Calhoun’s rosters typically posted a graduation rate under 30%, only a fraction of that caused by players turning pro. Through that time, very clearly, the UConn athletic department and administration tacitly approved of Calhoun’s methods. His long-time athletic director and apologist, Jeff Hathaway, would point to increases in applicants to the school as evidence of Calhoun’s great works. Hathaway never mentioned that nearly 70% of those accepted never enrolled in the university.
Calhoun’s ethical problems dated back as far as 1995, when players Ricky Moore and Kirk King reportedly accepted airline tickets from an agent. You can forgive Calhoun that. No coach is omnipotent. But much more recently in 2009, a team manager offered a recruit, Nate Miles, free room and board. And in 2010, while the NCAA was completing an investigation into recruiting violations against the program, Hathaway rushed to rehire Calhoun at $13 million over five years. Calhoun again survived what the NCAA found to be a failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance. Instead, a Huskie assistant coach and director of basketball operations became scapegoats.
He would never quit. The bigger question was always whether Calhoun cared to learn any lessons, or whether he’d become too arrogant and armored for introspection. In August of 2011, long overdue, UConn’s new president, Susan Herbst, began an in-house study of the athletic department’s academic performance and fund-raising methods. Soon Hathaway retired and now Calhoun is departing. Many students and alumni will honor the coach on his way out the door. That’s the way it always is with guys who win championships, even if they do it in a way that circumvents the rules.
I’ll refrain from (further) comment on Neon Trees’ skill-set except to say I’d call them 5 Tool Players if they were a quintet. On the bright side, if Ebn-Ozn ever feel like launching a comeback, there’s at least one online outlet that oughta be psyched to host.
Though they’ve yet to be eliminated from the NL playoff chase, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ recent 9-23 run has made it rather unlikely 2012 will see their first return to the postseason in two decades. Upon learning the Pirates’ Florida Instructional League players are about to undergo training at the hands of Navy SEALS,the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Dejan Kovacevic suggests such schemes “are emblematic of a franchise that has no clue how to prioritize winning.”
Tell me what Bob Nutting, the man with the most say, has done this summer to advance the cause of the 2012 Pirates.
He authorized trading for Wandy Rodriguez and his guaranteed $12.2 million at the deadline. It was the right move. But was that same authorization in place to get the more sorely needed bat?
The Pirates could have had Chase Headley from the Padres for a top-five prospect, either Brad Lincoln or a sandwich draft pick, plus a third piece. That was a fair, affordable price, even before Headley erupted into the National League’s best player in the second half.
Moreover, Headley’s rights could be controlled through 2014, assuming the team would pay a high salary through arbitration the next two years. Was cost the problem?
Tell me what Neal Huntington did at the deadline beyond getting Rodriguez and giving up little for Travis Snider and Gaby Sanchez. Assuming the GM worked without financial restraint, that was a case of little ventured, little gained.
Tell me how Clint Hurdle has overseen two collapses now.
I applaud the man for turning the Pirates around. Really, it took a special personality. But he’s the one who came up with the slogan FINISH for his team, and he, maybe more than anyone, must come to grips with why that line gets drawn in July.
If the average schmoe takes to a message board to opine that Amanda Palmer’s music sucks donkey dick, there’s not much cause for a news alert in what’s left of rock media. If a public figure like Steve Albini takes issue with Palmer, however (even in a setting prone to such give and take like say, a recording studio’s user forum), the cynical fucks in rock blogdom know there’s easy traffic to be gained by making it appear as if Steve had his invisible publicist send out a press release “savaging” Amanda Palmer.
Likewise, if I were to tweet that Citi Field has all the ambiance of a Bill Popp & The Tapes gig (ie., none), few would notice. But when the same observations are made by the last man to manage the New York Mets to a World Championship, you can fucking bet I’m cutting and pasting that shit faster than you can type “intense levels of hypocrisy”. From CBS New York :
In town this week with his first-place Washington Nationals, manager Davey Johnson couldn’t help but notice the difference between then and now.
“Citi Field is like a morgue here,” Johnson told 106.7 the Fan on Wednesday. “I remember when I was here, we had 50,000 packed in Shea.”
Johnson’s club would later complete the three-game sweep, adding to the post-All-Star-break misery of the Mets.
And while fans haven’t exactly been heading out to Nationals Park in droves, Johnson insisted the juice is there for his team.
“Let me tell you, I love our ballpark, man,” he said. “The fans have been outstanding. I mean, they’re into it. It’s great. I’ve seen a big change since I’ve been there. … I really like the fans. I love the ballpark.”
Thru 70 home games, the Mets are averaging 28,515 paid. Conversely, the Nations rank 14th in the majors with an average paid attendance of 29,688. Granted, there’s undoubtedly a good number of Mets tickets that aren’t being used. But when the red hot Nats can’t outdraw the non-contending Rockies or Twins, perhaps Johnson ought to think twice before mocking another franchise’s plight. Sure, I bring up the grim scenes at Citi Field on an almost daily basis, but I reserve the right to manufacture all sorts of outrage when Johnson echoes my sentiments.
How many sports media columnists get not one, but two opportunities to tell their readers how much they respect Bob Costas in a matter of days? On Tuesday, the Allentown Morning-Call’s Bob Grollier hailed NBC Sports’ Costas for providing “ a seasoned, well-reasoned, well-thought-out analysis on any topic,” in particular, the diminutive broadcaster’s editorials during “Football Night In America”‘s halftime show (“Costas’ commentary enhances what has become the must-see event of most NFL Sundays”). Days later, Groiller reports that Costas was gracious enough to personally contact him and let him know just how much the unabashed stroke-job measured praise was appreciated.
He wanted to call, first and foremost, to thank me for saying something positive about his work when most people only get noticed when they mess up and the media can’t wait to get in their shot.
Since it was a personal conversation and not an interview, I won’t get into many details, but I was very impressed with the call and have even more respect for him now than I did a few days ago, and frankly, I’ve always thought he was the the best in the business when it comes to being a well-rounded, well-versed sports personality/journalist/announcer.
One thing he did say was that he made a mistake in saying immediately after the Freeh report was released that the NCAA should give Penn State football the death penalty. He admitted that he had to make a rushed assessment.
“I was wrong on that,” he said.
What other big name media guy would ever admit they made a mistake?
EPSTEIN: Tell us a little about your current roster. Undoubtedly, there are several position players and pitchers who have impressed you, but are there one or two you think scouts should keep an eye on during the games in Jupiter?
AUSMUS: The WBC schedule limits the amount of time that Team Israel will train together. The team will work out for five days prior to the start of the qualifying tournament. That is not a lot of time for teammates to get to know one another. Team Israel will consist of Jewish-American minor-league players, former major-league players, and Israeli natives. Their ages range from early 20s to 40. Keep your eye on Shawn Green — I hear he was a pretty good player at one time.
EPSTEIN: Kevin Youkilis has said that if the team advances beyond the qualifying round to the March 2013 tournament, he would like to play. How many other Jewish players currently in the big leagues or minors do you expect to join the roster? Might Roger Clemens consider converting?
AUSMUS: I don’t like to look beyond the qualifying tournament because if we do not advance, it is irrelevant which MLB players will participate. Rest assured, if we do advance, we’ll contact all Team Israel–eligible MLB players.
More than 400,000 pages of documents relating to the 1999 Hillsborough Disaster that claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool fans are set to enter the public domain tomorrow, so what better time for an Liverpool F.C.-commissioned reality show to hit the airwaves? Of Fox Sports’ fluffy “Being Liverpool”, the Guardian’s Andy Hunt warns, “Hard Knocks, the HBO series into an NFL team, this is not.”
This is not really about the inner-workings of a football club, but everything to do with promoting Liverpool in a glossy, Hello! magazine style to a global (particularly American) audience. And so we get a good nose around the extravagant homes of Rodgers and Steven Gerrard, the Liverpool captain being described by the narrator Clive Owen as the winner of “two FA Cup titles” – what about the rest? – introductions to their families and Gerrard discussing the “due diligence” process of securing a first date with his future wife.
Plenty of toe-curling results from Being: Liverpool and, football being football, the documentary makes manager Brendan Rodgers, the chairman, Tom Werner, and principal owner, John W Henry, hostage to fortune at a time when they could all do without it.
Television’s need for the catchy sound-bite puts Rodgers in dangerous David Brent territory on occasion. The episode’s title “The Silver Shovel” is taken from the manager’s description of his upbringing in Carnlough. “Player plus environment equals behaviour” is another line from a manager who, away from the cameras, has consistently spoken in clear, refreshingly realistic terms about the task confronting himself and Liverpool. He needed a few extra million to sign Clint Dempsey to help that cause, not this.
…but not before Reds SS Brandon Phillips all but publicly fingered Pirates reliever Jared Hughes for aiming a racial slur at the former last night. The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Fay spoke to Phillips (shown below, being hit by a pitch from Phillips during the 8th inning of last night’s marathon win over Pittsburgh), who claims to have resolved the matter with Hughes during a pregame phone call tonight.
“We reached out, and me and Mr. Hughes had a great conversation before I came to the stadium today,” Phillips said. “It was the best thing that ever happened, just talking to him about what happened, talking to him about things that I heard and stuff.
“It was great to hear what he had to say and him to hear what I had to say. It made us both feel better about the situation. I respect him as a player and a man from the conversation we had.
“It was just a big misunderstanding. When you say certain things in the heat of the moment, you really don’t mean it. You forgive people. He forgave me. I forgive him. It’s the baseball family. I love him as a brother.”
Hughes told Pittsburgh writers similar things:
“I’ve got a ton of respect for Brandon Phillips as a man and a ballplayer. We talked and told each other how much we respect each other as men. He’s a great guy. He’s super nice.”
Hansen, who grew up in Seattle but now lives in San Francisco, has asked the city of Seattle and King County to contribute $200 million in bonds to the construction of a $490 million arena in the Sodo neighborhood, south of Safeco Field. Hansen’s own investment group, meanwhile, is willing to spend $800 million on construction and on the acquisition of an NBA team for Seattle.
Among other concerns, the original “memorandum of understanding” in May among Hansen, McGinn and county Executive Dow Constantine fell short of convincing the City Council that the public would be adequately protected from financial risks should the venture not be as successful as Hansen expects.
Over the past few months, city councilmembers were able to negotiate satisfactory solutions to their biggest concerns — mainly that the public would not be left on the hook to pay outstanding debt on the arena, that there would be plenty of reserve funds as financial safeguards, and that the city and county wouldn’t be stuck with a worthless, old building at the end of the 32-year financing period.
“Those three things really helped make the risk side of this equation much better for the city,” Councilmember Mike O’Brien said Tuesday. “It’s not risk-free, but I think it certainly is worthy of the benefits … to make this a good deal going forward.”
Yes, bro, I saw his stats. And yet, like the bookends above who trekked down to that other Chocolate City, I just had to get these off my chest—post-haste. Having immigrated to the Beltway well before The Shanahan Epoch, I’m quite sure you’ll ‘nawimean.’ Regardless, by the time Uncle Tupelo sings “The Trolley Song” this Sunday in St. Louis, these walking clown questions will have lost a lot more than their shirts. With Obama on the road, Strasburg on borrowed time and the Wizards still on-schedule, it’s been a cruel, cruel summer in the District; to wit, I shudder to kick any dog when it’s down. Then again, it’s crueler to be kind to a fan base that proudly counts Mark May as one of its 80 Greatest.
II. Beard Award-winning restaurateur (thx b 2 Guy Fieri!), No. 7 Joe Theismann hasn’t been able to twinkle standing up since that legging at RFK c/o LT.
III. Somehow, Steve Spurrier—the Skins’ fifth new H.B.C. in ten years at the time—proved waaay too classy for a front office quarantined from the Metro out there in Ashburn, Virginia. To this day, Lyndon LaRouche can’t even believe that one…and he lives in Leesburg!
IV. Meanwhile, just up 495, Modell’s Colts Ravens convinced Barry Levinson to make a film about a buncha band geeks. But here in the reclaimed swampland that is Hollywood-for-ugly-people, the Redskins couldn’t even bribe Brando for a cameo in the Lifetime® Original™ of Harjo, et al. v. Pro-Football, Inc.
V. Finally, because they cannot stop for death, well, just have a look-see. (Even worse for this poor soul, though: Valerie Solanas—the Queen Bitch, herself—lies not two stones over.)
Jerry Nash, the father of former Texas Tech forward Jaron Nash, said he believes Gillispie has been painted in an unfair light as reports that he allegedly mistreated players and exceeded NCAA limits on practice time have surfaced over the last two weeks.
“Billy Gillispie is a friend of mine,” Jerry Nash told the Avalanche-Journal in a telephone interview. “I consider him a great coach, a great person and a great man.”
Jaron Nash heeded his father’s wishes and asked for his scholarship release following last season. Jerry Nash said he appreciates the way Gillispie handled the situation, and it didn’t stop at allowing his son’s release, he said.
Shortly after Nash was granted that release, Gillispie helped enter the Tech team into an awareness walk for multiple sclerosis around Jones AT&T Stadium as a tribute to Jerry Nash, who was diagnosed with the disease in 1999, he said.
“When Ron-Ron showed me video of that,” Jerry Nash said, “it brought tears to my eyes.”
(Competitive) Day One of Jay Cutler’s reunion with WR Brandon Marshall proved to be wildly successful Sunday, as the pair combined for one TD, 8 receptions and 118 yards in Chicago’s 41-21 defeat of Indianapolis and debutante QB Andrew Luck. Cutler, whose disposition is generally under heavy scrutiny, didn’t disappoint this lazy blogger the local media by somehow finding something to complain about. From CBS Chicago’s Andrew Hoge :
“Please, please, please let’s tone it down a little bit when we’re down in the 20,” Cutler said after the game as he delivered a message to the fans. “You’re more than welcome to yell and scream and do whatever you want to do after we score, but please, let’s go ahead and quiet the stadium down and save it for after we score. Thank you. That’s my PSA.”
After Matt Forte gained 15 yards to put the ball at the Colts’ 1-yard line in the first quarter, fans naturally cheered. But then they didn’t stop cheering. As the offense went to huddle, nearly all 11 Bears players on the field were waving their arms in a “quiet-down” motion. It didn’t work and the Bears ended up calling timeout.
Apologies to John Waters for the above headline. “By using your position as an elected official (when referring to your constituents so as to implicitly threaten the Ravens organization) to state that the Ravens should “inhibit such expressions from your employees”, more specifically Brendon Ayanbadejo, not only are you clearly violating the First Amendment, you also come across as a BEAUTIFULLY UNIQUE SPARKLEPONY”. If some of the above statement looks familiar, that’s because Vikings P Chris Kluwe (above) , in the hopes of taking his fight with Maryland politician Emmett C. Burns Jr. to a wider audience, has amended his original, deeply profane Deadspin editorial for the more modest sensibilities at the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
This is more a personal quibble of mine, but why do you hate freedom? Why do you hate the fact that other people want a chance to live their lives and be happy, even though they may believe in something different than you, or act different than you? How does gay marriage, in any way shape or form, affect your life? If gay marriage becomes legal, are you worried that all of a sudden you’ll start thinking about DANCING CHUBTOAD? “ALACK AND ALAS MY TOP HAT HAS FALLEN. Gay marriage just passed. Gotta get me some of that DELICIOUS STATE FAIR HOTDOG!” Will all of your friends suddenly turn gay and refuse to come to your Sunday Ticket grill-outs? (unlikely, gay people enjoy watching football too)
I can assure you that gay people getting married will have zero affect on your life. They won’t come into your house and steal your children. They won’t magically turn you into a lustful FROLICKING OSTRICH.
Of last night’s monumentally botched call at first base by umpire Jerry Meals, the New York Post’s Joel Sherman considers it somewhat un-Bomberesque to bitch and moan. “Jerry Meals blew the call,” Sherman admits. “But he didn’t blow the 10-game lead or lose this game. The Yankees should try looking in the mirror for that.”
Meals did not throw one pitch for CC Sabathia, an ace in memory right now. He did not take a single swing for Nick Swisher or Curtis Granderson, two guys killing the lineup. And, by the way, if Meals gets the call right the score is 5-5. You think the Yankees as they are playing right now definitely win?
Like the entire 10-game lead they have blown the setback last night is the responsibility of the Yankees. Three more homers off a starter, 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position. You put yourself in a spot to be hurt by the umps, you can be hurt by the umps.
“I never blame the umps, we lost this game,” said Derek Jeter, a rational voice in a sea of fury, delusion and misplaced accountability. Mark Teixeira, for goodness sake, said the umpires didn’t want the game to go on any longer and that is why the call was blown. That’s right: The Yankees’ first baseman publicly said an umpire purposely got a call wrong in the middle of a playoff chase because, what, he wanted to catch a “Saturday Night Live” repeat?
I find Mark Teixeira to be as insufferable as any player not named Nick Swisher, but surely Sherman isn’t suggesting that teams who’ve blown 10 game leads shouldn’t expect a modicum of competent umpiring?
CONGRATS, ORIOLES. It took a very long time, but you finally got your payback for Jeffrey Maier. And full credit to Gerald William “Jerry” Meals, who continues to add to a lengthy resume that ensures those entering “Jerry Meals” into Google will see results featuring the words, “blown call” very close to the top of the pile.
Rizzo could have mitigated the controversy by being more flexible in his planning and less strident in his public remarks. Why not start Strasburg’s season in May or June, or back him off at different times during the year, so he could contribute down the stretch? Why not recalibrate the innings limit when it became clear that the Nationals had a legitimate chance to win the World Series sooner than expected?
Instead, Rizzo and the Nationals stuck to a plan rooted in dogma, not hard science. No one knows if capping Strasburg’s season at 159 1/3 innings will save his arm, just as no one knows if the shutdown will affect Strasburg’s confidence or psyche by the time he throws his next meaningful pitch seven months from now.
Johnson said it himself: Baseball is “99 percent mental.” Yet the Nationals are handling Strasburg based on a physical/statistical metric. Seems incongruous, doesn’t it? Did the Nationals calculate the injury risk associated with the mental stress and lack of sleep that we now know resulted from the innings limit?
Nebraska head football coach Bo Pelini’s Bo Pelini Foundation and volunteer coach Tim Beck are being sued by Beverly Morgan, 66, who claims she suffered brain injuries during a “Football 101″ clinic two years ago. From Opposing News.com :
Morgan says she was injured in a gauntlet drill in June 2010, in which she ran through two columns of women with blocking pads, who tried to knock the ball out of her hands.
“The women with the pads were encouraged by defendant Beck and/or others in charge of the drill to ‘Hit her!’ as the ball carrier attempted to get through the gauntlet line,” the complaint states.
“Plaintiff, before June 2, 2010, was unfamiliar with football other than as a Cornhusker fan.” Morgan says she asked Beck how to hold the ball, that she showed her to hold it with her arms crossed at her chest, and gave no other warnings or instructions about the drill.
“Plaintiff held the ball as shown by defendant Beck, took one or two steps and was struck by one or both of the women at the front of the gauntlet lines so hard she was knocked off her feet, hitting the back of her head on the Hawk’s Championship Training Center floor causing her cap and earrings to fly off,” the complaint states.
“Plaintiff experienced immediate headache, became nauseated, and her right foot was dragging. Defendant Beck and a woman helped plaintiff to a chair on the sidelines and left. Another individual came over to plaintiff and told her someone on the medical staff would come by to check on her. No one did. Plaintiff did not participate in any further drills.” Morgan says she suffered a traumatic brain injury, a subdural hematoma that required brain surgery, and a right rotator cuff injury that required surgery to repair tendons.”
By the way, there’s no truth to the rumor the referees who oversaw the “Football 101″ seminar are scheduled to work tomorrow’s Broncos/Steelers game.
Which, y’know, is ridiculous either way. Congrats to Kluwe for having the guts to put a target on his back, and who knows? Maybe someday an actual football player from Minnesota will do the same thing!
(ADDENDUM : Charles Star points out Cleveland LB Scott Fujita has previously lent his name to the fight for marriage equality).
Throughout the Rays series, analyst Lou Piniella paid lip service to the gloom surrounding the Yankees. He went for the positive spin, saying: “That’s the fun of playing baseball in September and you are in a pennant race. You come to the ballpark enthused.”
Not when you’re in the process of blowing a 10-game lead. That’s a panic race, not a pennant race. No matter, Piniella was walking on sunshine. As Curtis Granderson stepped into the box Tuesday night, Piniella rooted: “Come on Granderson.” Sweet Luigi forgot to check his pom-poms at the door. What else would you expect from a part-timer?
Evidently not any criticism of Robinson Cano. On Monday, the second baseman didn’t dive in an attempt smother Chris Gimenez’s eighth-inning ground-ball single, which allowed Ryan Roberts to score what turned out to be the winning run. Singleton was the only mouth to address the situation — kind of. He never mentioned Cano’s failure to dive. Instead, he was concerned with Cano’s health.
“Robinson Cano might actually be hurt,” Singleton said. “(He) might have strained himself.”
Sexual assault allegations against members of the Boston University men’s hockey team this year and last led to a school investigation of Jack Parker’s program, one the Boston Globe claims includes reports of “sex in the penalty box”, and worse. From The Globe’s Mary Carmichael :
The subcommittee documents make clear that at least some BU hockey players, surrounded by adoring fans, had “the perception that they need not seek consent for sexual contact.”
One player came close to admitting that. “You don’t ask [permission for sex] when you are drunk,” he told the task force, adding that he did not see how the actions of the two players charged last year constituted sexual assault.
Another player used two slurs to describe women who “hook up with multiple guys,” then wondered, “What other word for them is there?”
A female student told the task force that a player had shoved his hands down her pants at a party and refused to stop even as she was punching him. She did not report the incident to authorities because, she said, “that’s just what [BU hockey players] do.”
Another told of a Facebook posting “in which hockey players boast about their sexual exploits,” referring to conquests as “kills.”
Parker told the task force he had stressed the importance of being respectful to women and advised players to avoid group sex, which the confidential report notes players engage in with surprising regularity. “However,” Parker is quoted as saying, “my job is not to say, ‘You guys gotta be celibate.’ ”
One big difficulty for Indians general manager Chris Antonetti: His payroll this year is roughly $50 million lower than that of the division rival Tigers.
“Different owners,” Perez said frankly, in reference to Detroit’s Mike Ilitch and Cleveland’s Lawrence J. Dolan. “It comes down to that. They (the Tigers) are spending money. He (Ilitch) wants to win. Even when the economy was down (in Detroit), he spent money. He’s got a team to show for it. You get what you pay for in baseball. Sometimes you don’t. But most of the time you do.”
“You can’t miss,” Perez said. “You have to be right. That’s why I say it’s not just ownership. They don’t make the trades. It’s the GMs. It goes hand in hand. The GMs can only spend the money the owners give them, but they pick who they spend it on or who they don’t. They pick. The owners don’t pick.
“Josh Willingham would look great in this lineup. They didn’t want to (pony) up for that last year. … That’s the decision they make, and this is the bed we’re laying in.”