08.31.07

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:

CIAO BAMBINAS

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.

Cheer Up, Red Sox – The Squirrel’s Got Your Back

Posted in Baseball, Going To The Zoo at 10:44 am by

The following is probably slim consolation for Boston after being humbled by Chien Mien-Wang yesterday, but it’ll have to do.  The New York Times’ Teddy Kidder considers the implications of a squirrel seen running up and down Yankee Stadium’s right field fole pole Tuesday evening.

Believe it or not, the squirrel™s actions closely resembled those of Ratatosk, or œgnawing tooth, a squirrel in Norse mythology that climbed up and down a tree that represented the world. Snorri Sturluson, an Icelandic scholar and poet, recorded the story in his 13th-century work œProse Edda.

As the story goes, Ratatosk carried insults as it traveled to opposite ends of the tree, fueling a rivalry between the evil dragon residing at the bottom of the tree and the eagle perched at the top.

œOh, that™s perfect, said Roberta Frank, a professor of Old Norse and Old English at Yale University, when told of the squirrel™s antics at the stadium.

Frank was born in the Bronx and is a Yankees fan. She said in a telephone interview yesterday that in the Bronx version of this myth, the Yankees would probably represent the eagle and the rival Red Sox would represent the dragon. The Yankees, after all, are the home team this week, more or less making them the good guys. And if there were a sports team identified with an eagle, it has to be the Yankees, who have begun any number of postseason games with a visit from Challenger, the bald eagle who swoops in from center field.

But being the eagle is not such a good thing, Frank noted.

œThe dragon will destroy the world in Norse mythology, she said, adding that the eagle would be on the losing end of a battle that was only made worse by the malicious squirrel.

Country Time’s Dead Arm Confirmed By The Non-Medical Community

Posted in Baseball at 10:01 am by

Phillies 11, Mets 10

On paper, you had to figure a matchup of El Duque versus Kyle Fucking Lohse would favor the visitors, but instead, the Mets would conclude August with their 5th consecutive defeat, and 4th in a row to the surging Phillies. And there’s no way to discount how severely momentum in the NL East has shifted over the past week.

The series at CBP had a serious postseason vibe, but only the hosts showed anything approaching poise. Barring a turnaround over the season’s final month, we might well identify Aaron Rowland’s 45 foot squib from Tuesday as the begining of the end for the ’07 Mets. And while Marlon Anderson’s take-out-that-wasn’t was the pivotal play in Wednesday night’s loss, the following are the grim points to ponder after Thursday’s marathon.

* – At what point does the notion of knocking down Pat Burrell become acceptable to the Flushing Pacifists? Burrell’s pair of homers on Wednesday increased his career total against New York to an inexplicable 41. How thoroughly does Burrell own the Metropolitans? Chipper Jones would like Burrell to adopt his kids.

* – Solely based on this season’s results to date, there’s no way you’d take Jose Reyes ahead of Jimmy Rollins.

* – Given the recent futility of Guillermo Mota and Aaron Heilman, it’s not totally unexpected that Willie Randolph would summon Billy Wagner as early as the top of the 8th inning. But it’s a pretty desperate scenario when a closer who’s openly professed to having a dead arm is taxed beyond his usual capabilities. While the Mets are hoping Pedro Martinez will represent an improvement in the starting rotation over Brian Lawrence, a miracle recovery from Duaner Sanchez might be of greater need.

Quote of the week award goes to Metsradamus : “You would think that people would know better than to call me fresh after a loss like that. But one call I did take was from Art Howe. He congratulated the team for battling.”

Though I’m fully in agreement with a portion of CSTB’s readership that Majestic’s MLB licensed pullover shirts are an undignified look for a big league skipper, it’s astonishing to think the league would have a security official harass Terry Francona in the middle of a game. And if Tito cites “circulation issues” for a reason why he’s reluctant to wear a full uniform, I’m inclined to take him at his word.

08.30.07

Page 2′s Caple, Persona Non-Grata At The Cask & Flagon

Posted in Baseball, Mob Behavior, Sports Journalism at 12:03 pm by

Though a Red Sox fan as a younger man, ESPN.com’s Jim Caple says of his fellow rooters, “as soon as the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series, Boston fans took on a swaggering persona, acting as if they alone invented sports fandom and behaving as if nothing else in baseball mattered but them.” Even worse, he throws in a reference to “Can’t Buy Me Love”.

No one can stand to be around Red Sox fans anymore. And they’re everywhere — a recent USA Today article labeled the Red Sox baseball’s new biggest attraction. Forget a fence between the U.S. and Mexico. What we really need is a wall, a moat and a minefield around New England to keep the spoiled citizens of Red Sox Nation from sneaking into the rest of the country and taking over seats in major league ballparks that should go to hard-working local fans. Everywhere the Red Sox play these days turns into a road version of Fenway Park, with Boston fans occasionally drowning out the hometown fans with their “Let’s Go Red Sox!” chants. They were so over the top at a recent game in Seattle, I was surprised the Mariners didn’t play “Sweet Caroline.”

Whether this is an inspiring show of team pride by passionate fans or an annoying lack of manners depends on how close you have to actually sit to these people.

They call themselves Red Sox Nation, the same arrogant way the Cowboys call themselves America’s Team. And the whole thing is getting a little old. Could I get a little help here from Miss Teen South Carolina? Where the hell is Red Sox Nation anyway? It seems to me Red Sox Nation only exists when the team is winning, like a country that only shows up on U.S. State Department radar when oil is discovered. Wherever Red Sox Nation is, I just wish Bush would invade it.

Having watched listened to many of Boston’s recent away games in Anaheim and Seattle on the radio — and been left wondering if there were any home fans in attendence judging by the noise each time the Red Sox scored, I think Caple’s got a point. One, however, that Jeff Johnson was a little more successful in making, but just the same, can’t other cities generate a requisite sense of entitlement enthusiasm for their ballclubs?

Is Yi Jianlian China’s Danny Almonte?

Posted in Basketball at 11:12 am by

Milwaukee’s protracted negotiations the Guangdong Tigers concluded yesterday with Yi Jianlian signing his rookie deal, news that should be met with wild enthusiasm at Long Wong’s (œthe World™s greatest Chinese-American sports bar). Before the party gets out of hand, however, the Journal-Sentinal’s Bob Wolfley has questions about Jianlian’s age.

Is Yi 19 years old as FIBA contends? FIBA is the ruling body of international basketball.

Or is he 22, which other sources say he is?

During the teleconference Wednesday from Hong Kong conducted with U.S. reporters, the Bucks were asked a simple question.

How old is Yi?

“He’s listed at 19, isn’t he?” came a comment from the Bucks’ end.

Bucks general manager Larry Harris then answered.

“Well, I would say this,” said Harris. “Obviously FIBA keeps their records and that’s what we go off. He’s listed as 19. It’s been a question that has been out there. But as far as we are concerned, we have to go off the documents that we have. He is 19 years old. Being with him today, he’s a fine young man. That’s what we are going with.”

But others insist Yi was born Oct. 27, 1984, which would make him 22. FIBA lists his birthday as Oct. 27, 1987.

Observers say that Yi’s correct age is listed for him at the Guangdong government social insurance site. That site lists the birth date for a Yi Jianlian as Oct. 27, 1984.

Moreover, a Chinese source e-mailed a reporter a class picture of Yi’s when he graduated from the sixth grade in the No. 3 class of the Xinxiu Elementary School in Shenzhen.

“Kids in China usually start going to school at 7 years old,” said the source. “And they should be at 13 years old by the time they finish the sixth grade, or at least 12 years old if they started when they were 6.

“Unless Yi started elementary school at 3, he can’t be 19 now,” the source said.

Ozzie To White Sox : Stop Killing My Family

Posted in Baseball at 10:14 am by

Tuesday’s 5-4 defeat to the Rangers was the 15th loss in 18 games for Ozzie Guillen’s Chicago White Sox. The resulting postgame meltdown, as documented by the Tribune’s Mark Gonzales, has hopefully been converted to mp3 form.

“Well, they’re killing me,” Guillen said. “They’re killing my family. They’re killing my coaching staff, killing the White Sox fans. They kill the owner. They kill everyone. I hope they feel the same way we feel.”

Guillen sounded as if he ran out of answers.

“You don’t see this today,” Guillen said. “You’ve seen this since April. I keep giving people a chance to succeed, a pat on the back. I wish I played for a manager like that. I swear to God I wish I could have played for a (expletive) manager like that. Every time you fail and keep putting guys out there who fail day in and day out, that’s easy to play.

“A $100 million payroll and those guys don’t show how much they make in the field. Well, Kenny [Williams], I don’t say what he has to do, but we play like this and spend all that money on the club like that, I will shut the payroll and go with Double-A kids if we have to, because it’s not easy. I know those guys go out there and they care about it.”

“I hope somebody out there cares the way we care,” he said. “Good guys or nice guys finish (expletive) last. I’m tired of seeing that (expletive), day in and day out. And I don’t want to spend a miserable September seeing the same (expletive). If I have to see the same (expletive), I told Kenny, ‘Bring somebody up. (Expletive) it.’

“If it’s my fault, I should be moving out of here then. If it’s my fault, (expletive) fire my (expletive) and I’ll be fine. I have the job to do and I get paid a lot of (expletive) money to make this club work, but it’s not easy to work with people like that. It’s not easy.

The Sox failed to hold a lead for Jon Garland in the seventh, and they didn’t score after the fourth and wasted rallies in the ninth and 10th. Guillen is tired of his coaching staff taking the blame.

“Hit and run, it fails,” Guillen said. “Fail to move the guy over with the bases loaded, no outs. Second and third, one out (and don’t score). You keep failing like that, well, Greg Walker doesn’t hit. Ozzie Guillen doesn’t hit. Don Cooper isn’t pitching. Then have fun.”

Give O.G. this much — at least he waited until the very end of August to deny responsibility for his last place club showing no heart.

The Short Memory Of Evan Roberts

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, Sports Radio at 9:10 am by

In the aftermath of last night’s events in the Bronx, a certain Red Sox starter has been criticized for his lack of clutchy-tude. As heard this morning on WFAN :

“Let’s see Josh Beckett walk into Yankee Stadium, and pitch like a Cy Young contender. He gave up, what, 13 hits last night? He was not money. Beckett is just not very good against the Yankees.”

A typically strong take from Evan Roberts. Do you think Joe Benigno-Gazingo’s sidekick might be able to identify the orgin and circumstances surrounding the following photograph?

A marriage counselor would have a field day with this one, by the way. And while I hate to take sides, I wholeheartedly encourage abusive husbands throughout the land to blame Kyle Farnsworth for their actions.

Bowtie-Wearing Shitbag’s Roots Uncovered

Posted in History's Great Hook-Ups, non-sporting journalism, politics at 12:18 am by

I was trying to remember where I had first encountered Tucker Carlson — other than, y’know, the men’s room at the Port Authority.

And then it hit me. Seems a shame a commentator so talented would have to toil under the pseudonym “Bruce Heffernan”.

08.29.07

Mets Undone By A) Philly Pen, B) Willie Randolph, C) Rulebook

Posted in Baseball at 11:36 pm by

Phillies 3, Mets 2

To coin a phrase from Boston’s epic collapse of 1978, was Wednesday the night a first place team was eliminated from the NL East pennant race?

Only a fuckin’ retard the most cynical of viewers would be unimpressed with the manner in which Philly’s relief corps — helmed by Mr. Anger Management, natch, have rendered the Mets’ bats useless. Who’d have thought an offense as potent as New York’s would emerge from three games in the bandbox conditions of CBP with 6 combined runs?

Not to put the entire result on the shoulders of Jose Reyes  — currently being outclassed (for a few days, anyway) by that preseason mouth-runner Jimmy Rollins — but the Mets SS running his team out of an inning twice in one night is an occasion as rare as a solar eclipse.  Or a thoughtful comment from Brett Myers.
Unless Willie Randolph decides to start pitching El Duque on 2 days’ rest, I’ll resist the Gene Mauch comparisons. But if Shawn Green is so utterly out of the mix, what, pray tell, is the point of pinch-hitting the veteran Tribesman in the 9th inning when Ruben Gotay was an alternative?

As for the play that provoked the photograph above, this is pretty much all you need to know :

Rule 7.09(d) Comment: If the batter or a runner continues to advance after he has been put out, he shall not by that act alone be considered as confusing, hindering or impeding the fielders.

(e) If, in the judgment of the umpire, a base runner willfully and deliberately interferes with a batted ball or a fielder in the act of fielding a batted ball with the obvious intent to break up a double play, the ball is dead. The umpire shall call the runner out for interference and also call out the batter-runner because of the action of his teammate. In no event may bases be run or runs scored because of such action by a runner.

(f) If, in the judgment of the umpire, a batter-runner willfully and deliberately interferes with a batted ball or a fielder in the act of fielding a batted ball, with the obvious intent to break up a double play, the ball is dead; the umpire shall call the batter-runner out for interference and shall also call out the runner who had advanced closest to the home plate regardless where the double play might have been possible. In no event shall bases be run because of such interference.

Randolph was adament that Marlon Anderson’s foot hit 2nd base on his attempted mauling of Tadahito Iguchi, hence, the play was legit (Carlos Ruiz, put your hand down). And the sad thing is, the unspeedy Green might well have beaten the throw without the benefit of Anderson’s manuever.

The stolen line from the first sentence aside, the Willie’s Mets are still clinging to a 3 game lead, which cannot be said of the Detroit. A 5-0 loss to the K.C. law firm of Greinke, Gobble, Braun and Riske — on a night Andrew Miller couldn’t get out of the first inning — relegated the Tigers to a 4 1/2 game deficit in the AL Central. Cleveland gained a game on the back of C.C. Sabathia’s 15th win, as the Indians beat the Twins and Johan Santana, 4-3.

The Ghost Of Gene Mauch was just on the phone. He thinks Ned Yost oughta try giving Ben Sheets the ball every two days the rest of the way.

More Bad News For Marv Marinovich’s Grand Experiment

Posted in Gridiron, The Law at 6:34 pm by

A music industry professional who shall remain nameless once told me a story about Todd Marinovich hitting on Kim Gordon at a party. Or maybe it was Y.A. Tittle. And while it’s sometimes hard to remember the late night rock gossip, the following sordid tale comes from the Orange County Register’s Jeff Overley :

One-time standout USC quarterback Todd Marinovich faces the latest in a long run of legal troubles after being charged with felony drug possession and resisting a police officer.

Police said Marinovich, 38, ran from officers who tried to stop him about 1:15 a.m. Sunday for skateboarding near the Newport Pier boardwalk, where skateboarding is prohibited.

He was found hiding in a carport about 1:30 a.m., police Sgt. Evan Sailor said. After searching Marinovich, police found about one gram of methamphetamine, a metal spoon and a hypodermic needle, Sailor said.

Marinovich was charged with possession of a controlled substance, which is a felony, as well as unauthorized possession of a hypodermic needle and resisting a police officer, both misdemeanors.

He pleaded not guilty to all three charges during a court appearance today. As of this afternoon, he was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail at Orange County Jail.

Shocking stuff — a 38 year old on a skateboard? Besides Graham Coxson, I mean.

On the bright side, however, I summoned every ounce of self control to not utilize the headline, “FUZZ TO RAIDER FLOP : YOU’RE NOT WELCOME IN THE O.C. (BITCH)”.

Peavy’s Complaint – The $400 Baseball Glove

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 6:16 pm by

Allen Maki of the Globe & Mail says of Rawlings’ new top-of-the-line Primo mitt, “If I paid $400 for a baseball glove, I’d want it with Italian leather and a GPS system. I’d want it complete with a CD player and plenty of head space. Come to think of it: it should also come with four wheels and good gas mileage.” Alexander Portnoy could tell Maki a thing or two about varied uses for a baseball glove that no GPS system can match, but perhaps the latter can figure that out during a lonely moment.

According to its stats, the Primo features rich “Italian leather hand-sewn into an advanced three-layer design” that can be broken on to suit various positions ” infield, outfield, bench warmer.

Rawlings notes that the Primo takes two days to make and that only 3,000 models will be constructed this year.

The irony, according to a report in Fortune magazine, is that not one of Rawlings’ big-name major-league clients is willing to wear the Primo in an actual game. Derek Jeter won’t. Alex Rodriguez won’t. Jose Reyes and Albert Pujols won’t.

There are three pitchers using them but one ” Jake Peavy of the San Diego Padres ” has asked Rawlings to remake his old glove with Italian leather.

At $400 a pop, maybe Hanley Ramirez should consider wearing one on each hand?

Lucchinco : Stupid People Buy Beer, Too

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, General at 4:19 pm by

Taking Red Sox Inc. to task for things like the mainstreaming of RSN is a bit played out (sadly, I’ve not caught that dating show with Jerry Remy channeling Chuck Woolery), but as Call Of The Green Monster demonstrates, there’s something to be said for the fresh approach of inventing Larry Lucchino quotes.

œLet me say unequivocally that the stupid fan is very important to us, Lucchino says earnestly.  œWe™ve done focus groups with hundreds of stupid fans to really get into their mindset and see what drives them.  For instance, we found that they™ll pay almost anything for a beer as long as there is no limit to how many they are served.  That™s why our policy is that no matter how drunk a fan is, if they can somehow manage to stagger their way to the concession stand”we™ll keep selling them beer.  Lucchino said that research indicates that stupid fans don™t mind not having any recollection of the game.  œHey, I love watching baseball, but who am I to tell someone what constitutes a fun time at the game?

Lucchino was asked if he has any regrets about phasing out the more learned fans, those who truly love the game, and not those who attend games just to make a fool out themselves.  œI just feel the stupid fan has been ignored for far too long, Lucchino said, eyes misty and his voice quivering with emotion just a bit.  œTo accommodate them, we will continue to raise ticket prices, let the alcohol flow, and keep those pink hats coming.  Hell, I™ll even throw down a few beachballs from my luxury box.

The Carl Lewis Of Falsely Accused Security Guard Bombers, Dead At 44

Posted in non-sporting journalism, olympics at 3:36 pm by

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Mike Morris :

Richard Jewell, the Centennial Olympic Park security guard once suspected ” but later cleared ” in the bombing of the park during the 1996 Summer Games, was found dead Wednesday in his home in Meriwether County. He was 44.

County coroner Johnny Worley said Jewell’s wife discovered him dead in their Woodbury home at about 10:30 a.m., and he was pronounced dead by Worley about 45 minutes later.

Jewell was initially lauded as a hero after a bomb went off at the July 27, 1996, Olympic celebration. He called attention to the suspicious knapsack that held a bomb and helped evacuate the area.

But days later he became the FBI’s chief suspect, as The AJC and other media outlets reported.

The FBI later cleared Jewell of any wrongdoing. He was never charged with a crime.

Eric Robert Rudolph pleaded guilty to the bombing in 2005 and is serving life in prison for it and other attacks.

After he was cleared, Jewell sued the Journal-Constitution and other media outlets for libel, arguing that their reports defamed him. Several news organizations settled, including NBC and CNN.

The Journal-Constitution did not settle. The newspaper has contended that at the time it published its reports, Jewell was a suspect, so the articles were accurate. The newspaper also has asserted that it was not reckless or malicious in its reports regarding Jewell. Much of Jewell’s case was dismissed last year.

Jewell’s passing deprives our nation of a desperately needed public servant who can tackle the thankless task of identifying suspicious knapsacks.  And let’s be clear —- all knapsacks are suspicious.

Andrew Giuliani should be graduating college soon, however, so there’s still hope.

Tottenham Blame The Messenger

Posted in Football, Sports Journalism at 12:59 pm by

From Wednesday’s Metro :

After a week in which chairman Daniel Levy and his board have endured intense criticism for their apparrent attempts to replace boss Martin Jol, Spurs announced London Evening Standard reporters would be barred from attending games and press conferences at the training ground.

Tottenham are unhappy at a number of articles by Standard columnist Matthew Norman (above) about the club, and Levy in particular.

In a statement Spurs said: ‘Please note this decision has been taken by the club’s management board, not in haste and at a time when quite simply “enough is enough”.

‘The timing of this is in no way related to comments generated as a result of the past few days’ events – Matthew Norman’s personal attacks continue regardless of what happens at the club.’

However, the Standard has defended its coverage, with fellow columnist David Mellor quick to rush to Norman’s support.

Writing in Tuesday’s Standard, Mellor described Levy’s recent actions as ‘so crass that even Pravda in the bad old days might have felt constrained to utter a little coded criticism of his behaviour.’

While Chelsea acolyte Mellor makes a valid point for once, in terms of public sympathies, his coming to Norman’s defense is not entirely unlike Ron Artest speaking out on behalf of Michael Vick. Ie., thanks for the support, pal, but perhaps you could’ve just sent a text message.

Hilly Kristal, Marine, East Village Entrepeneur and Chef, Dead At 75

Posted in New York, New York, Rock Und Roll at 11:48 am by

For every Television, there was an Inflatable Boy Clams. For every Ramones, there was a Rude Buddha. For every Agnostic Front…there was Agnostic Front. You get the idea.

(left to right : Hily, Paul Simon. Not shown : Jimmy Gestapo, Donny The Punk)

An inconsistent booking aesthetic and life threatening chili aside, we’ll choose to remember the late Hilly Kristal fondly, and for all the “it’s not as good as it used to be” grumblings about CBGB’s (some of which, to be fair, started in 1978) there’s no disputing that some of the greatest shows we ever witnessed took place on the Bowery between 1st and 2nd.

Heck, some of ‘em even took place inside the club.

Dubious Sounding Pressure Group – Even Without Joe Franklin, Today’s Kids Can’t Sleep

Posted in Leave No Child Unbeaten, Medical Science, Technical Difficulties at 6:39 am by

A survey performed by UK snoozy advice group The Sleep Council claims modern teens aren’t dozing properly due to the proliferation of video game consoles, televisions and other contemporary gadgets. From Ars Technica’s Jacqui Cheng :

23 percent of those surveyed said that they regularly fell asleep while watching TV, listening to music, or with “other machinery” still running. The Council says that this is not surprising, given that 98.5 percent of the teenagers have phones, music systems, or TVs in their bedrooms (almost two-thirds had all three).

Even at the younger end of the group, electronics in the bedroom are prevalent”58 percent of 12- to 14-year-old boys reported having a phone, music player, TV, or game console in the bedroom.

And although many adults claim that they fall asleep more easily with the TV on, it doesn’t always work the same way for kids. One in five of all the teenage boys surveyed admitted that leaving the TV or computer on was affecting the quality of their sleep.

Just imagine how their sleep would suffer if they went to bed listening to the dulcet tones of Captain Midnight?