05.29.07

Stay Classy, SLC

Posted in Basketball at 7:55 pm by

Fill in your own joke about how we’ll somehow survive without a word from Wake Forest’s foremost quote machine. But as the 2007 Playoffs progress, I’m left with the sneaking suspicion the basketball fans of Utah are every bit as sophisticated as their loveable owner.

While the Fanhouse’s Tom Ziller considers the possibility of Lenny Wilkens appointing himself coach of the Seattle Durants, SonicCentral’s Brian Robinson has lambasted owner Clay Bennett, charging “the guy’s contribution to Seattle basketball has been a complete and 100 percent zero.” I think that’s a bit harsh — doesn’t Robinson think 50% off Rashard Lewis jerseys is a positive move?

The New York Post’s Peter Vescey openly scoffs at Kobe Bryant’s weekend insistence the Lakers had a shot at Carlos Boozer, Baron Davis or Ron Artest.

First off, Jazz executive Kevin O’Connor has maintained from the git-go Boozer was never available. The only reason his name got out there in trade talk was because Kobe and Carlos share the same sleazy agent, Rob Pelinka.

Second, even had the Lakers been able to snare Boozer, closing any one of those deals would’ve cost them Lamar Odom for salary and skill purposes. How much better would that have made them? The truth is, they never should’ve dealt Caron Butler for Kwame Brown. That swap will haunt them into the hereafter.

In the final analysis I’m unsure what to make of Kobe’s bendable benedictions. But I am certain of one thing. I’ll know he lied to me when the jeweler calls and asks me for my ring size.

It be might overstating things a tad to call the Lakers “Team Turmoil”, but you know there’s a problem when Eric Musselman suggests an intervention for owner Jerry Buss. Though in the latter’s defense, maybe he was listening to this while behind the wheel.

Colt .45 : They’re Jerks Every Time

Posted in Beer, The Mailbag at 5:24 pm by

A 2005 study by the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science claimed that malt liquor drinkers “are more likely to be homeless, unemployed, or receiving public assistance.”

Perhaps with a slightly tonier demographic in mind, Pabst Brewery, the makers of Colt .45, have teamed up with the soulless purveyors of bullshit cutting edge humorists at Vice to spread around the following bit of spam.

VICE and Colt 45 are looking for your favorite stories about nights out with Colt 45. Got chased by dogs at 3am? Lost your pants on a bet and had to walk home? Got stuck in a compromising situation? Take a minute and write to us. The best stories will be illustrated by underground comic book artists and released with upcoming issues of Vice Magazine in its own mini-mag form. The first issue comes out in June and if we might say so, it™s pretty killer. Send all stories, yarns and anecdotes to tales@viceland.com . Please send us your stories asap, as we are looking for ones for the July issue. Also, look for VICE and Colt coming to your cities this summer to have some late night adventures and throw down with your favorite djs.

(Funnily enough, I do have such a story. About a month back, I got so drunk on Colt .45 that I cashed a check from Pabst in exchange for hassling innocent people. )

These motherfuckers would be so much better off bringing back Billy Dee Williams. And no one on earth, not even Michael Vick, uses phrases like “I love the shit out of dogs.”

Bringing The Taste of Chicago To Long Island City

Posted in Radio at 3:14 pm by

The Score’s Mike North (above)  was the latest sacrificial lamb substitute host to fill Don Imus’ old chair on WFAN this morning, and while Newsday’s Neil Best describes the Windy City windbag as “sounds like he’s doing an imitation of a bad Chicago accent, something out of a Saturday Night Live skit,” the Chicago Tribune’s Teddy Greenstein was far more easily impressed.

North was loud, brash, hyper-opinionated and just plain hyper. When WFAN staple Chris Russo called in during the third hour, North barely let him speak. Russo is nicknamed “Mad Dog,” yet North muzzled him without a tranquilizer.

After Mike asked Russo which team he favored, and Russo said the San Francisco Giants, North barked: “They got Ray Durham at second base. He’s 50.”

A brief discussion of the NBA led North to say: “Eddy Curry decided to have a pulse this year.”

“You gotta do your homework when you’re on with me, Mad Dog,” North said.

“North is on top of it!” Russo fired back.

No doubt North did his research. He fired on tons of New York sports figures, including Joe Torre, Plaxico Burress, Eli Manning and Hideki Matsui. (“The Japanese players get here, and after a couple of years they get the American way. You can see Hideki Matsui after the game working out at TGI Friday’s.”)

WWL’s Drehs Worries About The Sultan’s Safety

Posted in Baseball at 12:02 pm by

(if the gentleman above is sitting next to you at Shea tonight…you must have pretty good seats!)

Salutations to ESPN.com’s Wayne Drehs for using Barry Bonds’ pursuit of Hank Aaron’s home mark as an excuse to raise the spectre of something truly chilling —- the aesthetic atrocity that was Tony Scott’s “The Fan”.

Best-selling author Peter Abrahams describes the character with ease — a man in his late-50s, a throwback of sorts, frustrated by a world of escalating gas prices, scandalous reality television and too many me-first, you-last personalities.

He would have grown up loving baseball, worshiping Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio and others. He’d despise what the game has become. He’d look at San Francisco Giants outfielder Barry Bonds and cringe at the thought of this sullen, allegedly chemically enhanced antihero smirking his way to one of the most prestigious records in all of sports.

So he’d want to do something about it. Major League Baseball? The Mitchell Investigation? A San Francisco grand jury? An ultra-revealing, best-selling book? They might not be able to stand in the way of the slugger’s becoming baseball’s all-time home run king. But he could.

“His goal would be to almost religiously sacrifice himself on behalf of the American people to stop this record from happening,” said Abrahams, author of “The Fan,” the early-1990s book that was the basis for the Robert DeNiro/Wesley Snipes sports movie thriller of the same name. “I’m not sure if that character truly exists. But I can assure you those emotions do.”

“You get those crazy assassin types who are out there in the woodwork and are magnetized to someone like Barry Bonds,” Abrahams said. “Then there are the baseball purists who want to protect the records like a bible. Those people are annoyed, too. Whether or not that type of guy is going to pull out a .357, well, it doesn’t exactly fit the profile.”

Charles Nelson Reilly, RIP

Posted in The World Of Entertainment at 10:52 am by

From the LA Times’ Valerie J. Nelson.

Charles Nelson Reilly, whose persona as a wacky game show panelist and talk show guest overshadowed his serious work as a director and Tony-winning actor, has died. He was 76.

Reilly, a longtime resident of Beverly Hills, died Friday of complications from pneumonia at UCLA Medical Center, said Paul Linke, who directed Reilly’s one-man show “Save It for the Stage: The Life of Reilly.”

“The average person thinks of him as being on ‘The Match Game.’ That was a mixed blessing for him,” Linke told The Times on Monday. “One of the reasons I was so motivated to get his show out there was because I wanted people to recognize that this was a heavyweight talent.”

When a Times reporter visited his home in 2000, Reilly displayed an opera review that referred to him as “Charles Nelson Reilly of ‘Hollywood Squares’ fame.”

“It’s like a scarlet letter,” Reilly yowled in his high-pitched, nasal voice.

Reilly’s close friend Burt Reynolds said in a 1991 Times article that he thought Reilly’s reputation as the perpetual jester had worked against him in Hollywood

“We have a thing in this town that if you are enormously witty and gregarious, you can’t be very deep. There’s something wrong with a society that says, ‘You’re the wit, but you’re not the teacher.’ People just haven’t seen him in this arena,” Reynolds said.

Though Craig Finn was not necessarily unavailable for comment, he’s not on my buddylist, either.

Murray Chass On Bonds’ HR Orgy

Posted in Baseball at 10:37 am by

Though I’m not nearly as dedicated a Murray Chass basher as the dilligent Seth Mnookin, I do have to wonder what could possibly be considered revelatory about the NY Times columnist alleging (in May 2007!) that “based on his association with the period covering the latter half of the last decade and the early years of this one, it would be no great leap to believe that Barry Bonds used steroids to enhance his hitting.”

Of course, the same could be said of Randy Velarde, except he’s not the one visiting the Mets this evening.

In a demonstration unprecedented in baseball™s long history, players erupted in an orgy of home runs, achieving feats no single player or group of players had ever approached. It is reasonable to conclude that someone had to be doing something.

Is Bonds a better hitter than Ruth and Aaron? A case could be made for that proposition, but how can we know if we don™t know which Bonds we™re comparing them with, the unadulterated Bonds or the Bonds who is suspected of using aides that didn™t exist in the Ruth and Aaron eras? Hot dogs probably didn™t have the same effect.

Probably not. Though in Bonds’ defense, neither Ruth nor Aaron had to contend with starting pitchers who were capable of throwing high heat into their mid-forties. But I’ll not hold my breath waiting for any suggestions that hitters in the Roger Clemens/Randy Johnson era have faced a competitive disadvantage.

Over at the Daily News, Lisa Olson ponders the hypocrisy of Bonds being villified while Mets reliever Guillermo Mota will likely be welcomed with open arms.

Perhaps it was the Cleveland water that made Mota look so sluggish for much of the 2006 season. He had a 6.21 ERA in 34 games with the Indians. How else to explain his transformation in Flushing? In 18 appearances with the Mets after being acquired from the Indians last August, Mota’s ERA was 1.00, his WHIP .833. He averaged over a strikeout an inning.

Nobody’s demanding an asterisk be attached to those games.

Mota doesn’t deserve to be scorned like Bonds. Unlike Jason Giambi, the Yankees’ paragon of truth, Mota actually admitted to using more than “stuff.” For all we know, Giambi was referring to sun screen when he bared his soul to USA Today. Mota readily fessed up in a statement after his suspension was announced, saying, “I used extremely poor judgment and deserve to be held accountable. … To baseball fans everywhere, I understand that you are disappointed in me, and I don’t blame you. I feel terrible and I promise this is the first and last time that this will happen.”

Good for him. Good for baseball, a multinational conglomerate that has all the integrity of Enron.

The Mets haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory here. They still haven’t said if they knew about Mota’s positive test during the playoffs. And if we didn’t have so much respect for Omar Minaya, we might say he rewarded Mota for using performance-enhancing drugs with a two-year, $5 million contract after his suspension was announced.

Captain Caveman’s Parents Must Be Very Proud

Posted in Blogged Down, Track & Field at 10:08 am by

Most males and/or observers of the sporting blogosphere have come across a photograph of 18 year old pole vaulter Allison Stokke over the past several weeks,  a development due in large part to the efforts of With Leather’s Matt Ufford.  From the Washington Post’s Eli Salow.

The wave of attention has steamrolled Stokke and her family in Newport Beach, Calif. She is recognized — and stared at — in coffee shops. She locks her doors and tries not to leave the house alone. Her father, Allan Stokke, comes home from his job as a lawyer and searches the Internet. He reads message boards and tries to pick out potential stalkers.

“We’re keeping a watchful eye,” Allan Stokke said. “We have to be smart and deal with it the best we can. It’s not something that you can just make go away.”

On May 8, blogger Matt Ufford received Stokke’s picture in an e-mail from one of his readers, and he reacted to Stokke’s image on instinct. She was hot. She was 18. Readers of Ufford’s WithLeather.com — a sports blog heavy on comedy, opinion and sometimes sex — would love her.

The picture was taken by a track and field journalist and posted as part of a report on a California prep track Web site. The photo was hardly sexually explicit, which made Ufford’s decision to post it even easier. At 5 feet 7, Stokke has smooth, olive-colored skin and toned muscles. In the photo, her vaulting pole rests on her right shoulder. Her right hand appears to be adjusting the elastic band on her ponytail. Her spandex uniform — black shorts and a white tank top that are standard for a track athlete — reveals a bare midriff.

By targeting his comedic writing to 18- to 35-year-old males, Ufford has built a sports blog that attracts almost 1 million visitors each month. Ufford writes tongue-and-cheek items about the things his readers love: athletes and beautiful women. Stokke qualified as both. She was, therefore, a “no-brainer to write about,” Ufford said. He posted her picture and typed a four-paragraph blurb to accompany it. Meet pole vaulter Allison Stokke. . . . Hubba hubba and other grunting sounds.

“I understand there are certain people who are put off immediately by the tone of my blog,” Ufford said. “Every week, there’s somebody who takes offense to something, but that’s part of being a comedy writer. If nobody is complaining, it probably wasn’t funny. You are hoping for some kind of feedback.”

“Even if none of it is illegal, it just all feels really demeaning,” Allison Stokke said. “I worked so hard for pole vaulting and all this other stuff, and it’s almost like that doesn’t matter. Nobody sees that. Nobody really sees me.”

That’s Matt, shown above. Just in case anyone out there — for fairness’ sake — feels like y’know, objectifying him and subjecting his family and friends to all sorts of sallacious commentary purely because of his incredibly good looks.

In the meantime, I would like to apologize in advance to my hosting company and plead with them not to cut me off when CSTB’s traffic inevitably spikes. I realize that blogs and manly interest sites across the globe will either link to this post or attempt to hotlink Matt’s smoking snapshot. While I haven’t quite figured out how to pay the bill, you might say the decision to go down this path was a “no-brainer”.

05.28.07

Grate Minds Think Alike, Pt. II

Posted in Dogs, Gridiron, Sports Journalism at 8:27 pm by

Given that the NFL has in the past muscled ESPN into dropping the well-done Playmakers series (which to our knowledge never dared to present something as far-fetched as a dog-fighting story line), and that the league reportedly squeezed ESPN’s parent company, Disney, into recently dropping a new show about the lives of the wives of pro football players, it’s reasonable to assume that ESPN cleared this volatile story with the league office before running it. And it’s also reasonable to assume, then, that the NFL deemed the source sufficiently credible to allow the entire embarrassment that is the Mike Vick dog-fighting investigation to be turned up a notch or two with this item from one of the league’s broadcast partners.

In other words — we’re starting to think that the NFL thinks Vick is guilty, and likewise wants to see him go down for this.Pro Football Talk, May 27, 2007

The NFL doesn™t want this story covered up – it wants resolution, and quick. There™s a big difference. The league can protect its image with the best of them. It strong-armed ESPN into taking the weekly sex-drugs-lies-and-football serial, œPlaymakers, off the air. That doesn™t mean the themes in œPlaymakers don™t exist in the NFL. Of course they do. But those ills also are a significant part of society.

But dogfighting? No. There is no rationalizing that. Goodell needs anybody associated with that sick pastime out of the league.Jeff Schultz, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, May 28, 2007

For perhaps the first and last time in CSTB history, I’ll give Colin Cowherd some credit. At least he’s willing to acknowledge PFT as a source when talking about the Vick escandalo.

Is Menu Foods The World’s Worst Company?

Posted in Dogs, The Law at 8:16 pm by

Next to Mystic Records, I mean.

Does anyone else find it strange the pet food manufacturer accused of killing thousands of dogs is represented by a lawyer named Edward Ruff?

On This Most Solemn Of American Holidays, Let Us Consider Fran Healy’s Testicles

Posted in Baseball at 5:55 pm by

Inexplicably still employed by MSG and blogging up a storm, former Mets mouthpice Fran Healy takes a curious trip down memory lane (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory) :

If you do something well, you want to duplicate the same stuff. If you’re hot, you eat the same thing that day following that game, you go out to the field at the same time and you drive the same way to the ballpark. If you did five wind sprints yesterday, you do five wind sprints today. Nothing changes.

Something happened to me that would be tough to be superstitious enough to duplicate. I was catching in Chicago in 1974, Ritchie Allen was hitting and Steve Busby was pitching on a cold day. Allen hit the ball and it hit my protective cup, completely breaking it in half. Boy, I was in agony. My chest, my back, it was terrible. I still remember it today.

They took me to the hospital that day. I was worried about the game until the doctor said that they might have to take a testicle out. I said, “I think I want a second opinion.”

I flew out to Boston and saw – I believe his name was Tierney – the Red Sox doctor. He said, “Well it™s swollen, but it™s nothing compared to Fisk. Fisk is really in trouble.”

Carlton Fisk hadn™t played in a month and a half. He saw me that night and he came running over to me and brought over a goalie™s protective cup, telling me I should use this. This thing was huge.

I had in my contract a clause that if I caught 130 games I would get five thousand dollars more. I figured I™ve got to get that five thousand dollars so I rushed back into the lineup. I was so concerned with getting hit that I caught sideways, which in a way hurt my career because I continued catching that way because of the pain. But I was so relaxed because I didn™t care about anything except getting those games in, that I had a big week hitting, such a big week that I was named American League Player of the Week.

Now if you follow superstition, you would go back and get hit in the cup again. Superstition didn™t matter that much to me.