03.27.10

Stat : T-Mac Blew Me Off

Posted in Basketball at 5:25 pm by

Though the biggest Knicks related news today probably comes from CBS Sports’ Ken Berger floating the possibility of Kobe Bryant opting out of his $25 million salary in LA to become a restricted free agent and sign with New York (œ’He™s definitely in the mix,’ one GM told me recently. ‘What if they don™t win it this year and what if he™s [ticked] off at Dr. Buss for not re-signing Phil Jackson or he™s sick of playing with whoever and he says, ˜You know what? I™m gonna go put on a New York Knick jersey.™ All of sudden he and Mike D™Antoni hook up in New York and they can talk some Italian.’”), the following item from the Arizona Republic’s Paul Coro comes a close second.  It seems the Suns’ Amare Stoudemire (above) claims he once attended a high school football game starring Tracy McGrady’s brother, and sought counsel from the (at the time) Orlando star.  Coro transcribed the bickering prior to New York being routed in Phoenix last night.

“I’m not a huge Tracy McGrady fan,” Stoudemire said.

As a person or player?

“Both,” he said.

Why?

“I tried to reach out to him one time before in high school, really to get some advice on going from high school to the NBA, and he pretty much didn’t say anything,” he said. “So I look at myself now being successful in the NBA, if a kid from my hometown was to come up to me and say, ‘Yo, Amar’e. I’m thinking about going out of high school.’ I would say, ‘Well, you know what, it’s a tough process. College is very important. Education is very important.’ So forth and so on. I didn’t get any of that. I just went off my instinct.”

McGrady not only disputed that such an exchange occurred but said he never went to a high school football game while he was a Magic player and that his brother did not play football. He said he did have a phone conversation on the topic with Stoudemire and watched Stoudemire play against his brother’s team.

“That’s a made-up story,” McGrady said.

In turn, Stoudemire said McGrady was lying.

ESPN.com Lacking The Resources, Technology To Deal With Comment Moderation

Posted in Basketball, Firearms, Racism Corner, The Internet, The Law at 2:57 pm by

True Hoop’s Henry Abbott dived into the events leading to Gilbert Arenas’ conviction and sentence on gun charges yesterday, questioning Agent Zero’s behavior after the story broke, and making the very reasonable point that Gil’s choice of lawyer might’ve been his only smart move in the entire episode.

Sadly, the WWL allows replies like the one above to go unanswered or unremoved for 5 hours (and counting). ESPN staffers have been briefed at least once in recent months on restrictions for their own internet activity.  Curiously, the sports media monolith provides its readers with free reign to express the ugliest of sentiments.

03.26.10

Grapes’ Wrath : CBC Film Recall’s Cherry’s Greatest Defeat/Meltdown

Posted in Hockey, Sports TV at 9:38 pm by

After the recent passage of the health care bill, you’d be excused from thinking the days of Americans envying our neighbors to the north were finally over. However, TV viewers in the lower 48 are shit out of luck this coming Sunday and Monday evenings, when “Keep Your Head Up, Kid : The Don Cherry Story” hits small screens courtesy of the CBC and thespian Jared Keeso (above) and Grapes’ screenwriter son, Tim. From Truth & Rumors’ William Houston :

Part 2 on Monday moves the story to Cherry™s coaching career and, appropriately wraps it up with the gut-wrenching Game 7 of the 1979 Stanley Cup semi-final between Cherry™s Boston Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens, a game the Bruins probably should have won and ultimately cost Cherry his job.

This contains the best scene sequences of the movie. The now iconic picture of Cherry, standing on the bench, flamboyantly bowing to the braying crowd at the Montreal Forum, is reproduced. Real footage is blended with shots at the bench and the dressing room. You feel the tension building, and the sense of panic and confusion on the ice as the Bruins cling to the lead, fighting off relentless pressure by the Canadiens. The devastating impact of the too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty in the final three minutes of regulation time hits like a fist.

It™s hard to believe that he actually did this, but during the game Cherry left the bench and ran down the hall to the Hockey Night In Canada studio to complain to producer Ralph Mellanby about the telecast replaying the fights that Canadiens players won, but not replaying those in which the Bruins triumphed.

Mellanby looks at Cherry like he™s got two heads. Indeed, the scene does make Cherry look like a horse™s ass. They could have kept it out, but to Tim Cherry™s credit, it was included because, well, it was such an insane thing to do and it needed to be told. It also heightened the drama of the moment, and spoke to how out of control hockey people will get, Cherry in particular, in the heat of battle.

S.D. Scribe : Padres TV Tandem Are Consumate Shills

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 7:36 pm by

I’ve neglected to take full advantage of MLB.TV’s slate of spring training contests and as such, missed out on what The San Diego Union-Tribune’s Jay Posner characterizes as a rather crass sales pitch by the Padres’ broadcast duo.

Producer Ed Barnes put together a pretty good spring-training telecast Wednesday night on Channel 4 San Diego, from in-booth interviews with three Padres executives to showing some great footage of Chris Young playing basketball at Princeton. Too bad he was ordered to go along with what I can only assume was a Padres request to turn the game into a bad version of a telethon.

I would never say having Mark Neely and Mark Grant announce when people had bought season tickets was bush league, because that would be an insult to bush leaguers everywhere.

And does anyone really think the Padres or Channel 4 would have asked Hall of Famer Dick Enberg to participate in anything that pathetic?

Bianchi Prescribes Calm The Fuck Down Pills For Urban Meyer

Posted in Gridiron at 6:24 pm by

By now you’ve probably seen the footage of Florida head coach Urban Meyer — just months removed from chest pains and talk of leaving the Gator program — verbally abusing the Orlando Sentinel’s Jeremy Fowler for having the temerity to….hold a microphone while WR Deonte Thompson praised Tim Tebow’s successor, QB John Brantley? If you found Meyer’s behavior dangerously creepy, you’re not alone, as Sentinel colleague Mike Bianchi suggests, “isn’t it only a matter of time before he goes Zooker and threatens to beat up an entire frat house?”

This is totally out of character for Meyer. He never, ever complains about the media; he just ignores it. And that’s why this unbalanced behavior is so troubling. That’s why Gator football fans must wonder if he is mentally ready to resume being the coach at a suffocating program like UF.

This is almost as tyrannical as when Meyer said former UF quarterbacking great Shane Matthews was not welcome at UF after Matthews criticized the Gators’ offense a few years ago. Did I miss something? I thought Meyer was just the football coach at UF; I didn’t realize he had been coronated king and could banish alumni and media from the program via royal decree.

Is Meyer really such a control freak that he believes he can dictate how people interpret quotes? Good grief, this guy really does think he’s the Pope, doesn’t he? He doesn’t just want to control what we do; he wants to control how we think.

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.