pic courtesy the one and only Derek Erdman. I’m in Derek’s former hometown of Chicago, IL tonight and as such, I’m FUCKING FREEZING. Such conditions require a proper coat. And removing such a garment is best accomplished with a coat rack. And if a one-dimensional Robert Griffin III can take care of my coat half as well as the three dimensional RG III took care of the football en route to an NFC East Championship, I might not die of hypothermia.
Whether it’s being ultra-late to discover a player’s injury, or being oblivious to the fact an insubordinate star was benched by an assistant (see the Santonio and Schotty show, Miami, Week 17, 2011 season), Ryan is forever the last to know what’s happening with his team. On arrival in Florham Park, N.J., four years ago, Rex said he burned to become a better head coach than his father, Buddy, architect of the defense that defined the ’85 Chicago Bears.
But like his old man, Ryan was born to be a coordinator, and a great one. Just not the ultimate game-day leader of a franchise. Go ahead and name the last head coach in a major team spot that won a championship, or multiple championships, with a persona as outsized and an approach as loud and wildly inconsistent as Rex’s.
The big winners — the Bill Belichicks and Tom Coughlins and Joe Torres — almost always have a steadiness running through the core of their programs, with tweaks applied here and there. Ryan has been all over the place the last two years, and it’s no coincidence his team has followed suit. If it used to be a compliment when people said the Jets had taken on their coach’s personality, it’s a compliment no more.
Apologies if you’ve already seen the above clip (swiped from Pro Basketball Talk) in which Bucks PG Monta Ellis claims with a straight face the only thing separating him from Dwyane Wade is “more wins and two championships”. It’s a fascinating argument, and one that brings to mind other historic comparisons (eg. wasn’t Jeff George every bit as good as Joe Montana? At the end of the day, wasn’t Andy Pettitte just Scott Erickson with more jewelery?)
(the first thought that comes to mind is, “you sell flowers by the side of the highway”)
It’s almost January 1 and there’s only one team in Major League Baseball yet to sign a single free agent this offseason. No prizes if you already guess that franchise is the New York Mets, who despite having unloaded R.A. Dickey and Jason Bay this winter, seem in no hurry to bolster a 2013 roster with holes aplenty. Whether the club is methodically building for the future or barely hanging on by the skin of ownership’s teeth, is a matter of opinion, though it seems there’s one impartial body leaning towards the latter point of view, as the New York Times’ Ken Belson explains.
On Dec. 21, Standard & Poor’s lowered its rating on the almost $700 million in bonds issued to finance Citi Field, and it said the outlook for them remains negative. The bonds are now rated BB, from BB+. That’s two notches below investment grade, junk bonds in the parlance of the debt market.
Jodi Hecht, an analyst at Standard & Poor’s, cited “cash flow volatility,” noting that “a large portion” of the money pledged to pay off the bonds is “game-day revenue,” which includes sales of club-seat tickets, concessions and parking. How the Mets play will affect the prospects for this revenue, she said. Standard & Poor’s “may lower the rating if cash flows continue to decline due to a combination of poor team performance, slow economic recovery, overcapacity in the New York region,” she added.
“People have spent hard-earned money on tickets for games, they’ve been through so much and we’ve given them hardly anything in return,” he says before Sunday’s visit of Liverpool. “You have to give something back. People say some footballers live in their own little world, where it’s all about expensive watches, glitz and glamour, but that life’s all false. Things like the visit to [Hillingdon] hospital the other day, seeing wards full of sick children … that opens your eyes. That’s real life.
Those words were not supposed to boom out at a struggling club where at least one player did not deign to sit on the bench for that derby against Fulham. Indeed, Mbia has since expressed a desire for José Bosingwa to patch up his differences with Harry Redknapp for the good of a group hastily flung together by two sacked managers and whose defeat at home to West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday left them with one win and 10 points from the first half of the season. Yet the contrast in attitudes is still telling. The professional in Mbia would not stoop so low. “My life is easy: I play football,” he says. “I have a chance to go through my life with a smile, joke, enjoy myself and try to make people happy. On the pitch it’s different: that’s my job, the serious stuff. But that’s how this all works.”
Hideki Matsui announced his retirement from professional baseball earlier today, his 332 HR’s in a decade’s work for the Yomuiri Giants followed by a celebrated 7 seasons in pinstripes that included the Yankees’ 2009 World Series triumph. While Big League Stew’s Dave Brown uses the occasion of Matsui’s farewell to the game as a cheap excuse to recall the outfielder’s bizarre 2008 marriage declaration, I prefer to focus on the substantial portions of Matsui’s legacy.
It was all the way back in 2005 when a CSTB reader brought our attention to the following passage from a 2003 edition of Time Magazine ;
“Indeed, his only eccentricity, if it can be called that, is his extensive private library of adult videos. His refreshing ability to laugh self-deprecatingly about his porno collection, reporters say, is one reason why fans and even nonfans have taken to him so much.”
The humble porn collector in question? Former Yankee OF Hideki Matsui, whose potential arrival in Oakland caused avid Googler Joe Eskenazi of the SF Weekly to gush, “the possibility of Matsui toting his legendary collection of nasty videos to the Bay Area makes this no ordinary signing,” but how, exactly? Surely Eskenazi is aware the A’s previously employed notorious degenerate Jason Giambi, who almost certainly possesses materials that should arouse suspicion amongst the law enforcement community (and he might have porn, too).
Robert Whiting’s casual reference to Matsui’s arsenal of wank material continues to make waves more than 7 years after it was first mentioned. In the unlikely event Matsui is still an active player in 2015, I fully expect some comedy blogger (if there’s a blogosphere in 5 years) to raise the matter yet again. Imagine how quickly this entire matter could’ve been quashed had Suzyn Waldman taken it up during a post-game interview in the earlier part of this century?
“Of course, many of us were surprised to see what happened in Brooklyn. From my perspective, Avery’s not a good coach, he’s a very good coach. He’s a hell of a coach. He’s proven that. There aren’t too many of us out there who have ever won 67 games in a season. He’s taken a team to the Finals. If my memory serves me correct, he was Coach of the Month. It sort of shows what a fickle, volatile business we’re in. We all know that. Avery knows that, too.
“Often times, situations like that have nothing to do with the ability of the coach. It has more to do with circumstances. We’ve seen it before. I can’t help but think sometimes a little patience could go a long way.
“You think about coaches … I believe Dean Smith, they did a little effigy in his honor in the beginning when things weren’t going well. Johnny Wooden had a rough patch in the beginning. Mike Krzyzewski, arguably our best coach we have in basketball today, things didn’t go very well in the beginning. He had an AD who was smart enough to know what he had. He exhibited a lot of patience, so now you see where Coach K is. I think we all understand that. But circumstances, especially in the NBA, have a whole lot more to do with firings than how well or how poorly a coach did. It’s unfortunate. But we all move on, including Avery.”
Williams’ sub-40-percent shooting and inability to curb his insistence on chucking 3-pointers (despite a 29 percent mark from long range) did in the former Dallas Mavericks coach. But it’s also probably true that Avery wasn’t right for this job. Williams refuses to be the penetrator he was in Utah, that’s to be sure, but it was always going to take a different voice to pull something new out of the team’s most important player – and you can’t bide time for 67 games with Williams during a rebuilding project from February 2011 until April 2012 and expect the same voice and player to flip the switch once they get some free-agent help.
It’s human nature, sadly. Johnson and Williams never got over working in that rebuilding mode. On top of that, Johnson rarely adjusted and expectations weren’t met. His team has been hit by injuries and his roster was less than ideal in spots. High-priced players, workers featuring contracts that weren’t always on par with production. An $83.5 million lineup, four players making double-figure salaries and a .500 record. Throw in the nationally televised Christmas day embarrassment that saw no Net besides Gerald Wallace seeming to care about his team’s fortunes, the fortune the team’s high-profile owners were spending and the decidedly un-cool and old-school New York Knicks running away with the division, and you can see why it got to be too much.
Given that you’re not nearly as wordly as afternoon deity Mike Francesa, consider the following a brief, albeit necessary tutorial for those wishing to waste Mike’s valuable airtime :
Bernard Madoff and Fred Wilpon are two entirely different people. One of them managed to crush the hopes and dreams of others thru acts of greed and dishonesty. And the other is serving an 150 year year prison term.
How many young, aspiring QB’s saw the above 1987 advertisement and thought to themselves, “man, if I ever make it to the National Football League, I’m placating the burly dudes on the offensive line with cheap-ass Isotoner gloves for Christmas.” Hopefully not many more besides former Detroit starter Scott Mitchell, who last week was shocked to learn OT Lomas Brown once intentionally blew a blocking assignment in the hopes of his own teammate being knocked out of a game. PFT’s Mike Florio quizzed Mitchell about the incident (“for someone to just lay down like that, it’s unacceptable”) on Dan Patrick’s NBC Sports radio program earlier today :
“It just really hurt,” Mitchell said. “It was extremely disappointing. I’m really shocked by it, to be honest. Here’s a guy I’ve had in my house, I had a big dinner for the offensive linemen every year, he came to my house and ate dinner, I gave my offensive linemen gifts every year. For him to do that is just reprehensible, beyond words. It’s really disappointing, it really is painful. When you mess with my family, mess with my livelihood, mess with my health, it’s unacceptable. It’s B.S. I just wouldn’t do it to a teammate. I wouldn’t do it. If Lomas has a problem with me, come talk to me. To try to get someone hurt, it’s just mind-boggling.”
Mitchell suffered a broken finger on his passing hand when Brown allowed Packers defensive end Sean Jones to get a free shot at him in a 1994 game. That injury ended Mitchell’s season, and Mitchell noted that it could have been a lot worse than a broken finger.
The team took the captain’s armband from the popular Yu Tao – who had been with Shenhua for over a decade – and gave it to their new star player instead. Once the season got underway it soon became apparent that things were not going to go well. Within four games, Shenhua’s newest captain had led a dressing room coup that ousted Jean Tigana from the dugout. Appointed player-manager for the subsequent game against Tianjin Teda, Anelka’s tactics were so bad that Shenhua got booed off the pitch at full-time as the visitors won in Shanghai for the first time in their history.
Prone to voicing his displeasure with the club during press conferences and occasionally threatening to retire, Anelka also missed several games due to “‘injuries” as a shareholder dispute resulted in unpaid wages and training ground strikes. Increasingly marginalised following the mid-season arrival of Didier Drogba in Shanghai, a disinterested Anelka would regularly drift out of position during games, much to the fury of local supporters. As the season went on Shenhua fans threw coins at him during a cup game while Chinese newspapers ran cartoons of Drogba carrying Anelka on his back.
All of this has been hard to take for the Shenhua fans, who saw 150 per cent increases in season tickets this year following promises that the team was going to win the league. Instead the Shanghai club, one of the oldest in China, is in freefall with a would-be saviour whose stubbornness weighed the team down for most of the season. Anelka has certainly left behind a legacy in Shanghai but not a lot of it is positive.
These days, it has become a sport within the sport to pillory Stern when he locks out players to cut their revenue or stands up for the legitimacy of the league’s TV contracts, which put luxury cars in their driveways. Can critics really have it both ways?
However clichéd or unfounded it was to degrade a man with Stern’s excellent credentials on many social causes of inclusiveness, no one should minimize the opinions of those who believe that Christmas is not a day for unencumbered commercialism, even if every day leading to it is.
But people do interpret and observe religion differently, and as Celtics Coach Doc Rivers noted, a fair number of folks “do work on Christmas.” Restaurants open. People go to the movies. In the long history of N.B.A. Christmas games, no one has been forced to attend or watch on television.
Other than Araton and his media colleagues. And the hot dog vendors. And ushers. I could go on, but I won’t. As Araton alludes, the movie theatre owners of America have faced no barbs from Bruce Jenkins or his cinematic equivalents (presumably a few of those owners aren’t Jews).
I hope this current stretch doesn’t cost Avery Johnson his job. And it would be a shame if anyone concluded D-Will is some sort of coach-killer. But most of all, I sincerely hope the former New Jersey Nets can somehow manage to fashion a team the Borough of Brooklyn Brett Yormark can be proud of.
OK, well the latter tradition is on hold for a bit. But Jon Solomon‘s 24 hour Xmas Marathon is in progress on WPRB. Along with the usual plethora of seasonal tunes, you’ll hear holiday tales from persons including but not limited to Jennifer O’Connor & Amy Bezunartea, Chris Brokaw, Joel RL Phelps and Mac McCaughan.
Jack Klugman, veteran actor and star of the TV-adaptation-of Neil Simon’s, “The Odd Couple”, and subsequently, “Quincy M.E.”, has passed away at the age of 90. Though his role as sportswriter Oscar Madison remains Klugman’s signature part, he unwittingly made major contributions to punk rock really-getting-it-wrong history through the landmark “Quincy” episode, “Next Stop Nowhere”.
The Kings should consider anything and everything: rehiring his former high school coach, Otis Hughley, who was added to the coaching staff as a baby sitter/personal handler during Cousins’ rookie season; taking a tip from Phil Jackson and having one of their mental health consultants maintain a more consistent and high-profile presence. And while neither teams nor the league can compel players to undergo counseling, the Kings successfully pressured Ron Artest (now Metta World Peace) into anger management therapy during his days in Sacramento.
The Kings still don’t want to trade Cousins – and they shouldn’t – but something has to change. He has to change. Being tall and talented and wealthy doesn’t entitle him to be demeaning and unprofessional and at times downright combative. He needs answers, and clearly, he needs help.
Asked why he appeared so morose after his impressive performance in the Kings’ victory last week against the Warriors, Cousins shook his head. “I’m just dealing with a lot of things in my life right now,” he replied quietly.
Now he gets to sit and think about things for a while, and with an assist from the Kings, maybe he can find some answers.
While avowed labor union opponent Dino Costa has repeatedly praised NHL commissioner Gary Bettman for his inflexibility during the league’s current suicide mission, the New York Post’s Larry Brooks is slightly more in touch with life on Planet Earth, declaring the game’s “Canceler-In-Chief” to be “the Igor Ulanov of pro sports commissioners.”
Bettman is willing to take the monumental risk of canceling yet another season as opposed to the meager rewards of limiting players to seven-year contracts and refusing transition rules that might cost NHL owners comparative pennies weighed against the cost of the second canceled season in the last eight years of his regime.
I would defy any owner to explain why the season should be canceled over the difference of one or three years in maximum contract lengths in the current proposals of the NHL and the NHLPA.
The league’s proposed contract term limits are meant to devalue free agency. The league acts as if players spent the seven seasons under the expired collective bargaining agreement fleeing small markets for big markets even as all available evidence contradicts the theory.
There is also the NHL’s take-it-or-leave-it refusal to accept transition rules regarding amnesty buyouts and the 2013-14 cap that would present clubs mechanisms with which to comply to the new CBA. Rather, the league seems intent on punishing teams that obeyed every rule in the book while spending money in attempting to build champions.
First of all, I’d like to wish everyone in the Yankee Universe the most joyous of holiday seasons. I don’t suppose Eddie Nimibutr of Austin, TX is a Yankee fan, but I’d like him to know that I’m fully in his corner. It’s a crying shame that some people try to use Yelp to advance their own vindictive agendas, especially when at it’s best, the site can be used to foster understanding and help consumers become better informed. And the trolling of personal Facebook profiles HAS TO STOP. It’s not journalism, it’s not fair, and besides, Human Resources tells me Waldman can post whatever photos shes wants!
I’m kidding, of course. Look, this whole “I don’t care about dead white kids” thing will eventually blow over — Jason Giambi did far worse stuff and who gives him a hard time in public these days? — and when it does, I’d like to offer Mr. Nimibutr a job as greeter at NYY Steak. We’re sorely in need of someone with his people skills and if nothing else’s he’s already demonstrated he knows how to command media attention. Given that we won’t have Nick Swisher making Page 6 for pissing himself at a Switchfoot concert next season, we could actually use some help in that department. I look forward to hearing from Eddie, and to those of you in Austin, TX who want to dine somewhere with “a greater supply of compassion and understanding”, could you try not to be such a fucking cliche’ for 5 minutes?
Hi Mr. Murphy, I believe you deserve a nomination into the HOF because of your resume. Others will argue over this stat or that stat. However, you were one of the greatest players of the 1980s and your homerun total for the decade atest to this. I will continue to be a supporter, though I don’t have a vote. You gave excitement to the Atlanta area, in a time when the Braves were a “nobody”. As for a question, you were my dad’s favorite player. So, a few years ago I bought an autographed bat, that has displayed in the living room. To keep the signature from aging too much, he covers it in a sock. How do you feel about your name covered by a sock? Thank you. permalink [–]DaleMurphy3[S] 155 points 10 hours ago Thank you so much for your HOF support and for your kind words. As for the bat, I’ve heard of a lot of ways of preserving autographs, but that’s definitely a first for me. But actually, I’ve had a few people ask me to re-sign old autographs that have faded over the years due to UV exposure. So the sock might not be a bad idea. Is the sock clean at least? permalinkparent [–]naaahhman 60 points 10 hours ago It’s clean, it’s new and gets changed out from time-to-time. It covers almost the whole barrel, because dad wears a size 14EEE shoe.
The embarrassing brand of football ESPN aired to the nation this week on “Monday Night Football,” and the game’s pitiful rating — down 27% from the Week 15 “MNF” broadcast last year — provided further evidence that the league’s gamble on Rex Ryan and the Jets didn’t pay off. Make no mistake, the NFL delivers the slate of games to ESPN in the spring, and while network execs can lobby for upgrades, the NFL sets the sked.
The decision to backload the Jets’ prime-time appearances backfired. The two angles the NFL scheduling gnomes were gambling on blew up: 1) either Ryan and his outspoken players blazing a trail to a division title or 2) Tim Tebow at quarterback, having taken over for Mark Sanchez at midseason, taking his team on a dramatic run to the playoffs like he did in Denver.
Never happened. The Jets did turn in a highly competitive prime-time performance in October, losing, 23-17, to Houston on “MNF,” but produced two stinkers (Patriots on NBC, Titans on ESPN), which will be ranked among the worst ever in prime time. The league even granted NBC’s request to “flex” out of Chargers-Jets on Sunday. Yes, this is a matchup of losers, but it’s a rare occasion when a network sports division drops a New York team from its programming lineup.
Let’s briefly reconsider the controversial Stephen Strasburg shutdown. I’ve done just that: It seemed dumb then and it seems dumb now. I hate to upset my D.C. friends and Nationals fans, but after terming it the dumbest decision in contemporary times since Decca Records passed on the Beatles in 1962, I am now upgrading it to the worst decision in the history of Western civilization. Why? The Nationals said they were doing it to preserve Strasburg’s arm for next year and beyond. Hello? THERE’S NOT EVEN GOING TO BE A NEXT YEAR.
The club sought to clarify the situation on Wednesday morning via a statement on their official website, where Berg explained: “I was asked to do things which were not the right things for me to do as the manager, considering our league position and form.” The statement added he left at 9.30pm as planned.
Speaking in public for the first time since the incident the 43-year-old made it clear he did not wish to discuss the matter further. “You’ve probably seen the club statement that we sent out and I think that explains how we feel about it – myself and the club,” he said.
Asked whether holding a Christmas party was a wise move, considering Blackburn were relegated from the Premier League earlier this year amid a raft of off-field controversies, Berg said: “Like I said, we put a statement out.”