Mother, Can You Spare A Dime? Williams’ Tar Heels In An Epic Collapse

Posted in Basketball at 8:06 pm by

Georgetown 96, North Carolina 84 (O.T.)

Not to diminish the heart-tugging saga of Carolina’s Roy W. using childhood poverty to inspire rampant tooth decay as an adult, but the only thing colder than those icy bottles of Coke in his office was the Tar Heels’ shooting touch. N.C. hit just one of their last 23 shots from the field and missed their 12 shots in O.T., while managing to blowing a ten point lead with 6 minutes to go.

I have no idea how Patrick Ewing Sr. and John Thompson chose to celebrate with their sons after the game, but if memory serves me well, Scores stays open until 4 AM.

Though a no.2 seed advancing to the Final Four cannot be considered a major upset by any stretch, some credit is due this evening to Dwil, who insisted some time ago these Hoyas were for real.

Declaring A Partial Holiday

Posted in History's Not Happening, Rock Und Roll at 5:23 pm by

In honor of Nick Lowe’s 58th birthday (yesterday, actually), I’ll be taking the hours between 5am and 10am off tomorrow, and I encourage the rest of you to do the same.

McMillan & Strife : Nobody Knows What Rodriguez Is Saying

Posted in Basketball at 4:57 pm by

(what’s on Nate’s iPod?)

The Oregonian’s Jason Quick
observes the growing pains experienced by the Blazers’ rookie PG tandem of Jarrett Jack and Sergio Rodriguez. Of the former, coach Nate McMillan seems to suggest that regardless of how much fun Rodriguez is to watch…you don’t know what you’re missing.

After McMillan said he would give Rodriguez “more rope” for the rest of the season, Rodriguez had a sterling nine-point, nine-assist game Tuesday against Washington. In the next game at New York, he struggled to 1 for 6 shooting in 15 minutes but had four assists and one turnover. The following night in Atlanta, he was benched after a poor pass and played just six minutes.

After the game, McMillan said the coaching staff was convinced that Rodriguez’s left ankle was again bothering him, although Rodriguez said he didn’t want to use that as an excuse. Rodriguez sprained the ankle in January, forcing him to miss 15 games.

“I know there will be times when he is up, or down, but you can’t drop your head and show the team you are down,” McMillan said. “I’m looking more at leadership with him. Is he providing that? Do I sense or feel that he has control of this team? To me, that is more important than his numbers.”

Rodriguez has become the most sensitive subject for McMillan. As more and more fans — and media members — called for the flashy Spanish rookie to receive more playing time, McMillan has at times snapped back, saying Rodriguez lacks the defense and a grasp of English to command more playing time.

“With fans, it’s about entertainment,” McMillan said. “But I say, ‘Does that entertainment win?’ I mean, they have no idea. . . . All they see is what he does offensively. I don’t think they ever watch what he does on the defensive end. They see him pounding the ball, and he has that ball on a string, and his no-look passes. There is so much more to it, though. They don’t see that in calling out plays, nobody hears him or understands his accent.”

Sincere congrats to Billy Donovan (above) and his Florida Gators on today’s 85-77 defeat of Oregon, setting up a rematch of last season’s National Title game with UCLA next Saturday. Who knows what Donovan might accomplish at a basketball school?

Ron Artest is reportedly contemplating retirement.  Sadly, from basketball, as opposed to hip-hop.

In news that should rock the sporting goods industry, Kenyon Martin has petitioned the NBA to have his uniform number changed from 6 to 4 next season.

I’m sure you’re a shocked as I am. Who knew Kenyon Martin was going to play basketball again?

Sherrington : Rangers Fans Already Missing Danks

Posted in Baseball at 1:50 pm by

The Dallas Morning News’ Kevin Sherrington doesn’t need to wait ’til Opening Day to imply the White Sox got the better of the John Danks/Brandon McCarthy swap.

Brandon McCarthy figures there’s no reason he’d monitor John Danks’ results in Chicago’s rotation, which puts the latest Rangers starter in a distinct minority among the faithful of his new team.

Any day now, some smart-aleck desk guy is going to suggest that the paper run their records side-by-side this season.

And if the comparison were to start, say, today, this is how it would look:

Pitcher W-L ERA Inn. H R ER W K
Danks 2-0 4.32 16 2/3 17 9 8 4 12
McCarthy 1-1 10.45 10 1/3 19 12 12 7 11

“I don’t put a lot of stock in spring numbers,” McCarthy said, and that’s exactly what I’d say, too, if those were my numbers.

Unfortunately, casual Rangers fans aren’t so sophisticated. They can remember when Danks was the hope of the club’s future “ the first or last “D” in “DVD,” we were never quite sure which “ only now Thomas Diamond is on the DL and Edinson Volquez is on the back lot, and Danks is knocking them dead in Peoria.

Your casual Ranger fan was already taking something for his or her blood pressure at the thought of Chris Young in San Diego. And in that deal the Rangers still got Aki Otsuka.

Prediction: If the numbers above hold for the regular season, I’m not thinking fans will console themselves by thinking at least they got David Paisano, too.

Mets GM Omar Minaya was just quizzed by Gary Cohen during the 6th inning of the Mets’ exhibition with the Astros (Houston currently leading, 5-3), and when asked about the status of Lasting Milledge, Minaya replied that it would be “unfair” to Da Edge to keep him on the big league roster merely to be the 4th or 5th outfielder. I suspect Shawn Green would concur.

Coming to a minor league ballpark near you (well, near me, anyway) : AL Rookie Of The Year circa 2003 Angel Berroa, scheduled to earn $8.5 million this season, and optioned yesterday by K.C. to the PCL’s Omaha Royals.

Francesca Gives “Extra Innings” Protestors The High Hat

Posted in Baseball, Sports Radio, Sports TV at 1:33 pm by

(Kucinich – high, far, gone)

In this morning’s Daily News, not only does Bob Raissman raise the hillarious prospect of Presidential candidates besides Rudy G. visiting the YES radio and TV booths (the sparks will fly when Dennis Kucinich  and John Sterling hook up!), but WFAN’s “Mike & The Mad Dog” are castigated for their cavalier ‘tude towards MLB’s mishandling of the “Extra Innings” package.

Mike Francesa and Chris (Mad Dog) Russo are above it all. That’s no revelation. The boys have become so jaded they are oblivious to the passion many Joe/Jill fans have for their favorite sports.

That’s why FranDog, in condescending tones, last Wednesday haughtily dismissed all protests coming from fans (backed by some media types) who are being shafted in MLB’s “Extra Innings” fiasco because “only” 200,000 people bought the package of out-of-market games on cable TV last season.

“Think about how much outrage . . . So this thing everyone was having ripped from them, and how it was against apple pie and motherhood and Americana,” Francesa said with a snort. “There was only 200,000 people in the whole country subscribing to it.” Russo: “It’s virtually nobody . . . You can’t even discuss it as a big deal.”

Hey, if one person is having a summer ruined because of Bud (Nutty Professor) Selig’s money grab (an exclusive “Extra Innings” deal with DirecTV worth $700 million) than I say scream long and loud. Then again, a “big deal” to FranDog these days is Russo detailing his latest vacation. Or Francesa providing touching highlights of his birthday morning.

Dolan Inflicts Cruel & Unusual Punishment On His Knicks

Posted in Basketball at 10:14 am by

Not only has Frank Isola concluded that James Dolan’s recent decision to retain Isiah Thomas as the Knicks’ head coach and team president, “is showing all the signs of blowing up famously,” but the Daily News scribe reveals a moment so horrifying, I cannot help but have some sympathy for J.D.’s overpaid underachievers.

James Dolan marched into the Knicks’ locker room recently with a plan to fire up the troops. In his hand was a DVD that the Madison Square Garden chairman believed would resonate with the NBA’s most expensive roster.

If the players were expecting a Knute Rockne speech or old footage of Red Holzman’s philosophy on playing team basketball, they were sadly mistaken. The video, according to one Knick, was of a performance by Dolan’s blues band, JD & the Straight Shot.

Dolan regularly visits with the team either before or after games. Two months ago, he congratulated the players following a home loss to the Nets and told them that the “referees stole this one.”

He addressed the players before a game in Utah, informing them that Isiah Thomas was in no danger of losing his job. Showing the DVD before a game was another harmless example of Dolan feeling more comfortable around a group of men he has little in common with other than his signature on their paychecks.

The Knicks (30-39) have 13 games remaining, including meetings with Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Chicago and Toronto and two dates with New Jersey. Their 90-68 loss to the Cavs on Friday was their third straight defeat. Stephon Marbury had another off night, while Thomas continues to lose patience and confidence in Steve Francis, who was benched for most of the second half.

Afterward, Thomas cited injuries for the Knicks’ recent slide, saying, “We just don’t have the bodies.”
It’s a tough theory to promote since the starting backcourt will earn approximately $30 million this season. Jared Jeffries signed a $30 million contract last summer, Eddy Curry is having his best season and Channing Frye is a former seventh overall draft pick.

Thomas has no other recourse, however, but to offer excuses. Dolan’s overbearing media policy prohibits his coaches from publicly criticizing the players. Even if Thomas wanted to use the media to motivate his team as Dolan’s coaching idol, Bill Parcells, does, he has to be careful. Such tactics cost Larry Brown his job.

Jeff Van Gundy was a master at such ploys but Dolan had no use for one of the league’s best coaches, who led the Knicks to two conference finals and one NBA Finals. And now Thomas is forced to walk the fine line between trying to win games, say all the right things and listen to JD & the Straight Shot.

On The Bright Side, There’s No Statue of Ken Bates

Posted in Football at 3:28 am by

While the Steve McLaren Era was once again marked by England failing to score — this time, a 0-0 draw with Israel in a Euro 2008 qualifier — Sunday’s Observer considers fan unrest… in Southampton.

A bronze statue of former Saints footballer and manager Ted Bates was removed yesterday just days after it was unveiled outside the club’s St Mary’s ground.

The statue became the object of derision from the Championship club’s supporters, who raised more than £45,000 towards the £112,000 cost of the figure. They called it an insult to Bates’s memory and complained that his arms were too long, his legs too short and his head too big. Some said it looked like former Portsmouth chairman Milan Mandaric, or the comic character Wee Jimmy Krankie. The club said a new statue would be needed if it could not be altered. The statue was erected by the Ted Bates Trust in tribute to the man who served Southampton for 66 years before his death in 2003.


An Unlikely Manifestation Of B-Boy Culture…

Posted in Baseball, Free Expression at 8:47 pm by

….or just guerrilla marketing for a short film?  (pic supplied by Maura Johnston)

Jose Guillen’s Urge To Kill

Posted in Baseball at 4:47 pm by

Tim Cook proposes the headline, “accomplished asshole advocates abstract Anaheim Angels annihilation”, adding the aside, “yet another reason I can’t wait for baseball season to start: 162 opportunities for Jose Guillen to dictate! That is until the injuries limit quotation time to a small fraction of possible total.” From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s Dave Andriessen and John Hickey.

Two teams and more than two years removed from his ugly departure from the Los Angeles Angels, you’d think Jose Guillen would be over it.You’d be wrong.

“Against these guys, I’m gonna tell you straightforward, the anger comes out of me,” the Mariners right fielder said Friday. “I want to kill all those guys.”

Despite his reputation as an angry guy, Guillen meant “kill” in the competitive, not the literal, sense. Metaphorically, he helped kill the Angels on Friday, hitting a two-run homer in the first inning and going 3-for-4 in Seattle’s 10-6 victory.

“I love a lot of those guys I played with over there, but there’s some guys I don’t really love over there, and I want to show them something,” Guillen said. “The decision they made was a stupid one, and it should have been handled different.

“I (wish) we could play them 162 times. That’s going to be my motivation. And trust me, that’s not good when Jose Guillen gets motivated. I really step up to a really different level.”

Friday he was greeted with boos from the Angels faithful, then brought Mariners fans to their feet when he parked a 2-2 offering from former teammate John Lackey on the left-field lawn. He admits to sneaking a glance at Scioscia while headed for first base.

“I’ll always have something to prove to those guys,” Guillen said. “Not to the players maybe, but to the manager. Usually I couldn’t care less about spring training, but against that team I care. To me, I take it like it’s the (regular) season.”

The good news for Seattle fans is that once the games do count, the Mariners and Angels are scheduled to play 19 times.

“It’s going to be 19 exciting, good games, I can tell you that,” Guillen said. “You can write that down. It’s going to be 19 exciting games. It’s going to be crazy when we go to Anaheim, but I know how to handle it. I do not (feel) pressure from anyone, and I will prove it on the field.”

Guillen has a pair of doubles for the M’s in today’s exhibition with the Royals (K.C. currently leading, 3-2 through 7 innings), while another former Angel, Jerod Washburn, allowed 6 hits and 3 earned runs over 6 innings pitched for Seattle.

Arizona’s Randy Johnson retired six of seven batters faced today against the White Sox, the Big Unit allegedly hitting 94 mph on the radar in his spring debut. I’d have said something about how Johnson “looked good”, but that’s just impossible.

Head’s up, Jersey City Snakes. The Astros have released Richard Hidalgo.

Stu Jackson : The Man Behind Kobe’s Hot Streak

Posted in Basketball at 2:59 pm by

Ho hum.  Kobe Bryant scored 50 in the Lakers’ 111-105 defeat of the Hornets last night, and while these half century exploits are becoming old hat, the LA Times’ Mike Bresnahan was on the receiving end of the Zen Master’s latest interesting theory.

“Do you remember there was a suspension about two weeks ago?” Phil Jackson asked. “I think there’s some motivation behind that. I don’t know if we’d like to have that suspension all the time to have to work through, but I think there’s some things there that motivate him in a certain sense. He’s got that kind of passion.”

Bryant was livid when the NBA threw a second one-game suspension at him two weeks ago for striking another player after taking a shot. His tone that day was overcast, his sentences clipped and edgy when talking with reporters.

Fast-forward to Friday at New Orleans Arena, after Bryant’s fourth game in a scoring string that now reads 65-50-60-50.

“The thing that was frustrating for me is that people were talking about me as a dirty player, which to me was pretty insulting,” Bryant said. “That’s something I don’t need to do. From that aspect, to have people talking about something else besides that is a much better feeling.”

He is now only the second player in league history to score 50 or more points in four consecutive games. Chamberlain had five consecutive 50-plus games in 1962, including his famous 100-point game. Chamberlain also had seven consecutive games of 50 or more points, the longest streak in NBA history, in December 1961.

Bryant spoke reverently after Friday’s game, saying he initially associated Chamberlain with an acting role in the 1980s movie “Conan the Destroyer.”

“When I was 6, I just knew him as Bombaata. ¦ I didn’t know him as Wilt Chamberlain,” Bryant said. “Then as I got older, I started understanding what he was all about as a basketball player.”

Even when the Knicks are going into the tank, some credit it due to Isiah Thomas. He might be a lousy businessman and perhaps his pickup lines need some work, but yesterday’s signing of Randolph Morris is at the very least, like finding an additional low first rounder under the seat cushions.

The T-Wolves’ Kevin Garnett sounds vaguely threatening when discussing Gilbert Arenas’ post-game, jersey-stripping celebration after the latter hit a buzzer-beater in DC’s dispatch of Seattle Wednesday evening. From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Steve Aschburner.

“I probably would have got fined for something,” Garnett said. “That’s pretty insulting. There are just certain standards, man. You can hit shots and, y’know what, ‘I’m good, you’re good, you hit a shot,’ it’s cool. But that’s like T.O. going to the star.”

“I’m not any rootin’, tootin’ bad [guy],” Garnett said. “I don’t think I would be the only one who would address that on this team, if not all 13, 14, 15 of us.”

Sweet Lou, Perpetually Injured Hurler At Odds

Posted in Baseball at 1:45 pm by

On the basis of throwing one scoreless inning against the Giants yesterday, Kerry Wood figures he’s ready to leave Arizona a member of the Cubs’ big league roster. Not so fast says his skipper, according to the Chicago Tribune’s Paul Sullivan.

Does Wood plan on lobbying Piniella for a spot on the Opening Day roster?

“My job is to go out and get guys out,” Wood replied. “I have three more chances to go out and get guys out.”

But that would give Wood only seven innings of work, and the reason Piniella is considering keeping Wood back is he won’t have enough innings to be ready by the end of spring.

“Again, I’m just going to worry about getting guys out,” Wood repeated. “That’s why he’s the manager. He can make that decision.”

Wood declined to say whether he would be disappointed if he started the season rehabbing in extended spring training.

“I don’t think anybody wants to hear my opinion on it,” he snapped.

Piniella would like to see Wood pitch in back-to-back games at least once, and a two-inning stint as well. That’s not on his current schedule.

Wood maintained that his rehab plan did not have any back-to-back outings built into it.

“It’s something we talked about before spring training, that it’s not necessary for me to go back-to-back days in spring training,” he said. “Can I do it? Yeah. What’s the point right now? I have to stay on the field and continue to pitch and get better.”

Wood said he was being treated differently from the other relievers. None of them had pitched in back-to-back games until Bob Howry did on Friday, one day after throwing 25 pitches against minor-leaguers.

“So why is everybody worried about me?” Wood said.

When Piniella was told Wood was wondering why he was being singled out for not being ready when no one else had thrown in back-to-back games, he turned the tables on his veteran reliever.

“He shouldn’t be questioning anybody, truthfully,” Piniella said. “All I’m saying is when we [say we want] back-to-back and two-inning [stints], that’s the proper way to get the bullpen prepared for the start of a season.

“With Kerry that hasn’t been the plan, obviously, and the reason I say that is because he has had a couple of setbacks. Now, if he hadn’t had those setbacks, that would be the plan.”

As the Yankees try to cope with Chien-Ming Wang’s hamstring injury, Saturday’s award for Most Trenchant Analysis goes to one of Peter Abraham’s loyal readers, “Joe From Long Island”, who advises, “panicking is for losers.”

There’s no shortage of problems for the Washington Nationals to consider this spring, but here’s an ugly factoid: John Patterson (career record : 17-20) is considered the staff ace. Sort of.

Along with mentioning the Mets have signed Fernando Tatis to a minor league deal (you’re not gonna fill that ballpark in New Orleans without some big names), Newsday’s David Lennon spills the beans on Tool-Time in Port St. Lucie :

Funny scene in the clubhouse this morning. David Wright creating a shrine to bullpen coach Guy Conti above the empty locker between him and Jose Reyes. Actually, it was just a framed photo of Conti, but it was amusing to watch Wright try to hammer in the tack. First, he tried Reyes’ cell phone (not so good). Then, Wright grabbed a sneaker (the rubber sole was useless). Finally, Jose Valentin yelled over, “Why don’t you try a bat?” Stunningly, that worked and the photo was up moments later.

For Oakland’s Bobby Crosby, The Thrills Come Far Too Easy

Posted in Baseball at 11:59 am by

The SF Chronicle’s Susan Slusser on behavior so square, even Gary Carter is embarrased.

Like many of us, when Bobby Crosby was a youngster, he used to fake illness to stay home from school.

His reason was a little out of the ordinary, however. Crosby wanted to skip school so he could watch “The Price Is Right.”

“I love it,” said Crosby, who went 3-for-3 with a homer Friday. “I’ve been watching it since I was 6.”
On Thursday, sharp-eyed viewers of the game show might have noticed the A’s shortstop front and center, whooping it up in the crowd.

“I was pumped,” Crosby said. “Every time I saw myself (on the broadcast) I was smiling. I’m not ashamed — I had a blast.”

Crosby’s brother, Blake, got him tickets to the CBS show during the offseason, but he couldn’t get on, and he was disappointed. A week later, however, Crosby was at a charity event that host Bob Barker also attended, and Barker bought a bat that Crosby had signed, paying $700 during the charity auction.

“Coolest thing ever,” Crosby said, beaming. “I thought, ‘I could die right now.’ ”

He ended up talking to Barker for a while, and Barker suggested that Crosby come watch the show as his guest. Crosby, his fiancée and some friends attended, and afterward, Crosby said, he even got to spin the wheel and take some photos with Barker on the set.

He didn’t get to be a contestant, but Crosby said he would have cleaned up if he’d had the chance. When the show is on before games, he and third base coach Rene Lachemann play along.

“I hold my own,” Crosby said. “I’d battle anybody.”

The Mets’ Chan Ho Park has retired 6 Orioles in a row this afternoon in Port St. Lucie, lowering his spring ERA to….7.15. If anyone else is alarmed by Paul Lo Duca, Moises Alou and Shawn Green showing so few signs of life at the plate this March, just keep in mind that young talent takes time to develop.

The University of Buster Olney Wuz Robbed

Posted in Basketball at 9:36 am by

(because CBS will probably have the above clip removed any minute now, you can always return to their own dedicated YouTube “channel”)

Much as I hate to take anything away from a fantastic Georgetown squad, the replays didn’t lie.  Jeff Green’s game winner with 2.5 seconds remaining should’ve been waived off.  That he walked in traffic doesn’t make it any less of a blown non-call.

College hoops expert Chris Russo has argued this morning that persons outraged by Vandy’s raw deal should take a chill pill because “Kevin Stallings has more invested in this game than you do,” and “nobody could tell it was a walk until they looked at the replay 30 times.”

Thought I think Clark Kellogg figured it out by say, the 2nd replay, I’ll grant you that math isn’t necessarily the Mad Dog’s strong suit.

If that wasn’t delicious enough, Russo has also dismissed the arguments of callers who’ve challenged Kellogg’s interpretation of the traveling rule, pointing out that with all of CBS’ vast resources, how could say, a lowly high school basketball ref / WFAN caller, know more than the TV dudes?


NY Media Continues To Harrass Brainy Animal Rights Advocate

Posted in Baseball at 9:46 pm by

Prior to a highly encouraging outing from El Duque (above) against the Cards (6 IP, 1 run, 3 hits, 5 K’s), Newsday’s David Lennon couldn’t resist breathing down the necks of a couple of coaching legends.

Tony La Russa evidently is through discussing Thursday’s DUI arrest. Texas Tech coach Bobby Knight — a close friend — accompanied him to today’s game at Tradition Field and La Russa did not entertain questions on the subject. When a reporter asked if Knight “kidded” him about falling asleep at the wheel, La Russa snapped, “Why don’t you go ask him?” The Cards manager probably hoped the cantankerous Knight would punch the reporter in the face. But the exchange continued, with La Russa pointing toward the Mets dugout and saying, “Why don’t you go stand over there.”

Though I hate to encourage Lennon’s ambulance chasing tendencies, it seems like a seriously dilligent reporter would’ve managed to get a quote from a certain bartender.

Shock Jerkery Run Amuck At WKXW

Posted in Racism Corner, Radio at 9:29 pm by

Though NJ101.5′s Craig Carton (above) and Ray Rossi have previously achieved CSTB immortality for the brutal mockery of former New Jersey First Lady Mary Jo Codey (“what Gov. Codey ought to do is approve the use of medical marijuana so women can have a joint and relax instead of putting their babies in the microwave. Then all they want to do is cook Doritos. Women who claim they suffer from this postpartum depression… they must be crazy in the first place,”), the so-called “Jersey Guys” have even more sensational fish to fry, writes the New York Times’ Andrew Jacobs.

Two weeks ago, Mr. Carton and Mr. Rossi started œOperation Rat a Rat/La Cucha Gotcha, a listener-participation game that encourages people to turn in friends, neighbors and œanyone suspicious to immigration authorities.

They introduced the segment with mariachi music and set the campaign to end on May 5 (Cinco de Mayo), a well-known Mexican holiday.

At the risk of stating the obvious, the phrase œLa Cucha Gotcha is meant to evoke the Spanish word for cockroach.

Here in New Jersey, where 15 percent of the population is Hispanic, reaction to the show has not exactly been positive.

At a news conference Thursday, Hispanic elected officials and others condemned the campaign as œdehumanizing, œpoisonous and œidiotic, threatening boycotts of the show™s advertisers unless the Jersey Guys apologize.

œScapegoating and stereotyping Latinos does nothing but give bigoted individuals a platform to make ethnic slurs and racist comments, said Assemblyman Wilfredo Caraballo of Newark, calling the campaign a œpublicity stunt that could incite violence against Hispanics.

But anyone expecting an apology was sorely disappointed when Mr. Carton and Mr. Rossi held an on-air news conference a few hours after Mr. Caraballo™s comments. Seeking to profit from the recently ignited firestorm, the Jersey Guys gathered a corps of journalists, most of them Hispanic, in their Trenton studios and gleefully refused to back down. They insisted that the campaign was not anti-Hispanic and that the phrase œLa Cucha Gotcha was inoffensive, likening the song œLa Cucaracha to a lullaby or a patriotic standard like œYankee Doodle Dandy.

After calling Assemblyman Caraballo a œpathetic liar, Mr. Carton repeated his call to deport every illegal immigrant in the country. œIf you™re here illegally, you are breaking the law ” no better, no worse than the guy who robs the liquor store or the guy who waits to case your house out and robs you of your belongings, he said. œYou are a criminal.

He went on to blame illegal immigrants for the state™s high property taxes, problems with uninsured drivers and violent crime. He also hinted that illegal immigrants were more likely to become terrorists. œOur country is at war right now, and it™s very important that we protect our kids, and one of the ways you can protect them is to not let undocumented immigrants into this country, he said.

Raissman : CBS Rolling Over For The NCAA

Posted in Basketball, Sports TV at 5:01 pm by

While I certainly hope tonight’s 4 games are nearly as exciting as last night’s quartet, I also don’t believe that we as a human race really deserve that much entertainment.  And if you think that sort of hyperbole is over the top, check out Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News’ low opinion of CBS’s mouthpieces.

We all can agree that CBS is paying big-time to televise March Madness. The money is so huge, one suspects the network’s priority would be maximizing ratings and not catering to the NCAA. Maybe this has something to do with the long-term nature of the relationship. It also may be about CBS Sports executives being preoccupied with the technical challenge rather than the journalistic one. The NCAA absolutely loves this. That fact was well-documented – on the record – in 2006 on CBS. Craig Littlepage, the Virginia AD who was serving as chairman of the Division I men’s basketball committee, went on CBS and openly discussed the “partnership,” and how CBS should have an “understanding” of what that means, which included going light on “opinions.”

Did his words resonate with CBS’ analysts and play-by-play voices? Who knows? Still, judging by what has gone on in the opening rounds of this year’s tournament, it is safe to say the announcers know the importance of keeping the NCAA happy.

There was hardly any criticism of the officiating and, in one of the most controversial moments of the tournament, CBS totally bailed. With nine seconds left in regulation and Xavier up 61-59 over Ohio State, the officials did not call an intentional foul, instead of a personal foul, on OSU’s Greg Oden – who had shoved Justin Cage hard, sending him flying over the baseline. If they had hit Oden with an intentional foul, Xavier would have had two free throws and the ball. Neither analyst Dan Bonner nor play-by-play man Gus Johnson touched this. And when CBS went back to the studio, analysts Clark Kellogg and Seth Davis basically dismissed the noncall. Even after all the day’s games were over, and there was ample time, the situation was never even discussed during the final studio show. The see-no-evil approach had to please the NCAA.

And, according to USA Today, the NCAA pulled strings with CBS Sports suits, getting them to pull a Hooters ad featuring Dick Vitale during last weekend’s telecasts. While the sight of Vitale in a Hooters spot won’t do anything for your appetite, it again shows how “cooperative” CBS is with the NCAA. While no one will ever admit the depths of this relationship, you don’t have to be Oliver Stone to believe CBS listens to the NCAA far too often. It’s perplexing. You would think CBS might want to dig into a controversy to generate heat, which can’t hurt ratings. Or the integrity of all those NCAA, er, CBS voices.

Schilling Unleashes His Inner Seth Mnookin

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 4:28 pm by

While Curt Schilling’s 38 Pitches has received a cursory sneer in this space, the far more inquisitive Alex Belth (a blogger of considerable repute) interviews da ‘sphere’s newest Republican fuckwad superstar at SI.com.

SI.com : Do you read any baseball blogs?

Schilling: Sons of Sam Horn has been a staple for me forever. I have a running dialogue with the fans there, they are awesome. I’ve taken my fair share of crap there, but they are baseball freaks, fun to talk to, talk about, talk with. Boston Dirt Dogs is a good site. When the Globe bought them, it became more of a media outlet than a fan site. I know [Boston Dirt Dogs founder] Steve [Silva] is a pretty good dude. At times, the heckling aspect of that site probably rubs me wrong a little bit more than most.

SI.com: The tone of the site is caustic but it seems to take the Mickey out of everybody equally.

Schilling: The problem for me, and the thing that people don’t understand a lot of times, is that you might not be making fun of me, so I shouldn’t be offended, but that’s one of my teammates. I have to live with that guy, that’s a member of my family. That bothers me. If I was only bothered by bad things said about me, that’d make me horrifically selfish and immature. The attitude of every one of my teammates matters to me. But yeah, Steve is a good dude. He’s done a lot for me for charity and I think the world of him, I just wish the site had stayed more fan-based than it is.

SI.com: Do you think that Internet-based baseball analysts and writers should be available for BBWAA awards and Hall of Fame voting?

Schilling: Oh, it’ll come full-circle at some point. Why wouldn’t it? They already have a much larger impact than the Murray Chass’ of the world would like to believe. I mean, you’ve got guys who are putting out what I know to be legitimately valuable statistical information and its relevance to a game in a win or a loss at Baseball Prospectus. Then you have guys that I’m not too fond of, like Murray Chass, who says, “What is VORP and who cares?” It was a stupid article. The only thing it did was show his ignorance to me in modern day baseball. Because those numbers do matter, those numbers do have value. Do they have value to me in getting a player out? No. But I would tell you that there are a lot of front offices that use those numbers for a lot of important decision making.

Zach Randolph Mourns The Death Of His Own Credibility

Posted in Basketball at 3:19 pm by

From the Portland Tribune’s Kerry Eggers.

On Monday, the Trail Blazers announced that forward Zach Randolph (above) was being granted a “bereavement leave” to attend the funeral of his girlfriend’s cousin in his hometown of Marion, Ind.

On Tuesday night, after Portland’s 100-98 victory over the Wizards, Randolph apparently spent time ” and money ” at a strip club in North Portland.

By multiple accounts, the Blazers’ leading scorer and rebounder stiffed the folks at Exotica International Club for Men on Northeast Columbia Boulevard after enjoying libations and entertainment there.

“He didn’t pay his tab ” $106,” said John, a bartender who wasn’t working Tuesday night but had the story related to him by others. “He’ll make it up to (the waitress), though.”

The club manager, Joel (he asked his last name not be used), confirmed the account.

“He was here, just for a minute,” the manager said.

What time was Randolph at the club?

“Late,” Joel said.

What about Randolph’s unpaid bill?

“He just forgot,” Joel said. “He’ll pay it next time.”

I think even Doc Rivers would be outraged at Randolph’s attitude towards playing in meaningless games.

Though this is a couple of days old, it’s still a classic quote. From the New York Daily News’ Frank Isola.

There was an interesting Q&A with Garden chairman James Dolan over the weekend in another publication where we learned, among other things, that Dolan™s favorite actress is Lauren Bacall and that he likes prime rib. Riveting stuff.

One answer in particular really stood out. When asked, œwhat surprised you about Isiah the coach? Dolan™s response was “that he doesn’t know how good he really is.

Hoping to fire a few hardballs at the Straight Shot’s J.D., Isola submits the following questions to the MSG publicity department, in advance :

Q. If had you had to be stuck in a Madison Square Garden elevator for two hours with either Jeff Van Gundy or Larry Brown, who would you pick?

Q. Last season you said “it’s unfortunate we’re not winning (games) but it’s not integral to the strategy right now to do that.” When exactly will winning be integral to the strategy?

Q. You continue to say that 1999 was the worst year since you took over the team. The Knicks were three wins from a title that season. How could that possibly be the worst year?

Q. Other than green, what is your favorite color?

Q. A lot of fans question if you have any appreciation for Knicks history. You dismantled the radio booth at the Garden that was named for the legendary Knicks broadcaster Marty Glickman in order to sell more seats. Patrick Ewing would like to work for the organization but no one has reached out to him. How would you explain this?

Q. There is a perception that you are more obsessed with the media than winning. How do you respond to that?

Q. Would you rather win the NBA title, the Stanley Cup or a Grammy?

Q. You claim to admire former NFL coach Bill Parcells. Do you really think that Parcells, who like Larry Brown isn’t afraid to publicly criticize his players, could work for you?

Q. Madison Square Garden is still the best building in the NBA. But why is it so filthy?

Q. Do you agree with the theory that the Knicks City Dancers don™t get nearly enough court time?

Q. Why does the cable repair man say that he™ll arrive at my house any time between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and always manages to show up during the half hour I™m out running errands?

Q. Is it true that you have assigned employees to spy on reporters at the Garden?

Q. I think one of the best things about you is that you are willing to spend whatever it takes to make both the Knicks and Rangers winning teams. With that in mind, you could have saved $20 million by buying out Steve Francis. Why didn™t you?

Q. What™s the first thing that pops into your head when I say Jerome James?

High Anxiety At CSTB HQ

Posted in Fashion, Free Expression, Internal Affairs, Technical Difficulties at 2:09 pm by

There’s a few technical difficulties to contend with this Friday. Translated, that means the hangover should be fading any hour now. While I’m trying to find my keys (wallet, glasses, etc.) you can either go back to reading Sports By Brooks, or you can bask in the intense social commentary provided by Bobby Ebz (above).

Phil Jackson – Party Killer

Posted in Basketball at 11:18 am by

The citizens of Memphis were witness to a bit of history last night, as Kobe Bryant dropped 60 points on their Grizzlies in the Lakers’ 121-119 win. For number 8 number 24, it was his third consecutive game scoring 50 points or more.

Remarkably, some of those in attendance were more capitivated by events taking place in San Antonio, writes the LA Times’ Mike Breshahan.

As the Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies played Thursday night at FedExForum, fans erupted in cheers at inopportune times that had nothing to do with the antics of the Grizzlies’ mascot.

Fans were simply watching the Tigers play Texas A&M in the NCAA tournament, a game shown on the scoreboard at FedExForum for the final minutes of the Tigers’ 65-64 victory over the Aggies.

Grizzlies fans cheered during dramatic moments of the Tigers’ game several times, including two occasions while Lamar Odom was shooting free throws.

Odom missed both free throws during one of the crowd’s outbursts and missed one of two a little later during another eruption.

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson eventually complained to referee Bob Delaney, who told Grizzlies game-operations officials to stop showing the Tigers’ game on the scoreboard.

“I went to the scorer’s table and said, ‘That’s not right,’ ” Jackson said later. “This is the game that’s being played here. Delaney did the right thing.”

There were three seconds left in the Tigers’ game when it was taken off the scoreboard. The Tigers were clinging to a one-point lead.

The crowd gave a standing ovation with 3:39 left in the third quarter of the Lakers-Grizzlies game when the final score of the Tigers-Aggies game was announced.

With all due respect to Bryant’s one-man show, Memphis/A&M was more fun to watch.

The Post’s Peter Vescey’s take on Kobe’s alleged recruiting efforts for Phil Knight :

Before the Lakers played the Grizzlies last night in Memphis, Kobe Bryant denied contacting Elvis on behalf of Nike. He also claimed contact with Kevin Durant was either consensual or incidental.

I’m guessing Durant won’t see half as much contact once he actually gets to the NBA. After beating the Ray Allen-less Sonics at the buzzer Wednesday night, Gilbert Arenas felt compelled to punctuate a 42-point performance by leaving his jersey near the free throw line. Between throwing himself a seven-figure birthday party, hopping on a trampoline during an All-Star Game timeout, and now acting like a space cadet at the Space Needle, you think Arenas might be craving attention?

The quote of the day comes from USC’s Tim Floyd, who tells the LA Times’ Ben Bloch that if he had his druthers, O.J. Mayo would be eligible for the NBA draft this June.

“If he’s as good as we think he’s going to be next year, I don’t want the responsibility of him coming in and tearing up a knee like Shaun Livingston did with the Clippers because this kid doesn’t have anything,” Floyd said. “And I think he deserves the right to go make a living and change his life and his family’s life versus us putting a rule in that states that he has to be here for a year.”

While Henry Abbott rightly hails Brandon Roy’s performance last night against the Knicks (24 points), there’s also something to be said for for the hosts leaving Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge all-by-himself right under the basket. The ’06/’07 Knicks are unquestionably a harder working, more likeable team than the crew Larry Brown lambasted with regularity. But their collective basketball IQ is hard to measure on certain nights, and much of that has to come down to the coaching staff.

Once Again, The Mets PR Department Hangs David Wright Out To Dry

Posted in Baseball at 9:22 am by

I’m begining to suspect that Jay Horowitz has some kind of grudge against the Mets’ All-Star third baseman. Last summer, the club did nothing to prevent Wright from associating himself with a shadowy, feces-ingesting cult. Over the winter, Wright was encouraged to adopt a foppish pose for an unfortunate GQ magazine pictorial. And today, the Mets have introduce an online poll designed to select new at-bat muzak for Wright (link courtesy Jon Solomon).

Fans can log on to Mets.com and select from the 50 songs whose genres range from classic rock, to hip hop, to alternative. The first round of voting will conclude Wednesday, March 28 at 5 p.m. when the top votes will be pared down to 20. Fans will have the opportunity to vote April 2-6 to determine the final four songs that will be played throughout the season when Wright comes to bat at Shea.

Amongst the choices on offer, M.I.A.’s “Galang”, the Stone Temple Pilots’ “Crackerman” (yes!), the Piazza-esque “Paradise City”, the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army”, the Beatles’ “A Day In The Life” (presumably, the Bee Gees’ version didn’t crack the top 50) and inexplicably, “The Theme To The A-Team”.

Curiously, no selections from Flushing natives The Ramones, nor classics from Wright’s home state of Virgina (Honor Role’s “Skippy”?) made the cut.

Sam Keller Completes First Pass at Nebraska

Posted in Gridiron, The Law at 4:31 am by

Sam Keller (above) “ who won the Arizona State starting quarterback job last fall, then had it taken away from him by a wishy-washy (and now fired) Dirk Koetter, then transferred to Nebraska instead of being insulted at watching Rudy Carpenter fire interception after interception “ was cited for disturbing the peace in a parking-lot incident on campus.

From the Lincoln Journal Star:

According to Capt. Carl Oestmann of UNL police, Keller was allegedly trying to park his car in a public parking stall near Memorial Stadium at approximately 11:30 a.m. when someone else reached the spot ahead of him.

According to the woman who filed the complaint, Keller allegedly got out of his car, yelled profanities and threw a plastic cup at the victim™s car, said Oestmann.

The Huskers must appreciate Sam’s fiery attitude, but you gotta wonder just how sedate things are in Lincoln when a plastic-cup toss constitutes “disturbing the peace.”

Regardless, it’s a Class III misdemeanor, punishable by up to three months in jail and a $500 fine.

Keller will appear in court April 26.


Kingston Police : Woolmer Was Strangled

Posted in Cricket, The Law at 9:45 pm by

From the Times’ Pat Reid and Tim Gibson (thanks to Chuck Meehan for a link to the AP’s coverage)

Cricket faced the worst scandal in its history last night after Jamaican police announced that Bob Woolmer (above), the former England Test player and Pakistani coach, was murdered.Police said that Mr Woolmer, 58, who was found dead in his Kingston hotel room on Sunday morning, had been strangled.

Mark Shields (above) , the Deputy Police Commissioner in Kingston, said there was no sign of forced entry into Mr Woolmer™s hotel bedroom, nor had his possessions been disturbed, increasing speculation that he was killed by people he knew.

Every member of the Pakistani cricket team was questioned and fingerprinted before the announcement. But Mr Shields said that there were no suspects yet and the team would be free to leave Jamaica as scheduled tomorrow.

Mr Woolmer was found œlifeless by a maid in the bathroom of his room at the Pegasus Kingston hotel, hours after Pakistan had been knocked out of the World Cup by Ireland, one of the greatest upsets in the tournament™s history.

The former England all-rounder, a diabetic, was surrounded by blood, vomit and diarrhoea. Much of the vomit was sprayed high on the walls, suggesting a violent struggle.

Mr Shields had announced on Tuesday that Mr Woolmer™s death was œsuspicious, but that the first postmortem examination had been inconclusive. In a statement that he read aloud last night, after further tests by the same pathologist, Mr Shields said: œHis report states that Mr Woolmer™s death was due to asphyxia as a result of manual strangulation. In these circumstances, the matter of Mr Robert Woolmer™s death is now being treated by Jamaica police as a case of murder.

Mr Woolmer was about to publish a memoir that many believe contained damning allegations about world cricket. He was South Africa™s coach when Hansie Cronje, the team™s captain, was exposed as a cheat who took £125,000 in 2000 to throw matches.

One senior ICC official told The Times last night: œHe told too many people he was writing a book.

While Sensible People Were Watching Kansas And Memphis Survive…

Posted in Basketball, Sports TV at 8:40 pm by

….Charles Grodin was going all J.J. Dillon on the overmatched Bobbito The Barber.

Palm Beach Scribe : Just Say No To (Chad) Kurtis Blow

Posted in Baseball, Hip Hop at 5:43 pm by

(currently in heavy rotation on a certain Hall Of Fame catcher’s iPod)

The story below and headline are courtesy of Repoz. Surely when you think of Gary Carter, you think of hip hop? From the Palm Beach Post’s Steve Dorsey.

Aside from the windy conditions and a couple of rain delays, the Gary Carter National Grand Slam baseball tournament that has been played in Palm Beach County this week has been an excellent event.

There™s been several entertaining games, including nine one-run games and five others decided by only two runs. Can™t beat that. I also had the opportunity to see a couple of outstanding pitching performances this week ” Palm Beach Central senior Gary Gustavson™s sparkling four-hit shutout against Eureka, Mo., on Wednesday and the no-hit gem by junior Navery Moore of Tennessee™s Battleground Academy against Cardinal Newman on Tuesday.

I do have one complaint, however. Most of the music played before and during the Newman-Battleground game at West Boca™s field was rap or hip-hop music. Granted, I™m not a fan of either style, but I don™t hate it. To each his own. I just don™t want to hear it at a baseball game, for crying out loud! Classic rock ˜n roll or country is the only music that should be played at baseball games, at any level. I hear enough rap booming from cars when I™m stopped at traffic lights.

As Tom Hanks so eloquently exclaimed in A League of Their Own, there™s no crying in baseball. No rap, either, OK?!!!

While I fully respect Mr. Dorsey’s right to express an controversial opinion, I submit there might be far worse musical intrusions out there.