10.29.08

Rob Parker’s Popularity Continues To Slide In East Lansing

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron, Hockey, Sports Journalism, Sports TV at 3:31 pm by

Michigan State defenseman A.J. Sturges (above) was hospitalized following a house party brawl last two weekends ago that allegedly involved members of the MSU football team.  After the Detroit News’ Rob Parker appeared on local TV claiming MSU quarterback Kirk Cousins was involved in the fight, Parker is now retracting his statement. From Wednesday’s Detroit News :

“I was wrong. I apologize,” Parker said of the report. Parker is a sports columnist for The News, but his appearance on WDIV Channel 4 is independent of the newspaper. The information never was published by The Detroit News.

“I have reached out to the student-athlete’s family and apologized. They have accepted. I also apologize to the Michigan State community.”

Police have only said “multiple MSU student-athletes” were involved in a series of incidents during the late hours of Oct. 18 and morning of Oct. 19 that hospitalized a hockey player identified as A.J. Sturges.

Despite Parker’s mea culpa, The World Of Issac considers this latest offense just part of an established pattern of Spartan-hate on the journalist’s part.

Rob Parker’s history with MSU athletics is not pristine to say the least. From my recollection, twice in the past, he was not only wrong but severely wrong about a story.

1. He claimed MSU Sophomore Paul Davis was a done deal to the NBA and that Coach Izzo had been told. Davis’ dad came out and refuted this saying none of that was true. Davis went on to play 4 years at MSU.

2. Again, another issue with the MSU basketball program. Brandon Cotton, a player who had transferred out of MSU to University of Detroit was given an outright release. Rob Parker claimed that Izzo didn’t sign the requisite papers because he was bitter at him leaving and Cotton would not get an extra year of eligibility. The story turned out to be completely false and Cotton played till the end of his eligibility.

So it seems, outside looking in, that Parker either a) has a grudge with MSU or b) fabricates stories to get listeners/readers.

America’s Newest Folk Hero : Scott Eyre

Posted in Baseball, Sad Toilets at 2:49 pm by

That’s right, Joe The Plumber is so two weeks ago (even if his recent appearance on The Best Show On WFMU was his most interesting moment in the public eye to date).  Both Deadspin and (ahem) Sons Of Bill Simmons are spreading word that Phillies P Scott Eyre (above) was the previously unidentified gent who said of MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, “I wouldn’t let him supervise one of my (bowel movements)” according to the Courier-Post’s Mike Radano.

While baseball fans across the land would surely concur with Eyre, the question remains, just who does the reliever consider competent enough to supervise his trips to the toilet? Peter Ueberroth and George W. Bush both come to mind, but surely Dallas Green would like to find some way to play a part in the contemporary Phillies’ success?

Phillies’ Myers Finds A Victimless Outlet For His Frustrations

Posted in "Wife Beater" Is Not A Fashion Statement, Baseball, Firearms at 2:16 pm by

“Here’s a story you could have fun with” suggests Philadelphia contributor Chuck Meehan, obviously mistaking me for someone looking to poke fun at Phillies starter Brett Myers (above).   “”It’s just fun to bust some caps,” Myers tells the Inquirer’s Jim Salisbury during his rainy day off Tuesday, constructively spent at Delaware County’s Targetmaster.

Myers grabbed the handgun, held it sideways and began firing. “That’s how the gangsters do it,” he said.

“You’ve been watching too many movies,” I said.

“This is a lot of fun for me,” Myers said. “I just like shooting. I was here Saturday, before Game 3,” Myers said. “The games start so late, you have to do something to kill some time.”

There are some similarities between shooting and pitching. Both involve hitting a target. At times, Myers shoots like a starting pitcher. Precise location is the goal. Other times, he grits his teeth and fires like a closer.“Sometimes I like concentrating and seeing if I can hit the target,” he said. “Sometimes I just want to go Rambo-style – no focus, just hold the trigger down. Let it ride, see how much damage you can do to a target.”

Myers knows worrisome Philadelphia fans are fearful that the hellish events of Monday could be the beginning of another chapter of sporting heartbreak in this city.

“The game is tied,” he said. “Why does that give [the Rays] the momentum? I don’t see any momentum change. I don’t feel it. Everyone is talking momentum. We’re still at home, we’re still leading the series three games to one, and I still feel a lot of positive momentum.

“We’ll take batting practice like any other game and go play. We’ll be all right.”

These were calming words, amazingly so from a man holding an assault rifle.

Barkley Launches Poltical Career Where McCain Is Ending His: Fighting with Republicans

Posted in Basketball, Gambling, politics at 2:01 pm by

[pictured, student of history Charles Barkley, coming out for a strong national defense]

Is it too early for CSTB to officially endorse Charles Barkely’s 2014 Alabama gubernatorial bid?   I’ll notify the editorial board sometime by 2013, but until then:  CSTB fully backs Charles Barkley for Governor of Alabama, until he says something stupid indefensible that loses us readers.

Barkley’s large hat is in the ring, and he’s staking out a radically leftist stance.  That is, he criticized FOX news.  Usually candidates wait for major media outlets to attack them first before dismissing an entire political tv network as “fucked up.”  In my on-going attempts to spin Barkley’s positions to conservative Alabama voters, I’d like to point out that while he did say Fox is “fucked up,” that wide-ranging comment also includes Tim McCarver and Joe Buck.  Naturally, Fox shot back in its own classy way. Broadcast and Cable‘s Ben Grossman has the story here.

œI watch CNN, they™re not fucked up like Fox, Barkley told B&C.  œThey are a mouthpiece for the Republican Party. I watch [Fox] a couple times when there is someone I want to see on there. But they™re corrupt.”

When asked whether he is just shilling for his parent company (TNT and CNN are corporate cousins), Barkley denies that he has to stick up for his team.

œHell no, I don™t, he says. œI like Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper and John King. They at least try to give both sides.

But Fox News Channel doesn™t see it that way, as a network spokesperson fired back immediately.

œIt™s hardly a surprise that Charles is a shill for a Turner owned network…. He obviously needs the steady paycheck to pay off his consistent gambling debts, the spokesperson told B&C.

Barkley in May said he was at least temporarily putting on hold a gambling habit that he once told ESPN has cost him about $10 million over the years. Earlier this year, a hotel in Las Vegas alleged that Barkley had failed to repay casino markers.

 

Opportunity Of A Lifetime Dept.

Posted in Free Expression, Rock Und Roll at 1:07 pm by

Writes Tim Cook, “The casting call for 3 members seems a little suspect but since this appeal worked so well for the Gas Station Dogs, I’m trying not to be so judgmental.”   After hearing the tunes on this guy’s MySpace page, I’ve buried my Smashchords cassettes in the backyard. As seen on Craigslist :

SLAMSTERDAMN SEEKS 2 HEAVY GUITARISTS AND DRUMS!

myspace.com/slamsterdamn

slamsterdamn@yahoo.com

we are hella connected (mostly in L.A.)
lead singer and bass.

Tracks w/ my vocs will be mixed in and posted in a few days as soon as
we take care of a tech prob. Killer home studio DAW.

Currently in sonoma county/sebastapol/russian sewer area,
looking to relocate as close as poss to san fran.

this is not another tool / incubus / APC / AIC plagerism exercise.
all originals, well experienced in many aspects
of the music shit, er, i mean biz….

YOU: your own gear, be pro minded.
(but i have backup 300w tubeworks/mosvalve combo that sounds like god),
the usual basic must haves and must do’s and dont ever do’s
to pull your part in this (means paying bills).
Meter and clicks yes.
My own riffing is off, that’s why i’m not the gtrist….

Thieves will be kneecapped,
and tweakers/ human drug vacuum cleaners need not apply.
Very low tolerance for idiots.
If you need shelter if you have to commute/record for days on end, etc…
I have a xtra size rv van/future tourbus to shelter in (the ‘MOTHERSHIP’).

Be able to roll the roads, be ready produce FAST.
All originals, you get the writing credit for what you create and
contribute; this will be ran as a bonafide business.

Musically, what is it? Probably stoner rock….and gettin’ off

the mantra is ROCK or DIE!

Decision ’08 : Which Candidate Has Successfully Wooed The All-Powerful Sports Blog Voting Bloc?

Posted in Blogged Down, Internal Affairs, politics at 12:47 am by

(l-r : Mr. November, Senator I’m Not George Bush, eagerly awaiting an 11th hour audience with Sports By Brooks)

“Only a very few sports blogs have been covering the Presidential election in a way that clearly declares their position,” declares Sports On My Mind‘s MODI, suggesting that just like a daily newspaper, a sports blog oughta weigh in. “A typical week for Deadspin will net more than two million page views.  After Al Gore lost the 2000 Florida election (technically speaking) by 537 votes, silence can™t possibly be golden.” Hey, don’t think I haven’t tried to find a way to blame the W. presidency on Deadspin’s former editor.

Deadspin is in fertile territory to potentially influence the political process as any perusal of its comment section will find no shortage of œblithering idiots. Or is Deadspin a 40 Million-Page-View-Slave?

And what about that other big-but-not-as-big blog The Big Lead? TBL is a self-described œIndependent that likes to slip in an important political links when nobody is looking. It might be an SNL video on Palin or this really scary video at the Vegas McCain rally.  So here is a very modest proposal to Jason McIntyre: a) Grab your balls; b) come out of your Obama closet; and c) don™t disclaim, preface, or apologize because your article might have some educational significance. If Obama can have great faith in œthe American people, then you can go out on a limb with your readers. Instead of merely linking to Colin Powell™s endorsement as you did (and it was a fine endorsement), why not lay out your systematic reasons for your Obama vote. Go ahead. Just do it. ¦or do Republicans click web sites too?

While I  don’t know if any sports blogger is obliged to formally endorse a candidate, I have no objection to someone doing so. At the same time, I don’t entirely agree with MODI that a failure to do so is entirely based on cynicism — some of the most frequently visited sites in the blogosphere feature decidedly dogmatic political content. In many instances, the political blogs rank far ahead of their sporting neighbors when it comes to ad revenue.  While TBL could run the risk of alienating some portion of the readership with overtly political content, there’s no shortage of short-fused characters from all over the political spectrum who have axes to grind. Their traffic counts, too!

Though I acknowledge there’s much at stake in the general election, a proper endorsement of Sen. Obama from this corner feels a little too much like grandstanding.  Endorsing the front runner a week before the election isn’t exactly going out on a limb.  And given that I’ve already voted for Obama in both the primary and in early voting for the national ballot, it did occur to me there’s something far more useful that I can do, an effort likely to have a much greater impact than a mere thumbs-up from a poorly read sports blog.

That’s right. Voter fraud.  Any schmuck can vote for Barack Obama once. But it takes a truly committed schmuck to visit a succession of battleground states on Nov. 4 and through a variety of means (stolen ID’s, disguises, chloroform), vote for the Illinois Democrat as many times as possible.  And don’t think I’m above supressing the vote, either.  Whether it’s a matter of spreading a little “siting around money” through a country club or locking hundreds of people in a gymnasium who think they’re attending a free Lee Greenwood concert, I am prepared to do whatever it takes, even if it means pissing all over the electoral process.  Rig the election?  YES WE I CAN.

Thank you, and God Bless America.

Oden’s NBA Debut : Is Too Early To Invoke Sam Bowie?

Posted in Basketball at 12:41 am by

Probably.  But while a negative X-ray of the 2007 No.1 overall pick’s right foot oughta be considered good news, seeing Greg Oden make a quick exit just 12 minutes into his professional career after missing the entire ’07-’08 season had to bring to mind the injury-plagued career of you-know-who.

10.28.08

Totally Wired : Presumably, Bubbles Is Not Voting For Bob Barr

Posted in politics, The World Of Entertainment at 10:57 pm by

There’s nothing online yet about Sen. Obama extending his lead in a poll of U.S. television critics, but give it another day or two.

Finally, An All-Inclusive Club For People Just Like Me & You (Or Perhaps, Just You)

Posted in Free Expression, The Internet, The World Of Entertainment at 10:45 pm by

Thanks to Che Ryeback for his kindness in forwarding an invitation to join the Facebook group, “1,000,000 People Against Frank Caliendo”.  While I’m seriously stoked to be a part of this Virtual Million Man Or Woman March, I do wonder, what’s with the one million capacity?

Arenas : Cavs Sans LeBron Are A D-League Outfit

Posted in Basketball at 7:57 pm by

While Cleveland has a 28-22 lead over Boston after one quarter in the NBA 2008-09 opener, Cavs nemesis Gilbert Arenas is already in midseason form when it comes to quotability.  DC Sports Bog’s Dan Steinberg caught the following snippet from Arenas’ most recent Dime profile :

“You can’t do anything. We played them last year in Washington and LeBron was injured. We were beating them by 30-something points. I told them, ‘you guys look like a bad NCAA team.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, it ain’t easy when LeBron ain’t out there. You guys are [bleep]. You guys are garbage. You look like our practice team.’ They’ve got one megastar who’s carrying them, but you take him off the team and they’re the Cleveland NBDL team.

Gil was also asked whether DeShawn stupidly riled up LeBron by making that series into the most wildly entertaining first rounder of the year.

“No. LeBron’s scoring 30 because LeBron always scores 30. It’s not like he’s scoring 30 because he’s mad; that’s what he does….People like Charles Barkley saying DeShawn’s an idiot for getting LeBron riled up; you didn’t need stuff to get riled up when you were playing against Michael Jordan and those guys? Everyone talked so much trash, but that was the No. 1 watched series in the first round. We had Jay-Z making diss tapes. We had Soulja Boy. We made money for the NBA. It was an exciting series. What more do you want? People are saying DeShawn is stupid–he can’t be that stupid if he made one comment and now we’re playing [Cleveland] on Christmas Day. I’ve been in the League seven years and never played on Christmas. That one comment got us a Christmas game. That’s called marketing to me.

LeBron James told the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Mary Boyer he had no plans to watch the Celtics receiving their rings and raise their Championship banner tonight.  Clearly, The Chosen One was under the misconception you can still get a pregame beer at Chet’s Last Call.

Buffalo’s Adam Mair Will Hunt Down Those Who’ve Wronged Him…

Posted in Blogged Down, Hockey at 6:31 pm by

…even if he’s in skates and they’re in flip-flops.  (link taken from Kulkas Korner) Senators RW Chris Neil missed the hallway confrontation shown above, but said of Mair, “Maybe he was trying to take a 10-game suspension because he’s already had two of those. He obviously doesn’t like getting paid.”

McCain Favors Greater Government Regulation of World Series, Network Television

Posted in Baseball, politics, Sports TV at 6:04 pm by

Buried in this AP story about Game 5′s postponement and bad weather:


More rain and possible snow showers were expected Tuesday, so commissioner Bud Selig said Game 5 was tentatively set to resume at 8:37 p.m. Wednesday night — after Democratic president candidate Barack Obama’s 30-minute ad on Fox and other networks. Major League Baseball and Fox agreed two weeks ago to push back Wednesday’s first pitch — originally for Game 6 — by about 10 minutes.

“No one will delay a World Series game with an infomercial when I’m president,” Republican candidate John McCain said to loud applause at a Tuesday rally in Pennsylvania.

Certainly, Democrats and Republicans can both agree: Game 5 2/3 of the World Series is far more important than the upcoming election. Though, isn’t the latter getting better ratings?

Starbury’s Obama Endorsement : McCain’s Last, Best Hope?

Posted in Basketball at 5:02 pm by

There’s been no shortage of Knicks news over the past 24 hours, from the club waiving rookie Patrick Ewing Jr., to Eddy Curry officially being releagated to garbage time, to Harrison, NY police releasing further details that challenge the credibility of the recently hospitalized Isiah Thomas.  Instead, we’ll focus on the larger picture ; having failed to dent the popularity of Sen. Barack Obama after linking him to the likes of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, William Ayers and Tony Rezko, how might the McPalin ticket benefit from calling attention to the Democratic nominee’s ties to a truly despised figure? Newsday’s Anthony Rieber explains.

Stephon Marbury, who donated the individual maximum of $2,300 to Obama’s campaign in June 2007, said he’s not looking for a tax break from the next president, even though his 2008-09 salary of $20.8 million puts him in an income bracket the rest of us can only dream about.

In fact, Marbury told Newsday on Monday that he’s more than willing to pay his share and even endorsed what he called Obama’s plan to “spread the wealth.”

“I think that it’s going to help,” Marbury said. “By him trying to create change and by him trying to spread the wealth as opposed to the rich getting rich and the poor staying poor, he’s trying to make it diverse and I believe in that.

“I pay taxes just like everybody else — half of my money goes to taxes — and I feel like it should go to the people who need it. Me coming from where I come from, I’m aware of the situation that people are in right now, coming from Coney Island and the projects. Me having what I have is a blessing.”

Of the 20 New York athletes who made or will make $10 million or more in salary in seasons that began in 2008, only two gave money to a presidential candidate, according to Federal Election Commission records:

Marbury and Alex Rodriguez.

A-Rod, who can’t deliver in October, won’t even be in the game in November. He donated $2,300 to Rudy Giuliani’s failed campaign in March 2007.

Marbury, who has a better shot of being named Secretary of State than winning an NBA title with the Knicks, can at least be a very small part of a winning team on Election Day if the polls are to be believed.

“I’ll be at the ballot at six o’clock in the morning if I have to,” Stephon the Basketball Player said.

Tatum Bell, Still Remembered In Detroit (And Dallas)

Posted in Gridiron at 3:46 pm by

Not to be outdone by John Kitna’s mockery of pantsless Detroit assistant John Cullen, newly acquired Cowboys WR Roy Williams made a cameo appearance at the Lions’ annual Halloween bash Monday night, done up as accused klepto / former teammate Tatum Bell.  From the Detroit Free Press :

The prominent underwear in Williams’ costume is a reference to the fact that Johnson’s underwear was among the items missing from the bag when it was returned to Lions headquarters. The rest of the ensemble is a bellhop’s get-up with a name tag that says his name is “T. Bell.”

Williams told the crowd at Plaza Lanes in Plymouth that he got permission from Bell to wear the costume.

Costume creativity aside, what’s up with the Lions allowing recently traded players to attend team functions?  Does anyone know what Brett Favre is wearing to the Packers’ Halloween festivities?

Anonymous Phillie : Bud’s Unfit For Shit Supervision

Posted in General at 3:13 pm by

The resumption of Game 5 of the the World Series won’t happen this evening, as it’s still raining in Philadelphia.  In the Phillies’ clubhouse last night, sentiments were awfully close to those expressed by this guy, as the Courier-Post’s Mike Randano recounts :



œThat (expletive deleted) guy, one pitcher said as he saw commissioner Bud Selig before walking out the back door of the clubhouse. œI wouldn™t let him supervise one of my (bowel movements). He has no clue. Not one (expletive deleted) clue.

œ(Expletive deleted), one position player said in the direction of one television pausing only for a moment before leaving. œHe™s a moron. How stupid can one person be?”

Cole Hamels is now done. He won™t be available to finish this game despite a low pitch count. It™s a stretch to believe that he will be ready for Game 7 even if this game resumes on Wednesday. That means three days of rest and we know the history on that one.

œI feel really bad for Cole, catcher Carlos Ruiz said. œHe was pitching well even though the ball was tough to grip. I don;t know why we started that inning. I don™t understand this at all.

Anybody Interested In A 300 Pound Vegetarian First Baseman?

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 3:10 pm by

Or more to the point, a 300 pound vegetarian who’s hit 84 home runs the last two seasons?  The New York Post’s George A. King III and Bart Hubbach claim the Brewers are looking to move 1B Prince Fielder :

“They have put it out there they are will talk about him but it has to be a substantial package,” an industry source said.

The Yankees need a first baseman but aren’t likely to chase after Fielder for two reasons: He is a below average defender and they are going to need first base for Derek Jerek when he re-signs following the 2010 season.

Since the Brewers are expected to lose pitchers CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets via free agency, they would have to get young pitchers already in the big leagues or on the verge of getting there.

Behind The Green Pillars lines up squarely on the side of Milwaukee waving bye bye to CC, noting the Brewers are at a competitive disadvantage given their crummy local TV deal.

Without a big fat cushion of guaranteed TV money to fall back on, the team has to draw fans to the seats to sustain payroll. What’s more, the fact that they play in a small market means that even when they are drawing fans, they cannot squeeze as much revenue out of the fans as their competitors. The fact that they had the 21st most expensive ticket prices in 2008 (and 28th most expensive overall park experience) is great news for fans trying to take a family to the park, but limits the amount of money the team can raise.One thing about attendance is that fans are fickle when it comes to supporting their team. People who are interested enough to be reading this will probably get out to the park much more than most of their neighbors anyway. We all know, however, that when a team is doing well, a lot of people who wouldn’t be there otherwise start showing up. Those people go away when the wins start going away.

So what does this mean for the Brewers? In short, it means they would not be able to afford any bad luck what-so-ever without feeling a major budget crunch should they decide to give CC that money. As talked about in part I, signing CC would mean that the Brewers would have a lot less room to do other things. They would have to cut the budget significantly in areas like the bullpen and the bench to make ends meet, which means a lot of “ready or not” guys from the middle levels of the farm system filling in key roles because there wouldn’t be money to pay much more than major league minimum. Basically, they would have to get a big number of wins over replacement (different than the traditional “win-loss” record for pitchers) from CC Sabathia because they’re going to have a hard time finding money to buy them elsewhere.

Creepy Campaigning, Baseball Style

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 2:49 pm by

Robocallmania! We’ve all gotten ‘em, some disembodied voice saying Obama’s a terrorist mole, McCain called his wife a cunt (wait, that really happened), etc.  But the inspired minds at Jockish have imagined what kind of automated call you might receive if you were one of Major League Baseball’s 30 general managers. Here’s a couple of ‘em :

“How™s it goin™, eh? I™m calling for Eric Gagne, Cy Young Award-winning relief pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers. Might not have been the best year for baseball™s greatest-ever relief pitcher, but the Brewers are dangerously weak in their bullpen, and now is no time to throw Eric Gagne under the bus. Over the course of his career, he has averaged more than one strikeout per inning, and also played a pivotal role in the Boston Red Sox 2007 World Series championship. Solomon Torres, Guillermo Mota, and their bullpen allies might seem like flashy celebrities, but we can™t trust their judgment to keep our two-run leads safe. We need someone who™s been there before, and someone who will probably get back there again. Someone like Eric Gagne. This call was paid for by the Scott Boras Corporation and the National Fund for Canadian Baseball.”

“Hello, I™m calling on behalf of starting pitcher Oliver Perez, who™s played a key role in getting the Mets one game away from making the playoffs over the past two years. Oliver Perez is a consistent pitcher with the stuff of an ace and the mindset of a non-roster invitee. When the chips are down, and you need a win, you don™t just want someone that will just keep you in the game. You want someone that™s a little unpredictable. You want someone that will work hard for that win. You want Oliver Perez. This call was paid for by the Scott Boras Corporation.”

Mike Singletary Hasn’t Spoken To George Halas Recently, Either

Posted in Gridiron, Sports TV at 1:46 pm by

Good thing Mike Francesca “doesn’t want to pick on the young lady”. At least her error was acknowledged — can the same be said for the mountains of misinformation Francesca’s been responsible for over the years?

Barkley Declares ‘Bama Idiot-Proof

Posted in Basketball, Lower Education, politics at 11:48 am by

Charles Barkley tells Campbell Brown some whites will vote for Obama, but tell their friends they didn't.

[Barkley, talking like a statesman, if not sitting like one]

Former NBA great and ex-GOP booster Charles Barkley has assessed the political landscape and told CNN’s Campbell Brown last night why he’s fit to govern Alabama.  “I can’t screw up Alabama … We are number 48 in everything and Arkansas and Mississippi aren’t going anywhere,” Barkley said.

Indeed, and if I may play spin doctor for Sir Charles, when he says, “The public school system in this country is the worst it has ever been and what that does is that hurts crime, it hurts the judicial system …”, he is NOT running on a platform of better educating criminals to improve their work. The full transcript is here.

One Man’s Fury Over Philly Being Phucked

Posted in Baseball, Free Expression at 3:03 am by

Suffice to say, the gentleman above is not pleased after witnessing the first suspended game in World Series history. Keep in mind, he make more sense than the Kruky Monster, and think what they’d save on catering.

Paging Lane Kiffin : Willingham Is Finished In Washington

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 2:14 am by

Following Washington’s 33-7 defeat to Notre Dame, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s Jim Moore wrote of head coach Ty Willingham, “if he’s not fired on Monday, it will be a bigger upset than Washington beating USC on Saturday.” Moore was awfully close — Willingham’s firing, effective at season’s end, was confirmed late Monday night. In the eyes of one of Moore’s P-I colleagues, Willingham was doomed from the start. “What we have at Montlake regarding the football program is one ‘Yakety Sax’ theme song short of the full Benny Hill. As with the British comedian, it hasn’t been especially funny.” Let no one accuse Art Thiel of being short on contemporary cultural references.

Even Don James in his prime could not have parachuted into the 2008 season and made it a winner. Too much bad has happened at Washington to fix in one year, or four years. The new guy, who will lose this recruiting season and probably most of the next one, will need at least five years. He will probably get three.

But the UW history of abject floundering does not mean that the firing of Willingham should not have happened, only that it was inevitable due to the combination of many misdeeds that had gone before his tenure as well as his own hand.

He didn’t make promises, concessions or compromises to players, fans or media that he couldn’t accept. Those kinds of corner-cuts often get programs in trouble. But it’s exceedingly difficult to satisfy elite players and high-rolling boosters without them.

To make it across that tightrope, any coach has to play and talk a good game. Willingham did neither. In an era of the 24 /7 news cycle and Internet message boards that influence recruiting, his frequent inability and/or unwillingness to explain himself well was a bigger handicap than he ever appreciated.

10.27.08

St. Pete Scribe : Philly Phans Are Neanderthals

Posted in Baseball, Mob Behavior at 8:41 pm by

(above : happy Phillies rooters, minutes before the human sacrifice of Tampa’s lone traveling fan)

“This is not a matter of Rays fans being sissies,” insists the St. Petersberg Times’ John Romano of reports Tampa players’ families were “harassed and abused by Phillies fans at Citizens Bank Park to an unacceptable degree.”

“Something is very wrong about threatening families and children,” scolds Romano. “And something is wrong with a city that allows it.”  So it’s ok to bully adult males, then?

Children were cursed at, and one 9-year-old boy had beer poured on him. A Rays family member stayed locked in a bathroom stall because, he said, Phillies fans were banging on the walls and threatening him.

The Phillies, the police, the mayor’s office and the citizens allow their reputation to be lowered down to the level of knuckle-dragging Neanderthals because they condone this behavior year after year after year. Condone may not even be the right word. They revel in it.

This isn’t just rude or profane; it is intimidating and threatening. It is women being called whores and worse. It is children having food thrown at them. It is being pushed, shoved and jostled in the concourses.

Does this sort of thing happen at other stadiums? Without a doubt. And I’m sure it has happened on occasion at Tropicana Field, too. But no city has the reputation of Philadelphia. And the Rays have never complained about another stadium in this way.

Yes, because for 10 years prior, the Rays represented no threat whatsoever.  Look, I’d never condone terrorizing a child — no matter how thirsty he or she might’ve been — but this somewhat twisted version of a home field advantage does exist in virtually every city in America.  Romano is perfectly justified in calling attention to the matter, but to tar all of Philadelphians with the same brush because a vocal minority (say 49% of those in attendance) are a crude, savage lot, is to demean one of the nation’s great sports cities.  Had the Mets not been overtaken by Philly and Milwauke down the stretch and actually made it to the Fall Classic, I am confident Romano would find just as much reason to find fault with uncouth New Yorkers.

Maddon : What’s Up With Blanton’s Cap?

Posted in Baseball at 8:18 pm by

“Joe Blanton became the latest pitcher to praise the game calling of Carlos Ruiz, keeper of the scouting blueprints that have kept Tampa™s 3-4 hitters without a base hit this entire series. That™s the story. Not ducks left on the pond, not the blind officiating and certainly not the coonhound scat on Kentucky Joe™s bill.” So gushed Beerleaguer’s J. Weitzel following Blanton’s mastery of the Tampa Rays in last night’s 4th Game of the 2008 World Series, to which Joe Maddon might well reply, “coonhound what?” From the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Mike Jensen :

As first reported by MLB.com, Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon told home-plate umpire Tom Hallion after the second inning that he believed Blanton had pine tar on his hat.

After the game, Maddon addressed the issue with the media. Asked if he noticed a dark spot on Blanton’s cap, Maddon said: “We did notice, it was rather dark. I did bring it to their [umpires'] attention. I asked them to just watch it and be vigilant about it, and nothing happened. But I was concerned about it early on.”

Hallion replied to Maddon that he would check the baseball, and if he found a foreign substance on the ball, MLB.com reported, he would act on it.

Later last night, MLB.com removed the story from its Web site. Geoff Grant, the managing editor of MLB.com said the story was removed because it was obtained “prematurely” by viewing a feed from Fox, which broadcast the game. Grant said that MLB.com would post a new story after the game that would include more reporting and quotes.

“It’s nothing,” Blanton said after the game. “They rubbed balls up with whatever they rub them with. I’m contantly trying to get moisture. It’s nothing sticky.” Blanton then said of his cap, “Anybody can go touch it. It’s just dirt from the ball.”

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel wasn’t aware of what Maddon was protesting about. At a postgame news conference, Manuel took his own cap off and pointed at the bill. “You can look at my cap, it’s got the same kind of stuff he’s [Maddon] talking about.”

I can’t claim to have watched every Phillies game this season, but I don’t recall seeing a rather dark stain, about two inches wide, on the bill of Manuel’s hat. Nor that many members of any other club’s pitching staff without some kind of inspection taking place.

Browne Sanders : No Sympathy For Isiah

Posted in Basketball at 5:03 pm by

Kudos to the New York Post’s Andrea Peyser. Rather than ring up persons who might’ve gloated for a moment or two over Isiah Thomas’ recent hospitalization (Larry Brown, Stephon Marbury, George Karl), she’s instead sought the opinion of…someone who could’ve gloated all weekend.

“I’ve said all along he should have time to reflect on how badly he’s treated people over the years. Now that he’s not working, he should think about the victims of Isiah. Maybe that’s what’s going on,” Anucha Browne Sanders told The Post.

“I doubt it,” said the woman who netted almost $12 million in her sexual-harassment suit against Thomas and the team, in which she claimed he callously branded her a “bitch.”

Speaking out for the first time since her former tormentor was rushed to a Westchester hospital after what cops described as an apparent prescription-drug overdose, Sanders said she feels sympathy only for Thomas’ family.

“If he tried to commit suicide, I don’t want to pounce on him,” she said, but “I don’t feel sorry for him. You make your bed, you lie in it.”

Browne Sanders added:

“I don’t know what to say about it. If he’s not mentally stable, I’m not going to say anything to make it worse,” but she surmised he was likely having a tough time adjusting to life outside the Madison Square Garden bubble.

“That whole environment, you don’t realize how sick an environment it is until you step away from it,” said Sanders, who was canned from her Knick job after complaining about Thomas’ conduct.

“I just think he should probably stay and play with [the management at] Madison Square Garden. That’s where he belongs,” she said. “It’s just pitiful.”

Politi : Plaxico No Longer Nearly As Fantastico

Posted in Gridiron at 10:36 am by

The morning after Steelers replacement long-snapper James Harrison all but gift-wrapped the Giants’ 21-14 come from behind win in Pittsburgh, the Newark Star-Ledger’s Steve Politi considers the case of playmaking malcontent Plaxico Burress.  “You think you’re sick of hearing about this guy? Imagine how the Giants feel right now.”

Burress said he had no idea he was supposed to show up for treatment on Saturday morning before the team left for this defining road trip, which is like the old dog-ate-my-homework excuse. He was benched for the first quarter, then looked so lost on one play the Giants had to burn a timeout to set him straight.

They should have been enjoying this 21-14 victory over the Steelers without reservation, but then came more questions about you know who. The offense looked out of sync for most of this game and had to settle for four field goals deep in Pittsburgh territory. Most of that had to with the Steelers defense.

Burress should have been more fired up for this game than any other on the schedule, a homecoming to Pittsburgh to prove the Steelers wrong from letting him leave town. Instead, he confirmed everything his former team believed about him was true, that Burress’ talent is not worth his selfishness.

Burress should have been morFrom one interview to the next in the visiting locker room at Heinz Field, it was abundantly clear that the Giants have stopped apologizing for Burress. Fifty-two players on the roster have embraced the discipline from head coach Tom Coughlin and are flourishing.

This team keeps proving that it can win without the one. They beat up Seattle while Burress sat out the one-game suspension for missing a team meeting, then scrapped out this tough victory against the Steelers when Burress had just three catches for 15 yards.

Much as I love the image of young Eli and his good citizen teammates craving the touch of Col. Coughlin’s riding crop, surely Politi is aware the head coach’s record in Super Bowls without Burress is exactly the same as Terry Francona’s World Series mark without Manny Ramirez.  Politi compares the team’s frustration with Burress to events that led to Jeremy Shockey’s departure, but there’s one key difference :  the Giants already proved Shockey was surplus to requirements before dumping him.