From Deuce Of Davenport :
Johnny Bench is being honored on a limited edition bottle of Makers Mark at Kentucky’s Turfway Park. 3000 of these bottles have been made to commemorate their Lanes End Stakes. The booze will go on sale March 14th and proceeds benefit the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum and the Johnny Bench Scholarship Fund.
Without sounding cavalier about the scourge of alcohol abuse in this great land of ours, Markers Mark is a fine product and this sounds like a very worthy cause. Had someone thought of this kind of thing earlier, a Bob Huggins commemorative bottle of well, anything could’ve been used to raise funds for any number of causes.
Says Cubs owner Sam Zell, on CNBC’s Squawk Box this AM: “I think … we’re going to fix the credit markets by creating a big enough spread between the risk-free cost of capital and what’s available so that greed overtakes fear and the game begins again.”
Nevermind lost houses, oil headed for $4 a gallon, or massive gov’t bank bailouts in the tens of billions, Zell understands it’s Democrats making the economy suck out loud, not reality:
(Obama, pictured, sabotages an otherwise
“Obviously what we have going on is an attempt to create a self-fulfilling prophecy,” said Zell, chairman of Equity Investments Group and owner of the Chicago Cubs, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and other companies. “We have two Democratic candidates who are vying with each other to describe the economic situation worse.
“The reality is that if you live on Wall Street and you’re in the credit markets the world couldn’t be worse. If you’re a farmer and you’re getting $25 for your wheat, you’re having a great time. If you’re a CEO and you’ve got a balance sheet that’s bullet-proof, you’re in a great position. This whole thing is way out of control, way out of hand.”
…and his Arby’s Bacon Beef & Cheddar.
If it’s not Tracy McGrady, it’s Yao Ming. Sometimes it’s both. Usually it’s McGrady. But this time, with the Houston Rockets on a 12-game winning streak and Yao playing the best basketball of his career, it’s Yao. According to a terse Houston Chronicle report, Ming has a stress fracture in his left foot, and will be out for the rest of the season and the playoffs. Jonathan Feigen is slightly less terse on his Chronicle blog:
At a time the Rockets were going better than they have in a decade, not just winning games by the dozen but improving with more room to grow evident, the life was drained from the winning streak and the Rockets’ prospects.
This feels worse, though, than even that. No one so large has ever been asked to do what Yao has done for the Rockets. The previous giants were specialists. Those close in size that came close to his role – Arvydas Sabonis, Zydruynas Ilgauskas and Rik Smits – had foot and ankle problems that derailed their careers, but were able to eventually succeed. Bill Walton never was the same.
A stress fracture is far more foreboding than last season’s crack in his leg or the toe infection that required surgery. Those had the feel of fluke, the sort of things that happen. This seems more threatening.
We’ll know more when the doctors talk about his prognosis, but this feels dangerous.
It’s not quite that bad, Mr. Feigen. It’s very bad for the Rockets, who I think will indeed probably fall out of the playoffs in the super-competitive West. But I had a stress fracture as a cross-country runner back in high school, and I now lead a full, healthy life. Well, not full and not healthy. But unless Feigen is referring to the possibility of the Rockets signing ultra-stiff Jamaal Magloire (he’s available), I think “dangerous” is a bit of an overstatement.
UPDATE: The news itself hasn’t changed, but Henry Abbott, at TrueHoop, adds a bit of perspective not just in terms of what it means for big men to have bad feet, but about the international-relations dimension of Yao’s recovery and eventual return:
The relationship between the NBA, the Houston Rockets, and the Chinese government figures prominently in any and all matters Yao Ming. Even picking him first in the draft was not simple. Now, with Yao Ming slated to be the superstar showpiece of perhaps the most important sporting event in China’s recent history — the 2008 Beijing Olympics — there must be a hundred new ways these international relationships can be tested. With something this bad having happened, there will be blame to spread around, and future questions to work out. Will Yao Ming be ready to play in the Olympics? Whose decision will that be? Are the Rockets prepared to let the Chinese team make that call? And what about next season — now that China’s national basketball treasure has injured himself repeatedly Houston’s watch (he has also had a broken tibia) might there be concerns about his returning to the NBA at all?
Hey, it’s not all writing award-winning screenplays and making hit records. White people can play basketball, too! (not shown : special Hank Finkel cover for the Boston market).
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.
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…
(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.
“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.
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.