03.31.10

Townshend/Daltrey – No Longer Considered The Worst SB Halftime SHow

Posted in Blogged Down, Gridiron, The World Of Entertainment at 9:01 pm by

Thespian John Cusack, last seen in this space accused of baseball bisexuality by Ben Schwartz, recalls Chicago’s demolition of New England  in Super Bowl XX  (“the Bears were a wondrous team in ’85/’86: full of great personalities, before any  originality in sports was reduced to the common rubble of brand”) while describing the event’s halftime show in Tuesday’s edition of Boing Boing :

I remember witnessing the UP WITH PEOPLE halftime pageant terrified, with dilated pupils. It was a time when kids were ordered or bullied into attending high school pep rallies”with all that hateful homecoming gibberish.

As you can see in this video now, watching the performance was like diving into an ocean of bad fashion and forced smiles. Dr. Pepper dancing and Mom Jeans from shore to shore… pre-Prozac in motion…. military ballet… Mandatory cheers and quasi-religious cult patriotics… the glory of the empire. A choreographed tribute to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King. A celebration of diversity, unity, and fluorescent leggings.

The idea that America would one day feel homesick for the ’80s was as alien to me then as that vast, choreographed grid of grinning dancers, goose-stepping to synthesizer blasts.

The three grams of psilocybin I gobbled before the game was the only thing that kept me sane.

Sound familiar?  Well, it oughta.  As New York Magazine’s Edith Zimmerman mentioned last week, Cusack’s been regurgitating his Super-Bowl-On-Drugs story time and time again while doing publicity for the megaplex smash, “Hot Tub Time Machine”  Zimmerman found no fewer prior instances recently where Cusack directly or indirectly mentioned the game in question, Up With People’s performance and his own altered state at the time.

This Is Why There’s A Mute Button : Four More Years Of Joe Buck

Posted in Baseball, Gridiron, Sports TV at 7:38 pm by

Days after HBO mercifully cut the cord on “Joe Buck Live”, USA Today’s Michael McCarthy reports Buck has signed a 4 year extension to continue torturing the American public as Fox Sports’ lead voice on MLB and NFL telecasts.

Fox Sports president Ed Goren confirmed the deal, saying: “We’re thrilled to have the voice of Fox Sports and one of the best broadcasters in the business with us for the next four years.”

The renewal will keep the 40-year-old Buck on the microphone through 2014. The network’s MLB and NFL TV rights run through 2013 and 2014, respectively. Buck says he’s also talking to Fox Sports chief David Hill about developing a show similar to Joe Buck Live, which was cancelled Monday by HBO Sports after only three episodes. The proposed show could air on Fox or a cable network like FX.

With the possible exceptions of Charles Perez, Magic Johnson and Richard Bey, I can’t think of anyone more deserving of hosting a cable talk show than Mr. Buck.  And if he could get a post-suicide attempt Artie Lange to make his television return on the debut episode, it could be a rating bonanza for whichever NewsCorp outlet the program is dumped on.

Stupor Size Me, Pt. II – Video Of Yormark’s Luncheon Stunt

Posted in Basketball at 3:41 pm by

(Pt. I). “My Dinner With Andre”, it ain’t. But I love how we’re assured those turning up for a Nets game wearing paper bags cannot expect similar hospitality. After all, that sale to the Russian billionaire isn’t final yet!

Denard Span – Son Of The Year

Posted in Baseball at 3:28 pm by

Earlier today during a Grapefruit League tilt with the Yankees, Twins CF Denard Span hit a foul ball into the stands that struck his mom, Wanda Wilson.  Though Span left George M. Steinbrenner Field in the top of the third to visit his mother in the hospital, who amongst us cannot help but be impressed with his remaining in the game for a subsequent at bat? How many of us are dedicated enough to our respective crafts that we’d put aside something as important as a family member’s condition to concentrate on a meaningless exhibition game?

Special One-Hating Telegraph Scribe Channels His Inner Billy Milano

Posted in Football, Sports TV at 2:54 pm by

Inter and CSKA Moscow are currently scoreless at halftime of their Champions League quarter-final, said encounter taking place a day after the hosts’ manager, Jose Mourinho (above) —in the midst of a feud with the Italian mediahinted he’d like to return to England.  “Over the years, England has taken to her heart lots of foreigners with funny voices,” sneers The Telegraph’s Mike Norrish. “Rolf Harris, Yuri Geller, Lloyd Grossman, Prince Phillip, and, of late, Aleksandr (Compare The) Meerkat…but the most popular member of our foreign legion, the most adored and admired “ the most special “ is currently being forced to live in exile.”

Sky Sports last night interrupted their half-time analysis of Manchester United™s fascinating Champions League quarter-final with Bayern Munich to bring us an exclusive interview with Jose Mourinho. œI don™t like Italian football, and they don™t like me, said Mourinho, in his funny foreign voice. œSimple.

Richard Keys, the embodiment of our national crush on Mourinho, beamed with excitement at this quote, visibly stirred by the prospect of our hero returning ˜home™. œWe love him, agreed Jamie Redknapp, who, when he™s not doing his studio thing, presents Sky 1™s Search For A Star, the channel™s attempt to turn Mourinho into Simon Cowell. It™s as good as it sounds.

Clearly, neither Jamie nor Richard thought there was anything wrong in devoting so much of their precious half-time analysis slot to a routine Mourinho interview (Indeed, given their excitement, it was a surprise they didn™t can the second half and play endless loops of Mourinho pouting œSimple, with Pomp and Circumstance playing in the background).

Mets Rotation : Santana, Maine & Pray For Rain

Posted in Baseball at 1:31 pm by



ESPN New York’s new addition
, former NY Daily News beat reporter Adam Rubin cites unnamed sources as claiming the Mets’ starting rotation looks like Johan Santana, John Maine, John Niese, Mike Pelfrey and Oliver Perez, in that order.  Pelfrey and Perez — one of the more well compensated no. 5 starters in baseball — have “underperformed” this spring in Rubin’s diplomatic words, though were it not for the club’s lack of depth, you have to figure one or both would’ve been candidates to start the season at Buffalo.

A just-diagnosed knee injury to Daniel Murphy probably means the reacquired Mike Jacobs is Jerry Manuel’s Opening Day starter at first base, a development that probably won’t set off celebrations in Sam Page’s household.

03.30.10

Stupor Size Thee : Nets’ Yormark Tries To Buy Bag Man’s Silence With A Big Mac

Posted in Basketball at 6:08 pm by

(l-r : The Situation, The Unknown Comic, Guy Who Likes Being In The Newspaper.  Not shown : Henry Louis Gates)

While Monday’s 90-84 defeat of San Antonio assured the Nets they’d no longer challenge for the worst NBA mark of all time, dignity in the Meadowlands is sadly, short-lived. Following an embarrassing, widely-publicized confrontation with a paper bag-wearing fan, Nets exec Brett Yormark attempted to curry favor with a conciliatory luncheon/webcast earlier today, catered by a local McDonald’s. From the AP’s Tom Canavan :

œToday was another good example of us being able to tell our fans, hey, when you want a voice, you™ll get one with us, Yormark said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. œThat™s who we are, the type of franchise we are and we want to be. I think resorting to a brown bag doesn™t do anyone any good and they realize that, and they were very nice and had good things to say about the franchise.

The lunch at the team™s headquarters in East Rutherford was streamed over the Nets™ Web site although the broadcast shut down because so many people logged on, Yormark said.

œI think, in many respects, a lot of good things have come out of this, Yormark said. œWe were able to reinforce our message to season ticket holders. We don™t have any more brown bags in the building, not that we had a lot to begin with before that incident, our players seemed to rally around it and we are playing our best basketball of the season.

œI don™t know if it was a negative, Yormark added. œIt was an unfortunate incident. I try to make the most of any situation and I think I did.

Abraham : No (F’ing) Way To The A’s In San Jose

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, The Marketplace, Ugly New Stadiums at 4:10 pm by

Citing an unnamed source, City Bright’s Zennie Abraham claims Major League Baseball is about to issue an official recommendation the Oakland A’s pursue relocation to San Jose, CA, an edict Abraham takes considerable exception to.

The reasons why MLB would pick San Jose over Oakland will be listed in the report set to be released within three days (unless MLB elects to delay the release of the report after this blog post). But the array of information required and the template that information fits in is not complex or vast. One can guess that San Jose has a more complete stadium development plan. But if Major League Baseball even uses the term “marketing” or “ticket sales” as a San Jose advantage in the report then the stadium committee itself doesn’t know what it’s talking about.

Let’s be more clear. If the stadium committee mentions that San Jose, which is just 30 miles from Oakland and in a smaller population center of the Bay Area (remember, Oakland is at the center of the East Bay, which has 3 million people), but still in The San Francisco Bay Area, and competing with the SF Giants Fan base for ticket revenue, is better for selling tickets, then this blogger will assert that Major League Baseball itself does not understand marketing a stadium product in the 21st Century.

The Oakland A’s fan base is really Worldwide. It just hasn’t been tapped by the Oakland A’s. The Athletics best marketing partnerships are with air travel agents, airlines, convention and visitors bureaus, and hotels. Getting tourists to make baseball-special trips and taking advantage of business travelers who will want to go to MLB rivalry games is the base for ticket sales. It’s as important as local sales. Luxury boxes should be considered as right for a national market, where people in Boston can buy part of an Oakland luxury box for Red Sox games. Multiply that approach times the teams in Major League Baseball the A’s will play and there’s a submarket to go after.

If the key to generating revenue is tourism and “rivalry games” (and I’m pretty sure the A’s have no trouble selling tickets to Red Sox or Yankee games at Network Associates Coliseum), how could any team in MLB be having trouble? Or more to the point, can Abraham name one single baseball fan interested in purchasing a time-share on an out of town luxury box? Deftly dodging Abraham’s somewhat insane argument, Field Of Schemes’ Neil de Mause describes Zennie’s scoop as “barely rising above the level of a rumor”.

That Selig’s Gang of Three would recommend San Jose as an A’s destination, if true, wouldn’t be surprising, given its further-ahead stadium deal and relatively untapped market; the bigger question remains what price Selig will make A’s owner Lew Wolff have to pay to the San Francisco Giants if he wants to get a deal done. Is Rob Neyer right that the commission report won’t be released until Selig has worked out a deal acceptable to all parties? We could maybe find out this week ” unless, as Abraham insists, “MLB elects to delay the release of the report after this blog post.” It takes a clever blogger to take credit for predicting things that don’t happen…

(3/30/10 ADDENDUM :  Abraham was previously credited in this post as a SF Chronicle contributor.  This was an error on my part  ;  Abraham’s blog is hosted at SFGate.com but he’s not a Chronicle employee, nor are his posts subject to the Chronicle’s editorial control.   Sincere apologies to the SF Chronicle for my suggesting otherwise.)

Class Warfare, Chicago Style

Posted in Baseball, Cinema at 11:21 am by

If the above trailer is anything to go by, filmmaker Bryan Bankovich’s 2009 short, “A Crosstown Classic” might be the Cubs/White Sox version of Jeff Krulik and John Heyn’s “Heavy Metal Parking Lot”. I’ve read nothing to indicate there are cameos from Ben Schwartz or Rob Warmowski, but I do understand there are sometimes difficulties obtaining a signed release agreement after embarrassing footage has been shot.

New York Magazine Contributing Editor Reveals Less Depth, Insight Than The Average WFAN Caller

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism, Will Leitch Sucks at 11:01 am by

It’s been a rough spring for Jose Reyes. First, the Mets SS had to contend with the screwy suggestion from his own manager that he’d be better off hitting 3rd rather than leading off. Shortly after, Reyes learned he’d be on the shelf for perhaps as long as two months due to a previously undiagnosed thyroid condition. Now, after amidst a flurry of speculation regarding his fitness, Reyes finds his fortitude being questioned by former Men’s Health scribe Will Leitch (above) via New York Magazine’s The Sports Section :

You will be relieved to know that Jose Reyes did not dissolve yesterday in a poof of smoke after being hit by a pitch. In fact, people were so enthused by his hitting yesterday that today he’s going to run the bases. Jose Reyes is such a delicate flower that we are complimenting him for basic human functions, like the morose neighbor boy you’re just happy to see out of the house in the sun once in a while.

It remains a mystery why New York Mag feels compelled to employ an avowed Cards fan to come up with the sort of thing that wouldn’t get past “Mike’d Up”‘s call screener on the grounds of redundancy. Would a St. Louis glossy allow a lifelong Mets fan to routinely skewer the Redbirds’ boozed-up skipper or Bunyanesque fraud of a first base coach? Not if they wanted anyone to take them seriously.