Pearl Apologizes…To Clayton Bigsby

Posted in Basketball, Racism Corner at 11:29 am by

(not, presumably, the hood in question)

Given University of Tennessee Men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl credit where due ; these days, it’s pretty tough to come up with a remark controversial enough to keep Lane Kiffin out of the newspaper. The Tennessean collected the following remarks from Pearl yesterday at an Knoxville banquet.

Pearl was one of the featured speakers at a kickoff for charity fundraiser among TVA employees.

He took questions from the crowd. One person asked him about his three new players this year.

“I’ve got a tough job. I’ve got to put these guys from different worlds together, right? I’ve got guys from Chicago, Detroit. I’m talking about the hood! And I’ve got guys from Grainger County, where they wear the hood!” Pearl said. After a pause, he added, “That wasn’t part of the script.”

Later, Pearl issued a written statement, apologizing if anyone was offended by the joke, which he called inappropriate.


The Free-Speaking Jim Rice : Completely Clueless Or Simply Auditioning To Become The New Joe Morgan?

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 9:02 pm by

Exactly a month after being roundly mocked for (allegedly) telling a bunch of little leaguers Derek Jeter was one of the modern game’s no-goodniks, Hall Of Famer Jim Rice has inspired similar ridicule after describing K.C. starter / Cy Young candidate Zach Greinke (above)  as “a right-handed Roger Moret.”

Though the bench-jockeying Greinke’s been tossed from tonight’s game with Boston, it was Wednesday’s 6 scoreless inning against the Red Sox that caused Rice (blogging via the auspices of Sullivan Tire) to opine thusly ;

He doesn™t strike me as the dominant force that Pedro was during his statistical peak. Don™t get me wrong, Greinke pitched very effectively but he was not the unhittable beast on the mound that Pedro or Clemens (or even Johan Santana) were during their reign of dominance.

He only gave up two hits in 6 innings but struggled with his command and, with 5 strikeouts, it™s not like he was punching tickets up and down the Red Sox lineup.

This is about all the Sporting Blog’s Chris Littman can take, noting, “that intangible ‘How Jim Rice Feels’ column was somehow left out on Baseball Reference.”

I humored Rice and looked up Moret. In his playing days, he was two inches taller and about 20 lbs. lighter than Greinke. At no point did Moret approach Greinke’s strikeout numbers from this season. In fact, his best year, 1974, he had 111 to go with 79 walks. Is that a K/BB ratio that looks anything like what Greinke is sporting this season?

But look, Rice saying he was unimpressed by Greinke based solely on one start that was one of his most average of the year is like saying you were unimpressed by The Roots on a night Questlove didn’t play drums.

I’m not sure if I get the analogies — Littman’s or Rice’s.  For starter’s Greinke’s had some personal issues, but he’s never been, as far as I can tell, in a Moret-esque state of locker room catatonia (though anyone who had to put up with Buddy Bell’s flatulence might’ve blacked out once or twice).   As for Jim Ed, though it’s tempting to say he oughta keep a low profile from here on out, better that he gives his honest opinions, first hand impressions (ie. exactly what Sullivan Tire is paying for!) than merely allows today’s ballplayers to slide by on reputation.  I’m not sure how you’d keep a job talking or writing about (American League) baseball without having seen Greinke pitch several times this season, but if anyone can manage to do so, it oughta be the former Fenway Franks spokesperson. |

And Questlove’s perfectly alright.  But he’s no Chuck Biscuits.  (The Sporting Blog link culled from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)

Trick Or Treat : Cincy Amusement Park Remembers McNair Below His Playing Weight

Posted in Gridiron, The World Of Entertainment at 8:34 pm by

The New York Daily News’ Neil Nagraj
tells the tale of the most ill-advised family funday attraction since Brian Potter unveiled Sammy The Snake.

Kings Island Amusement Park’s Halloween Haunt features skeletal renditions of various celebrities, including Heath Ledger surrounded by pill bottles, Farrah Fawcett in her iconic red tank top, pitchman Billy Mays, and a pajama-clad Michael Jackson.

“You™re gonna see Ted Kennedy, Ed McMahon, and there™s still other ones yet to be placed,” Kings Island spokesman Don Helbig told Cincinatti NBC affiliate WLWT.

The fright-fest at the Ohio park also contained a depiction of slain NFL quarterback Steve McNair and his mistress Sahel Kazemi – an exhibit that has since been pulled from the display, Fanhouse.com reports.

The scene contained a skeleton representing McNair, wearing his NFL jersey, sat on a couch, with a lingerie-clad skeleton representing Kazemi sprawled across his lap. The display also featured a Titans helmet with the top blown off, Fanhouse.com reports, and a gun at the skeletons’ feet.

It really is shocking stuff. Isn’t Heath Ledger considered old news?

Brad Lidge : Doing Everything In His Power To Make Otherwise Meaningless Games Interesting

Posted in Baseball, Free Expression at 12:57 pm by

Philadelphia closer Brad Lidge blew his 11th save of the season last night, sucking up a storm in a 7-6 loss to the Marlins that could only add to Charlie Manuel’s anxiety with the post-season looming.  The Sports Hernia has helpfully uncovered an alternative take on Lidge’s latest disaster, so enjoy it while you can before those killjoys at MLB Advanced Media quash a passionate man’s grieving process.

Minaya’s Remaining Friends : Disguised As Empty Seats At Citi Field

Posted in Baseball at 12:37 pm by

Wednesday’s 5-2 loss to Atlanta was the Mets’ 13th in their last 16 games, the club’s midseason flirtation’s with .500 a distant memory in what Newsday’s David Lennon projects will be the Amazins’ worst campaign since finishing 66-95 in 2003. Though GM Omar Minaya (above) and manager Jerry Manuel have received (qualified) votes of confidence from ownership, Lennon suggests the noose around the former’s neck has begun to tighten.

Ramon Peña, a Minaya confidant who was in charge of the Mets’ operations in Latin America, is the second of the team’s high command to lose their jobs in the past two months after Tony Bernazard, the vice president for player development, was axed on July 27. Bernazard was removed for his embarrassing behavior, which reportedly involved challenging minor-leaguers to fights and berating other team officials in public.

As for Peña, a person familiar with the situation said Wednesday that his firing was the result of both poor performance and questionable conduct. When asked to elaborate, the person said, “There can’t be any more Tony Bernazards.”

But just as Bernazard was close with Minaya and COO Jeff Wilpon, Peña also was tight with the GM, though it ultimately was Minaya’s decision to fire him – under some pressure from ownership.

The Wilpons have been simmering behind the scenes about the Mets’ terrible performance this season and this week’s firing of Peña is the first of what is expected to be a bigger housecleaning within the organization.

Perhaps Omar’s personal assistant, Leonor Barua, previously trotted out for an embarrassing Sports Illustrated puff piece on her boss, might be considered for Pena’s role?


Toffees To Diouf : Yes, We Have No Bananas

Posted in Football, Racism Corner at 9:43 pm by

Accused of racially abusing an ballboy over the weekend, Blackburn striker El Hadji Diouf has responded with a claim he was pelted with bananas by Everton fans.  While Diouf’s no stranger to trouble with crowdsThe Guardian’s Andy Hunter reports Everton’s (alleged) investigation has ended not unlike an x-ray of Wayne Rooney’s skull ;  results have revealed nothing.

Diouf alleged he had been the subject of racist abuse at Goodison in an interview given on Tuesday, claiming: “People threw bananas at me, and the referee told me he would report this to the police.” He also described as “nonsense” the allegation he made a racist remark to a ballboy.

The Blackburn forward made his complaint after the final whistle on Sunday and police, together with Everton stewards, immediately commenced a search of the playing surface where the alleged incident occurred plus the seating areas in the Lower Bullens Road Stand and Gwladys Street. No bananas were found in the search and no pictures have emerged that would support Diouf’s claims.

Sent From Sean Salibury’s iPhone : Threats, Promises, And The Worst Book Title You’ve Ever Heard

Posted in Blogged Down, non-sporting journalism, Sports Radio, Sports TV at 9:17 pm by

Former ESPN football analyst Sean Salisbury recently left Dallas radio outlet 105.3 The Fan, an incident yours truly headlined with “It Is Possible To Lose A Broadcasting Job Without Sending A Single MMS Of Your Cock”.Said unwieldy headline was of course, inspired by earlier allegations Salibury had sent phone-cam pics of his penis to “numerous, uncomfortable women”. A subsequent Deadspin post on the end of Salisbury’s tenure in Big D suggested more “cellphone hijinx” were to blame, a claim the former QB’s representative angrily denied.

Fast forward a week later, and S.S. has engaged Deadspin editor A.J. Daulerio in the most ill-advised offensive since The Bay Of Pigs. In a series of rambling e-mail missives, each including the signature line, “sent from my iPhone”, Salisbury insists “ur guys lies and carelessness about CBS and espn stories has not only ruined my reputation but has cost me jobs so prepare urself for a lawsuit so big I will own deadspin.”  Much as I love to think Salisbury as Deadspin owner/publisher would result in, y’know, more than 2 links a year to CSTB, I’m gonna guess the mooted legal action is about as likely to scare Daulerio and Nick Denton as Sean’s threat to publish a book entitled, “espn exposed. The truth inside the r rated company” has Disney executives quaking in their boots.

Further messages from Salisbury are equal parts delusional (“u guys are about to revitalize my career and bank account”) and vengeful (“so you know I got some pics and smut on you that are gonna give you a taste of how it feels”).  Stadium Insider is amongst those who’ve had enough of the car crash, tweeting, “it was newsworthy when he showed people his thing. It was newsworthy when he got fired multiple times….But now it has gotten to a point where the constant updates need to stop and someone needs to provide help for a mental breakdown of a human.”  I’m not sure I agree — there’s clearly a time and place for this kind of outburst, though I don’t know if Salisbury is registered to comment at Deadspin.

White Sox 2010: Never Say Dye?

Posted in Baseball at 4:08 pm by

Jermaine Dye

It’s football season at US Cellular. Lethargy has settled in. The scent of Jim Thome’s butch wax has long since dissipated from the locker room. Mark Buehrle’s post-perfect-game season lay in perfect ruins. Scott Linebrink is learning how to look for jobs on Craigslist, Jose Contreras has been pawned off on mountain rustics, the search for Bartolo Colon has been called off, and Bobby Jenks has been shut down for the year after injury to his calf. 2009 is so over, I can’t even bring myself to extract the Bobby / veal joke from the above.

Now that the AL Central has decided to send a different delegate to the Yankees’ dinner table (upon a carving tray as opposed to a seat), the Sun-Times Joe Cowley seems convinced that Jermaine Dye won’t be in the picture next year.

The veteran is trying to survive, trying to show that he’s not washed up at 35. And realistically, he now knows that this is his last homestand on the team he won a World Series with.

“I’m not concerned about that,” Dye said about his fate now being all but sealed. “Whatever happens is going to happen. At this point you just want to try and get into a somewhat of a little bit of a groove before the season is over. Go into the offseason and see what happens.

“I’ve never struggled like this before, never had a whole half that has been nothing. Over the course of a career, I think that’s pretty good. The five years I’ve been here I’ve had five pretty good years, and it just so happened that I struggled here at the end, we were fighting to get into the playoffs, and it’s just the way it is.”

The struggling Dye was out of the starting lineup on Tuesday, unable to change the .168 second half he’s had with just five homers and 19 RBI. A second half he has no explanation for.

“I have no clue,” Dye said. “I put in the work and sometimes it doesn’t work out. There’s nothing wrong with the mechanics. When you struggle, the pitches you should hit you foul off. The pitches you take normally when you feel good they’re balls, they’re strikes now. When you struggle everything goes wrong. This second half it just didn’t happen.”

Somewhere in the bowels of University of Chicago, – perhaps down the hallway from where Milton Friedman’s skull is ritually bathed in the blood of infants – Nate Silver and the PECOTA crew are getting an early jump sharpening their knives for the inevitable prediction of doom for the 2010 Pale Hose. Last half of ’09 notwithstanding, I bet a Dyeless lineup only justifies the doomsaying, if Alex Rios at this years’s numbers is supposed to pick up the slack.

Appealing To Jordan’s Vanity (And/Or Desire To Embarrass Byron Russell)

Posted in Basketball at 1:50 pm by

How eager would you be to watch a Peter McNeely/Mike Tyson rematch? Ever thought it would be fun to watch Lawrence Taylor chase Joe Theismann around a parking lot…in 2009? If so, you might be one a handful of persons impressed with the initiative of Utah Flash owner Brandt Anderson, who’d like Michael Jordan and Byron Russell to settle their recent pissing match with a game of one-on-one.

I will personally donate $100,00 to charity in the name of the winner. We can do it during the half time of the Utah Flash home opener on December 7th. $100,000 in cash for a 15 minute pickup game. MJ even you can™t say no to that.

Our venue is the perfect place for this challenge because it brings BRuss back to Utah and Michael Jordan has a home just outside of Park City (I have seen his Carolina Blue Jump Man plane on the runway at Million Air in SLC) so it is convenient for both guys. Not to mention that it would be sacrilegious to have this take place anywhere outside of Utah.

Think about the benefits for the two of them. BRuss wants some vindication and MJ puts that fire we have always seen to the test by lacing them up one more time in a casual ˜all for charity™ event.

Lorne Michaels
was unavailable for comment.


One Last Look At Tiger Stadium

Posted in Baseball, History's Not Happening at 9:43 pm by

Though the demolition of Detroit’s Tiger Stadium continued through Monday, the above YouToob clip, posted on Saturday the 19th, is in it’s own way, scarier than seeing Jimmy Leyland in a wifebeater and boxers.

Introducing The New Owner Of The Texas Rangers

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 9:29 pm by

(Tom Hicks and Nolan Ryan, shown in happier days, ie. before the former began sleeping in his car)

Before the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Jennifer Floyd Engel is accused of trolling ala Mike De Silva, she’d like to point out “Rangers fans have been paying for fireworks and dollar hot dog night for nearly a decade. And now they finally have a season that genuinely generates legit hope for next season and they have no idea where this team is going.”  To wit, the notion the financially hamstrung Texas Rangers might soon be under the control of Major League Baseball ala the final days of the Montreal Expos, continues to gain traction, and Ms. Floyd-Engel merely asked someone at MLB’s office who was in charge of the ballclub.  The reply? “Pat Courtney”

After exhaustive Google research, I learned that Pat Courtney is Major League Baseball™s vice president of public relations. This obviously is an important man and certainly he™d have answers for scared and confused Rangers fans desperately wanting to know what this off-season may bring for this team.

Tom Hicks is normally the man to call on such matters, but what is the point nowadays? Everybody knows The Texas Rangers are at least partially funded by and possibly run by MLB, with someone named Pat Courtney apparently being a go-to guy.

Mr. Courtney never called back Monday, likely gagged like everybody else about this Rangers business. All joking aside, though, what I want to ask Courtney, and his boss, is who is running the Texas Rangers and thereby in charge of big decisions facing them?

Who sets the Rangers™ budget for 2010? Who decides what free agents the Rangers can or cannot pursue? Who decides whether ticket prices will be increased?

Are the Rangers going to try to re-sign Marlon Byrd? Who makes the call about an extension on Josh Hamilton? Is there an MLB-imposed ceiling on this like there apparently was for Matt Purke?

How You Gonna Keep The Fishsticks On The Island After They’ve Seen The Bright Lights Of K.C.?

Posted in Hockey, Ugly New Stadiums at 6:46 pm by

(above : Wang answers a question from local taxpayer Snow with unusual candor)

The Los Angeles Kings and New York Islanders are playing an exhbiition game this evening at Kansas City’s Sprint Center. Guess which of the two teams might lookingly at their surroundings and think, wouldn’t it be swell to play here instead of that dump we’re currently housed in?” While you’ll mulling that one over, Newsday’s Katie Strang take stock of tonight’s friendly coinciding with seems to be judgement day for Charles Wang’s Lighthouse Project.

While this was supposed to be a game to garner attention and gauge the level of interest and success the Islanders might enjoy in a new market, all that takes a backseat now to the action back at the zoning hearing in NY.

From the hockey perspective there is not much to do from Kansas City but focus on the upcoming game. While several Islanders expressed a desire for not only a new building, but one that would allow the team to remain on Long Island, all that is out of their hands.

That said, it was hard not to admire the new, sparkling gem of a facility like the Sprint Center and dream about one day playing in a new place of their own. Snow, Gordon, and a bunch of players and staff members got the grand tour and were blown away by the beautiful, new venue. Even the visitor’s locker room is monstrous and opulent compared to their digs back at the Coliseum.

I’m not sure if there’s ever been an instance where a professional team that abandoned the New York metropolitan market for the midwest.  Far be it for me to advise a successful businessman like Mr. Wang how to run an NHL franchise, but it might make sense to canvas door to door in Hempstead, if only to reassure lapsed fans that Mike Milbury has absolutely nothing to do with the team.

Resisting The Terrible Urge To Utter “Where’s Your God Now?” : Fernando Tatis & The Christian Broadcasting Network

Posted in Baseball, Religion at 3:41 pm by

If there’s any parallel between charitable efforts and Fernando Tatis’ prior career resurrection, can we conclude that he must’ve done something very selfish prior to the start of the 2009 season? On the bright side, if you work for a religious organization and need access to a member of the New York Mets, it seems the club’s public relations department will do everything in their power to help you out.

Chin Up, QPR Fans – Nelson Piquet Jr. Might Prove To Be Briatore’s Howie Spira

Posted in Football, Vroom Vroom at 3:20 pm by

Of all the possible scenarios that might’ve resulted in Flavio Briatore divesting himself of interests in Queens Park Rangers, not once did I consider the likelihood that a Formula One ban would come to bear on the former Renault boss’ soccer interests.  But no one should look a gift horse in the mouth, as the Daily Mail explains :

The disciplinary action, imposed on Briatore  for instructing a driver to deliberately crash, appears to put him in direct violation of the League’s ‘fit and proper person test’.

The test stipulates that an owner, prospective owner or director of a club should not be ‘subject to a ban from a sports governing body relating to the administration of their sport.’

A Football League spokesman said: ‘The Football League chairman, Lord Mawhinney, has today written to the FIA to request further details of its decision.

‘Thereafter, the League will consider its position on the matter.’

Redskins Benchwarmer Brings Burger-Flipper Jibes To NuMedia Platforms

Posted in Free Expression, Gridiron, The Internet at 12:40 pm by

Robert Henson (above) is describted by the Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg as “a mostly unknown reserve linebacker for the Washington Redskins, a first-year player who had never played in an NFL game and was best known for being the son-in-law of television pastor T.D. Jakes.” Steinz might well have added, “a football equivalent to Johnny Burger King-hating Keith Foulke.”

A few hours after Washington’s unsightly 9-7 win against the St. Louis Rams, Henson had taken up an online battle against a segment of disgruntled Redskins fans, calling them disloyal “dim-wits” who “work 9 to 5 at McDonalds.”

Almost immediately, Henson became one of the anti-heroes of a game he had watched from the sideline, doused with criticism and insults on sports-talk radio shows and Internet message boards. And by Monday afternoon, Henson sheepishly exited the team’s Ashburn training facility, accompanied by several team spokesmen, to apologize for a Twitter-enabled diatribe against fans that provided him his first moment of NFL fame.

“All you fake half hearted Skins fan can . . . I won’t go there, but I dislike you very strongly, don’t come to Fed Ex to boo dim wits!!” he wrote shortly after the game ended, a message that would have been seen by his 1,200 or so Twitter followers. As fans quickly responded with disgust — including an editor from the sports Web site SB Nation and a radio host from 106.7 The Fan — Henson kept typing.

“No I didn’t play but I still made more than you in a year and you’d [gladly] switch spots with me in a second,” Henson wrote during a string of responses. “I was talking to the fans [who] said the crazy stuff, I’m use [to heckling] but I’ve never been booed in my own stadium. Again that was for the half hearted but if everyone wants to jump in come on. The question is who are you to say you know what’s best for the team and you work 9 to 5 at Mcdonalds [sic]. You don’t wanna follow me anymore then fine but we play for you and win lose or draw we represent you!! My guy on the Rams said they never got booed even when they didn’t win a game.”

I think even the most dimwitted Mickey D’s employee can tell an alleged offensive genius like Jim Zorn might be hitting the bricks soon, particularly with the likes of Mike Shanahan and Bill Cowher mulling their respective next moves.

From Prospect To Suspect : Angel Villalona’s Murder Rap

Posted in Baseball, The Law at 1:23 am by

Under normal circumstances, narrowing Colorado’s Wild Card advantage to 4 games and clinching their first winning season in a half decade would be Tuesday morning’s most notable storylines surrounding the San Francisco Giants. However, The San Jose Mercury News’ Andrew Baggerly reports SF prospect Angel Villalona is facing possible murder charges following a fatal shooting in in the Dominican Republic over the weekend.

The news devastated Giants officials, who have invested significant time and money in the 19-year-old first baseman. Villalona’s $2.1 million bonus was a franchise record when the Giants signed him in 2006. He was considered one of baseball’s elite power-hitting prospects, and his signing signaled a shift in priorities to rebuild the farm system.

Villalona wasn’t with the San Jose Giants when they won the California League championship Saturday night. He hasn’t played since suffering a torn quadriceps July 5, and he had left San Jose shortly afterward to do rehab work at the Giants’ minor league facility in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Dominican police told the Associated Press that Villalona turned himself in 12 hours after Mario Felix de Jesus Velete was fatally shot at a bar Saturday night in the coastal city of La Romana. Villalona will appear in court today and could face up to 20 years in prison.


It’s Only Week 2, But Borges Has Already Taken Belichick’s Lunch Money

Posted in Gridiron, Sports Journalism at 10:17 pm by

(Gang Green’s Revis. One of him is more than enough)

There’s any number of autopsies to choose from a Masshole perspective after the Jets made Tom Brady look downright ordinary at the Meadowlands yesterday, but only one penned by the region’s most decorated Belichick-baiter. Having emerged from retirement, former Boston Globe/current Boston Herald columnist Ron Borges offers a startling indictment (“one bonehead play by Leodis McKelvin from being 0-2 “) of the Patriots’ mindset ; namely, Randy Moss’ difficulties with rudimentary math.

What is disturbing is that, with the exception of the final five minutes of the game against the Bills, the offense that was supposed to overwhelm all others has been underwhelming. As Brady tries to work his way back into a comfortable state of mind he has had predictable struggles. He had them against the Bills for all but the final five minutes and he had them all day Sunday, primarily because he was under constant pressure.

Although Brady was never sacked, he was hurried seven times and pressured many more. His offense missed Wes Welker, who has been nursing a sore knee, and Randy Moss, who disappeared in a cocoon of coverage spun by Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis.

After the game, Moss claimed he was double-covered all day. Revis said he was in man coverage all day. No wonder Moss couldn™t get open. He was seeing double.

Were this just an offensive problem one would be less concerned but for two straight weeks the defense has played worse in the second half than the first.

This was a problem against the Bills and an insurmountable one against the Jets, who rang up 197 yards and 13 points in the second half to 57 yards and a field goal in the first. Worse, the first two quarterbacks they™ve faced, Trent Edwards and rookie Mark Sanchez, finished with passer ratings of 114.1 and 101.1. It is unlikely the last game either plays this season will be the Pro Bowl.

Astros Give Cooper The Final Two Weeks Off

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 7:24 pm by

Houston fired manager Cecil Cooper earlier today, appointing former Round Rock Express skipper Dave Clark interim manager for the season’s final 13 games.  The Chronicle’s Richard Justice accuses Drayton McLane and Ed Wade of having “waited until a season had been lost to make a move they should have made months ago”,  and The Crawfish Boxes’ Dying Quall concurs, opining, “just don’t care that we fired Coop.  I would have a month ago.  I would have jumped for joy and swung from rafters shouting the good news, but it’s too late.”

Does this really do anything for the team itself? I doubt it.  Wade and McLane have watched the magical point in the season where firing their manager could perhaps help the team rally to glory weeks ago.  The front office has also now sunk a few million with the contract extension they offered him in April.

This just feels like a symptom of the greater issue that plagues this franchise: a complete lack of willingness to be bold.

Don’t Tell Herschel Walker There Are No Second Acts In American Lives

Posted in Gridiron, MMA at 1:11 pm by

When REM made their network TV debut in 1983, David Letterman asked “who else is from Athens?”  to which Mike Mills helpfully replied, “Herschel Walker”.   Who’d have guessed that more than a quarter century later, the Bulldog standout (and centerpiece of one of the most lopsided trades in professional sports history) would be planning his mixed martial arts debut? MMA Fanhouse’s Ariel Helman reports Walker has signed an agreement with Strikeforce and will begin training with an eye towards making a 2010 competitive debut.

“This isn’t a publicity stunt or a gimmick,” Strikeforce director of communications Mike Afromowitz said. “Herschel Walker has tremendous athleticism, and he has always shown that off the gridiron. He’s accomplished a lot in his life and in the world of sports. His accomplishments speak for themselves, and we hope that his athleticism can transition into a successful MMA career.”

Although Walker is known for his football career, he does have a sixth-degree black belt in taekwondo and competed in the 1992 Winter Olympics in the two-man bobsled, finishing seventh.

In November 2007, Walker announced on HDNet’s Inside MMA that he would appear on a MMA reality show with Jose Canseco and other former professional athletes, however, the show never made it past the pre-production stages.

“I’ve been training for several years. I would play college football games on Saturday and then compete in martial arts tournaments on Sunday after church I’m now looking forward to opening up another chapter in my life and to competing in MMA,” Walker said via press release.

I’ve little doubt Walker is a more credible multi-sport athlete than say, Mark Gastineau or Ed “Too Tall” Jones.  But unless Strikeforce plans to introduce a senior circuit (or, more likely, Walker is matched with questionable opponents) this sounds like a maiming-in-the-making.

Cubs Suspend Bradley for Trashing “Our Great Fans”

Posted in Baseball at 10:23 am by


[Pictured L-R: Cub GM Jim Hendry asking Milton Bradley to return the hat and jersey by Monday.]

The Cubs closed their season against the Cardinals Sunday night in Stl with a 6-3 win, but started the day with news of Milton Bradley’s season-ending suspension for public comments. After pulling himself from the line-up on Saturday an hour before game time with a sore knee,  Bradley and Bruce Miles of the Chicago Daily Herald had the following exchange:

Bradley claimed to have no opinion on where he bats – “In the lineup,” he said of his preferred spot – and the only time he became expansive at all was when he was asked if he had enjoyed his first season in Chicago.

“Not really,” he said. “It’s just not a positive environment. I need a stable, healthy, enjoyable environment. There’s too many people everywhere in your face with a microphone asking the same questions repeatedly. Everything is just bashing you. You got out there and you play harder than anybody on the field and never get credit for it. It’s just negativity.

“And you understand why they haven’t won in 100 years here, because it’s negative. It’s what it is.”

Asked whether he was talking about the fans, the media or even the Cubs organization, he replied: “It’s everything. It’s everybody.”

Whatever caused that tantrum, it was matched by a harangue of insincere grandstanding from Jim Hendry who said the following to Cub beat reporter Carrie Muskat:

“There have been a lot of issues that we’ve lived with during the year,” Hendry said Sunday, “but the last few days became too much for me to tolerate, to be honest with you. I’m not going to let our great fans become an excuse, I’m not going to tolerate not answering questions from the media respectfully. Whether you feel like talking or not, it’s part of our jobs. I’m not going to allow disrespect to other people in that locker room and uniformed personnel.

“The only real negativity here is his own production.”

True, Bradley’s claim to work harder than anyone else is petty.  The Tribune also points to other reasons for suspending Bradley, in that his contract makes him cheaper to dump by 8 million in his third season if he’s not healthy (and one wonders if that includes his suspension heavy past).  But, really, Jim, it’s all in his head, even after a local columnist labelled him a “nutbag?” I started this season ranting about the media sandbagging of Milton Bradley in which  journalists (and Steven Rosenbloom) jumped on the signing of MB as a major mistake.  Why was it a mistake?  They argued that Wrigley fans were some of the most obnoxious in baseball and some of its most vocally racist.  The debate was over how Bradley could deal with them, not IF Cub fans were racist or IF they were well known louts.   I don’t recall Hendry outraged about the holiness of Cub fans then.  My own thought, then and now, was that Hendry and Cub management should be tossing racist/idiot fans out of the park and that Bradley shouldn’t have to keep his mouth shut about it.  2009 ends as it began regarding Milton Bradley, with Cub management and the Chi sporting press wishing he’d just make their job easier and shut up.

I’m no apologist for his season.  Bradley being right about Wrigley fans and the press doesn’t win games.  He thinks he worked harder than anyone else?  Well, he’s had crazier years with better numbers.  2009 ends with him hitting .257 with 12 HRs and 40 RBIs.  It doesn’t change the ugliness at Wrigley or Jim Hendry’s grandstanding, but it makes clear that the Cubs are certainly not going to change any of that for him or anyone else.  The Cubs obnoxious fan base wins again.  Milton Bradley and every Cub should keep in mind that the first statue built outside Wrigley was for Harry Caray, not Ernie Banks.

Carrie Muskat found several Cubs who offered a much more sincere version of the ups and downs of playing with Bradley here, altho there seems to be some willful denial on Ryan Dempster’s part about the careers of Dusty Baker, LaTroy Hawkins, and Jacques Jones at Wrigley “ or the fact that Torii Hunter has made public his no-trade clause to Wrigely because of racist fans:

“It’s unfortunate,” Dempster said. “I think everybody’s going to want to point fingers in different directions and try to put the blame somewhere on what the reasons are and all different things.

“At the end of the day, he was provided a great opportunity to come over here and be a part of a really great organization with a lot of really good guys, and it just didn’t seem to make him happy, anything. Maybe this is a little bit of a wakeup call for him and he can realize how good a gig we have ….

“It became one of those things,” Dempster said, “where you see him putting the blame on everybody else, and sometimes you have to look in the mirror and realize that maybe the biggest part of the problem is yourself and wanting to be there and wanting to play every day and wanting to have some fun. It didn’t seem like he wanted to have very much fun, even from Spring Training.”


Dickey : Fire Sabean

Posted in Baseball at 3:09 pm by

Persons who’ve paid close attention to the New York Mets in 2009 (and somehow managed not to poke their own eyes out) might be surprised to learn there’s another club in the National League even more offensively challenged. Well, 4 clubs actually, but for the purposes of this post, we’ll consider an actual post-season contender.  Occasional Kung Fu Panda-heroics aside,  San Francisco have scored just 598 runs this season, good enough to be ranked 26th out of all MLB teams.  Despite this scant run support for a stellar pitching staff, the Giants enter play today 3.5 games behind the Rockies, but with a keen eye on the punchless lineup, the San Francisco Examiner’s Glenn Dickey (above) would like to hold the architect, General Manager Brian Sabean, fully accountable. “Bringing back veterans who are on their last legs is Sabean’s pattern…he should be fired because he™s put together an unbalanced team that won™t make the playoffs this year or next.”

In center field, Aaron Rowand got a five-year contract for $60 million before last season, apparently on the basis of his 2007 year in Philadelphia, where he hit .309 with 27 home runs while playing in a powerful lineup and with half a season in the Phillies™ bandbox park. In almost two full seasons in San Francisco, he™s hit the same number of home runs combined. Last year, he hit .271. This year, he™s hitting .265. And the Giants are stuck with him for another three seasons.

In 2005, Randy Winn (above) came to the Giants from the Mariners and had the best half-season of his career, probably because he had switched leagues and the pitchers didn™t know him. Sabean signed him to a contract extension that was high enough to make him untradeable. Winn has been a solid outfielder and good hitter without the power you expect from a corner outfielder. He™s regressed seriously this year, so the Giants can finally lose that contract.

The middle of the infield is another problem. Sabean jumped at Edgar Renteria and signed him to a two-year contract at $18.5 million. A scouting report in midseason noted that Renteria was the worst starting shortstop in the league at going to his left, and he isn™t any better going to his right. He™s lost bat speed, too. A lifetime .290 hitter who hit .332 as recently as two years ago, he™s hitting just .250. He™s probably a year from retirement but he™ll take advantage of Sabean™s generosity next season.

Money Burning In Mount Vernon Update : Giambi Guru Jailed

Posted in Baseball, The Law at 1:38 pm by

Azra Shafi-Schelierini, former spiritual advisor to Jason Giambi, alleged Derek Jeter confidante and subject of one of the most discussed posts in recent CSTB history, has been serving time on Riker’s Island stemming from a grand larceny conviction since mid-summer, writes the New York Post’s Stephanie Cohen and Dan Mangan.

(photo : William Hauser, taken from New York Magazine.com)

Tomorrow, Shafi-Schellierni is scheduled to be sentenced to more time after pleading guilty to drunken driving in Nassau County.

“She’s a pure con artist,” said George Giotsas, a Connecticut caterer who claims she bilked him out of $10,000 by ordering a huge barbecue spread to Yankee Stadium — even though she’d lied about working for the team.

In 1991, she befriended Met ex-pitcher and current announcer Ron Darling, and that led to work with other athletes. Darling called the former model “Nostradamus with a better body.”

Her circle of friends and clients include Derek Jeter and Britney Spears — and she’s even advised athletes to sit out games when she has intuited they’d be injured.

If Shafi-Schellierni really possesses such psychic abilities, shouldn’t Omar Minaya have at least considered her as a viable replacement for Tony Bernazard?

Lee Strasberg, Fuck Off : Scot Summers Is In The House

Posted in Free Expression, Professional Wrestling at 12:12 pm by

Or he will be tonight, anyway, entering the squared circle at Austin’s Mohawk taking on Ring Of Honor vet Claudio Castagnoli.  If you’re amongst those resistant to the charms of the Giants/Cowboys tilt, you might wanna see if Mr. Showtime is nearly as compelling in the ring as he is in front of a webcam.

Megson Identifies Bolton’s Crucial Flaw : The Fans

Posted in Football at 12:04 pm by

A penalty equalizer from Matt Taylor spared Bolton from a 1-0 loss to Stoke City yesterday, with a listless first half showing by Wanderers earning considerable groans from those in attendance at the Reebok Stadium.  “It does not get through to me as I’ve had it two years,” insists Bolton manager Gary Megson, adding, however, “It does not help the players one bit.” VitalFootballCo begins packing Megson’s bags for him, opining, “after Sam Allardyce`s big-I-am routine and Sammy Lee`s spluttering, Megson`s interviews were welcomed initially. Now he bears the weary countenance of an undertaker, trying to explain why the hearse has gone missing.”

Megson didn`t just fall into the trap laid by the interviewer. He leapt into it, with both feet, and arms raised shouting ‘wahey!` as he went.

Not that it`s the first time he`s suffered from foot-in-mouth syndrome. The Ginger One described fans as ‘pathetic` at Blackburn in January and then had to clarify that his remarks were intended only for those who had barracked him. This was at odds with his earlier statement that he regarded criticism as ‘water off a duck`s back.` Tony Pulis doesn`t believe that.

As we said at the time, his services should have been dispensed with at the end of last season, with thanks for the work he`s done in stabilising the club. By then it was clear that the best Bolton could hope for under his tenure was to grub about just above the relegation places, playing a style of football that saps the will to live.


The Mangenius & History’s Most Expensive Bottle Of Water

Posted in Gridiron at 3:47 pm by

Yahoo Sports’ Michael Silver has done comprehensive work in chroncling the extent to which Browns head coach Eric Mangini — he of the 23-27 career record — has alientated Cleveland veterans and rookies alike with a maniacal approach that borders on the Belichickian.  Except, of course, the Hooded Casanova has a slightly more glittering resume. On Saturday, Silver shares another report of  Mangini continuing to hone his people skills

One player was fined $1,701 (the maximum allowed under the CBA) because he failed to pay for a $3 bottle of water he™d consumed at a hotel while the team was on the road. Gee, if the Browns keep losing and some guys on the team stop playing hard for this guy, I wonder why that™ll be?

On top of that, you have to wonder about Cleveland as a destination for future free agents.  About the nicest thing I can say about Mangini is that during his Jets tenure, he at least had the dignity to refrain from calling season ticket holders during dinner. Seriously, given the price of Gang Green season tickets, what percentage of those holding ducats for tomorrow’s game against New England do you think had forgotten about it or were contemplating other plans?