09.20.12

Joe Buck’s Subtle Insinuations About Troy Aikman

Posted in Baseball, Gridiron, Sports TV at 5:53 pm by

Heads up, Skip Bayless!  It seems Fox Sports’ Joe Buck is intruding on your territory.  With Buck scheduled to work both Rays and Buccaneers games this weekend, The Tampa Bay Times’ Tom Jones caught up with the veteran baseball and football announcer to discuss a variety of subjects, though sadly, Randy Moss wasn’t one of ‘em.

Take me through the preparation for doing a baseball game one day and a football game the next. I imagine the football takes more prep work.

It does. I try to split my time each day working on both. It’s not like I work on baseball on Monday and then football on Tuesday and so forth. I try to put in a couple of hours on baseball and then move on to football. That way I can keep track each day and not fall behind on either.

For baseball, would you pay more attention to, say, the Rays series last week against the Orioles than normal?

Absolutely. If this was June, I don’t know that I could tell you who the winning and losing pitchers were or who had the big hit as much I could now. So I’m paying attention to the teams a lot closer.

Do you talk a lot with Tim McCarver and Troy Aikman during the week?

Well, Troy and I will text each other lot. I can’t text with Tim. Tim doesn’t text. I’m better off sending smoke signals and sending up a pterodactyl. But we’ve been doing games together for 17 years now, so we fall right back into it even if we haven’t seen each other or talked in a few weeks. The chemistry is great with both. For example, I’ll throw out a reference like Foo Fighters. Tim has no idea who the Foo Fighters are. Neither does Troy, probably. I need to say Kenny Chesney to get his attention. But both are such pros and we’re so comfortable around one another that we are able to work together well.

John L. Smith – What Part Of “He’s Broke & Crazy” Do You Not Understand?

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 3:46 pm by

Full credit to Arkansas head football coach John L. Smith :  not only is he doing his best today to make Razorbacks fans nostalgic for Bobby Petrino take the heat off Vince Young, but who amongst us could turn revelations of severe financial misfortune into a fodder for a future Coors Light commercial?

09.19.12

“Three Blind Mice” Over The Ballpark P.A. – Because Not Everyone Has A Copy Of X Blank X’s “You’re Full Of Shit”

Posted in Baseball, History's Not Happening at 9:34 pm by

Earlier this summer, the Fort Myers Miracle’s “music intern” (yeah, I know!) found himself 86′d from a game against Daytona after playing “Three Blind Mice” over the stadium tannoy following a disputed call (“Fort Myers’ Smart Aleck Intern – At Least He Didn’t Play Third Eye Blind”).   Though at least one prior famous public performance of “Three Blind Mice” at a ballgame was noted in the CSTB piece, it seems the rich history of using said tune to enrage arbiters goes back much, much further. From Slate’s  Adam K. Raymond (link swiped from Baseball Think Factory)

According to an Associated Press report from July of 1936, umpire and Norman Rockwell subject Beans Reardon “chased [pitcher] Jim Weaver off the Pittsburgh bench” for singing the song, proving that if catchers wear the tools of ignorance, umpires don the tools of sensitivity.

In 1941, the Cubs expanded the possibility of song-based heckling by introducing the first ballpark organ. Though Wrigley Field ivory tickler Roy Nelson stuck to friendlier fare, the musicians weren’t as kind in Brooklyn. In May 1942, Ebbets Field’s Gladys Goodding welcomed Bill Stewart, Ziggy Sears, and Tom Dunn to the field with umps’ least-favorite nursery rhyme. “It was a request number from a fan,” UPI reported.

The fan may have been a part of the Dodgers Sym-Phony, a ragtag band that kept up a running commentary on the on-field action with a rotating cast of horns and drums. “Three Blind Mice” was long part of the Sym-Phony’s repertoire, along with “The Hearse Song” (“The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out/ The worms play pinochle in your snout/ They eat your eyes, they eat your nose/ They eat the jelly between your toes”).

“The Brooklyn Sym-Phony used to be the worst for us—they would always play ‘The Three Blind Mice’ when we’d walk out on the field,” Beans Reardon said in a 1949 interview. “And that would eat up a feller like [umpire] Babe Pinelli. I said to the Babe, just ignore ’em, and he did and they stopped after awhile. Fans like you to growl back at ’ em.”

NFL To Alex Smith : A Little Less Civic Pride, Please

Posted in Fashion, Gridiron at 9:03 pm by

(l-r : Alex Smith, Matt Cane. Can’t wait to see the latter wearing a Niners helmet during BP)

The San Jose Mercury News’ Cam Inman reports the latest pro football star to run afoul of the NFL is Golden Tate Michael Turner 49ers QB Alex Smith, warned by the league he faces a $15K fine if he turns up for another postgame press conference sporting a San Francisco Giants cap.

The reason: A Giants cap constitutes non-sponsored gear, and players must abide by the NFL’s dress code 90 minutes before and after each game.

One proposed solution: Have the Giants fund that post-game attire for such a loyal fan.

“Yeah, can you call Larry Baer for me?” Smith asked reporters in reference to the Giants’ chief executive.

Smith said the league retracted an initial fine of $15,000 and instead issued him a warning to discontinue such headgear. The man who imposes such fines: former 49ers safety Merton Hanks, who works in the league office.

Ozzie : Don’t Blame Miami’s Garish, Oversized Ballpark For The Team Sucking

Posted in Baseball, Ugly New Stadiums at 4:34 pm by

 

With a mere 49 home runs at home this season, there’s naturally some talk that Marlins Park aka Citi Field II presents last-place Marlins with a home field disadvantage. Manager Ozzie Guillen, he of the triumphant return to Twitter, isn’t hearing any of it, telling the Palm Beach Post’s Joe Capozzi, “ we are not in last place because the place is too big. Period.”

“We’ve got to deal with the ballpark, and we’re going to be negative coming in here every day, ‘Oh, this ballpark is too big’?’’ Guillen asked incredulously.

“We’ve got to play in this ballpark 81 games and I don’t want to hear any more (from) my players, my hitting coach, nobody with this uniform worry about this place (being) too big. If they think this place is too big, let me know. I’ll put somebody else in who can hit bloopers behind shortstop.’’

Players have grumbled amongst themselves all season. But they became more vocal about the topic after John Buck just missed what would’ve been a game-ending home run by hitting a 418-foot fly out to end Sunday’s game.

Guillen told reporters before Tuesday’s game that he heard some of his players grumbling about the generous dimensions during batting practice.

“‘I can’t hit home runs here.’ Ha, ha,’’ Guillen said, repeating what his players have said. “We are not going to move the fence. That’s it.’’

Guillen dismissed the suggestion that the dimensions will make it hard for the Marlins to sign free-agent power hitters.

“That’s a bunch of crap,’’ he said. “I guarantee you, you give them $100 million, they will play here.’’

Some Of Yunel Escobar’s Best Friends….Aren’t Offended

Posted in Baseball at 3:15 pm by

Jays SS Yunel Escobar was suspended for 3 games yesterday after photographs taken during Saturday’s Rogers Centre contest versus Boston revealed the words, “ ’Tu Ere Maricon’ written across his eyeblack, commonly translated as “you’re a faggot.”  After attending a press conference yesterday to announce Escobar’s punishment and a subsequent, somewhat confusing apology, The Star’s Cathal Kelly calls the Jays handling of the situation, “shameful, dissembling” adding, “we have moved far enough in this debate that it can’t just be brushed aside…it must be brushed aside with a press conference.”

If Escobar would have us believe that he wasn’t thinking “queers” when he wrote this, it would have gone better if he hadn’t pretended he’d only just been handed a Spanish dictionary. It got worse when he began ticking off his bonafides.

“I have friends who are gay. The person who decorates my house is gay. The person who cuts my hair is gay,” said Escobar. “Honestly, they haven’t felt as offended about this.”

That’s possible. How much are you paying them to decorate your house?

This was credulous stuff from someone who is either bright as a box of hammers or a liar. Likely somewhere in between. The ugly truth would have done him far more credit.

On either side of Escobar, literally and figuratively, sat his bosses — the ones who’d cooked up the pre-emptive and flimsy little suspension to get this whole issue in the rearview.

The salary for those three days will be donated to (gay sports advocates) You Can Play,” Escobar intoned dolefully, as if it were his idea.

09.18.12

America’s Foremost Male Plastic Surgery Enthusiast Demands : Get Off Your Knee(s)

Posted in Gridiron at 8:46 pm by

Reactions to Greg Schiano’s desperate attempt to force a turnover on the final play of Sunday’s Buccaneers/Giants game continue to pollute old and new media, but Dallas owner Jerry Jones has a unique solution to the dispute.  In the future, Jones would like to see taking a knee outlawed, even if it’s clearly the smart move when nursing a narrow lead.  From the Dallas Morning-News’ Joe Machota :

“I don’t like it,” Jones said. “Lamar Hunt tried several times to introduce a rule to have it voted on that you couldn’t kneel down, you had to run a play. Unless you were trying to advance the ball, then you got a penalty and the time didn’t run off the clock. It’s not a good play.”

Jones doesn’t sound like he’s siding with the division rival Giants on this one.

“I’ve always thought that that’s a wasted play for our fans,” he said.

For Cubs Fans, It’s “Wait ‘Til The Next Network TV Drama About An Pseudo-Apocalyptic Event”

Posted in Baseball, The World Of Entertainment at 2:50 pm by

(we all have our own individual notions of what constitutes armageddon)

Persons clobbered over the head all summer with commercials for NBC’s “Revolution” couldn’t help but notice the Wrigley Field marquee declaring the Chicago Cubs, “2012 World Series Champions”.   Keep in mind, the J.J. Abrams series chronicles events 15 years after the entire planet suffers an electrical blackout, so this was a hell-freezing-over joke of sorts, and not even a very good one, at that. Abrahms’ “Lost” already made use of Boston’s drought-ending 2004 World Series victory, and in light of the current Cubs squad playing out the string since, well, May, it seems “Revolution”‘s creators thought better of the sight gag.  From the Chicago Tribune’s Rob Manker :

When the show premiered Monday night, the Wrigley Field scene shown in the trailer was different. Gone was the declaration of the Cubs as champs, replaced by a plain red background beneath the marquee. Everything else about the post-apocalyptic scene remained the same — still Wrigley Field, still abandoned, still no electricity.

Four months after the original clip appeared, the real 2012 Cubs have the second-worst record in baseball and are mathematically eliminated from any chance of making the playoffs.

Apparently even the bounds of science fiction can be stretched only so far.

The Mets Front Office Has Developed A Dislike For Ike

Posted in Baseball at 2:07 pm by

In claiming Mets 1B Ike Davis  (above, left, the club’s only power source of note during a humiliating 2nd half) is on the trading block, ESPN’s Adam Rubin adds the following, somewhat disturbing aside :

The Mets are disappointed with Davis’ unwillingness to make changes based on coaching advice. Although he is personable and by no means a troublemaker, they also worry — fairly or unfairly — he is out too late after games, and that could influence other young players.

Reached for his side of the story by the New York Daily News’ Andy Martino, Davis didn’t appreciate the anonymous burial.

“I have never missed games or not been ready to work because of anything to do with staying up too late,” Davis told the Daily News Tuesday morning. “I show up every day. I play hard. It is unfair to me, and it doesn’t make sense.”

While the 25-year-old said that, since he does not often leave the ballpark until midnight, he is sometimes out a few hours after that — the norm among many in baseball — he does not do so in excess.

“I just don’t understand it, because I have always been able to play, except for one freak ankle injury,” Davis said, referring to the 2011 on-field collision that ended his season.”

Who’d have thought the current administration in Flushing would be taking personnel tips from Bobby Valentine?

09.17.12

For The First Time In History, A Sideline Reporter Is Genuinely Missed

Posted in Gridiron, Sports TV at 9:55 pm by

While Ravens QB Joe Flacco seethed over the work of replacement referees in yesterday’s loss to the turnover-prone Eagles, the Baltimore Sun’s David Zurawik declares, “I had to watch a telecast of it that was almost as incompetent as the officiating.” There’s no shortage of gaffes by Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf and the CBS production team that raised Zurawik’s ire, but chief amongst their offenses was a failure to explain or detail the injury to Baltimore safety Bernard Pollard. “When you get this CBS team, ” rages Zurawik, “you don’t get a sideline reporter, who in a first-rate broadcast should have been all over Pollard’s injury and status.”

Hey, here’s an idea for Sean McManus, the president of CBS Sports: Have one of your aides call up a first-rate campus newspaper like the one at Penn State or Towson University, ask for the sports editor and offer her or him $50 and all the pizza they can eat to sit in the production truck and monitor The Sun’s website and social media for some real information on injuries and unexpected developments in the game.

And then, let the student reporter share that information with an associate producer, who can feed it to Dierdorf and Gumbel. It couldn’t be worse than what you have now with this backup crew and no one providing that crucial service.

Yes, I’m being a wise guy, but do you really think CBS Sports can’t afford a sideline reporter — or some systematic way of tracking injuries and informing viewers of the severity and possible impact on the game?