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.

Mushnick On “The Greatest Shakedown In NY Sports History”

Posted in Gridiron, Sports Journalism, The Marketplace, Ugly New Stadiums at 4:37 pm by

That the New York Post’s Phil Mushnick is a frequent object of ridicule at CSTB is long established. There are few exercises in dead-horse-beating more tiresome than Phil’s weekly complaints about late start times, excessive celebrations, expensive sneakers or claims of reverse racism. But every now and then (mostly then), Mushnick hits the bullseye in raising a subject that oughta enrage most of his readership — assuming anyone’s paying attention.

In today’s Post, Mushnick describes the Giants and Jets’ new Personal Seat License schemes as “the greatest shake-down in this region’s sports history”.  That’s right, folks,  Phil has found an affront to sporting commerce decency even more offensive than NY Rangers alternate jerseys or the Mets’ Seven Pack.

The Giants – and soon, the Jets – tell us that PSL money will be applied to the cost of their new ballpark. Funny, when you and I, already living in a reasonably nice home, can’t afford to buy one of those nice, big, new ones, what do we do?

We don’t buy it! We stay put! We don’t buy what we can’t afford. Imagine that!

Imagine if the Jets and Giants were told they had to pay a personal seat license. That in addition to paying to install 82,000 seats in their new ballpark, they had to pay an additional fee on all 82,000 of them in order not to have them removed next season. They would laugh in the faces of the extortionists, maybe even call the cops.

Of course, though, they would never have to confront such an outrage, the kind they’re presenting as a pay-or-get-lost option to their steadiest customers.

Not that if the media today rises up in protest any change will be exacted. One of the things that a steady silence on such issues long ago imbued in team owners and league rulers is immunity from shame. You no longer can embarrass people who years ago began to understand that they could get away with anything. Too late for that.

C.J. Nitkowski Just Won The (Japanese) Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes

Posted in Baseball, We Aren't The World at 3:13 pm by

The AP’s current stance on quotes-for-pay prevents me from lifting any portion of C.J. Nitkowski’s piece on the nature of Japan’s interleague series (and my inability to read Japanese isn’t helping much, either), but suffice to say a cash prize of some $500,000.00 (half as much after ownership takes their cut) would do wonders for such a competition in America….between the Pacific Coast and International leagues (link swiped from The Griddle).

Former Yankee prospect Danny Rios (above), a 17 year professional and one of just 3 Spanish born players with MLB experience, was hit with a one year suspension by NPB after testing positive for hydroxystanozorol. Amazingly, if you enter “hydroxystanozorol” into Google, your first 14 results are related to Rios’ case.  Much the way Mark McGwire popularized andro, it took a former Korean Baseball MVP to put hydroxystanozorol on th emap.

The Journal News : Where The Headlines Don’t Quite Match The Text Below

Posted in Baseball at 12:51 pm by

After dropping a 3-2 decision to the Yankees yesterday, the Mets’ Johan Santana —-4th in innings pitched in the NL this year, notes Matthew Cerrone —- was graced with the above headline in the Journal News, despite offering the following quotes to the paper’s John Delcos :

The man to whom the Mets will pay $137.5 million has pitched well, exceptionally at times, but has been unable to lift them to the next level.

That’s because he can’t do it alone, and in yesterday’s 3-2 loss to the Yankees he was pretty much asked to fend for himself.

It’s been that way for a month now as the Mets have lost Santana’s last five starts. Since beating the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 1, Santana has four losses and a no-decision despite a 2.53 ERA in that span, giving up just seven earned runs.

“I am giving my best effort every time I go out there,” Santana said. “Every time I go out there I am giving my team a chance to win the game. Other than that, there’s nothing I can do.”

Frustrated?

“No,” said Santana, passing on the opportunity to throw his hitters under the bus.

“I know the guys are trying as hard as they can. It’s just not working.”

You know what must be frustrating? For Santana to explicitly state that he’s not frustrated, yet be characterized as “a little frustrated”.

North Siders Wander Into Stockyards, Eaten By Animals In Bullpen

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, The Mailbag at 2:14 am by

The above headline was supplied by RW370‘s Rob Warmowski, who follows with a recap of Saturday afternoon’s events at U.S. Cellular Field :

The Cubs’ Lou Piniella knows what he’s talking about.  After being beaten 6-5 and two straight by the White Sox, Lou showed way more class than the average Cub fan by admitting the Sox should win their division by “at least half a dozen games”.  Relieved by the Sox pen of all duties signaling to runners in the 8th and 9th innings, Lou must have used the free time to reflect on what first-place baseball on the working side of town really means:

 

- The Best Bullpen In Baseball:  Not since Snoop Pearson and Chris Partlow has a pair more epitomized the term “lights out” than Scott Linebrink and Bobby Jenks.  As if that weren’t enough, Boone Logan, Nick Masset and  the hammering heat of Matt Thornton (W, 4K 1 2/3) are all on call  – and only made necessary today by the struggling Javy Vazquez’s (9H, 5R 4 1/3) 104 pitch performance.  With a pen like this, the Sox can probably weather another Jose Contreras divorce, if not more of Vazquez’ glitching.

- Crede Got Back: Is there a better-handled hot corner in the AL?  3B Joe Crede’s back surgeon’s suture skills were on dispay in a 4th inning incredible stretching dive catch of a Derrek Lee line drive to get out of the inning.  However big Trapper John’s yacht is, at least he’s earned it.

- Offense: It’s A Good Idea. The reliable power of Jermaine Dye (1 HR), the improbable power of Alexi Ramirez (1 HR), the explosive swing of Orlando Cabrera, the far-from-terrible Nick Swisher and the, uh, rich legacy of Jim Thome (1BB) are enough to stake a season-long claim to the zone.

But you’re not done until you add the incomparable All-Star write-in candidate Carlos Quentin (1 HR), who today sent a Carlos Marmol 0-2 fastball over the right field fence and into the inferior Cubs pen. The go-ahead run landing in the seated Kerry Wood’s lap is all it took to remind Wood, Piniella and the world that the Sox are number one.

06.28.08

Spread The News, Bleachy’s Jerome From Manhattan’s Back In Town

Posted in Baseball, New York, New York, Sports Radio at 6:45 pm by

At the risky of lending validity to a former Deadspin editor’s claim this blog is too New York centric, I can only say a new call to WFAN from Jerome Mittleman is a more welcome blast from the past than watching Curtis Sliwa dry hump Bernard Goetz.

Bring On The Traffic : First Ever WTT Mention On CSTB Balanced With Kournikova Reference

Posted in Sports TV, Tennis at 6:29 pm by

“If you are going to say something outrageous, offensive and altogether despicable, then clearly you are better off working in the world of tennis than in any other sport,” writes the New York Daily News’ Filip Bondy. While if you’re merely gonna invade Stuart Scott’s privacy, you can get a full time job with Gawker Media.

On one of those radio talk shows where people always get into trouble – The Junkies, on WJFK in Washington – Tennis Channel commentator Justin Gimelstob called Anna Kournikova “a bitch” and “a douche.” He questioned the veracity of the back problems that caused Kournikova’s retirement and seemed to threaten her with physical harm when the two meet in a scheduled doubles match next month in World Team Tennis.Gimelstob also called Nicole Vaidisova, one of the top players on tour, “a well-developed young lady,” and declared that “female tennis players lack the social skills, they don’t go to high school, they don’t go to parties.”

“I take full responsibility for all the words that came out of my mouth,” Gimelstob now says. “And, while I can’t take any of them back, I hope my heartfelt remorse can begin to heal the wounds felt by many. Among the targets of my venom was Anna Kournikova, not to mention a general disregard and disrespect toward women.

“They all deserve and have my deepest apologies. While I see how it could be implied by my remarks, I assure you that I have the utmost respect for women.”

On a somewhat related note, David Mitchell of “Peep Show” and “That Mitchell & Webb Look” fame continues his Guardian blogging by suggesting Kournikova “was the perfect tennis player in every way apart from the tennis.”

Ana Ivanovic caused quite a stir at Wimbledon before being knocked out, largely because she’s pretty. This has a particularly amusing effect on the BBC’s ageing male commentators, who struggle to find a way to refer to the fact without saying anything sleazy. Their discomfort is palpable as they struggle with phrases like “very mobile and athletic”, “nice dress”, “young lady” and even “lights up the court”. They’re like tremulous uncles, weary and nervous of their own arousal.

They know they’ve got to mention it, you see – it’s good for the business that is women’s tennis. So they’ve got to say something but they know it mustn’t be “I, for one, would like to bang her!” or “What’s great about a player like Ivanovic is that she attracts a lot of teenage wankers as well as the tennis fans”. They don’t want metaphorical jizz on everyone’s mental centre court but, at the same time, they know that, if the internet’s taught us anything, it’s not to underestimate the masturbatory pound.

‘Clones, Straw Tread Dangerously Close To Charles Oakley’s Bread & Butter

Posted in Baseball at 6:02 pm by

It’s been a glamorous week for the NY-Penn League Brooklyn Cyclones; not only has Keyspan Park been graced with the presence of Ryan Church and first-round draft picks Reese Havens and Ike Davis, the ‘Lil Wilpon have announced that Darryl Strawberry will be on hand for Monday’s game versus Hudson Valley :

Strawberry will be appearing on behalf of Spongetech – the ultimate one-step wash and wax system.  Darryl will personally present the winner (or loser, depending on how you look at it) of the Dirtiest Car in the Parking Lot contest with a Spongetech prize package.

Get to the game early to get a good spot in the parking lot.  The first 2,500 fans will also receive the giveaway of the year – a Cyclone Roller Coaster Replica, presented by bank of America.

I’ve had a peak at the Cyclones’ promotional schedule, and I’m sorry to say for the 8th year running, they’ve rejected my plea for a Von LMO bobblehead night.

A Lot Of People Would Like To See David Lee….In Something Besides A Knicks Uniform

Posted in Basketball at 11:38 am by

While Charlotte GM Rod Higgins has denied Thursday’s selection of D.J. Augustin at no. 9 overall is a precursor to shipping Raymond Felton to New York, that David Lee is one of the Knicks’ only coveted assets — outside of a certain self-proclaimed no. 1 point guard in the NBA’s expiring contract — is hard to dispute. The Bergen Record’s Steve Adamek elaborates :

The potential departure of Lee, however, could yield the point guard general manager Donnie Walsh declined to draft to potentially replace Stephon Marbury, albeit a stopgap one, such as Portland™s Steve Blake, Seattle™s Luke Ridnour or one from among Memphis™ gaggle of guards.

œI think there are other ways to solve the problem if we have to, a guarded Walsh said Friday when asked about not drafting a point instead of Danilo Gallinari

œI know there are conversations going on, Lee™s agent Mark Bartelstein told The Record.

Given his druthers, and his salary-cap reduction plan for the summer of 2010, Walsh would rather unload Zach Randolph and the three years and $48 million still left on his contract to alleviate what the Knicks™ president called a œsurvival of the fittest logjam for minutes up front that Gallinari™s arrival creates.

But, Lee, a free agent next summer if he doesn™t get a contract extension before the start of next season, is far more enticing trade bait. œA lot of people want to get David Lee, Bartelstein said.

Adamek reports Gallinari will be throwing out the first pitch at this afternoon’s Yankees/Mets game. Unlike Pedro Martinez, it’s nice to learn Gallinari has no qualms about taking the mound during the day,

Let’s (Subway) Split Two : The Schizo Mets

Posted in Baseball, New York, New York at 12:10 am by

My apologies to any readers who are either diagnosed schizos or just happen to be sleeping with one. I meant to say, “The Highly Erratic (And Possibly Bi-Polar) Mets”, a club who on Friday managed to a) score 15 runs at Yankee Stadium despite featuring a batting order that had Trot Nixon, Marlon Anderson, Fernando Tatis and Brian Schneider hitting 6-9 respectively and b) make Sidney (Fucking) Ponson (above) look like a decent 5th starter in the nightcap at Shea.

Though Carlos Delgado’s club-record 9 RBI performance in the matinee made most of the headlines, Mike Pelfrey (barely) getting thru a labored 5 innings was as crucial as it was improbable.  Jerry Manuel didn’t want to tax his relief corps too heavily in either contest (whoops!), and if Friday proved anything as conclusively as both ballparks having no idea how to cope with capacity crowds (Mets officials being slightly more competent than their Bronx counterparts when it comes to getting fans into their seats with 40 minutes of their arrival), the Yankee pen (Mariano Rivera excepted) is an absolute disaster.  Though the roof really caved in on Edwar Ramirez and Ross Ohlendorf — perhaps the only person booed more lustily by Bombers fans than Jose Reyes — the tone was most certainly set by Dan Geise (4 IP, 6 runs, 5 hits, 4 walks), a starter apparently under the impression he’s being paid by the hour.  It took over 120 minutes to complete 4 1/2 innings Friday afternoon, and at one point I was pretty convinced the 2nd game in Flushing would have a delayed start.

After sundown while facing the Aruban Assassin, the Mets failed to cash in on bases loaded scenarios in the 2nd and 3rd innings, and when Delgado grounded out to strand a pair of runners in the first, he was jeered by a portion of the home crowd.  Say what you will about Mets fans, but their ‘what have you done for me lately?’ ‘tude is pretty hard to shake.

On another tip, say what you will about Yankee fans, but the overwhelming majority of them are smarter and nicer than the woman in Sec. 35 of the Tier Reserved seats who spent much of the afternoon screaming “THEY CAN’T EVEN SPEAK ENGLISH” each time Beltran or Delgado came to the plate. At least I think it was a woman — Craig Carton‘s voice isn’t usually that high and I’m presuming he can probably get better seats.

06.27.08

I Guess We Can Expect the Dodgers to Win By 20?

Posted in Baseball at 5:07 pm by

As I post, the White Sox are 9-2 over the Cubs, the Mets are 15-5 over the Yankees, and if today’s Bizarro scoring holds, the Dodgers are no doubt headed for a massive win over the first place Angels. Ryan Dempster got blown out early today, leaving the South Side up by 8 until the 5th inning, when I got to witnes back to back homers by Soto and Fontenot. I can’t hang around the house to watch the Cubs pull off a 9th inning comeback, but given the score and WGN’s handing over the mic to Hawk Harrelson, I’m counting my blessings. Historic Our Year fact: The injury ridden Cub staff “ currently down to Zambrano, Soriano, and Reed Johnson “ for once doesn’t include Kerry Wood. I guess I’ll add that to the plus column. Since I’m done counting blessings, here is Hire Jim Essian’s Bad Kermit to count up what’s wrong with the North Side today. Writes Kermit:

So let™s take a look at some guys who need to step up or get the hell out of the way.

Jason Marquis Man, do you suck. Badly. You™ve been getting an assload of runs to make your record look better than it should be, but make no mistake about it“if the Cubs rotation were an art museum, you would be œDogs Playing Poker. Frankly, you™re lucky to be in the big leagues, let alone a highly-compensated starter on the best team in baseball. Why can™t you get injured?

Ronny Cedeno You had many us fooled for a bit with your hot start. Not me, though; I remained unconvinced. You got a lot of mileage out of those 7 RBI you picked up in that two-game series against the Mets, but I would point out to anybody that cared that those hits didn™t win games; they merely sewed them up. Your abortion of an at-bat Tuesday night in the 9th inning says more about your ability to be trusted in a game situation than any garbage RBI™s you™ve picked up. Your suckiness actually validated that sweatervest-wearing fop Andy MacPhail, who sat in his seat at Wrigley, sipped his chardonnay, and thanked his fairy godmother that he didn™t get suckered into trading for your worthless turtle-neck in the offseason.

Matt Murton Jesus what the hell happened to you, dude? I understand that Lou™s never been a big fan of yours, but you led the team in hitting in 2006. You were a rookie that actually performed for Dusty Baker! So I ain™t buying the excuse that Lou is some sort of bully that has shrunk your confidence. All I see is some guy who™s apparent objective during an at-bat is to hit the ball as softly as possible. A Matt Murton at-bat is about as intimidating as the Snuggle Fabric Softener Bear. Your three true outcomes are: popfly, groundout, infield single. Go play intramurals; you™ve become as useful as a typewriter.

Michael Wuertz The poster child for why referring to a middle reliever™s ERA is about as specious as saying a player performs well when I eat an omelet instead of oatmeal for breakfast. You have only œallowed 10 earned runs this season, and your ERA is 2.62. How selfish of a prick you must be then, that you™ve come into games with a combined total of 24 runners inherited, and you™ve allowed seven of them to score. Way to drive up the ERA™s of your teammates while thinking you™re flying under the radar. You ain™t fooling me, pal. Can we give Jose Ascanio another look, please?

One Last Leitch/Bissinger Convo: It’s A Show About Nothing!

Posted in Blogged Down at 3:06 pm by

Down in the comments section to an earlier post, the mysterious figure known as Ward York — and by his delicious and nutritious work here — mentioned a dissatisfaction that all of us sports media overconsumers have probably felt at least once (every day). I’ll quote him here: “Why I continue to let the 40-watt sports media world (blog or non-blog) actively disappoint me on a regular basis is beyond me.” He was responding to some typically hail-fellow imbecility from The Sports Bro, in this case from Simmons’ send-off for Deadspin’s Will Leitch. But “Ward” could’ve been referring to any number of big problems in the sports discourse, blog and non-blog.

The one that’s been on my mind of late is how much it is less a discourse than a deafening, concurrent series of ill-considered monologues. In response to those monologues come (sometimes a great many) comments that replicate them almost identically; not questions, not really engagements with the source-post, not even really comments in any meaningful way: just sort of instant homages to both the original post and the commenter himself. I’m aware that this is a pretty broad criticism, and I know that I myself haven’t always done much to change or elevate the dialogue — as long as there are jokes to be made involving a nude Rick Majerus or meandering maunderings about Robinson Cancel and Iron Maiden fans to be written, I’ll be there, like some under-edited Tom Joad with a tendency to place too much importance on Mets wins or losses.

I know, too, those posts are, often, as much about me as they are about what I’m writing about. But I feel that this writing thing (what I do everyday, for a living) has to be a give-and-take, fundamentally: I’m writing (or usually paraphrasing and excerpting, here) for readers to read, because I think or hope that the imagined You might find it interesting/good/bad/whatever. We can’t talk these things over the way we might in a bar, for the most part — and I know you already know this, what I’m writing right now — but that’s what the comments section is for, right? That’s usually what it’s used for here, at least, when it’s used. That attempt at closeness, at remote conversation, seems to me a pretty good justification for the internet in general: it can, even if it doesn’t always, help us communicate with each other; it enables conversations that otherwise couldn’t happen. It’s also good for porn and LOL Animals or whatever, but I prefer the conversational element. (Except when I’m feeling like looking at porn) (then I prefer to be left alone)

Where bad sports blogs — bad blogs in general — let us down is where bad conversations let us down: the person we’re communicating with (or reading) either isn’t interesting or interested enough. Juvenile is juvenile (is Juvenile), and for the most part I don’t spend a lot of time reading blogs that I know aren’t going to add much value to my experience as a reader or sports fan or thinking human being. That’s more Gerard’s thing — the guy’s brain just cannot be satisfied, and so (as far as I can tell) he reads everything, good and bad. And sometimes he sends me stuff to post, when he’s out of range (as he is today, for the most part). And sometimes they are so bad…

Which brings me, late, to my subject. As part of Will Leitch Appreciation Week at Deadspin, the outgoing editor had on e last email exchange with highly compensated Imus-stroker and x-treme blog skeptic Buzz Bissinger. It’s here, it’s probably 8,000 words long, and I’m not going to excerpt it. I wouldn’t even really recommend you read it.

But I can’t help but think it’s some kind of defining statement: two guys in a vacuum, neither with much in the way of insight or even really much interest in what the other’s saying, reiterating the same doofy points they made a couple months ago on TV — points, for one extra dollop of absurdity on top of this shabby sundae, that both reflect the same failing. Which is: a blinkered inability or unwillingness or disinterest to see things through any perspective but their own, and in any way other than “how does this relate to me.”

There are some new twists in this new twist — we find out, for instance, that the hilariously thin-skinned Bissinger thinks that the commenters at Deadspin aren’t as funny as former Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell (really), even though both curse a lot — but fundamentally, that’s it. It’s basically, still, two guys talking about themselves in each other’s general direction. I think it explains why I don’t get much enjoyment from either guy’s work (and I have really admired Bissinger’s in the past, and have found his recent magazine stuff really, really terrible). The reason being that it’s fundamentally not for me, or really any reader, and not about much other than the author. This doesn’t necessarily apply to Will’s quick-hit shit on the blog — it’s hard to be very good or very bad in 75 words — but I think his rise to demi-celebrity and facile fan-positive populism (or whatever you want to call his faux-naive worldview) definitely reflects that; Bissinger’s outlandish capacity for taking offense and newfound unwillingness to be surprised by a story he’s reporting (both of which are on great display here) sure does.

I don’t know which one of these guys is more to blame for the poverty of this particular non-conversation (I’d give the edge to Buzz), but I don’t think it matters much. What matters (maybe) is the conversation itself: in its stunning inadequacy in terms of baseline communication, and its amazing poverty of vision, empathy or insight, it’s an instant classic of bloggy non-discourse.

Ducks Drop Bertuzzi

Posted in Hockey at 1:20 pm by

 Bertuzzi tears up for SDRE's Diary

TSN.ca reports that the Anaheim Mighty Ducks placed Todd Bertuzzi on waivers today with the ultimate intention of buying out the remaining year of the two-year, eight-million-dollar contract he signed last summer. It’s difficult to stomach one of the NHL’s true class acts being without a home, but I imagine some team direly in need of a once-dominant power forward with crippled confidence will give Bert his fifth home in four years.

I must admit that the possibility of Bertuzzi and Rangers super-pest and pending free agent Sean Avery landing on the same team is tantalizing. Imagine the potential increase in merchandising revenue from fans hoping to deface their new jerseys. Somebody call Gary Bettman. Hell, he might even create a new expansion franchise for the occasion, since Penguins agitator Jarkko Ruttu is also available.

The Ultimate Sterling/Waldman Memento. Sort Of

Posted in Baseball, Free Expression, Sports Radio at 10:36 am by

(image — cropped without authorization — by David Velasco, taken from The Skinny)

WFMU’s Kenny G. aka Kenneth Goldsmith (above) is the unexpected beneficiary of a (qualified) plug from Phil Mushnick in Friday’s NY Post :

Perhaps the oddest sports book ever written stars John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. Seriously. “Sports” is a soft cover “written” by conceptualist Kenneth Goldsmith for Make Now publications. It is, start to finish, the full transcription, ad-reads and promos included, of the WCBS-AM broadcast of the Aug. 18, 2006 Yanks-Red Sox, a nine-inning game that lasted 4:45.

Thus, the book begins with, “1-800 LAW-CASH reminds you that this copyrighted broadcast is presented by authority of the …” and, 119 pages later, closes with, “Goes to Rivera covering. In time for the out. Ball game over! The Yankees win! The Yankees win!”

At $16.50 it would make the perfect gift for, umm, John Sterling.

A March 2008 interview with Goldsmith about “Sports” can be heard here.

The Sports Putz : Thoroughy Unfamiliar With CSTB…

Posted in Blogged Down at 10:06 am by

…and perhaps not so well versed in using search engines, either.  While a star-studded collection of sports media icons paid homage to outgoing Deadspin editor Wil Leitch yesterday (the funniest entry being J.E. Skeets’ recreation of the “Costas Now” blog segment), Page 2′s Bill Simmons offered the following tribute :

Here’s when I knew you had the sports blogosphere by the balls: When you gave a soccer column to an editor at Harp