04.27.11

In 2011, Andy Van Slyke Isn’t Quite Done Burying Barry Bonds

Posted in Baseball at 1:58 pm by

At one time, the Atlanta Braves celebrated their wonderful history (of postseason underachievement) by asking the question, “Where Were You When Sid Slid?” If your name is Barry Bonds, the answer was apparently, “playing way too deep”.   From MLB.com’s Terence Moore :

Andy Van Slyke just said the most fascinating thing about the Sid Bream Game to MLB Network as part of its series on MLB’s 20 Greatest Games.

According to Van Slyke, he asked Bonds to move in a few steps for the light-hitting Cabrera.

Bonds reportedly refused.

Boy, did he. Said Van Slyke to the MLB Network, “He turned and looked at me and gave me the international peace sign. So I said, ‘Fine, you play where you want.’ ”

Van Slyke wasn’t just any center fielder, by the way. He was on the verge of capturing the last of his five consecutive Gold Gloves. Not only that, he was playing a position whose occupants are generally allowed to bark orders to the other outfielders.

And, generally, those other outfielders listen. But, generally, they aren’t as famously strong-minded and talented as the guy who was in the midst of snatching eight consecutive Gold Gloves.

So Bonds didn’t listen.

Soon afterward, Cabrera dropped a single to the left of Bonds that required the left-handed outfielder to race toward the ball and throw home across his body. The throw was off slightly in the direction of the first base, but Pirates catcher Mike LaValliere made the grab and then whirled with his glove toward the plate for the tag.

It’s just that Bream and his knees that required five surgeries through the years reached home about a millisecond earlier.

Wednesday AM Fun : Which Homophobic, Child-Hating Big League Coach Recently Worked Near Gloria Allred’s Office?

Posted in Baseball at 11:40 am by

(Wednesday afternoon update : Braves pitching coach / former Mets reliever Roger McDowell, accused earlier today of asking a trio of SF Giants fans, “are you a Gay threesome?”)

Depending on your point of view, attorney Gloria Allred is either a dedicated supporter of the underdog or a hopeless publicity hound. Or perhaps a little of both. Earlier today, TMZ reported Allred has called a Wednesday afternoon press conference to detail one man’s allegations an as-yet unnamed MLB coach uttered anti-gay slurs within earshot of children. Presumably at a ballpark.

Allred tells TMZ … the coach used “homophobic words and sexually suggestive vulgar behavior,” simulating sex between gay men.

Allred says the comments and gestures were directed at 3 men whom the coach apparently thought were gay.

One of the fans, who brought his 9-year-old twin girls to the game, protested to the coach … and according to Allred, the coach responded by saying, “Kids don’t f**king belong at the baseball park.”  She also claims the coach then approached the father “with threatening words and a baseball bat.”

Though I’m not sure exactly what legal action Allred has in mind, it cannot be stressed strongly enough that Larry Bowa is no longer a coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

04.26.11

Leaving Citi’s Architects Off The Hook, Quoting The Bleacher Report : Barra’s Two Wrongs Fuck Over David Wright

Posted in Baseball, Ugly New Stadiums at 6:30 pm by

Despite a current 4 game winning streak against putrid competition, few expect the New York Mets to contend for much this season other than leading the big leagues in bounced checks. Playing to acres of empty seats at their 2-year-old ballpark, if the Amazins aren’t candidates for an immediate fire sale, the Village Voice’s Allen Barra considers an April 22 item from ESPN’s Adam Rubin sufficient cause to wonder how soon David Wright will be wearing someone else’s uniform (“if the Mets do dismantle and commit to rebuilding, Wright will be into his 30s by the time the team truly is a threat again..the Mets will have wasted much of the prime of his career”).

Last Thursday, in a rare moment of wry wit, Wright (above, left) noted that playing in the Rays stadium instead of Citi Field, “I might get a few more home runs.” The suggestion being that a trade of Wright for Evan Longoria might be in the works – which would save the Mets’ a wallet-full of cash as Longoria’s contract through 2013 calls for him to get $2 million, $4.5 million and $6 million while Wright’s contract calls for $15 million next season with the Mets holding an option for $16 million after that. (Though why the cheapskate Rays would deal for a player they’d have to pay so much for hasn’t been explained.)

Of course, there are a lot of places where Wright might get a few more home runs and where they could afford him, like Coors Field, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park or — the horror, the horror – Citizens’ Bank Park.

Over at Bleacher Report, Christopher Howland writes that “the possibilities of a mid-season fire sale are quickly becoming a reality … ” and that “the worst thing that could happen to the 2011 Mets is that they continue to play bottom of the barrel baseball, and when the July trade deadline comes around, GM Sandy Alderson plays no favorites and puts a majority of the team on the trading block.”

After you’ve gotten your head around the credible Barra citing a passage from the Bleacher Report, ask yourself this — what halfway -savvy Mets fan actually gives a shit about the won-loss record of the 2011 club compared to their long-term ability to compete?  Granted, trading a homegrown superstar like Wright would be a bitter pill for many reasons, but if it were to yield a younger, cheaper star such as Longoria (like Barra, I can’t possibly figure out why Tampa would be interested, unless the Mets were ready to give up some less-tenured talent of their own), that wouldn’t be the worst outcome.  But rather than harass sweet David Wright when he’s trying to prepare for a ballgame, why isn’t anyone bugging the likes of Fred and Jeff Wilpon about a long overdue reassessment of Citi Field’s dimensions?  If the park is such an obvious obstacle to Wright’s offensive production that everyone from Gary Cohen to Marty Noble to Wright himself is willing to say as much, isn’t some adjustment in 2012 a viable alternative to cutting bait on a player the franchise has so much money and hope invested in?

Hey, They’re Still Up 3-1 : Daily Thunder’s Sympathy For Russell Westbrook

Posted in Basketball at 4:22 pm by

Sure, you thought “30 (points) On 30 (shots)” was an ESPN property, but there was a late night edition on TNT Monday in which Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook experienced the sort of shooting futility against Denver that would’ve had John Starks saying, “maybe he oughta let someone else put it up” (had John Starks been sitting on my couch). Daily Thunder’s Royce Young witnessed Westbrook’s cringeworthy display, but argues, “the tone was set early on. This was a Russell Westbrook night.”

I think he sensed what I was seeing. The Thunder didn’t look comfortable in their own skin. They were throwing the ball away, taking dumb shots, forcing things and not moving off the ball. So he tried to take over a bit. And it’s difficult for Westbrook to turn it on in spurts. That’s the ideal Westbrook. The guy that can sense that moment where his team needs his offensive spark and give it for a few minutes and then turn the game back over to the natural rhythm and flow. But he’s not there yet. He’s just 22 and he’s still figuring all that out.

We’ve seen the Good Russ and Bad Russ a lot. And I’ve said it a hundred times: to get Good Russ, sometimes you live with Bad Russ. He’s not a perfect player. He’s still developing. This wasn’t his finest hour but he was trying to win the game. That’s what he had on his mind. Did KD need a few more touches? Absolutely. But to knee-jerk and start saying stupid things about Westbrook because of this game like “he’s not a point guard!” or “play Maynor!” is beyond ignorant.

With Westbrook, it’s all about accepting what he is. It’s like the scene in Band of Brothers when Speirs tells that one guy crying in the foxhole, “The only hope you have is to accept the fact that you’re already dead. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you’ll be able to function.” Westbrook isn’t a “true” point guard. He never will be. The sooner you accept that fact, the sooner you’ll be able to appreciate what he is. A darn good basketball player that still has some room to grow.

Where Does Dan Snyder Go To Get His Reputation Back (As An Ethical Telemarketer?)

Posted in Gridiron, non-sporting journalism, The Law at 1:06 pm by

Daniel Snyder’s decision to file a defamation of character lawsuit against Washington City Paper earlier this year met with predictable derision from this corner and many others, but the Redskins owner would like you to know that he’s “not thin-skinned about personal criticism…I am the first to admit that I’ve made mistakes.”  However, “sometimes, especially in the age of the Internet, when an unretracted lie can live forever, you have to draw the line.”  And that line comes when you accuse Snyder of fucking with your choice of home telephone carrier. The following are excerpts from Snyder’s editorial in Monday’s Washington Post :

Among many examples in the November 2010 article, the most egregious was when the article stated: This is “the same Dan Snyder who got caught forging names as a telemarketer for Snyder Communications.” That is a clear factual assertion that I am guilty of forgery, a serious crime that goes directly to the heart of my reputation — as a businessman, marketer and entrepreneur. It is false.

Remarkably, several weeks after I filed the lawsuit, the publisher wrote in Washington City Paper that she was “baffled” that anyone could read the article and believe that I had been accused of personally engaging in forgery. “In fact,” she wrote, “we have no reason to believe he personally did any such thing — and our story never says he did.”

Well, I am baffled, too, since personally engaging in forgery is precisely what the paper explicitly said I had been “caught” doing. If the publisher has “no reason to believe” that “Dan Snyder got caught forging names,” then why not retract the words that explicitly said I was a forger and simply apologize?

Synder has a point here.  In this country, you’re innnocent until proven guilty, even if you’ve settled out of court.


Move Over Elijah Dukes, Carl Everett’s Had Conflict Resolution Issues For YEARS

Posted in "Wife Beater" Is Not A Fashion Statement, Baseball, The Law at 10:35 am by

Perhaps you thought oft traveled Dan Shaughnessy nemesis Carl Everett would return to to the headlines making his theatrical debut in “The Vagine Monologues”?   The Tampa Bay Times’ Ilena Morales provides details of Jurassic Carl’s latest unfortunate episode.

During an argument with his wife of 18 years Monday night, Everett pointed a silver handgun at her head, according to a police report. She feared for her life and tried to call 911 on her iPhone, but he broke it; she tried to call from another cellphone, but he broke that one, too, the report states.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office arrested Everett, 39, at his home in Lutz, records show. He was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and tampering with a witness.

Not to make light of domestic violence, but I fully expect the Everett defense team to argue Carl cannot be held accountable for AT&T’s shitty reception.

04.25.11

Nets Blogger On The Knicks’ First-Round Exit : It Couldn’t Happen To A Nice Cross-River Rival

Posted in Basketball, Blogged Down at 8:01 pm by

(no more questions from the man in the Nets jersey, please)

In the aftermath of being swept by the defending Eastern Conference champs, some are focusing on whether or not Chauncey Billups, Mike D’Antoni or Donnie Walsh are returning to the Knicks next season, or perhaps on Boston’s Rajon Rondo shaking off late season slump at a very opportune time.  Others, however, would prefer to consider the single most important storyline to emerge from the Knicks’ underwhelming showing ; the acquisition of Deron Williams aside, it’s the highlight of the year for Nets fans in general, Nets Are Scorching’s Mark Ginocchio in particular.  “It’s situations like these where the word schadenfreude is most appropriate,” sneers Ginocchio, conveniently forgetting that for all James D’ohlan’s many ill-advised public acts, he never promised a championship within the next half decade.

Let it be said after acquiring two super-duper-stars and one nice player (only in the year 2003 is Chauncy Billups part of any team’s “Big Three”) the Knicks have collected exactly as many playoff victories as the New Jersey Nets and precisely one less than the Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers, who didn’t spend the latter stages of the regular season telling anyone who would listen that they were going to be a “tough matchup” for their heavily favored and more experienced first-round competition.

Let it be said that despite his MVP-caliber season, when he was needed the most, Amare, who already has knees that are ticking time bombs, pulled up with a stiff back. The aging Billups, pulled up lame again. I’ve already hear the Meccah-naires saying that injuries happen, but this is part of the reason so many of us non-Knicks fans rolled our eyes at some of the roster moves your team made. Please keep in mind that every missed opportunity for the Knicks going forward inches the organization ever-so-closely to seeing their $20 million investment of Stoudemire spending more time in a suit on the sideline than in a jersey on the court. I will be stunned to see his NBA career survive the life of his contract, and the fact that he was already a physical liability in his first postseason in New York makes a prediction like that sound even more prophetic. As for Billups, let’s see if this guy even makes it half a season next year.

That brings us to Carmelo Anthony, whose prima-donna “I want to be wooed by the Russian but I ain’t gonna sign in Jersey” act has surely earned him the scorn of Nets fans going forward. There’s no reason for Nets fans to have to praise this guy, but in a show of kindness, I’ll say ‘Melo proved in this post-season that for every exhilarating game 2 performance, there’s an exasperating game 1 showing. ‘Melo has exited stage left in the first round for the seventh time in his eight playoff seasons. And yet I’m supposed to continue to treat this guy like he’s an elite NBA player who can single-handedly carry a team to victory.

If Only The Buzz Channel Was Next To MLB Network On The DirecTV Grid

Posted in Professional Wrestling, Sports TV, The World Of Entertainment at 7:21 pm by

As it stands, they’re well placed just the same.

For The Mets, War Is Hell (And So Is Jay Horowitz’ Job)

Posted in Baseball at 4:29 pm by

Given the firestorm of criticism that greeted Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo and Carlos Beltran last September when they failed to participate in the Mets’ visit to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C., you’d think club officials would issue very thorough instructions prior to tomorrow’s return to the hospital, if only to avoid the public relations fallout.  However, as the New York Post’s Dan Martin reports, there’s just enough grey area where any player who oversleeps and/or parties too much this evening can be served up as a sacrificial lamb, without the team ever running afoul of the union.

“I felt very strongly it should be voluntary,” GM Sandy Alderson, an ex-Marine, said. “I think it’s important for us, and in keeping with the fact that those at Walter Reed have volunteered, we want people to go visit who want to be there.”

Carlos Beltran said he will attend. A year ago, he was involved in meetings for the school he is setting up in Puerto Rico.

“I would have been there last year,” Beltran said. “I’ve visited veterans … and I’m looking forward to going.”

Manager Terry Collins said he expects the turnout to be “maxed.”

OK, everybody up to speed here?  Attendance isn’t mandatory — you can’t have that sort of thing in a free country. However, the servicemen and women at Walter Reed have lost limbs trying to protect those very same freedoms, so any Met who dares blow off tomorrow’s photo opportunity is AN ENEMY OF FREEDOM and deserves no more benefit of the doubt from talk radio or the local papers than your average al-Qaeda foot solider.

If you’re confused by this, don’t worry, that just means you’re an enemy of freedom, too.

$1 Million For Cam Newton Lie Detector Test, Not One Penny For Decent Web Design

Posted in Gridiron, The Internet at 11:28 am by

With both Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay predicting reigning Heisman winner Cam Newton will be selected the number 1 overall pick by Carolina, what better time than the present for the aesthetically-challenged folks at CamNewtonLieDectectorTest.com to issue the following ultimatum?

Attention Cam, pass a professionally administered lie detector test by answering “No” to these 4 questions..and $1,000,000 is yours

Prior to signing with Auburn, were you aware your father was “shopping” you to Mississippi State or any other school?

Did you tell Dan or Meghan Mullen that you signed with Auburn because of the money because you truly believed Auburn had paid for your commitment?

Did anyone on the Auburn coaching staff/athletic department instruct you how to answer questions from the NCAA by lying or avoiding the truth?

Did you or your family ever receive any impermissible benefits from Auburn?

Though the site’s creators urge Newton to “have your attorney contact our attorney to work out the mutually agreed upon details”, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Jeff Schultz reports no one is answering their (alleged) telephone number. If the odds of Newton participating in this stunt are super slim, consider the likelihood his tormentors might struggle to scrape together a hundred bucks, let alone a million.