09.16.10

The Paper Of Record : Yankee Caps = Thuggery

Posted in Baseball, Fashion, The Law at 10:20 am by

Coming on the heels of an ethical lapse on the part of the most prominent contemporary Bronx Bomber, can anyone be surprised by what the New York Times’ Manny Fernandez describes as “a curious phenomenon has at the intersection of fashion, sports and crime.”   To wit, a large number of violent crimes are committed by persons wearing Yankee caps (Times link courtesy Paul Lukas)

Since 2000, more than 100 people who have been suspects or persons of interest in connection with serious crimes in New York City wore Yankees apparel at the time of the crimes or at the time of their arrest or arraignment. The tally is based on a review of New York Police Department news releases, surveillance video and images of robberies and other crimes, as well as police sketches and newspaper articles that described suspects™ clothing. No other sports team comes close.

The Mets, forever in the shadow of their Bronx rivals, are perhaps grateful to be losing this one: only about a dozen people in the same review were found to be wearing Mets gear.

œIt™s a shame, said Chuck Frantz, 57, the president of the 430-member Lehigh Valley Yankee Fan Club in Pennsylvania. œIt makes us Yankees fans look like criminals, because of a few unfortunate people who probably don™t know the first thing about the Yankees.

In April 2008, on the day after the Boston Red Sox defeated the Yankees in the Bronx, a man in a Yankees cap robbed a bank about a mile from Yankee Stadium. The woman who robbed a Manhattan bank on July 7 was diplomatic in her clothing choices: she wore an orange Mets cap and a gray Yankees T-shirt.

Three gunmen burst into an apartment in Washington Heights on July 23, bound the hands and feet of the tenants and left with cash. A surveillance video released by the police and broadcast on television showed one of the suspects in a Yankees cap ” one of the most iconic brands in sports represented, however briefly, by someone accused of helping tie up a 9-year-old girl.

Fernandez goes on to cite one criminologist’s theory that the proliferation of Yankee swag amongst thieves, rapists and killers is the result of “The Jay-Z effect” (“the rapper Jay-Z has worn a Yankees cap for years ” on his album covers and in his videos ” and has helped turn the cap into a ubiquitous fashion accessory for urban youths”).   Which sounds more convenient (if not downright Mushnickian) than blaming it on Chris Spencer of The Unsane.

09.15.10

Thursday Evening In Austin : Throwing Down Before The Throwing Up On Rosewood Avenue

Posted in Austin, Internal Affairs, Rock Und Roll at 8:40 pm by

For The Golden Boys and James Arthur’s Manhunt, this free Trailer Space show will be an appropriate tune up gig for their appearances at Goner Fest the following weekend. For the Air Traffic Controllers, it’s great preparation for the Old Pecan Street Festival. We’re not playing, but there’s some talk about a time-share on a souvlaki cart.

From The “Kicking Matt Hardy When He’s Down” Department

Posted in Free Expression, Professional Wrestling at 4:35 pm by

Of embattled WWE performer Matt Hardy‘s recent YouTube rebuttal to his internet haters, Pro Wrestling Insider’s Mike Johnson wrote, “with just five minutes of video, Hardy outed himself as completely full of shit to the one fan base that for years unwaveringly had walked through fire for him with their love and money.” Even worse, he provided Paul London with the easiest of slam-dunks, as seen above.

Toronto Scribe Demands Security Deposit Against Blogger Dishonesty

Posted in Blogged Down, Hockey, Sports Journalism at 2:12 pm by

The Globe & Mail’s Bruce Dowbiggin takes a dim view of the Vancouver Canucks’ pledge to issue media credentials to bloggers, contending that “‘blogger’” has come to be synonymous for bending the rules on sourcing or taking liberties with research.” Funny, I had no idea Andrew Breitbart was a hockey blogger.

Some feel that the threat of pulling credentials should suffice in keeping bloggers in line. Others, who note the lack of sourced material and accountability in many blogs, feel that more needs to be done. After all, if you sue a blogger for slander and win, what can you get? The person™s computer? The lack of risk and absence of assets as compensation makes pursuing a blogger moot. Hit-and-run has been the tactic of many blogs floating on the edge of respectability.

Usual Suspects feels that if a blogger wants a place in a press box or dressing room environment there should be something more tangible at stake – say, a bond of $10,000 that a blogger would lose should a court or arbitrator find he or she broke professional standards or libel laws. Such a policy would sort out the valuable from the voluble in short order.

So would obliging bloggers to face their subjects from time to time. Taking shots at public figures from the grassy knoll and then sneaking away promotes a Dutch courage among many bloggers. It™s a point of honour for most MSM to show up after a tough column and let the subject have his say in person. Having to look Roberto Luongo or Dion Phaneuf in the eye after a critical column about them might produce some sober second thought amongst the bloggos.

Dowbiggin would have you believe that print critics make a habit of confronting their subjects face to face, much as the use of anonymous and/or fake sources is solely a blogger offense. I’m not even going to bother to cite the examples to the contrary except to say if you’re gonna act as an advocate on behalf of the print medium, it would be useful if you weren’t totally full of shit for a living. And there’s a bit of a disconnect here ; Dowbiggin argues that bloggers should be “obliged to face their subjects from time to time”, yet issuing media credentials is precisely what that might accomplish in some instances.

The Romance Between Shaq & Hi-Tech Comes To A Sorry End

Posted in Basketball, The Law at 10:25 am by

To say nothing of his obsession with law enforcement.   Celtics C and likely NBA Hall Of Famer Shaquille O’Neal moonlighting efforts as a pseudo-superhero (busting online child predators, rescuing gay bashing victims, etc.) have provided excellent copy, but who’d have suspected The Diesel would use his police connections for nefarious means?  A former employee of O’Neal’s, Shawn Darling, alleges he was paid to hack into computers and phone systems of multiple women, and later, found himself the target of Shaq’s considerable ire.  From Radar Online :

In October, 2009, following the demise of Shaq’s marriage to Shaunie O’Neal, Darling discovered he was having an affair with Vanessa Lopez. Darling reached out to Lopez, who told him that she thought O’Neal was trying to break into her voicemail, deleting messages and changing her passwords.

In the lawsuit, Darling says he found proof that Shaq was breaking into Lopez’s phone system and told her about it.

Lopez, who is currently suing Shaq for harassment and is being represented by power attorney Gloria Allred, then told O’Neal that Darling was giving her information behind his back, according to the lawsuit.

At that point, Darling claims Shaq sent him threatening messages, tried to break into his voicemail and enlisted the help of an active Arizona detective to master a computer program that would allegedly allow him to frame Darling for possession of child pornography so that Shaq could confiscate the computer holding evidence of his affair with Lopez.

In emails quoted as evidence in the lawsuit, O’Neal’s agent wrote on December 15, 2009, “got it he will be stopped n pay for this.”

O’Neal wrote back “ok but in the meantime o boy needs to be put in jail, we have way too many law enforcement connections to let a criminal try to get over on mine o mine, we don’t need any distractions as we deal with Harvard guy, shoe line guy, restaurant guy, real estate guy and everything we are planning to do after basketball life…”

09.14.10

(Males) Braves Fans : Too Occupied WIth That Racist Chopping To Bother Washing Their Hands

Posted in Baseball, Mob Behavior at 8:38 pm by

(somewhere in the midst of that sea of styrofoam, there’s a human biohazard at play)

Atlanta has struggled against Livan Hernandez (7 IP, 5 hits, 5 K’s, 1 walk, no runs) tonight, a circumstance that surely has the few thousand fans in attendance at Turner Field wringing their hands in desperation. Their filthy, disgusting, disease-carrying hands.  The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Alexis Stevens explains :

A study released Monday found that 87 percent of people wash their hands in public restrooms. That’s up from a slimy 77 percent in 2007, according to the American Society for Microbiology and the American Cleaning Institute.

Researchers discreetly watched the actions of 6,028 adults in public restrooms in Atlanta, Chicago, New York and San Francisco for the study. (They were the ones taking extra time with the combs and lipstick.)

Not shockingly, women continue to be cleaner than men, the study found. And when you take the guys out the ballpark, you may not want to hold their hands.

While 98 percent of women that use the Turner Field restrooms washed their hands, only 65 percent of men did. And, if that doesn’t gross you out, that number is up from the 57 percent who washed up in 2007, according to the study.

Yep, the dirtiest hands in the country belong to the men at Turner Field.

Iverson’s Manager, Possibly Unfamiliar WIth Anything His Client Has Done Recently

Posted in Basketball at 6:56 pm by

The AP carried a report earlier today in which Gary Moore, manager to free agent PF Allen Iverson, insisted there was “legitimate interest” on the part of an unidentified Chinese team. Perhaps sensing a need to keep A.I.’s name in the papers, Moore continued with, “we’re very astonished, to say the least, that not one (NBA) team has contacted us with any interest. I just don’t understand it.”

At the risk of boring anyone who paid even casual attention to the NBA over the past few years, let’s review Iverson’s recent performance/conduct. In November of 2008, the Nuggets sent him to Detroit in exchange for Chauncey Billups, Antonio McDyess and Cheikh Samb. To say it was a one-sided trade is to give Joe Dumars far too much credit ; Billups thrived in his return to Denver, while Iverson bristled at being Rodney Stuckey’s backup and essentially quit on the team. A subsequent tenure in Memphis lasted all of 3 games played, as once again, Iverson couldn’t or wouldn’t adjust to coming off the bench. A return to Philadelphia saw Iverson leaving the team — citing his daughter’s ill health — after little more than two months.

Whether or not Iverson can still play at an elite level in the NBA is a matter for debate (one you’d probably lose if you answered “yes”). What isn’t a matter of opinion is that a player who at one time personified fearlessness has established a contemporary reputation for going AWOL when circumstances are less than perfect. After everything Iverson’s brought to the game since entering the league in 1996, it’s impossible to relish the farcical nature of his job hunt ; there will be obvious comparisons to Stephon Marbury, but the Coney Island product was never Iverson’s equal as a scorer or a competitor. But unless Iverson is willing to not simply accept but embrace a diminished role, an NBA roster spot seems unlikely.

EIther Lane Kiffin Is Tremendously Unpopular WIth The LA Media…

Posted in consumer affairs, Gridiron, Sports Journalism at 12:25 pm by

…or the widely despised USC head coach and his current paymasters actually believe answering questions on video posed by one hand-picked interrogator constitutes a bona fide “press conference”. Where can The Hooded Casanova sign up for this sort of treatment?

09.13.10

NYT’s Schwartz : Bringing The Words “Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy” Closer To The Popular Venacular

Posted in Gridiron, Medical Science at 11:54 pm by

Two days after the Eagles allowed Stewart Bradley and Kevin Kolb to briefly return to action after suffering what turned out to be a concussions, the New York Times’ Allan Schwartz is reporting the autopsy results of Pennsylvania lineman Owen Thomas revealed similar brain trauma to that of 20 dead NFL veterans.

Thomas, a popular 6-foot-2, 240-pound junior for Penn with no previous history of depression, hanged himself in his off-campus apartment after what friends and family have described as a sudden and uncharacteristic emotional collapse. Doctors at Boston University subsequently received permission from the family to examine Thomas™s brain tissue and discovered early stages of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a disease linked to depression and impulse control primarily among N.F.L. players, two of whom also committed suicide in the last 10 years.

Doctors in the Boston University group and outside it cautioned that Thomas™s suicide should not be attributed solely or even primarily to the damage in his brain, given the prevalence of suicide among college students in general. But they said that a 21-year-old™s having developed the disease so early raised the possibility that it played a role in his death, and provided arresting new evidence that the brain damage found in N.F.L. veterans can afflict younger players.

Thomas never had a diagnosis of a concussion on or off the football field or even complained of a headache, his parents said, although they acknowledged he was the kind of player who might have ignored the symptoms to stay on the field. Because of this, several doctors said, his C.T.E. ” whose only known cause is repetitive brain trauma ” must have developed from concussions he dismissed or from the thousands of subconcussive collisions he withstood in his dozen years of football, most of them while his brain was developing.

Sharpe’s Track Record, No Prob For The (Former) Tiffany Network

Posted in "Wife Beater" Is Not A Fashion Statement, Gridiron, Sports TV, The Law at 6:25 pm by

When the likes of Jay Mariotti and Warren Sapp ran afoul of the law recently, both ESPN and the NFL Network acted swiftly to take the respective mouthpieces off the air. Such actions are in stark contrast to CBS, who provided a Sunday morning vehicle to former Broncos/Ravens TE Shannon Sharpe, despite the analyst being the subject of a temporary restraining order filed last Thursday in connection with a domestic violence case. The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick considers Sharpe’s teflon status.

Sharpe not only appeared on CBS’ pregame show yesterday, but the network seemed eager to provide him the benefit of all doubts. CBS made it clear that no police charges have been filed, and that Sharpe is highly regarded among staffers.

But it seems as if someone in a position to know opened the police book on Sharpe late last week. Since 1994, it also was reported, 10 civil complaints have been filed against him in Fulton County, all by women, including a battery charge by the mother of one of his children. That charge was later dropped after mediation.

Sharpe also is involved in a child support case in another Georgia jurisdiction.

If even partially true, this all makes you wonder if CBS did its homework six years ago when it hired Sharpe, or whether the network just liked the fact that he was a talkative, accomplished player who flexed his muscles for the cameras. n TV, that’s often all it takes.

Chase & Pete Carroll : Two Lousy Tastes That Go Oh So Well Together

Posted in consumer affairs, Gridiron, Internal Affairs, The Marketplace at 5:06 pm by

In the aftermath of my home burning down in 2009, Chase — the mortgage company after acquiring Washington Mutual’s business — did everything in their power to make my life miserable. To cut a very long story short, Chase held a massive insurance payment that covered nearly 90% of the loan’s balance in escrow for nearly 8 months while still demanding monthly payments on the original amount owed. It took the intervention of a government agency for Chase to finally address the issue, but not before months of overseas call center threats and preposterous “inspections” (of an empty lot — for which I was billed) had occurred. In the end, Chase pocketed the interest on the insurance check while charging full interest on the loan. A pretty neat bit of business there — they managed to profit wildly on what was nothing short of a personal catastrophe.

So with that incident in mind (and I thank you for bearing with me), I was very pleased to see Pete Carroll ensconced as Chase’s new spokesmodel. Who better to be associated with this malicious, predatory, faceless gang of creeps than an coach whose resume is largely based on ill-gotten gains and turning a blind eye to ethical lapses? Fuck the both of ‘em, now and forever.

J-E-R-K-S : Gang Green’s Leering Skills (Allegedly) In Mid-Season Form

Posted in Gridiron, not just a piece of meat, Sports Journalism at 11:02 am by

(Sainz, being treated with the greatest respect by the Cardinals’ Steve Breaston)

Hard for me to recall the last time any NFL team save for Dallas had generated so many column inches over non-football matters before a down had been played.  I’m writing of course, about the New York Jets, whose Super Bowl aspirations and efforts to christen their half of the Nu Meadowlands tonight are slightly sullied by the claims of TV Azteca’s Ines Sainz.  From the New York Daily News’ Kevin Armstrong and Dave Goldiner :

Sainz, 32, a former Miss Universe contestant, complained she was bombarded with catcalls and boorish antics at the Jets’ New Jersey training facility to the extent she wanted to “cover my ears.”

“I’m dying of embarrassment!” Sainz tweeted in Spanish.

Goodell immediately ordered an investigation into the “troubling” allegations, which were addressed in a team meeting Sunday night.

Sainz went to the Jets’ Florham Park practice field Saturday to interview quarterback Mark Sanchez. But while waiting for Sanchez, she was blitzed with reprehensible behavior.

Players and coaches seemed to intentionally overthrow passes in her direction, whistled at her, openly ogled her and blocked her path as she attempted to walk away.

Linebacker Jason Taylor reportedly volunteered for the passing drill in hopes of getting near Sainz. Defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman fueled the antics, tossing pigskins in Sainz’s direction.

Nose tackle Kris Jenkins shouted: “Don’t let her act like she doesn’t know English. She speaks English.”

I’m gonna take the wildest of guesses that around some segment of the spurts sports blogosphere, Sainz’ rep as something less than a burgeoning Bob Ley is gonna be used as justification for such treatment.  It’s no justification at all, of course, but coming on the heels of the Jets’s handling of Boobgate, one could just as easily conclude there’s an institution-wide attitude of not-giving-shit about civilized behavior.

The Detroit Free Press’ Priorities Need No Adjusting

Posted in Gridiron, non-sporting journalism at 10:27 am by

While Shaun Hill, Calvin Johnson and the oughta-be-undefeated Detroit Lions were truly jobbed yesterday, look on the bright side. At least there are no other stories of local or national import worthy of dominating the front page of a local daily on a Monday morning.

09.12.10

Eddie Money’s Cruise To Paradise : Your Headliner Can Double As Bartender

Posted in Rock Und Roll at 5:56 pm by

(image courtesy Carson Craig)

There’s not much I can add to the above pitch other than if for some reason you’re unsuccessful acquiring tickets to another multi-day spectacular this autumn, this would obviously be a very appealing consolation prize.

A Pithy, Impassioned Analysis Of The Calvin Johnson TD Catch-That-Wasn’t

Posted in Free Expression, Gridiron at 4:11 pm by

Not only does teh above breakdown (and I do mean BREAKDOWN) of what will probably be the biggest story of NFL Week One beat anything you’ll read on Bleacher Report, if “Around The Horn” is considering a replacement for Jay Mariotti, they could do far worse than YouTube (ab)user F1sTDaCuFFs.

They could do much better, too, mind you.

Rangers’ Godly MVP Hamilton : Hold The Celebratory Jello Shots, I’m Sober

Posted in Baseball at 3:29 pm by

Texas OF Josh Hamilton  “will face a dilemma as a recovering alcoholic and drug addict,” warns the Dallas Morning News’ Jeff WIlson.  “Players whose team clinches a playoff spot traditionally celebrate by dumping champagne on their teammates’ heads.” Or, if you’re Randy Niemann, by spraying killjoy Frank Cashen and ending up being reminded about it on CSTB every couple of months for the rest of your fucking life.  But back to the point of Wilson’s story, Hamilton, having already dealt with a high profile lapse in sobriety, is taking no chances this time around.

Hamilton has been trying to find a way to enjoy the party without ingesting any alcohol.

“I’m going to have goggles on, duct tape over the mouth and either a wetsuit or raincoat,” he said. “It can’t get on your skin. It’ll soak through your skin.

“I don’t want to send the wrong message to people who might see pictures and think I’m not serious about recovery or what it stands for.”

I don’t wish to mock however Hamilton chooses to live, but is anyone else getting, y’know, turned on by all this talk of duct tape and wetsuits?

Raissman : Mets Gang Of 3 No More/Less Callous Than Jeter

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism, Sports Radio, Sports TV at 11:37 am by

Full credit to the Daily News’ resident Gallagher lookalike, sports media columnist Bob Raissman, for being one of the few mainstream types to humbly suggest the hi-tech lynching this week of Carlos Beltran, Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez was slightly hysterical compared to the treatment of the Mets’ crosstown colleagues.

The Mets trio was already unpopular. Now they can also be portrayed as callous and heartless. We get that. Yet, almost all of the same critics had nothing to say when Yankees players did not attend Bob Sheppard’s funeral. The players were not taken to task.

The few – very few – media types who ripped them were vilified, mostly by Yankee fans.

Hey, at least the Mets who didn’t go to Walter Reed offered better excuses than the one Derek Jeter came up with for missing Sheppard’s funeral. Jeter said: “I didn’t know about it.”

And why does Dillon Gee get a pass? He didn’t show at Walter Reed either. The excuse: He was pitching his first big league game that evening. Would paying his respects to the soldiers have messed up his mojo?

09.11.10

The Columbus Vs. Miami Debate (Without Even Mentioning The Eat vs. The Naked Skinnies)

Posted in Gridiron at 2:58 pm by

(mentioned, no, depicted, yes)

It might be the height over overstatement to say the entire state of Ohio bears a grudge against Miami over LeBron James’ departure, just as it would be terrible to conclude Cowtown is superior merely because Ron House has made more good records than Charlie Pickett. But what the hell, it’s a Saturday afternoon and The U is facing the Buckeyes in a rematch of the 2003 National Championship game that catapulted Maurice Clarett to jail his glittering professional career. Who can really blame the Columbus Dispatch’s Joe Blundo for picking a fight before the game? Here’s a couple of the highlights :

7. Columbus makes better television.

Not many TV series have been set in Columbus. In fact, only Family Ties, the 1980s sitcom starring Michael J. Fox, comes to mind. But it was pretty good.

Here’s a sampling of unpleasant shows set in Miami: Miami Vice (police in pastels); CSI: Miami (morgue porn); Kourtney & Khloe Take Miami (the Kardashian sisters stretching their 15 minutes of fame) and season two of Jersey Shore (the cast moving south but remaining just as obnoxious).

8. Ohio has autumn.

While Miamians perspire, Ohio enjoys crisp, colorful falls. As for winter, well, the skiing opportunities here are better.

9. Ohio has fewer hurricanes.

Until 2008, Ohio could have claimed no hurricanes, but the winds of dying Ike did have some effect. Still, there was no storm surge.

10. Ohio has basements.

Florida’s well-known reputation for goofiness should come as no surprise. That unfortunate state has a high water table that precludes basements.

Thus, Miamians have no place to sit out a tornado, tinker with tools or send the kids when the noise gets unbearable.

It’s pretty compelling stuff (even if the author forgot about “Deter”, so much so that Blundo never even had to cite some of his hometown’s more outstanding attributes (Times New Viking, drive-in liquor stores, White Castle’s corporate headquarters) nor the fact that Miami can never be considered a world-class city as long as it offers refuge to Sid Rosenberg.

Mount : Don’t Blame Wayne For Being A Sub-Literate, Adulterous Shitheel

Posted in Football at 10:36 am by

England/Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was kept out of the latter’s lineup for an early Saturday draw at Everton, amidst concernsthat recent revelations of Rooney cheating on his pregnant wife with prostitutes (not the first time he’s made such headlines) would make the prolific scorer an easy target for abuse.  It’s all a bit puritanical in the view of the Telegraph’s libertine Harry Mount, who penned the following underneath the fantastic headline, “It makes sense for fantastically rich, young sportsmen to visit prostitutes.”

It makes sense that, for Rooney, prostitution is the most convenient form of adultery, for all its sordidness and risk of media discovery. It is almost impossible for him to form a proper, grown-up relationship with any woman other than his wife, Coleen.

In a very old-fashioned, rather touching way, they have been seeing each other for 12 years, since Rooney was 12. He is then pretty inexperienced at the basic art of talking to members of the opposite sex, other than Coleen. His lack of education “ he left school at 16 “ won™t help his communication skills either. The infantilising nature of fame “ he was playing for Everton™s first team by 16, too “ will have further limited his abilities to form proper relationships, romantic or otherwise. With support from agents and the Manchester United PR team, and cushioned from reality by a thick security blanket of cash, he has never had to engage with the world in a grown-up way.

Of course, there™s no reason why Rooney should be adulterous in the first place. But, if he is given to being an adulterer, the use of a prostitute “ though not defensible “ remains far more logical than an affair, or marriage to another woman, with all the grown-up commitment and need for conversation that even an affair requires.

I’m trying to follow  Mount’s logic here — at least Rooney isn’t a bigamist? —- oodles of cash + global fame at a young age = a less than fully formed human being.  As opposed to, y’know, someone who’s a) horny and b) possibly a jerk. But I can totally buy into the notion that Rooney can’t keep up his end of a conversation, though he’s supposedly a karaoke master.

If This Fella Isn’t The Biggest Mark E. Smith Fan In All Of The Midwestern USA…

Posted in Free Expression at 2:54 am by

(from the Chicago Reader)

….I’m genuinely frightened to find out who is. Last seen in this space inexplicably adorning the now infamous eBay-Thailand-Joy-Division-tee, The Fall’s legendary M.E.S. can be viewed on a regular basis by patrons of the Berwyn, IL YMCA.  On the left arm of one of their fellow fitness buffs, that is.  Though I’m not sure how Mark would react to his most hardcore supporter frequenting a gym (let’s just Smith will never be confused with Jack Lalane), the band’s Illinois ties are impossible to ignore.  Chicago served as the locale for one of The Fall’s better live albums (‘A Part Of America Therein, 1981′), it’s where Mark first met encountered future bride/collaborator Brix, and now the city (or relatively nearby) serves as home to a man with a fucking enormous Mark E. Smith tattoo.

09.10.10

Happy Rosh Hashanah / Welcome To Sacramento, Omri Casspi

Posted in Basketball, Genocidal Tendencies at 6:13 pm by

Over the course of the FIBA World Baseketball Championships, on more than one occasions I’ve found myself curing the television when NBA TV has chosen to re-run their up close & personal profile of Israeli SF Omri Casspi, the 23rd overall pick by the Kings in last June’s draft and probably the most prominent currently active  Association Jew not named Farmar, Stern or Stoudemire.  There’s nothing troubling about the program in and of itself, but when it gets to the point that I can recite all of the dialogue from memory, enough is (fucking) enough.

Still, none of that is justification for painting a backwards (!) swastika on Casspi’s forehead. Ball Don’t Lie’s Dan Devine has followed news accounts of the vandalism (and Casspi’s measured response) and takes rightful umbrage at Sacramento police calling the defacing a “possible” hate crime.  As opposed to what, a crime of seething indifference?

Nobody busts out the Krylon and throws up a Nazi symbol on top of an image of a Jew out of love. Nobody does what some sick skell did to Casspi’s image without a shameful fever coursing through the blood.

You might not believe that those who commit crimes like this should be punished more severely because their actions were motivated by hate rather than hunger or poverty or greed or something else. But denying that hatred — of Jews in general, of Casspi in particular, of some amorphous other, of one’s own lot in life, whatever — underpins the invocation of the slaughter of 6 million Jews and as many as 11 million more people from other groups (not to mention the evocation of Charles Manson) would be nonsensical.

Similarly, I get why nearly every report and commentary on the matter has taken a cue from the remarks of Darrell Steinberg, president pro tempore of the California State Senate, and included some sort of note that the abysmal artistic remix was all the more tasteless and offensive because “it occurred on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the celebration of the Jewish new year.” I tend to think that this small, disgusting act would’ve been just as heinous any other day of the year, because a flagrant’s a flagrant whether it comes right after the opening tip or in the closing seconds, but I get it.

Ken Reeves, The Godfather Of Turkish Hoops

Posted in Basketball, The World Of Entertainment, We Aren't The World at 1:27 pm by

For those of a particular vintage, the CBS TV series “The White Shadow” (1978-1981) was arguably a superior, urban/basketball “Friday Night Lights” for its period (albeit much, much funnier). While the series’ lasting influence on American sports culture seems to be limited to reruns on The YES Network and cast reunions on Jim Rome’s unlistenable radio show, the New York Times’ Pete Thamel reports exploits of Thorpe, Coolidge, Salami, Gomez and equipment manager Abner Goldstein proved infectious to the TV-starved nation of Turkey.

œIt made people aware of basketball in Turkey, said Alper Yilmaz, a former national team player who works in the front office of Efes Pilsen, a club in Istanbul that has won 13 Turkish League titles since its founding in 1976.

œThere was already basketball in Turkey, Yilmaz added, œbut after that show, everyone started playing.

When œThe White Shadow was first shown in Turkey, the country had one TV channel, Turkish Radio Television. With little competition, the series, which was dubbed, acquired a huge following.

Aydin Ors, considered one of Turkey™s greatest coaches, said the impact could be felt in youth basketball ” mini basket, as it is known here ” and carried all the way to the national team.

œTo see an indoor sport, people didn™t know a lot about indoor sports until that time, Ors said. œThis show started to bring basketball into people™s lives every week.

Cihangir Sonat, who played for Turkey™s national team from 1969 to 1981, recalled referees™ telling players before a Turkish League game not to argue calls so they could get home in time to watch the show.

Yigiter Ulug, a part-time professor in sports communications at Bahcesehir University, recalled that as an 18-year-old he begged his coach to change the team™s practice time because it interfered with the show.

œWe had guys on our team that we called the names of the guys in the series, Ulug said. œIt was a strange thing for a Turkish guy to be called Salami.

Scratchbomb’s Impassioned Defense Of The Not Even Remotely Hateable Carlos Beltran

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, Sports Journalism, The Woah at 12:55 pm by

The matter of Carlos Beltran’s unexcused absence from a team trip to the Walter Reed Medical Center this past Tuesday has already been mentioned in this space, but the extent to which CF Carlos Beltran — who claimed the hospital visit conflicted with a previously planned meeting to discuss a school he’s building in Puerto Rico — has been vilified (here’s one particularly sloppy example) requires further context. In this case, it’s supplied with aplomb by Scratchbomb, who reminds us that once Beltran’s been run out of town, Mets fans will have lost “the greatest center fielder to play in New York since Willie, Mickey, and The Duke”.

When Beltran returned to the lineup after the All Star Break, it coincided with a team-wide slump and a hideous road trip. Obviously his mere presence in the clubhouse was to blame, these fans assumed–ignoring the presence of black holes like Henry Blanco and Jeff Francoeur and streaky rookies like Ike Davis in the everyday lineup.

Never mind that he came back to the field last September, in the textbook definition of a lost season, playing for nothing at all but pride on a knee that would eventually need surgery. Never mind that he did the same thing in 2005, after after his horrific head-on collision with Mike Cameron, when he had every right to sit out the rest of the season.

Never mind he put up big numbers at the end of 2007 and 2008 in a vain attempt to stave off The Collapses (OPS in September/October of 2008: 1.086). Never mind that he hit a two-run homer in the last game ever played at Shea to give the crowd hope that maybe, just maybe the unthinkable would not happen.

Never mind all the charity work the man does, in both New York and Puerto Rico, much of it unpublicized. Never mind that despite the idiotic hatred slung at him from the Joe Benignos of the world, he’s always conducted himself with class and dignity.

He doesn’t deserve a fraction of this abuse, and he certainly doesn’t deserve to have his own team lump him into the same category as the reprehensible Oliver Perez and the squeamish Luis Castillo. He doesn’t deserve to have the Mets publicly defame him for no good reason, just because they want to get rid of his suddenly expensive contract. (In which case, why are they making public statements that will only lower his value? Just more Mets idiocy.)

He also doesn’t deserve to have the Mets’ beat writers unblinkingly report this “story” exactly as the team told it, without asking the front office why they didn’t know (or didn’t mention) Beltran’s prior commitment. The team may have Machiavellian motives, but they need help from the press to truly enact them. Abetting character assassination: not your finest moment, fellas.

With all due respect to the author of the above excerpt, I’d like to leave the last word on this unseemly affair with Amazin’ Avenue’s Sam Page, a scribe savvy enough to note local media doing ownership’s bidding in a manner not witnessed since Dick Young was burying Tom Seaver.

The best part is how these journalists created the players’ insidious motives — by involving baseball. Because they’re not team players on the field and in the clubhouse, it’s no surprise they fund Hamas and hunt bald eagles in their spare time, all to get back at Fred Wilpon for paying them hundreds of millions of dollars. The press created a story to play on the universal sentiment that there are things greater than baseball and money, but in doing so, completely trivialized something important by unduly making it about baseball and money.

09.09.10

Yanks’ Levin On Barbara Kopple : She’s No Nick Zedd

Posted in Baseball, Cinema, Sports TV at 8:44 pm by

OK, while that’s not exactly how Randy Levine (above) described the director of the 1976 Academy Award winner “Harlan County, USA”, the Bombers president expressed considerable misgivings about Barbara Kopple’s upcoming “The House Of Steinbrenner”, airing later this month as part of ESPN’s “30 On 30″ series.  From the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman :

“It was very disappointing to watch the film. She had unbelievable access to the Yankees. She had great access to Hal (Steinbrenner). The interview with him was exceptional,” Levine said. “The rest of the film was the usual news at 6. It was a disjointed effort. I’m not sure where she was trying to go with the story.

“As somebody who is an admirer of hers, I just think she swung and missed at this one.”

Kopple said Levine did discuss “The House of Steinbrenner” with her after watching it at her office.

“I’m sad Randy Levine feels this way,” Kopple said Wednesday. “I feel when people see this film they won’t quite understand what he’s talking about.”

Kopple said her film projects love – love of the Yankees.

“You see a lot of it through the fans and their excitement and their passion for the team,” Kopple said. “You see it in the pilgrimages the people make to (the old) Yankee Stadium on the final day.”

Levine insisted he was just putting on his critic hat and not speaking for the organization. Does he also see himself as caretaker of The Boss’ image and the Yankees brand? Did this make him more sensitive to Kopple’s effort?

“No, absolutely not,” he said. “I don’t mind people’s opinions whether they are critical or not critical. I just thought from a great filmmaker it would say something.”

This 9/11, Austinites That Love Freedom Cannot Dare Forget…The Genius Of ST37

Posted in Internal Affairs, Rock Und Roll at 4:09 pm by

As you know, Saturday marks a very important day in American history. As such, a succession of Austin bands will be paying tribute to ST37 and their 24 years of blowing minds. Amongst the participants, Pynchon Dual, Brown Harrison & The Good Time Gang, 7 Inch Stitch,, Air Traffic Controllers and ST37 will be playing a set of their own once the dust clears. It’s all happening at the Trailer Space Mosque Community Center (That Doubles As A Record Store), and as always, donations are accepted.