The above clip of the Minutemen performing “Working Men Are Pissed” and the Urinals’ “Ack Ack Ack” at DC’s 9:30 Club in 1984 is posted to mark the 23rd anniversary of D. Boon’s passing. I’m sure those old enough to remember will concur that Xmas ’85 was unusually rotten.
After Detroit’s 42-7 loss to the Saints on Sunday, Detroit News columnist Rob Parker spent several minutes grilling Rod Marinelli about the performance of his defensive coordinator — and son-in-law — Joe Barry and why Barry wasn’t fired for the team’s poor defensive production. After the often-intense exchange, Parker said, “On a lighter note — do you wish your daughter had married a better defensive coordinator?”
Marinelli didn’t respond at that time, but he addressed the situation today.
“Anytime you attack my daughter, I’ve got a problem with that. In a room of stink … and as a man and it was premeditated. I think there was something wrong with that, yeah.”
When asked if Parker had crossed the line, Marinelli said, “Big time.”
Marinelli refused to address two questions about what he meant by “room of stink.”
“I’ll leave it at that,” he said, adding that he had not talked to Parker and had no desire to do so.
On why he didn’t immediately respond to Parker’s question, Marinelli said: “I just don’t think that’s the right stage for that. To me, it’s not. It’s the wrong stage for the game of football and for me to even react to something like that, on a stage about football — it’s a kid’s game, it’s for the kids. It’s wrong.”
First of all, Parker’s attempt at humor, for which he’s already apologized, was a wildly inappropriate look-at-me moment, adding further insult to the injury of the Lions’ 0-15 campaign. But it was also genuinely funny (on paper, anyway, less so on video) and exactly the sort of thing any number of Lions fans must’ve said to themselves on prior occasions. Whether or not Parker’s job description ought to include acting like a blogger jerk is between he and his employers, but make no mistake, this was hardly an attack on Rod Marinelli’s daughter as much as it was an comment on the coach’s competency. There’s little good to be gained from badgering a man at the low ebb of his career, but had Parker dropped the “do you wish your daughter had married a better defensive coordinator?” line in print, the likes of Terry Bradshaw could well ask why he didn’t have the guts to say it to Marinelli’s face.
“We didn’t get it done,” said Jets DE Shaun Ellis after Sunday’s 13-3 loss at Seattle. “It wasn’t meant to be. We didn’t get it done when it counted.”
On the contrary, Ellis proved to the entire nation that while the Jets can be pushed around by a Seahawks team with nothing to play for, he knows precisely how to deal with the real enemy — snowball tossing Seattle fans.
No! No, please do not do any of those things. I was thinking of something more along the lines of spending eight minutes watching what has to be one of the most viscerally challenging sporting events possible: a latke-eating contest. Newsday‘s Patrick Whittle takes us inside something that has long been a Hannukah tradition in the Roth family, albeit with less competitive spirit and worse quotes:
["Furious" Pete] Czerwinski — a 6-foot-2, muscle-packed Canadian — downed 46 latkes and was still licking applesauce from his stubble when the eight-minute contest ended. Will Millender, a 380-pound Brooklyn community college student, came in second with 29 latkes.
Czerwinski’s demolition of about seven pounds of potato pancakes throughly eclipsed the 31 latkes consumed by Tom “Goose” Gilbert of Massachusetts in 2006 and is a new world record, said Arnie Chapman, chairman of the Association of Independent Competitive Eaters, which sanctioned the event at Zan’s Deli.
For Czerwinski, who has been eating competitively for about a year and has shot to the top of the AICE rankings, the win was a textbook case of beginner’s luck. He said he had never eaten a latke before. “I’m just a power eater. My brain never signals that I’m full,” said Czerwinski, 23, a mechanical engineering student.
Next up for Czerwinski: a fistful of Immodium and hopefully a guest verse or sung chorus on the next Eric “Badlands” Booker album. Strong Island’s own Booker is best known as an eater, but his most recent record — Hungry and Focused II: The Ingestion Engine — is described by this website, as “Innovative, competitive eating-themed, NY-style hip hop for all ages.” Which is great for him, but means he’s totally sitting in the marketing niche in which I’d envisioned my novel.
Apparently, there was some precedent for Sean Avery’s Vogue internship. But a $100,000.00 recording budget? You could make 20 Genetic Control albums for that kind of money. (thanks to Mark Ohe for the video link)
An 8-3 start for the Jersey Jets was followed by losses in 3 of their last 4 games, including Sunday’s turgid 13-3 defeat to the Seahawks. With Gang Green very likely to miss the postseason (and former Jets QB Chad Pennington on the brink of an AFC East crown in Miami), Newsday’s Bob Glauber considers recent results and concludes, “Brett Favre is simply too old to do it, and coach Eric Mangini is in over his head.”
When you lose to Oakland, San Francisco and Seattle – teams with a combined record of 14-31 – and go 0-4 on the West Coast against four sub-.500 teams, you don’t deserve anything else. In fact, the Jets are lucky to be alive in the playoff race after their disgraceful football in the past four weeks.
After yesterday’s pathetic outing against the Seahawks and his old coach, Mike Holmgren, this much is certain: Favre is done after this year. Kaput. If the Jets ask him back after this late-season meltdown, they’re even wackier than I thought. Barring a playoff berth and at least two postseason wins, Favre is at the end.
If Mangini doesn’t get to the playoffs, the Jets need to show him the door. No excuses. No explanations. He was on board with the Favre decision, and he must pay the price if the collapse is completed next week.
That Pennington comes to the Meadowlands next week with a chance to beat the Jets is simply an exclamation point on the miserable job done by Mangini. He threw Pennington in the trash in August; now Pennington has a chance to send the Jets to their trash bags. He can seal Mangini’s fate and show his old coach he made a mistake by dumping him.
If Pennington does beat the Jets, it will complete a collapse as horrific as any in the long and tortured history of the post-Super Bowl III era breakdowns. And if the Jets lose, Mangini will go down as one of their most ignominious coaches. Bruce Coslet. Rich Kotite. Pete Carroll. Joe Walton. Name a coach that didn’t get it done, and Mangini would be right there with them.
With all due respect to Miami’s Tony Sprano, Atlanta’s Mike Smith and Tennessee’s Jeff Fischer, how about the Hooded Casanova for Coach Of The Year? New England’s 42-7 mauling of Arizona yesterday was the Patriots’ 10th win and they’ve a good chance to finish 11-5. If they do so, said achievement comes after losing Tom Brady in the first quarter of the season opener against KC (and the former MVP is only one of several key cogs in the Belichick wheel who’ve missed major playing time). 11 wins with Matt Cassel and Sammy Morris as starting QB and RB, respectively? Had New England finished this year with 6 or 7 wins, few would’ve been surprised under the circumstances.
(P Thomas Diamond, patiently waiting for Kevin Millwood to fuck off)
“A three-year plan, a five-year plan or a forever plan” are amongst the time tables for the Texas Rangers to contend in the AL West writes the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Jim Reeves, comparing prior attempts at getting an honest reply from GM Jon Daniels to Norm Cash facing Nolan Ryan with the leg from a piano bench. Prodding Daniels at a holiday party, however Reeves finally “didn™t feel as if I™d just climbed aboard world famous rodeo bull Bodacious. This time, I wasn™t bleeding and eating dirt in under 3.5 seconds.”
“We could be a second-half club in 2009,” Daniels said, “assuming some of our young players are ready to come up and help. I could see us making a push by then.”
He went on to note that 2010 was probably more realistic and for obvious reasons. That™s when the Rangers can be out from under around $40 million in contracts owed to Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla, Hank Blalock, Joaquin Benoit, Frank Catalanotto and Marlon Byrd.
In other words, the chance of actual money to spend in free agency (if he can tear it out of Tom Hicks™ vise-like grasp) and potentially a plethora of young players, especially pitchers, who should be ready to make the jump to the big leagues.
“It wouldn™t surprise me to see both [pitchers] Neftali Feliz and Derek Holland here sometime next season,” Daniels said. “Thomas Diamond, too.”
Daniels, in fact, says Diamond, completely recovered from Tommy John surgery, will be a candidate to make the big league club out of spring training‚… as a reliever. If he doesn™t, he™ll be in the rotation at Oklahoma City.
And with all the new stars on the horizon, it™s easy to overlook last season™s big rookie name, Eric Hurley. Daniels predicted that Hurley would win a rotation spot this spring.
That’s amongst the question posed by Ailene Voisin, pestering former Kings/Lakers C Vlade Divac by telephone in today’s Sacramento Bee.
Politics? You swore you wouldn’t touch the stuff. What is your official title, and what are your duties?
I’m vice (or deputy) prime minister in charge of sports and humanitarian interests, and for Serbs living abroad. I have an office in Belgrade in the government building. But I also founded the Humanitarian Organization Divac (HOD). We are trying to solve the refugee problem (and partnering with the Serbian government and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). We have almost 7,000 refugees living in the camps, more than in any other country in Europe. We buy empty houses in villages and cities, and find refugees to live in them. We interview them. The whole thing. We have placed 50 families. We want to find houses for another 400.
Is the political and economic climate in Serbia improving? What about the infrastructure? When I was in Belgrade before the 2004 Athens Olympics, the buildings that were bombed in the U.S. air assault in 1999 were still in disrepair.
The majority of them are fixed. One of them is still ruined, but somebody bought that land and is going to build a hotel. It’s slow, but the people are resilient.
What about rumors that you are considering running for the presidency of Serbia? Your good friend Peja Stojakovic, by the way, believes it’s inevitable.
(Laughs.) Maybe in the future. Not right now. Boris Tadic is starting his second term, and he is leading the country in a positive direction. Right now the only campaign I am running is for presidency of the Serbian Olympic Committee. I was named as a candidate, and I think I will be approved on Feb. 24. I hope.
What is your campaign platform?
Serbia is a basketball country, and then soccer. Lately we are having a lot of success in swimming and tennis. Next year also, Belgrade gets an ATP tournament. But we have to build new stadiums, arenas, tennis courts. After the war, everything was destroyed.
What has struck you about the Kings, other than their attendance problems? Entering the weekend, they ranked 29th and haven’t had a single sellout.
I am very, very surprised at attendance. You can tell me any other city but Sacramento. I go back to my time, all that emotion. You couldn’t find a ticket. Now you are telling me there were 10,000 people at a game the other night? I’m sure the economy has something to do with it. But also ¦ I hope they (management) turn things around. I hope when I come there, I can see it. Arco Arena. The thunder. It has to come back.
Boras started out seeking 10 years, $250 million for Teixeira, a player who has never finished higher than seventh in the Most Valuable Player award voting, a player who has been with three teams in six years and but one round of the postseason. Ask the Atlanta Braves (who gave up four top prospects to acquire Teixeira from the Texas Rangers in July ’07) how much impact he had for them. This guy is not Albert Pujols even though in this economy Boras is marketing him as such.
Yet, in a lot of ways, Boras potentially had the perfect storm of ingredients to make yet another record score – two of the wealthiest large-market teams, the Red Sox and Angels, desperate to have Teixeira’s bat, and a perennial doormat, the Washington Nationals, desperate to generate enthusiasm from their disillusioned fan base with a high-profile signing. Indeed, the Nats’ Ted Lerner more and more looks to be emerging as this year’s prime candidate for the “One Dumb Owner” (in the mold of Texas’ Tom Hicks) Boras always seems to bamboozle into onerous contracts they immediately come to regret.
Of course, if the Nationals really do wind up having a far superior offer, expect Boras to send Mr. Teixeira to Washington – just as he sent Alex Rodriguez to the last-place Texas Rangers back in 2000. Even the teams that want him realize Teixeira drinks the Boras Kool-Aid – which is to say he accepts the premise that it doesn’t matter where you play as long you’re the highest paid.
“While one could lose his job, or at the very least his reputation, for openly mocking a fill-in-the-blank, you can still ridicule Americans of Italian heritage and suffer little-to-nothing in return” rages the New York Post’s Phil Mushnick, perhaps the only columnist alive with the guts to stand up to the oh-so-powerful fill-in-the-blank media cabal.
Last Sunday, ESPN was providing that day’s NFL highlights, including a blocked punt that was returned by Bucs DB Sabby (Sabatino) Piscitelli (above). Over this footage, ESPN anchor and signature personality Chris Berman said, “And he goes all the way to the 22-yard line.”
Except, as Berman said this, he stepped into a stereotypical “deeze and doze” Brooklyn-Italian accent; he cleverly attached an uncultured and uneducated Italian-American dialect to the name Piscitelli.
“Could you imagine,” asks reader John Siciliano of The Bronx, “if he did an impression of a stupid Hispanic or a stupid African-American?”
No, I couldn’t.
How about an Asian? Could one imagine Berman speaking imitation Chinese, Korean or Japanese – pronouncing his Ls as Rs, as if ordering “flied lice” – over clips of Yao Ming, Chan Ho Park and Hideki Matsui?
Or maybe speaking with a thick Eastern European/Lower East Side pushcart Yiddish accent over footage of Sandy Koufax or Kevin Youkilis?
Or speaking with over-the-top, feminized affectations when clips appear of Greg Louganis or Billie Jean King?
None of us could imagine that from most career sports broadcasters, not in 2008. That’s because most recognize that such cheap, bigoted, unfunny humor is long gone – and good riddance.
Though Phil’s general point is well taken, he did lose me towards the end. Is Mushnick suggesting Billie Jean King isn’t female?
Intuitively Allardyce and Blackburn seems like a good match, Blackburn’s current beleaguered position and Allardyce’s well-known adherence to technical discipline and tactical rigidity ought to complement each other well for a relegation dogfight. Intuition is usually reliable, I think, with managerial appointments “ Paul Ince never felt right for Blackburn. I wasn’t especially comfortable with the Premiership’s first British, black manager being made boss of a club with “black” as its first syllable. I worried that it was an influential factor ” “We’re called Blackburn, he is black, let’s just let nature take its course.”
It is remarkable that Ince was signed at Manchester United by Sir Alex Ferguson, who has remained immovable (as immovable as the premature image of Ince in a red shirt) across the tumbling decades and, even then, was dominating the top flight and manipulating all before him.
His former charges Roy Keane and Steve Bruce and Mark Hughes and Paul Ince, they come and they go, but Ferguson abides. Even today Ferguson is swatting gadfly rumours from Madrid that Cristiano Ronaldo is to join them in the summer ” “I wouldn’t sell them a virus” he spat with his customary acerbic brevity. If Real Madrid were in the business of trying to recruit a virus that would be grim news for European football and the world in general as it could surely only be an indication that RamÃ³n CalderÃ³n had elected to become a cackling super villain whose objectives reach far beyond unsettling young footballers and into the realm of global domination through germ warfare.
Perhaps the reign of Sir Alex will comprise the career of further players, perhaps he will one day pit his wits against Wayne Rooney or Nani; like the perpetual moon he has observed all the scuttling and tomfoolery from above. Unlike the moon he often sticks his oar in and manipulates the situation to his advantage, though the moon does govern all from the tides to the menstrual cycle of every woman who’s ever broken my heart so perhaps the analogy is consistent.
The above tee is selling for $9.99 at the Texas supermarket chain HEB. Conspicuous by their absence are the name or logo of the football team T.O. toils for, though the popcorn obscuring his face is a rather nice touch. Considering that Owens dropped the “getcha popcorn ready” bon mot in advance of a showdown with Randy Moss the former came out on the short end of, it’s a little weird anyone considers it an effective slogan. Then again, just because the shirt’s for sale, that doesn’t mean anyone is buying it.
Indy’s RCA Dome, former home to the NFL Colts and site of 4 NCAA Final Fours, was imploded earlier today to make way for a video library of Peyton Manning’s TV commercial work circa 1998-2008. Though the implosion was widely seen on local TV, there’s no truth to the rumor the Colts would have attempted to offer the event on PPV if Mike Vanderjagt had agreed to serve as master of ceremonies…from the 50 yard line.
(hands up, if you know what “New York lawyer” is code for)
Responding to recent comments by NBA commissioner David Stern expressing regret over the Association’s handling of the Vancouver Grizzlies, the Vancouver Courier’s Mark Hasiuk boldy suggests there was a far more sinister reason for British Columbia ignoring pro hoops than the local team’s poor won-loss record.
The once proud league, which peaked 20 years ago during the Bird/Magic/Jordan era, has morphed into a reality TV show, where money and image trump teamwork and athletic achievement. Players like Allen Iverson–perhaps the greatest basketball talent of his generation–spend more energy producing sneaker commercials than winning basketball games. NBA players wear saggy shorts, roll in posses and cuss on camera. Television ratings have dropped steadily since 1996. Basketball icons such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the late Red Auerbach have denounced today’s players, calling them “thugs” and “bums.”
How’d this happen? Who’s to blame?
Basketball traditionalists (older white guys) blame the overwhelming influence of hip hop culture in the NBA. But they’re wrong.
Hip hop, a cultural movement spawned in 1970s New York, has been dead for years.
It sold its soul to corporate sleaze merchants, who repackage black music for a white suburban consumer base.
Nope, the remnants of hip hop–flamboyant chauvinism, jailhouse lingo, black ink tattoos–didn’t kill the NBA. It was New York lawyers like Stern, who cashed in on the athletic ability of young black men while ignoring the social realities of basketball in America.
According to a New York Times report, more than 70 per cent of black American children are born out of wedlock. Most NBA players hail from poor neighbourhoods–and despite token college careers–graduate from broken public school systems. They are often ill-equipped to handle multi-million-dollar contracts, or the expectations of a community desperate for positive male role models. To be fair, the NBA, like other professional sports leagues, is a business. And it’s not responsible for the endemic problems of black America. But considering basketball’s influence on black popular culture, the NBA has a responsibility to produce a “positive” product, not the ghetto garbage we see today.
Stern can keep his basketball franchise. His NBA cabal doesn’t belong around here.
“It’s not very often that a writer is able to reveal his hideously racist side, all the while claiming to be looking out for a particular race’s best interests” responds Deadspin’s Marcel Mutoni, and it is an impressive achievement, particularly as the author is neither named Phil Mushnick or Jason Whitlock. Taking issue with Hasiuk’s specific claims would take all weekend, though I’d be very surprised to learn, for instance, that Channing Frye’s nerd patrol qualifies as “a posse”, just as I’ve not seen an A.I. sneaker commercial in about half a decade. Indeed, television ratings for the NBA have taken a hit, as have those for NASCAR, MLB and Hasiuk’s beloved NHL. I can only presume sports fans south of the border soured on the thuggery of Todd Bertuzzi (after, y’know, being won over during the golden age of Greztky and Lemiuex).
I do, however, take Hasiuk’s point regarding “corporate sleaze merchants who repackage black music for a white suburban consumer base.” For years, we’ve waited patiently for an explanation of just how Big, Rich and Cowboy Troy were hired to perform at the 2005 All-Star Game, and this makes as much sense as any I’ve heard.
Devon Harris scored 41 points and contributed 13 assists in the Nets’ 121-97 rout of Dallas last night at the Izod Center, a humiliating return visit for Mavs PG Jason Kidd and an opportunity for whatever Nets fans hung around for garbage time to chant, “Thank You, Cuban!” Over in the Dallas locker room, the New York Daily News’ Julian Garcia found the visitors were less than amused.
After the game, I asked Kidd if he heard the chants about Mark Cuban and he responded, “When they were talking about his dancing?”
Moments later, someone asked a follow-up question about that topic and Kidd said, “What’s that got to do with me? You answer that question. Ask Cuban. Did you ask Cuban? Ask him.”
So we did. And here’s what the Mavericks owner said:
“I guess when you don’t care about your own team you talk about someone on the other team, right? I guess that’s what Nets fans are all about…I think the goal of everybody in New Jersey is to be a general manager. So I can understand why they want to share their expertise.”
Then calling it a “single game,” Cuban said he has no regrets about the deal and that he’s not surprised at how well Harris has played for the Nets.
“No. They built the offense around him. The kid can score. That’s what he does,” Cuban said. “When he’s like that he’s very comparable to Allen Iverson. That’s the way he’s playing. He deserves a lot of credit; he’s a great kid. But he just fills a different role than we felt we needed when we made the trade. We have a lot of scorers. We have a lot of shooters. So it’s different. We don’t run an offense where he would just dominate the ball. It is what it is.”
On June 12, 1970, Pittsburgh Pirate and future Texas Rangers pitcher Dock Ellis found himself in the Los Angeles home of a childhood friend named Al Rambo. Two days earlier, he’d flown with the Pirates to San Diego for a four-game series with the Padres. He immediately rented a car and drove to L.A. to see Rambo and his girlfriend Mitzi. The next 12 hours were a fog of conversation, screwdrivers, marijuana, and, for Ellis, amphetamines. He went to sleep in the early morning, woke up sometime after noon and immediately took a dose of Purple Haze acid. Ellis would frequently drop acid on off days and weekends; he had a room in his basement christened “The Dungeon,” in which he’d lock himself and listen to Jimi Hendrix or Iron Butterfly “for days.”
A bit later, how long exactly he can’t recall, he came across Mitzi flipping through a newspaper. She scanned for a moment, then noticed something.
“Dock,” she said. “You’re supposed to pitch today.”
Ellis focused his mind. No. Friday. He wasn’t pitching until Friday. He was sure.
“Baby,” she replied. “It is Friday. You slept through Thursday.”
Ellis remained calm. The game would start late. Ample time for the acid to wear off. Then it struck him: doubleheader. The Pirates had a doubleheader. And he was pitching the first game. He had four hours to get to San Diego, warm up and pitch. If something didn’t happen in the interim, Dock Philip Ellis, age 25, was about to enter a 50,000-seat stadium and throw a very small ball, very hard, for a very long time, without the benefit of being able to, you know, feel the thing.
You knew it probably wasn’t gonna be a good year for the Wichita Thunder when a basketball team moved into their biggest rival’s building and then called themselves the “Thunder.” But at 7-15-2 (that’s a .333 winning percentage) the Central Hockey League cellar-dwellers are three times better than their NBA relation – and more than two times better than the Kansas City Chiefs, which the hockey club is honoring tonight in classic bush-league fashion:
The Wichita Thunder has announced they will host “Carl Peterson – Blame the GM Night” for this Saturday’s home game versus the Rapid City Rush….
Any Thunder fan with the first name “Carl” or the last name “Peterson” will receive free admission to Saturday’s game. Any fan wearing Chiefs gear will receive buy one get one free tickets to the game. Anyone in attendance named “Clark Hunt” will receive Thunder season tickets for the rest of 2008-09.
The Thunder continues their current homestand this Friday and will host “Rod Blagojevich Bribe Night”, where the Thunder will attempt to bribe fans into coming to the game versus the Mississippi Riverkings. Anyone who mentions the promotion at the Thunder office will receive tickets of equal or lesser value to the game on January 28th when the Thunder again hosts Rapid City.
“We realize that much like Blagojevich’s last two weeks and the Chiefs last few years, Thunder fans are likewise disappointed by the last couple seasons of Thunder hockey”, said Thunder general manager Joel T. Lomurno (above). “I’ll gladly take some blame for it, so what better way to thank the fans for their tremendous support and bribing them in to coming to see us play this weekend. In fact if the Thunder don’t score at least six goals this weekend and pick up a couple wins, tickets to Wichita’s home game on Tuesday, January 6th versus Arizona will also be buy one get one free, while additional tickets for season ticketholders will be no charge whatsoever (limit four).”
In other words, first prize, two Thunder tickets. Second prize, four Thunder tickets. Considering the team was unable to score a goal (including all five shootout rounds) during its Teddy Bear Toss last week, those freebie tix were pretty much a given and indeed, though the Thunder lost to beat Mississippi 2-1 Friday.
Update: Correction now appended. Hey, I was just thrilled to have two readers care (even if they do share an IP address). Tonight, the Thunder really did lose 2-1. That’s three goals for the weekend (and five, total, in their last seven games). Freebies all around!
On Christmas night, Comcast SportsNet New England will air a half-hour special entitled Manny Being Manny: The Final Days in Boston. The special will feature “candid comments from noted Boston sports writers and personalities”, and will examine “the key moments that led up to [Ramirez'] departure.”
Ladies and Gentlemen, I think we’ve finally discovered the Boston sports TV answer to The Yule Log.
The YES Network is taking votes during tonight’s Mavs/Nets tilt to determine a nickname for Devin Harris, with choices that include “The Poet”, “The Devastator”, “D-Lightning”, “Devo”, and “The Blur” (chosen for Harris’ well known friendship with Alex James). Not on the list of nominees : “The Guy Who Made Everyone Forget About Jason Kidd”. Everyone, that is, except for Nets’ President Rod Thorn, who takes the (very) high, migraine-free road in recalling Kidd’s exploits with the Newark Star-Ledger’s Dave D’Alessandro.
As Thorn saw it, Kidd was the ultimate glue guy — offensively, defensively and spiritually. He proved that a single player can transform the culture of a franchise, maximize a roster’s collective skill level, buoy its spirits and deliver instant success — indeed, by taking one of the most wretched teams in sports and turning it into a conference champion in just eight months.
Bottom line: “He was the catalyst of a team that went from nowhere to somewhere,” Thorn said.
“He not only made the people who played with him better, he made people who worked here better. And I’ve never been around a player who was tougher, as far as playing with injuries. People don’t know it: He had the hole in his knee the size of a silver dollar in 2004, and he played with it the entire playoffs. One game, he played 57 minutes. That injury would have kept most people out for a month.
“But he had an incredible ability to focus and put whatever was going on in his life out of his mind when he got on the court. Very few players can do that. And you don’t forget things like that.”
The flip side is also well known: Like most players, Kidd was a sore loser. He took his subtle shots at Thorn when the roster wasn’t what he thought it should be.
“He wanted to win. He was competitive,” Thorn said. “He was always hopeful that we’d do all we could to get the players around him that would make that possible. Obviously, when we had the players, we had a good run. And we would have beaten Detroit (in 2004) had he been healthy, and who knows what happens after that?”
Corn at Hardwood Paroxysm observered Brandon Roy scoring 52 against the Suns last night and says of the Suns’ Casual Thursday approach to defending, “it’s like Coach D never left.” The New York Post’s Peter Vescey is a tad more specific, saying of PG Steve Nash, “If he knows what’s good for him he will snatch Suns’ security when offered before it dawns on management he’s a budding shadow of the MVP he was two, three seasons ago.”
“Steve used to be able to get around anyone anytime and could pick apart any defense with his passes,” a scout said. “That stopped being the case last year, but it hasn’t stopped him from trying, and the result is often a turnover.”
“Do you think I would enter into a contract with that mob?” he said. “Absolutely no chance. I would not sell them a virus. That is a ‘No’ by the way. There is no agreement whatsoever between the clubs.”
After he previously evoked Real’s links to the fascist regime of General Franco, it now seems that Ferguson’s opinion of the club, whom United could be paired with in today’s Champions League draw, has fallen even further. He was responding to claims in a Spanish newspaper that the Real director Pedro Trapote had seen the details of a contract between the two clubs for Ronaldo’s transfer.
Ferguson said: “I said to David Gill [Manchester United's chief executive] a year last summer when we sold Gabriel Heinze that he [Gill] could bet his life this stuff will all start up around Ronaldo in January. It will happen again this January.
“We just have to ignore it. If we keep worrying about what Real Madrid have to say, we are not concentrating on our own publicity and the programme of difficult games we have got coming up. I’ve got to ignore it. Sometimes it can be an angry situation and sometimes I get really annoyed with them. But we know their game. I think we should play ours and ignore it all.”
“It took a lot of pain,” Cashman said while being interviewed on the Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network. “And certainly a lot of hits going through the process.”
Cashman said Thursday’s coronation was really just the “completion of a concept,” an overall strategy, dating back at least a year, leading to Sabathia putting on the pinstriped jersey. If he didn’t pass on Johan Santana, he doesn’t get CC. That’s what the GM was saying. Cashman was convincing. He spoke with conviction. Still, if this was his plan all along, why all the “pain”? Why even care about the “heat”?
Before last season, Cashman was not used to being bombarded by incoming media scuds, not used to being hammered. The only harsh characterizations directed publicly at him came from George Steinbrenner. And almost always – unanimously – the media sided with the poor, picked-upon, baby-faced GM. He was respected. Cashman’s rational responses were in sharp contrast to The Boss’ irrational ravings.
Any objective soul might direct Cashman’s attention to Queens. His Mets counterpart, Omar Minaya, has – in the media – basically been called a racist by those who have, on the air, said he favors Hispanic players. He was also rightfully roasted for mishandling the firing of Willie Randolph.
The media have held Minaya directly accountable for the Mets leading the National League in collapses the past two seasons. And each and every move Minaya makes is overanalyzed by the Joe Benignos of the world.
Cashman’s “intent” is to change the story. But he can’t write it. Not now. Not ever. No matter how he strikes back, or how much pressure others in the Yankees front office might foolishly attempt to apply, there will always be a place for opinions and reporting that the organization won’t agree with.