05.22.09

Rays’ Waterfront Park Plans Are Dead

Posted in Baseball at 5:04 pm by

“It’s pretty clear people did not want a ballpark down there,” Tampa Rays senior vice president Michael Kalt told the St. Petersberg Times’ Aaron Sharockman of opposition to the teams’ plans to build a new open air park at the site of Al Lang Stadium. “From what we’re seeing, we’re probably in that camp, too.”

The Rays says they took a gamble on the Al Lang waterfront location when it was first proposed in November 2007. It was the cheapest site to build on and team officials hoped a stylized stadium and iconic roof would lure people and businesses downtown.

Support for the project, marginal at best even in its infancy, began to fully erode once the team postponed indefinitely a November 2008 referendum on the proposal.

Demographic information trickled out supporting a location further north and skepticism grew about the design of the proposed roof “ which would have not been fully enclosed like Tropicana Field.

“I think they thought everyone would fall in love with their idea, and we didn’t,” said City Council member and mayoral candidate Jamie Bennett, who is proposing an amendment to the City Charter to protect Al Lang Field from public development.

The city is in the process of rezoning the site as parkland and will consider a 75-foot height limit. City Council members could approve both measures next month.

Those who fought the plan most aggressively cheered the Rays’ retreat on Friday.

“It’s very good,” said Hal Freedman, who founded the group Preserve Our Wallets and Waterfront. “Our aim was to preserve both the waterfront and taxpayer wallets. Not having the waterfront stadium goes a long way to one of our two goals.”

Amico : Unproven Rubio’s Got A Lot Of Nerve

Posted in Basketball, We Aren't The World at 4:11 pm by

Responding to rumors Spanish teen PG Ricky Rubio doesn’t wanna end up in Memphis or Oklahoma City (and basketball reasons aside, who can blame him about the latter), Pro Basketball News’ Sam Amico says of Rubio’s agent Dan Feigen, ” just know that snakes have been known to grow legs just to get up and run when they see him coming.”  Though acknowledging Rubio is said to be “quick and intelligent with the ball”, Amico warns, “everyone was saying similar things about Sarunas Jasikevicius several years back.”

Jasikevicius (avove) came to the NBA and proved to be a great guy with good basketball skills. But there are a lot of those types around the world who simply aren’t meant to play in the league (i.e. Yi Jianlian).

A lot of international players have trouble adapting to American culture, greasy food, the way the game is played, the absurd amounts of money and just becoming a member of the steak-and-jet set.

Granted, Jasikevicius was more or a less a jump shooter who got hot during the world championships, while Rubio teamed with the likes of Pau Gasol and Rudy Fernandez, and more than held his own. It’s clear, Rubio is a more poised, steady player than Jasikevicius ever was.

At the same time, Jasikevicius came to the NBA as a player in his late 20s, and someone who had experience playing in the U.S. as a collegian at Maryland. Rubio has never been the teammate of an American-bred NBA star before. And that takes some adjusting. Just ask American-bred point guards who starred in high school or college in America. The wing players and big men want the ball, man. And you had better get it to them.

Fegan tried this same routine with Yi Jianlian and Milwaukee — and after drafting Yi, the Bucks relented after a season and traded him to New Jersey. Now the Nets can’t wait to get rid of him.

Years ago, former NBA guard Steve Francis said he didn’t want to play for the then-Vancouver Grizzlies. So he spent the majority of his career hogging the ball in Houston before fizzling out when someone finally expected him to act like a winner.

Clearly, Stevie Franchise’s problem was making the transition from the European climate of College Park, MD to the steak-and-jet-set scene of Houston, TX.

Official Statement Of Condemnation Of The Week

Posted in Football, Sports Radio at 2:00 pm by

From Liverpool F.C. TV


Liverpool Football Club have today issued a statement in response to the recent ill-informed and inflammatory comments made about the Hillsborough disaster by the London-born, US-based Radio presenter Steve Cohen (above).

The official statement reads: “Liverpool Football Club totally condemns the comments regarding the Hillsborough disaster made by the radio and TV broadcaster Steve Cohen.

“Mr Cohen has obviously never taken the time to read the Taylor Report which stated clearly that ticketless fans were not a contributory factor or responsible for the events of that day.

“To use the 20th anniversary of the disaster to repeat false claims about Liverpool fans (which Mr Cohen first broadcast and then apologised for in 2006) is even more unacceptable.”

Though Cohen has recently made a public apology,  his handling of this mess compares unfavorably, in my opinion, to a certain Norwich radio host being taken to task for his own ill-advised remarks.

Raissman : Never Mind The 9 Game Winning Streak…

Posted in Baseball, Sports Radio, Sports TV, Ugly New Stadiums at 1:35 pm by

…there’s a bunch of jerks running the show at the Nu Stadium. And while that really shouldn’t pass for news, the Daily News’ resident Gallagher lookalike considers himself the last line of defense between the fans and overwrought Yankee hyperbole (“Why dwell on the collection of high rollers, separated by a concrete moat from the heathens who can only afford $400 tickets, when you can write about Nick Swisher’s DJ stylings, the Yankees’ kangaroo court, the suddenly loose Joe Girardi, Johnny Damon’s toy wrestling belt and back-to-back-to-back home runs?”)

Monday, following the Yankees 7-6 win over Minnesota, John Gordon (above, left), the radio voice of the Twins and former Yankees broadcaster, attempted to get on the team bus parked in a tunnel underneath the Stadium. Security personnel blocked his path and would not let him enter.

When Gordon informed them he was a Twins broadcaster (this is his 23rd season) and presented a proper credential, he was told to take a hike. He still couldn’t get on the bus. Security informed Gordon he needed to be “escorted” on by the team. Gordon headed back to the Twins clubhouse where some of the player’s wives, who were on the road trip, had congregated. They asked Gordon if he could help them gain entry to the bus. Stadium security had bum-rushed the ladies, too.

So, Gordon and the wives were forced to wait about an hour before the players left the clubhouse and walked them all on to the bus.

Nonetheless it seems security does not take the same rigid stance with everyone – like ESPN’s mouthy Chris Berman. Monday, he was seen walking around the Yankees clubhouse like he owned the place. Berman was big-timing to the max, strolling into areas clearly marked “no media allowed beyond this point.” Perhaps Berman thought the sign did not apply to him because it did not read “no clowns allowed beyond this point.”

05.21.09

Ryan Leaf : Still Losing The War On Drugs

Posted in Gridiron, The Law at 10:44 pm by

From KXLY.com :

Controversial former Washington State Cougar Quarterback Ryan Leaf has been indicted by a Texas Grand Jury on multiple charges.

(ED NOTE: Really? “Controversial”? For what, exactly?)

Leaf, according to KGTV in San Diego, has been indicted on seven counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud, one count of delivery of a simulated controlled substance, and one count of burglary of a habitation.

Leaf was into his third year of serving as the quarterbacks coach for West Texas A & M Football Team last November when, according to ESPN, he was placed on indefinite leave at his request after it was discovered he had asked a student for a pill to help “deal with pain in his wrist dating to his NFL playing days.”

“The Baseball Card Movie” – Deep Inside The Collector Mentality

Posted in Baseball, Cinema, The Marketplace at 10:36 pm by

Video link courtesy Alec Cumming and David Roth, the latter calling the above film, “the most enjoyable and endearing attempt to figure out — or at least portray — people who spend $150 a week trying to get a cardboard-mounted piece of Dan Haren’s uniform pants.”  I’d scoff at such types, but I spent the money earmarked for last month’s gas bill on assorted items from Breathing Problem Productions.

Hawks Owner : I’m No Whammer

Posted in Basketball, Hockey, Sports Journalism, The Internet at 6:31 pm by

Apologies if you’ve already seen this, but perhaps it’s time for the publishers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution to purchase Kristi Swartz a copy of “Pseudononymous E-Mail Harassment For Dummies”.  I don’t know the author’s real name, but I’m sure some of his peers were active back when CSTB was semi-popular.   Hawks/Thrashers owner Bruce Levenson penned the following earlier this week for Sports Business Journal :

AJC reporter Kristi Swartz asked me for a private meeting recently. The subject matter, she said, was too important to discuss by phone or even by e-mail. I agreed to meet.

Her earth-shattering topic: She wanted to know if I was œWhammer. She produced a stack of printouts from œWhammer.

It seems œWhammer has been e-mailing the AJC frequently in recent years in response to sports columnist Jeff Schultz™s articles critical of my teams, our management and our ownership. Whammer™s rambling rants attack Schultz, while defending the Hawks and Thrashers organization. In one of his many posts, Whammer echoes the oft-stated but ridiculous notion that Atlanta fans are bad fans who do not support their teams. This notion first surfaced, as best I know, when the Braves failed to sell out some playoff games in the 1990s.

I explained to Swartz that I was not Whammer. I have responded to AJC articles and others, but always in my own name. It™s one of the values I™ve stressed to the journalists at my own company: You lose credibility with anonymity.

Swartz did not believe me. In what she thought was a œgotcha moment, she told me software at the AJC had traced Whammer™s e-mail address to my company™s internal network, thereby, I guess, proving I must be Whammer. I explained to her that approximately 700 people from Atlanta to Singapore have access to our network. I readily admitted that one of those people, either out of loyalty to me, disdain for Schultz or both, could likely be the author of these e-mails.

Later that day, Swartz informed me that at the exact time I was meeting with her, Whammer struck again. I was off the hook, she told me, adding that the paper now thought that Whammer could be my partner Ed. (What she didn™t know: Ed at the time was in the hospital battling spinal meningitis, unable to even look at a computer screen.)

œIf you are not Whammer, what will you do to stop these e-mails? Swartz asked me. I told her I wouldn™t do anything. We don™t read our employees™ e-mails; I wasn™t going to conduct a witch hunt; and even if I found out who the person was I couldn™t prevent him or her from sending e-mails (or old-fashioned mail for that matter) to the AJC in this wonderfully free country.

Levenson points out the newspaper went to unusual lengths to learn the identity of Schultz’ tormentor (“the AJC can find out who you are or at least find out the company you work for and come after you and your boss”).  Given the paper is less than interested in censoring negative comments made about other public figures, such selective behavior seems like an abuse of power.

The Comedy Debut Of Big Blue’s David Diehl : About As Funny As Being Stuck In An Elevator With Tom Coughlin

Posted in Gridiron, The World Of Entertainment at 4:44 pm by

Though I’ve yet to find video footage of Nate Robinson’s appearance at Comix last night, fellow jock moonlighter / OL David Diehl accomplished something even more improbable than the Giants’ SB 42 defeat of the Patriots.

In short, he managed to make “Mad TV” seem witty by comparison.

Holloway’s New Gig : Yet Another Excuse To Regurgitate Olly’s Most Famous Quote

Posted in Football at 3:49 pm by

While Ian Holloway’s post-playing career has led to managerial tenures at Bristol Rovers, Plymouth Argyle and Leceister City, it was Olly’s spell in charge at Queens Park Rangers that brought the former midfielder his greatest media exposure.

While ensconced at Loftus Road, Holloway served the subject for an episode of the BBC’s “The Stress Test”. He also proved to be a bit of a quote machine, though there was one commentary in particular that generated the most attention. On the occasion of Holloway being named the new manager at Blackpool, the Guardian’s Barry Glendenning and Rob Baghi have seen fit to make certain it is repeated with each rung on Olly’s career ladder.

He’s had his share of bad luck – “Right now, everything is going wrong for me. If I fell in a barrel of boobs, I’d come out sucking my thumb” – but his enthusiasm has rarely flagged: “I couldn’t be more chuffed if I were a badger at the start of the mating season.” After QPR beat Chesterfield he describe an ugly win as follows: “To put it in gentleman’s terms,” he said, somewhat redundantly. “If you’ve been out for a night and you’re looking for a young lady and you pull one, some weeks they’re good looking and some weeks they’re not the best. Our performance today would have been not the best looking bird but at least we got her in the taxi. She weren’t the best looking lady we ended up taking home but she was very pleasant and very nice, so thanks very much, let’s have a coffee.”

The Fiver will leave you with our favourite quote, as Holloway starts to ponder the theory of evolution, fancying himself as football’s Richard Dawkins, before getting slightly tangled close to the end. “We are an offshoot of apes – allegedly – but who knows?” he pondered. “We don’t really, do we? How long have we been on this planet? How long are we going to be here? What is it all about? We reproduce. Our offspring carry on. But that will only happen for a limited time. Before the whole thing blows up and we are sucked into a black hole. You know what I mean?”

Cowley : Peavy’s A Perfect Fit For The White Sox (Unless He Isn’t)

Posted in Baseball at 1:23 pm by

Though the San Diego Union-Tribune is now describing the proposed 4-for-1 swap that would send Padres starter Jake Peavy to the White Sox as “not imminent”, the Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley is already laying out the red carpet for the right-hander (“what a better way to one-up the rival Cubs by getting a deal done for the player that they couldn’t sweep the leg on?”)

Here’s why this makes sense:

–The Sox starting staff – minus any pitcher that has “Buehrle” on the back of his jersey – has been erratic to say the least.
–Adding a player like Peavy in a very weak Central could be enough to give the Sox the most dominating staff in the division. Even if Gavin Floyd continues to slip up, Jose Contreras is making some noise in Class AAA Charlotte.
–During spring training, Williams said that the slashes they made in the payroll in the offseason allowed them to make a significant acquisition during the regular season if there was light at the end of the tunnel as far as a division title. Considering how the rest of the division has played, there’s plenty of light and it’s blinding.
–The company line since manager Ozzie Guillen came aboard has been pitching and defense. The defense isn’t going to improve anytime soon, but Peavy adds a big piece to the pitching department.
–The Sox will be dropping some heavy salaries after this season, including Jim Thome, Jermaine Dye and Jose Contreras – all $10 million and higher. Add reliever Octavio Dotel’s and that’s almost $40 million coming off the books.

Of course, Cowley does go on to mention that a) there’s $59 million guaranteed reasons the generally frugal White Sox might not bite, b) Peavy is supposedly dead set on staying in the National League. So, y’know, never mind.

Bobby V’s Current Employers – Prepping Valentine For The MLB Job Market In 2010

Posted in Baseball at 10:44 am by

Chiba Lotte manager Bobby Valentine led the club to a 2005 Japan Series title and the club’s attendances and revenues have skyrocketed during his second tenure as skipper. Even so, ownership claim the former Mets and Rangers manager’s $3.9 million salary is excessive and have already announced he’ll not return in 2010, a situation that’s led to an unusual fan uprising. The New York Times’ David Waldstein reports the Marines have been greeted with 70 foot banners bearing slogans such as “we would rather fight with Bobby, who says we™re the world™s best fans than with a front office who calls us worthless (link courtesy Colby Spath)

With more than 50,000 signatures on a petition to keep Valentine, this is a struggle, the fans believe, that goes to the heart of Japanese baseball. They see Valentine as a positive influence who is leading the team and the sport toward a more viable future by promoting more access to players and more fan-friendly marketing concepts.

At the same time, they view the current front office, led by the team president, Ryuzo Setoyama, as more interested in the status quo, under which, they contend, fans have been treated less as coveted customers and more as people expected to attend games out of a sense of duty. Although the team insists that Valentine simply makes too much money to be retained in 2010, the fans believe other factors may be in play.

œThis problem is more than Japanese baseball itself; it™s about the Japanese society, Kazuhiro Yasuzumi, a 39-year-old Marines fan and leader of the protest, said through an interpreter. He said that people with power and influence in Japan did not necessarily appreciate someone like Valentine, who has never been bashful about offering his opinion.

The fans took their protest beyond the stands, going directly to the acting team owner, Akio Shigemitsu, in the stadium parking lot after one game and asking him to reconsider. Then came a front-office meeting. The minutes of that meeting were leaked to the Japanese news media and portrayed Setoyama, the team president, speaking derisively about the team™s fans and discussing the possibility of moving the team out of Chiba.

In response, the team held a news conference in which Shigemitsu declared his support for Valentine through the end of the season and denied the team might be moved. Setoyama disputed the comments attributed to him; he did not respond to a request by The New York Times for an interview.

In what we’ll have to presume is a related circumstance, Valentine announced in mid-March that he’d cease posting to his Valentine’s Way blog (“there are so many unanswered questions as to what has happened thus far and probably what will happen from here on now, but I think it is best in this public forum to keep those questions unanswered, and to just thank everyone, and wish everyone the best of health, the greatest of times”)

05.20.09

Marchman : Phillips’ Beltran Bashing Is Pure Schtick

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, Sports TV at 8:43 pm by

How much of a stir did ESPN’s Steve Phillips make with his Sunday evening critique of the Mets’ Carlos Beltran? One blogger penned an open letter to Bristol execs pleading for Phillips’ termination (“allowing Phillips to speak has proven to be like a jailbreak, where the prisoners are all the stupidest thoughts about baseball”). A local radio host became so enraged, you’d have thought Phillips was lobbying for the prohibition of Diet Coke.

To Tim Marchman, however, none of this is worthy of serious protest. “Shaking your fist with indignant rage because (Phillips) claims to think Carlos Beltran is a loser makes about as much sense as earnestly trying to convince that one guy you know that Barack Obama isn’t actually a Muslim fascist.”

It’s laudable, when you’ve said something silly, to take it back and admit you were wrong. I try to do this; I think it’s good for your credibility. Still, when you’ve said something silly it’s natural to want to defend it and insist that it wasn’t actually silly at all. Add in that Phillips works for ESPN, which seems to encourage its various multi-platform sports media personalities to be ‘edgy,’ and that it’s hilarious to watch people get flustered and bent out of shape over something you’ve said, and it’s not really all that surprising that he’s digging in.

I’d bet that if you got a few drinks in Phillips he’d happily cop to not really thinking Beltran is a losing player, but in the end, and certainly with exceptions, big-time sports media is more about provocative ‘takes’ than about saying things that are demonstrably true. (Those things are, after all, often boring or at least self-evident.)

I have to admit, this is the first time I’ve considered the possibility that Steve Phillips isn’t some sort of mental midget but is actually a satirist on the scale of Francois Rabelais.

George Karl Reacts To Impending Apocalypse, Poverty, Pitchfork Giving Maxïmo Park A 5.6…

Posted in Basketball at 5:49 pm by

….and the Nuggets becoming the first team in NBA playoff history to be eliminated from a best-of- 7  series after one game. Not necessarily in that order

The Crap Haircut Is The Least Of Khalil Greene’s Problems

Posted in Baseball, Mental Health at 5:12 pm by

Lest you think the sporting universe is taking a more enlightened approach towards the mental health of professional athletes, Dontrelle Willis’ first win as a member of the Detroit Tigers met with this response from Deadspin’s Dashiell Bennett ; “has he finally got over his case of the Greinkes or is this just a momentary blip on the mine cart ride to oblivion?” With that in mind, who can blame the recently benched Cardinals SS Khalil Greene for being somewhat less than explicit in describing his own anxiety issues with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Joe Strauss?

“It’s not as if it’s a controllable thing at times,” Greene said. “A lot of the stuff ” it’s hard to explain ” it’s not easy to deal with and it’s not fun, either. It’s hard.”

Tony La Russa (above, right) described Greene as “a guy who is pressing and is really beating himself up because he wants to play better.” It is a characterization Greene does not dispute.

“I don’t think there’s anybody who could understand the depth of how frustrating it can be,” Greene said, “because it’s not something I leave at the field. Ideally, that would be the case. But I guess the reality of it is that’s not how I’m wired. So I have to work extremely hard to get away from the field mentally.”

Greene acknowledged that he has returned to the same problematic mind-set that plagued him last season with the San Diego Padres. Greene’s season ended in July when he slammed his right hand into a trunk in a fit of frustration, effectively ending his time with the franchise.

Mozeliak said he was unaware of Greene’s anxiety issues last season with the Padres. Greene’s strong spring training gave no reason for concern. “Everything seemed very normal,” Mozeliak said.

“He’s struggling and he’s beating himself up,” La Russa said. “I told him, ‘I’m going to treat you more like a utility player for a while, where you don’t wake up every morning thinking, ‘Oh, man, it’s all on me again.’ It’s an anxiety kind of thing because you don’t feel real good about your game.”

Greene admitted to feeling increasingly overwhelmed by his situation and did not dispute accounts that he has several times punished himself physically.

Several team members have expressed concern about the degree of Greene’s self-punishment.

“That’s the way it’s always been,” Greene said, referring to his condition’s compulsive nature. “It’s not rational. It’s not something I think as an intelligent thinking human being. … I understand the disorder of it. It just doesn’t help.”

Waldman : Every Bit As Insightful A Blogger As She Is A Broadcaster

Posted in Baseball, Sports Radio at 4:14 pm by

“Other things I’ve never seen before: a $4 apple being sold at the new Yankee Stadium fruit stand…yes, it was a “large” apple…but a $4 apple is new to me! Didn’t they sell apples during the depression for 2 cents?”   So asks the YES Network’s Suzyn Waldman via her new WFAN.column, but if you’re afraid the Lady Goodness Gracious has devolved into a distaff Larry King, fear not. With the Bronx Bombers having won a season high 7 consecutive games and the presumably-clean Alex Rodriguez on an absolute tear, Waldman doesn’t shy away from serious analysis (link culled from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)

I’ve been either covering or broadcasting Yankees games for 23 years…and until this weekend, I’ve never seen a Yankees player get hit in the face with a whipped cream pie. Now, 4 of them in a few days…Brett Gardner, Melky Cabrera , Alex Rodriguez and yesterday Johnny Damon. They are the brain child of AJ Burnett, who keeps his supply in the video room right off the Yankees dugout steps.

I think a few of the “core” players in that Yankees clubhouse were a little stunned when the first pie went into Brett Gardner’s face, but it was Mariano Rivera, an ultimate “core” player who told a dejected AJ Burnett yesterday, who was sitting in the clubhouse after being taken out of the game to “get out there….get that pie ready, man, you can’t change karma!”

To those of you who say “Act like you’ve been there before” or “That’s not the Yankee way!”….I say to you…, well, most of these guys have NOT been there before, and how’s that “Yankee Way” worked for the past 7 years? A little life is needed in there…if a pie in the face on a walkoff win is what does it…so what? Add to that the gold WWB (or WWF…whatever it is now) belt being passed around to the star of the day. It belongs to Johnny Damon and the belt was a gift from AJ Burnett’s two little sons…

The NY Media Cuts No Free Passes To Managers Wearing Glasses

Posted in Baseball, Fashion at 1:34 pm by

Nice work by the ‘Ropolitans on the above piece of merchandise, but while I admire the sentiment (if not the frames), the timing leaves a bit to be desired. Though the Mets’ recent penchant for running themselves out of innings would drive even the most patient of skippers to distraction, Jerry Manuel’s public burial of Ryan Church Monday night (probably more than last night’s 5-3 defeat at Chavez Ravine) seems to be what provoked the following observations by the New York Post’s Joel Sherman :

Why do the Mets seem to have only two modes: Winning and death spiral? It feels as if this team never just losses. It feels that each defeat comes with a backstory of dread and so many of the losses lead to outright losing streaks. What does this say about the Mets and their culture that a loss is never just a loss, but a reason to start breaking down the value of multiple players on the team? Why is the leadership – from ownership down to the GM and manager to the players and coaches – unable to limit their world to one-alarm fires? Around the Mets crisis is too normal a position. Can the past two Septembers be explained at all by the Mets’ inability to better control their atmosphere and, thus, when things start going downhill the plunge is longer and deeper than necessary?

Yes, the Mets play in New York and the media coverage and fan intensity is pretty darn stark. But that just means the Mets have to be ready for the intensity and be better at limiting the stress around the organization. Sometimes a loss is just a loss, though it hardly ever feels that way around the Mets.

On a more constructive tip, Sherman advocates that Manuel “should now let Daniel Murphy get 100 straight plate appearances (think 25 games) without being yanked as soon as he commits a defensive blunder or endures an 0-for-10 at the plate.” It’s a worthy suggestion, not least because you really can’t make a habit of replacing your left fielder as early as the first inning.

Memphis Scribe Has A Dream : Grizzlies’ No. 2 Pick Almost As Valuable As No. 1

Posted in Basketball at 11:55 am by

Given the success rate of prior Los Angeles Clippers first-round selections, can anyone blame Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin if he’s contemplating continuing his college education?   After the Clips managed to win, well, the only thing they ever do manage to win, the Memphis Commercial Appeal’s Geoff Calkins hails the end of what he calls “roughly 1,000 years of lottery misery” for the Grizzlies, and suggests his local side might consider wheeling and dealing for Griffin.

Just imagine the scenarios between now and draft day. The Grizzlies could:

1. Take a run at Griffin anyway: The Los Angeles Clippers got the No. 1 pick. They’re one of the few teams that might just as soon have Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio (above). The Baron Davis experiment hasn’t worked out. Rubio is flashy enough for Los Angeles and will appeal to their Hispanic fans. If Wallace can give the Clippers a good reason to take Rubio instead of Griffin, they might just go for it.

2. Trade Rubio for a package of picks and players: Would the Knicks be willing to give up the No. 8 pick and David Lee for Rubio? Put Lee in the power forward slot and draft Davidson’s Stephen Curry to fill it up off the bench.

3. Stay at No. 2 and take Rubio: Yes, take Rubio. The guy can flat play. Before Griffin went crazy this year, the ’09 draft was known as the Rubio draft. What’s wrong with taking an electric prospect at the most important position in the game? Trade Mike Conley to Portland for Travis Outlaw. Trade Rudy Gay and the Grizzlies other No. 1 pick to Phoenix for Amare Stoudemire. Next year’s starting lineup: Outlaw, Marc Gasol, Stoudemire, O.J. Mayo and Rubio.

Sure, it’s a dream. But dreams are possible now. The Grizzlies aren’t sitting at No. 7 and wondering if they should take Demar Derozen or Jordan Hill. They’re sitting at No. 2 with everything still in play.

05.19.09

Newsday : Mets’ New Palace Is Spreading Swine Flu

Posted in Baseball, Medical Science, Total Fucking Terror, Ugly New Stadiums at 9:52 pm by

(above: Citi Field ushers model their new uniforms)

The Mets’ Tuesday evening encounter with the Dodgers(ab isn’t even 30 minutes old and Daniel Murphy has already a) run his club out of an inning and b) committed a two-base error on a Juan Pierre line drive.  Believe it or not, these are developments Fred and Jeff Wilpon would prefer you concentrate on compared to the following just-issued report from Newsday’s Carl MacGowan :

A resident of Liberty became ill last Wednesday, three days after attending a Mets game at Citi Field on Mother’s Day, said Sullivan County manager David Fanslau. The unidentified victim became the county’s first confirmed victim of the H1N1 virus Monday afternoon, he said.

Because the woman’s trip to the game was her only known foray out of Sullivan County lately, Fanslau said, local officials officials suspect there may be a link.

Another woman from the county has a probable case of swine flu, Fanslau said. She showed flu-like symptoms over the weekend, Fanslau said. Sullivan officials believe she contracted the illness from the first woman, he said.

“Obviously, we don’t know for a fact, but it’s the first case we have in Sullivan County and we talked to her and the only travel she made was to New York City for the Mets game,” Fanslau said.

In tomorrow’s Newsday : Anthony Rieber suggests those whose lives are threatened by the Citi Flu learn to STFU and enjoy the pretty ballpark and fancy food.

Neyer : ’09 Mets Are “Just A Little Bit Offensive”

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 7:52 pm by

(noted columnist/author Rob Neyer, satisfied after waiting all spring to use that Tim Redding line)

Metsblog’s Matthew Cerrone reports SS Jose Reyes returns to the Mets lineup tonight, but with 1B Jeremy Reed’s on-the-job-training likely to continue, the club’s lack of depth receives further scrutiny from ESPN’s Rob Neyer (above) who says of Monday’s 5-error abortion, “I don’t know that I’ve seen a good team make more obvious misakes in the late stages of a close game.”

You know what’s worse, though? When Tim Redding is your fifth starter. Because you know what that means, don’t you? It means that Livan Hernandez is your fourth starter. I happened to be at the ballpark in San Francisco last Friday night, and I just sat there in the first inning, dumbfounded, as Hernandez gave up hit after hit after hit. I can’t say that I exactly felt sorry for Hernandez — after all, nobody forced him to take the Mets’ money this spring — but I couldn’t quite help myself.

More, though, I felt sorry for Mets fans who have to put up with a pitcher like Livan Hernandez every five days (particularly if he really is the club’s fourth starter, and really will pitch every five days). Frankly, there’s simply no excuse for a team with a new ballpark and a $150 million payroll to trot Hernandez out there regularly, and wind up with Jeremy Reed at first base in a close game, and Angel Pagan in left field at the same moment, and … well, you get the idea. I can’t feel sorry for the Mets, and I can’t feel too sorry for their fans. Not with that payroll. As a guy who just likes to watch good baseball, though, I find this odd collection of talent just a little bit offensive.

Replies David Roth, “for a guy without a rooting interest in yesterday’s debacle — or without a Wally Matthewsian gig ripping the team in print several times a week, Neyer sure seems to take the lineup the Mets ran out there personally.”  Very true,  though I have to wonder if the spectre of Bernie Madoff isn’t looming over Omar Minaya’s inability to assemble a deeper bench or to field a team in Buffalo that’s either a) competitve or b) features a semi-competent veteran or two. Injuries are gonna happen, but the Mets didn’t seem to possess a much of a contingency plan whether for those of a legit nature (Delgado) or bogus (Oliver Perez).

Did The Giants’ Medical Staff Ruin Noah Lowry’s Career?

Posted in Baseball, Medical Science at 6:26 pm by

Suffering from numbness in his pitching arm, Giants SP Noah Lowry was shut down in August of 2007 and had forearm surgery in 2008 to correct what team doctors thought to be exertional compartment syndrome.  Having missed a season and a half and with little chance of throwing a ball in anger in 2009, Lowery’s agent, Damon Lapa suggests to the SF Chronicle’s Henry Schulman that his client — having been recently diagnosed with the circulatory condition known as thoracic outlet syndrome — was poorly served by his employers.

The Giants were very diligent in having him see a variety of doctors, but ultimately it’s based on results. Regardless of how many doctors he saw in the organization, none of them was able to diagnose the root of the problem. They tried a variety of treatments with no symptomatic relief and left Noah in a situation where he’s worked himself into the best shape of his life and he still had symptoms and pain.

“It’s a happy day in the sense that we’re excited the cause has been found. Noah has been working diligently and he’s been frustrated for the past 12 months or so of, without a clear cause or diagnosis, not knowing why he’s not able to do what he enjoys. There’s nothing worse than robbing a guy of what he loves to do.”

In any event, Lowry’s Giants career probably is over. His contract expires after this season and he won’t be able to do any kind of baseball work for roughly the next three months.

A Genuinely Mind-Blowing Conversation With George Brett

Posted in Baseball, Fashion, Free Expression, Sports TV at 4:18 pm by


 

Never mind the former Royal’s “colorful language” (good grief), I’m trying to decide which is more shocking; Brett’s trousers or the fact Roger Twibell has never been interviewed for a big league managerial opening.

Nets’ Thorn : I (Heart) The Lottery

Posted in Basketball at 3:58 pm by

While I ignore the Stephen Curry chatter and instead back in the memories of the Knicks coming up big in the rigged first-ever NBA Draft Lottery 25 years ago, New Jersey president Rod Thorn tells the Star-Ledger’s Dave D’Alessandro that he’s a fan of the bizarre ping-pong ball spectacle.

“I personally like the lottery,” Thorn president, said Monday, as he prepared for Tuesday night’s annual event in Secaucus. “A lot of my friends, like Jerry West, hate it. But I think it’s exciting. It gives everyone some kind of chance at the first pick, and if you have the worst record, you have a one-in-four chance of winning the lottery.

“And it helps preclude — though not totally — teams from not playing hard down at the end of the year. But I would always tell Jerry, if you go back to the old system, you’ll have two or three teams tanking games, and you can’t have that.”

Though he’ll go through the ceremony of representing the Nets on stage tonight — and hope for lottery lightning to strike — Thorn is already preparing to select at No. 11.

“For a month we’ve been figuring out the candidates at 11, which is probably where we’ll be,” Thorn said. “So we’ve concentrated on those guys, and about 15 or 20 who we might be interested in that will be there.

“But the reality is, we can go as low as 14 or as high as one, two or three. Either way, it adds about five or six players who we’d have to consider.”

 

Thorn said he already knows what his pick would be if the Nets won the lottery — forward Blake Griffin of Oklahoma (above)  is the consensus choice of every GM, but his name cannot be discussed because underclassmen can still pull out of the draft — but if the Nets landed in the No. 2 or No. 3 position, “it would be more up in the air,” Thorn said.

 

It is generally accepted that Hasheem Thabeet of UConn and Spanish guard Ricky Rubio are also likely to be picked in the top 3, but some executives say Rubio could slip a spot or two. Thorn agreed: “The third spot may be in the eye of the beholder,” he said.

Q: If Joe Morgan & Mike Francesca Fought Each Other With Clubs, Who’d Be The Winner?

Posted in Baseball, Sports Radio, Sports TV at 3:31 pm by

A : The sports fans of America (apologies to David Letterman’s writers for that one).  Still, you might wanna write this one down for posterity — Mike Francesca not only found something favorable to say about Carlos Beltran, but for one Monday afternoon he found a target for his considerable ire that neither I nor perhaps Phil Mushnick would argue with (YouToob link culled from Bob’s Blitz)

Hoodie No Goodie : OH Bank Just Lost A (Potential) Customer

Posted in Fashion, Total Fucking Terror at 1:54 pm by

From the May 15 Columbus Dispatch and Ann Fisher (link swiped from Boing Boing)

Westerville police have asked the city’s 21 banks and credit unions to post window signs that direct customers to put away cell phones and remove sunglasses, hoods and hats.

The idea is to weed out those who want to conceal their identities from security cameras to rob the bank or credit union.

No one had to convince Suzanne McCann of CME Federal Credit Union.

“I was involved in one of the last robberies that we had, and the robber had on a hat and sunglasses,” said McCann, vice president of sales and operations for the credit union and its five Franklin County branches.

CME embraced a similar policy on its own more than a year ago and every branch office complied, including the Westerville operation at 428 State St.

Employees fielded comments from some disgruntled credit-union members, she said, including a few who were trying to conceal “a bad hair day.”

“But, realistically if it’s for your safety and ours, you’re going to do it,” McCann said.

I realize we live in dangerous times, but perhaps there’s an individual who just likes to dress comfortably while obtaining a money order to purchase Bon Jovi tickets for himself and a consenting female adult?

5 Errors, A Near Collision In The Outfield, Church Missing Third…

Posted in Baseball at 1:00 pm by

….and at least Jeremy Reed had the integrity to blame himself.  But in the wake of the Mets’ 3-2, 11 inning loss to Los Angeles last night, the only critique more pointed than Jerry Manuel’s blast of Church had to be Carlos Beltran’s comments regarding just-promoted LF Angel Pagan.  From Newsday’s Ken Davidoff :

The five errors were the most by the Mets since they committed six against the Phillies on Sept. 16, 2007. The team record is seven. But these were not just errors. They were spectacular flubs, none more so than Pagan flying into Beltran’s airspace in the 11th inning.

After Mark Loretta’s leadoff walk, Xavier Paul launched a long fly ball into the left-center gap. Both Pagan and Beltran gave chase, and by the time Pagan pulled back, it was too late. Beltran appeared to graze the ball with his glove and got stuck with an error as the ball fell between them and rolled toward the wall.

Afterward, Beltran – who had a scary, career-threatening collision with Mike Cameron in 2005 – sounded angry at Pagan.

“That play in centerfield was basically the whole game,” Beltran said. “I called for the ball like six times. That particular play right there, I have the priority. He’s a good leftfielder and he’s been in centerfield before. When a centerfielder calls for the ball, everybody has to get out of the way.”

With the not-unexpected news 1B Carlos Delgado will be out of action until at least the All-Star break, Always Amazin‘s Matthew Artus warns “the Mets shouldn’t overreact to Delgado’s DL trip with a knee-jerk trade”, though conversely adding, “if the Indians are dead on July 1st, their All-Star catcher-slash-first baseman Victor Martinez might become available.”

That’s two interesting positions for the Mets to fill, especially when you consider Carlos Delgado, Brian Schneider, and Ramon Castro come off the books at season’s end. Martinez won’t come cheap and he’s no Spring chicken. But he’s welcome in Queens.