04.20.12

Globe’s Finn Goes BLAMMO On Homer Gammo

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 11:24 am by

(Hall Of Famer Peter Gammons, flanked by Kay Hanley  and Bill Janovitz, both of whom have also suffered the slings and arrows of anonymous sources)

If I’m not sorry about the above headline now, wait a few hours until I’ve fully woken up.  After MLB Network analyst Peter Gammons took to the Boston airwaves to assail Bob Hohler’s use of unattributed sources in the Boston Globe’s (Red Sox-assisted?) burial of Terry Francona, The Globe’s Chad Finn writes, “Gammons’ affiliation with or affinity for the franchise he first covered for the Globe in the 1970..led him in an irresponsible direction. His compass let him down.”

Betraying the trust of a confidential source would be journalistic suicide. The use of such sources in Hohler’s story was essential to provide answers to the question that hovered over the end of the season: How in the world did this collapse happen? Anyone with legitimate first-person knowledge likely had something to lose by going on the record. Anonymous sources are never a reporter’s ideal approach, but sometimes a story – particularly one of this magnitude – cannot be told in full without them. This was one of those instances.

(Gammons also said Hohler called the medical staff and tried to get information from them by using columnist Dan Shaughnessy’s name. Hohler said that did not happen.)

It should be acknowledged that Gammons himself has been liberal with the use of anonymous sources. They have long contributed to the insider feel of his notebooks and columns.

A search of the Globe electronic archives shows that Gammons has used them at least as far back as November 1979, when he reported that the Red Sox were going to sign free agent first baseman Tony Perez.

04.19.12

The Fiver’s Steinberg : Not Entirely Blown Away By Chelsea’s Home Defeat Of Barcelona

Posted in Football at 10:49 pm by

A second-half goal from the venerable Didier Drogba gave Chelsea a 1-0 victory in the first leg of their Champions League Semi-Final with Barcelona Tuesday, though the Guardian’s Jacob Steinberg is rather insistent, “Barcelona will almost certainly go through at Camp Nou.”  If they don’t, however, he’ll lay the blame squarely at the feet of the indifferent Cesc Fabregas, whom he dismisses as “a Juan Sebastian Veron tribute act.”

Celebrations at full-time were long and raucous. The banter was led by Chelsea’s head of banter England’s Brave John Terry, who whipped off his shirt and strutted about the place like an ersatz Craig Beattie. Though, curiously, because he’s the skipper his armband remained on, raising the possibility that EBJT keeps a spare one strapped to his arm, wears it in the shower, to bed and during other activities the Fiver isn’t allowed to talk about in a family email. There was one minor detail EBJT and co forgot as they waltzed about the place; there’s still a second leg to be played in Barcelona next week. May regret those antics in five days lads. Could get MESSI. HONK, ROFL, LOL, PARP, etc.

For the time being though, Chelsea manager Tony Pulis has been hailed for his tactical masterclass, praise which might not have been so forthcoming if Sergio Busquets hadn’t goofed in stoppage time, the goal had been a bit taller and/or wider or if Cesc Fabregas hadn’t decided a Big Cup semi-final was the perfect time to be an indulgent show-off. Fabregas hadn’t been this casual on a football pitch since his skirmish with Phil Brown’s Hull City in 2009, when he ended up on the turf dressed in jeans and a jacket – or, as Brown put it, “dressed in the manner in which he was dressed”. After all, if one player epitomised Barcelona’s slackness in front of goal it was Fabregas, whose inclusion has compromised Andres Iniesta’s position and disrupted the best midfield in the world.

Someone’s Finally Found A Way To Stop Nails’ LinkedIn Requests

Posted in Baseball, The Law at 2:05 pm by

Former Mets/Phillies OF turned serial deadbeat Lenny Dykstra plead no contest yesterday to charges of lewd conduct and assault with a deadly weapon after using Craigslist to lure women to his home under the guise of a job interview. The LA Times’ Andrew Blankenship writes that Thursday’s sentencing should dramatically reduce Dykstra’s web profile, as “he will not be allowed to post or solicit on social networking or e-commerce sites over the next three years.” If nothing else, this has to be considered a boost for what’s left of the print classified ad business.

Under the plea deal, Dykstra also was placed on three years’ probation, including provisions to prevent him from misusing the Internet, which he used to lure women who traveled long distances and were desperate for work in the bad economy.

City prosecutors said Dykstra placed Craigslist ads for a personal assistant or housekeeping services under a pseudonym. Half a dozen victims responded from 2009 to 2011.

When the victims met Dykstra, he would brag about his baseball accomplishments, show off his memorabilia and then tell them that the job also required them to give him a massage, prosecutors said. During the massage, he would expose himself to them, Deputy City Atty. Lara D. Schwartz said.

“They were not looking for that kind of job,” Schwartz said.

During one incident in July 2010, Dykstra held a knife and forced the victim to massage his body.

Jays C To Critic : I Might Suck At Baseball, But At Least I’m Not Fat

Posted in Baseball, twitter twatter at 1:33 pm by

Toronto catcher J.P. Arencibia is hitting .063 entering tonight’s game against Tampa.  If you’re of the opinion that batting averages aren’t everything, well, his OBP is .118.   After nearly two weeks of competitive baseball, that’s probably enough time to suggest that Arencibia is off to a rather shitty start offensively, though the Jays backstop took considerable offense at WGGB’s Eric Mirlis pointing out what was hardly classified information.

All of which begs the question, given that his 2012 season is off to such a rotten start, unless he’s prepared to deal with a degree of mockery, why is Arencibia doing a Twitter search for his own name?  I’m not saying he doesn’t have a right of reply, but unless Mirlis has another career as a movie star or male model, I’m going to take a very wild guess that he’s slightly better at his job than Arencibia is at his own chosen profession.  At times like this (and only at times like this), we’re reminded how very lucky the New York Mets are that Jason Bay…isn’t following my twitter feed.

04.18.12

Man Who Calls Rogers Centre Home Unimpressed With Marlin Park’s Ambience

Posted in Baseball, Ugly New Stadiums at 4:34 pm by

The Toronto Star’s Doug Smith calls his first visit to Miami’s new (and somewhat empty) Marlin Park, “one of the weirdest experiences of my life.” I’m tempted to say he oughta get out of the house more often, but perhaps I have to idea what sort of atavistic things Smith gets up to in his spare time.  Here’s an excerpt from Smith’s Yelp-worthy diss of Marlin Park’s adaptation of The Clevelander.

There was a DJ spinning THE ENTIRE GAME and since you know how I feel about loud, incomprehensible music pounding during the playing of the game, you can imagine how I felt about that.

The women, and I said “plants” rather than “implants” but I probably could have used either word, were there to, um, spice up the night and since they seemed to attract almost everyone’s attention all night, I guess they did their job.

It was, frankly, as far removed from baseball as you can imagine and I am old and a bit cranky and a bit of a traditionalist so if this is the new wave of the baseball stadium “experience” in order to attract fans, you can have it. Baseball is not a game to be viewed through the prism of some faux South Beach party bar; it is a game to sit and ponder, to try and predict strategy, to tell stories. It is not, and never will be, a raucous event with bikinis and shooters and blaring music and swimming pools filled with young ladies who are only there as eye-candy.

Dick Clark, Dead At 82

Posted in Rock Und Roll, The World Of Entertainment at 2:53 pm by

…incredibly, Clark would survive this Public Image “American Bandstand” appearance in 1982 and go on to live another 30 years.

Never Accuse The Philadelphia Daily News Of Not Prioritizing Serious Subjects

Posted in Hockey, non-sporting journalism at 1:33 pm by

Image culled from The 700 Level, who also featured video footage of Sniveling Sid’s reaction to the above front page.

04.17.12

There’s No Jazz In Utah…

Posted in Basketball at 11:45 pm by

…and in the near future, there won’t be any Hornets in New Orleans, either. Following last week’s announcement that Tom Benson is purchasing the Hornets from the NBA, the Saints owner tells the Times-Picayune’s Jimmy Smith he’s in favor of a new name for New Orleans’ NBA franchise. Is the New Orleans Spellcasters out of the question?

(The New Orleans Drum Buddies? Anybody?)

“I’m going to ask all of you to help me with this, too,” Benson said. “We want to change the name from Hornets . . . . to something that means New Orleans and Louisiana. The ‘Hornets’ doesn’t mean anything.’ “

“He doesn’t own the team yet,” Stern joked, a reference to the final approval process Stern indicated could take place by a vote of the Board of Governors in the next 30-45 days.

But Stern did close the door on the reacquisition of the name of Utah’s NBA franchise that had its birth in New Orleans in 1974.

“It belongs to Utah,” Stern said. “I wouldn’t make it such an important point. There are many things that are indigenous to the area. I’m sure there will be some wonderful nicknames (suggestsion).”

Bobby Valentine, Doing His Very Best To Take The Heat Off Ozzie Guillen

Posted in Baseball at 4:35 pm by

When Marlins skipper Ozzie Guillen recently found himself suspended after making some ill-advised remarks about Fidel Castro to Time Magazine, more than one observer pointed out this was hardly the first time Guillen had deeply embarrassed an employer with his public statements.  So with Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine compelled to eat shit after his public criticism of Kevin Youkilis, let’s remember that much the way Guillen earned a loose cannon rep, Valentine is no stranger to burying players who’ve either found their way into his doghouse or might symbolize an old regime. It’s very doubtful that Todd Hundley or Pete Harnisch read of Valentine’s attack on Youklilis and thought to themselves, “Bobby’s just trying to motivate a veteran.”

In the view of SI’s Jason Turbow, Valentine might’ve already lost the support of his charges (in less than two weeks), writing, “the rest of Boston’s players have to wonder what it might take before their manager publicly questions them, as well.”

The unwritten rule to protect your players is why Whitey Herzog refused to admit that Keith Hernandez’s drug use (and his subsequent untruths when discussing it) was a motivating factor in his being dealt to the Mets in 1983, even as the manager took considerable grief for the deal.

This rule is why Joe Torre, after Roger Clemens threw a bat shard at Mike Piazza during the 2001 World Series, refrained from storming out of his postgame interview amid a battery of leading questions. He knew Clemens was to follow him in front of the press, and wanted to absorb the difficult queries himself.

This rule is why Tony La Russa defended Jose Canseco long after steroid accusations against him became part of the public dialogue, and it is likely why he continued to defend Mark McGwire against similar charges after even many of his staunchest defenders had long since given up.

Marcus Hayes’ (Terrifyingly) Effusive Praise For Pat Burrell

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 1:20 pm by

The New York Mets’ plans to honor Chipper Jones were roundly mocked in this space last week, however it will not be necessary for the Wilpons to come up with similar ceremonies to mark the end of another notorious Met-killer’s career.  No video montage, no gift certificate to McFadden’s, could possibly match the tribute unleashed by the Philadelphia Daily News’ Marcus Hayes, an effort the Big Lead’s Tim Ryan calls, “semen-encrusted” (thanks for that lovely mental image, Tim).

Burrell always was the biggest star. For better or worse, Burrell taught a generation of Phillies the way to act as a big-league player . . . and how to best survive in a demanding, sometimes vicious city.

He was born to the role.

The corner locker belonged to Burrell. He radiated charisma, with his Ray Liotta eyes and his Rat Pack exploits.

“He handled his business,” says Howard, grinning. “If you’re going to go out and party or whatever, you have to come in the next day to handle your business . . . I know it’s hard to believe, but he was very professional.

“He was a big-leaguer.”

“He was the guy,” says Shane Victorino. “He was a cornerstone piece on this team, But, when you think about Pat Burrell, and what he was in this city, not just from a baseball standpoint, he was an iconic person.

“He was everybody’s dream. Every girl’s dream,” Victorino says.

If I’m correct in reading between the lines here, Burrell’s leadership by example and how well he “taught a generation” of younger, aspiring studs how to be big leaguers is closely linked to his ability to nurse a hangover.

04.16.12

The Tweets Of Jose Canseco – You Might Call Them A Comedy Bonanza

Posted in Baseball, twitter twatter at 5:30 pm by

…and unlike those credited to the Iron Sheik, I’m willing to believe Jose doesn’t employ a ghost-tweeter.

Ron Darling Has Transmogrified Into Rob Dibble

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 3:43 pm by

(the bold new look of Ron Darling)

Amazin’ Avenue’s James Kannegleser kindly recapped some of the first week of the 2012 season’s highlights from SNY mouthpieces Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling and the finest role model for gluten-intolerant sportscasters, Kevin Burkhardt (what, you were thinking Keith Olbermann?).  Last Monday night with the Mets facing the Nationals, Darling tackled the subject of pitch counts, and in particular, Washington’s carefully-guarded phenom, Stephen Strasburg.   See if the following doesn’t sound faintly familiar ;

Let me ask you a question. Why do these organizations — why do they want to pigeon-hole themselves? Why don’t they just keep their big mouths shut? There’s no reason to tell anybody that [Stephen Strasburg] is on any innings. They don’t owe anyone that. Just shut your mouth and let him pitch…

…Nothing better for baseball than taking a great young pitcher and not letting him be great. We should try that the rest of the way, see how it goes in 2025. C’mon he’s 6’4″, 240lbs…

…There’s no artificial way to keep a guy healthy. They did everything you’re supposed to do in the minor leagues and what happened? He had Tommy John Surgery in his first year! I mean, please. I’m so sick of the people who never played in the suits — or they’ve got the white smocks on — saying ‘I know how to legislate when a guy is going to get hurt. And I give him these innings or that innings and he’s definitely not gonna get hurt.’ They did everything you’re supposed to do. They did it all by the book, and in his first year he gets a Tommy John. Way to go. Fantastic. Great job. Did everything by the book. There’s no book! There is no book! I’m so sick of hearing it!

Caps Fans Prepare To Taunt Tim Thomas With Obama Masks…

Posted in Hockey, Mob Behavior at 12:32 pm by

…presumably because if they all wore tin-foil hats to mock the Bruins goalie, the Verizon Center’s metal detectors would go off.  Russian Machine Never Breaks explains the advised course of action prior to Boston’s visit to Washington for Game 3 of their playoff series ;

Please print out a trillion of these and camp out in front of the glass during warm-ups. Cut out the eyeholes on the mask, tie it in front of your ugly mug, and give Thomas a warm welcome to Washington, D.C., the most powerful city on Earth. This is your moment to shine.

Because– despite the mewling whines of “Leave Timmy alone!” coming from the Boston area– we believe this is a winning strategy. An angry Tim Thomas gives up goals. A scored-on Tim Thomas gets angrier. And then he gives up even more goals. It’s a vicious cycle, and we just need to get it started.

Distraction is the name of the game. (Actually, the name of the game is still hockey but we don’t play hockey, so we’re gonna do this instead.)

04.15.12

Troy E. Renck : Not Quiet Ready For The EMP Pop Conferene

Posted in Baseball at 7:29 pm by

(above : had Scott Kazmir been a closer, this would’ve been his “Enter Sandman”)

Of hitters and relievers choosing their own respective intro tunes, the Denver Post’s Troy E. Renck writes, “the game has changed. It’s more about PitBull than Danny Tartabull.” And if you think that’s cringeworthy, you oughta see the stuff I refused to excerpt.

The offseason allows time for players to become amateur DJs. That’s when they listen for a potential walk-up hit. Most like something a little loud, either with bass or a guitar. Nobody wants Air Supply sucking the oxygen out of the stadium (though Larry Walker briefly switched from Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” to REO Speedwagon’s “Time for Me to Fly” with disastrous results).

Closers’ intros leave the most lasting imprint. Trevor Hoffman’s jog into the game to AC/DC’s “Hells Bells” in San Diego was straight out of a Hollywood horror flick. And Eric Gagne created fear and losing in opponents as he rambled out of the Dodgers’ bullpen to Guns N’ Roses “Welcome to The Jungle” during his record 84 consecutive-save streak. To this day, Gagne still gets goosebumps when he hears it, recalling images of the scoreboard flashing “Game Over” before he even threw a pitch. It was the perfect marriage of music, mayhem and the national pastime.

“It’s not like I have it on my Walkman or what do you call those things, iPods? But what I remember is the anticipation of the crowd,” said Rockies manager Jim Tracy, who was the Dodgers’ boss then. “People used to think of Dodger Stadium and the taillights of those leaving early. Not with Gagne. When that song came on, and he came out, it was something else.”

ACW’s Evan Gelistico Announces An End To The Trifling

Posted in Austin, Professional Wrestling at 1:34 pm by

Amongst the storylines that won’t be hotly debated in advance of tonight’s “Peace, Love & Anarchy” card at The Mohawk ; did former ECW/ROH champion Jerry Lynn ever envision a day in which an opponent would refer to him as “Jer Bear”?

04.14.12

12XU’s Record Store Day Compilation Deemed Inappropriate…For Record Store Day

Posted in Internal Affairs, record collector disease, Rock Und Roll at 9:58 pm by

CSTB’s affiliate under the Cumbucket Media umbrella, 12XU, is releasing a label compilation LP to mark Record Store Day 2012. Bring Beer (12XU 036-1) includes 15 new recordings from Cruddy, The Golden Boys, Chris Brokaw, James Arthur’s Manhunt, The Flesh Lights, Naw Dude, Carolee, Marriage, Philip Sambol, Followed By Static, Nazi Gold, G.Green, Rhett And Dean and hotly tipped rape gaze duo Air Traffic Controllers.  All profits from this exercise are earmarked for Austin, TX’s Trailer Space Records, a combination record store/clubhouse/rehearsal space/all-ages venue whose smoke-filled ambiance is in stark contrast to many of the nation’s other indie retailers, some of whom seem fixated on action figures, nesting dolls and bacon flavored-mints.  I have nothing against action figures, nesting dolls or bacon flavored-mints.  But I am by nature, very sympathetic to those record stores who actually care about evangelizing, pushing and playing quality music,  and try hard to cater to my degenerate brothers and sisters who prioritize the hunting and gathering over all other pursuits.  Not just on Record Store Day, but all the goddamned time.  This record isn’t for the voyeurs and ambulance chasers, it’s for the rest of us who actually give a fuck.

I’m pretty happy with ‘Bring Beer”s musical contents, but it’s less about promoting the label (for starter’s that’s hopeless, also, a number of the bands do not record for 12XU) and more to do with offering something fun on RSD for those of us who don’t give a fuck about 311 singles or reissues of ancient records we could just as easily find in the used bin for a fraction of the price.

Given that this comp. directly addresses the near-extinction of stores like Trailer Space, I was hopeful the folks at Record Store Day would be kind enough to include the album in their official listings. No such luck.  An RSD representative, though exceedingly polite, let me know that deadlines had long expired for such an inclusion, despite the fact 12XU’s distributors have been soliciting this title for some time.

I’m not suggestion for a moment that RSD has a vested interest in ignoring stores like Trailer Space, or that 12XU’s lowly status on the rock biz totem pole had anything to do with the comp. being ignored in favor of countless other bullshit releases.  I mean, rules are rules, right?  What kind of society are we living in if rules aren’t observed, 100% of time, regardless of the common good? What possible harm would it have done what’s left of the music industy or RSD’s participating stores if ‘Bring Beer’ had been listed, even as late as today, tomorrow or Monday?  A store might think of ordering it?  Persons scanning RSD’s official list might be compelled to look for it?   That would be catastrophic, and RSD’s unwillingness to budge from their stated policy is completely understandable.  I wish their entire organization the best of luck on April 21, and shall in the future try to remember that their time and energy is a thousand times more valuable than mine or that of the bands who contributed to ‘Bring Beer’.

As for Trailer Space, well, it would appear Spot Long is not on RSD’s radar.  That his store plays a more active, get-your-hands-dirty role in supporting the creative community than anyone else in a region that’s allegedly a hotbed for musical growth, apparently counts for nothing. If that bothers you, even just a little bit, please visit the place whatever day you feel like it.   Trailer Space will have ‘Bring Beer’ on their shelves Saturday, April 21, as will Austin’s End Of An Ear, Austin’s Waterloo Records, New Orleans’ Euclid Records, Memphis’ Goner Records, Chicago’s Permanent Records and Eagle Rock, CA’s Permanent as well.  Probably a few other stores, too.

How Much Art Joey Barton Can You Take?

Posted in Football, twitter twatter at 8:46 pm by

Of  Joey Barton’s recent hiatus from Twitter, The Daily Mail’s Laura Williamson dismissed the QPR captain as “Vinnie Jones with WiFi”.  A slightly star-struck Alex Clark of The Observer, however, opts to take in a day at museum with Barton, finding comfort in his assurances that the past year’s tweet-explosion was part of a concerted effort to convince the public he’s not merely, “”a monosyllabic Neanderthal who fights in city centres, drunk”. Of Williamson and her ilk, Clark writes, “the bourgeoisie isn’t quite sure what to do if someone working class goes to an art gallery.”

When Barton and I meet for a second time, we decide to go to the National Portrait Gallery and have a look at the Lucian Freud exhibition. “Intriguing character this fellow,” he tweets, ahead of our outing – which, incidentally, we get to on the tube and follow with lunch that costs a grand total of £17.80. I mention it because I imagine most journalists dispatched for a day out on the town with a Premier League footballer would quake at the thought of their impending expenses claim.

If he’s putting on his enthusiasm for art, he’s making a pretty good go of it. On the way in, he tells me quite a lot about Freud I didn’t know (“I’d have thought you’d have done your research, Alex”) and once there, he’s clearly immensely engaged, standing very close to pictures for a very long time. He’s already told me that one of the things he thinks he can achieve on Twitter is to counteract the limitations placed on “kids from working-class backgrounds who’ve been told not to like art”; walking around a gallery with him for hours, I think he’s probably got a better chance of doing that than Sky Arts or BBC4.

(Plenty Of) Good Seats Still Available At Jeffrey Loria’s Monument To Avarice & Greed

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace, Ugly New Stadiums at 5:00 pm by

(that Marlins ticket sales have experienced at least a single digit jump since this photo was taken can mean only one thing — a gold-plated dildo for David Samson)

Did the modest turnout for Miami’s first-ever victory at newly opened Marlins Park have anything to do with the furor over Ozzie Guillen’s recent pro-Castro remarks?  Or could it be that local sports fans are too upset over Sid Rosenberg’s latest DUI to enjoy a night at the ballpark?  Perhaps it was the fact the Astros have a Castro in the lineup,” suggests the Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero, who insists, “if there weren’t 9,000-10,000 empty seats then I’m carrying only two percent body fat…and I am definitely not carrying two percent body fat.”

There were wide swaths of empty seats at Marlins Park Friday night. Complete sections — 201, 202, 228, 327, and 307 among others — were barren. In all, at least 11 sections in this beautiful, sparkling new facility in Little Havana were more than 75 percent unoccupied.

That simply isn’t supposed to happen this year.

It’s not supposed to be this way in the franchise’s second game here. It’s certainly not supposed to be this way while the paint is still drying and the first waxing is still bouncing a reflection off the tiles.

04.13.12

Megdal : Mets’ Treatment Of Wright Part Of A Sad Pattern

Posted in Baseball at 10:21 pm by

When the franchise owner is mocking his franchise players’ reliability in the pages of The New Yorker, isn’t it a bit loud to be called “a whispering campaign”?  Should we lend any credibility whatsoever to the Mets’ take on a star’s physical condition given, for instance, the manner in which Ryan Church was placed on a cross-country flight while nursing a concussion?  David Wright was unable to grip a bat prior to Friday’s 5-2 win in Philadelphia, but if you’re inclined to think his fractured pinkie has no bearing on the third-baseman’s pending free agency, The Mets helpfully provided the New York Daily News’ Andy Martino with the start of a smear job (“the new regime has simply not seen Wright play enough to decide if he is still in his prime,”), which in the view of Capital New York’s Howard Megdal, is uncannily similar to the club’s handling of Jose Reyes. Amongst others (“who can forget when the Mets held a conference call to discuss their legal options and anger with Carlos Beltran for having the knee surgery that has allowed him to resume his career as a productive player?”).

The point isn’t that the Mets don’t have the right to hope their players return to the field. But the organization continues to both feed the sympathetic members of the press internal doubts about their players, damaging reputations in the process, while failing to provide cover to their players so they can make intelligent decisions about returning.

Which, by the way, is not only in the interest of the player, but of the team as well.

Ultimately, this public pressure on two fronts with Wright could be about either of two goals. The Mets could be so intent on getting Wright back, along with the box office draw he represents, that they have prioritized this over making sure his pinky is healthy. Or they finally see an opening to go after the reputation of a player who is loved by the fans ahead of any decision to ultimately trade him or, more likely, simply fail to retain him once his contract is up.

The Shy, Retiring Luke Scott On Fenway : It’s A Dump

Posted in Baseball at 1:09 pm by

Rays OF Luke Scott already endeared himself to the people of Boston earlier this spring when he admitted to popping a boner over the dramatic fashion in which Tampa and his old team, Baltimore, conspired to knock the underachieving Red Sox out of the Wild Card last autumn.  In advance of today’s Red Sox home opener — the 100th such occasion in Fenway history, no less — – Scott tells MLB.com’s Evan Drelich he considers Boston’s antique ballpark something less than state-of-the-art.

“As a baseball player, going there to work, it’s a dump,” Scott said. “I mean, it’s old. It does have a great feel and nostalgia, but at the end of the day, I’d rather be at a good facility where I can get my work in. A place where I can go hit in the cage. Where I have space and it’s a little more comfortable to come to work.”

While we can add “Historical Landmark Hater” to a Scott resume that already includes Gun Nut and Birther, it’s worth noting he’s not the only observer to take issue with Fenway’s upkeep.  Granted, Peter Gammons’ comments about Fenway’s rat population and piles of garbage in the box seats predated current ownership, but he he didn’t generate nearly as much attention at the time as Scott’s managed today.

Maloofs’ Hand-Picked Expert : The Kings’ New Arena Is A Bad Deal….For Sacramento

Posted in Basketball, The Marketplace, Ugly New Stadiums at 12:48 pm by

For a number of years, we’ve heard economists poke holes in the arguments of franchise owners that building new arenas and stadiums on the public dime leads to prosperity for the cities in question.  How rare, then, that such an hypothesis would be blown to bits by a pair of club owners themselves, in this case, George and Gavin Maloff, who seem hellbent on torpedoing plans to build a new Sacramento venue for their Kings — a scheme they’d previously agreed to. From the Sacramento Bee’s Mary Lynne Vellinga :

In a press conference called by the Kings owners in New York, Beacon Economics head Christopher Thornberg, one of California’s most prominent economists, said the terms of the arena proposal would put the Kings at enormous financial risk and place the city “right on the edge” of financial disaster.

Thornberg said the city’s estimates of financial benefit from an arena are way overblown, and the projections of attendance at Kings games far too rosy.

In other words, the Kings aren’t merely seeking a move to Anaheim out of sheer greed, they’re doing it because they love Sacramento too much to stayTrue Hoop’s Zach Harper takes a dim view of the Maloofs’ flip-floppery and declares, “It’s time for David Stern to put his foot down and show that a handshake is actually worth some good faith.”

If you wanted an example of not operating in good faith then look no further than what the Maloofs are doing here. I get the motivation. Sacramento is a very small market, especially when lined up side-by-side with the city of Anaheim. The television contract alone would help the Maloofs recover the assumed loss of wealth from their alleged failed business ventures over the past few years.

When you’re bad at business, you need to find a way to get good at it and improving the market in which your business is based is a good way to start. The problem is they’re trying to move into a market that doesn’t really need a third team. Most major markets don’t even have two teams, let alone a third.

04.12.12

Vancouver Scribe : Kings’ Trash Tweets Are Mild (And Accurate)

Posted in Hockey, twitter twatter at 7:28 pm by

The Los Angeles Kings have formally apologized for issuing an official franchise tweet that read, “To everyone in Canada outside of BC ; you’re welcome” after beating the Canucks, 4-2, in Wednesday’s playoff opener. Given the animus towards Vancouver on the part of the rest of the country, The Vancouver Sun’s Harrison Mooney asks, “why is the outrage-o-meter bordering on aneurysmal?”

What blows me away is that the tweet touched on this phenomenon without deigning to any of the low-hanging fruit we’re bound to see and have already begun to see, and we lost it anyway. Provided the Canucks’ cup run goes beyond round one, we should expect to be inundated with sexist anti-Sedin arguments, absurdly slanted reporting, and lazy crap about Vancouver’s climate and geography not being Canadian (presumably from people that also want Hawaii and Alaska banished from the United States).

Vancouver fans are reacting (and I would say drastically overreacting) to a difference in approach. The Canucks’ social media presence is aimed at maintaining their fanbase and giving a massive, faceless organization a smidgen of personality. The Kings’ social media presence is aimed at growing their fanbase and attempting to drum up interest and appear relevant. And what’s more relevant than Canada hating the Canucks?

The Mets’ Mooted Chipper Salute : Because It’s Too Late To Schedule “John Rocker Day”

Posted in Baseball at 1:48 pm by

When and if the New York Mets get around to honoring Braves 3B Chipper Jones during his retirement tour this summer, self-proclaimed “ Best Writer You’ve Never Heard Of” Paul Lebowitz predicts, “the fans will applaud for Jones not because they liked what he did to the Mets, but because of the way he did it with class, consistency and professionalism.”

While I should stress that a full-fledged, video-tribute has not been confirmed by the club, assuming one actually takes place, after Jones has been given his commemorative Hooters menu plaque, perhaps the Mets can schedule additional ceremonies for other members of the opposition, whom Amazins fans are also likely to admire for their “class, consistency and professionalism”?  I don’t know about you, but I cannot fucking wait to shell out serious money to show Jimmy Rollins how much I respect him.  Would a parade down Northern Blvd. for Orel Hershiser be too much to ask for? What small-minded, partisan rooter could possibly object to the Mets retiring Derek Jeter’s number 2?

 

David West – Mascot Killa

Posted in Basketball, When Mascots Are Attacked at 11:05 am by

“We were just having fun right before the game..we were just messing around,” Pacers F David West explained to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer’s Tom Reed after Cavs mascot Moondog proved to have a bit of a glass jaw in a pregame tussle.  Liz Clayton The Other Moondog Randall Simon was unavailable for comment.

Moondog needed to be taken to a local hospital after suffering an eye injury during a pre-game play fight with Indiana Pacers forward David West at The Q on Wednesday night. The Cavalier canine was later released and a team spokesman said he should be fine.

The club did not update his status for Sunday’s game against Orlando. It’s unclear whether the Cavs, already without Kyrie Irving and Anderson Varejao among others, will need to promote a mascot from the NBA Development League.

“He jumped at me so I thought we were playing around and then the next thing I know he went down,” West told reporters after the game. “It was definitely an accident.”

It might be the most memorable Cleveland mascot mishap since the Indians’ Slider suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament when he fell off the outfield wall at Progressive Field during the 1995 American League Championship Series against Seattle.    

04.11.12

In Which The Former Agent Zero Explains How A Simple Card Game Went Very Wrong

Posted in Basketball, Firearms at 8:38 pm by

Gilbert Arenas is currently toiling for the Memphis Grizzlies, far removed from his former superstar status in Washington D.C., so much so, that he tells USA Today’s J. Michael Falgoust, “no one knows me for throwing my jerseys or averaging 29 points (in 2005-06)…all they know is I pulled a gun on my teammate.”  (“That’s When Gilbert Arenas Reaches For His Revolver”, Jan. 10, 2010) And with that, possibly career-defining/ending moment in mind, Arenas describes how he went from being one of the league’s most popular, quotable players, to become a national symbol of burgeoning gun violence.

Then-Wizards center JaVale McGee had beaten Crittenton out of $1,100 in a card game. Wizards guard Earl Boykins loaned McGee $200. McGee didn’t immediately pay back Boykins as he won the money and an argument blossomed. Arenas says he wasn’t involved in the actual bet.

“‘Pay the man his (expletive) money. You’ve got all my money,’” Arenas says Crittenton shouted at McGee. “So I jumped in, ‘Why you talking to your teammates like this? We family.’

“That’s when (Crittenton) started coming at me, ‘(Expletive, racial slur), just because you got all money, this and this and this.’ That’s when we started going back and forth. I didn’t owe him anything. It was over a $1,100 pot he just lost.”

“Someone said they were going to shoot me. So since I’m one of those guys who says, ‘I want to see this happen. I want to see you actually shoot me,’ that’s where that came from,” Arenas says, careful not to mention Crittenton as that someone. “I brought the four guns in and said (in a note), ‘Pick 1, so the day you want to shoot me let me know, I’ll be ready to get shot.’ That’s how.”

However, a D.C. Superior Court document from Jan. 15, 2010 states that: Several witnesses agree that during an argument on a Dec. 20, 2009 flight from Phoenix to Washington, Arenas threatened to shoot Crittenton in the face and set his Escalade on fire and that Crittenton threatened to shoot Arenas in the knee.

The document further states that witnesses saw Arenas lay out his firearms in front of Crittenton’s locker and that Crittenton brought out his own.