(above : absolutely not a photograph of Frank Francisco)
Earlier today, the New York Daily News’ Andy Martino asked (via Twitter), “Why do people compare (Frank) Francisco to (Armando) Benitez? There have been many bad closers in the intervening years.” Said loaded question came less than 24 hours after Francisco blew his 2nd save in 3 games against the Marlins, Sunday’s ending with an on-field meltdown that almost resulted in Terry Collins being squashed by his enraged reliever.
Putting aside for a moment whether or not Sandy Alderson’s two-year, $12 million investment in Francisco was ill-advised (hey, we could be stuck with J.J. Putz), The Journal News’ Howard Megdal takes exception to Martino’s inference, pointing that persons quick to compare Francisco to Benitez have legit reasons for doing so besides race.
Armando Benitez was a heavyset reliever who threw a majority of fastballs. His second pitch was a splitter. He suffered from command issues with his slider pitches, tended to leave those fastballs over the middle of the plate when he got beaten. He was primarily a flyball pitcher whose velocity tended to hover in the mid-90s. He walked well more than four per nine innings, and struck out better than a batter per inning.
All of these things are true for Frank Francisco, too. All of them. They are both a very specific type of pitcher. They also look remarkably similar, facially, and wear practically the same number: Benitez wore 49, Francisco wears 48.
And Braden Looper was a groundball pitcher who barely struck out anybody. Mets fans weren’t fond of him, but it wouldn’t make any sense at all to compare Francisco to Looper, for reasons having nothing to do with race.
Notice also that despite a general dislike of Francisco Rodriguez within the fan base, no one is comparing Francisco to Rodriguez, despite the two of the being of Latin descent.
‘I’d die out here if I had to and that’s real talk. I’ve been doing this for a long time and ways where I know how to conserve energy and get ‘em at free throw lines and when guys are shooting free throws, those are valuable seconds for me. When I train in the summer I train for a lack of, and when I say that, I mean rest. I program my body to recover as quickly as it can. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I’m a cerebral player these days and I know how to buy myself time on pick and rolls and stuff like that, things that you don’t see when you’re in your seat and it helps me.’ [...] ‘I have no life at this point. I go home, get treatment, come back in here, study tape, film. No life at all. This is what it is.’
“I hit 42 batters in my career,” Peterson said, “every one of them deliberately.”
He’s quite proud of that, if only because it says something about his control, and also because, in his mind, it helped him last as long as he did in the big leagues, with a 133-131 record from 1966-76, including a 20-11 season with the Yankees in 1970 and two other 17-win seasons for them.
“All of my pitching strategy was about winning games and giving myself an advantage,” Peterson said. “I didn’t throw that hard, upper 80s most of the time, and so I had to use purpose pitches. Hitting batters was part of my game plan.”
And Peterson can remember each and every one of his 42 victims with great pride.
“My all-time favorite was probably Rick Monday ,” Peterson said, “even though I broke his elbow with a pitch that put him out for 50 games. I felt terrible after about that, but at the time I took great pleasure in hitting him because, in my mind, he was this brash guy from California who needed to be taught a lesson.”
(a rare photograph of Sirius/XM’s Screamo Cockface in which his mouth is not attached to Tim Tebow’s rear)
Mad Dog Radio’s Dino Costa took a break this week from running interference for George Zimmerman and/or declaring Gary Bettman to be professional sports’ best commissioner (!) to announce that starting in July, he’ll conduct his evening broadcasts from a home studio in Cheyenne, Wyoming. If that town doesn’t strike you as a cultural hotbed, Dino writes, “I hope you never show up, because the less people in Wyoming and all the better is my feeling.”
Goodbye to the concrete jungle and tall buildings, and hello to fields of amber waves of glory, with the sight of combines harvesting the fields, cows and other assorted livestock on the horizon, and majestic scenery made up of mountain ranges that never fail to take my breath away.
Goodbye to loafers and preppy ass clothing that makes me want to vomit, and hello to the pleasing sight of a man wearing a Cowboy hat, a pair of boots, a Wrangler shirt – and a well worn pair of jeans.
Goodbye to this new wave sound that some suggest is actually music — and hello once again to the best music in America…gimme that country twang of Montgomery Gentry over and over again.
Goodbye as well, to the likelihood that Dino might ever encounter more than a handful of blacks or jews. With Costa clearly in possession of incriminating photos of Chris Russo, it seems he can pretty much pick and choose which parts of the modern world he’d like to contend with. You shouldn’t be surprised that a spineless legend-in-his-own-mind like Costa would take flight from the melting pot that is NYC, but perhaps he should’ve done so much earlier. At least prior to describing a transgendered person as “it”. But leave it to a guy complaining about “this new wave sound” in 2012 (does anyone know what the fuck he’s talking about? Ladytron? Skrillex? Linda Ronstadt’s ‘Mad Love’?) to think his brand of bullying is socially acceptable.
Near the end, Clemens got this way, too, remember. At this stage of his career, when he was in his early 30s, Clemens went 40-39 with a 3.77 ERA during a four-year span in which the Red Sox generally looked like they look now. Clemens was out of shape. He lost the fire who made him who he was. Clemens basically had three Cy Young Awards in the same pocket where Beckett now holds two World Series rings, and it certainly started to feel like the big guy was just cashing the checks and living off his reputation.
And so last night, there was Beckett again, telling us all that the off-days belong to him, that players only get 18 off-days during the season, the same way Clemens reminded us that the Red Sox had to carry their own bags through the airport. Clearly, you can only hide a life of entitlement for so long.
Do you even like what you do anymore, Josh? Do you? Or do you see your talent as some sort of needless burden? Five years ago, when Beckett was leading the Red Sox to their last world title, Red Sox officials spoke of Beckett having lofty goals, of him wanting to be a 300-game winner. Now they can’t get him to keep his weight down during the season. They can’t get him to stay off the golf course and do the prudent thing when he is scratched from a start with stiffness in his right lat muscle. The Red Sox just offer a series of meaningless, contradictory statement about Beckett’s injury, or non-injury, or work ethic, all seemingly because an admission of guilt or wrongdoing would reveal some weakness.
The Denver Post’s Jessica Fender reports Nuggets C Chris Andersen will not participate in the club’s postseason activities “while Douglas County sheriff’s detectives investigate him for unknown Internet crimes against children,”.
Authorities searched Andersen’s Larkspur home this morning and seized property. Andersen, 33, has not been arrested or charged with a crime.
“The Denver Nuggets are aware of today’s media reports involving forward/center Chris Andersen. It involves a legal investigation and we are awaiting further details,” team officials wrote in an unsigned statement. “Per team policy, the Nuggets will not comment on any ongoing legal circumstance involving any player or employee.”
Andersen has been under investigation since February, when a California law enforcement agency tipped off Douglas County investigators.
It’s nice to know that MLB Advanced Media can send messages of extreme hate fuckery into my home given they know my viewing location, but Dewhurst’s crazed attack ads aimed at rival Ted Cruz combine faux patriotism with production values somewhere south of a Tim & Eric clip. Ted Cruz, you see, isn’t merely a politician. He’s A LAWYER. A lawyer that represents a Chinese company who have STOLEN “things” from “an American Manufacturer”. Never mind that everyone is entitled to the best legal representation they can find, THESE PEOPLE ARE CHINESE.
I’ve read more than once that MLB Advanced Media is wildly profitable and ranks as one of Bud Selig’s undisputed triumphs. I’ve yet to read however, who exactly Bud won’t take money from, presumably because the list is so very short.
“Those folk are fed up because they see their time being wasted,” the judge, Reggie Walton of United States District Court, said to the lawyers before the jury entered the courtroom.
He said jurors were so antsy that they had begun discussing the case, which they were told not to do. He said he learned about the discussions when a juror asked his law clerk when the jury would be told about the charges against Clemens because some jurors were confused about what Clemens was accused of.
Walton said he knew why they broke the rules: “Because, they’re bored!” He told both sides to stop asking unnecessary questions and stop showing needless photographs.
Brian McNamee, the government’s star witness, could have spurred jurors out of their malaise if he testified Tuesday, as the government said he would. But he did not; prosecutors pushed his testimony to later in the week.
Blackburn Rovers fans have made it their business to protest against manager Steve Kean and owners Venky’s this season. Last night a fan managed to smuggle a chicken into Ewood Park and, adorned in a Rovers flag and a “Kean Out” placard, it was released onto the pitch in the seventh minute. Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi and Blackburn’s Yakubu formed an unlikely partnership to corner the fowl in the goal net before capturing it and handing it to a steward.
John Strubel claims to understand and respect, “Ralph Kiner’s importance in Mets history”, but that doesn’t mean he’s particularly patient when it comes to the Kiner’s very occasional visits to the SNY booth, this Sunday’s game against Arizona being a case in point (link courtesy Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)
Kiner, 89, was back in Flushing, making the annual pilgrimage to appear on SNY’s broadcast. I understand the desire to honor Mets history, but listening to Kiner was uncomfortable. His three-inning appearance was dominated by slurred, inaudible comments. While Kiner appears to still have a sharp memory of people, places and games and has been referred to by the New York Times as ”a human archive of Mets and baseball history,” sorry, he no longer adds value to the broadcast.
Call it blasphemy, I understand. Refer to me in expletives, I can take it. But when you’re done throwing darts ask yourself, is it true? Go to MLB.com and watch the replay of the game. Listen to Kiner. When you’re done listening, ask yourself, “Why was Kiner invited on the air?”
I thought of the possible reasons why the Mets (and SNY) still invite Kiner back to the broadcast booth. If it’s tradition, then please explain to me when the Mets began taking tradition into consideration (see Banner Day, Mets Hall of Fame, Old Timer’s Day, etc.)?
Pride? History? SNY can go along of directions in response. Tom Seaver. Bud Harrelson. Darryl Strawberry. In fact, don’t the Mets already have a strong contigency of team pride and history already on staff (Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling, Bob Ojeda)?
Kiner’s work is no longer enjoyable. His slurred speech and inaudible mumblings are no longer desirable. Please, SNY, stop while you’re ahead. This is not how Mets fans want to remember Ralph Kiner.
OK, I’m pretty certain Strubel holds the Mets and SNY accountable here rather than blaming Kiner for having lost a step or several at nearly 90 years of age. I’d also hope that when and if Ralph’s no longer capable of adding coherent thoughts to Mets broadcast, he’d be the first person to admit as much. But to suggest Tom Seaver would be an adequate guest/replacement compared to Kiner has me wondering if Stubel’s actually heard the former’s not-so-terrific tenures as an analyst for the Mets or Yankees.
I’m not going to argue that Kiner’s best days are long behind him, but what purpose is served in pointing out the obvious? Could it be, that during an era in which Mets ownership is generally short-sighted and purely profit motivated, they continue to invite Ralph to participate because we love him so much?
My own memories of Kiner’s insights and humor are in no way threatened by episodes like Sunday. Even on his worst afternoons, he’s still making more far sense than Fran Healy ever managed. I’ll take a few of innings of Ralph Kiner at diminished capacity over Josh Lewin on the radio any day of the week.
A: He’s probably at home in his bathrobe or doing something with friends and family besides his job. Man, what a loaded question! While Amar’e Stoudemire’s productive performance in Game 4 of the Knicks’ first-round playoff series with Miami was highly unlikely given his self-inflicted injury, few can be surprised at Mike Woodson’s insistence that PG Jeremy Lin is unavailable, even were the series to go to a 7th game. Few, that is, besides MSG’s Al Trautwig, who as recently as Sunday afternoon, continued to tease a Lin comeback, causing the New York Daily News’ resident Gallagher-lookalike Bob Raissman to dub Al, “a snake-oil salesman”.
“I always wondered how the Jeremy Lin movie would end. Here we go,” Trautwig said on MSG’s Game 4 postgame show. “Jeremy Lin returns for Game 5 and leads the Knicks to become the only team in NBA history to come back from an 0-3 deficit.”
The statement was absurd on many levels. No matter. The jive Trautwig was pushing is good for Garden business. It fits a pattern at the Gulag, where fantasy is sold as reality to a fan base that laps it up and a segment of the media that spreads it as if it were fact. Wiggie now creating the notion Lin can ride into Miami on his white sneakers and save the day is the last illusion left to sell this season.
The NBA’s Most Improved Player Award winner was unveiled Friday, with Orlando’s Ryan Anderson becoming the fifth Magic play to received said honor. Incredibly, Bucks/Warriors C Andrew Bogut reportedly garnered a first place vote, despite playing in just a dozen games for this past season. SheridanHoops’ Chris Bernucca initially figured this was “a practical joke”, but has since learned the accounting firm in charge of the balloting, Ernst & Young, goofed. Thus providing guys like me with another opportunity to dump on Andrew Bogut. Maybe this guy shouldn’t be running an accounting firm?
The NBA sent a release Sunday admitting the error and stating that the vote that went to Bogut should have been given to Andrew Bynum.
It appears to be an honest mistake, one that removes Bogut from the list of players receiving votes and elevates Bynum to sole possession of fourth place with 101 points.
Ernst & Young also handles the draft lottery drawing for the NBA later this month. Let’s hope the firm has gotten all of its mistakes out of its system and Anthony Davis doesn’t wind up with the Miami Heat.
The Golden Boys – “Dirty Fingernails” (from the album, ‘Dirty Fingernails’, 12XU), directed by James Parker and Jeremy Ward
Featuring an abundance of goth-baiting, stylist-brawling, gratuitous littering and pizza thieving, “Dirty Fingernails”, the second video from The Golden Boys’ fifth album was shot two weekends ago and makes great use of local landmarks that are a big part of the band’s day-to-day lives (Trailer Space, Nay Nay’s bathtub). In short, it’s the greatest music video from the state of Texas since this.
“I was trying to hit him. I’m not going to deny it. It’s something I grew up watching. That’s what happened. I’m just trying to continue the old baseball. Some people get away from it. I remember when I was a rookie, the strike zone was really, really small and you didn’t say anything. That’s the way baseball is. Sometimes the league is protecting certain players. It’s that old-school prestigious way of baseball.”
Hamels is gonna get points for honesty this morning, but his admission is rife with confusing doublespeak (if the strike zone is bigger in 2012, where’s his gripe?) and implications of favoritism (8 days into Harper’s big league career). It really doesn’t sound any better than simply saying, “Harper’s punk reputation preceded him…and I’m jealous.”
Nashville’s Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn found themselves temporarily benched during the Predators’ Western Conference semi-final series against Phoenix after being found guilty of violating the team’s curfew last weekend. It’s a somewhat hysterical overreaction in the view of the New York Post’s Larry Brooks, who claims the pair, “have been attacked righteously, mercilessly and gleefully, turned into stereotypical cultural caricatures, because you know, no North American in the history of the Stanley Cup playoffs has ever imbibed too much or broken curfew.”
It fits, even if somewhat obliquely, into the pattern in which “Russian” has somehow (and once again) become a pejorative in the NHL lexicon, because, you know, there’s no way on earth the Devils could win an overtime game with Ilya Kovalchuk and Alexei Ponikarovsky both on the ice at the same time.
It fits into a pattern in which it is deemed wise to play Alexander Ovechkin fewer than 14 minutes in a playoff game in which No. 8 himself actually scored the third-period winner because, by some accounts, he was “fresh.”
Did Radulov and Kostitsyn, respectively the Predators’ leading scorer and tied as leading goal-scorer in the playoffs, merit criticism and Game 3 benching for their indiscretion?
Yes they did. But the piling on was jingoistic and the Game 4 benching that followed in order that Nashville could keep a couple of more fourth-liners in the lineup against the Coyotes (and how did that work out anyway?) was representative of the reason Radulov fled Barry Trotz’s team in the first place.
It’s been a rough 24 hours for frequent CSTB-target Phil Mushnick, with more than a handful of media outlets calling for the NY Post columnist’s firing after he proposed a rather crude new nickname for Brooklyn’s new NBA franchise. Thing is, Phil’s dropping of a (censored) N-bomb didn’t happen in a vacuum. Much as I often disagree with Mushnick and find his worldview limited at best, I don’t believe for a second he’d actually advocate using that slur under any circumstances. Instead, this was another example of his (continued) demonization of Jay-Z. I’m not sure why it’s been so hard for some readers to grasp that Mushnick is protesting the casual use of racial slurs, though he’s clearly picked an inelegant way to do so.
All of that said, if Phil is wondering today why it’s ok for Jay-Z to employ such language but not a columnist for a daily newspaper, I’d humbly suggest that Jay-Z has had a very different sort of conversation happening with his audience. It’s a bit dimwitted to take Phil’s words at face value and conclude he’d genuinely like to see the Nets renamed in a such fashion (or that he’d find such a rebranding humorous). By the same token, Phil has continuously shown a staggering lack of sophistication when it comes to cultural expression other than the types he knows and respects. For years, Phil’s columns have been filled with teeth-gnashing over any number of hip-hop stars getting cuddly with the sports industry. Courtside appearances by Jack Nicholson, James Gandolfini (just to name two thespians who’ve portrayed killers), receive far less criticism, if any at all.
For those who’ve opined Phil can’t handle a young black man like Jay-Z rising to power in the business world, hey, you’re entitled to your opinion, but I think that’s a stretch. The overwhelming majority of Mushnick’s favorite subjects to harangue are older white men ; no one ever confused Vince McMahon, Mike Francesa or James Dolan with a threat to the white status quo. But I do think he’s got an unfortunate blind spot when it comes to a musical genre that’s been a big of the mainstream (if not the day to day lives of his readers, regardless of race) for eons. I would feel bad if Phil’s inability to relate to the modern world is what ends up costing him his job, but fuck, if you go out your way to pen something that’s clearly provocative, you can’t always control what you’re provoked. If Phil is simply alluding to hate speech rather than using it outright, he picked the wrong medium. Take it from me, self-published bloggers without advertisers can be as inelegant as they wanna be, 24-7.
But I digress. Salon’s Kate Harding threw a media pundit shit-fit over the AP’s 2009 Female Athlete Of The Year poll, one in which Breeders Cup winner Zenyatta finished a distant second to Serena Williams, and Belmont Stakes victor Rachel Alexandra came in 7th behind UConn hoops standout Maya Moore. And to be totally truthful, I was disappointed in the AP’s results, too. No love for soccer thug Liz Lambert? Zero recognition for South African track and field pioneer Caster Semenya? Clearly, these AP voters care even less about women’s sports than this blog’s publisher.
However, that’s not the source of Harding’s gripe. “I can’t help noticing,” she wrote “that Zenyatta and Alexandra are not human, which — call me speciesist — is something I usually expect from an ‘athletes of the year’ list. Perhaps if the AP folks had given the subject a bit more thought, they might instead have chosen to honor, say, Rosemary Homeister, who in 2009 became the second most successful female jockey of all time. Or, you know, any other two women in sports, leaving Zenyatta and Rachel to duke it out for Horse of the Year. Something more like that?”
I’m sorry, but did we learn absolutely nothing this year from “District 9″? Much the way great sportspersons/pioneers such as Semenya, Renee Richards and John Kruk have forced the world to reconsider outdated gender roles, maybe the AP ought to be applauded for looking past something as ultimately trivial in 2009 as species? Certainly Harding has a point when complaining none of the male athletes on their 2009 list had to share the top ten with horses, but that list is a farce, too! Some jumpsuit-wearing d-bag driving around in a circle is a better athlete than than this glorious competitor? I (fucking) think not.
There’s some precedent for the AP’s ranking horses alongside humans. Secretariat only finished 6th amongst male athletes in 1973, despite winning the Triple Crown. Naturally, the human-biased sports media sided with such flash in the pans as Hank Aaron, Bill Walton and some nobody named O.J. Simpson. Apathy towards female athletics is regrettable, sure. Maybe even inexcusable if you fancy yourself a halfway intelligent sports fan. But must Harding diminish the achievements of my stall sisters just to advance her own horse-hating agenda?
Hey, Everybody! It’s been a while since your jerkface editor —- a man so disliked, this blog’s Ballhype ranking will soon be higher than Barry Zito’s jersey number —- allowed me to bring my wit and wisdom to CSTB. And I sincerely wish he wouldn’t bother! While the rest of you are watching “Around The Horn” and pondering another night ALONE, I’m producing future generations of champions. I’m like the Marv Marinovich of horses.
But I digress. I was all set to provide my Belmost Stakes predictions when someone provided me with a clip of WFAN’s Chris Russo talking trash about my boy, Big Brown. I’d like to know, where does this mental midget get off questioning the smarts of a superior athlete who’s just one race away from the Triple Crown, merely because he’s a horse?
WFAN’s website provides no information regarding Russo’s SAT or Wonderlic scores, and curiously his years at Oxford are totally ignored in his biography. But if the station employed a host that mocked Jews, Women, African-Americans, Diet Coke-addicted Fatso’s or Southside Johnny by challenging the intellectual capacities of any of the above, advertisers would be very quick to leave a sinking ship. Clearly, WFAN management has learned nothing from their previous mistakes. It’s a very short gallop from “nappy headed ho’s” to “carrot-eaters” and I’m appalled that no one else covering this nonsense —- Mushnick, Best, Raissman, I’m calling you guys out — found this worthy of critique.
Hey, everybody! It’s been a while since your jerkface editor — a man so disliked, he couldn’t even weasel his way into this tournament — allowed me to bring my wit and wisdom to CSTB. And I sincerely wish this message was coming to you under happier circumstances.
You might’ve missed it while looking for pictures of that pole vaulter, but ESPN has a dramatization about my old friend Ruffian on their schedule for this coming Saturday night right after the Belmont Stakes.
It seems a great shame to me that all of the parties involved cannot come together and agree on what is entirely obvious to this veteran of both the show biz and equestrian worlds ; Tom Sizemore is a terrible choice to play Ruffian, and for that reason alone, the film should be scrapped.
Anyway, I’ve taken way too much of your time. Maybe I’ll be asked back the next time someone breaks a leg in public and has to be put down? But enough about Nick Johnson!