Analyzing Bobby Valentine’s hiring as Terry Francona’s successor as manager of the Boston Red Sox, ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes writes the former “is out of the Dean Wormer generation when it comes to putting up with frat-house antics”. “Demonstrative, outspoken, volatile, demanding, he is certain to bring a level of public accountability to a group of players who may have grown too comfortable,” gushes Edes, perhaps forgetting that it was under Valentine’s watch Bobby Bonilla and Rickey Henderson spent the final 3 innings of an NLCS elimination game playing cards in the clubhouse. That said, “laid back” is not a term that commonly comes to mind when discussing Valentine, whose ascension to one of the top jobs in baseball might not be met with celebration in some quarters, particularly the bucket training table of one Josh Beckett, of whom BoSox Injection’s Rick Meegan writes, “I can only imagine he’s been in the Tim Tebow praying position ever since Bobby V’s name came up in the managerial search.”
Beckett (above) has no one but himself to blame for this predicament. He was the ring leader of the beer guzzling, fried chicken eating band of merry men. Welcome to reality Josh, your days of leading teammates down the wrong path just came to an abrupt halt. Isn’t Bobby V. exactly what Larry Lucchino was looking for? A person with a history of being volatile with his players. A manger with a take no prisoners approach. I still think Theo was behind the whole; let’s find us an inexperienced manager to fill Francona’s slot theory. It never made sense. This is a team of veterans who are headstrong and beat to their own drums. We all thought Jason Varitek had the respect from the players in the clubhouse but that wasn’t the case at all. I for one never thought Dale Sveum was the answer for this team and thankfully so did the Red Sox ownership. Yes, poor little Ben Cherington got his feelings hurt in the process, he will survive.
I realize it’s tempting to assume Valentine will arrive at spring training looking to bury Beckett and Carl Crawford at every available opportunity, but keep in mind, the former Rangers / Mets skipper has a habit of embracing (fellow) pariahs. Recall if you will, the time he misquoted Cal Ripken Jr. in an attempt to bolster Armando Benitez’ reputation.
“Clearly, the bar for basketball greatness isn’t set too high in Turkey,” scoffed USA Today’s Tom Weir upon learning Besiktas had retired Deron Williams’ #8 jersey after just 15 games with the club. Williams, who is rejoining the Newark Nets just in time for the club to make a push for Dwight Howard, averaged 21.8 points per game and 6.5 assists during his blink-and-you-missed-it tenure in Istanbul, numbers far more impressive, than say, those accumulated by Mike Piazza during his 5 games with the Florida Marlins in 1998.
OK, I’m paraphrasing a bit. But a little more than a week after Jason Whitlock called ESPN’s Mark Schwartz, “morally bankrupt” for his role in bringing the accusations against Syracuse assistant hoops coach Bernie Fine to national attention, the Worldwide Leader is facing criticism of an entirely different sort. In the view of The Daily Beast’s Allen Barra, the network didn’t do nearly enough to sound the alarm concerning Fine. “Turn on an ESPN channel today or go to its website,” argues Barra, “and you’ll find someone taking a bow for ‘breaking’ the Syracuse story. What you won’t find is anyone stepping forward to answer the question of why, for nearly eight and a half years after receiving the Bobby Davis-Laurie Fine tape, they did … nothing.”
Did it really take ESPN that long to find other samples of Laurie Fine’s voice? Could they not have sent a reporter to Syracuse or knock on her door to try to get a statement from her? Even a verbal rebuff would have given them a voice sample. Where, in fact, did ESPN get these extra voice samples, and why did it take so long?
Perhaps because until now no one at ESPN was trying?
Penn State lost a university president, a legendary head football coach, an athletic director, and a school administrator because they heard allegations of sexual abuse and did nothing to investigate or follow up. Who, I wonder, at ESPN—the network, the magazine, or the website—had knowledge of the Syracuse allegations—allegations of boys being raped—and decided not to pursue them?
Who at ESPN is the equivalent of a board of trustees who will now step in and do the right thing by firing those responsible? Because this time boys weren’t raped just because the good old boys looked the other way. This time, boys were raped because the good old boys who were supposed to be watching the good old boys looked the other way.
Who amongst us isn’t dying to see a film about a misunderstood baseball genius with questionable social skills? Anybody? While former Rangers/Mets skipper Bobby Valentine suffers an unflattering Al Gore comparison from one observer, veteran baseball broadcaster / TV writer Ken Levine (“MASH”, “Frasier”, “Cheers”, “Everybody Loves Raymond”) recalls a few horror stories of occasions in which civilians have attempted to push a script upon him. Guess which widely-ridiculed manager’s name pops up? (link swiped from Baseball Prospectus)
When I was announcing for the Orioles I once got thrown out of Bobby Valentine’s office for asking tough questions. He was then the manager of the Texas Rangers. Fifteen minutes later I was summoned back, obviously to receive an apology. No. He had heard I was a writer and pitched me a movie. Try not to be an asshole first.
Years ago I and another writer, Larry, were asked to speak at a UCLA extension class. I was a story editor on MASH at the time and he was story editor of RHODA. As we stood in front of the class lecturing, a friend overhead one young woman saying to another: “I think I’ll fuck Larry. I’d rather do a RHODA”.
Former Florida head coach Urban Meyer signed a lucrative pact Monday to take over the Ohio State football program, a move that came after Meyer spent a year as an ESPN analyst and presumably getting his fix of quality family time. Whether it was his doctor or his wife who ordered him to leave the Gators, Meyer’s manner of departure is being second guessed by the Gainsville Sun’s Pat Dooley, who despite urging Florida fans to “get over it” (“it’s not like he took a job at, oh, I don’t know, South Carolina where he planned on trying to beat you every year,”) suggests there’s some justification for resentment.
What Meyer should have said when he left Florida was, “Hey guys, I’m burned out. I’ve been doing this a long time and I just don’t have the energy to fix this program again. I need some down time.”
Instead, he said it was about his family and health. That’s why the Gator Nation is angry enough today to download the Michigan fight song as a ring tone.
Before he took the Ohio State job, Meyer expressed concerns over his legacy at Florida. He told me he was amazed at the anger expressed toward him as Florida struggled to a 6-6 season.
“All I did for six years is go into that office every day and work my tail off,” he said. “And then I go out to get a sandwich and somebody is yelling at me because they had a bunch of false start penalties.”
Meyer truly believes he left a good team behind for Will Muschamp. He told me he believes there are four offensive linemen on the current team who will play in the NFL.
I mentioned that to someone in the football office who responded, “Has he watched us play?”
While stopping short of calling for the firing or resignation of Syracuse head basketball coach Jim Boeheim — who earlier this month labelled accusers of alleged sex criminal / assistant coach Bernie Fine a bunch of opportunistic hustlers — the Syracuse Post-Standard’s Bud Polquin, pontificates, “so many folks, a fair amount of whom are employed by SU, may well be squirming on this bleak morning.” Chiefly amongst them, Boeheim, who at the time of Fine being implicated by ESPN, insisted, “I’ve known Bernie for 40-plus years, and I don’t believe in any way, shape or form he would ever even pat a kid on the shoulder. Is that clear enough?”
Was there some kind of cover-up in 2002 when Bobby Davis tried to tell his tale to various authorities? What did people in positions of power, particularly at SU, know and, if they did know something, when did they know it … and why did they apparently not act? Will others up there on the Syracuse campus follow the disgraced Fine out the door?
Already the main topic of discussion in this town, it was expanded on Sunday after that incriminating dialogue between Bobby Davis and Laurie Fine was followed by the swinging of Syracuse Chancellor Nancy Cantor’s sword. And Boeheim, Bernie’s boss? On Sunday afternoon, he’d answered his telephone only to offer that he had nothing to say. By Sunday night, beyond the release of a statement attributed to him, he’d gone silent (for public consumption, anyway) altogether.
And yet, his earlier comments still wafted.
“We’re going to believe that Bernie will be completely — completely — exonerated in this,” Boeheim said. “The university and me and everybody else. If something happened, then we will deal with that.”
Something seems to have happened. Something fairly unspeakable.
As you’re probably all too aware, Buffalo WR Stevie Johnson’s warm-up act for a succession of crucial dropped passes in yesterday’s 28-24 loss to the J-E-R-K-S was a TD catch celebration that included miming shooting himself in the leg, ala Gang Green’s convicted felon, Plaxico Burress. Johnson’s self-expression provided NBC’s Bob Costas with an anti-showboating platform for his weekly “Football Night In America” commentary, remarks Black Sports Online’s Robert Litall took considerable exception to, in specific, Costas sneering, “hey, knuckleheads, is it too much to ask that you confine your buffoonery to situations that don’t directly damage your team?”
Using a term like buffoon while singling out a majority of African-American players is nothing but code for “hood, Ghetto, hip hop & Afrocentric” type behavior and that is exactly how the majority of the white audience will take it.
When in reality from Aaron Rodgers’ “Championship Belt” dance to Jared Allen “Hog Tie” dance, celebrations have no race, but I am sure the term “buffoon” wouldn’t have been used if was Jordy Nelson who mocked Plaxico.
Stevie Johnson and Plaxico Burress handle the situation like men, the only Buffoon in this situation is Costas who by perpetuating stereotypes with boldface lies and ignorance, proved he isn’t as smart as he think he is.
I generally don’t wake up Monday morning thinking of ways to defend Bob Costas, nor do I share the Sandusky-interrogator’s wholesale distaste for…well, what did we used to call, fun? However, I think it is a slight stretch to find racial overtones in his use of “buffoon”. Where Aaron Rodgers or Jared Allen guilty of saddling their respective teams with penalties due to their chosen brand of celebration, Costas would be completely justified in calling them idiots. Indeed, in Johnson’s case, Costas has specifically mocked someone besides a white athlete. He ought to feel completely free to do so, just so long as as the public misdeeds of dopes like Rex Ryan, Brett Favre and Brian Cushing are under similar scrutiny.
If you believe the rumor mill, Gene Lamont is GM Ben Cherrington’s pick for new skipper of the Boston Red Sox, while CEO Larry Lucchino is said to favor former Rangers/Mets manager Bobby Valentine. Though the latter’s poor reputation with opponents and former players is the stuff of legend, Lucchino must not be an avid reader of the baseball press, as he asked former New York Times scribe Murray Chass for his opinion of Valentine. “I would rather not have people I am interviewing ask me questions,” grumbled Chass, who somehow manages to resent the intrusion while still going to great lengths to bury Bobby V. Chief amongst Valentine’s crimes, suggesting to reporters Todd Hundley needed more sleep, code, apparently, for the former Mets catcher having a drinking problem.
In Todd Hundley’s view, the problem with Valentine began when the manager appeared to be jealous of the player’s standing with the fans. ”He comes into a whole new situation and goes right after I guess the most popular guy,” Hundley said. ”It’s not my fault I’m the most popular guy.”
”I’m talking to my mom while she’s going through chemotherapy,” Hundley said, ”and I’m helping my wife with taking care of our two kids and he’s saying I’m out and about.”
”You see him coming from a mile away,” Hundley said. ”He thinks he’s working in the shadows, but he’s not. You can see right through him. I didn’t have to remember what I said to who and keep track of all this other junk. I’m not going to lie. It seemed like he had to keep track of, I said this to this guy, this to this guy, this to this guy and he got caught up in his web.”
Valentine, meanwhile, demonstrated a large dose of class several years later when a mutual acquaintance introduced my nephew to him in the workout room of a Las Vegas hotel. Told that he was “Murray Chass’ nephew,” Valentine said of me, “He’s a despicable human being.”
Relating the story to me, Kenny said, “Look on the bright side; at least he still referred to you as a human being.”
Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, in a long, on-air simplistic, facts-barren and bigoted spew that seemed taken from the Josef Goebbels How-To Handbook, Francesa not only laid the mass murders at the feet of Israel and on the heads of Jews, he strongly suggested that Jews are unpatriotic Americans, thus make suspect U.S. citizens.
WFAN still has been unable to find the tape from that day — what a coincidence! — and Francesa has denied saying any such things. But he’s a liar. As did many others, I heard him, and wrote about it then. And if I’m wrong, if I made this story up then had it published here, that would be highly actionable, a slam-dunk, can’t-lose libel suit. So then sue me.
More recently, when I again raised this issue here, Francesa again, on the air, denied it, this time adding that a Jewish watchdog agency had even given him, in this matter, clearance.
Really? Which agency? Who, where, when? Tell us. Show us. If the tape is missing, or was erased, or eliminated, or just disappeared or it’s being subjugated, how could any group have issued him such a thumbs-up, declaring that he never spoke such things?
The Bruins are 6-6. Five of those conference losses are by 25 or more points. They got beat 50-0 by USC on Saturday and squeezed past Oregon State by only eight points earlier this season. And so the first conference championship game, promised to be laced with all kinds of pageantry, no doubt, ends with the losing coach shaking hands, then getting fired on his way out of the building with his non-bowl-eligible team.
I know, the Trojans have that bowl ban, but I challenge anyone to look at how this has played out and not believe it’s a shame that Lane Kiffin’s team won’t play in the conference title game. We all deserve better than UCLA-Oregon.
The Bruins got here by virtue of a tiebreaker, a USC bowl ban, and the fact that they didn’t have to play Oregon in the regular season. Which is only to say they are going to be ushered into Autzen Stadium next Friday, and they’ll look around, see the shiny championship trophy, and all the fans screaming, and smile, just before they realize that this whole thing is a set-up and they’re the meal.
The film highlights Candy’s manic efforts to make the Argos the coolest kid in class once again, reviving them in a Toronto market infatuated with the Blue Jays and Maple Leafs. Employing Hollywood pals ranging from Jim Belushi to Mariel Hemingway, Candy single-handedly lifted the team and the entire league for a brief moment of gridiron Camelot.
Watching him on the frigid Winnipeg sideline in November of 1991, we vividly recall looking up from our desk at CBC to see the ample Candy bounding across the newsroom toward us, massive paw outstretched as slack-jawed reporters sat stunned to see the movie star in their midst. As the many voices in the piece recall, Candy was everywhere in the brief years between buying the team and selling it days before his death in March of 1994. We were on his list and he made it memorable.
Producer Matt Dunn deftly captures Candy’s enthusiasm for a team that, as now, was being rendered passé by Toronto’s cultural elites. In those days, however, there was no NFL pressing at the gates of Canada’s largest market, threatening the viability of the entire league. As the CFL takes the Grey Cup game to Toronto next year, it’s hard not to lament the shabby condition of the storied tradition Candy so believed in.
Using the sort of rhetoric that might limit his future CSTB appearances to one or twice a year (““I really for the first time understand humility…“It’s not everybody else’s fault. It’s not a coincidence that I’m here”) the rehabbing reprobate Lenny Dykstra tells the New York Daily News’ Nancy Dillon that “The punishment gods said, ‘You know what we’re going to do? We’re going to put you in fucking jail.”
Dykstra is now a voluntary patient on scholarship at The Hills, takes routine drug tests and calls his thinking “clear.”
“I’m a partier, (and) it leads to making decisions that probably led to why I’m here right now. And that’s a fact that I have to admit,” he said.
Dykstra scoffed at reports that he recently bailed on a formal agreement to fight fellow former baseball star Jose Canseco in a celebrity boxing match. He said the Pennsylvania fan who ran his Twitter feed while he was incarcerated signed the contract without his full consent and then fabricated quotes for a press release.
Dykstra said the Pennsylvania-based fan later staged a fake Twitter war with him, attributing anti-Semitic remarks to the former All-Star. Claiming he doesn’t even know the password for the Twitter account bearing his name, Dykstra said he now is pursuing a restraining order.
Once the Atlanta Thrashers’ move to Winnipeg was confirmed, the club’s current owners, True North Sports & Entertainment opted to revive the name of the departed WHA/NHL Jets, but instead chose a new logo for the team, one they boasted,”was developed in partnership with Reebok and the NHL, was inspired by the logo of the Royal Canadian Air Force.” The Guardian’s Colin Horgan delves into a Canadian Press report that outlines the Jets’ written agreement with the nation’s defense department over how the logo can be used, the most eye-catching passage being the following ; “the club agrees to use the Winnipeg Jets logos solely in accordance with the terms and conditions of this agreement and in such a manner as to protect and preserve the reputation and integrity of Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, as represented by the Minister of National Defence and the Canadian Forces.”
According to the story, nobody from either the Jets organization or national defence was available for comment, but it certainly raises some questions – namely about specifics: what exactly will ensure protection of the integrity of the Queen? That could mean all kinds of things, and it seems odd that an NHL franchise would ever be expected to worry about upholding the image of a reigning monarch. Just play hockey.
It’s doubtful that it will actually affect the team in too many ways, but from a fan standpoint, it certainly makes you wonder what exactly it is you’re supporting when you don a jersey. Given the recent push by Canada’s Conservative government to reintroduce the ‘Royal’ designation back to the Army and Navy, and the fervor with which it lauded two recent Royal visits, this Jets logo tips dangerously from the realm of sports into the world of ideological politics.
“If you don’t want the world to think you’re a dirty player, you might not want to get caught kicking an opponent and grinding his head into the ground,” opined ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert, conveniently ignoring the way DT Ndamukong Suh has been routinely targeted by officials. I don’t care what the video evidence shows, this is such a small sample size with which to smear a hard-working professional athlete who obeys most laws of civilized society 6 days a week.
If you believe there’s a price point where the Mets would pay for Jose Reyes- say four years, 70 million-then all Jerry Seinfeld has to provide is the difference between this and what it takes to get the deal done. Jon Heyman estimated Reyes’ final deal at six years, $120 million. So the difference would require Jerry to kick in $50 million.
Even if you think every dollar the Wilpon group is cutting in salary is going to the Save An Owner Foundation, this plan could still work. All it required of Jerry Seinfeld is $20 million per season for the next six seasons.
Again, with Seinfeld subsidizing the Reyes contract entirely, it in no way hamstrings Sandy Alderson’s payroll flexibility. Indeed, by allowing him to spend whatever the Wilpon group provides him on just 24 players- and shortstop accounted for- it is a solution that allows the Mets to keep Reyes AND have greater payroll flexibility than they’d have without him.
For what it’s worth, Bee Movie grossed more than $126 million. Jerry can pay for Jose Reyes without even touching Seinfeld money.
So I’m begging you, Jerry: please pay for the Mets to keep Jose Reyes. It is unseemly to ask another man to spend his money, I know. But Mets fans are out of options. You can become, in one move, to the Mets as Bill Gates is to world disease. And your dog can lead the Bark in the Park parade- a parade of triumph, making him the greatest mascot this team has had since Mr. Met.
…but it’s hardly a fearsome football conference at the moment. OK, I’m putting a few words in the mouth of Stanford head coach David Shaw, but when Jim Harbaugh’s successor considers the Cardinal’s no. 6 Bowl Championship Series ranking behind Oklahoma State and Virginia Tech, it’s understandable why he’d use a Tuesday press conference to denounce the BCS system as “flawed…and they know it.” From the San Jose Mercury News’ Jon Wilner ;
“To have a one-loss Pac-12 team behind a one-loss ACC team (Virginia Tech) means the computers value the ACC more than the Pac-12 … which I don’t believe is accurate,” Shaw said.
When the topic turned to Oklahoma State, Shaw noted that the Cowboys’ loss came to an unranked team (Iowa State), whereas Stanford lost to then-No. 7 Oregon.
“The computers don’t program themselves,” he said.
The BCS standings are determined by a team’s average ranking in seven computer polls and its position in the Coaches and Harris top-25 polls. Because of what’s perceived to be a weak schedule, Stanford’s computer ranking is lower than its position in the human polls.
“I don’t get it,” Shaw said. “Who decides what a quality win is? The explanations I get don’t make any sense.”
This is BlitzCorner.com News Editor Joseph Santosus. I’ve become acquainted with your blog, Can’t Stop The Bleeding, and would like to extend you an invitation to join our growing network of Sports Websites. The BlitzCorner Network (BCN) is designed to boost traffic and encourage growth by introducing your content to new and unique users across the network, while allowing you to maintain complete control over your website. Joining is free and requires only that each member place a widget customized to fit the space of their choosing within their site. In addition to having direct links to your content displayed throughout the various websites included in the network, they will also be updated to the BlitzCorner.com homepage on a daily basis. I look forward to your response, and please feel free to let me know of any questions you may have.
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Though I’m deeply flattered by an invitation to participate in a network that features such hard-hitting journalism as this item (or, perhaps, this one), I’m gonna have to let this golden opportunity slip thru my fingers. Given that CSTB recently extricated itself from an agreement with Yardbarker — who through all of their traffic boosting schemes, obliged us to routinely cross-promote dumbfuck content nearly as pathetic as the examples linked above —- it really doesn’t make sense to willfully dive head first into a similar shit pit, let alone one that offers no percentage of advertising revenues.
I met him super briefly. I was covering the Miami Hurricanes, and they were playing Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl. We had a quick laugh, and I think we actually did a short segment for the newscast on how we had the same names, and how he had heard about me and I had heard about him. It was silly. Whatever.
John Harbaugh, he looked at me and said, “Man, this must be just awful for you.” They’re playing the Steelers in this game and he’s worried about me and my name.
Joe Flacco was funny last week. He came up to me and said something along the lines of, “That’s a tough break, Gerry. Tough break.” And he patted me on the back.
I was on the field before the game in Pittsburgh, the day after the news broke, and Dick Ebersol — the former head of NBC Sports, an absolute giant in my field — walks by. So, I extend my hand: “Hey, I’m Gerry Sandusky.” And I see him visibly flinch. Kind of a subtle flinch, but he definitely flinched. I see him thinking that I’m goofing around, so I say, awkwardly, “No relation.” He couldn’t get away from me fast enough.
Chicago resident Wayne L. Field has been charged with breaking and entering the home of White Sox General Manager Kenny Williams (above), stealing a few items and, well, hanging out. For a while. From NBC Chicago :
Field apparently made himself at home. Police found him wearing Williams’ clothes and the GM’s 2005 World Series ring. He also apparently defrosted a lobster.
This incident occurred between Nov. 18 and 21 while Williams was out of town, police said.
Williams confirmed the incident and said the man drank his beer, ate frozen pizza, surfed the internet and kicked his shoes off on the bed.
During the burglary, Field left behind a hospital bracelet with his name on it, police said. Field returned some time later and was seen peeking into the home.
Officers spotted him wearing Williams’ clothes and arrested him.
There’s no truth to the rumor during Field’s time on Williams’ computer, he managed to make this image Kenny’s new screen saver.
As noted yesterday, the Dallas Morning News’ Evan Grant’s decision to cast a first place MVP vote for hometown trade-demander Michael Young over Justin Verlander caused a mild ruckus on the internet, with Jim Ingraham of the News-Herald‘s choice to ignore Verlander entirely receiving some acknowledgement as well. Surely aware he’s inches away from becoming a trending topic in really desperate households, Ingraham explains, “my not voting for Verlander had nothing to do with evaluating what he accomplished this season…I don’t believe pitchers should be eligible for the MVP Award.” Except, y’know, they are.
Obviously, I’m in the minority in this year’s MVP voting. I expected to be. I’m sure many wonder why I didn’t at least have Verlander somewhere on my ballot — second, third, fourth — if not first. My answer to that is this: If Verlander was going to be on my ballot at all, he was going to be first.
But once I decided I didn’t think it was fair to compare pitchers with position players for this award, meaning I wasn’t going to give Verlander a first-place vote, it would have been hypocritical of me to have him anywhere else on my ballot.
In the 34 games (21 percent) of the Tigers’ season that Verlander appeared in, he was obviously overpowering, and in most games virtually unbeatable. But in 128 of the Tigers’ games (79 percent), he was no factor at all.
Twenty-one percent of an NFL season is three games. I highly doubt an NFL quarterback could be voted MVP if he only played in three games.
“Tebow, regardless of whether I wish he’d just shut up after a game and go hug his teammates, I think he’s a winner and I respect that about him,” Plummer said. “I think that when he accepts the fact that we know that he loves Jesus Christ then I think I’ll like him a little better. I don’t hate him because of that, I just would rather not have to hear that every single time he takes a good snap or makes a good handoff…like you know, I understand dude where you’re coming from….but he is a baller. He knows how to win and when your teammates believe in you that you can do good things and that’s what they are doing.”