05.05.12

CSTB’s Greatest (Horses)hits, Pt. I – Mr. Ed On Barbaro

Posted in Going To The Zoo, Horse Racing at 12:58 pm by

(EDITOR’s NOTE : to mark today’s running of the 138th Kentucky Derby, we’ll be republishing some of the finer entries from CSTB’s most beloved contributor, Mr. Ed – GC)

From May 21, 2006 – Guest Editorial : Mr. Ed On Barbaro’s Sad Fate

(your author)

Hey, everybody! As a long time reader of CSTB, I’m honored to finally have a chance to contribue to this fine forum. I’ve been telling Wilbur for years that I deserved a blog of my own, but he keeps stealing all of my great ideas. Sad enough that he tried to pass himself off as a baseball know-it-all to my close personal pal, Leo Durocher, but now it’s Ed’s time to shine!

Anyhow, like many of you, Wilbur and I cracked open a couple of cold ones late yesterday afternoon and prepared to watch NBC’s coverage of the Preakness Stakes. Every year, Wilbur accuses me of having a crush on Bob Neumeier and frankly, that joke got old the first time. Can’t a horse admire a man’s head of hair without some jackass making all sorts of “bareback mountain” references?

But I digress. Unless you’ve been living under a rock or you edit CSTB, you’re aware that Preakness favorite / Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro suffered a terrible injury yesterday and might soon be euthanized. Or murdered, as I like to call it. Did anyone suggest having Bo Jackson put down when he no longer had anything to offer the sporting world?

I’m not gonna tell you I was a big fan of Barbaro going into this year’s Triple Crown, but like I said to Wilbur at brunch yesterday, anyone named after the former drummer for Babes In Toyland is a-ok with me.

I was trying take my mind off yesterday’s tragic events with a little light web surfing last night, and I came upon the following headline from what I’m told is supposed to be a “funny” sportsblog :

“Barbaro Cheats, Injures Leg, Will Be Served Later With Fried Rice”

I’m sorry, but I just don’t get it. I’m as open minded a horse as you’ll find, and I enjoy the odd bit of “edgy” humor down at the stable just like anyone else. For instance, that Joe Rogan guy. F-U-N-N-Y! But this sort of joke is just nonsensical. For one thing, Barbaro wasn’t cheating, he was just trying to get a little edge on the competition. Certainly no worse than Barry Bonds, who somehow managed to get a standing O from A’s fans yesterday. And the fried rice jibe is just sick. Newcomers to this great country have it tough enough as is without insensitive creeps implying their cusine is based on dubious ingredients.

I can’t for the life of me understand how anyone, let alone an award winning blogger like this Mighty MJD fella, would so relish the suffering of another living creature. He’d better hope he never crosses my path, or I’ll put a hoof up his ass.

05.04.12

Nats Fever : Catch It (While You’re Waiting For Redskins Training Camp To Open)

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 9:32 pm by

(it’s amazing how long it can take a franchise to recover from a mascot exposing his or herself to fans)

Despite featuring two of baseball’s more highly touted young stars in the form of hurler Stephen Strasburg and rookie OF Bryce Harper, the Nationals have struggled to fill their relatively new ballpark this season, a circumstance partially due to the Capitals’ post-season run. And, if you believe Washington (baseball) CEO Andrew Feffer — who differs from predecessors in that he’s not simply content to sell tickets to Phillies fans — DC residents simply aren’t used to having their own baseball team.   From the Washington Post’s Barry Svrluga :

Tuesday, in Harper’s first game in Washington, 22,675 fans came to 41,000-seat Nationals Park. The following night, with hockey’s Capitals hosting a playoff game less than 21 / 2 miles away at Verizon Center, only 16,274 fans watched Harper rip three hits in a win over Arizona. When Strasburg made his first home start of 2012, 16,245 came to see it — more than 5,000 fewer than had witnessed any of his previous home starts.

Attendance at Thursday night’s game against Arizona was 19,656.

Feffer cites a well-worn list of obstacles to selling mid-week tickets early in a baseball season: iffy weather, school still in session, more competition from other sports. And the club still leans on the fact that it is still, relatively, a nascent entity. The Phillies have played, uninterrupted, in Philadelphia since 1883. The Nationals relocated from Montreal in 2005, becoming the District’s first baseball team in 34 years.

“There’s a whole generation that missed baseball for 30 years,” Feffer said. “It’s still a start-up. The biggest challenge, and probably the greatest opportunity, is building the fan base from the ground up. That takes time.”

Remembering Adam Yauch, Knicks Fan

Posted in Basketball, Hip Hop, New York, New York at 4:50 pm by

My own personal history with the Beastie Boys is minimal/inconsequential, and as such, I defer to those who deeply loved and appreciated their oeuvre.   I can’t, for instance, tell you The Young and The Useless blew Public Image off the stage at the Channel, because they didn’t.  I had zero to do with the Beastie Boys’ inclusion on Tom Paine’s ‘Speed Trials’ comp. (though I might’ve neglected to deliver their copies in a timely fashion).   That said, whether it was due to their genre-redefining recordings, terrific videos or paving the way for the far inferior Vice Magazine, collectively and individually, Mike D, Ad-Rock and MCA brought unusual amounts of wit and intelligence to a mainstream often devoid of both. And they poured a bucket of water over Chuck Eddy!  OK, it’s not exactly up there with trying to Free Tibet, but I still think it counts for something.

While I sincerely hope Adam Yauch’s final day on this mortal coil was spent doing something other than watching the New York Knicks be throttled by Miami, Yahoo Sports’ Dan Devine reminds us that MCA had logged more than few hours in his lifetime watching and representing the former, in moments high and low.

The Beasties referenced the Knicks a fair amount over the years — “I’m Clyde and I’m rockin’ steady” from “Pass the Mic,” Mike D’s Hawthorne Wingo drop on “B-Boys Makin’ with the Freak-Freak,” the immortal “I got heart like John Starks” line from “Get It Together,” the Latrell Sprewell namecheck and MCA’s own “Would someone on the Knicks please drive the lane?” on the “Hello Nasty” track “Unite,” and probably a ton of other NBA references I’m blanking on as I work this all out — and it made sense, because the Beasties were, are and will be as New York as the name on the front of those Knicks jerseys. Jay-Z’s squad can reference Beasties songs in their merch all they want, but you’ll have a hard time convincing me MCA, like all Knicks fans, would have ever rooted for the Nets, no matter what ZIP code they occupied.

Though I’d be surprised if the Knicks acknowledged Yauch’s passing prior to Game 4, it would be a nice gesture, and one of the few ownership could make that would meet the approval of almost all in attendance (short of the club being put up for sale or James Dolan retiring from music).

Possible Evidence That No One Is Editing Phil Mushnick’s Column

Posted in Basketball, Hip Hop, Racism Corner, social crusaders, Sports Journalism at 12:55 pm by

NY Post sports media conscience Phil Mushnick has made no secret of his distaste for contemporary hip-hop, singling out Jay-Z for repeated criticism nearly every time the M.C./exec’s name pops up in connection with the Nets or the NBA. Phil, who seems to cut any number of book authors, movie directors and actors the sort of slack he’d deny those in Jay-Z’s medium, took advantage of the Nets’ Brooklyn logo unveiling this week to drop the following bit of wit and wisdom on the Post’s Friday morning readership (link courtesy David Colon) :


As long as the Nets are allowing Jay-Z to call their marketing shots — what a shock that he chose black and white as the new team colors to stress, as the Nets explained, their new “urban” home — why not have him apply the full Jay-Z treatment?

Why the Brooklyn Nets when they can be the New York N——s? The cheerleaders could be the Brooklyn B—-hes or Hoes. Team logo? A 9 mm with hollow-tip shell casings strewn beneath. Wanna be Jay-Z hip? Then go all the way!


Gothamist
seems to consider the above, “Insanely Racist”, which is a slightly more eye-popping headline than, “Mushnick Regurgitates The Same Argument For The 1000th Time”.

05.03.12

Move Over Magic, C-Webb : Adem Ljajic Is The Modern Coach Killer

Posted in Football at 11:56 pm by

“It used to be that a football manager could larrump a football boot at Mr Posh Spice’s forehead and get away with it,” bemoans The Guardian’s Jacob Steinberg, no doubt disturbed that in the modern environment of Serie A, a soccer equivalent of Reggie Jackson vs. Billy Martin wasn’t tolerated.

Fiorentina manager Delio Rossi has been given his marching orders for his touchline bust-up with Adem Ljajic during Wednesday night’s 2-2 draw with Novara. The incident occurred during the first half of the match when, with Fiorentina losing 2-0, Rossi took decisive action, removing Ljajic, and then swiftly took even more decisive action when the player sarcastically applauded the substitution. Rossi reacted to the dissent like a medieval gentleman, appearing to administer a slap to the face, perhaps putting on a duelling glove first, and then had to be held back by his coaching staff as he was winding up to punch the bewildered Ljajic.

Whether he told him to “E potete portare la vostra cena cazzo” remains unclear. Whether it was worth it is also up for debate. On the one hand, there are those who would relish the chance to punch a whinging footballer in the fizzog; on the other, Fiorentina’s president, Andrea Della Valle, sacked Rossi immediately after the match. Still, at least he has the satisfaction of knowing he managed what proved beyond John Sitton.

Ratto On Seau’s Death : You Can No Longer Pretend There’s No Toll For Your NFL Entertainment

Posted in Gridiron, Medical Science at 2:05 pm by

Much has been said in the past day about the suicide of 12-time Pro Bowl LB Junior Seau, little of it as nonsensical as the radio & twitter blatherings of Sirius/XM’s Dino Costa, all-too-quick to proclaim Seau a coward for abandoning his children.   Aside from the irony of  Costa, a slow-witted bully who blocks Twitter followers who have the temerity to expose his hatefuck commentary calling anyone else a pussy, I’d think he’d have just a bit of compassion for Seau given the broadcaster’s own firsthand experience at going thru life with brain damage.   It will be a while before we know for certain about the condition of Seau’s brain, but in the view of CSN Bay Area’s Ray Ratto, the former Chargers icon’s decision to aim for his own chest serves as it’s own sort of suicide note, if not, “Roger Goodell’s worst nightmare” (“Seau’s suicide means that we can no longer un-know the fears of its greatest players for an uncertain and potentially horrifying future”)

We looked the other way with boxing. We looked the other way with hockey, and we’re going to look the other way with MMA when more data comes in. We tolerate nearly anything that happens to others in pursuit of our own entertainment, and if we are the entertainers, we will tolerate nearly anything that allows us to get paid for it.

But when Junior Seau killed himself, he forced us to accept that a famous and much-beloved figure is now going to be linked to the grisliest unpleasantness about the sport. You can still love football. We aren’t taking you on a perp walk of shame here, or trying to make you hate what you love. That choice was, is, and should always be yours for as long as football is legal.

But this is also true. You can never say Junior Seau didn’t tell you what he believed comes with the game. Even if his death was completely unrelated to trauma, and it may be, he feared it enough to choose a specific way of suicide to save what he thought would be the incriminating evidence, and that is information players will have to live with, whether they make the NFL or stop after high school.

Jerry Lawler Helps Memphis Avoid Blowing Another Gigantic Lead

Posted in Basketball, Professional Wrestling at 10:21 am by

Though I don’t really endorse piledriving Clippers fans, anytime The King would like to throw a fireball in the direction of Donald Sterling, I think he’ll find support throughout the league if not the free world.

05.02.12

The Sarah Phillips Mess : In Which The Content Farm Gives ESPN The High Hat

Posted in Blogged Down, mistaken I.D., Sports Journalism, The Marketplace at 10:02 pm by

(without proper due diligence, there’s no way of knowing if this is really King Kaufman)

Man, who’d have ever imagined former Mets GM Steve would be the second most embarrassing Phillips to be associated with ESPN? Deadspin has reported extensively on sports blogging’s way-less interesting answer to J.T. Leroy, Sarah Phillips and how she and an Oregon associate parlayed her ESPN Playbook gig into a series of creepy /criminal attempts at defrauding other aspiring nu-media schnooks.  Though I’m tempted to think anyone who hoped to profit from an idea as flimsy as “NBA Memes” deserves to lose their shirt, it’s still a fascinating story, and full credit to the oft-maligned (by me, anyway) Gawker property for pursuing a scoop most of the established media wouldn’t have bothered with (not until reading it elsewhere, anyway).

If the Phillips story has been a treasure trove for Deadspin, consider the case of the Bleacher Report, where posts culled from Deadspin’s Phillips coverage are nearing double-digits in less than two days.  “Sarah Phillips Scandal Raises New Concerns for Online Journalism” headlined a post from Pulitzer-winner Gabe Zaldivar Tuesday (“Sarah Phillips rose to stardom in a blink of an eye, leaving no room for the crucial step of becoming a viable journalist”), while a Wednesday post from that modern answer to Red Smith, Mike Chiara, called the scandal, “a story that has certainly taken on a life of its own,” (which is a somewhat diplomatic way of saying it’s provided the easiest content imaginable for B/R).

When you combine these alleged scams with the fact that nobody at ESPN had actually ever met her, it had to be an easy decision to let her go. In the Internet age, you never know exactly what you’re getting and it appears as though ESPN had a con artist on its hands.

Even if Phillips is innocent, there is simply too much bad press to make her worth keeping for ESPN. The sports media giant looks really bad in this case as it failed to do its due diligence in hiring Phillips, so all ESPN can do at this point is sever ties and hope that the whole situation just goes away.

I’m curious, how much “due diligence” was observed when Bleacher Report hired Chiara or Zaldivar? Can B/R CEO Brian Grey pick either of these gentlemen out of a police lineup, or off the top of his head name one interesting piece of writing from either without looking it up first? How do Phillips’ “alleged scams” measure on the ethical scoreboard compared to B/R’s Google-rigging and reluctance to compensate nearly all of their workforce?

Please, by all means, let’s have tons more pointless speculation what ESPN’s blunder means to the future of journalism, particularly if it’s delivered by a source that’s done everything possible to destroy it.

NewsCorp’s Badwill Campaign Extends To England’s New Manager

Posted in Football, non-sporting journalism at 3:31 pm by


Given the degree of scrutiny surrounding most aspects of Rupert Murdoch’s embattled UK media empire at the moment, was it really a great idea for The Sun’s to take a shot at newly appointed England manager Roy Hodgson’s speech impediment?  The late Gilda Radner, is of course, unavailable for comment on the following item from the BBC :

The Football Association has said a front page headline in The Sun about new England manager Roy Hodgson’s manner of speech was “unacceptable”.

The story, referencing Mr Hodgson’s pronunciation of the letter R, has led to more than 100 complaints to the Press Complaints Commission.

FA chairman David Bernstein said: “We are delighted at the media response to Roy’s appointment but are disappointed with the headline in The Sun, which we consider is in poor taste and disrespectful.”

Hahn : Who Amongst Us Hasn’t Attacked A Fire Extinguisher & Killed Our Team’s Playoff Chances?

Posted in Basketball at 2:14 pm by

OK, the above headline isn’t exactly what MSG.com’s Alan Hahn is trying to stay about Knicks F Amar’re Stoudemire’s gruesome, self-inflicted injury that rendered him unavailable for a Game 3 clash with Miami.  However, Hahn, opines, “I prefer to remain more upset at (Stoudemire’s) lack of defensive focus and rebounding determination, which won’t heal the way the hand will eventually heal.”

Stoudemire’s Kevin Brown/Doyle Alexander moment on Monday night was inexcusable and unforgivable, but let’s not churn too much in the sanctimonious rhetoric. Let he who never once regrettably smashed something in anger — and don’t tell me you didn’t during the second quarter of Game 1 — cast the first stone.

The senseless act that followed after the game was over — when it was too late to get mad — wound up only compounding his frustrations and the added emotion of the tragic loss of his brother, which is not something we can just simply dismiss. This was brewing from a toxic blend of a reality that his Knicks haven’t played at the same level as the Heat in the first two games of this series along with an underlying exasperation of being lost in an offense (he had just nine shots in Game 2, seven in Game 1) that the Heat have completely handcuffed. And let’s face it, Chris Bosh, whom Dwyane Wade and LeBron James chose to join them over Stoudemire in Miami, continues to outplay him.

05.01.12

Andy Pettitte Doesn’t Remember Misremembering Anything

Posted in Baseball, The Law at 8:00 pm by

Yankees P Andy Pettitte took a break from his comeback attempt earlier today to take the witness stand in former teammate Roger Clemens’ federal perjury trial in Washington DC, with the former repeating under oath his allegation that decision to try Human Growth Hormone happened under Clemens’ counsel. From the New York Times’ Juliet Macur, who describes a comical courtroom scene that obliged Pettitte to “painstakingly explain even the most basic aspects of the game for the jurors,” (“at one point, (US Attorney Steve) Durham asked him if he ‘was familiar with something called the disabled list’ and the judge asked him, “Is there a connection between Boston and the Red Sox?’”).

“Roger had mentioned to me that he had taken H.G.H. and that it could help with recovery,” Pettitte said. “You know, that’s all I really remember about the conversation.”

And, Pettitte said without flinching, that Clemens accused him in 2005 of remembering that conversation inaccurately. Clemens said it was his wife, not him, who had used H.G.H.

“Obviously, I was a little flustered because I thought that he had told me he did,” Pettitte said. “My reaction after that was, well, no good asking him or talking to him about this now, and I just walked out, end of the conversation.”

It was only after more than two hours of questioning by Assistant United States Attorney Steven Durham that Pettitte began to look uneasy, shifting in his seat and taking deep breaths.

He was asked to point to Clemens, to whom he said he has not spoken in “a long time” because lawyers in the case advised them not to communicate. But now Clemens was seated at the defense table about 25 feet away. In a seemingly awkward moment for the two ex-teammates, their eyes finally met.

“Yeah, it is difficult,” Pettitte said when asked if it was hard to testify against Clemens, his boyhood idol and longtime mentor. When asked why, Pettitte said in a low voice, “Cuz, good friend.”

If You Missed Mike Woodson’s Birthday Last March…

Posted in Basketball, Fashion at 2:37 pm by

…please don’t try to make it up to him by delivering this t-shirt as a belated gift tomorrow night at MSG.

Pippen Urges Young Bulls, “Do As I Say, Not As I’ve Done”

Posted in Basketball at 12:14 pm by

6-time NBA champion Scottie Pippen took a little break from suggesting Michael Jordan doesn’t measure up to LeBron James to pen a pep talk of sorts to the contemporary Chicago Bulls, no doubt saddened by the loss of their talismanic PG Derrick Rose. Writes Scottie in an open letter published at NBA.com, “to a man, it’s time for each of you to take a look in the mirror.”

Decide who you really are and what you represent as a basketball player. Reflect on what you have brought to the table for your team all season long and why you’re a valuable member of the Bulls. Because all of you have contributed to this team’s incredible success. Ask yourself what you can do for the team moving forward. Whether it’s through your verbal leadership or diving on the floor after a loose ball, it’s going to be all about grinding it out moving forward. If there is one piece of advice I can offer you, it’s to put every last ounce of effort you have out there to make everyone proud—Derrick, the fans, and first and foremost, yourself.

While I dealt with my share of injuries throughout my career, I was fortunate to have been healthy for the majority of our run in the 1990’s. The same can be said about Michael Jordan. But, when Michael retired for the first time to play baseball in 1993, we were faced with a similar challenge to what you’re up against—playing without your best player and leader. Granted, Michael chose to step away from the game and Derrick is sidelined because of his injury, but it comes down to the players who are still out there coming together to collectively rise up as a group and win games. We exceeded a lot of expectations in the regular season, finishing 55-27. But as we entered the postseason, a lot of people had written us off and said we didn’t have a chance without Michael. There was a lot of talk about how we wouldn’t make it out of the first round and might even get swept. But we didn’t listen to any of that. We believed in ourselves and we went out to play the type of basketball that we knew we were capable of playing. We swept Cleveland in the first round and it was a great feeling. Even though we ultimately fell short and lost to New York in a second round Game 7, we all believed we could have—and should have—done better. My point is that there was never a moment where we felt sorry for ourselves or let anyone push us into any self-doubt. We stayed positive and believed that if we stuck together and played good, hard defense, we could beat any team out there. That’s what I believe you can do as well.

It’s good to know after all these years there was never a moment where Pippen felt sorry for himself or failed to buy in to the team concept. Coming soon, Scottie’s words of wisdom to the Orlando Magic (“YOU’VE GOT THEM RIGHT WHERE YOU WANT THEM”), and encouragement for the New York Knicks (“it’s five-on-five — anything can happen”)