Lee Elia : The Mike Gundy Of 1983

Posted in Baseball, History's Not Happening at 7:37 pm by

In celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the “I Have A Dream” of post-game meltdowns, I’m raising a non-alcoholic beverage tonight in honor of former Cubs manager Lee Elia. Appropriately, at a night baseball game.

Cubs Mailbag: 100 Years and You’re Still Here

Posted in Baseball at 7:19 pm by

(Pictured, a view from one of Wrigley’s luxury sky boxes)
Hey, it™s Cub Mailbag time again. Here™s how it works: Fans send MLB™s official Cub reporter Carrie Muskat questions at the Cub web site, and I supply the answers her job description prevents her from giving. As the Cubs ride out April in first place, the Mailbag is feeling good. So what’s on your minds, Cub fans?

Sunday’s win put the Cubs in first place in the National League Central. Given that the White Sox are in first in the American League Central, I was wondering when the last time both Chicago teams simultaneously led their respective divisions.
– Tom B., Streator, Ill.

Tom — The Sox? Why do you care about them? You think Sox fans care about you? How often are the Cubs in first place at all? Next to never? We get to first and you bum my high out with a Sox question? Nice. As for our being number one at the same time as a team that™s managed to post only one more Series win than we have since 1908, and nowhere near our 16 pennants, I’d have to say not too often is the obvious answer. I think the Cubs in first at the same time as that 1-in-40 million giant asteroid hitting the earth is more likely. Don™t write mailbag with any more Sox questions. You’re banned from mailbag for a year.

Is anything physically wrong with Bob Howry, or did he have any offseason problems of any kind? I remember watching games last year and consistently seeing Howry hit 94-95 [mph] on the gun, but now he’s hitting 87-88. I know velocity isn’t everything, but it’s a huge part of Howry’s game and it seems to be a logical conclusion that if he can’t overpower hitters, he’ll continue to struggle. We need him to be solid if we’re going to make a run.
– Mike C., Chicago

In the post-steroids era, 87 is the new 95. But Mike, honestly, can you believe that Sox question? The balls.

After watching Carlos Zambrano’s huge game at the plate on April 16, I was wondering how many starting pitchers have ever had hits from both sides of the plate in the same game?
– Barney F., St. Charles, Ill.

Barney, Zambrano™s winning. He™s eating his bananas and laying off the Red Bull. So don™t take his mind off his pitching with this sort of thing and jinx him. Mailbag’s not even going to tell him you asked.

I noticed that when Kosuke Fukudome is on first (which has been often), Matt Sinatro appears to be talking to him about third-base coach Mike Quade’s signs. Does Sinatro speak Japanese, do they compromise and speak Spanish, or is Fukudome’s English improving?
– Jake D., Janesville, Wis.

Jake, signs are SIGNS. They™re not English or Japanese, for God’s sake. Quade rubs his nose, he taps his hat, and you think Fukodome needs subtitles? What a rube. First I get Sox questions and now one written by a guy who should be a Sox fan.

As DeRosa’s biggest fan, I would like to know what uniform number he wore as the quarterback at Penn. I need to order a jersey for my DeRosa shrine.
– Nicolas B., Bloomington, Ill.

Ok, I hate looking up stuff like that. What do I know from Pennsylvania football? And btw, a DeRosa “shrine?” Sounds more sexual or stalkery than you’re letting on, Nic. So, no, I won’t enable you. This, plus that Tommy Commiskey from Streator, Illinois “ today’s mailbag just bad-vibes me.

I received a white “W” flag for Christmas and have been flying it religiously this season. What is the official length of time I can fly the flag after a win? When does it need to come down? Please help.
– Jason P., Grinnell, Iowa

Jason, the œW flag is traditionally raised at Wrigley after the Cubs win a ball game and taken down when they lose. Please be careful with it. As you™ll see on the manufacturer™s label, they™re generally not good after 85 runs up a pole, sometimes burst into flames after 90, and over 100 is simply unknown.

Aug. 8 is the 20th anniversary of the first night game at Wrigley. Why is the game not a night game? Is there any chance they will change it?
– Liana W., Hiawatha, Iowa

Hiawatha “ cool name for a town. You know, after Obama won out there, I thought Iowa must be a lot hipper than I thought, and your town name proves it. It™s like your town has a really cool tattoo. Thanks for the question, Liana. Questions like yours are what keep me going.

The Price of Hockey Tix in Cincinnati: Ocho Cinco

Posted in Greedy Motherfuckers, Gridiron, Hockey at 6:52 pm by

I’m gonna leave out the portentous stuff about “love of the game” – all you need to take away from Paul Daugherty’s Cincinnati Enquirer column is the nuts and bolts of a promotion by the ECHL Cincinnati Cyclones:

A steady stream of Bengals fans entered Koch™s Sporting Goods downtown at noon Tuesday, to pay their disrespects to the The Player Formerly Known As Chad. Each carried with him a JOHNSON 85 jersey, and a cathartic need to get rid of it.

The jersey could have been kindling. It could have been a doormat. They wouldn™t have cared. The fact that fans could exchange the nylon keepsake for two tickets to a Cyclones playoff game was a bonus, icing on the cake of betrayal…

Sherry Brabham has brought to Koch™s the Chad jersey of her 12-year-old son Frank. Frank, formerly a worshipper, has left the Chad flock and, Sherry says, is thrilled to be watching the Cyclones for free Wednesday night.

Next up, how ’bout a Chris-Henry’s-guns-for-hockey-tickets swap?

J. Hovah To D. Stevenson: “That’s A One Hot Album Every Ten Year Average”

Posted in Basketball, Hip Hop at 6:26 pm by

Unlike the Suns, Rockets and Mavericks, who all face potential elimination games tonight, the Washington Wizards have at least 28 or so more hours remaining in their ’07-08 season. But while their match-up with the Cavaliers was pretty easily the first-round series I most looked forward to — I had a feeling the Suns/Spurs series would turn into the dreary, Parker-led, ref-soliciting, play-executing death march it has become — it has turned out to be pretty much a dud. Game four was exciting, but the previous games were torpid blowouts that were notable only for a few hard fouls and some demonstrative gesturing from second-tier guards. Well, that and for the ridiculous mastery of LeBron James (29.5 PPG on 51.2% shooting, 8.5 RPG, 6.5 APG). The Wizznutzz describe the experience of watching these games thusly:

Right now Queen James is having his way in the lane, like a bull in a vagina shop.

When he drives lane, its like the goddammed video for “OWner fo a Lonely Heart” by YES: a dude having seizures while a bunch of big eyed reptiles sit around and stare. Cuz Queen james is owning us right now, hes not even owning DeShawn hes just leasing him cuz he doesnt want to be responsible for the oil changes.

But besides being lopsided basketball, the series has also featured a goofy, WWE-style subplot involving each team’s surrogate rapper. The Cavs and LeBron have aligned themselves with Jay-Z, while the DeShawn Stevenson and the Wiz have 17-year old dance-inventor/ho-Supermanner Soulja Boy. My opinions on ho-supersoaking and/or Supermanning to the side, my instincts naturally put me on the side that doesn’t have the ultra-billionaire cake-talking rap plutocrat (and LeBron), but this will likely all be moot by sometime tomorrow night, anyway. Which isn’t bad news, considering that it should at least consign Jay-Z’s corny DeShawn Stevenson dis record to the furthest reaches of mixtape limbo. New York Magazine’s Ben Mathis-Lilley reports on the track:

Apparently a freestyle, it™s recorded over the beat from Too Short™s œBlow the Whistle. Though no target is named, the track is clearly aimed at Washington Wizards shooting guard DeShawn Stevenson and rapper Soulja Boy.

As a track, it™s not much; there are some decent if vague lines ” œWe [that™s Jay and LeBron] let the money do the talkin™ / And as you see, we talk rather often ” but since Jay refuses to actually mention whom he™s talking about because he thinks he™s above it, there™s none of the hilariously personal cutting-down that makes a dis track a dis track. It’s too generic to be memorable, but we nonetheless appreciate it if simply for the fact that Jay-Z’s catalogue now includes an entire song about a semi-obscure player for the Washington Wizards. It’s an entirely new category of music: the Novelty Beef.

Revisionist Local Baseball History With Christopher Russo

Posted in Baseball, Sports Radio at 6:07 pm by

The word for the day must’ve been “aloof”, over at WFAN, as earlier this afternoon, Mike Francesca and Chris Russo launched into an extended spiel to determine which of the New York Mets’ prominent Latino ballplayers are guilty of not-exhibiting Captain Red Ass-like tendencies on a regular basis. After determining that Carlos Delgado was (ahem) aloof, Russo turned his attentions to the Mets’ centerfielder, a player he derided as one who “…doesn’t like to play hurt. Everything’s gotta be perfect for him to go out there.”

That Russo mispronounces names and generally plays fast and loose with the facts is hardly a new development. But WFAN’s afternoon programming has hit an all-time low if the Fraudcaster in question honestly expects his listeners to forget on how many occasions Beltran has insisted on playing while not even close to 100%. Innuendo Radio is obviously profitable, but this goes beyond mere critique and extends all the way to genuine defamation of character.

Guess Who’s Not Quite Retired…

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 3:53 pm by

….from blogging? That’s right, Yard Work’s sure-thing, first ballot hall-of-famer “Rickey Henderson” (not to be confused with, er, Rickey Henderson), today weighing in on Da Edge’s expulsion from Flushing, and the continued furor over Carlos Delgado refraining from the kind of shit that had most of America hating Gary Carter once upon a time.

No doubt about it, Mets got rope-a-doped by an expansion team ” you™re telling Rickey that the best you can get for a 23-year-old kid that™s got all sorts of upside is some broke-ass catcher and a Jew-hating outfielder? Rickey™s not down with that, the trade or the bigotry. Hating Jews is like a gateway drug into more insidious and dangerous forms of racism, like hating on the black man, or the Chinese man, or even women. And the honky™s last name is Church, if you can believe that! Chump should know better! For Rickey, Church is about loving your fellow man, praising The Lord for sacrificing his only son, waking your dead ass up early Sunday morning, and getting a few quick winks during the preacher™s corny-ass sermon before heading off to IHOP for some Rooty Tooty Double Covered and Smothered action. Rickey loves the strawberry syrup more than he loves his stolen base record (and Rickey sleeps with that base every night). Anyway, Rickey calls BOOYAH on this racially-motivated trade, and hopes Lastings whups up on those jive Jew-hating chumps every chance he gets.

And speaking of racism, Rickey wants to know what the heck™s going on with Carlos Delgado? Brother cannot catch a break ” they boo him when he doesn™t hit, they boo him when he hits, and they™d boo him for ordering the #6 at Wendy™s. œBoo, Carlos Delgado! Rickey says boo! Rickey wanted you to get the Big Bacon Classic with a side of chili and a vanilla Frosty! You™re a chicken-eating chump, Carlos Delgado! Rickey supports Carlos Delgado in his telling Mets fans to go have sex with their butt-ugly sister. New York fans are nothing but chumps if they got nothing better to do than harass this beautiful, beautiful man with their stank-ass beer mouths.

The Secret Life Of Steve Trout

Posted in Baseball, Fashion, History's Not Happening, Rock Und Roll at 3:42 pm by

(pic swiped from The Ugly Baseball Card Blog)

Lefty Steve Trout’s combined 9 years as a starter for the White Sox and Cubs are a matter of public record.

What’s not nearly so well known is Trout’s late summer of ’87 stint moonlighting as a CBGB soundman during his days off with the Yankees. Bill Popp & The Tapes haven’t sounded nearly as good since then.

Bobby V. – Documentary Subject

Posted in Baseball, Cinema, We Aren't The World at 2:13 pm by

New York Magazine’s Bilge Ebiri caught up with former Mets / current Chiba Lotte Marines skipper Bobby Valentine for a chat on the occasion of “The Zen Of Bobby”, heading to an arthouse…well, a DVD rental queue near you. Pete Harnisch is gonna wait for it to hit cable.

What made you decide to let three NYU students follow you around with a camera? Did you have any concerns?
For starters, they were so persistent. It was kind of a three-year trip they took ” calling me, e-mailing me, telling me about their idea, about their passion for the project. Finally, after I met them and saw the documentary they made before this [Andrew Jenks's Room 335],I decided to do it. I did have some concerns. Eight months ” that™s a long time. But they were very special, wonderfully intelligent, and creative. And I can say it was the greatest experience of my life, hanging out with three 21-year-olds. [Laughs.]

When you first arrived in Japan, did you have any idea of the kind of media celebrity you’d become there?
When I first got here in 1995, I came to change the world. I wanted to make a big splash. And I got fired at the end of that season. That was when I realized how much the fans had taken to me ” there was a genuine outcry for me not to leave. But you have to remember what the world of baseball was like in 1995. That was the year [Hideo] Nomo went to the U.S. He was basically the first modern-day pitcher to go there. As he was going, I was coming. And I was thinking that maybe a bridge or a highway could™ve been built between the two cultures.

What is the biggest difference between Japanese baseball and American baseball?
When people watch this film, they™ll hopefully see that these three guys captured the fandom here, which is really different. The fans have an incredible amount of passion. The game on the field is the exact same game, but it™s played with precision, the way it was many years ago in the States, before it became a power game. The double play and the sacrifice run and the sacrifice play are still common here. The 100-mile-an-hour fastball and the 500-foot home run are not.

One & Done : Manchester City Jettisons Sven

Posted in Football at 12:31 pm by

Despite Manchester City remaining in contention for a spot in Europe for most of the season and having beaten Manchester United twice in league competiton — a feat not achieved in nearly 20 years, manager Sven-Goran Erikkson (above, left) finds himself free and clear to spend as much time as he likes with Pat Riley‘s family. From the Telegraph’s Tim Rich :

Sven-Goran Eriksson will be sacked as manager of Manchester City at the end of the season after being told by the club’s owner, Thaksin Shinawatra, that he was not right for the club.

His agent, Athole Still, did not attempt to deny that Eriksson’s relationship with Shinawatra had broken down completely but said he would not be resigning.

Manager and owner met in the wake of Manchester City’s 3-2 defeat by Fulham on Saturday at which Eriksson was told he would be replaced.

Eriksson was said to have kept his customary cool during Sunday’s meeting but was said to be shocked by developments and there are even reports that he said goodbye to City’s players yesterday morning.

“I am giving a reasonably informed opinion and it is odds against him staying,” Still said. “It is the developments over the past couple of days. If Dr Shinawatra were going to give his ringing support, we would have heard it over the last couple of days.

“The one thing I can categorically say is that Sven will not be walking. You walk if you feel you have been doing a bad job and in Sven’s case that is very, very far from the truth.

What is surprising is the speed with which Thaksin’s mood has changed. Last summer, as Eriksson was hastily assembling a fresh squad built around eight new players bought on video evidence, the former Thai prime-minister suggested he was looking only for a modest improvement on Manchester City’s 14th-place finish under Stuart Pearce. Next season he would look for European qualification and entry to the Champions League by 2010.

Assistant coach Tord Grip said Eriksson had not been given enough time as manager. Grip confirmed to Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet: “We will be here for the two last matches. They probably think that we haven’t done a good enough job.”

The Couch Slouch Channels His Inner Miggy

Posted in Sports Journalism, Sports TV at 12:11 pm by

Syndicated columnist Norman Chad, preuambly aware of “E-60″‘s unseemly ambush of Astros SS Miguel Tejada, submits the following transcript from his own fateful encounter with “Ferris Toms of Fox Sports Net’s ‘F-60′”. “Little did I know my whole ink-sustained world would come crashing down when I agreed to do the interview” complained Chad, who might still have something left to offer as a character actor….if a second season of “Tilt” ever takes place.

Toms: How old are you?

Me: Me? I’m 47.

Toms: Born in …?

Me: A hospital.

Toms: In which year?

Me: 1960.

Toms: You sure?

Me: Why do I have to lie? Are you a divorce attorney?

Toms: We acquired the birth certificate that your father filed when you were a boy and, uh, let me show it to you because I want you to explain this to me. OK?

Me: My father? Where did you find him at, OTB or DMV?

Toms: This is your birth certificate, right? Is that you?

Me: Probably. Maybe. Perhaps. Who wants to know?

Toms: Is this your birth certificate?

Me: Hey, you don’t have to bring me over here to talk about my personal stuff — I pay a therapist to do that.