NJ-Based Head Coach Declares “I Am Not A Freak”

Posted in Basketball at 12:09 am by

Bet you thought I was writing about someone else, huh? Prior to a 105-91 loss to the Hornets, Nets head coach Avery Johnson angrily denounced reports his “control freak” tendencies had cost him the New Orleans job over the summer. From the NY Post’s Fred Kerber :

œOh, very unfair. It™s just blatant lies. But that™s just the way it happens, said Johnson of the œcontrol freak label. œOne guy tells one lie and by the time it gets to the 10th person, boy, it™s a really manufactured one.

œSo that™s a part of the deal. I think Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick “ even Sean Payton, my main man Sean Payton “ they™ve all been lied on. Gregg Popovich. But they™ve still been able to be successful. That™s the nature of our business, added Johnson.


Stephen A. Smith Promises “Big” Return ; I’m Thinking One-Man Show, Off-Broadway

Posted in Sports Journalism, Sports Radio, Sports TV at 7:19 pm by

Former ESPN analyst / Philadelphia sports writer Stephen A. Smith’s tenue at Fox Sports Radio lasted roughly a year the network causing early Xmas celebrations yesterday with the following news, as provided by Larry Brown Sports :

Tuesday it was announced that Stephen A. would be leaving his morning show and Zakk and Jack will become the network™s morning show. Stephen A. will play the new role of NBA analyst for the network, which likely means guest spots talking basketball.

Stephen A. implied on his twitter account that the decision was his, saying œ3:30am wakeup calls, then traveling 80 miles 1-way to work everyday was very taxing. He also added œyou will be hearing from me very, very soon. In a big way, too. Stay tuned for the latest development in the career of Stephen A., who likely is coming to a TV channel near you.

Having already missed out on opportunities to replace Larry King and Simon Cowell , there’s another frontier in Smiths multi-media assault that would truly demonstrate his impressive range and fearlessness. But who knows, perhaps there’s already a qualified actor in line to play the primary role in the Colin Cowherd situation comedy?

Waffle Man : Civil Disobdience’s New Hero, Or Just A Disgruntled Tim Horton Customer?

Posted in Food, Hockey at 3:42 pm by

Toronto broadcasters Joe Bowen and Greg Millen seem thoroughly unaware of what would possess a Maple Leafs fan to pelt the team in general (or Phil Kessel in particular) with waffles for the 3rd time in less than two weeks, however, the motivation was spelled out in this item from the Toronto Sun’s Tamara Cherry.

œThey need to wake up and eat some breakfast, Jack M., 27, who asked not to be identified, said in a Saturday interview, hours ahead of the Leafs meeting with Montreal. œI™m just trying to help them out with a balanced diet.

The œdiehard Leafs fan said he didn™t throw the waffles out of disrespect to the players, explaining, œI love them, but somebody™s got to say something.

Jack™s waffle-throwing escapade caught headlines across the city and some light, but perhaps slightly annoyed, reaction from the players.

œI don™t appreciate it, really, a guy throwing waffles at me as I am skating by, Leafs forward Colby Armstrong said after the game. œWe™re trying to make light of it in here. Throw a filet, throw a T-bone. Spend some money.

Dahlberg : Bob Geldof > Cliff Lee

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 2:08 pm by

(not Cliff Lee)

After leaving some $30 million Yankee dollars on the table in order to return to the Phillies for a mere $120 million pact over 5 years, starter Cliff Lee, “is being held up by some as a shining example of someone not motivated by greed,” sneers the AP’s Tim Dahlberg.  “I’m not picking on Lee…but I’m also not going to nominate him for the Nobel Peace Prize,” continues Dahlberg, who then proceeds to, well, pick on Lee.

For what Lee will make to pitch one game, Save The Children -which is active in 120 countries -could help save the lives of 10,000 malnourished children by providing them with specially formulated peanut paste for eight weeks so they gain weight and get stronger.

For what he will be paid to pitch just one inning, the charity could buy 4,000 newborn care packages to help prevent infants from dying within the first 24 hours of birth.

For the money Lee makes to get one out, a complete school could be built in Mali, a country in Western Africa that is one of the poorest in the world. Each school can be built for $42,000 including three classrooms, latrines for boys and girls, and books.

“We can educate a girl for an entire year for $65,” Loehr said. “It takes so little to be able to bring education to the world’s poorest children.”

Spend Lee’s money closer to home and the left-behind $30 million could provide healthy snacks for a half million kids living in poverty in the United States.

That Lee is making an obscene amount of money is impossible to argue…and almost as useless to harp on.  If Lee has an moral obligation to turn over some portion of salary to the globe’s neediest, what about the owners of the Philadelphia Phillies, whose business model presumably provides for some kind of profit over the next 5 seasons?  What have Alex Rodriguez, Bud Selig, Barry Zito or Wily Mo Penaa done recently to address famine relief?

Phil Jax Asks David Stern, “Why Do You Hate Christ?”

Posted in Basketball, Religion, Sports TV at 12:45 pm by

(above : jerk who believes TV schedule should cater to his whims. And on the right, Jay Leno)

OK, admittedly, that’s not at all what Lakers head coach Phil Jackson had to say on the subject of his Lakers hosting Miami on Christmas Day, the 12th consecutive time Los Angeles has bowed to their TV paymasters and played on the holiday.  But in quotes circulated by Fanhouse’s Chris Tomasson, Jackson seems to argue against a separation of Church and NBA.

“It used to be Phoenix and L.A. and New York and Boston and New York or Philly or somebody on the East Coast,” Jackson, speaking before Tuesday’s game against Milwaukee at the Staples Center, said of the once much more reduced NBA schedule on Christmas. “Now, I see they have like six games (actually, five) on Christmas. It’s like Christian holidays don’t mean anything to (the NBA) anymore. You just go out and play and entertain (on) TV. It’s really weird.”

“I don’t think anybody should play on Christmas Day,” Jackson said. “Soccer teams don’t play this time of year… I agree (with the NHL also not playing). I don’t understand it. … You just have to keep reminding (the NBA) that this is a special day.”

If Jackson would like to be nostalgic for the days before the NBA was a hot Christmas TV property, he’d do well to recall the league was reduced to showing the Finals on tape delay as recently as 1980. Surely he can recognize the demand for a Christmas showcase is a byproduct of the game’s popularity (another result being the gargantuan compensation earned by Phil and his players)?  But aside from all of that…what about America’s non-Xtian population?  Don’t we deserve some entertainment?  Rather than bitching about working Christmas Day, you’d think Jackson could spare a thought for those of us who live in cities without decent Chinese restaurants.  I’m no fan of Miami’s Big 3, but I’d rather watch them do their thing on Saturday than stand in line for “Tron 3D”.

Putting The “X” In Rex : Did Deadspin Just Out Gang Green’s Ryan?

Posted in Gridiron, Sports Journalism at 3:29 am by

The only person who might be happier tonight than Gawker Media owner Nick Denton might be Brad Benson — his next advertisement practically writes itself. If the Brett Favre penis pics are the Moby Dick of highly-trafficked sports blog scoops, Deadspin’s Tuesday coverage of the unmistakable resemblance between Rex Ryan’s wife, Michelle, and a woman who appeared in a series of foot fetish videos some years ago might be considered Barry Petchesky’s Orca. That a near-breathless cameraman in one of the clips sounds an awful lot like the Jersey Jets’ (current) head coach is almost as remarkable as the Jets issuing what sounds like a pretty resigned “no comment” earlier this evening.

I think it is fair to say we’re about to enter unexplored terrain for the NFL and professional sports in general. While this could be one of the more unusual teaching moments in recent memory — the Ryans’ alleged fetish is completely harmless and far less worthy of ridicule than the behavior of some J-E-R-K-S fans — it remains very unclear how tolerant the football fans of NY/NJ will be towards a coach whose swagger might be slightly diminished starting this weekend. An updated version of Petchesky’s Deadspin post includes a screengrab of a dating profile for the swinging couple who may-or-may-not be Rex and Michelle ; for “sexual orientation”, they’re described as “straight / bi-curious”. Again, harmless stuff, and I’m in no way opposed to an even bigger teaching moment ;  if we’re really living in an America free of hate, surely Wednesday morning would be an opportune time for Joe Benigno (or Fireman Ed) to declare they’d openly embrace a bi-curious head coach.


Scribe Resists Urge To Call Phillies Starters “The Fourgetabuddies”

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 7:18 pm by

Good thing, too, as the name has already been taken. Sort of (see above).  But with suggestions including but not limited to dubbing Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels, “The Phab Phour” (really?), Philly.com’s Stan Hochman declares, “I want the best starting rotation in baseball called ‘The Un-four-gettables.’”

Other than Ruben Amaro Jr. and his front office elves, who thought Lee was “gettable” with the Yankees offering 7 years and $150 million?

That’s it, that’s my best shot. I had some other ideas, including “The Fourtissimos,” which refers to the musical direction to play loudly. Maybe too obscure. And besides, these might be four of the most soft-spoken guys in the whole cockeyed game.

I had a patriotic theme, “Armed Fources” plus “Deadly Fource” and “Brute Fource” but baseball is not a violent game, unless you’re sitting in the bleachers at Yankee Stadium wearing the other team’s gear.

I thought about “The Enfourcers” but didn’t want to focus on the mob angle. I thought about that Grant Wood painting and posing the four guys in overalls and farm implements and calling them “Pitch-Fourked.” But that might have been too subtle.

I thought about “Mount Rushfour” with their portraits carved on the side of a mountain. And then there was the spinoff of a Broadway show about Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins called “Million Dollar Quartet.” Could have called them “Zillion Dollar Quartet” and scattered the shirts with musical notes.

A Winter League Near-Riot That Didn’t Involve Lastings Milledge

Posted in Baseball at 5:40 pm by

More heated than the average baseball shove-fest, for sure, but both teams wearing the same color jerseys makes things confusing for some of us. Who knew Charlie Samuels had found gainful employment south of the border?

Longing For The Days When Sam Mitchell Provided Such Reliable Copy

Posted in Basketball at 3:28 pm by

Former Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell  (above, left)— currently ensconced as an assistant in Newark, where the Carmelo-Coveting has kicked into high gear, visited Toronto Friday night for the first time since the end of his tenure in that fair city.  TSN’s James Cybulski fondly recalls Mitchell’s approach towards the Fourth Estate, which apparently, was already in fine fettle before he’d even presided over his first Raptors game.

Cybulski: How do you like the city?

Mitchell: It’s good. Still figuring it out but I like it.

Cybulski: Are you settled in yet?

Mitchell: Not yet, but we’re getting there.

Cybulski: Do you have a young family to move up here as well and get adjusted?

(It was here that Sam went a touch sideways)

Mitchell: What the @$%& is up, man? What’s with all the questions? You trying kidnap my kids or something?

Cybulski: Sorry, I was just trying to make some chit-chat.

Mitchell: Labumbard, whats up with this #*$&%¤ guy? Is this guy trying to hi-jack my *$#& family!?

Labumbard: Well, Sam…it’s just people are a little nicer up here.

Mitchell: What the $+*#?


Posnaski On KC Fans Getting The Royal ShaftRebuild

Posted in Baseball at 5:17 pm by

As you’ve undoubtedly read elsewhere, Kansas City traded the 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner, Zack Greinke (above), to Milwaukee yesterday for a pile of prospects that while far terrible, aren’t nearly the haul you’d expect in return for a pitcher of Greinke’s quality.  “Greinke is 27-years young,” raged Jeff Pearlman. “He was drafted by the Royals and, despite a so-so 2010, is a legitimate No. 1 starter. He is the exact type of player Kansas City is supposed to keep and build around…in another couple of years the players acquired from Milwaukee will be used as chips. It™s how it goes.” Leaving aside for a minute whether or not K.C. should’ve even entertained dealing Greinke this early, Joe Posnaski ID’s speedy outfielder Lorenzo Cain as the most promising player/chip received by the Royals ; shame then, Cain might not see much playing time for the parent club, if Ned Yost’s remarks to Bob Dutton in the KC Star are any indication.   From Posnaski’s Joe Blogs :

Yost started talking about Cain, talked about his athleticism, how he and Escobar can help the Royals offense “just with their legs alone.” Then it all took a terrible turn.

œHe™s a center fielder, Yost told Bob about Cain. œBut we™ll see where it fits in. I™m not projecting anything right now. We™ve signed Melky Cabrera (to play center field), and Lorenzo Cain only has (147) big-league at-bats.

Uh oh. Bob asked Ned Yost about Cain … and the words “Melky” and “Cabrera” were in the answer? Melky Cabrera of the 83 OPS+ and .317 on-base percentage last year? Melky Cabrera of the minus-21 on the Dewan Plus/Minus for outfield defense last year (minus-9 in center fielder where he only played 385 innings)? Melky Cabrera of the minus-1.2 WAR last year — which made him by Fangraphs ratings the worst everyday player in baseball? That Melky Cabrera?

Are the Royals really going to block one of the young and promising players they just got for Greinke with Melky F. Cabrera? And this in a year when EVERYONE knows they are going to be absolutely terrible?