11.25.09

(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.

11.23.09

Sports Putz: Philly Hoops Fans Racist?

Posted in Basketball, Racism Corner, Sports Journalism at 8:38 pm by

(not the Kyle Korver of his day : Billy Cunningham)

Certain know-it-alls just do not have the ability to field a question and reply “I am not really certain” and just leave it at that instead of exposing their ignorance. This certainly applies to Bill Simmons as evidenced by his speculation that lack of support for the Philadelphia 76ers may have a racial component involved when The Philadelphia Daily News posed a question to him during his book signing tour date in Philly. From the Philadelphia Daily News Editorial page:

A COUPLE OF weeks ago, I sat and watched Bill Simmons, ESPN’s lead columnist and the author of the current New York Times No. 1 best-seller, “The Book of Basketball,” at a sold-out appearance at the Borders just south of City Hall.

For more than four hours, Simmons signed books, shook hands and traded barbs with hundreds of fans there to buy a book whose target audience, narrowly defined, is hard core basketball fans. Sports fans at a book signing about basketball: This was, presumably, a cross section of Philadelphians who might be interested in basketball.

Of the 500 fans who showed up, there weren’t 10 guys wearing Sixers gear. Afterward, I asked Simmons about it: Is Philly just not a good pro hoops town?

Simmons, love him or hate him, knows basketball. He just consumed roughly every pro basketball game ever filmed, and, as a lifelong Celtics fan, should have a decent idea of the Sixers’ status in the Celts’ once-upon-a-time main rival’s hometown.

Pausing to thinking for a second, he tilted his head back, crossed his arms and half-whispered his answer: “I don’t think so,” and then paused. “No.”

“It could be a race thing to some degree. They’ve never had an awesome white player, and they’ve always had the most iconic African-American player. They had Doc, then they had Barkley, who was obviously very outspoken, and then Iverson.”

Would we have showed up more if the team were whiter? Maybe, but I’m not so sure.

I wont even bother wasting my time defending Philly sports fans against such blatantly ignorant and insulting speculation but am puzzled and appalled that Daily News sports editor E James Beale stated that Simmons may be correct. That, and when it comes to basketball and 76ers history/knowledge, neither Beale or Simmons seems to recall somebody named Billy Cunningham. Gee guys, maybe, just maybe if Shawn Bradley and Matt Geiger didnt pan out….

.

Roy Keane – Thorougly Qualfied For A Future Coors Silver Bullet Ad

Posted in Football at 5:21 pm by

Rather than consider a match fixing scandal that Tim Marchman correctly surmises is far more relevant to the credibilty of global soccer than Thierry Henry’s handball, let’s instead take a gander at not-about-to-be-fired Ipswich manager Roy Keane. What’s crazier, allowing a cell phone to ring during a Keane press conference or the former Manchester United midfielder’s insistence that Ireland’s World Cup elimination is karmic payback for his spat with Mick McCarthy in 2002?

A Puppy Is Not Just For Xmas. Or For Jeff Reed Impersonations.

Posted in Dogs, Gridiron at 5:12 pm by

Watching Big Ben spend most of Sunday afternoon flat on his back, covered in red jerseys is the sort of thing that would send even the most mild-mannered of Steelers fans into a frenzy. Not a dog-kicking frenzy, but a frenzy just the same. Sadly, in the case of a Bridgeville, PA (subhu)man, any distraction prior to yesterday’s Chiefs/Steelers tilt was considered justification for the brutal murder of a pit bull puppy. From the Post-Gazette’s Jim McKinnon :

William Woodson, 22, is being held on $25,000 bail in the Allegheny County Jail, pending a preliminary hearing on animal cruelty at 1 p.m. next Monday before District Judge Elaine McGraw in Bridgeville.

The puppy, a 13-week-old pit bull named Flip, had been the focal point of recent arguments between Mr. Woodson and his girlfriend, Christine Gielarowski, 21, with whom Mr. Woodson lives on Jane Way.

Ms. Gielarowski told police her boyfriend kicked the dog because the pup would not walk with them. When the near lifeless dog no longer was able to move, Mr. Woodson walked away from it and his girlfriend, she told police.

According to the affidavit, Mr. Woodson said he argued with Ms. Gielarowski about buying the dog to live at their residence.

“He admitted the dog would not behave prior to the Steelers game and that he became upset at it,” according to the affidavit.

Sickening stuff to be sure. Where would an NFL fan get the idea you could commit such violence towards an animal and ever again be allowed to function in society?

A Friday Programming Alternative To The Iron Bowl

Posted in Internal Affairs, Rock Und Roll at 4:42 pm by

Forsake leftovers (or bring ‘em with you). It’s a day after Thanksgiving collision of friends, the beers they brought with them and the one retail establishment where Black Friday is a fully technicolor event. Show up and you’lll witness the following historic events

a) the debut of Nathan (XathaX) on drums for ATC ;
b) The Stuffies at the height of their performing prowess
c) Dated, playing two sets in the space of 3 hours at two different venues.
d) a fourth band Spot selected who may or may not have something to do with a world class pizza establishment.

And please, for fuck’s sake, consider dropping some Black Friday cash at Trailer Space. How many folks stagger into the shop, enjoy Spot’s hospitality / use his toilet and never leave with so much as one 7″ purchased? SHAME SHAME SHAME (shame). On everyone.

*- Dated are playing Beerland later that night, along with the tour-departing Woven Bones and Shapes Have Fangs.

Northeastern : Building A University The Football Hockey Team Can Be Proud Of

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 2:56 pm by

Though Boston’s Northeastern University has produced such sporting ‘sphere icons as Reggie Lewis, Chris Nilan, Carlos Pena, the late Will McDonough and Don Orsillo, Sean Jones and Dan Ross, aside, the school has never been widely known as a football hotbed.  As such, it will surprise few to learn that some 14 years after Boston University pulled the plug on their college football program, Northeastern’s trustees voted Friday to take similar action. From the Boston Globe’s Andrew Ryan :

President Joseph E. Aoun and the board of trustees endorsed the move Friday after an extensive, two-year review of the athletic program by its director, Peter Roby. The decision to eliminate football follows six straight losing seasons and sparse game attendance at a school whose ice rink often sells out for hockey.

Northeastern football did not fall victim to the recession or a fund-raising crunch, university officials said. Instead, school officials came to terms with the hard truth that the $3 million-plus annual program needed more help – millions more each year – than Northeastern wanted to give.

Northeastern first took to its gridiron in Brookline in 1933. The program produced more than a dozen NFL players and boasts three undefeated seasons, including an 8-0 run in 1963. The last highlight came in 2002 when the Huskies racked up a school record 10 wins, a share of their first Atlantic 10 title, and a trip to the NCAA playoffs.

But the team has not posted a winning record since coach Rocky Hager took over in 2004. If the school did field a team next year, college officials said, it probably would have involved an expensive national search for a new coach and stepped-up recruiting.