Jim Calhoun Paid For This Microphone

Posted in Basketball, College Spurts, Sports Journalism at 9:20 am by

Well, that takes a bit of the shine off UConn’s 64-50 win over South Florida. While the Hartford Courant‘s Christopher Keating cites Calhoun’s tormentor, freelance journalist Ken Krayeske as a bit of a provocateur (and at least one Connecticut scribe has described Krayeske in terms far less flattering), the coach raised an excellent point, though perhaps unintentionally.

“Quite frankly, we bring in $12 million to the university, nothing to do with state funds,” Calhoun shouted. “We make $12 million a year for this university.”

If Calhoun’s hoops program is profitable to the tune of $12 million profit annually, he’s hardly being overpaid.  A.J. Price, however, is being seriously fucked over.


Tweeting While Blake Griffin Attempts To Devour The Erwin Center

Posted in Basketball, twitter twatter at 7:30 pm by

follow CSTB at http://twitter.com

C Blake Griffin and the no. 2 Oklahoma Sooners will tip off against Texas in less than an hour, and your editor WILL BE THERE, just mere rows away from the visitors’ bench.  Though I could opt to provide upskirt photography of the Association’s probable no. 1 overall pick in next June’s draft, I’ll instead be providing live updates via Twitter.

Not For The First Time, Someone Would Prefer To Avoid Alan Green

Posted in Football, Sports Radio at 6:26 pm by

10th place Fulham host West Brom tomorrow afternoon and if the following report from Friday’s edition of When Saturday Comes Daily is accurate, the BBC’s Alan Green can probably expect a less than warm welcome.

It emerged that following Fulham’s 3-0 defeat at Old Trafford on Wednesday night, the club’s head of communications Sarah Brooks stepped in and prevented Radio 5 Live from talking to the manager, Roy Hodgson. Fulham fans, already on edge at the ease with which Rooney and co swept their team aside, took exception to the commentary of Alan Green (above)  and hit the message boards to protest. “Alan Green’s comments about Fulham appalled some of our fans,” said Brooks. “Remarks like ‘Fulham should not have bothered to turn up’ were insulting. In those circumstances, I didn’t feel it appropriate for 5 Live to speak to our manager.”

One of the least expletive outcries on the club’s official website invited 5 Live to “turn up a day before the match and do their commentary”, while the mildest description of the controversy-courting Green was “a mix between Shrek and Benny Hill”. The Irishman has regularly been spotlighted for his opinionated and often rash commentary, which in the past has touched upon issues both social (the morals of Liverpudlians) and racial (Sun Jihai and Chicken Chow Mein) which his employers would be keen to avoid. Elsewhere, BBC investigations into the corruption of transfers, agents and bungs has landed the broadcaster in trouble with Harry Redknapp, Alex Ferguson and Sam Allardyce. They all complained loudly about unfair treatment but rather than go to court to defend themselves, they now ignore the broadcaster altogether. Ironically, those who which suffer most from this non-cooperation are the mild-mannered Gary Lineker and his comrades on Match of the Day, and their audience, who must instead turn to Sky to catch any comments from the aforementioned managers.

Jay Mariotti : Blogger Parole Office Of The Year

Posted in Basketball, Sports TV at 4:10 pm by

Charles Barkely’s partying with Urkel, driving drunk and telling Scottsdale police he was cruising for a blow job was in the words of AOL Sports’ Jay Mariotti, “rock bottom, an indefensible blunder in a wild life pardoned too often by basketball and media buddies who should have been in his face instead of frolicking with him.”   Still, sports journalism’s no. 1 mascara fiend is not without compassion, Thursday’s night’s emotional outpouring on TNT causing Mariotti to proclaim, “the B.S. meter wasn’t moving. I had it out, ready to gauge his honesty and contrition levels. He passed.”

In a sports year in which we’re evaluating public apologies more than watching games, at least we heard sincerity in Barkley’s voice. He said more in two minutes than Alex Rodriguez did in 32, beginning TNT’s “Inside The NBA” program by apologizing directly to his family, the network, his sponsors, the league and the fans who have made him the most talked-about analyst in sports television. Even if he struggled to maintain his composure and kept stumbling over his words, this was his best broadcasting performance to date.

If anyone doubted it, TNT’s ratings dropped 38 percent during his seven-week suspension while suffering through the likes of Chris Webber and Gary Payton. No offense to them, but anyone is boring when the comparison point is Barkley. People love him because he speaks his mind and, more often than not, it smacks of truth. And they’ll continue to like him and watch him, despite the troubling nature of his DUI and dirty cop talk, because he now has shown he’s flawed like everyone else.

If he screws up again, all bets are off. If he screws up again, the TNT bosses who have been forgiving will fire him on the spot. But as one who was tough on Barkley, I’ll admit it’s easier to give him another chance than most. Because his living hell is so visible, you want to see him overcome it and become the basketball ambassador he always should have been. Whether he’s accountable enough to ever be the governor of Alabama, as he aspires, is unlikely. But I’ve seen politicians overcome worse than Barkley and thrive.

Dustin Pedroia, Most Valuable Paddler

Posted in Baseball at 3:07 pm by

Finally, something is being done to restore the Pedroia family name.  (video culled from Sox & Dawgs)

Harper Plays Freud With A-Fraud

Posted in Baseball at 1:28 pm by

On the same morning his Daily news colleagues report Alex Rodriguez associate Angel “Nao” Presinal will be denied acces to locker rooms and clubhouses during the World Baseball Classic, John Harper remains focused on the embattled Yankee third baseman,  promising “you have to believe there will be more embarrassing, perhaps even incriminating, details uncovered in the days and weeks to come as A-Rod is paying not only for using steroids but for insulting people with details of his usage that were impossible to believe.”

Outsized ego or not, I think A-Rod is mostly a misguided soul who grew up forever looking for the attention and direction he never received from a father who abandoned the family when Alex, the youngest son, was 4 years old.Still, I can’t feel sorry for A-Rod because he brought all this on himself, and made it worse this week by failing to come clean on the hows and whys of his usage.

Now he may be testing the limits of support from teammates and everyone in the Yankees’ organization.

Friday, in fact, one prominent Yankee person was saying there is a sense the nightmare is just beginning.

“As soon as I heard him talking about the cousin at his press conference I knew this is where we were headed,” the person said quietly. “He needed to get it all out in the open and tell the truth, and it’s pretty obvious he didn’t.”

If Presinal was a constant traveling companion during the 2007 season, as reported in the Daily News Friday, it practically forces to you to think the worst about A-Rod, especially given his believability issues this week.

Was he using human growth hormone, for which MLB has no test? Would he have gone to the extreme of using steroids again and somehow managed to avoid detection from drug-testing?

It’s worth remembering that A-Rod was at the lowest point of his career after the 2006 season, booed unmercifully at Yankee Stadium and then publicly humiliated when Joe Torre batted him eighth in the playoffs against the Tigers.

It’s also worth remembering that he was noticeably leaner in spring training of 2007, shedding bulk that seemed to bind his swing in 2006, and that Primobolan, the steroid he apparently used in 2003, promotes lean muscle.

In any case, the result was an MVP season, perhaps the best overall season of his career. And even though it raised no eyebrows at the time, in retrospect you have to wonder if he would turn to pharmaceuticals to regain an edge both mentally and physically.

Terrapin Evacuation

Posted in Basketball, College Spurts at 12:04 am by

As if the recent lack of tournament appearances and the three-part Washington Post series wasn’t enough for the University of Maryland, sex columnist Dan Savage recently appeared there, and, well, I believe one UM student has inadvertently helped him think up a new one for the Cameron Crazies:

Fear the Turtle: What a woman experiences when she realizes halfway through vaginal intercourse that her bowels are full and her enjoyment of the sex has been superseded by her fear of crapping the bed. “Sue had to ask Drew to stop fucking her because she feared the turtle. She got on the can for a minute, then hopped back in bed, and no longer feared the turtle.”


Cox : Enough With Duke v. Carolina, Already

Posted in Basketball, College Spurts, Sports Journalism at 9:49 pm by

“I don’t want to hear about Duke’s “Cameron Crazies” and all the wickedly clever things those egghead sports nerds come up with to shout” sneers The Daily Herald‘s Ted Cox after watching a preview of HBO’s hoops documentary, “Battle For Tobacco Road : Duke vs. North Carolina”.  “I’ve had enough of Coach K and Dean Smith and Roy Williams. I couldn’t care less the schools are 10 miles apart.”  Note to all P.R. departments (and Herald editors) — don’t ask Mr. Cox to cover something he professes to have no interest in.

Like HBO’s earlier Michigan-Ohio State football production, “Battle for Tobacco Road” gives the alumni at both schools the opportunity to talk a lot of trash. No surprise that Michael Jordan again establishes himself as one of the kings of the trash talkers.

“When we look at it, we always say Duke is a great college school, you know?” he acknowledges, before twisting the knife. “None of their guys come out and become great players in the pros, because they don’t have that in their blood. So there was no love lost at all, and even to this day, that is still ingrained in all Carolina guys. There is no way you’re going to like anything about Duke.”

Fine, but by the time Mitch Kupchak talks about getting hazed at Carolina for wearing a Duke T-shirt at the “end of my laundry cycle,” I’ve had enough. I mean, what’s the big deal?

Everything’s squooshed together in the East. Yet no one talks about the Duke-Carolina rivalry in women’s rugby, do they?

What, you think Illinois and Indiana didn’t have a pretty good rivalry going when Lou Henson was calling Bob Knight “a bully,” or more recently when Indiana stole Eric Gordon out from under Bruce Weber? You think Notre Dame and UCLA haven’t sustained a good rivalry through good times and bad?

Yet no, it’s only NC-Duke, like it’s only Yankees and Red Sox when ESPN is talking great sports rivalries or Ken Burns is doing a PBS “Baseball” miniseries. It’s like the Cubs and Cardinals never existed.

Well, at least we’ve still got Bears-Packers. Call me, HBO, when you finally get around to doing that rivalry.

If Only Marbury Showed This Kind Of Charisma During The Brief Run Of “Stars On Stars”

Posted in Basketball, Free Expression at 6:55 pm by

What happens when a Slam associate comes upon estranged Knicks PG Stephon Marbury just-hanging-out at a Los Angeles bus stop?  Genuinely funny footage?  (check)  Plenty of traffic for G.I. Joe?  (yup)  A somewhat dated observation from Fan IQ blog’s 100% Injury Rate with an equally gratuitous reply from yours truly? (you gotta believe!)

It’s hard not to like someone who does something like this. and if you think this is the weirdest thing Steon’s ever done, it’s not even close. He watched one of the Presidential debates from a homeless shelter in the Bowery – one of the areas of NYC you should pretty much avoid at all costs. How did he wind up there? He befriended some homeless dudes while he was eating dinner at a local pizza joint. Of course.

I hate to nitpick, but the Bowery hasn’t been “one of the areas of NYC you should pretty much avoid at all costs” for a very long time (unless you’re trying to avoid the John Varatos record boutique, which totally sucks).  Eating pizza with homeless dudes is very Tony Romo, Autumn of 2008.    This interview with Bruce Beck, however, is totally off-the-fucking-charts insane.

Welcome To Wendy’s 99 Cent Super Value Menu, Johnny Damon

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 2:52 pm by

“Johnny Damon, earning $13 million this season, cannot pay his bills.” announces Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.  “Xavier Nady, earning $6.55 million, cannot purchase an apartment in New York.”  The Allan Stanford scandal has already come to bear on cricket, and now, you can add a pair of prominent Scott Boras clients to the list of those whose assets have been frozen.

On Monday, the Securities and Exchange Commission froze all assets of three entities ” Stanford International Bank, Stanford Group Co., and Stanford Capital Management ” all managed by Robert Allen Stanford. Those were the only three entities whose assets were frozen, according to the SEC filing.

“I can’t pay bills right now,” Damon said at the Yankees’ spring training facility in Tampa. “That started on Tuesday. I had to pay a trainer for working out during the offseason. I told him, ‘Just hold on for a little bit and hopefully all this stuff gets resolved.’”

Nady faces similar concerns.

“I’m affected in some ways. I have the same (advisor) as Johnny,” Nady said. “He said I didn’t have money with Stanford (investments). But all my credit card accounts are frozen right now because of that situation. I’m trying to get an apartment in New York. I can’t put a credit card down to hold it.”

Damon, Nady and other Boras clients use Personal Management Consultants, a division of the Scott Boras Corporation, to monitor their assets.

Players pay PMC a percentage of their earnings on top of the commission they pay Boras. The company employs CPAs who check investments, audit teams, do tax work, and perform other services.

“I talked to PMC, talked to guys at Stanford Financial Group,” Damon said. “The first thing they kept saying was, ‘You should be OK.’ I was like, ‘Not should be OK.’ They clarified it that yeah, I’ve got nothing to worry about. But unfortunately, the money is frozen.”

PMC does not make actual investments, Boras said.

“We have no link to Stanford, no financial connection to any investment company with any of our clients,” Boras said. “We do not invest our clients’ money and receive no compensation for it, unlike other agencies.”

Gangsta Scheme : Jerry’s Plan To Get More At Bats For Luis Castillo

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, Food, Ugly New Stadiums at 1:39 pm by

Reyes0218 from Bart Hubbuch on Vimeo.

“If you’re a Mets fan who is inclined to boo Castillo this season,” wrote Mike Steffanos earlier this week,  “you might want to consider directing them towards the General Manager instead.” It’s worthy advice, except there’s been no overture to create 5 plate appearances for Omar Minaya each home game. 2B Luis Castillo, however, is being touted as the Mets’ Opening Day lead-off hitter, and if the purpose of said manuever is to take advantage of Jose Reyes’ pop, Hot Foot‘s Anthony De Rosa warns, “I worry that trying to squeeze more power out of Reyes is like trying to teach Miles Davis to be more like Stevie Ray Vaughn.”  And nobody wants that.

Ultimately, I don™t see how this ˜lesson™ that Manuel is trying to teach Reyes will enhance his game. It certainly isn™t worth messing with Reyes to try and bring more out of Castillo. The Mets invested more money than they should have in Castillo, but that ship has sailed. The money they spent is already gone” it™s a sunk loss. Using that as an excuse to try and ruin what they have in Reyes simply creates more problem.

Would a pre-Madoff Wilpon Inc. have been willing to eat Castillo’s salary and splash out on Orlando Hudson?  Steve Keane is up in arms over Fred & Jeff trying to make up their losses with what he calls “food choices (that) stink of yuppie” at Citi Field.

You want Shake Shack? Give me White Castle. You want Blue Smoke? How about a Ghetto Chinese stand for some chicken wings and fries and it has to be surrounded by bullet proof glass of course, for that authentic feeling. 

Lights Out : Suns Lose Stoudemire For 8 Weeks

Posted in Basketball at 12:10 pm by

Neither Shaquile O’Neal nor Amare Stoudemire was traded by yesterday’s deadline, but even if Suns ownership hadn’t decided much earlier to ignore offers for the latter, it’s unlikely a transaction would’ve held up.  ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reports Stoudemire underwent surgery to repair a detatched retina after being poked in the eye during his 42 point outburst against the Clippers Wednesday night.

BallInEurope.com quotes a Basketnews item that touts Larry Brown’s candidacy for head coach of the French national team (presumably the men’s squad). I wasn’t aware Brown spoke French, just as I have no idea whether or not Frederic Weis (currently toiling for Spanish side Menorca) would be interested in serving as Larry’s assistant / translator.

More prison garb for Habs?

Posted in Hockey, The Law at 10:17 am by

While these eyesores were not well received, certain Habs players may need to don them yet again.

Already suffering from a slide down the Eastern Conference standings, consistently poor goaltending from partyboy Carey Price, and the surprising dominance of their rivals in Boston, the Montreal Canadiens have yet another problem ruining their centennial campaign. La Presse is reporting today that several Habs players, namely Andrei and Sergei Kostitsyn, are linked to an alleged drug trafficker named Pasquale Mangiola. The National Post sums it up for us non-Francophones:

Pasquale Mangiola, who faces drug-trafficking and illegal weapon charges, is a close associate of the brothers and spoke to them often, La Presse says.

The three were often seen together at local bars and restaurants, the French-language newspaper reports.

Canadiens defenceman Roman Hamrlik was also acquainted with Mr. Mangiola, La Presse reports.

The gossip is only the latest problem facing the team, following a string of game losses.

Montreal police on Friday refused comment on the anti-gang operation, Project Axe, as well as the rumours circulating about the Canadiens’ players.

“Concerning the numerous rumours that have been running around last night and this morning, they are still rumours as far as we are concerned,” Constable Yannick Ouimet said.

Habs fans have not been taking the news well, forcing HFBoards to shut down briefly. Perhaps this scandal is a blessing in disguise for trade-rumor magnate Alexei Kovalev, or perhaps his diabolical master plan has come to fruition.

Purveyor Of Overpriced Powders, Pills To A-Rod : Get Our Name Out Of Your Mouth

Posted in Baseball, Fitness, The Marketplace at 9:48 am by

If I had to predict which U.S. shopping mall fixture Alex Rodriguez would blame for his crumbling reputation, I’d have opted for a tie between Abercrombie & Fitch and Sunglass Hut.  As Newsday’s Anthony Rieber explains, however, it’s another merchant thoroughly pissed off at being name dropped by the Third Baseman in successive public statements.

GNC, clearly not happy about having its name dragged through the steroid mud, issued a statement yesterday through company spokesman Greg Miller.

“GNC does not sell illegal anabolic steroids,” the statement said. “GNC is always troubled when an athlete who cheats himself and his profession attempts to implicitly or explicitly scapegoat another person or organization for his gross lapses in judgment, even if he was ‘young and stupid’ when it happened. GNC is confident that the public understands the difference between unlawful drugs that one’s cousin has to inject into the body and the legal, safe products for sale in its stores.”

Daily News Links A-Rod To Pedro’s Sketchy Masseur

Posted in Baseball at 4:38 am by

No fewer than 7 reporters contributed to a New York Daily News item Friday morning that claims Yankee 3B Alex Rodriguez has a working relationship with Angel “Nao” Presinal (above, left), a trainer banned from MLB clubhouses and at one time, massage therapist to Pedro Martinez.

A former New York-area scout says Presinal, whose named surfaced in the Mitchell Report, was with Rodriguez in New York and Miami as recently as this past fall.

MLB has warned players to stay away from him.

“He’s an unsavory character,” one baseball official said.

Another source said Presinal accompanied A-Rod for the entire 2007 season, staying in the same hotel as the A.L. MVP, but in a separate room with the “cousin” Rodriguez pegged three days ago as his steroid source from 2001-03.

The cousin was identified Thursday as Yuri Sucart.

The source said Rodriguez avoided being seen in public with Presinal.

“He was around Alex in 2007,” the source said of Presinal. “Every hotel they went to, he stayed in the same room with Yuri. You would never see Alex with [Presinal]. They would meet in one of their rooms.”

The News reports Presinal has been associated with a laundry list of the game’s superstars, including but not limited to David Ortiz, Vlad Guerrero, Miguel Tejada, Adrian Beltre, Ruben Sierra, and most prominently, Juan Gonzalez.   From ESPN.com’s Mike Fish, February 14, 2007 :

Presinal, 54, popped up on Major League Baseball’s radar in October 2001 after he and former two-time American League MVP Juan Gonzalez, then his primary client, were linked to an unmarked bag, reportedly containing steroids and hypodermic needles, that was seized by Canadian authorities at the Toronto airport. Questioned by Canadian Border Service agents, Gonzalez said the bag belonged to Presinal. Presinal has said the bag and everything in it belonged to Gonzalez, then a Cleveland Indians outfielder.

Ultimately, Canadian authorities decided there wasn’t enough evidence to charge either Gonzalez or Presinal. Word of the incident, though, has made Presinal persona non grata in the majors — but not in the Dominican Republic, where he remains highly respected and a cult hero to players on the Caribbean island.

Asked about the bag episode, Martinez, rehabbing from rotator cuff surgery on Oct. 5, told ESPN.com: “I have no idea about the controversy. I just know that I would give Nao my support anytime. Nao has worked with me for a long, long time. And all he has done is help me with my training, help me with massages and stuff like that.”

“He is experienced about muscles and flexibility. He understands really well how to work on the body, especially with the therapy and massage. And Nao is a really good therapist when it comes to understanding how muscles react.”

Asked what role Presinal played in his star pitcher’s rehab, Minaya responded: “There is no — as far as I know, there is no connection between Nao and the Mets and Pedro. That is news to me.”

As for Presinal working with Martinez, he said: “I don’t know. I don’t know that.”

Barkley’s Public Apology : Slightly More Effective Than A-Rod’s

Posted in Basketball, Sports TV at 3:48 am by

…yet we’re still left waiting for details about the blowjob. Hey, the trade deadline had just come and gone and TNT led off Thursday’s “Inside The NBA” with 7+ minutes of Sir Charles’ emotional PSA. Which sort of illustrates just how excited the network figured a national audience would be over Orlando’s acquisition of Rafer Alston.


Psycho T, Meet Profane R

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

“Roy Williams and I have one thing in common,” brags 850 The Buzz host Joe Ovies.  “We both like to curse. Off the air, I drop F-bombs like they were punctuation. But for 4 hours a day for 5 days a week, the FCC prohibits such language.”  Sadly for those of a delicate sensibility, such government regulations were not recognized by North Carolina head coach Williams following the Tar Heels’ close call last night against NC State.

Nothing gets Williams riled up quite like questioning whether or not he has thought of something. That™s exactly what happened when local writer Andrew Jones pushed Williams on why his veteran guys still œstink at certain defensive skills.

“If I knew the answer to that, do you still think we™d be fucking stinking? Everybody strike that f-word, I meant to say ˜frickin.™ Seriously, if you think I could figure it out, don™t you think I would do it?”

Williams apologized profusely once the press conference wrapped up. Not everyone found it funny. Apparently WRAL™s Jeff Gravely took Williams to task by saying, œCoach, you can™t strike live interviews. What, did you guys blow your cash on all the nifty HD technology and not have enough for a 7-second delay machine?”

Knicks Land Hughes & Wilcox, Retain N8…

Posted in Basketball at 3:33 pm by

…and most astonishingly (money considerations aside) received a player of value for Jerome James.  As the clock winds down on the Association’s trade deadline, Newsday’s Alan Hahn relays a completed trade that slightly improves the 22-33 Knicks’ chances of claiming the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Knicks acquired veteran Larry Hughes from the Chicago Bulls for Tim Thomas, Anthony Roberson and Jerome James.

In another move, the Knicks got rugged 6-10 forward Chris Wilcox (above) from the Oklahoma City Thunder for veteran Malik Rose and cash considerations.

The key acquisition is Wilcox, 26, who fills a desperate need for toughness and athleticism in the frontcourt in exchange for Rose, who has been buried on the bench for most of the season. Wilcox had been traded to New Orleans earlier this week with Joe Smith in the Tyson Chandler deal that was rescinded late Wednesday night. Chandler apparently failed the physical and the Thunder opted to turn down the deal. It didn’t take long for them to flip Wilcox to the Knicks, who, according to a source, also sent cash along with Rose.

An added bonus to the deal is that the Knicks get Wilcox, who is in the final year of his contract, without giving up future salary cap space. He is averaging 8.4 points and 5.3 rebounds in 19.4 minutes per game in 37 games this season.

At the start of the Newsday piece, Hahn reports Donnie Walsh rejected an overture from Sacramento that would’ve sent Nate Robinson and Jared Jeffries to the Kings in exchange for Kenny Thomas’ expiring contract.   Coming on the heels of Robinson’s fantastic performance against San Antonio, New York obviously concluded the diminutive PG’s value is far greater than the financial comfort afforded by dumping Jeffries and gaining more cap room in 2010 after Thomas is done.

Of Minnesota ensnaring Sheldon Williams while dealing Rashad McCants to Sacramento, Yahoo’s Kelly Dwyer writes, “two former lottery picks switch places. One works his tail off but isn’t really that good, and the other sulks and mopes and isn’t really concerned with much beyond trying to hit pull-up jumpers.  And yet, somehow, both of these guys will be termed ‘disappointing’ in any write-up regarding this trade.”  I’m not sure how disappointed you could be in 2009 over McCannot (Pass The Ball If His Life Depended On It.).

Contort Yourself Watching, N8 : Is James White The Nation’s Best Pro Dunker?

Posted in Basketball at 1:28 pm by

Based on the visual evidence culled from the D-League Slam Dunk Contest by Draft Express, you’d have to say Anaheim Arsenal G/F James White could at the very least, give the likes of Dwight Howard and Nate Robinson a run for their money.  There’s additional clips at the D.E. site that suggest name recognition aside, the D-League’s competition would’ve made for more compelling television than the G-E-I-C-O challenge.

Remembering A-Rod’s Kiddie Tome

Posted in Baseball, Leave No Child Unbeaten at 1:26 pm by

While ESPN’s Amy Nelson ID’s Yuri Sucart as Alex Rodriguez’ infamous mule cousin, Newsday’s Anthony Rieber uses the occasion to remind us of the existence of A-Rod’s 2007 kiddie-lit debut, “Out Of The Ballpark”.   From CSTB, Feb. 5, 2007 :

Perhaps taking note of all the great things “Little T Learns To Share” did for Terrell Owens’ Q rating, Alex Rodriguez’ initial foray into the world of children’s fiction is hitting the pulping machine shelves soon, writes the New York Daily News’ Mark Feinsand.

“Out of the Ballpark” follows a boy – appropriately named Alex – whose baseball team is playing in the playoffs. Alex, who is a second baseman, makes a key error in the game and begins to put extra pressure on himself. Only his play gets worse. Sound familiar?

Alex’s team, the Caribes, overcomes his play to reach the championship game. Alex works harder, waking up before sunrise to practice, throwing a ball against his bedroom wall 500 times a day. Without giving away the ending, let’s just say that the Yankees should hope that life imitates art come October.

Way to leave us hanging, Feinsand.  Does little Alex get a hug from the shortstop or not?

Just Don’t Tell Verne Gagne Wrestling Is Fake

Posted in Professional Wrestling at 12:31 pm by

[Gagne, 82, and still defending that belt.]

The only thing I can think of to set off an old wrestler like Gagne, 82, and put him in the mood to throw nursing home resident Helmut Gutmann, age 97, around and possibly kill him, is if Guttman told Gagne he thought wrestling was fake.  Gagne’s well-known feuds with other Germans, like Baron von Raschke, may also have been a factor.   The Minneapolis Star Trib reports it here.

Minnesota pro wrestling legend Verne Gagne had an altercation with a fellow resident of a Bloomington health care facility, leading to the man’s death, a relative said today.

The incident between Gagne and Helmut Gutmann, 97, occurred Jan. 26 at the memory loss section of Friendship Village, said Ruth Hennig, a daughter of Gutmann.

Gutmann, who immigrated to the United States in 1936 as the Nazi threat grew, suffered a broken right hip and died Feb. 14.

“No one knows” what led to the altercation, said Hennig, in a telephone interview this morning from Boston. “I don’t think anyone was present when it began … or even if anything precipitated it.”

She said that because of her father’s dementia, he had “no memory at all” of his clash with Gagne and “didn’t understand why his hip hurt.”

The Hennepin County medical examiner’s office, Hennig said, has told the family that Gutmann’s death was “accidental.” However, medical examiner’s office investigator Mike Opitz said that a cause of death “hasn’t been officially certified.” State health officials, who regulate facilities such as Friendship Village, are unable to comment, citing data restrictions.

Police are investigating the death and trying to determine whether to recommend charges to the Hennepin County attorney’s office, said Deputy Chief Perry Heles.

Hennig said her family has yet to discuss whether they want Gagne prosecuted. “We’re still dealing with the death on an emotional level,” she said. “My mother [Betty] is pretty upset.”

Hennig added that the two men had clashed previously. “I don’t really know any details, but obviously it was not as severe as this,” she said.

D-Backs’ Kendrick On Drug Cheats, Gonzo Heroism

Posted in Baseball at 9:40 am by

“It’s very sad that a player of his caliber would feel he needs to enhance his performance with the use of drugs,” says Arizona general partner Ken Kendrick of the recent Alex Rodriguez revelations.  “I think all of us have a duty in the game to protect the integrity of the game and drugs are a direct onslaught against our integrity.”  This message presumably NOT brought to you with ad dollars from 5 Hour Energy, then.  From MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert (link culled from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)

“We all look to these guys as our heroes and heroes have responsibilities,” Kendrick said of his message to the team. “And what a hero does is he always does the right thing and he does it all the time. So I talked to them about thinking about what the right thing to do is in every setting and particularly when the temptation to take performance-enhancing drugs is there.

“What you want to do when talking to your players, you just want them to think about the harm drugs can cause both to their bodies and to the game. And you appeal to them on a personal level, that cheating is not the way to succeed in life whether it’s in sports or any other place. Taking drugs is cheating and I don’t like it, and I don’t have any problem saying it.”

Kendrick watched Rodriguez’s news conference on Tuesday with his 13-year-old son.

“My son finally turned to me and he said, ‘Daddy, this guy is stupid,’” Kendrick said. “That probably says it all.”

Q: Is It Baseball Season Yet?

Posted in Baseball at 1:24 am by

A: Apparently yes, because Larry Bowa (above, right) is already cursing into a reporter’s dictaphone.

This is the popular ex-Yard Work columnist and sometime baseball coach’s first public comment on anything since October, when he spoke through Jockish’s resident Bowa specialist, David Raposa. That Bowa’s season debut was an over-the-top rip of a player he used to coach is…not surprising? Reassuring, in that it heralds the imminent arrival of another season in which he will no doubt continue to do this sort of thing? Fully in keeping with his ulcerous, eager-to-punch rep? Yes. All of those.

The context: ex-Dodger Brad Penny told Yahoo Sports that, as the Los Angeles Times relays, “There were a few people I didn’t get along with on [the Dodgers'] coaching staff that don’t respect people,” which he then qualified by adding that he got along fine with Joe Torre. Penny might’ve been referring to John Shelby or something, but when the Los Angeles Daily News‘ Tony Jackson told Bowa of the comments, Bowa got his Bowa on like it was already August.

When told of Penny’s comments about him this morning, Larry Bowa didn’t even wait to find out what those comments were. He just went right into this beautiful little rant:

“You mean the same guy who was never on time, out of shape and has one complete game? He has more stuff to worry about in the A.L. East than me. He has to worry about getting people out. He was never on time, was out of shape and never helped the kids out. Put that on the (expletive) dot-com. Put it in the headline.”

…Wait, there’s more: “He never watched the game (when he was on the DL). Jason Schmidt watched the games. Nomar Garciaparra watched the games. Mark Sweeney watched the games. You go right down the line, everybody who was on the DL watched the games. But not him. He was out of there.”

And finally, there was this: “I’m in everybody’s corner when they work. When they’re lazy and don’t work. I could give a (well, you get the picture).”


High School Football Coaches Reiterate Anti-Fun Stance, Ban A-11

Posted in Gridiron at 8:22 pm by

I’ve already been called out for my elitist ignorance — acknowledged freely, but still both elitist and ignorant — after this prissy, condescending UFC post, and so I’m going to tread lightly on the subject of high school football. This is a subject I can easily get a little too charged up about, due to what I see as about a dozen interlocking and dehumanizing creepinesses surrounding it and its place in the culture. I’m not going to get charged up about it, though. Well, not by typing about it here.

I’ll say only that I’ve always felt that the extent to which high school football, and football in general, is overvalued in certain corners of the culture is a pretty huge bummer. Ordinarily I’d blame creepy boosters and mis-prioritized administrators and a host of other malefactors I might well be imagining for all this. But I think it’s worth taking a minute to give their just due to the crusty, conservative gym teacher types who also have a hand in making high school football something I do not like. High school coaches across the nation have banded together to ban the A-11, a gonzo gimmick offense for which I had high hopes, for programs that play by the rules of the National Federation of State High School Association. Rivals’ Ray Glier reports:

The A-11, which was created in Piedmont, Calif., in 2007, used an exception to a scrimmage kick rule that was introduced in 1982 to have all 11 players wear eligible jersey numbers 1-49 and 80-89. The A-11 offense had players jump into positions or shift into positions just before the snap, which made it difficult for the defense to adjust. Because every player had an eligible jersey number, they could line up in such a way to be a legal receiver.

The NFHS changed the rule and said that on first, second and third down, there must be four players on the line with numbers 50-79. The snapper may have a number 1-49 or 80-89, but he is ineligible. In essence, there can only be potentially six eligible receivers per down instead of 11 under the A-11.

“It was unethical for them to use a loophole in the rules to run this offense,” said Mike Webb, the supervisor of football officials for the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission who is on the NFHS football rules committee. “This takes away the deception.” West Virginia and North Carolina were among those states that deemed the offense “unsportsmanlike” and banned its use.

At the A-11′s website — the offense has a website! — the scheme’s inventor, Kurt Bryan, vows to fight on:

There is plenty of room in America for more than one style of football – the game has and always will evolve for the betterment of each new generation. And, more importantly, as has been clearly demonstrated by many of the A-11 teams nationwide, there is a need for an A-11 style of football too. Remarkably, this has become a classic landmark case of standing up for the “Little Guy” in football, and we are going to lead the way.

I’ll be watching this story, at least until I remember how much high school football creeps me out.

Chicago Resists The Lure Of Amare Stoudemire, Acquires Brad Miller

Posted in Basketball, Blogged Down at 8:08 pm by

With immediate salary relief in mind, the struggling Kings are sending Brad Miller (above) and John Salmons to the Da Buills in exchange for Andres Nocioni, Drew Gooden, Michael Ruffin and Cedric Simmons. While Blog-A-Bull salivates over the prospect of Miller playing alongside Joakim Noah and Tyrus Thomas, Sactown Royalty‘s Tom Ziller sighs, “I don’t know. It could be worse…surviving the storm will require every drop of optimism we’ve got.”

Andres Nocioni, Francisco Garcia and Donté Greene … all signed through at least 2012. They’ll make a total of no more than $13 million per season. The trio makes up one quarter of your active roster; Garcia can play any guard position as well, and Nocioni should be able to fill in at power forward in pinch. Greene can play all six positions. Yes, all SIX positions.

Assuming D.G. stops messing around with us, all three can and will stroke the three. Nocioni can rebound hard (one of the best at the position), and D.G. should become a quality rebounder. No one on the Sacramento roster will give more effort than Nocioni and Garcia, and no one on Planet Earth smiles wider than Greene.