03.29.10

Pimping Ain’t Easy : A Salute To Clyde At 65

Posted in Basketball at 10:54 pm by

Hall Of Famer Walt Frazier was presented with a 65th birthday cake by the Jazz prior to tonight’s New York vs. Utah tilt (in which the hosts improved to no. 2 in the Western Conference with a 103-98 victory). Since I can’t bake a cake to save my life, Clyde will just have to settle for my cheap embedding gesture (above). Watch and learn, Charles Oakley.

Zelkovich’s Awful Announcing Audition

Posted in Basketball, Hockey, Sports Journalism, Sports TV at 7:17 pm by

(SMOOCH!)

“It’s as if somebody decided that speaking English makes for bad broadcasting,” sneers the Stars’ Chris Zelkovich after days observing the NHL and the NCAA men’s hoops tournament. “Or maybe it’s that all these guys heard somebody else use these phrases, figured he must know what he’s talking about and followed suit.” Mind you, this was without any exposure to MSG’s Kelly Tripucka.

A weekend of hockey-watching produced a torrent of mind-numbing phrases. There were references to puck presence, puck support, puck poise, puck pressure and net presence. Outside of an obvious love for alliteration, those who utter these words may have no better idea of what they mean than do the poor saps at home.

On Saturday night, Hockey Night In Canada’s Kevin Weekes talked about the Toronto Maple Leafs’ “neutral zone posture,” which apparently had nothing to with straight spines.

Later in the evening, analyst Garry Galley praised the Florida Panthers’ “comeback capabilities.”

And when did the boards become “the wall” and what the heck is “a saucer pass?”

The mysterious musings of CBS’s Bill Raferty from Sunday’s NCAA coverage will no doubt end up as part of some university curriculum. When a Tennessee player scored a basket, Raftery growled, “Taking his Ritalin.”

When another brought down a rebound, Raftery told viewers the player “provides a little bit of a lift and load-up.”

After a charging call, he offered this: “Those black chargers are bang-bangers.”

And when a player scored while driving to the basket, he thundered: “To the conclusion, with the smooch.”

Harrison NJ’s New Soccer Stadium – Surely The PATH Train’s More Crowded Than This?

Posted in Football, Ugly New Stadiums at 4:58 pm by

Congrats to the former Metro Stars on winning their 2010 MLS home opener against Chicago Saturday night, a match that marked the unveiling of Red Bull Arena for its first non-exhibition contest. While the venue is receiving mostly high marks from those in attendance, surely I’m not alone in finding the above clip unnecessarily arty and solemn.  Where’s the intense, Kronos Quartet-scored commercials touting PATH rides to Maxwell’s?

Tat’s All, Folks : Mushnick Vs. The Body Art Craze

Posted in Basketball, non-sporting journalism at 3:35 pm by

It would be nice to think that in 2010 an athlete —- professional or amateur — could be judged on their performance (or the content of his or her character) rather than on something as flimsy as whether or not they’ve opted for a tattoo (or 8 dozen). For the New York Post’s Phil Mushnick — presumably tired of bitching about overpriced sneakers, cornrows and doo rags — said alterations indicate (gulp) a lack of smarts. (“I don’t care what your position is on this pop-cultural ‘advancement’ — whether you recognize that it’s another mainstreamed gift from our prison systems and street gangs — but you’ll admit that it seemed half the starters in this year’s tournament were covered with tattoos”)

Until biology and history majors can show and prove otherwise, the most susceptible to modern fashion seem to be on basketball scholarship to America’s most esteemed universities.

Heck, there were three guys who played for Tennessee yesterday whose exteriors looked as if they’d been held down and assaulted by a merciless mob of Etch-a-Sketches.

That makes me wonder. Having covered your arms, legs, chests, backs, hands and necks with permanent patterns and words — some fellas seem to have the Preamble of the Constitution (or Miranda Rights) inscribed down the length of their arms — how do they read what they had written, you know, to check for spelling?

If one is to look down at his tattoo, he sees it upside down. If he tries to admire it in a mirror, he sees it backward. Those grieving fellows who salute in skin art a deceased friend or relative may be startled to look into a mirror and read his memorial as “P.I.R.”

Anyone know, by chance, if Eric Hinske received a basketball scholarship? From this vantage point, it would either seem Phil’s not spent much time out of the house over the last two decades, or he takes special relish in mocking the intellectual capacities of a bunch of young people who just happen to be mostly black.

Mikhail Prokhorov Is Very Ready For His Close Up

Posted in Basketball at 2:18 pm by

It’s been quite a whirlwind media tour for Russian zillionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, aspiring owner of the Jersey/Brooklyn Nets.  Profiled last night on CBS’ “60 Minutes”, Prokhorov answered questions about his pending Owner With A Boner status by saying, “I like women.” Finally, a heterosexual in the ownership ranks of the NBA!  Following a Business Week interview in which the one-time stonewashed jeans mangnate professed to checking out the internet only 3 times (and never having set foot on his $45 million yacht), Yahoo Sports’ Trey Kirby calls Prokhorov, “a movie character come to life” .  And best of all, he seems to have an amazing sense of humor, at least when it comes to talent evaluation.  From the New York Times’ Richard Sandomir :

In an e-mail interview, Prokhorov said he was not confined to one strategy to improve the team. Asked if he will pursue elite players like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh if they become free agents, he said, œWe will certainly try to use a large number of free agents over the next two seasons.

He added that the œstarting point of our plan will be the draft picks on 18th May. The league™s draft lottery will be held May 18, with the draft June 24.

œThis year promises uniquely strong draft picks comparable with the draft picks in 2003, when such great players as LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade joined the N.B.A., he wrote.

Prokhorov said he did not intend to install a Russian lieutenant to oversee his Nets investment.

œAt the moment, there are no managers in Russia qualified to supervise people at the level of Rod Thorn or Brett Yormark, he wrote. Thorn is the Nets™ president, and Yormark is the president and chief executive of Nets Sports and Entertainment.

But, Prokhorov said, œI do plan to incorporate a young, talented Russian manager with a successful background in European basketball into the team™s management, someone who can develop to the level of N.B.A. basketball over time and fully grasp basketball as a business.

03.28.10

Is Turkoglu Jaking It?

Posted in Basketball at 5:46 pm by

The 35-36 Raptors are clinging to 8th place in the Eastern Conference entering today’s visit to Miami, and with the first quarter nearly complete, underachieving SG Hedo Turkoglu has yet to take the floor for Toronto.  The Sun’s Mike Ganter reports yesterday, “Turkoglu walked out of practice early again Saturday looking like he wanted to be anywhere but in a gym.”

That™s a game and a half, a shootaround and two practices now that Turkoglu has missed with what the team is describing as a stomach virus.

œHe just wasn™t healthy enough to continue on here, head coach Jay Triano said.

œIt happened in the game (Wednesday when he didn™t return for the second half) and he couldn™t play Friday night and we weren™t going to get anything out of him in practice either, so rest and get healthy.

Triano said the team had doctors look at him Friday morning, but would not elaborate on the problem or the findings.

œThere™s a fine line between what you can say about a stomach virus without people flooding us and coming in and testing everyone who has been around him and associated with him, Triano said.

Triano was asked point blank if Turkoglu™s illness was legitimate.

œAbsolutely, he said.

Amid whispers that he has been out and about town while dealing with this stomach virus, and with his team in desperation mode, Turkoglu is unavailable.

It Couldn’t Happen Here (And Probably Won’t There, Either) : Labor’s Fan Friendly Football Scheme

Posted in Football, politics, The Marketplace at 4:57 pm by

The precarious financial status of Portsmouth, along with frequent headlines about mounting debts at Manchester United and Liverpool have created a scenario in which Britain’s trailing-in-the-polls Gordon Brown & colleagues are proposing greater regulations over ownership in the Football League. Free market be damned, it would be worth watching Tom Hicks choke on a hot dog were someone to read this to him. From the Guardian’s Owen Gibson :

It is believed that No 10, which has been working secretly on the plans for weeks, has resolved to deliver concrete proposals to tackle growing public disquiet at the level of debt carried by some clubs, the ownership model of others and the dysfunctional structure of the Football Association.

The plans include:

¢ Requiring clubs to hand a stake of up to 25% to fans in recognition of their links with their local community.

¢ Implementing a change-of-control clause that would allow fans a window to put together a takeover of their club if it was up for sale or went into administration.

¢ Giving the football authorities a deadline to reform the FA and remove “vested interests” from the board, and streamline decision making.

¢ Introducing a unified system of governance that co-ordinates issues such as club ownership and youth development.

¢ Allowing professional leagues and the FA additional oversight of club takeovers.

While the government will reiterate that it has no desire to regulate football directly, the prime minister believes the democratisation of football club ownership taps into wider themes about the “mutualisation” of public services and the need for regulatory reform.

Uecker’s (WWE) Hall Of Fame Acceptance Speech

Posted in Baseball, Professional Wrestling at 3:11 pm by

On the eve of Wrestlemania 26, a throng of nearly 5000 paid serious loot to attend the WWE’s annual Hall Of Fame induction ceremonies, an event televised by the USA Network and often designed to honor those who’ve either buried the hatchet with Vince McMahon or remained in his good graces. Amongst the Class of 2010 — including the late Stu Hart, Antonio Inoki, Wendy Richter and Ted DiBiase — was Brewers announcer Bob Uecker, named to the Hall’s “celebrity” wing. As quoted by Pro Wrestling Torch’s James Caldwell :

I remember going to Los Angeles to do the promotion stuff (for Wrestlemania III). It was Hulk Hogan, (Andre) the Giant, (Bobby) the Brain (Heenan), Jake ˜The Snake™ Roberts, who coincidentally said, ˜Uke, why don™t you take a picture with Damian?™ I said, ˜Who™s Damian.™ He said, ˜He™s in the bag.™ I said, ˜So am I. Give me a couple more beers.™ So he took the snake out and I put him around me. He said, ˜Don™t worry. He™s big and he’s strong.™ He got his tail around my leg hee and I™m holding him and I™m looking at Jake and he™s got this huge scar right here (on his chest). I said, ˜What is that?™ He said, ˜That™s where Damian bit me.™ I said, ˜Oh, what a great time that must be. I hope he bites me, too.™

I remember the one thing with Jake was Donald Trump™s wife, Ivana. He put that snake down at her feet and she left Wrestlemania so fast, she just left Donald there and she ain’t seen him since.

Justice : If Baylor’s Drew Is Dirty, Where’s The Smoking Gun?

Posted in Basketball at 2:27 pm by

If Baylor can get past #1 seed Duke later today at Houston’s Reliant Stadium, “the win would convey instant legitimacy to Baylor’s rise and send ripples across the country” promises the Dallas Morning News’ Chuck Carlton.  The equally enthused Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle considers the possibility of the Bears advancing to their first Men’s Final Four in 60 years and warns if such a result occurs, “there will be more stories about how (head coach) Scott Drew is dirty.”

UT’s Rick Barnes has all but called him a cheat, or at least hinted strongly that he lacks ethics. Bob Knight is said to have angrily confronted him during a Big 12 meeting. Bill Self didn’t like a stunt Drew (above) pulled before a Baylor road game at Kansas.

About all these coaches have not done is offer an ounce of proof. They whisper that they know what he’s up to. They’ll tell you they know, they really know, they absolutely know and they wonder why you can’t see it, too.
Proof? They’ve got none. Zero. Zip. Zilch. And while Barnes and Self are sitting home with their underachieving teams, Drew and Baylor are still playing.

What Drew has recruited aggressively, going after the best players, conceding to no one. He gets there first. He doesn’t take no for an answer. He has gotten close to a line or two, like when he hired a guy close to John Wall apparently hoping he might get Wall.

But he may have gotten Tweety Carter because he worked harder than anyone else and sold the kid on his vision of Baylor.

œI really didn’t get recruited by anybody else, really, Carter said.

03.27.10

Somebody Out There Likes Joe Randa (Until April 2, 2011)

Posted in Baseball, History's Great Hook-Ups, The Internet at 7:43 pm by

I mention the above date because sponsorship of Mr. Randa’s Baseball Reference page is up for grabs.  So if you’re an ardent admirer or perhaps a situationist prankster, you might want to sign up, or perhaps just renew the following copy, as forwarded to us by the eagle-eyed Tim Cook.