03.26.10

Benitez, Fonzie, Not Quite Ageless, Not Ready To Quit, Either

Posted in Baseball at 3:51 pm by

Just days after our good friend Tim Cook revealed the existence of a an Armando Benitez Facebook fan page, Mike Silva at NY Baseball Digest links to an Atlantic League press release announcing the signing of Benitez and fellow former Met teammate Edgardo Alfonso to pacts with the indie league’s Newark Bears.

Fonzie was last seen toiling in ’09 for the Yomuri Giants ; “Homicide” vet Benitez began 2009 with the Bears before eventually signing a minor league deal with Houston’s Round Rock affiliate…where he became just the 3rd pitcher in Pacific Coast League history to allow back-to-back-to-back-to-back HR’s during an August loss to Memphis.   I wish both men well in their attempts to make their way back to the big leagues, and fully expect to see them suiting up for the Jersey City Snakes sometime in 2011.

Soon, “Fail Blazers” Will Be Back in Vogue

Posted in Basketball, Portland at 12:41 am by

If Paul Allen really didn’t care about his basketball team, he would have watched the Sounders take on Philadelphia, right?

The Blazers’ owner issued a largely worthless statement to the press before the Portland-Dallas game, and while some commenters on the Oregonian‘s web site seemed inexplicably content, columnist John Canzano witnessed several restless moments at the game:

I asked him at the end of the first half, as he headed into the room he uses as an office, if he’d mind going stronger with the comments on Pritchard.

The Blazers owner waved me off and shook his head. I asked him if there was anything more he wanted to say to Blazers fans. He hurried off, waving his hands and shaking his head. He finally nudged one of his private security guards and pointed at me before disappearing into a room with a small group that included Vulcan executive Bert Kolde (above), who was puffing his chest out at me.

After the door closed, a second security guard turned to me and said, “Keep writing what you write.”

Funny moment, that one. Because elsewhere in the arena during the game, a couple dozen fans were holding up “Fans (heart) KP” signs, pointing them toward the court. An usher came up and told them to point the signs toward the TV cameras to their right. And they did.

How long before Ari Fleischer is employed by Vulcan?

03.25.10

Phormer Phillie Who Beat His Wife Charitably Called “Bigger Than Life”

Posted in "Wife Beater" Is Not A Fashion Statement, Baseball at 9:56 pm by

Hours before suffering a groin injury, newly acquired Astros P Brett Myers was on the receiving end of one of the more blatant journalistic suck jobs in recent memory, with the somewhat confused Digital Sports Daily’s Travis Duncan saying of the reprobate right-hander, “one thing that has made baseball great over the years, has been the numerous bigger-than-life personalities, and pitcher Brett Myers is a bigger-than-life personality and more.”



Baseball and the media need personalities like Myers, his exaggerated personality helps us to understand humans a little better through the sports we love to watch.

œEvery incident they wrote about me [in Philadelphia], the media made it bigger than it was, Myers told Jacksonville.com

œIt was time to start over in a new place, Myers told Jacksonville.com œObviously, after the [hip] surgery, teams were hesitant to take a chance on me. I thought I™d be comfortable here because I knew [general manager] Ed Wade, the guy that drafted me with the Phillies. This was my main choice. Houston is a 21/2-hour flight from Jacksonville. Being in the south kind of suits me. People understand me a little bit better.

Yahoo’s Dwyer Calls T.O. On The NBA’s T&A (The Blogosphere’s, Too)

Posted in Basketball, Blogged Down at 4:16 pm by

I’m long enough in the tooth to remember the MSG debut of the Knicks City Dancers, castigated at the time by many paying customers for not measuring up to arbitrary / Scores standards of hotness, or in some instances, for being a cheap answer to Los Angeles’ cheesy-enough Laker Girls. It all seemed pretty bush league to me, and not the sort of thing you’d expect an allegedly sophisticated hoops audience like NYC’s to embrace.

(not the Knicks City Dancers)

Fast forward to the modern age and similar acts can be found in expansion markets (Toronto’s Dance Pak) and in old school settings (Boston’s Celtics Dancers) alike. Hardwood Paroxysm’s Sarah Tolcser acknowledges The Association’s reputation as a progressive organization but argues, “when I go to your official website and see scantily-clad girls on the front page, I can™t help feeling that the NBA is not meant to be ‘for me.’ Yahoo Sports’ Kelly Dwyer, at least on the general topic of dance teams, concurs, writing “there is nothing about these dancers that I don’t like…save for their presence at an NBA game.”

We should be beyond this. At no point in either watching or attending an NBA contest do I really want to be titillated to the core by some woman wearing next to nothing. It’s just a “pico de gallo on your ice cream, sir?” situation for me. I like both, just not together. I don’t need my heart rate to go up, or blood to flow anywhere beyond the place that tells me that Tim Duncan(notes) doesn’t seal the baseline like he used to.

I know that these women aren’t cheerleaders. They’re in professional dance troupes, meant to entertain, and technically not meant for people who are into that sort of thing (considering both sexes, well over half of the audience they perform for) to be viewed as sexual objects alone. We can appreciate the moves, the choreography, the outfits. Yes, boys can, too.

But S-E-X is the big bottom line, and I just don’t understand the line of thinking that tells us, “there is a break in the action, so now half the audience shall be reminded of sex. One, two, three, four …”
I just don’t want it there, as much as I don’t want you to send me a picture of one of these women while I’m trying to work, or a litany of links and/or pictures dotting your webpages. I’ve got news for you – if you start your day with or dot your afternoon with pictures of women (or girls, in some cases) for people to leer at, I don’t read your site. The Big Lead? Deadspin? Sports by Brooks? Don’t you feel like complete and utter dorks?

The Greatest Autistic Achievement Since Temple Grandin’s Slaughterhouse Re-Design

Posted in Basketball at 3:08 pm by

A couple of Sundays back — a mere month after a made-for-HBO film chronicled the life story of a noted autistic animal behaviorist (played with unglammy aplomb by Claire Danes) — CBS’ “60 Minutes” profiled in succession, a hedge fund analyst with Asperger’s Syndrome (and the subject of Michael Lewis’ new tome, “The Big Short” ) and an autistic piano savant. “Might this signal the mainstreaming of the autistic?” I wondered out to no one in particular while riding public transportation a few days ago. “How long until a prominent politician or sportsman holds a press conference introducing his or herself as ‘an Autistic American’?”

My fellow bus riders had nothing to say on the subject, strangely enough, but that was before NBC Chicago covered the story of Alex Herman, an autistic teen who might the only person alive with a perfect bracket through the first two rounds of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Perhaps these are all isolated incidents, but as someone old enough to remember a time before women were allowed to vote (and before Jews could dine at Wendy’s), I am quite hopeful we’re on the dawn of a new era of understanding for our autistic brothers and sisters. And if there are any autistic CSTB readers (or contributors) who’d like to help me with my taxes, that would be awesome.

Nets Exec Strives For A Teaching Moment With The Unknown Comic

Posted in Basketball at 3:02 pm by

Or perhaps we can call it The Witless Protection program. “If I try to do a short post on how craven and cheap the Nets’ marketing doof-in-chief is, I’m going to wake up an hour later staring at 1600 words, with like 400 of them being profanities,” writes CSTB’s David Roth, alerting us to Brett Yormark’s most recent attempt at putting the harassment of the Izod Center’s (few) paying customers behind him. From the Newark Star-Ledger’s Dave D’Alessandro :

The Nets had a œBag Exchange Wednesday night, when all fans were invited to turn in their bags for a nylon bag with the Nets logo on it, and a note from Yormark himself. The note read, œThanks for letting us see your face, we hope we see it more often at Nets games “ Regards, Brett Yormark.

The team did not promote the exchange beforehand; they merely instructed personnel to identify bag-wearers and offer to make the swap. The nylon bag will also include trading cards.

As for the original perpetrator, a gentleman from Morristown who was seated with his brother in the second row, Yormark said he invited him over for a bag lunch next week.

œWe might stream it live on our website, so all the fans can enjoy a nice constructive conversation about the team, because he was expressing his disgust the other night, Yormark said. œAgain, the tickets he received were free, and I thought it was inappropriate, so he expressed himself and I expressed myself.

As for that bag lunch, let’s guess: He’ll be serving chicken salad

(Star-Ledger link courtesy Nets Daily)

Playing The Blame Game With Orlando’s Stan Van Gundy

Posted in Basketball at 10:33 am by

A nice bit of traveling from the Hawks’ Joe Johnson just prior to Josh Smith’s electrifying put-back earned Atlanta a playoff berth, while in the losing locker room, in the words of the Orlando Sentinel’s Brian Schmitz, “combine glow-in-the-dark personalities with a coach who can go nuclear, taking every loss like it™s the end of  the world¦.and there can be explosions.” KA-BOOM.

Stan Van Gundy just didn™t throw Rashard Lewis under the bus after the Magic™s 86-84 loss to Atlanta on Wednesday night. He  left him there and let the wheels make an imprint on his backside.

œUnfortunately, we forgot to box out on the weak side, and Josh was able to make a great play. We became spectators and didn™t block out, he said.

Lewis privately muttered something about Van Gundy™s offense on a night he was 2-of-9 for six points. Matt Barnes was seething at the coach, too. Van Gundy took out defensive specialist Barnes for a long stretch in the fourth period, trying to get the Magic back in the game with shooters, and Barnes took it as a personal affront.

œHe obviously doesn™t trust me down the stretch, Barnes huffed.

03.24.10

Bradley : Much Like Kanye, I’m The Bad Guy

Posted in Baseball at 5:53 pm by

Considering Tru Warier Records’ Soundscan results, Lakers F Ron Artest finds himself in pretty heavy company, as the AP’s Greg Bell illustrates.

“If I was a musician, I’d be Kanye West. If I was in the NBA, I’d be Ron Artest,” the 31-year-old former Expo, Indian, Dodger, Athletic, Padre, Ranger and Cub said this week. “In baseball, they’ve got Milton Bradley. I’m that guy. You need people like me, so you can point your finger and go, ‘There goes the bad guy.’”

Here’s that “bad guy,” ejected twice in three Mariners spring games last week. The first ejection remains a joke to Bradley. He disagreed with another called third strike, then umpire Dan Bellino thought Bradley gave a demonstration immediately afterward at the plate.

Bradley thought it was the third out, and said he was one move into taking off his batting glove to prepare to play the field.

“Never dropped my glove. I pulled one strap off my glove, like this,” Bradley said, pulling off the velcro strap on his batting glove. “But if you read the paper, it will say I removed my gloves. It’s exaggerated, because that’s what the media does, you know? I pulled one strap.

Had Bradley ever had an incident with that umpire?

“I mean, I haven’t been in Triple A, so how could I have an incident?” he said with a grin.

The analogies aren’t poor, except West and Artest have accomplished more in their respective fields. West hasn’t knowingly embraced a bad guy role, either, but there’s still time.

There’s No Prize Too Small For Marbury’s Trophy Case

Posted in Basketball, We Aren't The World at 5:08 pm by

As PTI’s Michael Wilbon once called the NBA All-Star Weekend, “Black America’s Thanksgiving”, I wonder how, exactly, we should quantify the Chinese Basketball Association‘s All-Star Game.  You Been Blinded’s HG makes the very diplomatic suggestion defense is not exactly a priority in the CBA ASG, but the same has been said of the NBA’s mid-season showpiece. Perhaps a re-energized Marbury will return to the professional ranks stateside, and I remain hopeful — mostly because the Coney Island product provides so much blog fodder — he’ll attempt to crack the roster of a NYC franchise that would really appreciate him.

OMG, Indeed

Posted in Baseball, Medical Science, The Law at 4:30 pm by

Prior to the above tweet, a prior entry read “the fbi will be at my house in 20 minutes kind of scared will let u no what they want if I can after they leave.  Observes the New York Times’ Michael Schmidt, “it was unclear whether Canseco actually wrote the posts”, though I’m gonna guess Jose was 100% capable of such work.

Doctor K’s Steady Slide Continues

Posted in Baseball, Leave No Child Unbeaten, The Law at 3:07 pm by

Former Mets P Dwight Gooden, last seen in this space doing a bit of tagging in an otherwise unremarkable Queens convention center, was arrested earlier today on charges of driving under the influence of a controlled substance. From the New York Daily News’ Edgar Sandoval and Larry McShane :

Cops in the tony New Jersey suburb of Franklin Lakes responded after receiving a 911 call at 8:50am, and arrested Gooden after the ex-major leaguer left the scene of the two-car crash on Old Mill Rd.

Gooden, 45, was charged with driving while under the influence of drugs, endangering the welfare of a child, leaving the scene, reckless driving and DWI with a child passenger. He has a 5-year-old son, Dylan.

The former star was released on his own recognizance. Police declined to say what drug was involved, although Gooden has a long history of alcoholism and cocaine abuse.

“It’s a small town but we do get excitement sometimes,” Det. Lt. John Bakelaar said. “It’s not like it happened in New York City. But we have three of those ‘Housewives’ living here and we have a lot of big name athletes.”

The New Jersey suburb is also home to former Giants quarterback Phil Simms. Jailed ex-NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik was also a resident.

Earlier this year, the Mets revealed Gooden, along with teammate Darryl Strawberry, former GM Frank Cashen and manager Davey Johnson, would be inducted into the club’s Hall Of Fame.

03.23.10

The CHB’s Revenge

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 4:14 pm by

It’s a bright and sunny afternoon in Austin, TX but down in Hades, shit’s most assuredly frozen over. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy has actually written a funny column.  In the wake of former Red Sox SS Nomar Garciaparra signing a one-day minor league contract in order to retire in a Boston uniform, Shaughnessy imagines scenarios in which Roger Clemens, Manny Ramirez and Grady Lady take part in near-identical p.r. stunts  (“Larry Lucchino said a ceremony honoring Grady would be held at Fenway this summer, but he was evasive when asked if Little™s number would be retired and fitted for space on the right-field facade alongside 1-4-6-8-9-42.”)  But the coup de grace has to be Shaughnessy’s fantasy retirement for the played that cruelly dubbed him Gordon Edes’ “Curly Haired Boyfriend”.

“I’ve always had a recurring dream, to be able to retire in a Red Sox uniform,”  said Carl Everett, wearing his old No. 2 jersey. “Today I get to fulfill that dream and retire as a Red Sox . . . I always tell people Red Sox Nation is bigger than any Nation out there. It’s good to be back.”

Asked to explain Everett’s chaotic final days in Boston, and the deal that sent him out of town, Sox GM Theo Epstein shrugged and said, “Trades happen in baseball.”

“When the history of the Red Sox is written again there will be a very large and important chapter devoted to Carl Everett,”  said CEO Larry Lucchino.

“He was great offensively, great defensively, and most importantly to me, a great teammate,” said knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.

Lou Merloni, another of Everett’s former teammates, attempted to interview Jurassic Carl after the news conference, but Everett head-butted Merloni, then said, “Bye, bye, bye. Anybody from the Globe, get the [expletive] away from me. “

Schoeneweis : Brewers Are Insensitve Creeps

Posted in Baseball at 1:23 pm by

Former Mets reliever Scott Schoeneweis’ attempts to rebound from a horrible 2009 personally and professionally hit a roadblock earlier today when the lefty was released by the Milwaukee Brewers.  Schoeneweis argues to the Journal-Sentinel’s Tom Haudricourt that the Brewers should’ve paid no attention to his underwhelming spring stats (7 IP, 7 hits, 6 runs, 7.71 ERA).

Schoeneweis believes he has been fighting an uphill battle to stay in the majors since his wife died last season of a drug overdose.

“I’m a big-league player,” he said. “My wife died last year. That has nothing to do with me as a baseball player. To have to start over and be penalized doesn’t make sense to me.”

Schoeneweis said he really enjoyed his time in Brewers’ camp and liked his teammates, which made the news even more difficult to take.

“I had a lot of fun here,” he said as he packed his bags. “I enjoyed the guys, liked being on the team. I know I can help this team.

“I feel I’m a big-league pitcher. I have nothing to prove. I’m not out of shape; I’m not injured. I had something happen off the field that I couldn’t control. There should be a job out there for me somewhere.”

Nets Exec To Fans : Show Some Pride In Your Historically Shitty Team

Posted in Basketball at 10:15 am by

Full credit to New Jersey Nets VP CEO Brett Yormark (above, middle), routinely pillaged in this space, for having the wherewithal to actually locate a paying customer amidst the the acres of empty seats at the Izod Center.  The New York Daily News’ Julian Garcia has Yormark — optimistically called “one of the most fan friendly executives in the league” defending the honor of his 7-63 Nets during last night’s loss to Miami.

With the Nets trailing 79-67 between the third and fourth quarters, Yormark left his courtside seat and passed Chris Lisi of Middletown, N.J., who was sitting in the second row and wearing a paper bag over his head. Yormark then walked back toward Lisi, and in full view of reporters and photographers got into a shouting match with Lisi and a pal.

As Yormark jabbed his finger toward Lisi as he shouted something, Lisi pulled out a pair of tickets and waved them back at the CEO, who then stomped away as security personnel approached.

A Yormark spokesperson said the executive had no comment regarding the incident, but Lisi claimed that Yormark had incited it by asking him why he had the bag over his head. When Lisi sarcastically answered, “Because the Nets are so good,” Yormark snapped at him. Neither Lisi nor his companion, who joined in the shouting match, is a season-ticket holder, and they seemed to be unaware of whom they were arguing with.

Dead GM Walking

Posted in Basketball, Portland at 4:07 am by

Ok, I’m not even that much of a Sixers fan, but I’m now officially daydreaming about Kevin Pritchard and his former Kansas coach Larry Brown in Philadelphia. One thing’s for sure, the apparently inevitable departure of KP seems about as smart as when the Sixers dumped Pat Croce. From Jason Quick of the Oregonian.

After more than 10 years of covering this team for this newspaper, this development would go down as one of the strangest and dumbest I’ve encountered.

All of this reeks heavily of a certain Western Conference general manager who is widely known to envy this job. He happens to have experience with the workings of the Vulcans. He has been on a constant smear campaign since Pritchard took over, harboring feelings that Pritchard “gloats” about his success, “rubbing it in the nose” of colleagues.

If some want to tout that source as credible, and not recognize the motives, that’s on them. And if Vulcan wants to play that way, then maybe this isn’t the place for Pritchard after all.

What Quick won’t say, CBS Sports’ Ken Berger has:

Two people familiar with the situation said one strong possibility to replace Pritchard is Denver GM Mark Warkentien, the reigning NBA Executive of the Year with ties to [Blazers president Larry] Miller through their Nike connections. Warkentien has a home in Portland, and is on the last year of his contract with rumblings of a serious front-office shakeup afoot in Denver. He also had a hand in the creation of the Jail Blazers, something that will be difficult -“ if not impossible -“ to sell to a community that will never forget that damnable era.

Meanwhile, Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski continues to be the main voice for the case against KP. Is he carrying the water of Vulcan and rival GMs, as some in PDX believe, or is he an objective voice of sanity compared to all the crazy Pritchard love expressed by Portland fans and media, this writer included?

What’s also gone mostly unmentioned, for reasons that are understandable, is owner Paul Allen’s recurrence of cancer. But it seemed like Pritchard had a direct line to Allen in the past, by text message if nothing else. I was also at the press conference announcing the hiring of Miller, and my impression then is that he was supposed to be the business CEO, separate from the basketball decisions, and that both he and Pritchard would report to Allen and/or Vulcan director Tod Leiweke (who mostly runs the Seahawks), rather than Pritchard reporting to Miller. Things have obviously changed since then.

Dave at Blazers Edge’s post is both thoughtful and sad.

A week ago the questions surrounding the team were simple: Will they make the playoffs? Will they succeed there? Those were beautiful, vibrant questions speaking of goodness among us no matter how they were answered, even to the negative. Now the lingering question is, “Will this organization ever learn?”

03.22.10

German Soccer’s Sex Scandal

Posted in Football at 8:38 pm by

Believe it or not, there’s a zipper-related imbroglio in the sports world that has nothing to do with Tiger Woods or ESPN. When Saturday Comes Daily’s Karsten Blaas reports Germany’s Football Association has presided over something akin to Dick Bavetta conducting a secret affair with Stu Jackson. Except for their ages, that is.

In early February, internal DFB documents were leaked to the media and made front-page headlines. According to these publications, Michael Kempter, 27,  and four other referees whose names remained unknown had accused supervisor Manfred Amarell, a 62-year-old married father, of sexually molesting them. Amarell denied the allegations immediately, stating that he had an œintensive private friendship with Kempter. œI have never forced him against his will. Our contacts happened in mutual consent, he said. For the DFB, however, it was beyond doubt that Amarell was the guilty party. Chairman Zwanziger called it œa necessary move when Amarell retired from office a few days later.

Having lost his job and his dignity, Amarell retaliated. In a TV talk show he called Kempter a liar for denying their œphysical relationship. And he all but destroyed the young referee™s career by presenting an email that apparently Kempter had sent him in April 2007, a few hours before Bayern Munich™s 2-0 defeat at AC Milan in the Champions League. œHopefully, Bayern will lose, the mail read. œThen we can raise our glasses. It seems unlikey that the DFB will ever again appoint a match official again who has expressed his aversion to a specific club. Amarell™s main target, however, was Zwanziger. The FA chairman had œblackmailed him into retirement, Amarell claimed, and concluded: œZwanziger is not interested in human beings.

D’ohlan Tentacles Extend To Regional Blogging ; Straight Shot’s “Local Music Is Sexy” Debut Fortcoming

Posted in Blogged Down, non-sporting journalism, The Internet at 7:37 pm by

It’s been widely reported this evening that Cablevision’s Rainbow Media arm has purchased the Gothamist network of regional blogs — including, according to IndieWire, Austinist, a site staffed by several acquaintances of yours truly.  If this is true, a handful of persons I think highly of are now in the unenviable position of working for James Dolan.

On the bright side — and I’m really struggling to come up with one — it guarantees that when Dolan’s band makes their long awaited Mohawk debut at one of Austinist’s sponsored events, TV Torso will no longer be the worst band on the bill.

Strangely, Tino Martinez Has Yet To Sign Up

Posted in Baseball, The Internet at 7:10 pm by

If this fan page doesn’t strike your fancy, perhaps you’d like to become a member of “One Million Americans Against Mel Rojas’ Existence”?

Why “Mid-Major” Is More Accurate Than Ever

Posted in Basketball, College Spurts at 6:27 pm by

xavier coaches

(non-mid-major coach Chris Mack and his four Xavier predecessors, from Cincinnati magazine)

If you’re hoping, as Sports Illustrated‘s Stewart Mandel is, for the term “mid-major” to go out of circulation, perhaps writing a whole column on the subject isn’t the best way to assure that:

No one can identify for sure when exactly the term “mid-major” became a fixture in college basketball, but the 2006 NCAA tournament — the year George Mason reached the Final Four — was clearly its boiling point.

Years from now, here’s hoping we’ll similarly look back at the 2010 Dance as the event that rendered said phrase outdated, unnecessary and (this one’s a long shot) extinct.

We’ve been conditioned to believe in some mystical distinction between schools that belong to the six power football leagues and those that don’t, even when discussing a completely different sport. But if that’s the case, how is it that 11 different conferences will be represented when this year’s Sweet 16 commences Thursday night?

But, um… that’s exactly why these teams are called “mid-majors!” Not just to distinguish them from “major” (i.e. BCS) conferences, but also to distinguish them from the 15 or so conferences – half the automatic field – that enter every March just hoping they don’t have to play on Tuesday, and NEVER make the second round. The key word should be “major,” not “mid.”

And so long as Mandel can also write:

Butler is not going to win the national championship — but it’s fully capable of preventing someone else from doing so.

There’s still a hierarchy.

Does the fact that Cornell can play with anybody mean the entire Ivy League is suddenly as good as the Big 10 (or even the Missouri Valley), especially over 30 games instead of two? Of course not. Now that the world has realized (a season too late, given Patty Mills’ health last year) there are two good West Coast Conference teams, does that mean third-place Portland should have made the field instead of Big East team #8? Maybe so.

I kind of figure if you’re really bothered by the term “mid-major,” that also means you are one. Thing is, I would argue that we need to use the term more, and define it more precisely, based on student body size, attendance and/or athletic budgets, especially with the likely tournament expansion.

Why? Because of how they pick the NCAA selection committee, which is currently made up of “ten members, including six FBS representatives, and four Division I or FCS representatives.”

That means you’ve got 6 people (from UCLA, Ohio State, Kent State, Wake Forest, UConn and the Big 12 conference) representing 120 teams, and 4 people (from Xavier, UC-Riverside, UT-San Antonio and the Big Sky conference) representing 227 teams.

So not only is the process skewed towards power programs, but there is no middle ground – as the athletic director of what is by far (given Gonzaga’s recent early flops and Memphis after Calipari) the most successful non-BCS hoops program, Xavier athletic director Mike Bobinski has a lot more in common with his ACC counterpart – Xavier and Wake Forest just began a 10-year home-and-home, in fact – than someone from the Southland. Only Kent State is really part of the same world as the Horizon or Missouri Valley or the CAA, even if they’re in the other column due to football.

With 96 teams and no NIT, the big battle is going to be between those second or third “mid-major” schools and bigger-conference powers on the bubble. If the selection committee was actually divided into BCS, mid-majors (which would include the Mountain West and Conference USA) and non-majors, we might get a process that is more balanced for every school, no matter what you want to call ‘em.

USA Today Scribe : Tiger Woods Doesn’t Care About People With Ovaries

Posted in Golf at 5:25 pm by

Is Eldrick Woods a sex addict or just a particularly selfish/horny individual?  I’m inclined to guess “b”, though I’ve never quite considered that Woods’ admittedly reckless behavior is indicative of a callous attitude towards women, (or perhaps makes him an honorary member of The Mentors’ Four F Club). In the considered view of one prominent Erin Andrews critic, Tiger might need treatment for misogyny. From ABC News.com’s Russell Goldman :

Calling Woods’ decision to play at the Masters a “slap in the face to women,” USA Today sports columnist Christine Brennan (above) said discrimination at the club against women is tolerated in ways it would not be if African-Americans or other minorities were similarly excluded.

“Is there something tone-deaf about this [decision]? Sure there is. But the male-dominated golf world has never really cared about the issue of discrimination against women at Augusta National,” Brennan told ABC News.com. “That this is the place that Tiger Woods decides to come back with these apparently well-documented issues that he has with women is ironic at best, and, I guess you could say, a slap in the face to women at worst.”

Zipper Issues, Tweet Offenses To Be Addressed At Bristol U. Confab

Posted in Sports Journalism, Sports Radio, Sports TV, twitter twatter at 2:57 pm by

After a stretch in which ESPN cocks on the loose (thx, Geege) including but not limited to Steve Phillips, Harold Reynolds, Sean Salisbury, Eric Kuselias attracted the wrong sort of attention, to say nothing of golden geese Bill Simmons and Tony Kornheiser being wrist-slapped for criticizing WWL colleagues, the Big Lead reports some kinda Heavy Shit Is Coming Down later this week  :

ESPN is holding a mandatory meeting for all œtalent, and we hear two of the topics that will be covered are the network’s relationship policy “ our phrase, not ESPN™s “ as well as social media policies. As we understand it, the meeting is mandatory for anyone within a 2-hour drive of Bristol “ many out of range will be brought in via conference call. Two sources going to the meeting say that the mandatory attendance aspect is uncommon for such a large group, and there are more than a handful of nervous attendees.

When we went to ESPN to confirm the meeting, Norby Williamson, ESPN Exec VP, Production said, œThe purpose of the meeting is to affirm the enormous contributions our commentators make to ESPN and discuss a number of relevant topics, including available resources and guidelines, to ensure that continues.

Much as I love the thought of ESPN’s studios being adorned with countless signs reading “KEEP IT IN YOUR PANTS” and “STOP FUCKING EACH OTHER”, perhaps it’s time for a more creative approach.  I wonder if Tiger Woods would like 5 minutes to quiz ESPN’s (alleged) roster of lotharios about how they’ve reconciled their marriage vows with their behavior while in the network’s employ?   I bet the ratings would beat the hell out of “SportsNation”.

Wojnarowski : Pritchard’s Firing A Matter Of “When” Rather Than “If”

Posted in Basketball at 1:19 pm by

Following the dismissal of Portland assistant GM Tom Penn — an exec the T-Wolves had previously sought to run their basketball operations last summer — a line in the sand has clearly been drawn between pissed off ownership and Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard, with Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski citing the latter’s history of “desperation and immaturity”.

When negotiations became contentious with star Brandon Roy(notes), Pritchard didn™t stand firm with the limits of ownership™s offer. What™s more, Pritchard tried to cozy up to Roy by selling the notion that it was the two of them together trying to get the contracts they deserved from owner Paul Allen. For the unparalleled resources Allen has provided Pritchard to remake the roster “ millions in dollars to purchase draft picks, packaging them in trades or stockpiling prospects overseas “ Vulcan was beyond irate that Pritchard still couldn™t present a united front when Allen decided to make a financial stand.

Pritchard would go around the NBA, and surprise peers with questions that included, œHow much do you make? before launching into diatribes about how he couldn™t understand why he was so poorly compensated in Portland, especially in comparison to McMillan.

After several days of scorched earth by his agent Warren LeGarie, sources say Pritchard is desperate to find a way to save his job. After months of listening to LeGarie tell him he™d be in great demand on the market, Pritchard is finding that might not be the truth.

03.21.10

How’d McLovin Not Get Cast In This One? – “Fantasyland”, The Movie

Posted in Baseball, Cinema at 4:11 pm by

Sam Walker’s “Fantasyland” was a mostly enjoyable diary of one fantasy baseball neophytes attempts to take on the stat game’s heavy hitters, but can such a tome really serve as the inspiration for a feature-length film? Too late, it already has, and while “Fantasyland” won’t hit nearly as many screens as “Hot Tub Time Machine”, it might be particularly relevant for CSTB readers.  From Indiewire’s Liz Cook (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)

Director Stephen Palgon talks about the project™s challenges and how he feels audiences will take to œFantasyland.

“I think that we had a few challenges with œFantasyland. One of them of course was how to get Jed to be able to talk with his players. It wasn™t often easy to get Major League Baseball teams to buy into the concept of having Jed come on the field and talk to the players on his fantasy team. Another challenge was our main character, Jed Latkin. Jed was an amazing find for our film and a terrific character for us to follow, but he definitely lives on the extreme edge of Fantasyland. As Jed says œI try to fit life and work into fantasy baseball. It is his his top priority. The challenge was that because Jed was so extreme he would do and say things that might turn off our audience and with Jed being the main character who we wanted to audience to ideally root for, we needed to make sure that they did not tune him out and abandoned his journey. The process of making this work came largely in the editing process and deciding what moments would allow Jed™s unique character traits shine but also not overtake the film.”

03.20.10

A Eulogy For Brian Scalabrine(‘s Career In Boston)

Posted in Basketball, Blogged Down at 8:22 pm by

Boston’s Brian Scalabrine is currently in the midst of a 7 game DNP streak, a stretch that led the Herald’s Steve Bulpett to suggest the power(less) forward is done and dusted as a Celtic. Celtic Town’s Jay King admits that while Scalabrine is currently “nursing a shooting percentage even Rasheed frowns upon,” he fondly recalls the pale player’s transformation from joke to respectable journeyman.

Before last season, Scal had done little to earn his any of his $15 million contract. He™d been largely a disappointment, becoming the butt of jokes more often than a difference-maker in games. I made jokes about him, too. It was tough not to: He™s as goofy, lumpy and, well, white as NBA players come. He was making $3 million a year to sit at the end of the bench, and once in a while play in a blowout.

But something weird happened last year: Jokes about Scal stopped being funny. He became a valuable member of the team, and played ” *gasp* ” well. With Kevin Garnett and Leon Powe out for the playoffs, and Mikki Moore struggling to find a pulse, Scal became the first big man off the bench. For anyone who™d seen Scal play in Boston, that would seem to spell disaster. But he was solid. Good, even.

He gave the Celtics 20 legitimate minutes per game, made 45% of his three-pointers, and even somehow found it inside that rounded body of his to defend Hedo Turkoglu and defend him well. The Celtics didn™t end up beating Orlando, but Scal wasn™t at all the reason why. He had proven his worth.

The ATL Mess-Around : Possibly Not Circled On John Smoltz’ Social Calendar

Posted in Free Expression, Rock Und Roll at 11:42 am by

There are so many things that are impressive about this event, the bill they’ve assembled and their snazzy series of YooToob commercials, but special credit is due for not taking the easiest of all possible routes in 2010 ; a Juggalo parody.