05.26.09

Yahoo’s Dwyer Writes the Difficulty in Belated Review of ‘Kobe Doin’ Work’

Posted in Basketball, The World Of Entertainment at 4:25 pm by

Boy, I really don’t like typing Kobe Doin’ Work. When the guy who made a movie called Mo’ Better Blues makes a movie with a more embarrassing title, that’s saying something. But do that Spike Lee has, and that he’s also made a movie more embarrassing than the aforementioned mega-stilted self-indulgent lapel orgy/alternate-universe jazz opus in KDW (ah, better) is, by this point, kind of the consensus. Lee’s Kobe-mentary is not reputed to be as exacting or backhandedly abstract as the similarly conceived Zidane, and Bryant’s performance reportedly scans super inauthentic and weird. I can’t get that exercised about it one way or the other — or speak with much authority on it — because I didn’t see it. I probably won’t. Unless I’m captured by, like, ironists and tortured by means of a lesser-Lee film festival, in which case KBW will presumably form the sherbert course between She Hate Me and Bamboozled.

But Kelly Dwyer, who is more obsessive about basketball than I am and also presumably got paid by Yahoo to do so, did indeed watch KBW, and has a long, fascinatingly anguished quasi-defense of the film up at Ball Don’t Lie. I can’t totally recommend his defense, either — the thesis seems to be something about how the film’s squirm-inducing elements are, at bottom, a reflection of Kobe’s squirm-inducing maladjustment, and that on those terms, the movie works. I don’t know that I can buy that (it’s a very low bar), but as someone who loves the internet’s process-in-yer-face writing style (and often embodies that writing-the-difficulty thing to an occasionally annoying extent in this very space) I found the piece pretty interesting. It reverses course several times and is tough to excerpt, but if you find this interesting, you might want to give the whole thing a look:

[The film] is just really tough to watch for anyone who has a passing idea of how pro basketball works. Even though it is replete with insider stuff and Xs and Os talk made perfect for a junkie like me, it’s completely mitigated by Bryant’s performance. His on-camera banter and his voiceover work. Tough, tough stuff.

I watched it because I have to. I’m useless without information, the game changes and evolves constantly, and if I don’t try to stay on the up and up, I’m useless… And as distasteful as I found the documentary, and Kobe’s performance to be at times, you still have to muddle through it. On a couch. With some delicious iced tea and a fan blowing a light breeze your way. Sacrifice.

For those who haven’t seen it, Kobe is completely and utterly playing to the 30 cameras that he knows are documenting his every move, recording his every word, in a way that leaves him looking so transparent that it’s a wonder he even let this thing get out.

Actually, it isn’t a wonder. Kobe has isolated himself so much from anyone who will tell him that things aren’t heading in a direction that isn’t particularly appropriate, that it’s pretty obvious that he doesn’t know how poorly he came off.

I’m years removed from being angry about that. At this point, in May of 2009, I’m just sort of sad about that. The guy is so maladjusted, he just has no clue.

And in the sickest way possible, I relate to that.

Philly’s MLS Side : Attracting Haters Before They’ve Kicked A Ball

Posted in Football at 3:51 pm by

Since being awarded a 2010 Major League Soccer franchise, the Philadelphia Union have sold more then 7000 season tickets. With that sort of excitement surrounding a new club, is there any surprise the Union badge is prominently displayed throughout the internet?

In the above instance of hackery, however, the answer might be “yes”. (link swiped from The 700 Level)

Krieger : Phil’s Complaints Are A “Loser’s Lament”

Posted in Basketball at 3:36 pm by

Aside from imagining Phil Jackson needing a scorecard to ID some of the Nuggets who’ve managed to reduce the Western Conference finals to a Best-Of-3 (ie. “Linas Kleiza, having regressed his way out of the playing rotation by the end of the season, scoring 10 points in 13 minutes off the bench to help take up Melo’s scoring slack” — what, no love for Renaldo Balkman?), the Denver Post’s Dave Kreiger is certain the Lakers “have already begun their campaign against the aggression of the aggrieved, the Nuggets’ current calling card.”

Jackson was complaining about the officiating as soon as Game 4 ended. Like New Orleans coach Byron Scott in the first round, the Lakers are now suggesting Nuggets guard Dahntay Jones is a dirty player for tripping Bryant near the end of the third quarter.

The Nuggets shrugged it off. In fact, Karl likes to hear opponents complain about the officiating, as he mentioned when Scott did it in the first round. Generally speaking, it is a loser’s lament.

The NBA is supposed to be a star’s league. Magic, Larry, Michael, Shaq, Kobe. These are the players that win titles. This is why LeBron is thought to have next.

The Nuggets are still six wins away, but Monday’s win put them in better position than they have been in 32 NBA seasons. ESPN’s hype machine is doing its best to make them famous now, but they’re a little late to the task. Good luck finding an unlikelier group of championship contenders.

CBS Sports’ Ken Berger doesn’t quite share the Denver columnists’ unabashed enthusiasm for the Nuggets’ run, calling Jones, “the modern-day version of Anthony Mason. (Or, for our younger readers, Bruce Bowen.)”

Jones already had two flagrant fouls (penalty one) in the playoffs before he stuck his leg out and tripped Bryant with about four minutes left in the third quarter Monday night. Jones’ two-handed push in Bryant’s back in Game 3 had been upgraded to a flagrant foul upon review by the league office, which won’t need much time to upgrade Jones’ latest transgression to his third flagrant of the playoffs.

If that happens — and it absolutely should, given the blatant nature of the play — Jones will have three flagrant points against him entering Game 5. Another flagrant foul-penalty one would result in an automatic one-game suspension. A more serious flagrant-two would get Jones suspended for two games.

Jones, for his part, employed the Iran-Contra defense — “I don’t remember the play,” he said — and insisted, “I think you’re making too much of one play. … I play hard and people don’t like contact. People don’t like you getting in their face. It’s my job to frustrate and play hard and make [Bryant] work for things. If I just let him score on me every time, then I wouldn’t be doing my job. I wouldn’t be able to stay on the floor, so I don’t understand what you people want me to do.”

Wednesday Night : Four Bands Who’ve Yet To Play The Nutty Brown Cafe

Posted in Internal Affairs, Rock Und Roll at 2:10 pm by

2nd time around the block for the post-King Coffey ATC, and we’ll be debuting new material and trying to remember the old on a favorite stage. If you’ve not seen Elvis before, all prior notions of “menacing stage presence” will require revision (though to be fair, the R.S. Howard-esque guitar playing is an equal draw)


Air Traffic Controllers

Elvis
Kingdom Of Suicide Lovers
Diamondhead

Cheap Heat Dept. : WWE’s Enos Humor

Posted in Basketball, Professional Wrestling at 12:52 am by

While the Nuggets were routing the Lakers at the Pepsi Center, a hastily scheduled taping of WWE Raw at LA’s Staples Center predictably centered around Vince MacMahon’s biggest obsession since the Montreal Screw Job.  From the LA Times’ Lance Pugmire :

Looking cheesy with a bad mustache and cheap sports coat, “Stan Kroenke” entered the arena with a basketball and handed it to an actor supposed to be Lakers owner Jerry Buss. The scene fooled some in the crowd, and required at least one fan to explain, “It’s an impersonator, dude!”

But “Kroenke” wasted no time further offending WWE fans in L.A., telling the crowd he was owner of the “soon-to-be NBA champion Denver Nuggets.”

“I cannot stand the WWE or its fans, for that matter. Do you think I care that I screwed thousands of fans? I have much more important things to do with my time. … I’m a respected tycoon/billionaire. I’ve been villified by the WWE, the media and every one of you.”

A photo then flashed on a big screen showing Kroenke with a devil’s tail and horns, while McMahon wore a halo.

McMahon then entered the arena to say he was announcing the formation of a new pro basketball league, the XBA, that would fail miserably, because, “I will have [Kroenke] and your staff run it.”

“All you had to do was pick up the phone and explain that [you] didn’t expect [your] team to make the playoffs.”

McMahon then ridiculed that Kroenke is formally known as E. Stan Kroenke, revealing the E. stands for Enos.

“Enos, look at you,” McMahon said, as the Kroenke impersonator covered his ears in shame. “You’re an Enos! … You have a terminal case of Enos envy.”

05.25.09

Sounds Like Someone Needs Their Own Muppet Commercial

Posted in Basketball, Blogged Down at 4:29 pm by

For so me reason, when I pick out a song and sing it at the free throw line it helps me not think so much about shooting them. I had a dance song in my head all last night, so I had that going on when I was at the line. Hey, whatever works, right? They were playing all kinda krunk music up in Cleveland, and it was helping me take my mind off my form. I gotta come up with some song for Tuesday in Game 4 to keep it rolling.

Aiiight, ya™ll I guess I gotta go watch another one of these LeBron and Kobe commercials on TV. Naw, just kiddin.

D-12

Post Photog : Papelbon Revealed Shy, Retiring Side

Posted in Baseball at 4:13 pm by

Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon’s temper tantrum in the last of the 9th inning Saturday night after blowing a save against the Mets has already been documented ; unmentioned until Monday morning, however, was Pap’s encounter with New York Post lensman Anthony Causi. From the Post’s Daniel Ki :

Papelbon had just surrendered a two-run homer to backup catcher Omir Santos — leading to a 3-2 Amazin’ victory — when Causi had the audacity to do his job and photograph the closer as he sulked in the Sox dugout in the bottom of the ninth.

Papelbon screamed, “Don’t take my f- – -ing picture,” according to Causi, before throwing his towel at him

It should be noted: Papelbon missed Causi.

“I guess he missed with two pitches that night,” Causi cracked.

Papelbon then stormed off to a corner of the dugout, hiding from the lensmen working in the first-base photographers well.

Causi contrasted Papelbon’s behavior with that of Yankee closer Mariano Rivera. The fotog recalled taking a picture of Rivera last month at Fenway Park just after the ace reliever blew a save against Boston.

“He knew I was shooting him, and he didn’t say a word,” Causi said. “A true champion realizes you got to take the good with the bad.”

Murray : Strachan’s Fate Sealed By Inability To Charm Celtic Fans

Posted in Football at 3:42 pm by

A day after conceding the SPL title to Rangers, Celtic manager Gordon Strachan has confirmed his resignation.  In the considered view of the Guardian’s Ewan Murray, said announcement was a forgone conclusion because “Gordon was hated by the Celtic support.”

Supporters dislike it being said but Maritn O’Neill’s background as an Irish Catholic, a Celtic man, endeared him to them. His replacement was a spiky Presbyterian from Edinburgh, someone who enjoyed terrorising them on the field when part of Alex Ferguson’s all-conquering Aberdeen team. One punter back in those days even attempted to lamp the flame-haired Strachan during a visit to Glasgow’s east end.

At Celtic he has been blunt with the Scottish media, his on-screen comments frequently barbed; a factor which was used by his detractors as evidence that he was a poor ambassador for the club. Still a distasteful attitude towards the fourth estate hardly did Brian Clough, or Ferguson, any harm “ Scottish football supporters were never previously renowned for defending the press.

Every one of Strachan’s achievements at Celtic was done against a backdrop of financial cuts; the club are all-but debt free whereas debts stood in excess of £30m when he arrived at the club.

Strachan’s demeanour for weeks has hinted he was for the off. He may well have been on the verge of resigning a year ago when he could have gone out on a legitimate high. Time will tell how history remembers Gordon Strachan at Celtic. Their supporters are about to discover the merits of what they wished for.

Price : Quashing Enthusiasm For The Advent Of Fernando Martinez

Posted in Baseball at 8:44 am by

Mets RF Ryan Church is said to be headed for the disabled list after injuring his right hamstring during Friday’s 5-3 defeat of Boston, hence reports New York will promote the highly toured Fernando Martinez from Buffalo in time for tonight’s encounter with Washington.  The Daily News’ Bill Price — who professes to have not attended a game at Citi Field — warns, “anyone who thinks this guy is going to show up and become a savior for the Mets is going a little overboard.”

With the Mets struggling to score runs, it appears a great time for Martinez to arrive. But I actually think it™s a bad time for him. Too many people are going to view him as a savior, and if he struggles – which he probably will – his stint may be viewed as a huge disappointment. I™m not saying he doesn™t have a future with the Mets, I™m just not sure he™s ready yet. Hopefully I™m wrong (it happens every once in a while).

My real question is will he have F. Martinez on his jersey and will our wonderful shortstop have R. Martinez on his jersey? Sounds like a busy day for Charlie Samuels.

Though I appreciate the nod towards Ramon, whose throw to rob Mike Lowell from deep in the hole Saturday was one of the Mets’ highlights of the season thus far, I’m not sure I understand the cautionary tone.  Barring a miracle, F-Mart’s promotion will be understood by most thinking persons to be an emergency measure. And ready or not, who would Price prefer Omar Minaya summon from the bushes?  Bobby Kielty’s currently on the DL, and Wily Mo Pena — he of the .200 batting average, .232 OBP and 1 home run in 20 International League games — has little going for him besides wearing his Bisons cap at a bizarre angle.

05.24.09

Jimmy Leyritz : Troubles Aside, Proving Inspiration For Single Losers Everywhere

Posted in Baseball, History's Great Hook-Ups, The Law at 9:29 pm by

Since being charged with vehicular homicide in December of 2007, former Yankee Jim Leyritz has been an unfortunate CSTB fixture. Whether being accused of blowing a modest fortune on booze, or complaining to a Broward County Judge that he could no longer enjoy Chicken Marsala, Leyritz hasn’t done a wonderful job of presenting himself as a sympathetic figure. Profiled today in the Miami Herald by Dan Le Batard, the retired player-turned-broadcaster continues his public relations missteps, unveiling a curious defense strategy (ie. the victim was driving drunk, too) and discussing the travails of….dating!

”This accident happens whether I was drinking that day or not,” Leyritz says. “It would have happened at 2 in the afternoon. There was no possibility of me avoiding that crash with all of my senses. A mother was taken away from her kids. I can’t change that. But I didn’t do it. The accident did. And that accident wasn’t my fault.”

He walks over to the DVD playing his road-side sobriety test. There he is that night, walking heel-to-foot in a straight line, touching his nose repeatedly with an extended arm, following the pen in the officer’s hand from side to side without moving his head.

”I’m scared to death here, but look at this,” he says. “I’m passing everything.”

The Baseball Assistance Team works to help poor former major-leaguers with money. Leyritz’s case is coming up for a vote in a couple of days, but he’s worried. He lost most of his money in a divorce, and now his ex-wife has had to move back in to help with expenses and the kids. That has been plenty awkward, especially since he is dating for the first time since the accident.

”My opening line hasn’t been the best,”
he says, then pretends to flirt: “You need to listen to me breathe into a machine just to start my car. You can have a drink with me but don’t kiss me because I can’t have it on my lips. I don’t know what my future is, either. Oh, yeah, and my ex-wife is at the house. And I have no job and can’t pay for dinner.”

Of having his new girlfriend over and his ex-wife in the other room, he says, “My Jerry Springer moment.”

He had jobs doing those things before the accident. Had rented homes here and in New York. A daily radio show. Did fantasy camps and clinics. Speaking engagements. He would get $1,500 to $3,000 dollars just to go up to a suite during Yankees games and sit around with fans for two innings while taking pictures and autographing photos of his most famous home run. The requirement was that he stay for just two innings, but he usually would stay for six or seven because he likes people and telling stories. He had a deal with an athletic company and had just completed some infomercials for an international real-estate company.

”I was going to be the Eric Estrada of Costa Rica,”
he says. “All that’s gone now.”

Not to make light of a serious tragedy (more so for the dead woman’s family), but there’s got to be some motivational fodder here. If a bald, penniless, washed-up jock facing a felony conviction can land a date WITH HIS EX-WIFE ON THE COUCH, there’s hope for every lonely person. Not much hope, but some.