03.20.10

M’s Skipper : Bush League Umps Are Screwing Bradley

Posted in Baseball at 11:29 am by

It took a small amount of restraint on my part not to run with a headline of “TICKING TIMEBOMB UPDATE”, and perhaps that’s just as well, as Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu alleges newly acquired OF/DH Milton Bradley is being held to an impossible standard this exhibition season. As the Seattle Times’ Geoff Baker, explains Bradley was given the heave-ho by minor league umpire John Merry  in the 4th inning of last night’s 6-2 loss to the Reds.

“To me, it’s almost like a witch hunt,” Wakamatsu said. “I mean, it’s almost embarassing to me when egos get involved to the point where they don’t even give a guy a chance.”

Merry ejected Bradley for arguing a fourth-inning strikeout call on a full-count pitch that seemed high. Wakamatsu admitted that Bradley did say something to Merry as he walked back to the dugout — he couldn’t tell what — but added that the umpire’s trigger was too quick.

“Again, I think it’s pretty blatant that some guys have it out for him.”

Wakamatsu rarely gets this critical of an umpire — at least in public. This is the second time in a row that Bradley has been ejected by a AAA umpire. Last time, two nights ago, he didn’t even say anything, but was tossed for dropping his bat and peeling off his gloves, thinking there were three outs in the inning instead of two.

Tonight, he clearly said something. Guys do get tossed for that. But yeah, Bradley’s reputation probably isn’t helping

03.19.10

The Watching Of Basketball No Longer Necessary To Hear Gus Johnson Going Crazy

Posted in Basketball, Sports TV at 7:04 pm by

“If Gus Johnson ever announces a pay-per-view briss,” proclaimed Nashville Scene’s Caleb Hannen in 2008, “we’ll be the first to shell out $59.95.”   Hannen should be thrilled to learn then, that however today’s Florida State v Gonzaga tilt turns out, actually viewing the contest isn’t required in order to hear CBS Sports’ Johnson going apeshit in his trademark fashion.  (G.J. Soundboard link swiped from J.E. Skeets)

Oney Guillen: The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Twee(t)

Posted in Baseball, twitter twatter at 4:07 pm by

(Above: Jerry Reinsdorf personally confiscates a Blackberry)

Since its inception 120 tweets ago, Ozzie Guillen’s Twitter account has proven rich in density and nuance, exploring themes of transition and longing with an effortless grace that invites and rewards exegesis in equal measure:

7:04 PM Mar 16th: let’s eat suchi now

7:08 PM Mar 11th: The wings vegasa yesssasa

4:37 PM Mar 10th: I wish I have my bike in this moment

Even delightful whiffs of grand satire find their way into his 140-character pearls:

8:45 PM Mar 14th: Was nice to see dusty baker one off the best

10:15 PM Mar 6th: Where is my guy arsenio hall my favorite show in the 80s

While the Humanitas award committee debates the establishment of a Twitter category, social media itself waits for nobody, least of all inside the Guillen household. Recent front-office kibosh-laying on a proposed Ozzie Guillen website preceded the placement of one more online Guillen in Kenny Williams’ crosshairs. Is middle son Oney Guillen the New Media mogul behind the thwarted effort?  The Sun-Times Joe Cowley reports:

Meet Oney Guillen, the second of White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen’s three sons — and the one making his father seem like a wallflower.

He put his Twitter account on the shelf last season at the request of the team, and now it seems OneyRoberto — his latest account in the world of social media — is being watched by Big Brother in the Sox’ front office.

That much was obvious by a tweet he sent out Wednesday that read: ”I love it how people are monitoring my tweets like I’m someone important. Everyone is entitled to there[sic] own opinion.”

So why are the Sox taking an interest in what Oney has to say? Well, he does know a little about the game, considering he was the one who told his father to put Geoff Blum in the game during Game 3 of the 2005 World Series. A Blum home run later, the Sox were on their way to a sweep and their first championship in 88 years.

But the kicker in all of this is that Oney works for the Sox on the scouting side of things.

Apparently, someone in the organization thinks trying to keep a saddle on one sharp-tongued Guillen is enough, let alone two.

Some of Oney’s better work this spring:

”And then aj delivers perfect baserunning we need to resign him in my opinion”

”Sorry about that Milton I guess chicago is tough. When u overpaid but I can’t hate”

”Get ur boys in line cora. That’s 2 [errors]”

The Guillen family just got screwed over or [bleeped] … but dont worry we have our own way of handling this

While the last tweet might sound vague, it had to do with the news last week that the Sox drew a line in the sand when Ozzie Guillen wanted to start his own Web site, a project that the family had been working on for several months.


Nails – A Figure So Despicable, Even Phillies Phans Cannot Claim Him As One Of Their Own

Posted in Baseball at 11:53 am by

Though Ben Schwartz made brief mention of sexual harassment allegations against former MLB star turned financial fraudster Lenny Dykstra, said charges are detailed further in a recent post from The Fightins‘ in which the pithily dubbed fuckthemets and assorted readers suggest Nails’ predatory practices are somehow more Mets-like than Philistine.

A week ago, The Huffington Post reported a shockingly non-publicized story about Dykstra being sued for sexual harassment by a former employee. The document, originally obtained by The Smoking Gun, says Lenny called œEstate Manager/Personal Assistant Jacqueline Massaro (whom he just hired) to drive 3 hours to his estate in Woodland Hills, CA. He was apparently drunk upon *his* arrival at 1 am, which was an hour after his assistant arrived. From The Gun:

“When he got there, Dykstra, 47, yelled at her to get to work. Since it was nearly 1 AM, Massaro asked, œwhat he could possibly want her to do. Dykstra, who played 12 Major League seasons and won a World Series championship with the New York Mets, then told Massaro to get the œfuck out of my house, it™s not going to work out, just leave. Massaro contends that when she went to her room to pack for the return trip to San Diego, Dykstra came into the room and said, œSo, you have nowhere to go, give me a blow job and you can stay the night.

Massaro claims he then grabbed her breasts and pushed her onto the bed.  She screamed, then ran out of the house, presumably sans luggage, and drove back to San Diego. Some really, truly horrible stuff that, if true, that Met-born doucher should pay for.

Is there something inherently Metropolitan about Dykstra’s creepy behavior?  Naturally, I’d like to think otherwise, but consider the Amazin’ roster of zipper problems  ;  Steve Phillips, David Cone, Joe McIllvane, Karim Garcia, Cleon Jones, Leon Lee….and that’s just off the top of my head. At the same time, Lenny’s all-around douchebaggery wasn’t nearly as troubling to our friends in Philadelphia when his physique underwent such magical changes prior to a career season in 1993. Perhaps that was the real Met in Lenny coming out, too.

03.18.10

The Mind Of Tim Colishaw Is A Deep, Dark Place

Posted in Sports Journalism, Sports TV at 3:40 pm by

“Around The Horn” fixture and former Dallas Morning News scribe Tim Colishaw took valuable time out from from the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament today to chat with KZNX’s Chip Brown and Sean Adams about several diverse topics.  On the matter of Rangers skipper Ron Washington, Colishaw insisted Texas needed to “get him out there”, claiming Washington was of unfit character to lead the likes of recovery specialist Josh Hamilton.  Mere seconds later, Colishaw  stated a managerial switch in Arlington “would probably make no difference”, and that today’s “stat geeks” have ready access to all the information Earl Weaver used to have at his disposal.  Presumably this was Colishaw’s way of saying being a big league manager in 2010 was mostly about people skills, but who fucking knows.

Regarding the massive commercial success of the “ATH” franchise, Colishaw spoke of email from oversea viewers who formed their entire impressions of the American sporting sphere from ESPN’s shoutiest program. If such a boast is likely to enrage Tony Kornheiser, rest assured that Colishaw has his former print colleague’s back.  Asked for his views on Kornheiser’s recent suspension, Colishaw derided ESPN for being “too severe”, advancing the argument that “Tony says lots of things about lots of people”.  “Women want to be treated equally,” scoffed Colishaw, who failed to mention any occasion in which Kornheiser mocked a male colleague for not looking sufficiently boneriffic.

Some People Doodle While They’re On The Phone…

Posted in Baseball, Modern Art at 3:15 pm by

…but I have Photoshop.  Not really inspired by Cliff Lee’s 5-game suspension for headhunting Chris Snyder as much as by the approaching season (of burritos de pollo at La Pasadita).

Yankee Closer Has A Perfect Alibi

Posted in Baseball, mistaken I.D. at 10:47 am by

For one thing, he’s in Florida.  For another, Mariano River is taller than 5’6″.  But if you’re the suspicious type, like Rog, you might say “he could have at least taken the Yankees cap off to, you know, be more anonymous.”

Marchman to Sports Pundits: Stop Looking Up Ron Washington’s Nose

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 10:30 am by

The media coverage of Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington’s coke-related embarrassment on Wednesday broke down more or less as you’d expect. Daily columnists harumphed, Rob Neyer did his grumpy/rational Rob Neyer thing, and everyone prepared to move on to speculating that these drug-filled sweatpants recovered at a Kentucky airport actually belonged to Bobby Cox more important sports news. Considering that the Rangers don’t seem inclined to discipline the clearly very embarrassed Washington, it makes sense that this story would (sorry) blow over. Although the team-employee blackmail angle GC covered here does kind of thicken the plot somewhat. It’s tough to know how much more there is here, as of now, but I do know that it’s kind of tough for me to get too fired-up about it. At his blog, Tim Marchman wonders why it was a big deal in the first place.

The only proper response to the news that Texas manager Ron Washington tested positive for the drug last year is to wonder why in the blue fuck central baseball is demeaning 57-year-old men by making them piss in cups… [Washington] didn’t do anything wrong in the first place other than violate an obviously silly and unnecessary agreement with his employers, who don’t seem to be all that put out by it. This is a case where I think we can go beyond asking sports moralists to spare us the outrage and ask them to spell out exactly what’s wrong with a grown man doing his own thing in his free time.

This is perhaps a corny segue, but may I suggest that, in the hour or so that remains before the first NCAA tournament games tip, you get your buzz by picking winners at the CSTBracket, rather than by sniffing coke at the Radisson in Cleveland? Once you’ve filled out your bracket, by all means knock yourself out.

Galloway : Heyman’s Source Was Washington’s Blackmailer

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 9:31 am by

Yesterday’s rock action in Austin meant I was neglecting the CSTB beat (well, even more than usual) and as such, there was no mention in this space of Texas manager Ron Washington (above) testing positive for cocaine during the summer of 2009.  I’ll refrain from George W. or Josh Hamilton jokes except to say I’d like to see you try to get thru an entire summer in Arlington, TX without the benefit of Class A drugs.  The Star-Telegram’s’ Randy Galloway, however, takes an entirely different tact (“age 57? First time ever? Just a snort out of the blue? OK”), revealing Washington’s secret was almost exposed far earlier by someone who apparently has Jon Heyman‘s telephone number (link courtesy Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)

A team employee, fired after the season, had all the details. He also had a list of demands for the club, which if not met would mean the Ron-does-dope story would suddenly become national news.

Some of his demands were met, but the club balked at personally giving this person a glowing letter of recommendation and also refused at least one other item. By January, word leaked that the former employee was bad-mouthing Washington around north Arlington.

Blackmailer was real unhappy, but all was still quiet as spring training opened in Arizona nearly four weeks ago. Then this week, Washington received a call from a national baseball writer saying he had the Ron-does-dope details.

It’s uncertain if this is how the blackmailer made good on his threat to disgrace Washington and embarrass the ballclub, but I’d definitely wager that way.

The Morning After The Day Before (Something Else) : CSTB’s SXSW Trade Fair Partython

Posted in Internal Affairs, Rock Und Roll at 9:16 am by

(above, Kim Shattuck and Roy McDonald of the Muffs celebrate each and every participant on yesterday’s showing having their band names spelled correctly)

Coming on the heels of some profoundly sad news in the music world, it seems thoroughly wrong to strike a celebratory pose, so instead I’ll keep it low key.  Thanks very much to everyone who attended yesterday’s CSTB bash at Beerland, especially those who waited patiently in long lines when they could’ve been guzzling free drinks (and watching shittier bands) somewhere else.

Much gratitude is due to yesterday’s performers, The Muffs, The Spits, Awesome Color, Woven Bones, Cruddy, TV Ghost and The Uptown Bums, but a very special thanks goes out to Beerland’s Max Meehan and Randall Stockton, who are without question the most helpful and honest characters I’ve ever encountered in the rock’n'roll club universe. I’m tempted to say they’re the only helpful and honest characters I’ve ever encountered in that field, but that would be an exaggeration.  A slight exaggeration.

Looking at today’s activities connected to the CSTB-family tree, of the many Alex Chilton acolytes performing in Austin this week, few have had the staying power or fantastic discographies of Tommy Keene.  He’s performing twice this afternoon, once fronting his own band, and earlier in the day playing bass with Sally Crewe & The Sudden Moves.  Grant Hart needs no introduction to anyone halfway conversant with U.S. rock history over the past quarter century,  Simple Circuit are arguably the best new band in Austin (and an absolute tonic for anyone who’s heard Ace Of Hearts’ recent Neats compilation and groused about modern music sucking the baloney pony), The Zoltars are songwriting demons, XYX could kill Godheadsilo in an arm-wrestling match, Dikes Of Holland are so multi-dimensional you’ll think you’re wearing several pairs of 3D glasses…and Air Traffic Controllers? We’re only 2 degrees of separation from Rude Buddha on Pete Frame’s ’90′s/Naughts family tree.   If I don’t run into you at the Longbranch, hopefully we’ll avoid each other somewhere else.

03.17.10

Kernan : Wright Needs Some Anti-Flinching Pills

Posted in Baseball at 11:16 am by

After David Wright was brushed back Monday afternoon by the Cardinals’ Eduardo Sanchez, the New York Post’s Kevin Kernan opines the Mets’ 3B is still haunted by a beaning suffered at the hands of SF’s Matt Cain last August (“he knew at some point this spring an opposing pitcher would fire a pitch around his head to see how he reacted”).

We all remember when Wright took that terrible fastball to the helmet from the Giants’ Matt Cain on Aug. 15. It was the most frightening moment of the Mets’ season. To Wright’s credit, he was soon back in action. It was important to get back in the box as quickly as possible. The day he was beaned, he was batting .324. When he came back Sept. 1, he hit .239 the rest of the way.

Major League players can be a cruel bunch and you know Wright will be tested just as he was tested on Monday by the Cardinals. Wright will be knocked down. Then they will throw curveballs that start shoulder high, just to see if he flinches.

They want to take him out of his game; they want him to over-think and over-swing just as he did Monday. Wright is going to have to take care of business the only way that counts in baseball.

When you fall from 33 to 10 home runs, you draw a line in the sand.

On the other hand, Wright’s power numbers through August 15 were nothing to crow about, either. Kernan can draw whatever conclusions he wants from a month’s worth of garbage time baseball, but there’s a few players (including, perhaps, a couple of Wright’s teammates) who’d have begun their autumn vacations early under similar circumstances.

Seton Hall’s Herb Pope : Adding Much Needed Spice To The NIT

Posted in Basketball at 9:45 am by

It took every ounce of self-control on my part to refrain from a headline reading “DARKO FELLED BY COCK PUNCH”. Much as it was one heck of a way for Seton Hall to return to postseason play for the first time in 4 seasons, though perhaps only the second dumbest public incident involving a Pirate baller in the last decade.

03.16.10

Manchester United’s New Dress Code

Posted in Football, Free Expression at 5:05 pm by

When AC Milan came to Old Trafford last week, the visitors’ David Beckham donned a green and gold scarf in full-view of cameras after the match, a symbolic act that would’ve resulted in censure had he still be in the employ of Manchester United. From The Guardian’s Owen Gibson and Adam Farnell :

Jerry Vyse, a first-year anthropology student at Manchester University, said he bought a green and gold scarf outside the ground and wore it during his half-time shift at last week’s Champions League match against Milan only to be sacked when he refused to remove it.

He said that supporters stocking up on half-time pies and Bovril cheered his stance and booed when his supervisor put the queue on hold and asked him to leave the kiosk, marching him to the office of the catering manager.

“I turned to the supervisor and asked him why I could not continue doing my job,” Vyse told Student Direct, the Manchester University newspaper and website. “He said it was not because I was wearing a scarf because, if it had been a different colour, he would not have minded.

“MUFC will no doubt state that the decision was based on uniform policy “ what he told me surely refutes that. He said it was because it was ‘anti-Glazer’. Does it not sniff a little bit like a dictatorship if not even the smallest of dissents can be made about an incredibly rich man who has more or less taken over the club?”

In an attempt to quell the dissent United have banned players from discussing the campaign, forbidden the inhouse TV channel MUTV from mentioning it and sacked a steward after 19 years’ service for attempting to return an anti-Glazer banner to its owners.

Is That Casual Encounters, or Adult Services?

Posted in Basketball, College Spurts, twitter twatter at 4:54 pm by

Sports Illustrated‘s Stewart Mandel tweets this fascinating link: a scheduling board for college basketball.

It’s the Craigslist of college hoops scheduling!,he writes. Note St Bonaventure’s pitch: “We lose 2 of our top 3 scorers”

Among the other highlights: Kansas needs to buy someone (a “guarantee game”) for 11/21 or 11/22, St. Bonaventure is hoping that the prospect of a game at Buffalo’s HSBC Arena might attract a “high major” opponent home-and-home, and Cameron Dollar at Seattle University is offering “competitive and creative guarantees” (is vacant Key Arena pitching in, perhaps?).

And: with a good enough opponent, Penn State dangles the prospect of ESPN or ESPN2, while Youngstown State, which needs a pair of home-and-homes, plays up its sacrificial status even more than St. Bonaventure: “We loose (sic) 5 seniors, 4 starters, 3 out of 4 top scorers. We have a lot of open dates.”

None of this is shocking of course, just interesting to see the nuts and bolts, as well as the volume of schools looking for games at any given time. I guess I’m used to college football (fewer games, and all non-conference action finalized much further in advance).

Jamie McCourt : Potentially The Female John Edwards

Posted in Baseball, politics at 4:39 pm by

Persons familiar with the modern history of the Boston Red Sox might recall the somewhat controversial public relations-stylings of the diabolical dentist, Charles Steinberg, who may or may not have been a thorn in the side of Theo Epstein prior to L’Affaire Gorilla Suit. Today, as part of revelations concerning the contentious divorce case between Dodgers owners Frank and Jamie McCourt, the LA Times’ Bill Shaikin reports Steinberg hasn’t exactly kept a low profile at Chavez Ravine, either.

In a December 2008 e-mail, Dodgers executive Charles Steinberg presented her with “Project Jamie,” a seven-page action plan that included this line: “Goal: Be Elected President of the United States.”

In a March 2009 e-mail suggesting that she first run for mayor of Los Angeles and then governor of California, consultant Michael Wissot wrote: “Since I’ve never known you to joke with me about your professional objectives, I presume that this POTUS (President of the United States) goal is serious.”

Wissot told The Times that McCourt never followed up with him.

“It was never clear to me that this was a priority,” said Wissot, who runs SymAction, a Los Angeles communications and political strategy firm. “There’s a clear difference between bringing something up in a brainstorming capacity and saying this is a specific course of action.”

In her deposition, McCourt testified she had not taken any actions toward a campaign for mayor, governor or president.

“The Dodger organization, including Frank McCourt, learned of these aspirations only when the documents surfaced after the parties separated,” said Marshall Grossman, the attorney representing the team.

“The Dodgers were surprised to learn that Mr. Steinberg had performed services beyond those for which he was hired.”

03.15.10

CSTBracket Year Four, In Which All Readers Are Invited to Finish Ahead of Me in a Non-Money NCAA Pool

Posted in Basketball, College Spurts, Internal Affairs at 3:38 pm by

(not one of this year’s prizes. Probably)

As has been Can’t Stop The Bleeding tradition since 1967, when Captain Beefheart’s bracket entitled “Fast and Balbay” won the first CSTBracket, You The Reader are invited to participate in this year’s CSTBracket at Yahoo. What is in it for you? What a fucked-up question that is. Christ, look at yourself. Look at what you’ve become.

Anyway, what’s in it for you: a virtual guarantee of finishing ahead of CSTB correspondent, CSTBracket commissioner (and inventor!) and utterly fraudulent college hoops expert David Roth in the standings, for one thing. Also, a shot at this year’s grand prize: a pair of game-worn Norfolk State University basketball shorts that, judging by the inseam, were worn in games played while either Ronald Reagan or George H.W. Bush was President. They have been washed since then, but I promise they didn’t shrink. They were designed to expose the bathing suit area, as near as I can tell. They are white and have a Spartan-looking guy on each leg. Drawstring waist. Alta moda Euro-style “one testicle in danger of entering view at all times” cut. It is safe to say that these shorts are the greatest prize in the history of the CSTBracket.

Also, Gerard is usually good for purchasing some old college hoops video game on eBay and adding that to the prize package. So assume there’s probably some Nintendo 64 cartridge with a picture of Todd Day on it in the mix, as well. And you can basically have whatever basketball cards you want from my embarrassingly large stash thereof. If the shorts arrive stuffed with a bunch of Nikolosz Tskitishvili rookie cards, feel free to consider it part of the packaging.

All of which does nothing to explain why you would actually join the league. Perhaps 2009 CSTBracket Grand Champion Chris Owen can explain: “I remember being so mad that my non-money pool bracket got 1st place that I didn’t even pay attention to CSTB for a week or so,” he writes. So there’s that, too!

Anyway, what’s important: it is a private Tournament Pick ‘Em group at Yahoo Sports. The league ID is: 62743. The password is, yes, “CSTB,” without the quotes. One shining moment, etc. I look forward to finishing well beneath you in the standings. All of you. I have some ideas about Baylor that even I don’t really believe in.

Dipshit Devil’s Advocate : Steelers Should Root For Roethlisberger’s Guilt

Posted in Blogged Down, Gridiron at 3:21 pm by

“Dumbest shit ever published” opined one unimpressed Twitter reader, and you may or may not be surprised to learn the article in question comes courtesy of The Bleacher Report, specifically, TBR’s Gregory Maurer.    Maurer, who might be making his way into your local Hearst-owned newspaper, proposes the Steelers should look at recent allegations against Ben Roethlisberger as a way to “a way for Pittsburgh to get out of an overpaid commitment to a inconsistent quaterback.”

I don’t think that the owners are praying for Ben to be convicted,but I do think they see that if Ben is convicted they have a silver lining. They can request for Ben’s contract to be voided and they have a young qb in Dennis Dixon. Even if Dixon doesn’t work out they have some money to go get a qb or they can draft one this year. So Ben is in a bad situation right now. He can lose his freedom and his money and his future, but the Steeler fans can still see a positive in this negative situation.

The “inconsistent QB” in question has won 2 Super Bowls in 5 NFL seasons and currently has a lifetime passer rating of 91.7 (also, it doesn’t get much more consistent than being accused of sex crimes annually); Dixon by contrast, has thrown a grand total of 27 passes as a professional.   On the other hand, he did produce some of REM’s most beloved works, so Maurer has that going for him.

His Name Is Ozzie Guillen And He Wants To Recruit You…

Posted in Baseball, We Aren't The World at 2:54 pm by

(l-r : Venezuelan Prez, famous thespian, brace themselves for Ben Schwartz claiming the former is actually Carlos Zambrano)

…for the purposes of blasting Hugo Chavez.  The Sun-Times’ Rick Telander attended a White Sox/Cubs split-squad exhibition tilt in Las Vegas yesterday and observed a pregame Ozzie G. monologue in which the South Side skipper “launched into a tirade against, of all people, Sean Penn.”

I am oblivious to the context, but Guillen is shooting. Stand back!

Something about the actor having gone recently to Ozzie’s troubled homeland and said the place is OK. What this has to do with baseball is anybody’s guess.

”That [bleep]! [Bleep] the [bleep] [bleep]! Don’t go to Venezuela for two days, surrounded with bodyguards, look around, and say, ‘It’s good!’ It’s not good!”

Ozzie looks at the small group before him, ready for debate, but there are no takers.

No, Jenrry: Why The Mets Are (Foolishly) Mulling Turning a Pitching Phenom Into a Setup Guy

Posted in Baseball at 2:02 pm by

In a relief appearance over the weekend, 20-year-old Mets pitching prospect Jenrry Mejia gave up his first run of the Spring. It didn’t necessarily register as a big deal, given alleged number three starter John Maine’s far shittier outing on the same day, but the rest of Mejia’s Spring is going to bear as much watching as Maine’s or Oliver Perez’s. The difference, as pertains to the phenom, is that a lot of fans will be hoping that Mejia will be hit as hard as Maine will be, and that he’ll start handing out walks at an Oliverian rate. This is a strange thing, obviously.

In the long run, as someone who has chosen to put a not-insignificant portion of my warm weather leisure time in the hands of The Family Wilpon, I certainly hope that Jenrry Mejia will be a very good pitcher. During Spring Training, Mejia has been just that, and while facing Albert Pujols in an actual game is obviously a different thing than striking out Nook Logan in the seventh inning of a split squad game on the space coast, Mejia has admittedly been pretty fun to watch in the moment and exceedingly easy to daydream about as a 2011 or 2012 member of the Mets’ rotation. He’s basically a lanky kid with a dazzling cut fastball attached at the moment, people who know about stuff like this have Mejia down as a potential Big League ace. Again, maybe not for a year or two — Mejia has only thrown a handful of innings above Class A, and despite impressing everyone with his arm, he was pretty much torched in the Arizona Fall League — but probably in time to team with Johan Santana atop a very good rotation on a team that could conceivably play those elusive Meaningful Games in September. After last season, most Mets fans would take Non-Heartrending Games In Early August, so that’s not nothing, that promise. So why pull for Mejia to crash and burn in Spring Training?

Well, two reasons. One is that, despite the aforementioned stuff about how he’s barely pitched above Double-A and that his six innings of good Spring Training ball are outweighed by a bunch of other innings suggesting he’s not really ready, the Mets are apparently leaning towards bringing Mejia north with the club as a set-up guy. With that in mind, the team has announced that they will use Mejia strictly as a reliever for the rest of Spring Training; he’ll pitch as a starter in Double-A if he doesn’t make the club, once he gets stretched out.

The Mets are evidently doing this in the hopes that eventually Mejia could become either a closer or (presumably) some Island of Dr. Moreau non-starter/non-reliever in the mold of Yankees party beast and pitch count poster person Joba Chamberlain. Given that the Mets are messing with the potential development of a blue chip version of arguably baseball’s most valuable commodity, and given that everyone from Disgusting Virgin Stat Nerds to the average baseball fan understands that 200 innings over the course of a season from a starter are more valuable than even the best 70 innings from a closer, this is strange. Which is to say that most everyone who cares, up to and including Metsblog’s blurt-y italic-jockey Michael Baron thinks this is bullshit.

So, besides the fact that this is the Mets and that the choice to rush Mejia is probably a part of Omar Minaya’s ongoing Citifield installation art project, why would they do this? Well, “This is the Mets” carries a lot of (vague, elusive) significance for me, but I think Patrick Flood nails the real reason in this post at Exile on 126th Street. Here’s Flood:

Now normally, on most teams, there exists a check-and-balance system to keep lame-duck managers from making lame-duck decisions. Lame-duck decisions like this one. Someone in the Mets organization should be using their better judgment to take Jerry™s shiny new toy away, because he might break it on his way out the door. Someone needs to say that Jenrry Mejia should start in the AA rotation because that™s a better decision for the future of the franchise. That someone should be Omar Minaya, who is the general manager. You know, the one with full autonomy and stuff.

Except Omar Minaya is also fighting for his job this season. Meaning he is also a lame-duck, prone to making lame-duck decisions. His seat may not be quite as hot as Jerry™s, but it™s probably uncomfortably warm.

So the two people making decisions about the 2010 Mets roster may be far more concerned with April 2010, than 2011 and beyond. So while you and I and other Met fans can look at Jenrry Mejia being turned into a reliever before our eyes and scream: œNO! WHY CAN™T YOU SEE WHY THIS IS A BAD IDEA! HE™S NOT GOING TO THROW ENOUGH INNINGS THIS YEAR! HE™S NOT GOING TO LEARN TO CONTROL HIS SECONDARY PITCHES! WHAT ARE YOU DOING? STOP LETTING JERRY DO WEIRD THINGS!, the Mets brass can™t or won™t.

And this is how fans have wound up pulling for the best pitching prospect the team has developed in over a decade to get rocked — because that rocking is about the only thing that can save him from a royal Mets-style fucking up. When the Rangers brought up the electric Neftali Feliz at the end of last season to serve as a set-up guy, they were in the midst of a pennant race and very clear about Feliz’s eventual future as a starter. The Mets are mulling a similar move with Mejia, only with the urgency of pennant contention replaced by the urgency of Jerry Manuel not wanting to have to get a studio job at WGN in July, and all while entertaining the possibility of turning a potential Clayton Kershaw-style ace into Guillermo Mota. Yeah, this is definitely some sort of performance art piece.

Recipe Corner : Martin Atkins’ Metal Box Brownie

Posted in Food, record collector disease at 12:26 pm by

I suppose a Gluten Free version is too much to ask for? Video courtesy former PiL/Killing Joke drummer Martin Atkins, who can now add brownie chef to an impressive resume that includes running a label, writing books and being the subject of a very hard to find tribute album.

03.14.10

Raissman On Jay Bilas’ Anger Mismanagement

Posted in Basketball, College Spurts, Sports TV at 7:24 pm by

Simply candid or fuse-blowing scary? I’d opt for the former in describing the work of ESPN’s Jay Bilas — generally no favorite of mine — who pulled no punches in sneering over the Big Dance qualifications of California and Washington this morning on “College Gameday”. In the eyes of the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman however, the former Dukie’s work during the Big East Tournament “was unnecessarily confrontational.”

One of his mates, the gregarious Bill Raftery, called him “cranky.” Bilas certainly sounded inpatient, at one point ordering Raf to “finish your thought.” Whatever. Bottom line here: Listening to Bilas was uncomfortable. Perhaps one of the sociology profs on the Bristol Clown Community faculty will encourage him to work on his courtside manner. That would be much appreciated. It would also discourage those going to the mute button when Bilas opens his yap.

Amaro : Buster’s Source Is A Liar

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 5:36 pm by

Of a mooted swap of 1B’s Albert Pujols and Ryan Howard, the Good Phight’s Whole Camels likens such chatter to “sort of like me having internal discussions about trading my wife for Charlize Theron” (pre or post “Monster”?). And while the Philadelphia Daily News considers the rumor too insubstantial for even a mention on their website Sunday, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro had little patience for a weekend call from ESPN’s Buster Olney :

“Lies,” Amaro said. “That’s a lie. I don’t know who you’re talking to, but that’s a lie.”

I’m not sure I’d take nearly as much offense. Amaro’s already shown a bit of daring-do in flipping Cliff Lee for Roy Halliday, though a Pujols/Howard exchange would rank as one of the bigger blockbusters in history. And that’s without having a photograph of Mrs. Camels for reference.

03.13.10

Not Sucking In The 70′s – KC’s Disco Hayes

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 10:32 am by

“At any given time, there are going to be 10 fans in the stands who can throw harder than him,” says Rany Jazayerli of Royals reliever Chris “Disco” Hayes, so dubbed because his signature submarine delivery rarely results in a pitching leaving the ’70′s. While I’m thrilled no one ever came up with Tom “Post-Punk” Glavine, Hayes’ exploits, on and off the field, provide thrilling fodder for the Chicago Tribune’s Oscar Avila.

“It’s kind of hard for people to picture how this is going to work for me,” Hayes said. “If you wanted to turn somebody into a hurdler and some guy walks up and he’s shorter than the hurdle, you’d say, ˜I can’t imagine him running in the Olympics.’

Hayes is especially popular with promoters of sabermetrics, “advanced statistics” they say are a better predictor of success than merely observing a player. Jazayerli said he thinks a strong season could land Hayes in the majors this year.

Take Hayes’ boyish facade ” he looks and sounds like actor Matt Damon ” and add his off-kilter wit, and it’s easy to see why so many pull for him. His blog (discohayes.mlblogs.com) is the sixth-most popular in Major League Baseball’s entire network.

It mixes baseball analysis with endearing tangents, such as when Hayes was caught without a plunger as he did battle with a “toilet of doom” as a houseguest on the road. Hayes knew the blog’s audience had gotten big when, days later, a fan in the stands held up a plunger and asked him to autograph it.

“I’d like to think I’ve signed more plungers than anybody,” Hayes said.

03.12.10

New Author Rosenberg : Still In A New York State Of Mind

Posted in Sports Radio at 5:56 pm by

Former WFAN fixture/reprobate Sid Rosenberg has a new autobiography hitting bookstores later this month, ‘You’re Wrong & You’re Ugly’, and the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson helpfully leaks some of the deeper thoughts from the current WQAM morning host ;

¢ Rosenberg started betting at age 11: “In Brooklyn in the late 1970s and early 1980s, it was not tough to find a bookie on any corner.” He bet “on thousands and thousands of games” and “lost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. . . . It’s a horrible, horrible addiction.”

He said people called his house, looking for money on bets he lost, and “I’ve been uncomfortable. But I never really borrowed enough or lost enough to risk bodily harm.” The most he bet on a game was $10,000, which he won by picking Pittsburgh over Seattle in the 2006 Super Bowl. He regularly attends Gamblers Anonymous meetings: “Three times now, I’ve left and come back to the program.”

¢ Rosenberg wrote he has been diagnosed as bipolar and is “incredibly insecure” about everything other than his broadcast talent.

“Can I be happy? No, I can’t. I’ve gone to enough shrinks and therapists to figure this out. . . . I’ve sabotaged myself. If I didn’t have the off-field issues, I know I would be the biggest radio star to work in New York. If not now, then when Mike Francesa leaves.”

¢ He attributed his departure from 790 last March to philosophical differences, noting the station’s preference to make his show more local-oriented.

¢ Rosenberg suggested he’s well-accepted among Broward and Palm Beach listeners but “when you start getting to Kendall and Homestead and parts of Miami, those are the people [who] don’t appreciate the New Yorkers. . . . It’s a geographical bias that I have to deal with every single day. My listeners hear my accent, and right away I become the enemy. The fans down in Miami are not nearly as passionate — or, for that matter, as intelligent — as New York fans. I don’t want to call my fan base stupid, but it’s not the same.”

Calcaterra Might’ve Spotted The Pirates’ Eventual Savior

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 2:52 pm by

Thursday’s Rays/Pirates exhibition tilt featured a combined 30 hits, 31 runs and took nearly 4 hours to complete.  That said, Hardball Talk’s Craig Calcaterra described the setting with unusual gusto (“the worst baseball game of my life was 100 times better than the best day I ever had in an office”), detailing a) Jose Tabata’s misadventures in centerfield, b) Tampa bullpen coach Bobby Ramos taunting the paying customers and c) home plate umpire John Hirshbeck punishing the Rays’ S-Rod for excessive (and weirdly inappropriate) celebrating.  Among other things.  But here’s an item that really stuck out — could the NBC columnist have discovered a future big league GM in the making? Or at least a really good wedding planner?

As the National Anthem was being sung, the Pirates’ employee who seemed to be in charge of everything going on that day saw that one of the padded panels on the outfield wall had fallen down. He jumped on his walkie talkie and started stage managing. In the space of, like, 25 seconds, he had (a) dispatched a couple of members of the grounds crew to fix the wall; (b) got someone else to go tell John Russell and the umpires about the panel and to not start the game yet; (c) spotted a plastic bag floating across the field and got someone else to run out and retrieve it; and (d) watched the guy retrieve it and reminded everyone on the line to NOT walk over the pitcher’s mound if you have to go out on the field. The dude was just hyper-competent. If they could bottle whatever moxy he has and distribute it throughout the rest of the organization the Pirates wouldn’t be in nearly the dire straits they’re in these days.