03.28.12

If Masturbating To A Cartoon Seagull Is Wrong…

Posted in Baseball, Going To The Zoo, Gridiron, Religion at 9:22 pm by

…SKIP BAYLESS DOESN’T WANNA BE RIGHT (image courtesy Brooklyn Cyclones)

Every Man Has His Price : Mark Cuban Says David Stern’s Is $25 Million

Posted in Basketball, The Marketplace at 3:40 pm by

Sincere apologies to Ted DiBase for the above headline. Barcelona excepted, jersey sponsorships are no-big-deal in professional soccer, and in some instances are a life saving cash cow. With that mind, how long before we see World Metta Peace’s LA jersey hawking Call Of Duty IV?   The Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Dwain Price reports the NBA Board Of Governors will meet next month to deliberate selling ad space on jerseys, a concept the Owner With A Boner could not be more excited about.

“If the amount’s enough, David (Stern) will jump up and down,” Mark Cuban said. “He’s not going to do it for $200,000 from Power Balance, but if somebody offers us $25 million, it’s done.

“We just have to work out the split with all the teams so everybody gets the benefits.”

The ad idea would help some teams balance their books, and possibly help them pursue a free agent.

“It’s not going to be Go Daddy,” Cuban said. “But for $25 million, Go Daddy can be on my tush. But it’s not going to replace Dallas or Mavericks.”

Nowitzki said that the ad idea is very normal where he was born and raised.

“I think in soccer, that’s normal,” Nowitzki said. “Everybody has their main sponsors on the jerseys.

“That’s why the sponsors put their money into it, because they want to be visible. And what more visible spot than on a jersey?”

Frank McCourt – The Luckiest Parking Lot Owner Of All Time

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 1:46 pm by

As you’ve probably heard elsewhere, a group fronted by Magic Johnson and including Stan Katsen and Peter Gruber have reached an agreement (pending MLB approval) to purchase the Los Angeles Dodgers for $2 billion. While any circumstance that removes Frank McCourt (above, left) from the picture (save for the Chavez Ravine parking lots) would otherwise be a cause for celebration amongst Dodger fans, there’s something thoroughly unpleasant about McCourt being so richly rewarded for doing everything in his power to ruin the franchise.  Mike Onzanian of Forbes states that if the sale goes thru, McCourt will be go down as “the most financially successful owner of a team in Major League Baseball history,” status Hardball Talk’s Craig Calcaterra admits is “basically correct,” but “still horribly troubling”.

Troubling in that it makes us realize the tremendous disconnect between what baseball owners are interested in — getting a return on their investment — and what fans and players and everyone else in the baseball universe care about. A broader form of success either from winning ballgames or, at the very least, from an enjoyable product being put on the field or on our televisions, computers and radios.

I have my opinions, obviously, but I try not to be an overly judgmental person. Frank McCourt has made that pretty damn difficult in the past few years, because if there is anyone who deserves a good judging, it’s him.  He’s not gonna get it though.  He’.s going to walk away richer than he was when he walked in.

03.27.12

Stan Van Gundy Thinks Raptors Fans Are A Little Too Obsessed With Pizza

Posted in Basketball, Food at 5:39 pm by

While watching Orlando’s blowout win over Toronto Monday night, I was struck by the amount of noise generated by the Air Canada Centre crowd, despite the game being well into garbage time. “Who says Toronto’s not a basketball town?” I thought, until it was helpfully explained the locals’ reaction had more to do with a free pizza promotion that kicked in once the Raptors cracked the 100 point threshold (win or lose). After listening to Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy’s take on the situation, The National Post’s Eric Koreen sighs, “that we are even discussing this just demonstrates that we are going through another fairly awful season..this screams Raptors in every possible way.”


“I mean, everybody’s on their feet, standing ovation and the whole thing and then a guy in the crowd next to me sitting baseline said everybody gets a free pizza, so I guess that was exciting,” Van Gundy said. “That was the loudest the crowd was all night. They were into that. That was a big basket by Ed Davis.

“They’re going to put that on the highlight film at the end of the year. I was like, ‘Wow, what happened, I thought they had like an 18-point play and tied the game or something.”

At that point, Van Gundy was informed the fans did not get an entire pizza; just a slice.

“Really? We got a standing ovation for a slice? They told me they got a free pizza. A slice? A slice you have to sit in your seat and clap; you can’t stand up on a slice, that’s bad etiquette.”

Barton’s Twitter Sabattical : Daily Mail’s Williamson Writes, “Don’t Hurry Back”

Posted in Football, twitter twatter at 12:51 pm by

Joey Baton of relegation-threatened Queens Park Rangers decided to take a break from his Twitter addiction last week, possibly due to pressure from the club, more likely because he’s fallen deeply into disfavor with R’s fans who booed him unmercifully during last week’s 3-2 home defeat of Liverpool. Though acknowledging Barton in recent years has added activism and a political conscience to a resume that previously included acts of public thuggery, the Daily Mail’s Laura Williamson would undoubtedly like to see Barton disappear from the social networking platform altogether, writing, “Barton comes across as a mean, dislikeable individual; the classic playground bully who revels in snide ripostes and stamping on those with a lower profile — simply because he can.” Which is a very long-winded way of saying he’s really good at making Piers Morgan cry.

Barton’s behaviour was particularly despicable when he insulted Neil Warnock earlier this year. The former QPR boss said owner Tony Fernandes had been ‘slowly poisoned from outside the club and no doubt from within the club as well’. Barton responded by telling Warnock to ‘shut it’, calling him ‘embarrassing’ and comparing him to Mike Bassett, a fictional football manager and a figure of fun.

‘If I talked about Neil, he’d do well to get another job,’ added the player Warnock made captain of QPR after Newcastle United were so desperate to get rid of him they let him leave for free.

It was unprofessional and smacked of ingratitude, but it was typical of the way Barton responds to those who hit back. He simply dismisses them with utter contempt.

‘Spineless maggots’ was the phrase he used to describe two journalists who dared to criticise him. ‘Numpty’ was another example. The fans who have paid good money to watch a string of average performances at Loftus Road from QPR’s No 17 this season are ‘bells’ and ‘trolls’.

As Barton himself has noted, form is temporary but class — or lack of it — is permanent. For all his highfalutin talk about freedom of speech and his undoubted intelligence, his responses are consistently shallow and insulting.

Callan : Unlike ATL, Shea Gave Chipper Undivided Attention

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 12:29 pm by

(the Atlanta third baseman explains to a young fan that the latter’s mother wearing orange shorts is not nearly enough to establish paternity)

You’d think a world class athlete like the soon-to-retire Chipper Jones would be able to tune out the odd chant of “LA-RRY, LA-RRY”, particularly as he’s long been replaced as Public Enemy No.1 in the hearts of Mets fans by their own club’s owner. However, appearances sometimes deceive, and Amazin’ Avenue’s Matthew Callan contends that Chipper isn’t quite so simple (“perhaps Chipper simply has something in his soul that craves animosity?”), and I’m willing to indulge any argument more sophisticated than my own (ie. the paucity of Hooter’s locations in the NYC metropolitan area makes him edgy).

I’ve come to the conclusion that the reason the Mets became Chipper’s target is because they offered him something he could not get in Atlanta: a spotlight all to himself.

As good and as popular as Chipper was, at the height of Atlanta’s dynasty he took a backseat in most fans’ minds to the Braves’ historically great rotation of John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, and Greg Maddux (and Steve Avery, briefly). Apart from his MVP year of 1999, Chipper was never seen as the primary reason the Braves won, his year-in year-out consistency less noticeable than their pitching staff’s dominance. There’s also the fact that Braves themselves took a backseat in local fans’ minds, their yearly clinching more expected than treasured. Even in 1999, when the Braves were playing their most hated rivals in the NLCS, they had a very hard time selling out Turner Field.

I think Chipper arrived at his dislike for the Mets and its fans organically. However, I also think that once he tasted the attention this brought him, once he realized how he could toy with the emotions of a jam-packed, screaming, swaying Shea Stadium, he found this offered him something he did not have in Atlanta. When he came to Queens, all eyes were on him in a way they weren’t at Turner Field, even if all those eyes were staring daggers at him.

03.26.12

The Carnegie Deli’s Salutes Tebow WIth An Insult To NYC Sandwich Tradition

Posted in Food, Gridiron, New York, New York at 10:53 pm by

Jets backup QB Tim Tebow received high marks for not turning today’s introductory press conference into a revival meeting or faith healing exhibition, but that doesn’t mean the 24 Year Old Virgin has escaped NYC criticism entirely.  Though it was widely reported this weekend that New York’s venerable Carnegie Deli would honor the Heisman winner with a menu item named “The Tim Tebow”, the Village Voice’s Robert Sietsema (or at least his headline writer) insists the sandwich in question, “sucks…probably on purpose.”

The thing weighs in at 3.3 pounds, and includes layers of roast beef, pastrami, corned beef, American cheese, lettuce, and sliced tomato. Oh, yeah, and it’s on white bread with mayo.

According to the Carnegie Deli, this is the first time they’ve ever used mayo and white bread on one of their sandwiches. The guy sitting next to me at the cramped table with his wife, both tourists from Denver, turned to me and said, “I grew up in the mountains with a family of 10, and we never had that much meat on the table for all of us.”

Since you can’t get a bite of the whole thing all at once in situ, I made a tiny sandwich with all the components. What a way to ruin good pastrami and corned beef! They were warm, but the roast beef was stone cold. The roast beef wasn’t even that good by itself. And the white bread, even though there were several puny slices of it, was inadequate to contain the greasy meat excesses, and soon there were little swatches of it littered around the plate like toilet paper in that horrible Charmin commercial with the pastel bears.

An insightful & entertaining food critic long before thousands of musicians/music writers  followed suit, Sietsema was a fixture in NYC’s criminally slept-on Mofungo. During that band’s heyday, it would’ve been hard to imagine New York rolling out the red carpet for the gridiron equivalent of Anita Bryant….but perhaps that’s an unfair comparison.  To Bryant, anyway. Surely she was more adept at throwing a forward pass.

Dude, Where’s My SUV? – Bush’s Teammate, “An Innocent Victim”

Posted in Baseball, The Law at 5:55 pm by

At least that’s how attorney Jamie Appel describes Tampa Rays prospect Brandon Guyer, who has the singular misfortune of having loaned his Dodge Durango to serial reprobate / teammate Matt Bush (above), who promptly ran over an elderly motorcyclist Thursday while under the influence of alcohol. The Tampa Times’ Joe Smith writes that Guyer, while not in hot water with the Rays, could face a civil suit as the owner of the vehicle.

Guyer has declined to comment. Appel said Bush was only supposed to drop Guyer off at the team’s facility in Port Charlotte on Thursday morning, then immediately return to their apartment, where the teammates were roommates. Appel said Guyer didn’t give Bush permission to use the SUV for anything else that day.

Bush told police he drove to Sarasota, then stopped to buy a few drinks, before getting arrested in North Port. Police say Bush hit the motorcycle of 72-year-old Tony Tufano and fled the scene, while having a .180 blood alcohol percentage, more than twice the legal limit.

Appel said Guyer’s SUV has been seized as evidence, and he’s cooperated with police in the investigation. FHP lieutenant Greg Bueno said Monday it doesn’t appear Guyer is the target of any criminal wrongdoing.

Kegasus & UniCarl – The Worst Things To Happen To Thoroughbred Racing Since Michael Gambon

Posted in Horse Racing at 3:01 pm by

The Maryland Jockey Club calls Kegasus,  “Lord of the Preakness InfieldFest and centerpiece of its’ 2012 advertising campaign.”.  The Baltimore Sun’s Kevin Cowherd, however, prefers to liken Kegasus to “Edward in the ‘Twilight’ series, only with a beer gut and biker hair and a much lower IQ.” So what’s not to like? Perhaps the addition of an equally retarded entertaining accomplice?

Here’s what race officials said of Kegasus’s new pal in today’s news release:

“Apparently every great Centaur needs a sidekick, and this year Kegasus has equipped himself with UniCarl. UniCarl is part human, part unicorn, part personal assistant and part personal trainer.”

Hoo, boy. As for the back-story, the MJC has that covered as well:

 ”UniCarl and Kegasus met at the Genius Bar in the Towson Town Center’s Mac store in May 2011 and have been traveling the world together ever since.”

03.25.12

Eric The Actor (The Tall One)

Posted in Football at 11:03 pm by

Apologies to Wack Packer Eric Lynch for the above headline. While former Manchester United icon Eric Cantona acquitted himself nicely in a non-stretchy titular role in Ken Loach’s 2009, “Looking For Eric”,  in the forthcoming “Switch” he’ll be tackling something a bit more box office-friendly.  Of the Frenchman’s thespian ambitions, “the flamboyant aesthete of Premier League legend is, above all,” writes The Observer’s Julian Coman, “a trier.”

In “Switch”, directed by the up-and-coming French director Frédéric Schoendoerffer, Cantona plays the role of a hard-bitten Paris police inspector investigating a murderous case of mistaken identity. The acting hasn’t got the range and variety that he showed on the pitch. But the “strong silent” type of role seems to suit him, allowing him to display the unmistakable presence that was skillfully exploited by Ken Loach in “Looking for Eric”.

For Cantona, his gradual acceptance as an actor has been a vindication of what amounts to a personal philosophy of permanent revolution. For all his achievements and fame in England, he gives the impression that his ability to leave all that behind is a bigger source of personal pride.

“Some people need to stay at the top,” he says. “They are afraid to re-start from zero because they fear the critics. When you start from zero and you have been famous in another field, it’s very difficult. Beginning something is the same for everybody, everywhere, whether you start at 20 years old or at 40. But I think I have enough humour and enough humility about life. I don’t take life so seriously… I can just play with life.”