08.31.13

Bryce Harper : Ready To Play Out The String Like A Seasoned Veteran

Posted in Baseball at 5:31 pm by

Full credit to Nationals OF Bryce Harper, who proved during Friday’s 3-2 loss to the Mets that even during a down year, he’s fully capable of going head-to-head with Yasiel Puig when it comes to disrespecting-the-game hysteria. As CSN Washington’s Mark Zuckerman explains, Harper letting Scott Rice off the hook last night didn’t escape the notice of of bench coach Randy Knorr.

“The thing about Bryce right now that’s tough: He gets frustrated,” said Knorr, who had to take over for an ill Davey Johnson mid-game. “I don’t think he does it intentionally, but he’s gonna have to start picking it up a little bit, because we’ve got everybody else doing it. He gets frustrated at times and it just comes out of him. It’s something we’ve got to fix.”

Harper found himself at the plate for the biggest at-bat of the night, with two on and two out in the eighth, the Nationals trailing by a run. Mets manager Terry Collins countered with reliever Scott Rice, banking on Harper’s well-documented struggles this season to hit lefties. Rice, though, fired three straight fastballs low and inside to fall behind in the count 3-0.

With the NL’s hottest hitter, Jayson Werth, standing in the on-deck circle, a walk felt like the ideal outcome for Harper. Knorr, though, gave his 20-year-old slugger the green light, and Harper responded by fouling off a 3-0 fastball on the lower inside corner.

Harper then swung at Rice’s 3-1 fastball and rapped a sharp grounder right to second baseman Daniel Murphy. The crowd of 35,008 let out a groan, and Harper slowed down a couple of steps out of the batter’s box, assuming the inning was about to end.

But Murphy bobbled the ball, and though he recovered in plenty of time to make the throw to first, Harper’s lack of hustle in that situation still didn’t sit well with others.

Who’s The Money Grabber Now? Pete Prisco Just Got Pancaked By Olbermann

Posted in Gridiron, Medical Science, Sports TV at 12:37 pm by

There’s a fellow on the satellite radio — I’m having trouble remembering his name, I think it rhymes with “Screamo” — who routinely suggests “player-safety” is some sort of code for the sissification of the once-glorious NFL, and attempts to litigate over alleged brain damage amount to little more than a carefully orchestrated shakedown.

Never mind that the gentleman in question makes a living (albeit a modest one) commenting on and chronicling the exploits of more impressive physical specimens than himself. Ironically, this is same chat show host who claims he’s never seen dude-on-dude pornography. And why would he? For one thing, it’s way less exploitative than professional or collegiate football. For another, he’s not being paid to whack off over it.

Oh, and then there’s Pete Prisco. Lucky for him, he’s no longer an NFL beat reporter, otherwise he might have to explain to the human beings he covers that at the end of the day, he considers them to be little more than male hustlers or cannon fodder.

08.30.13

You Might Wanna Sit Down For This : Something Happened That Reflects Well On SI’s Peter King

Posted in Gridiron, Racism Corner, Sports Journalism at 10:55 pm by

While Washington owner Daniel Snyder has insisted his club will “never” abandon the Redskins name, the chorus of those who find the moniker thoroughly unacceptable continues to increase in volume.  Shutdown Corner’s Jay Busbee writes that Sports Illustrated’s Peter King-helmed Monday Morning Quarterback site shall in the future, refer to the franchise as, “Washington’s football team”.  Or something like that.

Slate made news a few weeks ago by noting that it wouldn’t refer to the Redskins by name. But that’s a different media outlet, one with little reason to cover an NFL team. MMQB isn’t in the belly of the beast, it IS the beast, part of the media machine that keeps the NFL atop the sports news cycle every minute of every hour of every day. If a site with the imprimatur of King, one of the most established voices in the NFL, can make this change, it sends a definitive signal to the team, the league and to fans: it’s time to take a hard look at this name.

Regardless of what team owner Daniel Snyder and a vocal group of pro-Redskins-name fans hope, wish or believe, the name issue’s coming to a head. Somebody sometime soon is going to ask Robert Griffin III, point-blank, if he supports the use of the name “Redskins.” And the way he answers will determine the shape of this story for the immediate future. If he thinks the name should go, it’ll eventually go. And if he thinks it should stay? Then Snyder has all the court-of-public-opinion weight he needs to fend off any critics.

How Many Bottles Of Wine Before Tom Seaver Permanently Morphs Into Rob Dibble?

Posted in Baseball at 5:40 pm by

Summoned from his Calistoga, CA vineyard for a comment on Matt Harvey’s season-ending injury, Hall of Famer Tom Seaver tells the New York Daily News’ Bill Madden, “all this babying of pitchers — pitch counts and innings limits — is a bunch of nonsense.” Citing the lengthy careers of such innings-eaters as Juan Marichal, Ferguson Jenkins, Warren Spahn and Steve Carlton, Seaver promises, “most of these pitchers today would like to realize their full potential and pitch more.” If nothing else, that’s great news for Daisuke Matsuzaka.

“These kids today, they want to be men, they want to be foxhole guys, but they’re not being allowed to do that,” Seaver said. “Imagine if these computer geeks who are running baseball now were allowed to run a war? They’d be telling our soldiers: ‘That’s enough. You’ve fired too many bullets from your rifle this week!’ ”

The old “Franchise” was really getting worked up now as he spoke by phone. He acknowledged that in Harvey’s case, the Mets didn’t go overboard in the babying and did let him be “the man” this year, going deep into games. (“They did all the right things with him. It’s nobody’s fault this happened. It just did.”) But he hopes this will not scare the Mets into putting more stringent innings limits on their other top pitching prospects, Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero.

“There is no set numerical value you can put on a pitcher,” Seaver said. “They’re all different. What’s important is to get into the pitcher’s head, to know what he’s made of.”

Booker Opponent / Christie Crony Compares, Contrasts Fetishes

Posted in politics at 11:53 am by

Though the chances Steve Lonegan being elected for any office higher than dog catcher are pretty slim, his career prospects aren’t necessarily limited. For instance, he seems fully qualified to host midweek evenings on Sirius/XM’s Mad Dog Radio.

Bad News For FAU’s Softball Program – Scoop Jackson Will Not Be Covering Future Games

Posted in Sports Journalism at 12:17 am by

Nearly 8 years ago, Jason Whitlock publicly called ESPN.com columnist Scoop Jackson, “a clown”, adding, “the publishing of his fake ghetto posturing is an insult to black intelligence, and it interferes with intelligent discussion of important racial issues,” for good measure.   Fast foward to the present day (well, yesterday), and Jackson just happens to have chosen the week of Whitlock’s return to ESPN to announce that he’ll no longer be covering any Florida sporting events in the wake of George Zimmerman’s acquittal on murder charges.

Here’s the hopelessness in all of this: It means something but will accomplish nothing. My little divestment from all things Florida sports won’t change anything or have any significant ripple effect on the world of sports. There will be no mass following; more will disagree with me than agree.

I’m not from Florida so my investment isn’t high, and this isn’t South Africa in the apartheid era, so my actions aren’t clear. Yet, I’m the same person who refuses to watch the Masters until they change their policy toward women members (to me, the additions so far are tokens), who took a stand that I still hold today against Notre Dame over the difference in treatment it executed in the departures of Ty Willingham and Charlie Weis, who in 2007 stopped filling out NCAA brackets because I feel they are counterintuitive to the essence of March Madness. Why change now?

This is my Yasiel Puig swing at taking a stance while using sports as the scapegoat. As a sportswriter and fan, sometimes that’s all we have.

Indeed, Jackson isn’t based in Florida. He’s done a good deal of work for in recent years for ESPN Chicago, but he’s yet to be called upon to analyze the Florida Panthers’ offseason. In the view of an actual Florida journalist, New Times’ Kyle Munzenrieder, Jackson’s not being entirely constructive in this instance :

There are simpler and more direct ways to feel like you’ve done something if you disagree with Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, like, say, donating a little bit of money to a Florida-focused gun control PAC, or finding a vulnerable incumbent Florida legislator who supports the law and ponying up $10 to his or her’s strongest competitor.

Jackson’s stance likely comes because he’s a sports columnist who wouldn’t normally get to write about issues outside of sports, so he’s found a dramatic way to let his feelings be known about the Zimmerman verdict in a way that includes sports.

08.29.13

Rolling Stone’s Hernandez Scheme : Lean On The No. 1 Belichick Hater…

Posted in Gridiron, Sports Journalism, The Law at 3:20 pm by

….besides the guy whose wife was limo’d to the Bon Jovi concert.  Rolling Stone’s angel dusty profile of embattled former Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez (“The Gangster In The Huddle”, was co-authored by notorious plagiarist / serial Belichick-baiter Ron Borges of the Boston Herald, and as you might expect, the Hooded Casanova fared poorly in the article. While admitting that “much of the feature is outstanding,” Boston Sports Media’s Bruce Allen considers the contributions of Borges and collaborator Paul Solotaroff easy to identify (“You can tell precisely where Borges’ takes over the narrative (the stoop-to-conquer Patriots of Bill Belichick) and when he gives it up. It’s not a smooth transition at all”).

By adding Borges to the story, someone with an axe to grind against the franchise, and who left the Boston Globe under a cloud (shouldn’t that have been a RED FLAG?) undermines the effectiveness of the feature.

Question: What does the Boston Herald think about this? How could they not even get an exclusive excerpt out of the fact that their writer was working on this? How can they not be pissed?

 

The Most Crucial Sporting Event In Austin This Weekend Will Not Be Taking Place At DKR

Posted in Austin, Professional Wrestling at 1:50 pm by

Inspire Pro Wrestling, the new Central Texas independent promotion profiled here earlier this summer, presents their 2nd-ever card this Sunday night at the gorgeous, newly-booze licensed Marquesa Theater.  Tickets are a mere $10, parking is free, and after an almost universally acclaimed debut show in July, you’d be a fool to miss the followup.  I’m not gonna say your mother raised a fool because I’ve no experience in child-raising and besides, maybe it wasn’t totally her fault. Sooner or later, you’re gonna have to start taking ownership of your own shitty decisions.

08.28.13

Brandon Phillips : 2nd In The Batting Order, 3rd In The NL In RBI’s, First In Cases Of Internet Rabbit Ears

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 10:47 pm by

Dusty Baker moved 2B Brandon Phillips out of the Reds’ cleanup spot to 2nd in the batting order Wednesday, a decision one Cincy scribe summed up thusly on Twitter ; “Reds go from a hitter with a .320 OBP in the 2 hole to one with a .310 OBP.”  Phillips had a pair of hits and scored two runs in the Reds’ 10-0 rout of St. Louis, but not before responding to the aforementioned (mild) critique :

Brandon Phillips Goes off on Reporter from 101ESPN on Vimeo.

Of Phillips’ treatment of C. Trent Rosecrans, the latter’s employer promised, “this will not affect our coverage of the team or Phillips,” which is their mature way of saying, “hey, we’re not the NY Daily News”

Q : What Do Federal Prisons And The Newspaper Business Have In Common?

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron, The Law at 6:33 pm by

A: Neither can afford copy editors.  At least that’s the conclusion one can come to after reading the following letter to the Miami Herald’s Greg Cote, penned by convicted Ponzi schemer / former University Of Miami mega-booster Nevin Shapiro (above), aka inmate #61311-050 at Atlanta’s U.S. Penitentiary. “I know some of you object (strongly) to my giving Shapiro this forum, but I simply offer a glimpse into his mind,” explains Cote, no doubt grateful he’s not paying Nevin by the word.

Greg,

This is Nevin Shapiro. Although you have dogged the s— out of me for 24 months and 9 days to be exact as of the writing of this letter, I still feel as if I need to make you aware and educate you on the reality and truth behind your commentary regarding UM and this fraudulent operation known as the NCAA. I am mailing you an article from this past week’s USA Today which discusses the USC probationary status for a parallel comparison. You can choose to not read it, as this is your right, but I recommend that you do for the mere fact of being fair to your loyal readers and giving them reality as opposed to fantasy. Let’s be clear and I’ll be respectful yet direct in this letter, which will lay out facts not hypotheses to you. USC got four years probation for what amounted to 2 individuals, Reggie Bush and O.J. Mayo. That is two players, and that investigation took approximately four years. Here is the math and it comes with an explanation. The University of Miami had 114 players involved, 72 of which were confirmed because of what the NCAA thought was used in the initial Yahoo Sports story, and the reason it wasn’t 114 and “only” 72 I have no idea. That amount didn’t even include walk-ons or maybe they just weren’t scholarship players. There were 6 coaches involved,the entire equipment staff and 3 University Administrators and specifically 2 Athletic Directors, though they weren’t completely guilty, just ignorant by selective amnesia. OK, so let’s do the math: 2 players = four years of investigation and 4 years of probation. So what does 125 or so coaches, players and administrators deserve penalty-wise and how long should this have taken? Let’s be realistic and practical. Forget my current criminal position and here are the reasons why. For one, nobody and I mean nobody outside of my internal camp realize or know yet what happened in my case, as I was victimized with my lender’s money. That will come out shortly once my “guilty plea” is withdrawn. That is another matter for another time and will come to light eventually. Here is the second reason: 9 years worth of bank statements (cash & check deposits), credit card statements, deposed Federal Testimonies and FBI written interviews were presented as evidence. So, in fact, it wasn’t my word, it was the documented evidence that subordinated this investigation. So how can you sell to your readers that this is ridiculous and taken too long? Maybe the NCAA is a sad oufit, I don’t disagree. But this was also the worst case of violation of rules with no “institutional control” that has ever taken place, SMU included, though in a different era. Read the rest of this entry »