02.28.10

Something To Watch While Waiting For Nardwuar’s Sidney Crosby Interview

Posted in Free Expression, olympics at 5:51 pm by

One of the culturally dense contributors to The Sports Section recently described Nardwuar The Human Serviette as “a local (Vancouver) celebrity”. Funny, you’d think New York Magazine had internet access.

Frank Isola Puts His Coaching Record Right Up There With D’Antoni’s

Posted in Basketball at 3:02 pm by

The New York Post’s Marc Berman cited Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni’s “heated 4½-minute explanation on his philosophy about committing intentional fouls when his team is up three points in the final 15 seconds.”  Prior to last night’s home loss to Memphis and the resurgent Zach Randolph, D’Antoni chose not to instruct his charges to mug Wizards C Javelle McGee with 12 seconds left in regulation, with Washington’s Nick Young hitting a game-tying 3 moments later in a contest New York would ultimately win in O.T. Berman failed to mention, however, the cranky reply seemed to be aimed directly at the Daily News’ Frank Isola, who argues, “D™Antoni has been treated with kid™s gloves for almost two years. Only recently have issues like his lack of communication with the players, his lack of attention to defense and the lack of wins come to the forefront.”

This is less about D™Antoni™s strategy and more with how he is dealing with the slightest criticism. On Saturday, D™Antoni grew increasingly agitated when he addressed the matter before finally looking at me and saying, œOh that™s right, you™re undefeated as a coach.

Good one, Mike.

You™re absolutely correct. I have never had the privilege of coaching an NBA game and have never been in position to earn $6 million by making such life-or-death choices like deciding when or if to foul up three.

Not that it matters, but I do have the ultimate respect for coaches since it is their butt that is on the line when things don™t go right.

But if I were an NBA head coach making $6 million a year I would hope that I would understand that second guessing comes with the territory. (Or did the Garden stop teaching œHate and Don™t Trust the Press 101 during their wonderful media training classes.)

I was a little surprised that he felt the need to make a let-me-attempt-to-embarrass-the-reporter-in-front-of-his-peers remark by sarcastically saying that I was œundefeated as a coach.

(For the record, I was an assistant coach when my son™s team won the New Jersey U11 state soccer championship. Does that count? I™m guessing probably not since I was volunteering my time.)

Pete Hamill Ponders Willie Mays, Baseball’s Last Four Sewer Hitter

Posted in Baseball at 1:29 pm by

http://uptownflavor.files.wordpress.com/2007/07/mays.jpg

[Pictured, the real Willie Mays still dwarfed by his mythic image.]

It goes to show you how deeply steroids = baseball itself to some people, when Pete Hamill, reviewing the new Willie Mays bio in The New York Times, writes:

A long time ago in America, there was a beautiful game called baseball. This was before 30 major-league teams were scattered in a blurry variety of divisions; before 162-game seasons and extended playoffs and fans who watched World Series games in thick down jackets; before the D.H. came to the American League; before AstroTurf on baseball fields and aluminum bats on sandlots; before complete games by pitchers were a rarity; before ballparks were named for corporations instead of individuals; and long, long before the innocence of the game was permanently stained by the filthy deception of steroids.

In that vanished time, there was a ballplayer named Willie Mays.

And how.  For the record, ‘Ol Man Hamill appears to approve of desegregated baseball, night games, and (maybe) West Coast baseball.  And as a blogger without a copyeditor, I appreciate his use of sentence fragments throughout his piece.  Still, his dreamy memories and tired nostalgia in reviewing the new James Hirsch Willie Mays biography make your teeth grind all over again re the steroids era.  I’m guessing this is the first thing Hamill ever read about Willie Mays, since his impression of WM derives almost entirely from when Hamill was 12.

I mentioned Mays last week when Ernie Banks went off on steroids and Sammy Sosa.  Do the amphetamine driven ballplayers of Mays’s era deserve the same asterisks and loathing?  Hamill says that San Francisco’s windy Candlestick Park probably robbed Mays of over 100 HRs in his career.  He glosses over how many extra games, hits, HRs, whatever that Mays’ drug use may have brought him.  Mainly, I guess because Hirsch’s book does the same.  Mays nor anyone else from back then needs an asterisk, nor do Babe Ruth or Lou Gehrig for never facing a black ballplayer (well, ok, yes, that last era does).   Mays also gained lots of HRs in his lifetime as new ballparks were built as hitters parks …  However, only the adolescent perfection of Hamill’s pre-teen Brooklyn seems to matter as a yardstick here.  To him, steroids are apparently the only thing in baseball history that has “permanently stained” the innocence of the game.  Not segregation (90 years of it?), not pre-steroid era drugs, bans on free agency, the Black Sox, not the pre-union days of discarded and broken players without health care, not the totally arbitrary “golden age” of NY Babe Ruth baseball  v reality in determining records and Hall of Fame ballots or standards of achievement … nope, just steroids.  And Astro-turf.  Guys like Hamill wring their hands over the day they realized baseball is a big business.  For him, it was when the Dodgers moved to LA.  For a lot of us non-NewYorkers, that’s the day NYC finally ceased to be the center of baseball.

Ok, it’s just a game.  For many of us, it’s history, reflecting life in America.  That’s the real value of Hirsch’s book, and why reexamining Mays’ career again is worth while.   It’s not that Mays needs a takedown.  His career makes him worthy of serious treatment.  Not for this Paul Bunyon hooey of Hamill’s:  “The result: Hirsch has given us a book as valuable for the young as it is for the old. The young should know that there was once a time when Willie Mays lived among the people who came to the ballpark. That on Harlem summer days he would join the kids playing stickball on St. Nicholas Place in Sugar Hill and hold a broom-handle bat in his large hands, wait for the pink rubber spaldeen to be pitched, and routinely hit it four sewers. The book explains what that sentence means. Above all, the story of Willie Mays reminds us of a time when the only performance-enhancing drug was joy.”

If memory serves, that four sewer moment of Mays playing ball on Sugar Hill was staged for Life magazine.  It’s why people recall it so vividly. The press was there to cover it for a national magazine, as PR, to inform kids like Hamill of a myth that they still hold dear and insist on selling us today.

02.27.10

A Nation of Sports Journalists Won’t Have Chico Harlan To Kick Around Any More

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 7:17 pm by

The Washington Post’s Chico Harlan achieved a modest level of national celebrity last year, telling another publication “I don’t like sports. I am embarrassed that I cover them.” At the time, CSTB’s David Roth said of Harlan’s gig — beat reporter covering the hapless Washington Nationals — “it’s either an amazing job or something much shittier, depending on how you feel about interviewing Austin Kearns 190 times a year.” As he’s bolting Spring Training to become the WaPo’s Tokyo correspondent, Harlan admits he’s endured a grind of sorts (“in my tenure as the Nats writer, I’ve seen 205 losses, two GMs, two managers, one ‘deliberate, premeditated fraud,’and at least one pitcher released when the GM got ‘tired of watching him’”), but waves goodbye to his old job with equal parts contrition and gratitude.

The stuff I said last year, I deserved everything that followed. Covering baseball is a privilege; I learned that too late. Keeping your mouth shut and working hard is a duty; I learned that too late as well. Since the publication of those Washingtonian quotes, I’ve apologized to people, and I’ve asked the tough questions about why I got myself in trouble (ego? hubris?), and I’ve obviously taken another job that has nothing whatsoever to do with food writing, a venture that probably sounded good at the time only because it didn’t involve Daniel Cabrera. I learned this too late, also: A man should start talking only when he knows what to say.

It is for others to judge, eventually, but I hope I am leaving this job as a better, wiser person than the one who began it. This job, everything about it, has been worthwhile.

Luke Scott, Would-Be Gilbert Arenas of the Big Leagues

Posted in Baseball, Firearms, General at 7:14 pm by

Luke Scott is something of a CSTB favorite, both because of his proud evangelizing for concealed-carry firearm-related heroism — original version here, enhanced-danger remix here — and improbable at-bat music. But mostly because of a degree of loud-and-proud gun nuttery intense enough to get Charles Bronson added to the “Most Similar” listings on his Baseball Reference page. Brendan Flynn delivers the news — as well as what I’m going to more or less run as a guest post — on Scott’s newest cause. Namely, Scott’s fervent hopes to exercise his right to bear arms in the Baltimore Orioles locker room, as reported by the Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec. Here’s Zrebiec, quoting Scott:

“There is a good reason behind the rule, I can’t deny that,” Scott says. “The reason is you cannot trust 25 guys in a locker room to have the same respect and training as I do with a weapon. That I do understand. I’ve carried a gun for 10 years. I’ve carried them in the locker room, and nobody really knows about it. I know how to handle myself, and I stow it away where nobody really knows about it.

The ban was actually put in place in July, largely in response to the Plaxico Burress situation in which the former New York Giants wide receiver accidentally shot himself in a New York City nightclub in November 2008. However, MLB recently sent out reminders to players and the ban has also been posted in clubhouses for the first time…

“We have good security,” Scott said. “It’s hard to get in here. Barring a tactical entry where terrorists come in and hold us hostage, that’s about the only thing that could possibly warrant me carrying a gun in the clubhouse. That’s highly unlikely, and I admit that. But my personal belief is I don’t want to suffer from the poor choices of others.”

And here’s Brendan:

If Scott’s statements–that he had guns in the clubhouse and no one knew–are taken at face value, I wonder how he got a conceal and carry permit in MD. They have a pretty strict standard that for personal use includes the following requirement for personal permits: “Personal Protection: There must be documented evidence of recent threats, robberies, and/or assaults, supported by official police reports or notarized statements from witnesses.”

I’m not sure Scott’s rationale for need meets this standard… It’s sure possible personal threats have been made against Scott, but I’d guess Aubrey Huff, Glenn Davis and Jeffrey Maier have a greater need for such permits.

Good points all. Well, not Luke Scott, although I gather he’s right about the “tactical entry” bit, probably. The thing with concealed-carry gun permits is that while they strike me as an implausibly bad idea, they’re also kind of not something I concern myself with, as I live in a city that does not really want people wearing guns to the deli or Quizno’s or whatever. Most of what I know about Concealed Carry of Weapons I learned last week, in this excellent piece by Abe Sauer at The Awl. Luke Scott, I sense, has spent a lot more time thinking about this issue — and fantasizing about Red Dawn style “tactical strikes” on Camden Yards before some June game against the Blue Jays — than I have.

Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey : Theismann To Ryan Shawcross’ L.T.

Posted in Football at 3:45 pm by

Squeamish persons who’ve not yet seen the vicious tackle (above) from Arsenal’s 3-1 win at Stoke earlier today…don’t worry about it. You can’t really see anything in this clip.

Hideki Okajima Pretends He Has No Idea Where To Eat In Boston

Posted in Baseball, Food at 3:11 pm by

It’s been a long time since the Pizza Pad and the HooDoo Barbeque were amongst Kenmore Square’s pre or postgame grub choices, but is that any excuse for a well paid member of the Boston Red Sox to feign ignorance over the city’s myriad fine dining choices? The Globe’s Peter Abraham claims reliever Hideki Okajima “has yet to partake in any of the city™s charms, outside of Fenway Park…he is there to throw strikes, not see the sights.”

“I haven™t really looked around that much. I came to Boston to play baseball, not to be a tourist,™™ Okajima said this week during one of the extended interviews he has granted since coming from Japan in 2007. œWhen there™s a day off this year, maybe I™ll go out some more than I have. I have heard the city is nice.™™

Okajima couldn™t even come up with the name of a favorite restaurant, tilting his head and thinking while interpreter Ryo Shinkawa waited for a response.

œI usually eat at home, my wife™s cooking is the best,™™ Okajima finally said. œThat is my answer. But I have had some good Italian dinners in Boston.™™

Pete’s new to the Boston beat, so I’ll cut him some slack in not knowing Okajima — a noted gourmet — originally signed with the Red Sox after reading an incorrect CSTB item claiming Buzzy’s Roast Beef would be opening a new Charles St. superstore after an extended absence. Buzzy’s is legendary through the Far East and Okajima, being a man of principal, refuses to tear up his Red Sox contract (accurately described by Abraham as a huge bargain for the club), despite the almost crippling disappointment he must feel everytime he checks Urban Spoon for news of Buzzy’s’ revival.

WEEI Continues To Embrace Nu Media

Posted in Sports Radio at 2:00 pm by

(above : afternoon radio host who will have to send his own harassing text messages for the next 5 working days)

Over the past two years, Boston’s WEEI has engaged in an aggressive embrace of vehicles beyond mere-sports yack , with the radio ratings juggernaut spending freely to position itself as an online sports portal ala ESPN.com. Perhaps that competitive stance went a little too far, writes the Boston Herald’s Jessica Haslem, as Glenn Ordway producer Andy Massaua has been hit with a one-week suspension for text-pesting WEEI’s rivals at WBZ.

œAndy (has to) think about, and reflect, on his irresponsible and sophomoric actions that will not be tolerated by this station, said WEEI-AM (850) program honcho Jason Wolfe.

Damon Amendolara, also known as D.A., the nighttime host on WBZ-FM, said he couldn™t even read about 80 percent of the WEEI producer™s texts on the air during his show Thursday.

The texts, he said, were aimed at several Sports Hub employees, including Amendolara and Chuck Perks, who does sports updates and used to work at WEEI.

Amendolara read some of the texts on-air, including one thinly veiled homophobic insult, œD.A., isn™t Chuck Perks™ strength spinning records . . . in P-town?

Amendolara, who never identified Massaua by name, said the texter™s number was the first the station ever œred-flagged as a problem. The station called the phone number and got the ™EEI producer™s voice mail, he said.

02.26.10

Cheer Up, Greece. You Could Be Chester City F.C.

Posted in Football, The Marketplace at 10:04 pm by

Slightly overshadowed by the financial woes of EPL side Portsmouth F.C. is the fate of Chester City, a club whose 126 year run seems to be coming to a farcical conclusion.  Chester were docked 25 points after entering adminstration at the end of last season, and have failed to make payroll (or turn up for matches) on multiple occasions this year. From The Argus’ Steve Hollis :

Blue Square premier clubs, including Crawley and Eastbourne Borough, have voted to expel Chester City from the competition.

The decision was reached at a meeting at Rushden and Diamonds this morning where more than 75% of the clubs agreed with the Football Conference’s recomendation to throw Chester out.

It means all of Chester’s results so far this season will be expunged. That means Crawley, who have yet to play Chester, move up two places in the table to ninth and also close the gap on six of the eight teams above them.

There’s Two Kinds Of People In This World :

Posted in record collector disease, Rock Und Roll at 8:26 pm by

A) Persons who pay too much for Nazi Dust records and B) everyone else.

Jay McGwire Joins Jose Canseco in Exclusive Mark McGwire Biographers Club

Posted in Baseball, Medical Science at 5:19 pm by

http://littlesewnsews.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/plushenko_EWW.jpg

[Pictured, Mark McGwire reporting to Cardinal Spring Training.]

A second tell-all is on the horizon regarding Mark McGwire’s steroid use, and it begs the questions, a) how much more do we want to know (even about Cardinal steroid use), and b) just how much of a spite generating, grudge-inducing bastard is Mark McGwire to inspire two books on his steroid career?  I mean, this is the “aw garsh” bawling bash brother who burst into tears in front of media while accepting his massive Cardinal contract (while  doping). Apparently, Canseco, and MM’s own biological bashing brother, have no problem laying him out cold.  What’s up?  Not surprisingly, Jay McGwire is on his big brother’s You’re Dead To Me list.  As the AP reports,  the feud apparently started over Mark McGwire giving Jay’s son a swat on the butt.  Of course, what’s left out is that given McGwire’s strength at the time, the kid flew an impressive 600 feet:

Jay McGwire says in the book that he persuaded his brother to start using steroids regularly in 1994 and set him up with a supplier. He says Mark regularly used an array of drugs through 1996 that included Deca-Durabolin, human growth hormone, Dianabol, Winstrol and Primobolan. McGwire later used androstenedione, a steroid precursor that wasn’t banned by baseball until 2004, when it became a controlled substance.

“I’ve already come out and said what I’ve done and apologized,” Mark said. “As far as I’m concerned there’s really nothing new. It’s kind of sad as a brother what he’s done, but I’ve moved on from it.”

Jay McGwire, a former bodybuilder who turns 40 on May 5, said he was introduced to steroids by friends in 1989, beginning with pills of Anavar. He says his brother only gave in to using steroids after an injury-filled 1993 season.

McGwire hit 70 homers for the Cardinals in 1998, shattering Roger Maris’ record of 61 set in 1961.

The brothers haven’t spoken since 2002. They fell out after Jay McGwire’s stepson, Eric, tickled Mark and caused Mark to spill coffee on himself. Mark then swatted Eric on the backside. Jay’s wife, Francine, then refused to attend Mark’s wedding.


Johnny B Badd : Schooling Young Mets On How To Suck Up To Journalists

Posted in Baseball at 3:17 pm by

Metsblog’s Matthew Cerrone reports the Amazins were made to endure a “media training session” earlier today in Port St. Lucie led by former Mets Darryl Strawberry, Mookie Wilson and John Franco.

That’s the same Franco, by the way, who last season assailed his old ballclub for a “no leadership”, leading David Wright to respond the former Captain Fucko “doesn’t know what’s going on in this clubhouse”.   The former closer is a weird choice for such an advisory role, but perhaps Gary Carter is otherwise occupied.

Former ROY Eric Hinske Thoroughly Uninterested In Being Buried In A Jewish Cemetary

Posted in Baseball at 3:11 pm by

Newly acquired utility dude Eric Hinske ascribes “no special significance” to the above design, writes the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Jeff Schultz of the newly 45 hours of tattoo work that cost the former Blue Jay nearly $5K.  To paraphrase Mike Piazza’ diss of Pedro Martinez,  all that money and you just can’t buy class.

œIt™s just traditional Japanese styling tattoo, he said. œI got a tattoo of a cross on my left arm when my grandfather died and I liked it so then I got one of a dragon on my other arm. I just liked the way it looked. Then I got addicted to it and I couldn™t stop. I had my arms and chest plates done so I just wanted to tie it all together so it looked like 0ne big piece. So I just got this big Japanese warrior and this snake wrapped around with the snake™s mouth open, with wind and clouds and stuff. It™s pretty cool.

Indie Grappling Promoter : The Iron Sheik Killed My Wedding

Posted in History's Great Hook-Ups, Professional Wrestling at 11:50 am by

Maryland Championship Wrestling booker Dan McDevitt has a plethora of funny stories to share with Express Night Out’s Chris Porter, and unsurprisingly, the nu-media sensation / shoot interview dynamo that is The Iron Sheik is at the center of one of ‘em. McDevitt might have made some questionable decisions in his wrestling career, but none more costly than inviting the Sheik to his wedding in 2005.

“My wife’s side of the family knows nothing about wrestling, they’re not into wrestling ” so they’re very much normal. And the Sheik gets up there and says I’m one of his closest friends and what a great person I am and he loves me so much ” “Danny McDermitt.” So, he calls me by the wrong name ” and I think, ‘Oh, this is going to be good.’

“So, he’s drunk, and he says, ‘I just want to say to everybody, I have so much respect for Danny because he didn’t kill the Jews like Hitler. And he’s not like Saddam Hussein. And he’s not a no good son-of-a-bitch like Osama bin Laden.’ And I’m sitting there thinking, ‘Man, to make me sound like a good guy, did you have to compare me to the three worst dictators in the world?’

“Meanwhile, my side of the place ” the wrestling [side] ” is going crazy, screaming and yelling. And my wife’s side of the family is absolutely horrified.

“Then Stevie Richards comes running and pulls out a ‘Hulkamania’ sign and [Sheik] goes into a tangent about ” [the usual one] you’ve heard on YouTube.

“Everybody on my side of the family is in tears; my wife’s side of the family is getting up and leaving, walking out of the hall. It was kind of just downhill from there ” 10 months later I was divorced.”

02.25.10

In Alexander Ovechkin’s Defense…

Posted in General at 11:42 pm by

….perhaps he simply mistook the cameraman for Jaromir Jagr?

02.24.10

Spray It Ain’t So : Scalabrine’s Tan

Posted in Basketball, Sports Radio at 8:18 pm by

CelticsHub.com’s Brian Robb has a stronger constitution than most hoops bloggers, spending his early Wednesday morning chronicling the spray-tan exploits of Boston’s Brian Scalabrine. It seems a local radio outlet challenged Scalabrine to submit to a tanning procedure if they were able to elicit a quarter-million All-Star votes from their listeners.

Hosts Toucher and Rich choose today strategically, knowing the C™s would be playing a nationally televised game tomorrow against the Cavs for Scal to debut his new look. While it was a smart date to choose, there was a lot of anxiety around the trade deadline last week that Scal might be traded, throwing a wrench in the potential bet payoff. Danny Ainge hung onto his prized 11th man, allowing the tanning to go on as scheduled today.

Call me crazy, but I don™t think the tan looks that bad on Scal. In fact, I wouldn™t be surprised to see him do it more often.

McCoy To Attend Combine, Won’t Demonstrate His Most Marketable Skill

Posted in Gridiron at 5:35 pm by

Imagine, if you will, turning up for a piano bar audition and declining an invite to, y’know, play the piano? Applying for a job as a short-order cook but refusing to cook a meal for your prospective employer? That’s sort of what’s happening with former Texas QB Colt McCoy, last seen in public talking about not being able to feel anything in his right arm.

After being KO’d 5 plays into the Longhorns’ National Championship defeat to Florida last month, McCoy has been advised by Dr. James Andrews not to throw any passes at the upcoming NFL Scouting Combine, reports ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. Texas’ all-time QB leader in wins and TD passes, “will participate in all other drills at the event”, writes Sir Mort, with McCoy instead choosing to showcase his throwing abilities at UT’s pro day, March 31. Why McCoy is even participating in the meat market combine is hard to fathom, but if he’s able to grip a clipboard in public, that could be sufficient evidence of his future qualifications.

The Most Amazing Thing About Sachin Tendulkar’s ODI Double Century…

Posted in Cricket at 5:32 pm by

….is that someone scored 200 runs and there’s no evidence Oliver Perez allowed any of ‘em!

How The Other One Half Of One Percent Lives: Fightin’ McCourts Continue Campaign To Make Wilpons Look Good

Posted in Baseball, Greedy Motherfuckers at 2:50 pm by

If the economic collapse of the last year-plus has given us anything, it’s a crazed and broken discourse, tragically unserious meta-politics, soaring unemployment and crashing faith in the idea of virtuous citizenship. Which, you know, thanks a lot for that. But if it has given us anything else, the economic collapse has provided bleak proof that those of us who felt like we kind of didn’t get it weren’t actually missing anything about the mega-rich solons of the now-smoldering old economy.

Those idiots turning the Lower East Side of Manhattan into a shrieking frat-bumout? Actually idiots, and as bad at their jobs as they were at not-ruining bars. Big-time real estate douches leveling neighborhoods, gobbling up tax breaks and raising identikit glass-dildo condos? Currently broke, towers in foreclosure. Those sage billionaire CEOs with their vague positivism and savvy-rich-dude ebullience? Yeah, they didn’t necessarily know what they were talking about either. What kind of smelled bad but seemed to be working turned out to be both more rotten than we could’ve imagined and totally defective, and those inexplicable millionaires held up as heroes of capital — and who will be again, as long as we labor under the belief that millionaires create jobs, as opposed to the other way around — turned out to be every bit as feckless and crass and venal and deeply mediocre as we could’ve imagined. The economic collapse gave us that, but I’m still not sure these months of disillusionment prepared us for just how terrible Frank and Jamie McCourt — the owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers (and LA real estate magnate) and his soon-to-be-ex-wife (above) — actually are. I don’t know that anything could have.

The venality and childishness of their split and the implausible extravagance of their life together has been covered both here and in the less widely read Los Angeles Times — the $600k in salaries paid out to McCourt kids with other full-time gigs, the former Mrs. McCourt’s request for nearly a million dollars a month in spousal support, and so barfily on. In the Los Angeles Times, Michael Hiltzik reveals the unsurprising (if still kind of nauseating) fact that the McCourts paid a grand total of zero dollars in state and federal income taxes on their $108 million in income between 2004 and ’09. The secret of their success: creative use of depreciation and refinancing on their assets, very good lawyers, the ability to take Juan Pierre and Andruw Jones’ terrible contracts as tax write-offs, and just generally being pretty awful people:

The tax benefits reaped by the McCourts helped turbocharge their lifestyle. There are eight houses, including four in Holmby Hills and Malibu. The McCourts treated their family and business checkbooks as “largely one and the same,” according to an e-mail from a McCourt executive Jamie filed in court. (Oddly, the e-mail ascribes to her the philosophy of “why have a family business but to support the family lifestyle.”)

…The point is not to begrudge the McCourts these luxuries. The point is to question why we as taxpayers should subsidize them. Jamie asserts that, although the state of Massachusetts is auditing the couple’s personal returns for 2006 (they used to be based in the Bay State), neither California nor the Internal Revenue Service is doing so. This raises another question: Why not?

Can we as taxpayers be confident we aren’t paying more than our fair share? Jamie alleges that for the purposes of the divorce, Frank has manipulated the business accounts to make himself look $670 million poorer than he is. Delivering fake numbers to the IRS is a rather different matter from delivering them to your spouse in a divorce action, but the McCourts structured their business as a stew with a lot of complicated ingredients, which makes it hard to verify that all the tax breaks are fully warranted.

…”Only the little people pay taxes,” [Leona Helmsley] reportedly told a maid. The lesson of the McCourts is slightly different: The little people pay taxes for the big people.

I’ve never been divorced and I’ve never been rich, so maybe I’m lacking some perspective on this. But I’m inspired, queasily, to tip my hat to the enduring Republican rhetorical tack of painting America’s richest people as an oppressed minority beset on all sides by ACORN and ponytailed left-wing college profs and union laborers demanding health care. I don’t know how the hell that works, but I see it surviving even the McCourts, somehow.

02.23.10

Guardian Scribe : Evander’s Couch Time With Dr. Phil Would’ve Been An Unreal Deal

Posted in "Wife Beater" Is Not A Fashion Statement, Boxing at 10:41 pm by

No sooner was Evander Holyfield’s heavyweight bout with Francois Botha scrapped on account of poor ticket sales in Uganda —surely Kamala could’ve helped the undercard? — than the man Charley Steiner once called “the 50th best boxer (in Georgia)” confirmed he and wife no. 3 Candi would appear alongside Dr. Phil to discuss the state of their marriage.  In the considered view of the Guardian’s Keith Mitchell, no good whatsoever would come of this public exchange (and apparently, Holyfield eventually agreed)

While the battering a professional boxer hands out to his wife clearly is no joke, how can anyone take seriously the peddling of supposedly deep psychological problems in front of a retired shrink and a studio full of drooling ghouls, not to mention those hypnotised stay-at-homes who can’t find the remote?

Holyfield (above, right) and Candi could barely contain their lust to join the celebrity queue which leads on to redemption, global rediscovery and rebranding, an exercise in commercial crassness made possible only by the willingness of millions of fools to watch it.

The “Verse of the day” on Holyfield’s website yesterday was: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John, 4:18).

How true. Evander has been so diligent in his pursuit of perfect love down the years he has managed to father 11 children by three different women, driving out fear at a rate that would scare the devil himself.

Slate’s Shafer: Kornheiser’s Hannah Storm-Related Idiocy Is Just Tony Being Tony

Posted in Hate Fuck Radio, Sports Journalism at 7:42 pm by

I think my answer to the question, “What do you aspire to as a writer?” would be something along the lines of “a sinecure.” By which I mean one of those columnist-at-large type gigs where you kind of weigh in as you see fit on what you see fit — not dissimilar to my CSTB gig, really, but maybe with health insurance. I suppose I still write about what I want whenever I can, job-wise, but it’s not a business model I’d really recommend to others.

So it’s with a combination of envy and admiration that I regard Slate’s Jack Shafer, an ultra-crusty libertarian whose charge at the site seems to be to periodically frag long-form journalistic pieces (and the occasional journalist) while functioning as a sort of example for the other folks on staff: “Here,” the staffers might be told, “is an actual-existing contrarian, one of the few purebred examples of the species left in the wild. He flings his excrement, so be careful.” I don’t necessarily love the guy’s work, but after a long career busting his ass for assorted newspapers, it’s hard to say he doesn’t deserve it.

And sometimes, Shafer’s long and grudge-y memory can pay dividends for readers. For instance when he dumps on hilariously pompous New Republic publisher Martin Peretz for his hilarious pomposity (and poor blogging) or, today, when he lays into Tony Kornheiser (above) for being, basically, Tony Kornheiser. GC noted Tony K’s less-than-liberated radio riff on Hannah Storm’s wardrobe last week, and Kornheiser was recently placed on a sort of idiocy sabbatical by the WWL. While Kornheiser’s taking some time off to scream at people in grocery stores, Shafer punches in for one of his occasional columns and delivers a brief history of Kornheiserian jerkery before meandering off in the general direction of a contrarian, ESPN-brass-are-hypocrites-too conclusion. So:

Back in 1990, when I used my media column in Washington City Paper to ridicule Kornheiser’s work in the Washington Post, he retaliated in his Sunday humor column by having a fictional lifestyle psychiatrist say, “Well, the symptoms were so obvious even my imbecile lab technician Shafer, whom we can’t trust with anything more complicated than collecting the urine specimens, could see it.”

In 2000, still working at the Post, Kornheiser got Dave McKenna canned as a Post sports stringer for denouncing, in a Washington City Paper piece, Kornheiser’s essential “meanness.”

In 2005, after Stephen Rodrick gently criticized Kornheiser in Slate, he used his radio show to call for Slate to stop using the freelancer’s work.

In 2006, Kornheiser flipped out when Post Style reporter Paul Farhi panned Kornheiser’s debut on Monday Night Football… On Dan Patrick’s radio show, Kornheiser added, “I apparently got ripped in my own newspaper, the Washington Post, you know, by a two-bit weasel slug named Paul Farhi, who I would gladly run over with a Mack truck given the opportunity.”

…Kornheiser is one of those guys whose ugly side is his only side. But the fact that ESPN has suddenly taken to punishing Kornheiser for being an oozing bag of pus and venom raises more questions about the network than it does about the employee.

Shafer also links to this remarkable David Carr piece from the New York Times, which goes into greater depth on Kornheiser’s vendetta against the very excellent McKenna. Kornheiser will obviously be back on the air, likely without having to apologize and almost certainly unchastened, soon enough. Like Shafer, he’s not someone I imagine I’d really want to spend any time with. But like Shafer, too, he at least seems to be exactly as difficult as his public works suggest. I guess there’s something to be said for that, maybe?

Cubs “Inbox”: Does Zambrano Need a Psychiatrist; Ernie Banks, Not My Mr. Cub; Congrats on Sammy Sosa’s Post-Career Ascension to Single Season HR King Status

Posted in Baseball at 7:30 pm by

["Buy me some peanuts and crack ...", can't say Eddie Vedder doesn't have his moments.]

Welcome  to the first Cubs Mailbag of 2010.  Fans may bitch about our No Big Moves Off-Season of 2009-2010, but how about renaming the legendary Cubs Mailbag?  Meet your new Cubs’ “Inbox!”  How Sam Zell missed selling naming rights to it I don’t know.  I for one am sorry not to see the “Captain Morgan Bag ‘o Mailbooty,” but even Zell’s eagle eye missed a nickel here and there.  Nor were fans consulted.  I like the Ricketts’ use of Executive Power here.  The Trib Cubs usually announced even the slightest of moves as a “planned change,” meaning months of No Lights! style fan protests demanding they keep using the old-timey mailbag Ron Santo used.  “Inbox …”, it sounds strangely contemporary for anything Cub “ especially for a ball club residing in a 1914 rusting hulk of a park that remains baseball™s equivalent to the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. It™s like watching a History Channel show, say on Hitler™s shoe factories (Boots of Destruction:  How the Nazis Walked Across Europe, if you haven’t seen it) and someone said œDrive-thru window.  Well, first things first …

First, Congrats Sammy Sosa!:  I’m catching up here, so I have to mention Mark McGwire’s arrival at Spring Training after his emotional confession of drug use for the Cardinal payroll office on national TV.  What does that mean to the Cubs?  It means Sammy Sosa is the legit single season HR king, that’s what.  Bonds, McGwire, the Ultimate Warrior, and all other needle users aside, Sammy has admitted nothing.  While it will surprise no one with eyes if he does admit it, no one can get it out of him.  The New York Times last year claimed Sammy doped, but the Times was discredited when challenged by the player™s association and the paper had to admit (or as they put it, were “unclear“) that they did not have an accurate list of doped players.  I said last year that the NYTs Michael S. Schmidt was getting fed by the gov’t, and it looks more and more like it every day.  Since the gov™t returned œthe list, Schmidt, has been somewhat silent on the issue and has been reassigned as a burrough ambulance chaser writing up guys in the Bronx beating up their moms with frying pans.

Yes, I thought, if Sammy can just keep his mouth shut for four years, Cooperstown and a Bronze Ranger Cap await. You™d think Cub fans would appreciate Sammy™s unrivaled stature as baseball royalty.  Instead, none other than Mr. Cub himself, Ernie Banks, asked Sammy to œcome clean.  On the Cardinals, Tony La Russa brings McGwire back in the fold.  With the Cubs, Ernie Banks plays Judge Judy.  Let me offer six words never heard before in Wrigley :  œHey Ernie, Shut the Fuck Up.  Well, not heard since Leo Durocher managed him, anyway.  If Ernie wants questions answered, he should play with kids his own age.  How about Willie Mays’ incredibly contemporary sounding non-denial non-admission of using amphetamines, as reported in the new James Hirsch bio of Willie?   Me, I’d like to hear about how hard Ernie pushed for a decent team out of PK Wrigley.  I’d like some answers from Ernie about my sitting through so many lousy Cubs seasons rather than him becoming one more self-righteous voice on steroids.

The State of the Cubs: With Milton Bradley gone, the Cubs settled into a pretty quiet off-season regarding moves.  Well, they did give their usual vote of confidence to closer Carlos Marmol, who has suffered through Kerry Wood and Kevin Gregg, by offering him a wopping one-year contract.  The common wisdom, as CBS blogger Danny Knobler reports here, is to write off last season to injuries and point out that the squad itself is solid.  Solid, but older “  I have less faith in seeing a 2008 Dempster or Zambrano in 2010 than the official Cub line allows.  With Milton Bradley unavailable to wear a target on his back for all things failing, other questions will come up, like why Piniella and Hendry can’t get Zambrano to work.  Knobler does point out that the Cubs were tied with the Cardinals in first place through August 7, despite all distractions.  The brightest news for me out of Spring Training so far is perhaps Jim Hendry’s prediction of the team’s new owners, the Ricketts Family, as being something like the O’Malleys and the Dodgers.  Walter O’Malley … the guy who tore down Ebbetts Field?  Sounds good to me.  The idea of a forward thinking anything in the Cubs front office is welcome news.

So, Lou Piniella is returning in a much more optimistic mood.  The Cubs finished 2008 with 97 wins and then choked in the play-offs because of their 100-years-without-a-title œstress issues.  Piniella ordered some sports psychology books from Amazon to deal with such psych-outs, resulting in a 2009 83-78 finish, a Cardinal division title, and driving the volatile-but-successful Milton Bradley into an muted depression and failure.  I don™t know, maybe Piniella mistakenly ordered some books o Guanatamo Bay psy-ops books on breaking men down, cuz that was the result.

As to the inbox mailbag itself, the name changed but not the rules:  I answer the actual questions Carrie Muskat receives from Cub fans nationwide, or at least most of downstate, Internet-free Illinois.  I simply answer the questions the way I think Carrie would, if not for contractual obligations and the common courtesy her job requires.

I see that the Cubs signed Nady. I know when he was with the Pirates, he killed us, especially in Wrigley. What are his career numbers at Wrigley? I think the Cubs could definitely use him as a backup to Kosuke Fukudome and Alfonso Soriano. — Mark A., Momence, Ill.

Hello, Mark.  The Inbox has many fond memories of flying over Momence …  God Bless.  The good news is that Nady has a career .304 average in 28 games at Wrigley Field with two homers, eight doubles, and 15 RBIs.  The bad news is that, as a Cub, he won™t be facing Cub pitching.

I’m pretty optimistic about Zambrano this year. He seems to have a better attitude and looks to be in better shape. Is there any way the Cubs could hire a shrink to work with him in the dugout between innings? Considering his $90 million contract, this could be good insurance. Are there any other options out there for keeping him sane? — James P., Naperville, Ill.

A shrink?   Please see my views on Lou and psychology above.  Mr.Zambrano is a near-sighted, potassium-challenged, banana-eating Gatorade-machine smashing super-talented slouch. He signed his $90 million deal and then, after his no-hitter, declared he was retiring once the contract was up because he™d missed too many Mothers Days.  Can shrinks fix that?  The old Lou Piniella used to do it by kicking Rob Dibble™s ass in the Reds clubhouse, and they won a World Series.  Wow, thinking of that moment makes me wish Kevin Gregg had stayed at least until Opening Day.

I heard the Cubs are staying in Arizona. If this is true, how come there are still talks about moving to Florida? Also, how long would the contract be for the Cubs if they did stay in Arizona? — Justin G., McHenry, Ill.

Hello, Justin.  Good ˜ol McHenry ¦ I miss seeing it™s name roll by on WGN™s Tornado Watch crawls.  As the Irish like to say, may your trailer be right side up an hour before the devil knows your dead.  It™s not true that the Cubs were ever moving to Florida.  As Sam Zell retired from baseball, he scouted locations for a senior home down there.  Within days of arriving at the Golden Age Estate, however, he began leverage-loaning residents™ cash against their walkers and scooters. He was asked to leave, but is currently too heavily anchored in resident pension funds, which he is using as collateral on the walker loans.  Hard to break old habits, I guess.  Updates on this situation will be provided during the season.

Any more news on whether the Cubs will retire Dawson’s number? I know they said they would retire it if he went into the Hall of Fame as a Cub, but I think they should retire No. 8 anyways. Greg Maddux most likely will go into the Hall as a Brave and the Cubs retired his number. Also, I think it’s garbage he’s going in as an Expo. If he wants to go in as a Cub, let him go in as a Cub. It was his career and he knows which organization he benefited with and associates himself with the most. Plus, the Expos have a total of about 17 fans while there are millions of Cubs fans who would appreciate it more. — Joshua S., Elmhurst, Ill.

The Inbox agrees with you Josuha, let the Expos retire his damn number.  Actually, with the Expos out of business, all their numbers were retired.  There™s also the fact that Dawson™s Expos cap was not his choice, but the Hall™s.  After 9 attempts to get into the Hall, he still bitched about it.  You™d think Dawson wouldn™t push the issue, you know?  Like, fine, put me in a Kansas City Pilots hat, just put me in the Hall already.  I guess they™re building up to the next big Cub indictee inductee Mr. Cub, Sammy Sosa.

When do individual game tickets go on sale? — Gary I., Decatur, Tenn.

œIndividual game tickets? Wow, still can™t find a date, Gary?

02.22.10

Italy’s F.A. To The Special One : It’s Hard To Wave In Handcuffs

Posted in Football at 8:35 pm by

Upon seeing his Inter side reduced to 9 men during a scoreless draw with Sampdoria over the weekend, manager José Mourinho made a crossed arm gesture to photographers and TV cameras (above), earning a 3-match suspension in the process.  While Mourinho’s boss has one explanation for The Special One’s actions, there’s a far more disturbing hypothesis being floated — that the former Chelsea gaffer is expressing a kinship for the likes of Sean Waltman.

Sandy Koufax’s Toughest Tutorial Assignment

Posted in Baseball at 6:50 pm by

(guy in the middle reacts to guy on the right explaining how much he was paid per win last season)

While some segment of the blogosphere is agog over photos of David Wright reporting to Spring Training in a tight shirt, Noah K. Murray of the Star Ledger came up with a far more impressive snapshot earlier today. After Fred Wilpon summoned Keith Hernandez from his winter vacation to school Daniel Murphy in the finer points of, well, not fielding like Danny Murphy, it appears as though the Mets’ principal owner has successful convinced Sandy Koufax to lend words of advice to mega-erratic lefty Oliver Perez.

It’s another fascinating development at a Mets camp that apparently cannot possibly accommodate too many catchers. It’s nice that Fred is calling in so many favors, though wouldn’t it have been great if Captain Fucko had been provided with investment guidance from another Wilpon crony?

If You Happen To Find Yourself In The Alleged Live Music Capital Of The World During Mid-March (Pt. III)…

Posted in Internal Affairs, Rock Und Roll at 6:20 pm by

CSTB’s highly unofficial-not-affiliated-with-SXSW-in-the-slightest event on Wednesday, March 17 has already been noted in this space, but it appears Cumbucket Media has an insatiable appetite for promoting poorly attended afternoon rock shows.

Have Tommy Keene & Grant Hart ever shared a stage before? Is this a 2010 event or an attempt to reunite Austin area subscribers of The Bob? All kidding aside, both gentlemen are very much at the height of their creative powers, as recent albums & shows have evidenced. Simple Circuit, Sally Crewe & The Sudden Moves and The Zoltars round out the more tuneful portion of the afternoon, all of ‘em in world-class form. Monterrey, Mexico’s XYX, no strangers to Austin stages, are on a good day, the best band in the world. Presumably, they have bad days, too. They’re only human.

Austin’s Dikes Of Holland were recently disparaged by a local blogger as “atonal…obnoxious” and guilty of “malicious drilling repetition” Hey, one man’s bad review is another’s tip for the top. Frankly, I’d like to meet the person responsible for this review and beat his brains in, but it seems someone’s already done the job.

Between 12:10 and 12:35, the Air Traffic Controllers will be tuning up.