As Self-Portraits Go, Todd Marinovich’s Is Better Than Dylan’s

Posted in Gridiron, Modern Art, Parental Responsibility at 4:47 pm by

I’m guessing it’s been a few weeks at least since you’ve contemplated the burgeoning art career of Todd Marinovich, the former USC QB whose rough spell as a professional with the LA Raiders has become the default example for stage parenting gone-mad.   But all’s well that ends well (for Todd, anyway), and the younger Marinovich will happily sell you a signed print of the above self-portrait for $199.  Or if you prefer, his depictions of Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw, Nick Cave, Charles Bukowski, Tom Waits or Ron Reyes David Bowie.


The Tormentor Of Sabres Owner Terry Pegula Is Going To A Hotel Where They Don’t Leave Mints By The Pillow

Posted in Hockey, The Law, The World Of Entertainment at 11:46 pm by

If you were thinking the Mario Williams saga was the most sensational Buffalo sports story of late, well, you’re not totally wrong.  But the following report from the Buffalo News’ Phil Fairbanks provides somewhat cryptic hints that Sabres owner Terry Pegula might have some rather wild messages on his cell phone, too.

Vivek Shah, 25, of West Hollywood, pleaded guilty in a West Virginia federal court earlier this month to charges of attempting to extort money from Pegula.  The deal with prosecutors  could land him in prison for up to 87 months.

The details of Shah’s plea deal are still unknown – the agreement has been sealed and the parties are under a court-mandated gag order – but the Associated Press has reported that he pleaded guilty to one count of transferring threatening communications through interstate commerce and seven counts of mailing or sending threatening communications through the mail.

Shah, who was set to go on trial this month, was accused in August of sending letters that threatened to kill the relatives of his targets if he did not receive millions of dollars.

Federal prosecutors say he also targeted film producer Harvey Weinstein and West Virginia coal magnate Christopher Cline as part of “a multimillion-dollar extortion attempt.”

“He’s a good kid; he’s an actor,” Patrick E. Boyle, his lawyer, said at the time of his arrest. “He’s had small roles in movies and done television commercials.”

All Of A Sudden, The Garlic Fries At AT&T Park Aren’t Nearly So Tasty

Posted in Baseball, Food, The Marketplace at 6:02 pm by


AT&T Park concessionaire Billie Feliciano  is circulating an online petition calling for the San Francisco Giants and the team’s exclusive food vendor, Centerplate, to address her wage and health care concerns. While Centerplate boasts that AT&T workers earn $15-20 an hour with full health costs covered (a figure disputed by at least one published report), Feliciano and colleagues are frustrated  by a wage freeze during a period of huge prosperity for the ballclub.

I’ve worked concessions at Giants games since 1978. Back then, a 24-ounce beer cost $3.75 and the average ticket to a game was less than $4.00.  

But even though the price of a beer has gone all the way up to $10.25, my co-workers and I have been hit with wage freezes for the past three years.  While many of us scrape by with multiple jobs, living paycheck to paycheck in low-income housing, Centerplate and the Giants are raking it in.  Every game is sold out, and the lines for garlic fries and hot dogs are longer than ever.  The value of the Giants has increased 40% and its revenues have risen 14% while we’ve been rewarded with a Giant Zero.  

Our primary dispute is with Centerplate, a South Carolina based company subcontracted by the Giants to run concessions at AT&T Park.  Our contract with Centerplate expired in 2010, and we have been unable to reach a new deal.  Centerplate’s proposal would severely limit our access to health care and maintain the past three years of wage freezes.  That’s why we’ve voted to authorize a strike at AT&T Park.  

Centerplate has told us that the Giants take more than 50% of all food and beverage revenues.  That means that out of a $10 beer, Centerplate is left with less than $5 to pay for the beer, the delivery of the beer, the workers’ wages and benefits, and still earn a profit.

The giant share that the Giants take is a big part of the problem!

Great WTF Moments In Popular-Music-On-TV History

Posted in Free Expression, Rock Und Roll at 1:52 pm by

I know some of us are pretty fucking jaded, but every few years there’s a performer who grabs a national TV audience’s attention and totally blows their minds with a genre-defying performance that’s as visually stunning as it is musically adventurous.

But enough about Taylor Hicks at the Republican National Convention.    Please continue discussing Kanye West’s “Black Skinhead”.



Carmelo Anthony Can’t Do It All Himself. Shame He Felt Compelled To Try

Posted in Basketball at 7:16 pm by

Indiana’s 106-99 dispatch of the Knicks last night
ended the latter’s 2012-13 season, and given New York’s aging roster and salary commitments to unmovable objects like Amare Stoudemire and Jason Kidd, it’s impossible hard to feel optimistic about the franchise’s future (the continued ascent of Iman Shumpert excepted).  Since his arrival from Denver, the Knicks’ near-term fate has been inextricably linked to the output of Carmelo Anthony, who not only has failed to advance beyond the 2nd round after a decade in the league, his 4th quarter performances vs. Indiana in this series might well define his pro career.  Unless, in the words of CBS Sports’ Matt Moore, he’s able to adapt (“we’ve seen this from Kobe Bryant in past years to all the other high-volume shooters, is that if your teammates are struggling, you need to score in the flow of the offense but keep them involved. Cold begets cold. No one else stepped up for New York because they were never involved”)

Anthony is a singularly incredible talent. Strong, versatile, with excellent footwork and terrific range, when he’s cooking, he seems unstoppable. But the system, and I hate to beat this drum again, is unsustainable. You can’t rely on shots off the dribble, from Anthony and from J.R. Smith (who is a topic for another day), over and over again, and hope to beat playoff offenses.

Let’s say you believe that you can. That one guy can carry you home, that one guy can get past Paul George’s perimeter defense, and slip past the help defense from Lance Stephenson or David West and then shoot over Roy Hibbert.

The cost is then on the other end. The exhaustion gets to you, the wear and tear breaks you down, and eventually it’s felt somewhere. For Anthony, it was felt all over the court. You can chalk up the missed shots to them just not falling against good defense. You can claim the turnovers are just the Pacers anticipating, or the Knicks not coming to the ball. But then Lance Stephenson took Melo into the post, worked him and scored on him to make one of the lock-it-up scores late in Game 6.

Anthony was so focused on offense for so much of the game, there was nothing left.

Baylor’s Mulkey To Gay Players : Thanks For Staying In The (Very Tall) Closet

Posted in Basketball, College Spurts at 2:20 pm by

(this is not a photograph of Kim Mulkey reacting to Brittney Griner coming out)

Later this week, ESPN The Magazine and ESPNw are publishing an interview with Phoenix Mercury rookie and recent Baylor alumnus Brittney Griner, in which the the no. 1 overall pick in this year’s WNBA draft alleges Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey actively discouraged her from publicly discussing the former’s homosexuality. “”The coaches thought that if it seemed like they condoned it, people wouldn’t let their kids come play for Baylor.” Griner told ESPN, though it seems the women’s basketball program were willing to turn a blind eye if it meant competing for a national title.

“It was more of a unwritten law [to not discuss your sexuality] … it was just kind of, like, one of those things, you know, just don’t do it,” Griner said Friday. “They kind of tried to make it, like, ‘Why put your business out on the street like that?’”

“I told Coach [Mulkey] when she was recruiting me. I was like, ‘I’m gay. I hope that’s not a problem,’ and she told me that it wasn’t,” Griner said. “I mean, my teammates knew, obviously they all knew. Everybody knew about it.”

Baylor University, a private Baptist school located in Waco, Texas, has a “Statement on Human Sexuality” in its student handbook. Located under the label “Sexual Misconduct,” it says that “Christian churches across the ages and around the world have affirmed purity in singleness and fidelity in marriage between a man and a woman as the biblical norm. Temptations to deviate from this norm include both heterosexual sex outside of marriage and homosexual behavior. It is thus expected that Baylor students will not participate in advocacy groups which promote understandings of sexuality that are contrary to biblical teaching.”

When asked by ESPN to give her side of the story, Mulkey, though quick to praise Griner (“she leaves behind an incredible legacy”) was equally fast in adding, “I cannot comment on personal matters surrounding any of our student-athletes”. Trouble is, it isn’t simply a personal matter involving Griner. The school’s defense of purity/fidelity aside (we’ll have to assume student-athletes engaging in premarital sex are expelled or have their scholarships stripped), it’s Mulkey’s actions that ought to be under scrutiny here, not Griner’s. Though it would be naive to think Mulkey is the only coach in college sports to have given similar advice to an athlete of either gender.


OSU’s Gundy – Quick To Stand Up For His Players (Until They’re No Longer On His Roster)

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 5:24 pm by

When Oklahoma State announced the transfer of 2012 opening week starting QB Wes Lunt, head coach Mike Gundy gushed, “we appreciate Wes and we thank him for everything he has done..he’s leaving on good terms and is making this decision based on what he thinks is best for his future.”  Gundy failed to mention however, that Lunt’s transfer was subject to the following conditions, as detailed by CBS Sports’ Jeremy Fowler :

Oklahoma State is restricting Lunt from transferring to either Southeastern Conference schools or Southern Miss, where Lunt’s former offensive coordinator Todd Monken is now the head coach.

Cowboys spokesman Gavin Lang confirmed the news via email after CBSSports.com spoke with a source with direct knowledge of Lunt’s transfer process. When asked why the SEC and Southern Miss were restricted, Lang said that decision is between Lunt and coach Mike Gundy.

The only SEC team Oklahoma State has on its immediate schedule is Mississippi State in 2013. Oklahoma State and Southern Mississippi are not currently scheduled to play.

When and if Gundy either finds himself to be a a free agent or in negotiations with another school, do you think his representative would seriously consider an offer from a university that asked their head coach to sign a non-compete clause? If Lunt is leaving on “good terms”, I’d hate to see what happens to student-athletes that Gundy doesn’t love nearly as much.

Let This Be A Cautionary Tale For Aspiring Pennebakers Trying To Film Unnatural Axe

Posted in Rock Und Roll at 4:34 pm by

I’ve had it up to here with the stories about some great show you saw at The Rat or Cantone’s back in the day.  Was the choreography nearly this daring back then?


Davidoff’s (Free) Advice For Fred Wilpon : Be More Like Hal Steinbrenner

Posted in Baseball at 9:26 pm by

Cornered by reporters prior to MLB’s owner’s meetings in Manhattan this week, Mets owner Fred Wilpon (above, right) had little to say about Terry Collins’ job, Jordanny Valdespin’s attitude, Ike Davis’ allergy to hitting baseballs, those ridiculous alternate hats with the orange brims or much of anything else.  Though conceding that Wilpon has left all of the heavy lifting in the public relations department (sorry, Jay) to GM Sandy Alderson (praised for his “cold-blooded approach”), the New York Post’s Ken Davidoff wonders if it wouldn’t kill the poorest greatest living Brooklyn Dodgers fan to occasionally act like he gives a shit.

If the Yankees are slumping, Steinbrenner will do his best Bill Clinton “I feel your pain” shtick and profess his concern, thereby validating the fans’ anxiety, and then let Brian Cashman, Joe Girardi and the players do their jobs. It’s a dash of love to the customers at a low cost.

I have criticized Wilpon for saying too much (while the Mets were being sued by Madoff trustee Irving Picard), so I’m reluctant to tear into him for saying too little. It becomes a Goldilocks situation.

Yet when there still exists such a large trust deficit between the Mets’ owners and their fans, it wouldn’t hurt Wilpon to announce that he, too, is hurting. With no major action on the immediate horizon, some minor sentiments could help soothe the raw feelings.

The Sports Universe Wants To Know If Kenwye Jones is The Jordanny Valdespin of Soccer

Posted in Football, Going To The Zoo at 5:44 pm by

Man, who’d have suspected Michael Owen — possibly the least exciting sports personality east of David Wright — would go in for such a grisly revenge prank?  Probably not Stoke’s Kenwye Jones, who according to the Telegraph’s John Percy has decided another teammate is responsible for the pig head shown above turning up in his locker.

Jones is understood to have been furious after discovering the bloody carcass in his locker on Friday morning and threw a brick through the windscreen of Glenn Whelan’s car as revenge.

The picture of the pig was then posted on Instagram by American winger Brek Shea to heap embarrassment on Stoke, who have already begun an inquiry into the incident.

This latest practical joke comes days after Michael Owen’s Mercedes was pelted with eggs and flour, while it is understood other pranks have been taking place all week as Stoke prepare for their final game of the season.


The New York Mets Aren’t Nearly Done Burying Jordany Valdespin

Posted in Baseball at 9:15 pm by

It’s 5 days since Mets OF Jordany Valdespin (above) was intentionally drilled by Pittsburgh’s Bryan Morris, an act that seemingly occurred with the passive consent of Mets skipper Terry Collins (embarrassed that Valdespin would admire a solo HR while on the wrong end of a blowout the previous night).    With the Mets receiving some grief for the failure to protect Valdespin or retaliate the following afternoon, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale visited some NY veterans in the visitors clubhouse in St. Louis yesterday to get their take on the matter.  “To read these reports how we don’t have his back and how we don’t care about him is absolutely ridiculous. It couldn’t be further from the truth,” argued team captain David Wright, though the most scathing criticism of Valdespin came from a reliever with far less service time in a Mets uniform.

“I couldn’t believe he did that,” Mets veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins said. “We were all dumbfounded. It was a bonehead thing to do. And to do that against Jose Contreras? He’s old enough to be his father, and one of the nicest guys in the world.

“What were we supposed to do there?” Hawkins said. “We were down six runs, he hits a home run and he acts like it’s a walk-off. This isn’t Little League.

“What, now we’re supposed to get into a fight for that? We’re supposed to throw at somebody because he did a bonehead thing? Now, if they throw at him for no reason, that’s a different story. We protect our team. But to do what he did put us in a bad spot, a real bad spot.

“He showed absolutely no respect. If you’re going to pimp it, you’re going to suffer the consequences. I have no problem defending my teammates, but some things, you just can’t defend against.”

Who better to lay down the about matters of etiquette than the highly decorated mop-up man Hawkins?  Maybe it took a full week for the message to sink in, but hopefully, Valdespin has come to understand they are some actions in baseball that are completely indefensible.  And not showing proper deference to Jose Contreras after going deep against him is generally considered the worst atrocity of them all.  If Valdespin is ever lucky enough to hit a home run against Contreras in the future, I for one hope he’ll immediately apologize, then refuse to run the bases.

NYC’s The-Soon-Another : Not Quite Certain How The Whole Rock Criticism Thing Works…

Posted in Rock Und Roll at 6:57 pm by

(do you think Complete got to where they are today by asking strangers to write free reviews? Because they might wanna think about it)

…though in their defense, hardly anyone else does, either.   The following Craigslist ad appeared earlier today (link courtesy Erick Bradshaw) :

My band, The Soon-Another is looking for indie music bloggers interested in reviewing our new album, Autodidact.

Some background info about the band: The Soon-Another originally formed in Lima, Peru and rapidly collected a local fan base. This indie pop/rock band erupts with vibrant colors and ironic anti-establishment lyrics, combining playful melodies and theatrical rhythms that reflect the band members’ distinctive musical and cultural backgrounds. Dual lead vocalists–one female and one male–tell poetic tales of romance, wanderlust, and volatile desires for independence. Whether plucking out ornate arrangements on acoustic guitar and thumb piano or rocking out to distorted electric guitar riffs and danceable synthesizer bass lines, the band is certainly eclectic but never lacking in musical integrity.

If you like our music and would be interested in writing an album review, respond to this post and let me know. Bloggers will be rewarded with free t-shirts, lots of gratitude and a shout-out at our next concert.

Hey, I don’t know how they do it in Peru, but in the USA we don’t take cheap short cuts like asking unpaid journalists to write reviews in exchange for t-shirts and shout-outs. Instead, we pay independent publicity firms to take badly paid journalists out for drinks (in exchange for cutting and pasting one-sheets verbatim).

SBN’s Granillo On The Simpsons’ Worst. Character. Inconsistency. Ever

Posted in Baseball, The World Of Entertainment at 2:50 pm by

“There have been ALF pogs and Steve Allen pogs, jazz albums, barbershop albums, Mary Worth telephones, Radioactive Man comic books, Biclops comic books, Poochie merchandise, video games like Bonestorm and Lee Carvallo’s Putting Challenge, Itchy & Scratchy animation cels, James Bond autographs, McBain posters, bootleg movies, a little boy’s soul … but no baseball cards.” Excepting Milhouse’s purchase of a 1973 Carl Yastrzemski card, have you ever noticed the mirror held up to “The Simpsons” most ardent fans, aka Comic Book Guy, doesn’t actually trade in baseball cards? This despite his establishment being called The Android’s Dungeon & Baseball Card Shop? OK, I never thought much about it, either, but SBN’s Larry Granillo is all over this one (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)

The evidence is everywhere. Sure, the store is stocked with the appropriate paraphernalia — that Isotopes pennant has been hanging on the wall for as long as I can remember — but it all feels much too staged. For example, why is there a Red Sox pennant hanging behind the counter? The Red Sox have nothing to do with Springfield, but there it hangs, just another little mask for Comic Book Guy to hide behind. Who knew the neckbeard would need a beard of his own?

And the 25-cent sleeve of cardholders that has been hanging on the wall for 24 years? Is there even one other sheet anywhere else in the store? They’re not for Magic or Pokemon cards, that’s for sure. No self-respecting collectible-card-game enthusiast would store his precious cards in such cheap plastic. No, that sleeve is camouflage, hoping to convince us that The Android’s Dungeon is a baseball-card shop. Same with the baseball on the shelf along the wall, or the various ballplayer photos and magazines that are set up occasionally. But we know the truth.

It’s time to end the charade, Jeffrey Albertson. There’s a reason we call you “Comic Book Guy” and not “Comic Book and Baseball Card Guy.” Stop living a lie. The Android’s Dungeon is no baseball-card shop and its proprietor is no baseball fan. You know it, I know it, the people of Springfield know it … and now the world knows it.


Cheer Up Samy & Amy – Randy L. Has Your Back

Posted in Baseball, Food, Free Expression, The Internet at 11:14 pm by

(Editor’s Note : from time to time, renowned baseball executive and consumer rights advocate Randy L. has used CSTB as a vehicle to address some of the more controversial issues of the day. In light of the recent firestorm surrounding Scottsdale eatery Amy’s Bakery, Randy offered, nay, DEMANDED to weigh in – GC)

I like to kid around with this blog’s dozen or so readers, but the real fact of the matter is that we’re pretty similar. Sure, I make a lot more money than any of you, and my position as brains of the operation for professional sports’ premier franchise is the sort of thing your average Jimmy John’s delivery schlub can only dream of. But I don’t spend my entire existence in some ivory tower looking down at the rest of humanity. I engage with the real world, just like you. I can’t wait to see what Shia LaBeouf does next on the big screen (perhaps a remake of “The Elephant Man”?). I’ve preordered The National’s new album. Podcasts? Not only do I listen to John Gambling‘s religiously, wait ’til you hear mine.

So as you can see, I’m a pretty modern guy. There’s probably no one in this organization more in touch with popular culture — certain not the self-obsessed John Sterling, who’d favor “West Side Story” over “Loiter Squad” (IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN). Naturally, I’ve been right on top of this whole Amy’s Bakery story since it first broke. And while I’m well aware there’s few things less fashionable or politically expedient these days than standing up for someone trying to run a successful business, I’ll be damned if I’m gonna let Samy and Amy be torn to pieces by a high-tech lynch mob.

The parasites and cowards who insult this hard working couple make me ashamed to be an American. That Yelp provides a forum for the envious, the gutless and the anonymous to publicly smear the Bouzaglos is not without irony — this is the same company, after all, that went to great lengths to silence one of the only voices capable of articulating what separates a sleazy con game from a hard fought commitment to excellence.

So my heart goes out to Samy and Amy, a pair of proud entrepreneurs unwilling to let their dream be destroyed by the sort of internet punks who’d more than likely have their heads handed to them if ever ventured into the bleachers at the New Yankee Stadium. I mean, that’s not likely to happen given that most of these scumbags would require an advance payday loan to afford a ticket, but you get my point. The Bouzaglo family business reminds of the one I used to work for….at least before it was inherited by a pair of goofballs who seem to think a handsome salary makes my wiping their assess any less undignified or unfair.

I don’t make it out to Scottsdale very often — that’s where people go to die, right? —- but I would like Samy & Amy to know that if they are ever in the New York area (my friends at Fox’s “Red Eye” think Amy has serious potential). there’s a table waiting for them at NYY Steak. Perhaps we can cut loose and swap war stories about what it’s like try to feed and entertain a bunch of uncultured boobs. But what am I gonna do? Michael Kay’s entitled to an employee discount!

Randy L.

When Clubs Need Last Minute Booking Satisfaction…

Posted in Austin, Internal Affairs, Rock Und Roll at 8:44 pm by


History’s Most Amazing eBay Auctions, Pt. XIX

Posted in History's Not Happening, Rock Und Roll, The Marketplace at 8:42 pm by

From the Lisa Carver Archives ; a Psycodrama set list from CBGB’s Record Canteen, circa December 1987. Experience Music Project, are you on this yet?

Now Stephen A. Knows How Pablo Prigioni Feels : Knicks Coach Woodson Isn’t Talking

Posted in General at 7:31 pm by

(perhaps the above photo of the gentleman on the left might jog Mike Woodson’s memory. On the right, the director of the award-winning, “Girl 6″)

The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman reports that on the afternoon after the New York Knicks fell further behind Indiana, 3 games to one in their Eastern Conference semi-finals, the former’s head coach, Mike Woodson, begged out of a scheduled appearance on ESPN 98.7.

“Mike Woodson was supposed to be coming on, ladies and gentlemen. We didn’t lie to you. The New York Knicks organization backed out,” Smith said at the beginning of Wednesday’s show. “The coach didn’t back out because Mike Woodson wouldn’t do that — no matter what he says.”

An industry source said Woodson called Smith prior to the show and told him he would not be making his scheduled appearance. The station had promoted the Woodson segment during its morning programming.

“The New York Knicks (organization) pulled him, so be it,” Smith said on the air. “I don’t need to talk to Mike Woodson today. As much as the Knicks stunk out the joint last night, what the hell is there to say?”

If you’re Chris Copeland or Pablo Prigioni, there might be plenty to say, actually. Or at least plenty to ask.

Fred White, Dead At 76

Posted in Baseball, Sports Radio at 5:46 pm by

Just a day after announcing his retirement, Fred White, veteran of 40 years announcing Kansas City Royals games on radio, has passed away from complications from melanoma.  Above, the 9th inning call from White and Denny Matthews from the 7th game of the 1985 World Series, the Royals’ only Series victory.


Salguero : Loria’s Not Merely Ruining The Marlins, He’s Killing Baseball

Posted in Baseball at 11:56 pm by

From the entirely partisan perspective of someone whose favorite baseball team is 14-22 on the 14th of May, I’ll admit there’s some small consolation in the demolition plotting of Jeffrey Loria leaving the Miami Marlins in even worse shape.  Taking a peak at the bigger picture, however, is the Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero, who accuses Loria — dubbed “the fire sale arsonist” — of doing even greater harm (“If rather than going to games or watching on TV or listening on radio, parents are teaching their kids to ignore the Marlins and baseball altogether, the damage Loria is doing to the sport won’t be contained to his team alone”).

The practice of baseball for the average fan is not conducted on a diamond but in the stands and the boxscore and the standings. And many people who have decided to ignore the Marlins because Loria has offended their sensibilities are no longer practicing at all.

some people down here probably aren’t aware that White Sox pitcher Chris Sale has won three of his past four outings and just threw a one-hitter. We’re too busy seething over a Marlins fire sale to notice Sale is on fire.

It means that perhaps the final season by the greatest reliever in major-league history is passing without our undivided attention.

The Rangers are winning without a big-time home run threat in their lineup. The Yankees are winning without four All-Stars in their lineup. The Indians are winning without a true ace on their pitching staff. (Zach McAllister? Justin Masterson? Really?)

Meanwhile, the Angels, Dodgers and Blue Jays are interesting because they promised so much and are delivering so little.

The scores of children growing up here now? If they invest in the game at all, they might just join that standing army of Yankees, Cubs and Red Sox fans.

Terry Collins To Mets Fans : You’re Not The Boss Of Me

Posted in Baseball at 8:11 pm by

(above : Mr. Asking-For-It)

Conventional wisdom has it that Mets skipper Terry Collins is the lamest of lame ducks ; saddled with a non-competitive roster and well on his way to a 3rd consecutive losing season in Flushing, only the most delusional person would believe he serves any purpose other than helping the franchise bide their time until whenever ownership can afford a pot to piss in. And with that in mind, perhaps Collins has rightly surmised he’s got nothing to lose. It’s unlikely Sandy Alderson will fire him in mid-season for anything less than ending Johan Santana’s career a second time a capital crime, and this pseudo teflon status has seemingly emboldened Collins to make OF Jordanny Valdespin an etiquette-offending scapegoat.

As you’ve no doubt read elsewhere, Collins nominated Valdespin to pinch hit Saturday with the Mets on the short end of a rout. A night prior, Valdespin interrupted Collins’ slumber during another blowout, this time, styling, profiling and bat-flipping after a meaningless solo HR, an act that must’ve deeply offended the opposition. Prior to Tuesday night’s clash with St. Louis, Collins addressed the widespread perception that he sent Valdespin into Saturday’s game to pinch hit, knowing full well his second-year player would be the target of a purpose pitch. From Metsblog’s Michael Baron :

“I don’t answer to fans. They don’t play this game. They have no idea what goes on in there. They have absolutely no idea what it means to be a professional teammate. … I don’t care what the perception is. All I know is what goes on here. I’ve been doing this for 42 years. I don’t care what anybody on the outside thinks. I know how to get it done in the clubhouse. I’ve been doing it a lot longer than a lot of people.”

Indeed you have, Terry. In 8+ years of big league management, you’ve compiled a winning percentage of .493, and you’re presently tied with me with zero career postseason appearances. Persons quick to call you a charmless, small-minded retread who wouldn’t be working if the Mets could afford another option should stand corrected. You don’t answer to the fans. Obviously, you answer to Clint Hurdle.

Alexander Ovechkin Channels His Inner Alex Jones

Posted in Hockey at 7:15 pm by

So how do we account for the Washington Capitals — serial postseason underachievers — blowing a 3-2 series lead to the NY Rangers and failing to show up for last night’s 5-0, Game 7 loss at their own rink? Some will undoubtedly hail the heroics of Ranger netminder Henrik Lundqvist, but in the view of Caps winger Alexander Ovechkin, the fix was in. From WTOP.com :

In an interview with Salva Malamud, of Russian paper Sports-Express’, Ovechkin spoke Russian when he said, “I don’t know whether the refs were predisposed against us or the league. But not to give obvious penalties, while for us any little thing was immediately penalized…”

“The refereeing … you understand it yourself. How can there be no penalties at all (on one team) during the playoffs,” Ovechkin said.

He also told the reporter: “I am not saying there was a phone call from (the league), but someone just wanted Game 7. For the ratings. You know, the lockout, escrow, the league needs to make profit.”


Shaq : Mumia Doc Is No “Steel”

Posted in Basketball, Cinema, Free Expression, politics at 10:05 pm by

Earlier this spring, The Nation’s David Zirin accused TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal of using his position as owner of a Newark, NJ multiplex to pull the plug on screenings of “Mumia : Long Distance Revolutionary”. Perhaps unaware that TNT’s studio show takes place in Atlanta, protestors set up shop at Sunday’s Spurs/Warriors game in Oakland. From Indiebay.org’s Gerald Smith :

Shaquille O’Neal has long been a wannabe cop. He says he was “raised” by the Newark Police; he’s a big supported of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and a “reserve police officer” in a number of cities; on a “ride along” in Baton Rouge police internal affairs accused him (then cleared him) of flushing a suspect’s head in a toilet. His canceling of the movie furthers a 30-year campaign by the FOP to see that Mumia dies in prison.

Mumia supporters including the documentary filmmaker Stephen Vittoria demonstrated at the Newark theater. In Oakland protesters came to the NBA playoff game from the Oakland Teachers for Mumia, the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, and the Port Workers Solidarity Committee. The slogans on the pickets signs included: “Shame on Shaq”, “Show the Movie”, and “Say It Ain’t So Shaq”, and pointed out that while NBA superstar LeBron James spoke out for Trayvon Martin when that teenager was killed by a “reserve” wannabe cop, Shaquille O’Neal instead chose to attack Mumia.

Daily News Scribe Advises Melo To Revert To Traditional Levels Of Selfishness

Posted in Basketball at 3:59 pm by

Shortly after Tyson Chandler — not an entirely passive observer — suggested a paucity of ball movement  has a role in the Knicks’  struggles with Indiana in the Eastern Conference Semis, the New York Daily News’ Mitch Lawrence took an opposing approach, declaring New York’s fate in the series rests entirely on whether or not Carmelo Anthony is willing to step up and hog the fuck out of the ball embrace his role (“Anthony didn’t shoot nearly enough in Game 3…and  and now they’re staring at a 2-1 series hole because their superstar scorer failed to do what he’s paid millions to do”).

Anthony has to know that if the Knicks are going down in this round to a good Pacers team, but nowhere near a great team, he has got to go down shooting. He didn’t lead the league in scoring and place third in the MVP balloting, his best finish in his NBA career, because he was John Stockton passing the ball or because he did a bang-up job deferring to his teammates.

Late Saturday night, when he spoke on the podium, he knew he didn’t make a basket in the fourth quarter, but didn’t realize he had only taken three shots in nine-plus minutes of action. Like all of his playoff losses that don’t ever seem to bother him, his two-point fourth quarter also didn’t seem to sting him too badly.

“Everything comes down to making shots,’’ he said, “and we didn’t do that.”

Or in his case, taking shots.


Ortiz To CHB : Fancy Seeing You Here

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 3:59 pm by

“You are from the Dominican Republic. You are an older player. Older players don’t get better. You’ve had injuries consistent with steroid use. You showed up on the list from 2003. You fit all the formulas.”  So wrote the Boston Globe’s resident shitstirrer, Dan Shaugnessy, who on Wednesday of this week, confronted Red Sox DH David Ortiz with a tone that could charitably be called accusatory (“in 2009, you didn’t hit a home run until May 20. Now this. You are Baseball Rambo. What is the difference?”) While Ortiz denied his hot start to the 2013 season was in any way chemically enhanced (along with implying his interrogator might be, y’know, a racist) , on Saturday, he mounted a subsequent defense, this time with Shaugnessy standing an open-hand slap away from the former’s locker. From WEEI.com’s Alex Speier :

“Look who it is,” Ortiz said.

He paused for a moment, then noted — loudly enough that all in the clubhouse were party to his address — that on the very day on which Shaughnessy interviewed him, he took a test for PEDs. Ortiz said he would be sure to pass along results of that test to the columnist. Ortiz became slightly more animated as he noted that he’d taken 40 tests administered by Major League Baseball.

“I’ve never tested positive,” Ortiz told the columnist, who had referenced the fact that the New York Times discovered in 2009 that the slugger had tested positive for a performance-enhancer in 2003 (at a time when a) there were no penalties for positive tests and b) test results were supposed to be anonymous).

When the report surfaced four years ago, Ortiz disputed that he had ever knowingly used PEDs, something that he mentioned anew to Shaughnessy as he walked towards the clubhouse door.

“By the way,” Ortiz said, “let me know what I tested positive for in 2003.”

Titus Young Fights The Power

Posted in Gridiron, The Law at 1:25 pm by

MLive’s Justin Rogers on the continuing police harassment of Lions WR Titus Young :

Young was apprehended around 11:30 p.m. Friday in San Clemente, Calif. after he attempted to break into a home. When officers arrived at the scene, Young attempted to flee on foot. When cornered, he tried to fight the officers.

“There was a brief struggle,” Lt. Joe Balicki of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department told the Detroit News “He wanted to fight with the deputies. They ended up subduing him.”

Young is still in custody as of Sunday, according to multiple reports. He’s being held on $75,000 bond.

On May 5, Young was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence after he was pulled over for an illegal left turn. He was arrested again, 15 hours later, for trying to steal his vehicle out of the impound lot.