Despite beating Virginia Tech on the road last Saturday, Florida State (9-1) held firm at no. 10 in this week’s BCS rankings, even though no. 9 Louisville lost to Syracuse. Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher isn’t amused, and the Palm Beach Post’s Tom D’Angelo caught in earful about the pernicious influence of statistical mumbo-
“I think it stinks,” Fisher said. “I think the BCS and how we go with all these computers … they got to change how we pick the top teams in this country. It’s not working. We got to get the computers out of there.”
“Florida State’s computer rankings are putrid, and it’s because the ACC is terrible and their nonconference schedule included Murray and Savannah,” said Jerry Palm of CBSSports.com. “You almost have to plan a schedule this bad.”
All, though, are required by the BCS to ignore margin of victory, which is hurting Florida State. The Seminoles are second nationally with a 30.1 average margin of victory.
“It’s too much about who you play and not how you play,” Fisher said.
“I think it was better in the old days, when you did it by the eye test and you didn’t even have a championship game,” Fisher said. “The human element has got to get back into this game or we’re going to ruin it. If we’re going to let computers tell us who’s the best team, we got issues, we got major problems.”
Former Iowa QB Drew Tate, currently toiling for the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders, suffered a helmet-on-helmet collision with Saskatchewan’s Tearrius George during the second quarter of his club’s West Division semifinal triumph yesterday. In addition to the halftime interview shown above, Tate told reporters after the game, “I got my bell rung. I don’t remember the first half,”, commments he and his coach took great pains to contradict a day later. From the Edmonton Journal’s Donna Spencer :
Stampeders head coach and general manager John Hufnagel told reporters Monday that Tate passed all concussion tests “with flying colours.”
The players had the day off from the practice field, but Tate revealed in the statement that his amnesia was self-induced and not from a blow to the head.
“I got dinged in the second quarter and there was some fuzziness on that drive, but I obviously knew what I was doing and had no problems,” Tate said. “By the time I got to the sideline and talked to everyone, I felt fine.
“The reason I said I didn’t remember anything from the first half was because we didn’t play great and I just wanted to move on. Looking back, I answered that question way too casually, but it was because I just wanted to go start warming up for the second half. For me, I meant it like forgetting about a play and moving on to the next play during a game.”
“Again, I answered questions about the hit too casually because it wasn’t a big deal to me. I just said whatever because the moment was very overwhelming.”
Chargers head coach Norv Turner told reporters yesterday his San Diego squad was “as tough a group of guys as I’ve been around…they’ve responded in every kind of adversity.” Given that these statements came shortly after a 34-24 loss to Tampa Bay, highlighted by Phillip Rivers’ early Xmas present for Leonard Johnson, it was entirely fitting Norv was hit with the followup question, ““In your estimation, if they do respond and they still do play hard but still continue to lose, is that acceptable?”. The San Diego Union Tribune’s Nick Canepa details Turner’s flustered reaction :
Norv’s face went the color of a blood orange, he raised his voice dramatically, and went off like I’ve never seen him go off before. “What do you think? What do you think the answer to that question is? Answer it for me. No, it’s not acceptable. You know the answer to that. Is it acceptable having a blocked punt and an interception for a touchdown? No, it’s not acceptable to play hard and not win, but that’s what happened.”
As he walked past me and gave me a semi-friendly look, I mentioned that whatever was under his collar was a bit hot. He took about five steps toward the locker room and then came back toward me.
“I’m not hot under the collar,” he said, his voice still angry. “You ask a stupid question you should get a stupid (bleeping) answer.”
Well, it really wasn’t a stupid question. If Norv constantly didn’t tell us how hard his guys work, how they overcome adversity, how they’re “mentally and physically tough,” how they respond, maybe, just maybe, it would have qualified as one.
When Washington State WR Marquess Wilson quit the team and charged head coach Mike Leach with abusive behavior, few were shocked given the prior allegations made against Leach during his tenure at Texas Tech. However, given that the most explosive of those claims (ie. Leach locked Adam James in an equipment shed) were never proven, the scrutiny afforded to Leach makes Coug Center’s Jeff Nusser, “absolutely sick to my stomach”. “Even if Leach is exonerated,” argues Nusser, “it’s going to be a stain that can’t be removed.”
In the wake of WSU hiring Leach, I was appalled at the number of people who still thought Leach actually locked Adam James in a closet. Why did they think that? I would assume it’s because of the initial coverage in the wake of the allegation. In the newspaper business, it’s a well-known fact that allegations appear at the top of A1, while the exonerations appear on C4. Mountains of evidence exists that James’ accusations were patently false, yet the perception persists.
And now, as President Elson Floyd does the wise thing and initiates a pair of investigations into Wilson’s claims, Mike Leach will have been investigated not once, but twice for abusing his players. That’s never going away, no matter the outcome. I won’t pretend that the damage already done by the accusation somehow makes the outcome irrelevant; if cleared, he’ll keep his multimillion-dollar job, and that obviously matters.
But there will always be that stain.
Clearly there are no qualified major league managerial candidates currently serving as assistant coaches or toiling in the minor leagues. That’s the only conclusion one can come to (well, either than a very deliberate attempt to spark a domestic incident in the Wally Backman household) after the Colorado Rockies plucked retired SS Walt Weiss from the high school coaching ranks and graced him with a one-year contract for 2013. If said move by Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd seems a tad desperate, the New York Daily News’ Bill Madden argues it is entirely within character.
In an effort to combat the increasing amount of carnage the mile-high air of Coors Field inflicted on an already wretched pitching staff, O’Dowd elected to experiment with a four-man rotation last summer, limiting his starters to 75 pitches as a way to keep them from facing a lineup a third time. The result was a very marginal improvement, and the Rockies still lost 98 games, with Jim Tracy resigning in disgust as manager over the way the organization was being operated, walking away from $1.4 million. What further raised eyebrows around baseball over the Weiss hiring was that, before O’Dowd and team owner Dick Monfort settled on the gritty 14-year former infielder with Oakland, Florida, Colorado and Atlanta, they actually interviewed Jason Giambi — who is finishing out his career as a pinch-hitter for them — twice for the job.
“You really have to wonder what they’re doing over there,” said one National League GM. “Giambi? Are they kidding? Guess they’d be okay with 4 a.m. curfews. I think Walt has a lot of the right elements it takes for a big league manager, but to go from coaching high school is a quantum leap. It doesn’t say much either for all their coaches and minor league managers.”
Nor does it say much for how O’Dowd regards managers that his assistant, Bill Geivett, has an office right off the Rockies’ clubhouse. That, as much as anything, was what drove Tracy out of there, and ought to be a cautionary sign for Weiss that, unlike Ventura and Matheny, someone will be watching over his shoulder and monitoring his clubhouse every day.
….instead, it’s a somewhat high concept stunt designed to call attention to the neglect of the historic address and not-far-fetched possibility it’s role in the city’s history might someday be forgotten. The Detroit News’ Lauren Abdel-Razzaq on the efforts of college student Joe Benghauser :
“I wanted to see if something negative would translate into people doing something positive,” he said Saturday while visiting the field. It’s the project part of his senior thesis but he’s also using it to raise money to erect a memorial statue of the Tigers legendary announcer Ernie Harwell, who died May 4, 2010, at age 92.
Benghauser left plenty of clues for the devoted Tigers fan that his sign is fake. The name of the dealership, Navin, comes from the old name of the concrete and steel stadium built in 1911. The name of the architect listed on the sign, George Bennet, comes from Bennett Park, the name of the first stadium built on the site in 1895 by Detroit Tigers owner George Vanderbeck. Vanderbeck’s name is also referenced on the sign.The website www.navinautosales.com links to a Kickstarter page for the project, which has garnered 10 backers and $365 as of Saturday night. The goal is to raise $10,000 by Dec. 7.
Benghauser says he chose to use an auto dealership because of the controversy it would stir.
“An auto sales place would do that because it takes the space people are still using to play ball and turns it into a parking lot. Complete opposite of how the people use the park,” he said.
Minneapolis food truck The Twisted Sister House Of Hunger were recent slapped with a cease and desist order from veteran metal act Twisted Sister, claiming their use of the name would cause “dilution of our client’s famous mark and confusion among consumers.” While the food truck’s owners claim the legal action in unwarranted (“I don’t know how somebody can get a 20 foot aluminum box mixed up with an 80′s rock band,”), Twisted Sister manager / guitarist J.J. French (above, left) tells the greatest website of all time, Blabbermouth.net, “The fact of the matter is that trademark law doesn’t give me a choice on who and what to defend. The law is very clear: either defend your trademark or lose rights to it.”
“I get how stories like these appear like David vs. Goliath. I also get how easy it is to take cheap shots at my band because of our former image and the ’80s-era MTV iconography.”
“Over the last 35 years, I have defended my trademark against the biggest companies (Six Flags, Urban Decay, Harley-Davidson) as well as dozens of mom and pop companies. The defense is almost always the same. They first claim that they never heard of the band and then they say that no one would confuse the two anyway. I have won every case. The unique juxtaposition of the words ‘Twisted’ and ‘Sister’ have never ever appeared in print prior to my band’s use of it. This was established in the Six Flags case. The name is so unique, like LED ZEPPELIN, that any use would confuse the marketplace as either the product or service is owned or endorsed by us.”
“I really don’t understand why people feel the need to steal someone else’s property. Perhaps they are just lazy. I think that the real reason they used our name and didn’t call it The Beatles, Rolling Stones or Motley Crue House Of Hunger is that they knew that they would get sued and perhaps thought that we wouldn’t notice.
Though I fully take French’s point, no one in their right mind is going into the restaurant business hoping to remind anyone of Mick Mars.
While Phil Jackson’s return to the Lakers bench seems to be all but a done deal, CSN Bay Area’s Ric Bucher quotes an unnamed source as claiming the person responsible for Mike Brown’s sudden firing was not Mitch Kupchak or Jim Buss (above, left), but rather a co-owner of another (baseball) franchise.
The abruptness and timing of the decision – five games into Brown’s first full season – was credited by one source to Lakers legend and former part-owner Magic Johnson finally winning “a turf war” with the younger Buss and convincing Lakers’ patriarch, Jerry Buss, that Brown must go. Johnson, the source said, would like to see former Laker and current Indiana Pacers assistant coach Brian Shaw succeed Brown.
Johnson, an ESPN and ABC analyst, has been repeatedly critical of Brown and last year announced that Brown would be fired if the Lakers failed to get past the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs. The Lakers won the best-of-seven series, 4-3, before losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the next round, 4-1, but Kupchak dismissed any validity to Johnson’s remarks.
A source close to Johnson, meanwhile, said talk of him being involved in Brown’s ouster now was “categorically untrue.”
I don’t know if it is fair to say Paul Westhead is unavailable for comment. But I certainly don’t have his telephone number.
When Shawn Carpetbagger first posted the above Lanny Poffo shoot interview excerpt, I must confess, I did not think it would be nearly this revelatory. So consider this your final warning —- THIS VIDEO IS NSFW (unless your workplace encourages graphic descriptions of Lanny Poffo blowing himself. In which, case, crank it up)
(hardly anyone respects him….and on the left, Joe Namath)
Former Jets QB Joe Namath has been an object of scorn for some in his post-playing days, whether for his unfortunate tipsy overtures towards Suzy Kolber or his even more unfortunate work as a sober analyst for NBC and ABC in the 1980′s. Unsparing in his critique of Jets ownership and management in an SNY podcast earlier this week (““I think the fans haven’t been given a fair shake. I don’t think they get a straight story, often enough, from the powers that be”), Namath’s commentary was ridiculed by SNY colleague Sal Licata on the barely watched “Wheelhouse” program, a situation the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman (another SNY fixture) takes exception to.
Licata characterizing Namath as a “disrespectful” former employee is comical. When it comes to criticizing the Jets, especially inside The Valley of the Stupid, the critiques have all gotten personal. Some are over the top, more than disrespectful. That’s typical of a turf war where players, coaches, front office personnel and even owners get verbally torched. Characterizations are routinely blown out of proportion.
The fact that the Jets, from Ryan to Tannenbaum to Johnson, talked tall and now wind up carrying a toothpick makes this piling on time. Yet when Namath enters this school of hard knocks, the rest of the students want him expelled.
Be nice, Joe. You once played for this organization. You’re not supposed to tell the truth. Of course if Namath delivered Twinkies, the same mouths would be all over him for playing the shill.
I’ve not bothered to check out one single minute of CBS’ perennial ratings juggernaut, “Survivor” in seasons past, but will admit my curiosity was halfway piqued by Jeff Kent’s participation in this year’s competition.
Since knowing how to
pop a wheelie wash a truck doesn’t appear to have anything to do with winning “Survivor”, Kent found himself voted off earlier this week, resulting in the above outburst (link via SF Chronicle / Baseball Think Factory). Though this is probably the end of Kent’s reality TV career, fantasists amongst can dream of a sports-themed “Big Brother” in which he’s housed with T.J. Simers, Isiah Rider, Sean Waltman, Floyd Landis and John Kitna.
Meanwhile, in the land of those suddenly being paid megabucks to do nothing, fired Lakers coach Mike Brown has been photographed at a Costa Mesa Chick-Fil-A shortly after being terminated. We all have different ways of dealing with stress, and who amongst us wouldn’t have an unshakable craving for a
repressive chicken sandwich upon learning Jim Buss’ vote of confidence was complete and utter bullshit?
“You can’t speed chemistry up. “I think the more practice, the more you get familiar with each other. There’s no hit the fast forward button here. You’ve got Comcast. Some shows you can’t fast forward through. You’ve just got to let it go through and watch the silly ass commercials and be pissed, right? This is what this is.
“Did I just take a shot at Comcast? Fuck it, I did it. So what? I’m a DirecTV guy anyway. This is what this is. I’m not helping myself, am I? Fuck it. Fuck it. Fuck it. Who cares? Anyway, that’s what this is. We totally messed that up, right? Goddamned, we just totally messed that up. But this is one of those things where it just takes its course and you can’t speed anything up.”
On the bright side, it’s nice to read a paternity related NFL item that has nothing to do with Antonio Cromartie. On the other hand, we’re unlucky to be exposed to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio taking issue with players expecting payment for games they’ve missed to attend the birth of their children. “If push comes to shove, should they choose to be present for the pushing and not the shoving?” QUIET, MIKE….Tebow still doesn’t know where babies come from!
It’s a thorny issue. My position was and is that the players have made a lifestyle choice that entails being available 16 days per year, no matter what. If they choose not to plan their nine-month family expansion activities to coincide with the eight months per year when their work activities don’t entail playing games that count, why should their teams suffer the consequences?
Despite a published report this weekend that the University Of Kentucky would not consider Bobby Petrino (above, left) — he of the recent ill-fated motorcyle ride / adulterous relationship that cost him his job at Arkansas — for their head football coach opening, Petrino’s father, Bob Sr. tells the Louisville Courier-Journal’s Adam Himmelsbach that his son, “wants to stay in the SEC. That was his life’s goal was to go to the SEC.”
“I know he wants a job; he needs a job,” Petrino Sr. said by telephone Wednesday. “He told me, ‘I need a job, Dad.’ I said, ‘Well, you must still have some money. You made 31/2 million dollars.’ And he said, ‘Yeah, I do. It’s not the money.’ He just misses coaching so much.”
“You know, he made mistakes,” Petrino Sr. said, “but he couldn’t have gone through any punishment worse than losing his job. He’s missed coaching tremendously.”
“I think he’d win there (Kentucky),” he said. “He can win. He’s proven that. He went to Arkansas and I don’t think he ever had, by the experts, a class of recruiting that was in the top 10. And the last year he coached there he won 11 games, and the year before that he won 10, so he has his own way of recruiting and judging people.”
As you’ve probably read elsewhere, Lakers G Steve Blake — whose family faced death threats after his poor shooting performances during last year’s playoffs — was hit with a $25,000 fine for confronting a fan during last Friday’s home loss to the Clippers. The LA Times’ Bill Plaschke notes this wasn’t just any schmoe with a foam finger ; the object of Blake’s ire, Lance Jackson is the son of Lakers season ticket holder Steve, a superfan whose Bel Air mansion, “contains a replica of the Staples Center court that is sometimes used by visiting teams for a secluded practice.”
Does Lance Jackson’s behavior, if it indeed included the profane personal attack that one source claimed, also bear some scrutiny here? Jackson’s father pays enough money that his family should be allowed to say whatever it wants, but are the courtside customers subject to the same form of crowd control as those in less pricey sections? You would hope that if Jackson were being insulting and inciting, Staples Center red coats would have warned him just as they would have warned some cursing loudmouth in the upper deck.
“It’s a frustrating time, the Lakers had fallen to 0-3,” said Lance. “But at the end of the day, it was a misunderstanding, and we move on.”
Indeed they do, moving further into a season growing more combustible by the moment as increasingly impatient and angry fans mix it up with increasingly frustrated players.
The only thing in general agreement is, Steve Blake really does need to make those open shots.
Maybe he should’ve signed with Beirut after all? Arguably one of the biggest free agent busts in New York Mets history, oft-injured OF Jason Bay (above) will take his diminished skills elsewhere next spring, as the club has announced a buyout of the remaining two years on his $66 million contract. Before you start high-fiving yourself over the end of the Bay Era, Amazin’ Avenue’s Eno Sarris reminds us the Canadian vet’s departure leaves the Mets with only Mike Baxter as the only healthy 2012 outfielders after Lucas Duda’s recent furniture-moving mishap.
It seems folly, in some ways, to let a viable outfielder go when it’s such a position of need. On the other hand, with declining power and patience, and bad defense to begin with, Bay has become a minus. He was literally worth almost a win less than replacement last year, and the year before he was barely above replacement. A back-of-the-envelope projection might not have Bay producing positive value next season.
That’s how you get a completely sunk cost. Even with sources telling Jon Heyman that Bay will receive his full salary from the Mets, a minus is a minus and a roster spot should be used for plus symbols. Even a flawed Valdespin would be above replacement in the corner outfield, most likely. And by pushing or stretching the payments out over time, the Mets may have gained some near-term financial flexibility from the deal even if they didn’t save any money overall.
(above : absolutely not Art Howe)
Though decorated film critic Yogi Berra is already on record in claiming Phillip Seymour Hoffman was miscast as former A’s manager Art Howe in the Academy Award-nominated adaptation of Tracy Ringolsby’s least favorite tome, Michael Lewis’ “Moneyball”, Howe himself seems to consider the motion picture an unfair obstacle in his path to becoming the new manager of the Toronto Blue Jays. “In the movie I never smiled once,” complains Howe, whose confident grin clearly made all the difference in the world when leading the New York Mets to consecutive 90 loss seasons. From the Toronto Sun’s Bob Elliot :
“Physically the actor didn’t resemble me,” Howe said. “He was a little on the heavy side. The way he portrayed me was very disappointing, probably 180 degrees from what I really am.”
“I got along with players, they loved me,” Howe said. “Our guys liked being at the park, our travelling secretary, Mickey Morabito, used to ask. ‘Why are we paying for the team bus?’ Everyone came to the park early on their own, ahead of the bus.”
“I want to manage again, the best thing I have going for me is my experience — seven years in the NL, seven in the AL,” said Howe, 65. “Toronto has always been an interesting team, they have some nice talent and were very competitive until they fell off with those injuries to their position players.
In Pinellas County, it would seem that everything is going smoothly for Pinellas County as nearly 50 percent of registered voters already filled out their ballots by 10:00 a.m. Tuesday morning.
But it was mid-morning that the supervisor of elections office found out that some 12,000 voters received a call telling them to vote tomorrow, the day after elections.
Nancy Whitlock, Communications Director with the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections, says the calls were made by mistake.
The robocall urging voters to get out to the polls was supposed to stop automatically dialing around 8:00 Monday night, but a glitch in the system allowed the auto-message to go out to thousands on Tuesday morning, causing a flurry of calls at the Supervisor of Elections Office. - ABC Action News, 11/6/12
How exactly is that Rasheed Wallace — with two years out of the league and questionable conditioning — found gainful NBA employment while Kenyon Martin (above) remains a free agent? Perhaps it has more than a little to do with the latter being (ahem) lightly regarded by some executives and players around the league? And that’s before anyone asks Tim Thomas. A humbled Martin tells Yahoo Sports’ Marc J. Spears, “I understand I’m not bigger than the game.”
“There is a notion about me that is not accurate at all – I don’t know who started it or where it came from – that people can’t control me,” Martin told Yahoo! Sports. “I don’t understand. Have I had my issues like a lot of other people? Yeah. But I’m getting back that people think they can’t control me, that if I don’t play I’m going to explode, or I can turn a locker room.
“In 12 years there was not one day where I told one guy to dislike anybody. If you ask guys who I’ve played with that know me, they know what it is and know I’m about winning basketball games and competing.”
“If someone calls me tomorrow, I don’t care who it is, whether it’s losing or winning at this point,” Martin said. “If someone calls me tomorrow and wants me to come in, I’m going. Guys are going down and [teams] are like, ‘Well, we are going to stick with what we got.’ I’m like, ‘Really?’ I started questioning myself, ‘Am I that bad of a guy?’ “
Vikings P / marriage equality advocate Chris Kluwe has announced he’ll no longer be blogging for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, taking issue with the paper’s recent editorial claiming neutrality in their view of Minnesota’s Amendment 1.
How does this piece lie? It lies in every mealy mouthed, “Love may be love, but even now there are any number of prohibitions around marriage between consenting (heterosexual) adults.” Name them. Oh that’s right, you didn’t. It lies in every five sentence vote yes argument compared to a one or two sentence vote no stance. It lies by juxtaposing “It is a decision both about what the definition of marriage should be, whether it is about children and the biological family or about consenting adults”, as if gay parents can’t raise children as well and all they want is to have sex with each other.
How does the piece lie? It lies, oh how it lies, when it talks about supporters of traditional marriage being bullied, being painted as victims, weeping and moaning about the “members of the (vote no) movement are aggressive”, wailing and gnashing teeth over “For those who hold traditional beliefs about marriage, increasingly the force of law will be brought to bear on matters of education, speech, and practice”; all the while not mentioning a single gay person denied THEIR right to be treated as a human being, silent on the issue of gay children bullied in school, completely quiet about a gay support group forbidden to march in Anoka.
How does this piece lie? It lies, most simply, in this sentence, “the Pioneer Press is not endorsing one way or another.”
You have made your endorsement, gentlemen. You chose your side. What you did not choose, what you refused to face, was the courage to stand for your convictions, to attach your names to the position your actions claimed. That is why I will no longer associate with you, why I decline to give you page views and ad revenue any longer. The only reason I’m posting this piece here, and not somewhere else, is because I said I would, and I believe that one’s word is not something to be given lightly.