While Walkoff Walk’s Kris Liakos corrently points out Trey Hillman and Fredi Gonzalez recently lost their jobs managing clubs with lower payrolls (and presumably lower expectations) than Lou Piniella’s brutally bad Cubs, MLB Network analyst Kevin Millar revealed he’s been a mentor of sorts to recently suspended Chicago P Carlos Zambrano (above). The Chicago Tribune’s Paul Sullivan caught a bit of Millar’s act yesterday, and with all due respect to the Dancer In The Dark, Dr. Bruno Bettleheim’s got nuffin’ to worry about.
“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.
Prior to a heads-up from a friend earlier tonight, I’d not seen the work of David Choate. His portraits of Joe DiMaggio, Hanley Ramirez and Calvin Borel are equal parts funny and haunting, though none of those earlier efforts are likely to inspire as many “can you make a t-shirt out of this?” requests as the above rendition of Nats starter Stephen Strasburg (currently locked up in a nationally Sutcliffed-to-death duel with the Braves’ Tim Hudson).
Few sportsmen would be quick to grab the karaoke microphone following a loss as discouraging as the one suffered by England yesterday evening. Thanks to the intrepid work of Mario Rosenstock, however, we learn Wayne Rooney isn’t the sort of fella to dwell on defeat.
Jim Cramer’s unfortunate defense of Bear Sterns was already noted in this space several months ago, but as The Daily Beast’s Randall Lane — author of the newly issued tome, ‘The Zeroes : My Misadventures In The Decade When Wall Street Went Insane‘ — points out, his association with former Met/Phillie Lenny Dykstra (above) wasn’t merely ill-advised, it was an total credibility-killer.
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”.
At 18 games under .500, there’s not a ton for the Houston Astros to celebrate in the present, and with a sole World Series appearance in 2005, there’s not most storied history to commemorate, either, the individual achievements of Cesar Cedeno, J.R. Richard, Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio and Nolan Ryan aside. So who can blame the Astros’ marketing department for immortalizing wretched cheat Mike Scott in bobblehead form, even if they conveniently neglected to include a mini emery board or itty-bitty razor blades. Look, if it was only about selling tickets, they’d have unveiled a DJ Screw bobblehead ages ago.
….for a big-ass vial of Calm The Fuck Down Pills. 1966 aside, who has achieved less
yet demanded more in international football than England? Following Sunday’s thorough capitulation to Germany, The Indepedent’s Rhodri Marsden observed a national outpouring of profound anger/grief that led him to scold, “if you place your potential happiness into the hands of a group of erratic human beings, regardless of how much they™re paid, it™s not always going to come off.” Jay Horowitz couldn’t have put it any better.
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.
The Palm Beach Post’s Joe Capozzi has a few guesses as to just what’s really going on.
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.