01.27.09

Baseball Team Carefully Avoids Exploitation, Opportunism (Unless It’s Okay)

Posted in Baseball, politics at 11:46 pm by

Brooks Boyer, VP and Chief Marketing Officer of the Chicago White Sox knows how to read a spreadsheet.  Faced with a 25% bump in sales of Sox merchandise since the election of vocal Sox fan Barack Obama, Boyer immediately went to the drawing board and came up with a way to combine the popularity of the new president and his preferred baseball team.  These are the results:


“We don’t want to be overly opportunistic and exploit this,” lied Boyer after producing multiple designs, obtaining MLB Properties approval and crouching by the telephone, gleefully rubbing his hands while awaiting a green light from the Oval Office.

Fine with me if the first thing to be shot down by the Obama administration is this dubious idea.  No offense to Boyer, but if bringing Chicago its only World Series ring in a combined 184 seasons netted the Sox no prestige, then slapping the President’s campaign glyph on a Sox hat isn’t going to do it either.

Woodland, CA PD Nominate Pedroia For MVP

Posted in Baseball, Leave No Child Unbeaten, The Law at 11:09 pm by

Sadly, that would be “Most Vile Pervert”.  Way to challenge ownership’s ultimatium to V-Tek for web traffic, Brett Pedroia.  From the Boston Herald’s Michael Silverman and Richard Weir :

Lt. Charles Wilts, spokesman for the Woodland (Calif.) Police Department, said Brett Philip Pedroia was arrested Jan. 9 for sex crimes involving a then 8-year-old boy in 2004.

Wilts said Pedroia, 30, was charged with two counts of lewd acts with a child under the age of 13 and two acts of oral copulation with a minor, both felonies. The spokesman added the alleged sex crimes took place in a home in January 2004. He declined to say where the residence was located or whose home it was.

Reportedly, Dustin Pedroia, 25, and his brother are not close and have not spoken in recent years.

A Gordon Edes puff piece on the Pedroia family from June of 2007 gives little indication Dustin and his older brother were estranged. Though it’s not necessarily something a family would volunteer, either. Let’s keep in mind, ladies and gentlemen, that in the United States Of America (and perhaps a handful of other countries I cannot identify), a person is innocent until proven guilty. And with in mind, I look forward to AOL Sports’ Lisa Olson extending the same courtesy to Brett Pedroia that she afforded New York Knicks accused sex pest Eddy Curry.

NBC Keeps Oregon State From Capitalizing on First Brother-In-Law

Posted in Basketball, Blogged Down, College Spurts, non-sporting journalism, politics at 8:30 pm by

(a man named Craig Robinson)

In Portland, last week’s presidential inauguration was completely overshadowed by the mayor, his (apparently) 18 year-old ex-boyfriend and far too many journalistic conflicts. In Corvallis, it was ruined by Brian Williams.

From the Oregonian‘s John Canzano:

The cameras caught Oregon State coach Craig Robinson early and Williams identified Robinson as Reggie Love, Obama’s personal assistant. Oops. It got worse. Because Williams waxed on and on about how Love become Obama’s personal assistant, and what a personal assistant does… according to one OSU fan who emailed me, “evidently one shaved head tall black guy looks about the same to Williams.”

Eek.

So later, the cameras are again on Robinson, who is wearing his Oregon State scarf, colors orange and black, and Brokaw says Robinson is wearing “Princeton” colors. Robinson attended Princeton, and the school colors are indeed orange and black, but it was a little shortsighted, no? to miss the the obvious angle. No mention from Brokaw that OSU’s colors are orange and black and that Robinson is the Beavers’ coach.

One reader, from Independence, wrote:

“To NBC: Go (bleep) yourselves. You are elitist pigs. If this is your idea of ALL THE facts, what am I to believe on your newscasts?”

Another wrote:

“I am still pissed about OSU stopping Pitt and holding them to zero points, and have it characterized as a boring game…. and all (Robinson as coach) gets them is their basketball coach first misidentified, and later, lauded for his Princeton education. Elitest (bleeps).”

(Sic)

Now, being a Penn State fan, I like a titanic defensive struggle as much as anyone, so let me suggest that some may have thought the Sun Bowl was a boring game not because of the 3-0 score but because it featured two mediocre teams, the better of which was coming off perhaps the most humiliating home loss of the college football season.

But I digress. Canzano concludes that “NBC’s coverage made the Northwest feel a little insignificant.” Said insignificance would also be why Sam Adams is still not nearly as well-known as Elliot Spitzer.

The ever-unflappable Williams later apologized.

“Whatever you have called me over the past few days can’t be any worse than my own anger over my mistake. I made an inexcusable error when I confused the great OSU coach Craig Robinson with a friend of mine, the personal assistant to President Obama, Reggie Love. I am sending personal apologies to both men, and this is my apology to all members of Beaver Nation. It was a mistake committed during 9 hours of live programming – I was distracted and watching many incoming video feeds, but that’s no excuse for the error, which was no one’s fault but mine. I have felt awful about it since I forced myself to read the coverage of it on OregonLive.com, and I hope that someday you can find it in your hearts to forgive my error.”

Heh. He said “Beaver Nation.”

Incidentally, Coach Robinson’s team is not so bad (0-18 in the Pac 10 last year, road wins over Cal and Stanford this year).

A Most Unfortunate SB XLIII Media Day Headline

Posted in Gridiron at 7:20 pm by

I’m sorry, but that’s a terrible way to refer to Brenda Warner.

(With Apologies To The Angry Samoans) Tom McHale’s Brain Is Calling

Posted in Gridiron, Medical Science at 5:52 pm by

After examining brain tissue from deceased NFL vets including but not limited to John Grimsley, Mike Webster, Andre Waters, Justin Strzelczyk and Terry Long, The Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy released a study Tuesday about the 6th documented case of chronic traumatic encephalopath (aka CTE), this time in the form of deceased Tamba Bay lineman Tom McHale (above).  From CNN.com’s Stephanie Smith :

CTE has thus far been found in the brains of six out of six former NFL players.

“What’s been surprising is that it’s so extensive,” said McKee. “It’s throughout the brain, not just on the superficial aspects of the brain, but it’s deep inside.”

CSTE studies reveal brown tangles flecked throughout the brain tissue of former NFL players who died young — some as early as their 30s or 40s.

McKee, who also studies Alzheimer’s disease, says the tangles closely resemble what might be found in the brain of an 80-year-old with dementia.

“I knew what traumatic brain disease looked like in the very end stages, in the most severe cases,” said McKee. “To see the kind of changes we’re seeing in 45-year-olds is basically unheard of.”

The damage affects the parts of the brain that control emotion, rage, hypersexuality, even breathing, and recent studies find that CTE is a progressive disease that eventually kills brain cells.

In a statement, the NFL indicated that their staffs take a cautious, conservative approach to managing concussions.

While they support research into the impact of concussions, they maintain that, “Hundreds of thousands of people have played football and other sports without experiencing any problem of this type and there continues to be considerable debate within the medical community on the precise long-term effects of concussions and how they relate to other risk factors.”

Basketball Prospectus : Mike D’Antoni Is Not Paul Westhead

Posted in Basketball at 4:06 pm by

Minutes into Friday’s Grizzlies/Knicks encounter, the visitors had taken a 20-7  lead and I remarked to a pair of associates that Mike D’Antoni’s defensive philosophy seemed to consist of conserving as much energy as possible ; the sooner the Knicks allowed the opposition to score, the faster they’d be able to push the ball up the floor themselves.

As it turned out, New York had little difficulty in overcoming the early deficit, beating Memphis 108-88, with O.J. Mayo and Rudy Gay combining to shoot a miserable 11 for 31 from the field.  Ron Artest and T-Mac were similarly ice cold last night in the Rockets’ 104-98 loss to the Knicks, and such defensive performances in mind, Basketball Prospectus’ Kevin Pelton points out, “New York has improved relative to league average just as much on defense as on offense. At the same time, there’s an eerie symmetry in that the Suns have dropped off by the same amount as the Knicks have gained on both offense and defense.”

For all the talk about the Phoenix offense, you never heard about D’Antoni’s defensive philosophy. I don’t believe it’s ever specifically mentioned in the 300-plus pages of :07 Seconds or Less, Jack McCallum’s tremendous book about spending a season with the Suns coaching staff. Yet D’Antoni’s style is every bit as unique on defense as it is on offense, as I laid out in a column for 82games.com three seasons ago. His teams offer relatively little ball pressure, with defenders off the ball always ready to provide help. The goal at all times is to avoid penetration and cover for a typical lack of height, turning the game into a jump-shooting contest that was hard to win against Phoenix’s shooters.

This style can be seen in the numbers. Trademarks of a D’Antoni defense include very low assist rates for the opposition and few, if any, fouls. Both of these have carried over in New York. The Knicks are sixth in opponents’ assists per field goal made (surprisingly, they also ranked amongst the leaders in this category, which generally matches up well with overall defense, last season) and third in opponent free throws made per field-goal attempt (they were 15th a year ago).

If you’re reading Basketball Prospectus, I hope you’re already aware that D’Antoni’s teams have never been the defensive liabilities they were made out to be in the media. On a per-possession basis, the Suns generally ended up right around league average. The natural conclusion was that D’Antoni was an acceptable defensive coach and an elite offensive one. This year’s results have undercut that position. D’Antoni still appears to be a terrific coach, just not in the way we assumed. It’s a thought that borders on preposterous, but perhaps D’Antoni’s true genius lies in his ability to take gifted offensive players without the same knack for the other end of the floor and cobble them into a competent unit.

Yesterday’s farcical sequence that began with Stephon Marbury claiming the Celtics had made a commitment to rescue the league’s self-proclaimed No. 1 Point Guard and ended with Boston denying such reports took another nutty turn Tuesday, with the retired Reggie Miller claiming he’d been recruited by the defending champsThe Boston Herald‘s Steve Bulpet attempts to keep track.

œWe love it all, said Doc Rivers after yesterday™s brief practice. œI mean, we™re going to call Magic (Johnson), Larry (Bird) and Michael (Jordan) next – Cooz (Bobby Cousy), (Bill) Russell.

While the Marbury situation has been ongoing, Miller™s comments came as a bit of a surprise.

œNo, we contacted Cheryl, Rivers said of Reggie™s sister. œI wanted Cheryl to come back, not Reggie.”

Hub Fans, Everyone Else Bid Overgrown Kid Adieu: John Updike, RIP

Posted in Baseball, Dead Authors at 3:16 pm by

So…I’ve never really liked much of John Updike’s writing. I haven’t read the better Rabbit Angstrom books — Rabbit Run, Rabbit is Rich, Rabbit 3: Dream Warriors — which I suppose would be the stuff everyone likes. And yet I feel like I’ve read a lot of his writing: some embarrassingly tumid narcissistic-older-guy short fiction that snuck into the New Yorker by dint of his American Genius Emeritus status; some eclectic but dialed-out criticism, including a terrible review in the New Yorker of this totally pernicious book by Amity Shlaes that amounted to a lot of reminiscences about his childhood in the face of a book that seriously misrepresents the New Deal. Updike also wrote a lot of poems at the end of his life, too.

He wrote a lot of everything. And to my uncharitable eye, he represented the last dinosaurine relic of those phallobsessive postwar male writer dudes, forever finding new euphemisms for ejaculation and hastily tossing together new targets for those eruptions of curdled eloquence. Oh, look, I just made one up. It’s cool if you need to take a break here to vomit.

But with Updike’s death today at 76, after a losing battle with lung cancer, it’s worth remembering that there was some very good writing among his back catalog, and that not all of it was about humping. At Salon, King Kauffman sets the context for Updike’s canonic piece of baseball writing, “Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu.”

“Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu” appeared in the Oct. 22, 1960, New Yorker. It’s the story of Ted Williams’ last game. It was written partly in response to a column by Huck Finnegan in the Boston American that appeared on Sept. 28, the day of Williams’ valedictory, to use Updike’s word.

Finnegan had characterized Williams’ career as “a series of failures except for his averages,” noting that he hadn’t played well in the handful of games he’d appeared in in the postseason or on a season’s final day with a pennant on the line. Literally a handful: Finnegan was talking about nine games, plus a Red Sox flop following Williams’ return from an injury in late 1950.

“It has always been Williams’ records first, the team second, and the Sox non-winning record is proof enough of that,” Finnegan wrote. So the kind of nonsense typists type these days about Alex Rodriguez isn’t new, and is going to look just as silly five decades from now as Finnegan’s work does today.

But Updike didn’t need Finnegan. “Fenway Park, in Boston, is a lyric little bandbox of a ballpark,” he began, and we moderns have to remember that Fenway was not yet today’s obsessed-over jewel, its lyricality beaten to death on TV every night from April to October. It was just one of a bunch of 40- or 50-year-old little bandboxes doing duty in the bigs at the time.

Updike’s whole 6,000-word essay is here. I haven’t finished it — I needed to get this post up, so you dear readers could find out just how I feel about the late John Updike. But from what I’ve read, which is probably just the first third or so, I think I’m starting to see what everyone else, for decades, saw in John Updike. I just finished it. It’s really, really good. Kind of orotund and over-the-top in that published-in-1960 sense, but really beautiful language and a surprising amount of empathy and warmth all-around. Great essay. Still not sure I want to read his novels, but it’s great.

God Of Thunder To Blogger : You’re Not Entitled To My Leftovers

Posted in Blogged Down, Free Expression, Rock Und Roll at 1:43 pm by

(probably not Gene Simmons on the left. Though it’s really impossible to say)

Friend of the CSTB family Maura Johnston made the not so outrageous suggestion yesterday that Gene Simmons’ new Canadian label might be, y’know, a big pile of suck (“how Simmons will turn bands from Canada into superstars who eclipse the likes of Bryan Adams and Celine Dion is as yet unclear, but I’m going to hazard a guess that lots and lots of merchandising will likely be involved”).  With typical aplomb, though somewhat confused about the author’s gender, Gene fired back earlier today :

You will see the built in bias…the arrogance of US media.

What are YOU and I going to do about it? We’re going to shame this guy into submission. We will send him and his ilk back to fish wrapping factory they escaped from.

How are we going to do it?

We’re going to find, develop, nurture and launch new talent emanating from — CANADA!!!. That’s right, Baby.

Why here?

Because you actually DO have the talent.

And now, you have a WAY.

ME.

Send us you electronic demos. (Read above how.).

Oh, and the asshole who posted the story? He gets no free tix, no backstage passes, and therefore, he won’t have access to our parties and our girls.

All Naysayers can get in line. It forms over there…to my left.

Cowboys Bennett Bans Self From You Tube, Resists All-Too Obvious “Tony Romo” / “Yoko Ono” Rhyme

Posted in Gridiron, Hip Hop at 10:08 am by

From the Dallas Morning News’ Calvin Watkins (h/t to David Roth, Brendan Flynn) :

Dallas Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett released a song on YouTube that uses derogatory terms to describe African-Americans and gays.

Bennett, who is African-American, wears a white, autographed Cowboys helmet during the video, which lasts almost three minutes.

“I shouldn’t cuss that much,” Bennett said. “I’ve been listening to [rapper] Too Short too much.”

Dessie Brown Jr., Bennett’s friend, released the video to select media members and asked that they watch and also listen to a rap song on Bennett’s MySpace page. In an e-mail, Brown wrote, “excuse the language on both.”

The clip in question has since been “removed from user”, however, the same cannot be said for all of Mr. Bennett’s attempts at free expression.

Meanwhile, Joe Paterno Still Sends Postcards

Posted in Blogged Down, College Spurts, Gridiron at 1:38 am by

USC head coach Pete Carroll joins Twitter. He would like you all to know it’s 75 degrees in Los Angeles today (i.e., way nicer than in Eugene, Columbus, Austin or State College).

(Via Andy Staples at SI.com.)

01.26.09

Slate’s Levin on Larry Fitzgerald Sr.’s Objectively Impossible Objectivity

Posted in Blogged Down, Gridiron, Sports Journalism at 8:46 pm by

There was a goony dust-up among the brodeo clowns who create and comment on posts over at With Leather today over one of the two football-related pieces to run at Slate today. Charles Pierce’s over-the-top-ish flaying of the Cardinals was mentioned here as an article of interest, and there as an example of what Slate is. That is, per the author, “the preeminent place on the Internet for joyless contrarian douchebags to show off the big words they know but can™t use in conversation, and it™s never more irritating than when they try to write about sports.” I’ll agree with the contrarian part, which is as much and as unfortunate a part of the Slate‘s brand as is leering goonery at WL. In the former case, it makes an otherwise very interesting site occasionally disappointingly predictable; with the latter, it leads to tortured after-the-fact defenses of editorial douchery. It’s the internet, there’s room for everyone, right? Unless it becomes possible to hear blogs talk or smell their Axe bro-care products, I’m good with that.

That means that there’s room to mention one of those conventional wisdom-deflating, quasi-contrarian Slate pieces that actually works. This one was by Josh Levin (in disclosure, I should mention that he’s edited some of my stuff for them), and deflates, among a couple other big-ticket columnists’ tributes to Fitz Sr., Rick Reilly’s deflation-primed ode to the journalistic objectivity of Larry Fitzgerald Sr., the sportswriter dad of that one be-dreaded guy on the Cardinals who keeps putting up 3-touchdown games. (A side note: I’d planned for a bit to write something about Reilly covering his own kids’ progress in a beer pong tournament, via his severely retarded ode to beer pong as “the next great American pastime,” but was prevented from doing so by flu-like symptoms and spiritual malaise-related issues that came over me every time I started working on it) Anyway, here’s Levin doing the sort of plain, smart sports-media writing that makes contrarianism seem worth the work. As a bonus: pretty much all these words are easy to understand. Well, for CSTB readers.

These stories create an image of a sportswriter obsessed with journalistic etiquette, a reporter who pounds out scrupulously honest, evenhanded, undemonstrative copy. Once you dip into Fitzgerald Sr.’s collected works, however, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that Reilly and his cohorts haven’t read a word the man has ever written.

Fitzgerald Sr.’s column in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, a weekly African-American newspaper, is less a work of journalism than a proud parent’s scrapbook. Judging by the last two issues, the Spokesman-Recorder doesn’t run straight game stories, meaning that Fitzgerald Sr.’s columns represent the bulk of the paper’s writing about football. As such, the Spokesman-Recorder sports section is essentially a Larry Fitzgerald Jr. tribute page”since 2003, the elder Fitzgerald has written about his son at least 23 times…

Although there are a few exceptions, the vast majority of Fitzgerald Sr.’s articles lack any kind of disclosure, instead identifying Fitzgerald Jr. as a local boy made good. Even so, I wouldn’t go out of my way to criticize Fitzgerald Sr. if Bell and Reilly didn’t build him up as a media ethicist fit for the chairmanship of the Poynter Institute. (Wilbon gets a pass, as his piece doesn’t belabor the point.) After all, he’s writing for a small paper where most of the readers are probably aware of the columnist’s filial ties to the receiver. It’s also hard to argue with what Fitzgerald Sr. has been saying”it’s true that nobody has played better in these playoffs than his flesh and blood. It’s easier to find fault with Bell and Reilly, who’ve concocted a fable about the impartiality of a man who basically acts as his son’s PR rep. Fitzgerald Sr. might not cheer in the press box, but he fashions the written-word equivalent of minutes-long standing ovations.

Why does Reilly want us to believe that the author of 2004′s “Fitzgerald shines at workout” (“The consensus is that Larry Jr. should have won the 2003 Heisman Trophy”) and 2008′s “Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald hits all escalators” (“He is just 24 years old, and he’s already one of the best in the game today”) is “going to be two people during the big week, parent and sportswriter, and never the twain shall meet”? I suspect it has something to do with that sportswriterly tendency to turn good people into faultless paragons of virtue. The point isn’t that Fitzgerald Sr. is a bad guy because he failed to disclose a relationship. It’s that he’s always happily blurred the very line that Reilly et al. say he refuses to blur.

The Fiver : Reports Of Robbie Fowler’s Cocaine Problem Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Posted in Football, Sports Journalism at 7:56 pm by

In which France’s premier daily sports publication reveals itself to be somewhere between Will Leitch and Hugh Trevor-Roper on the gullibility scale.  From The Guardian’s Paul Doyle and Rob Smyth :

The Fiver was today amused to chance upon a feature on L’Equipe’s website entitled ‘Les Bad Boys du Foot Anglais’. Taking $tevie Mbe’s recent bother with the law as their cue, Les Diligent Boys du Hackery Francais informed their readers that “in March 2008 Robbie Fowler was arrested for possession of £120,000 worth of cocaine”. Unaware of any such event ever having occurred, the Fiver elected to look further into this sordid affair. And its research ended at exactly the same place, you suspect, as L’Equipe’s; that place being here.
So now permit the Fiver, in the gleeful tone of a schoolboy who’s just caught his principal smoking behind the bike shed, to dispense some elementary lessons to our intrepid French colleagues.

1) When looking for impeccable sources for a story, think twice before turning to a website called www.thespoof.com. 2) If you have not already heard raucous alarm bells, prick up your ears when said site carries quotes from a chap purporting to be Robbie Fowler’s lawyer and glories in the name Mr Bob Tw@t. 3) If your internal sirens are still strangely silent, ask yourself why the last line of the story was immediately followed, in bold type, by the following statement: “the story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.” 4) If you have ignored all of the above, feel free to shout “oh merde” very loudly indeed. 5) Now sit back and await correspondence from Fowler’s real-life lawyer. Clue: we don mean Mr Bob Tw@t.

Mickey Rourke Prepares For His Lamest Role Since “Harley Davidson & The Marlboro Man”

Posted in Cinema, Professional Wrestling at 7:43 pm by

“After watching Mickey Rourke accept his Golden Globe,” sighed Newsday’s Alfonso Castillo, “I wrote that I hoped he would mention the plight of the pro wrestler in his acceptance speech if he won the Oscar.”   You can file that one under “highly unlikely”, as Castillo explains :


Rourke told reporters on the red carpet for last night’s Screen Actor’s Guild awards that he is in talks to appear at WrestleMania and is gunning for Chris Jericho.

If WWE is actually planning for a match between Rourke and Jericho, that might explain where Jericho fits into the card, now that he lost the Rumble and seems like a sort of odd-man-out in the main event picture.

Nevertheless, Vince McMahon proves, once again, that – just like Ted used to say – “Everyone’s got a price.” After leaving WWE, Jesse Ventura was one of the company’s most outspoken critics, and hammered WWE for its role in Owen Hart’s death. But soon after being elected governor of Minnesota, he seemed to have a change of heart when he agreed to referee a match at SummerSlam 1999. When Wade Keller of the Pro Wrestling Torch called him out for apparently having his silence bought, Ventura pretty much blew him off.

Admittedly, this is a bit different. Rourke was never any kind of advocate for struggling pro wrestlers, but rather just an actor who took a job. I wouldn’t be surprised if WWE is offering Rourke more money to appear at Mania than he got for “The Wrestler.”

You’ve got to give McMahon some credit. How best to diffuse some of the negative publicity surrounding “The Wrestler” than to have the star of the movie give WWE his endorsement.

(Some Of) Millwall’s Traveling Support Haven’t Quite Made It To 2010…

Posted in Football, Mob Behavior at 7:23 pm by

…or at least that’s the implication from weekend press reports surrounding Hull City’s 2-0, F.A. Cup Fourth Round victory over Millwall on Saturday, a match that featured scenes one police official described as “like going back 10 years.”  Lions chairman Heather Rabbatts issued the following statement Monday, stressing that not all Millwall fans are likely to kick your head in.  Others would prefer to put a brick through your car’s windshield.

“The reality of the situation is that we have a core of around four or five hundred travelling fans who follow the team up and down the country week-in week-out causing no problems whatsoever.

“These people will now be identified by other clubs and police forces as potential trouble makers and treated accordingly, whilst the real culprits will not be at Hereford on Tuesday night for example.

“We, at Millwall, will continue to take responsibility for doing everything in our power to rid ourselves of a criminal element which clearly sees big games involving our club as an opportunity to indulge in anti-social behaviour.

“Saying that these are not genuine Millwall fans is not ducking the issue because clearly those who support the team regularly know what damage incidents such as Saturday’s do to the club and are as dismayed by and condemnatory of these events as the rest of us.

“What is even more vital now, is that everyone working in football wakes up to the fact that there is still an anti-social hooligan element in our society which continues to be attracted to football as a vehicle for their activities.’

NYC Burger Chain Pokes Plax

Posted in Firearms, Food, Gridiron, The Law, The Marketplace at 5:09 pm by

Needless to say, New York Burger Co’s ad department isn’t as funny as Wizznutzz. And their legal dept. can’t be very smart for failing to use the generic term, ‘The Big Game’ in reference to Sunday’s, uh, Big Game.

There’s also the matter of Plaxico Fantastico having shot himself in the leg, but the pistol packing WR can take it up with these Goodburger wannabes himself.

LGS’ Jere On Brut : The Essence Of Product Placement

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, The Marketplace at 1:40 pm by

“My greatest talent is determining which ballpark is depicted in the background of a photograph taken between the ’70 and early ’90s,” boats Let’s Go Sox‘s Jere, revealing to bubblegum card neophytes, “the most common background item–the one that makes you recognize Yankee Stadium instantly, is the Brut sign.” (link culled from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)

There was something about that sign–the way it snuck in to the posed pictures so often. It couldn’t be missed. The other signs were sometimes visible, but a big, short word was most likely to be recognized. Unless you’ve got a very distinct logo, nobody’s gonna recognize your ad way in the blurry background; BRUT had the power to bust through.

The Stadium returned in its renovated form in 1976. A few ads appeared above the bleachers that season, but it wasn’t until the next season, when all the spaces were filled in, that BRUT made its debut. Remember, baseball cards feature pictures from the previous season, so it was Topps’ 1978 set that put the sign in little kids’ hands across the country. And they went hog wild, too–the ’78 set would be the Brut-iest one of all. Visiting players were shot time and again on the third base side in pre-game, posed with left field behind them. Entire teams seemed to be posed, one by one. Mariners players were heard to complain, “ain’t no variety in these shots….” No less than 28 American Leaguers that year were shown with a portion of the Brut sign peering over their shoulders. Some guys, not thinking about becoming part of this exclusive list 30 years later, stood so that the sign was completely blocked.

Slate’s Pierce Blasphemes The Arizona Brendas

Posted in Gridiron, Sports Journalism at 1:23 pm by

While allowing the Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald (above) is “having the most significant postseason any nonquarterback has had in about 20 years”, Slate’s Charles Pierce unloads on the NFC Champions, dubbing Arizona’s playoff run, “fluky and disgraceful.”  And he’s not even mentioning Will Leitch’s Tumblr page!

Arizona played in a landfill of a division. They won their two playoff games because Jake Delhomme of Carolina turned the ball over six times and because the Philadelphia Eagles all looked at the newspapers last Sunday and discovered they were in the NFC championship game again. The Cardinals are a glorified Arena Football League team with a soft defense and a running game unworthy of the name. They are in the position that they’re in because the NFL rigs its season worse than any carny rigs his wheel. For all the macho posturing of its principal propagandists, between the jiggering of the schedule and the conniving of the draft and the socialistic revenue schemes, and the desperate grab for any mechanism that will flatten out the differences between really good teams and really bad ones, the NFL is the league that comes closest to the biddy soccer league philosophy of making sure that everyone gets a trophy.

The only proof anyone should need came in the 15th game of the season, when Arizona visited New England. It already was clear this year that the Cardinals were even money to finish in the middle of the pack of any league that played in the upper latitudes, with the possible exception of the Ivies. Send them north out of the pleasure dome that the Bidwills blackjacked out of the state of Arizona, and the team did things like give up 56 points to the New York Jets, playing such shoddy defense that Brett Favre threw for six touchdowns. This, of course, ignited another outbreak of hot and steamy Favre love from the easily smitten television press corps, so we have the Cardinals to blame even for that. In Foxborough, however, in December, they simply quit.

Though It’s Not Col. Coughlin’s Birthday Until August…

Posted in Fashion, Firearms, Gridiron, The Marketplace at 5:00 am by

..the Jersey Giants head coach would undoubtedly appreciate you purchasing this shirt (ie. what-do-you-get-the-scowling-man-who-has-most-things). If Wizznutzz would prefer not to donate all proceeds to the Plaxico Fantastico defense fund, that’s ok.  The important thing is spreading the message around.

01.25.09

The Super Smooth Vocal Stylings Of Jimmy Leyland

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 9:31 pm by

What, you were expecting the Insane Clown Posse?

Read the rest of this entry »

O.W.A.B., Casey – Don’t Compare Dirk’s Dilemma To KG’s

Posted in Basketball at 12:22 pm by

Mavs F Dirk Nowitzki  — facing Boston this afternoon — is in his 12th NBA season and with Dallas currently the 7th seed in the West, there’s a tendency (alluded to by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Jim Hubbard anyway) to hint Nowitzki oughta be swapped as part of a rebuild, ala Kevin McHale presenting the Celtics with Kevin Garnett. Dallas assistant Dwane Casey, however, insists “they are two totally different situations.”

“I thought Glen [Taylor, the T-wolves™ owner] and those guys did the best they could in a small market and what they had to work with,” Casey said. “Mark [Cuban] has done a great job in Dallas with his budget and putting all these good players around Dirk.”

Cuban has no problem with the concept of connecting Nowitzki™s future to a situation involving a Celtics franchise player, but Cuban said Garnett is not the player.

Two years ago, the Celtics were in the process of winning 24 games and Paul Pierce was nearing 30 years old. It seemed to be an ideal time to trade Pierce for young players, draft picks and begin rebuilding, and Cuban was one of many who was interested in helping that process.

“Everybody and their brother called up when Boston was struggling about trying to get Paul Pierce,” Cuban said. “Everybody. We offered to try and take his contract and they said, ‘You know what? He™s part of our fabric, our culture.™

“You look at how things turned out for Boston.”

“What if the Lakers had traded Kobe?” Cuban said. “Then when the Pau Gasol opportunity came along, they would not have been in position to take advantage of it.”

Bash Brother Fails To Beat Danny Partridge

Posted in Baseball, Boxing, The World Of Entertainment at 10:55 am by

From the Associated Press

Jose Canseco was primed for some more bashing.


Instead of grabbing his Louisville Slugger to send a baseball into orbit, Canseco taped his wrists and put on some boxing gloves to try and send former Partridge kid Danny Bonaduce (above) into a daze.

The former Oakland A’s slugger showed he has only warning track power in the ring. He staggered Bonaduce with a couple of big blows in Saturday night’s three-round fight, but failed to deliver the knockout punch and the celebrity boxing match ended in a deflating draw.

“He hit me harder than I’ve ever been hit my entire life,” Bonaduce said.

Bonaduce’s nose was bloodied and the two hugged after the bout. All that was missing in this D-list celebrity boxing bout was the reality TV cameras.

“If there’s a knockout, it’ll probably be me,” Bonaduce said before the bout.

Bonaduce never looked in any serious trouble and Canseco seemed hesitant to go after him with ferocious cuts.

Canseco took his second shot at celebrity boxing after he was whupped by former Philadelphia Eagle Vai Sikahema in his debut boxing match last July. Bonaduce, who played Danny Partridge on the “The Partridge Family,” is like Mike Tyson in his heyday in the outlandish celebrity boxing circuit. He’s beat Barry “Greg Brady” Williams and Donny Osmond.

Maybe those two 1970s TV stars combined have biceps as big as the hulking Canseco’s. The 6-foot-4 Canseco weighed in at 260 pounds. Bonaduce is 5-6, 180 pounds.

“I truly don’t know that I can damage him,” Bonaduce said. “He’s just too big. I can just outpoint him.”

He didn’t much time to play rope-a-dope against Canseco. The bout featured only three, 1-minute rounds. Canseco sparred early Saturday, ran 10 miles and proclaimed himself in top shape to last 3 minutes, if needed.

And no, neither boxer was drug tested.

“Thank God, no,” said promoter Damon Feldman, laughing.

Verducci Tome Is Joe Torre’s Yankee Burial Ground

Posted in Baseball at 10:43 am by

(l-r : Alex and Derek, in happier days)

The New York Post’s Susanah Calahan and James Fanelli
report this morning that Tom Verducci’s forthcoming “The Yankee Years” (Doubleday) features no shortage of dirt dished by former Bombers skipper Joe Torre. Jim Bouton, while not neccessarily unavailable for comment, isn’t on my IM buddy list, either.

Torre gets most personal in his attacks against Alex Rodriguez, who he says was called “A-Fraud” by his teammates after he developed a “Single White Female”-like obsession with team captain Derek Jeter and asked for a personal clubhouse assistant to run errands for him.

Torre, who left the Yankees and became manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers after the 2007 season, says Brian Cashman never told the brass that the manager wanted a two-year deal and instead remained silent during Torre’s tense final sitdown with the bosses.

The book also reveals that, during spring training in 1999, team doctors revealed to owner George Steinbrenner that Torre had prostate cancer – even before informing the manager himself.

Cub Sale Update: Voo Doo Economics for the 101-Year-Hoo Doo Kings, Comprehensive CSTB Numbers Crunching, and a South Sider Consulted

Posted in Baseball at 1:59 am by

[Meet the Cubs new OTB funded owners:  Ameritrade's Ricketts family.]

For the last 48-72 hours, news of the pending Cubs sale went from naming Tom Ricketts the new owner to clarifying, as calmer heads in the business press took notice, that he has been given an “exclusive” 60-90 day window to make his bid happen, which the Wall Street Journal describes as possibly “challenging.”  That is, he’s offering $900 mil for the team, Wrigley, and 25% of the Cubs sports network “ and he only has half the $900 mil presently.  Wrigleyville23 immediately broke down the politics of the sale, pinpointing Ricketts as a generous GOP cash donor.  Then again, compared to the century of support the Tribune gave Republicans nationwide in their papers, comic strips, and by allowing Reptilicans to toss out first pitches at Wrigley, I prefer Ricketts.  I mean, at least he never insisted we keep the peace with the Nazis on his 1940s editorial pages.  Muckety‘s provides an interactive mapping of the Ricketts family fortunes and friends, which I cannot make sense of, but maybe you can.

Analysis of the deal so far is that Ricketts’ offer is about 900 million, half of which Ricketts says he can put up in cash.  It’s the cash factor that sets him apart, as no matter how close “ or at times, above “ the 1 billion mark other bidders came, no one put up $450 million in their own cash.  Then again, Ricketts now has to go out and find $450 million more in some truly credit crunched times, and while he has some sort of “exclusive” window, as many sources report, MSNBC claims that other bidders can still increase their offers.  Coming so quickly after Mark Cuban’s pleading blog post on the Cubs, it feels like someone in the Ricketts camp leaked Zell/Tribune’s preference.  Nothing is settled, and Cuban only trails by $50 million.  Like he couldn’t make that up? Cuban’s problem is that he is said (if memory serves) to have only offered $100 million in cash, with the rest coming from credit “ again, not so easy these days, and a leveraged-out owner is not what mlb wants.  With so many people reporting at odds with one another, it’s probably wise to be skeptical of all this and question sources.  Seriously, with money like this on the line, whose going to talk to a sports reporter?

The Biz of Baseball’s Maury Brown has a detailed account of Ricketts’ successful angling for his current poll position here.  Brown also mentions Cuban, and dismisses everything we’ve read about Cuban’s high profile interest in the Cubs:  he was never the lead bid post Bush credit apocalypse (he went from a rumored $1.3 billion offer to $850 after the Depression hit); the SEC charges did not effect his status at all; and the opinion of baseball owners re Cuban meant little compared to the numbers.  Apparently, this includes Maury Brown dismissing himself: here.  Since Cuban himself alludes quite a bit to Jerry Reinsdorf in his blog on the subject, I question much of what Brown says.  Still, mlb likes Tom Ricketts’ “I bleed Cubbie blue” reputation and that with him the Cubs can return to a family ownership, which mlb prefers.

South Siders will also appreciate that Ricketts went to the University of Chicago and is the son of Joe Ricketts, founder of TD Ameritrade brokerage.  I know this graf from Bloomberg business news warms the heart of many a Sox fan like Rob Warmowski, as it tells the simple story of a well connected rich kid and his dream of being an even better connected rich kid:

Ricketts, who met his wife at Wrigley Field, grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and attended the University of Chicago. The 43- year-old worked as a trader at the Chicago Board Options Exchange and attended classes at night to earn a graduate business degree in 1993.

When asked his opinion of that graf, Rob W responded:  “With a black Democrat in the White House, it looks like Cub Republicans are circling the wagon’s on this one and picking one of their own.”  Indeed, Ricketts background makes it appear as if the Cub high command is simply promoting from within the bleacher ranks.  This way, they retain the North Side Republican status quo, and Ricketts connected rich kid background and days on the Options Exchange means many a South Sider employed by him already know him as “Mr. Ricketts” (to his face, anyway).

Obama Merch Parade Continues: While in NYC, Pick Up Some Obama Heroin

Posted in Hot Fads, politics at 12:48 am by

[Can't tell if this is heroin or Obama pads of butter from an Obama friendly waffle house, but it's deadly none the less.]

And like voting, the first hit is free.  The Smoking Gun‘s poetic headline says it all:  “The Audacity of Dope.”  If some of you wonder what this has to do with sports, keep in mind, this blog has lots of “music industry” connections.  I think you get my drift.

01.24.09

Paging Jerry Reinsdorf, David Stern

Posted in Basketball, Fashion, Food, politics, The Marketplace at 6:33 pm by

As seen minutes ago in the front window of New Era’s E. 4th Street Flagship store in Lower Manhattan.  Guys, pride is one thing, but surely you wanna get paid for this most blatant copyright infringement homage? And if those two aren’t upset, what about Dailbor Bagaric?

If the New Era cash-in wasn’t original enough, consider the latest menu item available at the Beligian Frites hut at 113 Ave A. (the former home of Ray’s Candy Shop)