01.24.09

The Charlestown Chiefs’ Moe Wanchuk, R.I.P.

Posted in Cinema, Hockey at 5:13 pm by

Every once in a while I’d be watching television, most notably NYPD Blue and a few episodes of that show I heard about from William Donohue, and I’d be like, “hey… it’s one of the guys from Slap Shot!” (which is more than I could say of Michael Ontkean post-Twin Peaks).

Said actor was Brad Sullivan, who died of cancer on December 31 at the age of 77.

This note (via e-mail) from Ken “Toe” Blake of slapshotfan.com:

I’ve had the pleasure over the years of meeting with Brad on several occasions and talking about Slap Shot, my fundraising efforts, and his Christian ministry with the Asian community in NYC….


One day about 6 years ago we were sitting in a Starbucks close to his home in the city and Brad told me that he had recently seen Slap Shot for the first time since it’s release and he couldn’t believe how sacrilegious it was. He was genuinely saddened that he portrayed such a nasty character in the movie and he was sorry he had ever done it….

He didn’t like people who asked him about his role of Mo, but was a very kind man and he was happy to discuss his other quality roles and projects at any time with anybody. He did however. like the fact that anything he signed or gave me went to charity.

WSC : La Liga, Real Madrid Figure Faciscm’s No Big Deal

Posted in Football, Racism Corner at 2:06 pm by

A week ago today, Real Madrid’s 3-1 defeat of Osasuna received a fair bit of global attention after some questionable officiating left referee Alfonso Perez Burrull (above) suspended, or “in the fridge” as La Liga’s review committee chose to call it. Perhaps it was just a pure coincidence then, that Burrull’s match report included claims Real supporters brandished banners featuring “œextremist or radical symbolism” and engaged “in chants of a facist nature“.  When Saturday Comes’ Ian Plenderleith calls the measly fine levied against one of the world’s soccer superpowers, “a naked affront to even basic, PR-driven levels of human decency.”

That of all people the referee was the one having to call attention to such behaviour means that, given a crowd of 75,000, the chanting and gestures must have been fairly conspicuous. You wouldn™t expect a man controlling a high-speed football game in arguably the world™s best league to otherwise notice the antics of spectators in a stadium the size of the Bernabeu. What on earth were the stewards or the police doing? Keeping an eye out to see if Osasuna defender Miguel Flano was tugging on Raul™s shirt? Unfortunately for Burrull, he seems to have been focusing as much on the crowd as on the game “ he was given a one-month suspension from reffing for twice incorrectly booking Osasuna™s striker Juanfran Torres for diving.

Following Burrull™s report, the Spanish football federation slapped Madrid with a draconian fine of¦ ‚¬3,000. A federation spokesman said Real had been punished for breaching a rule aimed at preventing xenophobia and intolerance. There was nothing about measures being taken to ban fans from the stadium. There was not even a statement on the club™s English-language website condemning the fans™ behaviour. After all, if the federation doesn™t take such offenses seriously, why should the club?

We all know that Spain only came out of fascist dictatorship in the 1970s, and that Real was General Franco™s pet club. We also know that a generation back, such scenes were not uncommon inside English grounds, but sustained and steady campaigns have exacted healthy change. But while Real Madrid are not responsible for bigotry outside their stadium, there™s no reason why both they and the Spanish federation can™t take strong action to set a precedent in the face of ongoing pro-fascist behaviour from the Ultra Sur fan group. At the moment, like its objectionable former national team coach Luis Aragones, the country™s football officials are out of step with anti-racism campaigns across the FIFA nations.

Edwards Herminated ; Coming To A Coors Commercial In 2010

Posted in Gridiron at 12:04 pm by

Ducks don’t get much lamer than Herm Edwards, fired yesterday after 3 seasons as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, the inevitable axe falling an entire ten days after the club brought in the Hooded Casanova’s son-in-law, Scott Pioli, to rebuild the organization. While the K.C. Star’s Jayson Whitlock sees the logic in allowing Mr. Play-To-Win-The-Game to twist in the wind over the past two weeks (“there™s nothing wrong with a cautious pace as long as little is lost and the end result is appropriate…had Pioli canned Edwards right away, a lot of valuable information would™ve walked out the door with Edwards and his assistants”), his colleague Joe Posnaski finds the Chiefs’ handling of the situation just a little distasteful, declaring “put it this way: Scott Pioli better win fast. He isn™t winning anyone over with his class.”



I™m not sure why it took 10 days for Pioli to pull the trigger. I™m not sure why he left Herm dangling out there for those 10 days while his assistant coaches fled like high school kids on graduation day. I™m not sure why the Chiefs would throw Herm overboard late on a Friday afternoon with a news release and a couple of pointless statements. I™m not sure what it says about an organization that it would treat a loyal man like that. Actually, I™m precisely sure what it says about the Chiefs.

In the end, I suspect, most people in town won™t care how Scott Pioli fired Herm Edwards, because most people just wanted Herm Edwards fired. Sports is a hard business and a cold game. People forget fast. Just one day earlier, Gunther Cunningham bolted for Detroit, where he gets to coach the one team that had a defense worse than his own. And he did not feel like he could leave without first shifting blame for his defense to Herm.

œI™ve gone through three years of playing zone defenses because I was loyal to Herm Edwards, Cunningham said. œThat™s what he wanted. People here in town knew that I was different than that. My idea is to put a lot of pressure on the quarterback ” always has been, always will be.

Key phrase in that statement: œwas loyal.

And how true was the statement anyway? In 2006, when Herm Edwards became head coach, he kept Gunther Cunningham on as his defensive coordinator.

This was despite the fact that the two years before Herm arrived, Cunningham™s defenses finished 31st and 25th in total defense. They weren™t playing zone then ” the head coach was Dick Vermeil. and he would let his defensive coordinators do whatever the heck they wanted. Half the time, Vermeil didn™t even know the Chiefs had a defense (and half the time, he was right).

Big Blue Meets Boo Fuckin’ Hoo

Posted in Free Expression, Gridiron at 1:34 am by

Some of us got over the Giants’ playoff loss to Philly a bit faster than others. Presumably, the gentleman above — in a clip forwarded by Tommy Hoops — will cope with the long offseason in the most constructive way possible : tracking down his tormentors (in particular, the guy who shouts “it’s a fucking game, what the fuck is wrong with you?”) and beating them to death with a ball peen hammer.

01.23.09

World’s Worst Jew Fathered the Silver Jews

Posted in Free Expression, Greedy Motherfuckers, music, Parental Responsibility at 3:25 pm by

If you recently heard about the web site “Berman Exposed,” and thought to yourself, “it’s about time there was a comprehensive Silver Jews fan site!,” well, you weren’t that far off the mark.

Along with the announcement he’s retiring from music (to say the band is splitting up seems semantically imprecise), David Berman (above) now resignedly reveals himself to be the spawn of Richard, the “Center For Consumer Freedom” corporate lobbyist who fights the good fight against such things as MADD, the Humane Society, ACORN and LOLCats. How has this guy not been hired by the BCS?

Now that the Joos are over I can tell you my gravest secret. Worse than suicide, worse than crack addiction:

My father.

You might be surprised to know he is famous, for terrible reasons.

My father is a despicable man. My father is a sort of human molestor.

An exploiter. A scoundrel. A world historical motherfucking son of a bitch. (sorry grandma)

You can read about him here.

www.bermanexposed.org

My life is so wierd. It’s allegorical to the nth. My father went to college at Transylvania University.

You see what I’m saying.

A couple of years ago I demanded he stop his work. Close down his company or I would sever our relationship.

He refused. He has just gotten worse. More evil. More powerful. We’ve been “estranged” for over three years.

Even as a child I disliked him. We were opposites. I wanted to read. He wanted to play games.

He is a union buster.

When I got out of college I joined the Teamsters (the guards were union organized at the Whitney).

I went off to hide in art and academia.

I fled through this art portal for twenty years. In the mean time my Dad started a very very bad

company called Berman and Company.

He props up fast food/soda/factory farming/childhood obesity and diabetes/drunk driving/secondhand smoke.

He attacks animal lovers, ecologists, civil action attorneys, scientists, dieticians, doctors, teachers.

His clients include everyone from the makers of Agent Orange to the Tanning Salon Owners of America.

He helped ensure the minimum wage did not move a penny from 1997-2007!

The worst part for me as a writer is what he does with the english language.

Though vicious he is a doltish thinker

and his spurious editorials rely on doublethink and always with the Lashon Hara.

As I studied Judaism over the years, the shame and the shanda,

grew almost too much. my heart was constantly on fire for justice. I could find no relief.

This winter I decided that the SJs were too small of a force to ever come close to

undoing a millionth of all the harm he has caused. To you and everyone you know.

Literally, if you eat food or have a job, he is reaching you.

I’ve always hid this terrible shame from you, the fan. The SJs have always stood autonomous and clear.

Hopefully it won’t contaminate your feelings about the work.

My life has been riddled with Ibsenism. In a way I am the son of a demon come to make good the damage.

Previously I thought, through songs and poems and drawings I could find and build a refuge away from his world.

But there is the matter of Justice.

And i’ll tell you it’s not just a metaphor. The desire for it actually burns.

It hurts.

There needs to be something more. I’ll see what that might be.

DCB

if you want to know what evil Herr Attackdog is currently up to look here

In all seriousness… David Berman needs a book deal. Ibsenesque, for sure, but also “No Logo” meets “Running With Scissors.”

Pauline Kael, Channing Frye, Fuck Off : Wilson Chandler’s Cinema Classics

Posted in Basketball, Blogged Down, Cinema at 9:55 am by

Most of you might not know this, but I™m a big movie buff, so I figured I™d end each blog entry with a movie for you guys to go see. Go check out the underrated œStarsky and Hutch that came out a few years ago. You™ve got Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, two hilarious guys, and then you throw in Vince Vaughn, so it doesn™t get much better than that, you know what I mean? It™s the ultimate cast right there. Actually, if they had Will Ferrell THEN it would be the ultimate cast, but you know what I mean. – Wilson Chandler,  The Wilson Chandler Blog, Jan. 22, 2009

Grizzlies Fire Ivaroni

Posted in Basketball at 9:39 am by

I’ll be at MSG this evening for the Grizzlies/Knicks tilt but shall sadly be denied the sight of Mike D’Antoni embracing former assistant Marc Ivaroni (above, right, impossible to defend by Raja Bell, left).  The latter was fired earlier today after compiling a 33-90 record as Memphis’ head coach over the course of a miserable 18 months, outlined by the Commercial-Appeal’s Ronald Tillery.

Former Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins, now an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks, will be named Iavaroni™s successor this weekend, according to a source with knowledge of the organization™s plans.

Ivaroni was charged with developing one of the youngest teams in the NBA this season. But the Griz struggled with consistency. The team never settled on a style of play and several players, including second-leading scorer Rudy Gay, regressed from last season.

Another major disappointment had to do with shaky point guard play, as neither Kyle Lowry nor Mike Conley was a consistent contributor.

Iavaroni essentially led three different teams while with the Griz. In 2007, he inherited a team with veterans Mike Miller and Pau Gasol. That team underwhelmed before the Griz traded Gasol to the Los Angeles Lakers midway through the season.

01.22.09

Slamball’s Reputation Takes Another Hit (From The Same Guy)

Posted in "Wife Beater" Is Not A Fashion Statement, Sports TV, The Law at 8:15 pm by

Slamball, America’s slowest-growing new sport (with apologies to Lloyd Dobler) has been featured in this space previously, once at length by Mr. Roth, and once on another, more unfortunate occasion.  Thanks to the Boston Herald’s Jessica Heslam, we have an update on the legal status of former slamballer-turned-SNY-reporter-batterer Ivan Lattimore (above).

Ivan Latimore will spend another year behind bars for sending letters to ex-Channel 7 sports reporter Julie Donaldson after he was convicted of beating her up. Latimore was sentenced to two years in jail, with one year to serve, in September after copping to the booze-filled summer attack that left Donaldson badly beaten. The balance of his sentence was to be suspended for five years, and he was ordered not to contact and stay away from the former beauty queen.

Prosecutors say the professional slamball player penned two letters to Donaldson in October and November from the Barnstable County Correction Facility. The letters were mailed to Donaldson™s Boston digs but Latimore denied sending them to Donaldson because they were addressed to her sister and his brother.

Prosecutors said that Latimore stole a camera from court that purportedly contained sexual images of him and Donaldson that were filmed in the hours before the attack. The judge ruled that there was insufficent evidence that any images were on the camera at the time Latimore took it, Wark said.

Latimore also asked to be moved to another jail because of his œcelebrity and the judge agreed to send him to Worcester over the prosecution™s objection.

What Took Him So Long? Rick Barry Points Out LeBron’s Many Flaws

Posted in Basketball, Sports TV at 6:34 pm by

Cleveland’s LeBron James tallied 34 points and 14 assists last night against Portland, but that doesn’t mean he can’t improveCBS Sports.com’s Ken Berger reported yesterday that former CBS broadcaster Rick Barry (above) was kind enough to share his vast expertise last night on Comcast Sports, with the following analysis of King James.

“He’s got major flaws in his game,” the Warriors great said in an interview airing Wednesday night. “He’s six years into the NBA. How can a man six years into the NBA with his talent have a major flaw in his shot? How can he not use screens effectively? . . . I watch the game very carefully, he doesn’t use screens effectively and this is not LeBron’s fault. It’s the fault of the people who are teaching him. … There is no doubt in my mind that LeBron, if shown these things, would do them, because he wants to be a great player. He wants to win a championship. As great as he is, he should be better.”

Of David Beckham, George Best once said, “he cannot kick with his left foot, he cannot head a ball, he cannot tackle and he doesn’t score many goals. Apart from that he’s all right.”  I tend to think his critique was a little more on the mark than Barry’s, however, as someone with an Eastern Conference rooting interesting, I oughta be quite grateful Rick hasn’t offered to serve as James’ tutor.

Reds Mgmt. To Cincy Fans : Life Mediocrity Begins On Opening Day

Posted in Baseball at 5:57 pm by

(returning to Cinergy Field in ’09 : the intense presence that is David Weathers)

From the doing-more-with-less-pile, the Cincinnati Enquirer John Fay previews’ the Reds’ annual Winter Caravan by highlighting the rhetorical approach of CEO Robert Castenelli and GM Walt Jockety that doesn’t quite extend to hyperbole.

œWe want to win, Castellini said. œThat™s our message. I knew we couldn™t win right away. You want to, but it takes time. I said we want to win “ not overnight. You guys took that out of context.

Castellini and general manager Walt Jocketty said the club is already at budget as far payroll “ meaning they™ll likely go to spring training with the roster as is, without another big bat. Castellini said for the first time that the economy is affecting the budget.

œYeah, it is, you bet, Castellini said. œWe™ve got to get the top line (revenue up). We™re focused on it. We™ve got just about the whole team we anticipated we were able to put together.

Last year™s player payroll was $74 million to start the season. The Reds had talked about it going higher “ if it does it will be a slight raise.

œIt™s what it was last year, Jocketty said. œIn fact, it may be a little more.
The Reds aren™t saying they™re writing off the 2009 season, but the focus is on the future.

œI don™t think you can put a timetable on it, Jocketty said. œIt takes time to build a competitive organization “ a consistently competitive organization. You can do some things for instant success. But you can™t sustain it. We want to build the organization to sustain success and be a club that™s in the hunt every year. We really trying to develop our younger players and utilize the talent we have in the organization.

The Reds added catcher Ramon Hernandez, center fielder Willy Taveras and reliever Arthur Rhodes. They brought back free agents infielder/outfielder Jerry Hairston Jr. and relievers David Weathers and Mike Lincoln.

But they failed to fill one of their biggest stated needs “ a right-handed hitting run producer.

The Reds will probably be picked to finish fourth or fifth in the National League Central at best. But Jocketty is hopeful.

œI think in our division right now, it could be any interesting year, he said. œWe™ll see what happens.

After a full day on an airplane, I’m not sure I am ready to fully absorb the irony that David Weathers is guaranteed baseball employment in 2009, while the man he used to caddy for, Tom Glavine, is not.

We Can All Kiss Jay Mariotti’s Ass: Real Clear Sports Chats With the Last Guy to Take “Around the Horn” Seriously

Posted in Sports Journalism at 4:21 pm by

Maybe it’s that defiant grammatical mistake right there in its name, but I always kind of assumed Real Clear Politics was a conservative political website. (Note: If they meant “Real, Clear Politics,” then I withdraw my complaint) (And lodge another one, because that’s a stupid name) And because I can usually figure out what’s going on around the right side of the political scene by just sort of imagining a white guy in a suit yelling the opposite of whatever I already think, I never really bothered to disabuse myself on RCP’s true nature. It turns out to be an aggregator of stories from elsewhere in the world. Albeit a right-leaning one that pays Famously Mustachioed Libertarian hump John Stossel for his insights, but just an aggregator. Oh, and also: there’s a Real Clear Sports. Or, RealClearSports, as they — if not spellcheck — prefer.


I’m kind of working backwards here, though. I got to RealClearSports through a link from Gawker, which highlighted a particularly ill-advised moment from an unbylined RCS interview with Ozzie Guillen’s favorite sportpundit, Jay Mariotti (above, right). And Gawker did indeed highlight a grabber of a quote in which Mariotti allows that Roger Ebert — currently deathly ill with cancer and previously critical of Mariotti’s departure from the Chicago Sun-Times, their former shared place of employment — “can kiss (Mariotti’s impeccably groomed) ass.” But there’s a lot of other good-timey self-contradiction and -admiration in Mariotti’s conversation with RealClearSports Staff.

RCS: Much of your success in the news industry has been based around your focus not on the greatness that we discussed before, but on what you perceive as infamy, incompetence or impotence. No one has ever doubted your ability to turn a phrase, but they have questioned whether your criticisms sometimes crossed the line in describing people in sports as these things. Upon reflection of a very prolific career, do you have any regrets about any of the things you’ve written?

Mariotti: Nope. I cover a multi-billion-dollar industry that appeals to the heartfelt emotions of fans who, incidentally, are asked to pay astronomical prices for tickets. It’s my responsibility to be hard on teams — when necessary. But part of your perception involves spending 17 years in Chicago, where: (a) writers are expected to tell fans what they want to hear, not what they need to know; and (b) teams have a tendency to underachieve.

I’m still waiting for the Cubs to stop choking. I’m still waiting for the Bears to win more than one championship in 45 years. I’m still waiting for the White Sox to stop getting excited about one World Series title — great, one in nine decades — and go get another. I was privileged to cover the Jordan era, but even that was filled with controversy, dissension, Reinsdorf, Krause, Rodman. And look at what has happened there since Jordan retired — nothing. At least the Blackhawks finally awakened — what a wonderful story. As a national columnist, I’ve been extolling the virtues of Tim Tebow and the Arizona Cardinals. I’ve praised Sam Bradford for staying in school. I’m about to write about the football mind of Bill Parcells…

RCS:…How does it affect you when you’re the butt of jokes or receiving criticism?

Mariotti: Hey, if I’m occasionally making people the butts of jokes, how can I complain? A critic who doesn’t think he should be criticized is a hypocrite. All I know is, I’m out and about every day in Chicago and around the country, and people couldn’t be kinder to me. A few fans are going to rip you on the Internet, and that’s fine if they aren’t sick puppies about it. Don’t really follow it: I’m busy doing TV every day, a column most days and traveling to sports events. I like helping college and high-school students who have a chance to use their talents productively.

What might “a critic who doesn’t think he should be criticized” sound like? Something like, “It’s my life, not theirs. I wrote 5,000 columns for them in 17 years. I wrote on holidays, spent massive amounts of time away from home. Roger Ebert, whom I’ve met once, can kiss my ass. No one gave more blood to that place than I did?” Maybe say it like five minutes worth of conversation (or a couple hundred words worth of typing; this reads like an email interview) before talking about how hypocritical said uncriticizable critic would be? (Maybe. But he probably wouldn’t use that many back-to-back rhetoricals if he were a professional.)

Mariotti seems like a lazy, knee-jerk writer to me, and I think his television presence falls somewhere between The Cryptkeeper and Tony Siragusa on the “unsettling” continuum. But I’m loath — almost — to bury the guy for being so ridiculously defensive because I, myself, have never risen to a position that would occasion the criticism his departure from the Sun-Times drew; I don’t know how badly it hurt, but I’m sure it did. I’ve never walked away from a two-year contract anywhere, and if I am to write 5,000 columns on anything in my life — even if 4,700 of them are about how lazy and inept three or four sports franchises are — I had better get the fuck to work. So credit due, there.

But what I find most unappealing about Mariotti’s affect in general, and in this interview in particular, is his painfully palpable willingness-unto-eagerness to make his defiantly wronged and ever-correct self the protagonist, as opposed to merely author, of seemingly every story. Sports, it seems, matters to him insofar as it drives his punchlines and paycheck and continuing quasi-celebrity. This bit of ego-driven displacement seems to afflict sportswriters whose work has been touted as being more than sportswriting — Buzz Bissinger, Bill Simmons, pick a name. But who has made that argument on Mariotti’s behalf? What sports might mean — objectively or ideally or whatever — and why we talk about them are obviously debatable subjects. But I have to believe that sports amount to more than a way for Jay Mariotti to continue to glory in this outsized perception of his own significance.

If Urban Outfitter Sold This Tee, They’d Want $60

Posted in Basketball, Fashion at 2:15 am by

“As an enforcer for teams like the Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks and Toronto Raptors, Charles Oakley was known as one of the toughest players in the league,” recalls hoops history major Wizznutzz. “He was also known as one of the cleanest! So it makes perfect sense that as his career wound down, Charles made the transition from NBA superstar to car wash entrepreneur.”

Oak’s car wash sideline, while not nearly as widely publicized as say, Lenny Dykstra’s infamous “Taj Mahal Of Car Washes”, consisted of multiple franchises during the height of the fashion plate forward’s stint as a Knick.  Wizznutzz has licensed the firm’s classic promo tee, as worn back-in-the-day by such style mavens as James McNew and Clive Owen.

OK, I’m not actually sure about Clive Owen. But he’s got a birthday coming up in October, so you might want to buy a shirt today and keep it under wraps for a few months.

01.21.09

Yet Again, Obama Linked To Domestic Terrorist

Posted in Basketball, politics at 8:20 pm by

OK, not exactly.  But if the GOP failed to make a case for the 44th President Of The United States being an unpatriotic pal of William Ayers, what might the sore fucking losers opposition make of Barack Obama being hailed by a former associate of the Symbionese Liberation Army?

Further Proof The U.S. Auto Industry Is Doomed : Ford Introduces Football-Theme Truck In Hoops Crazy State

Posted in Automobiles, Gridiron, The Marketplace at 8:17 pm by

With each passing day, Scharpling & Wurster’s vision of a “Gene Simmons Toyota” seems less and less like a fantasy.

Paul Miller Ford  Announces the Release of the Exclusive  2009 Rich Brooks Edition F150.  Paul Miller Ford  is producing 3 of 3 2009 F-150 Crew Cab Trucks to be sold as the Official ˜Brooks Edition™ Truck. The F150 is the 2009 Motor Trend Truck of the Year.

Paul Miller Autogroup™s VP, J.P. Miller Jr. announced that the Brooks Edition Truck would be available for purchase on 1/23/2009, which is tribute to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd UK Bowl Wins.   Miller says that œThe Books Fans have spoken. The toughest truck on the market now bears the toughest coaches™ name.  We are extremely happy to sell the Rich Brooks Edition F150, only at Paul Miller Ford.  Now is your chance to come out and Drive One ! 975 E new Circle Road, Lexington Ky.

The truck will be equipped with a customized UK Paint Scheme of True Blue, Black and Silver that is brought to you by Fortune Collision Center, a Retax Cover Tailgate Cover, Rich Brooks Signature decals on doors and tailgate, Rich Brooks edition decals on fenders and quarter panels, 22 inch Custom Chrome Tires and Wheels, Tinted Windows, Dual Exhaust, a Toff Spray in Bed Liner!

Shaq : Potentially Good Enough To Make Nets Fans Forget Yinka Dare

Posted in Basketball, New York, New York at 6:29 pm by

While the Suns visit MSG tonight for the first time since Mike D’Antoni bolted Phoenix for Broadway, the Star-Ledger’s Steve Politi considers the possibility of C Shaquille O’Neal joining the Nets….as player/owner?

Imagine the Nets finally giving up their Brooklyn fantasy and moving to the Rock with one of the all-time greats in uniform. Imagine Shaq, after he decides to retire, staying with the franchise as a part owner, his smiling face on billboards and his hulking frame sitting in courtside seats.

The thought has certainly occurred to O’Neal, who already is heavily involved in real estate ventures in the city and has a strong interest in getting involved in the business side of the sport.

“Yes. Yes. Yes,” O’Neal said in a phone interview when asked if he wanted to get into ownership when he retired.

And if that team could be the Nets …

“It’d be nice — real nice,” he said. “I know the area, I know the people, it’s close to New York. Every organization needs two things: a great place to play and a couple of marquee players. You have that, and it’s a no brainer.”

So the player who can rescue the Nets for New Jersey is not LeBron James, the free agent everyone wants in 2010. As long as this team stays on this side of the Hudson River — and few outside the organization believe they’re getting to Brooklyn any more — James is not signing here, no matter how chummy he is with part owner Jay-Z.

Last November, the night before the Suns played the Nets at the Meadowlands, Shaq attended a Devils game at the Rock and got the grand tour from Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek.

“I heard they were billing it as the No. 1 arena in the world, so I wanted to see for myself — and I agree,” O’Neal said, talking on a cell phone as he rode on the Suns team bus. “The place is great.”

He said he told Vanderbeek that night that, if he needed anything at all for the arena, he was prepared to help. You can bet that Vanderbeek saved his number and remembered the promise.

You can bet that anybody serious about keeping this team in New Jersey should rely on one of the most popular players of his generation, and that Shaq is ready and willing.

“I have no idea why the Nets aren’t playing there,” Shaq said. “It makes no sense. I know they’re trying to get to Brooklyn, but if I was the general manager or the owner of that team, I’d be playing in Newark right now.”

“Sunday Night Baseball”‘s Subtraction By Addition

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 6:16 pm by

The Daily News’ Bob Raissman raised the spirits of all right-thinking persons this past October when he reported ESPN executives mulled splitting up the “Sunday Night Baseball” announcing duo of Jon Miller and Joe Morgan.  Alas, the WWL’s eventual bold move was something else entirely, as USA Today’s Michael Hiestand explains.

One of the longest-running acts in TV sports is getting a new cast member. ESPN will formally announce Wednesday that Steve Phillips will join Jon Miller and Joe Morgan, who’ve called ESPN’s Sunday night baseball for 19 years.

The move, freeing up ESPN’s Peter Gammons for Sunday night studio work rather than reporting from ESPN’s Sunday games, comes as ESPN is beefing up its Major League Baseball coverage for an obvious reason.

It faces new competition from the MLB-owned MLB Network, which began this month with 50 million TV households, by far a record for a cable TV debut.

ESPN’s MLB deal includes its Baseball Tonight having rights to show highlights from games still in progress ” a right MLB has granted to its own channel. After responding to the MLB Network with moves like beefing up its MLB winter-meetings coverage, ESPN is likely to keep shaking up coverage beyond adding Phillips to its Sunday games. One possibility: having MLB studio shows air year-round.

“No question ESPN is taking the MLB Network seriously,” Phillips says. “But competition is always good.”

Phillips is an anomaly, an ex-general manager (with the New York Mets) amidst the former players and coaches who fill the chorus line of TV talking heads. “I honestly didn’t think I’d be able to make a career of this,” says Phillips, who joined ESPN in 2004 and expected he’d be replaced by a more “sexy name.”

Names don’t get much sexier than Dan Plesac, Steve. So just keep looking over your shoulder.

Channing Frye Hops On The Kickball Bandwagon

Posted in Basketball, Blogged Down at 3:11 pm by

Having already determined to soak his blogging self into Rip City’s burgeoning bohemia, Blazers F Channing Frye (above, left) takes a tip from Steven Wells in adopting the nation’s fastest-growing pseudo sport.

With all the traveling we™ve been doing, I™ve had plenty of time to think about what I™m gonna do this summer for a charity game in Portland and through it all I came up with a kickball game.I don™t know where it™s gonna be yet and don™t know what month, but I feel like it will be the best idea and way for kids and parents and everyone in the community to get out and have a great day for a good cause in Portland.

So let me know how you feel about it, where I should have it, and if you had to have one thing there (food, beer, roller coaster, etc.) let me know. I want my kickball day to be the best day in Portland every year.

Waving Goodbye To The Bad Lieutenant

Posted in Baseball at 2:34 pm by

Dodgers 2B Jeff Kent (above) is expected to announce his retirement Thursday, and in light of his 355 HR’s — the most of any major league second baseman — I fully expect he’ll make the Hall Of Fame on the first ballot.

That is, if there’s such a thing as a Motocross Hall Of Fame.   Sneers Walkoff Walk‘s Rob Iracane, “Without the pesky sport to take up hours of his precious life, Kent will now have a ton of spare time to besmirch Vin Scully’s good name, fight gay marriage and “wash his truck”, which totally doesn’t involve doing stunts on his motorcycle.”  Hey, you forgot carrying firearms onto airplanes, menacing T.J. Simers  and giving the Sultan Of Surly a run for his money in the Monumental Jerk Sweepstakes.

The Possible Inspiration For Kurt Warner’s “Good Sports Gang”, Revealed

Posted in Gridiron, Leave No Child Unbeaten, Religion at 11:51 am by

OK, if not Kurt’s kiddie Christ series, than perhaps Luanne Platter’s “Manger Babies”

Two Good Reasons to Cheer on the Steelers

Posted in Football, Mob Behavior, The Law, Total Fucking Terror at 12:51 am by

1. Rex Michael Perkins


2. Ryan Hanlon

They’re the two Phoenix-area residents accused of burning messages in Donovan McNabb’s lawn.

From the East Valley Tribune:

Chandler police arrested two Arizona Cardinals fans who they say burned messages in the front lawn of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb™s Chandler residence a day before the NFC Championship game.

Police were able to track down the pair after they discovered a sticker containing the home address of one of the men on a cardboard sign left in McNabb™s yard.

Rex Michael Perkins, 37, of Chandler, and Ryan Hanlon, 29, of Gilbert, were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage on Sunday after police questioned Perkins about the sign that said: œGo Cards on one side and œBeat Philly on the other, Chandler police said.

Perkins and Hanlon also allegedly poured diesel fuel in McNabb™s yard in the 4100 block of South Purple Sage Drive to read: œGo Kurt, and œGo Cards, causing an estimated $2,000 in damage, Chandler police Sgt. Joe Favazzo said.

Given they are huge fans of Kurt Warner, I suppose we should be grateful that they didn’t try a cross.

01.20.09

Danilo Gallinari : That’s Italian For Pissed Off

Posted in Basketball at 7:59 pm by

Along with reporting New York C Jerome James faces season-ending Achilles surgery, the Daily News’ Frank Isola writes that rookie F Danilo Gallinari’s MSG debut against Chicago yesterday was marred by some unfortunate choices on the part of the Knicks’ in-game entertainment department

After each of his four baskets, the Knicks’ long-time public address announcer Mike Walczewski, using a thick Italian accent, said “Daneeelo Gal-lin-ar-ay” and then the Italian songs “Volare” or “That’s Amore” were played.

When asked about hearing his name, Gallinari said: “I need to talk a little bit with them about that. Because it’s not so good, the pronunciation. I will talk about that. As for the music, no, not so good.”

Mike D’Antoni was somewhat surprised by the music selection himself and looked at the scorer’s table after Gallinari’s first basket.

Apparently, Gallinari would prefer to hear a more updated, age-appropriate song. Also, the Italian journalists who attend Gallinari’s home games said the song stereotypes Italians.

Age appropriate, eh? Assuming no one can find a copy of Carlos Santana and Rob Thomas’ “Smooth”, perhaps this best-selling CD would do the trick.

Would Fred & Jeff Rather Own The Dodgers?

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 7:15 pm by

(Fred, patiently waiting for the Mets season game to end and the latest episode of “Loudmouths” to begin)

Days after describing Tim Redding as “a homeless man’s Rick Reed” (ouch), Tim Marchman uses an anonymous source’s description of the Mets’ new offices to amplify another party’s implication that the Wilpons aren’t particularly romantic when it comes to their own team’s history.

I haven’t seen the new offices, for instance, but I understand that rather than what you might expect”a World Series trophy, a Tom Seaver jersey, life-sized prints of an ebullient Jose Reyes”they’re decorated with blueprints of the Fed. Which is fine enough, but conveys a certain ill ease that the Wilpon family has always betrayed, a nostalgia for a dead team and a disdain for the live one.

Marchman’s accusations are a slight public relatons speed bump for the money-printing enterprise that is Citi Field’s first season, though just to be certain, the club might want to employ Edgardo Alfonso, most recently seen toiling for Los Navegantes del Magallanes of the Venezuelan league. Fonzie could double as a greeter / 2B backup to fan favorite Luis Castillo, and he doesn’t even need to purchase new property in the area.

Duhon : President Obama’s Got No Game

Posted in Basketball, politics at 4:23 pm by

(moments before Psycho T was tased by the Secret Service)

Much has written about newly-inaugurated President Barack Obama’s penchant for pickup basketball, though perhaps posting up Stuart Scott isn’t the best measure of the former Illinois senator’s chops. Knicks PG Chris Duhon (19 points in Monday’s 102-98 defeat of Chicago) offers the rare discouraging word to the New York Post’s George Willis.

Duhon played hoops with the future president during pickup games at Chicago’s East Bank Club. He got the hook-up through friend and former Duke player Reggie Love, who is one of Obama’s personal assistants.

Though Duhon wasn’t exactly effusive about Obama’s basketball skills, saying, “I don’t think he has a best move,” it still was “an honor” to meet the “normal” man and not the candidate.

“It was good to just meet Barack Obama,” Duhon said. “I’m very proud of him. He’s been through a lot, and to finally be in the position he’s in, I’m very happy for him.”

Duhon was too polite to add, “…and at least he’s a better baller than Charlie Ward.”

Inducting Jim Ed Rice Into Kenmore Square’s Heroic Hall Of Fame

Posted in Baseball at 3:29 pm by

Offensive production aside, what else might Jim Rice have done during his Red Sox tenue to deserve enshrinement alongside such legends as Mr. Butch or Bob Gamere The Rathskeller’s Mitch?  As the Boston Herald’s Dan Duggan recalls, the Boston LF might well have saved the life of a young fan.

On Aug. 7, 1982, four-year-old Jonathan Keane of Greenland, N.H., was sitting with his father, Tom, in the second row along the first base line at Fenway Park [map] when he was struck in the left temple by a foul ball of the bat of Red Sox first baseman Dave Stapleton. Rice sprung from the dugout, lifted the bloodied boy into his arms and raced him through the clubhouse to an ambulance.

œThere™s a big reaction from that, Rice said. œPeople always say, ˜What happened to the kid?™ 

The œkid is now 31 and living in Raleigh, N.C., where he works for an Internet company. While Keane suffered a fractured skull and was hospitalized for five days, he had no lasting effects from the incident. For that, he thanks Rice™s quick reaction.

œWhat he did saved my life, Keane said. œIn those types of situations, most people freeze. He was really quick to react. That™s heroic in my eyes.

Rice downplays his response as something he™d like to think others would do if his children were in the same situation.

œI had two kids at the time. It was just a reaction, Rice said. œIt wasn™t anything where you could sit there and plan or anything like that. I knew doctors were in the ballpark. Why not pick the kid up and bring him in the clubhouse where he could have medical attention?

Rice is reminded of the moment every time he™s at Fenway.

œThat picture is in a collage upstairs (in Fenway Park). When I go upstairs, I see that picture, Rice said. œWhen I come to Fenway Park, every time I look at the park . . . that™s the thing I think about the most.

First Order Of Business

Posted in Baseball at 12:27 pm by

January 20, 2009.  Hours following his inauguration, 44th President of the United States Barack Obama convenes a national security meeting with US Air Force Chief Of Staff General Norton A. Schwartz.

Good afternoon and congratulations, Mister President.

Thank you for being here, General.

What’s on your mind, sir?

General, it’s my understanding that the Air Force has recently undergone a series of oversight problems with the country’s nuclear arsenal.

Yes sir, that’s true.

(The president consults a file folder.)

In August 2007, six nuclear cruise missiles were mistakenly loaded onto the wings of a B-52 in a North Dakota airbase and flown to an airbase in Louisiana.

That is correct, sir.  There was an investigation.  Dozens of airmen were disciplined and numerous officers, including my predecessor, General Moseley, resigned as a result of the incident.

Then, in June 2008, the Air Force mistakenly shipped four nuclear fuses to Taiwan.

Also correct, Mister President.  The –

Following that, in November 2008, the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base failed a nuclear surety inspection.      And following that, just last month the 90th Missile Wing at Warren Air Force Base failed its surety inspection.

Sir, we –

General, I have a question.

Sir?

I assume you are familiar with the practice of having Air Force jets fly over certain sporting events during the national anthem.

Yes sir, I am.  I think I know where you’re going with this.  Sir, those aircraft are not fitted with nuclear weapons.

But could they be?

Technically…yes, but that would be highly unusual.

Unusual? “Flying 900 miles with six nukes in the luggage rack” unusual, or “that guy’s got the same name as me” unusual?

Well, Mr. President, we –

General, I’m going to give you a date and a place.  You’re going to want to write this down.  April 13, 2009.  Chicago.  Opening Day at Wrigley Field.

Sir.  I want to assure you that –

General, I have every faith that you will personally ensure that the aircraft performing the flyover will be equipped appropriately for the mission.  Every faith.

(President Obama dons his White Sox cap.)

Appropriately, sir?

Appropriately.

(General Schwartz thinks.)

The Cubs are playing the Rockies that day.

Can’t be helped.  Besides, Matt Holliday got traded to the A’s, so there’s that.

You’re a “glass half-full” guy, aren’t you, sir?

Glad you noticed.  I think we’re done here.