Over the weekend, we were treated to video footage of high-schooler O.J. Mayo getting teed up for an excessive garbage time celebration in the West Virginia State Championships. Yesterday, the New York Times’ Lee Jenkins examined Mayo’s unique path to the University of Southern California in a widely linked / discussed piece.
That Floyd Guillory walked into Floyd™s office at 6:30 a.m. means Guillory knew Floyd™s schedule well enough to walk into his office first thing in the morning – literally. O. J. Mayo knows the world want pieces of him – and it wants to see him in pieces. He has been feted by the biggest, best, and shadiest men in the world of basketball and he knows the game; the one off the court as well as the one on the court.So, Mayo sent a trusted friend to look at Tim Floyd – no, look inside Tim Floyd. Guillory was sent to measure every Floyd movement, twitch, and response, verbal and non-verbal, and then report the findings of his exploratory mission to Mayo.
Mayo™s act is something every intelligent businessman would do before possibly embarking on an important new venture.
The precise, calculated moves made by a person as young as Mayo would be celebrated if he was a prodigy in the business world, or if he was an entertainer.
What O. J. Mayo knows more than any young man coming into the NCAA meat house is that he is a one-man corporation. He knows the system is set up to make billions of dollars off the backs of young men black and white, the vast majority of whom will never parlay their athletic talent into performing in professional leagues, and many of whom will never walk the walk to receive their undergraduate diplomas.
Amongst the required qualifications :
Has basic news journalism experience and news judgment; understands assigned sport(s) from a journalistic point of view, but is not locked into the newspaper tradition.
Familiarity with most major internet search engines and fluency in electronic newsgathering techniques.
Not that they have a “type” in mind, of course.
While the Courier-Journal’s Brett Dawson reports that embattled Kentucky head coach Tubby Smith has yet to go over the ’06/07 autopsy with AD Mitch Barnhart, Minneapolis’ WCCO claims Smith is en route to the University Of Minnesota, where he could be introduced as the Gophers’ new coach as soon as tomorrow.
Were it not for the fact that much of Boston is hanging on whether or not Jonathan Papelbon will once again be the Red Sox closer, there might be a bigger outcry over Doc Rivers’ decision to do what he previously swore he wouldn’t — tank a game, in this case, last night’s choke-fest against Charlotte. From the Boston Globe’s Shira Springer.
“I was not throwing the game or anything like that because I’ve heard all those questions [before],” said Rivers. “Honestly, I got to the point early in the fourth quarter and I turned to my coaches and I said, ‘We’re going to win or lose with this group.’ I got to the point where I thought, ‘What do we get if we win this game if we put Paul [Pierce] and Al [Jefferson] back in? What do we get out of this game?’ That was what I was asking on the bench. What would we get out of that? If we put those guys in, we win?
“At some point, those other guys have to be able to play a little bit. You look at the Phil Jacksons. They’re able to [put the game in the hands of the bench] all year because they know they’re playing for a title and they can teach lessons to their bench. They’ve lost games that way. All those other coaches who don’t have championship teams don’t have the opportunity to actually do that, where you just leave them in anyway. [Last night], I just said, ‘They’re staying in.’ I got the bad looks from [starters] on our bench and I just told them, ‘No, you’re not going in.’
“Everybody on the bench wants to play on every team. Everybody wants minutes. Then, when you get in, you’ve got to have fight. Just the fight is what bothered me. I thought [Charlotte] took it from them minus Leon [Powe] . . . There was no other message [but], ‘Hold the lead, win the game, and have pride. Lose the lead and show us what you don’t have.’ “
While singling out Xavier’s Blue Blob (no. 4, “what an alcoholic single dad would craft for his son for a Halloween or school pageant costume,”) and Harvard’s John Harvard (No. 3, “I didn’t know that Harvard founder John Harvard was a retarded burn victim,”), Stanford’s Cardinal takes the honors.
Being a classy institution, Stanford likes to add a little formality to whatever they touch, so, naturally, this tree is outfitted in a bowtie and top hat. The big red lips and googly eyes add a vaguely racist (if that’s even possible with an evergreen) touch.
Congratulations to you, Stanford, for spawning the most heinous, ugliest, random, and downright retarded mascot in the NCAA.
If you want Pedro Martinez to talk about something other than his leaving the Red Sox, perhaps the Boston Herald’s Karen Guregan isn’t the person for the job.
The main reason the Sox didn™t re-sign their former ace involved concerns about his throwing shoulder, which had shown signs of wear and tear over the years. Given that Martinez broke down last season with toe, hip, calf and shoulder woes, and given that he required fairly extensive surgery on his rotator cuff in October that™s left his future in doubt, it sure looks like Sox management can take a bow for making a shrewd business decision.
What does Pedro think about the Sox™ choice now?
œI put up a Cy Young (type) year the year after I left Boston. I put up numbers like I was used to, the 35-year-old Martinez said Monday from the Mets™ minor league complex, where he is rehabilitating his shoulder. œThe fact I got hurt the very next year, after one year, maybe they look really smart, maybe you can make a case.
However, all the facts aren™t in just yet. The story isn™t complete, because if you listen to what Martinez has to say about his shoulder, hear how positive he feels about his comeback, then watch him throw a baseball on flat ground, you might not be so quick to put the checkmark on the Sox™ side.
œI™m totally free, easy, normal. Nothing has changed (with my delivery), he said while sitting at his locker at Tradition Field. œRight now, I feel like the first day I got to Boston. Remember those first days? That™s how I feel. That™s how good it is.
Like everyone else, he is looking forward to seeing how Daisuke Matsuzaka handles the transition. Martinez watched him pitch on TV in the World Baseball Classic.
œHe™s got great command of his stuff, and he has a good fastball. He™s a power pitcher. I don™t see why he shouldn™t have success; I think he should, Martinez said. œIf he stays healthy, and they don™t expose him too much against the Yankees, he™ll probably be fine.
His take on the so-called gyroball, a pitch that is now in the heads of some batters and likely is more myth than substance:
œI think it™s more of a backdoor slider. That™s what I think he™s throwing, Martinez said. œIf that™s what they call it in Japan, well, that™s what they call it.
Others are calling the pitch a screwball, similar to what Martinez has thrown in the past. Pedro is clearly amused by the discussion.
œThe rotation I see is a backdoor slider, that™s all; it™s not anything fancy, Pedro said again. œA screwball is more what I throw. I throw it as a changeup. It™s a good changeup. It spins away from lefties, inside to righties. According to what I saw, the ˜gyro™ is a backdoor slider. He throws it from the outside, and it burns the corner. People have a tendency to give up on that pitch. If he throws hard, and he uses it, it™ll be good. That™s the mystery.
(don’t call it a lifestyle….oh, never mind)
Though most sensible persons would prefer a dime bag, a quick peak at Dime Mag’s website this morning reveals some umbrage over an unlinked “cheap shot” from Slam (“We don™t read your magazine. We™re not concerned with what™s going on over at a teen magazine.”)
We started Dime five years ago because we were ballplayers and there wasn™t a magazine for us. So we went out and made one. Five years later, we™re still here doing our thing – bigger and better than ever. And in all that time, we™ve never taken a shot at any magazine, let alone yours. We don™t need to. If you want to talk, talk. We just bring it harder. And the results speak for themselves.
Listen, to us, there™s nothing cornier than a mag beef (over the internet no less), so here™s one option: We™re both basketball magazines ¦ let™s play ball. Name the date, name the court, and we™ll be there. We might even spot you a couple points – from what we™ve seen, you™ll need at least that much.
Who are we kidding? We both know you won™t take us up on the offer.
Indeed, what better way than a game of driveway hoops to determine which publication is actually worth reading?
England travel to Tel Aviv Saturday to face Israel for the first time in a competitive match, a Euro 2008 qualifier crucial to both sides’ hopes of advancing. The Guardian’s Seth Friedman wonders of England’s Jewish football constituency, “when it comes to the crunch – assuming a football match is the closest these two allied states will come to war – whose colours will they cheer?”
“I have a passion for both the England and Tottenham teams that I could never have for Israel’s squad,” says Jonny Hadi, 26, a London-born Jew living in Israel. His loyalty to England’s footballers is unswerving, regardless of where he resides. “Even after I’d made aliya [emigrated to Israel], I still went to Euro 2004 with the England fans and had a fantastic time backing the boys.”
He puts his allegiance down to a “gut feeling – it’s nothing against Israel. The fact is, I’m an Englishman living in Israel, and I doubt that I will ever feel differently.” When asked if he thought it strange to have opted to emigrate from England to Israel, yet still support the team of the country he spurned, Hadi disagrees. “If I was an Englishman living in Germany or France, there’s no one who would expect me not to support England.”
Lawrence Peterman, a London stockbroker, believes that his religious beliefs have no bearing on his allegiances in the match. “Yes, I’m Jewish, but I’m not Israeli,” he says, when asked why he’d be supporting England. “I was born here and have spent the past 41 years here, so my affinity will always be to my home country.” Peterman says he is not alone: “All of my Jewish friends will be supporting England,” he says. “While we consider ourselves very Jewish in the traditional sense, it does not translate to our necessarily being very Zionist.”
The distinction is important, especially in the context of the “Tebbit test”, which reared its head once more in the wake of the 7/7 bombings in London. Where do the true loyalties of Britain’s ethnic minorities lie? There is a misconception that ethnic minorities treat Britain as no more than a host nation, where they can reap the benefits of a western lifestyle, yet have no need to show loyalty to the state.
“While I am now an Israeli – and thus supporting Israel’s footballers – I have a lot of love and respect for the UK,” says David Horovitz, editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post. “My father’s family fled Germany in 1937 and found refuge in Britain. My father served in the RAF during the war, and I have overwhelmingly fond memories of my time in England. That said, I will be cheering on Israel with my heart and soul during the match.” To complicate things further, Horovitz sees no inconsistency between supporting Israel against England, and being a lifelong Arsenal fan (as are his two sons).
“If England score, I’ll be cheering – but it’ll be tinged with guilt,” says Jamie Levy, who is flying to Tel Aviv from London for the match yet sitting with the Israel fans at the stadium. “There’s definitely a conflict of interest, since I’ve got a tremendous affinity for Israel, but I’ve supported the England team all my life. There’s no question of switching sides – it’d be as heinous a sin as going from Spurs to Arsenal.”
British born Dan Berelowitz is keen to dispel the notion that Jews – whether English or not – should blindly support Israel out of a sense of loyalty. “I certainly don’t think that all Jews should root for Israel unquestioningly, in the same way I think that believing in anything unquestioningly can lead to dangerous fanaticism,” he says. But his support for Israel isn’t all down to either his work or his religion: “England’s performances irritate me. If England were to come on to the pitch and play with more skill and flair, I would support them all the way”.
While there’s nothing funny or excusable about driving under the influence, I do think the following mitigating circumstances should be considered in the case of Cards skipper Tony La Russa :
If I had to work in close proximity to Braden Looper and Scott Spiezio, I’m pretty sure I’d be totally fucked up at 4am, too.
It took the Rangers’ Colton Orr all of 20 seconds into Thursday’s tilt with the Flyers to render the visitors’ Todd Fedoruk indisposed for the evening. They played a hockey game, too, by the way.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel announced today that righthander Jon Lieber will be used out of the bullpen beginning with tomorrow afternoon’s game against the Red Sox at Bright House Networks Field.Lieber had been considered the odd man out in the rotation ever since the Phillies signed free-agent righthander Adam Eaton and traded for righthander Freddy Garcia during the offseason.
The Phils were expected to trade Lieber but so far have not been able to make a deal.
“Yeah I’m disappointed,” Lieber said. “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t. I’m going to do it for those guys in there, but obviously I think I can still start. It stinks. I signed here to be a starter.”
While Boston’s Daisuke Matsuzaka was nearly unhittable this afternoon against the Pirates, the recovering Jon Lester had a rough outing against the International League’s Rochester Red Wings.
Long Island Ducks here he comes? The Reds released Paul Wilson earlier today. If Russ Ortiz can win a starting job, I’d like to think there’s a spot somewhere for Wilson, but said job probably isn’t with a big league affiliate.
A sore shoulder has the Dodgers’ Brad Penny ducking the Mets tonight ; a first inning manufactured run courtesy of Jose Reyes (single, 2 steals and a wild pitch) had Vin Scully comparing the Mets’ shortstop to Jackie Robinson. Da Edge, starting in RF tonight and hitting .381 on the spring, has almost certainly won a spot on the 25 man roster, guaranteeing if nothing else, Wally Matthews will have no shortage of material through early summer.
….and I’m sure they are totally unrelated.
Here’s some more wit and wisdom from Mrs. Kris Benson (above, right), as relayed by the suddenly hairy palms of the New York Daily News’ Adam Rubin.
Anna Benson’s worst feature – her mouth – is on display in April’s Penthouse magazine.
The wife of ex-Mets pitcher Kris, who will miss the entire season with the Orioles because of a partially torn rotator cuff that resulted in surgery yesterday, has a two-page, profanity-laced interview in the magazine, in which she says of the Mets: “They got a —- bag of balls for Kris. They didn’t get —-. Julio Jorge (sic) and John Maine. They traded a number-one stud pitcher who was 30 at the time, and they blame the red dress….If I were a Mets fan, I’d be beside myself. You look at all the injuries they had with Pedro (Martinez) and beyond, and you know Kris would have taken them to the top last season.”
For the record, it’s Jorge Julio … who was traded for Orlando Hernandez … who has had neck and hamstring problems this spring … but anyway … what about Maine?
Not content with flogging Rob Zombie action figures, McFarlane Sports is about to introduce a 3 inch Jose Reyes doll (above).
While Uni Watch’s Paul Lukas reported yesterday the Mets will wearing their black jerseys far less often in 2007, Ruben Sierra won’t be wearing any shade of Mets or Zeyphrs swag, having requested and received his release yesterday.
I’ll put this in the most diplomatic way possible : Keith Hernandez is already in mid-season form.
Tim Cook advises,
“‘Ichiro Versus’ – A reality/free association show unlike anything I’ve ever seen, including all the blabber preserved on the poker tournaments on the Mojo channel, I think I would enjoy this should I have the good fortune to ever see it. And what I wouldn’t give to see Curt Schilling or any of the Sultans in the guest chair. Per The Seattle Times’ Brad Lefton.”
Keeping in mind that much gets diluted in translation, here’s a sample from a recent episode with acclaimed actress Keiko Matsuzaka in the opposite chair.
Off-camera narrator: “Ready? Associate to this thought: First encounter.”
Matsuzaka: “Your first step into an unknown world.”
Ichiro: “Forgive me, I was just a curious 18-year-old.” (Guest and studio hands laugh out loud.)
Narrator: “Your teenage years.”
Matsuzaka: “Quick maturation through constant reprimand.”
Ichiro: “What you use to develop yourself.”
Matsuzaka: “At times, the promised land.”
Ichiro: “The only place where certain things exist.”
Matsuzaka: “Your inner conscience.”
Ichiro: “Something that has to be exercised in a split second.”
Just another reminder, it’s all happening tonight at Austin’s home for the lonely and moanly, The Scoot Inn (1308 E. 4th St. at Navasota). I’ll be playing records, compact discs and conducting a slideshow of vintage amputee porn.
Perhaps the last part won’t be happening — I’m told they might not have a proper slide projector at the Scoot. But in any event, you won’t want to miss this. (Unless you have a home with records, compact discs and beer you can buy from the supermarket.)
I don’t know if either of the above titles will be on tonight’s playlist, but I’ve got to do something to leave you in suspense, right? You wouldn’t expect Brett Ratner to tell you how the movie ends, would you?
In one of the week’s bigger stories (that I’ve, uh, totally ignored), Pakistan’s cricket coach Bob Woolmer, previously an England test batsman and coach of the South African national side, was found dead in his hotel room the Sunday morning after Pakistan lost to Ireland in a massive World Cup upset. While speculation continues to mount surrounding Woolmer’s cause of death, at least one interested party is pretty certain there was foul play. From the India Times’ Ashish Shukla :
Former Pakistani paceman Sarfraz Nawaz (above) has little doubt that the “death” of Bob Woolmer has been a conspiracy hatched by the underbelly of cricket, the betting mafia operational in the sub-continent.
Sarfraz drags everyone in the net: From Pakistan Cricket Board to captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, fellow Pakistani cricketers and even International Cricket Council (ICC) whom he describes as the fountainhead of betting mafia.
“I urge upon cricket nations to stop taking part in the ICC-held events. They are havens for match-fixers. ICC is actively promoting it,” said Sarfraz.
However, what Sarfraz had to say on Woolmer’s death probably overshadowed everything else.
“Bob must have seen how Pakistan team went about its business against West Indies. You could sense it from their body language that something was amiss. I believe he was writing a book and he would have come off with sensational disclosures.
“I surely feel that he has been bumped off. It was the betting mafia which eliminated Hansie Cronje. It was the same betting mafia which killed “Cadbury” the well-known bookie from Pakistan who later settled in South Africa. “Cadbury” body was cut into pieces. Now that has been the fate of Woolmer.”
Sarfraz openly claimed that captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, along with Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, Mushtaq Ahmed, Mohammad Yousuf and Shoaib Malik were involved in betting.
“Rana Naved is being regularly promoted even though he doesn’t deserve a place because of his recent poor performances. When Mushtaq was reappointed I straightaway went to PCB and questioned how they could keep a “dubious character” in seat. Shoaib, everyone knows, is in league with bookmakers.”
“You look at pitches played in the Champions Trophy last year in India. All of them were unduly favouring the bowlers. The same has happened in this World Cup: bowlers have a field day in the initial phase of matches.
“ICC is actually tampering with the pitches so that even a minnow can upset a top team on their day. That’s what exactly happened when India and Pakistan played first against Bangladesh and Ireland.”
Former Pakistan leg-spinner and captain Abdul Qadir came out in support of Sarfraz and said it was time the charges laid by the tall former medium-pacer were seriously investigated.
“Every time he makes these charges, people tend to make fun of him. I don’t think that’s the right thing to do. Authorities should investigate the charges laid by Sarfraz because most of the time, he is able to predict things in advance. He had said before the tournament began that Pakistan could lose to West Indies and Ireland.”
(if you’re a shady, pseudo-agent representing one of the most talented teenagers in the land, Mr. Floyd won’t hesistate to grant you an audience)
Fascinating stuff from the New York Times’ Lee Jenkins today on the unlikely chain of events that led to O.J. Mayo selecting USC as his probable one-and-done stopover on the way to the NBA.
The mysterious man got right to the point. œHow would you like to have the best player in the country? he asked.
Tim Floyd tried not to roll his eyes.
œHave you heard of O. J. Mayo? the man asked.
Of course Floyd had heard of him. Everyone in basketball had heard of him. Mayo was first mentioned in Sports Illustrated when he was in the seventh grade. He was considered a future lottery pick by the time he entered high school. He once talked trash to Michael Jordan during a pickup game at Jordan™s camp.
Mayo was entering his senior season as a point guard at Huntington High School in Huntington, W.Va., but Floyd said he did not bother to call him. He did not even send him a U.S.C. brochure.
What was the point? Major universities had been courting Mayo for four years. Floyd had been at U.S.C. for fewer than 18 months. Besides, Floyd had only recruited two top-100 players in his life. He had no business going after Mayo, the No. 1 player in the country, especially being from a football college that was 3,000 miles away.
œO. J. wanted me to come here today, the man told Floyd. œHe wanted me to figure out who you are.
Floyd was desperate enough to play along. His starting point guard, Ryan Francis, had been murdered two months earlier. The backup, Gabe Pruitt, was in academic trouble. The third-stringer, a walk-on, was leaving college.
œWhy aren™t you at Arizona or Connecticut? Floyd recalled asking.
The man explained that Mayo wanted to market himself before going to the N.B.A., and that Los Angeles would give him the best possible platform.
œThen why aren™t you at U.C.L.A.? Floyd asked.
The man shook his head. U.C.L.A. had already won 11 national championships. It had already produced many N.B.A. stars. Mayo wanted to be a pioneer for a new era.
œLet me call him, Floyd said.
The man shook his head again. œO. J. doesn™t give out his cell, he said. œHe™ll call you.
Either Jenkins was pressed for space or we should give Floyd credit for a lack of pretense — there’s no mention of the former Iowa State coach asking about Mayo’s academic credentials, what he’d like to major in, etc. nor are we left with any impression that Floyd is in any way conflicted over Mayo playing his own role in recruiting players to USC.
Above, the Beatrice Inn. According to the New York Post, the W. 12th St. nightclub (owned by former A.R.E. Weapons fixture Paul Sevigny) was not only the location of choice for an impromptu Lindsay Lohan striptease last Saturday, but also hosted the Rangers’ rehabbing Brendan Shanahan, “blindfolded and ball-gagged as trannies danced around him.”
Had Gordie Howe ever played in New York, I’m sure he’d have a similar story.
Newsday’s Neil Best watched a lot of hoops last weekend, and he’d really appreciate it if the nation’s basketball announcers would “STOP YELLING AT ME, NOW!”
Give Gus Johnson (above) credit. He pulled off the TV feat of the week. Somehow he was able to call Sunday’s Knicks-Raptors matinee game on MSG after spending all day Saturday screaming so loudly in Lexington, Ky., that CBS should have yanked away his microphone and just flung open the doors of Rupp Arena.
As often happens when Johnson is excited, it was not clear precisely what he said after Ohio State’s Ron Lewis sank a tying three-pointer with two seconds left in regulation against Xavier. After a dozen listens, it might have been, “Makes it! Ooooh!”
It was reminiscent of his frothing at the mouth late in last year’s UCLA-Gonzaga regional final and after the Knicks’ David Lee tipped in a buzzer-beater in the second overtime against the Bobcats in December.
Johnson and Dan Bonner would have been better off conserving energy to discuss pertinent stuff such as whether Ohio State’s Greg Oden should have been called for an intentional foul in the final seconds.
Or why Xavier’s Sean Miller became the latest in a long line of college and pro coaches to commit hoops hara-kiri by refusing to foul an opponent with a three-point lead and the clock winding down. Sigh.
Months after the BBC ruled that it was a-ok for plodding Morning Zoo wannabe Chris Moyles to deride a ringtone as “gay”, the Independent’s Philip Hensher can’t fathom why he’s expected to foot the bill for such nonsense.
As Philip Larkin said, everything seems to depend on where you are, or who. The other night, on the BBC’s charity fund-raiser Fame Academy, the presenter Patrick Kielty (above) noticed that one of the contestants, Colin Murray, seemed to be moved almost to tears. He derided Murray for being “a big gayer” – charming expression.
A small number of viewers phoned up to complain. Mr Murray is not gay, and Kielty’s comments seemed to rest on the idea that bursting into tears on little provocation, and general emotional incontinence, are stereotypically gay. The BBC, in editorial guidelines from June 2005, said that “We should avoid offensive or stereotypical assumptions, and people should only be described in terms of their disability, age, sexual orientation and so on when clearly editorially justified.”
One might like to compare this to the BBC’s response to these specific complaints. It said “Patrick’s comment was spur of the moment, unscripted and not intended to cause offence. However, we have reminded Patrick to be more careful during the remaining live shows.”
That was it. I wonder what their response would have been if Mr Kielty had advised viewers to “stop being such Jews” and donate to Comic Relief. That seems to me an exactly parallel case, and no more offensive than what he actually did say.
Stonewall, the gay rights group, recently published a report based on the BBC’s output, which contained a number of startling examples of broadcasting which could hardly be classified as “not intended to cause offence”
On a quiz show, the presenter remarked of a participant that he was “more puff than pastry” and asked him with lewd innuendo “what was the strangest thing he had ever put in his mouth”.
A comedy show had a sketch about a man arrested for being gay, and being let off by a gay judge making limp-wrist gestures – that was the joke, that a judge might be gay. Top Gear refers to poor-quality cars as being “gay” and “a bit ginger-beer”. On the BBC website and message boards, racist comments are removed as a matter of policy; homophobic comments are left just as they are.
Personally, I don’t care whether “comedians” or “presenters” make insulting comments about gay people or anything else. After all, the talent of such people as Patrick Kielty, Chris Moyles or Jimmy Carr is practically zero, so they might as well find material where they can. I would much rather they did it while being paid by someone other than me, however. It is a disgrace that a public corporation such as the BBC, or a publicly owned company such as Channel 4 – which is supposed to “appeal to the tastes and interests of a culturally diverse society” – should broadcast such hateful material, and, in response to objections, provide contradictory excuses.
I don’t really feel like being a good sport about this stuff any more. When John Inman died a week or two ago, there was a lot of pressure on gay people to declare that they found that sort of thing funny and charming. I don’t. It seems strange to me that the Moyleses and Kieltys of this world haven’t seen the shame and contempt that has descended on a Love Thy Neighbour, and not wondered what people will think of them in 10 years’ time for having used live media to popularise the terms “gay” and “gayer” as direct insults.
While the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman reported Monday the combined Jon Sterling and Suzyn Waldman Reign of Error has been extended for at least another 5 years, the curious arm of the Cleveland Indians had a curious hiring of their own to unveil today. From the AP’s Tom Withers (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory) :
SportsTime Ohio, a 24-hour TV network owned by the club, announced Tuesday that it has hired longtime local radio personality and former Tribe TV announcer Bruce Drennan to host a weekday talk show entitled œAll Bets Are Off with Bruce Drennan.
Drennan was released from a federal prison in Morgantown, W.Va., on March 2 after serving a five-month sentence for tax fraud.
In July 2006, Drennan was sentenced after pleading guilty for failing to pay between $12,500 and $30,000 in taxes on gambling winnings. From 2000-04, Drennan placed bets on baseball games with five or six bookmakers daily with some bets up to $5,400, according to the plea agreement he signed.
SportsTime Ohio’s show is to make its debut April 1. Drennan will serve an additional five months of house confinement with work privileges.
Drennan’s affiliation with the Indians could be viewed in conflict with baseball’s strict rules about gambling.
Bob DiBiasio, the Indians’ vice president of public relations, said Drennan will not have access to the team’s clubhouse. However, Drennan will be allowed in the press box and on the field at Jacobs Field.
Drennan, whose booming voice and strong-minded opinions on virtually any subject made him a media icon in Cleveland, said he isn’t worried about his recent past damaging his credibility or his relationship with fans.
œNot at all, he said in a phone interview. œEither you love me or you don’t. I know my stuff. I’ve spent the past five months cramming and researching sports. The fans will be with me and that will be evident as soon as I go on the air.
Drennan said it was because of his success with betting that led to his arrest.
œUnlike 95 percent of the guys who bet and lose, I won, he said, œand that’s what attracted the feds.
From the AP / Appleton Post-Crescent :
A woman once charged with stalking announcer Bob Uecker was asked to leave a Milwaukee Brewers™ spring training game.
The baseball team notified the Phoenix police that Ann E. Ladd was at Monday™s game, Police Sgt. Joel Tranter said Tuesday. A restraining order issued in September bars Ladd from games Uecker is announcing and requires her to stay at least 500 feet away from him.
Uecker was not announcing the Brewer™s game against the Cubs. The Brewers would not say whether he was at the ballpark in Phoenix.
The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman reminds us that Republican presidential hopeful Rudolph Giuliani — a recent fixture on Yankee TV and radio, has a long-standing, back scratching relationship with The Boss.
In the late 1990s, when Steinbrenner was smearing the Bronx while attempting to scare someone into allowing him to build a new stadium in Manhattan, then-Mayor Giuliani (above, right) was often heard with his two radio bobos, John Sterling and Michael Kay, pushing a sweetheart West Side stadium deal.
On the television side, Giuliani was less visible. There were times he slithered onto telecasts. There were also nights when he was turned away. At the time, Yankees TV rights were owned by MSG. Back then, some MSG suits actually realized baseball telecasts and politricks don’t mix.
Now, when it comes to Giuliani spreading his gospel on Yankees outlets, there are no obstacles. With Steinbrenner owning the Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network, all self-serving projects can be pushed.
When YES’ cameras zoomed in on Giuliani, wearing a Yankee cap and pullover and pounding his baseball glove, it was evident where this was going. Giuliani was the catcher in Sunday’s “first pitch” ceremony. This meaningless exhibition game with Pittsburgh was the perfect venue for him to reach a captive audience of Yankees fans.
Giuliani was in Tampa for a morning political fundraiser. And while Steinbrenner may be a Republican at heart, he has essentially entrusted team president Randy Levine with all the day-to-day operations of the ballclub (baseball and otherwise), and was said to have taken a very passive role in the Yankee mascot’s presidential whistle stop.
Levine is pals with Giuliani. He also was a trusted deputy when Rudy was mayor. Giuliani might as well have the keys to both broadcast booths. Suzyn (Georgie Girl) Waldman said as much when she offered Giuliani a season pass to the radio side.
“You will be going to a lot of cities (to campaign),” Waldman said in the bottom of the fourth. “So when we (the Yankees) are in the same town, you should come up and do an inning or two.”
Before his radio appearance, Giuliani visited YES’ booth in the top of the inning. Play-by-play man Kay greeted Giuliani, saying: “Just like old times.” Kay was right. As always, Giuliani’s presence was annoying and distracting. Still, Kay gets credit for attempting to steer clear of politics and keep Giuliani talking baseball.
No such luck during Giuliani’s radio appearance. After making the first two outs, the Yankees went on to score seven runs, giving Ma and Pa Pinstripe ample time to turn the “interview” into an overtly political, pom-pom waving, Giuliani gush-a-thon.
The subject of Giuliani’s relationship with his son Andrew, or the current state of Rudy’s friendship with Bernard Kerik, were not going to be part of this Twinkie munch.
Sterling, in disingenuous mode, claimed not to be “a political” person, but insisted because America is “broadening and changing” Giuliani will be accepted by people who hold a variety of political and moral beliefs.