12.22.07

Chass : Were Torre’s Achievements Artificially Enchanced?

Posted in Baseball at 6:49 pm by

Along with noting the Yankees this week fired longtime club employee David Szen for stiffing the IRS to the tune of $10K (less than George Steinbrenner ’74 fine for illegal contributions to the Nixon campaign), the New York Times’ Murray Chass reminds us that while Joe Torre escaped mention in The Mitchell Report, “the report raises a question about Torre indirectly, as it does directly about Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds and their chances for election to the Hall of Fame.”

It may be far-fetched to question whether Torre could be tainted by the steroids fallout, but there are critics who say baseball should do something about records possibly enhanced by steroids use, so why should a team be any different from a player? If you want to question many of Bonds™s 762 home runs and Clemens™s 354 victories, look at teams™ achievements, too.

According to the Mitchell report, Clemens used steroids in the latter half of the 2000 season. Denny Neagle played for the Yankees in the latter half of that season and, according to Mitchell, used human growth hormone.

Neagle won four successive starts from Aug. 27 through Sept. 12. Clemens, following Neagle in the rotation, won three of four starts. Three times they won consecutive games. Their efforts helped the Yankees increase their division lead from three games to nine.

The Yankees, who lost 13 of their last 15 games, won the division by 2 ½ games over the Red Sox. Without the performances of Neagle and Clemens, who knows what would have happened? The wild card wasn™t available to the Yankees because the second-place teams in the other divisions had better records.

If the Yankees hadn™t played in the postseason that year and had not been in position to win their third straight World Series, Torre would not have received the acclaim he enjoyed. It would also have made for an earlier start to the streak of seasons without a World Series championship and might have resulted in an earlier departure for Torre.

Torre did not return telephone calls to address the role steroids might have played in his success with the Yankees, but General Manager Brian Cashman said he didn™t think Torre would have suffered from any fallout.

œOnly if there was knowledge that the manager had of what was taking place and he refused to act, Cashman added. œPeople who have knowledge of this and refuse to act would bother me, but I have no reason to think that happened in Joe™s case.

I’m sure Tony La Russa and Dusty Baker would vouch for Joe having no idea as many as 10 members of the 2000 Yankees might’ve been using performancing enhancing substances. Who amongst us hasn’t found a dirty syringe in the toilets at Yankee Stadium and just thought Joe Pepitone was in town nothing of it?

Don’t Mention The Score…

Posted in Football, Genocidal Tendencies at 4:56 pm by

…of today’s North London derby if you want to escape, knob intact. (video link swiped from Johnny On The Spot via The Offside)

Gatorade Finally Recognizes The Marketing Prowess Of Todd Jones

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 4:07 pm by

Sincere congratulations to Tigers reliever Todd Jones (above, right) : the longtime journalistic mentor to this very blog / pioneering sexual libertine has finally become the darling of Madison Ave.  Appearing alongside such global sports icons as Maria Sharapova, Dwayne Wade and Peyton Manning, Jones is the star of a stirring new Gatorade commercial, currently playing on network television this holiday season.

This development should provide some encouragement for Cincy’s David Weathers. Sure, he might lose some save opportunities to new acquisition Danny Herrera, but there’s always a chance Weathers can be featured throwing a gopher ball to David Wright in a future Vitamin Water spot.

Stan V.G. To Magic Fans : We Deserve Louder Abuse

Posted in Basketball at 3:39 pm by

Orlando owns a three-game lead over Atlanta in the Eastern Conference’s Southeast Division, but to hear Magic coach Stan Van Gundy tell the tale, he’s practically itching to spend more time with his family (sorry, couldn’t resist). Florida Today’s John Denton on the aftermath of Friday’s 113-94 drubbing at the hands of the Jazz :

“We were absolutely frightened of contact. We won’t put our body in front of anybody driving to the basket. We don’t screen anybody, we don’t block anybody out,” Van Gundy fumed. “It’s a soft team, and until they change the results won’t change. And the same thing that happened last year will happen again to the same group of guys. Quick start, and when people pick up the intensity we can’t handle it.”

Following the Magic’s sixth loss in eight games, and the fourth consecutive at Amway Arena that dropped the home record to a bizarre 5-6, Van Gundy actually wondered why the fans weren’t as furious as he was.

“It’s ridiculous, it’s embarrassing and I feel badly for our fans,” he said. “They were booing a little bit, but I would have booed a lot louder than that. You can have a bad night missing shots . . . that’s not worth booing for. But to watch a team play so much harder than we did, they should have been booing a lot louder than that. And I hope they will if we put out the same effort next time we’re here.”

“There’s not one guy who could compete with the guy he was playing against. Not Dwight (Howard), not anybody. We had a team-wide effort of guys getting their (butts) kicked. Right now, they’re OK with that as long as they’re getting their (offensive) numbers. It’s probably going to continue until we get some guys who want to play defense.”

“(Memphis’) Rudy Gay had a career high and just go back down (the list of games). If you can’t get a career high against us you’re not doing much,” Van Gundy said. “It’s not like we’re going to compete with you. Paul Millsap plays hard, and if you just play hard we’re going to have trouble with you.”

The Sad, Inevitable End Of A Beautiful Friendship

Posted in Basketball at 3:13 pm by

Salutations to You Been Blinded for turning up this clip of His Dirkness delivering a verbal lump o’ coal in the direction of former teammate Steve Nash following Wednesday’s 108-105 win for Dallas over Phoenix.

However glum Nowitzki might be, I’d like to see Nash turn the other cheek and fed ex a properly framed version of this classic photograph to Dirk. Either that, or a case of Visine.

Happy Anniversary : Isiah Thomas Continues To Spit In The Public’s Mouth, Says It’s Diet Sprite

Posted in Basketball at 1:18 pm by

Were it not for some extended garbage time stat padding by the visitors last night, the Knicks would’ve suffered another blowout loss, the scoreline of their 105-95 defeat in Charlotte being somewhat deceptive as Friday’s contest was all but over early in the 3rd quarter. Sure enough, as Isiah Thomas celebrates his 4th anniversary as team president — the club having compiled a 126-200 record during his tenure — he continues to insist “we’re pretty close this year to getting back on track again.”  The New York Daily News’ Frank Isola is as incredulous as you or I.

“I like the direction we’re headed,” Thomas said Friday, before his team lost to the Bobcats. “I’ve said this before: our future is definitely much brighter than it was when I got here four years ago. Cost-wise we’re down. Talent-wise we’re up. We did a good job of putting people in the seats.”

Despite Thomas’ record on and off the court, he continues to receive the support of Garden chairman James Dolan, who has not commented publicly on Thomas since March.  Nevertheless, Thomas never misses an opportunity to talk to Dolan through the media.

“The victories will start to come,” Thomas said. “From where we were to where we are this is the time you start taking steps forward. Last year I thought we had a chance to make the playoffs. I think this year we’ll have a chance to make the playoffs. The way the East is now, there are five or six teams searching to find themselves and we’re one of them. I think there’ll be three or four of those teams that will find themselves, head into the playoffs and I think we’ll be one of them.”

If Quentin Richardson can successfully goad Isiah Thomas into committing assault in public, that will be Q’s single most valuable contribution to the Knicks since coming over from Phoenix.

Lest anyone believe the Celtics’ 25 point win over Chicago last night exposed a lack of depth on the Boston roster, Travis Best has graciously volunteered to return to America to become Doc Rivers’ missing piece of the puzzle.

Slate’s Steroids Social Network : Bigger, Angrier Than Facebook

Posted in Baseball at 11:28 am by

You’ll have hours (well, minutes anyway) of fun with this, but let me be the first member of the media, trad or otherwise, to make the following statement :

Persons wishing to attribute Kevin Brown’s legendary asshole behavior to the use of PED’s have no real knowledge of just how hard he worked to act like that.

12.21.07

Even Tammy Reid Doesn’t Want Andy Around The House

Posted in Gridiron, Parental Responsibility at 7:44 pm by

With Lynne Spears’ latest contribution to literature unlikely to hit the bookstores anytime soon, what are the chances of Andy and Tammy Reid — interviewed in the latest edition of Philly Magazine — penning their own parental advice tome?

Philadelphia Magazine: Here™s the 64-dollar question: How close were you to resigning, and is that still a possibility?

Andy: We™ve dealt with Garrett™s situation for a long time, and we™ve done it through Super Bowls and championships. And it™s new to a lot of people, but it™s not new to us. As long as Jeffrey Lurie will have me, and as long as I can do my job to the best of my ability, I would love to be an Eagle.

Tammy: Plus we do have house payments, he does need to have a job. Any other dad, any other man who has things going on in his family, has not had it questioned whether he™s going to retire or step down from his job. The CEO of any major company, it would never be in question.

PM: Something struck me as we™ve been talking. Andy, you™re famous for having tight control over your football team, for being a detail guy, and dealing with addiction is the exact opposite. There™s no control.

Tammy: You learn that real quick.

Andy: They™re really very similar, though. In a game, once the whistle blows, and you™re playing the game, now the human element is there, and it™s how you™ve trained them. Some days they are going to throw an interception or miss a tackle. You didn™t train them that way. But you live with it, and you keep on teaching them. That™s why we™re here, we™re here to be teachers. And so you do the same thing at home, you teach them and then let them go. You blow the whistle and let them play. Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn™t.

Any similarity between the above interview and a recent item in The Onion is just, well, unfortunate.

Celtics Blogger Longs For The Losing

Posted in Basketball, Blogged Down at 7:02 pm by

(the men who killed hoops blogging in Boston)

As a fan of the New York Mets and New York Knicks fan, I need few reminders that a constant dose of turmoil makes for easy blog content. With the arrival of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in Boston, however, Green Bandwagon‘s Jim admits “the 20-3 start and stifling defense caught me a little off guard.”

Apparently I used to spend a good deal of time writing about the following topics, many of which are obsolete this season:

Whether Danny Ainge deserved to be fired
Whether Doc Rivers deserved to be fired
What the ideal rotation was
Whether or not “insert young Celtics player’s name” would ever be a star
Commenting on or concocting my own trade rumors
Reacting to slights, real and perceived, from other bloggers and mainstream media. Example: Secretly hating everyone who mocked the “Celtics Youth Movement” and considering breaking into ESPN, ABC or TNT to force them to show a Celtics game.
Venting
Enjoying the fact that I was blindly committed to following a team that the majority of people either mocked or ignored altogether.

Did I ever actually enjoy the perpetual losing? Of course not. In fact I was strongly opposed to any notion of tanking. And I love the nationally televised games, magazine covers, commercials and every other bit of blatant overexposure that goes with following a winning team. But after spending a full year hoping the Celtics would somehow be good I’m not entirely sure what to do now that they are. I look back at my original site, Celtics Bandwagon, and see the flurry of posts, may of which had goofy premises, and wonder if winning has hurt the quality of my work.

It’s a fascinating to consider whether a long run of futility might result in exceptional reporting. Alas, in the case of the Knicks, the blogging is every bit as sophisticated as the man who owns the franchise.

We’re Not Quite Sure Who This Is Supposed To Be

Posted in Basketball, Blogged Down, Merry Fucking Christmas at 6:47 pm by

The physique seems familiar, but the Chuckster doesn’t have a beard (pic ripped from 100% Injury Rate).

Raissman : MSG’s Trautwig Thinks You’re A Moron

Posted in Basketball, Sports TV at 5:37 pm by

The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman claims James Dolan snuck out of Madison Square Garden prior to the Knicks’ suprise win over the Cavs and LeBron James the other night.  Had the Cablevision heir watched MSG’s telecast of the event, any discernable chants of “Fire Isiah” would’ve been “muted by loud music or a Gulag technician fooling with the audio level.”

Wednesday evening, on Dolan’s network, there was not one word about the fan protest. Not one sentence about Nathan’s giant pink slip, which, at the least, provided a great visual for every media outlet in the city. No words were spoken about Jason Silverstein, the guy who got booted from the Garden for displaying his hand-made “Fire Isiah” sign in the final minutes of Monday’s Pacers-Knicks fiasco.

Instead, viewers got plenty of Thomas video (his “stopped playing with pride” spiel and the players’ reaction) on the pregame. Then, there was Al (Wiggie) Trautwig (above) who played viewers for complete morons.

“They are 7-17, but every night is fascinating for a new and different reason,” Trautwig said. “Welcome to the latest Knicks adventure.”

Quality basketball? Not in Wiggie’s world. Wins and losses are meaningless. The Knicks are more about reality TV. This was compelling at one time. Now, the plot is stale. The actors are pathetic.

Could this be another reason even Dolan didn’t show up for “the latest Knicks adventure?” Fans are not tuning in either. Knicks ratings on MSG are down 15% from last season (from a 1.3 in 2006 to a 1.1 in 2007).

With the same storyline playing out day after day, the TV ratings will continue to plummet. The lack of interest will translate into decreased gate receipts, too. Fewer and fewer fools will continue paying through the nose to watch an inferior product. This story of the Knicks cannot be taken seriously anymore.

It belongs in one place.

The comics – between Dilbert and F Minus.

Xenophobe Of The Week : Peter Crouch

Posted in Football at 2:46 pm by

Former QPR skyscraper Peter Crouch, red-carded in Wednesday’s Worthless Cup defeat to Chelsea, delivered his biggest PR blunder since a sloppy drum & bass debut, as recapped by The Times’ Matt Hughes.

As an intelligent young man, Peter Crouch does not make a habit of attempting to defend the indefensible, but he did his damnedest yesterday. In trying to exonerate himself in the wake of his sending-off in Liverpool™s Carling Cup defeat away to Chelsea on Wednesday evening, he hit back at John Obi Mikel, accusing the Nigeria midfield player of acting as if he had œbeen shot after the forward™s two-footed challenge.

œWhat I™m thinking is, if you go in on Frank Lampard or John Terry, would they roll around like Obi Mikel did? Crouch said. œI don™t think they would have done. Would someone like Carra [Jamie Carragher] have gone down like that? I think it™s safe to say that he wouldn™t.

œForeign players have brought a lot to our game, but that™s something you don™t want to see. I didn™t catch him, but he™s gone down like he™s been shot. It™s frustrating because I thought we played OK as a team and, obviously, it was always going to be difficult from the moment I was sent off.

For such a mild-mannered individual, it is curious that Crouch has been sent off four times in his career, with his lunge on Mikel earning him the nickname œBaddy Long Legs in some quarters. The Liverpool striker accepts that he was in the wrong, but insists that Martin Atkinson, the referee, should have acted earlier after a series of fouls by Mikel.

œMikel came in with his studs up and that was in the back of my mind, Crouch said. œThen I thought there was another foul in there and, obviously, I™ve lost my head. There are no excuses for the tackle I made, but if the referee had pulled the foul up when he should have done, it wouldn™t have happened. A lot was going their way and I think frustration got the better of me.

I used to sit next to a fellow at QPR who went absolutely nuts each time Wycombe visited Loftus Road.  Whenever Lawrie Sanchez would leave his feet to speak to a player, argue with a referee, etc., my neighbor would be on the brink of a heart attack, bellowing “SIT DOWN, SANCHEZ, YOU FUCKING PERVERT!”.

Though I never learned what that was all about, Sanchez’ dismissal today from Fulham should give the former Northern Ireland manager plenty of time to mend fences with his more vocal critics in West London.

It’s A Christmas Miracle – Chris Tucker Doing Something Funny

Posted in Cinema, Merry Fucking Christmas at 1:41 pm by

I’ve waxed hysteric in the previously about Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse and their unique programming sensibility, but this might be their crowning achievement. Until the next one, anyway.

On last summer™s Rolling Roadshow Tour, we were initially scheduled to play FRIDAY for free at a park in the neighborhood featured in the film, but the city of Los Angeles was concerned about the neighborhood™s children hearing too many bad words. To appease the civil servants of the city, we had our good friend Buzz Moran put together a dubbed version where all of the fucks and shits and friends were replaced with the most ridiculous censor voices possible. We thought we were making a statement for the freedom of speech. We had no idea that we were also creating an entirely new level of comedy. Holy Jeezy Shiggles!

Poster Boys Of Baseball’s Steroid Era : Bonds, Clemens….Sid Fernandez?

Posted in Baseball at 12:12 pm by

From Friday’s NY Post :

ESPN reported that former Mets pitcher Sid Fernandez was named in the Kirk Radomski affidavit that was unsealed in Central Islip yesterday.

The story says, “According to the affidavit, obtained exclusively by ESPN, the former Mets clubhouse attendant received a $3,500 check from former New York Mets All-Star Sid Fernandez, written in February 2005, six years after Fernandez last tried to pitch professionally.”
Radomski was a key source of information in the Mitchell Report on steroids released last Thursday. The newly released file does not specify what Fernandez’s check was for.

Since leaving baseball after given a minor league contract by the Yankees in 2001, Fernandez had played in celebrity golf events.

Much as I love all the dirt being kicked up, there are all sorts of reasons why Sid Fernandez would cut a check for $3500 that have nothing to do with steroids.

On another clubhouse tip, what exactly is Jon Heyman implying about Radomski and Mike Piazza?

Flushing University’s Matt Himelfarb dragged the following astute observations out of the New York Sun’s Tim Marchman :

You wrote right after the collapse about how the Mets needed to rethink their veteran approach. Do you believe resigning Luis Castillo and Moises Alou only reinforces that belief, or was it simply a case of there not being any better options in-house or on the market?

Those were both good moves; Alou is still terrific when he’s healthy and the Mets have the depth to cover him when he’s hurt, and Castillo was the best option in a bad market. What I didn’t like was starting Lawrence over Pelfrey, or letting Humber rot on the bench for weeks after he’d finished strong in the Pacific Coast League before tossing him on the hill in a must-win game. If you won’t trust a kid over someone like Lawrence or Mota, when are you going to trust them?

Do you believe the Mets lacked a certain bit of fire last year, and how do think is the best way to go about fixing that problem without sacrificing production?

If they’d won two more games no one would really be complaining about their lack of fire; they just weren’t as good or as well-managed as everyone thought they were. I figure the best way to fix that is to get better players.

Do you think Willie Randolph should have been fired following the collapse?

Probably not, but that’s just because I think bad managing is a symptom of a problem, not the problem itself. Replacing Randolph wouldn’t have had any real effect.

Anyone in particular still on the market that you believe the Mets should make a big push for?

Barry Bonds. He’s still the best hitter in baseball and his court case doesn’t start until the end of the year.

ATHF’s Carl On The Mitchell Report : Still Making More Sense Than Joe Benigno

Posted in Baseball, Free Expression at 11:37 am by

Bad Touch Example: UNC Football Players Sexually Assaulted In Chapel Hill

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron, History's Great Hook-Ups at 11:12 am by

There are numerous shocking things about this story. One of them is UNC having a football program. The rest would be pretty much everything else. Jessica Rocha’s story originated in the Raleigh News-Observer, and arrives (as per usual) via Brendan Flynn, who just reads a lot more than I do.


(T)the three players went to a couple of downtown Chapel Hill bars to celebrate one of their birthdays. They met (Tnika Monta) Washington, (Monique Jenice) Taylor and (Michael Troy) Lewis (above), who gave the players a ride home, according to police and attorneys for the accused. Then the players invited the three up to the apartment.

One of the players was very drunk and was taken to lie down, according to a police report that Whitney cited.

The other two apparently had some consensual sexual contact with the women, but became uncomfortable and wanted to stop, Whitney said. At some point the players’ hands were bound with tape, Chapel Hill police said in a news release.

One of the players called 911, and police arrived about 3:30 a.m., finding two of the men in their boxers. The third player was clothed, Whitney said.

One player said when he asked a woman to stop touching him, both Taylor and Washington began punching him in the head, Whitney said.

In one account given in court Thursday, one player said Lewis stood naked with a butcher knife at his neck, that the player’s pants were pulled off and that someone tried to tie his hands with a belt.

When the player protested, Lewis told him “he needed to chill out,” Whitney said. Lewis pressed the knife closer to his neck while Taylor fondled him, Whitney said.

Defense attorneys Susan Seahorn and Glenn Gerding both said the sexual activity appeared to have been consensual.

A Friday Morning Toast To Canada’s Postal Workers

Posted in Merry Fucking Christmas at 11:10 am by

There is no truth to the rumor, by the way, that your editor was recently employed by Canada’s Post Office. From last Friday’s Ottawa Citizen and Richard Barnes :

There was absolutely nothing Ho Ho Ho about the letters Rosalyn Da Costa’s children got from Santa yesterday.In fact, they included filthy messages.

They are two of 10, inappropriate letters dropped in mailboxes across Ottawa in the last two days, but there could be more.

When Mrs. Da Costa went for the mail at her Coulter Place home in Orléans yesterday morning, she was thrilled to see Santa had answered letters from two-year-old Maya and 10-year-old Colton.

“My first thought was to wait until Colton got home from school so he could sit and read them with her,” she said. “I’ve done this every year since he was a baby and he loves getting a letter from Santa.”

She was happy she changed her mind.

“I told Maya: ‘There’s a letter from Santa just for you, let’s read it’. We sat down on the couch, I opened the letter and began to read. My mouth dropped open: ‘Oh, my god!’ “

Each Santa letter Canada Post delivers contains the same main message with a hand-written personal postscript.

Maya’s personal “P.S.” said: “This letter is too long, you dumb s—.”

“I went straight to Google, got the Canada Post number and called,” said Ms. Da Costa. “A very nice lady at a call centre in Fredericton, New Brunswick, was shocked, and when I told her I also had a letter for Colton and was planning to let him read it when he got home, she said I should open it now just in case.”

Ms. Da Costa went downstairs, picked up the letter and returned to the phone. What she read had both ladies gasping. “Oh, my god! Oh, my god!,” they kept repeating.

The personal P.S. to Colton’s letter read: “Your mom sucks d— and your Dad is gay”

This brought a Canada Post supervisor to the phone.

“We were both going: ‘My god, I can’t believe it,’ ” Ms. Da Costa said. “He said: ‘That’s like dirt in my mouth. I can’t even say it.’ “

Shocking stuff, indeed. Why can’t the people of Ottawa show the same kind of Christmas spirit recently displayed in Spokane, WA?

Rangers Victimized By Gaborik’s Wild Scoring Spree

Posted in Hockey at 1:34 am by

My first reaction upon hearing Minnesota’s Martin Gaborik had scored 5 times against James Dolan’s Rangers?  

“That’s what happens when Zach Randolph doesn’t get back on defense.”

Congrats to Boston D Andrew Ference, (above, left) who made history Thursday night becoming the first NHL player to lose a fight to Sidney Crosby.

12.20.07

It’s Gonna Be A Tom Sizemore Christmas!

Posted in The Law, The World Of Entertainment at 9:40 pm by


From UPI :

Film actor Tom Sizemore has been released from California’s Kern County State Prison after serving a sentence for violating probation on a 2004 drug charge.

Sizemore, who has starred in “True Romance,” “Black Hawk Down” and “Red Planet,” was sentenced last June to 16 months in state prison. He was awarded 213 days credit for time spent in county jail and in rehab and earned time off for good behavior.

Sizemore left prison on Dec. 10 and is enrolled in a program to help him stay clean and sober.

A Sudden End To Gabe Kapler’s Managerial Career

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 8:02 pm by

If nothing else, Milwaukee’s found a living, breathing outfielder to replace Geoff Jenkins on their roster. From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal’s Tom Haudricourt :

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin has been saying all winter that the free-agent market for corner outfielders is bleak.

That must be true because Melvin brought one out of retirement today.

The Brewers announced they have signed Gabe Kapler (above), an eight-year veteran who managed in Boston™s farm system in 2007 after announcing his retirement as an active player.

Kapler, a right-handed hitter, has played in 850 major-league games with Detroit, Texas, Colorado and Boston, batting .270 with 64 home runs and 302 RBI, with a .331 on-base percentage and .418 slugging percentage. He played in 72 games with the Red Sox in 2006, batting .254 with two home runs and 12 RBI.

Less than a month after Boston won the 2004 World Series, Kapler signed with the Yomiuri Giants of the Japanese Central League. He struggled there and was placed on waivers in July, allowing him to rejoin the Red Sox midway through the ™05 season.

Kapler ruptured his right Achilles tendon late in September of that season “ oddly enough, running the bases on what turned out to be a home run by Tony Graffanino, who played in 2006-™07 for the Brewers before suffering a knee injury. That injury sidelined Kapler until June 2006.

Last season, Kapler managed Boston™s Class A Greenville (S.C.) team to a 58-81 record, 14th in the 16-team South Atlantic League.

After that managerial stint, Kapler announced his intention to play again in 2008. œI miss the battle, he said. œThe experience reawakened the competitor in me. I still need to be on the field as a player.

Kapler, 32, was not mentioned in last week’s Mitchell Report, nor in the suddenly unsealed Jason Grimsley affidavit. Surely Geronimo Berroa’s alleged use of steroids provides fuel for those who claim PED’s can’t turn someone into a baseball player.
Never let it be said the current Royals regime is afraid to go after top flight talent. After signing Jose Guillen to a multi-year deal (shortly before the enigmatic outfielder found himself suspended), Kansas City inked OF-turned-reliever Ron Mahay to a two-year pact.

Sorry, organized baseball. You’ve still not managed to rid yourself of Robert Fick.

Along with taking a dim view of the Mets’ acquisition of reliever Matt Wise, Metsradamus has the line of the week concerning the story that isn’t going away :

Q: Why did Brian McNamee inject Roger Clemens with steroids in his buttocks?

A: To prove he had better aim than Shawn Estes.

Isola : Thomas’ Former Advocate “Fuming”

Posted in Basketball at 6:51 pm by

“Under ordinary circumstances,” writes the New York Times’ Howard Beck, “the 108-90 rout of the Cleveland Cavaliers would have been celebrated. But for the fans who are staging protests and practically begging for Coach Isiah Thomas™ dismissal, the victory was Pyrrhic. It meant that Thomas would surely last another day, and probably longer.” And as long as Zeke is team president, his successes and failures will reflect on an MSG executive the Daily News’ Frank Isola describes as “seething”.

Steve Mills, of course, is responsible for hiring both Thomas and Anucha Browne Sanders, who last week received an $11.5 million settlement in her sexual harassment case against Thomas and Madison Square Garden.

Mills has remained conspicuously silent on Thomas’ job status and has maintained a low profile since the trial ended. For years there has been talk of a power struggle between Thomas and Mills. In fact, a person close to Thomas said that the Knicks coach did not feel that Mills gave him enough public support in the months and weeks leading up to the trial.

However, Mills did give powerful testimony on the Garden’s behalf to undermine Browne Sanders’ credibility during the September trial. It was an emotional trial and verdict for Mills, whose family had been longtime friends with the plaintiff and her family. Browne Sanders told close associates that she was most disappointed in Mills’ conduct after she originally filed the lawsuit, as well as in his testimony.

Mills is in a tricky position because he evolved into Dolan’s right-hand man after Mills’ former boss, Dave Checketts, was forced out. Dolan, however, has grown close to Thomas, siding with him in his feud with Larry Brown and supporting him before, during and after the Browne Sanders trial.

Checketts hired Mills from the NBA league office, and Mills’ close ties with commissioner David Stern also create a unique dynamic.

The league encouraged Dolan to settle the Browne Sanders case out of court and Stern reportedly is trying to convince Dolan to revamp his front office and hire someone such as Jerry Colangelo, Jerry West, Donnie Walsh or Kiki Vandeweghe. Mills could be acting as the intermediary between Stern and Dolan.

A shakeup in the Knicks front office could spare Mills. But as long as Thomas continues to survive, Mills could be in danger. Thomas, of course, wasn’t Mills’ first choice to replace Scott Layden. Mills initially reached out to Magic Johnson, who turned down the job and advised Mills to talk to Thomas. Saturday marks the four-year anniversary of Thomas’ hiring.

Patriots Fans Denied Close-Ups Of Joe Walsh’s Nostrils

Posted in Gridiron, Rock Und Roll at 5:35 pm by

From Rolling Stone.com :

Much like the Philadelphia football team of the same name, Don Henley™s Eagles will not be playing at the Super Bowl next year. The Eagles
turned down an offer to perform at the big game, and since Henley didn™t say why, we can only presume either they didn™t want to perform in front of a billion people or they didn™t relish following up Prince™s scorching halftime act from last year.

Though Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers have been confirmed as SB XLII’s halftime entertainment at Glendale’s University Of Phoenix Stadium, I remain hopeful organizers will enlist some local talent for the pregame festivities. Any chance of Mighty Sphincter getting back together?

QPR’s Man Of Steel

Posted in Football at 5:03 pm by

With 22 points from 21 games played, Queens Park Rangers are currently bottom of the Championship table. Regardless, with a thirst for cash not seen since ECW identified Billy Corgan as a likely money mark, QPR’s new owners are aggressively seeking outside investment writes the Telegraph’s Tom Collomosse.


Queens Park Rangers hope to persuade Lakshmi Mittal, the world’s fifth-richest man, to invest some of his estimated £26 billion fortune in the club.

The Indian steel magnate was a guest of Rangers co-owners Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore for the 0-0 draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Loftus Road last Saturday which left QPR bottom of the Championship.

Mittal, 57, is a friend of Ecclestone after buying the Formula One rights holder’s £70 million house in Kensington.

A Rangers source said: “The club heard Mittal had been interested in Wigan and Everton, but this is a lot closer to home. He already knew Bernie from the time when he bought his house. The real worry is what clubs are going to want for players when Rangers try to buy them.”

Ecclestone is thought to be worth about £2.5 billion, while multi-millionaire Briatore is the managing director of the Renault F1 team and has diverse business interests including fashion, nightclubs and pharmaceuticals.

Were Mittal to be brought on board, Rangers’ spending power would dwarf even that of their west London rivals Chelsea, who are bankrolled by Roman Abramovich’s £9.5 billion fortune.

Mittal’s Kensington Gardens home is known as the ‘Taj Mittal’ as it is decorated with the marble taken from the same quarry that supplied the Taj Mahal mausoleum in Agra, India. In June 2004, Mittal paid more than £30 million to host his daughter Vanisha’s wedding.

Larry Lucchino Would Like To Have A Word With Papelbon’s Pooch

Posted in Baseball, Dogs at 2:37 pm by

If only Doug Mientkiewicz had thought of this. From the Hattiesburg American’s Alan Hinton :

Moments after Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Jonathan Papelbon struck out Colorado Rockie Seth Smith for the final out of the 2007 World Series, Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek gave Papelbon the baseball.

Papelbon’s agent later said that his client didn’t have the ball.

It puzzled some in Boston, as the team had trouble getting the final baseball of the 2004 World Series, too, which the Red Sox also won.

Well, the 2007 mystery is now solved. The World Series baseball is in Hattiesburg.

At least what is left of it is.

“My dog ate it,” said Papelbon, who has a home in the Canebrake subdivision.

“He plays with baseballs like they are his toys. His name is Boss. He jumped up one day on the counter and snatched it. He likes rawhide. He tore that thing to pieces. Nobody knows that. I’ll keep what’s left of it.”

There’s no truth to the rumor Charles Steinberg is hastily arranging to have x-rays of Boss’s stomach displayed on a town-by-town February tour of New England.

What Could Be Funnier Than Cancer?

Posted in Blogged Down, Sports TV at 2:18 pm by

Might it be possible for someone with an ounce of smarts or civility to refer to Stuart Scott’s health woes without sneering? While we’re pondering that, instead consider the thoughtful remarks of With Leather’s Matt Ufford, who aside from calling Scott the WWL’s “preferred bro-dawg” greets the news of “icky tissue” being removed from the sports anchor’s insides with the aside, “I’d also like to wish Stuart Scott well… in that I don’t wish him any particular harm.”

Yeah, that was warranted. God forbid a simple news item about Scott’s condition could pass without the nudge-nudge reminder that MAYBE IT WOULDN’T SUCK THAT MUCH IF HE DIED. Hoo-ha.

Stuart Scott’s crimes are humanity are what, exactly? “Boo-ya?” That “as cool as the other side of the pillow” is no more his invention than the phrase “With Leather” was created by Captain Caveman?

While we’re on the subject, the Urban Dictionary defines “bro dawg” as “a male that drives a lifted pick up truck, drinks endless amounts of cheap beer like water, wears trucker hats, listens to anything that MTV has deemed cool, and calls his friends ‘Bro’ or ‘Dog’.” I wonder which sports blogs such a dude might have in his browser history?