06.30.08

Rounders : Baseball, Minus The Sissies

Posted in Sports Journalism, We Aren't The World at 6:20 pm by

The Guardian’s Steven Wells calls efforts to organize a rounders game in a public park outside of Philadelphia, “the sporting equivalent of pissing on an apple pie and calling America’s mother a whore.”   Hey, beat that, Wing Bowl!

I put it to Helen Todt – organiser of today’s event – that playing rounders in 21st century America is a bit like hauling a chimpanzee around the evolution-disbelieving Bible Belt and shouting: “Look, Americans, this is what you are evolved from. A girl monkey that doesn’t even wear gloves.”

“No,” says Helen firmly, “it’s nothing like that at all. It’s just a bunch of people getting together and having fun.” And she says this in a tone of voice that clearly implies she’s thinking: “Oh shut up you stupid smart-arse. Why do journalists have to have a theory about everything?”

Perhaps in anticipation of millions of Americans throwing away their sissy catcher’s mitts and taking up an obviously superior version of the three-strikes-and-you’re-out bat-and-ball game where you have to run around four bases, on June 28 the NRA launched the first ever Rounders World Festival, featuring teams from China, Iran, England and Wales. And nowhere else. Suggesting that, at the moment, rounders is one of the few sports that actually has less international appeal than baseball.

If you include Zimbabwe (and at the moment, the ICC aren’t), there are no more than 10 test cricket playing nations. The general thrust of Wells’ piece (ie. even the most random rounders sightings stateside affords the author a free shot at baseball’s “fat, enormous-headed, steroid gobblers with porn-star moustaches and hideous neo-mullets”) is more than welcome, but there are 16 countries taking part in the World Baseball Classic.  Still, I don’t doubt for a second you’d have to be a little brave, loony or both to organize a pick-up rounders game in Philly, much more so than someone attempting to cobble together a softball lineup in Finsbury Park.

Wally Backman’s Video Stalker : SNY Sucks

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 5:26 pm by

Producer John Fitzgerald has pulled “Playing For Peanuts” — a documentary series chronicling the exploits of the indie South Georgia Peanuts and manager Wally Backman — from the Mets’ SNY channel. Fitzgerald claims Wilpon TV wouldn’t lift a finger to promote his program, a situation he finds doubly gallng because “SNY is loaded with bad programming.”

Take a look at any of the SNY staples – Beer Money, LoudMouths, Wheel House, etc. – and compare them to anything on YES or MSG. From a production standpoint, it isn’t even close. Now, when Mets fans – fans who are very familiar with the lackluster SNY shows that are promoted ad nauseum throughout Mets games and on SNY’s website – stumble upon “Playing for Peanuts,” they would logically think the show is bad. Think about it – if you know all of the promotion is going into bad SNY shows, it stands to reason that “Playing for Peanuts” would be WORSE because you’ve never even heard of it. And that wrong (but justified) assumption would be hammered home in every inning of every Mets game, as the other shows are promoted via commercials, signs behind home plate and mentions by the broadcast team. Meanwhile, they wouldn’t even list “Playing for Peanuts” in the programming section of their website or put up a banner ad.

After a few weeks of getting the runaround from SNY, I finally told them I was willing to pay for a promotion during a Mets game. After a few days of waiting – imagine, I was willing to give them money and they had no idea what to do or how to respond – I was told it would cost $5,500 to have “Playing for Peanuts” mentioned during a Mets telecast. That’s $5,500 per mention. Nice.

Of course, $5,500 for 15 seconds is out of the budget range for a show that was financed the old fashioned way: mostly credit cards, some investors, lots of crew members working at low rates on deferred payment. Keep in mind that this is a show on SNY. A show that even with no promotion, had gotten better ratings than Beer Money in its first few weeks. After those initial weeks, I was no longer told about Beer Money’s ratings.

Fitzgerald’s certainly entitled to his opinion, but if I was, say, a single parent on a tight budget, I’d seriously opt for “Daily New Live” over renting any of the “Saw” or “Hostel” movies.  If Joe Benigno-Gazingo in high definition gives me nightmares, imagine how he might scare the wits out of a small child.

What Happens When They Run Grizzlies Box Scores?

Posted in non-sporting journalism, Track & Field at 4:53 pm by

One of PTI’s categories today is “GETTING EXCITED FOR BOLT VS. GAY?”, and thankfully, ESPN has not seen fit to employ the same auto-replace scheme as the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow. Here’s hoping it will be many years before ONN has to prepare their obituary for Homosexual-Lord Perry.

Room For Rent : Persons Named “T.J. Simers” Need Not Apply

Posted in Baseball at 2:49 pm by

David Scheid writes, “jeff kent is looking for a roommate!  i guess it makes sense he has a pad only 15 minutes from chavez ravine.  he probably needs someone to water the plants when dodgers are away.”

UNIQUE ROOMIE SOUGHT “ SHORT/MEDIUM TERM

I am searching for the most Unique person to share the most Unique living situation, on a short-term basis. Includes utilities. Available Aug 15th.

YOU MUST:
- smoke (or be extremely OK with a smoker environment).
- be a night owl (or be totally cool and able to function with one in the household).
- be very sexually enlightened and OK with my frequent sexing, or sexual yourself in similar ways.
- be OK with the tight quarters involved.
- be OK with a cat in the mix.

I AM:
- a 45yo single gay guy; I sex a lot, and I escort “ often here.
- I smoke cigs and love it. This is a smoker environment. I am a very clean smoker.
- I drink copious amounts of beer, but am hardly ever inebriated (it™s the German blood). I am an occasional dabbler in 420, and that tends to be it; I rarely, but once in a blue moon, will indulge in other things; and I avoid Meth-heads like the Plague.

THE PLACE/SITUATION:
- It™s a small apt: a semi-one bedroom/studio; there™s a œmain area that contains the general living-room type area, the kitchen, and my desk/work space set up behind the living room area (like a studio).
- There™s a hallway off the main room, off of which is the small bathroom, which leads to a medium-size bedroom (with no door, but a curtain “ and it™s actually quite private); THAT™S the room I have available.
- So, I am looking for someone (male or female, gay, bi or straight) who would get into making that back room there own bedroom; the main room/kitchen is wide open as a hang; I will just work away at the desk; I am very flexible, easy going and low maintenance.
- I get to work from the moment I get up (usually no earlier than noon) till 2-3a (sometimes longer); I do projects on the computer for income, and I cruise for sex.
- I sleep on the living room couch; I love it.
- I can pretty much œsleep through anything “ it doesn™t bug me if you are up and around while I am crashed; I just don™t want to œbug you crashed out till mid-day.

IN SUM:
- I don™t œneed to rent the room;
- I have done this before with great success and fun; I am looking more for the kindred-spirit, company, and fun than anything else “ and a little help on the rent never hurts.
- I am fun and wacky, and I like Unique souls.
- I also like to help people who might just need this very kind of short-term set-up, maybe to reorganize or whatever.

So what you think?

The Big O : Still Hung Up On The Association’s 19-And-Up Rule

Posted in Basketball at 1:22 pm by

“”Every time you see something NBA, it’s something negative, isn’t it?” Oscar Robertson opined to The Indy Star’s Matt Baker over the weekend, adding “many players stay married to the same woman for many, many years, but nothing’s said about them.”  I don’t know about that, it seems like many things have been said about Doug and Jackie Christie.

The Hall of Fame guard also denounced the league for its rule that players must be a year removed from high school before entering the draft.

“I think that’s illegal, to be honest,” Robertson said. “If you can go to the army and fight in Iraq at 18, why can’t you play basketball?

“This is something concocted probably by the NBA and the NCAA. It seems like it benefits both. It benefits colleges more than anybody. If you can go fight in a war, why can’t you go play basketball? Tennis players do it. Baseball players do it. So why not basketball?”

Before starring in the NBA, Robertson led Indianapolis’ Crispus Attucks High School basketball team to the state championship in 1955 and 1956 — the first titles for an all-black school in Indiana.

As former local high school players like Greg Oden and Eric Gordon advance to the pros, Robertson warns that the NBA is a much different game than the NCAA.

“They’re not like where LeBron is,” he said. “Some are not going to do well. Some will. That’s just the way it goes, and I wish the best for them. I hope they’re ready to play.”

While Robertson is echoing his own remarks on the subject of the NBA’s draft restrictions, he’s still 100% correct. Not only can 18 years be slaughtered in Iraq (or do their share of slaughtering), they can also order copies of Nick Zedd’s “Elf Panties : The Movie”.   Surely there’s a bigger learning curve to that life experience than entering professional basketball’s top flight?

Turning Back The Clock With Jim Hellwig

Posted in Football, Professional Wrestling at 1:12 am by

I spent much of Sunday afternoon rooting for Spain to defeat Germany in the Euro 2008 final. Not because I have anything particular against Germany, nor because I have much affection for Spain’s racist fucktard manager Luis Aragones, but rather, Spain serving as host for the Ultimate Warrior’s comeback match last Wednesday night led me to believe that lovely nation had already suffered far too much.

Buehrle’s Cutter Sweeps Away The Clutter: Sox Deliver Crosstown Payback

Posted in Baseball at 12:23 am by

Early on in the White Sox 5-1 drubbing of the Cubs Sunday night, the keen baseball mind of Lou Piniella saw the writing on the wall.  In the bottom of the second, presumably reacting to a Joe Crede check swing call, Lou stormed out of the dugout to exchange views with 1B umpire Chad Fairchild only to be ejected, leaving Alan Trammell to preside over the Cubs fourth straight loss and embarrassing sweep by the hated White Sox.

I don’t blame Piniella for throwing a tantrum to secure a little “me” time in the clubhouse.  His Cubs are a team best left in the rearview mirror.  Without Rich Hill and Carlos Zambrano, the staff is a mess. The meltdown of Carlos Marmol and the noises coming out of Kerry Wood’s elbow make the Cubs pen an alarming place, and with Soriano out, Edmonds struggling with senior issues and Aramis Ramirez going 0 for 13 on the weekend, well, you’d take a walk too.

Fast-working LHP Mark Buehrle (W, 6-6, 5K, 2BB, 6H 1R) continued his dominating June, cutting over 2 runs off his ERA in a four double-play perfomance that shut down the Cubs, leaving Henry Blanco as the only North Sider with a good look at Buehrle’s cut fastball.

The Sox lineup went yard twice on Zambrano stand-in Sean Marshall (L,7IP, 1BB 5H 5K), including Carlos Quentin in the fourth, and a Brian Anderson 2-run shot in the fifth.

But it took a Piniella-free Cub brain trust to put away the game by reviving the bat of Sox DH Jim Thome in the bottom of the 8th.  Despite lefty Neal Cotts being warmed up, underwhelming righty middle reliever Jose Ascanio was left in to face the dormant slugger.  Thome obligingly crushed his 522nd homer, driving in Jermaine Dye and passing up Ted Williams and Willie McCovey’s lifetime yard numbers.

Goodbye Cuburbanites, it’s been fun.  If you get confused which direction to turn on the Dan Ryan, just follow the tangy aroma of urine to get back to Wrigelyville.  You can figure out how to get back to the north shore from there.

06.29.08

White Sox, Rob Drake, Sweep Cubs’ B-Team

Posted in Baseball, Ugly New Stadiums at 11:14 pm by

(Cubs’ Lou Piniella exchanges words with noted Sox fan Rob Drake)

Maybe the Cubs, owner of the best record in baseball, needed a lesson in humility. After fielding a team without Soriano, Zambrano, Marmol, Johnson, and today without Piniella — over bullshit calls in front of him and then the behind-his-back ejection of Piniella by Rob Drake — and with AAA Iowa corn-cob middle-reliever Jose Ascanio, the Sox and Rob Drake had a great weekend. My reluctant congratulations to Rob Warmoski and the minor league umpiring staff filling in at the Cell this weekend. The 2008 Cubs join the ’68 convention’s protesters, Dr. Martin Luther King, and desegregation fans everywhere in underestimating South Side wrath. Cubs second string starter Sean Marshall loaded the bases early and often today, and with said bags all tagged, it was a “check” swing on an 0-2 count by Joe Crede that brought Piniella out in the 2nd. Not only did instant replay prove Crede’s full swinging strike, but ESPN’s Joe Morgan seconded Piniella’s opinion. 1st Base umpire Chad Fairchild warned Piniella to go back, which he did, when Rob Drake threw Piniella out while Pinieilla was returning to the dugout.

Chicago White Sox's Carlos Quentin is greeted in the dugout ...

(Rob Drake lookalike and long ball artiste Carlos Quentin of the Sox)

While the Cubs had a legit robbery call to make, 911 takes forever on the South Side, so what’s the point? By the time Ronny Cedeno was robbed by 1B umpire Chad Fairchild who called him out, they still wouldn’t have shown up. The Cubs had their own self-evident problems early on — like lead-off man Kosuke Fukodome uncharacteristically swinging on a first pitch to fly out in the 1st. DH Geovony Soto also blew a scoring spot the same way, and it went on all afternoon. Sean Marshall did OK allowing 3 runs off 5 hits in 7 innings, but he had nowhere near the run production behind him on which equally OK Cub starters have coasted. Credit is also due the White Sox pitching staff, as evidenced by Aramis Ramirez’ donut-hole production this evening. ESPN compared the multiple HRs Ramirez hit at Wrigley with the Sox pitching him outside last weekend, vs completely shutting him down tonight by adjusting their pitches inward — glad someone went to school on last weekend’s sweep.

(Joe Crede and Patrick Swayze, separated at birth?)

Jim Thome’s “check” swing aside, Thome, Dye, and Crede got it done in a big way, and they’re great to watch offensively. Thome’s 8th inning line drive HR was a beaut, and I am more than happy to leave him to the Twins and Tigers for the rest of the season. And while I do think Piniella is right to say the Sox will win their division, no doubt factoring in the return of Paul Konerko in the very near future, the Tigers will be the surprise of the second half. Mark Buehrle, what can you say, he made one of the few truly impressive returns for a pitcher this season. Final tally amounts to 5-1, White Sox.

For the record: REO Speedwagon’s entry in the “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” contest blows.

Kevin Love : The T-Wolves’ New Master Of Hyberbole

Posted in Basketball at 6:41 pm by

(Minnesota GM Kevin McHale, right, confuses new charge Kevin Love with a detailed description of an early Suicide Commandos gig)

While the Daily News’ Frank Isola tips the Knicks to a) pursue point guards J-Will, Carlos Arroyo or Sebastian Telfair and b) waive Stephon Marbury after said PG is acquired, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Jerry Zgoda elicited the following quote from F Kevin Love after a Friday morning trade put him in a Timberwolves jersey rather than O.J. Mayo :

“I told my agent I hope I can end up in Minnesota because this is where I wanted to be,” said Love, a former Oregon schoolboy star. “Kevin McHale was maybe my favorite player of all time. I’m happy to be in the city. It’s almost like Portland, only colder. It’s going to be my new favorite city.”

McHale retired in 1993.  Love was born in 1988.  Either the latter watched a ton of Celtics games during his formative years or he’s doing a fine job of flattering his new boss. When and if Love claims to enjoy any of his Uncle Mike‘s solo recordings, we’ll know for certain he’s less than sincere.

If there’s one sure silver lining to Mayo being traded to Memphis, it’s that ‘Lil Dice doesn’t have to cope with the painful knowledge the URL iloveoj.com is already taken.

Not The Proudest Moment In The History Of The Boston Globe Sports Department

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 5:16 pm by

If you thought the Globe’s handling of Ron Borges was poor, brace yourself for this. The ink is barely dry on Jackie MacMullan’s buyout and the Globe is asking readers to produce video love letters to the paper. Maybe the gentleman above is really a conceptual humorist, but that’s probably giving him too much credit. If Will McDonough was alive today, he’d invite Raymond Clayborn to poke him in both eyes so he wouldn’t have to look at this shit.

Not to say that bringing McDonough back from the grave would necessarily be a good thing, mind you.