11.30.09

November 29, 2009 : A Sad Day In Rider Nation

Posted in Gridiron at 7:25 pm by

OK, I admit when I read the Saskatchewan Roughriders had essentially gifted the 97th CFL Grey Cup to the Montreal Alouettes via a too-many-men on the field penalty at the game’s death knell, my first reaction was, “who can blame them? They already have too many men on the field.”  My sanguine (if bigoted) take on Sunday’s events wasn’t shared, unsurprisingly enough, by Roughrider fans, writes the Star Phoenix’s Jeanette Stewart :

While police and fire crews reported a quiet night in Saskatoon, the Internet proved to be a breeding ground for anguished feedback after the Roughrider™s heartbreaking, one-point loss.

At Riderfans.com, thousands of people viewed and posted comments that ranged from deploring to consoling, although Facebook.com was the scene of the most negative feedback.

Several groups had sprang up around the now maligned œ13th Man, including œI HATE THE 13th MAN ON THE FIELD, which has a tagline of œWE ALL HATE HIM, NOW LETS KILL HIM! and had thousands of members only a few hours after the game.

œI want to drop a HUGE load of s*** on his lawn, read one post, a comment reminiscent of the time a Rider fan dumped a pile of manure on kicker Paul McCallum™s driveway.

This aligns with the recently released research of Toronto sociologist Scott Schiemen, who calls anger a œsocial emotion.

œThe frequency of anger are definitely higher among younger cohorts and younger groups, he said.

The Happiest News Baseball Fans Will Hear Short Of “Buck, McCarver, Lost At Sea”

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 6:59 pm by


“Chip Caray™s high-volume style was mixed with a penchant for bad play calls, embellishments and factual errors,” writes the New York TImes’ Richard Sandomir.  On the bright side, however, he never uttered an obscenity or openly fantasized about fellating Ron Gardenhire, but he’s jobless just the same, removed from his role as TBS’ lead baseball announcer.  From Sandomir / TImes :

In a memo sent to company employees, David Levy, the president of Turner Sports, wrote on Monday: œSince the end of this year™s M.L.B. playoffs, we™ve had several discussions with Chip Caray regarding 2010 and beyond. Both sides have agreed that now is the right time for Turner Sports and Chip to move ahead on different paths.

Caray had some time left on his contract with Turner, where he also called Braves games on the Peachtree TV cable network. Levy said the company was looking at a œnumber of candidates to replace Caray at both positions.

WoW Plaintiff Wants Expert Testimony, Snubbed Schilling Unavailable For Comment

Posted in Video Games at 3:13 pm by

(then again, the last time the guy on the left was under oath, he clammed up)

GameSpot.com published a report earlier today concerning aggrieved World Of Warcraft player Erik Estavillo’ $1 million civil suit against the wildly popular multi-player game’s publisher, Activision. While Estavillo is claiming WoW charges onerous fees and engages in “sneaky and deceitful practices”, it’s the portion of the suit in which Activision is accused of fostering “a harmful virtual environment” that prove most entertaining.

The suit references the 2001 suicide of an EverQuest player, attributing it to a sense of alienation related to the game and mental health problems. The suit goes on to say the plaintiff has suffered from similar problems, including major depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and Crohn’s disease, and he “doesn’t want to end up like [the EverQuest player] did as he relies on video games heavily for the little ongoing happiness he can achieve in this life, via the gaming medium.”

In addition to the suit, the plaintiff also wants a pair of celebrities to attest to the effects of alienation. The gamer is subpoenaing Depeche Mode’s Martin Lee Gore “since he himself has been known to be sad, lonely, and alienated, as can be seen in the songs he writes.” He is also calling Winona Ryder to testify, saying the actress’ appreciation for ‘Catcher in the Rye’ will make her a relevant witness “to how alienation in the book can tie to alienation in real live [sic]/video games such as World of Warcraft.”

The BCS’ Social Networking Challenge – How To Best Ignore Millions Of Messages Reading “U SUK”

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 3:01 pm by

A week ago, I liked to a Talking Points Memo item regarding former George W. Bush press sectretary Ari Fleischer taking on public relations work for the oft-ridiculed Bowl Championship Series. Today, Rob Warmowski supplies a link to a followup tale that suggests (in Rob’s words), “nobody told Ari Fleischer that social media is like a room full of caffeinated Helen Thomases with no escape door.” From AdAge’s Rich Tomaselli :

On the very first day of taking to Twitter, @insidetheBCS was quickly beset by those comparing it to everything from Balloon Boy to the KKK.

According to social media/new business consultant Michael Gass, president of Michael Gass Consulting, Birmingham, Ala., “If they are genuinely searching for ways the BCS can improve through dialogue, that will be evident. If they try to use social media as a propaganda platform, you will know it soon enough.”

Part of the early problem with the BCS Facebook page is that although Mr. Hancock was quoted as saying he wants to create “a two-way conversation,” the only thing posted on the page’s wall is from the BCS itself. And the early tweets seemed to be a stream of pro-BCS talking points.

Within the week, however, @insidetheBCS began responding with reasons why a playoff system might not work. Such explanations are what the BCS set out to do with the social-media tools, and they may be better than nothing.

But they’re unlikely to do much to assuage fans who won’t settle for anything less. Fans such as Jody Garrett, who commented on Facebook: “The BCS is the most-hated institution in the country. The IRS is a distant second with the KKK running third.”

Believe It Or Not, Notre Dame Aren’t Extending Weis’ Contract Another 6 Years

Posted in Gridiron at 2:52 pm by

The New York Daily News’ Rich Chimini and Dick Weiss were the first to report Monday that Notre Dame has relieved Weis of his head coaching duties following the Irish’s 4th consecutive loss, Saturday’s narrow defeat to Stanford.   Weis’ 5 year record at South Bend was an uninspiring 35-27 — a lower winning percentage (.565) than Tyrone Willingham (.585) —  the majority of those losses having been compiled with his own recruits.

While OU’s Bob Stoops has already denied interest in the N.D. vacancy, perhaps Jack Swarbick will consider UCF’s George O’Leary?  If the Knights are invited to a bowl this December, that will be the 3rd post-season contest for UCF in 5 seasons, which is two more times than O’Leary has had a player die under suspicious circumstances. Admittedly, the biggest blemish on O’Leary’s resume is his resume, but if the Mets can forgive Wally Backman, why can’t this football lifer get another shot at the big time?

11.29.09

Bidding War Alert, Pt. XXV

Posted in Free Expression, Rock Und Roll at 10:18 pm by

It’s been far too long since I’ve featured another entry in CSTB’s Bidding War Alert, and while Intensity might lack the youthful charm of Faceless Man, sometimes you’ve just got to opt for life experience.

Your Failure To Purchase New Mets Jerseys May Result In A (Worse Than Usual) Free Agent Acquisiton

Posted in Baseball, Fashion, The Marketplace at 10:07 pm by

As mentioned a few days ago, the Mets have unveiled a new alternate home jersey for 2010, and the New York Times reported first day sales were something less than spectacular. Ie. staff at the Mets’ 42nd Street team shop told The Gray Lady they’d not sold one shirt by midafternoon. While it’s not as if the day after Thanksgiving is typically a busy day for retailers, Tedquarters’ Ted Berg is alarmed, warning ” a complete lack of interest among fans ” foreboding, presumably, less interest from advertisers ” is the type of thing that could prompt the front office to push to make a ‘splash’ this winter.”

I™m not saying that fans should buy more jerseys to keep Omar Minaya from doing something silly, nor am I saying one day™s worth of bad merchandise sales will affect the Mets™ offseason outlook. But the team competes for advertising dollars in the market with the reigning world champions, and that creates a lot of pressure to grab headlines and fan attention this offseason.

Sometimes it seems like Mets brass are more concerned with improving the perception of the team than with improving the actual team, and more concerned with winning airtime on talk radio in March than winning games in October.

I’m a little less worried about the Amazins’ making a desperate move just for public relations purposes — Wally Backman is perfectly qualified to manage a team in low Single A — but sort of concur with Berg’s larger point. At this moment in history, the Mets are awfully close to cultural irrelevancy, and their inability to flog merchandise to an increasingly fed-up clientele may well be reflected in 2010′s ratings for SNY, Citi’s box office take etc.

Brooks : Please Shoot Whoever Champions The Shootout

Posted in Hockey at 5:10 pm by

Calling the NHL’s half-decade old experiement in ending ties, “worse than a gimmick”, the New York Post’s Larry Brooks opines of the shootout, “where once the shootout was a novelty, where once it served as an entertainment vehicle, albeit one of questionable authority, it has become an exercise equally as tedious as listening to Joe Buck call a baseball game.” This, despite Buck’s broadcasting rarely yielding moments as entertaining as those above (the odd bit of Arte Lange target practice, aside).

There is no way to tweak this blight on the game. More teams are playing for 60-minute ties than at any time since the lockout; 27 percent of all games this season have gone into overtime, with the previous high last year’s 22.9 percent.

Beyond that, more coaches are playing for 65-minute ties than ever before as well, Almost two out of every three overtime contests (65.6 percent) have gone into the shootout, with the previous high the 58.4 percent of 2006-07.

And the percentage of overtime games generally increases as seasons evolve because coaches become more conservative.

It is time for hockey games to be decided by hockey players and by hockey plays. It is time for the shootout to be replaced by a five-minute, three-on-three overtime period that, when necessary, would follow a scoreless five-minute four-on-four overtime.

And if neither team would score — imagine a 3-on-2 power play — then the 70-minute deadlock would be entered in the standings as just that — a tie game with each team getting a point for its trouble. Now that’s a novelty

Lawrence Frank, Denied His Shot At History

Posted in Basketball at 2:13 pm by

A (pending) Sunday night loss to the Lakers was all that separated Nets coach Lawrence Frank from tying the NBA’s mark of most consecutive losses to open a season (17), and perhaps as a weird sign of respect for the winningest coach in franchise history, Frank was relieved of his duties earlier today. Though GM Rod Thorn lowered the boom in a Sunday afternoon press release, there’s been not a peep from Bruce Ratner, who essentially sent Frank into battle armed with a toothpick. As the Star-Ledger’s Dave D’Alessandro put it so well earlier this week, “sometimes you even wonder whether having a coach even matters around here. ”

Everyone knew all along that he was set up to fail. Everyone knew they told him he™d have the pieces to compete “ until they decided not to touch the roster or spend a dime after draft night. Everyone knew they told him he can choose who gets to play, until they told him who has to play. Everyone knew they told him it that wins really wouldn™t matter “ until they would matter. Everyone knew they told him he™d learn to live without Vince, but that he should still figure out how to win a two-minute game without his only closer.

If Thorn is honest about why they™re in this ditch, he™ll admit that it™s ownership “ not the coach “ who has ordered him to sit on his wallet and dump his best players for inferior or less durable talents.

It™s ownership “ not the coach “ that has this team entombed in a cement slab on the side of a highway rather than a vibrant, state-of-the-sport facility that could actually generate some excitement.

And it™s ownership “ not the coach — that is messing with Thorn™s legacy, and don™t think that part doesn™t irritate everyone who reveres The Boss inside the organization and around the NBA.

In fact, we should not be asking Thorn why it™s time for a new coach, but whether it™s time for a new guy in the corner office, because the current occupant has been tainted by every regressive move enforced since 2004.

11.28.09

‘Toine : Not Merely Sucky At Shot Selection/Financial Planning, But A Slumlord To Boot

Posted in Basketball, The Marketplace at 6:51 pm by

Former Celtics F Antoine Walker made the papers this summer after being charged with passing bad checks in an attempt to pay gambling debts. Sadly, that’s a slightly more pleasant portrait of ‘Toine compared to the following story by the Chicago Tribune’s Antonio Olivio, who reports Walker’s real estate companies — Walker Ventures LLC and AW Reality LLC — have been sued and fined repeatedly over poor management of their buildings. “As (Chicago native) Walker carved a path of luxurious living from Chicago to Miami to Las Vegas, running up millions of dollars in debts to banks, casinos and at least one agent,” writes Olivio, “the company bearing his name was leaving scars on the poor, urban landscape of his youth.” (link courtesy Hot Shit College Student)

On Cornell Avenue, a 13-unit building developed a mold problem so bad that a 7-month-old boy repeatedly woke up coughing, a tenant lawsuit says. The toxic fumes and a lack of heat drove all the tenants to abandon the building, which the city declared “a hulking public nuisance” before Walker Ventures eventually lost it in a bank foreclosure.

On Minerva Avenue, another Walker Ventures building suffers from spotty electricity and a mouse and roach infestation that resulted in its failing several inspections tied to federal rent subsidies, government records show. Shoddy conditions and a problem with squatters drove most tenants away, and this month a team of city inspectors and police found several code violations, city officials said.

In Country Club Hills, raw sewage leaked from bad pipes inside a condominium owned by Walker’s AW Realty and managed by his mother, Diane Walker, according to a Cook County lawsuit that described how the leak destroyed the unit below.

“This is your property and you’re supposed to be somebody?” demanded Kywanna Leftridge, 29, who lost most of her belongings and had to move temporarily into a homeless shelter with her son, 13, after her apartment in the Prairie Avenue building flooded. “It was horrible.”

Walker appeared ready to take his lumps when contract by the Tribune (“I would like to humbly apologize to everyone who has been affected by the failings of my company,”), though it would be very unfortunate if he’s the only figure in the hoops world to suffer extreme embarrassment from his landlord biz.

MIke Penner, RIP

Posted in Sports Journalism at 6:43 pm by

Mike Penner, a longtime fixture in the Los Angeles TImes sports department became the subject of considerable scrutiny some 30 months ago when he publicly announced his intention to undergo gender reassignment and continue writing under the name Christine Daniels. With minor fanfare, Penner returned to working for the Times in October, 2008 under his male name, causing at least one branch of the blogosphere to suggest the whole male-to-female thing was an elaborate career move.

Earlier today, LA Now’s Shelby Grad reported the following ;

Colleagues said today that Penner was found dead at his Los Angeles home and that suicide was the suspected cause of death. He was 52.

“He was one of the most talented writers I’ve ever worked with,” said Times Sports Editor Mike James, adding that Penner covered numerous beats including the National Football League and sports media during his more than two-decade-long career at the paper.

“He was a gentle man, a kind man,” James said. “It’s just a tragedy.”

‘Sheed – Enough WIth The Flopping

Posted in Basketball at 6:27 pm by

(cake pic taken from—where else? === Need For ‘Sheed)

Not only did I miss the D-League’s Austin Toros winning their season opener last night while watching Rayon Beach make their Trailer Space debut, but I also didn’t catch Rasheed Wallace scoring 15 points off the bench in Boston’s defeat of Toronto.  Never one to mince words, ‘Sheed took issue with a 2nd quarter foul drawn by the floptastic Hedo Turkoglu, with the following post-game protest occurring hours after Wallace was teed-up by Ed Malloy.  From the Boston Globe’s Frank Dell’Apa :

œI didn™t use no profanity, I just said, ˜He™s a flopper,™ ™™ Wallace said after Boston™s 116-113 victory at TD Garden. œAnd [Malloy] gave me a tech for that. The league should make that a rule – flopping.

œIt™s not like I threw my shoulder into him, or it was a hard push, or real hard contact. Come on, now. Showing on a pick, I™m already there, he touches me – ˜Ohh,™ he acts like I shot him or something. ˜Ohh.™ That™s not basketball, man, that™s not defense, that™s garbage, that™s what it is.™™

Paul Pierce and coach Doc Rivers also were hit with technicals, following a Pierce dunk early in the fourth quarter that sent the Raptors™ Chris Bosh sprawling.

œIt™s watered down, with all that flopping [stuff],™™ Wallace said.

œThey set rules on us to the point where you™re taunting. When Paul dunked it and then, Paul didn™t say nothing, he just looked at him. Let The Golden Child do that or one of the NBA [Basketball] Without Borders kids do that and it™s all fine and dandy.™™

Asked if he was referring to Cleveland™s LeBron James, Wallace said, œTake a guess,™™.

John Daly Gives Thanks That Someone Else in Golf Fucked Up

Posted in Golf, The Law, Wine at 12:49 pm by

AKA Otis Campbell

[John Daly, pictured, skeptical of the news that he wasn't in any way involved with the Tiger Woods car crash.  Daly's attorneys are demanding it in writing.]

By now, the Internets have pretty much covered the late night Thanksgiving Day car crash involving Tiger Woods and his wife “rescuing” him with a golf club upside the head his Escalade.  Rumors of infidelity, domestic violence, etc abound.  CSTB is happy to traffic in all that.  But this Thanksgiving Weekend, let’s not forget to congratulate CSTB frequent content provider “ at least as far as feeding GC endless excuses to quote Dean Wormer’s “fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life son” line “ and PGA champ, John Daly. It was a year or so ago in October ’08 that Daly had passed out in front of North Carolina Hooters.  Cheap, low brow laughs were had at his expense, for instance, here at CSTB.

11 months later, Daly woke up on a Friday morning evening and read about a golf related car accident and late night club battering that Did Not Involve Him.  After double-checking with his attorneys and local Circle K and Hooters security cam footage of himself that back up this wild claim, it looks like Daly is in the clear.

It’s about a month until 2009 ends, the year of John Daly’s comeback.  I for one welcome a world where Tiger Woods spends a year as a billionaire screw-up and John Daly reigns as golf’s cracker champ.  But only a year, as I don’t think either man could keep up the other’s pace.

11.27.09

Michael Grange – Angling For A Mention In Iverson’s Hall Of Fame Speech

Posted in Basketball at 5:11 pm by

While Allen Iverson’s mooted retirement has been met with howls of protest from former coaches John Thompson and Larry Brown, the Globe & Mail’s Michael Grange refuses to join the chorus hailing the game’s most prolific small scorer. Calling Iverson “a minor NBA figure”, Grange castigates A.I. as having “thrived only if enough role players could be assembled to buy into his me-first version of basketball”.

I suppose you can make the case that he deserves some respect for his determined individualism as the first NBA star to fully embrace tattoos, braids and what that symbolized. I have nothing against that, obviously. Freedom of expression is a good thing and if he forced the dominant culture to be more tolerant, aware or understanding of a certain strain of black culture that™s worth while.

But it™s also worth noting that he was paid, not prosecuted, for his choices, which makes the trail-blazing attributes a bit hollow “ we™re not talking Muhammad Ali here.

But in a basketball sense? Take away one magical year in Philly when an entire organization genuflected for his benefit and were rewarded with one Finals appearance thanks to a watered-down Eastern Conferece “ Philly was the only team not to lose at least 30 games that year — and what did he really accomplish?

He otherwise never made it out of the second round of the playoffs. When he left Denver the Nuggets made it to the Western Conference final; when he arrived in Detroit the Pistons got swept in the first round, missing the Eastern Conference final for the first time in six season; of course by then Iverson had already quit the team.

Judge Creates Future Hassles The Next Time Omir Santos Needs A New Windshield

Posted in Baseball, New York, New York, The Law, The Marketplace, Ugly New Stadiums at 3:46 pm by

“Great views of Flushing and the surrounding areas from the stadium- it faces west so you can see beautiful sunsets. Plus all around the stadium you get to see the chop shops and the train yards and the bay. You would think the Mets would try to visually temper these sights but surprisingly not.”  So penned Jeffrey Jensen last April, though his initial impressions of the newly opened Citi Field might be somewhat altered when or if he reads the following item from the New York Times’ Sewell Chan (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)

A federal judge on Wednesday upheld New York™s $3 billion redevelopment plan for Willets Point, an industrial section of Queens dominated by car-repair shops and waste-management businesses, finding that although the city had neglected the neighborhood™s infrastructure for decades, the constitutional rights of the businesses there ” many of which will be forced to relocate under the plan ” were not violated.

The plaintiffs, who organized themselves into an entity called the Willets Point Industry and Realty Association, and who œhave established thriving businesses (notwithstanding the grossly inadequate infrastructure of the area) and employ hundreds of people, œare understandably aggrieved by the fact that the plan that the city is in the process of implementing has no place for them, the judge, Edward R. Korman of Federal District Court in Brooklyn, wrote. However, he ruled, it was not the place of federal judges to intervene in the dispute.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg™s redevelopment plan was approved by the City Council, 42 to 2, last November. It calls for new sanitary and stormwater sewers, more power lines and new roadways and bicycle lanes. It also seeks new mixed-use development ” including, possibly, a hotel and convention center ” but envisions sweeping away the current industrial uses through eminent domain.

CSTB’s Greatest Hits – Celebrating “Buy Nothing Day”

Posted in Internal Affairs, The Marketplace at 3:16 pm by

In homage to Adbusters™ annual œBuy Nothing Day, I™m again re-running an item that has become, for better or worse, an Xmas shopping fixture around here.

(v. 1 “ CSTB, 11/29/03)

(v. 2 “ CSTB, 11/27/04)

(v.3 – CSTB, 11/24/06)

(v.4 – CSTB, 11/28/08)

If you™re gonna take a stand against rampant consumerism and all-encompassing commercial exploitation of everything that moves, abstaining for a day is pretty fucking weak. How about œBuy Nothing EVER? Certainly a more ambitious plan, but if you™re gonna be cheap most of the time anyway, you might as well embrace an activist agenda (hopefully distracting others from your personality defects).

There is something on the Adbusters site about œBuy Nothing All Year which eloquently talks about bartering for goods and services, but I™ve got two non-philosophical hang-ups with this :

1) my ISP isn™t down with this bartering thing. They want cash, cheque or credit card payment in exchange for reading Adbusters™ wildly entertaining fantasies. I offered to mow their lawn, but no dice.


2) the plan seems sensible, if a bit utopian. But nowhere does Adbusters explain how I™m supposed to get a $29 DVD player

(shoppers go berserk upon hearing the news major retailers will now pay them $20 to bring home copies of Bill Simmons’ The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to The Sports Guy)

(Please note that in the years since this item originally appeared, $29 DVD players have become somewhat commonplace. So feel free to substitute another big ticket item that™s a little more contemporary.)

11.26.09

Sods, Odds And A Piece Of Swag Wilbon Would Probably Not Appreciate For Xmas

Posted in Fashion, Gridiron, Rock Und Roll at 11:24 pm by

“I thought ‘Pinball Wizard’ was Elton John?” complained PTI’s Michael Wilbon earlier this month when the topic of The Who’s participation in the Super Bowl 44 halftime show came up.   “You’ve never seen ‘CSI’?” asked an astonished Tony Kornheiser, clearly the sort of student of rock history Townsend & Daltrey’s merchandising arm had in mind when they came up with the garment shown above.

Longtime Yankees/Giants P.A. Announcer Sheppard : I’m Done

Posted in Baseball at 7:25 pm by

Earlier this year, while recouperating from a bronchial infection, Yankee Stadium public address announcer Bob Sheppard denied his career was over, telling the New York Times’ Jack Curry, “I never said I’m not returning.”  Yesterday, however, Sheppard said exactly that to MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch :

“I have no plans of coming back,” Sheppard said on Wednesday in a telephone interview. “Time has passed me by, I think. I had a good run for it. I enjoyed doing what I did. I don’t think, at my age, I’m going to suddenly regain the stamina that is really needed if you do the job and do it well.”

Sheppard’s legendary service to the organization began by introducing the lineups on April 17, 1951, and spanned approximately 4,500 games, including 121 consecutive postseason contests, a streak that ended in 2007 due to illness.

Asked if he has any words of advice or wisdom for fans who hope to lead long and full lives of their own, Sheppard — a devout Roman Catholic — said that one possible secret for his longevity has been his spirituality, as he still tries to attend Mass every day.

“I pray. I thank God for giving me ninety-nine years,” Sheppard said. “Ninety-nine years. Wow. Can you envision that? If you dream of living long, I would recommend it to you.”

Presumably, Derek Jeter will continue his practice of being introduced by a tape recording of Sheppard, much as the bedrooms and bathrooms of Alex Rodriguez’ Manhattan apartment will continue to feature a digital samples of John Sterling declaring, “An A-Bomb!  From A-Rod!”

The Sacramento Kings – Firing Gamblers (While Profiting From Them)

Posted in Basketball at 1:53 pm by

The Sacramento Bee’s Jason Jones reports a former Kings scout has been barred from NBA employment while his gambling history is being investigated.

The Kings in January fired Jack Mai, who was in his third season as the team’s assistant director of scouting. His dismissal was not related to gambling.

In a statement released Wednesday, the Kings said they had been informed that Mai participated in “improper wagering activities” while working for the team. The Kings added that they cooperated with the league’s investigation.

That the NBA responded in this manner is no surprise after gambling in the league became a major headline in recent years.

“The gambling thing, there’s zero tolerance for anybody that works in the NBA,” Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie said. “That’s the bottom line on that. We were totally supportive of their decision.”

Petrie’s bosses, Joe and Gavin Maloof, have a number of business interests besides an NBA franchise. Amongst the most high-profile and lucrative is their ownership of Las Vegas’ Palms Casino & Resort, and prior to that, the Fiesta.   If there’s really zero tolerance for wagering in the NBA, when do the Charlotte Bobcats announce they’re disassociating themselves from Michael Jordan?

11.25.09

Kernan : Boston’s ’04 & ’07 W.S. Rings Were Manny-Enhanced

Posted in Baseball at 4:57 pm by

While the Daily News’ duo of Mark Feisand and Bill Madden report Theo Epstein is making a considerable effort to acquire Roy Halladay from Toronto, NY Post competitor Kevin Kernan (above) remains unimpressed with a Boston’s postseason success this past decade, ranking the Red Sox at no. 10 in his Top 11 Overrated Teams (“Model franchise for stat geeks, authors, wannabe sportswriters and front office people, but it seems they can™t win a World Series without Manny over the past kajillion years”)

They have only two championships over the last billion years, and both came with Manny on the team. They™ve gone nowhere since he left, yet through the ages, trillions of books and postings and articles and twitters and Bill James™ ravings have been written about the brilliance of the Red Sox. It was a beefed up Manny that made the difference for that team that finally enabled them to win some championships. Without Manny they would have missed out.

Kernan’s a busy guy and it’s the day before a holiday, so he can’t really be expected to ponder how well the Yankees would’ve fared in the PED era had they been been denied the services of Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Alex Rodriguez, and uh, Jose Canseco.  The Bombers get a pass for Giambi, though ; they never won a World Series with Mr. Comeback (From Something Or Other) Player Of The Year on their roster.

(The Former) Mangenius To Lions : Sorry I Called You Fakers

Posted in Gridiron at 3:28 pm by

Browns lame duck head coach Eric Mangini has retracted his earlier claims the Detroit Lions faked injuries on Sunday in an attempt to slow Brady Quinn and the Cleveland no-huddle offense,  now ‘fessing up to the Plain-Dealer’s Tony Grossi, “we didn’t do enough to win the game.”

“It wasn’t like I was trying to shy away from accountability,” Mangini said today. “At the end of the day, we’re accountable for losing the game. (I was) frustrated with the situation. I probably expressed that more than I should. We had plenty of opportunities to win the game and we didn’t. That wasn’t good enough.”

The Browns lost to Detroit, 38-37, when a pass interference penalty in the end zone gave the Lions an untimed play from the 1-yard line. They scored the tying touchdown and kicked the winning extra point with :00 on the clock.

The next day, Mangini said there were several occasions when Detroit players halted the Browns’ offense with an injury, only to re-enter the game later.

Lions coach Jim Schwartz said Mangini’s comments were “way out of bounds” and “that couldn’t be further from the truth.”

Not to defend the intensely unlikeable Mangini too much, but there was at least one instance of a Lions player — on offense — leaving the field with an alleged injury, only to return moments later and throw a game-winning TD pass.  Why question the legitimacy of the heroic Matt Stafford’s ailment? Simple – how could the Lions in good conscience allow the no. 1 overall pick from the ’09 draft to re-enter the game with an already-damaged shoulder? While the conclusion to last Sunday’s Toilet Bowl was undeniably exciting, shouldn’t someone on the Detroit sideline have thought about protecting Stafford — and the club’s massive investment?

Why Doesn’t Brandon Roy Love America His Teammates?

Posted in Basketball at 12:18 pm by

When “Star Spangled Banner” abstainer Shareef Abdur-Rahim left pro hoops in 2008, the news was greeted with a headline of “NBA Gravy Train Ends for Muslim Proselytizer Who Supports Cop Killers”.  Hopefullly, Blazers G Brandon Roy won’t receive nearly as much abuse, given that he just wants some peace and quiet.  From the Oregonian’s John Canzano :

For two seasons now, Roy leaves the court before “The Star Spangled Banner” is performed. He waits out of sight, in the arena tunnel, and has a quiet moment of prayer while his teammates stand and honor America together.

Something about that feels troubling.

Roy is the Blazers captain, and leader, and two-time All Star. And while I understand his desire to have a personal moment to gather his thoughts, I think there is ample time for a meditative moment in the hours leading to the game and I worry that the statement he’s making is one of individualism.

What would the fallout be if Roy’s teammates decided to join their leader in the tunnel? What if Roy weren’t from Seattle, but rather, from Spain, like Rudy Fernandez? What of respect, and heritage, and ceremony? What of team unity and leadership when the ball isn’t in your hands?

The Blazers are not together in the pre-game ceremony. It really became obvious on Monday before Portland’s victory over Chicago, when teammate LaMarcus Aldridge left the floor as well. Aldridge said Tuesday at practice that he “had to go to the bathroom” and it won’t happen again.

“I love America,” Aldridge said.

11.24.09

Bullets/Wizards Owner Abe Polin, Dead At 85

Posted in Basketball at 8:56 pm by

‘Twas a somber scene earlier tonight at the MCI Center prior to the Wizards’ 108-107 defeat of the Sixers, said victory coming hours after the passing of Washington owner Abe Pollin (shown above with Wes Unseld).  While Pollin is remembered by many for presiding over the franchise’s sole NBA championship in 1978, the club’s move from Baltimore to Washington DC (and subsequent ditching of the name “Bullets”, presumably to avoid association with the Clash song of the same name),  in more recent years, became the first guy to kick Michael Jordan to the curb since His Airness’ high school J.V. coach., The Washington Post’s Peter Pearl eulogizes a man “among the last of the old-school pro sports owners, running the  Wizards and earlier the National Hockey League’s Washington Capitals as a family business, shaped by his strong personality and his intense loyalties.”

Strong-willed and sometimes cantankerous, Mr. Pollin adamantly refused to compromise his principles in the sports world, even if it meant losing. He got rid of all-star basketball players such as Chris Webber and Rasheed Wallace because he did not like their erratic lifestyles and work habits, and he suffered through a public relations nightmare in 2003 when he summarily fired Michael Jordan, then the most famous athlete on the planet. Jordan, who made a highly publicized comeback for the Wizards as a basketball executive and then as a player, had brought national attention and increased revenue to a mediocre franchise. But Mr. Pollin saw Jordan as a selfish and disruptive influence.

After hiring a new coach and team president to replace Jordan, Mr. Pollin defiantly spoke to his critics in the third person, declaring, “Those of you in the media who have said Mr. Pollin was over the hill and incompetent, it proves that he still knows what he’s doing.”

Mets Announce More Cosmetic Changes For 2010′s 4th Place Finish

Posted in Baseball, Fashion at 3:49 pm by

A pursuit of Jose Guillen rather than Roy Halladay isn’t enough to pique your interest in NYC’s other baseball team?  How about a Mets museum right inside Citi Field’s front gate?  Are you overcome with excitement knowing the Gary-Keith-Ron partnership will remain intact for at least another two years? Failing that, how much more can the Mets do to galvanize their long suffering fanbase than to introduce alternate home uniforms that actually look like something a professional baseball team might wear (albeit a team that lost 120 games in 1962)?  MLB.com’s Aiden Gonzalez claims the above jersey is “inspired by the early years of the franchise”, and as nostalgia goes, it’s likely to be a more successful move than Daniel Murphy receiving fielding tips from Marv Throneberry via a Ouiaja board.

Introducing The BCS’ New Image Consultant : Was Ron Nessen Unavailable?

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 2:06 pm by

Talking Points Memo’s Rachel Slajda reports the Bowl Championship Series, still smarting from the poor public response to their Tweeting endeavors, have enlisted former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer to quash the nationwide hate-fest.

“Playoff advocates have had an easy ride where they have never been called on to explain exactly how they would create an alternative. There is tremendous division among playoff advocates,” Fleischer told Politico. “While the BCS has its share of critics, once people see both sides of the issue, they will see why the system has its great support.”

Fleischer’s firm specializes in media training for sports organizations, offering interview prep, crisis management training and other services. He’s worked for Major League Baseball and Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, among others, according to his firm’s web site.

Fleischer recently did some P.R. work for the San Francisco 49ers, an association the San Jose Mercury News’ Tim Kawakami condemned at the time (“it™s ridiculous for the 49ers“or any sports franchise“to trot out any time-tested political attack dog, whether he or she be Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Socialist or whatever”), even though George W.’s former flack was replacing this guy.