Though I’ll admit to being clinically fed up with running beer ads (that I’m not being paid for), it’s tremendously inspiring to see that legendary broadcaster Alan Partridge has once again, bounced back. American audiences have been denied his hosting appearances on the military quiz program “Skirmish”, but the wonders of YouToobery will bring us portions of Alan’s radio work starting next week. No matter how widely viewed these clips will be, Alan’s still guaranteed to reach more people than Imus.
”I am delighted to announce that after years as a regional broadcaster on North Norfolk Digital my groundbreaking radio segment, Mid Morning Matters, will now be accessible to a potential audience of billions via the World Wide Web (www).
That it has taken Foster™s to help realise my dream of joining the information superhighway is a damning indictment of the established broadcasters whose shabby treatment of me on Sept 10th 2001 was frankly shabby. I made dozens of calls the next day, all of which were ignored.
My appreciation must go to Armando Iannucci and Baby Cow for ignoring the lies, god bless them. In the meantime I look forward to œhanging out ˜n™ chillin with the MySpace generation.”
“With winds whipping across most of the midwest this week like a burrito after lunch through Charlie Weiss’ pants, how stupid do you have to be as a coach to send a kid up into that death bucket?” was the elegantly posed question by Sporting News Radio’s Steve Czaban after 20 year old Notre Dame junior Declan Sullivan was killed when his video tower collapsed during Fighting Irish football practice Wednesday Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has hailed Sullivan’s “sense of humor” in the wake of the accident, but it’s a pretty fair bet the undergrad’s parents will refrain from laughter until long after a wrongful death lawsuit is filed. Say what you want about Gerry Faust ; all he ever killed was a football program.
ESPN’s mother-ship, the Walt Disney Company, made the decision to engage in some creative destruction and the ESPN Zones were just part of the fat that was trimmed. This included the very popular locale in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. But there was one problem with this hard-nosed business decision: the 150 workers in Baltimore, shocked that their high-traffic restaurant closed, were told with less than a week’s notice. Federal law, according to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act requires sixty days of notice and severance. Instead, the workers at ESPN Zone were given the bum’s rush. Even worse, many didn’t hear the wrenching news through their boss. Instead, many found out their jobs were yesterday’s news in the Baltimore Sun or even on Facebook.
Now the workers are fighting back and fighting mad. On Monday, October 25, the former employee filed a class action lawsuit against ESPN’s parent company, Disney, to get the Mouse to comply with the penalty associated with violating federal labor law. The penalty for violating the WARN Act requires that Disney pay workers for sixty days at the rate of their last paycheck. The severance that Disney offered, which is shameful, is separate from this penalty. Their attorney, Andrew D. Freeman said, “Disney’s severance payments were inadequate as a matter of law and as a matter of human decency.” The lawsuit also shines a spotlight on the most vulnerable people in today’s economy: people who live day in and day out working non-union, service industry jobs that can be here today and gone tomorrow.
Though acknowledging Sandy Alderson’s impressive credentials and (relative) pioneering status as a sabermetric advocate, ESPN NY’s Ian O’Connor — in perhaps his boldest public move since torpedoing Willie Randolph a few years back — insists the New York Mets’ new choice for General Manager, “has a hole in his game the size of Citi Field, as do scores of fellow executives and union leaders who once looked the other way” (“Alderson is likely to preach accountability with the sad sack Mets, and that’s fine..he would make that pitch credible if he started with himself, and took a few minutes Friday to apologize for an opportunity lost.”)
Alderson put together the Oakland A’s of Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire, the Bash Brothers who slugged their way to three consecutive World Series appearances from 1988 to 1990 before ultimately taking their heavy lumber to baseball’s good name. Of course, Canseco and McGwire admitted to using steroids, effectively nominating Oakland as a ground zero for the performance-enhancing plague.
Alderson declined to comment Wednesday about the A’s and their role in a grand pharmacological hoax, but the Mets’ GM-to-be is on record saying he suspected Canseco, not McGwire, as a steroid user back in the day. During his 2005 appearance on “60 Minutes Wednesday,” after Canseco had already talked to Mike Wallace about the steroid allegations in his book, Alderson was asked by Wallace if he had confronted Canseco about his suspicions.
“No,” Alderson said. “There were a number of occasions when he publicly denied that he was using steroids. And you know, the notion that he was going to admit to me what he had already denied on many occasions, I think was not likely.”
On the same program, Alderson’s manager in Oakland, Tony La Russa, admitted Canseco often joked about his steroid use and how clean teammates were wasting their time working out in the gym. “Our players knew it,” La Russa said of Canseco’s drug use.
Asked why La Russa wouldn’t share that information with his direct supervisor, Alderson said, “That’s a question, I guess, you’ll have to ask Tony.”
Weak answers from a strong man.
I wonder how many public apologies we’re owed if every executive with strong suspicions or outright knowledge of PED use during said era were held to O’Connor’s standard of accountability? The number is probably not so small, and would only get much larger if the same criteria were applied to O’Connor’s colleagues in the worlds of print and broadcast media. Canseco and McGwire’s exploits didn’t merely occur on Alderson’s watch, they also happened in front of alleged journalists who either looked the other way or were every bit as naive as some baseball executives claimed to be.
(photo borrowed from Katy Lyle. Billy, taking a break at Chet’s Last Call.)
I first encountered Billy Ruane at a Stains show at the Old Cambridge Baptist Church when I was 17 years old ; Billy was 8 years older. We weren’t formally introduced — he was wearing a suit that seemed to be falling off his person, piece by piece, while delivering flying karate kicks to the back of the heads of other dancers. Billy was politely asked to chlll out by the event organizers, then asked again in a less polite manner. I saw him again a few weeks later at a Gang Of Four show in NYC — I had nowhere to crash that night and Billy assured me his father was a member of the Harvard Club and we’d find some shelter in that opulent setting. No dice. Apparently, there was a picture of Billy next to the front desk with instructions saying something to the effect of “do not let this man in”.
A somewhat inauspicious start to our friendship, but one that said a lot about Billy’s ability to make a strong impression. Perhaps the musical superfan of all time. the man who got thrown out of more shows than anyone else (including, perhaps, a few he promoted). Boston musicians (and more than a few from other places) had no better friend. “legendary patron” doesn’t even begin to cover it — from Hidenburg style DIY HC gigs (Billy was perhaps the only person in history who thought it was a good idea to offer the Clitboys a triple digit guarantee) to laying the groundwork for Central Square’s commercial revival, no American rock history book would be complete with a chapter or 3 dedicated to Billy’s exploits.
In a rock world filled with avarice, Billy’s ridiculous generosity, his boundless enthusiasm for shit-you-needed-to-hear would’ve been inspiring enough if he was just a nutty character that turned up at every gig. But he was much more than that — even in a world that was awfully quick to slam doors in his face (I once witnessed Billy getting fired from a kitchen job because his boss lost all patience with Ruane lobbying to have The Neats play the restaurant’s employee booze cruise — Billy had been working there for all of two days), Billy was awesome at making stuff happen, usually with little to show for it besides a hug. . It would be nearly enough to say there’s a long list of bands, known and otherwise, that received their first Boston show because Billy gave them a chance. But he was no mere club booker —Billy’s approach to putting a show together (something he got a lot better at in the years following that Clitboys incident) wasn’t entirely divorced from how he’d make a mixtape. There was no bigger believer in the power of art to transform and inspire, and no one in my lifetime gave as much of himself to make a rather chaotic scene feel like family.
Billy died yesterday. The Boston Phoenix provides some of the details , suffice to say there’s people all over the world — and not just old fuckers like me — who are mourning the loss of a buddy, a drinking partner, a role model (seriously), a fountain of ideas (a handful of ‘em genuinely realistic!) and a guy who even at his most exasperating, was always the funniest person in the room. It would be a huge understatement to say I am very, very lucky to have known Billy Ruane. But even those who didn’t know him benefit from a cultural environment he helped create.
Who knew that Isiah Thomas had so much in common with Rich Rodriguez? Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski claims the Knicks have conducted clandestine workouts with draft prospects in the Atlanta suburbs, a practice that violates NBA regulations.
Knicks director of East Coast scouting Rodney Heard coordinated and conducted the sessions, three players who were involved in some of the workouts told Yahoo! Sports “ including one May 2007 session that resulted in a devastating knee injury to Kansas All-American Brandon Rush (above). A tear of the anterior cruciate ligament in Rush™s right knee forced him to withdraw from the 2007 draft and required surgery plus six months of rehabilitation.
In addition to the Rush session “ which was an apparent violation of NBA bylaws forbidding teams from working out players before the annual predraft camp “ Heard may have broken more rules by conducting predraft workouts with additional players during restricted time periods in 2007 and for excessive sessions in 2009 and 2010.
¢ League sources with knowledge of the workouts said Heard trained forward Wilson Chandler for multiple weeks before the 2007 predraft camp. The Knicks went on to draft Chandler with the 23rd overall pick that year
Rush, now a member of the Indiana Pacers, said he was injured during a workout with Heard at a gymnasium connected to the former home of former NBA player Shareef Abdur-Rahim in Marietta, Ga. Rush had previously maintained that he sustained the injury in a pick-up game in his hometown of Kansas City, Mo. Multiple NBA executives, who researched Rush for the following draft in 2008, and sources in college basketball, the sneaker industry and those close to Rush and Heard said they were aware the injury happened in a workout with the Knicks.
While it’s tempting to view the above allegations as more evidence of MSG being the World’s Most Ethically Challenged Arena, give Thomas and Heard this much credit ; at least they opted to draft someone else after they’d assisted in torpedoing Rush’s career.