01.28.13

Boston Magazine On A-Gone’s Text, Passan’s Scoop And Some Harsh Words For Peter Abraham

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 5:03 pm by

Calling Boston’s cabal of mainstream sports journalists/pundits, “whiny, petulant, entitled and self-important”, Boston Magazine’s Alan Siegal is rather adamant that national reporters have proven more adept at breaking big stories, possibly because they don’t have to worry about taking heat from their subjects on a daily basis. Returning to the matter of Jeff Passan’s August 14 piece for Yahoo Sports in which Adrian Gonzalez was said to be lobbying for Bobby Valentine’s dismissal, Siegal declares, “it was clearly a massive story — unless you happened to be a sportswriter from Boston.”  And that’s where the Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham comes in.

Though he would later produce an article about the poor relationship between Valentine and some of his coaches, Peter Abraham remains mystified as to why Passan’s story got so much attention. In journalism, it’s worth noting, there’s nothing more embarrassing than having a reporter from the outside come in and break news on your turf. “There was this perception that, well, somehow the Boston media got beat on this story,” Abraham told me. “I didn’t know what there was that we got beat on. I guess the fact that [the players and ownership] had a meeting.”

Actually, yes, exactly that.

Abraham continued: “Bobby, if anything, at the time, had his position strengthened. He didn’t get fired. They fired [the pitching coach]. And the team played better for a short time after that meeting. So when this thing came out, at least for me personally, I didn’t really know what the story was—‘Well, the Red Sox were upset three weeks ago.’”

Again, the players tried to get the manager axed. That was the story. But Abraham went on: “Had Bobby been fired, and that was the reason, it would’ve been a better story. There were really no consequences to the meeting. Nothing happened. I wasn’t really sure where to go with it.”

Abraham’s implication that the meeting was unimportant because nobody got fired is more than a bit strange, especially considering that pitching coach Bob McClure, rumored to be the source for Passan’s story, was canned less than a week after the article ran. More broadly, though, there is something seriously amiss if the Globe’s Red Sox beat writer, the holder of one of the most sought-after jobs in all of American sports journalism, doesn’t know where to go with a story like this.

01.27.13

Memorabilia Dealer Conscientiously Objects To Carlos Delgado

Posted in Baseball at 6:31 pm by

Under what possible circumstances would former Mets 1B Carlos Delgado find himself the subject of a prominent NY tabloid story in 2013?  Perhaps a full-fledged apology from writers or radio hosts who dogged him throughout his Flushing tenure?  Or maybe a testimonial to Delgado’s acts of charity or political conscience? No, instead we have a story about a memorabilia dealer upset that Delgado signed bats with A-Rod’s name on them and had the temerity to, y’know, get old.  From the Daily News’ Michael O’Keefe :

Sports memorabilia dealer Spencer Lader and other defendants in the case want Jose Reyes, now with the Blue Jays, to tell them under oath what he knows about Delgado’s relationship with Anthony Galea, the controversial Toronto sports medicine doctor — and human growth hormone proponent — who pleaded guilty in July 2011 to transporting misbranded and unapproved drugs into the United States.

“I’m not saying Delgado used steroids, but I do have a right to know if he did,” Lader says. “We thought his name had commercial value, but everybody knows players linked to steroids have no commercial value.  We thought he would be a 500 home run player but his body broke down,” Lader says. “If he used performance-enhancing drugs it was a misrepresentation and we have a right to know.”

“I want to be the first person in memorabilia to keep these people accountable,” adds Lader, whose Authentic Memorabilia made headlines in 2007 when it marketed Darryl Strawberry- and Jason Giambi-autographed baseballs that said “Everybody deserves a second chance.”

Delgado signed an agreement with Lader in 2006 that made Lader his exclusive autographed memorabilia dealer. Lader says he later brought in other partners, including Nitin Doshi, the wealthy owner of a Long Island medical imaging company. The deal had soured by 2009 when the ex-Met filed suit in Nassau County Supreme Court, claiming that Lader, Doshi and the other defendants stiffed him out of at least $767,500. The defendants dispute Delgado’s claims; Lader says he should not even be a party to the suit because Doshi bought out his interest in the deal.

01.26.13

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN : CSTB’S PRO BOWL CHILI

Posted in Food, Gridiron at 7:52 pm by

(Giants QB Eli Manning, diligently prepares for Sunday’s game, undaunted by the disappointment of having been chosen to participate)

(EDITOR’S NOTE : the following was first posted on February 8, 2004. Since our archives from year one are on the fritz — and have been for way too fucking long — you’ll just have to take my word for it. No one in their right mind would boast of republishing this recipe on an annual basis for 9 years if it weren’t true – GC).

Excuse me for having to spell this one out for our European readers. Pro Bowl Sunday is a BIG event for Americans. All over the country, families come together for Pro Bowl Parties. Advertisers pay hundreds of dollars to televise commercials featuring their newest products. Each year on Pro Bowl Sunday, battered womens’ shelters report the number of victims admitted to their care decreases by two percent, testament to the calming nature of the contest . If the NBA All-Star Game is, in the words of Michael Wilbon, Black Thanksgiving, then the Pro Bowl is sort of like Yom Kippur for Gambling Degenerates & Football Obsessives of All Races.

In this household, the Pro Bowl’s importance is matched only by that of the NHL Skills Competition (skate-sharpening, carrying Eric Lindros off the ice) and the entire NASCAR calendar. And with that in mind, here is CSTB’s Award Winning Pro Bowl Chili Recipe :

Ingredients :
750 g of Sainsbury Lean Minced Beef

1 jar of Uncle Ben’s Hot Chili
simmer the minced beef in a wok or non-combustible container until brown.

drain the fat in a colander.

remove half the beef and serve to CSTB’s Proofreader (allow some 20 minutes for cooling or you’ll be very very sorry)

put the other half of the beef back in the wok, add the contents of the Uncle Ben’s jar.

go watch NFL Countdown for 30 minutes

serve over a bed of white rice (if you don’t have any white rice, you can always try to cut the taste by swallowing without chewing)

Serves 1 – possibly two if you can get anyone to come over to your house for the Pro Bowl.

Notorious Wife-Swapper Reveals Maury Allen’s Houseparty Set The Swinging Tone

Posted in Baseball, History's Great Hook-Ups at 7:36 pm by

Ok, the might be the most misleading headline I’ve ever written (and that’s saying something), though I could’ve opted for “No One Ever Mistook The Fort Lee, NJ Steak & Ale For Plato’s Retreat”.  In the end, the combination of “Maury Allen” and “swinging” was far too much for me to resist — if only I still had advertisers!  .  The Palm Beach Post’s Joe Capozzi, mindful of Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’s plans to make a film about Yankee pitchers Fritz Peterson (above) and Mike Kekich trading wives in 1973, gathered some dusty details from Peterson during a Ft. Lauderdale chat (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)

“We were invited to a party at Maury Allen’s house on a Saturday night, July the 15th, 1972,” Peterson said. “During the party, we all had a couple of beers and were having a great time. When we were deciding to leave, we had driven two different cars and happened to park behind each other out in the street. I said to my wife, Marilyn, ‘Why don’t you ride with Mike to the diner in Fort Lee, N.J., and I’ll take Susanne with me and we’ll meet there and then we’ll go home from there.

“We did that and we had so much fun together, Susanne and I and Mike and Marilyn, that we decided, ‘Hey, this is fun, let’s do it again.’ We did it the next night. We went out to the Steak and Ale in Fort Lee. Mike and Marilyn left early and Susanne and I stayed and had a few drinks and ate.

“It was just really fun being able to talk to somebody. All of us felt the same way. We went on from there and eventually he fell in love with my wife and I fell in love with his.’’

Peterson said he didn’t think it would be that big of a story. But the day after the announcement, “I saw my picture on TV when I woke up,” he said. “And I said, ‘Uh-oh, it’s a big one.’ ’’

01.25.13

From The “Things That Will Never Happen” Dept. : Considering The Montreal Expos of the AL East

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace, Ugly New Stadiums at 7:18 pm by

On Thursday, Major League Baseball’s impatience with Tampa Bay’s stadium situation was noted in this space and many others, with the Commissioner’s Office’s stern words causing TSN’s Scott Ferguson to fantasize, “A winning Tampa team could move to Montreal and slide right into the American League East as a tremendous rival for the Blue Jays (“with a new baseball-first stadium and committed ownership, the new Expos might have a chance.”)

In their 36-year history, Montreal had a peak attendance of just over 2.3 million in 1983. They had a five-year glory run where they were one of the top teams in baseball where they drew over two million in four of those five seasons. It would have been all five if not for the strike-shortened 1981 campaign. The point being there were numerous other years where the attendance figures were every bit as bad as the Rays, if not worse at times.

Part of the problem was playing in relatively small Jarry Park, and then moving to an oversized, out of the way, less intimate Big “O”. The fans in Montreal were more boisterous and emotional than most I’ve seen in the Majors. They just seemed to grow weary of the ownership circus and not having a proper baseball facility.

If the Commissioner is making a veiled threat to move the Rays, then here’s hoping Montreal becomes the target city.

Possibly The First Time Stu Bickel’s Been Compared To Lena Dunham

Posted in Blogged Down, Hockey, Sports Journalism at 3:22 pm by

“News of the NHL lockout’s end caused as much excitement in the male world as a 70 percent off sale does in a woman’s. If you’re completely oblivious what the end of the lockout means, think of it as the premiere of the newest season of “Girls” being delayed for months, and then suddenly it’s announced that it will be coming back but with a lot fewer episodes to make up for lost time.”

I know you’re thinking the above passage was composed by Stan Fischler or Larry Brooks, but no dice. Instead, it’s an excerpt from Blueshirts United’s “A Girl’s Guide To Watching The Rangers” by Mirna Mandi, and since removed by the NY Rangers official site. CBS NY’s Chris Peters details some of the fallout ;

Among the tips, “You need to sense the tension at certain points in the game and let [the men] do their jumping, screaming and cheering thing. You can tell if something huge has happened by their reaction, and if you’re absolutely lost, wait for the replay. There’s always a replay after a major play.”


The article also suggests learning a few names of the players by looking up the roster on the Rangers website, the importance of getting to know noted handsome gentleman and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, and reassuring the reader that it’s all right to ask the man questions.

It took Twitter all of about two seconds to unleash the fury. The article itself had more than 40 comments — mostly negative — within minutes. Less than an hour later, the post was wiped from the Internet. The Rangers’ tweet directing people to the story was also deleted.

TNT’s Kenny Smith – Critic Of Male Grooming, Potential Awful Announcing Guest Columnist

Posted in Basketball, Fashion at 3:03 pm by

Smith’s hilarious evisceration of Charles Barkley’s commentary aside (“I’ve been listening to this dude all night talking crazy and reckless to America…all I’m saying is Vegas.The man lives in Vegas”), Deadspin accuses TNT’s NBA halftime yucksters of “transparent gay baiting”. Said charge is not nearly as stunning as the fact the entire waxing kerfuffle was initiated by Reggie Miller.

01.24.13

Arizona Just Overpaid For Martin Prado

Posted in Baseball at 11:13 pm by

Either the Arizona Diamondbacks have decided RF Justin Upton’s skills will diminish awfully fast for a position player with a mere 6 professional seasons under his belt, or in the words of Beyond The Box Score’s Spencer Schneier, “the Diamondbacks must know something about Upton that the general public does not.”  On Thursday morning, the D-Backs sent RF Upton to the Braves in exchange for IF Martin Prado and P Randall Delgado, and while the Arizona Republic’s Dan Bickley suggests Snakes GM Kevin Towers “will be questioned forever” if the pairing of Justin and B.J. Upton pays dividends in Atlanta, Schneier is ready to commence the questioning right now.

Justin Upton is 25 years old, making $38.5 million over the next three seasons, and has been worth 17.1 fWAR in his career. If Upton follows anything resembling the normal aging curve, then he will be one of the best players in baseball over the next three seasons, while making a shade under $13 million on average.

What sells this deal as a landslide for the Braves is that Upton is probably a better player than Martin Prado, but he is also controlled for three seasons as opposed to the one season that Prado is signed for. As fellow BtBer Matt Hunter pointed out to me, this gives Arizona a better chance to resign Prado, but I disagree because we cannot factor this into the deal because we just do not know.

To put it very literally, Arizona traded three years of a 25-year old with a good chance to post at least 3-4 fWAR per year, for one year of a 29-year old who will probably be in the 3-4 win range and the potential to add a draft pick and the slot-money that would come with that pick (as well as Delgado and other minor prospects). This is all without considering Upton’s sizeable upside, with a chance to provide a good amount of excess value of the course of this deal.

Bud Selig Confirms That 29 Of His Bosses Are A Bit Fed Up With Tampa

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 8:35 pm by

Or more to the point, there’s no shortage of frustration amongst baseball’s higher payroll clubs that they continue to contribute to the Rays’ meager payroll (and regular season success) via the luxury tax. With contests at Tropicana Field played in relative privacy, there seems little chance the Rays will increase payroll substantially on their own volition, a situation that led venue-challenged owner Stuart Steinberg to declare Thursday, “Major League Baseball no longer believes in the Tampa Bay area”. Almost on cue, MLB issued the following press release, which could well be titled, “You’re Fucking Right We Don’t”

“The Commissioner has had conversations with Stuart Sternberg and is disappointed with the current situation in the Tampa Bay market. The status quo is simply not sustainable. The Rays have been a model organization, averaging nearly 92 wins per year since 2008 and participating in the postseason three times, including their inaugural World Series in 2008. Their .565 winning percentage over the last five years is second among all American League clubs and third in all of Major League Baseball. Last year, the 30 Major League clubs averaged nearly 2.5 million in total attendance; the Rays, who finished with a 90-72 record, drew 1,559,681, which ranked last in the game. The club is an eager contributor to worthy causes in the Tampa and St. Petersburg communities and takes pride in meeting the social responsibilities that come with being a Major League franchise. We are hopeful that the market will respond in kind to a club that has done a marvelous job on and off the field.”

The Real Reason Behind Mariotti’s Sun-Times Departure : They Weren’t Web Savvy Enough!

Posted in Sports Journalism at 1:57 pm by

Former Chicago Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti has been “staying sharp as a writer” (his words) with selected posts for ChicagoSide, who coincidentally just signed a content agreement with his former employer. If you’re wondering if this means a Mariotti return to the Sun-Times in any capacity, Jay assures the Sherman Report’s Ed Sherman that is absolutely not the case.

The Sun-Times, when I worked there, was a politically conflicted disgrace of a newspaper. The bosses cut deals and curried favor with people I had to cover as a Chicago sports columnist. They also failed to improve the Web site, a promise they made when I signed a contract extension in July 2008. I resigned in a cordial letter to the publisher two months later, after returning from the Beijing Olympics, and I handed back almost $1 million in wages. I don’t miss the place a bit.