05.25.07

Ladell Betts’ New Fan Club

Posted in Blogged Down, Dogs, Gridiron at 3:06 pm by

Jack of The Peta Files levels the boom on Southeast Jerome.

I’m no football expert, and this isn’t exactly a sports blog, but I thought I’d start off the day with three great reasons why Ladell Betts should start instead of Clinton Portis as the Washington Redskins Running Back this year:

  1. Ladell Betts doesn’t have a chronic shoulder injury.
  2. Ladell Betts knows how to follow his blockers.
  3. Ladell Betts doesn’t frickin’ come out on national television and defend animal abuse.

Caps Owner Stands Up For Dateless, Friendless Obsessives

Posted in Blogged Down, Hockey, Sports Journalism at 2:48 pm by

The next time I request media credentials from the Round Rock Express (and truthfully, the only time I’d do so is if straits became so dire, I couldn’t cough up the $6 to get in the building) I shall be sure to quote from the following missive from Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis.

Of course press rooms and player access should be made available to bloggers! Bloggers are passionate fans. They are very knowledgeable and have a growing audience. They bottle up interactivity and they know how to utilize the new medium. Bloggers are showing up higher and higher in search engines and on search results pages. They point back and forth to one another. They dive deep into subjects and are very capable of building next generation businesses. They are a medium and they are helping to build a new one that is fast growing instead of shrinking. They are journalists who are self policed. If they do bad work, they won’t be pointed to by other bloggers and they will fall out of the search engine results pages. The NHL needs all of the coverage and audience we can generate.

Well, Ted’s right about the self-policing. And he’s also spot on about bloggers delving deep into subjects. In short, when he’s not beating up paying customers, he seems like a terrific guy.

Mushnick On The Rocket’s Choice Of Headwear

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 2:26 pm by

From Phil Mushnick in Friday’s New York Post :

Someday, Roger Clemens is going to surprise us and show up for a postgame media conference or some other TV appearance wearing the cap of the team he just pitched for, or pitches for, as opposed to a University of Texas cap, or the cap carrying the name of his golf club, or the cap carrying the logo of products he’s paid to endorse.

He’s a real team guy; it’s just not always the team he plays for.

While I share in the outrage that Clemens couldn’t bother to show a little loyalty to the Trenton Thunder — truly one of the classic caps/logos in all of professional sports — surely Phil finds nothing sinister or overtly commercial in the Rocket paying homage to his alma mater?

Next Wednesday : Turntables Vs. CDR Fables

Posted in Internal Affairs, Rock Und Roll at 1:37 pm by

OK, me + Matt Baab playing records and hosting your otherwise deadly desperate Wednesday night, May 30 at the Scoot Inn, 1308 East 4th St., Austin. There’s no cover. Unless you count the roof. We’ll be playing both kinds of music — adult and contemporary.

June 6 – Jimmy Flemion (The Frogs), plus me and a bag of records.

June 13 – Pink Nasty, plus me and a bag of sliders records.

Fair Warning To Courtney Love – Cowherd’s A Free Agent

Posted in History's Great Hook-Ups, Sports Radio at 1:13 pm by

From the LA Times’ Larry Stewart :

ESPN Radio talk show host Colin Cowherd announced on the air Thursday that he and his wife of 11 years, Kim, are getting a divorce. They have two children, a 7-year-old daughter and a 1-year-old son. Cowherd indicated the separation is amicable.

Stewart neglected to mention that on Tuesday, Cowherd described to his listeners how they could easily sneak liquid contraband onto a commercial flight. “When I’m on the road, I’ve got to bring my “A” game,” bragged Colin, who insisted a particular brand of hair gel (!) was requisite for his success in the big-wide-world of sports radio.

Rather than have said product confiscated as part of his carry-on luggage (cue 5 minute monologue on why “if you wanna travel with me, you don’t check bags” — hey, relationships have ended over less), Cowherd claims he shoves the hair gel stick down his pants. Mucho hilarity ensued about the size of the Cowherd codpiece.

Much as I’m sure Cowherd’s devotion to looking his best was only motivated by his desire to be the family breadwinner, I am also hopeful the Disney company, if not Homeland Security, will look into the morning host’s efforts to advise budding terrorists.

Sandomir On MMA’s Crossover

Posted in MMA, Sports Journalism, Sports TV, The Marketplace at 11:47 am by

(kinda punchy, not very articulate. And on the left, Chuck Liddell.)

Appropriately enough, days after Tony Kornheiser used his PTI pulpit to declare he has no interest whatsoever in UFC — which, for the purposes of the modern sports audience, is a far more outrageous statement than saying you don’t wanna watch soccer or hockey — the New York Times’ Richard Sandomir considers Mixed Martial Arts’ recent path to mainstream acceptance.

The U.F.C. is Sports Illustrated™s cover story this week, and its premier star, Chuck Liddell, was the cuddly cover boy (holding his 8-year-old son) recently for ESPN the Magazine. œ60 Minutes has done a story about the sport, and ESPN.com promotes sherdog.com, a mixed martial arts Web site.

One of M.M.A.™s newcomers, the International Fight League, has one new alliance with USA Wrestling and another one with the U.S.O., which this week allowed seven of its fighters to sail aboard Navy ships from Norfolk, Va., to Manhattan and Staten Island with 3,500 sailors for Fleet Week.

All this appears to be the multichapter prologue to tomorrow night™s Liddell-Quinton Jackson light heavyweight championship match in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, where a capacity crowd of 13,318 was announced yesterday, with gate receipts of $4.4 million anticipated.

But to Dana White, the high-energy, combustible president of the U.F.C., the fact that major news media organizations are now recognizing M.M.A.™s appeal is merely symptomatic of their previous ignorance.

œNo disrespect to the media, but this has been the hottest thing for 18-to-34 males for the past few years, he said. œThe media franchises are supposed to have their finger on the pulse of things, but they™ve been way behind here.

Even as the U.F.C. has been building up Liddell-Jackson as a grudge match, the playwright and director David Mamet has been filming his mixed martial arts movie, œRedbelt, in Los Angeles. Studying jiujitsu for the past five years prompted him to create a story about a master of Brazilian jiujitsu who, instead of teaching fighters to grapple inside a U.F.C.-like octagon fence, instructs police officers, stuntmen, bouncers and Special Forces soldiers.

œI™ve become fascinated by the art and science of jiujitsu and the death of boxing, Mamet said. œAnybody who™s observed it for several years knows that boxing is over and it™s time to be replaced.

James Murphy, while not necessarily unavailable for comment, hasn’t been asked for a quote simply because I lost his phone number.

Josh Hancock’s Parents Love Their Dead Drunk Son

Posted in Baseball, The Law at 11:27 am by

Sorry I missed this one yesterday, but Dean Hancock is suing Mike Shannon’s Resturaunt (above) and a local towing company over his son’s recent DUI/cell phone-related fatality.

As Marc Pearlman points out with great sensitivity, “Why doesn’t he sue Tony LaRussa for being a horrible role model and indirectly condoning drunk driving?”

D-Train To Lieber : You’ve Got Mail

Posted in Baseball at 2:41 am by

There was a beanball fest in Miami last night, and along with recounting the highlights of the Fish’s 5-4, 11 inning defeat of the Phillies, Joe Capozzi kept track of some tough rhetoric, too.

Jon Lieber hadn’t hit a batter all season until he drilled Aaron Boone in the second inning Thursday night. So when Lieber buzzed a pitch behind Dontrelle Willis, the Marlins left-hander knew what he had to do.

“I’ve got to defend myself, bottom line. … I just returned the e-mail,” Willis said after Miguel Cabrera’s double scored Hanley Ramirez and gave the Marlins a 5-4 victory in 11 innings against the Phillies.

“Sometimes you need a little fire,” Willis said.. “I’m not about anybody getting hurt by no means. I’m about everybody being healthy and playing hard on the field but at the same token it is what it is. I’m not going to back down from anything.”

The Marlins don’t play the Phillies again until August, and Willis said he thought any hard feelings might go away in the next two months.

“We’ve always played each other competitively. I’ve got friends on that team,” Willis said.

With two outs and a runner at first in the fourth inning, Willis threw a wild pitch behind Lieber, who stood in disbelief before eventually taking first on a walk. After Rollins grounded out to end the inning, Lieber jogged toward the Phillies dugout and shouted at Willis.

Willis waved his glove and shouted toward the Phillies’ dugout.

Within seconds, both benches cleared. Hitting coach Jim Presley held Willis back. Even though he’d been ejected earlier, Gonzalez joined his team on the field to restore order.

“I shouldn’t have gone out there but I went out there to break stuff up and not let anything escalate,” he said, adding he might get fined from the league.

Several players pushed and shoved each other. At least one punch was thrown by an unidentified Marlins player before order was restored.

05.24.07

LeBron Accused Of Cowardice

Posted in Basketball, Genocidal Tendencies, The Marketplace at 7:12 pm by

But enough about passing up the last shot. Ira Newbie’s attempts to raise awareness regarding the genocide taking place in Darfur have already been compared and contrasted with the relative apathy of teammates LeBron James and Damon Jones. In a Thursday editorial, The Christian Science Monitor’s Jonathan Zimmerman goes a bit further, calling LeBron’s inaction “cowardly”.

James echoes the dominant hoopster of his youth, Michael Jordan, who has a record of putting profits over principles. Mr. Jordan refused to endorse African-American Democrat Harvey Gantt in his bid to unseat Republican (and ex-segregationist) Jesse Helms in a racially tinged 1990 Senate race in Jordan’s home state of North Carolina. “Republicans buy sneakers, too,” he explained.

The Helms-Gantt election was, of course, a political contest. By comparison, the Darfur situation is an unconscionable crime against humanity. Politically speaking, it’s a slamdunk. Every credible human rights organization has underscored the complicity of Sudan’s government in the Darfur genocide; and even the Chinese acknowledge their support for this same government. As the 2008 Olympics get closer, the only question is what we’re going to do about it.

LeBron James has not decided whether he will compete in Beijing. But in the real battle, over Darfur, James has elected to stay on the sidelines. That’s his right, of course. And the rest of us have the right to call his behavior what it is.

While I think Zimmerman has a valid point — certainly James could wield considerable influence (and perhaps his Nike contract is discourages him from doing) — I’m not sure why a 22 year old basketball player is being held to a difference standard than his employers. When will Zimmerman manage to castigate David Stern, Daniel Gilbert or Jerry Colangelo for their refusal to hold China accountable?

Sean Salisbury : The Police Are Your Friends

Posted in Gridiron, Racism Corner, Sports TV, The Law at 6:38 pm by

Though Marvin Lewis has already apologized for his remarks yesterday on ESPN Radio’s Dan Patrick Show in which the Bengals coach claimed his oft-busted bunch were the targets of racial profiling (“We’re (Cincinnati) a small place – our guys stand out, and they know that, and you’ve got to do things the right way. But when you are arrested for, or you are pulled over for, not putting on your turn signal, there’s something wrong there. Many people make right turns without putting on their turn signals and it’s unfortunate that we’ve had a guy that’s pulled over for not putting on his turn signal.”), “NFL Live” co-dope Sean Salisbury was quick to dismiss Marv’s less than outrageous suggestion.

“A lot of times most of us say stuff in certain situations where we’ve been under a lot of pressure like there has been on Marvin Lewis the last two years that we don’t mean based on emotion…I don’t believe by any stretch Marvin meant the Cincinnati Police Department was targeting his players. I think what happens is when you’re under the focus, under the limelight like they are for the last couple of months, it’s one of those things you’ve got to warn your players it has. I don’t think it’s a problem, I know Marvin Lewis respects the Cincinnati Police Department, as he should.”

My apologies if the above doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I’ve listened to Salisbury’s remarks no fewer than a half dozen times, and despite all of his helpful talking with his hands, I still cannot determine where his sentences end nor begin.

Though Lewis has disavowed his earlier remarks, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. After all, Marv has to drive to work everyday. But how much time has Salisbury spent in that town and on what grounds does he insist that Lewis — or anyone else —- should automatically respect the Cincinnati police?

Lock It Up : Eater’s 2nd Ave. Deli (Via 3rd) Scoop

Posted in Food at 6:15 pm by

Despite a declaration from Al Goldstein that 2nd Avenue Deli’s pastrami didn’t hold a candle to Katz’, the former’s closing in early 2006 brought tears to the eyes of many a chompaholic. And while there’s currently a Chase Bank in the old 2nd Ave. / 10th Street location, Eater.com reveals there are plans afoot for a new 2nd Avenue Deli….on 33rd and 3rd.

This might actually be the kind of earth-shattering area upgrade that could have us listing Murray Hill as an actual neighborhood category.

Because You Can’t Keep A Talent Like Tsuyoshi Shinjo Out Of The Public Eye

Posted in Baseball, The World Of Entertainment at 3:54 pm by

….no matter how much you wish you could. Y’all Toobage swiped from the New York Daily News’ Adam Rubin.

Brooks On Dropping (Carlos) D.

Posted in Baseball at 3:40 pm by

Who’d have thought the Post’s Larry Brooks would be into this kind of thing? As opposed to, say, moving the slumping Mets’ 1B Carlos Delgado lower in the batting order, much as Willie Randolph did before last night’s 3-0 defeat of the Braves.

Last night, Delgado went the other way twice against a shift to right, collecting a pair of sharp singles to left in the Mets’ 3-0 victory after being informed by Randolph before the game.

“Sometimes when you’re a big power hitter you fall back into who you are instead of doing what’s necessary,” Randolph said afterward. “We talked before the game about taking little bites, about taking advantage of what they give you, taking advantage of that big hole.

“He’s our fourth hitter and he’s going to be our fourth hitter. You can’t hide from that.”

“I know he’s going to get going and be back in his customary spot. He’s going to carry us. I feel it in my bones.”

Such is the Mets’ depth that they still lead the league in runs despite getting next to nothing from their cleanup hitter. Such are the options available to Randolph that he could present an order against left-hander Chuck James that had Shawn Green batting second, David Wright fourth and Paul Lo Duca fifth without picking it out of a hat.

Probably.

Despite Damion Easley’s remarkable production in place of The ‘Stache, Gotham Baseball’s Mark Healey suggests there’s possible Mets interest in the Twins’ Luis Castillo.

Talk around baseball of late is that popular GM-manager combo of Terry Ryan and Ron Gardenhire in Minnesota are under fire from ownership. It’s also being said that if the Twins aren’t within five games of the AL Central at the July 31st trade deadline, that Ryan will be forced to deal away some of his higher-priced players

The question is, are the Mets interested? Given the likley departure of Torii Hunter, Lastings Milledge would be a player that the Twins would be interested in, for sure.

However, Milledge’s value is far greater on the open market, and any deal that included him — to any team — would have to include a top of the rotation starter. Since Johan Santana isn’t going anywhere, it’s hard to see a match here.

Tony Wilson Is No Stephon Marbury…

Posted in Fashion, The Marketplace at 1:51 pm by

…despite TV hosting experience for both. Sneaker image swiped from Idolator. Thank fucking christ there’s no Bez Signature Model.

The Sophisticated Pallet Of Michael Kay

Posted in Food, Sports TV at 11:14 am by

While ESPN continues to rebuff my suggestions to put “Kookin’ With Kruk” on the air, Sam Frank has forwarded the following bit of transcendent what-the-fuckness from The Dizzies.

Speaking of Michael Kay, Daily News Yankee beat writer Mark Feinsand blogged about an interesting encounter with Kay in the Mariners press dining room:

As I enjoyed a bowl of clam chowder, Michael mentioned that he had never had soup in his entire life (he thinks the slurping sound associated with it is grotesque). I found this amazing. He then told me he had never had any fish or seafood of any type, either.

As the conversation went on, he informed me of several other things he has NEVER tasted in his life: bananas, condiments of any type (though he lost a bet on his radio show and had to eat a packet of ketchup, which made him sick), jelly, any cheese not on a pizza, veal, coffee, etc.

I remembering reading somewhere that Michael Jordan had never tried salmon until he dined with Abe Pollin prior to signing with Washington.  I found it very hard to believe that MJ had reached such an age without tasting salmon….but conversely, I find the above tale regarding YES’ Michael Kay all too easy to swallow.

There Was A Sudden Boost In Ranch Dressing Sales In Wheaton, IL

Posted in Food, Leave No Child Unbeaten, Lower Education at 8:51 am by

“I have no explanation for what I did,” Castro said in court. “I felt bad after I did it.”

Oh come on, like this is the first time someone has expressed regret after ejaculating? If you don’t think this kind of food tampering happens on a regular basis, you’ve not worked in the restaurant industry.

Or gazed longingly at a bottle of ranch dressing.

Touched By The Hand Of Fraud : Unlucky Liverpool Fall To Inzaghi

Posted in Football at 1:56 am by

A pair of goals by Fillipo Inzaghi — the first coming on a blatant handball — gave AC Milan a 2-1 win over Liverpool in Wednesday’s Champions League finale….and some measure of revenge for the dramatic events at the San Siro two years ago. The Times’ Tony Cascarino wonders, “How ironic that Milan were worse than they were in Istanbul and Liverpool so much better.”

Fears that BenÍtez would adopt a defensive game plan seemed justified when the teamsheets came out and showed that Kuyt was the only striker. In theory, yes, but in practice it was two up front because Gerrard played as a centre forward. There were times when he was more advanced than the Dutchman.

The aim was presumably to use Gerrard™s running power to pull Milan™s centre backs out of position, and it worked reasonably well, though Alessandro Nesta and Paolo Maldini are too experienced to let themselves be tricked. It was obvious, though, that Gerrard had the legs on them and he had space in the final third of the pitch. Another tribute to the Liverpool captain™s versatility: put him at right back, right wing, centre midfield or in attack and he impresses.

But why not play Gerrard, Crouch and Kuyt? What do you lose? BenÍtez could have asked his captain to play a more disciplined role. Kuyt was asked to do what Crouch does “ hold the ball up and win aerial battles. But he™s not as good at that as Crouch.

It defeated the point of using two wingers. Time and again, the crosses went in but there were not enough red shirts to aim at. In the Barclays Premiership, Liverpool have one of the best crosses-to-goals ratios. With Kuyt, Gerrard and Crouch on the pitch, finally, Liverpool had a headed chance and scored. Too late.

It was frustrating because Milan were a huge disappointment. It was shocking to see them play so poorly when they were so devastating for three quarters of the semi-final against Manchester United.

05.23.07

Gary Cohen Refuses To Try “Salty”

Posted in Baseball at 7:35 pm by

SNY’s Gary Cohen on the Braves rookie C Jarrod Saltalamacchia ;

It’s not the length of his name…it’s all the syllables!”

Earlier tonight, Jose Reyes scored on a Martin Prado error, and David Wright hit a solo HR off Chuck James, his 8th of the season. The Mets are up, 3-0 after 4 innings, and Oliver Perez has struck out 4.

Interesting stuff, as always, from the New York Sun’s Tim Marchman this morning, on the matter of Omar Minaya and Rick Peterson striking gold with Perez. “From Jose Lima to Chan Ho Park, the Mets have, over the past few years, seemed to take pride in handing the ball to some of the very worst pitchers in the major leagues, pitchers so bad no one was aware they were still playing professional baseball.” writes Marchman.

How can the same team that made the Perez deal have given Lima, possibly the worst pitcher in major league history, four starts last year? Is Minaya the shrewd dealer who swapped out the well-paid, mediocre Kris Benson and his obnoxious wife for Maine, or the oblivious no-goodnik who looked at Park’s crummy statistics and batting practice fastball and said, “Now there is a New York Met?” Obviously he’s both, and just as obviously, the good outweighs the bad. What’s interesting, though, is that the bad deals and the good deals alike have a lot in common.

If you draw up a list of the less heralded starting pitchers Minaya has acquired ” say, everyone so far mentioned here, plus Kaz Ishii, Dave Williams, and Aaron Sele, who started for the Dodgers last year and might end up taking some starts for the Mets in different circumstances ” some obvious commonalities jump right out at you. The first is that Minaya likes to buy low. These pitchers had some wretched earned run averages when the Mets acquired them. Maine was coming off a season in which he’d pitched 40 innings with a 6.30 ERA. Perez had a 6.63 ERA when the Mets traded for him. Williams had a 7.20 ERA. At the absolute best, these pitchers were coming off tolerably mediocre performances. More often, they’ve been outright awful.

The second is that those bad ERAs usually masked recent histories of adequacy, and even excellence in some cases. Maine and Perez, in particular, were clearly talented young pitchers, but every one of these starters had done at least something well recently enough to be worth a chance. Even the historically terrible Lima could be relied on to take the ball, if nothing else, and that has some value in its own right, as the Yankees could tell you.

Cheap Dining In The Bronx : A-Rod’s Take Out

Posted in Baseball at 5:24 pm by

Boston’s Dustin Pedroia described Alex Rodriguez’ attempt at breaking up a double play in last night’s 8th inning as “a little cheap.” A-Rod, apparently hoping to send a slightly more butch message than the slappy one he sent to Bronson Arroyo, replied thusly to the Globe’s Nick Cafardo.

“It was an awkward slide,” A-Rod said. “We we’re fighting for every run. I’m playing as hard as I can. I kind of came up. I definitely didn’t roll or anything like that. It was definitely not intentional.”

He was asked if he took exception to Pedroia’s comments against him.

“No exception. None whatsoever,” A-Rod responds. “They have their opinions over there. I’m just glad it got us a run. I like Pedroia. I have a lot of respect for those guys over there.

“Every run for us is like huge. I’m just not going to go in like a little baby doll and try to hug him. I’m trying to play hard.”

A-Rod was told that Pedroia may change his throwing motion to avoid such a play.

“That’s a good idea,” A-Rod said. “I played shortstop for a long time and some guys really hit you hard. I barely touched him (Pedroia).”

Requiem For A Soft Body

Posted in Baseball at 4:35 pm by

Au revoir, Jeremy Brown. Though if 2006 AL All-Star Mark Redman can be released, there are no sacred cows.

Tommy Heinson Is A Bad Luck Charm

Posted in Basketball at 4:14 pm by

The results of last night’s NBA Draft Lottery (dubbed by the Fanhouse’s Bethlehem Shoals, “the televised basketball event of the week”) have predictably provoked wild speculation about Blazers and Sonics’ intentions. The Tacoma News Tribune’s Frank Hughes is the first to suggest Seattle garnering the 2nd pick might be “part of a larger power play by David Stern to keep the Sonics in Seattle.” The Oregonian’s Jason Quick quotes Portlant GM Kevin Pritchard raving, “This is bigger than the Rose Garden, bigger than the organization, bigger than the city of Portland. The whole state and the whole area revolves around the Portland Trail Blazers. . . . As we go, so does the city. This has a chance to change the organization and the city. Rip City again, here we come.”

And then Jason has to remind everyone about Sam Bowie. Nice work.

For the long suffering Celtics fans, however, all resting of vets was for naught, writes the Boston Globe’s Eric Wilbur.

The NBA in Boston, an afterthought for many already tired of a game built on luck and gimmicks like the lottery system, died a little more last night with the revelation that the Celtics will not land Greg Oden or Kevin Durant. The ping-pong balls of destiny bounced the wrong way, yet again, œawarding Boston the fifth pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, the worst-case scenario for the beleaguered former powerhouse.

Why should anyone have expected any different? As if luck hadn™t growled at the Celtics for the better part of two decades, Doc Rivers and company went and angered the basketball gods by tanking down the stretch of the season to solidify their chances at having a better chance in the NBA Draft. If you realize how stupid that sentence sounds, well, I™ll try and dig up David Stern™s office line for you.

“I feel bad for our fans, Memphis™ Jerry West told Bob Ryan. His Grizzlies had the best chance of landing the top pick, but also ended up with their worst-case scenario, at No. 4. œBut I didn’t come here expecting to go 1 or 2. This is not sour grapes. I have never liked this system. No other league in sports does it this way. It’s not right when the two worst teams in the league do not get a shot at 1 or 2. It’s a terrible system.”

The more Stern tries to defend it, the more of a fool he sounds. After Philadelphia chairman Ed Snider suggested that each of the 14 teams in the lottery should get one ball instead of the team with the worst record having the greatest chance of winning, Stern replied, œYou could have a 45-win team in a particular year be in the lottery and get the first pick. I’m not sure that’s what drafts were meant to achieve.

Has this man been with us the past 20 years?

Tampa’s Elijah Dukes : Even Carl Everett Thinks This Guy Is Nuts

Posted in "Wife Beater" Is Not A Fashion Statement, Baseball, Leave No Child Unbeaten, The Law at 3:17 pm by

In an ideal world, Devil Rays OF Elijah Dukes would be receiving attention today for leading all AL rookies in with 8 home runs. Instead, he’s once again managed to drag the good name of the Tampa franchise through the mud.  From The St. Petersberg Times’ Eduardo Encina and Abbie Vansickle.

In late April, Tampa Bay Devil Rays outfielder Elijah Dukes barged into his wife’s middle school classroom at lunchtime.He was so irate that she ran to get the principal and a deputy, who banned Dukes from the property, records show.

His wife, who said she fears for her life, sought a restraining order and told the court it was the latest in a string of outbursts by the 22-year-old rookie player.

Dukes’ wife, NiShea Gilbert, 26, a teacher at Beth Shields Middle School in Ruskin, told the court in another filing Thursday that her husband threatened to kill her and sent a photo of a handgun to her cell phone.

She played the St. Petersburg Times a voice mail message she said was from Dukes:

“You dead, dawg, ” says an angry voice. “I ain’t even bulls——-. Your kids, too.”

Dukes, when approached after batting practice Tuesday evening, declined to discuss the allegations.

“I’m just going to play ball, that’s it, ” he said. “I’ve got to go. I’ve got a video game to finish.”

A video game, eh? Please, oh please, great givers of blog content, let it be this one.

Tim Cook’s Former Home Is A No Freak Zone

Posted in Free Expression, Leave No Child Unbeaten at 12:31 pm by

“I can tell if they want to freak before they do,” says Super Dave. “So I’ll get on the mike and remind them to keep it clean, or put on some old-school stuff like MC Hammer or Vanilla Ice. It’s just a sixth sense. I know what songs to pick and what not to pick.”

The weird thing is, word for word, that’s almost exactly what I told the people at the Scoot Inn.

Ditka Lookalike Sought In Art Heist

Posted in Gridiron, The Law at 9:19 am by

(Grabowski, above left, was unavailable for comment)

From the Chicago Sun-Times’ Frank Mann :

One of the art burglars looked like Mike Ditka, but shorter. He wore glasses and a blue golf jacket.

The other was a 5-foot-4 blonde in her 40s. She wore a tan trench coat straight out of film noir.

Together, they stole a $60,000 Rembrandt from Hilligoss Gallery, 520 N. Michigan, at 3 p.m. Sunday, police suspect.

“Our staff saw the people come in and greeted them, only to be sort of ignored with a steely stare by the guy,” owner Tom Hilligoss said. The couple were “in and out in less than three minutes,” Hilligoss said.

Gone was “Adam and Eve,” which the Dutch master produced in 1638. The purloined 6- by 4-inch etching was in a 24- by 16-inch frame. Hilligoss estimated that fewer than 100 etchings of Rembrandt’s “Adam and Eve” exist. It was the oldest work in his gallery.

“With their fleshy bodies and ordinary faces, Rembrandt’s Adam and Eve are easy to identify with. Their confusion, temptation and choice become ours,” according to the Art Institute of Chicago’s description of the etching in its collection.

Take The Part Time Player For A Ride : Giambi Tested Postive For Amphetamines

Posted in Baseball at 8:53 am by

For a .268 hitter with limited pop, Jason Giambi (0 for 2 in the Yankees’ 7-3 loss to Boston last night) sure has been getting a lot of press recently, the latest bombshell coming courtesy of the New York Daily News’ T.J. Quinn.

Jason Giambi failed a Major League Baseball-administered amphetamines test within the last year, which has subjected him to additional drug testing, sources told the Daily News. Giambi tacitly admitted last week that he has used steroids, but he failed to mention that he has been caught using other drugs.
Because Major League Baseball’s amphetamines policy keeps a first positive test secret, however, it is unlikely Giambi will be asked about it when he meets with representatives from commissioner Bud Selig’s office, possibly as soon as tomorrow on the Yankees’ day off.

Giambi declined comment before last night’s loss to the Red Sox, saying, “I can’t really talk about anything.”

Giambi’s agent, Arn Tellem, said in an e-mail: “For the record, I’m not commenting.”

But Giambi himself hinted at the failed test – which was later confirmed by the Daily News – in his eye-opening interview with USA Today last week, when he said that he is “probably tested more than anyone else.”

On the bright side, all of these new trials and tribulations will just make Giambi a more viable candidate for the 2008 Comeback Player Of The Year Award. That is, if the Atlantic League actually has such an honor.