Taking One For The Team : DiNardo’s Minor League Martyrdom

Posted in Baseball at 5:56 pm by

(l-r : DiNardo, Wire’s Bruce Gilbert)

Perhaps lost in this weekend’s top baseball news —- the demonization of Robbie Cano, the continued Jeckyl & Hyde routine of the New York Mets, C.C. Sabathia being fucked over by the official scorer in Pittsburgh, His (Little) Lordship Of Scrappitude returning to the NL —is the strange case of former Red Sox hurler Lenny DiNardo.

DiNardo, currently toiling for the A’s PCL affiliate Sacramento River Cats, pitched a scoreless first inning last night against Fresno, before allowing a combined 15 earned runs over the next two frames.  “Clearly, manager Todd Steverson and pitching coach Rick Rodriguez believe the 28-year-old DiNardo is mentally strong enough to take this whipping and keep on ticking” writes the Sacramento Bee’s Martin McNeal, ignoring the possiblity that perhaps Steverson actually enjoyed leaving Lenny out there to die (link taken from Baseball Think Factory).

DiNardo mercifully was removed after 81 pitches and received a smattering of applause from fans that recognized he’d hung in as long as he could.

Steverson explained how DiNardo wasn’t hit hard early in one of the innings when he “gave up seven or eight runs.” He was serious, too.

The bottom line, though, was DiNardo helped save a bullpen preparing to defend a Triple-A crown this week in the playoffs. David Shafer relieved him and delivered four innings of two-hit, one-walk, scoreless pitching while Bret Prinz and Brad Kilby followed without giving up a hit or a run.

“The bottom line is everyone can’t pitch every day,” Steverson said. “Now, that sign isn’t posted out in front of the stadium.”

Nor is there a sign that indicates the mental strength of a pitcher who can shake off a performance like this one and be depended upon to come back strong in his next outing.

“At this level in the minor leagues,” Steverson said, “you’re not at full capacity every night.”

Killer Kowalski, RIP

Posted in Professional Wrestling at 3:53 pm by

Edward Walter Spulnik aka Killer Kowalski, a pro wrestling veteran for 40 years, and the bridge between the eras of his tutor Lou Thesz, and protege Triple-H, passed away yesterday at the age of 81.  For persons of a certain age growing up in the Northeastern US, Kowalski was the prototypical monster heel, one whose malevolent charisma compared quite favorably to the stars of today.  The Baltimore Sun’s Kevin Eck recalls the first time he witnessed The Killer in action :

I was either 6 or 7, and my parents and I were seated about five rows from the ring. Kowalski™s opponent that night was Tony Garea. With his chiseled features and wavy hair, Garea was the epitome of a white meat babyface. He also was my mother™s favorite wrestler.

In contrast, Kowalski looked as if he had just stepped out of a nightmare. At 6 feet 7 and 275 pounds, he was Frankenstein™s monster in wrestling tights. Unlike the fictional character, however, Kowalski was anything but stiff and plodding. Typically, he would hunch over menacingly, curl his hands into claws out in front of his chest and then pounce on his helpless prey.

Before Garea knew what was happening, Kowalski was all over him. I was close enough to the action to hear Kowalski growling as he viciously stomped his helpless opponent. At one point, Garea screamed out in pain as Kowalski applied his infamous stomach claw hold. I believed it was all real, and I was terrified that Kowalski was going to come into the crowd and make me his next victim.

In other words, Kowalski did his job extremely well.

Will Someone Please Confiscate Bill Gallo’s Television & Typewriter?

Posted in non-sporting journalism, politics at 3:29 pm by

In a move almost as questionable as Fox News tapping Karl Rove to analyze the Democratic primaries, the New York Daily News has permitted the venerable Bill Gallo to cast his aging eyes towards last week’s Democratic National Convention.

We report to you by way of our TV, where on this beautiful night, 80,000 fans crammed into Denver’s Invesco Field, waiting for the challenger, “Kid” Obama, to enter the ring. The crowd roars as “Kid” comes waving happily and looking as confident as Muhammad Ali in his prime. The Kid’s got hold of the mike now and starts off slowly with some good jabs at his opponent. … His punches now are thrown in bunches, and judging by the cheering crowd, they are landing.

Kid Obama was great on his feet and boxed beautifully. Certainly, it would not be an exaggeration to call this his “Willie Pep Night.”

With all that, there is no telling how Kid will do when his opponent, “Ol’ Salt” McCain, starts throwing leather. This savvy ol’ gent with the silver hair and big right hand is no pushover. You hit him and he hits you back, without mercy.

So now fight fans, we wait for the main event – the nice young boxer against the hard-hitting geezer. The big question will be whether Kid Obama can take a punch or not.

In the wake of Mariotti’s departure from the Sun-Times, something tells me we need not worry about Bill Gallo taking his considerable skill-set to the Huffingotn Post.

Mitch “Blood” Green Has Not Yet Begun To Fight. Or Talk

Posted in Boxing, MMA at 3:44 am by

Former heavyweight hopeful / offensive driving specialist Mitch “Blood” Green was quizzed by The Sweet Science’s Shawn Murphy earlier this week. Aside from still harboring a serious grudge against the fighter he calls “Michelle Cicely Tyson” and promoter Don King, Green claims to be preparing to make his MMA debut. What, you thought he’d be speaking at the Republican National Convention?

(SM)  What’s in your future plans Mitch?
(MG)  Ultimate fighting, wrestling, whatever. Remember that show “Best Damn
Sports Show”, I got on there and called Tyson a homosexual!  I love to talk, I’m original, I’m always talking!  Don Queen, Don Queen!  Hold on Shawn I
want you to talk to someone else. (another phone line rings)

(SM)  Hi, who is this? (three way call)
(DK)  I’m Dr. King, Mitch’s longtime friend and dentist.

(SM)  What are your plans for Mitch?
(DK)   I want to get him into ultimate fighting.  I’m making some calls to New
York to see about licensing.  His opponent will try and kick him, Mitch will block it and then Mitch will knock him out with one punch.

(MG)  This is the guy that can get me some fights!
(DK)   Mitch could do a show in Vegas and it would be a million dollar gate.
(MG)  This is the white Don King, this is the angel, and the other DK is the devil!
(DK)   What is fascinating is that several years ago when he wanted to fight
Tyson, Don King wouldn’t give him a shot because he knew Mitch would knock him out.  This is one of the underdogs.  If you ever write a book it would be called “From Rags To Rags”.  But I’m telling you he is the next big thing in ultimate fighting.  It’s a huge draw in Vegas.  Right now I have two people who are looking to take him to Bahrain, Dubai and Egypt. Mitch has a huge following.  I took him out for lunch after an appointment one time and every kid on the street stopped him to say hello.  He’s a big hero around here, but he never got the chance to because he’s tough to control.  Mitch has a heart of gold.

(SM)   Mitch, you still there?
(MG)  Yeah I’m still here!  Dr. King is a good friend of mine.  He’s not in the business but he knows a lot of people.  I’ll fight a lion or a bear!

Chelsea Invites Supporters To Rat Out Their Fellow Fans Anti-Semites

Posted in Football, Genocidal Tendencies at 3:04 am by

(he’s not sieg-heiling folks — the gent on the left is merely waving to the Pepsi Party Patrol and their t-shirt cannon).

Spurs collide with top-of-the-table Chelsea later today
, and the hosts have issued an official warning to their home supporters that anti semitic abuse aimed at Tottenham fans will not be tolerated. As opposed to say, the firing of Avram Grant, which was considered socially acceptable.

Chelsea Football Club is committed to stamping out all forms of anti-semitism and for Sunday’s game against Tottenham there will be increased police surveillance inside Stamford Bridge.

This surveillance will include more uniformed police officers in the ground. In particular the Matthew Harding Lower will see an increased police presence.

Anti-semitism is racist and anyone caught making anti-semitic chants will be banned from Stamford Bridge for life and if there is sufficient evidence will be subject to a criminal prosecution.

It is not an excuse to chant anti-semitic abuse because opposition supporters use particular words as a form of identity.

If anyone hears racist chants of any sort during the match it should be reported to a police officer or steward or after the game you can ring Chelsea on 020 7915 1919, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or Kick It Out on 0800 1699 414. During the game you can text an incident to 07894 937 793.

Please try and note the stand, row and seat number of the culprit as well as their physical appearance, height and build.

Failing that, you could forward this snapshot.


A Bad First Gig

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 9:20 pm by

What Texas managed to avoid last year, Mike Sherman’s Aggies couldn’t: Arkansas State 18, Texas A&M 14. Even sadder than the loss, I think, is that this final didn’t even rate an update on the night’s primary Big 12 broadcast (in which Missouri leads the Illini 31-13 at halftime).

Another interesting Big 12 game: they’re not likely to lose, but trendy South division contender Texas Tech‘s allegedly improved defense has given up too many points to Eastern Washington after a 20-0 early lead. It’s 42-24 Red Raiders in the final quarter there; Graham Harrell has passed for 508 yards.

Some people say his stats are swollen by Mike Leach’s system, but they’re also swollen by the Raiders’ inability to bottle up the other team–in a game that’s 52-10 (the current score in Austin) or 50-2 (the current score in Norman), Harrell isn’t playing anymore.

The Big Ten’s Broadcast Strategy Still Sucks

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron, Sports TV at 6:21 pm by

Penn State 66, Coastal Carolina 10. I’m more delighted than I should be by this. If you are going to play one of these moneymakers, it damn well better be a blow-out, and a showcase for your three-deep roster (amidst the Clark and Devlin QB controversy, Joe Pa’s been insisting all along that he would get Paul Ciancalo reps).

A lot of times the Nittany Lions go into a game like this as 35-point favorites, then can’t cover once the passing stops. With 334 yards and 7 touchdowns rushing (two of them by players I have never heard of) that was not an issue in this contest, which also had no line (those Vegas guys are generally right). 13 Penn State players also caught a pass, so I think they’ll be ok without Chris Bell.

Not that I saw a minute of it. Last year, I spent two Saturdays housesitting for a friend who had DirecTV. My local Comcast franchise added the Big 10 Network a few days ago, albeit not in HD, nor with any overflow for extra games. Living as I do in Oregon, I don’t really expect them to devote four channels of space to today’s pallid conference schedule. The most appealing early game (go Wildcats!) was on ESPN2 and Ohio State-Youngstown State was certainly the best choice as the BTN’s main tilt.

But back in the old days an out-of-market fan like me would pick up PSU-Coastal Carolina, Indiana-Western Kentucky and Wisconsin-Akron on ESPN Game Plan. And while they say the Big 10 has evolved to where the fullback dive is no longer a cutting edge offensive play, apparently they haven’t heard that you can stream games on the Internet. I mean, seriously: take my money! I didn’t care enough to hit a bar at 9am (and probably wouldn’t have at noon) but would have gladly paid ten bucks to watch this scrimmage on the same remarkable device that I already use for nearly every Phillies game.

With the win, Joe Paterno is once again tied with Bobby Bowden as the all-time D-I coaching leader (never mind that I’m one of those biased PSU fans who still doesn’t understand why Bobby’s games at Sanford get included). At one point Bowden had an eight game lead, and it’s not like Penn State has been great the past five years. Just better than FSU I guess. Right now the difference is the ’06 Orange Bowl; it would certainly be fitting if they played again to end the current season (and then, of course, retired). That can only happen if both teams get in the BCS, or drop down to the Champ Sports Bowl.

Meanwhile, in a game that wasn’t close for a good chunk of the second half–not sure I’d say it was an upset–Utah knocked off Michigan at home, 25-23. And while GC enjoys the night at Royal-Memorial, it looks like Portland State is gonna get a win just two blocks from my house. One of these days I might even go watch them (though I’m currently more interested in a Montana-Montana State ticket).

Baseball’s Best Mascot (Self-Proclaimed) Declares “We’re No. 1″

Posted in Baseball at 4:49 pm by

The above Zapruder-esque video was shot several weeks before a 9th inning Carlos Beltran grand salami off Florida’s Kevin Gregg gave the New York Mets a two game lead in the NL East.  But given that I was cranky enough to ponder whether Carlos B. and pals were “Gutless Pussies or Amazin’ Paragons Of Bouncebackablity”, at the very least, I should acknowledge their awesome flair for the dramatic.

The bullpen has a flair for the dramatic, too, sadly.  Metsmonkeys points to the likelihood of Al Reyes being the next hurler to accept the poisoned chalice of Mets closer. Though I’m not optmistic, perhaps the Elias Koteas Sports Bureau knows of the last time a club had three guys names Reyes on their big league roster.  With a September 1 callup of utility man Ron Reyes, they could make it a quartet.

CFB Week 1 : Hoakies Are ’08′s First Upset Victims

Posted in Gridiron at 4:28 pm by

“It was ironic that Virginia Tech, a team that is known for its special teams that had made several key special teams plays during the game, would lose on a blocked kick” writes ESPN’s Graham Watson of East Carolina’s 27-20 stunner over VT earlier today. And while T.J. Lee’s spectacular block of a Brent Bowden punt in the 4th quarter was undoubtedly the highlight of the early afternoon games, the Sporting Blog‘s Tom Ziller correctly points out the Pirates wouldn’t have been in a position to win were it not for the poor play of Hoakies QB Sean Glennon (14 for 23, 2 interceptions).

At this point, Frank Beamer would seem to have no choice but to renege Tyrod Taylor‘s red-shirt status. It’s the worst of both worlds: you lose the benefits of that extra year of eligibility, you lose what should have been a fairly sure W, and you lose any confidence your second-best QB (Glennon) had.

Beamer is all about high-risk, high-reward football. It was surely a risky gambit to sit Taylor. It took only one week to blow up spectacularly.

Between this evening’s Florida Atlantic/Texas tilt and Day 2 of the Wild Weekend Power Pop Fest, I might be out of blogtastic commission until tomorrow morning. Of the former, FAU coach Howard Schellenbger has described the Longhorns as a bunch of softies, and while some might consider this to be bulletin board material, I can’t get too worked up over the senile ramblings of a Howard Keel tribute act.

The Kris Benson Era Ends in Allentown

Posted in Baseball at 4:19 pm by

Todd Zolecki declines to speculate, probably ’cause he’s too busy watching the 1-1 tie at Wrigley Field, but it seems pretty clear cut to me. Kris Benson (above, right) could have left the Phillies any time he wanted, since his original minor league deal said that they had to call him up by May. Injuries and poor performance slowed that clock considerably, though he’d begun to have his moments since the All-Star break.

This gives him a chance, however slim, of joining another team before the playoff roster freeze, or, barring that, a September major league audition with a non-contending team. He could have joined the Phillies for the stretch run, but only in relief. And hey, they gotta save some of those valuable garbage innings for Adam Eaton.

Mushnick : Let’s Not Go To The Videotape

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 4:12 pm by

When he’s not overcome with emotion recalling the late Dick Young (above) —- “it’s hard to imagine Young would be particularly pleased with the condition of sports, from HGH to PSLs” — yeah, to say nothing of blogging and the passage of the Civil Rights Act —- the New York Post’s Phil Mushnick raises a valid point or two regarding MLB’s introduction of video review on questionable home run calls. “What happens when a team’s network is found to have withheld a replay that would have benefited the opponent?”  asks Phil, and while I have no idea about the correct answer, if it results in the suspension of Chris Cotter, can’t we all agree that’s a good thing?

The subjugation of evidence on behalf of a network’s team will happen, thus it becomes a matter of whether we find out. The flipside will show teams’ network personnel extra eager to find and display third-angle evidence that supports the team/network for which they work.

And what about the team’s TV crew that honestly was just too late finding evidence that would have benefited the opposing team? Should it be shown for public enlightenment, as it would have before “instant replay”? Or hidden from view rather than risk such high suspicion?

Will SNY and YES tape operators be forced to take oaths of allegiance to MLB? MLB can’t discipline non-employees for refusing to accept MLB’s unilateral appointment as umpires. Why put anyone other than an MLB umpire in a position to cost a team/network owner millions in postseason revenues, not to mention one’s own job?

The cure that MLB seeks will be worse than the disease. If left in the hands of MLB umpires, right or wrong, no nefarious outside activity, real or imagined, can enter the process of determining games. Let the umpires, and only the umpires, be the umpires.

Let The Healing Begin : Woody Page Avoids Grope Suit

Posted in Sports TV, The Law at 3:55 pm by

The New York Daily News’ Thomas Zambito reports that we’ve been denied the Trial Of The Century.  Not to sound all cavalier about inappropriate behavior in the workplace, but we should say a silent prayer of thanks that the WWL’s epidemic of zipper problems never resulted in any revelations about Beano Cook.

Judge John Koeltl tossed out a lawsuit Friday filed by makeup artist Rita Ragone, who accused host Jay Crawford and sportswriter Woody Paige of groping and propositioning her.

Koeltl ruled Ragone had agreed to take any sexual harassment claims to an arbitrator when she was hired by the show in 2005.

Ragone maintained she never signed anything and that the signature on the agreement was forged. An ESPN handwriting expert disagreed.

Ragone, who calls herself the “Stylist to the Stars,” claimed she was canned in 2006 after complaining to ESPN execs about locker room talk on the set.

“I don’t care if you can do makeup or not,” she said Crawford told her after backing her into a corner. “The only reason you got the job here is because you’re hot.”

Brand : Just What Are West Ham Trying To Hide?

Posted in Football at 3:34 pm by

Penned prior to West Ham’s 4-1 demolition of Blackburn earlier today, Russell Brand’s latest Guardian column includes the muse, “they say societies get the government they deserve and perhaps we get the sport we deserve too; and as a West Ham fan that is a troubling idea.”

The club seems to be in some turmoil and it appears there is division between manager Alan Curbishley and the board. Not least one suspects as a result of the growing trend in top-flight football for superscouts, at West Ham there is a fella called Gianluca Nani who is tasked with finding and recruiting new players for the team. Now whether he works in conjunction with the incrementally castrated Curbishley or not it’s easy to envisage how such a relationship could cause tension.

The other week Nani, whose official title is “technical director” (need any techniques directed? Ooh, yes please, they’re all over the shop) brought in the Chilean striker Sebastián Pinto on loan from the Brazilian side Santos and Curbishley refused to play him in a friendly against QPR that took place “behind closed doors”. There’s a few things in this story worthy of note; firstly the whole “on loan” concept is bizarre, in a transient world such as ours everything is impermanent, the planet itself will one day implode so the notion of an eternal transfer is berserk.

Also borrowing people is perhaps more quirky than buying them – “oy, mister can I borrow your wife?” sounds macabre, as does “give us a go on your girlfriend Russ” which is what the video man used to shout when he’d pull up his van outside ours. I never let him of course, in spite of his pledge to give me the Star Wars trilogy free for one week as recompense. I’d already seen it and those videos were moody, plus Tracy was a schoolgirl.

And what kind of pervy Aleister Crowley football matches have to be played behind closed doors? What do they get up to in these clandestine contests? Play in the nude? Worship the devil? It’s difficult to imagine them doing anything more embarrassing than the performance they turned out so publicly and brazenly at Manchester City last Saturday. If that game had been conducted in private I wouldn’t now be harbouring the spectacle of Luis Boa Morte guiltily scampering like a fare evader on an InterCity train.

McCain/Palin Tickets Courts a Precious Demographic

Posted in Hockey, politics at 3:00 pm by

I mean, it was all about the “hockey mom” thing right? This has gotta be a clever way to lock up Michigan, where Sarah’s eldest son Track Palin played a year of Midget AAA (though damned if I can find any of his statistics, save for an appearance in this box score). Not to mention the hundreds of other hockey fans in such swing states as Virginia and Montana.

Plus Palin will be there to correct him should McCain refer to Alexander Ovechkin as one of our “best American athletes.”

Clearly Obama needs to counter by pursuing Scott Gomez‘s endorsement.

Georgia Prep School To Girl Kicker : Come Back When You’re A Dude

Posted in Gridiron, Lower Education at 2:31 pm by

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s Kathy Jefcoats reports a private high school has bannished kicker Kacy Stuart from their football team, ignoring every young American girl’s right to grow up to be the next Benny Ricardo.

The 14-year-old high school freshman from Spalding County learned Thursday night ” while team pictures were being shot ” that she was being booted off the field. But her mother said she isn™t going down without a fight.

We™ll file for an injunction if we have to, Angie Stuart said Friday. œWe™ll do whatever it takes to keep her on the team.

For two months, Kacy practiced with the school team, the Crusaders, at New Creation Center, a private Christian academy in McDonough. She participated in drills and even played a scrimmage game Aug. 23.

But a couple of weeks ago, Angie Stuart said, Hank St. Denis, executive board chairman of the Georgia Football League, realized a girl had been accepted onto one of its football teams. St. Denis overruled New Creation™s decision to let her join the team.

œHe said she can™t play simply because she™s a girl, Stuart said.

When she heard the decision, Kacy cried.

œShe has college potential, her mother said. œAnd she™s willing to give up her life here to move to her dad™s [home] in south Georgia, enroll in public school there and play football. That™s how much she loves this game.


Rest Assured, American Apparel & Awful Announcing Have Not Merged

Posted in Baseball, Fashion, Sports TV at 6:15 pm by

However, thanks to the folks at The Lenin Closet (link courtesy Jon Solomon), you might be excused from thinking the nation’s second and third most popular A.A.’s had joined forces.   I’m not crazy about the design of the above shirt, but it’s far more attractive than any of the crap Gary Cohen’s wife is flogging.

Daunte Culpepper – Will QB/Blog For Food

Posted in Gridiron at 5:55 pm by

While the likes of Brock Berlin and Josh McCown will begin the 2008 NFL season as active members of somebody’s roster, former Vikes/Fins/Raiders QB Daunte Culpepper is SOOL.  PFT’s Mike Florio considered the plight of the self-represented Culpepper and offered the 8 year veteran a chance to address the league directly.  Culpepper’s “letter to the NFL community” could well start a trend amongst the jobless — does anyone have Jeff George’s email address?

I set out this free agency period with three categories that I wanted to explore.

1.      Teams that were looking for a starter

2.      Teams that were open for QB competition

3.      Teams that needed a veteran back-up

With the help of the NFLPA, I researched what the market value was for each category. I contacted 14 teams that fell into these categories. Unfortunately, I did not receive any real interest from the teams I contacted. When the Packers finally offered for me to come to Green Bay to back-up Aaron Rodgers there were no real negotiations. They offered me a deal that was, according to my research, below market value. They said that they would get back to me after the draft.

When the beginning of training camp came and there was still no interest, I reached out to Commissioner Goodell to see if he had any suggestions. He asked Ray Anderson to check around the league and get back to me. Ray told me three things based on his discussions with teams. First of all he said that I should get an agent because teams were not comfortable dealing with me without one. The second thing he told me was that I should be ready to accept the vet minimum and start my career over. The third thing he said was that I would only have an opportunity if someone got hurt. This is why I went to Pittsburgh to work out for the team after Charlie got hurt, so I could see if what Ray Anderson said was true. After a great workout, I was offered the vet minimum with no negotiations. This is when I realized that there is something wrong.

For the sake of clarity, I never told anyone in Pittsburgh that I wanted to compete with Ben Rothlisberger for his job. This is an example of misrepresentation or misinformation.

Recently the Commissioner called to let me know that I was on the top of the list for a job if a key veteran got hurt. I really appreciate the Commissioner™s help, but I hate that I have to wait for a fellow QB to experience the misfortune of an injury in order for me to have an opportunity to continue my career. Why was I not given the chance to compete for a job? This is my question to the NFL. The answer seems to point to something that I choose not to embrace at this time. So instead, I will continue to believe for the best and prepare for the worst.

Trojans Fans : As Skilled At Photoshop As They Are In Excusing A Corrupt Program

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 4:57 pm by

You can file this one under “UCLA was asking for it”.  Though I’m surprised nothing fun was done with a) Neuheisel’s visor or b) any reference to a college hoops pool, sometime subtlety is the best policy.

Heyman : Space Mountain Oughta Be Closed For Repairs

Posted in Professional Wrestling at 4:13 pm by

The former Paul E. Dangerously writes, “it’s sad to see Ric Flair advertised for some low rent wrestling shows at this stage of his life.”  As opposed, to say, the not-quite-in-his-prime Terry Funk headlining ECW’s first PPV card (and bleeding on your humble editor as the credits rolled).

Heyman tells the The Sun’s readers “if you check with the producers and vendors and promotions, you’ll see I’ve turned down numerous conventions, autograph signings, guest appearances, booker deals, shoot tapes, you name it.”  Admirable stuff, and I’m sure Paul has left at least three figures on the table as a result.   “Is this how you want to see Flair nowadays? Isn’t just a little uncomfortable?” asks Heyman, and while the clip undoubtedly lacks what Don Cornelius might call production value, if the Nature Boy did manage to retire gracefully, he’d be one of the few guys to have done so.

Hank’s Gestapo : You Will Hold It In During “God Bless America”

Posted in Baseball, Total Fucking Terror at 2:48 pm by

Gothamist.com successfully takes the shine off the Yankees’ comeback victory at the Stadium yesterday afternoon (followed by the news Boston’s Josh Beckett is taking a field trip to Birmingham today rather than start tonight’s game) with the following tale of “mandatory nationalism”.  (link taken from Boing Boing)

Boston fan Brad Campeau-Laurion says a uniformed police officer (perhaps off-duty but working security for overtime) forcibly ejected him from the stadium Tuesday night during the Yankees-Red Sox game.

Why? He says all he did was try to go to the bathroom while “God Bless America” was played during the 7th inning stretch.

“As soon as the latter came out of my mouth, my right arm was twisted violently behind my back and I was informed that I was being escorted out of the stadium. A second officer then joined in and twisted my left arm, also in an excessively forceful manner, behind my back. I informed them they were violating my First Amendment rights and that I had done nothing wrong, with no response from them.

“I was sitting in the Tier Level, and of course this is the highest level of the stadium and I was escorted in this painful manner down the entire length of the stadium. About halfway down, I informed them that they were hurting me, repeated that I had done nothing wrong, and that I was not resisting nor talking back to them. One of them said something to the effect that if I continued to speak, he would find a way to hurt me more.

“When we reached the exit of the stadium, they confiscated my ticket and the first officer shoved me through the turnstiles, saying ‘Get the hell out of my country if you don’t like it.’

Shameful stuff, though it should mollify any fear Mets fans might have about the Yankees making a run at free-agent-to-be Carlos Delgado during the offseason.

Conceptual Humorist Donnie Walsh Finally Ends The Frederic Weis Era

Posted in Basketball at 2:16 pm by

(above, an example of the strong interior defense Weis can bring to the Houston Rockets)

Even if Patrick Ewing Jr. never plays a minute for the New York Knicks, the following item from Newsday’s Alan Hahn is the funniest Knickerbocker-related story since JD & The Straight Shot headlined the Cablevision Stage at Bonnaroo.

On Friday, the Knicks took a step in that direction by acquiring Ewing Jr., from the Houston Rockets for the rights to 1999 first-round bust Frederic Weis.

Ewing Jr., who graduated from his father’s alma mater, Georgetown, this spring, was drafted by the Sacramento Kings in the second round of the NBA Draft in June. He was then traded to the Rockets as part of the Ron Artest deal earlier this month.

wing Jr. does not have a guarantee with the Knicks, however, who now have 16 players on the roster. In order to make the team, Ewing Jr. will have to beat out a veteran or the Knicks will have to swing another trade. But in the meantime — and possibly in a few preseason games — there will be another No. 33 in a Knicks uniform. The blessing has already been given.

“He can wear anything he wants,” Ewing Sr., told Newsday in May. “He is me. He wore it at Georgetown and they can take it down from the rafters and put it on his back.”

Mariotti Brutally Dissed By “The Great Rock’n'Roll Swindle” Co-Author

Posted in non-sporting journalism at 12:56 pm by

(we can safely say the gentleman on the right had some colleagues over the years who were cooler than others)

As someone who was working here for 24 years before you arrived, I think you owed us more than that. You owed us decency. The fact that you saved your attack for TV only completes our portrait of you as a rat.

Newspapers are not dead, Jay, and this paper will not die because you have left. Times are hard in the newspaper business, and for the economy as a whole. Did you only sign on for the luxury cruise?

You have left us, Jay, at a time when the newspaper is once again in the hands of people who love newspapers and love producing them. You managed to stay here through the dark days of the thieves Conrad Black and David Radler. The paper lost millions. Incredibly, we are still paying Black’s legal fees.

I started here when Marshall Field and Jim Hoge were running the paper. I stayed through the Rupert Murdoch regime. I was asked, “How can you work for a Murdoch paper?” My reply was: “It’s not his paper. It’s my paper. He only owns it.” That’s the way I’ve always felt about the Sun-Times, and I still do. On your way out, don’t let the door bang you on the ass.Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, August 28, 2008

Attn : Austin Residents Who Don’t Wanna Drop $25 On The Power Pop Fest

Posted in Internal Affairs, Rock Und Roll at 12:34 pm by

Not that $25 is an unfair sum to charge for say, Paul Collins’ Beat, who were awfully good last night at Beerland.  But I can promise you there won’t be a DJ at the Mohawk this evening with a mint copy of the Sickness’ “Regurgitation”.

(I’m not actually going to play “Regurgitation” this evening, but if you pay $3 admission, I’ll certainly let you stare at the record for a few minutes).

The Scoot Inn is conveniently located at the intersections of E. 4th St. and Navasota.

The Distant Seconds

Follow That Bird!

Dikes Of Holland

not your host


Boras, Bucs Squabble Over Alvarez Non-Deal

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 7:59 pm by

“The Pirates understood Pedro Alvarez was a high-profile player with a high-profile agent in Scott Boras, and likely knew it wouldn’t be easy to negotiate early,” writes MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo.  What Pittsburgh might not have realized is Boras would eventually dispute the validity of the Vanderbilt 3B’s deadline signing. Writes the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gene Collier, “this whole mess is classic Boras.”

By now you’re likely painfully aware that Alvarez, who apparently had agreed to a contract with a $6 million signing bonus at or near the last possible minute Aug. 15, has gotten word to the Pirates through uber agent Scott Boras that such an agreement was not completed on time and that perhaps only some additional funding can rectify the situation.

On one level, it’s astounding that Boras, a lawyer, and Pirates president Frank Coonelly, another lawyer, could bring a $6 million negotiation to a head without one or both of them knowing what time it is.

“We are good at deadlines,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said in the first few minutes of Aug. 16.

Hold your tickets on that.

It apparently just wasn’t enough for “El Toro” that the Pirates agreed to pay him not only $6 million on speculation, but the balance of the young man’s college tuition.

Yeah, a lot of people with $6 million in their pockets are wondering where those last 34 credit hours are supposed to come from. Tuition and fees plus room and board at Vandy is running about $46,724, so when he gets around to it I’d encourage the fledgling economics student to register for Econ 220, which discusses labor law and history, and in which he might have discovered that median household income for 2007 in this country was $56,545. You’d presume that a 21-year-old whose dad’s been driving a cab to help support the family in New York could put somebody’s interests ahead of his agent’s.

I’m a little curious why the P-G scribe is so cavalier over the notion a deadline might not have been met.  If for instance, the Pirates could complete the signing at their leisure, that takes considerable leverage out of Boras’ hands.

I’m not sure when was the last time Mr. Collier was the one holding the hammer in a negotiation for his personal services, but when and if it happens, I’m sure he’ll be thinking purely in terms of what’s best for his prospective employers.

Kicked To The Curb(ishley) : Hammers Fans Let Alan Have It

Posted in Football at 5:52 pm by

There’s a great scene in an old episode of Sky’s wretched footie soap “Dream Team” in which one of Harchester United’s soon-to-be WAG-humping pretty boys dogs it during training because Saturday’s match “is only against Charlton”.

“YOU WILL SHOW ALAN CURBISHLEY PROPER RESPECT!” bellowed a deeply offended Ian Dowie-type, whom would probably have gone totally apeshit had he witnessed scenes at Upton Park Wednesday night, in which Curbs’ West Ham had a tough time with Macclesfield in a Worthless Cup early-rounder.  Observing home supporters tear into their manager, the Guardian’s Rob Smyth surmises, “he is everything West Ham fans aren’t – undemonstrative, equable, impassive – and, as with Sam Allardyce at Newcastle, they never warmed to him from the start.”

As well as being obviously counter-productive, booing your own team shows an utter lack of class and cool. But this mob rule is increasingly prevalent in football and, while the Proper Fan tries to blame it on the admittedly lamentable post-Italia 90 brigade of supporter, it is clearly not as simple as that. Let he who has never tasted a prawn sandwich cast the first stone.

That Curbishley is under such pressure is a reflection of a game that has lost all perspective. Curbishley, after all, is a man who has won two of his three games this season (and whose side were drawing 0-0 when they were reduced to 10 men), having finished in the top half last season. In short, he has done OK: 6/10 maybe. Factor in an injury list that verges on the macabre and a significant reduction in the funding promised when he took over and it’s nearer 7/10.

In the past you had to be on the useless side of mediocre to get the sack. English people laughed at how those crazy Italians turned over managers like a lothario does partners. You can get sacked – sorry, you can agree to leave by mutual consent – for anything these days. On occasion it can be justified, if there is an upgrade as obvious as Juande Ramos for Martin Jol or a manager as palpably out of his element as Sammy Lee, but for the most part it is the product of English football’s increasingly ruinous obsession with the grass on the other side.