“I’m rooting against Josh David Booty ever playing,” admitted Jim Souhan in this morning’s Minneapolis Star-Tribune, “because Chris Berman would be so gleeful about the pun possibilities attached to Booty’s name that Berman might have a heart attack.” Souhan followed with, “on second thought, I now have a reason to root for John David Booty.”
Thus kicked off a lengthy thread at the venerable Sports Journalists.com message board, in which the wisdom, if not the wit in wishing a heart attack upon Mr. Berman was discussed. It’s not the most fascinating debate to take place at SJ, but contributor FaceDownPirates came up with what should be the last word on the subject :
Ball State alumnus Jason Whitlock swears “I’m not high” and “I’m cold and rational” when singing the praises of his 12-0 Cardinals to Fox Sports readers after a 45-22 thumping of Western Michigan Tuesday night. “Not one of the Big 12′s quarterbacks is in the same physical ballpark as Ball State’s Nate Davis,” gushes Whitlock. “It’s not close. They can’t match his arm, instincts, touch, accuracy, presence, ability to move in the pocket, out of the pocket or make plays when things break down.” All the more galling then, when Whitlock’s former employers (allegedly) conspire to diminish Ball State’s achievements.
If you’re going to televise multiple Big 12 games in primetime on ABC and ESPN, you have every reason to promote the myth that the majority of Heisman Trophy candidates play in the Big 12. Let me tell you what passes for courage and independent thinking at ESPN. Chris Fowler dropped Ball State out of his AP top-25 ballot last week after the Cardinals beat a then-9-2 Central Michigan team on the road.
What Fowler has done is ridiculous and reeks of the kind of simple-minded arrogance that permeates ESPN. Fowler has had his ass kissed for too many years. He travels around the country during football season and everywhere he goes, there’s an Army of BCS sports information directors waiting to kiss his ass and tell him how great “GameDay” is.
He has never been a professional journalist a day in his life. He’s a TV personality. He knows what someone else has told him. I’m not 100 percent sure, but I’d suspect he hasn’t worn a jock since junior high school.
This is the combination that is killing the sports media. No journalism background, no real athletic experience and no backbone. No clue. Fowler wouldn’t make a competent blogger.
“GameDay” and Fowler are unlikely to ever visit Muncie, Ind. ESPN2 televises midweek MAC games in November. Fowler must primarily worry about his reception at BCS institutions. You would not believe how many alleged “journalists” and “media personalities” spend much of their time fretting about whether an SID, a coach or a player likes them. It’s an embarrassing obsession among the media.
Fowler knows little about football and nothing about Ball State. His celebrity status justifies his AP vote.
“If you bring somebody in to play and pay them, pick a number, $30 million, does that seem a little weird to you?” asked Jamie McCourt (above) yesterday at the Evergreen Recreation Center in East Los Angeles. “That’s what we’re trying to figure out. We’re really trying to see it through the eyes of our fans. We’re really trying to understand, would they rather have the 50 fields?”
Frank McCourt’s better half was referring to the Dodgers’ pledge to build 42 youth baseball fields throughout Southern California, a noble enough effort, but one that bears little relation to the price of admission to see Joe Torre’s charges ply their trade. Sneers the LA Times’ TJ Simers, “with $26.24 in my pocket I need only an additional $63.76 to buy a ticket, get a scented towel and watch a Dodgers exhibition game in Arizona and maybe catch the late-inning heroics of Pablo Ozuna.”
Ninety dollars a ticket sounds like a lot until you break it down. It’s really only nine Anthony Davis autographs, or $410 less than what the Dodgers charged 250 fans each the other night to take batting practice at Dodger Stadium and pose for pictures with Russell Martin and Andre Ethier.
“The chance to step into the cage for many of these fans is a dream come true,” says the Dentist, the Dodgers’ PR guy.
I tell him I can put him into a batting cage with a roll of quarters, but he says the $500 fee also includes “baseball cuisine.”
I take it the Dodger Dogs are not left over from the last playoff game. But maybe someone can let me know for sure after attending the next session on Dec. 13 with Matt Kemp — if not too embarrassed to admit they spent $500 to be there.
The McCourts deserve credit in these tough times figuring yet another way to get into the pockets of fans, but I wondered where the money might be going.
Plaschke quotes some joker named Ned Colletti, as if this guy Colletti is some kind of baseball expert.
“Our six or seven young players are still the key to this club,” Colletti says.
“Manny was tremendous, but this is not tennis, one player does not make a difference.”
One player made the whole difference for the Dodgers, but Colletti took no notice, so what does that say about the guy charged with the task of adding talent to the Dodgers’ roster?
Citing a Peter King price quote of an alleged $21 million buyout tag for an NFL team to hire away Notre Dame’s Charlie Weis, the New York Times’ Pete Thamel muses, “that was last year, so it™s likely gone down slightly. And no one is sure if the buyout is different for firing than hiring.” Quick to pile on, the Chicago Tribune’s Teddy Greenstein finds one high school coach who complains of “a level of conceit he never had seen.”
When Jeanette H.S. Coach Ray Reitz told Weis in 2007 that Terrelle Pryor might attend a USC quarterbacks camp, he remembers Weis replying: “Why send him there? If he’s with me for one day he’ll be good, two days he’ll be great and three days he’ll be incredible.”
Later, unprompted, Weis asked the Jeannette coaches if they wanted to take a picture of his Super Bowl ring. “I did it, just to be polite, and then gave [the picture] to one of the kids,” Reitz recalled.
If Weis were arrogant, foul-mouthed and winning, few Notre Dame alums would grumble.
But his record is 27-19. Gerry Faust went 25-20-1 through 46 games against tougher opponents.
“And at least he was a good guy,” one alum noted.
When Weis visited Pryor’s school in 2007, Reitz recalled, he said that if Pryor couldn’t cut it at quarterback, “we’ll use him on the outside.”
No other school introduced the idea that Pryor might play receiver.
“Here’s the best part,” Reitz recalled. “He says to Terrelle: ‘Call me tomorrow at 6. I’ll be watching where Brady Quinn gets drafted.’ “
Football tough guy Brian Urlacher (above) dresses his son in pink Cinderella diapers and paints the 3-year-old’s toenails blue, the child’s mother charged in Will County court Tuesday.
The mother, Tyna Robertson, threatened to block Urlacher from seeing the boy if the beefy linebacker kept up the alleged effeminate antics.
Urlacher’s motion was to stop Robertson from keeping Kennedy Urlacher away from him. Robertson said she would allow the visitation, so long as Urlacher put away the Bears-blue nail polish and diapered their son in gender appropriate pull-ups.
After the hearing, Robertson said her son has become confused by the toenail panting and wearing pull-up diapers designed for little girls.
“(Kennedy) pulls down his pants and says, ‘Mommy, look how pretty they are,’” she said of the diapers.
Robertson also recalled Kennedy informing her, “Big boys paint their nails,” and said he refused to take a bath for two days to keep the blue polish on his nails from coming off.
“He’d say, ‘Mommy, I don’t want to get my nails wet. I don’t want to mess them up,’” she said. “It took two hours to get him in the bath.”
“He says he can do whatever he wants,” Robertson said. “(Urlacher said), ‘It doesn’t make him feminine. It doesn’t make him gay.’
“You’re confusing him, if he’s a boy or a girl,” she said.
Not to make light of a serious family matter, but now might be a good time for other NFL icons to come forward and discuss how painting their toenails had no negative repercussions on their personal or professional lives. The question is, are Dick Butkus and Mike Ditka man enough to go public?
While the financial fate of the world teeters on every word President-elect Obama says, The Huffington Post reports that a disgruntled South Side fan took umbrage with the President-elect in Chicago. Apparently, the Obama team divides the press corps into two sections, “White Sox” and “Cubs.” Obama, a Sox/Phillies/Iowa Cubs/Rays fan, and his staff, possibly have other things on their minds this week. Still, Mr. Steve Thomma, of the McClatchey service, used his spot as the day’s pool reporter to detract from the nation’s business with the following:
Motorcade rolled from Hyde Park at 9:11 am CST, pulled into service entrance of the hotel at 9:19 am CST. It’s noteworthy that the press seats at the news conference have been divided into a White Sox section – to the South – and a Cubs section – to the North of the ballroom. But in a crime against nature, your pooler – a genuine White Sox fan, a man who attended his first twi-night double header at the Old Comiskey in 1963, who sat behind third base for the 50th anniversary All Star Game there in ’83, who knew Bill Veeck and the wonders of Disco Demolition night, who saw the great Ozzie play before he managed – has been assigned a seat in the Cubs section.
Now watch here, as Obama explains the restraint needed in saving the South Side or anywhere else in Illinois, when the hurt feelings of a real working class hero South Sider need to be addressed while families strugle to pay bills.
“That the kind of change we need “ [we] White Sox fans,” said Thomme in graciously accepting the apology from Obama. While no one who reads CSTB is surprised at a Sox fan’s whining to everyone about a perceived lack of respect and their step-child hurt feelings, you would think saving the nation from Depression comes first. Have Sox fans no sense of decency, at long last?
It made a certain type of news yesterday when President Bush, otherwise deep in the throes of late-stage metastatic irrelevance, issued 14 presidential pardons and a pair of sentence commutations yesterday. Anxious readers are hereby assured that former Giants WR Mark Ingram (above) remains safely locked away, and that Bush’s pardons follow his usual pardoning pattern of stingy randomness — a woman sentenced for unauthorized acquisition of food stamps; a couple of environmental criminals; a few embezzlers.
So, yeah: the usual, pretty much, although former Fugees weed-carrier and noted Nena-sampler John Forte did get his 14 year sentence — for allegedly attempting to smuggle $1.4 million of liquid cocaine through Newark Airport — commuted. The story of how that happened — which involves lobbying from Utah Senator Orrin “Ohh-La-La-La” Hatch, Carly Simon, and a rare instance of a hip-hop figure being helped by Exeter connections — is related here. It’s an object lesson in weirdness, but it will hopefully provide something of a framework for gimpy Giants K Lawrence Tynes, who is asking President Bush to reduce his brother Mark’s sentence. The New York Daily News‘ Brendan Brosh reports:
[Mark Tynes] was saddled with a prior felony drug charge before his 2004 conviction as kingpin of a syndicate that transported 3,600 pounds of marijuana between Texas and Florida. [He] refused to cooperate with prosecutors – and his sentence was extended from 151 months to 324 months over allegations of witness intimidation. Without presidential help, Tynes isn’t scheduled to leave prison until November 2026.
Ortiz, who plans to submit the paperwork for a commutation next week, said he doesn’t think Mark Tynes will benefit from the President’s well-documented sports mania. But he’s hopeful Lawrence Tynes’ notoriety can help.
“Because Lawrence is high-profile, this will get people to look at the story and take a look at what happened to Mark,” Ortiz said. Mark Tynes, inmate No. 05559-017 at the Forrest City Federal Correctional Complex in Arkansas, is doing more time than some convicted killers.
As Lawrence Tynes noted in an interview with Daily News columnist Mike Lupica in January: “Is my brother guilty?” Yes? But 27 years? … My brother being in prison isn’t the injustice. The sentence was the injustice.” Four co-conspirators, who turned against Mark Tynes and cooperated with authorities, are out of jail.
“Sports maniac” that he is, Bush may actually be sympathetic to entreaties on behalf of a supposed drug kingpin who’s related to an injured kicker. But Forte’s all-star lobbying team should be an example to Tynes as he continues to pursue this case. Leo Sayer and Rep. Don Nickles? Roberta Flack and Sen. John Thune? Surely there’s some combination of ’70s pop star and conservative politician who can advance Tynes’ case.
The state Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments from the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office and Jayson Williams’ lawyers over whether information about a racial slur an officer used to describe the ex-New Jersey Net should become part of his upcoming retrial for reckless manslaughter.
Since last December, the prosecution has been fighting to keep the information sealed. The incident occurred in 2002, when the investigator used the epithet to describe Williams during a meeting within the prosecutor’s office.
The prosecution insists the man, who no longer works for the office, was not an integral part of the investigation. He did not testify in the first trial in 2004 and won’t be called as a witness at the next. Prosecutor J. Patrick Barnes brought the incident to Superior Court Judge Edward Coleman’s attention last year, as the state was preparing to retry Williams for reckless manslaughter. Coleman issued an order in December, requiring the state to disclose the identity of individuals who were present during the meeting and all notes and documents relating to the issues discussed during the 2002 meeting.
Bayern Munich are through to the Champions League’s final 16 as a result of tonight’s 3-0 dismantling of Steaua Bucharest, with Goal.com hailing Franck Riberry’s performance as “a tremendous display from the frenchman…a constant threat (who) provided his strikers with an ample amount of ammunition.” Since I was freezing what’s left of my brains to death at QPR’s 2-1 home defeat of Charlton Athletic — Paulo Sousa’s first win since taking the R’s managerial job last week — I cannot tell you whether or not Riberry was wearing pink. On his feet.
We went with JB sir to breakfast at a great American breakfast eatery called Dennys. Rinku ordered a breakfast called the Lumberjack. We now know that a Lumberjack is a person who works as a tree cutter in the forrest so they must eat a lot of food. this breakfast was quite huge. It had eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, potatos, breads, and pancakes. I had French Toast and both meals were very fulfilling.
We then went to a movie that was very bad called Rock and Rolla. it was supposed to be big action, but it was no action at all. At least the seats were very comfortable and the theater was very clean.
Nov. 1 :
We first got our hair cut today. I am not very happy with this result.
Next we went to the USC Footbal Game. We walked along campus and everyone was set up outsdoors with booths for food and selling USC items. many people who have graduated from USC apparently now come back to eat outside along this route, but we do not understand why.
The American Football players are so big and have such huge muscles you would not even believe it. Each time they hit each other we are told it is like being in a car accident. These men hit each other many times per match. praise Allah that we have won a baseball contest and a not a football one. i don™t think we could even take a hitting once.
“He must be cheered during player introductions, cheered if he scores 50 points, cheered if he dunks on Nate Robinson, cheered if he embarrasses the Knicks, cheered if he beats them at the buzzer,” insists Newsday’s Shaun Powell, and he’s not talking about Delonte West. The Cablevision-employed columnist says of the Cavaliers’ visit to MSG this evening, “This game must become a surreal scene, unlike any seen before in the NBA. If Knicks fans know better, and we bet they do, they must violate every law in the fan handbook. They should openly and aggressively root for the best player on the other team every time he touches the ball, every time he does anything with it.” How long before Powell receives a death threat candygram from Amar Panchmatia?
The romancing of LeBron must begin tonight, and it must be a long and torrid courtship. New York basketball fans, the smartest in the world, know the deal. They know what’s at stake after the 2009-10 season, when he can opt out of his contract. They know getting LeBron to leave Cleveland, the only place he’s ever known, won’t be easy. They know it’ll take more than money. They know New York must step out of character and show that it ain’t too proud to beg.
What Walsh did Friday by making two trades and freeing up roughly $27 million in cap space for 2010 was genius. No matter what the Knicks do between now and April, the season already is a success because the goal was met. Walsh traded Zach Randolph just in time, before Randolph fell into a slump or, even worse, got into off-court trouble. By sending Jamal Crawford packing, Walsh made it possible to sign not one but two free agents two summers from now.
Really, who does LeBron want for a GM, Walsh or the one he has in Cleveland, Danny Ferry?
The budget will allow LeBron to hand-pick his very own Scottie Pippen. He can recruit Chris Bosh or Amare Stoudemire to New York. Maybe even Dwyane Wade. You think he can recruit any of those guys to Cleveland?
James will need convincing. Plenty of it. That must begin tonight, when the fans can show a superstar what it’s like to play in New York even if you still belong to someone else.
Admittedly, this isn’t the hottest story in the sports world and usually not the sort of thing I’d interrupt a busy early evening in a foreign land to comment on. It does, however provide yet another cheap opportunity to post one of the great managerial rants of all time. Lee Elia needs to buy a ticket if he wants to visit Cooperstown, but surely he deserves induction into a Hall Of Fame of some sort or another.
(R. Kelly pissing on a 61 year old, illustration by Derek Erdman. Jim DeRogatis, unavailable for comment)
Damn. Derek Erdman and I are each celebrating birthdays next month and his want list is exactly the same as mine, except I wear size 10 1/2 shoes (hint, hint).
What do I get for Derek for his birthday? Well, I sure could use a staple gun (Arrow), AA batteries, Home Depot gift cards, Dick Blick gift cards, Adderall, a Kangol bucket hat (LL Cool J Style, large size), a thin long scarf (used), Size 9 black & white checkered slip-on Vans (new), drawings, homemade cards, Google Android G1 Phone, Uniball Vision Fine Tip Pens (Black Ink), Aristocrat By Leigh Potters dinnerware (red & white stripes), haiku, cookies, candy, Red Bull, old yearbooks, old photos, blank DVDs. SEND TO: 2068 N. Leavitt Chicago, IL 60647.
Derek’s birthday is 19 days before mine, so he’s got seniority. If you can only find one Kangol bucket hat in the LL Cool J style, I think it’s his.
…he brought a c.v. slightly more glittering than that of Larry Hughes. That’s about as wild a final 65 seconds you’re gonna see, regular season or otherwise, and Hughes’ heroics aside, it’s hard to decide which is stranger ; that Derrick Rose had such an uncontested shot with 7 seconds remaining or that he failed to convert. When does the college-to-pro learning curve kick in for Rose, exactly, sometime in his 3rd season?
With a couple of exceptions, I’ve long figured the MVN sports blog family to be the sort of low editorial standards clusterfuck that would allow any pretty much any schmoe with a laptop to flex their analytical chops…at least until the association became too embarrassing for MVN to tolerate. Just the other day, I was curious if Gate D apologist Alex Benesowitz was still toiling on MVN’s Father Knickerbocker and was somewhat surprised to see the blog is instead running the Cavs-centric commentary of one Amar Panchmatia.
Panchmatia recently considered one ESPN commentator’s promise that LeBron James and Chris Bosh were headed for New York in 2010, and replied with the headline, “Jalen Rose : Stop Snorting Coke”. Not being a regular reader of Panchmatia’s Cavalier Attitude, I wasn’t aware this was mild stuff by prior standards.
Earlier today, Deadspin’s A.J. Daluerio reported that Panchmatia received a home telephone call from Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, offering the blogger a free plane ticket for a face to face meeting. Sadly, the purpose of such a confab wasn’t a frank discussion about the state of the NBA, nor was Wojnarowski planning on tutoring Panchmatia on the inner workings of sports journalism.
Y’see, earlier this year, Panchmatia blogged that he hoped to meet Wojnarowski. “I would bust him in the jaw, throw him to the ground, force him to put his mouth on a curb, and smash the back of his head with my foot. Yes, American History X style.”
Imagine that, ladies and gentlemen. An individual — exercising his First Amendment rights — express his fervent desire to murder Adrian Wojnarowski. Woj, clearly unable to take take a good ribbbing (who amongst us doesn’t giggle uncontrollably when someone we’ve never met threatens to stomp us to death?), took the bait and gave Panchmatia an opportunity to put up or shut up. But of course, it’s Wojnarowski who oughta get some perspective and not let this hoops-internet shit bug him so much.
Why is it that when someone, in this case Mr. Cavalier Attitude When It Comes To Making Violent Threats, writes something purely designed to provoke an extreme response, the author seems confused at having actually pissed off the very person he threatened? In the real world — of which presumably, Mr. Panchmatia is still a resident — when you publicly announce that kicking a man’s brains in gives you a boner, one of three things generally happens ; you get a visit from the P.D., you lose your job or the object of your affections comes-a-knocking. In the blogosphere, however, you can just erase the posts.
While the tri-state waits breathlessly to learn the identity of Mike Francesca’s new don’t-call-him-a-sidekick on WFAN’s “Mike’d Up”, the afternoon guzzler of Diet Coke dropped a somewhat confusing hint to Newsday’s Neil Best ;
œI think if Dog and I did one thing badly, we really ignored the technology. We were so successful we totally ignored the technology and were not good at it. Now I think you have to be good at it. It™s to a point where you can™t ignore it. It™s there. You have to use a computer now. You can™t ignore it. The technology has attacked us in a way where you can™t ignore it. That™s why I like keeping the young guys around.
œSal [Licata] and Eddie [Erickson] are young. Sal™s not even 30, Eddie™s in his mid-30s. Maybe one of the reasons I didn™t bring Joe [Benigno] in was I thought it might not be good to have someone in there who™s even older than me. Maybe that™s my trepidation, because Joe did really well. More it was a case of me wondering if that was the right feel for the show, if maybe I do need someone younger?
œI™m still hunting and pecking and looking and yes, yes, keep speculating, because I™m still looking. I promise. Ask Cherny. We™re still looking. We discussed a very interesting candidate yesterday, a fascinating candidate yesterday. Cherny had a gleam in his eye, I™ll tell you that.™™
OK, let’s consider the criteria —- Mike wants a partner that’s younger than Joe Benigno-Gazingo (check). And he’d like someone who is technologically savvy (check fuckin’ mate!). Is it really this obvious?
Saturday’s defeat in New York —headlined by Wizznutzz as “(WIZARDS) FALL TO KNICKS LINEUP OF ROSE, ROBERSON, JARED JEFFRIES’ ROOMATE, KENNY KRAMER, TWO 7 FT HASIDIC STOCKBOYS FROM B&H CAMERA!” left Washington with an Oklahoma City-esque 1-10 record, as well as marking head coach Eddie Jordan’s last game in charge. The Washington Post’s Ivan Carter and Michael Lee report Jordan got the axe, “shortly after he and his wife, Charrisse, handed out Thanksgiving turkeys to the needy at a team-sponsored charitable event.” Which is just as well — had Jordan been terminated earlier, he might’ve been tempted to keep a bird or two for himself.
Ed Tapscott, who had carried the title of Director of Player Development but traveled with the team and essentially served as an extra assistant coach, takes over on an interim basis.
How much of the poor start can be attributed to Jordan is highly debatable. Injuries to Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood left him without his best player and best center. Veteran guard Antonio Daniels has been limited to six games due to a right knee injury and the rest of the team’s veterans — players like Darius Songaila, Etan Thomas and Andray Blatche — have performed at a subpar level.
Without wishing Jordan any ill will, the prospect of Avery Johnson or Jeff Van Gundy taking over in DC is awfully enticing, if for no other reasons than either potential hiring supplying tons of easy blog copy.
Things went from bad to far worse yesterday when Iggles head coach Andy Reid benched QB Donovan McNabb in favor of Kevin Kolb during a 34-7 loss to the Ravens, a circumstances former Philly RB/kick returner Vai Sikahema likens to “divorce via text message”. From NBCPhiladelphia.com :
I predict on Monday, Reid is going to be surprised that there’s a backlash on this issue.
That’s how out of touch Reid has become.
Obviously, getting benched at halftime isn’t the same as dissolving a marriage, but in football terms, it’s often the first step to a final separation.
By it’s very nature, the quarterback position deserves more attention than the other 52 men on the squad. He’s the leader, the unofficial team spokesman and often, the face of the franchise. That’s why it’s monumental when one is benched, released, traded or retire. Often, those announcements are made in the company of the owner, city officials, an entire organization and the player’s family tree.
That’s why there was a shock wave through the media corps when someone asked Reid after the game how McNabb was notified of the benching and he nonchalantly mentioned that he hadn’t yet even spoken to Donovan. It was McNabb who confirmed after Reid’s press conference that Pat Shurmur informed him of the benching.
Even those who aren’t McNabb fans will be surprised by this. And the Eagles will go into damage control Monday because they will have misjudged how this will resonate with their fan base.
Because most people consider being notified of a demotion by the boss a common courtesy that should have been given to a loyal soldier, a franchise player and a good employee – even one whose best years may be behind him.
PhillyBurbs’ Jeff Offord, though less concerned with doing right by McNabb compared to winning the game, insists, “Sunday was the low point of Reid’s tenure.”
Was it the right move? Dumb, stupid. A panic move. Call it what you will, but McNabb should have come back for the second half. No matter how poorly he was playing ” he had just finished the first half 1-for-9 ” McNabb should have been left in the game. There will be a place and time to relieve McNabb of his duties for good and let Kolb take over. But lifting McNabb Sunday just didn™t make sense. Especially trailing by just three points, with the Birds needing a win badly and with Brian Westbrook ” the team™s best player ” nowhere near 100 percent. McNabb gave the Eagles their best chance to win against a Ravens defense that might just be the best in the NFL.
Ok, but what about Kolb? What about him? He didn™t look good, but what else would you expect from the poor kid? Reid threw Kolb into the fire hoping for a spark. What he got was a Bobby Hoying-like meltdown. Kolb completed 10 of 23 attempts for 73 yards and two interceptions, including one that was brought back an NFL record 108-yard touchdown. Reid probably would have been better off letting third-stringer A.J. Feeley finish the game. But then Reid would have risked shattering Kolb™s confidence. Not that staying in the game really did anything to build his confidence.
Not to be outdone, Mike Ditka was asked for his assessment of the Eagles’ chances against Arizona on ESPN Radio this morning and suggested Philly “needs to score more points”. With this sort of trenchant analysis, ’tis no wonder Da Coach’s opinions are so sought after on Monday mornings.
While the New York Mets have been linked to relievers including but not limited to K-Rod, Brian Fuentes (above), Trevor Hoffman, J.J. Putz and Rod Beck Kerry Wood over the past few days The New York Times’ Ben Shpigel reminds us, “they have yet to aggressively address the other bullpen problems that led to them missing the playoffs.”
Some team officials have linked the bullpen™s troubles to Billy Wagner™s injury and suggested their other relievers will rebound once they return to more familiar, less prominent roles next season. But a statistical breakdown suggests otherwise, showing that losing Wagner merely magnified the bullpen™s weaknesses and that more of the same can be expected if last year™s corps remains intact.
œYou might fix the ninth inning, but that™s just one inning, said Keith Law, a baseball writer for ESPN.com who was formerly a special assistant to the Blue Jays™ general manager, J. P. Ricciardi. œAny plan that assumes if you put Aaron Heilman back into his eighth-inning role and everything else will be O.K. is unreasonable.
œIf not having Wagner was the entire problem, then they could have gone to every reliever on Aug. 3 and said, ˜Here are your new roles,™ and they would have had eight weeks to get used to the new roles.
Whether the Mets will rid themselves of the primary culprits of their bullpen meltdown remains unclear. For now, they are focusing on identifying their ninth-inning solution, with plans to tinker afterward. The Mets are interested in the free-agent closers Brian Fuentes and Francisco RodrÃguez ” whose medical records they are reviewing ” and J. J. Putz of Seattle, should he become available via trade.
The Mets are in the market for versatile relievers who can pitch multiple innings and retire left-handed and right-handed hitters. Such relievers are uncommon, not to mention costly, and the Mets have shown no evidence so far that they will pursue any of the reasonably attractive second-tier free-agent relievers who could slide into those roles.
The prior approach has entailed trading for raw or undervalued relievers, adding depth by signing pitchers to minor league contracts and relying heavily on a scouting staff for recommendations on potential bargains among unsigned pitchers. Over the years, that template has been successful. It is how the Mets acquired Duaner SÃ¡nchez, Pedro Feliciano, Brian Stokes, Darren Oliver and Chad Bradford. But there is an inherent risk that bargain-basement pitchers will not pitch well. And there is little reason to believe Mets fans will tolerate bullpen blowups at Citi Field, especially when they recall how Heilman, Scott Schoeneweis, SÃ¡nchez and friends lost leads.
On Friday night, the very not-good Minnesota Timberwolves played terribly at home in a loss to the Celtics; today, they played brilliantly and blew out the Pistons in Detroit. There’s nothing terribly notable or even worth reading, beyond basic factuality and baseline journalistic competence, in the recaps on the other side of those links. The first is bylined to AP sportswriter Jon Krawczynski, and begins with the, um, paragraph, “Kevin Garnett has moved on.” The second, which bears no byline at present, begins with another Krawcyznskian one-sentence paragraph: “Randy Foye got the message.”
I have absolutely no beef with Krawczynski, who (provided he’s covering the Wolves) is walking a shitty beat for a struggling but invaluable company. But reading those sorts of workaday recaps kind of brings home just how very good the Wolves game recaps by Benjamin Polk (who, in disclosure, I should mention is a good friend of mine) in the Minneapolis City Pages are. Of course, the AP is about facts, and Ben is more about earning his nominal pay five or six times over by treating each of his home-game recaps as if it’s some sort of David Foster Wallace-ian socio-literary mission from God. Or maybe that intensity is just extra-evident when he’s writing about Kevin Garnett plays his first game at the Target Center since being traded last year. At any rate:
Every athlete or artist brings aspects of herself to the stage/pitch/court, I think it’s on us to try and separate the private person from the performer. I don’t know Kevin Garnett at all (though I am, admittedly, totally willing to be charmed by his sincerity) but there did seem, in those sad last Wolves years, to be a whiff of intentional martyrdom in his stubborn loyalty. But I can tell you that, as a player, the guy just radiates authenticity. By that I mean that, as with Bird and Magic, his abilities cohere almost perfectly with his efforts; when he plays, he gives himself fully, humbly to the game.
That said, KG is an unconventional superstar. He is rarely able (or willing) to take over games with his offense. He does not possess Jordan’s perimeter scoring ability, nor Tim Duncan’s flawless low-post technique, nor Magic’s ballhandling and preternatural court vision…
Let us be clear, though: Kevin Garnett is a beautiful, extraordinary basketball player. He is one of the greatest rebounders and most versatile, disruptive defenders in the game’s history (the fact that last year was his first defensive player of the year award is both ludicrous and a testament to how difficult it is to actually measure an individual player’s defense). Even in a profession full of bewilderingly tall, athletic men, KG’s physical gifts are astounding; it’s really just ridiculous that a guy so incredibly long could be so graceful and fluid. His avian, towering baseline fadeaway jumper is still one of the more astonishing things I’ve ever seen a human do. Like Bird and Jordan, he is psychotically competitive. But unlike those two KG gives off, though his ferocious play and his embracing passion, a palpable sense of joy, a desire to reach out to his audience. He is an athletic version of that great Springsteenian maxim: the greatest performances are the ones in which the audience wishes they were on the stage and the performers wish they were in the audience. Anything is possible.
I’d obviously recommend clicking the link and reading the five or so paragraphs I didn’t just excerpt, if only for a last image that’s actually kind of moving. Or certainly, at least, as moving as any sentence involving people bellowing at each other can be. I’d also like to add one last thing. The headline might give away that it’s a bit more on the pseudo-smarty-pants tip.
At the risk of blowing up my homeboy’s spot, I know Ben’s not getting paid very much for these previews, and (thus?) could pretty much send in whatever he wanted. I have a similar situation going on with the football previews I do for Athlon — links to pretty much all of them, and assorted other NFL BS, is here — so I can relate somewhat. And of course I don’t get paid here, although GC asks so little of (both in terms of frequency of- and restraint-evident-in the posting-by) the supporting cast here that I’ve never once felt bad about that.
Anyway, my point is that making a living by writing is difficult: you can write what you want for what people are willing to pay, or write what people want to publish for something more like what you want to get paid. Either way, obviously, there are trade-offs; at some point, I imagine I’ll have to trade it in entirely and get a real job. But seeing how hard Ben is willing to work and think for his money is a nice reminder of what’s to be gained from hanging out on the margins, at least in terms of the opportunity and independence to go deep. What I tell myself, personally, is that while big readership would be awesome, certain things are true at any price point (or whatever other gross term you prefer). That is: the work is finally, fundamentally only as serious as you take it, and worth only as much as the reader gets out of it. Done right, then, it all pays for itself. This is what I tell myself while biting my lip shopping for engagement rings (or, like, going out to dinner). Sometimes it seems more clearly true than others, but I still do my best to believe it.
Laraque, itching to shed his gloves and teach the 20-year-old a lesson, was tapped to trail Lucic (above) and goad him into a fight. On their first shift together, Laraque tapped Lucic on the leg with his stick, then got in his face, asking the Bruin to drop his gloves. Lucic didn’t bite. For the rest of the period, Laraque was talking to Lucic, no doubt questioning his courage in the most explicit of ways.
Lucic continued to decline, prompting the Montreal fans to boo the forward and chant his name. But Lucic had someone more important to answer to than Laraque. Namely, his boss.
“There was no way it was going to happen,” said coach Claude Julien, who had, before the game, forbidden Lucic from fighting Laraque. “[Shawn] Thornton was there, ready for Georges. Nothing happened. My tough guy was ready for their tough guy. Simple as that. I told him not to fight. It was me.”
Julien’s theory was that Lucic is a first-line player who has clicked with fellow gunners Marc Savard and Phil Kessel. Laraque, on the other hand, is scoreless and averaged only 7:50 of time on ice per match before last night.
First-line wing to square off against a fourth-liner who’s considered one of the toughest guys in the NHL? Julien wasn’t having it.
“A guy has to do a job,” said Julien. “[Laraque] shadowed Lucic tonight. That was his job. Simple as that. For us, I think Lucic is a good player. And if they want Georges to shadow him, more ice time for him. Good for him.”
This could have been a marriage of opportunity. The team lost two guards Friday, so there are plenty of minutes to go around even with the arrival of Mobley. Last night Marbury could have asserted himself as the starting SG for the rest of the season. But on Friday night when the team clearly needed him, Stephon chose himself. He left his teammates to suffer a 17 point loss to a Redd-less Milwaukee. If Marbury had any friends in that clubhouse, he surely lost them after the Bucks game.
Stephon Marbury is defined by his opposing extremes. Marbury™s incredible strengths as a player (scoring in the paint, running the pick & roll) made him desired by teams. But his inability to work on the things to make himself a complete player (defense, operate outside the pick & roll) left him unwanted by the teams he was on. Unlike many athletes who use sneaker contracts to make themselves rich, Marbury created an inexpensive line of sneakers to benefit those that can™t afford to overpay for footwear. But his philanthropy has been undermined by his other actions. There are many to name, but the two that come to mind are his testimony of sleeping with an intern, and his threat to blackmail his coach.
Stephon Marbury has decided he won™t play for the Knicks anymore. But by refusing to play for his team this weekend, he™s hurt his chance to play elsewhere. I can™t imagine another team out there saying œhey Stephon refused to play for his team when they needed him – that™s the kind of attitude we want in our locker room! Marbury has said he™d like to play in Italy, but which NBA coach do you think an Italian team is going to call to inquire if they should sign Stephon? Right the same one Marbury is currently driving crazy.
“Lebron James can™t be a human being. Either that or he is some highly evolved version of a human being that is way ahead of his time” exults The Hoop Doctor’s Dr. Browntorious upon viewing the above footage of The Chosen One’s Saturday evening abuse of Atlanta. There’s also the possibility no one on the Hawks wants to be called for a foul and get knocked into the 5th row.
With free agent P Derek Lowe reportedly looking for a 5 year pack worth more than $60 million, the New York Daily News’ John Harper predicts the Mets “don’t expect to outbid either the Yankees or Red Sox” and “may have to lower their sights for a starter”.
The Mets think Boras will price Oliver Perez too high as well, so they are looking at other options. They have interest in Jon Garland, the free-agent righthander who went 14-8 for the Angels despite a 4.90 ERA, and they would consider trading for Javier Vazquez, who went 12-16 with a 4.67ERA for the White Sox.
One potentially intriguing trade possibility is the Rays’ Edwin Jackson, the 25-year-old righthander with the big fastball and plenty of potential. Lack of command kept him from living up to early raves, but he showed signs of blossoming in 2008, going 14-11 with a 4.42 ERA. With David Price on the horizon, the Rays have a surplus of starting pitching.
One Rays person said Tampa has interest in Aaron Heilman – “as a reliever, not a starter” – but said the Rays value Jackson’s potential as worth more than that.
“It would have to be more,” the person said. “I know that some of our guys think Jackson started to turn the corner this year, and they think he could still be something special.”
It’s not pitching the Rays need anyway. They’re looking for a right fielder, so if the Mets really want Jackson, and perhaps a prospect too, they could probably do it by offering Ryan Church, whose lefthanded bat they could replace with free agent Raul IbaÃ±ez.
While we’re on the subject of lowering their sights, a report in the Poughkeepsie Journal, sans byline, tips the Mets to pursue Trevor Hoffman rather than Francisco Rodriguez or Bobby Jenks.
The Mets™ discussions seem to be leading them away from the top candidates and instead toward the possibility of signing San Diego™s Trevor Hoffman and acquiring a set-up man such as Colorado™s just-acquired Huston Street in a trade.
According to one baseball official, the Mets have been actively discussing possible trades and are leaning toward the likes of Hoffman, who is leaving the Padres at 41 years of age and clearly on the decline.
But he still managed 30 saves last season after four consecutive seasons of 40-plus saves. As the all-time saves leader, there is little doubt that he can handle the pressure of playing in New York.
The belief is that a Hoffman or Kerry Wood can be had for a less-pricy, shorter-term deal than the price tags expected for Rodriguez or Brian Fuentes.
I sort of wish Joe Benigno-Gazingo was on WFAN this morning, if only because I’d have another story ready to roll tomorrow about speaker damage throughout the tri-state once he reached the part about the Mets showing interest in Kerry Wood.