KU’s Mangino Accused Of Throwing His Weight Around

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 10:25 pm by

There’s been all kinds of tension of late in Lawrence, KS between the football and basketball programs, and with the University Of Kansas’ No. 1 ranked hoops squad tipping off against Memphis tonight, under normal circumstances, Bill Self’s squad would hog the national headlines. However, that was before the school announced an internal investigation into the conduct of head football coach Mark Mangino, an inquiry that seems to center around Mangino’s alleged temper. Kansas visits Austin this weekend, and if the following report is correct, the UT athletic department would be well advised to offer Mangino a V.I.P. parking pass right outside of DKR. From the Lawrence Journal-World’s Mark Fagan :

In June of 2007, Mangino (above, left) received a ticket from KU Parking and Transit for parking his vehicle in the loading zone south of Parrott Athletic Center ” the 23rd time he had been ticketed for parking in the space.

Donna Hultine, director of KU Parking and Transit, reported that the particular ticket had spurred Mangino to track down the student employee who had written the ticket and launch a 10-minute, expletive-filled œtirade so loud that it drew several employees out of nearby Allen Fieldhouse to watch.

œHe screamed, yelled and cussed for a while and then got out of his car and screamed, yelled and cussed 6 inches from the student™s face, Hultine said, in an e-mail to her boss at Strong Hall, Vice Provost Jim Long.

Contacted Tuesday, Hultine said she was pleased with the athletics department™s quick response to her complaints. Indeed, she said, Mangino hasn™t been ticketed since the incident and even has gone out of his way this season to be cordial to Parking and Transit employees when he sees them.

œIt tells me that he™s willing to play by the rules and if he™s at least changed his behavior towards us, that™s great, she said.

But two years ago, Hultine said, she was concerned for the very safety of her employees.

œI didn™t want to put any of my folks in his path,
Hultine said Tuesday. œBased on that incident, I knew what he was capable of. I had to stop it. I needed it to be addressed.”

Embracing Suckiness As A Selling Point : The Winless New Jersey Nets

Posted in Basketball, The Marketplace at 7:03 pm by

(never let it be said no one cares about the Nets – their recent woes resonate greatly with persons who consider David Wells to be an aesthetic influence)

The New York Times’ Ken Belson — possibly the only individual in the tri-state area paying attention to this kind of thing — reports the 0-10 Nets have a promotional scheme for tonight’s game with Indiana that openly acknowledges the team’s troubled state.

All season ticketholders will receive two extra tickets for Tuesday™s home game against the Indiana Pacers. The Nets are also selling some seats for $10 at the box office, while supplies last.

œYour team has played very hard this season, but with an unprecedented amount of injuries, we just haven™t been able to attain a victory, Brett Yormark, the team™s chief executive, said in a statement.

œBut even with the injuries, the entire team believes that ˜10 Is Enough.™ That™s why we are asking you, our loyal fans, to rally around your team like never before at Tuesday night™s game. So bring your enthusiasm, show your support, and let™s get our first win.

Belson quotes a Nets source as expecting 15,000 people to turn up at the Swamp tonight, which sounds like the sort of wide-eyed optimism that should serve Mr. Yormark very well during his job interview with the New York Mets next spring.

With A Little More Than A Year On Earth To Spare, Daulton Masters Cyber Machines

Posted in Baseball, Free Expression at 12:41 pm by

Tackling the impending apocalypse with a worldview that makes Jim Hellwig seem postively well grounded by comparison, former Phillies catcher Darren Daulton has finally found a publisher for his eagerly awaited end-of-the-planet tome ; himself.

Welcome to my new website www.dutch2012.com.  The initial purpose of this site is to provide guests with information regarding the metaphysical academia and fundamentals of 2012 and it™s correlation to metaphysics.

My book œIf They Only Knew provides basic information regarding metaphysics, kind of a starter kit to introduce what is happening and what to expect as December 21, 2012 approaches.  This site is in the process of providing guests and opportunity to interact with other people, including myself, regarding these two synonymous topics.

I have evaluated several options as to best provide interaction amongst my guests and have decided on utilizing Facebook (Darren Dutch Daulton).  Just to think several years ago I could not turn on a cyber machine (computer), now I am utilizing this technology to reach out to people who have experienced different phenomenon, and to let you know that it is perfectly normal and you are not alone.

In closing I would like to thank the many people who have attended my book signings and the thousands of emails I have received applauding my sharing of this information.  As some of you are aware, the initial responses of my book were not always positive.  However, I can gratefully state that in the past six months a dramatic turn has taken affect and the responses are phenomenal.

I ask you to please email me with any suggestions as to what will make this site further enjoyable to you my valued guests.

Email: 2012@dutch2012.com

(link swiped from Repoz, Baseball Think Factory)

The Fiver : Bravely Marching Towards South Africa 2010…

Posted in Football, Sports Journalism at 3:54 am by

… despite being denied so much inspirational material in the months ahead.  Ireland’s 1-0 defeat to France in the first leg of their World Cup qualifier playoff Saturday left the ROI facing very long odds prior to Wednesday’s 2nd leg in Paris, while Scotland’s 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Wales meant the end of George Burley’s managerial tenureThe Guardian’s Barney Ronay surveyed both developments with no small amount of cynical glee.

“That was certainly Plan A,” Ireland midfielder Keith Andrews said this morning, fiddling with his metallic-green 1970s overhead projector and trying to make the words: “Lose 1-0 at home” go away. “But we have moved on to Plan B now.” Which will come as a relief to anyone with any doubts that the Republic might actually end up at the World Cup next year. Although it has to be said the details of Plan B are still slightly sketchy. “If we win 1-0 over there, then obviously, it’s job done. It goes to extra-time and we would be happy with that,” Andrews explained, simultaneously sketching out the lyrics to his sombrero-clad, coconut-waggling We’re On Our Way To Extra Time In a World Cup Qualifying Play-Off hit song feat. Enya and the fat one from Westlife.

But still, there is some good news for Ireland: at least they’re not Scotland, for whom the international weekend provided another step forward in the SFA’s 18-month plan to agonisingly sack George Burley. Next up is a meeting this week at which George Burley may or may not be sacked, but only after much chin-stroking consideration of the words “three wins in 14 matches” plus expert evidence on whether this is (a) good, or (b) not very good. Still, it’s not all bad. As of today smouldering one-man walking cafeteria bust-up Graeme Souness has “ruled himself out” of the running for the non-vacant post.

“If [being agonisingly sacked by the SFA] was up for grabs, I wouldn’t be applying for it. My life is going in a different direction,” he explained, being very slowly dragged out of sight by a small forklift truck.


Pinker and the Brain: Harvard Prof’s Debate with Self-Made IQ Tycoon Gladwell Over Shitty Draft Picks Gets Personal

Posted in Gridiron at 9:38 pm by


[Not haircuts!  Those are Gladwell and Pinker's actual brains, which no human skull can contain.]

This Sunday, The New York Times published Harvard Prof Steven Pinker‘s review of Malcolm Gladwell’s, “What the Dog Saw.” Gladwell is a statistician of “minor genius,” in Pinker’s view, but MG is just wrong to cite analysis from two scientists that “quarterbacks taken in positions 11 through 90 in the draft actually slightly outplay those more highly paid and lauded players taken in the draft™s top ten positions.”

In his posted reply today, Gladwell calls Pinker a Harvard motherfucker “accomplished,” if still stuck on “the lonely ice floe of IQ fundamentalism.” Yes he went there!  Come on, you knew that was coming!

It was Gladwell in 2005 who ripped apart the whole notion of Harvard elitism in his New Yorker piece, “Getting In,” so you know It’s On.  Thus, Pinker finds himself on the business end of a Gladwell quadruple-digit IQ blast, race card included:

I wondered about the basis of Pinker™s conclusion, so I e-mailed him, asking if he could tell me where to find the scientific data that would set me straight. He very graciously wrote me back. He had three sources, he said. The first was Steve Sailer. Sailer, for the uninitiated, is a California blogger with a marketing background who is best known for his belief that black people are intellectually inferior to white people. Sailer™s œproof of the connection between draft position and performance is, I™m sure Pinker would agree, crude: his key variable is how many times a player has been named to the Pro Bowl. Pinker™s second source was a blog post, based on four years of data, written by someone who runs a pre-employment testing company, who also failed to appreciate”as far as I can tell (the key part of the blog post is only a paragraph long)”the distinction between aggregate and per-play performance. Pinker™s third source was an article in the Columbia Journalism Review, prompted by my essay, that made an argument partly based on a link to a blog called œNiners Nation which in turn makes reference to a œstudy of quarterbacks conducted by a fantasy football website. I have enormous respect for Professor Pinker, and his description of me as œminor genius made even my mother blush. But maybe on the question of subjects like quarterbacks, we should agree that our differences owe less to what can be found in the scientific literature than they do to what can be found on Google.

Pearlman To Mets : Eschew Holliday, Pursue Figgins

Posted in Baseball at 7:16 pm by

Like the rest of you, “The Bad Guys Won” author Jeff Pearlman has read speculation surrounding the Mets’ interest in free agent OF Matt Holliday, but strongly urges Omar Minaya to turn his attention in the direction of….a third-baseman?

If I know the Mets (and, sadly, I know the Mets), they™ll make a major play for Holliday, envisioning him protecting David Wright (or vice versa) in a revamped middle of the lineup. But this would be foolish. If Omar Minaya is wise, he takes his (offensive) money and goes straight to the house of Chone Figgins, the Angels™ splendid third baseman. Yes, there™s the defensive alignment problem”the Mets are locked at third with Wright, at short with Jose Reyes and at second with (good God) Luis Castillo. But Figgins has shown an ability to play anywhere, including the outfield.

So why sign him? Because the Mets, being the Mets, constructed a ballpark that sucks the power from most boppers; that will only reward speed, speed and more speed. I™m not saying it™ll certainly work, but if I™m in charge of the 2010 Mets, I™m thinking of the mid-80s Cardinals of Vince Coleman, Willie McGee and Tommy Herr. Run, run, run, run, run”and hope the old-school generation of offensive somehow works.

Indeed, the Wilpons built a field with a very specific team in mind. Sadly, that team was the 1985 Cards.

Monday’s announcement that Florida’s Chris Coghlan had been named the National League’s Rookie Of The Year just happened to come on Dwight Gooden’s 45th birthday — a quarter century after the former Mets starter was named 1984′s NL ROY.   Congrats to Doc on narrowly beating me to 45 and here’s hoping he continues to do so for a long, long time.

Pacquiao : Vanquishing Cotto, Freeing Hostages

Posted in Boxing at 5:40 pm by

Yours truly sat somewhere in the not-so-cheap but genuinely lousy seats for Manny Pacquiao’s 12th round TKO of Miguel Cotto at the MGM Grand Arena, the former’s 7th title over an unprecedented 7 weight classes. As remarkable as the fight was — and make no mistake, Pacquiao completely reversed the tide of the match from the 2nd round onwards, putting the bigger, more powerful Cotto on the defensive to the point where his Puerto Rican opponent was barely hanging on over the final few rounds — Manny’s greatest recent achievement  might’ve occurred outside of the ring.  From Spot.ph :

œYour freedom is our freedom. We don™t want to be here for a long time, [either]. And we want to watch Pacquiao™s fight, Father Michael Sinnott quoted his kidnappers, GMANews.tv reports. Sinnott said his captors wanted him free as soon as possible.

Sinnott was abducted by armed men in Pagadian City, Mindanao on October 11 and released on November 12, just a few days before Pacquiao™s fight versus Miguel Cotto. The 79-year-old Irish priest, who was recovering from open-heart surgery the day he was abducted, said his kidnappers found it hard to take care of him.

On the other hand, critics of Malacañang Palace said Sinnott was released in time for the arrival of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The Palace said it was just a coincidence and that no ransom was paid for the priest™s release, despite a video of Sinnott that surfaced on October 31 saying that his captors were demanding $2 million in exchange for his freedom.

Wally’s Back(man) In The Mets Fold

Posted in Baseball at 1:10 pm by

Short of announcing the retirement of Art Howe’s number, the following might be the most genuinely surprising Mets announcement in some time ;  the Amazins’ NY-Penn League affiliate Brooklyn Cyclones confirmed this morning that former Mets 2B Wally Backman, whose domestic violence issues, DUI arrest and financial troubles have commanded far more attention than his successful stints guiding minor league clubs at a variety of levels, will manage the Coney Island squad in 2010.

The ‘Clones deserve credit on a number of counts.  For starters, giving Backman another chance to succeed in an MLB-affiliated league given the scrutiny he’ll be under is a pretty gutsy move, one that suggests the Wilpons are more interested in how the player Darryl Strawberry once called “that little redneck” might help player development (even Tom Cable doesn’t think this was great for public relations).  For another, their press release on the subject openly cites Backman’s 4 day tenure as manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, one that ended when the Snakes glumly admitted they’d not done their due diligence on Wally.

Belichick’s 4th & 2 Gambit = Early Xmas For Ron Borges!

Posted in Gridiron at 3:23 am by

Former Globe / current Herald columnist Ron Borges once famously boasted that he’d separate Bill Belichick from his lunch money. After the Patriots’ resident Hooded Casanova let the unbeaten Colts off the hook with an ill-advised decision to go for it on 4th and 2, deep in New England territory while nursing a 6 point lead with 2:08 remaining, Borges asks, “is there an insanity defense for football coaches?” From Monday’s Herald :

Maybe the Twinkie defense that got Dan White a reduced sentence after assasinating the mayor of San Francisco and a city councilman named Harvey Milk might work. A Bay area shrink named Martin Blinder convinced a jury that White™s œcapacity for rational thought had been diminished by eating junk food so maybe there™s a defense for anything. Anybody check Belichick™s lunch box?

With 2:08 to play and a decision to be made, Belichick made the kind of choice Shemp would have made because even Larry and Moe would know better. He turned to his defense and said, œTo fight this Lord Manning, strong enough you are not.

At that moment, on an evening when Randy Moss and Tom Brady [stats] played out of their minds, Bill Belichick went out of his mind. The decision he had to make, in the opinion of NBC analyst and former Colts head coach Tony Dungy, really was no decision at all. It was a no-brainer. For a genius that can be a problem.

œAs much as you respect Peyton Manning you have to punt the ball, Dungy said.

Mere mortals punt downfield and try to put as much real estate between their end zone and Manning™s right arm. Geniuses commit hubris instead.

Tom Brady defended Belichick’s call after the game, citing his coach’s “confidence in the team”. On this occasion, said confidence didn’t extend to the New England defense.


Titans Owner Adams To Bills : We’re No. 11

Posted in Gridiron at 10:25 pm by

What better way for Tennessee owner Bud Adams (above) to celebrate his club’s rout of Buffalo (and Vince Young’s Chris Johnson-aided career revival) than with a very public, double-bird salute to the visitors? From the Tennessean’s Jim Wyatt ;

The 86-year-old owner made an appearance on the sideline in the closing minutes, and even did a little dance as the Titans capped a 41“17 victory.

Then he turned toward the Buffalo sideline and gave the Bills the middle finger. Make that two middle fingers ” Adams was using both hands.

Earlier Adams, who lives in Houston, flashed a “hook em’ horns” sign to fans in the West sideline seats.

Wyatt apparently didn’t notice Kerry Collins making similar gestures in Adams’ direction. Possibly because it never happened, but we can always hope, right?

Synder To Sign-Wielding Skins Fans : Bring It On

Posted in Free Expression, Gridiron at 2:17 pm by

(above : a sign that might block the view of very short fans)

“We have no intention of trying to control our fans’ varied ways of expressing their views on the Redskins organization and the team’s performance,” claims Redskins COO, prefacing an announcement from Public Enemy No.1 owner Daniel Snyder, doing a 180 degree turn on the team’s earlier policiy of confiscating signs at FedEx Field, many of them, critical of Snyder.

“We’ve disappointed our fans so far this season, and I’m as disappointed as they are,” said team Owner Daniel M. Snyder. “I understand that some fans want to express their feelings with signs and they should do so, as long as they stay within the boundaries of good taste and don’t block the view of other fans.”

Washington is tied at 14 with Denver
after one half in DC today ; clearly, a free and open exchange of ideas is adequate substitution for Clinton Portis.


Fitzy’s Pats/Colts Preview : Tony Dungy Resembles A Bowl Of Ghost Balls

Posted in Free Expression, Gridiron at 8:13 pm by

I’ve fallen a tad out of touch with the video exploits of Nick Stevens, but if the above clip is anything to go, the recent NESN fixture hasn’t lost a step. I don’t know what’s up with former Colts head coach/spiritual advisor to backup QB’s Tony Dungy, but Cliff Richard’s secret to phenomenal physical fitness was skipping lunch (link courtesy Sox & Dawgs)

Pondering The Next Place Byron Scott Will Wear Out His Welcome

Posted in Basketball at 2:54 pm by

(left to right : formerly employed, currently limping)

A full season and change removed from a 56 win campaign, the New Orleans Hornets had “begun to moonwalk” under recently deposed head coach Byron Scott, argues the Times-Picayune’s John DeShazier.   The New York Post’s Peter Vecsey — a longtime Scott castigator — was far less diplomatic, citing “offensive predictably, stagnation and susceptibility to being bullied”, and worst of all, a recent loss to the Knicks. Ignoring the ugly exits in New Jersey and New Orleans, True Hoop’s J.A.. Adande yesterday considered Byron Scott’s future job options and for the time being, anyway, analyst work seems more likely than coaching.

There are plenty of good golf courses in Southern California, and it™s possible Scott could wind up back there when Phil Jackson decides to leave the Lakers. Scott™s on the list of potential replacements, along with Minnesota Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis and Lakers assistant Brian Shaw. Remember, Scott began and ended his playing career with the Lakers, spending his final season alongside a rookie named Kobe Bryant. Last year Scott told the Los Angeles Times that the Lakers are œan organization that will be embedded in my heart for the rest of my life.

But Phil Jackson is looking more and more embedded in the organization. His health and energy seem better than they have in years and his team appears set to be a championship contender for a few seasons. Then there™s the possibility that there could be a lockout for some of the 2011-12 season, which would appeal to Jackson because he could make another run at a championship without trudging through a full 82 games.

Adande correctly surmises Scott is no more likely to return to the Swamp than Bobby Valentine is to Flushing —- though it should be stressed, the Nyets will have new ownership and Jason Kidd’s no longer around to make the big decisions.

Berger : Nelson’s A Goner

Posted in Basketball at 2:15 pm by

“If (Knicks PG) Chris Duhon continues to play the way he did and has been playing,”  grumbles Knicks Blog’s Chris Alvino after last night’s 121-107  loss to Golden State, “this might be a 20 win team this year.”   20 seems optimistic , as the 1-9 Knickerbockers might be fortunate to win half that many during a season in which Mike D’Antoni’s charges seem to have totally bought into management’s agenda for the future.  Why bother playing defense until LeBron arrives?

That said, D’Antoni’s job security isn’t being question this morning, but rather, Warriors counterpart Don Nelson, who didn’t survive a pissing match with Chris Webber during a prior tenure, and might not last after his relationship with Steven Jackson has fallen apart, either. CBS Sports’ Ken Berger claims Nellie’s “insistence on alienating and humiliating his best players — which continued at Madison Square Garden even in victory — could soon lead to a coaching change.”

With no realistic trade scenarios emerging for Stephen Jackson — and with the team’s other miserable star, Monta Ellis (above), wanting out, too — Nelson’s last option to keep the team from blowing up already is under consideration. Nelson, 69, would assume a consultant role, with top assistant Keith Smart taking over as head coach.

“It could happen by next week,” the source said.

When confronted about the possibility of stepping aside only eight games into a two-year, $12 million extension, Nelson crafted a bullet-proof answer. He insisted he has no intentions of going anywhere other than the Bradley Center, where the Warriors play the second half of a back-to-back Saturday night. Thanks to Nellie, they’ll do so with their two stars, Jackson and Ellis, coming off inexplicable 47- and 45-minute performances, respectively, against the Knicks. “Oh, I have the patience, yes,” Nelson said when I asked if he had the staying power to continue coaching/imploding this team. “The team wanted me to come back for two more years. I signed that contract and I will abide by that.”

But nowhere does it say that Nelson has to fill out lineup cards or draw up plays to fulfill that contract. It was sad, pathetic really, that this brilliant basketball man’s idea of coaching Friday night was leaving the disgruntled Jackson on the floor for all but 35 seconds of a blowout. For good measure, he also embarrassed No. 7 overall pick Curry in the very building where he’d hoped to spend his NBA career. If Curry thought he might face some dysfunction if the Knicks had picked him at No. 8, these few months with Nelson have been quite the education.


Marchman Gets (Amusingly) Huffy Over HuffPo Sports Section

Posted in Blogged Down, Sports Journalism, The Internet at 1:41 pm by

(Lupica – now on the interweb!)

I should mention, up front, that I don’t get The Huffington Post. That is, I don’t see its appeal as a reading experience and I’m baffled by its apparent popularity and profitability. It’s not that I don’t think there should be a place on the internet for risible/irresponsible quasi-medical quackery or Jim Lampley’s thoughts on election fraud. It’s just that I think the place for all that manifest uselessness is already filled, by the broader internet itself. The ugly, frantic mess of half-information and gossipy leering and fervid political doofery that is the Huffington Post does a good job at exactly one thing, to my mind — miniaturizing and uniting all of the defining goofinesses of the internet together in one place. Although CSTB’s revered Chicago Bureau Chief does write for them on occasion, so they’re at least doing something right.

One thing they weren’t doing at all, until recently, was writing about sports. That changed when they launched their sports page, which employs the usual mix of broadly loathed establishment dudes (Mike Lupica, ladies and gentlemen), revered internet sorts (the tireless and very great Dave Cameron), and random grad students demanding that the Mets “get younger” and trade Carlos Beltran. Oh, and Dave Zirin. Tim Marchman got into media critic mode after the launch of Huffington Post Sports — HuffPoSpo, if you’re terrible — and was not wowed.

Whatever credibility they get for running Daves Cameron and Berri (not a little, as those two are terrific) is more than lost by what may be the single most ridiculous block of sports-related text I’ve read this year, a 789-word paean to Hideki Matsui by his agent, and… the stuff they’re ‘aggregating’ is mainly a bunch of boring nonsense about sex and drug scandals. Surely there are things the world needs less than an amalgam of the worst elements of a New York tabloid and Deadspin, but they have to be in the line of SARS and poisoned baby formula.

It’s a short post, and worth clicking over to. The funniest part of it is not quoted above, and involves the Huffington Post’s aesthetic. I think Marchman may be jumping the gun, though — in three months, the sports page will probably have de-emphasized the Lupica and ramped up the “Bret Saberhagen Spreading Unsubstantiated BS About the H1N1 Vaccine” element. It has (inexplicably) worked before, after all.

Finally, I’ve Found Suitable Companions For My Brian Bannister Bobblehead

Posted in Boxing, Tourism at 1:14 pm by

I’m in Las Vegas on one of my annual (ahem) fact-finding missions this week, and though I’ve yet to secure a ticket for tomorrow night’s welterweight title bout between Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto, I can happily report bobbleheads of the two combatants are available in most of the hotel gift shops for a measly $40. That’s a pretty good deal compared to the $10 commemorative Pacquiao/Cotto cans of Tecate.

The New York Yankees: Hated, But Still More Popular Than Health Care

Posted in Baseball, politics at 12:02 am by

Missed this until now: last week New York Congressman Jose Serrano led the way with one of those time-wasting boilerplate Congratulations! resolutions for the Yankees.

H.RES 893 passed, but not everybody played along. From the Cincinnati Enquirer:

As a life-long Cincinnati Reds fan, Steve Driehaus couldn’t stomach supporting a resolution last week congratulating the New York Yankees on winning their 27th World Series title.

“They bought a World Series,” said Driehaus, D-West Price Hill.

When Rep. Jose Serrano, D-N.Y., and 66 co-sponsors offered the resolution last Friday, it easily passed, but 28 members – mostly from districts near Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Boston and Minneapolis-St. Paul – voted either “no” or “present.”…

Since 1973, no resolution honoring a past World Series champion has drawn a negative vote.

The vote Friday stands in stark contrast to 1975, when the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., sponsored a resolution congratulating the Reds for winning the World Series against his beloved Red Sox. The Senate approved that resolution unanimously….

Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., who voted for the resolution, asked for ”the record to reflect the fact that I am a Mets fan, and I do not associate myself with the previous comments” favoring the Yankees.

Only one of the 28 naysayers was actually a representative from Pennsylvania.


Baseball’s Most Famous Acid Trip, Masterfully Retold

Posted in Baseball, Free Expression, Medical Science at 8:36 pm by

“Of the 263 no-hitters ever thrown in the Big Leagues,” mused the folks at No Mas in an e-mail message earlier today, “we can only guess how many were aided by steroids, but we can say without question that only one was ever thrown on acid.”  And while the late Dock Ellis’ 1970 no-hitter has been mentioned in this space, chronicled by someone far more skilled, and recalled by artists including but not limited to musician Barbara Manning and painter Jay Kaplan, no one has ever tackled this historic event quite like illustrator James Blagden.

David Howard’s New Math

Posted in Baseball, Ugly New Stadiums at 8:16 pm by

Earlier today, the New York Post’s Bart Hubbach called out Mets executive V.P. of lying David Howard (above, third from left) after the club reneged on an earlier pledge to lower season ticket prices.  Lower them, they have, just not nearly as much as previously touted.

After wrapping up their dismal season, the team promised ticket prices would drop by an average of 10 percent. But when season-ticket holders received their bills this week for 2010, many were incensed to discover the price cut was as little as a 1 percent.

Thomas Cooney said his seats in the Promenade Reserve Infield, which in 2009 were $4,050 for two seats, are now $3,955 for 2010 — a drop of 2 percent. “Wow, what a discount,” he grumbled.

Mets spokesman David Howard said, “It’s very consistent with what we said in the beginning. Obviously, the ‘average’ means there is some higher and some lower, but the average is 10 percent. We haven’t heard outrage about this.”

How precisely would Howard measure “outrage”?  Calls to the club last spring to address Howard’s shameful practice of peddling obstructed view seats for premium prices were either unreturned or met with smug replies along the lines of “tough fucking luck”.  If some ticket holders are seeing a reduction of only 1 or 2 percent, it would stand to reason others are seeing a pretty substantial discount in order to achieve this alleged 10% average.  Tellingly, Howard didn’t elaborate to Hubbach.  One of Faith & Fear In Flushing‘s more (ahem) outraged readers commented, “this ‘price cut’ is only the latest in an endless series of symbolic gestures by Mets ownership to the Mets fanbase”, though this aggrieved party obviously cares little for the fiscal challenges facing Howard in the months ahead.  For starters, how the fuck are they gonna get rid of these jerseys now that J.J. Putz’ winning personality isn’t around to flog ‘em?

Tennessean Scribe Unfamiliar With The Notion Of “Innocent Until Proven Guilty”

Posted in Gridiron, Sports Journalism, The Law at 6:48 pm by

3 University of Tennessee recruits of Lane Kiffin — WR Nu’Keese Richardson (above, left), safety Janzen Jackson and DB Mike Edwards — were charged with attempted robbery of a Knoxville convenience store earlier today.  Calling the alleged incident, “one of the dumbest crimes in the history of UT football™s criminal activities”, the Tennessean’s Mike Jones urges Kiffin to make an example of the trio, serving as judge and jury while insisting the felonious act was “perpetrated by three freshman football players.”

The skill-level of the players enhances Kiffin™s opportunity. He wouldn™t be cutting loose borderline players who might never make a meaningful contribution to UT football. He would be booting three promising players ” including, in Jackson, a starter and potential freshman All-American.

But it™s not a hard choice. This wasn™t a drunk player fallen asleep at a McDonald™s drive-thru. It wasn™t an œerror in judgment. It wasn™t œhanging out with the wrong crowd.

It was a premeditated crime. With a gun.

They didn™t just break the law. They broke a trust with their teammates and coaches.

The rest of the team didn™t deserve this. I feel sorry for them, rather than the knuckleheads who couldn™t resist the temptation of hitting up convenience-store patrons for spare change.

I™m only guessing the victims had spare change since the police report states their wallets were empty.

The three stooges really cased the joint, didn™t they? Based on all the thought that went into the crime, guess they didn™t know Pilot is owned by Jim Haslam, one of the university™s and football program™s greatest supporters. That™s œHaslam as in Haslam Field, where the team practices daily.

Unwittingly, Jones might’ve done Richardson, Edwards and Jackson a huge favor. Assuming anyone still reads the newspaper, lawyers for the students ought to argue they can no longer expect a fair trial locally.

Adidas’ Hacienda Kicks : Why No Vini Riley Signature High-Tops?

Posted in Fashion at 6:13 pm by

In the spirit (?) of Nike’s limited edition Dinosaur Jr. and Melvins shoes, Adidas’ Y-3 imprint shall issue 250 pairs of the above sneakers bearing the Factory Records catalog number FAC51-Y3.  It’s the result of a collaboration between Joy Divison sleeve designer Peter Saville, Hacienda nightclub architect Ben Kelly and Joy Division/New Order bassist Peter Hook, and at just £345 per pair, I might buy a dozen!

A Remix Of “Empire State Of Mind” That’s (Horribly) Mike’d Up

Posted in Free Expression, Hip Hop, Sports Radio at 3:26 am by

Congrats to whoever created the above clip ; truly something Mike Francesa and Phil Mushnick will find equally distasteful, albeit for different reasons (video link courtesy Hot Foot)


The Fourth Estate’s Early Xmas Present : McGwire Talking About The Past

Posted in Baseball at 7:14 pm by

Mindful that newly hired hitting coach Mark McGwire can’t possible say he doesn’t want to talk about the past every day  between Spring Training and the end of the 2010 season, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak sounds genuinely uptight when discussing the subject with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Joe Strauss.

œThere is going to be a wide range of what people are hoping to hear.  For me personally, we™re not there yet as far as what it™s going to look like, Mozeliak said about an eventual press conference. Hopefully in the next week or so we can work through that.”

McGwire did not attend a Busch Stadium press conference to announce La Russa™s one-year contract extension and his own hiring. McGwire™s phone number is also omitted from a winter phone list distributed to club personnel.

Mozeliak has not approached McGwire about himself available to media but hopes to with La Russa™s cooperation. There is a desire among some in the organization to make McGwire available before the holidays in order to defuse an otherwise persistent issue.

œI think it does matter that McGwire make himself available, Mozeliak said. I just don™t want to paint myself in the corner today on this topic. There are still some things I™m trying to learn and to understand.

Mozeliak’s comments come a couple of days after the Columbia Daily Tribune’s John Clark eviscerated McGwire, not only calling the Bunyanesque Fraud 1B an inadequate Hall Of Fame candidate, but also suggesting Big Mac is equally unfit to be a hitting coach (“in 16 years, a batting average of .263, including three years at .235 or below, (.201 in 1991 in 154 games, and only once breaking .300″).

United Arab Emirates: Home to Over-the-Top Real Estate Development and Really Excellent Long-Form Sportswriting

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 12:12 pm by

I’ve been meaning for some time to link to this dazzling David Samuels essay here at CSTB, but there was one thing I wanted to do first, and I’m only now (and only barely) doing it. Which is try to figure out how a sprawling, multi-thousand word essay — on being a baseball fan in New York during the global economic collapse, by former Atlantic writer David Samuels — wound up in The National Newspaper, an English-language newspaper based in Abu Dhabi. I still haven’t figured that out.

The National Newspaper is a little over 18 months old, it turns out, and is — as one might expect from the garish but very willing-to-pay-for-quality Emirates — pretty deluxe. Its editor-in-chief comes from the London Daily Telegraph, other staffers have experience at The New York Times, among other places. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it also pays ridiculously well — the salaries of its staffers were briefly linked (and then removed from Google Docs), but EIC Martin Newland’s salary is, per the Guardian, “a cool tax-free annual take home of about £320,000 a year,” or roughly $532,928. I can only hope the writers get paid just as well.

As befits the UAE’s weird status as a nation in which bottomless money has replaced politics seemingly entirely, The National appears to be a reasonable, mainstream-y paper that balances faintly cheerleaderish UAE national news coverage — a headline today: “Students prefer jobs in public sector” — with consensus-y international stuff (Kofi Annan has an opinion piece about strengthening the Geneva Conventions, for example). It’s something you wouldn’t mind reading if you were, for some reason, in Abu Dhabi.

Where Samuels’ long, searching piece on the strange tension and feeling of dislocation he experienced at the new Yankee Stadium this year fits into all this, I don’t know. I sense that it says something about the state of the media — or of long-form writing, or of the simple weight of money and its ability to simply make things happen — that Samuels’ piece ran as it did, in the place that it did, but again I’m not entirely sure what that is. I’ve always had the sense of the whole UAE/Abu Dhabi/Dubai Thing as just being something that didn’t really exist — George Saunders wrote a terrific essay about Dubai’s unreal reality in this book — or shouldn’t; a fake country, built on phony money, that reflected fraudulence and folly and not much else. Maybe this is what writers should be hoping for, now — to be snapped up by some mysterious sheikh-run newspaper far away, to write the best we can about whatever we want. I think that’s what I thought the world was like when I graduated from college. It’s a fantasy, but realities like ours call for that.

At any rate, here’s a smallish taste of Samuels’ piece, which is too long to excerpt effectively. If you have time, I really do recommend reading the whole thing. But you’ll need time. Okay:

By the middle of the summer, half the people I know, myself included, have been laid off or are simply working less. œI definitely have a lot less money than I had before it happened. I absolutely get fewer Starbucks Coffee things, says my friend Jon, a former head writer for David Letterman, as we sit in the stands eating sandwiches that we brought from home and watching the Yankees defeat the Blue Jays by the score of 4 to 3. He recently bought his own espresso machine, which by itself isn™t much of a sacrifice. Nobody we know has lost their home. Still, everyone is worried that things could get worse, and that we could wake up one morning and find that the world that appeared to welcome us with open arms and bright smiles had been replaced by a sour old hag who is not persuaded by our attempts at reform.

I tell Jon about a game I attended in June at Citifield, the home of the hapless Mets, which also opened this year, at the bargain price of only $850 million. In the sixth inning I went to the bathroom, where I tried to balance myself to avoid a pool of stagnant water by the toilet while a speaker overhead broadcast offers for two-bedroom condominiums in Rockaway Beach, which could be mine for a $10,000 down payment. It was a reminder, I thought, of the link between the loose public economy that pumped money into two baseball stadiums the city didn™t need and the loose private lending that inflated real estate prices to the point where ordinary New Yorkers could no longer afford to live here.

Between innings, the groundskeepers jog out onto the field and swap in new bases. The old ones will go to feed the booming baseball memorabilia market which has monetised every square inch of the nostalgia-laden playing field and made the actual third base at Yankee Stadium magically transferable with a swipe of the family credit card to the lawns where fathers and sons play catch.

It’s No Joakim : Rick Morrisey Devours Distasteful Noah Critique

Posted in Basketball, Sports Journalism at 12:00 pm by

“On Draft Day 2007. I couldn’t have been more certain if the late Wilt Chamberlain had called from his water bed in the sky to tell me Joakim Noah was a 6-foot-11 fraud.”  So writes the Chicago Tribune’s Rick Morrissey, recalling a June 29, 2007 column in which he predicted bust-status for the two time National Champion and the 9th overall pick in the ’07 NBA Draft.   With Noah currently averaging a double double in his third Association campaign, Morrissey made good yesterday on his vow to “drizzle salsa on the column and eat it.”

“It tasted like a crow enchilada,” boasted Morrissey, proving, if nothing else, that Sam Smith got out of print journalism just in time. (thanks to Tim Midgett for the link)