Booo! Fitzy Channels Count Floyd

Posted in Free Expression, Gridiron at 10:28 am by

Almost as creepy as the real thing, too.

Morrissey To MLB : Shorten The Season

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 10:26 am by

“If baseball insists upon playing 162 regular-season games, three postseason rounds and the World Baseball Classic every four years,” warns Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal,  “weather problems will continue to disrupt the World Series.”  And that’s to say nothing of Ken’s paymasters insisting on evening start times for the Fall Classic.   The Chicago Tribune’s Rick Morrissey seems equally troubled, insisting “when the Phillies were jumping on each other Wednesday night after winning the World Series, they weren’t celebrating. They were trying to stay warm.” (link taken from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)

A wonderful solution would be for baseball to start the season April 15 rather than April 1 and end the regular season Sept. 15 instead of Sept. 30. That’s correct: a 130-game schedule.

Come to think of it, cutting April and September entirely from the regular season wouldn’t be such a bad idea. The season is wayyy toooooo lllllooooooonnnnnnng.

Now I know this would play havoc with statistics. Records we hold dear would likely never be broken again because of the shortened schedule. But let’s keep in mind that the steroids era has taken a sledgehammer to the record books anyway. The home run records, in particular, are silly.

Anyone who has had to sit through a game in the spring knows it can be a wretched experience, at least in Chicago, especially when the wind has kicked up and the cold air hasn’t received the memo about summer being somewhere on the horizon.

What we saw this week made no sense. Why allow weather to be the biggest factor at the exact time the games mean everything?

Assuming the owners don’t like my idea of a shorter season”assuming, while we’re at it, that they don’t like being flogged with a birch switch”what about playing the World Series at a neutral, warm-weather site? Sacrilege, I know. But if football can do it, why can’t baseball?

When precisely isn’t weather a major factor?  If the World Series is too important to be played under frigid conditions, can the Texas Rangers petition to play the entire summer at a neutral site?


Please, Enough About San Antonio’s Shaq-Hacking Prank

Posted in Basketball at 6:25 pm by

Of course the Suns beat the Spurs last night —- how could San Antonio be expected to compete after their head coach was suddenly replaced by Dr. Gene Scott?

D’Antoni Denies Calling Knicks Fans Assholes (Can You Believe These Assholes?)

Posted in Basketball at 5:22 pm by

I didn’t think Thursday’s Knicks blotter would include a story to top the Chef Oakley auction, but here we go. Under normal circumstances, a Knickerbocker season opening victory at MSG would be cause for celebration, even if it came against a club that lost 67 games last season. As long as Stephon Marbury stays in a New York uniform, however, it’s not gonna be quite that simple, as Newsday’s Alan Hahn illustrates.

Mike D’Antoni on Thursday admitted he did hear the chant of “We Want Steph!” from a section of the sellout crowd at the Garden in the second half of Wednesday’s season-opening 120-115 win over the Miami Heat. But while television replays showed D’Antoni yelling, “Are you f— kidding me?” toward the crowd, what is unclear is if he was directing his anger at the chanting fans — who were calling for benched guard Stephon Marbury — or the referees.

“I just thought they didn’t quite get it, but they’re great fans and they’re into it,” D’Antoni said when asked about the situation. “It’s almost like on draft night, no matter who you draft they’re going to boo because there’s somebody the fans like and somebody they don’t … You’ll hear it from the people that don’t and that’s OK. It’s no big deal.”

A majority of the fans seemed to agree with his decision to leave Marbury on the bench for the entire game. But late in the third quarter, with the Knicks ahead by 23 points, some fans in the upper bowl started a chant of “We Want Steph!” After a few attempts, the chant was overcome by loud boos from the rest of the sellout crowd.

But the moment that involved D’Antoni came with 11:10 left in the fourth quarter and, it should be noted, after a foul was called on Mardy Collins. The Knicks were leading at the time, 93-77, and the big lead was already starting to slip away.

A reporter from ESPN Radio said there was also video evidence that D’Antoni added, “What a bunch of a—.” Newsday can only confirm D’Antoni’s first comment.

After D’Antoni addressed the media immediately following practice, he came back a short while later to re-address the issue and said his words were not directed at the crowd.

“There’s no way I would do that to the fans,” he said.

Keith Law Just Fell Off Bob Brenly’s Top Friends List

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 4:33 pm by

“The job of a manager is not to be a buddy of the players,” insisted Ken Macha earlier today at a press conference introduction as the newest manager of the Miwaukee Brewers.  And good thing, too, because the former Trenton Thunder skipper had a reputation for being anything but a players’ pal during his tenure as Billy Beane’s puppet manager in Oakland. At a confusing moment like this, at least we can count on ESPN senior baseball analyst Keith Law to refrain from inflammatory rhetoric.

Earlier today, the Royals acquired former Mets 1B Mike Jacobs from the Marlins in exchange for reliever Leo Nuñez. Before the swap was confirmed Rainy On The Royals’ Rany Jazayerli declared, “the mere fact that Dayton Moore is talking to the Marlins about Jacobs tells me he still doesn™t get it.”

Jacobs turns 28 today. He is eligible for arbitration, and his salary is likely to jump to around $3 million for 2009. He will be a free agent in three years, which isn™t all that relevant, because in three years it™s unlikely that he™ll be worth paying millions of dollars to. He™s unlikely to get any better than he™s been the last three years, and given the difference in league quality, and the fact that Kauffman Stadium is openly hostile to his primary skill, it™s likely he™ll be a little worse in 2009 than in 2008. This is what happens to unathletic hitters who reach the majors at a fairly advanced age: they are very valuable commodities in Year One, and perilously close to becoming liabilities by Year Four. Which is, in part, why the Marlins are so willing to move him.

Jacobs wasn™t even all that good in 2008. He certainly had his uses; he hit 32 homers in just 141 games, and slugged .514 for the Marlins. But he drew just 36 walks, and his OBP was .299. Two-ninety-nine.

Moore doesn™t get that what really ails his offense isn™t the lack of power, it™s the lack of walks. The Royals finished next-to-last in the AL in homers last season. The one team they out-homered? The Twins, who finished third in the league in runs scored and came within a game of the playoffs. But the Royals didn™t just finish last in the league with 392 walks, they had one of the lowest walk totals in a non-strike season in recent American League history.

Bickley : Shortly Before Losing His Head, Singletary Lost His Trousers

Posted in Gridiron at 4:00 pm by

A few days ago, I suggested newly appointed 49ers head coach Mike Singletary might’ve peaked too early with his now infamous postgame bashing of Vernon Davis.  According to the Arizona Republic’s Dan Bickley, Singletary could well have peaked even earlier.

At halftime of the Seattle game, Singletary called for the attention of his players.   He then dropped his pants, turned around and pointed to his backside.  He used this occasion and that visual to describe what happened to his team in the first half.

A NFL source inside the room confirmed the story with my radio partner, XTRA 910 football guru Mike Jurecki, and added that Singletary then addressed the team for 3-4 minutes with his pants around his ankles.

The 49ers trailed 20-3 at halftime.  They would lose the game, 34-13.

So, the question in San Francisco becomes this:  Does Samurai Mike’s legendary intensity rally a football team or does the Crazy Man Act alienate a football team?

Lt. Dangle, Political Activist

Posted in Baseball, politics at 3:10 pm by

In what might be the least surprising political note of the autumn, the Los Angeles Times’ Dan Morain reports Dodgers 2B Jeff Kent has contributed $15,000 to supporters of a California anti same-sex marriage proposition.

In a disclosure filed with the California secretary of state, Kent listed his occupation as professional baseball player for the Dodgers and his address as Austin, Texas. He gave the $15,000 in a transaction dated Monday but which only now is public.

Proposition 8 would ban same-sex marriage by imposing a California constitutional amendment that would define marriage as being between one man and one woman.

With both sides spending upward of $30 million each, the measure has become the most costly ballot measure ever dealing with a social issue, and the spending is by far the most for any proposition anywhere in the country this year.

Frank Schubert, managing the Yes-on-8 campaign, said he was unaware that Kent had weighed in.

“He has had a stellar career and will no doubt one day be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame,” Schubert said. “I wish the Giants had kept Kent and traded [Barry] Bonds.”

Either Schubert is thoroughly unfamiliar with Bonds’ accomplishments between the lines, or his views on baseball are as enlightened as his take on civil liberties.  Having made a surprise hospital visit recently, perhaps now would be a good time for the Sultan Of Surly to further curry public favor by making a large donation to Prop 8′s opponents?

First Candidate To Drop The “You’re With Me, Leather” Line Has The Presidency In The Bag

Posted in Gridiron, politics, Sports TV at 1:42 pm by

So it’s come to this ; two determined political vets, one a dynamic new voice of optimism, the other a decorated American hero….reduced to making Chris Berman look like the modern David Frost.  With no shortage of pride, ESPN announced today that Boomer would conduct separate election eve interviews with Senators Barack Obama and John McCain to be shown during halftime of Monday’s Redskins/Steelers tilt on ABC.

There’s no truth to the rumor Bob Barr’s been given a full minute to make his case to Qadry Ismail.

Where’s Ed Wade’s Playoff Share?

Posted in Baseball at 1:19 pm by

Seriously, for all the mockery aimed at Kevin McHale for having fast-tracked his old pals in Boston with the gift of Kevin Garnett, how about the not-so-popular in Philly Ed Wade helping his former club with Houston’s dump of Brad Lidge?

Though I don’t recall many observers (and Jimmy Rollins doesn’t count) automatically awarding the NL Championship to the Phillies back in Spring Training, Lidge — flawless in the postseason, awfully close during the regular campaign — represented the biggest difference between the ’08 World Champs and the ’07 NL East title holders.  Jason will have more to offer on last night’s drama and subsequent celebrations, but personal allegiances aside, I can’t be disappointed.  Though I’d have loved to watch a seven game series, and there’s no sense in diminishing Tampa’s historic achievement, it’s very hard to argue the Phillies aren’t deserving. And back to those same personal allegiances, I hope Fred and Jeff Wilpon had many snacks and refreshing beverages on hand for their Game 5 2/3′rds viewing party last night.  Pat Gillick and Ruben Amaro made a bold move with the Lidge acquisition during the offseason, while the recently extended Omar Minaya did zilch at the trade or waiver deadline to address bullpen deficiences that cost the Mets far more than two games in the standings.

Jason, Chuck, and all surviving members of the Sadistic Exploits, you have my sincere congratulations.  Though I’m not looking forward to a winter of gloating from this guy.

Plumbing The Depths : Wurzelbacher’s Country Album

Posted in politics at 10:59 am by

My first thought upon reading an item from Politico’s Jeffrey Resner that along with hiring a Nashville based P.R. firm,  McCain prop Sam Wurzelbacher aka “Joe The Plumber” “is being pursued for a record deal and could come out with a country album as early as Inauguration Day” was, “isn’t the Yep Roc roster large enough already?”

After careful consideration, however, I realized that even in the current economic climate, the general public craves inspirational music that speaks directly to their hopes, dreams and daily experiences.  But enough about the Sic Alps, if Mr. Wurzelbacher has something to say, who am I to scoff at his ambitions?  However, as a musical neophyte, he’s gonna need help.  A producer.  Engineer.  Song Doctor.  Musical dictator director. A savvy, experienced team that know all the crucial elements required to make a hit record in the ultra-competitive pop or country marketplace.

Thankfully, all of those tasks can be accomplished by just one man, a rock’n'roll legend from the battleground state of Pennsylvania with a rich history of knocking out records on a strict deadline.  I have no idea whether or not Joey Welz is available or interested in tackling this project, but Sam The Tax Cheat Joe The Plumber’s handlers owe it to themselves to make the phone call as soon as possible.