07.27.09

Joy Division At The Betting Shop (Not Shown : Harry Or Dan Mason)

Posted in Modern Art at 6:13 pm by

Another quality work from longtime CSTB fave Derek Erdman, this one available in limited quantities from Insound.  Derek describes the portrait thusly ;

“Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, and Stephen Morris (accompanied by wife Gillian Gilbert), of the popular rock group Joy Division, recently won a cash purse of £350,125 after completing a sweep of five races at a Macclesfield OTB. ‘We kept trying to talk Ian into betting with us’” said Sumner, referring to Ian Curtis, the fourth member of the band, ‘but he simply chose all of the wrong dogs.’ The winning three pooled their money and chose the winner in each of the day’s five races. The winning dogs were listed as: Midnight Tax Return, Debbie Debbie, Funtime Alomar, Bruno S, and Daft As A Brush. ‘After Funtime Alomar won,’ said Morris, ‘I had a feeling we were going to win the whole thing. Plus, I had just eaten a sandwich.’ The group has not yet decided on how they will split up the money, but they do have plans to travel to the USA in the next few months. ‘I hear it’s lovely this time of year,’ said Hook, ‘I’m really looking forward to seeing Wall Drug.’ Curtis could not be reached for comment.”

From The Pre-PED Time Capsule : Before The Sultan Became Thoroughly Surly

Posted in Baseball at 5:20 pm by

While the young Barry Bonds might never have packed the same free-association punch as say, Stephon Marbury, You Been Blinded helpfully takes us back to a time when baseball’s all-time HR king was “a normal-sized, media-friendly member of the Pittsburgh Pirates”. From a 1991 Pirates exhibition visit to Buffalo :

The End Of Cutting & Pasting Blogging As We Know It Pt. II

Posted in Blogged Down, non-sporting journalism, The Internet, The Marketplace at 4:46 pm by

In June of ’08, the Associated Press unveiled a new licensing scheme in which rank & file blogging scum would pay as little as $12.50 or as much as $100.00 to quote from an AP story. At the time, Making Light‘s Patrick Neilsen Hayden warned, “welcome to a world in which you won™t be able to effectively criticize the press, because you™ll be required to pay to quote as few as five words from what they publish.”   A little more than a year later, headline writers at the New York Times suggest they consider such blogging, “pirated journalism”, with the Gray Lady’s Saul Hansell reporting on one company’s plans to  track activity between newspapers and “even the tiniest sites that copy their articles.”

The plan faces many technical and legal hurdles. Attributor wants to take some of the ad money that would have been paid to the pirate site and give it to the copyright owner instead. To do that it needs the cooperation of big advertising networks like those run by Google and Yahoo. So far those companies have reacted coolly to the proposal.

Still, Attributor has been able to attract many major publishing companies to what it calls the Fair Syndication Consortium, which is exploring its ideas. These include The New York Times Company, the Washington Post Company, Hearst, Reuters, Media News Group, McClatchy and Condé Nast.

For now those companies have committed only to receiving data from Attributor about how widely their content is being used on Web sites that don™t pay for it. Later they will decide whether to proceed with the revenue-sharing plan.

Attributor co-founder Mr. Pitkow said a study in January of 250,000 articles from 25 publishers showed that on average, each article appeared on 11 unauthorized sites. Looking at traffic data, Attributor calculated that five times as many people read each article on pirate sites as on the site of the publisher. And it estimated that collectively the publishers were losing $250 million a year from unauthorized copying.

Finally, The Fish Stand Up For Hanley

Posted in General at 4:17 pm by

“Everybody knows I got hit on purpose, even their team” demanded Marlins SS Hanley Ramirez, a plunk victim of Wevie Stonder I during the 6th inning of Sunday’s 8-6 victory over the Dodgers (the Fish were leading, 8-0, at the time).  As you might recall, Ramirez had previously complained of his pitching staff being a bunch of <strike>pussies</strike> Shawn Estes clones when it came to retaliation, but was quick yesterday to credit Burke Badenhop with “staying together and protecting your teammates.” From the Sun-Sentinel’s Juan C. Rodriguez :

Home plate umpire Bob Davidson ejected Badenhop and manager Fredi Gonzalez in the seventh after the right-hander drilled Orlando Hudson. Badenhop’s backside fastball came in response to Jeff Weaver requiring two attempts to plunk Hanley Ramirez an inning earlier.

Give credit to Badenhop (above)  and the Marlins for their handling of the situation. Badenhop, who said he “yanked” a fastball, kept the pitch low and Hudson took his base without incident.

“It’s up to the umpire whether there’s a warning or ejection,” Gonzalez said. “The safe way is to just go warning. [Weaver] missed him one time. We play the game the right way. I understand we got an eight-run lead and the whole thing, but we’re not stealing bases or hitting and running. We’re playing the game the right way and for him to do that… it puts everybody in a situation where it’s not good baseball the rest of the game.”

Dodgers’ manager Joe Torre chose not to directly address the incident either, saying: “I can’t comment because I’m not sure where it’s going to come from, the criticism I’m talking about. So I’d rather not comment as opposed to telling you something you’re not going to believe.”

Badenhop had gone 51 innings without hitting a batter. He tapped danced a bit when asked about the fanfare upon his return to the dugout.

“I’m sure they don’t like to see Hanley get hit,” he said. “It is what it is.”

Junk Mail Corner : A Flushing, NY Baseball Executive Writes

Posted in Baseball at 3:32 pm by

(from Newsday.com, 2:5pm.  The Daily News opted for “Tony Loses His Shirt)

A MESSAGE FROM METS GENERAL MANAGER OMAR MINAYA

I wanted for you to hear directly from me today regarding an update on the investigation of Tony Bernazard, our Vice President of Player Development.

Prior to a series of articles published in the media, our Baseball Operations and Human Resources departments had begun looking into several matters involving Tony. Once those reports became public, we accelerated our investigation. We wanted it to be thorough and complete it as quickly as possible while still being fair to Tony. That process concluded over the weekend.

Yesterday, I met with Tony in person to have a frank conversation about what we had learned following interviews with numerous people. I also wanted for Tony to have the opportunity to give his side of the story.

After meeting with Tony, and giving a lot of thought to the facts, I came to a decision on Tony’s status which I shared with Ownership last night. My recommendation was that we needed to part ways with Tony, as his behavior in his interaction with others was inconsistent with our organization’s values. Ownership agreed with my assessment and accepted my recommendation.

I spoke with Tony this morning and informed him of my decision to terminate his employment with the Mets.

Personnel decisions are never easy. And one can’t make them without giving it a lot of thought. It’s even harder when you know someone as I do Tony. Tony and I go back a long time. He is a dedicated baseball man who loves the game, someone I like and respect, and someone who has contributed to the Mets. In the end, however, I just told him I couldn’t leave him in his position after all that had transpired.

As General Manager of the Mets, I am fully accountable for our Baseball Operations department — on and off the field — and stand by this decision.

Thank you for your ongoing support of the Mets.

Omar Minaya

During Minaya’s SNY’s televised press conference earlier today, the Not-so-Amazin GM suggested he was slow to act on reports of Bernazard’s misbehavior because said tales were being spun by the New York Daily News’ Adam Rubin ; a circumstance that gave Minaya pause because Rubin had allegedly lobbied the Mets for a job (a charge later denied by Rubin who wondered aloud, “I don’t know how I’m going to cover the team now”)

Under what possible circumstances would Rubin’s career prospects improve by burying Minaya’s right-hand man?  Short of signing Angel Berroa, this is one of the more curious recent decisions from Minaya, who has zero to gain in attacking the credibility of a well-regarded journalist.  If any part of Rubin’s reporting smacked of a vendetta or was inaccurate, why did Minaya fire Bernazard? When Francisco Rodriguez joined the chorus of those totally-fucking-fed-up with Bernazard, was he too, trying to secure a front office job?  When it comes to lousy clean-up jobs, Dave Matthews’ bus driver has nothing on Omar Minaya.

Tragic Victims Of Censorship, Finally Allowed Their Day In Court

Posted in Free Expression, Rock Und Roll, The Woah at 3:17 pm by

The Philadelphia Weekly’s Bob Schriner + Drowning Pool + inappropriate martyrdom = comedy gold. Link courtesy Bob and Chunklet.

07.26.09

The Years Have Not Been Kind To Matt Ginter

Posted in Baseball at 7:20 pm by

Sorry to be cruel, but didn’t the former Mets starter look much better just a few years ago? Seriously, sincere congrats are due to Jim Rice and Rickey Henderson today…particularly if they avoided the gentleman above.

07.25.09

Ronay : Steven Gerrard Is Just A Regular Bloke (With Shitty Musical Taste)

Posted in Football at 6:08 pm by

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has been cleared of affray charges stemming from an infamous dust-up over a DJ’s choice of records, causing the Guardian’s Barney Ronay to observer, “The nuts and bolts of life as a Premier League footballer have long been an object of popular fascination: the high-spec girlfriends, the trophy cars, the house with its two-tonne stone bath and plasma-screened broom cupboards.” In the aftermath of the hearings, however, “one of our most distant Premier League millionaires has been made to look, if not exactly very nice, then at least recognisably everyday.”

For a start The Lounge Inn, scene of Gerrard’s misadventures, sounds reassuringly terrible. Is it a lounge? Or an inn? One Southport website describes it as a hangout for “wannabe gangsters and Sunday-football hardmen” and photographs show a gloomy joint with beech-veneer cladding and UPVC double glazing. Gerrard entered the Lounge last December in search of some fairly standard all-male group revelry, which he found in the company of two Accrington Stanley footballers (one 18 years old), four other youngish men and “ oddly, but entirely innocent in all this “ the 58-year-old former Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish.

CCTV footage shows the group drinking bottles of beer on the dancefloor, singing football songs and downing those Jammy Donut shots, a grisly thing made with Baileys, raspberry liqueur and sugar syrup. Gerrard’s actions at this time have been described as “waving his arms in the air”, rather than the more charitable “dancing”, and throughout he remains crammed into a skin-tight powder-blue V-neck, despite the fact that it’s the wee hours and he’s in a crowded basement.

So far, so normal. In fact, even the climactic dust-up with the bar’s temporary DJ has an appealing mundanity. In Gerrard’s evidence, the exchange runs like a whiny late-night teenage altercation: “He basically said to me ‘I am not putting your music on’. It was quite aggressive, and I said ‘What’s the fucking problem, why can’t I put my music on?’” The identity of the exact song Gerrard was so infuriatingly refused has already been widely debated. Here’s what we know: his favourite artist is Phil Collins. He also likes “dance music”. The person he’d most like to meet is Britney Spears. The fact remains, we may never know the exact truth.

07.24.09

Scenes From A (Broken) Marriage : Where It All Went Wrong For Nellie & Cuban

Posted in Basketball at 7:55 pm by

Don Nelson’s attempts to recover back salary from Mavs owner Mark Cuban — who maintains Nellie breached his Dallas contract in taking the Golden State job in 2007 — haven’t been resolved to anyone’s satisfaction, but at least the general public can sift thru the dirty laundry. Previously sealed transcripts from an August ’08 binding arbitration ruling against the Owner With A Boner revealed specific instances where the previously lovey dovey Nelson/Cuban relationship completely went down the toiled. Here’s a few highlights, courtesy of the Dallas Morning News’ Brad Townsend and Gary Jacobsen :

Cuban testified that after the 2003 conference finals defeat to San Antonio, he had lost some trust in Nelson’s judgment, “not necessarily in his coaching ability, but in his ability as a general manager.”

Pressed for an example, Cuban cited the February 2002 seven-player trade in which Dallas sent power forward Juwan Howard to Denver and received Raef LaFrentz. Cuban said he agreed to the trade because Nelson said LaFrentz “would put us over the top.”

Cuban testified that in league circles “it was pretty much laughable that we would consider Raef LaFrentz this highly. Cuban said he realized player evaluations are often a crapshoot.

“But when the crap comes up a little too often,” he testified, “you question it more, more thoroughly.”

On draft day in 2004, the Mavericks acquired the No. 5 pick from Washington. Nelson testified that as he settled into the draft room to talk to team scouts, he was surprised to hear son Donnie, the team’s vice president of operations, discuss taking “this big Russian” with the No. 5 pick.

The player’s name is redacted from the arbitration transcript, but it is clear that Nelson was referring to 7-foot-5 Pavel Podkolzin.

“I said, ‘Donnie, I cannot take that Russian five,’ ” Don Nelson testified. “And he asked me if I would go in the men’s room. I went in the men’s room with him, and he informed me that I wasn’t in charge of the draft.

“And I said, ‘Oh, really? Well, who is?’ He said, ‘I am.’ And I said, ‘Well, it’s nice of somebody to tell me.’

“And I said, ‘Well, if that’s the case, then as your father I’m asking you don’t draft [redacted].’ … And Donnie didn’t. He took Devin Harris.”

The Only Garden State Mayor Not Currently In Handcuffs, Trying To Keep The Nets In Jersey

Posted in Basketball at 4:09 pm by

Newark Mayor Cory Booker, as quited by the Star-Ledger’s Steve Politi, expresses little shock over reports Nets owner Bruce Ratner (above, left) is seeking additional financial backing for the franchise. “What did surprise and disappoint Booker,” writes Politi, “was hearing that the team was only looking at potential investors interested in moving it to Brooklyn.”

“I have said from the beginning of this that the endeavor in Brooklyn is under a lot of challenges now, and I’ve said for months that the team is going to go up for sale,” Booker said Friday at a musical festival in Newark.

“I’m discouraged a little bit that they’re saying they’re only going to sell to people who are going to stay in Brooklyn, but the reality is, we’re going to do everything we possibly can to make sure that team stays in New Jersey. We need the revenue, we need the business opportunities. It really can become an economic engine for our state at a time when we need it.”

“I’ve done a lot of work to put the foundations down for a group of people who want to keep it in New Jersey,” Booker said. “There are a lot of people now who are vying for that. It really has to do with the sellers now, where the heart is. I’m hoping they open the team up to staying in New Jersey. I can show anybody that coming to Newark, New Jersey, will make that team a lot more money.

“There are so many reasons why the Nets should be in New Jersey, to the benefit of the franchise, to the benefit of the city of Newark, to the benefit of the state of New Jersey.”

Not only do I applaud Mayor Booker’s efforts in this regard, but if he’s successful, perhaps when the Nets are firmly ensconced at the Prudential Center, the club can take a tip from the neighboring indie baseball Bears and shed a spotlight on some local musical talent?

Where’s Tebow’s God Now? Pearlman On Gator QB’s Missionary Position

Posted in Blogged Down, Gridiron, Religion at 3:46 pm by

Jeff Pearlman took a long gander at this week’s Sports Illustratated cover profile of Celibacy Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow and quite rightly wonders, outside of Tebow’s gridiron exploits, “what’s to celebrate?”

I consider missionary work to be incredibly — what’s the right word here? —- disturbing. Why are we celebrating young people serving as moralistic salesmen? Why are we celebrating the practice of, literally, going to poor outposts to peddle a particular (historically questionable) vision of Godliness to the “savages”? A closer look at missionary work offers up a sad, frightening history of mistreatment and sleaziness; of pitching The Word by any means necessary. Of manipulation to the Nth degree.

It goes without saying that Tim Tebow believes homosexuals to be sinners (“We’re all sinners,” he would reply, a lame prejudicial concealment); believes that contraception is wrong; believes that ¦ well, on and on and on and on. What I find most disturbing about people of Tebow’s ilk is the actual message being sold: That salvation is the reward worth living for.

Mostly, while reading the piece I kept asking myself, “Who the hell would take life advice from Tim Tebow?” I’m sure he’s a friendly kid. But he’s a sheltered 21-year old whose life has been lathered in football and religion.

Lest anyone think I’m taking an unfair swipe at Tebow by proxy, were Colt McCoy — another Xtian who loves bringing his message to places far-flung —  placed on a similar pedestal, I’d be equally pleased to see the Longhorn QB speared.  In print, anyway.

Delcos Pleads For A Wilpon Family Fireside Chat

Posted in Baseball at 3:23 pm by

If the Mets were to sack VP of Player Development Tony Bernazard, John Delcos warns firing the oft-ridiculed exec, while deserved, “will only act as a diversion and him being made a scapegoat.”  Instead, Delcos insists Fred (above) and Jeff Wilpon show their faces and address the myriad of problems plaguing the Amazins in 2009.

There are rumblings about the job security of Omar Minaya and manager Jerry Manuel. Despite the supposed vote of confidence, we know those aren™t etched in stone. Teams always say things like that before dropping the ax. If a significant number of the injured returns and the Mets make a run but fall short, injuries should give them a pass.

During this tumultuous time with the franchise, the lone voice has been Minaya™s, and that™s not good enough. Times are strained enough now where the Wilpons, preferably both, step up with their state-of-the-team address.

The ticket-buying public must be assured of what direction is the team headed. Among other things, it should include statements on whether the team is a buyer or seller at the trade deadline. Are they waiting for the injured to return? They should state firmly all aspects of the organization will be under review after the season and nobody is safe. They should state what direction they will take in the offseason to rebuild. They should state its concern on the medical staff and is there blame for the injuries or bad luck.

No aspect of the team should be spared the scrutiny, because few things are right with it.

Now In Progress – Stephon Marbury’s 24 Hour Video Chat

Posted in Basketball at 1:28 pm by

We’re only 37 minutes into Starbury’s 24 hour Ustream spiel and I already think my head is going to explode. Stephon’s fave flavor of ice cream? “Starbury cream….no, I like Bryer’s Vanilla.” Imagine what we’ll learn as the day turns to night?

(UPDATE : let’s just say Marbury’s marathon kicks the shit out of a Sports Putz webchat. Here’s the ongoing transcript.)

(Inexplicably Still-Employed) Jays GM In Backpeddaling Frenzy

Posted in Baseball at 1:20 pm by

When Toronto General Manager J.P. Ricciardi told viewers of “Rome Is Burning” on Wednesday that trade bait Roy Halladay was a sure thing to test the free agent market in 2010, hence the Blue Jays’ determination to deal the starter, you might’ve presumed the teflon exec had heard as much from the pitcher or his agent. If Adam Dunn liked baseball enough to read about it, he’d be laughing right now, as the Globe & Mail’s Robert MacLeod and Jeff Blair explain :

œRoy Halladay has not demanded a trade, Ricciardi said last night. œWe know what he wants and he knows what he wants. He hasn™t given us a list of teams. We™ve run teams by him to see if he has any interest in going there “ yes or no. There is no secret, hidden agenda. We™re not playing divide and conquer ¦ and, again, my gut tells me that I just don™t see anything happening.

However, speaking to reporters yesterday afternoon as he was getting on an elevator at the Rogers Centre, Ricciardi said: œI think I made this clear really early that Doc wanted to test the free-agent market. That™s the reason we™re going down this whole avenue.

Ricciardi also indicated to reporters that Halladay, who has a no-trade clause, provided a list of teams to the Blue Jays.

Halladay appeared testy after yesterday™s 5-4 loss to the Cleveland Indians when reporters approached him for comment on the impromptu interview with Ricciardi.

œI don™t want to address it, Halladay said. œI don™t even know what he [Ricciardi] said. I™ll do it after I pitch.

According to Rogers Sportsnet, Halladay™s initial reaction when approached by one of their reporters was: œThis is not good.

Ricciardi has never clearly expressed that Halladay™s desire to test free agency was behind the club™s decision to consider trade proposals. Further confusing the Jays™ motives, Blue Jays interim chief executive officer Paul Beeston suggested last week in an interview on a Toronto radio station that he intended to discuss a contract extension with the pitcher this past weekend.

Attn Luis Castillo, Daniel Murphy : There’s A DVD-R Waiting For You At Reception

Posted in Baseball at 1:11 pm by

The Bristal Stompers weren’t bluffing.

Buerhrle’s OK, But He’s Not Hit Nearly As Many Ho’s As Nolan Ryan

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 10:18 am by

It would seem as though whoever was responsible for the lettering on Washington Nationals jerseys earlier this year has found gainful employment with FSN Florida (thanks to Paul Lukas for the screenshot).

07.23.09

Nobody’s Perfect (Except Mark Buehrle)

Posted in Baseball at 7:27 pm by

So you’re the defending champs of the AL Central.  But your postseason bid was ended by the AL pennant winners – and they’re in town for a four-game home stand.

In all of baseball, the Rays are first in walks, third in OBP and third in runs scored.  Nonetheless, you take two out of the first three games against them, and if not for the rare misstep of your beloved mayonnaise-stained closer, you would have swept those.

The early season was grim.  You’ve only been over .500 for a couple of weeks.  Your ace is coming up for the 4th and final game of the series. If you win, and the Mariners beat the Tigers, you’re tied for the division lead for the first time since May 1st.

Today’s home plate ump, Eric Cooper, is the one who was on plate duty in April 2007, the last time Mark Buehrle threw a 2-hour 3-minute no-no against Texas.

Do you:

a) put the same Buehrle/Pierzynski battery out there that took you to the World Series in 2005?
b) send your backup receiver Ramon Castro to catch his first Mark Buehrle game?

You probably answered a).  See, that’s why you’re you and Ozzie Guillen is Ozzie Guillen.  You might not have let the 18th perfect game in MLB history happen.

The Josh Fields grand slam in the 2nd off a Scott Kazimir (L 4-6 6IP, 5H, 5ER, 3BB 5K) fastball only hinted to the 28,036 weekday attendance just what lay in store.

The Buehrle / Castro axis kept fastballs largely off the menu, presenting a baroque assortment of sliders, changes and hooks that had Bartlett, Upton, and Kapler so off-balance they were one-handedly hacking at whatever they could see by the 7th.  Carl Crawford, .480 lifetime against Buehrle (W, 11-3, 9IP, 0H, 6K, 0BB) was pitched into contact three times with changes following sliders – all for naught.  If they weren’t weak dribblers or line shots right to Beckham, they were safely in Castro’s glove batter after batter.

The gutsy performance produced plenty of contact but not a single tough play- until the 9th inning.

Ozzie pulled Scott Podsednik for Dewayne Wise in center, and Buehrle faced Gabe Kapler.   Rays skipper Joe Maddon never put on the bunt.  Kapler fouled off a couple before he sent a dead inside heater deep to left center.

28,036 hearts stopped.  One heart didn’t.

Wise got on his fresh legs and charged for the wall.  He was taxed.  His neck was craned.  But had the look and he had the jump.  At the Billy Pierce portrait the backup fielder ran out of ballpark at full stride.  Kapler’s hit was headed over the yellow line.  Gravity would no longer do.

The leap and stretch was the culmination of a career, and a callback of sorts.  Wise had been on duty for baseball’s last perfect game, Randy Johnson’s 2004 outing in Atlanta, when Wise had been a Brave.  The timing was impeccable.  Kapler’s bomb disappeared in Wise’s mitt as the defenseman sailed into the wall at full speed.   The collision and the landing jarred the ball loose, and Wise juggled it as he tumbled to the ground.  And held it.

Hawk Harrelson’s TV booth screams were reportedly so loud as to be audible through the next-door radio booth microphones.  Indeed, the folksy announcer was stunned right into a rare stretch of plain, comprehensible English, proclaiming the catch “One of the greatest I have ever seen in fifty years of this game.”

A swinging punchout of Michael Hernandez and a 6-3 dribbler from Jason Bartlett sealed the deal.  Mark Buehrle had handed in the first White Sox perfect game since Charles Robinson in 1922 — and his second 2-hour 3-minute no hitter in three seasons.

And the Tigers lost.

First place baseball has returned to Chicago.

WFAN’s Rose : McCartney Is The Alex Cora Of Rock’n'Roll

Posted in Baseball, Rock Und Roll, Sports Radio at 6:25 pm by

(alas, not all western icons are welcomed as warmly in Japan as Bobby Valentine)

Mr. & Mrs. Howie Rose spent the All-Star Break on a trip to London, affording the couple an opportunity bask in a bit of rock history.  While the Roses didn’t get around to visiting the Bruno Wizard Museum, Mets’ radio announcer Howie does have a few recommendations for his fellow tourists (link courtesy Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)

If you’re a fan, and you appreciate the history, I would strongly suggest a trip to 3 Savile Row. That’s the building the Beatles bought for their Apple offices, and eventually they installed a recording studio in the basement. This is where a big chunk of the Let it Be album was recorded, but it’s best known for it’s rooftop. That’s where the Beatles performed their last live “concert”, an impromptu show held in the middle of a business day until it was eventually broken up by police. It’s all in the Let it Be movie, and although we weren’t allowed on the roof, I gazed at the iconic site like an awed teenager. The building looks just as it did in the film 40 years ago.

Later, it was on to the Abbey Road studios where much of their music was recorded. Naturally, we went to the crosswalk where the famous album cover was taken. If you looked at it from the same vantage point as the one used by photographer Iain MacMillain, you would have thought it was 1969 again.

The coup de gras was the Paul McCartney concert at Citi Field on Friday night. If you are of a certain age and have a certain reverence for the Beatles, you probably felt as though the soundtrack to your life was playing out right in front of your eyes. It was incredible. Paul McCartney is 67 years old, and moved energetically around and across the stage, changing instruments, talking to the crowd and playing one historic song after another. I couldn’t help think that he has the stamina to do all of that, and the Mets have world class athletes in their 20s and 30s who can’t run out a pop up.

Congratulations Mark Buehrle, You’ve Just Ruined Jim Parque’s Big Day

Posted in Baseball at 3:45 pm by

(DeWayne Wise robbing Gabe Kapler of a 9th inning HR and preserving Buerhle’s perfecto — surely worthy of a presidential phone call, too?)

With apologies to Lloyd Bridges, Jim Parque picked the wrong day to confess PED use. The White Sox’s Mark Buerhle threw a perfect game against Tampa today, the first such accomplishment in the big leagues since Randy Johnson hurled one in May of 2004, and just the 18th of all time. The only thing that could make Buerhle’s feat more satisfying would be if we learned David Wells was hungover while watching something else on cable.

Rosencrans : Is Chris Welsh On Drugs?

Posted in Baseball at 3:33 pm by

If you watched any of last night or this morning’s highlights, you’re probably already aware Manny Ramirez smacked a pinch-hit grand salami last night, the decisive blow in the Dodgers’ 6-2 defeat of the Reds (on Manny Bobblehead Night, appropriately enough). What you might not know is that Reds broadcaster Chris Welsh, perhaps taking a page out of the Buck Showalter Styleguide, proposed that Dusty Baker intentionally walk Ramirez with the bases loaded. Former Cincinnati Post beat writer C. Trent Rosecrans “had to rewind the DVR just to make sure.”

“We go back to the same old philosophy, how do you pitch to Barry Bonds in his prime? How do you pitch to Albert Pujols now that he™s in his prime? You can say the same thing about Manny Ramirez ” do you allow him to beat you? Bases loaded or not, do you allow him to beat you? Does a walk beat you? You miss off the plate four times in a row and let Juan Pierre come up next and see what happens? It could be that one-run beats the Reds, you never know. But a grand slam takes you a long way to that end¦”

With bases loaded and a 2-2 score in the bottom of the 6th? I don™t walk Jesus there. I may not throw him a fastball over the heart of the plate, but the way the Reds are hitting, I don™t walk him. I think that™s a little much. I understand some times when you can walk a guy with bases loaded, but that is a very limited situation. In a tie game with one out, I don™t think so.

It™s funny, in the bottom of the seventh, I think someone took Chris out of the booth, he didn™t say a single word in the half-inning. Maybe he went to get drug tested.

Can’t Stop the Bernazard: One Last Time with this Fucking Guy

Posted in Baseball at 3:30 pm by

The last time Tony Bernazard got this much coverage for anything was never. He has never been this interesting to anyone, not during his playing days and not when he worked at the MLBPA and not during his apparently irresistible and wholly inexplicable rise to what appears to be a position of unassailable authority in the Mets organization. He’s not even really all that interesting now — just another monster ego with a good paycheck, spotty resume and bravado a go go in a business (and with a franchise) that traditionally lets guys like that hang around for awhile. But you call a bunch of Minor League players pussies and then act like an asshole to a bunch of Major League players and all of a sudden everyone starts asking “what is this butthead doing here?” And then even the finest literary minds of this generation start fixating on you instead of doing the work they’re paid to do. It’s a risk for all of those who aspire to great things.

And honestly, one way or another, Tony Bernazard needs to go away. If the Mets won’t fire him (and I suspect they won’t, at least not for awhile) then maybe we can all just agree to ignore him. But before we say goodbye to the man who has taken his place among the oilest, nastiest and least effective execs in Mets’ history, it’s worth checking out this detailed rundown of who Bernazard is, and how he got here, by Matthew Artus at the Star-Ledger’s Always Amazin blog. Artus takes a pretty strong stance on Bernazard, but he also ably lays out the strange history of Tone-B’s baffling, tantrum-laced rise through the organization. Of course, it didn’t negatively impact my impression of the thing that he winds up with about the same conclusion as me:

Randolph finally gets canned, and Bernazard allegedly fiddled while Shea burned. Bernazard then continues the rhetoric against Jerry Manuel while keeping the availability of his cell phone number as part of the Mets’ minor league development. And now he’s calling out kids in Binghamton for reflecting his failures as VP of Player Development and yelling at subordinates in Citi Field for not bowing down to him.

If Tony Bernazard were still a player and pulling these antics, he would be deemed a “clubhouse cancer” and everyone would beg for him to be traded or released. But he continues to work behind the scenes, just far out enough of the periphery to disappear from memory when we start pointing fingers.

I believe Tony Bernazard is a major distraction and source of confusion and misinformation in the Mets’ front office. I believe Bernazard is the reason the fans and media like to comment on a pro-Latin American agenda in Mets’ personnel decisions, as he clearly uses it to his advantage. The conspiracy theorist in me believes Bernazard, who has made clear his aspirations for higher office, may be using subversion tactics to stage the baseball equivalent of a coup in the Mets’ organization and will continue to do so until he’s a GM himself or he’s fired.

And I believe the Mets will be a better team and organization without Tony Bernazard than with him.

If you’re even a little bit interested in this guy, it’s worth reading the whole thing. It’s as full-spectrum as anything I’ve read on this, and it’s kind of weird that it’s 1) not in a New York paper and 2) wasn’t in print.

ATP, Fuck Off : Are You Ready For Juggalostock X?

Posted in Free Expression at 2:12 pm by

Man, way to make Mike Judge’s “Idiocracy” look like a documentary. Thanks to David Williams for the video link. Apparently this has been making the rounds for days, which may or may not account for a tremendous drop in productivity in the American workplace (or a new Al-Qaeda decision not to bothering attack the U.S. again, as we’re perfectly capable of destroying ourselves).

Stephen Baldwin : The Lenny Dykstra Of Anti-Masturbation Advocacy

Posted in Religion, The Marketplace, The World Of Entertainment at 1:38 pm by

Around last Xmas, I suggested the business pursuits of actor-turned-Xtreme Sports For Christ zealot / anti-porn crusader Stephen Baldwin were “on a collision course with those of Stephon Marbury”. As it turns out, I owe Starbury a huge apology, with the Wall St. Journal’s Peg Brickley confirming the depths to which Baldwin’s fortunes have sunk.

Early papers filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York show no sign Baldwin will be using the “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here” argument to untangle his affairs.

His bankruptcy petition says his Upper Grandview, N.Y., home is worth $1.1 million, but he owes $1.19 million on two mortgages. Big income tax troubles are also evident from the court filing, with $749,974 owed to the IRS on taxes as far back as 1999 and a $139,288 debt for unpaid withholding taxes, as well as $194,527 in unpaid state income taxes.

The youngest of the acting Baldwin brothers also has more than $70,000 in credit card debt to shake, according to court documents.

The filing lists no assets, other than the mortgaged-to-the rooftop house. Even Baldwin’s HM tattoo, which he agreed to get in a deal that allowed him to appear on Miley Cyrus’ show, is not listed as an asset.

Court papers are also silent on the born-again Baldwin’s ventures in Christian ministry, which began, according to Wikipedia, after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and were supposed somehow to make money.

Cafardo : Epstein’s Thursday Acquistions Are Merely The Calm Before The Storm

Posted in Baseball at 1:25 pm by

Who amongst you figured the Red Sox had enough firepower to hang around with the Yankees after yesterday’s trades for 1B Adam LaRoche (above) and OF Chris Duncan? Not the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, who insists GM Theo Epstein has “saved his big chips in case he wants to do something bigger – maybe trade for a pitcher – yet still tried to improve a slumping offense with a lefthanded batter who can hit righthanded pitching and who traditionally has been a better second-half hitter.”

Epstein has to have his hands in the Roy Halladay hunt. No longer can anyone say pitching is not a need for the Red Sox. The once-deep rotation is now minus 11-game winner Tim Wakefield and Daisuke Matsuzaka, with two No. 5 starters in John Smoltz and Brad Penny who aren™t cutting it, and a youngster in Clay Buchholz who to some degree is still on training wheels.

Epstein knows building a farm system is for two purposes – to keep player costs down by developing your own players or to use them as chips for impact players. With the Sox farm system in great shape, it might be time for the acquisition of an impact player such as Halladay, who not only helps now but also gives you a Josh Beckett, Halladay, Jon Lester, Matsuzaka, Wakefield/Justin Masterson rotation in 2010 – if you trade Buchholz. The Sox also have the resources to sign Halladay and Beckett long term.

As for the bigger picture, the Red Sox have now fired the first salvo among American League East contenders (OK, the Yankees did obtain Eric Hinske earlier). If the Sox continue to fall behind the Yankees and if Tampa Bay keeps coming up behind them, Epstein might have to be really aggressive in a shake-up.

œI think [the Red Sox] need Halladay more than ever,™™ said one National League GM. œThey can make the deal if they want to. If they don™t and allow someone else in their division to get him, they™re in trouble.™™

A (Slightly) Better Thursday Entertainment Option Than A Marc Rzepczynski Start

Posted in Internal Affairs, Rock Und Roll at 6:58 am by


Or easier to spell, in any event.  If you’ve not seen the The Young, your life is most assuredly poorer for it.  The same is true of the evening’s other performers to a lesser or greater degree depending on your sensibility, but a performance by these guys in a rock club environment should be worth everyone’s time.