06.29.08

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?