Many readers may feel that if you are going to complain about crowd noise at a football match, then an angry letter about the fact that your view of the pitch has been severely impeded by 22 men in shorts who insist on running about all over it during the entire length of your visit is surely on its way. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that the average age of those attending football matches is rising (or at least craning) ever upwards. Soon, most of the grounds will be, more or less, entirely in the knobbly hands of the prostate generation. It will alter the game irrevocably. For a start, the interval will have to be extended to an hour just so we all have time to piddle.
The fact is that when you are getting on in years, you increasingly find high-tempo, all-action entertainment physically and mentally draining. I had to spend the day in bed after watching The Dark Knight, a film that frankly made me feel as if I had been falling down the stairs into a darkened cellar for two and a half hours. No, there will come a time when fans at football matches will no more want explosive excitement from their afternoon match than we do from our afternoon TV schedule. We will want something light, cheerful and familiar, possibly refereed by Hannah Gordon or Alan Titchmarsh.
(just try to wipe the smile off this man’s face. No, really, I’d like you to try)
Citing the “shrill banter, contrived characters, and prefabricated opinions” most often heard on WEEI’s “The Big Show”, the Boston Globe’s Chad Finn used the pages of his paper’s new weekly, The O.T., to challenge the region’s most popular sports chat program. “I’m convinced that provided with an equal signal, some savvy program director could build what WEEI claims to be: the premier sports radio station in the country,” claims Finn before making the following incendiary suggestions (amongst others).
Have a well-considered opinion and the knowledge to defend it in an entertaining manner: No, passing yourself off as some sort of insider because of an association with the Celtics two decades ago does not count, particularly when there is mounting suspicion that you haven’t watched more than a handful of out-of-market NBA games since the days of short shorts and sky hooks. In a related note: Yelling the loudest doesn’t make you right. Didn’t your mom ever teach you that?
After you’ve beaten a story to death, please resist the temptation to beat on the corpse daily for another several weeks: Wait, wait, wait ¦ you’re telling me Manny Ramirez quit on the Red Sox? And they traded him? When did this happen? How come you never mentioned this, Mikey? HOW COME YOU NEVER MENTIONED THIS??!!
Talk politics or the news story of the day when the moment calls for it: Credit where credit is due: WEEI was riveting radio in the days after September 11. The tone was sincere, heartfelt, and human. Since then, however, the tone regarding politics and world matters has become so extreme that certain hosts make Dick Cheney look like a beatnik. Worse is the increasingly snide disregard for those with different circumstances, views, and ””the case certainly can be made” pigment. It’s one thing to be provocative, but too often that crosses the line to irresponsibility. Sure, a certain element is enthralled - hillbillies and cavemen, mostly. Others are simply waiting for the inevitable repulsive comment that leads to your downfall.
Enough with the drop-ins from comedians who’d bomb at the Ha-Ha House of Whiskey and Waffles: And if some clown named Shecky does find his way into the studio — either as a guest or as your nighttime host — have some dignity and refrain from hee-hawing and chortling and racing to laugh loudest as if he’s the reincarnation of George Carlin. He’s not. He’s a D-lister with a captive audience, and his best jokes wouldn’t make the cut for the Whiner Line. Which, by the way, is the best thing you have going. We might note the material comes not from you, but from the listeners. We’re going to assume you miss the irony of that.
Q: How excited are you about coming to the Celtics?
SM: “This is the happiest I’ve been since being drafted, man. I’m so happy that it doesn’t even feel real. It feels, it just feels like, it feels different to finally be able to get the opportunity to go play for a team that’s established. Everyone is on the same page. There is one goal, and that’s winning a ring, winning the trophy.
“I’m walking into an environment where it’s stable, controlled by the players because the players police themselves. You don’t have to have the coach police what is going on. Everyone seems to have it together and it looks like a family. That’s what it’s all about.”
Q: What would you say to your skeptics who wonder why the Celtics are signing you despite your past problems?
SM: “That’s OK. That’s just a perspective that has been adapted from what someone else told them. If they weren’t there and weren’t in that circle, then they don’t know.”
Q: How does it feel to go to a team that is pretty much drama-free?
SM: “You don’t know how good it feels to know that it’s just one thing, to have fun. [Kevin Garnett] was like, ‘Basketball is going to be fun again, kid.’ Man, I can’t wait. I’m so excited. I haven’t slept in like three days.”
Q: If this chapter ends with a championship, have you thought about how emotional you could be?
SM: “I don’t know what I’d do. I think teams that watch me, they understand about me that I’m a straight shooter. They might not like that. But at the end of the day I’d rather people respect me. I’m not a liar. If I played like [garbage], I played like [garbage]. To win a championship, that’s what you do it for.”
Q: What will it be like to wear the Celtics uniform?
SM: “It’s historical. I don’t even know how to explain that. I’m so humbled by it. I’m grateful for the opportunity. If you look at the teams that we had there with [Larry] Bird, [Kevin] McHale and [Dennis] Johnson and Danny Ainge, it’s like, wow, this is the type of team that is formulating to that style of team. And with the additions they are trying to add, bringing on a guy like Mikki Moore, who is a great energy player, I just want to come in, help, and be one of the pieces that fit into the puzzle, that’s all.”
Newsday, which covers the New York suburb of Long Island, was bought by Cablevision in a $650 million deal last May that was widely criticized on Wall Street as a puzzling move into a troubled newspaper market.
Cablevision had to write down Newsday’s value by $402 million on Thursday, pushing its fourth-quarter results to a loss, as U.S. print advertising sales and circulation have dropped with more readers seeking free news on the Web.
But Cablevision Chief Operating Officer Tom Rutledge said the cable TV company was aware of the difficulties faced by the traditional newspaper business.
“Our goal was and is to use our electronic network assets and subscriber relationships to transform the way news is distributed,” he said on a conference call with analysts.
“We plan to end the distribution of free Web content and make our news gathering capabilities a service for our customers,” he added.
Rutledge’s comments could raise speculation that the paper may seek cost cuts by reducing print operations. It could also look to cross-promote Web access as part of the Cablevision programing package.
[Snooky, a key witness in the Vick trial, on learning Vick will be on the streets again by May.]
The AP today claims that suspended Atlanta Falcon Michael Vick is approved for home confinement, and there must be some very nervous dogs out there knowing he’s back on the street. Matt Damon lookalike Mark Maske reports it for The Washington Post:
Michael Vick has been approved for release to home confinement, possibly in May, a government official told the Associated Press. The NFL quarterback is serving a 23-month federal prison sentence in Leavenworth, Kan., for his role in a dogfighting operation based at a home that he owned in Virginia.
The AP report has not been independently verified.
Vick’s attorneys had indicated in bankruptcy court proceedings that they expected Vick to be transferred to a halfway house in Virginia for the final portion of his prison term.
DC Sports Bog‘s Dan Steinberg, previously maligned by former colleague Tony Kornheiser as “Cheese Boy”, neglects to identify the questioner pestering the Wizards’ injured Brendan Haywood below, but calls the conversation, “Enlightening. In the same way pouring 40 feet of mud-flecked chocolate pudding on top of your face would be enlightening.”
What are they talking about in terms of a timeline for you, and what are you looking at?
Don’t have a timeline. If I’m healthy, I’m back, but if I’m not, I’m not.
So there’s been no timeline set for you in terms of a return to play?
They said this injury takes four to six months, so it depends on am I a four-month guy, a five-month guy or a six-month guy. I don’t know yet.
Are you a four-month guy?
Not right now. It’s been four months.
So you’re a five-month guy?
Don’t know. I’m not gonna give you anything on TV tonight. Come on. Stop with me.
I hear ya. Hey, if you had your druthers, when would you be ready to go?
When I’m healthy. You’re gonna find a million and one ways to ask me the same question, huh?
A practice like today, a practice this physical, when do you think you might be ready for something like that?
Don’t know. I hate to keep hitting you with the same thing, but I really don’t know. I’ll be reevaluated in a couple weeks. This might be a good interview for my doctor, she knows better than me. She’s got the x-rays, the MRIs and everything. And she’s a specialist in this area, so she knows way better than me.
Is she a good quote?
I don’t know. She’s a doctor, she’s probably gonna be even more bland than me.
Last night against New Orleans, writes Piston Powered‘s Dan Feldman, “(Rasheed) Wallace gave up on his teammates. The game was close, and he couldn™t control his emotions. He™s becoming the cancer many feared the Pistons acquired in 2004.” “Might the Pistons just release him now, with only 26 games remaining on his contract?” wonders ESPN’s Royce Webb, who strangely hasn’t proposed that Joe Dumars lower the boom on first-year head coach Michael Curry (currently presiding over an 8-game losing streak).
Cancer or not, Detroit probably doesn’t have such an easy time with the Lakers in the ’04 Finals without Wallace’s services. Second guessing last autumn’s Iverson-for-Billups swap is natural (and easy) enough, but I sincerely doubt Joe Dumars would like a do-over on Chucky Atkins, Lindsay Hunter and a first round pick for ‘Sheed.