05.29.09

Megadeth’s Mustaine : Not A Subscriber To The Theory “All Press Is Good Press”

Posted in Free Expression, Rock Und Roll at 11:52 am by

There’s a particularly wonderful passage in John Joseph’s harrowing & funny  “The Evolution Of A Cro-magnon” in which the protagonist puts the fear of G-d into a disrespectul Dave Mustaine.  Perhaps the latter’s current publicist might want to enlist Joseph’s assistance during Megadeth upcoming promo tour?    The following bit of press release magic is culled from The Gauntlet.com :

Droogies!

Wow, the last week has just slipped right past me and here we are getting ready to start mixing, mastering (no worries here), and sequencing the record. We have all of the 12 songs done and ready to be revealed soon.

I am also going to start doing interviews for the new record and of course the upcoming Megadeth and SLAYER dates in Canada. Let me assure you though, the interviews may be really short, because if I get asked anything antagonistic or I am told, ‘Someone said this and someone said that,’ it will be over. I don’t care.

I am honestly looking forward to these dates, and hopefully more than just breaking the ice and doing four concerts with some old friends. I currently have the flu so this is going to be short.

I love you all and thanks for checking in on me here, and at TheLIVELine.”

MSGD!

Can You Tell If Daniel Murphy Hit The Subway Sign?

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 10:35 am by

No? Neither could anyone else Wednesday night at Citi Field. While Manny Acta wasn’t alone in feeling his Nationals were screwed, the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman figures it’s only a matter of time before the shoe is on the other foot.

Club Conspiracy will be out in full force when the Mets, five-for-five in video decisions, eventually get jobbed. And can you imagine if the flimsy “evidence,” at least what viewers saw on SNY, is ever used to take down a tilt-winning Mets home run in the last game of the season with a playoff berth on the line? Verbal blood will run deep through the streets of sports squawk’s Valley of the Stupid.

Jimmie Lee Solomon, MLB’s exec VP of baseball operations, claims there is already “plenty of transparency” in the deliberation process. “Everybody sees various (replay) angles,” Solomon told the Daily News. “On a rare occasion there will be an angle that maybe no one will see, or only one person or one (broadcast) entity will have.”

One thing all viewers can count on seeing is three umpires leaving the field, retiring to some area underneath a stadium. This leaves a lousy perception, the feeling someone is cutting a back room deal.

Solomon said umpires work in privacy so they can make a “calm, clear-headed decision” without being “impacted by screaming fans.” If this is just about making a decision under optimum conditions, MLB brass should think about sticking a camera – no sound included – inside the umps’ viewing room so fans can see what’s going on. MLB, like the NFL and NHL, should also provide the media with the name of replay officials on duty at MLB Advanced Media for each game.

Now, in MLB’s video court, no one can see the umpires arriving at a decision. No one knows exactly what replays they are looking at, how they are selected, or which one they based their decision on. You don’t even really know if there is an actual vote, or just one dominant opinion, coming out of the replay bunker. Was the final say born of consensus, conspiracy or sheer buffoonery?

05.28.09

Never Mind The Affront To Abel Ferrera, Zoe Lund & Harvey Keitel…

Posted in Cinema at 11:43 pm by

….the important thing is that finally, after all the years, we might have a Bad Lieutenant Chris Russo can get behind.

The Fiver On Barca’s Post-Victory Hypefest

Posted in Football, Sports Journalism at 7:47 pm by

OK, not everyone was thoroughly impressed with Barcelona’s 2-0 defeat of Manchester United in the Champions League final yesterday.  In other parts of the globe, however, “there couldn’t have been more drool emanating from the Stadio Olimpico if a giant roast pig, oozing gelatinous goodness, was spit-roasted under their noses,” observed the Guardian’s Sean Ingle and Rob Bagchi.

“Barcelona have shown that perfection is possible,” insisted AS editor Alfredo Relaño. “There is no antidote to their exquisite football. [They have] demonstrated their worldly and intergalactic superiority!” Meanwhile José Sámano hailed Andrés Iniesta as “sublime, elegant, sensible, and incisive, a genius with an air of Peter Pan about him – man of the match with Xavi. Their partnership was celestial, an exquisite pleasure.” Mmm, try telling Anderson that.

Lord Ferg was magnificently magnamious in defeat – although his claim that “the first goal was the killer” suggests his renowned tactical skills consisted solely of reading Guus Hiddink’s Bumper Book of Defensive Football. But as he looks to rebuild his side, Ferg may have to make do with Him, who “doesn’t know” if He will be at Old Trafford next season. El Mundo Deportivo, however, reckons He “is the perfect player for Real Madrid – arrogant the day before the game, a bad loser, provocative and posing during it. This guy smells of Madrid already.” But unless Florentino Pérez coughs up £70m, He will still be sporting L’eau D’Old Trafford next season.

Hahn : Knicks Should Consider Lawson Over Curry

Posted in Basketball at 7:31 pm by

While much of the basketball world prepares for the realistic possibility of David Stern’s dreams of a Kobe/LeBron final going poof! in a cloud of chalk, Newsday’s Alan Hahn is keenly focused on the NBA Draft taking place in less than a month.

Checking a list of those the Knicks have invited to Purchase, NY for workouts, Hahn writes that North Carolina G Ty Lawson, “could be the biggest competition Stephen Curry has in realizing his New York dreams.”

Lawson doesn’t have great size (6-foot, 195 pounds), but he’s strong and ridiculously fast, especially with the dribble. He showed in this year’s NCAA Tournament that not only can he run an offense, he can get to the rim and he also can get to the foul line, two very valuable traits for an NBA guard.

The biggest thing he showed this season is he’s a winner. The Knicks need to collect as many of those as they can. Lawson led the Heels to the championship and, as I’ve said here many times about him (including last year before he decided not to enter the draft), his team goes as he goes. When he was healthy, the Heels were one of the best teams in the country. When he was injured, they weren’t. Period.

Defense? Again, a question. His size will hurt him some, especially against the big guards. You can’t overlook the fact that he does get banged up and his durability as a starter could be questioned. But as far as true PGs in the draft, he is clearly one of the best and, depending on how the individual workouts go, he could be very high on the list for the Knicks at No. 8.

Even For Young Eggheads, The WWL Confers Credibility

Posted in Blogged Down, Leave No Child Unbeaten at 6:09 pm by

(’97 champ Rebecca Sealfon with a moment that’s Bobby Thompson’s shot-heard-’round-the-world, “The Catch”, “The Drive”, Starks dunking on Jordan, Ali thumping Sonny Liston and Maradona’s Hand Of God all rolled into one)

DC Sports Bog’s Dan Steinberg has been blogging all Thursday long from the site of tonight’s 82nd Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee. Along with scoring quality time with Erin Andrews, Steinberg’s been quizzing protesters (seriously) getting inside the skulls of the youthful contestants (“some turn out to be Gilbert Arenas-like, such as Nicholas Bernard Rushlow, who carries a lucky pendant with a photo of his Bichon Frise puppy, named cosmotellurian (‘relating to heaven and earth.’) Others turn out to be Ryan Zimmerman; one young chap managed to conduct an entire five-minute interview without actually saying a word. And still others trended toward LeBron James. ‘I don’t believe in luck,’ straight-faced Stephen Hartline of Ohio.”) Amongst Steinz’ tougher questions, “is Spelling a Sport?”

“If it’s on ESPN, that probably makes it a sport,” said Drew Hodson, 14, of Indiana.

“They have it on ESPN, so I guess,” seconded Joshua Casquejo from Jersey.

“It’s on ESPN, so I guess you could say so,” thirded John Flinn, 14, of North Carolina. “Of course, they also have hot-dog eating contests,” he noted, which was the proper response.

(Point of fact: for the first time this year, the AP is moving Spelling Bee stories on its sports wire.)

Others classified it as a hobby. “This isn’t athletic at all,” Bell argued. And then there was the final’s host, Tom Bergeron, from America’s Funniest Home Videos and Dancing With the Stars.

“Uhhhhh, no, I don’t think so,” he said, to the eternal question of is it or isn’t it. “I think sports require physical activity.”

Another eternal question concerns the real-world application; if these kids are neurosurgeons 20 years from now, will it help to know how to spell “koinonia?”

“We’re building brain muscle here, we’re building synaptic tissue,” ABC’s Bergeron said. “These kids, their ability to visualize, to retain information, to discipline themselves, to compete on this level…These are pretty motivated, type-A personalities. Who I’ve just annoyed by saying it’s not a sport. I change my mind. They might be the neurosurgeon I get. They might be going, ‘I saw that interview you did in 2009 with The Washington Post. Oops. Try walking now, Bergeron.?

If You Thought This Guy’s Blog Was Funny, Give Yourself A Pat On The Back

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 2:45 pm by

If you understood that the “Vote For Manny” is one part satire, one part sarcasm, one part fun, one part grandiose hopes the the rules of the game will somehow change to make sense…. feel free to read on even though you already get it.Jason, Vote For Manny, 5/27/09

Whew, what a relief.  Now that we’ve cleared up that tremendous mystery — at first I thought he wanted Manny elected to the NL All-Star because it was a pro-’roids blog! — could Jason’s satirical bent have also been adopted by the A/V department at Citi Field?  What other explanation could there be for the Jumbotron messages imploring Mets fans to “VOTE CASTRO” during Ramon’s (occasional) plate appearances?

Populism, Dylan Lyrics, and the Little Caesar’s Guy: Gammons Enters Baroque Phase

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 2:32 pm by

I was promised a Boston-style knuckle sandwich by a friend and dear correspondent after the last CSTB post I did on the increasingly dotty Peter Gammons. Interested though I am in finding out what sets a Boston-style knuckle sandwich apart from its New York model (I think it’s sauerkraut? or entitlement?), I’m not going back to the well just to piss off Steve Sykes. And honestly the offense I charged Gammons with last time — broadcasting what then seemed like some very unwarranted, un-researched happy talk on the just-then-released Gary Sheffield’s Comeback Player of the Year bid, doesn’t really seem that crazy right now. But Gammons’ new column — on the heroic profligacy of Tigers owner Mike Ilitch — is just weird.

Baseball has duly honored Jackie Robinson and the memory of veterans who fought for freedom. Now, with the Red Wings on the brink of another Stanley Cup and the Tigers in first place, it is time to honor Mike Ilitch alongside workers and family shop owners and working victims of the economy.

I don’t know Ilitch and his family, but I know what the automobile industry did to the city he loves. I am staggered that he is constructing the monuments to GM, Ford and Chrysler. I appreciate that he has lost millions upon millions to make the Tigers competitive, which allows his teams to give his people of Detroit diversion and hope and happiness.

There were reports Wednesday that Bud Selig has warned owners that he is going to try to force them to cut back bonuses by 10 percent after the June 9 draft because of the economy. [But] Ilitch is more loyal to his neighbors in Detroit than he is to Selig, which is why a 20-year-old kid named Rick Porcello won his fifth straight start Wednesday afternoon. If Selig had been able to muscle Ilitch into overruling general manager Dave Dombrowski and his esteemed scouting director David Chadd, Porcello would be pitching for the University of North Carolina on Friday against Dartmouth in the NCAA regionals.

And then there’s some more stuff and a bunch of lyrics from Bob Dylan’s “Chimes of Freedom,” and then it concludes (spoiler alert?) thusly:

Major League Baseball clearly does not care about those people in Detroit who have become underdog soldiers in the night. Thankfully, Mike Ilitch does, and for all those underemployed refugees on the unarmed roads of flight, may Rick Porcello and Miguel Cabrera stand as symbols that even a man as wealthy as Mike Ilitch is one of you. And he cares.

Which is… I kind of don’t even know where to start. But the idea that Ilitch spending a bunch of money to make his team better is somehow an indication of his Tom Joad-ian everyman cred is just weird. The Tigers lost over $26 million last year and the team’s value declined by 9%, which is a lot. They were also awful. They had $180 million in revenue in 2007 on a $101 million payroll, according to this Business Week article, which is pretty good (the revenue, not necessarily the article). They were coming off a World Series season that year. That’s the way this stuff goes, and Ilitch’s heroic paying-over-slot for Porcello — and dealing for the contracts of Dontrelle Willis and Cabrera (The Train is left out of Gammo’s monument garden) — got done in June and December of ’07, respectively, when Ilitch’s organization (and everyone else) was flush. According to the detailed breakdown in that Forbes story, the Tigers have lost money in just two of the last nine years, despite being one of the worst teams in baseball for roughly half that stretch. Oh, and Ilitch’s net worth is still $1.6 billion.

I have no problem accepting that a guy worth that much can still be an ordinary person, and care about ordinary people. I don’t even have a difficult time believing that Ilitch is a good guy; civic-minded casino and fast-food magnates have to exist, right? And I feel bad picking on Gammons, who’s kind of just doing whatever at this point. But praise Ilitch for letting laid-off GM and Chrysler workers into the stadium for free, if you’re going to lionize him as a working class hero, not for doing what he’s supposed to do as the owner of a pro sports franchise.

Why Do The Lakers (& Tyrese Gibson) Hate America?

Posted in Basketball at 1:15 pm by

Behind a staggering performance from Lamar Odom, the Lakers brought the Nuggets to the brink of elimination with the former’s 103-94 victory in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals last night, a result at least one unidentified member of the losing side figures was influenced by Phil Jackson’s complaints about the officiating in Game 4.  The Denver Post’s Dave Krieger while noting such conspiracy theories, is more fixated on Hollywood, or to be specific, his claim that “the Western Conference finals are now the template for the modern sports movie.”

The Lakers have played in the NBA Finals 29 times. The Nuggets never have. If you were trying to create an arrogant favorite and a plucky underdog, you couldn’t do much better.

How arrogant are the Lakers? Thanks for asking.

So arrogant that they feel free to change the lyrics of the national anthem.

Now, fans cheer different parts of the anthem for partisan reasons all over. In Baltimore, they cheer the “Oh” in “Oh, say” because of the Orioles. In Houston, they cheer the rockets’ red glare because of the Rockets. But in Los Angeles on Wednesday night, singer and actor Tyrese Gibson changed “our flag was still there” to “our Lakers were still there.”

I think we can all agree that’s just not right. Up the road, on the sound stages of Hollywood, such arrogance is guaranteed its comeuppance, but not until the last 10 minutes of the movie.

It would appear as though pissing on the flag is something of a new tradition at the Staples Center.

Rosenthal : In My Day, We’d Just Assume David Ortiz Was Washed Up

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 11:01 am by

“Ten years ago, no self-respecting journalist,” Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal solemnly intones,  “would have speculated that a player was using performance-enhancing drugs without some form of proof.”  Nowadays, however, it’s a 24-7 cycle of yack radio howlers, blog haters and (ahem) journalists without a smidgeon of Ken’s self-respect.  Especially regarding the topic of the fast fading Big Papi.

For all I know, Dvid Ortiz might have been a user; the Steroid Era, sadly, has taught us to view all players skeptically. But there is a significant difference between holding such a view privately and accusing a player publicly without any factual basis for such an opinion.

Ten years ago, no reporter would have dared make such a leap, fearing, at minimum, a stern rebuke from an editor and, at worst, a lawsuit. In fact, the difficulty in “naming names” was one problem in reporting on steroids in baseball.

If I had shown the foresight to tackle the subject ” and I didn’t ” an editor might have asked me for names. But for a time, no reporter could properly satisfy such a request without an outright admission by a player, the kind that Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci elicited from Ken Caminiti. Federal investigations of distribution rings ” the source of much of what we know today ” came later.

Several times in recent weeks, radio talk-show hosts have asked me what I thought of the possibility that Ortiz was using PEDS.

The rationale for such questions?

The talk is “out there.”

Well, I have no idea if David Ortiz used PEDs; probably no journalist does. I could not even make an educated guess, and it would be unprofessional of me to do so.

Here’s one thing I do know: Before steroids, players actually declined as they got older. Ortiz is 33. Maybe he is losing his skills. Maybe he just stinks.

But who wants to talk about that?

A fair enough point — indeed, once upon a time it wouldn’t necessarily have been a red flag for a player’s skills to noticeably decline at age 33.  But Ortiz’ decline has been especially dramatic, much as his ascent after arriving in Boston from Minnesota was nothing short of meteoric.  That the former’s occurrence coincides with increased scrutiny doesn’t  necessarily mean Ortiz is a cheat.  But he wouldn’t be the first player whose numbers fell off the charts after a spectacular, ‘roid-assisted run.