The Fall Of The Czar

Posted in Basketball, Sports TV at 6:23 pm by

The Memphis Commerical Appeal’s Ronald Tillery reports that Mike Fratello has been dusted in Memphis, the Grizzlies’ 6-24 record rendering the club little more than a lottery contender for the rest of the season.

Not to say the Grizzlies haven’t been painful to watch this season, but if Michael Heisley wants to blame someone for the franchise’s on-court woes, he might want to fire the guy that allowed Pau Gasol to play in the World Championships.

Over at the Lil’ Blogging Conglomerate that could, one of Marcel Mutoni’s loyal readers saw fit to lambaste Poison Pete Vescey for his attacks on Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith (“they played the sport and understand it. You don’t.”)  Vescey proves even worse at answering reader mail than me.

“Judging by your response it only confirms what level of IQ Barkley and Smith appeal to; I have no doubt you learn plenty from them. Just as I have no doubt you’re part of Stephen A-Hole’s studio audience”

Y’know, I had the recent misfortune of staying at the Hotel Pennsylvania (yikes) and I have to take issue with Vescey on this one.  Stephen A. Smith doesn’t really have a studio audience.  As Will Leitch confirmed ages ago, they’re practically dragging tourists by their earlobes into “Quite Frankly” tapings.  The Washington Times sales department Moonie recruiters could learn a thing or two from Smith’s staff.

If You’re In The Neighborhood

Posted in Free Expression, Internal Affairs, Rock Und Roll at 5:55 pm by

The Golden Boys

Jimmy Flemion (Frogs, Sebastian Bach)

Daniel Francis Doyle

Follow That Bird!
Directions to Trailer Space

(tube pic by @ndy K, used without permission)

Whitlock : Blackball T.O.

Posted in Gridiron, Sports Journalism at 2:11 pm by

AOL Sports’ Jason Whitlock — in no way shape or form trying to draw greater attention to himself — seriously advocates that when and if the Cowboys part ways with Terrell Owens, the rest of the league should banish the wide receiver.

I know NFL owners must avoid the appearance of collusion, but why can™t commissioner Roger Goodell quietly suggest to owners that the league would be better off with T.O. involuntarily retired?

If I™m an NFL player, I™d want Owens out of the league. He is single-handedly damaging the image of the modern-day professional football player. Owens draws so much attention from ESPN that he has come to symbolize today™s pro athlete.

If the NFL is truly serious about controlling its players and preventing its players from dragging the perception of the league to NBA levels, running Owens out of the league would send a strong message to the T.O. imitators. Fifteen-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalties for taunting are fine, but T.O. sitting at home, shopping for lip gloss online and gossiping with his publicist Lil Kim would be superior.

From Owens to Larry Johnson to Chad Johnson, there are a growing number of players who are going out of their way to make controversial statements or draw attention to themselves. In order to appear young, hip and open-minded, members of the media, particularly at ESPN, are going out of their way to talk about how cute, entertaining and “refreshing” the behavior is.

I’m sure Jason knows exactly what he’s talking about when characterizing ESPN’s coverage of T.O., and his remarks are in no way related to his own contentious departure from the Worldwide Leader. Sadly, I’ve only been able to bear witness to the commentary of hip, open-minded youth culture icons like Sean Salisbury and Mike Ditka, and the words “cute” and “refreshing” don’t seem to figure in their judgements of Owens’ behavior. Perhaps my satellite dish is picking up signals from another ESPN?

Chunky Gloop : Mama McNabb’s Musings

Posted in Gridiron at 1:12 pm by

With the revived Jeff Garcia providing the catalyst for the Iggles’ playoff push, at least one person is firmly fixated on the single most important consideration : what does this all mean for Donovan McNabb’s career? (link taken from Pro Football Talk)

The win this week was great and I could actually say that’s what I wanted for Christmas. Yes, now we have solidly beat the Cowboys with my son and without him. But I can hear you asking, mama McNabb what are you really thinking? Well here it is, the real deal. It’s kind of bitter sweet for me as my son, the quarterback sits out on injured reserved watching the game during his rehab. I polled my family too and they feel the same. We want our team to win and even go to the Superbowl and win it in Miami especially if they continue to play as they have. But oh oh, if they win the Superbowl without my son, what would be the real outcome with the fans? Will they crucify him? Maybe, then the trade talks would begin. Off season madness, worse than last year’s fiasco. But guess what, I guess I’ll have to take the beating if it comes. I would have to hope that scenario of the madness would not happen or be that bad. Well let’s wait and see. Bitter sweet.

Geoff Petrie, Diplomat Of The Year

Posted in Basketball at 12:43 pm by

Published reports would have us believe the mooted Corey Maggette / Ron Artest trade is far from certain, and accordingly, the Sacramento Bee’s Sam Amick quizzed Kings GM Geoff Petrie about the Tru Warier’s state of mind.

“His happiness level is fine,” Petrie said before the Kings faced Philadelphia on Wednesday night at Arco Arena. “He has a very large performance bank account. A lot of people have forgotten what it was like around here before he got here.

“I guess you could sum (the trade talk) up this way. It’s a lot of noise, mostly white noise, like when a hen oodles — wow, lays an egg — and it makes a sound like it made a meteor.”

Asked about Artest’s locker room impact and any potential influence on teammates, Petrie said: “He has some esoteric qualities. A lot of people do.”

As for whether Artest has approached management with a desire to be traded, Petrie would only say, “That’s a hypothetical question that you’re going to have to save.”

Though the Journal News’ Mike Doughtery isn’t willing to proclaim the Knicks “a legitimate contender outside a pedestrian Atlantic Division,” he insists that last night’s triple OT defeat of the Pistons “ranks among the best I™ve ever witnessed.” But most crucially, he’s got the scoop on Stevie Franchise’s unexcused absence from practice the other day.

Fog is the official reason Steve Francis gave after missing practice on Tuesday, or so he would have you believe. Want to know the actual reason? Francis got an electronic Deal or No Deal setup for Christmas and was busy pushing buttons in the locker room prior to the Detroit game. œI™ve been playing this thing for two days straight, he said. And now we know.

I’ve got some truly scary sports swag in my wardrobe, but I’ve got to give it up to Doug Moe, owner of an Albany Patroons cap. Speaking of which, if you’re wondering what Felipe Lopez is up to, he’s currently playing for Albany’s CBA entry.

Slusser : 7 Years, $125 million For Zito

Posted in Baseball at 12:13 pm by

From the SF Chronicle’s Susan Slusser :

Barry Zito, the longtime A’s ace and member of “the Big Three,” will be introduced as the newest member of the San Francisco Giants at a press conference, possibly as soon as today, the Chronicle has learned.

“This is a Bay Bridge free agency,” said one person with knowledge of the negotiations. “I think Barry Zito will be the face of the Giants franchise for a long time.”

Zito will recieve $126 million for seven years, the largest contract ever for a pitcher.

There’s a club option for an eighth season that will vest automatically if Zito pitches 200 innings in the final year of the deal, or 400 in the final two years or 600 in the final three years. After that option vests, it becomes a player option and Zito can accept or decline it.

Mike Hampton and I remain hopeful that although Surfin’ Barry is a bachelor, he’s done his due dilligence regarding the state of the San Francisco public school system.

Nerds Beware, Cowherd’s Fill-In Has Your Number

Posted in Hate Fuck Radio, Sports Radio at 12:01 pm by

Not since “Network”‘s Howard Beale encouraged his viewers to turn off their televisions has any media figure so bravely dared his audience to fuck off. Substituting for Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio this morning, John Kincaid was in full-fledged tirade mode, opining that those concerned with “the integrity of baseball statistics….must have something missing in their lives.”

“Maybe you should get a hobby,” sneered the host. “Or a girlfriend.”

Whether or not the likes of Rob Neyer, Keith Law or Peter Gammons will take Kincaid’s advice remains to be seen. But there is something truly fantastic about a media company that makes crazy money on fantasy games, a stats-heavy website, enourages all sorts of analysis on their television programs, etc., employing some schmuck to get on the radio and disparage their clientele.

(Gammo : hobby, check. girfriend : wife might not approve)

The tastiest part is that if indeed, the scourge that is “taking America down the drain” (in Kincaid’s words) were eliminated tomorrow — the obsessive interest in the competitive pursuits of others —- the radio host in question would undoubtedly have all sorts of interesting things to fall back on.

Joe Garagiola, Presidential Bad Luck Charm

Posted in Baseball, politics at 11:55 am by

“Baseball Is A Fun(eral) Game” muses Repoz, who forwarded the following item from the East Valley Tribune’s Paul Giblin and Daryl James.

Arizona Diamondbacks broadcaster Joe Garagiola Sr. had front-row seats for the 1976 presidential election. The Paradise Valley resident and his wife stayed that night in the Lincoln Bedroom of the White House and watched election coverage on television with President Gerald Ford and his family.

Democratic nominee Jimmy Carter had gained a slight lead, and the president decided to go to bed when it appeared no quick winner would emerge.

Garagiola, a former St. Louis Cardinals catcher and œToday Show panelist, shared the story Wednesday, a day after Ford™s death at his California home. Garagiola, now 80, said watching the election unfold with Ford was like living inside a page of history.

œHe said, ˜Let™s go to bed, and let™s have a good night™s sleep and see what happens in the morning,™  Garagiola recalled. œBut I don™t think he slept very well. I know I didn™t.

Garagiola had always stayed on the political sidelines, but he grew to admire Ford and decided to campaign for him when he ran for his own term. He traveled with the president on Air Force One and hosted speaking engagements that were designed to resemble talk shows.

Garagiola, whose father was an immigrant, found himself attending meetings and functions with Ford and political heavy hitters such as Dick Cheney, Bob Dole and Henry Kissinger. They were all on a first-name basis with each other.

œI was like a kid in the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory, Garagiola said.

I had a pretty late night, so forgive me if I am haunted by the image of Cheney, Dole and Kissinger as Oompa Loompas.

Sullivan : Zito’s Crossing The Bay

Posted in Baseball at 11:14 am by

From MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan :

The Rangers have been told that Barry Zito is signing elsewhere.

One source said that the Rangers expect Zito to sign with the San Francisco Giants. The Rangers offered Zito a six-year, $84 million contract. They also added a vesting option for $15 million for a seventh year with a $4 million buyout. The option would have kicked in if Zito pitched 200 innings in the sixth year of the contract. But apparently it wasn’t enough to lure Zito to Texas.

If Sullivan’s source is correct, the NY Post’s Joel Sherman comes off looking rather prophetic, having described the Giants as the “front-runner” for Zito’s services earlier today.

The Houston Chronicle’s Richard Justice mentions the possibility of Paul Wilson signing with the Astro, and while I’m not usually given to Generation K nostalgia, perhaps the Mets will extend a spring training invite to Bill Pulispher.  He’s a cheaper lefty than Barry Zito and he already knows his way to the ballpark.

Beyond that, I’m stunned by the possibility the most glittering prize left on the free agent market might end up with someone besides the two New York clubs.  I knew it was bad idea for Omar to stress Flushing’s strong Caucasian-American community ties —- as Carlos Delgado could’ve told us, that kind of thing just smacks of pandering.

Kurt Warner coming back; Brenda, too

Posted in Gridiron at 4:04 am by

Starting the last game of the season this Sunday in place of the injured Matt Leinart has convinced the graying Kurt Warner (above, right) that “I feel like I have a lot of football left in me.” He says he’s committed to the contract he signed, and I’m sure the Cardinals will welcome his 10 fumbles in four starts.

Per Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic:

This year might have been his last shot to be a regular starter, and he contemplated retiring at the end of the season.

But after much thought he’s decided to return in 2007, although he left himself some wiggle room.

“I’m going to come back and play,” he said. “I want to play. I feel like I have a lot of football left in me. That’s my plan as of right now, not that that can’t change when the off-season comes around and me and family sit down. But I signed a contract to be here with the Cardinals. That’s where I go into the off-season thinking.”

As GC might say, God not available for comment.