01.11.10

SOMM’s Wilson, Watching Sally Jenkins Morph Into Peter Vecsey

Posted in Basketball, Firearms, Sports Journalism at 8:19 pm by

“Sally Jenkins is to be admired…her knowledge of sports is vast and her perceptions of the games always lead to a better understand ing of the ‘why’ of a game.”  So wrote Sports On My Mind’s D.K. Wilson, prior to eviscerating the veteran Washington Post scribe (above) for her take on The Arenas/Crittenton Duel That Wasn’t.

Taking the Peter Vescey stance that there was some sort of standoff between Arenas and Crittenton is sensationalistic, but most importantly, according to the account of the incident as described by her WaPo cohort Mike Wise, dead wrong. And it seems that Jenkins, in a stretch to condemn Arenas, chose this path purposely. Why else go down the path of describing the incident thusly:

“But it obviously escaped him, perhaps because he was too preoccupied with his standoff with Javaris Crittenton, and seeing which one could act more facetiously street.”

Standoff? Really? Does she call laying out empty guns on a chair and leaving a note for Crittenton to pick one to figuratively shoot him in his surgically-repaired knee, a standoff? That Crittenton pulled out a pistol, loaded it with a bullet and cocked back the hammer does not involve Arenas. According to Wise, he left the locker room proper with two of his teammates and retreated to a treatment area, leaving Crittenton to his own devices. And when Arenas returned, Crittenton and his gun were gone.

This is what journalism has come to, even in D.C. And perhaps Jenkins™ reach of a premise for a column is emblematic for Washington, D.C.

LeBron’s Contract Rider : No One At The Venue May Touch The Chosen One’s Butt

Posted in Basketball at 6:17 pm by

While paying homage to Larry Nance, LeBron James scored 41 points against Portland Sunday in a 106-94 Cleveland victory, a contest that was allegedly preceded by a decidedly unroyal ourbust from the Cavs’ All-Statosphere guard. “Nearly two hours before the game,” reports Blazers Edge’s Ben, “I caught a glimpse of a more genuine James, and it wasn’t pretty.”

James mechanically drained his three pointers and then paused briefly as a ballboy went to retrieve a rare miss. Sensing an opportunity, one of the group reached out to James and patted him on the butt, not unlike teammates do countless times during every NBA game.  Perhaps with a little more cupping action than usual but, nevertheless, an innocent gesture. The move bordered on the bizarre because it was clear the two had no prior relationship.

James wheeled, removing both his headphones instantly, clearly flummoxed that a stranger had grasped his buttocks.  Upon seeing the culprit, who eyed the player with what can only be described as awe, James looked incredulous and indignant. With no other recourse available, James stopped his shooting routine, striding defiantly towards a group of his teammates that were standing near half court.  A string of profanities flew from his mouth as he relayed what had just happened to his teammates, who hadn’t seen it.  To a man, they were equally shocked to hear of the occurrence.  James continued his chest-puffing diatribe, occasionally looking back at the group of teenagers.  The young men were pretending to gaze out in a different direction, pretending to be invisible.  While James’s teammates assured him that the kid surely didn’t mean any harm and that he was probably just wishing the player well, James continued to shake his head, failing to comprehend that someone he didn’t know, someone outside his circle, someone so clearly unimportant, would have the gall to touch him. Him.

I have no idea how an non-elite NBA player might’ve reacted to an uninvited ass-grab, but full credit to the unidentified ballboy. At least he had the good sense not to molest Delonte West.

Introducing The New CSTB Comment Moderator, Tom Hicks Jr.

Posted in Football at 5:21 pm by

Tom Hicks Jr., son of Texas Rangers / Liverpool F.C. owner Tom Hicks, has resigned his position as director of the latter’s Kop Holdings, a move that would be semi-newsworthy under any circumstances, but is especially so in light of what provoked the younger Hicks’ action.  From the First Post’s Jonathan Harwood ;

Tom Hicks Jr (above) sparked outrage when he responded to a message from Liverpool fan Stephen Horner with two abusive replies. The first simply read “idiot”, but the second was somewhat more verbose, and said: “Blow me, fuckface. Go to hell, I’m sick of you.”

Horner had written to Hicks to express his concern over reports that Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez would not be allowed to reinvest funds from selling players during the transfer window on new players.

Initially it was thought that the replies may have come from Hicks Sr – already something of a hate figure to many supporters. However, Hicks Jr came forward and told Horner: “I apologise for losing my temper and using bad language with you. It was a kneejerk reaction.”

The failure of the club to apologise for his behaviour has not gone down well. “Is this what the club has come to, that a board member can speak in such derogatory terms to a supporter but can go without censure or any public criticism?” said the Spirit Of Shankley supporters organization. “The conspiracy of silence which has followed this unsavoury incident is totally unbecoming of a club which has always prided itself on its relationship with the fans.”

Look Who’s Talking (About The Past) : McGwire Fesses Up

Posted in Baseball at 3:07 pm by

While the following might be the sort of thing you’d ordinarily file under “no fucking kidding”, it’s clearly the sort of public admission Mark McGwire needed to make before Congress several years ago in order to start a new career as St. Louis’ hitting instructor. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Derek Gold transcribes a statement from Big Mac that may or may not allow the former A’s/Cards slugger to claim a place in public life.

It™s time for me to talk about the past and to confirm what people have suspected. I used steroids during my playing career and I apologize. I remember trying steroids very briefly in the 1989/1990 off season and then after I was injured in 1993, I used steroids again. I used them on occasion throughout the nineties, including during the 1998 season.

I wish I had never touched steroids. It was foolish and it was a mistake. I truly apologize. Looking back, I wish I had never played during the steroid era.

During the mid-90s, I went on the DL seven times and missed 228 games over five years. I experienced a lot of injuries, including a rib cage strain, a torn left heel muscle, a stress fracture of the left heel, and a torn right heel muscle. It was definitely a miserable bunch of years and I told myself that steroids could help me recover faster. I thought they would help me heal and prevent injuries too.

I™m sure people will wonder if I could have hit all those home runs had I never taken steroids. I had good years when I didn™t take any and I had bad years when I didn™t take any. I had good years when I took steroids and I had bad years when I took steroids. But no matter what, I shouldn™t have done it and for that I™m truly sorry.

Better late than never, I say, and hopefully McGwire’s admission will provoke a former SF Giants icon to provide full and frank details about his own PED use, the sort of revelations that will allow him to be finally  be embraced by fans and historians alike.  Whaddya say, F.P. Santangelo?

01.10.10

Pats Fan / Mark Schlereth Lookalike Pays The Ultimate Price For New England’s Failure

Posted in Free Expression, Gridiron at 6:50 pm by

While the Hooded Casanova’s response to being routed by Baltimore today was “we got outplayed, we got outcoached”, at least one Patriots fan cannot be accused of, uh, being out masochist-ed?

Vecsey : Lakers Pursuing Bosh…

Posted in Basketball at 1:25 pm by

…prior to next summerThe New York Post’s Peter Vecsey claims Los Angeles will make an offer for Toronto’s Chris Bosh prior to the February 18 trade deadline, despite a denial from Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo that Bosh is being dangled.

My source believes the Lakers will offer Andrew Bynum for Bosh (if they haven™t done so already) well before the deadline expires. In itself, the one-for-one swap is impossible to make. Bynum™s œbase year essentially allows L.A. to take back but half of his salary this year ($12.5M). Of course, that restriction is lifted when next year™s salary ($13.7M) activates come July 1, at which time a sign-and-trade transaction would be feasible.he possibility of such a deal makes sense to me. First of all, Bynum is a legit starting center for the defending champions. He also has three years left on his contract after this one.

As for the Raptors, despite the severe offseason roster renovation, they™re not giving any indication of being more than just a one-and-done playoff group this season and in the foreseeable future.

What™s Bosh™s motivation to stay? Clearly, management™s sense of urgency to protect its principal asset cannot be accentuated enough. If that™s impractical, the organization cannot afford to lose Bosh without receiving equitable compensation.

Kurt from Forum Blue & Gold is hardly ready to create a “Welcome To LA” banner, reminding us, “these are the defending NBA champions and they have the best record in basketball ” do you really blow that up midseason?”

To get Bosh at the trade deadline the Lakers would need to send Bynum, Morrison and Farmar ” that is a lot of talent to suddenly be missing mid season. Then you have to teach Bosh the triangle offense and see if he can play with Kobe and Gasol ” Bosh is a budding superstar, do you think he wants to be option number three?

01.09.10

Lopez : Nets’ Gambling Ban Hypocritical

Posted in Basketball, Firearms at 3:24 pm by

Left mostly unexamined in the wake of the Gilbert Arenas/Javaris Crittenton situation in DC is what role, if any, wagering on card games plays in ruining team chemistry, or worse, putting someone at risk of being shot.  The New Jersey Nets took the matter seriously enough to ban gambling on the club’s charter flights, wrote the Newark Star-Ledger’s Dave D’Allesandro, though any Nets player betting against his own club via a sports bookie could easily dwarf his NBA salary.

Card playing is still allowed, however, so the team may have to one day address how to deal with players using chips instead of $50 and $100 bills.

œNo money exchange, coach Kiki Vandeweghe stated plainly. œI think it™s a good thing. Listen, at times, obviously, it could get out of hand. But you™re better off: You can play, you can have fun, just no gambling.

Brook Lopez (above) was the first to spot the hypocrisy, mindful that NBA locker rooms are œsponsored by billion-dollar casinos and that David Stern is now embracing legalized gambling as a œhuge opportunity, according to a recent Sports Illustrated report.

œIt™s kind of a double message,
Lopez said. œYou see all this Harrah™s stuff around here and you go in the locker room and they have four different basketball points having to do with gambling and 21. I guess it™s still frowned upon.

For Bills RB Marshawn Lynch, Every Penny Counts

Posted in Gridiron, The Law at 2:38 pm by

Buffalo running back Marshawn Lynch (above) has already demonstrated a tendency to flee from the scene of a crime, but a report in Friday’s Buffalo News indicates such offenses are hardly limited to the spectacular (link courtesy Tom Enstice).  A Southstown, NY woman claims Lynch grabbed a $20 bill out of her hands as she attempted to pay a diner bill.

Buffalo Police Sgt. William Crawford asked that his wife’s name be withheld because she and her girlfriend are frightened of retribution from Lynch.

Crawford said his wife’s girlfriend was approached at the restaurant by another member of the Buffalo Bills, who struck up a conversation with the unmarried woman. At some point, Lynch arrived at the restaurant and joined them.

When the woman’s girlfriend stepped away from the table, Crawford said his wife pulled out a $20 bill to pay their check in preparation for leaving.

Lynch, 23, of Hamburg, then grabbed the money from her hand.

“He takes the $20 out of her hand, and my wife says “What are you doing?’ and Lynch says “Don’t worry.’ When my wife’s girlfriend came back to the table, she told her about it. The girlfriend approached Lynch and said, “Give my friend her money back,’ and Lynch threatened her saying “Do you know who I am? There’s going to be consequences.’

“We’re not doing this because I’m a policeman. We’re doing this because he robbed her. We want it to go to a grand jury. Lynch is a predator,” Crawford said.

“I tend to doubt the story,” Enstice writes, “because as we all know, Lynch is an Applebee’s and Dave & Buster’s guy.”

01.08.10

USF To Jim Leavitt : Love ‘Em Or Leave Us

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron, Leave No Child Unbeaten at 5:53 pm by

Following the outcry over University Of South Florida head coach Jim Leavitt’s alleged brutality towards sophmore Adam Miller last November, Leavitt — the only coach in the history of USF’s program — was relieved of his duties earlier today, reports the Palm Beach Post’s Jorge Milian :

USF’s Board of Trustees found that Leavitt struck walk-on Adam Miller, then lied about it and interfered with the school’s investigation.

“The disparity in authority and power between you as the head coach and the student athlete makes your conduct more serious,” USF athletic director Doug Woolard said in a termination letter sent to Leavitt and released to reporters.

According to the investigation, several players saw Leavitt grab Miller by the throat in the locker room and slap him twice in the face during halftime of USF’s game against Louisville. Miller had been penalized in the first half and was also on the punt coverage unit that allowed a touchdown. One player, according to the report, described Leavitt’s actions against Miller as a “crime.”

Leavitt becomes the third recent coaching casualty in the wake of abuse allegations following the dismissals of Mark Mangino at Kansas and Mike Leach’s highly contentious departure from Texas Tech.  Persons interviewing for major vacancies this January are well advised to cite the teachings of Dr. Bruno Bettleheim when submitting their resumes.

Bama’s Win, Brutalization Of McCoy : Discouraging AND Grammatically Incorrect

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 12:42 am by

(taken from ESPN.com, image supplied by King Coffey)

I’m gonna presume the WWL has revised the above the sub-headline.  More on the unhappy events in Pasadena tomorrow morning, but my own personal highlight had to be Nick Saban getting clobbered with the Gatorade pail (well, that and Vince Young answering Chain Gang’s “Are You Wearing Gold Tonight?” with a resounding yes on the Rose Bowl scoreboard). You’ve not seen someone taken greater offense at a pink goo bath since Frank Cashen was doused by Randy Nieman.

01.07.10

Destructoid : Phillies’ Hamels Was An Accessory To Homophobia

Posted in Baseball, Video Games at 3:36 pm by

The above clip was hailed in this space just a few months ago as “Cole Hamel’s Most Lifelike Performance To Date”.  Sadly, Destructoid.com’s Samit Sarkar reports the clip in question contained a subtle message that not even an half awake ardent observer like myself managed to catch (link taken from Baseball Think Factory)

Last October, Infinity Ward posted a short video on their YouTube account featuring an in-game version of Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels.  In the vignette, Hamels advised Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 players that random grenades are œfor pussies; the œpublic service announcement was provided by an organization called œFight Against Grenade Spam.

I somehow missed the œFAGS acronym the first time around, but the Internet certainly didn™t. Numerous Web sites and Twitterers condemned the PSA and Infinity Ward™s perceived endorsement of an anti-gay message (something that™s especially troubling in the context of the foul-mouthed gamers who comprise much of the online user base for Call of Duty).

Infinity Ward has since taken down the video.

01.06.10

Nick Stevens Forecasts The Biggest Moment In Jewish Pats History Since Andre Tippet’s Bris

Posted in Gridiron at 4:32 pm by

No (white) Wel Welker? No problem for Townie News‘ fountain of optimism.

David Stern’s Birthday Present To Gilbert Arenas : An Uncanny Roger Goodell Impersonation

Posted in Basketball, Firearms at 4:15 pm by

Perhaps laying the groundwork for Ernie Grunfeld to void a crushingly onerous contract, NBA commissioner David Stern announced earlier today that Wizards G Gilbert Arenas has been suspended indefinitely, sans pay, following reports of a December 21 incident in which Agent Zero allegedly brought handguns into the Washington locker room.  It’s a historic edict on Stern’s part — perhaps the first time in Association history the Commish has lent veracity to a Peter Vecsey column.

NBA commissioner David Stern said in a statement that Arenas’ ongoing conduct “has led me to conclude that he is not currently fit to take the court in an NBA game. Accordingly, I am suspending Mr. Arenas (above)  indefinitely, without pay, effective immediately pending the completion of the investigation by the NBA.”

Stern said that he was iniitally inclined to wait before administering punishment, as the league has done in similar cases over the years in which there was a pending investigation by law enforcement, until the legal issues were resolved. But he changed his mind because of Arenas’ subsequent behavior.

I’m not sure what’s more shocking, the lack of due process from a the mostly fair-minded Stern, or that Arenas’ greatest offense wasn’t the brandishing of firearms, but rather, tweeting about the press coverage without requisite humility.

Unraveling Pompey’s Tangled Financial Web

Posted in Football at 3:33 pm by

It’s been a rough few weeks for bottom-of-the-table Premier League side Portsmouth  ; not only do they face a potential shutdown at the hands of Her Majesty™s Revenue and Customs, but they’ve failed to make December’s payroll on two separate occasions.  Adding insult to injury is a report in Wednesday’s Guardian in which Jamie Jackson calls Dr. Sulaiman Al-Fahim’s brief (42 day) tenure as Pompey owner “a golden age” compared to what’s happening now.

Among supporters’ groups much has been made of a conspiracy theory regarding the reported links between some of the advisers to owner Ali Al-Faraj (above) and Arcadi Gaydamak, the father of the former owner Sacha who is wanted in Israel to answer money-laundering charges. These include Roni Maneh, a businessman, Yoram Yosepov, a lawyer, and Levi Kushnir, a business partner of Balram Chainrai who has loaned the club £18m.

In September Chainrai and Kushnir sued Arcadi for £16.5m. According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Gaydamak Sr has also fallen out with Maneh over a failed business deal. The Jewish Chronicle has since stated that Maneh claimed he told Faraj in October to appoint Avram Grant as manager, although Pini Zahavi, who is Grant’s adviser “ and who introduced Faraj’s regime to Gaydamak “ may also have had an influence.

Sources close to Gaydamak Jr claimed to the Guardian that any links are a coincidence, and that they are puzzled by the strategy of Faraj’s regime.

While any conspiracy theory seems unlikely, then, it has also been pointed out by some Fratton Park insiders that though the former owner Sulaiman al‘Fahim employed Ernst & Young to carry out forensic due diligence on the club ahead of his summer buyout, Falcondrone’s financial strategy appears to rely on Daniel Azougy. He is a disbarred Israeli solicitor and convicted fraudster, who drove Faraj’s takeover and is charged with restructuring the current debts while raising fresh finance.

Less Annoying Of Chicago’s Hawks Called To The Hall

Posted in Baseball at 2:07 pm by

Congrats to Andre Dawson on being elected to the Baseball Hall Of Fame in his 9th year on the ballot.  Not only did The Hawk managed to outlive beanball nemesis Eric Show, but the 8-time Gold Glove winner / All-Star was the only player to receive the requisit 75% of all votes cast in 2010, though longitme hopeful Bert Byleven and first-time voter’s option Robbie Alomar came pretty close.  Slightly more amazing than Mark McGwire still being mired in the 24% range (a result that differed little from his first 3 years on the ballot), was Eric Karros receiving 2 votes and Kevin Appier, one. Hopefully, the persons who cast those ballots will be named and shamed, shortly.

Pearlman on Retiring Big Unit: Good Riddance, Dick

Posted in Baseball at 12:13 pm by

There’s a great picture of Randy Johnson that GC uses often here (above) and it involves both a drum set and a perfectly executed Heavy Metal Parking Lot affect on its subject’s part. The photo is great not just because Photos of A-Holes With Drum Sets is kind of a foolproof visual subgenre, but also because it seems to get at something essential about Johnson. As brilliant a pitcher as Randy Johnson was — and Tim Marchman’s argument that Teh Unit was the best left-handed pitcher in MLB history makes a lot of sense to me — there was always something kind of small and ridiculous about Johnson that deflated somewhat the greatness of his achievements. Even as Johnson announced his retirement on Tuesday and some artisan got to work on casting Unit’s epochal mullet for a Hall of Fame plaque, Johnson’s greatness remains secondary in my mind to his transcendent unpleasantness.

Probably my own anti-bully bias deprived me of the ability to better enjoy Johnson’s brilliance, but thanks to his obvious and unrelenting surliness and his numerous instances of rumored/substantiated jerkery, Johnson always came off to me more as a Bully Savant rather than a generation-defining ace. That is, as a small, vain and nasty schoolyard bully who happened, as it turned out, to have a surpassingly rare talent for throwing a baseball. It shouldn’t take away from his achievements on the mound, really, but I just have the sense that Todd from Beavis and Butthead should be listed among Johnson’s Baseball Reference player comparisons.

Jeff Pearlman, who doesn’t suffer bullies and jerks (or, seemingly, all that many people in general) gladly, gives Johnson a less-than-reverent sendoff at his blog. Even John Rocker thinks this is a little harsh:

I have nothing but negative thoughts for Randy Johnson, a brilliant pitcher but a pathetic human being. I covered baseball for a good chunk of time. I had direct access to such unpleasant men as Will Clark, John Rocker, Barry Bonds, Arthur Rhodes. But nobody”and I mean absolutely nobody”possessed the pure dismissive cruelty of Randy Johnson.

I™ve heard it a million times”no one cares how athletes treat the media. Well, I care. And Johnson was a punk. He bullied reporters, he snarled at reporters, he occasionally threatened reporters. He is one of the far-too-many professional athletes who believes the ability to throw a round piece of animal skin 100 mph grants you the right to treat other human beings as dog excrement. Just ask anyone who covered Johnson during his days in Montreal, Seattle, Houston, Arizona, New York and, lastly, San Francisco. He was a first-class pitcher and a first-class creep.

Buried lead alert here: Arthur Lee Rhodes is a jerk? I guess we’ll have to wait for Pearlman’s long-rumored unauthorized bio of the veteran reliever to find out more.

01.05.10

Recalling The Only Members Of The Neutral Records Roster To Appear In A Major Videogame

Posted in Basketball, Video Games at 9:07 pm by

Reports from earlier today that Electronic Arts had acquired the trademark to Midway’s old multiplatform/arcade megahit NBA Jam inspired all sorts of wild nostalgia,  particularly on the part of New York Magazine’s Will Leitch and a host of colleagues, warning of the match up problems posted by pairing Hillary and Bill Clinton against Scottie Pippen and B.J. Armstrong.

A far more obscure peak into NBA Jam lore is available, however, via a 2002 post by Defunct Games.com’s Cyril Lachel, who describes the confusing method employed in order to unlock Sonic Youth as hidden players in the game.

You see, Thurston Moore, singer/guitarist, is accessed by using the birthday June 8th … even though his birthday is actually July 25th. Kim Gordon, bassist/singer, is acquired by  using July 3rd as the birthday, not April 28th. Drummer Steve Shelley gets similar treatment, as you use June 8th to play with him, and his real birthday lands on June 23rd. It’s Lee Renaldo who comes out the best looking in the end. He is picked up using February 4th, while his birthday is just two days earlier, on the 2nd!

If the designers really are fans of the band, why wouldn’t they put in the thirty seconds of research it takes to get the right birthdays? After all they spent that much time to scan the images, why not go the extra mile to make it seem that much more authentic?? Maybe this is something we’ll never know.

Gilbert’s (Golden) Gun : The Perfect Combination Of Deadly & Gaudy

Posted in Basketball, Fashion, Firearms at 7:14 pm by

Not everyone will share my opinion regarding Gilbert Arenas’ Golden Piece, but I’m pretty sure I believe the Washington G when he claims he “never assaulted or threatened anyone” with the above weapon.  The pistol in question clashes with the Wizards’ current uniforms — why would a fashion plate like Arenas risk that sort of ridicule?

The WWL’s Latest Innovation : Two Additional Dimensions For Jonathan Coachman

Posted in Sports TV, Technical Difficulties at 7:03 pm by

The Biz Of Baseball’s Maury Brown reports ESPN is launching a 3D channel later this year ; imagine what Sean Salisbury’s blooper reel might’ve looked like had he hung around long often?

ESPN 3D will showcase a minimum of 85 live sporting events during its first year, beginning with the first  2010 FIFA World Cup match on June 11 featuring South Africa vs. Mexico. Other events to be produced in 3D include up to 25 2010 FIFA World Cup matches, Summer X Games, college basketball, and college football, which will include the BCS National Championship game in Glendale, Ariz., January 10, 2011.  Additional events will be announced at a later date.

ESPN has been testing ESPN 3D for more than two years.  Last fall, ESPN produced the USC vs. OSU college football game which was shown in select theaters as well as to 6,000 fans at the Galen Center on USC™s campus.

Jeff Hardy’s TNA Tenure Facing Interruption

Posted in Professional Wrestling, The Law at 3:31 pm by

Amidst a bevy of Hulk Hogan cronies (Bubba The Love Sponge, Brian Knobs etc. ) receiving major face time on TNA’s first Monday salvo last night, Jeff Hardy — WWE heavyweight champion as recently as August of last year —  returned to the rival promotion for his second stint in the 6-sided ring.  Sadly for Hardy and his new employers, their new pact is a secondary story this morning as the North Carolina native was indicted following a drug possession arrest last September.  From PWT’s James Caldwell :

Hardy is faced with six different charges contained in three separate felony and misdemeanor cases after his arrest on September 11. Hardy’s cases have moved to the Superior Court where Hardy will await a potential trial date.

Hardy was originally scheduled for a “probable cause” hearing on January 27, but his cases were removed from the docket yesterday after prosecutors were able to provide enough evidence to indict Hardy on the charges.

Bay : I’m No Torii Hunter (And Gammons Is Full Of Shit)

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 3:02 pm by

(Semi-) Fascinating stuff at Citi Field earlier today, where newly introduced LF Jason Bay did everything in his power to tow the company line, much to the pleasure of GM Omar Minaya (left).  Amongst the highlights :  a) casual observer Bay figures the ’09 Mets were injury ravaged and are likely to rebound if healthy (hooray!), b) the protracted negotiations between Bay and the Mets only took a while to reach resolution because of, you know, the holidays and c) Peter Gammons fabricated the “he’d rather play in Beirut” quote (and besides, Beirut didn’t actually make a bid).

Along with scoffing at the Luis Castillo-for-Mike Lowell rumors, Metsradamus becomes the first blogger to go on record with an analogy between the alleged abuse of Texas Tech WR Adam James and the Amazins’ treatment of former RF / repeat concussion victim Ryan Church.

A dark equipment shed would have been like an all inclusive resort to Ryan Church, who is still waiting for someone to be fired after not only being put on an airplane to Denver after a concussion, but having his toughness publicly questioned.

Why didn’t this hit me sooner?

Snoop Manuel should hope that he never finds himself locked in a dark equipment shed with Church.

01.04.10

Stephen A. Smith Begins 2010, Fox Tenure By Channeling Big Sexy

Posted in Basketball, Firearms, social crusaders, Sports Journalism at 5:40 pm by

Taking a critical view of Gilbert Arenas’ gun problems, Fox Sports’ Stephen A. Smith openly admits he’s taking a tip from Jason Whitlock (“as much as I™ve tried to disagree with my friend and noted contemporary, who™s repeatedly and vociferously lamented the state of affairs within the Black Community ” specifically as it pertains to the negative parts of Hip Hop and its influence on Black culture ” it simply cannot be denied any longer…genocide is taking place in the Black Community, and this is a form of it.”)

It™s the culture of tattoos (jailhouse or otherwise) enjoying increased prevalence and notoriety. This hyper-masculinity syndrome. This alpha-male environment that stimulates the worst in an educated individual like Crittendon (Georgia Tech), preventing a sensible young man raised by both of his parents from walking away from a crazy incident that could cost him millions in potential earnings. Even worse, it™s jeopardized the career of Arenas and his six-year, $111 million contract, plus an additional $50 million deal with Adidas allegedly over a gambling debt that amounted to less than $500.

œIt™s truly sickening, one African-American front-office official told me Sunday afternoon. œThere™s just no excuse for this. This is a $4 billion industry guys are trying to turn into a $2 billion industry. There™s just a flagrant lack of appreciation for the position they™re in … mainly because of someone wanting to look more like a man, not be punked, acting literally like prisoners locked in a prison yard with one another. It™s utterly ridiculous.

œI don™t know how anyone would feel about this, because some folks truly believe we won™t have these problems if the league reduced the maximum years of guaranteed deals down to just three years. I™ll go a step further …

œLock the damn players out. Shut the league down for a year and see what happens when these guys are not cutting these checks. I bet you the few who don™t act right will straighten up then.

Sadly, we can only suspect there™s truth to that argument.

I have to admit, I’m a little fuzzy on which is the biggest offense in Smith’s eyes — carrying an (unloaded) handgun, gambling or tweeting about any of the above.  And isn’t it about time the National Rifle Association came to Arena’s defense?

An Early Contender For The Least Surprising Sports Story Of 2010 ; Redskins Fire Zorn

Posted in Gridiron at 5:19 pm by

(image lifted from The Curly R)

Lamest duck of all time? Biggest laughing stock since Ray Handley? Either way, the firing of Washington head coach Jim Zorn early today will disappoint no one, except for perhaps John Riggins, who might never find such an easy target over the rest of his commentary career. Zorn was reportedly given his walking papers at 4:30 am, a move that suggests Dan Snyder hoped to introduce Mike Shanahan has his new coach as soon as possible.

There’s been little talk of Col. Coughlin being run out of the Swamp after the Giants dropped 8 of their final 11 games, but defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan took the hit for Big Blue allowing 40 or more points 5 times this season, including Sunday’s embarrassing 44-7 capitulation to the Vikings.

Short Guys Gotta Stick Together : Hoffman Stumps For 2-Of-11 Shooting N8

Posted in Basketball at 3:07 pm by

Or you could look at this this way ; over his last two appearances, Nate Robinson is averaging 23.5 points per game.

Jeff Wilpon’s New Plan To Pack Citi Field : Ice Hockey

Posted in Baseball, Hockey, Ugly New Stadiums at 2:03 pm by

A day after the Post’s James Fanelli reported the Mets handed over $50 million in taxpayer dough to construction firms with mob ties, Jeff Wilpon gracious volunteered Citi Field’s vast oufield expanse for a sporting event considerably more popular than the UFL. From the Post’s Larry Brooks :

“I’ve had several conversations with (NHLO Commissioner Bettman and have informed him that we’d love to have the Midwinter Classic,” Wilpon, the Mets’ COO, told us by phone on Thursday. “Gary has told me that he and his team will come out and do a site visit early in the year, so I know that we are going to be under consideration.”

Beyond that, Wilpon said he has spoken with Rangers CEO Jim Dolan and Islanders owner Charles Wang about bringing the Battle of New York to the nifty ballpark in Queens.

“There’s interest there,” Wilpon said. “I know the Islanders very much would like to do something.”

NBC, whose partnership in the endeavor has been a significant factor in the Classic’s success, isn’t believed thrilled at the concept of presenting a single-market game to the national New Year’s Day audience.

There’s also the small matter of one year-old Citi Field being a substantially less historic/sexy venue for such a TV spectacle compared to Wrigley Field or Fenway Park.