Mets Opt For Trigger Tempered Manager Not Named Wally Backman

Posted in Baseball at 7:20 pm by

On Monday, the New York Mets will reportedly announce the hiring of 61-year-old Terry Collins (above) as their new manager,  succeeding the deposed Jerry Manuel.  Collins, who led Houston and Anaheim to five successive 2nd place finishes between 1994 and 1998, has been described as “high-strung”, “high-strung”, and most worryingly, “high-strung”.  I’m pretty sure that veterans like Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran will respond well to Collins’ brand of constructive criticism (when have they ever shown a tendency to sulk?) and given Collins’ alleged track record in player development, it’s a wonder the Mets don’t want him to manage Buffalo and New York simultaneously. While this news may or may not represent a blow to the credibility of Dino Costa, please keep in mind that none of the other candidates for this position — including the vaunted “Final Four” that included Bob Melvin, Wally Backman or Chip Hale  — can claim tenure as manager of the Chinese WBC squad on their resumes.  When and if MLB institutes international play, Collins’ Mets will possess a pronounced competitive advantage over China’s professional teams.  And for the plethora of Chinese free agents on the Mets radar in 2010 (or perhaps later, given the team’s financial constraints), what other MLB team would represent as attractive a destination?

Tribune : Irish Aren’t Breaking A Sweat Over Alleged Football Rapist

Posted in Gridiron, The Law at 1:01 pm by

(given the excellent judgment shown by both of these men this autumn, why would you suspect they’d protect a sexual predator?)

Hours after Notre Dame defeated Army, 27-3, in the first college football game contested at the new Yankee Stadium, the Chicago Tribune’s Stacy St. Clair and Todd Lighty reported a female student committed suicide last September, nine days after she told Notre Dame authorities she’d been sexually assaulted in a South Bend dorm room.

Elizabeth “Lizzy” Seeberg, a freshman at neighboring St. Mary’s College who had battled depression, apparently overdosed on prescription medication in her own room during the third week of classes in September. The player, meanwhile, has remained on the field.

More than two months later, Notre Dame refuses to publicly acknowledge the case, and what actions university officials have taken to investigate her allegation remain largely unknown.

Campus authorities did not tell the St. Joseph County Police Department investigating Seeberg’s death about her report of a sexual attack, county officials said. Nor did they refer the case to the county’s special victims unit, which was established to handle sex offenses, according to prosecutors.

Notre Dame police could have turned the case over to the county’s special victims unit, which is trained to handle sex-crime investigations. However, officials did not do so, and a campus police log shows the matter was assigned within the department.

A spokeswoman for St. Joseph County Prosecutor Michael Dvorak said campus authorities have not asked the office to charge anyone in connection with the alleged sexual attack. She said she “couldn’t say” whether the office had been consulted on the case.

Seeberg was interviewed by Notre Dame police about the alleged attack, and a source said she provided two written statements and pointed out a player from his picture on a Notre Dame roster.

The Tribune is not identifying the football player because he has not been charged with a crime. He has not responded to e-mail messages seeking comment.

The university declined to make first-year coach Brian Kelly available for comment about the allegation against his player, saying any such incident “would be addressed institutionally, not by the football coach.”

The Only Person Unimpressed By Blake Griffin’s Dunking Ability? Frédéric Weis

Posted in Basketball, The Internet at 10:07 am by

I’ll say this much for Knicks free-agent acquisition C Timofey Mozgoz ; he’s clearly unafraid to draw a charge, end up on a poster or have the most popular Google search result for his name turn out to be Blake Griffin’s crotch in his face.


Islanders Reward Critic By Banning Him From The Nassau Mausoleum

Posted in Blogged Down, Hockey, Sports Journalism at 8:11 pm by

(at least one of these men would prefer a little less coverage from the blogosphere, thanks)

You’d think Former Islanders P.R. flack Chris Botta’s SNY-hosted NYI Point Blank would be something the team would fully embrace, given the paucity of traditional media coverage for one of the least popular professional sports franchises in the tri-state area (I’m leaving Hartford’s UFL squad out of this because I cannot remember their nickname). However, following what the Islanders apparently thought to be too much analysis of their dismissal of head coach Scott Gordon, Botta’s media credentials were revoked. That’s what you get for thinking outside of The Blog Box, folks. In the view of Hockey Independent’s BD Gallof, “ultimately, this will all backfire for the Isles (and perhaps the NHL.”

I certainly think despite my thoughts on how Botta runs PB, it is a crime against him to pull his credentials. I personally think this is dangerous ground for not only new media, but the hockey teams who seek to punish. All it takes is a lawsuit to dictate legally how they can act than the NHL’s inability to draw up guidelines. For the NHL still has a vast schism between draconian naysayers and blog supporters.

So now the Isles put forth an action with no previous attempt to solve the issue. Mind-boggling, yet par for course. Once again they look silly and idiotic to the rest of the hockey world who still consider them a circus. Accountability, communication, problem solving, and poise seem lost to the brass that now resemble a pile-in to a clown car. They open Pandora’s box, pissing off a fanbase and losing much public support in another bout of poor timing having piggybacked the firing on their coach. All it takes is legal action to swath through the confusion and have hands forced league wide.

Happy 54th Birthday, Mark Gastineau

Posted in Boxing, Gridiron, History's Not Happening at 4:30 pm by

On this night only, it is fully permissible to approach a person of either sex at the nighspot of your choice, and ask, “may I have this sac(k) dance?” (video link swiped from David Gionfriddo)

Cheer Up, Northwestern Alums, At Least You Didn’t Matriculate With Will Leitch

Posted in College Spurts, Fashion, Gridiron at 2:56 pm by

Tee of the day, spotted prior to this afternoon’s Northwestern vs. Illinois game at Wrigley Field.  Pic swiped from the Tribune’s Paul Sullivan.


Former Sportswriter Michael Wilbon On The Exhausting Nature Of Watching Others Exert Themselves

Posted in Sports Journalism, Sports Radio, Sports TV at 6:24 pm by

“The ESPN/ABC rocket ship that Michael Wilbon has been riding the past several years has finally left our orbit.”  This was the Washington Post’s way of saying farewell to columnist Wilbon after 32 years at the newspaper, and while the departure of Kornheiser’s better half means more room for high quality content syndicated from the Bleacher Report, Wilpon himself seems to blame a combination of burnout and/or the aging process rather than any $trongarm edict on the part of ESPN, with the following comments taken from the Mike Wise radio show (and quoted by the Post’s Dan Steinberg) :

“You know, you get older, and I can’t do as much as I used to do,” he said. “I was thinking about this the other day. I was in Chicago for the weekend, basically for board meetings and the Northwestern football game, and John Wall played in Chicago against Derrick Rose. Now, there is no way, if I was in Chicago, I would have missed any Bulls game, but certainly not the first meeting between those two guys. Not in 30 years of being a Washington Post reporter and columnist.

“But I didn’t go the other night. Because I can’t do everything. I’d gone to a football game that day, I’d gone to a basketball game a couple nights earlier. Can’t do it all any more. And you know what? When you’re the columnist in that position, you should want to do it all, still. I have no doubt that the sports column is in damn good hands with the people that are doing it, including [Wise]. So that, I have no misgivings about. But it was pretty traumatic for me to leave.”

UFL Players Contemplate Emulating The Rest Of Nation By Boycotting The UFL

Posted in Gridiron at 5:02 pm by

It could be a “PR disaster”, to use Mike Florio’s words, if anyone were paying attention. Woe is any United Football League player who signed up with the fledgling league hoping it would serve as a taxi squad of sorts to the NFL — a somewhat reasonable expectation to those of us  who’ve  heard some NFL club or another is considering taking a look at J.P. Losman or Daunte Culpepper (before thinking better of it, of course).  As Fanhouse’s Tom Torrisi explained yesterday, the UFL’s biz model isn’t entirely removed from that of Major League Soccer.

Commissioner Michael Huyghue’s insistence that any UFL player signed to an NFL active roster could be subject to a $150,000 transfer fee could cause a player revolt, multiple sources told AOL FanHouse on Thursday.

According to two sources who asked not to be identified, players may refuse to take the field this weekend and some may even fake injuries in order to get out of playing.

“It will kill the league,” said one person who has intimate knowledge of the situation but spoke on the condition of anonymity. “There could be a walkout or a player might just tell the coach he has (an injury) and can’t play.”

“The players are pissed,” said one source, who added that some players were meeting Thursday night and deciding whether to play this weekend.

Players are under contract in the UFL until Feb. 1. To the UFL’s credit, having them under contract until then, and not the end of the UFL season “ which ends Nov. 27 — makes it somewhat obvious that there was going to be restrictions/policy if they wanted to end their contracts and go to the NFL.

“Think about it, the contracts would be through Nov. 27 if there was never a plan to enforce a transfer fee,” a UFL source who wished not to be identified told FanHouse.

Additionally, the UFL has made it clear with their actions that they did not want to be known as a feeder league to the NFL

Coming To Wrigley Field : The Debut Of NCAA Half Court Football

Posted in Baseball, College Spurts, Gridiron at 12:24 pm by

USA Today’s Gardner  & Smith report Saturday’s Northwestern vs. Illinois game at Wrigley Field — the first college football contest at the hallowed venue since 1938 — will be played with only one end zone ; “both team’s offensive possessions will be played in the same direction, toward the stadium’s third-base line.”

Here are the official rule changes, per the Big Ten’s release:

1) All offensive plays will head toward the West end zone, including all extra points and all overtime possessions.
2) All kickoffs will be kicked toward the East end zone.
3) After every change of possession, the ball will be repositioned for the offense to head toward the West end zone.
4) As a result of a coin toss held by the conference office Friday morning, Illinois will occupy the West team bench in the first half and Northwestern will occupy the West team bench in the second half and for all overtime periods.

The problem?  There’s not more than 6 feet of distance between the back of the eastern end zone and Wrigley’s ivy-covered brick walls.  Given the couldn’t find sufficient padding in the entire city of Chicago, at what point, do you imagine, anyone considered whether or not Wrigley’s configuration was tenable for a normal football game?

Adding Insult To (Chronic) Injury : Vescey Questions Blazers’ Judgement, Oden’s Desire

Posted in Basketball, Medical Science, Sports Journalism at 11:51 am by

My own (microfractured) knee-jerk tendency to yell “Sam Bowie” each time poor Greg Oden suffers another physical setback aside, the Banged-Up Buckeye’s recent misadventures are as tragic as things can get (when you’re still guaranteed millions of dollars). That said, who amongst us would dare speculate whether or not Oden gives a hoot that his hoops career is in tatters? Who else but the New York Post’s Peter Vecsey, who along with holding Portland somewhat accountable for Oden’s condition, uses a fairly dusty, hard to substantiate story about the ailing center to…well, what, exactly? Smear a guy who might require a miracle to ever become a top-flight pro?

A couple of NBA players who have known Oden since the 2005 ABCD camp offer a different perspective on his injuries. One thinks the 7-footer’s knee problems are interconnected — but concedes they’re probably not linked to a July ’07 tonsillectomy or a July ’06 right wrist repair — and stem from the Blazers’ insistence he bulk-up starting from the day he was drafted.

“He got too big, too huge and too fast. His frame and legs couldn’t handle that extra weight,” one player theorizes.

Then again, you can’t ignore a sixth grade hip surgery that left one of Oden’s legs shorter than the other, resulting in his unusual gait which is often mistaken for a limp.

“He bulked up and everything changed,” reiterated one player.

Who knows, maybe deep down, consciously or subconsciously, maybe Oden isn’t as torn up as all of us think at the distinct possibility he may have peaked in the sandbox and be forced to retire?

I throw that out there because one of the above players says he remembers shooting around one morning with Oden at that ’05 ABCD Camp and being stunned when Greg declared: “I just want to get a house in Vermont with my family and be left alone.”