02.28.07

If You Were Transfered To Uniondale, NY, You’d Be Crying, Too

Posted in Hockey at 11:09 pm by

Covered In Oil’s Mike W. struggles to make sense of Edmonton’s swap of F Ryan Smyth for the Islanders’ Ryan O’Mara and Kent Nillson.

Today’s deal is clearly a case of throwing the 30-goal scoring golden baby out with the bath water. I wouldn’t call Kevin Lowe cheap (how else can you explain the loyalty contracts to Staios or Pisani?) but we’re talking a difference of a million dollars: a couple of Toby Petersons, really.

This is Ryan Smyth. The man, who, for the record [tears of pure oil welling up in my eye], I’ve always felt was a much more important player to the Oilers than Mark Messier.

He was our last shot at a real Stevie Y type: a true blue Oiler with a special failure of imagination to think of playing anywhere else. At one time, I thought things like institutional memory were important, that we weren’t just cheering for laundry, the idea that teams could have distinct identities that could span decades.

But alas, the salary cap era has only made players even more expendable. I’m under no illusion that hockey isn’t a business, but it’s an increasingly cap-fixated, mercenary one, which totally sucks, especially today.

If I close my eyes, I can see Ryan Smyth’s ferrety face; his slinky, durable body slipping past a check on the boards; and of course, that small pile of blood and teeth left on the ice during the 2006 playoffs.

Bon Voyage, Ryan, (and say hi to Marc-Andre Bergeron for me once you get to Long Island)

Wedneday’s K.O. Victims : Arsenal, Juande Ramos

Posted in Football at 10:54 pm by

Today’s entries for It’s A Knockout include ;

a) Arsenal, 1-0 losers to Blackburn Rovers in their F.A. Cup 5th Round replay at Ewood Park.

b) Sevilla manager Juande Ramos, beaned by a flying bottle during Wednesday’s Copa Del Rey quarterfinal against Real Betis. From the BBC’s post match report :

The build-up to the Seville derby was dominated by arguments between the two clubs over whether or not Sevilla president Jose Maria del Nido would be allowed in the VIP box at the Betis stadium.

After mediation by the Andalucian regional government, Betis finally allowed Del Nido to attend the match although a number of fans threw objects at him as he took his seat.

There was further controversy because Betis had placed a bronze bust of Del Nido’s arch-rival, Betis owner Manuel Ruiz de Lopera in a seat just behind the Sevilla president.

Bonds : Sorry For Being A Jerk, But I Thought You Were Gonna Kill Me

Posted in Baseball at 6:10 pm by

The Sultan Of Surly chatted with KGO’s Ray Taliaferro last night, an interview the SF Chronicle’s John Shea claims didn’t feature “a single question about steroids, amphetamines, the BALCO scandal or a possible indictment.” Amongst some of the highlights :

. . . he tries to keep a level head amid criticisms. “If I don’t keep a level head, how’s the next person going to handle it? If Hank didn’t keep his head clear, how was I supposed to deal with it? If Jackie Robinson didn’t do what he did, how would the other African-American athletes deal with it? If someone doesn’t deal with it the right way, it sets up a very bad ending for someone who comes along and tries to do this.”

. . . the death threats he received still make him uneasy. “There’s a lot of times I want to say I’m sorry to some of the fans. But I’m mostly gun shy of what could happen. You’re only strong to a point, and then you get nervous. Someone says, ‘Hey, Barry,’ and I’m, like, whoa! I’m kind of standoffish. You can’t really explain that to anyone. Once this is all over, if I get lucky enough to (break the record) and my career ends, I’ll be able to release a little bit of anxiety or fear of what could happen.”

The paperback version of “Game Of Shadows”
contains further details about Bonds’ physical dimensions over the past decade. Apparently, Barry’s hat went from  7 1/8 to 7 1/4 (despite shaving his head). We’re supposed to believe this is the first time New Era got a size wrong?

Gary Matthews Jr. Would Like You To Understand His Position

Posted in Baseball at 5:28 pm by

Newly acquired Angels OF Gary Matthews Jr. has been linked — along with famed heavyweight champ “Evan Fields” —- to an Orlando, FL pharmacy that was raided yesterday by a federal goverment task force. Speaking to the LA Times’ Mike DiGiovanna (and a beavy of other reporters) earlier today, Matthews used many words to say…absolutely nothing.

Asked if he had any idea how his name, according to a report in the Albany (N.Y.) Times-Union, appeared on a customer list of two of the pharmacies that were raided Tuesday, Matthews said, “I don’t. That’s what we’re trying to find out. We’re gathering information, and I will address the matter again, at the appropriate time.”

“I just want to tell you guys I’m really not in a position to answer any questions on yesterday’s story,” Matthews said. “I do want to say that I do expect it to resolve itself in the very near future. I’ve got my representative looking for more information, to find out stuff, and until we get more information, I can’t comment.

“I’m asking you guys to respect my position on this. I don’t want to be a distraction to my team. There are things they’re trying to do to get ready for the season. I do want to tell you guys that at the appropriate time, I will address the matter.”

When will that time be?

“Whenever I get more information and talk to my representative,” Matthews said, referring to his agent, Scott Leventhal. The outfielder said he has not retained the services of any other legal counsel.

Did Matthews order any performance-enhancing products from any Web site or pharmacy?

“I haven’t read the story myself,” Matthews said, “and don’t have all the information.”

Another name implicated in the Times-Union report, Pittsburgh Steelers team physician Dr. Richard Rydze, is about to be investigated by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.  Rydze is accused of having used a personal credit card to purchase to buy $150,000.00 worth of testosterone and human growth hormone. Rydze has denied providing said drugs to anyone besides his elderly private patients.

WEEI : Cornbread Fucked Up

Posted in Basketball, Sports Radio at 4:41 pm by

From the AP :

Boston Celtics radio analyst Cedric Maxwell will offer an on-air apology during Wednesday night’s game for saying that a female referee should “go back to the kitchen” after he disagreed with one of her calls, a station official said.

Maxwell made his comments during the Celtics 77-72 win over the Houston Rockets on Monday night’s broadcast on WEEI-AM, which is owned by Entercom Communications.

He subsequently said “Go in there and make me some bacon and eggs, would you?” in reference to referee Violet Palmer.

“Cedric’s comments about Violet Palmer were a poor attempt at humor, and we don’t condone what he said,” Jason Wolfe, Entercom’s vice president of AM programming and operations in Boston, said in a statement. “Cedric will apologize on air during [Wednesday] night’s Celtics broadcast.”

Entercom fired former WRKO talk show host John DePetro in November after he called Green Party gubernatorial candidate Grace Ross a “fat lesbian” on the air. DePetro apologized.

Luton Town’s Mike Newell was unavailable for comment.

What It Du, What It Du: Spring Training Is Now For SNY Broadcasters, Mets

Posted in Baseball at 3:15 pm by

Is it possible that, just a couple of hours into the first exhibition game of the Spring Training season, Keith Hernandez is already getting punchy? Let the transcript below (done by hand, so probably not perfect) serve as proof that the great ones just get into shape faster. Also, although you’ll probably be able to pick this up from context, the Mets broadcasting team are talking about the MLB’s new hats.

Gary Cohen: So, you don’t like the new hats?

Ron Darling: El Stinko. (ed. note: this is apparently Spanish, translation forthcoming)

Keith Hernandez: Do I hear marketing?

Darling: What I don’t like about them is that stripe on the side. It makes it look like the players are all wearing du-rags under their hats.

Hernandez: Du-what?

Darling: Like the NFL players wear under their helmets? You know, du-rags.

Hernandez: Ronnie, watch your mouth.

Evidently, Keith wasn’t hip to Bodie’s impressive (if doomed) du-rag experimentation during the last season of The Wire. While I was typing that, Mex just said of Braden Looper’s future as a starter, “that’s not going to happen.” I guess if you’re never on message, you can’t really go off message.

As for the game: Spring Training-tacular. This means Lino Urdaneta looks like K-Rod, Julio Franco is swinging the bat with the vigor of a 38-year old, and Oliver Perez is…apparently already in midseason form as far as giving up bombs is concerned. He gave up four runs in two innings, but the Mets bullpen was effective thereafter, with Billy Wagner giving up the sole bullpen run. The Mets wound up going down 5-4, with Bobby Seay shutting the door for the Tigers to preserve the win. Between this and The Dugout being back in action, it almost feels like baseball season.

Update: SNY is currently televising the postgame running drills. Then to that car commercial with The Fall’s “Blindness” in it. Welcome back.

Golenbock’s Paen To Mickey’s Dick, Rescued

Posted in Baseball at 1:37 pm by

Good news for those looking for a little light Opening Day reading. Rather than confuse yourself with some statistical meanderings (and a laff-tastic ’07 recap from everyone’s fave displaced Redbird) you can instead curl up with Peter Golenbock’s recently shelved chronicle of Mickey Mantle fucking Marilyn Monroe and calling Billy Martin a rapist. From Tuesday’s New York Times.

“7: The Mickey Mantle Novel, Peter Golenbock™s occasionally racy account of the life of Mickey Mantle, which was canceled last month by its publisher, HarperCollins, was revived yesterday by Lyons Press.

HarperCollins canceled œ7 on the day it also shuttered Regan Books, the imprint under which the book was to be published.

œIt™s one of those books that a lot of people will love, but some won™t, Golenbock said yesterday. He said that Lyons did not edit the book or alter the sex scenes in it, one of which involves Mantle and Marilyn Monroe.

œThe only change was from ˜Regan™ to ˜Lyons,™  he said.

Gene Brissie, associate publisher of Lyons, said he and other editors read œ7 soon after HarperCollins canceled it. œMaking the decision to publish it and let readers make up their own mind was easy, said Brissie, whose uncle is the former major league pitcher Lou Brissie. œI think all the negative publicity came from people who haven™t read it.

Owner With A Boner Coveting The Cubs?

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 1:34 pm by

Chuck Meehan alerts us to the following item at Radar, along with his personal disclaimer, “I have no idea how reliable this site may be,” though you could just as easily say the same of CSTB.

Billionaire blogger Mark Cuban is more serious about buying a major league baseball team than he’s been letting on. The tech entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner is set to offer $625 million to buy the Chicago Cubs from Tribune Co., according to a source familiar with the matter. “Mark is desperate to buy the Cubs,” says the source. “He wants this so bad.”

Though I’m sure Ben Schwartz will have an opinion or two on this matter, surely I’m not alone in thinking that if Lou Piniella’s locker room wrestling match with Dibble was any gauge, the inevitable blowup with Cuban would be one for the ages.

The New York Sun’s Tim Marchman stumps Tuesday AM for the Hall of Fame candidacy of former MLBPA Players Association head Marvin Miller (above), claiming “the list of 20th Century Baseball men clearly more important than Miller” is a rather short one —- Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson.

Miller didn’t just help players become incomprehensibly rich; as he knew all along, the fight over the balance of power between labor and management is never a zero-sum game. It’s one that everyone can win. His assault on baseball’s feudal structure led to a vastly improved and much more competitive game, which led to more fans being willing to spend money on it, which led to owners making greater profits and baseball becoming an ever more integral part of the culture. Great as the legacies of men like Josh Gibson, Hank Aaron, and Christy Mathewson are, no one save Ruth and Robinson was more responsible for and representative of such fundamental changes in the game. (Arguments for Kennesaw Mountain Landis and Branch Rickey, though, will be duly noted.) If the Hall of Fame only could have 20 members, Miller would deserve to be counted among them.

All of this being true, yesterday’s announcement that the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee ” which comprises living Hall of Famers and winners of awards for distinguished careers in writing and broadcasting ” has once again elected no one was downright infuriating. This august body, created in 2001, is charged with giving a second chance to players unfairly overlooked by the baseball writers who vote players into the Hall of Fame and with passing judgment on umpires and executives. It has now met three times and has elected no one ” not Marvin Miller, not Ron Santo, and not Joe Torre. It has become even more irrelevant than the body it replaced, a Veterans Committee that served for many years simply as a means of inducting Frankie Frisch’s cronies and, as legend had it, elected the wrong player on two different occasions. One suspects that Ted Williams wouldn’t pass muster with this bunch.

True Hoop Previews Upcoming Klosterman Story About Klosterman, Arenas

Posted in Basketball, Sports Journalism at 1:13 pm by

The New York Times quarterly sports magazine, Play, will be publishing a piece by Chuck Klosterman (above) on Gilbert Arenas this weekend. It’s tough not to feel bad for Chuck in this. First of all, the definitive story on the subject has already been written. (And then crudely plugged twice in one sentence) And also because Chuck walks around all day knowing that people want to sock him in the face. There are other reasons to shed a tear for Klosterman, but this case is especially poignant primarily because he has been tasked with writing about someone more interesting than him. How will he still find a way to write about himself? Henry Abbott’s True Hoop has a preview of the article and Klosterman’s first two paragraphs are innocuous enough. Abbott also does a brief interview with this hideous man — in which Chuck compares The ‘Bachi (favorably) to Courtney Love — which goes a long way towards answering that question, and is characteristically rich in the plu-certain condescension and meaningless contrarianism that are Klosterman’s signatures. Abbott’s questions are in bold.

Here’s my question, though: does Arenas flaunt the NBA’s control, or does he operate wackily within its bounds? He just seems so harmless…
I would not say Arenas is necessarily subversive, because he doesn’t do things that jeopardize the credibility or the integrity of the NBA. He probably is (as you say) “harmless.” But would you prefer the opposite? Would you prefer that he be
harmful? Should he attack fans? I think the fact that Arenas’ eccentricities still exist within the conventional framework of the league is probably his greatest asset: He’s just a FRACTION beyond control.

Oh no, I certainly don’t want Gilbert taking swings at fans or being really harmful. But I guess I see at least some of the NBA’s controlling nature as over-reaching and if he were to use his position as a hard-working, charismatic, outspoken, but harmless player to loosen them up at the league a little I would like him even more.
I see what you’re saying, but I don’t know how that would really manifest itself. Should Gilbert Arenas come out and endorse Obama? I have no idea. Personally, I have mixed feelings about how negative or positive the controlling nature of the NBA truly is. Philosphically, I always find myself wanting David Stern to give the players greater freedom — but whenever I sit down and watch a pro game, it seems like the league isn’t controlling the product enough. Stern is constantly worried about things like dress codes and hip-hop and consumer image, but the NBA’s biggest problem seems pretty straightforward: How do they make the 3rd quarter of a regular season game more watchable? Because right now, that’s the crux of every other problem the NBA pretends to have.

Chuck should talk to Jason Whitlock about that last point, probably. At the risk of demonstrating a Klostermaniacal attachment to rhetorical questions, though, Chuck’s answers raise a series of questions for me. Foremost among them: how can a guy who keeps saying, essentially, “I don’t know,” manage to say it in a tone that strongly implies “you don’t know?” Also, how does Chuck manage to work Radiohead into this article? Why did he cut the Wizznutzz from the piece (James was interviewed, and wound up getting dumped in favor of, if I had to guess, a Klostermanian digression on an ex-girlfriend)? And, finally, via Dan Shanoff, what if instead of endorsing Obama, Arenas actually sort of was Obama?

NFL’s Skull Doc Quits

Posted in Gridiron, Medical Science at 9:47 am by

From the Baltimore Sun’s Ken Murray.

Dr. Elliot Pellman (above, far left), who directed the NFL’s concussion committee since its inception in 1994, has stepped down in the wake of mounting criticism from experts in the field of brain injury, The Sun has learned.

Last fall, ESPN The Magazine documented that Pellman was selective in what injury reports he used to reach his conclusions and omitted large numbers of players from the league’s study.
Pellman will be replaced by co-chairmen of the league’s mild traumatic brain injury committee. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said yesterday that Pellman asked to be relieved of his duties as chairman.

Dr. Ira Casson, a neurologist from Nassau, N.Y., and Dr. David Viano, director of the Sports Biomechanics Lab at Wayne State University, will head the committee, Aiello said in an e-mail. Neither doctor is affiliated with an NFL team.

Of Pellman’s background, Michael Kaplen, a New York attorney who specializes in representation of concussion and traumatic brain injury victims said “this person is a rheumatologist, not qualified to be an expert on brain injuries. He’s not a neurologist, neuropsychologist, neurosurgeon, and has no training in this area at all.”

In 2005, The New York Times reported that Pellman attended medical school in Guadalajara, Mexico, but did not graduate from SUNY Stony Brook, as he once claimed.

In Pellman’s defense, there’s not necessarily anything wrong with Mexican medical schools, the Steve Guttenberg star vehicle “Bad Medicine” nonwithstanding.