01.31.09

Sour Grapes : Cherry Stalker Pleads For HNIC Shout Out

Posted in Hockey, Leave No Child Unbeaten, Sports TV at 8:55 pm by

An Ontario teen who lost his volunteer video gig for fraternizing with CBC bigmouth Don Cherry is hoping the shy, retiring fashion plate takes the former’s case to the nation tonight. From the Canadian Press :

Earlier this month Billy Steele, a volunteer camera operator with Rogers TV, was reprimanded for snapping a photo of Cherry and conversing with him at General Motors Centre in Oshawa, Ont.

Steele is now crossing his fingers that Cherry will speak to his defence Saturday night before a national audience during the commentator’s Coach’s Corner segment on CBC’s “Hockey Night in Canada” broadcast.

“Don Cherry’s the man — love that man, he’s awesome,” Steele said Friday. “I never miss Coach’s Corner. Now I’m hoping he’ll say something on Coach’s Corner. He probably will.”

“(I hope he says) GMC should be letting that kid back in, and shame on GMC.”

After interacting with Cherry twice in the course of two days, an employee of Global Spectrum, which runs the arena, said Steele was no longer welcome.

“This young man seems to not want to adhere to our procedures,” Vince Vella, general manager of the city-owned facility, said in an email.

“He has been counselled numerous times and doesn’t seem to want to comply with our practices and procedures. He continuously fails to comply.”

OBM : Anderson Raid, Sultan Hunt Are Obscene

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, The Law at 8:35 pm by

(the other Greg Anderson, left, also has nothing to say about Barry Bonds)

Unable to break trainer Greg Anderson under interrogation, the FBI this week turned their attention to the mother-in-law of Barry Bonds’ good buddy, along with unveiling the latest star witness against the Sultan Of Surly, household name Bobby Estalella.  Only Baseball Matters‘ Joe Perricone pronounces the goverment’s tactics, “an astonishing abuse of power”, which vaguely sounds like the name of an old Phil Anselmo joint. (link courtesy Sports On My Mind)

Barry Bonds didn™t kill anyone, he doesn™t smuggle cocaine into high schools, or rape little girls. He used something to make himself better at what he does for a living. He took steps to improve himself. Regardless of whether you think it was right or wrong, whether you believe that it is the government™s job to tell us what is legal or illegal to take to make us happier, stronger, faster or just plain high; what Bonds did is in no way commensurate to the level of money being spent, and quite frankly, laws being broken, in chasing him down.Make no mistake, standing by and watching our government do this without a word of protest will haunt us. This is a targeted witch hunt, a black man who is being taken down because a government employee “a man whose salary is paid for by you and me“ IRS Agent Jeff Novitzky, decided he wanted to take him down because he was an, œarrogant asshole.

Not to mention, this investigation, costing between $30 and $50 million while our economy is crashing like the Hindenburg, is the height of absurdity. Twenty federal agents raiding the home of a 60-year old woman, in an effort to pressure Greg Anderson to testify? Really?

Perricone makes an excellent point — if our government can use unlimited resources to punish a universally beloved sportsman like Bonds with no sign of public outrage, who will object when they come to take away Roger Clemens?

Just Call Her The Ombudsmarm : Le Anne Schreiber’s Exit Interview With TBL

Posted in Blogged Down, Sports Journalism, Sports Radio, Sports TV at 5:29 pm by

“It is time to move on, and time for a new set of eyes and ears to keep tabs on ESPN.”  So states departing ESPN ombudsman Le Anne Schreiber, who granted The Big Lead an illuminating chat regarding her one year tenure as the Worldwide Leader’s in-house watchdog (h/t  : Jason Cohen).

I discovered sports media blogs in those first weeks when I was deciding whether to take on the job. One of my concerns was that I was too far removed in sensibility from ESPN™s core demographic to represent them. How could a gray-headed ombudsmarm speak for all those sports-obsessed young men? But when I started my intensive ESPN-watching and noticed someone or something that seemed off-base to me, I would plug a few key words into Google and up came the sports blogs. The way bloggers expressed themselves was worlds apart from me, but I was often in sync with the gist of what they were saying (minus the cheap shots and personal attacks, and yes that™s a cheap shot at sports media blogs from the ombudsmarm).I didn™t yet have access to the ombuds mailbag, so blogs were my first clue that I had more in common with young male sports fans than I imagined. Or maybe I should say that was my first clue that age or gender didn™t matter much among people who really cared about how something was covered. When I started posting columns, the mailbag reinforced that, so I stopped worrying about being the old gray lady of sports.

Q: In your first column, you wrote, œWho are these people and why are they shouting at me? Do you feel ESPN has done anything to tone down the volume on its army of shouters?

I think that column made ESPN more self-conscious about the shouting, but it™s hard for me to say if the volume has been toned down, because over-exposure to the noise induced a degree of immunity in me and perhaps hearing loss.

Olson : Won’t Somebody Please Juice Up The Super Bore?

Posted in Gridiron, Sports Journalism at 4:33 pm by

Joe Namath’s guarantee of a Jets victory over Baltimore in Super Bowl III, “tipped off a new era of bravado and became two of the most famous sentences in sports,” gushes AOL Sports’ Lisa Olson the afternoon before Arizona & Pittsburgh do battle. “Please, for those of us who hold dear the Super Bowl and all its glorious gaudiness, won’t someone mouth off just a bit?

This Super Bowl could use a Namath clone, more than ever. There’s very little juice emanating from Tampa (hold the Mons Venus jokes), and the weak economy can’t take the entire rap. If the most controversial Super Bowl story revolves around the Phoenix mayor doing mean things to Terrible Towels, then that tells us two things:

* the mayor and outraged Pittsburgh fans are idiots
* and the actual contestants in Sunday’s contest really need to step up their game.

Of course, guarantees might and often will backfire. Of course, the player who dares voice an audacious declaration will be treated in most corners as an egomaniac. But aren’t sports all about taking risk? And aren’t all professional athletes automatically equipped with more ego than the average Joe or Josie?

Instead, we get Cardinals defensive back Antrel Rolle calling Arizona “beyond average.” Not better than good, which the Cardinals surely are, and not great, which only a fool would suggest. But as long as Rolle and the rest of the Cardinals have defied reasonable expectation and haven’t much to lose, why not make the adventure even more interesting by expressing bodacious proclamations?

I’m with Lisa on this one. We’ve only got a few more hours for Brenda Warner to remind us that Jesus wants to see Big Ben writhing in pain.

Bouton On Torre/Verducci Flap : Gimme A Break

Posted in Baseball at 1:40 pm by

Jim Bouton’s 1970 tell-all “Ball Four” was so poorly received by the baseball establishment, the controversy yielded enough material for a sequel — “Ball Five” — addressing said reaction.  With that history in mind, Bouton says of the furor surrounding Joe Torre and Tom Verducci’s “The Yankee Years”, “what’s the big deal”? From the the New York Daily News’ Andy Martino :

“It is almost 40 years later,” he said. “Why in the world anyone is still talking about the sanctity of the clubhouse is beyond me. Baseball and the Yankees should feel lucky that this book is generating so much attention in January… there is no job hitting a ball with a stick unless a lot of people are convinced it’s important.”

Bouton was also amused that any player would feel violated by the book. “These guys have voluntarily gone into a business where people know that everything that they do or say is subject to being written about. They act as if they’re surprised when somebody tells what they do. Roger Maris always wanted to be a private person. Well, get into the shoe business if that’s what you want.”

And to anyone offended that unflattering accounts of his behavior landed in a book, Bouton offered simple advice: “Books are going to be written. Therefore, don’t act like a jerk.”

Copyfright Infringement : Who Dares Challenge The God Of Thunder On The Slippery Slopes?

Posted in The Marketplace at 12:25 pm by

Not content with disparaging Maura Johnston, Kiss founder / marketing maven Gene Simmons turned his attentions later this week to Faction Collective, an independent ski company. Faction had the bad fortune to display a new pair skis featuring Simmons’ iconic face (in make up, natch) at a Vegas trade fair without obtaining the bassist’s permission.  Who’d have thought Gene would personally pay them a visit?  From the New York Times’ Christina Erb.

œMy friend said, ˜Oh my God, it™s Gene,™ and then he bolted ” he just left, said Ross Janzen, who was manning the booth for the Faction Collective. œI turned around and it was Gene. People were standing three-deep around him. I was completely dumbfounded. He™s an imposing figure.

Faction took up about a dozen square feet, making it a blip on a convention floor occupied by more than 820 brands, 445 exhibitors and 3,479 booths. The four-day show, which ended Friday, drew 18,000 people ” one of whom happened to be Simmons.

Surrounded by an entourage of barely clothed women, Simmons was there to promote a snowboard and ski accessory line called MoneyBag, a label he runs with Jason Dussault.

œIf you™re a bootlegger, and you think you™re going to get by and put something out illegally, it will cost you more to defend that than simply getting a license, Simmons said in a telephone interview Friday. œThey think they can get by being a nuisance, just pests, until they meet Gene Simmons, who kills pests dead.

Janzen offered to give Simmons the skis. Instead, Simmons gave Janzen his lawyer™s contact information.

Bill Byrne, who runs a public relations firm in San Diego and works for several outdoors brands, said: œGraphic take-offs or blatant use of a brand™s likeness without consent is one way a lot of brands build product awareness or controversy. The downside is, there could be some unanticipated legal issues.

œGene is known for going after people that use his likeness. My guess is that ski guys think they are under the radar enough to do it. What are the chances that Gene Simmons is going to walk through S.I.A.? Does he even ski?

Skinny White Guy Takes Wing Bowl Crown

Posted in Food, Going To The Zoo, Mob Behavior at 11:25 am by

Darkhorse rookie Jonathan Squibb bested the likes of Glutieus Maximus, Obi Wing, Da Disposal, Frank Da Fraud and Hank the Tank to win this years “locals only” Wing Bowl yesterday at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia.

From Philly.com:

PHILADELPHIA – Jonathan Squibb, a skinny 23-year-old from Winslow Township, N.J., is the new Wing Bowl champion.

Super Squibb, as he is known, tore through 203 wings – 23 more than second place finisher Not Rich and 50 more than third place eaters Hank the Tank and Da Disposal – while chomping his way to glory and a brand new Mini Cooper automobile.


Going into the competition, the Rutgers University and Winslow Township High School graduate was ranked with 9 to 1 odds by 610 WIP talker Al Morganti, who created Wing Bowl at the sports talk station 17 years ago as a diversion for sports fans mired in a pro sports championship drought.

œNobody believed in me but my family, but I knew I could do it, said Squibb, who is œin career transition.

He planned to celebrate tonight with family and friends. What was his secret?

œIt™s more up here than down here, he explained, pointing first to his brain, then his stomach.

01.30.09

Chelsea’s Kalou : It’s Still Real To Me, Damn It

Posted in Football, Free Expression at 7:26 pm by

With apologies to Dave Wills, Salomon Kalou denies his celebration after scoring the second goal in Chelsea’s 2-0 victory over Middlesbrough Wednesday night was a show of solidarity with Ivorian political activist Antoine Assale Tiemoko.  After reading Kalou’s claim that said gesture was inspired by the WWE’s John Cena, the Guardian’s Russell Brand isn’t quite buying it (“If you type Tiémoko’s name into a search engine you’ll be swiftly led to an online petition that you can then send to the president of the Ivory Coast which I have now done as it seemed so effortless and worthwhile; if you search for John Cena you get to see pictures of the hunk in his pants, so both lines of inquiry have their own rewards.”)

Were Kalou and Drogba expressing support through hand signals to Tiémoko I think it would be wonderful; two young millionaires presumed caged in their own tower of privilege conveying compassionate concern against corruption in their fatherland; that would be surprising and cause for optimism. If they just both like wrestling it would be less surprising and considerably less romantic.

If I were to discover that during the ’68 Olympics when Tommie Smith and John Carlos held their fists aloft upon the medal winners podium they were not making a Black Power salute but working out a dance routine to the Tom Jones hit of that year, Delilah, a little piece of history would be tarnished. In spite of their denial I would like to think this controversial physical symbol was in support of Tiémoko. Fingers crossed.

Kucinich : Remove “Citi Field” From The Wilpon’s New Palace Of Avarice & Greed

Posted in Baseball, politics, The Marketplace at 6:59 pm by

The New York Mets avoided arbitration with P John Maine earlier today, inking the righthander to a one-year, $2.6 million pact.  If a pair of out of town Congressmen have anything to say about it, said funds will come from somewhere else besides the $20 million annual naming rights deal with Mets signed with the floundering Citigroup.  From Newsday’s Keith Herbert.

Reps. Dennis Kucinich (above, D-Ohio) and Ted Poe (R-Texas) sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner requesting he “dissolve” the contract with the Mets to name their stadium Citi Field.

Kucinich and Poe wrote that Citigroup’s financial footing “has changed drastically” since the naming rights deal was struck in 2006.

Steve Silverman, a spokesman for Citigroup in Manhattan, called the contract with the Mets a “legally binding agreement” signed two years ago.

The representatives’ letter requests Geithner demand that “Citigroup dissolve the agreement” with the Mets.

“Absent this outcome, we feel strongly that you should compel Citigroup to return immediately all federal money received to date, as well as cancel all loan guarantees,” the letter stated.

Under Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program, Citigroup received about $45 billion in taxpayers’ dollars in recent months.

That infusion of cash gives Treasury officials authority to “protect the public’s interest,” Kucinich said.

Nasty Nestor Vs. The Vast Media Conspiracy (Of Guys Who Aren’t Jews)

Posted in Sports Radio at 6:44 pm by

Baltimore radio host “Nasty” Nestor Aparicio (above, right), a longtime thorn-in-the-side of Peter Angelos, was famously described by the Washington Post‘s Leonard Shaprio as “a shameless and relentless self-promoter who really can get down and very dirty on and off the air with anyone who might happen to disagree with him”.  Alas, Shapiro failed to mention that he’s an aspiring anti-semite / Latrell Sprewell impersonator as well.  Dallas Sports Fans.com provides details of this morning’s brawl in Tampa, FL at what’s called “Radio Row” for Super Bowl XLIII.

Apparently, Gordon Keith went over to Nasty Nestor Aparicio with a wireless microphone to attempt to bury the hatchet between the two parties, when Nasty Nestor became angry, grabbed Gordon Keith around the throat and attempted to strangle him. The two were then separated and the police were called.

This is not the first incident between Nasty Nestor and the Ticket. In 2008, at the Super Bowl coverage, Corby Davidson went to Nasty Nestor to make peace. Nestor Aparicio began swearing at Corby Davidson and accused him of having a hidden mic, to which Corby responded, œI swear to the good Lord I do not have a microphone. Nasty Nestor then allegedly called Corby a œ(Explitive)-ing Jew.

In the latest incident, Gordon Keith did have a microphone, but it is clear from the audio that he was not trying to provoke Nasty Nestor. Keith is now considering whether or not to file charges against Nasty Nestor. Anyone who was recording the live webcast of the incident, which was broadcast on the Ticket™s webcam, is encouraged to contact the Ticket immediately.