12.24.06

Kobe’s (Candyland) Killer Instinct

Posted in Basketball at 10:38 pm by

I don’t know what you’re getting for Christmas, but Kobe Bryant’s present is a total fluff job by the Miami Herald’d Dan LeBatard. I’ve got to hand it to No. 8 No. 24 ; either Kobe truly doesn’t care how badly he comes off, or he’s an bigger tool than anyone imagined.

Q: What’s the greatest perk involved with being Kobe Bryant?

A: Access. To people. To things. If I want to buy something, it just takes a couple of calls and I get a great deal. I’m looking into buying a helicopter, for example. It’s going to eliminate traffic. It’ll take me only 15 minutes to get to games.

Q: During the time before the rape trail, how would you describe the scrutiny and pain of your darkest time?

A: I’m extremely religious. Everybody has a cross to bear, and I had to pick mine up and carry it. But I try to keep things in perspective. This was not a Katrina-victim cross. I didn’t lose a loved one or a child. That’s what faith will do. You reach bottom, and you can’t carry the cross anymore, God carries it for you. My faith was OK before that, but that time enlightened me to His strength. There’s enlightenment at the bottom.

Q: Give me an off-court example of how unreasonably competitive you are.

A: Being competitive when playing my 3-year-old daughter in Candyland? My daughter has gotten really mad playing me at Concentration. We were playing that memory game, and I knew where the winning cards were, and she didn’t. I was a little tempted to turn them over. But my wife was watching, and she said I better not. So I conceded.

Bengals Victimized By Bungled PAT

Posted in Gridiron at 8:14 pm by

Maybe Marvin goes for two next time?

Trey Junkin would concur — this was a terrible way to lose a crucial game.

Your bizarro stats of the day (other than Ron Dayne rushing for more than 150 yards) ; Carolina beating the phone-it-in Falcons, 10-3, with Chris Weinke throwing the ball a mere 7 times while the Panthers spread more than 50 carries over 4 different players (most of ‘em between DeShaun Foster and DeAngelo Williams).

In Gil’s Arena, Quality Is Job No. 1

Posted in Basketball at 7:23 pm by

Though Kobe’s looming Xmas day clash with Flash is at least one of tomorrow’s key Blow Off The Relatives Moments (the T.O. / Hetero Garcia reunion being the other), when it comes to no. 8 no. 24′s Battle Of Wits with Gilbert Arenas, Bryant is getting his tail kicked. From the Washington Post’s Jack McGruder (And Loud) :

Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas appears to have adopted a new shooting mantra. For the time being, anyway, he said he has stopped saying “hibachi” when his jump shot is in mid-flight even though, as teammate Caron Butler said Friday, “Once he starts saying that, I know it’s money.”

Now Arenas claims to utter the phrase “quality shots,” a tweak at Kobe Bryant’s petulant criticism following Arenas’s 60-point game against Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers last Sunday.

“Ever since Kobe said I was lucky, I say ‘quality shots,’ ” Arenas said with a grin and a twinkle in his eye after scoring 54 points in the Wizards’ 144-139 overtime victory over Phoenix before 18,422 at U.S. Airlines Center on Friday.

“Maybe Kobe would say that was luck. It’s luck when you score 30 or 40, but luck can’t get you 50 or 60. Every game before the game, I make 10 threes from 10 spots on the court. That’s 100 threes.”

Wizznutzz weighs in on this unseemly squabble :

Kobe snipes “Gilbert has no conscience!”

And who are U Kobe? Raskolnikov?

Da nerve of this guy!!!! of all people, Kobe is KING OF BAD TOUCHES!!!
and thats not even counting basketball!!!

In a barely related note, Wizznutzz, while still getting over City Paper’s case of mistaken ID, has launched a new line of Agent Zero actionwear, promising “these arent no cafe press junk! These use hi quality printing that will outlast clothing, like Abe Pollin!!!”

Soup’s A Brewer

Posted in Baseball at 3:17 pm by

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Haudricourt.

The Brewers reached agreement today with free agent right-hander Jeff Suppan on a four-year deal with a club option worth $42 million. A source familiar with the negotiations confirmed the agreement, which apparently took place Saturday evening.

Suppan has to pass a physical for the deal to be official but that is not expected to be a problem.

Suppan, who will be 32 on Jan. 2, pitched the last three seasons for the St. Louis Cardinals. He went 44-26 over that span to increase his career record to 106-101, including a 12-2 mark against the Brewers.

Though I do think Suppan’s new salary should’ve reflected the fact he won’t be padding his stats against Milwaukee any longer, of more pressing concern is how this may impact the Mets’ approach to Barry Zito.

Days after the Post’s Michael Morrisey did his part to cast doubts regarding Zito’s durabilty, the New York Sun’s Tim Marchman expressed full confidence in Surfin’ Barry’s long term prospects

Where most pitchers use their fastball to set up their other pitches, Zito works the other way, making hitters look like fools with the hook and then spotting a modest fastball that he’ll toss at 83 to 85 mph. Anonymous scouts have been caught murmuring in the papers about how he can’t keep things up with this sort of repertoire. They may have a point ” but then, Zito has been pitching in the big leagues with the same stuff and the same pattern since 2000, and hitters still haven’t quite figured it out. Unless one thinks that for some reason he’ll prove unable to keep throwing that curveball ” and Zito is a very sound, consistent pitcher mechanically ” there wouldn’t seem to be much cause for concern. Not everyone has to throw 95 mph to be effective. Some pitchers just throw a nasty sinker, some can spot the ball within the strike zone well, and some have a nasty curveball and a rubber arm. There’s more than one way to skin a cat or get hitters out.

NFL Week 16 : Less Substance, More Vague References To Hanoi Rocks

Posted in Gridiron at 2:37 pm by

My fave ESPN NFL chat Q&A snippet of the day :

If there’s any consolation, I’m pretty sure Vince Neil isn’t making the Pro Bowl for similar reasons.

I’m still trying to decide what Ron Dayne’s other-worldy performance today says the state of the planet. Either 2nd (third?) acts are still very much possible in American life, or the Colts’ rushing defense is brutally poor.

Even Gil Meche and Jason Marquis are wondering why Tampa Bay was so eager to sign Chris Simms to a new, 2-year deal. Not only did Tim Rattay tear Da Bears apart last week, his drumming passing has been competent today against Cleveland.


They’ve just started the 4th quarter in Buffalo, and the Titans are trailing the Bills, 29-20. You’ve got ‘em right where you want ‘em, Vince.

Seriously, if you thought St. Louis/Washington was going to be the most exciting 1pm game of the day, I’d like to put you in charge of my investment portfolio. Either you, or Lenny Dykstra. There’s a guy I know who started Brett Favre instead of Marc Bulger on his fantasy team, and his resemblance to me is a little too close for comfort.

Save for an early TD bomb to Plaxico Fantastico, Eli Manning has struggled mightily against the Saints, as the Giants are staring at a 20-7 deficit entering the 4th quarter. Though Big Blue have managed to prevent Drew Brees from putting up his typically gaudy numbers (he’s a modest 13 for 31, 132 yards, one TD pass to Hofstra’s rookie of the year candidate Marcus Colston), Reggie Bush has rushed for 106 yards on 18 carries, and confirmed yet again to all of the Houston fans paying attention….that someday, he’ll be just as dependable as Ron Dayne.

The Annual Jim Rice Hall Of Fame Article…

Posted in Baseball at 1:02 pm by

…this time, from the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo.

“So do you think you’ll get inducted this time?” Rice was asked after returning to Boston from his other home in South Carolina.

“I don’t know the answer to that,” he said. “I don’t understand the voters sometimes. If you have the numbers to get in, if they compare to other people you’ve already put in, if the numbers are there, then why aren’t you in? Why is Bert Blyleven not in with all of those wins and all of those strikeouts? Why is Lee Smith not in? Goose Gossage? Doesn’t he have the numbers to get in? If the numbers are there, then why not? Why are so many people excluded? I never understood it.”

Nor should he. The voting is subjective. It takes many factors into consideration, including the character issue, for which McGwire will be penalized. “If you cheated, you shouldn’t be in. If you broke the rules, you shouldn’t be in. That’s why Pete Rose isn’t in. He gambled on baseball,” said Rice. “McGwire, you know, he was always a power hitter, but if he took something he shouldn’t have taken then he shouldn’t be in.”

Most observers of Hall of Fame voting feel Rice would have a better shot next season because this time the focus is on Ripken, Gwynn, and McGwire. But why should that matter? Voters are allowed to put 10 players on each ballot. Why wouldn’t Rice get all the votes he got last year? Why wouldn’t some of those voters who are ignoring McGwire stand up and say Rice played the game hard, played the game right, and amassed the numbers. Why can’t Rice get in now?

“I’ve been an advocate for Jimmy for years,” said former Sox second baseman and NESN color man Jerry Remy. “I played with him and I knew compared to the rest of the league for those five or six years there was nobody better. He was the most feared hitter. Nobody wanted to pitch to him. I think there were times Jimmy played when he shouldn’t have. But playing every day whether he was hurt or whether he felt fine was important to him. He respected the game and wanted to help his team win.

“There’s got to be a place for him in Cooperstown. People have to understand what he was.”

Clips Coveting Tru Warier?

Posted in Basketball, Sports TV at 1:00 pm by

The LA Times’ Jason Reid was on the scene for the Rockets’ latest crushing disappointment (ie. Yao-owch) and strongly hints the Kings’ Ron Artest is driving his coach to drink distraction.

The Clippers continued to pursue a trade for an impact player, discussing a potential deal for Ron Artest of the Sacramento Kings, a high-ranking Clippers source said after the game.

Apparently, Artest, whom the Clippers tried to acquire last season from the Indiana Pacers, is eager to leave the Kings, and the Clippers want to send Corey Maggette to Sacramento for the versatile player. A Clippers official spoke with the Kings on Friday, and talks are expected to continue today.

It wouldn’t be a Peter Vescey column without the evisceration of someone who has a better TV gig than Poison Pete. In today’s Post, Vescey takes exception to TNT’s John Thompson throwing softballs to Allen Iverson.

Instead of being treated as a hostile witness who provoked and redirected the course of two franchises, Iverson was royally indulged. Harmonizing impeccably with TNT’s program and the spirit of the season, Thompson, bells on bop tails ring, was laughing all the way.

I smell an hospitable takeover of Abscess Rashard.

White Sox, Rangers Swap McCarthy For Danks

Posted in Baseball at 12:46 am by

The Dallas Morning News’ Evan Grant on a trade that may or may not signal Texas’ pessimism about their chances of signing free agent Barry Zito.

The Rangers sent top pitching prospect John Danks (above), their top pick in 2003, along with reliever Nick Masset and 20-year-old right-hander Jacob Rasner to the Chicago White Sox for 23-year-old right-hander Brandon McCarthy. They also received minor league outfielder David Paisano.

McCarthy already has 151 innings of major league experience and would be under Texas’ control through at least 2011. He spent most of last season as an apprentice in the White Sox’s bullpen. He was 4-7 last season with a 4.68 ERA with 51 of his 53 appearances in relief.

The Rangers view him as a more advanced version of Danks, who is 21. McCarthy is only 18 months older, and his advancement through the minors parallels Danks’. Both reached Triple-A by 21, but McCarthy was 37-21 with a 3.38 ERA and an average of 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings in 470 2/3 minor league innings. Danks is 21-30 with a 4.20 ERA and 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings in 426 innings.

Though I thought Danks looked super sharp in homecoming start versus Round Rock last August, the Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rogers is wary of White Sox GM Kenny Williams “trading known quantities for pitchers with big upsides but no guarantees.”

t’s surprising the Sox would trade a 23-year-old with the potential to win 15 to 18 games every year. It’s not shocking, however, with veterans Jose Contreras, Jon Garland, Mark Buehrle and Javier Vazquez still in the rotation.

But it would have seemed more logical to use McCarthy as a chip that would bring back a significant outfielder, like the Devil Rays’ Rocco Baldelli or the Blue Jays’ Alex Rios. To trade your one young starter after you’ve just seemed to have opened a spot in the rotation for him, and to get back only unproven players, well, that takes chutzpah.

Williams still could use the surplus of pitching prospects he has created to pull off a trade that brings immediate improvement to one of three positions: left field, center field or shortstop. But the reality is he has now made four trades since November without addressing his most glaring needs.

On the surface, the McCarthy deal is another part of the Williams/Jerry Reinsdorf plan to replace, rather than re-sign, Buehrle, Garland and Vazquez (along with the recently departed Freddy Garcia) before the 2009 season. This is a despicable plan, not just because it puts economics ahead of competitiveness but because it guarantees that guys who brought a World Series parade to Chicago are going to be leaving town too soon, maybe still in their primes.

When this organizational strategy was revealed this month, I used the word “arrogant” to describe it. Williams, however, believes he is merely being “prudent” and “forward-thinking” to get ahead of a pitching market that is throwing big four- and five-year contracts at No. 3 and No. 4 starter.

With that pitching market in mind (and taking a shot or 3 at Gary Matthews Jr.), the New York Times’ Murray Chass writes,

The owners are out of control and, as usual, they have no one to blame but themselves. Marvin Miller used to say the owners wanted the union to protect them from themselves, and he was right. Without engaging in illegal collusive acts, they are incapable of protecting themselves from themselves.

Just last week, the players™ union computed the 2006 average player salary at a record $2.7 million. The contracts flooding the market this winter indicate that a year from now baseball will be flirting with a $3 million average.

Like workers in other industries, professional athletes should be able to earn as much as they can, with no artificial restraints, like payrolls caps, limiting their pay. Rock singers and rappers can do it. So can actors and television anchors. Why not athletes?

But in their desperation to add a lusty hitter or an effective pitcher, the owners lose all perspective and spend exorbitantly and foolishly. They fit the story, apocryphal or not, that is told about Lamar Hunt, the Kansas City Chiefs™ owner, who died recently.

His father, H. L. Hunt, supposedly once said of his son™s involvement with professional football, œI gave him an unlimited budget, and he has already exceeded it.

12.23.06

Target Bails On Guevera Chic

Posted in The Marketplace at 11:18 pm by

From the AP :

Target Corp. said it had pulled a compact disc case that had a photo of Latin American revolutionary Che Guevara after some customers complained.

Guevara photos are often seen on T-shirts and posters, but some critics thought Target went too far when it put Guevara’s photo on a Target-branded item it was selling in stores. Guevara, a key figure in the Cuban revolution, has been frequently criticized on the right for his violent tactics.

“What next? Hitler backpacks? Pol Pot cookware? Pinochet pantyhose? Target gives this monster a pass, while using common sense on almost everything else it sells,” Investors Business Daily editorialized on Dec. 13.

Funny they’d mention the Hitler backpack. Target, perhaps unwittingly, already has a history of shifting swag that glorifies Der Führer.

Hook ’em Lightning

Posted in Hockey at 10:18 pm by

Yeaaaaah Booyyyyle!

After lulling the New York Rangers into a nice slumber with a series of failed power play opportunities, Dan Boyle led the Tampa Bay Lightning’s third period comeback over the New York Rangers, winning 4-3 in the unofficial Hockey Bay USA. Boyle bolstered his first career hat trick with an assist on Vincent Lecavalier’s game-tying power play goal, giving him another personal record with four points. Whether this game helps quell recent trade rumors for the Lightning’s big four is unclear, but it won’t stop barely literate Maple Leafs fans from dreaming up ridiculous proposals:

MAN, they should trade vinny,stlouis,or richards to the leafs…the leafs need more canadians on their team we can give them like aubin, hes pretty solid. The leeafs relaly should pull this trade, it would help them a lot if they were to acquire stlouis or vinny lecavalier. no matter what, tampa has great offesnce , bad defence and bad ggoaltending

The Leafs may have to give up “valued” back-up goalie Jean-Sebastien Aubin if they would like to replace Michael Peca’s two-way contributions with the scoring, smarts, and defense of Buffalo’s pending free agent Chris Drury, but the Sabres would have to throw in Ryan Miller to make it worth imspanish‘s while.

(Non-Metallic) K.O. – Dan’s (Chinese) Take(out)

Posted in Racism Corner, Sports Journalism, Sports Radio at 9:32 pm by

A recent radiophonic appearance by the ever-intense O’Reilly baiter, as summarized by Dan McGowan.

While talking about merchandise sales, ESPN Radio’s Dan Patrick asked Keith Olbermann if he would be surprised that Allen Iverson™s jersey is more popular in China than Yao Ming™s, to which KO responded, œYes¦well I mean not everybody™s Yao Ming™s size. The two immediately erupted with laughter.

Olbermann did cover his ass better than Irvin following his laughter, talking about how amusing it would be to see three foot tall children wearing a Ming sized jersey.

My point in brining this up certainly isn™t to condemn Olbermann, who is phenomenal on the radio and MSNBC, but rather to point out the inconsistencies of those who are quick to play the œthey must be fired card when someone makes a tasteless, yet amusing joke.

The truth is both comments were harmless, but they were very similar. Irvin made the same predictable joke the rest of the world makes whenever a white athlete can run fast or jump high, while KO and Patrick had a laugh about the universal Asian stereotype.

The difference is the latter won™t draw a second listen, while Irvin faced national scrutiny.

McGowan’s point is well taken, however it did take a few days for Irvin’s ill-advised Mandingo-isms to hit the radar of the mainstream media. Prior to Pro Football Talk and The Big Lead jumping on the Playmaker’s case, I don’t think many noticed. Kind of like this instance.

So with that in mind, cheer up, Dan Patrick. If the blogs can break Beirut, surely they’re gonna do someting for your radio ratings.

Two Differing Perspectives On N8

Posted in Basketball at 8:34 pm by

The Knicks have a loveable sideshow in Nate Robinson. Just seeing Robinson on the court, a David amongs a gaggle of Goliaths, is entertaining. It’s like looking at those old American Express ads with Wilt Chamberlain standing next to Willie Shoemaker, only Robinson doesn’t get paid to be tiny and ride on a horse’s back; he gets paid to play basketball with the world’s most athletic pituitary cases.  Sure, Robinson’s as likely to try to make a monster dunk by bouncing the ball off the floor or backboard (he’s tried and failed twice) as he is to have an assist (he averages just 1.5 a game. But that mises the point : He’s five-eight, and he can dunk! – Stephen Rodrick, New York Magazine, “Reasons To Love New York Issue”, December 25

Robinson is nothing but a 5’9″ Garden sidesow. He can run and jump but has no concept of how to play the game, passing being a particularly baffling skull. (Witness his 1.5 assist average.)

After the game Robinson characterized Collins’ flagrant foul as “a good, clean, hard foul” and indicated that the Nuggets had it coming because they still had their starters in a game that had been decided long before. (Cue laugh track.) During a game against the Cavaliers on Nov. 29, this pillar of sportsmanship bounced the ball off the floow in a failed dunk attempt and later said that he’d attempt the move again only if his team were up by 20. – Jack McCallum, Sports Illustrated, December 25

San the suspended Robinson, the Knicks are currently trailing the Sixers, 65-51 in Philly, their season-high 3 game winning streak hanging in the balance.

A night after losing Nenad Krstic for the season during a defeat to Los Angeles, the Nets are struggling, yet again, with Milwaukee, trailing 23-14 in the first quarter.

DerMarr The Deferential

Posted in Basketball at 1:13 pm by

Allen Iverson had 22 points and 10 assists in his eagerly anticipated Nuggets debut last night, as Sacramento snapped a cold streak with their 101-96 defeat of Denver. The Rocky Mountain News’ Chris Tomasson points out his new teammates are showing considerable respect upon the Answer’s arrival.

Nuggets guard DerMarr Johnson had no problem giving up No. 3 to newly acquired guard Allen Iverson.

“I think No. 3 looks a lot better on him,” said Johnson, who switched to No. 8 because he’s a fan of the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, who wore that number before switching to No. 24 this season. “He’s got a legacy behind that number. I ain’t done much with it.”

Johnson got a call from Nuggets equipment manager Sparky Gonzales, asking him to switch.

He said Gonzales told him, “Don’t shoot the messenger.”

Does Johnson want anything from Iverson?

“I’m not going to request anything,” he said. “If he wants to give me something out of his kindness, that’s fine.”

Paging Wizznutzz, there’s been an Awvee Storey sighting in Bismark, North Dakota. On the bright side, Storey apparently took out a D-League teammate that had 6 inches and 15 pounds on him. There is the small matter of the other guy nearly being killed, however, but in honor of A.I.’s return to active play, we’ll have no more discussion of something that happened at practice.

Dirty Birds’ Wayne Gandy On The Plight Of The Black QB

Posted in Gridiron at 12:03 pm by

Yahoo Sports’ Jason Cole gets an earful from Falcons LT Wayne Gandy on one of Rush Limbaugh’s fave topics.

Gandy has a pretty interesting take on why black quarterbacks such as current teammate Michael Vick undergo so much public scrutiny. Gandy has watched teammates “ Vick, Aaron Brooks in New Orleans, Kordell Stewart in Pittsburgh, Tony Banks in St. Louis and Dameyune Craig at Auburn “ operate under a different set of standards.

(Dameyune Craig, representing the glory of the Scottish Claymores)

“When fans and coaches see a black quarterback, it’s automatic that they expect to see a guy who is more athletic,” Gandy said. “So what happens when you get around the goal line or you get in those situations where most quarterbacks are taught to throw it away or get rid of the ball for a short gain if the play breaks down? The black quarterback is told, ‘Do something, make a big play.’

“That’s where you see a lot of Michael’s sacks come from. He’s supposed to make something happen in a situation where it’s probably not going to work. You see where the coaches and fans are expecting that, but it’s not really teaching him the right way to play.

“It’s all about the tutelage they get from the time they’re in college on. I saw that with Dameyune Craig. He was told, ‘If your first read isn’t there, take off and run.’ Do you think that anyone ever told Peyton Manning or Tom Brady to do that? Again, it’s about the tutelage they get.”

Bob Ley : Defending Omar Gooding’s Career Break, Dropping Comedy-Rock Trivia

Posted in Sports Journalism, Sports TV at 12:01 pm by

Sports Media Guide continues their excellent series of Q&A’s with various heavyweights from the print and electronic world, the most recent interrogation subject being ESPN’s venerable Bob Ley (above). My favorite portions are below :

Q. Didn’t the NFL exert pressure to cancel the “Playmakers” series?

A. It took a fair amount of stones to put that on to begin with. My understanding is that there were indications the NFL wasn’t happy about it before it went on, and even so it went on and lasted a full year. I don’t know if this is true, but I’ve read it in other media, that the company was approached by other entities to sell the rights of Playmakers “ we could have made a lot of money and believe me we’re about making money “ and we chose not to. You can take the contrarian view that ESPN folded like a bunch of lackeys, but it took something to put that on. By the way Tank Johnson, what’s fact and what’s fiction?

Q. ESPN’s impact on the sports culture is said to be negative “ is that fair?

A. It started with the highlight phenomenon “ and this goes back ten years now “ the wallpapering of highlights contributed to the “me first “ look at me” attitude. Maybe ten or twelve years ago there might have been some validity on that issue, but I can tell you first hand a lot of thought goes on about what goes on the air. We are the 800-pound sports gorilla that defines the daily discourse on sports, and I said this to Chris (Berman) on our 25th special – with being a leader goes a great amount of responsibility. It is one we take seriously. I can speak for myself and the people I work with on a daily basis “ we do take it seriously. I think parenthood helps you understand, and answering e-mails and phone calls helps you understand just how much responsibility we have.

The flip side is they give us a great forum. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves these are the jobs we wanted all of our lives. It gives us a podium. You can positively affect things “ if somebody doesn’t run out a ground ball and you report it “ sometimes the facts alone are damning. I’m very happy we were the first to report this Isiah thing. If somebody sent somebody out to commit a hard foul on one of the best players in the game that should be reported.

To assume our impact is always negative is somewhat unfair.

Q. Are you a sportscaster or a broadcaster?

A. I guess I’m a broadcaster. A sportscaster would be the Red Blazer in the white world of sports.

Q. Pardon?

A. That’s from the old Cheech and Chong song, “Basketball Jones.” A song on which, by the way, George Harrison and Carly Simon played in the band, and Michelle Phillips was a backup singer.

Much as I respect Ley — who somehow has managed to maintain his dignity though a lifetime at the Worldwide Leader — there’s considerable dispute over whether not ESPN was “the first to report this Isiah thing.”

The Price Of Being Treated Like Shit By Shea Security Just Went Up

Posted in Baseball at 11:08 am by

(the seats are expensive, but being groped by Mr. Met is still free of charge)

Look on the bright side, Mets fans.  Eventually, none of this money will be going to pay Bobby Bonilla’s deferred salary.  From Newsday’s Ken Davidoff.

The Mets, in the wake of their first National League East title in 18 years, are raising their ticket prices for 2007. As is standard for professional sports teams, the high-end ticket-holders will suffer the biggest hit to their wallets.

The Metro Club Gold seats, the seats closest to the dugouts, will range from $72 to $108 per game, a Mets representative confirmed Friday. Last season, those seats ranged from $60 to $96. Once again, the Mets will vary their ticket prices depending on the quality of the opponent. There are five categories: platinum, gold, silver, bronze and value.

The average price of that ticket, the Mets said, is $87. Last year, it was $74. Virtually all of these seats go to season ticket-holders.

The Mets increased most other ticket prices by less than $10. The most popular tickets — outfield field and loge boxes and mezzanine boxes — average $43.93 per game, the Mets said. In 2006, the per-game cost was $39.30

What percentage, if any,  of Wilpon Inc.’s new income might end up financing Jeff Suppan’s anti-stem cell research campaigning, remains to be seen.

12.22.06

The NBA – It’s Injury-tastic

Posted in Basketball at 7:19 pm by

One by one, the Association’s superstars are missing serious playing time due to slugging Mardy Collins injuries.  Along with such icons as Shaquille O’Neal, Steve Francis and Paul Piece, consider the latest admissions to the infirmary :

1) Rashard Lewis.

Last night’s finger snare in the netting in the first quarter against the Mavs might cost the Sonics 1-2 months worth of Lewis’ services.

2) Marcus Camby

The Nuggets C/F broke a finger on his hand during last night’s loss to Washington. On the bright side, Marcus suffered no ill effects from the post-game riots that followed UMass’ football loss to Appalachian State

3) Ron Artest

According to the Sacramento Bee’s Sam Amick, the Tru Warier gave Eric Musselman all of 30 minutes advance notice before last night’s game with Washington that he was suffering from previously undiagnosed knee pain.

Amick quotes Kenny Thomas as quipping “I don’t want to say something I’ll regret.” Good thing, too, as Soundscan is sometimes weighted unfairly against indie hip hop, so there’s no point in bringing up those low sales figures again.

The New York Post’s Peter Vescey
is less than convinced the pairing of George Karl and Allen Iverson will prove fruitful, based as much as anything, on the coach’s track record.

Karl swears he has no problem with players “as long as they bring it every night and don’t cheat the game or their team.” What a crock! Other than Next Town Brown, no pro coach majors in the minors like Karl.

It’s needless to waste space on documenting how conflict-ridden George’s futile stopovers were while at Cleveland and Golden State, so let’s start with Seattle:

He warred with Gary Payton over every imaginable infraction before and after guiding the Sonics to The Finals in ’96.

He warred with Ray Allen in Milwaukee, branding him “soft” in front of the whole team and pledging to trade him if it were the last thing he did.

He warred with Anthony Mason in Milwaukee almost from the moment he talked owner Herb Kohl into signing the free agent insurgent to a multi-year guarantee.

And last season in Denver, Karl warred with Kenyon Martin, because he couldn’t/wouldn’t practice all-out following the dreaded micro-fracture knee surgery. Meanwhile, Grand Kenyon was willing to play hurt (see what that got him, another operation, probably because he was overcompensating for the injured area) and hard in games.

See above babble in quotation marks courtesy of Karl.

It’s A Miracle

Posted in Blogged Down, Dogs, Merry Fucking Christmas, Religion at 4:41 pm by

While Bench Renaldo’s idea of a Yuletide offering is the invasion of Renaldo Balkman’s MySpace privacy (and what could be more private than a profile on the universe’s 1st or 2nd most popular website?), our comrade in absurdity, David Scheid of Where Is The Hotel, has uncovered something certain to move all but the most cynical non-believer.

Predators’ Nichol Suspended For 9 Games

Posted in Hockey at 4:13 pm by

Carmelo Anthony was just on the phone. He can’t stand to see cheap shots like this.

Todd Bertuzzi, on the other hand, would like to see the replay a few more times.

Twellman To Sam’s Army : Hell No, I Won’t Go

Posted in Football at 3:47 pm by

Reigning MLS MVP Taylor Twellman was an inexplicable non-invitee to Bruce Arena’s ill-fated US World Cup squad this past summer. And while the Revolution striker made interim boss Bob Bradley’s guest list for the upcoming friendly against Denmark, the Boston Herald’s Mike Biglin reports Twellman will be resting a sports hernia, instead.

Though he’s currently trying to lead Fenerbahçe, YouTube provides the time travel trickery with a glimpse of Zico’s greatest goals (link courtesy the Guardian Unlimited)

Charlton manager Les Reed tells the Mirror’s John Cross that a relegation battle ain’t no big thing compared to a brain hemorrhage. But I suspect there are similarities in inbeing knocked out of the Worthless Cup by Wycombe Wanderers.

UEFA.com reports that AC Milan’s Marco Borriello has tested positive for prednisolone and prednisone. Borriello has been suspended pending the results of a second sample, but just to be sure, the club have asked him to stop hanging around with Guillermo Mota Manny Alexander.

New Jersey’s Alecko Eskandarian (above) will be making fewer visits to the local Radio Hut next summer ; he’s been traded by DC United to the expansion Toronto F.C. in exchange for financial considerations.

There’s No Price Too Low

Posted in Rock Und Roll at 12:44 pm by

Dave Scheid forwards the following note from the glittering world of, uh, sidemen and reality TV.

CC Deville who is featured on the Surreal Life last season and the new season to debut Jan. 7th is not only a well known guitarist but, he would also like to see if there is an opportunity to have him do a solo or guest spot on upcoming songs or show dates. He may be willing to do it for FREE depending on the opportunity or the artist.

Nice try, but there’s only room for one world class guitar player in my band. And I’m sure as fuck not gonna bring in some guy who dresses just like me.

D-Train In Vain : Willis In DUI Bust

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, Sports TV, The Law at 11:30 am by

Karim Garcia and Shane Spencer each agree — when you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go.

The Boston Globe’s Gordon Edes reports the Red Sox have petitioned the Players Union to move the start time of their annual Patriots Day game to 10:00 AM. Which is good news for Rosie Ruiz, who should now have plenty of time to catch the entire game before winning the Boston Marathon.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s John Hickey passes along the helpful news that Barry Zito “really loves Seattle,” but making sure to add “the odds remain fairly long against him choosing Seattle because Boras’ clients almost always grab the cash. Even if the Mariners are willing to break the budget, it’s not clear if they can match the money of the Rangers, the close-to-home impact of the Giants, or the star power of the Mets.” So in other words, the Mariners are his 4th choice at best, but if that’s all John wrote, there’d be way too much blank space on the page.

Reliever Mike Gonzalez — supposedly a super hot commodity as recent as well, a week ago, remains a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates, despite offers from New York (Melkey Cabrera) and Atlanta (Adam LaRoche). Writes the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Dejan Kovacevic, “An industry source close to the Pirates said that a three-team trade involving the Yankees and Braves — one that would have sent Gonzalez to New York, LaRoche to Pittsburgh and Cabrera to Atlanta — was ‘pretty much a done deal’ until last weekend. But he added, “‘I don’t know what happened from there.’” Sounds like someone needs a better industry source (or at least one capable of making something up).

The Journal News’ Peter Abraham
joins the growing chorus of persons claiming Bryant Gumbel is football’s worst play-by-play man ever, warning “the NFL Network’s production values and graphics are a step above local cable access high school games. It’s hard to believe the NFL allows this to go on. It’s probably a matter of time before MLB starts a network. Hope the NFL serves as a lesson in what not to do.” I suppose Peter doesn’t think Fran Healy deserves another opportunity to bring his wit and wisdom to a television audience?

Inquiring minds wanna know, just what did Vito say to Metsblog’s Matt Cerrone? Word up, Matt, I have it on good authority he’s not writing a book about Rocky Marciano.

CSTB’s 2006 Wrap : Because Something Amazing Can’t Possibly Happen In The Next 8 Days

Posted in History's Not Happening, Internal Affairs at 8:30 am by

David Roth

1) Endy Chavez making like his Matador namesake and getting on some “You Must Be Stopped” shit in Game 7 against the Cardinals.

Beyond the obvious aesthetic pleasures of the leaping catch, there was — not to get too lyrical, here — the roar it brought out of the crowd, the yelps of surprise from the (not even baseball-intensive) bar I was in. My girlfriend was walking down a street in Manhattan when the catch was made, and she heard someone she didn’t know yell excitedly through an open first floor window, then rush to the window to tell her, and whoever was walking by, about it. A catch that good can take a city back a few generations in the way it deals with itself. Not a dream season for Mets fans, in the end, but with a few dreamlike moments, for sure.

2) Michael Ondaatje.

Nothing new this year from the Sri Lankan-Canadian master, but this year will forever be remembered by those who pay close attention to my reading habits as the year I read three of his books. There isn’t a better writer in the English language, for my money. If any of my CSTB contributions seem especially lyrical (ahem), he’s The Inspiration. Fuck Young Jeezy.

3) 2006 Mid-Term Elections.

The results were my favorite part. The totally unearned feeling of accomplishment and quasi-redemption pretty close behind.

4) The Endless Boogie live music concert experience.

Older, bolder, ice-colder and probably the closest thing anyone around my age is going to get to seeing the Stooges perform. This includes going to Stooges performances that are occurring at present, although I’m sure those aren’t so bad, either.

5) The Wire, Season 4.

Referenced obliquely on this site almost as often as our Bloggy Big Dog’s earnest hopes that the Knicks kick Zeke to the curb. It’s hard to sum up the show’s appeal, since those who haven’t seen it will have to deal with feeling disoriented and overwhelmed both by the flood of characters during the season’s earlier episodes and then disoriented and overwhelmed again at season’s end by what happens (quite fairly, and unlike other HBO shows, seemingly quite naturally) to those people (like friends or relatives after a few episodes) for whom the show has shown such harsh sympathy. For those who have been watching the series for years, even, this season was especially jarring, especially good, and especially complete in the way it dealt, in a just and offhandedly loving way, with the unjust and unlovely realities of Baltimore’s mean streets.

6) CSTB.

Because it has been proven, scientifically, to be America’s most trusted source for news on “sad toilets,” “buildings shaped like cocks,” specific reasons why other bloggers suck and, for me, all sporting news. Not to mention the only place you can read my wordy, goony ruminations on whatever, at least at this most wonderful time of the year.

Ben Schwartz

For me, the big moments in 2006 start with Steve Bartman snatching that ball from Moises Alou and sending the Cubs into a spiral that kept us out of the World Series. I know this technically happened in 2003, but I’m just not over it. After that my favorite events would be BORAT breaking up Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock’s marriage, Ozzie Guillen calling Jay Mariotti a “fag,” George Bush getting blown out on election day, The Get Evens “Cut From the Cloth,” Tom Waits’ “Orphans,” Colbert’s beat down of the President at the White Press Correspondents Dinner, and that I went a year without seeing SNL. My best celebrity spots of the year include Rip Taylor at the Sunset Blvd Hamburger Hamlet, George Hamilton at JFK airport last week (flying Jet Blue no less), and meeting MAD magazine’s Al Jaffee at the Friar’s Club. Aaron Spelling died in 2006, but DYNASTY-like plotlines in the Cub clubhouse continue: Dusty’s firing, Lou getting hired, senior Cub fan Donald Rumsfeld going free agent with no takers, David Geffen after the LA TIMES, and the pump and dump scheme the Tribune Co. has initiated to bulk the Cubs up before they sell them. And as much as I ridicule the product Cubs GM Jim Hendry puts out, not to mention the man himself, his heart attack was a bummer, and I’m glad to hear he’s recovering. That said, it does proves what I always thought the Tribune’s attitude toward the Cubs has been for the last 25 years — the Cubs will get to the World Series over our dead bodies.

After that, it comes down to my son Archer being born on July 31 or Rowdy Roddy Piper’s reappearance with WWE. I’m siding with Archer for the moment, but not if Piper joins the new ECW.

Chuck Meehan

Fave eyewitnessed sports event: Ryan Howard’s HRs # 50, 51 & 52 vs Atlanta
and subsequent 9th inning rally walk-off win, Cole Hamels outdueling Roger Clemens and subsequent Chase Utley walk-off HR

local sports heroes: Ryan Howard (above), Brian Dawkins, Bernard Hopkins, Dawn Staley, Phil Sheridan (Phila Inquirer), Jody McDonald (WPEN) and the venerable Harry Kalas

Musical performances: Notekillers, NoMeansNo, Acid Mothers Temple, Clockcleaner, Flag of Democracy, Shellac

Telly- The Wire, Colbert Report

Movie- Why We Fight

Politics- Pennsylvania voters repudiation of Rick Santorum

Sebastian Stirling :

Team:

The Buffalo Sabres are the rare team that embodies the potential salvation of its sport. The speed, youth, and character of the Sabres bode well for the post-lockout new NHL, establishing energy and fun as signposts for those fans still trying to find their way back from the clutch-and-grab paralysis of the neutral zone trap. Some might argue that it would be better for the NHL to have major markets in its finals than an exciting product to sell, but with any sense of marketing the NHL should be able to parlay the success of teams like the Sabres into attendance figures and television ratings. Their decimated blueline cost them in the Eastern Conference finals, but if the first half of the 2006“2007 season is any indication, the Buffalo Sabres should improve upon their result in the next playoffs.

Goal:

Alexander Ovechkin™s sliding flip against the Phoenix Coyotes on January 16

Story:


George Mason™s trip to the Final Four was a rare œfeel good story that didn™t leave a saccharine residue. Why? Not only was it predicated upon the redemption of an ill-timed crotch punch, but George Mason exacted my personal vengeance on defending champions North Carolina, saved the nation from fraternity houses heralding the new dawn of the Shockers, and then ruined the brackets of those who banked on Connecticut™s underachieving athleticism. There was also something about a newfound level of parity in college hoops, but it seems unimportant now.

Letdown:

It™s difficult to think of Floyd Landis™s triumphant comeback in stage seventeen of the Tour de France without pondering some of his excuses for his positive doping result. When he first blamed his surgically implanted bat wings, I thought, œYou know? I believe you, buddy. That™s why the Frogs can™t participate. But then he continued naming culprits, blaming the nation™s methamphetamine epidemic, the role of Jews in Hollywood, and Randy Moss™s personal smoothie chain. That™s when I realized that maybe he did cheat after all.

Records:

PinebenderWorking Nine to Wolf
Tungsten74Binaurally Yours
Benǫt Pioulard РPr̩cis
JesuSilver EP
Clark – Body Riddle
Hammock – Raising Your Voice¦ Trying to Stop an Echo
Isis – In the Absence of Truth
Nina Nastasia – On Leaving
Silkworm – Chokes!
Chin Up Chin Up – This Harness Can™t Ride Anything

Liz Clayton’s Best of 2006, in unweighted and unranked order:

The return of sparklers
Drive along South King’s Highway, South Carolina, April 2006
Mission of Burma at the Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto, and Union Park, Chicago
The opening of Mercury Espresso Bar in Toronto
Yo La Tengo at Babylon, Ottawa, October 2006
Brooklyn, New York, August 2006
Steagle Colbeagle the Eagle

David Gooblar,

Songs:
Yo La Tengo“ “Sometimes I Don’t Get You”
The Walkmen “ “Another One Goes By”
Shimura Curves “ “Noyfriend”
Peter Bjorn & John “ “Young Folks”
Nelly Furtado “ “Maneater”
Misson of Burma “ “2wice”
The Natural History “ “Dance Steps”
Marit Larsen “ “Don’t Save Me”
The Knife “ “We Share Our Mother’s Health”
Killer Mike “ “That’s Life”
Jennifer O’Connor “ “Today”
Hot Chip “ “Over and Over”
Fujiya & Miyagi “ “Collarbone”
The Fiery Furnaces “ “Police Sweater Blood Vow”
Camera Obscura “ “Lloyd, I’m Ready to be Heartbroken”
Beyonce “ “Suga Mama”

Albums:
Destroyer “ Destroyer’s Rubies

Ghostface Killah “ Fishscale
Sloan “ Never Hear the End of It

Live Performances:
Misson of Burma, Ghostface, Ebony Bones (separately)

Gerard Cosloy (your host)

Boris – Pink (Southern Lord)
Sonic Youth – Rather Ripped (Geffen)
Bottomless Pit – Tour CDR
Shearwater – Palo Santo (Misra)
Steffen Basho-Junghans – Last Days of The Dragon (Locust)
Jay Reatard – Blood Visions (In The Red)


David Bazan – Fewer Moving Parts (Jade Tree)
Mrs. John Soda – Notes & The Like (Morr Music)
The Distant Seconds – “Gertrude Stein” (demo)
The Futureheads – News & Tributes (Vagrant / Startime)
The Blood Brothers – Young Machetes (V2)
Tommy Keene – Crashing The Ether (1130)
TK Webb – Phantom Parade (The Social Registry)
The Dead C. – Vain, Erudite & Stupid (Badabing)
Mr. Lif – Mo’ Mega (Def Jux)
Jesu – Silver (Hydrahead)
Women Of The Year : Sally Crewe, Jennifer O’Connor, Anucha Browne Sanders, Cindy Sheehan

Non-Women Of The Year : Carlos D. (above),

Carlos B., Wizznutzz, Repoz, Tommy Saxondale (above, left)

Mushnick : Tat’s All Folks

Posted in Sports Journalism at 7:13 am by

The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick saved what might be his most precious entry of 2006 for the year’s next-to-last weekend. Along with implying the great humanitarian Bill Romanowski might’ve been the victim of reverse racism when pilloried for spitting in the face of J.J. Stokes, Mushnick unleashed this gem :

Those Knicks and Nuggets who “failed to exercise good judgment,” Saturday, that’s confusing, too. Guys who have chosen, often on several occasions, to permanently vandalize themselves with tattoos, in some cases right up to their ear lobes, are expected to exercise good judgment? It’s all so confusing.

Tough luck, Carmelo. Not only have you been knocked off the cover of Northwest Airlines’ in-flight magazine, but you’re not getting into a Jewish cemetery.

Must … hit … 12 … more … homers

Posted in Baseball at 4:27 am by

Sammy Sosa’s selfish pursuit of reaching 600 home runs began in earnest. According to the Associated Press (via ESPN), he began working out with hopes of signing a deal with a major league team “ any sort of deal. And the offers will come pouring in … according to Sosa, natch.

“The 38-year-old slugger said he had received calls from teams interested in signing him but declined to reveal their names.”

Now that he’s given his system a year to rid itself of any, um, evidence, Sosa is confident he can further tarnish whatever legacy he has remaining. He even goes so far as to compare his situation of missing a year to Ted Williams’ absence from the game for serving in the war.

” ‘Ted Williams went to war and lost a couple years. More recently, Barry Bonds stayed away for more than a year and came back, and the same happened with Frank Thomas because of injuries,’ he said.”

So, come on, who’s it gonna be? What team will make this joker an offer? Some team has to be desperate enough to ride the PR gravy train of 600 HRs.