Denver Journalist Pleads For Opening Day Tomato Cans

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 10:31 pm by

(CSU’s Caleb Hanie, preparing to peak way too early)

While tomorrow’s college football kickoff in my adopted hometown will feature what one colleague accurately described as a big pep rally (albeit one with a $60 price tag), the Denver Post’s John Henderson would prefer to start the campaign with something other than a hot local derby.

After 17 years in this state, I still find Saturday’s Colorado-Colorado State season opener one really lousy idea. Obviously, I’m not the only one. Look around the country and what is unique about this rivalry?

Well, besides the fact it’s the only traditional nonconference rivalry this year that pits two lousy teams, it’s also the only one that traditionally opens the season. Look around. Army-Navy. Clemson-South Carolina. Florida-Florida State. Georgia-Georgia Tech. Virginia-Virginia Tech.

Every one plays in the regular-season finale. It’s when these rivalries should be played. Give the venom three months and 11 games to fester into a boil. Provide a carrot that tastes like chateaubriand after a win to salvage a losing season. Put it in standard time, in late November, when darkness envelops the stadium as the seniors walk off a field for the last time.

Instead, Colorado and CSU play at 10 a.m. After the game, the players could have lunch.

Some schools found a clue. Iowa and Iowa State opened the season in the 1980s, but now it’s always the second or third game. Louisville and Kentucky traditionally opened the season, but when Rich Brooks arrived at Kentucky in 2003 he found the first opportunity he could and, starting this year, moved his home game with Louisville to later in September.

Yeah, I know why the Buffaloes and Rams play when they play. Both schools are chasing the dollar at 76,000-seat Invesco Field at Mile High. It’s a grand venue, of course. Totally neutral, and it has 25,000 seats more than Folsom Field and 40,000 more than Hughes Stadium. Once the NFL season begins, it’s tough to slip in a college game.

Also, let’s face it. Colorado does have a traditional rival at the end of the year. As former Buffs quarterback Mike Moschetti told me Wednesday: “Colorado State, our in-state rival, was not the game I came to Colorado for. When I got to Colorado, Nebraska was all anybody talked about.”

Pats’ Rodney : No Respect (For Drug Rules)

Posted in Gridiron at 9:33 pm by

With a story that should knock the thrilling news of the NFL’s new logo off the front page of tomorrow’s newspapers, Patriots CB Rodney Harrison has confirmed he’ll be suspended by the league tomorrow for violating the league’s policy on, uh, a substance he didn’t specify. Given that Harrison is denying steroid use and claims “my use was solely for the purpose of accelerating the healing process of injuries I sustained while playing football,” we’ll assume it was HGH. Or Icy Hot.

After today’s annoucement by Vanessa Jack Del Rio that David Garrard had supplanted Byron Leftwich as the Jags’ starting QB, the Fanhouse’s Michael David Smith is spreading the scuttlebutt that Kansas City might be interested in Jacksonville’s former no. 1 pick. Chances are, Leftwich will be cut rather than traded — it’s doubtful the Chiefs (or anyone else) would take on his $5 million price tag.

Remember This Guy?

Posted in General at 7:38 pm by

He looks kinda familiar, and apparently he’s put up some solid numbers recently in the Florida State League. So good luck, then, to young pitching hopeful Pedro Martinez, who will make his first big league start of 2007 on Monday against the Cincinnati Reds.

And congratulations, too, as Pedro managed to make it back to his ballclub before Michael Strahan puts on a uniform for his.

While the ever pithy Marc Perlman suggested that John Maine would “shit the bed” tonight against Atlanta, instead, the latter has held the Braves to a pair of singles, as the Mets lead, 4-0 after 5 1/2 innings. Carlos Delgado hit a 4th inning, 3-run HR over the centerfield fence off Tim Hudson in the 4th, while Jose Reyes followed with a solo shot to right an inning later. But cheer up, Marc, there’s still plenty of time left for Felicano, Heilman or Wagner to shit the bed.

The Cubs celebrated today’s 6-1 loss to the spoiler ‘Stros by confirming they’d acquired RHP Steve Trachsel from the Orioles. Who’d know more about how to handle playoff pressure?

Not sure how Mushnick missed this earlier today, but it’s a little funny that even in the midst of the WWE’s biggest PR problem since the Montreal Screw Job, wrestling’s most powerful entity is still far quicker to suspend their big name talent for PED use than MLB.  If only Chavo Guerrero had Donald Fehr in his corner.

Bend It Like…Bellucci?

Posted in Football, Sports Journalism at 4:45 pm by

I think this might be sexist. Or at least severely fogey-ish. From the Toronto Sun’s George Gross:


A Sophia Loren or Gina Lollobrigida may not be among them, but a group of attractive Under-23 Italian girl soccer players arrived in Toronto on the invitation of Carlo Del Monte, a Toronto soccer enthusiast.

(Also not on under-23 Italian girl soccer team)

“The girls representing the Umbria Selects of Italy would play two matches this weekend in aid of Kick4Cancer,” said Del Monte.

“They’ll play Saturday at 4 p.m. against the Woodbridge Azzurri Soccer Club and Monday, again at 4 pm, against the National Training Centre of Ontario.

Sandwiched between the two Umbria matches on Sunday will be a game between the Woodbridge Azzurri and the National Training Centre, also at 4 p.m”

The matches will be played at the Ontario Soccer Association field at 7601 Martingrove Rd., Vaughan.

Perhaps next week an unattractive under-23 Albanian men’s soccer team will be in town.

I Cannot Tell A Lie : George Washington’s DNA Every Bit As Collectible As Billy Ripken’s “Fuckface” Card

Posted in Baseball, History's Not Happening, The Marketplace at 4:45 pm by

“I guess this trumps my John Kennedy autograph,” writes Repoz, “mainly because it’s John Kennedy, former Yankee/Red Sox/Dodger infielder.” From Beckett Media’s Kevin Haake.

The first of three George Washington hair relic cards from 2007 Topps Allen & Ginter finally surfaced over the weekend in a 10-day auction listing on eBay. The auction, which currently stands at $8,300, with six days remaining, has attracted more than 40 active bidders and 9,000 unique page views in its first four days.

“It’s the most groundbreaking card that I’ve ever pulled,” said 17-year veteran hobby dealer Ken Simonis of Phoenix, Arizona. “I’ve been a high-end, game-used, dealer for long time and I have pulled some cards back in the day that could be equivalent monetarily to this card, but never have I pulled anything so unique.” “I’ve received a mountain of email,” Simonis said. “Some people want to know about its origin, other people have just written to congratulate me, and others think the card is gross. The strangest email I’ve received by far was from a gentleman who seriously wanted me to end the auction so that he could buy it and try to clone George Washington.So what does the introduction of DNA cards mean for the future of the hobby?

“The 2007 Topps Allen and Ginter Relics George Washington hair card is a monumental first for the hobby. Never before has there been a DNA card produced,” said Baseball Price Guide Editor Brian Fleischer. “Are DNA cards the hobby’s next big thing? It’s hard to say, because of the difficulty in obtaining such “relics” but there have been auction sales of Elvis Presley hair, among others, so it may be only a matter of time before we see another DNA card.

Surely I’m not the only person who can envision an ambitious firm launching the long awaited DNA DNA card?

Diplomacy & Humility, Boomer Esiason Style

Posted in Sports Radio at 4:27 pm by

(Iran’s Ahmadinejad, mulling Boomer’s offer, but probably holding out for an invite from Joe Beningo-Gazingo)

Boomer Esiason, along with the polarizing Craig Carton, will takeover Don Imus’ old morning slot on WFAN starting next Tuesday, Sept. 4. SI.com’s Richard Deitsch provided the former QB with ample rope to hang himself.

SI: What will the format of your show be?

Esiason: I know they are positioning it as a sports format, but it will be everything. We could do Hurricane Dean or Hillary Clinton. We could do Rudy Guliiani or Tom Tancredo. Or we could be talking about the Yankees, the Jets or sinkholes in the Bronx. This month we’re coming up on the sixth anniversary of 9-11. I had offices on the first tower of the World Trade Center so I have intimate contact with 9-11. The anniversary affords me a platform to talk about all the things that have transpired over the years.

SI: Who are your three dream radio guests?

Esiason: Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, so I can grill the s— out of him. Michael Jordan, to ask him about what he thinks of today’s athlete. And Gisele Bündchen. To get the real scoop on Tom Brady, and just to say that I interviewed her. My buddies would be impressed.

SI: Can you envision doing this for a decade?

Esiason: I really can. Good morning radio to me is when you are driving to work and you miss your exit because it’s so good to listen to. Some people have said that when they are listening to Marv Albert and I calling Monday Night Football, they will sit in their car in their driveway listening to us as opposed to getting out of the car to watch the broadcast.

OK, I’m as big a fan of Sexual Libertine Marv Albert as anyone this side of Chris Elliot, but no matter how badly MNF’s TV trio meshed last year, I sincerely doubt there is one person alive who would prefer to hear Albert and Esiason in their driveway. Maybe in the garage (with the motor running), but not the driveway.

Pearson’s Anonymous Pal : English Footballers = Expensive Trans Fat

Posted in Football at 1:30 pm by

(£7.5 million for golf / karaoke enthusiast Craig Bellamy)

The Guardian’s Harry Pearson
has an unidentified acquaintance with an interesting theory on sky-high salaries versus the paucity of British players starting for some of the Premier League’s top clubs.

“Could it be a question of supply and demand? Has the global clamour for British talent created a world shortage? A look at the situation abroad suggests not. British players in Serie A: nil. British players in La Liga: nil. British players in the Bundesliga: nil. British players in whatever the name of the French league is: nil. I think we can conclude that the demand for British players outside these islands is more or less nonexistent.

“And on these shores? Well, the fact that at least once a week somebody blames the demise of the national team on the number of foreigners playing in the Premier League suggests that nobody here much wants them either.

“Unless, of course, this absence is due to a shortage of British players. But a wander round the local park on a Sunday morning suggests not. No, there are tens of thousands of British footballers available for hire, all more than capable of sauntering about for 90 minutes, bellowing “In the channels, Andy”, “Communication!” and “Tempo, lads, tempo” while occasionally pointing at the spot where they think the pass ought to have been played.

“Are they then more talented than the foreign imports? Is that why they cost more? I hardly need go into that.

“We can also rule out an altruistic desire on the part of our clubs to preserve the British footballer from extinction in much the same way the World Wildlife Fund battles to save Leadbeater’s possum and the monkey-eating eagle. I can therefore offer only one conclusion. It is this: You know that a large bag of nutritious fresh food bought from the local market will cost less than a load of junk from the corner shop, yet on occasion you go to the corner shop for your meal. Why? Because you can pop along in your slippers and be back in time for Football Focus. Ease and idleness overrides financial and nutritional sense.”

Mushnick : Conversant With Curtis Jackson’s Street Name

Posted in Gridiron, Hip Hop, Sports Journalism, Sports TV at 11:46 am by

(Fiddy, moments after being told Phil Mushnick has pre-ordered ‘Graduation’)

I guess the Conscience Of NewsCorp wasn’t won over by 50 Cent’s Vitamin Water commercial. (While I don’t watch a ton of classical music coverage on TV, I’m pretty sure they don’t feature play-by-play commentary). From Dr. Phil in Friday’s NY Post :

ESPN proudly announced that its big, Saturday night, prime-time college football schedule on ABC would be accompanied by the work of gangsta rapper Curtis Jackson, street named 50 Cent. That’s right, 50 Cent, ESPN was happy to report, has been engaged by the network to write “special lyrics” that will serve as ABC’s “Saturday Night College Football” opening.

ESPN/ABC’s press release reads that 50 Cent “has taken the street culture by storm.” But I’ll bet that none of the champs who selected 50 Cent for this endeavor lives anywhere near that street nor that storm.

ESPN’s press release doesn’t include any hints, let alone specifics, but 50 Cent’s lyrics are among the vilest, most hateful, violent and vulgar ever recorded for mass production and mainstream consumption. His artistry demonstrates a consistent fondness for two things: himself and guns.

Of course, the next time ESPN or ABC shows the likes of Bruce Willis or James Gandolfini courtside at a major sporting event, Phil is unlikely to criticize the network for glamorizing gun violence. As always, certain types of artistry (and certain audiences) are held to very different standards in the Mushnick household.

The Brew Crew Suckle At The Teat Of Hugo Chávez

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 11:32 am by

Though fading fast in the NL Central — last night’s 5-4 loss to the Cubs dropped the Brewers to 2 1/2 games back, there’s a bit of good news for Milwaukee’s bottom line, as reported by the Biz Of Baseball’s Maury Brown.

The Milwaukee Brewers will unveil a massive Citgo sign in the shape of a gas pump just outside the right-centerfield fence. The new sign will light up each time the Brewers hit a home run.

According to the SBD, the “22-foot-high pump contains an LED board where the price of gas would appear, but it instead will display the distance of every homer.”

No word yet on whether or not Hugo Chavez will have editorial control over Bob Uecker, or if the Venezuela prez might be compelled to make an appearance in the booth himself.

The Widow Cobain : Alan Partridge Nearly Killed Owen Wilson (Ah-Ha!)

Posted in The World Of Entertainment at 10:55 am by

Though I’ll admit there’s something slightly weird about the way Radio Norwich’s former overnight host has become part of Hollywood’s hoi polloi, there’s just a bit of irony in Courtney Love accusing Steve Coogan of aiding and abetting Owen Wilson’s failed suicide attempt.

Especially in light of the Coog’s alter ego taking such a firm stance against Class A drugs.