02.21.10

Dismayed By NBC’s Olympic Hockey Coverage? Larry Brooks Would Like You To STFU

Posted in Hockey, olympics, Sports TV at 6:34 pm by

(Team Canada’s Scott Niedermayer : he’s no Evan Lysacek, but he’s trying very hard just the same)

Who amongst us hasn’t been frustated by the National Broadcasting Company’s penchant for joining Men’s Olympic Hockey coverage moments after the games have begun?  Try the New York Post’s Larry Brooks, who argues, “If you are one of those people who has been endlessly whining about missing the first four minutes or so of Canada-Norway and the first three minutes or so of Team Jagr-Team Gaborik, you sound childish.”  WAAAAAH!

Hockey is not being disrespected by NBC. Viewers who happened to be home during the day and would have enjoyed watching Lindsey Vonn go for it live in the downhill, they were disrespected. Sports and competition are being disrespected by NBC, but hockey does not measure among the victims.

I have never quite understood why people who love hockey are so consumed with validation from the masses who simply do not appreciate the sport. Of course NBC isn’t devoting three hours of a preliminary-round hockey game between the U.S. and Canada on its prime commercial network.

To expect otherwise is lunacy, and to protest the network’s decision by playing the lack-of-respect card is counter-productive.

Yes, it is unfortunate that the enticing matchup will not be available in HD while it is televised on MSNBC, presumably from start to finish. Anyone who wants to watch — maybe not DirecTV people, actually, which would be unfortunately commonplace for them, given the ongoing dispute that has kept Versus dark all season — can watch, just as every single game in the tournament has been and will be televised.

Live, by the way. As will the gold medal game be next Sunday on NBC.

I’m posting this while in the UK, ironically, a country with far less interest in ice hockey than the United States, and tonight’s US/Canada tilt is scheduled to be shown on the BBC — in high def.   If Sidney Crosby isn’t considered a bigger ratings draw than Lindsey Vonn, fair enough, but we’re also talking about a game that should be a far more enticing showpiece for the sport than all of the Winter Classics combined.  And let history show that Brooks is not necessarily a company man, what with the open plug for MSNBC programming (albeit the sort that doesn’t feature Non-Metallic K.O.)

The Universal Language Of Analyst Hated (Or “Ken Tremendous As A Global Pioneer”)

Posted in Football, Sports TV at 4:01 pm by

“Both the beauty and cruelty of the web is that it never forgets” observes  Ian Plenderleith in the March edition of When Saturday Comes, taking a long look at a bloggy phenomena Awful Announcing readers will no doubt appreciate — the dogged, somewhat obsessive abuse of TV soccer commentators.

Fisted Away dons the persona of Alan Green to describe how he witnessed a tentative young couple take their first kiss. “What are you trying to do, thinking you can kiss at this level!” he exclaims. “I’m not negative about many things; just the paucity of Anfield’s vending machine crips selection (I have written several letters) and the warmth of the sun.” There’s nothing original about slating Green, according to a piece on Two Hundred Percent, “but that’s no reason to shy away from the task”. It points out that : “In a highly competitive media environment…which is currently subject to stultifying budgetary limitations, the continued employment of someone as self-centred and incompetent as (Green) feels less and less tenable. This needs reiterating…as often as possible.”

If Eric Gagne’s Ever Accused Of Murder, T.J. Simers Should Conduct The Interrogation

Posted in Baseball at 2:42 pm by

“I hear that song come on the radio and I still get goose bumps,” says Eric Gagne of Guns’n'Roses’ “Welcome To The Jungle” in a confessional conversation with the L.A. Times’ T.J. Simers.  Perhaps distracted by comparing his own career to that of Izzy Stradlin, Gagne — trying to win a job at Dodgers camp after 3 years toiling (badly) for Texas, Boston and Milwaukee — proves to be one of the easier suspects to break.  Frank Pembleton, not required!

“Why did you use HGH?” I ask, and he says, “I didn’t.”

But he knows better. He and I have had a long relationship.

“You were using HGH, weren’t you?”

“I did,” he says. “I hate to talk about it. It just doesn’t do anyone any good. But I thought it would help me get better when I hurt my knee. I just don’t want that to sound as an excuse.

“I’m so ashamed. It wasn’t smart. If I knew what I know now. . . . I didn’t need it. I regret it so much, just now maybe getting over the guilt. It was stupid.”

“That’s all part of my past, part of my resume,” he says, and when he’s asked if he was doing HGH during the entire time he dominated or just part of the time, he says, “part.”

But you cheated — weren’t you cheating Dodgers fans?

“In my head it was different,” he says, but what will he tell his own kids about his tarnished career?

“I’ve been asking myself the same question, but I’ll tell them straight up like I do everything else. I’ll make them understand action and reactions to those actions, and making a decision and living with the consequences.

The last five years his body has betrayed him, one injury after another, and so does he think it’s because he was on HGH?

“I don’t know how it reacts on your body like that,” he says, “but from what I’ve heard, it doesn’t help.”

02.20.10

Alexander Haig – No Longer In Control

Posted in History's Not Happening at 11:13 pm by

Former U.S. Sec. Of State Alexander Haig passed away earlier today at John Hopkins Hospital In Baltimore, MD. While many historians will recall the hawkish haig for his tenures as White House Chief Of Staff under Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, or perhaps for his distinguished military career, persons of a certain vintage (ok, me) will always remember Al for his highly creative, if not thoroughly wishful take on the order of Presidential succession. The early 1980′s were a confusing, scary time for young Americans, and while we tried our best to make sense of such phenomena as the Cold War, the advent of AIDS, Members Only jackets and the Urban Verbs’ Sire Records catalog, it was never easy. Fortunately, we always knew that at any given moment, General Haig would be there to insist, “I’m in control here”.

Gold Channel’s Charlie Rymer Has His Suzyn Waldman Moment

Posted in Golf, Sports TV at 6:16 pm by

Oh, the humanity!  Tiger Woods’ caddie Steve Williams has announced a no tolerance policy towards heckling of his paymaster, when and if the otherwordly cocksman golf talent returns to competition, but he’s got little to say about crying in the gallery.

Tim Floyd, Meet Lorenzo Macintosh

Posted in Basketball, College Spurts, Gridiron, Lower Education at 4:31 pm by

Today marks the 3rd day of the University Of Southern California’s hearings with the NCAA regarding alleged misconduct on the part of their football and basketball programs, and while current gridiron guru Lane Kiffin and former Men’s Hoops head coach Tim Floyd (above) are unlikely to face disciplinary action (the former having just arrived on the scene), their presence is described by former NCAA committee chairman Tom Yeager (quoted by the LA Times’ Gary Klein) as something akin to  “a ‘Scared Straight’ program”.  Or, if you prefer, what ESPN.com’s Ted Miller calls something far closer to being bored to death.

After an early start, 7:30 a.m. local time, USC and the NCAA infractions committee took Day 3′s second break just before 11 a.m., with a dour looking Tim Floyd, the Trojans former basketball coach, ambling outside and into the rain for an animated whisper conversation with one of his lawyers, Jim Darnell.

It’s likely many of these people will have endured perhaps 30 hours of detailed and sometimes ponderous discussion before heading home.

Kiffin asked reporters for an update on the day’s sports news. The conversation briefly turned to Tiger Woods before he had to return to meetings. The hearing could last well into the evening as the infractions committee tries to cover all aspects of the alleged violations before heading back to Indianapolis.

On average, most reports are completed within six to 10 weeks of the infractions hearing. But that time frame could extend longer for a complicated case.

Probably fair to say this is a complicated case.

Admitted Zima Abuser Declares “Sleeves Are For Pussies”

Posted in Baseball, Beer, Free Expression at 3:40 pm by

Video swiped from Funny Or Die via Joe Sports Fan

Jerry Manuel – Considering Squandering An Excellent Leadoff Threat As His No. 3 Hitter (OR, “Can Jose Be The 5th Starter, Too?”)

Posted in Baseball at 3:12 pm by

Could there be any greater confirmation that Jerry Manuel has little confidence in David Wright and/or Carlos Beltran’s power numbers rebounding at cavernous Citi Field than the Mets manager telling writers yesterday he’s considering penciling in SS Jose Reyes as his number 3 hitter in the batting order? Reyes might be one of the few Mets who might thrive at Citi Field, assuming he stays healthy, though Gangsta Jerry’s scheme leaves other Mets in flux, in particular, mooted leadoff man Angel Pagan and the aforementioned Beltran. Manuel’s thoughts on the matter are provided by the New York Times’ David Waldstein :

With Beltran out for what could be the first two months of the season with a knee injury, Manuel feels the need to get more production out of his lineup. But he also said that if Reyes was doing well when Beltran returned, he would not be inclined to move him back to the leadoff spot.

œHe would stay there and I could fluctuate with Beltran at any place between second, fourth, fifth, Manuel said.

What he did not expound on is that the Mets do not necessarily see Reyes as the prototypical leadoff hitter. He is an aggressive hitter who does not take many pitches or draw a lot of walks, he does not have a high on-base percentage, and he has some power, which could naturally increase as he gets older.

œReyes should be at that period in his evolution that he could be a No. 3 hitter on a good team, Manuel said.

Manuel offered up either Angel Pagan, who will compete for the starting center field job in Beltran™s absence, or second baseman Luis Castillo as replacements for Reyes in the leadoff position. He sounded as if he preferred Castillo because of his .387 on-base percentage last season.

Reyes said he would not change his game if he hit third, but Manuel said he would probably drive in more runs and steal fewer bases.

Aside from his first year in the majors in 2003, Reyes hit .300 only once, hitting that exact mark in 2006. He has hit at least 30 doubles in each of his last three full seasons, but has never hit more than 19 home runs.

œI don™t expect him to try to be a 30 home run guy, Manuel said. œI expect him to still hit the triples, hit the doubles and still be a threat, but have a good feel of hitting with a man in scoring position early in the game.

Television Discovers Second City’s Second Baseball Team

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV, The World Of Entertainment at 1:10 pm by

Does the MLB Network see dollar signs in a nascent White Sox Nation?  Long shunned by the camera’s eye on a network where Chicago history means the Cubs (yes, lets look at Ernie Banks round the bases yet again while we have to rely on photographs to remember Dick Allen  – or for that matter any White Sox between 1959 and 2005)  MLB Networks has announced a new reality TV show centered on the Chicago White Sox front office and management. In addition to giving fantasy league managers the world over further reason to avoid productive work, Kenny Williams, Jerry Reinsdorf and Ozzie Guillen are on tap to become the reality genre’s next…whoever the reality genre puts on TV.  The big question:  subtitles for Ozzie or no?   The Sun-Times Chris DeLuca reports:

”We have to provide the viewers something different about the game that they haven’t experienced before. How many fans of baseball are in baseball fantasy leagues? I know some people that are three leagues at the same time. We wanted to provide people a unique look at how one team — an owner, general manager and manager — go about their business.”

They couldn’t have picked a better season to focus on the Sox. Tension has already been running high between Guillen and Williams about the makeup of the 2010 team. We got a glimpse of that over the Jim Thome debate last month during SoxFest.

That’s when the cameras began rolling. They roll again Sunday, when the Sox open camp. Gavant’s crew will gather hours of footage for the one-hour July 4 debut that takes viewers from the offseason to the weeks before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. After the debut, each of the next five episodes will be half-hour segments that provide a glimpse of the Sox’ midseason manuevering.

Having Fired Ten Managers, QPR’s Briatore Fires Himself

Posted in Football at 7:59 am by

“My three years as chairman of QPR have been an exciting and incredible experience,” claimed (a presumably straight-faced) Flavio Briatore.  “I’m proud to have helped save this historical club and to have contributed in paving the way to its future success.”  And with that, the former Benetton fraudexec announced he was ending a tumultuous run as Rangers’ chairman, though solvency aside, it’s pretty hard to gauge how the Stuporhoops are any more poised for a run at promotion than they were prior to Briatore’s arrival. Gianni Paladini now has the honor of presiding over the R’s next managerial hiring & firing, and despite earlier denials, the Mirror’s James Nursey claims the shy, retiring Neil Warnock (above, left) is next in line to assume the poisoned chalice at Loftus Road.

Rangers hope to name Warnock as their next permanent manager on a two-and-a-half-year deal next week after Palace’s FA Cup replay at Aston Villa on Wednesday.

And Warnock is already planning to bring three of Palace’s best players with him to QPR.

Warnock, whose Palace side host Coventry today, wants to take midfielders Darren Ambrose, Neil Danns and highly-rated full-back Nathaniel Clyne to Loftus Road if he moves once compensation of around £1.5million is finalised.

The trio can all leave on loan now ahead of a permanent summer transfer as cash-strapped Palace are in administration.

Warnock is also keen on Scunthorpe striker Gary Hooper on loan with a view to a full-time 500,000 pounds switch.

02.19.10

D.K. Wilson On Tiger Hysteria 2010

Posted in Blogged Down, Golf, History's Great Hook-Ups, Sports TV at 2:25 pm by

Aside from the intensely weird experience of actually liking Rick Reilly for about 20 seconds (ie. when he was bashing Brit Hume), I didn’t have much reaction to Tiger Woods’ extremely stiff, awkward-as-fuck public appearance earlier today other than wishing he could’ve kept such apologies between himself and his family.  I’d prefer my early AM TV/radio time be devoted to discussions of Rod Barajas’ job prospects.

That said, the TV pundits were out in full force immediately following Woods’ mea culpa, and a pair of them, Fox’s Stephen A. Smith and “Entertainment Tonight”‘s Kevin Frazier, find themselves under heavy fire from Sports On My Mind’s D.K. Wilson, calling the former “you reprehensible coon”.

Stephen A. ”- Lawn jockeying for your plantation owners. How about this: you failed to mention that Woods™ anger towards the press had to do with being angry with the press following his children and wife. And ESPN put your dumb ass on television to show America why they got rid of your lawn jockey ass. And you acted perfectly in accordance with the script they had planned for you¦ And you didn™t even need to read¦ you remembered your role like a pro.

Kevin Frazier: This guy from Entertainment Tonight blamed Woods for the press taking pictures of his children at daycare. He said if Woods had œtaken care of business and talked earlier the press would never have sunk to following his wife and children around to get pictures of them. When asked if this disgusting behavior would end, Frazier said, œI think so. Just today it was reported that eight photographers and television crews are outside of his children™s daycare center now.

It is incredible that these people in the media never, ever take blame for their actions. But then again, they are responsible for urging viewers and listeners to believe in the mythical characters they create and ascribe some sort of personal meaning to those people to the point where fans hang on the every word of an athlete, actor, or musician or musical entertainer.

Australian’s Olympic Broadcasters Have A Problem With Men In Tights

Posted in olympics, Sports TV at 1:01 pm by

ABC News’ Jason Tin reports the Channel 9 commentary team of Eddie McGuire and Mick Molloy have offended polite society…without saying anything about how shitty Ang Lee’s “Incredible Hulk” was.

While discussing the men’s figure skating costumes as part of last night’s Winter Olympics wrap, Molloy said: “They don’t leave anything in the locker room, these blokes, do they?”

McGuire replied: “They don’t leave anything in the closet either, do they?”

The long-time Channel Nine personality then described one competitor’s costume as “a bit of a brokeback”, referencing Ang Lee’s film about gay cowboys.

“A bit of Brokeback Mountain exercises – you can’t wear that,” Molloy responded.

Gay rights activist Gary Burns says the comments have shocked members of the gay community.

“They’re harmful to, particularly, gay youth who are living in isolated areas across the nation,” he said.

“These young kids look up to [McGuire] and when they hear these kinds of comments and [they're] having issues with their own coming-out process, or low self-esteem or depression… they feel worthless.”

02.18.10

Did You Go To Hollywood Upstairs Medical College? If Not, Don’t Question The Mets’ Injury Prevention Plan

Posted in Baseball, Medical Science at 8:41 pm by

Whether it’s P Kelvim Escobar turning up for Spring Training unable to grip a baseball or 3B David Wright (above) revealing he’s totally lost his mind, fitness of the physical and mental varieties remains a major concern for the New York Mets.  Earlier Thursday, the Newark Star-Ledger’s Brian Costa reported that Amazins’ players arrived in St. Lucie greeted by a clubhouse sign stressing “Prevention & Recovery”.

The Mets are modifying their training program this spring in an effort to avoid a repeat of the injury-filled disaster of 2009. A team spokesman said the signs are meant to reinforce what will be a bigger focus on baseball-related activities and more of an emphasis on “rest and recovery.”

Players will be urged to save their energy for the field and not exert themselves too much in the weight room. The emphasis will be more on baseball skills, agility and flexibility than on building strength.

The Mets declined to give further details about what will be different, and medical and training staff are not allowed to speak to reporters. But the modified program represents the biggest change this spring after the Mets drew criticism for their handling of injuries in 2009.

Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said after last season that the team would do a better job of communicating with the news media about injuries. But the medical and training staff was left intact.

Hannah Storm – Where Kornheiser’s Concerned, She’s No Jamie Sale

Posted in Blogged Down, Sports Radio, Sports TV at 7:50 pm by

What do you suppose the reaction might be if a female TV personality expressed the sentiment that ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser was “a decrepit, Brad Childress-lookalike”, or someone “singlehandedly responsible for the demise of male sensuality”?  I’m gonna guess that if the hypothetical woman was a Bristol U. colleague of Kornheiser’s, she’d have to apologize and/or face a suspension of some sort.

And that’s why it’s confusing to read that Kornheiser (above) used his DC radio gig earlier this week to call ESPN anchor Hannah Storm “a Holden Caulfield fantasy”, adding that in his estimation, the 47 year old mother-of-three was guilty of wearing “a horrifying, horrifying outfit” (“she™s got on red go-go boots and a catholic school plaid skirt ¦ way too short for somebody in her 40s or maybe early 50s by now”).

Far less baffling, however, is Sports By Brooks’ take on the matter, in which Brooks predictably ignores the most obvious question of all — ie. isn’t there something ferociously creepy about the zeal with which Kornheiser discusses Ms. Storm’s Hot Or Not status? —- instead, engaging in the following (ahem) defense of Albert Belle’s old nemesis  ;

“I think Storm™s a consumate pro and a very attractive lady. To be more specific, Storm looks unbelievable for her age and I have nothing but respect for the way she™s taken care of herself and how she presents herself on-air.”

Clearly, there’s some difference of opinion between Brooks and Kornheiser, but they still have much in common. The former can type one-handed just as easily as the latter can do a radio show with his trousers down

The Knicks’ Acquisition Of T-Mac : The Most Blatant, Complicated Way To Publicly Tamper With LeBron

Posted in Basketball at 4:24 pm by

(there are many photos of Tracy McGrady to choose from online, but only one of him reading Vogue)

It took 3 teams, 10 players, two draft picks and more speculation than any trade involving non-contenders ought to normally generate, but Donnie Walsh finally has his man expiring contract.  New York’s trade deadline gambit to land the chronically injured Tracy McGrady — while an admission the past two years of D’Antoni ball has been nothing more than a waste of time until Summer 2010 — reduces Walsh’s GM tenure to the most basic terms ; either he lands a pair of highly coveted free agents or the post-Isiah era is a probably bust. The New York Times’ Larry Coon is cautiously optimistic, writing this past Tuesday that while unloading the Eddy Curry Suppression Ring might’ve been cool, “moving Jared Jeffries and Jordan Hill in exchange for $9 million additional cap space this summer is a reasonable Plan B.”

With an estimated $53 million cap next summer, the Knicks would stand to have as much as $31.5 million with which to pursue free agents. The cream of the crop ” LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh ” can each sign for $16.57 million, so the Knicks can almost afford two of them. They would still be about $1.7 million short of making a maximum offer to two of these players.

But they would have options. One scheme would be to sign one of these players for the full $16.57 million and then pursue a player on the next rung down, like Atlanta™s Joe Johnson, who might sign for slightly less.

Another possibility would be to sign a maximum-salary free agent while hanging onto David Lee. Lee will continue to count against the Knicks™ cap while he is a free agent, unless the Knicks sign him or renounce him, or he signs elsewhere. To gain the full $31.5 million of cap room they would need to renounce Lee, along with all their other free agents. If they renounce everyone else, Lee would eat up an additional $10 million of their cap space, leaving them with about $21.5 million to spend on other players.

While Cleveland, Miami and Toronto will all have the right to sign their respective megastars to more lucrative pacts than they can receive on the open market, it appears last night’s dumping of John Salmon and Tyrus Thomas all but guarantees the Bulls will be major players this summer. Even more so when you consider they’d probably let Dwayne Wade select their next coach.

Pearlman : When Manute Bol Extends His Hand In Virtual Friendship, Press “Confirm”

Posted in Blogged Down, The Internet at 10:05 am by

As an alleged adult, I’m a little embarrassed to report my Facebook fake friends pile is a rogue’s gallery including but not limited to Newsday’s Neil Best, former PiL drummer Martin Atkins and someone pretending to be Bernie Madoff.  Prior to dealing with some allegedly adult issues of his own, “The Bad Guys Won” author Jeff Pearlman contemplated the occasional absurdity of the social networking scene wars.

Two weeks ago I received a friend request from Manute Bol. I have no idea how or why, but when Manute Bol asks to be friends, you say yes. Then, a couple of days back, I became pals with the one, the only”Ellis Valentine. Man, when I was a kid I loved Ellis Valentine. But not nearly as much as Christian Okoye, also a friend. For those who might not remember, Okoye was œThe Nigerian Nightmare at Azusa Pacific. And if one has a chance to team up with the Nigerian Nightmare, he takes it.

But that™s not all. Thanks to Facebook, I™m friends with Robert Person and Junior Spivey; C.J. Nitkowski and Adam Hyzdu; Brian Johnson and Joe Oliver. Conrad Dobler can™t kick me in the groin via computer, but we can IM about popcorn and long walks on the beach. Curt Schilling probably doesn™t remember me (even after, oh, a dozen interviews), but I consider us to be the closest of chums.

02.17.10

Chin Up, Larry Walker – Stubby Clapp Was Snubbed, Too

Posted in Baseball, olympics at 8:19 pm by

(above, the former J. Keithley flashes the form that earned no respect from the Comité olympique canadien)

My personal picks for Winter Olympics 2010 torch-bearers were Joey Shithead, Jean Smith and honorary Vancouverite Bryant Reeves, but the Games’ organizers instead opted for such lesser lights as Matt Lauer, Wayne Gretzky, Steve Nash and Donald Sutherland. I’m not the only one outraged, either, as the Maple Ridge News’ Sam Smith reports (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)

According to Larry Walker Sr., his son and Maple Ridge native, Larry Walker Jr., was œcrushed that he wasn™t asked to take part in the torch relay, even the bit through his home town.

œTo the very least, he should have been asked to be a torchbearer in the Maple Ridge run, Larry Sr. said. œIt™s not a television personality competition, it™s an athletic competition.

In an email to his father, Larry Jr. writes: œI was kinda crushed by not being asked. Guess holding almost every offensive record in Canadian history isn™t good enough!

In his email, Larry Jr. said that a lot of work went into picking people for the torch run and he couldn™t believe that not only was he overlooked, but so was another famous Maple Ridge athlete, MHL hall of fame inductee Cam Neely.

œWe™re ticked off he wasn™t asked, Larry Sr. said. œStat for stat, it™s just common sense. I mean, we see Donald Sutherland running the torch, who is a great actor, but he™s not an athlete.

N8 – Denied A Shot At Hoisting His Slam-Dunk Trophy At The Garden

Posted in Basketball at 7:42 pm by

An alleged case of the flu kept guard Nate Robinson out of the lineup for the Knicks’ miserable showing in Chicago last night, and barely anyone with internet access was surprised to learn earlier today that a proposed swap of Robinson and Boston’s Eddie House was nearing completion.  Robinson’s similarly indisposed for the Knicks versus the Bulls tonight at MSG, thus costing the diminutive N8 an opportunity to flaunt the hardware from his third consecutive meaningless personal achievement Slam Dunk Championship.

I’m not sure how Cablevision intends to make this up to long-suffering season ticket holders, but House’s expiring contract might be useful in attracting whichever free agents are left next summer (after LeBron, Wade and Chris Bosh have signed elsewhere). The New York Daily News’ Frank Isola notes that Robinson is set to earn an additional $1 million for making the playoffs with Boston, a clause that strikes me as about as justified as Brian Scalabrine earning a percentage of the box office receipts from “Avatar”.

The Easiest Goal Paulo Falcão Will Ever Score

Posted in Football at 4:48 pm by

Congrats to Arsenal’s Sol Campbell and Łukasz FabiaÅ„ski, who not only gifted F.C. Porto a 2-1 victory earlier today in the Champions League, but also guaranteed their placement on highlights programs across the globe this evening — if not at year’s end.

02.16.10

Nats Fans Send Former Moonie Scribe To Summer Camp Spring Training

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, Sports Journalism at 6:17 pm by

And you thought Wyclef was a fund-raising mastermind.  Former Washington Times beat reporter turned blogger Mark Zuckerman recently asked his readers to cough up funds to send him to Nats’ spring training.  In a week, Zuckerman successfully raised more than double the $5K, which is either a wonderful commentary on the public’s thirst for quality journalism or a sign of dangerously misplaced priorities.  I’m personally opting for the former, particularly as I will soon be asking CSTB readers to deep dig to send me to one of two special events on the upcoming calendar.

No Doggy Bag, Thanks: Clips’ Latest Dud Deal Puts Camby, Yahoo’s Dwyer Off Lunch

Posted in Basketball at 2:34 pm by

We all have, in our memories and blacked-out non-memories and bookshelves and sometimes tattooed somewhere on our persons, reminders of poor life choices made between the ages of 18 and 22. I happened to be in college in Southern California during that period, and while I managed to avoid getting any ill-advised body art and ducked the avoided some of the era’s more serious sartorial/pharmaceutical pitfalls, I did decide to adopt the Los Angeles Clippers as my other NBA team. Looking back, the choice reflects nothing but pure Nets-fan masochism (and contrarian college-kid disdain for my Lakers-fan campus) on my part, as those very terrible Clippers teams weren’t even likable — they were reliant on a smoked-out Maurice Taylor and paunchy Rodney Rogers for any sort of offense, and the roster was a collection of surly, uninterested D-League types unfortunate enough to play before the D-League actually existed. Tyrone Nesby was one of my favorite players at the time. It was rough.

While I’ve essentially quit the Nets — I don’t know what the last insult was (actually, I do), but the franchise’s disdainful, abusive relationship with my home state is not something I want to be a part of any more — I do like watching the Clips play. Even without Blake Griffin, they looked kind of sparky this year for a while, before abruptly (and quite justifiably) quitting on Coach Mike Dunleavy, who in turn quit himself and focused on being GM Mike Dunleavy. Dysfunction for dysfunction, the Clips are probably still as bad an organization as the NBA has to offer, although both New York-area teams are close. It’s easy to forget that, given the talent on the roster and the ace bloggers writing about them the fact that the team can look pretty great at times. But it’s impossible to forget that dysfunction, because the organization keeps finding new ways to remind everyone of it. The most recent reminder is the apparently now-official trade of Marcus Camby (above) — the NBA’s second-leading rebounder at 12.1 RPG, owner of a valuable expiring deal and pretty clearly the Clips’ best player right now — to the Portland Trail Blazers for a pair of expiring deals attached to Blazers reserves (injured forward Travis Outlaw and guard Steve Blake), as well as $3 million in cash.

At Yahoo, Marc J. Spears and Adrian Wojnarowski paint a depressing, if weirdly detailed and colorful picture of Camby’s response to the deal — told of the trade by his agent (not the Clips, naturally), a distraught Camby storms out of the restaurant in which he was eating, without saying goodbye to his teammates. “All the guys are upset because our best defensive player got traded basically for a backup point guard and money,” one Clip told Spears. “He is not believed to have finished his meal,” Spears writes. It’s a bummer, even if you’ve made the very rational and intelligent decision not to be a Clippers fan.

Elsewhere at Yahoo, Kelly Dwyer nicely nails both the micro- and macro-scale bummeries of the trade:

It makes no sense, of course, which is why it makes complete and total sense. For all the swaying toward orthodoxy that we’ve seen from L.A. over the last few years ” signing outright free agents like Cuttino Mobley(notes), Baron Davis(notes) and Tim Thomas(notes), matching contract offers on their own free agents, staying somewhat competitive, making the playoffs, albeit all the way back when Donald Rumsfeld still had a public gig ” the Clippers are still the Clippers. They’re still a punchline at 11:42, no matter the host.

And this trade is pure Clippers madness, even before the news hit about the tactless way that Camby was informed…

We knew Camby was gone as soon as Dunleavy retired to the front office. But for this? No prospects, no draft picks, the same amount of expiring money that Camby was going to provide had he stayed on? Just a little cash thrown Sterling’s way? It’s pathetic. It’s so damn Clipper-y. I hate that. You should, too.

And it’s only Dunleavy looking to save his gig. Essentially trading for his potential 2010-11 salary from Portland owner Paul Allen and dropping it in Sterling’s lap. So stupefyingly transparent, something that could only happen in this league, and to this team.

Alper To Walsh : Just Roll The Damn Dice

Posted in Basketball at 1:20 pm by

(l-r : Donnie Walsh, transfixed by a Linas Kleiza highlights DVD, James Dolan, realizing the answer to the question “who do I have to fuck to open for White Denim at Radio City Music Hall” is actually “James Dolan”)

While the Clippers and Wizards’ recent moves have represented pulling the plug on 2010 and breaking up a core, respectively, the Knicks are allegedly hoping to exchange Al Harrington and Jordan Hill for either Chicago’s Tyrus Thomas or Houston’s chronically injured Tracy McGrady.  As the former publisher of The Feed, NBC.com’s Josh Alper, correctly surmises, taking on T-Mac is almost entirely dependent on dumping Jared Jeffries’ and the $6.9 million he’s scheduled to earn in 2010-2011 on the Rockets.

The downsides — the potential loss of Hill and a 2012 first rounder — won’t matter a whit if the Knicks hit a home run in free agency. They might not even matter much if they were to miss out on the LeBron/Wade/Bosh triumvirate and wind up with a couple of lesser options. Those lesser options could still get you in the playoffs, negating a good bit of any value lost in the first round swap in 2011. Beyond that, the Knicks will have Eddy Curry’s expiring contract to play with and some leftover cap space to use in a bid for Chris Paul in the next offseason or other moves designed to build the team’s long-term profile. The downside, then, isn’t exactly a two week honeymoon in Detroit.

Then there’s the upside. Let’s say the Knicks make this deal and the Cavs pull off a deal for Amare Stoudemire and re-sign him and LeBron. If you’re trying to sell your team to Wade or Bosh or Joe Johnson, what argument do you make that either one of them by themselves is going to be enough to get past the Cavs in the East? There isn’t a particularly good one out there, but if you can sell them on doing it together, well, then you’ve got something.

When you weigh the chance to sell two superstars on playing together in New York against the loss of Hill and a 2012 first round pick you simply have to come down on the side of making the bold, risky play.

The Fiver Scoffs At The Former Uefa Cup

Posted in Football at 12:48 pm by

Everton have just taken a 2-0 lead over Sporting Lisbon in their Europa League round-of-32 clash, and while I’m enjoying this semi-important fixture over a late breakfast prior to Manchester United taking on an awfully familiar face in the far more exalted Champions League, the Guardian’s Rob Smyth and Scott Murray offer a scathing critique of the lesser competition ; “look, they’ve ruined the Euro Vase, too!”

Rebranded last summer as Euro Mug – now an earthenware product designed to hold large quantities of piping-hot liquid manure, the name an arch nod to the poor punters across the continent who once had three perfectly serviceable competitions to enjoy – the tournament this week resumes with the Stage of Meh.

This is about the time it used to get good, with English teams excited about their chances of European glory. However thanks to Uefa’s constant meddling, insisting on turning the tournament into an ill-designed bloated mess, excitement is low: Liverpool players have been notoriously sniffy about it since being expelled from Big Cup, while Fulham’s Roy Hodgson is rumoured to be simply not bothered, as he’d rather stay at home and finish the JP Donleavy novel he’s halfway through.

Only Everton have the good grace to sound like they’re enjoying it. “It’s going to be unbelievable,” says Mikel Arteta. “It’s a great chance for us and we need to go through.” His manager too is oop f’coop. “We have embraced the competition and gone into every game trying to win,” says David Moyes. “There have not been any games where we’ve said we’ll save players for the Premier League.” And so what do Uefa do? Insist their tie is played at 5.45pm on a Tuesday evening, when fans are still coming home from work, just to avoid a TV clash with a couple of Big Cup games nobody cares about. Well done, Uefa! Well done, clowns!

02.15.10

Dilbeck To Dodger Fans : Clean Up Your Act

Posted in Baseball, Mob Behavior at 11:31 pm by

(some of the sickening creeps described below, shown at a Dodgers game late last season)

I’ve foolishly presumed it’s a plus for Chavez Ravine to have actual paying customers that turn up by the first pitch and manage to hang around after the 7th inning stretch, but the LA Times’ Steve Dilbeck has some strong words of advice for the Dodgers’ more rowdy rooters. To wit, “grow up”.

You know who you are. Exactly what you are continually escapes me, probably because of the constant cringing.

For some reason, these Neanderthals feel compelled to flaunt their collective low IQ.

This is how it works. The Giants come to Dodger Stadium and at repeated points in the evening the chant will echo throughout the ballpark: “Giants suck!”

Really, this is not clever. It™s not intelligent for a fourth grader. What it is, is embarrassing, though those busy with the self-demeaning miss the reality.

It doesn™t stop with the Giants. When Barry Bonds used to come to town, he drew special abuse. The Padres hear it, the Angels, the Phillies, almost any team or individual–provided he™s a star–can be showered with verbal stupidity.

It reverberates throughout the stadium, a black mark on the sports culture of Los Angeles. Really, you wonder what the rest of the country thinks. Ooooh, aren™t those L.A. fans just so mentally nimble? Regular Cameron Crazies.

02.14.10

The First & Last Time Cliff Floyd Will Be Compared To Imelda Marcos…

Posted in Baseball, Fashion at 8:19 pm by

…not counting, of course, the former Met’s close personal friendships with Doris Duke and George Hamilton.