Though the sacrificial lambs made a game of it for most of the first half, ultimately, A.J. Abrams and Kevin Durant (44 combined points, the latter’s 5th straight game with 20 points or more) were too much to withstand. Texas’ freshman C Dexter Pittman was impressive in limited duty (8 points, 6 rebounds in 12 minutes), and had the pleasure of detailing his recent weight loss after the game to a delighted KVET audience.
Every year, the Yankees recently have allowed themselves to be romanced by hurlers with success in the National League. This year, instead, they are focused on pitchers like free agent Ted Lilly, a lefty who has spent much of his career in the brawny AL East and sports a 3.81 lifetime ERA against Boston and solid numbers against nemesis David Ortiz.
By contrast, two other free agents on the market, the A’s Barry Zito and Gil Meche of the Mariners, don’t fare as well against the Yankees’ biggest rival. Zito is 5-5 lifetime against Boston, but his ERA is nearly a full run higher than Lilly’s – 4.78. Zito was 2-1 against the Sox last season, but had a 5.51 ERA. Ortiz hits him pretty hard, too – 10-for-24 (.417) with two homers.
The Yankees are leery of pursuing pitchers with NL backgrounds this winter because of the mixed success they had with Javier Vazquez, Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright, who came from the NL. So it seems unlikely they will pursue the likes of Miguel Batista, Adam Eaton, Jeff Suppan and Jason Marquis.
Miss SunsGossip: Boris!
Guard #4: Keep it moving, let’s go!
Miss SG: Boris! Boris! BORIS!!!
Guard #4: [physically restraining Miss SG] LET’S GO!
Miss SG: Boris — let me holla at you! Ay, why did you say — in the book — why did you say you don’t date American women, you only have them? What was that about?
Boris Diaw: I didn’t say that!
Miss SG: That’s what it said in that Jack McCallum book.
Boris: Ah no, he’s lying.
Miss SG: He’s lying? Ok, that’s good to know.
Boris: No, no, no. I meant “date” like not “dating.” Like friends who only date and not somebody else.
Miss SG: [unconvinced/confused] Okaaay… Thank you!
Boris: [smiling and waving] You’re welcome.
“We believe we have found a partner that shares a lot in common with what our company is about,” said Jazz President Dennis Haslam, noting that the Jazz- owning Larry Miller Sports & Entertainment Group had talked to 15 to 25 companies, including bankruptcy plagued Delta, about naming rights for the arena.
He also said Miller Sports & Entertainment had checked out EnergySolutions and was aware of its controversial past, particularly the activities of former Envirocare of Utah executive Khosrow Semnani, who was implicated in a bribery/extortion scandal involving a former state regulator. Nor did Jazz officials have problems linking their company to a hazardous waste disposal facility.
“We have a confidence level with the business practices at EnergySolutions and the business they’re in,” he said. “They are cleaning up the country, and becoming a solution to nuclear energy problems is important.” Larry Miller said any initial concerns he had disappeared after he learned more about EnergySolutions’ business.
“Some people might vaporlock or panic. There’s no need for that,” he said. “The first thing I’d say to anyone who is uneasy or would make a controversy out of it is ‘Find out what you’re talking about’ . . . It’s a safe business and a necessary business based on alternatives going forward.”
Energy Solutions’ CEO Steve Creamer said the decision to acquire the naming rights’ sponsorship was part of an aggressive rebranding campaign designed, in part, to educate the public about the importance and safety of handling low-level radioactive and hazardous wastes.
(google image search is letting the side down, so here’s a more contemporary pic of Larry Lifeless)
Proving once again that the Sickness’ “Regurgitation” isn’t everyone’s idea of a slow dance number, The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman out-Mushnicks the real thing with the following missive aimed at NBC Sports.
On Sunday, during a Rams-Panthers highlight package, the good folks at “Football Night In America” decided viewers could not live without seeing video of Carolina wideout Steve Smith vomiting into a trash can.
The garbage can was in the vicinity of the Panthers’ bench. This was not a new end zone celebration orchestrated by Mr. Smith, agruably the NFL’s premier receiver. Smith was still feeling the effects of the flu, which hit him one week ago.
Can’t you just hear the producers of “FNIA” discussing the merits of airing Smith barfing? People actually are well paid for making these decisions.
Even Bob (Rapping Roberto) Costas, as he described Smith’s up-chuck, seemed perplexed about his colleagues’ decision to ram the video down America’s collective throat.
I don’t know if Raissman’s aware of the sweeping changes in the entertainment industry, but I’d argue that during an era in which even my parents are capable of watching a TV star commit career suicide on YouTube, the networks are under unusual pressure. Perhaps in Bob’s day, the technicolor yawn wasn’t consider suitable family entertainment, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Smith’s urge to purge formed the foundation for an upcoming major motion picture. I’m pretty certain Shaq’s “Shazam” was launched on less.
Twins 1B Justin Morneau was named the 2006 AL MVP today, beating Derek Jeter by a narrow margin, proving once again that the Twin Cities media bias is unrelenting and oh-so unfair. I didn’t see Morneau comforting A-Rod last year, either, so what’s up with the Captain’s harsh treatment?
Lugo, 31, was a favorite of new Cubs manager Lou Piniella’s with the Devil Rays. His athleticism intrigues the Cubs, who could field an electrifying lineup if they added Lugo to a mix that will include Soriano, first baseman Derrek Lee and third baseman Aramis Ramirez ” and eventually Felix Pie.
The likelihood of Pie’s emergence ” possibly in 2007, probably no later than ’08 ” has caused the Cubs to back off free-agent center fielder Gary Matthews Jr., who would block Pie, 21, if he signed a long-term deal. Lugo, on the other hand, would be versatile enough to return to the infield ” that is, if he doesn’t sign with the Red Sox to play shortstop or the Mets to second base.
Matthews, 32, could seek a contract in excess of the five-year, $45 million deal that free-agent center fielder Juan Pierre will receive from the Dodgers. The Angels, Giants and Rangers are known to be interested in Matthews. The Phillies, Orioles, Astros, Brewers and Mariners also could be fits.
With the Mets and Angels supposedly focused elsewhere (Zito, Gary Matthews/Veron Wells respectively), the Boston Globe’s Gordon Edes suspects the Rangers will be interested in the suddenly-affordable Manny Ramirez.
While talks have remained quiet, the Sox have pushed Texas owner Tom Hicks to once again consider trading for RamÃrez. The Sox and Rangers discussed a RamÃrez-for-Alex Rodriguez swap three years ago, the deal falling apart under the immense weight of the money involved. This time, according to multiple sources, the Sox would like to pry All-Star shortstop Michael Young away, but there has been little evidence that the Rangers would part with Young.
One industry executive insisted the Sox were dangling outfielder Wily Mo PeÃ±a to the Nationals for closer Chad Cordero, though Nationals GM Jim Bowden, through a club spokesman, denied any such discussions. Bowden, who traded for PeÃ±a when he was with Cincinnati, has long held PeÃ±a in high regard.
Trouble is, Cowherd and his acolytes continually refered to the contrite N-bomb dropper as “Kramer”.
While I have no stake in “Seinfeld” DVD sales nor Kenny Kramer’s suddenly ill-fated tours of the nation’s dinner theatres, the following needs to be stressed : “Cosmo Kramer” was a character on a television series. A very popular television series, but a work of fiction, nonetheless. Michael Richards, however, is an actual, living, breathing person. Whether or not being so closely identified with one iconic character could in any way be traced to an inability to cope with life’s obstacles (being heckled, “Airheads”, etc.) I can’t say for sure. I mean, we’ve not witnessed Mark Hamill going nuts (though it’ll be on YouTube when and if he does). But it would probably make sense, just for the sake of consistency, if nothing else, to acknowledge this unsavory episode was not the handiwork of Kramerica Industries’ CEO.
On this sad day (link courtesy Nick McGaw), we’ll try to fixate on “Nashville”, “M*A*S*H”, “Short Cuts” and “The Player”, while doing our best to disregard “Popeye”, my significant other’s first home video experience (presumably, Blidworth’s video shoppe was all out of “O.C. & Stiggs”).
1) thanks mostly to UT’s loss to Michigan State at MSG last Thursday, the Longhorns are out of the Top 25 for the first time in nearly two years.
2) A victory tonight would move Rick Barnes (above) into 2nd place on Texas’ all-time win list (195, trailing Tom Penders’ 210).
3) Admission this evening is free with the donation of one canned food item. I’ve got an ample supply of Cock Soup for such occasions (though it also comes in handy when dealing with hotlinking bandwidth thieves), so I’m there.
(for Bruins guard Adrian Affalo, the entire paragraph below is kind of gratuitious)
While watching DePaul lose to Kentucky (followed by UCLA’s squash of Chaminade), I fondly recalled some of the Thanksgiving Week upsets of years-gone-by. Mostly family arguments and episodes of road rage stuck on the Connecticut Turnpike, but I digress. Years ago, I’ll admit I thought it would be nice to raise a family, and if I ever had a girl, Chaminade would be a terrific name. Of course, that was before I learned that standing next to a microwave oven while watching “Three’s Company” would have devestating consequences on my ability to reproduce. Let this be a lesson to the rest of you — sometimes, there’s a price to be paid for multi-tasking.
New York’s superstar PG duo of Stephon Marbury and Steve Francis had plenty of time to bond, critique the Knicks City Kids and watch Nate Robinson deny Yao Ming (above), as the pair were benched for looooong stretches of last night’s 97-90 loss to Houston. Isiah Thomas told Newsday’s Ken Berger “it wasn’t really personal,” which should come as a big relief to all the fans attending MSG because Steph and Stevie are so charming.
“I was just trying to reach and grab for anything that I could to try to stay in the game and try to win the game,” Thomas explained.
But when asked if Marbury and Francis still are his starting backcourt, Thomas said, “Um” before pausing for several seconds and adding, “Yeah.”
Marbury, who had three points and shot 1-for-2 from the field in 19:35, clearly was frustrated in the locker room.
“I don’t understand that,” Marbury said. “We were in the game for like two minutes.”
Actually, it was 65 seconds, and Marbury was in Thomas’ office longer than that after the crowd at his locker dissipated. Thomas walked into the hallway and called, “Steph” just as Marbury was about to leave the building. Marbury turned around and walked in for a closed-door meeting.
Marbury came back into the game with 8:31 left, and Francis replaced him with 5:46 to play, but the two weren’t on the floor together after they were pulled.
“It’s a tough thing to deal with, but it was a decision that was made by the coach and I can’t do anything about it,” Francis said. “I’m never going to try to be a guy to comment on something that the coach did. . . . I’m going to be professional about it.”
The benchings were brought on by consecutive turnovers by Francis and Marbury to start the third quarter. The Knicks trailed 52-45 when Jamal Crawford and Robinson replaced them.
Asked if he feels as if he’s on a short leash, Marbury said, “If I had to go on tonight, I would say yeah.”
For the second straight meeting, Eddy Curry came up smaller than Earl Boykins: eight points, 3-for-10 shooting and two rebounds in 21:05. “I think I did a lot better this time around,” said Curry, who had seven points and shot 2-for-11 the last time he faced Yao.
As the few in attendence continue to make their displeasure known (doing so, it should be noted, not nearly as forcefully as Rangers fans expressed themselves during their club’s lean years), Thomas argues that such protests give solace to the opposition, a stance The Feed’s Josh Alper aptly describes as “Bush-like”. From the NY Post’s Marc Berman.
“You shouldn’t feel so comfortable that you think you can give your best performance in our building,” Thomas said. “We shouldn’t let you feel that comfortable, our fans or our players. Shine in someone else’s arena. Don’t shine in ours.”
So there you have it, folks. Unlike Larry Brown, who rarely missed an opportunity to bury one of his players with the press, the current coach saves his public lectures for the paying customers.
Newsday’s Berger comes up with the quote of the night from Jeff Van Gundy, who along with doing a terrific job as one of the principals behind The Social Registry Label, made the following observation regarding the lumbering wallflower that is Eddy Curry.
“Meanness has little to do with basketball … If you want mean, you can just go to Attica and you’d have a hell of a team. I’m just not sure that’s the No. 1 quality that you need on a team.”
….but plenty of Carlos Boozer, the former immoveable object-turned-unstoppable force (above) put up 35 in Utah’s 101-96 defeat of the Raptors Monday night, a result that left the Jazz (10-1) with the NBA’s best record. Their last 4 wins have come without the services of Andrei Kirilenko — and in the presence of Scott Layden (I’m not sure which is the bigger handicap). Paul Milsap had 20 points off the bench for Utah on an evening in which T.J. Ford, Chris Bosh and Fred Jones (the 3 Raptors whose names I can spell easily) all shot well beneath 50%.
There’s gonna be a Richard Nixon dollar coin in 2016. I’d like to think Gilbert Arenas’ might come sooner, but Agent Zero’s got another type of electoral recogntion on his mind. Perhaps too much so, if The Hype’s to be believed.
The usually reliable Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported earlier today that OF Juan Pierre (above, left) is on the brink of signing with Los Angeles of Los Angeles and “is believed to be seeking $9M a season and his contract could be for as long as five years.” Which makes J.D. Drew seem like a great deal at 5 years for $55 million. Seriously, now would be a good time to start throwing the “collusion” word around. As in, owners, agents and players are all colluding to spend all available revenue on mediocre talent.
XM’s expert analyst Kevin Kennedy is awfully impressed by the pending move, hailing Dodgers GM Ned Colletti, “for not just sitting around. If J.D. Drew doesn’t want to play for the Dodgers, you’ve got to make your move.” Indeed, a lesser baseball executive — say, a calculator-wielding person named Paul — would handle the situation very differently, either sitting on his hands until Opening Day, or even worse, offering J.D. Drew an ownership stake in the ballclub.
UPDATE : 5 years, $45 million. Then again, if the Cubs are willing to pay their new leadoff hitter (the one who struck out 160 times last season and ranked 91st in OBP), $136 million, who am I to scoff at Ned Colletti?
If you thought Kansas City Royals were going to stand pat this offseason, well, think again. The rest of the AL Central is trembling in fear upon learning KC has acquired Johnny Jason LaRue from the Reds for the always popular player to be named later. Bob Dutton says this “adds catching depth” and during a close season when Alberto Castillo finds work, I suppose that makes sense.
Andre Waters, a defensive back who spent most of his 12 seasons in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles, was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound early Monday. He was 44.
His body was found at about 1:30 a.m. at his Tampa home, the medical examiner’s office said. He had shot himself in the head. Toxicology reports were ordered and results will be available in four to six weeks, the office said.
Waters’ body was found by his girlfriend, Hillsborough County sheriff’s spokeswoman Debbie Carter said. The woman’s name was not available, and the sheriff’s office had no further details, Carter added.
Waters, an assistant football coach at Fort Valley State in Georgia, joined the Eagles out of Cheyney State in 1984 and played with them at cornerback and safety through 1993. He was known as one of the NFL’s hardest hitters and often was fined for some of his tackles. He spent his last two seasons with the Arizona Cardinals.
According to industry sources in Colorado, the Rockies’ search for a center fielder may end with Mets’ prospect Lastings Milledge (above, left). Given the Mets’ repeated interest in Rockies’ pitcher Jason Jennings, Colorado figures an even-up swap of the two players would be an even deal. They would be figuring wrong. œMinaya’s not getting rid of Milledge, laughed on Mets’ insider. œWell, at least not for that package. He likes Jennings, but there are plenty of other options out there as good as Jennings that (can be signed) and not have to give up any players. One MLB official said that the “Mets are prepared to keep Milledge, even though it might be crowded in the Mets’ OF for 2007. “He’s that good, or at least they think he is.”
I’m not sure how much weight to put in any of this, but given the tremendous effort those in and outside of the Mets organization have put into tarnishing Milledge’s reputation, straight up for Jason Jennings sounds like as much as they’ll get.
Ryan Howard was named the 2006 NL MVP earlier today, with Albert Pujols, Lance Berkman and Carlos Beltran finishing 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively. Apparently, Mike Cameron received a pair of 3rd place votes, while Bronson Arroyo and Jason Bay received one each. I had no idea the BWAA had opened balloting to the same folks who pick the Plug Awards’ nominees, but there’s no harm having some new voices in the mix.
Many Russian bookmakers refused to take bets on certain matches, saying their outcome was pre-determined, while CSKA’s main rivals, Spartak Moscow and Zenit St Petersburg, accused the army side of benefiting from favourable refereeing decisions.Match-fixing allegations reached new heights near the end of the season following CSKA’s controversial 1-0 win over Zenit on Nov. 5, which virtually sealed first place for the Moscow club.
The Russian FA later acknowledged that the referee had made crucial errors in disallowing two Zenit goals while wrongly awarding CSKA a penalty which they scored.
The match was also marred by a number of altercations, notably a scuffle between CSKA’s Brazilian striker Vagner Love (above) and Zenit’s Dutch midfielder Fernando Ricksen.
After initially suspending Love for punching Ricksen, the league’s disciplinary committee reversed its decision and allowed the Brazilian to go unpunished. Love then scored a hat-trick against Vladivostok to clinch first place for CSKA.
Both the New York Times’ Marek Fuchs and the Journal News’ Mike Doughtery preview tonight’s Rockets/Knicks game from the perspective of the impending Yao Ming/Eddy Curry mismatch. As you’d expect, Isiah Thomas pleads with Doughtery for patience, claiming “big men are always slow to develop when you compare them to small men. We have a lot of time. We’re not asking Eddy to dominate the league at 23 years of age.”
At the risk of seeming pendantic with the Knicks’ President & Head Coach, Curry turns to 24 in two weeks and this marks his 6th year in the NBA. I don’t think he’s been asked to dominate nearly as much it would be great if he held his own at either end of the floor with any sort of consistency.
From the look of items in today’s Toronto Sun and Chicago Tribune, it would be fair to say that Chris Bosh has grown weary of putting the Raptors on his back, night in and night out. The latter entry comes from Sam Smith, who writes of Portland’s premier gangsta-not-a-Blazer (the player’s words, not mine) :
“Snitch bitch ratheads get Swiss cheesed up.” This allegedly was yelled by a member of Zach Randolph’s posse, according to a suit filed in Portland by a man accusing Randolph and former Trail Blazers teammate Qyntel Woods of harassment. It is one of two suits filed against Randolph in the last month, the other by a woman who alleged sexual assault. Despite his problems, Randolph is eighth in the league in scoring at 26.6 per game. The comments were believed not to be a part of the NBA Cares program.
The Toronto Raptors have five European players and one American-born one who starred in the Euro-league in Anthony Parker. That’s a lot of soft bigs with outside shooting touches, srcappy/flopping guards and ZERO clutch play. So what’s the direction there, are they trying to market themselves as Euro-friendly? Should we expect cigarette night or crazy chick day or deodorant free zones in Air Canada Centre?
Or does the scouting staff just look for reasons to write off trips to Europe. Paris with the kids, write-off; Venice with the wife, write-off; Monte Carlo with the mistress, write-off.
Not that Sharpe is short of achievements of his own, not least the contract he has secured to advertise a baldness cure in the newspapers despite having what appears to be a full head of hair. I mean, he’s no Russell Brand, but neither does he seem to be in immediate need of a magic potion. Among Sharpe’s other accomplishments is a brilliant hat-trick at Arsenal in the Rumbelows Cup in the 1990-91 season which, according to a review on Amazon, is mentioned 43 times in his autobiography.
I do not believe that for a moment, although I should declare an interest here. I was commissioned once to write a biography of Lee Sharpe, which a publisher thought would be a cracking story of sex, drugs (alleged) and spats with Alex Ferguson which I, with my minimal experience of all of the above, might be the ideal person to chronicle.
After a few meetings, including a trip to Iceland to watch Sharpey – as it is almost impossible not to call him – at the Icelandic league club Grindavik tossing away one of his many last chances, I abandoned the project simply because he was not in the mood to sit in the psychiatrist’s chair and had no intention of answering the question hinted at in the opening paragraph. He was just too damned cheerful, I suppose, ascribing his failure to win more than eight England caps to bad luck with injuries, pernicious rumours about drug-taking, and unimaginative management, which seemed to me a fairly dull tale.
If Sharpey was unprepared to break down and cry before me, who had left his car at a Travelodge near Glasgow airport and taken a flight to Reykjavik to see him, he was hardly likely to do so for the children’s TV presenter Jake Humphrey – very assured and credible, I thought, on his debut on Football Focus – who asked him to comment on Ryan Giggs’s success (Giggs replaced Sharpe in the United team, and his rise more or less mirrors Sharpe’s fall).
As usual, Sharpey said nothing of any great depth but smiled winningly and looked pleased to be there, which is half the battle on TV. He also suggested impishly that England would win their Euro 2008 qualifier in Israel easily, four- or five-nil, the kind of wrong-headed prediction you never get from your more serious pundit.
When I interviewed him his big hope was that a book about him would kick-start his TV career, which he seems to have achieved in spades. He is cropping up increasingly as a pundit on Sky and BBC, despite appearing to have as much interest in tactical formations as Alan Hansen has in Celebrity Love Island.
The Dallas Morning News’ Evan Grant reports the Rangers, rebuffed in their efforts to sign Frank Thomas, have inked DH Frank Catalanotto to a three year, $13 million pact. For those of you who lost track of Catalanotto since his performances alongside Claire Danes on “My So Called Life,” he’s been playing baseball of late in a place called Canada, and did rather well last season (.300 BA, .376 OBP, 131 hits).
We all know that as much as Jeter did to help the Yankees prevail in 2006, he could have done more.
Yes, that is a reference to the Alex Rodriguez stuff.
If Jeter hit 34 homers and tallied a .559 slugging percentage, his clubhouse conduct wouldn’t even be scrutinized. But the Yankees’ captain hit 14 homers and compiled a .483 slugging percentage. That’s a significant enough difference to take into consideration. There is no more valuable play in the game, after all, than the home run, and Morneau more than doubled Jeter’s total.
There’s irony that, for so many years, media folks have extolled Jeter’s praises, saying his statistics don’t fully explain his value. This year, his stats speak very well to his value.
Hands up, everyone who thought Drew Brees could pass for a half century against the Bengals and lose. Still, however many of you fall into that category, you’re probably a bigger party than those who counted on Chad Johnson (above) having an insane last two weeks (17 catches, 450 yards, 5 TD’s against San Diego and New Orleans respectively) after an especially quiet start to ’06. If the past fortnight is any gauge, Charlie Frye is going to have the game of his life next Sunday. While watching Carson Palmer and Ocho Cinco tear up the Browns’ D, however.
NBC might have the advantage of the NFL’s flexible scheduling, but there’s no guarantee the contests will be competitive. So with that in mind, the Peacock Network got their money’s worth tonight. San Diego beat Denver, 35-27, as L.T. had yet another fantastic game (4 TD’s, 179 yards total offense) and the Pseudo-Snake struggled, all-too typically (13 for 28 passing, 1 INT, a fumble after getting creamed by Shaun Phillips with 24 seconds remaining). The Jay Culter Era starts right about…now.
I respect Eric Mangini’s coaching cajones, but an onside kick to start the second half against Chicago is just not wise. Despite leading the NFL in points per game with 33.7 coming into Sunday, the Bears remarkably have no ability to score points on offense. Why give them the ball in your own territory to start the second half? Plus, isn’t that one of the more obvious times to expect an onside kick?