03.31.14

Costello : The Former Grandyman Is Jason Bay II

Posted in Baseball at 11:24 pm by

Alright, that’s not exactly what the New York Post’s Brian Costello had to say about newly acquired Mets OF Curtis Granderson going 0-5 in Monday’s 9-7, 10 inning home opener loss to the Nationals.  Rather than say, question Bobby Parnell’s fitness (as SNY’s Ron Darling did within seconds of the Mets’ closer’s insertion into the game), Costello considers Granderson’s underwhelming Citi Field debut ample cause to raise the spectre of JASON BAY (above), warning, “it’s never too early to panic in Queens”.

Curtis Granderson did his best Jason Bay impersonation in his first game with the Mets. Granderson went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts — a very Bay-like performance.

Granderson did not offer much self-analysis after the 9-7, 10-inning loss to the Nationals, instead turning the focus to the team.

“Not good,” Granderson said when asked to assess his day. “You’ve got to go ahead and find a way to get the victory. Today we weren’t able to get that done, but that’s part of it. We still have a lot of baseball left to play. We definitely aren’t going to hang our heads by any means. We rebound back, rest up and be ready to go and even the series on Wednesday.”

Strikeouts have always been a problem with Granderson. He had the second-most in the American League with 195 in 2012, setting a Yankees record.

The memory of Bay lingers around Citi Field. He signed a similar deal to Granderson before the 2010 season, coming in at four years and $66 million. The contract was a terrible mistake, as Bay batted .234 over three seasons.

Kuiper : There’s No Accounting For Hunter Pence

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 2:56 pm by

It’s been a year since the Astros’ radio duo of Steve Sparks and Robert Ford were actively encouraged to pepper their broadcasts with references to what we’ll call advanced statistics, something the SF Chronicle’s Bruce Jenkins denounces as “an effort to steer folks away from the fact that their team is awful, losing a combined 324 games over the past three seasons.” “They are lurching earnestly into the unconventional,” sneers Jenkins, and while there’s mostly agreement from a succession of Bay Area baseball broadcasters, none are nearly as dismissive as the Giants’ Duane Kuiper :

“I don’t want to disregard it, or sound like some old guy that’s not willing to change, but if you get bombarded by enough of this stuff, you feel like taking a nap, for crying out loud. I’ve never received a letter saying Mike and I should do more of it, and it’s really tough if you don’t really believe in it.

“I especially resent the discounting of traditional numbers. Stuff like RBI, ERA, wins or losses, those things tell you something. They’re part of the fabric our fans were raised with. They are part of the players’ language. And there are certain things numbers can’t really describe, like Hunter Pence (laughter).

“Just because agents and general managers use analytics, that doesn’t mean I have to. If Vin Scully starts to use it, then I’ll have to think twice. (Pause.) What team did you say is putting this stuff on the air? Houston? Well, I don’t think you have to say any more, do you?”

Finally, Glamour Has Returned To The Sporting Calendar

Posted in Baseball at 11:48 am by

Happy Opening Day to all of CSTB’s (12) readers. Especially those who are fully capable of beating off to Don Mossi pics without my assistance.

03.30.14

CSTB’s First MLS Related Post Of 2014 Sadly Doubles As An Oderus Urungus Tribute

Posted in Football at 6:33 pm by

I’ve not followed the ins and outs of Major League Soccer clearly enough the last several years to say with any authority whether the Saturday’s banner — paying tribute to the late Dave Brockie of GWAR — is a (classy) aberration on the part of DC United supporters or it’s the sort of thing they display on a regular basis. Either, extra points for the impalement of a San Jose player.

WaPo Columnist To Hungry Student-Athletes : Think Of The Free Tube Socks

Posted in Basketball, College Spurts at 4:24 pm by

Taking a rather dim view of the National Labor Relations Board ruling deeming Northwestern University football players employees with the right to unionize, the Washington Post’s Sally Jenkins sneers, “If Kain Colter is an exploited laborer, then is a female tennis player at Stanford an exploited laborer, too? Is a lacrosse player at Virginia an exploited laborer? Is a rower at Harvard?” Fascinating question — how much in TV rights fees and corporate sponsorship money has been generated by the NCAA Rowing Final Four?

Colter and his peers aren’t laborers due compensation; they are highly privileged scholarship winners who get a lot of valuable stuff for free. This includes first-rate training in the habits of high achievement, cool gear, unlimited academic tutoring for gratis and world-class medical care that no one else has access to. All of which was put into perspective by Michigan State basketball Coach Tom Izzo when he was asked about the ruling at the NCAA tournament East Region semifinals in New York.

“I think sometimes we take rights to a whole new level,” Izzo (above) said. “ .?.?. I think there’s a process in rights. And you earn that. We always try to speed the process up. I said to my guys, ‘There’s a reason you have to be 35 to be president.’ That’s the way I look at it.”

Izzo got at something that no one other commentator has: College athletes enroll at their institutions to mature. Whatever their end goals, pro aspirations or workloads, they are no different from any other students in that respect. They are there to develop emotionally, intellectually and physically, and that’s all a school owes them, no matter how much revenue is generated by Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M.

Correction, that’s all a school used to owe them. Izzo isn’t earning $3.4 million annually (far more than his university president or any MSU professor) because he’s a wonderful educator, it’s because college basketball is a massive money-spinner, one that cannot exist without players (in this case, a woefully under-compensated workforce).

03.29.14

If Miguel Cabrera Hasn’t Supplanted Kid Rock As The Most Overpaid Man In Michigan, Wait A Few Years

Posted in Baseball at 8:29 pm by

In stark contrast to most reactions to the 6-year, $144.5 million extension just signed by Angels OF Mike Trout, 23, Baseball Musings’ David Pinto says of 1B Miguel Cabrera’s 10-year, $300 million pact with Detroit, “given that Miguel is at the age where decline usually sets in, they probably won’t get their money’s worth.” Even more skeptical is Fangraph’s Dave Cameron who opines, “if the Tigers really wanted to throw this kind of money around, they simply could have done better than signing up for Cabrera’s entire decline phase.”


The Tigers already controlled Cabrera’s rights for the next two seasons, and were completely within their rights to tell him that they were going to hold off on talking about a new deal until next winter. This isn’t a young player with breakout potential whose cost could dramatically increase as he gets closer to free agency. In reality, Cabrera’s value can only really go down, given that even he likely can’t put up another 192 wRC+ season. The Tigers already paid for the rights to his 2014 and 2015 seasons, and while Cabrera might have wanted a long term commitment, they didn’t have to give him one now.

As good as Miguel Cabrera is now, the history of big heavy guys in their mid-to-late 30s is almost universally awful. Guys the size of Miguel Cabrera just don’t age well, as their bodies begin to betray them and they spend significant periods of time on the disabled list. We may already be seeing the beginnings of Cabrera’s physical decline, and his September performance was a reminder of how human a superstar can be at less than 100%.

I understand why the Tigers wanted to keep Miguel Cabrera around for the rest of his career. He’s going to go into the Hall of Fame as a Tiger, and he’ll be remembered as one of the greatest players to ever wear the Detroit uniform. It’s hard to let those guys leave. The Cardinals are pretty happy they let Albert Pujols go, though, and in a few years, the Tigers will wish they had let Cabrera go too.

03.28.14

“We Have Plenty Of Exposure Already, And Most Of It’s Pretty Negative”

Posted in History's Not Happening, Rock Und Roll at 7:05 pm by

In Which the Late Bard Of Hooksett NH Contends With The Vagaries Of The DIY Booking Circuit

 

Dino Costa Has Found A New (Gullible) Hype Man

Posted in Sports Radio at 6:18 pm by

(Dino Costa, right, tells Jane Lynch, “y’know, from a certain angle you sort of look like Cameron Diaz”)

Up until very recently, I’d thought Dino Costa’s publicity duties were being handled by an Islamophobe coupon-shopper columnist from the Inland Empire, but it seems the Yonkers Cowboy has found someone else willing to work very cheap.

Enter Forbes’ Tom Van Riper who optimistically hails Dino Costa’s “anti-PC bluntness”. Yes, that’s one way to describe a guy who thinks the Boston Marathon bombings didn’t happen, calls the President of the United States “that thing” and has on multiple occasions, suggested straights concerned with the civil rights of gays are either closet cases or total phonies. That all of the above had less to do with Dino being canned at Sirius/XM than his constant on-air baiting of management and colleagues (with the former ultimately deciding dead air was a more attractive proposition than Costa’s program) isn’t the greatest testament to the satellite broadcaster’s quality control, but it’s equally hard to fathom how the Forbes contributor can be impressed with Dino’s dubious new business model (a $72 a year, subscriber-only podcast/web portal). Van Riper, who conveniently neglects to mention a) this isn’t Costa’s first attempt at a web radio venture, b) recent published claims that Costa hired a fan/acolyte to develop the web scheme, then stiffed him on a $1000 kill fee after a full time job failed to materialize, or c) the fates of two individuals who recently uprooted their families for gainful employment under Costa in Las Vegas, only to learn upon arrival the gigs had gone up in smoke, does reveals 2 New Jersey fans have invested a quarter million in the mooted Costa podcast.  You ought to consider that a staggering sum given Van Riper is not even able to provide a link for potential subscribers (unless that site was shut down, too)

Costa’s bet: that he’ll grab listeners who agree with his thoughts on hot subjects like gay athletes coming out (he doesn’t celebrate it), and the Washington Redskins (he doesn’t want a name change). Those positions put him at odds with the mainstream sporting press, which, he figures, is precisely his advantage. Costa wants to be seen as the guy who has the guts to say what others are thinking but afraid to articulate for fear of being shouted down by the sensitivity police.

“Sports media is done left-of-center, almost exclusively,” he says. As for advertisers, Costa already assumes he won’t be doing business with Procter & Gamble He’s seeking out smaller businesses that would fit his demographic – coffee, craft beer and cigars, among others. He’s also looking into potential deals to link his content into like-minded websites like the Drudge Report and the Daily Caller.

With social issues making their way into sports coverage more and more, it’s conceivable that a hybrid of sports talk and conservative talk – both independently popular – could work. Costa knows he may not get an audience of millions. But as a low-cost niche player, he doesn’t have to. For what it’s worth, his 10,400 twitter followers are only 1,800 less than the Mad Dog Sports Radio total.

(The twitter follower figure cited by Van Riper, by the way, is nearly a quarter the size of Costa’s prior total while employed at Sirius, though in fairness to Dino, an audit of the current number reveals only about 20% of the current number of followers are phony, which is a far smaller percentage than he’s used to. But it’s a curious thing to bring up under any circumstances — who in their right mind invests $250K in a web venture that’s only form of promotion is a protected twitter account?)

Van Riper likens Dino to “Rush Limbaugh meets Dan Patrick”. Certainly, this is a huge bummer for Dan Patrick, but I will grant it’s a less compelling sales pitch for Costa’s target demo (Archie Flunkers who think disconnection notices are part of a government plot to hold down White America) than say, “Alex Jones meets Fonzie”.

03.27.14

Roy Keane Catches An Earful From Stephen Ireland’s Grandma (Don’t Worry, This One’s Alive)

Posted in Football at 6:58 pm by

Who amongst us doesn’t recall midfielder Stephen Ireland begging his way out of international friendlies some 7 years ago, citing the deaths of multiple grandmothers? Perhaps you have no idea what I’m talking about, but Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane is all too aware, having been contacted by yet another granny insisting that Ireland be inserted into the squad. From the Guardian :

“I spoke with the grandmother this morning – she was on the flight coming over – and she asked me would he get back involved,” Keane told a question-and-answer session at University College Cork. “I couldn’t lie to her. I said he’d have a chance if he’s playing well.”

Keane said he thought Ireland had already spoken to the coach Martin O’Neill. “I think Martin had a conversation with him, and all that needs to fall into place.

“We all know how talented Stephen is and Martin will look at that. We wouldn’t be shutting the door on any player. What is important for any player, and Stephen is the same, is it does help to be playing week-in week-out.

“He’s obviously had a difficult spell. He’s only just got a run of games at Stoke now. So I certainly wouldn’t be ruling anyone out.”

03.26.14

Steve Masiello : Not As Big A Resume-Padder As George O’Leary (But A Little Too Close For Comfort)

Posted in Basketball, College Spurts at 10:37 pm by

Manhattan College head coach/Rick Pitino protege Steve Masiello (above) has seen a move to the University Of South Florida go up in smoke after a rather glaring discrepancy on his resume was uncovered. The Tampa Tribune’s Joey Johnson reports USF will probably target UMass’ Derek Kellogg and Louisiana Tech’s Mike White, both of whom presumably hold bachelor’s degrees.

The UK Office of Public Relations confirmed to The Tampa Tribune that Masiello was a student there from 1996 to 2000. He was a walk-on basketball player for Coach Rick Pitino in his first year, then Coach Tubby Smith for his final three seasons. According to UK records, Masiello never received a degree.

In Masiello’s official biography with Manhattan College, he is described as “a 2000 graduate of the University of Kentucky with a degree in communications.”

According to a source close to USF’s coaching search, Bulls athletic director Mark Harlan had reached an agreement Tuesday on a five-year contract with Masiello, who would be paid more than $1 million per season. The document was signed, but it was contingent on the verification of his résumé.

Eastman & Beaudine, a Texas-based search firm that was paid $60,000 by USF to find men’s basketball coaching candidates, was completing its routine criminal and background check when the résumé discrepancy was found.