05.25.12

(Lots Of) Beers, Baseball & A Ballpark Everyone Drives To : What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Posted in Baseball, Beer at 1:08 pm by

(I’ve been looking for an excuse to use this photo for several years)

“It’s not like we’re running the Boston Marathon,” says Bowie Baysox assistant GM Phil Wyre of tommorow nigh’s 1K Beer Run, possibly the club’s most ill-advised promotion since 2003′s Ziggy Stardust Lookalike Contest Sam Bowie Appreciation Night.  From The Baltimore Sun’s Jill Rosen :

Runners will be hoofing it around the field’s warning track beginning at 5:45 p.m. Each time they finish a lap, they’ll get a 12-ounce beer to drink while they run they next one.

The ballpark will be serving the beers in 16-ounce cups in case things get sloshy.

“We don’t want spillage out there,” Wrye says.

The Baysox plan to cut off entry for the race after the first 100 tickets are sold, apparently to avoid a drunken mob.

This does seem like an awful lot of effort just to lure Tony La Russa out of retirement.

05.24.12

Squeaky-Voiced Pourer Of Gasoline Returns To New York Baseball

Posted in Baseball at 8:44 pm by

Reliever Armando Benitez, whose 2009 stints with the Newark Bears let to a contract with Houston (and a record-setting appearance in the Pacific Coast League) has reached a pact with the Atlantic League’s Long Island Ducks, the independent organization that’s given the likes of Pete Rose Jr., John Rocker, Carl Everett and Jose Offerman a shot at extending their pro careers.  From Newsday’s Evan Korn :

He wants to make his comeback to the big leagues, and he’s had experience in this ballpark pitching for the opposition,” Ducks president/GM Michael Pfaff said. “He always liked what he saw with the Ducks.”

“It’s really important to get signed [by an affiliated organization], but I’m looking forward to playing with the Ducks,” Benitez said. “There are great guys here, and right now we have an opportunity to stay in first place.”

What does Benitez expect from the Long Island faithful?
“I don’t know,” he said with a chuckle. “That’s a good question. What can I say? Whatever the fans do, I’ll take it.”

If nothing else, Benitez’ arrival within a short commute from Citi Field should afford many opportunities to prove that he and Frank Francisco are not the same person.

UConn Hockey’s Gay Friendly Video & One Man’s Confused Definition Of “Bullying”

Posted in College Spurts, Hockey at 6:31 pm by

The University of Connecticut’s Men’s Ice Hockey squad produced the above video in the hopes of affirming they’ll welcome “any teammate, gay or straight, that can help us win games.” However, as the Hartford Courant’s Pat Eaton-Robb reports, at least one observer has a problem with those who practice bigotry being labelled, y’know, bigots.

Peter Wolfgang, president of the conservative Family Institute of Connecticut Action, said he has no problem with the team participating in an anti-bullying campaign, but he is concerned about the references to “homophobia” in the video.

“It’s a very loaded political term,” he said. “If we’re going to be against bullying, then we ought to be against all forms of bullying and not just the kind that get us a pat on the back from politically correct elites. I would hope that people that have traditional beliefs, traditional faiths that they would not be bullied for holding views about morality or the definition of marriage.”

Yes, because there are so many examples of athletes with traditional beliefs being bullied or goaded into suicide.  Who could’ve possibly missed all the headlines this past year about deeply religious sporting figures  being booed, pelted with rocks and garbage, instructed to stop making religious gestures after scoring touchdowns, etc.

Kelly : Shaq Was A Curious Choice For Orlando GM…

Posted in Basketball at 5:44 pm by

…if the franchise had any intention of retaining Dwight Howard.  OK, that’s pretty much what the Toronto Star’s Cathal Kelly opines upon learning Orlando planned to interview TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal for Otis Smith’s recently vacated office (“the lunatics are not just running the asylum — they’ve fraudulently diverted asylum resources and are building themselves a summer house”).

This has nothing to do with basketball know-how. O’Neal has inserted himself between the club and its vacillating star, Dwight Howard. Ownership apparently hopes that O’Neal can persuade Howard to stay.

This might work, since they are the same person.

Or this might not work, since when he found himself in an identical position, O’Neal slid out of town like he was greased.

“Don’t do it,” O’Neal might say to Howard, five minutes after getting the job. “Just remember that when I parachuted out of the this godforsaken swamptown, all I got for it was richer, more famous and four championship rings . . . wait. Let me start again.”

Bungle In The Jungle : Too Much Miscegenation On Francesa’s Mind

Posted in Baseball, Medical Science, Sports Radio at 1:50 pm by

Annabella Sciorra, unavailable for comment.

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.”