The No-Look Pass Reviews A Cannot-Watch Movie

Posted in Basketball, Cinema at 7:12 pm by

Is the latest Queen Latifah star vehicle, “Just Wright”, a breezy antidote to a megaplex summer packed with sequels and 3D gimmickry, or is it the worst hoops movie (of sorts) since “Celtic Pride”? (uh, “Eddie”? “Juwana Mann”?) Since I have no intention whatsoever of finding out, we’ll allow The No Look Pass’ Brandon Tomyoy to cherry-pick from the highlights of a film that expects us to believe Common and Latifah are a couple.

Common™s character, Point Guard Scott McKnight, is a two-time MVP and the franchise player of the New Jersey Nets. They accurately mention that the Nets made their last NBA Finals appearance in 2003. What goes unmentioned, however, is any existence of Jason Kidd, who couldn™t have possibly been starting at the same position of the fictional McKnight.

- The injury that happens to Scott McKnight occurs during a play in the All-Star Game. Since when does any NBA player play hard enough to injure themselves in the All-Star Game? When is the last time a serious injury even occurred during the festivities?

- Rajon Rondo easily has the most random appearance in the film. As Common™s Scott McKnight begins to admire Leslie Wright™s god-sister, Morgan Alexander (played by Paula Patton), Rondo walks on screen to smile in acknowledgement. Nothing more. Considering that nearly every other NBA player actually shows up in a scene on a basketball court, what on Earth is Rondo doing just being the guy that™s happy to check a girl out?

- One of the key points of the film takes place in the Eastern Conference Finals in which the New Jersey Nets “ owners of NBA™s worst record this past season “ host the Miami Heat. Apparently, they weren™t going for accuracy in this film.

- Elton Brand makes an appearance in the film as himself and acts as a player who is desperate to hire a good physical therapist for the Sixers, so much so that he asks the front office if he can invite that therapist personally. Looking at his injury-riddled career since leaving the Clippers, this comes as no surprise. Karma™s a bitch, ain™t it?

Ike Davis & Rod Barajas : Strangely Resistant To The Charms Of “Frankie Teardrop”

Posted in Baseball at 6:28 pm by

Nice work by SNY’s Ted Berg, uncovering the stories behind Mets 1B Ike Davis and C Rod Barajas’ choice of at bat music. To this day, no one has quite explained Wade Boggs’ fixation with The Folk Implosion’s “Natural One”, though it’s entirely possible this classic from the Barlow canon was deemed inappropriate for stadium audiences.

Chris Myers To NOLA : Fuck Off

Posted in Hate Fuck Radio, Racism Corner, Sports Radio at 1:58 pm by

The last time Fox Sports’ Chris Myers appeared in this space, he was all but pleading his afternoon radio audience for an opportunity to personally execute convicted 9-11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaioui. With that unfortunate outburst in firmly in mind, we link to The Big Lead’s quoted transcript from Myer’s Monday afternoon Sports Illustrated podcast filling in for Dan Patrick.

œMy best is and maybe it™s a little corny, but I like it. It™s a great country here. We have disastrous issues where people pull together and help themselves and I thought the people in Tennessee, unlike and I™m not going to name names. When a natural disaster hits people were not standing on a rooftop trying to blame the government, okay, they helped each other out through this.

œMiddle Tennessee where a lot of hardworking, tax-paying, legal American citizens have been affected by the floods and are trying to rebuild their lives and they are helping out and I think that other people around the country, of course the music industry in and around Nashville helping, without making a big deal out of it and I think that™s a good thing.

It’s not merely “a little corny”, it’s downright despicable. Look, I know not everyone is in love with Steve Zahn’s work in “Treme”, but this sort of sloppily coded revisionist history hints that Myers and creeps like him maintain very different standards for who is and isn’t a real American.

(ADDENDUM : Myers’ apology from Thursday of this week :  “I would very much like to apologize to the people of New Orleans for the inappropriate and insensitive remarks I made this past Monday. Clearly, these remarks demonstrated poor judgment and I sincerely regret making them.”

Jerry Manuel Deathwatch : Post’s Vaccarro Echoing Hundreds Of Sunday Tweets

Posted in Baseball at 1:02 pm by

With Sunday’s 10-8 defeat to Florida — the Mets’ 5th consecutive loss and their first time the Fish have swept a four game series from the Not-So-Amazins’ in Miami — the New York Post’s Mike Vaccarro surmises the Metropolitans’ 2010 season “is suddenly in grave danger of spinning hopelessly out of control, leaking feebly into the sewer.” And when you’ve got a dangerously leak, we all know the thing to do is blame another oil company sack the fella in charge.

No one would argue that Manuel was handed the 1986 Mets out of Port St. Lucie. But he wasn™t handed a team currently on pace for 77-85 wins, either.

You know whom Manuel sounds like when he constantly praises his team for not quitting? He sounds like Rich Kotite. Absent anything resembling a representative Jets team back in the day, Kotite made playing hard sound like a sacrament rather than a job requirement. It is of little consequence that the Mets play hard more often than not; they also lose more often than

Manuel has become the piece most in need of replacing. He is a good and decent man, but increasingly his in-game decisions and demeanor have been maddening, his uber-reliance on small-ball, his puzzling lineup decisions. He was unhappy with that eighth-inning home run that Fernando Nieve surrendered to Chris Coghlan? How much do you suppose his almost daily reliance on Nieve has helped speed along Nieve™s regression from dependable to deplorable?

I’m not going to insist Manuel’s above reproach — the Jose Reyes Batting 3rd Experiment was a huge flop, and the skipper’s handling of Jenrry Mejia is confusing, to put it diplomatically.  But other than the most delusion member of the Wilpon Family, who looked at this team coming out of Spring Training — opening day starts for Mike Jacobs and Gary Matthews Jr.! — and thought they were better than 85-77? Is Jeff Francoeur’s desire to swing at pitches 2 feet off the plate a longstanding malady, or is it a new characteristic he only developed under the watchful eye of Jerry Manuel?


What The Clippers’ Sterling Lacks In Ethics…He Doesn’t Quite Make Up For In Aesthetics

Posted in Basketball at 3:32 pm by

ESPN Los Angeles’ Kevin Arnovitz (of Clipperblog fame) has an interesting piece today outlining a number of (serious) reasons why LeBron James ought to consider the Clippers amongst his free agency options, particularly if LBJ is “truly interested in surrounding himself with four teammates who have a full range of talents to complement his game and embody a smart mix of youth and experience.”  It’s certainly tempting to imagine how the balance of power throughout the Association might shift if James were to sign with a franchise that’s usually synonymous with futility and/or mismanagement, and with that in mind, perhaps The King Sans Ring and his advisors Leon Rose and William Wesley, might want to turn to page 5 of Sunday’s New York Times sports section.  There’s more than 45 days to go before James can begin negotiations in earnest, but clearly, Sterling isn’t above dropping hints.  Can the Knicks or Bulls cut LeBron a deal on an apartment quite like this? I think not.

Phil Mushnick’s Border Patrol

Posted in non-sporting journalism, Racism Corner at 1:46 pm by

Despite largely regurgitating the same columns over and over again, every now and then the New York Post’s Phil Mushnick provides what I’d like to call a teaching moment.  Who knew, for instance, that Phil’s family were U.S. citizens from July 4, 1776 onwards?  Or that the bearded conscience of all things Sports Media’s favorite record was White Pride’s “Illegal Aliens”? These are the sad conclusions I’m force to come to after reading Mushnick denounce Phoenix Suns Robert Sarver’s recent “Los Suns” gesture as an instance where an owner has “exploited his public position for political purposes.” Phil claims his readers quickly identified Sarver’s actions as “hollow grandstanding”, and provides the following ugly sentiments, calling them “a composite”.  As opposed to the dumbest shit ever foisted upon CSTB’s comments section.

What if the owners of the Suns discovered that hordes of people were sneaking into Suns’ games without paying? What if the owners had a good idea as to who the gate-crashers are, but the ushers and security personnel were not allowed to ask these folks to produce their ticket stubs, thus non-paying attendees couldn’t be ejected.

Furthermore, what if Suns’ ownership was expected to provide those who sneaked in with complimentary eats and drink? And what if, on those days when a gate-crasher became ill or injured, the Suns had to provide free medical care and shelter?

“Furthermore,” adds Brooklyn’s Tommy Mitchell, “what if one of those ‘fans’ gave birth? Not only couldn’t you eject them, you’d have to provide another free seat!”

I assure you, the passages above were genuinely culled from the New York Post website and not this one.

Notes From The Underbelly: CHUD Blogger Offers The Simplest and Most Convincing Explanation LeBron’s Crappy Conference Semis

Posted in Basketball, History's Great Hook-Ups, The Internet at 12:02 pm by

Trying to create a visual analogy for the Internet is a fool’s errand, although it’s one I’ve taken a couple times. I usually fall back on space as my metaphor of choice — the idea of isolated blinking beacons of whatever, separated by cold distances and surrounded by weightless garbage and discarded things. That’s not really any more informative than “not a truck/series of tubes,” admittedly, but it does let me roll out the adjectives.

But when it comes to attempting to map the internet’s innumerable layers of hilariously scurrilous and unsubstantiated/unsubstantiatable rumor-generation, the metaphor I keep coming back to is of a tall building with thousands of basement levels. Like the underground city in Kansas City, kind of, but really more like in Steven Millhauser’s Martin Dressler, except instead of each level being home to some increasingly grandiose subterranean pleasure dome, these notional basement tiers are full of cackling buttheads implying that Cuttino Mobley is gay because he was photographed in a scarf.

The stuff that foams up out of these basements, CHUD-style, isn’t usually any more pleasant-looking than, for example, the actual movie CHUD. But periodically the monstrous weirdness of what hauls itself from the internet’s lower levels is weird enough to confound even the lowest expectations. (In that way, maybe the stuff in question is more like CHUD 2: Bud The Chud) Such is the case, for example, with a particular gem of internet sub-basement turdery, which arrived in my inbox courtesy of my brother-in-law, Ben Tausig.

Ben, a Cavs fan from Akron, was presumably looking for an explanation beyond the obvious — the obvious being both whatever is wrong with LeBron’s elbow and the godawfulness and overuse of end-stage Shaquille O’Neal — for the Cavaliers’ disintegration against the Celtics in the Eastern Conference semis. Suffice to say that the explanation offered by the hip-hop-leaning sports gossip site with the barfo name Terez Owens (I’m not linking to it) went beyond the obvious. Very far beyond, very far beneath. So, here’s a recapitulation of the TO story, from CW Post University’s sports blog:

In what is truly a disturbing story, comes exclusive Terez Owens news that LeBron™s teammate Delonte West is sleeping with LeBron™s Mother Gloria James. Yes, this is the purported story coming from my source in Cleveland…

[The source reports] “My uncle has been told that Delonte has been banging Gloria James (Lebron™s Mom) for some time now. Somehow Lebron found out before game four and it destroyed their chemistry and divided the team. I am not making this up, I wish it wasn™t true but it happened.

With Delonte West™s checkered past, LeBron can be none too pleased with his teammate and good friend hanging with his Mother.

That is indeed truly disturbing, and certainly explains why LeBron was avoiding using his right hand so much later in the series, if you think about it. Kudos to fearless reporter deep-sea monster Terez Owens for getting the story, though. Honestly, I didn’t know the elevator went down that far.


Operation Shutdown For Preston North End

Posted in Football, The Marketplace at 9:19 pm by

(PNE’s Deepdale Football Ground)

It’s hardly a global soccer story on the scale of Chelsea’s FA Cup triumph Saturday, but the financial woes of Preston North End are neither the first or the last such reports you’ll see over the next year.  On Friday, the Lillywhites were served with a winding-up order from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs for non payment of liabilities, putting the future of the 130 year old club in jeopardy. From the Guardian and The Press Association :

The Championship side borrowed £550,000 from the businessman Trevor Hemmings’ investment vehicle, Guild Ventures, on Thursday to “meet the cost of players’ wages due this month”. Yet despite the cash injection, which took Hemmings’ investment in the Deepdale club to £13.82m including interest, the winding-up petition was issued yesterday.

Preston North End plc will be suspended from trading on Alternative Investment Market (AIM) stock exchange from Monday morning, pending clarification of the company’s financial position.

The club said in a statement: “The board of Preston North End, announces that, having received a winding-up petition from HM Revenue and Customs, following failure to pay certain liabilities, the company’s ordinary shares will be suspended from trading on AIM.”

Send A Child To Camp Trailer Space

Posted in Internal Affairs, Leave No Child Unbeaten, Rock Und Roll at 7:55 pm by

“It’s refreshing to see a benefit that doesn’t have to do with lack of health insurance, stolen equipment, or legal bills” was one local critic’s response to a pair of events designed to raise cash to send Spot Long‘s kids to Austin this summer. And while it’s hardly a life or death issue, the Trailer Space proprietor does more for the non-sucky side of Austin’s music scene than the vast majority of the town’s live venues combined. Given the number of amazing all-ages events that Long hosts at his record store with no cover charge, it’s no surprise that some of Austin’s best bands (AND the Air Traffic Controllers!) wanna lend the guy a helping hand.

The December Boys
No Mas Bodas
The Golden Boys
A Giant Dog
Wild America

Gardy To Nu-Media Neshak : STFU

Posted in Baseball, Free Expression, Medical Science at 4:29 pm by

Pat Neshak was a spectator during the Twins’ 7-1 defeat to the Yankees this afternoon, the disabled reliever probably giving Ron Gardenhire a wide berth after being chastised by his manager for tweeting too much information of the medical variety. From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and the AP’s Ron Blum :

“Had MRI, Went to Hand Specialist, found pain was coming from my palm and not my finger like 1st diagnosed,” Neshek said in a May 5 posting.

Gardenhire was not amused his player went public in cyberspace with a complaint against the Twins medical staff.

“My opinion of him tweeting that he was misdiagnosed? Was not very happy with him,” the manager said before Friday’s game against the New York Yankees. “I talked to him. We got it all straightened out.”

“Our doctors are here to help you and get you better, and they put in a lot effort and their time to do that, and they don’t deserve to be thrown underneath any kind of bus,” the manager recalled telling him. “If you have something to say, you should say it to me or to the doctors and not on Tweeter.”

Former Tottenham Trialist / One-Eyed PG Hails Popovich As NBA’s Best Coach

Posted in Basketball at 3:50 pm by

(above : two-time NBA MVP models his Tim Lincecum Halloween costume)

Just days after praising Steve Nash’s heroics in playing with one eye swollen shut during last Sunday’s Game 4 elimination of San Antonio, Lakers head coach Phil Jackson changed his tune yesterday, telling reporters the Suns PG’s mannerisms are tough to simulate “because you can’t carry the ball like he does in practice” (“you can’t pick that ball up and run with it”). At Phoenix practice earlier today, Nash proved every bit Phil’s equal in what seems like less of a pissing match and something more akin to a tweak-fest. From the LA Times’ Baxter Holmes :

“I’ve been in the league for 14 years,” Nash said. “I don’t know if I’ve been called for carrying yet. It’s news to me. I’ve never heard anyone complain about me carrying the ball.”

Nash seemed to be getting a kick out of Jackson’s comments, knowing he was being drawn into Jackson’s game.

“I don’t think I’ve fully made it until I’ve been drawn into a war of words with Phil,” Nash joked. “Everybody knows what he’s up to. I think it’s fun. I think the fans and the media get a kick out of it.”

“The best coach in the league, Gregg Popovich, didn’t have a problem with it last week,” Nash said, alluding to the Suns’ sweep of the Spurs in the Western Conference semifinals.

Did Nash make the underhanded remark intentionally?

“I didn’t say anything,” he said, smiling. “I didn’t say anything.”


Shitty Turnouts At Citi Field : So Many Ways To Spin It

Posted in Baseball at 6:14 pm by

Earlier today, the New York Times’ Michael S. Schmidt reported the Mets are currently leading the Majors in one important category — besides the number of times their manager asks the no. 3 hitter to bunt, that is. Citi Field’s average paid attendance thru 22 games is 31,892, 6,852 fewer than 2009′s average total of 38,744. That’s the largest decline in the big leagues, and while there’s many ways to rationalize the drop (Metsblog’s Matthew Cerrone helpfully suggests “the quality of SNY™s broadcasts” encourages fans to stay closer to their home television sets), there’s no one quite as skilled in turd polishing P.R. as the Amazins’ executive v.p. of business operations, David Howard (above, second from right).

Howard blamed the early-season decline on bad weather in April, the team™s disappointing play in recent years and the economic downturn. (The weather in April was warmer and drier than normal in the New York area.)

œWe are confident as we continue to play better, the weather gets warmer and school ends that we will draw more fans and end the year fine, he said.

It didn™t help that the Mets started the season by losing 8 of their first 12 games before putting together a winning streak at the end of April. The team is 14-8 at home and 18-17 over all.

œThe winning streak has definitely helped, Howard said. œThe fewer season-ticket sales has allowed us to sell more walk-up sales, and we have had four record walk-up sales so far this season.

With all due respect to Mr. Howard, who is to ethics what Tony Bernazard was to humility, there are several other contributing factors that must be acknowledged before we determine whether the Mets fucked over their fans and taxpapers alike with a half-empty new stadium. Amongst the real reasons Citi Field is the most peaceful place in Queens other than the Flushing Public Library :

1) that volcano in Iceland really cut down on on European fans traveling to April games.
2) tremendous excitement throughout the tri-state area over the NJ Devils’ playoff run.
3) competition from a little motion picture called “Furry Vengence”
4) construction on the Jerry DiPoto wing of the Mets Hall Of Fame has been delayed for several months
5) many NYC cab drivers have no idea who or what “Citi Field” is (TRUE, this has happened to me, twice)
6) it hasn’t been widely publicized enough the Mets aren’t actually paying any portion of Gary Matthews Jr.’s salary
7) Terror – everyone’s on edge about major public gatherings being likely targets in NYC. Mets games, too!
8 TV commercials for McFadden’s at Citi Field. What right-thinking person wants to run the risk of ever running into those assholes?
9) superior HD sound quality for WFAN broadcasts, just too hard to resist (OK, now I’m really ripping off Cerrone)
10) unlike Garry Mathews jr., the Mets are paying 100% of Oliver Perez’ salary.

OK. That’s all I’ve got.

For Fuck’s Sake, Cleveland, Get Some Self-Esteem

Posted in Basketball at 4:28 pm by

Video link swiped from the New York Times’ Howard Beck, who suggests “Bob Geldolf should sue”. Midge Ur, too, Howard.

May 14, 2010 – The Day Of Thoroughly Expected Firings

Posted in Basketball at 1:31 pm by

Shame Kansas City couldn’t have left Trey Hillman in their employ for just one more afternoon or we’d have a Triple Crown Of Terminations on our ends, or at least of the sort that would surprise absolutely no one.  In addition to Cleveland’s (probable) decision to part ways with Mike Brown (Dan Gilbert’s press conference is scheduled to take place within the hour), the Hawks announced earlier Friday that head coach Mike Woodson (above) would not be offered a new contract. While the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Jeff Shultz is careful to warn, “don’t celebrate a man’s unemployment”,  he considers the end of Woodson’s tenure, “a mandate to win now, and win big.”

All of the Hawks™ ills are not Woodson™s fault.  This roster has flaws. There is no true center (Al Horford is playing out of position). The starting point guard (Mike Bibby) declined significantly this year ” after getting a new three-year contract, oddly enough. The team™s most dynamic player (Josh Smith) is a Hall of Famer one minute and the epitome of a petulant professional athlete the next.

But it had become clear in the playoffs that players had stopped listening to Woodson. A new voice was needed before the direction of the organization started to turn south again.

The Hawks played two playoff series this year and Woodson was outcoached in both. Scott Skiles, whose Milwaukee team lost one starter (guard Michael Redd) early in the season and his best player (center Andrew Bogut) three weeks before the playoffs, nonetheless got his players to believe in themselves and their head coach. The Bucks pushed the Hawks to the brink of elimination before Atlanta players woke up in a cold sweat and won the last two games impressively.

Question: Why did it take being pushed to the edge of a cliff before responding?

In all matters concerning Woodson, stubbornness reigned. Flexibility, creativity, objectivity ” not so much.

The Cavs’ Demise In Boston : Greatest Thing To Happen To Calipari Since The Invention Of Hair Gel

Posted in Basketball at 7:53 am by

Within minutes of  the Celtics’ elimination of the Cavs last night at the TD Garden — an achievement almost thoroughly obscured by rampant speculation over LeBron James’ free agency plans —- ESPN’s Chad Ford reported no fewer than 3 unnamed NBA general managers had predicted James and University Of Kentucky head coach John Calipari would come to Chicago, the former possibly in a sign and trade with Luol Deng (thus giving the Bulls enough cap room to pursue another top tier free agent).  Having already eviscerated James following a putrid Game 5 performance, Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski continues to heap abuse on The King Sans Ring (“he shot 44 percent for the series, turned the ball over 27 times and behaved like a lousy leader…the next time you hear James, as the franchise star, say, ‘This was on me,’ will be the first”) along with joining the Calipari Chorus.

James is forever seeking leverage, and hand-picking his own coach with the Cavs could be the most appealing part of staying with them. What James™ crew will do is force an NBA market for Calipari that exists in only two scenarios: The promise of keeping James or the promise of luring James away.

For Leon Rose and William Wesley to attach the prime years of James™ career to Calipari would speak more to an economic power play and monopoly than a functional, workable and winning NBA environment. For some college coaches, talk of them going to the NBA hurts their recruiting. It™s just the opposite for Calipari: It isn™t those stiff owners and GMs who want Calipari, but King James himself. Calipari tells the kids it™s all rumor, except for the part about James, the MVP, wanting him. The Bulls deliver the bonus of Derrick Rose(notes) as the star point guard, and Rose does love his old college coach at Memphis.

Yet, the desperation of Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert makes Calipari™s hiring at $5 million-$6 million a genuine possibility, should James simply say the word. Nevertheless, one Eastern Conference executive close to Ferry told Yahoo! Sports this week: œI think Danny would resign before he™d hire Cal.

There™s a reason Calipari sat courtside with Rose at Tuesday™s Game 5 in Cleveland, and it had everything to do with thrusting himself into the Class of 2010 conversation. As narcissists go, Calipari and James probably belong together. It would be a partnership constructed for all the wrong reasons and doomed to spectacular failure.

If James and Calipari pull off this power play, it would be a spectacular coup for the latter considering he usually needs to forfeit a Final Four before landing on his feet elsewhere.  And if Calipari ends up in Chicago, he’ll be thrilled to learn there’s all sorts of terrific Mexican food to sample.


Klapisch : Will The Real Mike Pelfrey Please Stand Up? (Especially If He’s Not The Guy Who Pitched Yesterday)

Posted in Baseball at 4:59 pm by

(Big Pelf – back before we learned how infuriating he could be)

After rebounding nicely from a 2-6 start to the 2010 season, the New York Mets have stumbled of late, yesterday’s showcase for the abilities of sure-thing first ballot Hall of Famer Roger Bernadina proving, in the words of the Bergen Record’s Bob Klapisch, “nothing™s been consistently right about the Mets since Roy Halladay humiliated them at Citizens Bank Park on May 1.”  And while Klapisch fingers a number of culprits, there’s no one catching nearly as much heat as the suddenly erratic Mike Pelfrey.

David Wright has turned into a strikeout machine, more uncomfortable than ever with up-and-in fastballs. Jose Reyes has been a flop as the No. 3 hitter with his average hovering in the low .230s. And it seems like a million years since Mike Pelfrey ran up those 27 consecutive scoreless innings; he™s pitched poorly in two of his last three starts, including Wednesday™s dreary 6-4 loss to the Nationals.

Although Pelfrey was long gone by the time Francisco Rodriguez gave up the decisive home run to Roger Bernadina, the right-hander nevertheless was a disappointment, allowing four runs in 5ª innings. Three of the runs against Pelfrey were driven in by opposing pitcher Craig Stammen.

It™s performances like these that leave Mets™ officials wondering who is the real Pelfrey “ whether he™s ready to ascend to the level of the National League™s elite, as he gave hints of being during his run of excellence. Then again, it™s just as likely Pelfrey still is stuck in an endless cycle of underachievement, sabotaged by outings like Wednesday™s.

While it will come as no comfort for Pelfrey or Dan Warthen, on Thursday the Amazins reacquired minor league journeyman Valentino Pascucci, most recently seen toiling for the Atlantic League’s Camden Riversharks.  Pascucci was praised by Riversharks manager Von Hayes for his leadership, and what a fruitful tenure it must have been, given that Val (.275, 3 HR’s, 12 RBI’s 17 K’s, 12 BB’s in 51 at bats) appeared in a total of 14 games over which time Camden went 9-9.   Hey, I’m all for Pascucci returning to the Mets, but how much leadership could he have possibly provided in two weeks with a 4th place independent team?  Character references are all well and good, but Val’s gonna be in a Buffalo uniform for the same reason as Mike Jacobs  — he’s a warm body that can probably do damage to poor Triple-A pitching.

Carbo : I Wanted Mex’s Arms Broken

Posted in Baseball at 2:11 pm by

Former Cards/Red Sox reprobate Bernie Carbo is on something of a media tour these days, first telling the Boston Globe his dramatic 8th inning 3-run HR off Rawly Eastwick during the 6th game of the 1975 World Series was hit while high, and more recently, professing to ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” he once tried to put a goon-hit on former teammate Keith Hernandez.

Carbo tells OTL that he wants to apologize to Keith for introducing the 1979 NL co-MVP to cocaine. It’s a noble enough sentiment, particularly as that particular incident might’ve led Hernandez down a slippery slope to all sorts of substance abuse, not limited to food products.

Eric Byrnes : Beer Leaguer

Posted in Baseball at 11:31 am by

“Until a week and a half ago, Eric Byrnes was a Seattle Mariner,”  writes the SF Chronicle’s John Shea of the former A’s/D-Backs d-bag OF making the transition to a Menlo Park burger joint‘s slow-pitch softball team, “so some might see this as a step down.” Not if they’ve been paying attention to the Mariners, recently, John, though if you wanna talk about guys who are stealing money, Griffey Jr. and Milton Bradley can barely compare to Byrnes being paid $11 million in 2010 to stay the heck away from big league ballparks.

Two Fridays ago, in extra innings of a scoreless game in Seattle, Byrnes pulled his bat back on a suicide squeeze, rendering teammate Ichiro Suzuki a dead duck at the plate. The Mariners lost 2-0.

Minutes after the game, Byrnes burst out of the clubhouse riding a beach-cruiser bicycle, blew past the media and almost ran down Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik, hurrying to the clubhouse to address his sinking team.

Two days later, Byrnes was cut, and he announced in a radio interview he was done with baseball for good but would be playing slow-pitch softball.

To the above reports, Byrnes pleads guilty, with an explanation. He hadn’t snapped; he merely flamed out, and retired from baseball with as much dignity as you can muster making your exit on a beach cruiser.

Byrnes’ version of events in Seattle vary from the news reports. On the failed squeeze bunt, he said the pitch was so far outside he said he knew he couldn’t reach it, so he pulled back and hoped to obstruct the catcher to allow Ichiro to score.

After the game, he was upset with himself, so after showering he hopped on his bike (he lived near the ballpark) and pedaled off, not deliberately blowing off the media and not seeing the GM.

“Ask any of my teammates if I gave a” darn, he said. “Ask Wakamatsu. Ask Mike Sweeney. … I didn’t give up on baseball. I played, in my mind, to the end. My time just ran out. … I busted my ass for 11 years, I gave this game all I had.”

We’re only in the 2nd week of May, and Seattle have watched a pair of veteran outfielders go AWOL, while the franchise’s most iconic figure (allegedly) took a siesta in the middle of a game.  You think there’s any chance first-year GM Jack Zduriencik would like a do-over on acquiring Byrnes and Bradley, or bringing back Junior for a final season?

Michael Kay – Not Quite The New Alan Freed

Posted in Baseball, Hip Hop at 11:00 am by

Link culled from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory.  “Now I heard in a song,” gushed the sycophantic Kay to Hova, “that you made the Yankee cap bigger than the Yankees did.” Really?  Is the YES-man sure he’s not thinking of Ken Phelps?


Supreme Court Justice Nominee’s Love For Shithead, Revealed

Posted in Modern Art, Rock Und Roll, The Law at 9:26 pm by

Joey Shithead, that is. If you thought being a Mets fan was the only thing Elena Kagan had to live down, think again.  Above art by Derek Erdman, the subject of an upcoming retrospective exhibition on August 14, marking Erdman’s pending relocation to Austin, TX.

Saints GM Implicated In Vicodin Escandalo

Posted in Gridiron, The Law at 9:08 pm by

While at least one observer has claimed the lawsuit by former New Orleans head of security George Santini accusing head coach Sean Payton and assistant coach Joe Vitt of vicodin theft isn’t getting nearly enough mainstream coverage, said story is getting tougher to ignore. Interviewed Wednesday by USA Today’s Glen Guilbeau, Santini alleges Saints GM Mickey Loomis (above) sought to cover up Payton and Vitt’s involvement.

“I thought I had saved it. I thought we had it (the felony theft of prescription Vicodin from the Saints’ medicine cabinet and subsequent cover-up) stopped,” the ex-FBI agent said last week in his only extended interview since filing a lawsuit on April 30.

“I was witnessing crimes, and I wasn’t going to stand for that,” he said. “I did everything I could to save the people that were involved, but it just didn’t go that way. Mickey didn’t let it.”

Santini gave the interview last Friday at the law offices of his attorney Donald Hyatt II. He resigned from the Saints effective on Aug. 29.

The 13-page lawsuit mentions Loomis’ name nearly 50 times and refers to Senior Staff Member B ” who Santini says is Saints’ assistant head coach Joe Vitt” and Senior Staff Member A ” who Santini says is head coach Sean Payton” and numbers the stolen or unaccounted Vicodin pills at 130.

Santini says surveillance cameras caught Vitt removing the pills from the medicine cabinet last spring at the facility. The lawsuit alleges that Saints head trainer Scottie Patton said Vitt has a medical condition requiring the pain relieving narcotic that can emit a feeling of euphoria and can be addictive. Payton did not have a medical condition calling for the drug, Patton said.

“I thought I had it straightened out, but things turned around in a different way,” Santini said. “It moved to protecting Sean Payton. Now I can’t go into all of that. There’s more than just this (lawsuit).”

Wojnarowski On LeBron’s Game 5 Disappearing Act

Posted in Basketball at 6:29 pm by

In the wake of a shockingly passive performance in Cleveland’s Game 5 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals loss to Boston, who should be most worried about LeBron James?  The people of Cleveland, who’ve invested so much hope in a superstar who might have one foot out the door, of the fans of New York, who might prefer their owner throw a fortune at, I dunno, a guy who gives a shit? While some are quick to defend James (eg. Slam’s Ryan Jones pointing out The Chosen One’s lack of a supporting cast or head coach the equal of Phil Jackson), Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski has a problem with LeBron’s motivation (“James is chasing Warren Buffett and Jay-Z the way he should be chasing Russell and Jordan and Bryan.”)

No more excuses. Not now, not after this biblical bottoming out that pushes the Cleveland Cavaliers to the brink of an unthinkable collapse. And yet, after Tuesday™s ferocious failure of his professional career, James dismissed his unthinkably poor performance with this colossal cop-out: œI spoil a lot of people with my play. When you have three bad games in seven years, it™s easy to point them out.

Who is he to be indignant after he gave a playoff game away? What™s he ever won to be so smug to the masses? That™s what drives the Celtics crazy about James. Eventually, he will understand his greatness isn™t measured on the hit-and-runs through NBA cities across a long season. It™s measured now, in the teeth of the battle, when a tiny guard, Rajon Rondo, has stolen his stage and nearly a series.

Somewhere, the whispers of the game™s greatest talents became a murmur louder and louder: James still doesn™t understand part of the price of greatness is inviting the burden on yourself and sparing those around you. He missed 11 of 14 shots. James didn™t score a basket until the third quarter. He was terrible, just terrible, and yet James couldn™t bring himself to say the worst home playoff loss in franchise history began and ended with him.

Who Really Cares Less About PED Abuse – Media Or Fans?

Posted in Gridiron, Sports Journalism at 5:10 pm by

Texans LB Brian Cushing was suspended for the first 4 games of the 2010 NFL season after testing positive for a female fertility drug. As said edict was handed down after the Associated Press named Cushing their 2009 Defensive Rookie Of The Year, the AP opted for a re-vote. Trouble is, Cushing was voted the winner on the second occasion as well.

AP voters “had a chance to send a message “ albeit a small and symbolic one “ to future generations of football players by stripping the Houston linebacker of an honor he earned after cheating,” complains the Newark Star-Ledger’s Steve Politi. “Instead they sent another message altogether: Nobody cares about PEDs in professional football.” The Houston Chronicle’s Richard Justice, while far from happy with his colleagues (“why are media members voting in the first place?”) weirdly suggests this is somehow due to fan apathy.

Like the voters, you simply don’t care. In fact, you’re tired of people standing on their soap boxes and preaching about the wrongs of cheating.

All you care about is (a) who’ll replace Cushing while he serves a four-game suspension for cheating and (b) how he plays when he returns. If he’s a shell of the player he once was, then you might just get mad. Otherwise, you don’t care.

You care when baseball players cheat. You jump up and down and hold your breath and say you’ll never go to another game. You say cheating ruined baseball.

But the NFL gets a free pass. Maybe it’s because you’re never allowed to know NFL players. Their access to fans and media is tightly controlled. They wear helmets. And the NFL is so violent, so filled with broken bones and torn ligaments and spinal injuries and concussions, that you’ve become de-sensitized to the ethics of cheating.

So Cushing won an endorsement of his cheating on Wednesday. With that vote, a message went forth to every NFL player: do what you have to do because those of us in the media simply don’t care.

OK, now I’m confused. Justice insists the media doesn’t care, but a cursory google search with the words “Cushing”, and “re-vote” unveils no shortage of outrage over today’s result, including Justice’s entry. As far as fans holding the NFL to a lesser standard than Major League Baseball, what genuine boycott ever took place in the wake of MLB’s numerous PED revelations? It took a global economic crisis to halt MLB’s unprecedented run of commercial success ; new cathedrals to capitalism were built in the Bronx, Queens, St. Louis, Philadelphia and Minneapolis just to name a few cities where The Steroid Era failed to kill public interest in baseball.

Phillies’ Manuel Credits Mets Home Improvement To Something Besides Ike Davis

Posted in Baseball at 2:31 pm by

After coming back from a 6-1 deficit last night for an 8-6 Animal-assisted defeat of the Nationals, the Mets ran their Citi Field record to 10-2 since the promotion of 1B / daredevil Ike Davis. Amongst those unimpressed? Phillies skipper Charlie Manuel, who upon being accused of stealing signs for the 2nd time this season, suggested that if anyone’s guilty of such a practice, it’s probably a team that’s unusually successful in their own park. From CSN.com’s Jim Salisbury :

œSomebody maybe ought to check the Mets if they did that, Manuel said. œTheir [bleeping] home record is out of this world and they™re losing on the road. Sometimes that™s a good indicator of getting signs and [crap]. I see somebody setting there at (14-7) at home and (4-8) on the road, I™d get concerned about that. That kind of crosses my mind.

œI™m not accusing them, but you look at that and “ damn. We™re about the same home and road. I™m just saying their record is much better at home and they hit better.

Manuel was asked why he believed teams had made accusations against the Phils.

œBecause we beat ˜em. That™s why,™™ he said.

Manuel then cited an incident in which Colorado reliever Manny Corpas was seen on television dousing his shirt with water as he warmed up in the bullpen before a playoff game against the Phils at Citizens Bank Park in 2007.

Billmeyer œmeant nothing by it, Manuel said. œIt™s like a couple of years ago, when we played Colorado and we saw the guy put stuff on his uniform “ they didn™t do anything about that. This was nothing. We don™t steal signs.

œI™m sure if teams could steal signs they would, and if we can we will, too, if we can get them legally, Manuel said. œIf you™re dumb enough to let us get them, it™s your fault. It™s been going on in the game a long time. If you™re dumb enough to let us get them, that™s your problem.

(Possibly) Coming To Queens : Gary Matthews Jr. On Ice

Posted in Baseball, Hockey at 12:16 pm by

Were it not for Newsday’s pay wall, a named journalist from the L.I. daily would be directly attributed in this space as the source for the following report from MLB.com’s Dan Manella :

Mets chief operating office Jeff Wilpon has had discussions with New York Islanders owner Charles Wang regarding the potential construction of a new arena for the NHL team near Citi Field, Newsday reported Wednesday.

Wilpon told Newsday that, although dealings have centered mostly around moving the hockey team from Long Island to Queens, he’s also talked with Wang about buying the Islanders.

The Islanders have been in what they consider to be an untenable situation at their current arena, Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y., throughout Wang’s 10-year tenure as owner. He has lobbied on several occasions to renovate the arena or tear it down and build a new one on the same site, a proposal called the Lighthouse Project, but talks with Town of Hempstead officials have not resulted in a deal, and there has been speculation that he would consider moving the franchise.

Perhaps one of our contacts at the Elias Koteas Sports Bureau can inform us whether or not the Islanders would have to pay the Rangers an additional territorial rights fee were they to relocate to Queens or Brooklyn. Certainly a name change would be in order, much as you can expect a new NHL arena for the club to feature many artifacts honoring the history….of the Brooklyn Dodgers.