Perhaps auditioning to become a contributor to Awful Announcing, the New York Times’ Richard Sandomir (echoing the opinions of virtually every viewer to have watched Bryant Gumbel on the NFL Network) suggests viewers watching Saturday’s Patriots/Giants contest, ” heard someone who shouldn™t be in this seat.” “Gumbel,” mused Sandomir, “is struggling to learn what he should be doing after the network™s two seasons.”
He doesn™t see the field well, which leads him to be imprecise (or wrong) about yardage gained on a play or the yard line. More often than not, he will not even try to provide the yardage.
His imprecision leads him to fall back on ambiguities like œthe ball is inside the 10 or œway short of the first-down marker, phrases that more experienced announcers only occasionally use. Gumbel uses them as crutches. He repeatedly locates a play as going to œthis side or the œfar side, when œright or œleft will suffice. He too frequently uses œstone as a verb to denote a runner gaining little or no yardage. How about œstacked up or œstopped?
With the Giants ahead by 28-23, he said the Patriots were œwithin one score. Within a touchdown, please. When New England scored to make it 38-28, he said, œThey™ve moved ahead by two scores. Which two scores? Most every fan knew, but his pattern of vagueness had long before set in.
Gumbel says things that no experienced announcer would. After Kevin Boss™s touchdown catch gave the Giants a 21-16 lead, Gumbel said a holding penalty on the Patriots was œwaved off. The Giants declined it; the referee didn™t declare the flag to be thrown in error.
When Randy Moss scored on a 4-yard pass in the second quarter, Gumbel crowed, œHow often do you get three N.F.L. records to fall on one play? Too bad only one record, the one for team scoring, was broken on that touchdown.
“What’s my disadvantage?” Pippen asked. “No NBA coaching experience? [Scott] Skiles’ record with the Bulls wasn’t that great. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to do what you’ve done your whole life. I’ve played basketball, run teams and won.
“They didn’t put me at point guard because I could dribble good. They put me there because I could run a team. I wasn’t the best dribbler, the best shooter. I wasn’t a point guard. But I knew how to run a team.”
Pippen, who is living in Ft. Lauderdale and dabbling in a few business ventures, clearly has given this some thought.
“With a guy who loved to touch it and shoot all the time, I was able to keep him under control,” Pippen said, referring, of course, to Michael Jordan. “That didn’t come from the bench, it came from making the right decisions. You try to make the game fun for everyone and then we were able to find Mike. The games I felt he was getting off too much, I’d find a way to get other guys off. And then guys weren’t running at him all the time and he could take off in the right place.”
Pippen wonders why he hasn’t been approached about getting into coaching.
“What’s the key to this good ol’ boy system they have?” he asked. “You’ve got to go to Europe and coach two years? Sit next to someone for a year? And then looking at someone like me and trying to figure out how your team did it, how you got there every time? Guys like Skiles have never been there. Can he give a motivation speech like someone who’s been in those games? I’ve played for championships.
“What experience do you need? You have assistants who have been there. If I made a mistake, I wouldn’t be the first coach to make a mistake. I’d love the opportunity to be part of the organization now that Skiles is gone. I’ve won championships with this organization and been in the competition when everything was on the line. I was a coach on the floor. Why isn’t that experience?”
Smith mentions that Larry Bird and Doc Rivers became NBA head coaches with no prior coaching experience, though to borrow from Pippen’s logic, neither of them have coached a team to an league championship. Conversely, Phil Jackson’s resume included toiling in the CBA, Puerto Rican league and 3 seasons as a Chicago assistant prior to becoming head coach.
Of course, there’s always the chance Pippen’s failure to receive a head coaching offer in the Association has less to do with an Old Boy Network and more to do with owners and GM’s around the league being unaware Scottie’s hung up his sneakers for good (which he hasn’t, by the way). After all, it was less than a year ago that Sam Smith (!) provided Pip with a vehicle to advertise his availability as a player.
For starters, if this is Rod Thorn’s successor someday – and most people in the organization would be very surprised if Rod makes it to Brooklyn – he has experience in demo jobs, which this team may need two years hence. He can judge young talent, and he can salary dump with the best of them.
And if that’s what it takes, he can do it dispassionately, because he doesn’t have any emotional ties to this current group.
The only question is whether Thorn can give him enough responsibility to make him indispensible to Bruce Ratner, who may delegate the task of picking the next basketball operations major domo to Brett Yormark.
The thing is, Yormark might feel the need to hire a bigger name, even though names don’t come much bigger than Ernest Maurice Vandeweghe III.
For now, look at the bright side: The team can always get its news out instantaneously with one call to ESPN, where Kiki made the announcement of his new job today hours before the Nets could do it.
Regrets? He had a few when he ran the Nuggets.
Judging by our calculations, he and Jim Paxson were the only GMs in 2003 to pass up both Dwyane Wade and Amare Stoudemire, which is a pretty grim double-flub.
Oklahoma starting defensive tackle DeMarcus Granger will miss the Fiesta Bowl after being sent home from Arizona following an arrest for shoplifting.
Granger, 21, was arrested Saturday in Tempe after he tried to steal a jacket from the Burlington Coat Factory inside Arizona Mills Mall, Tempe police reported.
“Mr. Granger removed an anti-theft device from a jacket and then concealed the jacket in a bag. He exited the store walking past the cash registers without paying for the jacket,” Mike Horn, a spokesman for the Tempe Police Department, said in a statement.
“DeMarcus Granger was sent home yesterday, will not play and we’ll deal with the situation when we get back,” Sooners coach Bob Stoops said Monday during a media day at University of Phoenix Stadium. “If there’s anything further, we’ll see.”
In Granger’s defense, temperatures in Phoenix have dipped below 40 degrees the last few evenings. Perhaps he didn’t pack properly?
1. Mariners moosehap
2. Unvegetarianism again, at the hand Hot Doug’s Encased Meat Emporium
3. Accidental drive with my friend Shawn to pumpkin patch, Ontario Badlands, abandoned brick works, and a coffee place in the middle of nowhere where I ended up knowing the barista already, October 14.
4. Will Rigby
5. Ninth Street Espresso, Chelsea Market location, NYC
6. David Scheid
7. Storm of ages, including Sonic Youth, the Tunnel Bar and Northampton Coffee, followed by harrowing drive in a Miata from Northampton to Rochester, February 14-15.
8. Vancouver for the first time since 1986 (except the scuzzy part. Which admittedly is large.)
9. Allison Busch (and also her tour of Flint, MI)
10. The shitty American dollar
11. The shitty American Homeland Security Administration finally arresting “Eli” Clayton of Arizona on charges for fraud which had slowed down my border crossings due to flagging my passport for eight weeks, violated what was left of my civil rights, delayed my parents, and made my friend almost miss a hot date.
12. Jamon Serrano
13. Moving closer to Mr. Met
Jesu – Conqueror (Hydra Head) Bottomless Pit – Hammer Of The Gods (Comedy Minus One)
Marked Men – Fix My Brain (Swami)
Times New Viking – Present The Paisley Reich (Siltbreeze)
Shellac – Excellent Italian Greyhound (T&G)
Grinderman – s/t (Anti)
Major Stars – Mirror/Messenger (Drag City)
Fucked Up – “Year Of The Pig” 12″ (What’s Your Rupture?)
Maximo Park – Our Earthly Pleasures (Warp) Golden Boys – Whiskey Flower (Emperor Jones)
Samara Lubelski – Parallel Suns (The Social Registry)
“Curb Your Enthusiasm” – season 6 (gerbils, The Blacks, the ultimatum, Jeff’s head shaved, etc.)
“Saxondale” season 2
Grinderman – Slim’s, SF
Boris and Michio Kurihara, Mohawk, Austin
Yo La Tengo & Mark Arm’s salute to classic Jewish songwriters (Keith Levene, David Weave Roth), Maxwell’s Torchy’s
Without a doubt the wide-open rollercoaster ride that was the NL playoff scrum topped my personal list as far as 2007 sports excitement. Chollys Wallbangers a/k/a the Fightin’ Phils resiliency finally payed off by capitalizing on the Mets collapse (and perhaps giving them the initial shove off the cliff) along with the cementing of a now bona-fide serious rivalry (although CBP security in secs 301-304 may not be as enthused). The excitement in Philly was snuffed out all to soon in the NLDS due to Phils bats shutting down, Manuel giving up on a young rookie pitcher who had heroically provided the Phillies injury riddled rotation with near-guaranteed quality starts and Kazuo Fucking Matsui. Despite the deflating ending, all in all it was an exciting season, one whose dynamics and possibilities were shifting on a near inning-to-inning basis by the final stretch.. I would like to give thanks to Jimmy Rollins (natch) and give shout-outs to a few of the Phillies less celebrated heroes such as Kyle Kendrick, JC Romero, Tadahito Iguchi and the Phillies superb 1st base coach Davey Lopes.
I would also like to extend appreciation to the Philadelphia Inquirer for reversing a huge mistake as David Aldridge is currently writing for the Inkwire and Steven A Smith no longer does so, the 76ers for finally giving Billy King his long overdue heave-ho, Brian Westbrook, Mike Richards, Gary Matthews Sr (yes Phans, I like Sarge in the broadcast booth), Clockcleaner and Mayor-Elect Michael “Mixmaster Mike” Nutter.
Looking to 2008, I hope for a healthy Cole Hamels, for Pat Gillicks off-season moves to work out as well as his in-season moves have, and for the Flyers to continue on an upward arc and show more consistency as the season progresses. I am flummoxed on which direction the Iggles should take (one last tweak or overhaul with new coaching staff and QB?) and I would be happy to see a Dawn Staley-coached WNBA franchise come to Philly as they would be as good as bet as any to end the Curse Of William Penn. Best to all in 2008
There are people involved with this blog — I can think of one without even really trying that hard — whose musical expertise far exceeds mine. I know my role here — that’s the periodic long and melancholic NBA post, and walking the currently quiet bitching-about-the-Mets beat — and I’m happy to play it. But I’m also glad to get the opportunity to think back on the sporting and non-sporting things I liked the most this year. The only things that came to my mind at first were “sleeping” and “sandwiches,” but I was able to come up with some other stuff after a little thought.
- No Age, in concert. I saw them in a very loud party/performance space at Columbia, in a show sponsored by Barnard College’s radio station. That in itself doesn’t sound terribly promising, but they were totally galvanizing, intense and amazing. I also want to use the word “democratic” to describe the show — which featured lots of performers-in-audience/audience-on-stage action — but there was very little that recalled any system of government at all about the show. I think that’s what I liked most about it. Second-best show honors go to Band of Horses, who managed to play a great, enjoyable set at 2am as part of a transcendently wince-inducing brand-placement CMJ-week show held at a venue named after a terrible rock magazine — and that turned out to also be a cross-promotion between the afore-unmentioned magazine, a caffeine-infused alcoholic drink and a fucking video game. In my defense, the show was free. But attending it was still pretty indefensible. So, you know, sorry. I didn’t know I’d be apologizing so soon.
- Last year’s NBA Western Conference Playoffs. I loved the Utah/Golden State and Utah/San Antonio series, which absolutely dragged a weird commitment and interest (and some of my better CSTB writing, I think) out of me that I didn’t expect. I got remarkably lucky with those series, too, as I was somehow out or otherwise occupied during the blowouts and invariably caught the remarkably exciting, wrenching, inspiring games. I don’t know when the NBA came back around for me — and I should by all rights be down on it, as the Nets, the team I died with growing up, is currently in the middle of some nightmarish rebranding/slo-mo relocation thing — but it absolutely has, even as my interest in the old home team has shrunk considerably. It helps that there’s some really good writing currently being done about basketball — Henry Abbott on one end; the Wizznutzz off on The Island of Al Jarreau, doing their insane, amazing thing on the other — but I don’t think I’ve enjoyed watching or talking about basketball this much since I was in middle school. The watching and the talking are both a lot more fun without the having-to-cheer-for-Chris-Morris part.
- Hot Fuzz. There were movies this year that made me feel bigger emotions than this one, but for a movie that ends with a 30-minute shootout between the two stars of Shaun of the Dead and every elderly British character actor alive, this one is awfully carefully made. It also made me laugh a lot.
- Roast chicken. I love to eat it, and am getting better at preparing it. 2008 will be the year of the roasted chicken. Mark it down.
- The return of Marlon Anderson to the Mets. I am trying as hard as possible not to remember anything else from the past season, which was notable only for proving to me that I’m still capable of getting pissed off and borderline depressed about sports. But I was glad to see Marlon back in the fold, and to see that he’s been re-signed. Marlon Anderson is everything Lenny Harris wasn’t, and that’s as high a compliment as I can offer.
- Remainder, by Tom McCarthy. Came to my attention via a recommendation from Sam Frank, and while I won’t say I enjoyed every moment of reading this novel — it’s purposefully distant and pretty stingy with its literary rewards — it has stayed with me more than anything else I’ve read this year, by a long shot. This and Heidi Julavits’s equally vexing, equally fascinating The Effect of Living Backwards — which didn’t come out in 2007, but which I bought at a neighborhood crap store a few months ago — are, I think, the two best books about the anxieties of life during the War on Terra Era. So I guess it stands to reason that neither one of them is that lovable. It’s not that lovable an era. But this is a very, very impressive book.
- And some bands that made songs I really liked this year, because I haven’t listened to nearly enough albums to put together much of a real list: Arbouretum, Deerhunter, Dan Deacon, Jesu, the aforementioned No Age, Band of Horses, Spoon, Twilight Singers, The Rosebuds, LCD Soundsystem. If this looks like a list compiled by a middling free-weekly rock critic…that is probably because I read a lot of brief reviews in free weeklies. And then do more or less whatever they say. Except for Animal Collective.
Red Sox winning the World Series for the 2nd time in my life.
The Pats going absolutely ape-shit on the rest of the NFL (especially sweet for those of us who may have paid money to sit in Sullivan Stadium to watch the Marc Wilson or Tommy Hodson-led P-Men).
The Celtics return to relevance.
Cococoma lp on Goner
Busy Signals lp on Dirtnap
Black & Whites “You’re the Only Girl” 7″ on Douchemaster
Hubble Bubble “Faking” lp reissue on Radio Heartbeat Sonic Chicken 4 lp on In The Red
Radio Heartbeat Powerpop Fest at Southpaw in March (favorites: Gentlemen Jesse & His Men, Milk & Cookies, Speedies, Tina & the Total Babes)
Krunchies/Wax Museums/Romance Novels- Ronny’s in Chicago
Wax Museums/Okmoniks the next night at Cal’s in Chicago
Busy Signals/Gentleman Jesse & His Men/Carbonas at the Beat Kitchen in Chicago
Busy Signals/Cococoma/Jack Oblivian at the Buccaneer in Memphis
Monsignor Jeff Evans/Haunted George/Cheater Slicks at Cafe Bourbon Street in Columbus (Haunted George was insanely amazing)
I can’t offer a Top Ten in any category, since my son Archer has kept me from doing much but reading and watching old movies on Netflix. So, here’s my ten top moments of 2007:
10. Lou Piniella takes over the Cubs — best Cubs manager since Durocher, and he quickly moved to boot Prior and Wood out of the line-up by bringing in pitchers and letting them prove they could throw a ball instead of praying for them to do it.
09. “Come On, Petunia” by The Blow — found this on Martha Plimpton’s My Space page, which was then playing it as the welcome song. She’s cool too as anyone visiting will see, but finding this song was one of those classic day stopping events that had me playing it 10 times. It’s your basic K/Calvin Johnson style punk, but well done. Plimpton has since changed the song to a Bing Crosby holiday thing, but her page negates any lingering resentment I have about PARENTHOOD.
08. WGA Strike — I’m no longer unemployed, I’m on strike! The entertainment companies argue that there’s no money to be made on the Internet, which I would refute, except that I only blog here … The benefits to you the viewer? No more ACCORDING TO JIM scripts!
07. My son napping in the back seat of the car — usually happens on the way home from some excursion, my daily moment of zen. I’m truly some kind of humbled monk when that™s a highlight of my day.
06. THERE WILL BE BLOOD — is there a better film on modern America than a turn-of-the-last-century look at rural Xtianity v. raw crude commerce? Daniel Day-Lewis’ John Huston impression is hilarious and menacing, and PT Anderson has made his best movie since BOOGIE NIGHTS. I thought Anderson managed to get thru a whole movie without a single Scorsese reference until I realized it starred Day-Lewis in a giant mustache in 19th Century America. Other than that …
05. Tie: Congress Goes Democratic in 2007/Sub-Prime Mortgage Mess — Congress woulda been number one had they fixed anything (they get #5 for giving Henry Waxman a gavel) and the sub-prime disaster means I may be able to finally afford a house, now that the crooked lenders, broke borrowers, and ultra-inflated LA real estate market is rethinking its financial situation for 2008.
04. The Wrong Trousers live cover/video of “Video Killed the Radio Star” — Pitchfork ain’t always ˜tarded. Pitchfork, no doubt running out of ideas, ran a cheezy Best of 2007 list (YAWN …) and picked this video by San Diego’s twee-est band ever.
03. The Mitchell Report — well, this Internet loud mouth was certainly vindicated in 2007 on every one of my needle guesses, so far, except for The Unit, Randy Johnson, whose name was not included. Mitchell may be stepping down, but let™s just say, my investigation continues. Or, at least, my unfounded accusations will continue. Keeping the focus on the Cubs — Sammy Sosa escapes the Inquistion, Mitchell finds Dusty Baker not guilty of longstanding charges he destroyed Prior and Wood’s needle tracked arms (anymore than overwork ruined Eric Gagne™s), and the current Cub line-up remains spike free and ready to play. Sammy is a HOF first ballot candidate, thanks to Mr. Mitchell, and this might finally make Prior and Wood dumpable.
02. Roger Clemens named in the Mitchell Report — why should Barry Bonds get the hot seat alone? If anybody in baseball exhibited worse prima donna behavior than Bonds, it’s Clemens, who charged the Astros 18 mil for his part time services and would not even deign to travel with his teammates for away games. Is that really worse than Barry’s stealing Gary Sheffield™s chef and demanding three lockers and a gold plated laz-y-boy or whatever it is he got from the Giants?
01. Sam Zell ” Man of The Year! And mainly for this announcement on the Cubs web site: œTribune Co.’s new CEO Sam Zell said the Cubs will be sold by Opening Day, and that he may sell naming rights to Wrigley Field because such rights could be ˜extraordinarily valuable.™” Finally, the stink of the worst owner in baseball history, Philip K. Wrigley, who actually put a ballpark before his own team and came up with our current candy ass logo by having one of his bubble gum wrapper artistes design it — may be history. Go, Sam Go! As to naming rights, if we’re looking at Chicago based empires that like to see their name everywhere, might I suggest, Oprah Field?
Kingsley Smith, the KTVI (Channel 2) news director who devoted the bulk of a newscast to a false rumor that Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols would be named in the Mitchell report on performance-enhancing drugs, is leaving to run the news department of the Fox affiliate in Philadelphia.
Channel 2 also is a Fox affiliate and when the rumor broke, Smith said, “the Fox (network) brand allows us a little more latitude” to cover a rumor in depth. “There’s a certain sense of edginess and aggressiveness.”
Smith confirmed Sunday that he will start as news director for WTXF-TV (Channel 29) on Jan. 7.
When the Mitchell report was released Dec. 13, Smith decided to devote in-depth coverage during the station’s 11 a.m. newscast to an unconfirmed rumor that Pujols would be linked to performance-enhancing drugs.
He said his departure has nothing to do with criticism over that decision.
“It’s just a tremendous opportunity to work in a large market,” Smith said.
The rumor, which also included former Cardinals pitcher Darryl Kile, turned out to be false.
For the occasion of last night’s blowout loss to the Celtics, the Los Angeles Lakers (above, in dark jerseys) opted to wear the sort of tiny shorts that haven’t been in vogue for centuries. Uni Watch’s Paul Lukas writes “for the most part, though, I thought they looked great”, ignoring how this was all Kurt Rambis’ fault for leaving the shorts in the drier too long.
So how did it look? Some people have already complained about the compression shorts that were peeking out from beneath many players™ trunks, but that didn™t bother me (especially since compression shorts are often visible on players wearing full-length shorts too). My gripe was that the jerseys were too billowy ” they should™ve been tailored snugger, to match the shorts.
Once the Lakers went back to the contemporary shorts in the second half (which I think they did just because everyone likes to do that idiotic MJ shorts tug), everything turned predictably sloppy-looking ” the baggy look just doesn™t work, people. Memo to David Stern: Make everything two sizes smaller, go buy a Val-U-Pak pack of tube socks, and get back to me in 2008.
“I had to really, really exaggerate [the accent]. But a lot of people talk like that where I’m from so I know the slang,” Bosh said. “I’m a funny person – I think. So I wanted to surprise a lot of people because I knew people didn’t see that coming. Plus, I want to get my website a lot more traffic.” - Toronto’s Chris Bosh, explaining the above clip to the Globe & Mail’s Matthew Sekeres.
Some of you may be aware of Babestation, the channel right up the far end of the Sky Digital cluster wherein over-made up girls with blonde highlights, clearly either lapdancers at establishments that had just closed down after a police raid or university students who lived locally for a purpose, lie around in thongs on a bed in a studio space the size of a full stockroom and occasionally jiggle their breasts or thrust their arses out in a bored fashion.
Anyway, it’s partly financed by Shaun Wright-Phillips. Although he denies it’s as much as £20,000 in what passes for conversation in this 1Xtra interview, clearly he has the tone of a schoolboy caught out leafing through the stuff he found in a hedgerow. Our other favourite bit of this is when he has a pop at Joe Cole for “listening to his own stuff, he doesn’t like to mix it” (own stuff, needless to say, Oasis), just after revealing the entire rest of the dressing room listens to the same R&B as him.
A generation later, Mark Linn-Baker would pen an almost identical memo to his show’s producers. Presumably, his notes were greeted as warmly as those of accomplished thespian. the late Robert Reed (link swiped from Boing Boing)
The most generic problem to date in œThe Brady Bunch has been this almost constant scripted inner transposition of styles.
1. A pie-throwing sequence tacked unceremoniously onto the end of a weak script.
2. The youngest daughter in a matter of a few unexplained hours managing to look and dance like Shirley Temple.
3. The middle boy happening to run into a look-alike in the halls of his school, with so exact a resemblance he fools his parents
And the list goes on.
Once again, we are infused with the slapstick. The oldest boy™s hair turns bright orange in a twinkling of the writer™s eye, having been doused with a non-FDA-approved hair tonic. (Why any boy of Bobby™s age, or any age, would be investing in something as outmoded and unidentifiable as œhair tonic remains to be explained. As any kid on the show could tell the writer, the old hair-tonic routine is right out of œOur Gang. Let™s face it, we™re long since past the œlittle dab™ll do ya era.)
Without belaboring the inequities of the script, which are varied and numerous, the major point to all this is: Once an actor has geared himself to play a given style with its prescribed level of belief, he cannot react to or accept within the same confines of the piece, a different style.
When the kid™s hair turns red, it is Batman in the operating room.
“I just returned from the Patriots win over the Giants,” writes the proprietor of Ken Dorsey’s Jockstrap, “and I™ve come to a new conclusion; Patriots fans are douchebags.” Wow, take that Fitzy! “I guess since their coach is a ball bag, I can™t really expect the fans not to be too” sighs KDJ, perhaps looking the other way at his beloved Cowboys being owned by, well, something of a ball bag.
Tonight, I™ve learned that there™s nothing worse than a Patriots fan. By the end of the first quarter, security had to escort people out about eight times (just in sections 301-303). In our section alone, we had about four or five Patriots douche bags. Most were just the usual morons who just continually point to their own jersey; I guess if you™re wearing a Moss jersey and he scores it means one of two things; he scored, so you scored as well, or Moss scored because you were wearing his jersey and you wanted to make sure we all understood that.
One personal favorite douche sat behind us. He spent the entire game chanting, œOverrated! Overrated! Overrated. Both my wife and I thought it was odd that a Giant fan would call a 15-0 team overrated, until the 4th quarter when I actually turned around and realized it was a Pats fan. It might be the first time in football history that 14-point home underdog was called overrated.
However, the fan of the day was one piece of shit, wearing a #44 Pats jersey. He had the name ˜Evans™ written on duck tape on the back of it. I™m guessing he couldn™t afford the new jersey. Anyhow, douche bag spent the entire game turning and taunting the Giants fans behind him. Every time the Pats got a single first down, guess what he did? You™ll never guess. That™s right, he did the ˜first down™ point just like every third-rate wide receiver does now. His favorite (when the Pats were losing) was to turn around and chant, œyour conference sucks! This had to be the first time a team™s conference was thrown back at them. I guess he overlooked the whole divisional thing and the fact the Pats played in a division with three losing teams, two of which have a combined 4-27 record.
Several Ravens sources have told FOX Sports that ownership and high level executives and ownership has been privately polling and asking players if Billick has lost the locker room. Not only are they asking player opinions, they are asking employees from equipment men to those on the trainer’s staff for their read as well trying to ascertain how much faith the locker room has lost in the head coach.
The general consensus is that Billick had long ago lost some of the guys but more recently the majority of the team had tuned him out. Not only has he lost the locker room, many insisted he couldn’t win the players back either.
Thus, while Billick may get another year to coach this team, owner Steve Biscotti will have to make that decision with the knowledge that his players have lost faith in the coach.
On an entirely different tip, the ’07 Award For Confusing A (Poor) Interior Monologue With Blogging looks to be a neck & neck race between the legendary Alex Benesowitz and the Sporting News’ Kevin Sullivan.
Was “I Fucking Told You So” considered a poor title? I never thought I’d say this, but at times like these, I really wish ESPN would get back into the made-for-TV movie business. From the New York Post’s Peter Cox.
“It will be an unjaundiced view, without the rose-colored glasses that [The Mitchell Report] obviously put on,” said Robert Saunooke, Canseco’s attorney.
As reported by The Post earlier this month, the former major leaguer and admitted steroid user humbly calls the new tome “Vindicated.”
Saunooke said the sequel is set to be published by Penguin Books and will be co-written by former Sports Illustrated reporter Don Yaeger.
Saunooke declined to discuss any big players named or any big details revealed in the book, but said that it would be a more complete version of the Mitchell Report, which stunned the nation with steroid allegations against the likes of Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte.
Saunooke said when former Sen. George Mitchell initially began his investigation, he contacted Canseco and Saunooke, who provided “tons of information and background” on steroid use in Major League Baseball.
But when the report was released, he and Canseco were disappointed by not seeing players like Rafael Palmeiro and Pudge Rodriguez named.
Saunooke said one of the topics for the new book will be how Mark McGwire asked for immunity prior to his appearance before Congress in 2005.
Friday’s 109-98 win over Minnesota marked Portland’s 12 consecutive victory, a streak The Oregonian’s Jason Quick credits to a highly contentious training session in a San Antonio gym on December 1. “The practice was basically set up for a fight to happen” claims coach Nate McMillan, who comes off as something of a mad genius for instituting a number of conditions recounted by Quick (“there would be no switching when screens were set, forcing the defender to fight through picks. And there would only be one dribble allowed by the ballhandler, a tactic designed to instigate more movement by the offense to get open.”)
The first sparks were ignited early in the practice, when the team was in the midst of executing a three-man weave against defenders. Joel Przybilla, the rugged, veteran center, set a pick on Maretell Webster, the third-year player out of high school. Webster cried foul, saying Przybilla set a moving screen. Przybilla, who later said he was in a foul mood that day, shot back and asked Webster why he complains about everything.
Flustered, Webster retorted with, “Why don’t you make a dunk for once?” inciting Przybilla’s bad mood.
With tempers simmering, the drills moved to a four-on-four format. Webster made a hard drive to the basket, where he was met by Przybilla. The center caught Webster in the air, bear-hugged him and threw him to the floor.
“That’s when your pride comes in and some ego gets in the way,” Webster recalled. “I started yelling at him, telling him, ‘If I get a shot at you . . . ,’ and I remember this: While I was arguing with Joel, I looked at coach, and he was just sitting there smiling. He was looking at me like, ‘Well, get into it then. Show me something.’
“And you know what, it seemed to ignite everybody, not just for me and Joel, but for everybody. The intensity of the whole practice changed.”
Soon, Channing Frye said he was “talking trash” to his teammates. And the normally stoic Brandon Roy was cussing and snapping at the teammates guarding him. And Steve Blake got so angry that he kicked a chair, prompting Nate McMillan to chastise him in front of the team.
“We were there as guests, that was not our furniture,” McMillan said. “So I told him to pick up the chair.”
“The only outcome I™m rooting for would be Jared Lorenzen putting up crazy numbers against N.E. backups, thus leading to a public outcry for Eli™s benching against the Buccaneers. Sure, it™ll never happen, but neither will New York™s first-stringers be allowed to risk injury late in the game, not if Coughlin has an ounce of smarts remaining.”
Ahem. So much for any expert prognosis that one of both of these teams would send the scrubs in. Despite having nothing whatsoever to play for (beyond individual records and making Don Shula cry), the Patriots and Giants turned an otherwise meaningless contest into a genuinely competitive, if not compelling game. I’ll still contend this was a mere historic footnote compared to what’s in store during the postseason, but there’s a lot to take away from this one. For instance, knee injuries to Giants LB Kawika Mitchell, safety Craig Dahl and center Shaun O’Hara, all of whom were sacrificed to the all-important cause of trying-to-knock-the-Pats-off.
That said, I won’t go nearly as far as WFAN’s Mike Francesca, who along with characterizing last night’s game as “everything that’s good about the NFL”, unloaded on Giants fans who sold their tickets. “How stupid did you feel,” bellowed Francesca, “watching your Giants leave the field to an enormous ovation at the end of the first half…if you managed to cozy up to a television.”
Just out of curiosity, how many games at the Meadowlands has Francesca paid to attend in late December? It’s kind of amazing to hear WFAN’s listeners accused of disloyalty by a guy far too smart to actually sit in row ZZZ in freezing temperatures. And who amongst us wouldn’t love to read of the Sultan Of Self-Importance in the middle of something like this?
With Randy Moss (2 TD’s, 6 catches, 100 yards) passing Jerry Rice for the single season TD reception mark, we can safely proclaim New England’s draft day acquisition of the former one of the most lopsided deals in modern sports history. And while New England overcoming a 12 point second half deficit on enemy territory was decent enough playoff preperation, it cannot be ignored that Eli Manning was just a few dropped passes away from having outplayed Tom Brady. Sadly for Eli, one of those drops wasn’t committed by Ellis Hobbs ; suffice to say that if a mistake free game was required by Manning to pull off the upset, that particular overthrow of Plaxico Fantastico was gaffe of the night.
I won’t call it costly, however. Luckily for Manning and Tom Coughlin, nothing was at stake, and if the former plays nearly as well against Tampa next weekend, he’ll have done plenty to challenge the perception he’s got no heart. Perhaps even within his own team’s front office.
Given that Saturday marked yet another blooper reel worthy gaffe by Portsmouth’s David James (above), one that essentially gifted Middlesborough a 1-0 home victory, perhaps an editorial in Sunday’s Observer wasn’t the best occasion for the keeper to proclaim “years ago, the only statistic that counted in football was how many pints you could drink in a night.”
These days, football is a very different beast. The English game is ever more Americanised in its obsession with stats. Top football clubs are now using a model of statistical analysis similar to that used by Billy Beane in Major League Baseball to tell us how we won, how we lost, how to pick the side, or even how to buy players.
Most people know that I like a stat or two, so I’m not dismissing their value. As a kid I spent hours poring over football annuals, obsessing over clean-sheets records, attendances and county-league statistics. But data is a complicated business. Statistics are meant to be absolute, but once you start asking how they have been collated, or what they mean, you find yourself needing not just one stat but several. You can see how I became obsessive.
Peter Schmeichel best showed how numbers can be fiddled. Years ago there was a story going round that Schmeichel got the hump because of the introduction of ProZone, so decided to prove a point. The very next match, so the tale goes, every time the ball was down the other end, Schmeichel did sets of sprints across the edge of his area to raise his high-intensity running stats. Anyone watching probably thought: ‘Oh look there’s Schmeichel keeping himself warm’; but he ended up beating one of the forwards on stats for that game.
Where does coaching, that age-old skill, come into all of this? If footballers are recruited on their statistical performances, then where is the opening for managers to coach the best out of a player? The young footballer who shows flashes of brilliance but needs an arm around the shoulder, or a kick up the backside, may never get a chance under a stats-obsessed manager. A decent old-school coach doesn’t need to look at a load of stats to work out how good a player is. I certainly can’t see Harry Redknapp doing it – he knows his players and he doesn’t often buy a bad one.
Beane’s stats revolution may work for a team emerging from administration and needing a cost-efficient solution to get into the play-offs, but, like Beane’s Oakland A’s, they’re never going to win the title. Pints aside, the only statistic that really counts in football is the result.
To mangle a point raised by My Teams Are Cursed, what would you say if you tuned into a Yankee game and instead of the dulcet tones of John Sterling, instead heard Tigers legend Ernie Harwell? Aside, from “thank god”?
Apparently, this was some sort of dream come true for Detroit native Johnson, and I’m surprised Knicks ownership allowed it (assuming they knew). But I’m also certain that double standards make for an unhappy workforce, so I look forward to Jamal Crawford being granted permission to suit up for the team of his choice on his day off. Likewise if other Garden employees wanna try their hands at moonlighting (Steve Mills might make a terrific department store manager. Surely there’s a newspaper or website that will give Jerome James a shot as their restaurant critic?), hopefully they’ll be given the same opportunities. And if some of ‘em are having too much fun to come back, all the better. (links courtesy Awful Announcing)
Rick Neuheisel is coming back to UCLA — this time as head coach.
Neuheisel, who quarterbacked the Bruins to victory in the 1984 Rose Bowl and later served as an assistant under Terry Donahue, was hired Saturday as his alma mater’s 16th coach.
Neuheisel spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach for the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, who finish the season Sunday against Pittsburgh. He served as quarterbacks coach in 2005-06, and was promoted to offensive coordinator last January.
He had a 66-30 record as a head coach at Colorado from 1995-98 and Washington from 1999-2002. He hasn’t been in the college game since Washington fired him in 2003 for participating in a betting pool on the NCAA basketball tournament. He sued for wrongful termination from Washington and settled in March 2005 with UW and the NCAA for $4.5 million.
Neuheisel began his road back to coaching in the fall of that year as a volunteer assistant coaching quarterbacks at Seattle’s Rainier Beach High School.
Neuheisel’s resume also includes the San Diego Chargers’ single game passing percentage mark of .818 (18 for 22), compiled in a October 11, 1987 game against Tampa Bay. Since Neuheisel’s achievement occurred during the NFLPA’s strike of that autumn, it’s probably not something he considers a career highlight.
Texas – still unbeaten against anyone who’s not in the Big Ten!
Results aside, this was an early game-of-the-season contender, and if Damion James continues to improve as much he’s shown in the past 5 weeks, talking heads and opposing coaches will have something else to gush over besides the guard tandem of Augustin and Abrams.
The 35-year-old midfielder fell to the Fir Park ground just as he was about to be replaced by Marc Fitzpatrick. O’Donnell was taken to Wishaw General Hospital where he later died, club chairman Bill Dickie confirmed. He was pronounced dead at 5.18pm.
After been treated for around five minutes on the field the former Celtic player was carried off on a stretcher to a waiting ambulance.
O’Donnell’s nephew, David Clarkson, who also playing in the match, was taken off after being alarmed by the incident.
O’Donnell, who won one Scotland cap, began his career with Motherwell and rejoined the club in 2004 following spells with Celtic, who he joined in a £1.75 million deal in 1994, and Sheffield Wednesday.
Langford became the 4th member of the Toros to suit up for the defending NBA champs this season, joining Marcus Williams, Ian Mahinmi and Darius Washington. Washington was waived by San Antonio this week, and while he didn’t accomplish much during his limited opportunities coming off the bench for the Spurs, he did average an eye-popping 28 points /6 assists per game earlier in the year with the Toros. The chances of his challenging Manu Ginobili or Tony Parker for playing time were pretty slim, but as of today, he’s a free agent and represents a far more appealing option at point guard than say, Nate Robinson.
“When a report reveals that close to 100 players were using steroids, I thank God that I’ve always pitched clean,” Martinez said in an interview in Spanish with the Dominican newspaper Listin Diario. Martinez was in Santo Domingo Thursday to receive a plaque recognizing his baseball accomplishments, part of an awards ceremony for the Dominican winter baseball season.
“Even when I felt pain in my arm, I got on the mound and pitched in that condition. I was a dominant pitcher in the steroids era,” said Martinez. “That was a difficult period for pitchers and it makes me happy that all I have done in baseball has been clean. No one can question me.”
Martinez, who returned from rotator cuff surgery on his pitching shoulder to make five starts in 2007, also said he had planned to try and pitch for the Licey Tigers team this winter in the Dominican, but that the Mets had advised him against doing so. With one season left on his four-year deal with the club and with GM Omar Minaya so far failing to sign a replacement for departed southpaw Tom Glavine, the Mets can ill afford to lose Martinez.
And on that note, Steve at the Eddie Kranepool Society can accept the pursuit of Jon Lieber under the circumstances. And while I’d rather see Lieber in a Mets uniform than stomach the thought of Kyle Lohse cashing in, it does appear as the notion of strating Aaron Heilman will never be seriously considered.