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.

The Price Is Wrong : NYDN Scribe’s Irrational Take On Jose Reyes

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 2:54 pm by

(l-r : Gallant, Goofus)

Earlier today during the Marlins/Mets matinee, SNY’s Kevin Burhardt, Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez observed that Mets 3B David Wright is one of the game’s truly nice guys, with the third-baseman’s mom and dad receiving special praise for their parenting skills.

Though I don’t know Wright personally, I have no reason to doubt the firsthand accounts of Burkhardt, Cohen or Hernandez.  If they believe David Wright is a kind, considerate person in good times and bad, they’d know far better than me.  But I don’t recall at any point during Jose Reyes’ tenure in Flushing, being told that his effervescent personality was a testament to his parents’ guidance and inspiration.

The purpose of this post isn’t to bury the Mets TV crew.  I happen to think they’re wildly entertaining (in good times and bad) and I don’t believe there’s a weird agenda on their part (certainly ownership isn’t encouraging them to build up Wright’s market value).  But there’s been a bit of revisionist history of late (subtle and otherwise) about Reyes’ contributions as a Met and whether or not he ranks as one of the club’s all-time greats.  The New York Daily News’ Bill Price (“your (sic) the enemy now, pal.  deal with it”), argues the former Amazins’ shortstop isn’t even in their top 5 position players.

When you talk all-time Met position players, four jump out immediately: Darryl Strawberry, Mike Piazza, Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter.  I think Ed Kranepool, Rusty Staub, Cleon Jones, Mookie and David Wright go on that list ahead of Reyes. And if you ask me, HoJo and Maz may get the nod, too.

Ok, I know Reyes has some of the best numbers in the franchise’s history, but this is not about numbers, if it were, John Franco and Armando Bentiez would be ahead of Jesse Orosco and Roger McDowell on any list.

This is about what he meant to the franchise. Listen, Jose was a great Met, very exciting, hit a lot of triples, stole a lot of bases, but he is also one of the faces of an unacheiving group that blew two division leads and lost an NLCS to an inferior opponent.

It’s a fascinating argument, one that’s only slightly undermined by the difficulty I’m having finding archival footage of Piazza’s early years in the Mets farm system, or the ticker-tape parade down Broadway after he led the club to a 2000 Subway Series victory over the Yankees.  Likewise, Rusty Staub (!) had only 3  1/2 seasons as a full-time player in Queens, but clearly that 1973 World Series triumph over Oakland stands in stark contrast to Reyes’ role in single-handedly ensuring a Game 7 loss to St. Louis in 2006.

And who amongst us would ever call David Wright, one of the faces of an unacheiving (sic) group that blew two division leads and lost an NLCS to an inferior opponent,”?

Schulman : Give Aubrey Huff Some Breathing Room

Posted in Baseball, Mental Health at 1:57 pm by

Is there any connection between Aubrey Huff’s eventful debut at 2B last Saturday afternoon in Flushing and the Giants veteran leaving the team this week? Perhaps not, but with Huff being placed on the 15 day disabled list with what’s being called an anxiety disorder, the SF Chronicle’s Henry Schulman provides a uniquely personal perspective  on the matter.

Since 2009 I have been treated for depression, in therapy and medicinally, and continue to be treated. Many awful things happened to me and people around me in a very short time, and my mental health was affected. Anxiety and panic attacks were part of it.

I say this, then, from experience. Everybody will have an opinion about what set this off, but you can’t know, and it’s possible Huff doesn’t know. Sometimes a panic attack just happens.

Remember, Huff has gone through a lot in his life, including his father being murdered when Aubrey was 7. Huff’s career has stalled, and he has made many comments (usually in jest) about the end of his baseball days. Saturday’s episode at second base had to be embarrassing. There also must be personal issues that remain undisclosed, too. It’s foolish to try to play psychoanalyst in a blog or a living room and try to pick a cause.

04.25.12

Husker Don’t : Nebraska Assistant’s Stance Against “A Lifestyle Of Sin”

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron, Religion, The Law at 8:02 pm by

“To be fired for my faith would be a greater honor than to be fired because we didn’t win enough games,” says Nebraska assistant football coach Ron Brown, who earlier this year testified against an Omaha anti-discrimination ordinance designed to protect gays and the transgendered.  Brown denies that he’s bigoted against homosexuals, telling the AP, “”The scriptures teach that blacks were created by God, that women were created by God, but that homosexuals… that is not what God had in mind at all…”I have simply said that based on the Bible, homosexuality, the lifestyle of homosexuality, is a sin.”

Thus far, Brown’s Nebraska superiors — including A.D. Tom Osbourne and head coach Bo Pelini — stress Brown’s right to express his personal views, though there’s a tiny chance he’ll have a shot at the martyrdom he claims to be unafraid of.  Can a state university get away with employing a coach who is going far out of his way to make the school less attractive to gay recruits? If Brown is dumb or delusional enough to believe the Cornhusker locker room is devoid of gay players, fine. He has every right to pretend such a thing is impossible. But an educator (ok, I’m using that term loosely) for a public institution cannot willfully contribute to an environment where Nebraska’s gay students are considered to be of lesser character than their straight classmates.

Man At The End Of His Rope Humbly Suggests Ned Yost Has A Low Baseball IQ

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 3:16 pm by

Though I’d tend to believe the above Twitter account is not the work of the already-famous “Royals Book Guy”, there’s no telling what a 3-14 start for Kansas City will do to the mindset of the few persons willing to attend their sorry displays in person. Of KC’s current 11 game losing streak coming so quickly on the heels of the club proclaiming 2012 was “Our Time”, Rany On The Royals’ Rany Jazayerli declares, “nearly 6 years after Dayton Moore was hired…the team has dumped a steaming pile of crap on the curb.”

I can put up with the losing. I can put up with the delayed gratification, even if that delay now amounts to most of my lifetime. But I can’t put up with stupidity. I can’t put up with a team that has only one solution for every problem that develops: keep doing what we’re doing, only do it more. We keep getting thrown out on the bases? Just keep running, and eventually it will work. Making too many outs with runners in scoring position? Make them deliberately!

The other team walks more than our team does? Clearly the problem is with our pitchers, because whether a batter walks or not is completely up to the pitcher’s control, and never mind the fact that Bill James disproved that 35 years ago. God forbid we should encourage our hitters to be more patient at the plate. Yesterday Danny Duffy needed 113 pitches to face 24 batters; Ricky Romero needed only 104 to face 30. The Royals have drawn a below-average number of walks 22 years in a row, and not only is that unlikely to change in 2012, the Royals don’t even think that needs to change.

And now it’s 2012, one year after the Royals were acclaimed as having The Best Farm System Ever, the first year in ages that rational analysts (i.e. analysts other than myself) actually predicted the Royals to finish .500 or even above. And it’s clear now: no matter how far you think the Royals have come, no matter how fast you think they’re going, an 11-game losing streak is always trailing a step behind, ready to pounce like the demonic monkeys in Temple Run.

Ken Bates : Doing His Best To Revive Print Media

Posted in Football, Free Expression, non-sporting journalism, The Law at 11:07 am by

Leeds United chairman Ken Bates (above), a CSTB fixture during his tenure at Chelsea, faces harrassment charges from LFC’s former director, Melvyn Levi and his wife, Carol, stemming from Bates’ column in Leeds’ match day program.  “Is anybody exercising control or is an elderly man being indulged in his vendettas?”, asks the Levis’ solicitor, though isn’t that typically what chairman’s notes are for? From the Guardian’s David Conn :

The Levis are suing Bates personally, Leeds United and the club-owned Yorkshire Radio station, claiming that several of Bates’s programme articles and two Yorkshire Radio broadcasts amounted to harassment of the couple. Bates, giving evidence at Leeds county court, said he continued to write about Levi because of a legal dispute, dating back to 2005, in which he claims a company connected to Levi owes the club £190,400, which Levi rejects.

Levi’s barrister, Simon Myerson QC, accused Bates of wanting to make the Levis’ lives “miserable” and said: “This is the way you conduct a legal dispute. It is not good enough for it to be in the courts. You can write about it in the programme because you own the club.”

Key to the case is an episode over Christmas 2010, after a representative instructed by Bates to serve a writ on Levi was told by Carole Levi that her husband was away and not back until the new year. Four days later, before and at half-time during Leeds’s match against Leicester City on Boxing Day, Yorkshire Radio broadcast an appeal to listeners to contact the club if they knew of Levi’s whereabouts.

Bates then wrote in the programme for the 1 January match against Middlesbrough: “We have not served Mr Levi with his writ as his wife said he was away until the New Year, which makes me speculate as to why they split for the festive season.”

In irritable exchanges with Myerson, who represented Levi in his successful libel claim against Bates in 2009 over the Leeds owner’s programme articles, Bates said Myerson had never worked “in the real world”. Myerson said pointedly: “In the real world, people can buy football clubs, have their own column in the programme, and write whatever you like about people you don’t like.”

Bates retorted: “You are being pathetic now.”

04.24.12

The ’72-’73 Sixers Remind Dwight Howard (& The Rest Of Us) That “Coach Killer” Need Not Be A Euphemism

Posted in Basketball at 6:42 pm by

If the Charlotte Bobcats succeed in tanking their remaining games against Orlando and New York, are the suckiest team in pro hoops history?  Noting the Bobcats have a lockout shortened 66 game schedule, former Sixers coach Kevin Loughery suggests putting an asterisk next to Charlotte’s mark for futility.  Through the wonders of Sports Illustrated’s L. Jon Wertheim’s memories of the ’72-73 Philly squad that lost a record 73 games, we can conclude one thing for certain.   F John Q. Trapp hated sitting on the bench.

3-31: An otherwise forgettable loss to the Detroit Pistons was made memorable when head coach Roy Rubin attempted to substitute for forward John Q. Trapp. Although Rubin denies it, legend has it that Trapp refused to come out and then instructed Rubin to look behind the bench. When the coach turned around, one of Trapp’s consorts supposedly opened his jacket and showed Rubin his handgun. With Trapp still in the game, the Sixers lost 141-113.

4-47: At the All-Star break Philadelphia axed Rubin and named Kevin Loughery as player-coach. Rubin, his coaching reputation forever besmirched, moved to Florida and bought an International House of Pancakes franchise. “I don’t hold any grudges, but the day I came in, Billy Cunningham, the team’s best player, jumped to the ABA and things went downhill from there,” says Rubin, who now works with at-risk kids in Miami. “All the losing really eats you up, and it took me awhile to get over that season.” Incidentally, after Loughery’s elevation, one of the team’s first roster moves was to release John Q. Trapp.

D-Train : Birds Are Jerking Me Around

Posted in Baseball at 3:51 pm by

Former Marlins/Tigers starter Dontrelle Willis  has filed a grievance against Baltimore, claiming O’s GM Dan Duquette had promised his unconditional release prior to the veteran left-hander leaving the club’s Norfolk affiliate (AAA) last Friday.   Pleading his case to MASN.com’s Roch Kubatko, Willis explains, “I talked to my representative and talked to one of the reps from Baltimore, as far as granting my release, and then all of a sudden I’m hearing I’m on the restricted list.”

“From anybody on the outside looking in, it raises eyebrows, like there’s something wrong at home, wrong with me. It’s not that way. I thought it was a mutual parting of ways. It’s one of those things where, if he had told me he was putting me on the restricted list, I wouldn’t have left. I didn’t grab my book bag and run out of the class. I’m almost dumbfounded. I’m not even upset. I don’t know if it’s personal because I don’t know Dan.”

“I don’t understand. I’m a guy that, and you can ask anyone who’s dealt with me, I don’t want any problems with anybody. I just want to play baseball and do that and go home. I don’t understand what’s really going on. I don’t know if there’s been a miscommunication there. Not with me. I talked to my agent and we talked about it, I talked to the proper representation, I talked to Dan personally. It wasn’t by text or phone where there could be a misunderstanding. There were others in the room. It was face-to-face. I don’t know what’s going on. And now if I want to sign with another team, I can’t.”

Rumors are circulating that Willis has an offer from a team in Japan and another one in Korea, but his agent, Matt Sosnick said there are no offers from “foreign or domestic teams.”

Nats Skipper Davey Johnson, Clearly Not An Avid George Pelecanos Reader

Posted in Baseball, Gridiron at 2:36 pm by

 

Davey Johnson made an appearance on the MLB Network yesterday and had a very curious observation about our nation’s capitol, leading the Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg to suggest, “possibly he got cracked in the head with a bat.”

“I like challenges,” Johnson said. “And this is a challenge: to put Washington on the map. It’s a baseball town, not a football town.”

I’m thinking Johnson maybe was the victim of some aggressive editing here, and he was trying to argue that his challenge is to create a situation where one day you could say of Washington, it’s a baseball town, not a football town.

04.23.12

Nets To Jayson Williams : Maybe You’d Like To Take In A Mets Game, Instead?

Posted in Basketball at 4:35 pm by

Tonight in Newark, the Sixers’ visit to Prudential Center marks the end of top-flight (ahem) professional basketball in the Garden State. While the Nets plan to commemorate their glorious Jersey tenure with pregame festivities featuring such solid citizens as Derrick Coleman and Michael Ray Richardson, a man who was at onetime, the face of the franchise, finds himself persona non grata, as the New York Daily News’ Stefan Bondy explains :

Jayson Williams, fresh out of Rikers Island, wasn’t invited to Monday night’s ceremony celebrating the Nets’ final game in New Jersey.

But the former All-Star, who dominated the glass in the late ’90s, clearly hasn’t lost his love for the franchise that harbored his best basketball years. After prison and rehabilitation, the New Jersey resident is clearly eager to rekindle a relationship with the Nets — even if the team isn’t ready.

“I don’t think there is a person who loves the Nets as much as I do — from our fans, all the employees in the arenas, the front office personnel and the owners,” Williams said through his longtime friend and manager, Akhtar Farzaie. “I will always be loyal to our fans and the Nets.”

Williams, the former St. John’s center, who accidentally shot and killed his limousine driver in 2002, was not contacted by the Nets after being released April 13.

Ex Jet Pryce : Retirement Sucks

Posted in Gridiron at 12:43 pm by

Given the stories we read about brain damage, depression and failed situation comedy ventures amongst the NFL’s retired players, should we really feel bad for former Broncos/Jets DE Trevor Pryce, who left the game at the age of 37 in relatively good physical and financial condition?  Pryce, whose dabbling in the worlds of independent label operations and film/TV production leave him with a deeper background than most ex-jocks, admits in a Monday New York Times guest editorial, that he’s “secure and utterly bored”.

Now I find myself in music chat rooms arguing the validity of Frank Zappa versus the Mars Volta. (If the others only knew Walkingpnumonia was the screen name for a former All-Pro football player and not some Oberlin College student trying to find his place in the world.) I wrote a book. I set sail on the picturesque and calming waters of Bodymore, Murdaland. And when I’m in dire straits, I do what any 8-year-old does; I kick a soccer ball against the garage hoping somebody feels sorry and says, “Hey, want to play?”

During the six-month off-seasons, I pretty much educated myself, dabbling in music, Hollywood, journalism, real estate and everything in between, with varying degrees of success. I was able to do a lot in so little time. Now that I have all the time in the world, it’s amazing how little I accomplish every day. Sometimes, that’s a good thing. Most times not.

Nothing truly prepared me for retirement. It hit me across the face like a Deacon Jones head slap. Suddenly, I’m sitting around at 10:30 a.m. looking for something good on television — which is impossible.

Barra On Fox’s Cover-Up Of Humber’s Imperfect Perfecto

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 11:57 am by

Putting aside for a moment the slight humiliation of yet another Mets pitching product making history in another team’s uniform, Phillip Humber’s umpire-assisted perfect game this Saturday has the Village Voice’s Allen Barra asking, “was the last pitch Humber threw to (Seattle’s) Brendan Ryan actually a strike?” If Barra could answer the question with a definitive “yes”, he’d written a different column.

I’m not asking whether the ball was outside the strike zone — anyone could see that it was. I’m not asking if the batter is supposed to be guarding the strike zone a little more carefully in those situations, on a full count with two outs – clearly he is. I won’t even ask the question as to whether umpire Brian Runge should have been giving Humber the benefit of the doubt with a perfect game on the line. (The answer to that question is an emphatic No! The umpire is supposed to treat all pitches the same under all circumstances.)

I won’t even ask – though I have to admit I’m just a tad suspicious on this one – why Runge didn’t look down to the first base umpire to confirm if Ryan had checked his swing or gone too far. (Isn’t that what you see done about 3-4 times during an average game?)

What I want to know is this: why didn’t Fox Sports show us Ryan’s half swing from the traditional above-the-plate camera so we could decide for ourselves? I’ll say this: from the angle I saw and the angle ESPN was replaying it last night, there’s no way it looks like Ryan broke the plane of the plate.

Can anyone offer a rational reason why, in the most important pitch of the young season, and a play that was instantly controversial, Fox didn’t show us the pitch from the camera angle that would have given us the clearest view?

Perhaps everyone associated with Fox was too emotional over the pending “Parker Lewis Can’t Lose” reunion special to properly focus on their jobs.  And perhaps if the network repeatedly showed such a replay, there would be no further second-guessing of Runge’s call.

04.22.12

In Which The Former Tru Warier Causes The Lakers’ Equipment Manager To Wonder…

Posted in Basketball at 5:23 pm by

….how easily can the name “ELBOW-THROWING SOCIOPATH” fit on the back of a jersey?

Venom’s Noble Attempt To Steal Coachella’s Thunder Thwarted By Incompetent Promoter

Posted in Rock Und Roll at 11:42 am by

Ridiculously reliable source of CSTB-fodder Blabbermouth.net reports this weekend’s Metal Open Air festival in São Luís do Maranhão has fallen apart due to a myriad of financial and technical snafus. Far be it for me to suggest that any festival that offered a large guarantee to an all-star revue fronted by Gene Simmons and Sebastian Bach was ill-fated from the start.

According to various Brazilian media reports, the Metal Open Air camping area was set up at nearby horse stables (photos), with no bathrooms, light or water supply available — despite the fact that the event’s official web site promised “indoor and outdoor camping with toilets and showers.”

Third-day headliners VENOM announced their cancelation on Thursday, claiming that their South American visas were mistakenly sent to Africa. SAXON also announced they weren’t making the trip “due to a serious breach of contract by the promoters.” The band explained, “Having waited since March the 15th for the fee to arrive, as of Friday [April 20 at] 2 p.m., no money has arrived.”

First-day headliner MEGADETH managed to perform last night, albeit several hours behind schedule due to a delay in getting the stage ready as well as unspecified “security” issues. A number of other acts refused to play, and after ANTHRAX pulled out of the event due to a lack of sound equipment, the festival’s entire sound crew reportedly quit because they had not received their payment in time.

04.21.12

Welcome To Wormtown, Jose Canseco

Posted in Baseball at 12:58 pm by

Author/twitter sensation/former Major Leaguer Jose Canseco has signed a contract with the Can-Am League’s Worcester Tornadoes. The Worcester Telegram’s Jim Wilson helpful points out, “The Can-Am League does not have a drug-testing policy in place, instead leaving it up to the individual teams to make their own decisions.”

Tornadoes owner Todd Breighner said he did his homework on Canseco and is confident the slugger is serious about playing in Worcester and helping the Tornadoes at the gate and on the field.

“I don’t really think it’s appropriate to have a gimmick, so we talked for a couple of weeks and I wanted to make sure he was committed and in shape and was serious about playing baseball,” Breighner said. “I wanted to feel that we wouldn’t have a situation (where he leaves a team abruptly). There are no guarantees, but I do have a reasonable comfort level that he wants to be here.”


Breighner is not too concerned that Canseco’s controversial past will do anything to tarnish the Tornadoes family-friendly reputation.

“I think he truly loves the game,” Breighner said. “We’ll see what happens when he gets here. I think he’ll be very friendly to the crowd and he’s going to participate in the community.

History’s Most Puzzling eBay Auctions, Pt. VIII

Posted in Rock Und Roll, The Marketplace at 6:44 am by

The item for sale isn’t puzzling at all — in fact, it’s pretty fucking cool as goofy record label promo items go. Alas, almost every single mug, glass, steiner, goblet, dinner plate, etc. in my kitchen already has an Enigma Records logo on it, and as such, I’m gonna leave this artifact to a Wire fan who is not similarly blessed.

No, the puzzling part is how it took any of us this long to figure out the name under which Mets reliever Jon Rauch conducts his eBay business.