jazz as contenders,” surely a reasonable stance. But 13 double doubles in 16 games isn’t what anyone expected from the previously statuesque Carlos.

Gilbert Arenas writes that he and Adam Morrison hung out all night playing video games. Anytime Agent Zero wants to keep that kind of thing private, it’s ok with me.

The New York Daily News’ Frank Isola
, along with mentioning that Steve Franchise expects Nate Robinson to carry his bags, pays homage to the Knicks’ Quentin Richardson.

Eddy Curry and Jamal Crawford look up to Richardson because he is an unselfish, tough-nosed player who doesn™t make excuses and actually cares whether the team wins or loses. It™s all about having credibility and nights like last night when Richardson out-plays a superstar like LeBron James, he earns the respect of all his teammates.

The dilemma the Knicks now face is when Jared Jeffries returns from right wrist surgery in three to four weeks. Jeffries is a good defender and can handle the ball on the perimeter. However, Jeffries is not an accomplished shooter and one of Richardson™s strengths is that he stretches the defense because of his ability to shoot threes.

Unless Thomas is thinking about using the weak rebounding Jeffries at power forward, the best move would be to keep Richardson as a starter and bring Jeffries off the bench.

Plenty of (lousy) seats available for December and January Knicks games at MSG, $10 each.

Ever wondered what former Hoosier PG Isiah Thomas and his old Indiana coach Bobby Knight might talk about if they got back together? Me neither, but the conversation would probably go something like this.

The National Female-Friendly League

Posted in Gridiron at 1:46 pm by

From Reuters’ Michele Gershberg :

Market research conducted by the NFL found that women sports fans want marketing addressed to their interests but don’t want to feel like they are being treated differently from men, Goodell told the Reuters Media Summit in New York.”It’s a very big initiative,” he said. “(Women) fans want to be treated as real fans because they love the game and they understand the game and they want to have the opportunity to experience the game just as anyone else does.”

Leave The Man Alone’s Head Chick In Charge welcomes Goodall’s sentiments, and has a number of suggestions, amongst them, “Give Us A Little Eye Candy”.

If the NFL is going to shamelessly stick their cameras up cheerleader’s skirts, then they can make sure the women have a little something to look at too. I don’t want a bunch of Tony Reali clones, but this can range from just making sure the male on-air talent looks their best all the way to giving the ladies a few shots of the guns and some close-ups of the handsome guys.

H.C.I.C., if it is eye candy you want, eye candy you shall receive.  CSTB is all about giving the lady humans what they want.

Red Sox Sign Okajima

Posted in Baseball at 1:26 pm by

From the Boston Herald’s Michael Silverman and Tony Massarotti.

The Red Sox have signed Japanese relief pitcher Hideki Okajima to a two-year contract with an option for the 2009 season.

Okajima, who will turn 31 on Christmas, is a 12-year veteran of Nippon Professional Baseball. He has been a quality setup man in the Japanese leagues, playing 11 years for the Yomiuri Giants and last season for the Nippon Ham Fighters.

Last season, Okajima went 2-2 with a career-best 2.14 ERA in 55 appearances for the Ham Fighters. In his career, he is 34-32 with a 3.36 ERA. He has pitched 642 innings in 439 games, recording 41 saves while striking out 681.

Although primarily used as a set-up man, Okajima did save 25 games for the Giants in 2001. That year he appeared in 58 games, striking out 70 in 62 innings of work. The year before, he struck out 102 in 72.1 innings.

Though not said to be a hard thrower, the word is that Okakjima has a devastating curveball.

Boston has also signed the 178th Scrappiest Human Alive, Super Joe McEwing (above) to a minor league contract.  Having watched Joe’s heroics for the Round Rock Express this past season, I can say to the people of Pawtucket with full confidence…you’re a very short drive from Providence.

I don’t spend a lot of time trying to find nice things to write about Derek Jeter, but I’ll give the Captain a little bit of credit : I’ve not read any complaints from the Yankee shortstop that he was jobbed out of the MVP Award.  If Prince Albert can’t take some solace in a measly World Series ring, he might want to consider how close the Cards came to missing the playoffs altogether.

The New York Daily News’ Adam Rubin spoke
with Tom Glavine’s agent Greg Clifton, who claims the Braves have yet to make a bona fide offer to his client.  Clifton says Atlanta’s hesitancy is making a Glavine return to Flushing more likely, and at the risk of imitating Steve Keane, make up your fucking mind, already.

The Importance Of Staying On Your Web Hosting Company’s Good Side

Posted in Baseball, The Internet at 11:18 am by

Please note that the Dow rose 90 points, or nearly three-quarters of a percent yesterday. This can’t be a coincidence.  (thanks to Repoz for the heads up)

Sharper Laying In Wait For ReX-Rated Grossman

Posted in Gridiron at 10:39 am by

(funny, the sort of things that pop up when you type “wild, cocky, brash QB” into Google image search)

C’mon, why won’t anyone just tell us exactly what Rex Grossman said to the Vikings’ Darren Sharper? The Chicago Sun-Times’ Bradd Biggs, despite doing such great work for Slash Records years ago, totally falls down on the job.

”I’ve never had a quarterback say the things he said, and I’ve been playing 10 years,” Vikings strong safety Darren Sharper said Wednesday of the September meeting at the Metrodome in which Grossman threw a game-winning touchdown pass to Rashied Davis with 1:53 to play. ”I’ve gone against some wild, cocky, brash quarterbacks. I felt like he stepped over the line a little bit.”

‘He was running his mouth pretty much the whole game, and especially when he threw that last touchdown. He came over and said some things to my fellow safety and a couple of our defensive players. … It’s one of those X-rated things where I can’t say it.”

”When we finally got the touchdown pass, I probably went overboard a little bit with some of my emotions, some of the things I said,” Grossman said. ”But it was in that moment.

”I never talk trash. You don’t want to get them pumped up. But at that point … maybe that was the only situation where I could let it go. It was pissing me off. I couldn’t help but say something.”

It’s Round 2 of bad blood for the division rivals. Bears center Olin Kreutz shot back at Vikings defensive tackle Pat Williams last season before the teams’ second meeting. Williams had called Kreutz a ”joke,” and his agent suggested Kreutz had blackballed his client in Pro Bowl balloting. Kreutz replied by labeling Williams a ”fat slob.”

Because The Mazilli Bar Never Made It Out Of R&D

Posted in Baseball at 1:27 am by

The consistently solid No Mas — the folks responsible for the no. 1 blog headline of 2006, “Claire Huxtable, You Are So Fuxtable” — reminded us that yesterday marked the 30th anniversary of free agent Reggie Jackson signing with the New York Yankees.

Good luck to the producers of the mini-series version of “The Bronx Is Burning” if they think they can tell their tale (Oliver Platt, gimme a break) without reenacting the above advertisement. I know the commercial was shown a year after the events in the book, but who is going to complain? Tom Sizemore? Barry Pepper?

Please Lord, Don’t Let The Pod People Harm Eddy Curry

Posted in Basketball at 1:07 am by

I hate to pick on Isiah Thomas for no reason whatsoever, but the heck with the EEOC. The FBI oughta be called in to determine just what Zeke did with the real Eddy Curry. Some hulking imposter with an orange headband totally beat up on Zydrunas Ilgauskas in New York’s unlikely 101-98 dispatch of Cleveland. Perhaps the Cavs might wanna have someone else taking the big shot when the game is on the line other than Donyell Marshall or Damon Jones. Just an idea. Not sure if they have anyone else on their roster who might fit the bill for that sort of assignment.

Quentin Richardson (27 points, 9 boards) continues to bounce back from his miserable ’05/06 campaign, and if half of Jamal Crawford’s shots keep going in, his almost pathological inability to dish off to an open man won’t be nearly as galling.

Nate Robinson badly botched a dunk attempt on a bounce pass to himself during the 2nd quarter. In Nate’s defense, at least he only missed this try once.

From Dave D’Alessandro’s Star-Ledger mailbag :

Dave: When this season started, did you ever think the Nets could be the first division winner to fail to make the playoffs? It’s not that far fetched right now. It’ll all be better by mid-January, right?

Big E: No, and yes. And you better hope I™m right, or you™re going to read nothing but realignment pieces throughout March and April.

Big E. can rest somewhat easier tonight — despite an underwhelming 6-9 record, the Nets are atop the Atlantic Division after erasing a 15 point 3rd quarter deficit en route to tonight’s 106-103 win in Boston. Jersey withstood a combined 56 point outburst from The Truth and Wally World, with a terrific night from Jason Kidd (19 points, 9 assists, 8 rebounds) and 16 4th quarter points from Vince Carter. Richard Jefferson’s 3-pointer with 22 seconds remaining was the killer blow, as Paul Pierce came up short with a subsequent 3 point attempt a few seconds later.

Though he came awfully close to a triple double (24, 9 and 9) Baron Davis failed to sink what would’ve been a game-icing jumper with 15 seconds left tonight in Oakland, giving the Pacers the ball, trailing 106-105. Stephen Jackson, who knows a thing or two about shooting sprees, drained a 3 with a tick remaining to give Indy the 108-106 victory. Mike Dunleavy threw the Warriors’ last gasp possession to….Al Attles? Tim Hardaway? Sal Bando?

Utah’s AK47 (9), Carlos Boozer (16) and Matt Harpering (12) combined to outrebounded the entire San Antonio squad as the Jazz won their 13th out of 16, 83-75. They’re not handing out MVP hardware based on November alone, but no one in the league has made a bigger impact this month than Boozer.

DC Sports Bog’s Dan Steinberg
reports that Gilbert Arenas’ eBay affliction has graduated from vintage jerseys to rare Sports Illustrated covers. I wanted to get Wizznutzz’ take on these revelations and was greeted with the following message for my trouble :

Between the above disappointment and the sudden disappearance of Baseball Think Factory, I’m running out of places to steal material from.


Differing Perspectives On Flash’s Philanthropy

Posted in Basketball, The Marketplace at 8:58 pm by

One of the more annoying commercials of late hasn’t escaped the notice of Stay Free! Daily’s Matt Ransford.

Dwanye Wade pulls up to an urban basketball court in his Navigator, replacing the hoops, flooding the kids with balls, and tossing the keys to the coach. He then squeaks away in the shadow of a tractor trailer on a child-sized bike. The obvious point here is Wade is making such a tremendous sacrifice that he’s got no option other than to ride a shitty little bike home. Put aside the ridiculous idea that Wade doesn’t have the cash to call a cab (or that it’s somehow more virtuous to suffer along with those you’re helping) and you’re left with the notion that people who ride bikes to get anywhere do so because they can’t afford a car. Or a properly-fitting and well-oiled bike, for that matter.

I can’t stand the ad, either, but for entirely other reasons. I found nothing weird about D-Wade on a bike — I see guys on bikes that are too small for them all the time, and besides, he’s a damned athlete. He oughta be cycling home (in fact, so should Shaq. This would’ve been a perfect ad for the Diesel).

My hangups with the spot are two-fold. If Flash is really such a terrific guy, dolling out hoops, balls and Navigators-to-the-kids, I’m happy to hear about it. But the whole staged, highly stylized exercise is less about about giving-something-back and all about selling Navigators. I wasn’t likely to purchase a one anytime soon (having already bought an Escalade from Eddie Griffin —- other than some mysterious stains, it was in perfect condition), but if I was, I’d think twice if I saw D-Wade on TV giving them away so easily. It just makes the rest of us feel like suckers.

The advert’s biggest flaw is the scene that Matt describes as Wade “tossing the keys to the coach.” How do we know he’s a coach? He’s not identified as such, and for all we know, could just as easily be some homeless dude hanging around the playground. Nice work, Dwayne, you’ve just given a $50,000 SUV to some random guy on the street. After the shot of Wade peddling away from the basketball court, we’re shown the Navigator zooming up the same street. Surely I’m not alone in thinking the “coach” is behind the wheel with no passengers in the Lincoln’s roomy seats.

Finn : You’re Gonna Miss Manny When He’s Gone

Posted in Baseball at 8:16 pm by

ESPN Radio’s Eric Kuselias was agog over the Manny Ramirez trade rumors this afternoon, insisting, over and over again, “there has to be more to this,” as though there’s some incredible secret about Manny’s disruptive behavior the Red Sox have covered up to maintain his trade value.

Boston Sports Media’s Bruce Allen claims WEEI’s Glenn Orway went down a similar path Monday (“He said all the fans and websites out there who have been blaming the media for Manny bashing will then be amazed at the ‘hair raising’, ‘off the chart’ stories that will come out after he is traded. (Sounds like the leaking has already begun.)” but also highlights some sage words from Touching All The Bases’ Chad Finn.

It’s not like I don’t understand why the Sox would consider shopping him. He’s going to be 35 next season; the decline has to begin sometime, and his aching knees may already be a harbinger. And if you believe the whispers – certain to be a full-fledged smear campaign once the deal is consummated – the home clubhouse may not be such a welcoming place for him anymore.

of all the rumors floating around out there right now, not one of them strikes me as particularly beneficial to the 2007 Red Sox. Scot Shields and a prospect from the Angels? Throw in Brandon Wood and Howie Kendrick and we’ll talk. James Loney and Matt Kemp from the Dodgers? Intriguing, especially if Theo’s goal is to bolster the Pawtucket roster for the summer. Scott Linebrink from the Padres? C’mon, Theo, don’t get pantsed by Kevin Towers again.

There’s one question that every Red Sox fan should be pondering right now: How in the hell does trading Manny make the Red Sox better?

Will they get an equal talent in return? Highly unlikely, unless Albert Pujols should suddenly get caught looting Tony La Russa’s office or Texas foolishly parts with Mark Teixeira after a down year.

I’d feel better about this if only they were doing it for baseball reasons. Instead, they seem intent on trading a diamond for three cubic zirconiums, just to rid themselves of the Manny Melodrama. Heck, noted baseball historian Hazel Mae attempted to sum up that mind-set tonight on NESN: “Getting rid of Manny might not be as great as it sounds,” she bleated. I don’t even know what the hell that means. It’s like she was channeling McCarver.

Even with the headaches and midsummer vacations, he’s been worth every single Benjamin of his $160 million contract. You want reliable? Despite missing 42 games with a busted finger in 2001, he’s averaged 142 games per season with Sox, a number his supposed successor in the cleanup spot, the infamously indifferent J.D. Drew, has surpassed twice in his nine-year career.

Is Rod Barajas The New Carlos Boozer?

Posted in Baseball at 7:11 pm by

Though I suggested in an earlier entry that Rod Barajas had flunked his physical with Toronto, according to the Blue Jays, it’s the catcher’s spine that needs some fixing up. From MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian.

On Tuesday, Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi (above) said that Barajas and the Jays had “more than a handshake,” regarding the two-year contract the catcher was offered. On Wednesday, at a press conference to announce the re-signing of catcher Gregg Zaun, Ricciardi acknowledged that Barajas actually signed before backing out two days earlier.

“Where I’m from, that’s done,” Ricciardi said. “If your word doesn’t mean anything any more or your signature doesn’t mean anything, what kind of world do we live in? It’s all right, though. This worked out for the better. “The original two agents agreed, and they did a great job — a super job,” Ricciardi said. “Your word is supposed to mean something. What does that say to the agents you just did a deal with? You’re going to get a new agent and start renegotiating? No.”

Afterwards, Riccardi pissed away most of his remaining credibility by paying Royce Clayton $1.5 million dollars.
Reliever Joe Borowski, coming off a 36 save campaign for the Marlins in ’06, has apparently flunked his physical with Philadelphia. The Phillies’ doctor advised against a multi-year pact, but refrained from comment about Borowski’s pending entry in the upcoming Wing Bowl.

In addition to ranking the 5 Worst free agent signings (so far) this offseason (Gary Matthews Jr., Juan Pierre, Carlos Lee, Adam Eaton, Nomar), Fox Sports’ Dayn Perry pays homage to Omar’s thrifty pick-up of the Man With The Pissy Hands.

In this overheated market ” and when you’re the deep-pocketed Mets ” a one-year, $8.5-million pact is basically free. Alou has poor fielding range these days, and he’s gimpy. However, he can still rake (.304 AVG/.371 OBP/.548 SLG over the last three seasons). The Mets badly need better production from the outfield corners, and they also badly need help against left-handed pitching. Alou betters them ” by a lot ” on both counts. This deal is further evidence that Omar Minaya has developed into one of the smartest GMs in the game today.

I didn’t think there was a lamer nightspot on Earth than Blondie’s, but it would appear as though A-Rod and Derek Jeter have found it.

Dodger Thoughts’ Jon Wiseman reminds his lucky readers that today marks Vin Scully’s 79th birthday. This seems as good a time as any to mention that I was really underwhelmed by the performance of Scully impersonator numero uno Harry Shearer in Christopher Guest’s disappointing “For Your Consideration.” Later, however, I saw Will Arnett on “TRL”, at which point, I had to give Shearer and Guest just a tad more credit for realism.

Paging Katie Hnida : Barnett Wants The Wolfpack Job

Posted in Gridiron at 5:20 pm by

The Wilmington Star’s Andrew Jones listens to Gary Barnett’s sales pitch.

In a telephone interview Wednesday afternoon, Barnett said nobody from N.C. State or representing N.C. State had called. But he™d be willing to discuss the position, vacated when Chuck Amato was fired this past weekend.

œI am interested in getting back into coaching, Barnett said. œBut, it™s got to be the right school.

œN.C. State would be a great job and I™d be interested in it.

Barnett believes the ACC is a great league for coaches and that it™s the right time to enter.

œWith the ACC being in the position it is in, not a dominant conference this year, this is a good time to get in there, he said. œButch Davis is now down at North Carolina, and he™s a great coach, but (Wake Forest coach) Jim Grobe may be in position to move.

Barnett says former Wolfpack coach Chuck Amato did a great job generating enthusiasm for football and increased its importance among the fan base and university. He doesn’t see N.C. State as a basketball-first school.

œIt™s tough any time you™re the second sport, he said. œIt™s got to be the right fit.

Jones is careful to point out that Barnett was “exonerated of all wrongdoing” at Colorado.

Lopez Goes Hyperlink Crazy Over Bonzi The Bust

Posted in Basketball at 4:04 pm by

Using linked jpgs of Jeff Van Gundy’s skull, Tom DeLay and Paris Hilton, the Houston Chronicle’s John P. Lopez takes dead aim at the Rockets’ most unsuccessful free agent acquisition of late.

If Bonzi Wells cared, he’d be on the floor by now. If he was unselfish, he’d take four minutes a game and not complain. If he had any sense whatsoever, he would walk into coach Jeff Van Gundy’s office with hat in hand and apologize for showing no class, no ambition and no sense of professionalism.

Trading Bonzi gets complicated, because there are restrictions on recently signed free agents. There also is the whole complex issue of showcasing him for other teams that might be interested.

In order to showcase him, he needs to get onto the floor. But if he gets on the floor, he’s hurting the good thing the Rockets have going.

Talk about a dilemma. Still, the guy is a bust. Flat-out. A big, embarrassing bust. Somehow, someway, the Rockets need to ditch this guy. The only thing he can do from here is hurt the team.

(Current) Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley takes great offense at the notion Pau Gasol is on the trading block, telling the Memphis Commercial Appeal’s Ronald Tillery, “I’m going to contact Cleveland to try and get LeBron James. So put in the paper that Cleveland’s interested in getting rid of LeBron James.”  Ha, ha. Funny stuff, but shouldn’t these executive decisions by all rights, rest with incoming Director Of Basketball Operations Christian Death?

Bad enough there’s another Stephon Marbury disappearing act to analyze ; the Sun-Times’ John Jackson claims former Bulls center Eddy Curry is held accountable by some for Chicago’s suddenly notorious headband ban.

After plowing his Escalade into a parked car while beating off to a pornographic DVD last Spring, the T-Wolves’ Eddie Griffin was assigned the most qualified of guardian angels, Vin Baker. Presumably, Mark Chumura and Isiah Rider didn’t return Kevin McHale’s phone calls.

Former Syracuse PG Gerry McNamara has left Olympiakos B.C. after a dispute over playing time. The Syracuse Post-Standard’s Mike Waters suggests McNamara is bound for the NBDL, which will surely come as a crushing blow to the ABA’s Rochester RazorSharks.  I don’t wanna say the ‘Sharks are desperate for an attendence boost, but how would you describe their employment of the kid from “Love Monkey”?

The bad news is the Nets have hired two women in their (early) 80′s for their new senior citizen dance squad. The good news is, there’s very little chance either one of them will hit Patrick Ewing with a paternity suit in the future.

Strahan : “I’m Not A Negative Guy”

Posted in Gridiron at 3:23 pm by

“I’m done talking…and I’ll see you Thursday.” (mp3 audio from WFAN)

The video footage is even better. We’ve seen countless athletes throw a fit with reporters, but how many of ‘em did so while eating a doughnut?  Beat that, Ryan Leaf.

Geography 101 With Mike & The Mad Dog

Posted in Baseball, Sports Radio at 1:27 pm by

The Yankees’ controversial posting bid of $25 million for Kei Igawa is the main topic of discussion for WFAN’s Mike & The Mad Dog today, with the hosts expressing great skepticism about the relative worth of the Hashin Tigers’ left-hander.

“You don’t know what you’re getting with these Japanese players,” warned Mike Francesca (as opposed to say, All-Americans like Carl Pavano). After one caller opined that Igawa was a poor option compared to Ted Lilly, Francesca surmised “so he’s more like Kaz Ishii than (Chien Ming) Wang”.

Wang was born in Taiwan. Igawa might also have more in common with Horacio Ramirez than he does with Barry Zito.

It Couldn’t Happen To A Nicer Guy

Posted in Hockey at 12:55 pm by

Kings race relations expert Sean Avery suffers a) “a masticating hit” and b) the indignity of hearing Chumbawumba while he’s trying to regain his senses (link swiped from Offwing Opinion)

Bobby Holik (above, left) returned to MSG last night and had a pair of late goals, including the OT game-winner in Atlanta’s 5-4 decision over the Rangers last nightThe New York Daily News’ John Dellapina, perhaps ignoring the fact Holik is wearing another team’s sweater, wonders “what, exactly, did Bobby Holik do to deserve Garden booing?”

He signed a ridiculous contract (five years, $45 million). But nobody forced the Rangers to offer him that kind of money. And do New Yorkers really resent somebody hitting the lottery — or at least being fortunate enough to hit the open market at precisely the right time — the way folks in other NHL outposts seem to? I never thought so, but apparently we do.

Was he outspoken and critical of the team? Absolutely. But he had always been precisely that as a Devil. So the Rangers knew exactly what they were getting. Besides, he was usually right on in his criticisms — the Rangers WERE œfundamentally, the worst team in hockey when he made that proclamation following the absurd 9-1 thumping at Ottawa in Jaromir Jagr™s Rangers debut on Jan. 24, 2004.

And his reaction that astounding morning when Jim Dolan and Steve Mills wobbled onto the ice in Anaheim during a Rangers practice — he disgustedly stormed to the other end of the ice to pound a puck against the boards in embarrassed frustration — was perfectly appropriate.

Bobby Holik was the least of the Rangers™ problems while he was here and could well have been part of the solution had he been deployed properly. Alas, he was just one more player whose talents were wasted during the Reign of Error from 1998-2004. And now, he gets booed for it as well.

Indisposed Peeping Tom Vs. Plaxico Fantastico

Posted in Gridiron at 11:40 am by

(fuck those Wendy’s ads, sometimes being stuck in the middle is the worst place to be)

In the wake of Michael Strahan kinda-sorta-maybe calling Plaxico Burress a quitter after the wide receiver gave up on an overthrown Eli Manning pass Sunday, WFAN’s Joe Benigno-Gazingo is reporting there’s been some type of spat at Giants practice this morning.

Even a football neophyte like Shea Hillenbrand could tell you the ship is sinking, and with each passing day, Colonel Coughlin seems headed for a Douglas Niedermyer ending (ie. shot by his own troops). Though it seems as though Burress would have an unfair advantage if forced to go toe-to-toe with the injured Strahan, keep in mind that Dr. Ian Smith might have the latter’s back.

(UPDATE : You’ll have to go to ESPN.com or WFAN.com to hear the lovely soundbites from Strahan in severe Kill The Messenger Mode. “Look a man in the eye before you kill him and make up something…if you’re gonna talk to me, don’t stand in the back with ten other people.  I’m glad ESPN is listening to WFAN, that’s a good thing,  at least we listen to each other and read each other’s newspapers around here. I read you guys every day..I’ve been reading you guys for ten years. If you’re gonna be negative, be negative, I don’t give a damn.”

Apparently, Strahan’s rebuke of Burress on the Benigno-Gazingo show qualifies as veteran leadership, but the media asking Burress to respond earlier today, is dirty pool. I’ve not heard a Swampland resident have such a WTF moment with the local media since Chad Pennington insisted the scribes were privileged to be covering the Jets.)

(UPDATE DOS : Mike Francesca has weighed in on Strahan’s public implosion : “Move on, it’s not that big a deal.” Always the team player that Francesca, way to piss all over Benigno-Gazingo’s moment of glory. At the moment, Francesca and Russo are discussing a truly big deal : New Cannan’s 49-14 defeat of Coventry in the CIAC Semi-Finals.)

Peavy For Manny?

Posted in Baseball at 11:13 am by

While warning that Boston’s pending deal with J.D. Drew is a prerequisite to shipping Manny Ramirez elsewhere, the Globe’s Gordon Edes is a little more specific than most about what the Red Sox might expect in return.

The Sox remained deep in Manny Ramírez trade talks with the Padres, with San Diego sweetening its original offer, according to a source with direct knowledge of the talks. The Padres are offering major league players for Ramírez, a package that presumably would have to include one of two pitchers: prime setup man Scott Linebrink or ace Jake Peavy. The Sox also have coveted Adrian Gonzalez, a lefthanded-hitting first baseman who put up outstanding numbers in his first full season in 2006: .304, 24 home runs, 38 doubles, and 82 RBIs.

The Dodgers, because of their wealth of appealing young talent — outfielder Matt Kemp, first baseman James Loney, third baseman Andy LaRoche, reliever Jonathan Broxton — and their paucity of power are becoming a popular choice among industry speculators as a Ramírez landing spot. But their position is still somewhere on the periphery, as they weigh whether they want to part with their kids. There were strong indications yesterday, however, that the Sox would pay at least a portion of Ramírez’s salary.

In addition to the other teams that have been identified as potential trading partners (Rangers, Phillies, Giants, Orioles, Mets), there may yet be a team or two that has not surfaced publicly. A team mentioned as a possibility should the Red Sox insist on a slugging bat in return: the Mariners, who are not shopping third baseman Adrian Beltre or first baseman Richie Sexson but might be persuaded to part with one or the other in a Ramírez deal.

Reminding us that “it’s still November and the Orioles already have bought four relievers for more than the Tampa Bay Devil Rays’ projected budget,” the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly applauds the O’s “moxie” in fixing their bullpen, but would prefer to see the free agency shopping come to a halt.

Basically, the Orioles must abandon the dream that they are the Detroit Tigers 2.0 and everything will miraculously mesh in 2007. They must acknowledge that this team is headed for fourth place again and there are no big league-ready reinforcements in the minor leagues. Then they need to spend the next 10 months identifying, acquiring and developing a few players who will be under the club’s financial control for several years and who can complement the existing core of players signed through 2009.

The Orioles can’t repeat the sins of the past, when they thought they were a couple of players away, became desperate when they lost their top choices and stuffed their roster with overpaid, second-tier free agents.

You think Houston’s payout of $100 million over six years for Carlos Lee is a waste of money? Consider that, in the past six years, the Orioles spent roughly $100 million total on free-agent busts David Segui, Marty Cordova, Omar Daal, Rafael Palmeiro, Sidney Ponson, Javy Lopez and Steve Kline.

Each year, the Orioles seemingly arrive at this point, and then proceed to steer their ship into the iceberg once Plan A melts. Alfonso Soriano and Lee, their top target, were too pricey. Starters Barry Zito and Jason Schmidt are still available, but the word within baseball circles is that neither has the slightest interest in coming to Baltimore. No matter the money, no matter the years.

What’s left is a bucketful of Plan B’s and C’s on Desperation Aisle, where the Orioles end up using their rich uncle’s credit card every year. Free agents such as Jay Payton, Aubrey Huff and Trot Nixon likely will get multi-year deals. The Orioles shouldn’t be joining those parties.

The truth is that for the Orioles to replicate the success of this year’s Tigers, they probably need to strip down the organization to its skivvies and start again. Trade off anyone over 30 and rebuild for 2010, when most of the organization’s best prospects could be ready to emerge.

The Pirates, along with having inked reliever Damaso Marte to a two year extension, are amongst those sniffing around starter Jeff Suppan, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Dejan Kovacevic.

Building The Chelsea Brand (Of Bullshit)

Posted in Football at 1:25 am by

While their Guardian colleague John Brodkin focuses on the poor value for money provided by slumping Chelsea striker Andriy Shevchenko (above), the Fiver’s Barry Glendenning and Mike Adamson turn their attention to the Blues’ nefarious fund-raising efforts around the world.

Living as they do under an authoritarian and notoriously censorious regime, Chinese citizens have long been fed a steady diet of propaganda. But as if being subjected to the particular doctrines and principles of an evil Communist Party isn’t bad enough, the lives of 1,306,313,812 people are about to get a whole lot worse now it’s emerged that Chelsea are to produce a Mandarin-language website in a move to build the “club’s brand” in the Far East.

“Clearly we are becoming more popular and this is the right time to take that to the next level,” droned the club’s business affairs director Paul Smith, suggesting the Premiership champions are the object of far less derision in China than they are at home. “The real winners of this co-operation are the fans themselves who will now have far easier access to the world of football,” declared Charles Chao, chief executive of Chinese internet portal Sina, no doubt referring to fans whose only previous access to the world of football involved long hours in the sweatshop sewing footballs and replica shirts.

Tony La Russa Still Believes In Santa, The Easter Bunny….

Posted in Baseball at 12:49 am by

….and dingers!

(a loyal but possibly unintelligent animal. In the foreground, a cute doggy)

Cards skipper Tony La Genius spoke with the AP yesterday and offered a staunch defense of Hall Of Fame candidate Mark McGwire.

“I’ve believed in him from day one. I still believe in him,” La Russa said Tuesday in a telephone interview.

“I’ve watched him for years and years and years work out and take care of himself, and if any of us do that, we get bigger and stronger,” La Russa said.

For La Russa, it’s hard to gauge whether McGwire is being treated unfairly because of his refusal to answer questions at the congressional hearing.

“I know people are struggling with how to put it in perspective,” he said. “I don’t know where it goes. I don’t know how people weigh. I don’t know how the public feels. To me, the issue is the player that I saw for years and years. I believe in him. And that’s where I leave it.”

This isn’t the first time La Russa has stood up for McGwire ; in August of ’05, he claimed Big Mac’s prowess was the result of work and nutrition, along with blaming McGwire’s embarrassing showing before Congress on the ballplayer having been “over-coached.”

When the inevitable ESPN mini-series rolls around, I’d still like to see Jim Belushi playing La Russa, with the role of McGwire tackled by one of the more intense thespians of this or any generation, Val Kilmer.

On the other hand, reuniting Henry Rollins and Kilmer after their triumphant pairing in “Heat” might be too great a temptation for the producers to resist.


The Kid’s Career Opportunities

Posted in Baseball at 11:19 pm by

Following Manny Acta’s hiring in DC, there’s a whole bunch of openings in the Mets organization that Gary Carter might be able to choose from, writes the Palm Beach Post’s Eric “Don’t Call Me Kembra” Pfahler (link taken from Baseball Think Factory)

Gary Carter said he is one of three internal candidates interviewing for the New York Mets’ third-base coaching job.

The other two candidates include Ken Oberkfell, who last year managed the Triple-A Norfolk Tides, and Hobe Sound resident Howard Johnson, who was the Tides’ hitting coach.

Carter said he has been offered a job managing the Mets’ Double-A team in Binghamton, N.Y., but the Eastern League is not tempting.

“I think (the pay) would be actually less if I went there because of the tax implications,” Carter said of the New York income tax rate. “And, really, to be honest with you, I just don’t know if my body can hold up to those bus rides ” nine, 10 hours.”

Carter said he might consider coming back as the St. Lucie manager, but he could be promoted to the Triple-A manager if Oberkfell is named the major-league team’s third-base coach.

Metsblog’s Matthew Cerrone floats a rumor the Braves have offered Tom Glavine a one year deal worth $8 million. Considering Glavine’s performance over the last season and a half, along with recent tremors in the marketplace, it sounds like Atlanta are expecting the pitcher to honor one heck of a hometown discount. Given what it would cost to replace Glavine in the starting rotation, the Mets can easily justify blowing the Braves’ offer out of the water.

In the midst of crazed grandstanding surrounding Mark McGwire’s inclusion on the Hall Of Fame ballot (is anyone else troubled by the thought of Wally Matthews having a vote?), the Daily News’ Adam Rubin writes the Red Sox are actively campaigning on behalf of Jim Ed Rice.

Making Friends All Over The World

Posted in The Woah at 11:08 pm by

(video link taken from WFMU’s Beware Of The Blog and Ken Freedman.  For the first and hopefully last time, the Beware Of The Blogs’ comments have dropped below those of Deadspin on the nitwit scale).

Passing Time Waiting For The Kevin Durant Lottery

Posted in Basketball at 8:10 pm by

The last time I watched a maroon wearing visiting team do-their-thing in Austin, Colt McCoy left the building in an ambulance. From the looks of the grey meat being sold by one of the city’s lamer barbeque emporiums, they might need an entire fleet tonight.

I’m gonna have to watch the replay of the Knicks’ rematch with Big Ben’s bandless-skull (not to mention Duke/Indiana) later on. At the moment, I’m surrounded by snowcones and talcum powder (I assure you, that’s not a euphamism for anything) at the Frank Erwin Center, watching Texas’ Kevin Durant lay waste to a hopelessly overmatched Texas Southern.

Durant, oft compared to Kevin Garnett (and hopefully he’ll hook up with a point guard that we cannot compare to the professional version of Stephon Marbury) has 15 points in limited duty, as the Longhorns are up 47-20, with 4:32 remaining in the first half. A week ago, Texas allowed the Aussie-heavy Nicholls State to hang around for about 15 minutes, but there’s been no such hospitality this evening.

(UPDATE : Texas 90, Texas Soutern 50, finale! 22 points, 7 rebounds, one block  and a pair of 3′s for Durant without breaking much of a sweat in 23 minutes).

Mets Lose Bradford To O’s

Posted in Baseball at 6:50 pm by

Terrific. I spend a couple of days making fun of Baltimore’s big offseason signings being Roger Cedeno and Danys Baez, and this happens. From SI.com’s Jon Heyman.

Reliever Chad Bradford has agreed to a $10.5-million, three-year deal with the Baltimore Orioles, SI.com has learned.

Baltimore also reached a $900,000, one-year deal with Scott Williamson, who can earn an additional $600,000 on performance bonuses. He was scheduled to take a physical Tuesday.

Heyman’s report attributes Baez’ ’05/’06 stats to Bradford, but that’s ok. I’ve made worse mistakes. That whole Nelson/Francisco Liriano business, for example.

St. Louis’ signings for Tuesday include 2B Adam Kennedy (re-united with former Halo teammate the World’s Scrappiest Human), P Kip Wells, backup backstop Gary Bennett and C Eli Marrero.

The Journal News’ Peter Abraham is reporting the Yankees have won the negotiating rights for LHP Kei Igawa, paying somewhere in the ‘hood of $25 million to the Hashin Tigers. Never mind Barry Zito, even Gil Meche and Vicente Padilla are getting text messages from Ferrari salesmen.