Or perhaps the wrong place of birth. If you’ve ever wondered why so many English football clubs’ Christmas parties seem to end with police activity or embarrassing headlines, 22 year veteran goalkeeper David James, currently ensconced as Bristol City’s #1, cites “an ingrained drinking culture” (“at one club I played for there would be a gathering of half a dozen or more players for a mad drinking session every week…week after week”). I don’t know about you, but all this talk is making me thirsty! From Friday’s Guardian ;
English managers, on the whole, tend to be great advocates of team bonding through alcohol consumption. I recall one of my managers actually yelling at the foreign players who didn’t go out and get drunk because, he said, they were being disloyal to the rest of the team. Another used to routinely go on a boozy night out – with the chairman and the coaching staff – the night before a game. I had a huge argument about it at the time because I felt strongly that a manager should also follow the abstinence rule – after all, how was he going to steer the dressing room if he was struggling with a hangover the next day? It seemed clear to me that it should be one rule for everyone involved in getting a result for the team.
The increase in foreign players in the English game has certainly made a difference to attitudes over here, but that’s not to say that foreign players don’t get drunk. There are a few who like the English mentality, but generally speaking I find that they are significantly less enthusiastic about alcohol and going out to clubs.
It does amuse me, though, that we seem to need these teetotal rules in English football, while in Europe having a glass of wine before a game is seen as civilised. I remember Steve McManaman describing how the whole Real Madrid team would sit down for a meal and enjoy a glass of wine together the night before a match. If English players did that there would be mayhem. In our culture, drinking to excess – drunkenness – always seems to be the end result.
FOTP’s Week 17 edition is either missing in action or emerging rather late in the day. But given that only a few hundred of you tuned in for their Christmas Spectacular, check it out and try to pretend you have no idea what happened last Sunday.
“There is no there, there,” said Gertrude Stein of Oakland, CA, though had she lived long enough, she might well have said, “there are no marquee players that Billy Beane won’t trade in their prime”. And in the wake of Andrew Bailey, Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill being dealt for prospects in successive weeks, the Oakland Tribune’s Monte Poole has seen enough, declaring of ownership, “they have effectively demolished any pretense of trying to win and simultaneously sending the message that until they get the trade they really want — trading Oakland for San Jose — they’ll just keep making a mockery of the game.” (link swiped from Baseball Think Factory)
There never has been any confusion about Lewis Wolff’s desires or intentions. Wolff (above) and John Fisher even bought off team president Michael Crowley and general manager Billy Beane, giving each a fraction of ownership. All four are rowing one way, beautifully in sync.
The iceberg in the water, however, is the Giants, who own territorial rights to San Jose. This alone makes movement a daunting endeavor, for Bug Selig is big on ownership consensus. And that simply doesn’t exist between the Wolff-Fisher A’s and platoon of Giants owners represented by CEO Larry Baer.
Consider these moves an A’s shortcut, their intent to drive their plan over the few curly hairs remaining atop Baer’s head. Few men in baseball can force an issue as vehemently as Beane, and Selig and Baer and all of us can see he’s on a mission.
So Bailey had to go, just as Cahill and Gonzalez did. Billy the Part-Owner is better served by moving them, even if we all know Billy the G.M. likes their talent.
The A’s will say they are fiscally barren and competitively invalid, that they were forced into these actions.
But they’ll offer no apology about abandoning their loyal but dwindling clientele. They don’t want you visiting their shabby little yard, no matter how long you’ve cared, so they’re informing everyone their shop is closed — even though the doors are wide open.
OK, that’s not exactly what the New York Post’s Peter Vecsey had to say to Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni. But it’s close enough after a pair of miserable losses on the West Coast have left the former asking of the latter, “how is it, I marvel, after hearing D’Antoni’s stump stock speech to reasonable questions, can someone earning $6 million per season get away with no worthwhile insights?”
It’s astonishing how, season after season, D’Antoni is permitted to brush off media inquiries with straight-faced cornpone that the crime-scene tape must first be reviewed. As if there’s any mystery why the Warriors were able to focus fully on Carmelo Anthony and A’mare Stoudemire. Until Baron Davis proves he’s half the headache he used to be, the Knicks lack a guard capable of disrupting the defense by getting inside it and creating easy shots for himself or his teammates.
Basically, the Knicks are waiting for Davis, who is never healthy, to get unhealthy enough to play.
Despite the Knicks’ pointless guards, or maybe on account of them, Stoudemire insists on dribbling the ball more than once (four turnovers) above the free throw line extended. You would think by now he would have gotten that out of his system, and additionally understand it’s not a particularly good idea to jack up long jumpers early in the shot clock while down a dozen with six minutes to play.
I wonder if D’Antoni noticed any of that before going to the videotape. More important, will he ever make Stoudemire stop? In theory, isn’t the head coach supposed to be making in-game adjustments and observations? Or, at the very least, listening to the six-pack of assistant squatters surrounding him?
The San Jose Mercury News’ Mike Rosenberg reports a 16 year-old girl wearing a Vancouver jersey — previously visited by Canucks players when recovering from brain surgery some years ago — suffered a concussion after allegedly being attack by a Sharks fan Wednesday night.
As paramedics loaded her into an ambulance at HP Pavilion, Maggie Herger said, another Sharks fan noticed the girl’s Canucks jersey and yelled at her to “suck it up.”
One intoxicated woman wearing a Sharks jersey, who appeared to be in her 40s, kept bumping into the Herger and her sister, Maya, and yelling curses at them, the two sisters said.
Then, as the fans jumped up to celebrate a second period Sharks goal, the sisters said, the woman behind them brought down both her hands and smacked Maggie in the back of her head “really hard,” forcing Maggie to fall forward and leaving her dazed.
Her sister then rushed to an usher. Maya said she heard the woman tell the usher “she’s a Canucks fan,” but that she “didn’t mean to” hurt her.
“I was just really surprised,” Maggie said. “I didn’t think people acted like that.”
She later found out from doctors that she had suffered a slight concussion, leaving her head “spinning” a day later and her neck and head still hurting. She was bedridden, nauseous and on pain medication.
The family was relieved, however, that her benign brain tumor — which is stable and much smaller but still present next to an artery — was not impacted by the hit, and there appeared to be no internal bleeding.
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Rusty Simmons tried to draw a direct line between Berman’s post and the Warrior win, pointing out the frenzied sell-out crowd (which, to these ears, was a little louder than the home crowds that showed up for Golden State games against the Los Angeles Clippers and Chicago Bulls earlier this week) seemed louder than usual. He quoted David Lee as saying that the crowd “really willed” the Warriors down the stretch, all while referencing Berman’s post.
Of course, all of this could be ridiculous. Berman’s post didn’t actually make the Post, it was posted on the Post’s website. And Berman of the Post was likely none too proud of his one-off line once he not only thought back to 2007, but to all the other years that saw terrible Warrior teams greeted by massive crowds. As one Tweeter pointed out to Beck on Wednesday, the Warriors and Knicks attendance levels are quite comparable over the last few seasons.
If you’ve ever aspired to become the night editor for the Tonawanda News — Google’s #3 search result for persons seeking “Tawana Brawley news” — but felt you lacked the necessary journalistic chops or interesting point of view, cheer up! John Hopkins (above) has that very position and yesterday sought to entertain his paper’s two dozen readers with a commentary pledging a year’s abstinence from ESPN. Is this writer mentally insane? Is his television set broken? Is he allergic to the charms of John KrukMichelle Beadle Eric Mangini? Though the jury is still out on a couple of those questions, Hopkins — a devout fan of professional hockey — complains, “if there’s two things of which ESPN has an abundance, it’s basketball and college sports. Ugh.” Hey, fuck off, Red Smith!
Basketball, simply, doesn’t excite me. The game is played by highly talented people who demonstrate tremendous hand-eye coordination. Still, I can’t identify with the excitement, except at March Madness time, and even then I probably wouldn’t watch as closely if I didn’t participate in the office pool.
As for college sports in general, I’m not interested. I like the pro game, and we’re never going to hear from probably 90 percent of the NCAA Division-1 athletes after they graduate, so I don’t want to invest the time.
Besides, Division 1 athletes — especially in football and basketball — are mostly paid athletes without the colleges and NCAA admitting it. They are the American version of the “amateur” athletes fielded by the Soviet Red Army in the Olympics for several decades. They worked for the army and were paid an army salary but their only “job” was to play sports. Yet they were “amateurs.”
Mureau, a self-described, “heavy/melodic/groove/djent” band featuring Ian Corabi, son of former cup-of-coffee-with-Motley-Crüe vocalist John, have come in for their share of criticism by readers of highbrow metal site Blabbermouth.net (“this is just begging for the Beavis & Butthead treatment”, “simply put this band blows”, “Killswitch Engage wants their sound back”). In an open letter to the Roadrunner Records-owned gossip/news site, the elder Corabi attempts to put Mureau’s bold new sound into some sort of historical context.
“To whom it may concern…
“I just wanted to write this letter as I’m EXTREMELY disappointed in some of the negative and just plain MEAN comments in regards to my son’s band, MUREAU.
“First of all, I’d like to say that I was raised to say ‘thank you’ when given something, open a car door for a woman, say ‘please’ if you wanted something. Basically… just be polite. I was also taught [that] if you don’t have anything NICE or POSITIVE to say about something, or someone, don’t say anything at all.
“Now I didn’t write my post on Facebook to have a bunch of people judge the band MUREAU, or give them a ‘review,’ if you will; I just wanted MY SON and his BANDMATES to know how PROUD I was of them for living THEIR dream… I also didn’t EXPECT everybody to like what they do.
“I can’t say that I understand or appreciate a lot of the newer music that’s out there, but I ALWAYS try to encourage people to follow their dreams and hearts and basically be happy…
“My son loves playing his drums, and the guys (MUREAU) love what they are doing… They are HAPPY!!!!… PERIOD!!!! They are getting ready to embark on their first tour of the States, and I wish them the best of luck… They are playing for the love of their craft, as they are playing for next to NOTHING every night.
“Now, as far as embracing the music they play, I’m not asking you to! But let me remind you of this fact. Back in the ’70s when LED ZEPPELIN and DEEP PURPLE and BLACK SABBATH ruled the airwaves, this new music called ‘punk’ began its modest rumblings. Did I understand it then???? NO!!!! But, out of that youth movement we were given bands the likes of the SEX PISTOLS, RAMONES, THE CLASH etc. ALL GENIUS bands!!!! How about JUDAS PRIEST and IRON MAIDEN??? I remember a time when they were called ‘heavy metal’… Now look at them… CLASSICS!!! How about METALLICA’s first few records… Speed metal…. Now look … 100,000,000 records later… CLASSICS!!!! I mean, even Elvis [Presley] and THE BEATLES were misunderstood in their beginnings. THE BEATLES were denied by every record label in England, several times before they were given their chance. NOBODY saw the potential of that band.
“This is a new generation’s music. We don’t have to like it, but again.. I’m just glad they are doing something POSITIVE with their lives and not sitting around on a couch playing a fucking video game, smoking weed and eating TWINKIES!!!! I do appreciate the people that said… ‘Not really my cup of tea, BUT good luck, guys’… That’s class!!!!
“Let me also remind you that there are millions of bands worldwide that ‘go for the brass ring every year, only to fall miserably on their faces, the fact that these boys… er… YOUNG MEN, were actually ABLE to write their music, get a record deal, and do a video, and go on tour, is HUGE in my book…
“KUDOS to you, guys (MUREAU)!!!!
“Again, I want to thank BLABBERMOUTH for the support, and to everybody who had the decency to write something supportive (even if it’s not your cup of tea)… To the rest of you and your classless comments. GROW UP!!!
“I can’t see him coming here,” McGrady observed inside the visiting locker room at the Prudential Center. “If it’s just Dwight and D-Will, he’s better off just staying in Orlando. You want to go to a team that’s championship caliber, and just him and D-Will won’t get it done. There’s got to be other pieces around to make it look sweet.”
“D-Will is from Dallas,” McGrady said. “You’ve got Dirk Nowitzki there. They’re going to have [cap space] there. That looks sweet. Dirk. D-Will. And then you get Dwight Howard. That’s it, right there.”
As the original owner of a lifetime shoe deal with Adidas, a man with no championships, no glistening playoff legacy, McGrady rejects the idea that Howard ought to let his endorsement-earning power with the shoe company dictate anything about his desire to play for the Bulls. For Adidas, there’s far less of a return on Howard’s stardom to have him sharing the Chicago stage with the company’s biggest endorser, Derrick Rose.
“You’re going to have other endorsements because you’re playing in a big-ass city like Chicago, and because you’re [bleeping] Dwight Howard,” McGrady said.
And a Howard-Rose combination?
“Hell yes, championship,” McGrady said. “Championship. There’s no doubt about it.”
Unless there’s a radical turnaround in David Wright’s production, I’m not sure retaining him beyond 2012 is the biggest worry for the New York Mets or their long-suffering fans. In the considered view of the New York Daily News’ Bill Price, however, “I saw the story about the Mets’ growing debt and when the money is owed and saw the stuff about David Wright possibly getting traded and thought, maybe, just maybe one problem could take care of the other.” Well, yes, if you can find someone who will exchange a bag of $200 million for Wright and his diminished skills, but until that day arrives, Price can instead speculate how Wright’s eventual exit will be received, along with suggesting that GM Sandy Alderson (above) is every bit the stopgap/caretaker as Terry Collins.
You wonder how this all plays in the MLB offices. Letting Jose Reyes walk – in a vacuum – was a good baseball decision. With his injury history, six years is risky. Still, the perception is that the Mets don’t have enough money to keep their homegrown stars, and that is not only bad for Met business, it’s bad for baseball business, especially in New York city.
If the Mets have to give up Wright, perhaps their last marquee attraction, it looks even worse. So, you wonder if something like that makes Bud Selig put aside his friendship to Fred Wilpon and pressure him to sell the team. It’s likely a pipe dream, but when it comes to the Mets, how much is too much? How low can the Mets go before Selig steps in?
It puts Alderson in a tricky spot, too. He works for the Mets, but was basically put there by Selig. While I think he would love to someday be known as the guy who rebuilt the Mets into a big-time team, he may not want to go down as the guy who let Wright and Reyes and who knows who else go.
A few months ago, the Mets sent a letter to Dickey’s agent warning him that they reserve the right to void the remaining year on his contract if he is injured on the mountain. They can’t stop him from going, but they clearly would prefer he did not.
“If we thought it was a good idea, we wouldn’t have sent the letter,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said. “Beyond that, have we tried to dissuade him from going? It seems to me that the letter is enough of an effort to dissuade him, and he intends to go on nonetheless.”
Dickey, a 37-year-old knuckleballer, has more than $4.5 million in guaranteed money left on the two-year, $7.8 million deal he signed in January. For a man who toiled for 14 years without a guaranteed contract, it is no small thing to risk. But Dickey downplayed the potential dangers of the trip.
“I don’t think there’s really any lethal risk to doing it,” Dickey said.
“If I were by myself, I would probably try to push through headache and push through nausea and maybe get some kind of altitude pulmonary enema and croak,” Dickey said. “But I’ve got guys that I can count on that are going to keep me grounded.”
Mike Ornstein was spotted by CBSSports.com’s Larry Holder speaking with Saints officials. In November of 2010, Ornstein was sentenced by a district court in Cleveland to eight months in prison after he scalped Super Bowl tickets and football jerseys that were fraudulently claimed to have been worn during NFL games.
This was no tiny enterprise or small crime. Ornstein made a lot of money ripping people off. Not to mention he already had a 1995 conviction for mail fraud on his record.
Ornstein recently got out of jail and there he was on Monday night…hobnobbing with the Saints. As a marketing agent for former Saint Reggie Bush, Ornstein was once a fixture around the franchise. He was also close to coach Sean Payton (and likely still is).
Ornstein served his time in prison and he has a right to a post-incarceration life. Hell, there have been star players who went to jail and returned to football. See: Vick, Mike. Vick ran an operation that fought and killed dogs and yet he’s playing in the NFL again.
That’s actually understandable. Vick gives a team a chance to win a Super Bowl and if there is one thing we’ve learned about the NFL some teams would sign Gaddafi if he could help them win (and if he were, you know, not dead). That I get.
But why would the Saints allow Ornstein around? Why risk the embarrassment? Why tick off the NFL office which I know for a fact despises the idea of him hanging around the Saints (and hated – yes, hated – that he was in New Orleans on Monday night). What’s the payoff?
I have a feeling we’re going to see more of Ornstein hanging around the Saints post-lockup. In fact, he was in the locker room after the game on Monday wearing a Saints NFC South champion hats.
“When he wore a Yankees cap to Jacobs Field,” Mr. Raab writes of James, “for the opener of a playoff series between the Tribe and the Yankees in 2007 — and was interviewed during the game on national television, still wearing the cap — I wrote him off as worthless scum.” Mr. Raab is incensed that every other Cleveland fan is not also incensed. It is inconceivable to him that James could be both a decent person and an unabashed Yankees fan.
The book’s subtitle may be “One Man’s Search for the Soul of LeBron James,” but missing is meaningful new insight into this player who left the Cavaliers in 2011 for the Miami Heat. Mr. Raab set out to follow James’s first season with the Heat, but his reputation as a hater preceded him, which meant he had precious little access. He reports on incidents as seen from the stands and heard in Miami diners, and at one point recounts a hilarious Valium- and Vicodin-induced “conversation” with a dog named Pip.
The book is far more about Mr. Raab than about James, but Mr. Raab has plenty of his own drama to supply: a bully from a broken home, he later dealt drugs by the pound to bikers in Texas. We learn about his various medical challenges and more than you would expect about his sex life.
“A guy tried to rob me but decided not to because of whatever I do in the community,” said Williams. “He’s a Lou Williams fan, so he didn’t rob me.”
Williams said he was driving in his car in Manayunk when the man approached, knocked on the driver’s window and had a gun drawn.
“There’s crime everywhere,” said Williams. “I was debating whether to pull off to help the guy. The gun was already out. He did all the talking, and we came up with a solution before i could really say much. I treated him to McDonald’s.”
You’d think that with coaching, his non-profit and taking all those long showers, Penn State’s Jerry Sandusky would not have a lot of free time. Oh contraire! He is a ferocious movie-goer with quite specialized tastes. We sat down with him (actually, we sent our 11-year-old nephew so that he’d open up more) and asked him to name a few of his favorites… after all, he’s going to have a lot of free time soon to watch them all again!
Well, there’s this tiny chance that gay men — much like their straight pals — have this thing called a sense of humor. And just maybe, any reader with an ounce of common sense could tell straight away that a premise as goofy as Jerry Sandusky’s Desert Island DVD’s was neither a) sanctioned by the accused pederast, or b) actually promotes a cavalier attitude towards real crimes against children. So for the losing-one’s-shit-unnecessarily-roll-call we can add Deadspin’s Tim Burke, who not encourages his very tasteful, mature blog’s readership to harass Robbie O. (tellingly, Deadspin comments contributors recommend selections such”The Men Who Stare At Boys” and “Friday Night Mites”), but calls TLAGay’s brand of comedy, “the most fucking reprehensible news to come out of the Jerry Sandusky affair outside of the actual offenses Sandusky’s alleged to have committed.”
Look, I fully sympathize with any large commercial operation that struggles to generate heavy traffic on the day before Christmas, but this goes far beyond hysterical. More reprehensible than Penn State’s lack of urgency in dealing with the Sandusky situation? More reprehensible than the moronic, lemming-like actions of PSU students the night of Joe Paterno’s dismissal? More reprehensible than one of Sandusky’s accusers being bullied at school? Burke calls TLAGay’s Robbie O., “morally bankrupt”, which is a hell of a charge to level at someone who merely has a sensibility other than yours. Presumably, Burke would also consider any number of PSU coaches and administrators to be even worse human beings, but finding out requires wading thru dozens upon dozens of ambulance-chaser Deadspin posts (accidental TV f-bombs, cock shots, etc.). If Deadspin is going to be in the business of weighing in on morality, I have a couple of tiny suggestions FREE OF CHARGE ;
a) if Mr. O is indeed, a worse person than those who aided and enabled a child rapist, maybe you could help him get an internship at Fleshbot? Where better to learn firsthand what’s socially acceptable for a commercial enterprise and what isn’t?
b) put somebody in charge of the witch hunt other than the guy manning the sports blooper desk. (you’re welcome!)
As heard during the early stages of the Heat’s blowout victory in Dallas, and while I’ll submit that JVG is rarely as intelligent or as good looking as when he’s echoing my sentiments (or failing that, Kelly Dwyer’s), I am somewhat fearful he’s (again) risking the wrath of an NBA commissioner who’d probably like to see him buried in the Secaucus, NJ swamplands.
…unless of course, Christmas traditions routinely include Tim Tebow losing (badly) and Tony Romo getting knocked out of a game. With all due respect to Yo La Tengo and Chan Marshall, here’s another holiday event well worthy of your full concentration.
…Top ranked Virginia was toppled by Chaminade, 77-72. Where this ranks on the list of the greatest pre-tournament upsets of all time is certainly a fun subject for internal debate at 4 in the morning, much as it’s taxing to determine where said result lands on the list of Ralph Sampson underachievements.
There’s no Jose Reyes, no money, and almost certainly no Johan Santana by Opening Day for the 2012 New York Mets. In such desperate times, while I’m tempted to cite current circumstances as evidence there is NO GOD, recovering 2B Daniel Murphy, he of serious knee injuries in successive campaigns, tells the New York Daily News’ Anthony McCarron that he’s got a friend in Jeebus Jesus.
“It’s something I grew up with, the church,” Murphy says. “You start stacking up all the things that happened, it really became real to me this offseason.
“I was really tested, especially after this last injury, and my faith has really come out of these injuries and it’s really been blossoming after this last one. It was frustrating, but God has me looking forward. I’ve definitely come to peace with the injuries I’ve had.”
“I’m a believer that everything happens for a reason and it’s led me to this peace,” Murphy adds. “I didn’t have that before. I’m excited and ready to go to work.”
While Murphy knows that 2011 was no banner year in Met history, what with the club’s financial turmoil and the departure of Reyes, he is hoping 2012 can be “an opportunity for younger guys like myself, (Lucas) Duda, (Ruben) Tejada, Ike, to really get established in the big leagues.
“And definitely it’s an opportunity for David (Wright), Jason (Bay) and (Andres) Torres to come in and get where they want to be. I’m a huge believer in David Wright and Jason Bay and I think they will have big years.”
OK, in the past several months I’ve taken a somewhat critical view of Kickstarter campaigns designed to finance projects ranging from a movie with the dopiest premise of all time to the launch of a highbrow sports blogguaranteed to hasten CSTB’s obsolescence. That said, even if I could find a single thing wrong with a fundraiser for a new Jason Molina 10″ EP (with a portion of the proceeds going to Molina’s mounting medical bills), all objections flew out the window (or more appropriately, down the toilet) upon learning one of the premiums offered is a GG Allin coloring book by artist William Schaff. Whether or not The Bard Of Hooksett, NH’s estate has approved this endeavor I do not know, but it is certainly a more fitting tribute to the man than say, another attempt by Nachtmystium at covering one of his classics.
Though scenes at Daly City’s Serramonte Mall aren’t nearly as chaotic as those that unfolded in Detroit or Seattle, could there be any greater parental nightmare than a group of racially mixed young people DRESSED LIKE BILL BELICHICK, gathered en massse?
As noted in this space earlier this week, the nature of Liverpool F.C.’s response to Luis Suárez’ 8 match ban for the racial abuse of Manchester United’s Patrice Evra last October has struck some as wildly inappropriate. That clumsy public statement, however, was a mere harbinger of what was to come Wednesday, when Liverpool’s players wore t-shirts depicting a grinning Suárez prior to their scoreless draw at Wigan. Speaking with the Guardian’s Andy Hunter, former Manchester United defender Paul McGrath suggests, “It would have been much better for Liverpool Football Club if they had have worn anti-racism shirts” (“maybe Kenny [Dalglish] is trying to make a statement to the FA but I just think it is in bad taste that he sent them out in those shirts.”
“It’s about respect. There’s this issue going on about respecting your opponents. It is actually a game. The game itself has gone too big, it’s about winning and the money. The actual element of football being a game has long since gone, it is all about protecting your interest, protecting your best players. There are a lot of children that watch these games and to have done what they did last night, doing their warm-up in T-shirts with his smiling face on it, having just been done for a supposedly racist comment to one of his opponents, is shameful for football. It puts the anti-racism campaign back to the beginning as far as I’m concerned.
“If I was in Glen Johnson’s situation, I’d have thrown the shirt to the floor. If that had been someone in my time and I’d heard the comments or I’d even suspected he was guilty – and obviously there has been a tribunal – then I would not wear a T-shirt with his name on it, saying all is well and good here.”