03.31.07

Beak Healed, Crouch Humilates The Gunners

Posted in Football at 8:56 pm by

His MC skills leave a bit to be desired, but on today’s evidence, Peter Crouch is more than ready to take on PSV Eindhoven later in the week.

Crouch’s former club, Queens Park Rangers remain in serious danger of relegation following Saturday’s 2-1 loss to promotion hopefuls West Brom. It was a brutal afternoon for Stupor Hoops striker Paul Furlong, who squandered a solid scoring chance in the first half, then had his 66th minute spot kick save by Albion’s Dean Kiely.

The Observer’s Paul Wilson
writes that Sir Alex Ferguson actually expects anyone to believe the floptastic Cristiano Ronaldo is a role model for children.

“The Manchester United manager believes the FA should have taken action over George Boateng’s thinly veiled threat to Cristiano Ronaldo, when the Middlesbrough captain warned the Manchester United player last month to cut out the show-boating or expect to be seriously hurt by a frustrated opponent.

‘I was surprised the FA did nothing about the Boateng thing – if one of our players had said something like that we would have been up before them right away,’ Ferguson said. ‘We are not going to complain; as a club we don’t do that and I don’t think we should. Uefa are investigating the Belgian goalkeeper [Stijn Stijnen of Lille], quite rightly, for saying the same thing, but the FA have done nothing about Boateng and I am surprised.”

Mookie Kin Bemoans The Lack Of A Black Joe McEwing

Posted in Baseball at 4:07 pm by

With MLB’s dubious Civil Rights Game about to start momentarily between the Cards and Indians, the former’s Preston Wilson raises an interesting point or two with the St. Louis Post Dispatch’s Joe Strauss.

When it announced the first annual Civil Rights Game between the Cardinals and Cleveland Indians less than four months ago, Major League Baseball envisioned this weekend as a commemoration of the civil rights movement and baseball’s role in enacting social change.

Cardinals outfielder Preston Wilson, meanwhile, notices that he is part of another change: the game’s ever-diminishing minority of African-American players.

The veteran Wilson is the only African-American player on the Cardinals’ projected opening day roster. He has witnessed the steady ebb of black athletes from the game for two decades.

“I think the perception is if there’s a dark-skinned Latin guy out there, then he’s black,” Wilson said before Friday’s game against the Memphis Redbirds. “A lot of people don’t differentiate. But it’s not the case. There are a lot of issues involved.”

While Major League Baseball has made recent strides in elevating the number of minorities in its front offices and the central office, it has fought a losing battle against the well-known attrition of black athletes. Of players on major league rosters last season, only 8.7 percent were African-American.

Wilson sees few black role players in today’s game. Citing all-time pinch hit leader Lenny Harris (above) as an exception, Wilson said, “There are no mediocre guys who are black who are the 25th man on their roster. It just doesn’t happen. We don’t get those jobs. You can say it sounds whatever. But it’s true. Name one.”

Highly Litigious Self High Fiver Update

Posted in Fitness, Professional Wrestling, The Marketplace at 1:25 pm by

Though it’s been a while since we’ve read of Diamond Dallas Page’s attempts to pervert the American legal system, some consolation can be had in knowing he wasn’t just blowing smoke about his bold plans for YRG aka “Yoga For Regular Guys”.

Gratuitous, Wholly Inappropriate Bombshell Dropped During Klosterman Final Four Coverage

Posted in Basketball, Rock Und Roll, Sports Journalism at 1:03 pm by

Jon Solomon texted early this morning from the Georgia Dome to report “Chuck Klosterman looks ridiculous in the media area”, but as well all know, there’s more to a Page 2 blogging gig than mere appearances. For instance, there’s the opportunity to let an otherwise anonymous musician speak ill of the dead.

This is the conclusion of an e-mail from someone who was in a band called Stolen Cheesewheel, recounting a brush with fame during the 1990s: “Finally, [this artist] called my friend Emily a dirty name, so I commented, ‘You don’t have to be so bitter. You’re not half the artist your dad was.’ After a brief fight, he left, and we all left shortly after. That night, he went for a swim in the Mississippi River and drowned … I’m not telling you this as any kind of confession. I did not kill Jeff Buckley. But the funny thing is that there are people in Memphis who believe [my friend and] I chased him from the bar and threw him in the river. We were, in fact, confronted several times for just that. I just thought you seemed like someone who would be interested in an anecdote concerning the end of a talent.”

Indeed I am.

Wow. Coming later today — Black Market Baby disavow any connection with the passing of Len Bias, AND YOU ARE THERE!

Suddenly, A Bronson Arroyo CD Doesn’t Seem So Awful

Posted in Baseball, Religion at 10:45 am by

Not since the salad days of Greg Sage and Pig Champion has the Stumptown music scene been so torn asunder, writes the Portland Tribune’s Steve Brandon (link courtesy Jason Cohen)

Kent Bottenfield pitched to baseball™s biggest hitters and in front of thousands of fans. That was easy, compared with singing to a couple of hundred people.

œIt took me a year to get over the fear, he says.

Bottenfield, a former Madison High star who spent 10 seasons in the major leagues, is now an up-and-coming contemporary Christian recording artist. His second CD, œBack in the Game, is due Aug. 7. He™ll perform at 7 tonight at Portland Christian High in a benefit for the school™s baseball program.

œIt™s a whole new career for me, says Bottenfield, 38, who pitched from 1992 to 2001 for Montreal, Colorado, San Francisco, the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis, Anaheim, Philadelphia and Houston.

Bottenfield writes songs, plays piano and sings. He tours more than 100 days a year.

Only now, with œBack in the Game, is he making much of a deal about being a former big-leaguer. œMost people have heard Carl Lewis trying to sing the national anthem and don™t take former athletes that seriously, he says. œThis new song opens with baseball and talks about how it™s a new season in my life now but my goal is still the same “ to bring glory to God.

McLain : Pudge, Rocket Are Cheats

Posted in Baseball at 10:21 am by

This is shaping up to be one heck of a book tour. From the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)

Denny McLain is not as concerned with the fact that, he believes, many of today™s biggest Major League Baseball stars have taken steriods. It™s the culture of denial that has clouded the issue that troubles him most.

œIt™s not so much that they™ve taken steroids, it™s how they all lied about it, he said. œThe only guy who did the right thing was Mark McGwire. He decided not to say anything (in front of Congress) and just sat back and waited for the firestorm to come. It™s coming.

McLain broached the issue ” and several others ” as part of a candid address and question-and-answer session Friday afternoon at the 12th Annual Baseball in Literature and Culture conference, which for the second straight year was held at MTSU.

The day after his 63rd birthday, he acknowledged his signature season of 1968, when he was the game™s last 30-game winner, would not have been accomplished without the help of pharmaceuticals, particularly cortisone injections. He said the day after almost every game he pitched that season he spent a few hours in a hospital and took a shot in his pitching shoulder.

œThree days later, I™d go pitch again, he said.

He finished that season with a 31-6 record, a 1.96 ERA and 280 strikeouts versus only 63 walks. He had 28 complete games.

He made it clear he believes players such as Ivan Rodriguez, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens all eventually will be exposed beyond all doubt as steroid users. He noted changes in the physical appearance of both Rodriguez and Bonds in recent years, and pointed to Clemens™ sustained greatness as likely evidence that they used performance-enhancing substances.

œBonds? C™mon, he said. œ… Not to condemn anything (Clemens) did because he had one advantage over everyone else ” he had great stuff. But Lord knows how much better he could have been if he had been using the stuff.

The issue affected him personally, he said, when one of his grandsons, a high school hockey player, asked about steroids.

œI think the message it sends is, ˜No matter what you have to do to win, you do it,™ McLain said. œI don™t think that™s the right message we need to be sending to our children and out grandchildren.

A Genuine WTF Moment To Start Your Weekend

Posted in Free Expression at 10:00 am by

Sam Frank forwarded the following.  To paraphrase the Del Fuegos, good luck to all craigslist posters hunting for their moms’ graves.

lynn salem area 1999-now


Reply to: comm-303310733@craigslist.org
Date: 2007-03-30, 5:55PM EDT Title: (missed connections) CAN ANYONE TELL ME WHEN MY ROTTEN FAMILY BURIED MY MOTHER?
DORIS HELEN NICHOLS/dec 2 dob?lynn ,ma.

I SUSPECT IT MAYBE RECENT BECAUSE,
I WAS ASSAULTED AND, GOT SEVERAL SUSPICIOUS CALLS, FROM A defenseless/DESPERATE INCOHERANT DRUGGED UP FEMALE ;
IF MEDIA WANTS TO INVESTIGATE ;
BOY IS THERE A STORY BEHIND THIS LOSER SICK SIBLING FAMILY OF MINE!.
ONE THING I DO KNOW ….THEY WOULDNT LET HER LIVE- CALLED ME CRAZY, TO DAWN THE GOODS AND GET AWAY W/ GETTING RID OF ME AND MY MOMA!
DORIS HELEN NICHOLS;
ANYONE WHO DONT LIKE ME TALKING ….
TUFF S*&%$#@!!!
THINK MY SIBLINGS are HARDWORKING honest bread winners;innocent pillars of the community?just plain HONABLE; HONEST ;TALENTED MONEY MAKERS ,IN THE FAMILY ! ?! GUESS AGAIN!
….arrest this ! ;you ignorant bunch of criminal lying morons….

03.30.07

No Respect For The 66th Best Team In The Nation

Posted in Basketball, College Spurts at 5:17 pm by

Y’know, even if West Virginia had been spelled correctly, that’s one ugly shirt.

If Kevin Durant is going to continue to insist he might actually return to Austin for his sophmore year, the UT Ticket Dept. would be well advised to send out invoices for the 2007-08 season, ASAP.

NCAA President Myles Brand hinted at adding 3 additional play-in games to future tournaments, and if they’re ok with starting the qualifying games 5 minutes after the Sunday selection show, I see no reason why this is unworkable.

Bad Karma Runs Over Gambler’s Dogma

Posted in Baseball at 4:57 pm by

Shoving cameramen and doctoring baseballs failed to take a toll on Kenny Rogers’ shoulder, but it appears as though a blood clot will deny Detroit the services of their left-handed ace for the first half of the season. MLive’s Danny Knobler reports Chad Durbin will now assume a spot in the Tigers’ rotation.

While Da Edge made the Mets’ big league roster, there’s some good news for the hitters of the Pacific Coast League. The Daily News’ Adam Rubin writes that Chan Ho Park (3 scoreless innings today, 5 K’s against the Fish) has accepted the Mets’ assignment to Triple-A New Orleans.

Congrats to journeyman IF Jason Wood, 37, who was added to the Marlins opening day roster in his 16th year of pro ball. Wood’s tale of perseverance should provide some solace to Mark Prior, who upon being assigned to the Iowa Cubs, set a goal of making the Triple-A All Star Game. Baby steps, Mark, baby steps.

Carl Pavano was named the Yankees’ opening day starter, and WFAN’s Sweeney Murti says “it’s time to stop kicking dirt” on the right-hander. Of course, Murti makes said statement after outlining —- in detail — many of the major world events that have occured since the last time Pavano started a game in the big leagues on June 25, 2005.

The Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rogers felt very comfortable summing up the tone in Mets’ camp, but Mike Steffanos was quick to point out,

(Orlando) Hernandez pitched poorly his first outing, but he hasn’t had a horrible spring. The day before this column ran, El Duque gave up an unearned run in 6 strong innings. Maine and Perez had been pitching great, as you all know, which would hardly qualify Pelfrey as “the one bright spot.” If you were looking to pan the Mets, as Rogers obviously was, there certainly are legitimate issues to talk about. Instead, he more or less made up the ‘facts’ he used to make his argument.

Japan Baseball Daily reports ESPN is working on a documentary about Bobby Valentine’s Chiba Lotte Marines. I don’t know exactly what Bobby is doing in the photograph above, but if Charles Perez was allowed to host a chat show, I don’t suppose it would be that hard a gig.

Col. Coughlin’s Modesty

Posted in Genocidal Tendencies, Gridiron at 3:08 pm by

From the New York Daily News’ Gary Myers.

Tom Coughlin (above) barely hung onto his job after the Giants collapsed in the second half of last season. He tried to make it seem he was oblivious when there was so much speculation he was about to be fired. Clearly, it had an impact, because yesterday he compared the barrage of criticism to what Adolf Hitler received. It was a regrettable and politically incorrect comparison, but just putting himself in the same sentence as Hitler shows the strain Coughlin was under and the degree he felt despised.

When he was asked at the NFC coaches breakfast by a football Web site reporter whether he paid attention to what was being said about him last season, Coughlin replied: “I hear some of it and I see it. You know (VP of communications Pat) Hanlon tells me about it, what’s going on.”

Then, he paused, and said, “Hitler and then me, in that order. Unfortunate, but it is.”

Even Kevan Barlow thought Coughlin’s comments were inappropriate.

Newsday’s Arthur Staple reports Der Fuhrer Coughlin has cancelled his weekly appearances on WFAN’s “Mike & The Mad Dog”.

Helping A Man With Bugs In His Beard Write Sunday’s Column

Posted in College Spurts, Sports Journalism at 2:09 pm by

It’s getting tougher and tougher for Phil Mushnick to write an entire column. From Friday’s New York Post.

With the NCAA tournament serving as an annual reminder of how big-time college ball is predicated on educational fraud committed by big-time universities, we’re reminded of the coach who was told by his star player that his midterm grades are out: Four F’s and a D.

“Son,” said the coach, “I think you’re spending too much time on one subject.”

Incredibly, Phil passed up the chance to comment on the University Of Florida trying to build a school the basketball and football teams can be proud of.

The Apologists’ Ship Be Sailing

Posted in Basketball at 1:31 pm by

We are a couple of days beyond suspended Albany Patroons coach Michael Ray Richardson’s ill-advised remarks concerning big time Jewish lawyers (if not his way of dealing with hecklers), and there’s a few persons who suggest Richardson’s been dealt a raw deal.

Joey at Straight Bangin’ observed,

Michael Ray (above) seems to be more along the lines of the funny antisemite rather than the dangerous antisemite. Amidst all the stupidity in the world, sometimes you just have to laugh. And really, I think he was trying to be nice in a weird way. I probably shouldn’t write that, but the guy didn’t say he hated all Jews or wished that they’d go back to making bricks in Egypt. It wasn’t a message of intolerance. He said Jewish people are crafty (which, we can all agree, is dumb and negative and not well thought out) and then cited what he thought was proof of it. I mean, does anyone think he was being purposely malicious? I think he was being dumb. And there are, in fact, a disproportionately large number of Jewish men who own teams or run leagues.”

While I can’t really disagree with much of the above, I do think the line between “funny” and “dangerous” anti-semitism is awfully thin unless someone is willing to call the dopes in question out.

No Mas’ Christopher Isenberg — who profiled Richardson for the Village Voice in February of 2000 — cites some of that story’s more colorful quotes in putting Michael Ray’s return to the headlines in perspective.

Michael Ray Richardson doesn’t speak politically correct English. He isn™t the guy who knows it may be more expedient to say: “The Jewish people have a deeply celebratory spirit.” He™s the dude that says, “Them Jews know how to party!” But if you hear him say it, you know his heart is in the right place. He was proud of James Brown, and he was happy that Israelis could appreciate a performer who he felt represented to a certain extent the collective spirit of his people. It clearly made him feel more at home and more comfortable in Israel. If they could truly appreciate James Brown, you could feel him thinking, maybe they could truly understand and appreciate him.

I really can™t think of any better way to illustrate that Michael Ray is the opposite of a racist. Confronted with the reality of Israel he abandoned preconceived notions and evaluated people on how they actually behaved. Michael Ray has done that in every country he™s been to. And that™s why he™s been loved all around the world.

Now because he has the temerity to say that Jews are good lawyers, Jews are industrious people, Jews use their wits to get ahead in a world where they are more often hated than loved, we are going to excommunicate him from basketball like he™s Tim Hardaway or Al Campanis.

It™s not right. Michael Ray is proud to have a Jewish lawyer because he thinks they are the best lawyers. Certainly it™s a stereotype, but it™s a stereotype rooted in a reality. A disproportionate number of the great lawyers in America are Jews. A disproportionate number of the great basketball players in America are black. We have learned to be very careful around these facts because here the line between fact and “stereotype” can get very blurry and if you’re not careful, you can get into deep water real quick. Michael Ray was unwise to have been so indiscreet around reporters, but it wasn’t exactly Elders of Zion territory.

There’s a lot of stereotypes that are to some degree or another, rooted in reality. And some are equally rooted in looking for scapegoats, cheap excuses and ways to reduce another culture to a caricature. I can fully accept that Richardson meant no harm with (some of) his comments, but I don’t think the Al Campanis analogy is inappropriate, either. Jews are inviduals, just like everyone else. I can cite a good number of ‘em with zero connections to media, banking, standup comedy, the music business, basketball or blogging.

OK, maybe only a handful, but a legit handful just the same. Were a sports executive or TV pundit to suggest the success or failure of black athletes was down to genetics, he’d probably catch a bit of heat. I mean, that’s been the pattern.

Seeing as I’ve not even followed the CBA of late (Isiah Thomas keeps insisting they’re out of business), it’s hard for me to propose an appropriate punishment for Richardson. Being drummed out of pro hoops seems awfully harsh, and perhaps either a public apology or clarification of his remarks would’ve done more good. I’m not sure how Richardson can clarify calling a paying customer a fucking faggot (if in fact, that’s what he said), but I’ve yet to seen anyone —- Isenberg included — excuse that alleged outburst.

Somewhat lost amidst the MRR controversy is Albany falling behind Yakima, 2 games to none in the CBA finals. Amongst the highlights of the Patroons’ 92-87 loss Wednesday night was F Carl Mitchell throwing a punch at teammate Felipe Lopez (yes, that Felipe Lopez). From the Albany Times-Union’s Tim Wilken.

The two had a misunderstanding under the Yakama basket at the end of the first half. Mitchell said Lopez was mad at him for taking a bad 3-point shot. Lopez said Mitchell said something unflattering about him to one of the Sun King players. Lopez hit Mitchell on the side of the head and, while Kareem Reid tried to step in and keep the two apart, Mitchell hit Lopez in the face.

“He came up on me and swung and punched me,” Mitchell said. “He started coming up on me and I was like, ‘if someone is going to punch me …’ I feel bad because that ain’t me, man. Your own teammate punch you during a game? What the hell is that?”

Lopez said he was embarrassed about the situation.

“I heard him (Mitchell) say something and it was bad,” Lopez said. “I’ve been playing basketball for a long time and I wasn’t comfortable with what he said. We exchanged blows. I was not going to take it lightly.”

Don Cherry Has His Collar Up

Posted in Hockey, Sports TV at 10:23 am by

Sonny Rollins, unavailable for comment.

Raissman On YES’ Orchestrated A-Rod Rips

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 9:22 am by

After sitting through a screening of “Yankees 2007: Pride, Power, Pinstripes”, The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman insists “there will be times when A-Rod commentary will not only reflect what’s on the minds of the Yankee high command, but be passed down directly from Pinstripe Mountain through YES production boss John Filipelli,” but also admitting “Watching to see which Yankee issues are totally ignored, and which controversies are played prominently, is far more entertaining, informative and intriguing than hearing Kimberly Jones ask Derek Jeter why he wants to win so badly.”

The moment of truth came when the subject of A-Rod was introduced during a panel discussion of YES analysts moderated by Michael Kay. Justice’s mouth might as well have been taped. And Al Leiter (he was “encouraged” to rip Rodriguez last June but refused to single him out for the Yankees’ problems) didn’t chime in, either. However, it was made abundantly clear that there are YES voices who ain’t waiting until late June to begin smacking Rodriguez around.

After Kay asked the panel for its take on A-Rod’s opt-out clause, Ken Singleton (above), a mild-mannered guy, basically told Rodriguez to shut up.

“Just play ball,” said Singleton, showing more passion than usual. “Go out and try to win a championship. Get as close as you can. If you don’t win it just give the effort. Show that you tried.”
Singleton went on to highlight A-Rod’s miserable playoff performance (1-for-14, dropped to the eighth spot in the lineup) against Detroit. “That’s not what Alex Rodriguez is supposed to be,” Singleton said.
Girardi entered the discussion, saying A-Rod is already a major “concern” for Joe Torre.

“I think he is a concern because he’s not able to relax. Alex takes on all the pressure of not winning a World Series,” Girardi said. “He has to find a way to relax. … Until Al stops trying to be perfect it’s going to be tough because he can never live up to the expectations of the contract. It’s just impossible.”

Ever since Justice put the wood to the Yankees’ third baseman last June (“If the game is 9-2, he might make it 9-4. If the game is 7-1, he might make it 9-1. But when it is 2-2 late in the ballgame he can’t get it done.”) it has been bombs away on A-Rod on YES.

Taking him to the woodshed on a “preview” show is further proof that A-Rod analysis, mechanical and psychological, will be an integral part of YES’ Yankee telecasts. But some issues will be completely ignored – such as Derek Jeter’s “relationship” with Rodriguez.

The Poochy The Rockin’ Dog Of Fledgling Sports Leagues

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 8:59 am by

What they lack in aesthetics, the NXBL more than makes up for in chutzpah.

And if nothing else, any initiative that might allow John Rocker another comeback attempt oughta be worth a peak.

Overpaid Guys With A Crazy Sense Of Entitlement Return To Williamson County

Posted in Baseball at 8:32 am by

Astros 6, Express 4

A Houston roster packed with Express alumni visited Round Rock last night, and while the preseason tilt between the NL Central hopefuls and their PCL taxi squad might not have been a classic for the ages, it wasn’t without incident :

a) Former Baylor standout Jason Jennings allowed 2 runs (one earned) on 3 hits and a walk over 4 innings, but all of the damage of substance was done during an interminable first inning in which the newly acquired righty struggled with his location (ie. Williamson County).

b) Carlos Lee singled, hit an RBI double, stole a base, and went to bed with the comforting knowledge that firearms enthusiast Luke Scott is providing his protection in the batting order.

c) Morgan Ensberg responded to being dusted off by Round Rock’s Hunter Douglas in the fourth inning by feigning a charge to the mound, then wielding his bat towards the Round Rock dugout. The local paper will have you believe Ensberg was just kidding, but that’s merely because he doesn’t look very threatening.

d) Brad Lidge and Hunter Pence are already in mid-season form. The former served up a two-run laser shot to dead center to the latter ; Pence (above) was on fire during spring training and I don’t think I’m going out on a limb in predicting his probable strong showing in CF for Round Rock will impact Chris Burke’s job security.

03.29.07

Marchman To Mets Fans : Get Off The Fusspot

Posted in Baseball at 4:57 pm by

Along with projecting this year’s Bombers to be “the best Yankees team since 1998,” insisting that Miguel Tejada “deserves to play for a real team,” and dismissing the Mariners as “Orioles West”, the New York Sun’s Tim Marchman assuages the fears of Mets followers with, uh, the following :

I don’t worry about the Mets’ rotation. It wasn’t any good last year, and they won 97 games.

“It was, too good,” you protest. “They won 97 games!” Yes, because of the offense and the bullpen. The rotation ERA was 4.67, while National League starters as a whole, few of whom pitched in parks as spacious as Shea Stadium, were at 4.66.

Further, the Mets finished in first place by 12 games, which is a lot. They have to get a lot worse, and at least one other team will have to get a lot better, for the Mets to lose their spot atop the mountain. Could it happen? Yes. Will it? Probably not. Jose Reyes and David Wright are still improving, and the likes of Jose Lima and Steve Trachsel won’t be kicked around Flushing this year. All this should offset any decline from the likes of Carlos Beltran and Tom Glavine. Mets fans, by nature, are fusspots. This year they needn’t be.

While John Maine was solid against the Dodgers today (5 K’s, 6 IP, 2 earned runs), David Newhan went nuts (2 HR’s, double, single, 2 RBI’s) in the Mets’ 13-2 win. In the midst of an underwhelming spring for most of the Amazins’ position players, Newhan and Da Edge have performed exceptionally.

The Seattle Times’ Geoff Baker calls Rey Ordonez making the Mariners big league roster “one of the more improbable sports comebacks in recent memory.” I guess Geoff wasn’t so blown away by Russ Ortiz claiming the 5th spot in the Giants’ rotation.

Rangers reliever Eric Gagne will start the season on the DL ; even Kerry Wood is skeptical about Gagne ever coming all the way back.

Kazakhstan : Still Losing The Public Relations War

Posted in Cinema, Tourism, We Aren't The World at 1:59 pm by

Though the Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan’s reasonable objections to the situationist comedy of Sacha Baron Cohen have been noted in this space previously (October 27, 2006, October 10, 2006, November 15, 2005), the New York Post’s Marianne Garvey reports on an unusual attempt to clear the air with American intellectuals. Or failing that, students at St. Francis.

Yesterday, students at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights sat through a guest lecture on the nation by Barlybai Sadykov, deputy permanent representative of Kazakhstan to the United Nations – and found it anything but entertaining.

Half the class dozed off, some played games on their laptops, and many sent text messages during the hour-long lecture by Sadykov, in which he disputed Borat’s tall tales about the country.

“Kazakhstan is becoming increasing important in the world,” Sadykov told the class. “Its economy is flourishing, and we have a large abundance of natural resources – in fact, we make 1.5 million barrels of oil a day.”

“We have very good relations with other countries, especially Israel,” Sadykov said.”Kazakhstan is not only a developing country, we are well equipped technologically and are an advanced society. Our people are highly educated. We have modern cities that are economic centers. We have very modern buildings.”

Gillispie’s Leverage : A&M Coach Spurns Arkansas Offer

Posted in Basketball at 12:47 pm by

From the Houston Chronicle’s John P. Lopez :

Texas A&M basketball coach Billy Gillispie will remain head coach of the basketball program he has turned into a national power, three high-ranking sources close to and within the A&M system have confirmed.

Gillispie apparently has not officially confirmed to athletic director Bill Byrne or the regents that he will accept a new contract that will pay him in the neighborhood of $2 million a year, including guarantees added to the deal that runs through 2012. But regents and athletic department officials feel confident the new deal, and construction on the new A&M basketball facility scheduled to begin Monday, are the guarantees Gillispie was pursuing.

“The fence will go up (at the construction site) and they’ll get it rolling,” one source said of the 50,000-square-foot, $20 million facility that will include practice areas for men’s and women’s basketball, offices and training areas.

After several meetings with A&M athletic director Bill Byrne, Gillispie received notice today that the A&M Board of Regents will rubber-stamp the contract and expedite the start of construction on the facility.

Gillispie has been contemplating an offer from the University of Arkansas to replace fired coach Stan Heath. If he accepts the A&M deal as expected, regents expect Gillispie to be, “a lifer.”

Though I’d be more impressed if A&M could find a way to give Acie Law the money, it’s worth noting that Gillispie’s new pact — if Lopez’ sums are correct — will make him the highest paid coach in the Big 12 (based purely on salary).

Richard Lester, Eat Your Heart Out

Posted in Rock Und Roll at 11:56 am by

If you’re wondering why the Geege gets slapped early in the video, keep in mind that even in Hookset, NH, whispering to a girl, “you look like a young Genya Raven” is considered rude.

File Under : “Organized Superstar Coddling”

Posted in Baseball, The Internet at 11:29 am by

Oh yeah, this will work. Marc Perlman says “I’m at a loss for words,” and while I speak for his entire softball team in wishing that were true (just kidding, Marc), the makers of “Project A-13″ are nothing if not erudite in their understanding of the fan/athlete dynamic.

We can start the journey out of here by making a choice”to be patient, positive, and strong as fans.

Forget all the gaudy statistics and awards too”this goes for Alex as well as for us. If we can each clear our minds of the headlines, the hype, and especially the money”which is both corruptive and corrosive by its very nature”we can start this relationship over with a renewed sense of opportunity. We can believe in him, and his abilities at the plate, without expecting anything in return…belief in its purest form. If we can do this, The Movement will begin, and the possibilities are endless.
Are you ready to believe?

I thought so. And so am I.

Just remember: positive energy is contagious, and limitless in possibility. Let’s stop the boos (not booze), and start spreading the word.

Stand up, New York.

Start The Movement.

No Time Like The Present For Costanza To Ask Jennifer Swindal For A Date

Posted in Baseball at 11:07 am by

The New York Times’ Tyler Kepner on a probable change in the New York Yankees’ chain of succession.

George Steinbrenner ate dinner in the cafeteria at Legends Field on Wednesday with his daughter Jessica beside him and her husband, Felix Lopez, next to her. Lopez merrily took out a cellphone and snapped a picture of his wife and his father-in-law. It was one big, happy family. But all is not right in the Steinbrenner clan. His other daughter, Jennifer, filed for divorce from her husband, Steve Swindal, in the family law division of Hillsborough County Circuit Court on Tuesday. Swindal was arrested last month on suspicion of driving under the influence, and the divorce would end any chance he had of succeeding Steinbrenner in running the Yankees, as Steinbrenner had said he would do in June 2005.

œI™m the boss, Steinbrenner said through his spokesman, Howard Rubenstein. œI continue to be the boss, I have no intention of retiring, and my family runs the Yankees with me.

Steinbrenner™s sons, Hank and Hal, are listed as general partners along with Swindal at the top of the Yankees™ hierarchy. Lopez, who has become an increasingly active presence, is listed as a senior vice president.

When Swindal leaves the family, he will effectively leave the Yankees. According to an individual with direct knowledge of the matter, Steinbrenner no longer plans to promote him, and he would seem to have no future with the team. But the situation is complicated because Swindal has a small financial interest in the team ” among other things, he is listed as the chairman of Yankee Global Enterprises, the umbrella company for the club and the YES network ” and the specifics of that interest will have to be untangled. Rubenstein would not say if Swindal still worked for the Yankees.

Steinbrenner™s appearances in public are less frequent than ever. He has answered questions from reporters only once this spring, on the first day of camp, when he appeared unsteady as he walked slowly through a tunnel to see Torre.

œWhen I™m ready to say something, I™ll say something, Steinbrenner said through Rubenstein on Wednesday. œI don™t really appreciate being mobbed and people screaming at me.

On The Bright Side For Yao Ming…

Posted in Basketball at 10:53 am by

being rejected by Elton Brand isn’t nearly as galling as failing to shoot over Nate Robinson.

With Stephon Marbury getting some love from the MSG rim last night, Jim Doh’lan’s decision to extend Isiah Thomas’ contract received a thumbs-up from an interested observer, as quoted by the New York Times’ Howard Beck.

œCome on, this city deserves a playoff team, LeBron James said. œIt doesn™t make sense for them to have all that talent and not be able to make it to the playoffs. I think Isiah™s definitely got them on the right path.

Newsday’s Ken Berger
follows an interesting exchange betweeen James and Marbury that suggests the former might not be a future guest on “Stars On Stars”.

Before the game, James took a little shot at Marbury’s $14.98 kicks, saying he couldn’t imagine endorsing a sneaker that cheap.

“No, I don’t think so,” James said. “Me being with Nike, we hold our standards high.”

Marbury, who is friendly with James, was lacing up his Starburys before the game when informed of LeBron’s comment. He thought about it for a moment and said, “I’d rather own than be owned.”

Behind 31 points from Tim Duncan and a stirring display of clutchiness from Brent Barry, the Spurs won their 18th out of their last 20 with Wednesday’s 92-88 home decision over New Orleans. San Antonio coach Greg Popovich, however, is $15K poorer this morning, writes the Express-News’ Mike Monroe.

According to an NBA source, the league fined the Spurs and Hornets $15,000 earlier in the day for published comments the coaches made about players who have not declared their eligibility for the draft.Popovich’s comments ” references to Ohio State center Greg Oden ” appeared in the March 18 Boston Herald. Scott’s comments about Oden and Texas freshman Kevin Durant appeared in the March 19 edition of the Oklahoman.

Popovich responded to a question from a Boston Herald reporter about whether it would be fair for the Celtics to land the No. 1 pick in this summer’s draft with Oden potentially available because Boston had lost out on the chance to take Tim Duncan in 1997.

“That would be the fair thing, wouldn’t it?” Popovich said. “That would be the fairest thing. If they could get him, that would be great. It would mean there is some fairness in an unfair world.”

Popovich, who never said Oden’s name but was clearly talking about him, then made what seemed to be an off-the-cuff comment about Ohio State’s near loss to Xavier that same day. Two other reporters present at the time didn’t report the remark.

“If they’d lost, I thought, is this going to make that kid want to stay in one more year?” Popovich said. “I don’t know, maybe he’s just collegiately oriented, and it’s a big disappointment, and he wants to come back and get it done.

“What would that do? I mean, everybody would just die. The bottom five teams would just croak. Then they came back and won.”

Perjurious DOJ Official Has Great Court Vision, Says Washington Post

Posted in Basketball, non-sporting journalism, politics at 10:35 am by

(D. Kyle “Don’t Call Me Ralph” Sampson)

The award for Strangest Lede to an Article Concerning a Soon-To-Testify Department of Justice Official: is there a more prestigious prize in all of journalism? It’s a rhetorical question, the answer is no. And furthermore, if you were honing your article comparing former Alberto Gonzales Chief of Staff Kyle Sampson to a reuben sandwich or riding mower or whatever, you can stop. Sdrihar Pappu of the Washington Post has this one wrapped up, as of yesterday’s piece on K-Samp, who testifies today before the Senate on his role in the forced resignations of eight insufficiently loyal United States Attorneys. Or six insufficiently loyal ones and two actually incompetent ones. Anyway, my point:

Walking into the FBI gym for a basketball game in 2003 or 2004 to play against John Ashcroft and his boys, you would have found it easy to dismiss the former attorney general’s point guard, D. Kyle Sampson. He was, and, well, still is, short and balding and chubby, looking like a smaller Karl Rove. But then at tip-off you would have discovered that Sampson was not a throwaway player or fill-in but a guy with legitimate skills. In a blur he’d take over the game as the best one-guards do: firing no-look passes to open teammates (including Ashcroft, the team’s forward), passing the ball behind his back, breaking through a crowd for a layup and taking terribly accurate jump shots that left you and any of the other people he played against–FBI agents, U.S. attorneys, other members of the Justice Department–deflated and quite frankly stunned.

“He’s deceptively quick,” said former Justice public affairs director Mark Corallo. “I say deceptively because he has this baby face. But he can do it all, though.” Tomorrow Sampson, 37, appears voluntarily and under oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee. As chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales until his resignation March 12, Sampson was the man in charge of the axing of eight federal prosecutors who were perceived as not being with the program the administration wished to prosecute. His testimony could be pivotal as lawmakers probe the depth of involvement in the sacking by Gonzales and the White House.

The best guards are extensions of their coaches — putting into form what had been plays drawn up on the sideline. While acknowledging that “mistakes were made,” Gonzales has maintained that he left matters to Sampson when it came to the firings. “I was not involved in seeing any memos, was not involved in any discussions about what was going on,” he said. “That’s basically what I knew as the attorney general.”

Documents suggest otherwise.

Whatever the reasons for firing these attorneys — they were not what White House Counsel Harriet Miers termed “loyal Bushies,” they were unwilling to prosecute wholly false voter fraud cases — there is a lesson in the first few paragraphs of that article: if you’re a United States Attorney, and Isiah Thomas (or Gonzales, or Miers, or the senior Senator from New Mexico) warns you not to go in the lane, you can expect to take a hard foul.

Tennis Pest Denies Dropping N-Bomb

Posted in Racism Corner, Tennis at 10:06 am by

From the Palm Beach Post’s Jason Lieser :

Whether or not he used racial slurs, security will keep a close eye on Donald Winton at future WTA tournaments – if he is allowed to attend. Miami-Dade police served Winton, 51, with a no-trespassing order after he heckled Serena Williams during her victory over Lucie Safarova on Monday at the Sony Ericsson Open.

Williams said Winton, a Cocoa Beach resident, made improper racial remarks, which he denied.

“I said she was lazy … but I did not say the N-word or use any racial language,” he told The Miami Herald. “I didn’t say what she said I said.”

Tournament director Adam Barrett said Winton’s ejection was warranted even if he didn’t use racial slurs. Barrett said Winton admitted he was trying to make Williams uncomfortable and was disruptive to fans seated near him, which in itself is grounds for ejection.

Larry Scott, the CEO of the WTA Tour, said hecklers “won’t have the privilege of coming to our tournaments. We have zero tolerance for what happened.”

There’s no truth to the rumor the gentleman above has been banned from WTA events for claiming he’d slept with Serena’s sister.