Former Michigan star / longtime NBA fixture Jalen Rose once sagely observed, “ain’t nothing open at 2am in Detroit but hospitals, jails and legs.” One could add to this, “no decent purchasing decision was ever made at Dapper Dan’s after 2am” (image lifted from Lost Letterman’s “Top Ten Worst Dressed NBA Draft Picks”)
Dodgers LF Manny Ramirez returned to Fenway Park this past weekend for the first time since being exiled to Los Angeles during the summer of 2008, receiving a somewhat mixed reception from Red Sox fans. Reminding his readers of Manny’s many transgressions (shoving the traveling secretary, general loafing, being the most potent offensive force on a team that won two World Series, etc.), the Boston Herald’s Steve Buckley argues in one sentence, “he was quitting on the fans when he quit on the team”, while also insisting Ramirez should’ve acknowledged the paying customers over the last 3 days.
What remains a mystery is why Ramirez was either unable or unwilling to tune out the booing and allow himself the satisfaction of knowing that, in spite of everything that happened, there are still Sox fans who love him. Had he been able to make that distinction, perhaps he could have stepped out of the batter™s box, removed his helmet, and raised it into the air.
Such a simple time-honored gesture. Old Hoss Radnbourn was doffing his cap to the fans at Messer Field when he was pitching for the 1884 Providence Grays. And the betting here is that if Ramirez could have found a way to remove his helmet, some of the fans who had been booing him would have chosen to let bygones be bygones and given him his props.
That™s what happened in 1993 when Wade Boggs returned to Fenway Park as a member of the Yankees, and in 2006 when Johnny Damon returned, also in Yankee gray.
It would be overstating it to say that Boggs and Damon won over the fans. But they did win over some of the fans, and, anyway, it was the right thing to do for those fans who had been with them all the way.
It would also be a huge understatement to say Ramirez received more grief from local writers and whiner-liners than Boggs or Damon combined, at least when any of the above were actually playing in Boston.
The Ivorian reacted to KakÃ¡’s raised arm by hitting the turf harder than a Grand National horse going AOT at Bechers Brook, getting the Brazilian sent off. Fabiano handled the ball so much in the buildup to Brazil’s second goal that it should have been followed by a conversion. Lannoy, the referee in Johannesburg, failed to spot the problems with either incident.
Arguably it is Lannoy who should bear the brunt “ the game was out of his control for much of the second half, with some tackles from the African side we might euphemistically describe as ‘feisty’ and more accurately describe as ‘dangerous’ going unpunished. But the Fiver isn’t going to stick it to The Man. Lannoy may have been incompetent, but the players were “ and the Fiver isn’t going to beat about the bush here “ probably not playing entirely in the spirit of the laws.
The managers, though, were happy to let Lannoy have it. “It was totally unjust,” Dunga raged. “He [KakÃ¡] was the one who suffered the foul.” “It’s difficult to cope with LuÃs Fabiano and even more difficult if he’s allowed to use his hands,” moaned Sven-Goran Eriksson. “They got a goal free, a 2-0 goal which changed everything.” In the end, though, it’s all just hot air. KakÃ¡ will miss Brazil’s final group game, but they’re already through anyway, and la SeleÃ§Ã£o were pipe-and-slippers comfortable even at 1-0. Pathetic play-acting unfortunately seems welded to the game. As is their managers’ consistent failure to condemn it.
After whiffing on 3 consecutive pitches Friday, Snakes C Miguel Montero was displeased with the K-Rodesque histrionics of Tigers closer Jose Valverde, to which the latter replied, “œtell Montero he™s a freaking rookie and I can do whatever I want to.” From the Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro :
“If he wants to do something,” Valverde (above) said, “tell him to come to my locker and let me know.”
œI never liked Montero, he continued. œHe™s a (bleeping) piece of (bleep).
œTell Montero he has two years (in the majors) and I have eight.”
Told of Valverde™s comments, Montero responded, saying he went out on the field before Saturday™s game to see if Valverde wanted to say something. Valverde walked right past him, Montero said.
œIt doesn™t matter if he™s got eight years, Montero said. œI don™t think he™s got eight years because he got sent down seven or eight times. That really doesn™t count. When you get sent down your major league service stops counting. He got called up in ™02 and he got sent down in ™02 and ™03 and ™04 and ™05 and ™06. I guess this year he was a free agent so that let me know he got six years. In four out of six years he™s given up 100 runs a year. He™s only had two good years in his career. So what? He™s still a (bleep) to me.
A stickler for detail, Piecoro points out Valverde began the 2010 season with 6 1/2 years big league service time, while “rookie” Montero is playing in his 4th season in The Show.
The Blazers aren’t going to lure any general manager who currently has a good situation. They won’t be able to entice anyone who could wait around for, say, a year or two and find a better situation. They also won’t be able to easily draw from the vast pool of talent that is managed by LeGarie. So what we have here is an old-fashioned search for miscasts, retreads and the desperate.
Probably explains why the Blazers started the search prematurely and without much tact. Pritchard was quickly alerted by the media and friends in the business that candidates such as Oklahoma City’s Sam Presti were already being asked about their interest.
So how about it, Sammy? Ready to leave Kevin Durant’s side and take a three-year tour of professional hell?
The whisper around the league is that Allen is about to fire an executive that he developed and groomed and replace him with someone desperate enough to take the job.
“All the players in the French squad without exception wish to affirm their opposition to the decision taken by the French Football Federation (FFF) to exclude Nicolas Anelka.
“We regret the incident at half-time of the France vs Mexico match, but we regret even more the divulging of an event which was only the squad’s business and was part and parcel of the life of a top-level team.
“At the squad’s request, the player tried to engage in a dialogue. We regret that his move was wilfully ignored.
“The FFF did not at any point try to protect the squad. It took a decision based solely on facts reported by the press, without consulting the players.
“As a consequence, and to signal their opposition to the attitude adopted by the most senior officials, all of the players decided not to participate in the training session scheduled for today.”
Anelka’s “go fuck yourself” rip was cited earlier today by L’Quipe’s Eric Bielderman during a chat with ESPN’s Bob Ley. “We appreciate your being direct with the quotation,” replied Ley, slightly taken aback by the rare occurrence of a reporter telling ESPN viewers what an athlete actually said.
The only way I can see the Mets deal Maine is for an expensive player that is underperforming. Remember, a team out of the race could afford to be patient with Maine and see if he could regain his fastball. Also, Maine has another year of arbitration eligibility so he could be an inexpensive option for someone to look at. I brought up Chad Qualls last week because I think they could use someone like him to potentially anchor the eighth inning. Qualls has been terrible in Arizona and making a little over $4 million dollars this year. Swapping him for Maine would actually be a cost savings for the D-Backs.
Another thought was Will Ohman of the Orioles. He is performing well in Baltimore and a swap of Maine for Ohman would give the O™s a pitcher that could be part of the solution next year. The Mets desperately need a legitimate second lefty to help Pedro Feliciano. Eventually the O™s will deal Guthrie and Millwood so the need for a starting pitcher is there as well.
After two successive losses in which their starting pitchers, CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, failed to cover first base, followed by the Lady Gaga-in-the-clubhouse incident Friday night after they’d been humiliated by the Mets, the Yankee high command – specifically Hal Steinbrenner, GM Brian Cashman and team president Randy Levine – were said to be furious at the embarrassing state of events. Especially since none of them apparently knew about Lady Gaga until they read about it in the newspapers Saturday morning.
One can only imagine the carnage if George Steinbrenner – the old George Steinbrenner – had walked into the clubhouse after Friday night’s shutout loss to the hated Mets and seen the trampy pop tart frolicking and holding court with his players. It doesn’t appear if anyone is going to lose his or her job for the breach of security, although as one Yankee official confided: “We’re embarrassed by what happened and it’s been addressed.”
The words of Nicolas Anelka against Raymond Domenech, are totally unacceptable to the FFF, the French football and the values they uphold.
Informed later in the evening of Friday the serious incident during the halftime of the match France “ Mexico (0-2), the Federation President Jean-Pierre Escalettes has asked Nicolas Anelka in the presence of the captain Patrice Evra to present an official apology to the French public opinion and to regret his remarks to Raymond Domenech, the staff and 23 players from the team of France.
Upon refusal by the player to deliver a public apology, he made the decision in full agreement with the coach and members of the official delegation attending Knysna exclude Nicolas Anelka group. This will leave this evening the base camp of Team France.
The Kansas City Star is reporting that 9-year NBA veteran Manute Bol, who received relatively scant recognition after his playing days for his activism and humanitarian efforts, has passed away at the age of 47 after a long bout with kidney failure. Jerod Morris of Midwest Sports Fans paid tribute to the 7′ 7″ Sudanese center just a few weeks ago.
Manute Bol has seemingly always fought with every bit of his strength to make the Sudan a better place for the people that he left behind “ but certainly never forgot “ when he moved to the United States. In fact, Bol never really left the Sudan behind. He clearly carried the burden of his nation™s plight during every step along his path to the NBA and, much like Dikembe Mutombo after him, used his God-given height to play a game that would pay him well and afford him the opportunity to make a difference on a contient that so desperately needs difference makers.
Have a seat, Joba Chamberlain. Take 5, Twit-tard Nick Swisher. After the Yankees were baffled by Hisanori Takahashi last night, The Legend Of Cecilio Guante‘s Cecilio’s Scribe nominated Bombers backstop Francisco Cervelli (“Johnny Bench, Mike Piazza and Benito Santiago all rolled into one — at least in his own mind”) as “My New Favorite Yankee To Hate”.
He’s over-exuberant, cocky, theatrical and antagonistic. No matter if it’s the fourth inning of a game they’re losing, the seventh inning of a blowout win or the top of the first, Francisco is fist-pumping and primal screaming on every inning-ending strikeout. If he throws someone out at second? Well, then be prepared for an even more enthusiastic celebration. The Terminator has eliminated you, Mr. Baserunner, and he will now show you up in his home plate mini-dance, fist-pump, animal roar routine.
You Yankees fans sitting there claiming sour grapes on a good, young player? You’ve got the second part right. From what I’ve seen, Cervelli is undoubtedly talented and the heir apparent to Jorge. He could learn a few things from Posada, though, on what it means to be a professional. I’m all for enthusiasm, but Cervelli’s routine borders on amateur hour. The best examples could’ve been his ridiculous theatrics around the plate last night on two balls in the dirt.
Despite picking both cleanly, Francisco immediately proceeded to dramatically turn behind him on multiple occasions acting as if the ball had scooted past him towards the backstop. The acts were so over-the-top that “gamesmanship” is too respectful a descriptor. Ruben Tejada’s laugh after casually returning to first after the first airing of the show were telling — Cervelli’s antics were a joke.
Cervelli’s behavior, funnily enough, comes under scrutiny the same day WFAN’s Mike Francesa — surely the arbiter of all forms of etiquette — cited the Mets’ Jose Reyes for the shortstop’s penchant for offending the Yankees. Hopefully Reyes’ two HR’s this afternoon in successive at bats against Phil Hughes were celebrated in a modest enough manner without violating the sacred ground that is the Nu Stadium.
No, Jeff, there was nothing surprising about it. Unless you’re caught off guard by Bryant trying to claim one of your father’s signature moments after shooting 6 for 24 (and arguably being the third most valuable Laker on the floor during Game 7)
There’s not been nearly as much outpouring of public fury over ESPN’s employment of Martin Tyler to do play-by-play for this summer’s World Cup from South Africa as there was just 4 years ago when longtime baseball announcer Dave O’Brien worked the tournament alongside former US international Marcelo Balboa. At the time, O’Brien dismissed such criticism as the work “a petulant little clique of soccer fans. There™s not many of them, but they™re mean-spirited. ¦ And they™re not really the audience we want to reach anyway. With such defensiveness in mind, the Boston Globe’s Chad Finn quizzed O’Brien — currently doing Red Sox broadcasts for WEEI — about what it’s like to watch the planet’s biggest sporting event without making a fool of yourself.
œI™m watching every minute. Watching every minute I can see,™™ said O™Brien. œI think it™s spectacular,™™ he added. œI think I™m there. I don™t feel like I™m missing it because, as a fan now, I get to experience what everyone else experienced in ™06, this incredible event unfolding day by day. So I don™t miss it.™™
O™Brien, who was teamed with underwhelming analyst Marcelo Balboa four years ago, says now that the criticism doesn™t damage his fond memories.
œIt was a tremendously positive experience,™™ O™Brien said. œWe got nominated for an Emmy for the work we did in ™06, the ratings were great. All the barometers we wanted to hit, we hit.”
O™Brien, who said it was his decision œto remove himself from the equation this year,™™ has clearly moved past any frustrations he harbored four years ago.
œLooking back, I think in some way, we helped move the coverage forward in a direction it needed to go,™™ he said. œThere were some growing pains there. I think that to get to this level, at the level of the presentation the games are at now, maybe that had to happen.”
The New York Post’s Michael Starr reports that Jerry Seinfeld will join Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez in the SNY booth for 3 innings of the Mets’ home game against Detroit next Wednesday evening.
It will be Seinfeld’s first visit to the SNY booth and the first time he and Hernandez have talked about the famous, 1992 episode called “The Boyfriend.” The episode featured Keith asking gym-pal Jerry to help him move out of his apartment — and being accused by Kramer and Newman of spitting on them after his error at first base cost the Mets a game.
“That was a baptism under fire,” Hernandez says of his “Seinfeld” gig. “I think there’s always the fear of the unknown . . . and I was terrified, to be honest.
“I have a very hard time watching that episode, period. I’ve only seen it once or twice.
“Let’s be realistic — I’m not Marlon Brando, and I never took acting lessons.”
Not to say I’m not looking forward to Wednesday’s broadcast, but I’d much rather see the YES Network attempt to pair Larry David-as-George Steinbrenner (in his early 90′s physical/mental fitness, of course) with Michael Kay.
Cubs manager Lou Piniella responded to recent criticism on the part of White Sox announcer Steve Stone by saying, “We™ve got a lot of people here that haven™t managed and won any games in the big leagues, but they know everything.” If Stone’s managerial resume seems a bit thin to offer advise, Lou might be slightly more impressed with the professional background of WGN commentator Bob Brenly (above), who guided the Diamondbacks to a World Series title in 2001. “Does this read like Brenly is lobbying for the manager’s position to anyone else?” asks Kevin Rys of Brenly blasting the Cubs’ poor fundamentals during a recent radio interview. Well, yeah. But if you’re gonna lobby for a job, what’s the point of doing it without being heard? (Gary Carter, unavailable for comment.
“Ever since I’ve been here in Chicago, even going back to the Dusty Baker days, these teams — and you hate to lump them all together because obviously there’s different personnel every year — but the same problems keep coming up, poor baserunning, poor defense,” Brenly said Wednesday on “The Waddle & Silvy Show” on ESPN 1000. “The lack of timely hitting affects every team in the major leagues at one point or another, but it’s the lack of solid fundamentals on a daily basis that really gets to me, and I think gets to a lot of fans.
Brenly took exception Piniella batting pitcher Carlos Zambrano in the bottom of the sixth during Wednesday’s 9-5 loss to Oakland. There were two outs with a runner on second and the Cubs trailing 5-4. Zambrano popped to second, and then was relieved at the top of the seventh.
“I would much rather have the worst pinch hitter I have available off the bench up at the plate rather than any pitcher. I just don’t think there’s anybody in the major leagues right now — and that includes Micah Owings, who may be the best hitting pitcher to come down the pike in a long time — I would rather have a hitter up there. Even if it means you have to burn one of your players.”
(because no one wants to see another photograph of John Russell — least of all Pirates players or fans, here’s a snapshot of Darby Crash, instead)
After a 99 loss campaign in 2009, who amongst us wouldn’t have concluded the Pittsburgh Pirates were on the verge of a breakthrough 2010? I’m sure fans and pundits alike are shocked to see the Bucs at 20 games below .500 on the 18th of June, and as such, can fully sympathize with Pittsburgh ownership’s decision last October to give general manager Neal Huntington and manager John Russell one year contract extensions. Since the people of Pittsburgh are a hard-working, humble lot, it would’ve been unseemly for the Pirates to actually announce to the media that such extensions had been offered. Or perhaps it was an oversight amidst all the other important announcements a chronically last-place baseball franchise might have to make during the late autumn. EIther way, the Post-Gazette’s Ron Cook has little sympathy for all the pressures faced by the Pirates’ front office, insisting, “their professional sports record of 17-going-on-18 consecutive years of losing hasn’t happened by accident.”
Huntington and Russell were asked repeatedly about their contracts during the season, as was club president Neil Coonelly. They were put in the awkward position by Coonelly of, if not outright lying, bending the truth. The dishonesty was most disrespectful to the fans. Insulting, actually.
After someone squealed the news to FoxSports.com earlier Thursday, Coonelly was forced to make the announcement at the worst possible time. He and the organization look like fools.
Not surprisingly, Coonelly defended the extensions. He praised Huntington for the Xavier Nady-Damaso Marte trade, which brought Jose Tabata, Ross Ohlendorf, Jeff Karstens and Daniel McCutchen, and for finding gems Garrett Jones and Evan Meek from other clubs. “Neal had the tough assignment of turning over our roster and building the organization the right way at a time when he had very little to work with. He’s had great success in terms of scouting and drafting young players.”
As for Russell, Coonelly said, “John has a tremendous, intense passion for winning baseball and developing young players. He is an outstanding teacher. The players respect him, trust him and believe in his leadership.”
It might have been fine if that’s all Coonelly had said. But in the team’s announcement and a later interview, he said, “Contracts are irrelevant. If we believe someone isn’t getting the job done, a contract won’t prevent us from doing what needs to be done. We’ll make a change.”
The Pirates make what should be an exciting announcement about two key employees and their future. At the same time, they publicly bring up the possibility that one or both guys will be fired, maybe before their extensions even kick in.
Readers of a certain vintage (ie., old fuckers like me) can remember when the biggest soccer scandal to envelope mega-annoying entertainer Chris Evans was an ill-advised pub crawl/kebab-eating contest with Paul Gascoigne. Fast forward a generation later, and Evans — now ensconced at the BBC’s Radio 2 — has found a whole new medium with which to fall from favor. From the Mirror :
Evans came under fire from some of his own followers on the social networking site Twitter after he retweeted a joke that had been circulating across Twitter.
The star was accused of being ‘politically incorrect’ and ‘offensive™ after he posted: ‘You give an African 2 pounds a month and what do they do? Buy a bloody trumpet.’
Following the post, Twitter user iPilates wrote in response: ‘Not very politically correct that one. A bit Bernard Manning.’ while PeterHeslop said: ‘Did you re-tweet this to highlight xenophobia or capitalist exploitation?’
Evans, 44, later removed the post from his Twitter page before apologising – claiming he had not read the joke properly before forwarding it to his followers.