11.26.07

Kevin Dubrow, Dead At 52

Posted in Rock Und Roll at 5:34 pm by

Some will remember Kevin Dubrow as the journeyman vocalist whose career received it’s biggest boost from a Slade cover. Others (ie. me) will remember Kevin as the Las Vegas morning radio DJ who sang an off-key version of “The Star Spangled Banner” before a Thunder (IHL) game at the Thomas & Mack Center in 1995.  And other still, will remember the late Dubrow as the man whose MTV.com obituary was almost totally copped from Wikipedia.

Today, however, I’d like to remember him as a great humanitarian.

The Curse Of NBA Live

Posted in Basketball, Video Games at 4:02 pm by

“Most NFL fans are familiar with the Madden Curse,” writes the Washington Post’s Michael Lee, ” and the more I thought about it, the more I decided that I should look and see if there is some sort of NBA Live Curse, since both games are made by EA Sports.” I don’t know about Gilbert’s knee troubles, but I can certainly vouch for plenty of NBA Live Cursing in this house, particularly when I get my ass kicked by some invisible stoner over the broadband.

NBA Live ’05
Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets

Could Anthony have had a worse encore to his rookie season? Before the 2004-05 season started, he clashed with Coach Larry Brown in the Athens Olympics, got into a fight at a club in New York, was cited for marijuana possession (a charge that was later dropped) and three men tried to extort him for $3 million in exchange for a tape of the fight.

Then, he was involved in a controversy for a brief appearance in an underground DVD, “Stop Snitching,” which glorified the drug trade and showed drug dealers threatening to kill people who snitch on them.

Anthony was so bummed that his poor play contributed to Jeff Bzdelik getting fired midseason. He needed George Karl to come out of an ESPN booth to make a miraculous run to the playoffs, where the Nuggets lost in the first round. Anthony averaged a career-low 20.8 points and 5.7 rebounds. Not good.

NBA Live ’02
Steve Francis, Houston Rockets

Bingo. The Franchise averaged career-highs of 21.6 points and 7 rebounds with 6.4 assists. He also made his first all-star start. What’s the problem? Francis was affected by an inner ear infection that gave him daily migraines. The disorder, combined with a foot injury, forced him to miss 25 games.

The good news, though, was the Rockets were so bad that they were able to draft Yao Ming No. 1. A Curse and a Gift.

NBA Live ’01
Kevin Garnett, Minnesota Timberwolves

Bad. Bad. Bad. This was a season that greatly affected Garnett and the Timberwolves, but not because of anything that happened on the court. Garnett suffered a huge loss in the summer of 2000, when his closest friend on the team – and the reason he chose to wear No. 21 – Malik Sealy died in a car accident. Garnett paid homage to Sealy for the rest of his time in Minnesota, keeping an empty locker stall next to his which read, “No. 2 Sealy.”

During the season, Minnesota was caught in a salary-cap tampering scandal involving Joe Smith which resulted in the Timberwolves losing five first-round draft picks (the number was later reduced to three) and receiving a $3.5 million fine. Vice president of basketball operations Kevin McHale also was forced into an unpaid leave of absence.

On the court, Garnett played 81 games and managed to produce 22 points, 11.4 rebounds and 5 assists. The Timberwolves, however, were bounced in four games in the first round against San Antonio. Pretty bad overall.

Damning evidence, and the exactly sort of thing the Magic had better hope Dwight Howard keeps in mind next June when EA comes courting.

Derby Crash :”Coach Of The Year” Davies Fired

Posted in Football at 1:29 pm by

Having taken just 6 points from 14 matches, is there any surprise Billy Davies is no longer managing the Rams? Other than how Davies somehow outlasted Chris Hutchings?  From the Guardian’s Paul Doyle :

Their performances in the Premier League so far this season have proved that Derby County do not need a decent manager – they need a miracle worker. And the club’s board today decided that Billy Davies doesn’t fit that bill, so has parted company with the man who guided them to promotion last season.

Davies insisted he could leave Pride Park with his “head held high” and that he had no reason to be ashamed. “What’s quite ironic, on the morning of me parting ways with Derby, is that I’m going to the East Midland [Sports] Awards this evening to pick up the coach of the year award,” he said. “I’ve had a wonderful time here, there’s been lots of ups and lots of downs, but in the main I’m very proud of what has been achieved, and I’m now walking through these gates with my head very much held high.”

Davies did admit, however, that he was sad to be leaving. “Of course, it’s always that way because there are great people here, my family are very settled and there’s lots of good friends here,” he added. “But that’s football, we know what football’s all about, and the situation now is that it’s time to move on to pastures new.”

Bookmakers Coral have since suspended betting on Davies’ successor, following a sustained gamble on the MK Dons manager Paul Ince. “We felt the wheels may have already been put in motion with regard to Ince’s appointment,” said Coral’s David Stevens, after Ince’s price was slashed from 10-1 to 4-9 in a matter of hours.

Redskins’ Taylor Shot In Groin

Posted in Gridiron, The Law at 12:22 pm by

After what the Washington Times described as a home invasion, Washington safety Sean Taylor (above, right), rehabbing from a November injury, was shot in the groin this morning . The Miami Herald reports this might’ve been the third time in the past week Taylor’s house was broken into.

Taylor’s lawyer, Mark Sharpstein claims there are “a number of people jealous of Sean’s success”. Probably fewer people this afternoon, I reckon.

Taylor, the 5th overall pick in the 2004 draft, leads the Redskins in interceptions (5).

(UPDATE : further details from the Miami Herald.  According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, Taylor has emerged from 6 hours of surgery and has shown some movement and ability to acknowledge conversation with his doctors).

Boobgate Update : Police, NJSEA Magically Discover Gate D

Posted in Gridiron, Mob Behavior at 11:01 am by

Ignoring the simple fact that Eli Manning’s performance yesterday was the coldest shower imaginable for any Big Blue fans looking to ape the actions of the Jets’ Gate D Apes, the New York Times’ David Picker reports on what amounted to something just short of a SWAT team at Giants Stadium yesterday.

The security presence on the two spiral ramps at Gate D of Giants Stadium was overwhelming Sunday during halftime of the Giants™ game against the Minnesota Vikings. More than 25 state troopers and 50 security guards patrolled the multilevel ramps.

No arrests were made, said Sgt. Stephen Jones, a spokesman for the New Jersey State Police. There were also no ejections, according to George Zoffinger, the departing president and chief executive of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which provides security at Giants Stadium.

œIt was in recognition of a problem that had been gaining a little bit of momentum that we have observed lately, Jones said in a telephone interview after the game. He said security had been increased at each of the stadium™s eight spiral ramps during halftime.

Zoffinger and senior members of his staff were also on the ramps at Gate D during halftime, where it was almost impossible to walk more than a few feet without passing security guards in yellow jackets.

œWhat you didn™t see, and we™re going to continue to do this, is the undercover people we have that can find people that are leaders of any kind of chanting and inappropriate things, Zoffinger said in a telephone interview after the game. œAnd we™re going to make sure that we™re equally up to the task come the next Jets home game.

œWe will do this until we nip the problem in the bud.

In other crowd control news, the Benesowitz family vacation to Anaheim, CA is back on schedule. If there’s a break in the trenchant blogging while you’re enjoying the sights, Alex, we’ll understand.

The Johan Santana Auction

Posted in Baseball at 9:36 am by

“MLB doesn’t like it, but only a handful of teams, the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, Angels and maybe the Dodgers, can pay what Johan Santana is looking for,” an unnamed source tells the NY Post’s Joel Sherman. “But that’s the way it is because he is looking for $120 million for six years and he is the best pitcher in the game.” Which doesn’t, I presume, make Barry Zito the 2nd best pitcher in baseball.

Santana will dominate the Winter Meetings that open Sunday in Nashville. After center fielders Andruw Jones and Aaron Rowand, the free agent market is thin. So, Santana, who will turn 29 in March, will be in the stale air of the Opryland Hotel.

The Yankees will be involved heavily in talks with the Twins for the career 93-44 pitcher who can be a free agent after the 2008 season. Any team willing to give up the bevy of young talent the Twins are looking for will make sure to negotiate a deal with Santana, who has a no-trade clause, before making the deal. He is slated to make $13.5 million next year.

Though the Yankees certainly have the money – they have spent $388 million this offseason to bring back Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Bobby Abreu and Rodriguez – they may not have the talent to land Santana. It generally is assumed throughout baseball that the Yankees won’t include Joba Chamberlain in a deal. But will a package of Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy and Melky Cabrera, who could replace Torii Hunter in center, be enough to top other clubs?

Given the Twins will be opening a new ballpark without either Hunter or Santana, they’re under considerable pressure to hold out for a huge package. Perhaps Hughes, Kennedy, Cabrera and John Sterling’s entire Playbill collection.

Couch Slouch Vs. The BCS

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 1:48 am by

“Americans can be divided into two groups,” write The Washington Post’s Norman Chad. “Those involved in BCS arguments and those who are not.”(“I’d like to invite those who are not over next weekend for a pizza-and-Pabst party, but I don’t know if my condo is large enough to accommodate 10 or 12 people.”) I guess I won’t bother emailing the Slouch asking if Ohio State backs into the national championship game if Oklahoma beats Missouri next Saturday.

No one can really tell you who is No. 1 or No. 2 or No. 22; we’re talking about teams in different parts of a very large country, facing vastly dissimilar schedules. It’s like trying to figure out if Russell Crowe or Keanu Reeves is a better actor — well, maybe that’s a bad example — but how do you compare two guys who play different roles in dissimilar films and never work with the same gaffers?

(Heisman Update: Otherworldly Colt Brennan completed 40 of 53 passes for 495 yards and five touchdowns on national TV — and by that, I mean ESPN2, not Versus — against very-ranked Boise State. He is the Player of Destiny, my friends. What else does he have to do to prove himself, navigate the length of the Mississippi in a gondola?) Being undefeated is no guarantee of being in the national championship game; heck, it’s no guarantee of even earning a BCS berth.

Speaking of which, the BCS says it might not have enough eligible teams for its five bowl games, which means it either has to expand the pool of schools eligible for at-large bids or have Ohio State play itself in Pasadena. Actually, I just think they’re trying to slide Notre Dame into the Fiesta Bowl.

As you may recall, the BCS standings include three components: The USA Today coaches poll, the Harris Interactive poll and an average of six computer rankings. It is an imperfect system dependent on petulant people, somewhat reminiscent of the Ottoman Empire.

I have no faith in humans — in this case, coaches and sportswriters — who are proven to be unreliable; if you don’t believe me, just graze upon any documentary on the History Channel, or C-SPAN.

And who can trust a computer, or don’t you all remember the HAL 9000 in “2001: A Space Odyssey”?

Computers are good for two things — Tetris and Minesweeper.

Computers? Computers? Please. I’ll tell you how treacherous they are: A computer dating service led to my first marriage.

11.25.07

The Training Methods of England’s Football Flops Revealed

Posted in Football at 11:28 pm by

Apparently, Larry Johnson isn’t the only prominent professional with a unique injury rehab routine. From the News Of The World :

Football was the last thing on the minds of several England stars at the bash at Soho’s The Wardour club on October 27 – between two crucial Euro 2008 qualifying matches.

Guests included England and Chelsea captain John Terry and a host of team-mates. The News of the World can reveal the disgraceful scenes at the party also included:

Terry being so drunk he URINATED on the floor and in a cup.

  • Another player begging two lapdancers for a THREESOME.
  • Some guests getting so drunk that they VOMITED on the floor.
  • An ugly SCUFFLE between Shaun Wright-Phillips and a female guest who dared to take his picture.
  • Terry, missing from action through a knee injury, BOUNCING up and down on his bad leg with dancers.

    A video passed to the News of the World shows the defender”out of action after injuring his knee in training before the 2-1 defeat to Russia on October 17”cavorting with two dancers in the VIP area of the club. The film clearly captures Terry, wearing a striped blue and white polo shirt, jigging up and down on his bad leg with the scantily-clad girls. Another witness said: “The pole-dancing area is up a couple of steps so everyone saw what was going on. He’s really going for it and you can see the girls, who were wearing tiny tops and hotpants, were loving it. He even appears to be pretending to rub his groin as he turns to face them at one point.

    “Certainly his movement is amazing. I’m surprised he was out so long with a knee injury because his dancing was pretty fast and furious.”

  • My Invitation Must’ve Been Lost In The Mail

    Posted in Gridiron at 10:20 pm by

    Pro Football Talk is up in arms over the notion of injured LJ making like a dancing fiend in NYC last Monday, but I’m sure he could look the other way if there was a Sprint logo on the postcard above. I’m more offended that someone is taking El Debarge’s name in vain.

    Perhaps Herm Edwards hallucinated for a moment that Johnson was in the lineup today when K.C. went for it on 4th and 1 rather than kick a game-tying field goal in the 4th quarter against Oakland. There’s an ad agency somewhere that’s already started work on Edwards’ Coors press conference ads.

    Gang Green Sex Crimes : Not Limited To Gate D

    Posted in Gridiron, The Law at 5:26 pm by

    Is Jets safety Abram Elam a stand-up guy trying to repair his rep, or a rape accomplice that got off easy? The New York Daily News’ Rich Cimini is, as Mark McGwire might say, here to talk about the past.

    In April 2002, a Notre Dame junior named Lindsay Charles accused three football players of raping her at an off-campus house. A fourth, Elam (above), wasn’t charged with rape, but was in the bedroom. Elam fondled her and wound up being convicted of sexual battery, a felony. The others walked away, no convictions.Charles walked away a psychological mess, friends say, so afraid of retribution in the football-obsessed Notre Dame community that she legally changed her last name while finishing her undergraduate work. (She has since returned to her real name.) Years later, when Elam resurfaced, so did she, waging a smear campaign against him wherever he showed up on the football map.
    “I feel sick to my stomach whenever I think about Abram Elam,” Charles writes in an E-mail to the Daily News. “I am disappointed that an NFL team would sign a convicted sex offender, when there must be other talented men who have not committed heinous crimes. He belongs in a jail cell, not on the gridiron.”

    Elam is “a paper tiger,” says Kathy Redmond, founder of the National Coalition Against Violent Athletes. She acknowledges that Elam “inflicted the least amount of damage” of the four, but she says his most egregious crime was not trying to stop the alleged rape and refusing to testify against the others.

    “He could’ve made a difference if he had shown some courage, telling the whole story the way it really happened without having to feel like he ratted out his boys,” says Redmond, who has worked closely with Charles since the incident. With a hint of hopefulness in her voice, she adds, “There’s no statute of limitations on him doing the right thing.”

    “There is no just punishment for rape,” Charles writes, “but certainly his sentence and its consequences do not even come close to being fair.”

    “I apologized for putting myself in that situation,” he says. “I learned to live and learned from my mistakes, and allowed people to get to know me and the person I am. Once they give me a chance, they’ll see that I’m a good guy.”

    Those close to Elam believe he got a raw deal, questioning why the defendant facing lesser charges was convicted while the alleged rapists walked free. Elam rejected a plea arrangement that would’ve resulted in all charges against him being dropped if he testified that the three others committed rape.

    “He was steadfast in saying he was in no way guilty, and that he wasn’t going to make up stories about the other three,” Elam’s South Bend-based attorney, Mark Lenyo, says now.

    Lenyo believes there were inconsistencies in Charles’ case that raised questions about her credibility, noting she spent the night at the house, slept in the same bed as Smith and removed a tampon before the incident.

    Redmond’s response: “This was four guys. This was blood on the sheets. This was many different orifices being raped. She went through a brutal, brutal attack.”

    Ignored in the 2005 draf, Elam tried to catch on as a free agent, but continued to run into a persistent obstacle – Charles.

    She made it her business to sabotage his fledgling career, calling ahead to prospective teams and the local papers to tell the story of how Elam ruined her life. The Dolphins gave him a look, but they cut him soon after the papers picked up on her story.

    “I think she enjoys a lot of attention,” Lenyo says.

    Eli Manning Throws 4 TD Passes

    Posted in Gridiron at 5:03 pm by

    3 of ‘em, however, to the guys in purple. Never mind Gate D, the Giants proved today things can go absolutely tits up on the field, too. For anyone who had the pleasure of doing something else this afternoon and might well wonder, how did Minnesota fashion a 41-17 rout sans Adrian Peterson, it’s pretty simple. Eli managed to make the NFL’s last-ranked passing defense look like track stars.

    If the Browns —- 27-17 winners over Houston at home today — manage to make the playoffs after jettisoning their starting QB after Week One, does Romeo Crennel complete the transformation from Most Likely To Be Shitcanned to Coach Of The Year candidate?

    This just in — the first TV guy who calls Kurt Warner’s 48 yard TD bomb to Larry Fitzgerald at the end of the first half in Phoenix a “Hail Brenda” owes me $5.

    (Badly) Scooped By The MSM : A Blown Chance To Get Lusty Over Tlusty

    Posted in History's Great Hook-Ups, Hockey, Sports Journalism at 1:31 pm by

    This is what I get for wasting so much time following the CFL playoffs — arguably the most entertaining hockey story of the new season, totally ignored by your misplaced-priorties editor. From the New York Times’ Jeff Z. Klein and Lew “Full” Serviss.

    The big story in Canada over the last couple of weeks, involving the Maple Leafs rookie Jiri Tlusty, spilled beyond the sports pages to become a sort of national litmus test on social attitudes.

    It all began when cellphone photographs of Tlusty taken last season, when he was a junior player for Sault Ste. Marie in the Ontario Hockey League, appeared on a gossip Web site. One picture showed him nude; another showed him playfully touching tongues with a male friend. The Toronto Sun, the country™s biggest tabloid, published the pictures on its front page Nov. 14.

    Tlusty immediately apologized. He and his lawyer said some photographs had been on Tlusty™s Facebook page; Tlusty sent the nude picture to a woman he met online.

    œI used poor judgment in this instance last season and I have learned a valuable lesson, Tlusty said in statement issued by the Maple Leafs.

    Toronto sports columnists and some Leafs fans discussed the incident in terms of embarrassment and disgrace, but many fans and commentators said Tlusty had nothing to apologize for. The Globe and Mail columnist Christie Blatchford wrote that Tlusty™s critics had œthe delicate sensibility of a maiden aunt finding her nephew™s dirty magazine stash.

    Tlusty told Is This Happening.com, “I know nothing about the homosexual”. Imagine how much time Larry Craig would’ve saved had he been nearly as terse?

    Kindly Snakes : Give Us Your Poor, Your Tired, Your Huddled Masses Longing For Free Baseball

    Posted in Baseball at 12:36 pm by

    From the Business Journal Of Phoenix’s W.J. Hennigan :

    Arizona Diamondbacks fans experiencing financial hardship that prevent them from attending baseball games have an opportunity to receive free season tickets from the organization.

    Team President Derrick Hall announced a fan scholarship program earlier this month that treats qualifying fans to 2008 home games.

    Existing season ticket holders who may have experienced a change in personal circumstances will be given priority, followed by other fans who can demonstrate financial need along with their love for the game and the D-backs.

    “We are a part of this community, and we want everyone to enjoy the games no matter what their economic status is,” said Hall. “This needs to be an experience available to everyone.”

    Sounds like a fine idea…and hopefully the D-Backs will look favorably on the Grimsley family’s application.

    Mr. Loser’s Q&A With The Winner Of The Genetic Lottery

    Posted in Baseball at 11:44 am by

    Gloating “I had my plan and the plan has worked”, baseball expert Hank Steinbrenner deigns to listen to a handful of questions from the New York Post’s Steve Serby.

    Q: You once said: “If I fired somebody, it would be for a very good reason, and they’d stay fired. Dad fires somebody, then hires them back and sends their kids to college.”

    A: I don’t want to compare myself with my dad. The fact is, I’m a much easier Boss; I’m very slow to fire somebody. It would have to be for a very good reason – if they cross me or the company. Once I fire them, they stay fired.

    Q: The most memorable disciplinary punishment you received from your father?

    A: He wasn’t the disciplinarian any more than I am with my kids. It wasn’t his thing, even though he’d be strict in certain areas … he’d push me in a lot of areas.

    Q: How so?

    A: Especially with homework and stuff like that. I tended to be more of a self-educated type. When I was 12 years old, I read Churchill’s memoirs and other history books like that. School tended to bore me so he had to push me to get my homework done.

    Q: You once said, “If you’re the Boss, you have to be a benevolent dictator. Otherwise, they’ll take advantage of you every time.”

    A: I was speaking historically. There were probably two benevolent dictators: Lincoln and Roosevelt … caring leaders. Most people, when they become dictators, aren’t benevolent anymore … Yeah, you gotta be The Boss, no question about it … you gotta be The Boss, but you should be good to your people.

    Q: What did you think of the portrayal of your father in “The Bronx Is Burning?”

    A: I really like Oliver Platt, I think he’s a really good actor; I don’t know if that’s the role for him.

    Q: How about someone like Brian Dennehy?

    A: Dennehy would be good, yeah.

    Q: Favorite entertainer?

    A: The Beatles when I was younger; U2 … I play the guitar, (Jimi) Hendrix was big too.

    Why Is The Red Sox Flagship Station Afraid Of David Scott?

    Posted in Blogged Down, Sports Journalism, Sports Radio at 11:29 am by

    You’d think a Black Friday between 6 and 8am would be a safe enough haven for New England’s media watch-hound to make his WRKO debut, but as David Scott explains, “in an incredibly predictable and incredibly petty move,” said invitation was rescinded. From the Boston Herald’s Jessica Heslam :

    Senator Bob Hedlund, who was filling in for WRKO morning-drive host Tom Finneran, had asked Scott to come on the show to talk sports from 8-10 a.m. Friday morn. Scott – who was appearing for free – posted the upcoming radio spot on his blog Tuesday night.

    After Entercom got wind of his appearance, Scott writes, an apologetic Hedlund called him to cancel. Hedlund didn™t offer him much of an explanation, but asked him to come on his weekly radio show on WATD-FM (95.9) Dec. 3.

    œMy best guess is that the Entercom Suits didn™t want to have someone who has been critical of WEEI – and its lowest-common-denominator sports talk – on its airwaves at a sister-station in the same market, Scott told me in an e-mail.

    œAdmittedly, I have been critical of the personalities and management at WEEI, something that very few in this town are willing to do because of ˜EEI™s pervasiveness, he wrote. œHonestly, I think their decision to ban me says a lot about the way they do business.

    11.24.07

    Jeff V.G. To Flip Murray : Watch Your Mouth

    Posted in Basketball at 3:24 pm by

    (“‘Hoosiers’, great film. Next question.”)

    While Isiah Thomas insists to the Daily News’ Mitch Lawrence he’s not worried about being fired, one of the names most often mentioned in connection with a Knicks vacancy, former coach Jeff Van Gundy, took umbrage with the Pistons’ Flip Murray during an WFAN interview with Patrick McEnroe, described by Newsday’s Ken Berger.

    Van Gundy, now an NBA analyst for ESPN, criticized Thomas for poorly handling Stephon Marbury™s benching. But he also said something I agree wholeheartedly with: Thomas isn™t getting the public support he should be getting from his boss, James Dolan.œWhen I was in New York, what I really liked was that my bosses were Dave Checketts and Ernie Grunfeld, Van Gundy said. œThey made changes. They traded players and they fired coaches. But you always had their wholehearted support until they were ready to make a change.

    œRight now, I think it™s important that whoever™s in that position gets the same support, he said. œIt™s Isiah now. Before that it was Lenny Wilkens, Don Chaney, Larry Brown. And I just think at times that support for that position has not been as strong as it needs to be, to let everyone know who™s in charge and that we™re riding along with that coach.

    Great point. Where was Dolan today when Thomas stood in front of the media horde again and expressed his opinion that he doesn™t expect to be fired this season? Why would Dolan leave Thomas by himself to make the case that he shouldn™t be fired; isn™t that Dolan™s job?

    Another interesting point from the Van Gundy interview. I loved how he took Pistons reserve Flip Murray to task for piling on the Knicks with his quote the other night that they œlooked like they didn™t want to compete.

    œLet me start with Flip Murray, Van Gundy said. œHow about this? Don™t hide behind Tayshaun Prince, Chauncey Billups and those guys that led them to a blowout and then you come out and kill the Knicks. Now if Chauncey Billups wants to kill the Knicks, if Tayshaun Prince, if Rasheed Wallace, Rip Hamilton, if they want to kill the Knicks, that™s one thing, But for Flip Murray to take that pot shot at other NBA players, I think is uncalled for.

    Incredibly, there’s another Eastern Conference franchise with a worse record than the Knicks, despite no shortage of available talent. And sadly for Isiah Thomas, the Bulls don’t visit the Garden nearly often enough.

    Nebraska Fires Callahan

    Posted in Gridiron at 1:10 pm by

    Though acting A.D. Tom Osbourne refers to Bill Callahan’s “contract not being renewed”, said statements don’t address the 3 year contract extension Callahan signed in September.  “You can’t go back and undo history” said Osbourne in reference to Nebraska’s blowout loss to Colorado yesterday, but the same can be said for for the contractual obligations agreed to by Steve Pederson.

    Of course, Osbourne also acknowledged “change is disruptive, sometimes it’s expensive.” So perhaps we’re just being spared the thrilling details.

    Bill Conlin Update : Some Of His Best Friends Are Jews!

    Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, Sports Journalism at 12:47 pm by

    If you ask me, this whole throwdown with Crashburn Alley is going to have a chilling effect on the willingness of mainstream journalists to insult their readers.

    Should Bill Conlin be allowed the right to private correspondence? Sure. But when the columnist receives a message from a blogger challenging the former’s take on a particular issue, should Conlin really be surprised when his reply is made public?  If Conlin’s email is meant to be private, why does the Daily News provide his address?

    Just in case there was any mistake (and I don’t think there was), Conlin would like to make it crystal clear : ADOLF HITLER WAS A BAD BAD MAN AND BILL HAS NO QUARREL WITH ALL THE JEWISH PEOPLE. NONE. HOORAY FOR THE JEWS, ETC.

    As editor of the Temple University News in 1960-61, I received death threats from the White Citizens Council after writing an editorial denouncing Gerald L. K. Smith and his anti-black and anti-Semitic hate-mongering newspaper œThe Cross and the Flag. I was one of the most outspoken critics of Marge Schott™s blatant anti-Semitism to the point some of my columns had to be toned down. Ditto my stand on Al Campanis, a friend, by the way, and Jimmy The Greek Snyder. I also had a long and close relationship with the late, great Dick Schaap, who wrote about my impact on The Sports Reporters at length in his autobiography, œFlashing Before My Eyes.”

    Though I’m not sure why it was necessary for Conlin to cite any of the above examples, one question remains unanswered : does he have any pals who are Jewish Sabermatricians?

    Quinn Snyder’s Inauspicious D-League Debut

    Posted in Basketball at 12:05 pm by

    While the local MSM are mostly consumed with Texas’ football defeat to A&M yesterday (and to a less extent, UT’s hoops victory over New Mexico State at what appeared to be an almost completely empty Prudential Center — finally a sporting event on Versus that had more viewers than actual paid attendees!), the season opening for the NBA Development League’s Austin Toro received scant coverage. From me, that is. And for that, I am deeply, deeply sorry. When an organization as classy as the San Antonio Spurs rolls into town and upgrades the local bush league franchise by turning their uniforms silver and black, the least I can do is listen to the crackly internet audio.

    Though Keith “Never Been In A Riot” Langford scored 28 points for the visiting Toros, Austin allowed some 24 turnovers in Friday’s 104-97 defeat to Rio Grande Valley. Former Longhorn Gabe Muoneke led the Vipers with 31 points, while  another Texas product, Kenton Paulino, scored 13 from Austin in his first U.S. pro appearance after a year in Turkey.

    I’d say something about deposed Missouri coach Quinn Snyder — making his Austin debut — not having a hair out of place, but a) I wasn’t there and b) it probably wasn’t true.

    The Toros’ home opener is tonight at the Austin Convention Center against the Bakersfield Jam. Though I’m told Paul Weller won’t be in uniform, Austin should have their hands full with the tandem of Rick Buckler and Bruce Foxton.

    Gate D Boob Bitches About Boobgate Coverage

    Posted in Free Expression, Gridiron, Mob Behavior, Sports Journalism at 1:49 am by

    Who knew that genuine sexual harassment of lady folk was in fact, a cherished cultural rite, if not a form of public demonstration protected by the First Amendment? If you’re willing to buy into the twisted logic being peddled by MySpace member Jets Tits, I’ve got a topless photo of Rich Kotite I’d like to sell you. (thanks to Rog for the link)

    The article, written by David Picker, contained many factual errors. It was written with a terrorist-like objective to instill fear and anger among Jets fans and the entire American public. He sparked a media campaign against the “degenerate Jets fans” who take part in this half time ritual and ignited a movement to clean up the Stadium when in reality there is nothing to clean up.The halftime ritual is very simple. A large group of fans, men and women, would congregate on the Gate D ramps. Both the men and women play their own part in this ritual. It is very scripted and calculated. There are a set of unwritten rules that must be followed and deviation from these rules are not tolerated and met with harsh criticism by everyone on the ramps.

    The crowd gathers when there is 2 minutes left in the 2nd Quarter. The ramps really fill up right at halftime. The first step is the warm the crowd up. Various participants take on the role of Fireman Eddie. Someone leans over the railing, quiets the crowd and then proceeds to lead the masses in T-I-T-S TITS TITS TITS!!! The fans modified the main New York Jets cheer. J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS!!! became T-I-T-S TITS TITS TITS!!!.

    After the first or second round of cheers, a woman is spotted in the crowd standing by the railing as if she was answering our mating call of T-I-T-S TITS TITS TITS!!! The leader would then point to the woman and the crowd would go wild. Screams of joy, happiness, relief, anticipation….until the leader again quiets the crowd and begins the chant…T-I-T-S TITS TITS TITS!!! The eager woman then will play to the crowd. She will tease and taunt until everyone in the crowd is ready. The third chant is typically when it all happens. With the guidance of our version of Fireman Eddie, T-I-T-S TITS TITS TITS!!!
    and she flashes the crowd and it starts all over again…

    Mr. Picker, where is the coercion? Where is the violence? It is in the stadium at the seats from the people watching the game. That is where numerous fights occur, that is where people are ejected from the stadium and that is where I would not dare bring my 7 year old child. 3 women were ejected from stadium because of indecent exposure at Gate D while 147 people were ejected for violent acts inside of the stadium.

    Gate D is a peaceful demonstration by the fans both men and women. It is a good time by all those who attend. The fans are very respectful of those who participate and those who do not. If the fans were unruly and violent then this would have been terminated long ago.

    The creep responsible for the above manifesto, while lacking the courage of his convictions to supply his own name or likeness, promises that a future MySpace blog entry “will be all about David Picker. Photos, where he went to school.” ‘Tis not nearly enough that these knuckle-draggers can’t get their skulls around the notion women might wanna attend a public event without being menaced, but they’d like to intimidate journalists while they’re at it, too.

    It should be stressed that nowhere in Picker’s article did he refer to the Jets fans in question as “degenerate”.   Other than one critical comment from a 40 year old father of two (“that™s a disgusting practice and the police have to get involved”), Pickering’s piece had nothing even close to a value judgement about the Gate D activities. It did feature excuses / buck-passing from the NFL and NJSEA, one woman who liked showing off, and one fan who was “disappointed, because we™re used to seeing a lot”…and that was about it.   Picker merely shed light on a longstanding practice the Jets and Giants Stadium have slept on.  If Jets Tits would prefer some kind of environment where he and his buddies can ogle women and act like morons without fear of reproach, are such establishments really that hard to find in the Tri-State area?

    No Longer The Worst Kept Secret In College Footbal : Franchione’s Buyout

    Posted in Gridiron at 1:46 am by

    Not only will Dennis Franchione not be coaching Texas A&M when and if they receive a bowl invite, but he couldn’t even stick around for another 30 seconds to hear his former A&D describe him as being “guilty of inadequate supervision and oversight.” From the Bryan-College Station Eagle’s Robert Cessna :

    Dennis Franchione stepped down as Texas A&M’s head football coach moments after beating arch-rival Texas, 38-30, at Kyle Field Friday.

    Franchione told the players, then walked into the Hagner Center at the Bright Football Complex and read a six-paragraph statement to reporters who were covering the game.

    “Kim [Franchione] and I have arrived at the decision to step down as head football coach out of respect and love for our players, for this University and its football program.

    “I’ve always said that coaches exist for one reason — the players. We have an outstanding group of young men on this team and especially great people. We want them to know that we love them, feel blessed for our time together and will miss them.”

    Franchione said that he appreciated working with athletic director Bill Byrne, who sat at his right as the announcement was made. Franchione said that Byrne was “the best AD” he’s worked for in 35 years of coaching.

    Franchione then exited the room with a large contingent of family and friends, including son Brad Franchione, offensive coordinator Les Koenning Jr. and defensive coordinator Gary Darnell.

    11.23.07

    Reds Unwilling To Confirm The Obvious : They’ve Ruined David Weathers’ Thanksgiving

    Posted in Baseball at 10:32 pm by

    Though all of the numbers below are purely the product of speculation, rest assured the free agent in question will cost the Reds more than bringing back Danny Graves. From the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Fay :

    Foxsports.com reported that the Reds and closer Francisco Cordero have agreed to a four-year, $46 million deal.

    The Reds wouldn™t confirm that but for the first time admitted that they are pursuing Cordero, the top closer on the free-agent market.

    œUntil we have someone under contract, we™re not going to announce anything, Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky said.

    Reds CEO Bob Castellini, who would have to sign off on such a deal, would only say this: œWe have not signed a contract with Cordero.

    Have you reached an agreement in principle?

    œWe have not signed a contract with Cordero, Castellini repeated.

    œSigned is the operative word. The Reds would not close a deal of this magnitude without having Cordero undergo a physical, and a source with the team said that had not happened yet.

    That the Reds even are talking to Cordero means their player payroll is likely to go into the $80 million range. It was $68.9 million last season. The Reds have nearly $60 million committed to 13 players they have under contract. That doesn™t include Brandon Phillips, Matt Belisle and Jorge Cantu, who are eligible for arbitration and could add $6 million or $7 million to that total.

    Negotiating with Cordero would seem to say the Reds have money to spend on free agents “ at least on the right ones.

    œI™ll let you make that assumption, Krivsky said. œWhen you look at the closers on the market, he™d be one of the best. But it takes two sides to get a deal done.

    The Brewers have now lost Cordero and Scott Linebrink in the space of 48 hours, and find themselves in dire need of bullpen help.  I don’t we’ll be hearing about a Ben Sheets for Scott Schoeneweis swap anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy seeing those names lined up next to each other.

    Franchione’s Farewell : A&M’s McGee Carves Up Texas

    Posted in Gridiron at 7:49 pm by

    (please, can’t two overpaid educators have a private moment?)

    Texas A&M 38, Texas 30

    If this was really Dennis Franchione’s swan song as A&M head coach (and he did little to deny it afterwards), he’ll take no small satisfaction over his 2nd consecutive defeat of the Longhorns. Aggie QB Stephen McGee had a career day (362 yards passing, 3 TD’s, 32 yards on the ground), while running backs Javorskie Lane and Mike Goodson combined for 141 rushing yards in handing the visitors a loss that all but ended any hope of a BCS at-large berth. Barring Oklahoma losing by triple digits tomorrow to OSU, Texas are probably headed for the Holiday or Gator Bowl. Considering they’ve allowed 141 points in their last 4 conference games, that might be far more than they deserve.

    Texas QB Colt McCoy ended an erratic sophomore campaign with two fumbles, one INT and a terrific 26 yard run on 4th and 10 late in the 4th quarter that had a couple of A&M fans in my local tavern knocking their drinks over. Things calmed down considerably when the Aggies ran the clock out a few minutes later.

    There was another football game happening in Baton Rouge, by the way, and there’s bad news and worse news for LSU. a) Darren McFadden greatly enhanced his Heisman credentials, and b) Les Miles no longer needs to worry about how all the Michigan talk might distract from National Championship preperations.

    Mushnick : Mean People Suck

    Posted in Gridiron, Sports Journalism, Sports TV at 4:52 pm by

    (presumably, not on the Mushnick family fridge. image swiped from Loser With Socks)

    The death of decorum! The slaughter of sportsmanship! The mockery of all that we hold dear!

    Overuse of the exclaimation point, too. The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick interrupted his turkey dinner yesterday to take a firm stand against Snark Nation.

    The day is coming when even older sports fans will be too young to recall when it was done any differently. They’ll be unable to leave word that once upon a time sports shows didn’t rely on talking smack, on being cruel, on taking cheap shots, on mocking the beaten and doing everything that hadn’t already been done to remove whatever sport remains in our sports.

    Monday, Fox Sports Net’s “Final Score” evening wrap show reported on the resignation that day of Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr, whose team had lost two days earlier to Ohio State.

    As Carr was seen speaking at a news conference, the best FSN could do to capture his 13-year-career at Michigan was to cut to footage of Ohio State fans, two days earlier, mocking Carr, holding a huge, stretched-across-several-seats sign that sarcastically read, “So Long, Coach Carr, We’ll Miss You.”

    Yeah, OSU was going to kick Michigan’s butt – again – and that was going to end his career. Yeah!

    That was the best FSN could do – kick a man when was he down and moving out. FSN couldn’t have chosen anything better (perhaps footage from Michigan’s national championship season under Carr) on the day Carr announced he was done? It had to be a wise-guy put-down, nothing more, nothing better.

    I have a sneaking suspicion on the day Isiah Thomas is finally removed from his presidency of the New York Knicks, Phil’s colleagues at the Post will find a way of summing up Zeke’s NY tenure without mentioning the drafting of David Lee first and foremost.

    Likewise, the first time Billy Wagner blows a save next spring, we’ll see if the Post manages to include a disclaimer about Country Time being a 5-time NL All-Star.

    Adam Carlson’s 48 yard FG with 18 seconds remaining gave Mississippi State a 17-14 win over Ole Miss, and will probably propel the Bulldogs (7-5) to their first bowl invite in 7 years. “What a job Sylvester Croom has done this year” gushed ABC’s Jesse Palmer, and I’ll have to concur. With a 4-4 mark in the SEC, Croom has been every bit as good at his job as Palmer at his.

    Boxing’s Rich History Of Threatening Rape

    Posted in Blogged Down, Boxing at 2:10 pm by

    You Been Blinded is all over the always-classy Floyd Mayweather telling Ricky Hatton, “I wish I was in prison with you. I’d make you my bitch” (harsh words indeed, from a “Dancing With The Stars” reject). Deadspin’s Will Leitch declares that Mayweather “is definitely taking trash talk to a new, odder level.”

    Distasteful, sure. Uncharted territory? No fuckin’ way. Fast forward to about 1:20 on the above clip – when it came to cutting a promo, few fighters could sink lower than Iron Mike.