(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.”
(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
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).
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.
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.
Congratulations to the former Pacman Jones on his full reinstatement to the NFL earlier today, Commissioner Roger Goodell having previously sat the former Titans CB/kick returner down for the whole of the 2007 season. For those keeping score, Jones’ league suspensions now outnumber his criminal convictions, 1-0.
Kudos are also due Cowboys owner Joan Rivers Jerry Jones, who has proven to be the greatest motivator/rehabilitator of troubled young men since Father Bruce Ritter.
You never realize what a great big country we all live in until you drop an East Coast sports writer into the Midwest. Case in point, the Kansas City Star’s Joe Posnanski, who manages in the space of one day’s work to reveal his astonishment that a) ranyone could hate the Cubs (at least for the new “Cubs Hate America” campaign), b) that a post-steroid Yankees = the 1919-2005 White Sox (sic), or c) his further astonishment that a good but not “scary good” team like the Angels (also not from New York) can take a division where they only face three teams, none of which play .500 ball. Of course, Posnanski is still under the impression that Lou Piniella is a “ferocious” manager. And while there is some reason to “hate” the Tribune Co., one thing you can say in their defense, they never gave Jay Mariotti a home for 17 years. Now that Joe Pos resides professionally at the KC Star, he can tell you:
Seriously, how could you not love the Chicago Cubs?
Well, as it turns out, there are a lot of ways. You could grow up on the Southside of Chicago, where Cubs fans are viewed as a whole tribe of spoiled Ferris Buellers. You could be a St. Louis Cardinals fan raised to believe the Cubs are only cute and cuddly to the people who see them from afar. You could be from the greater Milwaukee area, only two hours north of Chicago, where maybe you have had the whole lovable Cubs thing rammed down your throat all your life to the point of bursting.
The shocking thing isn’t that these people don’t love the Cubs — it is that their hatred can border on pathological. I have in completely random ways met three people — THREE — who still feel frightening hostility toward Ryne Sandberg. I mean, seriously, Ryne Sandberg. The guy retired more than 10 years ago and, from afar, he never seemed like an especially disagreeable or threatening player. But one friend from St. Louis told me she doesn’t believe in the devil, “except, of course, Ryne Sandberg.”
This is all relevant right now because something unusual is happening in baseball. There’s a chance that for the first time since Bill Clinton told military personnel not to ask and not to tell, we might have a postseason without the usual villains. Yes, times are tough these days in Boston and New York. The Yankees and Red Sox are playing their final series ever at beloved Yankee Stadium*, and all that is at stake is a place closer to the exhaust of the Tampa Bay Rays and a little better standing in the wild-card battle with the Minnesota Twins. The Bronx bursts with excitement.
*Officially declared “beloved” when New Yorkers realized how much tickets would cost at the new place next year.
With apologies to SSD for the above title, Blazers F Channing Frye writes, “So, after living for a year in my house, I™m tired of my bare, white walls and am ready to get some great local artwork. Does anyone have any recommendations? Feel free to post pictures of what some local artists do or send links/information so I can go check out their stuff myself and can complete the feng shui¦”
Of course, these are the Schizo Mets we’re talking about. And with all due respect to the Phillies’ penchant for taking a punch in the teeth Tuesday and coming back strong — with 10 innings of shutout relief work, no less, before Scott Schoeneweis nearly walked Brett Fucking Myers to end the game — the Mets proved Wednesday evening that they too, have some Chuck Wepner tendencies deep-down-inside (aside from serving as punching bags and bleeding profusely).
Skipper Jerry Manuel, also given to lame boxing analogies, described the 6-3 comeback victory as akin to “throwing a roundhouse left”, and the southpaws in this case would be Carlos Delgado (HR’s no. 29 and 30, 3 RBI’s) and Daniel (Ballgame) Murphy, whose 2-run double off Brad Lidge in the 8th broke a 3-3 deadlock. But no small tribute oughta be aimed at the embattled (sufficient code for “godawful”) Mets relief corps, the unlikely quartet of Stokes, Feliciano, Smith and Ayala combining to throw three scoreless innings of relief after it looked as Johan Santana (106 pitches, 6 IP, 3 runs, 5 hits, 6 K’s, HR’s allowed to Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth) would once again be penalized for anything less than perfection.
Will the real Mets please stand up? Chances are, after 104 games, we have a pretty good idea of their deep flaws, but we’re also left to marvel at Delgado’s career revival.. or David Wright’s knack for throwing out a runner at first while falling backwards towards the left-field line box seats. It’s not as though this crop of Metropolitans has denied us acts of heroism, but all too often, said performances have occured slightly before or after a meltdown achingly similar to Tuesday’s capitulation.
When CSTB first sent me this clip, I thought it was Ozzie Guillien spinning his rap career into a post-season WWE tour. Nope, it’s an episode of “Santino’s casa,” in which the WWE’s Santino Marella trash-talks the Cubs to Bob Howry and Ryan Dempster. Casa, a comedy heel, currently holds the Inter-Continental Championship Belt courtesy of lady wrestler Beth Phoenix, aka The Glamazon, who wins matches for him. The ironic career parallels of Marella and Howry never seems to dawn on Home-Run Bob, even whle standing next to Dempster. Anyway, I congratulate Howry on topping Marsella at his own game, and in his future career as the new Bobby Heenan. Speaking of new careers …
In a week when the Cardinals publicly forfeit the season, the Cubs sweep the Pirates on the road, when Mark DeRosa reveals he’s a fantasy football nerd who plays four different on-line leagues (you’re living the fantasy dude! You have groupies and free beer anywhere in Chicago! Get off the fucking computer!), and the Trib Co narrows Cub bidders down to five possible captains of industry “ the real news is this just may be my last Cubs Mailbag here at CSTB. And I don’t think I’m announcing this prematurely at all “ but I’ve e-mailed the Sun-Times as to my availability for Jay Mariotti’s job. If Mariotti wants on the internet so bad “ and he’s apparently the one writer in the world who can’t figure out how to get on the Internet “ then the mailbag awaits you, sir. Since he has no job and God knows how much income-producing hours I’ve wasted here … well, Rog, he’s all yours.
As to this week’s mailbag, sadly, the Cubs’ status as the best team in baseball and #1 in the NL Central since John McCain first joined the Navy to shell Vera Cruz has not attracted a better class of fan. No, were Carre Muskat not the last staff writer still on the Tribune payroll (sorry you had to give up your health care, kid!) she would most likely answer these questions a bit more honestly than her job description allows. Thus, I am happy to help out, via the future of sports journalism, the Internet. Time to roll up my sleeves for the last time …
Steve W., Louisville, Ky.: How much longer is manager Lou Piniella willing to give Fukudome to get his offense going before he opts to replace him in right field? ¦ I used to be optimistic when Fukudome came to the plate, now I’m not.
Steve, time to get optimistic again. Fukodome hit what Lou would call a œnice pinch-hit home run last Sunday against the Nationals. In a closed door meeting with Lou last week, just the two of them, no interpreters or Japanese speaking lawyers allowed, Lou explained that Fukodome™s work visa specifically includes a contractual option to serve with the Illinois National Guard in Baghdad should his average fall below .275. Lou is known among players as a motivator.
Scott P., Trevor, Wis. I understand that the Cubs do not have a clear MVP candidate who stands out, stats-wise. I believe it’s Geovany Soto. He is a rookie catcher who has led a pitching staff to the second-best ERA in the National League, has hit consistently all season long and is a catcher who rarely takes a day off.
Scott, Scott, Scott “ getting a little ahead of ourselves, aren™t we? As post-season vets like Jim Edmonds and Lou Piniella point out, none of that is an issue until the Cubs gets some things done. Currently, the team is evaluating parade routes so as not to collide with Obama™s homecoming inaugural when he wins the White House. World Series rings have to be sized, Bob Howry™s World Series share to be disputed, and allotting team bats to world leaders now asking that the national museums of their homelands each get one ¦ well, MVP awards will have to wait until the first week of September, is all I™m saying.
Javi T., San Juan, Puerto Rico: Looking at Minor League stats, I’ve seen Jason Dubois tearing it up in Triple-A. Is there any chance we might see him with the big league club this year, and if so, in what role?
Good question, Javi. The big team indeed wants Monsieur Dubois in Chicago, as mlb sees him as the great Gallic hope in bringing French players back into the game. Like the RBI program (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities), MLB™s RBIF program searches for today™s Lajoies, Durochers, and Lefebvres, as Eric Gagne has driven far too many of his young countrymen to misguided Savate attempts in the UFC. Jason Dubois carries the hopes of the free French world on his shoulders.
Conor M., Glenview, Ill.: Now that the Cubs are flirting with the best record in baseball, it makes me wonder about the significance. How have teams with the best record in previous seasons fared in the playoffs?
Let me put it to you this way, Conor “ the very idea of the Cubs as œbest team in baseball in the post-season means history is hardly your best guide. You would fare better studying Casey Kasem™s all-time most requested song lists or Keith Olbermann’s primary guesses. You may as well ask, “Traditionally, how have African-American presidents fared in their second terms versus white Presidents?”
Ken B., Montgomery, Ill.: If a pinch-hitter bats twice in one inning, does he have to go into the game?
Ken, if your pinch hitter hits twice in the same inning, you’re hardly in a œpinch anymore, right? Gotta think these things though, pal.
Todd D., Chicago: My brother and I are trying to research the Cubs uniforms. From 1997-present, the uniforms have pretty much stayed the same. There was an era between 1984-93 when the Cubs wore the pullover jersey. The uniform we are trying to find is the one with the cursive Cubs logo on the chest that was worn sometime between 1994-96. We have found baseball cards during that time frame, but we can’t confirm that it was worn. It almost seems like a conspiracy to hide those uniforms. I have also heard rumors that they got rid of the cursive Cubs logo because it looked too much like the word “Cuba” on their chest. Please confirm that the uniforms did in fact exist and the time frame in which they were worn. I have been trying to find one to purchase, but it is nearly impossible.
Yes, Todd, there’s a “conspiracy.” Mailbag is already working on the definitive Cub Uniform History, and we™re telling you now, back off. Mailbag bought up all 1994-96 uniforms and you will NEVER get a decent photo of one for your œresearch. You are so wrong on the pullover theory it™s laughable. The fact that you are using baseball cards and consulting on-line mailbags to complete your work tells me you and your brother are imbeciles. I already have the whole œCuba scandal, the Ernie Banks/Billy Williams sock trade, and Shawn Dunston cup scandal completely locked down. The subject is owned completely by me, and that includes my concurrent history of Cub shoes, œLaces High.
Ed K., Clinton, Iowa : Watching the Little League World Series, I couldn’t help by wonder if Mike Fontenot is related to Kennon Fontenot of the Lake Charles, La., team?
Underage Chinese gymnasts might scandalize the Olympics, but under baseball™s œspecial agreement with the Federal government “ which guarantees a 19th century monopoly to MLB “ baseball is also able to take advantage of 19th century child labor laws. Mike™s ready for the big leagues, but Kennon needs a little work. The Cubs set him a 15-hour a day schedule, two meals a day (except Sundays when he does yard work for extra cash and pays for his own meals).
Chris A., Gladstone, Mich.: I saw an article about Matt Cerda being the last guy struck out by Danny Almonte in the 2001 Little League World Series and that the Cubs drafted Cerda. I’m curious about how he’s doing with the Cubs.
The Cubs are always looking for guys who can strike out, Chris. Cerda, another underage œstar of tomorrow,” plays for the Cubs’ in Mesa, Ariz. When Rich Hill visited Mesa this summer, he bought beer for Cerda who turned 14 in July … unless the Arizona stores Cerda hits are on the McCain family beer runs, in which case Trib influence in the GOP keeps Cerda™s locker well-stocked.
Charlie P., New Johnsonville, Tenn.: Who was the last switch-hitter for the Cubs to hit a home run from both sides of the plate in the same inning? I say it was Mark Bellhorn, but a buddy of mine says no Cubs switch-hitter has ever done that. A free dinner rides on the answer.
Mailbag never answers personal questions about player œpreferences, and your turning legit baseball slang into gay subculture innuendo (“Bellhorn?”) is inappropriate for the Cub mailbag™s underage readers “ who should get back to work, anyway.
Ryan D., Springfield, Ill.: I have to correct you on Greg Maddux’s wins with the Cubs. He has won 133, not 178. I had to look it up because I knew he couldn’t have won a majority of his games with the Cubs.
Ryan œD– as in Ryan Dempster? What a surprise. Correct Ryan, Greg Maddux wasn™t, as you like to say, œall that as a Cub, and you are still the fans™ all-time favorite. Thanks for e-mailing “ again. Your helpful “suggestions” on rounding down tenths of a point (instead of rounding up) when citing Carlos Zambrano™s innings pitched, Kerry Wood™s fastball averaging 93.5 and not 93.7 mph as I have stated, or mentioning in this space that Carlos Marmol was an œall-star without mentioning that he was an œall-star substitute for an injured Kerry Wood, have all been duly noted. I have also made this clear to your agent, at your request. And please stop going over my head to Sam Zell, who has a lot more on his mind right now than getting me to mention your stake in that Chevy dealership in Downers Grove.