That $700,000 per year average is a big jump from his rumored salary of $150,000-$200,000 at the Kansas City Star.
In the world of sports writers, Whitlock is a big free agent signing and FOX was smart to lock him up. Other media outlets inquired about his availability this week but his deal with FOX already far along.
Whitlock will be filing columns for FOXSports.com more often and will likely expand, in some fashion, to FOX’s focus on online video content. There’s also a possibility for radio.
Whitlock is rumored to have already picked out a place to live in Los Angeles though it’s unclear if that move will be permanent.
As of presstime, no Connecticut media has reported on Lance McNaught’s death (his stage name was Lance Cade). Only the national media has so far questioned how McNaught, who may have died from steroid use, is the latest in a growing list of fatalities linked to McMahon.
Death seems to be a recurring theme in the œsoap opera that is WWE, according to McMahon. The night before Connecticut Republicans decided McMahon was their candidate, she told a reporter for ABC’s “Nightline”, on Aug. 9, that voters “don’t care about such storylines.”
“They are concerned about the issues of the day,” she said.
That’s indisputably true.
What’s also true is that people come back to life in soap operas. In real life, they don’t. Voters deserve to know how she treated employees and Connecticut’s media, working for those most invested in her campaign, should be asking the toughest questions. So far, they haven’t.
Mired in a dismal season, the Muckers traveled to Laughlin that fall. To nearly everyone™s surprise, the relatively-new Clark County school defeated Tonopah. It was Laughlin™s first-ever football win.
Tonopah coach Randy Jones was so incensed that he told his team in the locker room following the game it was the blackest day in Mucker history.
Springing ahead, Jones came up with an innovative idea to fire up his charges for their 1992 homecoming game against Laughlin. Utilizing the œdarkest day theme, he suggested the Muckers could wear black jerseys to remember the previous year™s debacle.
With no resources for his plan, the coach asked his players to buy their own black uniform shirts. Not all complied but many did and they mostly their parents ponied up the cash to buy black jerseys.
Enter the detractors, coming with two platforms ; the first were longtime THS supporters like Bob Frank father of school board member John Terras and alum William Tomany of Las Vegas. Their group argued that red and white were the Muckers™ colors and no other would do.
Also opposing the black jerseys was another group including Sharon Angle, a member, if not its leader. They argued against our charges wearing black on religious grounds.
I cannot quote scripture as they did to justify their point but the gist of their argument was that black as a color was thoroughly evil, invoking the supernatural and especially the devil my take from dictionary definitions and not from scripture .
In the end, the Muckers wore traditional red and white for the homecoming game, which they won, avenging their previous loss to the Cougars. It also was a benchmark for two dozen young men as it was their only victory that season.
But they went away from the affair knowing Angle™s group used religious arguments to deprive them of their innocuous and youthful black jersey statement. Administrators held onto the jerseys and refused to either turn them over to the athletes or to return the money they had paid.
Clearly, there’s a lot more to HBO’s “Hard Knocks” than Rex Ryan working blue. It’s not my place to say whether or not Jets CB Antonio Cromartie is a good father, but for sheer volume of procreation, even Shawn Kemp is impressed.
As Clemens completes his descent from Greatest Pitcher of His Generation to Non-Position Player Most-Analogous To Oliver North, it’s hard to disagree with Hardball Talk’s Craig Calcaterra when he — after reviewing Clemens’s myriad missteps — directs blame for this state of affairs squarely towards Clemens himself. “You could not have made yourself bigger piece of wriggling Congress bait if you took a year to draw up a plan to do so,” Calcaterra (who has, it should be noted, previously criticized the federal prosecution/New York Times-led persecution of Clemens and other alleged steroid abusers) writes.
[T]he Rocket protested too much, either because he received bad advice or because he was too bullheaded to see the pros and cons of various courses of action. As a result, he was hauled before Congress. As a result, all kinds of seedy muck from his personal life came out into the open. All of this could have been avoided.
“Not giving in” is a mantra you hear from all of the best starting pitchers. And Clemens was certainly one of the best to ever have played the game. But what makes one successful on the baseball diamond does not necessarily make one successful off it. And Clemens is learning this the hard way.
I am not accustomed to being ahead of curves, writing-wise. Or at least I am not used to it relative to how accustomed I am to being too overwrought, too late, and too inclined to read macro-scale tragic implications into stories that barely survive the daily news cycle. So it’s not with a little bit of pride that I note that I wrote my last “The Mets are a dumb-sad lost cause to end all dumb-sad lost causes” posts back in late May, here and here. That those posts followed the usual over-passionate blurts with four-digit word counts on the same subject — again, I’m bragging, but I fucking owned the Gary Matthews Jr. Overreaction Beat — is telling, too, of course. I’m not here to argue against my own idiocy. I’m just noting that I gave up on this year’s Mets first.
Anyway, that the Mets went on a month-long winning binge after my Lost Cause post is obviously related to said post was kind of embarrassing, but also exciting from a fan’s perspective — I’m used to being wrong, as noted, and I was pleased (if baffled) to be proven so for a few weeks by Frank Jeffcoeur and the rest of the Mets cut-out bin brigade. But now that the Mets have settled into the dreary, unlovable mediocrity that I (and everyone else) was forecasting three (or more) months ago and brutal eulogies for the team are choking the internets, I guess I get to feel prescient? I imagine that would feel better if the baseball team in which I’ve foolishly decided to invest evening television time and emotional capital wasn’t revving up the three-catcher platoon once again, part-timing its alleged prospects and wasting $12 million and a roster spot on a meatball artist they use with a frequency that makes most Rule 5 picks look overworked. But of course they’re doing that, which means that my blood-rare prescience arrives with a big, glutinous side portion of Hating My Favorite Baseball Team Again. It is delicious.
The idea of Mets fan exceptionalism — the notion that somehow our fucked-up team is more fucked-up than yours — never really resonated with me, but there is something about the way in which the Mets have managed to lose over the last few seasons that’s both unique and remarkable. Credit the New York media environment for the hyperspeed pace of coverage — Tyler Kepner of the New York Times treated GM Omar Minaya (above, left) to some preemptive image restoration today, and Minaya hasn’t even been fired yet — but credit, too, to the Mets for making such uncommonly poor big-ticket personnel decisions and (relatedly) finding such unexpected and clownish new ways to run down their organizational rep. Our long-running fan-pain and visible-from-space organizational incompetence may not be deeper or vaster than that of, say, Giants or Pirates or Royals fans, but the team and organization itself might be harder for a fan to love than any other in baseball. There’s a reason why fans are getting on some Serpent and the Rainbow shit and burying this team before it’s officially dead, and a big part of that is the simple and easily understood wish to be rid of the hollowed-out emotional entropy that accompanies watching this Mets team suck sadly along through another meaningless August. At It’s Mets For Me, die masterscreeder who goes by I.M. Forme tries to situate this particular Mets disappointment in the long continuum of hollowed-out, entropic et ceteras:
Many of your favorite Mets blogs got of the ground in 2005; your humble servant here got started bringing Met-style mediocrity to the wide world of webs during that year (hint: anniversary presents!). Now that the team’s story has followed its arc back to the laughable shambles it was in before the Yankees turned down Carlos Beltran’s overtures, it is fair to say the Mets blogosphere faces its biggest challenge yet: staying interested in this crap. And we’re certainly sagging under the pressure. In 2007 it was easy to believe the Mets would take the next step, in 2008 it was hard to believe they could do that again, in 2009 it was fascinating like a car crash, and here in 2010 we got what we expected: a listless circus of sometimes violent clowns underperforming even the lowest expectations we had for them. From the owners to the “management” to the “stars” the organization comes together to earn their place as the laughingstock of professional baseball.
I bolded the part that’s the best few words I’ve yet read about this year’s Mets, so that you might notice it better. And I’m going to leave it there. Giving up earlier than everyone else is seldom an achievement to brag on, but I’m going to rest on that particular achievement and bag the rest of whatever I have to say about this team until the season’s over. It would almost certainly end up being redundant, anyway — everything I.M. Forme wrote above was true six years ago (or one year ago), and there’s nothing about the dreariness of this emptying-out season that wasn’t easily predicted last winter. There are other things to complain about and other things to celebrate and it’s hard to conceive of a way in which any of those things could be duller, more dire, or less deserving of one’s time than these Mets. If this is what being right and/or prescient feels like, I am really anxious to get back to being wrong. It’s more fun.
Mayyors are about to pull a Barry Sanders, walking away from the limelight while they’re still at the top of their game. The above footage from last weekend’s Smmr Bmmr in Portland, OR doesn’t do nearly enough justice to the ambiance in the room that evening. For starters, you can’t get hit in the back of the head with a full can of beer while watching on You Tube. Not in this house, anyway.
(the last time Wally Backman had a job in the big leagues)
While the Bergen Record’s Bob Klapisch suggests the recent L’affair K-Rod has rendered the status of Omar MInaya equally untenable to that of his manager, speculation over replacements for the lamest duck of all, Jerry Manuel, is likely to consume considerable column inches and bandwidth between now and the end of the 2010 season. Taking great pains to point out the odd DUI or domestic dispute here or there is no reflection on Wally Backman’s managerial qualifications, Amazin’ Avenue’s James Kannengieser argues the current Brooklyn Cyclones skipper’s resume “would justifiably be tossed in the initial screening reject pile if he had equivalent credentials while applying for any other job.”
There’s a difference between managing youngsters in Single-A ball and millionaires in the big leagues. How would a rookie manager largely unfamiliar with Met players be perceived in the clubhouse? Any answer I provide would be idle speculation, but I can’t imagine veteran Mets embracing someone with no MLB coaching experience who immediately starts throwing bats and flipping buffet tables. Someone with more of a track record might be better equipped to earn the players’ respect.
Some have argued that Backman’s in-game strategy isn’t an extension of Jerryball, but there’s evidence that it is. It’s tough to come down on him for this, as player development is king in the minor leagues. Dropping five sacrifice bunts down a game is slightly more acceptable if under the guise of teaching. Who knows exactly how Backman would manage, but given his attitude and brief time in Brooklyn, smart money is on bunt-a-palooza.
If MLB manager is his goal, employment as MLB coach would be a nice first step. One doesn’t make a jump from Single-A to MLB, much like one doesn’t jump from junior accountant to CFO. Unfortunately, this is the Mets. If Manuel is fired, I would not be shocked to see Backman hired and marketed as the big offseason acquisition. From “significant [character] clause” in his Single-A contract to leading a $130 million payroll team in just one year. A true Horatio Alger success story.
Emotional throughout his comments following today™s practice, Ryan professed his disappointment with Dungy for the former Colts coach being so publicly critical of the number of Ryan F-bombs caught by the NFL Films cameras in last week™s HBO series debut.
Dungy even suggested — ridiculously — that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell look into the alleged controversy.
œI™ve been a big admirer of Tony Dungy, and I™m sure a lot of people are, Ryan said. œI felt that he unfairly judged me, and that was a disappointment to me.
Ryan said he called Dungy and left a phone message inviting him to spend a day with the Jets. Dungy had not returned the message by late this morning, but Ryan said he anticipated a call back.
Asked if he had been caught on film cursing less in the episode airing tonight on HBO after his own mother expressed disappointment at the first show, Ryan said: œI have no idea.
Managerial lowlights have included Frank Pagelsdorf, who regularly burst into tears during post-match interviews; Klaus ToppmÃ¶ller, whose flaccid perm, nicotine-addled purr and world-weary demeanour gave him the air of a Reeperbahn bawd; Benno MÃ¶hlmann, the pioneer of the half-time pep-talk that consists of kicking the right-back in the shins; and Egon Coordes, who, although refraining from physical assaults, treated his players with the contempt usually reserved for bears dancing on hotplates rather than professional athletes.
This year, fans spent the early close-season fans looking forward to a worthy successor to Ernst Happel, the inspiration behind the club™s successes of the 1980s. What they™ve got is Armin Veh, touted as the number one candidate, but only in the same way as the sole magazine in the lavatory is what you elect to read once you™ve dropped your trousers and sat down. The general manager, Bastian Reinhardt, got the job on the basis of a long and distinguished three-month internship in the marketing department.
The three-person arbitration panel, which last September heard a grievance filed by pitcher Shawn Chacon against the Houston Astros, has denied the player™s grievance.
Shyam Das, the chairman of the panel which also included representatives from Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association, stated that the Astros were within their rights to terminate Chacon™s contract without his entitlement to further compensation after the player attacked and assaulted General Manager Ed Wade (above) on June 25, 2008 after Chacon was demoted to the bullpen and was seeking a trade.
It’s a curious, if not thoroughly desperate move by a franchise that could’ve taken stronger action before Rodriguez claimed injury during a Saturday stint against the Phillies. On the other hand, if the Wilpons feel they’ve been treated shabbily by marquee acquisitions such as K-Rod, Santana, Carlos Beltran, Jason Bay or Johan Santana, this might be the most most efficient course of action. They’re all but ensuring that such future additions to the payroll will be impossible ; only agents with no other options whatsoever will recommend their clients relocate to a team owned by such disreputable businessmen.
Alternative headline for the above post was “PSU Football Writer Cannot Tell A Lie, Paterno Is Anything But Spry”. All kidding aside, Ladies and Gentlemen, while this rapidly-aging editor finds constant references to Penn State’s 2000 Year Old Man head football coach as some kind of decrepit nincompoop to be ageist cheap shots, it’s difficult to take issue with the approach of the Lancaster Sunday News’ Mike Gross given that Joe Paterno began last Thursday’s media day by pleading the assembled press corps, “please don’t ask me if I’m going to die.”
He admitted that, “In the old days I used to grab a couple kids and shove them around a little bit,” but doesn’t any more, for one thing, because, “I don’t want to get like the guy at Texas Tech [Mike Leach], if you know what I mean.”
There were the usual assortment of questions about specific players, some of them relatively obscure players, and Paterno generally had detailed, thoughtful answers.
The exception was a fairly straightforward question about running back Evan Royster.
Joe had the questioner repeat it three times and never grasped it, so he launched into a monologue that had nothing to do with Royster, touched on the blocked punt in last year’s Iowa game and ended with, “That doesn’t answer your question, I know that.”
None of that was especially worrisome or even unusual. The problem was the mechanics (for lack of a better word) of his speech.
Words took a long, labored time getting out. There was elaborate, juicy slurring.
His head occasionally seemed overtaken by gravity, his chin dropping to his chest and his lower lip gaping open.
He acknowledged that he will no longer do the weekly call-in radio show that for years has been a goofy, alternately amusing and tedious but very real lifeline between Joe and the rank-and-file fans.
To that, I and a number of colleagues had the same honest, gut reaction:
Outfielder Bobby Thomson, a 15 year big league veteran, 3-time NL all-star and the man who hit what was arguably the most famous HR in baseball history, has passed away at the age of 86. Thompson’s blast off Dodgers reliever Ralph Branca in the 9th inning of the deciding 3rd game of a National League championship playoff came on the heels of an incredible NY Giants comeback, having erased a 13 1/2 game Brooklyn lead held as late as August 11. From the NY Daily News’ Bill Madden and Michael O’Keefe :
Dodger starter Don Newcombe, who had logged 272 innings that season, tired in the ninth, surrendering a leadoff infield single to Alvin Dark, another single to Don Mueller, and then, after Monte Irvin fouled out, a two-run opposite field double to left field by Whitey Lockman. On the play, Mueller severely sprained his ankle sliding into third and as he was attended to and finally removed from the game for pinch-runner Clint Hartung, Dodger manager Charlie Dressensummoned Branca from the bullpen to replace Newcombe with Thomson coming to the plate.
“I was sorry to see Don hurt,” Thomson had said, “but the delay really helped me. I walked out to talk to (Giants manager) Leo (Durocher) and he said: ‘If you ever hit one, hit one now.’ I could see he was plenty excited too and I calmed down a bit. On my way back to the plate, I said to myself: ‘You’re a pro. Act like one!’”
Branca’s first pitch was a fastball called strike. His second pitch, another fastball, Thomson hit on a low rising liner toward left. As Dodger leftfielder Andy Pafko drifted back to the wall, the ball sailed over his head into the seats for a 5-4 victory, and from the broadcast booth Giants announcer Russ Hodges could be heard screaming, “The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!”
“Right away after I hit it I thought it was a home run,” Thomson said. “Going around the bases, I could hardly breathe. I was starting to hyperventilate.”
Brockton, MA’s entry in the indie Can-Am League has already demonstrated a nose for publicity, what with sending former Red Sox P Oil Can Boyd to the mound, and attempting to sign the likes of Theo Epstein and Roger Clemens. None of the above stunts, however are as likely to result in fantastic blog-fodder as the item below, reported by MLB.com’s Dan Mennella.
Bill Lee, the 63-year-old former Red Sox and Expos lefty dubbed “The Spaceman” for his unorthodox behavior, signed a contract with the Brockton Rox on Monday and is scheduled to pitch against the Worcester Tornadoes on Sept. 5.
Lee is a veteran of 14 big league seasons, the first 10 with Boston and the final four with Montreal. The southpaw went 119-90 with a 3.62 ERA in his career, playing his final game in the Majors at age 35 in 1982. Since then, he has remained active in baseball in semi-professional and senior leagues.
Controversy sells. Bosworth knew that instinctively. In his autobiography, he mocked the length of Joe Paterno’s pants and the thickness of his glasses. He jeeringly called Barry Switzer “The King.” He made fun of the size of John Elway’s teeth.
The Boz made sure everyone had an opinion about him, and those opinions were as unambiguous as a pregnancy test. Either positive or negative. And then he made money off both sides.
They sold shirts in Denver, “Boz Busters.” They featured his picture with a circle and a line through it. Check the tag, though: 44 Blues.
One day Seahawks teammate Bryan Millard walked through the locker room wearing an anti-Boz shirt and asked Bosworth how he liked the duds.
When Millard walked away, Bosworth turned to Wyman and said, “He just paid for the seat covers on my Corvette.”
Switzer was the coach of the Dallas Cowboys when the team signed a cornerback named Deion Sanders. He called himself “Prime Time,” and traced his nickname back to The Boz.
“When I saw a white linebacker at Oklahoma getting all that attention, that’s when ‘Prime Time’ was born,” Sanders said, according to Switzer.
(former Met Grant Roberts, shown patiently awaiting a call from Omar Minaya earlier today)
Those dissatisfied with the Mets’ decision to suspended closer Francisco Rodriguez a mere two games after assaulting his father in law in full view of teammates and their families are unlikely to cheer the following news given the Amazins’ are a) still on the hook for K-Rod’s remaining salary and b) unlikely to add a reliever with any sort of a resume to the roster given the bleak state of affairs. From the New York Daily News’ Andy Martino :
Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez has a torn ligament in his right thumb, an injury that will require surgery, the Mets announced. The injury was sustained at some point during the Wednesday incident at Citi Field that led to the closer’s arrest for alleged assault.
Rodriguez is not with the team in Houston. It is not immediately clear if he will face further disciplinary action because of the injury, or how much time he will miss. An MRI revealed the tear and Mets medical staff has recommended surgery to repair it. The date of the surgery is yet to be determined.
Never again will I opine that NFL preseason games are worthless. If you could guarantee me that similar things would happen repeatedly to Denver QB/saint Tim Tebow between now and the start of the regular season, I’d be glued to every moment of Broncos telecasts. With my trousers on, I assure you.