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?


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.


‘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.