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.
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?”
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.
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.
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).
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.
In Which the Late Bard Of Hooksett NH Contends With The Vagaries Of The DIY Booking Circuit
(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”.
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.”
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.
Dodgers OF Yasiel Puig had a poor September, followed by reporting to camp overweight and looking lost at the plate (until Saturday’s defeat of Arizona in Sydney, a game that actually counted). You might think Puig’s nearly as washed up as Derek Jeter from the nearly hysterical tone adopted by the LA Times’ Bill Plaschke (above), who all but accuses Dodgers management of ordering manager Don Mattingly to take it easy on the young
One of the reasons Mattingly commands so much respect in the clubhouse and the community is that he’s so real. But in talking about Puig, he almost sounded rehearsed, and one wonders if he was asked to chill out by the highest levels of the Dodgers front office — a place that uses Puig’s signing as a point of pride and continually protects and empowers him.
A member of that front office said Tuesday it would be outrageously wrong to report that any official has ever attempted to influence Mattingly’s comments. But, given the marketing department’s huge investment in promoting Puig, the wonder persists.
Nobody on the Dodgers has ever really told Puig no. That’s what created this problem, and that’s what could turn it into a season-threatening clubhouse distraction if it’s not fixed.
Mattingly has a chance to fix it. He has the job security to do it. He has the potential outfield surplus to do it. He clearly has the stomach to do it.
Here’s hoping Mattingly feels the freedom to do it. For the Dodgers to work, Mattingly needs to be able to bench Puig without apology, hold him accountable without clarification, and run a professional dugout that accepts no excuses.
Now that the NFL has banned touchdown celebrations that feature dunking over the goalposts, when might Roger Goodell take action against players breaking the NBA’s dress code? While you’re considering whether any editor on the planet would’ve allowed me to get away with that one, SBN’s Spencer Hall declares, “calling the NFL ‘They’ at this point seems wrong.” (“Let’s call the NFL an “it,” an impersonal, monstrous thing that stands somewhere categorically weird: part full-time law firm, part branding consortium, part etiquette council, and part massively gifted real estate scam.”)
Sometimes they play the distraction of football, and now you understand why you can’t dunk a ball over the goalpost anymore. When you become something so inhuman as what the NFL is at its godlike size, the slightest trace of human excitement registers as an error, and must be eliminated immediately. In the end, Dr. Manhattan became so powerful he didn’t need Earth anymore. When the godlike corporation of the NFL figures out a way to eliminate humans entirely from their equation, it won’t either.
WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford reports Major League Baseball plans to limit walk-up music for hitters to a mere 15 seconds, which puts a slight dent in Red Sox OF Shane Victorino’s chosen tune, Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds”. Victorino, who to my knowledge has yet to protest MLB’s new instant replay policies or edicts banning home plate collisions, tells Bradford said decision will RUIN BASEBALL AS WE KNOW IT.
OK, that’s exactly not what he said, But Shane’s still a little too wrapped up in this Marley song.
“I just think it’??s not right,” Victorino said. “??It’s disappointing to hear that. I look at it this way: There was a stat of going into the box between pitch, I think mine was like six seconds, which was one of the top five fastest. So they ask me, ‘Why are you like that?’ I told them I wanted to get in the box and go. So this little stuff they want to change with music, for a guy like me of course it sucks because it’s not necessarily for me but it’s part of everything that goes on at Fenway Park when I walk up to the plate. Now you’re going to have so many disappointed fans every night because you’re changing that part of the game.
“??I just feel like it shouldn’t be a designated time, Some guys take their time. Some guys that’s their rhythm. I don’t want to do just because I want to listen to the whole song. It’s because it’s the thing that’s been picked up and the way it happened toward the end of the season. That’s the only reason I let that part of the song go. If not, I don’??t pay attention to that.”
With the new 15-second rule, Victorino’s walk-up music will barely get into the best known part of what had been about a 20-second clip. “Don’??t worry” will creep in under the allotted time, but the lyrics, ‘??’?about a thing. Because every little thing gonna be all right” will not make the cut. (The “Because every little thing gonna be all right” often is echoed by the fans without music.)
Washington owner Daniel Snyder claims he and his staff have visited 26 Indian reservations to gauge opinions regarding his team’s continue use of the Redskins nickname, and on Tuesday, Synder plans to announce the formation of “the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation”, which is essentially his way of saying America’s indigenous peoples have bigger problems than his gross insensitivity (“I believe the Washington Redskins community should commit to making a real, lasting, positive impact on Native American quality of life—one tribe and one person at a time,”) From the Washington Post’s Mike Jones :
“The more I heard, the more I’ve learned, and the more I saw, the more resolved I became about helping to address the challenges that plague the Native American community,” Snyder wrote. “In speaking face-to-face with Native American leaders and community members, it’s plain to see they need action, not words.”
Snyder’s announcement drew criticism from the Oneida Indian Nation, a New York tribe that has emerged as one of the most vocal opponents to the name. In a statement released late Monday, tribal representative Ray Halbritter reiterated the Oneidas’ hope that Snyder will change the name.
“We are glad that after more than a decade of owning the Washington team, Mr. Snyder is finally interested in Native American heritage, and we are hopeful that when his team finally stands on the right side of history and changes its name, he will honor the commitment to Native Americans that he is making today,” Halbritter’s statement read. ”We are also hopeful that in his new initiative to honor Native Americans’ struggle, Mr. Snyder makes sure people do not forget that he and his predecessor, George Preston Marshall, a famous segregationist, have made our people’s lives so much more difficult by using a racial slur as Washington’s team’s name.”
Snyder said in the letter that the Redskins have already donated more than 3,000 coats to several tribes, as well as shoes to boys’ and girls’ basketball teams on reservations, and that the franchise helped purchase a backhoe for the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska.
Oakland’s O.co Coliseum gets plenty of grief — the park was a fixture on early episodes of “Olbermann” for their chronic plumbing problems — but I’ve rarely had a bad time watching a baseball game there. At least part of that is down to good seats (tens of thousands of them) being available for face value by the time of first pitch, but the massive amount of foul territory aside, I think it’s a perfectly acceptable venue. The SF Chronicle’s Scott Ostler, mindful the club won’t be moving to San Jose anytime soon, addresses the foul territory issue, noting that someone else has already proposed doing something about it.
Supposedly, when the Haas family owned the A’s, they considered moving home plate back but junked the plan because fans in the third deck would lose their view of the plate. That deck is now tarped, except for a middle slice of that top-deck pie. To make up for losing those seats, the A’s could put up 10 rows of bleacher seats behind the new outfield fence.
A’s owners say they won’t spend tons of money improving a ballpark they’re trying to flee. However, if they get a new lease, the owners have pledged to spend $10 million on improvements, including an LED ribbon banner.
Ribbon banner? Fans, would you rather have better seats and a cooler, close-up game experience or be assaulted with flashing neon advertising?
The cost of moving the field? A pittance. Foul poles would be relocated and a few field-level seats rearranged. The dugouts should be moved closer to the field. All simple Home Depot projects.
After Portland suffered a 30 point home loss to Charlotte Saturday, SG Wesley Matthews chocked his team’s embarrassing effort up to “they’re a playoff team and they’re all NBA players. We didn’t play well. They played great.” His reply to a followup question, as transcribed by the Oregonian’s Joe Freeman, was a tad more contentious, however.
When a reporter told Matthews he wasn’t sure if it was more appropriate to kill the Blazers for their general ineptitude or dismiss the hideous performance as just one of those nights in a grinding 82-game season, Matthews looked at him sideways and issued a challenge.
“If you kill us, you’re going to look dumb come next game,” he said. “Because we’re going to be a whole new team, we’re going to be the team we’re supposed to be. So you go ahead and kill us. And you’re going to have to come back and see us in the locker room and be like, ‘Aw shoot.’ So I’m just going to save you. Write that. Write it all.”
Portland’s next game happens to be in Miami Monday night against the defending champs, who at the moment, need no assistance from the Fourth Estate in killing themselves.
“Some of those (old) arguments would go on for three, four, five minutes, and you were never going to get it changed…so what the hell were you doing it for?” That’s Tony La Russa’s response to those who fear baseball’s new instant reply protocols will reduce the number of dirt-kicking, motherfucker-dropping manager vs. umpire spats following disputed calls. While former ump Doug Harvey takes an opposing view (“I hate it…that’s part of the game. That’s getting the fans into it…now you’re taking it away and saying, ‘ok, we’ll check with the replay. That’s not baseball”), the San Jose Mercury News’ Daniel Brown consulted, well, a statistician.
Gil Imber, an expert on umpire-manager relations, predicts that overall ejections will be down in 2014, but only by about 25 to 35 percent. Imber is the owner and commissioner of the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League, which tracks and analyzes umpire behavior.
Imber reported that of the 180 total ejections last season, 83 were for arguing balls and strikes, 11 were for fighting, 14 were for pitchers intentionally throwing at a batter, eight for issues of interference and obstruction, three for disputing issued warnings, two from balks, one from an unacknowledged timeout request and eight for unclassified unsporting actions. “In other words,” Imber wrote, “72 percent of the ejections concerned issues, plays or calls that will not be reviewable under the expanded instant replay system.”
Managers, of course, view their half of the argument as an art, too. When Billy Martin went berserk, for example, players knew their manager was actually digging below the surface.
“The reason why he did it was the intimidation factor,” recalled Shooty Babitt, an infielder who played for Martin with the 1981 Oakland A’s. “These guys (like Martin and Earl Weaver) weren’t out there to get that specific play changed. It was more about hoping that the next play would get called in his favor.”
I don’t know what’s more disappointing, that Marcus Vick is surprised that living down the mass murder of man’s-best-friend isn’t so easily accomplished….or that he lacked the presence of mind to tweet, “ok, but at least he’s not Mark Sanchez.”
(above : never should’ve gone electric)
If Consequence Of Sound really believes the Smashing Pumpkins or Weezer have done more damage to their respective legacies then the Rolling Stones or
Glenn Danzig Rod Stewart, fair enough, they’re allowed to be wrong in public like anyone else. But this is really the most undeserved, backhanded compliment of all-time — if you’ve sucked from start to finish, there’s absolutely no legacy to worry about. It’s akin to wondering out loud why Better Than Ezra never fulfilled their promise, or trying to determine where it all went wrong for EMF.
(pic swiped from the Atlantic Yards Report)
While Forest City Ratner has yet to deliver affordable housing the immediate area surrounding Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, they did manage to build what is surely the only open-to-the-public meditation room in an NBA arena. Though the New York Times’ Andrew Keh claims the room has few, if any visitors, he credits it’s existential existence to the Reverend Herbert Daugherty, “a Brooklyn pastor who has long been one of Atlantic Yards’ most ardent supporters.”
“Life is more than stone and steel and stuff,” said Mr. Daughtry, who heads the House of the Lord Pentecostal Church. “It’s about values, decency, fairness, trying to teach people that there’s more to life than materialism.”
Mr. Daughtry’s opponents argue that he has been co-opted by Forest City, and they point to the group he founded, the Downtown Brooklyn Neighborhood Alliance, which was seeded with $50,000 from the developer. Mr. Daughtry’s family members oversee other programs that the developer funds to benefit the community. One of Mr. Daughtry’s daughters is in charge of distributing dozens of free tickets for each Nets game. Another daughter will run the arena’s community events program. His wife picked out the meditation room’s furnishings.
Mr. Daughtry said he was used to being criticized as “a sellout,” but he has taken a pragmatic approach. “Can you imagine all this is happening three or four blocks from my church, and all I had done was criticize from the side?” he said. “And my members and children are asking: ‘Can we get tickets? What happened? Why aren’t you involved?’ ”
A fan wearing a Nets shirt said he had seen a sign on the concourse for the meditation room but had never bothered to see what it was. The fan, who gave his name only as Sayani, said he did not think he ever would.
“The only time I would have used it was the game we blew to Toronto, when Deron Williams made that stupid pass into the backcourt,” said the fan, a manager at a nearby P. C. Richard & Son store. “Then I would have needed to meditate.”
Calling President Barack Obama’s now annual appearances on “SportsCenter” to fill out an NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament bracket, “shallow, populist, pandering”, the New York Post’s Phil Mushnick (who also, we should stress sometimes criticizes public figures who are white, too) is saddened that top flight college hoops’ sleazy side, “doesn’t seem to bother (Obama) a bit.”
Our President is one of those sports fans — a yahoo — who doesn’t appear the least bit concerned Division I basketball and football now seem to have a better chance to temporarily house and feed young criminals than to produce educated young men prepared to move up and beyond.
Consider that nearly every NFL and NBA player arrested — and that stack grows weekly — has one other thing in common: They’re college men.
To think what a few, stern words from the President on this — something to indicate that he knows the score — might do. Instead, he picked Michigan State to win the tournament.
Ah, yes, the Spartans. The star guard on Michigan State’s 1986 team, senior Scott Skiles, at the NCAA Tournament’s conclusion, reentered jail to serve 30 days for a parole violation. Until then, he had remained eligible to play.
Skiles could have done his 30 days during the basketball season, but that was out of the question. He could have served his time at the conclusion of the academic semester. Forget that, too. When basketball ended, he chose jail. Student-athletic priorities.
And in 2014, even the President of the United States is in on it. Again.
Fascinating analysis from Phil, who might be the first columnist with the courage to point out that President Obama is the only elected leader to have ever taken an interest in college sports. And does this country deserve a President who has the common decency to predict an early exit for Michigan State based on something that happened 28 years ago?
While the Dodgers and Diamondbacks prepare to start the 2014 MLB Regular Season with a pair of games at this historic Sydney Cricket Ground, News.com.au’s Andrew Sharwood threatens to blow the lid off “the sordidness, the drudgery, the sheer boredom,” of professional baseball. It’s a rather hollow promise given that Sharwood has yet to interview Jonathan Papelbon, but here are a few of his mind-blowing findings just the same (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory) :
Baseball players drink, partly because they don’t always need to be the most athletic specimens in the world of pro sports, but also to pass the time. These guys play up to 160 Games in a season in the Majors or 140 games at minor league level. That’s six games a week for six months. Each night, win or lose, their adrenalin is pumping. A beer or two or seven or eight helps.
All those games means a whole bunch of road trips. And road trips mean seedy hotels. At minor league level, a Holiday Inn is like the Hilton. More likely you’ll end up staying in some three star dump on a highway between Crapsville Illinois and Dumpsburg, Arkansas. Happily married and want your wife to accompany you on the road trip? Be prepared to dip into your own pocket for a double room.
Sportsmen, like many in the entertainment industry, tend to have higher divorce rates than the general population. This is especially true in baseball, where divorce rates are said to be as high as 60 per cent. Women don’t exactly throw themselves at minor leaguers either, contrary to what the movie Bull Durham might have told you. So if you are single and looking for action, you have to put in the legwork. Which brings us back to the point about booze.
If you’re like me, you might be wondering where the downside is. Sharwood warns aspiring alcoholics looking for cheap sex at the Red Roof Inn that when they get home from one of these miserable minor league road trips, they’ll most likely be staying in a shithole apartment featuring, “fake granite benchtops in the kitchen and an artful, black-and-white framed poster-sized photograph portraying a forlorn figure crossing a bridge with an umbrella blown inwards by the wind.” “Could life be any bleaker?” asks Sharwood, presumably unaware that at one time or another, young people actually competed for the chance to replace Michael Hutchence in INXS.
Of Phil Jackson’s sudden ascendency to President of the New York Knicks, former (annual?) CSTB contributor David Roth writes, “If Jackson’s presence can remind the owner of what his role ought to be — signing checks, terrorizing underlings, buying bluesman hats online while terrorizing underlings — then Dolan’s impact on the team could be blessedly mitigated.” That’s what passes for guarded optimism these days, though Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski cannot help but harp on the lamest vanity project this side of Dogstar while warning, “just stay out of Zen’s way, just get lost now.”
When New York Knicks executives chased free agents in the summer of 2010, owner James Dolan made himself a part of the presentations. He isn’t the most engaging, enchanting man, but Dolan does fancy himself a musician. So, yes, there were player and agent meetings four years ago when Dolan delivered a parting gift on the way out of the room.
“He passed out copies of his CD,” said a source, who stuffed his copy of one into a bag and no longer remembers where it’s gone.
It featured the melodies of JD and the Straight Shot, Dolan’s corner-bar band that bought itself into the opening act on tour with the Eagles. Dolan’s world revolves around the Eagles, and no one has helped meld his fantasy camp/groupie life of bad teams and super groups more gloriously than notorious ball-busting Eagles business manager Irving Azoff.Tuesday, here was Azoff, sitting with Glenn Frey at Madison Square Garden, taking bows, in the words of Dolan, for “brokering” and “negotiating” Jackson’s $60 million contract with the Knicks.
Someday, Dolan declared, the Knicks would be winning by 30 points and Jackson would let him go into the game. All those scared Garden employees laughed and laughed in the back of the room, and even Jackson cracked a polite smile. Real funny and all, but James Dolan has to understand that he’s out of the game for good, that this is Phil Jackson’s franchise now, his principles and values and vision in the grandest Garden experiment of all.