05.18.09

Fox, MLB Finally Kowtow To The Demands Of The All-Powerful Phil Mushnick

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace, The World Of Entertainment at 9:42 pm by

(an artifact from the dusty days back before scientists discovered it was lame to go to bed early)

Maury Brown of Biz Of Baseball.com reports Major League Baseball and Fox Sports have announced weeknight games during the 2009 World Series and ALCS will start prior to 8pm EST. Just barely.

The FOX pre-game show will start at 7:30 p.m. ET for weeknight games with first pitch scheduled for 7:57 p.m. ET. Games on Saturday will start no later than weekday games and could start earlier. Games on Sunday will take place following the conclusion of the NFL on FOX as in year’s past.

“Our goal is to schedule games to allow the largest number of people to watch and this change puts our games in the window we believe will work the best for our fans,” said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. “We appreciate the work that FOX has done to make this happen and I expect that fans of all ages will respond favorably to this adjustment.”

The last time a regularly scheduled World Series game on Monday through Friday started before 8 p.m. ET was 38 years ago when the Baltimore Orioles faced the Pittsburgh Pirates in Game 5 of the 1971 World Series.

When one or more persons are killed during West Coast rush hour, frantically trying to get home in time for the first pitch (or to see Taylor Swift sing the national anthem), I’m very hopeful a certain bearded NewsCorp. employee of considerable vintage takes note…and blames himself.

Airplane 2009, Starring Jeff Francoeur

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 8:22 pm by

Braves OF Jeff Francoeur made a personal appearance on behalf of corporate sponsor Delta Airlines at Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport earlier this month and brags via the company blog, “I guess nobody was expecting to see me there so I got a lot of double-takes.” Indeed, there might be some casual Braves fans unaware Francoeur was ever called back to the parent club after being demoted to Richmond last June.  (link swiped from Baseball Think Factory)

I started the visit out by surprising Delta customers and employees at check-in¦shaking hands, taking pictures, and signing photos and even boarding passes. I snuck up on a couple of travelers who were using Delta™s self check-in units and asked if they needed any help “ I don™t think they were expecting to look up and see me rather than a Delta representative. Of course, I™m pretty much an expert at the self check-in process since we travel so much. It™s definitely my preference because it™s so fast and easy!

F&F’s Fry To Phillips : Shouldn’t You Be Sexually Harassing Someone?

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, Sports TV at 4:28 pm by

After making TIm Lincecum and Randy Johnson look decidedly average this weekend, the Mets had no answers for Giants SP Matt Cain (above)  last night, an occasion made doubly frustrating for those unlucky enough to be watching the contest on ESPN.

Rather than dwell on SF’s respectable start to the 2009 campaign, the WWL’s trio of Jon Miller, Joe Morgan and Steve Phillips spent considerable time Sunday evening debating leadership in the Mets’ clubhouse, or more accurately, the lack thereof. Who knew Mike Francesca wielded such influence over ESPN’s production meetings? Faith & Fear In Flushing’s Jason Fry hung in there with the Three Stooges long enough that he might regret the decision today.

Listening to Morgan and Skill Set agree, kind of agree and not agree about “leadership” was slow torture, like being a lobster in a pot with the dial turned all the way to Suck. Ugh, Omar’s stupid quote about the Mets and their lack of edge. … let me guess, Wright is too young and Reyes makes mistakes and Beltran is quiet … did Jon Miller pick out that shirt and tie because he fears he’ll be lost at sea? … if Derek Jeter’s name is brought up I’m going to fly to San Francisco and hit Joe Morgan in the face with a pie … good God, they’re still at it, this has been going on for more than inning … HOLY FUCK PLEASE GOD MAKE IT STOP I WILL DO ANYTHING. Generally when Morgan and Skill Set were talking I was rocking back and forth and quietly sobbing, so I’m sure I missed some details, but I do seem to remember that Morgan said the Mets were 11-2 but not playing well, just taking advantage of other teams’ mistakes (huh?) and that Skill Set advocated trading Carlos Beltran because he doesn’t make game-winning plays. (Good Lord, shut the fuck up. Isn’t there a secretary in Bristol you can chase around a desk or something?)

The President’s Award for Achievement in the Field of Adversarial Mentalizing Goes to…

Posted in Gridiron at 1:50 pm by

…Steelers linebacker James Harrison. James will not be accepting the award in person, because he’s convinced that someone in the audience doubted him, once. And fuck that guy. James, why would you not go to the White House with your Super Bowl-winning teammates? Well:

When the Pittsburgh Steelers visit the White House as Super Bowl champions on Thursday, they’ll be without their reigning defensive player of the year. Linebacker James Harrison has said the trip is no “big deal” and he’ll skip it again after not making the trip following the Steelers’ title in 2006.

“If you want to see the Pittsburgh Steelers, invite us when we don’t win the Super Bowl,” he told Pittsburgh’s WTAE-TV. “So as far as I’m concerned he would have invited Arizona if they had won.

James Harrison basically intercepted a hoary, harmless tradition and returned it 100 yards for a BURN. Over my two years of furious over-writing for Athlon about the NFL — last year’s previews and some verbose set-up posts are here; if you feel like reading generally not-correct football previews in mid-May, I’d say to start with Week 16′s — I have been drawn again and again to the way NFL players and coaches seem to treasure miniature slights so that they can violently disprove them week after week. Far be it from me to tell James Harrison (or anyone else, honestly) how to motivate, but unless Terrell Owens refuses to wear pads next year because he knows that’s what Skip Bayless wants him to do, it’s hard to imagine a more comically churlish example of fuck-all-yall motivation in action than this. Hat tip, James. I didn’t think you had it in you. None of us did. We never thought that.

Mushnick : Thumbs Down On John Sterling’s Fantasy Baseball

Posted in Baseball, Sports Radio at 12:38 pm by

As chronicled in this space time and time again, the New York Post’s Phil Mushnick aka The Conscience Of All Sports Media, has some favorite dead horses to flog (Spike Lee, Vince MacMahon, ballgames that start/end late, overpriced sneakers, injustices against white people, etc.). Were he to make beating up on John Sterling a daily feature, however, I’d probably make an effort to read at least half of those columns. Though the Yankees’ weekend sweep of the Twins was hardly lacking drama, Mushnick accuses Sterling and the Lady Goodness Gracious of inventing no small share of their own, writing of the former, “every game played by the Yankees is a doubleheader — the game that’s played and the game Sterling calls.”

In the eighth inning Saturday, Sterling called a game-tying home run by Hideki Matsui — Sterling gave it his, “It is high … !” routine, culminating with, “It is gone!” But the ball, as Sterling several seconds later acknowledged, didn’t even reach the wall on the fly; it bounced over it.

And radio-reliant Yankees fans again were led to believe that a Yankees batter had performed the ultimate — had hit a home run — when he hadn’t.

In the fourth inning of Saturday’s game, Sterling and Suzyn Waldman fabricated a story. Johnny Damon lost sight of a pop fly as he approached the stands along the left-field line. Damon missed the ball, plain and simple as that.

But on the Yankees’ radio network, Sterling claimed the ball fell from Damon’s glove. Nonsense. Then Waldman added, “He had to fight a fan with a glove.” But there was no fan with a glove, no fan hindrance at all.

Later, Sterling would repeat that “fan with the glove interference story” as fact, as the eyewitness testimony of the Voice of the Yankees. But it never happened, nothing even close.

MNF For 2009 : Kornheiser’s Out, Chucky’s In

Posted in Gridiron, Sports Journalism, Sports TV at 10:03 am by

Newsday’s Neil Best is reporting former print journalist/current television fixture Tony Kornheiser’s tenure as a “Monday Night Football” commentator is over. Kornheiser will be replaced in the ESPN booth by former Raiders/Bucs head coach Jon Gruden.

Kornheiser cited the grind of the travel schedule, which from the start has been his biggest complaint about the job. He has an intense fear of flying and tried to avoid doing so whenever possible.

Only six of ESPN’s regular-season games in 2009 are scheduled for the Eastern Time Zone (Kornheiser lives in Washington, D.C.), and there are games in Oakland, San Diego, Denver and San Francisco.

“When I looked at the upcoming schedule it was the perfect storm that would’ve frequently moved me from the bus to the air,” he said in a quote provided by ESPN.

“I kept looking at the schedule the past month and wanted to find a way to quietly extricate myself. If I could handpick a replacement of a football guy, I would cast a net and drag in Jon Gruden. He is the two things you most want — smart and funny — and has the two things I don’t — good hair and a tan.”

Surely Kornheiser — who never read a negative notice he didn’t immediately commit to memory — cited the having a tan criteria as a final tweak at those who suggested he needed one.

Washington Nationals Fever – It’s A Pandemic

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, Property Values at 9:22 am by

I’m not sure if Dick Cheney has various levels of public surliness, but I’ve seen him look happier while discussing national security, the threat of terrorism, economic instability, political infighting and the decline of the U.S. jello industry.Dan Steinberg, DC Sports Bog

05.17.09

Tampa’s Joe Maddon : Doing His Best To Eliminate The Designated Hitter

Posted in Baseball at 6:05 pm by

It would take some kinda crazy incident to claim the headlines from today’s Indians/Tribe game ahead of say, Kerry Wood throwing at B.J. Upton, or Carl Crawford’s trap of a Ryan Garko fly being ruled a catch. How about an American League club putting their starting pitcher into the pregame batting order for the first time in 32 years? An uncredited report from the Tampa Tribune provides the details :

Andy Sonnanstine (above, right) delivered after a pregame mistake forced the pitcher to bat Sunday, hitting an RBI double in the Tampa Bay Rays’ 7-5 victory over the Cleveland Indians.

The game was delayed 13 minutes before the bottom of the first due to a lineup card error by the Rays that listed both Ben Zobrist and Evan Longoria as the third baseman. Longoria was supposed to be the designated hitter, but Tampa Bay lost the DH position because of the snafu and was forced to put Sonnanstine in the third spot of the lineup.

Sonnanstine (2-4) went 1 for 3, including a run-scoring double in the fourth. He also reached on a failed sacrifice in the first and struck out looking in the third.

Sonnanstine became the first pitcher to get at least two plate appearances in an AL game since teammate Matt Garza did it for the Minnesota Twins at the Chicago White Sox on July 6, 2007, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Utah’s AK-47 Pushing The Limits Of His Yearly Allowance

Posted in Basketball, History's Great Hook-Ups at 4:18 pm by

It was a little more than two years ago that Andrei Kirilenko’s wife Masha Lopatova famously told ESPN The Magazine, “what’s forbidden is always desirable”, thus explaining the logic behind her allowing her Jazz F husband an annual free pass for one extra-marital encounter.

Regardless of whether you agree with Masha’s non-traditional approach, I think it is safe to say Andrei is guilty of taking liberties.

Sultan Of Sloth : A-Rod’s Numbers Are Tainted

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 2:54 pm by

The Yankees and Twins are currently tied at 2 in the bottom of the 8th at the Nu Stadium, with David Wells marking the 11h anniversary of his perfect game against Minnesota by providing color commentary for TBS.  Quizzed by the local media before the game, Boomer was quick to criticize a pair of prominent former teammates, with the Daily News’ Kristie Ackert quoting Wells’ declaration that PED users should be ineligible for baseball’s Hall Of Fame.

“No 50-game suspension – ban them right away. That would stop (steroid use) in a heartbeat. Especially with the money they are giving out today. It would be incredible if they did that, you wouldn’t have to worry about steroids or HGH.”

“A-Rod admitted to it, so I mean the home runs he hit off me in Texas, should those count? I dunno.” Wells added. “Maybe they should have a league. They say everyone’s doing it, let ‘em do it. But if they elect to do it, they are not entitled to go to the Hall of Fame if they got Hall of Fame numbers, or just ban them right out the get-go.”

“I started calling (Roger Clemens) He-lie, because for years, he called me He-lie, you know ‘Whatever comes out of Boomer’s mouth, he-lies.’ Well I got payback,” Wells said with a big smile. “It was great. Debbie and him on the first tee, (country singer) Toby (Keith) and I and a buddy of his were finishing up and I said, ‘Toby watch this.’ I yelled ‘He-lie,’ and Roger didn’t like it very much, but he came over and said hello.

Wells also suggested that Rodriguez, who admitted that he used steroids during a three-year period while playing for the Rangers, should have his numbers scrutinized. Rodriguez hit three homers off Wells in 18 at-bats during that time period and the former hurler doesn’t think those stats should count towards Rodriguez’s bid for the Hall of Fame.

“Well, he claimed he was on the juice so no they shouldn’t,” Wells said. “Can’t do anything about it, I guess it wasn’t an issue back then. You look at Jose Canseco when he came out and did it, they couldn’t have done anything back then because it wasn’t really an issue. I think Mike Greenwell said he deserved the MVP when Jose won it (in 1988) and he said he did it on steroids. Should they give it to Mike Greenwell, sure. It is what it is. Should they count, no, but are they (counted)? Probably. I am fine with that too.”

WSC’s Weston : McClaren’s Career Resurrection Reconsidered

Posted in Football at 11:50 am by

England’s failure to qualify for Euro 2008 meant the end of Steve McClaren’s 15 month managerial tenure,  the former Alex Ferguson assistant’s current spell at Dutch side F.C. Twente amounting to something analogous to semi-exile from the game’s elite.  Though Twente currently trail Heerenveen, 1-0,  in the KNVB Cup Final following a 2nd place Eredivisie finish, When Saturday Comes‘ Rob Weston remains unimpressed, claiming “the most vilified England manager since Graham Taylor” is probably the same old Steve McClaren.

McClaren wasn’t as bad as he was made out to be when England failed to qualify for Euro 2008, nor is there any reason to suppose that he is a substantially better coach now than he was a year ago. Clearly he has done a good job at Twente but their total of 69 points wouldn’t have got them into the top three in two of the previous three seasons. Occasionally PSV or Ajax have a relatively bad season but it’s not happened to both at the same time since Feyenoord’s last championship ten years ago.

In the meantime McClaren’s former club Middlesbrough have been in meltdown. But the atmosphere around the Riverside is not substantially different to McClaren’s final season there when there were fan protests against him. He then got the England job because he seemed the best English option after the FA had bungled their approach to Luiz Felipe Scolari. The “wally with the brolly” jibes aimed at him after the Croatia debacle at Wembley amounted to collective bullying by the press who wanted a scapegoat “ and couldn’t face conceding that several of the best English players are not the world-class talents that they’re regularly made out to be.

Managers get hyped up too, of course. We’re now being asked to regard Guus Hiddink as a tactical genius for his revitalisation of Chelsea in the past few months. Yet his Russian side œlost 4-2 on aggregate to McClaren’s England and only qualified for Euro 2008 because Croatia won at Wembley. McClaren has been mocked for the Anglo-Dutch hybrid he adopted in interviews with the media in Holland over the past year but he might as well stick with it when he comes back “ that accent can take you a long way

Brooks : The NHL Playoffs Are A Secret Kept Too Well

Posted in Hockey, Sports TV at 11:27 am by

(attn hockey fans in Westchester, NY : apparently, the Bruins and Canes played a decisive game of some sort of another)

Calling Sidney Crosby’s Game 7 breakaway goal against Alexander Ovechkin’s Caps, “the NHL’s equivalent of Smokin’ Joe Frazier’s 15th-round knockdown of Muhammad Ali in the 1971 ‘Fight of the Century’ at MSG”, the New York Post’s Larry Brooks surmises “if you weren’t watching at the moment, you probably didn’t see it anywhere.” Not a heavy You Tube user, presumably, Brooks dubs the NHL’s contract with Versus through 2011 “a six-year commitment as crippling in its own way as the Rangers’ six-year commitment to Wade Redden.”

If the first two rounds of the playoffs have been a showcase for the NHL’s greatest young players — start with Crosby and Ovechkin, go directly to Evgeni Malkin, then to Eric Staal, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews — it also has exposed the folly of Gary Bettman’s love affair with Versus and the grudge he carries against ESPN.

It has exposed the NHL’s empty approach to a television strategy, even as Bettman risks dislocating his shoulders in patting himself on the back for his league’s innovative approach to blacking itself out.

The NHL Network is no help. Somehow, this network doesn’t seem to have the authority to pick up local feeds. When Bruins-Hurricanes Game 7 was being played in Boston, the NHL Network was showing a 300th rerun of a Patrik Elias feature.

That Game 7, by the way, could not be seen by Cablevision subscribers in Westchester (and parts of Connecticut) even by people with subscriptions to the NHL’s Center Ice package. Every channel on the system was dedicated to baseball. So an NHL Game 7 was played in the dark . . . until Versus, which did not go live to the game between periods of its Anaheim-Detroit Game 7 telecast, joined in progress.

05.16.09

A Floptastic Item With No Mention Of Vlade Divac

Posted in Basketball at 8:56 pm by

“Some, like Cleveland Cavaliers forward Anderson Varejao, have turned the process (of taking a charge) into a floppy-haired art form,” writes the Sun-Sentinel’s Ira Winderman, “even as opponents exit muttering something along the lines of flop goes the weasel.” While the Magic’s slap-happy Rafer Alston defers to others with floppier skills (“either you’re a charge-taker or you’re not”), teammate Michael Pietrus is willing, though not not necessarily happy, to take one for the team.

“It’s just instinctive,” the defensive-minded swingman says, “because you want to make the best play defensively for your team, and obviously taking a charge means a lot to your teammates, it means a lot to the team, because you’re ready to sacrifice your body to win. It’s something that can be fun, but at the same time cannot be fun.”

Sometimes, Pietrus says, the not-fun part quickly becomes apparent.

“Yeah, some of them hurt a lot,” he says. “I don’t really remember who I’ve taken charges on. But on Yao Ming and Amare Stoudemire, it felt good for the rest of my teammates. But for me? It felt like I needed a massage the next day.”

A native of Guadeloupe and four-year pro in France before coming to the NBA in 2003, Pietrus says, “basically all the European players who come into the NBA know how to take a charge and know how to flop, too. Basically they teach us to practice charges in Europe.”

“Selling the charge is moving your feet and right before the actual blow gets there, go ahead and fall back,” Dallas Mavericks guard Jason Terry says unapologetically. ” Shaq‘s one that you might want to fall down before the contact. Because if you get hit by Shaq, then you’ll probably be out for the next couple of games. Keeping that in mind, you definitely want to flop. Flopping is the art of the charge, also.”

Former Utah Jazz forward Karl Malone was notorious for coming in knees high. Want to flop? Fine, but pay the price.

“You’re talking to the number-one guy in the league right now,” Terry says. “I’ve dunked on more centers than probably any guard under 6-2 in the history of the game, by putting a knee in their chest, using it as a springboard and dunking it.”

Of course, there’s even an art to handling that.

“You just kind of exhale as they hit you, so they won’t knock the wind out of you, just exhale and fall with it,” Miami Heat power forward Udonis Haslem says. “Sometimes, the landing is worse than the hit.”

Never Mind The 11-23 Record…

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 7:30 pm by

….the most compelling reason not to watch the Washington Nationals on MASN (or at the very least, have an AM radio nearby) can be seen on the right side of the above jpg.

Finally It Can Be Revealed : The King Of The Beats Was A Giant Nerd

Posted in Baseball, Dead Authors, Horse Racing at 4:27 pm by

Jack Kerouac’s brief stint as a running back for Columbia University and early crack at sportswriting for the school’s Daily Spectator have been well documented.  Unknown ’til now, however, was Kerouac’s obsession with a self-invented  fantasy baseball universe.  The Lowell, MA native “charted the exploits of made-up players like Wino Love, Warby Pepper, Heinie Twiett, Phegus Cody and Zagg Parker, who toiled on imaginary teams named either for cars (the Pittsburgh Plymouths and New York Chevvies, for example) or for colors (the Boston Grays and Cincinnati Blacks),” explains the New York Times’ Charles McGrath.

He collected their stats, analyzed their performances and, as a teenager, when he played most ardently, wrote about them in homemade newsletters and broadsides. He even covered financial news and imaginary contract disputes. During those same teenage years, he also ran a fantasy horse-racing circuit, complete with illustrated tout sheets and racing reports. He created imaginary owners, imaginary jockeys, imaginary track conditions.

All these œpublications, some typed, some handwritten and often pasted into old-fashioned composition notebooks, are now part of the Jack Kerouac Archive at the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library. The curator, Isaac Gewirtz, has just written a 75-page book about them, œKerouac at Bat: Fantasy Sports and the King of the Beats, to be published next week by the library and available, at least for now, only in its gift shop.

The prose in Kerouac™s various publications mostly imitates the overheated, epithet-studded sportswriting of the day. œIt was partly homage, Mr. Gewirtz said, œand perhaps partly parody, but every now and then an original phrase leaps out. For example, the description of a hitter who œalmost drove Charley Fiskell, Boston™s hot corner man, into a shambled heap in the last game with his sizzling drives through the grass.

Mr. Gewirtz said, œI really like that ˜shambled heap.™  Another description he enjoys is one of an overpowering pitcher who after defeating the opposition by a lopsided score œsmiled wanly.

Rain Delay Theatre Starring Ken Howard

Posted in Basketball, The World Of Entertainment at 3:46 pm by

The start of the Angels and Rangers game has been delayed due to rain in Arlington, TX, so perhaps we’ll take a few minutes to bask in the splendor of one of Hulu.com’s finest offerings.

There’s No Cheering (or Chair-Throwing) In The Press Box

Posted in Hockey, Sports TV, The Law at 3:55 am by

Spend a night out at, say, an Allman Brothers Band show, and not only do you miss out on an amusing hockey incident, but everybody’s already worked over the only point or joke to make. Neverthless, the story still needs posting, and I do swear on my journalistic ethics that I came up with the headline before seeing older tweets from @cupofchowdah or @puckdaddy. From the Los Angeles Times, via @mirtle:

Ducks General Manager Bob Murray was interviewed by Detroit police Thursday night but was not charged after a woman working as a TV stage manager at Joe Louis Arena said he hit her in the left chest, arm and shoulder with a chair after the Ducks’ 4-3 loss to the Red Wings in Game 7 of the teams’ second-round playoff series, according to an Internet report Friday.

The website, MyFoxDetroit.com, which is affiliated with Detroit TV station WJBK, said Rachel Paris, 55, was hit by the bar stool-like seat thrown by “an upset and angry Murray” in the press box. The cramped facility is shared by writers, broadcasters and TV crews. Those who work there use elevated seats to reach the elevated work table.

The website also said Paris, who wouldn’t disclose which media outlet employed her during the game, believed Murray vented his frustration at her because she had been rooting for the Red Wings.

“I was taken to the boards by Bob Murray and survived the hit. I felt like I was cross-checked and I didn’t even have the puck,” Paris told the website, which said she declined to file a formal complaint.

Murray denied throwing the chair at Paris.

“It was a complete accident,” he told The Times on Friday. “I’ve spoken with her and cleared it all up.”

A TV station person rooting for the team? Shocking, shocking stuff. That said, if you are a team employee and they stash you in the press box rather than a suite, you are also expected to keep your lack of neutrality to yourself, be it verbal or (allegedly) furniture-assaultive.

05.15.09

God Sides With Milton Bradley, Rains Out His Suspension Day

Posted in Baseball at 10:36 pm by

[MLB, you know what I mean, it's just an Anti-Bradley Machine ...]

MLB this week came down a day late (Tuesday), and an answer short, of why it merely reduced Bradley’s suspension from 2-games down to 1.  If umpire Larry Vanover is correct, and Bradley made aggressive “contact” during a dispute over a called third strike on April 16, then give Bradley a 2-game benching.  If Bradley is correct, and he’s been targeted for past offenses, and the “contact” of the bill of his cap brushing Vanover’s is an excuse to hand Bradley payback for past offenses, then reverse it.  But a 1-game suspension?  What’s that?  He did it or he didn’t.

One possible explanation:  baseball is in the awkward position of suspending Mets skipper Jerry Manuel for the exact same offense, but only for 1 game.  That is, if Bradley gets a 2-game sit, shouldn’t Manuel?   Or, if Bradley’s is reversed, why not Manuel’s, too?   Bradley is pissed, because MLB has basically upheld his suspension no matter how minor and unintentional the contact.  As far as the Cubs season goes, the delayed decision also means Bradley sits out the opener against Houston this weekend (ppd for today, meaning he sits out tomorrow). If it had come down earlier, the day would have been during the Padres series on the day Piniella rested him anyway.  The Sun-Times’ resident Bradley-baiter, Gordon Wittnemyer, has the story here:

‘Figures,” said Bradley, describing his first reaction. ”Because I never get treated fairly. It’s just me. It’s exactly what I expected.

”I’m Milton Bradley. And you expect me to get crazy and throw stuff and do whatever. But I don’t do anything spur-of-the-moment, although it may seem like that. There’s a reason for everything, and things happen. And you move on.”

General manager Jim Hendry and teammates said they supported Bradley’s decision to appeal, even though it means losing him today when he’s healthy instead of having him serve the full two games last month when he wasn’t playing anyway because of a groin strain.

”Nobody feels like he should have been suspended,” teammate Ryan Dempster said. ”It was unfair.”

Is It Profiling To Search All Vehicles Featuring A Baked Ben Franklin?

Posted in Automobiles, Basketball, Blogged Down, The Law at 8:25 pm by

Memphis F Darius Miles was arrested Thursday on marijuana possession charges after being pulled over by Fairview Heights, IL police. Observing the rather garish state of Miles’ 1996 Impala, Deadspin‘s Dashiell Bennett opined, “if you are planning to cruise around town with a bag of weed on you … maybe do it in a car that doesn’t scream, ‘Hey Officer, look at me!’”

Actually, Bennett didn’t know the half of it. Bob Mantz Jr. reveals Miles’ ride depicts Benjamin Franklin smoking pot on the Impala’s hood.

Minaya : Delgado Might Be Done For ’09…

Posted in Baseball at 7:22 pm by

…or perhaps for good. That’s the mega-discouraging word from the Mets GM today, telling the New York Post’s Bart Hubbach the club’s 36 year old first baseman Carlos Delgado —arguably their most valuable player in 2008 — “has a multitude of potentially career-ending problems in his ailing right hip.”

Minaya said team doctors have determined that Delgado has an impingement in his right hip, a small bone spur in the hip and a partial tear of an unspecified area of the hip.

A hip impingement is a lack of space between the neck of the hip socket and its rim; it causes them to jam together when the hip is flexed. That can lead to labrum damage, as well as degenerative arthritis.

Minaya said the arthritis, which potentially could end Delgado’s career, is something the GM has “heard” when talking to the team’s medical staff about his first baseman’s hip.

Minaya also did not rule out surgery for Delgado, who has battled hip problems the past two seasons and hasn’t played since last Sunday against the Pirates.

“I wish I could tell you that I felt a little bit better today, but it’s about the same,” Delgado said. “If it doesn’t get better, we’re going to have to visit other options.”

Delgado is receiving what he described as “mobilization therapy” in which his leg is pulled in an effort to create more space in the hip socket.

Few of those who picked the Mets to win the NL East would’ve done so had you told them Fernando Tatis was a candidate to play 125 games at first base. WFAN’s Mike Francesca seriously suggested San Diego’s Adrian Gonzalez as a trade target (“a very underrated player” mused Francesca), though he’d just as well suggest the Mets bring back Carl Everett (currently hitting .391 for Newark of the Atlantic League). If Alex Cora doesn’t need a first baseman’s mitt, neither does Jurrasic Carl.

What’s So Funny About Nate Robinson? – Find Out Wednesday Night

Posted in Basketball, The World Of Entertainment at 5:55 pm by

Billed as “NYC’s Only Sports Comedy Variety Talk Show”, Comix’s “12 Angry Mascots” promises next Wednesday night’s installment of their laff-fest will feature an appearance by NY Knicks PG Nate Robinson (link courtesy Posting & Toasting).

Aside from palling around with Will Ferrell, I’m not sure about N8′s comedy credentials (though that alone should get him an HBO series).

Fish Rookie : The Happy Youngster Is A Shakedown Artist

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 5:32 pm by

Marlins IF Chris Coughlan hit his first big league HR Wednesday night, a two-run shot off Milwaukee’s Braden Looper.   Coughlan’s efforts to retrieve the ball hit a roadblock in the person of accomplished collector Nick Yohanek (above) who claims to have caught 49th home run balls in the past decade. The Sun-Sentinel’s Juan C. Rodriguez has further details.

“It took some negotiation, but I did get it back,” said Coghlan, who gave Yohanek a bat and took a photo with him. “He wanted other things. He wanted tickets to the Yankees games. He wanted a Hanley [Ramirez autographed] ball, a Hanley bat. I was just trying to be as polite as I could and be respectful. You only get one, so I wanted to get it and give it to my mom.”

Coghlan added that Yohanek, a 29-year-old police officer, “wasn’t the most polite or respectful guy about the whole process. He told me he does this a lot. He goes around and catches these balls and holds them for ransom, even though he doesn’t say that’s what he does, but that’s what it seemed like to me.”

For his part, Yohanek suggests the Marlins were less than courteous in discussing a swap, and makes no mention of demanding Yankee tickets.

For all Florida viewers to see, I handed (FSN’s Craig Minervini the handwritten requests I had decided on 30 minutes earlier.  On those two slips of paper read the following:

1st piece of paper:
CHRIS COGHLAN GAME BAT signed-
“To Nick, thanks for catching my first home run!”

+

one (1) signed CHRIS COGHLAN ball

AND

2nd piece of paper:
HANLEY RAMIREZ GAME BAT

THE END.

Mr. Minervini then held up the two slips of paper for the camera and I held up the home run ball.

So, where’s the confusion??  Where’s the part about me being unreasonable and asking for a whole bunch of stuff from other players?  Where’s the part about me holding the ball for ransom?

Curmudgeonliness We Can Believe In

Posted in Sports Journalism at 4:30 pm by

Curmudgeons: sportswriting’s got ‘em. How this became such a popular sportswriting identity — the wryly peevish, perpetually disappointed-by-everyone’s-fecklessness and/or haplessness young-old dude — is the stuff of a long, speculative post that I won’t write (but absolutely could imagine myself writing). But there are good and bad ways to be curmudgeonly. T.J. Simers at least tries to be funny; Phil Mushnick generally just trusts his righteous-indignation stuff, and follows his peeves about the very existence of the Mountain and Pacific Time Zones deep into unintentional-comedy territory. But there was a generation before all this: the crusty old fucks who started it all.

Gary Cartwright (above), a veteran Texas sportswriter, is a curmudgeon of the paleolithic school. He wrote an article called “Confessions of a Washed-Up Sportswriter” for Harper’s in 1968. So it’s a minor miracle that the guy is still writing, let alone still gives a shit enough to call out names on the cynics who’ve replaced his beloved skeptics and get himself all exercised about the phoner-inners and vendetta-stoking goofs who start arguments in print as a means to the end an “Around the Horn” guest spot. It’s amazing to me that he can still care about all this — I’m somewhere between 50 and 110 years younger than him, and I can’t even give a shit most days — but Cartwright lets loose in the most recent Texas Monthly, pitching an old-dude bitch that I found surprisingly enjoyable. Earned curmudgeonhood (and some real writing craft) turns out to be kind of workable. I honestly didn’t know.

A mere fifty years after the golden age of sportswriting in Texas there is not a newspaperman in sight who can write a decent three-martini sports column. These sorts of entertainments were a staple in the late fifties, when I was starting out. ou read them in Fort Worth and Dallas under the bylines of chaps like Sherrod, Dan Jenkins, and Bud Shrake and in Houston from the desk of Mickey Herskowitz. The subject could be football, golf, bocce ball, snake charming, lizard racing”weirder was always better…

In the footprints of these giants we now find ants. The greats of yesteryear have been replaced by dabblers, hacks, and homers, glorified fans with press credentials that permit them to leech onto some sports outfit, usually their hometown team, and bray or bitch about its wonders or shortcomings in the dead language of statistics to audiences who wouldn™t know an original sentence if one crawled up their nose with a firecracker. The prose styles of these modern knights of the locker room are as bloodless and colorless as old cardboard. They lack entirely the fundamental understanding that if you write about events that repeat themselves into infinity, you must first acquaint yourself with literature.

I was reminded of this sorry state of affairs by a column I recently read in my local paper, the Austin American-Statesman. The author was Cedric Golden; the subject was the wealth of talent in the Texas Longhorns™ defensive backfield. Golden went into mind-numbing detail without addressing the central question: Why can™t they stop third-and-long? The problem with guys like Golden is they don™t seem to have fun anymore. They can be absolutely giddy in the presence of bad puns and double entendres, but irony stops them cold. I wonder if they ever tie the editor™s shoelaces together?

Sure, sportswriters still belly up to the bar and the buffet table and accept the comforts of the press box, and they™re still the most likely people on any newspaper™s staff to show up for work with a hangover. But they don™t talk about books they™re going to write or mountains they intend to climb or the useful idiots they are obliged to engage in the course of their daily ordeals. Frankly, I don™t know what they talk about. Mowing lawns would be my guess.

So maybe in 40 years, Phil Mushnick will actually be readable? Either that or he’ll be writing articles about how they “make juice too strong these days” and how Mets games should start at 3pm, because who can stay up until 10, really?

Montgomery’s Big Mo : When Did John Kricfalusi Start Designing Minor League Mascots?

Posted in Baseball, When Mascots Attack at 3:55 pm by

“He’s fuzzy, he’s orange, he’s seven feet of biscuit lovin’ beast,” claim the optimistic marketing folks from the Southern League’s Montgomery Biscuits.  While I’d have prefered they hire former DOA/Circle Jerks/ Black Flag/Danzig drummer Chuck as their bridge-to-the-community,  the Biscuits do win serious points for absurdity.   “Whatt in the name of all things holy is this?” asks The Bullgator, no doubt aware fans of the parent Tampa Rays have long wondered the same thing about Don Zimmer.

Redskins’ Trademark Protection Upheld

Posted in Racism Corner, The Law at 3:09 pm by

The WaPo’s Del Quentin Wilber reports a U.S. Appeals court has ruled in favor of the Washington Redskins in their ongoing trademark fight with Native American activists who find the team’s logo offensice.

The appeals court backed a ruling last year by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly that an activist had waited too long to challenge the team’s trademarks.

Today’s decision by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit was just the latest legal action since the activists first challenged six Redskins’ trademarks in 1992.

The Redskins’ name has never been at stake in the litigation. But if the federal courts had tossed the trademarks, the team would have lost the ability to take action against merchants who used the name on shirts, jackets and other products. The team has argued the name was meant to honor Native Americans.

Redskins attorney Bob Raspkof
hailed the ruling as marking “a great day for the Redskins and their fans and their owner Dan Snyder.”  Act like you’ve been there before, Bob.