05.24.12

OKC Bakery Prepares A Cake Fit For A Tru Warier Elbow

Posted in Basketball, Food at 1:38 pm by

Via the San Antonio Express-News’ Tim Griffin comes word of Oklahoma City’s Homeland Bakery paying tribute to newly-named NBA Sixth Man Of The Year James Harden with “a deliciously gooey chocolate cake” (“Harden’s head has been replicated into detailed form, particularly his beard which is made up of swirly chocolate icing,”).  I hope for Homeland’s sake this proves to be a popular item, because I’m told their told (by my food blogger friends anyway), the Fernando Martinez cake turned out to be a bust.

05.23.12

Dexter Pittman’s Dave Semenko Impersonation Receives Very Bad Reviews…

Posted in Basketball at 5:59 pm by

…partially because Semenko never took off an opponent’s head merely for mocking Wayne Gretzky.   In the aftermath of Miami’s Udonis Haslem and Pittman earning some measure of physical revenge against Indy last night — keeping in mind that Haslem was merely giving Tyler Hanbrough a taste of his own medicine — Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski suggests not only was the latter’s assault likely to curry favor with Pat Riley (“this is straight out of Riles’ handbook, the way for a marginal young forward to earn his way with the Heat”), but no one should hold their breath waiting for LeBron James to stick up for a teammate in similar fashion.

Pittman understood the message Howard had been sending with his pursuit of Stephenson, and clearly acted in accordance with the sniff of violence in the air. Stephenson offended James, but it’s doubtful James pushed for this kind of retaliation. In fact, here’s a story on how James sees retaliation: In February 2006, Rasheed Wallace clobbered Zydrunas Ilgauskas in a Detroit-Cleveland rivalry game. Gash. Blood everywhere. Big Z had to leave the floor and go to the locker room to get bandaged before returning to finish the game. When it was over, Wallace made clear the shot was intentional.

Here’s what bothered Ilguaskas, a source in the Cavaliers’ locker room remembered: “He looks out on the court in the second half, and there’s LeBron talking with ‘Sheed like nothing happened,” the source said. “They were hanging out on the court, joking, and it really bothered Z. But that’s LeBron – or, at least, that was him.”

Whatever happens, it always comes back to LeBron James. Someone’s going to get hit on Thursday night and, rest assured, James will brace for this truth: If the Pacers are going down in this series, they’ll probably try to take someone with them.

Poole : Warriors Need More Than A Change Of Venue

Posted in Basketball, The Marketplace, Ugly New Stadiums at 3:17 pm by

Joe Lacob and Peter Gruber were joined by NBA commissioner David Stern yesterday to announce the Warriors’ intention to build a new area on San Francisco’s Pier 30/32, just an Andrew Bogut outlet pass from the Giants’ AT&T Park (ok, an overthrown outlet pass). Along with reminding us that successful organizations have been built in towns just as unglamorous as Oakland (eg. Oklahoma City and San Antonio), the San Jose Mercury News’ Monte Poole sticks up for the East Bay’s disenfranchised hoops fans in writing, “the itch to leave Oakland was a factor in the Oracle crowd’s merciless treatment of Lacob two months ago, when a sellout crowd gathered to celebrate the retiring of Chris Mullin’s No. 17 and seized an opportunity to unload on the co-owner.”

Though Lacob didn’t deserve such harsh treatment, he invited it by trading the team’s most popular player, Monta Ellis. By promising the playoffs and failing to deliver. By commanding the stage on a night reserved for someone else. And by making clear his intention to turn his back on thousands of irrationally loyal fans.

These are the fans that five years ago spawned “We Believe,” putting Oakland back on the NBA map, turning Oracle into a place praised by visiting players and coaches.

But Lacob and Guber want their own imprint, a bold and splashy move. Guber referred to the proposed arena as a “world-class entertainment venue.

Perhaps it can be called the Lacob & Guber Center.

Well, with obscene amounts of money and infinite patience, they can build the dream palace they want, in the place they desire. No doubt a new bayside arena would be a great addition to an iconic skyline.

It wouldn’t do much for the basketball, though, unless the arena came with a superb front office, excellent coaching and all-star talent.

05.22.12

Neyer : The 2012 Mets Are Doomed

Posted in Baseball at 11:23 pm by

(until the “I Hate Ike” shirts are ready, the above tees are being heavily discounted)

After a 3-2 defeat of Pittsburgh earlier tonight, the Mets find themselves with a thoroughly respectable 23-20 record, an MVP candidate at third and their top two starters (Johan Santana, R.A. Dickey) experiencing career revivals.  Of course, they’re also a team with zero power, a diabolically bad bullpen and a first baseman that any team with a pretense of contention would’ve demoted weeks ago. What’s more, that gritty, actually-winning-games-stuff? IT’S A MIRAGE!  After catching wind of the Wall Street Journal’s Michael Salfino pointing out The Amazins “are on pace to finish 87-75 while being outscored by 122 runs” (“they’re off to the most cognitively dissonant start in baseball”), SB Nation’s Rob Neyer reminds guzzlers of Sandy Alderson’s Kool-Aid, “you just can’t do this for a whole season.”

The Mets will either improve their run differential significantly or they’ll start losing more often. Losing a lot more often, probably. Salfino’s right: the statistics on this one are pretty simple.

I’m not sure the Mets are off to the most cognitively dissonant start, though. Depends on your definition. Probably. Because they’re winning when they should be losing. But purely in terms of the difference between run differentials and records, they’re not alone. Essentially, they’ve won four more games than their run differential predicts.

The Orioles are also plus-4, while the Cardinals are minus-4. Considering that it’s almost impossible to finish a season more than seven or eight games off your expected number, we certainly wouldn’t expect those trends to continue, because in fact they’re not really trends. They’re flukes.

They’re meaningful, in that they tell us something that the wins and losses might not. They’re meaningless, in that the number of runs scored and allowed by a team over the course of 42 games can tell us only so much. They certainly tell us something … but they’ll tell us a lot more after 82 games, and 122 games, and 162 games.

Swansea U To Twitter Dipshit : School’s Out (Forever)

Posted in Football, Racism Corner, twitter twatter at 6:22 pm by

Imagine if Americans found guilty of racist tweets ended up in the Stoney Lonesome?  Who likes Screamo Cockface’s chances on Cellblock H?  Over in Wales, biology undergad Liam Stacey was hit with a nearly two month jail sentence for mocking Bolton’s Fabrice Muamba via Twitter after the midfielder suffered a heart attack during last March’s FA Cup tie with Tottenham.  With Stacey being released earlier today, Swansea University gave him the boot, as reported by the Guardian’s Steven Morris :

Stacey sparked an outcry following Muamba’s cardiac arrest in March when he tweeted: “LOL, Fuck Muamba. He’s dead.” Other Twitter users immediately criticised Stacey, prompting him to post further offensive and racist comments. He branded some people who censured him as “wogs” and told one to “go pick some cotton”. Stacey was quickly traced by police, arrested and jailed by magistrates in Swansea.

He was also suspended from university, where he was a final-year biology student. The university has now imposed a full suspension until the end of the academic year. Stacey, from Pontypridd, south Wales, will be allowed to sit his final exams as an external candidate next year. But even if successful he will not be invited to the graduation ceremony.

In an interview with BBC Wales’s Week In Week Out programme, which is being broadcast on Tuesday, Stacey said “I had had a lot to drink. I don’t know why, I decided to tweet about it. Then about half hour, hour later I was getting responses back and I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to think what was going on. It just got all out of hand then. I didn’t intend being a racist when I got up that morning, I just wanted to go out and have a good time with my friends and watch the rugby. Within about an hour, two hours, everything escalated.”

Stacey said he hit back when other Twitter users criticised him. “I was retaliating to what they said about me. I realised about an hour later it had gone nationwide and it was like a witch-hunt on Twitter for me.”

Schmitz : Magic Continue To Cover Up For Howard

Posted in Basketball at 4:13 pm by

In one of the least surprising developments in recent memory, Orlando relieved GM Otis Smith and head coach Stan Van Gundy of their respective duties yesterday, firings that immediately led to Jerry Sloan throwing his hat in the ring to replace Van Gundy. Taking umbrage at SVG being sacked via cell phone, the Orlando Sentinel’s Brian Schmitz all but calls Magic CEO Alex Martins a liar, writing, “anybody who doesn’t think this has everything to do with keeping Howard long-term hasn’t been following one of the most bizarre stories in sports.”|

Martins said Howard wanted no part of evaluating Van Gundy’s job performance. I think Dwight already gave his recommendation several times, although Martins denies Howard ever telling him he wanted Stan pink-slipped.

“Dwight never asked me for Stan to be fired,” Martins said.

But Martins knew. He knew because owner Rich DeVos knew. DeVos told me himself that Howard had gone to management.

The job also requires that you don’t tell the media that the superstar actually wants you fired. Van Gundy did – and that was Stan being Stan.

No other coach in the league was as brutally honest and entertaining. He was funny and fearless and relentless and maniacal.

Every game on the sideline was Shakespeare in the park with Stan. He lived and died with each possession. He worked himself to exhaustion. He wanted to win – more than some of his players did. He defended Howard more than he chastised him.

Did Stan wear on players? Absolutely. Did he make them better? Absolutely.

05.21.12

Citi Field Transformed Into A Not-So-Exciting Type Of All-Male Theatre

Posted in Baseball, New York, New York, Religion, The Internet at 6:13 pm by

As previewed in this space a few weeks ago (“Citi Field – Available For International Soccer, Pop Concerts…And Anti-Internet Porn Rallies”), Citi Field paid host yesterday to a massive all-dude, Orthodox Jewish rally on the insidious nature of technology.  The oversubscribed event was extended to neighboring Arthur Ashe Stadium, such was the demand for tickets to what organizers denied was solely about David Howard’s browser history internet smut…but we know better, right? From the New York Times’ Michael M. Grynbaum :

The rally in Citi Field on Sunday was sponsored by a rabbinical group, Ichud Hakehillos Letohar Hamachane, that is linked to a software company that sells Internet filtering software to Orthodox Jews. Those in attendance were handed fliers that advertised services like a “kosher GPS App” for iPhone and Android phones, which helps users locate synagogues and kosher restaurants.

Nat Levy, 25, who traveled from Lakewood, N.J., to attend, said he frequently surfed the Web at a cafe, overseen by a local rabbi, that filtered out certain types of online content and monitored which Web sites he visited.

He said he often used the Internet to deal with customers for his company. “You get to do business the same way,” he said. “I have unlimited access, but it’s done in a kosher manner.”

Eytan Kobre, a spokesman for the event, delivered a more intense message to reporters outside the stadium. “The siren song of the Internet entices us!” he pronounced in a booming voice. “It brings out the worst of us!”

Still, Mr. Kobre confirmed that the event would be broadcast live on the Internet, via a stream available to homes and synagogues in Orthodox communities around the New York area. He said the general public would not be able to gain access, but several unauthorized streams appeared soon after the rally began.

Manny Ramirez’ Tourist Guide To Round Rock, TX

Posted in Baseball, Tourism at 2:24 pm by

(possibly the only Manny who’d find himself less welcome in Round Rock, TX)

If a few hundred more fans than usual fill the stands at the Round Rock Express’ Dell Diamond tonight, it might have something to do with the presence of Manny Ramirez in the starting lineup for the visiting Sacramento River Cats (PCL, AAA).  Ramirez, preparing to make his Oakland A’s debut after serving a 50 game suspension for PED usage, is not unaccustomed to enjoying the minor league experience. Since he’ll be spending a few days in Williamson County — just a stone’s throw (well, 35 minutes in shitty traffic) from CSTB HQ —- I thought it might be proper to offer some guidance on the amazing cultural hotbed that is Round Rock.

1) HEB PLUS.

This is the biggest supermarket I’ve ever visited.  They’ve got an impressive “ethnic foods” department, so if Manny needs to stock up on matzoh, he’s in luck.

PROS :  Fully stocked pharmacy, open til 9pm
CONS : If Manny’s wearing a hoodie, he might get shot.

2) Little Red Wagon Burgers

LRW is almost certainly one of the region’s top 250 burger establishments, and compared to the fare on offer at the Dell Diamond, Manny is far less likely to encounter food poisoning.

PROS : Several 2-3 star reviews on Yelp.  Withing walking distance from HEB Plus’ pharmacy.
CONS : if Manny is seen leaving the establishment wearing a hoodie, he might be shot.

3)  Ikea.

Manny will be spending a lot of time at the Emeryville, CA location, but what better way to get an early start on picking out new furniture than in the relatively calm shopping environment of the Round Rock Ikea?

PROS : Within walking distance of the Round Rock Factory Outlets
CONS : Pretty good chance Manny is getting tased in the parking lot, hoodie or not.

4) Terravista Golf Club

Chances are, Manny’s already made plans to take his River Kings teammates out for an afternoon on the links.

PROS : “This 18 hole Clifton-Ezell-Clifton design has captured the hill country beauty with views that reach 30 miles to the west. The rolling hills provide a challenging 7,200-yard layout whose 5 different tees will challenge golfers of all ages and abilities. ”
CONS : Are you kidding?  They’ve got snipers on the clubhouse roof, ready and waiting.

5) Guided tour of the SST Warehouse in nearby Taylor, TX

I realize basketball is more up Greg Ginn’s alley, but I’d like to think one deeply misunderstood icon would welcome another with open arms. And perhaps Manny can snag a copy of B’last’s ‘Take The Manic Ride’?

PROS : Having earned more than $200 million in his baseball career, Ramirez might be looking to diversify his portfolio. And what could be a better investment than SST’s exciting new projects?
CONS : Have you heard B’last’s ‘Take The Manic Ride’?

And that’s pretty much it.  Once upon a time, Manny could’ve sought out free wifi at Sandoro’s Coffeehouse & Cafe, but that’s no longer an option.

History’s Most Puzzling (non) eBay Auctions, Pt. IX

Posted in Baseball, Racism Corner, The Marketplace at 11:51 am by

It takes some doing to come up with an auction less popular than one for an autographed Nash Kato guitar, but full credit to the classy people at Leland’s, who’d like to interest you in a “KKK Presentation Bat”, circa 1936.  Bidding starts at $1000 for what the auction house optimistically calls, “a phenomenal piece of American history”.

05.20.12

A Writer More Diplomatic Than T.J. Simers Would Say DeAndre Jordan Lacks A Sense Of Urgency

Posted in Basketball at 4:33 pm by

Instead, LA Times columnist Simers, while quick to call Clippers C Jordan, “funny, easygoing and as friendly an athlete as Los Angeles has to offer,” feels very comfortable calling the 24-year-old, “a waste of space.”  With LA trailing San Antonio, 3-0 in the Western Conference semi-finals, Simers’ peers are quick to hail Gregg Popovich and the revitalized Tim Duncan.  T.J., however, asks of Jordan, “how about playing like someone worried they might take his money away?”

“I disagree I’m not developing; I’m physical,” Jordan says. “Do you want me to flagrant-two somebody?”

How about just grabbing the ball when it’s loose, or maybe making contact while going for a rebound rather than just trying to leap over someone?

“So that means I’m not physical?” Jordan says. “I disagree with you.”

How about some offensive moves around the basket? To date, Jordan has made two baskets in his NBA career outside the free-throw lane.

“I don’t get those shots in a game, so I can’t prove to anyone I’ve developed that,” he says.

Much of his time is spent stewing over why he’s not in the game. But sometimes when he gets in, it’s as if he’s not there. He went one whole playoff game without getting a rebound. He went another not scoring a basket because he never attempted a shot.

“It’s a rhythm thing; if you play well, you play,” he says, and excuses, excuses. “Me coming out of the game, I don’t control that.”

But he does, of course. He played the entire first quarter in Game 1 against San Antonio because he dominated, and not surprisingly the Clippers and Spurs finished tied.

Tribe’s Perez : The Customers Are Always Wrong (Especially When I Can Hear Them)

Posted in Baseball at 11:14 am by

“I’m tired of getting booed at home,” Indians reliever Chris Perez said after earning a save in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat of Miami . “I figured I’d throw some strikes today. You can quote that,” Perez said in the presence of MLB Blogs’ Jordan Bastian (and probably a few other reporters),  and the latter attempts to provide background for the Cleveland closer’s uneasy relationship with Tribe fans.

Perez, who has gone 13-for-13 in save chances with a 1.72 ERA since an Opening Day blown save, entered Thursday’s 6-5 win over Seattle with the game caught in a 4-4 tie in the 10th inning. With one out, Perez allowed a single to Justin Smoak and then issued a walk to Casper Wells.

That is when fans sent a chorus of cat calls in Perez’s direction.

“They booed me against the Mariners when I had two guys on,” Perez said. “It feels like I can’t even give up a baserunner without people booing me. It’s even worse when there’s only 5,000 in the stands, because then you can hear it. It [ticks] me off.”

“I got two guys on,” he added later. “Yeah, my release point was all over the place, but really? I’ve got two guys on. They haven’t even scored yet and you’re booing me? You’re saying, ‘Get this bum off the mound.’ Come on.”

In that outing, Perez retired the next two hitters he faced to escape unscathed. After he struck out Seattle’s Jesus Montero to end the inning, Perez did not enjoy the crowd’s reaction.

“The mock standing applause just adds to it,” Perez said. “You see their true colors.”

05.19.12

If NYC Didn’t Dodge A Bullet With Their 2012 Summer Games Snub..

Posted in Mob Behavior, olympics, The Law, The Marketplace at 4:39 pm by

…they’ve managed to avoid The Long Range Acoustic Device. Or Drones with surveillance cameras. And how about that 11-mile electric fence?  These aren’t precautions for the Republican National Convention or preparations for the Cockney Rejects at Chaos In Tejas, but rather, the above schemes are being employed for this Summer’s 2012 Olympic Games in London. Said competitions, writes The Nation’s Dave Zirin, “aren’t about sport any more than the Iraq War was about democracy…they are a neoliberal Trojan Horse aimed at bringing in business and rolling back the most basic civil liberties.”

These “security issues” have been broadly defined to include everything from “terrorism” to peaceful protesters, to labor unions, to people selling bootleg Olympic products on the streets, to taking down any corporate presence that doesn’t have the Olympic seal of approval. To help them with the last part, there will be “brand protection teams” set loose around the city. These “teams” will also operate inside Olympic venues to make sure no one “wears clothes or accessories with commercial messages other than the manufacturers” who are official sponsors.

The security operation also means the kind of street harassment of working class youth that will sound familiar here in the United States. As the Guardian reported, “Officers have powers to move on anyone considered to be engaged in antisocial behaviour, whether they are hanging around the train station, begging, soliciting, loitering in hoodies or deemed in any way to be causing a nuisance.”

Not to shock anyone, but there are no signs that any of the security apparatus will be dismantled once the Olympics are over. Local police forces have just been given an inordinate number of new toys and the boxes have been opened, the receipts tossed away.

London will be left with a high-tech police force, terrible debt, higher taxes, with a camera around every corner. The only people who will leave this party enriched will be the private security industry, who will tout “the peace” as their personal accomplishment, encouraging more of the global 1 percent to get more guards, more walls and more separation from the great unwashed.

Brandon McCarthy : Verbal Abuse Never Solved Anything

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 3:36 pm by

Umpire Laz Dias has reportedly apologized for blowing a call on A’s P Brandon McCarthy’s alleged trap / non-catch of a bunt by Texas’ Elvis Andrus Thursday afternoon. McCarthy took exception to Diaz’ ruling, but tells readers of his BMCCARTHYTHOUGHTS blog, “raging can be fun, but nothing gets accomplished.”

That point in the game was extremely high leverage. If he correctly rules that I caught it, then I’ve completed six innings (helpful for saving the bullpen) and we’re tied. After that play, Texas were now up 4-3 with runners on 1st and 2nd and one out. That is two massively different scenarios as a result of that decision. Combine that with another grown adult telling me that I trapped the ball (when I knew for a fact that wasn’t the case) and I exploded.

Usually I enjoy swearing, but only on much friendlier terms. I was swearing at Laz like he had personally tried to screw me and now the more I look back at it, I was being an asshole. I could’ve sworn at him until my cerebellum melted, but what would that have solved? Nothing.

In the future, I think I’m going to start going for the much calmer discussion/debates.  I’m very aware that Laz did what he felt was correct. I don’t know how he didn’t see me catch that ball, but he says he did and under his job title, I’m obligated to abide by that. He’s just doing his job as best as he knows how, and I stood there and screamed and belittled him for it. That’s not how I want to carry myself going forward.

05.18.12

Curt Schilling : Fugazy Conservative

Posted in Baseball, politics, The Marketplace, Video Games at 2:46 pm by

Former Phillies/D-Backs/Red Sox starter Curt Schilling’s video game production firm, 38 Studios, took a $75 million loan from Rhode Island upon relocating their operation from Massachusetts in 2010. On Wednesday, Schilling (above, far right) attempted to make a $1.1 million payment on the loan after warning the state they’d be unable to make payroll, then warning R.I.’s Economic Development Corporation the $1.1 million check was likely to bounce. Noting that Schilling earned $118 million during his baseball career (including $8 million in 2008, a season he missed due to injury), “it must’ve been his left arm he thrust out for public funds.”

Schilling spent no small amount of time in his career preaching the Republican mantra of smaller government and personal responsibility. He did this fresh off the historic Red Sox World Series win when he backed George W. Bush in the 2004 campaign. He did it on the stump on behalf of John McCain in 2008.

He did it for Scott Brown in January 2010, when he wrote in his blog, “He’s for smaller government,’’ and lauding Brown’s opposition to “creating a new government insurance program.’’

Apparently smaller government, in Schilling’s world, applies to other people, maybe city kids stuck in underperforming schools or disabled adults looking for help back and forth to medical appointments. But for a former six-time Major League Baseball All-Star pitcher whose business venture can create jobs (!), bask in the greatness, people, and open the public vault.

Let’s stipulate here that the Rhode Island officials who committed this public money to 38 Studios are idiots. I mean nothing negative by that; it’s just the only possible adjective that applies. All right, maybe “sycophants’’ works as well because they were probably hyperventilating at the sight of his World Series rings and that he knew their names. Really, what public official bets the farm on a video game called “Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning,’’ while Central Falls is in receivership and Providence is fending off bankruptcy?

Raissman : Tortella Is MSG’s Answer To Bobby V.

Posted in Hockey at 2:19 pm by

NY Rangers head coach John Tortella’s brusque manner during postgame press conferences strikes some as amusing, though the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman seems to side with Mike Milbury who calls the behavior, “borderline of just being rude.” “Imagine what the flow of information from media to fans would be like,” scolds Raissman, “if Joe Girardi, Terry Collins, Rex Ryan, Tom Coughlin, and the others, decided to borrow heavily from Tortorella’s media manifesto?”

His postgame performances suggest the coach believes he’s the smartest guy in the room. In a Valentinesque sort of way, Tortorella probably thinks he invented the game of hockey.

There is so much focus on him that if the Rangers should lose, either to the Devils or in the Stanley Cup Finals, Tortorella will be the fall guy, the scapegoat. He didn’t consciously make himself the center of attention (we think), but that’s what he is now. He owns the spotlight.

And the very way he’s performed in it, the way he’s made his postgame sessions (no matter how short) must-see-TV, may not have exactly endeared him to those asking questions and having them answered with stuff like: “Your microphone doesn’t work.” Or ,“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Or, “That’s ridiculous. That’s ridiculous.” Or, “Stop coaching, Pat.”

If the bottom drops out on the Rangers, how long will it take for those covering the series, those on the receiving end of belligerent nonanswers, to start wondering if the Rangers have become an uptight team, a mirror image of their tightly wound coach?

05.17.12

FRB : Wild’s New Mouthpiece Is Hardly An Upgrade

Posted in Hockey, Sports TV at 6:56 pm by

“Announcement on Wild’s play-by-play voice delayed by backlash” read the Minneapolis Star-Tribune headline just two days after the paper’s Michael Russo reported the Wild and Fox Sports North intended to unveil Minnesota Gophers announcer Anthony LaPanta (above) as the club’s lead play-by-play voice for the 2012-13 season. Reactions to LaPanta’s appointment have been described (optimistically) as “passionate”, while the far more forthcoming Nate W. of First Round Bust is quick to add, “the fact that Minnesota and FSN did not forsee disgust and blowback is more disappointing than anything”

Being a NHL announcer has to be one of the hardest jobs in sports. There’s no room for error in a game that is moving at breakneck speeds and they never get a break because unlike football, downtime does not exist. Even the best announcers in hockey – guys like Doc Emerick, Randy Hahn, Gord Miller – all have detractors. It’s almost impossible to be universally loved but the opposite is something that even Joe Buck couldn’t do. Minnesota fans are upset with this news and are channeling their inner “Network.”

With a franchise that has missed the postseason four years in a row and promises of better days ahead through both free agency and the prospect pipeline, getting Anthony LaPanta as the new announcer goes against everything said by the Wild this offseason. The former Gophers announcer (who had his issues doing that whether being overly excited, sounding unauthentic and fake or not having chemistry with guest color guys) is more of the same with Fox Sports North, if not more, and cronyism is the last thing fans want to see.

I’ll take Anthony LaPanta over Dan Terhaar any day of the week. He can identify players correctly and doesn’t get as lost in the game but that’s like going up from a one to a two star hotel. The issue with Terhaar – other than his voice cracking – was that he misidentified players throughout the season and was so biased in favor of the Wild that at times it was comical and took away from the game. LaPanta has the same qualities with being so over-the-top it’s comical and between being the easy choice, a company man and the Wild/Fox Sports North not trying to get the best of the best (NO fan will tell you that is the guy who looks to be hired) there’s a failure and the State of Hockey up in arms as the unanimous disapproval clearly shows.

Kareem, Possibly Not A Fan Of “Alvin & The Chipmunks : Chipwrecked”

Posted in Basketball, Cinema, The World Of Entertainment at 1:42 pm by

Hey, tell David Denby to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes.

AK47 : I Didn’t Flunk US History 101

Posted in Basketball, We Aren't The World at 11:02 am by

Rumored to be coveted by the Brooklyn Nets, former Utah Jazz F Andrei Kirilenko took a break from preparing for Russia’s Olympic qualifiers, submitting to questions from Russia Beyond The Headlines’ Peter Petrovsky.

RBTH: Weren’t you afraid to go back to Russia? You hold an American passport. Not everyone in Russia thought your decision made sense.

A.K.: Why? I knew where I was going and America will wait. My wife and three children were able to choose where to live.

RBTH: Can you say a few words about the problems you had taking your U.S. citizenship test.

A.K.: Those were not problems, but a misunderstanding. I could not answer a question about the War of Independence. They asked me why the colonists disliked the British government and I said they wanted freedom. They told me the answer was wrong, but I said I thought it was definitely right…

NYT : Theo Epstein’s New Bosses Are Ready To Drop The Race Bomb On Obama

Posted in Baseball, politics, Racism Corner at 9:35 am by

As of this writing, Chicago Cubs ownership has not solved The Carlos Marmol Problem. Nor have they found a taker for Alfonso Soriano’s contract. However, if dirty political campaigning gives you a boner, you’ll be thrilled to know the Ricketts family is prepared to spend megabucks in order to glue President Barack Obama’s reputation to that of his former spiritual guru, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright. From the New York Times’ Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg :

“The world is about to see Jeremiah Wright and understand his influence on Barack Obama for the first time in a big, attention-arresting way,” says the proposal, which was overseen by Fred Davis and commissioned by Joe Ricketts (above), the founder of the brokerage firm TD Ameritrade. Mr. Ricketts is increasingly putting his fortune to work in conservative politics.

The $10 million plan, one of several being studied by Mr. Ricketts, includes preparations for how to respond to the charges of race-baiting it envisions if it highlights Mr. Obama’s former ties to Mr. Wright, who espouses what is known as “black liberation theology.”

The group suggested hiring as a spokesman an “extremely literate conservative African-American” who can argue that Mr. Obama misled the nation by presenting himself as what the proposal calls a “metrosexual, black Abe Lincoln.”

A copy of a detailed advertising plan was obtained by The New York Times through a person not connected to the proposal who was alarmed by its tone. It is titled “The Defeat of Barack Hussein Obama: The Ricketts Plan to End His Spending for Good.”

The proposal was presented last week in Chicago to associates and family members of Mr. Ricketts, who is also the patriarch of the family that owns the Chicago Cubs.

Lamenting that voters “still aren’t ready to hate this president,” the document concludes that the campaign should “explain how forces out of Obama’s control, that shaped the man, have made him completely the wrong choice as president in these days and times.”

UPDATE : spokespersons for Davis and Ricketts claim neither has approved the “the so-called ‘Ricketts Plan’” (“Joe Ricketts is a registered independent, a fiscal conservative, and an outspoken critic of the Obama Administration, but he is neither the author nor the funder…this plan merely a proposal, but it reflects an approach to politics that Mr. Ricketts rejects.”)

05.16.12

Mike Francesa – Possibly Not A Fan Of Gary Carter Raw

Posted in Sports Radio, twitter twatter at 6:27 pm by

In which New York sports radio’s #1 (consumer of Diet Coke) swears that he will never use Twitter. While “never”, is a very long time, perhaps it really is better off this way?

Full Credit To Brett Lawrie…

Posted in Baseball at 11:52 am by

somebody had to make David Wright look composed by comparison last night. And not to condone helmet (or beer) tossing, but those who didn’t catch last night’s Tampa/Toronto tilt are well advised to check out Blue Jay Hunter’s Zapruder-esque analysis of the two called strikes that caused Lawrie to (literally) flip his lid. Lawrie’s meltdown makes for a fun late-night clip, but as BJH puts it, “Lawrie will have consequences for his actions, and (home plate umpire) Bill Miller will not … or at least, we’ll never hear about it.”

Charlie Hustle To Showcase His Thespian Skills

Posted in Baseball, The World Of Entertainment at 10:34 am by

The following bit of news from the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Eradi is either the worst thing to happen to the performing arts since the casting of Matthew Modine and Paul Reiser in “Bye Bye Love”, or the biggest diss to date experienced by Tom Sizemore.

Pete Rose hits the live stage Friday night at Belterra Casino Resort in what is basically a one-man show billed in various places on the internet as “An Evening With Pete Rose,” or “4,192 — The Making of the Hit King.”

“It’s me telling stories about how I got started playing ball, the impact my father had on me as an athlete, signing with the Reds and right on through the breaking of the (all-time) hit record,” Rose said Tuesday in a telephone interview.

There will be graphics on a big screen, questions from an on-stage interviewer to maintain the storyline of river rat Pete growing up near Anderson Ferry all the way through breaking Ty Cobb’s hit record on Sept. 11, 1985, and Rose’s forte, taking questions from the audience.

“That’s what keeps it fresh for me,” Rose said. “You never know what people are going to ask. Somebody will ask a question I haven’t heard before and it calls to mind a story and I’m off and running.”

Hardball Talk’s Craig Calcaterra suggests brave attendees ask Pete, “how it felt to kill Bart Giamatti”, and assuming you can make that inquiry without being escorted from the premises, you might also raise the subject of maiming another player during a meaningless exhibition game.

05.15.12

Rosenthal : When You Perform Like Hamilton, You Can Take All The Foolish Risks You Want

Posted in Baseball at 6:57 pm by

“For all the uproar over Josh Beckett’s ill-timed golf outing,” writes Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, “Josh Hamilton’s headfirst slide on a wet tarp in Baltimore last week was probably the more reckless act.”  Yes, but Beckett’s golf game didn’t bring back memories of Rick Dempsey (and Hamilton’s tarp-slide didn’t come on the heels of being unable to make a scheduled start).

Hamilton had gone 5-for-5 with four homers the previous night for the red-hot Rangers, while Beckett — coming off his role in the fried-chicken-and-beer episode last September — was struggling for the disappointing Red Sox.

There also is this:

Hamilton plays in the Dallas-Ft. Worth market, where fans and media are far more forgiving than they are in Boston — relentlessly intense, occasionally over-the-top Boston.

I’m not defending Beckett, whose act is beyond tired. He knows the landscape in Boston, yet he chose to stay with the Sox, signing a four-year, $68 million extension in April 2010.

Still, name another city where Beckett would have been flagged by media for playing golf on an off-day while dealing with tightness in his lat muscle. Frankly, I’m not even sure it would have happened in New York.

I don’t honestly believe Rosenthal is indirectly campaigning for the Yankees or the (broke-ass) Mets to sign Hamilton this offseason, but there’s no way an afternoon of golf, jell0 shots or worse goes unreported, especially if the outfielder isn’t getting it done on the field.

Couch Slouch : Albert’s MLB’s New Coke

Posted in Baseball at 11:13 am by

In stark contrast to Josh Hamilton’s terrorizing of American League pitching, Angels 1B Albert Pujols has struggled mightily since signing a gargantuan pact this past winter, so much so that Adam Dunn feels sorry for him.  Writing for The Cleveland Plain-Dealer, Norman Chad (above) proposes that Albert isn’t merely a big useless lump in the middle of Mike Scioscia’s lineup, but is instead, “a living, breathing ‘John Carter’”. Full points to the Slouch for not referencing “Heaven’s Gate” or “Tusk”.

If Pujols — who signed a 10-year contract — doesn’t defunkify, we’re looking at something that goes beyond free-agent bust. He’s entering hallowed cultural territory. Here are, unofficially, the five biggest flops of the past halfcentury in American life:

• New Coke (1985): Was anybody complaining about Coca-Cola? What were they thinking? This was like adding skylights and terraces to the pyramids.
• Chevy Chase’s talk show (1993): Magic Johnson’s talk show was actually worse, but he was a point guard. Chase is an entertainer.
• Ben-Gay Aspirin (1990s): Yes, Ben-Gay Aspirin. For real. I mean, I’ll smear that delightfully smelly stuff on my back, but do I care to swallow it?
• Dennis Miller on “Monday Night Football” (2000-01): I still have nightmares of the former funny guy referring to Mike Shanahan as “Shanny” 37 times in four quarters.
• Susan B. Anthony dollar (1979-81, 1999): Hey, I was as big a fan of women’s suffrage as the next guy, but I don’t want some feminist coin rolling around my pocket ruining the feng shui of my favorite quarters and dimes.

05.14.12

Joey Barton Attemps To Deflect Attention From His Latest Gaffe With Something We Can All Agree Upon…

Posted in Football, twitter twatter at 11:45 pm by

…namely, that Alan Shearer is really bald.  The New York Times found the dramatic events in Manchester Sunday afternoon a big enough to warrant the front page of Monday’s sports section, but they somehow failed to mention that QPR’s near-defeat of Manchester City might’ve had just a little to do with the former fighting for their EPL survival.  Though the R’s achieved safety when Stoke equalized at home against Bolton, that’s still not quite enough to get QPR midfielder Joey Barton off the hook.  Here’s a few of Barton’s tweets from Monday, not including the classic rejoinder to the BBC’s Gary Linekar (“do u wanna go there publicly “Mr Squeaky Clean” ? Think u should have a look in that vast closet of skeltons before u respond”)