12.31.08

I Take It Back. Chuck’s The Greatest Role Model Of All Time

Posted in Basketball, History's Great Hook-Ups, The Law at 10:18 pm by

Two Thursdays ago, I was pulled over halfway between Houston and Austin, returning home from the Lil’ Wayne show at the Toyota Center.  The patrolman asked if there was a particular reason I was in such a hurry, and while he was checking my license and registration, I asked my fellow passengers what the correct answer should’ve been.

“Yes Officer, I’m in love.” was one of the better suggestions from the peanut gallery.

While I still think that was a great answer, I am thrilled to learn that Charles Barkley — even while (allegedly) drunk — is even more of a smart ass.

Rovell’s “Year Of The Sports Fan” – Lousy Seats For Games You Don’t Wanna Attend Will Never Be Cheaper

Posted in Baseball, Basketball, consumer affairs, Gridiron, Sports Journalism, The Marketplace at 8:46 pm by

(above, Hawks fans, sufficiently impressed by their team’s strong start, stick around to watch a whale shark devour Mike Bibby)

Promising that “you’ll be shocked” when the free market determines the scalper prices for the Great Depression of 2009′s Super Bowl, March Madness and Dayton 500, The New Republic‘s Darren Rovell kids, “just wait until Fan Appreciation Night at the ballpark this fall. You might get a hug and kiss for showing up.”  That’s great news for Jay “Hot Lips” Horowitz, but what about the rest of us?

This year, the Milwaukee Bucks are giving you a chance to watch the league’s top three teams–the Celtics, Cavs, and Lakers–for $69 total. (They’re even throwing in a Kareem Abdul Jabbar bobblehead.) The Atlanta Hawks are letting you pick any four games for $80, and they’ll even include a ticket to the aquarium, the zoo, and a $20 concession voucher. Other teams like the Denver Nuggets and the Orlando Magic are folding in playoff priority with these packages. Playoff priority used to be the exclusive domain of VIPS and season ticket holders, but teams are so eager for fans that if you purchase a small package of games, you’ll get a chance to nab seats to the postseason before the public does. It’s not like these teams are horrible either. Orlando and Denver both lead their divisions in the standings.

Some ticket prices are just downright stupid. The Colorado Rockies, one season removed from a World Series appearance, are selling centerfield bleacher seats to kids and seniors for $1, while the Pittsburgh Pirates will allow you to pick any ten games you want to go to (except Opening Day and the series against the Cleveland Indians) for as low as $7.20 a game. Even the NFL playoffs will be a steal. In November the league decided to discount the face value of playoff ticket prices by ten percent in the face of the economic challenges ahead.

Rovell’s general point — that recent economic upheaval has provided opportunity for sports bargain hunters — is solid enough, however we’re not hearing nearly so much about price breaks on parking and concessions.  Of the many examples cited, Atlanta’s casual support of pro sports predates the current recession, and the Pirates  —28th out of 30 MLB clubs in paid attendance in 2008 — might well have offered such a package even in a healthy economic climate.   It’s true enough the Rockies are a season removed from an NL pennant, but next spring they’ll be a winter removed from a 74-88 finish.

B.C. Vs. The Curse Of Gaylord Hotels

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron, Sports TV at 5:20 pm by

(the wrong Gaylord, but a glass of white wine is a nice touch, just the same)

I’ve somehow resisted the charms of a defensive battle between Oregon State and Pitt (and to be honest Dave Wannstedt looks like he’d rather be taking himself out of contention for the Jets job than actually coaching this snoozer). Instead, the appetizer to several days of football-glug-glug-football is the 9-4 Boston College WZBC’s having a very hard time getting untracked against 6-6 Vanderbilt in the Music City Bowl.  Win or lose, Buster Olney’s alma matter should be ashamed their homefield advantage extends beyond the game’s venue to the host sponsor, Gaylord Hotels, previously described by Keith Law as “Hell’s Outhouse”.  If the Eagles can’t turn this one around, they’ll become the first team to lose a bowl game to Vandy since the 1955 Auburn squad that was suffered a Gator Bowl defeat.

The Detroit Free Press reported earlier this week that former Michigan defensive coordinator Scott Schafer signed an agreement precluding him from “demeaning or disparaging” the Wolverines as part of his resignation package. So much for a new career in sportswriting, then.

The NFL Network’s coverage of the Insight Bowl featuring Minnesota and Kansas just kicked off a few minutes ago, but not before what seemed like far too much face time for Jayhawks head coach Mark Mangino.   The sound was turned off in the bar to accomodate the exciting throng watching an 8 day old replay of TCU’s Poinsetta Bowl victory, but I always like to imagine Mangino sounds exactly like Don Rickles’ impersonation of Marcel Marceau.

Best Ten Bucks (Each!) We Ever Spent

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 3:46 pm by

“Of all the teenage, made-for-cable, serially sponsored college football games for teams that either belly flopped in November (longtime number one Penn State in 1999, defending national champ Texas in 2006) or got jilted by a bowl older than Miley Cyrus (11-1 Kansas State in 1998), San Antonio™s indoor contest is my absolute favorite,” I wrote in Texas Monthly last month, and I guess I wasn’t kidding – Monday was my third trip to the Alamo Bowl.

Neither team fit into those categories this year, even if Mizzou was once a BCS contender. Certainly if you’d told me in September that Northwestern would hold its own against the pre-season #5, or even get a chance to play them, I would have been delighted. In the end, both schools were right where they belonged. Northwestern may have even been a little overrated, having ducked Penn State and Wisconsin this year (not that the Badgers would have necessarily beat them); at the same time, if they’d played a better game against Michigan State, they might have made it where the Spartans did, the Citrus.

Meanwhile, the Outback’s preference for Iowa, a team the Wildcats beat, was vindicated by the Alamo’s attendance, which couldn’t have been more than 45-50,000 actual (announced was 55,000+). The economy aside, it’s nothing more than math: a private school with 8100 undergraduates will only ever bring one-third to one-half the fan base as a state school.

This was, as the headline of this post suggests, good news for the two-man CSTB contingent. In fact, had I been a bit more eBay-conscientious, we could have had four tickets for no more than a total of three bucks. Neither of us wore purple, though we admired folks who broke out TCU and Vikings gear (Prince t-shirts would have been another option).

Unlike Vegas or the pundits, I expected a good game (or I sure as hell wouldn’t have attended, having been there in 2000 for the 66-17 Nebraska beating). Missouri was an even bigger favorite against Kansas, and they lost (and gave up 40 points). Texas was an even bigger favorite in the 2006 Alamo Bowl, and almost lost. Rivalries and bowls are both extremely unpredictable.

But, alas, Missouri’s superior talent allowed them to overcome more mistakes. They also played the run much better in the second half. Pat Fitzgerald may not care about a moral victory, but it was pretty crazy that NU could outright dominate much of a game in which they spotted that offense 15-20 yards of field position every kickoff. Then of course, they let a punt get played by Jeremy Maclin, and the game began anew.

Great night for C.J. Bacher (above), who outplayed Daniel. Crazy to think that Missouri’s kicker, who couldn’t seal the deal in regulation, is the most accurate in NCAA history. Awful that the Cats lost Corey Wooton towards the end, not because he might have made the difference (though he might have further delayed the inevitable) but because it was the turf that got him, and the prognosis isn’t good. And oh yeah – the Wildcats missed an extra point.

As I said in Texas Monthly, a bowl like this is just an extra inter-conference game – the kind that schools don’t schedule for September nearly as often as they should. Everybody left the building entertained, the Wildcats fans included – sorry Pat, but I do think that there’s still an element of “just happy to be here” for the moment. Give us a few more nine-win seasons (and that long-awaited bowl triumph), and not only will our expectations rise, we’ll even start to second-guess you.

Most of all, I enjoyed watching the NU sideline. Fitzgerald coaches like he just might sub in for the middle linebacker at any time (he could easily be penalized for going too far on the field). He also outworks Willie the Wildcat pumping up the crowd. And the players couldn’t have been any more intense and overjoyed if they had been in Pasadena.

So I’ve now attended as many Northwestern Alamo Bowls as I have Northwestern games when I was a Northwestern student. What can I say – it wasn’t just that they were awful, it was that the team I grew up watching still came first. In fact, I am now off to a Penn State pep rally at Beverly Hills High. Just might fire up the Twitter feed for that (and maybe at the Rose Bowl too).

D’Alessandro : Y Start Yi?

Posted in Basketball at 2:26 pm by

While the blogosphere’s hoops intelligentsia are occupied with watching the Magic open up a 27 point halftime advantage over the Bulls (15 points, 13 rebounds for Dwight Howard thus far), I’m instead gazing at the Nets’ visit to Detroit. Jersey’s Yi Jianlian (above) was substituted in favor of Eduardo Najera pretty early on, a decision that presumably met with the approval of the Newark Star-Ledger’s Dave D’Alessandro, who declared of the Chinese powerless F earlier today, “his offense has almost sunk to the level of his defense, which was already excruciating…(Lawrence Frank) already knows that the moment teams see Yi lining up as the starting 4, it’s an open invitation to bend the rim.”

The thing that we find most bizarre is this obsessive commitment to Yi lately. It’s pretty clear that the kid has regressed in the last month – now he hits the wall in December, not January? – and if the coach is seeing something the rest of us are missing, we wish he’d share it.

His last 10 games — 6.2 points on 30.2 percent, neither figure a misprint – aren’t exactly what you can live with from a starter. He’s still the softest finisher in the league, he’s too timid for the position, and his confidence is shot.

Sure, he has to play. But no, he doesn’t have to play a lot – not while Eddie Najera is gathering dust, anyway.

Three times in the last eight days we’ve asked about Najera, and each inquiry received the same response we got today: “You know what he can do, and I’m just looking to incorporate it with what we do,” the coach said.

Actually, we haven’t a clue what he can do, because he’s played 81 minutes in two months. The last cameo was a three-minute stint against the Bobs Friday, when he seemed to bust a play (he scored anyway, if memory serves) and came right out.

That’s not what he signed up for. It’s time to pull him out of mothballs – or move him. Here’s an idea: Send Eddie to his hometown of Oklahoma City, throw Sean Williams into the deal, and see if the Thunder will hand over Joe Smith, who is the victim of another dubious youth movement.

Not so coincidentally, Smith’s name has popped up elsewhere this week, with the Celtics expressing interest and the Magic expressing, er, non-interest.

NYE 2009 – In Which The Shy, Retiring Chris Bosh Channels His Inner Guy Lombardo

Posted in Basketball, Free Expression at 12:53 pm by

Far be for me to claim the Fanhouse has acquired Mr. Bosh’s vlogging services after he’s put his best work behind him — even if it’s true!. On the contrary, I think we oughta be thankful Sam Mitchell has found work as a cameraman.

Blogging Neophyte Attempts To Fill Marc Berman’s Shoes

Posted in Basketball, Blogged Down at 10:38 am by

I’m not sure who The New York Post’s Marc Berman thought he was punishing by boycotting his own blog following the Knicks’ loss to lowly Minnesota last Friday night, but the morning after New York’s 93-89 defeat of Charlotte, Berman’s rounded up a somewhat prominent replacement.  Ladies and Gentleman, now blogging for the Post, the former (self-described) No. 1 Point Guard In The NBA, Stephon Marbury.

I sat on the bench for a whole month and didn’t say one word. It wasn’t easy because I love to play but that’s the nature of the biz. Then they made a trade and needed 8 guys and coach told me he had a certain number of minutes. I was cool. My jersey was never hung in my locker though so I never refused to play. Things were never handled properly.

Through it all, I respected their business position to go in another direction just like they have to respect my business position that I have a contract and obligated to pay me. It’s the principle of the whole thing. It’s really not about the money but it’s about the money. Feel me?

While everybody was talking this and that about me being in LA as a distraction at the Lakers game, I was out there meeting a shipment overseas with my new product. I went to the game because I wanted to see the game. Al Harrington is one of my closest friends so I wanted to see him as well. It’s tough watching other players on the floor when you want to be out there on the court but I had to endure it and shift some of my focus to business and getting outside of my self by helping others.

I’m far from perfect but I always follow my heart so I know my path is true. We’re gonna make mistakes but how can you grow if you never have the opportunity to move past your mistakes. I don’t know where this is headed, but in time it will be resolved. In the meantime, I wish everybody out there a safe and Happy New Year in the greatest city on earth.

One love.

Steph

It’s Nearly 2009 And No Longer Necessary For Sir Charles To Remind Us He’s No Role Model

Posted in Basketball, Sports TV, The Law at 9:00 am by

(not, we should stress, a recent photograph)

From the Arizona Republic :

Charles Barkley was arrested on suspicion of drinking and driving early Wednesday morning in Scottsdale, Gilbert police said.

An officer with a law enforcement task force that targets drunken driving saw the former NBA star run a stop sign around 1:30 a.m., said Gilbert police Lt. Eric Shuhandler.

Barkley declined to submit to a breath test but was given a blood test. The results have not come in.

After Barkley was processed, he was cited and released. He left in a cab, Shuhandler said.

Shuhandler said there was nothing remarkable about Barkley’s arrest and that it is customary to release people after they’ve been arrested on suspicion of DUI.

12.30.08

WSC Touts Clough For Derby Vacancy

Posted in Football at 10:27 pm by

“Most of us have experienced dreams or nightmares on the same repeated themes, whether it’s falling from precipitous heights, sitting an exam without revision or going to work with no clothes on,” muses an uncredited When Saturday Comes Daily scribe. “For Chris Hutchings, however, the nightmare is a reality. He keeps being appointed as a football manager as successor to his friend Paul Jewell, only to be sacked soon afterwards, then hired again as Jewell’s assistant at another club.” Indeed, corporal punishment enthusiast Jewell is out of work yet again, and WSC is very quick to offer an alternative to Derby County’s inexplicable alleged interest in Paul Ince.



If Nigel Clough (above) were to leave the current Conference leaders Burton Albion to take on either of the clubs with whom Brian Clough won League titles it would be only the fourth time that a club has been managed by father and son. The most recent case was Kevin Bond whose turbulent spell at Bournemouth fell a long way short of emulating his father John’s record there in the early 1970s. The other two instances both involved Fulham. Harry and Joe Bradshaw were in charge at Craven Cottage in the decade either side of World War One while the two Bill Dodgins, senior and junior, both managed the club between the late 1940s and early 1970s – Dodgin junior was also one of his dad’s successors at Brentford during that period.

While Derby and Forest can both lay claim to the elder Clough, Nigel’s direct ties are to the latter, with whom he spent the best years of his career, winning fourteen England caps. If he is considering a move to the City Ground, the recent travails of of another former England player may give him pause for thought. Paul Ince moved up three levels in going from MK Dons to Blackburn in August and, irrespective of whether he was given enough time, he clearly found the gap a difficult one to breach. Nigel Clough had an indifferent start to his spell at Burton who finished in the bottom half of the Conference in his first three seasons in charge, but his side has steadily improved over the last three years and currently hold a seven point lead at the top. Clough has had five years more experience in management than Ince but they have all been at the same level, three steps below the Championship.

Curry : Mets Prefer Lowe To Perez

Posted in Baseball at 9:51 pm by

As long as you’re not married to him, starter Derek Lowe has been one of the more dependable pitchers in the big leagues over the past decade.  Reliability, however, is not a word often associated with the enigmatic Oliver Perez, whom according to the New York Times’ Jack Curry, might not receive a contract offer from the Mets.

After methodically studying the starting pitchers left on the free-agent market, the Mets have determined that Derek Lowe would be the best addition to their club. The Mets have shown that by offering Lowe a three-year contract for about $36 million, according to people who have been briefed on the discussions.

The Mets do not want to offer Lowe more than three guaranteed years, so if he holds firm in his pursuit of five years and $90 million, he may not be close to signing. Lowe, who turns 36 in June, has averaged more than 200 innings and 15 wins the last seven seasons.

When the Mets pursued the free agent Francisco Rodríguez, they benefited from being one of the only teams willing to spend for a closer. Before the season ended, there was speculation that Rodríguez would get a $75 million deal. The Mets signed Rodríguez for about half that, giving him a three-year, $37 million deal.

The Mets are hoping the same happens with Lowe, and that he eventually falls to them for less than the $18 million a year he is seeking. Boras would not say how many teams had made offers to Lowe, but he said there were more teams involved in talks with Lowe than a week ago.

The Chicago Sun-Times’ Gordon Wittenmyer reports the Cubs are very close to swapping starter Jason Marquis for Rockies’ reliever Luis Vizcaino, with a a bid for free agent OF Milton Bradley being Jim Hendry’s next move after Marquis’ salary is off the books. If Wittenmyer is correct about the Bradley acquisition, the Cubs will become Milton’s 7th team in 10 years. Which cap will he don on his Anger Management Hall Of Fame Plaque?

Caps Owner : I’m Not Your Punching Bag

Posted in Free Expression, Hockey, The Internet at 8:27 pm by

Washington Capitols owner Ted Leonsis has received his share of CSTB coverage in the past, mostly for a physical confrontation with an angry fan, later for his attempts to curry blogger favor with a lavish desert cart. This past December 23, however, the former AOL executive retreated to cyberspace in an attempt to reason with angry Caps rooters who failed to understand that “we are all in this together (and a quick apology note now would be nice as well)”.

Some folks didn’t reach for their remotes last night and change the channel. Instead they pounded out emails to me with rants, curse words, demands and some pretty basic œhow could you? emails. Trade this guy, fire that guy, sell the team, etc. etc. I received two of these gems moments after the Rangers scored their fourth goal.

I would like to rise above the fray. Be nice. Be positive and enjoy the ride we are on as a team. I understand your passion but it is getting old having to read venom and angst and fury. What I may just do is block you from my email and make sure you are NOT allowed ever to post again on our message boards as well. There is no need for the over the top rants so I am really asking you if you are œtrue long term fans just tone it down a notch.

Be nicer and perhaps don’t hit the send button as much. Would that be too much to ask? Thank you.

Chances Are, He Won’t Be Interviewing In Oakland : Shanahan’s Done In Denver

Posted in Gridiron at 8:11 pm by

Cleveland and Detroit’s respective terminations of Romeo Crennel and Rod Marinelli came as a surprise to no one ; had the New York Jets not terminated Eric Mangini yesterday, certainly there would’ve been an outcry from some quarters.  But the Broncos’ decision to can Mike Shanahan after 14 seasons in charge of Denver is nothing short of what Chet Coppock would call “a bombshell”, despite the former Raiders assistant failing to win more than one playoff game since John Elway’s departure. While the Crypt Keeper points to Bill Cowher possibly succeeding Shanahan, ESPN colleague Woody Page argued earlier in the day that Pat Bowlen “doesn’t have the backbone to fire Shanahan.” Presumably, an apology column is being penned at this very hour.

Liverpool Captain Fights For His Right To Party (To Phil Collins)

Posted in Football, The Law at 3:21 pm by

Not since Al Leiter supervised Scott Kazmir’s banishment from Flushing over a boombox dispute has a star athlete’s MOR-mania made such a splash, as Liverpool FC talisman Steven Gerrard finds himself facing assault and afray charges after commemorating a 5-1 win over Newcastle with an alleged brawl barroom brawl in  Southport.  The Guardian’s Sachin Nakarni and Helen Carter suggest the incident may have been provoked by (ahem) musical differences.

The fracas took place at the Lounge Inn in Bold Street, following which the venue’s DJ, a 34-year-old local man, required hospital treatment after suffering facial injuries. Police were called and subsequently arrested six men on suspicion of assault in nearby Lord Street.

It remains unclear what exactly happened at the popular celebrity nightspot, but one report has suggested that Gerrard and a group of his friends got involved in an altercation after the DJ refused to allow them to choose the songs played on the venue’s sound system.Gerrard is a big fan of Phil Collins and counts the singer’s greatest hits as his favourite album.  He is also partial to Coldplay.

The Lounge Inn remained shut yesterday but evidence of a fight inside could be seen through the windows. Spots of blood were clearly visible on the floor, along with shards of broken glass.

A Few More Snippets For The Derrick Rose ROY Highlight Reel

Posted in Basketball at 1:28 pm by

Prior to last night, Da Bulls — coming off 7 straight road losses — hadn’t won a game in the Swamp in nearly 8 years. I’d like to think it was because they were as traumatized as myself at the promise of a Cabela’s outlet just miles from the Lincoln Tunnel, but chances are, basketball reasons contributed to the streak, too.

Congratulations, Phillies …

Posted in Baseball at 3:05 am by


[Just caught up with this on MLB network's "classics," and I don't think its over rated at all.]

It’s December 30th, and I didn’t want to let 2008 run out without finally wishing a hearty congratulations to the World Champion Phillies and their fans.  Better late than when hell freezes over never.  I know, I know, for Cub fans, 2008 was “our year.” “Our Year.”  What a sad fucking joke.  Leaves a tinny, metallic taste in my mouth just to say it.  But I’m over all that now.  And not wishing Jason Cohen and Chuck Meehan a congratulations would be petty no matter how I feel.   Congrats.  See Gerard, I’m classy when the situation calls for it.  At least Obama won, so that’s something.

12.29.08

Boom Dizzle, Searching For The History Eraser Button

Posted in Basketball at 3:47 pm by

Sunday’s 96-78 loss to the Dirkless Mavs dropped the Clippers’ record to a brutal 8-21, and proximity to the indie film business aside, it is safe to assume ex-Warrior Baron Davis has learned the grass isn’t greener on Donald Sterling’s farm.  If the following item by the San Jose Mercury News’ Marcus Thompson II is credible, it might be time for the Association to charge one of Davis’ former teammates with tampering.

The Warriors came to Hollywood a day before Sunday’s game, giving Stephen Jackson a chance Saturday to hang out with Baron Davis (above). And discuss the possibility of Davis rejoining the Warriors.

“That’s all we talked about,” Jackson said. “I went to his house, spent some time with his mom and his grandmother. He wants to come back. And if he wants to come back, I want him back.”

It is feasible that the Warriors and the Clippers could pull off a deal. It would have to involve Warriors forward Corey Maggette (for salary-cap reasons) and/or guard Jamal Crawford (to make room in the backcourt).

Clippers owner Donald Sterling said last season that he had wanted Maggette around long term.

“I think that would be great for us,” Jackson said. “Coach (Don Nelson) loves him. Him and (guard) Monta (Ellis) have good chemistry. If they could work that out, that would be great for the organization.”

A 2008 Dallas Cowboys Autopsy

Posted in General at 2:47 pm by

(EDITOR’S NOTE : Mr. David Williams observed the Cowboys’ total capitulation to Philly yesterday and writes, “I could’ve done a better ‘poster,’ but my heart was apparently eaten by the Jones family yesterday in some kind of Mayan Ceremonial hoodoo.”)

I’m past having much sentimentality about sports teams, but can’t escape the genetic basis for being a Cowboys fan.

That being said, to the extent a multi-billion-dollar corporate entity can have “heart” or “guts” (if by those terms you are nostalgically denoting a group gestalt that includes pride in performance and grace under pressure), this particular iteration of the Dallas product has neither, and to the extent that they did, it failed them on an embarrassing scale yesterday.

Of course, without a real football GM, this will continue to be a grand farce; Jerry’s ego writ large on the stage– bound to be a tragi-comedy.

It may emerge in future days that Romo was playing hurt, but what isn’t heroic is bad decision making on the field. Football, unlike magic, is a technology (or praxis) that is sufficiently understood.

Owens passive-agressive hands and Roy Williams’ idea of running a crisp route, or inability to make inuitive adjustments all reek of rampant solipsism.

Players who stepped up for contract years and then contracted in performance. Over-paid safeties (!) whose skill level is dime-a-dozen.

A head coach who found the career ceiling and should drop back to defensive co-ordinator.

An heir apparent who was out-schemed.

The idea that a unit that got to 13-3 last season but already had Borderline Personality Disorder just needed a few tweaks. Like Pacman Jones.

It was a perfect storm.

There is one possibility that is microscopically heartening: yesterday’s game was like a suicide’s plea for help. They know somehow that Wade can’t take them to the Promised Land. They know in their tiny heart of hearts that Garrett is easily out-coached. They have to know everything that’s wrong, and they exposed it to try to force the issue(s).

If this is the case– to quote Lenin: “what is to be done?” (and who will do it?).

Slammin No More? Sosa Seeks Spot in Tough Job Market

Posted in Baseball at 2:00 pm by

Texas Rangers team owner Tom Hicks, center, looks on as Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani, right, chats with Sammy Sosa, left, as Giuliani visited the team during batting practice prior to a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics in Arlington, Texas, Saturday, Sept. 8, 2007. From AP Photo by Tony Gutierrez.

[Seen shaking hands:  former rising star in 2001 to DC disgrace to 2008 rejectee of GOP money men nationwide “ and on the right, Rudy Giuliani.]

Sammy Sosa lets it be known this week he’s up for the 2009 season if you are.  Sosa, the legit single-season home-run king, who never appeared on the Mitchell Report with Mark McGwire or Barry Bonds, has been informed by the Marlins that they’re looking for a younger outfield this season. The Trib reports that Sosa recently gave an interview to the Dominican newspaper Listin Diario that he currently has no offers.  At 40, you can’t blame teams for their skepticism, but you have to wonder if the same atmosphere of collusion that Barry Bonds is convinced exists doesn’t apply to Sosa as well (assuming it exists).   In 2007, Sosa hit .252, with 21 HRs and 92 RBI in 114 games for Texas, and passed the 600-HR mark, as one of only six players to do so.

Salt Lake Tribune : Big Shot Bob Isn’t Nearly As Clutch At Fundraising

Posted in Basketball at 12:51 pm by

While praising the likes of Deron Williams and Dikembe Mutombo for their tireless efforts on behalf of numerous charities, the Salt Lake Tribune‘s Ross Siler, Tony Semerad and Michael C. Lewis paint a far less flattering picture of other NBA players’ fundraising efforts. “The average NBA player foundation put just 51 cents of each dollar it spent toward charitable programs, well below the 65 cents most philanthropic watchdog groups view as acceptable,” claim the trio, though perhaps these numbers are thrown off a bit by the catering bill for Jerome James’ “Feed The Hungriest” Banquet.

NBA free agent Robert Horry’s Big Shot Foundation reported $206,086 in fundraising expenses for 2005, its first year of operation, but, according to tax returns, the efforts raised nothing.

The year’s tab included $38,000 in artist’s fees; a total of $23,126 in building and venue rental; a $27,486 expenditure on an unitemized “commission”; $23,005 in food; $25,905 in golf course fees; $17,368 on hotels; along with other four-figure expenditures on a disk jockey, sound and lighting, trophies, video rental, logo shirts and security.

Attempts to reach a foundation spokesman at the phone number listed on tax returns were unsuccessful.

Retired NBA power forward Chris Webber’s Foundation holds an annual star-studded poker and golf extravaganza at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, called C-Webb’s Bada Bling. Now in its fourth year, the party is billed as “a celebrity weekend” with a 56-star guest list including comedian Jamie Foxx and singer Gladys Knight.

In 2006, the first year the event was held, party organizers reported spending $243,000 on catering and $327,561 on event production. The foundation also reported losing $530,590 on special events for the same year, tax returns show.

The Sports Media Conscience Of NewsCorp. Can’t Spell Scum If You Spot Him The Cum

Posted in Gridiron, social crusaders, Sports TV at 11:16 am by

It finally might be time for the Mushnick children to install some sort of reverse V-chip on the family cable box, one that will prevent the New York Post’s Phil Mushnick from watching the NFL preview programs that seem to offend him so profoundly.

Two minutes into Fox’s one-hour pregame yesterday, host Curt Menefee noted that panelist Terry Bradshaw last week said he’d like to see the Lions finish 0-16.

“S–bag,” panelist Howie Long said of Bradshaw.

“I am a s–bag,” Bradshaw said.

That gave Long, Bradshaw and Fox 58 minutes to apologize, to express their regrets to a national audience for having ambushed it during Sunday daylight.

None came. Perhaps they felt they’d said nothing inappropriate, or, at worst, it was no big deal. Hey, if there were kids watching, that’s what the Fox robot is for!

Shortly after the Long-Bradshaw exchange, “weather babe” (expect steamy and hot) Jillian Reynolds began her segment with a heh-heh crack suggesting that Bradshaw’s the father of her infant child. “Heh-heh-heh,” Fox’s panelists responded.

I’m curious how many anguished telephone calls Fox affiliates across the nation received (fewer than one?), or for that matter, how many parents took the time to carefully explain to their kids just what Long and Bradshaw were talking about. It’s an awkward conversation, sure, but that’s why “We’re Going On A Bear Hunt” author Michael Rosen published “A Child’s Guide To Scumbags”.

Jets Thank Mangini For “Laying The Foundation”

Posted in Gridiron at 10:38 am by

“We respect Eric for what he’s done, but we want to build on the successful foundation that he’s laid” said New York Jets owner Woody Johnson earlier today, a curious choice of words to describe the 3 year tenure of just-fired head coach Eric Mangini (above), he of the 23-26 record and going 1-4 down the stretch (including Sunday’s 24-17 Favre-wrapped gift to Miami).   Despite splashing out on free agents and contract extensions during the offseason, Gang Green are consigned to many months of Benigno howling, though not nearly as much as if they’d kept Mangini on board.

Curiously, GM Mike Tannenbaum retains his title, despite his role (along with that of Mangini) in bringing Brett Favre to the Swamp (and conversely, giving Chad Pennington —- the ’08 Comeback Player Of The Year? — a new lease on life with an AFC East rival).  Favre lead the NFL with 22 INT’s and the former Packer icon’s poor performances were as big a factor as any in in the Jets’ failure to make the postseason.  That Johnson and Tanenbaum profess to wanting Favre’s return in 2009 is nothing short of baffling.

12.28.08

Canzano On The Coddling Of Greg Oden

Posted in Basketball at 8:31 pm by

In a column obviously written before Portland’s Greg Oden scored 16 points and collected 10 rebounds against the Raptors Saturday night, The Oregonian’s John Canzano refused to mince words regarding the Blazers’ Center, insisting “a team aiming to make the playoffs for the first time in 5 seasons is starting a player who hasn’t earned it.”

Paul Allen’s customized jet has a bedroom at the back. The bedroom is for Allen’s personal use, and while the Trail Blazers utilize the 757 aircraft “Blazer One” for travel during the NBA season, Allen’s room has been off limits to players.

All, except one.

Greg Oden used the bedroom last year so he could stretch his injured leg out on flights. And even this season, team insiders tell you the now-healthy Oden will sometimes disappear to the back of the plane, and close the door, and spend the flight by himself while his teammates socialize up front.

I bring this up today because the franchise has one set of standards, rules and expectations for the majority of players — and apparently another for Oden.

I know Joel Przybilla deserves to start at center. You know he does. Your spouse knows. Your children know. Your dog knows. Even Oden knows.

You can talk about defensive issues. And offensive issues. But if we can’t talk about the elephant standing in the Blazers locker room we’re all in trouble. And that issue is the one revolving around the franchise’s decision to baby its No. 1 pick, wrap him in protective bubble-wrap, pamper his psyche and hand him a starting position that should belong to Przybilla today.

SF’s Youth Movement Includes A 45 Year Old Jerk Intimidator

Posted in Baseball at 7:14 pm by

3 Cy Young Award Winners in one starting rotation sounds pretty hot on paper, but when you consider that two of’em are Surfin’ Barry and the aging Randy Johnson, it’s hard to put much stock in the Unit’s pledge the ’09 SF Giants can contend in the NL West. There’s also the matter of last year’s team narrowly losing to San Diego for the title of the NL’s crappiest run producer, but perhaps Brian Sabean will find Adam Dunn’s phone number sometime between now and the start of Spring Training. Until then, however, the Giants GM calls Johnson, “as intimidating a pitcher as there is in the league and in baseball.” Cameramen surely concur, though perhaps opponents do as well.  Not quite blown away by SF’s acquisition is the Journal News’ Peter Abraham who scoffs, “I love the part about how the Giants are looking forward to him helping their young pitchers. Johnson barely acknowledged his teammates when he was with the Yankees.”   But we can’t really blame Sabean for resorting to hyperbole — how many season tickets can you sell with a slogan like, “Not Nearly As (Clubhouse) Cancerous As The Sultan Of Surly”?

Political Suicide, Redefined

Posted in Hate Fuck Radio, politics, Racism Corner at 5:27 pm by

How else then, to describe the mind blowing stupidity of Tennessee GOP fixture Chip Saltsman, a candidate for RNC chairman and the doofus responsible for distributing copies of Paul Shanklin’s “Barack The Magic Negro”, a tune heard widely this week on hate fuck radio and featuring the couplet, “Barack made guilty whites feel good/They™ll vote for him and not for me/Cause he™s not from the ™hood.  From the New York Times’ Jason De Parle :

Speaking to The Hill newspaper on Friday, Mr. Saltsman, described it as a œlight-hearted gift that would be received in œgood humor by members of the Republican National Committee.

œI am shocked and appalled, Mike Duncan, the current party chairman, said in a statement released Saturday. Mr. Duncan is competing for a second term against Mr. Saltsman and four others.

œThis is so inappropriate that it should disqualify any Republican National Committee candidate who would use it, Newt Gingrich, a Republican former House speaker, said in an e-mail message. Referring to Mr. Obama, Mr. Gingrich said, œThere are no grounds for demeaning him or for using racist descriptions.

There are two black candidates for the post, J. Kenneth Blackwell, a former Ohio secretary of state, and Michael Steele, a former lieutenant governor of Maryland. On Saturday, Mr. Blackwell dismissed the fuss as œhypersensitivity.

œAll competitors for this leadership position are fine people, he said in an e-mail message.

The dispute illustrates a larger Republican challenge in the months ahead: how to oppose the first black president without seeming antiblack. There are no black Republicans in Congress, and a party spokesman could name only 2 blacks among the 168 members of the national committee. Katon Dawson, the chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, resigned from an all-white country club in preparing for his campaign to be party chairman.

The parody is sung to the tune of œPuff the Magic Dragon by a character meant to be the Rev. Al Sharpton, the civil rights advocate and sometime political candidate. The character laments that white liberals vote for Mr. Obama while shunning his brand of more confrontational racial politics.

When Did The Vikes Sign Verne Gagne?

Posted in Gridiron at 3:38 pm by

Congratulations, Ryan Longwell.  Your 55 yard FG as time expired gave your Minnesota Vikings a 20-19 come from behind victory over the Giants, and captured the NFC North title.

  

As thanks, you’ve just been placed in an impossible-to-escape sleeperhold.