I fully admit the above headline was a very cheap ploy to work the above Venom video in the blog. On the (slightly) more relevant tip, however, New York Daily News veteran baseball columnist Bill Madden bemoans the current climate in which “many scribes and bloggers across the country” have come up with arguments to deny the AL MVP or NL Cy Young Award to Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera or the Mets’ R.A. Dickey (“specially Cabrera who has fallen victim to that nebulous (I would say ludicrous) new-age sabermetric stat called WAR”) (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)
This growing infatuation with WAR (wins above replacement) is, in my opinion, turning baseball into an inhuman board game. This is a stat that even its inventors can’t agree on an established formula, other than when all of these various factors of offense and defense are put into a blender and shaken well, out comes the player’s value to a team in wins above and beyond the “replacement” value of a player taken off the waiver wire for nothing. In other words, one big hypothetical. According to one blogger last week, Trout’s superior WAR demonstrates that “he has helped his team win roughly three to four more games than Cabrera has helped his.” Don’t ask how that conclusion is reached. Much of this, presumably, is based on Trout’s superior defense and speed. But again, all of this is hypothetical, and how do you vote on a stat nobody knows how to calculate? If you want concrete evidence of Trout’s value, I would present the Angels’ 6-14 record, nine games out on April 28, the day he was recalled from the minors, and their 81-56 record since. And as for Cabrera’s defense, I would also submit the fact that he willingly moved from first base (where he’d become a fairly accomplished defender) to third so Detroit could sign Prince Fielder — and, as long as we’re going to deal in hypotheticals here, how many extra wins did that give the Tigers? Lastly, it now looks like the Tigers might win the AL Central while Trout’s Angels need a strong finish and a collapse by the Oakland A’s to secure the second wild-card spot. That, too, should be worth big points for Cabrera, although for the sabermatricians that’s probably much too tangible.
Lest Vikings punter Chris Kluwe’s very public stance in support of marriage equality give anyone the impression the entire National Football League is particularly enlightened about these things, Baltimore center Matt Birk — afforded equal time by the editorial page at the Minneapolis Star Tribute — has his own take on the issue. “Not all NFL players think redefining marriage is a good thing,” argues Birk, adding that he sees no dichotomy “between providing basic human rights to everyone and preserving marriage as the sacred union of one man and one woman.”
Marriage is in trouble right now — admittedly, for many reasons that have little to do with same-sex unions. In the last few years, political forces and a culture of relativism have replaced “I am my brother’s keeper” and “love your neighbor as yourself” with “live and let live” and “if it feels good, go ahead and do it.”
The effects of no-fault divorce, adultery, and the nonchalant attitude toward marriage by some have done great harm to this sacred institution. How much longer do we put the desires of adults before the needs of kids? Why are we not doing more to lift up and strengthen the institution of marriage?
Same-sex unions may not affect my marriage specifically, but it will affect my children — the next generation. Ideas have consequences, and laws shape culture. Marriage redefinition will affect the broader well-being of children and the welfare of society. As a Christian and a citizen, I am compelled to care about both.
In his LUFCTV address on Saturday, Bates said of Lust, a mutual trust of 8,200 members formed according to the legal regulations of Supporters Direct, the organisation funded by the Premier League: “They are a waste of space, a pain in the arse and achieving nothing.” He described their contribution as “agitation stirred up by those idiots”, and trust members as an “ignorant, illiterate minority”.
Bates’s programme notes for Tuesday’s Everton match included a personal attack on Gary Cooper, the Lust chairman, stating he was once a member of a “fringe organisation”, and that Lust has a poor relationship with Leeds United’s Disabled Organisation (Ludo). Cooper rejected both completely, and said nobody from the club had contacted him to check these allegations before they were published. Ludo’s chair, Stuart Ramm, confirmed there was “no truth” in the allegation relating to Ludo. Cooper said he now intends to complain to the FA.
In his evidence during the harassment trial, Bates said he writes his chairman’s articles with the help of his wife in Monaco, before sending them to be published in the programme. Such is life at Leeds United, one of England’s great football clubs, in 2012.
David Ortiz – May 24, 2010 – 30.59 seconds. This was the very first tater trot to break the barrier. The Roger Bannister moment, if you will. In order for this moment to arrive, a number of things had to line up perfectly. First, it was David Ortiz. Second, the ball was a huge pop-up right down the rightfield line that could have landed fair or foul (batters tend to stay in the box longer on these). And, finally, when Ortiz did start to run, the home plate umpire got in his way for just a moment. None of these things should have caused a 30-second trot, but they all worked together to give us a memorable night.
Hanley Ramirez – July 1, 2012 – 30.3 seconds. Hanley Ramirez hit his first home run in a month and then trotted around the bases really slow. Because he’s Hanley Ramirez. There’s no other reason for his slow trot.
Last week, the Orange County Register reported the Tustin (CA) Red Cobras, Western U.S. representative in the 2011 Pop Warner Super Bowl, paid cash to their 10 and 11-year-old players for hard hits knocking opposing players from Yorba Linda, Santa Margarita and San Bernardino out of games. Though coaches Darren Crawford and Richard Bowman have denied the allegations, the Register’s Keith Sharon reports today the Red Cobras coaxed boys into dangerous weigh loss techniques including but not limited to ordering a player to “wear a plastic suit to try to sweat off the weight” (“he sat in saunas. His teammates said he sucked on Skittles candy to create saliva so he could spit more often”)
Player X weighed more than 85 pounds on Aug. 1, 2011, the first day of football practice. He still weighed more than 85 pounds on Aug. 12, the day each player is officially certified by the league. At this point, Player X could have been immediately moved up to a bigger division, Pee Wee, where he would play with heavier kids.
But Player X was a key piece of the Red Cobra’s title hopes and the team sought – and received – a waiver from OEC that gave Player X until Aug. 27 to lose the required weight, according to Zanelli’s chronology.
Many Pop Warner families are familiar with extreme weight-loss efforts by the children near the cutoff limit. Many boys in Pop Warner diet and, in some cases, take diuretics to lose weight.
Brad Davidson, owner of Stark Training in Irvine and the trainer of professional athletes like Sam Baker who was raised in Tustin and is now playing for the Atlanta Falcons and former Laker Matt Barnes, said extreme dieting for children is “crazy.”
“At that age, the stress that dieting puts on the body is unbelievable,” Davidson said. “You’re stripping the body of electrolytes. The body becomes massively dehydrated. Strength and coordination will be affected. When you lose too many electrolytes, you can die.”
Stunt notwithstanding, some fans lamented Mr. Hernandez’s decision.
“He should keep it,” said Marsha Landar, 54, a retired real estate broker from Queens Village, Queens. “My second husband looked like Keith Hernandez. That’s why I married him. I wouldn’t let him shave his mustache. C’mon, it’s sexy.”
But Sol Passik, 61, a retired social worker from Holliswood, Queens, said Mr. Hernandez, despite revealing his upper lip for the first time in a quarter century, still has “a recognizable nose and profile.”
Mr. Hernandez became one of the mustache’s more famous exhibitors. In an interview before his shearing, Mr. Hernandez, now 58, said that he grew a mustache as a young man because he was raised on mustachioed tough guys like Paladin, the lead character played by Richard Boone on the late 1950s and early 1960s television show “Have Gun Will Travel,” and John Wayne in “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon.”
After the barber, Elliott Chester, took it off (using a battery-powered trimmer and only at the end picking up a Schick razor). Mr. Hernandez, groaning and chuckling at all the attention, said he “looked 20 years younger” but also pointed out portentously: “I can always grow it back.”
Braden, whose Stockton pride runs so deep he has a “209″ tattoo, said in a television interview that he plans to move out of town. He claimed his grandmother was robbed recently and that he was attacked in his car, though he didn’t get into specifics.
When Charlotte Observer editorial cartoonist Kevin Siers decided to make light of Panthers QB Cam Newtons’ posturing during a Week 3 drubbing at the hands of the New York Giants, ESPN’s resident overreacter Stephen A. Smith accused the paper of racism. A day later, Siers’ editor, Taylor Batten insists there was no racial component to Siers’ mockery (“it was just a joke, no more, no less”), which would be a bigger relief if I hadn’t heard a pair of chat hosts suggest Newton was being outed.
Siers likes to poke fun at the absurd. And in his eyes, showboating after a 1-yard run when you’re getting your brains beaten in is the definition of absurd. Thus the “Hello Kitty” t-shirt for Cam’s Superman pose.
Sometimes, Siers thinks it’s important to send a deep, thought-provoking message on public issues of the day. Other times, like this one, he just has a little fun.
What’s more disturbing than a light-hearted cartoon is grown men so in awe of a football player that they ridicule any criticism of him, even when he touts his greatness on the way to a 36-7 loss.
Though I’m loathe to link to a story from TMZ, at least this one has nothing to do with Doug Christie. While we’re waiting for Harvey Levin to score the long-awaited Steve Bartman scoop, TMZ’s ability to track down NFL replacement referee Lance Easley — he of Monday night’s staggeringly botched INT-turned-TD call in Green Bay’s loss to Seattle — has the national laughingstock embattled arbiter taking a more defiant tone than you expect under the circumstances.
Easley told us he can’t believe he’s being vilified … “I didn’t do anything wrong.”
He says strongly … the Packers player who allegedly intercepted the ball never had singular possession because, “You have to not only have the ball but have either 2 feet or a body part on the ground, and that never happened.”
Easley says this was clearly a case of simultaneous possession — meaning the catch goes to the offensive player – adding, “Put any other official who knows the rules and they would make the same call.”
Easley told us, no one has ever seen a play like this before, so there’s no point of reference to judge the call. He says, “I don’t appreciate the negative stuff.”
Easley says he feels like he’s become a sacrificial lamb, who had to “fall on the sword.”
“Earlier in the game, I flipped a ball in the right field seats to a fan. It bounced off her hands and landed on somebody’s lap. A guy reached over, a Phillies fan, reached over into her lap, grabbed the ball and then threw it back on the field.
“So in the ninth when I got the ball, I was going to flip the ball. There was a group of kids. Behind the kids there were these unruly middle-aged men that to me appeared to be snarling. It’s the ninth.
Who knows. I kind of got the sense that maybe they were intoxicated. I was going to flip it to the kids, and then I thought, maybe I shouldn’t, because of the people right behind the innocent little children there.
“So I just flipped it in the dugout. Evidently, that rubbed some people the wrong. After the events in right field, I felt it was better to maybe not throw it in the stands.”
It begs the question: did those innocent kids ever get a ball?
“I looked in after I was on first base, and Mikey [Morse] was feeding what seemed like the whole bag of balls,” Werth said. “I think he made up for it for me.”
As Bell sat in front of his locker before Tuesday’s game in Atlanta, unidentified teammates cranked the volume on Guillen’s weekly radio call-in show on 790 The Ticket to force him to listen to their manager answer questions about the controversy.
Asked if he still respected Bell, Guillen replied, “As a player, yes. As a guy, I don’t know.”
Guillen also said that Bell had a habit of throwing others under the bus.
“I am the No.?10 guy he’s talked about this year,” Guillen said in answer to another question. “This kid has been saying so many things all year about a lot of people. It was my turn this week.”
Reporters walked in unknowingly on the awkward clubhouse scene before being detected by players and ushered back out by Greg Dobbs. But sources said the point was for players to show they supported their manager and to humiliate Bell.
And Bell acknowledged later that, in the aftermath of his incendiary comments ripping the manager, his teammates probably had little respect for him anymore.
“Yeah,” Bell said, “I’ve pretty much lost all that.”
Hope all’s well with you. Since everyone is still buzzing about the blown Packers-Seahawks call, I thought you might like a story that appears in GQ’s October issue… It’s a list of the XVIII Worst Decisions in Sports History by GQ’s Drew Magary. It covers more awful decisions, including some MLB-related ones like Bud Selig deciding to call the 2002 All-Star game a tie and the Cleveland Indians hosting a ten-cent-beer-night in 1974. It’s a funny and interesting read. I’ve included some more info below, including a couple excerpts from the list. Let me know what you think! Thanks for checking it out.
Best, Carl Baker (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dear Mr. Baker,
The 19th worst decision in sports history was you writing to me about anything having to do with a list compiled by Drew Margary. If I’m on some sort of mailing list, please, I implore you — please remove me at your earliest convenience. Thanks.
“This past weekend in the NFL has not only made a mockery of a great sport, but shined a very bright light on how important fully trained and professional officiating is to player safety,” Sweeney said in a statement. “We wouldn’t allow a factory or construction site to operate without fully trained supervisors on hand to ensure the safety of employees. Why should we do anything differently when the job site is a playing field?”
Sweeney said that replacement officials also lower the quality of play, devaluing the often large investments fans have made in tickets.
“Whether the sport is football, soccer or baseball, when referees don’t know how to properly enforce the rules, there is a real chance for unnecessary and serious injury,” said Sweeney. “If the NFL insists on putting replacement officials on the field, putting players at risk, then the state shouldn’t be playing a part in that.”
When I first saw the above clipping via The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Peter Mucha, I thought, “this is an awful lot of effort simply to bait Dino Costa”. As it turns out, Darren Cleveland of Cowboys.com’s ownership group insists his dating service is merely about bringing guys together…as opposed to extracting some kind of ransom from Jerry Jones.
The National Football League’s Dallas Cowboys had a winning bid of $275,000 on the domain name back in 2007, but, according to the news release and a Domain Name News report, a mixup kept the deal from being completed (sort of like some fourth-quarter Tony Romo passes.)
Previously, the site sold western apparel and rustic decorations.
The site basically lay dormant for the last five years before emerging with its current theme.
The ownership group operates thousands of websites with all sorts of themes, and the direction of Cowboys.com grew from research into what people searching for “cowboys” online were looking for.
While Deadspin helpfully suggests the real problem might be herpes, Rangers OF Josh Hamilton insists his recent vision issues are entirely related to overuse of caffeine. The Dallas Morning News’ Gerry Fraley likens Hamilton’s ocular keratitis to “Highway Hypnosis” (“Hamilton and long haul truckers have something in common”) and the more I think about that analogy, the more likely we’re gonna come back to STD’s again.
The condition is a drying of the corneas, usually brought on by excessive intake of caffeine and stimulants found in over-the-counter sports drinks. The main symptom is an inability to adjust the field of vision. Hamilton described the sensation as his eyes “being stuck … hard to get off a spot.”
Hamilton markedly increased his use of caffeine after he stopped using smokeless tobacco in midsummer. Hamilton has begun decreasing the caffeine intake and taking eye drops at all times to counter the condition. He had been taking the drops only before day games.
If you’re keeping score, we’ve now been alerted to Hamilton’s struggles with substances including but not limited to heroin, jello shots, whipped cream, champagne, chewing tobacco, beer and now caffeine. If you’re thinking the track record of recidivism makes Hamilton a bad investment for Texas or another team going forward, I’d argue otherwise. He’s put up pretty impressive numbers throughout the recent backsliding and just imagine what he’ll do he ever gets a hold of drugs that actually enhance performance?
There was plenty of approval for Zaun but also much criticism. Most of it was that old: Where does a journeyman player such as Zaun get off ripping anyone? “Zaun was the worst position player in the history of the Blue Jays and now we have to listen to him spout his total crap on TV,” commented Amac, summing up the who-does-he-think-he-is meme. Regster wrote, “As a baseball player [Zaun] could barely hit for average or play tremendous defence … For you to bash these young bluejays saying there making to much idiot mistake is foul.”
Spelling and grammar aside, why can’t a journeyman player criticize? We don’t insist that music critics be virtuosi or that political commentators run an election campaign. Yet the sports world is slavish in its deference to the opinions of the chiefs. The status quo needs challenging, and Zaun’s credentials were more than enough for that job.
No to worry, however. The satellite TV provider has promised to mollify angry subscribers by allowing them to watch Switchfoot’s “Guitar Center Sessions” anytime, 24-7, between now and the end of the calendar.
Why should a something as trivial as losing to Oakland in the midst of a pennant race stand in the way of a time honored tradition like hazing young guys too intimidated to fight back like a road trip costume party? Hiroki Kuroda’s interpreter, Kenji Nimura drew the assignment of donning the Yoda suit, while David Phelps drew the short straw and got stuck with the Princess Leia outfit. Ken Phelps-as-Princess Leia would’ve been a cool idea, but if the Yankees were really into that kind of meta stuff, Randy Levine would be under the Darth Vader mask rather than Melky Messa.
Am I referring to Mike Tyson’s brief yet brutal demolition of Michael Spinks? Sonny Liston’s dispatch of Floyd Paterson? Or perhaps the former Cassius Clay beating Liston in their second meeting with a punch most observers insist never landed?
No, sadly, I’m talking about the 2004 incident in which Glenn Danzig had his clock cleaned by Danny Marianino of the North Side Kings. You Tube footage of the fateful confrontation has been viewed millions of times and long ago became an embarrassing albatross for Lodi, NJ’s most prominent former resident, with Danzig insisting in recent years the video was either doctored or Marianino’s crew had conspired to make him look pitiful. Videographer Dan Stone provides his side of the story to Decibel Magazine, while Marianino assures Glenn “don’t worry about handing my picture out to every security guard with a note that says ‘eject him immediately.’ I never want to see (Danzig) again and I never will.” From Blabbermouth.net :
“When I got there, I saw Danzig signing an autograph and Danny waiting to talk to him,” Stone told Decibel. “The two of them started talking, and things got a little heated, so I figured, ‘Let’s see where this goes.’ I had no idea of what was about to happen, mind you. I just imagined I’d get some footage of Glenn Danzig and Danny talking — two guys from Jersey yelling at each other. A push and a punch later, the scene turned into total chaos. I immediately turned my camera off and stashed it in my bag. I walked down this hallway toward the exit as nonchalantly as possible, and Danny was pinned to the wall by a security guard. As I passed by him, I whispered, ‘I’ve got the whole thing.’ At that point, there was absolutely no intention of doing anything with it — it was just a weird moment caught on video.”
Asked how he might’ve reacted differently if he had a chance to revisit the experience, Marianino said, “I wouldn’t have even acknowledged Danzig or tried to have that conversation with him, especially after he talked down to my guitar player’s ex-wife. I regret that the situation happened at all. But I don’t regret hitting him — he had it coming. He can tell every story he wants to tell, bu’t it’s an open book. I don’t see what the big deal is. I think this would’ve went away for him if he had just admitted that he fucked with a big guy who got one over on him.”
Given Roger Goodell’s fixation with player safety and eagerness to discipline those who impugn the game’s integrity, there’s no way to reconcile the NFL’s current labor dispute with referees as anything other than the former being equal parts cheap and full of shit. However, as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ed Bouchette reminds us, “If you think the replacement refs are funny to watch, you should have seen the replacement players in 1987.”
Those three games counted in the standings, all the records went in the books and you can still find guys who never should have set foot onto an NFL field listed as Steelers alumni. Two Hall of Famers — Mike Webster and John Stallworth — crossed the picket line and joined the replacements. Stallworth, in fact, caught what then was a Steeler-record 500th pass in a strike game.
The strike folded as more and more veterans gave in. The NFL was forever empowered by what it pulled off. But it was taught a lesson as well. It is why the league locked out the players last year instead of waiting for them to go on strike once the season began.
As for the replacement fans, they stayed away in droves from the strike games. The Steelers’ first strike game came in Atlanta, where former Pitt and Penn Hills High School star Bill Fralic led a group of Falcons strikers picketing the stadium. They picketed the entrance to where the Steelers busses were supposed to enter, but the busses pulled an end-around and went through another area. The attendance that day in old Fulton County Stadium: 16,667. Not even a good baseball crowd in Atlanta. The crowd for their next game, in Anaheim against the Los Angeles Rams, was posted as 20,219.
They had one home game with the replacements, against the Indianapolis Colts — the final replacement/scab game. They drew an announced crowd of 34,627 at Three Rivers Stadium. Unlike some other teams, the Steelers offered refunds to those ticket-holders who did not want to watch the un-real players. Enough took them up on their offer that the Steelers acknowledged the game was not sold out, breaking a string of sellouts that had begun in 1972.Like revisionist Russian history, however, the Steelers since have changed their mind and decided that game was a sellout and their string of sellouts since ’72 stands.
Amid the festivities, the arena stands as an island, a reminder of what is missing. The 16 surrounding towers — primarily residential — that were originally planned by the developer, Forest City Ratner Companies, for the 22-acre, $4.9 billion Atlantic Yards project have yet to be built. The 10,000 or so jobs promised have not materialized. Of the 2,250 affordable housing units pledged out of 6,300, only 181 are planned for a first tower, and ground for the building has yet to be broken.
Surrounding residents fear that unruly basketball fans will stagger drunkenly onto their sidewalks, that Armageddon-like traffic will blockade their streets, that already-squeezed parking spaces will be swallowed, that crime and rodents will run rampant and that housing and jobs will never come about.
By promoting jobs and affordable housing, said the Rev. Clinton Miller of Brown Memorial Baptist Church in Clinton Hill, Bruce Ratners’ Forest City was able to sell the project to members of the black community and create an early schism between them and the residents of the nearby brownstone neighborhoods, many of whom were white. Mr. Miller did not join the plaintiffs, led by Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, who first sued in 2006 to block the use of eminent domain to acquire the property for Atlantic Yards.
“We were never against the project; we just wanted the process to be fair and inclusive,” said Mr. Miller, who has formed a new group of 25 pastors to monitor the project. When the company enlisted Jay-Z and engaged other leaders like the Rev. Al Sharpton, Mr. Ratner made it difficult for some in the black community to criticize the project, Mr. Miller said.
“The racial dynamic,” he added, “was tremendously manipulated by Forest City.”
Echoing Miller’s sentiments, there’s more on the subject from a one-time supporter of Ratner’s Atlantic Yards initiative who now insists, “The whole of Brooklyn got played.“