09.06.12

Blogger / Last Man To Win 30 Finds Fault With Coddling “Strousberg”

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 11:06 am by

Since Sirius/XM’s Dino Costa hasn’t updated his blog in over 3 months, those starving for insight might well turn to the blog of Former Tigers P / reprobate Denny McLain. It seems Washington has a young hurler they’d soon encase in bubblewrap than use down the stetch, and while you’re undoubtedly familiar with the case of former no. 1 overall pick Stephen Stasburg, McLain reveals the overly cautious Nats have another pitching sensation with a very similar name!

If Strousburg of the Washington Nationals is healthy why isn’t he pitching after the 12th of September? This is just “NUTS!”

Washington Senator Manager Davey Johnson stated Sunday the Phenom Strousburg will be done after his next turn. Can you imagine? Here they are in the middle of a run for the World Series an opportunity that every major leaguer plays for, a World Series Title. Do you mean that the geniuses in Washington now know that he can’t pitch more than 160 innings or so. What happened to last year? You mean that they are so smart now that they can predict when a guy is going to get hurt? Why didn’t they see it coming last year?

Folks, you never see it coming, it takes one pitch, one bad wind-up, one bad anything, but who the hell can predict that someone is going to get hurt? If I am a fan in Washington, I want my money back if they sit this phenom down for the rest of the year, by the way, if they are afraid of him getting hurt, why pitch him at all? Maybe next year, 5 innings huh? Just from seeing him from afar, how good can he be if he stays healthy? But they must let him pitch and let’s see if he can pitch in the 7th, 8th and 9 innings. Pitching in the late innings is a different game than pitching in the first six, I guarantee you that fact.

Art Modell, Dead At 87, Not Remembered Fondly Throughout Cleveland

Posted in Gridiron at 9:57 am by

Former Ravens and Browns owner Art Modell, a pivotal figure in the the development of the National Football Leaguepassed away yesterday at the age of 87. As the Plain-Dealer’s Mary Kay Cabot reminds us, Modell’s role in moving the Browns to Baltimore means he’s still, “public enemy no. 1″, and argues, “all of Modell’s extensive accomplishments in the NFL and with the Browns are overshadowed in Cleveland by the move.” And you thought LeBron had it tough.

After moving to Baltimore, Modell was never able to return here because of death threats. For a time, he was forced to travel with two armed bodyguards.

“I have a great legacy, tarnished somewhat by the move,” he said in 1999. “The politicians and the bureaucrats saw fit to cover their own rear ends by blaming it on me.”

“This has been a very, very tough road for my family and me,” Modell said back in 1996. “I leave my heart and part of my soul in Cleveland. But frankly, it came down to a simple proposition: I had no choice.”

He stated publicly that he had no regrets, but in private moments with Browns beat writers who often visited his owners’ suite in Baltimore, he often made it clear he wished things could have been different.

A Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist, the move ultimately prevented Modell from induction despite deserving credentials. The closest he got was to the round of 15 in 2002, but didn’t receive enough votes to make it past the first cut to 10.

09.05.12

Denver Schools Decree That Peyton Worship Is Dangerous, Wrong…

Posted in Fashion, Free Expression, Gridiron, Leave No Child Unbeaten, Lower Education at 11:05 pm by

…not to mention ugly, stupid and possibly satanic.  “The mere sight of Peyton Manning’s patented #18 could very well start a knife fight,” warns SportsGrid’s Dan Fogarty, though he’s not referring to say, the mean streets of Foxboro, MA, but rather, “Mrs. Johnson’s third grade art class”.  Specifically, Mrs. Johnson’s third grade art class in Colorado’s Weld Country District 6, where donning the jersey of the Broncos QB is strictly forbidden. From Fox News :

“They told me I couldn’t wear 18 anymore because it’s a gang number and I had to take it off,” said Konnor Vanatta during an interview with FOX31 Denver on Tuesday.

Vanatta, a third grader in the Weld County School System, was disappointed to learn that the number 18 is considered to represent gang affiliations and is not allowed on clothing inside county classrooms.

“I’m pretty upset the schools have come down to this and I think they need to start paying attention to the education the children are getting rather than what they’re wearing,” added Pam Vanatta, the student’s mother.

A spokesperson for Weld County District 6 explained the policy has been around for more than three years and applies to the numbers 13, 14,18, 31, 41 and 81.

Ballplayers Lecturing Dopey Fans Dept., Pt. II

Posted in Baseball, Mob Behavior at 1:56 pm by

(SIT DOWN ALREADY – SOME OF US ARE TRYING TO COMPLAIN ON OUR SMART PHONES WATCH THE GAME)

Slightly more pointed than Chipper Jones’ scolding of the Braves fans disguised as empty seats are comments from two members of the Nationals bullpen, who side with those who tell the Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg that The Wave is tantamount to “a signifier of casual fandom,..a legacy of years without baseball, a sign that we don’t deserve our first-place team.”
.
“Kill it,” reliever Ryan Mattheus says. “It’s the worst thing in sports. Sit down and watch the game….The thing about it is, you should be into what’s going on on the field, not what’s going on in the stands. It takes away from the game. I definitely understand why people hate it….I definitely vote kill the wave.”

This is the reddest of anti-wave red meat, because Mattheus is giving voice to what the wave critics say most often: that only people who don’t care about the actual game would take part in the wave. And when Sarah approached Drew Storen, the climate didn’t get any wavier.

“Did those guys tell you to ask me that?” he asked of his bullpen mates. “I am not a fan of the wave. I get it if it’s like a blowout situation or a slow game — fine, mix it in. But we’ve had a couple of times where it’s been the bottom of the eighth and it’s a close game. Cheer for the game, you know?

“If we’re in the fifth or sixth inning and up by a touchdown, maybe mix in the wave if you want,” he continued. “But if it’s the eighth inning and a one-run game, you shouldn’t be starting the wave.”

Chipper : Turner Field Remains Less Exciting Than Your Average Hooters

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace, twitter twatter at 11:38 am by

OK, I’ll admit my choice of headline is an inexcusable cheap shot at the expense of a likely Hall Of Famer (whom if he played in a Mets uniform, I’d somehow find something nice to say about his stupid haircut).   But to quote Hardball Talk’s Craig Calcaterra, “If you really did feed off of those guys you would have starved years ago.”  Indeed, long before this blog’s stone age inception, Atlanta’s relative indifference to the Braves has been analyzed, debated, defended, etc. to death. And Chipper picks one month before his exit to call the home venue a morgue?

Then again, it’s not entirely realistic to expect Jones to make his Sports On Earth debut with a column examining how the 2012 postseason might potentially include as many as 3 other teams (Tampa, Baltimore, Oakland) whose respective home attendances make Atlanta look like a box office smash by comparison.

09.04.12

Stadio Is Arenas – Home To Serie A’s Least Noisy Soccer

Posted in Football at 10:55 pm by

Two weeks into the 2012-13 Serie A campaign, When Saturday Comes’ Richard Mason finds fault with Italy’s top flight for a number of reasons, including, but not limited to unacceptable playing conditions. “One day we might be led by people who understand that football needs spectators if it is to have any meaning and level playing fields if it is to offer them a decent spectacle in return for their money,” opines Mason, who presumably hasn’t attended many baseball games in Miami.

Napoli beat Fiorentina 2-1 on a surface more suitable for beach soccer. It would have been a disgrace at an English non-League ground in January. At a top European club at the beginning of September it is totally unacceptable. The state of the pitch is being blamed on the hot summer (in Naples!) and a virus but the condition has been known for several weeks and nothing has been done so far to remedy it. If referee Antonio Damato had done his job properly he would have ruled the pitch unfit for play, though in reality the decision should already have been taken higher up.

Cagliari and Atalanta drew 1-1 on a perfect surface but in a building site without supporters. Cagliari’s new stadium is being built in the city of Quartu Sant’Elena but as yet it is not ready to admit spectators. Cagliari named Trieste as the venue for their first four home games but during the week players threatened to strike if they could not play in Sardinia. The local authorities declared the building site fit to hold a game but without spectators and the league caved in provided that Atalanta agreed.

A stadium not ready to hold spectators is also not ready to host matches. Obviously the buffoons who are currently in charge of Italian football think otherwise and are prepared to present to the watching world a beach in Napoli’s San Paolo Stadium and the desolation of empty seats in Sardinia.

Mets Mouthpiece Mex Mulls Trashing His ‘Stache

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 4:27 pm by

KISS without makeup.   City streets without pay telephones. Josh Hamilton without a needle in his arm.  These are all things we’ve had to get used to at one time or another, but is our society really prepared to contemplate SNY’s Keith Hernandez without a mustache?  Telling the New York Times’ Richard Sandomir that his godfucking awful entertaining commercials alongside Walt Frazier for Just For Men came to end because, “they said our ads were stale,” Keith might be ready to part with his iconic facial hair for the first time in years (““I don’t want to draw attention to it…I’ll do it, and whoever’s watching the game will see it”)

Hernandez once kept a stockpile of Just for Men to comply with his contract, which said he had to appear on-air fully dyed. Two executives monitored Mets games to be sure he did not turn into Mr. Gray. He still has a few boxes left, but he isn’t using it.

The result is visible: with each passing Mets broadcast on SNY, the mustache has grown considerably grayer. Sometimes the mustache is more interesting than the game.

“I’m not totally happy with the gray,” he said. “It’s something I have to get used to. I have more people, on the female side, who tell me they prefer it gray.”

So, he must have surmised, there would be some play for Mr. Gray.

He would not say how long he would keep the mustache off if he indeed shaved it. He recalled getting accustomed to being without it when Rapp banned facial hair like his.

Still, Hernandez would not mind if Just for Men sent the goateed baby to his crib and summoned him for hair-dyeing relief. Just give him a month to grow his mustache back.

Washington – First In War, First In Peace, Last In Ejections

Posted in Baseball at 2:28 pm by

When rookie OF Bryce Harper was tossed by umpire C.B. Bucknor  for helmet-spiking last week, it marked the first time in 2012 any member of the Washington Nationals had been ejected from a game. If you think that’s because the NL East-leading Nats have little to complain about,  Adam LaRoche (above) argues (politely, of course) it’s really a matter of anger management.  From the Washington Post’s James Wagner :

“I don’t think we’ve had that long stretch of really frustrating losing, nothing is going right and getting [upset],” said LaRoche, who has been ejected only twice in his nine-year career; last in 2008. “I think that’s part of it. I guess we’ve got calm tempers.”

It’s worth noting that only six current Nationals players aside from Harper have been ejected in their careers: Mark DeRosa (with the Texas Rangers in 2006); Ian Desmond (throwing his helmet following an overturned call in 2010); Jesus Flores in 2008; John Lannan (in his 2007 major league debut); LaRoche (in 2006 and 2008); and Zimmerman (throwing down his bat and helmet after a strikeout on Aug. 18, 2010). Also, Manager Davey Johnson has been tossed 34 times in his career; his most recent one on Aug. 28, 2011.

09.03.12

Does Anyone Know Where I Can Find A “David Carr – 2002 NFL MVP” Hoodie?

Posted in Fashion, Gridiron, The Marketplace at 10:48 pm by

The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron reports retailer Old Navy is hawking t-shirts that declare the Houston Texans to be “1961 AFC Champions”, a rather neat trick for an expansion franchise that began play in 2002.

Employees at Old Navy stores in Houston apparently got wind of the problem as early as Saturday. Only one Texans shirt remained available on a mannequin at the company’s Meyerland Plaza store.

When a customer purchased it, the sales clerk said, “You know this is wrong, don’t you?” When he replied that he did, the clerk said, “I bought one, too. I knew they’d find the error and pull them off the shelves.”

There were other problems with the NFL T-shirt line, which is available in local Old Navy stores and on the company’s website. The Cleveland Browns shirt proclaimed the Browns as 1964 AFC champions; the Browns, who now play in the AFC, won the NFL title that year.

Also, shirts for the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs proclaimed them as NFL champions for the 1968 and 1969 seasons. Both won Super Bowls that year, but they did so as members of the AFL.

I Cannot Confirm A Rumor David Rackley Has Fredbird Tattooed On His Shaft…

Posted in Baseball at 6:17 pm by

….but I cannot deny it, either!

Your Patience Will Go To Hell With Scott Ostler’s Repeated References To “BoMel”

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 1:40 pm by

With a 76-57 mark, Oakland are 3 games behind Texas in the AL West and are currently leading the chase for one of two Wild Card spots, a scenario few would’ve predicted in Spring Training any more than you’d have forecast retread skipper Bob Melvin being touted as a Manager Of The Year candidate. Hoping to spice up Melvin’s candidacy, the SF Chronicle’s Scott Ostler (“Maybe A’s BoMel should get a Nobel”) promises, “If Hollywood makes a ‘Moneyball’ sequel about this season’s amazin’ A’s, I guarantee the manager won’t be portrayed as a fat guy with a sour attitude.”

BoMel is one hot manager. That’s what the players call him, BoMel. How’s that for creativity? Sounds like a tummy medicine.

But what are you going to do? Melvin isn’t a quote machine, not a loose cannon, not a crusty blow-top, not a cocky gum-snapper. Just a fellow who calmly works every angle and keeps all his players up to date on exactly where they stand and how they will be used. I guess Mr. Communication isn’t much of a nickname.

How about Melly? The Professor?

Brandon Inge, who goes way back with BoMel, got on a soapbox before Sunday’s game to explain what he likes about the skipper.

“Everything that he does,” Inge said. “The way he writes the lineup out, the way he considers your feelings every single day. He considers every guy. He communicates with everyone in here. Everyone knows their role, and I’ve had managers in the past that weren’t very good at communicating. (On other teams) when one guy would sit one day, he wouldn’t know why. He wouldn’t know his role. It’s not like that here. And on top of it, he would do the same for any one of us here. He’d take a bullet for any one of us, I guarantee you. It’s kind of like one of those things where when you’re being treated with that much respect, you’d better treat him with that same respect.”

Inge’s take on Melvin s in stark contrast to the people skills (or lack thereof) attributed to Larry Lucchino’s hand-picked replacement for Terry Francona.

09.02.12

“The Invention Of Solitude” Is Not A Book About Being Lucas Duda’s Biggest Fan

Posted in Baseball at 9:06 pm by

(photographed culled from Larry Brown Sports)

When Michael Dirda once hailed Paul Auster’s characterization of “disoriented heroes in a seemingly familiar world gradually suffused with mounting uneasiness, vague menace and possible hallucination,” the former did so many years before Auster took a keen interest in another disoriented hero. “What I Loved” author Siri Hustvedt compares husband Auster’s fixation on Mets outfielder Lucas Duda to “Tolstoy’s ‘Anna Karenin’  in which the heroine commits suicide by throwing herself in front of a train,” reports the New York Daily News’ Andy Martino, surely aware that watching Duda attempt to catch a ball hit over his head might inspire an equally desperate act.

When Daniel Murphy steps in against Phillies rookie Tyler Cloyd with one out in the first inning, the phone rings. It is Auster’s publisher, informing him that his new memoir, “Winter Journal,” is ascending the New York Times bestseller list.

“I don’t care,” Auster says, amiably, hanging up as Lucas Duda bats. He tops off my glass, and returns to what interests him.

“Oh, we have to talk about Duda,” he continues. “He is a case of temperament and character. The way he hangs his head, the look in his eyes — he could be a great player, but he is bedeviled by doubts.”

Having noted Duda’s confidence gap a few innings earlier — with sympathy, not scorn — Auster stands when the sulky slugger wraps a third-inning homer around the right-field foul pole.

“Oh, Duda! Duda! Good for you!” he says.

In the eighth, Duda steals second base; after sliding, he pops up and seems to inflate.

“Look at Lucas,” Auster says, smiling. “He is looking prouder tonight. Did you see the way he jutted out his chin?”

Worst K(ay) Corner Ever

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 8:45 pm by

8 Yankee pitchers today, 8 K’s, 8 Michael Kays, 8 Baltimore runs.

Speier : It’s Time To Jettison Burnt-Out Bobby V.

Posted in Baseball at 1:22 pm by

Of Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine’s curious, possibly vengeful overuse (143 pitches in the last five days) of reliever Alfredo Aceves, WEEI.com’s Alex Speier writes, “what does that matter for a manager who is left to believe either that he will not be back next year or that, if he wins now, he has a shot at returning?” Of Valentine’s lame duck status, Speier opines, “it is impossible to imagine that the team doesn’t know what it wants to do with him…given that no one has been willing to discuss his role with the club beyond this year, dismiss him. End the uncomfortable, awkward middle in which Valentine seems like a man waiting to get whacked.” And that’s after providing damning testimony meant to indicate Valentine’s has well and truly given up.

On Friday, he showed up at the ballpark less than three hours before the first pitch — hours after a manager typically makes his way to the ballpark in order to guarantee his preparedness and ensure his availability to his players and coaches. On Saturday, he was asked about a Red Sox lineup that featured Scott Podsednik penciled into the third spot in the order for the first time in the veteran’s big league career.

“Just a mistake,” Valentine said in response to his deployment of Podsednik. “Is that what it says on the lineup? What the (expletive)? Switch it up. Who knows? Maybe it will look good. I haven’t seen it.”

And again on Saturday, when Valentine was asked about the fact that catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia challenged baseball etiquette by breaking up a no-hitter in the fifth inning (of a 5-0 game) with a bunt single, Valentine’s response was not defense but rather dismissal.

“Who cares?” he told reporters.

Since you’d sorely need baserunners by any means necessary in the 5th inning while trailing 5-0, I’m less than outraged over Valentine’s reaction to Saltalamacchia bunting. Valentine was allegedly stuck in traffic Friday after picking up his son at SFO, though had something similar happened to Josh Beckett or Carl Crawford, few excuses would’ve been accepted by fans or a bloodthirsty media corps..

09.01.12

Ronay’s Wright/Bowie Comparisons Stop Just Shy Of Any Mention Of Underpaying SRV

Posted in Football at 11:22 pm by

Newly acquired goalkeeper Richard Wright didn’t feature for Manchester City in Saturday’s 3-1 home defeat of winless QPR, no big surprise given the 34-year-old, most famously a fixture for Ipswich circa 1995-2001, hasn’t played more than 10 games in any campaign over the last decade.  That the perennial bench-warmer is now the property of the defending EPL champions strikes the Guardian’s Barney Ronay as something akin to, “catching a glimpse of a dog wearing a hat, or hearing someone describe in great detail what the colour red smells like, a mid-range Premier League goalkeeping version of that moment in the 1980s when the aged Let’s Dance-era David Bowie reappeared suddenly at the top of the charts pretending to be a regular guy who wears chinos and sings pop songs, but resembling to the child weaned on Wham! and Duran Duran a frightening alien robot-lizard disguised as a country estate agent.”

He seems unshakeably associated with a very specific era in English goalkeeping, a generation of itchy, jumpy, pink-faced young men maddened to the point of distraction by the evolution of the keeper’s role from shamefaced Gollum of last resort into a kind of spangle-shirted quarterback, the goalkeeper-athlete with his “distribution”, his goal somersaults, his bargingly self-important sprints downfield.

Goalkeepers of his era often seemed prone to calamitous strokes of ill fortune. Wright is remembered for the injury he sustained while warming up in a goalmouth after falling over a sign warning him of the dangers of warming up in the goalmouth. On his England debut he gave away two penalties, the first of which crossed the line after bouncing in off the back of his head. He also suffered a serious injury after falling out of his loft hatch at home, something I remember with a sense of distant kinship because I have also fallen out of my loft hatch and it is an unnerving experience, creating in that moment of freefall through the hatch a sense of having been betrayed on some basic level by the floor. Perhaps Wright, as he fell, also grabbed uselessly at a piece of yellow foam ceiling insulation, shredding it into horrible feathery strips and creating a mist of falling grit and fibres that stung his eyes and tickled his throat as he lay splayed on the carpet thinking: “This exact same thing happened to that goalkeeper. Richard Wright.”

 

If Nothing Else, Franco Harris Has Proven There’s Few Limits On What You Can Bring Into Beaver Stadium

Posted in College Spurts, Free Expression, Gridiron at 6:54 pm by

(image culled from Lost Lettermen.com)

It’s been a long road from the Immaculate Reception to The Craptacular Distraction (above), but full credit to Franco Harris for continuing to embrace the role of Joe Paterno Apologist in a manner so over the fucking top,  you’d think he was trying to take the heat off Father Benedict Groeschel.

Miami Scribe Humbly Suggests The Public’s Right To Know Does Not Extend To Vontae Davis’ Pissing Problems

Posted in Gridiron, Sports TV at 6:37 pm by

The only thing I dislike more than reality television is the NFL preseason*, so the notion of combining the two in the form of HBO’s vaunted “Hard Knocks” series sounds about as appealing as, I dunno, being Lance Armstrong’s gopher. If the Miami Dolphins hoped to enhance their brand identity by participating in the 2012 edition of “Hard Knocks”, the Palm Beach Post’s Joe Capozzi scolds, “there was precious little to gain.”

The worst thing that could have happened did when players groused that a double-standard seemed to have been established. The players were asked to keep complaints in-house, but the very presence of HBO cameras – sometimes accompanied by a coach’s mocking criticism of a player – invited a sense of hypocrisy.

Chad Johnson’s domestic issues became a flashpoint, and led veterans Reggie Bush, Karlos Dansby and Jake Long to request a meeting with Philbin in the wake of Johnson’s departure. Vontae Davis was teased about a lack of bladder control.

Roberto Wallace, who was waived Friday, was tagged with the nickname “Ankle Weights” during a staff evaluation in reference to his lack of speed.

There’s a cutthroat and cruel environment wrapped around all things professional football, of course, and players are well aware of how harshly they can be judged and how quickly they can be jettisoned. Long, though, was wrong Friday when he said, “Everybody was portrayed in a good manner.”

They most certainly were not. Davis’ immaturity was on full display when he immediately said he wanted to “call my grandma” after Ireland gave him news of the trade. Neither did it serve any purpose to learn that rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill doesn’t know which teams play in which division.

* – OK, genocide is pretty bad, too.