The USSF announced yesterday Bob Bradley’s contract had been extended a further 4 years, concluding with the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, thus ending the US Men’s National Team’s coach’s flirtation’s with England’s Premiership. American soccer’s gain, however, is most certainly British sports journalism’s loss, as the Guardian’s Simon Burton and Tom Lutz demonstrate the sort treatment Bradley (shown above, during the early 1970′s) might’ve received on a regular basis.
The Special Relationship is a fulfilling one for Great Britain. We get a cool friend whose taste in music, films, cars, food, fashion and misjudged military aggression we slavishly follow, while making snippy remarks behind their back about their inferior intellect. In return they once talked to us at the UN “ although they kept on calling us Brian rather than Britain “ and sometimes employ our actors to play baddies or misanthropes in finely crafted TV dramas. They even defer to us in all matters association football. Or at least they did until today.
For USA! USA!! USA!!! coach Bob Bradley has decided managing a team that could only draw with England at the World Cup is more glamorous than taking charge of Aston Villa, the eighth- or ninth- or 10th- or maybe 20th if Andy Carroll is playing against them-best team in the Best League In The World. Yup, he’s signed a new deal with the US Soccerball Federation, putting him out of the running to replace neurotic genius Martin O’Neill at Villa Park. The fact that Villa want someone with Premier League experience in charge may also be a factor but that’s by the by.
Jack Bogaczyk of the Charleston Daily Mail reports the Sally League’s West Virginia Power are unveiling a new mascot tonight, thus kicking the club’s prior mascot quintet, Charlie, Hatchet, Windy, Firebug and Waterboy aka “The Five Pack” (above) to the curb.
The Power intends to use the new mascot and Street Team in a club initiative to tackle community issues, hoping to influence positive change.
The Power’s first target is childhood obesity, team president/GM Andy Milovich said.
As for the mascot, Milovich hinted Monday that the new furry friend is “more animal than anything, but not like a black bear or dog. It’s more on the lines of a Phillie Phanatic, a Muppet-type character.”
Milovich made it clear the club will have only one mascot, after the team found something of an identity crisis in sending the various “retiring” mascots out into the community.
“It seemed we could never fully establish an identity,” Milovich said. “And staffing five of them was very challenging, and replacing all five would have been very costly.”
Hey, I’m told Big Ben will get somewhere between 3 games and 300. My sources are what’s commonly known in journalistic circles as “imaginary friends” ; you’d figure a respected WaPo veteran columnist like Wise would have more of a legit inside track. Incredibly, it turns out Wise’s source doesn’t actually exist, a scenario Wise first tried to write off as “a test of social media accuracy”, then latter apologized for. In the wake of Wise being lambasted all over the blogosphere for a stunt allegedly designed to see how quickly the above Roethlisberger story would be retweeted, linked, etc. he’s been suspended by the Post for a month. Though I hear it could be for two months. Or 3 weeks.
Is $4 million too much for the White Sox to wager on the chance a healthy/motivated Manny Ramirez might help them overtake Minnesota over the season’s final 5 weeks? Ab-so-fucking-lutely, opines Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, who celebrates his reincarnation as Gerry Callahan by mentioning that Ramirez, “no longer hits for the same power, is a plodder on the bases., and some with the Dodgers think he is out of shape.” And to top it all off, he’s a bad person.
Manny’s Hall of Fame chances took a dramatic hit when he received a 50-game suspension last season for using performance-enhancing drugs. But even if you remove PEDs from of the equation, he flunks the “character, integrity and sportsmanship” criteria ” badly.
He quit on the Red Sox. He quit on the Dodgers. The Hall includes its share of miscreants, but Manny has routinely engaged in conduct detrimental to his team.
True, these were relatively isolated incidents. Some statistical analysts might look at his career numbers and say, “What more can you want?” My answer: Basic professionalism.
I generally do not give much consideration to the Hall™s subjective criteria, applying it positively (as in the case of Andre Dawson) but not negatively. Albert Belle was an exception, for he embarrassed the sport with his behavior. Manny, for different offenses, will fall into the same category.
Yes, he produced great numbers. Yes, he was a joy to watch. But certain standards of decency apply.
9 year NFL veteran Antonio Bryant caught as many as 83 passes for Tampa Bay as recently as two seasons ago, so with that in mind, perhaps you might understand why the Bengals took a flyer on the injured wide receiver. Having proven himself a non-factor during training camp, however, Bryant finds himself buried underneath Terrell Owens and rookie Jordan Shipley on the Cincinnati depth chart, so his release Sunday would not be a huge shock, were it not for the considerable amount of guaranteed cash the franchise is flushing down the toilet. The Enquirer’s Joe Reedy provides the details behind “one of the most expensive decisions in the team’s 43 seasons of existence.”
Without playing a down, Bryant made $6.95 million via a $3.6 million roster bonus, $3.1 million roster bonus which was paid on March 21 and $250,000 for taking part in the team’s offseason workout program.
He could be making even more. Bryant’s agent, Lamont Smith, said that the team did not approach him about an injury settlement and that they would file a grievance to get the $1.55 million in base salary he was scheduled to make.
“Our position is you can’t cut a guy if he’s hurt. We know what the rules are. We expect to be paid his salary for the year,” Smith said. “He understands what his rights are. We’ve talked about it over the last three weeks and he understands it’s a business.”
When asked if he thought he would be released last Thursday, Bryant said: “That’s not a decision for me to make. I know what I’m capable of doing. Whatever their decision is that’s the one that’s made upstairs. That’s not the one for me to make. My thing is to play football and whenever I’m able to do that I’ll play to the best of my ability.”
As you’ve probably read elsewhere, NFL owners decided this week to push for an 18-game regular season schedule starting in 2012, a move that either means more revenue, fewer meaningful contests, greater potential for injury or huge headaches for television programmers whose universe revolves around the league. The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman takes a dim view of the entire exercise, particularly a rumored scheme to make the two additional games part of another Thursday/Saturday package. “Here’s a better, more drastic idea,” suggests Gotham’s resident Gallagher lookalike, mindful of the NFLPA’s opposition, if not that of actual football fans. “Roger Goodell (above) should simply fold the under-performing, distribution-challenged NFL Network.”
What the NFL makes off TV now just ain’t enough to satisfy your favorite PSL-loving owners (Hello, Mr. Mara, hello Mr. Johnson). The league now rakes in a cool $3.1 billion from its deals with CBS, NBC, ESPN and Fox. Those contracts are up in 2014. DirectTV pays the league another $1 billion, and the league pays itself (the NFL Network) another $400 million for its eight-game, Thursday/Saturday night slate.
That’s a lot of bread on the table. There are more loaves out there. Goodell is sure of this. He also realizes there are suits who would dive through plate-glass windows to bid on a new NFL TV package. Especially on the network side where ratings – and creativity – are stored in a sewer.
Goodell could take the eight-game package, seen on the NFL Network during the second half of the season, and add eight more games from the first half, which would be plucked from the current schedule. That would be an attractive schedule to sell to either a broadcast or cable network.
The league would be cutting expenses and making dough with one move. And players would not be at an even higher risk of suffering injuries that lead to serious health issues when their playing days end.
While I sincerely apologize for a headline which might not accurately reflect Raissman’s analysis, you have to admit, it would be pretty awesome to see him cover the Angry Samoans’ legendary anti-Rodney On The ‘Roq rant, with lyrics amended to refer to Rich Eisen.
(l-r : Pakistan’s Asif, Butt, Amir, and Akmal)
If any sport challenges competitive cycling for chicanery at it’s hightest level of competition, it might be international cricket. The latest match fixing scandal involves England’s rout of Pakistan in the 4th Test Match at Lord’s, the latter’s heaviest defeat in Test history. A sting operation on the part of the News Of The World provides not so subtle hints that England had one heck of a competitive advantage. From the Independent’s Sadie Grey :
Bowlers Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif deliberately bowled three no-balls, said the News of the World, which had paid the betting ring’s fixer £150,000 for detailed information about how the match would progress. The paper’s reporters filmed meetings with London-based middleman Mazhar Majeed, who told them in exactly which overs of the Fourth Test the no-balls would be delivered. “This is no coincidence,” Mr Majeed told them as the action developed as he had described.
The match, which began on Thursday, was on a knife edge as England held a slender 2-1 lead in the series. Pakistan collapsed, bowled out for 74 in their first innings and were forced to follow on.
Mr Majeed claimed that Pakistan’s captain, Salman Butt, was the ringleader of the match-fixing scam and wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal was also in the know, the newspaper said.
At earlier meetings, Mr Majeed claimed to “manage” 10 players within the Pakistani cricket team and told the reporters: “These guys won’t deal with just anybody. The only reason they’ll deal with me is because they know I’m professional. I’ve been doing it with them, the Pakistani team, for about two and a half years. And we’ve made masses and masses of money.
“The players would never tell anybody else. They were the ones who approached me. This is the beauty of it.” He later added: “These poor boys need to. They’re paid peanuts,” and bragged that some of Pakistan’s other games against England this summer were already lined up for rigging.</em>