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?