04.28.08

I Too, Would Like To Be An Apologist For Fred Wilpon’s Monument To Avarice & Greed…

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, New York, New York, Ugly New Stadiums at 6:20 pm by

…but I’m in a high enough tax bracket, as is. A day after I noted Bob Raissman’s rather heavy accusation that Matthew Cerrone’s MetsBlog was being censored by the Mets’ partially-owned SNY, The Gil Meche Experience raised the following point :

Not that I mean to pile on Matt, who does excellent work, but one of his links today, Develop Willet’s Point, raises my ire just a bit. I’m not ready to call the man behind it a flack for City Hall, but C. McShane (if that is his real name, says the guy named Pulp) is pretty jazzed about Mayor Mike’s vision for our fair pit.

I know MetsBlog used to be the go to sports blog for Fred Thompson ads and I believe it was part of the Pajamas Media consortium for a time (I will take back this slur if it turns out to be wrong), so for all I know, Matt Cerrone is a pro-business Republican who supports using eminent domain for the greater good and all that. But maybe he isn’t. But I do think it’s important we know what Matt thinks of the Willet’s Point redevelopment plan because it’s another test of that independence he promised his readers he would have after the merger with SNY.

Is he going to stick to Wilpon and Co.’s party line that the place is a hopeless garbage pit and has to be razed to the ground? Is he aware of any of the area’s history, the city’s neglect of it whenever they aren’t trying to push its businesses out? Is it telling that he hasn’t ever linked to No Land Grab, the anti-Atlantic Yards blog, despite the fact that they’ve followed the Willet’s Point story for longer than Develop Willet’s Point, which has been around for all of five days?

As baseball fans, we don’t want to deal with these issues, we just want a good bar to go to after the game, and I understand that. But there are people who work at Willet’s Point who will more than likely be forgotten by the city, no matter what promises our Billionaire King makes. There’s also the matter of affordable housing, the enormous clean up costs involved with the area and the question of whether the whole development will turn into a sweetheart deal with a connected developer that changes the entire neighborhood of Flushing. The people in Willet’s Point deserve better than being pushed out just so we can better enjoy a baseball game.

Well put. The potential for abuse in this instance is so pronounced, Donald Manes is currently clawing at the inside of his coffin, desperate to get in on the payday.

The Inspired Young Hawks : “Don’t Be Satisfied” Sounds So Much Cooler Than “Let’s Delay The Inevitable”

Posted in Basketball at 12:14 pm by

Or perhaps, “don’t B satisfied” would be a more appropriate motto.

Sherman : Flushing Is Negativland

Posted in Baseball, Mob Behavior at 11:24 am by

Much is being made today about Mets 1B Carlos Delgado’s refusal to take a curtain call after the second of his two home runs off Atlanta Braves pitching during a 6-3 victory at Shea Sunday afternoon. In an era in which New York’s print media have been all-too quick to criticize Delgado’s black and Latino teammates for excessive celebrations, the New York Post’s Joel Sherman would have us believe it’s the paying customers who’ve made the working environment intolerable in Queens.

For better or for worse – and to talk to a Met anonymously is to know they only think the worse – the negativity emanating from the Shea stands is a real part of the games. Most days these players feel as if it is the Mets vs. both the Braves and their own fans.

Delgado insisted afterward this was no statement. But it was the strongest one yet to define this current reality: Met fans don’t like this team too much and the players don’t like the fans, either.

And as one player asked, “Do they think that is helping us?” In other words, it is hard to win, harder yet when you are playing either in anticipation of the boos or to try and ward them off. Both media and fans have become harsher over the years, but there is a quick, energy-sapping maliciousness at Shea that is hard to match anywhere.

When Carlos Beltran’s 2006 campaign began with frequent booing and a similar reluctance to take a curtain call, I suggested those fans who were most hostile in their treatment of the outfielder represented a loud minority, but a minority of Mets rooters just the same. I’m not sure where the sense of entitlement comes from — that the likes of Beltran, Delgado and Reyes are pilloried in their first at-bat sometimes, that the manager cannot show his face without hearing chants of “Fire Willie”, but I suspect astronomical ticket prices and a level of hysteria primed by chat radio goons (it was only a week ago that Chris Russo suggested Delgado be executed) are as much to blame as any lingering resentment over last September’s collapse.

If patrons can only afford to attend one or two Mets games a year, they’re gonna get their booing in as early as possible.

Country’s Mindy McCready : Knocking Sean Bell Off The Front Page

Posted in Baseball, History's Great Hook-Ups, non-sporting journalism at 3:00 am by

File under : couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

04.27.08

Raissman : Wilpon TV Is Leaning On MetsBlog

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, Sports Journalism, Sports TV at 6:09 pm by

I can’t vouch for veracity of the below report by the Daily News’ Bob Raissman, but if true, it kinda takes the shine off Carlos Delgado’s surprise resurrection earlier today at Shea Stadium :

Prior to the start of the season, Matthew Cerrone joined forces with the Mets and SportsNet New York in a deal to have MetsBlog.com appear on SNY’s Web site. This was followed by a lot of yap-flapping out of Metsville (and MetsBlog) about MetsBlog being able to continue doing its thing.

On Thursday, MetsBlog posted a YouTube video of Joe Smith going mouth-to-mouth (“You ain’t s— … I’m in the big leagues you idiot”) with Cubs fans. Spies say when a Mets official was made aware of the video’s presence, he had it immediately pulled off MetsBlog.

For MetsBlog, and its fans, that’s called livin’ in a corporate world.

If SNY is hellbent on ridding itself of any questionable associations, where’s the censors for Chris Cotter’s haircut?

Hockey’s Swedish Hamlet Answers Question in Game 2: “Not To Be”

Posted in Hockey, Medical Science at 1:34 pm by

Terrell Owens causing problems in the Eagles locker room. Billy Gillispie leaving Texas A&M. Walt Jocketty becoming Reds GM. To this list of “least surprising stories ever,” we can now add Peter Forsberg’s health. From Terry Frei of the Denver Post:

Forsberg has become more trouble than he is worth. His unreliability is demoralizing.

It raised eyebrows when he was in and out of the lineup down the stretch of the regular season after signing with Colorado on Feb. 2

This raises doubts.

At this time of year, in the most relentlessly testing of professional sports’ postseasons, any skepticism ” even subconscious ” about a teammate’s resolve is a major problem.

The on-ice impact of Forsberg’s absence is significant, especially given the Avalanche’s struggles to mount pressure on Detroit goalie Chris Osgood through two games.

But the dulling of the Avs’ emotional edge is even more debilitating.

The caveat: Only one man knows the extent of Forsberg’s pain, whether in his long-troublesome ankle or his groin ” or both. And that’s Forsberg, who wasn’t made available to the media after the Avalanche’s 5-1 thrashing in Game 2.

His Colorado teammates refused to criticize Forsberg after the loss. Perhaps they also understood that they had been so thoroughly outplayed, it was embarrassing. They drew brain-lock penalties and seemingly were more concerned with showy displays of message-sending passion than emotion channeled into such things as bothering to make the Wings pay for going to the net.

Am I saying that Forsberg, among the grittiest of NHL players in the past, lost his heart as well as his spleen? Of course not. He’s proven his grit, his resilience, his courage, and displayed a high pain threshold in the past.

But at some point the past becomes irrelevant, and you have to suck it up and play. Now.

Or not. The nightly “will-he/won’t-he?” dance is worse than simply going on without him. But since everyone in hockey saw this happen on the Flyers for the past two years, and Forsberg himself never really came out with an “I feel great!” upon returning, the blame here ought to be directed at the Avs’ front office.

Except that with a Stanley Cup in Denver quite unlikely either way, I reckon that the franchise got exactly what it wanted: box office buzz, accompanied by a coin flip’s chance that he could make a difference (which he did, in the first round).

Vecsey : Brown’s A Lock For The Bobcats Job

Posted in Basketball at 10:49 am by

True Hoop’s Henry Abbott was up pretty early Saturday, declaring Larry Brown’s resignation from a no-show job in Philly and Sam Vincent’s sudden firing in Charlotte were hardly unrelated. Today, the Post’s Peter Vecsey (“hey, I’m no Agatha Christie – I’m not even Julie Christie”), concurs, predicting “I visualize Dean Smith as Brown’s behind-the-bench consultant for home games, a la Tex Winter holding down Phil Jackson”.

Down deep, Next Town Brown has a lot of groupie in him when it comes to (Charlotte boss) Michael Jordan. I dare say he’d probably work for nothing (admittedly a “slight” exaggeration; Larry definitely wears Michael’s underwear brand) to hang around His Airness on a regular basis.

If my conclusion-jumping is off target, the Grizzlies’ presidency and coaching jobs are there for the scoop should Brown want them. Again, he was never in Bulls GM John Paxson’s interviewing equation, which has expanded beyond Rick Carlisle. In fact, sources say Paxson is scheduled to meet with Mark Jackson in Los Angeles sometime this week, though the original point god made it clear, all negotiating details being near equal, his goal is to coach the Knicks..

Condolences go out this Sunday AM to the players, staff and some several dozen fans of the Austin Toros, who saw the D-League title awarded to Idaho after a 108-101 loss in Boise Friday evening. The NBA’s haste in producing locker room tees for the Stampede has me wondering which war torn corner of the globe was airlifted Toros 2008 Championship shirts.

Anyhow, if you see a bunch of helicopters flying over Comal and 12th Street today or tomorrow, you’ll know what’s up.

Rio Ferdinand’s Karim Garcia Homage Needs Work

Posted in Football at 10:26 am by

What a difference a week and some crazy fixture congestion makes. It was only Thursday the 17th when Chelsea manager Avram Grant put on a public display of petulance that made Bobby Knight look positively rosy by comparison following a drab 1-0 victory over Everton. By Saturday afternoon, however, Grant’s Blues — also 90 minutes away from a Champions League final — find themselves very much in the mix for the Premier League crown following a 2-1 defeat of Manchester United, a result that left both clubs level on 81 points with two matches remaining. Manchester United possess a considerable advantage on goal differential, but the prospect of their only managing a draw against West Ham or Wigan over the next two weekends is not the most unlikely scenario, not when you consider the lack of poise shown by their captain. The Observer’s Duncan Castles on what might be the start of the biggest choke job in recent memory to not invoke the name Willie Randolph.

Rio Ferdinand admitted accidentally kicking a female steward in the aftermath of his team’s 2-1 defeat. Ferdinand said: “I kicked a ball in frustration at the result, as I have done before in the past. Unfortunately a lady was stood by and I accidentally brushed her with my foot. I went back to make sure she was OK and apologised profusely. Credit to her, she laughed it off and was very understanding. She said she wasn’t hurt. I’ve arranged for a bouquet of flowers to be sent to her.”

But however accidental the contact, Ferdinand’s expression of anger will not have impressed Fabio Capello, who was at the game and chose the United player to captain England against France last month. And, as Patrice Evra, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, Gerard Pique and John O’Shea were warming down, a row developed with Chelsea groundstaff and punches appeared to be thrown. A Chelsea spokesman said: “We will be studying the CCTV footage of the incident and take whatever action is appropriate.”

As a result of their defeat, United must at least match Chelsea’s results against Newcastle and Bolton in the next fortnight to retain the title. Although Ferguson fielded only a half-strength team – starting with his two leading scorers, Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez, on the bench – the Scot chose to attack referee Alan Wiley’s decision to award Chelsea their penalty when Michael Carrick clearly handled a Michael Essien cross.

“Absolutely diabolical,” Ferguson said. “It’s a major decision. Granted it hit his hand. He’s not lifted his hand above his shoulders, above his head, anything like that. The ball is going straight to Rio Ferdinand. The referee should have seen that rather than the linesman. If it goes down to decisions like those we’re in trouble. If we’re not getting decisions we deserve then we’re going to have to perform really well.”

Ferguson further criticised Wiley for failing to award United an earlier penalty and for failing to take action against Didier Drogba when a collision with the striker’s knee forced Nemanja Vidic out of the game.

“In the context of today when Ronaldo comes on and from the first minute he is grappled to the floor by Ballack,” Ferguson added. “Clear penalty kick. No penalty given. Vidic needed stitches and lost a tooth. He got kneed in the face by Drogba, no foul given. He was dazed actually rather than concussion.”

An Early Contender For Catch Of The Year…

Posted in Baseball at 9:54 am by

…and I’m only calling it that because the phrase “web gem” is someone else’s intellectual property. It may well take another Carlos Beltran hike up Tal’s Hill to top this robbery of Felipe Lopez from Friday evening.

04.26.08

NFL Draft First Round : Happy National Mel Kiper Jr. Day, Everyone!

Posted in Gridiron, Sports TV at 5:50 pm by

(guys’ day out!)

I’m not even gonna tackle the delicious ironing of the scene outside Radio City Music Hall being such a wonderful argument for wartime conscription, but let’s just say the plethora of dudes wearing NFL jerseys all over midtown today will not cause the casual onlooker to mistake this for Fashion Week.

The New York Post referred to the Falcons’ first round pick (no. 3 overall), QB Matt Ryan (BC) as “the antithesis of Michael Vick”. Which either means he’s a pocket passer, immobile, loves puppies, is super dull or is a white guy. OK, he’s not wearing an orange jumpsuit, either, but the same could be said of Joe Flacco (Delaware), selected no. 18 overall by the Ravens. If you’re trying to comfort Baltimore season ticket holders, describing their new QB as “the antithesis of Kyle Boller” is a nice place to start. If this leaves Brian Brohm in the role of 2008′s Brady Quinn, give the former credit for not being in New York this afternoon.

As of 5:30pm EST, the Modell’s at Grand Central Station had yet to receive stock on Vernon Gholston jerseys. I think this qualifies as a blown business opportunity.

I was tired of hearing Darren McFadden being called “Run DMC” about a week ago, much as I don’t quite get the Adrian Peterson comparisions. McFadden could well be an impact player, don’t get me wrong, be he’s not been injured on the field nearly as much as Purple Jesus.

Possibly because I am too hungover to make intelligent decisions today, I’ve largely stuck with ESPN’s draft coverage in favor of The Rich Eisen Project. Sadly, I think there’s something missing from The Worldwide Leader’s presentation. A certain lispy malevolence. Perhaps next April, the NFL Network will allow Bill Romanowski to make a triumphant return to premium basic cable.

I have no idea why Elvis Costello’s “Alison” is playing over the Radio City tannoy between selections number 32 and 33. I always figured Roger Goodell to be more of a Graham Parker & The Rumor kinda guy.

On This Most Sacred Day On The Sporting Calendar…

Posted in Gridiron at 11:06 am by

…we should remember today’s NFL Draft isn’t the be all and end all.

There’s a lot of fantastic (thespian) talent to be found in a supplemental draft, too.

The Most Confusing Baseball Etiquette Lecture In Recent Memory

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 10:52 am by

I would not want get this guy started on, for instance, the matter of bunting to break up a no-hitter.  But seriously, if the Padres are truly concerned about the opposition teeing off, might it not be slightly insane to take umbrage at a swinging strike?

Cubs Nearing Mathematical Elimination?

Posted in Baseball at 2:41 am by

Commentator George Will stands on the field before the Chicago ...

(GOP commentator George Will works out the Cubs’ magic number after the Cubs-Nats game tonight)

With all the mid-September World Series talk out of Chicago this third week of April, I did check the calculator after tonight’s 5-3 loss to the Nationals to make sure the Cubs were still in the hunt. Fortunately, there’s some games left. The downer in DC last night coulda-shoulda been won, especially after leaving 10 runners on base, and an amazing catch by Reed Johnson. DC’s second-string catcher Wil Nieves mercifully ended it with a walk-off 9th inning homer, his first. Piniella bitched on the Cubs’ pre-game show that they need more support from the mid-bullpen and leave too many men on the bags. Unfortunately, the boys mistook that as his game plan instead of something to fix. An autopsy of this mess is offered by The Daily Herald‘s Bruce Miles:

WASHINGTON — If ever a game fell into the “deserved to lose” category for the Cubs, it was Friday night’s 5-3 loss to the Washington Nationals.

Never mind, for a moment, reliever Bob Howry giving up a game-winning, 2-run homer in the ninth inning to backup catcher Wil Nieves for Nieves’ first career home run.

Well before that the Cubs had many chances to blow out the pesky Nats but couldn’t do it.

“This is a couple games in a row where we’ve had opportunities, and we haven’t taken advantage of them,” said manager Lou Piniella, whose team is 15-8 and has lost two straight. “A backup catcher got a hold of a high fastball, and that was that.”

The Cubs wasted a 7-inning pitching performance by starter Ryan Dempster who righted himself after giving up a 2-run homer in the first to Nick Johnson.

The offense left 10 runners stranded and ran itself out of a couple of innings.

04.25.08

Will & Qui : Taking The Heat Off Mike Bibby

Posted in Basketball, Free Expression, Hip Hop at 7:50 pm by

Wow, take that, Big 3.

Marchman : The Mets Have No Alternative To Delgado

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 6:23 pm by

“No matter how much money they make,” muses the New York Sun’s Tim Marchman, “athletes are just like other people, and would prefer to do well rather than badly.” For a proud man like Carlos Delgado (benched tonight against the Braves in favor of Marlon Anderson), is any size paycheck worth tolerating death threats from Long Island City’s no. 1 SF Giants fan?

When he came to the Mets three years ago, he looked to have a decent chance at the Hall of Fame. Now, he looks to have only sketchy chances of holding a job next year. He’s been dropped a spot in the order, and radio host Chris Russo, in a characteristically thoughtful riff, even suggested on the air that the Mets should consider killing him. (“They could kill him, they could bench him, they can do a million things.” ) It’s hard times in New York town.

One problem, maybe the worst one, is that Delgado has seemingly completely lost the ability to reach the outer half of the plate. This was visible to even the least observant fan last year, but it’s gotten even worse this year, when he’s had four hits (three of them singles) on pitches from the middle of the strike zone on out. The man can reach out and put the bat on the ball to slap it foul, but he can’t hit it with any authority at all.

Like most left-handed power hitters, Delgado is basically a pull hitter, so this isn’t necessarily an immense problem in its own right. The Mets are not counting on him to shoot dribblers up the third base line or through the hole the other way, but to crank long hits down the right field line. When a hitter can’t even pose the threat of being able to hit an outside pitch, though, he’s going to get nothing else. This isn’t just a hole in his swing, but a gaping black pit of despair. No pitcher needs to throw a pitch in his wheelhouse at all, for any reason, because he’s just not going to be able to hit anything that isn’t in it. This, I suspect, is why he’s hitting for so little power: It’s less that he’s incapable of hitting the ball really hard than that he’s incapable of forcing pitchers to serve the ball where he can tag it.

No one else on the Mets roster or in their system is capable of playing first base full time while hitting at all respectably. (Neither Moises Alou nor Ryan Church has ever played a major league game at the position, for the curious.) Even if they were inclined to make a trade, it’s unclear how they could do so ” the farm system is barren, and few teams are ever looking to do a New York team a solid. For the present, and likely the rest of the year, Delgado it is. One just hopes that the fans and even the writers keep in mind that baseball is hard. Don’t get down on the man: Even if it isn’t enough, he’s doing what he can.

Dear Random House Spam-Fucker : Take Me Off Your Mailing List

Posted in Sports TV, The Mailbag at 3:46 pm by

KENNY MAYNE WITHDRAWS NAME  FROM NFL DRAFT BOARD

In a quick reversal, Kenny Mayne, who announced his eligibility for the NFL draft yesterday, has decided to pursue other interests such as his career at ESPN and promoting his new book, An Incomplete & Inaccurate History of Sport, on sale now at KennyMayneHasWrittenABook.com.

Sources close to Mr. Mayne believe his revised decision might have something to do with a letter he just received from Demarcus Ware of the Dallas Cowboys in which the QB sacking specialist wrote, œLooking forward to seeing you in the NFL.  You should of cast me in that Tony Soprano video like you did Jason Whitten and Tony Romo.

When reached for comments, Kenny Mayne replied, œNo comment, then added, œBut I do have plenty of comments on Ice Hockey, Childbirth, Electric Tackle Football, and much much more in my new book, An Incomplete & Inaccurate History of Sport.  On sale now at fine bookstores everywhere.

Dear Alisha Cantrell of Random House Books,

I’m with Pat Summit on this one. Kenny Mayne is about as funny as a stag party at Auschwitz. On behalf of each and every sports blogger you are harrassing with these retarded messages, I implore you : please stop. Now.

Bowling For…

Posted in College Spurts, Greedy Motherfuckers, Gridiron at 1:29 pm by

Ok, somebody wanna Google it and tell me just how many times the hed I was about to write comes up?

SI’s Stewart Mandel on college football bowl expansion:

Next week in Weston, Fla., organizers for three potential new bowl games will make their presentations to the NCAA’s Bowl Certification Committee. They are: The Congressional Bowl in Washington, D.C, (Navy vs. ACC); The St. Petersburg Bowl in St. Petersburg, Fla. (Big East vs. Conference USA); and the Rocky Mountain Bowl in Salt Lake City (Mountain West vs. WAC).

No, this is not a joke.

If all existing bowls earn recertification, as is expected, and if all three new contests get approved, it would raise the total number of bowl games to 35 — up from 22 less than a decade ago….

Last season there were only seven eligible teams that did not land bowl invitations. They were Troy, South Carolina, Northwestern, Iowa, Louisville, Ohio and Louisiana-Monroe. Had the three proposed new games already existed, there would have been just one team to spare.

Personally, I don’t really care how many bowls get played. If 6-6 Northwestern had been in one last year, I’d have watched it. And if Idaho and Air Force played a December game in Salt Lake City without calling it a bowl, I’m sure fans of those teams would drive to it. As Mandel notes:

Last year’s 32 bowl games netted an average attendance of 54,078, highest in eight years. The PapaJohns.com Bowl pitting Cincinnati and Southern Miss garnered a modest but respectable 2.26 rating on ESPN2. By comparison, NBA regular-season games on ESPN average a 1.3.

But this is my favorite part:

“There’s a lot of concern in our association about adding even one more game,” said Scott Ramsey, executive director of the Music City Bowl and chairman of the Football Bowl Association. “One of the worst things that could happen down the road is for the organizers of a game to spend all year preparing for it and then not have enough teams to play. It would give the bowl system a collective black eye.”


Yes, the Music City Bowl. Established 1998.

Drunk, Authoritarian Aussie Septuagenarian Has Some Horse-Related Wisdom to Share

Posted in Gambling, Horse Racing, non-sporting journalism at 12:59 pm by

Steve Dunleavy, the bouffant-haired, proudly authoritarian Aussie columnist who managed to seem ignorant even in comparison to the New York Post‘s opinion-writer All-Stars — for non-New Yorkers, imagine the literary and journalistic equivalent of this pitching staff, writing articles about traitorous liberals and how awesome cops are every day — is easier to take in the memory than he was when he was still writing. Looking back, he seems like a throwback tabloid journalist, if perhaps one with an unseemly hard-on for guys with guns; like Jimmy Breslin, maybe, only if Breslin’s impulses trended more fascistic than populist, and Breslin was drunker.

Back when he was still in the Post, it was hard to say much good about Dunleavy. Jeff Johnson, for instance, wrote this about him back in 2004, in a post that includes two of S-Dun’s most egregious columns:

I wonder what another Post columnist, Phil Mushnick, who day in and day out busts the chops of the rising tide of assholes and fools in the sporting world, would have to say about colleague Dunleavy”the hard-boiled nitwit whose columns are fueled only on gin, cigarettes and a certainty that New Yorkers just adore the crooked assholes who supposedly a) spend their time defending and protecting us or b) figuring out new ways to rip us off? Maybe the Post™s unspoken brotherhood won™t let Mushnick talk.

And while Johnson was right, he was also wise enough to realize that when it came to people to talk to about betting on horses, Dunleavy was still a pretty good guy to interview. At Vice, as part of what will be an ongoing Derby-related series, Johnson posts an enjoyably semi-coherent interview he did with Dunleavy back in 2005.

So what can you tell us about betting on horses?

Here’s a point, my bookie, since 1970”err, Frankie Downtown is still alive, bless him. Is he a wise guy? No. But he’s a made man. Frankie Downtown would deliver on Mondays at Costello’s Bar. Say I wasn’t in. I was out of town or out of the country and I owed, at a maximum, 75 bucks. This is back in 1968 or 1969. I wasn’t there when he came around, and say the next week I won $100. He wouldn’t say, “Well, you lost $75 last week, so here’s $25.” He’d pay what he owed me, and leave it to me to settle what I owed. He would never subtract my losings from my winnings. By the way, I’ve only seen him twice in my life, talked to him on the phone quite a bit. If he taxed me, I’d say “You’re a fucking mobster.” Well, what does my state (NY) do? Seventeen percent! The gambling ring does better than Enron. They pay what they owe and you don’t have to knock their door down. Am I professing a love of the mafia society? No.

…Anything else?

Gambling is the wrong word. You do bet, with a modicum of alleged knowledge. But I’ve never made a big bet in my life. If you opened my wallet, moths would fly out. My biggest payout is $600. When I am left to myself, I normally win.

Meaning when you don’t study anything?

No. When I do study. When I am not in a bar, amongst all the talking, sucking down booze. The only secret, and let me make this loud and clear, is when constipated D.A.s swoop on a so-called gambling ring”they should be going to Albany and saying stop taking people’s money from their winnings. It’s outrageous.

And that’s pretty fucking Dunleavy right there: incoherent and indignant in about equal measure, proud of his mob bookie, pissed at the government, and almost certainly pissed (in the British usage) in general. “As much as I pretended to loathe his love of the mafia and firemen who wouldn’t snitch on each other,” Johnson writes. “I actually really miss his writing.” And, as loathsome as Dunleavy’s shtick truly was, that does make sense to me. I’d take his sort of prose over the Comic Book Guy-meets-Milton-Friedman maunderings of John Podhoretz or the perilously undermedicated Andrea Peyser, who survive him at the Post.

Also, there’s no way that a softball scold like Mushnick would wind up getting mugged while passed out on a bench near his favorite bar. He’s still outraged over the fact that baseball played in the Mountain time zone doesn’t start at 5:45pm, EDT.

Inquiring Minds Wanna Know, What’s That Thing In Mike Pelfrey’s Mouth?

Posted in Baseball, Medical Science at 11:38 am by

Newsday’s David Lennon on the hottest accessory sported by a member of the New York Mets since Darryl Strawberry’s anti-drug wristbands.

When the TV camera zooms in close, it’s obviously a mouthpiece, but the clear plastic appliance rarely stays in his mouth. Rather, Mike Pelfrey chomps on it like a great white shark does a walrus on those Discovery Channel specials.

It’s not that Pelfrey prefers the taste and texture of molded plastic over a fistful of classic Bazooka. The mouthpiece is for the pitcher’s TMJ, or Tempromandibular Joint Disorder, and he runs the risk of his jaw locking up right there on the mound.

Only once has that actually happened, during spring training this year, and Pelfrey was lucky that he was able to free up his jaw without a visit to the emergency room.

“It was real tough,” said Pelfrey, who starts tonight against the Braves at Shea. “I had to jerk it back and it kind of popped back in.”

Pointing to an area alongside the right side of his jaw, he added, “This muscle right here gets real, real tight, It’s like a cramp almost. You have to pop it back out.”

The condition, Pelfrey believes, is a souvenir of his trip to Taiwan with Team USA in 2004, when he was part of the group that won the gold medal at the World University Baseball Championships.

Pelfrey struck out 20 in 16 2/3 innings. But in his meeting with Japan, one of the few hitters who did make contact came within inches of ending his career before it really even began. Pelfrey took a line drive off his right cheekbone, and when he points to the spot, it’s perilously close to his eye.

Catcher Brian Schneider joked that Pelfrey just munches on the mouthpiece for show, but Pelfrey insists that he’s not conscious of what going on. And he’s definitely not doing it on purpose.

“I don’t even know,” Pelfrey said. “When I watch video afterward, I’ll see myself doing it before the pitch and then it settles down right when I’m going to make the pitch. I don’t even think about it. I’m worrying about the hitter or the next pitch. But people in the stands see it. When we were in Chicago, they were yelling, ‘What’s up with the mouthpiece, Pelfrey?’ I’m not even paying attention to it.”

Mushnick : The Jerk Store Called — They’re Out Of John Sterling

Posted in Baseball, Sports Radio at 6:37 am by

“Years ago, when I was angling to write about TV and/or radio absurdities,” recalls the New York Post’s Phil Mushnick, “it could take three, four days to gather the goods. Today? Same day delivery. Cake walk, can of corn.” A shame for both (?) the readers and Phil then, that his column doesn’t appear each day…and a critique of WCBS’ resident baseball blowhard is what passes for revelatory.

Sunday afternoon on WCBS Radio, John Sterling (above), into the seventh inning of the Yankees-Orioles, four times had launched his “It is high! . . . It is far! . . .” home run call. And not until he pulled it out a fifth time was a home run actually hit. In a game that included one home run, Sterling, in service to his relentless self-promotion, called five of them. Nothing can stop him.

But that the “Voice of the New York Yankees” may be the worst broadcaster in professional sports has been a 20-year absurdity. That he would continually deprive a radio-reliant audience of accurate descriptions – not to mention creating the false hope of Yankee homers hit so high and so far that they’re caught for outs – while continually suffering the embarrassment of his selfish and dishonest devices, reveals a man so stuck on himself that we all get stuck.

The logical notion that Sterling would grow weary of making a jerk of himself is no longer a logical consideration.

I’m Guessing Michael Leighton Still Got Second Star

Posted in Hockey at 2:01 am by

Given how it ended, I can’t say I’m too sorry that I missed the Flyers game to see Big Dipper and Great Plains (above) at Maxwell’s – seeing updates on my phone was pain enough. Certainly couldn’t tell that I was 10 minutes from two different NHL arenas – I’ve had an easier time finding sports bars that subscribe to Center Ice in Texas.

But never mind the Flyers – their AHL affiliate was where the action was tonight.

Ryan Potulny’s goal brought the longest game in American Hockey League history to an end early this morning, with the Phantoms beating the Albany River Rats, 3-2, in five overtimes.

It was the first AHL game ever to reach a fifth overtime, and Potulny scored 2 minutes, 56 seconds into the eighth period to bring the marathon to a close.

The Phantoms also took 101 shots, smashing the previous club record of 64.

The previous AHL record for the longest game was 114 minutes, 56 seconds (74:56 of overtime) on May 30, 2003, when Hamilton beat Houston, 2-1.

Albany goaltender Michael Leighton made 98 saves. And lost.

Goalie Scott Munroe played the entire 142:56 and made 65 saves.

What’s more, the start time for Game 6 on Saturday has been moved *up* to 1pm, so Philly fans can also watch the Flyers on TV.

Ocho Cinco’s Cinematic Threat

Posted in Gridiron at 12:51 am by

While the WaPo’s Jasons Reid and La Canfora report the Redskins are still trying to swap their 21st overall pick in Saturday’s draft for disgruntled Bengals WR Chad Johnson, Ocho Cinco appeared on “SportsCenter” last night and insisted that if Cincinnati won’t honor his trade demand, “I can get a gig with Clooney. Make a movie.  He loves me.”

Johnson didn’t elaborate about which project he and close friend George might collaborate on, but surely there’s a screenwriter out there who can envision a new, outspoken character for the above program’s long awaited, feature-length reunion?

04.24.08

Paul Lukas Vs. The Washington Nationals Sales Dept.

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, Sports TV at 8:56 pm by

Tuesday, April 23 was “Jackie Robinson Night” at Nationals Park, a mere 8 days after a similar event was commemorated at stadiums around the rest of the big leagues.  A no. 42 emblem was unveiled on the outfield wall, and several Nats players wore no. 42 on their uniforms. Uni Watch‘s Paul Lukas, clearly not the sort of person to celebrate New Year’s Eve in February, was less than impressed with Washington’s efforts.

Why wasn™t the 42 already on the wall? Like, it was already retired, right? I realize it™s a new stadium, but so what? The number was already supposed to be retired on an MLB-wide basis.

¢ Why did the Nats get to dress players in 42 again? Okay, so they were on the road last week, but so what? Is every road team from April 15th gonna get to do this? I disagree with people who say that the annual April 15th celebration cheapens the number, but I do think it got cheapened a bit last night. I realize some people will say, œAnything that raises awareness of Jackie Robinson is a good thing, and I generally agree with that, but turning his memory into a way to add another promotion to your home schedule is totally bogus. The whole point of April 15th is that it™s a one-day thing ” a tribute day, a special day. If we start to make every day special, the practical result is that no days are.

¢ Why was Ray King wearing white cleats in the preame ceremony? He switched to black for the game.

¢ While we™re at it, why is Ray King so fat?

That’s a tough question to answer, but perhaps King will be dining on Triple A food from this day forward. A smaller per diem doesn’t necessarily mean healthier living, however.

SNY has added Harold Reynolds to their Mets pre and postgame studio panel. I don’t want to make too much of Reynolds’ alleged zipper problems, nor those of new SNY colleague Darryl Strawberry, but let’s just say Chris Cotter should probably try to dress for work a little more  conservatively.

The Mets are currently trailing the Nats, 8-4 in the last of 7th, the key blow being a Felipe Lopez grand slam off Aaron Heilman.  The latter’s propensity for allowing devastating home runs this season makes me wish Dr. Allan Lans were still available. Not for Heilman mind you, but for yours truly.

Don Gillis, RIP

Posted in Baseball, Basketball, Gridiron, Hockey, Sports Radio, Sports TV at 5:43 pm by

Midway though Boston’s 7-5 loss to Anaheim earlier today, Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy noted Wednesday’s passing of veteran broadcaster Don Gillis. From the Boston Globe :

In October 1962, Gillis became New England’s first nightly TV sports anchor on the old Channel 5 (WHDH-TV).

Gillis, who got his start in radio in New Bedford, was well-known as both a sports anchor and host of the “Candlepins” program. After the old Channel 5 went off the air, he served as sports director at WCVB-TV from 1972 to 1983 and hosted the bowling program until 1995.

His resume also included doing play-by-play for the Celtics, Bruins, Patriots and Red Sox.

“He wrote the blueprint for local sportscasting, which I use to this very day. He left an enormously large pair of shoes, which I am still trying to fill and he remains the conscience of our sports department,” said Mike Lynch, the current WCVB-TV sports anchor.

“A true Boston legend, there was no one better. He leaves a legacy of warmth, humor and mentorship to the many who followed in his footsteps. He will be missed,” the station said.

Between the above news and Bob Lobel’s recent departure from Ch.4, New Englanders of a certain vintage are feeling really fucking old this month.

You’ve Gotta Believe (This Is Only The Second Lamest Press Release Of The Week)…

Posted in The Marketplace, The World Of Entertainment at 3:43 pm by

…the nod for the dopiest blurb going to Random House books for claiming “Kenny Mayne Declares Himself Eligible For The NFL Draft”…though at least we’ve learned what happens to major publishers who failed to to acquire “God Save The Fan”.  The runner up comes courtesy of Billboard Biz (link supplied by Howard) :

Not only will Fritos be the “official snack” of Tim McGraw’s upcoming Live Your Voice trek, but the food company will also give the country artist his own chips flavor: the limited edition Tim McGraw Spicy Jalapeño Fritos.

Beginning next week, Wal-Mart stores nationwide will carry McGraw’s Spicy Jalapeño Fritos. The limited edition chips flavor is part of a larger
partnership between Fritos and McGraw, who will also appear in TV commercials and print advertisements for the brand.

Along with being the “official snack” of McGraw’s summer headlining tour, which begins May 9 in Tampa, Fla., Fritos will be the presenter of the “StyleSonic Stage.” The stage will feature artists chosen by McGraw who will perform prior to the start of each concert. As a special promotion, McGraw is making StyleSonic music available for free download to everyone who buys a ticket to the tour this year.

In September, McGraw fans will have an opportunity to purchase a limited edition collectible tin, which will be exclusively available at Wal-Mart for $7.88. The 500,000 tins will be filled with Fritos chips, along with a behind-the-scenes DVD from McGraw’s summer tour.

Mother 13′s Corey Harris was unavailable for comment.