2008 Cubs: The Hug Life

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 12:55 pm by

(DeRosa, giving Jacque Jones the only hug he ever got in Wrigley)

Don’t know what’s going on with the fractious Mets Clubhouse, but somewhere between Piniella Swagger and Oprah style talking it all out, the Cubs are on the verge of a Dodger sweep tonight. Some insight into what keeps the team together comes today from Mark DeRosa’s blog, The Pulse, as he takes this stroll down memory lane with former DeRosa hata’ Ryan Theriot. Buzz Bissinger and Skip Carey might diss blogs, but which one of them ever broke a hugfest like this? And for the record, I’m bummed that DeRosa chose to go with his team nickname for the blog rather than the fan suggestion, “De-Scoop with De-Ro.”

DEROSA: How did it feel when you’re sitting in Baton Rouge and it came across the ticker that Mark DeRosa had just signed to play second base with the Chicago Cubs.

THERIOT: In all honestly, when I saw it, I really felt like punching you right in the mouth and or breaking your leg. It was kind of a shock. It was a little upsetting in the beginning. But after Jim [Hendry] called me, and we talked a little bit about it, I felt better about the whole situation.

DEROSA: And when I showed up at Fitch Park, what were your impressions about me?

THERIOT: I didn’t know if we were getting a second baseman or an Ultimate Fighter. Your physique was comparable to that of a Greek god.

DEROSA: Or Bob Howry.

THERIOT: Or Bob Howry.

DEROSA: So, I was intimidating at first?

THERIOT: You were intimidating at first, yeah. Once I got to know you, I understood your skit.

DEROSA: You basically figured out I was soft.

THERIOT: Yeah, in so many words.

Former WCW Mouthpiece Madden Silenced By Ted Kennedy Joke

Posted in Sports Radio at 11:30 am by

From the AP :

Pittsburgh-area sports radio host Mark Madden has been permanently taken off the air by ESPN.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette quoted Madden as saying that he had hoped Sen. Edward Kennedy “would live long enough to be assassinated.” The Massachusetts Democrat has a malignant brain tumor.

Madden made the remark during his show Wednesday. The show has aired weekdays from 3 to 7 p.m. on 1250 ESPN. Madden was last heard on the air Thursday, the day before his comments appeared in the newspaper.

There’s no truth whatsoever to the rumor Madden is now seeking employment as a speechwriter for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

The Rocket’s New Text Pest

Posted in Baseball at 10:57 am by

There’s no truth to the rumor the Yankees’ Joba Chamberlain was unavailable for last night’s 11-10, 10 inning loss to Baltimore because of texting blisters. But go ahead, start one anyway. From USA Today’s Mel Antonen :

Joba Chamberlain, who is making the transition from eighth-inning reliever to the rotation, says he is in touch with Roger Clemens regularly.

“We text back and forth and I ask him a lot of questions, because that’s how you get better,” Chamberlain said before the Yankees’ game in Baltimore Tuesday night. “You can’t be afraid to ask questions. I ask him everything from workout questions to how to pitch to certain batters. I never thought I’d be texting Roger Clemens.”

Chamberlain says he’s taking pieces of Clemens’ workout routine and incorporating them. One piece of advice Clemens gave him: “The easiest day should be the day you pitch,” Chamberlain says. “Then, I beat myself up in between starts. I run, lift, eat right and take care of myself between starts.”

We’ve not seen any of those AT&T commercials featuring Debbie Clemens, a golfing Rocket and a dropped connection in several weeks —- does anyone know why? —- but I’m sure the phone company is already planning something based on the above report.

TSF’s Bissinger Interview : Buzz Isn’t Quite Done Painting With Broad Strokes

Posted in Blogged Down, Sports Journalism at 3:02 am by

H.G. “Buzz” Bissinger’s latest give & take with The Starting Five’ Michael Tillery is not completely without merit ; the former has some relatively sensible things to say about the state of modern journalism, Philadelphia’s sporting scene and his own career. That said, Bissinger has hardly cooled off regarding tackling dummy Will Leitch, nor has he developed a particularly sophisticated take on a medium other than his own.

MT: Could Deadspin be seen as chickens coming home to roost regarding the lack of check and balance for conventional journalism? Growing up I would read a journalist and had the want to voice my opinion but that opinion was never heard. Whether or not it was in a letter to the editor or some other form of complaint. Could blogs be seen as that check and balance for journalistic culpability?

Buzz: Yeah! I think that™s the best of blogs when they do that¦where there is an interplay. People say why pick on Deadspin? Well, it is the most popular sports blog in the country. I don™t see that type of rational dialogue taking place. When I see the comments and replies that people make to a Deadspin post, it™s not rational argument. It™s all about the one liner that maybe can get me on Stewart™s (Jon) show or Stephen Colbert. They all think they™re much funnier than they are. It adds to this era of mockery that we live in. That™s not true of every blog. There™s one called the Beer Leaguer that covers the Phillies where the posts are rational and so are the comments. It™s all about what™s happening with the Phillies and what™s happening with Howard (Ryan), and Myers (Brett) etc. Do the Phillies need another pitcher and the like. It does give the fan a voice to give their opinions. I think that™s great. I think most blogs are used to make idiotic comments that they think are funny. To me it shows that they need to do something else with their lives because they have way too much time on their hands.

There is one big difference to what I did on Costas Now and bloggers. I didn™t hide behind anything. I didn™t hide behind some silly email handle or some silly name. I was myself. That was my name. My email is public and that™s a big difference. Blogs should insist that people use their real names. Would they still get the same amount of hits if they are really for change?

Post whatever you want but you gotta use your real name and it™s gotta be verified.

They™ll never do it because it™s a money game, let™s face it. The more posts you get, the more hits you get, the more money you make. That™s not just to entertain us. That™s also to make money.

Deadspin is in it to make money.

Not for the first time, Bissinger’s argument ends up being reduced to a pure matter of taste. He’s professed respect for “information based” blogs, selectively ignoring how some of those he’s cited engage in the same low-brow pranksterism he claims to despise. And how thin would our mainstream print publications be if they were all purely “information based”? While Bissinger thankfully acknowledges sports yack radio is at least as toxic as the blogosphere, he’s yet to propose a ban on newspaper editorials.

The topic of anonymity is a rather desperate one to raise. The blog Bissinger has criticized most loudly, Deadspin, makes no secret of it’s primary author/editor or publisher. If he’s referring to non-moderated comments, has he spent much time surveying the cretinous reader efforts at least one recently sold Tribune Co. property allows on their site(s)? Why, precisely, are blogs being held to a higher standard than major newspapers that have been publishing for nearly 70 years? Could it have anything to do with Bissinger being a somewhat pilloried figure in the blogosphere long before his pseudo-historic encounter with Leitch?

Finally, if Bissinger believes Nick Denton’s commercial enterprise is all-too willing to pander to make a buck, at least the Pulitzer Winner can sleep at night knowing that he’s only toiled for classy establishments that were only interested in the intellectual stimulation of their readers.

Not Since Ethan Hawke Has Such Lousy Acting Come Out Of Texas

Posted in Basketball at 12:01 am by

Trailing 93-91 in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final with the Lakers, San Antonio’s Brent Barry (23 points, 5 rebounds) collected an inbounds pass with a few seconds remaining. Despite being mugged by Derek Fisher after a pump fake, Barry failed to draw a foul. Spurs In No-Flop Shocker.

For instance, had Manu been in this situation, the contact from Fisher would’ve been enough to propel his body to San Marcos. Instead, Barry put the ball on the floor, didn’t get what could’ve easily been 3 foul shots (thank you, huge Spurs fan, Joey Crawford) and San Antonio’s reign looks just about over.

(UPDATE : Pop says Crawford got it right. Tim Duncan claims there was zero chance of Barry getting the call and his teammate “did the right thing” in trying to drive around Fisher.  Barry refused to bitch about the call but looked genuinely stunned when Craig Sager suggested the play “could’ve been a career defining moment.”  No one does non-emotive quite like the Spurs.)


Venerable Mets Blog (Not, However, Metsblog) Leaps On Rays Bandwagon

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 11:12 pm by

Willie Randolph might’ve received a vote of confidence from his GM yesterday — albeit one that couldn’t have been more qualified — but one group of Mets fans have decided to bail before the All-Star break. Ladies and Gentleman, Alex Nelson introduces RaysGeek.

Eric called a meeting at the MetsGeek offices. We threw some ideas around to liven the site up again, but, in the end, the staff unanimously agreed to just drop the Mets gimmick. We™re tired of this team, and we felt it was time to attach ourselves to a new beacon of light and hope: the Tampa Bay Rays.

Why the Rays? As it turns out, we have a lot in common. We both needed to clean the slate with a new identity this season. Well, half a slate; the Rays only removed half their nickname, and, if you look at the banners above, you™ll notice we™ve chosen to do the same. Mr. Met™s smiling visage shall continue to shine down upon our daily content. After all, I™m not even sure if the Rays have a mascot, and Mr. Met remains the best, even when the team doesn™t.

So I™d like to welcome everyone to RaysGeek.com, home of the best Rays analysis on the internets. We pray that you, our readers, shall remain faithful to the site and not the team. Unlike the Mets, we™ll never let you down. Because if the Rays™ season takes a turn for the worse, you can bet that we™ll be ready to jump ship again.

I’m sure these gentleman are 100% serious about this, and not even a result as incredible as a starting nine featuring Fernando Tatis, (2 singles, 2 RBI’s), Ramon Castro (2 for 3, 2 RBI’s), Damon Easley and Nick Evans beating the first place Marlins tonight will cause them to second guess their decision. The Rays’ 12-6 loss to the visiting Rangers is another story, however. Josh Hamiltion’s 8th inning grand slam off J.P. Howell gives him an astonishing 58 RBI’s before the start of June. Hopefully, Steve Phillips will see past the tattoos and druggy ways and shall vote for Hamilton on his All-Star ballot.

Would You Buy A Nissan From This Man?

Posted in Automobiles, Basketball, The Marketplace at 10:13 pm by

Wow, the lengths some folks will go to in order to avoid putting Jason Kidd in a position of responsibility. In the spirit of Gene Simmons Toyota of Newbridge, NJ, it would appear as though deposed Mavericks coach Avery Johnson has landed on his feet.

Q: What Time Does The A’s Game Start?

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 5:16 pm by

(A: That depends. What time can you get here?)

“Never fear, lovers of elbow room and A’s games: The Coliseum will return to its spacious self soon enough,” writes the San Francisco Chronicle’s David White, whom having observed a packed stadium for Oakland’s weekend sweep of Boston, warns “the A’s will go back to being one of the hottest unwatched shows in the big leagues – at least until the Yankees come, June 10-12.”

The A’s rank 26th in attendance, the same spot they finished the past two seasons. They have averaged 20,803 fans through 27 home games for a 561,696 total.

Almost 90,000 came at two “home” games in Tokyo. Another 97,592 came for last weekend’s Red Sox series, and it only seemed like half of the fans swore allegiance to the defending world champions.

In 14 of the 22 games in between, unused seats outnumbered seat-sitters 2-to-1. Only two of those games broke 30,000 at the Coliseum, where capacity is listed at 34,077 with most of the upper deck tarped off.

Don’t point fingers at the players. The A’s are 28-23. They sit second in the AL West, two games behind the Angels. The A’s have spent almost half the season either tied for the division lead or in sole possession of first.

Only the upstart Rays have played better ball (31-20) before fewer home fans (18,686 per game). Somehow, that’s of little comfort to a franchise with a vastly superior history.

“That’s one of the first things I noticed when I came over here,” said A’s outfielder Rajai Davis, who started the season with the Giants before riding the waiver line across the bay. His first game with the then-first place A’s was April 24 against the visiting Twins. The crowd count was 12,593.

“When I was over in San Fran, I know we were in dead last but they were committed fans and they came out,” Davis said. “Over here, even when we were in first place, the crowds weren’t like what you’d think.”

I hate to take issue with Rajai’s attempts to contrast the, er, level of commitment amongst Northern California’s baseball fans, but the Giants are currently averaging 33,708 patrons per game. That’s a pretty significant decrease from 2007′s average attendance of nearly 40K per game.

Of course, only a cynic would suggest the ’07 Giants drew such robust crowns mostly on the back of The Sultan Of Surly’s assault on the record books.   Or, if you prefer, someone actually paying attention.

There Will Always Be A Place At The Table For Brett Favre’s Ghost

Posted in Gridiron at 3:57 pm by

Despite Brett Favre having retired last March, Green Bay has kept the QB’s locker intact during early practices, a situation On Milwaukee‘s Jason Wilde considers unfair to Aaron Rogers, “who has as tough a follow-up gig as anyone has ever had at quarterback in the NFL.”

Rodgers is trying to play with the specter of Favre hovering over him, and there’s a tangible reminder of the guy 10 feet away. To bring Favre back for the jersey retirement at the regular-season opener is one thing; to have his locker still there is another. The subject first came up at the NFL meetings in Palm Beach in April, when McCarthy asked rhetorically, “Would you want that locker? You’ve got to be kidding me. We’re talking about a couple things.”

When I saw Favre’s locker was still intact at the post-draft rookie orientation camp in early May, I asked about it again.

WILDE: How come Favre’s locker is still intact?

McCARTHY: Who do you want me to put in there?

WILDE: I don’t know. But isn’t it just a locker?

McCARTHY: I think it’s more than a locker, and there’s some plans for the locker that will be addressed in the future. But there’s nothing else to it. I wouldn’t want his locker, especially after his hygiene, my goodness. It’s a locker of a very special player in the history of our organization, and there are some plans for the future, and we’ll address that when it comes. I’ll just leave it at that.

While the hygiene line was funny, McCarthy didn’t say exactly what the plan for it is. Will they save it for posterity, as the Washington Redskins did with the late Sean Taylor’s locker, or the Minnesota Vikings did with the late Korey Stringer’s? I don’t know.

I still think it’s just a locker, and Favre didn’t die, he retired. Put ex-University of Wisconsin punter Kenny DeBauche, who grew up in Green Bay, in it, and it’s a story for one day. DeBauche talks about how cool it is to have Favre’s locker, and then, after that, it’s not Favre’s locker anymore. It’s DeBauche’s. And then someone else’s down the road.

Marchman : If Willie’s Staying, Here’s A Plan

Posted in Baseball at 3:05 pm by

(the savior of the Mets’ 2008 season)

After Monday’s embarrassing dressing down of Mets manager Willie Randolph, the New York Sun’s Tim Marchman — having previously called for Randolph’s firing —- admits “no better manager” is available, and puts some of the onus for the club’s results squarely on the shoulders of the El Duque/Luis Castillo-loving, Heath Bell-dispensing Omar Minaya (“who tosses away a human shield while it’s still capable of catching incoming bullets?”). Marchman, does however, have some propositions that don’t involve sacrificing Randolph, amongst them, acquiring the youthful Kenny Lofton.

One thing to do might be to put Johan Santana on a pitching schedule befitting his age (he’s 29) and $137.5 million contract. Santana is on pace for just 31 games and has made seven starts on five or six days of rest, as against three on four days rest. Some other aces, such as Brandon Webb and Josh Beckett, have also pitched more on longer rest this season, but not as much as Santana, and they also don’t play for teams that have routinely been starting random minor league veterans. Santana has traditionally pitched a more regular schedule ” from 2005-2007, just 41 of his 100 starts came on long rest ” and can presumably handle doing so in the National League. Every start he doesn’t make is effectively a start for someone such as Claudio Vargas, and even if that only adds up to three games in a year, no team in the Mets’ situation can just wave off three games.

Another thing to do would be to get rid of reserves Endy Chavez, Damion Easley, and the currently injured Marlon Anderson, who between them have 188 at bats ” about as many as David Wright ” and a .191 AVG/.231 OBA/.255 SLG batting line. Whatever intangible virtues they may have obviously haven’t done the team any good, and aside from Chavez’s defense, which could be replaced by Angel Pagan’s once he comes off the disabled list, the three have contributed little on the field while soaking up an alarming amount of playing time. Thin as the farm system is, it does feature some real defensive players, such as middle infielder Anderson Hernandez, and some real hitters, such as minor league veteran Val Pascucci. Better a one-dimensional player than a no-dimensional one, and at this point, better a hungry player getting his first real crack at the majors than a veteran.

A third move might be to work toward swapping starter Mike Pelfrey with reliever Aaron Heilman. Since a good first start against Philadelphia, Pelfrey has given little reason to think he’s going to develop into a decent starter ” his three decent starts came against Washington and Cincinnati, two teams that can’t hit ” while his big fastball and durability seem as good a fit for a multiple-inning bullpen role as they did at the beginning of the year. Meanwhile, Heilman, owner of a 6.29 ERA, has devolved into near-uselessness in the pen, and it’s hard to imagine exactly what of use the team could get for him in a trade. I’ve never thought that he seemed like a good fit for a starting role, but it’s hard to see what possible harm stretching him out could do, or why anyone would think he’d be much worse than Pelfrey or Nelson Figueroa.

I’ve long wondered how desperate things would turn before Mets management gave serious consideration to the idea Aaron Heilman might be a more respectable 5th starter than say, Jose Lima or the late Geremi Gonzalez.  With the manager’s neck on the line (if not that of the GM), perhaps now would be a fine time to let Heilman sink or swim in the role he’s long coveted anyway.

A Sports Representation Meeting Of The Minds – Infamous Tool Vs. Recent History’s Worst NBA Analyst

Posted in Basketball, Blogged Down at 2:08 pm by

Who knew what kind of sparks would fly when legend in his own mind Darren Heitner interviewed former Bulls PG B.J. Armstrong for the former’s Sports Agent Blog? Not many, as it turns out. Armstrong might be a relative newcomer to the brutally competitive world of sports representation, but his short stint at ESPN clearly taught him plenty about saying absolutely nothing of value when given the opportunity.

Heitner: Is there any particular reason that Derrick Rose picked you as his primary agent over Arn Tellem?

BJ Armstrong: Again, I think that Derrick chose me largely because I played in Chicago and he grew up in Chicago watching me play. There was a time in Chicago where I played on some pretty good teams. The things that happened in that city as he was growing up probably left a mark on him. Again, I believe that I was the beneficiary of good timing. Derrick and I even played the same position. Sometimes things just line up¦you can™t plan it. I think we just had a few similarities in our background that made it all work out for a lot of different reasons.

Heitner : Do you have any relationship with William Wesley? If so, what is your general impression of his role in professional basketball?

BJ Armstrong: I have known Wesley for over 20 years. I knew him back when I was playing in the late 80s. I have a great relationship with Wes and I have no problems with him whatsoever. He was a part of our family when I was playing in Chicago, when I was traded¦I have always known him. He has been nothing but a friend to me since I entered the NBA. He™s been with us forever. It™s just Wes¦he™s there. I still see him; he is everywhere. You see him at sporting events, venues, games.

Heitner : What is your response to David Falk™s recent comment that signing players is becoming less about what you have to offer to the client, and more about paying athletes and/or people close to them in order to represent them?

BJ Armstrong: I guess that is possible from his perspective. More importantly, he would have to answer it in more detail from his experiences. It is interesting that I have gone through the process of representing clients as an ex-athlete. I am certainly not naïve to think that the possibility of corruption isn™t there. I think David would really have to clarify his statement, though, because certainly you cannot say that it™s the only realm of possibility. It™s not the only way that things are done in this business.

Yannick Noah Is My Kinda Dad

Posted in Basketball, Parental Responsibility, Tennis, The Law at 1:46 pm by

After Da Bulls’ Joakim Noah made the wrong sort of headlines this weekend after allegedly brandishing “an amber colored liquid” in a public place, the former Gator standout predictably suffered the slings and arrows of the sports blogosphere — a community where beer and weed have never, ever been consumed, presumably. Thankfully, there’s one guy capable of putting this in the proper perspective. Ladies and Gentleman, CSTB’s Father Of The Year, Yannick Noah, as quoted by the Associated Press :

Yannick Noah is perplexed by “all that fuss” surrounding the arrest of his basketball player son, who was charged with marijuana possession and having an open container of alcohol.

Chicago Bulls forward Joakim Noah was arrested Sunday in Gainesville, Fla., after an officer spotted him on a sidewalk holding a plastic cup. Police said that during a search at the station officers found marijuana in his pocket.

“I don’t understand all that fuss for just drinking a beer on the street,” Yannick Noah said Tuesday at the French Open.

The elder Noah won the title at Roland Garros in 1983. He created a sensation a few years before when he told a magazine writer he smoked marijuana.

Joakim Noah was released after signing a notice to appear before a judge — standard procedure for such offenses. He could face up to six months in jail and a $500 fine for the marijuana charge.

“I talk to him every day on the phone,” said Yannick Noah, who was at Roland Garros on Tuesday for the dedication of a walkway named after him. “He’ll soon come over to France to see me.”

I don’t have time to consult the Elias Koteas Sports Bureau today, but if anyone else is interested in doing the research, I’d love to know for sure which incident received more coverage from the combined forces of the MMS and sports blogs —- Noah’s arrest, or Jerry Buss’ DUI.

ESPN Unveils The Perfect Gift…

Posted in Technical Difficulties, The Marketplace at 12:00 am by

….for whatever percentage of the population doesn’t own a smartphone, PDA, laptop or desktop computer, yet would still have WiFi in their home (link taken from Deuce Of Davenport).

It’s almost as though someone sat around a boardroom and decided the only thing that stopped WebTV from achieving critical mass was the unshakable notion the American people wanted to do all of their surfing and shopping via their television remote controls, yet without actually watching television.


O’Connor : Randolph Justified In Talking About Race

Posted in Baseball, Racism Corner at 9:52 pm by

Prior to presiding over Mike Pelfrey’s latest debacle, Willie Randolph endured the humiliation of being called to the carpet by Hall Of Fame baseball executive Jeff Wilpon, only to learn after the meeting that Carlos Delgado either (depending on your point of view) refused to endorse the manager or failed to reply to a baited question. Still, Randolph’s got at least one supporter left, in this case, the same reporter who almost cost him his job. “Given what Randolph has endured in baseball,” writes the Bergen Record’s Ian O’Connor, “his bosses should let him breathe on the issue of race.”

Randolph didn’t say anything divisive or inflammatory when we discussed black and white inside his old home, Yankee Stadium, eight days back. The manager simply raised the question of whether his skin color is among the factors ” on a conscious or subconscious level ” that are weighed by fans and critics when measuring his ability to lead the Mets.

It was and is a legitimate question to ask.

When he meets with Fred and Jeff Wilpon today, meets with them after losing six of his last seven games, Randolph should apologize to his bosses for the play of his $140 million team, and for the comments suggesting the SNY network was fixing to portray him in an unflattering light.

Camera operators are supposed to film managers and head coaches for reaction shots when their teams mess up. It’s called good TV.

Randolph also should accept full responsibility for his statements in an on-the-record, tape-recorded interview conducted before a number of witnesses, a notion he’s comfortable with one day, not so comfortable with the next.

But Randolph shouldn’t retreat from anything he said within the context of race. As the de facto offensive coordinator of Joe Torre’s dynastic Yanks, Randolph was rejected as a candidate for one managerial job after another, this while every white bullpen catcher and his brother got a gig.

Does anyone really believe that a white man who was a two-time champion Yankee as a player and a four-time champion Yankee as a coach would’ve waited as long as Randolph did before a franchise finally called his number?

Randolph wasn’t ranting about overt racism in the Shea stands. He merely was talking about the very real possibility that some have a problem with black leadership, whether they realize it or not..

Not The Finest Johnny Most Impersonation Of All-Time

Posted in Basketball at 7:21 pm by

How bad, you ask? Frank Caliendo and Fred Travalena have both offered to find a new line of work if the creator of this monstrosity is willing to follow suit.

Hoops and Hockey-Loving Peanut Butter Wolf Fans Faced Tough Choice on Saturday

Posted in Basketball, Hockey, music, The World Of Entertainment at 4:12 pm by

(not on the Commish’s iPod)

Hockey people have already found a lot to gripe about in Gary Bettman’s state of the league talk, but this part here slipped through the cracks.

Q: Are you chagrined or bothered by the fact that the Pistons and Celtics are going head to head against you both nights here and could you have gotten together with David Stern and done anything about it?

What’s interesting about that question is, and as I’ve watched the commentary on the subject, everybody seems to be focused on us. And I think that’s a little unrealistic and a little unfair. Not without noticing the Tigers are playing tonight. There’s, what do they call it, a techno rock concert. I don’t know exactly what that is, but it’s next door. I assume there will be thousands of people there.

Now, considering that Bettman seems the sort of guy who would refer to rapper “Snoopy Dog” (as I once saw C. Delores Tucker do at a legislative hearing) or think that Nickelback are indie rock, “techno rock concert” seems a close enough description of Detroit’s Electronic Music Festival, where Josh Wink and Kevin Saunderson are among the competition for Games 2.

But at least we know where Kid Rock’s gonna be. I find it just a little curious that in the midst of Johan Franzen fever, there’s been absolutely no talk about Chris Chelios. The Julio Franco of the NHL was injured in the last round but has purportedly recovered. Guess he turns up Wednesday if the Red Wings lose.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press checks in with Cheli’s salt-of-the-earth friends. And to think people gave Springsteen a hard time for moving to L.A.

Chelios is at the core of a group of athletes, entertainers and others who own property in the Southern California community, pal around and work out together.

The Malibu Mob includes Chelios, big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton, tennis star John McEnroe and actors Tony Danza, John Cusack and John C. McGinley, who provided some insight into the group’s activities.

McGinley, who stars as the fast-talking Dr. Perry Cox on the NBC (and soon to be ABC) sitcom “Scrubs,” grew up a Rangers fan in New York, but switched his allegiance to the Wings after his Malibu neighbour Chelios was traded from Chicago to Detroit in 1999.

McGinley said his fellow Mob members all are big Chelios fans and drop what they’re doing to see him play when Detroit is on the West Coast. They have seen the Red Wings play during recent stops in Los Angeles, Anaheim and San Jose.

If Chelios is in town, “the Mob is meeting,” McGinley said. “Whoever’s here is a quorum.”

The Mob members converge on a luxury box at the arena “so we can just completely bask in Cheli’s glory,” he said.

Or Andreas Lilja’s glory.

…apparently, the Mob is willing to expand its numbers should the right candidate come along. Currently under consideration is a lifelong Wings fan – Detroit’s own Kid Rock (real name Robert Ritchie).

“Kid Rock is coming on quick,” McGinley said. “There will have to be a Mob vote. Bobby’s one of the guys. He’s just the best.”

What, no mention of Tim Commerford?

The Blogosphere Trembles In Anticipation Over BSM’s Swag Bag

Posted in Blogged Down, Sports Journalism, Sports Radio, Sports TV at 1:46 pm by

Boston Sports Media’s Bruce Allen wants your cash. But he’s not just looking for handouts, ala David Pinto (sorry, David). Rather, Allen is promising, “The first 50 people to donate $50 or more to the site will receive a box of something.”

It might be worth more than $50, it might be worth much less. It might be one thing, it might be two things or more. It might be a book, it might be a video or a shirt. It might not even be sports related at all. I can tell you though, there are some real treasures to be found in here!

If you told me there was a 5% chance of claiming Eddie Andelman’s amazing collection of lampshades, I might go for it.

The Heck With The Kinsey Report : Modern Sexuality, The Maury Allen Way

Posted in Baseball at 1:16 pm by

The only way the following excerpts from Maury Allen‘s latest entry for Columnists.com could be improved upon would be if you closed your eyes and imagined them being read aloud by Hank Kingsley. (Link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)

Jackie Robinson™s plaque at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York does not mention the fact that he was the Major Leagues™ first African American in the 20th century.

Former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey stood up at his resignation press conference and announced, œI am a gay American.

Sometimes we get too little information. Sometimes we get too much.

Mike Piazza retired last week as one of the game™s greatest catchers and surely will be a Hall of Famer with his .308 lifetime average over 16 seasons with 427 home runs.

I hope they put on his plaque, œI™m a heterosexual American.

Piazza, the discovery of Tommy Lasorda, a boyhood pal of Piazza™s father, Vince, in their hometown of Norristown, Pennsylvania and the ball player™s godfather, is the only announced heterosexual in baseball history.

Babe Ruth never had to announce that nor Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Hank Greenberg, Stan Musial or Bob Feller. Nobody else ever did in the game™s history.

On January 29, 2005, Piazza married Playboy Playmate Alicia Rickter. One newspaper photo of the handsome guy with his gorgeous wife ended the gay rumors. On February 5, 2007, Nicoletta Veronica Piazza was born to the happy couple.

On July 31, 2013 Mike Piazza will be standing at his Hall of Fame induction in Cooperstown before 60 living Hall of Famers and 10,000 fans. I expect him to announce, œI am a very gay heterosexual American Hall of Famer.

At the risk of cutting and pasting from myself for a change, is there no evidence more irrefutable of a man’s heterosexuality than his getting married to a lady, especially in a highly publicized ceremony.

Rather than contine to mock Piazza for a public statement that seemed to spread rumors faster than it refuted any, I might consider how his career would’ve changed had he announced “I am a gay American who will soon be moved to first base”.

Hernandez On Carter : The Kid’s Unconscious

Posted in Baseball at 12:18 pm by

While this might be Willie Randolph’s final day in charge of the New York Mets, Keith Hernandez, as quoted by Newsday’s Neil Best, takes a dim view of former teammate Gary Carter openly campaigning for Randolph’s job.

“I have great respect for Gary as a player,” said Hernandez, on Ch. 11 yesterday. “He’s a Hall of Famer. When Johnny Bench left the game, he was the premier catcher in the National League.

“But that being said, and I’ve kept quiet for such a long time, but for the people out there listening, just go in the dictionary and look up ‘unconscious’ and you’ll find a picture of Gary Carter.

“I know that’s strong, but it just happens too many times and it’s just, you’re walking around unconscious.”

Carter said in a Sirius Satellite Radio interview Friday that he reached out to the Mets when he learned Randolph’s job might be in jeopardy. He softened those comments Saturday in an interview with WFAN.

Before Hernandez’s shot at Carter, play-by-play man Gary Cohen said: “Regardless of what happens, you can’t be any more indelicate or graceless than Gary Carter was in saying the things he said about being available to take over the job. I just cannot believe that Carter said what he said.”

I’m gonna take a very wild guess. In the event Randolph is fired, the Mets are more likely to opt for someone whose managerial/coaching resume is slightly longer than one year in the Gulf Coast League and less than a week in the Golden League.

The NCAA Recognizes The Importance Of Brisket Research

Posted in Baseball, College Spurts, Food, Medical Science at 12:00 pm by

A few weeks ago, it was suggested in this space the University Of Texas might not receive an invite to the field of 64 for this spring’s national baseball championships. However, after winning 12 of their final 14 games, including yesterday’s 15-7 victory over Kansas State to claim the Big 12 Tournament crown, it seems pretty unlikely the Longhorns won’t receive an at-large bid when the full selection of squads is revealed later this morning.

That said, Texas’ bid to host a regional later this week at the newly refurbished Disch-Falk Field wasn’t recognized by the NCAA, who instead named Lincoln, Stillwater and College Station as the Big 12′s representative venues. I thought the committee’s choice of Texas A&M’s home field was curious in light of the Aggies losing 4 in a row to the Longhorns over the season’s final 9 days, but perhaps the NCAA are for once, acknowledging serious academic achievement? From the Austin American-Statesman’s Ben Banta :

Aggie graduate student Stacey Turk’s master’s thesis shows that fat from brisket contains significant amounts of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid that can promote good cholesterol in people.

The study was publicized by A&M officials in late April. Stephen Smith, the professor who supervised Turk’s study, says it shows that oleic acid in brisket “is like olive oil, and, as far as I know, has no downside to it.”

Smith, whose doctorate is in biomedical research, said the acid’s “effects are either neutral or positive (in a diet). And other studies confirm that good cholesterol goes up in men who consume fat high in oleic acid.”

“We did not know we could get that kind of fat from brisket,” Smith said.

Smith, who has been at A&M for 25 years, said the cut’s fatty ridge generally is trimmed off by butchers and tossed aside. But he thinks that meat processors should save the beneficial fat and use it when they produce ground meat.

“It could make for a healthier hamburger,” Smith said.

Former MLB Hurler Geremi Gonzalez, Dead At 33

Posted in Baseball at 11:20 am by

The AP is reporting veteran pitcher Geremi Gonzalez, who had brief stints with the Blue Jays, Red Sox, Brewers, Mets and Yomiuri Giants, was struck and killed by lightning yesterday in his native Venezuela.

While our thoughts are with Gonzalez’ family and friends, it must stressed one last time that bad things continue to happen to persons who make out with Jose Lima.


America’s Love For Authority Figures Commemorated In The Bush Leagues

Posted in Baseball, Hot Fads, Rock Und Roll, The Law at 10:45 pm by

It’s a small world and one packed with crazy coincidences. On Friday night, I caught a tiny portion (and by “caught”, I mean watched thru the doorway without paying) of Greg Ginn & The Taylor Texas Corrugators making their first or 2nd Austin appearance. Ginn, shown to the right of White Flag’s Pat Fear aka Bill Bartell, recently moved to Central Texas, and if Quinn Snyder isn’t available to coach the D-League Toros next year, the Spurs could do a lot worse than put the squad in Greg’s capable hands.

Here’s the conicidental part. I was in Lake Elsinore, CA this afternoon and witnessed the Padres’ Cal League affiliate Storm getting kicked around by the Lancaster Jethawks. While the Storm have seen their coffers swell considerably thanks to Dizzee Rascal sporting their cap in global TV appearances, it seems the club aren’t nearly finished tapping into all-things-youth-culture. Sort of.

It seems the Storm have a 3rd mascot known as The Rally Cop. His program bio claims he received his training during the LA Riots of 1992, along with a stint toiling as a guard in an unnamed prison (shades of the Big Boss Man, anyone?). Trouble is, he looks less like a former peace officer….and more like a young Pat Fear.

Kerry Wood Delivers His 1st 2008 Acceptance of Full Responsibility Speech

Posted in Baseball, Cinema, Firearms, Get Out Of Jail, Technical Difficulties at 7:50 pm by

(Henry Blacno and Adam Laroche duck for cover as Kerry Wood throws his first deadly pitch in Pittsburgh)

Pity the fan who has to depend on the listing Dodgers to beat the Cardinals so the Cubs, who lost again to the Pirates, 6-5 this afternoon, can maintain a half-game lead over St. Louis. Given the suspense I was in, you wonder if a half-game lead is worth it in late May anyway, but this was my Sunday. Fortunately, the Dodgers did win it in 10, 4-3. Since the Cubs couldn’t win it to maintain their own lead, my hat’s off to the Phillies for the 15-6 drubbing of the Astros, too. All I actually caught of the Cardinals and Dodgers was the last few innings, so Saito striking out Pujols has to be the Dodgers’ finest moment of the series (ok, Ethier’s extra innings clutch hit, too). Respect is due to the Bucs in this regard “ despite the gist of The Sun-Times’ Gordon Wittenmeyer‘s coverage, this was a matter of the Pirates beating the Cubs, not the Cubs losing it. Since the Cubs swept the Pirates twice this year, the Pirates, not to mention Astros and Cardinals, are all playing better. The NL Central is tightening up. The silver lining to ending this road trip? Tomorrow the Cubs host the Dodgers.

As to Saturday’s loss, the name Kerry Wood does tend to come up among reasonable people. After beaning a third lead-off batter in a save situation this year, Wood told The Sun-Times’ Gordon Wittenmeyer, ”The bottom line is you’ve got to get the job done, so learning curve or not, it’s game on,” he said. ”And you’ve got to win these games, especially the way the offense came back and gave us the lead. And the guys before me and after me in the bullpen threw the ball great.”

Isn’t it great when Kerry Wood sucks it up and takes full responsibility? Take notes, it’s called Character. And he does it three or four times a season. In Bull Durham, Nuke LaLoosh defends an out of control fastball as “announcing myself with authority.” When Kerry Wood does it, by beaning a hitter who turns into the Pirates’ winning run, it took less than a day for the Cubs’ site to put up a story of Piniella defending Wood’s job as the closer. Says Piniella, “The only thing that Woody has to do is, he’s hit the first hitter three times in the ninth inning, and it’s tough enough doing the closer’s job without putting yourself in trouble,” Piniella said. “We have to figure out how to help him not do that.”

Mmm, show him a rule book? Then again, what choice has Piniella got? Wood as middle-relief looks like a disaster that can’t last more an inning. Despite Cub hatin’ Bleacher Report’s long response to the Don’t-Blame-Wood brand of Stockholm Syndrome in Chicago, we’re stuck with the guy:

(Wood, his job is safe, but no one else is)

But Jim Hendry, who generally manages the lovable losers, decided that closing is easy. Heck, anyone can do it.

So, in preparing his championship buffet, he conveniently forgot to include a closer as part of the recipe. And that has left our stomachs aching, kneeling to the bobblehead gods as we look elsewhere to satisfy our hunger.

This should come as no surprise to Cubs fans. After all, Hendry was the architect of the Dempster-as-closer era in Chicago.

Closers are a different breed. They may put on their pants like everyone else, but that’s about where the similarities end. They have a certain panache, a kind of confident swagger and the critical ability to not only stare defeat in the face and laugh uproariously, but also to have a shot and a beer and forget about it ’til next time.

You will notice there was nothing about 95-mph fastballs or trick pitches in that job description. Oh yeah, those help, but they are clearly not enough …

Hendry looked at his pitching staff and noticed that he had three guys with the “stuff” to do the job. But nowhere did he factor in that none of them had ever done the job before. Nope, not even Howry, who had the most experience of the three, yet still not what you’d call any kind of demonstrated competency or expertise.

Both of Hockey’s Cups Are Coming to America

Posted in Hockey at 6:34 pm by

The Spokane Chiefs’ run as Memorial Cup champion couldn’t have been any more definitive – the WHL representative made the longest trip to Kitchener, beat all three teams they faced (including two from the home province) and then knocked off the host team in the final once again today.

Goaltender Dustin Tokarski stopped 53 of 54 shots in the 4-1 win, giving a U.S. team the title for the first time in a decade, when the now-woeful Portland Winterhawks were led by Brenden Morrow and Marian Hossa. The Chiefs last won it in 1991, shortly after George and Bobby Brett (yes, that George Brett) purchased the team.

Holy shit! (to quote the man himself): Chiefs captain Chris Bruton just dropped the Cup! And it totally snapped off of the base! How many years will the Chiefs have to go without another win before it’s called a curse?

Oh well, at least two players get to raise it simultaneously. Their enthusiasm certainly has not been dampened.

Update: Maybe not entirely his fault.

Captain Chris Bruton lifted the trophy over his head twice and kissed it and then as he was about to hand it to teammate Trevor Glass, the cup became separated from its heavy base, which fell to the ice.

While that prompted boos from spectators at Memorial Auditorium already disappointed that their home team lost, the good news is that it’s a replica trophy.

The one that has been handed out to the junior hockey champion since 1919 is in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

“It just kind of crumbled in my hands and I’m sure I’ll be all over YouTube and I’ll get e-mails for the rest of my life over that, but I don’t care because we won the Cup and that’s all that matters,” said Bruton.

“It’s just as beautiful and maybe more beautiful that we have that top off and we can drink from the cup a little easier.”

Tampa’s Joe Maddon – Fully Prepared To Blow Joe Morgan’s Mind

Posted in Baseball at 3:10 pm by

While Tampa and Baltimore are tied at 4 this afternoon through 7 innings, Rays manager Joe Maddon tells the St. Petersberg Times’ Marc Topkin, “I don’t think offensive players are evaluated enough in regard to how many runs they give up. If you really want to keep track, keep track of how many points they give up and then you can really find out this number that is produced at the end of the season.” And with that, the mad rush to ghostwrite Maddon’s book begins!

Hockey does a plus-minus rating, which reflects how many goals for and against a player is on the ice for. Maddon’s idea would be for more of a composite total of runs produced minus runs allowed. (And as quickly as the stats world evolves, there’s likely to be such a formula on the Web by the time you finish reading this.)

Errors are easy to track. Specifically, Maddon is interested in keeping better records of plays that should be made and are not, a broadening of the current range-factor ratings. He wants to log double plays that are not completed, fly balls that drop when outfielders break the wrong way and ground balls that go unfielded due to a lack of movement.

That idea is interesting enough and something that could be done anecdotally. But Maddon envisions more, a system of GPS-type devices over each stadium (or inside the roof) that track player movements.

Doing so, he said, would allow determining a player’s “true value or worth.”

And create something else for agents and teams to squabble over.

A day after Nick Evans proved to be a better postgame interview than Carlos Delgado (or at least that’s all we can conclude), the Mets lead the Rockies, 1-0 in the middle of the 4th in Colorado. John Maine has struck out 6 Rockies, and regardless of today’s result, Willie Randolph has already received a vote of confidence. From George Foster.