07.31.11

Arlington, TX – An Unlikely Hotbed Of Anti-Wave Sentiment

Posted in Baseball, Mob Behavior at 7:54 pm by

 

No offense intended to the good people of Arlington or the Dallas area in general, but if you’d asked me to guess which Major League Baseball franchise would have the keen aesthetics to discourage paying customers from participating in the lemming-like practice known as The Wave, the defending AL Champions wouldn’t have been in the top 5 candidates. So that take that, baseball sophisticates in New York, Chicago, Philly and Boston, it’s the team that employs such squares as Josh Hamilton and C.J. Wilson that had the good sense to embrace Stop The Wave.net.

A cynic might suggest that perhaps in light of recent tragic events in Arlington, the Rangers’ liability insurance carrier would prefer the club continue to pour cold water on any sudden movements in the stands, no matter how contrived. But no matter the motive, ending The Wave is the sort of common sense, crowd-pleasing decision that provides a glimmer of hope for future generations.

Uncovered : The Asbury Park Equivalent Of ‘The Tape Of Only Linda’

Posted in Rock Und Roll at 2:50 pm by

Video link courtesy Dangerous Minds.  Admittedly, this is not the most flattering footage of Bruce Springsteen on the internet, though it should be said it isn’t the most embarrassing, either *  Given the tremendous global goodwill towards Springsteen, it shouldn’t take too long to figure out which nefarious individual is responsible for the above clip being leaked.  Think about it, who’d actually have something to gain by making The Boss look so schmucky?

Kevin Millar,  if this was the best you could do, I feel truly sorry for you.

That Timothy Busfield Lookalike On Subway Might Be Baseball’s Premier Knuckleballer

Posted in Baseball at 2:24 pm by

Current Padres closer Heath Bell has taken the 7 train to Citi Field. Cubs skippper Mike Quade opted for the Red Line on first regular season journey to Wrigley Field. Perhaps seeking recognition as some sort of public transport pioneer, Mets starter R.A. Dickey recounts a July 3, 2010 ride on the Washington Metro, en route to a mound duel with Nats phenom Stephen Strasburg, as told to the New York Times’ David Waldstein :

Dickey, the foil to Strasburg in the rookie sensation’s fourth career home game, sat quietly, pretending to read Yann Martel’s “Life of Pi” while he soaked in every word, including his own name, flittering around him. He wore jeans, a collared shirt and carried a backpack on that northbound train headed for the Navy Yard stop. Amid those red-clad fans, he looked more as if he was headed to work at the Smithsonian than to start for the Mets in front of a crowd of 39,214, who would pay to watch on a sunny day custom-made for baseball.

“It was kind of like an out-of-body experience,” Dickey recalled. “It was as if I was a fugitive going incognito.”

Dickey was surrounded by fans, sitting behind him, in front of him, across from him, even standing in the aisle hovering over him. They dissected the coming game and particularly the matchup, which a day earlier Dickey had described as a duel between an F-18 fighter jet against a butterfly. Dickey then listened to the fans analyze it.

“It was really a cool window into the fans,” he said. “I was so glad I was able to dis-attach from being me and was able to see what it’s like for people when they come to a baseball game. It was very surreal. I just sat there pretending to read and thinking, ‘This is kind of unbelievable.’

Of his occasional commutes to Flushing via Metro North and the 7, Dickey notes he’s encountered an appreciative, if not literate Mets fan base.

““One guy had heard I was reading ‘My Name Is Asher Lev’ by Chaim Potok,” Dickey said. “As he walked by, he recommended I read ‘The Chosen,’ too.”

07.30.11

Freak To Uncle Charlie : Velocity Ain’t Everything

Posted in Baseball at 2:12 pm by

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel preceded his club’s overpaying for acquisition of Hunter Pence by dismissing claims San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum (above) and Matt Cain qualified as “great” hurlers (“when you say somebody is great, I look up there and tonight I saw a 90 mph fastball, 92 at best,”). Asked for reply by the SF Chronicle’s Henry Schulman, the 2008 NL Cy Young Award winner wasn’t in a conciliatory mood.

Lincecum seemed floored by the quotes, especially the velocity part, saying, “They had a guy named Moyer right? Talk to him about that one.”

“It’s probably just frustration speaking,” Lincecum said. “When it comes down to it, it’s not what a person says, it’s about what goes on, on the field. There are guys who can dominate throwing 85, and there are (hitters) who can hit 97. This is the major leagues. It comes down to execution.”

Lincecum further surmised that Manuel was frustrated the Phillies lost their first series in more than a month.

“They’re not used to it,” he said. “It might have something to do with what happened in the NLCS, too. You’ll have to ask him. Cainer threw up the same numbers I threw. He doesn’t have to hump it up. With his stuff, he still dominates teams. I don’t know if miles per hour have to do with domination.”

07.29.11

Rosenblatt : If Divers Do It Deeper, Gulati’s Done It Dumber

Posted in Football at 11:13 pm by

(Klinsmann, shown with his front-runner for new USMNT Fitness Guru, Emu, formerly of “Rod Hull & Emu” infamy)

With apologies to David Allan Coe for the above headline, Jurgen Klinsmann was named head coach of the US Men’s National Team earlier today, following the termination of Bob Bradley.  Klinsmann, pursued on prior occasions by USSF president Sunil Gulati, brings considerable star power to the job…and not much else in the estimation of SB Nation’s Ryan Rosenblatt, who calls the hiring, “all too predictable and disappointing

A close inspection of Klinsmann’s tenure as Germany manager chips away at some of Klinsmann’s shine. A match-by-match look at Germany’s 2006 World Cup doesn’t show anything overly impressive. They finished atop of a group comprised of Costa Rica, Poland and Ecuador. Impressive? He beat Sweden in the round of 16, hardly a win of epic proportions. Taking out Argentina in the quarterfinals was a nice win, but that was one of the more average Argentine teams in recent years and it took penalty kicks to get by them. When Germany was really tested was in the semifinals and that’s where their run came to an end as Italy disposed of them.

Klinsmann has had one other managerial job and he was a downright terrible. He took over a Bayern Munich team that won the Bundesliga the previous year and drove them down the table, saw them get knocked out in the cup quarterfinals and with the dressing room is pieces, was fired before the season ended. In his partial season Klinsmann’s tactical naivete was exposed, his scouting abilities were questioned and the club found itself several steps back from where they were when he took over.

Those who liked to question Bradley tactics, and there were instances that deserved plenty of questioning, conveniently forget that there were times where Bradley was tactically brilliant. He was the first manager to pressure high up the field against Argentina and make it difficult for Lionel Messi to get service instead of dropping deeper to double mark the Argentine wonder. He narrowed the field against Spain in the 2009 Confederations Cup semifinal and was still able to stretch them vertically with Charlie Davies up top. Bradley has shown to be much more tactically adept than Klinsmann so if tactics were an issue for Bradley, what will they be for the German?

In The Summer Of 1997, The Magic’s Dennis Scott Might Not Have Been Ready For His Close-Up

Posted in Basketball at 6:44 pm by

In which Former Orlando F Dennis Scott failed to win the award for Camp Counselor Of The Year (link via Ball Don’t Lie and Kelly Dwyer).

NYDN’s Gonzalez : Steinbrenner & Wilpon’s Monuments To Greed, Avarice Are Costing NYC

Posted in Baseball, New York, New York, The Marketplace, Ugly New Stadiums at 1:45 pm by

(Mets COO Jeff Wilpon, prior to the opening of Citi Field, basking in the knowledge that once this picture is in wide circulation, pitchers will never again wear warmup jackets on the basepaths for fear of being mistaken for him)

“If you want to know why more than 450 city park workers are about to be laid off or why the Parks Department has imposed outrageous fee increases,” writes the New York Daily News’ Juan Gonzalez, “just take a look at Citi Field and the new Yankee Stadium.”  He doesn’t mean the respective menus as The Shack Shack or NYY Steak, either, and is instead, calling foul on the Bloomberg administration’s sweetheart arrangements with both franchises.

Shea and the old Yankee Stadium – both of which sat on park land, and were owned by the city – were the Parks Department’s biggest revenue generators.

Under the old Yankee Stadium deal, the city was assured a percentage of gate receipts, a percentage of food sales, even a percentage of the team’s cable revenue.

Because of that, the old stadium produced as much as $15 million a year for Parks – even after deducting costs for stadium upkeep.

Likewise, the Shea Stadium deal generated as much as $9 million annually for the city.

As recently as 2008, the two ballparks represented nearly half of the $51 million in concessions revenue generated by the entire Parks system.

On top of that, the city was taking in an additional $6 million annually from parking fees at Shea and the old Yankee Stadium.

Once the new ballparks opened, all that revenue disappeared – even the parking money.

Today, the Mets keep all their parking revenue. Meanwhile, the Yankee Stadium garages, run by an independent firm, are nearly bankrupt and may never produce the $3 million annually they agreed to provide the city.

Florida International University Finds A Curious Way To Take The Heat Off Isiah Thomas

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron, Racism Corner, Sports Radio at 1:10 pm by

While The Post’s Bart Hubbach makes great sport out of Bill Belichick’s penchant for taking on reclaimation projects, the same could be said of Florida International A.D. Pete Garcia.  Two seasons after tapping disgraced Knicks coach/exec Isiah Thomas to coach his men’s basketball program, Garcia earlier this week hired former CNN Anchor Rick Sanchez, who lost his job in Atlanta last year after publicly bitching about a Jewish Media Cabal. Pointing out that Sanchez, “has a tight relationship with school president Mark Rosenberg, who is Jewish,” the Miami Herald’s David J. Neal gives the former ample rope with which to describe his appointment as the new color man for FIU football.

“I played college football. I love football,” Sanchez laughed. “That part of it is exciting. We all tend to think we could do play-by-play better than the next guy. I don’t need to chase the next anchor job.”

Or, if you didn’t know that Sanchez, Cuban-born and Hialeah-raised, brags of how much FIU’s enrollment and FIU’s team displays South Florida’s ethnic diversity all the way up to Cuban-American head coach Mario Cristobal. Or, if you didn’t know that FIU athletic director Pete Garcia has known Sanchez since they were at Mae M. Walters Elementary School, through Filer Junior High and to Hialeah High.

Sanchez rose to stardom as a Channel 7 news anchor in South Florida’s bullet-heavy 1980s and establish himself as South Florida’s most polarizing news personality as the station began to dominate the local news ratings. Starting in 2001, he went to MSNBC; returned to South Florida’s WTVJ-Channel 6; then to then-WBZL Channel 39; before going to CNN.

“I stand by what I said — generally, the news media, broadcast more so than print, has not given opportunities to people of color, particularly Latinos,” Sanchez said. “I don’t need money.  If anything, I’m looking for opportunities to empower others and myself so we’re not getting jobs, but creating jobs.”

07.28.11

Rasmus Might’ve Moved To Toronto, But His Dad Isn’t Finished Sparring WIth La Russa

Posted in Baseball at 9:43 pm by

Colby Rasmus’ tumultuous stay in the Cardinals organization came to end Tuesday as the outfielder went from Tony La Genius’ doghouse to the Blue Jays outfield as part of an 8-player trade. Prior to said transaction, the St. Louis manager characterized Rasmus as unwilling to follow the coaching staff’s instructions, a charge pissed papa Tony Rasmus considers a not-so-veiled shot at himself. “There are three or four guys in the St. Louis clubhouse right now, thinking ‘oh-oh, who is the manager going to pick on next with Colby gone?’” the elder Rasmus, coach of the Russell County High School Warriors (AL) told the Toronto Sun’s Bob Elliot.

In June of 2010 the father visited his son in St. Louis and worked on hitting: “We didn’t do anything serious. Colby told Tony about it. After last June that was the end of that,” said Tony Rasmus, who said four weeks ago the Cards and Colby were involved in talks on a four-year deal.

“Evidently La Russa (above) has absolutely made that stuff up. He’s got it on the brain. If I was working with my son I’d tell people.

“Tony needed pitching and wanted to force the GM into making a trade, so he belittled Colby to the fans.”

“I’m not flying to Toronto to begin working on his hitting, we weren’t having a video conference every night,” Tony Rasmus said. “The last time I spoke to Colby about hitting, he was telling me what he and (hitting coach) Mike Aldrete had been working on, La Russa has it on the brain that I’m working with him. It’s not true.

“Put a kid on the field, if he’s not good enough to play, put his ass on the bench, never mind all this other stuff.”

The Public’s Big Chance To Kick Jack Oblivian & Harlan T. Bobo Out Of The Country

Posted in Rock Und Roll at 9:13 pm by

OK, they’re allowed back in. Either way, this is a far better use of Kickstarter than chronicling why there’s a direct line from ‘Damaged’ to The Darling Buds.

Hideki Irabu, RIP

Posted in Baseball at 4:51 pm by

(above : a sickening character who milked his association with the New York Yankees for all it was worth.  And on the left, the late Hideki Irabu)

Hideki Irabu, a two-time World Series winner with the Yankees, and an outstanding starter for 9 seasons with Chiba Lotte Marines, was found dead today in Rancho Palas Verdes, CA.  Irabu, last seen in this space attempting a comeback with the Long Beach Armada of the now defunct Golden League, never managed to live up to the gargantuan expectations of Yankee ownership or fans after signing a 4-year, $12.8 deal in 1997.  Said pact came after San Diego purchased Irabu’s Japanese contract, but were forced to deal the right-hander to New York when he refused to sign with the Padres.

Rightly or wrongly, Irabu will probably be best remembered by American sports fans as the subject of ridicule, by characters real and ficitious.

07.27.11

DeCock : UNC Waited Too Long (To Fire A Guy That Deserved It)

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 7:22 pm by

Of University Of North Carolina head football coach Butch Davis (above, left) “accepting full responsibility” for his program’s laundry list of violations, The News & Observer’s Luke DeCock opined, “when an oil tanker runs aground, they don’t put the captain in charge of the cleanup.”  Yet that’s exactly what school President Holden Thorp did by allowing Davis to remain employed after a scandal-plagued 2010 campaign, with said tenure ending, curiously enough, earlier today.   And it’s the wait that has DeCock crowing, loudly.

Thorp and the trustees put the players on North Carolina’s football team who didn’t do a thing wrong — the vast majority of the players on this year’s roster — in an almost impossible position going forward. A coaching change a week before the start of training camp is about as big a negative as you can slap onto a team’s season. It’s an uphill climb for the Tar Heels now, a season in purgatory, and there are a lot of innocent players who already saw last season diminished by the misdeeds of their teammates.

Thorp has had ample reason to cut Davis loose for almost a year, ever since that awkward night he apologized to fans because the investigation had uncovered possible academic fraud and, oh by the way, the tutor we would soon know as the mysterious Jennifer Wiley just happened to have worked in the Davis household. Even the day last month when the NCAA finally got around to handing down its Notice of Allegations would have been a better day.

The timing of Davis’ firing is as baffling as the long delay in getting to this point in the first place.

Rob Neyer To Lynch Mob : Lay Off Meals, What About Clint Hurdle’s Incompetence?

Posted in Baseball at 2:21 pm by

Perhaps mistaking Atlanta for Detroit and attempting to heed Jalen Rose’s advice that nothing’s open after 2am except hospitals and legs, umpire Jerry Meals ended last night’s Pirates/Braves, 19-inning marathon by calling Julio Lugo safe at home despite being gunned down by Pedro Alvarez by a good 10 feet.  At least one observer has dubbed Meals’ failure to recognize a sweeping tag by Pittsburgh backstop Mike McKenry, “a new worst call ever”, but professional skeptic Rob Neyer of SB Nation asks, “isn’t it possible that umpire Meals saw something the rest of us didn’t?”

It might not be likely, but it’s possible that Jerry Meals (above)  saw something, something real, that none of the cameras were able to see. If there was an eighth of an inch between Michael McKenry’s mitt and Julio Lugo’s pants, would the cameras have caught that gap? Not from what I’ve been able to tell; none of the cameras were placed in just the right place to see that gap, if there was one.

Yeah, I know Lugo behaved as if he were out. Players do that all the time. Sometimes they just don’t know. Sometimes they assume they’re out because the throw beat them by 10 feet. Usually they’re right. Not always.

You can blame Jerry Meals for the Pirates’ loss, and I suppose there’s a pretty good chance he deserves it. But what about Clint Hurdle, who lost a 19-inning game and never used his best relief pitcher, instead asking another of his relief pitchers to throw more than 90 pitches? What about McKenry, who employed the swipe tag when he could have planted his glove squarely on just about any part of Lugo’s person?

A Great Day In Jon Miller Elocution History? – Giants Win The Beltran Sweepstakes

Posted in Baseball at 1:35 pm by

(above : Beltran’s loving farewell to Jay Horowitz, who might be able to eat solid food again in a few weeks)

Multiple Tweeters of considerable prominence are reporting the San Francisco Giants’ acquisition of Mets RF Carlos Beltran is nearly complete, with outfielder Gary Brown and /or pitcher Zach Wheeler (maybe) heading to Flushing, pending Beltran waiving his no trade clause.  Though it’s not the happiest end to the 6-time All-Star’s tenure in New York, that Sandy Alderson received anyone of substance in return for a two-month rental is slight consolation after ownership have waved the white flag on the 2011 season for the 3rd or 4th time since Spring.  More comforting from a Met perspective is whatever solace can be found in not having to watch Beltran performing postseason heroics in a Braves or Phillies uniform. G’bye and good luck, Carlos.  Thanks for the (mostly) pleasant memories, and if anyone from the Giants front office mentions something about visiting a veteran’s hospital, make absolutely certain you’re there several hours early (and maybe send out a press release criticizing whatever Brian Wilson wore that day.)

(UPDATE : The New York Daily News’ Andy Martino reports the swap is Beltran + cash for Wheeler)

07.26.11

Dwayne Schintzius & The High Price Of Being An Iconoclast

Posted in Basketball, Fashion at 10:32 pm by

Much like Allen Iverson, Dwayne Schintzius’ fashion statements weren’t always appreciated in the early ’90′s NBA, and the former Spurs C is quoted by the San Antonio Express-News’ Tim Griffin, explaining the toll such bold moves took on his hoops career.

Schintzius believes his mullet-style  lobster haircut he wore during his season with the team was the major reason for the trade.

It seems that then-Spurs general manager Bob Bass didn’t like the haircut and wanted his prized rookie to trim his locks.

“He told me to cut it,” Schintzius told old friend Joey Johnson of the Tampa Tribune (hat tip Project Spurs.com). “So I got it cut and sent him the shavings in an envelope. I’m not sure he appreciated that. And then, away I went.”

The UFL’s Curious Sense Of Timing

Posted in Gridiron, Hip Hop at 3:20 pm by

The 5-city United Football League announced a while back their 3rd season of professional football would be delayed from a planned August start to an as-yet-undetermined date in September due to financial considerations.  Without knowing much about the league’s stability, I’d suggest some sort of kangaroo court-fining system be established at the league offices.  The next time someone in their marketing department uploads a clip to YouTube featuring a pitch for Sacramento Mountain Lions tickets being made by a player signed by San Jose 6 months ago, there oughta be at least another $20 headed for the UFL coffers.

Eric Young Speaks Out Against Head-First Sliding (In A Very Squeaky Way)

Posted in Baseball at 2:56 pm by

Calling Stephen Drew’s gruesome ankle break last Wednesday night “a freak fluke” , D-Backs first base coach Eric Young reminds fans and pupils alike there’s a more surefire path to injury (and a higher-pitched way of making the argument than Gary Cohen might provide).  From the Arizona Republic’s Jim Gintonio :

“(Drew) is one guy  I wouldn’t have to ever worry about getting hurt sliding. We would have never thought that, not with him, he has the proper technique always, and his spikes just got caught in the dirt, and that’s a freak accident, a freak terrible accident.”

Head-first slides – which Justin Upton executed Sunday – can prove to be even more dangerous to a player, and Young usually avoided those as a player.

“I’m not a big proponent of the head-first slide; you leave your hands exposed to a lot. I know as a base stealer, I did it sometimes at second base and at third base if I felt I got a slow jump,” he said.

“At home plate, definitely, no head-first. I’m totally against it, and pretty much I’ve indicated to the guys: Let me tell you something, I’ve seen a lot of guys get hurt going head-first because that catcher will, with all that equipment on, will fall on you, hands, elbows, everything, head, neck, just so many things, shoulder, that can happen going head first.

“During the intensity, the act of the game, you do whatever comes, but I try to tell them, please avoid that because we can find you on the (15-day disabled list) quickly.”

07.25.11

Jeff Carter & Mike Richards Couldn’t Stay on Flyers’ “Dry Island”?

Posted in Beer, Hockey, Sports Journalism at 7:34 pm by

Philly gossip columnist Dan Gross lifts the lid on hockey’s love of booze, with the kind of story that’s supposed to never get out of the locker room… as Philadelphia Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren notes, while not really denying the most juicy stuff:

The hard-partying ways of Flyers captain Mike Richards and center Jeff Carter played a major role in the organization’s decision to trade both players in June, say two Flyers who played with the pair last season….

Shortly after his arrival in December 2009, coach Peter Laviolette instituted what players came to call the “Dry Island.” Laviolette asked team members to commit to not drinking for a month, and each player was asked to write his number on a locker room board as a pledge. No. 17 (Carter) and No. 18 (Richards) were absent from the board on the first Dry Island, as well as the estimated five more times the policy was instituted….

Holmgren was “really upset that this is out there. That’s our locker room. Our inner sanctum. Our board. Someone’s crossing a line here,” in discussing the Dry Island.

Holmgren did deny such things led to the trades (Carter now plays for Columbus, and Richards for L.A.). And Carter’s agent said it was “bull—-” that “they are out partying and not focused on hockey,” though that’s certainly not new gossip to anybody who reads Flyers message boards (or Sports by Brooks).

Mario Balotelli Accomplishes The Near-Impossible…

Posted in Football at 6:53 pm by

…which is to say, the Manchester City striker actually did something memorable in one of those bullshit U.S. tour friendlies that are high in appearances fees, low on genuine soccer drama.   The Guardian’s Daniel Taylor on Balotelli’s “remarkable act of self-indulgence” ;

Balotelli had opened the scoring from the penalty spot but manager Roberto Mancini was so incensed with the showboating that he immediately signalled for James Milner to replace the former Internazionale striker. The manager studiously ignored Balotelli as he was substituted only for the player to confront him and demand to know why he had been replaced. Mancini rose to his feet and started to berate him angrily before Balotelli stalked off.

“I hope this is a lesson for him,” said Mancini, who hopes a deal for the Atlético Madrid striker, Sergio Agüero, can be done in the next four or five days. “In football you always need to be professional, always serious and in this moment he wasn’t professional. He needs to understand his behaviour has to be good in every game – not just in a final or a semi-final but every game.

“He knows he made a mistake. Football should always be serious and if you have a chance to score, you should score. If you are serious, you can play 90 minutes. If not, you can come and sit by me on the bench. Mario is young, I want to help him and that is the end of it. To take him off after 30 minutes is enough punishment. It won’t have been easy for him but it has to be a lesson.”

Patient, Restrained Ozzie Petitions For Rules Change, Suggests Fans STFU About Slugger-Of-The-Future

Posted in Baseball at 1:06 pm by

A propensity for striking out aside, 22-year-old OF Dayan Viciedo appears to have handled International League pitching pretty well (36 HR’s, .835 OPS in 717 AAA at bats), but while some have argued vehemently for his promotion, manager Ozzie Guillen (as quoted by the Chicago Tribune’s Mark Gonzalez) has heard just about all he can take when it comes to the highly touted Cuban prospect.

“Are people in Chicago getting tired about talking about Viciedo?” said Guillen, responding to suggestions that the Sox should move infielder Omar Vizquel to make room for Viciedo. “We are going to keep this recording about Viciedo for people in Chicago because sooner or later, they are going to hate Viciedo — at least for a week and talk about how bad Viciedo is and how crazy we are to bring this guy from Cuba.”

“But I want to make it clear about those people who want Viciedo here, I want Viciedo here. But the thing is where do I play him?”

In addition to the outfield logjam, Guillen said Vizquel is the Sox’s lone true backup shortstop.

“I wish I could play 10 players like a softball game, play him (Viciedo) in the middle of the field, and then we bring him (up),” Guillen said. “If Vizquel leaves, that doesn’t do anything good for us having Viciedo here.”

07.24.11

Marv Levy, The Hottest New Voice In American Fiction Since James Frey

Posted in Gridiron at 8:33 pm by

OK, would you settle for Ann Marlowe? Former Buffalo Bills head coach Marv Levy, a four-time Super Bowl loser AFC Champion and winner of 140 regular season games, is about to unveil his fiction debut, ‘Between The Lies’, a tome that tells the tale of a rigged Super Bowl. As you might expect, Levy takes pains to tell the Chicago Sun-Times’ Rick Telander he has (almost) no personal experience with that sort of fraud.

The novel won’t be out for a month, and by that time Levy will have assured questioners a thousand times that none of the Super Bowls he coached in was rigged, juiced, undermined, stolen or swiped in any way. He’s pretty sure about that.

‘‘It’s exaggerated,’’ he insists, looking for all the world like that lawyer or history professor he probably was meant to be. ‘‘I never have suspected or sensed a whiff of cheating in any of our Super Bowls,’’ he says.

Even when Scott Norwood’s 47-yard field-goal try sailed wide right as time expired in Super Bowl XXV? Maybe there was a wireless chip or a lead weight on the ball. Or a mouse inside.

‘‘No,’’ Levy says. ‘‘I knew people would ask questions. But it’s not about refs rigging the game. It’s about, well, what if teams have secret wires in opponents’ locker rooms? What if they listened in to other teams’ signals? What if they did illicit filming?’’

Nah, that never would happen. Would it, Bill Belichick?

In the book, for which he graciously provided me his own written synopsis, I notice lots of very amusing names, such as filthy-rich team owner Cedric B. Medill, equipment manager ‘‘Malaprop Joe’’ Skoronski and quarterback Q.T. ‘‘Cutie’’ Pye. There is also an opposing quarterback named, ahem, Kelly James.

‘‘Yep, there’s a little of Jim Kelly in there,’’ Levy admits. ‘‘But it’s, remember, fiction. But the Kelly in the book is a strong leader, determined, and a great locker room presence, like Jim was.’’

Hot Tips For Bruce Jenkins : Carl Everett Was Angry, Marc Bolan Was Flamboyant

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 2:07 pm by

Milwaukee’s Nyjer Morgan already has a contentious relationship with the guardians of ballball etiquette, but it’s the former Pirates/Nats outfielder’s visit to San Francisco this weekend that dismayed the SF Chronicle’s Bruce Jenkins. While crediting Morgan with “trying to resurrect the art (of flamboyance) all by himself,”, Jenkins calls the player, “simply a disgrace in center field Friday night, at least by modern-day standards.”

The bleacher fans were riding him, as is their custom with most any opposing outfielder, and Morgan heard every word. He routinely engaged them with words and sweeping gestures, at least one of them carrying the hint of malice, and created a tempestuous atmosphere that easily could have led to alcohol-fueled retaliation.

Duane Kuiper chided Morgan on the KNBR/Comcast postgame show, saying it made no sense to incite fans in that manner. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke delivered the same message to Morgan after the game, saying it was OK to “be yourself” on the field, but only to a point. Asked by reporters how he felt about the fan abuse, a congenial Morgan replied, “I love it.”

Really? You actually enjoy it? “F- yeah,” he said with a smile.

As the game evolved, the ballpark became a stage for the likes of Jimmy Piersall, Billy Martin, Lou Piniella, Mark Fidrych, Pedro Martinez and the A’s Rickey Henderson and Jose Canseco. All of these guys broke the game’s strict codes of ethics, all about respect for the game and not “showing up” an opponent, but the landscape has changed.

Today, the likes of Manny Ramirez, Carlos Zambrano, Brandon Phillips and Milton Bradley are judged more harshly. Morgan was downright villainous as he passed through second-rate clubs in Pittsburgh and Washington, getting fined, suspended or reviled for fighting, throwing a baseball at fans, overly aggressive baserunning and just showing off.

It’s a little curious that Jenkins would be so quick to criticize Morgan for a toxic atmosphere at AT&T Ballpark rather than laying equal or greater blame at the feet of the paying customers, who might be slightly emboldened by columns like this, assuming many of them could read.  It’s also puzzling that Carlos Zambrano and Milton Bradley are dragged into this ; if the gist of Jenkins piece is summarized by the question, “can you win a pennant in today’s game with an excess of flamboyance?”, what purpose is served by mistaking hot-doggery with anger management issues?  For all of Bradley’s struggles with authority figures and fans, “flamboyance” was not a charge that was routinely leveled at him.

Vitale’s Take On Addiction, Mortality, Every Bit As Insightful As His College Hoops Analysis

Posted in twitter twatter at 3:13 am by

Suffice to say Dr. Drew need not look over his shoulder.  Though it is tempting to imagine, for instance, just how much more powerful Neil Young’s “The Needle & The Damage Done” might’ve been had he tossed in a line as pithy as “party time celebs best take heed”.

07.23.11

Consider If You Will, What “A Movie About The YES Network” Might Possibly Entail

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 2:17 pm by

Kenneth Branagh?

Wait, those are my choices?  Is this the moment where for the first time in human history, we actually wish to see Frank Caliendo doing something besides running from an angry mob?

Smug, bloated, ferociously unfunny.  But enough about Vince Vaughn, if a feature length motion picture about the YES Network ever came to fruition, I think we all know exactly who’d get the part of Bob Raissman.

Jeff Conine Says Hanley Ramirez Is Complacent, Lazy & Frustrating. Other Than That, He’s Alright.

Posted in Baseball, Sports Radio at 1:53 pm by

Though Marlins SS Hanley Ramirez (above, left) has raised his batting average and on base percentage considerably since Jack McKeon’s appointment as manager, the 7-year veteran has seen a steep decline in his offensive production since an MVP-runner up finish in 2009. While Ramirez’ numbers alone are a cause for concern, the questionable work ethic that drove Fredi Gonzalez to distraction is once again a talking point, this time courtesy former Marlin Jeff Conine, currently toiling for the club’s front office. Speaking with 790 The Ticket’s Dan Le Batard Friday, Conine delivered a scathing assessment of Ramirez, the likes of which probably won’t escape the notice of owner Jeffrey Loria, who’s already established himself as an undermining force each time his prized pet is asked by someone else to be accountable.   (Interview transcription courtesy the Palm Beach Post’s Joe Capozzi)

Does Jeff Conine get frustrated by Hanley Ramirez?

“On a nightly basis.’’

Because?

“I just, I don’t know, I think that obviously Hanley is a phenomenal talent. But as a guy that… I’m probably jealous too because I didn’t have that kind of talent but I had to work extremely hard on a nightly basis to put my talent on the field . I think that there are some nights when he doesn’t work as hard as he should.’’

Does he care enough?

“I don’t know. I don’t know. Maybe that’s part of the problem but you know he is no doubt one of the top talents in baseball and you hope at some point he would get it and become a leader in the clubhouse like he can be on the field.’’

I don’t want to put words in your mouth but it sounds like you find, given how hard you hard to work and given that you don’t think he works to maximum capacity all the time, yes or no, you don’t think he respects the game?

“I would say if you define that as not going out there and putting 100 percent on the field every day, yeah, I would say no he doesn’t.”

Would you trade him if it were up to you?

“If it were up to me, probably.’’