Yard Work Channels THEKING610

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, Sports Radio at 11:02 pm by

It’s hard to know who to trust when previewing the 2008 Major League Baseball Season. Clearly, in an age where the credibility of David Pinto is under fire, we’re gonna have to turn some new sources for soothsaying, and if that means absorbing a Phillies prospectus penned in-the-style -of WIP’s Charlie Manuel-baiting Howard Eskin, so be it. From Yard Work :

Out in left field, there™s good old Pat the Fat, good for a sterling .260 average, a remarkable 70-80 RBIs, and stone-cold defense that could be improved upon by fielding the Venus de Milo. If this dope wasn™t sticking it to a centerfold, he™d be more useless than a DeVry graduate. Now in center field, there used to be Aaron Rowand, a gamer™s gamer, a guy that would literally run into a wall for you. Sure, we™ve got supercuzz Shane Victorino sliding over, which is great, but who™s going to be in right field? The only guy I can see going there is Geoff Jenkins, and since the best thing he™s known for is resembling Brett Favre, color me unimpressed. This ain™t Cheese Country, Mr. Bratwurst ” this is CheeseSTEAK Country. At least it™s a safe bet that Jenkins knows not to throw across his body fifty yards downfield into triple-coverage, unlike some water-walking drunks we all know and blow. Maybe good ol™ Geoffie can two-sport it and save us from another season of boy genius Donovan McGagg, how about it?

In the infield, we™ve got three all-time greats, an up-and-coming catcher and now Pedro Feliz, a guy that was let go by the San Francisco Giants. You know what that means ” he was on the same cocktail as that broke-down clown Barry Bonds, so don™t expect a miracle from that walking slump. And of course it™s only a matter of time before Utley or Rollins or Howard breaks down. Betcha it™ll happen write after they ink one of those ridiculous multi-million dollar deals ballplayers seem to be getting. Seriously ” how much bling-bling does a brother need before the dope with the gold fronts and more sparkle than a gay pride parade says, œYou know, maybe I™ll accept that ten-million dollar deal instead of holding out for something bigger? Unless there™s some sort of price spike on tricked-out spinners or putting TVs into the TVs in your rear-view mirror, I don™t get it.

You dopes realize that the only reason the Phils actually won the division was because the Mets played like Darryl Strawberry™s crack-addled family for the last month of the season, right? And you saw what happened to the Phils in the playoffs, right? They were manhandled by a bunch of Sally League Born Again Christians! News flash, kiddies ” not much has changed. Sure, the NL™s still like a quadrapelegic slap fight when it comes down to it, so the one-handed team that™s not busy rubbing one out wins. That don™t mean much, though ” if weak sisters like the Cubs and Dodgers and (seriously?) Brewers are the league™s shining lights, then it looks like someone™s forgotten to pay the electricity bill.

The Phillies, bless their inbred little hearts, don™t even measure up to those chumps. Three hitters and one pitcher do not a championship team make ” if that were the case, the Yankees would win every year, without fail.

Classic stuff, though I’m hopeful that Mike Missanelli won’t be lobbying for equal time.

Q: What Did The Wizard Of Westwood & Bill Walton Once Have In Common With Tom Troccoli’s Dog?

Posted in Basketball, College Spurts, Free Expression, record collector disease, Rock Und Roll at 6:35 pm by

(Other than being members of that great mutual admiration society all true artists belong to, of course?)

A: All three were at one time or another, members of the SST Records family. In the case of John Wooden and his Deadhead center, a pair of spoken word albums for SST offshoot Issues Records.

While UCLA leads Xavier, 33-24, at the half in the West Regional Final, Greg Ginn and The Texas Corrugators are making their local debut at Emo’s on April 25.

Sean Avery’s Gubernatorial Campaign Dealt A Serious Blow(job)

Posted in Hockey, The Law at 5:37 pm by

From the New York Daily News’ Jose Martinez and Tracy Connor :

Rangers hockey star Sean Avery’s name and private cell phone number are in the little black book of Manhattan madam Kristin Davis.

Avery, 27, a trash-talking enforcer who has dated a string of models and actresses, is listed as a $500 client of brothel Maison de L’Amour.

Contacted Friday at the number in the records, the pretty boy known in the NHL as “The Animal” at first laughed when told where his name had turned up.

“For some reason, I highly doubt that,” Avery told the Daily News, insisting he was the target of a practical joke.

“It’s April Fools’ Day coming up and I’m not going to fall for it.”

It’s no joke. His name is one of more than 2,000 on a computer spreadsheet, detailing Davis’ X-rated operations, obtained by The News.

In a later statement, Avery denied using Davis’ services.

“This assertion is false and defamatory,” Avery said. “I was never a client of Ms. Davis, nor of any prostitute.”

A subsequent Daily News report this afternoon from John Dellapina and Carrie Mellago includes has Avery claiming “we’ve been laughing hysterically about this all morning,” and “I do know that if I ever was to venture into one of these establishments, I definitely wouldn’t use my own name.”

In a barely related note, the Rangers’ AHL affiliate in Hartford are hosting a pregame celebrity sled hockey game before their April 6 tilt with Lowell. This could be a terrific opportunity for Vin Baker to make his return to the public eye.

The Big O : Stern’s Age Limit Is Illegal

Posted in Basketball at 4:52 pm by

Amidst rumors the NBA is considering raising the league’s minimum age requirement from 19 to 20 when the next basic agreement comes up for discussion, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Bob Woofley had the pleasure of speaking with Hall Of Famer Oscar Robertson (above).

Q. What do you think of the NBA’s age requirement?

A. Actually I have checked this with some attorneys before I got here. It’s illegal. It’s illegal. If you can go into the Army at 18 and fight in Iraq and maybe get killed, why shouldn’t you be able to come into the NBA? That (rule) is only to appease colleges. That’s what it’s all about. . . . I’m glad you brought this up. The problem is that you don’t have to give a kid a contract. Why give a kid a contract if you don’t want him on the team? If he’s 18 and you don’t want him on your team, don’t give him a contract.

Q.Who is the best player in the NBA today?

A. I don’t know. There are so many. LeBron. Naturally, Kobe. Chris Paul, who may be the MVP this year. But they (media) are not pushing him for that award. Isn’t that amazing? When Steve Nash was the MVP, they pushed him all year to be the MVP. Why don’t they do the same thing with Chris Paul?

Q. Can a great team have an average coach and win an NBA championship?

A. A lot of them have done that. Sure.

Q. So great players make great coaches?

A. I’m going to tell you a little story. This was (1980) . . . when Louisville beat UCLA in the final up in Indianapolis. The game was tight and Darrell Griffith made three or four jump shots and won the game. So they asked Denny Crum about his strategy. He said, “I had no strategy. I had Darrell Griffith.”

Braves Acquire Gotay, Mets Mysteriously Cling To Tatis

Posted in Baseball at 4:41 pm by

Out of minor league options, IF Ruben Gotay (.295 BA in 98 big league games last season) was waived on Thursday by the New York Mets, and picked up on Friday by the Atlanta Braves. While it’s unlikely Gotay will turn out to be the next Marco Scutaro, it’s somewhat infuriating to note the former is considered surplus to requirements, while there’s still a chance Fernando Tatis (.215 this spring) might make the club’s 25 man roster. Mets Blog’s Matthew Cerrone is amongst those wondering what precisely Tatis’ appeal might, beyond an alleged ability to play multiple positions.

the whole reason behind tatis making the team instead – is because tatis is a better hitter against left-handed pitching and is more versatile¦whatever¦i™m not so sure tatis can hit lefties, as much as he can stand in the box against lefties¦i™ll believe he can hit them when i see it¦also, versatile¦really¦hey, i can play outfield too¦it doesn™t mean i can play it well, but i can stand out there and run after the ball¦so, to call tatis versatile may be a slight stretch¦

The Journal News’ John Delcos is presumably with the Mets today in Memphis, but during the team’s stint at Port St. Lucie, Delcos bemoaned “the unbelievable rudeness and attitude”. No, not on the part of Bart Hubbach, but rather, the snot-nosed, underage patrons at Tradition Field.

Easley, let me have your hat,™™ said the voice that couldn™t have been more than 13 or 14 as the Mets third baseman ran off the field after the game.No please, no thank you. Of course, mom and dad are usually standing beside them yelling the same things.

Hats, bats, jerseys, gloves. They ask for everything. Of course, it is to sell. Why don™t they ask the players to just write a check?

These ugly scenes must be distinguished from what happens during the regular season. That’s when adults lean over the railing and demand that Paul Lo Duca write a check.

Collateral Damage : Do Sports Blog Readers Make Decent Cannon Fodder?

Posted in Basketball, Blogged Down, College Spurts, The Woah at 10:54 am by

That the NCAA would allow the US Army to use tourney highlights as part of their new batch of online advertisements is hardly surprising — both organizations know a thing or two about exploiting certain segments of the young American population (though the NCAA have done so more successfully of late). Nor am I surprised that a successful author / TV pundit like Will Leitch, even at the height of his commercial success, would turn a blind eye to such advertisements appearing on Deadspin. Will’s already on record as saying “politics scare me” and he established himself as the Piers Morgan of sports bloggery sometime ago.

Nah, what I find surprising is that the U.S. Army, in their infinite wisdom, have gone for such a stiff presentation while trying to appeal to a readership that considers themselves slightly sharper than the average sports fan. Host Brian Fasulo combines the serious analytical presence of Tom Ellis with the tones of a less manic Sean Salisbury. Which is to say, you’ve met can openers with more personality.

With the very real possibility we might find ourselves colonizing occupying Iraq for the next 100 years, the American military desperately needs to get their shit together on the recruiting front. Though they’ve proven savvy enough to recognize the audience for the nation’s most popular sports blog might consider a tour of duty to be a career upgrade, that’s not nearly enough. Sponsoring sports blogs, xtreme motocross competitions and underground rock fests are certainly a foot in the door with a confused, gullible patriotic portion of the population, but they’re gonna need a compelling spokesperson other than Fasulo.

I humbly nominate (retired) Private Francis Soyer.

Cards’ Duncan : Kevin Slaten Sucks

Posted in Baseball, Sports Radio at 10:42 am by

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dan Caesar (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory) :

Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan is angry at KFNS radio, saying he was put on the air without his consent by afternoon drive-time host Kevin Slaten and is contemplating legal recourse.

The incident happened Thursday, when they had a contentious conversation that Duncan said he thought was private, but was being broadcast. In it, he called Slaten a “nasty man” and Slaten accused Duncan of slander.

“It certainly was unethical what he did, and probably unlawful,” Duncan said Friday via phone. “But that’s the way Kevin Slaten is, and that’s why I wasn’t interested in going on his show. Kevin Slaten over the years has said a lot of things that have made me angry, and this is just typical of how he operates.”

Duncan said he was contacted first by a producer and declined to go on the air, but that Slaten called anyway. In an unconventional move, listeners heard the call being placed and Duncan answering rather than the normal procedure of the person being interviewed already being on the line when the host begins the conversation.

“He’s either a liar or he’s the dumbest man on the face of the earth,” Slaten says. “He either lied when he said he didn’t come on, or he’s so stupid he doesn’t know he was on. … Does this give you an insight what’s going on with this organization? Do you need any more?”

Caesar provides a transcript of the call, and one of Duncan’s main points of contention is that he’d prefer not talk to somebody who gave Tony La Genius such a hard time over his 2007 DUI charges. (Slaten responds “I’m the only guy in this town who has defended Tony La Russa”). In the Post-Dispatch’s account of Slaten’s call to Duncan, the broadcaster doesn’t inform the Cardinals’ pitching coach that he’s speaking live on the radio until well into the pissing match (and long after Duncan has insisted he didn’t want to chat with Slaten).

Lottery-Bound Owner With A Boner Boldly Opens The Mavs’ Locker Room To Bloggers

Posted in Basketball, Blogged Down, Sports Journalism at 3:11 am by

Of Mark Cuban’s Assocation-mandated about face in promising to make the Mavericks’ locker room accessable to bloggers “whether they be someone on blogspot who has been posting for a couple weeks, kids blogging for their middle school Web site or those that work for big companies”, Will Leitch wrote, “at last, those with Movable Type software can finally have the opportunity to see Devean George’s penis”. Amongst those vying for a chance to gaze at said cock is Matt Moore of Hardwood Paroxysm, who penned the following on Friday :

I may never hear back from the Mavs regarding the situation. But I wanted to try. I think this could be a great opportunity for us to show that we’re not all a bunch of idiots that (yes, you guessed it) live in our parents’ basements and wait for opportunities to catch athletes in embarrassing moments. (NOTE: Not that I condemn such things. Lord knows they’re in my Reader and I laugh just as hard.) It’s a chance to show that while we’re not journalism, (well, not all of us), per say, we can still be a valuable media source that deserves respect.

It is in that spirit that I say this. I’m asking you, bloggers, the internet, my fine friends in the series of tubes, not to get carried away. Let’s not bombard them with application for anybody that’s got a blogspot. (*Matt checks URL of his own blog.) Okay, bad example. What I’m saying is, if you’re just going to get the access, if you don’t have a genuine interest in covering the game, please don’t apply. If you’re a small blog, and you feel like you have something to contribute? By all means. All I’m saying is, let’s be responsible with this. Basically, we’re being tested.

I have no way of knowing precisely how many blogs the Mavericks are likely to be approached by, but Michael Wilbon already raised the spectre today of Cuban’s media relations department under siege from losers who just wanted to attend a game for free. To which I can only reply, why is it considered so impossible for Dallas or any other professional sports franchise to develop some criteria, loose or not, for which non-print outlets might receive credentials? Whether it’s a matter of traffic or the subjective quality of a particular blog, why is Cuban so hesitant to develop a serious policy? Merely because his companies are obliged to be equal opportunity employers, that doesn’t mean he’s obliged to hire every candidate that emails a c.v. And likewise, a rational businessman would conclude it was no more or less discriminatory to limit locker access to a small cross-section of bloggers than it would be to deny credentials to print journalists who toil for coupon shoppers, college newspapers or The Sporting News.


The Alleged Mrs. Matsui Plays It Very Close To The Vest

Posted in Baseball, History's Great Hook-Ups at 5:02 pm by

Thank you, Sam Frank, for digging up the crucial, social-networking profile of Hideki Matsui’s mysterious new bride. They say there’s somebody for everybody, and in Godzilla’s case, it just happens to be a woman who isn’t very popular.

Mushnick’s Confusing Crush On Country Time

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism, Sports Radio at 4:52 pm by

You’d figure the same NY Post columnist who lambasted Orestes Destrade for calling Manny Ramirez “the consummate professional” would be the last guy on earth to lionize a me-first reliever whose sullen critiques of teammates, paying customers and his own manager have scaled the heights of self-importance. But that’s the wild, unpredictable Phil Mushnick for you, today declaring his devotion to Mets closer Billy Wagner.

Country Time has agreed to do a weekly radio spot on Michael Kay’s ESPN 1050 show. Beware, gushes Phil, tough talking Wagner “will say something that causes anything from a stir to a calamity. It’s a virtual lock.”

Wagner is a terrific interview. Ask him a question and he answers it candidly and almost always in some detail. He can’t help himself. Those kinds of answers made issues when he pitched for the Phillies and they’ve caused some heat in his two years with the Mets.

Wagner’s pre-game sessions with Ed Coleman on WFAN have been special. Coleman asks him a question – any question – and Coleman could leave to do his taxes and get back before Wagner’s done. It’s like when a disc jockey plays the FM version of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.

Wagner pitches hard, dies hard. The Mets have some players who don’t always play hard. The guess here is that when asked about something like that, he’ll eschew the politically evasive answer to say what he thinks. And it’ll make for headlines and talk show chow. Just wait; you’ll see.

As always, I appreciate Phil’s timely cultural references, and look forward to a future column where a Tim McCarver monologue is unfavorably compared to Joe Walsh’s “Life’s Been Good To Me”. There have been no shortage of allusions since last September that certain Mets vets —- usually those named Beltran and Delgado — should’ve taken a harder public stance in the midst of the club’s historic collapse. Wagner, easily the most deocrated member of the Mets’ bullpen, is apparently immune from such criticism so long as he bitches to a radio host after the dust has cleared.

No Matter How Excited You Might Be About Opening Day…

Posted in Baseball, Technical Difficulties at 4:11 pm by

…MLB’s Extra Innings Package really isn’t worth it. Rod Hull is unavailable for comment. Mostly because he’s dead.

Top This, Caliendo

Posted in Basketball, Free Expression, Sports Radio at 2:59 pm by

The Freewheeling Chuckster, as grilled by Dan LeBatard on 790am yesterday (mp3 link swiped from The Big Lead). Proof that for even the lamest/laziest radio host on the planet, a phone call to Barkley is a broadcaster’s ultimate get-out-of-jail card.

Karl Rove Never Would’ve Let This Happen : Paulie Go Nuts Dissed By White House

Posted in Baseball, politics at 1:00 pm by

Days after one columnist raised the point that the battery of George W. Bush and Nationals backstop Paul Lo Duca might make for an awkward photo opportunity Sunday evening, the Washington Post’s Barry Svrluga reports that DC skipper Manny Acta will instead, catch the ceremonial first ball from our beloved Commander In Chief.

The choice has symbolic implications. Lo Duca was one of the primary figures in the report by former Senate majority leader George J. Mitchell on the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. Bush, in turn, is an avid baseball fan and former owner of the Texas Rangers who has publicly denounced the use of steroids, both in professional sports and by America’s youth.

The White House said it played no role in determining who would catch the pitch.

“Whatever the decision the Nationals make is up to them,” White House spokesman Tony Fratto said by telephone Thursday. “In no way did we, or would we, raise any issues.”

Lo Duca said after Thursday’s final Grapefruit League game that he had no animosity about the situation.

“I’m not upset,” Lo Duca said. “I’m just not catching it. They just told me that was the decision, that they’d go with Manny.”

I applaud Captain Red Ass for taking the high road in this instance. Rather than moaning about how his reputation might’ve taken a hit were he seen fraternizing with a known cocaine abuser, Boogie Shoes knows he had little to gain from such an encounter. Even if Lo Duca emerged from Sunday’s ceremonies with Jenna Bush’s phone number, she’s a little long in the tooth for the former Mets catcher.

Rucker & The Cage Can Fuck Off : Oden Knows If You Want A Real Game, 24 Hour Fitness Is The Place To Be

Posted in Basketball at 12:50 pm by

Ripping mad in Rip City might be one way of describing (oh, thank god I didn’t employ that headline) either the reaction of Blazers execs to the following item, or perhaps the questionable actions of one Greg Oden. Way to knock last night’s loss to Golden State off the front page, Greg. From the Oregonian’s Jason Quick.

The Trail Blazers on Thursday were alerted to an internet rumor that Greg Oden had participated in a pickup basketball game at a 24 Hour Fitness facility in Tualatin on Wednesday night.

Turns out, the rumor was true.

And naturally, the Blazers were none too pleased.

“We heard about that, and I talked to him today,” coach Nate McMillan said. “I let him know he can’t do that.”

Oden is in the sixth month of his rehabilitation from microfracture surgery on his right knee, and is on schedule – if not ahead – to return to the court in time for the start of training camp in October. Oden has been cleared to participate in light drills during practices, but the team wants to control his running and jumping to controlled environments.

“I know he is excited to be moving again, but as I talked to him about it, he said ‘Coach, I promise I wasn’t running hard …’. And I was like – ‘I really don’t care’,” McMillan said. “The thing is, we were surprised. So we let him know that he doesn’t need to be there. We have plenty of workout equipment and gym space at our facility.”

Oden apparently took part in two pickup games on Wednesday night, after which one of the participants came home and posted his account on the internet. By Wednesday morning, word had gotten back to the Blazers, who were in Oakland, Calif., for Thursday’s game against Golden State. McMillan said he then called Oden in Portland.

“Young guys,” McMillan said, shaking his head. “Right now, these young guys don’t know their value. That’s part of growing up and maturing. In a couple of years he will understand how stupid that was. I understand it, because I’ve done it. You are a pro, you want to walk into a building like that and feel good about yourself, you know, play with some guys. You don’t move hard, you know, just shoot some jump shots … yeah, I’ve done it. But we just have to remind him, especially in his situation, where he is coming off an injury. That … that, you just can’t do that.’

While the New York Post’s Peter Vecsey steadfastly insists Donnie Walsh isn’t fibbing when he denies having a deal in place to run the Knicks (“Walsh is about to end his 24th season in Indiana, and I defy anyone to testify he ever has broken his word”), Hardwood Paroxysm’s Matt Moore might’ve unwittingly provided a hint about Isiah Thomas’ next assignment in the midst of an illuminating chat with D-League President Dan Reed ;

HP:Has there been any discussion at this time of expanding a team to New York, and do you see it as a viable D-League market?

DR: There’s been a lot of discussion. There’s a lot of interest. The most prominent one is the Knicks’ interest in putting a team in Harlem. We’re going down that road and looking at pros and cons. I think it’s pretty viable. They say New York has the best basketball fans in the world, and I’ve seen nothing here to dispute that. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a team there in the next few years, but there’s a long way to go. I think it would be pretty cool.

Filip Bondy has already suggested the most appropriate punishment for Isiah Thomas would be to make him coach the Knicks for another season (“Thomas says he wants this job. Call his bluff”). Though I suspect the NBA wouldn’t look favorably on a James Dolan owned D-League franchise, who amongst us wouldn’t want to see Zeke as the player-coach-GM for a new Harlem minor league team?

Yeah, But Where’s My Milo Hamilton Statue?

Posted in Baseball, Beer, History's Great Hook-Ups, Sports TV at 10:53 am by

(Pioneers in square eye wear: Harry Caray and Jack Brickhouse,
the Cubs’ two big winners in 60 years of WGN baseball)

“It was the perfect storm,” Vorwald said. “The rise of the superstation, the team winning [the division] in 1984 and then Harry becoming this icon changed everything. Harry totally took it to the next step about this idea of wanting to be at Wrigley Field. The bases would be loaded, the fans are yelling and Harry would say, ‘Don’t you wish you were here?’ ”

Of course, the bases were usually loaded with Reds and Dodgers in my childhood, but that’s beside the point. While I personally feel CSTB has fallen far short of its goal to be the leading Cubs blog on the Internet, my thanks to Gerard for sending along this item by Ed Sherman of the Chicago Tribune. I give Cubs owner Phillip K. Wrigley credit for two plusses in my childhood, every Cub game free on WGN and, of course, the Doublemint Twins.

For all that’s said about Bill Veeck and crazy marketing, Wrigley managed one simple idea “ giving every game away free “ into a moneymaking machine that never fielded a pennant winner much less a World Series Champ, yet remains one of the iconic brands in baseball today. How much money has George Steinbrenner blown to do the same? There’s a reason Chicago built statues of Caray and Brickhouse, and no Cub player.

The Boss Jr. : A-Rod’s “A Friggin’ Natural”

Posted in Baseball at 9:31 am by

It’s been awfully difficult for members of the Fourth Estate to drag candid opinions from the gaping jaws of Hank Steinbrenner, and somehow, someway, the Bergen Record’s Pete Caldera pulled it off on Thursday morning. As you know, ‘Lil Stein doesn’t often comment on controversies surrounding the New York Yankees, and one must wonder, could yesterday’s remarks herald the start of a new frankness on his part? Might Hank every now and then, see fit to tell us what he thinks about Joe Torre, the Boston Red Sox, Brittany Murphy’s acting career, which Jarboe album would you buy if you could only buy one, etc.? Let’s keep our fingers crossed, because cogent baseball historians like Hank are increasingly difficult to find.

n his spirited defense of A-Rod on Wednesday, Steinbrenner told The Record that “if [Sandy] Koufax, [Mickey] Mantle, [Babe] Ruth, [Willie] Mays or [Hank] Aaron were playing today, they all would be suspected of doing something ” and of course, they didn’t do it. There was no such thing in their day.

“This is the age of paranoia.”

In his soon-to-be released book, “Vindicated,” Canseco writes that he once introduced Rodriguez to a trainer with connections to a steroids supplier, and later heard that A-Rod “had signed on.”

“Consider the source, that’s No. 1,” Steinbrenner said of Canseco. “He wouldn’t have been able to hit the ball out of the infield without steroids.

“And No. 2, if Mantle or Ruth were playing today, with the 550-foot home runs they hit, everybody’d be saying they were on something. They didn’t even lift weights in those days. They played on alcohol and hot dogs.

“There are certain naturals. There are guys who can just do it, and Alex is one of those guys,” Steinbrenner said. “He’s just friggin’ great.”


Bogut’s Invisible Buddies

Posted in Basketball at 7:24 pm by

Even Gregg Jefferies had more friends.  Video swiped from Brew Hoop.

The Fiver Struggles To Find Levity In England’s Sucky Display

Posted in Football, Sports Journalism at 2:15 pm by

Lest you believe David Beckham’s 100th cap was the only interesting storyline coming out of England’s 1-0 friendly defeat to France yesterday, the Guardian’s Ben McFarland and Ben Doyle take time to consider the glass-is-half-full optimism of the losing side’s manager and captain.

Despite a performance as disjointed, lacklustre and senseless as a Rio Ferdinand soundbite about fireplace furniture, Fabio Capello (above) defied lazy national stereotyping and refused to throw the towel in just yet. “As I told the players, I’m happy about what they did,” he somehow deadpanned in a display of blind optimism not witnessed since Stevie Wonder insisted on playing that game where you have to get the metal hoop from one end of the wire to the other without it going “bzzzzzzzzzzzz!”.

“We made progress compared to the Switzerland game, even though we won that game,” he mumbled before not adding. “But on the hand, I’ve got four fingers and a thumb. I was in the attic the other day with the wife. Damp and dusty … but she’s great with the kids,” … and so on and so forth. Straightening his Fez and thrusting his arms down the sleeves of a suit jacket stuffed with doves, rabbits and linked handkerchiefs, Fabio added: “Another thing I’m happy about is that I made the team play in two different ways.” Sadly, neither of them were very good.

Despite “taking up the mantelpiece” of the England captaincy in rather uninspiring fashion, Rio Ferdinand was similarly upbeat: “You could say we took a stride forward in certain areas: the players were not scared to get on the ball, we were passing it very well at times, maybe without creating many openings but I’m sure that will come.”

Will it Rio? Will it really? Or is that nonsense coming from your curvy lips again? Still, the future may still be bright for England’s manager and players. Taking time out from clowning around with Bunsen burners, some white-coated boffins recently revealed that those with a sunny outlook on life tend to experience a 50% lower rate of early/premature death.

SF Presses The History Eraser Button On The Sultan Of Surly

Posted in Baseball at 12:54 pm by

The SF Chronicle’s Scott Ostler attended the Giants’ Media Day and is struck by the absence of any monument to Barry Bonds’ career accomplishments at AT&T Park, the stadium he arguably helped construct. Even worse, I bet Ostler couldn’t find a statue of Rod Beck, either.

Bonds’ locker-stall nameplate has been replaced by Matt Cain’s. Last season, that entire four-locker wall of the clubhouse was shared by Barry Zito, Bonds, Bonds’ home-entertainment unit, his emotional baggage, and the stragglers of his infamous posse/staff. Now it will be Zito and Cain.

And come Opening Day, instead of dozens of pesky media people milling about the clubhouse waiting to not talk to Bonds, there will be dozens of pesky media people milling about the clubhouse waiting to talk to players about how nice it is not to deal with the Bonds circus.

The team’s new motto alludes to the sans-a-Bonds look. The motto is “All out all season,” because “Now 240 pounds lighter!” would have been too mean-spirited.

The ballpark itself has been de-Bondsed. Gone are the huge cloth murals of Bonds and “756″ that hung from the lighting towers flanking the centerfield scoreboard. Gone is the Bonds career-home-run “scoreboard.”

The leftfield fence now features a long green blank between the ads for Chevron and Bud Lite. Last season, that space was devoted to Bonds – first a mural of Bonds and three other Giants’ legends, and then a “Road to History” mural featuring a photo of Bonds and a highway sign with his name and team logo.

It makes sense that those temporary tributes would be removed. But for the last few years the Giants milked Bonds’ home-run-record chase for all it was worth, and now not even a simple “756″ sign or some other visible nod to the man and the record?

There is a small sign urging fans to “Remember ’51,” the year of Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard Round the World.” But nothing to help them remember 756.

I asked team president Peter Magowan if management considered some kind of visible tribute to Bonds and his record.

“No,” Magowan said, eloquently.

The A-Bones Launch Naval Attack On Flushing Bay

Posted in Baseball, Rock Und Roll at 11:56 am by

(Billy Joel, above right, relieved at the kid glove treatment from Billy and Miriam)

Shea Stadium’s featured no shortage of musical moments both sterling(doubleday!) — Grand Funk, anyone? — and wretched (have Black 47 stopped playing yet?). The following event can safely go in the former category (thanks to Don Smith for the link).

early “ 200 lucky and/or unsuspecting Met fans will be treated two a two hour sea cruise with the A-Bones providing the musical hi jinx! This is Shea Stadium™s final year and what better way to go out than with the three chord mayhem of your favorite music makers followed by a trouncing of the St. Louis Cardinals? (By the way, Billy Joel is scheduled to perform the last ever concert at Shea. In an act of mutual respect, we will not perform any songs by the Piano Man and he will lay off our beloved Benny Joy repertoire.) Last A-Bones brush with baseball? Roger Clemons and Red Sox teammates tanked up at Washington DC™s 15 Minute Club while the A-Bones serenaded them with the gift of song. Everyone who buys a ticket gets seats in the same section at Shea Stadium. Do not miss this event! GO GO GO FOR JOHAN SANTANA™S PLACE!!!

If Only There Was Video Footage Of Buddy Bell Trying The Same Stunt

Posted in Baseball at 1:39 am by

circa 2002, Royals OF Joey Gaithright proved he’s got greater claim to fame than having his ass kicked by Julian Tavarez. (video link from Baseball Think Factory)

Say It Ain’t So : Even The Captain Thinks You’d Prefer A CD By Juice Newton

Posted in Baseball, The Internet, Video Games at 1:29 am by

The business section of Wednesday’s New York Times included a lengthy item about a joint venture between Creative Artists, hedge fund Pequot and Major League Baseball to launch WePlay.com, a social networking site tailored for young athletes and the people who love to exploit them. Amongst the site’s investors….Yankee SS Derek Jeter.

Mr. Jeter, who in addition to receiving equity in WePlay in exchange for his involvement also invested some of his own money (he will not say how much), began filming clips for the site in mid-December. Having equity, Mr. Jeter said in a telephone interview, is œvery important, because you can really feel good about something if you help build it.

The focus of the business also fits with Mr. Jeter™s own philanthropy. œWhat it boils down to is, it™s a really outstanding idea, he said. œI have my own foundation, and we are trying to get kids to be active and play sports. Kids today spend too much time playing video games, and there™s a huge obesity problem in this country.

Perhaps kids wouldn’t spend nearly as much time playing video games if the likes of Jeter weren’t on television convincing them it might be a fun thing to do?

While Jeter is certainly entitled to his opinion, it’s shameful that he’d seek to torpedo Jose Reyes’ moment in the sun.

Ken Berger’s Fascinating Chat With Someone Who Might Not Be A Lame Duck

Posted in Basketball at 1:16 am by

While the Knicks managed to beat the hapless Heat, 103-96 in OT last night at the Garden, Newsday’s Ken Berger was in the midst of a bigger story earlier Wednesday. “Donnie (Walsh) gave him life,” said a Berger source of the incoming Knicks president’s history with Isiah Thomas.   “There’s no way he’s going to cut off his legs.”  And there’s also no way Zeke’s gonna provide a straight answer, either.

Given his relationship with Walsh, and Walsh’s reputation as a man of character and honesty, it is inconceivable that Walsh would enter into any talks with the Knicks without speaking with Thomas. So I asked Thomas Wednesday if they’d talked

Thomas has an answer for everything, but this time he paused for 13 seconds, his eyes darting all over the practice gym in Greenburgh.

“To answer that type of question would leave, you know … I can’t,” he said, pausing five more seconds before turning to the P.R. man.

“How do you answer something that hasn’t happened?” Thomas asked him.

Well, usually people say they either had Fruit Loops for breakfast or they didn’t.

“Let’s deal with today,” Thomas said. “My direct report is Steve Mills and Jim Dolan. So any questions you have about that type of stuff, you should talk to those two.”

It’s always risky to interpret body language, but Thomas’ reaction to that question seemed important. And it only supported a notion that three NBA executives proposed Wednesday: Thomas is not a bystander in the transfer of power under way at the Garden. He’s involved in it.

Which is as good an explanation as any for why nothing has happened since Walsh reportedly agreed to take over the Knicks’ basketball operations on Monday night.

“What possibly could be the holdup?” a person involved in the coaching business said. “Parking spaces?”

It was meant as a joke, but parking spaces translate to power; the top guy gets the best one. Power is what this is about — who gets it and how much, who gives it up and how much.


Dr. Pepper’s G’n'R Stunt : Because David Naughton Isn’t Walking Thru That Door

Posted in Rock Und Roll, The Marketplace at 6:18 pm by

The following item from CNN.com was forwarded by Brian Turner, who adds “I’m offering a case of Mr. Pibb to Velvet Revolver if they can stop bitching at each other over the blogosphere.”

Tired of a world in which Americans idolize wannabe singers and musicals about high schoolers pass as rock ‘n roll music, Dr Pepper is encouraging (ok, begging) Axl Rose to finally release his 17-year-in-the-making belabored masterpiece, Chinese Democracy, in 2008.In an unprecedented show of solidarity with Axl, everyone in America, except estranged GNR guitarists Slash and Buckethead, will receive a free can of Dr Pepper if the album ships some time — anytime! — in 2008. Dr Pepper supports Axl, and fully understands that sometimes you have to make it through the jungle before you get it right.

“It took a little patience to perfect Dr Pepper’s special mix of 23 ingredients, which our fans have come to know and love,” said Jaxie Alt, director of marketing for Dr Pepper. “So we completely understand and empathize with Axl’s quest for perfection — for something more than the average album. We know once it’s released, people will refer to it as “Dr Pepper for the ears” because it will be such a refreshing blend of rich, bold sounds — an instant classic.”

Lee Mavers, Kevin Shields, while not necessarily unavailable for comment, really don’t deserve to be bugged about this, either.

Derrick Coleman Named In Pizza Cheapskate Scandal

Posted in Basketball, Sports Radio at 6:00 pm by

(D.C., offering his paperboy some of his junk mail in lieu of an Xmas bonus)

Whilst discussing the retirement of C-Webb earlier today on ESPN 1050, Max Kellerman argued for the former Fab Five lynchpin’s inclusion in the Basketball Hall Of Fame, though dismissing Derrick Coleman as “the poor man’s Chris Webber”.

At around 12:30pm eastern, Kellerman and Brian Kenney took a call from a listener that shared the former’s low opinion of Mr. Whoop De Damn Do. Coleman, he claimed, once paid a $60 bill for pizza delivery with 6 ten dollar bills, and then attempted to tip the driver with a D.C. basketball card. “And not a rookie card, either!”

These outrageous charges were followed with a call from an alleged pal of Coleman’s who insisted the story was bogus. “I’ve been out with Derrick plenty of times, and he’s dropped thousands of dollars in a night.”

I usually forget to listen to Kellerman’s show, but if there’s even the tinniest chance of someone ringing up with a tale of Chinese food delivery to Don Nelson’s crib, I will make a greater effort to tune in.