Baseball / pop culture fans of a certain vintage undoubtedly recall former “SNL” fixture Joe Piscopo’s prominent role in the Amazins’ 1986 cheese classic “Let’s Go Mets” clip. In Thursday’s Trentonian, Piscopo tells the paper’s Chris Melchiorre, “I was never a Mets fan…I only did that video so I could get my kid inside [Shea Stadium] so he could play on the field. (link courtesy Mets Police)
Piscopo was in Bordentown Tuesday night for Roma Bank™s 90th anniversary banquet, and the Sinatra-impersonating, bodybuilding, ™80s icon set the record straight about his fandom and about sports in his home state.
œI™m a Yankees fan, I always have been, Piscopo said. œI respect the Jets and the Mets, and that Jets™ loss on Sunday was heartbreaking, but I root for the Yankees and Giants.
œYears ago when the Yankees won the World Series, I was actually in the parade, I was on one of the floats. Piscopo said. œAnd everybody was screaming ˜Hey, Piscopo what are you doing up there? You™re a Mets fan.™ And I kept yelling back, ˜It™s not true, I™m a Yankees fan.™ I grew up a Yankees fan and I™ll always be a Yankees fan.
The bottom line is this: Tanking doesn’t pay off, especially if a team doesn’t have competent leadership. Yes, once-in-a-lifetime players come through the draft, but there’s a reason those guys come along only twice a decade. What happens when a team tanks to draft Michael Olowokandi or Kwame Brown (above, right)
The Celtics tanked the 1996-97 season in pursuit of Tim Duncan, and with two lottery picks, had the best odds of winning at 36 percent.
They wound up with Chauncey Billups (No. 3) and Ron Mercer (No. 6). Billups was traded midway through his rookie season and didn’t develop into a top-level player until his arrival in Detroit in 2002. Mercer was serviceable, at best.
In the last 10 years, only No. 1 picks LeBron James and Dwight Howard led their team to The Finals, and neither have jewelry to show for it.
When a team gives up on a season, it makes it increasingly difficult to evaluate its players, to see who fits and who should be let go. With a possible labor dispute coming in 2011, many teams will be reluctant to go through a housecleaning.
And who knows? If one of those porous teams makes the playoffs — and makes some noise — general managers might discover they want to add to the roster, not blow it up
I wouldn’t be too worried about the prospect of the 2009-2010 Pistons making the playoffs, much as I’d find it hard to characterize Joe Dumars as a poor GM (the selection of Darko Milicic — unassisted via tanking — aside)
“It’s a feeling of inadequacy that permeates every aspect of your life,” said a former Houston Chronicle beat writer who covered the Twin Towers, Ralph Sampson and Hakeem Olajuwon. “Before I covered the Rockets, my life seemed perfect. I wasn’t rich, but I was married to the love of my life and we were happy.”
The retired scribe says after three or four years covering the Rockets, his wife began complaining he seemed insecure about almost everything.
“I flipped out when we went to her 20-year high school reunion and met her prom date,” the former writer said. “He was the backup center on her high school team. He was 6-6 and maybe 180 pounds, a real bag of bones. You know the type. Probably hung like Secretariat.”
His marriage never recovered. He turned to alcohol. He wasted thousands of dollars on male enhancement supplements. He refused to believe his wife’s kind words of reassurance. Watching sports, particularly basketball, had been the bonding thread in their dating relationship. He demanded his wife never watch another basketball game — pro, college or even high school.
It’s not an uncommon story. Statistics show the divorce rate for NBA writers is nearly triple the divorce rate for NFL writers. It’s not the travel. It’s the wear and tear on the male psyche.
If you’ve ever wondered why Sam Smith no longer writes for a national daily, perhaps Whitlock has the answer.
(New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson. Not shown : umbrella)
It would take some doing to compete with Greg Oden’s cock pics or Paul Shirley’s act of career suicide for heavy sports blog attention this week, but Sports On My Mind’s D.K. Wilson is fully up to the challenge. To wit, following the Saints earning their first ever conference championship, dwil takes umbrage with “Black people who’ve taken on the characteristics of their oppressors so fully that, like zombies, they believe that the city™s welfare, its psychic and actual health is tied directly to the city™s professional football team landing a berth in Super Bowl XLIV.” OK, that’s Quintron off the hook, then.
The proof lies in the sudden and disgusting proliferation of a Black œWho Dat nation of quasi-elitist, once-slave journalists and Black professionals and students; photos on social media websites of their alcohol-induced camaraderie abound as they cheer for a football team owned by a rich, drunken White fool who is quick to break out an umbrella and dance on the graves of the dead who are a by-product of a Crescent City™s sullied gifts to a nation “ the gifts of deadly racism and of government-organized crime-corporate graft.
The gift of a hurricane meant only for Black people, meant only to drive those Black people from the city forever.
These are the Black people who will cheer for Tom Benson™s New Orleans Saints come Super Bowl Sunday, though a Black man, Jim Caldwell, is the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. They will cite their hate of Peyton Manning and howl at the very press they yearn to emulate that the press would have us believe Manning is the real head coach of the team. Of course a few of them will write of Caldwell now, but they are the same Black men who also said Caldwell was responsible for cavalierly throwing the œintegrity of the game of pro football into doubt “ and they are the same people who fail to comprehend the oxymoronic nature of that statement. They are the same men who fail to comprehend how statements like that and others of a similar nature serve to further fement racist attitudes by White people; how their statements protected the White man who was actually responsible for pulling the Colts starters, general manager, Bill Polian.
“He was a part-time freelance contributor. The views he expressed on another site of course do not at all reflect our company’s views on the Haiti relief efforts. He will no longer contribute to ESPN.”
So reads the unattributed statement from ESPN Media Zone. And full credit to the widely-vilified Shirley — it’s awfully difficult to cause the network to disassociate itself nearly this fast from a person who’s kept his pants on.
Former pro hoops journeyman / author Paul Shirley has won considerable acclaim throughout the sports blogosphere for his thoughtful takes on subjects ranging from the plight of NBA 12th men to whether or not Oasis are better than the Beatles (OK, less acclaim for the last one). Today, however, might be the day when much of that goodwill goes straight down the toilet. “I haven’t donated to the Haitian relief effort for the same reason that I don’t give money to homeless men on the street,” argues Shirley. “Very few have said, written, or even intimated the slightest admonishment of Haiti, the country, for putting itself into a position where so many would be killed by an earthquake.”
I don’t mean in any way that the Haitians deserved their collective fate. And I understand that it is difficult to plan for the aftermath of an earthquake. However, it is not outside the realm of imagination to think that the citizens of a country might be able to: A) avoid putting themselves into a situation that might result in such catastrophic loss of life. And B) provide for their own aid, in the event of such a catastrophe.
Imagine that I’m a caveman. Imagine that I’ve chosen to build my house out of balsa wood, and that I’m building it next to a roaring river because I’ve decided it will make harvesting fish that much easier. Then, imagine that my hut is destroyed by a flood.
Imagining what would happen next is easier than imagining me carrying a caveman’s club. If I were lucky enough to survive the roaring waters that took my hut, my tribesmen would say, “Building next to the river was pretty dumb, wasn’t it?.” Or, if I weren’t so lucky, they’d say, “At least we don”t have to worry about that moron anymore.”
Sure, you think, but those are cavemen. We’re more civilized now, we help each other, even when we make mistakes.
True enough. But what about when people repeat their mistakes? And what about when they do things that obviously act against their own self-interests?
I recoil at the notion that I’m SUPPOSED to do something. I would like to help, but only if I feel that my assistance is deserved and justified. If I perceive that I am being told to feel a certain way, and if I can point to a pattern of mistakes made in similar situations, I lose interest.
Later in his essay, Shirley admits, “children cannot very well control their destinies”. The same could be said for parents born into a cycle of poverty.
Rose, who turns 69 in April, has done four lengthy on-camera interviews here for the “in his own words” part of the film. Lukemire and his partner Aymie Majerski, 37, pitched the movie to Rose last summer.
Reds announcer Marty Brennaman and “some of baseball’s biggest icons” also will be interviewed for the film, according to the Barking Fish announcement being released Tuesday at the Sundance Film Festival.
Lukemire and Majerski would not say how much Rose was being compensated for his role in the film, or how it will deal with his gambling and his official banishment from Major League Baseball.
“We’re not giving away certain information at this time. If we gave away the house, nobody will want to rent it,” says Majerski by phone from Park City, Utah, where she was attending Sundance.
“Peter Vecsey would be a flat-out joke in my business, but he’s not funny. He’s mean-spirited, and he’s just about heartless. I’ll never forget the time I came back from talking to a kid who tried to commit suicide in Dallas after he ingested a bottle of aspirin. Leon Smith was his name, and he never should have come out of high school, and the Mavericks should have had a much better support system for an obviously troubled young man who just happened to have talent. Vecsey made cruel jokes about this kid’s suicide attempt afterward in his column. Now, I don’t care if you slam me or anybody else, but Leon Smith was raised in a foster home called Lydia Children’s Home in Chicago. He was a ward of the state of Illinois due to neglect from his parents when he was 5 years old.”
“When you do something like that, when you make fun of that kid, you’re not just insensitive, you’re a rotten human being. You’re a lousy person. You don’t deserve the respect of a punk-ass kid at the Rucker League thinking, ‘Man, Peter Vecsey used to be something, didn’t he?’ You old bitter man. You make me sick.”
Steinberg goes on to quote a number of Vecsey’s gags at Smith’s expense (eg. “Leon Smith’s Nets tryout could be viewed as another suicide attempt”), and while he deserves full credit for spending serious Google time today, I’m curious if Wise tried to publicly defend Smith from such abuse when it was happening a decade ago. Rather than, y’know, the same day he was publicly named as Gilbert Arenas’ best buddy.
(“what Sado Marquis is to Chicago’s Mentally Ill… Jerome Smalls is to Norwalk’s domestic violence scene”)
The Hour.com’s Chase Wright reports a Norwalk, CT man was arrested Sunday on charges of threatening his spouse after learning she’d pulled the plug on cable television.
Officers responded to Jerome Smalls’ home on West Main Street on a call of an armed subject shortly before midnight on Saturday, Norwalk police Sgt. Lisa Cotto said.
At the residence, police interviewed a woman who alleged her husband threatened her with a kitchen knife after he learned that she had recently canceled the family’s cable package, Cotto said.
Smalls was most upset for having lost his favorite sports channels, specifically the 24-hour sports network ESPN, she said.
The wife told police that she canceled her husband’s favorite programs because the family could no longer afford it, Cotto said. The husband told officers that he was upset because he believed the luxury of cable was well within the household budget, she said.
Surely there’s a way the above incident can be used as fodder for a forthcoming “This Is SportsCenter” commercial? Who’s to say the skill sets of Scott Van Pelt and Steve Levy might not include hostage negotiation?