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.
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”.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.”
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.