Raissman : Thorne Was Bloody Irresponsible

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 10:56 am by

“Gary Thorne once said ‘I hate’ when broadcasters become part of the story. He should have thought about those words before he opened his mouth on Wednesday night,” scolds a bemused Bob Raissman in Friday’s New York Daily News.

Even an opinionated voice like Gary Thorne (above) gave the appearance he knew when to hold back, when to put limits on what a broadcaster says during a baseball telecast. He offered evidence of his apparent awareness back in August 2002, when – on a Ch.11 Mets game – he informed viewers what the final telecast of his career would be like.

“It’s going to be a game where you say all the things you wanted to say all those years,” Thorne said almost five years ago. “All the things that will get you fired. All the things fans are thinking, the players are thinking, but we’re not allowed to say because we’ve got to protect somebody’s behind.”

One did not have to ask Sherwin-Williams to know, even back in 2002, that Thorne had already broadcast many games as if they were his last. Wednesday’s was just another one of them. His “paint” comment was neither opinion nor analysis. Thorne threw the line out there as if it were fact, without going to Schilling – or someone in the Red Sox organization – for a response. This was totally irresponsible.

Yesterday, Thorne did what he should have done Wednesday. He went to Doug Mirabelli, the “source” of his story, and concluded the Red Sox catcher had been just jiving him. “I took it as something serious,” Thorne told The AP, “and it wasn’t.”

Still, you must wonder how Thorne, an attorney who once was an assitant DA, could be duped. Or maybe he’s now buying Mirabelli’s explanation just to get out of this mess. For while delivering his accusation on Wednesday evening, Thorne certainly did not protect Mirabelli’s “behind”.

One TV baseball producer who has worked with Thorne was puzzled over how the play-by-play man handled the situation.

“Why do you think we have production meetings (before every game)? If a broadcaster is going to present a story as big as this, everyone (involved in the production) should be on the same page,” the producer said. “You have to go to the other side and, at the least, you would like to have video of Schilling and the (bloody) sock ready to roll.”

Anyone who followed Thorne’s 12 seasons behind Mets radio and TV microphones should not be stunned by what went down in Baltimore on Wednesday night. His delivery has always been fearless, spontaneous and, sometimes, reckless. These are the qualities that always have made Thorne a compelling listen. They are also the very qualities that have dipped him in controversy.

In September 2002, during a Mets-Phillies telecast, Thorne said there were “some real problems” between then-manager Bobby Valentine and his players. “There are a lot of guys down there (in the dugout) who don’t like him (Valentine). They don’t like playing for him. And if there has ever been a Teflon manager, he’s it. Nothing seems to stick. He’s never responsible for anything.”

Valentine basically called Thorne a liar. “How the heck does he know,” Valentine said at the time. “He’s never in our clubhouse.”

God Bless The Mooch, Pt. II

Posted in Free Expression, Rock Und Roll, We Aren't The World at 1:14 am by

(pt. I)

Even if he might be related to this guy.

How Many Yuan Can You Fine A Player For Wearing A Wifebeater?

Posted in "Wife Beater" Is Not A Fashion Statement, Football at 12:53 am by

Baron Davis, Tim Duncan, take note of the following from Reuters :

The Chinese Football Association (CFA) suspended Xiamen Lanshi defender Gabriel Melkam (above) for three matches and fined him 5,000 yuan ($650) for wearing a vest emblazoned with “Chinese umpires are all fakes”.

On Sunday, the Nigerian import stripped off his team uniform after a 0-0 draw against Chinese Super League (CSL) side Henan Jianye, revealing the undershirt to journalists before a post-match press conference, local media reports said.

“Xiamen No. 4 Melkam displayed serious unsportsmanlike behaviour, which harmed the league and brought a negative influence to bear on society,” the association said in a statement on its Web site.

Local media said Melkam’s act was in response to a referee blunder in the previous round that caused Xiamen to lose 1-0 to Shanghai Shenhua.

An injury-time goal was awarded to Shenhua striker Sergio Blanco, who League officials later conceded was off-side.

Melkam’s punishment was light as he had admitted his mistake and apologised to officials, the reports said.

Guitar Zero : Zumaya Contrite Over Tantrum

Posted in Baseball at 12:26 am by

From the Detroit Free Press’ Jon Paul Morosi.

On Wednesday night, minutes after walking four batters and hitting another in a disastrous ninth inning, Joel Zumaya sat at his locker, chair turned inward. He stared straight ahead, and did not speak with reporters.

One day later, he left little unsaid.

Zumaya stood at the same locker and answered questions for 12 minutes, before the team departed following the postponement of today’s game with the White Sox.

Zumaya repeatedly scolded himself, both for his performance “ the lack of command led to two earned runs in two-thirds of an inning “ and his conduct toward Mark Wegner, the home plate umpire.

Zumaya admitted to œgetting real bigheaded about myself, said his concentration was œsomeplace else, and acknowledged that he yelled at Wegner œquite a few times about his strike zone.

œI™m a humble person, Zumaya said. œLast night, I was not humble. Last night, I was just being a jackass.

At one point, Zumaya said, œThat was embarrassing for me. That was embarrassing for Detroit.

Zumaya vowed that he would never behave that way again.

œMy apologies go to the umpire, Zumaya said. œI actually wanted to talk to him, tell him, ˜That™s not me,™ and (ask) if he could forgive me for disrespecting him like that.

œI yelled at him quite a few times, and that™s probably why the zone got really tight on me.

El Barto (11 K’s) was just as impressive in his 2nd start of ’07 as he was in his first last Saturday ; the Halos beat Seattle yesterday, 11-3 , as Vlad Guerrrero clobbered his 6th HR of the year, a two-run shot off former Met Jae Seo. Gary Matthews had 3 hits, but more importantly, did so without Arte Moreno asking him to pee in a cup.


The Vlade Divac Of Soccer?

Posted in Football at 6:43 pm by

Apologies for my negligence in not mentioning

a) the passing of Alan Ball,
b) Manchester United and Chelsea winning their Champions League semi-final first leg encounters with AC Milan and Liverpool, respectively.
c) Jose Mourinho as the meat in a McMahon sandwich, or
d) Fan Appreciation Week at Old Trafford

I don’t suppose this will make it up to you :

Gob The Leafs Fan : Fuck The Canucks

Posted in Hockey at 5:19 pm by

Bad enough for the Vancouver Canucks they were victimized last night by an Andy McDonald hat trick in a 5-1 Game One loss to Anaheim. Today, they learn from The Hockey News’ guest editorialist / Toronto fan Will Arnett, that they’re beneath contempt.

I have lots of buddies in the States who are from different parts of Canada. As such, they™re not all Leafs fans. One friend is from Vancouver, and he hates the Leafs.

He went to the University of Western Ontario and says he loved it there. Except for all the Leafs fans. He thinks we™re all so pompous and to me, that™s hilarious, because our team hasn™t won anything in 40 years.

I think what bothers him the most is the fact I don™t hate the Canucks. It makes him crazy, because he thinks I™m not giving his team the proper respect. I™ll agree with him on a lot of things “ œYeah dude, you™re right, the Sedins sure do play well together; Roberto Luongo should definitely be up for MVP, “ and he gets incensed. He™s like, œYou should hate them! And I say, œNah, they™re not really my rivals.

Sometimes people ask me about doing a movie where I™m actually playing hockey on the ice, rather than œBlades of Glory, where I™m skating around in frilly, completely ridiculous costumes.

I™d love to. I know there™s another œSlap Shot floating around Hollywood. They want to remake it, but that™s a tough sell for me. It was so great, so iconic, I don™t know how you™d improve on it.

Here’s a hint : try not to cast Stephen Baldwin or Gary Busey.

“Respect me or trade me” doesn’t have the same resonance as “play me or trade me”, but I’d be way out of place giving Alexi Kovalev any career advice. Though I do remember many evening spent yelling “pass the fucking puck, already” as loudly as possible, once upon a time.

Larry Hughes’ Busy Weekend

Posted in Basketball at 4:29 pm by

You don’t need to tell me how difficult it is to juggle party promotion with all sorts of lesser distractions. So with that in mind, salutations to Cleveland’s Larry Hughes, a man unwilling to let the playoffs stop him from keeping it unreal (posters swiped from Deuce Of Davenport).

FX’s Transsexual Sportswriter Drama

Posted in Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl?, Sports Journalism, The World Of Entertainment at 2:50 pm by

The following item appeared in the Advocate last September, and was brought to the attention of Boing Boing earlier today after the Christine Daniels story began circulating. Surely I am not the only person who thinks this could be the big career break Zach Selwyn has been waiting for?

Ryan Murphy, out creator of FX’s Nip/Tuck, has made a deal with the network for a second show, which will follow the metamorphosis of a married sportswriter who is a transsexual, reports Daily Variety. The show is titled 4 oz., named for the average weight of the human penis.

“The first season deals with the revelation of his secret,” Murphy said. “In the second season, he begins dressing like a woman. The third covers the surgery and his inherent doubts about going through with it, and by the fourth season he’s living as a woman and attempting to find love.”

Murphy has begun writing the pilot and hopes to shoot early next year. A spokesman for FX told The Advocate that they are aiming for a fall 2007 premiere. The five-season arc for the series will also focus on the character’s teenage sons.

The gentleman above was unavailable for comment.

Mariotti : Abusive Dusty Doomed Prior

Posted in Baseball at 2:18 pm by

“Even Jay Mariotti finds a truffle now and then,” writes Tim Midgett, and while the former is a usually a matter of mockery around these parts, he’s right on the money in asking “why did it take until this week, after so many disabled-list visits and so much hocus-pocus medical guesswork, to diagnose that Mark Prior had more loose junk in his pitching shoulder than a pawn-shop owner at a flea market?”. From Wednesday’s Chicago Sun-Times.

We’ve known for at least two years that something was terribly wrong with Prior’s arm. Last fall, the renowned surgeon James Andrews found looseness in his shoulder joints. The Cubs said it was a genetic condition that didn’t demand immediate surgery, allowing Prior to report to spring training and endure a miserable pitching experience despite two DL trips last season, one for a right subscapularis strain. Which only raises eyebrows when Andrews finally ends the mystery and identifies the issues, performing a debridement of Prior’s rotator cuff Tuesday while repairing labral and capsular injuries in his shoulder.

All children can be excused from this column while I inform you that debridement, according to my dictionary, is the ”surgical excision of dead, devitalized or contaminated tissue and removal of foreign matter from a wound.” And just how long have these dead things been in Prior’s shoulder?

In retrospect, ’03 will be recalled as the year Prior and Kerry Wood threw an insane number of pitches in September and October, as manager Dusty Baker smelled history in his first season. Anyone who subscribes to the ravaged-arms theory needs only this evidence. Starting Sept. 2 through his Game 7 loss to the Florida Marlins, these were Wood’s pitch counts: 120, 122, 114, 125, 122, 124, 117, 109, 112 — for a total of 1,065. Prior’s workload was more hideous, considering he was coming off a DL stint for a shoulder bruise after the collision with Giles. Starting Sept. 1, he threw 71 innings in six weeks, with these pitch counts: 131, 129, 110, 124, 131, 133, 133, 116, 119 — for a total of 1,126.

My arm hurts just thinking about it.

Baker and all of Cubdom were immersed in the hysteria of trying to end decades of misery. But at the time, many observers — including analyst Steve Stone, then a Cubs broadcaster — were alarmed at the high pitch counts and sounding warnings about future burnouts and breakdowns. Who could forget Game 2 of the NLCS, when Baker, armed with an 11-0 lead in the fifth, kept Prior in the game for 7 2/3 innings? The entire organization was motivated to end the curse … and what better way than placing the entire weight of 1908 on the power arms of Prior and Wood?

I’d like to reassure my friends in Houston their Astros will someday manage to win a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Not today, mind you, but someday.

Here’s your Thursday Afternoon Mound Duel Alert : Royals 0, Twins 0, top of the 6th. Zack Greinke has allowed 4 hits and 3 walks, but escaped a jam in the 5th inning, intentionally walking Joe Mauer with first base open, then inducing Michael Cuddyer to fly out to center, stranding 3. Earlier, Torri Hunter was grazed in the face by Greinke, who presumably thought the former should’ve sprung for more than 4 bottles of bubbly.

Bartman Lookalike Given A Warm Wrigley Welcome

Posted in Baseball at 11:56 am by

Noted thespian Michael Keaton was shown in the Cubs dugout yesterday, donning a Cubs cap and exchanging pleasantries with Aramis Ramirez, prior to throwing out the first pitch before a 9-3 defeat of Milwaukee.

That’s the same Michael Keaton, by the way, that threw out the first pitch for the Pirates’ Opening Day a year ago, and took the occasion to lecture Pittsburgh ownership on their lack of commitment to the club.

Marchman : David’s Gonna Be All Wright

Posted in Baseball at 11:05 am by

(Vitamin Water’s spokesmodel, left, seeks hitting advice from a member of the New York Juggernaut)

Apologies to the New York Sun’s Tim Marchman, who not only deserves better than the terrible headline above, but also deserves credit for point out that despite hitting just .263 with zero HR’s in ’07, the Mets’ David Wright is “drawing his walks, fouling off tough pitches in key at-bats, and hasn’t fallen into the habits of the truly afflicted hitter, like changing his stance every time he comes up to the plate or flailing at pitches he can’t possibly hit in an attempt to see if a break in routine will bring new results.”

The premise that Wright is in some sort of extended slump dating back to last year is, to begin with, just not true. Wright may have only hit six home runs in the second half last year, but his overall batting line was .305 BA/.375 OBA/.469 SLG, which is very good, and his batting line was only that low because he had a poor August, in which he hit .245/.313/.392. Wright may not have been hitting home runs, but he has a broad array of offensive strengths, and he was hitting for average, cracking doubles, drawing walks, and even running the bases well, stealing nine bags in 11 attempts. He is not mired in some sort of four-month slump dating back to last year. The reality is that he just didn’t hit many home runs in the second half last year, and he’s in a slump to open this year ” two separate phenomena.Even granting this, it’s unusual for a hitter with his power to go this long without a home run, one might reason, and something must therefore be wrong. This makes enough sense, but it’s completely untrue. At the end of the Mets’ game yesterday, Wright stood in the fine company of Mark Teixeira and Alfonso Soriano, both of whom have much more home run power than he does, and neither of whom has knocked one out of the park. Derrek Lee got his first yesterday. Wright may not even be the best young third baseman in his own division to have opened the year short on power” Washington’s Ryan Zimmerman had a big zero next to his name on the scoreboard for this year’s first 18 games.

If that doesn’t ease your mind at all, consider that Travis Hafner and David Ortiz, arguably the two best pure power hitters in baseball over the last few years, have each endured similar season-opening slumps recently. Hafner went 19 games without a bomb in 2005, and Ortiz went 24 without one in 2003; each ended up ranking third in his league in slugging average that year. And if these examples still don’t allay your fears, consider this. I looked at every seasonopening streak of at least 19 games without a home run that took place this decade, using www.baseball-reference.com’sexcellent data-slicing tools and found not one example of a previously well-regarded power hitter who went through such a streak and subsequently proved to have simply lost his power stroke.

None of this means that Wright will simply snap out of it, of course. He may have been affected by a mysterious, power-sapping virus let loose by Braves fans working at Atlanta’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The big contract he signed last year may have robbed him of his desire. Who knows? Precedent, though, suggests that he’s simply cold, as happens to all ballplayers, and that given enough time his skills and talents will assert themselves and all will be well.

After Mike Pelfrey took it on the chin from the Rockies yesterday, Metsradamus strongly advises against a demotion.

So is Mike Pelfrey in over his head? Maybe. But why send him back to the minors now? There’s nothing for Pelfrey to be gained by going back to New Orleans and dominating AAA hitters and having people wonder if he’s just a quadruple A pitcher. No, let him learn and take his lumps up in the majors. Besides, who else can come up? Chan Ho Park and his 7.00 ERA while facing minor league hitters? Hardly.

Pelfrey will be fine. I don’t know when, but under the tutelage and possible butt kicking of Rick Peterson, he’ll be fine. Until then, we may have to see Pelfrey play Charlie Brown for a little while until he learns how to spot his fast ball. Rick Peterson would probably say that Pelfrey is like a chicken that comes out of the oven all crispy on the outside so you think it’s done, but then you slice it open and it’s all pink and cold in the middle. Pelfrey would be better served to broil up in the majors instead of going down to the microwave oven known as AAA for a quick fix.

Big Changes In Store For LA Times’ Penner

Posted in Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl?, Sports Journalism at 10:17 am by

Mike Penner, a 23 year veteran of the Los Angeles Times’ sports department is going on vacation for a few weeks. Upon the journalist’s return, his byline will read “Christine Daniels”.

For more years than I care to count, I was scared to death over the prospect of writing a story such as this one. It was the most frightening of all the towering mountains of fear I somehow had to confront and struggle to scale.

How do you go about sharing your most important truth, one you spent a lifetime trying to keep deeply buried, to a world that has grown familiar and comfortable with your façade?

To a world whose knowledge of transsexuals usually begins and ends with Jerry Springer’s exploitation circus?

Painfully and reluctantly, I began the coming-out process a few months ago. To my everlasting amazement, friends and colleagues almost universally have been supportive and encouraging, often breaking the tension with good-natured doses of humor.

When I told my boss Randy Harvey, he leaned back in his chair, looked through his office window to scan the newsroom and mused, “Well, no one can ever say we don’t have diversity on this staff.”

When I told Robert, the soccer-loving lad from Wales who cuts my hair, why I wanted to start growing my hair out, he had to take a seat, blink hard a few times and ask, “Does this mean you don’t like football anymore, Mike?”

No, I had to assure him, I still love soccer. I will continue to watch it. I hope to continue to coach it.

My days of playing in men’s over-30 rec leagues, however, could be numbered.

When I told Eric, who has played sweeper behind my plodding stopper for more than a decade, he brightly suggested, “Well, you’re still good for co-ed!”

I broke the news to Tim by beginning, “Are you familiar with the movie ‘Transamerica’?” Tim nodded. “Well, welcome to my life,” I said.

Tim seemed more perplexed than most as I nervously launched into my story.

Finally, he had to explain, “I thought you said ‘Trainspotting.’ I thought you were going to tell me you’re a heroin addict.”

Gary Thorne, Enjoy The Spotlight

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 9:55 am by

While watching the O’s lose to Oakland on Tuesday afternoon, I marveled at Gary Thorne’s description of Roberto Alomar’s tenure in Flushing. “He was just terrible…he could neither hit nor catch the ball,” complained Thorne, in one of the more startling putdowns I’ve heard a broadcaster deliver to a probable Hall Of Famer. Not that it wasn’t true, for the most part, but Thorne’s tone was awfully dismissive. Anyhow, it turns out Gary was just getting started taking shots at the high and mighty, as the Boston Globe’s Gordon Edes explains.

MASN’s Gary Thorne said on the air, while the Orioles were batting in the fifth, that he’d been told by Sox catcher Doug Mirabelli that was not blood, but paint, on the sock Schilling wore during Game 6 of the 2004 American League Championship Series against the Yankees. It was done for the public relations effect, Thorne said.

“The great story we were talking about the other night was that famous red stocking that he wore when they finally won, the blood on his stocking,” Thorne said to broadcast partner Jim Palmer, the Hall of Fame pitcher, in a conversation that had begun with a discussion of Schilling’s blog.

“Nah,” Thorne said. “It was painted. Doug Mirabelli confessed up to it after. It was all for PR. Two-ball, two-strike count.”

Palmer: “Yeah, that was the 2004 World Series [sic].” Thorne: “Yeah.”

During a break two innings later, Thorne confirmed that’s what he said, and that Mirabelli had told him so in a conversation “a couple of years ago.”

“Go ask him [Mirabelli],” Thorne said.

Mirabelli was shocked, then angry, when relayed Thorne’s comments.

“What? Are you kidding me? He’s [expletive] lying. A straight lie,” Mirabelli said. “I never said that. I know it was blood. Everybody knows it was blood.”

Sox manager Terry Francona, when first told of Thorne’s remarks, thought that perhaps Mirabelli had been having some fun with Thorne, that it was all a joke. But after Mirabelli angrily denied ever discussing the subject with Thorne — “I honestly don’t know who Gary Thorne is, that’s a straight lie” — Francona became agitated.

“What we’re going through today as a nation, you hate to use a word like heroic on the field, but what Schill did that night on the sports field was one of the most incredible feats I ever witnessed,” Francona said. “[Thorne's remarks] go so far past disappointing. Disrespectful to Schill, to his vocation. I’m stunned.”

Keep in mind, this might not be the first time Doug Mirabelli said something in confidence that was made public.

Nothing To See Here, Ladies & Gentlemen, Just Keep Moving

Posted in Basketball, Fashion at 9:09 am by

Joaquín Andújar was just on the phone. He’s no longer certain that Baron Davis knows how to handle a stressful situation. I told Joaquín that for once, I’ll leave the trenchant analysis to someone who actually watched the entire game. But despite winning Game Two against Golden State last night, 112-99, even if the Mavs were to go on to win this year’s title, some things cannot so easily be erased from the memory bank.

David Roth reminds us that one or perhaps two of the gentleman above will win the NBA Championship. But more importantly, despite Nash’s relocation to Phoenix, there’s nothing uncool about adult males showing affection for each other. Or wearing cowboy hats. Or a t-shirt that even the lamest vendor on Canal Street would be embarrassed to display.


Taking A Drink From Richard Justice’s Half-Full Glass

Posted in Baseball at 5:10 pm by

“We stunk” was Scraps Garner’s frank assessment after the Astros were blanked, 3-0 last night by Pittsburgh’s Paul Maholm, who in tossing his first career complete game shutout, handed Houston their 4th straight defeat at the hands of the Pirates. Never fear, Astros fans, “once Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee both start to hit, the Astros will score plenty of runs,” promises the Chronicle’s Richard Justice.

Don’t pull the plug our the Local Nine yet. The Astros will score runs. If Jason Jennings returns and if Troy Patton or one of the kids establish themselves, the pitching might be adequate, too. And then again, the Texans might win 14 games and Jeff Van Gundy may be a stand-up comedian next fall.

Come to think of it, here’s a scenario. How about the Astros stay around .500 for half a season and then bring both Hunter Pence and Troy Patton up to start the second half of the season? They could energize a clubhouse and a city, not to mention a press box. If you’ve ever sat beside Brian McTaggart, you’ll look anyplace you can for energy.

The afternoon after the Rockies failed to provide Aaron Cook with any run support against the Mets, Colorado teed off on New York starter Mike Pelfrey and designated mop up man Aaron Sele, banging out 20 hits in an 11-5 rout at Shea. Willy Tavares had his first 5 hit day, while on the hosts’ side of the stat-padding, Jose Reyes gained his first hits of the series with a 4 for 5 (two doubles) afternoon, and Shawn Green — the living argument for bringing the DH to the senior circuit — knocked in 3 runs with a 6th inning triple. At the moment, the Mets’ problems with the 5th spot in the rotation seem less worrisome than David Wright’s inability to emerge from a slow start. Wright is 2 for his last 22 at bats, and rumor has it, Dr. Jae Rock Lee has turned his attentions to David Newhan.

It’s kind of nice so many school kids attended today’s Mets matinee, especially because this gave them a chance to ask their teachers such important questions as “how is John Mabry still in the big leagues?” and “is Clint Hurdle’s entire career the most glaring example of the Sports Illustrated cover jinx?”

I think it is fair to say the headline “Prior Out For Season” will surprise absolutey no one. Nor should Ben Sheets’ latest injury come as a shock considering the conditions at Wrigley today. But at least Derek Lee busted out — his production will catch up with that of John Mabry pretty soon, I reckon.

Steiner : REM Are The 50th Best Band….From Georgia

Posted in Baseball, Rock Und Roll at 3:16 pm by

Dodgers mouthpiece Charley Steiner (above), writing for Hall Of Fame Magazine.com, takes exception with the 2007 inductees. To Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, that is.  (thanks to Repoz for the link)

I’ve got some rock ‘n’ roll chops. If not chops, then certainly some history. From my teenage days in the Village hanging out at the Café au GoGo, Café Wha and the Bitter End, listening to the Blues Project, Lovin’ Spoonful and Richie Havens in their (and my) formative years, rock ‘n’ roll grabbed a hold of me and has never let go. I can’t play a lick, but I would put my 8000 iPod tunes up against anybody’s. Now that the preface is out of the way, let’s get to the heart of the matter. Last year’s inductees into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame wanted dead or alive and in alphabetical order were Black Sabbath (is Ozzy dead or alive?…you be the judge), Blondie, Miles Davis, Lynyrd Skynard and the Sex Pistols. No arguments, no qualms with any of the above. This year’s class, I must admit left me profoundly indifferent. Grandmaster Flash gets into the hall of fame, for scratching records with the needle on a Victrola? Ok, not my cup of tea. R.E.M certainly were the vibe of their decade/generation. Fabulous band, unique sound, but a band with a lasting impact? I dunno. We’ll talk in 50 years. Same can be said for Van Halen, whose off-stage antics were almost as entertaining as their musical body of work. Patti Smith’s primal, guttural and soulful voice and presentation makes her a unique artist. And while the Ronettes were one of the great girl groups, Hall of Famers? I™m not sure about that. It wasn’t as if they had a body of work, and had it not been for Mrs. Spector’s husband’s wall of sound, they might have well been the Shangra-las.

Pacers Fire Carlisle

Posted in Basketball at 2:53 pm by

Following their worst regular season mark in 8 years, Indy have determined they cannot fire Jermaine O’Neal 12 players, and have punished Rick Carlisle, instead. From the Indianapolis Star’s Mike Wells.

Team president Larry Bird announced the decision during a 2 p.m. news conference at Conseco Fieldhouse.”It’s time for a new era. We shouln’t point fingers at anyone,” Bird said.

“We’re all at fault. If you want to blame somebody, you have to blame the people at the top. I understand that. It™s part of the business.

œThere were a lot of things that went on here in the last three years that were embarrassing. It hurts, being from Indiana. I had a major problem with a lot of it. And we can™t have that.

œSo we™re going to get the right players with skills and the right players to build our community. And we™re going to build from that.

Bird said he and Carlisle, old friends even before working together with the Pacers, agreed it was time to part ways.

œThe truth is, we sat down, I asked him and he said, look, maybe it™s time for me to go. And we went from there.

Bird said he wasn™t surprised.

œI know Rick. I think in the last few years, everything that™s happened, it wears on you, he said.

œAnd I think after time it just gets to the point where (Carlisle thinks) ˜Maybe I should move on, maybe you guys should go in a different direction.™

Can you imagine what Dave Feschuk would’ve written about Sam Mitchell had the Raptors lost Game 2?

As Leandro Barbosa continues to expose Smush Parker, the Arizona Republic’s Ed Bickley is a tad giddy over the Suns’ scary 126-98 win over the Lakers last night.

How interesting that the Suns have taken over the first two games with Nash, their two-time MVP, on the bench. And both times, it was Barbosa who breached every line of Lakers defense.

Quickly becoming a one-man fast break and a cult hero in Phoenix – this year’s version of Raja Bell – Barbosa has made the Lakers look slower than the lunchtime crowd at the YMCA. By halftime of Game 2, Barbosa had 43 points in 49½ minutes of total action. By contrast, Bryant had 52 points in 64½ minutes.

“Barbosa seems to be the key right now to what we have to do defensively,” Jackson said.

Imagine that. Then again, the playoffs barely have started, and it is amazing how quickly the landscape has changed. It wasn’t long ago that D’Antoni was ripped for not resting his star players in the last two regular-season games, a strategy employed by both Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and Mavericks coach Avery Johnson.

Well, San Antonio already has lost home-court advantage, and in Dallas, where the best team in basketball is adjusting to a No. 8 seed, the tension is thick, and Johnson faces myriad problems.

Johnson chose to sit his key performers in a road game against the Warriors, even though a victory could have helped eliminated Golden State from the playoffs. Remember the bravado back then, how Johnson claimed he would fine Dirk Nowitzki if his MVP candidate even showed up at the airport?

That bravado has disappeared. It seems to have resurfaced in Phoenix almost overnight. Not that anyone is complaining.

A Quick Question For Gatorade’s Marketing Department…

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 2:27 pm by

…all things considered, do you really want the public to believe the voice in Derek Jeter’s head is Harvey Keitel?

Free Speech For The Dumb

Posted in Hate Fuck Radio at 11:09 am by

With apologies to Discharge.  From ‘This Honky’s Nuts’ (mp3, link taken from Record Robot)

Angelos Denies Nemesis Press Credentials

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism, Sports Radio at 9:09 am by

While acknowledging that Nestor “Nasty” Aparicio (above, right) is seen by many as “a shameless and relentless self-promoter who really can get down and very dirty on and off the air with anyone who might happen to disagree with him,” the Washington Post’s Leonard Shapiro raises questions surrounding the Orioles refusal to grant media credentials to one of the team’s more vocal critics.

In years past, Aparicio’s major forum was his daily sports talk show on WNST radio, a 5,000-watt radio station that gives listeners all local sports talk all the time from sun-up to sun-down seven days a week. The station, now owned by Aparicio, has a loyal following (even if it is ranked 29th in listeners among 30 stations in the Baltimore market rated by Arbitron) and also produces a lively daily web site (WNST.net) almost completely devoted to local Baltimore sports.

Last year, in the midst of a ninth straight losing season and much to the dismay of Orioles management, Aparicio also took it upon himself to lead a “Free The Birds” protest urging Angelos to sell the team. Plugged incessantly on his own station, it involved hundreds of fans going to Camden yards for a game against the Detroit Tigers on Sept., 21 then walking out en masse in the fourth inning. Aparicio says 2,000 fans participated; the Orioles say it was more like 1,000, but the protest got plenty of local and national coverage, much to Aparicio’s delight.

Club management clearly was not amused. Angelos, in fact, was quoted at the time describing Aparicio as “a very unimportant person who has delusions of grandeur.”

The Orioles have granted eight WNST employees media credentials to cover the team and even threw in a couple of precious parking passes. But Aparicio was denied a press pass. If he wants to go to the ball park, he’ll have to buy a ticket just like everyone else. And now, Nasty is mad as hell and vowing not to take it any more, even threatening possible legal action against the team ownership he loves to hate.

“I’ve been telling the truth about the baseball team for years,” Aparicio said. “I live two blocks from the ball park. I’ve seen what their mismanagement has done to the team. Nobody goes, and I’ve seen what it does to businesses downtown, the bars, the restaurants, the hotels. The city is struggling. Downtown is struggling. The Orioles could really help that situation, but not the way they’re running that organization.”

Several members of the Baltimore media interviewed on background for this piece also indicated there is little question in their minds that the Orioles’ decision to deny Aparicio a press credential clearly smacks of payback, mostly stemming from last year’s September protest as well as his countless other transgressions aimed toward the team.

“I write a column, I still blog, I go on the air, I’m still an active member of the media,” Aparicio said. “I’ve never been turned down for a credential in my life. They keep telling me I’m not a legitimate member of the media. But they’re the only ones. Here’s the other thing. If they can pull my credential, who’s next? I’ve had a bunch of calls and e-mails from guys covering the team telling me to keep fighting, because we can’t.”

Much as I hate taking Peter Angelos’ side in anything, it would appear as though WNST’s website is down.

Moonie Rag Hails Flat-Brimmed Firestarter’s Failure To Flip Out

Posted in Baseball at 8:44 am by

From the Washington Times’ Mark Zucker.

Chad Cordero, as anyone who has watched the Washington Nationals’ closer for the last two years knows, rarely shows emotion on the mound. The right-hander’s nondescript stare has become legendary, evidence of his ability not to be fazed by anything that takes place while he’s in the game.

But that doesn’t mean Cordero never displays his emotions. He has been known to give up a home run or blow a save and keep his composure until he returns to the dugout, at which point he often lets out his frustrations.

And how does he do it?

“I’d really rather not say,” he said with a laugh. “Words, mostly words. I mean, I have slammed down my hat a few times, but I’m not going to go destroy the Gatorade cooler or anything like that.”

These days, Cordero is cutting loose regularly in the dugout with words his mother probably would prefer not to hear. Such is the case when his ERA is approaching 6.00, he has blown two of his three save opportunities and he has served up three towering home runs.

Of all the Nationals struggling to perform during the season’s first three weeks, perhaps Cordero is the biggest surprise. Certainly, he’s the most disappointing because if this club had one sure-fire thing entering the season, it was an established closer.

If only Cordero was living up to the billing. In nine appearances spanning 91/3 innings, he already has given up six earned runs and 15 hits, issued seven walks, thrown three wild pitches and allowed three homers. He has retired the side only once so far, and he has put at least three men on base in five of his nine full innings.

With all due respect to Zucker — who does a nice job of meeting deadline considering he has to sell $300 worth of flowers every morning or face a brutal beating — there’s a thin line between stoic and catatonic. And it should be stressed, Cordero is not only the one of the few tradeable commodities the Nats possess, he can hardly be blamed on nights when the DC pen can’t even get him the ball — Saul Rivera, Micah Owens and John Rauch “Rumble” being the goats of last night’s 6-3 loss in Philly.

Oh Yeah, That’ll Work

Posted in Baseball, History's Great Hook-Ups at 12:45 am by

Experts agree. There’s no greater aphrodisiac than the sight of Clint Hurdle in tight trousers.


Pacific Coast League Baseball Is Your Best Entertainment Value…

Posted in Baseball at 11:38 pm by

…particularly if you turn up at the Dell Diamond in the 5th inning and the card scanners aren’t working. Free baseball, ladies and gentleman, and plenty of parking, too. Houston’s Round Rock affiliate ended a 5 game skid this evening with a 14-7 drubbing of Oklahoma. Astros center fielder-to-be Hunter Pence (above) had 3 RBI’s and 3 doubles, raising his average to .342. 1B Mark Saccomanno, patiently waiting for Lance Berkman to take up flag football again, was 4 for 5 with a pair of doubles and 3 runs batted in.

The venue affectionately called “The Mouse Pad” by former Gulf War correspondent Mike Capps had all the ambience of a sparsely attended flea market tonight. Especially the flea part. Which surprised me, as the visiting Redhawks brought a star studded lineup (chair tossing Frank Francisco, Desi Relaford, Marlon Byrd, Victor Diaz, John Koronka) to town. It should’ve been an autograph hunter’s dream. Or a process server’s.

In other Triple-A news, Mets fans will be thrilled to know Timo Perez is working on a 19 game hitting streak, having gone 2 for 5 in Toledo’s 4-2 morning victory over Charlotte. Or perhaps you’ll be saddened to learn that former New Weird America icon Matt Ginter allowed 5 runs and 13 hits in less than 5 innings this afternoon in Memphis’ 8-7 win over Omaha (heads up, Will Leitch : the Redbirds’ Rick Ankiel hit his 7th HR of the season). And after all that, perhaps you’re puzzled, dismayed or simply blown away when reading that Ricky Ledee drove in 7 (!) during New Orleans’ 17-8 destruction of Albuquerque. Chan Ho Park improved his record to 3-1, despite giving up 6 earned runs in 5 innings.

Sonics Fire Hill

Posted in Basketball at 6:13 pm by

With rumors flying regarding increased power for Lenny Wilkens and a possible overture towards Rick Adelman, ESPN reported this evening the Seattle Sonics have parted ways with head coach Bob Hill.

The Boston Globe’s Greg Lee claims the Celtics have cut ties with troubled guard Sebastain Telfair following the Coney Island product’s most recent brush with the law.  Asked on “PTI” today if the Celtics’ action was justified, Tony Kornheiser insisted that Telfair “keeps getting caught with guns.”

Actually, during his brief tenure with the Celtics, this was the first time Telfair was formally charged with illegal handgun possession.

Mrs. AK-47 (above, right) has an interesting take on her husband’s poor rapport with Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, writes the Desert Morning News’ Brad Rock.

Masha Kirilenko said Monday night that she believes some of the problems could be related to her husband’s imperfect command of English.

“It’s frustrating,” she said. “His English is not so good.Sometimes he can’t explain himself. Maybe he needs an interpreter.”

She claimed Houston’s Yao Ming, from China, “has an interpreter all the time” and added “maybe we’ll hire one.”

Masha went on to say that, “with the coach and Andrei that’s certainly a language barrier and it looks like there could be a misunderstanding with both guys.”

Asked if she thinks Sloan and his player can work out their differences regarding playing style and time, she said, “Two smart people like that can work it out.”

She was motivated to speak on the subject when she saw her husband’s red-eyed picture in the newspapers on Monday. “I said, ‘This is not happening,’” she said. “I’ve never seen him like this.”

On the brink of Nets/Raptors Game 2, much of Dave D’Allesandro’s latest mailbag in the Star Ledger consists of angry missives from former Vince Carter fans.

Dave: Love to know what you’re basing the notion that it “wasn’t that clear basketball would catch on in Canada” before Vince came here — and please don’t cite Vancouver, since that’s 3,000 kilometres from Toronto. You’re confusing trend-obsessed members of the short attention span crowd with real basketball fans, who admittedly are not as plentiful in Canada as in the U.S. but do exist in large numbers here. If anything, Vin Weasel set the Raptors back. A lot casual sports fans in Canada still have trouble taking the NBA seriously since the face of our team was a guy who let his ego hold his game hostage. – Neate Sager

Short memory you got, Neate. Ask Glen Grunwald about the crushing debt load he was under in ’97, or a few years before Vince showed up: The Canadian dollar was tanking (it was worth something like 65 cents), which suppressed the Raptors’ ability to generate revenue. They were losing millions every month, as they had broken ground on the new arena and it was turning into a white elephant. Attendance was falling every year at the Skydome. There were reports that it took them four games to generate the sort of revenues that Madison Square Garden would get in one night. And there was a widespread perception that Revenue Canada (that’s their IRS, for you Yanks who don’t know) was going after athletes, hitting the non-resident NBA players with a higher tax for every day they spent in Canada – which everyone knew would be an issue when it came to pursuing free agents. Anyway, Carter arrived, he became the most popular athlete in the country after Gretzky, and the rest is history – in your case, the revisionist kind.

If You’re Stuck For The Perfect Mother’s Day Gift, Don’t Sweat It – Vincent Gallo Has You Sorted

Posted in The Marketplace at 3:08 pm by

If after being presented detailed photographs of the purchaser, Mr. Gallo may be willing to waive the natural insemination fee and charge only for the sperm itself. (from Vincent Gallo Merchandise, link courtesy Sally Crewe)