07.31.10

Atlanta’s Glavine Tribute – What’s The Opposite Of “Devastated”?

Posted in Baseball at 9:56 pm by

Of Tom Glavine’s tenure in Flushing, Tim Marchman once wrote, “the sight of Glavine in a Mets uniform is only slightly less bizarre than the sight of Reggie Miller in a Knicks uniform.” Presumably, the Braves organization would concur, and despite some harsh words prior to Glavine’s retirement, the Massachusetts native will have his number retired at Turned Field next Friday night. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Steve Hummer provides some of the historical perspective :

A loyal union man during the baseball strike of 1994, Glavine played an out-front role in that season-killing ordeal. In 2003, he signed with the division rival New York Mets. The combination proved too much for those fans who booed him heartily whenever he returned to Atlanta with the Mets.

œI™m sure I haven™t won everybody back. But for the most part, people, the greater majority of people in Atlanta, either like me or appreciate what I did as an Atlanta Brave. That™s the best you can hope for, that a majority of people appreciate who you are and what you do, Glavine said.

There were raw feelings between player and management as well. Glavine and the Braves went through two difficult divorces: the signing with New York; then, after a comeback season with the Braves was cut short in 2008 by shoulder surgery, Glavine suddenly was axed by the team early in 2009.

As recently as June 2009, after a rehab outing in Rome had failed to convince the Braves to keep him, Glavine was informing Atlanta radio listeners that he had been œmisled and mistreated by the team. The Braves had instead opted to go with rookie Tommy Hanson, a move few argued against.

By the end of the season, Glavine said many of the wounds had scabbed over.

He figured his career œwould be over by then anyway and it was kind of useless to carry this baggage around, harbor these feelings that I had. At that point, John (Shuerholz) and I were able to talk and we were able to hash some things out.

July 31 In Tweets : Standing Pat In Flushing

Posted in twitter twatter at 8:12 pm by

(not newly acquired Red Sox C Jarrod Saltalamacchia)

  • RT @StevePopper: Omar : Mets were close on some, could still come w/ waivers. Also said finances not an issue (which entire league disputes) #
  • @95Sports Hench &the Sports Putz being buds isn’t the point. WWL “douchey”? uh, yeah. But Fox has been ethically inconsistent at best in reply to 95Sports #
  • @95Sports Fox can’t slam ESPN as kowtowing to LBJ when the former employed a football analyst who was paid by the very athletes he covered. in reply to 95Sports #
  • Fox Sports scribe on ESPN- beholden-to-LeBron. Yet paying Jay Glazer to report & bodybuild w/ NFL players is A-OK http://bit.ly/cH1RWW #
  • guy on right says, “yeah, sometimes I wanna abandon MY family, too” RT @NYBD: doc and Jeff #TwitPict http://twitpic.com/2agsjx #
  • @Baseballisms re : Salty/Sasser http://bit.ly/d2dIGC not exactly an obscure story in reply to Baseballisms #
  • seriously folks, there’s things called search engines. By all means, don’t use ‘em Just keep asking ME stupid questions. #
  • @Baseballisms re: Salty, “does he have trouble throwing the ball back to the pitcher?” well, yes. wtf did you think I was refering to? in reply to Baseballisms #
  • Red Sox acquire the modern answer to Mackey Sasser, Jarrod Saltalamacchia http://bit.ly/azEkxy #
  • @JimBowdenXMFOX describes the Mets as deadline “losers”. If Phillips concurs, I might end up defending Minaya, just out of reflex #
  • Cerrone : Phillies weren’t positioned for Oswalt, Lee or Halladay trades w.out stockpiling hot prospects 1st http://bit.ly/9jPzB8 #
  • on the bright side, Dodgers kept their russian space healer RT @ArgyledPlaschke: I’m on my way to kill Ned Colletti. Who’s with me? #
  • MLB Network reports Ankiel & Farnsworth to ATL ; Mets expected to give Francoeur lifetime deal, retire his number, etc. #
  • RT @brianmctaggart: Astros close to multi-year deal with Brett Myers #
  • Giants acquire LHP Javier Lopez from Pittsburgh in exhcange for RHP Joe Martinez #
  • Huggy Harold on Yanks’ coveting Wood : “I can’t see putting the game on the line in a fly ball park in the 8th”. Kerry 2010 > Joba? #
  • agree w/ this assessment of Mets non-moves. But offensive woes, ‘pen depth, should’ve been addressed far earlier RE http://bit.ly/9C6n1e #
  • 40 mins to the deadline and i have a brainstorm : Perez/Castillo for Eddy Curry. #
  • enough about the Mets’ Hall of Fame ceremonies — in SF, they really know how to narrow down the selections http://exm.nr/dD8jW1 #
  • hey, my team IS bankrupt! #madoffed RT @gigadig: Bankrupt #Rangers add Cliff Lee, Molina, Cantu, and Guzman..wish my team was bankrupt. #
  • Pearlman : Fat Elvis “not buiilt for NY” http://bit.ly/db695B #
  • will Yanks cover salary? RT @StevePopper: Probably a step up even now RT @kranepool: how about both Darryl and Doc in the lineup tomorrow #
  • well done, Cubs – while Zambrano will be tough to move, there’s a shred of a chance you could get more in the future http://bit.ly/bZ05Aw #
  • it’s stories like the Mark Sanchez/Jamie-Lynn Sigler split that highlight the need for a Sports By Brooks east coast office # Read the rest of this entry »

You Can Take The Tru Warier Out Of Queens…

Posted in Baseball, Basketball, Hip Hop at 3:05 pm by

…but good luck taking the Queens out of Rappin’ Ron Artest (video culled from Metsradamus)  Admittedly, that’s slim consolation after a) the Mets’ failure to mount a successful comeback against baseball’s worst bullpen and b) a team with their own share of financial problems picked up Ted Lilly and Octavio Dotel, but as Amazins fans prepare for two months of garbage time, we’ll take levity wherever we can find it.  At least it’s funnier than this.

Jose Canseco : The Greatest Teammate Of All Time?

Posted in Baseball at 1:53 pm by

It’s been said more than once the real mark of a “Most Valuable Player” is the impact said superstar has on his teammates  — hence (some of) the justification for a 1988 NL trophy awarded to LA’s Kirk Gibson despite somewhat less than eye-popping individual stats. Some 3 years ago, Israeli numbers-crunchers Eric Gould and Todd Kaplan attempted to measure the historical impact of admitted PED purveyor Jose Canseco.  As Slate’s Ray Fishman explains, Canseco’s mere presence benefited position players and pitchers alike.

To provide a statistical assessment of Canseco’s alleged influence, Gould and Kaplan compared the performances of every hitter and pitcher who played with Canseco, and analyzed how they changed after exposure to him. Focusing on the power-positions players”catcher, first base, outfield, and designated hitter”who would most benefit from extra heft and bulk, Gould and Kaplan found that contact with Canseco was worth an extra two home runs per year in the seasons that followed.   Canseco’s teammates also saw increases in other power statistics”half a dozen extra runs batted in per season, a one-point boost to slugging percentage, and a handful of additional walks. Meanwhile Canseco did not seem to help teammates in their fielding, base-stealing, and other nonpower areas. (In results not reported in the study, Gould and Kaplan also found that pitchers were able to put in more innings when exposed to Canseco, another indication of The Chemist’s hand in helping his teammates work harder and longer.)

Of course, it’s possible that Canseco’s outsize influence could be benign”maybe he shared with his fellow power hitters a set of batting tips that proved effective. But if this is the case, Canseco’s abilities as a hitting instructor were quite unique”Gould and Kaplan looked at the effect 30 other power hitters of Canseco’s era had on their teammates and found that none of them had a statistically significant influence on the hitting performance of teammates. (Some of these were in fact Canseco’s original disciples, suggesting, perhaps, that not all users become proselytizers.) What’s more, the Canseco effect disappears after 2003, when baseball instituted random drug testing and punishments for those found guilty. If Canseco was merely offering innocent performance-enhancing advice, it stopped working with the advent of drug testing.

07.30.10

July 30 In Tweets : Celebrating Michael Kay’s Ability To Call 290 Foot HR’s

Posted in twitter twatter at 8:12 pm by

  • ‘Full House Head’ – all kinds of amazing RT @chunklet There’s not a weekend night that can’t be improved by Endless Boogie. #
  • Wright, 3-run HR to left, ties the game at 3. More importantly RECLAIMING A SHARE OF THE CITI FIELD ALL-TIME HR LEAD at er, 10. #
  • Joe West would like point out that Pelf’s on pace for a 4 1/2 hour CG #
  • D-Backs, 3, Mets 0, top of the first. Mex : “this is like a repeat of Santana” #
  • forget about Oswalt and Berkman ; Astros should trade tomorrow’s Jars Of Clay concert for a Really Red reunion #
  • still can’t adjust to hearing Kirk Gibson called “Gibby”. http://youtu.be/6rsyypvMi54 #
  • apparently, there are scarier things than being called out by Bobby Ojeda http://bit.ly/aOY81T #
  • great news for flag football fans RT @BloggingBombers: The Yankees are on the verge of landing slugger Lance Berkman http://bit.ly/aNcBjF #
  • cancel my satellite subscription RT @RealSkipBayless: My challenge stands: I will debate Ocho AND Owens on live TV. #
  • place has slipped BIG TIME RT @BobsBlitz: Gallagher’s Steak House W 52nd cited for roaches. http://is.gd/dTI78 #
  • D-Backs look that good? RT @lenno212: Francoeur fired up, bat in hand, just headed to BP saying, “It’s going to be a laser show tonight.” #
  • Huggins’ serious injury is being blamed on taking medication w/ an empty stomach. Sergio Kindle shakes head, says “whatever” #
  • RT @Haudricourt: Just saw where Farm Aid is coming to Miller Park. Is that to help develop more pitching prospects in their system? #
  • Brett Wallace’s 1B job at Las Vegas to be filled by Mike Jacobs. No offense to Buffalo, but that’s called landing on your feet. #
  • @neelc13 re : who’ll play Soft Body Brown in “moneyball”. no idea, but he looks like Kellerman here http://bit.ly/aMUDlO in reply to neelc13 #
  • Sports Putz says the 2010 Red Sox are duller than death. What, Bill didn’t dig Francona’s wig commercial? http://es.pn/cg3fB5 #
  • phew! RT @TouchByAM: For those asking, the tank top Alyssa is wearing will be available in the Spring 2011 Line http://post.ly/pSGt. #
  • nice. old stories about Straw & Gooden’s (baseball) exploits http://es.pn/a4AbUQ #
  • Henry will be 34 during Euro 2012, 36 for the next World Cup. This is a non-story http://es.pn/9H37ic # Read the rest of this entry »

After All These Years, Ron Borges Still Wants The Hooded Casanova’s Lunch Money

Posted in Gridiron at 7:20 pm by

Though it took charges of plagiarism and ethical lapses to force Ron Borges to leave the Boston Globe, the veteran football/boxing scribe’s intense devotion to baiting Bill Belichick never resulted in punitive measures from his former employer.  Now ensconced at the Boston Herald, Borges is in midseason form, saying of the Patriots’ preseason training facility, “the huge images of Mike Vrabel, Richard Seymour], Ty Law, Adam Vinatieri, Deion Branch, Asante Samuel [stats] and so many others of the past have been taken down…they have been expunged in the same way deposed Russian leaders used to disappear from the history books of Moscow™s children.”

They did the same thing in Green Bay after the passing of Lombardi™s Packers. They took down the pictures after the stars left and said, œCreate your own identity, but the weight of the past was too much. The Pack didn™t win another Super Bowl for 29 years.

Today, the grass looks great, the locker room smells great, the players are great and the kiddie corps of assistant coaches Bill Belichick has surrounded himself with are budding geniuses, not the underpaid lab assistants many of them appear to be.

Belichick has seized the motivational moment for his young players by expunging as much of the Patriots™ history from the walls as he can to tell his players this team has done nothing. Those teams were champions, but what are you?

It™s a good point, but not a totally encouraging one because one could ask the same of the highest-paid coach in pro football. Bill Belichick was a genius once, when the players in the photos were still active.

Truth be told the Patriots not only haven™t won the Super Bowl in six years they haven™t won it since Law left . . or Charlie Weis . . . or Romeo Crennel, for that matter. When we last saw Belichick on the sideline, nobody looked too smart as the Baltimore Ravens were trampling his team on its home field in the playoffs, a loss owner Robert Kraft has called œembarrassing so many times it™s, well, embarrassing.

Lawsuit : Fred Wilpon Vaporized$16 Million Retirement Fund

Posted in Baseball, The Law, The Marketplace at 5:57 pm by

And you thought there’d be no big Mets news at the trading deadline! “While defendant Fred Wilpon has been quoted as claiming that he and his business family are ‘fine,’ his loyal employees (many of whom had previously been laid off) have lost their retirement savings.” So reads part of a complaint filed earlier today in Manhattan federal court claiming Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon’s investment firm, Sterling Equities of gross negligence. From Reuters’ Jonathan Stempfel :

The complaint said Sterling invested $16.2 million, or 92 percent, of the 401(k) plan’s $17.6 million of assets with Bernie Madoff.

It accused Wilpon and two other plan trustees of breaching their fiduciary duties to plan participants by mishandling investments with Madoff and his firm Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC.

The complaint seeks class-action status on behalf of plan participants, a number it estimates in the hundreds. There were 267 participants at the start of 2008, the complaint said.

The complaint was filed by Elyse Goldweber, a New Yorker who said she had $280,420 invested in her late husband’s individual 401(k) plan. A majority of this sum was invested directly with Madoff and has been “wiped out,” she said.

In October 2009, Irving Picard, the court-appointed trustee liquidating Madoff’s investment firm, said Mets LP, a team affiliate, withdrew $47.8 million more from Madoff’s firm than it put in. Picard has been trying to recover money from such former clients, whom he considers “net winners.”

Miami Heat Sales Dept. Resigns En Masse To Spend More Time With Their Families

Posted in Basketball, The Marketplace at 5:19 pm by

Sorry, the above headline was supposed to read, “Miami Thrice Renders Heat Ticket Sellers Surplus To Requirements”. The Miami Herald’s Douglas Hanks explains :

In a statement, the Heat confirmed the dismissals of their entire season ticketing department Friday afternoon, saying that with an “exhausted” inventory of season-tickets “we no longer require a season ticket sales team to sell tickets.”

Stephen Weber, vice president of sales, delivered the news to about 30 ticket sales people Friday morning, according to one of the staffers who asked not to be named because he is seeking another job in sports.

Even when James was merely rumored to be heading for the Heat, the team saw an explosion in season ticket sales. The staffer said he and his colleagues were making cold calls to prospective customers and taking deposits for a waiting list that now has more than 6,000 names on it. The dismissals reflect the new Heat position in basketball: it can sell tickets without really trying.

“They let us go because there was really nothing left to do anymore,” the fired staffer said.

Why stop at the schulbs in the sales department? No one on earth knows more about certain coaches only needing to roll the balls out at practice in order to win a ring than Pat Riley — who’s to say Erik Spoelstra isn’t next?

“Look Around You”‘s Serafinowicz & Popper Present “Markets Of Britain”

Posted in Free Expression, We Aren't The World at 1:05 pm by

I already learned everything I know about music from these gentlemen, now they’ve got a thing or two to teach the rest of us about bargain hunting, the charms of open-air shopping and uh, giant pencils. Video culled from Boing Boing.net.

Gleeman : Twins’ Overly Wowed By Capps’ Cheap Saves

Posted in Baseball at 12:45 pm by

“All-Star closer Matt Capps is coming to the Twin Cities” announced a breathless La Velle E. Neil III yesterday after the reliever was traded by the Nationals to the Twins in exchange for highly touted catching prospect Wilson Ramos and lefty Joe “Jersey Beat” Testa.  Aside from kicking Jon Rauch Rumble to the curb, Hardball Talk’s Aaron Gleeman opines that while Minnesota acquired “a good, solid late-inning reliever”, they’ve allowed themselves to be gouged based on Capps’ “93 saves for bad teams”.

Much like the Twins turning to Jon Rauch with Joe Nathan sidelined, Capps’ reputation as an “experienced closer” comes largely from teams simply giving him a shot to accumulate saves. Rauch has done a perfectly fine job filling in for Nathan, converting 21-of-25 saves with a 3.05 ERA and 27-to-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 38.1 innings, and if given a longer opportunity may have turned himself into an “established closer” just like Capps did. Seriously.

No one would ever suggest that trading Ramos for a reliever who’s slightly better than Rauch is a sound idea, yet by focusing on the save statistic the Twins have done just that and many fans will instinctively be on board with the move for an “established closer.” Now, don’t get me wrong: Capps is a quality reliever and represents a clear upgrade to the bullpen. What he’s not is an elite reliever or enough of an upgrade to part with Ramos.

Capps makes the Twins better for the final two months of this season and all of next year, but the improvement isn’t nearly as large as the “All-Star closer” label would have you believe and the cost involved is significant in terms of both players and money. Next season the Twins will pay a premium for a quality setup man they perceive as something more because of a reliance on a flawed statistic and they gave up a good catching prospect for the right do that.

Edwin Jackson To White Sox, But Is Kenny Dunn Yet?

Posted in Baseball at 12:22 pm by

(Above: DBacks focus efforts to calculate final pitch count in Jackson’s July 2nd no-hitter.)

In spite of USA Today’s Bob Nightengale throwing a wave of revulsion into the South Side over the momentary prospect of violent moron Brett Myers passing muster with Kenny Williams, ESPN has announced that the Sox have traded Daniel Hudson and prospect LHP David Holmberg for journeyman hurler Edwin Jackson, he of the recent 8-walk 149-pitch no-no against his former Tampa Bay teammates. 

What remains to be seen is whether or not the deal is two legs of a table. The rumor mill concerning the Sox and Dunn has been spinning for more than two weeks, such chatter morphing into suggestions of a three-way pact putting EdJax to work for the Nats in exchange for Dunn’s stick.  While it’s uncertain at press time if Kenny plans to flip or grip Jackson, maybe USA Today isn’t the place to be watching for the answer.

“Moneyball” The Movie : No Word Yet On Jim Ross As Ringolsby

Posted in Baseball, Cinema at 11:53 am by

(De Podesta : “who cast this thing, Plashcke?”)

The SF Chronicle’s Susan Slusser usually covers the A’s beat but recently had the distinct pleasure of snooping on the filming of Bennett Miller’s adaptation of Michael Lewis’ “Moneyball”.  In Friday’s paper, Slusser collects dirt dished by one of the movie’s extras, A’s batboy Jordan Iserson, who in a considerable stretch, is playing the part of an A’s batboy.

Actor Chris Pratt, playing Hatteberg, didn’t exactly have the same result in his at-bat that Hatteberg did when his pinch-hit homer beat the Royals 12-11 in the bottom of the ninth on Sept. 4, 2002. The A’s blew an 11-0 lead but managed to set the record for the longest American League winning streak, which still stands.

‘They said, ‘No matter what, if it’s in fair territory, act like it’s a home run,’ ” Iserson reported.

“His first swing was a weak broken-bat groundball and everyone rushed out there like it went into the fifth row.”

Pratt, who stars in the NBC sitcom “Parks and Recreation,” looks a lot like Hatteberg, however, “and he’s got his mannerisms down,” Iserson said. “You have to do a double-take to make sure it’s not Scott.”

Wednesday night also marked the first appearance of actors Brad Pitt (playing Billy Beane) and Jonah Hill (as Paul DePodesta) during the on-field portion of the filming. Iserson said that both wowed the crowd of extras filling the stands, and Hill grabbed a microphone and told a few jokes.

Former Giant Royce Clayton is playing Miguel Tejada, and onetime Oakland pitcher Jason Windsor is playing John Mabry, Iserson said. He said the former minor-leaguers playing Barry Zito and Tim Hudson look especially like the real thing.

07.29.10

July 29 In Tweets : Property Of Nilbog Athletic Dept.

Posted in twitter twatter at 8:12 pm by

  • in honor of ’80′s night at CBP http://youtu.be/GCn-0eQfqlk #
  • SBB credits rise of Dodger cap sales to gangstas on a) Manny being Manny, b) Matt Kemp dating Rhianna. TRENCHANT STUFF http://bit.ly/9O6VZZ #
  • if @ebertchicago really didn’t know that “Troll 2″ wasn’t a sequel, i can feel smug/superior for exactly 90 seconds. OK, all done. #
  • Salisbury/Haynesworth confrontation that ended w/out SEAN WHIPPING IT OUT http://bit.ly/czbL2Z #
  • is this SFW? RT @ProFootballTalk: Rams rookie Mardy Gilyard will do whatever the veterans ask http://is.gd/dRoYk #NFL #
  • much as I find Lee v. Oswalt comparisons thrilling, there’s a team in Flushing that acquired neither of ‘em. #bankruptwilpons #
  • Pirates sideline reporter wonder how kids might react to learning they were playing “Call of Duty” vs. asst. Bucs. How about, “who cares?” #
  • @kanyewest has been on Twitter for an entire 24 hours and the pissing match with @the_ironsheik hasn’t started yet. WTF? #
  • Pacers eager to move Dunleavy http://bit.ly/asR7kw can’t imagine why http://bit.ly/9yKNuy #
  • fascinating : further ways to gouge fair-weather/Strassburg fans the next time Nats’ phenom “can’t get loose” http://bit.ly/deCPiz #
  • “Buddy Holly Story” aside, it’s yr finest hour! RT @GaryJBusey: Wait…..I was in “Surviving the Game”? #filmconfessions #
  • the question oughta be, if LeBron’s crew didn’t know @ArashMarkzi was a writer, how’d the latter get such access to the party scene? #
  • did @ArashMarkazi really fail to ID himself as a reporter to the LeBrontourage? Or is ESPN protecting LBJ? http://bit.ly/9gLmE8 #
  • RT @magelb: Source: Oswalt has accepted deal. Astros waiting to hear back from Phillies. Happ and Gose part of package. #
  • one rotten first inning by Santana was all that separated the Mets from a sweep of STL. 19 runs scored in 3 games – #rdon #039;tfirehojo? #
  • more people read the cached version RT @darrenrovell1: Arash Markazi’s ESPN.com story on LeBron won’tt be posted again. http://tl.gd/2qik5v #
  • former Pats QB /Stingley teammate Steve Grogan : Jack Tatum “wasn’t a good person” http://bit.ly/ctAdAk #
  • O’s hire Buck Showalter http://bit.ly/dBQMOO #
  • the morning after the Mets’ pen was sorely taxed, R.A. Dickey is the anti-Ollie #
  • agreed RT @scratchbomb: the Mets didn’t exactly roll over last night, either. #
  • huge stuff from Dickey today ; 2 of 3 from STL might be too little, too late but nice to see the Mets doing something besides rolling over #
  • bye bye to Cambridge, MA’s awesome Twisted Village record shop http://bit.ly/cmFY2b #
  • Boris, Mohawk, Austin http://tweetphoto.com/35505673 #

Are You Sure They Don’t Need An AL Club In KC? – The Movement To Return The A’s To Philly

Posted in Baseball at 5:50 pm by

Despite the removal of a November ballot measure to determine whether or not San Jose taxpayers would like to foot the bill for a new ballpark for the Oakland Athletics, if you believe the A’s relocation from the East Bay is a matter of “when” rather than “if”, why not have ‘em set up shop in Philadelphia again? That’s the question posed (sort of) by Bring Your A’s Game, a self-described “quixotic campaign” helmed by J.T. Ramsey, perhaps the only person in Philly not thoroughly consumed with the acquisition of Roy Oswalt or debut of Dominic Brown.

(Connie Mack, a collector stuff most folks ignore)

These efforts had me thinking ; if a team receives lukewarm fan support — despite impressive achievements between the lines — is there really something totally fucked up about proposing they relocate to a sports mad northeastern city that routinely sells out it’s boutique ballpark?   But enough about moving the Braves back to Boston, this A’s business could be a real windfall. Especially if you’re Peter Angelos looking to sell more tickets to visiting fans.

Touched By The Hand Of Losing A Job : Maradona’s Orgy Of Finger-Pointing

Posted in Football at 2:56 pm by

As you’ve probably heard elsewhere, despite leading Argentina to the quarterfinals of last month’s World Cup, Diego Maradona’s short yet eventful tenure as coach of the national team came to a contentious end yesterday. Unsurprisingly, Maradona did not go quietly into the Buenos Aires night, reports the Guardian’s Joel Richards.

As he delivered his own version of the events that lead to his chaotic reign coming to an end, Maradona explained his choice of words. “In front of witnesses and players,” he stressed, “(Argentina FA president Julio) Grondona came into the changing room after the Germany game [the 4-0 defeat at the quarter-final stage of the World Cup in South Africa] and said he wanted me to carry on as coach. Then when I got back to Argentina, things started getting all confused. Now this.”

National team general manager Carlos Bilardo, in the meantime, was singled out for more dramatic prose. “While we were in mourning [after being knocked out of the World Cup], he was working in the shadows to have us thrown out.”

Rarely for him, Maradona spoke in the plural. His entire stewardship had been about nobody else but him “ about the team being his, about him being in charge around here, about things being done his way, about what he needed. But the reasons for his contract not being renewed are, ostensibly, not to do with him, but rather his backroom staff. Grondona asked Diego to continue without seven of his assistants “ inconceivable for Maradona. “I defend my people, from the masseuse to the kit man,” he said. “I have a code that they [Grondona and Bilardo] don’t have.”

While Maradona remained on the defensive yesterday, the argument stands that it was he himself who hijacked Argentina’s chances at South Africa. He oversaw embarrassing defeats in the build up “ 6-1 in Bolivia, 3-1 at home to Brazil “ and qualified for South Africa right at the death. Inclusions in the 23-man World Cup squad, such as the journeyman Ariel Garcé, or the sixth striker Martín Palermo, were inexplicable. Exclusions such as those of the Inter duo Esteban Cambiasso and Javier Zanetti were internationally condemned. As anybody watching Argentina knew, he was a tactical novice. The woeful defeat to Germany confirmed everybody’s suspicions.

But while at home and abroad the consensus is that Maradona simply had no idea what he was doing, and while it is easy to blame the 49-year-old for everything that is wrong with Argentina, he in fact fared no worse than his predecessors at the World Cup. “Not since 1990 has Argentina made it past the quarter-finals,” he pointed out yesterday. “Nobody is talking about that.”

Tampa Scribe : Crime Dog Penalized For PED Abstinence

Posted in Baseball at 1:37 pm by

“How much difference could performance-enhancers have made on a slender slugger such as Fred McGriff?” wonders the St. Petersberg Times’ Gary Shelton, arguing the 15 year MLB veteran “is a victim” (“all those crooks with the cartoon biceps and inflated statistics made his numbers look ordinary by comparison…they stole from McGriff like an Internet swindler with your bank account number.”) Fair enough, but you can’t become a TV commercial icon if your skull swells beyond the size of standard mesh cap.

The more the bodies swelled, the more their shadows obscured what McGriff was doing. Erase Bonds and Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa and Palmeiro ” all of whom have been linked to performance-enhancing drugs ” from the books, and do you know how good McGriff was in those 15 seasons? He was second in home runs, first in RBIs, third in hits and first in extra bases. Even McGriff’s supporters will admit he’s not a slam-dunk Hall of Famer, but the cleaner you can imagine the sport, the better McGriff’s numbers look.

As it was, McGriff received a disappointing 25 percent of the vote in his first year of Hall Of Fam eligibility. That doesn’t mean he won’t get in. Billy Williams received 23.4 percent of the vote his first time out, and he got in six years later. Jim Rice received 29.8 percent, and 15 years later he got in. Don Drysdale received 21 percent, and it took him 10 years. McGriff has a lot of ground to make up, perhaps a lot of years to wait.

To this day, McGriff swears he has never seen a performance-enhancer. He insists he has never been offered one. Could he have obtained one if he wanted? Yeah, probably. He could have gone to a gym and asked around. He could have hired a personal trainer. For goodness sake, he played with Jose Canseco.

“People always talk about how this guy came clean or that guy came clean,” says McGriff. “I ask them, ‘Did he give back the money?’ “

Dubious Fashion Choices For Summer 2010

Posted in Baseball, Basketball, Fashion, Free Expression, Mob Behavior at 10:53 am by

1) Hitler European Tour tee at a synagogue.
2) this Jason Bay jersey anywhere on Planet Earth
3) Wearing a LeBron James Miami Heat jersey to a Cleveland Indians game.

Mariners Mauled, Massacre Misses Mayor, Moose

Posted in Baseball, politics at 8:49 am by

Following a contentious visit to the Comcast TV booth by White Sox legend Bill “Moose” Skowron, wherein one-man death panel Steve Stone helpfully offered to usher the 79 year-old first baseman into the next life Jack Kevorkian-style, the bony finger of death next grazed a considerably more deserving figure. In the 4th inning, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, taking a break from ladling out city pension funds to imbecile relatives narrowly survived Andruw Jones’s assasination attempt by flying bat.

White Sox 6 Mariners 5

Following a contentious visit to the Comcast TV booth by White Sox legend Bill “Moose” Skowron, wherein one-man death panel Steve Stone helpfully offered to usher the 79 year-old first baseman into the next life Jack Kevorkian-style, the bony finger of death would next graze a considerably more deserving figure.

In the 4th inning, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, taking a break from ladling out city pension funds to imbecile relatives narrowly survived Andruw Jones’s assasination attempt by flying bat. Down 5-3 with a man on, Jones hacked at 1-2 Jason Vargas offering around the letters, loosing his lumber at the calculating coconut of the Mayor, who demonstrated the cat-like reflexes that have already foiled many a US Attorney.

Jones, a Dutch citizen, could not be reached for comment, but is expected to receive special tribute from the city in the form of parking citations bearing the cheerful orange Netherlands national color.

The Sox, whose sweep of the Ms boosts their home winning streak to 10, battled from behind, solo blasts from Alexei Ramirez and Paul Konerko closing the gap with the go-ahead courtesy of an Alex Rios RBI single.  Closing duties fell to the enlarged and embattled Bobby Jenks, whose ridiculous 98 MPH heat silenced critics and produced a 1-2-3 outing characteristic of days long past…days like, you know, two weeks ago.

07.28.10

July 28 In Tweets : Bryce Harper Would Like A Meeting With Maverick Carter

Posted in twitter twatter at 8:12 pm by

  • “Kiss Cam” finally supplanted by “Complain Via Tweet Cam” RE http://bit.ly/bauqNU #
  • “stars” of Vegas’ UFL team are only avail. for a 2 hour meet & greet. Have to return to their jobs washing dishes RE http://bit.ly/9cp4Gs #
  • paging Alex Cora : TOO MUCH LAUGHING IN THE SNY BOOTH #
  • uhhh…Nats’ Batista disses Miss Iowa, is invited to judge Miss Iowa pageant. Hey, I hate ferrari’s, tequila & rolex watches! #
  • Mike Hesseman’s 2-run double missed being a grand slam by inches ; upstaged by Straw wearing a Kobe jersey. Cards 6, Mets 2, end of the 1st #
  • let me guess ; he’s not devastated? RT @FireJerryManuel: tom glavine is on line 1 #
  • when Oliver Perez thinks you’re not giving your team a chance to win, you’ve got real probs, Johan #
  • Dick Justice describes Brett Myers as “untouchable”. If only that were true of his wife! http://bit.ly/9IlSgV #
  • the women of syracuse agree! RT @m_bres: Thank god Jim Boeheim doesn’t have extramarital sexcapades at restaurants. #
  • Dominic Brown mania, sans telephoto lens RT @meechone: It’s him! It’s really, really him! @mlb http://twitpic.com/29jwid #
  • Sypher, Pitino “happy” at restaurant says bartender. Also, threatning calls from a man named LESTER http://bit.ly/b3k2d3 #
  • worst job in sports/media/extermination : the person who has to google “Roscoe The Bed Bug Dog” all day looking for blog mentions #
  • Sean Salisbury : Will Crossdress For $$$ RE http://bit.ly/9efZAX #
  • NYT : fundraiser behind efforts to assist Yale hockey player w/ leukemia has a long history of fraud http://nyti.ms/cjsQPp #
  • Ted Berg’s comments on gig etiquette (http://bit.ly/cBRUAb) recall this simpsons clip (http://youtu.be/OVDmM6A3_PE) #
  • hands up, everyone who figured Miguel Cairo would be much more than a warm body in his 15th MLB season #
  • BSU prez denounces Idaho fans as “nasty, inebriated” Yeah, but at least they play on a GREEN field. http://bit.ly/deGlhv #
  • good news for Mets : Cubs might pick up some of Lilly’s salary. bad news : NTC means Lilly will demand compensation http://bit.ly/d7sNTp #
  • london hotel discriminates against Swans! http://bit.ly/apamNB #
  • also v. good in “WKRP In Cincinnati” RT @lenno212: Homer-king Hessman gets first ML start since 2008. http://bit.ly/aKptk0 #
  • best part of the ESPN / LeBrontourage story ; Big Baby surveys scene, decides it’s lame. #
  • best reason for ESPN to nix the LeBron profile ; if half of it was true, outer space invaders w/superior intellect would mock us 2 death #
  • Carlos Beltran fan fiction http://bit.ly/aJMx3y #
  • Steve Rushin returning to S.I. “you’ve been a lovely audience. Enjoy Marcy Playground” #
  • farm film report w/ german nat’l team member RT @SLAMonline: Video: Kaman Explodes $10K Worth of Fireworks http://dlvr.it/3726B #
  • in the wake of Coughlan’s Pie mishap, Burnett says ‘i’ve gotta be me” (ie., a jackass) http://bit.ly/cqgcFt #

    Read the rest of this entry »

Lorenzen Wright, Dead At 34

Posted in Basketball at 6:12 pm by

Reported missing since July 19, Lorenzen Wright, the no. 7 overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, a standout at the University Of Memphis and a 13 year pro, was found dead today in southeast Memphis. From the Memphis Commercial-Appeal’s Kristina Goetz and Beth Warren :

A law enforcement source confirmed the body was that of Wright, 34, though the Memphis Police Department won’t officially comment. Police are referring to their ongoing investigation as a “death investigation.”

According to sources, a 9-1-1 call was made from Wright’s cell phone on July 19. A Germantown fire dispatcher could hear the loud blasts of several gunshots. The cellphone call ended at that point.

The body was found by someone who called police today.

Wright was thought to be carrying some amount of cash when he was last seen leaving his ex-wife™s Collierville home, fueling concerns he may be the victim of foul play, according to a Collierville police report released today.

He recently flew from Atlanta to Memphis to visit friends and his six children, friends said. He was scheduled to drive back to the Atlanta area July 19, with his six children and a friend. He was last seen at about 2 a.m. July 19, leaving his ex-wife™s Whisperwood Drive home. His former wife told police she doesn™t know who he left with or what type of car they were in, according to the missing person™s report.

ESPN’s Markazi & The Disappearing LeBron-In-Vegas Story

Posted in Basketball, Sports Journalism at 3:43 pm by

With all the fallout surrounding “The Decision”, it would be a very neat trick to further dent the once pristine public image of LeBron James.  However, earlier today, an ESPN.com piece penned by Arash Markazi seemed to do just that, the journalist’s night out in Las Vegas with the LeBrontourage exposing the megastar as a preening and precious halfwit  (“James is quiet, occasionally applying Chapstick to his lips and nodding when he hears something he likes”), to the extent even Alex Rodriguez would be embarrassed to share his company.  Sure, who amongst us hasn’t attended a party in which champagne was served from the rafters by waiters wearing James’ Miami Heat jersey? (“I wish they’d have one of the girls with no panties do that instead,” complained LeBron) Perhaps not very many of us because shortly after Markazi’s article was published earlier today, it was quickly removed. The Boston Globe’s Ben Collins and Mark Leccese consider the ramifications.

BEN: Why do you think ESPN spiked this post by a reputable journalist it employs?

MARK: I don’t know, of course, but if I had to guess, I’d say it was pulled by ESPN’s lawyers. The column is a libel suit waiting to happen. The journalist reports that James drinks a lot of champagne and that he makes at least one crudely sexist remark. I am not saying the column is libelous, but it certainly invites a libel suit, and lawsuits are expensive.

BEN: If everything in this story is true (which is still an “if” at this point, yes), how does that affect ESPN’s credibility as a news-gathering organization?

MARK: If everything in this story is factual, and ESPN still spiked it even though it is a first-hand account by one of its respected journalists, then ESPN’s reputation as a news organization becomes a joke. This small incident show ESPN to be what most of us suspect it to be: an entertainment network that also reports scores and highlights.

BEN: If it becomes clear that they squelched a writer because it agitates the image of a league to which they own the $7.6 billion television rights, doesn’t that throw them into the bought-access bin of Extra or Access Hollywood?

MARK: I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a “bought access” network. It does report on sports organization with which it has no contract. I’d call it an entertainment network that doesn’t want to do anything to anger the sports organizations — and the stars — that provide ESPN with its profitable entertainment.

Colangelo : Bosh Quit On The Raptors

Posted in Basketball at 2:27 pm by

In a far less emotional outburst than the sort leveled at LeBron James by Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo told FAN 590′s Bob McCown that departed free agent F Chris Bosh gave far less than 100% effort during his final months with the team.  From the Toronto Sun’s Ryan Wolstat :

œDespite limited swelling and any excessive damage on an MRI, he felt like he needed to sit for six more games … I™m not even questioning Chris™ injury. I™m telling you he was cleared to play subject to tolerance on his part, and the tolerance just apparently wasn™t there and he chose not to play, Colangelo said.

œThe fact that our season was spiralling downward and we were hoping he™d come back sooner and we were also dealing with a few other things at that point … we were really struggling there.

Colangelo went on to elaborate:

œWhether he was mentally checked out or just wasn™t quite into it down the stretch, he wasn™t the same guy. I think everybody saw that, but no one wanted to acknowledge it.

œAt the same time, I never felt we were quite in the game (in terms of signing Bosh to a new contract). There was too much out there, too much built up for him to take an easy out here, and he decided to do that.

Colangelo also said Bosh was hard to build around.

œWe tried in vain to put pieces around Chris. Different pieces, different styles. It didn™t work out.

Though Wolstat isn’t quite down with Colangelo’s attempts to demonize Bosh, he does buy into the notion LeBron and D-Wade’s newest playmate had little to gain by going all-out down the stretch (“why continue to run through walls for the team and put his $100 million-plus South Beach payday at risk?”).   Left unmentioned, however, is that Bosh’s “easy out”, as characterized by Colangelo, amounted to signing for less money in Miami.  Cleveland can legitimately complain James abandoned not only his hometown team, but a bona fide contender.  Toronto can make neither claim. As far as Colangelo’s attempts to build around Bosh, granted, the former did bring in Hedo Turkoglu (ie. someone else accused of quitting on Toronto).

If Backman’s Not Campaining For Manuel’s Job, He’s Unfamiliar WIth “No Comment”

Posted in General at 11:18 am by

Last night’s 8-2 demolition of St. Louis and Adam Wainwright moved Carlos Beltran past the Mendoza Line and for a few hours at least, took attention away from Jason Bay’s concussion (one immediate result being the injury renders Jeff Francoeur untouchable).   A rare offensive explosion for the Mets did not, however, remove manager Jerry Manuel’s feet from the fire, and the Bergen Record’s Bob Klapisch insists Amazins’ fans “are clamoring for Wally Backman’s immediate promotion to Flushing.”   If you believe Backman’s sterling managerial record in the lower minors and independent leagues is deserving of such a kick upstairs, there’s more to the resume than wins and losses.  Or as the hot-tempered Brooklyn Cyclones skipper kids Klapisch, œI saw my picture in the paper (on Tuesday) and I was just glad it wasn™t a police photo.

Backman insists, œI™m not trying to take Jerry™s job. Instead, he™s allowing the entire industry to take a look at emotional and professional make-over.

œAll I™m looking for is an opportunity “ give me a team that can compete and I™ll make them better. I know what I can do. I know what I do on the field is right. You can question me on anything, on any move I make, and I™ll have a stat that shows I™m right.

Yes, Backman has his own scouting report on the Mets “ he is, after all, a member of the family, and it pained him to see the effects of the 2-9 west coast trip. But just as Backman wouldn™t trash Manuel, he wouldn™t pass judgment on where Carlos Beltran is hitting in the lineup or how Mike Pelfrey is sabotaging the rotation. Or why the Mets don™t seem to hit with runners in scoring position.

Backman did back Howard Johnson, the beleaguered hitting instructor. Of HoJo, Backman said, simply, œhe™s a good man. I™d take him on my team.

Can the Mets trust their veterans to a volatile manager? It™s one thing for Backman to impose his will on low-level minor leaguers. It™s working, too: Backman said, œthe kids buy into the system. We execute things that you would never be able to do on the major league level.

It™s a gamble, certainly, putting Backman in Pelfrey™s face. The Mets™ clubhouse is a relatively healthy one “ there are few cliques, little back-stabbing – but no one would call it high-energy. An infusion of Backman™s kick-butt ethos could go one of two ways.

Either the Mets tune him out as an Eighties-era dinosaur, or he becomes one of the best managers in the franchise™s history.

Stat Leapfrogs Jordan Farmar As The Association’s Most Talented Jew

Posted in Basketball, Religion at 10:36 am by

Good thing Amar’e Stoudemire didn’t find out he had Martian roots, otherwise he’d be prepping for space travel at this very moment.  Haaretz.com reports the Knicks PF has undergone a religious awakening of sorts prior to training camp.

“On the flight to Israel. This is going to be a great trip,” announced Stoudemire, via the micro-blogging site Twitter.

According to an Army Radio report, Stoudemire plans to spend time in Israel learning Hebrew, having recently learned he has a Jewish mother.

“The holy land. Learn about it,” he wrote, adding “ze ha’halom sheli” “ Hebrew for ‘this is my dream’.

News of Stoudemire’s trip quickly had Israeli basketball fans buzzing with speculation that they might one day see him playing alongside another Jewish NBA star, Israel’s Omri Caspi, on the national team.

07.27.10

July 27 In Tweets : Counting The Days Before T.O. Turns On Carson Palmer

Posted in twitter twatter at 10:27 pm by

(not coming thru the door of the NY Post sports dept. anytime soon)

  • y’know in the old days there’d be nothing to distract from a mets game except domestic violence and beer. so thx @MikeVacc, for the laffs! #
  • mental note after correspondence w/ Post scribe : next time I write something deeply unfunny, claim it was a joke. (I MIGHT BE VERY BUSY) #
  • RT @MikeVacc: For the record, I was tweaking the folks who’d bombarded Twitter with anti-Beltran tweets after his double. Can we not laugh? #
  • if random tweet-dopes wanna persist in mindless Beltran persecution, so be it. But @MikeVacc is a PROFESSIONAL dick #
  • least useful observation of all time? RT @MikeVacc that’s 2 hits for Beltran that would’ve driven in five runs on a certain eve in 10/06 #
  • oh for fucks sake. RE http://bit.ly/atbyl5 #
  • Mets can’t score off Arizona bullpen ; return home to abuse Adam Wainwright. #
  • hey, anything’s better than Collective Soul RT @95Sports: I still can’t believe arenas still play music by a CONVICTED pedophile. #
  • I think Brett Myers’ wife will take that trade RE http://bit.ly/dquypU #
  • it’s like buying the NY Post to read Dick Young and getting Mike Vaccaro RE http://bit.ly/aoZIUZ #
  • Cohen’s right, but none of the bruddas ever dropped off a laptop loaded w/ illicit materials for repairs at PC World (think Radio Shack UK) #
  • Gary Cohen quote of the year : “I think Gary Glitter had a better idea he’d be in the pantheon forever than the Ramones did” #
  • and their 2010 postseason chances RT @TylerKepner: Mets observing moment of silence for Ralph Houk, Vic Ziegel and George Steinbrenner. #
  • the most brutal diss to date of Beano Cook RE http://bit.ly/azWnBc #
  • WMD shill dines w/ bunyanesque fraud RT @KenDavidoff: Ari Fleischer is at Cards -Mets. He went to dinner last night w/client Mark McGwire. #
  • New York Times, Jan 9, 2010 : “‘Jersey Shore’..consensus choice for most appalling show of 2009″ NYT, July 25, 2010 : “It’s Snooki’s Time” #
  • Bengals sign Terrell Owens. Which is great news if you’re Skip Bayless’ ghost-tweeter. #
  • Ryan Church says, “get out there and play you big sissy” RT @KBurkhardtSNY: Jason Bay has mild concussion. Felt symptoms on plane home. #
  • bullshit. braves rookie made the all star team! RT @MediaFire: Hayward says he was ‘demonised and vilified’ http://tinyurl.com/2wk4kw4 #
  • new purple wax 7″ from The Hex Dispensers from @trouble_in_mind. Looks great, sounds even better http://tweetphoto.com/35264206 #
  • they need to stop talking paternity suits and Facebook at rookie orientation and focus on tradition http://es.pn/c9zFMA #
  • RIP pedal steel wizard Ben Keith http://bit.ly/96GJf8 # Read the rest of this entry »