09.20.08

CSTB 5th Anniversary Celebration Ducats – Going, Going…

Posted in Baseball, Internal Affairs at 2:42 pm by

…and gone for good in another day or so.  There’s a handful of tickets remaining for the CSTB group outing to Shea Stadium Monday evening, an event that not only commemorates the start of this blog’s 6th year in business, but also happens to feature a contest between two of the NL’s division leaders (as of this writing), Ben Schwartz’ Chicago Cubs versus the New York Metropolitans. It’s the final Monday regular season game at Shea, and who would you rather spend the evening with than me and 25 weirdos?  But enough about the Cubs, some of your favorite CSTB contributors and commentators will be in attendance, too. I don’t want to give away all of the special features I’ve put together with the assistance of the Mets’ marketing deparment, but suffice to say your mind will be blown when Repoz is introduced as the new trainer for Challenger, the enduring symbol of freedom.

Tickets are $11.50 (including all service charges), and you can pester me via info@cantstoptbleeding.com

Bantamweight Batsman Bares Bases, Batters Bannister

Posted in Baseball at 3:02 am by

…and bolsters Buehrle (W 14-11, 6IP, 6H, 3R 2K).  Still 2 1/2 games up on the Twins, the number on the South Side is seven.

White Sox 9, Royals 4

At the poker table, they call a seven a “walking stick”.  As it happens, that isn’t a bad physical description of rookie White Sox 2B Alexei Ramirez.  But the real story with the Cuban Missile is the (war)head atop the bones.  It makes no difference to the Narrowest Ramirez if he’s facing a guy for the first or twenty-first time – at the plate, he stays behind whatever he gets wherever he gets it and slaps, bangs, chops and crushes his way onto the scoreboard as if Kruschev never pounded that podium with his shoe.

Like award-winner Ichiro Suzuki in 2001, it’s true that swing-happy Alexei’s a Rookie of the Year contender with an advantage: seasons of proven experience playing for an island nation.  While award contender Evan Longoria might find that allowance a tad reminiscent of Chinese “womens”‘ gymnastics, the important mystery in Alexei’s past is only this: if you take ball four in Cuba, what does the Castro regime do to you, anyway?

In a six-run fourth inning, Ramirez followed an AJ Pierzynski battle with two aboard resulting in a walk to load ‘em up.  His own el gato y el ratón epic against Brian Bannister (L, 8-16, 5IP, 8H, 7ER) had Ramirez fouling off five straight after a 2-1 count before he sent a flat breaking ball into deep left field over David DeJesus’ head, over the wall and into the record books – the third grand slam for Ramirez (tying the rookie single-season record) and the 11th for the White Sox (tying a franchise record).

Meanwhile in Florida, the Twins gained no ground on the Sox. Sadly, Burl Ives had his banjo inserted rectally 11-1 courtesy of the Rays, who are one game away from clinching their first playoff berth. In the night’s other AL Central news, Gary Sheffield and Carmona Not Glue led their squads in an impromptu seventh-inning confab at the mound.  On the agenda?  October vacation plans.

09.19.08

Cubs Magic Number Down to 1

Posted in Baseball at 9:49 pm by

(photo by Journal Sentinel Photographer Benni Sieu, swiped from Sportsbubbler)

Just like Babe Ruth, another portly slugger who pointed to the Wrigley ivy with a promise of homering for a terminally ill patient, Prince Fielder made good on this gesture Tuesday (pictured) to reduce Milwaukee’s elimination number to 1. In this case, said sickly patient is his own club.  Fielder offered a pair of futile HRs in the their 5-4 loss Tuesday, capped by this moment.  Rumor has it Cub fans, the friendliest in the nation, chanted “Ce-cil,” his estranged father’s name, following a Fielder strike out that ended the game. Fielder then had his Babe Ruth moment, thanking fans for remembering his dad (who is not betting on the Crew this October).

(Where’s your messiah now, Carlos?  Dr. Zambrano, pictured, was yanked in today’s 2nd by a lower power “ Lou Piniella)

Lest you thought the Cubs can’t be humbled (!), the Cardinals arrived this afternoon to slap Carlos Zambrano around for a post no-hitter 12-2 meltdown even the Federal Reserve wouldn’t touch.  The Cubs brought it up to a 12-6 final, but clinch day v. the Cards will have to wait for a nationally televised audience this weekend.  That, or the unstoppable Reds of September will have to kill off the Brewers for us, like today’s blowout, 11-2.

Noted Trampoline Artist / Boss Sideman’s Musical Tribute To The Stadium

Posted in Baseball, New York, New York, Rock Und Roll at 8:06 pm by

Cynics amongst us (ie., me) might well figure the E-Street Band’s Nils Lofgren had little else to accomplish musically after playing alongside Tommy Keene.  On the contrary, opines the Journal News’ Peter Abraham, unveiling the free “Yankee Stadium” MP3 that Lofgren —-”just about the best guitar player walking the face of the earth”  (don’t all complain at once, Doyle fans) — graciously makes available thru his website.

For Sunday’s final game at said hallowed venue, the Bombers have announced “a historic artifact from the Yankees’ past will also be unveiled“.  That’s a hell of way to refer to Mickey Rivers.

Bill Laimbeer Really Knows How To Hold A Grudge

Posted in Basketball at 6:41 pm by

Under normal circumstances, a WNBA head coach sneering at the post-playing career of an NBA team president would be slightly newsworthy. When the coach in question is the Detroit Shock’s Bill Laimbeer, speaking ill of the Pacers’ Larry Bird to WFNI’s Eddie White and the Indy Star’s Bob Kravitz, the results are nothing short of blogtastic (transcript taken from Indy Cornrows).

Kravitz: When you come to Indianapolis in a situation like this can we assume you and Larry Bird will be going out and having a couple of cocktails together.

Laimbeer:  Larry Bird?

Kravitz: Talk about the old days

Laimbeer: He’s here in Indiana?
Kravitz: Yeah.

Laimbeer: Oh .. Oh, that’s right I did, I heard he works for the Pacers now.

Kravitz:  He does have a job. We’re very happy about that.

Laimbeer: I don’t really pay attention to how they’re doing. Have they made the playoffs the last few years?

Kravitz:  Uhh, I don’t believe so, I’ll have to check the books on that one.

Laimbeer:  That’d drive me nuts, boy.

Kravitz: Not making the playoffs?

Laimbeer: I mean, not competing for the championship and being in the playoffs.

Kravitz: And everyone makes the playoffs.

Laimbeer: I’d probably quit.

SOSG On The Dodgers Vs. The Scourge Of Dane Cook

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, Cinema at 5:16 pm by

The latest Dane Cook star vehicle, “My Best Friend’s Girl” opens tonight, and while the alleged comedian stars alongside Kate Hudson and the lucky-to-be-working Jason Biggs, Sons Of Steve Garvey casts a shadow over Chavez Ravine with the grim warning, “the Dodgers have never won a home game on the opening day of a Dane Cook-acted movie.”   America’s movie goers, Greg Maddux, everyone’s a loser today.

This is true for the opening day of every movie in which Cook has been listed as an “actor” (and we use this liberally); the Dodgers are 2-5 overall with both wins coming on the road; and with the Dodgers at home hosting the Giants tonight, well, let’s just say the Dane Cook Dodgers Curse (TM) is almost too much to bear.

The data:

Dane Cook Movie    Release date    Dodgers result

Buddy    June 6, 1997    L vs. STL, 1-3
Flypaper    July 18, 1997    L @ ATL, 1-4
Mystery Men    Aug 6, 1999    L @ NYM, 1-2
Simon Sez    Oct 29, 1999    DNP
The Touch    Aug 1, 2002    L @ CIN, 4-6
Stuck On You    Dec 12, 2003    DNP
Torque    Jan 16, 2004    DNP
Mr. 3000    Sept 17, 2004    W @ COL, 8-6
Waiting¦    Oct 7, 2005    DNP
London    Feb 12, 2006    DNP
Employee of the Month    Oct 6, 2006    DNP
Mr. Brooks    June 1, 2007    W @ PIT, 5-4
Good Luck Chuck    Sept 21, 2007    L @ AZ, 3-12
Dan In Real Life    Oct 26, 2007    DNP
My Best Friend™s Girl    Sept 19, 2008    ?????

SoSG has tried to interview Dodger players about the Dane Cook Dodgers Curse (TM), but most of the players declined comment on the record (off the record, one of the players planned to see the 10a showing at Arclight, if anyone is interested in joining him). The only person who commented on the record was KABC broadcaster Charley Steiner, who said, “Dane Cook Dodgers Curse? Hogwash. The Dodgers are going to score 25 runs tonight and win the game handily.”

Fitzy : Fins’ Porter “Poured Disrepect Sauce On The Douchebag Sundae”

Posted in Free Expression, Gridiron at 3:55 pm by

Never mind the Pats’ offense, why in the world would Joey Porter risk providing Nick Stevens (above) with bulletin board material?

The Owner With A Boner Shines A Bright Light On His Readership’s Racism

Posted in Basketball, Blogged Down, Racism Corner at 2:18 pm by

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is a frequent object of ridicule around these parts, not always for the most serious of reasons, either.  But every once in a while, Cuban does something rather brave that no other sports franchise owner / billionaire public figure would dare.  But enough about green-lighting “Bubble”, Cuban’s been dealing with the fallout from Josh Howard’s flag-football diss of “The Star Spangled Banner”, and yesterday, tackled the controversy in a cut & paste manner that is sadly revealing, though not necessarily surprising. Be they Mavs fans, BlogMaverick readers or just plain numbskulls, the level of rage & invective these individuals aim towards Howard is nothing short of frightening.  Here’s just a couple of the lovely pieces of fan mail Cuban’s received :

heffernan2@aol.com
to mark.cuban

œI don™t even celebrate that shit. I™m black.

You & Howard¦two peas in a pod.
Don™t think we™ve forgotten about that Brian De Palma anti-military propaganda film, œRedacted, that you produced, Cuban
Ya might tell Howard the next time you talk to him,  that if not for America, he™d probably be be throwing spears in Africa someplace instead of free-throws.

Semper Fi,
M.E. Heffernan

œJeff Kellen
To:   
Date:    09/18/2008 04:22 PM
Subject:    Ask Mark Cuban
Hi Mark,Did you know Josh Howard was an America hater when you signed him or was
it a surprise?I don™t spend my money on this NBA shit, I am white.
Thanks,

- Jeff

From:    œstephen rogers
To:   
Date:    09/17/2008 09:34 PM
Subject:    Ask Mark Cuban
Mr. Cuban,
Just saw your nigger Josh Howard  disresepct the national anthem because he is black. According to the news you say he is a really great guy. Of course he is because he makes you lots of money you greedy bastard.
You would rather sell out your own country that my dead father fought for in WW II than than lose a buck by firing this black bastard.
You are nothing more than a nigger slave owner milking him for all his black ass can get you.
YOU, SIR IS WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS COUNTRY. YOU AND THAT NIGGER YOU CALL NICE.
There™s lots of black dick on that team, get busy. White power is coming back because of race traitors like you.
Know what you get when you cross a nigger and a white nigger lover ? a  WHIGGER. THAT IS YOU !!!!
Mark WHIGGER Cuban. A White storm is brewing Mr. Cuban, you and those niggers like you better evacuate.

It’s hard to say which is more shocking about the above bits of correspondence ; the absolutely over-the-top racism or the fact someone remembers “Redacted”.

For Mike Francesca, It’s Lonely At The top

Posted in Sports Radio at 12:39 pm by

Sans the soothing tones (?) of Chris Russo, could it be the short fuse of WFAN’s Mike Francesca has become even shorter?  Coping with a deluge of newspaper coverage for his former partner earlier this week,  Francesca “repeated that he didn’t want to come across as egotistical or jealous. He didn’t. He came across as egotistical and jealous” scoffed the NY Post’s Phil Mushnick.

Tuesday on WFAN, Francesa, now truly the One and Only, calmly snapped. He spent 40 minutes complaining that while Russo and his new gig were getting all the media attention, he’d received only unfair treatment by those who reported on their split. He claimed that no one had asked for his side of the story.

Does that mean that the story he repeatedly told on the air – the one about how they were often at war but genuinely liked each other, prospered together, and now, after 19 years, Russo had a nice opportunity, thus it was time for buddies to split – wasn’t true? Would Francesa have provided a different tale, on the record, had he been asked off the air?

Francesa added that everything he has touched, with or without Russo, turns to ratings gold. Even his Sunday morning NFL radio show, he said, is No. 1 – with the exception of, he conceded, broadcasts of Spanish-language church services.

And Francesa said that bad reporting had badly underestimated the money he makes. But Tuesday, having given himself the opportunity to provide his eye-popping salary, he didn’t (although he hinted that The King’s counting room is darned near out of room).

Hate Crime Corner : A Simulated Torching Of Shea

Posted in Baseball, Free Expression at 10:01 am by

Sheesh. You’d think after Philly cops tossed C-4 explosives on the roof of the Move House, residents of that fine city would be show greater care with incendiary devices.  Seriously, folk, I can turn the other cheek when it comes to violence against the logos and trademarks of the New York Mets, but did they really have to blow up the Mr. Met Internet Safety Awareness Day Trading Cards?

09.18.08

QPR : Hoping Rival Fans Have More Money Than Brains

Posted in Football, The Marketplace at 7:52 pm by

(Ecclestone and Mittal, quick to remind West London soccer fans that a seat in the South Africa Road paddock is still a better value than commissioning a trip to Mars)

Earlier this year, your globetrotting editor spent the equivalent of $70.00 USD to watch the Stuporhoops play a meaningless midweek match in a two-third’s full Loftus Road.  Little did I know, said evening would represent something of a bargain. From the Daily Mail’s Ian Gibb :

Queens Park Rangers have sparked an angry reaction from fans by becoming the first Championship team to charge £50 for a ticket.

It is all the more surprising considering their opponents for the game a week tomorrow are struggling Derby County, who have refused to accept their  allocation after Rangers also raised prices for away fans to as high as £40.

But Rangers have come under fire from their own supporters who cannot understand why the billionaire owners who took over at Loftus Road last year, Lakshmi Mittal, Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone, have sanctioned the £10 hike.

One angry season ticket holder said: ˜I™m disgusted with the pricing. I hope other supporters do not judge the fans and team of QPR by the greed of the owners. I hope away fans stay away in protest. It™s daylight robbery.™

The £50 ticket is still less than London™s Barclays Premier League clubs, with
Arsenal (£96), Chelsea (£65), Tottenham (£75), West Ham (£63) and Fulham (£70) charging more for top-priced tickets to category A games.

But it is more expensive than every other top-flight team, except Manchester United, who charge only £5 more for the best seats to top fixtures.

Derby refused to accept the rise, and a club spokesman said: ˜We think it™s too high and we don™t think that™s fair. We™ve stood our ground and QPR have exercised their right to appeal that to the Football League.™

The comparison to Arsenal and Chelsea doesn’t warrant consideration.  There’s a reason the Portland Beavers don’t charge $300 for box seats, and while QPR are no one’s feeder club, these delusions of grandeur are as damaging to the club’s reputation as any of their flirtations with insolvency.  At a time when Ian Dowie’s squad look like genuine contenders for promotion, it’s a shame ownership’s unmitigated greed captures the headlines.

Great Moments From The Horror Genre, Pt. III

Posted in Cinema at 6:24 pm by

I realize “Tuff Turf” is generally not considered a horror film. However, there aren’t many other words that come to mind when you ponder the possibility of The Jim Carroll Band playing a high school dance.

Standing Up & Saluting…Josh Howard

Posted in Basketball, Blogged Down, Free Expression, politics at 5:40 pm by

Thankfully, Crashburn Alley isn’t the only destination in the sporting blogosphere with a somewhat reasoned take on Josh Howard’s decision to blow off the national anthem during a flag football game.  “Josh Howard is a public relations disaster. I concede that,” writes Joey from Straight Banging. “But he did something I do all the time: he failed to engage in the largely mindless and generally worthless pre-sports incantation of the national anthem.”

I don’t see how Howard’s non-participation is any different from instances when people like me go to a basketball game and remain seated while complaining about some of the United States’ appalling missteps. It’s called free speech. Exercising it is among the most American activities possible. Reciting the anthem before a game is a synthetic sign of national pride and solidarity, so if the concept of “America” is going to be shoved in people’s faces, those who would have the anthem sung can’t then get upset when others, upon considering the United States, realize that it may not be worthy of reflexive adulation and support.

Second, there’s a lot wrong with the United States. For example, it’s a racist country. And, sickly, plenty of people are fine with it. That’s how you get a leading presidential candidate who feels comfortable releasing racist ads. That’s how you get a population that will countenance spending billions of dollars a month to rebuild some other country that we recklessly and needlessly invaded but won’t summon the political will to pay teachers more money or take any other meaningful steps to address the societal failings that trap poor people in deadend lives. And, of course, a disproportionate number of those affected by our collective malaise and contempt for the poor are black. Just as I sit here concerned about aspects of our country but no less appreciative that the U.S. provides me with the right to voice this dissent, so, too, could someone like Josh Howard work his way through the system and come out a millionaire without relenquishing the understanding that for most poor blacks, that’s a foreclosed possibility. What’s unamerican about speaking that truth? What’s disrespectful about being real?

Tirico : Leave Ed Hochuli Alone!

Posted in Gridiron, Sports Radio at 2:48 pm by

“People are sending Ed Hochuli hate mail?” exclaimed ESPN Radio’s Mike Tirico (above) earlier today. “Listen, the San Diego Chargers have made mistakes.  Norv Turner’s made mistakes.  Phillip Rivers has thrown bad passes. The Chargers defense made mistakes.  I make mistakes on ‘Monday Night Football’.  San Diego Chargers fans make mistakes in their own lives….but to e-mail Ed Hochuli?…Grow up.”

“In South America,” added Michelle Tafoya, “they kill soccer referees.”

While it’s pretty hard to defend threats of violence against Hochuli, might there be something screwy about Tirico railing against society’s lack of perspective?  Yes, it’s all about a mere blown call in a football game, but that’s a blown call that was discussed to death on Tirico’s network. Apparently, Tirico would like you to care about the outcome of an NFL game — his livelihood depends on it. He just doesn’t want you to care very much.

But thanks, Ms. Tafoya, for reminding your listeners that in some far-flung corner of the world (presumably less civilized than Bristol, CT), a soccer referee is shot, lynched or poisoned EVERY THREE MINUTES.   I’m sure you’ll agree, he’s a very unlucky soccer referee.

Bobby Bonilla Is No Longer The Most Despicable Former Met

Posted in Baseball at 2:25 pm by

The matter of former Mets farmhand / Brawny towels spokesmodel Joseph Petcka has been acknowledged previously in this space. However, Petcka’s trial on charges of killing his ex-girlfriend’s cat — the actor is claiming self-defense —- took a predictable turn for the morbid yesterday, report the NY Daily News’ Barbara Ross and Dave Goldiner :

On the night Norman was killed, Petcka had been drinking heavily and the couple began quarreling, she said. “You love Norman more than me!” Petcka exclaimed, Lisa Altobelli testified.

She went to sleep and recalled hearing Petcka talking to the cat in a singsong voice, “Norman, Norman, Norman.”

Altobelli said she abruptly woke up after Petcka kneed her in the side and grabbed her neck. He claimed the cat had bitten him.

She took her purse and ran out of the apartment after warning Petcka to leave or she would call the police, Altobelli said.

The last thing she saw, she said, was Norman looking plaintively at her. “I honestly thought he [the cat] would be right behind me,” she said. “I thought he would flee.”

An ASPCA official is expected to testify Thursday that the cat died from an extensive beating that caused broken ribs and massive internal injuries.

NFL Referee Ed Hochuli : Far More Adept At Answering Hate Mail Than CSTB Editor

Posted in Gridiron at 1:21 pm by

The Denver Post’s Nick Groke reports that NFL ref/fitness buff Ed Hochuli has been replying to angry e-mail with San Diego postmarks. Unmentioned is how many of Hochuli’s messages begin with, “Dear Norv,”.

Hochuli, a 19-year veteran with two Super Bowls to his credit, has been swamped by letters from Chargers fans upset about the Broncos’ 39-38 victory at Invesco Field at Mile High. According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, a contrite Hochuli responded to some of the e-mails.

“I’m getting hundreds of e-mails ” hate mail ” but I’m responding to it all. People deserve a response,” he wrote to several Chargers fans, according to the newspaper.

“You can rest assured that nothing anyone can say can make me feel worse than I already feel about my mistake on the fumble play. You have no idea. …

“Affecting the outcome of a game is a devastating feeling. Officials strive for perfection ” I failed miserably. Although it does no good to say it, I am very, very sorry.”

The crucial call occurred with the Broncos at the Chargers’ 1-yard line. Denver’s Jay Cutler dropped back to pass and the ball slipped out of his hands, bounced off the grass and into the arms of San Diego linebacker Tim Dobbins.

What Happens In The Red Sox Clubhouse, Stays In The Red Sox Clubhouse Is Excellent Fodder For Schilling’s WEEI Calls, Pt. II

Posted in Baseball, Sports Radio at 11:12 am by

“I haven’t thrown a fricking pitch all year….I’ve been stealing payroll all season, so I’m the last person to talk about right and wrong.”  So spoke Curt Schilling yesterday on WEEI’s “The Big Show”, before and after trashing the behavior of departed LF Manny Ramirez.

“Lou (Merloni), you’re in Seattle, and if you refused to get on a team plane, you know what they’d do? They’d give you an Air France ticket home.”  Hey, you wanna talk about unfair?  I heard a rumor that some players on Red Sox roster earn much higher salaries than others!

Wags & AIG : The Strength To Shut It Down

Posted in Baseball at 2:47 am by

(photo courtesy Paul Lukas) As reclaimation projects go, Country Time might be the better bet.  If you think this item is a bit gratuitous, how about ESPN News’ ticketr adding the disclaimer “Mets led 6-1 after 3 innings” to the crawl following the result of Wednesday’s hanging-on-for-deal-life, 9-7 win over Washington?  Did that scan appreciably better than “8 pitchers conspire to force Johan Santana to pitch a complete game Thursday”?

09.17.08

Artie Lange : Reprobate, “Beer League” Auteur, Bully

Posted in Basketball, Radio at 9:11 pm by

J.E. Skeets of Yahoo’s Ball Don’t Lie heard the following exchange take place yesterday when “MSG, NY” reporter Jill Martin appeared on Sirius’ Howard Stern Show.

While they were on the air, Artie Lange (above), Stern’s comic partner in crime, started asking Martin basic Knicks trivia like, “What years did the Knicks win a NBA championship?” and “Where was Stephon Marbury born?” When she struggled to answer, Artie started mocking her lack of Knicks knowledge.

Following this episode, Snapple — longtime enablers of Stern — offered Martin $5,000 to compose “5 Snapple Cap facts about the Knicks” (“Snapple will provide any and all resources needed to research these facts, including: Internet access, direct contact with devout followers of NY sports and the email address of the president of the Patrick Ewing Fan Club”).

Would it be useful for Martin to know that Stephon Marbury  —- who might not even be on the Knicks’ roster come opening night —- hails from Coney Island? Perhaps.  But it seems just a little unfair that she’s the one being singled out by Snapple when the clueless frontman of J.D. & The Straight Shot escapes similar taunts from the advertiser.  How’s this for a new Snapple campaign : $5000 to the charity of his choice if Artie Lange will go on MSG’s “Boomer Esiason Show” and catalog no fewer than 5 bad things that happen when you snort heroin.

Q : What Do Gordie Howe, Joey Shithead & Scott Thompson Have In Common?

Posted in Baseball, We Aren't The World, Will Leitch Sucks at 7:06 pm by

(Cronenberg : came to WEEI.com for the Whiner Line samples, stayed for the slurs on his homeland)

A : They don’t seem to register on the somewhat faulty cultural radar of former Deadspin editor Will Leitch, who in lauding Jason Bay for WEEI.com insists the unheralded (?) Red Sox left-fielder, “is such a perfect fit with Canada that if he hadn™t been born there, I™d insist he emigrate.”

Canada is the country we always forget about. It sits up there, freaking huge, but really doesn™t register much. The most famous Canadians are all famous because of America. (I doubt Michael J. Fox would have become a hero had Family Ties aired on the CBC.) Canada is modest, quiet, and strangely effective in terms of government™s assistance to its citizens; a guy who breaks his arm in Canada is gonna have a helluva lot easier time than I will, if I break my arm. (He will also cry less.) Canada does great things. But no one really notices.

Jason Bay has been one of baseball™s best players for five years now, but he has done so for a team that is perpetually in last place, in a city with a beautiful stadium but no actual fans. For a guy who once had Eddie Vedder encouraging fans to vote him into the All-Star Game, the odds that you ever gave Jason Bay much thought before he was traded here are minimal. And now, here he is, a linchpin of a team I still think is the favorite to win the World Series this year.

How will he do under the klieg lights of October? Canada™s record is spotty. The biggest Summer Olympics moment they™ve ever had involved Ben Johnson. Hardly anyone watches the NHL anymore. Right now the country™s legislature is in full turmoil. They didn™t make it out of the first round of the World Baseball Classic, despite Bay and Stubby Clapp. Heck, Sarah Palin has even stole their accent.

CSTB’s vast Canadian readership is more than capable of defending herself. I mean, themselves.  But suffice to say the next time our Will is paired with another excitable sort for a television chat, I’d like the dance partner to be Don Cherry rather than Buzz Bissinger.

So Much For Josh Howard’s Presidential Aspirations

Posted in Basketball, Blogged Down, Free Expression at 5:08 pm by

As you’ve probably heard by now, the Mavs’ Josh Howard found himself the subject of considerable criticism after telling a cellphone candid cameraman he’d rather not observe the playing of “The Star Spangled Banner” because “I don’t even celebrate that shit. I’m black.”  Hardwood Paroxysm‘s Corn observes, “there may be plenty of reasons for one person or another to not salute the flag during the National Anthem. But being ‘black’ is not an excuse.”

Perhaps Josh Howard is deliberately trying to sabotage his basketball career. I do not know. Perhaps he is, in a Vince Young-like way, going through some serious emotional and mental trouble, using as many distractions as possible to lash out against his current state. APerhaps Howard is taking this moment to deliberately say something from the heart that he truly believes. Again, I do not know. We shouldn’t judge his actions and beliefs any more than we do A.C. Green’s fervent Christianity, Shareef Abdur-Rahim’s Muslim faith or Steve Nash’s grassroots organizing, even though he is not an American.

To be sure, the Dallas media and fans (not to mention bloggers) will let Josh Howard know exactly what his irresponsible actions such as smoking weed, drag racing and dissing an American proclamation of patriotism mean to them. And it will not be pretty. But the hope is that they will not give him the appreciation of using these comments against him in the cheers, leers or jeers. Instead, focus on aspects like smoking weed or criminal charges stemming from drag racing (which could affect his number or games played, as well as his performance). These are the important things to consider with Josh Howard. The rest is not.

While I’m not nearly as offended by Howard’s remarks as I am with the notion an off-the-cuff remark during a charity football game — everyone knows such contests are hotbeds for anti-American sentiment — is being held up to such scrutiny, how are Howard’s comments any more disturbing than a beloved, mainstream American icon pissing on the flag?

Champions League Match Day 1 : Scolari & Benitez Are Tough Men To Please

Posted in Football at 4:40 pm by

While a late William Gallas strike spared Arsenal the indignity of a Champions League opening loss at Dynamo Kiev earlier today, a pair of the Gunners’ English rivals had far more successsful first round matches yesterday, though you wouldn’t know it to hear from the managers of Chelsea and Liverpool writes the Guardian’s Barry Glendenning.

“Look,” raged Big “Phil” (above), pulling at his little grey tufts of ear hair. “We know we didn’t play well. We made far too many mistakes. “If you are sloppy, you give your opponents opportunities. We have the experience to know better,” he added, successfully working himself up into a froth over a 4-0 scoreline and a display by the visitors that carried as much lurking menace as a small slice of cucumber.

Aflame with righteous self-loathing, the Fiver then turned to Rafa Benitez’s hand-wringing assessment of a tasty 2-1 away win in Marseille. “We must do better and I know we can be better,” Benitez wailed, thumbing through his collection of motivational cue cards from the best-selling series Compete Guide To Being Better Through Pointing And Whistling. “We know we can improve, the players said that in the dressing room,” he added, offering a broad interpretation of a few muttered conversations about very expensive wrist watches.

Still, at least the new mood of macho introspection is some way from the days when an edgy 4-4 at home to the Albanian league winners would be cause for confetti-laden podium explosion. Although, there are of course those who would say suggesting that a lone second half opposition corner kick is grounds for a thorough bamboo garden stake-caning of your entire playing staff might just be up there with expecting the cream of European club football to collapse in a whimpering heap of hair gel and continental gentleman’s cologne half an hour from Fulham Broadway.

Although, at this point the Fiver found itself so confused by the modern managerial semantic it had to clear its head by slamming its foot in the fridge door and upending an entire bottle of Worcestershire sauce over the verrucca on its big toe. And then listening to another Big “Phil” tirade about not scoring enough goals. And again. And. Again. Until. It. Really. Hurts.

Zambrano: Fuck Wrigley Field

Posted in Baseball at 12:34 pm by

(1060 W. Addison ca. 2010)

Forced as they are into regular trips to Chicago, Cubs fans already know that travel enriches the mind and spirit.  There’s nothing like a journey to open up one’s mind to new perspectives and notions of the world, and when the destination is one where persons of color are found unsupervised, well all the better. The SUV doors have locks, after all, and how better to pick up a stray phrase or two in the help’s native language?

But there are limits to the benefits of travel.  No good can come of allowing the staff to wander willy-nilly -  it breeds discontent, and even heresy.

There’s no doubt the Cubs enjoyed their two-day stay in the Brewers‘ home clubhouse at Miller Park, and not just because they allowed only one hit in two victories over Houston.

After his no-hitter Sunday, Carlos Zambrano went as far as to say: “This is a beautiful ballpark. Gosh, I wish we could have a new ballpark.”

I only have one question:  will the Applebee’s Tequila Chicken stations be distributed evenly throughout the new seating scheme, or will the bleachers have to make do with only the salad bar?

The New York Mets Of September ’08 : It’s Like Deja Boo Fucking Hoo Again

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 11:32 am by

(Jose, Endy and Carlos D., rendered speechless by the Hall Of Fame pitching talents of John Lannam and Odalis Perez)

There are few things in life that pain me more than quoting (or agreeing with) ESPN Radio’s Jason Smith.  But when the overnight host declares “the Mets find a way to lose, while the Phillies find a way to win”, his simplistic summation of the current state of play in the NL East is tough to quarrel with. That Philly found a way to overcome the Braves (and Pat Burrell striking out 5 times) last night was hardly out of character.  For the Mets bats to go oh-so-quiet in two nights against the lowly Nats was also very much in the spirit….of the 2007 team that tackled the season’s final month with all the zeal of Karen Ann Quinlan. (I’d thought about writing “Karen Ann Quinlan at a Labradford gig”, but that just seemed gratuitous, if not unlikely).

Much the way last year’s Mets were undone down the stretch by opposition with zilch to play for, there’s something uncanny about the way the Amazins have victimized by the likes of John Lanham, Odalis Perez, Anderson Hernandez and Willie Harris over the past two evenings. Is another Mets rebound within the realm of possibility between now and September 28?  Absolutely, but they’ll have to do it without the services of the revelatory supersub Fernando Tatis, while hoping Olympian Brandon Knight proves guttier than Bobby Sprowl.

(other assorted grumblings on this sad subject) :

Not only do I feel bad for Fernando Tatis for his injury and the fact that he was writing one of the great stories of the season but with him and Damien Easley out the Mets lose two of their best clutch hitters, Tatis was hitting .392 with RISP and .286 with 2 out/RISP and Easley was hitting a robust .314 with 2 out/RISP. Two guys who are killing the Mets in that department are Ryan Church (.179 2 out/RISP) and Carlos Beltran (.183 2 out/RISP).

It™s very easy to kill the Aaron Heilmans and Scott Schoenweises of the world but when you lack the killer instinct to step on your opponents necks and snuff them out this is what you get, doubt, second guessing and Mets fans holding a puke bucket while watching their team fade down the stretch for the second year in a row. – Steve Keene, The Eddie Kranepool Society

Last night’s 1-0 loss to the lowly Nats introduced a new and exciting theme. The incompetence of the bullpen was no longer an issue with the meat of the Mets order going rotten faster than Lehman Brothers. Two runs and nine puny hits against the worst team in baseball is not a slump. It’s the final sign this team is gasping for air, choking to death.

2 hits in 16 at-bats for Reyes, Beltran, Wright and Delgado says it all.Archie Bunker’s Army

Even after Willie Harris’ latest defensive gem which helped put a nail in the Mets 2008 season (which is currently in a hand basket on Hell’s front porch), I’m beginning to think that it could have been Lenny Harris out in left field, and it wouldn’t matter.

In fact, screw that. The Nationals could have fielded nine Lenny Harrises tonight. It didn’t matter. It’s not going to matter. Not when you can’t get hits off a guy who gave up six runs in three innings in his last start against … oh, wouldn’t you know it? The Mets!  – Metsradamus

Great Moments From The Horror Genre, Pt. II

Posted in Cinema at 10:30 am by

Scarier than Ramon Martinez on the basepaths? Perhaps not, but there’s at least another 90 minutes of this.