05.24.09

Mets Vlogger Extraordinaire Vs. Tornado

Posted in Baseball, Free Expression at 4:36 pm by

I should’ve linked to Ronni’s latest backyard chat prior to the Mets’ current 10 game road trip, but presumably the club’s recent injury woes, baserunning mistakes, harsh treatment of Ryan Church and heroics in Boston (well, prior to this afternoon, anyway)  will provide the Bard Of DIY Sports Commentary with ample material.

Danny Almonte Update : He’s An Old 22

Posted in Baseball at 3:09 pm by

Sad to say, but one time Little League star Danny Almonte‘s best hope of playing professional baseball might come as a mid-season signing for one of the many independent league clubs whose funny nicknames and offensive promotions dot the sporting landscape.  As the New York Daily News’ Julian Garcia explains, Bronx product Almonte is “running out of time.”

Though Almonte has torn up junior college ball with the Western Oklahoma State Pioneers, scouts have shied away from him, partly because he’s no longer the fresh-faced teenager with the golden arm that he was when he played at Monroe High in the Bronx.

“He’s kind of old now,” said one scout. “There are guys in the major leagues who are 22.”

The lefthander whose 70mph Little League fastball was the equivalent of a 92 mph big-league heater is no longer a flamethrower. His fastball has rarely reached the 90s, more often hitting the mid-to-upper 80s. He also throws a curveball and a changeup but doesn’t have the eye-opening “stuff” that scouts are looking for.

One scout who monitors talent in the Southwest said that even though Almonte’s pitching numbers are impressive, most players he competes against are significantly younger than he is – just like the old days. Eight years ago, Almonte was found to be 14 years old – not 12, as he had purported to be – in the Little League World Series, forcing his team to forfeit its victories.

“(He’s) a little bit old for a junior college player so I would say if the right team saw him on the right day, he may have a chance to get drafted. But he’s more of a free-agent sign type guy for most teams,” said the scout. “Obviously with any player, as you get older your window starts to close, but especially a guy like him. At least for me, he’s not really a prospect at this time.”

Peter Vecsey : Doing His Best To Get Stan V.G. Fired Before The Start Of Game 3

Posted in Basketball, Blogged Down at 2:59 pm by

While the Eastern Conference finals move to Orlando for Game 3 later today, the New York Post’s Peter Vescey remains consumed with the dramatic final moments of Friday’s Game 2, asking, “who could’ve imagined The Chosen One would’ve received so much bewildering help from The Frozen One?”

Just before Williams’ precision in-bounds assist for the electrocuting 3-point shocker, I was wondering if a Coach of the Year had ever been fired the same season he was honored.

For some incomprehensible reason, Orlando’s befuddled coach potato decided not to have 6-foot-10 Rashard Lewis jump in front of the 6-1 Williams while he was trying to inbound to James — “option A, B, C and D,” according to Williams.

Apparently, the Frozen One blew off that Tactics & Techniques class while studying under Pat Riley. Evidently, his father didn’t share all his coaching secrets with Stan and Jeff at the dinner table. Obviously, the Lamar Odom-Anthony Carter-Trevor Ariza steal sequence in Game 1 of the Nuggets-Lakers matchup escaped his keen observation.

I’m just wondering at what point after LeBron’s shot went in did The Frozen One realize he’d accomplished the unachievable and cost the Magic a conference final victory in a single, solitary second? How long afterward did it occur to him or did someone else point it out? Dwight Howard? Owner Rich DeVos? GM Otis Smith? Shaq?

The CSTB Prescription For Jonathan Papelbon :

Posted in Baseball at 12:50 pm by

A big dose of Calm The Fuck Down Pills (image culled from New York Sports Dog, courtesy The Eddie Kranepool Society). Agonizing over the blown save (to first ballot Hall Of Famer Omir Santos) is one thing, but there’s already a gang of umpires patrolling the field at Fenway. The next time this jackass makes a move for the first base line while the opposing team is in the field, he oughta be ejected, fined or tased.

05.23.09

Presumably, K.C. Broadcasters Are On The Lookout For George Brett, Jason Whitlock Lookalikes

Posted in Baseball, Food, mistaken I.D. at 9:23 pm by

Slightly more amazing than the above individual impersonating Food Network host / TGI Friday’s pitchman Guy Fieri is the celeb chef’s own network calling the doppelgänger “a slightly older, more bloated version…the imposter left no stone unturned, and mastered Guy™s smugness and air of faux superiority. He even had on one of Guy™s hideous Knuckle Sandwich wristbands, for heaven™s sake.”

(KORRECTION KORNER : the website Food Network Humor is not affiliated with the Food Network. My apologies to gourmands and humorists alike. )

Madsen : Waterboarding’s Just As Serious As Miguel Tejada Shooting Up

Posted in Basketball, Blogged Down, The Law, Total Fucking Terror at 2:49 pm by

When it comes to torture, there are few persons more qualified than the T-Wolves’ Mark Madsen. Between his dancing and his blogging, he’s been torturing the public for years. As such, the Mad Dog opined this week that perhaps there’s something out of whack when the likes of Barry Bonds, Miguel Tejada and Roger Clemens are held to a higher standard of truthiness when quizzed by the Feds than our own elected officials .

If the statements made to Congress must be accurate and true and if suspicion of those statements leads to hearings, should the statements made by Congress members themselves also be subject to rigorous treatment?

Last week, water-boarding came up in the National media. I read and listened to various statements from Republicans, Democrats and the CIA and there appear to be some major discrepancies. I really want to know what happened because to me this is an important issue.

If we can spend millions of dollars investigating professional athletes and trying to determine whether their statements are truthful, surely we can invest the time and resources to determine if there is a systematic breakdown between the CIA and our elected officials. Do we hold our elected officials to the same standard as we hold professional athletes? Steroid use is not a good thing, but I would hope that we can all agree that torture, national security, and the checks and balances put into place to prevent these types of problems are perhaps at least equally important as the steroid issue

Not Nearly As Great A Giveaway As The Larry Craig Bobblefoot

Posted in Baseball, politics at 2:26 pm by

….but as topical promotions go, the St. Paul Saints haven’t done too badly in this instance.

In Retrospect, Maybe Turkoglu Should’ve Tackled LeBron…

Posted in Basketball at 1:48 am by

….the results couldn’t have been any worse for Orlando.  And while there’s a lack of consensus on the TNT set, perhaps if Stan Van Gundy had it all to do over again, he’d put more than one body on James in this instance.  With one second remaining and Williams inbounding, who’s gonna get the ball?  Probably not Zydrunas Ilgauskas.  And if a wide open Lithuanin hits an improbable game-winner or ties it up at the of regulation, I suspect you live with that finish.   As it stands, the Magic had a chance to deny the shot if not the ball to the most dangerous player left in these playoffs.  Other than that, they didn’t play a poor 47 minutes and 59 seconds of basketball.

05.22.09

Donald Sterling: Not Much Better at Being a Human Than He is at Owning the Clips

Posted in Basketball, Greedy Motherfuckers at 6:47 pm by

Readers with strong Google skills and stronger judgment issues could probably find the manifesto-style piece I wrote about the Los Angeles Clippers for my college paper. I’m not going to link to it here, but I know it’s out there, and I know a fairly passionate case is made for this guy as someone who can help the Clippers, and that the semiotic significance of the team using Anthony Avent a lot gets addressed with all the hungover seriousness I brought to fucking everything when I was 21. It’s a masterwork. So masterful a masterwork, in fact, that…yeah, not linking to it.

Anyway, the Clips neither warranted nor received much respect at my Los Angeles-area school, where the locals grew up cheering for the Lakers — who actually, you know, won games and had decent players — and everyone else who cared couldn’t fathom cheering for a Clippers team that lost, often and generally in the most unappealing of ways. These were the worst old days: a sad-looking Lamar Odom dishing to a pale, jittery Pete Chilcutt while Eric Piatkowski and Darrick Martin stood around the 3-point line clapping their hands and demanding the ball. On the bench, Michael Olowokandi solemnly consumed plates of wings. Keith Closs blew his salary getting profane tattoos in places easily visible to kids, and later was videotaped getting beaten up by a group of people outside a club. Avent and Tyrone Nesby and earnest discussions on the Clips message board I frequented about how the team needed to give free-agent-to-be Maurice Taylor a max deal to prove that they were serious. Of course I cheered for these guys.

Besides final and undeniable proof of my sports-fan masochism, though, the most notable wisdom I gained from my Clips experience, was that the true villain of the endless, slow-motion tragicomedy that is this franchise is one Donald Sterling, the fantastically feckless mogul/goof who is generally regarded as the worst owner in American professional sports. In the most recent ESPN the Magazine, Peter Keating gives The Donald the full exposé treatment, complete with examples of Sterling’s casual racism, grope-and-grunt way with the ladies, ultra-craven business practices and general oleaginous creepery. It’s hard to know where to excerpt. It’s a long piece, but eminently worth reading and not exactly lacking in rubbernecky highlights or cameos from the D-grade celebs Sterling hangs out with (Pia Zadora’s car makes an appearance and Penitentiary star Leon Isaac Kennedy has a nice speaking part). Let’s go with this, though:

At his best, Sterling can make you believe anything is possible. He has an infectious grin, boyish enthusiasm and a propensity for hugs and shoulder rubs. His willingness to say everything with conviction can seem downright Clintonian, but it also registers as optimistic. “I thought there was no way the Clippers were going to match the contract I signed with the Heat in 2003. I was in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Miami when Donald Sterling called,” says Elton Brand. “He said, ‘I love you, I love Elton Brand.’ I was surprised but honored. He honestly feels what he feels at that time.”

But Sterling also uses his wealth and power like many other rich and powerful men: to impose his eccentricities on others. When dining out, Sterling has on occasion recommended meals for his guests without ordering anything for himself, forcing them to then share with him. He once invited a draft pick to his Beverly Hills mansion, then conducted the meeting wearing only a bathrobe. He also regularly makes large contributions to charities — like the Special Olympics — and then when the groups honor him, he takes out self-congratulatory newspaper ads. “Sterling desperately wants people to believe he’s a good person, and if they don’t, it drives him crazy,” says a lawyer who knows him. “But he also just can’t get out of his own way…”

The people who work for Sterling and live in his buildings who say they bear the worst of his unconventional behavior. For years he has run semianonymous ads (crude design jobs he reportedly mocks up himself) seeking “hostesses” for Clippers events and his private parties. In a Times ad last summer, Sterling’s company solicited “attractive females” to bring a résumé and photo to his address, where employees reviewed their looks. Some of the women who have gone through this process found it humiliating. “Working for Donald Sterling was the most demoralizing, dehumanizing experience of my life,” says a hostess from the 1990s who says she helped set up “cattle calls” to find other women to work the job. “He asked me for seminude photos and made it clear he wanted more.”

Outed In Oakland : Warriors Publicist Is “The Flunkster”

Posted in Basketball, Blogged Down, Sports Journalism, The Internet at 6:01 pm by

Yesterday, I posted an item about Atlanta Hawks/Thrashers owner Bruce Levenson facing charges of posting pseudononymous comments to the Atlanta Journal-Contstituion’s website.  While the AJC has failed to prove Levenson’s participation in such a gutless act, the San Jose Mercury News’ Tim Kawakami today reveals Golden State Warriors P.R. director Raymond Ritter to be the message board troll “The Flunkster Dude” at WarriorsWorld.net (link courtesy Charles Star and The Popehat).

Posting earlier today as “The Flunkster Dude, Ridder (above) wrote that he appreciated that afternoon™s season-ticket-holder conference call, conducted by GM Larry Riley, team president Robert Rowell and broadcaster Bob Fitzgerald.

œI actually enjoyed the call and appreciate their honesty, the Flunkster Dude wrote.

As PR director, Ridder was heavily involved in setting up the call, in large part to stem the tide of recent negative publicity about the Warriors™ front-office decisions and the shedding of former executive VP Chris Mullin.

After the afternoon posting, there was an immediate uproar on the WW.net site when the site managers revealed that they had traced the comment™s IP address to the Warriors offices.

œIt was 100% me, Ridder said without hesitation when I reached him by phone. “I™ll take 100% responsibility, if anybody thinks I did anything wrong, Ridder said. œIt was completely on my own. I™ve never been told to do anything by anybody here. It was just me.

œIt was nothing malicious at all. I just wanted to get the conversation going in a positive direction“I thought we had a good conference call, I had some good conversations with some season-ticket-holders, then I got to my office and I looked on the internet and all I saw was negative comments, complaints, nothing positive.

œFrom my standpoint, I just wanted to get some positive things going. When I saw all the negative comments, I wanted to chime in. That™s all.

Ridder also confirmed that he has posted four other comments to WW.net anonymously defending management or otherwise trying to get the conversation going in œa positive direction.

None of the comments criticized Mullin (in fact, a comment about the Jamal Crawford trade ended with œNice job Mully!), despite the growing division between Rowell/Cohan and Mullin. None of the comments criticized a player.

Other than one negative comment about Matt Steinmetz and a general mention of œwhat we read in the newspaper, none of the Ridder comments single out a media member for rebuke.

Replies WarriorsWorld’s James Venes, “This is what we get under Cohan and Rowell, a dysfunctional front office more concerned about their image on a fan site (which we already knew they followed) than improving the team. The solution, aside from Cohan and Rowell leaving for good, is simple: fix the team and the rest will follow. As disappointed as I was to learn Ridder made the post (I think everyone’s entitled to a goof or two), none of this would have happened if it wasn’t for the people above him.”