11.30.10

3 Guys Plead Sepp Blatter : Please Piss In Our Mouths & Tell Us It’s The Official Beer Of WC2018

Posted in Football, World Cup 2010 at 6:21 pm by

The BBC’s “Panorama” last night might’ve torpedoed England’s bid to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup with reports of widespread sleaze on the part of international soccer’s governing body, along with the claim FIFA would make no tax contribution whatsoever to the host nation. For the Guardian’s Sean Ingle and Paul Doyle, it’s a bit much to witness, “Davids Cameron and Beckham and Big Billy Windsor, spinelessly genuflecting before Fifa snollygosters in a bid to host a tournament that will allow Fifa to get rich, rich, richer on the back of you, you, you!”

In this time of cut-backs and sackings and smug two-finger gestures from fat cats, your government has not only agreed to these terms but has dispatched their top banana to Switzerland to plead “pick me, pick me, pick me!” like some giddy floozy on American’s Next Top Model. The Dutch government told Fifa to stick their demands right up their flabby posteriors “ the joint Dutch-Belgian bid has suffered but at least their integrity is intact. The British establishment, by contrast, lacks the bottle to do likewise, or perhaps just doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with big business sh@fting the little guy. After all, it’s not as if we’re not all in this together.

The revelation of Fifa’s demands on bidding nations “ which in addition to tax exemption for Fifa “and all its subsidiaries” orders that governments suspend their immigration laws for the duration of the tournament – was the biggest scandal to emerge from last night’s much-anticipated Panorama feature, even if those demands are not illegal. But there were, of course, also allegations of outlaw behaviour. Panorama accused three members of Fifa’s gilded nomenklatura of trousering monstrous bribes as part of a scam involving around $100m of illicit payments. The alleged payments were made over a decade ago, yet although, according to the BBC, big chief Sepp Blatter was aware of allegations of at least some of this chicanery, all three trough-dwellers remain in situ and, indeed, will be among the 23 executive committee members who will decide on Thursday where to stage the 2018 rip-off. There would have been 25 old men voting, of course, but two of them are suspended following previous allegations of corruption by the Sunday Times.

Wojnarowski On The Miami Mutiny

Posted in Basketball at 10:21 am by

’twas a mere afternoon ago that Yahoo Sports’ Kelly Dwyer opined that anonymous sources (or, as Dwyer implied, Maverick Carter) conspiring to tar Miami coach Erick Spoelstra as an insecure browbeater would “make a martyr out of him yet”, that appears to be exactly what’s happened.  Dwyer’s Yahoo colleague, Adrian Wojnarowski expresses little shock that James and Carter, “planted a story and exposed themselves again as jokers of the highest order,” but can’t help but shake his head over the manner in which Dwyane Wade (œI™m not going to say he™s ˜my guy,™ but he™s my coach”) has turned on Spoelstra.

Wade™s always been loyal, and that™s why it was so surprising to witness him bail this fast on Spoelstra, whom Wade knows too well. Spoelstra is a good NBA coach. Everyone knows that Wade isn™t a star who plays hard all the time, knows that he takes plays off on defense. They know that Spoelstra did a terrific job coaching 90 victories out of that flawed Miami roster the previous two seasons.

As much as ever, the Heat need Wade to influence James. Only now, it™s clear James is influencing Wade. With Udonis Haslem out for the regular season, the locker room misses one of its vital voices. Now, Wade is struggling on the floor and James is the devil on his shoulder, whispering that he doesn™t need to be accountable, that there™s an easy fall guy for everyone: Spoelstra.

Those who know Wade well, who care about him, were disappointed Monday. When Spoelstra needed Wade to stand up for him, Wade never shrunk so small. Spoelstra was Wade™s guy, but Wade™s finding it much easier to align himself with James™ coward act than do the right thing. This was something that you™d expect out of Chris Bosh, who™s never been a leader, never a winner, but Wade?

œHe knows better than this, one of Wade™s former assistant coaches said. œI™m not saying he hasn™t changed some, but he knows right from wrong. And this is wrong.

On The Bright Side, Derek Anderson Has A Coors Commercial In His Future

Posted in Gridiron at 8:49 am by

In retrospect, perhaps “we were just chuckling over the all the fantasy leagues where no one started Brian Westbrook” would’ve been a much, much better answer to a reporter’s question.  Keep in mind, folks, Derek Anderson won the QB job in Phoenix after it was determined Matt Leinart lacked the requisite leadership skills.

11.29.10

Hang The DJ : Bama Sacks Cam-Baiter

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 11:57 pm by

The Tuscaloosa News’ Chase Goodbread reports the University Of Alabama has fired an employee for the sin of playing “unauthorized music” over the Bryant-Denny Stadium P.A. during Saturday’s Iron Bowl loss to No. 2 Auburn.

The staffer was part-time, according to UA Public Relations Director Debbie Lane, but has not been named by the university. Two of the pre-game song choices were “Take the Money and Run,” by The Steve Miller Band, and “Son of a Preacher Man”, recorded by Dusty Springfield in 1968 and later by recording legend Aretha Franklin.

The song choices were apparently directed at Auburn quarterback Cam Newton (above), whose father is a reverend and is embroiled in a recruiting scandal amid reports that he sought payment during his son’s recruitment in violation of NCAA rules.

“Our processes require that all music and videos played in the stadium prior to and during every game be carefully scripted and approved by a senior administrator in the Athletics Department,” Lane wrote in an e-mail. “The former staff member deviated from the script that had been approved for the game with Auburn, and the University took steps to immediately terminate his contract.”

Whoever’s Trying To Smear Erik Spoelstra Is Going About It The Wrong Way

Posted in Basketball, Sports Journalism at 5:13 pm by

“He’s jumping on them…if anything, he’s been too tough on them.” So claims an anonymous source to ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard, characterizing Miami coach Erik Spoelsta’s allegedly brutal treatment of Dwayne Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh as a paranoid reaction to rumors of his job insecurity. “”Instead of coaching he’s at the point where the players are starting to sense that he’s fearing for his job,” claims Broussard’s mole, and it’s the sort of attempted burial that has Yahoo Sports’ Kelly Dwyer replying, “keep snivelin’, sources..you’re going to make a martyr out of Spoelstra yet.”

All this is being tossed out there to make Spoelstra look bad, as he struggles to right Miami’s ship, but all this nonsense is doing is making Spoelstra look better. Of course James doesn’t take these things as seriously as he should, not when he’s setting up parties and appearances in clubs following road games, or taking whole possessions off to float around the perimeter. This sort of criticism, something he never got in Cleveland, is exactly what he needs.

Spoelstra is not doing his job when it comes to getting the most out of the players that he’s been put in charge of. But he is right to call out Miami’s Big Three, each of whom have been the biggest underachievers on this team. Not the point guards, not the big men, and not the coaching staff.

Broussard’s sources can gripe all they want about Spoelstra taking his frustrations out on the superstars, but he’s right to question their commitment. There’s no reason James should have just two double-figure rebound games, so far. There’s no reason Wade should be playing the sort of defense he’s playing, and there’s no reason Chris Bosh’s rebound percentage should have dropped to a mark below the percent he came through with as a 19-year-old rookie.

Atlantic City’s House That Chuck Carr Built, In Disrepair

Posted in Baseball at 4:21 pm by

New Jersey is deceptively vast. Geographically, of course, it’s not. But in terms of the number of disagreeable, hyper-verbose human beings crammed into those square miles, it is frankly yooge. And, of course, it’s more diverse than it gets credit for — New Jersey residents elect forward-thinking former physics professors to Congress and nightmare animate pork roasts to the governorship, and generally live in the long shadows of a thousand weird contradictions, some notably less charming than others. I don’t live there anymore, and the four days I spent in the state over the holiday marked the longest time in-state in I don’t know how long. This is a long way of saying that I probably shouldn’t be making great big statements about New Jersey does and doesn’t like. But if New Jersey doesn’t love a good ruin, it sure has a funny way of showing it.

The state where I grew up often seems to be half ruin, from the gap-toothed factories and sludgy post-industrial inertia of the cities to the weirdly chipper empty storefronts lining the main street of my ultra-bourgeois hometown. I don’t know too much about South Jersey, honestly, and my impression of Atlantic City is based entirely on two drunken nights of not-so-productive gambling there — my only really positive memory of the place was GBV’s “A Salty Salute” coming on someone’s shuffled iPod as we crossed the causeway into town, a moment which suggested a promise that evaporated once we finally made it onto the ruined streets and into the glitzily bummerific casino. I did come out like $60 up on that trip, but Atlantic City struck me as no kind of place for a decent person to spend time. Mostly, though, Atlantic City is just a gambling-enhanced (?) version of Jersey’s other big cities — crumbling under the weight of generations-long corruption and misgovernance and disregard, as well as just plain crumbling. A.C. was also like Jersey’s other Bartertown-y burgs in that it had an entry in the independent Atlantic League — the Atlantic City Surf, winners of the Atlantic League’s first title back in 1998, and hosts of the league’s first All-Star Game .

Operative word there being “had.” Where Newark and (freaking) Camden have managed to keep their Atlantic League teams alive, the Atlantic City Surf finally went out of business a month before the 2009 season, after leaving the AL for the even more down-market Can-Am League. Like all Atlantic League teams, the Surf extended the careers of a host of tri-state baseball washouts — The 1999 Surf featured both Rey and Luis Quinones, but the Surf also employed Mitch Williams, Chuck Carr, and a pre-comeback Ruben Sierra, as well as endearingly weird Atlantic League vagabond-masher types like Juan “The Large Human” Thomas, who I used to love writing about during my first job, at AOL’s DigitalCity listings site. (I kind of took the initiative on the Atlantic League beat, there; here’s more on The Large Human)

That the Surf were unable to stay in business while the Newark Bears and Camden Riversharks have — while the ultra-blighted city of Bridgeport, CT, which is surely one of the crappiest places I’ve ever been, has managed to keep the Bluefish in operation for over a decade — is a testament, primarily, to how tough it is to get people to do things other than gamble in a town whose entire economy (and arguably very existence) is based on gambling.

But what has happened to Atlantic City’s Bernie Robbins Stadium (above) in the year-plus period of its desertion is a testament to… well, why you should weatherize buildings, for one thing, but also to New Jersey’s weird knack with ruins. The perennially, perpetually cash-strapped city — which owns the stadium — did virtually nothing to secure, weatherize or otherwise keep-up the place. As a result, Atlantic City has an insta-ruin on its hands, just blocks from the casinos, complete with interiors that have been stripped in pursuit of copper wire, graffiti-tagged outfield walls, piles of uncollected garbage all over the freaking place, and saplings growing in the infield. Dan Good and Michael Clark’s piece on the deserted stadium in the Press of Atlantic City is full of weird malapropery — is it really “a monument to a gone moment?” — and some dubious newspaper-y stylistics, but it’s also kind of gripping because of the myriad interlocking derelictions it describes.

Yes, this looks familiar. This is the view fans used to see when entering the stadium, with the Atlantic City skyline in the background.

But the playing field is faded and dull. Ducks graze in what used to be right field. The infield, covered in crabgrass, in need of a groundskeeper, resembles one of the city™s dozens of barren lots. A half foot of water pools in the dugouts, where cleats used to rest. Empty cans of Goya coconut juice are in the dugout corners, near the bat racks.

Branches poke through the outfield walls ” the sections of the wall that haven™t disappeared or that have been covered with graffiti sprayings of male genitals. Graffiti also covers the stadium™s bricks, the doors, the walls ” any vertical surface, really. Some entranceways are boarded-up. In the stands where fans used to sit, caution tape winds across exposed, crumbling brick. Upstairs, 12-year-old concrete is filled with fault lines.

And those are the stadium™s nicer parts.

In a decade, maybe all this will be profound — something for humpo literarily-inclined expats like myself to muse on, something that hints at the tragedy or pride or strange strength of our blighted, beloved home state. For now, though, it’s just a bummer. This sort of collapse isn’t supposed to happen so quickly.

Rich Rod : What We Do Is Secret

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 3:36 pm by

(image swiped from The Wizard Of Odds)

Amidst considerable chatter that he’s just keeping the headset warm for Jim Harbaugh, Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez insists the Wolverines’ 7-5 campaign is a sign of a program on the rise.  The Detroit Free Press’ Mark Snyder isn’t buying it ; “his primary answer remained the same: it’s the areas away from public view…that better be the case, because if he’s pointing to what is evident, it’ll be a hard sell.”

A thin aspect of the seven victories is the analysis of who they were against — teams that are a combined 37-44. It’s difficult to find a quality win in the bunch and only two of the seven (Connecticut in the opener and Bowling Green) could be considered decisive games.

That might be the best sign of progress, as U-M was able to win the close games this year, a major problem the previous two years. But that can be framed again: against lesser competition, should they even be that close?

In the five losses, all to upper-division Big Ten teams, Michigan couldn’t claim to be competitive, which at least occurred occasionally in 2009.

it’s not a clear case that Michigan has improved on the field. And that’s why Rodriguez has to point elsewhere.

Buffalo’s Butterfingered WR To God : What Have You Done For Me Lately?

Posted in Gridiron, twitter twatter at 10:40 am by

I cannot vouch for the veracity of the above Twitter account, though others are pretty sure it is the handiwork of Bills receiver Steve Johnson.   “The ball hit me in the wrong part of the hands” would’ve  easily fit under a 140 character limit, Steve, and probably wouldn’t have resulted in so much extra attention.

11.28.10

Human Beings : Surplus To Requirements For The Modern Sports Section

Posted in Basketball, Sports Journalism, Technical Difficulties, The Internet at 11:50 pm by

(former Mets skipper Davey Johnson, graciously submitting to an interview with an aspiring sportswriter)

A few years from now, might we look back on, say, The Bleacher Report, and feel nostalgic for the site’s brand of insightful analysis?  Not bloody likely, but that’s the first thing that came to mind when reading of StatSheet’s “Robot Army” and the Durham, NC firm’s plans to provide college basketball content entirely composed by a computer.  From the New York Times’ Randall Stross :

StatSheet’s software is imbued with the smarts to flatter each particular team. The same statistics, documenting the same game, produce an entirely different write-up and headline at the opposing team™s page.

A team like No. 1-ranked Duke ” whose StatSheet Network Web site is at BlueDevilDaily.com ” does not lack for attention from human sports writers. But StatSheet expects that the sports programs of smaller schools will appreciate the advent of robot journalism.

œThere are at least 200 Division I schools that the large sports media companies give no attention to, says Mr. Allen at StatSheet. œOnce we have the algorithm in place, there™s no cost to adding the Lamars and Elons to the Dukes and U.N.C.™s.

Small schools are less likely to have large alumni bases and to draw significant traffic, Mr. Allen said, so he is knocking on their doors to explore licensing partnerships.

Mr. Allen explains that his story-writing software does not perform linguistic analysis; it just uses template sentences and a database of phrases that numbers about 5,000 for now.

œMy goal was that 80 percent of readers wouldn™t question that the content was written by a human, he says, œand now that we™ve launched, I think the percentage is higher.

Taking Flight With WFMU’s Ken Freedman

Posted in Radio at 8:02 pm by

A fantastic fund-raising stunt by WFMU‘s station manager has me hoping — pretty much in the face of reality — that we’ll someday hear the words, “listener-supported WFAN”.  I realize it would take far more balloons to send a certain serial abuser of Diet Coke aloft, but I also suspect that’s the sort of fund-raising premium every right thinking person would shell out for.

Popper : Barring A Blockbuster, Trading Reyes Is The Wrong Move

Posted in Baseball at 5:40 pm by

Does Jose Reyes’ unique combination of speed, power and importance as a table-setter for the likes of David Wright and Carlos Beltran outweigh his occasional lapses in concentration?  I’ve argued the affirmative more times than I care to count, but the shortstop’s inability to stay healthy in recent years has been a key component in the Mets’ struggles.  With at least one recent rumor floating concerning Arizona’s alleged interest in Reyes, the Bergen Record’s Steve Popper warns, “if the Mets move him, I think the last long shot chance of seeing anything good out of 2010 at Citi Field will be gone.”

Even in a season that never seemed to get on track, Reyes still ranked in the top half of shortstops in the league in most statistical measures, not to mention ahead of Derek Jeter in WAR (Wins Above Replacement) while Jeter lobbies for a long-term, high-priced deal. But for the Mets to have any hope they have to count on Reyes returning to form.

Reyes is the one player who can be exceptional. His performance can rank above the average shortstop, making it acceptable that the Mets have a first baseman who doesn™t hit 40 homers or a catcher who might not hit 10. And there is some intangible in Reyes that will confound any sabermetric formula “ not grittiness, but a danger that helps hitters behind him and in front of him.

For the Mets to contend again Reyes has to be in the lineup and has to be at his best. While he might be the only player outside of David Wright who could bring back a roster-changing package, Reyes is the only one who you could search for years and not find a talent to match his ability.

“Maybe it™s some subtle racism that has depicted Reyes as some sort of malingerer,” considers Popper, though I’m sure there’s been much subtle about it. Certainly if Reyes were a more effusive public speaker in English, the New York media might hold him in nearly as high esteem as R.A. Dickey.  On the other hand, if Jose was a sound byte machine, he’d probably have indicted the Mets’ medical staff on more than one occasion.

Mushnick To Benigno-Gazingo : My Colleagues Are Dull On Purpose

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism, Sports Radio at 5:16 pm by

“WFAN’s Joe Benigno is one of these radio guys who is 99- to 100-percent reliant on newspapers,” observes the New York Post’s Phil Mushnick, “yet only bites those hands that do his work for him.” Not only that, but no one has pointed out that we’ve yet to see Joe (above) and Wally Backman in the same room

After last week’s Mets news conference to introduce Terry Collins , Benigno swiped at sportswriters for asking, as part of a group, dull, non-provocative questions. Well, no kidding. Why would local beat writers, in the most public of forums — and with radio and TV in the house — ask their best questions, the answers to which can be lifted and replayed long before the writers can write? Why would they ask in the wide open what they can later ask Collins in a one-on-one?

In essence, Benigno complained on WFAN that local sportswriters had failed to do his work for him.

11.27.10

Backman : Mets Picked The Wrong Guy

Posted in Baseball at 6:49 pm by

(since retiring as a player, Wally has obtained plenty of experience being fucked over in the majors)

“When somebody needs an ass-chewing, I’ll do it, but I take a lot of things into consideration when I do it.” That’s how Brooklyn Cyclones skipper Wally Backman — passed over last week when the Mets opted for Terry Collins as their new manager — describes his hothead reputation. Given that Backman is awaiting his 2010 Mets minor league assignment (“I was hired by the Diamondbacks out of ‘A’ ball, so I don’t think the level really matters,”), perhaps the following quotes, served up by the New York Daily News’ John Harper, should not be framed as an ass-chewing of GM Sandy Alderson?

“I really thought I won them over,” Backman said by phone Friday from his home in Oregon. “I came out of each interview thinking it had gone better than the one with the Diamondbacks when I got the job there (in 2004).

“I knew what was being said (in the media), that the other guys were the favorites, but I kept looking at it, thinking I could make them see that I was the best guy for the job. I guess I didn’t convince them.”

In any case, Backman doesn’t agree that major league experience should have been a significant factor in the decision, as Alderson asserted.

“I didn’t think experience should have been a factor,” Backman said. “Managing a game is managing a game, and I don’t think it’s different dealing with players whether it’s the majors or the minors.

“It’s all about motivating in different ways. You have 25 different personalities and you have to be a psychologist. If you’re a people person, it’s not that hard. I really enjoy that part of the job, and my players respond to it.

“And the whole New York thing, the media, I would think that would have been the least of their worries. I played there, I know what it’s about. I know it can be good and bad, but that’s part of the excitement of New York.”

Though I’d have preferred to see Backman get the gig ahead of Collins — if for no other reason than continued cheap shots at the Mets’ former 2B are much, much easier than coming up with original ideas —- there’s something a little weird about his citing his 4 day tenure as Arizona manager as any sort of criteria for what the rebuilding Mets should consider. Indeed, the Diamondbacks hired Wally despite a rather modest tenure managing MLB-affiliated minor league clubs.  We all know how well that worked out.  Now that Backman has put in all of one entire season in the NY-Penn League, he feels deserving, if not entitled to a big league managerial position. But if Backman’s paid his dues, where does that leave Gary Carter, Ryne Sandberg, or to look within the Mets’ own organization, Tim Teufel or  Ken Oberkfell?

Stephon Marbury : Wearing Out His Welcome In Yet Another Continent

Posted in Basketball at 5:48 pm by

Perhaps lost amidst the coverage of Allan Iverson’s recent debut in Istanbul, the status of NBA veteran Stephon Marbury’s playing career in China has been largely ignored of late. That is, until Jon Pastuzek of NIUBBall reported that Marbury’s negotiations with Shanxi Zhongyu — with whom the Coney Island product reportedly signed a 3-year deal over the summer — had fallen apart.  Badly.

When Marbury returned to the States, he sent back another contract filled with other clauses, including one stipulating that the team must re-sign Maurice Taylor, who played with Marbury on Shanxi last year, for another year. Adding to that, Marbury also requested that the two be put up in a five-star hotel in Taiyuan, as well as an apartment complete with a private chef and maids, all at the team™s expense.  The two sides met up again in Las Vegas in October while the team was training, but were unable to come to an agreement.

After Shanxi management returned to China, there was hope from the team that something would eventually be worked out, and they put in the business cooperation clause into the official contract as a sign of good faith.  However, when they sent over the new version to Marbury in America, he came out with even more requests: a $30,000 insurance policy for both his wife and child and roundtrip plane tickets for everyone.

Scared that negotiations would break down completely while the two were apart, Shanxi paid for Marbury™s plane ticket and met with him in Taiyuan, along with the team™s main sponsor, Shanxi Fenjiu, and the Shanxi provincial sports bureau.  After talking, the four pronged discussions ended with Shanxi deciding to give up their pursuit of Marbury.

Elsewhere in the article, Shanxi GM Zhang Aijun raises the specter of  Marbury’s fitness — physical, that is. Though if U-Stream isn’t blocked by Chinese authorities, there might’ve been additional questions.

11.26.10

Rock You Like The Hurricane : Alex Higgins’ Spectacular Kiss-Off

Posted in Snooker at 10:24 pm by

The Guardian’s Scott Murray attempt to compile a short list of all-time classic sports meltdowns this week, and while Jim Mora and Hal McRae made the top 5 (tapes of Denny Green and Mike Gundy have apparently not reached the United Kingdom), Murray picked a real doozy for the pole position : snooker dynamo Alex Higgins‘ 1990 retirement speech after a first-round exit in the World Championships at the Crucible in Sheffield.  Higgins’ oration, reportedly came on the heels of 27 shots of vodka consumed during his defeat to Steve James.



Upon entering the press conference, Higgins crumped his fist into the stomach of WPBSA press officer Colin Randle, who was holding the door open for him. He then sat down and delivered a rambling, only vaguely coherent retirement speech. “Well chaps,” began the rigmarole, “I would like to announce my retirement from professional snooker ¦ I don’t want to be part of a cartel. I don’t want to be part of a game where there are slush funds for everybody¦ If Derek Jameson, for instance, can leave the News of the World and go to Sky TV there has to be a place for me in this life¦ There are an awful lot of people running about this world who put their kids through certain schools, feeder schools, grammar schools, and you get absolute tossers doing jobs for exorbitant money, well, I don’t really want to be part of it¦ You can shove snooker up your jacksie, I’m not playing no more and it’s not sour grapes, nothing, it’s the truth ¦ I wish Cecil Parkinson and Maggie Thatcher would do a probe into snooker, then we would find out the real truth. The Hurricane doesn’t want to be part of this tripe, no disrespect to northern people because I like tripe¦ I’m not going to break the cue because I like the cue, but it is a corrupt game¦ Rock on Tommy¦”

Peter Vecsey Helpfully Volunteers His Services As Phil Jackson’s Speechwriter

Posted in Basketball, Sports Journalism at 6:47 pm by

(above : a man whose callous disregard for his industry peers has made him a national pariah.  And on the left, Lakers head coach Phil Jackson).

Orlando’s Stan Van Gundy has already taken umbrage at Phil Jackson all but declaring current Heat head coach Erick Spoelstra a lame duck, recalling Van Gundy’s allegedly amicable departure from Miami that coincided with Pat Riley kicking himself downstairs, but the New York Post’s Peter Vecsey has more of a problem with Jackson’s choice of words than the gist of his message.  Of Van Gundy’s 2005 exit, Vecsey reminds us, “other than quitting on your team in mid-semester being an endearing brotherly trait, it’s not known for sure if anything else was behind Van Gundy’s bailout.”

As painful as it is for me to agree with Stan on anything, and that goes double for his supercilious sibling, the mannequin makes a good point. Sounding like just another goofy talk-show voice, Jackson insulted Spoelstra, Riley, LeBron and Bosh without coming up for air or acuity.

Forget for the moment Jackson’s lack of professionalism for discussing the state of affairs of a fraternity member, you’d think someone who spent so many years in the minors and as an assistant before getting his first head coaching job would be sensitive to what Spoelstra’s going through and decline comment.

I’d have more respect for Jackson had he said what he really means in reply to those who maintain anybody could’ve coached Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Shaq and Kobe to championships: “See, it isn’t as easy as people think to coach superstars and be successful.”

This Thanksgiving, Stan Van Gundy Would Like To Spend More Time WIth His Family….Of Pies

Posted in Basketball, Food at 1:06 pm by

Video culled from The Orlando Sentinel (via Slam) ;  no mention of lemon meringue, and while Stan V.G. professes not to play favorites, don’t think Phil Jackson isn’t taking notes.  NOTHING BUT lemon meringue pie for the visiting team’s catering when and if the Lakers and Magic meet in the finals next June.

11.25.10

Hamed Haddadi, Excellent At Blocking Soap Dispensers, Not So Good At Conjugal Negotiations

Posted in Basketball, The Law at 11:03 pm by

Ryan Brown helpfully alerted me to reports of the Grizzlies’ Hamed Haddadi (above) Wednesday arrest on domestic assault charges. Goolnaz œAsal Karbalaeinematmoeeney alleges that Haddadi choked her upon discovering her talking with another man, while the Iranian center offered a far more unusual explanation to Memphis police. According to the Memphis Police report on the matter, Haddadi claims Karbalaeinematmoeeney suffered facial injuries when he deflected a soap dispenser she tried throwing at him. Prior to this, Haddadi told Police his girlfriend “fell out of bed.”

Though Haddadi is said to have told authorities that English wasn’t his first language, one item stands out clear as day in the affidavit ; asked what provoked the physical altercation, Haddad said he and Karbalaeinematmoeeney were about to have sex, yet there was “an dispute over the sexual position.”

Mike Leach’s Inner Pirate Tells Him To Sue ESPN

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron, Sports TV, The Law at 2:49 pm by

As you’ve probably read elsewhere, former Texas Tech head football coach Mike Leach, stung by allegations of mistreating TE Adam James, son of ESPN analyst Craig James, is suing the network and James’ public relations firm for defamation of character.  It’s a dopey move in the estimation of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal’s Adam Zuvanich, who sneers, ‘I just hope he doesn’t take his legal fight to yet another level and file suit against Santa Claus, Frosty the Snowman or the Easter Bunny.”

On one hand, I applaud the Pirate for taking on “the man”, so to speak. I think ESPN has gotten way too big for itself – it’s pretty much attempting to create a monopoly in the sports media market – and I don’t have much respect for PR firms. Their purpose is essentially to bend the truth for the benefit of their clients.

On the other hand, the whole thing makes Leach look pretty silly and, as Spaeth said in its statement to reporters, desperate.

Leach, who is currently working as a color analyst for CBS College Sports, apparently thinks this is the only way he can clear his name and be hired to coach again. But if prospective employers are turned off by the fact that he’s suing his former employer, which I imagine they are, they might think he’s gone off the deep end by suing a television network that has given him plenty of publicity over the last 10 years.

11.24.10

A Possible Dent To Mikhail Prokhorov’s WIld & Crazy Guy Image

Posted in Basketball, twitter twatter at 4:09 pm by

If nothing else, the above exchange explains why I’m shit out of luck trying to find David Roth a Nets scarf for Hanukkah.

Whitlock’s Latest Achievement : Conjuring The Image Of Pat Riley In Tassles

Posted in Basketball at 3:55 pm by

Nearly everyone has an opinion about the Heat’s underwhelming start to the 2010-11 season (some folks even have reasoned analysis to offer). While ormer Heat coach/current Magic soundbyte maven Stan Van Gundy would appreciate it if Phil Jackson kept his thoughts to himself, Fox Sports’ Jason Whitlock figures Pat Riley’s return to the Miami bench is a matter of if rather than when. Riles, opines Big Sexy, “is as needy as a 24-year-old stripper, addicted to the drama, the dysfunction and the lust of wealthy men willing to make it rain.”  See, all that time and money spent at gentlemen’s clubs really was research!

From the moment LeBron James announced he was moving his massive ego to South Beach, Pat Riley has sat passively and watched Bebe™s kids ” James, Wade and Bosh ”- conduct themselves in a fashion Riley knew wouldn™t create a championship environment.

Seriously, Wade, James and Bosh rising from beneath a stage, screaming, preening and dancing long before the Heat won an exhibition game? The introduction of the Big Three violated just about every core principle Riley holds sacred.

Maybe he doesn™t have what it takes to coach this team. If he had the necessary swagger, he would™ve already publicly checked James and Bosh. Surely Spoelstra knows there™s no championship upside in kissing James™ butt. Mike Brown tried that.

Sitting in the stands taking notes isn™t support. It™s preparation for a takeover. It™s a signal to James and Bosh that Riley is ready to step in whenever they get tired of getting embarrassed and want to get down to the serious business of pursuing a title.

I™m starting to think Pat Riley is in the champagne room just waiting for the Big Three to join him.

(Hopefully) Not Coming To RF Video Anytime Soon : The Hardy Boyz Unload On CJ Wilson

Posted in Free Expression, Professional Wrestling at 9:55 am by

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Gonna take a wild guess here, but I redkon neither Matt or Jeff would pick “I’m Straight” as their favorite Modern Lovers song.

This Saturday In Austin : Someone Besides Blues Hammer Supports Low Cost Health Care For Musicians

Posted in Austin, Internal Affairs, Medical Science, Rock Und Roll at 1:35 am by

HAAM, aka the Health Alliance For Austin Musicians provides low-cost primary health care services, basic dental care and mental health counseling for eligible, uninsured professional musicians in the Austin area. Though the organization raised an impressive sum with their annual HAAM Benefit Day this past September 21, a few of us decided to try and raise just a little bit more. It’s a good excuse for a Thanksgiving weekend show we’d want to attend under any circumstances, good cause or not.

This show will feature the first Hex Dispensers performance since the addition of Rebecca Whitley (ex-Alright Tonight) to the band.  It’s also the unofficial tour kick off for The Young, who will be heading to the East Coast in support of their new Mexican Summer album, ‘Voyagers Of Legend’ soon afterwards.    It’s Cruddy‘s first local show since their West Coast tour, and while we don’t know who will be singing for the The Shitty Beach Boys on this occasion, we hope you’ll join us in praying it isn’t Mike Love.   Eric Static from Followed By Static will be kicking things off at around 10pm.

If you’d like to apply for HAAM coverage, here’s where you can do so. If you can’t make it to Beerland on Saturday night, HAAM is accepting donations.

11.23.10

Stop The Crucifixion Of Delonte West Bruce Pearl

Posted in Basketball, Religion at 7:10 pm by

Though I cannot vouch for the legitimacy of this Facebook screen shot, allegedly culled from the profile of Brandy Pearl, wife of University Of Tennessee men’s basketball head coach Bruce, I think we can all agree this was a ridiculous thing for her to claim.  Had she written, “Now I know of two Jewish men in the entire city of Knoxville”, however, I can’t imagine anyone would’ve complained.

B&C’s Bortone Places Early Deposit On FireTerryCollins.com

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 6:22 pm by

OK, perhaps he’s not gone nearly that far.  But after former Angels/Astros 2nd place-finish specialist Terry Collins was introduced as the new manager of the New York Mets Tuesday, Bugs & Cranks’ Brad Bortone was amongst the earliest to argue GM Sandy Alderson “thought long and hard¦and gave us a 61-year old pile of vanilla.”  Hey, at least he measures up to Wally Backman in one respect.

Let™s not forget about 1999, when Collins had so many problems with Mo Vaughn (and subsequently, the rest of the Anaheim Angels) that the team signed a petition to have him removed. He ultimately resigned from his job.

Yes, this was a long time ago. But I highly doubt advancing into his golden years has made him easier to deal with.

OH, don™t let me forget that Collins hasn™t held a major league managing job since 1999. He spent last year languishing within the Mets™ farm system as a field¦um¦talent¦um¦minor league¦um ” ah f“k it, who knows what he was doing for the organization last year.

But he™s a safe choice. He won™t do anything moronic like Jerry. He won™t waffle with the media like Willie. He won™t kick dirt on sacred umpire pants like Wally. He™ll be safe¦and level-headed¦and boring.

And, if anyone is making the same Sandy Alderson-Art Howe comparisons as I am right now, let me know.