Remembering Flushing’s #1 Proponent Of The New Weird America Movement

Posted in Baseball, History's Not Happening at 9:15 pm by

In light of the San Diego Padres holding an archery competition yesterday (hey, it beats war games with Randy Myers), now might be an opportune time to call former Mets starter Matt Ginter, who along with being snubbed by The Wire in favor of the No Neck Blues Band paving the way for many would-be Mumfords, touted the benefits of HARDCORE BOW & ARROW ACTION in a big league clubhouse some 9 years ago. From the New York Times’ Lee Jenkins (June 12, 2004)

On the first day that Ginter asked teammates if it was all right to play a hunting video in the clubhouse, Steve Trachsel sidled up next to him. He also tags along when Ginter goes shopping for hunting supplies or camouflage.

”You get him talking about that stuff,” Trachsel said, ”and he’ll go on forever.”

With Ginter’s arrival, the Mets’ pitching coach, Rick Peterson, has developed an interest in archery. Ginter has been hunting deer with his bow and arrows since he was 15, and he has developed such keen marksmanship that he can split a deck of cards with an arrow. Ginter told Peterson that when shooting an arrow, he always focuses on a spot no larger than a nickel. But when throwing a baseball, he aims at a much larger target.

He is making an impact on the Mets, who view him with amusement and delight. Closer Braden Looper calls Ginter ”our country boy,” and compares him to the Clampetts, the family from ”The Beverly Hillbillies.” Catcher Vance Wilson calls him ”our redneck,” but he insists he is using the term endearingly. When reliever David Weathers wants instant entertainment, he summons Ginter to review an episode of ”Hee-Haw.’

Ayanbadejo & Kluwe – Not Merely Supporting Marriage Equality, But Forcing Sportswriters To Brush Up On Their Latin

Posted in Gridiron, The Law at 8:29 pm by

On the same day SF’s Vernon Davis told “SportsCenter” viewers that he’d certainly ask Manti Te’o about his sexuality were he an NFL general manager —- and a day after Sirius/XM’s Dino Costa opened his broadcast mocking those who consider homophobia prevalent (ie. Dino’s not “afraid” of homosexuals, he simply “disagrees with their lifestyle”) —- Ravens LB Brendon Ayanbadejo and Vikings punter Chris Kluwe (above) have filed an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, voicing their opposition to California’s anti-same sex marriage Proposition 8.  From the Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebeic :

“If the court reverses the Ninth Circuit, many professional athletes will take their cues from that,” said the brief, according to reports. “And that will cause a ripple effect as even more people follow their role models, their leaders, their heroes. Those against same-sex marriage? They will use it as yet another tool to support their preconceived idea that gay Americans, who pay their taxes, serve in our military, and by every measure of societal participation are superior neighbors and citizens, are instead second class members of society. That they do not deserve the same rights as everyone else. That separate can be equal.

“The amici hope that our support for marriage equality here will matter — both with the Court and with people looking for confirmation that it is okay to treat other good people as equals. We know for a certainty that this Court’s decision truly will matter, and in a tremendous way for many people’s lives.”


The Artist Formerly Known As GorillaBeas Wants You To Know He Doesn’t Carry A Purse

Posted in Basketball, Fashion, The Marketplace at 8:04 pm by

After signing with Phoenix as a free agent last Summer, F Michael Beasley had a rather curious yard sale at his previous Minneapolis home (“B-Easy’s B-zarre Garage Sale, 8/20/12).  At the time, Fox Sports North’s Joan Nisen wondered, “Why does Michael Beasley need a copy of the Physicians’ Desk Reference? Or a book of Ingmar Bergman screenplays? Or giant glass grapes? What use does Beasley have for a floral headboard? Why does he love tasseled pillows so much? Whose handbags are those?”  Speaking today with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Jerry Zgoda, the former T-Wolves star insists it’s just stuff someone else left laying around.

Beasley sold some of his belongings last summer in an estate sale at the Orono home he rented during his two seasons in Minnesota. It made news nationally for its eclectic mix of items.

A lot of that stuff wasn’t mine, like purses and earrings and stuff,” he said, referring to a company he hired for the sale that brought other items into the house. “That kind of messed up my street cred. I’m a gangster on the street. I had some stuff that wouldn’t fit into my house here, so we just sold it. A lot of the furniture was mine. The dresses and purses? Not mine.”

The NFL Makes It Crystal Clear : “Do You Like Gladiator Movies?” Cannot Be Asked During The Combine

Posted in Gridiron at 4:09 pm by

Days after PFT’s Mike Florio predicted Manti Te’o's sexual orientation would be an actual topic at the NFL Combine, a player not nearly as well known claims a team asked similar questions during an interview earlier this week. From NFL.com’s Greg Rosenthal :

“They ask you like, ‘Do you have a girlfriend?’ Are you married? Do you like girls?’ Those kinds of things, and you know it was just kind of weird. But they would ask you with a straight face, and it’s a pretty weird experience altogether,” TE Nick Kasa told ESPN Radio Denver Tuesday, via ProFootballTalk.

It sounds more than weird. It’s embarrassing. I could imagine folks in the league office reading this and cringing, so I reached out to NFL spokesman Greg Aiello.

“Like all employers, our teams are expected to follow applicable federal, state and local employment laws,” he said in a statement. “It is league policy to neither consider nor inquire about sexual orientation in the hiring process.

“In addition, there are specific protections in our Collective Bargaining Agreement with the players that prohibit discrimination against any player, including on the basis of sexual orientation. We will look into the report on the questioning of Nick Kasa at the Scouting Combine. Any team or employee that inquires about impermissible subjects or makes an employment decision based on such factors is subject to league discipline.”

The Paper Of Record’s Curiously Low Benchmark For “Rock Star”

Posted in non-sporting journalism, Rock Und Roll at 12:15 pm by

The New York Times’ “Frequent Flier” — an often amusing guest editorial in the paper’s business section penned by a wide variety of heavy travelers — featured the headline, “Even A Rock Star Has To Be Careful” this past Tuesday.   If you were thinking this week’s author might be, for instance, Blues Saraceno or Sully Erna, prepare to be deeply disappointed, as the Times has scrapped the very bottom of the state fair circuit barrel in soliciting Foreigner’s hired hand vocalist, Kelly Hansen.

Sometimes people recognize me. But what generally happens is if we’re traveling in a group, passengers might start to talk among themselves, wondering who we are. That’s kind of fun because usually they know all of our songs.

If I’m traveling alone, I don’t mind talking to seatmates, but I’d sooner just enjoy the flight. If someone asks me what I do, I generally reply, “I’m in music.” But if they ask what band, I say Foreigner. Either people break into a smile, or they say, “You mean, Foreigner, Foreigner?” I always want to say, “No, the other Foreigner.” But I don’t.

A lot of times the crew knows who we are, and word spreads that way. There was one flight where the attendants must have told the pilots. A little while into the flight, the pilots came over the P.A. system, and they just started singing a medley of Foreigner songs, including “Feels Like The First Time” and “Hot Blooded.” Everyone got a good laugh. I wasn’t worried about my day job. I thought as singers they made great pilots.

OK, I’m calling bullshit on this “sometimes people recognize me”. I will bet you $10 that unless that unless Hansen is flying with someone unlucky enough to have caught his performance at The Boat Show or a supermarket opening the day prior, there’s no fucking way he’s getting recognized. And if there’s a look of disbelief from fellow passengers upon learning he’s ostensibly a member of Foreigner, who can blame them?

The simple fact of the matter is that for the vast majority of the public, Foreigner will forever be associated with the dulcet tones and dynamic stage presence of Lou Gramm (shown above) . To pretend otherwise is duplicitous, delusional and another blow to The Gray Lady’s journalistic integrity.

On the bright side, there’s every chance the paper will feature a survey of the nation’s truck stops penned by Ron Reyes Ripper Owens.

WSC’s Anderson To Rangers Fans : Lay Off The Pope, Focus On Green

Posted in Football, Mob Behavior at 12:59 am by

Rangers’ 3-1 win at Berwick last Saturday in Scotland’s Third Division  was marred by what one published report referred to as “sectarian singing by a small section of the Rangers fans in the capacity crowd.”  Leaving less to the imagination, When Saturday Comes’ Alex Anderson claims the traveling fans, “sang about ‘Fenian blood’”, paedophilia and co-commentator Craig Burley’s wife.”

It’s pertinent that the catalogue of paedophilia songs – aimed initially at the heavy police attention (“Why don’t you go and catch a paedo?”) then extended to Jock Stein, Celtic and the Catholic church – ended when Rangers produced the one pleasing move in the entire game, scoring on the stroke of half-time.

Boredom and identity crises are classic drivers of anti-social behaviour but the most valid mitigation for what went on at Berwick was sat in the directors’ box opposite Shielfield’s cowshed covered enclosure. Chief executive Charles Green, the appointed representative of the new company running Rangers, has engaged in a sustained campaign of blaming everyone else for our current position. There’s no structure to his public ranting; the only consistency has been to take the most embittered voices as representative of the entire fan base. He’s threatened to take the club out of Scotland, blamed their exclusion from the SPL on bigotry and last week he claimed he would quit the club if chairman Malcolm Murray didn’t resign.

Rangers fans says that those mocking our financial implosion of last summer are “obsessed”. However, six different songs about child abuse in five minutes demonstrate a far more sinister obsession. As the tabloids often demonstrate, there is a thin line between condemning paedophilia and celebrating it. Rangers fans who feel the need to attack the Vatican can safely stand down – there are enough people, better qualified and far more invested, currently on the case. And it’s not just in Rome where an institution enduring a year of setbacks could do with a change of leader.


Mike Francesa Cannot Make Love To The Camera If He’s Cockblocked By A Producer

Posted in Sports Radio, Sports TV at 10:01 pm by

I am already regretting the above headline (but not nearly enough to come up with an alternative).   And in fairness to WFAN’s late afternoon host, he would hardly be the first broadcasting icon to lose his composure in the workplace.

Niagara Editorialist : Buehrle’s Parenting Skills Are The Pits

Posted in Baseball, Dogs, Parental Responsibility at 5:58 pm by

When veteran hurler Mark Buehrle was traded from the salary-dumping Marlins to the aspirational Blue Jays last Autumn, it was widely noted that a pit bull ban in Ontario would impact the Buehrle family.  With Buehrle having recently announced his wife and children will stay in St. Louis with the family dog while he relocates to Toronto for half the year, the Niagara-Gazette’s Mark Confer protests, “he shouldn’t allow his reason and humanity to be influenced by modern society’s strange love affair with animals in which they’ve gone from being a part of the household to a part of the family (it’s something akin to mainstream anthropomorphism)”.

I see his residency decision quite differently than they did. Whereas they see him as some sort of hero, I see him as a well-intentioned but ultimately bad parent. I love animals, but I love humans a lot more. To me, the real family – mother, son, and daughter – should take precedence over Slater.

Being an absentee father in order to cater to a dog isn’t touching. It’s touched. What sort of father would not want to spend his days with his 5-year old son and 3-year old daughter? Their youth is short-lived and precious. These are the days and years in which they are so cute (more so than any dog ever could be) and their brains and hearts soak up so much information and love. They need their dad to help provide that intellectual and emotional nourishment. Having him 800 miles away – in another country, no less – will do them no good. Sure, his ballplayer’s income will give them all the material goods that they’ll ever need or want, but, for 6 or 7 months out of the year they’ll be without the possession which they need the most – their father.

Suppose Buehrle plays out the rest of his career in Toronto. He’s only 33 and is still a darn good pitcher (he sports a 3.82 lifetime ERA), so it wouldn’t be out of the question for him to play another 7 years in the Bigs, especially for a rejuvenated Blue Jays organization (to which he’s obligated to at least three seasons). Will he continue to maintain the great divide between himself and his kin over that period? I hope not. By then, his kids will be 12 and 10. That’s a good portion of their childhood to throw away.

Of course, Ontario’s draconian laws against pit bulls might not be the only reason a ballplayer might seek to avoid his family for half the year. Hopefully Confer can hold every other Major Leaguer who spends time apart from his offspring up to similar scrutiny, even if there’s no chance to take a shot or several at dog lovers.


Dowbiggin’s Wrath For Grapes : Cherry’s Drug Rant Was Wrong, Dopey

Posted in Hockey, Sports TV at 11:03 pm by

Over the years, CBC hockey commentator / fashion-plate Don Cherry’s been accused of xenophobia, homophobia and perhaps worst of all, giving Craig Sager a sartorial role model to aspire to. During Saturday’s edition of “Coach’s Corner”, Cherry added to his laundry list of offenses, turning a blind eye to hockey’s drug issues (of all things — fast forward to about 6 minutes in), earning the ire of frequent Globe & Mail critic Bruce Dowbiggin.

We’ve been down this road before. Many times. And it’s always wrong. Inconvenient for Cherry’s narrative, hockey’s drug problem is as recent as the accidental overdose from Derek Boogaard in 2011. Regrettably, the league’s rehab department has no shortage of clients. And the NHL has done no drug testing in the postseason or off-season, the period when players would most likely be juicing.

So the drug claim is specious. As well, there are thousands of great role models in other sports, men who are a credit to their families and community. As it is every time he trots it out for public viewing, Cherry’s argument is as flimsy as his own NHL career.

The issue is not Cherry’s accuracy, however. That horse left the barn decades ago. The issue is the integrity of CBC. In the hours following Cherry’s jeremiad there was no attempt by anyone on the network to clear the record. Starting with a mute Ron MacLean on Coach’s Corner, a succession of so-called experts on the network declined to correct Cherry’s patently false comments about drugs in hockey.

The New York Mets & Amway – A Collision Between 2 Crooked, Sinking Ships

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 7:27 pm by

Under what possible circumstances would an MLB franchise in the nation’s no. 1 market be compelled to sell storefront space at their own ballpark to a company that recently settled a class action lawsuit over pseudo-pyramid scheme practices?  When the team in question is the New York Mets — no stranger to such associations — and they’ve learned they cannot turn erect an Indian casino next door, well, Shawn Marcum’s paycheck isn’t going to grow on trees. Or in the words of Capital New York’s Howard Megdal, after providing unprecedented hospitality to Amway, the Mets “seem to have made the calculation that whatever money they’re getting from the deal trumps any cosmetic problems that might stem from the association.”

Amway is a multilevel marketing opportunity, to use the euphemism, or a pyramid scheme, to use the terminology of its critics. Individuals sign up as “Independent Business Owners”, or I.B.O.s, to sell an array of Amway products, buying them up front while simultaneously recruiting others to join Amway as well.

The Federal Trade Commission differentiates between legitimate MLMs and pyramid schemes using a set of criteria that came into being in part because of complaints about Amway going back decades. The most basic requirement is that participants sell a reasonable percentage of the products to outsiders, meaning the company is not subsisting primarily on new backers buying in to pay the old backers.

When a class-action lawsuit against Amway’s now-defunct North American distribution arm, Quixtar, asserted that products were almost always sold to the next level of distributors, that Amway participants were asked to pay exorbitant up-front costs, that well over 99 percent of Amway participants lost money and that any effort to recoup losses were only possible in an expensive arbitration process, a judge allowed the lawsuit to go forward, calling the Amway contract stipluations “a weapon to harass … and ultimately bankrupt their opponents.” A year later, Amway settled the suit for $155 million.

Amway’s troubles aren’t over; there’s been renewed focus on MLMs of late, with Herbalife, a company operating using Amway’s business model, declared a pyramid scheme in a European court last year.

The company revealed that the Securities and Exchange Commission is now investigating it. The Federal Trade Commission recently shut down Fortune High-Tech Marketing, another MLM, in January.