09.30.08

AL Central Tiebreaker Playoff: Danks Duels Blackburn

Posted in Baseball at 8:18 pm by

Bot 7: Twins 0 Sox 0.  Blackburn has a one-hitter going and Johnny Danks has a two-hitter.   I keep forgetting to breathe. Gentleman Jim Thome up…Sox 1B coach Harold Baines can’t hang with the pressure either, he’s in the hospital with an ulcerated stomach lining.. Thome takes Blackburn’s high sinker mistake DEEP to center! Sox 1 Twins 0…Konerko up…(best wishes, Harold)…Twins pen wakes up…Konerko 2-2..roller 4-3, 1 out…Junior up – DOUBLE off the wall…Brian Anderson pinchrunning, crowd going apeshit…Griffey gunned down Cuddyer at home on a popup to center back in the fifth, Pierzynski still has Cuddyer’s cleatmarks on his melon…the Cuban Missile has been rolled out to the plate…In the Twins dugout, Burl Ives takes one look at Slamirez, puts down his banjo and calls for the intentional walk…2 on 1 out and out comes Blackburn for LHP Jose Mijares…AJ Pierogi is at the bat…Mijeres not looking quite in control, got an east-west problem…2-1…bouncer to first, Anderson and Ramierz advance..Juan Uribe..2-0 dirtball…line drive to Delmon Young to end the inning.  Can one run hold this thing?  Danks is at 93 pitches and the pen’s at 6.12 ERA in September…the answer is…no.

Top 8th:  Danks is on the bump, one pitch, one out…2-2 to Harris…bouncer single to the left, and here’s Punto batting righty…Gardy pinchruns Matt Tolbert…Punto hits into a 6-4-3 TWIN KILLING!

Bot 8th:  OC the OG facing Mijeres..6-3 bouncer…Dewayne Wise squibs to deep short, two out…enter closer 1.34  39/45 Joe Nathan to face Jermaine…I thought he looked rattled in game one of the Minn series, and here, I’d prefer him to projectile-shit…LINE DRIVE to left!…Jim Thome up, desperately trying to figure out how to hit a solo home run with one man on…2-1 fastball..3-1…fly to Gomez, out of the inning.

Bobby.

Kubel in for Cuddyer…Swisher in at first…Bobby’s hitting 98…”2″-2..CURVEBALL K, get back in that dugout Kubel…Span up…BOUNCER TO SWISHER 2 OUT…BRIAN ANDERSON CXATCHES ALEXEI CASILLA’S FLY BALL AND THIS IS HOW YOU CELEBRATE YOU MINNESOTA DOUCHEBAGS! ALL GODDAMN SEASON LONG WITH YOUR BULLSHIT FLARES AND CHOPPING THE BALL OFF A CONCRETE HOME PLATE AND WHAT DID IT GET YOU?  A PLANE TICKET!  TAKE 94 WEST TO 194 AND FOLLOW THE SIGNS TO O’HARE!  GOODBYE!

The Fiver v. The Godfather

Posted in Football, Sports Journalism at 8:17 pm by

Former England manager Terry Venables aka “El Tel” aka “The Godfather of Football” aka “The Man Who Almost Led Crystal Palace Into Bankruptcy” takes a dim view of recent events at one of his old clubs, Tottenham Hotspur. The Guardian’s Scott Murray and Barry Glendenning have absorbed Venables’ most recent guest editorial for The Sun and surmise the gaffer-turned-pundit is “careering past satire and ending up quite some distance beyond it.”

When Terry Venables speaks, the world of football listens! And that’s no wonder, when you take his achievements into consideration. At Barcelona he spurned opportunities to sign Hugo Sanchez, Ruud Gullit and Marco van Basten, instead building a team which lost home and away to Dundee United. At Spurs he scooped the 1991 FA Cup, pitting his managerial wits in the final against a man who had to be wheeled on to the Wembley turf in a large pickling jar. And he led the Sheilaroos to the prestigious 1st Oceania v 4th Asia play-off in the 1998 World Cup qualifiers, losing bravely to Iran on away goals. Equally effective was his financial nous, displayed in the boardrooms of Crystal Palace, Portsmouth and Tottenham, as he [REST OF PARAGRAPH DELETED BY FIVER LAWYERS, WHO THEN GIVE BENEFICIAL LEGAL ADVICE TO FIVER WITH THE AID OF A 12x2 PLANK OF WOOD WITH A BENT NAIL STICKING OUT OF ONE END]

So yes, when Venables speaks, the world of football listens! And today it hears that Spurs are presently in crisis because of “greed, mismanagement, egos and selfishness”, according to an opinion piece in The Sun by the man who missed the first game of his time in charge at Crystal Palace in 1998 because he was a bit tired after doing telly work at that summer’s World Cup, and missed his first game in charge of Leeds in 2002 because he was away filming a holiday programme.

“Bulgarian strike ace Berbatov,” he began – he always talks this formally, perhaps it’s a legacy of all that time spent in courtrooms – “kept telling us he had a dream. Well good for you Dimi! You had a dream with a few extra noughts added to your bank balance. But don’t you think Spurs had a dream too? Don’t you think that when they bought you and helped you blossom into one of the best strikers in the world, you had a duty to blah blether drone drone self-righteous drone.” It suddenly makes you feel glad you don’t subscribe to Setanta, doesn’t it.

Davis To Kiffin : Good Luck Suing The Undead

Posted in Gridiron at 8:02 pm by

Please, no Bobby Steele jokes. But never mind the plight of an Oakland franchise so dysfunctional, St. Louis seems Patriot-esque by comparison. No, the scariest thing about the above press conference is that when I flipped on the TV, I thought I was watching a Learning Channel special on what Mike Dunleavy will look like in a hundred years.

Mariners’ Howard Lincoln Has A Funny Way Of Accepting Responsibility

Posted in Baseball at 6:44 pm by

Oh, Jesus, what a fucking disaster area this is. And in case you’re wondering why the Seattle Mariners seem so broken and hopeless, you have two choices: 1. Keep wondering; or 2. Read this doozy of an interview with Good Ship Mariner CEO/Chairman Howard Lincoln (above, on the hot seat) as conducted by the usually wonderful Art Thiel of the Seattle PI.

As a long-suffering Mariner fan, almost every response provoked a full-body clenching, but please allow me copy/paste call this excerpt to your attention:

Q: No one could have anticipated the injuries to Erik Bedard, but how he related to teammates, manager and the club regarding himself and those injuries had to have been surprising. Did something get missed in the evaluation of his personality?

A: Because we were talking about such a big trade, a great deal of effort went into evaluating it. We talked to many who knew him on a day-to-day basis. With his record, he was one of the best MLB left-handed pitchers.

Certainly his personality was discussed. Whether his manner in dealing with the manager or media is a bit strange, if he had pitched up to expectations, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. But he was injured. Fortunately, we found the injury wasn’t as serious. We hope he’ll be ready by spring training.

I was a little surprised by what I read in the paper, but no more than I am with peculiarities of some other players. There’s a wide variety of personalities.

This kind of thing comes to the fore when a team is losing. When a team is winning, you can have 25 psychopaths down there and nobody cares.

I think we did due diligence. In hindsight, was it good enough? Probably not. But his personality is not the key. The key is the injury. We better not evaluate this trade as a disaster until it plays itself out.

I don’t know who Lincoln means by WE, but I’ll go ahead and call it the worst trade since the 10 year old Heathcliff Slocumb for Derek Lowe/Jason Varitek deal. Also, regarding the bit about not caring (or noticing) psychopaths on a winning ballclub, I would hasten to remind Lincoln that a famous psychopath named Al Martin played for that Mariner squad that won a league record 116 games in 2001.

After throwing former Mariner GM Bill Bavasi under the bus for the 2008 meltdown, Mr. Lincoln admits that he serves at the pleasure of Mr. Hiroshi Yamauchi, Nintendo’s (former-ish) Chairman and President:

(Mr. Yamauchi, in four-headed form, stolen from 4colorrebellion.)

According to Lincoln, Yamauchi’s batting average in player/personnel matters is “1.000″ based on his involvement in the Kaz Sasaki, Ichiro Suzuki and Kenji Johjima deals.  By my math that seems about .333 too high.

The Stephon Marbury Revue : The Hottest Show In Greenburgh, NY

Posted in Basketball at 4:46 pm by

(geez, get a room!)

While the New York Daily News’ Frank Isola hopefully cites a William Wesley sighting as evidence the Knicks have a shot at LeBron James, Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports James Dolan’s refusal to eat the remainder of  Stephon Marbury’s $22 million contract resulted in another fun-filled reminder of the point guard “draining the spirit of hope and change out of the room.” And this on the opening day of training camp, too.

Marbury has never been so defiant. He™s bragging about losing 25 pounds “ honoring Walsh™s instruction to get into the best shape of his life “ but it™s clear he™s as erratic as ever. In his annual YouTube summer moment with Bruce Beck recently, Marbury™s goofball performance left little doubt with NBA executives that he™s as unstable as ever. When he returned to talk again Monday, he declared that, œStephon Marbury TV.net is coming soon, where you can view all highlights, clips and in-depth interviews.

Just what the world had been waiting on: Starbury on an endless loop. Eventually, he was in constant contradiction with reality and himself. One moment, he insisted that he no longer cared what anyone said about him, that his spiritual awakening “ an annual epiphany “ made him œpray for those belittling his greatness. He cared so little, he called out one New York basketball writer, Newsday™s Ken Berger, for aptly describing Marbury as œtoxic in the paper this summer.

At the end of his session, Marbury climbed to his feet and wrapped a creeped-out Berger in the most inappropriate Knicks hug since Isiah and Anucha. Marbury kept saying, œI™m going to pray for you, in this strange, suffocating clench. And then, he left his teammates behind in the gym and walked toward a curtain patrician leaping into the air and pumping his fists to no one but himself. Once more, Marbury disappeared into his own world.

Knicks’ Top Pick On The Mets’ Sad End

Posted in Baseball, Basketball at 1:38 pm by

Knicks first-rounder Danilo Gallinari shares his thoughts on the Mets’ 08 finish (thanks to Repoz for the link), though it seems no one has told the rookie that in America, you’re allowed to visit the dentist in something other than a basketball jersey.

Blushing Dombrowski : “I’ve Had A Bad Year”

Posted in Baseball at 1:31 pm by

A diabolical April left the Tigers eating the rest of the AL Central’s dust, but to hear ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian tell the tale, ’twas mere motivation that was lacking in the Motown clubhouse.  “The Tigers will contend next season,” insisted Kurkjian this morning, “because Jim Leyland will insist on it.”  So there you have it folks, Detroit failed to play meaningful games this September because their veteran skipper FORGOT to insist they do so.  Jesus fucking christ.  Based on yesterday’s chat with the Detroit News’ Lynn Henning, GM Dave Dombrokwski has a little more substance to draw upon when considering a rotten 2008.

“I’m embarrassed,” Dombrowski said before the Tigers-White Sox game, a makeup from an earlier rainout that needed to be played because of the tight AL Central race. “I’ve had a bad year. There were a lot of things anticipated that I missed on.
“We had a bad year as a team,” Dombrowski said of a team that finished last, a game behind the Royals. “Now we need to fix it.”

As expected, the Tigers will not pick up shortstop Edgar Renteria’s $11 million option for 2009. They will pay a $3 million buyout, and Dombrowski said the Tigers had not “closed the door” on signing Renteria to a lesser contract.
Dombrowski said the decision to trade two premier prospects to the Braves for Renteria was carefully considered but never came close to panning out.

“We knew we gave up a lot,” Dombrowski said of sending pitcher Jair Jurrjens and minor league outfielder Gorkys Hernandez to the Braves last offseason. “But we thought (Renteria) would make a difference. He did not. It didn’t work out.”

Backup infielder Ramon Santiago could find himself in the mix to replace Renteria, Dombrowski said, but Santiago’s lack of size has long convinced the Tigers he’s likely a part-time player.

As for who might be Todd Jones’ successor as closer, Dombrowski said: “I don’t have an answer for that.”

“We can’t count on (Joel) Zumaya to be it, although he could be it,” Dombrowski said of the 23-year-old right-hander who has had shoulder problems for the past 11 months.

Fernando Rodney is “our leading candidate if we were to open the season now,” Dombrowski said, “but we’re hoping to find someone else. He needs to throw more strikes. Does he have the stuff to do it? No question.”

Dombrowski said he was uncertain if trades or free agency would patch any of the holes. The Tigers’ payroll, which was $139 million and the second-largest in all of baseball next to the Yankees this year, will be a factor.

“I’d be surprised if we were a real big participant in free agency,” Dombrowski said, adding: “Our first six guys (in the batting order) are stars. We need guys who can fit in. We don’t need an All-Star at every position.”

WGN’s Beaky, DJ – Providing Objectivity, Professionalism In All Instances

Posted in Basketball, Sports TV at 11:54 am by

I’ve got no rooting interest in tonight’s one game playoff to determine the winner of the AL Central, but if the White Sox persevere, I’m hopeful they do so in less dramatic fashion. Thanks to Harrelson and Jackson, the speakers on my Realistic ™ Home Entertainment System were critically injured last night.

Gainsville Minister : God Doesn’t Have Better Things To Do Than Worry About Gator Football

Posted in Gridiron, Religion at 11:44 am by

The Miami Herald’s Joseph Goodman reports the following sign appears less than a half mile from the Florida Gators’ training facility. I’ve neither the time nor inclination to flex my journalistic chops and confirm or refute this sign’s existence, but surely Goodman is aware it’s pretty easy to rig this kind of thing?

Eric Brown, the 31-year-old minister at Gainesville’s Campus Church of Christ, says he hopes Tebow sees the sign while the Heisman Trophy winner drives to and from campus. If you’re wondering about the Bible verse, Matthew 6:13, you might already know it. It’s the final few lines of the Lord’s Prayer: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.”

While Brown says he did attend Saturday’s game between No. 12 Florida (3-1) and Ole Miss (3-2), the minister says the sign, located on S.W. 2nd Avenue only a few blocks west of campus, has nothing do with Florida’s 31-30 loss to the Ole Miss Rebels.

“I’m going to pray that [Tebow] is true to his faith because if he falls and gets caught up in some kind of scandal it will be bad for Christianity,” Brown said.

Mavs’ Howard : I Don’t Wanna Be An American Idiot

Posted in Basketball at 11:30 am by

As you’re probably aware, Dallas’ Josh Howard has been on some kind of roll — ‘fessing up to pot smoking, party planning in the midst of a playoff loss, drag-racing, etc.  But no single act made the Mavericks small forward as much of a national pariah than his widely circulated diss of “The Star Spangled Banner”, and on Monday, Howard capitulated to public hysteria — much of it racist in nature — by making a full apology at a morning news conference. From the Dallas Morning News’ Eddie Sefko.

“I know that’s not me,” Howard said. “I love this country. If it wasn’t for this country, I wouldn’t be out here playing basketball. For me to have that opportunity is the greatest.

“That’s not me. That’s not Josh Howard. That was an idiot.”

Howard was speaking to media members for the first time since his July rant at a charity event. When “The Star-Spangled Banner” was playing, he said that he doesn’t celebrate the song because he’s black. The video eventually made it onto YouTube.

On the eve of training camp, he said he wished he could retract those words, and that he looks forward to being able to show fans who have clamored for the Mavericks to get rid of him that he is not a bad guy.

“I apologize to everybody I’ve offended,” the 6-7 forward said. “I’m upset with myself and the way I’ve acted. It was just me joking around. I just wasn’t using my head. I learned that words really do hurt and you are held accountable for what you said.

“I went to military school. I have friends that serve in the military. I know how it is to wake up and salute the flag. In the national anthem every game, I have my hand over my heart. It was just me not thinking.”

Yesterday’s event could’ve been an opportunity for Howard to elaborate on the many reasons why someone — black or otherwise — might not want to recognize the national anthem. Regardless of how the session might’ve been stage managed by the Mavericks, I can’t find fault with Howard wishing to repair his damaged public reputation.  If he sincerely meant his remarks during the flag-football game to be a bit of a goof rather than a genuine political protest, that seems reasonable enough, too. Of greater concern to Dallas fans oughta be what sort of progress, if any, Howard will make playing his first full season alongside Jason Kidd — a player who has never faced the sort of invective aimed at Howard, despite actions far more reprehensible than blowing off the anthem.