02.20.11

“Sauron and Voldemort Joining Forces To Complete The Death Star,” or What Dolan and Zeke Reuniting Above The Penn Station Houlihan’s Feels Like

Posted in Basketball at 4:26 pm by

There are exceptions, because there are always exceptions, but this is by and large a pretty good time for the NBA. The NBA’s pre-All-Star broadcasting pulled in record ratings, the Rookie Challenge game was hilariously loose — the screaming “OH BABY” dude from the And1 Tour was all that was missing — and while Blake Griffin’s winning effort in the slam dunk contest was basically a sledge-o-matic away from total prop overload, it’s always and everywhere kind of hard to argue with Blake Griffin. (If admittedly harder to argue with this) There are a bunch of good teams in the NBA, and they are for the most part fun to watch and interesting to ponder. So, looming labor strife and other bumouts notwithstanding, it’s a good time for the NBA. But there are exceptions, because there are always exceptions.

Among the most glaring being that James Dolan (above) — mock turtleneck aficionado, revenge-blues artist, embodiment of loathsome entitlement’s most loathsome aspects and general toxic idiot — still owns the New York Knicks. When the Knicks are playing well, or even just playing the hyperactive pick-and-roll offense and kind-of-playing the whatever-that-was defense for which Coach Mike D’Antoni is known, they’re a very likable team — one comprised of a legitimately fascinating philo-Semitic power forward, a few long-shot reclamation projects made good, a comic Russian, and a host of players enjoying the sort of statistical and reputational boost that playing in D’Antoni’s system offers. (Raymond Felton and Boris Diaw have something to talk about next time they get beers, is what I’m saying) And when they’re playing badly, as they sometimes will, the Knicks are — and this may be even more important — also pretty likable. They always play hard and at times play very well and are largely free of the sad, extravagantly compensated and thoroughly past-it veteran washouts that be-shat the stat sheets during Isiah Thomas’s implausibly long tenure as the team’s GM last decade.

Given that Dolan is Dolan, and that he abetted and co-piloted Thomas’s trashing of one of the NBA’s marquee franchises, there’s a sense in which the looming, if not already extant, reunion between the two is unsurprising. While I feel for GC and other Knicks fans as they face down this reunion between Titanic and Iceberg, I also don’t really care all that much about the Knicks. The team I grew up caring about has its own clownish/offensive owner and wince-induction issues, and while the Knicks are exponentially more fun to watch than the Nets at this point, I don’t really watch either all that much. (The one Knicks game I’ve been to this year was for work, and I’ve been to maybe two others in the past three years) But as a Mets fan, I know the unpleasantness of watching a dim-but-loyal ownership group defer to a defective chief executive who manages to consistently underperform his worst-in-class reputation. I know that it sucks, a lot. I just don’t feel it as acutely in this case.

But I’m getting there. The blamelessness of walked-over team president Donnie Walsh — who turned the league’s most fucked franchise around in impressive time — is beyond debate, which makes the way in which he has been treated pretty gross. And given just how bad the two parties at the center of all this are — Dolan is Dolan, and Isiah, who has done literally nothing to warrant a job in basketball since retiring as a player, is both an unctuous creep and terrible at everything that could conceivably fall under his job description as a team-runner — the possibility of Dolan-Thomas Part Two is kind of a challenge to any basketball fan’s gag reflex.

Swapping three of the team’s best players and a valuable draft pick for Chauncey Billups and Carmelo Anthony — terrific players both, neither of them a fit for the style that has belatedly made the Knicks a non-joke — looks like a classic Isiah Thomas deal, but whether the trade happens or not, it’s hard not to feel for Knicks fans seemingly consigned to cheer for a team that’s a laughingstock even when the on-court product isn’t a joke. At Straight Bangin, the indispensable Joey Litman addresses the sorry state of a Knicks fan facing “a miscarriage of reason” that he compares to “the basketball equivalent of Sauron and Voldemort joining forces to complete the Death Star.” The prospect of entrusting Thomas to create a Big Three based around Anthony, Stoudemire and a star PG TBD, Litman writes,

… Takes for granted that Isiah Thomas will find the right complementary players, that Isiah Thomas will successfully navigate the salary cap, and that Isiah Thomas can preside over a functional organization. He has never demonstrated an ability to do any of these things, though, and that is why today’s news is so distressing. Allowing Isiah Thomas to return, even as some Machiavellian puppeteer, is an insult to reason, to history, and to decency. It’s an affront to fans, to professionals, and to the entire NBA. His initial tenure with the Knicks was a cautionary tale of epic ineptitude, unapologetic petulance, and even lurid inhumanity. Rewarding him with another opportunity is just an insult all around.

We expect nothing more from James Dolan–who deserves more run in conversations about the worst owners, and millionaires, in the world–but all the same, this feels gross and terrible. Setting aside a fan’s righteous indignation and debilitating lack of control, restoring Isiah’s power, in the shadows or elsewhere, also is a legal, moral, and ethical crime. He is employed by Florida International University as its basketball coach, yet he is currently working on basketball projects for another organization. I am sure his employer, his players, his recruits, and the parents to whom he must answer all are pleased to read how little they mean to him. So, too, must Donnie Walsh, who twists in the wind as the cuckolded Knicks president, love that his hard work and tireless commitment to prudence and propriety has been rewarded with such indifference, if not casual disdain. Were Isiah returning not inherently so awful, allowing him to run the Knicks and wage war against Walsh with the owner’s approval would make this entire story distasteful, anyway. There are few constants in the universe, but one of them remains that nothing involving Dolan and Isiah will ever be done appropriately, respectfully, or rationally.

Yahoo’s Wojnarowski : The Head Coach Of FIU Is The Knicks’ De Facto GM

Posted in Basketball at 11:32 am by

Perhaps even more chilling than Donnie Walsh being encouraged to turn the mooted Carmelo Anthony trade into the most lopsided swap since Dallas sent Herschel Walker to Minnesota are the claims of Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, who insists this entire affair has Isiah Thomas’ fingerprints all over it. ““Isiah is calling the shots for New York,” says one of Wojnarowski’s sources, while the columnist insists, “Walsh has never wanted to give away Raymond Felton for an aging Chauncey Billups and throw Danilo Gallinari into the package, too…this is all Isiah, all his influence.”

Eventually, Anthony will likely end up with the Knicks, and Thomas plans to take full credit with Dolan for delivering him. He’s worn out Dolan with the idea that Walsh is too old to recruit the biggest stars to New York, that he can’t connect with them. This is complete nonsense. What sells New York isn’t the GM, but cap space, the Garden and a magnificent teammate and leader like Amar’e Stoudemire(notes). Thomas is forever selling revisionist history and out-and-out lies to an audience of one: Dolan.

For months, Thomas has privately insisted that Walsh was done with the Knicks this spring. His option must be exercised by April 30 and that still hasn’t happened. Thomas believes it’s never happening, and believes he can install a puppet regime through Dolan to replace Walsh. This way he can eliminate the middleman. “He wants his own guy in that office, someone he can have some control over,” a league source said.

Thomas had a plan to run the Knicks again, and it failed a year ago: When Dolan pushed Walsh to bring back the disgraced executive as the Knicks general manager, Walsh reacted with the threat of resignation. This was pure lunacy, a plan hatched out of the incompetence of Dolan, out of the deviousness of Thomas.

Wojnarowski predicts that after leaving his team president to twist in the wind, Dolan won’t exercise a contractal option on Walsh, and a Thomas-selected successor will emerge. Even the most casual observers are aware Isiah’s already done incalculable damage to the Knicks’ reputation ; not only has this escaped Dolan’s notice, but if Wojnarowski’s reports are credible, the Cablevision heir’s continued relationship with the “Love & Basketball” fan in no mere matter of loyalty towards a troubled ex-employee. It suggests — not for the first time — that Dolan is mentally unfit to own an NBA franchise.

Blake Griffin Is The Carrot Top Of The Slam Dunk Contest

Posted in Basketball at 10:48 am by

All-Star Weekend’s Slam Dunk competition has been heavy on the gimmicks in the past, but Cedric Ceballoas’ blindfold or Dee Brown’s blatant plug for Reebok seem like modest gestures compared to the kitchen sink’s worth of props the Clippers’ Blake Griffin dragged out at the Stapes Center last night. Much as I’d hate to jump on a kneejerky anti-Griffin bandwagon, I think I speak for CSTB readers all over the globe in saying it would’ve been so much more impressive had he landed in the arms of Nate Robinson.

02.19.11

Lawrence : Knicks Are Chasing The Wrong Megastar

Posted in Basketball at 11:37 am by

With rumors swirling the Knicks — represented by owner James D’ohlan (above) rather than soon-to-be-free-agent Donnie Walsh — have offered Denver a package of Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler and Eddy Curry’s expiring contract for Carmelo Anthony, indications are the Nets’ own high stakes bid has come to naught. That’s bad news, writes the New York Daily News’ Mitch Lawrence — for the Knicks. “They’re still not getting very far in the playoffs this spring. Or in future springs,” Lawrence warns, while advocating a future pursuit of Dwight Howard. “You don’t outscore people on the road to an NBA title.”

Rest assured, there will come a point when D’Antoni is going to have to make the Knicks a more formidable defensive team. Can he do it? We don’t know, since it’s not exactly one of the first 30 entries on his coaching resume. But Anthony is the last player for the Knicks to trade for with that goal in mind.

“Carmelo is at his best when he is the fifth-best player on your team – look at the Dream Team,” the great Bill Walton said Friday at a press conference for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “That’s when he’s at his best.”

By going after Anthony, the Knicks are showing the impatience that was a hallmark of the years when Isiah Thomas ran the team. But Dolan and Thomas, a basketball brain trust if there ever was one, are consumed with Anthony. More than Donnie Walsh.

“Dolan’s going crazy to get this done,” said one team source.

Why, for more buzz? For more baskets for the Knicks? The Knicks are selling out, so ‘Melo can’t help the gate.

More to the point, ‘Melo can’t help, period.

02.18.11

Phil Mushnick, An Unlikely New Head Of G4′s History DIvision

Posted in Hockey, Video Games at 11:46 pm by

New York Post sports media columnist/conscience Phil Mushnick has long railed against hypocrisy amongst professional athletics’ leading lights on both sides of the camera, much as he’s long been a critic of simulated violence in sports video games.  However, in recalling a Sega Genesis game that was introduced in the year 1991, Phil has revealed himself to be a bit of a zippity-zappity trainspotter type. From Friday’s NY Post :

It’s tough to disagree with Penguins’ co-owner and legend Mario Lemieux. He condemned last Friday’s revenge-themed, fight-filled Penguins-Islanders game as “a travesty.”

“It was painful to watch the game I love turn into a sideshow,” he said, adding that the NHL failed to “send a clear and strong message that those kinds of actions are unacceptable and embarrassing to the sport.”

Funny thing, though, one day the kids in the neighborhood dumped the Mario Bros. video games for “Mario Lemieux Hockey.” Just one look. They loved that video game. Not that they all were hockey fans.

As a “sideshow,” Mario Lemieux Hockey had a fighting mode — the kids could skip the hockey, click straight to the fighting mode. The Mario Lemieux video game even scored the fights, knockout punches to players’ heads worth the most.

Former SportsCenter Anchor Faces Possible Legal Action From Right Said Fred

Posted in Sports TV at 11:04 pm by

It was a little more than 2 years ago that Will Leitch called former ESPN / CNN anchor Fred Hickman “a space cadet”, expressing unusual relish over the the veteran reporter’s substance abuse woes. Today, Hickman is once again ready for the spotlight, launching “Fred Said It”, a public relations firm designed to help today’s sports stars tackle the confusing modern world of Friendster, CompuServe, etc.

Many professional athletes today are faced with a continuous flood of media attention and can easily become a magnet for scrutiny. Social media channels broadcast every status update, “tweet” and image – good or bad – to millions in a matter of minutes, and any misstep becomes instant news. Having the skills and confidence to effectively communicate with the media and fans is proving to be as valuable as a good jump shot or a 100 mph fastball.

Veteran sports broadcaster Fred Hickman announced today the launch of Fred Hickman Communications to provide athletes, coaches and front office personnel with the skills to tackle a variety of challenging media situations, including:

How to conduct yourself in a radio or television interview
Dealing with high-pressure situations – such as the run up to a championship game, trade talks and rumors – or off-the-field conflicts
Delivering an effective public speech
Appropriately maximizing social networking outlets (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.)
Representing yourself in connection with nonprofit initiatives
How to handle success with class and humility

In the future, when asked how they became so comfortable in front of the media, athletes and coaches will simply reply… “Fred Said It.”

ND : We’re Not A Finishing School For Rapists

Posted in Lower Education, The Law at 10:07 am by

(both of these men would like to remind you that Gerry Faust never caught any rapists, either)

Following a widely circulated report last autumn that a St. Mary’s undergraduate committed suicide shortly after accusing a member of the Notre Dame football squad of sexual assault — a charge her family contends was not pursued with much zeal by the schoolthe Department Of Education is said to be monitoring the situation after a second accusation of institutional negligence surfaced yesterday. From the Chicago Tribune’s Stacy St. Clair and Todd Lighty ;

The family of a woman who attended nearby St. Mary’s College says campus police delayed fully investigating her account that a Notre Dame student sexually assaulted her after she had been drinking.

The woman says she felt that police were more interested in protecting Notre Dame than in helping her. Her father, a Notre Dame graduate, corresponded with the university president and visited campus police to plead for investigative action.

The other St. Mary’s student filed a report of an alleged sexual assault on Sept. 5. Police did not speak with the suspect in that case until 11 days later. Authorities said the woman initially did not want to press charges — a claim she says is false and her father considers a poor excuse.

“It’s not like a crime where someone steals $10 from you. It’s not a petty offense,” said the woman’s father. “It’s a serious criminal allegation, and it needs to be investigated.”

As in the Elizabeth Seeberg case, St. Joseph County, Ind., Prosecutor Michael Dvorak said he will not file criminal charges. It would be difficult to convince a jury that the woman was too intoxicated to give consent, he said. Dvorak said his conclusion would be the same regardless of when campus police conducted interviews and gathered evidence.

“We regret that some are critical of our handling of sexual misconduct allegations, and we understand the pain these families are experiencing,” read a Notre Dame statement. . “At the same time, we stand behind the thoroughness, integrity and objectivity of our investigations, as well as the comprehensive services available to students who are subjected to sexual misconduct.”

02.17.11

St. Louis Scribe Suggests 8 Years Is An Eternity

Posted in Baseball at 9:08 pm by

Does Albert Pujols feel a responsibility — as his manager, Tony La Russa has charged — to establish a new bar for what the game’s best player is worth?   Or do his current employers honestly believe they can keep their otherwordly offensive force in the fold by paying him less annually than Philadelphia lavishes upon the far more whiff-prone Ryan Howard? Above and beyond the posturing, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Bernie Miklasz credits Pujols (sort of) with a narrow victory in this week’s P.R. battle, with Albert’s arrival in St. Louis camp earlier today being given high (cosmetic marks) for the claim, “I want to be a Cardinal forever.”



Sure, I believe that Pujols would like to finish his career here. But at what cost? Does he want to be a Cardinal forever only if the team makes him the highest-paid player in MLB history? Or is there room for compromise? Just wondering: if Pujols really wants to be a Cardinal forever, then wouldn’t an eight-year deal (at the appropriate annual average value) accomplish that? How much money does he need and want to be a “Cardinal forever?”

And according to Joe Strauss, DeWitt apparently offered Pujols an equity stake in the ballclub. In other words, DeWitt was willing to make Pujols a partner — an ownership partner. Which is virtually unprecedented in major team sports in the U.S. Granted, we don’t know how much of an ownership stake DeWitt was willing to give to Pujols. I can’t imagine it would be a significant percentage. Still, if the team owner wants to hand you a piece of the franchise, at least it shows a willingness to be creative and make something happen, and make Pujols a Cardinal for life. Basically, we have to think it comes down to this for Pujols: a Cardinal forever, yes, but only if the price is right. A Cardinal for life, yes, but only if DeWitt pays him what he wants.

Perhaps in the future, we’ll see a day in which there is competition for Mr. Miklasz’ talents.  If he has the leverage to seek the highest possible salary, I sincerely doubt any of his colleagues or readers will ask, “how much money does Bernie need?”

Denver To Walsh : Nice Team You Have There. We’ll Take It.

Posted in Basketball at 6:19 pm by

While ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reports Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is once again scheduled for a confab with the highly coveted Carmelo Anthony, the New York Post’s Marc Berman claims Denver didn’t seek to merely rebuild in the event of an agreed-upon swap with Donnie Walsh (above) they’d instead be consuming (too) much of the New York Knicks’ roster.

According to an NBA source debriefed on Carmelo Anthony negotiations, Denver asked for Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Landry Fields, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov and a first-round pick (obtained via Anthony Randolph) for Anthony and point guard Chauncey Billups.

Yes, it looks like the Nuggets demanded everything but James Dolan’s Radio City Music Hall.

Knicks management was flabbergasted, according to the league source. They fear such a proposal meant the Nuggets really didn’t want to do a deal with the Knicks. Not much has changed since, though the Knicks believe the Nuggets eventually will soften on taking either Gallinari or Chandler, not both. (Eddy Curry’s contract must be included for the salary-cap numbers to work).

It’s a fascinating gambit on the part of the Nuggets, who supposedly still prefer NJ’s Derrick Favors ; in the event New York capitulated to such demands, the Knicks might stand no greater chance of moving deep into this year’s playoffs than they do at the moment. If the entire 2010-11 season has simply been a prelude to an eventual pursuit of Chris Paul — and assembling a Big 3 than can rival Miami’s — MSG season ticket holders oughta be used to it by now. At some point in the decade, the Knicks might actually be about winning basketball games in the here and now.

Miguel Cabrera Arrives For Spring Training In Something Less Than The Best Shape Of His Life

Posted in Baseball at 3:43 pm by

Detroit fans hoping Miguel Cabrera’s drunken behavior at the end of the 2009 season were the last of the slugger’s substance abuses issues received a rude awakening today when the Tigers first baseman was booked on DUI charges in Lakeland, FL. Suggesting the fates of Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski and manager Jim Leyland (or as one Detroit Free Press reader called them, “Dumbo and Captain Mumbles”) are tied to Cabrera’s ability to perform, Fox Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi has a sensible suggestion ; hire a babysitter.

Perhaps Cabrera needs a full-time mentor, the kind Josh Hamilton has in Johnny Narron. “I’m with him and I’m for him 24 hours a day,” Narron told MLB.com last year.

One of Narron’s duties is to effectively keep Hamilton, who has battled drug and alcohol addictions, from going out at night when the team is on the road. At this point, it’s not absurd to suggest that Cabrera requires a similar level of supervision or monitoring when he’s not at the ballpark.

Going back to last winter’s program isn’t a viable option. Cabrera obviously needs something more. Addiction is an ever-present threat, capable of ruining lives and careers at any moment. And it doesn’t give a damn when pitchers and catchers report.

Laughing To Keep From Crying (Fashion) Dept.

Posted in Baseball, Fashion at 11:10 am by

The above tees are billed as “soft and distressed” — just like the franchise! Can you wear one to Citi Field without VP of Smoothing Shit Over David Howard demanding you turn it inside out?

02.16.11

Bama Fan Can’t Beat Cam Newton, Murders Trees Instead

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 10:03 pm by

A caller to Paul Finebaum’s radio program last month claimed responsibility for the poisoning of Auburn’s beloved Toomer’s Corner oak trees. Having applied Dow Chemical’s Spike 80DF to the 130 year old trees, the caller’s boasts can be heard here, and are described in the following item from the Press-Register ;

“The weekend after the Iron Bowl I went to Auburn, Alabama, because I live 30 miles away, and I poisoned the 2 Toomer’s trees,” the caller, who identified himself as “Al from Dadeville,” said.

Dadeville, in Tallapoosa County, is about 25 miles northwest of Auburn. U.S. 280 is the main road connecting the two municipalities.

The caller refers to having placed the same brand of poison on the trees that Auburn officials say they have determined was used for the poisoning. Asked by Finebaum if the trees died, the caller said they were not dead yet, but definitely will die, which is now the prognosis of the experts who have analyzed soil around the oaks.

When Finebaum notes to the caller that that is against the law, the caller says, “Well you think I care? … I really don’t. Hey, and you can tell Tammy I … nevermind. Roll damn Tide!”

Officials said in a news release that the lowest amount of the poison detected was 0.78 parts per million, described by horticulture experts as a “very lethal dose.” The highest amount detected was 51 parts per million, or 65 times the lowest dose. Experts believe a normal application by itself would have been enough to kill the trees.

Let This Be On The Record : Oney Guillen Is Awesome & We’d Never Seek To Defame Him

Posted in Baseball, Parental Responsibility at 6:37 pm by

The guest of honor at last month’s Ozzie Guillen Roast is used to baiting the public, but when his Twitter-maven son, Oney, took to the stage, “a portion of the 800 people in the room to turned on Oney, making it so that he couldn’t even finish a sentence without interruption,” writes the Chicago Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley.  As you might expect, the White Sox skipper didn’t take the incident laying down.

‘‘I just kept thinking that he wasn’t even supposed to be up there,’’ Guillen said. ‘‘You don’t want people to call your kids names like that.

‘‘Look, I never get caught doing stupid [bleep] in Chicago. People can’t wait until I [bleep] up. So instead, they look for my kids to. But know this: If anyone says anything about Oney or my family in front of me like that, I will have to kill them.

‘‘Now if Oney, Ozzie Jr., Ozney do something wrong or deserve it, I will kick their ass myself. But I have no problem spending 20 years in jail for my kids. I will die for them.’’

Oney now will stay out of the Sox’ clubhouse. But as far as halting his tweets or having his dad read him the riot act, that’s not how the Guillen family works.

‘‘Kids do things they regret later,’’ Guillen said. ‘‘I fired Oney because I didn’t want anyone in the organization, period, saying he could get away with [bleep] because it’s Ozzie’s kid. I wanted to show [board chairman Jerry Reinsdorf] that everything starts at the top. Was it right or wrong? I don’t care. It was my decision.

‘‘What has pissed me off is people [with] the White Sox thinking he was getting stuff from me. People [with] the Sox were calling and saying, ‘How did he get this?’ I was telling them, ‘Call Oney and ask him.’ Oney has more friends in the clubhouse than people think.

‘‘I want to make it clear: Oney can tweet whatever the [bleep] he wants to tweet. He has nothing to do with the White Sox. For me, he’s staying away from the ballclub and [not tweeting] stuff like the Bobby Jenks thing. He promised me he wouldn’t.’’

HBO On Daulerio, Denton – Getting Paid, Ruining Lives

Posted in Blogged Down, Sports Journalism, Sports TV at 12:50 pm by

Were sports more fun before “the world went viral”? That was the question posed by “Real Sports”‘ host Bryant Gumbel at the conclusion of last night’s broadcast —and who brings to the pure joy of fandom more than the effervescent, not grumpy-in-the-slightest Gumbel? — the middle portion of which concerned the rise of Deadspin in the post-WIll Leitch era. Andrea Kremer grilled editor A.J. Daulerio and Gawker Media publisher NIck Denton, with the dynamic duo’s recent (commercial) success stories about Rex Ryan and Brett Favre receiving prominent notice.

Alas, not every cock pic enthusiast has an 8-figure salary (and the protection of the NFL) to fall back on. Serial creep Sean Salisbury — shown looking extremely haggard — claimed Deadspin had essentially destroyed his career with a “3 1/2 year” campaign of bullying. Such was Deadspin’s heartless pursuit of the former ESPN analyst, one of his kids was reduced to begging Daulerio to lay off.

Daulerio and Denton were portrayed as a smug, sleazy couple, nearly oblivious to the “collateral damage” Kremer claimed they were inflicting on REAL HUMANS W/ FAMILIES & PUPPIES. “I couldn’t help but notice,” mused a disapproving Gumbel, “that all of the Deadspin guys were young. Do you think they’ll change as they have families?” Presumably, Deadspin’s envelope-pushing tactics would be curtailed if, say, A.J. had to return to his 3 bedroom home in Greenwich, CT and explain to his children over the dinner table that he is the monstrous person who made Sean Salisbury cry on television. You know, the same Sean Salisbury whose routine abuse of John Clayton was all in good, wholesome fun.

That Nick Denton’s lust for traffic is considered unseemly is a bit rich coming from “Real Sports” ; TMZ.com is wholly owned by the same company that pays Gumbel and Kremer. Efforts to launch a TMZ Sports site have yet to take over the internet and at the very least, should have been mentioned during Kremer’s piece. Denton didn’t invent this style of reportage, he’s merely surrounded himself with people who are very good at it and/or have a better understanding of the readership’s tastes & prejudices.

It was also telling that Deadspin’s squash-jobs on sports celebs a-list and otherwise weren’t thought to have any legit news value (sole exception being former Deadspin-baiter Buzz Bissenger, who defended the Favre story before admitting he didn’t approve of off the record correspondence being used). For anyone with half a brain, the Favre and Salisbury stories weren’t simply about naming and shaming the horny, they also had something or other to do with workplace harassment and the sort of indignities routinely foisted upon women in the sports industry. Salisbury’s case in particular came on the heels of other zipper-related horror stores emanating from ESPN — and other have followed. Full credit then, to Steve Phillips for not going on HBO, holding up a family snapshot and sobbing, “see what you’ve cost me, A.J.? WAS IT WORTH IT?”

That said, if you’re waiting for “Real Sports” to do a story on the modern day Peyton Place otherwise known as Bristol, CT, don’t hold your breath. For all their recent notoriety, Daulerio and Denton are much safer targets. Air time that could’ve been used to ask Roger Goodell how he in good conscience could allow Favre to escape meaningful discipline was instead devoted to making sports journalists far less decorated than Kremer and Gumbel look like weasels.

And then, they segued into a cuddly profile of a convicted rapist.

02.15.11

In A War Of Words With Scott Boras, Cards’ La Russa Has Precious Little Ammo

Posted in Baseball at 7:12 pm by

St. Louis has approx. 14 hours left to meet Albert Pujols’ reported demand for a 10-year contract extension, and while it remains to be seen if the 9-time All-Star will accept Wednesday’s 8-year, $200 million revised offer, the first baseman’s manager and agent engaged in an unseemly pissing match that brought to mind a revised version of an old David Letterman joke. To wit, if Tony La Russa and Scott Boras were beating each other with huge wooden clubs, who’d be the winner? (A : the American people….especially if Boras won).  While the Cards’ tipsy skipper claimed Pujols’ representatives “are getting beat up by the union” (“set the bar, set the bar. You’ve got to deal with it. It’s not the way it should be”), since Hardball Talk’s Craig Calcaterra had the singular misfortune of listening to Jim Duquette and Kevin Kennedy on Sirius-XM today, he deserves full credit for the following transcription of Boras’ pointed response.

When asked by Duquette and Kennedy what might be animating La Russa’s lashout at the union today, Boras said “self-interest.” He noted that La Russa is competitive and wants the best player and that, like fans and anyone else, he’s reacting to the notion that the best player might leave the Cardinals.  But he doesn’t forgive La Russa for this narrow-mindedness like he forgives the fans who just want to watch baseball. Why? Because La Russa is a hypocrite.

“There is a market for managers,” Boras noted. And in that market the managers have every right to take below market deals if they want to.  ”The last I remember,” Boras said, “Tony sits at the top of that managerial chain.”  Which is true. And I’m guessing La Russa doesn’t think that he was unduly pressured to take that high dollar deal. He wanted it because he thought he deserved it. And I gotta tell ya: While I respect La Russa’s accomplishments as a manager, Albert Pujols has more of a right to ask for the top dollar in his job than La Russa does in his.

Wannabe Mets Owner Donald Trump – Not Merely A Sickening Fraud, But The World’s Worst Toastmaster, Too

Posted in Baseball, Boxing at 5:13 pm by

While Rob Neyer reassuringly notes there’s little chance Major League Baseball would look kindly upon pseudeo celeb blowhard Donald Trump’s plans to acquire the New York Mets, it’s worth pointing out — just to be 100% certain — that if such a transaction came to pass, the Amazins’ would be under the grip of an individual so intensely creepy, even Los Angeles Clippers fans would feel sympathy. The following item appeared in this space in February of 2006 under the headline, “Trump Honors Killer, Stinks Up The Joint” :

I realize in these heady days of The Human Whoopie Cushion hopping up and down on Oprah’s couch, fielding offers for his own chatshow on the Fuckface Channel and then being named Amnesty International’s Man Of The Year, there’s something a little out of vogue about acknowledging good works on the part of the old school sports media.

And with that, I’m more out of vogue than the Middle Class. Wally Matthews has already proposed that a Friar’s Club Roast of Don King is no laughing matter. Sports Illustrated’s Jeff MacGregor, however, attended said event and provides hard evidence the affair would’ve been a lot funnier if someone else had read the jokes.

Freddie Roman, having warmed up this chilly daytime crowd, has at last brought to the lectern Roastmaster Donald Trump (above), who leans into the microphone for his opening remarks as if to bite it.

“HEY, FREDDIE, how come HE has to SIT so NEAR ME? Move OVER, DON…You know he KILLED PEOPLE? This guy KILLED PEOPLE. I’m going to say things about him and I DON’T WANT TO BE KILLED…”

He waits, maybe for comic effect, maybe to let the echo fade. “How come there are so FEW BOXERS HERE? Because DON KING has SCREWED so many BOXERS, nobody WANTS TO COME!”

There is an awkward silence, punctuated by a flurry of nervous laughs.

“Let’s FACE it. DON KING IS A BIG FAT, F——- THIEF!”

There is another brief, but undeniable pause, while the audience considers its options. Laugh, and they’ll only encourage him. Sit quiety, and it’s going to be the longest afternoon this side of the planet Saturn.

“I have a CATCHPHRASE, You’re FIRED! Don has a catchphrase, Not GUILTY…Don is a big FAN of The Apprentice. IN FACT he’ll SOON have his own show, it’s called THE ACCOMPLICE!…Don King wants to write a BOOK about this EVENT, ‘Old JEWS and the NEGROES who Frighten Them.’”

Having assigned blame, thereby also taking credit for whatever parts of the script he has “punched up”, Trump is free to introduce the first professional comic, Stewie Stone, which, blessedly, he eventually does.

Stone, who looks exactly like the picture you have in your head of a man in late middle-age named Stewie, selects as his opening target, the Roastmaster himself. “You’re a mean c———-. I didn’t know that about you. You’re getting a million and a half dollars to give lectures on how to be a millionaire? Your father gave you 40 million dollars, that’s how!….Don King at least did it with a gun, you’re just full of s—-.”

Premier Sport TV – Providing The Finest In Service (To All 3 Of Their Customers)

Posted in Football, Sports TV at 4:36 pm by

While a not insubstantial global audience is currently watching AC Milan and Tottenham in the Champions League (with the hosts trailing, 1-0), let’s consider for a moment, soccer broadcasting on the somewhat less glamorous end of the spectrum. With the 2009 collapse of Setanta Sport, the majority of the subscription service’s coveted properties (ie. whatever EPL games Sky didn’t already hold rights to, daily updates on Tony Kornheiser’s viewing choices on American TV channels no one in the UK was familiar with) were quickly snapped up by ESPN’s burgeoning operation in Britain. However, other Setanta fixtures — Gaelic football, NASCAR, etc. were homeless until the formation of Premier Sports TV, a Luxemborg-based concern co-owned by one Setanta’s former principals. As When Saturday’s Comes Andy Brassell explains, the channel’s £6.99 per month fee has proved decidedly unattractive to fans of the Blue Square Premier League, better known as the Football Conference.

Premier pulled out of broadcasting Darlington v Barrrow on January 3 thinking the game would be frozen off. It wasn’t. An extraordinary statement later appeared on the channel’s Facebook page, blaming farrago on inaccurate weather forecasts and the amount of office staff on holiday, but trumpeting that it had fully compensated the “three people who signed up online under the presumption this game was going ahead on TV.”

Premier’s Richard Webb apologized, saying the channel were keen not to lose “between £15,000 to £20,000″ due to a late postponement. “We just don’t want to throw away money and jeopardise the amount of games we’re showing,” he argued. He then refused to discuss if there was a break clause under which Premier could leave the 3-year profit share deal early.

Q : What Do You Get When “Fight Club” Meets “The Room”?

Posted in MMA, The World Of Entertainment at 12:39 pm by

A: I have no fucking idea, but “Battlegrounds” could turn out to be every bit as important a culture touchstone as either of the two referenced films…particularly if North America is rendered powerless by a nerve gas attack and no one can turn off the television during this program’s debut. There’s no TV deal yet, but I’m think Charles D’ohlan’s Fuse TV might be the perfect home.

02.14.11

Dear Collector Scum (And Other Nice People)

Posted in Austin, Casual Victim Pile II, consumer affairs, Internal Affairs, Rock Und Roll at 7:51 pm by

This would be filed under the “Dubious eBay Auctions” category, except in this instance, the cause is too great to mock. And I’m not talking about the charities meant to benefit, I mean CLEARING MY FUCKING LIVING ROOM of stacks upon stacks of record boxes. Thanks.

A sequel to the 2010 Matador compilation ‘Casual Victim Pile’, The lazily entitled ‘Casual Victim Pile II’ (12XU) assembles 18 songs (15 of ‘em unavailable on vinyl, 14 unavailable in any other form) from a lineup including OBN III’s, Cruddy, Rayon Beach, A Giant Dog, Women In Prison, Simple Circuit, Naw Dude, Crisis Hotlines, Coma In Algiers, Sally Crewe & The Sudden Moves, The Dead Space, Expensive Shit, The French Inhales, Hatchet Wound, Literature, Serious Tracers, Bottle Service and The Zoltars. Released on Feb. 22, the CVP II auction includes the following items :

1) an unplayed white label test pressing of ‘Casual Victim Pile II’ – only 5 were manufactured.

2) a copy of the commercially available ‘Casual Victim Pile II’ LP on white vinyl (180gr.), sleeves screenprinted by Obsolete Industries of Austin, TX

3) a coupon for a digital download of the album, available in variety of formats (320 mp3, FLAC, WAV, etc.)

4) a 3-day pass to the ‘CVP II’ 3-nights at Beerland, taking place between March 3-5 and featuring all 18 bands on the album (you must be 21 or over for entry)

There are three (3) of these test pressing bundles up for action. All proceeds from the sales will be go the following organizations :

Austin Pets Alive!

Austin Harm Reduction Coalition

Girls Rock Camp Austin

Auction 1

Auction 2

Auction 3

High School Coach To Disabled Hurler : When Bunting 27 Times A Game Is In Vogue, You’ll Understand

Posted in Baseball, Lower Education at 7:21 pm by

What kind of a world is this in which Oliver Perez — no one’s idea of a particularly courageous baseball player — will have more of an opportunity to earn a roster spot than Orlando, FL teen Anthony Burruto, whose dismissal from the Dr. Phillips varsity squad is being blamed on coach Mike Bradley’s assumption opponents would be bunting on Burruto nearly every time they come to the plate. The Orlando Sentinel’s George Diaz defends the sophmore, asking, “how cheesy would it be for any team to try to take advantage of a kid battling out there like Anthony?” That depends, is Pete Rose ready to start coaching a high school team?

In cutting Anthony, Bradley whiffed on the big picture: Despite whatever limitations you want to place on him, Anthony is the consummate teammate. If somebody is slacking off, all Bradley needed to do was point at Anthony and say, “What’s your problem?”

“He was given the same opportunity as everyone else,” Dr. Phillips principal Gene Trochinski said Wednesday. “Unfortunately he wasn’t only one who did not make the team. There were 23 others who tried out and didn’t make it. … At this level you try to win ballgames.”

Anthony isn’t looking for any sympathetic do-overs. He doesn’t want to play for Bradley, who offered Anthony a position as a team manager keeping stats and such, which sounds one-step-up from a mascot.

Dirk Asks His Detractors, “Do I Come To Your Job & Knock The Dork Out Of Your Mouth?”

Posted in Basketball, Genocidal Tendencies, Mob Behavior, The World Of Entertainment, We Aren't The World at 1:15 pm by

On the heels of a widely publicized incident between LeBron James and a heckler, Mavs F Dirk Nowitzki used the occasion of his appearance on the not-even-as-funny-as-”American Dad”, “The Cleveland Show” (above) to address the topic of abusive fans with The Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s David Martindale.

“In real life, the whole 20,000 people in the arena can say whatever they want, but if you say something to them, you get fined automatically,” he says. “Sometimes I think it’s not fair, because some of the things fans say are below the belt.

“I’ve pretty much heard it all. I’ve been called a Nazi before, which isn’t even funny. It’s just ignorant. You become like, ‘In one ear, out the other.’ But in The Cleveland Show, we get back at him.”

DeMarcus Cousins : Just Give Him The Damn Ball (Or You Might Get Hit)

Posted in Basketball at 12:05 pm by

How badly did Demarcus Cousins (above) want to take the last shot in Sacramento’s Saturday night loss to Oklahoma City?  Badly enough that he’d allegedly take a swing at teammate Donte Green after the game, since Green had the gall to entrust Tyreke Evans with a would-be buzzer beater.  While Green tells the Sacramento Bee’s Jason Jones, “I was always taught to never hold grudges,” the Kings’ beat writer reminds us that Cousins — booted from the team flight prior to Sunday’s visit to Phoenix — is compiling quite an anger mismanagement resume.

Before the season, Cousins was fined following a verbal altercation with the team’s strength and conditioning coach. He was kicked out of a November practice and fined and benched for making a choking taunt in a loss in December.

Cousins being upset that Evans took and missed the last shot is the latest rumbling about Evans commanding the ball in the fourth quarter.

One of the criticisms of head coach Paul Westphal has been he doesn’t coach Evans with enough force to prevent him from holding onto the ball too long.

“Well, to me that’s a perfect example of when somebody plants innuendo and it grows into something that it shouldn’t,” Westphal said. “It couldn’t be farther from the truth. I don’t know anybody that can say that it has any substance to it. But here I am having to answer questions about it, and it’s ridiculous.”

02.13.11

Doctor My Eyes (Have Read Greg Prince’s Recollection Of An Inexplicable Dwight Gooden Videotape)

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 5:25 pm by

ESG once famously complained, “sample credits don’t pay our bills”,  but every now and then, there’s an film/tv/adverstising enterprise so devoted to cost-cutting, they find it cheaper to commission original (albeit highly generic) music than pay for the real thing.  So perhaps that’s why Mellow Mel’s astonishing “Dr. K” (above) never made the cut when the Mets marketing department completed production on “Doc : The Dwight Gooden Story”, a straight-to-VHS documentary Faith & Fear In Flushing’s Greg Prince describes as the product of Gooden’s 1991 contract extension. Much as it is hard to understand today why the Mets felt they could justify paying Gooden $750,000 for 3 videos (2 of which, presumably were never completed), the clause was the subject of derision in 1991, too.  Still, Prince insists the video — still available if you have $20 burning a hole in your pocket — is “a perfectly legal 50 minutes of baseball entertainment…it remains alternately cheerful and depressing, depending on your Met mood.” So why all the fuss over Werner Herzog having his name removed?

“Doc” is clearly a curio from its time, both for production values and content. Anybody who’s excessively watched An Amazin’ Era or A Year to Remember will recognize it as emanating from the same basic school of Met video storytelling, save for the lack of a recognizable soundtrack. Amazin’, which commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Mets franchise, and Remember, the tribute to our second world championship, were both made in 1986, when MTV’s influence was cresting. Thus, “real” music was a must, whether you were setting highlights to Petula Clark and Neil Diamond (An Amazin’ Era) or Duran Duran and Bob Seger (A Year to Remember).

By 1991, the Mets weren’t paying the necessary rights fees to use anything you’d ever heard, though an original hip hop theme, “Doctor Doctor” was composed for the occasion — credited to Richard Fiocca and D.C. Smooth. Though it focuses on Gooden and his ability to throw strikes, “Doctor Doctor” is not to be confused with Mellow Mel’s 1986 recording, “Dr. K,” nor, for that matter, Robert Palmer’s 1979 hit, “Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor)”.

Nothing about Dwight Gooden’s synthesizer was mentioned in the credits, but crafting scores for video productions was about the only thing Doc couldn’t do if you believed Doc. And why wouldn’t we? Who was going to buy this thing except Mets fans for whom Dwight Gooden indeed represented heart and soul, even at the late date of winter 1991-1992?

The Sanctity Of Marriage Suffers Another Blow In The Modern Age

Posted in Baseball, History's Great Hook-Ups at 4:59 pm by

(Applegate, mindful that her new spouse refuses to eat soup)

Enough with the bigots who’d stop same sex partners from getting hitched — what do these backwards-thinkers have to say about YES/ESPN NY mouthpiece Michael Kay getting married yesterday to what appears to be a space alien of some sort? While there’s no hard evidence in place WPIX anchor gal Jodi Applegate is anything other than a living, breathing human being, I think she’s an outer space plant — or a pod person, if you will. What sane, earthly person of either gender would willingly marry Michael Kay for fuck’s sake? The New York Post’s Matthew Abrahams and Ginger Adams Otis provide details from yesterday’s wedding in NYC, but they’re really saying, “SEE YA!” to the future of the human race.

Baseball bigs, including Yanks manager Joe Girardi and team co-owner Hal Steinbrenner rubbed elbows with TV personalities such as NBC anchor Brian Williams and Applegate’s WPIX/Channel 11 colleagues Kaity Tong and weatherman Mr. G.

And actor Danny Aiello, Kay’s uncle, was on hand to fete the happy couple as were former Yanks and Kay’s YES-network colleagues Al Leiter, David Cone and John Flaherty.

The couple had their first dance to Michael Buble’s “Haven’t Met You Yet.”

The posh affair was fit for a home-run king, complete with a giant seafood bar with six-foot mermaid ice sculptures. Guests feasted on filet mignon and branzino, an attendee told The Post.

Former Yankee centerfielder and accomplished classical guitarist Bernie Williams jammed with the wedding band.

The telegenic pair — sitting in thrones on a red velvet stage during the reception — met a few years ago while attending the local Emmy awards.

02.12.11

He Had To Go To Chechnya To Do It, But Ruud Gullit Has Found A Boss More Despicable Than Phillip Anschutz

Posted in Football at 9:26 pm by

Of his appointment as new manager of Chechnya side Terek Gronzy, Dutch international Ruud Gullit insists, “”I’m here for the sport, not the politics,…football brings joy. It’s a fun challenge to get people to embrace football. If I can make people happy, I’m happy.”  Amongst the happy observers at the above press conference was Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, the Kremlin-installed leader described by one critic as, “a lover of tracksuit bottoms and gold-plated pistols.” Gullit may or may not be fully aware of the human rights abuses Kadyrov’s been charged with, but the Guardian’s David Hills helpfully reminds us of a classic Wikieaks excerpt :

A US cable described Kadyrov arriving at a 2006 wedding party with “dozens of heavily armed mujahideen”, giving the couple a “5 kilo lump of gold”, “dancing clumsily with his gold-plated automatic stuck down the back of his jeans” and “showering child dancers with $100 bills”.

The best thing about penning the words, “top that, Donald Sterling/James D’ohlan”, is knowing there’s at least a 50/50 chance they’ll manage to do so.