Perhaps Mike Lowell Wasn’t Totally Washed Up

Posted in Baseball at 3:22 am by

On at least one occasion in 2005, I compared the batting struggles of then-Fish 3B Mike Lowell to the hitting prowess of Al Leiter. Unfavorably. Today, the former is your 2007 World Series MVP, his closest competition coming in the form of a rookie center fielder less than 4 months removed from his big league debut.

With a 4-3 win over the Rox last night at Coors Field, Boston’s 2nd World Series crown in 4 years is certain to annoy-the-fuck out of some, but the victory isn’t without universally inspiring aspects. There’s Jon Lester’s recovery from cancer. Curt Schilling and Mike Timlin thanking God for putting them in the right place (clearly, The Big Guy totally hates Jamie Moyer). Eric Van getting his photograph in the newspaper. But most remarkable of all was the way Eric Gagne managed to protect a 12 run lead in Game One.

here’s a few (slightly) more sophisticated takes on the Red Sox ending their 2 year championship drought :

I agree that until late in the game last night the drama in this destruction of the Rockies was pretty much wrapped up in a pickoff throw. Like, was there ever a doubt after Jonathan Papelbon erased Matt Holliday in the eighth inning of Game 2 that the Red Sox were going to win the World Series? At that moment it had to dawn on the Rockies that not only were the Red Sox more talented, but they were also smarter. OK, richer, too, but we’re already tired of hearing about that.Bob Ryan, Boston Globe

This was so bad, the Rockies would have been better served to have fallen gamely to Arizona in six or seven games of the NLCS than to reach the World Series and play dead. Nobody in Colorado wants to hear it, but a loss like this — for a team with no postseason legs to lean on — can have ugly ramifications down the road. The Rockies are only the second team to be swept in its World Series debut. The first was Houston in 2005. At the time, the Astros probably thought they’d broken through. Turns out they broke down. In the two years since, Houston has been a total of 14 games under .500 and fired manager Phil Garner. - Gregg Doyel, CBS Sports.com

The Rockies carried this dream for five weeks, nearly made it real. But at nearly 10 p.m. MST, the clock struck midnight and the valet brought back a pumpkin. While they became competitive – the final three games were winnable – the Rockies never got comfortable in the sport’s floodlights.Troy E. Renck, Denver Post

Sheesh, I’ve seen pacifists with more fight in their souls. With a cumulative score of 25-7 through three games, this has a shot at being the most lopsided World Series in history.

And, I suppose, that’s fitting. Because, unless the Rockies win the next two games, this will be the worst stretch of World Series matchups in more than 100 years of competition. We are looking at a total of 17 World Series games out of a possible 28 in the past four years, an unprecedented stretch of ho-hum and blah.

We have seen a Red Sox sweep in 2004, followed by a White Sox sweep in ’05, the Cardinals winning in five in ’06, and now the Red Sox pitch-slapping the Rockies in ’07.

What happened to parity? What happened to baseball’s renaissance? What happened to Game 6?

Maybe this is the reason Major League Baseball is trying to hide the ninth inning after midnight. Maybe the commissioner is hoping folks on the East Coast hit the pillow before realizing how dull these games have been.John Romano, St. Petersberg Times

Jason Varitek, shorty after the game, was asked about Red Sox fans. He said that we were the “extra guy.” Then, you could see it in his eyes. He’d just left out half of us. Very quickly, he ammended his statement, adding that we were also “the extra woman.” Great job, Jason. In a world where we use the male default (my 10-game plan at Fenway is called the “10th Man Plan”), I am proud to go the opposite way. We Sox fans truly are the 10th Woman! – Jere, Let’s Go Sox

Listen, I don’t want to talk about Mike Lowell’s impending free agency, and I don’t want to talk about the Code Red hurl-a-thon it would be to have Alex Rodriguez join the Red Sox.

Do we have to launch a picket? Ruffle some feathers at the duck boat party this weekend? Kidnap Theo Epstein and make him watch reruns of MASH until he comes to his senses and offers a three-year deal? I want answers, and I want them now, Bubba.

Honestly, only Scott Lucifer Boras would announce his prized player’s decision on the day the Red Sox were set to win the World Series. Dan Lamothe, Red Sox Monster

Howzabout a little love for Terry Francona. I’ve happily lobbed hot coals at the guy’s nuts for four seasons now, but I appreciate everything he’s done to steer the ship and stick to the game plan. He’s 8-0 in managing World Series games, has very likely seen DeMarlo Hale without pants and lived to tell about it, and will be leading your American League All-Stars in 2008 at Yankee Stadium. At this point, if news got out that he was secretly banging Jessica Biel would you be surprised? ‘Cause I wouldn’t.Red, Surviving Grady

NESN just showed footage of the ’04 celebration, and I swear on a holy stack of media guides, Royce Clayton was in the middle of that celebration too . . .I’ve said it before, and I’m guessing a lot more of you agree with me now: There’s no one else I’d rather have managing the Boston Red Sox than Terry Francona. He’s Joe Torre with a little bit of an edge and a knack for handling a bullpen. He’s the right man at the right time in the right town. That “Francoma” b.s. has always been born from the miniscule minds of morons. I hope he never has to hear it again.Chad Finn, Touching All The Bases

A-Rod Opts Out, Marchman Tips His (Imaginary) Cap. Sort Of.

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 3:18 am by

Shortly after SI.com’s Jon Heyman spilled the beans that Alex Rodriguez would opt out of his final three years under contract to the Yankees, the New York Sun’s Tim Marchman hailed “the brazen magnificence” of A-Rod’s announcement (“Rodriguez was never able to convince some that he was bigger than Derek Jeter. Now he’s made himself bigger than baseball”)

During the World Series, no one, according to both formal and informal baseball law, is supposed to make any real news. The commissioner’s office in the past has exhorted teams to keep quiet about managerial hirings and firings and contract negotiations during the Series, so as to focus the attention of the world on the seven games that are supposed to represent the sport at its best. To announce such a thing during the last innings of a decisive World Series game, thus upstaging the crucial moment toward which the entire season builds, is a calculated affront to all the game’s proprieties and ideas of order.

Here, though, comes Alex Rodriguez to remind everyone that professional sports are about money and utter crass power. The pure cynicism of Rodriguez’s ploy does so much to expose the sham pieties of the men who promote baseball that it should be applauded for that alone. Being so forcibly reminded that baseball is about money and power doesn’t, after all, diminish our ability to appreciate it as a sport one bit. To go along with the pretense that it does, to pretend that Rodriguez’s contract isn’t at least as important as Aaron Cook’s noble defeat, would be absurd. Credit to Rodriguez for being shameless and showing baseball for what it really is.


If You Started Matt Cassel Today….

Posted in Gridiron at 6:27 pm by

…you’re more fortunate than whoever in your league started Chad Pennington. As New England continues to run up the score today against Washington (hey, you never know when a Joe Gibbs team might score 50 points in 5 minutes), I have to ask, is the Hooded Casanova the most insecure man in America? Is it not enough to have 3 rings, a 7-0 record to start the new season and his pick of New Jersey housewives (for the mere price of a Bon Jovi laminate)? To play Unpopular Psychologist for a moment, it would seem as though Bill Belichick has used Videogate — the biggest blow to his rep since Parcells made him wash the Escalade — as unneccessary/additional incentive. If the rest of the league and much of the media choose to label Belichick a classless boor, the Pats’ head coach seems hellbent on proving he’s an even bigger asshole than anyone suspected.

Of course, the quickest way to put a stop to such behavior might be for the opposition to keep New England’s offense off the field for a while. But full credit where due to the Redskins secondary — they held Randy Moss to a mere 3 catches (47 yards, 1 TD).

Tom Brady might be on pace to throw 60 TD’s, but I’d like to wait a few more weeks until there’s enough evidence to indicate he’s better than Drew Henson.

Whoop-De-Damn Update : Derrick Coleman, Sneaker Pimp

Posted in Basketball, Fashion, The Marketplace at 2:43 pm by

(DC, gracioulsy accepting a check for $280)

From Click On Detroit :

Former NBA star Derrick Coleman opened the “SNYX Sneaker Studio” Saturday in the neighborhood in which he grew up.

The store carries all Nike merchandise, including warm-ups and top-of-the-line athletic sneakers. Shoes range in price from $75 to $280.

The store is exclusive to Michigan. The concept was originated by Coleman’s associates, who own similar stores in Compton, Calif., and Chicago, Ill.

In addition to the “SNYX Sneaker Studio,” Coleman plans to develop a strip mall, which will include a “Hungry Howies,” a car wash, a barber shop, a laundry, and a bill-paying center.

Don’t Call It A Comeback : Zach’s Been Here For Years

Posted in Blogged Down, Sports TV, The World Of Entertainment at 1:26 pm by

Signal To Noise recently made a public plea to ESPN to bring back “Dream Job” (“it needs to return right now, not because it was the most enjoyable of show or because the wanna-bes on it were highly compelling once they left the Box in Bristol – it was public evidence of how on your game you needed to be in order to do the analyst job.”), but not without asking “where is Zach Selwyn now?”

Thanks, S2N. You just had to make someone look for this.

The Oklahoman’s Warm, Premature Welcome For The Sonics

Posted in Basketball at 1:07 pm by

Darnell Mayberry’s fluffy profile of a recent Maryland native/recentLonghorn toiling in Seattle (“somewhere there’s a blueprint, waiting on Kevin Durant to dissect its details and pursue its path. It leads to stardom.”) provides ample backup for Clay Bennett’s promise the Oklahoma City journalism business community is fully committed to their Sonics.

The New York Post’s Marc Berman describes Isiah Thomas’ recent mood as “morbid” and “morose”.

Before yesterday, Thomas rarely talked about anything, at times his evasive answers barely audible as he stared sullenly at the floor. He didn’t bring his wife to the trial, not wanting to expose her to the circus, and she has apparently sworn off games this season.

Some people will do anything to avoid running into Jerry Ferrera.

Berman’s Post colleague, Peter Vescey, takes note of Kobe Bryant blowing off the Lakers’ final exhibition game against Sacramento, and concludes the Andrew Bynum Diss Machine will be traded by Opening Night.

When a professional athlete – from superstar to superstiff – foregoes a freebie to Las Vegas, red flags go up all across the painted ponderosa.

Home of all that is virtuous and vacuous, not to mention (but I will anyway) the Pacman Jones Hospitality Center and Water Park, Las Vegas, at last survey, is where 93 percent of the NBA rank and file get their mail sent.

While injured teammates Lamar Odom and Maurice Evans sat on L.A.’s bench dressed in business casual, Bryant did not make the arduous hour trip from Los Angeles, excused due to a purported sprained right wrist.

Excuse me, but there are just two ways to judge Kobe’s no-show. Either he was exercising a last-ditch effort to disrespect the team and force a trade, or a deal is so close that management didn’t want to risk him getting hurt.

Hate Crimes Against Boston Fans Continue

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 10:59 am by

This oughta take the shine off Pedroia and Ellsbury going nuts at Coors ;   Mr. Irrelevant’s Chris Mottram with words that should have Denis Leary and Phil Jupitus alike contemplating buying Orioles season tickets giving up on baseball.

I think I™ve made it pretty clear in this space previously how much I hate the Nation of Red Sock. The real Sox fans are unbearable Massholes, and the bandwagon fans ” which most of their fan base is comprised of ” should probably kill themselves now. I™m not sure at what point it became cool to wear a cap with a ˜B™ on it, but I assure you that it is not, in anyway, cool. It makes you look f™ing stupid and your friends have no respect for you.

Ahem, bandwagon fans? Tough talk indeed from someone who actually thinks Jimmy Kimmel is funny, but full credit to Mottram — he gets to the point much faster than Dan Shaughnessy.

“Bill Walton” On The Blazers, Altamont

Posted in Basketball, Blogged Down at 10:13 am by

Dear Frank Caliendo — go on, try and top this.

Please do so in private, however.

You Might Say The (Ronnie) Millsaps Never Saw This Coming…

Posted in Gridiron at 10:02 am by

…except that would be insensitive towards the sightless.

Canseco’s “Juiced”, Reconsidered

Posted in Baseball at 12:44 am by

Widely pilloried at the time of publication, Jose Canseco’s “Juiced” receives a very different retrospective critique from Bryan Curtis of the New York Times’ Play Magazine, who considers the rogue half of the Bash Brothers “one of the most intrepid sportswriters of his era.”

Taking locker-room verisimilitude to the extreme, Jose Canseco told of how he sneaked into bathroom stalls and (his word) œinjected his pal and fellow slugger Mark McGwire with steroids. Canseco™s was not a cautionary tale of drug abuse, however. œJuiced was an over-the-top testimonial to the powers of steroids, which Canseco argued could œcure certain diseases, along with making you œstronger and sexier and œmore easily aroused. In this, Canseco appears to be the first memoirist to be influenced by both Wilt Chamberlain and Baba Ram Dass.

The lunkhead had a point. Canseco™s book started a congressional inquiry, and none of the book™s more lurid allegations has been effectively refuted. (Rafael Palmeiro, whom Canseco fingered as a user, later failed a drug test and was suspended.) While œJuiced strayed past the bounds of self-parody, I think Canseco may have unwittingly written one of the most harrowing portraits of the modern athlete. Canseco was seemingly rich beyond his wildest dreams, awash in sex (he alternately flirted with Madonna and Hooters waitresses) and had a head that was big with or without pharmacological enhancement. But when he picked up a pencil, a funny thing happened. He came crashing down to earth. On the page, he was less a buffoonish, larger-than-life figure and more a real human being. And an extraordinarily sad one at that: œJuiced reaches a kind of climax with Canseco sitting in his Florida mansion, cradling a machine gun and contemplating suicide.

Word is that Canseco is at work on a sequel to œJuiced, which he has tentatively titled œVindicated. I wanted to ask Canseco about his literary process, but he said, through his manager, that he would speak with me only if I paid for the privilege. I couldn™t help but imagine Canseco hunched over his laptop, discarding drafts and wondering where his next paycheck was going to come from. As a mere mortal, I found some comfort in this. If you think playing left field is difficult, try being a writer.


Spurs To Jol : UR FIRED

Posted in Football at 10:42 pm by

If Pat Riley can quit via fax, is it really a big deal that Tottenham fired Martin Jol via text message? OK, so they did it during a match, but there’s something to be said for the convenience of mobile telephonopoly.

Juande Ramos (above), most recently of La Liga’s Sevilla, was named Spurs’ new boss earlier today. He’s signed a four year deal, which is pretty optimistic considering Tottenham haven’t kept a manager that long in twenty years.

The week’s award for unusual restraint in the face of provocation goes to Arsensal’s Arsene Wegner, who upon being called out by deposed keeper Jens Lehman, merely told the papers, ” I don’t think I’ll add to the fire. It’s common in Germany, these kind of statements.” Hopefully, Tom Coughlin’s taking notes this week.

Jamal Charles’ 4th Quarter Rushing Clinic

Posted in Gridiron at 9:01 pm by

With all due respect to Colt McCoy’s ability to take a punch (and if he takes a couple more, Mack Brown’s gonna be charged with child abuse), Jamal Charles’ absolutely insane 4th quarter (2 of his 3 TD’s, 216 of his 290 yards rushing on the day) might be the final nail in the coffin for Nebraska coach Bill Callahan. The Cornhuskers’ 28-25 loss to Texas — a game they lead, 17-3 in the second half — was their 4th consecutive defeat, the longest such run of futility in 36 years.

Why it took nearly 45 minutes of play for Brown and Greg Davis to fathom Nebraska a) wasn’t going to stop blitzing and b) entered the day as the nation’s most suspect run defense, I can’t answer. But while Charles isn’t going to total 290 and 3 TD’s most weeks, there’s got to be some relation between getting him going early and often and opening things up for the wildly inconsistent McCoy.

Check Your Head : Xenith’s New Helmet

Posted in Gridiron, Leave No Child Unbeaten, Medical Science, The Marketplace at 6:08 pm by

Former Harvard QB Vin Ferrara — a multi-concussion victim as a player — is the brains behind a new football helmet that one researcher has called “the greatest advance in helmet design in 30 years.” From the New York Times’ Alan Schwartz :

Rather than being lined with rows of traditional foam or urethane, Ferrara™s helmet features 18 black, thermoplastic shock absorbers filled with air that can accept a wide range of forces and still moderate the sudden jarring of the head that causes concussion. Moreover, laboratory tests have shown that the disks can withstand hundreds of impacts without any notable degradation in performance, a longtime drawback of helmets™ traditional foam.

Dr. Gerry Gioia, a pediatric neuropsychologist who directs the concussion program at the Children™s National Medical Center in Washington, said Ferrara™s helmet could œtake helmet protection to a whole new level.

œI think it™s very real, Gioia said. œFoams have only had a certain amount of success in absorbing force. Think of what crumple zones in cars meant to reducing injuries. That™s the idea behind this technology ” this does what it™s supposed to do better than any other.

Ferrara said that his company, Xenith LLC, expected the helmet to be available for the 2008 football season ” either produced by Xenith or perhaps by license to an existing manufacturer. The price will be about $350, more than twice the cost of existing headgear. Ferrara, who after graduating from Harvard in 1996 earned medical and business degrees from Columbia, said he expected marketing to focus less on schools, whose budgets are tight, than parents with concern for their child.

Ferrara said he wanted his new shock-absorber helmet design to be only one of several lines of defense against concussions. Mindful that previous helmet improvements have occasionally led athletes to feel a false sense of security and take more risks, he said part of his rollout plan would be to emphasize to players and coaches proper, head-up tackling technique, so that the helmet sees fewer dangerous hits to begin with ” as well as encouraging athletes to admit when they think they might have a concussion.

œThe educational side of it is just as important, if not more important, as the helmet itself, Ferrara said.

TiVO’s Disappearing NHL Content

Posted in Hockey, Technical Difficulties at 3:30 pm by

Sabres fan John Niedermeyer coughed up $150 for the NHL’s Center Ice package, naturally presuming he’d be free to watch games on his TiVo hard drive recorder at his convenience. Think again.

We recently upgraded our TiVo unit from an old DirecTiVo, to the new Series 3 TiVo HD, which apparently implements unnaturally strict copy protection on premium content. Because the new unit utilizes CableCards, TiVo has different rules for these TiVos as compared to Series 2 units, according to their support page:

Since the Series3 and TiVo HD are DCR devices, in addition to the Macrovision rules for analog content, they must also comply with the content protection policies for Digital Cable content.

What this means is that NHL Center Ice content is copy protected, and will be deleted within hours of the game™s completion. Gone. Irretrievable.

This angers me to no end, as I am a busy person, who is paying a premium price to the NHL, as well as TiVo. The NHL™s popularity has waned so much here in the States, that I can™t for a minute imagine that they are responsible for this policy.

I can’t either. Mostly because there’s at least one claim of the same thing happening to Major League Soccer telecasts —- not because it’s difficult to envision the NHL inconveniencing their customers.

UPDATE : courtesy Off Wing Opinion, the NHL blames TiVo!.

Lough : “No Idea” Why Grady Jackson Was Cut

Posted in Gridiron at 1:43 pm by

“I have no idea what Bobby Petrino is doing. Or Rich McKay,” writes the Macon Telegraph’s Michael A. Lough of the Falcons’ embattled head coach and general manager. You might say the former is putting his own stamp on things. While the latter is probably preparing to offer the former a buyout in January. |

The cutting by the Atlanta Falcons of defensive tackle Grady Jackson (above) on Tuesday was from beyond left field and will increase the debate of whether Petrino is a one-year guy waiting to see what shakes down in the college football coaching bloodletting that we’re two months away from.

Jackson was the team’s top tackler up front, and it’s not like the Atlanta defense was shaking up the world.

Worse, Petrino apparently did it quietly and with no explanation for a full day, letting his team fester. Apparently, Petrino has bought some discount shovels at Home Depot, because he’s digging a hole.

And suddenly what some of us blew off as a surprising bout of whining from Alge Crumpler is much easier to believe.

From this spot, changing quarterbacks made little sense, since Joey Harrington had played well enough for the Falcons to be at .500, and he was one of the few who qualified for that statement.

Grady Jackson qualified for that statement.

The initial thought here is that Petrino was a gamble hire because he moved around so much, and thus hadn’t built anything long-term. Then his decision to go with a pocket-oriented passing game with a non-pocket quarterback was odd.

Still, some of us eventually warmed to the move and predicted, even in the middle of the Vick mess, some positive surprises. One of us actually said that a run at the postseason wouldn’t be so shocking.

More and more, one wonders what’s going on and if we completely missed something.

Dodgers Mull Letting Russell Martin Take Aim At A 42 Foot High Fence….

Posted in Baseball at 1:24 pm by

(image taken from Ballparks.com)

….albeit one 250 feet from home plate.   The LA Times’ Bill Shaikin explains.

As they celebrate their 50th season in Los Angeles, the Dodgers are exploring the possibility of staging one game at the Coliseum next year. The Dodgers shared the stadium with USC, UCLA and the Rams for four years, after they moved from Brooklyn in 1958 and before Dodger Stadium opened in 1962.

“We’re in the process of seeing if we can pull this off,” Dodgers spokeswoman Camille Johnston said Thursday.

Coliseum General Manager Pat Lynch said the Dodgers inquired about the availability of various dates during the regular season as well as spring training.

“They can do whatever they want, as long as we’re able to play football in the fall,” Lynch said.

The quirky field dimensions that result from squeezing a baseball field onto a football field make it more likely that major league officials would sanction an exhibition game there. The Dodgers and Angels cut the annual Freeway Series exhibition slate from three games to one next spring, leaving the Dodgers with open dates March 28-30. The Boston Red Sox could be available then, stopping in Los Angeles on their way back from their scheduled March 22-23 series in Japan.

The Coliseum field is 304 feet in width, according to the stadium website. When the Dodgers played there, the left-field foul pole stood 250 feet from home plate, and to compensate the Dodgers erected a 42-foot screen in left field. Dodgers outfielder Wally Moon developed a proficiency for hitting home runs over the screen, dubbed “Moon Shots.”

Olney : Yanks To Offer Rodriguez A Record Breaking Extension

Posted in Baseball at 1:17 pm by

From ESPN.com’s Buster Olney :

The New York Yankees have asked to meet with Alex Rodriguez, and if and when they get that meeting, league sources indicate the team is prepared to make him an offer that will exceed, in average salary, the $27 million per year that he is scheduled to make over the next three seasons — and A-Rod would be in line to set yet another salary benchmark.

The offer could be for something in the range of five years — beyond the three years Rodriguez is already under contract for, from 2008-10 — and perhaps $30 million a year. The highest per-workday salary earned to date is the $28 million Roger Clemens received, in prorated salary, for a little less than four months of work this season.

If the Yankees’ extension offer is for something in the range of $150 million, over five years, then Rodriguez would be owed about $230 million over the next eight seasons.

Though it might be incorrect to presume the Yankees are bidding against themselves — perhaps the Angels or Giants are prepared to offer a quarter or more of their payroll to one player? — the fact remains that if Rodriguez does leave the Bronx, his next club will have to pay his salary without the benefit of some $10 million a year in relief from Texas’ Tom Hicks. A-Rod’s current salary looks like a bargain compared to Carlos Lee or Alfonso Soriano — slightly less so without the Rangers’ loot.

Has Anyone Told John Rocker About This?

Posted in Baseball, History's Great Hook-Ups at 10:41 am by

From Chris Companik’s “One Man Out”, link courtesy East Windup Chronicle.

Shawn Green Wouldn’t Have Caught This

Posted in Baseball, History's Not Happening at 10:29 am by

Video link swiped from Loge 13′s Kingman, who adds “Nancy Seaver™s smart printed dress and hat ensemble may be one of the best player™s wives™ outfits ever!”.   Anna Benson, unavailable for comment.

CHB To Pink Hat Nation : Where Were You When We Were Shit?

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 9:01 am by

Complaining “it’s no longer about the contest, now it’s performance art with style points”, the Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy advances the tired argument that Red Sox fans under the age of 90 are spoiled rotten.

There are people who claim to be members of Red Sox Nation who have no idea that Bucky Dent’s middle name is Bleeping. There are people under pink hats wearing PEDROIA jerseys who think Big Papi, not Ted Williams, is the greatest hitter who ever lived. They don’t know that there was a guy named Radatz who threw harder than Papelbon or that there was a time not long ago when a black cloud followed the Boston baseball club.

The Red Sox and their entitled traveling Nationalists who’ve been taking over other people’s ballparks for three years have officially jumped the shark. They are Nouveau Nation – rich folks who’d demolish a 200-year-old colonial to make way for a hideous, horizon-blocking McMansion. You may have heard some of them talking after Thursday’s scintillating Game 2 World Series win at Fenway:

“I hope we win the World Series again. I mean, it’s been an eternity since we won. I’ve waited three long years for this. I just hope they lose a couple this weekend in Colorado so we can win it at home. That would be so much more fun.”

Now we have some alleged “fans” who aren’t satisfied with just another world championship. They want the cherry on top. They want all the Fenway trappings to go along with it: “Sweet Caroline,” “Dirty Water,” the Dropkicks, the Irish Step Dancers, and Papelbon Riverdancing on the Fenway lawn with a bottle of Korbel in his pitching hand and a Luis Tiant cigar in his mouth.

Aside from my wondering if the above conversation was real or imagined, let’s imagine a more idyllic Red Sox fan base, one closer in size and temperment to that of ’67′s Impossible Dream. Exactly how many opportunities would the Dan Shaughnessey of that generation have found for writing books, making television appearances and providing expert commentary for the (non-extant) 24-7 sports radio stations of the day?

Milli Being Milli

Posted in Asexual Adventures, Baseball at 12:56 am by

I don’t suppose I’m usually inclined to venture into “itsasecretsohush” type territory, but the credibility of this “Tales from the Strip Club” blog (MySpace membership required) has been vouched for to my satisfaction (ethnic confusion aside):

A few weeks ago on a busy Saturday night, there was an African-American male patron sitting at a table on the main floor in front of the stage. He reminded me of Milli Vanilli with his long beaded cornrows. I think I even asked Billy to play “Girl you Know it’s True” so I could sit upstairs and giggle. So Milli Vanilli is accompanied by his posse of five other dudes wearing saggy pants and baseball caps turned backwards.

“Hi!” Autumn says. “Do you want some boobs in your face” She’s clear, concise and to the point. Especially when it’s somewhat busy.

“Don’t you know who I am?” Milli Vanilli says slowly, firmly, and a little bit pissed off.

“Uh¦No. Don’t you know who I am?” Autumn repeats back.

“I’m a baseball player.” Milli Vanilli says. “For the Red Sox. And I don’t buy dances.”

“Oh, well I’m a football fan. Do you play football?” She countered back defiantly.

“No. I told you . I play for the Red Sox and we’re gonna win the World Series.” Milli Vanilli said getting even more annoyed that no one gave a crap who he was.

“Well, I’m a Vikings fan. I don’t follow the White Sox.” She said.

“The Red Sox!”

“Oops sorry! Wrong color sock! I don’t wear socks! Tee hee! Bye!!” Autumn said as she walked away.

A few minutes later Autumn and I regrouped at the bar. We each canvass half the club and report back to each other on regular intervals about who’s buying what, who’s a VIP candidate, who’s a friggin moron. Milli Vanilli fell into the last category.

I laugh and start to plan my approach to Milli Vanilli. I love to fuck with people who have an ego that is way to big for themselves.

“Hi. Do you need a girl on your lap?” I ask Milli Vanilli.

“Don’t you know who I am?” He says emphatically.

I stepped back. Eyeballed him up and down, and started shaking my head. “Uh huh. I used to watch your videos on MTV! But when I went to your concert, the recording got stuck and you got caught lip synching.”

I saw Milli Vanilli on TV last night. He really does play for the Red Sox. He really did make it to the World Series. He didn’t get any dances from Autumn or Avalon though.


In The Spirit Of Global Understanding

Posted in Gridiron at 8:08 pm by

Since Tony Siragusa claims to be “worried on the biggest play nobody will say anything, but then, like, cheer the punter” during Sunday’s telecast of the Giants/Dolphins game from London, this might be a good opportunity to remind one and all that misconceptions about another country are hardly limited to Fox Sports blowhards.

MLB To Denver : Forget The Frantix, You’re Getting Carrie Underwood

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 7:56 pm by

(no reunion this weekend, Rockies fans)

Sports journalism’s no.1 Jim Ross tribute act, Tracy Ringolsby of the Rocky Mountain News on Major League Baseball’s pick to sing the National Anthem prior to Game 3.

Dick and Charlie Monfort, the Rockies general partnership, are active in the beef industry. Their grandfather, Warren Monfort, and father, Ken Monfort, created Greeley-based Monfort Inc., which was one of the largest meat-packing companies in the world. It is now a part of Swift Co.

Carrie Underwood, meanwhile, was voted “world™s sexiest vegetarian,” by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in 2007, the second time she has been selected for the award. She also is a supporter of the Humane Society of the United States, which has taken stands against the beef industry, rodeo and hunting.

She recently deleted a link to the HSUS Web site from her official Web site.

Rockies officials said they were not consulted on the decisions about who would sing the national anthem. “Major League Baseball told us who the singers would be,” said Jay Alves, Rockies vice president of communications.

A Day Later, Pondering The Leaning Tower Of Matt Holliday

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, Sports TV at 7:32 pm by

Though Bad Altitude finds some slim consolation in “the Red Sox haven’t had to use any of their vulnerable pitchers — which is every single one of them besides Beckett, Schilling, Okajima, and Papelbon — in a close-game situation yet”, there’s also the not-so-small matter of Colorado’s likely MVP leaving taking the bat out of Todd Helton’s hands in the last of the 8th Thursday night.

The Fanhouse’s Pat Lackey, unduly distracted by some marketing nonsense of some sort of another, fails to understand there’s only one option for the real fan during this Fall Classic ; fake your IP address so you can watch the MLB.com international feed instead of Fox’s promo-happy presentation.

Starting with last night’s “unscripted” conversation between Royce Clayton and Coco Crisp about the free taco giveaway (you can call it unscripted all you want, but why else would ROYCE CLAYTON be mic’d up?) I think Buck and McCarver have talked more about the free tacos than baseball. They replayed the conversation tonight, they celebrated in the booth when Jacoby Ellsbury stole a base, they played ANOTHER conversation between Clayton and Ellsbury with Clayton urging Ellsbury to steal a base for America, and they interviewed Taco Bell’s creepy COO. His empty eyes bored a hole into the camera and my Fox-addled soul. Not only that, Jub-Jub asked the Stepford-COO about giving away “Millions of dollars of free tacos.” Try tens of thousands of dollars of free tacos, maybe.

It’s been some kinda career for Clayton ; from the shortstop who replaced The Wizard, to the mouthpiece that took on tasks that would embarrass Eric Byrnes.

Vescey On Stern’s Change In Gambling Policy

Posted in Basketball at 5:13 pm by

NBA commissioner David Stern went to great pains last July to paint former referee Tim Donaghy as a “rouge, isolated criminal”, claiming that no other officials would be implicated in the league’s betting scandal. Fast forward to yesterday and with the revelation that some Association zebras had engaged in casino and golf wagering, Stern described his gambling ban as œ too absolute, too harsh, and not particularly well enforced over the years.”

The New York Post’s Peter Vescey
considers Stern’s new, non-hysterical approach, claiming “whistle blowers have been gambling in casinos and at the track, as well as betting on sporting events (their own, too, I’d wager, though you can’t quote me) long before I began covering pro basketball in the late 1960s.”

Rules forbidding gambling of any kind (exempting the track during the offseason) have been in force for many moons, but they’ve rarely, if ever, been enforced. As long as refs kept a low profile when playing craps or blackjack, whatever, at their favorite upscale hangout, nobody seemed to care enough to investigate.

That’s probably because so many other NBA-related people – players, coaches, general managers, league administrators, sports writers – were out and about doing their share of gambling.

We’re talking high-stake card games that take place on charters (out in the open when teams flew commercial), hotel rooms (late into the a.m. with a playoff game that night), bus rides (or trains when that was the mode of travel), in executive suites and behind closed doors in team offices. And what about all the green exchanging hands after the 18th green? And the football pools? And the lotteries? And on and on.

If you’re a referee, all of that is strictly prohibited. To engage in any of it could result in a suspension or dismissal.

If you were a player, coach, GM, Stu Jackson or David Stern, you were free to gamble your life away.

The fact the rule only applied to refs is one of the reasons the commissioner has decided, at long last, to eradicate the inequitable double standard . . . and 28 or so naughty refs thank him for it.

Now if only Stern would apply that same common sense to the league’s ridiculously rigid rule (automatic one-game suspension) regarding players who leave the bench (a step or two) during a disturbance.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Jerry Zgoda suggests Antoine Walker should be looking to rent, not buy in the Twin Cities. Though who knows how seriously ‘Toine’s career might recover if the T-Wolves appointed Aaron Gleeman as his personal nutritionist?