The Washington Times Decides A Sports Section Is Surplus To Requirements

Posted in Sports Journalism, The Marketplace at 7:07 pm by

(it’s official : fewer press passes necessary for this man’s execution)

Since CSTB’s inception, I’ve done my best to help the Washington Times escape from the shadow of the venerable Washington Post, albeit by frequently referring to the former as a “Moonie paper”.  On two occasions, individuals toiling for the Times suggested this was unfair, and in light of such comments, I will add some of these nutcases prefer to be called Unificationists.  But regardless of how you feel about confused souls being forced to sell flowers by the side of the highway under threat of vicious beatings with a bamboo switch, we can all agree the end of the Times’ sports section, effective Monday, is very sad news.  Apparently, not even the sizzle factor of Jim Zorn’s last game in charge of the Redskins was enough to justify maintaining the sports section for one last weekday.   From Mark Zuckerman’s farewell blog entry (link courtesy Baseball Think Factory)

The most excruciating aspect of this news is the stark realization that comes with it: Neither I nor most of my two dozen colleagues are likely to ever cover sports for a newspaper again. The business is shriveling up, and it may not be long before it ceases to exist at all.

Some kids grow up wanting to be professional athletes or astronauts or doctors or actors or musicians. I’ve never wanted to be anything other than a newspaper sportswriter. As a 5-year-old, I read the sports section every morning, fascinated by standings and box scores. As a fourth grader, I created a monthly classroom newspaper, complete with scores from the soccer games during recess. I was editor of my high school paper and delighted in standing on the sidelines each Friday night during football games, keeping stats while everyone else rooted from the bleachers. I went to Northwestern University not for the top-flight education but to learn how to be a sportswriter, a far more valuable (and enjoyable) experience.

I have no idea if the Times’ decision to eliminate sports is smart from a business standpoint. Economics has never been my forte, and people a lot smarter than me probably can’t answer this question. But I do know the paper will lose readers. A lot. I know this because I’ve heard from so many of you over the last few weeks, so many of you who were stunned to hear the news, said you read the paper specifically because of our section and offered the kindest words of encouragement imaginable. It’s been a humbling experience, and one I’ll forever cherish.

The Fight To Save N8′s Career Hits Facebook

Posted in Basketball at 1:33 pm by

While the New York Times’ Howard Beck aptly summarizes the nature of Mike D’Antoni’s doghouse (“there is only one thread that links Nate Robinson, Eddy Curry, Darko Milicic, and Jordan Hill : an urgent, insuppressible need to win now, regardless of other priorities….D™Antoni is determined to make the playoffs, even if it means alienating some players and ruining the trade value of others”), our good pal Tim Cook points out the modest public outcry over Robinson’s status has resulted in a form of social networking protest.

I’m pretty sure Andrei Sakharov’s supporters handled his oppression the exact same way.

American’s Premier Zubaz Spokesmodel / Big Blue Analyst Weighs In On The End Of Football At The Meadowlands

Posted in Gridiron at 3:44 am by

Surprise! Harry Carson was hardly the only former Giant to raise a stink over his old club’s through capitulation to Carolina last Sunday afternoon.

Newcastle’s Barton : My Peers Are A Bunch Of Knobs

Posted in Football at 2:26 am by

Newcastle midfielder/reprobate Joey Barton is no stranger to inflammatory commentary, though in an interview broadcast by the BBC’s Radio 4 Tuesday, he saved his most withering criticism not for the Toon Army, but rather for his fellow soccer zillionaires. From the Independent’s Jonathan Brown :

“Most footballers are knobs,” he told an edition of the Today programme that was guest-edited by his mentor, Tony Adams. “I meet a lot of them and they are so detached from real life it’s untrue. You can dress it up whichever way you want, but driving around in flash cars and changing them like they’re your socks, wearing stupid diamond watches and spending your money like it’s going out of fashion. In the midst of a recession in this country when people are barely struggling to put food on the table for the kids “ it’s not the way to do it,” he said.

The £5.8m Newcastle United midfielder, who earns £20,000 a week, said he has given up drinking alcohol and has undergone behavioural therapy to control his temper at the charity Sporting Chance following a series of bust-ups, which included stubbing out a cigar in the eye of a young teammate.

He described the environment in which top footballers mixed as a “Peter Pan world” “ one in which he too had been cocooned since joining a Premiership youth team at the age of eight. Like many others, he said he would never have grown up unless his problems had emerged in the media, forcing him to confront his demons.

Lifting the lid on the cosseted lives led by some of his fellow players, he said: “There is always an agent who will sort out your contract or your mortgage, or they will sort your house out or your car insurance or the club will have people … you will never have to do anything for yourself if you don’t want to.”


Tech To Leach : Your Piracy’s No Good Around Here

Posted in Gridiron at 6:43 pm by

Prior to Mike Leach’s arrival in Lubbock, no Red Raiders head coach had ever made the cover of the New York Times Magazine, been profiled on “60 Minutes” or led Texas Tech to 10 consecutive bowl games.  And prior to this morning, no major college football program has ever fired it’s head coach just 3 days before playing a bowl game.  Leach’s attorney, Ted Ligget, had previously implied Tuesday’s suspension over the handling of injured WR Adam James was a prelude to the coach’s dismissal, a move that either saves the institution $800,000.00 or puts Leach in line to own the entire school after he’s won a lawsuit.  And as both sides ramp up their muddy arsenals, there’s no shortage of Leach acolytes attacking the credibility of James, writes CBS Sports.com’s Dennis Dodd :

Among those criticizing James in e-mails obtained on Tuesday was former star quarterback Graham Harrell, who questioned the severity of some of James’ injuries.

“During the offseason,” Harrell wrote, “he often would be skipping lifts in the weight room or finding ways to cut corners.”

Inside receivers coach Lincoln Riley was particularly critical of James in his e-mails. Riley said that James was one of three receivers sent to run stairs as discipline for unsatisfactory work.

“He [James] complained to me that we were not doing our jobs as coaches and that his effort was just fine … It’s just another example of Adam thinking that he knows more about coaching than people who have been coaching their entire lives. I have no doubt that anger from this led to where we are today … and is his way of trying to “get back” at us coaches.”

Former player Eric Morris wrote that the team felt “negative energy” from James who expected the team “to baby him” because he was the son of a famous player.

Welcome To Flushing, Kevin McReynolds II Jason Bay

Posted in Baseball at 5:43 pm by

It would not be incorrect to say the Mets’ signing of a 3-time All Star was met with something less than a unanimous outpouring of joy. But Jason Bay’s scheduled arrival in Queens, while underwhelming to some, was subject to a rather unique analysis by Metsmerized’s Ed Leyro who raises the spectre of another highly compensated LF who seemed less than comfortable with his new home.

After winning the World Series in 1986, the Mets were looking for a full-time leftfielder. George Foster had started the 1986 season in left field, but he was released in August. After Foster™s release, the Mets used Mookie Wilson and the reacquired Lee Mazzilli to play left field. During the offseason, the Mets made a trade with the San Diego Padres to acquire Kevin McReynolds, sending three players, including future National League MVP Kevin Mitchell to the west coast.

During his first four years with the Mets, McReynolds was as good as advertised. These were his numbers from 1987-1990, which corresponds to when K Mac was ages 27 to 30:

1987: .276 average, 29 HR, 95 RBI, 14 SB
1988: .288 average, 27 HR, 99 RBI, 21 SB
1989: .272 average, 22 HR, 85 RBI, 15 SB
1990: .269 average, 24 HR, 82 RBI, 9 SB
Four year average: .276 average, 26 HR, 90 RBI, 15 SB

Over the past four seasons, Jason Bay was also in the age 27 to 30 range. His numbers were very similar to Kevin McReynolds™ numbers, slightly better in some and slighty worse in others:

2006: .286 average, 35 HR, 109 RBI, 11 SB
2007: .247 average, 21 HR, 84 RBI, 4 SB
2008: .286 average, 31 HR, 101 RBI, 10 SB
2009: .267 average, 36 HR, 119 RBI, 13 SB
Four year average: .272 average, 31 HR, 103 RBI, 10 SB

Although Jason Bay is being paid an average of $16.5 million per season over the length of his four-year contract with the Mets, fans and the front office might expect the type of season Bay produced last year with Boston and would be disappointed if he didn™t repeat those numbers.

However, if the Mets can get the consistent seasons from Bay that Kevin McReynolds gave them 20 years ago, I think I™d be more than happy with that. The Mets haven™t had that kind of consistency from their left field position since McReynolds™ first stint with the team (let™s not talk about his return to the Mets in 1994).

I have little to add to Mr. Leyro’s wishful thinking except to add I once attended a Mets/Giants game at Candlestick Park in the company of legendary Bay Area entertainer  Mad V Dog, who spent much of the afternoon hollering at the Amazins’ slouchy outfielder, calling him “Kevin McDonalds”.  I tried my best to bring this chant back east, but it never really caught on.

Rowland S. Howard, 1959-2009

Posted in Rock Und Roll at 1:15 am by

Rowland S. Howard, the staggeringly inventive Melbourne guitarist and a founding member of The Boys Next Door and the Birthday Party, has passed away following a batter with liver cancer. While Howard’s playing with post-Birthday Party projects Crime & The CIty Solution and These Immortal Souls (the latter featuring his vocals) deserves a museum wing all by itself (not to mention his collaborations with Lydia Lunch and the late Nikki Sudden) , his work alongside Nick Cave, Phil Calvert, Mick Harvey and the late Tracy Pew is what cemented his reputation as one of the more influential guitarists of the last half century. My thoughts are with his family, pals and many colleagues around the world.


The Most Unflattering Thing To Happen To DDP Since Being Forced To Stalk The Undertaker’s Wife

Posted in Basketball, Professional Wrestling at 10:21 pm by

Thanks to a succession of hot tips from CSTB readers and contributors, we’ve managed to (mostly) keep up with the post-WCW/WWE career of Diamond Dallas Page (above), last seen around these parts hawking his Yoga-4-Dudes program. Or maybe it was threatening to sue Jay-Z. So hard to remember.

None of those incidents, however, were nearly memorable enough to prevent the following exchange between the San Antonio Express’ Jeff McDonald and Spurs F Matt Bonner (above, “a notorious sandwich hound) upon the latter’s first visit to NYC’s famed Carnegie Deli earlier this week :

He gave the food an A-plus. His only regret was that he didn’t bring a photo of himself to hang on the restaurant’s renowned wall of fame ” especially after seeing a picture of washed-up wrestler Diamond Dallas Page sprinkled among the glitterati.

œSurely, I’m more relevant than Diamond Dallas Page at this point, he said.

I’m not gonna set up a readers poll just to count a dozen votes, but I have a sneaking suspicion The Red Rocket would come out on the short end of such a vote.

(SA-Express link swiped from The Big Lead)

Mercury Morris : Once Again, Wildly Misjudging The Public’s Patience, Interest Level

Posted in Gridiron at 3:14 pm by

I take it back — the Colts should’ve played to win on Sunday!

Presumably, Beirut Already Had A Left-Fielder : Bay Gives Up, Signs With Mets

Posted in Baseball at 2:04 pm by

A day after promising “a major Mets announcement”, WFAN’s Mike Francesa reported today that free agent OF Jason Bay has signed with the New York Mets pending a physical exam, after one of the more extended, awkward courtships in recent memory. The New York Post’s Joel Sherman tweeted that Bay’s pact is for4 years and $66 million, with an easily attainable vesting option in place for the 5th year.  If Sherman’s correct, Bay left Boston — and a far more hospitable hitter’s park — for a guaranteed $6 million.

The above acquisition comes at a time the Mets are struggling to convince ’09′s full and partial season ticket plan holders to renew, and while Bay’s name in the lineup inspires more confidence than say, that of Nick Evans, it’s a curious move given Citi Field’s requisite priorities of  pitching, speed and defense  (though Bay does have his defenders).  If the Wilpons managed to find $16 million + to pay Bay next season, how much would it cost them to erect an 10 foot high chain link fence, 15 feet in front of Citi’s left-field wall?

Hey Pete Flynn, Ever Been To India?

Posted in Cricket at 3:51 am by

Remember Vince Coleman claiming Shea Stadium’s bumpy infield would hurt his Hall Of Fame chances?  Hello?  OK, if that rings a bell, how do you think Vince might’ve reacted to this weekend’s one day international between Sri Lanka and hosts India being abandoned on account of poor field conditions? Please do not say “explosively” The Times Of India attempts to explain just what occured at the Feroz Shah Kotla.

The fifth and final One-Day International between Sri Lanka and India in New Delhi was called off after 23.3 overs on Sunday due to a dangerous pitch upon which the tourists had toiled to reach 83 for five before play was halted.

Match referee Alan Hurst had classified the pitch “unfit”, a newspaper reported, quoting from the official’s report to the International Cricket Council.

The classification was the worst of six possible categories, the newspaper said, and attracts a suspension of the status to host international matches for a period between 12-24 months.

“The pitch did not meet the requirements for an ODI match,” the paper quoted Hurst’s report as saying.

“This meant the players were unsure of what the ball would do. However, of more concern was the dangerous bounce that occurred randomly and accounted for batsmen being struck on a number of occasions.

“The pitch did not allow players to play with any confidence and was totally unsuitable for international cricket.”

Sports Minister Manohar Singh Gill said the fiasco was shameful for the country.

“It is very unfortunate and a great embarrassment for the country. It should not have happened,”

What’s Shaughnessy’s Idea of “Football Weather?”

Posted in Hockey, Sports Journalism, Weather at 2:55 am by

(Ty Conklin, sadly absent from an outdoor NHL game for the first time ever)

Dan Shaughnessy’s SI.com love letter to the Winter Classic – it’s so upbeat, he says the NHL is “Number Four!” – is a nice thing for the game of hockey, but he stumbles just a bit along the way:

Hockey owns New Year’s Day the way baseball owns the Fourth of July and football owns Thanksgiving. Sure, there’s still plenty of college grid action on the first day of the year, but many big bowls have been pushed back in the name of ratings and rankings. The NHL has stepped in with the Winter Classic which will be held this year at Fenway Park, featuring the Boston Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers…

Seizing the (New Year’s) Day, league czars took the game to Wrigley Field last year and the 2009 Classic produced the NHL’s highest regular season television rating in 13 years. Now the torch has been passed to Fenway Park and the Bruins of Original Six lore. Boston is positively agog at the sight of a Zamboni parked in front of the Green Monster. I kid you not.

The average high temperature in Boston on January 1 is 38 degrees, but nobody seems to be worried about the cold.

Surely Boston sports fans don’t consider such a temperature to be “cold.” In fact, as Fanhouse’s Chris Botta reports, it may even be hot enough to get the game postponed.

Like most of the East, Massachusetts had unseasonably warm weather the last two days. On Monday, the rains came. NHL ice man Dan Craig said his weather forecasters initially told him to expect a 50 percent chance of snow on New Year’s Day. Now their projections have changed to rain….

The decision to play the 1 PM ET game on Friday between Boston and Philadelphia comes down to two factors, according to Craig. “Our focus is on player safety and fan safety.”

I’d like to say I’m looking forward to the game, but with both my alma mater and my lifelong favorite team in bowls until 4:30, I probably won’t be making time for the pathetic Flyers in what’s really just another conference game. As an event, the Winter Classic’s surely cooler than an NFL contest in London, but it doesn’t count for extra in the standings.

Which is not to say the morning football action is of major consequence, but hey, it isn’t every decade that Northwestern plays on New Year’s Day (or every century that they win a bowl). And Penn State’s still looking for its first win over a BCS Top 15 opponent (which at least gives them something in common with the University of Texas).


Kravitz : Caldwell “Spat On History”

Posted in Gridiron at 9:36 pm by

As any number of “18-1″ tees brandished around the NY/NJ area in the spring of 2008 indicated, going 16-0 in the regular season is a somewhat hallow achievement if you can’t win the Super Bowl — presumably the goal of every NFL head coach, including Indianapolis’ Jim Caldwell. However, the day after the Colts extended a lifeline to the NY Jets by sitting key starters during the 2nd half of yesterday’s 29-15 loss to Gang Green, Caldwell was castigated by Indy Star columnist Bob Kravitz, who suggests the 1972 Miami Dolphins “should be sending a case of champagne up to Colts President Bill Polian and coach Jim Caldwell first thing this morning.”

The Colts treated the second half as if it were gum on the bottom of a shoe. They sent in backup quarterback Curtis Painter to hold on to a 15-10 lead, and it was like having Mel’s Detailing put the finishing touches on the Sistine Chapel.

It felt wrong. It was wrong. Cheap, really.

In the end, this doesn’t make the Colts more or less well-equipped to handle the coming postseason. The truth is, they could win the whole thing (in which case Polian and Caldwell will accept the mantle of genius) or they could lose their first playoff game (in which case, we will mention this game a couple thousand times). This wasn’t about that, and really, nothing changes in terms of the team’s Super Bowl aspirations.

What mattered — or at least mattered to some of us, including the players — was the chance to become one of football’s forever teams. The Jets? At home? With that offense? And then a game at Buffalo next week? It was right there. Right there.

The Colts casually gave away this thing, spitting on football history along the way. Maybe an organization that has lost its first-round playoff game four times in seven years knows a better way, but we’ve seen what happens when this team stops trying to do its best to win. Saw it in 2005. Saw it in ’07.

Though Kravitz is correct in stating resting starters down the stretch guaranteed nothing for the Colts in previous seasons, he can’t possibly say yesterday’s moves didn’t leave Indy better prepared for the games that really count. If one of the Jets pulls a Mo Lewis on Manning (I know, pretty unlikely), yesterday’s crowd isn’t merely annoyed, they’re downright homicidal. Caldwell has to measure risk versus reward and I suspect when it comes to making history, he’d prefer not to be the guy who allowed his franchise QB to suffer an injury that would all but certainly derail the Colts’ title aspirations. If Kravitz believes Curtis Painter is ready to be the modern Jeff Hostetler or Earl Morrall, he’s the only one.

Trapped In The Closet : TTU’s Leach To Walk The Plank?

Posted in Gridiron, Leave No Child Unbeaten at 5:21 pm by

Congratulations to Texas Tech head football coach Mike Leach who achieved the near impossible Monday afternoon, somehow managing to overshadow Urban Meyer’s bout of the wishy-washies by making headlines with something that’s becoming a huge concern for major programs, i.e. yet another case of alleged player abuse. Leach has been suspended from the Red Raiders’ January 2 Alamo Bowl meeting with Michigan State, and the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal’s Don Williams has a few details ;

ESPN’s Joe Schad reported on his Twitter account that Leach has been accused of isolating a player in a closet after that player did not practice because he had a concussion. That report has not been confirmed by the A-J.

“At Texas Tech, all such complaints are considered as serious matters, and as a result an investigation of the incident is underway,” the statement said. “Until the investigation is complete, Texas Tech University is suspending coach Leach from all duties as Head Football Coach effective immediately. The investigation into this matter will continue in a thorough and fair manner.”

The statement said the decision to suspend Leach was made in consultation with Tech President Guy Bailey, Chancellor Kent Hance, Board of Regents Chairman Larry Anders and Vice Chairman Jerry Turner.

(ADDENDUM : Leach’s accuser has been publicly identified on the Independence Bowl halftime show as Tech WR Adam James, son of ESPN analyst Craig James. Lou Holtz helpfully added, “when I have a headache, I like to sit in a dark room.”)

Because The Alamo Bowl Can Only Hold Your Attention For So Long…

Posted in Internal Affairs, Rock Und Roll at 3:08 pm by

Night 2 of Transmission’s Free Week at Red 7 features a 7-band bill that’s sure to put the “aw” back in “sprawling”. And if you get impatient and/or someone you’re harassing isn’t at Red 7, Harlem, Woven Bones and The Stuffies are playing Emo’s the very same night— and that’s free, too.

When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth
Dikes Of Holland
Air Traffic Controllers

The Young
PIllow Queens

N8 & The Eddy Curry Suppression Ring : The Brotherhood Of Benchwarming

Posted in Basketball at 11:44 am by

(a rare photograph of Eddy Curry leaving his feet)

“They leave the locker room together almost always after games and when the media looks like it is about to approach, usually a code word is uttered,” writes the New York Post’s Marc Berman of the Knicks duo he calls “The DNP Boys”, lumbering, chronically injured C Eddy Curry and concentration-challenged PG Nate Robinson.  “They’ve been friends before this but now they are inseparable as they share a corner of Mike D’Antoni’s doghouse.”

“Me and Nate have always been tight,” Curry said yesterday. “He’s always been one of my closest friends on the team, especially after Jamal (Crawford) left. Our families are real tight even before this. Right now it’s magnified because we’re always the last people on the bench.”

Robinson’s status appears more hopeless than Curry’s. The motivation to play Curry is stronger because he has two years left on his contract and could be traded to open up more 2010 cap space. Robinson is in his final year.

Curry is genuinely hurt, partly because Mike D’Antoni has kept him out of the loop. New acquisition Jonathan Bender, whose dealing with a sore hip, is still a health risk. So Curry should remain patient.

My only problem is D’Antoni’s communication skills, which is poor considering his rep as a player’s coach. Knowing how sensitive Curry is, would it have been so tough for D’Antoni to sit Curry down and tell him he is giving Bender a shot and to stay ready? Seems simple enough.

Unless Berman figures Curry will someday provide sensational copy on the level of the Stephon Marbury scoops the columnist was gifted the past two years, I cannot imagine under what possible circumstances he’d advocate giving the All-Decade Underachiever anything besides garbage time minutes in D’Antoni’s uptempo offense. Unless he’s rooting for Curry to drop dead, which doesn’t exactly jibe with all the TLC the New York media routinely foists upon the former Bull.


Are You Ready For Mark Jackson’s Avatar To Sell You Something?

Posted in Basketball, The Marketplace at 6:55 pm by

From PR USA.net comes something I can only characterize as one of the most confusing press releases I’ve ever read :

VZillion, Inc. (Pink Sheets: VZIL), innovator of the virtual Internet, has signed Mark Jackson, one of the NBA’s most acclaimed point guards and sports analysts as VZillion’s Sports Innovations Agent — a go-to source for sports figures, entertainers and other high profile individuals searching to expand their brand as well as their revenue stream. In this role, Jackson will develop corporate and celebrity sports relationships and be an advisor to the sports innovations division of VZillion. Jackson will also be ushered in to serve on VZillion’s advisory board.

VZillion has in place several on-and-offline strategies to accomplish its goals, launching Virtu-Real apartments (real entity with virtual representation) to entrepreneurs seeking to create marketing and advertising opportunities that will allow their brand partners to reach their target audience in truly unique ways.

“As we enter 2010 and beyond, we look forward to having Mark Jackson champion this new role,” said Antonio Collier, founder and president of VZillion. “Mr. Jackson will be a vital part of bridging the virtual and real sports world and will provide new cooperative resources and lead strategies for not only the celebrities involved but to introduce general audiences to the power virtual environments have on everything from Madison Avenue to Wall Street.”VZillion utilizes 3D Virtu-Real apartment concept to deliver exclusive content in the form of live concerts, virtual shopping networks, sports & television programming and many other engaging and immersive experiences. VZillion will offer freemium services and collaborative environments and provide content and the monetization strategies needed to succeed on the Web.

Mack Brown – Earning $5.7 Million To Lead A Wildly Profitable Non-Profit

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 3:10 pm by

That University of Texas football coach Mack Brown generates — along with his unpaid roster — a tremendous amount of loot for the UT athletic department cannot be disputed, regardless of how distasteful you find reports of Brown’s recent salary increase. However, the Austin American-Statesman’s Eric Dexheimer considers another debate, one that has Brown heading an “educational charity” with non-profit status, paraphrased by Dexheimer as “the latest symptom of a haphazard public policy that lumps UT’s football program into the same category as its law school and Blanton Museum of Art.”

To tax analysts, the issue is not how much money the Longhorns football team makes ” $87.6 million last year ” or whether the coach deserves his salary. Rather, said John Colombo, a professor at the University of Illinois College of Law, the question is: “Is Texas paying Mack Brown $5 million for his contribution to the educational environment at the university, or because it wants to win football games?”

The large sums generated through advertising and media rights by schools with highly competitive sports programs raise the question of whether those sports programs have become side businesses for schools,” a May 2009 study by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office noted.

The foundation for the tax breaks for university sports programs were set decades ago in laws and tax codes that acknowledge the educational value of athletics, as well as the social value of amateur sports. Yet today’s commercially sophisticated college-sports spectacles bear little resemblance to what the programs looked like when the laws passed.

“What Congress contemplated as the Harvard-Yale game in 1950 is not the same thing as Texas-Alabama in 2009,” said Colombo.

UT President Bill Powers Jr. said the athletic department, whose annual budget is about $138 million, according to the most recent U.S. Department of Education figures, has given $6.6 million toward academics in recent years. It also subsidizes the cost of teams in unprofitable sports, such as women’s rowing and volleyball.

Yet the CBO study found that much of the money earned by athletic departments pays for expenses ” stadium construction and coaching salaries ” whose sole purpose is simply to enhance large, revenue-producing sports programs. “I know that there is $32 million at the University of Kentucky that isn’t going toward women’s tennis,” Colombo said. “Because it’s going into John Calipari’s pocket.”

I’m usually quick to recite the typical sports radio defense for Brown’s obscene paycheck — ie. when the science department can draw 90,000 + on a Saturday afternoon, then they’ll have something talk about — but that $6.6 million contribution seems a little on the modest side against the backdrop of UT’s budget cuts. Even just to maintain goodwill, it seems the announcement of Brown’s pay raise should’ve been accompanied by a gesture towards towards someone outside of the athletic department.


There’s A Job Opening In Gainesville : Meyer’s Surprise Exit

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 9:20 pm by

Within minutes of the shocking announcement that University Of Florida head coach Urban Meyer was stepping down — days before his 12-1 Gators play Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl — the twit/twat/tweetosphere was abuzz with all sorts of tasteless speculation. But enough about my posts, an anonymous source tells the Gainsville Sun’s Pat Dooley that Meyer, “just doesn’t have anything left in the tank”, a December 6 hospital visit under the guise of “dehydration” being sufficient cover for what are now being called “constant chest pains”.

As the Times’ Pete Thamel correctly points out, there’s no obvious in-house successor for Meyer, and barring a complete breakdown in Pete Carroll’s relationship with USC AD Mike Garrett (which couldn’t possibly happen, right?), Florida might need a hand in headhunting.  And I’m more than happy to assist — the choice has to be UCF’s George O’Leary.  He’s got experience coaching one of the nation’s marquee programs (albeit briefly), and he already knows a thing or two about the brutal training conditions in the Sunshine State.   Heck, it’s the holiday season, Gator Nation can have this tip for free.

Why Impersonate A Panthers OL? Because No One Would Trust Jake Delhomme

Posted in Gridiron, mistaken I.D., The Law at 5:47 pm by

Charlotte, NC police say a local man currently wanted on cyberstalking charges is a person of interest in the identity theft of Panthers OL Travelle Wharton. From the Charlotte Observer’s Eli Portillo :

On Wednesday, team officials said someone has been impersonating Wharton (above) to sell prepaid gift cards at area night clubs. The suspect has scammed people out of almost $25,000 since last December.

CMPD officials said Saturday they are searching for Christon Jermaine Brewer, 24, who’s been wanted for misdemeanor cyberstalking since June. On a wanted poster, CMPD said Brewer is known to use Wharton’s name as an alias.

Vic Chesnutt Dies at 45

Posted in music at 2:29 pm by


I realize that others can, and will, speak more eloquently to the music of Vic Chesnutt than I.  Still, news of his death yesterday felt like one more punch taken in a miserable year.  Sorry, as usual when an artist dies, I think of myself first and what I just lost.  I can only point to how much he got done, how deeply he affected those who knew him, and his example of what can and can’t be taken away from a person.   He was 45.  Considering how he reportedly died, on Christmas Day, I found this lyric quoted by Ben Sisario in his New York Times obit of Chesnutt particularly moving:  œI™m not a victim/Oh, I am an atheist.


May All Of Stan Van Gundy’s Christmases Be Filled With Double-Digit Defeats

Posted in Basketball, Merry Fucking Christmas at 7:19 pm by

Orlando head grouch Stan Van Gundy has considerable experience in demanding more time with his family, and hours before his Magic were undone by a near-triple double by Boston’s Rajon Rondo, The Master Of Panic spoke against the NBA’s busy Christmas schedule of games, telling a number of reporters “I think we get a little carried away with ourselves in sports thinking we™re a lot more important than anything else.  Funny, you could make the same argument about some Xtians.  Further quotes, courtesy the Fanhouse’s Tim Potvak :

“I would rather not play on Christmas,” Van Gundy said. “This is a day to spend with your family. The league has been good to all of us in terms of what we get (big money) out of these TV games, so it would sound a little disingenuous to complain too much. But if I had my way, we’d take a five-day Christmas break.”

He said he would not be watching any of the other four games being played Friday. He did say he used to watch the Knicks and the Rockets play when his brother Jeff was coaching those teams.

“I won’t watch one second of the other four games. I have no interest. That’s not great advertisement for the  league, but I actually feel sorry for people who have nothing to do on Christmas Day other than watch an NBA game,” he said. “If there’s a holiday, we’re playing. That’s just the way it is.”

Much as I appreciate Stan’s pity, here’s the deal.  I’ve already been to the movies, eaten chinese food, killed Christ, made an obscene phone call to Charlie Ward,  charged onerous interest rates for loans and taken part in a vast conspiracy to control the media and entertainment industries. Having accomplished all of that before 2:30 eastern time, should I be mocked for having little else left to do than watch the NBA?

It’s a multi-cultural world you’re living in, V.G.   OK, maybe not you, but the rest of us.  The entire planet doesn’t observe Christmas, but if I’m gonna feel bad about someone working on a national holiday, there’s Walgreens and 7-11 employees across the country who’ll get my empathy far quicker.

Hyde Hails City’s Gary Cook, An Xmas Villan For The Ages

Posted in Football at 2:05 pm by

Even Alex Ferguson was appalled by Manchester City’s dismissal of Mark Hughes and subsequent installation of Roberto Mancini as new manager earlier this week, but to the Guardian’s Marina Hyde, it was high entertainment on the level of a traditional Christmas spectacular.

In part it’s a gaiety-of-the-nation thing. But this is, after all, the time of year at which we traditionally display a weakness for comedy bad guys, and following blanket critical notices for his hilarious performance at that Eastlands press conference on Monday, at which he unveiled the new manager, Roberto Mancini, there is no reason why (Manchester CIty CEO) Garry Cook should not line up alongside your King Rats and your Captain Hooks.

Sitting next to Mancini, he had mastered the “bulldog chewing a wasp” face which is the stock in trade of the scuppered pantomime villain, and which is currently being deployed twice daily by national treasures from Brian Blessed (Abanazar, Wimbledon) to Nigel Havers (Fleshcreep, Nottingham). The only disappointment is that City have yet to bus in small children to throw sweets at Garry. That might be a part of “the project” to kickstart in the new year.

On Monday, our hapless antihero insisted to the assembled throng that there had been absolutely “no conspiracy” “ and those who prefer to reserve the term for things such as Watergate might well agree. Alas, Mancini’s amusing decision to undermine his new chief executive’s account about 27 seconds later has left people decrying Garry’s “covert operation”, as though it were akin to the Bay of Pigs, as opposed to lining up the Italian and telling him to enjoy the complimentary shortbread in Manchester’s Lowry Hotel until the coast was clear.


Happy Birthday GC!

Posted in Internal Affairs, Lacrosse at 8:40 pm by


[Cosloy, this afternoon, working a CSTB "hot line" lead that Tiger Woods' marriage might not be doing so well.]

For those of us born into a non-Xtian religous affiliation, who appreciate a certain “indie” sensibility to our music and bought much of it in the 1990s (if not so much now), and who don’t have any family obligations of a time-consuming nature this evening, and haven’t seen any breaking Milton Bradley news today “ we turn our Xmas Eve thoughts to another important birthday, that of CSTB founder Gerard Cosloy.   God Bless you GC!   Please have someone buy you a beer “ no, TWO “ for me!

WRC’s George Michael Dead At 70

Posted in Sports TV at 3:20 pm by

At the time of George Michael’s 1986 resignation as regular sports anchor from Washington DC’s WRC, I wrote, “Once upon a time, cable TV was unavailable in large chunks of lower Manhattan and Queens (thank you, Donald Manes), and as such, rather than bask in the dulcet tones of the young (well, younger) Chris Berman on a late Sunday night, Michael™s œSports Machine was the only game in town for the highlights-starved.”   Michael, a DC sports media fixture for more than a quarter century, and a national name/face thanks to his syndicated highlights program was once described by The Couch Slouch as “the only guy in town who can show you five minutes of tape in a four-minute sportscast.” Michael, a former disc-jockey turned sports mouthpiece, passed away yesterday at the age of 70.

“Growing up,” recalled Mr. Irrelevent’s Jamie Mottram, “my friends and I cherished the times we were able to stay up late enough to watch Sports Machine. Along with Saturday Night Live, it was our favorite show. I think a lot of sports-obsessed kids felt that way.”

I’m a little longer in the tooth than Mottram, and I always associated watching “The Sports Machine” with the end of a weekend with the oncoming dread of a Monday morning. And make no mistake, this was a pre-blog / pre- PTI / well before WFAN became-a-ratings-juggeranut era in which guys like Michael, Boston’s Bob Lobel, New York’s Warner Wolf and Jerry Girard were hugely influential in establishing just what the next morning’s talking points would be. If even said chatter wasn’t nearly as loud (or as easy to find)