Did Mike Francesa’s former WFAN colleague Chris Carlin get the above scoop spectacularly wrong? It kinda looks like it, but is that justification for the complete evisceration performed by the “Mike’d Up” host? Without even getting into Francesa’s batting average in such instances —- which last time I checked, wasn’t nearly 1.000 — who else makes sports radio seem so utterly joyless, so unrelentingly grim?
[Lenny Dykstra: Hit with charges of sexual harassment, racism, and financial chicanery, yet claiming this week to be worth $100 million “ ah, nothing an hour of Suze Orman couldn't fix.]
Hey, I like schadenfreude as much as the next guy. In this economy, it’s my best entertainment dollar. Still, I found Mark Riddix’ article on “investopedia.com” “ in which he details the respective financial collapse of, among others, Mike Tyson, John Daly, and Lenny Dykstra “ a pretty lame, opportunistic use of celebrity to sell Investopederast’s sponsor bullshit. Riddix offers up some sad statistics via Sports Illustrated that 80% of NFL players consider bankruptcy within two years of retirement and 50% of NBA players are broke within five years. Yes, you could boil it down, as Riddix does, to bad planning and bad business sense. That’s an especially convenient analysis for a site that loads its articles themselves with links to gouging, amoral corporations like Bank of America (sure, I’d like advice on getting a Federal bailout just like BoA’s) or that peddle financial planning books . But, in the cases of Tyson, Daly, and Dykstra, and many others, do you need a psychologist to see some truly screwed-up emotional, chemical, and criminal behavior? Yes, Scottie Pippen buying a Gulfstream IV is retarded “ but is an egomaniac who thinks he needs a Gulfstream IV going to hire the right financial planner or buy the right book off Investopod in the first place? It all completely misses the point of what happens when you offer people with no emotional stability piles of cash and massive celebrity because they have one marketable skill. It means nothing to them. How do you financially plan, or even understand what your planner is telling you, when you got through the NCAA on jock passes? How do you financially plan when you’re a violent drunk or a sociopath? Riddix goes thru these people and critiques their spending v. income on a balance sheet. It’s like pointing out to an alcoholic that you get drunk when you drink too much, so don’t drink so much. Mission accomplished. I’m sure all Iron Mike’s problems are answered in a copy of 6 Months to a Better Budget. Writes Riddix:
Mike Tyson The king of them all is boxer Mike Tyson, who squandered a $350 to $400 million dollar fortune. So what did “Iron” Mike spend his fortune on? Everything. He dropped half a million dollars on a 420 horsepower Bentley Continental SC with lamb’s wool rugs, a phone and a removable glass roof. It is one of only 73 Bentley Continental SC’s ever built. The sad part is that’s not even the only Bentley that Tyson owned! He spent over $4.5 million dollars on cars alone. Throw in a $2 million dollar bathtub and $140,000 for two Bengal tigers and you can see why Tyson’s fortune is down for the count. He filed for bankruptcy in 2003.
Conclusion You can learn a lot by watching the poor financial decisions that many athletes have made. While you may never find yourself in Vegas about to drop $20,000 at the roulette wheel, we all have blind spots when it comes to certain types of spending. Looking at these formers millionaires’ rapid decline, you have to wonder when excessive spending goes from a manageable extravagance to a decision that will land you in the poorhouse. (For further reading check out 6 Months To A Better Budget.)
As you’re undoubtedly aware, PTI’s Tony Kornheiser recently served a two week suspension from ESPN after referring to Hannah Storm’s red skirt and go go boots combo as “a horrifying, horrifying outfit.”. While Don Ohlmeyer (above) admits, “derogatory comments about a fellow employee’s appearance, male or female, should be unacceptable”, he uses his most recent ESPN ombudsman column to subtlety suggest that maybe Kornheiser had a point.
In terms of attire, all ESPN commentators are supposed to select their wardrobes with the approval of producers and consultants. The byword of corporate guidance is “appropriateness,” but a large number of the letters on the Kornheiser suspension questioned just that — the appropriateness of Storm’s clothing choices.
Storm is an excellent sports broadcaster — knowledgeable, articulate, likeable and entertaining. Her breezy, relaxed delivery works particularly well on morning “SportsCenters.” She’s had an exemplary career, but if critiques in this mailbag reflect the audience at large, her choices for attire are not helping either Storm or the network. If anything distracts the audience from interesting content professionally presented, ESPN should take notice.
It’s a little hard for me to understand what exactly about Ms. Storm’s get up has Kornheiser and some percentage of the WWL’s viewers all hot and bothered, but given that Ohlmeyer considers their opinions valid, maybe ESPN’s female air talent might consider an alternative wardrobe. For instance, hands up, everyone in the sports blogosphere waiting for Erin Andrews to don one of these?
The poster on the top is courtesy of Obsolete Industries‘ Billy Bishop. If you turn up early on March 17, there should be a limited quantity of silk-screened versions available. If you want a copy my John Holmes flyer, surely you’ve got a printer of your own, right?
Smoking gun or just business as usual in most locker rooms around the country? I’ll guess the latter, but it’s possible administrators at Texas Tech might claim otherwise after a pair of profanity-laced postgame speeches by recently deposed head coach Mike Leach were obtained by Orangebloods.com’s Chip Brown via the Texas Open Records Act.
After a 20-13 victory over Baylor on Nov. 28, 2009, Leach is seen for several minutes using expletives to criticize his players for thinking they’re “too good” to play Baylor and for an up-and-down season, including a “close” loss to Texas.
“There’s a couple of you guys that your current living situation is going to change,” Leach says. “We’ve got several of you, particularly on offense, all you do is pull mediocrity out of one another. Well, you’re going to live somewhere else. Last time I checked, we’re paying the (expletive) bills.”
After a 42-21 victory over Kansas on Oct. 31, 2009, Leach directs some of his players, whom he calls “God squad guys,” about how to pray.
“What does God say? ‘If you’re lukewarm, I’ll spew you out,’” Leach says. “? If you’re a defensive player, I don’t need one side of the brain on playing defense and one side thinking, ‘Oh gee, I wonder, this. I wonder that. I wonder the other thing.’ No, no. Screw that.
“Your whole head’s got to be on defense. Your whole head has to be on offense. Your whole head for that play has to be on special teams. If you’re not doing that, you guys who are throwing the book around all the time, you’re defying the book.”
It’s out there, somewhere, on the internet: the column containing the first sour-stomached VORP joke, the first figurative blogger dismissively imagined hacking away in his mother’s basement. It wouldn’t be surprising if, even in that pathbreaking bit of on-deadline snarkery, those phrases came off tired. Those particular jokes were born tired, and born of tiredness: just some beaten-down coffee-breathed sportswriter type slapping away something outside of his experience, for the reason that it’s outside of his experience, over and over again forever. All to avoid having to unpack an acronym.
This is not where great thinking or writing comes from, of course — very little worth reading has ever been written in the service of advancing an objection to thought. While it’s tempting to write that this sort of self-flattering dismissiveness is where our terrible politics and obese and lazy national conversation come from — tempting because, on a different scale and in a different frame, this sort of huffy, self-pleased ignorance is the exact foundation of, say, Palinism. But true though it might be, it’s a temptation I’m going to work to dismiss. This is sports we’re talking about, and there are currently strawmen getting whomped in the discourse whose assault is a much bigger deal. Anti-nerd sportswriting is plenty stupid in its own right, and objectionable even in context, so I’ll try to leave it in that context. The question, for me, is whether it’s even worth addressing.
Obviously, I’m answering that question by writing this. And to the extent that the weirdly persistent subgenre of anti-nerd sportswriting/talk has given anything to people who read about sports — beyond a window into Marty Noble’s forbidden love for the weirdest homemade stats — it has been through the responses to it. Fire Joe Morgan was kind of the same thing all the time, but it was a very good and pretty important thing, all that kicking against the pricks and steadfast refusal to humor stubborn ignorance; at a time when people of that same mean small-mindedness were running the country, it almost felt significant to see commentators get busted for refusing to think about something and dedicating themselves to cheapjack mockery of those who were. (Yes, even when the “something” in question is the relative value of Willy Taveras or whatever)
And it’s not that there’s no reason to criticize or make fun of statheads, either. Enough time has elapsed in Billy Beane’s tenure in Oakland to draw some conclusions, good or ill, on his work there, but that’s not what, say, Buzz Bissinger wants to do. And the Internet Stat Lords can be peevish and group-thinky and are eminently mockable — witness the frenzied offseason pumping of gimpy 38-year-old catcher Gregg Zaun as a prime free agent by sabermetrically-minded bloggers, and you’ll believe that on-base percentage can be overvalued. But that conversation hasn’t even really been started. Lord knows that anti-nerd sportswriters aren’t interested in having it. They are, as far as I can tell, interested in getting those youngsters off the lawn, first, foremost and only.
And there will be a market for that sort of grousing, no matter how small-minded and predictable and boring and identikit it all is. The most rancid and ignorant and trollish sportswriter dudes will always find work; people will always be shocked when Craig Carton says on the radio that Jose Reyes can die at 50 for all he cares if he brings a World Series to Queens, and Craig Carton will always say that. This is because the aforementioned people are assholes, but also because people apparently keep responding to it. (One thing I wonder about: has the alternative been tried enough to say that Assholes are more popular than, say, your Joe Posnanskis of the world?) Our sports discourse is home to a great many of these glorified message-board trolls, and trolls are going to be trolls. For instance, WEEI’s Jerry Thornton (above) is going to be a troll:
There™s no escaping this conclusion: the Stat Geeks have quietly and insidiously taken power [with the Red Sox]. Every hot stove report I™ve read this offseason, every article written from Fort Myers, every statement from Sox brass, has the Stat Geeks™ grubby little fingerprints on it. They™re like the Communist Party plotting to take over Hollywood in the 1950s before Ronald Reagan got wise to them and kicked their pinko butts all the way back to Moscow and Harvard Square. Only, instead of trying to write screenplays full of anti-capitalists rants, the Stat Geeks have succeeded in making otherwise normal, decent, God-fearin™ Americans start talking about VORP (Value Over Replacement Player) ratings and UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) numbers like they really believe in this nonsense.
In its way, that’s a pretty impressive paragraph, just in terms of the sheer amount of hackish parochialism and sour stupidity packed into four sentences. But of course it’s also fucking ridiculous. The whole article is, and it’s not worth reading unless you’re in a scab-picking mood. There’s a kind of palpable delight in it, though, that should tell you where Thornton’s real intentions lie. He’s just trying to stir some shit up, piss some people off. He is trying to get linked to from… well, probably not from CSTB, but from Deadspin (which happened) and to elicit earnest outrage from people like SNY’s Ted Berg, who obliges in a post that’s as unnecessary as it is amusing and on-point. Berg’s post is pretty amusing and pretty on-point.
But it’s also counterproductive, I think. It is a drag, a profound fucking drag, that so many of the sport-pundits with the biggest megaphones and audiences are so steadfastly resistant to writing anything interesting or displaying any thought, and so content to bait their audiences with lazy provocations. The disjunction between how terrible someone like Jerry Thornton is at his job and how much better and safer a job he has than do a ton of better writers and thinkers is vexing and baffling — and not going anywhere. It’s not going anywhere because, on its own bankrupt terms, Thornton’s piece was a success. That is what the market does to the discourse; pieces like his, and people like him are the natural result of the downward intellectual pressure of the click-economy every bit as much as is, say, a true sub-basement dweller like TMZ Sports. I know that I oftenbleat about this topic, and I know there’s not much we can do about it. Except for one thing, I guess.
I’d really love to see the writers I respect ignore these empty, obvious provocations from empty, obvious doofuses like Thornton in the future. Or at least to address them in context, not point-by-point, since they really only matter when taken as a group; piece by piece and line by line, they’re obviously worthless. I’m not taking my own advice by writing this post, and I probably won’t take it from time to time going forward. But the way to critique the snarling trolls poisoning the way we talk about sports (and plenty else), I can’t help but think, is just to do better work, seek out better work, and avoid playing their dumb game. CSTB would cease to exist if we followed that to the letter, of course, and I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t enjoy reading (and writing) some of that stuff. But you lose an argument with Jerry Thornton just by humoring him to enter it.
“So much has been destroyed.” opines the New York Times’ Richard Sandomir, “that it™s hard to feel even a tingle of fuzzy nostalgia for the house that Ruth built.” That’s pretty cold-blooded ; I’m no Yankee fan and I’m already kinda wistful for any number of spring-autumn evenings spend listening to visiting center fielders described as pedophiles or worse. Sure, everyone loves the $25 steak sandwiches at the Nu Stadium (not to mention the cheapo home runs) but it’ll take more than YouToob’d demolition of the old joint to erase warm feelings.
Tebow scored a 22 out of 50 on the Wonderlic test, an NFL source told the Post Wednesday. The score falls slightly below the average score for an NFL quarterback, which is 24. But the average for 30 quarterbacks slated to start in 2010 is even higher, at 28.5. And the average score among the past seven Super Bowl winners is a 30.1. The scores for Kansas City’s Matt Cassel and Carolina’s Matt Moore could not be found.
Tebow also recorded the lowest Wonderlic score among the four top quarterback prospects in the 2010 draft. Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford led the way with a 36, according to the source, while Texas’ Colt McCoy scored a 25 and Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen a 23.
While Tebow’s score of 22 would place him in a tie for 25th with Brett Favre and Chad Henne among starting NFL quarterbacks, the score likely won’t affect Tebow’s draft status nearly as much as his passing ability will.
The NFL is littered with mediocre quarterbacks who scored well (Ryan Fitzpatrick 48, Alex Smith 40, Matt Leinart 35) and star quarterbacks who scored poorly (Donovan McNabb 14, Dan Marino 15, Jim Kelly 15, Daunte Culpepper 18).
And make no mistake, hitting leadoff or 3rd for the New York Mets would qualify as exertion in the eyes of most medical professions, even the short-sighted quacks employed by Flushing’s National League entry. After initial tests indicated New York SS Jose Reyes’ thyroid condition was benign enough that he could rejoin the club sometime this week, Mets GM Omar Minaya instead described a far more serious situation with reporters prior to an exhibition game with Boston earlier today. From the New York Daily News’ Adam Rubin :
Follow-up tests at the Hospital For Special Surgery showed Reyes’ thyroid levels spiked upward again once he did controlled exercise on Monday and Tuesday.
“He was very disappointed because the initial results said that he could possibly be back in a matter of days,” agent Peter Greenberg said. “We’re guilty of speaking a little bit too soon, unfortunately.”
GM Omar Minaya and agent Greenberg indicated that Reyes’ thyroid levels will be tested weekly, and he’ll be cleared to resume physical activity once those normalize. That could take as long as two months, however. Reyes will remain in New York and should be absent several weeks beyond when the thyroid normalizes because he will need to get back into playing shape.
Adding to the complexity is that Reyes is returning from a torn hamstring and surgery to repair a severed hamstring tendon.
“But it’s a completely curable, treatable situation,” Greenberg said about the hyperthyroidism. “I think we all view it as good news. He’s supposed to rest and watch his diet. He’s not supposed to do anything that is going to raise the heart level, so that the irritation can go down.”
All of which means Alex Cora is likely to get drafted a few more times in NL-only leagues. And Jerry Manuel is likely to be catching up with “The Price Is Right” before the All-Star Break.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale recently hosted a discussion regarding the role of African-Americans in today’s baseball landscape, a chat that included Halos OF Torri Hunter describing Latino players as “imposters” (“we have a theory that baseball can go get an imitator and pass them off as us…it’s like they had to get some kind of dark faces, so they go to the Dominican or Venezuela because you can get them cheaper. It’s like, ‘Why should I get this kid from the South Side of Chicago and have Scott Boras represent him and pay him $5 million when you can get a Dominican guy for a bag of chips?’”). Writing for his MLB.com blog, Hunter attemped today to clarify matters, stressing “I am hurt by how the comments attributed to me went off the track and misrepresented how I feel.” In short, the Angel misquoted himself.
What troubles me most was the word “impostors” appearing in reference to Latin American players not being black players. It was the wrong word choice, and it definitely doesn’t accurately reflect how I feel and who I am.
What I meant was they’re not black players; they’re Latin American players. There is a difference culturally. But on the field, we’re all brothers, no matter where we come from, and that’s something I’ve always taken pride in: treating everybody the same, whether he’s a superstar or a young kid breaking into the game. Where he was born and raised makes no difference.
I was a football player as a kid. Football was my life where I grew up. But people like Scipio Spinks, who pitched in the Major Leagues and saw me play, and my grandfather were able to convince me that I could have a long career in baseball and not tear up my body. I am grateful I listened to them and followed this path. Now I’m dedicated to spreading the word to other young kids.
Persons with short memories might not recall that prior Derek Jeter’s face-defying dive into the stands rendered Boston’s brooding superstar persona non grata, Nomar Garciaparra was arguably the most beloved active sporting figure in New England. Tom Brady, Paul Pierce and David Ortiz have all been deified to one extent or another since the controversial dumping of Garciaparra on the Cubs in July of 2004, but before the injuries, the innuendo from Bob Ryan, the contract squabbles and accusations of official scorer harassment, Nomar wasn’t just a local icon, he was routinely mentioned in the same breath as Jeter and A-Rod when it came to game’s greatest contemporary shortstops. Despite occasional flashes of his old offensive self in Los Angeles, particularly in 2006, Garciaparra never came close to the form he displayed between ’97 and 2003. He’ll be fondly recalled, especially in wake of today’s stagey retirement as a member of the Red Sox, but who’d have imagined a decade ago — when Garciaparra hit .372 and posted an OPS of 1.033, that he’d be washed up as a full-time player by the time he was 33?
The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Fay requested a moment of Brandon Phillips‘ time last week, and the Reds second baseman replied, “I’ve been here a week and now you’re gonna try to talk to me?”. Such behavior strikes Fay as a bit diva-esque, given that “Ken Griffey Jr. would have given me the keys to his yacht to leave him alone for the first week of spring training”. For shame on the player, then, for not knowing Fay’s reputation in advance!
Phillips felt slighted because he wasn’t one of the first three position players I wrote about.
The three position players I had written about had more newsworthy stories.
I wrote about Joey Votto, who was coming off a year in which he missed 31 games with depression and anxiety issues.
I wrote about Jay Bruce, who had struggled mightily and was coming off a broken wrist.
I wrote about Scott Rolen, who had redone his contract at a reduced rate for 2010.
The reason I chose Phillips that day was I thought the story would get a good ride in the paper. My theme was going to be about what he had to do to take the next step – to go from a very good player to a great one.
Phillips’ hero growing up was Barry Larkin. It’s hard to fathom Larkin refusing an interview because of a perceived slight in the pecking order.
No one is claiming a pattern of mal-behavior w/ Roethlisberger. YET. After SB win #1, photos taken in basement of a college party w/ college-aged girls, drunk as shit. Then he tries a relationship with a woman, Natalie Gulbis, who will no longer speak his name. Apparently, women and Ben don™t mix. Then Ben goes to Vegas* and, according to hospital staff, rapes a hotel employee, andrea McNulty. McNulty is kinda messed up and is a œworshipper “ kinda like a college girl. Then Ben goes to a club in a WOMEN™S ONLY college town, sets up in a back room and commences to demanding sex from college girls.
Lesson: WHITE ATHLETES DON™T HAVE NEGATIVE BEHAVIORAL PATTERENS.
There is a criminal investigation underway in Milledgeville, Georgia and Ben Roethlisberger left town without so much as a whisper from the police or the press.
Lesson: WHITE ATHLETES ARE DECIDEDLY MORE TRUSTWORTHY THAN BLACK ATHLETES.
The saying from the press with EVERY Black athlete who finds himself in trouble, either of his own doing or having something done to him is, œNothing good happens after 2 a.m.
Lesson: WHITE ATHLETES CAN HANG OUT WHEREVER THEY WANT AT ALL HOURS OF THE NIGHT AND THE PRESS WILL NOT CHASTISE THEM FOR GETTING INTO TROUBLE.
I managed to buttonhole Michael Lewis, and got this bit of news: the rebooted Moneyball movie, scripted by Aaron Sorkin, is scheduled to start shooting in June. According to Lewis, Brad Pitt’s still going to play Billy Beane. But Demetri Martin’s out as Paul DePodesta (above). Instead — ready for this? — the ex-football player and Harvard graduate will be portrayed by … Jonah Hill.
The addition of “Superbad”‘s Hill to the cast all but guarantees there will be hardly any money left in the studio’s budget for John Hawkes to play Jeremy “Soft Body” Brown, Ed Harris as Art Howe or Frankie Faison to channel Joe Morgan.
The (surprisingly recent) closure of Chris Webber’s Sacramento sports-staurant presumably dealt a serious blow to the food scene in California’s capital, but that’s sort of the market at work, isn’t it? A long-departed power forward’s sports grill(e?) can be good for what it is, but it’s not the sort of thing that can keep up with a restaurant created by a professional chef/TV personality/”food dude” (sorry) like Guy Fieri. Admittedly, I’m reaching for a way to rope some sort of CSTB-relevance onto this pretty funny blog post about visiting Fieri’s Sacramento flagship restaurant, which is called — and I apologize for this, too — Tex Wasabi’s Rock-N-Roll Sushi BBQ.
I actually have to say the inside of Tex Wasabi’s was pretty kick ass. A completely tasteless mish-mosh of cheap Asian influenced knick-knacks bought at the local Cost Plus World Market, interspersed with random cowboy hats, whips, horsey saddles and chaps n’ shit. Kind of like P.F. Chang’s meets The S.F. Eagle. There were TV’s EVERYWHERE broadcasting various episodes of Guy’s many highly rated Food Network shows, except one HUGE TV in the middle of the room that had Rush Hour 2 on a loop. Blasting on the radio? Well the soulful blues styling of Stevie Ray Vaughn of course! The waitresses were all very helpful and sweet and all looked like they were on some sort of rockabilly roller-derby team.
I asked my lovely waitress to just bring me whatever the most popular dish was and she brought me, and I’m seriously about to barf just thinking about it, a roll of sushi called The Screaming Gobbler described as such: ‘Roasted turkey, jalapenos, pepper jack, avocados, green onions, mayonnaise and sriracha mayonnaise wrapped in sushi rice and tapioca paper. First you™ll gobble, then you™ll scream.’
It ends about as well as you’d imagine; the post has many visual elements, from an animated .gif of the Tex Wasabi logo to a photo of GF onstage with his band (?) in a tuxedo t-shirt, so it might be worth the click-through. Link found via Maura Johnston’s Tumblr. So I guess… thanks?
“Allen Iverson is in trouble, folks, deep trouble.” warns the Philadelphia Inquirer’s resident Blackberry fiend Stephen A. Smith. “The combination of alcohol and gambling – and a once-promising career in tatters because of the first two – won’t culminate in anything short of disaster if help does not arrive in short order.” Suffice to say, these issues seem a bit more serious than A.I.’s oft-stated protests about coming off the bench, at least if we trust SAS’ source, Iverson’s business manager, Gary Moore.
Iverson’s wife, Tawanna, having hired some high-powered Atlanta attorney and filed for a divorce last week, does not help matters. Nor does it help that she’s already separated from her husband, with custody of their five kids and seeking both alimony and child support.
When you consider Iverson’s well-known penchant for alcohol and his banishment from casinos in Detroit and Atlantic City, if disgust and sadness don’t come to mind, at least one question does:
Where is Pat Croce when you need him? Or Iverson’s coach at Georgetown, John Thompson?
Where is the person with the ideal combination of compassion and toughness who would shelter Iverson at the same time he’s holding his feet to the flames? Someone whose vested interest is in Iverson’s well-being, someone who doesn’t need his money or cachet?
Thompson’s an obvious candidate to lead the intervention, but perhaps the Commissioner’s office ought to be interested to, given the extent to which the Association has profited wildly from Iverson’s presence over the years. Assuming no portion of Smith’s tale is exaggerated, anyway.
(University Of Oregon DL Ra’shon Harris struts his stuff for an audience of rich white guys and football degenerates watching on television)
Recently, yours truly disparaged the NFL Scouting Combine as “a meat market” , though Jeff Pearlman — never as smart or as good looking as when he’s echoing my sentiments — goes a bit further in likening the televised spectacle to a modern slave auction. That Rich Eisen 40 yard dash doesn’t seem nearly so funny now, does it?
In short: (With rare exception) A bunch of old, wealthy white men sit in the stands with stopwatches, clocking (with rare exception) a bunch of young, inexperienced black men. The bidding takes place in April, with the most money spent earning the most promising (with rare exception) black man. In my radio friend™s words, œIt™s creepy. I agree.
Whenever I watch ESPN or the NFL Network and see their so-called œDraft experts, I think œI™d rather be a garbage man specifically in charge of used condom disposal than report on this shit. Seriously. You™re Mel Kiper. You™re 50-years old. You have a family, a life, hopes and dreams. And your days are spent, quite literally, chasing around 20-year-old kids to find out what their future plans are. You pitch a tent if they text you, and an even larger tent if they call to say, œHey, Mel, I™m going to Miami. It™s a sad existence, one I wouldn™t wish on my worst journalistic enemy.
I’ll run the risk of coming off (again) like a total jerk by saying I never got into the Dancing Hoods. I was also a pretty late convert to the majesty of Mark Linkous’ Sparklehorse. It wasn’t until 2001′s cameo-packed ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ that Linkous’ full strengths as a songwriter became super obvious to me (and congrats to those who figured it out years earlier, you were amply rewarded) and subsequent recordings (2006′s ‘Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain’ and last year’s ‘In The Fish Tank’ collaboration with Christian Fennesz) were equally affecting and powerful. Last night, Rolling Stone.com reported that Linkous committed suicide ; visitors to the Sparklehorse website were greeted with a photograph of the late Vic Chesnutt (since removed). My thoughts are with Linkous’ family, friends and co-conspirators.
Louisville helped its NCAA case immeasurably today with a convincing 78-68 home win over number one Syracuse, the second time the Lil’ Pitinos have beaten the Orange this season. But the biggest story about the game itself — bigger even than Louisville getting a super-clutch 22-point dunk-fest from this ultra-anonymous dude — was that it marked the last Louisville game at Freedom Hall. CBS gave this all the pomp one would expect, including a moderately over-the-top highlight reel dedicated to the arena which was highlighted by the amusingly jarring transition from a voiceover by Denny Crum to one by Rick Pitino.
Freedom Hall, the building, is geographically isolated and bereft of character – two qualities that are uncommon in a college basketball arena. From the outside, it looks like an airplane hangar. It isn’t on campus; rather, it was slapped together in a massive concrete desert south of downtown. The desert, which stretches for miles, is home to an expo center, a Six Flags that just went out of business, an airport, and a seldom-used mixed-use stadium. I’m saying that whenever I go there, I experience the urge to take a bunch of high-contrast black-and-white photos, caption them with lower-case pithy descriptors, and post them on my blog (which is probably named “s e e i n g t h e w o r l d” or something equally banal).
Remember fifth period in high school, when you wanted to grab a seat next to the wall so you could lean against it and try to fall asleep? Freedom Hall is made entirely of that wall.
… Of all the sports venues in the United States, Freedom Hall is surely the easiest to draw in MS Paint. My God, this building is boring. I do not know who designed it but I will bet you ten dollars that his favorite dish was oatmeal.
When Fox Sports’ Bob Klapisch cites “a whispering campaign” regarding the condition of Jason Bay’s knees, perhaps that’s what WEEI’s ferociously unfunny Gerry Callahan was alluding to Friday morning when he joked, “did you hear? Jason Bay’s into kiddie porn.” Klapisch adds, “a clean bill of health from the Mets™ medical staff is as reassuring as an IOU from Lenny Dykstra”, before giving the newly aquired Amazins’ LF another opportunity to question Peter Gammons’ credibility.
Although Bay is aware of the obvious drawbacks in 2010 ” it™ll be harder to hit home runs at Citi Field than at Fenway, and he™ll have more ground to cover in the gaps ” he says there has been no culture shock in wearing a Mets uniform.
Bay specifically disputes Peter Gammons™ on-air assertion that the slugger stalled in talks with the Mets because he would™ve rather played œin Beirut before moving to Flushing.
œI like Peter; I don™t think he meant anything malicious about it, but what he said was just one more thing that I™ve had to deal with that wasn™t true, Bay said.
œI™m happy with the Mets. I™ve been here less than a week, and it feels like I™ve been part of this team for five months. The atmosphere is great, and I have to say, playing in Boston has prepared me for the media, the market, the team.
….it would actually represent an improvement on his recent multi-media offensive. With the possible exception of Stephon Marbury, there is no one else in 2010 who so thoroughly serves as a cautionary tale ; just because you can videotape/twitter everything thought that comes into your head, that doesn’t mean you should.
I write this in full knowledge that I run the risk of being compared to B. Brian Blair.