07.22.09

Presenting The New Scapegoat For The Mets’ Rotten 2009 : Tony Bernazard

Posted in Baseball at 11:48 pm by

With all due respect to the Mattinglys, there are few families having a worse week than the Wilpons. Fast becoming Flushing’s Public Enemy No. 1, Mets VP of Player Development Tony Bernazard began Tuesday contenting with revelations he’d challenged members of the franchise’s Eastern League affiliate to a locker room fight, and ended the day with  K-Rod telling the New York Post’s Bart Hubbach such aggressive behavior is the norm for Omar Minaya’s right-hand man.

All-Star closer Francisco Rodriguez confirmed he exchanged angry words with Bernazard on the team bus last week in Atlanta.

“Yeah [it happened], but I’m not going to talk about that,” Rodriguez told The Post before the game. “Not going to get into it.”

Another veteran starting player, who asked to remain anonymous, told The Post Bernazard is having a cancerous effect on the Mets’ clubhouse.

“That guy is crazy,” the player said. “No one like[s] him.”

Early indications from several team sources are that Bernazard, who is close to Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon, will not be fired despite a long pattern of behind-the-scenes skullduggery since Minaya helped get Bernazard hired in December 2004.

Friends of former manager Willie Randolph told The Post last summer that Randolph held Bernazard — with an assist from Randolph’s replacement, Jerry Manuel — responsible for orchestrating his midseason firing.

But a source said the Mets’ patience with Bernazard isn’t endless and that management could change its mind if more ugly incidents come to light.

As well as being sent home, the indication is that Bernazard will not be traveling with the parent club or visiting its affiliates anytime soon. Assistant GM John Ricco, not Bernazard, will be traveling with the Mets in Houston this weekend.

With a 3-1 loss Wednesday night to the Washington leaving the Mets a full 10 games behind Philadelphia — nothing like Craig Stammen and a trio of Nats relievers allowing just 4 hits to make you wonder why Minaya considers himself a buyer at the deadline —- how does Bernazard skipping the games in Houston represent a punishment?

The WWL Defends The Honor Of Their Most Famous Sideline Reporter

Posted in Sports Journalism, Sports TV, The Law at 9:23 pm by

Newsday’s Neil Best reports ESPN has taken action against the New York Post over the paper’s decision to use stills from the infamous Erin Andrews nude video on the paper’s website and print editions Tuesday.

“In light of the New York Post’s decision to run graphic photos of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews, we have decided to stop utilizing Post reporters on any of our outlets,” ESPN’s senior VP of communications, Chris LaPlaca said.

“Erin was grievously wronged here, and while we understand the Post’s decision to cover this as a news story, their running photos obtained in such a fashion went well beyond the boundaries of common decency in the interest of sensationalism. This is not a decision we undertook lightly, but we feel it is an appropriate one.”

The Post used images both in print and on its Web site Tuesday from a video the showed Andrews in the nude in a hotel room.

It is not yet clear where the video was shot or who shot it, but Andrews’ attorney has promised legal action against any media outlet that publishes the material.

Among those most affected are Kevin Kernan and Lenn Robbins, who regularly appear on “First Take” on ESPN2 and Joel Sherman, who appears on 1050 ESPN radio.

The Post followed their Tuesday coverage of Andrewsgate with a Wednesday cover headlined “Erin’s Perv Fury”.  Said piece by David K. Li included the following gem :

Andrews apparently feared something creepy might happen to her one day. Sports blogger Neil Best said, “She knew the fine line she was walking, and told me at Citi Field earlier this year of her concern over some of the darker corners of her fan base.”

Yup, “sports blogger” Neil Best.  As opposed to y’know, veteran Newsday columnist Neil Best. It’s that sort of failure to properly attribute the competition that drives some people (well, Phil Mushnick) crazy.

Mascot Roundup

Posted in Baseball, Free Expression, Hockey, Leave No Child Unbeaten, When Mascots Are Attacked, When Mascots Attack at 1:48 pm by

hikone

This reporter has been shamefully remiss in keeping CSTB readers, furry phanatics and other mascot aficionados abreast of the latest haps in costumed cheerleading culture, but now that I’ve been fired from my latest job I should have a little more time to enjoy current cultural events.

In breaking news: patent sleuths uncover some mysterious mascot mysteries linking George Steinbrenner to the trade. Though it’d be satisfying to see this guy degrading himself in the Bronx, it’s safe to assume the costume is just some pet project for a birthday party, ice cream social, or Girl Talk concert.

And it’s a slippery and dramatic slope downhill from a past riddled with mascot abuse: former UND defenseman and current Caps property Joe Finley was arrested last week for throwing plates and cups in Grand Forks, ND. Oh, and a friggin lawnmower.

And in bad news in Sussexes all around the world, cricket fans in Sussex, UK are rallying support over a fancy dress ban that apparently discriminates against “harmless” sharks. Sussex, New Jersey might follow suit after the recent scandal involving Scooter, the Sussex Skyhawks mascot, and consider extending their policies to ban child pornography?

Busted In Binghamton : Bernazard Berates Boozy B-Mets

Posted in Baseball at 11:32 am by

What could possibly happen to the free-falling New York Mets that would prove more embarrassing than suffering their 2nd complete game defeat at the hands of sure-thing Hall Of Famer John Lannan? Perhaps, in the words of the New York Daily News’ Adam Rubin, Mets VP of Player Development / serial-underminer Tony Bernazard, “removing his shirt and challenging the Double-A Binghamton Mets to a fight during a postgame tirade.”

Bernazard particularly went after middle infield prospect Jose Coronado, using a slang term associated with a woman’s anatomy, a source indicated. The confrontation happened about 10days before the All-Star break, according to insiders.

“That’s an all-timer if true,” an AL official said upon hearing the account, which was corroborated by multiple people with ties to the Mets.
GM Omar Minaya acknowledged Bernazard spoke to the B-Mets in a “stern voice,” but said he had no knowledge of the scope being portrayed.

“I know he did have a team meeting with them,” Minaya told the Daily News. “It was not a ‘you-guys-have-been-great meeting.’ I know he spoke to them in a stern voice. But as far as what he was wearing, what kind of shoes he was wearing, I don’t know anything about that.”

While the 52-year-old Bernazard’s actions were over-the-top no matter what the motivation, alleged underage drinking on the team apparently was one motivation for the eruption, an organization source said. Still, sending players to counseling rather than challenging them to a rumble might have been a more appropriate course of action.

An Erin Andrews Post With No Photos Of Erin Andrews

Posted in Blogged Down, Sports Journalism, Sports TV at 1:03 am by

That’s right. I’m allergic to traffic. As the Erin Andrews Hidden Camera Video story spreads, a number of prominent commentators have revealed sensibilities that have ranged from the downright thoughtful to the predictably dopey.   While Newsday’s Neil Best carefully plays it down the middle (“what made this case unusual was that much of the angst has come from sports blogs, which usually offer seemingly harmless, fraternity-style fun aimed at young males who enjoy watching sports and young females”) (for the first and only time in history, feel free to imagine Best as Hugh Hefner), Sports Media Watch‘s thoroughly reasonable Paulsen opines, “to such people, Andrews is not a person. Instead, she is merely a body that exists for the sole purpose of leering at.” And with that, SMJ holds the sports blogosphere’s (apparently) narrow demographic accountable for fostering an environment where affording Andrews such treatment was considered the norm (at least until an aspiring Chuck Berry put a video camera in her toilet).

Fang’s Bites notes that “Many sports bloggers myself included liked posting pictures of Erin. And it was nice that Erin played along with us.” While Andrews should not be blamed for the actions of others — after all, she isn’t the one who took those pictures or videos — perhaps the lesson here is to not play along. Maybe the next step is to not accept this objectification as normal, the nature of the beast, or a case of boys being boys. Ignore it if one must, but don’t give what ends up being perceived as tacit approval.

Bloggers and mainstream writers will no doubt come out in the next several days to blast the video, and justifiably. And as sincere as those sentiments may be, they will still come off as somewhat hypocritical. While nobody would approve of the crime against Andrews, there are countless who are culpable in creating the atmosphere in which it occurred.

Perhaps feeling the sting of the above words, Deadspin’s Will Leitch — no doubt wondering if sports blogging ought to be mentioned on future resumes — declared, “this is awful for anyone who has ever written or said anything about Erin Andrews, ever.”

It’s all just kind of dissembling now, isn’t it? People who took photos of themselves smiling with Andrews on the sideline feel guilty, ESPN feels guilty, bloggers feel guilty, everybody feels guilty except the scumbag who shot the video in the first place. (I am ascribing this person with the inability to feel empathy.) The whole thing went wrong, very wrong. I do not think there is direct causality here … at all. But it’s not so wakka-wakka all-in-fun anymore, isn’t it? Even if we all feel comfortable that we were above board, if we scoffed at those other sites who were cruder and uglier, that part is over. No one feels good about it.

I have never met Erin Andrews. If I ran into her on the street today … I’m not sure I could look her in the eye. I’m not sure anybody could.

Really?  I mean, I think I’ve seen more than enough pics of Ms. Andrews on Deadspin that I think I’d recognize her if I ran into her on the street. And while said event would be no more or less remarkable than watching Kevin Burkhardt eat lunch, I don’t think I’d share the Godfather Of Sports Blogging’s intense shame.  Everyone doesn’t feel guilty, Will.  There’s no shortage of persons who neither pandered to meatheads or gave a minor talent like Andrews much more than a passing thought.   But if Lou Piniella feels a slight pang of regret, that’s totally understandable.

07.21.09

Jamba Juice To “GYWO”‘s Rees : Imitation Is The Sincerest Form Of Theft

Posted in Free Expression at 8:38 pm by

(from www.mnftiu.cc, used without permission)

(not from www.mnttiu.cc, but certainly created without permission)

It’s probably gonna take more than a free Pomegrante-Pick-Me-Up (TM) to raise the spirts of Get Your War On creator David Rees, victim of an advertising mugging committed by whoever came up with the current campaign for Jamba Juice. Rees’ thoughtful reply :

The clip art is public domain, of course, anyone can do anything with it ¦ but check out the word balloons! JAMBA JUICE TOTALLY BIT MY GYWO WORD BALLOON STYLE! Rounded-edge text box with single line pointing to mouth? I developed that in 2001 using Quark XPress 4!!! THAT™S MY SHIT!!! Jamba Juice, you™re a bunch of BALLOON-BITERS.

First person to sue Jamba Juice on my behalf CAN KEEP ALL THE MONEY. All I care about is destroying Jamba Juice and their overpriced dumb-ass juices. EAT A PIECE OF FRUIT, you morons, you™re missing most of the fiber.

Yanks Outraged By Copyright Infringement And/Or A Poorly Designed Tee

Posted in Baseball, Fashion, The Law, The Marketplace at 8:10 pm by

Josh Alper, formerly  of the late, lamented blog The Feed, reports for NBC Washington that the Bronx Bombers seek to quash the commercial aspirations of an aspiring t-shirt peddler.

Long Islander Steve Lore has attempted to trademark the phrase “The House That Juice Built” and has been selling t-shirts and other merchandise with that phrase online. The trademark application actually came up in April, but a brief note in the New York Post brought in further attention this week. According to the Post, the shirt in question features the red, white and blue top hat with stars that has long been associated with the team on top of a syringe, but a search of the Internet isn’t able to come up with that particular logo.

The logo that you can find has the contested phrase, with house and juice in blue, in large block letters. It also has Bronx, New York written underneath the dig, just so there’s no confusion about which house we’re talking about. While the Yankees’ concern for the brand is understandable, it’s hard to see where they have much of a case.

Their argument, that swapping Juice for Ruth could cause confusion, doesn’t hold much water. Lore’s t-shirt is a pretty clear case of parody, whether or not it is trademarked as such, and if he isn’t using any official Yankee logo there doesn’t seem to be much chance that people would think that this is an official Yankee product.

The Yankees, after all, didn’t come up with the phrase “The House That Ruth Built.” It was coined by a sportswriter after the first game at the old stadium, which, of course, no longer exists as anything but a memory. They also don’t seem to have a problem with people calling the new stadium “The House That Jeter Built” or other such turns of phrase unless our courts are backlogged with cases on that front.

Big Civil Suit Against Big Ben Not a Big Story at ESPN

Posted in Gridiron, Sports Journalism, The Law at 4:29 pm by

There’s no shame in running an article from the Associated Press. It exists for a reason, and while AP copy can be dry — and can be embarrassing when it’s not — that is also 1) by design and 2) usually secondary to the fact that AP stories more often than not get things right on the facts. The right people are called, i’s crossed and t’s dotted, etc. An AP piece is the sort of thing a publication would run if it didn’t have anyone on staff actually reporting the story, and considering how many newspapers and magazines increasingly don’t have anyone on staff, period, AP stories certainly serve their purpose. Especially as regards a detailed story that just broke — such as that of the newly filed civil suit for sexual assault against Ben Roethlisberger (above) by a Lake Tahoe woman — it makes sense that most venues are currently just running the story on the case by the AP’s Scott Sonnen.

Sonnen’s piece covers all the bases and is wrenching and unpleasant in the way that all stories of this sort are — Roethlisberger is friendly, then predatory; the woman filing the suit is scared, then depressed, then treated with the most abject ignorance by employers desperate to cover things up. The suit may turn out to have merit or it might not, but if you want to form your own opinion, you’ll have to look someplace other than the WWL, because ESPN didn’t even pick up the AP copy on this story. This morning, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reported that this was the result of ESPN issuing an internal “Do Not Report Alert” on the story.

More news has come out about the story over the course of the day — the odious TMZ has run the woman’s photos (of course) and PFT ran an oppo-research style backgrounder on the accuser — but not on ESPN, which still has not printed a word about it. As I type this, there is nothing to be found on ESPN’s front page (which does feature a Paul Shirley feature about seeing SunO))) in concert) or even on the NFL front page about the suit. Florio thought that seemed odd, and made a few phone calls. And it turns out that it’s not just odd, but probably at least a little bit dirty.

ESPN spokesman Mac Nwulu has provided us with a statement from the folks in Bristol regarding their decision not to mention the civil sexual assault suit against Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, which to our knowledge has been ignored by every national ESPN platform. “At this point, we are not reporting the allegations against Ben Roethlisberger because no criminal complaint has been filed,” Nwulu said. “As far as we know, this is a civil lawsuit that Roethlisberger has yet to address publicly.”

Actually, Roethlisberger has addressed the lawsuit publicly, via a Monday night statement from lawyer David Cornwell, who has been retained to represent Roethlisberger.

…Besides, we don’t buy for a minute the notion that a civil claim unaccompanied by a criminal complaint makes the situation not newsworthy. Indeed, ESPN posted last night on its NFL page a blurb from the AP regarding the civil suit filed by former NFL kicker Tony Zendejas, in which he claims a violation of his civil rights in connection with, coincidentally, a rape prosecution.

In that case, have the folks who allegedly violated the civil rights of Zendejas been charged criminally? Nope. But that hasn’t kept ESPN from posting the AP item.

Newsday’s Neil Best suggests that ESPN’s close relationship with Ben Roethlisberger may have something to do with their radio silence. This wouldn’t exactly be new for ESPN, which did the same thing on that Reggie Bush payoff story from 2008. But just because it’s not a new low doesn’t mean it isn’t pretty fucking low.

Like Mike Dunleavy Was Even Really Watching that Summer League Game

Posted in Basketball at 3:01 pm by

I love the NBA Summer League. Have loved it since before it even existed — I remember going to see a Nets’ summer league team that featured the late Yinka Dare, former Seton Hall go-getter Jerry Walker and the disgraced, prematurely paunchy Eddie Sutton-bribee Eric Manuel play at a convention center in White Plains when I was in middle school. (Here’s a terrific Alexander Wolff SI article about Manuel from around that time) I’m not saying that was cool, but of the other things I enjoyed in middle school — shoplifting, Bel Biv DeVoe, the Mets — it’s pretty much the only one I still enjoy fully.

Summer league hoops is not exactly good basketball — it’s kind of like a super-heated YMCA game, really — but it is weird enough and free-flowing enough to be more fun than most NBA games. And also the Wizards are letting Sam Cassell (above) coach their summer team. His deep, weird voice was a constant, droning presence in the background of the Knicks/Wiz summer tilt that MSG ran all day yesterday. With the exception of strong showings from the too-small Tyrese Rice and too-clompingly-Skita Nikoloz Tskitisvili and Walt Frazier describing Wiz forward Dominic McGuire as “omnipotent,” Cassell’s basso background chatter was the best part of watching the game. Which might not sound like a compliment, but that’s three things, already! There is honestly nothing to enjoy about watching a Nets/Bucks telecast — not Marv Albert’s increasingly not-in-jest-seeming baiting of Mike Fratello, not a dazed Sean Williams jumping up and down for no reason, not the sponsored-to-the-gills aesthetic. Certainly not the desultory, hope-free basketball itself. At least in the Summer League everyone seems to be having some modicum of fun.

Anyway, I’ve already written about this elsewhere, and I’m not going to win anyone over by just repeating the names of marginal basketball players I find interesting. (Although if you want to win yourself over, the rosters are here) Much as I love it, though, my dedication to Summer League basketball is obviously not such that it’d get me to fly to Vegas and watch Morris Almond take jumpers over former college hoops dudes I’ve only vaguely heard of. Even if I had the money, I probably wouldn’t do it. But the Washington Post’s mighty Dan Steinberg was at the Summer League, and filed a report on the beautiful monsters that actually turn out for Wizards summer league games.

I was sitting next to Clippers Coach and GM Mike Dunleavy, asking him a few questions, when a Wizards fan I’ve met once or twice came by. He was wearing an old-school Bullets t-shirt with a montage of photos from the glory days splattered across the front. He proceeded to stand directly in front of Mike Dunleavy and to ask me a few questions about the Wizards.

It was really one of the better moments of my career. I mean, just plumb in front of Dunleavy, with a giant photo of Wes Unseld on his shirt, asking me questions about the Wiz. Finally, Dunleavy asked this Bullets/Wizards fan whether he might move, so that he could, you know, see the basketball game.

There’s more, but I don’t want to excerpt the whole thing. It may tilt my perspective some, given that the words Steinberg uses to describe Summer League Wiz Nuts (to coin a phrase) — “young, white, male, fond of irony, fond of the Bullets, and fond of standing tall in their strange little identity” — could probably describe some people I know. I feel like the NBA’s rising, still half-secret dork appeal is a story that hasn’t really been covered yet, but it probably will be soon. Maybe when that Wiz t-shirt becomes the sports version of the three-wolf-tee?

Sox Pick Up Steam, Twins Blow Ten Run Lead

Posted in Baseball at 1:37 am by

The AL Central: Where .500 Means You’re In It

White Sox 4 Tampa 3

A 3-run shot by Paul Konerko behind Gavin Floyd’s seven solid frames (W, 8-6, 7 IP 3H 7K 2BB 3) took a David Price floater to left in the third, ending the Sox offense for the evening before a sold-out Monday night at the Cell.  The return of Carlos Quentin (1 for 4) from an May foot injury demonstrated the intense outfielder’s preference for camping on the plate — Q is still tied for third in AL in HBP despite being out for two months –  He still constantly fouls straight back and will need a better look to resume contributing.

AJ Pierzynski gunned down two runners and Scotty Podsednik went 3 for 3, sporting a remarkably refined stroke at the plate that promises traction in the Sox’s campaign to be the kings of a very small AL Central hill.  The Sox are a single game behind the idle Tigers and 4 over .500 at 48-44.

A’s 14 Twins 13

When your starter allows 11 runs, it’s usually safe to assume 1) the phone line to the bullpen has fallen victim to a backhoe and 2) parking lot traffic won’t be at its peak at the 9th inning.  But if history’s taught us anything, it’s that when the Twins are involved, the improbable outcome can never be ruled out.  Despite A’s starter Gio Gonzales’ 2.2 inauspicious innings and 11 ERs, Oakland mounted the greatest comeback in their history to defeat Burl Ives and company 14-13.  The 27-run 39-hit extravaganza ended on a bang-bang play in the 9th.  A Michael Wuertz wild pitch got past Kurt Suzuki who grabbed it on a carom and got it back to Wuertz at the plate to tag out an incredulous Michael Cuddyer and drop the Twins to 2.5 back in the division.  Reports of a low moaning sound resuming from former Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman’s home could not be confirmed at press time.

07.20.09

Minihane : Dewey Deserves Rice’s HOF Spot

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 10:50 pm by

“It is by no means an embarrassment that Jim Rice goes into the Hall of Fame on Sunday,” opines WEEI.com’s Kirk Minihane “But there are players with better careers that are still waiting…and Dwight Evans is one of them.” Though the full post is required reading, here’s a portion to pique your curiosity :

Decade of dominance argument for Rice? Well, Evans led all American League players in home runs and extra-base hits during the 1980s. And only Rickey Henderson walked more.

Are you still in the Rice camp? Slight edge? Okay, did I mention defense? Evans has eight Gold Gloves. Rice, as I was told over and over by Ned and Monty, eventually learned how to play The Wall. Any list of the, what, 20 best OF arms in baseball history has to have Evans on there. Rice was always a DH doing an okay impression of a left fielder (credit baseball-fever.com for this fact “ Rice played 34.4 percent of his games at DH). If Rice over Evans as an offensive player is Bush-Gore than Evans over Rice on defense is Reagan-Mondale. And this huge edge pretty much ends the debate.

Evans had lousy luck. Rice and Lynn took off before Evans could get going, and he spent the rest of his career trying to catch up. The media and the fans could never quite figure him out, and in fairness he was a tough case. No big career numbers (no on 400 homers, 2,500 hits or a .300 average). Great defensive OF, but who votes for those guys? And who knew what OPS was in 1984?

Jim Rice looks the part, I get it. No heavy lifting. A quick glance at the career numbers and you feel safe voting him in. But if Jim Rice is a Hall of Famer than I want Dick Allen in (57th all-time in career OPS, Rice is 148th). And what about Ron Santo? Albert Belle was a better hitter than Jim Rice. Tim Raines. Dale Murphy. Tommy Henrich. And my two favorites, Charlie Keller and Ted Simmons. All those guys should™ve had their day before Jim Rice had his turn.

Who Says L.A.’s Not A Real Sports Town? Galaxy Fans Tell Becks To Fuck Off

Posted in Football at 10:37 pm by

We can only presume this is how Bill Plaschke would’ve liked to see Manny Ramirez treated a few nights ago. The Guardian’s Marcus Christian on midfielder David Beckham’s return to the Home Depot Center after an extended spell on loan to AC Milan — who just happened to be the MLS Galaxy’s exhibition opponents last night.

The former England captain was held back by security staff, who also needed to restrain an angry fan who left his seat and rushed towards the footballer. The 34-year-old afterwards tried to explain what had happened by saying: “One of the guys was saying things that really wasn’t very nice. It was stepping over the line. I said ‘You need to calm down and come shake my hand’ and he jumped over.” Asked whether his intention was to do “a Cantona” and attack the fan, Beckham smiled and said: “No, of course not.”

The man was arrested by California State Dominguez Hills police for trespassing because he left the seating area, a Home Depot Center spokeswoman said. “I know there was some turmoil in the corner but I didn’t see it so I can’t comment,” Galaxy manager Bruce Arena said. “Obviously, there were some dissenters in the early going but I think he won over a lot of people by the end.”

A section of the crowd booed Beckham every time he touched the ball and held aloft signs reading “Go Home Fraud” and “23: Repent” in reference to his shirt number. Another read: “Hey Becks, Here Before You, Here after You, Here Despite You” while one stated: “Is evil something u are … or something u do?”

Jerry Manuel Makes Funny, Which Apparently is a Big Deal

Posted in Baseball at 3:37 pm by

So, Gerard’s out amid the art and tumbleweeds in far West Texas, and I was more or less out of commission this weekend myself, so a few things that some might’ve considered important — or at least ordinarily been covered — were not covered. I imagine that those relying on CSTB for their golf coverage will probably never be able to trust us again, but one incident that I imagine GC might’ve given a link was Jerry Manuel’s (actually pretty funny) joke following the Mets’ 11-0 drubbing at the hands of the Braves on Saturday.

The context: Gary Sheffield was cramping up (because he’s 40 years old and signed with the Mets to win a World Series as a part-timer, not to be “protected” in the lineup by Omir Santos on a team that increasingly looks like it could lose 90 games). Reporters asked him after the game about Sheffield’s prognosis. Dr. Manuel responded, “They’re calling it cramps… (so) surgery on Thursday.” Then he laughed.

A bunch of people laughed. Because what the fuck else are you going to do when such a thing keeps happening over and over and over to the Mets’ best players? Are you going to cry? Are you going to cry about it, like a little baby? It depends, really. If you are Mets GM Omar Minaya or outlandishly overmatched bluetooth jockey and player development director Tony Bernazard, yeah, you’re apparently probably going to cry like a little baby. Here’s Bart Hubbach in the New York Post:

Manager Jerry Manuel figures to get an earful from his bosses — if he hasn’t already — after an ill-advised joke last night following the Mets’ 11-0 loss to the Braves… Realizing that team-owned SNY was filming the remark, Manuel quickly added: “I couldn’t resist. Sorry, doctors.”

Manuel then pleaded twice — apparently without success — with the network’s in-house reporter, Kevin Burkhardt, not to run the footage. Manuel was making light of the Mets’ habit, particularly this season, of minimizing injuries that turn out to be much more serious. It is an especially touchy subject with team management, so Manuel is sure to hear about it.

I mean, obviously it’s a little passive-aggressive and such, but the Mets training staff has botched injury after injury this year. Bernazard, one of those bizarre corporate survivors who seems consistently to fail up despite being disliked by your more discerning Mets and his odd habit of only developing players likely to have worse Big League careers than he did, is maligned by the fans who can still bother to care. His failure (and Minaya’s as well) is written all over the organization, most notably through some unrealistically lousy farm teams. So honestly they need to loosen up and get fucking fired learn to laugh about it, you know? It’s good to laugh. I do it whenever Brian Schneider bats.

At ESPN, Buster Olney offers another reason Manuel might be in trouble over his remark, writing, “The Mets have a professional relationship with the Hospital for Special Surgery, which sponsors the team. Imagine if a spokesperson for Coca-Cola ripped the soft drink company publicly; Manuel was joking, but that’s essentially what he did.”

Well, I mean, not specifically. And maybe not at all. But essences are slippery things. This is not a big deal, and probably wasn’t a big deal when it actually happened like three days ago. But better to talk about this than the actual team as presently constituted, probably.

ESPN’S Wickersham on Winslow’s Testicular Nightmare, Maturation

Posted in Gridiron, Medical Science at 11:54 am by

Seth Wickersham’s long ESPN the Magazine feature about Kellen Winslow is a prime example of the dominant ESPN the Magazine feature mode. That is, it’s a friendly-enough article about the maturation process of an athlete who may not really deserve a friendly feature or be all that mature. The gist of it, as is often the case with these sorts of ESPN features, is that While You Think You Know Presumed Asshole Athlete X, It Turns Out That You Don’t, because really PAAX loves his dogs or grandparents or the game (so darn much that it sometimes makes him seem like a jerk). It’s not a hugely unworthy direction for a feature to go, and certainly not notably more worthless than the standard tabloid “Whipping Boy Athlete X is Gutless, Yeah I Said It.” But it’s not surprising, and works less well for some athletes than others.

There is, it turns out, only so much any writer can do to polish Kellen Winslow, Jr. Which I guess is fine, since Winslow can be however he chooses to be and the piece itself is pretty readable. Wickersham’s big discovery is basically that while Winslow is still weapons-grade cocky and maybe kind of a butthead, he is also calm, polite, serious about football, etc. when engaged in conversation. It’s sort of a longish feature to come to that non-conclusion of a conclusion, but Wickersham perks things up by doling out some excruciatingly excruciating details on Winslow’s staph-related swollen testicles scare from last season. (The article is currently behind the ESPN Insider wall, but you should really consider joining, if only because then you’re guaranteed not to miss a week of Bill Simmons’ podcast. I think he’s talking to Adam Carolla about women this week) Anyway, strap in:

If the story about his testicles doesn’t get Winslow any appreciation, he doesn’t know what will. He’s in the kitchen of his San Diego home, remembering an October morning in Ohio last year when he woke up and was sore — down there. “I thought it was nothing, it’ll go away,” he says. “Next morning my testicles were enlarged, to the point where it hurt to walk.”

Winslow rushed to the Cleveland Clinic and was immediately admitted. Becuase the Browns decided not to release any information about his condition until there was an official diagnosis, rumors spread that Winslow had an STD. His publicist texted the Browns’ PR staff: “Because of speculation (sic) and rumors we are letting the media know that Kellen was treated for a ‘staph infection’ resulted (sic) from a cut he acquired from a car door — stretching the truth a bit, but it will dispell (sic) the rumors and inuendos (sic).”

A media rep from the Browns replied, “Don’t do that. Kellen needs to talk to (then head coach) Romeo Crennel and (then GM) Phil Savage first.” The Browns have had a staph infection problem: at least six players have been infected since 2003. Picking that injury as a cover was not acceptable. “If it isn’t staph, don’t say staph,” the Browns rep texted. “It will force the team to contradict him.” Seventeen texts ensued, some contentious.

Eventually doctors confirmed that Winslow did have staph. And he had passed it on to Janelle, who was also hospitalized. Winslow was terrified they wouldn’t be able to have kids, and that if they could, their child might be infected. In the hospital, with tubes running into one of his testicles, Winslow’s treatment began: “They had to drain it. They had a scalpel. They cut into it. I had to clean it every day with a Q-Tip, for two and a half weeks. It was the most painful thing I’ve ever been through.”

After four days in the hospital, Winslow wanted to take the field against the Redskins on October 19. Few players, if any, have had fluid drained from their testicles so that they could participate in a game, let alone practice. Winslow did.

Maybe hire another publicist? At any rate: impressive(ly wince-inducing).

07.18.09

Vindicated, But Still Winless…

Posted in Baseball, Boxing, It's A Living at 6:27 pm by


..in Philadelphia celebrity boxing matches, the former Bash Brother Jose Canseco will square off against Wing Bowl legend Bill “El Wingador” Simmons From Philly.com:


Bill Simmons, the all-time WIP Wing Bowl champ known as El Wingador, confirms that he’ll head into the boxing ring July 24 against former major leaguer Jose Canseco.
Simmons, who’s 47, 6-foot-5 and 330 pounds, acknowledges that he’s getting into the ring for the money and the exposure. He is working on a brand of chicken wings that will hit grocery stores in August.

Canseco, who’s 44, 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds, is fresh off a defeat in his mixed martial arts debut. Last month, 7-foot-2 sumo wrestler/kick boxer Hong Man Choi whupped him in 77 seconds in Japan. In previous appearances in the Philly area, Canseco boxed WYSP morning man Danny Bonaduce to a draw in January and lost to NBC10 sports director Vai Sikahema in July 2008.

Simmons, who says he’s a street fighter, boxed a pro wrestler named Smoke to a draw in 2003.

One thing Simmons says he won’t do is go back into competitive eating. “At my age, it’s easier to fight than eat,” he told me.

May the best man win, but I am wondering what Philly local legends/celebrities are left for Josie to take on in the future since Eric Gregg is no longer amongst us. Dave Schultz?…Beanie Sigel?…Matt Geiger?

07.17.09

Don’t Get Him Started On Oliver Platt : Mr. October Still Burning Over “The Bronx”

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV, The World Of Entertainment at 8:46 pm by

Hard to say which is more amazing, that MSG still allows Fran Healy to host a television program or that Reggie Jackson continues to gripe about ESPN’s dramatic adaptation of Jonathan Mahler’s “Ladies & The Gentlemen, The Bronx Is Burning”.  Reggie unloads to Healy on Sunday’s broadcast of “365″ (“I was portrayed as a buffoon”), and Newsday’s Neil Best has some of the choice quotes.

œSwagger became arrogance, confidence became conceit and at times I think I looked foolish and silly and they had me make all these efforts to be egotistical to the point of being very insensitive to other people.

“There was a scene in the movie that had me ripping up a bench. I got angry at some point and that never happened in the clubhouse. Even the benches that they used, they were chairs. They weren™t these benches that were nailed down on the floor. It looked like we sat and ate lunch somewhere at a park.

“There were so many scenes we were kidding before that had me sitting inside having a beer with Billy Martin. That never, ever happened. Who would have a drink with a guy who couldn™t stand him and went out of his way to make a fool out of him? I just went out of my way to keep my distance and stay away.

“The way they characterized me walking around with big sunglasses all the time. I wore sunglasses when I played. They were prescription. But the overdoing of the hats. There was one time they showed me loaning money to Mickey Rivers to go to the horse track. I never did that. I thought they disparaged and did their best to embarrass Mickey Rivers with that. It didn™t make me look bad but it never happened.”

Pearlman To Joe Beningo-Gazingo : What’s With The Cavalier ‘Tude Towards Cheats?

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, Sports Journalism at 4:54 pm by

Bill Plaschke‘s upset because Manny Ramirez didn’t use his return to Chavez Ravine as an opportunity to personally fellate every Dodger fan in attendance, Barry Bonds biographer Jeff Pearlman takes a more reasoned approach to the PED era’s prior Public Enemy No. 1.

Blogging at JeffPealrman.com, the “Love Me, Hate Me” author heard WFAN’s Evan Roberts and Joe Beningo defend The Sultan Of Surly’s Hall Of Fame candidacy and replies, “Barry Bonds doesn™t belong in the Hall of Fame. Not even in the Hall of Some Fame. Or Hall of Moderate Fame.”

I™m not sure what happened in this country ¦ when, at some point, it became OK to accept cheating. Perhaps it has to do with volume”sooo many people have cheated that we started grading the level of cheats. If, say, Alex Sanchez took steroids, it™s somehow worse than Bonds, because the drugs probably made him a major leaguer. Bonds merely used the stuff as enhancers.

Here is, literally, what the Hall of Fame lists as its criteria:

“Voting: Voting shall be based upon the player™s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on
which the player played.”

Interity. Sportsmanship. Character. Think about it. Really, really think about it. Using that criteria”the stated, understood criteria”how can anyone knowingly vote for someone who cheated? I don™t care if Barry Bonds or Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa hit 1,000 home runs and batted .700 for the first 10 years of their careers. As soon as they chose to cheat”to violate the law of the United States in an effort to enhance their careers”they deemed themselves ineligible.

As a journalist, if I™m struggling in the midst of crippling writer™s block, do I copy the work of others? As a doctor, do I over-bill the insurance company, even though I didn™t perform the listen procedure? As a student, do I sit diagonally behind the smart kid and copy his answers? As a cop, do I file a faulty report to make myself look better?

In Ligue Of His Own : William III’s Coming Out Party

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 3:31 pm by

It’s not every day you’ll see a Deadspin item linked at CSTB for thoroughly non-critical or ironic reasons, but even the site’s most ardent defenders would have to admit it’s not everyday A.J. and co. uncover a story as monumental as the following ; let the likes of Page 2 try in vain to get Steve Bartman to talk on the record.  Daulerio’s stumbled upon the MySpace profile of Billy Ligue aka William Ligue III, offspring and co-conspirator of infamous Tom Gamboa mugger William Ligue Jr.

Is violating the privacy of a (trashy) civilian any better or worse than looking over Stuart Scott’s shoulder? Hey, wait, this was supposed to be non-critical! Ethical hangups aside, I’ve got to give full credit where due.  Ligue III’s profile is almost as hot as my own.

Raissman : ’09 Mets TV Ratings Soaring Despite Unwatchable Baseball

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV, Ugly New Stadiums at 2:50 pm by

(YES’ Michael Kay, receiving zero credit below for the Yankees’ ratings success)

There’s “a new wrinkle for both the Mets and Yankees” writes the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman, surmising one unintended benefit of Citi Field and the Nu Stadium is that fans wary of being gouged by the Wilpons and Steinbrenners are opting to watch baseball from the comfort of their own homes.

The first-half ratings for the Yankees, who appear to be headed in the right direction, and the Mets, who don’t, prove more eyeballs are at the tube in ’09 than they were in ’08. Both the Yankees, on the Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network and the Mets, on SNY, set first-half ratings records.

On YES, the Bombers averaged a 4.6 rating, up over 2% from the 4.5 registered during the first half of ’08. On SNY, the Mets averaged a 3.2, up 14% from the 2.8 recorded during the first half of ’08.

Considering the inconsistent, inept, unwatchable baseball they have played, made even more dismal by injuries to marquee players Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado, the Mets’ rating is stunning.

You want to attribute it to Gary Cohen’s food reviews of Citi Field eateries, or the new ballpark itself? Go ahead. If you want to say the increase may also reflect a first half in ’08 that featured ratings killers, which included 22 late starting times (16 West Coast games and six in Colorado) and six mid-week day games, well, that’s cool too.

Still, the toxic economy cannot be discounted. Not even for the Yankees, a team often portrayed as a bottomless money pit. There are patches of empty seats in the new Stadium, too. Where are those fans, who once filled every seat across the street, watching these games? Only on YES.

The Yankees own about 30% of YES and the Mets own 70% of SNY. Get it? The the economy has also produced a cannibalization effect. Those who once could afford tickets now watch the games on TV.

For better or worse, both teams have got you – coming or going.

Ricky Williams Gets His Hands On A Miami Reporter

Posted in Gridiron at 12:44 pm by

Dolphins RB Ricky Williams — one of the all-time experts in all manners of relaxtion — “won’t be offering teammates a massage, even if it might help,” writes the Sun-Sentinel’s Dave Hyde, “because, ‘I don’t think they’d be open to a man touching a man.’  Hey, that’s their loss!

The First (And Possibly Last) WTT Post In CSTB History

Posted in Tennis at 12:33 pm by

(those brawling Sportimes)

“It was probably one of the greatest World Team Tennis match ever played, maybe the greatest” gushed New York Sportimes owner Claude Okin of last night’s highly contentious contest between his club and the Washington Kastles.  Much like the rest of the human race, DC Sports Bog’s Dan Steinberg didn’t witness the fracas, but he’s found eyewitness testimony from someone who did.

So I wasn’t there, but here’s a rough summary of how things went down, according to the Kastles. During the men’s doubles, Kastles star Leander Paes tagged Robert Kendrick with a volley at the net. A furious John McEnroe crossed the net and got in Paes’s face (although there’s some dispute about this–the Sportimes owner said McEnroe was “an oasis of calm in the chaos”), while New York Coach Chuck Adams started yelling at Paes’s partner, Scott Oudsema. Kastles Coach Murphy Jensen also came out and started yelling. Fans got into it, too.

Everyone calmed down, and no penalties were issued, but Kendrick then served a ball into Paes, who was at the net and wasn’t receiving the serve.

“All hell breaks loose again,” someone with the Kastles told me.

So players on both benches got up and start yelling at each other and at the chair umpire; the Kastles allege that a member of the Sportimes cursed at Olga Puchkova, and her teammate Rennae Stubbs then lost it and was assessed a one-point penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Kastles went on to lose the match in a super tiebreaker.

Team Obama in Damage Control, Invites Piniella to White House; Cubs Beat Nats, 6-2

Posted in Baseball, politics at 12:38 am by

Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella, and others, watch as President ...

[Piniella at the White House today, sensing ... destiny?]

Early this week, I delivered a Olbermann-intoned Special Comment on President Obama’s dimming popularity and his palling around with the Cardinals’ Albert Pujols at the 411th All Star Game.  Obama, of course, did it in his ever-present 1980-era black satin Members Only Presidential White Sox jacket.  The White House jumped on this political poison pill, immediately bringing  Cubs manager Lou Piniella in for a five minute personal meeting today with the President (and lunch with token Cub fan advisor, David Axelrod).  Naturally, Piniella was bowled over by the Obama charm offensive.   Me, I’m not so forgiving of the All-Stain Game hug with Pujols.  Will it save healthcare?  I don’t know.  It better.

That said, the Cubs ruined their former manager Jim Riggleman’s debut in a Nats uniform, beating the beltway national leaguers 6-2 behind Rich Harden.  The Cubs did go out and sign yet another reliever for their bullpen over the break in the form of former Blue Jay, B. J. Ryan.  Ryan will begin his Cub service in the minors at Mesa, AZ, then move up to AAA Iowa, with hopes he can help Kevin Gregg and Carlos Marmol out later this year.  Ryan’s contract has $15 mil on it — and the Blue Jays still released this guy last July, with a 1-1 record and 6.53 ERA in 25 games.  Talk about writing off a loss.  The Cubs have turned other players around, most recently Jim Edmonds and “ ok, the jury’s still out — Fukudome, but at the very least his signing will enliven DC Cub fan Chris Lehmann’s repertoire of Cub tweets from “fuck you, Kevin Gregg” and “fuck you, Aaron Heilman” to something along those lines re B. J. Ryan.

07.16.09

R/T @brianching $500? is that all?

Posted in Football, The Internet at 6:20 pm by

OK, the above headline is not an actual tweet from Brian Ching, but it would could’ve been after the Houston Dynamo forward was hit with a $500 fine for his critique of an MLS official via Twitter.   From the Houston Chronicle’s Bernardo Fallas :

Ching made the œtweet during the Dynamo™s loss at the Seattle Sounders on Saturday afternoon. The matched was marred by controversy after referee Mark Geiger upheld a questionable goal call in favor of the Sounders.

“Ref in seattle just cheated the dynamo,” Ching wrote. “What a joke. Not even close. Ref is a cheat.”

The goal by Freddy Montero, which appeared to be saved at the goal line with a flying kick by Dynamo defender Mike Chabala, tied the score at 1 in the first half.

The Sounders went on to defeat the shorthanded Dynamo 2-1.

Ching did not play in the match, nor was he present at Qwest Field. He was in Foxborough, Mass., following the match via video as he and the United States national team prepared to take on Haiti in Gold Cup competition.

Observer’s Koblin on “The Sneeze Heard ‘Round the Tri-State Area” and Other SNY Heroics

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 5:50 pm by

I haven’t been around here much of late (GC can vouch for the resultant spike in readership) but I’ve been pulling long hours in the ghastly dude-chamber that I refer to as an office in my more self-important moments. I’m also in the process of allowing my very dysfunctional relationship with the very dysfunctional Mets to cool into mutual contempt/disinterest, which takes time. What I’ll miss most as I continue to ween myself away from these weenies — even more than the opposite-of-a-buzz that sweeps the stands when Argenis Reyes comes on to pinch-hit — is the Mets spectacular three-headed announcing monster. To say that they’ve been more entertaining than the team they cover this season is a dramatic understatement. To say that they’ve nearly rescued the experience of watching the most depressing team in recent Mets history is closer to the compliment they deserve.

Gary (Cohen), Keith (Hernandez) and Ron (Darling) have received plenty of commentary in this space — their drinking game is already the stuff of too-dangerous-to-try legend — but they’re here again because they recently received a great journalistic salute from the New York Observer’s John Koblin. Koblin leads with an on-air sneeze from Keith Hernandez, and the piece somehow gets better from there. The dialogue bits are hard to excerpt effectively, but they actually read better than they sound. If movies had dialogue this good, they wouldn’t need loud robots:

Gary and Ron talked about how deflating it is for a pitcher when he™s working on a no-hitter and loses it. Inevitably, the conversation turned to the time the Mets”who have, amazingly, never had a no-hitter”came their closest to one: a game in July 1969, when Tom Seaver was two outs away only to surrender a left-center hit to the Cubs™ reserve man, Jimmy Qualls.

œSeaver looked like he wanted to go and strangle Jimmy Qualls, said Ron. œThat™s the look he gave.

Silence.

Keith: œHe™s a winemaker now”Thomas.

Ron: œDon™t forget Nancy Chardonnay.

It was a reference to the wine Seaver named after his wife.

Keith: œIt™s Nancy Fancy”it™s a red.

Ron: œOh, it is? I thought it was a char.

Keith: œIt™s like a petite sirah, almost.

Gary: œAre you oenophiles done?

Ron: œIt™s a blend, right?

They all laughed.

Keith: œSorry, Gar.

Gary: œIt all tastes the same to me.

More silence.

Keith: œI had a splendid Joseph Phelps the other night!

Gary: œReyes down swinging, and that™s seven strikeouts for Burnett.

Strapped For Cash? So Are The Mets

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace, Ugly New Stadiums at 5:37 pm by

Mere hours after the Post’s Joel Sherman raised the spectre of Fred & Jeff Wilpon having lost so much money in Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme that signing Eric Hinske wasn’t economically viable (as opposed to being a lousy idea purely for baseball reasons), SNY.TV issued the following press release (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory). How long before Citi Field’s parking lot is turned into an open-air flea market?

USCOINS.com, an official New York Mets partner, is hosting a major two-day gold-buying event at Citi Field. On Saturday, July 25 and Sunday, July 26 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., you will have the opportunity to enter and view the stadium from the Modell Clubhouse, take pictures, meet former Mets players, get a free photo and autograph and sell your unwanted gold items at today’s high prices. Entrance will be through the Bullpen Gate located along 126th Street.

On Saturday, Mookie Wilson (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.), Ed Kranepool, Ron Swoboda, George Foster (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) will be on hand, and on Sunday, Darryl Strawberry (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) will be available to all sellers. USCOINS.com is paying the highest prices for your gold coins, silver, gold jewelry, rare coins, currency, diamonds, sterling silver, entire collections, Rolex and other vintage watches and Tiffany items.

Don’t miss this opportunity to sell your valuables and meet the Mets. To be admitted, you must have at least $300 in merchandise to sell. Screeners at the Bullpen Gate will assess your merchandise.

Foster’s appearance is appropriate enough seeing as he’s no stranger to flogging unwanted jewlery.