Eastern Confernce Finals Game 5 : LeBron’s Takeover

Posted in Basketball at 11:45 pm by

Cavaliers 109, Pistons 107 (double OT)

Jeff Jensen
says his jaw is on the floor. He can join the club. Leave it to billion year old Dr. Jack Ramsey to point out one of the night’s more stunning, if arcane stats : the Cavs totalled a mere 13 assists while scoring 109. And 7 of those assists were from LeBron James.

“That tells you,” chortled Dr. Jack, “that someone must’ve been doing an awful lot by himself.”

And that might be the great understatement of the week. I’m old enough to remember Jordan torching the Celtics for 63. I’m washed up enough to recall Reggie Miller going nuts at MSG inbetween taunts of Spike Lee. But I cannot recall in my lifetime an individual playoff performance as impressive as LeBron’s 48 points — including the Cavs’ final 25 (29 of their last 30) over the course of the 4th quarter through 2 OT’s — nor the way he scored many of them.
For all the furor over James not taking the last shot in Game One, there’s a good chance he’ll not be hearing much criticism for the next 2 days — particularly given what he pulled off tonight without Larry Hughes. While the Pistons can scratch their skulls over a layup here or there, there’s not much they can do when James is hitting long, off-balance jumpers with a pair of defenders on him.

TNT’s 3 headed monster of Reggie Miller, The Chuckster and Kenny Smith took issue with the likes of Michael Cooper, Terry Porter and Mark Jackson not getting the coaching gigs that went to Marc Iavaroni, Billy Donovan and Jim O’Brien. And while I ususally blow a gasket over certain (pale) retreads being 3rd of 4th chances, I’m not sure they’ve picked the right examples to groan about. Cooper and Porter have coached in the Association already, and I suspect the latter will get another chance before long. O’Brien took the Celtics to a conference final, Iavaroni was considered by multiple clubs this spring, and Billy Donovan is merely coming off back to back national titles.

And I’m 100% against Mark Jackson becoming a head coach. Not because he’s unqualified, but if you break Jax and Ian Eagle up, I’ll be deprived of mucho material come next winter.

The Flyin’ Hawaiian Will Have Philly Music Lovers Cryin’

Posted in Baseball, Radio at 6:25 pm by

(Victorino, above far left, with Chris Roberson and Cole Hamels, moments before being told August Darnell Day at CBP had been rained out)

Writes the link-suppling Repoz, “Next thing you know…Scott Muni will start embracing punk music instead of worms!” From NBC10.com’s Leah Zerbe.

Before all the excitement of having Barry Bonds in town surges at Citizen™s Park on Friday, one Phillie will be serenading Philadelphia music lovers with his guest DJ selections as he takes over as Y-Rock DJ at XPN Thursday night at 8.

Listeners can tune in at 88.5 XPN, 88.5 HD-2 or online at YRockOnXPN.org as Shane Victorino, the feisty right fielder known as The Flyin™ Hawaiian, controls the airwaves for an hour. Back in March, I spoke to the Bob Marley-loving Victorino briefly about music, and I think it™s safe to say listeners will get to hear their fair share of reggae Thursday night when he™s calling the shots.

Peter Gammons chatted with ESPN Radio’s Dan Patrick this afternoon, the topic of choice being the alleged violation of baseball ettiquette by Alex Rodriguez last night in Toronto. Gammons insisted despite the Yankees’ poor showing thus far, when they’re on the road, “they’re the Rolling Stones.”

“Which of the Yankees is Keith Richards?” wondered Patrick.
“Jason Giambi,” replied a giggling Gammo, “though he might not like the comparison.”

Indeed, Keith might not. The Yanks’ Mr. Apology will miss at least 3 weeks after being diagnosed with a left heel injury earlier today.

It’s Magic : Donovan Disappears From Gainsville

Posted in Basketball at 4:46 pm by

From USA Today / Associated Press, Thursday morning, May 31 :

Florida’s Billy Donovan (above, right) declined to comment Wednesday on a report that the Orlando Magic have contacted his agent in hopes of gauging his interest in becoming their next coach.

Donovan said Wednesday he had no idea whether the report was true.

“I know nothing,” he said at the Southeastern Conference’s annual spring meeting. “Anybody can say anything. If you said to me someone made a comment about that, maybe I would respond. But I’m not going to make any response or comment on sources. … A lot of times there’s speculation out there, and a lot of times there’s nothing to the speculation.”

A few minutes ago, ESPN credited Pat Forde with a report Donovan had signed a 6 year, $36 million pact with the Orlando Magic.

I guess the Magic just completed the fastest negotiation in history.

Rick Pitino would like Donovan to know that Dennis Scott isn’t walking through that door. Unless he’s hired as an assistant.

Please Let This Event Be Rated PG-13

Posted in Cinema, music, The World Of Entertainment at 4:37 pm by

Though I suspect I’ll be busy that night, hopefully the soon-to-relocate Alamo will see fit to reserve seats for Jim DeRogatis and Gary Sheffield.

Tony La Genius : “A Study In Human Pyrotechnics”

Posted in Baseball at 2:36 pm by

Or perhaps just a boozy guy having a late-life crisis while watching his defending champs slide down the toilet — last night’s defeat of Colorado aside. Sports Illustrated’s SL Price considers the dark days of Cards skipper Tony La Russa.

He has seen the shattering of his enlightened image — already cracked by a 2005 admission that he had suspected Canseco was using steroids with the A’s — and heard his leadership doubted. Just months removed from reveling in the Cardinals’ 10th championship, won on the field of their new, $365 million ballpark, La Russa has found himself the public focus of what team president Mark Lamping calls “the most embarrassing period” of their 12 years together in St. Louis.

No one could take so bruising a fall without howling, and indeed, La Russa’s response ranges from bitterness to regret to rage to resignation — occasionally all at once. But he won’t say what seems obvious: Sometimes life comes at you like a landslide, and you dodge one boulder only to get leveled by another. “I’ve now read this word three or four times, and it’s a perception that some people have that I don’t feel at all: embattled,” he says, before a May 9 home stand finale against the Colorado Rockies. “I don’t feel embattled. As long as this doesn’t sound disrespectful, this is so routine for what a manager goes through during a season. Now … you don’t have guys die. But the adversity? The ups and downs? You’re always trying to keep your wagons going — or you’re circling them trying to stay alive.”

La Russa says he still “absolutely” believes that McGwire never used steroids and attributes the slugger’s muscle mass to a combination of diet and work ethic. “To this day, five or six days a week, you call him in the morning, he’s just finished his workout,” La Russa says. “He looks like he could play today. That’s why I keep asking him to.”

Vescey : Jermaine O’Neal To LA

Posted in Basketball at 10:06 am by

In case you’re wondering why Kobe Bryant was demanding a trade on Stephen A. Smith’s ESPN 1050 show but making much calmer noises later in the day, the New York Post’s Peter Vescey is all too pleased to fill you in.

The Post has learned a championship-caliber collaborator should soon be coming to Kobe’s – the city’s and the team’s – emotional rescue. How poetically peculiar that the player’s last name is O’Neal, as in Jermaine, not Shaquille!

Within the last week, the Pacers and Lakers have laid the groundwork for a trade that would certainly placate both sorrowful All-Stars. L.A. inquired about O’Neal – another fake franchise player pocketing maximum money on the prowl for someone to save him from losing. And was told he was available. Indiana let it be known the Lakers have ample assets (players and/or picks) to make a fair deal.

No specifics were delivered. No negotiating has been done. Still, Lamar Odom would have to be the principal of the package in order to adhere to NBA trade specifications. He’s currently on the Laker salary cap for $12,348,596 and has two seasons remaining at 900G per raises.

O’Neal earns Kobe-like numbers: $18,084M this season, and has three remaining at $19.728M, $21.372 and 23,016M. Kobe has an out after two more seasons.

Surely Andrew Bynum ($2.030M/$2.172M/$2.769M) must be included as well. I can’t see the Pacers parting with a 7-footer without getting one back.

Obviously, this very real swap talk is why Kobe’s blithering abruptly ceased late yesterday afternoon.

Much as I hate to challenge the veracity of Vescey’s report, I think we need to take a cold, hard look at the facts. In past 48 hours, Kobe has called in to no fewer than 7 chat radio shows, both of the local and national variety. Clearly, he’s frustrated and angry…at being the only person in North America WFAN hasn’t invited to host their early morning show for a few days.

A-Rod Suffers Humiliating Corbin Bernsen Comparison

Posted in Baseball at 9:26 am by

Knowing Alex Rodriguez, Knowing You (A-ha!), with Slappy’s latest crime against Real Yankeehood (abeit in a New York win) ably covered by the New York Daily News’ Mark Feisand.

With his team leading by two runs following his RBI single in the top of the ninth, A-Rod was running between second and third after Jorge Posada had popped up the potential third out.

As Rodriguez went behind Toronto third baseman Howie Clark, who had camped under the ball, he appeared to shout something toward Clark, causing him to back off the play. The ball fell in for a single, allowing a run to score and extending an inning that wound up breaking the game open for the Yankees.

“I said, ‘Hah,’ that’s it,” Rodriguez said. “I was almost past third base. I was surprised the ball bounced.”

The Blue Jays didn’t see it that way.

“I was under it and I heard a ‘Mine’ call, so I let it go,” said Clark, who thought the call came from shortstop John McDonald. “This is my 16th season, granted most of them are in the minor leagues, but it’s never happened once. It happened tonight.”

“I told him it’s bush league. That’s what we do in Little League,” Gibbons said. “The one thing that everybody in the game respects about the Yankees is that they play the game right, they play the game hard. That’s what they’re known for. They’re a class operation.”

“I could care less,” Rodriguez said. “We’re looking not to be swept. It really doesn’t make a difference; we won. Those guys have their opinions, our guys have ours. I’m fine with that.”

Troy Glaus, the Blue Jays’ regular third baseman and a 10-year veteran, was appalled by the play.

“Not since I think ‘Major League II,’ the movie; I think that’s the only time I’ve ever seen it on the field,” Glaus said. “I’ve never heard of someone doing it and I’ve never seen anybody do it. That’s not proper. That’s not the right thing to do.”

In all seriousness, A-Rod might be far more savvy than any of us give him credit for. He might well have realized he’d have to do something rather sensationational to distract the media from his zipper problems, and it appears as though he did just that. I can only hope the organization appreciates that kind of maturity and leadership.

A Version Of “Mother” That Will Have You Crying “Uncle”

Posted in Free Expression, Rock Und Roll at 2:50 am by

The folks at Legion Of Rock Stars have already done their worst to Loverboy and Billy Idol, but there’s little that can prepare you for their meditation on, uh, Chuck Biscuits’ sole entry in the Billboard Top 40. (thanks to Eric Bradford for the link)


CSTB Contributor’s Fantasies Revealed

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 9:16 pm by

(this man would surely not approve)

Salutations to longtime CSTB fixture David Roth on the publication of “My Overactive Fantasy Life : What Happens When You Love Your Fantasy Team A Litte Too Much” in Wednesday’s edition of Slate. David describes a growing social problem with harrowing detail :

It started with simple flip-overs to WGN from Mets games. You know, an innocent, Oh, I wonder if Jermaine Dye is up”I could really use a two-run single and two stolen bases from him. Then it became a full-on addiction. I watched my fantasy players’ at-bats with an intensity that I can’t bring to Mets games until the weather starts getting cold. I watched them not only instead of Mets games, but also instead of whatever else I was supposed to be doing. I write “watched” instead of “watch” because, after hitting bottom a couple of weeks ago, I’m trying to change.

My moment of clarity came on a beautiful April afternoon at Shea Stadium. For the first time in my Mets-attending life, I was treated to the spectacle of the Mets putting a nice, easy walloping on the Atlanta Braves, their longtime divisional nemesis. But there was a complicating factor: One of my fantasy pitchers, Chuck James, was starting for the Braves. So, while I enjoyed watching the Mets pound him silly, I felt empty high-fiving my friends as runs five and six crossed the plate. My mouth said the right things, but my fantasy-sodden brain wondered why a nice 3-1 win (with, say, one of the runs being unearned and James registering eight or so strikeouts) couldn’t have sufficed. It was then that I decided that I needed to get a handle on this.

Given that David’s squad in the Charlie Kerfeld Memorial League is currently 9th out of 13 teams, I think we can safely say he is making ample progress towards sanity.

If Mike Gillespie Can’t Have You, No One Can

Posted in Basketball, The Law at 4:56 pm by

You’d think a Division I hoop coach would know better than most what constitutes a recruiting violation. From the AP :

Florida A&M University men’s basketball coach Mike Gillespie Sr. was placed on paid leave Wednesday after his arrest last week on misdemeanor stalking charges.

Florida A&M Athletic Director Nelson Townsend said Gillespie would remain on leave until the charges have been resolved.

Police said they were called Friday morning by a woman, who said Gillespie stalked her at work last week. A police report said Gillespie had been investigated several times since March 2005 on stalking complaints, but Friday was the first time he was charged.

Gillespie is free on bond, but subject to monitoring and under orders to stay away from the woman who accused him of stalking her.

Gillespie’s attorney, Tim Jansen, didn’t return a call for comment Wednesday, but he said last week that the alleged stalking “didn’t happen.”