12.16.09

Statesman Scribe Stumps For Non-Homer Colleague

Posted in Gridiron, Sports Journalism at 4:22 pm by

(Longhorns quarterback Colt McCoy being helped to his feet by two persons who don’t work for newspapers)

Believe it or not, there’s someone out there with even less respect for the Austin American-Statesman’s Kirk Bohls than Gary Cartwright. The former selected Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh and ‘Bama’s Mark Ingram ahead of UT QB Colt McCoy on his Heisman ballot, an act of non-boosterism reminiscent of Bohl’s 2005 vote for Reggie Bush ahead of Vince Young. Of the resulting 250 emails received by Bohls, co-worker John Kelso writes they were running “about 6-1 in favor of sending him to hell in a handbasket and various other locations.”

One letter writer even called Bohls a “Ding Dong.” Not sure what that means, or what evidence you use to prove someone qualifies as a Ding Dong.

“You are scum and you know it,” one wrote. “I hope your kids get the tar beat out of them and harassed to hell (worse than 2005) because you’re a moron.”

“Unbelievable that you would not support Colt McCoy for the Heisman,” wrote another. “Colt should have won this trophy before and you show no loyalty by not voting for him. You have always dogged the Longhorn coaches and players and seem to find it difficult to find something positive to say.”

Here’s the problem. I suspect a lot of people don’t understand what Bohls’ job is. Bohls’ job is not UT cheerleader. For starters, he wouldn’t look good in the skirt and the pompoms. Second, he is not paid by the University of Texas to cover Longhorn games. He is paid by the Austin American-Statesman.

And he is paid to watch the games, observe what he sees, then come back and tell what he saw and what he thought about it.

On an entirely different tip, Dallas Morning News editor Michael Landauer finds himself under fire for touting McCoy as a finalist for the DMN’s Texan Of The Year Award.

This is what we, on the edtorial board, call “wearing your board hat.” It’s not that I don’t agree with what I wrote, just that I wrote it in our official board voice.

Still, I have to admit, in doing my research for this, I truly respect McCoy. He’s got so many traits that most Aggies admire, including a commitment to community service, a strong faith, a sense of purpose and, of course, incredible talent. I celebrate him as a Texan, even if I rooted against him as a Longhorn.

A.A. : Minaya Might Be Incompetent, But He’s No Racist

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, Racism Corner at 2:01 pm by

With the Mets reportedly improving their offer to free agent OF Jason Bay, Amazin Avenue’s James Kannengieser‘s tackles the perception (voiced by one one his site’s own readers) that GM Omar Minaya is biased towards Latinos. Who knew that Chris Russo would be 3 years ahead of his time?

Last winter, Omar’s Mets were part of a blockbuster three team trade which included Mariners and Indians. In the biggest trade of his reign, at least in terms of player volume, he gave up four Latino players and received (gasp!) three white players in return. It had nothing to do with race. Omar wanted to upgrade the bullpen at seemingly any cost and he got his guy, J.J. Putz. Flawed evaluation of players? Almost certainly. Racial bias motivating a transaction? No, sorry. It’s curious how transactions like this are conveniently ignored once the Omar racism watchdogs come out of their holes to spout absurdity. Usually, Oliver Perez, Moises Alou, Orlando Hernandez and Luis Castillo are brought up with nary a mention of Tim Redding, Scott Schoeneweis, Darren Oliver or Gary Sheffield.

If you think Omar Minaya only goes after “certain players” it’s because you want to believe the poorly performing GM of your favorite baseball team favors one race over another. It’s because you want to believe he has some sort of scheme to decrease the number of non-Latinos in baseball, or to increase money paid out to Latinos in this country. Criticizing his moves in the strict baseball context is not enough for you – it has to become personal, an assault on Omar’s character. As always, you’re free to have these beliefs, but you’re flat-out wrong.

Indeed, Minaya’s acquisitions have included the likes of Billy Wagner, Paulie Go Nuts and Chris Coste.  Under Omar’s stewardship, the club continued to insist Daniel Murphy was qualified to play left field and/or first base and gainfully employed the not-at-all hispanic Razor Shines to supervise a succession of ’09 baserunning blunders.

Cardinals Offer Holliday $128 Million; Cubs Counter, Sign Ron Santo for 3-Years

Posted in Baseball at 1:21 am by

http://tonysports.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/140128_cardinals_holliday_baseball.jpg

[Holliday ready to bolt Cardinals?  This Cub fan can only hope.]

The Cubs countered the Cardinals’ aggressive off-season bid for OF Matt Holliday today by announcing their boldest move of the off-season, signing WGN radio Cubs color commentary man Ron Santo for a reported 3-year extension.  Given what the Cards have done this winter and what the Cubs have not, we can look forward to lots more of Santo’s patented “Ah, jeezs” and “Oh maaaanns” during Cubcasts.  Like Harry Caray before him, Santo specializes in giving the fan’s point of view at Wrigley.  Odd, since Santo actually played the game.

As to the Holliday deal, the Cardinals are still in heated talks with Holliday and his agent, Scott Boras.  The package St. Louis Today’s Joe Strauss describes is $15-16 mi over 8 years. Boras points out that Holliday is worth more, because Mark Teixeira got $180 mil package last year, and Teixeira isn’t anywhere near as good as Holliday.  Boras should know, he reps Teixeria, too.  Stay classy, Scott.  Worse news for the Cubs is that with Jason Bay apparently looking to leave Boston for NYC, the Red Sox are chasing OF Mike Cameron, who the Cubs had eyed. For a player as blunt about fan racism as Cameron, I’m sure he’ll be relieved to play at Fenway instead of Wrigley.

So, while Jim Hendry chases his Holy Grail deal of dumping Milton Bradley “ and only then will he think about improving the 2010 Cubs “ Joe Strauss reports the following on the hoped for collapse of the Holliday deal (by me anyway):

Increasingly impatient to reach a resolution, sources familiar with talks believe it possible Holliday could reach a verdict before Christmas.

The proposal exceeds the average value of the seven-year, $100 million extension the Cardinals and first baseman Albert Pujols negotiated in February 2003. However, the Cardinals™ bid does not meet the average annual of a deal that the Colorado Rockies offered “ and Holliday rejected “ in 2008. Aside from the 6½ years that have passed since Pujols™ signing, Holliday is available as a free agent. Pujols™ signed his deal after his third major-league season, allowing the club to avoid three years of arbitration while guaranteeing Pujols four additional seasons and including a club option for 2011.

Boras has attached Holliday™s market value to first baseman Mark Teixeira, who signed an eight-year, $180 million deal as a free agent last winter. Teixeira also is a Boras client.

The Cardinals steadfastly refuse to enter that neighborhood; hence, a seeming impasse. Though classifying a continuation of talks as encouraging, a source familiar with the process denied significant movement in the past several days.

The agent makes the case that Holliday has been a more productive player than Teixeira in the last three years. Holliday has compiled scored 36 more runs and also run up higher on-base and slugging percentages in the span. Teixeira has narrowly outpaced Holliday in RBI (336-334) in that time.

Indeed, Holliday and Pujols are the only players to amass a .300 batting average with a .500 slugging percentage in each of the past four seasons. Holliday, Pujols and New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez are the only players to achieve a .900 on-base-plus-slugging percentage each of the last four seasons.

12.15.09

Last Minute Stocking Stuffers From Tower Records, Nagoya

Posted in Basketball, Tourism, We Aren't The World at 11:30 pm by

Photograph by James McNew.  Assuming the shop’s action/drama section is as well stocked as their sports DVD dept., maybe there’s a laser disc of this Abel Ferrara classic?

The Santa Clause/Curse : Jeff Francouer Is Gonna Have A Lousy 2010

Posted in Baseball, Merry Fucking Christmas at 11:10 pm by

A cursory glance at the New York Times’ website late Tuesday night reveals something approaching actual news from the Mets camp, with Japanese reliever Ryota Igarashi expected to sign a two-year pact to replace J.J. Putz as K-Rod’s setup man. The real highlight/death knell for next season, however, comes at the very end of David Waldstein’s coverage of the team’s annnual Xmas bash, an event that featured more words of delusion reassurance from GM Omar Minaya (“I feel comfortable. We have a plan and I like our plan.”)

To wit, Waldstein points out that by serving as Santa Claus yesterday, Mets OF Jeff Francoeur has all but assured himself of serious injury and/or career-lows next season.

In 2004, Mike Cameron played Santa, then had a serious outfield collision with Carlos Beltran the following August that put him on the disabled list for the remainder of the season. In 2005, Kris Benson (above, left) was Santa and was then traded to the Orioles a month after the party. It is believed his wife Anna™s provocative attire at the party contributed to the trade. In 2007, John Maine was Santa and had an injury-plagued season, and last year it was Mike Pelfrey, who struggled in 2009.

Put The Life-Long Chuck Grodin Tribute Act On Pause : Rick Carlise’s Ping Pong Chops Revealed

Posted in Basketball at 7:17 pm by

I don’t know if you’ll make it thru all 9 minutes of the above clip —- for CSTB’s notoriously ADD-afflicted readership (not to mention publisher), it’s a big challenge. But said video — culled from The Two Man Game via True Hoop — might be the most intense (only?) glimpse inside the rich, off-court life of Mavericks head coach Rick Carlise you’re likely to see anytime soon.

Room For Juan More: Pierre To Chisox

Posted in Baseball at 5:26 pm by

{{Information |Description = Dodgers Juan Pier...

Sometimes it’s not so bad when mommy and daddy fight.  The fallout from the divorce battle between L.A. Dodgers owners Frank and Jamie McCourt is paying dividends on the South Side with today’s painless acquistion of OF Juan Pierre for two minor league hurlers.  Arriving with Pierre is a check made out to the Sox for $10.5 million, the remainder of his $18.5M contract after payouts of $3M in ’10 and $5M in ’11.  Some call it the unloading of an overpaid backup, others wonder if manipulation of the McCourt’s marital assets net value isn’t the real story.  As WSCR’s Steve Stone put it “The toughest part of the deal was figuring out if Frank or Jamie was sending the cash.”

Pierre’s stand-in performance for the suspended Manny last season along with his league-leading bunts and respectable career .301/.348/.372 suggests the Sox have done well in finding a lead-off hitter whose mastery of the basepaths is a clear improvement over that of Scott Podsednik.

White Sox fans who are confused about the unfamiliar batter strategy called bunting can pick up a copy of the informational pamphlet Hey, Why Didn’t He Swing? at all US Cellular outlets beginning in April.

And The Worst Part Is, Santa’s Not Wearing Pants

Posted in Merry Fucking Christmas, Sports TV at 3:13 pm by

Awful Announcing found the above Xmas ornament via the Boston Herald earlier today, and it is very safe to say Sportress Of Blogitude‘s Weed Against Speed isn’t going to shell out $16.50 to hang one on the S.O.B. tree.

You have got to be shitting me. Who in their right mind would want one of these? Better yet, who would be willing to humiliate themselves and walk into a Hallmark or Kohl™s store and purchase one of them? I don™t care if for some reason or another you find yourself with a half-witted,  mouth-breathing, ham-fisted  mongoloid on your holiday shopping list that would actually want one of these abominations, don™t go and buy one. This will not stand. This affront to Christmas will not stand, man.

I’m a bit less offended, but do hope at the very least, Vince Doria’s family got a few of these for free, what with his likeness being used.

Chin Up, Tiger – The Tru Warier’s Got Your Back

Posted in Basketball, Free Expression, Golf, History's Great Hook-Ups at 2:32 pm by

“Christ says, don’t consider yourself better than someone else because one guy screws a whole bunch of women while the other guy is loyal to his wife. The guy who’s loyal to his wife ought not to be condescending or proud because of the relative degree of sinfulness.”  So mused former President Jimmy Carter in a 1976 Playboy interview, words that may or may not provide consolation for one Tiger Woods, though if Woods requires more contemporary wisdom, Lakers F Ron Artest has much to offer ;

Dear Tiger,
In reading the statements you have made, I can tell you are a stand up guy. Please remember only Jesus is perfect. You made a mistake and you admitted your infidelity.
I have made the same mistakes. Before I got married to my wife, I had a baby with another young lady, after I already had two by my girlfriend who is now my wife. We also had another baby which makes three for us and four for me. Two boys and two girls.
My wife is a much better wife than I am a husband. We still argue and disagree after being together 16 years. and I still cope with the fact that there are so many women out there and I choose to stay loyal to my wife.
I want to be home every night, but with traveling I can™t, and sometimes I might want to go to a bar or club and be one of the fellas. Most of the time I stay in, because I have my kids and wife.
I cannot sit here and say the thought to have many women has never crossed my mind. If I were Jesus I could.
I have known my wife for 16 years“ since I was 14 years old.
She was my first.
On the way to 2010 we had many ups and downs on the way, mostly my fault. But I really choose to work hard and play ball to support her and my kids. The same reason you are building your legacy.
I have been disturbed by this because there are many people who are happy that this bad news has come out.
There are a lot of sports announcers and regular reporters who are not perfect in their own homes, yet they want to bring you down.
You have done so much for people, the sport of golf, and your family and you gave your wife a life that people can™t even dream of.
I thought you were 36 or 37 until I read the news today. A 33-year-old man who has been a model citizen with so much at stake. This is your first publicly known issue since you started your career, compared to my 50 or more publicly known issues and mistakes.
You have been the perfect role model for me and my sons for longer than anyone I have known.
With the exception of a few legends.
As your fan, I can™t wait to see you golf again.

One love,
Ron Artest

12.14.09

Tampa Scribe To USF : Investigate Leavitt

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 11:46 pm by

Fanhouse’s Brett McMurphy reported Monday that USF head coach Jim Leavitt (above)throttled and struck sophmore Joel Miller during halftime of a November 21 game against Louisville. Leavitt allegedly apologized to Miller a day after Mark Mangino’s tenure at Kansas ended (thanks in no small part to claims the oversized educator was verbally abusive to players) Leavitt and Magino were assistant coaches together at Kansas State, and depending on the veracity of McMurphy’s work, they might be reunited soon on the unemployment line.

Though Leavitt has denied the charges in McMurphy’s post, and Miller’s father is disavowing remarks he made to the AOL reporter (“you do something like that [on the street], you put them in jail,”), that’s not nearly enough to satisfy the Tampa Tribune’s Martin Fennelly, who opines Tuesday morning, “USF is on the clock.”

It’s hard to imagine something more serious than a coach bullying his players. It’s hard to imagine why any university would want such a coach, or why any parent would send their son to such a university.

USF needs to conduct a thorough investigation. Maybe it should be conducted by USF athletic director Doug Woolard, maybe not. Maybe it should be someone in the university, but outside the department.

Me? I’d call in every player or coach who was in that locker room at halftime of the Louisville game, one by one. I’d make them describe what they saw – to tell the truth, with no fear of retribution. That’s what I would do.

Jim Leavitt says it’s all a lie. That said, he should have nothing to fear if people look under his program’s hood.

Trembling’s Bargain Buyout Of Notts County = A Shitty Xmas For Sven

Posted in Football at 9:25 pm by

Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson’s consultancy role with League Two’s Notts County came to a sordid end this weekend when prior owners Swiss Commodity Holdings essentially skipped town, leaving Erikkson’s hopes for a massive payday and/or equity in the club in serious jeopardy. From The Guardian’s Matt Scott :

As revealed by the Guardian last month, Eriksson demanded immediate payment of the funds in order to substantiate the former owner Qadbak Investments’ claims of vast wealth at the club. But the situation became even more complicated when on Saturday Peter Trembling, Notts County’s executive chairman, was handed 90% of the shares in the club in a £1 management buyout.

Trembling says all corporate ties with Qadbak and SCH have been cut. Given that SCH was supposed to be the source of the funds that would boost Eriksson’s otherwise meagre wage at Meadow Lane, all the indications are now that Eriksson will quit over what he considers to be broken promises. Lawyers are poring over agreements between the former England manager and SCH, the Zurich-registered company whose logo forms part of Notts County’s club crest.

In the meantime, the Swede will not receive any assistance from Trembling in his attempts to recover the funds. “We are aware that Qadbak had an arrangement with Sven but the club cannot comment on issues which are independent of the club,” Trembling said yesterday. When asked specifically what he will do to help Eriksson, whom Trembling described last week as a “friend and confidant”, he added: “Anything outside of Notts County is for Sven and his advisers.”

The New Iron Chef: “Where BBQ Meets Metal”

Posted in Food, Rock Und Roll at 8:21 pm by

http://www.rocknrollribs.com/logos/menu-front-web.jpg

[When a restaurant offers antacid with the meals, can the word franchise be far behind?]

I know the owner of this blog is some sort of musical elitist or something, but I throw down the following to GC:  rock or ribs?  I pit your love of trans fats and music against one another, and await the answer.  News that Iron Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain’s new place, Rock and Roll Ribs has opened in Coral Springs, Florida means I just may be making the trip East if the Cubs do indeed move their 2010 Spring Training camp to Naples, Florida.  Especially encouraging is the guarantee that Nicko “brings his vast musical knowledge and powerful name to Rock n Roll Ribs.”  The menu includes Road Crew Onion Loaf, Hot Chix Backstage Sandwich, Security Staff Stuffed Potato, and the $49.95 rack and a 1/2 of ribs plus known as the Appetite of the Beast (Feeds 4 Regular Rocks or 2 Metal Monsters) that includes antacid.  Well?

3 Elite Starters Move To New Teams…

Posted in Baseball at 6:10 pm by

…none of ‘em based in Flushing. Slightly overshadowing Boston’s decision to lavish a 5-year deal upon P John Lackey, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro is on the brink of jettisoning ’09 postseason ace Cliff Lee as part of a 3-team deal with Seattle and Toronto that will see ’03 Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay (above) arrive in Philadelphia. The AP’s Rob Maaadi reports the Phillies might be parting with J.A. Happ, Joe Blanton and outfielder Dominic Brown as part of the deal, though he’s not specified who the Mariners are shipping out, or to where.

Mets fans, poised to watch their club struggle against Halladay 4-6 times a year, can bask in the knowledge Omar Minaya is hardly inactive this December, addressing his own starting rotation vacancies with an offer to free agent Kelvim Escobar. The former Angel is said to be recovering from shoulder surgery and is expected to be ready by Opening Day, 2010 (though under the supervision of the Mets’ medical staff, that might mean opening day of next year’s NFL season).

Ron Borges Has Turned His Attention To Randy Moss’ Lunch Money

Posted in Gridiron at 4:10 pm by


(this is what it sometimes looks like after Randy Moss runs a route to completion)

“That™s a lot of conversation coming from a team that just lost another game.” That’s how the Hooded Casanova responded to claims by Panthers CB Chris Gamble that Patriots WR Randy Moss put the “I” in “quit” during New England’s 20-10 defeat of Carolina Sunday.  While Belichick and Tom Brady have Moss’ back, it will comes as no surprise to learn the Boston Herald’s Ron Borges, does not.  “Wednesday he showed up late for work; yesterday he never showed up at all.”

Art Shell coached Moss for one season in Oakland, and although he quit on the team that was paying him, Shell came away not disliking the player. Instead Shell simply says when asked about Moss, œRandy was a great player. He™s just easily daunted.

The Patriots are not playing well at the moment, and they know it. They have problems in their locker room and on their defense, and they know it. They have a coach trying to maintain order in a room where some of his hired hands are not quite true believers in the œIn Bill We Trust school of thought.

Where Moss stands on all that is unknown because, after he did nothing on the field yesterday, he said nothing off it. He simply dressed in funeral black and walked through the locker room and out the door, declining offers to chat. It was the most elusive he was all day.

There didn™t appear to be much fight in Randy Moss this week, or really since Darrelle Revis of the Jets shut him down for the second time this season four games ago. His catches have gone down, down, down – down from five to three to two to one (with an asterisk for the fumble). Not even constant carping how opponents œplay a safety over the top can explain away his lethargic play of late.

The Dean Dome : Where Freedom Of Speech Can Fuck Off & Die

Posted in Basketball at 1:33 pm by

Note to fans of minnows that dare challenge the University Of North Carolina ; you’re free to attend Tar Heel games, but just be very careful not to audibly root for UNC’s opposition (video link courtesy Jon Solomon)

12.13.09

Non-Metallic K.O. Pays Homage To A Bush League Answer To “Ball Four”

Posted in Baseball at 8:04 pm by

MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann makes the bold assertion the forthcoming “The Bullpen Gospels : A Non-Prospect’s Pursuit of the Major Leagues and the Meaning of Life” by relief pitching journeyman Dirk Hayhurst “may be the best baseball autobiography since Jim Bouton’s ‘Ball Four’”.  “‘The Bullpen Gospels’” gushes Keef, “is a baseball book the way “Is That All There Is?” is a Leiber-Stoller pop song by Peggy Lee from 1969. It is the primordial battle of hope and faith and inspiration versus disillusionment and rust and inertia.”  In other words, it wasn’t ghost-authored by Art Rust, Jr.



Hayhurst repeatedly rediscovers the absurd hilarity of it all, and the book is consistently laugh-out-loud funny. And like all great artists, he pulls back curtains we never thought to investigate: from how assiduously minor leaguers debate which “Come-out songs” they will choose or which numbers they will wear, to the pecking order of seat locations on the ever-infamous bush league bus trip.

My favorite is probably the mechanics of something the average reader will have never heard of before, let alone have contemplated. It’s “the host family” – the living arrangements by which the non-first-rounders survive their seasons in the minors. Hayhurst hilariously defines such temporary homes as ranging from Wackford Squeers’ Dotheboys Hall, to the visitations from In Cold Blood:

“Some families are the perfect model citizens, Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Host family with their white picket fence and adorable little children with their cherub faces who can’t wait to be just like their new older brother. Some families are wealthy and treat you like the draft pick you always wanted to be. Some host families aren’t even families at all; some are just one person: a well-toned Cougar looking for an after-hours power hitter to keep her company between filming.”

“Depending on the makeup of the player, all these choices are desirable. However, they only represent one side of the coin. On the flip side, there is the family who has a pack of misbehaved trolls for children with parents who don’t believe in discipline. The reason your PlayStation has peanut butter leaking from the optical drive can be chalked up to “youthful curiosity.” You may live with a super fan who wants to play coach, manager, and parent. He’ll live vicariously through you and evaluate, criticize, judge, blog, and call the organization about you. Or you may end up with a miserable old spinster who loves cats and hates men…”

“Players aren’t saints either, and it takes a special family to agree to house one. If you’re a devout Catholic family, getting a Mormon player can make things a tad awkward. If you’re parents of little children, getting that Bostonian player who uses “****” for greetings, good-byes, pronouns, adjectives, verb, and prayer, might be more than you bargained for…”

Though The Host Family Situation was well tackled in Matt McCarthy’s entertaining (if discredited) ‘Odd Man Out’, I’m thoroughly looking forward to Hayhurst’s tome.

Winter Meeting Results: Cubs Fail to Dump Hendry

Posted in Baseball, Racism Corner at 3:05 pm by

http://www.cubscast.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/444275684.jpg

[A hurt Jim Hendry takes his jersey back from Milton Bradley.]

If MTV endures all the heat from “Jersey Shore,” I’m hoping my pitch for “North Shore,” a show about real life dumb ass Cub execs running wild at the Winter Meetings is green lit.  Yes, arrogant white-collar loudmouths nationwide will object, but I just call that good press.

Gordon Wittenmyer’s wrap-up of the Winter Meetings appears today in the Sun-Times.  The upshot, of course, is that after a week of Jim Hendry psychodrama over Milton Bradley, no team in baseball is willing to take MB unless the Cubs eat the majority of his $21 million two-year deal.  Dusty Baker, Greg Maddux, Sammy Sosa, Jacque Jones,  Juan Pierre, and now Milton Bradley’s probable exit from the North Side, it’s becoming obvious that leaving the Cubs on bad terms is about the only way to go. Hendry, of course, is the one factor that hasn’t changed in all those exits.  More and more, it looks to be about him.

Hendry gave Bradley a 15-game suspension for dissing Wrigley fans.  Now Hendry is said to be after Milwaukee OF Mike Cameron.  Cameron’s a good player, but he’s also gone on the record with the Sun-Times’ Wittenmyer  as saying he too has a problem with the racist element in Wrigley’s bleachers.  Btw, no knock on Cameron at all.  He’s right.  Even Bradley refused to go there and claim racism at Wrigley.  The Trib’s Paul Sullivan spun it to say Bradley was “suggesting” racism.  No “suggesting” with Mike Cameron, MC says it’s flat-out true.  So what’s going to change in the Jim Hendry high drama management of the Cubs?  Hendry himself says racism is not an issue at Wrigley (despite the obvious).  Apparently, the same mistakes, the same Hendry ego, the same suck-up to Wrigley’s lamest regulars, will continue.

Hendry let Bradley dangle when reporters baited him on race, when reporters called him a “nutbag,” and then when MB refused to talk to the media, the Cubs scolded Bradley over it.  Hendry’s 15-day suspension of Bradley sent the word to baseball that MB was impossible.  Then Hendry, genius that he is, decides to put Bradley on the market because he feels he has no choice.  Yes, there’s a choice.  Hendry needs to get over himself, and as one unnamed manager put it re Bradley, bite the bullet and play him.

While Mike Breen Cannot Touch The Shaqtus…

Posted in Basketball, Sports Radio at 12:34 pm by

…he’s not about to let anyone else lay their paws on the integrity of the National Basketball Association.  Rogue ref Tim Donaghy — eviscerated elsewhere today by Peter Vecsey — was interviewed earlier this week by ESPN 1050′s Brandon Tierney, an exchange the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman (hardly a fan of Tierney’s) called “riveting…relevant, meaningful.”

Curiously, Breen (above) rang in immediately following Tierney’s chat to discredit Donaghy, a stunt Raissman compares to “Marv Albert stealing Breen’s microphone to call the last 1:30 of the seventh game of the NBA Finals”

When Breen started hammering Donaghy, did David Stern see a guy charging over the hill on a white horse yelling: “It’s only Donaghy. It’s only Donaghy. All other NBA refs are clean?” After all, Breen has a well documented history of being sympathetic to the fraternity of NBA officials.

Cue the sad violin.

“¦ These guys (NBA refs), it breaks their heart, it rips their insides out ¦ this guy (Donaghy) is questioning everybody else’s integrity,” Breen told Tierney. “¦ For him to question the integrity of these guys who do an incredible job and care about their job is really disgraceful. That’s the part that drives me crazy.”

Pass the Kleenex.

If someone had walked up to Breen in 2003 and said Donaghy is a crooked official who is betting on games it’s not a reach to suggest Breen would have scolded that “someone” for daring to question the integrity of an NBA official.

12.12.09

If The Mets Want Jason Bay To Bring His Warning Track Power To Citi Field, It’ll Take A Half Decade Commitment

Posted in Baseball at 7:09 pm by

The New York Post’s Bart Hubbach surmises — correctly, I reckon — that luring OF Jason Bay away from the still-very-interested Boston Red Sox might require more than a cosmetic gesture like offering the free agent the exact same 3-year, $60 million pact he’d already turned down to stay at Fenway.

A team source said yesterday that the Mets™ offer to Bay (above) is heavily backloaded, with roughly $10 million committed in the first year before the deal balloons to around $20 million in the final season.

The ball is in Bay™s court now that the Mets have awakened from their offseason slumber to make offers to him and veteran catcher Bengie Molina while keeping an eye on John Lackey and secondtier starters Joel Pineiro and Jason Marquis.

Skepticism remains high, especially in Boston, that the Mets are serious contenders to land Bay if the two offers stay roughly the same and the Red Sox ultimately decide against pursuing Matt Holliday, considered the premier free-agent left fielder in this year™s market.

A fifth year from the Mets could be the deciding factor, though, because the Red Sox reportedly are adamant about not going to five years in their offer to Bay.

The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham reports this evening that Bay’s agent claims he’s rejected the Red Sox’s proposal, leading Abraham to sneer, “good luck with the JV team in New York”.  Hey, at least he didn’t call the Mets an intramural squad.

The Great Huckapoo Flame Wars Of 2004 Continue To Smolder

Posted in Internal Affairs, The Mailbag at 3:43 am by

(very unavailable for comment)

My name is (REDACTED)  and my parents’ home telephone number was listed on your website on the following page some time ago, along with the the statement that I am “Dylan’s but buddy.”  I would very much like this deleted if that is possible.  Thank you for your help.

If you have any further questions I can be reached here or more quickly at (REDACTED)

12.11.09

I Purchased A Pair…

Posted in Baseball at 10:50 pm by

…because misery loves company.  The Mets’ offer to OF Jason Bay was no higher than an earlier offer from Boston the free agent had previously rejected.  If they’re after Jason Marquis (Cha Cha), so are the Orioles , Nationals and  Mariners.  But never fear, any remaining Amazins fans, THEY’VE RESIGNED ELMER DESSENS.  That’s the cover of the 2010 media guide sorted, then.

Kenny Puts Putz In White Sox Pen, Jenks On Notice?

Posted in Baseball at 9:05 pm by

J.J.

J.J. Putz. As Jewish as Kevin Mench (e.g. "not")

Finally cleared of a nagging bone spur in his throwing elbow, 2007 MVP/AS closer RHP J.J. Putz has accepted a 1-year $3 million deal to come to the South Side. The contract incentives promise an additional $3 mil for finished games, which can’t sit well with incumbent closer and carbohydrate enthusiast Bobby Jenks.

Putz is 23-19 with a 3.24 ERA, 103 saves and 356 strikeouts covering 337 career relief appearances.  Stepping into the setup role left open by Octavio Dotel, Putz, along with longtime friend Matt Thornton figures to give Ozzie plenty of options for lead protection, freeing up Scott Linebrink for exclusive work turning trailing games into blowouts.  Spake Kenny Williams:

“Obviously, Bobby [Jenks] is the closer, and then we have Matt Thornton, who can do a little bit of both, and now you have J.J. who also can do that, and everyone else fills in behind them,” Williams said. “With the starters we have, starting in the sixth or seventh inning through the ninth, we have guys who can close games out.

“From the top of the rotation now through the end of the bullpen, we are as strong as we’ve ever been,” Williams said.

Jenks, who saw his full-season save percentage hit a career-low 83% in 2009 last found himself in these pages as the subject of Ozzie’s not-veiled-at-all musings concerning weight loss. With so much closing talent in the pen, Jenks should be wary that the next time he enjoys the delicious aroma of roast goose it isn’t his own.

Impeaching the Prime Minister: The Weird Rise and Fall of 3rd Bass’ Pete Nice/Nash

Posted in consumer affairs, Hip Hop, The Law at 10:59 am by

I don’t know how I knew that Prime Minister Pete Nice — the poker-faced, cane-wielding counterpoint to MC Serch in early-90s race music demi-stars 3rd Bass — had gone into the baseball memorabilia game after leaving hip-hop. It’s just another example of the sort of dorky info-flotsam that I tend to keep with me, often to the exclusion of more important things. I once knew all the Presidents of the United States in order; now I can tell you that the marginally less clownish MC in 3rd Bass — a group that a few downloads confirm is indeed a bit better than I remembered, but just as squirm-inducingly self-aware — knows a lot about the T209 set. This one-for-one brain-space swap is not a very good trade for anyone, although honestly neither bit of knowledge is going to impress anyone worth impressing at this point. I only knew the presidents in order because no one else in third grade did. (Ballin’)

(Nash, left, shown in 2004  flanked by Rube Oldring Jr., son of Rube Oldring. Image culled from philadelphiaathletics.org)

But now, thanks to an interesting feature on Pete Nice’s ca. 2009 life via Sports Illustrated’s Benjamin Wallace, I now know several things about him that I didn’t previously know. The how-did-this-happen piece on Pete Nice’s transformation from rapper to Weird Old Baseball Card Store Dude was one I’ve always wanted to write — and is now another idea to cross off my “things to bring up at my first SI story meeting” list — Wallace’s story doesn’t end with Pete Nash (nee Nice) leaving 3rd Bass and becoming a big success in the notoriously dodgy sports memorabilia game. Instead, the story ends with Nash revealing himself to be something like the Len Dykstra of sports memorabilia, only with a leased Mercedes instead of a Gulfstream and a bunch of sketchy merchandise standing in for a magazine for millionaires.

According to court documents, by early 2006 Nash owed [memorabilia dealer Robert] Lifson nearly $1 million and had failed to deliver all of the collateral he had promised. Most troubling to Lifson was that, he says, a lot of the collateral was not passing muster with authenticators, and there were questions raised in the litigation about whether Nash even owned all of the items he had signed over. When Lifson asked Nash for help in tracing the disputed objects’ provenance, he said Nash stonewalled…

Among the allegations in [the lawsuit Lifson filed against Nash] were that some of the collateral Nash had put up — such as a ball and glove that had belonged to Fred Tenney, first baseman for the pennant-winning 1897 Beaneaters — were not his to consign. Nash rescheduled court appointments, canceled his own deposition at the last minute and, when he was finally deposed under oath, invoked the Fifth Amendment dozens of times in response to questions about the origins of specific pieces of collateral.

The court found in favor of Lifson, and eventually Nash signed a court order in which he admitted to having committed fraud, without specifying how. Lifson, meanwhile, had done a black light test on a suspicious-looking Henry Chadwick business card that, he says, he got from Nash. He believed the test showed the card to be modern. He also sent the card to the Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Lab at the University of Arizona for a more definitive radiocarbon dating test; the lab concluded “there is no doubt the material is post-1950.” (Chadwick died in 1908.)

Daugherty : Kelly’s Departure For N.D. All Too Typical

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 10:47 am by

As you’ve probably read elsewhere, newly hired Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly used the Cincinnati annual end-of-season banquet night last to announce his exit to his former Bearcats players, an awkward exercise that left some of the scholars in attendance questioning their career-minded mentor’s credibility. The Enquirer’s Paul Daughterty pays homage to Kelly’s tenure in Cincy (“a guy who went to high school games in a helicopter and never met a personality he couldn™t woo….the perfect fit for UC, a living antidote for our town™s insecurity”) while bemoaning how easy this was to predict (“I don™t know what possesses some people to constantly seek the rainbow™s end, even as they stand bestride their pot of gold. I just know it™s in a college coach™s DNA”)

When you are deeply in love, nothing else matters. Maybe the Irish agreed to soften academic standards for five or 10 players a year. They wouldn™t do it several years ago for Urban Meyer; they didn™t agree to it for Bob Stoops, just a few weeks ago. Maybe they have for Kelly.

Even if they haven™t, Kelly™s self-confidence wouldn™t allow something like that to shake him.

You could suggest he™d have a better team here next year than he did this year. You could say that Notre Dame is the college equivalent of the Dallas Cowboys, a pretty box that once contained diamonds. You could offer that quality-of-life issues make staying here overwhelmingly obvious.

There is no easy way to do this. It™s like calling off a wedding. If the NCAA would stop worrying about college coeds cheering recruits at high school games long enough to tackle real issues, the annual coach-school song and dance wouldn™t have to happen. A coach and his players could finish out a great season in peace.

Then, if the coach leaves before his contract™s up, he sits a year. Just like a kid who transfers.

12.10.09

CSTB Gift Ideas, or Let’s Help Lawrence Funderburke Save the Publishing Industry

Posted in Baseball, Reading Is Fundamental at 6:59 pm by

… with some help from foreword-penning Lou Piniella? At the very least, it’s hard to imagine Lawrence Funderburke’s book ‘Hook Me Up Playa’ doing less to help the publishing industry than, say, end-stage Paul Auster. (The CSTB Promise: more Auster-related burns than any other sports blog, guaranteed) Although that’s partially because Funderburke’s book (apparently) came out in 2005. This is the first I’m hearing of it, though, and this isn’t the sort of news one should simply keep to oneself. Not when Funderbolt’s exposing some serious dangers to The Youth. This is from Amazon’s product description:

Funderburke’s primary interest is helping young people – athletes and non-athletes – in making the right career decisions, not based on the often overwhelming desire for instant gratification, but rather on what is in their long-term best interest. As Funderburke sees it, too many young people see professional sports as an invitation to a life-long party. And to make matters worse, a lot of kids are pushed toward a career in professional sports by obsessive parents who have their own agendas.

I, for one, count myself lucky that I did not allow my parents to push me into professional sports. (I also feel like I should mention that I really enjoyed Paul Auster’s ‘City of Glass’ when I was in college) Although I guess the real question here is whether an athlete with a less-consequential pro career has ever written a book. Does anyone have a copy of Kuip: The Duane Kuiper Story for me? And thanks to Josh Weill for the link.