09.30.11

Espanyol Striker Pandiani Pays Homage To Albert Brooks’ Performance In “Broadcast News”

Posted in Football at 9:04 pm by

This is probably not how Uruguayan international Walter Pandiani imagined himself becoming a global internet phenomenon.

Home Depot Allows Potential Exec To Slip Thru Their Fingers ; Delonte West Takes His Talents To Regency Furniture

Posted in Basketball, The Marketplace at 2:01 pm by

Back in August, free agent G Delonte West’s pursuit of a position at Home Depot was mentioned in this space (“Perhaps He Can Ask LeBron For A Loan? – Delonte West’s (Alleged) Money Crunch”, 8/18/11), though it turns the entry-level aspirations of one of the NBA’s most notable fans of firearms and LeBron’s mom (not necessarily in that order) were no joke after all. The Washington Post’s Cindy Boren reports West’s new gig is in the warehouse of Regency Furniture, a Maryland/Virginia chain retailer.


West tweeted relentlessly about his first day on his new job and shared pictures (which you can see when his Twitter account calms down). He even shared a photo of his job application, complete with the explanation that he’d been convicted of a crime because of a “misunderstanding.”

Daniel King, a sales manager at the Brandywine store, confirmed to The Post that West is on the job. Or was on Thursday.

West, a graduate of Greenbelt’s Eleanor Roosevelt High School, is a familiar face around the store. “Sometimes he just stops by to say hi,” King said. “He can make some extra money, and it would make money for us.”

There was confusion initially about where West would be working. Selling furniture seems like a better thing for him than lifting it, but when we checked in with Regency, he was in the warehouse.

Once Again, America’s Patience With Boston Sports Fans Will Be Sorely Tested

Posted in Sports TV, The World Of Entertainment at 1:40 pm by

Proving that not even a deeply flawed adaptation of Nick Hornby’s “Fever Pitch” nor Bill Simmons’ ascent to mainstream media personality have soured entertainment’s power brokers on all-things-Boston sports, Deadline.com’s Nellie Andreeva shares the following ;

ESPN has sold its first scripted project, an untitled Boston sports fan comedy from former Scrubs executive producer Bill Callahan, to ABC. The project is described as a look at the relationship between four longtime guy friends, still living in their hometown outside of Boston, who gather once a week to watch one of their beloved teams play. Callahan is writing and executive producing, with ESPN Content Development’s executive producers Vinnie Malhotra, who is shepherding the company’s current scripted efforts, and Joan Lynch also expected to produce. UTA-repped Callahan, who worked with Bill Lawrence on 2 of his series, Scrubs and Spin City, most recently served as an executive producer on USA’s Psych.

I have a couple of predictions for this mooted series ;

a) at one point or another, Jerry O’Connell’s name will be attached to the project. Hopefully unattached soon afterwards, but attached at some stage.
b) At least 3 of the “longtime guy friends” will be white. All will be straight.
c) At least 1, possibly two of the main male characters will have a spouse or girlfriend who is considerably more attractive than him.
d) it can’t possibly be worse than “The League”.
e) despite heavy promotion, stunt cameos by The Hooded Casanova, Bill James, Brian Scalabrine (mistaken for Michael Rapaport at Logan Airport), Rogelio Moret and Bob Lobel will result in zero Emmy nominations.

09.29.11

The Big Lead’s Readership – Determined To Prove Albany Has No Monopoly On Sexism, Stupidity

Posted in Blogged Down, Free Expression, Mob Behavior, non-sporting journalism at 6:49 pm by

Earlier today, The Big Lead’s Jason Lisk tackled the sad tale of Albany Times-Union reporter Jennifer Gish, whose musings on the matter of the Buffalo Bills provoked no shortage of ugly replies from the paper’s neanderthal readership.   TBL’s coverage of the case included a headshot of Gish, and after furnishing a series of offensive remarks from the Times-Union, TBL’s regulars — all of whom are too gutless to use their names or provide photographs of their stunning good looks — managed to outdo the upstate contingent when it came to letting the world know they’ve got their own set of serious issues with women.

To quote that great man of letters, Rob K., “a woman is more than a box we all come in.”   Perhaps Ms. Gish can discuss this type of effervescent correspondence with the general public at a future Blogs Without Brains symposium.

Jose Reyes – A Worse Influence On Baseball Than Victor Conte, Steve Howe and Ruben Rivera Combined

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, Sports Journalism at 6:07 pm by

OK, perhaps the above headline is a tad hysterical.  But so are many of the published reactions to Mets SS Jose Reyes’ ill-advised decision to bail on Wednesday’s season finale after just one at bat, in an effort to protect his NL-leading batting average. No national commentator put less thought or more manufactured outrage into his anti-Jose protests than ESPN.com’s Rob Parker, who argues that Reyes’ strategy was akin to taking “the easy way out”,  while also pointing out Ryan Braun still had every opportunity to claim the lead.

For sure, it was a selfish move. Forget about helping the Mets win a game — it was about Reyes trying to win a batting crown. Fair or not, it was a move his crosstown rival, Derek Jeter, never would have pulled.

That’s why some Mets fans who wanted Reyes back might be rethinking that right now, wondering if he’s the guy you really want to lead the Mets back to prominence.

Hey, bad enough that Jose’s not Ted Williams! It turns out he isn’t DEREK JETER, either. Because Derek Jeter is so far above individual honors and having any attention lavished upon himself rather than his teammates.  Hey, were you aware Derek Jeter actually went 5 for 5 during a game in which he also collected his 3000th hit?  Did you know he’s got more rings than Jose has fingers on one hand?  Did you know he’s got an edge?

Much as I’m distraught over Reyes’ early shower yesterday (so much so that I cannot possibly stand the thought of him scoring 100 runs and collecting 200 hits annually for the Mets over the next 7 years), I think we can all agree we are very lucky to receive lectures on integrity and professionalism from a man whose journalistic high water mark consists of being Skip Bayless’ televised punching bag.

Ahem. All of that said, it is very comforting to note there are persons capable of reasonable reactions to a baseball/fan relations faux pas that was something less than a war crime.  Enter the calm, collected voice of Faith & Fear In Flushing’s Jason Fry ;

 I have no particular gripe about Reyes protecting his lead. I know, I know, rather than sit on a .400 average, Ted Williams played both games of a doubleheader to close out the 1941 season, a feat that unfortunately came 70 years to the day before Jose’s cameo. But while that’s an ideal for how we’d like athletes to compete, the episode lives on in baseball lore because it’s exceptional — it was baseball practice even back then to sit on statistical leads, and leaders from Willie Wilson to Bernie Williams have not played or abbreviated closing days since then. (Shock your Yankee friends: Yes, Sainted Yankee Joe Torre aided and abetted such behavior before his current noble service as Bud Selig’s chief hat inspector.) Reyes is so much fun to watch on a baseball diamond that we imagine him playing the game on off-days, at night and possibly while he sleeps, but that isn’t true. It’s his vocation, and a long season of daily grinds, injuries and contract chatter had undoubtedly worn him down far more than we would guess.

I’ll put this one, reluctantly, on Terry Collins. Looking ahead to next year, he needs to work on the pageantry of player exits. The shame of Reyes’s departure was that the Citi Field faithful got no chance to give him a proper farewell, a problem compounded by the fact that many of them were there primarily for that reason. Terry should have acceded to Jose’s wishes and given the fans the moment they craved by having Jose run the bases, take his position for the top of the second, and then sending Justin Turner in to replace him. The fans would have had time to realize what was happening and cheered Reyes off the field. With the exception of his fetish for bunting, Terry’s done most everything right, so there’s no reason to make this A Thing. I wish it hadn’t happened, but it did, and the absence of Jose (hopefully for 18 weeks and not forever) and more Mets games to play dictates that we’re moving on, whether we like it or not.

Possibly Not Available From Sully’s Tees In The Near Future

Posted in Baseball, Fashion, The Marketplace at 2:10 pm by

….though there remains the tiniest of chances the shirt’s creator, Nick Stevens, aka Fitzy, might see fit to flog a few of them through his storefront partners.

With A Global Talent Pool, ESPN Proves Hiring Someone Worse Than Kruk Is Pretty Easy

Posted in Football, Sports Journalism, Sports TV at 1:24 pm by

Former Fox Soccer Channel analyst Steve Cohen (above) has seemingly landed on his feet with the announcement he’s been hired by ESPN. On the off-chance no one at the Worldwide Leader can remember Cohen’s most Google-able public moments, ie. his 2009 podcast comments alleging Hillsborough Disaster victims were essentially asking for it — The Empire Of The Kop’s Scott Stewart is happy to provide the background check, free of charge.

Cohen claimed, multiple times, that it was to the fault of LFC fans that the incident occurred, and despite his partners attempting to move on, Cohen ignored their request and continued in his lighting of a terrible fire of comments directed at LFC fans and Hillsborough victims. When asked “What’s wrong with honoring the victims?” Cohen replied, “What’s wrong with it? I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it, it was their own undoing!”

Please reconsider your decision in putting Steven Cohen in a position of football (soccer) pundit before he says something on-air that further disrespects LFC, your station, but most importantly, the fans and their families who have lost loved ones in these tragedies. Steven Cohen is not the right man for the job, he’s not the right man for any job. Please reconsider your decision to hire Cohen.
Sincerely,
Every Liverpool fan on the planet.

A-Gone : Red Sox Collapse Was All Part Of God’s Plan (If Not ESPN’s)

Posted in Baseball at 11:55 am by

Assuming Jose Reyes’ quick exit in Flushing didn’t make you hate baseball or life itself, Wednesday’s late night finales in Atlanta, Baltimore and Tampa were fantastic advertisements for MLB being almost as culturally relevant as injury updates on the condition of Michael Vick’s right hand.— unless you’re a Braves or Red Sox fan, in which case their respective chokes for the ages will make for an awfully long, depressing winter.  Good thing then, that Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez has already put the disappointment of Boston’s 3rd place finish into a more spiritual context, as the Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham explains ;

“It’s definitely something that didn’t plan for. We were wholly confident that we would make the playoffs but it didn’t happen,” he said. “We didn’t do a better job with the lead. I’m a firm believer that God has a plan and it wasn’t in his plan for us to move forward.”

Asked what he saw from the team this month, Gonzalez stayed on his theme.

“God didn’t have it in the cards for us,” he said.

On Tuesday, when I asked him about the collapse of the team, Gonzalez blamed the schedule, not the Almighty.

“We play too many night games on getaway days and get into places at 4 in the morning,” Gonzalez said. “This has been my toughest season physically because of that. We play a lot of night games on Sunday for television and that those things take a lot out of you.”

I told Gonzalez that teams like the Red Sox and Yankees have long had those challenges, it’s part of playing for a high-profile team.

“Why does it have to be?” he said. “They can put the Padres on ESPN, too. The schedule really hurt us. Nobody is really reporting that.”

09.28.11

Bleeding Dodger Goo ; Wishing Tommy Lasorda A Belated 84th Birthday

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 5:15 pm by

Though longtime Dodgers skipper Tommy Lasorda is a mysterious no-show in LA’s recently completed video in support of “It Gets Better”, the 84 year old recently celebrated his birthday by serving as an honorary third base coach for last Thursday’s home tilt against the Giants.  It’s with Tommy’s baseball legacy and humanitarian streak in mind that we recall the following CSTB post from July 8, 2008, “YFIASB : Haunted By The Nearly Nude Lasorda” ;

The LA Times ran a piece on ballpark statues in which author Kevin Baxter noted Dodgers Stadium is amongst the clubs without one. While Your Face Is A Sports Blog‘s Duke Of Everything rejects Sandy Koufax as a subject for not being “‘iconic’ enough”, he’s not without alternative suggestions.

I started to ask myself what the perfect statue would be to represent the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. If I just closed my eyes and thought “Los Angeles Dodgers”, what immediate associations did I have.

A few ideas came to mind:

  • Steve Garvey surrounded by children – dozens and dozens of children
  • A fan in a Raiders hat and Dodgers jersey pouring beer on a 6 year-old wearing a Giants hat
  • Jackie Robinson in Heaven, watching Al Campanis on God’s TV and weeping
  • Fred Claire giving Pedro Martinez a handshake and a plane ticket to Montreal

But the one thing that symbolized the Dodgers, more than anything else, would be this: Tommy Lasorda, naked except for a towel barely covering his sweaty midsection, at the post-game buffet filling his plate with mounds of linguini while screaming profanities at the clubhouse boys. It’s a mental image I picked up while reading John Feinstein’s “Play Ball” several years ago, and no amount of therapy has been able to scrub it from my memory. (Perhaps a more accurate statue would have two sides – one with Lasorda smiling and hugging kids, while the other had him foaming at the mouth about Dave Kingman – but I disgress.)

The Duke’s proposed Mets monument would feature “Darryl Strawberry and Doc Gooden playfully skiing down a mountain of blow”, which, I suppose on the old iconic-meter, scores a lot higher than David Cone whipping it out, Kevin Mitchell decapitating a cat, or the duo of Shane Spencer and Karim Garcia beating up the pizza delivery guy.

Hardest Hits At Iggles Practice Delivered By Harold Shipman Doppelgänger

Posted in Gridiron, Sports Journalism at 4:04 pm by

What happens when you call the Philadelphia Daily News’ Les Bowen (above, left) a quote-stealing old hack “who hasn’t broken a story in years”?  If you’re Twitter-provocateur Jeff  McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, you might get your head handed to you (by AN OLD MAN).  From Fox Sports :

The two men were involved in a Twitter spat Tuesday ; Bowen, who vowed on Twitter to handle his “business in person” landed a punch to McLane’s head Wednesday afternoon before the feuding beat writers were quickly broken up, according to WCAU TV’s Howard Eskin.

Tempers flared after McLane posted a tweet Tuesday regarding the status of Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, in which he wrote Vick would likely start Sunday despite a bone bruise in his non-throwing hand.

“I don’t intend to have any tantrums on Twitter, myself,” Bowen replied to one follower. “If I have something to say to someone, it will be face to face.”

Parrish : Those Loyal To Bruce Pearl Committed Career Suicide

Posted in Basketball, College Spurts at 2:24 pm by

Former Tennessee Men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl — currently working a cushy marketing job with a Knoxville grocery distributor — is banished from NCAA coaching for the next 3 years, but will somehow manage to hang onto his $2.6 million, 10,000 square foot mansion.  By contrast, CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish writes, two of Pearl’s former assistants, Jason Shay and Steve Forbes, are professionally and financially fucked.

Had Pearl not been photographed doing what he did, Forbes wouldn’t be the head coach at a junior college here in the panhandle (Northwest Florida State).  And Shay wouldn’t be his assistant. And Shay’s two young children wouldn’t be sharing bunk beds in a two-bedroom apartment. And they wouldn’t have had to leave the family dog with relatives because dogs aren’t allowed in the complex.

And nobody’s house back in Knoxville would be, in all likelihood, headed for foreclosure.

“I’ve tried to sell it, but I can’t even rent it,” Forbes said. “My monthly check here doesn’t even cover my monthly mortgage payment on that house.”

Shay made around $150,000 a year at Tennessee. Now he makes $20,000.

So not only have their careers been damaged, their lives have been turned upside down — all because they A) didn’t stop Pearl from having an improper cookout at his home, B) didn’t after the fact inform the Tennessee compliance department of what would’ve almost certainly been a secondary violation, and C) weren’t “forthcoming” with information about the cookout when the NCAA initially asked about the picture of Pearl and Aaron Craft.

When an NCAA investigator pulled the picture from a file and laid it in front of Forbes, he couldn’t sacrifice himself for the greater good because it wasn’t him, his recruit or his home in the picture. It was Pearl, Pearl’s recruit and Pearl’s home. So Forbes had two options — one of which was to identify the people in the picture and mention the cookout at Pearl’s home. But everybody knows what happens to men who roll on their bosses like that.

“You do that in this business and you’re done,” Forbes said. “Blackballed. You’re not loyal.”

“You’re selling cars,” Shay added.

09.27.11

McCourt New’s Defense : I Might Suck, But At Least I’m Not Jeffrey Loria

Posted in Baseball, The Law, The Marketplace at 5:46 pm by

“A Club owner must be well-capitalized and cannot use the team as a personal ‘cash cow,’ ” – that’s the gist of Bud Selig’s argument that Frank McCourt is no longer entitled to be owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and given McCourt’s history of using the Dodgers to supplement his lifestyle, it’s hard to take issue with MLB’s hopes of banishing the former parking lot magnate. However, McCourt might have a point when alleging there’s a double standard afoot — that his avaricious treatment of Dodger finances is not so different than Jeffrey Loria’s pocket-lining exercises in Miami. Except for, of course, the not so small matter of Loria not being in Selig’s doghouse.  From the LA Times’ Bill Shaikin :

Well-capitalized? McCourt never was, yet Major League Baseball approved his purchase of the Dodgers, primarily with loans from Fox and Bank of America.

MLB approved Loria’s purchase of the Marlins with a loan from the league itself, as part of Selig’s plan to steer Florida owner John Henry to the Boston Red Sox and kill the Montreal Expos.

Cash cow? Selig claims McCourt diverted more than $180 million of Dodgers revenue for personal use, an allegation McCourt denies.

Yet, Loria got more than that in revenue sharing — $198 million over six years of data compiled by the Business of Baseball website — from major-market owners under the condition that money be put into the team.

In 2006 and 2008 the Marlins reportedly took in more than twice as much from other owners as they spent on their major league payroll — and before they sold a single ticket or took in a dollar from local and national media contracts.

In 2010, one year after the Marlins got a new ballpark funded largely by public dollars, documents obtained by Deadspin showed the Marlins had turned a $38-million profit in 2008. In addition, Yahoo reported that the Marlins paid another $8 million over two years to a company controlled by Loria and the club president, David Samson.

“The swindlers who run the Florida Marlins,” Yahoo columnist Jeff Passan wrote.

Under pressure from MLB and the players’ union, the Marlins agreed last year to make sure revenue-sharing money went back into the team. Yet, Selig never threatened to kick out Loria, or the Marlins.

Stories Like This Are The Reason Ken Reeves Left High School Coaching

Posted in Gridiron, Leave No Child Unbeaten, Lower Education, Parental Responsibility at 12:14 pm by

(the family that bench presses together…gets suspended together. All that heavy lifting…and they can’t pick up after themselves!)

Who amongst us doesn’t have a parent or older relative guilty of oversharing on Facebook?  For Perry County (TN) offensive linemen Rodney and Ryan Belasic, the results of their mother’s F-book status updates weren’t merely embarrassing, but ended up costing their previously unbeaten Vikings team a pair of early 2011 wins, as the Tennessean’s Chip Cirillo explains ;

“(Perry County) inadvertently played ineligible athletes in the first three ballgames,” TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress said. “It was two brothers that transferred. They got a residence in Perry County, but they had not vacated their residence completely in Henry County.”

Childress said school officials thought the players’ entire family had moved to Perry County during the summer.

“But the mother actually works in Henry County, and she posted on her Facebook page that she sent the kids back to Perry County for the week and that she would not see them again until Friday night,” Childress said. “Then, later on her Facebook page, she posted, ‘How can two boys mess up their room as badly as they do when they’re only here on Saturday and Sunday?’ ”

 

09.26.11

Fred Wilpon To Newark, NJ : Drop Dead

Posted in Baseball at 9:32 pm by

A few weeks ago, the New York Times’ Harvey Araton covered the sad case of Bears & Eagles Stadium in Newark, NJ, home field for the Can-Am League’s Newark Bears, and a venue that rarely hosted more than a couple of hundred paying customers this season.  With the Yankees needing to renovate their International League affilate’s ballpark in Scranton, PA next season, the relocate the Bombers’ Triple A franchise to Newark for a single season was proposed.   Proving yet again that when it comes to shitty public relations, the Mets aren’t satisfied with merely playing out the string, the Star-Ledger’s Jerry Izenberg exposes an Amazin’ blunder that’s tough for even a Yankee hater to defend.

Under baseball’s rules, the exclusivity of the Yankees and Mets territory is shared. The Yankees called the Mets and asked permission to put their Triple-A team in Newark for only a single year.

The Mets declined.

The Yankees tried once more. They repeated that this was just for a single year. They said that if the Mets agreed for just that one season they would offer an evergreen matching proposal. In essence, they would give the Mets the same shot if they had a team with a minor league park in jeopardy, no matter how many eons into the future.

The Mets declined, saying their organization would only do something like that with mutual and immediate reciprocity as they did with the Yanks when they put a minor league team in Brooklyn and allowed the Yanks to do the same on Staten Island.

One of the concerns that influenced the Mets was their belief that a minor league team in Newark might have weaned potential Mets fans away from the affluent New Jersey suburbs.

Last night, a Mets spokesman confirmed that the team blocked the move, and would only say the decision was within the team’s rights.

The Cold Pragmatism Of The White Sox’s (Ex-)Manager

Posted in Baseball at 8:56 pm by

The Chicago Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley reports Ozzie Guillen long tenure as White Sox manager could come to an end as early as tonight, with Guillen’s request for an extension going unheeded by club chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. Further, Cowley claims the White Sox and Marlins are in talks to allow the latter to install Guillen as Jack McKeon’s successor almost immediately.

“F— more years. I want more money,’’ Guillen said. “I don’t work here for years. No, I want more money. Years, what, I’m going to die poor with the White Sox? Hell, no. Listen this is my job. It’s the only thing I can do. I have to make money out of somewhere. I’m not a doctor or a lawyer, where you’ll have a job for the rest of your life.

“Life is about money. People don’t believe that. People are happy after they make money, f— it.’’

The idea of going to Florida was asked of Guillen, and he pointed out that he’s never said that he wanted to be traded to Florida.

“You never hear me talk about that,’’ Guillen said. “You never did. Did I ever say I wanted the Marlins out of my mouth? No, that’s their problem. If they want me, they should. F— it, I’m bad, I’m good at what I do. They should. Everybody can want me, but it’s one thing if they can get me. It’s not easy like, ‘OK I’m going to get you and you’re going to come here.’ No it’s a process.’’

His Name Is Dan Levy And He’d Like To Recruit You

Posted in Blogged Down, The Marketplace at 5:25 pm by

The 4th Blogs With Balls conference took place this past weekend in New York City, and while DK Wilson dissed the event as the “annual circle jerk of self-congratulation for sports bloggers who protect the ideals of mainstream sports media,” surely dozens of less uptight individuals were thrilled to consider such hot topics as “Brands With Balls” (“looking at the brands who do the best job of reaching the sporting audience,”). Cynical types like me, however, cannot help but be nauseated impressed by the perspective of BwB participant / Bleacher Report featured contributor Dan Levy, who couldn’t help but embrace an opportunity…to tell you what a wonderful world we’re living in. Well, some of us, anyway.

After each BwB event, I feel like I sit at my computer and do that Doogie Howser “what did we learn today” post, so that’s probably what this is. I learned today that I have some great friends in this industry, but more than anything I learned that I belong in this industry. Floating around as a free agent for a while before this Bleacher Report situation, I felt about as disenfranchised as one could feel. The one thing about writing on the internet that people may not realize is that there is no safety net. You have a job, and the next day you don’t. Even from the basement, that fall can feel precipitous. I spoke to a lot of great writers and a lot of talented folks in media this weekend. Not all of them have jobs, but they have the talent to do great things. I hope some of them will think about doing them with me, here. At the very least, it was an honor and a privilege to share the stage with them for a day.

For me? Well now I write for a site that gets a ton of traffic and work for people who seem to like what I produce in an industry full of folks who put up with my nonsense because they know, in the end, I’m trying to help the industry grow.

Harvey Levin Revealed As A Secret Member Of Boston’s Baseball Writers Association

Posted in Baseball, non-sporting journalism at 4:55 pm by

Earlier today, TMZ.com reported Red Sox starting pitcher John Lackey has filed for divorce from his wife, Krista. The otherwise underachieving Lackey, who might’ve salvaged Boston’s postseason hopes with a relatively competent performance last night in the Bronx, might not be thrilled to have the public know he’s bailing on a woman who underwent a double mastectomy in March. At least that’s the impression the assembled press corps were left with last night when Lackey’s postgame remarks took on a slightly cryptic, decidedly hostile tone. From WEEI.com :

“Let me tell you the truth. Thirty minutes before the game, I got a text message on my cellphone from one of you … somebody in the media, talking about personal stuff,” said Lackey. “And I shouldn’t even be standing up here having to deal with it. I’m sitting here listening to music. I don’t know who got my phone number, but that’s over the line. Anything else you guys want to talk about?”

Lackey did allow that he “felt good,” and that “considering the circumstances and needing a win,” he viewed the performance as being among his best with the Sox. He was then asked whether the pregame text message served as a distraction.

“This is unbelievable I’ve got to do this,” he lamented, with the session coming to an abrupt halt soon thereafter.

09.25.11

Fox Confesses : “Cutler Is A Gutless Pussy” Is Not A Real Headline

Posted in Cats, Gridiron, Sports TV at 8:30 pm by

(image taken from The Clearly Dope)

The Chicago Tribune reports that prior today’s 27-17 loss to Green Bay, Bears QB Jay Cutler received an on-air apology from Fox’s NFL studio host Curt Menefee for the network’s use of non-existent newspaper headlines designed to illustrate just how despised the former Vanderbilt product is in his current hometown.

As a Tribune report detailed last Sunday, the Fox telecast flashed three ficticious headlines across the screen — “Cutler Leaves With Injury,” “Cutler Lacks Courage” and “Cutler’s No Leader” — that Fox color analyst Daryl Johnston described as “actual headlines from the local papers in Chicago.” A Tribune search yielded no such headlines in any newspaper in the United States.

Fox studio analyst Menefee apologized during Fox’s NFL Sunday pregame show.

“Before we move on, I want to go back to Week 1, during the Atlanta-Chicago broadcast, when our production crew that was doing that game displayed an incorrect graphic,” Menefee said.  “Now, the production team told our announcer Daryl Johnston that a taped video package that made air came from actual headlines concerning Bears quarterback Jay Cutler’s performance during last year’s NFC Championship Game.  While in fact, they were not.  FOX Sports regrets this mistake and apologizes to Cutler, the Chicago Bears organization and everyone involved”

Slusser : A’s’ Venue Uncertainty Might Ensure Willingham’s Exit

Posted in Baseball at 6:19 pm by

“It seems to me like Josh Willingham is the one guy on the team who would be the most difficult to replace,” argues former teen scalper turned agent Matt Sosnick. “Guys aren’t beating down doors to hit in Oakland,” Sosnick warns, but conversely, it could be an A’s move to San Jose that lessens the likelihood Oakland will try to retain the outfielder this winter, as the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser explains ;

“We gave the A’s an idea of where we were, and we were told they have interest in bringing Josh back, but before they did anything, they want to see what happens with the stadium,” Sosnick said. “Josh and I both made it clear he’d like to stay, but at this point, I’m pretty sure he’ll test the free-agent market.

“We talked about a time frame, given that Billy would like Josh back, but it seems like Billy is sort of hamstrung right now.”

According to one person familiar with the team’s thinking, the A’s would be likely to cut back on spending should they get the OK to go to San Jose, rather than increasing payroll. Were San Jose approved, the club would go into all-out rebuilding mode to put together a potential up-and-coming contender.

If the A’s do not get the all-clear for San Jose, they’d be more likely to spend money in the short term to try to increase the gate – and, possibly, to make the club more attractive for potential buyers.

Vick Alleges Referee Bias ; Why Would Anyone WIsh To See Harm Done To Philly’s QB?

Posted in Gridiron at 6:08 pm by

Philadelphia QB Michael Vick fractured his right hand on what looked like a late hit from from NY DT Chris Canty during the Eagles’ 29-16 home loss to the Giants earlier today, an incident Vick considers just the latest in a series of non-calls from NFL referees. “My heads was fine,” Vick insisted in quotes supplied by Philly.com’s Les Bowen and Paul Domovitch, despite receiving a concussion last Sunday night in Atlanta.

“I’m trying to protect myself. I didn’t get a flag. That pretty much has been the story the last three weeks. Something catastrophic is going to happen and I broke my hand. Not to blame the refs, but more precautions should be taken when I’m in the pocket. If you look at the replay, I’m on the ground every time. I’d be lying, if I told you I wasn’t frustrated right now.”

Asked if he does not get the calls, other quarterbacks get, Vick replied, “Absolutely.”

Why? “Why? You all see. There’s no reason for it. I’m not going to go into a big dissertation about why I’m not getting the calls .. The refs have to do their jobs as well.”

And later, “Everybody seen the game. I’m on the ground constantly, all the time. All the highlights, watching film every time I throw the ball, I’m on the ground. I don’t know why I don’t get the 15-yard penalties like everyone else does. I am not complaining. I am just pointing it out and hopefully someone will do something about it … I’m not blaming the referee. Let’s not get it twisted. Everybody on the field has to do their job … I just want them to take notice.”

There’s No Specific Reason For This Photograph Of Arvydas Sabonis…

Posted in Basketball, The World Of Entertainment at 12:36 pm by

…but it might provide encouragement for producers of the Lithuanian TV adaptation of “Parks & Recreation” to cast the former Blazers big man as some variation on the role of Ron Swanson.

09.24.11

Howard Megdal’s Denies The Mets Their Most Convenient Excuse (Besides Being Broke)

Posted in Baseball, Ugly New Stadiums at 8:45 pm by

Since the April 2009 opening of Fred & Jeff Wilpon’s Monument To Avarice & Greed (otherwise known as Citi Field), no shortage of observers (ranging from Gary Cohen to David Wright to Terry Collins to your truly) have claimed the ballpark’s expansive dimensions saddled the Mets with a home field disadvantage. Former Candidate For Mets GM Howard Megdal, however, disagrees, citing evidence in Saturday’s NY Times Bats blog that indicates “the only hitters it seems to affect are the visitors..the park has not depressed the Mets’ offense and has been a secret weapon for their pitchers.”

Since they began play at Citi Field, the Mets have a .731 O.P.S. at home, .704 on the road. That is an O.P.S. advantage of 27 points, compared with 37 for the National League over all. That is a negligible difference, largely caused by the recent offensive woes. (Take out the previous homestand, and the Mets’ advantage is virtually identical to that of the league.)

But Mets pitchers have a huge edge over the typical advantage pitchers have at home. From 2009-11, Mets pitchers have allowed a . 696 O.P.S. at Citi Field and a .788 O.P.S. on the road. That is a 92-point advantage, compared with 42 points for that of the league. The Mets pitchers’ 50-point O.P.S. advantage is greater than the difference between Ben Zobrist’s good 2011 season for Tampa Bay and Jose Reyes’s great one for the Mets.

Any changes to, say, the outfield walls would affect both the offense and pitching at Citi Field. But the current setup appears to have little to no effect on the Mets’ offense, while providing a huge advantage to the pitching staff.

Statistically, the Mets have a marked home-field advantage. But if they want more offense, they need to field a better offensive team.

A Viral Blow To Sebastian Telfair’s Comeback Campaign

Posted in Basketball at 11:48 am by

Free agent Sebastian Telfair recently told CBS Sports’ Ben Golliver that he hoped to sign with a championship contender when and it the NBA lockout concludes, to which Golliver inquired, what might the Coney Island product bring to a club with title aspirations? “I bring myself. I bring Sebastian Telfair,” was the not-at-all pretentious answer.

The 13th overall pick in the 2004 draft might also have added, “I bring a guy who can’t properly defend against a woman.”   As Ball Don’t Lie’s Kelly Dwyer points out, the woman in question, New York Liberty PG Cappie Poindexter is a 4-time WNBA All-Star, so it’s not as though Telfair just got lit up by Michelle Bachman.  However, given that he’s lobbying for a job, perhaps prospective NBA employers might wanna give Poindexter equal if not greater consideration?

Wrigley & The Cell ; Come For The Food Poisoning, Stay For The Poisonous Baseball

Posted in Baseball, Food at 11:24 am by

The Chicago Tribune’s Jarred S. Hopkins reports Chicago health inspectors found myriad violations when visiting Wrigley Field and U.S. Cellular Field concession stands this month, including but not limited to the vague (and terrifying) “poor hygienic practices”.  Who’d have thought the nacho helmet might be bad for you?

During an inspection at the Cell last week, officials found 15 critical violations, or those that pose the highest health risk, records show. Food valued at about $350 was thrown away. In August at Wrigley, inspectors found 20 critical violations and more than 30 pounds of food worth $215 were tossed. Inspectors recorded an additional nine critical violations on a return visit to Wrigley last week.

09.23.11

A Yankee Universe Without Sterling & Waldman – Dare We Dream Of Such Things?

Posted in Baseball, Sports Radio at 8:18 pm by

Perhaps I’m an unfit person to weigh in the following, given that on most occasions, I’d sooner listen to Eddie Trunk discuss who he’d rescue if Bruce Kullick and Rudy Sarzo were both drowning and he could only save one than hear Mr. High-Far-Gone and Lady Oh My Goodness Gracious ruin what might be an otherwise entertaining baseball game. That said, the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman reports the dulcet tones John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman might become a thing of the past if WCBS ceases to be the Yankees’ radio broadcast outlet.

The station’s “exclusive” negotiating window closed in April, allowing other outlets such as ESPN-1050 and WRXP-FM to make their pitches. Yankees suits are pondering their options, which could include the team taking its radio rights in-house and doing its own thing. Bombers brass may not have received final offers from these media companies.

Still, the situation doesn’t prevent team officials from giving Sterling and Waldman a vote of confidence. No matter who winds up purchasing the radio rights, the Yankees will retain the right to veto any voice proposed by a radio outlet. That’s how George Steinbrenner controlled the radio and TV booths, even before he launched his own Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network.

It’s not as if we haven’t heard this all before. But once October arrives, and the stakes rise, will the possibility of this being their last rodeo penetrate the collective psyche of Ma and Pa? And could the emotions rise to the surface and affect their calls?

Something like: “You know Suzyn, the Yankees have the bases loaded and are on the verge of history. Who cares. I could be high…far…and gone next season.”

Or how about this: “Jawn, I haven’t been this scared since I was caught in that earthquake at Candlestick Park.”