Oakland’s JaMarcus Russell : Not The Type To Let A Poor Performance Ruin A Beautiful Day Outdoors

Posted in Gridiron at 7:59 pm by

I know some of you dig Fantasy Football, but last time I checked, there were no points awarded for starting the dangerously delusional. In the wake of Oakland’s 23-3 loss at home to Denver yesterday, the Tribune’s Jerry McDonald sneered, “if it is truly Rich Gannon’s mission in life to say negative things about the Raiders, they rewarded their former MVP with a smorgasboard of material for the show he does for Sirius Satellite Radio.” No material more damning than the miserable showing of former no. 1 draft JaMarcus Russell (above), whose postgame comments revealed (take your pick) either a stunning surplus of confidence or residence on Planet I-Don’t-Give-A-Fuck.

Believe it or not, Russell has actually had a worse passer rating than Sunday’s 22.6, bottoming out at 19.0 in last year’s 24-0 loss to Atlanta. He weathered the postgame scrutiny as he usually does, with a calm, easy manner, a half-smile that suggests he knows there are better days ahead.

And you wonder if Russell knows something you don’t know or simply has no grip on reality.

He threw two first-quarter interceptions that led to 10 points, and afterward neither play was his fault. On the first, Heyward-Bey’s feet were tangled with a defender while Russell was throwing out of the end zone, with Renaldo Hill getting the interception.

On the second, Russell said a defender turned Heyward-Bey back in, resulting in a gift to Andre Goodman.

“I try to play with no regrets and I think I did,” Russell said. “Other than that, we just didn’t show up on certain downs. We’ll continue on. The road is not over. There are a few more games to play, I think, and we’ll just continue to go out there.”

Russell wasn’t crestfallen, nor was he inspiring or particularly troubled by the boos.

“I know that the guys in my locker room are behind me,” Russell said. “When the fans get to that, it’s kind of where they seem like they’re fed up. But again, until you come out and play like I know we should and get back on track it will be a different story.”

Rockets Marketing : Because Those Pops Mensah-Bonsu Jerseys Aren’t Gonna Sell Themselves

Posted in Basketball at 7:26 pm by

No Artest, No Yao, No T-Mac, no problem, not with this sort of civic pride.  Look for the Knicks to produce a similar pre-season video once Cablevision’s Human Resources Dept. signs off on having having a little guy crawl around MSG cubicles.

Well, That’s One Way To Quell A Mutiny : TTU’s Leach Bans Twitter

Posted in Gridiron at 4:11 pm by

A pair of consecutive losses to in-state rivals would be cause enough for concern at Texas Tech, but the media have become painfully aware of late there’s dissension amongst MIke Leach’s ranks. As such, the former offensive genius has banned his charges from entering the public-discourse minefield known as Twitter, as Lubbock Online’s Adam Zubavich explains :

œThe policy is nothing football related outside of football, Leach said Monday during his weekly news conference. œAny way you look at it, little Twitter things that relate to football is a violation of team rules. If somebody plays for us, they don™t have a Twitter account.

Leach said players™ Facebook accounts will be monitored to make sure they don™t disclose sensitive team information.

All-American offensive lineman Brandon Carter and fellow senior Marlon Williams, the Red Raiders™ leading tackler this season from his linebacker position, both expressed disappointment with Tech™s 2-2 start. On Sunday afternoon, Williams also wrote, œWondering why I™m still in this meeting room when the head coach can™t even be on time to his on (sic) meeting.

When asked Monday on the Big 12 teleconference about Williams™ comments, Leach said: œAnybody that™s a malcontent doesn™t stay around here very long, because we™ve got a pretty good line of recruits that are fully willing to replace him. Insterestingly enough, he doesn™t have a Twitter page anymore.

Leach called Twitter œstupid to begin with, and said college football players get enough attention as it is.

œIf they don™t get enough attention, I™ve got graduate assistants and student assistants that™ll sit there and listen to them embellish stories and talk and tell them how great they are all they want. They don™t need Twitter.

Jonathan Meades’ Tour Of Scotland’s (Really) Lower Divisions

Posted in Food, Football, Free Expression, non-sporting journalism at 2:02 pm by

Food and architecture critic Jonathan Meades’ recent BBC 4 series “Off Kilter” concluded with the narrator’s journey through what the Beeb describes as “towns only known from football coupons.” The Guardian’s Martin Kellner found the grim 3rd episode, “a stunning film, but one unlikely to be streamed on visitscotland.com.”

Where there was a choice between focusing on a row of wheelie bins in an urban wasteland or a troupe of bonnie tartan-clad Scottish lassies skipping through a field of bluebells, guess which Meades chose. In fact, the only tartan that appeared anywhere in the film illustrated a typical Meades diatribe against the 50 million Scots who live elsewhere, whom he called “lachrymose believers in this land of tartan shortbread, mail order cabers and bagpipe glens”. Their beef with the English he dismissed as “a 200-year-old PR stunt, the world’s longest-running exercise in victimhood”.

Over archive footage of fierce pit-head picketing Meades talked of “the human cost of efficiency, and adherence to the bottom line”, and “tens of thousands rationalised into involuntary idleness”. Fife, he said, was where we see “the social and environmental effects of the initially attritional and consequently violent coiffeur clash between the free-trading ideological helmet modelled by iron steel girder Margaret from Finchley and the smug warm-over worn by King Arthur of Stalindale, South Yorkshire”.

The programme was full of fine fancy writing like this “ like Michael Moore with wit. Comparing Scotland’s part-time footballers with their counterparts in England’s top division, he characterised the Premier Leaguers as “a bespoke cast of gladiatorial yob-gods, wag-roasting Croesus kids, who once a week descend from their Parnassian blingsteads to run around for 90 golden minutes of bravura vanity”. I cannot remember when I have enjoyed a TV programme more but I doubt there will be much dancing in the streets of Raith.

Jim Zorn – Doing His Part To Heal The City of Detroit

Posted in Gridiron at 10:46 am by

(head coaches generally don’t wear helmets, but it might be time for Jim Zorn to break from tradition)

If the Lions chose to celebrate yesterday’s 19-14 defeat of the Redskins by returning to Ford Field to high-five long suffering Detroit fans, how might they mark, say reaching .500? Individual backrubs? Fellatio doesn’t seem out of the question if the Lions could pull off a a miraculous playoff berth this season, and I don’t wanna guess what might happen if Detroit made it all the way to their first Super Bowl — though an orgy scene / human sacrifice scene not unlike those depicted in Season Two of “True Blood” (with former GM Matt Millen in the role of Sam Merlotte) comes to mind. Where the Redskins are concerned, however, ESPN.com’s Matt Mosely writes of their embattled head coach, “it’s easy to second-guess Jim Zorn on his decision to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the Lions’ 1-yard line early in the game, mainly because it didn’t work”. Sadder still, Fred Smoot tells the Washington Post’s Tom Bosely, “We can right the ship. The Lions did it.” When they’re looking to the 1 win -in-their-last-19 games Lions for inspiration, it’s an appropriate time to question the Redskins’ psyche, as Boswell does unflinchingly.

They may have to fight through an incredible amount of self-delusion about the talent level on their team. This week, Clinton Portis said he thought the Redskins had the most talent in the NFL. Comments like that have been common in the Redskins’ locker room for the past 10 years — regardless of all available evidence. Not only is the view tolerated at Redskins Park, it is encouraged and marketed. Where does this fallacy arise? In the owner’s suite, where the price of players is equated with their performance?

Most perplexed of all at day’s end was Coach Jim Zorn, who didn’t seem to grasp, entirely, that his two dubious burn-the-book decisions in the first quarter had cost the Redskins at least seven points — more than the ultimate margin of defeat.

Zorn decided against a short field goal, then was stopped on fourth and one at the Lions goal line. Then, just minutes later, he accepted a penalty, allowing the Lions to replay third down — a classic tempt-fate tactic. Detroit, instead of being forced to try a 50-yard field goal, converted the third and 13 and eventually completed a 99-yard touchdown drive.

“I didn’t think we’d be denied” at the 1, Zorn said. “I thought, ‘No way they can drive 99 yards on us.’ I didn’t believe that would happen.”

In the first quarter, most coaches go by percentages, not prophecy.


The Sultan Of Sloth’s Solemn Edict : The Nu Stadium Will Hurt The Yankees

Posted in Baseball at 9:20 pm by

Sunday’s 4-2 defeat of Boston
marked the Yankees’ 100th victory of the 2009 season, clinching the AL East crown, prompting the Journal News’ Peter Abraham to whip out an uncanny Frank Cashen impersonation (“It™s always the young guys ” and oddly those didn™t have much to do with it ” who celebrate the most”). Prior to Joe Girardi’s first pennant winning party as a manager being overshadowed by the Giants and Jets, TBS’ David Wells (above) warned the New York Post’s Justin Terranova the Yankees’ new home fortress might cost them big-time.

œThe Yankees lose some advantage because that ball flies out for everybody, Wells said. œIt™s a new park and the road teams are just as comfortable as the Yankees are. It used to be a death valley out there in center, now it™s a joke.

“Those fans are putting them on a plateau and they expect them to win,” Wells said. “The team spent $200 million, we spent a lot of money to support you. You guys have to win and if not you are going to hear about it.”

Indeed, Boomer has a point. Having only won 55 out of a possible 78 home games, the Yankees have clearly struggled in The House Randy Levine Built. And besides, an 81 game home schedule is far too small a sample size from which to project what might happen in October,

Barry Bonds’ Personal Diarist Urges Dodgers To Reward Colletti

Posted in Baseball at 8:27 pm by

“More than ever,” insists MLB.com’s Barry M. Bloom, “the Dodgers need some continuity and G.M. Ned Colletti will provide them that if he’s given a long-term deal.” Thus, along with eulogizing Mary Travers and quoting Bob Dylan’s “Blownin’ In The Wind” in its entirety, Bloom argues LA’s third post-season appearance in 4 seasons demands a contract extension

The Dodgers have a mutual option on a contract for the 2010 season. Colletti probably will not come back unless he is offered a multi-year deal. There’s no reason to blame him. At 93-63, these Dodgers will finish with the club’s best record since 1988, the last year it won the World Series. Last year, Colletti’s team, playing within the blush of the Manny Ramirez acquisition, went to the National League Championship Series for the first time since that 94-win, championship season. They lost in five games to the Phillies.

This is the type of progression that management has to love after adding a guy who had never been a GM prior to his hiring by the Dodgers after a disastrous 71-91, 2005 season. Coming a year after they made the playoffs for the first time since 1996, that season of internal conflict cost GM Paul DePodesta and manager Jim Tracy their jobs. And perhaps that’s way it should have been.

Actually, I’m not sure what the arguments are against it. He spent too much money on Jason Schmidt, who came up with a bad arm? He took a chance on Andruw Jones? With the Dodgers trying to save money, Colletti acquired Ramirez from the Red Sox in ’08 and Jon Garland from the D-backs last month and both opposing teams paid the balance of their contracts. One should offset the other.

One should offset the other? Schmidt was signed to a 3-year, $47 million deal. Garland’s remaining ’09 salary at the time of his acquisition by LA was $1.2 million. That Colletti’s experienced modest success in baseball’s weakest division is hard to argue with, but it shouldn’t be necessary for him to ghostwrite Bloom’s blog, nor should he take much credit for a ’06 Wild Card berth that was accomplished with a roster largely assembled by DePodesta.


Sunday At Beerland : the Air Traffic Controllers’ Evening Of Atonement

Posted in Internal Affairs, Religion, Rock Und Roll at 8:54 pm by

There’s at least a half dozen jews in the greater Austin area, and I’m confident all of them will be attending tomorrow night’s Air Traffic Controllers show. Joined by guest drummer J.J. Ruiz, whose guitar playing is well known to fans of Naw Dude, Wild America and the Teeners, Sunday’s ATC set is especially geared to commemorate Yom Kippur 2009, as the following actvities will be prohibited on the venue premises :

1. No eating and drinking
2. No wearing of leather shoes
3. No bathing or washing
4. No anointing oneself with perfumes or lotions
5. No marital relations

After sundown on Monday, as is the ATC custom, we’ll all go out for Chinese. Heck, I’m open minded. Even Tebow’s invited!

If you can make it downtown by, I dunno, midnight, be sure to check the always impressive Elvis aka the Best Band In Austin Most Likely To Get Sued To Death.

The Guardian’s O’Brien : “White Boy” Is A Pretty Weak Racial Slur

Posted in Football, Racism Corner at 5:59 pm by

The matter of El Hadji Diouf being accused of racially abusing an Everton ballboy was noted in this space a few days ago, and perhaps mindful of the difficulty in oppressing a cultural/economic majority, the Guardian’s Dara O’Brien writes, “bananas are pretty traceable. They tend to leave a trail of bananas. And there seem to have been precious few bananas lying round. But this doesn’t mean calling somebody “white boy” is a racist slur.”

For too long the fact that we’re roughly 90% of the population (2001 census) has disguised just how oppressed we whites really are. When he allegedly said “white boy”, well it just reminded me of all those other times people called me “white boy” just to put me down, just to make me, and the other 55 million white people in the UK, feel small.

No, of course not. If you’re white, you just don’t get a go at being the victim of racism. Did that ballboy go home and cry when he was called “white boy”? He didn’t. The phrase carries no power at all. What’s the insult? He might as well have said “Tall boy!”, or “You with the blue eyes!” for all the pain it was going to cause.

For people who complain that it’s unfair that white people can’t be slurred the way black people can, well, life’s just tough isn’t it?

Jets’ Kerry Rhodes In A One-Way Twit Spat

Posted in Gridiron at 3:05 pm by

“Rodney Harrison Spars With Kerry Rhodes on Twitter” read the headline on Gang Green Nation earlier this week, as former Patriots icon turned TV talking head Rodney Harrison (above)  allegedly turned to the latest nu media craze to blast the Jets’ safety with such zingers as “you talk big for someone who has yet to even win in the playoffs you think you will ever accomplish what i accomplished?”  Alas, after Rhodes replied with “u crossed line. and i never talk smack u started it. i kno u respect my game! Tweet it!”, we now learn via The Sporting Blog’s Michael Tunison that Rhodes has been provoked by, well, someoone who isn’t Rodney Harrison.  Not sure if ESPN’s Adam Schefter is familiar with the handiwork of
Konrad Kujau, but everyone should be aware the Twitter account “adolf88″ is probably phony, too.

Considering how widely reported the spat was between Rhodes and Harrison, how was the real identity behind the feed first discovered by a self-admission from the imposter? When the Twitter battle was being mentioned during NFL pregame shows last week, how did no one at NBC bother to ask Harrison about his supposed involvement in the back-and-forth?

Adam Schefter, meanwhile, the one who took pains to stoke the Rhodes-Harrison Twitter fight, has been mostly critical of the imposter, but stopped short of acknowledging his own credulity in believing it was Harrison without checking to see if it actually was the former Patriot.