05.31.08

Dear Members Of The Carlos Beltran Hate Fuck Society,

Posted in Baseball at 8:42 pm by

Mr. Benigno-Gazino, can we at least agree that Carlos Beltran’s 2-run, game-tying HR off Jonathan Broxton today at Shea qualifies as an actual, big-deal, clutch accomplishment?

Mike Francesca, is the above photo not sufficient evidence that Beltran is actually capable of showing some emotional range besides petulance? Or am I guility of doctoring an old photograph of Joe McEwing and Bill Pecota?

Celtics Blog To The Sports Putz : You’re Not One Of Us

Posted in Basketball, Blogged Down, Sports Journalism at 7:56 pm by

(Cannon, muppets. Not shown : Sports Putz)

OK, it wasn’t nearly that pithy. But after ESPN’s Bill Simmons made the reasonable observeration, “Nobody is beating the Lakers this season. Not Boston, not Detroit, not anybody. They have the best team, the best player and a Hall of Fame coach. It’s really that simple”, Green 17 of Celtics Blog responded, “yesterday, you became the giant turd in the punchbowl”.

Comparing the stadium entertainment between LA and Boston is not an appropriate way to compare basketball teams. But this “article” follows similar negative drivel, bashing one dimension of KG’s game while ignoring everything else he does. Or your repeated criticism of Doc, which is fair in some respects, but also neglects to credit everything Doc does bring to the table.

Why do you hate this team Bill? Why? The consistent negativity you write with is reminiscent of a cranky Peter May. That’s what you’ve become man. The original Boston Sports Guy, the voice you’re trying to resuscitate in your little sick out with ESPN, would be just as disgusted and disappointed with you as us Celtics fans are.

From here on out: Stop It. Just Stop. We no longer want you talking about our team publicly. You’ve lost all credibility with Celtics fans. All of it. Don’t bother with some lame and dumb reverse jinx excuse to explain your writing. And really, spare us the joyous article after we do win the title. None of us want to hear about it from Showtime Simmons. Enjoy rooting for Kobe, we hope you’ll be happier sitting next to Diane Cannon, just don’t tell us about it.

I didn’t actually get the impression Simmons was praising LA’s in-game entertainment, nor actually pulling for a Laker championship. But if Bill is really sitting next to Dyan Cannon, the latter must’ve pissed off someone in the ticket office.

Does Detroit Need To Get Rid Of ‘Sheed?

Posted in Basketball at 7:34 pm by

After last night’s Eastern Conference finals dismissal at the hands of the Celtics, Iced Antonio McDyess (baby) isn’t exactly going out on a limb in predicting Detroit GM Joe Dumars might break up the Pistons (“he’s not blind and the fans are not blind. What went on this year, I can just say we didn’t give it all we got.” The Detroit News’ Chris McCosky is a tad more specific, promising “it was the end, most likely, of Flip Saunders’ coaching tenure. It was the end of Lindsey Hunter’s playing career…and it might be the end of Rasheed Wallace’s time in Detroit.”

Wallace has one more season on his contract, and the plan has always been to let him play out that final year, even if his role is reduced.

But, for the second straight year, Wallace flamed out in the conference finals. Last year, he openly defied Saunders’ defensive calls in Game 5 against Cleveland, then got himself thrown out of Game 6.

This year, the season ended with earning a $25,000 fine from the league for bashing the referees after Game 5, coming late to shoot-around Friday morning and playing one of the worst playoff games of his career.

He managed just four points, missing 10 of 12 shots (0 for 6 from three-point range) and three turnovers.

Pistons president Joe Dumars gave Wallace a pass after last season. You wonder if he will give him another.

“You could say it’s a lot of things, but like I told the guys, at the end of the day, when we lose, we all look bad,” Richard Hamilton said. “We all look bad. We know what it takes to win and when we don’t do it, it’s on us.”

Fascinating to think that Flip Saunders — hardly an incompetent head coach compared to some of the characters currently employed —- might be looking for work this summer.  Does anyone remember that time way back when (all of 4 weeks ago) Mark Jackson was actually considered a viable candidate by more than one team.

Has Joey Crawford Put Enough Of A Personal Stamp On These Playoffs?

Posted in Basketball at 12:26 pm by

In addition to scoffing at the Bulls’ rehire of Doug Collins (“how Chicago chairman Jerry Reinsdorf can endorse a person he fired in 1989 under shadowy circumstances after the Bulls were evicted from the Eastern finals defies comprehension”), the New York Post’s Peter Vecsey still hasn’t quite gotten over the final moments of the Spurs’ Game 4 loss to the Lakers earlier in the week.

Despite repeated evidence to the contrary, ex-coaches and former players-turned-TV-analysts continue to stamp Joey Crawford as one of
the NBA’s elite officials. I challenge them to cite a controversy within the past 20 or 30 years he was judged to be correct.

If the league office isn’t calling Crawford on David Stern’s carpet, or fining and suspending him, it’s apologizing for a game-deciding mistake – his non-call on Derek Fisher jumped into Milk Bonespur Brent Barry in the waning seconds of the Lakers’ two-point Game 4 victory.

With the aid of instant replay – and the help of Crawford’s seeing-eye dog – the league felt compelled to admit a foul had been committed for fear its fans would buy into the twisted perspective of those same commentators that the game is whistled differently in the last minute of a game than the first 47.

Naturally, mixed messages lead to confused reception. On one hand, the league boasts that only the highest-grade refs are assigned to work late into the postseason. Then it undermines them by announcing they screwed up.

Nobody can deny Fisher created contact, yet nobody on TNT’s air (or connected with the Spurs) expected Barry to get “bailed out” from behind Joakim Noah’s arc? Reggie Miller and Kenny Smith admonished Barry for not “selling” the foul to officials the way Indiana Bones and Walt Frazier did. Yup, Brent should be ashamed of himself for not kicking his opponent as Reggie was wont to do.

Later in the column, Poison Pete declares ABC/ESPN’s “Bill Russell-Kevin Garnett made-for-TV lovefest could not have been more contrived”.
I missed the chit-chat in question, but I am willing to take Garbage Time All-Stars‘ word for how it went down.

JLB Credit’s Most Infamous Wage Slave : Beating The Kiwis Is Joyless

Posted in Cricket, Sports Journalism at 12:03 pm by

Taking a somewhat dim view of the New Zealand national cricket team‘s recent tour of England, David Mitchell aka Peep Show’s Mark Corrigan (above) writes in Saturday’s Guardian, “everyone’s thinking, “if those guys were really good at sport, they’d be in the rugby team.” Thankfully, Mitchell wasn’t assigned to cover the England/US soccer friendly earlier in the week.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think this attitude to New Zealand is justified. They genuinely are a decent side who have beaten England plenty of times (although not that often in England) but that just doesn’t seem to matter. Fundamentally I don’t think enough of us care how good New Zealand are at cricket – and they probably don’t care much in return.

It’s not an age-old clash, England against New Zealand – there’s no ancient rivalry, not much post-colonial bitterness, no history of war, it’s just two countries that both think the other is kind of fine. In the rugby they’ve managed to pep it up with the haka and other Maori stuff but in the cricket there’s just no story. And people crave stories in sport – a proper narrative like in a film: a pacy start, an exciting jeopardy-filled middle and then a happy ending, just like the Ashes in 2005. What a shame they made that lousy sequel.

Manchester United have just got to the end of a great narrative: 50 years since the tragedy of the Munich air disaster and 40 years since they first won a European Cup they are once again the pre-eminent club in Europe if not the world. I don’t like football but even I can see that, the tedium of all the actual matches aside, this is a story that has everything – including potentially, if the fans take my advice, an ending. Yes, now is definitely the time to stop supporting Manchester United.

I mean, what are they going to do next year? It’s either going to be repetitive or disappointing. The credits are rolling, the story is at an end; put down your popcorn and leave the cinema. People talk about supporting clubs “through thick and thin” but what they mean is “thin and thick” (assuming thick is good and thin is bad, like penises rather than pancakes) – no one wants to see triumph and then disaster; they want it the other way round; that’s how nice stories work.

After Flip Saunders’ 3rd Consecutive Eastern Conference Finals Loss…

Posted in Basketball, History's Not Happening, Tourism at 1:39 am by

…I humbly offer the following bits of consolation to the Motor City :

a) your hockey team is still involved in some tournament or another.

b) it takes a special city to provide a home to a band that dropped a trio of 7″‘s paying homage to Suicide, INXS and Sparks earlier this spring.

c) as long as Todd Jones is pitching for the Tigers, lonely young men from all over North America will consider Detroit a likely destination.

d) while the Pistons didn’t win Antonio McDyess the trophy he’s long coveted. Boston and LA might have this year’s NBA Finals dance partners, but they don’t have any FAYGO.

05.30.08

Normal Service Will Resume Soon

Posted in Internal Affairs, Technical Difficulties at 7:08 pm by

Or else.

-

Graziano : Minaya’s Ready To Deal, Delgado’s Ready To Rot

Posted in Baseball at 4:37 pm by

‘Tis curious on the morning after Carlos Delgago (above) made a nice play on a liner down the first base line, the Newark Star-Ledger’s Dan Graziano would label the Mets’ 1B, “a statue in the field.”

According to officials with three major-league teams, who requested anonymity because they were discussing another team’s plans, Omar Minaya has been calling around this week to gauge the availability of players he thinks could help the Mets improve.

Specifically, the officials said, Minaya has let it be known that he’s looking for a first baseman (Baltimore’s Kevin Millar has come up) and a right-handed arm for the bullpen. One of the officials also said the Mets were expressing interest in outfielders (particularly Pittsburgh’s Jason Bay and Xavier Nady), since it’s now clearer than ever that they can’t count on Moises Alou to play for them at all.

This tells us that the Mets are determined to turn around this season and make a run for the World Series, whatever it takes. But perhaps more importantly, it means they might finally be admitting to themselves that this core group that’s been together since 2006 isn’t a winner, and may require radical changes if it is to reach its goals.

Some changes have already been made. Carlos Delgado has been booted from the starting lineup the past two nights, and it’s about time. Currently, Delgado is of no value to the Mets whatsoever. He’s a statue in the field, a ghost in the clubhouse he ruled just two years ago, his on-base percentage is a sickly .294 and they have to use a pitcher to pinch-run for him because they don’t think he can score from second on a single.

Willie Randolph said before last night’s game that he expected to put Delgado back in the lineup tonight, but given the chance to pinch-hit him for Damion Easley or Fernando Tatis in the eighth against righty reliever Matt Lindstrom, Randolph passed, and it was the right call. Delgado couldn’t hit Lindstrom’s fastball if Lindstrom were throwing from second base. He’s toast, and the fact that he was sitting the past two nights (especially with the Mets already missing both corner outfielders) sends the message that the status quo is no longer acceptable around Shea.

The allegedly worthless Delgado is 3rd on the club with 8 HR’s, and he’s on pace to drive in 86 runs. Mediocre numbers for a first baseman, granted, but would Graziano consider Carlos D. to be any more or less washed up than Jeff Kent or Jim Thome?

Inky Dinky Don’t : Whitlock’s Bizarre Fuck You To The Tattooed

Posted in Basketball at 2:34 pm by

A plethora of technical issues will prevent much discussion (’round here, anyway) of the end of the nasty Spurs dynasty, but on the sociological front, Fox Sports’ Professor Jason Whitlock claims “there’s one issue driving improved ratings that likely won’t be touched by all the NBA talking heads on TNT and ESPN. Tattoos. Or rather the lack of tattoos in the conference finals.” Good thing those championship contenders narrowly avoided trading for J-Will, huh?

Part of the reason more people are watching these playoffs is because the average fan isn’t constantly repulsed by the appearance of most of the players on the court. Most of the key players left in the playoffs don’t look like recent prison parolees.

The only accurate way to describe Garnett, Pierce, Duncan, Allen, Manu, Parker and even Kobe is “clean cut.” Yeah, there are a couple of tattoos in that group ” Duncan has something on his back, Kobe still has his post-rape-allegation tat ” but the Lakers, Spurs and Celtics have far less ink on average than your typical NBA franchise.

Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony have more tats on their hands than the entire Spurs roster.

I know many of you probably think the number of tattoos doesn’t influence viewing habits. You’re wrong. Like everything else televised, appearances matter. There’s a reason you don’t see nude scenes in movies with fat people. Trust me, fat people have sex. It’s just no one wants to see it. Not even fat people.

No one wants to watch Delonte West or Larry Hughes play basketball. It’s uncomfortable and disconcerting. You don’t want your kids to see it. You don’t want your kids to think they should decorate their neck, arms, hands, chest and legs in paint. You don’t want to waste time explaining to your kids that some millionaire athletes have so little genuine self-confidence that they find it necessary to cover themselves in tattoos as a way to mask their insecurities.

It’s a fascinating argument, and one you can instantly flush down the toilet when you consider the appearances of ink devotees Shaq or Dennis Rodman never caused one hoops fan to change the channel. Or, to point to the very series still undecided, has Big Sexy not noticed the arms of Rip Hamilton or Rasheed Wallace?

You’re In The Army Octagon Now

Posted in Hot Fads, The Woah at 11:32 am by

Sen. John McCain once famously called MMA “human cockfighting”, but as the sport moves closer to the American mainstream, the U.S. Armed Forces “are using the sport not only as a way to build morale and aid in recruiting, but also as a training aid to enhance the skills of soldiers” writes the New York Times’ Michael Brick.

To rally the troops, military leaders have welcomed professional fighters with names like Ace and the Huntington Beach Bad Boy. The Army has conducted tournaments among soldiers. In an opinion article for Army Times last year, Maj. Kelly Crigger urged commanders to field a team of fighters on television in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the dominant pro league.

œMany of those viewers are eligible recruits, Major Crigger wrote. œThe U.F.C. provides a great venue to get the Army name into the minds of millions of young Americans.

Across the service, the embrace of mixed martial arts has come with some reservations. The sport™s emphasis on solitary glory runs counter to the Army™s recent efforts to shift recruiting themes from individual development (Be All That You Can Be; Army of One) to group unity (Army Strong; Go Army).

But as the sport found its audience on channels aimed at young men, recruiters and drill sergeants soon took notice.

Military officials have sought practical applications. In 2002, the Army published a new field manual section on mixed martial arts techniques. Its author, Matthew C. Larsen, the director of the Modern Army Combatives Program, considered competition a powerful motivator.

œAs long as we™re all about our values and upfront about what the Army stands for, and that™s being warriors, the question is, what kind of warriors? said Mr. Larsen, who served as a young Marine in Tokyo and earned several black belts. œThe game of mixed martial arts is just that, it™s a game. But the game can be training for the real thing.

Mr. Larsen has promoted his program cautiously, acknowledging that too much focus on competition could train soldiers to win competitions, not battles. But the shifting nature of modern warfare, especially as conducted in the cramped corridors of Iraqi homes, has helped make his case.

œThese guys could be in any situation, from a life-and-death battle with a bad guy to trying to subdue a citizen who has Stockholm syndrome, and you don™t even want to hurt that guy, Mr. Larsen said. œBut you™ve got to have all these moves for all those different situations.

Seems to me we’re long overdue for another remake of “From Here To Eternity”. I suggest the feckless Shia LeBouf would be a fine choice to reprise the role of Montgomery Clift’s Private Robert E. Lee Prewitt, refusing to take part in the military’s MMA competitions. Harrassed by his fellow soliders, Prewitt finds sole support from Private Angelo Maggio (with Jared Leto tackling one of Frank Sinatra’s finest dramatic parts).