Before We Get Into That, Jauss…Bill Gleason 1923-2010

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism, Sports TV at 9:03 pm by

Cigar-chomping inveterate White Sox fan and Sun-Times sports columnist Bill Gleason passed away today at the age of 87.  Gleason’s profile on the groundbreaking Sportswriters On TV show in the 80s and 90s was typically obscured by the blue haze of his cigar smoke, his newsboy caps and his quasi-Carayesque eyeglasses.  Along with Rick Telander, Bill Jauss and late Ben Bentley, Gleason held forth on all things athletic and midwestern, puncturing the air with his stogie even as he fouled it.

This 1991 clip of the Sportswriters show commemorating Comiskey Park in its last days is a fair remembrance of Bill, even if it is regrettably bracketed by the truly execrable music and singing of one Steve Dahl, a transplanted California DJ whose badly advised Disco Demolition promotion at Comiskey is discussed.  So long, Bill.

USC’s Self-Imposed Sanctions & The Guy Who Left Them Holding The Bag

Posted in Basketball, College Spurts at 7:52 pm by

Nearly 8 months after Yahoo Sports alleged USC coach Tim Floyd — since returned to the NBA — made payments to an L.A. event promoter that were passed along to hotly pursued recruit O.J. Mayo (above), the school announced self-imposed sanctions including scholarship reductions, a postseason ban, return of loot from the 2008 tournament and forfeiture of all wins from the 2007-2008 season (Mayo’s sole campaign as a Trojan). From the LA Times’ David Wharton and Baxter Holmes :

The university worked closely with Pac-10 and NCAA officials to investigate the matter, athletic director Mike Garrett said. He said the school is “disappointed that rules were violated” but did not elaborate on those violations.

“While we recognize there may be additional questions about our announcement today or other alleged NCAA infractions, until the NCAA concludes its inquiries, we cannot make any further comment,” Garrett said.

The basketball program’s self-imposed punishment suggested that USC knew the NCAA was about to take action, said the director of a compliance department at a major university familiar with such investigations.

“If they’re doing all that, they know something’s coming,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “They know they’re going to have their day in front of the [NCAA's] committee on infractions, and they’re preparing.”

The NCAA has a history of giving credit to schools that self-impose but nonetheless could hand down further penalties in any or all of these matters.

Though the NCAA is powerless to discipline Mayo, currently ensconced with the NBA’s Grizzlies, if it is eventually determined that Floyd either directly made payments or was aware of such an arrangement, will the governing body step up and ban him from college coaching? Floyd got the fuck out of Dodge Troy right when things were getting hot, and this year’s squad is being penalized for something they had nothing to do with. Sure, Mayo looks rotten in all of this, but whatever he was paid, you can bet it was far less than Tim Floyd’s salary.

Class Wars In Lubbock, Explained (Kind Of)

Posted in Gridiron, Sports Radio at 5:37 pm by

Congrats to the Red Raiders on winning last night’s Alamo Bowl without the head pirate on the sidelines, but there’s something a little creepy about hearing college administrators being vilified for, uh, having books in their homes instead of television sets.  Besides, what’s the point of having a TV if you’re just gonna watch Charlie Rose?


A Different Sort Of Giants Stadium Farewell : Mark E. Smith Vs. The New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority

Posted in Football at 4:15 pm by

Tomorrow night’s tilt with the Bengals marks the final regular season game in Gang Green’s history as tenants at the Meadowlands. but rather than recall Richard Todd or Bubby Brister’s finest moments with the J-E-T-S, let’s instead take a peak at the When Saturday Comes archives. In March of 2000, the Fall’s Mark E. Smith —author of such soccer themed compositions as “Kicker Conspiracy” and “Theme From Sparta F.C.” — was quizzed about topics including, but not limited to, his one and only visit to Exit 14W.

Have you kept in touch with football when you™ve been abroad?
Going to Germany in the early 1980s got me back into football when I was going off it a bit. In places like Hamburg there was an avant garde rock scene among fans at some clubs, something that wasn™t there in Britain. And you get big pints of beer at German matches for, like, 25p, and a nice clean sausage. I saw Germany v Bulgaria at the 1994 World Cup. What a day out that was. The German players were limbering up like an hour before the game, doing leap-frogging and gymnastics. Then they showed an interview with someone from the Bulgarian staff on these massive screens around the ground and he said, œI™m just glad we™ve all turned up. We only had nine men half an hour ago. In the stadium they were trying to be nice to everyone and they brought in these guys with red caps all dressed like Michael Jackson as extra security. We were in the German end and in the middle of the game this South American film crew come and sit in front of us, and I™m asking them to move. This red cap comes up and asks me what™s wrong, then a policeman comes over and he brings over this guy from the US soccer federation who looks like Ronald Reagan with white hair and he™s saying things like œIs your seat not comfortable sir? And I™m saying no, it™s fine, it™s just this film crew. Then he says œAh. You™re not German are you sir? I think they had this idea that football was like some germ from Europe that might infect them.

Cheers, Allan Houston! – N8′s 41 Comes With A Longer Thank-You List Than An Early ’80′s HC 7″

Posted in Basketball at 11:19 am by

Shake & bake! Not to take anything away from Nate Robinson’s astonishing performance in Friday’s OT win over Atlanta41 points off the bench after a month’s worth of DNP’s — but his postgame chat with MSG’s Tina Cervasio was almost as memorable. When Nate goes into full-on Academy Award acceptance mode, I can’t help but think he’s Private Pyle and Mike D’Antoni is the long suffering Sgt. Carter.

Harris : The Association Is One Big Gun Club

Posted in Basketball, Firearms at 11:03 am by

As more details emerge surrounding Gilbert Arenas’ alleged display/brandishing of firearms in the Wizards’ locker room, Nets PG Devin Harris tells the New York Daily News’ Mitch Abramson and Julian Garcia that Agent Zero is hardly alone when it comes to pro ballers possessing pistols.

“I mean, look at the situation,” said Harris, who added that he does not own a gun. “A lot of guys have been robbed. A couple of guys, God rest their souls, have passed away. I guess they feel like they need some sort of protection, I don’t know. I can’t speak for everybody. I’d say between 60 and 75% (of players own guns).”

Nets teammate Jarvis Hayes, who played with Arenas in Washington from 2003-07, agreed with Harris’ estimate – and he’s among the NBA players who pack heat.

“Yeah, I have (a gun),” Hayes said. “It’s in Atlanta, not here.”

Arenas, 27, in essence denied the reports Friday on Twitter, first tweeting, “I wake up this morning and seen I was the new John Wayne. … Media is too funny.”

Then, in a later post, he wrote, “I understand this is serious … but if u ever met me you know I don’t do serious things I’m a goofball.”

Harris probably wasn’t thinking of poker disputes, as both Antoine Walker and Eddy Curry can attest.


Dodd : Leach Shouldn’t Be The Only One Fired Over Shed-gate

Posted in Gridiron, Sports Journalism, Sports TV at 8:47 pm by

The circumstances surrounding Mike Leach’s dismissal at Texas Tech are equal parts sensational and uh, financial, at least in the view of the deposed head pirate who began a spirited public defense with an ESPN appearance early todayCBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd has been following the week’s events with great interest and considers it appropriate to shine a bright light on the actions of Craig James, ESPN analyst / father of malcontent WR Adam.  In the wake of Leach’s defense, muses Dodd, “Texas Tech better check its bank account and ESPN should consider firing their guy. First, he is now as radioactive as Leach in his own profession.”

I received two calls this week from people I trust saying James (above) had bothered coaches and that he had tried to leverage his influence at the network to get his son playing time. Big Daddy James had become a royal pain in the you-know-what. None of that should dismiss the assertion that Leach allegedly mistreated James’ son. But if a court ultimately rules in favor of Leach in what is sure to be an unlawful termination suit brought by Leach, James’ job could be in danger.

I thought from the beginning it was borderline unethical that friends and co-workers of James were reporting this story. It had that “railroad” smell to it from the beginning with James being portrayed as the protective parent.

There is definitely another side to this, a side that ESPN hasn™t reported until after the Times ran its story.  An ESPN employee said that it did report the e-mails written by assistant coach Lincoln Riley as well as a memo written by Texas Tech doctor Michael Phy before the Times story. Just throwing this out there but where was the Worldwide Leader™s info coming from “ James, his son, maybe both? That™s OK if Craig James worked for Fox. It™s not OK if he drives a story in his favor with his employer.

Pressure Group To Goodell : Boot The Who From SB XLIV

Posted in Gridiron, Leave No Child Unbeaten, Rock Und Roll, social crusaders at 8:03 pm by

Citing Pete Townsend’s 2003 arrest on charges of possessing child pornography, the Florida-based AbuseWatch.net is petitioning the NFL to have The Who removed from the Super Bowl halftime show, February 7.  From the December 24 edition of The Times :

Protect our Children has asked immigration authorities to stop him from entering the US on the grounds of his œmoral turpitude.

They said that the decision to hire Townshend showed a œblatant disregard for American family values and was œa slap in the face to victims of child sexual abuse. They warned the NFL that it risked a œbreathtakingly ugly public backlash.

Kevin Gillick, president of Protect our Children, which works to bring awareness of child abuse, said: œPeople tune in from all over the world and they are going to get a British sex offender on their screen. Townshend taking the stage at the Super Bowl is offensive to victims. We are incensed.

Though I was a little surprised it took this long for Townsend to be vilified by one of these organizations, it seems these folks have a had a hard on for Pete (if you’ll excuse the expression) for a while.  5 weeks before the Super Bowl doesn’t give the NFL much time to secure a suitable replacement, but with a new album to promote, perhaps R. Kelly will cut the league a deal?

Gambling Debts? That’s When Gilbert Arenas Reaches For His Revolver

Posted in Basketball, Firearms, Gambling, The Law at 1:37 pm by

Allegedly! The New York Post’s Peter Vescey and Ken K. Li claim Wizards G Gilbert Arenas and teammate Jarvis Crittenton threatened each other with handguns in their Verizon Center locker room on Christmas Eve, said incident occurring after the NBA began an investigation into Arena’s firearms possession.

The duel in DC — unprecedented in sports history — was sparked when Critten ton became enraged at the veteran guard for refusing to make good on a gambling debt, a source said.

“I’m not your punk!” Crittenton shouted at Arenas, according to a league source close to the Wizards.

That prompted Arenas to draw on Crittenton, who then also grabbed for a gun, league security sources said.

A playground pal of Crittenton’s from Atlanta, Kendrick “Bookie Ball” Long, confirmed the locker-room standoff and said he learned of it directly from the third-year player out of Georgia Tech.

“He [Arenas] was f- – -ing with him; he [Crittenton] was just defending himself!” declared Long, who said the dispute was over money but would not elaborate.

Quizzed by the Washington Post’s Michael Lee why he’d feel compelled to bring guns to his place of work,  Arenas replied “I’m a bank robber. I like to rob banks.” Probably not the sort of respone David Stern was hoping for,  and it should be pointed out this accusation of welshing on a debt is not the first time Gilbert’s been charged with an ethical lapse.