History’s Bunk : CSTB’s Uneventful Stalking Of The Sultan

Posted in Baseball at 11:33 am by

Posh-pit seats and garlic fries aside, I have little to say about last night’s 4-3 victory for the Giants over the Marlins except for the following ;

a) all hail the D-Train, who went right after Barry Bonds on the 3 occasions the Sultan came to the plate with runners in scoring position. Willis blew the Sultan Of Surly away on the first instance, and caught Barry guessing wrong (and popping up) on the other two. OK, so Barry’s walk in the his 3rd at bat did lead to SF’s crucial 2nd run, but I was duly impressed that Dontrelle — perhaps taking a tip from the Dodgers two weekends ago, showed so little deference to the soon-to-be-crowned HR king.

b) Believe it or not, there’s somewhere on earth where Armando Benitez is even less popular than he is in Flushing.

c) The weekend’s questionable strategy award goes to Fish skipper Fredi Gonzalez, who had closer Kevin Gregg pitch to Ray Durham with the game tied at 3, one out and runners on 3rd and 2nd in the bottom of the 9th. Sure, Durham has looked brutal recently, but Gonzalez was betting that Gregg could prevent a fly or a grounder past a drawn-in inflield rather than face Bonds with the bases loaded. As it stood, Durham hit a fly to the right field warning track with Jeremy Hermida playing shallow to end the game…leading to the incongruous scenes of a giddy Bonds hopping up and down with the likes of Mark Sweeney and Fred Lewis.

d) Just what exactly is the Giants marketing department trying to say about Noah Lowery when they have LCD Soundsystem’s “North American Scum” as the soundtrack for his Jumbotron profile?

Someone Tell Mex There’s No Place For Obscure Musical References In A Baseball Context

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 10:28 am by

In contrast to the Daily News’ Bob Raissman hateful words about SNY’s Keith Hernandez — tempting a player reaction today with his measured criticism of the Mets’ offense, as quoted by John HarperNewsday’s Neil Best prefer to celebrate Mex’s unusual worldview.

On Wednesday when the Mets hosted the lowly Pirates. Hernandez (above, right) seemed to veer off course at times.

There were discussions in the booth — on the air and off — about old movies, Hernandez’s colorful scoring system, lollipops, the favorite colors of various staff members and Hernandez’s dental work.

During a pitching change, he blurted out a seemingly out-of-leftfield remark, saying his scorecard soon would be singing “Tales of Brave Ulysses.”

It was a reference to something he said before the game, comparing his cards to the psychedelic cover of Cream’s 1967 “Disraeli Gears” album, on which “Tales of Brave Ulysses” appears.

Mostly, Hernandez sticks to poking fun at himself and his quirks. Recently, he said it would be nice for players to wear their own uniforms in the All-Star Game. Cohen informed him they do.

“I screwed up, yes,” he said. “I have not watched an All-Star Game in an ice age.”

Game days usually begin for Hernandez with a half-hour nap at his home in Sag Harbor, followed at 3 p.m. by the (minimum) 90-minute drive to Flushing.

Said Ron Darling: “He has to have his nap. I don’t want to work with him when he hasn’t.”


Finally, Mike Veeck Vs. Mike Vick

Posted in Baseball, Dogs at 6:57 pm by

Brockton Rox promotions department, this is what happens when you fall asleep on the job. From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Mark Craig.

The St. Paul Saints are making plans to give away 2,500 “Michael Vick” dog chew toys designed with the Atlanta Falcons’ team colors and the No. 7 worn by the team’s embattled quarterback.

“People expect so many crazy things from us,” said Sean Aronson, director of media relations for the American Association baseball team. “When the idea was presented to us, we simply couldn’t resist.”

Sunday, the Long Beach (Calif.) Armada minor league baseball team will hold a “Michael Vick Animal Awareness Day.” Any fan who brings in a Vick shirt or jersey to be thrown into a bonfire receives free admission and a donation in their name to a local animal rights organization.

A Saints fan, who doesn’t want his name published, came up with the chew toy idea and emailed it to Aronson.

Aronson said the Saints would have more details on the promotion on Monday. He added: “We think it’s a great idea. It’s a way for our fans to let their dogs get back at Michael Vick”.

I guess the Armada can’t get nearly as many people to come out for “Jose Canseco Awareness Day”. Hey, I’m all for creativity but Long Beach’s scheme is a little too close to hanging the innocent-until-proven-guilty QB in effigy for my tastes.

Sweet Home (Invasion), Chicago

Posted in Basketball, The Law at 4:54 pm by

First Antoine Walker, now Eddy Curry. If you’re an NBA player living in greater Chicago, you should probably follow ‘Toine out of town and look into moving to Gary, Indiana. It’s apparently safer, and Leon Smith doesn’t seem to be playing there anymore. WCBS TV’s online arm details the recent robbery at the Knicks’ pivot’s home:

New York Knicks Center Eddy Curry was robbed in his suburban Chicago home early Saturday morning.

Police do not believe the robbery at Curry’s home was a random act.

Family friend and brother of Knicks coach and general manager Isiah Thomas, Mark Thomas, spoke on behalf of Curry after the basketball player and his family went through a robbery that involved three masked men that restrained the Curry family and an employee at around 12:15 a.m. The invaders fled the home with cash and jewelry, according to Burr Ridge Deputy Chief John Madden.

“At this time they’re fine, everybody’s doing well and at this time, they don’t have any comment,” said Thomas.

Police are investigating how the three men, armed with handguns, got into the house. They’re going over surveillance video from the camera mounted at Curry’s front door.

Todd Snider is a Rock Star?

Posted in Sports Journalism at 4:05 pm by

A few unusual tidbits buried in the Oregonian’s front page thumbsucker on the Week That Was, as you can reliably expect from Ryan White.

First, we learn that Joey Harrington is one of the many Portland Trail Blazers fans swept up by the We-Got-Oden-Zack-Is-Gone excitement.

The former Oregon Ducks QB bought season tickets after what the piece says was a six-year boycott of the team (a fact that ought to be amusing to the folks at FireMillen.com).

Then, to tie a bow around the piece, White turns to a past profile subject.

Individually, none of this is new, and for some time now professional athletes have been moving through the world like rock stars scoffing at authority. It’s not been an ideal week, but it’s not the end of the world, either. Just ask a rock star.

“Some of the actions they take part in even I couldn’t condone,” Beaverton native and East Nashville, Tenn.-based singer-songwriter Todd Snider (above) wrote in an e-mail. “But being a rocker, I have to say, I see many of these efforts to be less upstanding as an overall source of comfort.”

On his blog, White mentions that the “slightly-toned down” story was originally meant to be his usual Sunday sports-section rant-and-round-up. He also reprints Snider’s e-mail in its entirety (well… except – apparently – for the word “titty”).

finally some jocks i understand…

actually the vick thing blows my mind

life says “write your ticket”

and your idea of the “ticket” is killing dogs with your homies

sweet jesus

ever water ski or anything?


even a (nudie) bar?

this guy should hang out with pack man a little to improve his reputation

honestly i dont know what happened to the jocks

and some of the actions they take part in even i couldn’t condone

but being a rocker

i have to say

i see many of these efforts to be less upstanding

as an overall source of comfort

This might be the only time in my life I have ever (or will ever) say these words: I would have rather heard from Courtney Taylor-Taylor.

(Jeff) Allison You Know This World Is Killing You, Pt. IV

Posted in Baseball, The Law at 2:59 pm by

Anytime Scott Olson wants to quote Mike Muir’s words of “I’m not crazy, you’re the one that’s crazy,” Jeff Allison ought be ready. From USA Today and the AP :

Florida Marlins pitching prospect Jeff Allison has returned to the restricted list, a setback in his bid to come back from drug problems.

Allison had been working out at the team’s spring training and Single-A complex in Jupiter, Fla.

“The organization has now become aware of pending legal issues involving Jeff,” the Marlins said in a statement Friday. “He has been placed back on the restricted list, and he will remain inactive until all legal issues have been resolved.”

In other disciplinary news, I’m not sure which is more shocking ; that the Snakes’ Donnie Sadler has been hit with a 50 game suspension…or that Donnie Sadler’s still in baseball. Either way, I’d like to see an asterisk applied to all of his career records.

The Rip That Saved Baseball

Posted in Baseball at 2:23 pm by

Just remember something when you’re glued to the TV tonight, heart in your throat as Barry tries to put one out: none of it could have happened if a certain Bawlmer shortstop hadn’t “saved” the game.

What’s that? You have other plans? Yeah, me too. Anyway, from behind the WWL pay wall (thank you, magazine subscription) Rob Neyer points to Tim Marchman’s New York Sun piece on The Myth of Cal.

Here was a man who stood for old-fashioned American values. Born and raised in Maryland, the son of a humble baseball journeyman, he played for his hometown team and made his name not with the obscene physical talent of a Henderson, but because of his hard work and dedication, best symbolized, of course, by his signature trait – his overwhelming need to just show up for work. No pampered, spoiled athlete he; this was someone with whom any factory worker or policeman or smalltown mortgage broker could identify, someone who just punched the clock every day and tried his hardest, quietly and with pride.

This was, of course, the most ridiculous nonsense it’s possible to imagine. Cal Ripken was 6 feet 4 inches, 225 pounds., built like a god, and blessed with enough athleticism that he probably would have been a truly great basketball player. He wasn’t the best possible version of David Eckstein or Joe McEwing, but the most physically gifted player in the sport. What made him unique was the overwhelming effect of his personal dedication and discipline on his unparalleled natural gifts; by all accounts, no one worked harder. But the myth of Ripken located his greatness in his will, as if will were sufficient to command the greatest heights of achievement. It isn’t.

I greatly admire Cal Ripken, but despise this myth. It grounded his appeal in resentment of supposedly lazy and greedy (and often black) modern players who didn’t appreciate the gifts with which they were born and the rewards to which those gifts entitled them. That all the boogeymen and preening villains to whom Ripken was contrasted throughout his career, from the joyous Henderson to the odious Bonds, all worked just as hard as he did, and enjoyed the rightful fruits of their labor no more than he did, never really seemed to register.

Indeed, even if you think Bonds is guilty guilty guilty, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t work. Though I don’t think The Wire creator David Simon’s truism about drug addicts would apply to wealthy alleged steroid users.

Also, didn’t Marchman mean to say “the best possible version of David Eckstein or Joe McEwing or Billly Ripken?” And I’m guessing if GC was writing this, he’d point out that Joe McEwing has always been the best possible version of Joe McEwing (and always will be).

A Music Industry Vet’s Words Of Consolation To Troy Hudson

Posted in Basketball, Hip Hop at 2:04 pm by


As bad as this looks, keep in mind that Soundscan isn’t 100% accurate.

You might’ve sold more than 100 CD’s.

Depending on how the stores are weighted, you might’ve sold as few as 25. But there’s still a chance you sold more than 78.

Either way, keep your head up. There are many groundbreaking recordings that failed to crack triple digits in sales.


Big Unit to Fix Big Pain-in-the-Back

Posted in Baseball, Medical Science at 6:59 am by

(still not Randy Johnson)

Since my roommate is up at Cooperstown playing some Hall of Fame-related gig this weekend, I thought I’d take the opportunity to get back on the CSTB baseball beat. And what more inspiring news this morning could I find than the story that Randy Johnson’s 2007 campaign is over, thanks to the herniated disk he’s been suffering through all season. But fear not, fans of der Big Unit! Like his favorite band Thin Lizzy (at least according to former 2nd Hand Tunes employee Jeremy Pickett – hey dude!), he’ll be “fighting [his] way back” to make spring training next year (from AP):

“I have no intention at this time of retiring,” he said at a news conference Friday. “I’ll cross the bridge of surgery and be willing to go through the process of rehabilitation again because I know I can still pitch. And I love pitching. It’s what I’ve been doing since I was 7 years old.”

Anybody else having a difficult time imagining Randy Johnson as a 7 year-old? Yeah, me too.

In other non-Big Unit baseball news, Barry Bonds hit 754 against the Marlins in the Giants’ 12-10 win, while A-Rod went 0-for-2 in his quest for 500 against the Orioles in the Yankees’ 4-2 loss. But I’m sure you knew that already.


Royals’ Brown Shoots First, Answers Questions Later

Posted in Baseball at 8:56 pm by

From the AP :

Royals outfielder Emil Brown hit a television reporter near the eye with a pellet from a small plastic gun in the Kansas City clubhouse Friday afternoon.

A team spokesman said Brown didn’t mean to shoot KMBC sports reporter Karen Kornacki with the plastic pellet gun. Brown started in left field Friday night against the Texas Rangers.

“It was certainly an accident,” Royals spokesman David Holtzman said. “He wasn’t shooting at anybody.”

Kornacki was interviewing shortstop Tony Pena Jr. before the game when she felt the pellet hit near her left eye, said Gary Roberts, KMBC’s assistant news director. Kornacki ended the interview and left the locker room immediately.

An assistant team trainer treated Kornacki and gave her an ice pack. Roberts said the station sent Kornacki, who has been with the ABC affiliate for more than 20 years, to see an eye doctor.

Bret Saberhagen
was unavailable for comment. Brown was presumably unaffected by the incident, as he’s in the lineup tonight for K.C., who are leading Texas, 4-0 through 7 innings. Former Met Brian Bannister has struck out 6 six and allowed just 4 hits thus far, and is undoubtedly pleased with the great publicity for his Loft 19 Studios.

Raissman To SNY Talking Heads : You’re Missing A Great (?) Game

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 7:11 pm by

On more than one occasion this week, I’ve restrained myself from watching multiple ballgames at once via DirecTV or MLB.tv Mosiac simply because the banter between SportsNet NY’s Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez was too funny for flipping. I know of few adult males so quick to come down with a case of the giggles without being stoned (well, other than Richard Simmons) and in my humble opinion, a rooting interest in the New York Mets is not a prerequisite for enjoying the work of this dynamic duo.

Needless to say, Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News could not disagree more.

On Wednesday night. Cohen and Hernandez were into a very Pavlovian kind of thing. When the camera was on them their reaction was to talk about themselves. They sounded like two frustrated comedians trying to out-shtick each other.

Unfortunately, viewers could not strike back with either catcalls or spitballs. The most insulting (that’s what usually happens when baseball voices treat viewers like total morons) thing was the message Cohen and Hernandez were sending. It was:
Oh yeah, these are the lowly Pirates, who were down 6-0 at one point, so why should anyone care about this game.

Hernandez, on camera of course, basically said this in the third inning. “We’ll get back to the ballgame, but it’s 6-0,” he said. Hernandez was more concerned about presenting his views on the 1980 movie “Caddyshack.” Hernandez, displaying his cinematic knowledge while simultaneously putting viewers to sleep, even got into a riff about his favorite lines from the movie.

“… I just was wondering if I’ve lost you for the rest of the night,” Cohen said. “… You could be recalling ‘Caddyshack’ lines the next few innings.”

Not to worry. Hernandez and Cohen (again on camera in the seventh with the score 6-3) found something equally dopey, and irrelevant, to discuss: What is behind Hernandez’s decision to use a pen or pencil to keep score. And (drumroll, please) the colors he uses. And the kind of whiteout Cohen turned him on to.

“… We have games like this,” Hernandez said. “Even though it’s 6-3 we try to pack some entertaining items in here.”
Gee, that must explain why Cohen, in the eighth inning, used his common denominator with Xavier Nady (both had emergency appendectomies last season) to open the door for a medical discussion. Hernandez went into a riff – he’s done it over and over and over again this season – about the status of his tooth implant or whatever his dental problem is.

While he was talking about a “temporary crown” there was a game going on. Here’s the deal: If baseball broadcasters want to minimize the importance of a game – that clearly is boring them – why should any viewer bother watching it?

Though I believe Raissman is being unduly harsh, it is true that Keith has waxed nostalgic about “Caddyshack” on at least one prior occasion.

Big Blue Training Camp : Where’s Strahan?

Posted in Gridiron, History's Great Hook-Ups at 6:27 pm by

Sorry, folks. I’m on Sultan Stalking duty in San Francisco today, and my first thought upon learning that Michael Strahan (above) had blown off the opening of Giants camp in Albany was, “perhaps he wants to spend more time with Dr. Ian Smith’s family?”

Jets RB Cedric Houston has left the team for what’s being called “personal reasons”. Since confusing the Mangenius with this dude is not considered a good enough reason for bolting camp, we’re left hoping this isn’t a return of Houston’s thyroid condition.

Sartorial Justice, NFL-Style

Posted in Fashion, Gridiron at 4:12 pm by

Man, justice is swift in the Roger Goodell Era. Well, not really justice in the commonly understood innocent-until-proven-guilty sense. More like super-rapid crackdowns and suspensions for high-profile NFL players who are generally surrounded by an aura of lawlessness. Or wide receivers who break dudes’ faces because said dude tries to get them to leave house parties. Well, not the last guy I mentioned, but I’m sure they’ll get to that if he’s proven guilty, or if sports radio guys get really angry about it. Sure, the NFL Players Union will make a big stink about one of their own getting suspen…sorry, that’s wrong. Sorry.

Anyway, if you thought Goodell (above) would put it on you with the quickness when it comes to suspensions, you’re 1) correct and 2) not going to be surprised by the NFL’s stealthy approach to sartorial justice. Darren Rovell, what were you doing this morning?

(Well, David,) I wandered on to NFLShop.com to do my daily check on everything Michael Vick and I noticed something strange. I couldn’t find Michael Vick No. 7 jerseys anywhere.

So I called the NFL and asked them why they had made this decision. “We have suspended sales of Vick-related merchandise on our official league e-commerce site, NFLShop.com,” said NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy. “This includes Vick jerseys and collectible items such as autographed balls and other memorabilia.” McCarthy said the decision was made because it was “not appropriate under the circumstances.” The suspension will take place for the immediate future.

Reebok also announced that they are suspending distribution on Michael Vick jerseys, issuing a statement saying, “While we respect the legal process we find the allegations against Mr. Vick too disturbing to ignore, therefore, we have decided to immediately suspend selling Vick NFL product, both at retail and on-line through the Reebok website.”

How this will impact sales of Roger Vick replica jerseys on eBay is a developing story that I’ll stay on top of. It doesn’t seem to have driven up the prices appreciably on the Michael Vick jerseys for sale on eBay, although it’s depressing as hell not surprising to see that tasteful online entrepreneurs are already all over the moneymaking opportunity that is “Property of Bad Newz Kennel” t-shirts. Good one.

Phillies Aren’t Giving Up the Chase

Posted in Baseball at 4:08 pm by

The Phillies reel in 2B Tadahito Iguchi (above)- and all they had to send back to the White Sox was the pitching coach’s son.

Meanwhile Utley will return. And Aaron Rowand’s impending FA contract might need a “no-tag” clause. From Todd Zolecki:

On the day the Phillies announced that Chase Utley, who broke his right hand Thursday, had successful surgery on the fourth metacarpal in his right hand, the team finds out that centerfielder Aaron Rowand would miss tonight’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates because he injured his left shoulder playing tag with his kids at a neighborhood barbecue Thursday night. It is the same shoulder he had surgery on in 2001 and is expected to be day-to-day. Michael Bourn was scheduled to start in centerfield in his absence.

Getting injured during actual off-field physical activity instead of playing Guitar Hero or opening a DVD? Guess that we already knew the dude was old school.

And speaking of old school: Kenny Lofton is an Indian again.

UPDATE: David Cohen of The Good Phight notes The Paradoxical Effect:

Take away one of a team’s star players, and you’d expect that team to do worse. But, for the Phillies, there’s been some sort of paradoxical effect going on in the past two years whenever they’ve lost a star player. Check out this chart:

Player Dates Out Without Player With Player
Aaron Rowand 5/11 – 5/26/06; 8/22 – 10/1/06 29-23 (.558) 56-54 (.509)
Bobby Abreu 7/29 – 10/1/06 38-23 (.623) 47-54 (.465)
Tom Gordon 5/2 – 7/16/07 34-32 (.515) 18-17 (.514)
Ryan Howard 5/11 – 5/23/07 8-4 (.667) 44-45 (.494)
Brett Myers since 5/24/07 29-26 (.527) 23-23 (.500)
Freddy Garcia since 6/8/07 21-19 (.525) 31-30 (.508)

To which we must now add:

Chase Utley 07/27 52-49 (.514) 1-0 (1.000)

Of course it helps when you play the Pirates. Aaron Rowand substitute Michael Bourn went 4-4 with a BB as leadoff man – Jimmy Rollins replaced Utley in the three hole -and Pat Burrell (.454 with 18 RBIs in his last 18 games) hit a two-run homer in the 8-1 Phillies win.

I Like Kucinich For the Heel Turn on Day 2

Posted in Professional Wrestling, The Law at 3:08 pm by

Having successfully cleaned up baseball and restored our faith in sports, the House Oversight Committee turns its attention to pro wrestling, reports Shaun Assael.

Two congressmen responsible for conducting steroid hearings into Major League Baseball have requested that Vince McMahon, the head of World Wrestling Entertainment, provide records pertaining to the WWE’s testing policies….

“The tragic deaths of World Wrestling Entertainment star Chris Benoit (above) and his family have raised questions about reports of widespread use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs by professional wrestlers,” the congressmen wrote….

The letter from Waxman and Davis described WWE wrestlers as “multimedia stars that have an influence on the behavior and attitudes of the nation’s youth.”

The records request is wide ranging, and parallels what was asked of Major League Baseball. It seeks a list of drugs covered by its policies; the entity that conducts its drug testing; the number of tests it conducts annually; the protocols followed after a positive test; and the procedures for awarding exemptions.

I’m sure a hearing on this issue would offer better value for your entertainment buck than SummerSlam (if not the same level of sincerity and authenticity). But if they’re gonna move these show trials on from pro sports to sports entertainment, why stop there?

I mean, where were they in the early ’90s? If there’d only been government pressure on the music industry to self-police their artists’ use of performance-enhancing drugs, Shannon Hoon might still be with us.

Cat Fight Over Dog Fight

Posted in Dogs, Free Expression at 2:54 pm by

Katha Pollit responds to Dave Zirin’s recent Michael Vick piece.

I was appalled by Zirin’s attempt to shift focus away from Vick to “the self-righteousness of the media” and the hypocrisy of “American culture” which “celebrates violent sports — especially football — and is insensitive to the consequences that the weekly scrum has on the bodies and minds of its players” like Earl Campbell and Andre Waters and other middle-aged ex-footballers who suffered long-term damage from old injuries. Like the accusations of racism, this sounds like a rather desperate bid to change the subject. Why should one concern displace the other? Can’t one both feel revulsion at animal torture and want the game to be safer? At least the the players were volunteers, richly rewarded for the risks they took. Nobody asked the dogs if they wanted to have their throats ripped out….

As human beings go, Michael Vick had more freedom of action than most. Nobody claims he electrocuted dogs to put food on the table. If — note I said if — he’s found guilty, he should get the same sentence other people get who are convicted of the same crimes. Increased sensitivity to animal welfare may have its annoying pieties and hypocrisies but it marks a true contemporary moral advance and it’s not as if we humans have so many of those to show for ourselves. It’s good that dog fighting is banned. And if football is really as morally destructive as Zirin claims — if it really turns ordinary men into sadists through a culture of “trickle-down violence” — then maybe we should ban it too.

Zirin then responds to her response.

And yes, I would already like to apologize for that headline.

Skip Prosser, RIP

Posted in Basketball, College Spurts at 2:50 pm by

The sudden death of Wake Forest men’s basketball coach Skip Prosser from an apparent heart attack yesterday was surprising not only because Prosser was just 56, but because the low-key Prosser was a physically fit, clean-living guy. Considering some of the physical trainwrecks that populate the world of college hoops, it was doubly surprising and saddening that Prosser passed so early. The Baltimore Sun‘s story on Prosser’s death manages to somehow make the story about how Gary Williams needs to calm the fuck down, but also mentions 1) Prosser’s forgotten tenure at Loyola of Maryland, where he led the Greyhounds to their one and only NCAA Tournament berth and 2) limn the ways in which he remained a down-to-earth and pleasant guy:

“People see the way I coach, but Skip was one of those guys who internalized a little bit,” said (Gary) Williams. “He’s not as demonstrative as I was on the sideline, but there are a lot of theories on that, that if you let it out it’s better than keeping everything inside.

“If you talked to Skip, you would never know whether it was three years ago when they won the league, or if he had a tough game or a tough season.”

Prosser was well-liked throughout college basketball, and earned a reputation for his sense of humor and intellect. After graduating from Carnegie High School, Prosser earned a degree in nautical science from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in 1972 and went to graduate school at West Virginia, where he got his master’s in secondary education.

“He’s so different,” said (Loyola Lacrosse Coach Dave) Cottle. “He was just so diverse. He could talk to a lot of different people on a lot of different levels. He’d call me and leave books to read. He was into Robert Ludlum.”

Prosser also taught history at Central Catholic High School in Wheeling, W.Va., where he led the school to one state title (1982), five regional championships and three conference titles in six years.

Loyola athletic director Joe Boylan, who remained good friends with Prosser, was also a history teacher and said he and Prosser used to exchange textbooks.

“I always described him as a renaissance man coaching college basketball,” said Boylan, who had talked to Prosser a week ago and said he was unaware of any health problems. “I think, coming from Pittsburgh, Carnegie was a tough area growing up, and teaching history he never forgot all that. I think it really kept him grounded.”

Prosser was hired at Wake Forest in 2001 and led the Demon Deacons to the NCAA tournament in each of his first four seasons there, and the 2003 Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season championship. He was just nine wins shy of 300 entering this season, with a career record of 291-146 (.666).

Is Philly’s Chase Finished?

Posted in Baseball at 10:08 am by

Jason Cohen described the following incident as “the end of my baseball season.” Perhaps the end of Charlie Manuel’s gainful employment, too. From the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Todd Zolecki :

Utley suffered a broken right hand when lefthander John Lannan hit him with a pitch in the fifth inning of today’s 7-6 loss to the Washington Nationals. Both the Phillies and Utley insist the injury will not finish his season. Utley, who will be placed on the disabled list, will visit hand specialist Randall Culp on Friday to see what course of action he needs to take to return to the field as quickly as possible.

He suffered a fractured fourth metacarpal, the bone at the base of the ring finger. Surgery is an option. The team would not speculate on how long Utley would need to recover.

“There is a best case and there is a worst case,” Phillies assistant general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said.

The best case?

“We absolutely believe that he will back this year, yes,” Amaro said. “We actually feel pretty good after the diagnosis from Dr. [Michael] Ciccotti [the team's director of medical services]. As dismal as this situation may sound, we actually feel pretty confident that he’s going to be back in a pretty timely fashion. On a scale of a 0 to 10, it was probably a 2 to 3 type of a fracture, zero being the most mild.”

The worst case?

“The hand will fall off?” Utley said.

Hey, it didn’t stop Pete Gray.

Perhaps it might a good time for XM 175 to stop playing the commerical where the Mets’ Joe Smith discusses his impending experimentation with cross-dressing?  If Smith’s sudden demotion is any indication, he might have to wait ’til ’08 to truly explore his feminine side.  In public, anyway.


And In This Corner, The Nature Boy, Bob Costas

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 4:07 pm by

Though Barry Bonds might possess tremendous upper body strength, unmatched bat speed and ridiculous hand/eye coordination, in a battle of wits with Bob Costas, he might be slightly overmatched. From the AP :

A day after Barry Bonds called him a “little midget man who knows (nothing) about baseball,” broadcaster Bob Costas said he wasn’t upset with the San Francisco Giants slugger and responded with a jab of his own.

“As anyone can plainly see, I’m 5-6½ and a strapping 150, and unlike some people, I came by all of it naturally,” Costas said Thursday in a telephone interview.

“I’ve actually always had a pretty cordial relationship with Barry,” Costas said. “I have no ill feelings toward him personally. I regard him as one of the greatest players of all time who got inauthentic boost and then became a superhuman player. I wish him no ill whatsoever.”

Costas said he understood why Bonds might have denigrated him.

“He’s under tremendous scrutiny and some pressure. It’s no big deal,” Costas said. “This is a consequence of doing your job, and I’ve never tried to do my job in any case with the intention of calling attention to myself. I think if people watch the program, they can judge for themselves.”

Note to the Sultan Of Surly : if you really wanna drag this out further, be sure to say something disparaging about Costas’ cameo in “The Scout”. Let’s see him get out of that one!

Thurman, Pacman Can do Lunch

Posted in Gridiron at 2:45 pm by

Three-strikes linebacker Odell Thurman of the Cincinnati Bengals will sit out another year, perhaps in part because of what the Cincinnati Enquirer deems a “minor scrape” that never led to charges.

Two Monticello men filed a pre-warrant hearing application following an alleged altercation at a house party overnight June 2 and 3.

They alleged in the complaint that Thurman (above) had committed acts of criminal trespass, aggravated assault and pointing a gun in the early morning hours Sunday at a house party in Monticello.

But the two men who made the complaint against Thurman withdrew it late the day before a magistrate in Jasper County, Ga., was scheduled to hear it.

No criminal charges were ever filed, but the NFL’s security arm paid close attention to the incident.

League security officials called to acquire all documents on the case, said Angie Nelson, deputy clerk for Jasper County Magistrate Court.

As Marvin Lewis opens training camp in Georgetown, KY, may I suggest a new sign for the locker room? It should be readily available, with some modification:




Also, I see the official camp web site warns fans not to carry firearms or alcoholic beverages. This reminds me of a line in the program from Marianne Faithfull‘s 1989 performance at St. Ann’s Cathedral:

There is no smoking at St. Ann’s, except for Ms. Faithfull.

Adriaaaaann!!!!! – The ‘Lil Wilpons Have A Promotion For The Ages

Posted in Baseball, Cinema at 2:32 pm by

The old ages, that it.  Apparently, a recent ‘roid run in doesn’t preclude an MLB affiliate from being associated with Frank Stallone’s brother.

On July 28th, the Brooklyn Cyclones will celebrate Sylvester Stallone — one of the most iconic Hollywood stars of our generation — on “Sly Night” at KeySpan Park.

Stallone has created some of the most long-lasting and legendary characters in pop-culture history, from Rocky Balboa to John Rambo, to Lincoln Hawk, to Marion Cobretti, to Snaps Provolone, to Ray Tango, and more.

The Academy Award winner’s turn as the underdog fighter from the mean streets of Philly immortalized him to millions. On Saturday, July 28th, the Cyclones will pay tribute to him in a number of ways:

The team will show a variety of Stallone-themed entertainment throughout the night.

Fans are invited to dress up as their favorite Stallone character, with the winning costume receiving a prize pack.

Anyone named “Sylvester” will be admitted to the ballpark at no charge.

In commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the 1987 movie “Over The Top” (in which Stallone plays a struggling trucker competing in a Las Vegas Arm Wrestling Championship, and sporting a New York City Arm Wrestling T-shirt), the New York Arm Wrestling Association (NYAWA) will host over 100 men and women competing that day for the 25th Annual White Castle ˜Kingsboro™ Golden Arm Wrestling titles, featuring a championship match taking place on the dugout during that night’s game!

Go On, Just Try And Guess Which One Is Big Papi

Posted in Baseball at 1:17 pm by

Noble efforts of the Boston Globe and the Simpsonizer aside, I think we can safely say that some of these turned out better than others.

Da Meathook Taunts Children

Posted in Baseball at 12:37 pm by

now playing : Randy Newman’s “Short People”.  Video link swiped from DC Sports Bog’s Dan Steinberg.

Dmitri Young (shown above) has an RBI single in today’s Nats/Phillies matinee, with DC leading 2-1 in the last of the 3rd inning.

Sans Carlos Beltran — missing his second straight game with a strained abdominal muscle, the Mets trail the Pirates, 5-2 in the top of the 7th at Shea.  While the roof caved in on Oliver Perez during Pittsburgh’s 5-run 6th inning, Lastings Milledge has continued his recent tear with a solo HR off Paul Maholm.  No windmilling or top-step disco action for Da Edge this time, though that might have as much to do with the Bucs throwing at him the past two days as any scolding from Willie Randolph.

Catching Up With Matt Geiger’s Exciting Retirement

Posted in Basketball at 12:20 pm by

The St. Petersberg Times has far too many details surrounding Matt Geiger’s discussions with neighbors concerning plans to build a helipad on his 36-arcre estate.

Were I a resident of said ‘hood, I would certainly be scared shitless at the prospect of Geiger piloting a whirlybird. Then again, we should remember that other lightly regarded characters have managed to figure it out.

Blogging Bob Ryan Vs. The Head-First Slide

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 8:35 am by

After watching the Red Sox lose the services of Big Papi for a few games after an ill-advised head-first slide while trying to stretch a single into a double last Friday, the Globe’s Bob Ryan tackles what he considers to be the biggest scourge facing baseball. Well, except for “Creeping La Russaism” (“you’ve got to work really hard to screw up how a baseball game is run as badly as the Cardinals’ skipper has.”) Link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory.

I hope I make myself clear enough: head-first sliding is ALWAYS a)unnecessary b) dangerous and c) counter-productive. Every organization should do everything in its power to discourage its players from employing the tactic. I’m talking about fining, if that’s the only way to convince players not to do it.By far the dumbest place to slide head first is home plate. The catcher has armor; the baserunner doesn’t. ‘Nuff said. But there is nothing a head-firster can accomplish at any time a conventional slider (with the proper technique) can’t. I’ll guarantee you neither Ty Cobb nor the Great DiMaggio ever slid head first.

The second dumbest place to slide head first is first base. In fact, the only reason to slide at first base at all is to avoid a tag. After watching far too many Mike Greenwell head-first slides into first, I was moved a few years back to contact the physics department at MIT. I was put in touch with a baseball-loving physicist who explained to me that sliding head first doesn’t get you there any faster. In fact, it slows you down.

Two people are responsible for this plague. The first was Pepper Martin (above), “The Wild Horse of the Osage,” who captivated America with a scintillating performance in the 1931 World Series, hitting .500 and regaling spectators with head-first slides. But the practice was not widespread (Martin was regarded as something of a nut job), and it was out of baseball until Pete Rose showed up in 1963.

You might know it would take a narcissistic showboat to revive a counter-productive practice. Oh, look at Pete run to first base on a walk. Oh, look at Pete sprint around the bases after hitting a homer. And, oh, look at Pete slide head first everywhere. What hustle! What a competitor!

What crap.

It should be stressed that Jack Curry was highly critical of the headfirst slide (Robbie Alomar’s tendency to do so, in particular) in a NY Times pieces over 4 years ago. He refrained from gratuitious insults directed at Tony La Genius, however, so the points go to Ryan.