04.29.10

Coming May 6 ; An Evening of Bands Who Can’t Find Many People To Stand Around Onstage

Posted in Internal Affairs, Rock Und Roll at 10:32 am by

You might think a show consisting of three duos and one trio is a pretty flimsy concept (ie. trying to limit Beerland’s allotment of drink tickets) , but if nothing else, it guarantees the non-attendance of quartet/quintet proponent Little Steven. The local scarf /bandana industry’s loss is your gain, however — this bill is ALL THRILLER, NO FILLER.

Serious Tracers
Damage Pants
Air Traffic Controllers
Hatchet Wound

Phinsider On Ireland/Bryant : Move Along, Nothing To See Here

Posted in Gridiron, Sports Journalism at 2:00 am by

Unless you’ve been ignoring sports news over the past several days, you’re probably already aware that amongst the questions Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant (above)  fielded from Miami GM Jeff Ireland during a pre-draft interview, “was your mother a prostitute?” was one of the most memorable. While I enjoyed Sports Pickle’ imagined chat with Ireland (“how much did your mother charge for anal?”), not every blog had such a sophisticated take on the subject. Phinsider’s Matty I, while quick to admit Ireland’s question was “highly inappropriate”, wonders “why the hell is this even a story at all?”

Let’s get to the point. Was Jeff Ireland wrong here? Of course. He should have never asked that question, even if he wasn’t the only one pondering this same thing privately. But should this story be worthy of the kind of attention it’s getting? Is it worthy of Yahoo! Sports making it the lead story on their NFL page? Is it something that should change people’s feelings of the Miami Dolphins organization?

Of course it isn’t.

I don’t see Michael Silver writing front-page articles when the Dolphins run their many charitable events. Where was Silver when the Dolphins were hosting a Haiti relief effort at their stadium? Or when many Dolphin players hold their own fund-raising events to benefit local charities?

If you’re going to slam the entire front office, at least be fair.

That’s why I find it ironic that the caption under Ireland’s photo on the front page reads, “GM Jeff Ireland and the rest of the Dolphins front office can use a lesson on class and civility.”

Because the same can be said for Michael Silver.

04.28.10

Yanks – 27 World Championships, But Still Chasing The Tribe In One Department

Posted in Baseball at 6:16 pm by

(above : Freddie “Sez” Schuman, doing his best to assist the Yankees in their efforts to leapfrog 4 other teams some internet geek claims are more hateful)

Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal statistical’s maven David Biderman elicited a somewhat paranoid, maniacal response from Yankee fans when he reported that Alex Rodriguez’ home run trot was considerably slower than that of teammate Derek Jeter. Perhaps hoping to make future trips on the 4 train without wearing a disguise, Biderman today consults the Nielsen Co., who have developed an internet algorithm that determines the Bronx Bombers are “contrary to popular belief, only the fifth-most despised team in the majors.”

This service typically uses various keywords to find out whether people have positive, negative or neutral reactions to different brands and products. No team registered a negative mark on Nielsen’s “sentiment scale,” which ranges from -5 to 5, but the Yankees (1.8) were one of only six teams to score lower than 2. The Mets finished four spots higher, making them the ninth most-hated team. “Even Yankee fans don’t hate the Mets these days,” says Benjamin Kabak, a writer for the River Avenue Blues Yankees blog. “We just feel bad for them.”

The San Francisco Giants (4.5) and Oakland Athletics (4.2) were the most-liked teams on this scale, suggesting that laid-back Northern California fans are the most accepting. But the Cleveland Indians’ MLB-worst 0.9 was a bit of a surprise. They simply haven’t done a lot over the past 13 years to warrant that much attention. “I can believe that though,” says Ed Carroll, who runs the Deep Left Field Indians blog. “The team does a lot to alienate its fans.” The unheralded Cincinnati Reds (1.5) and Houston Astros (1.8) were also in the basement.

Former Mets Exec Bernazard On Being Railroaded, Getting Overheated

Posted in Baseball at 6:01 pm by

Your first place (!) New York Mets completed a 9-1 homestand earlier this afternoon with a 7-3 defeat of the Dodgers, a game that featured a pair of hits and an RBI from 1B/savior Ike Davis, a player who came up thru the Amazins’ ranks under the watchful eye of ex-VP of Player Development Tony Bernazard.  Bernazard, as most will recall, lost his job last summer amidst reports of challenging players from the Mets’ Eastern League affiliate to a fight, as well as other bits of jerk-face behavior.   Yesterday, Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal — acknowledging Bernazard’s role in the ascent of Davis, Jonathan Niese and Jenrry Mejia, went straight to Flushing’s former Public Enemy No. 1 to try and figure out just where it all went wrong.

Q: What happened in Binghamton?

A: Those things were blown out of proportion. I didn™t challenge any players (to a fight). I challenged players to do better. All that stuff that I challenged the players, no. We were developing players. We only challenged players to get better.

Q: So, why did you get fired?

A: That™s a good question.

Q: Obviously, the Mets determined that they had good reasons.

A: Not necessarily. They can fire you for whatever they want. You can get fired, but (reporters) making things up, that™s a different story. Players and managers said that (incident) didn™t happen. It wasn™t reported. It™s not what people wanted to report. It was, ˜Let™s get on this guy and that™s it.™ Everyone else jumped on the bandwagon of that one paper.

Q: And taking off your shirt?

A: I had a long-sleeve shirt on. I™m a bike rider. I had taken a long bike ride before I went to the meeting, a 55-mile bike ride.

What happens when you exercise like that? Your body starts relieving that heat. I took the shirt off because I was hot. As simple as that. Maybe I took it off in the middle of the meeting. You™re upset, you get hot. All that s—, what is that? What a crime! I took my shirt off. By the way, I always wear a t-shirt.

Bernazard tells Rosenthal that he’s not been actively looking for work and refutes a rumor he was considering a position with Scott Boras as “bad information”.  “I was punished for trying to be great,” insists Omar Minaya’s right hand man, perhaps forgetting a 2009 campaign that saw his team’s AAA and AA squads criminally unprepared to assist a parent club hit by a wave of injuries. Was Tony Bernazard the only thing wrong the the New York Mets last year?  Certainly not, but teams with adequate cover don’t end up with Jeremy Reed playing 126 games.  And it’s not as though every charge leveled against Bernazard was either sensational or cloaked in anonymity.

It’s Official : Matt Kemp Is To Blame For The Dodgers Sucking, Having No Money, etc.

Posted in Baseball at 11:23 am by

Thrilled (albeit freezing) as I was to witness the Mets’ doubleheader sweep of the Dodgers — particularly the encouraging signs of David Wright emerging from just whatever the fuck has ailed him the past season + — it was difficult not to view the visitors’ capitulation as something approaching phoning it in.  In the midst of LA’s tailspin, Ned Colletti helpfully identified the chief culprit behind the collapse, if you thought it was either of the McCourts or the man who forced Joe Torre to make Charlie Haeger a big league starter, think again. From the LA Times’ Dylan Hernandez :

Andre Ethier admitted that the frustration level in the clubhouse was increasing, but said the team had to maintain its composure.

“We don’t need to start pointing fingers,” he said.

But fingers were being pointed from upstairs.

General Manager Ned Colletti went out of his way to voice his displeasure with his team when speaking to Peter Tilden of KABC, saying, “Some guys, I guess, think that they’re better than they are. They think the opposition’s just going to roll over and get beat by them. That obviously doesn’t happen.”

Colletti came down particularly hard on Matt Kemp.

“The baserunning’s below average,” he said. “The defense is below average. Why is it? Because he got a new deal? I can’t tell you.”

How Not To Promote A Book : Madden Hints Of Steinbrenner, Baba Wawa Romance

Posted in Baseball, History's Great Hook-Ups at 11:07 am by

Tuesday’s Rush & Malloy column in the NY Daily News had a headline of “Kim Kardashian much easier to shoot for Playboy than ‘guarded’ Ashley Dupre”, which might not have hinted there’d be an enclosed item of any interest to the CSTB readership. And since I couldn’t find one, you’ll have to settle for all the scary mental images the following excerpt conjures :

Barbara Walters better brace herself for Bill Madden’s new book, “George Steinbrenner: The Last Lion of Baseball.” Though the two have insisted that they’re just good friends, Steinbrenner’s wife, Joan, apparently has doubts. During the 2000 Yankees-Mets World Series at Shea, the Yankees security staff was thrown into a panic when they learned Babwa and Joan were both headed to Steinbrenner’s private box.

04.27.10

MLB To Inhouse Scribes : Stay On Topic, Or Else

Posted in Baseball, Free Expression, Sports Journalism, twitter twatter at 10:10 pm by

Who amongst us hasn’t dreamed of a day in which their MLB.com day jobs would afford the likes of Barry M. Bloom and Marty Noble with an opportunity to wax poetic about their fave movies, BBQ sauce recipes or advice to the love-lorn? OK, maybe that’s a bit far-fetched. How about this MLB.com columnist using Twitter to share his thoughts concerning a proposed boycott of the Arizona Diamondbacks? (“just wish true fans would seek alternative ways of protesting other than boycotting games”) See, not as awesome as Marty taking the night off to watch Season One of “Dollhouse” on DVD, is it? Whatever the source of MLB’s anxiety, we can only guess, as NBC.com’s Aaron Gleeman reports the league ” is cracking down on Twitter usage, ordering MLB.com writers to cease tweeting about all non-baseball topics and scolding players for their Twitter usage in general.”

Allowing the writers and players to show a bit of personality and interact with fans/readers was a positive thing and certainly caused me to become a fan of those who did it well.

Certainly setting standards for the type of content MLB employees post on Twitter is reasonable, but simply banning all non-baseball talk for MLB.com writers and preemptively scolding players who’ve done nothing wrong is … well, it’s just a real shame.

Under most circumstances, I’d agree with Gleeman. I fancy myself something of a free speech advocate and it’s hard to see any upside to stifling the creativity of ballplayers and writers alike.

However, if that’s what it takes to shut up this motherfucker nu-media menace for once and all, I’m all for it. It’s a small price to pay.

It Took Some Time, But We’ve Finally Found A Sports-Related TV Show That Looks Worse Than “Beer Money”

Posted in Baseball, Football at 1:51 pm by

Santos ingenue Neymar suffered an eye injury last night in his club’s 3-2 defeat of Santo Andre, an incident that probably won’t do much to quell growing demand the 18 year old be named to Brazil’s squad for this summer’s World Cup. Such is the outcry over Neymay’s status, that one enterprising TV crew took to harassing Dunga in front of the manager’s home.

Seems a shame no one is willing to challenge Jerry Manuel in similar fashion over Jose Reyes batting 3rd. Where’s Roni when we need him?

FanGraphs’ Carruth : The Phillies Just Made Ryan Howard The New Mo Vaughn

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 1:25 pm by

At some point late last night after news of Philadelphia lavishing a 5 year, $125 million contract extension on slugger Ryan Howard — who still had two years to go on his existing pact — one keen observer mused the deal “will take him past his 37th birthday. By contrast, David Ortiz won’t be 35 ’til November.”  “Howard doesn’t even have to fall off a cliff in the next five years for this deal to be bad. It’s bad on day one,” pronounced Hardball Talk’s Craig Calcaterra (“while he’s better than he was on defense, he’s still bad and, before this contract was signed, seems like a guy who was on the DH-express”), and while Calcaterra is quick to cite Howard’s solid citizenry, that’s not nearly enough to impress FanGraph’s Matt Carruth who confesses, “when the news first broke and the details started to emerge, I was tempted to fill this entire article with just me laughing.”

Projecting Howard™s performance from 2012-7 is incredibly difficult. We™re not only looking very far into the future, but we™re doing so with a hitting profile that historically ages awfully. Richie Sexson, Cecil Fielder, Mo Vaugn, David Ortiz, Tony Clark and others are among Ryan Howard™s most comparable hitters according to Baseball-Reference. All of them dropped off harshly in their early 30s. About the only success story in Howard™s top ten comparables in Willie McCovey.

Even if you think baseball™s salary per win goes up to $4.25 million this coming offseason and rises at a 5% clip every winter through 2017, Howard will need to produce an average of 4.75 wins from 2012 through 2017 just in order to justify his salary. If you factor in that Howard gets (even more) long-term security from this deal, then that average production levels goes up to 5.3 wins.

In other words, Howard will need six seasons that were better than his 2009 season, except over his 32-37 years. I™m not sure I would lay even money on him achieving even half of that. This contract is both incredibly risky and unnecessary since Howard was already signed through 2011. Say hello to baseball™s newest worst contract.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Bernie Miklasz concurs with many of the negative opinions about the Howard extension, arguing it “seems to be an example of an overanxious front office working against itself.” Of course, Milasz is well aware that such a windfall for Howard will make things that much harder for the Cards to retain Albert Pujols (or for the Brewers to keep Prince Fielder).  And therein lies the genius of Ruben Amaro —he’s laid the groundwork for one, possibly two otherworldly sluggers to leave the National League and sign with the Yankees, Boston or Anaheim in the near future.

04.26.10

Jimmy Bell Went To A Fancy Dress Party, And A Football Riot Broke Out

Posted in Football at 7:11 pm by

Accrington Stanley assistant manager Jimmy Bell claims he was publicly humiliated by security goons at Gresty Park this past Saturday, and at the risk of making light of an alleged assault, how could this incident have possibly not turned up on You Tube? From the Lancashire Telegraph’s Sam Chadderton :

Mr Bell had been walking over to applaud the 186 ˜absolutely magnificent™ travelling Stanley supporters for their vocal support during the 5-1 defeat at Crewe Alexandra on Saturday.

But as he approached the fans, who had come in various fancy dress outfits, he was tackled by club stewards.

(photo taken from Matt D Gardner‘s Flickr page)

It prompted a pitch invasion by some of the Accrington supporters, dressed as Fred Flintstone, Batman and Robin, who came to Bell™s aid as chaos broke out in front of 3,800 stunned supporters.

Mr Bell said he had a bruised throat after being struck by a steward™s knee in the melee.

The Football Association has launched an investigation. Mr Bell said he would be making a complaint to police once the FA inquiry was complete.