10.26.07

What Do Morrissey & Junior Soprano Have In Common?

Posted in Rock Und Roll at 3:31 pm by

Besides ruthless treatment of rhythm sections, that is.    Apparently, they both share a particular talent they’d rather not have advertised.

Grouchy Crouchy : Gills Fans R Ugly

Posted in Football at 3:12 pm by

Not quite Oscar Wilde (nor the new Buford Pusser) former QPR striker / current Liverpool benchwarmer Peter Crouch’s autobiography, ‘Walking Tall : My Story’ hit the shelves this week, and the Guardian’s Simon Hawkins finds the England international with an unusual axe to grind.

Across two pages of his new autobiography Crouch (above) sticks the boot into Gillingham. Not just the club and its fans, but the whole, unsuspecting community.”Dad remembers his first visit to that Medway town in Kent quite clearly,” writes Crouch, embarking on a memorable scene-setting stanza. In it, his father – high-flying advertising executive Bruce – visits a pub where the locals are “watching ‘Supermarket Sweep’ on television and betting on it with cash.” He then observes a chap pouring oil into a drain while his child gambols merrily with a Staffordshire bull terrier. “If you’ve never had the pleasure of visiting Gillingham,” he concludes, “I hope that puts you in the picture.”

Why the rather classist hostility? Well, Crouch goes on to recount a nasty experience at the Priestfield early in his career when, playing for QPR, the distinctive young colt received an unpleasant reception from a group of home fans he likens to “the hillbillies in the film Deliverance”.

He was unimpressed with the aesthetic qualities of the clientele in general, in fact. “Looking around at the faces of the home support at Gillingham, the irony was never lost on me that these people had the cheek to call me a ‘freak’. Perhaps they should have taken a look at themselves first,” he says, still in the highest of dudgeon, seven years on.

Of course, Crouch didn’t actually write the book. It was ghosted by the Independent’s Sam Wallace, and you do wonder how such curiously contentious passages actually came into being, an Everton-baiting extract having already hit the headlines in the run-up to last Saturday’s Merseyside derby.

What do the good people of Gillingham – club and town – make of their unpleasant cameo?

“I support the club, I work for the club and I’m not going to let people drag it down when it shouldn’t be dragged down,” says an indignant Steve Lovell, Gillingham’s football in the community officer. Lovell is one of Gillingham’s favourite sons, having played and coached at the Priestfield, and he’s a little bemused by the big lad’s continued anguish, looking back at the game in question.

“I was actually sitting in the stand near where he was getting this stick, but it was only normal stick that any person would get,” he says. “You’ve got to rise above it; if you’ll excuse the pun.”

Peter Bagge On Stadium Financing

Posted in Baseball, Basketball, Gridiron, The Marketplace, Ugly New Stadiums at 2:50 pm by

From Reason.com, and sadly, without a Studs Kirby cameo.

Catching Up With The Man That Tried (And Failed) To Discourage Big Sexy

Posted in Sports Journalism at 11:53 am by

With Dave Zirin jumping all over Jason Whitlock’s most recent diatribe against “hip hop buffoons” in NFL locker rooms (a piece previously pilloried by Jason Cohen last weekend), The Austin Chronicle’s Kevin Bass considers Whitlock’s long memory.

“Wasting energy worrying about what white folks think about us is fruitless,” nationally syndicated sports columnist Jason Whitlock, who is black, recently told The Big Lead, a sports blog. To make his point, Whitlock recalled his decision 15 years ago to quit The Charlotte Observer for a job in Ann Arbor. The editor of the paper “made it a point to hunt me down in the main newsroom to tell me that I wouldn’t make it in this business and that I’d return to the Observer and beg for my old job,” he said.

That editor was Rich Oppel, now the guiding light of the Austin American-Statesman.

“Now I have no idea if Rich Oppel is or was a bigot,” Whitlock told the blog. “I just figured he was petty and stupid.”

Whitlock eventually landed at The Kansas City Star, where he writes a sports column, and makes guest appearances on ESPN and The Oprah Winfrey Show. “I’ve run across a lot of Rich Oppels in this business; small, petty people who want to put a glass ceiling on people they don’t like and prop up the people they favor,” Whitlock said. “They can be worked around and ignored.”

Responding via e-mail, Oppel says he doesn’t remember telling Whitlock he wouldn’t make it in the business. “In fact, my intent was to keep him at the Observer, which I wouldn’t have done if I thought he was a loser,” Oppel wrote. Whitlock’s column often appears in the Statesman’s “guest column” spot on page 2 of the sports section, Oppel notes. “We’re delighted to publish his work and I’m personally happy and proud that he’s been so successful,” he wrote.

Asked about Oppel’s response (Oppel sent him a copy), Whitlock said he had “no fight” with Oppel. “Newspaper editors do what newspaper editors do,” he said in an e-mail. “Their ‘intent’ is to retain talent with insults, threats, and disrespect. Other industries retain talent with pay raises and promotions.”

He emphasized that he’s not complaining. “I’m sure Oppel meant well and learned that recruiting technique at a diversity seminar,” he said. “I’ve seen it executed far worse.”

At the risk of telling Mr. Bass that he’ll never make it in this business (and claiming to have treasured his work some years later), it should be stressed that Whitlock’s “guest appearances” are famously a thing of the past, and the circumstances surrounding the split are an awfully big part of Big Sexy lore. Surely Whitlock’s new paymasters would like to see a plug for his contemporary work every now and then?

Zdeno Chara Is No Longer Eligible For The Lady Byng Trophy

Posted in Hockey at 11:18 am by

Please, enough about Hideki Okajim punching out 4 RockiesZdeno Cheno’s dismantling of Chicago’s David Koci won the former some serious pugilistic cred, even if the Garden was only half full for the occasion.

Did Craig Carton Graduate From The Channing Crowder Academy?

Posted in Gridiron, Sports Radio, We Aren't The World at 11:11 am by

Earlier today on WFAN, Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton quizzed former Giants coach Jim Fassel about Big Blue’s weekend sojourn to Wembley Stadium. Predictably, Fassel describe himself as “old school”, and bemoaned what the loss of this game would mean to Miami’s season ticket holders (presumably denied a chance to witness their club going 0-16). Carton joined the chorus of derision, insisting “the flight will take 2-3 days”.

I’d hate to characterize Carton as frighteningly ignorant, so instead I’ll merely suggest he might be very relieved to find out there’s an entire civilization beyond the tri-state area. Either that, or he needs a new travel agent.

Beano Cook Keeps Up With The Cultural Zeitgeist

Posted in Gridiron, Sports Journalism, Sports TV at 12:02 am by

What we really need in 2007 are more Spiro Agnew jokes.

10.25.07

Yanks Disconnect ESPN From The Party Line

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 11:36 pm by

Newsday’s Neil Best reported yesterday the Yankees are steamed with the WWL over an alleged breach of protocol.

The Yankees have barred ESPN from news media conference calls with their managerial candidates this week. The move was in retaliation for the network violating rules covering last week’s call on which it was announced Joe Torre had turned down a contract offer.

Jason Zillo, the Yankees’ media relations director, said yesterday afternoon he told operators conducting calls with Joe Girardi Monday and Don Mattingly Tuesday not to accept ESPN as an affiliation.

He added the same policy would apply for yesterday’s Tony Peña call.

“If the only dialogue ESPN is going to give me is that, ‘We are going to do whatever we want to do,’ it leaves me with very few alternatives,” he said. “I don’t take any pride in stiff-arming people. That is not how I like to do business.”

ESPN angered Zillo last Thursday when it played the call with team executives live on ESPN2, violating ground rules that barred live coverage. He was further annoyed by an ESPN statement on the incident that appeared in Newsday and read:

“The most important thing to our fans was for us to provide this major sports news as it was breaking.” ESPN presumably meant sports fans, not fans of the network, but Zillo shot back:

“I don’t see many people walking around the streets with ESPN jerseys on their backs. I don’t know what fans they’re talking about.”

Clearly, Zillo hasn’t seen Stephen A. Smith’s new commercials for the ’07-08 NBA season.

Brady, Beckett & Schilling Fuck Off – For One Night, Matt Ryan Has Boston’s Best Right Arm

Posted in General, Gridiron at 10:33 pm by

An impressive 58 minutes of football for Virginia Tech aside, full credit to no. 2 Boston College for a tremendous 4th quarter comeback on the road…and perhaps the only excuse for channel flipping in this otherwise baseball-centric household.

Mostly because “I Love New York 2″ isn’t on again until Monday.

As if Rudy G.’s flip-flopping weren’t bad enough, what’s up with Philly’s Boyz II Men singing “God Bless America” at Fenway? Surely there’s a greater residency requirement than being associated with Maurice Starr?

Larry David Blows Off The Truly Troubled

Posted in non-sporting journalism, The World Of Entertainment at 8:07 pm by

(l-r : Jeff Garlin and Larry, after reading Sasha Frere-Jones’ “A Paler Shade of White”

The New Yorker’s Jacob Ward spoke with UNC psychology student David Roberts in the current issue, as the latter has tried to treat the schizophrenic with ” television™s purest expression of social dysfunction”, Larry David’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm”.

Roberts considers Larry David to be the perfect proxy for a schizophrenic person. œOn his way into his dentist™s office, he holds the door open for a woman, and, as a result, she™s seen first, he said. œHe stews, he fumes, he explodes. He™s breaking the social rules that folks with schizophrenia often break. He went on, œOr the one where Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen invite Larry and his wife to a concert: the night arrives, they don™t call, Larry assumes they don™t like him, then it turns out he got the date wrong. It™s a classic example of a major social cognitive error”jumping to conclusions”that schizophrenic patients are prone to. As the patients watched David flub situation after situation, they laughed, and they willingly discussed with Roberts how they might behave in the same circumstances. œThat bald man made a mountain out of a molehill! one woman called out during a session.

Larry David has been replaced, however. When no one at œCurb Your Enthusiasm responded to a request for permission to use clips from the show, Roberts and UNC advisor David Penn hired actors to film their own cringe-worthy situations.

Larry David, reached on the telephone in California, said that he hadn™t realized how deeply the awkwardness on his show would affect people. œIt just deals with how you™re supposed to behave, he said. œA lot of the time, it™s just me expressing myself freely. I knew that my own mental health was problematic, but should I be worried? I mean, I blow up, too! Is this something undiagnosed? Do I need to see a clinical psychologist?

London – Packed With English Speakers, Black People And English-Speaking Black People

Posted in Gridiron, We Aren't The World at 4:34 pm by

From the Palm Beach Post’s Tim Graham :

Maybe he was joking, but gregarious Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder (above) confessed today he didn™t know until Tuesday that people spoke English in London.

Crowder, a former Florida Gator and Atlanta native, apparently isn™t sure where the plane is headed when it takes off this afternoon for Sunday™s game against the New York Giants in Wembley Stadium.

œI couldn™t find London on a map if they didn™t have the names of the countries, Crowder said. œI swear to God. I don™t know what nothing is. I know Italy looks like a boot. I learned that.

œI know (Washington Redskins linebacker) London Fletcher. We did a football camp together. So I know him. That™s the closest thing I know to London. He™s black, so I™m sure he™s not from London. I™m sure that™s a coincidental name.

In Crowder’s defense, much of America if not the educated world might be equally blown away to learn English is both spoken and read in Gainesville, FL.

Somebody Else Tito Left Off The World Series Roster

Posted in Baseball, Rock Und Roll at 3:48 pm by

And you thought Derek Lowe was a modern lover. Jonathan Richman, as reimagined by Glyphjockey’s Lex10.

Sewage + Sting ≠ Cub 2007 World Series

Posted in Baseball at 1:19 pm by

(Sting’s fans at Wrigley, keeping the Cubs from their first World Series in 99 years.)

The Chicago Tribune’s Paul Sullivan reports today that the Cubs announced their first move towards an October 2008 World Series appearance by going ahead with Roger Bossard’s plans to renovate the field. Bossard, of course, is the man who turned Fenway Red Sox Stadium and the Cell into World Series quality sod pits. Two items of note here: 1) the field will be lowered by several feet, meaning we may finally find Kerry Wood’s lost seasons, and 2) this summer’s Police reunion shows are conclusively determined to have held the Cubs out of the World Series (see below). Let’s recap: Corgan sings, Cubs lose; Buffet live CD shows, Baker’s 2006 season (‘nuf sed); The Police play, city cites sewage issues, field ruined. Wrigley’s musical director needs to be shown the door. I’ll say it again: sports and the music industry don’t mix. Right CG?

They were optimistically hoping for the Cubs to make the World Series, and they spent about $200,000 on new sod for postseason games after the outfield grass was severely damaged during the Police concerts in July.

But the Cubs wound up playing only one home playoff game at Wrigley as Arizona swept them in the division series.

“The idea now is that if we get started soon and have the construction done between now and December, it should be OK,” McGuire said.

McGuire said the city must OK the project because it involves the existing sewer system in and around the ballpark.

“It’s really about water flow, which is a major hurdle,” he said. “It’s really a simple project ¦ but it comes down to working with the city. We have an antiquated sewer system around us, and the city is concerned we don’t push more water into the system. They want the status quo, which is what we’ve designed into the project.”

The field will be lowered by several feet after the renovation, giving the Cubs the option to add another row or two of seats, though no expansion plan has been announced.

For Trade : A Quarter Century Of Stroke Mags For One Rox W.S. Ticket

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 12:57 pm by

Despite Jerry Remy declaring Game One of the 2007 World Series “boring”, there’s one enterprising Colorado man who’d rank a trip to Games 3 of 4 far ahead of what might be the real National Pastime (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory).

From CBS Denver’s Terry Jessup.

Little league baseball coach Bobby Padilla just wants to take his son to a World Series game, so he’s carted up from his basement boxes full of 25 years worth of Playboy magazines, not a missing month, in mint condition. He bought the magazines nine years ago for $200 as a favor to a friend.

“My wife told me to get them out of the house,” Bobby laughed. “They’re taking up too much room in the basement.”

“Every time my girls go in there, they’re like, ‘Mommy, what’s in these boxes?’” Bobby’s wife Nicole said.

Playboy Radio heard about Bobby’s offer to trade them all for two World Series tickets and couldn’t believe he’d part with them.

“They put me on the air and asked me what I thought; why was I doing this,” Bobby said.

He said it’s because he struck out mixing a lineup of at least 10 computers trying to buy tickets online. He said nobody has inquired about the magazines yet.

On a slightly related tip, I’m willing to swap several boxes of Mid America Fists In Action editions from the 1990′s for a ticket to Monday’s Packers/Broncos game. If the boxes are sealed and say “Conflict” on the outside, don’t be alarmed. That’s just a precautionary measure to ensure fewer hassles from the authorities. Contact me via this website.

Barry Bonds – King Of The After-Dinner Speakers

Posted in Baseball at 12:28 pm by

Along with expressing his desire to play for the Yankees (“but the Yankees already have two DH’s, so that dream will never happen”), the Sultan Of Surly brought his special brand of charm to the banquet circuit last night.  From the AP’s Janine McCauly :

The 43-year-old home run king heard a long list of his accomplishments read during a special speaking forum Wednesday night hosted by the Commonwealth Club, then was asked by KGO Radio host Ray Taliaferro if he’d really reached all those feats.

Fourteen All-Star game selections. A record seven NL MVPs. Eight Gold Glove awards.

“I did, and then I got fired,” Bonds told a group of about 450 people in the audience. “Shame on me, huh?”

Bonds, dressed in a dark suit jacket and tie, entered to a roaring standing ovation and repeatedly drew loud applause from an adoring crowd through the nearly 90-minute forum. They chanted, “Barry! Barry!” One person hollered, “We love you.” Others took pictures on cell phone cameras or sported shirts with Bonds’ No. 25.

“I told Peter Magowan, ‘If I’m a part-time player, I’m still better than your full-time player, and it’s a wise idea to keep me,’” Bonds said. “We still have time. Things might change.”

Bonds also said that if he were running the franchise, the Giants would have won a World Series by now. They fell five outs short in 2002, and one thing the slugger is still missing on his remarkable resume is a championship ring.

“They’ve been here since 1958,” Bonds said. “We’d win a World Series. I know the game so well. I can see talent. I know exactly what I’d be looking for.”

Is the club any closer to winning it all?

“I can’t answer that. I don’t work there anymore,” Bonds quipped, then howled in laughter. “My philosophy in sports is you don’t break things up. You add to it.”

In Which Tommy Smyth Resists The Temptation To Drop The Name “Bill Buckner”

Posted in Football at 10:14 am by

The consolation for Manuel Neurer is that he’ll probably end up on some year-end/Xmas DVD.

Possibly even one co-hosted by Marc Riley.

Were This Story About The “Chess King” Killer, Everything Would Make Sense

Posted in Chess, The Law at 10:01 am by

The diligent editor of I’m Sorry I Had To Kill That Guy asks “is chess a sport?” Not in this instance. From the Guardian’s
Bagila Bukharbayeva.

A Russian man who claimed he wanted to record a murder for every square on a chessboard was found guilty yesterday of killing 48 people in Moscow.A jury took less than three hours to convict Alexander Pichushkin, 33, of the murders, most of which occurred over five years in a sprawling park in southern Moscow. After the five-week trial he was also found guilty of three attempted murders. The judge read out the hour-long verdict to a courthouse packed with journalists and relatives of victims.

Most of Pichushkin’s victims were killed in Bitsevsky Park, and the serial killer became known as the “Bitsa Maniac”.

Pichushkin boasted of killing 63 – one short of filling up the chessboard – but prosecutors were only able to find evidence for 48 murders.

Prosecutors said Pichushkin lured his victims to the park by promising them vodka if they would join him in mourning the death of his dog. He killed most of his victims by throwing them into a sewage pit after they were drunk, and in a few cases strangled or hit them in the head, prosecutors said. Beginning in 2005, he began to kill with “particular cruelty”, the prosecutor said.

Let’s spare a thought for the real victims of this tragedy — how difficult do you think it will be for the Brainbombs to write a song about chess?

Stephen Colbert: A Stronger Candidate In South Carolina Than Steve Spurrier

Posted in politics at 8:33 am by

…and outperforming Renaldo Balkman in national polls as well! Well, I’m guessing on those. But here’s a little bit of strange meta-political nonsense to start your day off right. The political polling group Rasmussen Reports, uh, reports that:

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that Colbert is preferred by 13% of voters as an independent candidate challenging Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Rudy Giuliani. The survey was conducted shortly after Colbert™s surprise announcement that he is lusting for the Oval Office.

The result is similar when Fred Thompson is the Republican in the three-way race. With Thompson as the GOP candidate, Colbert earns 12% of the vote.

..Colbert does particularly well with the younger voters most likely to be watching his show and therefore most aware of his myriad presidential-like qualities. In the match-up with Giuliani and Clinton, Colbert draws 28% of likely voters aged 18-29. He draws 31% of that cohort when his foes are Thompson and Clinton. In both match-ups, Colbert has more support with young voters than the GOP candidate.

The fact that the emphasis was in the original probably means this is bad news for the Republican nominees? “Presidential-like qualities” is a very funny formulation to me, too. Anyway, even though their candidates are, when it comes to the young folks, currently running behind a guy who waves a giant flag in front of the word “Gutly” during the opening credits of his program, things could still be worse for the GOP — although that will change when polling numbers become available for Colbert versus former Pennsylvania GOP gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann.

Reports Of James Garner’s Passing Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Posted in The World Of Entertainment at 12:27 am by

If Richie Brockelman outlived Jim Rockford, I’m gonna be very angry. Damn that Goner Bulletin Board.

10.24.07

Will Leitch Fan Club Prez Pleads With SI To Limit His Hero’s Workload

Posted in Blogged Down, Sports Journalism at 9:28 pm by

Though Rick Reilly’s departure for ESPN presumably leaves a back of the book void at Sports Illustrated, Dan Shanoff boldly proposes Reilly’s replacement be “THE leading voice of the sports fan today.” And while I wouldn’t have thought Rog was available, it turns out Shanoff is referring to none than Deadspin’s Will Leitch.

If you’re under 30, if you knew who Reilly was at all (and you probably don’t know or, more likely, don’t care), you know Reilly as the author of those columns that — if they didn’t have Reilly’s byline — you’d wonder why editors at SI were putting warmed-over Page 2 column ideas on their back page. (The nadir: Reilly’s tortured “live-blog” of the NFL Draft, which nearly offset his campaign to raise money for malaria nets, which was inspired.)

On the other hand, Will Leitch (above) couldn’t be more relevant. He launched and writes the most influential proposition in sports, a blog that not only is the center of gravity for the entire sports blogosphere, but drives a healthy portion of sports newspaper, radio and TV conversation, too.

That’s precisely the kind of impact that a brand like SI needs. It needs relevancy, not with its established and aging base of magazine readers who might enjoy Reilly, but with its unestablished and young base of cross-platform consumers who do enjoy Leitch.

Yet for all of Leitch’s talents as a blogger, he’s an even better essayist, as anyone who has read his column series on either the NCAA Tournament or the MLB playoffs knows.

What makes Leitch so unique for that role is that, for all of the “Underground” populism, he is a purist at heart. He cares about sports in a way that old school guys like Reilly — who long ago drifted into cynicism cloaked under some kind of stab at “humor” — simply can’t grasp. It’s why Reilly can’t connect with younger consumers anymore. Leitch combines a reverence for what made SI great with a unique empathy for today’s sports fans and a unique understanding of today’s sports landscape. Consequently, he can uniquely bridge the gap between SI’s older consumers and its younger ones, its bygone golden era and its future.

Though I find it somewhat curious that one of Leitch’s pals is dying to see Will taken out of circulation save for one page a week, it could be tremendous fun to see who Gawker Media might appoint to take over Deadspin. Jay Mohr hasn’t really found a project that fit his unique skill-set since “Action”. This wouldn’t be it, either, but I’d love to see it happen.

Jeff Johnson Takes Full Advantage Of Robert Chambers’ Recent Legal Woes

Posted in Blogged Down, Cinema, Free Expression, Rock Und Roll at 8:44 pm by

Not satisfied with hailing Hall & Oates’ “Maneater” with such praise as “who could resist the temptation of a 41-second saxophone solo that basically sounds like a rhino getting a blowjob?”, Fitted Sweats’ Jeff Johnson is deeply troubled by the video for Roxy Music’s “More Than This”.

I’ve been on these drugs before, and I don’t like them. I watch this and I feel like Bret Easton Ellis is going to pop up out of nowhere and stuff his cock in something that I generally put food in. Bryan Ferry looks too much like Robert Chambers here. His eyes are maybe romantic? Or coke-addled? Not sure. I like Roxy Music. I like their body of work. And this song is almost excellent, the lyrics are really great, but it is missing something, and the video doesn’t do a very good job of sweeping it under the rug.

Sofia Coppola, who’s fashioned an entire persona out of acting as chilly and disaffected as Kim Gordon, wisely had Bill Murray karaoke this song in Lost in Translation. Personally, I would have liked to have seen Murray do “Under the Milky Way” by The Church (at 20, it’s almost old/obscure enough now to reintroduce through the hipster prism) or drunkenly scream his way thru “Back of Love” by Echo & The Bunnymen. But his character was SUBTLE. Okay, I get it. You know what would have slayed? Him doing “shipbuilding” with Robert Wyatt’s creepy voice.

But anyway, we got “More Than This” and a very, very charming movie. If you only watch it one time. Lost in Translation, on repeated viewings is really grim, and sort of insulting.

Carlson On Big Blue’s Business Trip To London

Posted in Gridiron, The Marketplace, We Aren't The World at 8:14 pm by

(the Fridge actually participated in something more embarrassing than “The Super Bowl Shuffle”)

While this weekend’s Giants/Dolphis tilt presents an opportunity for the inevitable photo-op pairing Jeremy Shockey with Pete Doherty, Ch. 5 football analyst Mike Carlson tells the Guardian that while “American football is never going to replace Britain’s own major sports,” gridiron’s impact on the business of British sports cannot be understated.

Twenty-five years ago Channel 4 began its Sunday television coverage. Within four years Superbowl drew four million viewers and the Chicago Bears – complete with the William “The Fridge” Perry – sold out Wembley for an exhibition game./p>

If I had told you then that English football teams would be playing in a Premier League in all-seat stadiums with matches live on television on Saturdays, Sundays and Monday nights, with players from all over the world wearing squad numbers and names on their jerseys and with commentators using telestrators to analyse matches, you would have called me crazy.

Last weekend we saw the rugby World Cup final arguably decided by video replay, Jonny Wilkinson and Clive Woodward – when he was England coach – have used coaches from American football, and cheerleaders prowl the sidelines at some rugby clubs. All of this is prompted by the sharp shock of American football at a time when hooliganism in football and traditionalism in TV had left British sports moribund.

This weekend’s game is likely to kickstart the NFL’s popularity in Britain for a second cycle, but the aims are different from what they were in the 80s. When I spoke to the New York Giants players last week in Atlanta they said that London was primarily a business trip – as it is for the league. The sport’s decline in the UK came because too much of its best product has been available on British television, leaving fans unwilling to invest in second best.

The new NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, wagered that the million-plus hardcore fans in Britain would flock to see the best product the league has to offer. He has been proved right this year. But with NFL owners moving increasingly into the Premier League, the question is not whether American football will replace soccer but whether soccer will come to resemble American football in the way its franchises – no longer clubs – are run.

NFL Throws Retired Players A $10 Million Bone

Posted in Gridiron at 7:05 pm by

From CBS Sports.com :

The NFL added $10 million to its medical fund for retired players Wednesday, designating the money for joint replacement surgery, cardiovascular screening and assisted living.

The sum will be added to a $7 million fund agreed upon in July by the league and its players’ union. It will be supplemented by money from player fines, plus contributions from the NFL Players Association and other retired players groups.

This is the latest step in a dispute concerning retired players and their pensions. Last year, a group of prominent retirees targeted Gene Upshaw (above), the NFLPA’s executive director, for paying too much attention to current players and not enough to former players.

On the contrary, Gene Upshaw has paid plenty of attention to former players. He takes note of their criticism, and threatens to break their necks.

While I’m sure any improvement over the prior package is welcome, guys like Bob Kraft floss their teeth with $10 million. Heck, even Rick Reilly can make that kind of money.

Esquire’s Levin Risks The Wrath of Sully’s Across The Nation

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 6:44 pm by

(“did someone order ‘extra large’?”)

Between Scott Raab and Jay Levin, it’s beautiful see how a mainstream media outlet like Esquire has learned to compete with blogs —- tons of profanity! But seriously, what’s up with an Esquire contributor blasting someone for looking like a male porn star? Isn’t that the goal of the average men’s magazine reader?

For anyone other than the old Boston diehards and the enormous Frontrunner Diaspora, the Sox are definitely not a likeable bunch. At all.

First you™ve got Dice-K, $103 million dollars later, getting out-dueled for the time-honored title of 40th-best-ERA-in-the-AL — but hey, that™s a tough gig, going head-to-head with Jarrod Washburn like that. Over-hyped, overpaid and staring blankly into space — yeah, the fans love that kind of thing.

Like you said, Schill is a Hall of Fame blowhard, first-ballot all the way. And Youk doesn™t look like a prison guard, he looks like the pizza guy in a gay porn flick (or so I™m told). Crisp is a hack and so™s Lugo — and I really mean it this time — and Ellsbury™s just another Dave Roberts, only too young to shave.

Manny™s all-talent-no-brains-no-class shtick is the most tired act in sports — once he casually tells a reporter that Schilling kind of sucks, he™ll be indistinguishable from T.O. As for Tavarez, my best guess is he™s only on the roster to keep Manny from roaming the streets, indiscriminately asking strangers for weed.

Papelbon is just a jackass. And I hate to break it to you, but most anyone who isn™t a Sox fan wants to knock all the teeth right out of Pedroia™s smug little mouth. I™m not saying he deserves it, I™m just saying he evokes it.

Can’t Something Be Done About Spam?

Posted in Basketball, The Marketplace at 6:08 pm by

October 24, 2007
Dear New York Knicks Fan,

The 2007-08 New York Knicks season tickets and partial plans are now available and now is the best time to join in the action and excitement at The World’s Most Famous Arena, Madison Square Garden.

Full- Season Ticket plans consist of every Knicks Home game played at The Garden, guaranteed same seats for every game, as well as full playoff rights in your seats.  In addition to the great seats, you will be saving over 50% off individual games with our season subscriber prices that are offered.  With your purchase of season tickets, you would have an exclusive invitation to a Knicks Meet the Team Event, discounts on Knicks gifts and merchandise and our new subscriber gift, a framed photo of your favorite current Knicks player or a former Knicks Legend.  Act now with your American Express card and your framed photo will be autographed, as well.

New York Knicks partial plans are also available, with different plans ranging from a Half-Season Plan (20-22 games), a Mini-Plan (13-15 games), a Micro Plan (8 games) and a Pick-Plan (3 games). With the purchase of a Half or Mini Plan, you would be guaranteed playoff rights, as well.  Please look over the attached schedules closely so that you can determine which plan best suits your needs.

If you have any questions regarding the attached schedules do not hesitate to contact me. I can be reached at (212) 631-5628 or via email at james.dasilva@thegarden.com.

Thank you for supporting the New York Knicks and I look forward to speaking with you again very soon.  Come catch the excitement of Knicks Basketball this season at Madison Square Garden.

Jim DaSilva
Madison Square Garden
Account Executive- Season Subscriptions  

If Marv Albert doesn’t count as a former Knicks legend, I’m holding out for Kenny Walker.