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?