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.

Whitlock Warns His Younger Readers About The Real Meaning Behind Baggy Trousers

Posted in Hip Hop, Racism Corner at 4:57 am by

(memo to Suggs : there’s a guy in K.C. who thinks you’re a wannabe prison bride).

Now that Big Sexy’s characterization of a “Black KKK” has won nationwide attention, AOL Sports’ Jason Whitlock, clearly replying to his critics, writes “I don’t hate hip hop. I hate what it has become,” claiming “prison culture swallowed hip-hop culture, turning party music into a celebration of violence, hostility, disrespect and drug-dealing.”

Prison culture is winning. It has corrupted a form of music that once gave us great joy and/or offered inspiration. Prison culture — with its BET and MTV videos, popular movies, acceptance in the mainstream media and false gods — Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg — has perverted the American dream for black youth.

Our children think they’re participating in a culture that is meant to empower them. Hip hop — disguised in low-hanging platinum chains, 24-inch rims, platinum grills and other flossy material possessions — cripples black youth and infects them with a prison mindset that even NFL and NBA dollars can’t seem to shake.

Hip hop is filled with hostility and disrespect, the tools needed to survive while incarcerated. Hip hop cares little about family and knows nothing of the rewards of parenting. You don’t parent in prison; you baby-daddy in prison. Hip hop judges love by your willingness to embrace evil — ride (kill) or die.

Just like the Ebonics language, the tattoos and cornrows are straight from the prison playbook. So are the sagging pants, which started as a way for gay prisoners to signal their availability for action.

The rappers love to tell you they’re keeping it real, but they leave out so much to the hip hip/prison culture story. “Gangbanging” and being a “rider” is glorified. They don’t tell you that much of the violence played out on the streets is directly related to the love affairs that play out behind bars.

02.27.07

Don’t Be Talking To Joe Morgan About Voting Qualifications

Posted in Baseball, Sports Radio, Sports TV at 9:27 pm by

Taurine Dream’s Hot Shit College Student claims he’s not link hunting, but he’s getting one anyway. Following the failure of the Veterans Committe to elect anyone to the Hall Of Fame (again), here’s Joe Morgan sounding a mite bit defensive (MP3)

There’s a Tim Hardaway Joke In Here Somewhere

Posted in Sports Journalism at 8:04 pm by

Craigslist makes the world go ’round:

Media Out Loud is seeking Freelance Writers for Sports Out Loud, the best gay sports magazine in the world.

Requirements
Magazine experience not necessary but a plus. Be comfortable covering the gay sporting community; also be capable of interviewing high profile sports figures.

Just one question: Exactly how many gay sports magazines in the world are there?

Lute Olson Responds to Parkinson’s Rumors

Posted in Basketball at 6:27 pm by

Much as I despise University of Arizona and that, once again, the Wildcats dropped my Sun Devils (barely) on Sunday, there’s not much to laugh at in this story. UA coach Lute Olson, 72, addressed in a conference call rumors he has Parkinson’s disease.

From the Tucson Citizen:

“It’s a complete lie,” Olson said. “I have physicals like everyone else does. There is absolutely no medical indication of a problem of that type.
“It’s a vicious rumor that gets passed on. It’s totally false. If need be, I can get my doctor to indicate that it’s totally false.”
Olson said he decided to address the rumors for several reasons: A television station began to work on a story two weeks ago, a sports talk radio caller mentioned it and a fan came up to him today and asked him about it.

Plus, “This is the kind of thing you get from people you are recruiting against,” Olson said.

“If the rumor is going around here, it’s certainly going to be passed around (the nation),” Olson said.
“I’m healthy. When you get nervous, you start to shaking a little. But most people my age do (shake).”

It’d be appalling, though not unprecedented, if opposing coaches were using that dagger in recruiting. However, Lute seems to have opened the door himself to ageism attacks by saying, “Most people my age do shake.”

Having admitted Sunday after the game that he doesn’t have a “handle” on his team, Olson can’t possibly stick around at UA much longer. At least that’s the hope 100 miles to the north in Tempe.

So Much Photo Manipulation…

Posted in Baseball at 5:23 pm by

….and still, not even a staged hug for A-Rod! From MSNBC.com and the AP :

Derek Jeter drew quite a crowd for this at-bat ” President Bush waving in the stands, Mickey Mantle studying from the dugout.

Made for a perfect picture on Jeter™s new baseball card. Of course, the game never happened.

Instead, this Topps triple play was just someone™s idea of a visual gag. It was a card trick ” somebody at the company produced it through digital manipulation.

œWe saw it in the final proof and we could have axed it, Topps spokesman Clay Luraschi told The Associated Press on Tuesday. œBut we decided to let it run, we wanted to print it. We thought it was hilarious.”

Here’s three words I bet you hoped you’d never have to see together on the same page : “Fran Healy” and “podcast”.

Schilling : Weight Questions Are An Inside Job

Posted in Baseball at 2:26 pm by

Boston’s Curt Schilling continues to protest that too much is being made of his physical fitness (or lack thereof), all but naming and shaming Larry Lucchino in the process. From the Boston Globe’s Steve Buckley.

œI know that the comments that (sportswriters) make are a lot of times given to them by some unnamed source in the organization, which is disappointing, Schilling said yesterday. œBecause I know it™s people talking who haven™t said a word to me. That™s the way it always works. They™ll try to get a message to us through you (media) guys sometimes without putting their name to it.

Schilling would not name which member or members of the organization are speaking behind his back. But he did excuse Red Sox manager Terry Francona and general manager Theo Epstein (above, right) from his harangue.

œWhen Tito (Francona) has something to say, he™ll say it, Schilling said. œTito will never try to get a message to me through (the media). You know what I™m saying? But there are other people, and it™s in every organization, where they want to inspire a player, motivate a guy, they™ll go to the media and say, ˜Hey, we think so and so and so.™ You know how that works.

When it was pointed out to Schilling that New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner often has criticized players through the media, Schilling said, œHe never did it anonymously, which I like.

Asked specifically which Red Sox employees he believes are making anonymous comments about him to the media, Schilling™s response, verbatim, was as follows: œPeople. No specific person. And nobody in mind. I just know that this is one of those organizations that there will be things said in the paper from a writer that you know didn™t come from the writer that came from somebody here that wanted to get a message to a player without telling him themselves.

In an unrelated story, GPS manufacturer Tom Tom have enlisted Schilling as one of 70 preloaded voices that can be selected the next time you’re lost in Southie. Though if you’re in a hurry, you might wanna opt for another celebrity.

Quote Of The Day Award goes to Feeding The Monster’s Seth Mnookin, who after reading Murray Chass’ latest Times column (“for the longest time, I had no idea what VORP meant and didn™t care enough to go to any great lengths to find out. I asked some colleagues whose work I respect, and they didn™t know what it meant either,”) was compelled to respond,
It™s been a good long time since I™ve heard a reporter actually brag about his total and utter lack of curiosity regarding his work

I loved watching baseball in the days when I couldn™t identify a breaking ball from high and tight heat. But if it was my job to watch baseball games and then inform the public about these very same games, I™d sure as shit make sure I knew everything I could about the sport, regardless of what language I used to write about what was taking place on the field.

It’s True, It’s True : Albert’s Totally Clean New Pal

Posted in Baseball, Professional Wrestling at 2:02 pm by

From the Associated Press :

Slugger Albert Pujols and wrestler Kurt Angle took turns slugging balls in the Cardinals batting cages while Pujols took part in spring training.

Angle was present as part of Team Eckstein, named after World Series MVP David Eckstein. Eckstein is a lifelong wrestling fan and played the role of manager for a professional wrestling match in Orlando earlier this month.

Angle took Pujols’ batting pointers to heart.

“By the time he retires, he’ll be considered one of the best ever. It was an honor him telling me what to do in there. It would be like me getting him in the ring,” Angle said.

“I really admire these guys because of their work ethic and the way they go all year long,” Angle said.

Bud Selig and George Mitchell might be interested to know that last August, Angle was granted his release from the WWE for unspecified “personal reasons”. Such a move is analogous to the San Francisco Giants making Barry Bonds a free agent in the middle of the season.

Knicks’ Crawford Done For The Season

Posted in Basketball at 1:22 pm by

The morning after one of the Knicks’ more encouraging results of the year — a 99-93 defeat of Miami that included some sterling 4th quarter play by Stephon Marbury (25 points, 18 in the final stanza), shockingly competent D from Malik Rose, and yet another clutch 3-pointer from Jamal Crawford (shown above, Zapruder-stylee!) — New York’s playoff hopes were dealt a serious blow. WFAN is reporting this afternoon that Crawford has suffered a right ankle stress fracture and is unlikely to return this year.

Since I’ve been all-too willing to link to those eager to dump on Jason Whitlock, in the interests of equal time, True Hoop’s Henry Abbott has stressed that Big Sexy (cough) wasn’t totally out to lunch.

I do not startle easily, and I’m telling you, Whitlock is not wrong when he says that the crowd at All-Star was dangerous. Forget baggy pants. Forget skin color. The scene was bad, and any event organizer would tell you that if you were organizing this event again next year, you’d want to make sure it went better. I have no expertise in this area, I’m not sure what crowd control changes (no guns might be one, come to think of it…) to recommend. But I’m pretty sure you don’t want that many people that drunk and violent in that way again, if it’s avoidable.

The Trade Deadline Where Something Actually Happens

Posted in Hockey at 12:10 pm by

While Bill Guerin’s been moved from St. Louis to San Jose, Rangers coach Tom Renney (as quoted by Newsday’s Steve Zipay) refutes reports that Jaromir Jagr is on the block. Zipay’s colleague, Mike Casey claims the Blueshirts have requested Todd Bertuzzi’s medical records (presumably for some purpose besides identifying his corpse), and the Detroit Free Press’ Helene St. James writes the Red Wings have been offered Islanders F Jason Blake (above).

On Monday, Vancouver acquired Bryan Smolinski from the Blackhawks in exchange for a 2nd round draft choice. Orland Kurtenblog’s Mike Halford was inspired enough to do some heavy research :

He is often referred to as “Smoke”. May I make the humble suggestion that, whenever Smolinski scores a goal in a Canuck uniform, celebration must include torching a bowl, or – at the very least – digging a roach out of the ashtray and sparking it.

- One Chicago forum guy hates the deal and is posting a minute-by-minute countdown to when he can go home and drink the six-pack he bought on his lunch hour. It’s Monday, by the way.

(UPDATE : WFAN is reporting the Rangers have dealt D Aaron Ward to Boston for player to be named later. I’m pretty sure he won’t be named Derek Sanderson.)

Your Big Chance To Have Something Spilled On You

Posted in Internal Affairs, Rock Und Roll at 9:00 am by

Dear Friends,

I’ll be delving deep into my vast archive of recorded material this evening at the Beauty Bar (617 E. 7th St., Austin) from 10pm ’til closing. While I hope to see you there, please be advised that while I’d love to take requests,

a) I strongly dislike Hall & Oates. Especially Oates.
b) if it was just about hearing your favorite shit, we’d go over to your house and I’d pay you $5 for a drink while you looked (in vain, hopefully) for that Hall & Oates record
c) I won’t be taking requests.

All of that said, I can promise you it will be a fun evening. For me, at least. And unless you’re some kind of selfish creep, isn’t that really the most important thing?

see you tonight,
GC

Araton : Whitlock’s “Imbecilic”

Posted in Basketball, Racism Corner, Sports Journalism at 4:00 am by

Jason Whitlock’s employers at AOL must be thrilled. Not only has the self-proclaimed “Big Sexy” won the attention of blogs and social crusaders far and wide with his bizarre, self-promoting observations surrounding the NBA’s most recent All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas, but now he’s hit the radar of the New York Times’ Harvey Araton…and NBA Commissioner David Stern.

You can argue that Las Vegas was not the ideal site for an event that traditionally attracts thrill seekers hoping to attach themselves to celebrities and their posses. But the casting of the weekend as a lawless referendum on the N.B.A. product has become exaggerated to the point of being imbecilic and has left Commissioner David Stern in a delicate position, between a Pacman and a hard place.

In an e-mail message, Stern said he was inclined to let the Vegas storm pass, move on as the regular season hits the homestretch. He also said he was œnot necessarily a majority among N.B.A. management, meaning the strategy is œsubject to change.

He may yet ask why nobody blamed Nascar for the death of a motorist who was shot in a road-rage encounter during a traffic jam after leaving the Daytona 500.

He may have to point out again that no N.B.A. player was involved in any Las Vegas transgression, compared with a number of N.F.L. players who over the years have turned Super Bowl week into episodes of œMiami Vice.

He may crunch crime statistics relative to other sports events and large gatherings like New Year™s Eve that, he said, would prove that All-Star weekend was no behavioral aberration.

Opening an offensive may also be subject to critical interpretation, Stern acknowledged, writing: œIt sounds so damn defensive to throw other numbers out there to defend what has to be acknowledged as bad behavior, although of the 400-plus arrests in Vegas, almost 200 were for prostitution ” there I go again.

A few hundred arrests over several days, roughly half for prostitution in a city that is the home office for Hookers R Us ” how does this qualify as an indictment of a certain (read: African-American) element now said to have been running rampant everywhere but between Dick Bavetta and Charles Barkley during their charity race?

Isn™t it possible that a fair percentage of those arrested included some from among the tens of thousands in town for conventions unrelated to the N.B.A. or to celebrate the Chinese New Year? Or are only black people vulnerable to the seductions of Las Vegas?

œThe subject is just so delicious that everyone from Imus to Letterman thinks it™s just hilarious to dump on the ˜hip-hoppers,™  Stern wrote. œOf course, race plays a part in the perceptions. Do you doubt that there were more African-Americans in Las Vegas last week than at any time in its history, and some people felt threatened by that simply as a matter of culture?

Sheff : Start The Witch Hunt Without Me

Posted in Baseball at 3:39 am by

Hopefully, George Mitchell has Randy Velarde’s phone number. Until then, here’s one prominent superstar’s point of view, as quoted by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.

Tigers slugger Gary Sheffield joined Barry Bonds on Monday among players who don™t plan to cooperate with former Senator George Mitchell™s steroid investigation.

œThe (players) association told us this is just a witch hunt, Sheffield told USA TODAY. They don™t want us to talk to them. This is all about getting (Bonds).

œIf this was legitimate and they did it the right way, it would be different. But this a witch hunt. They™re just trying to collect a lot of stuff that doesn™t make any sense and throw the (expletive) against the wall.

“Come on, it™s baseball season, Sheffield said. Nobody™s got time for this stuff now.

02.26.07

Sonics Ownership Finances Hate Fuckery

Posted in Basketball, Organized Hate at 7:21 pm by

Who’d have thought Danny Fortson would wield so much influence over his new paymasters? From the Stranger’s Josh Feit. (link swiped from True Hoop)

The campaign finance records I’ve reviewed show that Sonics/Storm co-owner Tom Ward (above) has contributed $475,000 to Gary L. Bauer’s Americans United to Preserve Marriage. And another Sonics/Storm co-owner, Aubrey McClendon, contributed $625,000.

Both men made their first contributions to the group, $250,000 apiece, on September 8, 2004, the day after the group was formed.

As I said, the controversial group doled out $1,056,962 in the 2004 election cycle, which means Storm owners Ward and McClendon basically bankrolled the whole thing. Indeed, records show that between the 2004 and 2006 cycles the group spent $1.3 million total while Ward and McClendon’s donations total $1.1 million.

Amongst the pithier reader comments,

“I will feel especially good about NOT going to see any Sonics games ever.”

“There is no way in Hell that one PENNY of our tax dollars should be used to build these fuckers another sports arena so that they can continue to transfer funds from that enterprise to their favorite hate groups.”

“Clay Bennett gave money to Pat Buchanan, Tom Coburn, Bush I, Bush II, Bill Frist and others.

Howard Schultz ran the Sonics into the ground, but at least his politics were somewhat reflective of the community’s.”

“Clay Bennett & gang’s politics are reflective of the community. Only that community is Oklahoma City.”

It’s Not Easy Being Daniel Glass

Posted in Baseball at 5:08 pm by

Coming next week : Donald Sterling – Misunderstood Scumbag or An Acceptable Alternative To James Dolan? But for now, we’ll have to settle for a profile of Royals president Daniel Glass, who as the KC Star’s Bill Reiter explains, “uses words like œcool and œdude. He™s nervous on a first meeting and wickedly funny on a second. He wears nice clothes that aren™t quite fancy enough to mark him a rich man, and he eats at a Subway that shares space with a gas station even though he lives in a million-dollar mansion.”

He sounds a lot like me, really. Except for the parts about being funny on a second meeting and living in a million-dollar mansion. Oh, and the nice clothes. And Subway. Can’t fucking stand that place. But other than that, this was like reading about myself.

Dan Glass sits at a conference table and talks about the criticisms that have been leveled at him and his family.

œI always look at it as it™s a lack of talent on their part to take a cheap shot here and there, he said.

Then, after a pause and some thought: œAnother cliche, but you™re never as good as people say you are and you™re never as bad as people say you are, he said. œI hear about it. I used to (hear) it. I (hear) it still to some degree. It™s hard to take it serious.

But the image that™s been painted of him has become so widespread, it makes friends and family bristle. They™ve heard it all before, though they don™t understand where it™s come from.

œHe gets a bad rap sometimes for not knowing anything about baseball or just being the owner™s son ” whatever people say ” but it™s not true, said his 25-year-old son, Dayne. œThey don™t know him. They think he™s just hiding away. But he™s not. He™s just private; that™s his style.

Dan Glass strolls into a broadcast booth for a photo shoot, trying to smile.

œAh, the price of fame, he quips.

He™ll be heading to spring training soon, and, as the photographer snaps pictures, you can see in Glass™ eyes that he™d rather be anywhere else in the world than here, having his photo taken, another moment that™ll thrust him back under that spotlight.

He leans back toward the open window with the steep drop that looks out over the diamond. His lips purse together. He™s polite but impatient.

œMove your hand back, the photographer says.

Glass smiles. œLike I™m about to jump out of here?

Mets pitching guru Rick Peterson is the subject of David Lennon’s Monday entry at Newsday, and The Jacket’s taste in cinema leans, typically enough, towards Judy Garland.

“One of the greatest movies of all time is ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ What a great story,” Peterson said. “If you take a look at all the pitchers with untapped potential, I tell them that they are one of those three characters. It’s in there, and you don’t have to take all the time traveling down the road to get to it.”

“I’m a big ‘Seinfeld’ fan,” Peterson said. “I told him that his show actually is very helpful to be a better communicator with these guys. Because when you use the things he talks about, they laugh about it. There’s a human element to it, and once you get someone to laugh, you can exhale and see things a different way.”

Peterson has yet to break out a puffy shirt as a prop. But getting his pitchers to step outside their own heads for a few moments, and forget the ball and glove, can be a useful tool on the mound.

“He did one last year when I was pitching a side session,” John Maine said. “He asked me, ‘Do you like ice cream?’ I was like, ‘Yeah.’ Then he said, ‘Do you like ketchup?’ And I said, ‘Um, yeah.’ Then he asked me, ‘Would you put ketchup on top of the ice cream?’ When I said no, he told me, ‘Well, that’s what you’re doing right now.’

Lennon’s colleague Bob Herzog reports the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League have acquired former Met Edgardo Alfonso. While I’m thrilled to learn Fonzie will be wearing the colors made famous by John Rocker, Pete Rose III and Bill Pulsipher, it does seem like the Jersey City Snakes let a coveted free agent slip thru their fingers yet again.

John Terry’s Head X-Rayed : Results Show Nothing

Posted in Football, Sports TV, The Internet at 3:40 pm by

Glorious footage from yesterday’s Worthless Cup Finale, of which the Fiver’s Sean Ingle and Paul Doyle observed,

24 hours on from the red mists and red card he suffered during Arsenal’s 2-1 Carling Cup defeat against Chelsea, Kolo Toure couldn’t quite bring himself to say the ‘s’ word. “I apologise. I regret my actions,” he wailed, thumbing through a thesaurus. “But Chelsea were winning and were starting to waste time, and I was not happy.”

Indeed he wasn’t. But remarkably, Toure reckons he has done enough to avoid a thumping ban when referee Howard Webb’s report is posted through the door of the Football Association. “I do not think I will get banned,” Toure insisted, sheepishly. “When they look at the tape, they will see I have done nothing wrong,” he continued, shoving the Fiver to the floor before we could say ‘so why apologise, then?’ and adding: “The people who run football know who is bad and they know that I am always trying to do my best.”

But while Toure was begging for forgiveness, John Terry was showing no ill-effects after turning bluer than Weird Uncle Fiver’s Best Bongo Compilation XVIII following his collapse on the pitch yesterday. “I was just saying to the lads I don’t remember, you know,” Terry told Chelsea TV. “I remember walking out for the second half and nothing else until waking up in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. But I’ve had the scan and they said it’s OK. I’m still feeling a bit groggy, though.”

Meanwhile Petr Cech has been getting out his Black Sabbath albums in tribute to his captain who, incredibly, was able to join his team-mates in celebrating victory last night. “I told John afterwards that if there is some trophy for ‘Iron Man of the Year’, I think it is him,” he growled, crunching out a Tony Iommi solo and making a devil sign. “After the injury in Porto, he came back and played. Now he is fine, he was laughing and OK. He is unbelievable.”

Not content with taking all of our money via satellite fees and taven admissions, Setanta have announced plans to bring 2007-08 Premiership coverage to your craptop. If nothing else, the end of DirecTV’s near monopoloy on Setanta telecasts will come as good news to Senator John Kerry, who will now be free to follow his favorite footballer, Manny Ortiz, without signing up for a satellite dish.