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.
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>
I don’t know if there’s ever an opportune time to end up in a public pissing match, but in defense of Nuggets SF Carmelo Antony, who amongst us hasn’t at one time or another wanted to put a bounty on the head of someone who caused us to lose our cool?
“Talent-wise, we’re as talented as any team in football, but it takes more than talent. It takes attention to details. It takes doing the little things, because the margin of victory is small in the league, and there has to be consistency,” said Seymour (above), the Raiders’ accomplished defensive tackle who is an expert on everything he mentioned.
But consider this, and it bodes well for Davis’ bold expectations this season for the Raiders: despite Seymour spending eight years with the Patriots and entering just his second season with the Raiders, and although his old employers have been dominant for a decade while his new ones have been dreadful, Seymour feels more tradition, more aura, more something with the Raiders than the Patriots.
“Oh, absolutely,” Seymour said, easing into the widest of grins. “My wife, she’d tell you. She always tells me that I seem like a kid in a candy store whenever I put on that Raiders’ silver and black. I don’t mind wearing our white jerseys, but if we could wear black, and if that was our only color to wear every game … I mean, there is something about putting on that black. It’s unlike putting on any other jersey in the NFL.”
We’re into the what may be the second week of the post-Jay Mariotti era, and with not a shred of sympathy expressed in any corner for the suspended Fanhouse columnist following his being charged with assaulting his girlfriend,the Chicago Reader’s Whet Moser takes stock of the mascara-fiend’s downfall. “It takes a rare ability to alienate people to the extent that they experience schadenfreude even in the context of a domestic violence accusation,” writes Moser, forgetting of course that at least a few of Mariotti’s targets were well and truly asking for it, regardless of the former Sun-Times scribe being exposed as a colossal hypocrite further down the road.
It’s really fucking sad all around, both that it got to this point, and that Mariotti fed off it to the extent that his last real star turn revolved around an almost citywide hostility. Not surprising”I knew from the minute I heard Mariotti had been arrested that a shitstorm of grim joy would follow”just bottomlessly horrid.
And I think something else is going on. Mariotti’s style”loud, hectoring, and aggressive”is on its way out. There’s a revenge of the nerds happening in the genre. Thoughtful statheads like Nate Silver, Christina Kahrl, and Rob Neyer are ascendant, as baseball fans nerd out over articles like an analysis of Mariano Rivera’s mastery complete with a data-based multimedia presentation. Even a master of traditional, elegiac literary sports journalism like Joe Posnanski is well-versed in the arcane numerology of baseball. The swaggering, two-fisted, TV shouter is burning out, as was probably inevitable. It stopped being fun, if it ever was, and the knives are out.
Mariotti hasn’t just been abandoned by colleagues and readers, he’s been left behind by sportswriting, like the mirror of a Deford or Updike creation, and this story is about as depressing. He spent so long trafficking in joyless, wearying schadenfreude, and is now surrounded by the ghosts of his own spiteful history.
If indeed, Mariotti’s M.O. is truly “on its way out”, the memo has yet to reach most of the nation’s sports talk radio stations. It’s lovely to imagine the likes of Rob Neyer being positioned for as wide a televlsion or internet audience as Mariotti, but the fact remains such gigs are routinely assigned to persons who’ve been in the trenches themselves (ie. a Steve Phillips, a J.P. Ricciardi) or an egoist nearly Mariotti’s equal (eg. Jason Whitlock and his new $2.1 Fox contract. Mariotti’s brand of knee-jerk provocation is sadly very much in vogue ; i’s his (reported) criminal behavior he’s being punished for, not his indefensible prose.
…and it’s called Photoshop. A hearty WELL FUCKING DONE to the folks at Tauntr for their series entitled “Rob Dibble’s Summer In Motivational Posters” Of course, this is all in good fun, as there’s probably no one else nearly as broken up over the astonishingly bad news that Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg might not throw a baseball in anger for 12-18 months. Previously,XM Radio analyst Dibs had argued that Strasburg — rather than calling on his manager and Washington’s training staff the moment he experienced discomfort — should’ve just, y’know, stopped acting like a giant pansy. And indeed, we’ll never know for certain how well Dr. Dibble’s prognosis would’ve worked out. Some of you gutless, enabling types probably think young Strasburg would’ve suffered irreparable damage to his throwing arm had he taken Dibble’s advice. Others –especially those with testicles the size of the solar system — recognize the possibility, however slim, this selfish, pampered punk might’ve saved the Nats bullpen one more inning of work in an all-important late season contest.
Organized by Fox News talk show host Glenn Beck and featuring former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin (above), the “Restoring Honor” rally is scheduled to take place at the base of the Lincoln Memorial.
Beck, who met Pujols at Busch Stadium before a June appearance at Chaifetz Arena, is promoting the event as an apolitical celebration of the First Amendment and the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, scheduled to introduce Pujols, insisted Thursday that he and Pujols are attending only after receiving assurances that the event is not a thinly disguised political rally.
Some liberal critics have portrayed the three-hour event as a platform for the conservative Tea Party movement.
“I made it clear when we were approached: I said, ‘If it’s political, I wouldn’t even approach Albert with it.’ I don’t want to be there if it’s political,” La Russa said.
“I made the point several times: What is this about?” La Russa said Thursday, noting an understanding that invitations were ‘sent out across party lines, different disciplines, all kinds of stuff.
“I don’t know who’s going to be there, who’s going to accept it. But the gist of the day is not political. I think it’s a really good concept, actually.”
(a rare photo of Plax not catching a football, shooting himself in the leg or ignoring phone calls from Jeff Feagles in the Lowe’s parking lot)
Do any of us really care about Giants punter Jeff Feagles being slighted? Probably not, but if the slight in question provides a national magazine (and by extension, this blog) an opportunity to kick firearms felon / WR Plaxico Burress when he’s down, let the cutting and pasting commence. As such, I have no idea what would possess Sports Ilustrated’s Matt Dollinger to approach Feagles on the matter of the various jersey numbers he’s worn during a 23 year NFL tenure, but assuming no one cares about Plax adjusting to a post-prison life, here’s the story :
Feagles admits he’s never been too attached to his number. He’d worn No. 10 for as long as he could remember, but didn’t mind handing it over to a rookie when the Giants drafted Eli Manning in 2004.
As is customary in the NFL, Manning compensated Feagles for the numeral — but not with a load of cash. Instead, the rookie sent the veteran and his family on a week-long, all-expenses-paid vacation to Florida.
After giving Manning his number, Feagles was headed into his 17th season in the league. Thus, he decided to switch to No. 17 as a tribute. But a year later another new teammate came knocking for his number. This time it was Plaxico Burress, who had signed with the Giants on March 17 and thought it would be fitting for him to wear No. 17 for his new team.
“I said, ‘you know what, why don’t we do the same deal that I did with Eli,’” Feagles said. “Except I’m kind of re-doing my outdoor kitchen, so I basically told him if he could pay for it we’d be good.”
Instead of striking the deal himself with Feagles, Burress unleashed his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, to negotiate the exchange.
With Burress wearing No. 17, Feagles was numberless once again. In search of his third number in three years, he went with No. 18, this time in honor of his 18th season in the league.
Three years later, Burress is no longer a Giant and Feagles ended up financing his own kitchen. Feagles told SI.com recently that Burress (who was released by the Giants in 2009) stiffed him.
“I never got paid for it,” Feagles said. “I asked [Burress] for it. Every time I went to Drew he said, ‘That’s between you and Plax.’ Bottom line, I never got paid. He basically stole my number.”
Are we to believe that Feagles has never had professional representation of his own? Or that presenting his former teammate with an invoice would be so difficult? What’s the worst thing that could happen? It’s not as though Plax has proven himself to be an expert marksman.
Zangrilli called the first three innings of Tuesday’s game against Erie at Blair County Ballpark, then went off the air, as usual, for the middle innings. His assistant, Mike Passanisi, always handles the middle innings of home broadcasts, and occasionally he stays on for the remainder of the contest when Zangrilli would be handling other duties.
Passanisi stayed on the air for the remainder of the game, and nothing was mentioned about Zangrilli.
“I started the game, and then I wound up — it became apparent that we weren’t going to be able to move forward any longer,” Zangrilli said.
“It came to a point where I realized that there were some compromises that weren’t going to be made, and I had to move on,” Zangrilli said.
Asked to clarify if he meant compromises he expected the franchise to make, Zangrilli said, “Correct.”
Curve general manager Rob Egan would not disclose any specifics about what led to Zangrilli’s decision.
“We’re not going to get into what happened and all that,” Egan said Wednesday afternoon. “We just have philosophical differences, and he left the team effective immediately.”
Zangrilli said the differences were not an isolated or recent occurrence.
“It became apparent over an extended period of time that there wasn’t going to be any movement by either party,” he said.
Video link ripped off from Vin Scully Is My Homeboy (via Bugs & Cranks) ; the limitations of RBI Baseball are such that one cannot properly recreate Dennis Eckersley’s mustache. However, the person responsible for this clip deserves substantial credit for opting to use Vin Scully’s call from Game One of the 1998 World Series rather than opt for Jack Buck’s oft-played, “I don’t believe what I just saw”.
Fans are entitled to their anger, and to mistrust this regime and think less than ever of Loria, and they do, based on my blog poll in the post directly below this that shows around 75% of fans call Loria a bad or terrible owner. (Voting continues). Local government also is entitled to be furious that the Marlins cried poor in 2008 during stadium negotiations even as they were making about $38 million profit that year. “They took us for a ride,” says Miami-Dade commissioner Carlos Giminez. There is no undoing what has been done. But an apology by the Marlins is needed. No matter the new stadium in 2012 and no matter the team on the field, plenty of fans cannot bring themselves to support Loria and Samson — now more than ever. Healing is needed. A public apology by this ownership would be a start. [Note: Samson appeared on 790 The Ticket this evening. I expected dodging and spinning, but no apology. Unfortunately, I was not disappointed].