12.27.06

Berman : Stevie Franchise Is A Thief

Posted in Basketball at 12:33 pm by

The Knicks’ Steve Francis is AWOL and there’s not even a Super Bowl party for an excuse. From the NY Post’s Marc Berman.

As the Knicks gathered for practice today after a two-day Christmas Break, Steve Francis did not make it. He was delayed because of “fog” back in his hometown Maryland.

“Fog” is a good description on where Francis’ head is at right now. Isiah Thomas fined Francis for not showing up, even though he probably wasn’t going to play tomorrow vs. Detroit and even though he was back in Maryland on Christmas Day for a charity function for his Steve Francis Foundation.

Yes, Francis is stealing money – about $16 million this season. If Francis is angling for a medical retirement (the insurance would pay a good chunk of his remaining salary), the Knicks would probably be all for it. The Knicks will have just two guards tomorrow in Marbury and Jamal Crawford.

Kill Marbury all you want. But he wants to play basketball, wants to be a Knick. You can’t say that for Francis. Isiah must be killing himself for making the trade on Larry Brown’s behalf, giving up a sound prospect in Trevor Ariza. Check the standings. Orlando is doing quite well without Francis.

The LA Times’ Jason Reid
is amongst those who predict a Ron Artest/Corey Maggette swap between the Kings and Clips to happen sooner rather than later. Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel assesess the likelihood of an Artest/Hedo Turkoglu trade by saying of the Tru Warier “to put it diplomatically, has been loony tunes throughout his NBA career.” I wasn’t aware we were expected to know all these clinical terms.

Randy Foye : not wearing a Sixers jersey as some of us figured last month, and bailing out the T-Wolves, who came very close to blowing a 25 point lead at home to Da Bulls.

I’m not sure which of the following two items is more satisfying ; Carmelo Anthony taking boxing lessons, or the significance of Shaq calling Phil Jackson “Benedict Arnold” being lost on history buff Kobe Bryant.

Get Off The Air : Keane Take Aim At Wilpon TV

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, Sports TV at 10:46 am by

There’s no shortage of quality blogs about the New York Mets. So many, in fact, that the old joke about “wouldn’t it novel to meet a Mets fan who didn’t have a blog?” seems like less of a gag with each passing day. But with all due respect to the quality sites listed to your right, I maintain a soft spot deep down inside for Steve Keane’s Ed Kranepool Society. Not only does Keane’s effort predate most of the nuevo breed, but he recalls no other columnist (with the possible exception of The Weekly World News’ Ed Anger) in his uncanny ability to go positively batshit over the sort of minor annoyances most persons are oblivious to. Much like Al Goldstein’s “Fuck You” segments on “Midnight Blue”, Keane raises life’s petty injustices to the level of war crimes with the sort of tone that makes me genuinely fearful for his family and neighbors.

In short, he’s the closest thing to a role model I’ve had in years.

Yesterday, he surveyed the state of the Mets’ SportsNet NY. (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory) This isn’t the first time Steve’s done battle with the forces of cable television, and I doubt it will be the last.

As much as I hate to say it the YESSSH Network runs rings around SNY. As far as programing goes. It™s a real head scratcher how the Highlanders can show games from the 70™s and early 80™s (as does MASN with Orioles Classics) and all SNY can come up with is Game 6 and 7 of the 1986 World Series. There has to be archive over at Ch. 9 in Seacaucus that has footage of Lindsay Nelson™s sports coats or of John Matlack giving up Roberto Clemente™ 3,000 and last hit ever or Willie Montanez and his stutter step home run trot, or George Theodore and Don Hahn colliding in the outfield or of stud pitcher Craig Swan or how about a rookie phenom named Dwight Gooden. How could there not be any tape of Gooden™s incredible rookie season?

What™s the saddest part of the SNY fiasco is how elated Mets fans were when we found out œwe were getting our own network. Little did œwe know that the œwe who should be happy are NY Jets fans as the Jets get more air time than the Mets. Fucking incredible!

Whoever is in charge of programing has to have a last name of Wilpon or Katz or maybe even Mangini because anyone else would not only be banned from programing a TV network they would be banned from ever getting possession of a remote control.

Where is coverage of Winter League Baseball? Why not have a live call in show? How about hiring anchors who are actually alive? Make a deal with ESPN for the rights to Home Run Derby. Give Petey his own show kind of a Dominican Joe Franklin Show. How about a show that features Mets players of the past and by past I don™t mean the 1986 Mets. A kind of Where Are They Now. I want to know what Don Bosch, Ken Boswell, Wayne Garrett and Duffy Dyer are up to these days. How about a reality show that features Keith Hernandez trying to find his way home after a night on the town?

Lawrence Frank Vs. Blatant Localism

Posted in Basketball at 9:16 am by

(With apologies to all surviving Jody Foster’s Army fans)

Last night’s 92-91 loss to the Pistons was one of the more soul-crushing of late for the struggling Nets, and the Newark Star-Ledger’s Dave D’Allessandro was on hand to transcribe the testimony of the aggrieved party.

To a man, they thought — they knew — that Jim Clark’s crew cost them the game by failing to whistle Rasheed Wallace for hard contact on Carter, just one second before he released the final shot.

“Blatantly obvious,” said Lawrence Frank, who had shouted “That’s (bleeping) horrible” at ref Tom Washington as he left the floor, before being redirected toward the locker room by assistant Tom Barrise. “I saw it on tape. That’s how the game works. They ain’t going to change it. It’s obviously a foul. I’m sure if it was looked over again, they would say it’s a foul. But the call wasn’t made. It’s a shame. It’s a real shame.”

Jason Kidd, nominated to vent for the team, let the crew have it with several separate remarks.

“Officials take pride in their job, but tonight was a disgrace in officiating coming down the stretch,” the Nets captain said. “It’s disheartening. … If we’re gonna get screwed like that, we might as well not show up.”

(video footage of the fouls-that-weren’t, via ESPN.com)

Helmetless Wolverine Dead At 93

Posted in History's Not Happening, politics at 12:23 am by

Golf buff, 38th American president, and the single biggest boost to the career fortunes of Chevy Chase.

12.26.06

Who’s Having The Worst Boxing Day/Night?

Posted in Basketball, Cricket, Football, Gridiron, Hockey at 8:14 pm by

(Birmingham’s Cameron Jerome — unconcerned with D-League trivia, but wouldn’t mind seeing a YouTube highlight of another Ovechkin goal)

a) England’s cricket team, well on their way to a 4th consecutive defeat to Australia in this year’s Ashes.

b) Washington Capitals goalies Brent Johnson and Ollie Kolzig, who combined to allow 6 Sabres goals in the space of 11 minutes.

c) the Memphis Grizzlies, currently trailing the Wizards, 95-66 in the third quarter in DC, with Gilbert Arenas having missed just 3 quality shots from the floor while tallying 31 points.

d) Queens Park Rangers, 2-1 losers at Birmingham City this morning, their 6th defeat in their last 7 matches. While the Stupor Hoops are staring relegation the face, Birmingham will enter 2007 with a comfortable lead in the Football League’s highest division.

e) anyone who is participating or witnessing the Motor City Bowl.

With all due disrespect to the above examples of futility, I’m going to look closer to home for December 26th’s saddest case. Austin’s NDBL entry, the Toros will have a hard time avoiding their 12th consecutive loss, as they currently trail the Lakers’ feeder team, the Defenders, 65-47 at intermission.. Though to be fair, from the looks of the Defenders, no one is going to be fed anytime soon.

Though the always reliable B.J. Elder has 13 points for Austin, LA’s Andre Patterson adn Aloysisus Aanagonye are having a particularly easy time in the paint, while Brian Chase’s shooting touch might not be nearly so hot if a few of his attempts were actually contested.

Brad Buckman’s not removed his warmup top. And that’s not because it’s chilly in here.

I’m not sure what training room facilities they have at the Convention Center, but former Dookie Jay Williams has been rubbing a balm of undetermined orgin all over his thighs while occupying a seat behind the Toros’ bench. Supply your own Jackie Childs joke : Williams has connected for one 3-pointer in a little less than 10 minutes of play.

As usual, I’m surrounded by empty seats. Hat’s off to the D-League’s scheduling genius that decided it would be a great idea for a team in a college town to play 4 home games between December 23rd and 30th. Though the 3rd game of said homestand on Thursday is going head-to-head with a Longhorns home game, Saturday’s clash with Idaho will afford CSTB’s local readership a rare opportunity to reconnect with Peter John Ramos.

Halos Opt For Hillenbrand’s Winning Personality

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 5:53 pm by

Great news for any selfish, unmotivated residents of the Angels’ clubhouse ; free agent 1B Shea Hillenbrand is bringing his chalkboard advice iconoclast ‘tude to Anaheim, having signed a one-year, $6.5 million deal earlier today.

Baseball Prospectus’ Will Carroll hints there’s a blockbuster-a-brewing, with Atlanta in the middle of the conjecture.

The Braves are in full dump mode, trying to get something for Andruw Jones, trying to find Jones™ replacement on the cheap, and working more on the bullpen. Leo Mazzone isn™t there to build a bullpen out of dreck anymore. So how does this all work together? Why trade a young player like Andy LaRoche if they™re trying to control the payroll? Why deal Jones right now rather than at the deadline? The team is determined to find a solid bullpen and think they can do it with a series of deals that include LaRoche, Mike Gonzalez, Andruw Jones,  and several CF candidates that I™m told include Rocco Baldelli, Curtis Granderson, and Nick Markakis. The deals appear to also have some other big names like Tim Hudson, Mark Teixeira, and Dontrelle Willis on the peripher.

MLB.com’s shilltastic Mark Newman is kind enough to let us know the above love(less) seats are sale priced at a mere $999.00 through December 31. (link swiped from Hot Foot).  It’s quite a deal, admittedly, but I’m holding out for the Spine-Melter 2007.

Misunderstood Comic Genius’ Legal Woes

Posted in Free Expression, The Law, The World Of Entertainment at 5:17 pm by

(Gallagher and Gallagher II, in happier days)

If he’s not being overshadowed by no talent hacks like Jim Carrey and Tom Hanks, he’s being sued simply for pursuing his unique brand of performance art. Nearly a year after his last CSTB appearance, Gallagher is back. From the AP :

Comedian Gallagher, known for smashing watermelons during his performances, was accused of shoving an audience member in Branson, Mo. last summer and now faces a lawsuit.

Leo Gallagher, 59, was to perform at the Moe Bandy Theater in Branson from June 16 through Sept. 4.

Marcy Kowalski alleged the comedian swore at her and bruised her arm when he pushed her back into her front-row seat.

Branson Partners said it had received an agreement from Sold Out Shows, Gallagher™s promotion company, saying the comedian would not use œfoul language and there would be œno physical altercations to the Branson staff or audience during his appearances.

œFrom the very first show, there was a lot of foul language, said Deborah Shoodhatler of Branson Partners.

Kowalski dropped her complaint with the Branson Police Department after she settled with Gallagher for an undisclosed sum.

Gallagher has faced similar allegations, including in June, when a patron said the comedian slapped him during a Las Vegas performance.

I know this is off topic, but I think it’s terrific that a Christgau fave like Moe Bandy could have a theatre named after him. There’s still hope for the Reducers to have an ice rink dedicated in their honor.

Schizo Mariotti Vexed Over Rex Benching

Posted in Gridiron at 2:22 pm by

The Chicago Sun-Times’ Jay Mariotti (above), opining on the matter of Bears QB Rex Grossman being lifted during Sunday’s 4th quarter against Detroit.

For all the fretting about the Rexyll-and-Hyde quarterback, his fluctuating performances and his supermodel-body-fat passer ratings, he should have stayed in the game Sunday. How are we supposed to know if Rex Grossman can direct a fourth-quarter comeback drive in January if Lovie Smith doesn’t let him try in December? This was the perfect situation for confidence-building and faith-healing, was it not?

Instead, what we have is the mysterious rekindling of a quarterback debate that had been assumed a dead issue. Riddle me this, Lovetron: If Grossman is your starter for the postseason, as you continue to insist, why risk even the slightest strains of another public controversy by inserting Brian Griese with the game in doubt? You say it was the plan all along, but if so, why did Rex say he knew nothing about it? Seems all you’ve done is play with Grossman’s brittle psyche, give talk radio something to jabber about all week and create a story line after trying incredibly hard to avoid such intrigue all season.

This is the same Mariotti, by the way, who 3 weeks ago, declared of Lovie Smith, “if Rex Grossman remains your quarterback, your season goes splat in January. You won’t see a contract extension, the city will call for a full-blown probe of your pedigree and years of Bears disgust will plummet lower than Lower Wacker Drive.”

Daunte Culpepper would like Steve Young to know he’s not missed any many meetings.  The next time Culpepper confronts Young, Phil Simms would like in on the action.

Heyman : Unit Trade Precursor To Yanks’ Zito Bid?

Posted in Baseball at 2:05 pm by

If SI.com’s Jon Heyman has to spoil Christmas for someone, why can’t it be his own family rather than Mets fans?

If they can pull off the blockbuster trade they’re talking about, the New York Yankees could replace one star left-hander with another.

Randy Johnson is available, and the Yankees have begun trade talks with the Arizona Diamondbacks, San Diego Padres and possibly the San Francisco Giants, and if they are able to deal Johnson, the Yankees could jump in as a surprise late entrant in the Barry Zito sweepstakes.

The Yankees have been on the periphery of the Zito negotiations so far, but it’s logical to think they’d enter the talks for the top free-agent pitcher if they were to find a trade for Johnson. The crosstown Mets are currently bidding for Zito, as are the Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners and Giants. Zito is believed to be seeking a seven-year deal for close to $17 million annually.

The Yankees seemed lukewarm for most of this winter about the prospect of adding Zito but probably realize now that he is their best bet to improve their rotation. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman did not show much interest in Zito when he met with Zito’s agent, Scott Boras, almost three weeks ago in Orlando, Fla. However, one of the Yankees’ goals is to get younger, and Zito, 28, would enable them to do that.

Though Mike Steffanos “can’t help but feel a sense of relief that Jeff Suppan won’t be a New York Met for the next 4-5 years,”, he’s not ready to assume the Rangers are out of the mix on the Zito front.

At $42 million for four years, this contract doesn’t stand out compared to some of this off-season’s signings, but think about it for a minute. An average of $13 million per year for a pitcher with a lifetime record of 106-101 (actually $10.5 million, as pointed out in the comments, guess Christmas has addled my brain) and an ERA of 4.6 is just another indication of how crazy the pitching market is right now. While I believe Jeff Suppan will give the Brewers a serviceable four years, I really wonder about this one.

The pressure increases to sign Zito. As reported yesterday, the trade for Brandon McCarthy and Rangers GM Jon Daniels’ remarks admitting to being not “terribly encouraged” about signing Zito would seem to indicate that the Rangers could be falling out of the chase. I wonder about that, however.

Think about it. Barry Zito claims that one of his criteria for signing with a team is that they have a commitment to winning. With McCarthy slotting in to a rotation with Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla and the somewhat promising Robinson Tejeda, the Rangers would seem to finally have a chance to have a rotation that complements their offense. Add Zito and you have one of the better rotations in the AL. The Rangers could still be heard from here.

I’m not quite sure how I missed this one (probably while marveling at the MySpace profile of the alleged Ivy League physicist who invented, then deleted his imaginary girlfriend), but Chris Woodward (above) will be hugging it out in Atlanta next season.

Derek Lowe Takes His Joystick Problems Online

Posted in Baseball, Video Games at 12:27 pm by

From yesterday’s Chicago Tribune, here’s a late contender for the Worst Press Release of 2006 (link swiped from Baseball Musings)

Yankees center fielder Johnny Damon has announced formation of the Professional Baseball Video Game League, in which some of baseball’s best players will battle each other and their fans online.

Damon will serve as commissioner for the league’s inaugural season, which kicks off this week with the first competitions on the league’s chosen game, Microsoft’s Project Gotham Racing 3 for Xbox 360.

The first season’s roster also includes former Cub Corey Patterson and Rodrigo Lopez of the Orioles, Craig Hansen and Julian Tavarez of the Red Sox, Matt Holliday and Willy Taveras of the Rockies, Prince Fielder of the Brewers, Josh Barfield of the Indians, Derek Lowe of the Dodgers, Seth McClung of the Devil Rays, Mike Pelfrey of the Mets, Luke Hochevar of the Royals and Dallas McPherson of the Angels.

“The league is bringing together two of my biggest passions — baseball and video games — in a way that neither baseball fans nor video gamers have seen before,” Damon said in a statement.

Joel Zumaya and Juice Newton were unavailable for comment.

Hurts So Good : Mellencamp, Chevy’s Powerful Work Besmirched

Posted in Rock Und Roll, The Marketplace at 11:27 am by

From the Wall Street Journal’s Ethan Smith (link swiped from Idolator) :

John Mellencamp’s 21st studio album, “Freedom’s Road,” isn’t due out until next month. But his record label is already worrying that one song, “Our Country,” may be suffering from overexposure.

A pervasive ad campaign for Chevrolet’s Silverado sport-utility vehicle uses 60 seconds of the rootsy song as a backdrop for a montage of images including immigrants waving at the Statue of Liberty and Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, meant to evoke nostalgia and American values. Other images in the spot recall rougher patches in the nation’s history, such as the Vietnam War and Watergate.

executives at Mr. Mellencamp’s label, Universal Republic Records, worry that with the ad saturating television broadcasts for nearly six months before the release of the new album, some fans could sour on the song. A commercial-length excerpt of a song may not allow listeners to appreciate its nuances. “Exposure is one of the most valuable assets there is these days,” says Universal Republic President Monte Lipman. “But when you hear the song in the context of a commercial, it doesn’t do it justice.”

Indeed, backlash may be setting in. The ads have already inspired at least one parody video on YouTube, substituting pictures from the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal, guys with beer guts and other unflattering aspects of America — with Mr. Mellencamp’s song in the background.

Mr. Mellencamp plans to record a short interview, designed to be delivered to radio stations across the country in early January. Among the topics the Q&A session is to address is the fact that Mr. Mellencamp wrote “Our Country” as just another of his songs — one he has been playing in concert for at least a year — not as a jingle.

Chevy spokesman Terry Rhadigan says executives at the auto maker rejected an even-harder-edged version of the ad that showed an atomic-bomb detonation.

Though the above meditation on “Our Country” has some funny moments (they finally managed to squeeze in that atomic bomb), I still prefer Pat Burke’s version.

PFT : Peyton’s Paycheck Is Colts’ Achilles Heel

Posted in Gridiron at 10:36 am by

After Sunday’s upset loss to Houston, Indy’s Peyton Manning plays a vague version of the blame game, as enabled by the Star’s Bob Kravitz.

“I thought the veterans certainly knew what was at stake,” Manning said after being informed Baltimore was rolling Pittsburgh. “I’m not sure about the young players, that they totally understand. Maybe you have to be in this league and be in these playoff scenarios a couple of times to really understand. But I thought the veterans, we talked about playing with a sense of urgency, like we needed this game to get into the playoffs. That’s how we prepared for it offensively.”

No, Manning wasn’t throwing the defense under the bus. But he wasn’t insulting anybody’s intelligence, either. The Colts offense had six possessions Sunday (plus a kneel-down before halftime). Six. They ran 45 stinking plays. Everybody sees what’s happening here. It’s been happening all of Manning’s career, and if things don’t change, it’s going to doom Manning to be this generation’s Dan Fouts. Team president Bill Polian has had nine years and two coaches, and still, this team’s defenses haven’t stopped anybody.

Pro Football Talk
takes a dim view of any inference the Colts haven’t done enough to surround Manning with superior talent, particularly as Mr. Cut That Meat’s monster contract makes it awfully difficult to do so.

As one league insider responded, “Here we go again.  Perhaps it’s [Manning] being a pig and not allowing enough cap space for any defensive players , or perhaps it’s the great Bill Polian not building it correctly, [spending] all the cash on offense.  Great job of planning, Bill.”

The “pig” line is a reference to the fact that Manning hijacked the team a couple of years back on a cap-busting contract, which as a practical matter makes it harder to surround him with talent.  Compounding matters are big-money deals given both to receiver Marvin Harrison and receiver Reggie Wayne.

Though the Colts have tried to spend a little money on the other side of the ball, “squander” might be the more appropriate term, given the cash that was handed to defensive tackle Corey Simon, who has been a huge disappointment.

We wonder who Manning will blame when 2006 becomes the latest NFL season to end in disappointment for him.  If he’s smart, he’ll start with the large-headed mammal whose reflection he sees when brushing his teeth. 

While the New York Times’ Selena Roberts had a terrific column Christmas morning on the poor fit that is Colonel Coughlin and the New York Football Giants (” in dissecting his inconsistent three-season reign in the Meadowlands, you have to consider the judgment of the Mara family in placing this coach with this team. They hired Arthur Fiedler to conduct VH1™s œDivas Live. A mismatch from the beginning is in full bloom now. Coughlin is a throwback coach trying to direct a team built to win today that is assembled with self-consumed players fixated on tomorrow,”), the Post’s Steve Serby lowers the level of discussion by seriously advocating Big Blue pursuit of Notre Dame’s Charlie Weis.

Weis would be the closest thing to a young Bill Parcells, a tough, smart Jersey Guy disciplinarian and motivator who would have the best chance of anyone on the planet of saving Eli Manning, because Weis is a brilliant offensive mind with the interpersonal skills necessary to nurture and steady a developing young quarterback.

The fly in the ointment for Giants ownership could be the reported $15 million or so it would cost it to buy out Weis’ contract, which runs through 2015, but nothing is impossible in this day and age.

The prospect of the Hooded Casanova, Weis and Eric Mangini all coaching in the same division might be the one thing that would get me to stop following professional football altogether. Except for the CFL, where Parcells/Hooded Casanova proteges are in short supply.

Bondy Post-Xmas Wish : Move The Unit

Posted in Baseball at 9:38 am by

(this still isn’t Randy Johnson)

While the Arizona Republic’s hapless Joseph A. Reeves has some curious reasons why Randy Johnson should waive his no-trade clause for a return to Phoenix (“The Big Apple is passé. This is Arizona. This is the future. This is where everyone is moving because it’s a fantastic place to live,”), the New York Daily News’ Fillip Bondy is equally enthusiastic about The Big Unit getting the fuck out of the Bronx.

The very thought of such philanthropic organizations, of an amicable divorce here in New York from the Big Unit, was enough to bring smiles to children of all ages. Here was proof that it is often much better to give than to receive, especially in the case of an underachieving, 43-year-old grump.

Forget for a moment the $16 million left on Johnson’s contract. Even better would be to dump the ancient, fading arm, and the failed strategy it embodies.

Such foolishness on the part of other franchises is still hard to believe, if only because the guy is coming off back surgery for a herniated disk and off a season in which he managed only a 5.00 ERA. His spring training status remains questionable, his mood swings probable.

But then, the West Coast is baseball’s new boom town. Money long locked away in safety deposit boxes is suddenly being withdrawn, strewn about the country. This is no longer just a Boston-New York binge. The Dodgers, Angels and even the Padres have discovered the joy of spending. Welcome them to the mall.

The Diamondbacks are also in the picture, apparently. One-hit wonders like Arizona have a way of romanticizing the past. The Diamondbacks may be yearning for a piece of their own history, a happier, Yankee-killing October.

From Brian Cashman’s point of view, Johnson is now extremely disposable. The Bombers have two lefties coming to town – Andy Pettitte and Kei Igawa. The GM is trying to get younger, even if there have been some compromises along the way. He is shedding payroll, sort of. Coincidentally, Pettitte will get about $16 million, the same as Johnson is due. If this were the NBA, Pettitte might be filling Johnson’s salary cap slot.

Classy Phil : Flash Is Traveling

Posted in Basketball at 9:22 am by

Perhaps I’m out of my depth in advising a 9-time NBA champ like Phil Jackson how to work the officials through the media, but it seems to me that if you’re gonna make accusations about an opposing player it would make sense to do so far enough in advance that Jess Kersey or Bob Delaney could read about it before the game, not afterwards.   From the LA Times’ Mike Bresnahan.

Jackson was in critique mode in other areas before the game, picking at one of Dwyane Wade’s signature moves.

“He travels on that spin move,” Jackson said. “He picks up that pivot foot ¦ everybody knows it. Dwyane Wade can cover so much ground when he makes that move. As you know, he can go 20 feet with that spin move and get to the basket.”

Phil’s admonishment didn’t prevent Wade from scoring 40 points in Miami’s annual Christmas drubbing of the Lakers.

The New York Daily News’ Julian Garcia
details the Nets’ desperate search for someone to replace the injured Nenad Krstic, and if there’s any silver lining for Jersey fans, it’s that the name Shawn Kemp never comes up.

The above mention of the former Reignman, by the way, is just a clumsy excuse to note that Willis Reed is being accused of being a deadbeat dad.

As the proposed sale of the Memphis Grizzlies to Brian Davis and Christian Davis appears to have fallen apart, current owner Michael Heisley submits to a mild grilling by the Memphis Commercial Appeal’s Ronald Tillery.

Q. Do you realize that you’re being blamed for this mess?

A. For whatever the reason it’s been interpreted by people in Memphis and the media that I’ve just thrown in the towel and given up on Memphis and everything else. I’m almost 70 years old. I’ve owned the team for several years. When I came there, the first morning I met with the press the first thing I said is my hope is that this team will be Memphis’ team and owned by the people in Memphis. That’s what my intention was. I wasn’t going to relocate to Memphis. My wife wouldn’t do it no matter what. Does that mean I’m all of a sudden down on Memphis and down on the Grizzlies? I don’t understand it. I also don’t understand why everything we’ve done doesn’t matter. We brought a team to Memphis, made the playoffs three of the five years. We’ve spent a huge amount of money. So today we’re spending and people are acting like we’re doing it on the cheap. Why aren’t we going out and getting players? What do they want me to spend, a $100 million? The point is we’re out-spending San Antonio and we’re out-spending Phoenix. So the point is whether you’re spending money means squat.

Q. What is your response to the notion that you’ve tied Jerry West’s hands?

A. That’s just pure, unadulterated BS. I did not tie his hands. Would someone tell me who is this person Jerry wanted to get and I wouldn’t let him? Jerry West hasn’t been restricted on any player he’s ever brought in here. I’ve had conversations with him. But Jerry would tell you that he has more autonomy than any (team president) in the NBA. I’ve never turned Jerry down on a deal. I didn’t tie his hands when he traded Shane Battier. He didn’t come to me for approval. I didn’t tie his hands when he traded Jason Williams and James Posey. I didn’t tie his hands when he traded Bonzi Wells. Whoever is writing this stuff is making it up. What I decided was that we wouldn’t make significant decisions with the team. For example, I wasn’t about to trade Pau Gasol. I wasn’t about to go out and get Allen Iverson and add $40 million to the payroll. What would you do if you had someone buying the team?

12.25.06

Why Didn’t Ben Schwartz Tell Me…

Posted in Baseball, The Internet at 7:16 pm by

….he has a younger relative in Germany?

Praise The (Southern) Lord : Davidoff’s Homage To Greg Anderson

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, General, Medical Science, Sports Journalism, The Law, The World Of Entertainment at 5:51 pm by

(the man on the left has absolutely nothing to do with this story. sorry.)

With such worthy candidates to choose from as Bud Selig, Ryan Howard, Shea Hillenbrand and Jimmy Leyland, Newsday’s Ken Davidoff instead opts for the Sultan Of Surly’s pal and strength guru, Greg Anderson.

I have no idea why Anderson has chosen jail time over ratting out his buddy Barry Bonds to the feds. But bless Bonds’ trainer for doing so. His surprising stubbornness has thwarted those who hoped to attain further glory by making Bonds go away. No such luck.

If Anderson had shared his knowledge of Bonds’ alleged (wink, wink) steroid usage, the government would’ve triumphed in its witch hunt of Bonds and charged the slugger with perjury. Instead, the IRS, which has led this investigation, is left to spin its wheels.

If only Anderson had cooperated, Selig could’ve begun to distance himself from the potential all-time home run champion. Now Selig might be forced to take part in the most fraudulent coronation since George W. Bush became our president.

We in the media, for that matter, will be forced to cover Bonds’ pursuit of Hank Aaron, and we deserve that for our complicity in the steroid era.

There will be karmic justice for Bonds, I’m sure. Perhaps he won’t prove physically capable of hitting the 22 homers he needs to pass Aaron. At the very least, he will be known more for his cheating than his greatness. So don’t worry. Ultimately, he won’t be getting away with anything.

But neither will the rest of us. Thanks to Anderson. Never has silence sounded so sweet.

The Lamentable Left-Fielder ranks highly on Straight Bangin’s list of “People We Saw Too Much Of In 2006″ at , though the pundit saves truly harsh criticism for “Grey’s Anatomy.”

ABC promotes this show all…the…time, which wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t mean always hearing that one song about saving a life and playing the piano like some emo-rock dipshit. Sadly, that is what the constant pimping of Grey’s Anatomy means, and the world is worse off for it.

If There Was A Piss Test For Bad Taste…

Posted in Fashion, Gridiron, Sports TV at 3:48 pm by

…Michael Irvin would surely flunk.

Just because someone bought the Playmaker a new jacket for Christmas doesn’t mean he was obliged to wear it on television this afternoon.

MLB.com Saves The Conceptual Humor…

Posted in Baseball, General, Sports Journalism at 2:55 pm by

…for a day in which hardly anyone is online.

CSTB’s Backroom Staff Wishes You A Merry Christmas

Posted in Basketball, Gridiron, Merry Fucking Christmas, Sports TV at 2:20 pm by

(from left to right : advertising sales manager, publisher emeritus)

On this special day, when so many of you are spending quality time with loved ones…I wish you the best of luck in finding ways to avoid them, particular if you are looking for a television set. As of this writing, Kobe Bryant is riding the pine in Miami, and looks very much like he’d rather be spending the day with Stan Van Gundy’s family.

Later today, The doubleheader of the Eagles/Cowboys, Jets/Fins should go some ways towards clearing up the playoff picture in the respective conferences, and I remain confident the rest of the USA will simply fall in love with 16 year old Eric Mangini once Gang Green make a deep run into the playoffs. Mangini has nearly 3 facial expressions and not since the youthful Hooded Casanova assumed the position of Browns head coach has the national media contended with such an effervescent orator.

Heartless Meets Brainless : The SPL’s Most Tiresome Tyrant, Continued

Posted in Football at 1:39 pm by

With all due respect to James Dolan, Jeffrey Loria, Frank McCourt, Daniel Glass and Donald Sterling, Hearts chairman Vladimir Romanovmentioned in this space throughout 2006 — might be the worst owner in all of professional sports. From the Independent’s Phil Gordon.

Heart of Midlothian face Hibernian on Boxing Day, rather than the traditional New Year’s Day, torn apart by internal conflict on and off the pitch. Of the three players who rebelled against owner Vladimir Romanov’s running of the club, Steven Pressley has gone, Paul Hartley seems poised to be jettisoned in January and it can only be a matter of time until Hearts cash in on goalkeeper Craig Gordon.

The ruthless treatment of Pressley has turned most Tynecastle fans against Romanov. The Lithuanian millionaire virtually sacked his captain – just as the defender was about to be granted a testimonial after nine seasons at Hearts – and now supporters fear that Romanov will take revenge on Hartley and Gordon for hijacking a press conference seven weeks ago and making public the “dressing-room unrest” over Romanov’s methods.

Hartley, on the bench last week as punishment, and Gordon, who was left out yesterday, would command significant fees if they were sold in the transfer window, and right now Romanov appears to be in need of that. About to open a branch of his own Lithuanian bank in Edinburgh, he has been embarrassed by stories this week, with Hearts facing unpaid bills for policing Tynecastle while Fifa got tough to force the club to settle a £850,000 fee that was owed to Racing Genk of Belgium after the signing of the midfielder Mirsad Beslija last January.

Romanov, who was out dancing on the Tynecastle pitch when his team secured Champions’ League football last May, has barely been sighted there recently as his team plunged out of the title fight. The Hearts Supporters’ Trust wrote a letter to their absentee owner in midweek, declaring: “You have turned us into a circus freak show – as a result, we have lost our respect for you.”

It’s All About Moving Unit(s) : Yanks, Snakes Talking Trade?

Posted in Baseball at 11:03 am by

From the Newark Star-Ledger’s Ed Price :

The Yankees are in discussions with the Arizona Diamondbacks about sending Randy Johnson back to the team for which he starred in 1999-2004, according to a baseball official.

While the baseball official said Johnson had made overtures to the Yankees about a return to the Diamondbacks, a person close to Johnson — who asked not to be identified because he could not confirm the trade talks — said Johnson did not request a trade.

The baseball official said the Yankees do not want to pay any of Johnson’s salary as part of a deal. The Diamondbacks are considered to have one of the deeper farm systems, so the Yankees could continue their trend that started when they moved Gary Sheffield and Jaret Wright for players to restock their system.

Though Joe McEwing and Dae Sung-Koo could not be reached for comment, we can only presume the former (recently signed by Boston) is bitterly disappointed at the prospect of Johnson moving back to the NL

James Brown, RIP

Posted in Hip Hop, Rock Und Roll, The World Of Entertainment at 10:00 am by

James Brown passed away in Atlanta early this morning at the age of 73.  From an obituary from the AP’s Greg Blaustein.

(on the right, the Godfather Of Soul. On the left, guy who needed a haircut)

Along with Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan and a handful of others, Brown was one of the major musical influences of the past 50 years. At least one generation idolized him, and sometimes openly copied him. His rapid-footed dancing inspired Mick Jagger and Michael Jackson among others. Songs such as David Bowie’s “Fame,” Prince’s “Kiss,” George Clinton’s “Atomic Dog” and Sly and the Family Stone’s “Sing a Simple Song” were clearly based on Brown’s rhythms and vocal style.

If Brown’s claim to the invention of soul can be challenged by fans of Ray Charles and Sam Cooke, then his rights to the genres of rap, disco and funk are beyond question. He was to rhythm and dance music what Dylan was to lyrics: the unchallenged popular innovator.

“James presented obviously the best grooves,” rapper Chuck D of Public Enemy once told The Associated Press. “To this day, there has been no one near as funky. No one’s coming even close.”

His hit singles include such classics as “Out of Sight,” “(Get Up I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine,” “I Got You (I Feel Good)” and “Say It Loud — I’m Black and I’m Proud,” a landmark 1968 statement of racial pride.

“I clearly remember we were calling ourselves colored, and after the song, we were calling ourselves black,” Brown said in a 2003 Associated Press interview. “The song showed even people to that day that lyrics and music and a song can change society.”

In addition to being a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors in 2003, Brown was awarded CSTB’s 2005 Get Out Of Jail Card.

MLS Shirts To Become Even Uglier

Posted in Football at 12:54 am by

As Major League Soccer prepares to sell advertising space on the front of jerseys — a standard practice in most of the football universe, Barcelona excepted — the New York Times’ Jack Curry ponders the likelihood of the word “Bimbo” taking a prominent spot on Chivas USA’s shirt.

For M.L.S., a decision to sell space to sponsors on the front of the jerseys of the league™s 13 teams for a minimum of $500,000 a year is another way for the league to find a seat at the table in the global soccer marketplace. And Grupo Bimbo, a multibillion-dollar Mexican company that markets products like Wonder Bread, is one of only a few potential sponsors for Chivas.

In previous years, the league sold some advertising space on team jerseys, then divided the proceeds among its clubs. Commissioner Don Garber retains the right to reject inappropriate advertisers, which he considers companies that sell hard liquor and tobacco or run Internet gambling sites.

Grupo Bimbo has its name emblazoned on the jerseys of a handful of Mexican club teams, including Chivas Guadalajara. That club, like Chivas USA, is owned by Jorge Vergara, a Mexican businessman. A third Vergara team, Deportivo Saprissa of Costa Rica, is also sponsored by Bimbo.

In Spanish, the word bimbo has no specific meaning, similar to the way the Häagen-Dazs name was made up in order to sell ice cream. When Grupo Bimbo was founded in 1945, according to the company™s official history, it came up with the name through a combination of the words Bambi, the animated Disney movie released three years earlier, and bingo, a popular lottery in Mexico at the time. The company, whose logo is a small teddy bear, has marketed its products for more than 20 years in the United States, primarily in areas with large Hispanic populations.

Confusion over marketing slogans has also traveled north to south. A maker of T-shirts in Miami was trying to capture the Hispanic market during a visit by Pope John Paul II in 1987. The shirts were supposed to read œI Saw the Pope (el papa) but instead said œI Saw the Potato (la papa), according to the Web site moronland.com. Coors also had a translation problem in 1983, when its slogan œTurn It Loose ended up meaning œsuffer from diarrhea.

œChivas is the perfect fit for Bimbo, and honestly, I never really thought of it in that other connotation, said Kathy Carter, an executive vice president for Soccer United Marketing.

An entitely different tip, though Roman Abramovich is often villified for his impact on English football, yesterday’s Observer credits Chelsea’s owner with improving the state of reindeer husbandry in Chukotka.  Beat that, John Henry.

12.24.06

James Dolan : Cheap Fuckin’ Ingrate

Posted in Basketball, Internal Affairs at 11:32 pm by

I pulled every string I could, called in countless favors…used up nearly a quarter century of goodwill in the music business in order to get JD & The Straight Shot on the bill at Bonnaroo.  And how does Dolan thank me?

With a lousy electronic greeting card.   Even Blag Dahlia was classier.

How Do You Say “Even Mike Miller Thinks Your Hair Is Funny” In Chinese?

Posted in Basketball at 11:28 pm by

ClipperBlog notes the karmic payback served up to Yao Ming last night : trash talking Chris Kamen = devastating, franchise-rocking injury.