08.31.11

Fins Foolishly Plan Tribute To The Last American Virgin

Posted in Gridiron at 3:58 pm by

No, not the cinematic masterpiece above, but rather, the Miami Dolphins hope to mark an October 23 visit by the Denver Broncos with a gala salute to the 2008 National Champion Florida Gators. Tim Tebow will likely be holding a clipboard for the visitors that afternoon, so there’s one plane ticket the Dolphins won’t have to spring for, but the convenience factor aside, the Miami Herald’s Greg Cote calls it, “an idea that should have been killed in the meeting room before it ever had a chance to escape and blow up.”

Can you imagine a Hurricanes national championship team being celebrated in Gainesville? Before joining the Dolphins, CEO Mike Dee worked for years as a business-side vice president with the Red Sox. Could he imagine the reaction if Boston planned a celebration at Fenway Park to honor past New York Yankees champions?

The Dolphins front office is making a habit of these sporadic embarrassments big and small, from Jeff Ireland/Dez Bryant to Stephen Ross’ Jim Harbaugh mess to the team gift shop selling Jets jerseys to this: Gator Day in UM’s backyard.

Gone are the days when the Dolphins had 65,000 season-ticket holders and owned this town and didn’t need to fight for fans.

Now the club must market and gimmick and sell, and the 100,000-plus UF alumni living in South Florida looked like a ripe number to capitalize on.

By contrast, Shutdown Corner’s MJD eschews cynical marketing considerations and figures Miami’s scheme is all about strategy ;

With all the attention that Tim Tebow receives, despite the fact that he’s the third- or fourth-best quarterback on the Broncos roster, there’s bound to be a little resentment bubbling for him within the Broncos locker room. If you’re the Dolphins, why not have a great big party honoring Tebow and stoke the flames a little bit? See if you can get Kyle Orton(notes) to punch Tim Tebow in the face.

Then maybe they’d trade you Kyle Orton. At the very least, they’d have a big team distraction to deal with.

Giants Designate Tejada, Rowand For Assignement, Designate Payroll Mgr. To Alcatraz

Posted in Baseball, The Law at 3:32 pm by

Neither Miguel Tejada or Aaron Rowand were in uniform for San Francisco versus the Cubs this afternoon, and they’re not the only AT&T Park fixtures unavailable today. The SF Chronicle’s Rachel Gordon reports the team’s payroll manager, Robin O’Connor, has been arrested on federal wire fraud and embezzlement charges.

Giants management became suspicious of O’Connor on July 5, when the human resources manager was contacted by a Bank of America home-loan representative, according to an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco by FBI Special Agent Jason Richards, an investigator on the case. In the loan file was a letter on Giants letterhead allegedly signed by the head of human resources explaining two large deposits into O’Connor’s bank account.

The letter stated, in part: “Robin is an employee in good standing with the San Francisco Giants Baseball Organization. Because of her outstanding contributions to our Major League Baseball team and Front Office during the 2010 season that assisted us in accomplishing our goal of winning the 2010 World Series, she was given two additional payments of compensation in May 2011.”

The Giants then conducted further reviews and found additional suspicious deposits into O’Connor’s accounts – money that allegedly was intended for nine different Giants employees, according to the affidavit. In all, the amount that had been misdirected to O’Connor’s accounts totaled $1,513,836.28, the affidavit stated. She sometimes worked on a team-issued laptop from her home in American Canyon.

Quizzed about the front office turmoil last night, P Barry Zito said, “”I just know how much integrity the organization has…I’m sure that whoever’s in charge of making this right is going to handle it as well as it can be handled.” Which is a very diplomatic way of saying, “my checks always clear, what’s the problem?”

08.30.11

Gil’s Tweets, Back To Zero Now

Posted in Basketball, not just a piece of meat, twitter twatter at 10:52 pm by

With apologies to former D.C. resident Tommy Keene for the above headline, instead of focusing on Magic G Gilbert Arenas dodging the most real of bullets, the Orlando Sentinel’s Josh Robbins asks, “when, if ever, can a comedian — even an amateur such as Arenas — make misogynistic comments and then claim artistic license?”  With Arenas pulling the plug on his wildly popular Twitter account, the answer is “far less often than before”.

Say this for Arenas’ work on microblogging service: It’s difficult to feel wishy-washy about it.

One of Arenas’ tweets from June 2 provides a case in point. He wrote: “good mornin twitter fam..i need me a slave to make me breakfast in the mornings..i guess yall might call them girlfriends…im hungry”.

Another case in point: Arenas’ Twitter avatars, many of which are not suitable for children and are not safe for work. Comedian Joe Mande recently published a gallery of some of those avatars.

The league, however, lost its ability to fine Arenas once the collective bargaining agreement expired on July 1.

Arenas utilized that freedom.

“Ladies imma buy 11 roses;10 real and 1 fake..after I leave ur crib don’t call me until the last one dies..GOOD MORNING,” he tweeted recently.

FT’s Mitchell Makes The Bold Suggestion That Homosexuals Like Kissing, Too

Posted in Baseball at 4:40 pm by

(former Giants 2B Jeff Kent was unavailable for comment)

While the Mets received a mild rebuke from this corner yesterday for their cowardly refusal to take part in the It Gets Better anti bashing campaign, ironically enough, the supportive SF Giants are, in the words of Faster Times’ Lincoln Mitchell, expecting home fans to believe “the city’s sizeable gay community includes no baseball fans,”, citing the complete lack of any same-sex couples playing tonsil hockey during AT&T Park’s Kiss Cam entertainment. Such a policy, writes Mitchell, runs contrary to the Giants’ track record of being “on the cutting edge of gay/lesbian issues.” (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)

The obvious logistical challenge associated with featuring same sex couples on the Kiss Cam is that there are a lot of men who attend games together who are not couples; and the camera operators at the ballpark should not be in the business of trying to determine who is gay and who is not.  This, however, is more of an excuse than a legitimate reason to discriminate against same sex couples.  It is also, of course, true that not every man and woman sitting next to each other feel like kissing simply because a camera is on them.  During a recent game I attended among the couples on screen were a man and a woman who appeared to be siblings and were not interested in kissing each other, as well as a couple that appeared to have been caught onscreen in the middle of an argument and were also disinclined to kiss, but this did not discourage the Kiss Cam from showing more man and woman couples.  Accordingly, it would be easy enough for two men who were put on the screen by the Kiss Cam but did not want to kiss to simply wave at the camera.

If these solutions prove unworkable and the logistical obstacles remain insurmountable, which  they should not, the Giants should simply cancel the Kiss Cam.  Preserving a silly piece of between inning entertainment, or letting policy be dictated by modest logistical issues, should be far less important for the team and the ballpark than treating all Giant fans equally. 

UK School Paper Penalized For Acting Like A Real News Outlet

Posted in Basketball, College Spurts, Sports Journalism, twitter twatter at 3:38 pm by

The Lexington Herald-Leader’s Scott Sloan reports the University of Kentucky’s basketball media relations department has banned (temporarily) the school’s paper from a preseason Q &A with players over having the temerity to actually pursue a story.

The dispute began when Kernel sportswriter and managing editor Aaron Smith found the phone numbers in UK’s student directory for walk-ons Brian Long and Sam Malone after seeing them named in a post on Kentuckysportsradio.com and mentioned in a Twitter post by UK freshman basketball player Anthony Davis. UK basketball coach John Calipari has since posted on Twitter that the two are indeed walk-ons.

“He only asked the question, ‘Are you a walk-on on the basketball team?’” Kernel editor in chief Taylor Moak said. “They said yes. He said, ‘Would you be willing to talk now or later today?,’ and they said no.”

UK’s associate athletics director for media relations Dewayne Peevy told the Herald-Leader on Monday night that Smith’s second question overstepped the boundaries of the “understanding between the media members and the University of Kentucky,” which allows student-athletes to be students and not “be bombarded with interview requests constantly.”

Peevy rescinded Smith’s invitation to an event in which he and other members of select media outlets would meet all of the basketball players and have eight minutes of time alone with each of them. Information from the interviews is not to be published until Oct. 1. Peevy said it’s an opportunity given only to select media “to test some of my guys out.”

Earlier this year on Twitter, Peevy appeared to suggest that CBSSports.com’s Gary Parrish would not receive a UK basketball credential this year after publishing a column on questions previously raised about Davis’ recruitment to UK.

08.29.11

Mets Publicy Declare They’re Against Bullying (Without Acknowledging Who’s Most Likely To Be Bullied)

Posted in Baseball, Leave No Child Unbeaten at 11:10 pm by

I don’t know about you, but it seems tad early for iMac nostalgia. The above image is culled from Core77.com, who offers praise for the Warstic Wood Bat Co.’s Half-Dip and Full-Dip bats (above), a product that as of this moment, has not been embraced by any Major League franchise or player.  But who knows, maybe now that the Mets have seen fit to support an Anti-Bullying initiative (albeit one that that doesn’t specifically address the hateful treatment afforded LGBT teens), perhaps we’ll someday see these colorful creations in some sort of awkward PSA that encourages New Yorkers to Hug A Nerd Today?

I hate to be cynical, but it seems like a very roundabout way to ask fans to stop abusing Jason Bay.

NYT’s Credits Ewing With The Finger-Roll Of Public Relations Disasters

Posted in Basketball at 4:02 pm by

(Pat E. Dangerously, very grateful the quote, “lapdances don’t grow on trees” never made it into the popular consciousness)

Hey, if you’re an NBA fan of a certain vintage, I GUARANTEE you’ll enjoy this post (sorry). The New York Times’ Howard Beck reports the National Basketball Players Association is taking great pains to make sure their rank & file have been briefed on various talking points and tutored in ways not to come off like outta-touched-spoiled-jerks. To wit, the sort of preemptive damage control the union failed to take in 1998.

On the first day of that lockout, the union president Patrick Ewing declared that players were “fighting for our rights” — a modest overstatement that invited ridicule and presaged the public-relations nightmare to come.

In October, Kenny Anderson, a star guard with a $49 million contract, laid out his finances for The New York Times. Among his expenses: $75,000 for insurance and maintenance on his eight cars. Anderson joked that he might have to sell one.

“You know, just get rid of the Mercedes,” he said.

The low point for players came two months later, when agents organized a charity game, with some of the proceeds earmarked for out-of-work players. As Ewing explained then, professional athletes “make a lot of money, but they also spend a lot of money.”

Whatever sympathy the players might have enjoyed surely vanished with those 13 words. The statement stands among the biggest gaffes in sports labor history.

Speaking on behalf of his former clients, Falk said: “I’m sure they do regret it, particularly Kenny. I’m sure Kenny regrets having said what he said.”

Jose Reyes’ Transition From MVP Candidate To Part-Time Player

Posted in Baseball at 3:27 pm by

Jose Reyes is scheduled to return to the starting lineup for Game Two of Monday’s doubleheader against Florida, following Mets manager Terry Collins alluding to his shortstop’s (recent) inability to remain healthy. Though Collins’ remarks weren’t necessarily endorsed by GM Sandy Alderson — see the quotes culled by the New York Post’s Dan Martin, below — full credit to the writer for ignoring Fred Wilpon shouting in the background, “he’s not even worth Carl Crawford-disabled money,”

One day after Collins talked about potentially giving Reyes mandatory days off to protect the hamstrings that have sidelined him this season, Alderson acknowledged there would be conversations about how Reyes will be used when the team has exclusive negotiating rights with the free agent.

“I think that’s a decision that’s made jointly,” Alderson said last night. “It’s something we’ll have to address with the doctors, trainers and Jose himself. For example, there may be no medical justification that days off can preserve his health. It’s not necessarily a solution.”

Much of what they do in this offseason will be tied to whether Reyes remains with the team. Alderson, like a year ago, doesn’t feel compelled to make a splashy move.

“We want to improve the team, but that’s separate from creating buzz,” Alderson said. “To some extent, they go hand-in-hand. We’ll look at free agents, but we’re not going into it feeling like we have to do something big just for the sake of it.”

The notion of standing pat after what might turn out to be a 90 loss season is the kind of thing you’d expect to hear from a smaller market franchise, though Alderson need not remind anyone paying attention wishing “to do something big” and having the financial wherewithal to do much else besides hunt for the 2012 version of Kelvim Escobar Chris Young.

Showalter : Yanks Lead The League In Callousness

Posted in Baseball at 11:49 am by

Baltimore split yesterday’s doubleheader with the Yankees, a twinbill made necessary by Hurricane Irene’s descent on the region the previous afternoon. Apparently, the visitors would’ve preferred to play the rescheduled contest as part of a Friday doubleheader, a suggestion that didn’t go over well with the Orioles given a) they’d just returned home from a 10-game roadtrip and b) were still contending with the suicide of Mike Flangan. Manager Buck Showalter, perhaps relishing an opportunity to lecture someone other than the Red Sox, shared his thoughts with the Sun’s Dan Connolly ;

Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Sunday that he wasn’t appreciative of the criticism waged by several Yankee representatives, including outfielder Curtis Granderson and manager Joe Girardi — especially given the timing of the complaints Friday evening.

“First of all, I felt that some of the stuff was a little disrespectful to Flanny, quite frankly. That didn’t sit with me very well. I can tell you that,” Showalter said. “I think we had an April rainout there — and they just told us when we were playing. We were OK with that. … Some of it kind of has a feeling of [being] hypocritical. I don’t know. I don’t dwell on it.

“Their opinion on what the Baltimore Orioles should do for their fans and for their organization isn’t really that relevant to me, personally. I can tell you that,” Showalter added. “We’ll do what’s best for our fans and for our organization, and we expect it back, that they’re going to do the same on their side.”

“Somebody said they offered us to play them there and they were going to give us part of the gate. That’s interesting.”

“Interesting”, yes, if you believe it’s a-ok to give the Yankees the competitive advantage of an extra home game.

08.28.11

Screw The Libel Suit, When Do We Get To See The Nature Boy Cut A Promo On The Sports Putz?

Posted in non-sporting journalism, Professional Wrestling, Sports Journalism at 8:44 pm by

Reciting a laundry list of poor decisions that make Lenny Dysktra look fiscally responsible by comparison, Grantland’s Shane Ryan (“The Wrestler’s Real Life”) successfully humiliated one of the last century’s greatest pro wrestling performers with an article that while well within the public’s right to know, fell well beyond what anyone needed to know. Having accomplished this for the greater glory of the Klondike ice cream bar company, Ryan now finds himself the target of (cough) planned legal reprisal from Flair, according to the always-accurate TMZ :

A rep for Flair — – whose real name is Richard Fliehr — tells TMZ, “While the information gleaned from courthouse records may be credible, Mr. Fliehr is currently evaluating his legal options with respect to falsehoods in the story, specifically the untrue statement that he suffers from alcoholic cardiomyopathy.”

The rep adds, “Our client understands that these allegations are part of the territory when you are not only famous, but a living legend.”

Sadly for Flair, the claim of alcoholic cardiomyopathy can also be culled from the Nature Boy’s autobiography, ‘To Be The Man’ (WWE Books / Simon & Schuster, 2004), as Deadspin’s Jack Dickey points out.  At the risk of taking any pleasure from Flair’s circumstances, this could be a fantastic storyline opportunity for the creatively-challenged TNA ; if Flair belongings being repossessed doesn’t galvanize the viewership, perhaps a lengthy diatribe against the institution of sports blogging will do the trick?

Joe Buck & The Cruelty Of Modern Sports Fans (Or, Someone Owes Macy Gray An Apology)

Posted in Baseball, Gridiron, Medical Science, Sports TV, twitter twatter at 11:09 am by

Fox Sports’ Joe Buck — the network’s lead voice for MLB and NFL coverage, to the satisfaction of absolutely no one outside Newscorp or Buck’s immediate family  — has been suffering from a laryngeal nerve virus on his left vocal cord for several months.   The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir considers what it must be like for an announcer to work the Super Bowl and discover “a week or so later, your moneymaker is nearly gone.”

When Prince Fielder and Adrian Gonzalez hit home runs at last month’s All-Star Game, Buck could barely be heard over the crowd. His call of a touchdown to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Hines Ward during a N.F.L. preseason game last week was perfunctory, as if he were a quiet Pat Summerall.

One person wrote, “Seems like someone strapped a bomb to Joe Buck tonight & said, ‘If you change the tone of your voice or get excited, this thing goes off.’ ” Another said: “I can’t believe Joe Buck can’t shake this voice box virus. Scares me to death.” A third compared his voice to Macy Gray’s.

Still others used his vocal problems to vent their evident dislike for him.

“People say just rest your voice and don’t talk, but that doesn’t do anything,” said Buck, who first revealed his ailment to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “This is a nerve issue. It’s not like I have polyps or a strained vocal cord. I’m waiting for one of the longest nerves in the body to recover. Nobody has said this is something that won’t come back, but they told me it could take 6, 9 or 12 months.”

He added: “I’m the best judge of this. I can do things now that I couldn’t do two weeks ago. I feel it coming back incrementally. It’s a question of being patient and riding it out. There is more at the upper end. You may not hear it as the average listener. Now it’s more fine-tuning, like when we were younger and went to the UHF station and tried to tune it perfectly. That’s where I am.”

08.27.11

Bobby V., Fully Equipped To Be Stamford, CT’s Michael Brown

Posted in Baseball, Natural Disasters, Sports TV at 6:26 pm by

(if the guy on the left is unavailable, perhaps the good looking chap on the right can hang around Stamford tomorrow evening?)

Former Mets/Rangers skipper Bobby Valentine was named Stamford, CT’s director of public health & safety this past January, with Mayor Michael Pavia citing Valentine’s “management and leadership skills” as justification for the appointment.  With Hurricane Irene bearing down on Connecticut,  you can safely assume Bobby V. would prefer to stay home and supervise emergency efforts, but alas, he’s made prior plans to work tomorrow night’s Angels/Rangers game in Arlington, TX, as the Stamford Advocate’s Jeff Morganteen explains :

Mayor Pavia said he and other cabinet-level city executives, City Attorney Michael Larobina and Director of Operations Ernie Orgera, will be in the city during Hurricane Irene to oversee emergency response operations.

Valentine told city representatives during his confirmation in March he could not be in the city Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights because of his obligations to ESPN in Bristol.

During a news conference Friday afternoon, Pavia called Hurricane Irene one of the largest and potentially most destructive storms to hit the city in his lifetime. New York City on Friday took the historic precaution of ordering 300,000 residents to evacuate flood-prone areas.

Asked after the news conference about whether he would be in the city Sunday night during the hurricane, Valentine said: “That’s a stupid question. I just changed my flight.”

Pavia said city officials will have a direct line to Valentine during the 8 p.m. game. He said Valentine plans to return to the city Monday.
“In the event we need to get him we’ll have direct access,” Pavia said.

I don’t know about you, but I’m most certainly gonna tune in to tomorrow night’s AL West clash, if only to hear Valentine awkwardly making a segue from Josh Hamilton’s drug problems to fielding catastrophe-related phone calls on his Blackberry.  And in Valentine’s defense, who ever heard of a natural disaster occurring at any time besides Wednesday-thru-Saturday?

Carlton Fisk Isn’t Quite Ready To Forgive Deion Sanders

Posted in Baseball, Sports Radio at 1:05 pm by

You’ve probably heard the story before — perhaps via Harvey Kubernick? —- but chances are, you’ve not heard it being told to newly tapped radio host Joe Morgan (presumably working his way to up blogging);  how often do you get to hear two baseball Hall Of Famers dissing a football Hall of Famer?  USA Today’s Bob Nightengale recaps Carlton Fisk’s appearance on Joe Morgan’s “Baseball Legends Week” ;

Fisk told Morgan he simply no longer could take the style and showboating from Deion Sanders (above, who played parts of nine major league seasons. He confronted Sanders, who was playing for the New York Yankees at the time, when he didn’t run to first base on an infield pop-up in 1990.

“I didn’t think Deion Sanders had much respect for the game,” Fisk said. “He showed it when he used to come up to the plate. I don’t know if anybody realized this, but he … sauntered up to the plate like he owned the stadium. And he used to draw a dollar sign in the dirt at home plate. The first time he did that I went, ‘Ah, this guy is driving me crazy already. He’s Neon Deion and the bling thing.’

“So then he hits a pop-up to the infield, and he just stands there like, ‘I don’t need to run this out because I’m Neon Deion.’ Then I started yelling at him, ‘Run the ball out.’ I don’t know if anybody I have played against has disrespected the game like he appears to be doing.

“So he comes up again and draws a dollar sign in the dirt. And you know what he says? He says, ‘Hey, man, the days of slavery are over.’ I stood up and walked up to him face to face and I said, ‘I don’t care whether you are black or blue or pink or red. … If you don’t start playing this game right, I’m going to kick your butt right here.’”

08.26.11

Sir Alex : The F.A. Treats United Like Shit

Posted in Football at 8:38 pm by

Hey, for once I’m not paraphrasing or thoroughly misquoting!  “It’s not a problem, it’s fantastic,” insists Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson of the strong probability as many as 8 players from his first team squad might feature in Fabio Capello’s Euro 2012 England team.  But you’d be excused from thinking there’s a problem when you read the rest of Fergie’s remarks, as quoted by the Daily Mail’s Michael Walker.

‘I think the FA may one day realise who’s produced more players for their country than any other club in the world,’ he said.

‘We’ll maybe get some joy from that in our lives, they’ll realise how important we are to England. Understand?

‘They treat us like shit. But, we’re pleased for the players because they deserve to be there. So, we’re all pleased.’

Not to nitpick, but as the Fiver’s Paul Doyle points out, at least one source claims Aston Villa have produced more England Internationals (71) than any other club.

With Burnett, Pie + Petulance = RATING BONANZA

Posted in Beer, Sports Radio, Sports TV at 4:40 pm by

Yankees starter A.J. Burnett hardly endeared himself to manager Joe Girardi and GM Brian Cashman with last Saturday night’s early exist and subsequent profane outburst (one the testy Girardi claimed was aimed at home plate umpire D.J. Rayburn).  The every cynical Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News suggests that despite such putrid performances, Burnett is hardly worthless down the stretch ;

Burnett’s second-inning stroll off the mound Saturday night, along with those obscenities, is the most notable exit from the hill by a Yankees pitcher since July 18, 1995. That’s when Jack McDowell flipped the bird to Bombers fans who were booing him after he gave up three homers and nine earned runs in 4-2/3 innings against the White Sox.

No doubt YES’ designated mouths will present the only crumb of a storyline the Yankees have left to feed baseball’s media seals. And that is the composition of the Bombers pitching rotation for the remainder of the regular season. And whether Burnett will continue to be a part of it. Much of the case made for banishing Burnett to the Stadium parking garage has everything to do with him not earning his $82.5 million.

His failures indicate that those who preach that sermon are correct in their assessment. Then again, in baseball’s modern economic model, one in which a team can have a big stake in its own network – or own it outright – there is more than one way for a player to earn his dough.

If Burnett continues down this unpredictable path, proving to be a bizarre attraction who can deliver TV ratings, he cannot be totally indicted for not earning his keep. He may not be making his dough the old-fashioned way – by dominating on the mound – but still is a huge asset if he can attract eyeballs to YES.

Simers : Chargers Move To LA Is Bad News For Fans With More Brains Than Money

Posted in Gridiron, The Marketplace, Ugly New Stadiums at 3:15 pm by

(Farmer’s Field, the future home of T.J. Simers getting-in-for-free)

Coming on strong like a left coast Phil Mushnick (albeit one who presses “return” twice every sentence), the LA Times’ T.J. Simers takes a dim view of the toll extracted in order to attend a sporting event in person, citing both the inflated ticket prices and the likelihood being knifed in the Chavez Ravine parking lot. “You want to attend a game these days, and beyond guts it takes a loan,” complains Simers. “One way or another, you’re gonna get hurt.”

When is the last time you stood in line to go to the bathroom in your own home?

As it is, the folks in the Los Angeles area should understand better than anyone, it’s no great loss staying home.

You take two NFL teams away at the same time and don’t replace them for a span of 17 years, and as anyone here could tell you, it makes for great TV.

Yes, I’m excited about the return of the Chargers, but only because I look forward to tormenting the Goofs.

The rest of you should be very upset; many of you no longer will get as many NFL games on TV once the Chargers arrive.

And for those among you who intend to buy tickets, you are about to be ripped off.

It’s going to cost at least a car payment to attend a Chargers game, but that won’t be enough for the Chargers and the NFL. The NFL has a long-standing policy of ripping off fans.

Those who purchase season tickets are required to buy tickets to the team’s preseason games as well, and at full price. That means San Diego fans saw Philip Rivers for 10 plays against Seattle, and at full price.

Everyone in and around football understands this is highway robbery, and yet no one goes to jail.

Cinema’s (Most Annoying) Scalabrine Stunt Double Cannot Be Contained

Posted in Cinema, Professional Wrestling at 9:14 am by

Though I’m slightly baffled as to how Michael Rapaport continues to find gainful employment in Hollywood — particularly after “The War At Home” ; his major role in the above motion picture is only the second biggest mystery of this Friday morning.   Who exactly did Parker Posey manage to piss off that she’ billed 3rd behind Rapaport and Triple H?

08.25.11

Bleacher Report : An Unreadable Commercial Juggernaut Nearly 100 Times More Effective At Raising Money Than The Classical

Posted in Blogged Down, Sports Journalism, The Marketplace at 5:37 pm by

(Bleacher Report CEO Brian Grey, having a laugh at any suggestion he divide $22 million by 7000)

Earlier this week, Bleacher Report announced a series of new hires straight-from-the-blogosphere, amongst them, Free Darko’s Bethlehelm Shoals.  That an organization like B/R would covet Shoals’ talents and reputation is not hard to understand, but coming so quickly on the heels of Shoals’ widely promoted involvement in the writer-owned The Classical, the timing could best be called unfortunate.  Shoals’ weirdly defensive introductory offering (“I simply don’t understand how an extremely smart company making a commitment to the quality of its content is a bad thing…I suppose we can choose to waste a resource like Bleacher Report to prove a point, hammer home a grudge, or enforce conventional wisdom,”) is striking in at least two ways ; B/R’s reliance on unpaid writers is actually defended (“they could do far worse than to start out at a place that can guarantee them eyeballs”) yet there’s not one mention of the independent, content creator-owned website to which Shoals has been linked.

If indeed, there’s anything to be learned from the geniuses at Bleacher Report, as Shoals has claimed, it might have more to do with the success employment of an exploitative business model, as Adweek’s Emma Bazilian reports the site has raised another $22 million with Oak Investment Partners and prior investors.  And you thought The Classical’s $50K goal was lofty!

“Sports is a big opportunity and no one has gotten it right yet,” Harman said. “I’d argue Bleacher Report has done a far better job of embracing the capabilities of the online medium than the big sports name brands have.”

The site wasn’t planning on raising money for another six months, said Grey, but it was expanding so rapidly—year-over-year page views are up 150 percent, time on site is up 50 percent, and unique visits are up 75 percent—that they decided to pull the trigger ahead of schedule.

The investment will go towards building the company, according to TechCrunch. Some of the money will go towards expanding the site’s sales team, hiring some of its unpaid contributors, and reinvesting in the technology of the platform.

Beloved, Respected Austin Musician Bannished From Struggling Historic Club

Posted in Air Traffic Controllers, Austin, Internal Affairs, Rock Und Roll at 1:50 pm by

 

 

It is kind of amazing that on a night in which Air Traffic Controllers drummer JJ Ruiz — a man whose talents have been also been displayed during tenures with Wild America, the Teeners and Philip Sambol’s terrific new band — performed for free in order to boost the take for The Scoot Inn’s owners and bar staff, he’d find himself banned from the venue.

That JJ ended up behind the bar at some point in the evening is not under dispute, but much like Nolan Rylan’s DEATHTRAP of a ballpark in Arlington, TX, can Mr. Ruiz really be held accountable for the lack of a high enough railing? It’s sad enough they’d seek to blame the victim in this instance, but performers and patrons alike need to ask themselves, “what’s with the crazy hostility”?

Though I’d hoped to enlist Eddie Vedder and my close personal friend Natalie Maines in a fund-raising effort to get JJ’s ban lifted, they don’t seem to be returning my phone calls. So in the meantime, we’ve got the above widget (please feel free to place it on your own site or blog), counting down the days, hours and minutes until JJ is once again allowed to set foot in the glittering confines of the Scoot Inn, and is granted the privilege of purchasing drinks and leaving tip money for persons who viciously insult him.

There was a modest crowd in attendance at August 17′s free show, and while some might assume the assembled drinkers were there to witness performances by Rhett & Dean, the Zoltars, Nazi Gold or Air Traffic Controllers, I think that’s a slightly naive conclusion. Every single person was there to see the bartender — he’s the real draw. Bands are a fuckin’ dime a dozen in this town (especially those who can’t play for shit). Surly guys who pour $5 drinks, however, are a treasured commodity.

ESPN The Magazine : Thoroughly Uninterested In Imagining Mike Vick As Michelle Vick

Posted in Dogs, Gridiron, Racism Corner, Sports Journalism at 1:18 pm by

Perhaps taking a tip from the less-than-successful Lenny Henry/Andy Breckman collaboration “True Identity”, ESPN The Magazine not only wants us to contemplate Michael Vick-photoshopped-as-a-white-man, but contributor Toure’ considers Michael Vick’s blackness impossible to separate from any analysis of his talent (“Vick’s style is so badass, so artistic, so fluid, so flamboyant, so relentless — so representative of black athletic style — that if there were a stat for swagger points, Vick would be the No. 1 quarterback in the league by far”) or consideration of his story (“Vick’s stunningly stupid moral breakdown with respect to dogs is certainly related to the culture of the world he grew up in, which he says fully embraced dogfighting…but it’s also related to the household he grew up in”). Nothing I’d contend with, at least not until Toure states, “after his arrest for dogfighting, so many people asked: Would a white football player have gotten nearly two years in prison for what Vick did to dogs?”.

This question makes me cringe. It is so facile, naive, shortsighted and flawed that it is meaningless. Whiteness comes with great advantages, but it’s not a get-out-of-every-crime-free card. Killing dogs is a heinous crime that disgusts and frightens many Americans. I’m certain white privilege would not be enough to rescue a white NFL star caught killing dogs.

The problem with the “switch the subject’s race to determine if it’s racism” test runs much deeper than that. It fails to take into account that switching someone’s race changes his entire existence. In making Vick white, you have him born to different parents. That alone sets his life trajectory in an entirely different direction. Thus when this hypothetical white Michael Vick … wait, I can’t even continue that sentence in good faith. I mean, who would this white Vick be? That person is unknowable. When you alter his race, it’s like those Back to the Future movies where someone goes back in time, inadvertently changes one small thing about his parents’ dating history and then the person starts to disappear. If Vick had been born to white parents, you wouldn’t even be reading this right now. That Vick would have had radically different options in life compared with the Vick who grew up in the projects of Newport News, Va., where many young black men see sports as the only way out.

Indeed, it is a facile, naive, shortsighted and flawed proposition. But who actually asked? In the mountains of column inches exhausted on the topic of Michael Vick, where has anyone suggested he’d have suffered no consequences were he white? It seems slightly more common to hear someone wonder what the employment prospects would be for a convicted dog killer who didn’t possess Vick’s otherworldly QB abilities. Or how quickly the public, media and sponsors would’ve championed Vick as a redemptive role model if he was 3rd on the Eagles’ depth chart.

Schmuck’s Goodbye To Mike Flanagan

Posted in Baseball at 12:20 pm by

1979 Cy Young Award winner Mike Flanagan, a World Series champ with the 1983 Orioles (above) and winner of 141 games in the majors, was found dead last night in Sparks, MD from police are calling an apparent suicide by shotgun.  Flanagan’s passing immediately touched off a minor Twitter controversy, with SBN Nation’s Rob Neyer tweeting that MASN’s Jim Hunter and Jim Palmer “abdicated their responsibility” in refraining from mentioning Flanagan’s death during their coverage of last night’s 6-1 defeat of Minnesota (MASN paid tribute to Flanagan — most recently an Orioles analyst for the network — during their postgame show). While Flanagan’s fans and friends struggle to make sense of his passing, the Baltimore Sun’s Peter Schmuck hopes we’ll recall “all the things he did during a very eventful life and a very impressive athletic career that played out on several stages.”

When his teammates get together to remember him, they’ll remember a guy who loved to have a good time and had a sense of humor that was as sneaky fast as his heater.

He wasn’t a gregarious guy. How many native New Englanders are? But he could level you with his dry wit or drop a line that might end up on all the Internet lists of the best sports quotes. Like the time he was asked if he’d like to play for the Yankees.

“I could never play in New York,” Flanagan replied. “The first time I came into a game there, I got into the bullpen car and they told me to lock the doors.”

Or the time a Toronto Blue Jays reporter asked Flanagan what he did during the Vietnam War.

“I was stationed up here.”

The WBAL report linked in this post’s first sentence quotes the station’s sports director Gerry Sandusky as saying Flannigan was “despondent over the prolonged failure of the Orioles” (Flannigan replaced Syd Thrift as president of baseball operations in 2002, moving to the MASN booth in 2010).  Not to make light of a genuine tragedy, but to paraphrase Dentention, why couldn’t it have been Peter Angelos?

08.24.11

Mind-Numbing Moments In Mets Video History

Posted in Baseball at 7:14 pm by

Gary Matthews Sr. can call our Mets crybabies, but really shitty actors would’ve been a more appropriate slur.  Also, no matter how bad the above performances of Gary Carter, Roger McDowell and Mookie Wilson might be, it should be pointed out that had Terry Blocker’s acting debut not ended up on the cutting room floor, “Think Big!” might’ve been every bit as critically acclaimed as “Dirty Deeds”.

QPR’s New Owner Would Like To Right A Deeply Regrettable Wrong

Posted in Football, The Marketplace at 2:50 pm by

Apologies (sort of) to Will Leitch for the use of the above headline.  Over the last week, Queens Park Rangers have been mentioned in connection with possible transfers of former Superhoop Peter Crouch, Spurs’ Jermaine Jenas, Newcastle reprobate Joey Barton, Liverpool’s Joe Cole and West Ham’s Scott Parker.  Considering the financial obligations that would accompany several of these veteran acquisitions, this can be considered an unusual time to start issuing refunds. For new owner Tony Fernandes (above), however, it’s never too soon to undo the massive p.r. damage caused by the gouge-happy duo of Bernie Eccelstone and Flavio Briatore.  From the Independent :

QPR have cut the cost of watching Neil Warnock’s team and promised to refund part of the price of all season-tickets following the Loftus Road takeover by Tony Fernandes.

The move comes less than a week after Malaysian businessman Fernandes bought a majority stake in the club, and includes a deal which will see under-eights admitted free with a paying adult in certain parts of the stadium.

Fernandes, the founder of AirAsia and owner of the Team Lotus F1 outfit, was aware of disgruntlement among QPR supporters following the decision, announced in May, to increase ticket prices drastically after the club’s promotion to the Premier League.

Vice-chairman Amit Bhatia resigned from his post in protest at the price rises in May.

In addition to the refunds, QPR have announced a decrease in some single game ticket prices and free admission to kids 8 or under when accompanied by an adult (cheap sections only).  Now if Fernandes could just do something about the club’s horribly revised crest, his popularity would be assured (for awhile, anyway).

08.23.11

Let The Good People Of Iowa Improve Upon History’s Ugliest Trophy

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron, Modern Art at 9:39 pm by

The Iowa Corn Growers Association’s newly commissioned Cy Hawk Trophy (above) — awarded to the victor of the annual Iowa vs. Iowa State football tilt, has been scrapped after nearly unanimous negative feedback from Hawkeyes and Cyclones fans alike.  Though admitting “trophies are tricky things to get right,” Black Heart Gold Pants’ Horace E. Cow opines, “ I’m not sure if companies should even try to attach their name to them in the first place — do you really want Cyclone fans associating their gnawing sense of failure and inferiority with Iowa’s corn farmers?”

Iowans are smart, creative people with skills that go beyond the cultivation of corn and careful scrutinization thereof, and they simply care more about the damn thing.  Let them design the trophy.

What would such a trophy have looked like? That’s the best part: I have no idea.  It would look like whatever the best idea hundreds of thousands of Iowa and Iowa State fans could come up with would look like.   It would probably not look like the very first idea that the laziest hack would scribble down in his notebook — “Iowa, corn, done” — but instead would represent something new, surprising, and impressive enough to wow a panel of judges or the voting public.  In other words, it would be, at the very least, interesting. There is a long history of competitions being used as the spur to great public art: the Acropolis, the dome of the cathedral in Florence, the British Houses of Parliament, the Ferris Wheel, the Tribune Tower in Chicago and the Sydney Opera House were all the result of some sort of competition.  The ICGA doesn’t have the budget of, say, the British government, and I don’t mean to elevate the Cy-Hawk trophy to the level of high art, but the point is that competitions do an amazing job of inspiring creativity, especially when a sense of local pride is on the line, and could be a great tool for the design of trophies in the future.

Bleacher Report’s New Hires – A Genuine Improvement Or Putting Lipstick On A Content Farmer?

Posted in Blogged Down, Sports Journalism, The Marketplace at 4:50 pm by

Generic sports s(h)ite / commercial juggernaut the Bleacher Report announced the addition of 5 highly respect contributors yesterday, following an earlier surprise hire of King Kaufman with Dan Levy, Josh Zerkle, Bethlehem Shoals, Dan Rubenstein and Matt Miller, each of them well known for their work in the blogosphere trenches. Free Darko’s Shoals finds himself in the unusual position of attempting to raise funds for The Classical’s launch while at the same time being an accessory to a widely despised repository for subliterates. Though some will argue this is merely a case of talented writers seeking the widest audience possible (and being paid for their services in the process), I’m left to wonder how this compares to other desperate credibility-grabs in recent history (Olbermann to Fox Sports, Sweeney/Pajo to Zwan, etc.).  While admitting the new hires are likely to bolster Bleacher Report’s reputation, Larry Brown of Larry Brown Sports argues, “this is classic window dressing…it doesn’t matter how many notable names they buy out.”

One of my biggest issues with Bleacher Report is that they don’t pay most of their writers. It’s morally wrong to capitalize on other people’s labor to enrich yourself without giving them some share of the revenue. Bleacher Report tells you that the system they have produced is a meritocracy where only the best writers get paid. I say if they’re not good enough to get paid, they’re not good enough to be published on the site.

Another problem is that hiring four new high-quality writers doesn’t outweigh 5,000 (or however many other) poor quality ones who are published. They can throw the well written columns of their new writers on the front page, bury the low quality writers on back pages, and still rake in the pageviews. That’s what I mean by window dressing. Just because the stuff doesn’t show up on the front page of the site doesn’t mean it does not exist.

Want to make a high-impact change that will gain the respect of the sports community? Stop gaming Google. Stop writing 10 posts per day that start with the words “Hope Solo Boyfriend.” Stop the daily “swagger buzz” feature that is just a euphemism for “how can we jam as many frequently searched keywords into a story’s title?” Stop the daily lists such as “Justin Verlander and the five American League pitchers with the hairiest forearms in baseball.” Again, this is nothing more than capitalizing on highly-searched terms by publishing content of very low importance or significance. It’s that sort of bullcrap that is just taking up space on the internet, ruining the effectiveness of search engines, and pissing people off.