Self-Portrait Enthusiast Oden (Allegedly) Displays Non-Injured Body Parts

Posted in Basketball, History's Great Hook-Ups at 1:19 pm by

The NSFW pics can be found at World Star Hip Hop, whose editors helpfully add, “this is one of the stars from the NBA team ‘Portland Trail Blazers’”). There’s some priceless commentary on the site, including the following bon mot ; “People send naked pics 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. What’s the big damn deal? ‘Cause he’s an NBA player? Please!!!!!” Nice to see recent events haven’t kept Sean Salisbury from trolling the ‘net.

America’s New National Pastime : Brutalizing Jets Fans

Posted in Free Expression, Gridiron, The Law at 11:51 am by

For the second time in two weeks, an apparently innocent Gang Green supporter has found himself on the wrong end of the sort of strong arm tactics we commonly associate with the Republican National Convention. Seriously, what did J-E-T-S fans ever do to deserve such a miserable national reputation?

Oliver Perez : Already Missing Targets In Midseason Form

Posted in Baseball at 11:25 am by

Last spring, Mets starter Oliver Perez arrived at spring training from an WBC stint in what pitching coach Dan Warthen thought to be less than stellar physical condition. In Tuesday’s New York Daily News, Perez assures Adam Rubin his preseason work has the erratic lefty feeling “really happy….really strong.”

Perez relocated this offseason from his native Culiacan, Mexico, to Arizona to train at Fischer Sports, the facility credited with preparing Randy Johnson during his career. Other than two weeks spent in Mexico around Christmas, Perez said he’s spent the entire winter in Phoenix working out at that training center with major leaguers including Kerry Wood, Chris and Shelley Duncan, Sergio Mitre and Mike Hampton.

“A lot of good players there,” Perez said.

Perez said he’s religiously at the facility by 7 a.m. and stretching 90 minutes later.

Perez’s trademark wildness comically remained Monday. As he long-tossed with Johan Santana on a windy morning at the Mets’ complex, Perez twice overshot Santana with throws on a back field and cleared a fence.

“It’s going to take a couple of weeks,” Santana turned and offered with a smile.

There you have it, ladies and gentlemen, Fischer Sports — the official training facility of Oliver Perez, Kerry Wood and Mike Hampton. What happened, did Mark Prior not receive their brochure?


For Your Consideration : Shaggy 2 Dope For Best Actor In A Western With Juggalo Themes

Posted in Cinema at 9:12 pm by

Though the trailer for “Big Money Rustlas” has been in circulation since last November, it was only this afternoon that our associate Mr. Wojohowicz brought said epic to our attention. Ladies and gentlemen, you can scrap my earlier predictions this March’s Oscars would be a battle between Katheryn Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker” and Bille Woodruff’s “Bring It On : Fight To The Finish”. If the above stylistic hybrid doesn’t take top honors on March 7, it’s safe to say the widely misunderstood Juggalo genre might never receive proper recognition.

Calcaterra, Favre & The Birth Of A Meme

Posted in Free Expression, Gridiron, The Internet at 6:55 pm by

Circling The Bases’ Craig Calcaterra, like many of us, watched the end of yesterday’s NFC Championship game.  Unlike many of us, he was sufficiently inspired by Brett Favre’s latest season-ending boner to make the following contribution to popular culture.

So last night Brett Favre throws an interception that costs his team a trip to the Super Bowl. You think he’s going to be ripped for it, but within minutes of the game ending the ESPN talking heads are launching right back into that “he’s like a kid out there/he’s a gunslinger” baloney. The best one was Tom Jackson who said  “That’s the thing about Brett Favre; he’s not afraid to throw an interception. That’s one of the things I most admire about him.”

I thought that was some of the best suck-up-inspired denial of reality from a commentator I’ve heard in ages, so I quickly tweeted the following for laughs: “That’s the thing about Bill Buckner. He’s not afraid to muff a grounder. That’s one of the things I most admire about him.” Worried that people may not get the joke,  I applied a #FavreRulesForAll tag on it.  I giggled to myself for approximately four seconds, shut my computer down and went to sleep.

Once Calcaterra awoke, he learned he’d given birth to a Twitter sensation.  Amongst the highlights ;

That’s the thing about Clint Barmes: he’s not afraid to carry deer meat. That’s one of the things I most admire about him.” – Crashburn Alley

That’s the thing about Rick James, he wasn’t afraid to kidnap and torture people in a crack haze. Gotta respect that.” – Chris Fontecchio

“That’s the thing about Kenny Rogers. Not afraid to walk home a run. Gotta admire that about him.” – Sundeep Paruchi

The Former Subject Of “TSOL Are Sissies” Says You’re Getting Verrrrrry Sleepy

Posted in Rock Und Roll at 4:30 pm by

Congrats to former TSOL vocalist Jack Grisham on proving there are second acts in American Life ; Grisham has successfully segued from a career fronting one of the 20th century’s worst bands into a lucrative new career as a hypnotherapist. Incidentally, you can’t spell “hypnotherapist” without “the rapist” (link courtesy Don Smith)

KFAN’s Allen & Bercich Put An Entirely New Spin On Jack Buck’s “I Can’t Believe What I Just Saw”

Posted in Gridiron, Sports Radio at 2:47 pm by

“Why do you even ponder passing in that situation?” I dunno, might it have something to do with Gunslingeritis or feeling like a kid or just loving the game too much? WFAN’s Mike Francesa gave Brett Favre considerable credit for staying in the game despite taking serious shots from the Saints D, which begs the question, exactly how badly would Minnesota’s starting QB needed to be injured before Tavaris Jackson entered the game? Based on Favre’s lack of mobility in the 4th quarter, it seems nothing less than losing a leg would’ve done the trick.

Columnist Almost As Old As Favre Declares “Don’t Blame Brett”

Posted in Gridiron at 11:11 am by

While Roger Clemens (!) and the Brian Burke each took the position the NFL’s overtime coin-flip is decidedly unfair, the MInneapolis Star-Tribune’s venerable Sid Hartman has a slightly different take on the Vikings essentially handing the NFC Championship to the Saints during the final minute of regulation yesterday. “If it weren’t for the turnovers,” argues Sid, “the Vikings might’ve won this game with ease.” Three of those turnovers, of course, committed by their quarterback.

It wasn’t Favre’s fault that the Vikings lost, although he was involved in a key interception that cost them a chance at a winning field-goal attempt at the end of regulation.

Three lost fumbles and an earlier Favre interception didn’t help the Vikings’ cause.

For Favre’s sake, it is unfortunate that with all of the great things he did both during the season and in the playoffs, the interception at the end of regulation will haunt him for some time.

Yes, Favre won’t attend the offseason workouts and won’t attend the minicamps, just like last season. But if the owners of the team want to win and maybe go further than they even did this year, they need to bring Favre back, even though he will turn 41 years old during the season.

They might also want to work on preseason drills for the players and coaching staff alike that include counting to eleven. While I don’t entirely agree with Hartman that Favre is blameless in defeat, what might’ve been his final (ill-advised) pass in the NFL never should’ve been thrown. Ryan Longwell, kicking indoors from 50 yards out wasn’t a sure thing, but Minnesota’s failure to give him a chance to win the game is totally on Brad Childress’ head.

On Overreaction: What We Scream About When We Scream About Gary Matthews Jr.

Posted in Baseball at 2:01 am by

Gerard noted the Mets’ acquisition of extravagantly well-compensated journeyman Gary Matthews Jr. when it happened last week, and the two bemused grafs he gave it almost certainly qualified as giving this ultra-minor trade its due. There are things to say about the deal — how historically terrible Matthews has actually been over the course of his $50 million contract in Anaheim, how his acquisition fits into GM Omar Minaya’s predilection for older, useless-er, comparatively expensive backups.

But the good thing about actually having people in your life is that these things don’t actually get said: start talking about Gary Matthews Jr. — this doofus, a guy Baseball Reference rates as most similar to Chad Curtis and Michael Tucker — and watch even ardent baseball fans’ faces fall with the direst disinterest, and you change the subject. I have over-reacted to this sort of thing in this space before — here, wincingly, I am getting huffy about Gerald Williams in the comments of a CSTB post from 2005 — and will do so again, but, by and large, I keep this to myself these days.

Except… yeah, obviously what you’re reading. What GC noted in that long-ago comments section — “there are some good teams with completely useless 25th men on their rosters” — still holds, and the last few seasons of Mets-related masochism have done much to bully me into a more distanced perspective. Unlovely and unlovable, uncommonly hard to watch and improbably poorly managed, the Mets are still the Mets, and I can’t imagine my life without them. They wear the same hats (on Sundays, at least) as guys I grew up idolizing, and that fact, dishearteningly, overrides everything reasonable in my brain to the point where — even when I have other things to do, and other things due — I still get pissed when they deal a barely average relief pitcher for a guy who is, in a way that poor Gerald Williams never really was, surpassingly, spectacularly un-valuable.

Here is what Buster Olney reported about the centerpiece of this deal — a deal strange enough that people are writing about it despite its almost ostentatious insignificance. Okay:

After the Mets completed their trade for Gary Matthews Jr. on Friday, committing about $2.5 million and a middle reliever to land him, one talent evaluator dug into his team’s scouting reports, wondering if maybe his general impression that Matthews was a player in decline was wrong.

The reports for his team were clear: Matthews is a player to be avoided. Slow bat. Declining range. And above all else, a player who wants to be a regular and will be an unhappy distraction in your clubhouse when he’s not in the lineup every day.

Said an executive with another team of the Mets’ efforts to acquire Matthews, which have been extensive, including the discussion of one possible four-team deal this winter: “Baffling.”

Much has been made of Omar Minaya’s supreme backwardness as a General Manager, by a great many people. And yet there’s a head-scratcher buried in this otherwise straight-ahead forehead-slapper. That is: the Mets have been trying to pry The Least Valuable Player in Baseball away from the Angels for some time now. Omar doesn’t like advanced stats, and by all accounts believes Moneyball is a minor John McTiernan credit, but damned if he isn’t doing some ‘tardoid Moneyballing here. That is, he evidently thought he had identified an undervalued commodity in Gary Matthews Jr. — a guy whose Fangraphs page is basically a Saw sequel in statistical form — and tried his damnedest to get him. An undervalued commodity who, in Olney’s words, “might get a $500,000 non-guaranteed minor league deal with an invitation to spring training” from any other team.” That.

So, the challenging part — why, how can something like this matter? At some level, it obviously doesn’t: the Mets don’t really have much of a chance at making me or anyone else happy next year, for reasons that begin with keeping Minaya as GM but have more to do with the ownership that made that choice and pitching and defense and hitting and etc. Matthews will not be the only or greatest reason for this; honestly, I doubt he finishes the year with the Mets. There’s also the question of how much I or anyone else should care about how the dollars of the Mets’ Hapsburgian owners get spent. The team’s array of well-compensated 30-something replacement-level reserves is objectionable, because it looks silly and because it’s a waste, but it’s fundamentally abstract to me. I don’t have to pay Chris Coste a dime, which is a good thing because fuck that dude.

And yet at a level that transcends the actual (irrelevant) deal itself, there’s a reason why this deal stinks. (And a reason, beyond the obvious everyone-there-comments-on-everything, that the first report of the deal elicited 754 comments at Amazin Avenue) It is, I think, the reminder that we Mets fans are investing our emotional energy in an organization that seems absolutely, spookily absent from itself.

No one involved involved with the Mets can explain anything that the team does in a way that seems compelling or honest or even coherent; the bits of what-were-they-thinking reportage that leak out of the front office suggest nothing so much as the astrology-fixated Burmese junta, abruptly deciding to relocate the nation’s capital or undertake a purge because of what house Jupiter’s in (or because Jason Bay played center field seven years ago). Players play well or don’t; executives make good decisions or they don’t; but the whole goofy enterprise of caring about baseball is somehow being laid bare in a deeper way by the hilariously inscrutable “triumphs” of this baffled, baffling organization. Every organization bafflement is, simultaneously, somehow also a goal achieved.

Fans put themselves in a vulnerable position when they decide to cheer for a team — I’ve written about this before as regards the Mets, and there’s nothing in this post that really improves on what I wrote previously. But the Matthews trade — Omar getting “his guy” in a deal that everyone else in the entire freaking world thinks is incomprehensible — is a reminder of how bizarrely bleak it is to be a Mets fan right now. The moves arrive out of nowhere, reflect no philosophy beyond an anarchically da-da absence of internal logic, and allow almost no commentary but this. That is, maundering, meandering wonderment. That is, bafflement, more than any sort of disagreement or — because it’s not 2005, and I’m not 26 anymore — aggrieved grief.

There is, in me, the hope that Omar has gone crazy and is kind of Putting the System On Trial — that he’s going to sign Todd Hollandsworth to a $155 million deal next month, and then trade Johan Santana for a 1991 Eagle Talon and a bunch of yarn, and then reveal the whole thing as a conceptual art piece, at which point we will all applaud and he’ll sell the last three years of Mets baseball at the Gagosian Gallery. But the one thing that all this is definitively not is conceptual, art-wise or otherwise. It’s just fucking Gary Matthews Jr., somehow and for some reason. It’s just business — inexplicable business — as usual. It just kind of sucks, if you can bother to care about it.


Put It In The Books : Howie Rose Is The Only Person Who Still Accepts Unsolicited Demos

Posted in Baseball, Rock Und Roll, Sports Radio at 3:17 pm by

I’m not sure which is more amazing, that someone thought it acceptable to make an (innocuous) voice message from WFAN’s Howie Rose available to the public (he’s no Pat O’Brien, that’s for sure), or that Howie is so thoroughly gracious about receiving CD’s from these guys.  I’ve been sending Suzyn Waldman Air Traffic Controllers CD’s for years, and they come back marked “return to sender” each time. Talk about holding a grudge.