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.


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 “Buy 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 “Buy 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.)


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?


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.