(if they wanna get nitpicky about it, we gave them Chrissie Hynde and Rich Hall, too)
I don’t get a lot of emails from readers of the Wall Street Journal’s Daily Fix — the freelance gig at which I write in my indoor voice about the sports stories of the day and, when possible, also camel racing. (It was possible today) I get some, generally positive but occasionally trollish and almost all of them finding a way to work some negative comment about Obama into the text. But given the decent-sized readership there, I wouldn’t say I get a lot of correspondence.
So it was sort of strange when, about an hour ago, I started getting a ton of emails through the Daily Fix address on a topic I obliquely touched on a couple days ago — how much English soccer fans just effing hate the EPL’s ultra-leveraged American team-owners. (I linked to this article by Brian Phillips in Slate, which is an enjoyable read even if you’ve been following GC’s coverage of this trend for the last few years)
The first email was impassioned and featured some experimental punctuation, but did at least earn some points for the flattering — if flagrantly erroneous — salutation “Dear USA Media Executive/Outlet” and the first line, “We gave you THE BEATLES and this is how you repay us?” The second email was the same. And the third and fourth and so on and on. Some included added commentary, all of it on-message, but most just read exactly like this:
Dear USA Media Executive/Outlet
*We gave you THE BEATLES and this is how you repay us?*
What happened to the *™Special Relationship™ *between the US and the UK?
Are you aware of how *Tom Hicks* is driving our beloved *Liverpool Football Club *into the ground?
How would you like it if a British œbusinessman came over to the USA and destroyed the New York Yankees. Or the LA Lakers. Or the Washington
Well, we are living Wayne Huizenga and the Florida Marlins all over again!
Please Google *Tom Hicks + Liverpool* to see what an embarrassment he isto the USA.
We would be grateful if you could help us by reporting our story in order that me might persuade Wall Street NOT to lend him the money he is currently trying to raise, to drive our football team into even more debt and despair.
Sorry about the mass email approach but we have tried everything else, and we feel like we are at the end of the road.
Thanks in anticipation
I’ve received 20 of these emails over the last hour or so. None of which will do anything to make me a USA Media Executive, but did at least make me feel faintly big-time over that period. Among the other recipients of the non-BCC’ed email — most of them sports columnists at the Dallas Morning News, New York Times and the Wall Street Journal — were CNBC’s resident anti-expert Larry Kudlow and notorious anti-billionaire type Sean Hannity. I don’t know if this semi-spam campaign against the (totally odious) Hicks will have any impact on his attempt to refinance LFC, but it should at least have some impact on Sean Hannity. Because if I don’t sign him up for a bunch of goth_talk listservs and novelty-item mailing lists, some other recipient of this email surely will. I’m looking at you, Richard Sandomir of the New York Times. (I will not do this, of course, and you shouldn’t, either) (Sandomir, follow your heart)
I’ve emailed a couple of the senders to see how this campaign came to be, and I’ll post a selection of their responses here, if and when I get them.
Mets GM Omar Minaya and field manager Jerry Manuel are most likely lamer-than-lame ducks, a status WFAN’s Howie Rose (above) openly admits to (“based on the results, no one could logically argue that they shouldn™t be removed”). However, the Mets’ radio play-by-play voice decries a modern tenor that routinely holds both men up to ridicule and abuse ; “read the message boards, listen to the radio, even the occasional newspaper article or column will suggest that these men are buffoons or bad people, and that™s just not the case.”
I realize that we live in an angry world, and that it™s no longer fashionable to say anything nice about anyone, but I am going to do that anyway. Omar Minaya may have left the Mets with a bunch of bad contracts that severely hamper this team™s chances for significant improvement next season, but he remains one of the nicest people in baseball who doesn™t have many, if any enemies in the game. Even Adam Rubin likes Omar, in spite of what happened last season. He™s a hard worker whose abilities in scouting and talent evaluation will serve him well in his next assignment, whether with the Mets or some other team. Quite simply, Omar Minaya is an impossible person to dislike.
I™m sorry if I™ve ruined your day with a few kind words on behalf of a couple of internet pinatas, but sometimes we need to remember that there™s more to a man than wins, losses, trades and signings. Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya will be fine, because they are fine people above all else.
Believe it or not, Rose might be onto something here. For instance, James Dolan is routinely lambasted in this space as one of the world’s owners in professional sports, but what about his dogged efforts to find spots on the Bonnaroo bill for struggling young talent? Jeff Francoeur might have shown all the knowledge of the strike zone of a latter-day Dave Kingman (sans the pop, of course), but how many of us took the time to consider his splendid public service on behalf of The Pepsi Refresh Project — possibly the most important social endeavor since the civil rights movement? Howie’s right — who really gives a shit if these incompetent boobs are shitting all over the teams we love? As long as they’re well-mannered and don’t make inappropriate allusions to “Love & Basketball”, everything’s cool.
Philadelphia’s Red Man, having already faced the wrath of Braves OF Matt Diaz, now contends with the wagging fingers of his parents and NBC 10 reporters. I’m no legal expert, but if the kid had attempted such a stunt earlier this season with the Mets visiting and simply told the court he was planning to maim or murder Jeff Francoeur, no sane judge would’ve convicted him. (video link swiped from Yahoo’s Big League Stew)
I burned a lot of pixels a few months back puzzling over the adulation that greeted the stateside arrival of shady Russian oligarch turned Avery Johnson-hiring, Travis Outlaw-overpaying shady Russian oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov. I did this because I’m a serial pixel-burner, and because I am always willing to dump a bunch of prose on the topic of my relationship with the Nets. But Prokhorov and the reaction he evoked is stranger to me than the usual wealth-stroking/luxury-ogling response you expect from places like the New York Post (or, with longer words, the New York Times).
That’s because Prokhorov (above, left) is a different type of dodgeball billionaire than we’re used to — a creepy Chamber of Commerce glad-hander like Clay Bennett is just a different animal. Dan Gilbert breaks out the childish, comic sans outrage; Prokhorov cuts business deals with nation-destroying despots and obstructs justice and rips off his investors. His is not a Sunday Styles piece, it’s a can-you-believe-shit-in-other-countries story from the middle of the news section.
Except, of course, that it’s not. Prokhorov is proof that nothing — certainly not an abject lack of knowledge or interest in basketball — can disqualify someone from owning a NBA team except for a lack of ready funds. But he’s also proof that our broader and ever-more-baffling national cultural hard-on for the super-rich has now lasted more than six hours, and that we should definitely contact a physician. It’s baffling both because our revered domestic Lords of Capital kneecapped our economy with their abject avarice and fraudulent genius, but also because, at a personal level, there’s not a whole lot to like about paranoid, entitled plutocrats like the Koch brothers or dodgy, SkiDoo-jockey playboys like Prokhorov. Yes, it might be nice to have a yacht of one’s own or whatever, but a creep is a creep, whatever the contents of said creep’s bank account. Given that Prokhorov has shown no real aptitude for anything except spending his sketchily-obtained gains in cartoonish ways, there’s not seemingly a whole lot to admire, there.
Which isn’t to say the guy isn’t great copy while proving (and re-proving) all the above. From throwing money at the goofiest of causes — I’m talking about signing Jordan Farmar, here — to, um, continuing to throw money at the goofiest of causes, Prokhorov does at least bring the storylines. Prokhorov’s most recent innovation — which is actually a page out of The Lenny Dykstra Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ Playbook — is so goofily named that it reads like overstated Gary Shteyngart-grade satire, and so poorly reasoned, frankly tacky and massively over-budgeted that it could only have come from Prokhorov. Here’s the story, from Stefan Bondy of the Daily News:
If you™re super rich, speak Russian and live in New York City, Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is supplying you with the perfect reading material. It™s a magazine called œSNOB (that™s right, Prokhorov is richer than you and not ashamed of it) and it went on sale in the U.S. last week for a price of $8. There™s no English translation, so this is strictly for the Russian-speaking snobs who want to read about extravagant ways to spend Rubles. (In Russian, S.N.O.B. is an acronym for the Russian words accomplished, independent, educated and thriving).
According to this Bloomberg report, Prokhorov invested $100 million into this Snob project, which he hopes will attract the large population of Russian immigrants in Brooklyn to games in the Barclays Center.
If the financial crisis gave us anything — beyond a busted discourse, the ubiquity of Glenn Beck’s tiny piglike eyes, and a shocking uptick in freaked-out bigotry — it was the non-revelation that the super-rich people to whom our culture has given a decades-long handjob might not actually be as deserving of respect as we’d been conditioned to believe. That hasn’t quite sunk in yet, evidently. Prokhorov, for his part, seems intent on driving the message home, though, through his combination of outsized playboy fatuity and dedication to getting things wrong. For whatever wake-up call his ridiculousness might wind up providing, I guess, we should be thankful. And of course if he creates some journalism jobs along the way, I guess I can’t be too mad at him.
“I’m not surprised at all that the DK title has frequently changed hands of late,” Wiebe told the Examiner.. “I knew Billy would resurface and I’ve never let go of trying to recapture the record myself. There are a lot more DK kill screen players out there now, so the competition is getting pretty tough. I fully expect the title to keep changing hands until someone knocks it out of the park.”
(for just $20, you can show the world which side you’re on)
A few days after Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert professed to zero regrets over the fuck-off-and-die missive he aimed at the departing LeBron James last June, ESPN.com’s Vincent Thomas notes that LBJ’s negative Q rating amongst African-Americans is largely unchanged since “The Decision”. Citing black support for such figures as Barry Bonds, Allen Iverson and Michael Vick, Thomas argues, “as America hates LeBron more and more, Black America’s collective hug embraces LeBron tighter and tighter. It’s called black protectionism.”
if folks just said, “Eh, I don’t really like the guy — I think he’s kind of a jerk,” the black protectionism probably wouldn’t be so strong. But there are yahoos in Cleveland burning his jersey, brewing smarmy beer called “Quitness,” and putting up ingrate billboards. Frothy-mouthed Cavs owner Dan Gilbert made like Syndrome from “The Incredibles,” sending out a maniac missive, stopping just short of calling down evil upon LeBron. Even NBA legends — mostly black men, coincidentally — got in on the action. Charles Barkley called LeBron’s free agency choice a “punk move.” It seems everybody and their mothers have weighed in to let LeBron know just how much they don’t like him.
And for what? Why? Because “The Decision” was annoying and self-indulgent? I’m sorry, but Brett Favre was nowhere to be found on The Q Scores Co.’s top 10 most disliked list. And, dig this: America dislikes LeBron more than it dislikes Ben Roethlisberger. That’s just not deserved. So, you know what? Enter the ride-or-die black community.
“The more LeBron is vilified,” Russell-Brown said, “the more the community will respond. Protectionism comes in as a tempering.”
During a recent airport terminal walk-thru, Vincent claims to have spotted as many as 6 black men donning James’ no. 6 Miami jersey, a fashion statement the author claims is akin to, “screw the rest of these folks, LeBron, I’m riding with you, homeboy.” As opposed to, say, “I’m a sickening front-runner and my Yankees/Duke/Cowboys swag is in the wash”.
Topping Green Day as the least likely creator of a Broadway musical, Jim Bouton marks the 40th anniversary of is groundbreaking dirt-spiller ‘Ball Four’, by telling the LA TImes’ Kevin Baxter he’s ready to bring his dugout tales to a new medium.
“Without that book, I’d probably be a surgeon like my dad,” said David Kipen who while in grade school was so smitten by Bouton’s prose that he went on to become director of literature for the National Endowment for the Arts. “He hijacked my life.”
“Ball Four,” fortuitously for the players union, came out the same year that St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Curt Flood challenged the reserve clause by refusing to accept a trade to the Philadelphia Phillies, setting off a legal battle that eventually led to free agency.
Bouton played a part in that, too, when he was called to read passages from his book in front of arbitrator Peter Seitz, who eventually ruled in the player’s favor.
“That was tremendously powerful,” Kipen said. “You can make the case that Bouton did just as much as Flood did to overturn the reserve clause.”
At 71, Bouton is working a stage adaptation of the book ” the working title is “Ball Four: The Musical” ” around trips to the basement, where he throws knuckleballs at a strike zone painted on a wall.
“My feeling has always been that the only way to portray ‘Ball Four,’ the characters and everything, is with a Broadway musical,” Bouton said. “Anything goes in a musical. And you can be gross and profane and bawdy. “The stage. I think that’s where it belongs.”
…and presumably Da Big Guy is no fan of “Little Giants”-like endings, either. Ladies and Gentlemen, meet 95.3′s Matt Patrick, sure to be making his blogosphere debut throughout the day Tuesday (video link courtesy Ryan Brown).
Full disclosure time : I think dogs are awesome. They’re funny, sweet, loyal, and often provide better companionship / food for thought than a large percentage of this blog’s readership. AND THEY’RE CUDDLY. AWWWWWWWW. All of that said, I’m capable of separating the monstrous acts committed by Michael Vick from his paradigm-smashing skills as a QB ; at the height of his powers, Vick was without question the most exciting player in the NFL, and over the last two weeks subbing for the concussed Kevin Kolb, he’s shown more than a few flashes of what made him such a widely admired football player by persons of all races. I’m not forgiving or forgetting Vick’s unconscionable acts, but I’m not about to deny his artistry between the lines, either. And with that gushy admission out of the way, we turn to The Trentonian, whose CSTB-worthy Monday headline of “Dog Killer Starts First Game Since Leaving Prison” drew the considerable ire of the paper’s L.A. Parker, who warns Andy Reid, “Get ready to count your losses, because your team has no shot this year without your black Negro, dog-killin™, prison-serving quarterback.”
America, land of the free and home to Native American genocide, slavery, gender persecution, segregation, and a litany of other indiscretions that affected millions, appears hell-bent on repeatedly lynching Vick, retelling his dogfighting connection until he screams Uncle Tom.
All this talk about America turning some invisible corner because 53 percent of Americans elected our first black president is just that ” talk.
The City of Brotherly Love is where a fictitious Rocky Balboa receives more attention and street cred than the real former heavyweight champion of the world ” Smokin™ Joe Frazier.
Wilt Chamberlain deserves a Philly mural as high as the Comcast Center building, but œThe Stilt never will receive his well-deserved acclaim.
The wonderful experience of sports frequently offers instruction for social issues, a realism that makes Vick™s life incredibly worthwhile.
Vick™s life serves as microcosm for thousands of African-American men who made mistakes, suffered convictions, did prison time and then came back to a society unwilling to give them second or even third chances.
We have magnified Vick™s mistake to the point that his every action deserves inspection as if a smile, wink, frown or incomplete pass signifies criminal regression or personal progression.
Let me be perfectly clear — I’d probably not invite Michael Vick over to dog-sit. Not after asking around, anyway. But I’d also not put my team’s offense in the hands of the totally unproven Kevin Kolb after Vick has already demonstrated he’s hardly washed up. If Vick’s acolytes have a tough time with their hero’s status as a national pariah, too fuckin’ bad. That’s what happens when public figures do things the majority of persons find socially unacceptable. But none of that has much bearing on Andy Reid’s decision making process, otherwise Vick wouldn’t even be in uniform.
Karim Garcia’s brief tenue as a New York Met was highlighted by he and fellow former Yankee Shane Spencer laying waste to a Port St. Lucie pizza delivery boy who objected to their pissing in public. Hanging onto a professional career for dear life, Garcia’s recent exploits in the Korean Baseball Organization have been the subject of recent inflammatory Tweeting reports The Hall Of Very Good (via True Stories Of Korean Baseball). Here’s a few of the highlights :
great ,stupid kbo suspend me 7 games for what? the ump stir at me and takes the mask off and say what?
looking for me to say something and then trow me out off the game wish i did
and for that i get 7 games and 3000dlls i thing that they have no clue off what they r doing and say ok let kick him out the rest off the yr
they should look realy hard at the ump they r terrible worst then a ball in the states but kbo dont say nothing about that
kbo realy need to make up their mind about what is going on with ump asking for sing ball and be realy friendly with some players
“One could say that Ohio University put up a good fight against Ohio State this Saturday,” sneered NESN’s John Beattie. “But then the game started.” As for what would possess Ohio’s Bobcat to assault the Ohio State Buckeye on the latter’s home turf, I can only speculate. But it’s at least as impressive a suicide mission as the one waged by the visiting football squad.
After a weekend in which the Mets conspired to throw a lifeline to the NL East contending Braves, the New York Post’s Joel Sherman is quite willing to admit that COO Jeff Wilpon (above) didn’t participate in the My Lai massacre, had nothing to do with the recording of ‘St. Anger’ and is utterly blameless for the state of Queens’ public schools. However, argues Sherman, the negative perceptions surrounding Fred’s kin are so universal, finding willing, let alone suitable replacements for Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel will be impossible.
Want a sampling? A baseball executive in regular contact with the Mets: œJeff is the problem with the organization, and he is never going to realize that. He cannot help himself. He has to be involved. He will never hire anyone who will not let him have major input. He will not hire anyone who does not run every personnel decision through him.
An NL personnel man: œThey have a problem they don™t understand: This is not a desirable location. New York is desirable, but this is the wrong borough. I don™t think it has sunk in with Jeff yet that he is running a team that the best people might not want to work for.
An AL executive: œThis is not an attractive job unless you want the money. The only person with a worse reputation then Jeff Wilpon in the game is [Marlins president] David Samson.
I guess the McCourts [Dodgers owners] also are in that conversation. Jeff™s reputation is not good in the industry. The perception is that behind the scenes he will throw people under the bus rather than take responsibility.
“There is loud and clear talk in the bookies circle that some English players were paid enormous amounts of money to lose the match,” Butt said. “No wonder there was total collapse of the English side.
“We won the match and we are under suspicion. England lost, their players should be investigated,” said Ijaz Butt. “You don’t lose a match if you are doing fixing. We have cooperated so far with all this investigation but after the third ODI we get this feeling it is not a conspiracy to defraud bookies but to defraud Pakistan cricket.”
There was no immediate comment from the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Pakistan’s Waqr Younis, meanwhile, has insisted that his team-mates have played to the best of their abilities despite the claims.
“I don’t know who is saying these things,” he said. “I think if somebody knew these things, they’d come and coach us on how to play like that.”
With Derek Jeter suffering a HBP at the hands of Baltimore SP Jeremy Guthrie early during Saturday’s 11-3 Yankee victory, the Newark Star-Ledger’s Marc Craig notes the Orioles right-hander has now hit 10 Yankees with pitches out of a career total of 37 victims. And that’s not counting spring training assaults on the persons of Mark Teixeira and Francisco Cervelli. No wonder then, that New York manager Joe Girardi is wonder what’s up with his guys being targeted.
“Too many, just too many,” Girardi said. “I don’t really understand it. I know he likes to pitch inside. But it’s just too many. It’s too many.”
Guthrie hit his 14th batter of the season, only two off the American League, held by the Yankees’ A.J. Burnett with 16.
“Just trying to go inside,” Guthrie told reporters after the game. “Derek knows I am going to throw the ball in there all day long, that™s the way I approach it. So I guess it was a good indicator when I tried to throw the pitches away later on in the game they went inside and when I tried to throw that one inside it went way inside.”
Said Guthrie: “It™s just a matter of not having great command tonight.”
Jeter called Guthrie “effectively wild” and said he had not issue with the pitch. He was unaware of how many Yankees Guthrie has plunked through the years.
“I don’t know, I haven’t been counting,” Jeter said.
It’s all probably coincidental, but perhaps Guthrie hoped to remind The Captain that being hit with a baseball feels entirely different than fouling one off.
(the Nancy Faust bobblehead, handed out to the first 10,000 fans at tonight’s loss to Detroit)
I attended a 2005 ALCS game between the Angels and the host White Sox during which The Cell’s venerable organist Nancy Faust played a brief, between-innings interpretation of Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle” that even the Sun Ra Arkestra would’ve struggled to make sense of. I know this is a bold statement — what self-respecting adult actually admits to recognizing a Jimmy Eat World song? So with Ms. Faust’s pending retirement in mind, the New York Times’ Karen Crouse honors the former by declaring “her music has been the grace note bridging memorable eras in the team™s history, from the baseball barker Bill Veeck to the showman Ozzie Guillen.
Faust was an innovator, choosing songs that played off names like a musical Chris Berman. She has a knack for matching songs to on-field situations, perhaps the most famous example being her inspired choice of Steam™s œNa Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye when an opposing pitcher was pulled in the heat of the 1977 pennant race. For White Sox fans, the song became a part of the everyday rotation, right up there with œTake Me Out to the Ball Game.
Eric Carlson, who is 29 and a lifelong White Sox fan, believes so. He met Faust as a teenager when he approached her booth behind home plate during a game to suggest she play œAround the World by the group ATC.
When he returned to his seat and heard the strains of the song fill U.S. Cellular Field, Carlson said: œI felt special. I was thinking, of all the people in the stadium, she was playing that song for me. Speaking by telephone, he added: œMost of the players, they don™t even want to give you the time of day anymore. But Nancy™s very down to earth and approachable.
Carlson, though part of the generation that is the target of baseball teams™ entertainment upgrades, remains an unabashed fan of Faust. œSome of the songs she plays, I feel they actually sound better than the originals, he said, adding: œI™m a Sox fan, so I™ll still go to games after this year. But it won™t be the same.”
It’s a wonderful story but with all due respect to Mr. Carlson — who seems like a nice enough fella — the Air Traffic Controllers don’t have any songs called “Around The World”. Where are the fact-checkers for this kind of thing?
OK, so it’s the LA band and not Detroit’s L-Seven. Big deal. It might be a bit of an overstatement to call Cornette the conscience of pro wrestling, but he continues to be one of the sport’s funnier and more insightful analysts.
“In life, you endure hours of tedium and disappointment,” wrote When Saturday Comes’ Ian Plenderleith this week, “but just occasionally you’re rewarded with a treasured moment of surprise and delight.” He wasn’t making an analogy about the Fall’s recorded output over the past decade, but instead challenging the actions of those who’d choose to beat the traffic before the final whistle blows. “Why would you pay £25, £35, £45 or more for a ticket to a 90-minute football match and then not watch the whole thing?” As someone who has walked out of multiple films by James Toback, the phrase “cutting one’s losses” comes to mind.
There are fans who have faith and fans who don’t. The fans who don’t are the ones who leave early. Personally, I’m like the Scotland fans. I just can’t leave, no matter how bored or disillusioned I am. I once tried to leave a Swiss Cup semi-final between Grasshopper and amateur side Red Star ZÃ¼rich “ Grasshopper were 6-0 up, there were five minutes to go and the stadium was seven-eighths empty. But I was still worried I might miss something, like Red Star scoring six goals in five minutes. Or, failing that, a bald eagle landing on the pitch, or the referee dropping his shorts and mooning in the direction of FIFA HQ. You just never know, do you? And so after exiting the stand, I kept stopping at the stadium portals and standing there to see out the game’s dying moments. And I just caught sight of Grasshopper scoring a seventh. Yep, looks like they’re through.
I thought of this again last Saturday as Everton fans celebrated their second goal in stoppage time to claim a draw against Manchester United. I was mainly thinking of all the fans who’d left already, because there were a lot of empty seats. I was imagining what they felt as they heard the first muted cheer from outside the stadium. “Ah, a consolation goal, ah well, 3-1, 3-2, what’s the difference, there’s no way a team like Manchester United give up two goals in injury time¦ [hears massive, unrestrained, gobsmacked roar]. Oh great, we got a point. Hooray. I’m glad for us, I really am. But why did they have to wait until I left before they scored twice? And why did I leave early? [Holds head in hands and collapses to the floor] Why did I do that?”
(Burns, lifting the Stanley Cup in 2003 during his tenure as Devils head coach)
Or if you prefer, Reports Of Pat Burns’ Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated. The Star’s Rosie DiManno reports that Maple Leafs spokesperson Cliff Fletcher told the media earlier today that Burns — currently fighting liver cancer — had shuffled off this mortal coil. Except, well, he’s still alive.
“I extend my deepest apologies to Pat Burns and his family, Fletcher said.
œUnfortunately, I was misinformed by a friend earlier today and my public comments were completely inaccurate.”
After Fletcher™s initial declaration, Kevin Dixon, Burns™ close friend, said, œPat says he is not dead yet.
œHey all, just talked to Pat, and he is grocery shopping, Dixon said in an email.
œHe can™t decide if he will have pork chops this evening or steak.
œFinally, it will be pork chops. He said he had steak last night at the restaurant. Reporters screwed up big-time.
When Dixon got Burns on the phone, he teased him by saying: œI got your box here ready for you. Got to get you in there before the end of the day.
Ordinarily, I’ll start a post with a few (hundred) words of context, but some things are best just jumped into. So I’ll mention only that Brendan Flynn sent me this (amazing) link, and also further mention that the Associated Press wires are sometimes home to some truly amazing shit. So, what’s going on in Buffalo?
After 21 years of tailgating in the same lot outside Ralph Wilson Stadium, Ken Johnson plans to take his party across the street starting with the next home game in two weeks.
And with him, Johnson’s bringing along his wildly colorful and popular traditions: from the red 1980 Pinto on which he grills meat on the hood to the pizza oven made out of a filing cabinet to a chicken wing-cooking mailbox and, yes, even the long-established ceremony of drinking shots of Polish cherry liqueur out of the thumbhole of a bowling ball. It disappoints me that I have to move away from a lot where I’ve been for about 20 years, but I saw it coming a long time ago,” said Johnson…
The reality of that shift became apparent Sunday when, Johnson said, a league official threatened to shut down his party before the Bills’ season opener. Aside from his tailgate creating a potential crowd control issue, Johnson was informed by security that the league official frowned on the bowling ball shots he provides to passers-by who line up at his site. Johnson complied by plugging the bowling ball and started informing his regulars he was moving.
Ah yes, “Plugging up the bowling ball.” That old disgusting euphemism for something disgusting? wire service chestnut. There is just a lot going on in this piece, from classic wire AP-isms — the standalone grafs dedicated to tangentially related news events, which stands in here for the customary recitation of stats at the end of the piece and includes a giant stolen statue of Thurman Thomas — to some jaw-dropping info on how much Johnson (a computer programmer, of course?) spends on his tailgate.
“Two comments immediately popped into my head,” Brendan writes. “Out of all the disgusting things happening here the league frowns upon drinking booze out of a bowling ball? And then the obligatory, ‘haven’t Bills fans suffered enough?’ If a man (or entire fan base) wants to drink Wisniak, by God let them. Whatever. Fuck it.”
… but will he name them? The former Cardinals slugger, bankruptcy advocate and pioneering baseball-to-drag-racing dual-sport star went on St. Louis sports radio yesterday to discuss his former team’s shortcomings in the NL Central race, and delivered the sort of measured, mature, grown-man reaction that you’d expect from a curmudgeonly ex-jock a-hole of Roger Staubachian proportions someone who has been there, and knows a little something about not giving a shit. Which is to say that he called the Cardinals — who won’t play the guy with the ninth-highest OPS in the NL every day because Tony LaRussa doesn’t like his dad — a team of quitters. Also of poopy pantses. That’s a quote:
These Cards fans deserve much better. That’s just awful. They won’t admit it, that they’re quitters. If you can’t put a better effort out there on the field, take ‘em all out, back up the truck, ship ‘em all out and get somebody in here that wants to play baseball. We’ve got one team here [San Diego] going for the title and we’ve got our team going for the toilet. They’ve got poopy in their pants.
I’m hesitant to be too critical of any grown man who goes on the radio and utters the phrase “they’ve got poopy in their pants” but the idea that teams have “quit” simply because they’re struggling and underachieving seems a little much. And if you’re going to accuse players of quitting on the team and putting forth “a pathetic effort” shouldn’t you at least have the courage to actually name names?
Which players have quit? Which players have put forth the pathetic effort? Lumping the entire team together means nothing, because clearly some players haven’t quit on anything. Albert Pujols hit .379 with 11 homers and a 1.230 OPS in August, but the Cardinals had an 11-15 record for the month.
Look, Jack Clark played for 18 seasons, made millions of dollars (and blew them all on hot rods). He doesn’t have to answer to anyone, let alone some pencil-necked blogger. So I’ll do it for him — I don’t think anyone on the Cardinals has quit, but I’m pretty sure, judging by the picture on his Yahoo Sports profile page, that closer Ryan Franklin has pooped his pants.
Justifiably wary of the wear & tear on their chronically disababled franchise center, the Houston Rockets, writes the Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen, hope to extend the career of Yao Ming by using him half as often they’d like to.
Yao will play no more than 24 minutes per game, Rockets vice president and athletic trainer Keith Jones said. There will be no exceptions. If Yao has played his 24 minutes and the Rockets have the ball and eight seconds on the clock to make up a one-point deficit, Yao will not play those eight seconds.
Yao™s playing time will not average 24 minutes; it will end there. If he plays 22 minutes in one game, he will not play 26 the next. For that matter, if he plays two minutes one game, he will not play 26 the next. When Yao reaches his 24 minutes, he will be through for that game.
GM Darryl Morey said there will be no uncertainty and no chance of the contentiousness that Noah™s playing time became in Chicago last season, and not only because Morey would want no part of head coach Rick Adelman if it came to that.
œAt the end of the day, it™s all about winning Morey said. œIt™s about winning in the playoffs. We™re choosing to limit Yao Ming and Yao Ming is in agreement that this is the best plan. We want him when it counts the most.”
When Yao inevitably makes the Western Conference All-Star Team after a massive internet tally from China, we’ll have to assume a rival coach — say, Phil Jackson — won’t try to fuck with Houston’s formula by keeping Ming on the floor for a half hour.
Congrats to the UFL on identifying their most likely target audience — persons eager to beat the shit out of each other for no sensible reason. Also, where is this amazing hospital that actual receives the Versus channel?
The idea for a kiss cam moment came about after Sunday’s Ram’s game against the Arizona Cardinals. During the game, the kiss cam focused on two men in Arizona jerseys who jeered at the camera and made expressions of distaste toward one another.
Some gays and lesbians who were at the game said it appeared that by having the kiss cam linger on the men – who seemed to them to be straight — there was an insinuation that the men were gay. The kiss cam catch was followed by hoots and derisive cheers from the audience.
“We always felt left out because the kiss cam always singles out heterosexual couples,” Harrison Roberts said today. Roberts is the manager of Just John’s on Manchester Avenue in The Grove, where the official after-party will be held on Saturday following the game.
“But after what happened at the Rams game, all the gay and lesbian fans that were there felt embarrassed and a little degraded,” he added.
“Why shouldn’t we be on the camera, too?”
Of course, there’s no way of knowing for sure the two men in Arizona jerseys weren’t in fact, gay. Roberts’ request seems reasonable enough, though the entire incident recalls an August 2005 Mets/Astros game at Minute Maid Park in which the visitors’ Chris Woodward and Doug Mientkiewicz took the occasion of their Kiss-Cam appearance to finally show the world their deep feelings for each other.