02.22.12

Saving All His Hate For You : IL Youth Baseball Prez Defends His Right To Post Racist Garabge

Posted in Baseball, Free Expression, Racism Corner, The Internet at 4:17 pm by

“No one has ever seen the president of this league do what I did tonight. That’s leadership.”  That’s how Westside Baseball President / coach John Kelly describes his taking his lumps over an ill-advised Facebook post following the passing of Whitney Houston (above).  ““I could have gone up there and said, ‘kiss my ass,’ ” argues Kelly to the Oaklawn Patch’s Lorraine Swanson, though that’s sort of what he’s doing after the fact.

Kelly told Patch that he made the comment out of frustration that Houston, who publicly battled drug addiction throughout her singing career, was being elevated as children’s role model by the news media.

“I’m so sick if reading about this dumb stupid N—– Whitney Houston..she’s the dumb ass that decided to do drugs n kill herself stay with that woman beater … she blew more $$ up her nose than most of ye will make in yer lifetime … there are kids dying real fathers n mothers fighting for their lives…grow up ye dumb assess…think she’d give a flying f— about u???? Just saying.”

Kelly, who ran unsuccessfully in the 2008 Democratic primary for Cook County Recorder of Deeds, admits to posting the comment on his Facebook page.

“I made the comment,” he said. “I had a bunch of friends and cousins making comments about Whitney Houston. I’m sorry I did it. I deleted the post and then I went and apologized. I apologized 100 times over. This is a personal vendetta against me.”

“We’ve fought wars for the right of freedom of speech,” he continued. “It’s my personal Facebook page. I put stupid stuff on there.”

Pujols To Halos : I’m Not “El Hombre”

Posted in Baseball at 3:37 pm by

(hey, that’s more like it!)

You might think after paying Albert Pujols more money than God, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim would run marketing ideas past their otherworldly first baseman for approval.  And you might also suspect, that if said team erected billboards around Southern California that offended the recently acquired slugger, Pujols would have something to say about it a little sooner than weeks after they went up.  But you and me are just naive like that, as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Derick Gold outlines ;

It was with some surprise in the past month that the Angels — clearly tone deaf to Pujols’ past public comments — started advertising Pujols and the Angels on billboards around the Anaheim area with the back of his jersey and a simple over-sized phrase: “El Hombre.”

“I prefer not to use that,” Pujols said earlier today, according to ESPNLosAngeles.com. “I still have the same respect for Stan Musial as I had, not just for what he’s done in baseball but for what he did for his country. That’s something you have to appreciate.”

“El Hombre” is Spanish for “The Man,” and “The Man” is a nickname given Musial during his playing career by the fans in Brooklyn. It has stuck, and is now even part of the name for Musial’s business, Stan The Man, Inc.

It appears that the Angels constructed and implemented the campaign without discussing it with Pujols. The three-time MVP had warmed somewhat (or, at least accepted its inevitability) to the nickname at one point later in his career with the Cardinals, though as recently as early last season he reminded a reporter about his request not to go by “El Hombre.”

According to the ESPNLosAngeles.com report, the Angels consider “El Hombre” “one prong” of a larger campaign.

02.21.12

Gumbel : Jeremy Lin’s Alright, But He’s No Joba

Posted in Baseball, Basketball, Sports Journalism, Sports TV at 11:29 pm by

(Jeremy Lin is no match for the sheer magnetism of the young man above)

OK, that’s not exactly what Bryant Gumbel had to say at the conclusion of tonight’s “Real Sports” on HBO.   But in tackling the subject of Knicks PG Jeremy Lin — who finds himself on the cover of Sports Illustrated for the second week in a row (c’mon, when did Louis Orr pull that one off?) — Gumbel is rather insistent that once baseball season takes hold, the Harvard grad’s heroics will be an afterthought (transcript courtesy Fang’s Bites)

As Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban suggested last week, Lin is getting a ton of attention not just because his is a great story, but also because he plays in the media capital of the world, and in this capital, Lin has had the town to himself since his run began.  Which is why it’s going to be interesting to see if his exploits continue to be headlined after New Yorkers start hearing news about Joba Chamberlain’s surgically repaired right arm, A-Rod’s troubled knees and Derek Jeter’s battle with age.

Baseball may be ho-hum in some places, but this is still very much a pinstriped city.  Yes, fans here love an underdog and a winner, but history suggests that nothing in sports surpasses Manhattan’s obsession with the Yankees.  The Knicks, thanks to Lin, are the hot team.  The New York Rangers are among the Stanley Cup favorites and the New York Giants just won the Super Bowl.  But make no mistake, the Yankees are the big bully here in Manhattan and opening day is just six weeks away.

I’m gonna assume Gumbel actually converses with however many New Yorkers he can actually stomach to make eye contact with, and unless he’s living in a very different city than the one I’m familiar with, 100% of the population aren’t baseball fans.  Of those who are partial to baseball, a healthy percentage — despite the best efforts of a bumbling, incompetent, unethical Brooklyn Dodgers-obsessed family — are more interested in the New York Mets.  And others still, manage to follow more than one sport at one time.

All of that said, if Lin continues to rack up double-doubles and the Knicks play anywhere near the level they’ve managed since his emergence, it’s hardly a stretch to think the team will remain a very hot topic.   During the playoff runs of the 1990′s, do you recall interest in baseball stifling local enthusiasm for either Knicks squad?  Me neither. For decades we’ve been told that NYC is a hoops city.  If you’re to believe Bryant Gumbel, this long-standing love affair takes a back seat… to Joba Chamberlain’s rehabilitation.

Brady Quinn : Consider The Full Context (Of My Calling Tebow A Big Phony)

Posted in Gridiron, Religion at 5:09 pm by

While former Broncos QB Brady Quinn engages in rather desperate damage control, let’s absorb his remarks to GQ Magazine’s Matt Silver in the just published, “The Year Of Magical Stinking : An Oral History Of Tebow Time”.

Early in the season, there was a game when Kyle [Orton] got hurt and the coaches were calling for me to go in, but Kyle got up and finished the game out. So I was the second-string guy. Then, a few weeks later, they decided to put Tim in. I felt like the fans had a lot to do with that. Just ’cause they were chanting his name. There was a big calling for him. No, I didn’t have any billboards. That would have been nice.

 

If you look at it as a whole, there’s a lot of things that just don’t seem very humble to me. When I get that opportunity, I’ll continue to lead not necessarily by trying to get in front of the camera and praying but by praying with my teammates, you know?

I’m sure when the CFL or an indoor football league come calling, Quinn’s promise to engage in low-key prayer will weigh heavily in where he ends up on the depth chart.

A Career Blunted & Stunted : Keith Closs’ Confessions To Slam

Posted in Basketball at 3:24 pm by

Former Clippers reprobate Keith Closs (or someone pretending to be him) once made a brief public statement in this space, refuting David Roth’s claim the former had once signed an autograph for a child, “Fuck Tha World, Keith Closs”. “It’s only so obvious that you don’t know me and probably never will,” wrote Closs (or his self-appointed spokesperson), though it seems Slam’s Matt Caputo has been granted more humble insights. “Nobody disrespected the game of basketball like I did,” declares a contrite, working-on-sobriety Closs, who apparently has never watched the celebrity game during All-Star Weekend.

During the ’99-00 season, his last in the NBA, Closs felt alienated from his teammates. He had verbal altercations with Michael Olowokandi and Maurice Taylor and skipped practice when he was hung over. He also took his drinking to a new level. Closs says he started mixing alcohol in his water bottle that last go-round. He’d sometimes pop open emergency exits at the Staples Center at halftime to smoke marijuana in uniform. He says he even passed the blunt to a late-arriving fan one time. In the decade-plus since his last NBA game, Closs says he has come to understand why his name was tarnished around the League.

“I was out there dunking on dudes smelling like three bars, then they’d take me out and I would refresh my water bottle,” Closs says.

One memorable and telling incident occurred during the ’04-05 season, when a bottle-tapping, blunt-smoking Closs played for the now-defunct CBA Rockford Lightning under coach Chris Daleo. Rockford’s bus picked Closs up at a highway rest area outside Detroit en route to a game in Birch Run, MI. That night the Lightning lost to the Great Lakes Storm and Closs never returned to his hotel room after the game. The next morning, he was found heavily intoxicated and asleep underneath a police Christmas tree. “I was the biggest gift the Lansing Police Department ever got! There wasn’t shit to do but get drunk in those cities,” Closs says. “Even the residents said so.”

02.20.12

If You Happen To Find Yourself In The Alleged Live Music Capital Of The World This Mid-March (2012 Edition, Pt. II))…

Posted in Austin, Internal Affairs, Rock Und Roll at 10:51 pm by

On the 11th of January you were politely informed about CSTB’s pending Apache Dropout, Puffy Areolas, G.Green, Mannequin Men, Cruddy, Bare Wires, Unholy Two, Obnox megabill taking place at Beerland, Wednesday afternoon, March 14. Because one amazing free show in the middle of rock biz-convention-week isn’t nearly enough to entice the Austin area’s half dozen CSTB readers, here’s another.

Memphis’ Sex Cult have recently changed their name to Ex-Cult due to one of those disputes with someone who can’t handle being in an inferior band over intellectual property. This bill will also feature a midnight performance by special surprises guests who we cannot identity. So please don’t tell anyone Death Of Samantha are playing.

Morrow’s Petrovic Tribute

Posted in Basketball at 5:36 pm by

So it turns out Jeremy Lin isn’t the only undrafted player who’ll make a notable cameo appearance during All-Star Weekend.  Nets SG Anthony Morrow, knocking down 3′s at a 41 percent clip this season, tells the Newark Star-Ledger’s Mike Vorkunov he’ll don a Drazen Petrovic jersey when taking part in Saturday’s three-point shooting contest.

Petrovic was a Net for two-plus years, from midway through the 1990-91 season until 1993, and left a large impression on the franchise. He died in a car crash at 28 years old that summer. His No. 3 jersey is one of five retired by the organization after he spent his only two full seasons with the team averaging more than 20 points-per-game in each.

Morrow has had the idea since he saw Petrovic’s jersey hanging in the Nets’ practice facility. After seeing the documentary, “Once Brothers” – about the broken friendship between Petrovic and Vlade Divac — he thought that if he had the chance to participate in All-Star weekend, he would honor the fallen hero.

“I just remember — I don’t remember a whole lot — but I remember he could shoot real, real good,” Morrow said.

Great Baseball Moments In (Elective) Surgery

Posted in Baseball, Medical Science at 2:25 pm by

Deadspin reported this morning that Mets P Jonathan Niese recently had a nose job, with former teammate Carlos Beltran offering to foot the bill. Said rhinoplasty saga recalls another higlight in off-season medical procedures, namely former Yankee OF Danny Tartabull going under the knife in ’93. From the New York Times and Murray Chass, “BASEBALL: NOTEBOOK; Bonuses for Adding Games and Losing Weight”, Nov. 14, 1993 :

The Yankees are incensed that Tartabull, whose shoulder injury made him solely a designated hitter for most of the past season, postponed surgery on the shoulder, had cosmetic surgery, then went off to Europe on vacation.

Dennis Gilbert, the agent who two years ago induced the Yankees to give his client a five-year, $25.5 million contract, said much has been made about nothing. He refused to discuss the cosmetic surgery or even confirm that Tartabull had it — “That’s personal and nobody’s business,” he said — but he said the Tartabulls had planned, and paid for, the European trip long ago.

“It’s my understanding that Dr. Jobe said his rehabilitation time would be about a month,” Gilbert said, referring to Dr. Frank Jobe, the Los Angeles orthopedist who will do the operation. “Danny had plans since April to take a vacation. If it was something that would jeopardize Danny’s playing the outfield during the season, Danny would’ve canceled or delayed his trip. But I think Dr. Jobe will shed some light on this thing.”

Dr. Jobe, however, was not available to do any shedding. A secretary in his office said he was in Hawaii and she did not know where he could be reached.

02.19.12

Papelbon: “2006 Brad Lidge?…Oh no, not me..”

Posted in Baseball at 4:07 pm by

With the Philadelphia Phillies lineup being aging and/or injury prone with a farm system near barren as far as positional players, many fans have questioned the large allocation of money in filling their closer spot. Jonathan Papelbon’s Freudian slip upon his arrival for spring training is not going to make these critics less queasy From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

When asked if he often thought this winter about how 2011 ended, Papelbon said, “Every day. All day.” He stared for a couple of seconds without saying a word.

“I mean, I don’t think about it at all, man,” he said.

Wait ‘Til He Hears About William Peter Blatty : Mushnick On Nicki Minaj

Posted in Basketball, Religion, Sports Journalism at 2:45 pm by

Nicki Minaj (above, right)  is scheduled to perform at next weekend’s NBA All-Star Game, a booking the New York Post’s Phil Mushnick finds troubling given Minaj’s recent Grammy Awards appearance in which the entertainer, “infuriated many Catholics and civil-minded folks of any and all beliefs by performing a dark, satanic number that included an elderly, white male escort dressed in full Papal regalia, apparently prepared to conduct an exorcism.”

The NBA could have issued Minaj a “never mind,” cancelled her appearance with a “maybe we’ll give ya a call next year,” plus a few words about how the “NBA values the sensitivities and dignity of all of its fans and employees,” and let Minaj and everyone else figure out the rest for themselves.

David Stern might have, could have, should have issued her what shows up on NBA final stat sheets as a “DNP (did not play) coach’s decision.”

But it seems some sensitivity and common public decency issues are more important than others. Sure, we all have feelings, but based on how and where the wind blows, some count more than others.

It would be very illuminating if Phil would be kind enough to explain which segment of society is routinely catered to and never experiences a moment of discomfort when absorbing popular culture.  Mushnick seems to suggest that major sporting organizations and TV networks alike are treading on eggshells when it comes to the sensibilities of those who enjoy vulgarity, while the pious / “civic-minded” amongst us are forced to endure a never-ending series of assaults on decency.

I mean, yeah, that’s wishful thinking.  But it’s not the world anyone I know lives in.