The Billy Bean That Wasn’t Friends With Johnny Ramone Recalls His MLB Career

Posted in Baseball at 5:53 pm by

Former Padres OF/1B Billy Bean — not to be confused with former Mets prospect / punk fan turned GM Billy Beane of Oakland — is the special guest of honor for San Diego LGBT Pride’s “Out At The Park” Night at Petco, May 19. Bean, author of “Going The Other Way : Lessons From A Life In and Out Of Major League Baseball”, was quizzed by LGBT Weekly’s Joel Trambley (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)

Can you talk about the day of your first home run?

I was at home … [a couple of guys on the team] wanted me to go out and have a few beers and celebrate. I lived in a place in Del Mar and my garage was on the basement level. When someone knocked on the door, I told my partner Sam, “You gotta go downstairs and get in the car,” and he sat in the garage for a couple of hours by himself. It was a stinging reminder of the way I looked at my own life, either lying or hiding something.

The story for me is that the happiest moment of my professional career turned into one of the worst days of my life, and in minutes. Unfortunately, I was posed a decision, and the one I made wasn’t kind. My partner understood, but I hurt his feelings and hurt my own feelings at the same time.
In a perfect world, or my world now, my partner and I would be sitting there, and if someone knocked on the door, we would have them come in. It would have been a great moment.

Was there backlash from players when you came out?
No, none at all, but that’s not really a fair assessment of what it would be like for a player who is still playing and walking out on the field.
I had been out of baseball for a couple of years, and I was kind of a good old guy when I played, and I was happy with the response of players. Definitely there were a few religious, like right wing, born again Christian kind of athletes who said they would not have been comfortable with me on the team; not because of me, but because I’m gay. They seemed to be in that mindset that if [someone is] gay, [they are] going to want to be with you just because you are the same sex. Dealing with that kind of antiquated mindset … there is nothing that any of us can do to change those people except live our lives the way we do. That part didn’t bother me.

The guys who said they wouldn’t have been comfortable with me … I had never played on the same team as any of those guys, so it was really kind of a theoretical question about a gay teammate, not Billy Bean as your teammate.


Miami Mayor : Loria’s Added “Rapist” To His Resume

Posted in Baseball, politics, Sports Journalism, Ugly New Stadiums at 9:04 pm by

S.L. Price’s profile of Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and chief weasel David Samson in the latest issue Sports Illustrated is unlikely to improve the public image of either ; it would be hard to think of another ownership group in U.S. professional sports who’ve so thoroughly antagonized a community. Miami Mayor Thomas Regalado, perhaps unaware his choice of rhetoric will eliminate any chance of topping Still Single’s Best Albums of 2013 chart, spoke with CBS4′s David Sutta :

Regalado, who hadn’t seen the article until CBS4 showed it to him, is quoted throughout including a line where he says “Miami has a history of bad deals, but I would rate this Number 1. The residents of Miami were raped. Completely.”

When asked about the quote, Regalado stood by it.

“I think it’s the truth. I think it was a very bad deal,” he said.

Miami-Dade’s Mayor Carlos Gimenez, another no-vote in the stadium vote several years ago, calls the Marlins carpetbaggers, tone deaf and, “The gift that keeps on giving.”

Marlins President David Samson is quoted saying of the team, “I would’ve sold it opening night. Just walk on the filed, say, ‘Thank you Miami, I love you, this is your ballpark, see you later.’

The Zenmaster’s Twitter Experience Is Off To A Rough Start

Posted in Basketball, twitter twatter at 8:35 pm by


How great would it be if Phil retired — undefeated —- from Twitter after this inaugural entry?

McCarver Announces Retirement To A Saddened Nation — Is There No Way He Can Take Joe Buck WIth Him?

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 1:04 pm by

After a lengthy broadcasting career that included a noteworthy 15 years as an analyst in the New York Mets television booth, the oft-pilloried Tim Carver used a preseason conference call with the sports media earlier today to announce he’ll not seek an extension to his Fox deal when the 2013 season concludes. From USA Today’s Michael Hiestand :

“I want to take cooking classes in Italy,” said McCarver, who spoke on a conference call from his home in Napa, Calif.

“And I love to read, although I know reading gets old after a while.”

“How about painting?” joked Buck.

“I’m not a painter,” McCarver responded.

“I wanted to step down while I could still do the job,” says McCarver. “It’s not a tough call, it’s not a sad thing for me. … But I’m going to miss Joe Buck a lot.

After 34 years in TV broadcast booths, McCarver isn’t sure if he wants or will be offered a role on the upcoming Fox Sports 1 cable channel. “There’s no plan in place right now. I just don’t know,” he said. “I don’t want to speculate.”

Fox has left open the possibility of using McCarver on the new channel, which debuts Aug. 17. “We’ll continue to do what we can to fit in his schedule,” says Fox Sports co-president Eric Shanks, who added he has a “man crush” on McCarver.


The 2013 Boston Red Sox : Come For The Cheap(er) Beer, Stay For The Star Power Of Jonny Gomes

Posted in Baseball, Beer, The Marketplace at 11:46 pm by

(above : noted superfan William “Major” Ligue, shown with trusted advisers, contemplating moving AL allegiances from Chicago to Boston)
It’s only right and natural fair that if I’m gonna mock the Miami Marlins for their inability to pack their garish eyesore of a stadium for Opening Day, Boston’s plans to address poor 2013 ticket sales receive equal coverage. On Tuesday, the Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin reported the Red Sox are slashing prices on beer ($5, reduced from $7.50 for a 12 ounce cup), offering a free hot dog with each dog purchased, and providing free grub for kids under 14 for all games in April. “Why just April?” asks Over The Monster’s Marc Normandin, before answering his own question (“Presumably, the hope right now is that only April needs to be promised”)

If the Sox are doing well in April, and tickets are flying into the hands of fans once more, cheaper concessions aren’t as much of a priority. If the Sox start slow once more, though, then maybe the deal ends up leaking into May in order to keep people coming and bring back some of the idea that Fenway is a place you can take the family to see a game without breaking the bank. There’s no need, from a business perspective, to show that hand before you need to, though. And, as much as people like to forget this sometimes, a business perspective is just what a Major League Baseball team like the Red Sox have.

The Red Sox don’t expect Fenway to be a ghost town, but a look at a ticket resale site like Ace Ticket gives you an idea of how much easier it might be to get to games than it normally is. While seats are available for the home opener at a starting price of $95, the second home game of the season starts at $9 — the only game over $30 for a starting price is on April 15, the 11:05 am game against the Rays on Patriots’ Day.Five of April’s 17 home games have tickets starting at $9 at Ace, and even weekends are much cheaper than you’d expect them to be if you’ve been paying attention to the secondary market the last few years.

AJC’s Schulz : Smith, Howland Firings Unjust

Posted in Basketball, College Spurts at 9:30 pm by

Pointing out that recently deposed UCLA head coach Ben Howland is the only man other than John Wooden to lead the Bruins to 3 consecutive Final Four appearances, Atlanta Journal-Constitution scribe Jeff Schultz considers the former’s sacking, “lunacy”. He might well have a different perspective had he witnessed the way Howland’s charges quit on him last Friday night in Austin (or if he’d considered the manner in which Howland has allegedly buried the program with Southern California’s top recruits). Schultz also takes exception to Minnesota’s termination of Tubby Smith, pointing out the former Kentucky head coach’s Gophers campaigns, “came at a school that accomplished only 10 other 20-win seasons in its 118-year history, and all of those came amid academic fraud, paying players, a ticket-selling scandal and an almost cartoon-like 100 NCAA violations in one particularly horrific four-year span. (Thank you, Bill Musselman.)” In the case of both firings, Schultz rails against a March Madness climate that creates new coaching stars overnight while reducing others’ hard-fought careers to rubble.

The knee-jerk firings and hirings are driven by the tournament. Previously unknown coaches such as Florida Gulf Coast’s Andy Enfield are suddenly cast as everybody’s savior.

Norwood Teague, the athletic director at Minnesota, suddenly believes the Gophers can do better than Smith. Smith won and didn’t cheat. He beat UCLA by 20 points in the first round before losing to Florida (possibly a Final Four team). He succeeded despite playing and recruiting against Indiana, Michigan State, Michigan and Ohio State — in hoops, not hockey.

Teague is going after Shaka Smart, whom he hired at Virginia Commonwealth. I’m sure there are guys who went to middle school with Kate Upton who think they’ve got a chance with her, too.

UCLA is high-profile. It could land Smart or another good coach, but firing Howland is nonsensical. Howland brought in the nation’s No. 2 recruiting class and was 25-10 this season. He also didn’t cheat. The early tournament exit doesn’t suggest the foundation under Pauley Pavilion is crumbling. Somewhere in heaven, Wooden is covering his eyes.

Phillies’ AAA Affiliate Wins The Non-Mundane Press Release Of Late March 2013 Award

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 1:03 pm by

Full credit to the front office of the International League’s Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs for proving that when it comes to early April Fool’s Day mischief, GQ Magazine’s got nothing on minor league baseball.

“These games are sure to make a huge splash,” exclaimed IronPigs General Manager Kurt Landes. “Our fans are always looking for the next big thing and these ‘X-Stream games’ are another example of our commitment to providing an unparalleled entertainment experience in all aspects of Coca-Cola Park, including our restrooms.”

When a user approaches the urinal, the video console flips into gaming mode, using patented technology that detects both his presence and stream.  Algorithms then allow the user to engage with the screen by aiming in different directions to test their agility and knowledge.  The games are 100% intuitive and custom-built to provide a unique user interface along with an easy and seamless experience.  The Urinal Gaming System was created and developed by United Kingdom-based Captive Media.  For more information on Captive Media, or to see a video of the p-controlled video games, visit www.captive-media.co.uk.

Upon completion (an average of over 55 seconds according to published research), users will receive their score and a code to enter. They can then view their position on the leader board or check the website to see how they stack up with the rest of that night’s competition!  High scores will be displayed in real-time across various videoboard displays within Coca-Cola Park.

Record Collectors Across The Globe Owe Buzz Bissinger A Huge Debt Of Gratitude

Posted in non-sporting journalism at 12:35 pm by

From this day forth, if any CSTB reader receives grief from a significant other for their purchase of say, The Frantix’ “My Dad’s A Fuckin’ Alcoholic”, they can simply point to Pulitzer Prize winner Buzz Bissinger’s piece in the April 1 issue of GQ (“My Gucci Addiction”) and say, “yeah, but am I really that bad?”

Just to be perfectly clear, I have no personal animus towards Mr. Bissinger and for the record, I find his claims of spending more than a half million dollars on leather jackets, leather trousers and other items that might suggest Rob Halford is his personal style guru, far less embarrassing than say, his rabid defense of Lance Armstrong, endorsement of Mitt Romney or televised tantrum aimed at Will Leitch.  Buzz has much to say in GQ about his own sexuality and while I encourage everyone to engage in similar exploration, I certainly hope such journeys can be undertaken for less than a half million dollars.

That said, when a writer of Bissinger’s skill (and self-awareness) confesses “clothing became my shot glass, another round, Net-a-Porter…I wasn’t mainlining heroin, just impossibly gorgeous leather jackets and coats and boots and gloves and evening jackets,” I cannot help but recall another decorated author’s battles with addiction. Toblerone, to be precise.


Miami’s Box Office Woes – Maybe They Need A New Ballpark?

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace, Ugly New Stadiums at 11:03 pm by

Even before their most recent fire sale, Marlins tickets weren’t hard to come by ; with the 2013 season nearing, CBS Miami’s David Sutta reports Jeffrey Loria and David Samson’s gaudy venue won’t even be full on Opening Day, with the club resorting to GroupOn with a BOGO offer.

“Instead of Groupons why don’t they just go ahead and open the gates and eventually just let people come in free and see what happens,” a caller to Andy Slater’s 64o AM show said.

“A home opener in Major League Baseball is supposed to be a special day where you barely have to promote it. It promotes itself. Its a home opener. People go,” Slater said.

When asked about the offer, the Marlins issued a statement saying, “It is our priority to ensure that the excitement and energy of Major League Baseball and of the award-winning Marlins Park, remain cost-effective and accessible to all families throughout the South Florida community. The Marlins, along with many sports teams throughout the country, have used and will continue to use Groupon along with other social marketing sites to help accomplish that goal. In addition, as usual, fans may also benefit from special promotions and deals available at http://www.marlins.com.”

While Slater suggests showing the NCAA hoops title game on the Marlins Park Jumbotron Opening Night (especially if the University Of Miami advances that far), perhaps there’s a way for the club to work out a cross-marketing arrangement with another local business that’s under siege.  Is no one answering the phone at Biogenesis?

Guest Editorial : Congrats To David Howard On Knowing His Role

Posted in Baseball, New York, New York at 4:52 pm by

(EDITOR’S NOTE : From time to time, noted consumer advocate / baseball executive Randy L. of the Bronx has helpfully chimed in on the sports events of the day.  With today’s news that longtime Mets Vice-President / Wilpon apologist David Howard had accepted a similar position at with James Dolan’s Madison Square Garden,  Randy kindly offered, nay, DEMANDED to express his best wishes – GC)

GREETINGS, finger-sniffers, rug-humpers and fantasy baseball enthusiasts — or am I being redundant?  I trust you’re all enjoying your NCAA bracket competitions as much as I am, though I thank you in advance for NEVER MENTIONING YOURS AGAIN.  There’s very few things I’m less interested in than how you’re performing in some low-stakes gambling enterprise (though if you have hard evidence of A-Rod’s participation in one, by all means get in touch).  The fate of your bracket matters as much to me as the results of Nick Swisher’s latest STD test, which is to say NOT AT ALL.

But I digress.  Monday afternoon brought news that a man I’ve long regarded as a peer in the local baseball wars, Mets VP David Howard, is leaving the Temple Of Doom known as Citi Field, instead opting for one of the least attractive jobs this side of manning a mop at Kinematics (ask John Sterling), running business operations for Jim Dolan.

I like to have a laugh at the Mets’ expense as much as any other successful person, but truth be known, I’ve long admired David’s aptitude in dealing with the easily duped, be they members of the working media or the pathetic saps who willingly shell out for season tickets at a ballpark so devoid of character and charm, it actually manages to make the New Yankee Stadium seem like a fun place to hang out.

However, anyone with an ounce of common sense realizes there’s no long-term future in working for deadbeat Fred Wilpon or his sickeningly entitled son.  Granted, there’s some kindly, washed-up caretaker types in Flushing (Alderson, Collins, etc.), but you’d have be a borderline mental defect to make a serious commitment to that organization.  But enough about David Wright — sometimes when G-d is handing out the good looks, he’s a little stingy with the brains.

So with all that in mind, here’s wishing David Howard all the best in his new position.  Not only will he experience the glamour of trying to find an emergency NA meeting for Gregg Allman at 3am and the morale-building hijinx that make MSG such a great place to work (gluing cock pics to Wally Sczerbiak’s eyebrows, calling security on Baron Davis every time he unlocks his own car), but he’s dodged the biggest sports business bullet of them all ; constantly having his performance measured against that of yours truly.

Let’s face it.  No matter how adept David Howard was at lying on behalf of his boss, regardless of how convincingly he shilled for owners of a baseball franchise that doesn’t give a flying fuck about history, their players or the fans….he was always gonna be New York’s Second Best.  Glad he eventually figured it out and got of baseball with his nuts intact.   Best of luck in the new gig, David, and if you ever need tickets for a Yankee game….call Ticketmaster.  I’m told there’s plenty of good seats left for Opening Day.

Randy L.