Manny : Violating Halloween Etiquette / Risking A Dusting Off From The Great Pumpkin

Posted in Baseball, Free Expression at 7:34 pm by

The Manny-O-Lantern, link courtesy Maura Johnston. Not the scariest thing I’ve ever seen, but quality work nonetheless.

Detroit’s Kitna : Funnier Than Linklater’s “Fast Food Nation”

Posted in Gridiron at 7:24 pm by

The Detroit Free Press’ Carlos Monarrez on John Kitna’s ok-sense-of-humor-for-a-concussion-victim.

Lions quarterback Jon Kitna said his choice to dress up at a Halloween party like assistant coach Joe Cullen was intended as a good-natured send up and part of the ribbing that is common in NFL locker rooms.

Kitna, a notorious prankster, said he merely was trying to win a costume contest at charity party in Plymouth held by receiver Mike Furrey on Monday. Kitna came dressed in a naked costume as Cullen, who was arrested and charged in the summer of 2006 with obscene conduct and drunken driving in separate incidents in Dearborn.

“People who understand an NFL locker room understand that when guys do things we joke with each other a lot,” Kitna said. “Now, would I have done it last year? No. I think it would have been too close to when the situation happened.”

Monarrez’ killjoy colleague Drew Sharp, though hardly amused (“Kitna crossed the line this time and owes Cullen an apology, if for nothing else but for pushing that embarrassing evening back to the forefront of local consciousness”) is quick to point out the Lions have a history of hot Halloween getups.

Scott Mitchell made headlines 10 years ago when he appeared at a team party masquerading as Wayne Fontes. Mitchell was in full Big Buck regalia. He had a cigar protruding from his mouth as well as some padded girth protruding from his belt. The coup de grace was the Mickey Mouse ears.

Seattle’s Cosmopolitans Continue To Bait A Rich Oklahoman

Posted in Basketball, Blogged Down at 2:44 pm by

From Supersonicsoul.com.  Hey, if it’s any consolation, a Danny Fortson mask for trick-or-treating in Oklahoma City would probably go over poorly, too.

Cameron : Stimulants Yes, Steroids No

Posted in Baseball at 2:39 pm by

Hey, at least he didn’t blame his impersonator. From the San Diego Union Tribune’s Tom Krasovic.

Padres center fielder Mike Cameron beat Major League Baseball to the punch Wednesday morning when he announced on the club’s flagship radio station that he was suspended for the first 25 games next season for testing positive a second time for a banned stimulant.

The commissioner’s office planned on releasing the news Wednesday afternoon; a few hours earlier, Cameron told AM 1090 that he believes he took a tainted supplement.

œThe one thing I wanted to make sure was explained is, no steroids, said Cameron, who plans to file for free agency within two weeks. œI never took nothing like that before in my life. That would be 50 games, and that would affect me a whole lot more.

Cameron issued a statement through his agent, saying doctors for the union helped him narrow down what triggered the positive test

œAfter all of the analysis and testing, I can only conclude that a nutritional supplement I was taking was tainted, he said. œUnfortunately, the actual supplement is gone, and therefore cannot be tested. Without the actual supplement in hand, the rules are clear, and I must accept the suspension.

These union doctors sound terrific. Perhaps they could come in handy before the questionable substances are procured, too?

Jose Offerman Legal Status Update

Posted in Baseball, The Law at 1:34 pm by

While we eagerly await a reformed Stickmen With Ray Guns’ rendition of “Christian Bat Attack”, Jose Offerman has proven — like O.J. Simpson and Claus Von Bulow before him, there’s one justice for celebrities and another for….uh….people who aren’t celebrities. From the Connecticut Post’s Daniel Tepfer (link courtesy Hot Foot and Nate Dog) :

Former Red Sox All-Star Jose Offerman was granted a special form of probation this morning for attacking two Bridgeport Bluefish players with a bat during an August game.”I’m real sorry for what happened and I would like to apologize to all the fans that were at the stadium that day, especially the children,” a somber Offerman said as he left the Golden Hill Street courthouse with his lawyer, Frank Riccio Jr.

“I’m real sorry for all this,” he added.

Superior Court Judge James Ginocchio granted Offerman, an infielder with the Long Island Ducks at the time of the incident, accelerated rehabilitation on two counts of second-degree assault.

Although Offerman was suspended indefinitely from the Atlantic League after the incident, Riccio told the judge that league Executive Director Joe Klein has offered to allow Offerman to return.

“I’m real sorry for what happened,” Offerman told the judge. “I embarrassed the game I love and I wish I could take it all back.”

Assistant State’s Attorney Brian Kennedy objected to Offerman being granted accelerated rehabilitation, saying the crime was too serious.

“Mr. Nathans’ season ended with that game and he is still suffering from his injury, a significant injury,” he said.

Highlights From Tuesday’s “Tonight Show”

Posted in History's Not Happening, Rock Und Roll, The World Of Entertainment at 12:03 pm by

a) Leno looks terrible!
b) someone should tell Ron Paul that Halloween or not, he’ll never win the Republican Nomination going on TV dressed up as Siouxsie Sioux.
c) “go on, say something shocking”?  Has NBC learned nothing from their experiences with Chris Hansen?

Cowherd Looks In Mirror, Sees Kobe Staring Back

Posted in Basketball, Sports Radio at 11:30 am by

Kobe Bryant was booed early and often at the Staples Center last night, en route to pouring in 45 points in the Lakers’ 95-93 opening night loss to Houston.  “”I understand where they’re coming from,” Bryant told the LA Times’ Mike Bresnahan. “They didn’t really understand the whole situation because I’m keeping my mouth shut like I should.”

I’m not sure what part of visiting 3 talk radio shows in one June afternoon constitutes “keeping my mouth shut”, but perhaps Kobe has a different way of defining things. Like, consensual sex.

ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd, a morning host generally disinclined to give a hoot about an NBA regular season game, was apoplectic Wednesday about Bryant’s ill-treatement.

“Some people don’t understand sacrifice,” muttered Cowherd. “They don’t have any idea what it takes to be the very best. When someone is the best at what they do, they deserve support.”

“I admire people who are the best at what they do,” continued Cowherd. “I don’t sympathize with management. I’m on the side of the guy who is the best at his job.  If you’ve proven you can be a great mortgage broker at more than one company, I’m on your side. If you’re the best chemical salesman, I’m on your side.”

Perhaps unmoved by Cowherd’s comparison of the NBA’s best player to a chemical salesman, one caller opined that Bryant was unworthy of fan support “because he can have any woman he wants. He doesn’t have to rape someone.”

“Dude,” scolded Cowherd, “he was never convicted.  You sound like you’re twelve.”

Around the time Cowherd began yelling about Larry Bird and Dr. J. having fathered children out of wedlock, I’d heard enough.  Is it a wild reach to presume that Cowherd  — his pinhead having failed to puncture the glass ceiling at the WWL — sees just a little of himself in Kobe Bryant?  That the morning motormouth considers his post-dawn meanderings the broadcasting equivalent of dropping 81 points on the Raptors?

Paunchy, 40-something Blogger Wants To Play For The Mets

Posted in Baseball, General at 10:19 am by

Hey, get in line! Curt Schilling on the campaign trail via 38 Pitches (link swiped from Mets Blog, h.t. Jordan Davis).

The list of teams that our family has talked over, that we think would be a fit for next year, should we not come back, are pretty much teams in cities we agree would be ok for our last year, and teams I think have a legitimate shot at being in the post season and/or World Series. Teams we didn™t include aren™t for any one reason. There are a million little things that go into this from stadiums to school districts to travel to spring training to etc. etc. etc. but the list represents the teams after Boston that have some of the off the field things that are big to us, plus the potential to go into October next year.Cleveland, Detroit, Anaheim, New York Mets, Philadelphia, Atlanta, L.A., S.D., Arizona, Chicago Cubs,  St. Louis, Milwaukee.

That really narrows it down, Curt.  Though given Mike Hampton’s endorsement of the Denver public schools, I’m surprised the defending National League champs didn’t receive some acknowledgement.


NBA Opening Night : Aldridge Gives Portland Something To Dream About

Posted in Basketball at 10:28 pm by

Spurs 106, Blazers 97

While this was most assuredly San Antonio’s coronation ceremony — and a typically clinical display by the defending champs —- please note the newly extended Tim Duncan was outscored by Portland sophmore F LaMarcus Aldridge (27 points on 12 of 19 shooting). OK, Aldridge isn’t nearly Duncan’s caliber on the defensive end, but the former Longhorn is showing the kind of poise that should make Portland relevant again, when and if Aldridge is paired with Greg Oden. Joel Pryzbilla pulled down 10 rebounds for the visitors, and TNT showed considerable restraint in waiting until the game was half finished before harrassing Eva Longoria.

Most importantly, the new Flash/Chuckster T-Mobile ad celebrates the sort of time-tested casual homophobia that’s sorely lacking from ESPN’s new RV spots. If you thought Jason Kidd and ‘Melo looked pained while listening to Stephen A., one can only imagine how they’d react to his latest Hard Wood column.

The Real Key To Newark’s Urban Revival – Tony Meola

Posted in Football at 6:11 pm by

While the former Metro Stars prepare for the 2nd leg of their Eastern Conference playoff with New England, another old Meadowlands fixture Tony Meola continues to ply his goalkeeping trade, far from the prying eyes of the global media. Kind of like his old MLS club, really.  From MISL.net :

Tony Meola returned to indoor soccer for the first time since he played with the Buffalo Blizzard in the 1994-95 season. The US National Team veteran played the entire game in goal this past weekend for New Jersey, recording ten saves in a 7-4 win over the expansion Orlando Sharks. The Kearny, NJ native surrendered two goals (four points) and withstood a flurry of Orlando shots in the final two minutes to preserve the first-ever win for the expansion Ironmen.

At 3:40pm Pacific Standard Time, Kobe Is Still A Laker

Posted in Basketball at 5:45 pm by

…though if it meant avoiding further questions from Elie Seckbach, he might accept a trade to Chicago, even if the Bulls turned over their entire roster to get him.

Klapisch Is David Wright’s Text Pest

Posted in Baseball at 5:24 pm by

(Vito, right is sad to see A-Rod go, but he’ll still be meeting you at the Giant Bat).

Mindful of David Wright’s earlier pledge to switch positions, the Bergen Record’s Bob Klapisch wasted little time after A-Rod’s opting out of his Yankee deal to pester the Mets third baseman.

“Nobody has talked to me about any free agents,” Wright wrote in a text message. “I would want to speak with Jeff [Wilpon] and Omar [Minaya] first.”Of course, there’s no guarantee A-Rod would sign with the Mets, even if Wright moved to, say, second base. Could the Wilpon family write a big enough check? Apparently so. With free agents Tom Glavine ($10.5 million), Shawn Green ($3.7 million), Paul Lo Duca ($6.25 million) and Jose Valentin ($3.8 million) all likely to come off the books, Rodriguez’s asking price of $30-something million isn’t quite so prohibitive.

“We can afford him,” one Met insider said confidently. “It’s going to be a baseball question more than a money question. Do we want him? Is he a good fit for one team? That’s what we have to talk about.”

Wright seemed to feel Rodriguez was a perfect match — and that was before A-Rod blasted through the greatest regular season of the last 50 years. Putting aside his insatiable appetite for money and ruthless negotiating tactics, the Mets ultimately will have to decide if A-Rod’s 50-plus homers and 150 RBI are worth the tidal wave of controversy that would follow him into the clubhouse.

What remains to be seen is whether the Mets’ interest would tempt the Yankees to reenter negotiations. It’s hard to know who’s bluffing and who’s not. Friends of Rodriguez believe he would have a sincere interest in playing for the Mets “ at the right price, of course “ regardless of how it would damage his Yankee legacy. It’s worth noting that Rodriguez was house-hunting in Greenwich, Conn., in the last few months, and the idea of staying in New York was seconded by his wife, Cynthia.

The other issue is where Wright actually would play. Second base is the obvious choice, but there’s nothing that says he could learn the position quickly, if at all. And the wear and tear of turning double plays also might factor into the Mets’ thinking.

And then there’s the dark cloud that seems to dog Rodriguez wherever he goes. You can now count the Yankees as part of the anti-A-Rod army. Despite general manager Brian Cashman’s graciously worded statement that bid farewell to the third baseman, the organization’s truer feelings were reflected in the comments of one high-ranking official, who was disgusted at the timing of Rodriguez’s opt-out on Sunday.

Not only did the announcement upstage the World Series, but, as the official said: “He had [agent Scott] Boras tell the media before he told us. That’s not right.”

Asked if the Yankees would use the 15-day window during which they can negotiate exclusively with Rodriguez, the executive said: “No chance. Absolutely none. We’re done with him. He’ll never play here again”

Granted, A-Rod would only have 81 games at Shea before the park’s closing, but given the park’s dimensions, 50/150 seems wildly optimistic, even for a hitter of Rodriguez’ talents.

Plaschke Damns Dodgers’ Diss Of Grady

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 11:06 am by

“If the Dodgers have an opportunity to hire future Hall of Fame manager Joe Torre, as several sources indicated Monday, they must do it,” writes the LA Times’ Bill Plaschke. “But why couldn’t they have done it 13 days ago when Torre initially walked away from the New York Yankees?” Because they wanted to make certain Joe Girardi was unavailable first? Wally Backman? Tony Perez?

Maybe hiding out for two weeks works in the governmental world from which McCourt’s top advisors hail. But in the more transparent world of sports, silence cracks foundations and creates doubt.

For two weeks, General Manager Ned Colletti (above, left) has been telephoned with questions about the Dodgers’ managerial situation. For two weeks, he has refused to even return the calls, effectively ending Grady Little’s career here while once again exposing his club’s philosophies as so much hot air.

During the lockdown, one recalled a recent interview with McCourt in which he talked about the Dodgers foundation.

“It’s built on hard work, trust, integrity, respect, and it’s built on unselfishness, teamwork and so forth,” he said.

By my calculations, in their treatment of Little, their values batting average is .167.

Amazing, isn’t it? All those paragraphs and not one negative reference to Paul De Podesta.

Wally Matthews Pleads With Wilpon Inc. : Keep A-Rod In New York

Posted in Baseball at 2:32 am by

As Repoz at Baseball Think Factory has aleady noted, Newday’s Wallace Matthews is riding Gotham Baseball’s jock. Though it took the print journalist to come up with gratuitous swipes at Lastings Milledge and Bobby Valentine (!) while claiming, “one general manager’s 24-and-1 guy could just as easily be another’s 54-and-156 guy.”

In the seven years since they passed on A-Rod, a lot has changed around the Mets. They have gotten a little better on the field and they have gotten a lot more tolerant in the clubhouse toward the concept of the 24-and-1 guy, hence Pedro Martinez. Then there’s Tom Glavine. 23-and-1. Jose Reyes. 22-and-1. Lastings Milledge. You get the idea.

Think of how easy a transition this would be. Rodriguez could hold on to his apartment in Manhattan. He still could sunbathe in the park. (Flushing Meadow, not Central.) The Mets, having learned from past mistakes, could offer Alex and Cynthia their own reality show on SNY. (Anna Benson is going to be sooooo jealous!) And just like that, all those unsold luxury boxes and season subscriptions to Citi Field will vanish like Carlos Delgado during “God Bless America.”

For the first time in their history, the Mets would have the best player in the game while he still was the best player in the game. For the first time in their history, they could sign a free agent and watch him get better, not worse.

And for one of the few times in their history, the Mets’ lineup would have a hitter you would delay a trip to the rest.room to watch hit. Darryl Strawberry was that guy 20 years ago. A-Rod is that guy now.

Sure, they would have to rearrange some furniture — how about A-Rod to third, David Wright to first and Delgado to the American League as a DH? Or A-Rod back to short and Jose Reyes to Minnesota for Johan Santana? — but you’re adding a Ming vase here. You can lose an end table.

And before you start carping about A-Rod’s postseason performance or lack thereof, just remember that these are the Mets we’re talking about. Chances are there will be no postseason. Unless, of course, Rodriguez does for them what he did for the Yankees this year.

Incredibly, all it took was one poor 2nd half for the game’s most exciting player to turn into trade bait for Johan Santana. I can’t argue the latter wouldn’t be a better fit in the Mets rotation than say, Kyle Lohse, but he did give up 33 HR’s in 2007.

Baseball considerations aside, Rodriguez could be excused from tiring of the losing battle with the New York media.  He’s unlikely to find a move to Flushing any less pressure packed — keep in mind the Mets were the local team whose owner’s son felt compelled to offer a public apology for a 2nd place finish.

All Jaromir Jagr Wants For Halloween Is His Two Front Teeth

Posted in Hockey at 12:01 am by

But if a goal and an assist in the Rangers’ 3-1 defeat of the Lightning isn’t enough, I’ll bet Jerome James has an awesome pudding recipe he can share.


G’Bye Grady? Torre, Mattingly Reportedly Headed To Chavez Ravine

Posted in Baseball at 11:33 pm by

After a few years stockpiling former Red Sox, has the Parking Lot Magnate decided to entrust his ballclub to a pair of very prominent Yankees? From the Journal News’ Peter Abraham (link courtesy Sean at Popjocks)

The Los Angeles Dodgers have decided to fire manager Grady Little and replace him with former Yankees manager Joe Torre, The Journal News has learned.Torre, 67, could be named manager as soon as tomorrow, according to two sources close to the situation. Don Mattingly is expected to accompany Torre to Los Angeles as his bench coach. Torre is also interested in hiring Kevin Long, his hitting coach with the Yankees.

The Dodgers were 82-80 this season under Little and were beset by clubhouse unrest. Owner Frank McCourt, a Boston native, decided Torre is best suited to quell that situation.

UPDATE : Tony Jackson of the LA Daily News was just on “SportsCenter” (1:20am EST), claiming one source had told him, “you’ll look like an idiot if you write this”. “I guess no one in New York is worried about that” mumbled Jackson. ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt followed up with Peter Abraham, who vouched for the credibilty of multiple sources “close to Joe Torre and Don Mattingly” that provided him with a considerable jump on the Southern California papers. Funnily enough, Jackson’s own paper quotes unnamed sources as claiming the Dodgers and Little are discussing a buyout.

Don’t Light A Match In Front Of Colleen Bellotti’s Mouth…

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron, Parental Responsibility at 10:54 pm by

(our young kicking friend will have a club soda, thanks)

…or the room might explode
. A few weeks back, The Oregonian’s John Canzano wrote of Ducks K Luke Bellotti’s two DUI’s, charges his dad’s football program had until then, successfully covered up “without raising so much as a murmer on campus.” (link courtesy The Big Lead)

Saturday night, towards the end of Oregon’s upset win over USC, Coach Mike Bellotti’s wife, Colleen, accosted Canzano in the UO press box.

She leaned in, grabbed by my suit lapel, and lit into me with a string of expletives, asking me if I have children, and telling me, “This is going to come back on you tenfold.” And she threatened to slap me, which was not such a nice example in front of the kiddies. I told it was poor form that she would approach me in the press box, with a strong smell of alcohol on her breath, hissing and spitting mad, talking to me about alcohol abuse.

There was a second small brush with Colleen near the elevator in which she stormed past me, and asked, “You got something to say to me?!?!” I said, “Are you going to slap me or not?”

She walked off, and said, “I’m a better person than you.”

She may be right. Or wrong.

I’ll agree, she’s got better hair.

If a subsequent blog post by Canzano is anything to go by, there’s some portion of the Eugene citizenry that prefer to blame the messenger.

The End Of The Blackhawks’ Blackout

Posted in Hockey, Sports TV at 9:11 pm by

(cheer up, Chicago hockey fans. Your love for Pat Sharp is no longer trapped in the closet)

Neatly deflecting attention from a 3 game losing streak, the Blackhawks dropped the following press release on a breathless populace earlier today :

The Chicago Blackhawks and Comcast SportsNet have announced that Comcast SportsNet will televise their first home game of the season on Sunday, November 11 when the Blackhawks play host to the archrival Detroit Red Wings at 6:00 p.m.

The November 11 game will be the first in a series of home games to be broadcast live and in high-definition on Comcast SportsNet. The full schedule will be released next week with additional home games airing throughout the remainder of the 2007-2008 season.

œIt™s time to share the energy and excitement of the Blackhawks with all of our fans, said Blackhawks Chairman W. Rockwell œRocky Wirtz. œWe are entering a new era and putting home games back on TV is the first step to supporting our great players and fans.

As the Sun-Times’ Len Ziehm explains, the November 11 telecast is of some historical importance.

Wirtz’s late father, Bill, the Hawks’ president for 41 years, was adamant in the belief that televising home games wouldn’t be fair to season-ticket holders. His stance became team policy, though an increasing number of staffers opposed it. For years the standard player/coach response was that the TV ban was a management decision, and they let it go at that.

”A player has a job to do — to perform on the ice,” alternate captain Martin Lapointe said. ”On the business side, guys don’t think about that.”

Some did, though.

”[The TV ban] does matter,” said Patrick Sharp, another alternate captain. ”You want exposure in your hometown. I’ve heard that there are thousands of secret fans just waiting to come out. Getting on TV will be a way of bringing them out.

The Difficult Task Of Re-Launching Basketball In Vancouver Without Bryant Reeves

Posted in Basketball at 6:52 pm by

I Hate The Raptors’ Coach Canada has tried very hard to imagine the circumstances under which an NBA franchise might return to Vancouver, British Columbia.

One – if the province fav son and 2 time NBA MVP Steve Nash play for the new Vancouver team . The Suns vs. Supersonics game lasFriday drew a sellout crowd of 17K plus. Awesome for a pre season game ! OK , OK .Nash may be too old once his contract with the Phoenix Suns is over. Not really . Ex Celtics great Bob Cousy, to which Nash’s game is often compared with , came out of retirement to play for a fledging Kansas City NBA team.

Two – if the numerous Chinese billionaires/milllionaires based in B.C. joined forces to bankroll the team. The new team won’t have no problem with money as income from the food sales alone will be huge. Knowing the Chinese , they will have pricey spring rolls and wanton soup in place of cheap hotdogs and Coke ! Who cares if they name the team the Hongkouver Dimsuns !

Three – if half of the roster is composed of members / or former members of the Chinese National team. Many enterprising tour agencies etc. will surely put a Vancouver basketball game attendance as part of their tours in the same way as seeing a live Ichiro /Seattle Mariners game a must for Japanese foreign students in TO. Then there is the non stop and ever increasing Chinese population in Vancouver, legal or otherwise ?

While the Chicago Tribune’s blogphobic Sam Smith has floated the possibilities of Kobe Bryant and Gilbert Arenas being exchanged (doubtful, I figure, given Kobe’s alledged preference to go to Chicago or Dallas and accompanying no-trade clause), New Orleans have sent David Wesley to New Jersey in exchange for Bernard Robinson and Mile Ilic. The Bergen Record’s Al Iannazzone describes Wesley as unlikely to report, while the Hornets are said to be ready to waive Ilic as soon as possible.

Chait in Slate: Charlie Weis is a Very Bad Coach

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 5:49 pm by

Jonathan Chait has written on many topics. He’s an opinion columnist for the Los Angeles Times, a solid inside-out critic of political media (his great 2002 story about imaginary biases and real biases is behind The New Republic‘s subscriber-only firewall) (though you can still read Martin Peretz’s blog for free) (but you shouldn’t). He’s also the author of a well-received recent book about bad conservative economics. Add to that, via Slate, this new credit: he is pretty good at marshaling statistics that make Charlie Weis look like a terrible coach. Of course, almost anyone can do this — it’s easy — and much of the rest of his argument is grounded in the unprovable-if-not-unconvincing assertion that Weis has always been overrated because of his association with some Super Bowl winners in New England. Still, these numbers don’t get much less depressing the more often you read them:

Just how bad is Notre Dame? Of the 119 teams in Division I-A, ND is 119th in total offense, 119th in rushing offense, 112th in passing offense, and 118th in scoring. If Notre Dame had doubled its scoring output, it would still rank 108th. If it doubled its rushing output (currently 34 yards a game), it would barely eke out Duke for 118th place.

You get the point. I should stop now.

OK, one more. Notre Dame is averaging 1.09 yards per rush this year. The NCAA statistical archive goes back only to 1999. The worst yards per carry recorded in that period belongs to a 2001 University of Arizona squad that gained 1.46 yards per attempt. So, the worst rushing team recorded by the NCAA in the last nine years was still about one-third better than Notre Dame.

This is not merely bad. This is ineptitude on a staggering, world-historical scale. Such a performance would be prima facie evidence for firing the coach even at a doormat program like Indiana. At a school like Notre Dame, well ¦ it’s simply impossible to describe how awful this performance is. It’s true that Notre Dame has suffered a dip in its talent level, attributable to poor recruiting by Weis’ predecessor Tyrone Willingham. But if you go by recruiting rankings, Charlie Weis still has as much or more talent on hand than most of the opponents who have been beating him soundly.

So, Weis is obviously not a great coach”no great coach has ever underperformed so grossly”and he may well be a terrible one.

Of course, no supposedly great coach had previously conquered stomach staples, either. And anyway, isn’t this just piling on? Why doesn’t anyone ever talk about college football’s more successful, and even more hugely obese, coaches?

Tom Lutz Fails Goes (Mildly) Nuts Over The Giants/Fins At Wembley

Posted in Gridiron, We Aren't The World at 3:33 pm by

Showing a smidgeon more enthusiasm for the NFL’s grand experiment than the Star-Ledger’s Paul Needell-Of-Death (“the league couldn’t make sure the field was better equipped to handle rain yesterday? ‘Cause, you know, it does rain a bit in England”), the Guardian’s Tom Lutz contends, “it can’t be denied that it’s been a great show, if not a great game.”

As kick-off approaches, things aren’t going swimmingly in the stadium either. The Americans in the crowd spring to their feet as the Star Spangled Banner is played, the English rise a little more slowly with a few groans, although in their defence it must be the first time in Wembley’s history that a foreign national anthem isn’t booed. God Save the Queen doesn’t get a much better reception, perhaps because the guest singer is Paul Potts, the bloke with bad teeth who won Britain’s Got Talent.

But slowly, the crowd is won over. Anybody who’s ever seen an episode of Jerry Springer will know Americans cheer anything – a wife-beater, a punch-up, even an advert break. Anybody who’s ever seen The Jeremy Kyle Show will know that English fans take a bit more convincing before they roar their approval – an actual murder on air, perhaps. But today, the mainly English crowd cheer everything – the cheerleaders, the first tackle of the game, the appearance of Lewis Hamilton and John Terry (okay, maybe not John Terry), even The Feeling are given a warm reception and they don’t even play Sewn.

It’s all a bit strange. English fans don’t usually like all this showy stuff. Sky tried it when they first began broadcasting the Premier League and it was a disaster. Sulky 14-year-old cheerleaders take to the field before the game and jog up and down the spot (usually to stop their legs dropping off with the cold) while Europe’s Final Countdown is played through a tinny PA system. Sky pulled the plug on the whole sorry business fairly quickly. But the NFL organisers whip up the fans brilliantly. The whole thing is just so damned professional. The cheerleaders are uniformly six-feet tall, with thousands of dollars worth of dentistry blazing out of their mouths and when the music pounds out of the speakers, the bass is powerful enough to send shivers down the spine.

It’s a shame then that the game is a bit of a stinker until the Dolphins stage a late rally that almost sees them sneak a win. The pitch cuts up early in the game and gets worse (England now have a ready-made excuse if they lose against Croatia next month) meaning the game turns into trench warfare – it’s a war the Giants win 13-10. Some Dolphins fans have complained that they’ve been deprived of a home game, but judging by their team’s inept performance, the NFL has done them a favour.

“It was a fantastic spectacle,” said one NFL virgin, Rachel Beard, as she left the ground. “I’d definitely come again. If only to see Paul Potts.”

So there you go, the evening ends with another small miracle: Paul Potts, the future of the NFL in Europe.

A Brutally (Blogged) Outbreak Of Romosexuality

Posted in Blogged Down, Gridiron at 3:05 pm by

The recent behavior of a certain Dallas QB, as dissected by You Go Live In Utah’s Amanda Cobra :

As for why Tony Romo spent the bye in Los Angeles eating cheeseburgers and knocking back Hypnotiq (presumably) with Britney Spears, I have no answers. I can only presume they did things like clip each other’s toenails then had a belching contest. I hardly expected him to be having pho with Camille Paglia and discussing China’s carbon output. But for fuck’s sake, if you’re going to spend your week off in a city that is the municipal equivalent of a titty bar in a strip mall near the airport please try your hardest to not end up getting a proverbial lap dance from the only stripper with both bullet and c-section scars.

Eagles 24, Cowboys 16
(that’s including the safety that will occur when Romo gets distracted by a blonde shooting Popeye’s coupons from a t-shirt cannon on the sidelines)

Film Studio Struggles To Explain Casey Affleck’s Weak Box Office Pull

Posted in Baseball, The World Of Entertainment at 12:10 pm by

From Monday’s Boston Globe :

Could Ben Affleck’s beloved Red Sox be taking a bite out of the box office take for his directorial debut, “Gone Baby Gone,” which pulled in a lackluster $3.9 million in its second weekend in theaters? The film – starring Casey Affleck and Amy Ryan – cost an estimated $19 million to make and box office numbers available yesterday show it’s brought in $11.3 million since opening on Oct. 19. One official from Miramax, which made the Boston-set “Gone,” told the Globe that because the film’s opening coincided with the Sox’s playoff run, that may have contributed to its low box office receipts. “Boston fans are not going to choose going to a Boston movie over watching their team,” the official said, requesting anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the film. “There’s a real belief that people will catch up with it once the Sox are done playing.”

Makes sense to me, much the same way Scott Caan’s “The Dog Problem” failed to catch the imagination of movie-goers otherwise preoccupied with the Final Four, local elections, unusually nice weather and the growing popularity of the Nintendo Wii.

Marchand : Girardi’s Been Offered The Yankee Job

Posted in Baseball at 11:48 am by

As tipped by numerous sources earlier, ESPN 1050′s Andrew Marchand reported on Max Kellerman’s show earlier today that former Marlins skipper Joe Girardi —- 2006′s NL Manager Of The Year — has officially been offered the Yankees’ managerial position.

I suspect Joe’s well suited for the gig — he already possesses ample expertise when it comes to being chewed out by rich guys lacking baseball acumen.

Gotham Baseball Suggests A-Rod Could Handle The New York Market

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 10:03 am by

Much as I love the Steve Phillips bashing, I have a sneaking suspicion moving David Wright to first base (!) would work out almost as well as Todd Hundley in the outfield. From Gotham Baseball’s Mark Healey (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)

Steve Phillips (above) thinks that the Mets would be ill-advised to think about acquiring Rodriquez if he’s a free agent this offseason, telling the NY Daily News’ Adam Rubin that “the Mets have a face to their regional sports network, and it’s Jose Reyes and David Wright. They’ve got that guy. It doesn’t make sense from a business or baseball perspective in my mind.”

Yeah, having the best player in baseball ply his trade in the biggest media market the sport has, and put him on the roster of the team that always seems to be in the shadow of the Bronx makes no sense.

It’s a good thing for Phillips that ESPN holds him in such high regard, because nobody else does.

Consider this, all of you cost-conscious fans out there; this year’s free agent pitching crop is awful, and the Mets have so little depth in their farm system that to even think about dealing for Johan Santana is delusional. Secondly, the pitching staff has few holes to fill as it is, because the immovable contracts of Guillermo Mota, Scott Schoeneweiss, Orlando Hernandez and Pedro Martinez make it that way.

Plus, if Steve “No One Will Hire Me” Phillips says it’s a bad idea, it is always a good one. They who takes credit for Reyes and Wright tried to trade both of them on a number of occasions. The guy who didn’t want to trade for Mike Piazza, thought he would replace Mike Hampton with Appier and who gave Roger Cedeno and Rey Ordonez four-year deals is the last guy anyone who roots for the Mets should be looking for an opinion from.

Give Rodriguez his tent, move Wright to first base, and pay him his gazillion dollars. The Mets fan loves David Wright, but the baseball fans will come from miles around to see A-Rod set records. People who would never even look at a Mets jersey will shell out 200 bucks for a Mets black uni with a “3″ on the back. A-Rod might be a primadonna, but he respects Willie Randolph and will play for him and represent the organization well.