06.26.12

RG III’s Alleged Blackmailer Is No Stranger To (Faux) Litigation

Posted in Gridiron, The Law at 9:00 pm by

Richard Khamir Hurd was arraigned in federal court Monday, charged with attempting to extort hush money from Redskins first round draft pick, Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III (above, left).  The former Baylor QB’s nemesis has a bit of experience in court rooms (sort of), having appeared on a February, 2001 telecast of the syndicated “Judge Judy” program.  From the Washington Post’s Mike Jones :

In the episode, Hurd was seeking reimbursement from Baylor student Brooke Yancy for reimbursement of veterinary bills he incurred after finding her lost chihuahua. Judge Judy dismissed the case, ruling that Hurd incurred the expenses voluntarily by electing to take the dog to a vet rather than contacting Yancy, whom he had met four months earlier.

According to police documents, Hurd was arrested by an undercover FBI agent after trying to obtain a large sum of money from Griffin in exchange for what he claimed was “derogatory” information on the quarterback. It remains unknown what “derogatory” material Hurd had — or whether he had anything on the at all.

In Honor Of Death Wish’s Near No-No

Posted in Baseball at 8:12 pm by

Tyler Green broke up Bronson Arroyo’s no-hit bid with a double down the left line in the 8th inning of tonight’s Brewers / Reds tilt at Great American Ballpark.  Cincinnati is currently nursing a 3-2 lead, news you could’ve found anywhere else online, as this is clearly just a cheap excuse to show the above clip for the 40th or 50th time in CSTB history.

Chris Perez’ Outreach To The People Of Cleveland, Continued

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 1:47 pm by

Air Traffic Controllers will be making a not-so-rare appearance at Beerland this Thursday, and with the exception of the performance itself, what could be more distasteful than my complaining afterwards that no more than two dozen people (some of them disguised as members of the other bands and/or club staff) witnessed this incredible cultural event? On most days, the correct answer would be “absolutely nothing”, however leave it to Indians closer Chris Perez to get me off the hook IN ADVANCE.   Perez, who is already on record bitching about Cleveland fans’ failure to embrace his overachieving ballclub, gave the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner an earful on the same subject in today’s paper.

Cleveland ranks last in the league in attendance, averaging only 18,408 fans a game. Perez has expressed frustration with that, and did so again Monday. He said fans seemed to care more about rooting against LeBron James and the Miami Heat than they do about rooting for the Indians.

“I don’t get the psyche,” said Perez, who grew up in Florida. “Why cheer against a guy that’s not even in your city anymore? Just to see him fail? Does that make you feel good? I could see if the Cavs were in the championship, but that’s their mentality.

“They’ve had a lot of years of misery. They say, ‘You just don’t understand because you don’t live here.’ O.K., maybe I don’t. But that doesn’t mean it has to keep going.”

The Indians drew more than 3 million fans for six seasons in a row starting in 1996, the year the N.F.L. Browns moved to Baltimore. The new version of the Browns has not won a playoff game in its 13 seasons.

“That’s what I don’t understand,” Perez said. “Their whole thing is, ‘We want a winner.’ Well, why do you support the Browns? They don’t win. They’ve never won. They left. You guys blindly support them. I don’t understand it. It’s a double standard, and I don’t know why.

“It’s head-scratching. It’s just — they don’t come out. But around the city, there’s great support. They watch it in the bars. They watch it at home. They just don’t come.”

Perez might have a point about the LeBron thing, but even in a rough economy, it’s easier for the Browns to generate interest around 8 home games than for the Indians to do the same for 81.   Is it really a head-scratcher?

06.25.12

Euro 2012 : The Fiver’s Autospy For England

Posted in Football at 4:32 pm by

Mets bullpen failures and Dino Costa pandering to birther trash aside, there are few things more predictable in this world than England getting knocked out of a major tournament on penalties. Sunday’s Euro 2012 quarter-final defeat to Italy was an uninspired, strategically bereft display that somehow passed for entertainment in the view of Britain’s prime minister, David Cameron, “who enjoys feigning interest in the kind of sporting pursuits enjoyed by commoners and oiks, because it conveys the impression that he’s no different to you even though we all know that’s not true.” And The Guardian’s Barry Glendenning and Paul Doyle are only just getting started ;

When you surround yourself with conniving multi-millionaires engaged in shadowy acts of nepotism, it’s important to show a common touch, which is why the prime minister pretends to support Aston Villa. Well, that and the fact that his uncle Sir William Dugdale used to be the club’s chairman. “I would like to congratulate the team and the manager and all who worked so hard with them and for them to put on a great display,” said Cameron today, in a speech that suggests he might not have been entirely truthful when he stated he’d actually watched the game.

Using the tactics so defensive and negative they could have been employed by a prime minister appearing before the Leveson inquiry, the fact that England made it to a penalty shoot-out at all was largely down to the success of the tried and trusted tactic of hoping really, really hard that the opposition fail to convert all the gilt-edged chances you keep gifting them. “At times the football hasn’t been fantastic, we haven’t blown people away,” said a clearly disappointed $tevie Mbe (above) this morning, with his brow looking even more furrowed than usual. “The possession stats speak for themselves. Moving forward as a nation we do need to improve with the ball,” he continued, apparently oblivious to the fact that most of the folks back home would happily settle for seeing their national football team moving forward.

The possession stats to which $tevie alluded don’t so much speak for themselves as whack the amps up to 11, rip the microphone from the stand Steven Tyler-from-Aerosmith style and scream at the top of their voices. England had just 32% possession last night, while their most successful pass completion combo involved Joe Hart lumping the ball towards the meaty forehead of a lumbering second-half substitute in the vain hope it might clank off his noggin into the path of a star striker that looked a long way short of match fitness after his spell on the naughty step.

Jerome Mittleman – The Real Star Of WFAN’s Silver Anniversary

Posted in Baseball, Free Expression, New York, New York, Sports Radio at 2:21 pm by

This week, NY’s WFAN commemorates their 25th anniversary as a 24-7, all-sports outlet, the nation’s first of its kind. Of the station’s humble beginings, “it almost seemed to me we were trying to put Sports Phone out of business,” John Minko tells Newsday’s Neil Best.  A modest, but achievable goal, certainly, and while the FAN initially made a splash with (relatively) big name hires like Jim Lampley, Greg Gumbel and Pete Franklin, it wasn’t until the homegrown talent came into their own that the station really took off.  I’m not referring to Mike Francesa, Chris Russo or even to to that great lynch-pin in Huey Lewis’ career, Steve Somers, but rather, to callers such as the legendary Doris From Rego Park, the social crusader known as Eli from Westchester, Mets maniac Short Al, and most of all, the amazing Jerome From Manhattan.  No celebration of WFAN history is complete without some homage to these effervescent conversationalists.

Collins Fails To Make The Right Move, Is Lauded For Not Being Charlie Manuel

Posted in Baseball at 10:53 am by

Much is being made this morning over Mets manager Terry Collins leaving Miguel Batista on the mound to face Robinson Cano last night with lefty/chicken-rights activist Tim Byrdak ready to go. The resulting, game-winning HR from Cano landed beyond the center field fence, presumably after colliding with a jet heading for LaGuardia. Collins fully admits in retrospect, he goofed, and since that passes for brutal honesty in the estimation of the New York Post’s Mike Vaccaro, let’s ignore baseball for a moment and compare and contrast how two NL East managers handle the media.

Oh, Collins had his reasons: He double-switched Batista into the game, wanted a second inning out of him so he wouldn’t burn the pen, didn’t want to use Byrdak for one hitter (though there’s no reason he couldn’t have stayed in to face switch-hitters Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher, too). His explanations were sensible.

And completely beside the point.

“Should have brought him in,” he said a second time.

Does that make you feel better if you’re a Mets fan, the morning after they ended this 25-game gauntlet against top-flight teams at 12-13 and still very much alive in the baseball season? Does it make you feel better that Collins cops to the questions rather than recoiling at them, the way Charlie Manuel did earlier in the day in Philadelphia?

Manuel, still plenty second-guessed despite the championship ring on his resume, grew testy at a round of questions between a pair of losses to Tampa yesterday.

“You guys ought to sit in the dugout with me and give me all the scenarios if you don’t think I know them,” Manuel said at Citizens Bank Park. “We don’t know how to manage the game. Really, I think you guys ought to sit down there with us or Tweet us or something.”

There is no reckoning in those words. Different styles, different strokes, different men.

Yes, one of whom has actually won something.  As far as not burning the bullpen goes, Collins was aware he’d not have use of Frank Francisco in the 9th inning.  Wretched as the Mets’ relief corps have been, the chair-tosser will be missed, if for no other reason that no one should be comfortable with the prospect of Bobby Parnell or Jon Rauch closing games between now and the All-Star break.   Which shouldn’t be construed as a plea to sign Brad Lidge, either.

Amar’e Stoudemire : A Longshot For Future “It Gets Better Videos”

Posted in Basketball, twitter twatter at 9:51 am by

As widely reported yesterday, Amar’e Stoudemire took exception to a Knicks fan publicly suggesting that he should “come back stronger next year…deadass”, replying with the above direct message (screen shot courtesy @BFerrelli).  Though Stat quickly apologized, an NBA representative promises the incident, “will be reviewed”.  It’s an unfortunate turn for the Knicks forward and not the first time recently his judgement and maturity have come into question.

That said, fair play to Stoudemire for clearly stating there was “no excuse” for his correspondence.  As opposed to, y’know, claiming there was a moral imperative behind his words.

06.24.12

No Kidding Dept.

Posted in Baseball, mistaken I.D., twitter twatter at 4:36 pm by

“He’s Not Michael Heisley” : An Insufficient Background Check For Memphis’ New Suitor

Posted in Basketball, The Marketplace at 4:05 pm by


Prospective new Grizzlies buyer Robert Pera of San Jose tech firm Ubiquity is worth $800 million, is said to be a hoops enthusiast….and beyond that, well, who is this guy? Along with referencing recent blows to Ubiquity’s stock price and the company’s contentious history, the Memphis Commercial Appeal’s Ted Evanoff and Kyle Veazney had a little difficult in forming a full picture of Pera.

For three days last week in San Jose, The Commercial Appeal sought out more than a dozen people believed to know Pera. Most declined repeated requests for interviews.

Pera didn’t respond to an e-mail or a message left with an employee in Ubiquiti’s sleek lobby, which has glass-walled conference rooms on each side of the entry but no receptionist.

A source close to Pera said he is abiding by NBA requests not to comment publicly during the league’s evaluation of his purchase. He has, however, reached out to the local minority ownership group.

What’s known from public records and press reports is that Pera grew up in San Carlos, Calif., one of the many smaller cities on the peninsula between San Francisco and San Jose. His father was a business consultant who now is the CEO of a food distribution company in nearby Hayward. His mother is a career networking consultant.

Pera sat out one year of high school, troubled by a heart-valve problem, but finally graduated and enrolled in the University of California at San Diego. There, he earned bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering and Japanese as well as a master’s degree in electrical engineering.

The school last week verified his degrees, but professors were scrambling to remember him.

One member of Ubiquiti’ s board of directors, Bill Gurley of Benchmark Capital, tweeted last week that Pera is “the most successful entrepreneur in (Silicon Valley) that you don’t know.”

“There’s some guys who are comfortable running under the radar,” said Steve Blank, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and author. “It’s the rare entrepreneur, Type A entrepreneur, who doesn’t have an ego to have a PR agency, so my compliments to this guy.”

Blank said he had never heard of Pera. Two other professors at universities in the area who have expertise in Silicon Valley said they weren’t familiar with him.

06.23.12

Mets’ Byrdak : A Chicken Isn’t Just For Xmas Mocking Francisco, It’s For Life

Posted in Baseball at 4:25 pm by

(clearly, adopting a chicken mascot is sort of like naming your band New Order. If it worked the first time, where’s the harm in trying again?)

Following Mets reliever Frank Francisco’s much publicized description of the Yankees as “chickens”, teammate Tim Brydak preceded Francisco’s highwire act at the end of last night’s 6-4 victory by bringing an actual chicken into the home clubhouse at Citi Field. After paying $8 for the bird in Chinatown, Byrdak was reminded by Jason Bay, “You can’t just put it out on Roosevelt Ave.” From ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin :

The chicken spent Friday night in a cage at Citi Field. Team chef Theresa Corderi fed the bird a meal of oatmeal, berries and bread after doing research into the appropriate cuisine on the internet.

“If anybody has a chicken farm or a petting zoo or somewhere where we can get him nice, I’d rather not kill Little Jerry Seinfeld,” Byrdak said.

Byrdak seemed receptive to an offer from Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, N.Y., which attempts to fight cruelty at factory farms and slaughterhouses.

“We’re trying to get him into a chicken sanctuary or somewhere where he can rest comfortably for the rest of his life and not worry about a deep fryer. Or an oven,” Byrdak said. “I went to Twitter last night to try to have people help me, but a lot of people said they wanted to throw him in a KFC bucket. That wasn’t funny.”