Britain’s Richest Jock Playing A Team Sport…

Posted in Basketball at 9:01 pm by

….isn’t David Beckham.  Nor is it the grandma-screwing Wayne Rooney.  Rather, the United Kingdom’s most well compensated professional athlete who doesn’t tool around in a race car is none other than Chicago Bulls F Luol Deng, as the Independent’s Ian Whitell explains.

Some fifteen years removed from life in an Egyptian refugee camp, the Great Britain basketball international Luol Deng, 23,  will today join the elite of British sport’s leading earners when he signs a six-year contract with the Chicago Bulls that could be worth as much as $80m (£40m).

(Deng, shown at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium moments before staff from the club shop presented him with an £1000.00 invoice for his personalized shirt. Apologies to Dave Chappelle for the stolen gag).

Last summer, as an indication of his potential, the historically frugal Bulls offered Deng a $57.5m (£28.75m) deal which the player rejected, a move which seemed risky as he and Chicago endured a disappointing season.

Team and personal incentives can add a further $9m (£4.5m) but a weekly salary of around £120,000-130,000 instantly catapults Deng into the company of top-end Premier League footballers such as Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand on the £6.5m-per-year mark. Lewis Hamilton, Britain’s highest paid sportsman, earns around £15m a year.

Deng’s story is all the more remarkable given his childhood. His father Aldo, a government minister, was forced to flee from the second Sudanese civil war in the late 1980s, taking his family of 16 children first to a holding camp in Egypt before seeking and gaining political asylum in Britain.

Once he became established in South Norwood, south London, from the age of nine, Deng’s basketball skills were developed at Brixton’s renowned junior programme, where contacts helped him move to the United States for high school and college from the age of 14.

Not Playing In Peoria : Prude Questions Erin Andrews’ Journalistic Integrity

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism, Sports TV at 6:32 pm by

(young bimbo / an embarrassment to the trade. and on the left, Erin Andrews. Image taken from Home Run Derby)

ESPN’s Erin Andrews “is good-looking enough and has enough of a high-profile job that she would get plenty of interviews and attention even if she showed up in a burlap sack,” gushes the Peoria Journal-Star’s Mike Nadel,  while asking “did she really feel playing the sexpot was necessary to practice journalism?”  Hey, it works for Len Pasquarelli, but Nadel took exception to Andrews’ demeanor and choice of attire whilst working the visiting clubhouse before Wednesday’s Cubs/Brewers tilt (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory).

Andrews sauntered around the visiting clubhouse, flitting from one Cubs player to another. Her skimpy outfit ” designed to accentuate her, um, positives ” had players leering at her. Some made lewd comments under their breath. Others giggled like 12-year-olds.

œGood for you, Rammie, Andrews said three hours before the game, bending forward to shake Aramis Ramirez™s hand.
œGood for you.

Ramirez, who had three doubles in the Cubs™ 7-1 victory the previous night, sheepishly accepted Andrews™ congratulations. She didn™t ask him any questions because he was sitting on the players-only sofa; she seemingly just wanted to show œRammie her support. Weird.

Moments later, the blonde reporter was chatting with Alfonso Soriano. At one point, she placed her hand suggestively on Soriano™s left biceps.

Was I reading too much into all this? I don™t think so. I™ve been a paid observer for a long time … and I wasn™t exactly the only one who noticed.

As two Cubs stood near their lockers, one asked the other: œHot? Or just attractive? Does she do anything for you?

This went on for at least an hour. Finally, Piniella emerged from his office, ready for his dugout media session. As he turned the corner, there was Andrews in all of her bare-legged, high-heeled, low-necklined glory.

œHey, hey, hey! Look at this! Piniella said, loudly and excitedly. œAre you doing a baseball game today or a modeling assignment?

Indeed, it is a sad day for sports journalism when someone has to use their good looks to get ahead in the business. But enough about Ron Darling, could it be that Nadel isn’t just a little jealous?

Heyman : Manny’s A Dodger

Posted in Baseball at 3:50 pm by

There’s a ton of guys in Southern California who love collecting Red Sox memorabilia.  For instance, did you hear the one about the parking lot magnate that managed to put Derek Lowe, Nomar Garciaparra and Manny Ramirez in the same clubhouse?  SI.com’s Jon Heyman reports after morning developments had Mets fans cursing the prospect of Ramirez turning up in the NL East, it turns out the left-fielder will soon be trading barbs with T.J. Simers.  While the offensively-challenged Dodgers can rush their Manny/Lt. Dangle tees into production, Pittsburgh will send Jason Bay to the Red Sox, with Heyman citing 4 minor leaguers going to the Pirates (though he’s not yet specified which players, nor what organization they’re coming from, Boston or LA).

I can only pray I’m watching the TV the first time Manny runs through one of Larry Bowa’s stop signs.

(UPDATE : The Globe’s David Lefort reports Pittsburgh receives the recently demoted IF Andy LaRoche and P Bryan Morris from the Dodgers, pitchers Craig Hansen and Brandon Moss from the Red Sox.  If this station had their own version of Joe Benigno-Gazingo instead of the syndicated Dan Patrick, he’d be yelling about signing Barry Bonds).

When Keeping It Real Goes Horribly Rhetorical

Posted in Basketball at 3:21 pm by

“Hopefully, he’s not fighting anymore and going after a guy in the stands,” said Houston’s Yao Ming of (probable) new teammate Ron Artest, to which the latter replied, “I guess once Yao Ming approves (the deal), I’ll be a Houston Rocket.”  More of Artest’s rebuttal, as quoted by the Sacramento Bee’s Sam Amick :

“I understand what Yao said, but I’m still ghetto,” said Artest, who will earn $7.4 million next season and be a free agent next summer. “That’s not going to change. I’m never going to change my culture. Yao has played with a lot of black players, but I don’t think he’s ever played with a black player that really represents his culture as much as I represent my culture. Once Yao Ming gets to know me, he’ll understand what I’m about.”If you go back to the brawl, that’s a culture issue right there. Somebody was disrespecting me, so he’s got to understand where I’m coming from. People that know me know that Ron Artest never changed.”

Not only did Artest seem to take exception to Yao’s brawl-related comments, he expressed a similar desire for a long-term commitment from Houston as he had with the Kings at the outset of their unofficial divorce in early July.

“We’ve still got to make sure there’s still a commitment (from the Rockets),” Artest said. “That’s the main thing, is to make sure there’s still a commitment. When I speak to the powers-that-be of the Houston Rockets’ organization, we’re going to find out how much they really want me there. We’ll find out. I’m still waiting to find out if this is just a trade or if this is like a long-term commitment-type thing. I haven’t spoken to anybody yet. I’m still waiting.”

Bob Sura and Jon Barry aren’t considered representatives of black culture?

Schilling : Boras’ Hands Were All Over Manny’s Trade Demand

Posted in Baseball at 1:23 pm by

While the proposed Manny Ramirez-to-Florida deal is being described as “dead” by one of Ken Rosenthal’s sources, Boston’s shy, retiring Curt Schilling tackle the Mannymania issue whilst chatting with WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan earlier today.  Asked if he thought the time had come for the Red Sox to jettison Ramirez, Schilling replied “would I be the only guy in the New England area that said no if I did?”, adding a mild critique of Pedro Martinez for good measure (“the things that Pedro said going out of town about Terry [Francona], that crushed me because of what I saw Tito do for him. Manny’s the same way…”).  The portion of Schilling’s interview that bear serious consideration, however, was no. 38′s thoughts on the role of Ramirez’ agent, Scott Boras.  Transcript taken from the Boston Globe’s Steve Silva :

œI think absolutely he™s absolutely had a hand in this ¦ I think he absolutely has a piece of this. Scott Boras (above) stands to make zero dollars if the Red Sox pick up Manny™s options the next two years. Manny™s not 1- years from retirement, he™s maybe four obviously, that™s where he™s at. So does Scott Boras want to get a two year-deal for Manny or a four-year deal for Manny? At the end of the day it falls on the player because Manny™s an adult¦ I can™t fathom Scott hasn™t had some¦ you read his comments, he just has no ability to answer a question short, tactfully, and straightforward. It™s a 12 paragraph way to say 19 syllable words that you just can™t figure out what the hell he™s saying.

While the Mets are said to be pursuing Luis Ayala and/or former Tom Glavine caddy David Weathers, the Marlins picked up left-handed reliever Arthur Rhodes from Seattle in exchange for former Mets prospect Gaby Hernandez.  Rhodes was effective in limited duty for the Mariners this year, while Hernandez has struggled since being called up to Albuquerque.   I don’t really have much to add concerning this huge transaction, other than I am very surprised no one has tried to vandalize Mel Rojas’ wikipedia entry.

Heyman : Manny’s Signed Off On Marlins/Pirates/Red Sox Three Way Action

Posted in Baseball at 11:54 am by

SI.com’s Jon Heyman reports there’s an increased likelihood Manny Ramirez is headed to the NL East and in the words of WFAN’s Chris Carlin, “…to the wrong team”, as Boston’s spacey slugger might be Miami-bound as part of a three-way swap that also includes the Pirates.

The Red Sox approached Ramirez in advance of their negotiations, and got his OK. He signed off on the paperwork, contingent upon the two $20-million team options for 2009 and ’10 being dropped. The move will set the stage for Ramirez to become a free agent this winter, assuming a trade can be completed by the three teams.

In the talks, Ramirez would head to the Marlins with Jason Bay coming from Pittsburgh to Boston to replace him and the rebuilding Pirates getting younger players, perhaps including Jeremy Hermida from the Marlins. People involved in the discussions say several combinations of players were still being discussed, but the focus appears to be narrowed now to include just those two teams with Boston. It’s still possible Ramirez could remain with the Red Sox, though it’s now believed more likely than not that a deal will be consummated close to today’s 4 p.m. ET deadline.

In one oft-discussed arrangement on the table, the Marlins would surrender Hermida, power-hitting outfield prospect Mike Stanton and hard-throwing young pitcher Ryan Tucker. However, the Marlins were said to be trying to keep the highly regarded Stanton out of the trade and the prospects could change. Josh Willingham was discussed as a replacement for Hermida at one time, but Willingham was determined to have a medical issue and it appears Hermida would be the main player leaving Florida.

It would appear Theo Epstein and Boston ownership have determined that Jason Bay is a better option for the final two months of the ’08 season than Manny Ramirez taking 6 seconds to go from home to first base.  Manny’s done some remarkable things during his career, but none more impressive than forcing a franchise gunning for their first repeat championship since 1916 to accept a lesser player in return, right in the middle of a pennant race.

It is also hard to remain unimpressed with Larry Beinfest, who determined last spring that he preferred not to pay $20 million a year for the allegedly moody Miguel Cabrera.  Instead, Beinfest’s Marlins could be on the brink of acquiring a power hitter with Hall Of Fame credentials, without paying even a portion of that player’s gigantic salary.  If the Fish win a World Series with a lineup that includes Annibal Sanchez along with Hanley & Manny Ramirez, does Theo get a playoff share?

(UPDATE : Gammons says this isn’t happening, supposedly the Marlins want an additional $2 million on top of Ramirez’ remaining ’08 salary.  Would you trade Manny Ramirez, two minor leaguers and $9 million for Jason Bay?)

Kenny Williams: An Enigma Concealed In A Puzzle Wrapped In A Desperate Need To Bench Paul Konerko

Posted in Baseball at 11:10 am by

(Above: White Sox GM Kenny Williams evaluates lunch options)

As Paul Konerko’s lineup position falls faster than the S&P 500, Kenny Williams knows he has to put an end to his jobs program for the fastball-impaired. Hampered by the .214-hitting, wild-throwing first baseman’s no-trade clause, Kenny’s justified in contemplating some oblique machinations. But…really, Ken Griffey Jr.?

Intriguing. Early in ’05 Williams came close to getting Griffey, which proves that at least one World Championship didn’t hinge on Junior’s input. But the bulk of the mystery lies in what his role would be. The White Sox are more than set at left and right, and while Griffey would bring a welcome on-field impatience with irritating broadcasters, Ken Harrelson’s not the Ken that matters. Getting Konerko out of the lineup probably means putting Swisher at first and Griffey in center, but that’s a lot of gap for the creaky 38-year old to cover. A reconstituted Jim Thome means Kenny can’t clear out left by moving Jermaine Dye to DH. So, Dye to CF? Quentin to CF? Dye to first? What’s he building in there?

Then there’s the small matter of who is being shipped to the Reds. Late word names Nick Masset and Danny Richar, which leaves serious holes in a Scott Linebrink-deprived bullpen. Beyond lending even more credence to the notion of Kenny grabbing Huston Street from the A’s fleamarket, involving the pen means the final price for Griffey isn’t in yet. Outside of OF Chris Young, I can’t think of anybody Kenny’s let go that resulted in regret. In fact, if it was announced that Carlos Quentin was to be shipped to Oakland for Street or Ducscherer, I would merely tell myself (after emerging from a three-day bender) that Q was about to fall apart. In Kenny We Trust.

Are You Ready For The Hooded Casanova’s Sex Tape?

Posted in Blogged Down, Gridiron, Sports Journalism at 9:34 am by

Tommy Rider aka Tommy Casale describes himself as “a former sportswriter who traveled with the Patriots, stayed at the same hotel and stuff like that.” And with the end of his tenure at Patriots Football Weekly, Rider wants his legion of excitable readers to know “Bill Belichick never yelled at me and the players were more than accommodating 99 percent of the time.” Let the thrilling tidbits flow, as culled from Pregame.com :

Tedy Bruschi is much more popular with the fans than he is with his teammates. He isn’t the team leader people think he is. Actually, Bruschi rarely talks to any of his teammates. He and Mike Vrabel used to be close but they rarely interact anymore either. Bruschi is just an unlikable person in general and I think his teammates know what’s what and get sick of his act. He created an image that he presents to the public but his teammates know better. The real leaders of the Patriots are Tom Brady, Matt Light, Richard Seymour and the top guy, Rodney Harrison. Harrison is actually one of the nicest guys you would ever want to meet off the field, which is a total contrast to his sometimes dirty play on it.

–Corey Dillon is about the most miserable piece of shit you would ever want to encounter. You should see the looks and gestures he would give fans when we went on the road. Sometimes an athlete’s reputation is blown up by the media but that wasn’t the case with Dillon. There is no doubt in my mind that he will end up in jail at some point. You don’t have to be a good guy to be a star in the NFL and no one is a better example of that than Dillon.

–Hold on for this one: I heard from someone who is close to the case that there is a sex tape of Bill Belichick banging the married woman he had an affair with. I shit you not. The husband who is suing that woman for being unfaithful to him has a tape of his wife and Belichick screwing while the two of them were still married. Belichick is a very powerful man so I imagine he’s doing everything in his power to squash this from getting out but it could only be a matter of time. A part of me doesn’t want to see it but another part of me can’t help but be intrigued.

What could be more awesome than a pseudonymous blog post trashing the character of public figures? That’s right, imagining a video of “Belichick banging the married woman he had an affair with”.  Thanks a million, Tommy.

Is Junior Heading To The South Side?

Posted in Baseball at 8:57 am by

And if so, wonders Kevin Rys, “does he still have the wheels to cover center field?” Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal claims the Reds’  Ken Griffey Jr. will become a member of the Chicago White Sox, pending the outfielder’s approval.  Rosenthal doesn’t mention who the White Sox are giving up, but we can safely assume Chicago aren’t offering Steve Stone as part of the deal.

The Newark Star-Ledge’s Dan Graziano
, having previously claimed the Mets were fielding offers for Scott Schoeneweis and Aaron Heilman, suggests the Mets weren’t ever in the mix for Griffey, as they “believe that there will be enough corner-outfield bats clearing waivers in August that they can wait and see what’s going on with Ryan Church before deciding whether they really need one.” The notion of Paul Byrd returning to Flushing has been raised, and anything that will allow me to regurgitate the huge stockpile of Chris Benoit photos I’ve collected over the years would be very welcome.

While We’re At It, Don’t Get Manny Started On Carlton Fisk Or Tommy Harper

Posted in Baseball at 3:09 am by

Really, ladies and gentlemen, who needs Glenn Stout when Red Sox historian Manny Ramirez is willing to open up on a regular basis to ESPN Deportes’ Enrique Rojas.

“The Red Sox don’t deserve a player like me,” Ramirez said. “During my years here, I’ve seen how they [the Red Sox] have mistreated other great players when they didn’t want them to try to turn the fans against them.

“The Red Sox did the same with guys like Nomar Garciaparra and Pedro Martinez, and now they do the same with me. Their goal is to paint me as the bad guy,” Ramirez added. “I love Boston fans, but the Red Sox don’t deserve me. I’m not talking about money. Mental peace has no price, and I don’t have peace here.”

Though the departures of Garciaparra and Martinez were unquestionably messy, ’tis hard to fathom what P.R. battle Ramirez hopes to win by recalling either scenario.   Garciaparra, best known these days for an awkward G2 commerical and being on the DL 100+ games a season, was hardly missed by the 2004 World Champion Red Sox, much as Martinez’ free agency was followed by 2 post-season appearances in 3 seasons (including, ahem, another World Series title). The only leverage the 36 year old left fielder can really wield in this situation — his own petulance — is precisely what makes it more difficult for the Red Sox to find genuine value on the trade market, even if they pick up 100% of Manny’s remaining ’08 salary.


Yanks Fill Posada Gap, Add I-Rod For Farnsworth

Posted in Baseball at 5:06 pm by

Never mind Edwar Ramirez drilling Kevin Millar an afternoon rout of the O’s, the big news out of the Bronx today concerns the Yankees coping with the loss of Jorge Posada by adding one of the great catchers of his generation, the Tigers’ Ivan Rodriguez in exchange for reliever Kyle Farnsworth.  Not only is Pudge an offensive upgrade over Jose Molina, but as Was Watching is quick to point out, he can offer the rest of the Bombers all sorts of useful advice on how to lose weight.

That the Yankees favored Rodriguez over Greg Zaun isn’t very surprising, but given the Rangers’ embarrassment of riches behind the plate, there’s every chance former UT standout / current Olympian Taylor Teagarden might be dealt elsewhere by tomorrow night.

W’s Former Flack Has Awfully Big Shoes To Fill

Posted in Blogged Down, Gridiron, Sports Journalism at 3:45 pm by

Signal To Noise reported the P.R. firm of former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer is advising the San Francisco 49ers.  Though it’s a huge relief to learn Fleischer’s finding honest work in the private sector, he’ll have to do some tremendous work in the Bay Area before anyone forgets the rather unique approach former publicist Kirk Reynolds brought to the gig.

The San Jose Mercury News’ Tim Kawakami, while not petitioning for Reynolds’ return, isn’t exactly welcoming Fleischer with open arms, declaring “it™s ridiculous for the 49ers“or any sports franchise“to trot out any time-tested political attack dog, whether he or she be Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Socialist or whatever.”

Ari Fleischer? To lecture the helmet heads about what? How to lie mislead a nation about the lead up to a fractious war in the Middle East and then continue to bully anybody who might suggest otherwise and warn American citizens that they have to be careful of what they say in a free nation that he perhaps doesn™t think protects, you know, freedom of speech?

Who™s next up on the 49ers speakers bureau? Rush Limbaugh? Then Pastor Jeremiah Wright? (Well, you and I know it wouldn™t be Wright or anyone of that political/social stripe, not for Mike Nolan™s Hearty Fellows, but if it was Wright, it™d be just as stupid as Fleischer. JUST AS STUPID.)

Sports Bloggery + Casual Misogyny = D.K. Wilson Meltdown

Posted in Blogged Down, social crusaders at 1:26 pm by

The NFL.com shop ran an advertisement last autumn for some ladies-dig-football-too line of team logo’d corsets, micro-tees, etc., and after wondering how come I don’t know any girls having parties like that on Sunday afternoons (answer : I LIVE ON PLANET EARTH), I did ask myself, “guys have no fashion brains whatsoever, but what self-respecting women-person actually wears that stuff?”.

Well, thanks to the eagle eyes of Sports On My Mind’s dwill, I think I have my answer.  Though crediting AOL Fanhouse with previously having “included women and treated them as equals in its own white, male, snark and circumstance-dominated bandwidth and pushed women as equals to the rest of the white, frat boy-patrolled sports blogosphere,” Mr. Wilson adds “now, though, it seems that even the women of FanHouse have been undercutted, their value demeaned, and the true perception of their worth exposed.”

The offending content, mysteriously removed, but still available in cached form, leads the SOMM author to conclude, “we can now add misogynist to the already racist atmosphere that acts as a toxic smog hanging over its url.”

Fanhouse founder Jamie Mottram was also dismayed by his old firm’s decision to plug The Fantasy Sports Girls, describing the promotion as “unbelievably bad content…in unbelievably poor taste and reeks of executive ineptitude and shortsightedness.”

Hey, I’m just surprised Yardbarker didn’t think of it first.  Mottram alludes to other changes in the direction of Fanhouse since his departure for Yahoo Sports, and while it’s interesting to watch a good portion of the sports blogosphere leap on Wilson’s righteous bandwagon, how many of ‘em have taken the time to axe this motherfucker from their blogrolls?

Bennigan’s Shuts Its Doors, Cubs Fans Take It Out On Whoever They Can

Posted in Baseball, Get Out Of Jail at 11:01 am by

“Play nice, gentlemen,” reads the note from a concerned GC addressed to Ben Schwartz and myself in the wake of the latest Cubs fan assault on class and decorum, a beatdown which reportedly cost outnumbered White Sox fan Robert Steele his eye. But as Ghandi once observed, “An eye for an eye and soon the whole world is blind, and a tooth for a tooth explains Ronnie Woo-Woo.”

The CSTB honcho needn’t worry. We can, in fact, just all get along. I haven’t met Ben yet, but I doubt he’s a violent racist shitbag hedge fund manager, despite championing the red, white and blue as he does. And I’m no mulleted, first-base coach-tackling buffoon – because when your team wins a World Championship more often than once a century, you just don’t get that motivated. Since Ben’s not the eye-kicking type, it’s not his job to answer for the retrograde brutality and abject cowardice that marks Cub Nationalism.

But who should? Is there no responsibility to be borne by the individuals who tacitly support a violent, media-manipulating organization built on superficial assent, ignorance and entitlement? Do Cubs fans have less or more responsibility for the wretched excesses of their regime than do Republican voters? And most importantly, can Mr. Steele get a Sox eyepatch somewhere?

Because I’d totally wear one of those.

Police said Boguslaw Czapla delivered the kick that cost Steele his eye, but in an interview Tuesday he denied he was at the party during the alleged brawl. He said he was away from the party for about an hour and that Steele had been taken to the hospital by the time he returned.

“I went to the liquor store to get a pack of cigarettes,” Boguslaw Czapla said Tuesday. “By the time I got back it was all over.”

Boguslaw Czapla acknowledged that he and his brother are Cubs fans but said he does not recall any discussions about the teams during the gathering. The Associated Press reported the party started out as a Sesame Street-themed birthday party for a 2-year-old girl.

Boguslaw Czapla said police took as evidence the boots he was wearing that night. “Hopefully, once they do whatever they do on them, [the boots] should come up clean,” he said.

Most of the people at the party”including himself and Steele”were drinking alcohol, Boguslaw Czapla said.

Jaroslaw Czapla, 31, the brother who hosted the party, was charged with misdemeanor battery and felony mob action, police said.

“No comment, thanks,” he said when he answered the door at his Huntley home on Tuesday.

A neighbor who said she has known Jaroslaw Czapla for about five years but who declined to give her name called him a good father and a hard worker. She also described him as an avid Cubs fan who once named a pet dog Wrigley.

An Inconvenient Truth

Posted in Gridiron, The World Of Entertainment at 5:24 am by

(inventor of the internet AFL, Al Gore)

Win a major pro or college championship, you meet the President. Win the ArenaBowl…

“It’s amazing how many people have texted, or e-mailed or called,” [Philadephia Soul co-owner Jon Bon Jovi] said. “Coach [Tom] Coughlin from the Giants, Andy Reid, Bill Belichick, Bob Kraft, [Doug] Flutie, [John] Elway, Al Gore. You’d be surprised at the people who were glued to their TV Sunday. Charlie Weis.

[Bon Jovi] said after Sunday’s game that the concert he promised if the Soul won the championship would be held before next season’s opener.

Does that mean the “free” concert requires purchase of a game ticket? Or is it just going to be “sometime before” next season’s opener, at somewhere other than the Wachovia Center?

Paging Stephen Bochco…

Posted in "Wife Beater" Is Not A Fashion Statement, Baseball, Greedy Motherfuckers, The Law at 3:59 am by

You might want to get on this for your new show before Dick Wolf does. According to the Associated Press, former Seattle Mariners (and not-quite-Phillies and Giants) reliever Julio Mateo, now with Fresno of the PCL, was arrested on suspicion of forgery after paying for a cab in Albuquerque using a counterfeit $100 bill.

Mateo had previously faced domestic violence charges from an incident in New York City, which he eventually pled guilty to. I’m now thinking he got nabbed for that because somebody asked him, “Julio, when did you stop beating your wife?”

According to police reports, as officers patted Mateo down in a hotel hallway early Sunday, he made a statement in Spanish to police that translates to, “I didn’t pass the bad money.”

“Before officers informed him of why we were there, Julio stated that he did not know anything about fake money,” Officer Christopher Enyart wrote in a police report….

After investigating officers received permission from Mateo to enter his hotel room, an officer saw “two stacks [of] money with $100 bills on top of the stacks,” a police report said.

The Secret To Carlos Delgado’s Success

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 1:06 am by

Mets 1B Carlos Delgado continued his recent turn-back-the-clock routine Tuesday night, hitting an 8th inning, 2-run HR off the Marlins’ Renyel Pinto, a key blow in New York’s 4-1 victory. Since June 27, Delgado’s clobbered 13 home runs and accumulated 25 RBI’s. He’s also seen his batting average rise from .232 to .262, his OPS increasing by more than 100 points, a stunning turnaround that’s caused many observers to wonder how they should properly account for this career resurrection.  Has Delgado finally recovered from his wrist and hip woes?  Has Willie Randolph’s departure been something of a relief?  Or could this be Carlos D’s personal crusade to make one Long Island-based columnist look silly?   If you picked “C”, surely Newsday’s Ken Davidoff deserves consideration for a Mets playoff share by virtue of penning the following on June 28, the day after Delgado hit 3 HR’s at Yankee Stadium.

Game 1 will go down as a memorable aberration in this downward slope of Delgado’s career bell curve, rather than serving as a springboard for the 36-year-old’s revival; he went 0-for-2 with two walks in the Mets’ 9-0 Game 2 loss to Sidney Ponson, of all people.

Come season’s end, Delgado’s statistics might look decent, the product of a few more binges. But that he’ll leave the Mets, nonetheless, trailed by a cloud of disappointment.

Mets fans have taken on Delgado this year as much for his body language as his stats. The way he barely seems to move on balls hit in his vicinity. The way his shoulders slump after a strikeout. He seems to be a different guy from the freethinking, note-taking, ball-raking leader who first came here in 2006.

Wright, always the optimist, praised his teammate. Said Wright: “He’s a guy that, when he gets hot, he gets stupid hot. He can be one of the best run-producers in the league.”

Maybe. Probably not. But for one glorious afternoon in the Bronx, at least, Delgado entered his personal time tunnel, padded his impressive resume and won the Mets a ballgame.

Dick Justice On The Rockets’ Tarnished 2009 NBA Championship

Posted in Basketball at 12:13 am by

As you’ve probably heard elsewhere, Houston have reunited Rick Adelman with Ron Artest, acquiring the Tru Warier for the price of Bobby Jackson, Donte Green and a future draft pick.  A disillusioned Richard Justice, blogging for the Houston Chronicle, concedes, “if the Rockets win a championship–and they’re good enough if Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming stay healthy and Morey makes a move to upgrade point guard–no one will care how they did it. No one will mention that the franchise suddenly seems diminished.

He’s a wonderfully talented basketball player. He’s only 29 years old. He did a terrific job with the Kings on the court. But there’s a reason this is his fourth team. Not every team has considered Ron Artest worth the trouble.

Rick Adelman coached Artest for 40 games, so he certainly signed off on the deal. I want to trust Rick Adelman in personnel matters. I want to trust Daryl Morey, too. This is a tough one to swallow.

It could be another example of Les Alexander pretending to be a general manager. His last good idea was wanting Steve Francis back in uniform. That one should have taught him to stick with stocks and bonds and whatever else he does. He doesn’t know basketball.

We’ll eventually know whether Les forced this deal on his basketball team. It may be two or three years down the line, but someone will let it slip. They always do.

The Rockets had pursued Artest in the past even after he’d gotten into trouble. In an odd twist, once he was accused of animal cruelty, Artest seemed to disappear from the hearts and minds of the Rockets.

Come to think of it, if you can forgive Artest for all the other stuff he has done, you should be able to forgive him for neglecting an animal.

Justice lists “attacking a fan” as part of Artest’s rap sheet, neglecting to mention said fan precipitated the assault by throwing a full cup of beer .  Indeed, there are many reasons why Artest is on his 4th franchise.  But since we’re on the subject, Tracy McGrady is a trade away from having played for just as many. If Artest’s reputation precedes him, how about T-Mac’s coach killing history?


Write Your Own Big Red Machine Punch Line : Fire Joe Morgan Banned In China

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, Free Expression, olympics, The Internet, We Aren't The World at 11:47 pm by

Despite prior assurances that journalists covering the Summer Olympics would have unfettered internet access, CNET reports there’s a number of sites being blocked, including Amnesty International and urls that include “Tibet”. But it’s not just Current 93 loving sports scribes who are SOOL, writes the Rocky Mountain News’ Daniel Oshinsky, as it seems Chinese authorities frown on public criticism of a certain “Moneyball”-bashing former second baseman.

I am not sure why this is the case.  Maybe the Chinese government wants to hide the link between high BABIP and overinflated batting averages.  Maybe they’re against those who lurk in their mother’s basement, thumbing through the dusty box scores in old editions of Sporting News.  Maybe they just like Murray Chass’ new website.

Whatever the reason, here’s an open call for the Chinese government to unblock Fire Joe Morgan.  The good people of China deserve to know what inane things the American baseball media are saying.

One Sad Individual’s Virtual Assault On Carlos Beltran

Posted in Baseball, Video Games at 7:51 pm by

While a 6th inning RBI single off Scott Olsen by Carlos Beltran has the Mets leading the Fish, 2-1, not every New Yorker is enamored with the Mets’ centerfielder.

Shocking stuff, eh?  You’d think Chris Russo could afford a maid.

At Least He Lasted Longer Than Rush Limbaugh

Posted in Gridiron, Sports TV at 7:31 pm by

Newsday’s Neil Best reported earlier today that Emmit Smith has been replaced by Chris Carter on the set for ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown”, charitably describing the former Cowboys RB as an announcer who “struggled at times to speak English clearly”. With this historic announcement in mind, let’s (again) turn back to last November, when the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Gary West annointed Emmitt as “the media™s MPP —most painful person to watch/hear.”

As an ESPN football analyst, Smith is conspicuously inept. No, to call him inept insults inept people: He™s woefully incompetent. But here™s the important question: What does his presence say about the network that put him there?

As one of the analysts on NFL Countdown, Smith babbles, bumbles and stutters while generally insulting the language. He sometimes fumbles his facts and frequently seems unprepared. He can™t even get a cliché right.About Green Bay™s Donald Driver, Smith said: œTonight he™s looking to get back to paydirt so he can right size the ship right now.

About the Cowboys™ quarterback, Smith said: œTony Romo has the mentality to have the sense to make the play.

When asked to summarize his thoughts in two words, he once said, œCowboys lose big-time.

And about this season™s grand possibilities, Smith said, œIf you want to stay perfect, you can not go undefeated with a blemish on your record.

OK / No Way : Don’t Tell Me That God (Shammgod) Is Dead

Posted in Basketball at 6:49 pm by

With apologies to Mission Of Burma, who amongst us hasn’t awoken in a cold sweat wondering, “whatever happened to God Shammgod?” Thankfully, you can sleep easy tonight, as the New York Post’s Howard Kussoy reports Shammgod is putting up gaudy numbers for Raw 129th Street in the Tri-State Classic.

The man – whose name leaves as much of an impression as his game – is back playing streetball after a five-year hiatus, drawn back to the court that resides less than 50 dribbles from his childhood home.

“I play because that’s the park I grew up in. That’s the park where I fell in love with basketball,” Shammgod said. “I used to be in that park until like two in the morning.”

Shammgod, 32, achieved his greatest fame during his second, and final, year at Providence, leading the Friars to the Elite Eight in the 1997 NCAA Tournament, where they lost in overtime to the eventual champs, Arizona. The Wizards took Shammgod in the second round of the 1997 NBA Draft. He played in Washington for one season.

“I can’t say I didn’t get a fair shot. I played behind Rod Strickland, who was one of the best point guards in the NBA,” the 6-foot guard said. “It’s hard to argue [about playing time] when a person is leading the league in assists.”

Were it not for Kussoy’s street hoops reportage, I’d be blissfully unaware, for example, that Smush Parker, Allan Houston and Ron Artest are amongst the household names currently spending their summer on the asphalt.

Teixeira Gains A Halo, Braves Bail On ’08

Posted in Baseball at 5:23 pm by

That Atlanta 1B Mark Teixeira has been on the trading block of late is hardly a shocker, but Tim Hudson and Chipper Jones going on the DL yesterday can only have hastened the Braves’ resolve in getting someone of value for what amounted to a year’s rental. ESPN’s Keith Law reported this evening on “SportsCenter” that the Angels have acquired Teixeira in exchange for 1B Casey Kotchman and P Stephen Marek (above).

While David Pinto scores points for being the first person to propose a Jose Guillen/Manny Ramirez trade, the Providence Journal’s Sean McAdam suggests the Red Sox are amongst those clubs coveting position player-turned-reliever Ron Mahay. Long before his conversion, Mahay was part of the same Trenton Thunder squad as Boston’s former shortstop Nomar Garciaparra. Perhaps he can platoon in left field after the Mets have exchanged F-Mart for Manny.

15 Months In The Stoney Lonesome For Tim Donaghy

Posted in Basketball, The Law at 4:33 pm by

The rogue ref’s solicitor can neither confirm nor deny Tim Donaghy — sentenced to 15 months in what his wife hopes is a country club prison — is writing a book. Either way, it’s a bad time for Judith Reagan to be out of the publishing business.

Though Donaghy’s days officiating in the Association are most certainly over, perhaps the fledgling Premier Basketball League might offer him a gig once he’s paid his debt to David Stern society?  There’s generally not a Vegas line on games between the Montreal Sasquatch and Vermont Frost Heaves, though with the added visibility a Donaghy hire would surely bring, perhaps that’s something to aim for.

Not to diminish the seriousness of Donaghy’s crimes, but Kwame Brown’s been stealing money for years and the Pistons just rewarded him with a new $8 million deal

Never Shall The Name “Jumping Jim Brunzell” Be Uttered In The Mushnick Household

Posted in Professional Wrestling, Sports Journalism, Sports TV at 3:33 pm by

(the Baron can be seen 11pm weeknights…and that is all the people need to know)

“Though ESPN Classic is normally loaded with old garbage — pro wrestling, American Gladiators — instead of classic sports, it carried yesterday’s Baseball Hall Of Fame inductions as if they made a good fit.” – Phil Mushnick, New York Post, July 28

A cursory scan of today’s TV listings reveals ESPN Classic (aka “The Ocho”) features “American Gladiators” at 6pm, and AWA Wrestling at 11pm.  By what measure does Mushnick consider one twelfth of ESPN Classic’s daily schedule “loaded”?   Would the Post’s TV sports columnist have us believe a channel that serves up a daily dose of Howie Schwab and Denise Austin is unworthy of Goose Gossage’s acceptance speech?  By what twisted perspective is Verne Gagne’s venerable midwestern wrestling promotion deemed “old garbage”, while impressionable viewers have just as much “Arli$$” foisted upon them?