06.25.10

Portland’s Dysfunctional, Mournful Draft Night

Posted in Basketball, Blogged Down at 2:06 pm by

(is that a carefully worded statement from Vulcan Inc. in your pocket or aren’t you happy to meet Luke Babbitt?)

After a wind-twisting that made the Wilpons’ treatment of Willie Randolph seem downright respectful, the Blazers fired G.M. Kevin Pritchard last night, hours before the start of the scene witnessed by Ben from Blazers Edge in Tualatin, OR with Portland scouts Chad Buchanan and Mike Born left to address the media.

The scouts, dressed in what appeared to be matching black shirts, looked like mourners. Their excitement over what they had accomplished, which no doubt will be very real sometime in the near future, was entirely manufactured tonight.

Buchanan, who carried on as stoically as he could, addressing questions in detail, admitted that the situation “was obviously difficult.” In between discussing player tendency breakdowns, Buchanan kept returning to the same themes. “Kevin was a tremendous leader,” he said. “He did an unbelievable job like he always does.” Respect and regret.

Mike Born sought out the eyes of those in the audience, many of whom edged forward in their seats with anxiety as the questioning continued. It wasn’t clear what Born was seeking in the eye contact. Comfort? A connection? Someone who would understand what he had been through and what had just happened? He looked exhausted, finding his legs again after completing a marathon. No, the team hadn’t decided yet what to do with the newly-acquired Ryan Gomes and his partially guaranteed contract. Yes, it was extremely difficult to trade longtime Blazer Martell Webster.

No matter how much Buchanan and Born liked their three draft picks, and surely no one likes these players more, you couldn’t help but get the feeling that they would trade them all back for Kevin Pritchard.

DC United, Brutally Dissed By Washington Sports Establishment

Posted in Basketball at 1:09 pm by


So Donovan McNabb, Alexander Ovechkin, and Stephen Stasburg were roped into paying homage to the NBA’s latest no. 1 overall pick. Was Chris Ponitus — arguably as big a household name as any of the above (especially in the Ponitus household), unavailable with public speaking engagements or did the Wizards just fail to pick up the phone?

Raissman : Santana Rape Accusation Far From A Non-Issue

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism, Sports Radio, Sports TV, The Law at 10:25 am by

Of a Wednesday TMZ report citing an October 2009 sexual assault accusation against Mets starter Johan Santana, The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman wonders, “If the name on the complaint was “Alex Rodriguez”, would there have been a real sense of urgency across the media board?” Though I’ve already weighed in (albeit in 140 character or less form), Raissman is just as right as he’s bald when warning, “no one knows where the story is headed…and no one can accurately predict how much of a distraction it will be to Santana and his teammates.”

Some of Santana’s pitching performances (velocity down, blah, blah, blah) have been subject to question. Now every time a Santana performance is deemed subpar, there will be a new set of inquiries. Are continuing media reports of this seamy sexual encounter interfering with his brain waves? Is dealing with his family taking his focus away? Johan, how long has all this stuff been on your mind?

And what happens when Jane Doe goes public, in front of microphones and cameras?

Some outlets, such as ESPN-1050, ignored the story for much of Wednesday afternoon. Instead the station opted to pound its listeners with Bonnie Bernstein updates featuring news of Team USA’s dramatic 1-0 World Cup win over Algeria, the Wimbledon marathon match and Lawrence Taylor being indicted on sexual assault charges.

The oversight was not without irony.

“You have to watch carefully how this thing is going to play out,” said WFAN’s Mike Francesa, pointing out that the story could take on a life of its own.

This is a talkie who has been around for all those Mets days of whine and bleach, rape allegations and drugs. Those stories did not end in happy recaps.

06.24.10

Baker : Twins, Mets In Rush To Rent Cliff Lee

Posted in Baseball at 7:11 pm by

The (hopefully) eminent return of Carlos Beltran to the Mets’ outfield might well render the rapidly improving Angel Pagan surplus to everyday requirements. Jenrry Mejia (above), recently demoted to Double A Binghamton, is being retooled as a starter, more for 2011 in mind than the current campaign. As such, is it any surprise two players the oft-maligned Mets player development dept. can finally take some credit for, might ultimately be trade bait for the best arm available (and perhaps more importantly for the Wilpons, one due far less remaining salary in 2010 than Roy Oswalt)? The Seattle Times’ Geoff Baker —ruling out the financially challenged Texas Rangers — considers the Mets and Twins the finalists for the services of Cliff Lee.

The Twins have been seen as favorites because they have a blocked top catching prospect in Wilson Ramos that they could make a centerpiece to a deal along with a mid-to-back-end starting pitcher. Seattle has apparently let teams know that acquiring a good catching prospect is high on their priority list.

But the Mets have some pretty good young players of their own. Not catchers, mind you, but if the rumors coming out of New York are true, the M’s might have to ship Lee off to the Big Apple.

That’s because the rumors — and they are only rumors, but with some logic — say the Mets might offer top pitching prospect Jenrry Mejia and current major league outfielder Angel Pagan in a Lee swap. Wow, that one would be tough to decline.

An item from yesterday in the New York Post, suggests the Mets are unlikely to deal Mejia. But that’s what teams always say before they deal a guy. Who knows? Would the Mariners have to send more than just Lee to New York? Possibly.

Indeed, who knows? Perhaps the Mets are showcasing Josh Thole at this very minute. Who can really say for certain? Other than those with televisions, telephones, etc.

June 24, 2010 In Tweets : #extendminaya Hashtag Fails To Gain In Popularity

Posted in twitter twatter at 6:50 pm by

Lippi : Blame Me (But Italy’s Players Are Cowards, Too)

Posted in Football, World Cup 2010 at 4:04 pm by

Italy crashed out of Group F earlier today following a 3-2 defeat to Slovankia ; to rely on cliche’, the scoreline flattered to deceive on behalf of the remaining World Champions, and in the words of the Guardian’s Paul Wilson, “if the French fell out among themselves, Italy simply failed to turn up.”  Coach Marcello Lippo’s postmatch statements were a tad contradictory, on one hand taking full accountability, but adding, “The players didn’t play right, they didn’t press, they didn’t build, they didn’t do anything.” From The Telegraph :

“There are no excuses because when a team comes to a match as important as tonight’s with terror in their legs, their heads and their hearts, and don’t manage to express themselves,” bemoaned Lippi.  “It means that the coach hasn’t prepared them in the right way,”

“I didn’t think we could win the World Cup but I though we would do better.”

In a strikingly honest assessment of what went wrong, Lippi pummelled himself verbally for 15 minutes.

“I failed to train the team well enough, they weren’t ready for such an important match. For an hour and 15 minutes, for psychological reasons I think, nothing worked,” he said.

His stark words took some of the sting out of the Italian reporters who were waiting to savage a campaign that began with two 1-1 draws.

“I have no intention of getting straight back into coaching and training after this,” added Lippi. “I’ll take some months off and we will see.”

Cubs To Participate In Chicago Pride Festivities

Posted in Baseball at 10:57 am by


(Banks, years before the phrase, “let’s play two” would’ve been taken in any other context).

The Tribune’s Paul Sullivan reports the Cubs (along with the Blackhawks) will be the first major sports franchises to feature floats in Chicago’s annual Gay Pride Parade. Presumably, if Mike Ditka’s Chicago Rush were still in business, they’d be front and center in the celebration.

Cubs legend Ernie Banks (above) will ride on the Cubs float along with others team employees in the annual parade, which will be held Sunday on the North Side.

“Participating in the parade is part of being good neighbors and reflects the community efforts of the entire Ricketts family and the Cubs organization,” said Senior Vice-President of Community Affairs Mike Lufrano. “The Cubs have supported the parade for many years. While this is the team’s first float, it is an extension of the strong, existing support and connections the Cubs have always had with the community.”

06.23.10

Dibble vs. Knight In Televised Pissing Match

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 9:34 pm by

Who’d have thought another fine performance (albeit in a losing cause) by Nationals phenom Stephen Stasburg would provoke such a spectacular war of words between MASN broadcasters Rob Dibble and Ray Knight? In the unlikely event Nats fans watching today’s postgame show were unaware of Dibs‘s or Knight’s impressive postseason achievements once upon a time, both gentlemen were all-too-quick to remind.

June 23, 2010 In Tweets : R.A. Dickey’s “Marriage Ref” Booking Surely Confirmed

Posted in twitter twatter at 9:05 pm by

  • @columbustom Perez alone makes up a fair hunk of the $120 million. Dickey pick-up = genuine thrifty smarts. #extendminaya (joke!) in reply to columbustom #
  • RT @columbustom I love Dickey but w/a $120M payroll you shouldn’t have to catch lightning in a bottle with a career scrub. #
  • Esp. since ownership outed him for PED’s RT @BloggingBombers: Surprising to hear Luis Gonzalez is the 1st D-Back to have his number retired. #
  • Thx for making me think of Garth Brooks, Jim. RT @jimbaumbach: Billy Crystal to Seinfeld: talk to me when you get an AB in spring training. #
  • NY Post’s Kevin Kernan suggested today that a Beltran return to the lineup might disrupt “chemistry”. For the team or the writer? #
  • W/ all due respect to Strasburg and his 4 starts, R.A.Dickey (8 IP, 0 runs, 4 hits) is more deserving of an NL All-Star nod. #
  • Seinfeld on Jason Bay’s struggles : “maybe he’s trying too hard to be funny” #
  • And Fred Travalena’s dead. RT @neelc13: Jamie Kennedy and Jay Mohr? I guess Andrew Dice Clay was too rich for the NHL’s blood. #nhlawards #
  • Except Brad Benson RT @hotfootblog: Seinfeld tells @KBurkhardtSNY there’s nothing less funny than having his material read back to him. #
  • Solo HR, Reyes. Bonderman looks like he knows Leyland’s gonna extinguish a cigarette on his forearm. Mets 2, Tigers 0 #
  • It’s about time Joe West wrote a song for R.A. Dickey #
  • Not everyone’s digging Seinfeld on SNY. compared to Jay-Z & Eminem w/ Michael Kay a few weeks back, this is Algonquin roundtable stuff. #
  • Seinfeld’s segued from Lady Gaga to the bedbug commercials. Between this & his flirting w/ @KBurkhardtSNY, I can probably take the month off #
  • Seinfeld on a sponsored tarp : “whenever fans are unhappy and disappointed, we want our logo up there.” y’feeling Jerry, Citibank? #
  • RBI double for Wright scoring Reyes, Mets 1, Tigers 0, last of the 3rd. #
  • Seinfed on Jose sliding headfirst : “who is in charge of that? Who is in charge of sliding?” #
  • sorry for the fate of the dukies, @wrightfan05. but no good is served by assuming everything’s a-ok at Johan’s country club #
  • which d’ya think is slightly higher, percentage of bogus rape claims or accusers who are intimidated/shunned? #
  • one isolated case. RT @wrightfan05: remember those boys at duke. they believed the girl & found out she wasnt credible they got screwed #
  • last word on Santana : there’s many different reactions to trauma, many eg, of crummy police work. We have no idea if accuser is credible. #
  • RT @kristinirene: Anyone w/ a roommate? Not welcome at Bellevue.”Bellevue pastor explains why lesbian coach was banned” http://bit.ly/cjleB7 #
  • RT @danreilly11: the only two people who know what happened are Johan and the accuser. I just hope it didn’t happen & this ends quickly. #
  • in all seriousness, if anyone thinks the Santana story is best blown off, yr Big Ben’s kinda public/media #

Read the rest of this entry »

Singles Going Steady: Pale Hose Eschew Long Ball, Break .500 Anyway

Posted in Baseball at 5:25 pm by

Sometimes it’s tough to write about a team as a homer during an upturn.  When things begin to go well on the field, opportunities for savaging the responsible parties dwindle and the mind turns to attaboys and accolades.  And, really, who wants that?  You just can’t wail, gnash teeth nor unleash withering bathos against the impression that tens of millions of player contract dollars are being *well*-spent.
So it’s with a thimble of selfish regret that I report the Chicago White Sox have remarkably returned as a contender in the AL Central power struggle.  A tussle, to be sure, only slightly more epic than an outbreak of hair-pulling in the back of a second-grade classroom, yet the playoffs seem to hinge upon it.
The Sox, who once considered adopting the pointless solo home run as the team mascot, have left behind their free-swinging ways, a decision that has paid handsome dividends.  With the rhythmic regularity of Mountain Dew belches from Bobby Jenks, the Pale Hose have notched 12 of the last 14 and moved above .500 for the first time in 2010.  They’ve mowed through the National League on an 8-1 road trip, dealing defeat to the Cubs, Pirates, Nationals, and last night, the far more serious Braves, piling on 16 hits and finally, a dinger.  Prior to last night’s Carlos Quentin 3-run bomb, the Sox’s turnaround was engineered without a single home run in 8 games, a drought that reaches back to the 1940s.
Bats that no longer twitch trying to correct.200 averages in one swing are one story.  On the bump, the prospects are no less bright.  Sunday’s complete-game Jake Peavy victory against the Nats is a signal of a rejuvenated rotation including the awakening of Gavin Floyd and a general deep-inning work ethic. Reliefwise, outside of Sergio Santos (control problems) and Scott Linebrink (meatball delivery problems), the rested pen holds, the LOOGYs get their men and the leads get protected.
As a package, this is no longer a team that can be counted out of a division dominated by the Twins and the Tigers, whose arms can’t match up to these when firing on all cylinders.

Sometimes it’s tough to write about a team as a homer during an upturn.  When things begin to go well on the field, opportunities for savaging the responsible parties dwindle and the mind turns to attaboys and accolades.  And, really, who wants that?  You just can’t wail, gnash teeth nor unleash withering bathos against the impression that tens of millions of player contract dollars are being well-spent.

So it’s with a thimble of selfish regret that I report the Chicago White Sox have remarkably returned as a contender in the AL Central power struggle.  A tussle, to be sure, only slightly more epic than an outbreak of hair-pulling in the back of a second-grade classroom, yet the playoffs seem to hinge upon it.

The Sox, who once considered adopting the pointless solo home run as the team mascot, have left behind their free-swinging ways, a decision that has paid handsome dividends.  With the rhythmic regularity of Mountain Dew belches from Bobby Jenks, the Pale Hose have notched 12 of the last 14 and moved above .500 for the first time in 2010.  They’ve mowed through the National League on an 8-1 road trip, dealing defeat to the Cubs, Pirates, Nationals, and last night, the far more serious Braves, piling on 16 hits and finally, a dinger.  Prior to last night’s Carlos Quentin 3-run bomb, the Sox’s turnaround was engineered without a single home run in 8 games, a team drought record that reaches back to the 1940s.

(Above: Alex Rios puts it where they ain’t.)

Bats that no longer twitch trying to correct.200 averages in one swing are one story.  On the bump, the prospects are no less bright.  Sunday’s complete-game Jake Peavy victory against the Nats is a signal of a rejuvenated rotation including the awakening of Gavin Floyd and a general deep-inning work ethic. Reliefwise, outside of Sergio Santos (control problems) and Scott Linebrink (meatball delivery problems), the rested pen holds, the LOOGYs get their men and the leads get protected.

As a package, this is no longer a team that can be counted out of a division dominated by the Twins and the Tigers, whose arms can’t match up to these when firing on all cylinders.