01.22.13

How Tempting It Must Be For David Stern To Tell Stan Van Gundy, “But I Thought You LIKED Spending Time With Your Family?”

Posted in Basketball, Sports TV at 3:03 pm by

It’s already been suggested that Stan Van Gundy’s non-presence on ESPN’s NBA studio show is entirely down to Association commissioner David Stern’s interference (“Jeff On Stan Van Gundy : He’s Not Heavy, He’s My Brother (And David Stern Is Fucking With Him)”, 10/22/12), but on Tuesday, SVG reiterated those charges, telling USA Today’s Jon Saraceno, “there’s no question the comments I’ve made about David Stern kept them from hiring me.”

Q: Do you believe you were submarined out of that job?
A: I’m pretty sure I was by David. It’s funny. People say it all the time that when an opportunity closes, you end up in a better place. It happened to me in Wisconsin. I lasted one season and got fired. I was 36 and absolutely depressed — like I just blew the best opportunity I ever will have in my life. A few months later, I’m in the NBA.

(The ESPN job) would have been more money but I would have been basically flying to LA all the time. Now I work Wednesdays, a little on Fridays and do a college game on a Saturday every couple of weeks. I stay in touch with the game and I’m having fun with it.

Q: Why do you see Stern’s footprints?
A: (ESPN) contacted me – they drove the whole thing. All of a sudden, it came to a stop. Whether it was Stern directly, the league office making a call or someone at the top at ESPN.

Q: What do you believe upset him the most?
A: There was the time that the Arab Spring was in full bloom. I compared him to other world leaders in that he didn’t tolerate dissenting opinions very well.

01.21.13

P.J. Carlesimo : An Unlikely Near-Term Candidate For Firing Or Strangling

Posted in Basketball at 11:37 pm by

Brooklyn’s 88-85 win over the Knicks at MSG earlier today improved the visitors’ record to 11-2 since Avery Johnson was deemed surplus to requirements. Newsday’s Barbara Barker, mindful of current Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo’s unusual career trajectory, suggests that for the former target of Latrell Sprewell’s aggression, recent developments represent “karmic payback”.

Carlesimo knows that the only way he can whack the name Sprewell from the first sentence of his biography is to do something that overshadows it. And what could be bigger than somehow holding on to this job and being the first coach to bring a professional title to Brooklyn since Walter Alston’s Dodgers beat the Yankees in 1955?

“It really comes down to results. People’s perceptions are still colored to a lot of degree by your success,” Carlesimo said. “Bill Parcells was demanding but he got results, so he’s a great communicator.”

Carlesimo’s preferred method of communication still includes a degree of yelling and screaming. Anyone who watches five minutes of a Nets game can see that.

Yet these Nets don’t seem to mind all of that, not as long as he allows them to play their freewheeling style of offense.

“He’s definitely not a mellow guy, but the stuff he says in practice, a lot of it is pretty funny,” shooting guard Joe Johnson said. “The thing with P.J. is as long as we play hard on defense, he gives us a lot of freedom on offense.”

Bill Russell At The Inauguration : All Things Considered, It Beats Being Mistaken For Rob Schneider

Posted in Basketball, mistaken I.D. at 5:21 pm by

It’s also a little better than being mistaken for Morgan Fairchild.  Either way, you’d think the Celtics shamrock with the number 6 prominently displayed would be a good hint the gentleman above was not Morgan Freeman (that and, y’know, not actually resembling Morgan Freeman).

 

Remembering An Era In Which Casino Greeters Had To Carry A Tune

Posted in Baseball, Gridiron, Hockey, Professional Wrestling, Sports TV at 2:56 pm by

…or in some cases (sorry Bruno), perhaps not.  But we can’t all be great singers like the late Joe Frazier. Video courtesy Wrestlecrap.

01.20.13

SF’s NFC Championship : An Opportune Moment For America’s Dumbest To Speak Their (Tiny) Minds

Posted in Gridiron, Total Hate Fuckery, twitter twatter at 10:02 pm by

If you don’t remember this kind of thing happening during the heyday of Joe Montana and Jerry Rice, that’s probably because Twitter hadn’t been invented yet.   The above tweets were collected by Matt Binder, and while I didn’t previously have any personal preference between SF and Baltimore, I’m now rooting for the latter simply knowing a Niners win will bum these assholes out.

When It Comes To Stereotyping The Inked, David Whitley’s Still Chasing Phil Mushnick

Posted in Basketball, Ink, non-sporting journalism at 6:21 pm by

In the wake of The Sporting News’ David Whitley suggesting 49′ers QB Colin Kaeperneck abundance of visible tattoos were unbecoming for an NFL QB (“NFL quarterback is the ultimate position of influence and responsibility…he is the CEO of a high-profile organization, and you don’t want your CEO to look like he just got paroled”), Whitley caught no shortage of grief for his antiquated world view.  Of course, when it comes to being stuck in a similar time warp, NY Post sports media critic Phil Mushnick (above) has mined likeminded territory in the past and again, in the present.  From The Post, Sunday, January 20 :

As seen Thursday on ESPN2, the nation’s most visibly tattooed college basketball team must be Texas A&M’s. At least two of those silly kids were absolutely covered — arms, necks, legs. They looked more like a prison team than a college team. Wonder what Bobby Knight, working the game, thought of it.

01.19.13

A Bad Week For Sally Jenkins Just Got Worse

Posted in cycling, Sports Journalism at 8:48 pm by

With all due respect to Melbourne’s Manly Library, does “It’s Not About The Bike (Mechanic Whose Life I Ruined)” really not merit a mention?

WFAN Staffer To Francesa Listeners : Call Te’o Delusional Or Dishonest, But Don’t Call Him Closeted

Posted in Gridiron, Hate Fuck Radio, Sports Radio at 7:39 pm by

The Manti Te’o Situation was only a few hours old when one noted national commentator made Twitter reference to “the elephant in the room”.  I surmised he was referring to something other than Brian Kelly’s sudden bout of camera/microphone shyness, and over the past couple of days, the whispering (well, yelling) campaign has picked up steam.  On Thursday evening, Sirius/XM’s Dino Costa declared that was at least a “50/50 chance” Te’o was homosexual, a remarkable bit of speculation given that Costa has famously claimed to have never witnessed sex between men. Costa has hardly been alone in his line of questioning however, leading WFAN/CBS radio writer Jason Keidel to declare, “there are enough problems with Te’o or his story, or both, upon which we can feast without the bile and bigotry we’ve heard on WFAN the last two days.”

Listening to WFAN host Mike Francesa on Thursday and Friday, the callers’ collective homophobia is stunning. The idea that a man fabricates a girlfriend to cloak his homosexuality is an alarming leap in logic.

“He don’t wanna say he’s light in da sneakers!” someone actually said to Mike on Friday afternoon.

Really? New Yorkers, normally an enlightened bunch from sports to politics, are using the gay slur as a spear. Sure, there are gay men in football uniforms from high school to the Pro Bowl, and there’s a reason they won’t reveal their sexual preferences in public. But Te’o is in a thorny portal that is entirely unrelated to matters of sexual orientation.

Lord knows that there’s enough stench around this story to warrant a hazmat suit. There’s no need to resort to gratuitous, bigoted barbs that can only dumb down the dialogue and reboot the rampant progress we’ve made as a society.

To paraphrase Herschel Shmoikel Pinchas Yerucham Krustofsky (or Eddie Scozzare), “Thorny Portal?  I thought they closed that place down.”  But with all due respect to Mr. Keidel, who deserves credit for having the guts to criticize the listeners of his station’s top rated program, this is probably the first and last time anyone has called Mike Francesa’s callers, “normally an enlightened bunch”.

The Real Scoop Behind Earl Weaver’s Audition Tape for Mad Deadly Worldwide Communist Gangster Computer God

Posted in Baseball at 2:42 pm by

This is truly a sad week for Baltimore icons ; 24 hours after the passing of Robert F. Chew, aka “The Wire”‘s Proposition Joe, longtime Orioles skipper Earl Weaver died during an O’s fantasy cruise. Since I’m a genuinely horrible human being, the first thing I thought of after learning of Weaver’s death wasn’t “pitching, defense and a three-run homer”,  Earl’s proto-Moneyball distaste for attempting steals or the Hall Of Famer’s legendary meltdowns and subsequent ejections (91 of ‘em).  No, instead, like so many of the degenerates who read this blog, I recalled  “Manager’s Corner”, and thought we’d all take a little bit of solace in learning the background behind this notorious recording. In 2008, the Baltimore Sun’s Rick Maese spoke with former WCMB announcer / co-conspirator Tom Marr.

Marr said it was a prank. Marr and Weaver were pre-recording a segment from Seattle in 1982, when the pair flubbed a take of the Manager’s Corner. They got to laughing and decided to record an entire fake segment and send it back to the station engineer as a joke.

The dialogue was all off-the-cuff and off-the-air. Weaver didn’t have to try very hard to act like an old cuss. The engineer, of course, got a kick out of it, and the listeners heard a different, sanitized version of the segment before Sunday’s ballgame.

The prank tape didn’t die, though. It was kicked around Baltimore on audiocassette for years, and naturally, when YouTube was born, colorful Weaver made the jump into the digital age.

“It’s been all around the world by now,” Marr said. “Just grown like ivy.”

So, yes, it was Earl Weaver, unscripted and uncensored. But it was stolen from a bottom drawer somewhere, not stripped from the airwaves.

“And now, as they say, you know the rest of the story,” Marr says.

01.18.13

Z-Bo’s Star Turn On “Pit Bulls & Parolees”

Posted in Basketball, Dogs, The World Of Entertainment at 6:49 pm by

I mean this with all due respect to the Grizzlies’ Zach Randolph and the lovely people at Animal Planet —- how is it I’m besieged with bullshit press releases from p.r. dopes who want him to interview any lower-level sports celebs (when’s the last time you saw an interview in CSTB?) and no one told me there was a TV show called “Pit Bulls & Parolees”? THANKS A TON, fake fucking friends.

Mets Ownership To Te’o : Enough Lying To The Public (That’s Our Job)

Posted in Baseball, Gridiron at 3:06 pm by

You’d think a minor league baseball team that on various occasions has been associated with Wally Backman and John Franco would tread carefully when it comes to mocking someone else’s reputation, but that’s not the case with the fish-in-barrel marksmen in the Brooklyn Cyclones marketing dept. In the wake of Notre Dame LB Manti Te’o's now legendary relationship troubles, the New York Mets’ Class-A affiliate have declared their June 21 clash with Aberdeen, “Fictitious Friday“.

Anyone who purchases one ticket at regular price will be allowed to bring their make believe significant-other to the ballpark free of charge. Fans will also have the chance to draw a picture of their girlfriend, because obviously something came up and she couldn’t make it, so that their friends can finally see what she looks like. As a special treat, MCU Park will host a unique petting zoo for those in attendance, featuring a unicorn, a mermaid, and a Minotaur. The Cyclones are also in discussions with the Loch Ness Monster and Big Foot to throw out a ceremonial first pitch that evening. In keeping with the tradition of Coney Island amusements, the Cyclones will put a spin on a traditional carnival game, as fans that are able to toss a ping-pong ball into a fish bowl will receive a catfish. Lastly, all of the player headshots used on the video board will just be random people whose photos we find on the Internet.

Not for the first time, the ‘Clones have demonstrated they’ve got a better sense of humor (heck, any sense of humor) compared to their parent club. But given Fred Wilpon and David Howard’s difficulties telling the truth over the last few years, where exactly do they get off making fun of anyone else’s lack of credibility?

A Shameful Saga For The Bunnybrains’ Hometown Leads To The Headline Of 2013 (So Far)

Posted in non-sporting journalism, Religion, The Law at 12:48 pm by

Congrats, Philly.com. In the modern era, those Newscorp papers have nothing on you.

01.17.13

Sure, It’s A Sleazy, Sad Story, But On The Bright Side, This Is The Most Exposure Nick Gilder’s Had In Years

Posted in non-sporting journalism, Rock Und Roll, The Marketplace at 7:10 pm by

In which Rob “The Nightstalker” Wolchek of Detroit’s Fox 2 News blows the lid off the midwest’s greatest exploiter of would-be Folder Rock entrants. Words like “pathetic”, “reprehensible” and “not nearly as bad as SonicVaultAustin” come to mind.

Right About Now, Ryan Leaf Would Love To Have A Problem No Bigger Than A Dead Imaginary Girlfriend

Posted in Gridiron, The Law at 2:54 pm by

Much as I’d like to envision Ryan Leaf as a modern day Randle Patrick McMurphy doing battle with a rehab clinic’s version of Nurse Ratched, chances are, the real life circumstances are far less entertaining.  From The Great Falls Tribune’s Michael Beall :

Former C.M. Russell High football star and NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf was transferred from Lewistown’s Nexus Treatment Center to the Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge, state officials confirmed Thursday.

Leaf, who was sentenced by District Judge Kenneth Neill to a five-year commitment to the Montana Department of Corrections for drug and burglary charges in June, had been in the lockdown drug rehabilitation facility in Lewistown since July 12. The five-year sentence now translates to prison, said Bob Anez with the Department of Corrections.

The first nine months of Leaf’s sentence were to be spent in Lewistown. He would then spend six months in prerelease center before likely being given supervised community placement for the rest of the five years. However, “the Montana Department of Corrections terminated Leaf from the treatment program and placed him in prison after he was found guilty of behavior that violated conditions of his drug treatment placement,” Dawn Handa, regional probation and parole administrator in Great Falls, said in a statement. “The violations included threatening a program staff member.”

South Bend Support For Te’o Might Not Go Further Than The A.D.’s Office

Posted in Gridiron, History's Great Hook-Ups, mistaken I.D. at 10:47 am by

Of the embarrassing revelations that Notre Dame Heisman hopeful Manti Te’o tugged at America’s heartstrings with tales of a terminally ill girlfriend that didn’t actually exist, Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick was nearly in tears last night after vouching for Te’o credibility (and becoming the first A.D. in memory to reference “Catfish”, either the film or “the MTV series”).  On Thursday morning, it seems Swarbrick’s high opinion of Te’o is not universally held, with College Spun’s Tyler Moorehead suggesting that even if Te’o thought his online GF was real, he was a little overzealous in milking the (ficticious) tragedy.

The debate among teammates wasn’t whether or not Manti actually knew this girl — it was clear that they had been in contact; no, players just didn’t think that it was fair to call Lennay Kekua Manti’s girlfriend, period (it is well-known on campus that he has had relations with other girls during his time at Notre Dame). They recognized what was going on for what it was — a terrible publicity stunt used to fuel Manti Te’o’s Heisman campaign. In fact, many of the players privately commented that they didn’t want the students to wear leis in support of Manti and wouldn’t participate themselves — they cited that the team never responded so publicly to tragic events for other players.

But there was also the feeling that Manti didn’t deserve to benefit from publicity from the death of somebody he barely knew.Manti must have known how beneficial this publicity would be in a season that marked Notre Dame’s return to the national elite, and one that also put him squarely in the Heisman race. As a defensive player, you can’t win the prestigious award without exceptional circumstances — and here one had conveniently fallen into his lap. So he went with it, fed off of it, and it riveted the nation. Love for Manti Te’o exceeded that of any player I have ever seen, and even non-Irish fans hailed him as an inspiration. And here’s where it all gets even trickier.

Manti knew that it was over-the-top — his teammates had gotten that sense a long time prior. And now he was in too deep. More and more questions were asked about this fascinating story, and he kept answering them, calling Kekua “the love of his life”, even though he was digging a deeper and deeper hole for himself. And it didn’t help that his family, and specifically his father, Brian Te’o, was also talking about the incident, or lying as it appears.

01.16.13

Breaking News : The Words “Imaginary Girlfriend” Occupy A Prominent Place In Our Sports Vernacular

Posted in Gridiron, History's Great Hook-Ups at 5:56 pm by

this just in :  Brent Musburger would like to offer Manti Te’o his condolences over the loss of his extremely attractive girlfriend.

Conrad Bain, RIP

Posted in The World Of Entertainment at 1:37 pm by

…but let’s all spare a thought for the late Mr. Bain‘s evil, alien-controlled twin brother, Hank.

Terry Francona Makes The Stunning Suggestion His Former Bosses Were Obsessed With Money

Posted in Baseball at 8:23 am by

Of Tom Werner and John Henry’s Red Sox ownership tenure, manager Terry Francona writes, “it’s still more of a toy or a hobby for them. It’s not their blood.” And that’s not nearly as damning as hinting Tito needed to sex up a ballclub that won a pair of World Series under his leadership, as the the following excerpts from Francona’s Dan Shaughnessy-ghosted, ‘Francoa : The Red Sox Years’ imply.  From the Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham :

“They told us we didn’t have any marketable players,” former general manager Theo Epstein is quoted as saying in the book. “We need some sexy guys. Talk about the tail wagging the dog. We’d become too big. It was the farthest thing removed from what we set out to be.

“[That] was evidence to me of the inherent tension between building a baseball operation the way I thought was best and the realities of being in a big market . . . which had gotten bigger than any of us could handle.”

The book describes Werner as complaining about slumping ratings for the team’s regional sports network, NESN, and asking Francona to win games “in a more exciting fashion.”

01.15.13

Attention Righteous Wads : Buzz Bissinger Owns Up To Duck Fucking

Posted in cycling, Sports Journalism at 11:07 pm by

Last summer, The Daily Beast’s Buzz Bissinger called Lance Armstrong “the victim of a slam job” and characterized the cyclists attackers as a select group of haters” (or, y’know, righteous fuckwads).   On Tuesday, following Armstrong’s taped confession with Oprah Winfrey, Bissinger struck a somewhat different tone (“I really completely fucked the duck”) , calling his Newsweek cover story/defense of the 7-time Tour de France victor, “the worst piece of opinion I have ever written.”

I did a disservice to myself. More important I did a disservice to readers. I did believe what I wrote at the time. I do believe in staking out strong positions. We all do as columnists today, because of the world we live in, craving to differentiate ourselves from the thousands who populate the Internet every hour.

I liked it when he sent me a tweet of appreciation after I had written a previous  column condemning the federal government for the millions it spent going after professional athletes for illegal use of performance enhancers (I still believe the money was wasted). I liked telling my son Caleb, who idolized Armstrong, that “you will never guess who tweeted me.” My only solace is that my son, like so many others who looked up to Armstrong, now hates him.

When he reads this column, he will no doubt accuse me of jealousy and a need for revenge because I, like a thousand other journalists, was hoping that he would confess to me.

I did want him to confess, because I knew it would be a nice notch on the belt, lots of pats on the head from editors who were all over me to get to the exclusive. I did coo in his ear, playing the familiar but odious game of pissing on his detractors. I did write him emails saying that no journalist would treat him more fairly than me. I detested those emails. I was only further contributing to the slime.

Ray Lewis Causes Serious Injury, No Limo Clean-Up Required

Posted in Gridiron, politics at 10:52 pm by

NFL-phobic types might’ve read NPR’s account of a predictable bet between the Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (“when Baltimore won in overtime Saturday, it was disaster for Hancock, who must now dance like Ray Lewis. The soon-to-retire Baltimore star does an awkward but enthusiastic sideline dance before games”) Temporarily, at least, it seems Hancock has dodged a bullet, as the Denver Post’s Ryan Parker details

The mayor’s spokeswoman Amber Miller joked that he was hurt “during pre-game warm-ups.” Hancock is “expected to be on the field in the second half, ready to carry out the game plan and fulfill his end of the wager.”

In fact, Hancock was at the Citizen of the West dinner at the National Western Stock Show Monday night when he caught his boot and seriously strained his right quadriceps, Miller explained later on Tuesday. “Our mayor is headed to the doctor now to find out when he will make a recovery and be able to fulfill his bet with Baltimore.”

Had the Broncos prevailed, Rawlings-Blake said the Washington Monument would be lit in blue and orange Broncos colors.

At Least You Can’t Call John Rocker A Holocaust Denier

Posted in Baseball, Firearms, History's Not Happening at 7:21 pm by

Mr. Obama wants to severely neuter the Second Amendment and disarm the law-abiding citizens of this nation, a similar act of tyrants throughout the 20th century such as Stalin, Mao and Hitler. Absolute certainties are a rare thing in this life, but one I think can be collectively agreed upon is the undeniable fact that the Holocaust would have never taken place had the Jewish citizenry of Hitler’s Germany had the right to bear arms and defended themselves with those arms.

- John Rocker, World Net Daily, “Emulate Alex Jones”, Jan. 14, 2013,

Presumably, Mr. Rocker is under the impression the Red Army was defeated because they used slingshots rather than firearms.

Never Let It Be Said That Isiah Thomas Is Friendless

Posted in Basketball, twitter twatter at 11:49 am by

.

Though if you add James Dolan on top of the reconciliation with Magic, he’s got at least two

01.14.13

Day 15 Of Twitter Without Steve Czaban – Miraculously, The Medium Has Survived

Posted in Sports Radio, twitter twatter at 10:23 pm by

Of his experiences with Twitter, ESPN 980 and Yahoo Sports Radio mouthbreather Steve Czaban asks DC Sports Bog’s Dan Steinberg, “why have I invited onto my personal cell phone a little app that delivers hate right to my eyeballs? What kind of idiocy is that?”  It would be a less ridiculous question if you could somehow blame the platform for Czaban’s decision to mock the Eagles measured attempts to pay condolences to Andy Reid after the death of his son last summer, but Czaban — obviously fancying himself as some sort of truth-teller — explains his recent Twitter retirement by claiming, “it’s just too dangerous for someone like me.”

“Basically, it’s too damn dangerous for somebody like me,” Czaban said. “Brick-and-mortar companies that pay your salary treat Twitter as if it’s the highest form of communication that can ever be written. And it lacks context. People say you can still be funny, just be careful about what you tweet. Be careful, sure — but you don’t know the way something is going to take off. There’s something very dangerous about the viral nature of Twitter. … And so I just decided, you know, it’s just not worth it.”

And the Shanahan/RGIII episode during the Seattle game seemed to justify his caution. As a longtime advocate of using caution with the rookie quarterback, “I was so stunned and pissed off and just out of my mind, I would have tweeted things about Shanahan that were quite inflammatory,” he said. “But I had vowed off Twitter. So I resisted the urge, the sun came up the next morning, I was on the radio, and I could say what I wanted to say about it with context, with non-verbal cues, with follow-up, with all the nuance of language. You can’t encapsulate something like RGIII’s injury in 140 characters. There are many, many shades and degrees of it, and that’s conveyed through the medium I’m paid to do, which is radio.”

Indeed, Czaban is correct in pointing out there’s all sort of things that might be misinterpreted or taken out of context with a 140 character tweet. As opposed to Czaban’s reasoned, thorough analysis, which as recently as 6 weeks ago included calling a transgendered college basketball player, “it” over the airwaves.

Pete Rose Knows How To Communicate With Kids

Posted in Baseball, The World Of Entertainment at 2:00 pm by

Since many of you were too busy watching a bullshit awards show or some variation of pay cable “appointment television” last night, here’s a slice of what you missed on the season premiere of The Learning Channel’s “Hits & Mrs.”.

Dolan’s Message To MSG TV Minions : You Could Be The Alan Lomax Of 2013

Posted in Basketball at 12:36 pm by

Cablevision chief James Dolan has deep respect for New York Knicks history ; witness, for instance the way he’s keeping the likes of NYK legends Allan Houston and John Starks employed as living, breathing monuments to past Garden glories.  In more recent times, however, Dolan — perhaps taking a tip from his blues guitar peer Eric Clapton — has come to realize it’s not nearly enough to pay Baron Davis a king’s ransom to do absolutely nothing.  No, real dedication to the cause of documenting Knicks history is all about preserving and archiving even the smallest of moments.  Say for instance, your franchise player making verbal threats towards a competitor who has insulted his estranged wife?  The Newark Star-Ledger’s Dave D’Alessandro has further details :

 For reasons only he can explain — but probably wouldn’t, at least not without an act of Congress — Jim Dolan made a few MSG Network employees perform a surreptitious duty during the Knicks’ game against Chicago on Friday night.

Two audio technicians were stationed at two corners of the court — one a few feet just behind the Knicks bench, the other diagonally opposite — and they were holding those umbrella-shaped contraptions known as parabola microphones, which fed the audio into a DAT recorder on the truck on the loading dock.

These guys had one directive from Dolan: Record every syllable Carmelo Anthony utters and absorbs while he’s on the court and on the bench, the Madison Square Garden CEO ordered them, and send the tape directly to me.

Of Anthony’s being so easily baited by Kevin Garnett last week, D’Alessandro likens to the former to “an immature player with a sack of sand between his ears and an empty chamber where his heart should be.”