11.28.06

Metal Mike Moving To The East Bay?

Posted in Baseball at 11:54 am by

The SF Chronicle’s Susan Slusser reports Oakland are looking to replace Frank Thomas’ production with that of Mike Piazza.

the A’s began talks with Padres catcher Mike Piazza last week about becoming the team’s DH. While negotiations are continuing, according to a source, Oakland is unlikely to sign Piazza, a Type-A free agent, until after the Dec. 1 arbitration deadline so that the team does not lose a draft pick. Piazza, who also was an A’s target last offseason, probably is looking for a two-year deal.

Then there’s the spot that will be open when left-handed starter Barry Zito opts for free agency: On Monday, the team put in a bid for the rights to Japanese lefty Kei Igawa, according to a major-league source. As many as 10 other teams also were expected to put in a bid with Igawa’s Hanshin Tigers, including large payroll clubs such as the Yankees and Mets, so it’s a long-shot that Oakland would acquire the 27-year-old, who went 13-9 in the Central League last season.

ESPN.com’s Buster Olney, completely ignoring the appeal of Amoeba Records’ vast selection Savatage rarities at their Berkeley location, surveys the possible move on purely baseball terms.

Oakland is stacked with left-handed hitters such as Eric Chavez and Mark Kotsay, and Thomas provided the right-handed balance. Piazza would serve this purpose, as well — he hit .359 against lefties last season, with a .421 on-base percentage. And in an offseason when the best offensive players are getting six-year deals or eight-year deals, Piazza would probably require only a one- or two-year deal, which would better fit Oakland’s modest payroll.

Olney also stresses Piazza’s low batting average last year at the place Pets Fly Balls Go To Die (.233) compared to a none too shabby .332 away.

Slusser’s colleague, Henry Schulman, along with reporting the Red Sox are insisting on more than Armando Benitez + an unidentified position player in exchange for Manny Being Manny, writes the Cubs have offered free agent P Jason Schmidt $44 million over 3 years.

With Randy Wolf moving to the Dodgers, the Phillies have signed P Adam Eaton to a 3 year, $24 million pact. Apparently, that’s the going rate for a hurler who has never won more than 11 games, and is coming off a short stint for Texas where he compiled an ERA of 5.12 (albiet in a hitter’s park).

It seems as though free agent C Rod Barajas flunked his physical in Toronto. I don’t know exactly what that means, but I’ve always had trouble with the coughing part.

OF David Dellucci, identified earlier this year by baseball expert Tom Hicks (above) as a paragon of toughness and leadership, has signed a 3-year, $11.5 million contract with Cleveland.

CSTB Marketing Dept. Busts Out Of Extended Slump

Posted in Internal Affairs, The Marketplace at 2:28 am by

OK, perhaps the CSTB line of actionwear is selling worse than Bobby V. muscle tees.  There’s no cause for panic, not when your 13th or 14th favorite spurts blog has joined forces with T-Mobile to introduce the Ltd. Edition CSTB Sidekick III.

(photograph by Sally Crewe)

Sports Putz Vs. Joumana Kidd Basher

Posted in Basketball, Sports Journalism, Sports TV at 1:41 am by

Bill Simmons’ recent critique of Celtics coach Doc Rivers not only failed to escape the notice of David Roth, but stuck firmly in the craw of the Globe’s Bob Ryan, who holds the Sports Putz accountable for the anti-Rivers chants that have filled the TD Banknorth Garden of late. David Scott quotes Ryan’s remarks from a Sunday night appearance on Bob Lobel’s “Sports Final”.

From 3,000 miles away, someone who has got some influence on I™d say at least 25 percent of the people who are after Doc Rivers, Bill Simmons. . . UNBELIEVABLE, has written a column last week at ESPN.com assaulting and just killing Doc Rivers.

And I™m telling you that the emails I get reflect the fact that people are paying attention to him from 3,000 miles away, as if he knows what™s going on with the Celtics.

While Scott’s Shots is primed for “a potentially simmering feud between two of Boston™s most influential sports columnists,” a subsequent reply from Simmons is of the taking-the-high-road variety. That aside, I mean no disrespect whatsoever (ok, maybe a little) in observing that the other 75% of Celtics fans that aren’t under the Sports Putz’ magic spell are perfectly capable of reaching a negative conclusion about Doc all by themselves (as Simmons as noted, he’s had about 200 games to get it right). And the 3000 miles dig does Ryan few favors, as Simmons has already cited the “he doesn’t matter, he doesn’t come into the clubhouse card,” along with the somewhat provocative (if you work for a daily newspaper) “I can’t remember a single time when somebody with “inside access” helped elucidate something about the Red Sox, Patriots or Celtics that I couldn’t have figured out myself.”

Seriously, if Boston-area residency is a prerequisite for being allowed to offer an opinion on the state of the Celtics, perhaps Ryan should petition the NBA to limit their League Pass package to those with a Massachusetts zip code. In his recent interview at Sports Media Guide, Ryan refers to the “intimidating” level of access modern technology provides today’s fan, but depending on your point of view, that sort of availability could also be considered helpful, liberating, or even lucrative.

It’s pretty late in the day for Ryan or any other old-schooler to bitch about the suddenly level playing field — not unless they wanna give up their cable TV gigs or ask their newspapers to restrict their compositions to the print editions (and declining readership). If Simmons’ musings are resonating with a larger audience than those of Bob Ryan, whose fault is that? The latter had a pretty gigantic head start, and you’d hope he’d have it in him to let the quality of future work stand up to comparision. I mean, I know who I’m rooting for, but this 3000 miles away bullshit is a pretty weak defense for what might be too close a relationship with the coach in question.

11.27.06

The Video Store Is A Scary Place

Posted in Cinema, The World Of Entertainment at 10:38 pm by

And not just because I almost rented a film co-starring Scarlett Johansson and Darius Miles.

No, my friends. There are far more terrifying options. Val Kilmer IS Moses. (Or, he was). “Ten Commandments : The Musical” IS a digital versatile disc available right now for your purchase or rental. And no matter how poorly received the stage version might’ve been, the results of this inspired combination have been documented for all time. Long after Val Kilmer’s detractors have left this mortal coil, his most triumphant moment since “Top Secret!” will live on and on.

Parcells To Liquored Up Idiot : Get Lost

Posted in Gridiron at 7:12 pm by

Hands up, everyone who thought Terrell Owens’ tenure in Big D would outlast that of Mike Vanderjagt?

While I don’t know what the future holds for Peyton’s least favorite former teammate, I do hope he does a better job of paying his bandwidth bills than Billy Cundiff.

Braylon Edwards has apologized for flipping out on Charlie Frye during the Browns’ 30-0 loss to the Bengals yesterday. Those waiting for Colonel Coughlin to admit wrongdoing for publicly dogging his charges, however, had better not hold their breath.

Marvin Harrison’s been getting some grief on TV and radio today for his early exit just prior to intermission last night against the Iggles, and it’s all my fault.  If I was more reliable, Marvin wouldn’t have to send a last minute text reminding me to Tivo “The Wire” at 9pm.

Mike Shula hasn’t been out of the job in Tuscaloosa for more than a few hours, and already the Miami Herald is speculating that Dolphins coach Nick Saban will be amongst ‘Bama’s targets.

Texas defensive co-coordinator Gene Chizik was introduced as Iowa State’s new head coach earlier this evening. I don’t want to say the folks at Burnt Orange Nation are slightly overzealous, but they seem to have figured out the identity and exact location of Chizik’s likely successor.

Please God, Let No Comedian Dare Mock Joe Buck Like This

Posted in Cricket, Sports TV at 4:57 pm by

Of Billy Birmingham’s impersonations, Richie Benaud once said the Australian journalist turned satirist “shouldn’t give up his day job.” And despite the devestating vote of no confidence from one of his favorite subjects, things have worked out pretty well for Birmingham, profiled by the Sydney Morning Herald on the occasion of Australia’s rather brutal dispatch of England in the first Ashes test (link courtesy The Corridor).

Richie Benaud is so peeved with Eddie McGuire’s cost-cutting decision to sack the entire Channel Nine commentary team – and hire Billy Birmingham to do all their voices and cover the Ashes series himself – that he forms a band called Richie and Da Boyz who do a remake of Birmingham’s song Marvellous in a bid to get their own back against a man who has forged a career out of taking the piss out of them.

Benaud does a round of radio appearances to drum up interest in the song and when he’s asked to introduce Marvellous, he tries to get all hip and funky and says something along the lines of: “A big hello to all my homos out there.” When it’s pointed out that he probably meant to say a big hello to all his homies out there, he admits: “Yup. My bad.”

Boned! is Birmingham’s first album in five years. It will sell like hot cakes. Or, more accurately, it will sell like all his other The 12th Man albums.

“I’m all over the place like a suicide bomber’s sandshoe,” he tells The Sun-Herald.

The 12th Man’s catalogue stands at almost 2million units sold. Have no doubt about Boned!becoming the biggest-selling album at Christmas. All six previous albums from The 12th Man have reached No.1 on the ARIA chart, making Birmingham the only Australian recording artist to have reached top spot with every one of his releases.

“It couldn’t have happened in any other country,” he says. “We’re a nation of sports nuts and piss-takers and all I’ve done is combine the two.”

“I don’t know what Richie really thinks. It all just started with an idea to take the piss out of Richie saying, ‘Welcome back to the SCG’, and then they throw to an ad break and the idea of him breaking wind, perhaps, as soon as the microphones are turned off.”

Secondary Market Yack Radio Pissing Match Continues

Posted in Sports Radio at 4:37 pm by

Simmons Media’s 1530-AM, a station whose few listenable, non-play-by-play moments consist of programming syndicated from ESPN Radio, has long engaged in the most desperate sort of baiting of crosstown sports rival KVET. Recently, the slagfest has turned downright nonsensical.

As KVET is currently broadcasting games for Austin’s D-League entry, the Toros, KWNX/KZNX is running spots mocking the competition’s coverage of “pee wee basketball”, with the voiceover dude (the same one that provides the leering tones for about 90% of the sports stations in the country) sneering “Bakersfield? Sioux Falls?”, then reminding us that 1530 brings the exploits of “Shaq & Kobe” to our transistor radios, courtesy of their Spurs games.

There’s only about a half dozen problems with this particular sales pitch. For one, unless you live next door to their transmitter, 1530′s signal completely disappears after sundown. They could be broadcasting a one-on-one game between Michael Jordan and Jesus Christ, and no one would be the wiser.

For another, it’s kind of amazing that ESPN Austin would go out of their way to mock a competitor for devoting airtime to minor league sports. For much of the spring and summer, the only thing worth listening to on 1530 is the Triple-A Round Rock Express, yet we’ve not heard KVET bragging they bring us Roger Clemens and Lance Berkman while the other guys have to settle for Joe McEwing.

On a similar tip, there’s no use in calling anyone else bush league when 1530 features the Texans every Sunday.

Then again, this is a station whose only original weekday programming consists of the afternoon drive time “Beat Down”, which mercifully replaced the excruciating “Happy Fun Ball Show”. The hosts of said program, Gregg Henson and Dave Tepper, have no doubt moved on to bigger and better things (NPR, teaching careers, selling blood, etc.)

Political Song For John Cougar Mellencamp To Sing

Posted in Basketball, Free Expression, politics at 2:05 pm by

John McCain might no longer be the state of Arizona’s Great White (Political) Hope (link courtesy True Hoop)

Blackhawks Fire Yawney, Tap Savard

Posted in Hockey at 12:22 pm by

Mired in 4th place with a 7-12-2 record, the Chicago Blackhawks have fired coach Trent Yawney and promoted assistant Dennis Savard (above) as his replacement reports TSN.

Sources say the firing of Yawney was attributable to his cautious, defence-first approach and that Hawks’ management is looking for a more aggressive, offensive mindset in terms of how the team plays.

“The bottom line is wins and losses and we needed to win more,” said Blackhawks General Manager Dale Tallon. œWe’ve had some injuries, but in spite of that we’re a better team than our record shows. We’ve won three of our last 15 games and we decided to go in a different direction. We want to play a more up-tempo style game.”

An OT goal by Buffalo’s Chris Drury put a halt to the Rangers’ 3 game winning streak last night, but without the intervention of the Elias Koteas Sports Bureau, I cannot tell you if this is the first or merely the last time a contest at MSG was ended by a former Little League World Series MVP.

(UPDATE : Mr. Koteas has telephoned. Though Pierre Turgeon and Stephane Matteau-Matteau-Matteau were each LLWS participants, of NHL players, only Drury was the tournament’s most valuable player.)

Big Ben Runs Afoul Of Skiles’ Little Hangups

Posted in Basketball, Free Expression, Gridiron at 11:58 am by

(something really needs to be done about ugly headwear)

As noted yesterday, Chicago’s Ben Wallace was MIA for much of Saturday’s win over the Knicks, a benching that had something or other to do with his coach’s distaste for headbands. Amongst other things, writes the Chicago Tribune’s K.C. Johnson.

Sources said Wallace became upset early in training camp when Skiles enforced a team rule to tape ankles. Wallace never taped his ankles when he played for Detroit.

Wallace left practice to get his ankles taped and, unaccustomed to being constricted, had trouble running and sat out most of the practice, the sources said.

Less than a week later, Wallace hooked his MP3 player into a docking station to play music in the locker room before the first home exhibition game. Asked then if he now allowed pregame music inside the locker room, Skiles said he was unaware any was playing.

By the next home exhibition game, Wallace had headphones connected to his MP3 player. The headphones hung from a hook in his locker, with the volume turned up so loudly that music clearly emanated from them throughout the locker room.

Several people within the organization, including players, theorized Wallace was marking his turf for what perhaps was an inevitable clash between two strong-willed men.

George Steinbrenner doesn’t allow the Yankees to wear facial hair. The Knicks demand players wear suits while traveling. And White Sox and Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, who is believed to be behind the no-headband rule, asked catcher A.J. Pierzynski and Joe Crede to get haircuts during last spring training.

What annoyed Wallace, a source close to the player said, is that he wasn’t informed of the no-headband rule until after he signed his four-year, $60 million free-agent deal.

Less than three weeks after being hired in 2003, Skiles uttered this classic quote in regard to a standoff with Eddie Robinson: “I’ve never lost a battle of wills in my life. And I don’t plan on doing it now.”

Wallace, who called himself “stubborn” in the preseason, clearly viewed his decision to wear a headband as payback.

I realize a holiday weekend has just concluded, but I am very surprised Hard Wood has been unable to collect Ben’s iPod playlist. So far, anyway.

Color me bitterly disappointed that Jay Mariotti had nothing to say about this burning issue in today’s Chicago Sun-Times, instead, choosing to crucify the overmatched Rex Grossman. I realize the Bears’ loss at New England is a big story, but if anyone could be counted on to defend Big Ben’s civil liberties, I’d think it would be someone who has been a pioneer for men wearing mascara in the workplace.