05.15.09

Wayman Tisdale, RIP

Posted in Basketball at 12:32 pm by

Wayman Tisdale, a 3 time All-American at Oklahoma and a 12 year NBA veteran with Indiana, Sacramento and Phoenix, has passed away following an extended fight with the cancer that recently claimed his left leg.

Tisdale, a 1984 Olympic Gold medalist, was recently named a new inductee to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall Of Fame.  His career  totals of 2661 points and 1048 rebounds still stand as all-time marks at OU.

An accomplished left-handed bassist, Tisdale released 8 albums of pop-jazz recordings between 1995 and 2008.

Fisher : What’s So Bad About Calling K-Mart A Thug?

Posted in Basketball, Mob Behavior at 12:00 pm by

The NBA apparently doesn’t think Mark Cuban (hardly the Association’s favorite owner) verbally abusing an opposing team’s mother is worthy of a suspension, and nor does it seem Dallas Basketball’s Matt Fisher feel a line was crossed. When the subject of the “thug” slur was raised yesterday on Michael Irvin’s radio program, Fisher promised to catalog the many ways that Denver’s Kenyon Martin qualified. Some examples (“he was hit with 11 technical fouls this season and last. He was ejected from one game. He committed three flagrant fouls, one off the league lead,”) are more rooted in objective research than others (“he wears a perpetual ‘look-how-tough-I-am’ scowl”)

His girlfriend Trina™s top CD is œDa Baddest Bitch.™™ She was also featured on a CD by Trick Daddy. Her big song was œNann Ni**a.™™ The name of the CD?

œThug.com.™™

So how is the word œthug™™ offensive when it™s the name on your girlfriend™s artwork?

Last week, Kenyon™s sister Tamara was on Irvin™s show and she defended her brother.

“My brother’s not a thug,” said Tamara.

Fine. Pick a different word. Understand that race has nothing to do with this; œthug™™ is a synonym for hoodlum, punk, strong-armer, toughie, goon, tough ¦ in pop culture, the word œthug™™ far pre-dates anything having to do with African-Americans. œScarface™™ may be America™s most famous œthug.™™ (And a movie very much embraced by wanna-be™s, I might add.)

Or could go with Marlon Brando, who played œthugs™™ in œThe Godfather,™™ œOn the Waterfront,™™ œStreetcar Named Desire.™™ œThe Young Lions,™™ and œThe Wild Ones.™™ (Google œBrando™™ and œthug™™ and you™ll be busy all day.)

In real life there were/are Irish œthugs™™ and there were Italian œthugs™™ and the word actually comes from India, where a œthuggee™™ was a fanatic bad guy.

So if anybody should be offended here “ Michael, for a moment there in our debate, actually tried to compare the œthug™™ word to the œN-word™™ — it should be somebody from India.

As Fisher points out, Cuban is not the first person or even the first NBA owner to call Martin a thug. He is, however, the only NBA owner recently charged with going out of his way to yell at the mother of an opposing player. Whether or not Cuban should be held accountable for what the Nuggets continue to describe as a menacing atmosphere is another matter, but precedent was clearly established. If television cameras can capture The Owner With A Boner seeking out Nuggets’ family members with no subsequent penalty, why should different rules apply to the average American Airlines Arena ticket holder?

05.14.09

There Are Truly No Limits To Kurt Warner’s Magnanimity

Posted in Football, politics, Religion at 6:39 pm by

Cardinals QB Kurt Warner had a brief encounter with President Barack Obama Wednesday when the Commander In Chief had a stopover in Phoenix (Air Force One can’t fly direct to Tempe?). Though there was some light hoops chat and a moment that must’ve scared the Secret Service half to death (ie. Kurt introducing Obama to Brenda), the Arizona Republic’s Scott Wong reports “the discussion turned somewhat serious when Warner asked Obama how he could pray for him.”

According to Warner, Obama said Warner “could pray for his (the president’s) family because of the situation and how difficult it is, and ‘pray that I get it right.’

“It was cool,” Warner said. “It gave me an opportunity to have some personal prayers go out to him and I’m excited about that.”

Warner said he also hopes the meeting will help convert Obama into a Cardinals fan.

“I know he was cheering for Pittsburgh last year, so hopefully through our meeting here, he’ll become a Cardinals fan and cheer for us,” Warner said. “Maybe we’ll get him on our side.”

Wells’ Proposal : Make The EPL The English Socialist League

Posted in Football, Sports Journalism, The Marketplace at 6:12 pm by

As usual, the above headline isn’t exactly what the Guardian’s Steven Wells had to say.  But in hailing the NFL draft (“part of a system designed to make sure that all the assets don’t end up in the hands of a greedy few”), Wells suggests “the nationalisation of the Premier League (and the stupidly named leagues below it) would face almost no serious ideological opposition, and would probably prove massively popular with the vast majority of football fans, particularly those who are fans of clubs that ” under the present system ” have no realistic chance of ever again winning anything meaningful.”

“At the moment the Premier League resembles a video game where four posh boys got their daddies to buy them the cheat code,” protests Wells, no doubt aware any future threats to the relative dominance of Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal are likely to come from whoever has the deepest pockets.

The benefits of nationalisation are manifold and obvious, including:

¢ The elimination and reversal of dumb-ass anti-fan cultural practices (generally but erroneously knows as Americanisation).

¢ The reintroduction of genuinely competitive leagues and a genuinely competitive league system.

¢ The regrassrootisation of football.

¢ The enforced and equitable sharing of TV moneys.

¢ The self-proclaimed socialist Sir Alex Ferguson no longer having to live under a perpetual cloud of self-loathing and embarrassment.

¢ The immediate execution by firing squad of anybody who refers to fans as customers.

The alternative of course, is an ever cheaper and tackier continuation of the current drearily predictable circus ” the strip-malling of soccer. Every league in every country essentially the same, season after season after season, while the ‘small’ clubs gradually wither away and football, as a vibrant cultural institution, rots at the roots and dies.

Minor League Promotion Of The Year – Wishful Thinking Dept.

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 5:10 pm by

Press Release – May 14, 2009

The Eastern League’s New Hampshire Fisher Cats, the Double A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, have announced their Saturday, August 29 game with the Portland Sea Dogs will be G.G. Allin Bobblehead Night.  Allin, a native of Hooksett, NH, would’ve celebrated his 52nd birthday on this day  were it not for his untimely passing in New York City in 1993.  Toronto G.M. J.P. Ricciardi, a Worcester, MA native, witnessed a number of Allin gigs as a young man, and was an enthusiastic supporter of the Fisher Cats’ proposal to honor Allin’s memory in this fashion.

“The Outlaw Scumfuc was a huge inspiration to me,” said Ricciardi, speaking from his Rogers Centre office. “I’ve long tried to treat Blue Jays fans with the same respect and consideration G.G. showed for his audiences.”

G.G. Allin Bobbleheads will be available to the first 2000 fans courtesy of Quirk Cheverolet-Buick-Hummer.

Fine, Bill Simmons Will Run Your Stupid Team For You

Posted in Basketball, onanism, Sports Journalism at 4:06 pm by

I’ve been writing its history in the form of churlish, triannual blog posts over the course of the last few years, but the transition of Bill Simmons from ordinary-bro sportswriter to nightmarish egobeast has been working itself out in print for all to see for some time now. For those of us scratching away at the margins of the writing game — making very little money; getting, like, edited — Simmons’ life seems pretty good. A lot of that is just his (yooge) paycheck, but also the fact that he apparently can just wave into print whatever he wants. GC lets me do that here, of course, but my lifestyle is a few (dozen) frills shy of Bill’s. Also, everything I write is perfect.

But while I do envy BS’s security, I think there’s something basically good-for-you about getting edited: it’s not necessarily fun, but the thing that comes out with your name on it is usually better for all that, and easier to be proud of. And, of course, it reminds you that your first drafts aren’t perfect. Presumably, someone is editing Simmons — we know this because he gets incredibly pissy/pissed on the few occasions when his stuff gets spiked — but not hard enough that he doesn’t get to run a 9,000-word exchange with (um) Malcolm Gladwell. Although that might not be the best example, since every one of those 9,000 words is perfect. For instance, these from Gladwell:

What’s [Nick] Faldo’s favorite band? Joy Division? Or some kind of obscure Welsh thrash band too hard core for American radio?

Or these from Simmo:

I tackled the All-Time Black/White Finals on Page 1,448 of my book in the second footnote. You haven’t gotten there yet. Just know that I refuse to count foreigners as white guys, and you can’t make me.

Sorry, nowhere to cut.

But every writer, me included obviously, believes that they’re handing in something really good in most drafts. That’s born of the rush that comes with finishing something you worked hard at, and maybe if you do it enough times — and get the adulation that BS has gotten over the years — that (usually fleeting) euphoria starts to stick. Self-esteem’s great, but Simmo’s recent work, even egregiously phoned-in columns like this one, come off peremptory, condescending and curdled — tossed-off, but with the understanding that the readers will accept his off-tosses with proper reverence. The reason why, it seems, is this: Simmons would really rather not be writing them. As he reveals in an interview with Slam’s Myles Brown, what he’d really like to do is direct. The Minnesota Timberwolves, in particular. Yeah, the team has problems, but, Simmons says:

I have some ideas on how to rectify [them], but I™m not sharing them out of sheer spite because it looks like the TWolves won™t even consider my candidacy despite the fact that thousands and thousands of fans e-mailed their team president about me this week. Did thousands of fans e-mail them urging them to hire David Kahn or Rex Chapman? NOOOOO!

Here™s a classic example of why NBA teams are dumb: Even if they bring me in for an interview, at the very least, that becomes a national story. So they™d be spending like two grand on business class plane fare and a hotel for me, then two hours of their time going through the charade of interviewing me (assuming they had no interest). Isn™t that two grand well spent? This goes back to what I™m talking about: You have a struggling small market franchise that has no foothold at all in its region, and they won™t even considering spending two grand to get their fans talking? Fans are pretty easy to manipulate”we like wondering about shit, arguing about shit, and so on. It really don™t take that much…

I don™t want to just repeat the point, but small market teams need to connect with their fans and keep hustling and figuring out ways to make headlines and drive local interest in their team. Who™s better for that purpose than me? A sports columnist turned GM? Name me one move the TWolves could make this summer that would generate more local and national headlines than hiring me, short of scheduling sex orgies for fans after home games or something. You can™t. Their job is to sell basketball to the city of Minnesota”a city that, by the way, has turned on the team and barely supports it”and build interest in the team nationally, which can only be done by taking chances that nobody else is taking. It™s a job for a smart person who also loves basketball. That™s what people don™t seem to understand.

As a Nets fan (from the city of New Jersey) who has been incessantly bombarded with the most insulting of in-game bullshit out of the recognition of how easily manipulated I am, let me affirm that that approach to fans always works. You know what else works? Just getting on your own shit.

I love basketball and I am competitive as hell. That™s really it. I just spent the last 12 years of my life continuing to push the envelope and take chances. Every time somebody told me I couldn™t do something, it made me want to do it more. I think I™ve had a really interesting career and I haven™t failed once. Shit, I forgot about my cartoon. OK, I failed once. But I built an audience with a successful online sports column before anyone else, and I built a national audience as a mainstream sports columnist before anyone else, and I built an audience with a sports podcast well before anyone else. Those are three pretty good œwell before anyone elses right?

Anything is possible.

Move Over Wally George : Karros’ Manny Kommentary

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 3:40 pm by

While the Dodgers are tied with Philadelphia at 3-3 in the top of the 9th, (alleged) sportscaster Eric Karros is somewhat obsessed with the week old story of Manny Ramirez’ drug ban. Perhaps unaware the Dodgers have actually averaged slightly more runs per game during Ramirez’ absence, Karros takes a page out of Jim Murray’s old notebook, telling Manny, œYou done brought that stuff on yo™self. (link courtesy The Big Lead)

Klapisch : Why Is J.J. Putz Driving Mets Fans Nuts?

Posted in Baseball at 1:53 pm by

Despite a frustrating, 12 inning 8-7 loss to Atlanta on getaway day, you’d think the Mets would have cause for optimism as they start a 10 game round trip in San Francisco tonight, right? Jerry Manuel’s charges were 6-2 on their most recent homestand, Mike Pelfrey and John Maine have provided solid efforts in the middle of the rotation and Carlos Beltran has on occasions — most notably Tuesday night — demonstrated the ability to put the team on his back.

Not so fast, my easily impressed friends. The Bergen Record’s Bob Klapisch notes the Mets performed miserably in their only encounter thus far with an elite team (St. Louis), Carlos Delgado seems destined to play in pain or hit the DL, Jose Reyes’ lack of concentration can no longer be excused as youthful folly and perhaps most worrying, J.J. Putz (above) has flat out sucked.

The reliever came to the Mets with a deadly combination of 95 mph heat and a splitter that drops like it™s been shot out of the sky. But his radar-gun readings have been surprisingly tame of late “ more like 91-92 while the National League has moved closer to solving him.

Whereas Putz was striking out an average of 10.3 hitters per nine innings two year ago with the Mariners, he™s down to about four as a Met. Putz™s hits per inning ratio has also ballooned from his prime in 2007 “ 4.6 per nine innings to more than seven this season.

On Wednesday, Putz entered a tie game in the eighth, but needed just three batters to hand the Braves a 7-6 lead. Manuel later observed the Mets have seen only œflashes of Putz™s greatness and wondered if the right-hander™s participation in the World Baseball Classic has sabotaged his velocity.

Putz, however, has a different, more troubling theory. As he told WFAN earlier in the day, he™s finding it difficult to be Francisco Rodriguez™s setup man.

œYou really don™t have that heart-pounding sensation, Putz said of his eighth-inning responsibilities. œI think that™s where those two or three miles an hour are. That™s adrenaline.

I’ve read similar complaints from closers who’ve been demoted but fail to understand how Putz would be more successful with even less margin for error. If it’s a matter of putting the former Mariners reliever in the right frame of mind, Manuel and Dan Warthen should just tell him he’s entered the game in the 9th inning. This shouldn’t be hard to accomplish at home — Citi Field’s scoreboards are tough to follow from a variety of vantage points, and there’s often more fans in the expensive seats in the 8th inning than there are in the 9th.

(UPDATE  : The Post’s Bart Hubbach reports Putz’ struggles might have as much to do with an inflamed right elbow as the reliever’s mental state.   Of the Mets’ unwillingness to put either Putz or Delgado on the disabled list, MetsBlog’s Matthew Cerrone sighs, “thee Mets are playing one down in the bullpen and one down on the bench¦ i mean, why not repeatedly play with one arm tired behind your back?”  Good question.  Because the DL is reserved for seriously injured players like Oliver Perez?)

Orlando’s Master Of Panic To Magic Fans : Calm Down

Posted in Basketball at 1:22 pm by

A day after sending the blogosphere abuzz with pointed criticism of coach Stan Van Gundy, Magic F Dwight Howard — perhaps taking an unfortunate tip from guarantee-crazed Orlando assistant Patrick Ewing — has put all the focus prior to Game 6 against Boston squarely on himself. The AP’s Antonio Gonzalez quotes Howard promising “We™re in this series to win it. We are going to win this series”, though that’s not nearly as inflammatory as Van Gundy suggesting Orlando’s basketball fans just aren’t sophisticated enough not to freak the fuck out.

œIf you™re an Orlando fan and you consider a (Game 5) loss like that on Boston™s home court humiliating, it probably speaks more to the fact that you haven™t seen enough playoff series around here in a long time, Van Gundy said. œThat kind of panic wouldn™t exist in cities that are used to having teams in tough playoff series year after year after year.

Magic GM Otis Smith today poured cold water on an ESPN claim that Van Gundy’s job was in jeopardy, and while Smith might well have been speaking the truth, it’s not as though Orlando would publicy threaten the coach on the eve of the franchise’s most important game in 14 years.

Rocket Biographer : Roger’s Keeping The Clemens-Bashing Industry Alive

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, Sports Journalism, Sports Radio at 1:15 am by

Calling the subject of his ‘The Rocket That Fell To Earth’, “perhaps the worst interview in the history of organized sports”, author Jeff Pearlman caught Roger Clemens’ Tuesday morning interview with ESPN’s Greenberg and Golic and concludes said appearance accomplished little besides promote the work of the 354 game-winner’s adversaries.

Before today, American Icon was languishing on Amazon, hovering from anywhere between 1,000 to 4,000, looking like yet another steroid-related book that would come and go without much thought (Now it™s No. 98). That™s what™s starting to happen in the world of books and, to a lesser extent, newspapers and magazine”people are tired of steroids; of the disappointments and the finger pointing. It™s a topic that no longer seems to interest people. They need to be given a reason to read such a book. A reason to pay attention.

In case you missed it, this morning Clemens was a joke. Blathering, babbling, inane, nonsensical.  Whatever he utters sounds foolish and contrived. He backs himself up by repeatedly mentioning his foundation (As in, how could I have used? I have a foundation!). He seems to think by resorting to the ol™ ballplayer trick of calling media folks by their nicknames (Well, Greenie ¦) he™s forging a bond. That might have worked 20 years ago in the Red Sox clubhouse.

SI.com’s Jon Heyman
took particular delight in Clemens citing his stepfather’s heart troubles, adding, “My second favorite part was when he said he was going to be the same “outgoing” person he’s always been. Funny, I missed that side of him. In my experiences covering Clemens over the years, he was intense, dark, snobby, aloof and intimidating, but rarely outgoing. The only times he seemed to really get excited was when another person of close or equal fame was around.”

05.13.09

Borat Impersonations Are Sooo 2006 Pt. II

Posted in Basketball, The Internet at 10:22 pm by

(pt. I). Hey, I love fake Twitter profiles as much as anyone, but shouldn’t Yakov Smirnoff’s writers be working on a cable special or something? (link courtesy David Raposa)

Brown To Veteran Baseball Scribes : PED-Mania Happened On Your Watch, Too

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, Sports TV, The Marketplace at 9:24 pm by

The Houston Chronicle’s Richard Justice (above, left) recently opined that L’affair Manny was neither the fault of Bud Selig or Donald Fehr, but rather, “all on the players.  Former Rocky Mountain News columnist / Michael Lewis sparring partner Tracy Ringolsby points a finger at the MLBPA rather than ownership.   In the view of Biz Of Baseball’s Maury Brown, there’s no shortage of blame to go around.

While the players ultimately make the decision to use PEDs, isn™t it the lure of incredibly high salaries that drive one to use them? Richard, isn™t there a case to be made that a player such as Barry Bonds saw what Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were doing, and decided that he too would get on the steroid gravy train?

By extension, aren™t the fans to blame for the PED culture, as well? After all, if there were such an outrage over the matter, the players would be playing to empty ballparks and fans would be turning off the games on TV and radio in protest. Isn™t the money spent by the fans paying for the salaries for the players?

Finally, the writers are to blame. It™s a complex issue. Those that covered the sport during the peak of the steroid era should have gotten on-board with reporting on the abnormal muscle mass increases and prodigious levels of power hitting in the mid-to-late ˜90s.

Richard, those writing that Selig and Fehr are partially to blame aren™t idiots. They just happen to live in a world more complex than you are giving it credit for; a world fill with gray, as opposed to the simplicity of black and white.

Former Cowboys QB : When It Comes To Crazy, Dirk’s Fiancee Is An Old Pro

Posted in Basketball, Gridiron, History's Great Hook-Ups at 6:58 pm by

My first thought upon seeing photographs this weekend of Dirk Nowitzski’s con-artist GF was “love is truly blind”. After all, she could do so much better. On second thought, perhaps not, as former NFL vet Tony Banks explains, stenography courtesy of the Dallas Morning News’ Brad Townsend and Reese Dunklin.

Banks on Wednesday told The Dallas Morning News that Cristal Taylor is the same woman who tried to turn his life and career upside down in 1997.

œThis is unbelievable, he said. œThis is wild. I can™t believe it™s the same chick.

Banks said he believes Taylor went by the name of Theresa when they met in 1997, when he was 24 and in his second season with the St. Louis Rams.

œShe called me and wanted to see me; I said, ˜No.™  Banks recalled. œShe sent me her picture in the mail and she was just gorgeous. Me being a kid, thinking I was the best thing since sliced bread, I gave her a call and ended up dating her.

Banks said it was a decision he rued almost immediately, recalling œshe showed her crazy [side] pretty early…I remember she camped out in front of my crib one time when I had another female friend in town. She (Taylor) wasn™t too happy about that.

Soon, Banks said, Taylor began making harassing calls to him, his agent, his marketing team and even first-year Rams coach Dick Vermeil, œtrying to run my name through the mud.

Banks said that largely because of the situation involving Taylor, Vermeil became concerned about his young quarterback™s off-the-field conduct and maturity level.

œIt wasn™t a good way for me and Dickie V. to start off, Banks said. œDick thought about drafting Jake Plummer that first year because of this stuff.

Milton Bradley Verdict Imminent: Trib Sporting Staff Put On Lockdown

Posted in Baseball at 1:59 pm by

Chicago Police by noahwesley.

[Chicago police officers, tazers set on kill, await the Bradley verdict outside Trib Tower.]

From my vantage point in LA, it’s hard to determine what’s going on outside Tribune Tower this afternoon, as the city awaits the explosive verdict from Major League Baseball on Milton Bradley’s 2-game suspension.  It arrives on the heels of a game-changing HR Bradley hit last night to pull the Cubs ahead of the Padres in a 6-2 win at Wrigley Field.  Bradley has said repeatedly that he’ll accept whatever comes.  No such promises of orderly behavior have come from the Trib staff should baseball reverse the Bradley suspension, thus invalidating four months of attacks on MB that refer to him as a “nut bag.”   The Trib‘s beatdown of Bradley seems to be failing, as he received some of the first cheers of his career as a Cub last night.  Irrational, unpopular, always complaining of imagined injustices, Bradley the Trib staff is a powder keg waiting to go off.

How bad has has the media been to Bradley?  So bad a new word has been invented to describe their presence in the Cubs clubhouse.  As Paul Sullivan writes of Bradley:

He appears much more comfortable on the road, where he’s not afflicted with “Cubstrophobia,” the fear of being trapped next to the Chicago media in the cramped Wrigley Field clubhouse.

Indeed.

Citi’s First Streaker : No Moaning About Head-First Slides Required

Posted in Baseball, Free Expression at 11:20 am by

With all due respect to Carlos Beltran stealing third in the 10th inning last night, Tuesday’s true baserunning star at Citi Field was Queens resident Craig Coakley. But seriously, if “interfering with a sporting event” is crime, how come Scott Schoeneweis isn’t in prison?

Get That Blogger Off The Field : Dan Tobin On Boston’s White Red Sox

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, Racism Corner at 10:54 am by

(Pumpsie Green – back in the days when the Red Sox could Identify one qualified black guy)

Promising to “take a page out of Barack Obama™s playbook”, Bugs & Cranks’ Dan Tobin is no longer satisfied wondering if the Boston Red Sox are baseball’s whitest team. Though his research finds “they™re not even the whitest team in the AL East”, he’s bothered just the same about “this team becoming a bunch of honkies.”

The team is whiter than it used to be, and every time someone goes down, it seems there™s a new white face to replace him. The days of deciding not to sign Willie Mays and Jackie Robinson for racial reasons are behind us, but the franchise that was the last team in baseball to field an African-American player now fields zero African-American players. A city with a troubled racial past, from Charlestown busing of the ™70s the Celtics of the ™80s, now fields a whiter than average baseball team. It™s not panic time, but it™s still slightly troubling.

Maybe Red Sox management has an idea of what a œbusiness-like player looks like, and to them it happens to look more like J.D. Drew than Vladimir Guerrero. Maybe management sees Japanese players as fitting the template and Latin American guys as not. Maybe it™s a coincidence that 71% of this year™s Red Sox hitters are white guys, compared to 31% for the rival Yankees. Or maybe it isn™t.

It would be irresponsible to believe the Sox are outright racists ” I think they let Pedro walk because of money and shoulder health, and we all know how badly they wanted Mark Teixeira six months ago. But there are real questions to be asked about how we™re building this team, and it would be just as irresponsible to ignore the trend of our racial makeup. I have no clear answers, but it™s work thinking about, and talking about, and deciding whether things need to change.

05.12.09

Don’t Hold Your Breath Waiting For K-Mart & The Owner With A Boner’s Dinner Date

Posted in Basketball at 11:44 pm by

“It’s amazing how tempers mellow when real people talk to each other and realize that its still just a game,” wrote a hopeful Mark Cuban early Tuesday morning, apologizing to the mother of Kenyon Martin and inviting the Nuggets F to break bread in the near future (“I hope we both take the advice of your coach and can get together this summer. Dinner for you and your family is on me.”)

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcdfw.com/video.

If the above footage culled from Angry Trey’s Blog is anything to go by, Martin might not accept the invitation. Though point of order, K-Mart, that “bitch” doesn’t have to come to Denver. The New York Times’ Howard Beck reports Cuban will be in Las Vegas tomorrow night to accept an advertising industry award.

The University Of Southern California Athletic Dept. : Doing Their Best To Maintain The Relevancy Of Yahoo Sports

Posted in Basketball, College Spurts, Sports Journalism at 11:11 pm by

The alleged shenanigans surrounding Reggie Bush have provided ample content for Yahoo Sports’ investigative arm, and following the portal looking into O.J. Mayo’s brief Trojan tenue, Charles Robinson and Jason Cole charge coach Tim Floyd with making direct payments to a Mayo crony.

Louis Johnson, a one-time Mayo confidant, has told both NCAA investigators and federal authorities “ including the FBI, IRS and U.S. Attorney™s Office “ that Floyd gave at least $1,000 in cash to Rodney Guillory, a man who allegedly lavished Mayo with improper benefits while the guard starred for the Trojans.

Johnson told the NCAA and federal authorities the payment took place in the week leading up to the 2007 NBA All-Star weekend in Las Vegas “ three months after Mayo committed to USC while finishing his final year of high school. His attorneys said Johnson perceived the payment as an extension of Floyd™s gratitude for Guillory™s delivery of Mayo to USC.

œIt was clearly money in contemplation of inducing O.J. to go through with the decision [to play at USC], Murphy said. œThat was the understanding that Louis had “ that this was money from Floyd to Guillory for them to go out and have a great weekend. It was the inducement for Guillory™s efforts in delivering [Mayo to sign with USC].

Chapman : Mavs Fans Aren’t As Hostile As Serbs (But Not For A Lack Of Trying)

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

What sort of horrible human beings would go out of their way to abuse La La Vasquez? Other than CSTB readers? Following Mark Cuban getting in the face of K-Mart’s mom, Game 4 apparently meant open season on Nuggets players and families to hear the Denver Post’s Chris Dempsey tell the tale.

œShort of a game I saw in Belgrade a couple of years ago where they were throwing chairs and setting off flares, it was about as dangerous a venue I™ve been in, GM Rex Chapman said. œIt™s not fair to our players who have to sit there and worry about their families, friends, girlfriends and wives being, for lack of a better term, assaulted, verbally. It was really bad in there.

Chapman did say arena security did what it could to diffuse the situation, but the crowd œwas whipped into a frenzy for some reason. It was almost like it was open season on Kenyon™s mom, and Melo™s wife and Kenyon™s girlfriend. It was bad.

Martin was booed loudly as he and girlfriend Trina walked down a hallway in the American Airways Center after the game. Martin showed crowd, which was in an arena bar, a middle finger.

Nuggets coach George Karl spoke out against the crowd™s behavior.

œI probably would use an uglier word than hostile, said Karl of the scene. œI don™t think it was very classy.

You Go Live In Utah‘s Amanda Cobra was on hand for Saturday’s Game 3 and provides a bit of background regarding the Mavericks organization doing their best to provide a safe, harmonious working environment for the opposition.

To see Chris Andersen foul out of the game was beautiful. While I™m not usually one for the jumbotron entertainment, the Mavs decided to go for the (inked) jugular by playing a taunting video called œHey Mr. Overly Tattooed NBA Guy which not only mocked the Nuggets (and specifically Andersen™s) love of body art, it also questioned whether Kenyon Martin™s neck tattoo of a woman™s name was wise considering that œgirlfriends come and go. The person I went to the game with turned to me after the video and said, œOh my god, they™re gonna beat us by 70 now.”

It’s In the Game, Kind Of: Sam Keller’s EA Sports Lawsuit

Posted in College Spurts, consumer affairs, Video Games at 2:50 pm by

The only sports video game in my apartment is Fox Sports College Basketball 99, which features (I think) Mark Pope on the label. It’s for a Nintendo 64 that doesn’t connect to my television, and thus hasn’t been played in years. I can’t say I miss it that much — and I’m proud to have removed even one distraction from my life — but I do remember that, despite the players having no names, I was able to suss out who was whom, and rely on the players I liked the most when playing the game. That usually meant a heavy dose of Terp vintage Steve Francis and (for a reason I’ve forgotten, probably on purpose) Jumaine Jones’ University of Georgia iteration. It didn’t require much detective work to figure out which player was which. Although I had to look up a picture of Mark Pope to ascertain that, for whatever reason, it actually probably was him on the game’s label.

And while sports video games have (presumably) come a long way since then, it’s still easy to figure out which player is which in college sports video games — they wear the same numbers, are the same (virtual) size, share the same states and on-field attributes as their real-world counterparts. Downloadable user-compiled rosters taking the guesswork out of the equation entirely. Now, thanks to a class-action lawsuit brought against EA Sports by former Arizona State and Nebraska QB Sam Keller (above), there’s a chance college players might see a piece of the (huge, green-colored) pie for the first time, MediaPost’s Wendy Davis reports.

The story has been around for around a week, apparently, which means that while I’m just now finding out about it — imagine how long it would’ve taken me if I still played video games — there’s already plenty of reaction around the internet. Much of it is pretty dumb bro-blogger stuff — if you want to read a post entitled “Oh STFU Sam Keller” that doubles illustration of what it would read like if a With Leather comment could fart words, knock yourself out — but Yahoo’s Matt Hinton thinks that, sisyphusean though it might be, Keller is right to try rolling this particular rock up this particular hill:

Should athletes, who are strictly prohibited at great peril to their education and future from earning any money from their status, have any financial stake in the fortunes being made from selling their likeness?

This is a little bit different that asking flatly, “should college players be paid?” — that lawsuit is still winding its way though the labyrinth — because the money schools take in from television and ticket sales, etc., are technically for a team sport; fans pay to see the team, which in turn “compensates” the members of the team with free tuition, room and board, etc. Maybe you disagree, but it’s an argument.

I’m harder pressed to find any justification whatsoever, though, for private entities that profit from a player’s identity — be it through video games, jersey sales, magazine covers, you name it — with no obligation to the player whatsoever, financial or otherwise. Reggie Bush once claimed he could have made $100,000 off sales of his No. 5 jersey at USC, which might be a conservative estimate; it didn’t have his name on it, but when someone buys No. 5 in cardinal and gold (or No. 15 in blue and orange, or No. 10 in burnt orange, or No. 2 in scarlet and gray … you get the picture), they know whose image they’re assuming, in the same way video game players know who they’re controlling — in most cases, they probably go ahead and enter the name, anyway. Maybe if your campus heroes were allowed to make an honest buck off their talents like everyone else, they wouldn’t have to resort to the dishonest kind.

Bruins’ Ward : Media Are Sheep, ‘Canes GM Is A Rove Wannabe… And Visors Are For Pansies

Posted in Hockey at 1:48 pm by

Some pretty choice quotes from Bruins D Aaron Ward, the victim of a sucker punch K.O. delivered by Carolina’s Scott Walker during the final minutes of Boston’s Game 5 rout on Sunday. Keep in mind, George McGovern won Massachusetts when reading Ward’s comments, as collected by the Boston Herald‘s Conroy & Harris (thanks to Rick Sawyer for the link)

œThe best thing about this whole sitautiuon is the first approach they took was that he was in there because Matt Cullen has a history of concussions, then when they realize the following action was a punch to the head, so that story goes out the door because that would involve a third man in from Scott Walker, so they drop that pretty quick, said Ward. œThen they went to (the idea) that we were engaged in a conversation. If you see the video, I didn™t see him, I didn™t talk to him, my hands were by side. It was the usual scrum (with Cullen), gloves on, you take a punch, no big deal, it™s three minutes left in the game, nothing™s going to happen. Out of convenience, they went to another story and I obviously feel it™s a convenient story that the NHL accepted. And I think if you as the media accept that, you™re a bunch of sheep. It™s a convenient excuse and in the moment it allows people to get off scot-free and not have to deal with it.

Ward also took a shot at his former GM Jim Rutherford, who in a statement implied that it was the Bruins who™d been taking liberties with his players and that the ˜Canes simplpy reached a point where they could take no more.

œI know Jimmy™s a pretty staunch Republican but I didn™t know he brought Karl Rove in here to spin it for him, said Ward.

Ward, who was sporting some puffiness and abrasions under the left eye, will not wear a visor for tonight™s Game 6.

œThe doctor saw the x-ray, advised me to wear a visor. I haven™t worn one in 16 years and I™m not going to start now, said Ward.

Clemens : I Inherited Heart Disease From A Non-Relative

Posted in Baseball, Medical Science, Sports Radio at 12:20 pm by

OK, that’s not exactly what 7-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens told ESPN’s Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic this morning.  But in responding to accusations raised in the new Daily News’ compiled “American Icon”, the Rocket continued a pattern of denials and bizarre claims regarding his alleged use of human growth hormone.  From Newsday’s Ken Davidoff :

“He’s never injected me with HGH or steroids,”  Clemens said of McNamee. The accounts of McNamee made up the meatiest part of the Mitchell Report, and prompted Clemens to testify publicly against McNamee in a Congressional hearing, as well as file a defamation suit against McNamee.

While most of the counts of that suit have been dismissed, Clemens is marching forward with what’s left of it, he said.

“We’re still dealing with that right now,” he said. “I’m going to let [his attorneys] handle it.”

Clemens cited his family’s history of heart problems as another reason why he would never use illegal PEDs, saying that a brother had a heart attack in his 40s and his stepfather died of a heart attack. Of course, there is no genetic connection between Clemens and his stepfather.

Now 46, Clemens said that he supplied a DNA sample at the very beginning of this process, to prove that his DNA could not be on the needles that McNamee supplied to Congressional investigators. While reports have surfaced that Clemens’ DNA is indeed on those syringes — which McNamee alleges he used to inject Clemens with illegal PEDs — Clemens said that was “impossible, because he’s never given me any. He’s never given me HGH or any performance-enhancing drug.”

If Bill Goldberg Ever Makes A Comeback, It Probably Won’t Be With New Japan

Posted in Genocidal Tendencies, Professional Wrestling at 4:48 am by

From the Wrestling Obsever Newslettter :

There was controversy earlier today about a New Japan Pro Wrestling poster with Nazi symbols on it.  NWA Executive Director Bob Trobich even released a statement decrying it, saying, “It has come to our attention at the National Wrestling Alliance that New Japan Pro Wrestling (NWA Member in Japan) has included the use of certain offensive images and symbols in the promotion of its upcoming Dominion event.  The NWA does not approve of or condone the use of these images and symbols, and has requested that New Japan remove such images and symbols from their promotional materials.  As the oldest and most storied promotional body in professional wrestling, the NWA is committed to our fans and their enjoyment of pro wrestling.  Our sincerest apologies.”  New Japan has since changed the poster and removed the symbols.

Attention Street Trash Of Austin : One Final Sunday Night Of Free Movies At Beerland

Posted in Cinema, Internal Affairs at 12:06 am by

All good things must come to an end. And so must the ‘Church Of The Up Night’ film series as curated by Max Dropout and myself. You’ve not supported this wonderful endeavor in nearly big enough numbers and as such WE’RE SHUTTING THE FUCKER DOWN, with a final edition planned for Sunday, May 17th at 9pm . Max has a Happy Hour movie night in the works. And me….I’m just gonna sit around the house cursing Sean Green.


In the meantime, we’re gonna send the Church off in style. Max has the classic “Street Trash” headlining, while I’ve picked Robert Altman’s criminally ignored “O.C. & Stiggs” based on the fantastic National Lampoon stories of the same name. If I was booking the big high school dance, I’d sooner invite Drunks With Guns than King Sunny Ade, but we all have our favorites. As always, admission is free, the drinks are cheap…and so are you! See you at Beerland.


05.11.09

It Must Be Lonely For The Only Man With The A) Guts & B) Chops To Criticize ESPN

Posted in Blogged Down, Sports Journalism at 10:53 pm by

But enough about Phil Mushnick, how do you think Fox Sports’ Jason Whitlock feels? Sen. John Kerry invited some of journalism’s leading lights to Washington to testify about the sorry state of their profession last week, and Big Sexy declares “I wish that I had the necessary profile to be called before Congress to share my opinion.” You might want to write this date down somewhere Ladies and Gentleman, as that might be the closest we get to seeing Whitlock express anything approaching humility.

Some of my critics are troubled by my focus on ESPN. They wrongly believe I’m hostile toward ESPN because I split with/was fired by the network. I chose to liberate my mouth from ESPN because the network’s business relationships with all of the major sports leagues stand in the way of free, creative speech. I’m occasionally hostile toward ESPN because it’s an arrogant, reckless, destructive monopoly, and I still enjoy being a journalist from time to time. American journalists, last I checked, should be occasionally offended by arrogant, reckless, destructive monopolies. They’re generally seen as threats to democracy and our way of life.

Despite its obvious power, the mainstream media virtually ignores ESPN. We leave the coverage of the most powerful institution in sports to basement bloggers and a handful of harmless, press-release-rewriting embedded sports writers.

Our neglect reminds me of the newspaper arrogance that allowed “kids” to cover high school football and basketball recruiting. We ignored the clear public demand for recruiting news and let a group of sports fans create Rivals.com, which sold for $100 million.

Now we have Deadspin, The Big Lead and an army of citizen journalists building followings and eroding our credibility by attempting to police the people who conceitedly refuse to police themselves.

For the most part, bloggers can’t do it. They just don’t know enough. Their instincts are horrible. They’d never think to wonder whether a writer would leak a coaches name as a job candidate as a favor for information down the line so the coach could leverage his current school into a fat raise. And if a blogger did think of it, he/she would be unlikely to have the wherewithal to do the necessary reporting.

Having appeared on Oprah and “Mike & Mike”, I see no reason why Whitlock couldn’t school Congress on this issue (after all, I’ve already declared him to be “such a big deal that when he masturbates, it’s black on black crime”). But during the same week Jason chose to compare the NY TImes-trained Selena Roberts to the Rev. Al Sharpton it’s rather curious he’d cite blogs as lacking the “wherewithal” to do any investigative reporting. Is repeatedly decrying ESPN’s pervasive influence really a matter of compiling facts, or isn’t really a matter of Whitlock’s opinion — one that not-so-ironically is echoed throughout the sports blogosphere. Is there really a world of difference between Big Sexy and a self-obsessed blogger? Other than most examples of the latter having more readers, that is.