02.26.08

Mayweather: “I run Vegas and I run L.A. and I will run the WWE.”

Posted in Boxing, Greedy Motherfuckers, Money, Natural Disasters, Professional Wrestling at 12:38 pm by

While WBC champ Floyd Mayweather has yet to admit that “Dancing With The Stars ” is fake, he openly endorses the reality of WWE. œWrestling takes care of business right on the spot, Mayweather said. œWhatever they say they™re going to do, they do it right on the spot. There™s no waiting three, four, five months. Quick results, quick money. Quick big money, too.

Mayweather has accepted a $20 million check from WWE’s Shane McMahon to wrestle The Big Show in WWE™s œWrestleMania XXIV at Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla., on March 30. The AP’s Beth Harris reports that while boxing and dance fans may object to seeing Mayweather demeaned by appearing in public in spandex tights instead of shiny trunks or sequined vests and matching spats, one has to look at the big picture, as mapped out by Mayweather’s guru, Leonard Ellerbee.

The wrestling gig is another part of Ellerbee™s carefully crafted plan to expand Mayweather™s fan base.

œEither I™m going to be a genius with this or I™m the biggest idiot, he said. œBoxers have such a short window of opportunity. He can™t become any bigger in boxing.

Mayweather, left, as seen with his
Dancing With the Stars partner, David Wells

That™s why Ellerbee snagged Mayweather a spot on ABC™s reality hit œDancing With the Stars. Mayweather didn™t win the disco ball trophy, but he wasn™t the first one voted off, either.

œIt crossed him over and took him into the households of many middle-aged Middle Americans and turned him into a mainstream superstar, Ellerbee said. œNow when Floyd goes into the grocery store, the first thing 65-year-old ladies say is, `You™re Floyd from `Dancing With the Stars.™

Mayweather plans to train with WWE Latino star Ray Mysterio, who wears a mask on his face.

œI™m outside the box, he said, lapsing into the third person. œFloyd Mayweather is not just a fighter, he™s an entertainer. That™s what the world must know.

Mo Vaughn – Not Merely An Affordable Housing Proponent/Strip Club Enthusiast, But A World-Class Geek To Boot

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 12:12 pm by

And with this item, culled from Red Sox Monster, we can officially dub Big Mo, Homo Universalis.

Mo Vaughn will headline the Red Sox Hall of Fame class of 2008, which also includes Man of the People Mike Greenwell, wildman Bill Lee, and several other players who put their mark on Red Sox history earlier in the 20th century.

This also gives me a chance to bring up some little known Mo Vaughn trivia: the man was a nerd for late 1970s/early 1980s sci-fi television.

How do I know this? How about the fact that he oversaw the restoration of a “spacecraft” from the terrifically cheesy TV series, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century?

From fxmodels.com (whatever that is) via Bostonist, which brought this up in 2006:

As part of a program initiated by Boston Red Sox player Mo Vaughn and in conjunction with Universal Studios, Florida, we refurbished one of Television’s most detailed and interesting spacecraft miniatures: the Draconia (above) from the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century series. Draconia was in VERY bad shape on arrival but much work was done as some of these photos show. There was much damage and a long way to go…

Roger Clemens : Hardly A Cunning Linguist

Posted in Baseball at 10:11 am by

(God Save The Fran!)

Along with this morning’s accusations that Debbie Clemens and Jessica Canseco compared breast enhancement surgeries at the party-Roger-absolutely-denied-attending, the New York Times’ Harvey Araton drops the following tidbit regarding the infamous Nanny the Rocket so helpfully interrogated days before Congress could reach her.

A reading of an online transcript and a telephone call to the press office of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform revealed that Roger Clemens, aided by political muscle, distorted the linguistic skills of a former employee and grandmother of two.

œAnd her English, as I understand it, is not that good, Tom Davis, the Virginia Republican and ranking minority committee member, cued Clemens at the Capitol Hill hearing earlier this month.

œIt is not that good, Clemens replied, seizing the opportunity to make the masses understand why the nanny had to be summoned to his Houston Ponderosa before her interview with committee investigators ” for her own good, of course.

But Steven G. Glickman, counsel to the majority and a participant in the telephone interview, indicated through a committee press officer that the unnamed nanny spoke English that was only accented, not deficient.

For instance, when told she had the right to representation, the nanny replied she didn™t have a lawyer before adding: œBut I™m not afraid, I™m telling the truth, so bring it on.

Questioned about the dizzying timeline of Clemens™s appearance and exit, the nanny ” again, not as verbally challenged as Davis understood her to be and Clemens agreed she was ” cut to the heart of the matter, as it relates to the possibility of meaningful disclosure.

œWell, first of all, that™s kind of hard to tell because I wasn™t with him 24/7, she said, speaking to the absurdity of the ongoing party dissection, 10 years after. With the exception of the Republican cheerleaders who allowed Clemens and his lawyers to set this smoke screen during the hearing, who actually believed it was ever germane to the McNamee claims of injecting Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone?

Everyone™s reputation was deemed sacrificial to Clemens’ own. His agents took hits for his troubles. His wife, Debbie, was exposed as an H.G.H. user. The nanny, whose interview included an eloquent expression of affection seven years after she left Clemens™s employ, was made to sound like someone who had just slipped into the country in the back of a truck.

02.25.08

Flippin’ Thru The Crates With Dusty Baker

Posted in Baseball at 9:20 pm by

“Have we ever had a manager who listened to Tupac Shakur?” asks the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Paul Daugherty. “You could just see Jerry Narron, groovin™ to the rhymes of Hit ˜Em Up, couldn™t™ you? Hi, I™m Dave Miley, and I can™t wait for the latest release from 2 Live Crew.™™ Replies BTF’s Repoz, “I’d be amazed if Dusty Baker listened to Bill James.”

The iPod in the deck on the corner of the manager™s desk is playing something carnal and raunchy. Tupac is suggesting this and that, none of it PG-13.œWe got to go to Wal-Mart and get the clean version,™™ Dusty Baker allows. His 9-year-old son is a Tupac fan, and while Baker is all for Darren œlearning about all kinds of cultures™™ the Tupac needs some rinsing.

Dusty Baker listens to all kinds of music. He had Buddy Guy on in the car on the way to Ed Smith Stadium Monday. œI got some Latin, some reggae, some rock. All kinds,™™ he said.

Dusty Baker might not be the world™s greatest manager. Then again, it™s only the 26th of February, so who™s to say? Just because Baker not only knows who Pinetop Perkins is (blues pianist), but was listening to him the last time we spoke, doesn™t mean he™ll lead the Reds from their Seven-Year Ache (Rosanne Cash, 1981.) It just makes the struggle more interesting.

When you discover a guy like Baker, you tap him like a sugar maple in Vermont. Baker calls the media œdudes.™™ He says a retirement goal of his is to become œa wine dude.™™ Far out.

No, Paul, this is “far out”.  Still, whether or not the Reds show improvement in 2008, Dusty’s already shown that he’s got better musical taste than Bronson Arroyo.  So does 99% of the human population, however, so never mind.

Kornheiser : A Sensible Voice Made For Watching On The Radio

Posted in Blogged Down, Sports Journalism, Sports Radio at 3:41 pm by

Though I’m not quite ready to call DC Sports Bog’s Dan Steinberg “one in a million”, he might actually be rarer than that. For instance, he actually bothered to listened to Tony Kornheiser’s radio show last Friday, a program in which the “PTI” lynchpin addressed the subject of bloggers. While discussing “American Idol”, of all things.

I don’t want to single anybody out in this area, but, you know, some people sit at home and they watch TV and they watch radio and they “blog” about certain “things,” and they think they know what they’re talking about, and they think they have sources. They have no sources. They make stuff up. They’re toads. They’re little toads. Actually, they’re pimples on the behind of the greater body politic in this country and in this city (everyone in the studio cackles for no reason). And because, because they have access to airwaves and three or four people read them, they think, ‘Oh, I’m very important.’

In fact, in fact, if a huge dumpster landed on their mother’s house (cackling), and got all the way into the basement and crushed them (more cackling), nobody would care. Nobody would miss them. They provide nothing good, no service that’s any good at all. They, they are, they are, they are sucking mole rats (more cackling), and that’s the nicest I can be to them. But because, because they have a name, or, you know, because they get feedback from others, you know, they think they’re very important.

I know, I know, above comments seem particularly knee-jerky and paranoid. But I’m fascinated by the possibility of flying dumpsters, much as I’d love to know exactly what service to humanity is being provided by Kornheiser kolleagues like Dan LeBatard.

Of course, there oughta be some distinction between “making stuff up” and merely expressing an opinion.

Craig Carton’s Pop Culture Acumen Is Matched Only By His Exhaustive Sporting Knowledge

Posted in Sports Radio, The World Of Entertainment at 3:22 pm by

While I’ve somehow managed to escape Mike & The Mad Dog’s Oscar recap this afternoon, I’m pleased to report WFAN’s Craig Carton followed his recent swipes at Scott Stapp (ie. the former Jersey Guy claims to have once MC’d a festival gig “back when Creed were good”) with a spectacular interview with thespian Tom Selleck.

Amongst the highlights — Carton wondered if Tigers fan Tom was psyched for the upcoming season “since you got whathisname from Florida”, and suggested that “Magnum P.I.” must’ve been such a huge payday, surely Selleck no longer needs to work.

Hicks Heir Meets His Adoring Public

Posted in Football at 12:09 pm by

This story has a somewhat happier ending than James Dolan exchanging pleasantries with Knicks fans in New Orleans. From the Guardian’s Andy Hunter :

Tom Hicks Jr was made painfully aware of the ill-feeling towards his father’s ownership of Liverpool on Saturday when he was abused and spat at after the club’s victory over Middlesbrough.

The Liverpool director made the foolhardy decision to meet supporters in the Sandon public house, near Anfield, where drinkers rounded on him. Hicks Jr, son of Liverpool’s controversial co-chairman, Tom Hicks, arrived at the bar in a car with minders and discussed his father’s troubled reign with a few supporters drinking at the bar but, once word spread of his presence, the mood became hostile.

One Liverpool supporter spat in his direction and he was showered with lager before his minders rushed him into the waiting car and drove off . It is believed Hicks Jr ignored security advice not to visit the Sandon given the animosity towards his father and George Gillett.

Calling Hicks Jr.’s appearance, “a display of bravery beyond the call of family duty or crass stupidity and insensitivity, depending on your point of view”, The Liverpool Echo’s Tony Barrett has further details :

It isn™t exactly difficult to spot a sharp-suited American in a pub full of Adidas Samba wearing locals after all “ and word spread around the boozer quicker than news of a goal against Man United.

Polite questioning reflected the shock that someone so closely connected with the least popular man at Anfield “ apart from Gary Neville “ would have the chutzpah to turn up in their midst.

A volley of protest songs “ aired with increasing regularity on the Kop in recent months “ rang out throughout the pub and the venom being directed at Hicks junior was plain for all to see.

All of a sudden, his smile was replaced by a grimace of concern.

And as the volume was cranked up still further by the swollen crowd, Tommy™s facial expression quickly changed.

It appeared to say œGet Me Out Of Here to his bodyguards.

At best, it was a well meaning attempt to build some bridges on Hicks junior™s part.

At worst, it was yet another failure to understand English football culture and proof of the failure of Liverpool™s owners to grasp just how unpopular they have become.

Goldstein On The Meat Packing District’s Best Crab Cakes

Posted in Food, Free Expression, New York, New York at 11:33 am by

After a weekend arguing with my Dad over the respective merits of the Democratic party’s remaining challengers, I had thought about posting Al Goldstein’s latest campaign video, but changed my mind after watching an older clip from Al’s salad days. Never mind Seinfeld spitting out mutton, this has to be the finest publicity the Old Homestead ever received.

For Kiki Vandeweghe, Decent Pet Sitters Are Hard To Find

Posted in Basketball, Dogs, Going To The Zoo at 11:18 am by

Because I’d rather not gross anyone out this Monday morning, I’ll spare you the details of what happened the time I left Johan Kugelberg in charge of my apartment. However, I can say that after reading about what happened when Kiki Vandeweghe (above) and wife Peggy hired a pair of CSU students to watch his home and animals, Johan is no longer the Worst Pet Sitter In The World. From the Denver Post’s William Porter (link swiped from True Hoop) :

What all parties agree on is that Kiki and Peggy Vandeweghe hired twins Amy and Jenny Eskola to house sit their Cheesman Park manse.

Keeping Jenny company was the Vandeweghes’ schnauzer, Meister, and the bird, a variety of parrot called a conure. The birds are renowned for their beauty and sociability, although these virtues were apparently lost on the dog.

So it was curtains for Sweet Cheeks.

“It was horrible,” Jenny told me. “The cage was broken beforehand and the door was fastened with a twist-tie, and the bird somehow undid the tie.”

The conure enjoyed its brief freedom. Then the dog decided it was supper time.

“Meister bolted out of the room,” Jenny said. “I went in and there were little feathers all over the place.”

The Vandeweghes have refused to pay the young women for their housesitting. The sisters say they’re owed about $700, which is the $50-a-day fee they had earned up until the fur flew. So it’s off to small-claims court.

“I don’t know if we’re ever going to see anything, but it’s a shame,” mother Debbie Eskola said. “The girls have to earn their spending money so it’s a big deal for them. For Peggy Vandeweghe, it’s a pair of shoes.”

Bill James Plunks Biggio

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 11:04 am by

Monday’s Slate features an excerpt from The Bill James Gold Mine 2008 in which James explains why the Astros’ Craig Biggio went from being his favorite player this side of George Brett (“Biggio was the player who wasn’t a star, but who was just as valuable as the superstars because of his exceptional command of a collection of little skills”getting on base, and avoiding the double play, and stealing a base here and there, and playing defense”) to becoming, well, exactly the sort of player who’d be the subject of the following essay :

As Biggio moved closer to 3,000 career hits there came a general recognition of his status as a star player, which severed the bond that I felt to him when he was deserving of recognition that he wasn’t getting. Yes, he moved to center field and yes, he moved back to second base when they needed him back at second base, but in all candor, he was pretty awful in center field, and he was pretty awful defensively back at second base. I got tired of pretending not to notice.

In 2003 he hit .354 against pitchers with ERAs over 5.25 (64 for 181), but .143 against pitchers with ERAs under 3.50 (19 for 133). In 2004 he hit .382 with 10 homers in 110 at bats against pitchers with ERAs over 5.25. Every year he has had huge good pitcher/bad pitcher splits.

At some point, Biggio was hanging around to get 3,000 hits. On the one hand I was happy for him that he was going to get his 3,000 hits and pleased that he had proven to everybody that he was a great player, but it’s not something I really admire, hanging around to pursue personal goals. He couldn’t hit a good pitcher”never could, really. His career batting average in post-season play was .234, OPS somewhere around .600. His clutch hitting record is miserable.

I’m not picking on him, I hope, but the reason that Biggio struggled in clutch situations and against good pitchers couldn’t be more obvious. He was an overachiever, and he knew what he was doing. Against a weak pitcher, a pitcher not really in command of his material, Biggio could take control of the at bat and drive it toward a good conclusion. When the pitcher was not really focused, Biggio was. But when the pressure was on and there was somebody on the mound who knew what he was doing, Biggio had limited ability to step up. Maybe this was not as true in the 1990s. I hope. We’ll figure the data and put it online.

I’ll still say today, if there was a draft and you could look ahead and say, “OK, that guy’s going to be Ken Griffey, that guy’s going to be Frank Thomas, that guy’s going to be Juan Gonzalez, that guy’s going to be Tom Glavine, that guy’s going to be Craig Biggio,” just give me Biggio and I’ll take my chances. Maybe that’s not what the numbers say is the right answer, but Biggio was the guy who would do whatever needed to be done. Makes it a lot easier to build a team.

And then the story went on a little too long. You ever go to a movie, it’ s pretty good for about an hour and a half but then the story is over but it’s like the director can’t find the ending so it goes on for another half-hour looking for some way to tie things together? That’s kind of Biggio’s career; it was over, and then it went on for quite awhile.

02.24.08

Dolan To Knicks Fan : Where’d You Get Those Cool Beads?

Posted in Basketball at 7:54 pm by

The New York Daily News’ Frank Isola reports that while Garden chief James Dolan refuses to talk to his paper, the aspiring blues rocker cannot so easily escape the inquiries of Knicks rooters when he’s strolling the streets of The Big Easy.

A gentleman named Mark Haverly (standing to Dolan™s right) ran into the Knicks™ top decision maker on the street during All-Star Weekend in New Orleans and had an interesting conversation with Dolan.

œI explained I™m a long suffering Knicks fan and made reference to the suffering beginning around when he took over without saying it overtly. I said I appreciated the loyalty he clearly has, but at some point the results have to overrule loyalty, i.e. please fire Isiah.

œHe told me to be patient and said ˜look at the Celtics, where were they a year ago? Look at the Giants, where were they a year ago?™

œI politely explained, ˜Well, the difference with the Giants is they made the playoffs the last few years, you can™t say that. And the Celtics had cap space to acquire Garnett, you didn™t.™

Haverly asked Dolan, who was accompanied by several Garden officials, œ˜would you ever consider bringing back Jeff Van Gundy, a coach that could get these guys to play some defense?™ They all laughed at me. ˜He quit, there™s no coming back from that!™ Dolan said.

œI responded, ˜Well, yeah¦but why did he quit? And why did Marv Albert quit?™ Dolan said in a wink wink kind of way, ˜Marv didn™t quit™ – implying he was fired.

œI then made reference to all the good people that have left under his regime, the continued disgraceful record of both teams – save for the Rangers for one year maybe – and he again brought up the Celtics.

œSo, for all us Knick fans out there I™m here to tell you there™s nothing to worry about¦James Dolan himself told me next year we™ll be this year™s version of the Celtics. So about 40-10 come the break. No worries everybody, he™s got it all under control.”

Andrea Bargnani has 24 points (“pugnacious!” exclaims Clyde, silent thus far on the subject of Isiah’s pink tie) and the Raptors hold an 84-67 advantage on the Knicks with about a minute left in the 3rd quarter in Toronto.

With the Boston Globe’s Marc J. Spears claiming the Celtics and Hornets are showing interest in the currently-suspended Chris Anderson, it seems like an appropriate time to recall The Birdman’s struggles in the 2006 Slam Dunk Contest.

Send The Coach’s Prozac Prescription To Springfield : With A Little Luck, NJIT Could’ve Been 2-27

Posted in Basketball, College Spurts at 5:39 pm by

While the Patriots finished their season 18-1 and Memphis failed to preserve their perfect record, let’s have some recognition for the hapless Highlanders of the New Jersey Institute Of Technology. With Saturday’s 76-50 loss to Utah Valley State, NJIT became the Worst Division 1 Men’s Hoop Squad of All Time, topping the 0-28 mark of 1992′s Prairie View and 2005′s Savannah State teams. In today’s era of newsroom budget cuts, can you imagine how thrilled the Newark Star-Ledger’s Ben Webster must’ve been to accept a company trip to Orem, UT?

“Until today we thought we were going to win games,” said NJIT coach Jim Casciano (above), who announced his resignation last week but coached his team’s final game. “Whatever games we had left on the schedule we thought we were going to win.”

But a win never came, and the loss was the team’s 33rd straight, one shy of Sacramento State’s Division 1 record from 1997-99. Add to that, the Highlanders were the only Division 1 team this season with more turnovers (577) than field goals (550).

NJIT opened the season with a 70-28 loss to Manhattan, then Casciano took a 12-game leave of absence for what he revealed yesterday was a cancer scare, problems with diabetes and a bout with depression.

“If I hadn’t stepped back, I wouldn’t have been able to do anything,” he said.

Utah Valley State (14-14) ensured the Highlanders’ final game would be yet another loss with a 24-8 run to close out the first half. NJIT got as close as eight with just over eight minutes left but trailed 49-25 at halftime.

Ryan Toolson finished with a game-high 22 points for Utah Valley State. NJIT senior captain Kraig Peters, playing in his final game, led NJIT with 13 points.

“You can’t let it get to you,” Peters said. “There’s a lot of stuff that’s five times worse than this. I would never regret playing here.”

“When you’ve been beaten down and lost as much as we have there’s going to be that time in the game when it’s like ‘here we go again.’ That’s what happened today,” Casciano said. “Utah Valley played as well as they probably could in the first 10 minutes … but then I look up and it’s a 10-point game.”

It didn’t help NJIT when leading scorer Nesho Milosevic picked up his third foul with more than 11 minutes to go in the first half. With Milosevic forced to the bench, Peters became the sole focus of the Wolverines defense.

“It’s tough being the focus of teams every night,” Peters said. “It’s not tough just because this year, but it’s been tough last year and the year before.”

Imagine How Tottenham Fans Will React If Spurs Ever Win Something Meaningful?

Posted in Football at 5:11 pm by

A header by Jonathan Woodgate four minutes into the extended session provided the margin of victory for Tottenham over Chelsea in Sunday’s Worthless Cup Final, and the Telegraph’s Henry Winter can barely believe the losers mounted such a feeble challenge, writing “it is hard to believe Nicolas Anelka joined from Bolton simply to mark Alan Hutton.”

To Woodgate the spoils, to Avram Grant the brickbats. Like a profligate heir, Grant has now squandered half the family silver he inherited from Jose Mourinho. Like a startled fawn, Chelsea’s manager failed to react when the team cried out for guidance, for inspiration. Steve Clarke delivered the rallying cry before extra-time. Grant listened.

A manager who never lost a cup final in England, Mourinho would have raged against the dying of the light, exhorting his players to find something extra, enacting one of his substitute master-strokes to vary Chelsea’s danger. The Blues’ huge army of support, who became so used to trophies under Mourinho, deserve better than Grant.

An authority figure? No chance. When Michael Ballack, Didier Drogba, Petr Cech and John Terry lost it with the excellent referee, Mark Halsey, at the final whistle, Grant froze again.

Only a timely run from his assistant, Henk Ten Cate, defused the tension. For all the recent eulogies to Grant about his being a high-class manager, even a worthy successor to Mourinho, the Far-From-Special One has faltered when the pressure has been most intense. Grant’s decision to start Frank Lampard ahead of the fitter Michael Ballack certainly backfired. Lampard is a magnificent thoroughbred, but he needed a few more runs on the gallops before such a demanding race as this.

With the quality of personnel at his disposal, Grant should be reaching finals. So he has failed his first big test. He was also asked by Roman Abramovich to make Chelsea more entertaining but there is a joylessness about Grant’s teams, a machine-like quality that will never endear Chelsea to neutrals or purists.

The Political Awakening Of C.J. Wilson

Posted in Baseball, politics, Sports Journalism at 4:08 pm by

Man, what a difference a year makes. Last spring, Rangers hurler C.J. Wilson created a tiny buzz around the sports blogosphere when his MySpace comments to teammate Brandon McCarthy revealed something more suspect than a shared love of Chromeo. Today, however, John Rocker nemesis / Page 2′s Jeff Pearlman annoints Wilson as a notable exception in Texas’ army of clubhouse apathy. “While ballplayers are bound both by their disparate backgrounds and an uncompromised love of the game,” writes Pearlman, “they are also united by one not-so-great characteristic: political indifference.” Yeah, well, that and none of ‘em will profess to loving Savatage cock, either.

In this remarkable year of presidential politics — when John McCain has risen from the dead, and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are engaged in a historic struggle for delegates; when dynamic figures like Rudy Giuliani and Ron Paul and John Edwards fell short but fought passionately — baseball players kick back and, ahem, read their Maxims.

“It’s frustrating,” says C.J. Wilson (above), the 27-year-old Texas relief pitcher. “I’d say there are two reasons. One, there’s a general lack of education among us. But two — and most important — you’re talking about a population that makes a ton of money, so the ups and downs of the economy don’t impact whether we’re getting paid. Therefore, we often don’t care.”

In saying “we,” Wilson is speaking about nearly every Ranger — except himself. A free-thinking Californian with an appreciation for Obama, a dislike of Bush, a hatred of the Clintons, a detestation of SUVs, and a longing for a grass-roots political movement that would truly represent the needs of the people, Wilson stares blankly when asked who among his teammates he can talk with about Decision ’08.

“No one,” he says. “I keep it to myself.”

While a few Rangers profess moderate interest (“Obama’s inspired me,” says outfielder Jason Ellison. “I have a 2-year-old daughter and I want her to grow up in a healthy country”), most merely shrug their shoulders or offer a half-hearted “I’m just focused on playing ball and helping the team win,” when asked about the upcoming election. Some call themselves conservatives, others call themselves moderates, but few seem to actually know what the two terms mean. “It’s not that complex,” Wilson says. “Baseball players think about baseball.”

Not that this is simply a Rangers phenomenon. Throughout spring training clubhouses in Arizona and Florida, politics fail to generate interest. Finding someone who has participated in a state primary or caucus is slightly harder than finding a cinematic role for Meeno Peluce. The majority of players are almost certainly not even registered to vote. On the morning following last Tuesday’s highly publicized Wisconsin Democratic primary, nary a Ranger nor Kansas City Royal could be heard talking about the results. Heck, no one even seemed to know the event took place.

Indeed, a top 10 list of spring training topics discussed by ballplayers would look something like this:
1. Baseball
2. Free sunglasses
3. Breasts
4-5. Jesus/golf (tie)
6. Dinner options
7. The Kyle Kendrick YouTube video
8. Britney Spears
9. Strip clubs
10. More Jesus/golf (tie)

Phillies’ Lidge To Go Under The Knife

Posted in Baseball at 3:02 pm by

The Philadelphia News’ Todd Zolecki reports Phillies’ closer Brad Lidge will undergo knee surgery tomorrow and might be out of action for as much as 6 weeks. For Ed Wade, this might take a bit of the sting off the Miguel Tejdada acquistion.

Lidge, who reinjured his surgically repaired right knee Saturday while throwing live batting practice at the Carpenter Complex, had a MRI today in Clearwater. He said the MRI showed “no big, new tears, nothing substantially wrong. But enough on the medial side of the knee that would warrant a scope. We’re going to do a scope and clean out some of the small tears and get that done with, so it won’t bother me during the season.”

Lidge had two options:
1) Get the surgery.
2) Let it heal naturally.

“The scope has a pretty fast recovery time,” Lidge said. “Ideally, if everything went right I wouldn’t miss any of the season. That’d be a good 4 1/2 weeks (away). But that’ll be based on how it feels, obviously. Right now, if this came up again during the season and we had to do it then, then you’re obviously missing a big chunk of the season rather than a big chunk of spring training.

The Griddle’s Bob Timmerman
reports that not only has Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder sworn off The Lucky (Meat) Gravy, but his inspiration came from a tome entitled “Skinny bitch in the kitch : kick-ass recipes for hungry girls who want to stop cooking crap (and start looking hot!)”. Imagine how much recent drama we’d have been spared if someone had purchased the same book for Debbie Clemens?

02.23.08

It’s Enough To Make Jerome James Wish He Signed With Detroit…

Posted in Food at 9:13 pm by

…even if the Pistons offered less money. Beef recalls be damned, Southgate, MI’s Mallie’s Sports Bar & Grill has a record-smashing murder burger in the works according to the Detroit Free Press’ Sylvia “Hector Versus” Rector :

At 150 pounds, including its specially made bun and multiple toppings, it’s designed to put Mallie’s in the Guinness World Records book for the largest commercially available hamburger; right now that’s a measly 123-pounder at a bar in Pennsylvania.”We’ve actually done this in-house several times, so it’s not a matter of whether we can do it,” says owner Steve Mallie, 39. It’s being able to make the sandwich publicly at an announced time, so all the necessary people will be on hand to record and verify the feat for Guinness.

Completed, the burger will be 26 inches across and about 2 feet tall, he says.

And if you and several dozen of your hungriest friends would like one of your own, that can be arranged. It’s being added to the menu, “and with 24 hours’ notice, we’ll make it for you,” Mallie says. The price is $350, which includes fries and pop.

For today’s world-record attempt, chef Art Laramie will use 110 pounds of ground beef to create the prodigious patty, which will shrink to about 80 to 100 pounds as it bakes in the oven for eight hours. “We usually lose about 15 to 25% of the burger weight after it’s cooked,” Mallie says.Assimacopoulos Supreme Bakery Distributors of Romulus will bake the bun, using a special form it had to create for the project.

“The toppings are going to be normal hamburger toppings — cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion, pickle and bacon,” Mallie says.

How much bacon? “Quite a bit. I can’t give away all my secrets.”

Vitale : Officially More Annoying Than Mojo Nixon

Posted in Basketball, Sports TV at 9:01 pm by

“Look at the lengths Dickie V. will go to in order to get Priscilla Presley’s attention!” guffed Rece Davis earlier tonight prior to ESPN’s broadcast of Tennessee at Memphis.

Hey, if Vitale was really stalking Priscilla, he’d have been better off dressing up like this guy.

La Russa : Lay Off Roy Hobbs Jr.

Posted in Baseball at 7:12 pm by

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, no stranger to presiding over sluggers suspected of using something-or-other to gain an edge recover quickly, tells the St. Louis Post Dispatch’s Joe Strauss scrutiny of pitcher-turned-outfielder Rich Ankiel is unwarranted. And he may have a point — it’s not like Ankiel fell asleep at the wheel or something.

On Sept. 6 Ankiel included two home runs and seven RBIs among three hits in only seven innings of a 16-4 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Busch Stadium. A report surfaced during the team’s charter flight to Arizona of Ankiel’s connection to HGH. The next day Ankiel began an 0-for-19 slump. The Cardinals suffered a series sweep that started a nine-game losing streak and a 2-14 vanishing act from the NL Central race.

Ankiel managed two hits and no RBIs in his first eight games after the revelations were made public.

“It would be tough to say I didn’t struggle with it,” Ankiel said. “Clearly, I was affected by it. I don’t want to make it an excuse. I picked up toward the end. I think it was good for me to go through something like that and find it again.”

La Russa said, “As long as these guys are human beings and somebody is accused of something when they really haven’t done anything wrong ¦ I’m not sure who it’s not going to bother unless it’s the coldest guy on the face of the earth.”

Ankiel received the prescription for HGH from a Palm Beach, Fla., doctor without the club’s knowledge. He took possession of a year’s supply in eight shipments, according to the report. However, La Russa insists Ankiel did nothing illegal and is the victim of media overkill.

“I think the responsibility is with the media that takes a story like that that’s exciting and controversial and gets a lot of publicity. Then all of a sudden, when there’s a reasonable explanation, it gives it one-tenth the amount of attention,” La Russa said. “If I was Rick, I wouldn’t answer another question about it. He’s already talked to MLB about it. He answered questions at the time.

“What bothers me is you get accused of something dramatic ¦ when something comes around to explain it and the guy’s not really guilty, that doesn’t receive anywhere near the same attention.”

The Control Problems Of VCU’s Brett Walker

Posted in Baseball, College Spurts at 6:26 pm by

The University Of Texas’ website tells us DH Kyle Keyes (lying prone on the Disch-Falk Astroturf, above) went 2 for 3 with 3 runs scored in the Longhorns’ 17-4 drubbing of Virginia Commonwealth earlier today. Said report failed to mention that Keyes was brutally beaned in the home half of the 8th inning by struggling Rams righty Brett Walker, who silenced the assembled throng by drilling the Texas freshman in the left side of the skull.

After lying face down at home plate for a spell, Keyes was helped off the field and Walker resumed throwing batting practice. Texas reliever Chance Ruffin (3.1 IP, no hits or walks) struck out the side in the top of the 9th. Whether throwing at anyone’s head occurred to him or not, I cannot say, but I’m sure Shawn Estes would’ve been satisfied with the effort, if not the results.

Misremembering Is Highly Contagious

Posted in Baseball, The Law at 6:03 pm by

Never mind the likely perjury indictment for the Rocket ; when’s Rusty Hardin gonna get disbarred?

According to Emery, the photos in question have been turned over to federal investigators and Congress. Brian McNamee’s attorney Richard Emery told The News that McNamee’s lawyers, including Earl Ward, were called by the father of the boy in the photo following the Feb. 13 hearing in which Clemens faced off against McNamee. The boy was about 11 at the time the photo was taken.

The father of the boy informed McNamee’s lawyers that he was frustrated by the attacks on McNamee, particularly those of committee member Dan Burton (R-Ind.), who repeatedly called McNamee a liar. The man told the lawyers about the photo of his son, and also that he had contacted Hardin before the hearing.

“I find it interesting that it was offered to Hardin on Feb. 12 – and he walked away from it, probably because he didn’t want any contradictory evidence that showed Clemens was at the party,” Emery said.

The above excerpt from today’s New York Daily News follows a Clemens quote from February 13 in which admitted that he might’ve “dropped my wife or her brother-in-law” off at the Canseco bash. Even Wayne Gretzky thinks Debbie Clemens is being hung out to dry.

The Great Sports Blog Pissing Match Of February ’08 : Can You Really Insult The Intelligence Of An Allison Stokke Cyberstalker?

Posted in Blogged Down at 11:29 am by

Recalling Colin Cowherd’s ill-advised attempts to shut down The Big Lead, the card-carrying Mensa members at Kissing Suzy Kolber have proposed other web outlets they’d like to see obliterated (“there are a whole bunch of shitty ass sites out there, some of them downright fucking infuriating. So let’s use this draft to select a few we’d like to see fall victim to a deadly server hamster mass genocide”). Captain Caveman aka With Leather’s Matt Ufford (above) selected The Big Lead.

“What’s to dislike most about The Big Lead? Is it the Jackie Harvey cluelessness? The ironic attempt at credibility while staying anonymous? His admission that he puts less effort than he used to into writing posts so that he can churn out more of them and increase his traffic? Nah, I’m gonna go with the final ‘question’ from his interview with Chuck Klosterman: ‘Tell us something interesting’. That site is an insult to people who think.

Though I’ve already slapped the Jackie Harvey tag on Sports By Brooks multiple times, I can only presume Ufford thinks it’s far better to remain anonymous in this glorious field. I’m not quite sure how With Leather’s attempts to generate traffic are any less cynical or more thoughtful than those of TBL, it would be nice to know what really touched this whole thing off. You’ve all seen what happens on bad TV comedies when two girls turn up at a party wearing the same dress. Apparently, things can become just as heated when two guys upload identical Scarlett Johannson pics to their sports blogs.

Have The Pod People Snatched Isiah Thomas’ Body?

Posted in Basketball at 11:08 am by

While the Knicks showed some all too rare tenacity in bouncing back from a blowout loss in Philly with last night’s home win over Toronto (43 points from Jamal Crawford, 26 points and 15 rebounds from Zach Randolph), all New Yorkers if not members of the human race should be concerned by the Isiah Thomas’ remarks before the game. From the New York Times’ Howard Beck :
œWe want to keep moving in the right direction, and we definitely don™t want to take a step back, Thomas said in explaining his failure to make a deal. œAs painful as this has been and as painful as it is, including for myself, the most important thing is that we don™t do anything that™s going to damage us three, four years down the road.

Thomas said the Knicks had œgood young players and œgood talent. Other general managers say the Knicks have just three players whom other teams find attractive ” Crawford, David Lee and Nate Robinson. Those are the three players Thomas is most opposed to trading.

œI think the most important thing is that we didn™t take a step back, Thomas said. œWe didn™t try to save the day with that one savior bad contract that goes on for a lifetime.

Someone really needs to ask James Dolan, “what have you done with the real Isiah?” Trying to mollify an enraged fan base with “that one savior bad contract that goes on for a lifetime” is as much a hallmark of Thomas’ legacy as running the CBA into the ground or a romantic evening watching “Love & Basketball” on DVD.  However, quizzing the Cablevision heir remains a considerable challenge, as Newsday’s Anthony Reiber explains.

It’s unknown if the Knicks’ 17th win of the season in their 55th game made Dolan happy. He brushed past three reporters who attempted to interview him in the tunnel outside the Raptors’ locker room as he left the arena.

“No,” he said when asked if he would talk.

“Please don’t do that,” said a Garden spokesman who practically flung himself in the reporters’ paths, hands outstretched to prevent any contact with Dolan. Green-jacketed Garden security officers then stepped in to shield Dolan from any more attempts to ask questions.

02.22.08

Rosenberg : “I Continue To Arise Out Of The Flames Of Death”

Posted in Sports Radio at 8:09 pm by

Former WFAN reprobate Sid Rosenberg would like everyone to know that he’s a) still alive, b) gainfully employed in radio, c) he’s D’Angelo to Imus’ Avon and c) he thinks Craig Carton and Boomer Esiason will soon be “fired for sucking”. (audio link swiped from Watchdog)

The Fiver Hails Bolton’s UEFA Cup Adventure. Sort Of

Posted in Football, Mob Behavior, Sports Journalism at 7:43 pm by

The Guardian’s Paolo Bandini and Tom Lutz deserve some kind of special prize this Friday evening — who else in the world of soccer journalism would be savvy enough to turn alleged police brutality in Madrid into an excuse for a gratuitious shot at Jack Johnson?

ZANG! ZIP! ZANG! Oh, hello readers, the Fiver was just trying out Gary Megson’s Reverse Cr@pulator, a modern day marvel machine with the ability to turn grub into gold, Jack Johnson into Bob Dylan and stultifyingly dull relegation contenders Bolton Wanderers into stultifyingly dull Euro Vase contenders Bolton Wanderers. Megson first tested it upon himself, of course, transforming himself from an incompetent laughing stock into a small fiery God of the touchline. Nowhere was that more evident than last night as Bolton bored Atlético Madrid out of existence to claim a place in the last 16 of the Vase.

That’s not all Gary’s been doing though. Last night he turned the Cr@pulator on his own fans, transforming the humble English troublemaker from a fearsome defender of the English right to spend a penny in those fancy foreign fountains into a defenceless victim of baton-wielding Spanish police. “The club’s fans were subjected to a number of assaults and unprovoked baton charges before, during and after the game, in addition to the aggressive use of police horses to manoeuvre fans towards the stadium,” said a Bolton suit today, in a deliciously long statement that pushed the Fiver towards its target word count. “Bolton Wanderers supporters have an impeccable reputation and an excellent record of good behaviour when travelling abroad to European matches, and the club believes the actions of the Madrid police are entirely unacceptable.”

Now, there have been complaints from Spain that Bolton fans were throwing plastic bottles at Atléti fans during the game, but that hardly warrants a swingers-skull combo from a policeman’s truncheon.

IU Fires, Buys Out Sampson

Posted in Basketball, College Spurts at 7:23 pm by

From the Herald Times’ James Boyd :

Kelvin Sampson is no longer the men™s basketball coach at Indiana University.

Sampson agreed to a $750,000 buyout today, with the university naming Dan Dakich as the interim head coach.

As part of the settlement, Sampson will agree to forgo the right to file future lawsuits against the university for wrongful termination or any other action.

Sampson is facing five potentially œmajor NCAA violations, stemming from various calls to recruits.

IU President Michael McRobbie announced a week ago the formation of an internal investigating body that was to look into whether Sampson lied to both university and NCAA officials.

The results of that investigation haven™t been revealed yet.

While I mean no disrespect to the well-regarded Dakich, this Hoosier squad is sorely in need of a talismanic figure who can function as a bridge to their glorious past and potentially rosy future. I implore the University’s athletic deparment and board of regents to hotly pursue the only man who meets the above criteria.

The only question is whether or not James Dolan will let him go.