Michael Jackson, 1958-2009

Posted in Leave No Child Unbeaten, The World Of Entertainment at 6:17 pm by

The late King Of Pop, as depicted by Derek Erdman.

The Sales Pitch For Nets ’09-10 Season Tickets : Enjoy The Silence, Privacy

Posted in Basketball at 5:24 pm by

“One year after shipping out Richard Jefferson for Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons , a controversial deal that has not exactly yielded dividends,” writes the Newark Star-Ledger’s Dave D’Alessandro, “the Nets are now parting with the player who helped saved the franchise from oblivion during the cold winter of ’04-05.”  After dealing Jefferson and Jason Kidd, the Nets have cut all ties with their mid-decade success by trading Vince Carter and Ryan Anderson to the Orlando Magic in exchange for Rafer Alston, power forward Tony Battie, and rookie shooting guard Courtney Lee. From D’Alessandro :

It is now likely that the Nets will lean toward drafting a two-guard to take Carter’s place, such as Terrence Williams. If that isn’t the case, Lee — a very promising player who was otherwise abused by Kobe Bryant in the NBA Finals — will fight Chris Douglas-Roberts for the starting job.

Equally plausible is that the Nets have opened the door for another power forward, with Anderson heading south. That could provide the necessary impetus to draft Tyler Hansbrough.

Both Alston ($5.25M) and Battie ($6.2M) are in the final seasons of their contract, while Carter carries a salary of $16.1 million this year and $17.5 million for 2010-11.

Considering that salaries of Lee and Anderson basically cancel each other out, that means the Nets are shaving $17.5 million from their cap in 2010-11. Put another way, they have earmarked a scant $29 million for seven players heading into the historic free agent market of 2010.

Warriors coach Don Nelson denies reports Golden State have a deal in place to send the rights to the no. 7 pick in tonight’s draft along with Andris Biedrins to rebuilding Phoenix in exchange for Amare Stoudemire. If the Suns seem an unlikely playoff candidate for spring 2010, perhaps it would make more sense to shop Steve Nash before he’s another day older?

Steve Lyons Adds Anti-Intellectualism To His Resume

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, Sports TV at 4:04 pm by

Really, why stop at mocking Jews, racism and exhbitionism? Eric Collins and Steve Lyons butted heads a few times during last night’s telecast of of the Dodgers at the White Sox, and let’s just say x-rays of Psycho’s head would reveal nothing.   Here’s a few of the highlights, as collected by Sons Of Steve Garvey (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)

Lyons: Do you follow some of the other whacked-out statistical categories that are nouveau to the game of baseball?
Collins: I do. It’s ”
Lyons: What are they?
Collins: Well, you got defensive ” for the first time ever you have ”
Lyons: The WHIP ”
Collins: For the first time ever you have categories that measure defense. The UZR: Ultimate Zone Rating. It makes a difference. Everyone talked about it last year. Tampa Bay making it to the post-season because of pitching and defense. Defense matters nowadays.
Lyons: It’s fictional. There is a place, a very small place, for the computer geeks that are now taking over the game of baseball. There is a place, but it’s a small place. We’re seeing way too much of it. UZR. And your WHIPs and your OPSes. They don’t show me what kind of heart the guy has. BABIP?
Collins: Batting Average on Balls in Play?
Lyons: Stupid. Doesn’t tell me if the guy is a player. Doesn’t tell me if the guy can play. Is he a gamer? Does he get dirty? Does he go out there and play hard? Is he a good teammate? None of that stuff tells me any of that. That’s the guy I want.
Collins: That would be your Derek Jeter, we were talking about an inning ago.
Lyons: I’ll take your computer and I’ll toss it right off this balcony here.
Collins: Every computer ever designed would have told you that Alex Rodriguez was a better defender than Derek Jeter when he first came to the Yankees, yet Derek Jeter continued to play shortstop. And that didn’t help the Yankees at all defensively.
Three-one pitch.
But Derek Jeter is a gamer and he’s ”
Lyons: I’ll let you take that up with Joe Torre.
Collins: I bet he’d have an interesting thought on that. Maybe that’ll be my task for tomorrow.
Lyons: I hope you still have a job after that conversation.

The Dodgers and White Sox are currently tied at 5-5 in the last of the 9th at the Cell.  I’ll not bother to link to the box score, because it would tell you absolutely nothing about any of the participants’ willingness to get dirty.

Bad Timing Dept : Tyreke Evans’ Draft Week Distraction

Posted in Basketball, The Law at 2:00 pm by

The following tragic tale from the Delaware County Times’ Marlene DiGiacamo wouldn’t ordinarily be fodder for the sports blogs where it not for a prominent name that surfaces in the 4th graph.

As soulful sobbing echoed through the courtroom from the victim™s relatives, a judge Tuesday told Jamar Evans that when he pulled the trigger and snuffed out the life of another youth in a senseless street shooting, he was œhorrendously wrong.

Judge Ann Osborne sentenced Evans, 18, of Chester to nine to 20 years in jail, to be followed by eight years of probation, in the Nov. 25, 2007, fatal shooting in Chester Township. Marcus Reason, 19, was gunned down by Evans, who opened fire from a car.

The car, in which Evans was a passenger and from where the fatal shot was fired, was driven by his cousin, Tyreke Evans (above), a standout basketball player this past season for the University of Memphis. He was also a star at the now-defunct American Christian School.

Tyreke Evans was not charged in connection with the case and had been expected to testify in his cousin™s behalf, but has not been present during any of the county court proceedings.

The New York Daily News’ Frank Isola suggests the Knicks are trying to choose between Tyreke Evans and Duke’s Gerald Henderson with 8th overall selection in tonight’s NBA Draft. There’s probably not a tactful way to ask Evans about his cousin’s sentencing this evening, but in the event he slips out of the top 10, it should at the very least be mentioned during ESPN’s coverage.

Steven Wells, RIP

Posted in non-sporting journalism, Rock Und Roll, Sports Journalism at 11:22 am by

Steven Wells aka Swells aka Seething Wells, the Yorkshire spoken word artist, author, music journalist and sporting critic, has passed away at the age of 49 following a long battle with lympathic cancer.  Wells’ columns for the Guardian —- written from his subsequent Philadelphia home — have been quoted at length in CSTB, and perhaps some enterprising person will compile a stack of them into a book of some sort.   To call Wells a contrarian is only skimming the surface of his skills.  There have been few scribes on either side of the pond — in the music or sports spheres — who could match his wit, or maintained bullshit detectors so finely attuned. He’ll be sorely missed and our thoughts go out to his family, friends and colleagues.

Prickly Diesel Isn’t Touting Mark Jackson As A Head Coaching Candidate

Posted in Basketball at 9:57 am by

Of  Wednesday night’s thoroughly expected swap sending Shaquille O’Neal to Cleveland in exchange for Ben Wallace(‘s contract?), Sasha Pavlovic and the 46th overall pick in tonight’s NBA Draft, The Plain-Dealer’s Brian WIndhorst gushes, “The Cavs just traded for an All-NBA player and a Hall of Famer …not Delonte West.  Not J.J. Hickerson.” Of course, Danny Ferry also acquired a center who will be 38 years old during the Cavs’ next playoff run, and one who takes considerable exception to any implication he’s far past his prime. See below :


Brace Yourself For Broadway Darko

Posted in Basketball at 8:23 pm by

While the Daily News’ Frank Isola reports the Knicks are on the brink of dealing Quentin Richardson for Darko Milicic, Newsday’s Alan Hahn — a predictor, if not a proponent of Stephen Curry coming to MSG, has alleged New York target Ricky Rubio slipping no further than no. 5 overall in tomorrow night’s NBA Draft.

Oklahoma City could go for Rubio at No. 3, but James Harden (above) is just a better fit. The Thunder is one of the few drum-tight organizations in the draft. Absolutely zero is being leaked from their braintrust, so everything is pure speculation, but one thing we have consistently heard over the past few weeks is the Thunder are not interested in sliding Russell Westbrook out of the point guard spot. That leaves Rubio on the board for Sacramento at No. 4, but wait…the latest word is the Kings will pass on Rubio and go for Tyreke Evans. That sets up Minnesota, who targeted Rubio with the trade-up and they could get him at No. 5.

That leaves the sixth pick as a curious one. If the T-Wolves get Rubio, why would they draft another guard with the sixth pick? But they have an eye on Harden or Evans as shooting guards if they are there. If not, total mystery

Fraud Victim Dirk – Why Couldn’t He Have Hooked Up With Kari Farrell Instead?

Posted in Basketball, Blogged Down, History's Great Hook-Ups at 6:48 pm by

“At least I’m not the first to fall for this sort of thing.” a sheepish Dirk Notwitzki tells Der Spiegal’s Cathrin Gilbert as the details of his former fiancee Cristal Taylor aka Christian Trevino’s criminal past become newspaper & blog fodder around the world.  Dirk tells Taylor he’s not set foot in his Dallas home since the May 6 morning of Taylor’s arrest, and recalls his dad calling the relationship “a lapse in taste”. Hey, we’ve all been there!

Nowitzki says that he always enjoyed not having to worry about anything. Even as a child, his mother, Helga, made all of his decisions for him, protecting her chicks like a mother hen. Nowadays, says Nowitzki, he wonders whether it was such a good idea to have taken so little responsibility.

Every morning, he would drive out of the garage of his $6 million (‚¬4.3 million) mansion — not far from where former President George W. Bush’s neighborhood now lives — in his $130,000 (‚¬93,000) Mercedes AMG, and drive to the Mavericks’ parking garage. In the evening, he would drive home again. Perhaps this is the only path a gifted athlete can take if he hopes to remain successful. Formula 1 world champion Michael Schumacher chose the same path. Perhaps it is simply the easiest path. At any rate, it isn’t dangerous, because by staying out of the limelight, a player is able to avoid the critics, even as he loses his ability to recognize danger and to make emotional decisions

Randy Stevens is a detective in Beaumont. They call him the “Crime Stopper.” He has been dealing with the Taylor case for the last four years. It’s the craziest story he has ever heard, says Stevens. It began when he was contacted by a dentist who had been waiting for months to be paid about $10,000 (‚¬7,140) for working on Taylor’s teeth. She was apparently still living in Woodlands, north of Houston, at the time, says Stevens. He tried to meet her there four times, but was unsuccessful. He notified a special government agency in Nashville, Tennessee, and then added the case to his files, complete with Taylor’s mug shot. If he hadn’t seen a report on television about the NBA star and his mysterious fiancée in early May, he would never have found Taylor. “Her tactics were simply too professional,” says the Crime Stopper.

Nowitzki is sitting in his father’s leather chair, wearing shorts but no shoes. He isn’t quite sure what will happen next. He is still considering whether to play for Germany at the European championship in Poland in September. When he flies back to Dallas in September, Nowitzki will have to find a new life. He would probably be better off forgetting everything else.

Confederations Cup Semi-Final : USA 2, Spain 0 – FT

Posted in Football, Sports Radio at 4:02 pm by

Earlier today, noted global soccer expert Colin Cowherd mentioned the US v. Spain semi had yet to kick off, but “Spain’s already ahead, 4-0″.

Hopefully, ESPN’s midafternoon mouthpiece will in the future, restrict his commentary to subjects in which he has actual expertise. Not sure how he’ll fill more than 30 seconds a day with such content, but when in doubt, there’s always his boner for Courtney Love.

Allen : Why Are The C’s So Eager To Move Rondo?

Posted in Basketball at 3:22 pm by

Though Danny Ainge denied a rumored swap of Boston’s Rajon Rondo and Brian Scalabrine for Memphis’ Rudy Gay and Mike Conley during the Celtics GM’s Wednesday morning appearance on WEEI , Ainge hardly gave Rondo a vote of confidence, telling Dennis & Callahan, “he’s got to grow up in some cases.“  Under what circumstances would it be to Boston’s advantage to publicly reveal their young PG was fined for tardiness during the postseason?  Boston Sports Media‘s Bruce Allen concludes “Rondo just might not be long for Boston,” even if “he is easily the most entertaining Celtic to watch.” From Metro.us :

If we’ve learned anything during Danny Ainge’s tenure with the Celtics, it is that he is not afraid to make bold moves, and that he develops a plan, and he carries it out. During his early years with the club, he talked constantly about acquiring assets and young talent with the aim of then trading it for veteran stars. He turned that thinking into Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.

He’s mentioned since then that he purposely “stacked” the contracts of Allen, Pierce and Garnett to expire in in consecutive years so that the team would have the ability to replace their stars as they aged. He may have had a specific plan in place for the coming years. Did Rondo’s emergence perhaps threaten to throw a wrench into those plans? If the Celtics need to give Rondo a max contract, will that prevent them from making some other move? Owner Wyc Grousbeck was also on WEEI recently and gushed about the possibility of a scenario next summer in which the Celtics would be able to offer a maximum contract to a free agent. The scenario would seem to be contingent on Rondo not getting that max money, or even close to it. Who knew that when we were marveling at Rondo’s play against the Bulls, we were perhaps watching him play his way right out of town?

So perhaps Ainge is trying to move Rondo for as much as he can so that the Celtics will still be in position to do whatever he has in mind to do next summer? That’s about the only thing I can think of, though it doesn’t make any sense for Ainge to publicly point out the flaws in Rondo’s game if he is truly trying to trade him.

Conlin : Where’s The Outrage Over Sports’ Drunks?

Posted in Baseball, Gridiron, social crusaders, Sports Journalism, The Law at 2:13 pm by

“Alcohol has been the favorite pastime of the National Pastime going back to when everybody was humming ‘Slide, Kelly Slide’” insists the Philadelphia Daily News’ Bill Conlin, citing his own firsthand knowledge of 1890′s baseball.  That said, while Conlin is an oft ridiculed figure around these parts, he makes a rather salient point when insisting, “the Steroid Era, where testing rules and penalties are bartered as it unfolds, is a stark disconnect when measured against the carnage of drunken driving.”

Alcohol-related accidents cause a death every half-hour and an injury every 2 minutes. Alcohol-related crashes claim an average of 17,000 victims a year. You’ve probably read that criminal justice is a popular major for college football players. I can see why. Such a pervasive culture of thuggery has developed around Joe Paterno’s “Grand Experiment” at Penn State, I wondered if the State College drunk tank has blocking sleds.

Listen, I’m not going all preachy on you. I was bounced from Bucknell University 55 years ago for an alcohol-related incident. No whiny appeals in those days, just a bus ticket handed to me the next morning by the Dean of Men.

Former Eagles wideout Donté Stallworth killed a pedestrian in Miami on March 14 while driving drunk. Boy, the prosecutor really stuck it to him – 30 whole days in jail for taking a life due to his criminal negligence. Oh, he’ll have some additional inconvenience – 2 years of house arrest, 8 more on probation and 1,000 hours community service. Bottom line, Donté ducked a 15-year stretch. The NFL immediately suspended him indefinitely.

So, on one hand a guy who commited vehicular manslaughter gets a relative wrist slap. On the other, Manny Ramirez tested positive in a random spring-training test and was suspended 50 games. He also will forfeit $7.7 million of his $25 million salary.

Try to remember, however, that the toll caused by alcohol-related auto accidents blows away the yearly KIA figures suffered in our ongoing two-front wars. But nobody has founded MAAJ – Mothers Against Anabolic Juicing. Not yet.

While I’m pleased Conlin resisted the temptation to compare Stallworth’s case to that of Michael Vick, I’m not sure I see the analogy between the criminal charges faced by the Browns WR and violating another sport’s drug policy.  If Conlin would like to see Major League Baseball implement a Vehicular Homicide policy, he might be satisfied knowing most states already have one of their own in place.  Though the columnist is technically correct in scoffing there’s no Mothers Against Anabolic Juicing, surely a journalist as well informed as Conlin is familiar with the Taylor Hoot0n Foundation?

Phil Jax, Part-Time Coach

Posted in Basketball at 12:57 pm by

Apparently it’ll take more than the owner’s daughter and more money than God to keep Phil Jackson in the Laker fold next season.  It appears the aging Zen Master would like to entrust road games to assistant Kurt Rambis, in an arrangement as cushy as it is unprecedented. From the LA Times’ Broderick Turner :

This is not new to me,” Rambis (above), who was one of the final candidates for the Sacramento Kings head coaching job, said late Tuesday night. “This is one of the many ideas we kicked around a little.

“The hardest part about the job is the travel. It’s especially hard when you have physical issues. There’s some travel that are particularly grueling. He can take tough road trips off. Phil is probably at a point where he is looking to wind his career down and I’m looking to wind my career up.”

While doing a radio interview with 710 AM Tuesday morning, Jackson reiterated what he told reporters last Friday at the team’s training facility in El Segundo — that his health would be the only reason to keep him from coaching next season.

Jackson, who turns 64 in September, told the radio station that the organization has “toyed” with the idea of him skipping some road games and with having Rambis take over the head coaching duties in his place.

Jackson has had two hip-replacement surgeries, an angioplasty and gout during his two stints coaching the Lakers.

“Everybody benefits,” Rambis said. “Phil remains fresh without having the season and the travel wear him down. It gives me valuable coaching experience. What the future holds beyond Phil, I don’t know. But this keeps continuity of what we’re doing, what we do defensively and offensively.”

Stan Kasten’s Washington Nationals : Going Above & Beyond In Making Opposing Fans Feel Right At Home

Posted in Baseball at 9:58 am by

“If the infidels are gonna be there anyhow, you might as well make money off them in your official team store.” So mused a half serious Dan Steinberg of DC Sports Bog upon noticing the Nationals took it upon themselves to flog Red Sox merchandise in their team shop during this week’s influx of Massholes. Said initiative comes shortly on the heels of Steinberg calling Nats president Stan Kasten out for his crass attempts at target marketing — to Phillies phans.

All of the above issues pale in comparison to the franchise’s on-field woes, but can you possibly imagine, for instance, the Red Sox returning the favor? Or the Phillies openly inviting fans of a division rival to fill their ballpark? I’m sure every penny counts in DC, but even a 20-48 team deserves some smidgeon of a home field advantage.

PFT : Go On, Show Us A Jock That’s Not Apolitical

Posted in Blogged Down, social crusaders at 9:09 am by

Jim Brown recently castigated Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan for the duo’s seeming disinterest in being agents for social change, prompting the following retort from Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio yesterday.

Other than Brown, we™re having trouble thinking of many/any athletes of any race or creed or ethnicity in the past generation who have risked compromising their careers in the name of promoting social progress. 

Indeed, most athletes have opted to tread cautiously when it comes to things that potentially could undermine their earning power.

Hey, how about Ira Newbie? Steve Nash? Etan Thomas? Carlos Delgado? Seriously MIke, I realize it’s hard to gather all the hot NFL stories and still find time to relentlessly shill for a cell phone company, but it’s not totally unheard of for an athlete to risk the ire of sponsors and media while trying to-do-the-right-thing.


Can The NFL Produce Something As Awful As Sandfrog? Dallas’ Doubly Offense Line Might Be Up To The Challenge

Posted in Gridiron, Rock Und Roll at 9:17 pm by

“These guys must be great,” exults The Landry Hat about Free Reign, an aspiring metal quartet featuring Dallas Cowboys offensive linemen Leonard Davis, Marc Colombo and Cory Proctor. “They are so good that ESPN refused to release even a few seconds of the live footage of these guys blasting their free rock music.” That’s certainly one way of looking at it (and sadly, their videos aren’t so hard to find).  You could also say Free Reign are so accomplished, they’ve signed with the same Australian label responsible for bringing you the vocal stylings of such arias as Tim “Ripper” Owens and Chris Jericho (despite their sole upcoming gig being a DeMarcus Ware fundraiser).  Musical attributes aside, I take this as yet another sign Wade Phillips has no control over his locker room.  Surely during Jimmy Johnson’s heyday, a band like this could’ve at least done a one-off with Metalblade.

Vecsey : Psycho T’s Only Slightly Superior To Mark Madsen

Posted in Basketball at 7:15 pm by

Along with tipping the Knicks to try and move up to the no. 2 spot in Thursday’s NBA Draft in order to select PG Ricky Rubio, the New York Post’s Peter Vecsey confesses he’s witnessed very little NCAA hoops of late, and such defers to the wisdom of Clibhoops’ Jim Clibanoff.

How can Tyler Hansbrough be UNC’s all-time leading scorer and be expected by many experts to be this June’s Rashard Lewis — last invited draftee sitting in the green room? At best, he might crash the lottery at No. 13 or 14.

“The longer a guy stays in school, the less attractive he becomes to most of the pundits!” Clibanoff replied. “Less room to dream about that magical and intoxicating expression called ‘upside.’

“Regrettably, they discount experience, basketball IQ and NBA-readiness — resulting from time spent in college — and focus on how great a player he could become as opposed to how devoid he is of the aforementioned recipe items.

“Hansbrough may indeed have a capped upside, but his corresponding DOWNSIDE is not nearly as deep as many of the pups that will precede him on draft night.”

As for Hansbrough’s lack of respect by the authorities, an East Coast GM declared he’d love to have him on his team. “He plays all-out, will give you extra possessions by taking a charge, be productive in the pick-and-pop game and shoots 85 percent from the free throw line.

“On the other hand, he has small hands, short arms and is a soft finisher. I like him . . . but not like that. I envision him as an upgraded version of Mark Madsen.”

WSJ’s ‘Soccer In the Worst Places on Earth’ Series Continues in Myanmar

Posted in Football, Sports Journalism, We Aren't The World at 5:01 pm by

Last week, I linked to a story by the Wall Street Journal’s Jeff Opdyke about Stephen Constantine, a British-born coach who specializes in turning around benighted national soccer programs in blighted nations. It didn’t occur to me that Opdyke’s piece might’ve been part of a WSJ series on soccer in the worst nations on earth, but the arrival today of an un-bylined piece in the Journal about soccer in Myanmar makes me wonder if it is. It’s a good idea for a series, either way.

The article, credited to “A WSJ Staff Reporter,” details the scene at a soccer game in Yangon, Myanmar. Myanmar is pretty far down there in both the UN Development and FIFA rankings. The article works very well as a vivid look at the persistence of this particular pastime even in flat-broke, super-repressive, ultra-nutty — that is: governed by totally unaccountable astrology-obsessed generals — nations, but the thing that’s most interesting to me in the story actually only barely gets mentioned. That’s the presence of international players in Burma’s league.

With salaries topping out at $1,000 a week, it wouldn’t seem worth it to play soccer in one of the saddest and most profoundly effed-up countries out there. Not to belabor the point, but this is a failed state so failed that it’s not even clear what its (now-discredited) ideology of choice is — there’s presumably something Marxist going on there, but the impression I got after reading George Packer’s terrific story on the country in last August’s New Yorker is that there isn’t really anything at all guiding or governing the military junta’s decisions besides an all-encompassing urge to repress and the aforementioned astrology obsession. The government buys arms from North Korea and helps other nations do the same; the generals let citizens die after last year’s typhoons because they didn’t want to admit NGOs or health organizations — it’s that awesomely awful a place. And yet the author mentions that there are Argentines and Cameroonians and Ivoirians playing in the league, and even interviews a few. At the risk of taking anything away from a very interesting piece that obviously took a lot of balls to research and write, I want to know about those guys. Even without that, though, it’s definitely worth a read. Here’s a taste:

As Myanmar’s economy sank under international sanctions and the military’s neglect, the country’s soccer prowess waned. By the 1990s, the national team was often a source of embarrassment, and in 2000, it abruptly withdrew from qualifying matches for the World Cup 2002 — a retreat for which it offered no explanation at the time. International soccer authorities then disqualified the team from the 2006 Cup as well.

As the national team fizzled, fans had to settle for amateur league games played by squads linked to government departments, with names such as “Central Supply and Transport Depot” and “Forestry.”

The new league aims to change that. In an email, Ko Soe Moe, a spokesman for the Myanmar Football Federation, said the league was created because “Myanmar football needs to change to professional to get more achievements in international competitions.” He also said the league wants “to “create entertainment for local fans.”

…Much of the action is slow, and daily downpours, common in Yangon this time of year, turn many games into mudfests. But there are also moments of drama and skill. “Football in this manner could only be seen before” in European leagues, said Soe Moe, a furniture salesman who attends matches.

Ex-DC Mayor Barry : Redskins Nickname “Degrading, Disrespectful”

Posted in Gridiron, politics, Racism Corner at 3:33 pm by

(a degrading choice of cap, perhaps, but surely Barry cannot be expected to rock a Mitchell & Ness Bullets hat in public?)

If you type the phrase “Mayor Crackhead” into Google, the first search result that comes up is “Marion Barry – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.”  In spite of this one-dimensional view of his long political history, former D.C. hizzoner Marion Barry — currently serving as a City Councilor for the District’s 8th Ward — is a sought after interviewee, with Hogs Haven quizzing the iconic politico on a number of Washington-related sporting topics.

KevinE: Dan Snyder recently won a lawsuit regarding the use of the name “Redskins,” from your youth and growing up, you played a part in the Civil Rights Movement and have had to deal with many race issues, what is your take on the “Redskins” mascot name and do you think it is offensive to Native Americans?

Marion Barry: I agree with the Native Americans. I think it’s degrading and disrespectful. This happened in a time when you didn’t have that kind of attitude going on…you know, an era that went on that should have been changed to another name. You know, it’s true, and there’s others, the [Cleveland] Indians and other places. That’s that. Now we have to figure out how we can get the Redskins back in the District of Columbia. I think it’s going to be very, very difficult.  For one, Snyder has a long term lease, he’s invested millions of dollars in his enterprise. He’s making money, and to come back to the district is my view wishful thinking, even though I’d like it to happen. It’s wishful thinking.

KevinE: You were Mayor for multiple Super Bowls. Do have any good stories from those times?

Marion Barry: Well, probably the most exciting one was when we played in Tampa Bay…when we played Oakland. Lots of activities outside of the game. Friday and Saturday. A lot of friends about. It was just a great time. That’s when Jack Kent Cooke was really riding high [laughing].

KevinE: I know back then it was very social where politicians mingled with players often. Was that the case?

Marion Barry: Oh yea. Very much. In fact I stayed at the hotel with the Redskins players. That gave me a chance. Oh yea, I knew a lot of them personally.

KevinE: The Fun Bunch?

Marion Barry: [laughing] Yea! hehe. I remember the John Riggins years too!! [laughing] He was on board at Tampa Bay. In fact, a friend of mine and I were sitting at this bar/nightclub celebrating Friday night and he kept saying “Riggins who?! Riggins who?! I said, “Man, stop all that noise, you know? Put your money where your mouth is. So I put down a $100.” … “Riggy who! Riggy who! Riggy who! Riggy who!” And I said, “Let’s go one more!” and he said “No, I’m not going…I’m already dead because I lost my money” because Oakland beat us. But the whole atmosphere was different then then it is now. Not just because of the situation. NFL is more business now than the will to play and the passion. With these millions of dollars out there.

Another Chance To See Nash, Kidd Torched In A Second Sport

Posted in Basketball, Football at 1:03 pm by

David Roth wrote effusively last year of Thierry Henry’s clinical performance during an star-studded L.E.S friendly, and it just so happens Steve Nash and Claudio Reyna are hosting the charity event, “Showdown In Chinatown” once again tomorrow afternoon in Lower Manhattan’s Roosevelt Park.

Nash’s soccer credentials as a former Tottenham trialist have been mentioned in this space before, but for those unconvinced the two-time NBA MVP can go toe-to-toe with the world’s football greats…the above video won’t change your thinking.

The UFL : Coming Soon To A NYC Outdoor Sporting Venue. Or Maybe Not

Posted in Gridiron, New York, New York, Ugly New Stadiums at 12:30 pm by

Of the fledgling United Football League’s register-yourself-as-an-agent web page, reader Cosgrove Watt, asks, “has Darren Heitner been made aware of this unique and exciting opportunity yet?” And while I agree this could well represent Darren’s best shot at busting out of the web model / pro bowler ghetto, I’m more impressed with other aspects of the UFL’s business model. To wit, fielding 4 teams (NY, SF, Vegas, Orlando) playing in 7 different cities (the above four, plus Hartford, LA and Sacramento). If the star power of Jim Fassell and Denny Green doesn’t bring enough credibility to the upstart league, how about their grandiose plans for a New York stadium?

The league’s site audaciously claims “the most appealing venue may be the Mets™ new baseball stadium Citi Field in Willets Point in the New York City borough of Queens” (can’t you just imagine Jeff Wilpon blushing?), while adding hopefully, “the new Yankee Stadium, set to open spring 2009 with seating for 53,000, would also be ideal for a UFL team.” It’s a bit of a climb-down after those two buildings, however.

Another possible UFL venue is Laurence Wein Stadium at Columbia University in Manhattan. The stadium currently seats 16,500 with the possibility for expansion. Placing a UFL team in Wein stadium would make the UFL team the first major professional football team to play in Manhattan.

Hofstra University™s James M. Shuart Stadium, which opened in 1962 on Long Island, currently seats 15,000 but could also be expanded. Within the past decade, Shuart Stadium has received a new artificial turf playing surface, several sections of new chair-back seating, a new sound system and a $3.8 million Field House in the south end zone. Shuart Stadium also served as a home for the Long Island Rough Riders of professional soccer’s A-League.

Other possible UFL venues include Major League Soccer™s Red Bull New York, which is currently building a 25,000 seat stadium in Harrison, New Jersey (11 miles from New York City) and is planned to open in the summer of 2009; Rutgers Stadium (40 miles south of New York City) with a seating capacity of 41,500; and Princeton Stadium (50 miles south of New York City) which seats nearly 28,000.

Mets’ Reyes, Trainer Unhurt In Rear-End Collision

Posted in Baseball at 11:47 am by

(above : neither the fire truck nor the car carrying Jose Reyes)

I’m not sure what’s least surprising, that Mets trainer Ray Ramirez personally escorted Jose Reyes into a life-threatning situation, or that Omar Minaya wasn’t driving the vehicle that hit Ramirez and Reyes. The Star-Ledger’s Matt Gelb reported the following shortly after first-ballot Hall Of Famer Brian Stokes successfully tamed Albert Pujols.

Injured shortstop Jose Reyes and Mets trainer Ray Ramirez were rear-ended by a firetruck on the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge sometime Monday while driving to the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan for a check-up visit, Mets spokesman Jay Horwitz said.

The Mets said nothing about the accident until starting pitcher Tim Redding unknowingly spilled the beans after Monday’s 6-4 win over St. Louis.

“I got here about 10 after 4 and a lot of things were going on,” Redding said. “Apparently a lot of things were going on all over the city. Our shortstop and our trainer, who’s been working his butt off to keep us on the field, got into an accident. Carlos was getting an MRI and being placed on the DL. And people were being moved, brought up and sent all over the place. So it was a whirlwind day.”

While Redding clearly isn’t the kind of person you’d want to trust with a company secret, he’s performed capably in 4 of his 7 starts. The 6.08 ERA doesn’t exactly generate wild confidence in his abilities, but in light of Oliver Perez’ most recent rehab start, Redding might well stay in the rotation for a bit.


Longing For The Days When Nails Was Merely An Annoying D-Bag

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 8:43 pm by

Y’know, before he added deadbeat, fraud and racist to his resume. HBO’s “Real Sports” apparently put the screws to former Mets/Phillies OF turned wannabe money guru Lenny Dykstra , but I’ve been too busy watching the competent drumming of Tim Redding, as the Carlos Beltran-less Mets cling to a lead against the Cardinals. And as such, I would prefer to live in denial where our Lenny’s utter rottenness is concerned, much like the star-struck creators of the above clip.

Either Jason “Trigger” McAteer Hasn’t Googled Himself…

Posted in Football, The Internet at 7:08 pm by

…or the former Republic Of Ireland midfielder is far too modest to contemplate editing his wikipedia entry (link courtesy When Saturday Comes).

Cuban Channels Inner Rosenthal, Appoints ESPN Watchdog Of Sports Blogging

Posted in Basketball, Blogged Down, Sports Journalism at 4:56 pm by

“Has anyone noticed that its impossible to trust a single word uttered about coaching changes, the draft, trades and even celebration parties these days ?” asks Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban via his Blog Maverick.  Actually, no, but that’s what I get for reading Alan Hahn most afternoons.   Still, Cuban insists, “bloggers, sports websites and even the print media have gotten so desperate they seem to have come to the conclusion that fabricated stories, passed off as rumors, are a better way to drive traffic and create awareness of a website or blog than actual reporting.” Admittedly, it’s a hell of a business model, but it won’t really work unless you pair said rumors with photos culled from FHM.com.

Unfortunately, ESPN and local newspapers, radio and TV media have become the patsies of bloggers.  If some random blogger reports that œhe has heard that a trade of Joe for John is being discussed, then the traditional media, as they have told me many times œis requested by their editor to run it down and see if its real.    Its almost like a sad joke.  How do you make an ESPN reporter jump ? Make up something and put it on your blog. Somewhere a bunch of sports bloggers are playing a drinking game.  Chug if the other guys made up trade rumor makes the ESPN crawl.

How to stop it ? ESPN.com puts up a page of blacklisted blogs and websites who™s posts they wont comment on or report on in any way.  It will create a short term surge of traffic for those sites, but then they will go away as the proprietors of the sites realize that being discredited is not a good thing.

Man, where to start here?  Does the Owner With A Boner actually believe anyone from the traditional media is actively seeking out “random bloggers” (as opposed to say, widely trafficked blogs that have more readers than their own newspapers’ websites)? Rather than encourage ESPN to put up a page of blogs the WWL routinely follows, Cuban decrees that Bristol U. — home of the frequent Disney cross-promotions — has the authority to determine who is credible and who isn’t.  An organization that provides Mike Lupica and Skip Bayless with a national television audience is qualified to name and shame irresponsible bloggers? And what’s with the bizarre zeal for policing the same constituency that so actively supports Cuban’s properties?  This is roughly akin to Harvey Levin bemoaning the public’s fascination with celebrities.

Fuggedabout It : Padres Kouzmanoff Acts Like He’s Not Been There Before

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 4:23 pm by

“If those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it, as George Santayana portentously proclaimed, count Kevin Kouzmanoff as a contrarian argument” testifies the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Tim O’Sullivan. “I think it’s important to have short-term memory and forget about it,  explains the Padres third baseman.  “There’s no use to dwell on it. It doesn’t do you any good,” to which O’Sullivan seems to concur (“his recent results make a convincing case for strategic amnesia”)

Since his batting average plunged to .219 on June 6, Kouzmanoff has hit .314 with five home runs and 18 RBI in 13 games. For a fortnight, at least, he has been a force, so much so that even his outs are being hit harder.

The goal, Kouzmanoff said, is to approach each plate appearance as an isolated event, as if it were the first of the game. This is a goal easier articulated than accomplished, though, and the degree of difficulty can only be compounded by the pressures associated with performing in the big leagues.

In a seven-point plan presented last month in these pages, I suggested that Kouzmanoff be shipped out (to Triple-A Portland, or somewhere) in order to accommodate Chase Headley’s return to third base from left field.

Saturday night, Kouzmanoff reported to Petco Park to find Headley scheduled to play his position, and against a left-handed starter. With the Padres exploring options in advance of an anticipated glut of outfielders, and with Kouzmanoff due to become eligible for salary arbitration at season’s end, a ballplayer inclined to dwell on things might have read the tea leaves as both transparent and troubling.

Not Kouzmanoff. At least not yet. He takes pride in being able to contribute with his glove when he’s not hitting. Yet true to form, he doesn’t dwell on plays of the past. Asked to account for having made only one error to date, Kouzmanoff appeared puzzled yesterday afternoon.

œI don’t know, he said. œWho’s counting?