10.23.12

Warren Moon’s Stirring Defense Of Cam Newton : He’s Not As Bad As Jay Cutler

Posted in Gridiron, Sports TV at 3:41 pm by

When Stephen A. Smith suggested there was a racial component to criticism of Panthers QB Cam Newton, most reasoned types (and Dino Costa) wrote it off as the hysterical blatherings of a person with zero credibility.  However, when someone with Warren Moon’s resume says something similar, at the very least, we can consider the argument that pouting on camera isn’t exclusive to one race of quarterbacks. From Yahoo Sports’ Michael Silver :

“I don’t understand it,” Moon said. “I heard somebody compare him to Vince Young. It’s the same old crap – it’s always a comparison of one black to another black. I get tired of it. I get tired of defending it.”

“If you want to compare him to someone because of his demeanor, compare him to Jay Cutler. There are a lot of guys who whine and moan. Cam’s not biting anybody’s head off or pushing his linemen. He’s just disgruntled, and not handling losing well, because, think about it, he basically didn’t lose in college.

“I don’t think Cam’s as bad as Cutler, because Cutler looks like he doesn’t give a damn sometimes, or he’s yelling and cussing at someone. Cam, he just looks down when they’re losing.”

10.22.12

In Which “Mr. Howdy Doody” Enters The Sports Lexicon…

Posted in Gridiron at 8:46 pm by

…alongside “have another donut, you fat pig” and other postgame meltdowns. Wyoming head football coach Dave Christensen has apologized for his crude attack on Air Force’s Troy Calhoun, and with good reason. If you don’t save these outbursts for a proper press conference, it’s almost impossible to work them into a future Coors Light commercial.

Jeff On Stan Van Gundy : He’s Not Heavy, He’s My Brother (And David Stern Is Fucking With Him)

Posted in Basketball, Sports TV at 3:50 pm by

Never before has anyone expressed nearly so much disappointment over not getting to spend time with Bill Simmons. It’s been suggested previously that former Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy lost out on an “NBA Countdown” analyst gig when David Stern leaned on ESPN (a charge the network denies). Speaking with USA Today’s Micheal Heistand, Stan’s brother and current ESPN hoops commentator Jeff Van Gundy warns his employer, “you have to be careful as a news organization that you don’t fall into voluntary censorship, that you worry about offending your ‘league partner.’”

“There’s certainly circumstantial evidence that something from the outside — presumably the NBA — changed (ESPN’s) thinking. … I was happy when they came to an agreement and shocked when they pulled their offer.”

Obviously it’s personal for Jeff. And after ESPN asked Jeff to help recruit Stan, “Obviously this stings. Frankly, it’s a shame what happened.”

Going forward? “As a broadcaster of the NBA, it give you pause,” Jeff says. “How forthcoming can you be? You don’t want your honesty to cost you a chance at employment.This is a shot across the bow.”

Jeff’s big picture: “This is an organization that’s treated me great. But this raises interesting questions about what a (league-network) partnership means. You have to realize, as a fan, you’re not getting the whole truth”

10.21.12

Gregg Doyel : Defending The 4th Best QB In The NFC East’s Right To Own A Dog

Posted in Dogs, Gridiron, Sports Journalism at 4:51 pm by

Though it’s a bye week for the Philadelphia Eagles, CBS Sports’ Gregg Doyell isn’t taking any time off when it comes to simplistic, illogical analysis of Michael Vick’s recent acquisition of a family dog. “Four years ago, if you’d told me that Michael Vick would own a dog in 2012, I’d have been sick,” writes Doyel. “But that was a different Vick, and that was a different me. People change, you know?” I guess we can look forward to a 2016 Doyel column proposing the best rehabilitation path for Jerry Sandusky might be working with young boys.

That dog is going to work its magic on Vick. That’s what I believe. By the time that dog is done with him, Michael Vick will be more devastated than ever about what he did — the life he lived, the person he was — back when he was funding a dog-fighting ring. That’s what I hope, but it’s also what I believe.

Dogs are special. You know that. A person that would knowingly raise dogs to fight, to tear each other apart just so the real animals — the ones outside the cage — can wager a few bucks? A person who would do that is a criminal, and Michael Vick was that. He went to prison for it, as you recall. He lost almost everything but his athletic ability. Very few mourned for him, because he got what he deserved.

But since then he has done everything right, and I mean everything. This isn’t a story about his football career, so don’t tell me that he hasn’t done everything right — the fumbles, the interceptions, etc. This is a story about something more precious than football. It’s a story about a human being, and a dog, and redemption. And before we learned last week that he owned a dog, Michael Vick had done everything right.

It’s going to be emotional torture for Vick, but it will be more than that. It will be healing. That dog’s going to make him a better person, and when someone as influential as Michael Vick is a better person, the effects ripple outward.

Shame then, none of the dogs Vick previously owned — you know, those he drowned, strangled or electrocuted — had an opportunity to “work their magic”.

Raissman : Aloof Yanks Are Becoming Easy-To-Avoid-TV

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV, The Marketplace at 3:41 pm by

During the Yankees’ unceremonious ALCS exit, some of the minor storylines (ie. nothing to do with A-Rod’s zipper issues) included scads of empty seats and the Nu Stadium and Nick Swisher falling from favor with his legion of Bleacher Bro’s Creatures.  While the former can be blamed to some extent on the economy and/or the Bombers’ annual post-season success being taken for granted, the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman suggests recent poor ratings for the YES Network point to, “an image taking a cockeyed turn,” if not  “a brand that is rusting around the edges.”

The Bombers averaged a 3.92 rating, down 8.3% from 2011 and YES’ lowest Yankees household rating since 2003. The nine-year low came during a season in which the Yankees battled Baltimore down to the wire to win the AL East, which should have driven the ratings to an all-time high. At the time we first reported the ratings drop, the thought was that more fans take it for granted the Yankees will punch their October ticket, so why watch? Considering the fan backlash and the Yankees’ reaction to it, maybe a negative perception had already caused these fans to turn off YES.

All of those old-grinder Paul O’Neill teams are now completely in the rear view mirror, finally replaced by a different breed of player, some of whom are perceived as selfish whiners. Players who went through the motions when their backs were to the wall.

How will this play on YES during the 2013 season? If the Yankees continue to be viewed as aloof and unlikable, if they give off an uncaring vibe, like Robinson Cano, the brand will be further tarnished. Like it or not, the current face of that brand is Alex Rodriguez.

10.20.12

The Economist : Reinstate Melky Cabrera

Posted in Baseball at 4:31 pm by

Having served his 50 game suspension for PED use, OF Melky Cabrera wasn’t part of the Giants’ roster for the NLDS or the NLCS, but should San Francisco defeat St. Louis Sunday and Monday night to advance to the World Series, The Economist argues there’s no point in continuing his banishment (link swiped from Baseball Think Factory)And besides, “Mr. (Gregor) Blanco’s magic has run out.”

There is a strong case that a reduced Mr Cabrera is no better than Mr Blanco. But Mr Blanco is not the only player Mr Cabrera could replace. The Giants are currently carrying two weak-hitting backup infielders on their 25-man roster in Ryan Theriot and Joaquín Arias. It’s hard to see the utility of having two utility infielders at once. Moreover, Xavier Nady, San Francisco’s only backup outfielder, has not produced acceptable numbers for a player at his position since 2008, and is a defensive liability to boot. Might one of those roster spots not be better invested in Mr Cabrera, despite all his baggage?

The Giants might well face a backlash from fans and the media if they abruptly stripped Mr Blanco of his starting role and reinserted Mr Cabrera in the World Series lineup. But bringing him back in a bench role, giving him the opportunity to contribute a timely pinch hit or serve as a defensive replacement, might seem an appropriate punishment, and would be much less likely to rile up the club’s supporters. Winning the World Series might well be worth $100m to the Giants, in the form of additional ticket and merchandise sales next year and eventually a bigger deal for their broadcast rights. That’s a lot of money to leave on the table in order to teach the chastened Mr Cabrera a lesson.

Smoot : When You Think Of Male Sterilization, Think Of David Wilson

Posted in Gridiron at 3:26 pm by

With a professional resume consisting of a mere half dozen games, Giants rookie RB David Wilson made himself an easy target when telling Newsday’s Bob Glauber that he’ll someday be enshrined in Canton, OH. However, it was Wilson’s insistence that, “”I’m like birth control. You have to believe in me,”(“like birth control, 99.9 percent of the time I’m going to come through for you”) raised the eyebrows of former Washington DB Fred Smoot (above) , who phoned a local radio program to take umbrage. From DC Sports Bog’s Sarah Kogod :

“He compared himself to birth control?” laughed Smoot. “There’s nothing manly about birth control. I think he could have used a different analogy, man. Like saying, ‘I’m just like a vasectomy. I always work for you. I’m always there for you.’”

Much as I hate to argue with a manliness expert like Smoot, a vasectomy is a form of birth control.

10.19.12

Donald Sterling Goes To Considerable Lengths To Avoid A Courtroom Appearance

Posted in Basketball, Real Estate, The Law at 8:40 pm by

The Beverly Hills Courier reports a mistrial was declared Wednesday in actress Robin Cohen’s negligence case against landlord / LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling (above, left), stemming from a September 2009 fire at one of Sterling’s West Hollywood properties.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William MacLaughlin granted a motion by Sterling’s attorney, Guy Gruppie, to call an end to the trial just as opening statements were about to begin.

Gruppie said Sterling would be unable to be present for several days because his wife, Rochelle, hurt a knee while the team was recently in China during the exhibition season and the couple was still in that country while she recuperates.

Melissa Yoon, one of Cohen’s attorneys, told the judge her client reluctantly agreed not to oppose the mistrial motion because she feared there could be a similar motion later if the case went forward and Sterling maintained his rights were impacted.

However, Yoon said Cohen is “highly suspicious” about Rochelle Sterling’s knee sprain because the defense has produced no medical reports.

Yoon also said the delay could cause problems with Cohen’s audition schedule. Cohen is best known for her role in Wes Anderson’s “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.”

NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg – Thoroughly Qualified To Make His Bleacher Report Debut

Posted in Baseball, Basketball, New York, New York, politics at 3:50 pm by

On the same day Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner issued a press release expressing his pride in the team’s 2012 season (“we earned the best record in the American League and were one of the four teams to advance to the League Championship Series, despite having to overcome and fight through a series of long-term injuries to a number of our key players,”), NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg (above, right) echoed those sentiments on his Friday WWOR radio appearance, saying of the Yanks’ being swept by Detroit in the ALCS, “if any of us can do it better, we can go in that business.” From the New York Post’s Dave Seifman :

“People say A-Rod isn’t trying,” said Bloomberg. “He’s a guy with enormous pride. He’s got an ego and he’s got reason to be — he’s a great athlete. He wants to hit a home run more than the team and the fans want him to hit a home run.”

If there’s one sport where the players need to do better, it’s basketball, according to Bloomberg.

“I’ve never understood why they didn’t make every free throw,” he said. “You and I in golf, the air is different, the wind is different, the slope is different, the kind of grass is different.”

The basketball court, noted Bloomberg, never changes.

Feds : Former Steelers Team Doc Is A Steroid Peddler

Posted in Gridiron, Medical Science, The Law at 3:16 pm by

Former Pittsburgh Steelers team physician Dr. Richard Rydze (above)  was was once mentioned in passing in this space (“Gary Matthews Jr. Would Like You To Understand His Position”, 2/28/2007) at the time of his facing accusations of buying over $150,000.00 of testosterone and human growth hormone with his personal credit card.  On Friday, Rydze was hit with a 185-count indictment, charging him with conspiracy to distribute anabolic steroids, HGH and painkillers. If he’s not guilty, either this is a lot of effort to take the heat off Lance Armstrong, or Rydze has the biggest medicine cabinet east of Scott Weiland’s house.

The indictment alleges Rydze distributed the steroids from September 2007 through March 2011. Prosecutors said Rydze and another man distributed the steroids “for unauthorized uses such as bodybuilding and athletic performance enhancement.”

Federal prosecutors said that from February 2005 through October 2011, Rydze obtained more than 21,000 hydrocodone-acetaminophen, commonly known as Vicodin ES, by calling in more than 200 prescriptions to Pittsburgh-area pharmacies.

Rydze served with the Steelers for 22 years, ending in the summer of 2007, according to ESPN.com. In a 2009 interview, Rydze told ESPN that he used human growth hormone to help patients heal from tendon and ligament injuries.

He denied giving it to players.

“It was never done in athletes,” he told ESPN. “It was never with any Steelers.”

10.18.12

The Once (And Future) Scourge Of Internet Sports Journalism Sticks Up For Sports TV’s Biggest Pariah

Posted in Blogged Down, Sports Journalism, Sports TV, Will Leitch Sucks at 6:32 pm by

Given former Deadspin editor Will Leitch’s status as one of the bigger, self-professed Cardinals fans residing in the media capital of New York City, it’s hardly a surprise to learn (via his latest column for Sports On Earth) that he’s got a soft spot for Fox’s Joe Buck.  “I’ve always been a bit baffled as to why he’s so unpopular,” muses the least funny public figure who isn’t a former cast member of “The State”.   “I find Buck’s dryness a lot funnier than almost any other sports personality who tries to be humorous,” protests Leitch, who credits the near-universal public dislike for Buck on the latter’s omnipresence.

 Fact is, Buck has been calling every NFC Championship Game, a third of the Super Bowls and every World Series for almost 16 years now. (His first World Series was in 1996; his first Super Bowl was in 2005.) Buck has been the soundtrack to an unusually high percentage of sports’ most memorable moments during a time when social media has exploded and fans have more of a voice to complain and vent than ever before. I guarantee you that had Twitter and blogs existed when Vin Scully was doing national games, or Bob Costas and Tony Kubek did the Game of the Week, or Howard Cosell was doing “Monday Night Football,” they would have thought everyone hated them, too. (Can you imagine Twitter with Cosell? Lord.)

Annoying fans is one of the primary job descriptions of a broadcaster. More fans see and hear Joe Buck than any other broadcaster in the country. Therefore, he annoys more of them. He’s doing his job.

If an extended absence for Buck is what it takes for the 2nd-generation broadcaster to finally earn some respect, by all means, let him take the World Series off. Failing that surprise development, it’s a tad desperate for Leitch to suggest Buck’s unpopularity is directly tied to his overexposure.  Marv Albert — who at one time, achieved national laughingstock status for his work outside the broadcast booth — has never been the target of fan animus the way Buck has been.  Fair credit to Leitch for acknowledging Buck’s hysterical overreaction to Randy Moss fake-mooning fans at Lambeau, but there’s not a word about the Budweiser “Leon” commercials, HBO’s abortive “Joe Buck Live”,  the bizarre lipgloss fixation or Buck’s association with a broadcaster who inspires even more hatred (ie. Tim McCarver).

Nope, Will Leitch would like you to believe Joe Buck is picked on because angry nu-media creeps resent someone who is very successful.  Essentially the same rationale Leitch tried to apply to his own experience being at the receiving end of constant criticism.  The assignments are a bit more glamorous, the guaranteed pay, hopefully better, but Leitch is the same disingenuous ladder-climber he was in the late Naughts.

The Globe’s Abraham Carefully Explains How The Last Place Red Sox Actually Finished Ahead Of The Yankees

Posted in Baseball at 1:33 pm by

As Alex Rodriguez (above) enters a stage of his baseball career where he seems to be as useless as he’s horny, there’s no shortage of speculation this afternoon that tonight’s ALCS Game 4 could be his last in a Yankee uniform.  (not that he’s expected to actually contribute, mind you).  With the increasing likelihood Brian Cashman will attempt to swap A-Rod for another onerous contract (say, Heath Bell’s), the Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham takes this unique opportunity to praise the Red Sox for last summer’s escape from further obligations towards Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford.

Instead of watching the 32-year-old Beckett throw 91-mph fastballs the next two seasons and become increasingly recalcitrant, they can go get somebody younger, better and more team oriented.

Instead of counting how many surgeries Crawford has over the length of his seven-year deal, they can invest that money in a player entering his prime.

And while Adrian  Gonzalez was a hefty tariff to pay for unloading Beckett and Crawford, his diminishing power and problems hitting at Fenway Park are troubling signs. Now, thanks to the Dodgers, the Red Sox have incredible roster and payroll flexibility.

Unless they pull off their own miracle trade, the Yankees are stuck with an aging and expensive roster. They’ll surely pay to bring back Mariano Rivera next season. He turns 43 in November. CC Sabathia, who is 32, is signed until 2016 with a vesting option for 2017. Mark Teixeira, also 32, is signed through 2016. Robinson Cano will be a free agent after 2013 when he is 31 and will command a long-term deal.

The Red Sox were a wretched team and finished in last place, a whopping 26 games behind the first-place Yankees. But the Sox might actually have the advantage moving forward.

10.17.12

Georgia Congressman Whips It Out On You Tube

Posted in Firearms, politics at 10:29 pm by

And by whipping it out, I mean his grandfather’s Smith & Wesson. Though I’m not actually aware of any initiative to take Rep. Barrow’s guns away, if I lived in his district, I’d save my vote for someone who has an entire arsenal.

NBA Blows Any Remaining Chance Of A Purell Marketing Partnership

Posted in Basketball at 5:38 pm by

The NBA’s planned crackdown on pregame handshakes and other non-hoops related rituals is undoubtedly chilling news for the creator of this tumblr. If the Association is truly serious about getting down to business, the new, no-fun-of-any-kind edict “will have absolutely no impact,” argues Ball Don’t Lie’s Kelly Dwyer, “but the NBA did just earn itself a few articles on the subject, a discussion of the ‘rule’ on ‘Pardon the Interruption,’ and more unearned exposure during the baseball postseason and NFL regular season.”

The NBA hasn’t decided to limit the amount of TV timeouts it adds to games. It hasn’t curtailed the lengthy player introductions that take place before contests, and it’s certainly not going to reduce those extended halftimes that take place during the nationally televised NBA Finals. Unclear about a possession? The NBA still is going to take what feels like an hour and a half to set up a jump ball, following a scrum.

But should you dare to take too long to get to the game-starting tip at center court after those 47-minute player introductions? Boy howdy, are you going to be in TROU-BLE.

Officially The Lowest Moment Of Colt McCoy’s Football Career

Posted in Gridiron, politics at 3:20 pm by

The Cleveland Plain-Dealer’s Henry Gomez reports vice-presidential aspirant / Andrew Sciliano lookalike Paul Ryan (above)  visited Browns practice in Berea, OH today and mistook Cleveland backup Colt McCoy for starter Brandon Weeden.

While addressing players, Ryan praised Weeden, whom he recalled watching play for Oklahoma State, according to a pool report.

The only problem: The Wisconsin congressman was pointing to McCoy.

Ryan pleaded for mercy when he realized his mistake.

“You always had your helmet on,” he said of the redheaded Weeden.

It’s an equally embarrassing moment for Ryan and McCoy, but on the bright side, no one has mistaken the former Longhorn for a pile of clean pots & pans that required no cleaning.

10.16.12

The NY Knicks “Tip-Off” At The Beacon – Another ‘Doh-lan Debacle

Posted in Basketball at 6:32 pm by

The Cablevision property known as NYC’s Beacon Theatre has played host over the years to the likes of 3rd Bass, Dream Theatre, the Rolling Stones, the Allman Brothers, Chickenfoot and Robyn Hitchcock.  In spite of that impressive list, the storied venue had never before featured the (unintentional) comedy stylings of Baron Davis and Rasheed Wallace, at least not before last night’s “Tip Off” meet and greet for Knicks season ticket holders. CBS New York’s John Schmeelk attended the gala and did his best to tolerate lengthy interludes feature Swizz Beats and sundry Fuse TV personalities, though ultimately bemoaning the event as, “90 minutes I will never get back”.

Even being questioned by Tina Cervasio and Baron Davis, it’s possible that the Knicks players would saying something interesting. Unfortunately, more or less all of their wireless mics weren’t working. The fans could barely hear a thing. This is where I point out that the fans were not allowed to hear the Knicks players, something that might be James Dolan’s and the Knicks PR Department’s dream. There is no truth to the rumor that a roadie that works with JD & the Straight Shot was seen backstage sabotaging the audio board. Carmelo Anthony’s microphone was working and he was actually smart enough to pass it around. It might be the most he’ll pass anything to his teammates all year long.

Cervasio asked the older players how they are able to play at their age. Rasheed Wallace answered it was because “they took care of their bodies.” Nearly all the players on stage started laughing out loud since Wallace is so out of shape that he can’t even scrimmage. He was also just a tad overweight in his final year with the Celtics. Truly unintentional comedy.

Davis proceeded to lead the rest of the questioning, asking the Knicks players to describe the fashion style of their teammates. It could have been funny if the players were prepared for it. Instead, one after another, the players looked dumbfounded and said nothing even close to amusing. There were similar lackluster results when they had to guess what teammate’s baby picture was being shown on the big screen. The Knicks players also tried to explain “Knicks Tape,” something they have been tweeting about. I’m still not sure what it is.

As a finale, the rookies got together to sing, “I Believe I Can Fly.” The fans booed poor Pablo Prigioni, a 35-year-old Argentinean legend, until he decided to join in. I felt terrible for him.

Sports – Still Jay Mariotti’s Favorite Way To Talk About Himself

Posted in Sports Journalism at 12:57 pm by

(tougher than leather)

Did you know that former “Around The Horn” fixture / Chicago Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti learned to read at the age of 3?  That Michael Jordan allegedly used his columns for motivation? These are just a couple of the tidbits Mariotti tosses into his latest effort for ChicagoSide.com, in which he professes his deep love for the craft of sportswriting, despite having, “had my life threatened so often by cowardly cyber assassins, many from the South Side, that I’ve decided to have my ashes scattered at U.S. Cellular Field.”

Being in the sports media, which included eight years on ESPN TV and 17 at the Sun-Times and a zillion radio shows, has made me a comfortable living for more than a quarter-century. It has paid for my daughters’ college education, allowed me to globetrot on the job like Anthony Bourdain, and given me entree to exceptional people and opportunities. But the reason I still like sports writing has nothing to do with money or perks. The ongoing dramas of organized competition reflect life in its rawest form—meaning nothing, really, to the ultimate condition of the world yet evoking mass reaction that keeps emotional juices flowing like no other genre. What would you want me to write about, Obama and Romney? My subjective objectivity would be shot down as biased by rotten political media types with agendas. Music? Yeah, I want to try explaining the Katy Perry phenomenon. Business? Only if fortified by a steady stream of Zoloft. Hollywood? Phonies everywhere.

Sports writing is a lifelong passion for me, assuming my life lasts much longer. Why do I like it? Because I’m pretty good at it, when others are not.

Though I’m genuinely thrilled to know Mariotti won’t be tackling “the Katy Perry phenomenon” any time soon (BULLET DODGED, EMP POP CONFERENCE!) it should be said that his latest work proves he can actually go an entire day without making one single reference to the myriad of ways women can falsely accuse men of assault.

Then again, it’s not even noon on the West Coast.

Last Night A DJ Saved My Life (Allegedly) Got Mouthy With Police At Buzzbrews

Posted in Basketball, Beer, The Law at 12:12 pm by

Without diminishing the seriousness of the charges against former Mavericks C DJ Mbenga, somebody had to take the heat off  A-Rod  Delonte West. From WFAA.com’s Matt Goodman :

Mbenga was attempting to exit the Buzzbrews Kitchen at 4 a.m. Tuesday as a pair of Dallas police officers were walking in. The 7-foot Center put his palm on one one’s chest and said, “You move out of my way.”

The officer stopped and responded, “You don’t touch police, let alone make that statement.” The incident report then says Mbenga said, “You want to go? I do what I want, so you move out of the way!”

The officers smelled alcohol on the 32-year-old’s breath, who also had “unsteady balance” and bloodshot eyes. Mbenga was escorted out of the restaurant but continued to argue with the officers. The police report says he was cuffed and failed three of six field sobriety tests.

He was then taken to jail for public intoxication. The report says a witness told police he saw Mbenga act aggressively toward both the staff and a woman who we arrived with at the restaurant.

10.15.12

Ratto : The Nu Stadium Has Less Ambience Than Oakland

Posted in Baseball, Ugly New Stadiums at 10:31 pm by

The Oakland Athletics ply their trade in the O.co Coliseum, a building configured to the whims of the more important tennent, the NFL’s Raiders, and one the current owner, Lewis Wolff, would love to leave in the dust. This Autumn’s playoff run aside, Oakland residents have found the venue’s baseball charms somewhat elusive in recent years, which makes the assertions of CSN Bay Area’s Ray Ratto all the more galling for the likes of Bronx consumer advocate Randy L. Taking note of the large quantity of empty seats at Yankee Stadium during the first two games of the Detroit/New York ALCS, Ratto opines the A’s fans, ” throw a cooler party than the people at Yankee Stadium, just because they’re there to make it happen.” (Ratto link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)

Yankee Stadium has been a monument to the outer limits of greed from the moment it was imagined. Its parking company is going broke because people discovered that it’s easier to take the train. The deafening noise that once poured down upon visiting players in the old park flies off into the stratosphere in the new one.

You can have all the pretty colonnades and displays and $40 beer kiosks and platinum-inlaid urinals and waiters for every seat to take your grub order and the tax breaks up the nostrils to make it all a windfall for the owners. But a ballpark is a useless waste of public space if not for the show on the field, because a ballpark is still ABOUT THE BASEBALL.

Which, in his own way, was what Quentin Berry was saying all along. Atmosphere is not dictated from the board room, and never has been. Building plans may excite the kids down at the union hall, but they mean nothing if what you’re putting on inside the building is not consistent with its mission, which, in the case of a ballpark, is ball.

Mundane Press Releases Of October 2012 : Sacramento Kings Hop On The Sleep Train

Posted in Basketball, The Marketplace at 6:02 pm by

(above : an example of the sort of TV commercials you’ll see Jimmer Fredette doing in the very near future)

The former Arco Arena will henceforth (well, starting in November) be known as SLEEP TRAIN MATTRESS ARENA, according to the following press release from the Sacramento Kings.  Whether the Kings ultimately skip town or end up with a new building (against all odds), Sleep Train is most certainly a lame duck naming rights holder, making it very unlikely “The Big Sleep” will ever fully catch on as a nickname for the venue.

“On behalf of the entire Sacramento Kings organization, we are thrilled to partner with Sleep Train,” said Kings President of Business Operations Matina Kolokotronis. “We’re particularly excited to align with a locally owned company built on 27 years of customer satisfaction, a stellar reputation among consumers and business leaders, and an unwavering commitment to community involvement.”

Employee-owned, Sleep Train is the number one mattress retailer on the West Coast, known for offering superior service and the best selection of brand name mattresses at unbeatable prices. Founded in Sacramento by Northern California native Dale Carlsen, Sleep Train is routinely ranked as the top mattress retailer on the West Coast.

“We are pleased to partner with the Sacramento Kings,” said Carlsen, founder and CEO of Sleep Train. “Our team of employee-owners is committed to playing a vital role in the communities we serve. This sponsorship aligns with our interest in keeping a vibrant atmosphere of music, sports and entertainment in our region, and allows us to broaden the reach of our Foster Kids program through greater awareness and donation events.”

The Browns’ Mooted Dome Sweet (Geo)Dome

Posted in Gridiron, Ugly New Stadiums at 2:25 pm by

Who amongst us hasn’t gazed at an NFL venue during a brutal winter and said out loud, “why doesn’t some inspired architect just put a huge fucking translucent dome over the whole thing?”  Newsnet 5′s Bob Fenner reports there’s a scheme to do exactly that in Cleveland, OH, thus affording me the long-awaited opportunity to use the above JPG.

Ralph Tyler Companies came up with a glass covered, geodesic dome concept that would not require additional heating and cooling. The dome covering would be 1,100 feet in diameter and 380 feet high. It encapsulates the stadium without ever coming in contact with it. The covering would help moderate the inside temperature.

“It’s open around the base and would allow fresh air to come in and it would allow heated air to be extracted near the top,” said Varga. “People would have to dress for the normal weather conditions. However, you’re not going to be rained on and you’re not going to be snowed on but if it was winter, you would wear winter clothes.”

Cutting edge engineering would be used to construct the geodesic dome, one that would be the largest of its kind in the world.

While weather conditions in the dome may not be suitable for a NCAA Final Four, Varga believed Cleveland could host a Super Bowl and that concerts and other events could be held at least nine months out of the year.

10.14.12

Is The Bromance Between Swisher & The Bleacher Creatures Finally Over?

Posted in Baseball, New York, New York at 10:33 pm by

With the Captain-less Yankees looking at a 2-0 hole going into Tuesday night’s ALCS Game Three in Detroit, New York OF Nick Swisher suggested the obvious unthinkable after Sunday’s 3-0 loss to Jeff Nelson the Tigers,  calling it “just really tough” to perform for fans with such “a negative attitude”.  Quoted by the New York Daily News’ Peter Botte, Swisher, “believes some fans made it personal with verbal attacks this weekend aimed at him and several inappropriate tweets about him to his wife.”

“(Saturday) night was pretty big. A lot of people saying a lot of things that I’ve never heard before,” Swisher said. “Prime example; I missed that ball in the lights and the next thing you know, I’m the reason that (Derek) Jeter got hurt. It’s kind of frustrating. They were saying it was my fault.”

Swisher normally does an emphatic military salute to the Bleacher Creatures during their customary first-inning roll call, but he admittedly took warm-up throws closer to the infield and noticeably toned down his interaction with those fans during Sunday’s defeat.

“That’s the last thing that I ever thought would be in this ballpark, that people would get on you that bad,” said Swisher, who is an unfathomable 1-for-34 with runners in scoring position in his postseason career. “Especially your home, where your heart is, where you’ve been battling and grinding all year long. It’s just frustrating, man. You never want to be in that spot. It’s not like you’re trying to go out there and do bad on purpose. It’s just tough, man.

“It hurts. Sometimes I’m a sensitive guy and some of the things people say, they get under your skin a little bit. I’ve been lucky to be here for the past four years, bro. We’re not going to go out like this. We’re going to go to Detroit and give everything we’ve got.”

TBS Would Like To Introduce You To The Say WTF Kid

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 3:31 pm by

Image culled from USA Today.  Not for the first time, there’s a hint Turner Sports isn’t quite up to speed with the Grand Old Game

10.13.12

Former Raptors Coach Mitchell Declares “I’m No Pizza Pie”

Posted in Basketball, Sports Radio at 4:41 pm by

(above : a quick-tempered, argumentative hoops figure who doesn’t suffer fools gladly. And on the right, Sam Mitchell)

Earlier this Autumn, 14-year NBA veteran Jalen Rose spoke of an alleged 2005 locker room altercation between then-Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell and SG Vince Carter. Quizzed by The Fan 590′s Tim and Sid, Mitchell claims Rose’s version of events is more than slightly exaggerated. Quotes via Rogers SportsNet’s Kevin Nielsen :

“You know the media. If Vince Carter and I got into a fight in the locker room when I was the coach, how long do you think it would be before the information would have came out?” Mitchell asked his hosts. “You think it would have taken six or seven years before it came out? Or do you think it would have come out within a day?

“Now think about that. Vince Carter, who you couldn’t make go to the weight room, picked me up over his head, spun me around like I was a pizza, like some dough on a pizza platter, and then slammed me,” the former Raptors coach said.

“Morris Peterson was lying on the training table. He got hurt in practice – like, slightly pulled his hamstring. I went down to the training room, where all the players were after practice getting treatment. I was talking to Mo, Vince came up behind me and put me in a bear hug, and I stumbled and fell on one of the training tables.

“He starts laughing and saying, ‘Coach, I got you, I got you.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, Vince, you got me.’ And the players started laughing, and that was it.”

“Consider the source. You know what blows my mind? And I don’t attack people because I try to take the high road, but consider where it’s coming from,” Mitchell pointed out. “Where in this person’s history are the things that he said true? You are talking about a person who played at a university whose record has been expunged. And for what? Lying and cheating. Right?”

The Awkward Glam/Skiffle Hybrid That Was “The Huddersfield Town Supporters Song”

Posted in Football, record collector disease at 4:29 pm by

Though the matter of soccer songs / one-off 7″‘s has been raised in this space previously, it took the amazing 45football.com to call my attention to Ebenezer Lightning and the Cowshed Boys’ “Town Supporters Song” (Look, 1983). It’s got all of the production value of the Exotic Adrian Street’s “Imagine What I Could Do To You”….with none of the salaciousness!