11.09.10

A Nice Bit Of Subtle Editorializing From Baseball Reference.com

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 4:31 pm by

The above image was culled from the front page of Baseball Reference.com. Mr. Faded Glory from High & Tight is slightly more explicit in his criticism of the voting process ;


They award Jeter, when not only do the defensive metrics say the opposite, but even with the naked eye it’s readily apparent that Jeter’s future away from the shortstop position is coming quickly.

He’s obviously lost more than a step and these voters can’t see past the intangibles.

Not-So-Stylish In Saskatoon : The Blades Are Hellbent For Denim

Posted in Fashion, Hockey at 12:59 pm by

(for the second time in CSTB history, Lawrence Hayward reacts poorly to being mistakenly paged)

“We never went out to design the nicest jersey in the world,” says Saskatoon spokesperson Michael Scissors of the WHL Blades‘ one-night only denim jerseys, scheduled to be worn this Friday, November 12 when the Portland WinterHawks visit. Hey, mission accomplished! Since the Montreal Gazette’s Cory Wolfe actually lives in Canada, he’s fully entitled to pass judgement on what apparently was meant to be a tribute to the upcoming Professional Bull Riders Finals.

The jean-jacket look ” known in some circles as a Canadian tuxedo ” has been a hot topic on TV and the Internet. Sportsnet hockey analyst Nick Kypreos scoffed at the design during a Wednesday panel discussion, and some Internet posters mocked it as œhorrible or œawful or œhorribly awful.

Other fans, though, are pumped about the denim design.

One Internet poster wrote that he™d fly from Boston to Saskatoon if the Blades could get NFL quarterback Brett Favre ” who happens to endorse Wrangler jeans ” to limp out to centre ice for the ceremonial faceoff.

Another poster wondered if the Blades would complete the look by wearing chaps. (For the record, they™ll be wearing standard hockey pants and socks.)

Whitlock Bashes Bosh, Does His Part For Toronto’s Chamber Of Commerce

Posted in Basketball, We Aren't The World at 12:24 pm by

Heat F Chris Bosh has averaged a mere 5.4 rebounds per game thus far in the 2010-2011 season, and Fox Sports’ Jason Whitlock is rather quick to declare Miami’s lanky free agent acquisition a bust.  Or more to the point, after a mere 7 games, Whitlock predicts that if Bosh doesn’t emerge as a physical presence down low, “Pat Riley will surely explore every option to move him and acquire a goon.” Anyone have PJ Brown’s phone number?

Is Bosh a homeless man™s Dirk Nowitzki, a perimeter big man who put up inflated scoring and rebounding numbers because when visiting NBA players cross the Canadian border they put far more effort into acquiring condoms, loonies and a strip-club champagne room than their on-court assignments?

On the NBA circuit, Toronto is White Vegas, where jungle fever is celebrated by local strippers and escorts 41 times a year. Toronto is a great city to put up numbers and build a rep.

Miami, post-The Decision, is the perfect place to get exposed.

The Heat don™t need a Big Three. Wade and James need a rebounding and defensive goon.

The Great Ones — particularly finesse players — always need a Dave Semenko. (Oh, you thought I couldn™t make a hockey analogy?)

Jordan had Oakley and Grant and Rodman. Magic had Rambis. Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars had Bill Laimbeer, Rick Mahorn and Rodman. Kobe had Shaq and now he has Ron Artest.

Look at Boston™s œBig Three. Kevin Garnett is a trash-talking, cheap-shot-taking goon.

James and Wade could both beat up Chris Bosh. The third wheel, especially if he™s a front-court player, can™t be the softest of the trio. It won™t work. It screws up chemistry. It™s going to make the Heat vulnerable to big, strong rebounding and defensive teams.

11.08.10

Today’s Five “Most Read” Stories at the Dallas Morning News

Posted in Gridiron, Sports Journalism at 11:53 pm by

One of these things is not like the other…. or is it?

Taylor: Cowboys are NFL’s most pathetic team; time to fire Wade

Man jumps off High Five interchange in North Dallas

Wade Phillips fired as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys

Taylor: Cowboys ‘seem to have little regard’ for Jason Garrett as next head coach

Cowlishaw: Cowboys fans need to stop showing up if they want Jerry Jones’ attention

Our Long National Nightmare Is Over : ESPN Removes Joe Morgan From His Dopey Pulpit

Posted in Baseball, Sports Radio, Sports TV at 6:44 pm by

(Jon Miller, flanked by one of modern history’s  most ridiculed public speakers.  And in the middle, George W. Bush)

The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir
— who might never have presided over as happy a story in his storied media criticism career — reports ESPN has decided not to retain the services of Joe Morgan on their “Sunday Night Baseball” telecasts. In addition, Jon Miller is said to be considering an offered demotion to ESPN’s radio calls for Sunday evenings.

œWe™ve decided to make a change and introduce new voices and new perspective, said Norby Williamson, an executive vice president of ESPN. He added: œTwenty one years is an eternity in this business. And today is about acknowledging the contributions they made to the franchise.

Each announcer is a Hall of Famer. Morgan entered as a player in 1990 and Miller received the Ford C. Frick Award from the hall earlier this year in recognition of broadcasting excellence.

It is nearly certain that Miller will be replaced by Dan Shulman, who will be joined by Orel Hershiser, whom ESPN added to œSunday Night last season. Bobby Valentine might be the third voice if he does not get a managing job. Williamson declined to talk about the new team.

Sandomir provides no mention of Aaron Boone’s fate for 2011, possibly because no one outside members of Boone’s immediate family (and that’s not a a given) cares whether or not he ever appears on television again.

Washington AD Woodward : Ducks Are “An Embarrassment”

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron, Sports Radio at 3:53 pm by

After the above comments on the Dave Mahler and Hugh Millen show on Seattle’s KJR, University of Washington Athletic Director Scott Woodward issued the following apology, as reproduced in today’s Oregonian :

œI apologize if my comments were found as critical or insulting to fans and alumni of the University of Oregon, and I hope to offer some clarity about m ytrue feelings on the situation. I have a great respect for the University of Oregon both as an institution and an athletic program. As a life-long advocate for public funding in higher education, I have seen firsthand the effects of public funding on many institutions, including the University of Washington.My remarks were intended as a commentary on the powerful impact that a state can have on an institution™s academic standing. The University of Oregon is a great example of the struggles which can accompany a university when state funding decreases, but UO is certainly not the only institution suffering.

I can’t imagine how telling Oregon fans they should “get down on their knees and thank Phil Knight” could in any way be construed as insulting or diminishes Oregon’s recent success. Woodward was simply pointing out the importance of expressing gratitude towards an enthusiastic booster (the likes of which he’ll probably never encounter).

Any Chance Allen Iverson Is Having Second Thoughts About Playing In Turkey?

Posted in Basketball, We Aren't The World at 2:20 pm by

Jon Brandt wonders “if ESPN sells poster sized prints?” I’m more curious to know exactly what A.I. was looking at when the above photo was taken.

Baltimore’s Mason Ruins Channing Crowder’s Future Attempts At Self-Googling

Posted in Gridiron at 2:37 am by

In the aftermath of Baltimore’s highly contentious 26-10 defeat of Miami yesterday, it would take some doing to overshadow Dolphins LB Channing Crowder not knowing the difference between Anne Frank and Helen Keller, but leave it to Ravens WR Derrick Mason to provide rhetorical punishment far more lasting.  From the Sun-Sentinel’s Mike Beradino :

What did Mason say to Crowder with his play Sunday?

œThat I™m not getting old. He™s the one who™s getting old, Mason said. œAnd he™s, what, 26? He played like he was 36. And I played like I was 26. I think if you look at the film, I play like I™m 26 every week. So I can be old through the week. I™ll take it, man. I got two children at home. When it comes to Sunday, you have to execute.

Did Channing talk much during the game?

œOh, he talked in the first half, Mason said. œIn the second half you didn™t hear him too much. One, they pulled him out of the game. Two, he wasn™t making any plays. There comes a time when you™re not making any plays, you should learn from it and humble yourself.

œHe should learn from the other 10 guys that he™s playing with. Those guys play hard. They showed that by what they were able to do in the red zone, especially early in the game.  He just might be the weak link on their team.

11.07.10

The Detoxing Avenger : Oliver Perez Tells Territorioscore, “I’ve Gotta Be Me”

Posted in Baseball at 4:42 pm by

Who amongst us is dying to hear some sort of explanation for a thoroughly wasted 2010 from The Walking Onerous Contract known as Mets lefty Oliver Perez.  Hello, anybody?   Just what I thought —- now that we’ve established no one gives a shit what this poor excuse for a professional athlete/teammate has to say about anything of substance, let’s allow Héctor Meza of Territorioscore.com to gauge his thoughts on an campaign he couldn’t be quick to recall (translation courtesy Metsblog) :

HM: On a personal level how did you handle the pressure coming from the fans and media?

OP: Situations like that are not easy, sometimes you have to take decisions that some people like and some not, Everybody was giving me advice, but you have to be strong and think for yourself. It was a very complicated environment, but situations like that make you bigger and stronger when you realize the responsibility that you have to keep going on.

HM: The Manager rarely used you, as he only used you when he ran out of choices out of the bullpen, how did you feel about that?

OP: I rarely spoke with him, I was very frustrated because I love baseball and I wanted to help my team. When I realized that there wasn™t an opportunity, at first I did get mad but then I said to myself ˜I™m going to prepare for what I do best and be healthy, and until this date that™s what I do™ “ I was doing cardio and weights. The good news is that the [surgically repaired] knee isn™t bothering me at all “ I don™t ice it and I don™t have to get treatment anymore, so that™s the only positive that I take out of all the negativity from last season.

HM: The 2011 Mets: What™s going to happen with you?

OP: I don™t know, I™m not thinking about that at the moment. What I™m doing is preparing myself. I took ten days off not to rest but to detox from baseball and clear my mind, I maintain my routines and everything is fine.

It should be noted the above interview was published on Friday and probably conducted earlier.  Sadly for Tomateros de Culiacan, Ollie’s detox period is very much over and done.

A-Rod’s Narcissism Cultivated At An Early Age

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 9:51 am by

What with the recent sordid allegations concerning the conduct of Mets clubhouse manager Charlie Samuels — you can add providing lodging to the suspended Francisco Rodriguez to the pile —- 7 Train To Shea’s Matt Pignataro can be excused for  soliciting dirt from “a former retired head clubhouse manager from an AL West team.”  Unless you’re surprised to learn Manny Ramirez was a) a big tipper or b) likely to guzzle vodka and cranberry juice as part of his pregame ritual, the following will have to pass for an interesting revelation ;

Before MLB had cracked down on clubhouse accessibility, A-Rod had a kid straight out of college, as former clubhouse manager summed up to me as,  œSomeone who would basically tell Rodriguez, how good he was, how he was the best, and etc. Almost like a personal assistant.

Lest you believe the employment of a personal ego-stroker is unprecedented in the big leagues, please remember the Yankees have long paid someone to perform similar services for Derek Jeter. And who amongst us will claim Suzyn Waldman hasn’t done an excellent job?

11.06.10

Scalabrine Career Update : People Of Chicago Denied Horrible Statue

Posted in Basketball at 3:02 pm by

Had the Bulls actually capitulated to Brian’s demands, what are the odds Chicago hoops fans would’ve gazed upon said structure and asked, “why is there a fucking monument to Michael Rapaport in our parking lot?”

Pondering A Future Where Ken Bates Begins Blogging

Posted in Football, Free Expression, The Marketplace at 2:33 pm by

(in a programme free era, is there room at the Bleacher Report for the above correspondent?)

For OCD-types and aspiring hoarders alike, dropping hard earned cash on a bunch of sickening propaganda barely readable press releases with a glossy cover is part and parcel of the English football experience. However, citing a recent West Ham match in Palermo that occurred without an official programme being produced, The Ball Is Round considers whether the whole exercise is worth it.

I still tend to buy a programme when I go to visit a new club. Take Wealdstone for instance. I have nothing against them “ it just happened to be one of the last programmes I bought when they played a pre-season game in late July against Dagenham & Redbridge. The club produced a 32 page programme covering their pre-season games against Dagenham and Watford later in the week for £2.

Value for money? Well not really. Take away 4 pages of adverts, 2 pages dedicated to the team line ups, 2 pages taken up by forthcoming season fixtures and you have 24 pages of content. Plenty there for everyone wouldn™t you say? Well, 9 1/2 pages were taken up to a review of the visitors Dagenham & Redbidge yet there wasn™t a single page devoted to Watford. The rest was a mix of photos and articles that had also appeared on their website. So what value did any fans get out of the programme? 9 1/2 pages for the away team? When there was more Dagenham players than fans at the game? Wealdstone fans surely don™t want to have such detail about a team they will more than likely never see play again.

11.05.10

Yo! Yo! Who Told You To Step On My Honus Wagners?

Posted in Racism Corner at 9:46 pm by

http://laprimadonnalovesyou.com/flamesocietysocialclub/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/buggin-out-274x300.jpg

[Apparently, God personally verified a recent Honus Wagner T206 card sold for $262K.]

What do I know about baseball cards?  Nothing.  But I read about two nuns who say some guy left them a circa 1910 Honus Wagner T206 baseball card, which the sisters then turned around for $262K this week.  As Big League Stew’s David Brown notes, “Other than the rare heartless scoundrel out there, everyone loves stories about regular folks who stumble upon rare baseball cards and stand to make huge profits from their sale.”  The buyer, one Doug Walton of Knoxville, Tennessee, is one of those so moved by sheer dumb luck and old ladies.  He so loved the whole idea of buying it from the nuns he told the AP:  “To be honest with you, we probably paid a little bit more than we should have,” he said Friday. “But with the back story, and the fact that it’s going to a really good charity, to us it just seemed worth it.”

Which is nice, except when you think back to a few years ago when two African-American card dealers,  John Cobb and Ray Edwards, (pictured l-r), tried to sell their Honus Wagner card.  They had it independently verified after some competitors dismissed it as a fake.  The independent verification showed that the paper of the card was made around 1910.  So, they were deemed con men, thieves, and liars to such a degree that they had to back off from selling it for the $850K they say it’s worth.

Heartless scoundrel that I am, who knows nothing about verifying century old baseball cards, I do think it’s pretty obvious that being a kindly old white lady versus two black guys who look like Do The Right Thing’s Buggin Out and Family Matters‘ Reginald VelJohnson can help move your moldy baseball cards.  If I were advising Cobb and Edwards, I’d have them cut a deal with Betty White as their beard and split $2 million.

Obviously Bogus Boxing Match Officially Dubbed So By Governing Body

Posted in Boxing at 5:12 pm by

Danny Green made short work of journeyman Paul Briggs during the pair’s IBO Cruiserweight title fight last Summer, though the Western Australian Professional Combat Sports Commission has since ruled the victory was particularly tainted.  From ABC.net Australian :

On Wednesday, the Commission released the findings of its inquiry into the July 21 fight, declaring Briggs had been involved in a ‘sham contest’.

The Commission found Briggs had not disclosed at any time to doctors, Green or Western Australia’s boxing regulatory body the “complete picture of his medical condition”.

Commission chairman Simon Watters said when Briggs stepped into the ring, he knew he wouldn’t be able to put up a genuine defence.

“Mr Briggs knew due to his condition with his nervous system and his physical ability to mount a credible defence, he wasn’t a worthy and genuine competitor,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

He added: “The issue is that the degree of subterfuge involved was that he deceived the treating doctors and he didn’t disclose his full medical condition to them.”

NYDN : Mets Clubhouse Mgr. Samuels Couldn’t Resist Hotbed Of Temptation

Posted in Baseball, The Law at 1:28 pm by

But enough about watching David Wright walk around naked all the time, following Thursday’s reports that longtime Mets clubhouse manager Charlie Samuels had been suspended without pay following gambling allegations, the New York Daily News’s team of Terri Thompson, Alison Gender, Michael O’Keeffe and Christian Red add charges of embezzlement and theft to the mix.

The Mets suspended the 53-year-old Samuels last week after an internal probe that began in midseason revealed that he may have written checks on Mets accounts and cashed them out to cover his own bills and later repaid the “loans” in two to three weeks, the sources said. It is unclear how much of the “loans” were never paid back. Samuels is also under scrutiny for possibly skimming money on the hotel rooms he ordered for players as the team’s traveling secretary and for Mets property that went missing from the clubhouse, including hundreds of bats, balls and jerseys.

Law enforcement sources confirmed the investigation to the Daily News after the Mets said in statement that they had suspended Samuels on Oct. 27. The office of Queens District Attorney Richard Brown is heading up the investigation.

Samuels, who has not been arrested, is believed to have told Major League Baseball that he bet on baseball games, a strict violation of baseball rules. Samuels, the Mets’ clubhouse manager for 27 seasons, was described by a source as a “spider who sat in the middle of a money web,” a man who earned about $80,000 a year from the Mets but whose tax returns showed about $600,000 to $700,000 in income. He has homes in Huntington, L.I., and Port St. Lucie.

Elsewhere in the Daily News piece, Samuel is alleged to have admitted betting on baseball, which might explain how he made so much money (ie. consistently betting against the Mets).   Much as I hate kick the franchise when it’s down (again), is it safe to say that between Steve Phillips, Bernie Maddof, Paul Lo Duca and Charlie Samuels, the Wilpons have proven to be absolutely lousy judges of character?

Cleveland’s YouTooby Riposte To LeBron : Short Of A Barkley Cameo, This Is Pretty Good

Posted in Basketball, Free Expression, The Marketplace at 11:44 am by

Yeah, they’re not quite over it. Someone wants to bury the hatchet….right in the forehead of whoever thought the original “Rise” commercial would effectively repair LeBron’s image.

Isiah Thomas – Continuing To Terrify New York Fans, Make Current Employers Look Like Schmucks

Posted in Basketball at 2:39 am by

On a night in which a 120-112 road victory over Chicago might otherwise represent a genuine turning point for the Donnie Walsh/Mike D’Antoni Knicks, a man who managed to make mess of both of their jobs reemerged to breathe down the former’s (injured) neck.  Former team president/head coach Isiah Thomas — ostensibly employed by Florida International  University — tells ESPN New York’s Ian O’Connor, “I want to be on the float and I want to get my ring.”

Asked if he hopes to replace Donnie Walsh whenever the 69-year-old Knicks president retires, Thomas said, “Every single day of the week.”

“When I look at my GM/executive record, if I’m evaluated on that, then whoever’s after Donnie, if you’re not talking about some of the top people in the game, I’ll put my draft evaluation record up against anyone’s.”

If Zeke wants to lobby for a return to MSG before he’s managed to achieve anything at FIU, he might not have a clear understanding of what the words “career rehabilitation” mean, nor the tremendous animus harbored by virtually in the New York area who isn’t named James Dolan. If Thomas were to to omit the hiring of Larry Brown, the acquisitions of Stephon Marbury, Eddy Curry  Jared Jeffries and Jerome James from his GM/executive record, there would be much to praise about this evaluation skills. Not including, of course, squandering a no. 20 overall  pick on Renaldo Balkman rather than selecting some scrub named Rajon Rondo.  And how can FIU tolerate Thomas constantly lobbying for a professional gig while on their payroll?  Who does he think he is, Gary Carter?

11.04.10

The Talent Pool For New Bands In Minneapolis Seems Rather Thin At Present

Posted in Gridiron, Rock Und Roll at 6:04 pm by

 /></p> <p>Presumably, the extended mix of Randy Moss : One Clap” features a frank discussion of the Vikings’ catering, and no fewer than a half dozen expressions of love and admiration for Bill Belichick.  Video link culled from the Star-Tribune’s Michael Rand, who points out all the damage Brad Childress’ lack of institutional control is doing to the local concert calendar.

For The First & Last Time In Legal History, Chris de Burgh & The Membranes Share A Sentence

Posted in Firearms, Rock Und Roll, The Law at 4:27 pm by

If the publication of John Robb’s ‘Death To Trad Rock‘ wasn’t enough to catapult Blackpool’s late, great (and reforming) Membranes into the wider public consciousness, perhaps this story will do the trick. On Tuesday, the Guardian’s Esther Addley reported a London police officer has been relieved of duty after inserting song titles into his testimony surrounding the shooting death of lawyer Mark Saunders. Finally, there’s someone in the legal world trying to put a stop to any mention of Journey.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission said it is investigating the unnamed officer, who gave evidence as Alpha Zulu 8 or AZ8, after it emerged that he had been reprimanded by his superior shortly after giving evidence on 27 September.

Saunders was shot dead by firearms officers in May 2008, following a five-hour armed standoff at his flat in Chelsea, west London. Last month a jury at Westminster crown court ruled that the barrister, who was an alcoholic and armed with a 12-bore shotgun during the siege, had been killed lawfully.

The inquest heard that AZ8, who was stationed on an adjoining conservatory rooftop was one of two officers who may have fired the fatal shot.

An examination of the transcript shows that evidence given by AZ8 contained a number of phrases which are also the titles of songs, including Enough is Enough by Donna Summer, Point of No Return by Buzzcocks, Line of Fire by Journey, Quiet Moments by Chris de Burgh, Kicking Myself by As Tall As Lions and Fuck My Old Boots by the Membranes.

Sources close to the Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, said he was “furious” that anyone could show such “insensitivity and lack of judgment” during the high-profile hearing.

Saunders’ mother Rosemary said: “If it’s all such a game, was it a game on 6 May? If this man can approach the inquest with such an attitude, then it makes you wonder about how he approaches shooting his gun to kill a man.”

Sparky Anderson, RIP

Posted in Baseball at 1:54 pm by

George Lee “Sparky” Anderson, manager of the Cincinnati Reds’ 1975 and 1976 World Series squads, as well as the man behind 1984′s wire-to-wire AL East triumph and subsequent World Series sweep for Detroit, has passed away at the age of 76 in Thousand Oaks, CA.  For more than a few insights into Anderson’s character, you could do far worse than Joe Posnaski’s terrific, ‘The Machine’, or if you’re pressed for time and prefer to focus on Anderson’s last managerial tenure, you could opt for the recollections of the Detroit Free Press’ Drew Sharp who insists, “We should never forget how much nationally Sparky became an extension of this city.”

He made being a Tigers fan cool again, even though the team struggled in those early days. Who cared if the Tigers lost? Did you see Sparky™s theatrics when he complained to the umpires?

It was a big deal when the Tigers landed him in 1979. Before names such as Trammell, Whitaker, Gibson and Parrish became synonymous with 35-5 and the Series trophy, Sparky was the first piece in restoring baseball credibility in Detroit. He was the main attraction when victories were scarce.

How many managers elicit a roar from the crowd simply for taking the lineup card to home plate? And he™d always tip his cap.

Weird Afternoon, Everybody: WSJ’s Cohen Joins Mad Dog Russo World Series Celebration Broadcast In Progress

Posted in Baseball, Sports Radio at 1:31 pm by

For the most part, I’m opposed to things that make Mike Francesa happy. Increasingly, it’s difficult to imagine just what those happy-making things might be — A backrub from Bill Parcells? Something bad happening to Carlos Beltran? But I suppose, since I must take a position on this critical issue, that I’m okay with whatever makes “Chris” Mad Dog Russo happy. I don’t know the extent to which Russo is capable of experiencing basic human emotions, or expressing any emotion beyond frantic, caffeinated bafflement. But given that Russo has long been on record as one of the nation’s foremost San Francisco Giants fans — or most insistent and nervous-making Giants fans, at least — it seemed safe to assume that he was pretty psyched by the Giants’ first World Series victory since 1954. Which is six years before Russo was born, but which the Wall Street Journal’s Ben Cohen reports did nothing to diminish Russo’s maniacal glee in his first post-victory broadcast. For a vivid depiction of what is basically a happier-than-average crazy person at work, you can’t do much better than this.

Two minutes before he took the air Monday afternoon, Christopher Russo calmly walked into the studio of his Sirius XM show, “Mad Dog Unleashed,” carrying a tuna sandwich on rye bread. Not long after, he started to scream, uncoiling his body so violently that his hands ended up above his head, convulsing in tremors. A twisted smile plastered his face. “Ahhhhhh”good afternoon everybody!” he squealed, getting louder and higher-pitched as he made four words last seven seconds.

Bruce Springsteen’s “Radio Nowhere” filled the studio. Dog strutted five paces back and forth, performing the riffs with an air guitar, as if he were on stage at the Stone Pony. “Are you alive?” he bellowed, leaning into the microphone. “Are you alive!” He rolled up his white shirtsleeves and gripped the table in front of him, palms up…

More than two years into his new show, Mr. Russo hasn’t become any less Mr. Russo, even if he’s not saying, “Good job, Mikey,” every hour. He can’t rely on Mr. Francesa’s counterpoint, but on Monday, for example, he was still full of questions. Had anyone seen “The Town”? Mr. Russo had just come from a 10:25 a.m. screening, where he was the only one in the movie theater. How many teams had lost the World Series after leading 3-1 with home-field advantage”was it two, or three?

… And, most important, will he live and die with every Giants score now that they’ve finally given him some satisfaction? He has talked to Red Sox fans whose obsessions dwindled when Boston snapped its championship drought. “That little rant I did in ’03, when I said ‘One time!’ about nine million times, loudly”I wonder if I’ll do that,” Mr. Russo wondered aloud. “Do something else with my life. Be an air-traffic controller. Go schedule passenger planes. I love that stuff. Here’s Jeff in Philly.”

Try not to think too much about Russo as an air-traffic controller, especially if you’re planning on traveling by plane. But if you’re bored, by all means feel free to think of him joining GC onstage with The Air Traffic Controllers. I’m picturing Doggie as a stand-up drummer, but feel free to let your own imagination go on that one.

11.03.10

Where Does Wally Backman Go To Get His Reputation Back?

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 10:35 pm by

And can someone purchase him a multi-stop Amtrak ticket? Though I’ve long been a big fan of Steve Keane’s Kranepool Society blog, I must confess I’ve yet to check out his “Call To The Bullpen” internet radio show, and had I done so yesterday, I might’ve caught Omar Minaya’s old pal Adam Rubin of ESPN.com burying Wally Backman.  For the second time in 24 hours! In the view of Gotham Nation’s Mark Healy, “with an ESPN reporter citing whispers and innuendo about what Wally Backman may or may not have done in Brooklyn this past year, do you think any organization is going to give him the benefit of the doubt?” Well, yeah, isn’t that what the Newark Bears are all about?

On Keane™s show, he sort of repeated his original statements, with the caveat that something or somethings happened in Brooklyn this past season and that he would be œshocked of Backman was hired. œJust because things aren™t seminated to the public doesn™t mean everything is perfect. Rubin stated on the show.

œThere™s no sense in trying to disparage anybody, it™s not a match¦

By hinting at œproblems in Brooklyn and not making clear that Backman™s alleged transgressions in Brooklyn were on-the-field procedural issues, internal policy disagreements, or off-the-field problems, Rubin has opened speculation on all fronts. Whether he wants to agree with that sentiment or not, I really don™t care. What he did was completely out of line.

You don™t want to œdisparage anyone, but you throw out these comments a day or two right before Backman™s interview this week?

Though Adam Rubin is hardly the first or even the most serial abuser of Backman (I’m waving my arms over here as frantically as possible), I don’t think Healy is totally out to lunch.  If ever a manager in the NY-Penn League could be said to be working under a microscope, such a description would’ve applied to Backman this past season on Coney Island.  What other skipper in all of the game had to return to affiliated ball immediately after becoming an internet sensation — not for his strategic prowess, mind you, but the sort of  trigger-temper that instantly recalled earlier charges against the former Mets 2B. If anything seriously fucked up happened on Backman’s watch last season, it seems a minor miracle we’ve not learned about it.  Since when have the Mets demonstrated any ability to keep a secret?

Sam Page’s Defense Of J.P. Ricciardi

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 6:57 pm by

Former Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi was named Sandy Alderson’s Special Assistant To Something Or Other yesterday, and with the Worcester native’s move from the broadcast booth back into the front office of an MLB club, it’s worth remembering he accomplished more in Toronto than merely slandering Adam Dunn and trashing a former colleague “Nobody likes a loud loser,” mused Amazing Avenue’s Sam Page, “yet I emphasized with the guy.”

In particular, I loved the 2008 Blue Jays, a team Jay Jaffe called, “the strongest fourth-place team in Wild Card-era history.” Though Ricciardi’s constant whining about the Yankees and Red Sox was at best grating in light of the Rays’ success, the 2008 Blue Jays seemed unfairly obscured by their division.

Before the A’s and Rays made it trendy, Ricciardi built teams with an extreme emphasis on pitching and defense. That 2008 season, Roy Halladay and A.J. Burnett combined for an incredible 467 innings, while pitching at career-high levels. Those two, along with unheralded youngsters Jesse Litsch, Shaun Marcum, and Dustin McGowan created a formidable staff that lead the American League in Innings Pitched, ERA, FIP, and GB%.

Meanwhile, the Blue Jays had swapped Troy Glaus for Scott Rolen at third base, completing a defense-first infield that included SS Marco Scutaro, 2B Aaron Hill, 1B Lyle Overbay, and utility-man John McDonald. Not even the gradual unraveling of Vernon Wells’ career in center field could undermine an outfield defense made great by Alex Rios’ incredible range. They easily lead the American League in Dewan’s +/- , doubling the total of the next best AL team (Oakland).

In Moneyball, Ricciardi left the Athletics after promising Blue Jays’ president Paul Godfrey, “These people are all replaceable by people you’ve never heard of.” He nearly proved himself right. Perhaps even more so than the more successful 2008 Rays, Ricciard’s Jays typified a new “Moneyball” that glorified players antithetical to those in Moneyball.

If playing Boston and New York 36 times a season put Ricciardi’s Blue Jays at a competitive disadvantage, presumably he’s not intimidated by the prospect of going toe to toe with the Phillies and Braves an equal number of times.

Yahoo’s Woj : KG’s As Serious(ly Unfunny) As Cancer

Posted in Basketball at 1:50 pm by

Kevin Garnett has long established a rep for physical play, trash talk and a tendency to get in the faces of players who don’t represent much of a challenge. But enough about making Glen Davis cry, after a Tuesday encounter with Detroit, KG allegedly crossed a line that Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski won’t soon forget.

œK.G. called me a cancer patient, Pistons F Charlie Villanueva tweeted on Wednesday morning. œ¦K.G. talks a lot of crap. He™s [probably] never been in a fight. I would love to get in a ring with him. I will expose him.

Yahoo! Sports sought a response from the Celtics on the charge, but the organization hasn™t responded.

So much is said on the floor, but this hits people in a different way. Cancer victim? Villanueva has a condition called alopecia universalis, which results in hair loss. Villanueva™s always taken the time to meet and talk with kids who share the condition, and has listened to their stories of getting teased with those kinds of cutting words. Garnett is too old for this, too smart.

Nevertheless, it™s stained his legacy. This one promises to chase him into retirement. Beyond that of an MVP and an NBA champion, Garnett has gone to inexplicable lengths to craft a parallel legacy: a vicious bully, a cold and cruel jerk.

11.02.10

Red Auerbach Is No Longer The Most Googled GWU Hoops Pioneer

Posted in Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl?, Basketball at 11:43 pm by

(after being topped by Phil Jackson, Red’s taking this 2nd place stuff pretty well)

Ok, would you believe Yinka Dare instead?  On Monday, Outsports reported on the remarkable case of George Washington University G Kye Allums, formerly Kay-Kay, a female-to-male transsexual who will be playing for the Colonials Women’s team this season.  Allums tells the Washington Post’s Kathy Orton that he’s received nothing but support.  I’m not saying I don’t believe him, but I didn’t get to hear much sports talk radio today, either.

“I was kind of shocked,” Allums  said in a telephone interview on Tuesday afternoon. “I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t think this many people would find out or even care this fast. I thought it would take weeks or months, but in two days? I have people from Germany saying they had already heard about it and how they wish more people were like me or more people would be able to say something and it’s crazy.”

This means a lot,” he said. “I didn’t choose to be born in this body and feel the way I do. I decided to transition, that is change my name and pronouns because it bothered me to hide who I am, and I am trying to help myself and others to be who they are. I told my teammates first, and they, including my coaches, have supported me. My teammates have embraced me as the big brother of the team. They have been my family, and I love them all.”

Because he has opted to forgo hormone treatments or surgery until after his eligibility has expired, Allums will continue to play for the Colonials.