04.30.12

Amar’e Stoudemire Goes To Unusual Lengths To Avoid Seeing Matthew Modine At Courtside

Posted in Basketball at 11:23 pm by

“It’s still a seven-game series, you got to win four to get out of it…they held serve at home. I feel good about going home and playing in front of our crowd to see what we are made of.”  So spoke Knicks interim head coach Mike Woodson after New York lost their 12th consecutive post-season game, this time a 104-94 defeat to the Miami Heat in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Presumably, Woodson’s optimistic words came before he learned of Amar’e Stoudemire’s post-game confrontation….with a fire extinguisherNewsday’s Neil Best attempts to explain :

Stoudemire suffered a severe laceration when he punched a glass case in which a fire extinguisher was housed outside the team’s locker room at American Airlines Arena.

Reporters were prevented by security officials from speaking to Stoudemire as he headed for the team bus. The Knicks said his status would be evaluated upon their return to New York.

The team’s locker room was closed to reporters for about 40 minutes after the game — four times longer than usual — and paramedics were seen leaving the room after treating Stoudemire. Both the Knicks and Heat doctors also worked on Stoudemire.

His teammates did not sound optimistic that he will be in uniform Thursday.

For Sale : Things Once Worn By The Sultan Of Sloth

Posted in Baseball at 4:51 pm by

Former major league hurler/fitness expert David Wells is auctioning items from his extensive memorabilia collection in order to renovate the baseball field at his alma mater, Point Loma High School (San Diego, CA).   Amongst the artifacts on offer ; an 1930 Yankee cap once owned by Babe Ruth  — and famously worn by Wells during a 1997 Yankee game, much to the chagrin of Joe Torre.  From the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner :

Among the Wells items up for auction are a Christy Mathewson autographed ball; Thurman Munson’s game-worn shin guards; an autographed, game-used Phil Rizzuto glove from 1941; a ball autographed by several stars of the Negro leagues, including Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige; and a felt bowler hat worn by Lou Gehrig in 1928.

But the prize is the Ruth cap, which carries a minimum bid of $50,000 and is inscribed on the inside leather band with “G. Ruth” and his size, 7 3/8. When Wells wore it in a game, he gave the heirloom an intriguing modern twist, even if his manager made him remove it after one inning.

“Joe Torre fined me,” Wells said. “He said it wasn’t the required uniform. I said, ‘It’s got an ‘NY’ on it.’ He said, ‘Well, it’s not the ‘NY’ we have.’ I said: ‘You’ve really got to be kidding me. But if you’ve got to fine me, go for it.’ ”

Torre fined Wells $2,500, a pittance compared with the value of the cap, which Wells is about to find out.

“Let me put it this way,” said David Kohler, the president of SCP Auctions, which will take bids online through May 19. “The last Ruth hat sold at auction, in 2008, brought $327,750. That hat was awesome, but this hat’s in better condition and it comes from David Wells. So we feel like it’s probably going to be north of that. This could get pretty crazy.”

His Name Is Lou Merloni Of Framingham, Mass, And He’s Here To Kick Bobby Valentine’s Ass

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 12:55 pm by

With sincere apologies to Peter McNeeley for the above appropriated headline, former Red Sox IF turned analyst Lou Merloni took to CSNNE’s “Sports Sunday” with Michael Felger to weigh in on Bobby Valentine’s first month in charge of the Red Sox.  While some have insisted that Valentine cannot be blamed for the composition of the club’s roster, Felger argues recent events suggest, “the game has passed him by… it feels like he’s every bit of 62 years old.”

“I’ve talked to a lot of baseball people, I mean guys that either scout or [have] been around this game a long time,” said Merloni (above). “You got a lot of people shaking their heads at some of these moves that he has made . . . “

One move in particular that they both mentioned: Not knowing that Twins starter Liam Hendricks was right-handed last week, which forced Valentine to change his lineup about an hour before the game.

“[The] Red Sox faced that pitcher . . . twice in spring training, including a five-inning start,” said Felger, later adding: “And then a month later, Bobby’s filling out the lineup card to face this pitcher and doesn’t know whether he’s left-handed or right-handed. That is . . . wow!”

“Somewhere,” Merloni joked later, “Carmine (the computer) . . . is just blowing up because all of these matchups and all of these numbers are based on who you’re going up against that night . . .

“And if you don’t even know if it’s a lefty or a righty, then what’s the starting point? It’s actually been kind of scary.”

04.29.12

She’s No Hack : Advice Columnist Carolyn Hax Stands Up For Your Sensitive Editor

Posted in Cinema, Love And Basketball at 7:00 pm by

I tend leave my personal life out of these pages. Not simply because I am a very private person, but also since I’m well aware you’re a sneaky, jealous lot, always looking for the smallest crack in my armor.  But what I can I do when someone very close to me chooses to solicit guidance from syndicated columnist Carolyn Hax rather than confront me directly?

Hi, Carolyn:

Last night I was watching a movie with my boyfriend. During one scene, he started to tear up, and by the end he was pretty much crying. I was flabbergasted at first — my boyfriend is pretty “manly” (to his credit, the scene was sports-related) and doesn’t get emotional easily. While the scene was moving, I would not say it was a tear-jerker.

I made the mistake of laughing.

Well, that made him angry and now he is not speaking to me. Was I wrong or is he being over-sensitive?

– Crying Boyfriend?

Both, but, to borrow some insight from my 8-year-old, you started it.

And wow, you were so much more wrong than he was. His silent treatment is juvenile, yes. But it pains me to think of someone who doesn’t normally show vulnerability getting a ridicule beat-down for it. Maybe the scene wasn’t all that moving to you, but who knows what he has buried inside him that this scene dredged up? And — it was “to his credit” that it was a sports scene? Wow.

Tell him you were totally out of line and have some biases you need to root out.

Your happiness — apart or together — is directly proportional to how safe you feel with the people you love. So, think for a moment how important it is for you to feel safe with a boyfriend, then do whatever you can to be that safe place for him. His willingness to trust you will depend largely on your sincerity, but also on his courage. That’s what it will take for him to show his heart around you again.

Thank you, Ms. Hax.  I’m sure there’s a handful of CSTB readers (perhaps even two handfuls) who not only find nothing weird or distasteful at my openly weeping during a sports-themed motion picture, but might fully relate to what I was going thru.

In short, I don’t know what kind of automaton could watch “Juwanna Mann” without having an emotional reaction.

Prada : Pops Aside, Who Else Would’ve Sat Rose?

Posted in Basketball at 12:10 pm by

The morning after Chicago PG Derrick Rose suffered a season-ending (career threatening?) ACL tear late in the 4th quarter of the Bulls’ Game One defeat of Philadelphia, Rose’s head coach, Tom Thibodeau is the subject of an extensive NY Times profile that characterizes the former Celtics assistant as being basketball fixated to the point of obsession (“asked to expand on Thibodeau’s supposed hobbies, Jeff Van Gundy said, “Just because I said he’s multidimensional doesn’t mean I know what those dimensions are,”). Without needing to reference Greg Bishop’s piece, SB Nation’s Mike Prada defends Thibodeau against those aghast that Rose was still on the floor with a 12 point lead and 70 seconds remaining, warning the second-guessers, “as long as passionate players and nervous coaches exist, these things are always in jeopardy of happening.”

Thibodeau is hardly the only coach that never feels secure in the heat of the moment. Later in the day, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra put star Dwyane Wade back into the game in the fourth quarter with the Heat leading by 34 points, as if there was legitimate danger that the Knicks could come back. Wade played five minutes before he was finally exiled to the sidelines with the Heat leading by 32. This was after the Rose injury happened, mind you.

That’s just one example. Lakers fans have been screaming at coach Mike Brown all season for not resting his stars more when they were being blown out in several games. Clippers fans have every reason to freak out about how much Vinny Del Negro played Chris Paul over the course of the season. This goes on and on. Gregg Popovich seems to understand the importance of getting his horses out of the game when they are no longer needed, but he’s the exception, not the rule. Most coaches don’t operate that way.

From afar, it’s easy to say they should. In a sense, leaving a star in the game when it is decided is akin to not putting on your seatbelt. Sure, it won’t matter most of the time, but all it takes is one time for it to cost you. Then, you’re negligent.

The thing is, unless there’s legislation passed that limits hoops analysis to those who are either active or retired coaches, criticism will always come “from afar”. Had Rose been benched in the final two minutes and Elton Brand suddenly morphed into Reggie Miller, Thibodeau would be catching heat today, too. Those complaints would also have emerged, “from afar”, with the possible exception of the coach’s employers, who’ve yet to retain him beyond the 2012-13 season.

04.28.12

Scott Raab Would Like To Remind You He’s Still Got A Hard On For LeBron

Posted in Basketball at 11:14 am by

“We are supposed to gasp at his historic Player Efficiency Rating and admire him on his bicycle, the better to forget the sulky twit who crapped himself in last year’s Finals and then defended his imagined honor by ripping the millions of fans basking in his failure,” writes Esquire’s Scott Raab, erasing any lingering doubt that he’s not supporting LeBron James’ MVP candidacy.  Raab, whose serial stalking of James won him the ire of the Miami Heat public relations department, though perhaps not a best-seller, uses the start of today’s Knicks/Heat Eastern Conference playoff series to declare, “I’ll root hard for that son of a bitch to lose.”  And he doesn’t mean Mike Miller.

Sports Illustrated is now running a LeBron cover story that, to those familiar with his seven-year career as a Cavalier, hits every phony note, from his annual summertime quest to improve some aspect of his game to his annual “no excuses” proclamation. All that has changed is the comparison to when sundry NBA legends first won a championship; instead of the number of seasons played, the writer kindly measures LeBron against them by age — simply because he seems like less complete a loser that way.

James is finishing his ninth NBA season now, playing for perhaps the most overrated team in history, and not just NBA history. The Heat have no reliable point guard and no capable center and no coherent half-court offense and no apparent ability to overcome adversity. They clown shitty teams, stomp and scowl and flex and pose, but — just like the Whore — their heart is cotton candy and their jaw is made of glass.

I’ll take the Knicks in six.

Noble : Modern Media, Fans, Too Easily Outraged / Tiltilated

Posted in Baseball at 10:45 am by

(White and Gibson, prior to the latter putting one in the former’s ribs)

“These days,” writes MLB.com’s Marty Noble, “we are routinely intolerant of incidents that, 25 years ago, went unreported, unnoticed or at least disregarded.” He’s specifically referring to Ozzie Guillen’s comments about Fidel Castro, but perhaps Noble forgets the ill-will that resulted from Eric Show’s public support of the John Birch Society. Instead, Marty is fixated on Cleveland’s Ublado Jimenez drilling former Colorado teammate Troy Tulowitzki during spring training, and seems to suggest the incident wouldn’t have been nearly as newsworthy had it happened, say, before you were born.

Similar circumstances developed in 1968 when Bob Gibson stood taller on the mound than any man, and Bill White, Gibson’s buddy and former Cardinals teammate, was batting for the Phillies. It was not the first time they had faced each other. Gibson intentionally hit his left-handed-hitting friend because White had ventured too far into Gibson’s territory, aka the other side of the plate.

It came as no surprise and not because of Gibson’s reputation. White had been warned by his buddy. And after he was hit, White made such a fuss about it that he and Gibson made plans to dine together the next time their schedules permitted.

Jimenez was fined and suspended.

Gibson broke bread with his attacker.

The difference is greater than the number of years separating the two episodes and as subtle as 98-mph chin music. Jimenez withdrew his appeal, a decision based in wisdom; the next time he and Tulo are 60-feet-6-inches apart won’t happen for a while.

The only differences Gibson and White have about their episode these days are that each man claims he paid for the peace-pipe dinner and that White claims the pitch that struck him “didn’t hurt as much he hoped it would.”

“If it didn’t hurt, why is he still whining?” Gibson says.

04.27.12

Can North America’s 6th Or 7th Most Popular Sport Really Afford To Lose Fans Like Akrobatik?

Posted in Hockey, Racism Corner, twitter twatter, Video Games at 2:08 pm by

Boston-based M.C. Akrobatik is a self-professed recent convert to the Bruins, having watched their 2011 Stanley Cup run while recovering from open heart surgery (“I never once was conscious of the fact that I was watching a bunch of white guys play a sport, although thanks to Vicodin they may as well all have been purple”).  Commissioned by Bruins W Brad Marchand to record a Wu Tang-themed B’s tribute EP, Akrobatik admits that upon seeing Washington’s Jason Ward eliminate Boston on Wednesday night, his initial tweet read, “Sorry, Timmy (Thomas). I guess that one was for Obama.” As such, he’s not surprised by the avalanche of hate-tweets aimed in Ward’s direction, opining for Future Boston Alliance, “As soon as I realized that it was in fact Ward (who’s family, like mine, migrated from Barbados to North America) who scored the decisive OT goal, a lot of people would be thinking (and saying) ‘nigger.’”

At once supporting the “cloak of anonymity” argument and the NHL desperately needing an anti-racism campaign has been my experience playing NHL 12 on my Xbox 360. I love hockey, it’s a beautiful sport. The grace and coordination necessary to pull off the feats that NHL players do is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Since my ankles would probably snap if I even laced up a pair of ice skates, I enjoy emulating these guys’ talents in the video game. Unfortunately, almost without fail I encounter bigots who immediately start me calling “nigger” once my dreadlock-wearing defenseman takes the ice. I can never enjoy more than one or two games with a group without being reminded that “niggers” are not welcome in hockey and that it’s a white man’s sport.

As crazy as that seems in 2012, it is very real, and has been my experience while trying to enjoy a game I have a huge amount of respect and admiration for. Now, these guys are people that I probably see on the MBTA during my commute to the studio, and maybe even fans of mine. It’s hard for me to quantify with words how disheartening that is for me.

My love affair with hockey is coming to an end. It’s really too bad that people still have not gotten past their ignorance and insecurity. But I guess it’s a good thing that there is still a realm that bleeds out the racism that still exists deep within the hearts of so many people, particularly Americans. All I can do is walk away confused.

Go Celtics.

Citi Field – Available For International Soccer, Pop Concerts…And Anti-Internet Porn Rallies

Posted in Baseball, New York, New York, Religion, Ugly New Stadiums at 12:43 pm by

(one of the many dangers of not using the internet is that you might have no idea what venue you’re looking for)

Jewish Press reports that “tens of thousands of Ultra-Orthodox Jews will participate in a huge rally to be held on Sunday evening, May 20, at Citi Field (Shea Stadium) in Queens, New York, to combat the evils of the Internet and the damages caused by advanced electronic devices.”  Presumably, none of those in attendance will require the password to Citi Field’s wireless network.

The website JDN cites one of the event organizers who said: “This will be a mass rally never before seen in the history of Orthodox Jewry in the U.S. It will be a gathering of  unity of all the Jews living in the U.S., a gathering to disseminate information and a prayer rally for the success of Klal-Israel’s war on the Technology which threatens the sanctity of the homes of Israel.”

The “Gdolei Israel” (leading sages) behind the conference have specifically ordered to schedule it for the eve of Rosh Chodesh Sivan, a day which is considered particularly fortuitous when it comes to children’s education, since the goal of their campaign is to save the generation from the ravages of advanced technology.

Though I’m having a little trouble with the notion the internet is being used to publicize an event designed to fight the internet’s pervasive influence, I’m also a tad disappointed these kooks folks couldn’t have joined forces with Stephen Baldwin and made it a multi-denominational happening.

04.26.12

Bloomberg Promises Two Thousand Barclays Center Jobs. Give Or Take 800.

Posted in Basketball, Real Estate, The Marketplace, Ugly New Stadiums at 3:50 pm by

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (above, right) appeared alongside developer/former Nets owner Bruce Ratner (left) earlier today, with the former promising the latter’s still-under-construction Barclays Center would create 2000 jobs for area residents.   Unfortunately for Bloomberg, Ranter stressed that many of those employed would only be at the arena part-time (“at any one time, we’ll have at most 800 people”), which led to the following heated exhange between the Mayor and New York Magazine‘s Norman Oder :

So, what would be the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs, a not uncommon measure?

“I don’t have any idea what that is,” responded the famously data-driven mayor.

It was pointed out to him that the Empire State Development Corporation estimated FTE employment at 1,120.

“The state can say anything they want,” responded Bloomberg testily. “I don’t know.”

“They approved the project,” this reporter continued.

“That’s fine. What does that got to do with their numbers? Maybe their numbers are right, maybe their numbers are wrong,” Bloomberg responded. “Address it to the state, don’t address it to me.”

Ratner took the podium and cracked a joke: “Norman, we’ve created one more job. That’s a job for you.”

A Forest City spokesman later provided a figure: 1,240 FTE jobs.