05.31.13

Finn On The Sports Putz’ Most Recent Grand Analogy

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

“Bill Simmons isn’t the first sportswriter to overreach while attempting to use a city’s history as a way to explore the mind-set of its fans,” writes the Boston Globe’s Chad Finn, “but I can’t recall an example as clumsy and inappropriate as one he offered on his ESPN podcast with Jalen Rose Thursday.”

“I didn’t realize the effect [the Martin Luther King assassination] had on that city,’’ Simmons said. “I think from people we talk to and stuff we’ve read, the shooting kind of sets the tone for how the city thinks about stuff.

“We were at Game 3. Great crowd, they fall behind and the whole crowd got tense. It was like, ‘Oh no, something bad is going to happen.’ And it starts from that shooting and it’s just that mind-set they have.”

It’s beyond absurd to connect a culture-altering national tragedy to Game 3 of the NBA Western Conference finals 45 years later.

Simmons continues to do excellent work over a variety of platforms, the podcast usually included. But he might be wise to take a lesson from this and resist any desire to attach cultural meaning to a sporting event in a city that is not particularly familiar to him.

Much as I’m loathe to defend Simmons in most situations, I’m not sure the comparison trivialized King’s death, nor did it elevate a mere sporting event to similar level of import. Simmons is employed, more or less, to sometimes try and capture the mindset of persons other than himself. You could certainly say he’s not spent enough time in Memphis to make such a point, but I don’t think he’s at all out of line in calling the 1968 assassination of MLK a pivotal event that still hangs over a region, if not an entire country, 45 years later.

Mushnick : Francesa’s Not Merely Cruel To Buccigross, He’s Mean To His Elders, Too

Posted in Baseball, Hockey, Sports Radio at 4:42 pm by

The caller sounded like an elderly man with a point to make about a “a hitch” in Ike Davis’s swing. Francesa jumped him, cut him off, beat him up. He sarcastically, cruelly claimed that he, Mike Francesa, had no idea Davis is in a slump.

That Francesa’s unwarranted, schoolyard bully mistreatment was lost on the poor man, and that Francesa thought his audience would admire the way he belittled and big-timed this guy just for kicks, made Francesa the heel once again.

Anyone and everyone can be wrong, a lot, too. But Francesa speaks as if he 1) knows all, and 2) is never wrong, when both 1) and 2) are b) completely false. In fact he often is so wrong and so disinclined toward the honesty to acknowledge such, it’s funny! The only one left who takes Francesa seriously is Francesa!  -  Phil Mushnick, NY Post, May 31, 2013

In Francesa’s defense, some of the questions about Ike Davis aren’t entirely thoughtful.

05.30.13

VICE : Michael Jordan Blew Us Off

Posted in Basketball at 1:35 pm by

Could it have anything to do with MJ being a big Grass Widow fan?  Or perhaps there’s still some bad vibes over Charles Oakley ending up as “Don’t” entry in Vice’s “Dos & Don’ts”? Either way, the New York Times’ Rick Gladstone reports the Vice sanctioned summit meeting between Dennis Rodman and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un wouldn’t have happened if the Worm’s more heralded former Bulls teammate had been available.

Offended by criticism that Dennis Rodman’s basketball diplomacy was a marketing gimmick for their season finale on North Korea, the creators of “Vice,” a new HBO newsmagazine with a penchant for daredevilish themes, said Wednesday that Mr. Rodman had improved the program but was not even their first choice.

At a preview screening of the finale, the creators said they would have preferred to have recruited another former N.B.A. star, Michael Jordan, whose autograph adorns a basketball presented to Kim Jong-il, the father of North Korea’s current leader, Kim Jong-un, by Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright during her visit to North Korea in 2000 — when relations were comparatively warmer than they are now.

“Jordan wasn’t interested,” said Shane Smith, the founder and chief executive of the Vice Media Group, the HBO partner that conceived the North Korea trip and helped persuade the authorities there to permit it.

Norton : Dan Snyder’s Not Merely A Creep, But A Giant Hypocrite, Too

Posted in Gridiron, Racism Corner at 12:32 pm by

OK, once again I’m paraphrasing a bit.  As you’re probably aware, Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder recently responded to the growing call for the club to change their name to, y’know, something less likely to be confused with a racial slur, by insisting the matter was not up for discussion. Ever.   Tackling this topic with his usual degree of sophistication, Sirius/XM’s Chris Russo opined Tuesday this was “a non-story”, surmising that if “an Indian school in Arizona” had no problem with their own team being named the Redskins, why should anyone else complain?

Taking a different approach to Synder’s stubbornness, however, was U.S. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC – D), who in chatting with Luke Russert on MSNBC earlier today, argued, “ I’m not surprised that most Americans don’t see any harm in the word. Most of us have had to be educated by Native Americans, who after all, are only less than two percent of the population. They don’t exactly have a microphone every day. If it were African Americans, you’d know all about it.”  From DC Sports Bog’s Dan Steinberg :

“Let me tell you something about (Snyder’s) attitude, because that’s what’s disturbing,” Norton said. “Look, the man inherited the name, so what principle is he standing on? This is the same Dan Snyder that sued a paper here, the City Paper, which wrote an article that was very critical of his management of the Redskins. But the centerpiece of his suit was a photo that he said disparaged him as a Jew. So here is a man who has shown sensibilities based on his own ethnic identity, who refuses to recognize the sensibilities of American Indians….This is not about the First Amendment. This is about branding, whether you can use a brand that disparages an ethnic group. And the fact that the NCAA now bars the use of such names, and that all over America they are being dropped, he has to come forward — it seems to me — with why this ‘never [change]‘ statement amounts to a principle.”

05.29.13

It’s The Crowdsourcing (Lightweight) Battle Of The Century!

Posted in Cinema, The Internet, The Marketplace, The World Of Entertainment at 10:56 pm by

The sheer vanity is nothing short of stunning.  It beggars belief the public would be enlisted to help glorify someone with only the thinnest of resumes.  But enough about the Mamet Sisters — things aren’t looking so good for the Dino Costa documentary, either see above.  There’s no definitive word yet from the film’s producers, the mini-Mirimax known as Chesapeake Films, regarding the doc’s overseas distribution prospects after shopping it around Cannes, but given the spectacular box office failure of 2011′s, “Homme Avec Un Cerveau Minuscule : L’histoire de Scott Wetzel”, this might be an uphill climb.

Yost to KC Sportswriter : Maybe You’d Prefer Irving Klaw As Manager?

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 6:26 pm by

(on the right, Mr. Klaw.  He might not be tanned, but he’s certainly rested and ready)

After an impressive start to the 2013 season, Kansas City has lost 10 home games in a row, last night’s 4-1 defeat to St. Louis being their 18th defeat in their past 21 games.  Asked by the KC Star’s Bob Dutton if Royals players were being held accountable, manager Ned Yost had a curious response :

“What are you asking me to do?” he asked. “Take my belt off and spank them? Yell at them? Scream at them? What do you want? These kids, every day, we go through the process. We’re talking constantly about approach.

“Do we need to make changes? This can’t continue. Somewhere down the road, yeah, we’re going to have to make some changes.”

While the Royals’ (co)-hitting coach Jack Maloof suggests the home venue is a source of frustration (“There is just no reward here (for us) to try and hit home runs,”), Royals Review’s Clark Fosler is unimpressed with that particular excuse (“the same stadium where the opposition has hit 32 home runs to the Royals’ 11. The same stadium that was there last year and the year before and the year before that”)

There is not one of us who didn’t know 10 years ago that Kaufmann was a doubles hitter’s paradise and a home run hitter’s nightmare. Although it should be pointed out that the Royals are just 18th in doubles and, in unrelated news, have grounded into more double plays than all but five other teams in baseball (one of those the Marlins, who may or may not count).

Congratulations, Dayton Moore. Your young lineup doesn’t hit. Your manager is a snippy, condescending public relations disaster and your lead hitting coach just figured out that it is hard to hit home runs in Kaufmann Stadium

CLE Blogger To Tribe Mouthpiece Hamilton : Cool It With The Anti-Cuban Stuff, OK?

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV, We Aren't The World at 12:58 am by

As you’ve probably read or seen on the highlight programs, Reds closer Adrolis Chapman threw consecutive pitches in the general vicinity of Nick Swisher’s skull Monday afternoon, an act that struck Swisher, several teammates and Indians broadcaster Tom Hamilton (above) as an unconscionable act of aggression. ““What you’d love to see Swisher do here is to knock it right off the temple of Chapman and see how much fun it is to have a ball coming at your head,” bellowed Hamilton, who in the view of Cleveland Frowns’ Peter Pattakos, went off the deep when saying of Chapman, “maybe you get away with that in Cuba”.

As much as this statement probably falls closer to idiotic jingoism than anything else, there’s at least a chance it was intended as a comment on Cuba as a place where things are so backward that pitchers can throw inside at batters with impunity.  

So it’s at least worth pointing out that however backward Cuba is about some things, it’s also a place where child poverty has apparently been pretty much completely eliminated, whereas children in the U.S. suffer from the second-highest poverty rate in the developed world. Additionally, “[a]part from achieving near 100% literacy many years ago, [Cuba's] health statistics are the envy of many far richer countries.”  And while the carnage suffered in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina has been contrasted with Cuba’s “extraordinarily effective disaster response.” There’s also that, “the Worldwide Fund for Nature’s 2006 Living Planet report identified Cuba as the only country that achieved high levels of human development while living within its environmental footprint.” All of this while subject to a widely condemned trade embargo by the U.S. that’s been running for 53 years and counting.

I can’t be the only one who’d be interested to hear Hamilton’s thoughts on how these factors impact an analysis of Cuba’s status as a place where people get away with things. Anyway, it was probably the camouflage hats that had him all tuned up.

05.28.13

NYT : Rutgers’ New AD No Stranger To Strife

Posted in College Spurts, Lower Education, The Law at 9:21 pm by

While New Jersey Governor Chris Christie very carefully dodged questions regarding his opinion of Rutgers’ newly appointed athletic director, the embattled Julie Hermann (“I have never met Julie Hermann. I have never spoken to Julie Hermann. I wasn’t involved in her recruiting or her vetting or anything else”), the New York Times’ Steve Eder reports Hermann was hit with a sexual discrimination lawsuit in 2008 while serving as as senior administrator at Louisville.

In that case, an assistant track and field coach said she went to Hermann to complain of what she considered sexist behavior and “discriminatory treatment” by the head coach. Within three weeks of her taking her concerns to Louisville’s human resources department, the assistant coach, Mary Banker, was fired.

In 2008, Banker sued the university’s athletic department, saying that she had been subjected to discriminatory treatment because of her gender. She said that she was ultimately terminated after she voiced her concerns to Hermann and complained to the university’s human resources department, according to the complaint in Kentucky state court.

Among Banker’s concerns: the male coaches would refer to student-athletes with words that were derogatory toward women, and that because she was female she was instructed by the head coach, Ron Mann, to set up party tables and make food arrangements for recruiting lunches.

In a filing with the Supreme Court, Banker’s lawyer Bryan Cassis wrote that after Banker’s complaint to human resources, “Hermann called Banker into her office and flat-out told her, ‘You should not have gone to HR.’ ” The lawsuit also said Hermann told Banker: “I don’t know how I’m going to restore trust in you amongst staff now.”

Casis tells Eder that he’s not been contacted by anyone from Rutgers. Since I have little experience dealing with New Jersey’s premier institutes of higher learning (or, for that matter, Rutgers) it would be terribly unfair of me to say the school is not entirely familiar with the concept of due diligence. But George O’Leary would like it known that he’s totally available anytime the Scarlet Knights say the word.

Great “Wanted” Posters Of The Early 22nd Century

Posted in Professional Wrestling, The Law at 3:44 pm by

There is absolutely nothing humorous about the ghastly charges faced by former AWA star Buck “Rock’n'Roll” Zumhofe. But few will argue with me when I state that a person facing such serious allegations will have a very difficult time getting a fair trial as long as photographs like the one above are in wide circulation.

05.27.13

Male Bachelors – Be Advised That Purple Jesus Is No Longer On The Market…

Posted in Gridiron, politics at 11:07 pm by

…or maybe he’s just not one for commitment! Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is welcome to all sorts of screwy opinions. If AD happens to believe The Suburbs discography holds up better than that of the Suicide Commandos, I might not agree with him, but I’ll defend his right to say something that ridiculous with my last breath. Or my next to last breath.

The above example, of course, however trivial you might find it, is a matter of taste. Maybe if you’re kinda zealot-like, it’s a matter of belief. But at the end of the day, whoever Peterson picks, it doesn’t impact public policy. It has no impact on anyone else’s civil rights. So with that in mind, here’s AD telling the world that when it comes to same sex marriage, “I’m not with that.” So if you’re a guy that’s been shopping for engagement rings and you were planning on popping the question to Adrian Peterson, man, did you just dodge a bullet. From Shutdown Corner’s Doug Farrar :

Peterson had a lot on his mind during a recent conversation with SIRIUS NFL Radio, and he made some waves with his comments regarding gay marriage, which will become legal in Minnesota on Aug. 1. Peterson said that he doesn’t believe in non-traditional unions.

“To each his own, [but] I’m not with it,” Peterson said. “I have relatives who are gay. I’m not biased towards them. I still treat them the same. I love ‘em. But again, I’m not with that. That’s not something I believe in. But to each his own.”

Peterson was asked about the recent release of former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, who signed with the Oakland Raiders on May 16. Kluwe has long been an advocate for gay rights, and some seemed to believe that this fact had something to do with his change of scenery.

“I’m not in the [organizational] meetings. I’m sure the Vikings organization didn’t release him based on that,” he said. “They know Kluwe. They’ve been knowing him for a long time. They know he’s outspoken.”