Pete Abe To Lucchino : Stop Blaming The Messenger

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 7:03 pm by

The evening prior to Franklin Morales allowing 3 first inning HR’s in the Bronx, Red Sox co-owner Larry Lucchino (above) attended his club’s 6-3 defeat of the Orioles Thursday night, taking a pregame shot at damage control in the wake of Jeff Passan’s explosive tale of clubhouse discord.  ““We have to be sure we remember the cynical jaded media does not speak for .?.?. they don’t necessarily capture the voice of the fanbase,” mused Lucchino, who’d have you believe the dissatisfaction with Bobby Valentine is some sort of media creation.  Or that “the fanbase” is somehow more forgiving than the Fourth Estate.  “It’s a good diversionary tactic and befitting of his law degree,” wrote the Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham, “but Lucchino has to know that Red Sox fans are smarter than that.”

The media in Boston can be hyperbolic and in some cases, downright vapid. But nobody from the Globe, Herald, WEEI, Comcast or the other outlets threw a pitch this season or helped pick the roster, and fans know that.

If a professional athlete is somehow distracted into poor performances by the media, he shouldn’t be a professional athlete, or at least not a well-paid one. That is especially the case in the social media era.

If the media is such a problem, how are the Yankees 70-48? They have literally twice as many reporters following them. Don’t insult smart fans by making up excuses. John Henry is controlling the message by sending out e-mails (surely filtered through PR guru Dr. Charles Steinberg) to reporters whenever crisis strikes. But he would be wise to take unfettered questions at some point and let fans hear his answers. That hasn’t happened since spring training.

Rob Dibble – Not Quite Finished Suggesting Stephen Strasburg Is A Gutless Punk

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 1:15 pm by

Given that former Nats broadcaster Rob Dibble essentially lost his job for publicly declaring Washington starter Stephen Strasburg a GIANT PANSY during the latter’s rookie campaign, you’d think he’d be inclined to STFU during all the commotion over the club’s plans to shut down their young ace. Then again, why should Dibs concede the title of “Lazy Bloggers’ Favorite Human” to Delonte West or Dino Costa Colin Cowherd?  The Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg, once again, put himself thru the punishment of listening to Dibble on Fox Sports Radio :

On Strasburg saying the decision is out of his hands

“That’s all you need to know. It’s out of my hands. I don’t want it in my hands, even though I’m a professional pitcher trying to — from spring training to the end of the season — win championships….He’s in a totally different world. Remember the Stepford Wives? He’s a Stepford Pitcher.”

On Mike Rizzo’s credentials

“The manager of the Nationals has a world championship ring, called the ’86 Mets, when he was managing Doc Gooden, who was like 20 years old. I think he knows how to handle young pitchers. He’s not gonna burn them out. And then you have a general manager who’s never won a championship. And he’s telling everybody, he knows more than orthopedic surgeons, pitching coaches, everybody. He knows the answer to how you can keep a guy from getting hurt. It’s a wonderful concept. I hope it works. And if you’re hurt, go on the disabled list. If you’re not, then pitch for your team and try to win a world championship. It’s that simple. It shouldn’t be a story. It really shouldn’t be a story. That’s the sad part, that it’s a story. It shouldn’t be. We shouldn’t know the GM’s name or this guy in Washington. Just go out and play.

On Strasburg’s father talking to Mike Rizzo

“Do you need your dad to talk to the general manager? You know, that’s sad to me. Is Scott Boras gonna come out? If he talks about Stephen Strasburg, so help me God, I’m gonna go bananas tomorrow night, because this kid is a man. He’s 23 years old, he’s married, he’s making $4 million a year. Speak up for yourself….Nobody’s dad gets involved in their Major League kid’s career. It just doesn’t happen. But it shows you, Tony Gwynn pitched him once a week, every Friday at San Diego State. He goes to Washington, the PR people walk him to the bullpen, almost hold his hand to walk him out there. I mean, it’s just been one thing after another.”

On Strasburg not speaking up

“The one thing that is the resonating idea here is you only get one shot at that ring. And you either want to take it, or you just say, you know what, I’ll do what somebody tells me to do.”


Rob Neyer’s Effusive Praise For Joe Maddon’s Unrelenting Dickishness

Posted in Baseball at 9:35 pm by

Rays manager Joe Maddon made a bit of scene after being tossed in the 7th inning of Felix Hernandez’ perfect game Wednesday afternoon.  If this was a bit of gamesmanship on Maddon’s part (ie. hoping to fuck with King Felix’s rhythm), SBN Nation’s Rob Neyer applauds Maddon’s outburst, opining, “on Maddon’s list of priorities, ‘worry about Felix Hernandez’s no-hitter’ should rank something like 83rd, right between ‘check between Kyle Farnsworth’s toes for flesh-eating bacteria’ and ‘conduct long-delayed egg-dropping experiment from Tropicana Field catwalk’…Number 1 on that list should be “winning baseball games”, and that’s why Maddon argued with the umpire, just like John McGraw and Earl Weaver and Bobby Cox before him.”.  No. 2 on the list, is of course, “start rumor Joe is an uncredited guest on Neon Blud’s ‘Discoteque Deathbred’”.

From Maddon’s perspective — and, I would argue, from the perspective of any right-thinking baseball fan — the importance of Felix Hernandez’s no-hit bid in the seventh inning of an August game is nothing compared to the impact a single loss might have on the Tampa Bay Rays’ season.

Remember, just one year ago the Rays wouldn’t have qualified for the postseason if they had lost just one more game than they did. The Rays won 26 one-run games last year. Maddon knows the math as well as anyone. He knows that while most seasons don’t come down to one game, some do. And a season that comes down to one game, practically by definition, comes down to one run.

When Joe Maddon got kicked out of Wednesday’s game, the score was 1-0. Does he argue if the score is 4-0? Maybe not. Does he argue if it’s 8-0? Probably not. But a 1-0 game in the seventh inning? If you’re the manager of a team in the Wild Card hunt and you’re losing 1-0 in the seventh inning, you have to look for every edge you might possibly find.

Bruce Ratner – The Slickest Gangster Of ‘Em All

Posted in Basketball, Hip Hop, New York, New York, The Marketplace, Ugly New Stadiums at 12:01 pm by

David Halfbinger’s  study of Jay-Z’s far more than cosmetic involvement with the Brooklyn Nets (“With Arena, Rapper Rewrites Celebrity Investors’ Playbook“, New York Times) is that rare combination of quality reportage and something that might well be fodder for Phil Mushnick’s next column.  While Halbinger describes Jay-Z’s keen attention to details, his meeting of the minds with the sickening Brett Yormark and dedication to cross-promotion and branding, it’s the following paragraphs that suggest the savvy, cynical operator isn’t Sean Carter, but rather, developer Bruce Ratner.

Ratner often says he overcame his concerns about Mr. Carter’s more offensive lyrics — celebrating gangster culture and denigrating women — only after learning there were cleaned-up “radio versions” of the songs, too. And Mr. Carter, he said, appeared nervous about having to meet with David Stern, the N.B.A. commissioner, who asked him to discuss his guilty plea to stabbing a record producer in 1999. (Mr. Carter described the incident, for which he received three years’ probation, as a symptom of “the world I lived in once,” Mr. Ratner recalled.)

Mr. Carter’s involvement frustrated opponents of Mr. Ratner’s development plans in Brooklyn who saw the arena and proposed residential and office towers as a subsidized land grab that could ruin the neighborhood. They complained that residents who might have been wary of Mr. Ratner’s promises to create jobs, nonetheless trusted Jay-Z, who invoked his roots and insisted he could never support “anything that’s against the people.”

“Bringing in someone who grew up in public housing, with a rags-to-riches story, who could identify with Brooklyn and African-Americans, that was slick,” said City Councilwoman Letitia James, a critic of the project. Mr. Ratner played down Mr. Carter’s importance in overcoming opposition. “Had Jay-Z not come along,” he said, “we’d still have an arena.”

ESPN.com’s Ugly Reader Comments – Presumably, Disney Can’t Afford Moderation

Posted in Football, Racism Corner, Sports Journalism, We Aren't The World at 11:43 am by

The US’ 1-0 defeat of Mexico yesterday marked the former’s first ever victory on the latter’s turf, an occasion you’d figure would generate an emotional response given the rather rivalry between CONCACAF’s perennial powers.

You’d not necessarily expect, however, the Worldwide Leader to provide a unfettered forum for this nation’s knuckledraggers, trolls and aspiring klan kooks to unleash the sort of non-sports commentary shown above. I realize this sort of thing generates traffic, but is anyone at ESPN.com even slightly queasy about profiting from this kind of thing? Or can we look forward to the Poynter Reporter blowing it off?


Scalabrine Means No Disrepect (To The Disrepectful Idiots Who Mock Him)

Posted in Basketball at 9:45 pm by

Free agent Brian Scalabrine is hustling for a (playing) gig this autumn, a circumstance that has NBA.com’s Sam Smith getting a bit reflective. “The White Mamba of the Bulls, Veal Scalabrine with the New Jersey Nets in two NBA Finals, the fan favorite of the Boston Celtics’ 2008 championship team—contemplates one of the most remarkable runs in pro sports history, 11 years in the NBA despite every guy in the park thinking they could take him.” Alas, it’s that lucky-to-be-in-the-league, damned-with-faint-praise reputation that Scalabrine bristles at, telling Smith, “The things I do are a gift, too. I have an unbelievable motor.” (link swiped from Eric Freeman and Ball Don’t Lie)

“I don’t get discouraged,” Scalabrine was saying when I asked him about those fans chanting his name despite such a limited contribution. “I’ve heard ‘I’m not good enough’ plenty of times. I really don’t care what people say. I don’t care if people think I’m not good. It doesn’t bother me. Because I think I am a good player. I know the game. And even now if someone says I suck as a broadcaster, I’m not going to be offended.

“The way I look at it is if that’s the case (people are mocking me), then—and no disrespect—you’d have to be an idiot,” he says, getting just a tiny bit red other than in his hair. “That I won some contest to be in the NBA? Or that I don’t have to fight every day? That I’m not the first guy on the floor and the first in the weight room and the last to leave? That I haven’t been waking up 5:30 my whole life to train? I’d have to think you’d are an idiot to think I’m a joke. They might, which would be disappointing. Maybe it is that. But I know why I’m here.”

Happy I-Told-You-So-Day To Andrew Baggarly

Posted in Baseball, Medical Science, Sports Journalism at 6:36 pm by

More than two weeks ago, CSNBayArea’s Andrew Baggarly publicly apologized for the above tweet.  At the time, I wondered, “what would possess Baggarly to publicly float a rumor (via Twitter, natch) that Giants OF Melky Cabrera had recently flunked a drug test?” As it turns out, Baggarly might well have been possessed by credible intellligence, validated earlier today when MLB suspended Cabrera for 50 games for a positive testosterone test.

As quick as Baggarly was quick to apologize to Cabrera, I wasn’t nearly as fast this afternoon to apologize to the former, and that’s on me. Baggrly failed to gloat in reporting the sanctions against Cabrera, but did provide the most slim slice of consolation to Giants fans ; the previously suspended Guillermo Mota is eligible to return August 28.

Padres Prospect Alexis Lara Has No Patience For Wanton Paper Cup Destuction

Posted in Baseball at 3:49 pm by

Some four years ago, Mets hurler Nelson Figueroa famously likened overly-celebrating Nationals to “a bunch of softball girls”,  a somewhat hysterical overreaction that thankfully didn’t end in anyone being drilled.  Or retiring on the spot. The same, however, cannot be said for an incident Sunday night in Omahaa, where the host Storm Chasers (AAA, PCL) forgot to “act like they’ve been there before” during a 20-3 pasting of the visiting Tuscon Padres.  From the Arizona Daily Star’s Daniel Berk :

The issue began during the third inning. Each time the Storm Chasers scored a run, players in their dugout jumped on empty cups, creating a loud popping noise. It’s a recent tradition of Omaha’s, and it annoyed Tucson pitching coach Steve Webber. Webber barked at the Omaha dugout, voicing his displeasure.

Omaha manager Mike Jirschele, who was coaching third base at the time, yelled back at Webber. Webber came out of the dugout to talk to his pitcher Alexis Lara (above), who was in the middle of being roughed up.

Webber and Jirschele exchanged more words before Webber reached the dugout and the umpire issued a warning to both sides.

Lara, acting on his own, threw a fastball that went right behind Omaha’s Wil Myers’ head. League rules prompted an instant ejection of Lara, 25, and Kennedy.

“I didn’t want to throw at anybody,” said Kennedy, who was suspended by the Pacific Coast League for Monday’s game because of Lara’s pitch. “He told (third baseman) Jesus (Merchan), he was going to do it and Jesus told him not to. He still did. I don’t know why. I don’t know if it’s machismo or immaturity. You see that in rookie ball; you should not see it at the Triple-A level. “He’s been around long enough to know that’s not how you handle something like that.”

Kennedy’s frustration continued and he “aired out” Lara for his antics as the two walked down the third base line into the home clubhouse. Kennedy continued to get after Lara in the clubhouse, and the relief pitcher eventually quit on the spot.

“He just said ‘no more baseball,’” said Kennedy before Tucson’s 5-2 loss to Omaha on Monday night at Kino Stadium. “I’ve had some guys threaten to quit, but I’ve always been able to talk them out of it. He wasn’t going to be talked out of it.”


A-Gone To Ownership : “BOBBY V SUX”

Posted in Baseball at 4:13 pm by

Not satisfied with trying to rearrange my face earlier this season, Boston 1B Adrian Gonzalez texted Red Sox ownership regarding the team’s frustrations with skipper Bobby Valentine (above).  As the following report from Yahoo’s Jeff Passan illustrates, while the Red Sox aren’t so adept this season at staying healthy or winning baseball games, few other clubs have spent nearly as much time futzing around with smart phones.

The owners called a meeting for Boston’s off-day in New York on July 27 after  Gonzalez, texting on behalf of himself and some teammates, aired their dissatisfaction with Valentine for embarrassing starting pitcher Jon Lester by leaving him in to allow 11 runs during a July 22 start. It was the latest incident in a season’s worth of bad relations bubbling between Red Sox players and Valentine.

Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia were among the most vocal in the meeting, in which some players stated flatly they no longer wanted to play for Valentine, the sources said. The tenor of the 2 p.m. meeting at The Palace hotel in New York turned ugly almost immediately, according to the sources, whom Yahoo! Sports granted anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about internal matters.

From the beginning of the Red Sox’s courtship of Valentine this offseason to the double-barreled votes of confidence last week, the match of the hard-nosed Bobby V with the laissez-faire Boston clubhouse seemed tenuous at best. It has proven far worse, personified best perhaps by a picture circulating around via text message, according to a fourth source.

Pedroia, notorious among teammates for his wit and humor, is in the foreground with a giddy smile, his tongue wagging and both thumbs up. Next to him is allegedly Valentine, face down on a table, apparently asleep. A caption accompanies the picture: “Our manager contemplating his lineup at 3:30 p.m.”

American* Cities with Major** Franchises That Have Yet to Host… THE REAL WORLD

Posted in City Planning, olympics, USA! USA! at 3:35 pm by

It’s all over, London…everything but the shouting of the manic street preacher (as seen here, taking a breather, outside what’s left of the Grand Olympic Stadium in Los Angeles.)

Re-LULZing at Peter Schooff’s reprint re: unrecognized Olympic dives got me a thinkin’—albeit tangentially—about cities where the sportin’ life is King Creosote. More germane to Bob Costas, however, I looked at those places with MLB, NHL, NFL and NBA teams that have never won a bid to host the Summer Olympiad. I then cross-referenced with the metropolises the late Mary-Ellis Bunim (and, to be fair, Frank Murray) had not yet picked to profile seven strangers who dispense with pleasantries in favor of the besottedly authentic.

Finally, seeing as how every list in our era of ‘roids and vampire dope is bound to leave at least a few asterisks for posterity, well, I felt compelled to provide the same.

Imagine there’s no heaven, indeed.

***DALLAS-Fort Worth, Texas (Rangers, Stars, Cowboys, Mavericks)
****DETROIT, Mich. (Tigers, Red Wings, Lions, Pistons)
MINNEAPOLIS-St. Paul, Minn. (Twins, Wild, Vikings, Timberwolves)
PHOENIX, Ariz. (Diamondbacks, Coyotes, Cardinals, Suns)

In the past:
CLEVELAND, Ohio (Indians, Barons, Browns, Cavaliers)
Kansas City, Mo. (Royals, Scouts, Chiefs, Kings)
*****ST. LOUIS, Mo. (Cardinals, Blues, Cardinals [NFL], Hawks [see ATLANTA])
*****ATLANTA, Ga. (Braves, Flames AND Thrashers, Falcons, Hawks)

* No offense Blue Jays, Maple Leafs, Raptors, the Buffalo Bills at Rogers Centre, Canadiens, Canucks or the entire CFL.
** If indeed the ABA ever counted as a ‘major,’ PITTSBURGH, Penn. (Pirates, Penguins, Steelers, Pipers-cum-Condors).
** Ibid, too, for the World Hockey Association, HOUSTON, Texas (Astros, Aeros [though, technically, now an AHL team], Texans, Rockets).
*** Also has FC DALLAS—an MLS charter club, no less.
**** DETROIT Shock (WNBA) R.I.P.
***** ST. LOUIS and ATLANTA have hosted the Summer Olympics: 1904 and 1996, respectively.

(N.B. Mike “The Miz” Mizanin [The Real World: Back to New York] is, in fact, the WWE’s reigning Intercontinental Champion. He was born in Parma, Ohio—CLEVELAND’s largest suburb.)

Gary Carter, Unwitting, Partial Inventor Of The F-Bomb

Posted in Baseball, non-sporting journalism at 3:20 pm by

The late Gary Carter was many things during his Hall of Fame career — All-Star catcher, commercial pitchman, devout Christian — but until now, I must admit I’ve never thought of his role in etemology history. With today’s news that “f-bomb” will appear in future editions of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, the company attempts to explain where the substitute for “fuck” originated. For all we know, The Kid might be the brains behind “dog dirt”, too. From Newsday :

Kory Stamper, an associate editor for Merriam-Webster, said she and her fellow word spies at the Massachusetts company traced it back to 1988, in a Newsday story by Steve Marcus that had Mets catcher Gary Carter talking about how he had given them up, along with other profanities.

Marcus said the usage was common even then. “It became part of the baseball jargon,” Marcus said. “It was something in baseball that people were using at that time. It was similar to the way that ‘saves’ snuck in and became accepted. It was convenient. You didn’t have to use profanity, but still got your point across.”

But published use of the word didn’t really take off until the late ’90s, after Bobby Knight went heavy on the F-bombs during a locker room tirade.

“We saw another huge spike after Dick Cheney dropped an F-bomb in the Senate in 2004,” and again in 2010 when Vice President Joe Biden did the same thing in the same place, Stamper said.

“It’s a word that is very visually evocative. It’s not just the F-word. It’s F-bomb. You know that it’s going to cause a lot of consternation and possible damage,” she said.


Robbins On Orlando’s Underwhelming Haul For Howard

Posted in Basketball at 7:38 pm by

Though the long nightmare that was Dwight Howard Wanting Out finally came to a close with Friday’s trade to the Lakers, A New Era Of Sucking has begun for Magic fans, one that might’ve been avoided, writes the Orlando Sentinel’s Josh Robbins, had Orlando accepted C Andrew Bynum (above) in return. “Having Bynum for the 2012-13 season could have kept the Magic a playoff team,” claims Robbins, who probably knows by now that Bynum’s headed to Germany for the Orthokine/Regenokine procedure

Magic officials had a number of reasons for not insisting on Bynum. They were concerned about the long-term health of his knees, his immaturity and whether he would re-sign for the long-term.

If Bynum has injury troubles in the years ahead, the Magic will be vindicated for not acquiring him. If he turns into a superstar, the Magic will regret it.

The Magic never was going to receive equal value because Howard made it clear that he only was interested in playing long-term for two teams, the Nets and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Obviously, there are immediate flash points for concern. The Magic didn’t acquire Bynum, didn’t generate additional long-term cap space and didn’t acquire lottery-level picks.

At Least Frank Francisco Still Loves Himself

Posted in Baseball at 5:58 pm by

An all-too rare Mets rout almost turned into a blown save for the ages last night, as relievers Josh Edgin and Frank Francisco conspired to turn a 6-1, 9th inning lead over Atlanta into a mere 6-5 advantage with runners on 3rd and 2nd. On the same day Armando Benitez of all people tossed a scoreless 9th for the Long Island Ducks (very likely Francisco’s employers in 2014), Metsradamus describes what happened after Edging was pulled in favor of “Frangag Frantsisk”, “and all hell broke loose.”

He walks his namesake Juan Francisco with the bases loaded after a 3-0 count turned to 3-2, and then Francisco fouled off four pitches (one of which would have gotten him out of Frantsisk was actually a closer and not a relief pitcher) before Frantsisk finally put him on base. Then Michael Bourn, who the Mets aren’t signing this offseason, didn’t even take the bat off his shoulder as he walked on five pitches. Martin Prado followed with a double to right which brought the Braves to within one with the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position. Out went Frantsisk, who set a New Mets record by only needing 19 pitches to cause a fan to attempt to slit his wrists (shattering the old record of 25 by Armando Benitez.) In came Jon Rauch, who put smiles on many faces, including his own, but striking out Jason Heyward. (Go look at Rauch’s numbers. Better than you thought, eh?)

Frantsisk had an interesting reaction in the locker room. And I give him credit for facing the media after the horrific game he had. Sure, it’s easier to do it when you win, but you could sure as hell see Benitez hiding in the clubhouse, can’t you? But Frantsisk conducted his whole post game interview while trying not to laugh. Came up with the classic line: “I feel great. You know why? Because I feel good.” And then finally at the end busted out in a fit of laughter at the very end, as if he couldn’t hold it in any longer. If that doesn’t nail the mentality of the Met fan right now, I don’t know what does. Met fans are past anger on the day-to-day level. Past sadness. Past the rage and fire and brimstone. It’s all gone. Now, Frantsisk realizes that you have to laugh to keep from crying, much as I think Met fans have realized. What else can you do?

I think any answer I could give to that question would be considered unfunny and unhelpful by law enforcement if not Homeland Security. And why shouldn’t Francisco yuck it up? He’s due another $6.5 million in 2013. An $13 million Mets investment might offer some slim consolation when it comes to the anxiety he’s given fans, management and teammates alike.

As Bob Ryan Bids Farewell, Let’s Remember The Time Will Leitch Tried To Shovel Dirt On His Face

Posted in Sports Journalism, Will Leitch Sucks at 4:03 pm by

Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan pulled the plug on his regular contributions to the paper yesterday after 44 years with a classy sayonara that cited Jackie MacMullan never having sacrificed, “a shred of femininity.”  That weird portion aside, Ryan’s wit and insight will be missed by those of us who’ve actually read his work over the years rather than fixated on his more contemporary appearances on ESPN alongside the likes of Tony Kornheiser or Screamin’ Jay Mariotti. And with that in mind, let’s flash back to December 6, 2005, when Deadspin’s Will Leitch (“Why Your Hometown Columnist Sucks : Bob Ryan”) castigated the writer for “becoming what he once despised — a sports celebrity.”

Ryan’s sins go far beyond a single foot-in-mouth moment on local radio, or the belief that the home team was doomed. He is emblematic of the brand of journalist who prize pancake makeup over printer’s ink. He has that disease known as Stagelight Palsy, in which shrieking inanities on television trumps any attempt at journalistic credibility. How do you know if your hometown columnist has this disease? Symptoms include short, choppy one-sentence paragraphs. Inattention to detail. Wild assertions made simply to draw attention. And, in this case, some serious, big-league, sloppy hometown ass-smooching.

Ryan is old enough to know better. Indeed, he helped pioneer this print-journalist-turned-TV-asshole pandemic. There is a special place reserved for Bob Ryan — perhaps in the final scene of Return of the Jedi, as a hologram, right between old Obi-wan and Yoda, if he ultimately finds redemption. Until then, we must endure his evil. Be strong.

Of course, in the nearly 7 years since the above premature burial, Leitch has become something of sports celebrity himself, one whose own appearances on radio, television and advertisements for Taco Bell haven’t exactly been covered in glory.  Back in 2005, I suggested that Ryan, “has forgotten more about sports than Leitch will ever know.”   Of course, with his references to Ryan having been scarred by “molten lava”, Leitch has probably forgotten more than the rest of us will ever know about taking sickening cheap shots at older writers he’s deemed no longer useful to his career trajectory.


You Won’t See Jerome James Trying This : Pescoli’s Hunger Strike

Posted in Football at 8:26 pm by

Ratted out by former Siena teammates Carlo Gervasoni and Filippo Carobbio in relation a rigged loss to Varese in May of 2011, current Hella Verona defender Emanuele Pesoli was hit with a 3-year ban by the Italian F.A. on Friday. On Saturday morning, Pescoli responded by chaining himself to the Italy F.A.s headquarters front gate and begining a hunger strike in protest. From ITV.com :

“I will be staying here until I cannot hold out any longer,” he is quoted as saying by La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“I will wait for somebody – the president of the FIGC Giancarlo Abete.

“They are ruining my life for something which I have not done. Before I finish playing, I want to fight with all of my strength.”

Pesoli has the right to appeal before August 20 and he wants to meet Carobbio and Gervasoni face to face to bring out what he claims to be the truth.

“I feel very hurt by this verdict,” he added. “I want to see the people who are accusing me. This is a very strong protest.”

Col. Coulghlin Does The Robot (Why In Fuck’s Sake Is There No Video Footage?)

Posted in Gridiron at 7:32 pm by

(l-r : Coughlin, Eli Manning)

Newly acquired Giants TE Martellus Bennett brings a colorful reputation to the swamp, one which New York head coach Tom Coughlin says he lacks “the proper vocabulary” to describe. Further badgered by the New York Post’s Paul Schwartz and other scribes this afternoon, Coughlin employed previously unseen mime chops.

Bennett this summer has referred to himself as “a black unicorn’’ and has generally provided highly entertaining and at times off-the-wall commentary.

Asked if it is difficult for him to accept such talk and behavior, Coughlin said “It’s not that, I like ‘em to have their own personality, I just like ‘em to be able to structure it within the concept of trying to keep the focus on the game and on the field and on the team. I don’t like robots. I like to kid around with them once in a while too but I like it when it’s acceptable and when it isn’t acceptable. I think he’s gotten better.’

Coughlin then was reminded that the perception of him for much of his coaching career was that he preferred his players act like robots. That’s when Coughlin went into a robot mode, stomping around the raised platform with his arms at his side, mimicking the way a robot stiffly walks.

“Patience,’’ Coughlin said when asked how he’s changed and then, referring to robot-like players, he said “It was a lot easier to get along with them, I tell you that.’’

Stone, Harrelson – Turning A Blind Eye To Forcible Sodomy At The Cell

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV, When Mascots Are Attacked, When Mascots Attack at 2:57 pm by

It’s Mascot Day at U.S. Cellular Field, and while this afternoon’s A’s/White Sox tilt is compelling enough to fixate on, I have to admit I’m equal parts confused and disturbed by the above screen capture. Not a word of protest from Ken Harrelson or Steve Stone about the apparent rape taking place in the lower right hand corner, nor do the CSN broadcasters have an explanation for just what the fuck is going on with that ticket-shaped monstrosity on the left. And don’t tell me Grabowski‘s invite was lost in the mail.


The Only Musician In History Influenced By The Impotent Sea Snakes Wants You To Know He’s Not A Jerk At The Airport

Posted in mistaken I.D., Total Fucking Terror at 9:14 pm by

I just went through the LAX security line with Marilyn Manson. He had “FUCK” scrawled in large letters across the bottom half of his face, with what appeared to be a grease pencil. As we each removed our boots in the security line, he kindly explained that it was not directed at me or anyone else in the airport, but rather at the paparazzi, so that they couldn’t sell any photos of him that they took. He was really apologetic about it, and covered his mouth around young children while apologizing to their parents for exposing their child to profanity.  – AskReddit, “what bizarre celebrity encounters have you had?” (link swiped from Boing Boing.net)

I’m sorry to call bullshit on the above story, but I once ran into a boot-removing Jeff Kent at LAX who told me the exact same explanation about “FUCK” being scrawled on his face in eye-liner. Surely Marilyn Manson doesn’t deserve to be defamed in this fashion (or associated with Jeff Kent).

Rex Ryan Claims He & Marvin Lewis Conspired To Make An NFL Exhibition Even Duller Than Usual

Posted in Gridiron at 5:15 pm by

I’ll admit to taking a peak or two at last night’s Jets/Bengals exhibition tilt, partially because the Mets presented no threat whatsoever to Paul Maholm, but also in the hopes of seeing Jets backup QB Tim Tebow do something slightly more blogworthy than take his shirt off. Save for one efficient scramble and one brutally underthrown pass for a turnover, it wasn’t an eventful Gang Green debut for the 24 Year Old Version, though if we’re to believe the postgame boasts of Jets head coach Rex Ryan, that’s because he agreed to keep it that way. From the New York Post’s Brian Costello :

The Jets ran no Wildcat plays with Tebow. They are trying to keep their exact plans for Tebow under wraps until the regular season arrives Sept. 9 against the Bills. Ryan said Bengals coach Marvin Lewis called him Thursday morning to ask him not to run the Wildcat.

“I know nobody’s worried about Wildcat and all that stuff. It’s real easy to stop,” Ryan said sarcastically. “That’s why I got a call at 7 a.m. the day before we played by Marvin not wanting to see the Wildcat. I guess I’m the only guy who thinks it has a place in the NFL, me and every defensive coach in the league.”

Though this alleged conversation might not be without precedent, imagine if similar schemes were employed before other sports’ exhibition games.  No more R.A. Dickey knucleballs in Spring Training.  Come early Autumn, no surprise plays from the Knicks (ie. someone besides Carmelo taking a shot).


Q : How Do You Know When Lane Kiffin Isn’t Lying? A : His Lips Aren’t Moving

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 10:47 pm by

Full credit to USC head football coach Lane Kiffin, who remarkably managed to take the heat off  UCLA counterpart Jim Mora by being caught in a very public fib (and trying very hard to talk his way out of it).  Earlier this week, Kiffin told reporters he wouldn’t vote for USC at No.1. in the USA Today coaches poll, though it turns out he’s done exactly that.   From USA Today’s Brent Schrotenboer :

Kiffin told USA TODAY Sports by phone Thursday night that he didn’t think the quote misrepresented his vote. By saying what he did, Kiffin said he meant that he wouldn’t vote USC No. 1 if he were in the media or coaching another team. Because of NCAA-imposed scholarship restrictions, USC is operating with 75 scholarship players, 10 less than the regular maximum of 85.

“We have less players than everybody else,” Kiffin said. “So looking at it from the outside, I wouldn’t (vote USC No. 1). Did I? Yeah, I did. That’s not based off of 75 vs. 85. That’s based off of (USC players) Matt Barkley, T.J. McDonald and Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. When everybody has the same record, I can’t go into a meeting with our players and have them say, ‘You put that team and that team ahead of us.’ That’s why I did that.”

But the players normally would not have found out about his vote until the end of the season, making it impossible for them to raise objections about it before then.

“I don’t really buy things are confidential anymore,” Kiffin said.

The Following Promotional Announcement Only Partially Explains The Poor Crowd At Citi Field Tonight

Posted in Baseball at 8:20 pm by

Guaranteeing that I’ll be asking the question, “haven’t Mets fans suffered enough?” multiple times this season, the Amaziningly Tone-Deaf Promotions Department already sullied Citi Field earlier this in hosting a post-game concert by the excretory Daughtry.  Tonight, with the offensively-challenged Mets flailing away at Paul Maholm’s offerings, the handful in attendance can look forward to the soothing sounds of Xtian popsters Mercy Me, and I’m genuinely fearful the first ever Reverse Riverfront Coliseum tragedy might occur moments after the final out is recorded.

On the other hand, having already booked such state fair fixtures as Daughtry and REO Speedwagon this Summer, perhaps the Mets thought they’d exhausted all of the shitty secular music on offer.   Either way, check out the clip above and wonder how one Xtian Morning Zoo announcer’s career might’ve been impacted had he changed his name from Kankelfritz.

Angels’ Wilson – Happy To Leave The Effervescent Tweets To Logan Morrision

Posted in Baseball, twitter twatter at 5:19 pm by

Wednesday’s 9-8 defeat to Oakland was the Angels’ 6 in their 8 contests, but the real losers are the Twitter followers LA backup catcher Bobby Wilson, who decided yesterday to bail on the social networking platform due to unspecified fan abuse. From the OC Register’s Landon Hall :

This is what he tweeted from his account, @BW46, at 10:57 a.m.:

“I’m done with twitter. Try to be fan friendly and all I get is criticism. I wasn’t blessed with 5 tools. I worked hard to get here.”

I disagree with USA Today’s Gabe Lacques that it might be the “saddest tweet ever,” but for a major league ballplayer on Twitter, it’s pretty surprising.

It’s not exactly clear from Wilson’s timeline, or the various mentions of @BW46 in the Twitterverse, what amounted to the final straw. He takes his share of abuse for the usual catcher-y shortcomings: He’s not a speedster; he could throw out runners at a higher frequency (although he’s improved that part of his game lately); he could hit better (hitting .228 in 60 games, though he’s 11 for his last 27 dating to July 22). Wilson has more than 8,100 followers, and as far as we can tell the account’s still active. So maybe he’s reconsidering.


Mora To USC : If The Getting-Murdered-On-Campus Shoe Fits, Wear It

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 8:02 pm by

UCLA head football coach Jim Mora dropped by Roger Lodge’s KLAA program Wednesday morning and when the host quizzed him about his sales pitch to recruits, Mora replied, “it’s a safe, beautiful campus in a great area of town. I mean, we don’t have murders one block off our campus.” If that sounds like Mora was referring to the April double murder of two USC students from China during an attempted carjacking near campus, rest assured that Mora HAS NO IDEA WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT. Or at least that’s what he tells the LA Times’ Chris Foster :

“I just said our campus is safe,” Mora said. “I didn’t say anything about anyone else’s campus. I just said it about our campus. I didn’t mention another campus. We don’t have anybody getting murdered a block off of our campus.

“If anybody, whether USC or Cal State San Bernardino, is offended by the statement, then that’s their insecurity, not mine.”

UCLA is holding training camp at Cal State San Bernardino, but is not in football recruiting tussles with that university.

When told that two students had been murdered near USC in April, Mora said, “They were? I don’t read the paper, I don’t watch the news. So I don’t know that stuff.”

“We”? : The Least Deserving Gold Medalist Of 1992 Defends The Dream Team

Posted in Basketball, olympics, We Aren't The World at 6:48 pm by

With all due respect to Darko Milicic, Adam Morrison and Eddy Curry’s combined four NBA championships, is there a piece of hoops hardware nearly as flukey as Christian Laettner’s 1992 Olympic Gold Medal? On the eve of the US national team playing Argentina in the 2012 Let’s-All-Punch-Carmelo-In-The-Dick-Invitational Olympic Semi-Finals, Scott Fowler quotes Christian Death weighing on the tiresome question of who’d beat who in a head to head match, the US ’12 squad or the 1992 Dream Team?

When asked which team would win in a hypothetical game, Laettner said: “Of course I am going to say that they would never beat the ’92 team. The good thing about the ’92 team is that we never played cool because all those guys wanted to go out there and show the world how good we were. So we weren’t playing the other team. We were playing [for] our identity and for our whole country to show the world we were the best.

“Michael Jordan didn’t play cool,” Laettner continued. “Magic Johnson didn’t play cool. We wanted to kill everybody and I wish these guys [the 2012 team] would get that little more sense of urgency.”

Henson : Athletics’ Short-Term Prosperity Is Fucking With Lewis Wolff’s Bottom Line

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace, Ugly New Stadiums at 3:20 pm by

An unidentified MLB executive calls the A’s current state of limbo, “the most difficult decision in baseball history because of the circumstances,” and as Yahoo Sports’ Steve Henson points out, there’s nothing about Oakland’s unlikely on-field success of late that makes the bigger picture any less cloudy.

Oddly, the A’s outstanding season might work against owner Lew Wolff’s negotiating leverage for the new stadium. When it comes to bringing this to a vote of owners, he wants to cry poor. A pennant race that triggers increased attendance and potential playoff revenues would weaken his case.

Wolff’s status as Selig’s old Wisconsin fraternity brother doesn’t appear to be getting him favoritism. But Wolff is careful not to say anything disparaging about his longtime friend. Getting this team to San Jose would be his crowning achievement, and at age 76, he can’t wait forever.

No other location will do in Wolff’s estimation. He rebuffed stadium proposals by Oakland and Sacramento. If another city in the 50 states could definitely support an MLB team, the Tampa Bay Rays would already have moved there.

So Wolff dreams of the A’s becoming the darlings of Silicon Valley, the team of Google and Facebook and Yahoo! and whoever makes the next big idea a lucrative reality. Securing venture capital for a start-up to sell popsicles online to Eskimos would be easier to accomplish.

The Giants’ territorial claim to San Jose, is of course, Wolff’s perennial obstacle. A while back, Slate’s Neil de Mause argued in favor of the A’s relocating to the greater NYC area, while adding in a reply to my knee-jerk critique of the plan, “an even better solution would have been to just have a third MLB team in one of the existing stadiums while the Mets or Yanks are on the road.” I have to admit, I’m warming to de Mause’s scheme. After witnessing the Mets’ 13-0 defeat to Miami in person last night at a 90% empty Citi Field, I have to admit it’s tempting to wonder how Queens baseball fans would respond to what Fred Wilpon likes to call “meaningful games” in early August.