When most of us think of Kurt Angle, we recall his exceptional wrestling performances under the employ of Vince and Linda McMahon and perhaps to a lesser extent his injuries, PED-follies and disputes with the law. Fewer still will think of Angle’s 1996 Olympic gold medal, but perhaps when the dust clears, Kurt will be best known for “Kurt Angle’s Foodies Cafe”, a new Pittsburgh restaurant which specializes in grub for the aspiring musclehead world class athlete. From the Pittsburgh City Paper’s Al Hoff :
For heartier appetites, entrees include grilled meat-and-veg plates, as well as a selection of Italian family favorites from Mariani’s (baked ziti, rolled stuffed eggplant and cheese manicotti).
The “angle,” if you will, is that some of the items have been power-packed. Angle and his partners purchased the supplement Ultra Fiber DX, which, according to the Foodies’ brochure, offers various benefits for weight management, blood-sugar levels, digestion and “overall good health.”
Diners can find Fiber DX in Kurt’s High Protein Cheese Pizza, Kurt’s Breakfast Boost smoothie, and the four pre-made entrees that, along with the pizza, comprise Angle Foods. These carefully calibrated meals are available in house, to-go (for microwaving at home) or by mail order from www.FoodiesFoodClub.com.
The New York Post’s Joel Sherman proposes the following prospect grab-bag in order to wrest workhorse SP Cliff Lee from Seattle, “Wilmer Flores plus an outfielder from among Angel Pagan or Double-A lefty swingers Kirk Nieuwenhuis or Sean Ratliff, whose five homers in his first 58 at-bats since being promoted From A-ball has caught scouts™ eyes, and a third piece from among infield prospects Reese Havens or Jordany Valdespin or pitchers Bobby Parnell, Brad Holt or Jeurys Familia.” Fuck, why not throw in Jay Payton, Alex Ochoa and Gregg Jefferies while you’re at it, Joel? The Mets would have Lee’s guaranteed services for all of 3 months, surely that’s enough to justify 5 players at a minimum. The Seattle Times’ Larry Stone read the same item of Sherman’s and unlike me, he’s not blinking.
Lee is pitching at the absolute top of his game right now. He has never been better, which is saying something for a guy who went 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA in his Cy Young season of 2008. Teams know they are getting an absolute difference-maker, someone who can pitch them into the postseason, and then pitch them to a title. That’s a powerful inducement, whether you’re a team like the Mets, hungry to steal some glory from the Yankees, or the Twins, tired of making it to the playoffs and falling short of the World Series, or even the Reds, smelling their first playoff run in a decade.
For another thing, Lee has the proven postseason bona fides from last year as an additional selling point — a combined 4-0 with a 1.56 ERA in five starts, including a complete-game masterpiece in Game 1 of the World Series at Yankee Stadium. Again, a powerful inducement.
The monetary cost is not prohibitive — the pro-rated share of Lee’s $9 million contract. It is true that great young (and therefore inexpensive) players have never been more coveted than they are right now. Teams are loathe to part with them. And yet the desire to win rings often trumps logic in situations like this. And don’t forget the acquiring team gets draft picks if Lee signs elsewhere next year.
Sandoval is getting lampooned for his askew baserunning, beer-league-softball belly and, above all else, slumping bat. Call this mantra: “Pick on Pablo.”
This does not faze Sandoval. Should it? Is it time he stops treating this game like, well, just a game?
Be careful what you wish from him. His happy-go-lucky attitude is an asset. The world doesn’t need another jaded, disgruntled, inconsolable, elitist athlete.
“I come in every day with my head up, and I work game by game,” Sandoval said before Tuesday’s shift against the Los Angeles Dodgers. “You have to believe, you have to trust yourself. I want to (succeed) so bad. I try to do too much.”
Asked Tuesday if the game is no longer so simple, he replied: “No, it’s the same. We use the same bat, same ball, same glove. I keep working.”
That includes working on adjusting to pitchers, whom he admitted “know me a little more.”
And that includes hacking away at his weight: “My body type, I’m working hard. I’ve been working day by day about my weight. Last year, I was the same weight. It’s part of the game.”
In the 66th minute of Tuesday’s final group match against South Korea, trailing 2-1 and needing a win to have a shot at advancing, striker Yakubu was set up with an absolutely perfect opportunity right in front of the goal. With the keeper sprawled out beside him and a wide open net waiting to be fed the ball, Yakubu tried to flick the pass in for the astonishingly easy score and he put it wide off the post. He missed.
I still don’t think it was possible, but he missed. Well, he did hit a water bottle, but that doesn’t count for anything. Since then, I have not rested for the silly mistake of Yak. He has made me to be answering questions that I don’t know. Nigerians and Africans, too, have been attributing the miss to Native Doctors, or a spell. One said boldly that it was not for nothing that he missed the chance. I am not an authority in such mundane trivial things of ‘tying’ the players’ legs as is being suggested here. Some claimed that some native doctors were ferried to South Africa from Nigeria by Nigerians to ensure that Sani Lulu and his group of traveling members in the NFA do not use the glory of the World Cup by the Eagles to climb back to the glass house. Others have insinuated that it is retribution. That the Eagles and NFA and indeed Nigerians reaped what they sowed by kicking out Amodu Shuaibu from his post after suffering to qualify Nigeria for the World Cup.
Players who shoot wide pass the blame on the jabulani while goalkeepers who fumbled point at the Jabulani. Yakubu has not said anything on his infamous miss but don’t be surprised that one day he would either blame the jabulani or agree that external forces misdirected the ball from the yawning net.
“Management of the local NBA franchise has shown it is unafraid to make trades involving a marquee player,” writes the Denver Post’s Mark Kizla, reporting the Nuggets will attempt to do just that with Carmelo Anthony if their leading scorer rejects a three-year, $65 million extension that’s currently on the table.
With an eye on how megastars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have held the league’s competitive balance in their fickle hands and turned this summer’s free-agency period into a three-ring circus, the Nuggets seem determined not to let Anthony do the same in Denver.
While their offer of a hefty contract extension proves the Nuggets hope Anthony will remain the face of the franchise for years to come, the team is prepared to trade Melo rather than let him walk as a free agent next summer, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.
At a salary of $17 million, Anthony is committed to play for Denver during the upcoming season. But here’s the rub. Anthony can opt out of his contract next summer, and free agency might appear all the more tempting after seeing the league-wide groveling James has instigated.
As a proactive move, the Nuggets have quietly tried to secure the services of Anthony through 2015 before losers in the pursuit of this talent-laden class of free agents can begin dreaming of Melo.
It’s a fascination situation, and one Knicks GM Donnie Walsh is no doubt paying rapt attention to, especially considering the flurry of reports that point to Chicago or Miami being more likely destinations for James and Bosh. And what could be a better photo opportunity than having Isiah Thomas gatecrash Anthony’s introductory press conference, in order to whisper some inappropriate advice?
“Today™s crowd, raised on the hysteria of rock concerts and crazed TV show jump-cuts and hype,” opines The Columnists.com’s Gerald Nachman (above), “don™t seem to notice how the surrounding racket at otherwise handsome and tasteful modern ball parks has done everything it can to ruin the classic human dimensions of the game by drowning it out in gimmickry and superfluous noise.” So there’s one thumbs-down for the educational credibility of Reyes University, then, as Nachman recounts a grueling evening at SF’s AT&T Park spent trying to concentrate on the Giants and Rockies (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)
The noise between innings–and between batters–was excruciating, the music and visual hype cranked up to hysterical levels as the scoreboard exhorted fans throughout the game to ˜MAKE MORE NOISE!!! A robot organist tried with pathetic insistence to energize the crowd. Meanwhile, the Jumbotron flashed so much endless and useless information on the confusing scoreboard (like watching a TV game at home on a screen littered with arcane stats) that it all but obscured the modest game below. It was hard to locate the one thing you wanted to keep track of–the balls, strikes, outs and who was at bat.
The fans obliged unconvincingly, having by now been trained like Pavlovian dogs to howl when a bell clangs, but the maniacal order to MAKE MORE NOISE!!! went largely unheeded; even the most exuberant fans have by now pretty much learned to ignore the incessantly raucous sound battering.
The female public address announcer shrieked the name of every man who came to bat as if was the ninth game of the World Series and everything was on the line: œNow batting¦Juan Urrrrrr-eeeee-bay!!! All that bush league screeching for the hometown nine has worn everyone down–yet it goes on mindlessly. As someone said, America is a Big Event country, in which everything is built into a monumental moment–chili cook-offs on TV food shows, models in runway match-ups, brides choosing their wedding gown. Any routine human endeavor has become a heavyweight championship fight on TV. But it has now spread to all parts of the culture off TV, even this quietest of sports–outside of tennis and golf, which somehow have resisted the marketing of excitement.
Nachman seems glum that today’s ballgame experience differs radically from afternoons spent with his dad watching the Oakland Oaks, and while I’m tempted to dismiss his criticism as the ramblings of an old crank, he’s not entirely full of shit. If you’re actually interested in baseball rather than excessive displays of public douchebaggery, a major league ballpark isn’t necessarily the most welcome environment.
Putting aside for a moment whether or not supporters of a rugby league team once known as The Glassblowers have the right to abuse anyone, Castleford RLFC have appealed a £40,000 fine after a segment of their fans aimed homophobic chants at Wrexham Crusaders’ Gareth Thomas (above). The club’s defense, as reported by the Guardian’s Andy Wilson, will go down in history as something almost as flimsy any anything conjured by Robert Chambers’ attorneys.
“To say we are disappointed and shocked is an understatement,” said their chief executive, Richard Wright. “The evidence does not support the decision and does not in any way support the scale of the penalty. We totally refute the outcome of the hearing.”
They have engaged Rod Findlay, formerly the RFL’s own legal adviser, who said: “There was some chanting on the day, we agreed this with the tribunal panel, there were three incidents lasting only a few moments, two of which were drowned out by public address announcements.
“The club condemns any person who makes or chants obscene remarks towards players or officials. But the charges against the club are not that there was chanting, they are that the club failed to take its best endeavours to prevent or stop any chanting. This the club refutes totally. The club has a well-established system for dealing with chanting and could not have done any more on the day.
Half of the £40,000 fine has been suspended, but the Tigers will still have to pay £40,000 immediately because a suspended fine of £20,000 following last year’s incident “ in which their supporters threw beer bottles on to the pitch and abused the match officials “ will now be activated.
Having not watched a ton of Marlins games this season, I was unaware Scott Stapp, much like Bobby Valentine, was close friends with Jeffrey Loria. Mocking the artistic output of the former Creed vocalist would ordinarily provide all the sport of blowing up an ant hill with a bazooka, but the young analyst shown above has the sort of POV that’s sorely lacking from most music blogging in 2010.
“The main thing he wanted to get across was that at times guys like Carlos, they don’t know how to handle or how to fire up a team,” Millar said on “MLB Tonight.” “There wasn’t one play that made him mad, it was just the whole team and the way they’ve been playing made him mad and then he was frustrated, he said, after his inning and came in and was basically trying to pump all the guys up.”
Millar said Zambrano told him last week he wanted Carlos Silva “to do something to the team because he’s doing well and Carlos Zambrano said that he knew he wasn’t the right guy to do this at this time because of his struggles.”
Millar said he told Zambrano: “Straight up, I said… ‘You can’t say the team’s playing like girls … You can’t say that this whole team that’s not clicking for some reason’ or ‘We’re not playing hard’ because he’s a big part of that problem.
“Now him (Zambrano’s) going to anger management counseling…I think this is the new fad that we’re trying to show that at least there’s an effort there.”
I’m not sure which is more amazing ; consecutive Nationals items on CSTB or that neither of them discuss dismembering Willie Harris. Either way, the Chicago Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley reports the surging White Sox and their general manager Kenny Williams have expressed interest in Washington 1B/DH/strikeout machine Adam Dunn.
Dunn’s name has gained steam in the rumor mill, with the Nationals now willing to part ways with their free-agent-to-be first baseman and try to build a talented group of young arms around pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg.
But Williams is working against the Los Angeles Angels, who are starting to turn up their efforts to acquire Dunn. And most of the Sox’ highly regarded pitching prospects were dealt in previous trades to acquire Jake Peavy and Juan Pierre.
After right-hander Daniel Hudson, there’s a big drop in the Sox’ system to Carlos Torres and Santos Rodriguez. One movable piece would be third baseman Brent Morel, who seems to be in a logjam behind Dayan Viciedo and the three-year, $14 million extension Williams gave Mark Teahen this winter.
What became clear last weekend was that money no longer is the issue for adding Dunn, considering he’s making $12 million this year and almost half of that is off the books with June about to flip.
In the late winter of 2008, an entrepreneur named Richard O’Connor, who had become Dykstra’s favored adviser, introduced him to Shannon Illingworth, the founder of a publicly traded company called Automated Vending Technologies, or AVT, and the two quickly cut a deal. O’Connor told me that on March 25, 2008, Illingworth gave Dykstra roughly $250,000 worth of AVT stock in exchange for plugging the company on Cramer’s website, TheStreet.com, and promising to provide a personal introduction to Cramer.
O’Connor claims that Dykstra told him he knew the pay-to-plug arrangement was illegal. To avoid getting caught, O’Connor says, the former All-Star baseball player had a solution: “We can just put the stock in Keith’s name,” referring to his brother-in-law, Keith Peel.
And so it was done. O’Connor provided me copies of stock certificates showing that on March 25, 2008, Keith Peel was issued 250,000 shares of AVT stock, which traded at roughly $1 a share. “Keith didn’t know anything about it,” says O’Connor, maintaining that using Peel’s name was a way to stash the stock away from potential regulatory oversight.
The shares were held at Dykstra’s mansion, which is where O’Connor retrieved them.Just two weeks later, on June 6, 2008, Dykstra offered his premium subscribers a curious “bonus” recommendation: a plain old penny stock named AVT, “which gives investors a lot of potential upside.” Dykstra droned on endlessly about the stock, with all the conviction of a prisoner of war extolling the cause of his captors for the cameras.
Cramer, I am sure, had no knowledge of Dykstra’s “pay to plug” scheme”an arrangement that could well lead to a Securities & Exchange Commission investigation. He was just a dupe. But his relentless endorsements and promotion of the ballplayer’s stock-picking over the years must now surely rank as his most ill-conceived.
Elsewhere in the TDB article, Lane claims Cramer was warned by O’Connor of Dykstra’s pay-to-plug relationship with AVT, yet continued to allow the former NL MVP to write for The Street.com for another full year. Nor did Cramer respond to Lane’s accusations during the research for “The Zeroes”.
The online fury that met England™s exit from the World Cup yesterday afternoon was staggering. Calm, measured people were hammering on their keyboards, expressing the kind of disgust that you normally see from swivel-eyed loons reacting to made-up news stories about illegal immigrants raping British cattle. And I found it difficult to absorb, still less to join in with. I started worrying that if you scale up this kind of fury, the kind that™s being expressed by sane, rational people, all the red-faced idiots with anger-management issues in pubs would be implementing a mass annihilation of vertical sheets of glass via the propulsion of heavy objects accompanied by roaring.
The only emotion I was experiencing was a mild sadness, and I found it impossible to access anger. Without wishing to be an insipid, hand-wringing irritant, I don™t believe that the team did it on purpose, or that the manager was shit, or that the referee was a prick, or that FIFA should substantially re-evaluate the rules of football in the wake of the disaster. OK, I probably think that footballers are overpaid, but you don™t hear people complaining about pay-packets when the recipients are slamming the ball into the back of the net week-in, week-out. Everyone seems to looking to blame someone for the loss, but barely anyone seems to be blaming Germany for scoring more goals than us, and to me, they appear to be particularly culpable
Earlier this evening on “Baseball Tonight”, analyst Bobby Valentine was a tad evasive with Karl Ravech when discussing the former’s status with the Florida Marlins, describing his pending (?) interview with owner Jeffrey Loria and diminutive accu-jack enthusiast David Samson as “part of a process”. Said process may or may not have taken a weird turn, as SI.com’s Jon Heyman reports Bobby V. “is no longer being considered for the Marlins’ managerial vacancy.”
Valentine had been viewed as the top candidate for the job since Fredi Gonzalez was fired last week, and sources told SI.com and other outlets on Friday that the longtime friend of Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria would indeed be hired. ESPN, Valentine’s employer for the past several months, reported that the Marlins were expected to make a four-year offer to him.
Why negotiations between Valentine and the team ended was not immediately known. He has a long relationship with Loria, having managed the Rangers when Loria owned that franchise’s Triple-A affiliate.
First, the buyout clause in his ESPN contract was an issue, although it was one that ” at least as of yesterday ” was not considered to be a deal-breaker.
I’m also hearing rumblings that Valentine may have had second thoughts on whether he’ll be able to manage a winning team this year if he takes over the Marlins. He is believed to have had concerns, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, about the bullpen (get in line, bobby!) and whether the front office would address the team’s shortcomings this year.
Two other thoughts on what might’ve happened: Valentine may have wanted too much money and may have wanted more control over player/ personnel issues than the team wanted to give him.
“Things have gotten complicated,” is what I was told yesterday. Looks like maybe that was an understatement.
We’re about 96 hours away from the start of the craziest NBA free agency period in recent memory and while the machinations of the LeBron James camp will continue to dominate most headlines, it appears the New York Knicks are already gearing themselves up for the consolation prizes. ESPN’s Marc Broussard reports Donnie Walsh and Mike D’Antoni will meet with Joe Johnson in Los Angeles Thursday morning, prior to a discussion with James later that afternoon. More damning, Broussard characterizes Johnson’s interest in New York as something slightly different than a burning desire to lift the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
While the Hawks hope to keep Johnson in Atlanta, several sources said the Knicks have emerged as his first choice. If they must lose him, the Hawks’ preference is to work out a sign-and-trade deal with the Knicks.
But if no players on the Knicks’ roster appeal to Atlanta, Johnson, believing he will make up the difference through endorsements and through buying stock shares in Madison Square Garden, is willing to take less money to play with the Knicks, according to sources.
Whatever the case, the Knicks could offer Johnson a maximum-salary contract worth approximately $96 million over five years, or a deal worth $125 million over six years through a sign-and-trade.
Anyone who witnessed Johnson’s performance during Atlanta’s first round loss to Milwaukee who believes this is a wise investment on Walsh’s part, raise your hand. Rick Sund, your vote doesn’t count.
Austin’s Red 7 is one such establishment, and Thursday’s bill, headlined by Houston’s MuhammedAli, may or may not go a long way in helping to hit the $500,000.00 national target. It might ultimately come down to whether or not the promoters agree to levy an exit fee of $8 per head for anyone who wishes to leave the room during the first band’s performance.
An NBA executive, who did not want to be identified discussing a player who is not yet a free agent, said he had gathered from discussions with his fellow N.B.A. executives that James was strongly leaning toward joining the Bulls in tandem with another free agent, Chris Bosh of the Toronto Raptors.
œI think it™s a done deal, the executive said.
He said he thought James was going ahead with the meetings in Ohio œto be respectful to all these teams who jumped through these hoops, a reference to the clubs, like the Knicks, who traded reasonably talented players like Jamal Crawford the last two seasons in an effort to open up as much salary-cap space as possible. But if James and Bosh are indeed going to Chicago, moves like the ones the Knicks made will have been done at least partly in vain.
The executive also said that the Dallas Mavericks were trying to join the Ohio meetings with James. Unlike the other potential suitors, however, the Mavericks are over the salary cap and could obtain James only through a sign-and-trade deal with the Cavaliers.
(EDITOR’S NOTE : With this week release of “Cyrus”, starring John C. Reilly, Jonah Hill and Marisa Tomei, I am unfortunately compelled to remind CSTB readers that directors Jay and Mark Duplas have a particularly ugly resume, 2005′s “The Puffy Chair”, being the longest 85 minutes of my adult life. The following post appeared in this space on June 5, 2006)
(a formless, aimless paen to the emotionally and intellectually stunted, possibly coming to an arthouse near you, though not if you’re lucky)
How in blazes is this ferociously annoying film garnering favorable reviews? Are people that starved for visual stimuli that a bunch of mannerisms parading as real-human-experiences resonantes? If the loud ovation this slopfest received at the Alamo Drafthouse the other night is any indication, sadly, yes.
Let’s review the cliches on parade :
character 1, Josh (Mark Duplass, above, right) : Bob Weston lookalike who yaps on his cell during a romantic dinner with his GF, has-trouble-commiting, and acts like a dick at every available opportunity (sorry, Bob. It was only a movie)
character 2, Emily (Kathryn Aselton) : Josh’s long-suffering girl-squeeze, who exhibits no personality to speak of and expresses no original thoughts whatsoever besides being clingy and wondering why her boyfriend has to be a dick.
character 3, Rhett (Rhett Wilkins) : Josh’s space cadet brother. The closest thing “the Puffy Chair” has to a character with any unique traits. Not very unique, mind you. He hops aboard Josh & Emily’s NJ-to-ATL roadtrip in order to reconnect with his dad (who presumably, would prefer he was less of a space cadet and more of a dick, like Josh.
At the film’s conclusion, Josh and Emily break up. If space cadet Rhett gets any quality time with his estranged dad, we don’t get to see it.
Though we’re supposed to believe the road trip is what exposes the cracks in Josh and Emily’s relationship, it’s impossible to feel empathy for either of these self-absorbed, throughly uninteresting dimwits. I’m not saying that a decent film needs to have protagonists you can relate to — there are countless examples to the contrary, but these characters aren’t merely hateful. They’re deadly dull.
All of that, plus Death Cab taking Peter Gabriel’s place on the boombox ala “Say Anything”. Say what you will about Cameron Crowe’s spotty filmography, but at least his passable movies featured characters that were almost as funny as your most boring acquaintances.
I’m not saying that our Saturday night at the cinema was without any redeeming features, however. The trailer for “The Wonderful & Frightening World Of Mark E. Smith” looked pretty good (always nice to see vintage footage of Mark E. with teeth and a good band playing behind him)