06.30.14

If Dave Lombardo’s Not Starting, I’m Not Departing

Posted in Football, World Cup 2014 at 10:38 pm by

(image culled from Metal Sucks.net, though it failed to lift the spirits of Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi)

Going Above & Beyond To Keep Lance Stephenson In The Fold

Posted in Basketball, Cinema at 6:35 pm by

The Indianapolis Star’s Candace Buckner fails to mention, however, that the movie “produced in Lance Stephenson’s honor” is a shot-for-shot remake of this classic.  The Pacers were gonna opt for this one, but Larry Bird thought it was a little too hard to improve on the original

06.29.14

Australia’s NRL : Forever Scolding Bubblers

Posted in Rugby at 5:04 pm by

(if Carney’s rugby career is over, there’s always food blogging)

With apologies to West Ham United (if not Michael Jackson) for the above headline, some you might recall a Vice item from earlier this month that alleged the practice of urinating into one’s own mouth, dubbed “bubbling”, was a full-blown craze within the Australian skating community. Earlier today, Deadspin reported that Cronulla Sharks halfback/fullback Todd Carney’s 5 year contract with the NRL side was terminated after a photo of the 28 year-old pissing into his own wide open mouth was circulated via social media. In the view of Sydney Morning Herald columnist Brad Walter, Carney was a pissing ticking time-bomb waiting to go off :

Throughout his career, officials, coaches and teammates at the Raiders, Roosters and Sharks have stood by the talented playmaker and each time he has let them down.

No other club is again likely to do so after a string of misdemeanours that include drink driving and driving while disqualified after a police chase in Canberra, allegedly urinating on the head and neck of another patron at an ACT bar, damaging a vehicle he jumped on in Goulburn, another drink driving charge at the Roosters and breaching a player-enforced alcohol ban that led to his sacking from the club.

As a result, Carney has been banned from his home town of Goulburn for a year, warned by a judge that he would go to jail if he was convicted by another court, sacked from the Raiders and Roosters, deregistered by the NRL and banned from playing Super League in England because of his criminal offences.

It is understood he did not upload the photo circulating on social media but Carney has already been linked to a bizarre apparent craze known as ‘‘bubbling’’. It is a story that will travel around the world in the same way as John Hopoate’s finger poking antics and Joel Monaghan’s simulated sex act with a dog.

TTU CB’s 2014 Season Ends Before It Begins

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 3:15 pm by

Earlier this year, USA Today declared Texas Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury, “the coolest coach in college football”. Hopefully he can use some of that street cred in the future to recruit a cornerback who doesn’t hit women. The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal’s Sarah Rafique and Don Williams report Nigel Bithel II, a Red Raider freshman, managed to assault and injure another TTU student-athlete, in this case, one far more accomplished, during a pickup basketball game yesterday :

Bethel reportedly punched Lady Red Raider G Amber Battle in the face, breaking a bone, the A-J has learned.

Blayne Beal, a Tech spokesman, confirmed there was an incident between two student athletes Saturday afternoon at the recreation center. Beal said campus officials are gathering information from both parties.

Tech women’s basketball coach Candi Whitaker said she was unable to comment Saturday evening.

Following the incident, Battle posted to Twitter, “Pray for me y’all.” She later posted, “Thank y’all for the calls, texts and visits.”

From a Lubbock location Saturday evening, a Twitter account under the name Nigel Bethel II had a post that said, “Trouble always seems to find me … “

Vacarrao : Kidd’s Power Play Is Nothing If Not In Character

Posted in Basketball at 2:23 pm by

The morning after his NY Post colleague Tim Bontemps detailed the stunning developments that have Nets head coach Jason Kidd most likely leaving to take over Milwaukee’s basketball operations — after attempts to torpedo Billy King apparently came up short —the Post’s Mike Vacarro has a laundry list of ethical issues concerning Kidd to raise, but not before declaring Brooklyn’s better off without him (“their chances improve exponentially if they’re coached by any of a dozen legit candidates”)

Kidd’s been doing this since his freshman year at Cal, when he led a mutiny that wound up costing Lou Campanelli his job with 10 games left in the season.

And never were his Machiavellian methods more on display then the evening of Dec. 5, 2007, when, unhappy with the Nets’ unwillingness to trade him or extend his contract, he conducted a one-man job action, calling in sick and missing a game against the Knicks at the Meadowlands when the only thing wrong with him was a sour attitude.

Kidd was a genius player, and none of his clubhouse-lawyering and coach-killing will ever change that. But his off-court conniving is every bit as much a part of who he is, who he always has been, as his on-court brilliance. The Nets, of all teams, knew that as well as anybody, and hired him anyway last summer.

And then, in case anyone forgot, he chased a reluctant Lawrence Frank for weeks to be his top aide, demanded that the Nets make him the top-paid assistant in the league…then exiled him about 15 minutes into the season.

06.28.14

Revealed : The Secrets Of Match Manipulation (Some Of ‘Em, Anyway)

Posted in Football, World Cup 2014 at 9:47 pm by

Earlier this week, UK terrestrial broadcaster Channel 4 premiered “Dispatches : How To Fix A Football Match”, a collaboration with The Telegraph that purported to blow the lid off gambling-influenced soccer fraud, with content including but not limited to, “the conviction of match fixers who tried to infiltrate the English game and those offering to help fix a match involving a team competing in the World Cup.” The Independent’s Andrew Tong was somewhat less than blown away, writing, “they say that match-fixing is a bad thing, but frankly it may be the only way the England football team will ever win a major tournament .”

It was a shocking programme. One man claimed to have fixed five friendlies before the last World Cup in South Africa by suggesting to the country’s federation that he would pay all the fees and expenses of the referees and linesmen. Hmm, nothing dodgy about that at all.

But that was just the start: we heard of matches with no fans; games involving fake national teams; fixing entire tournaments at Under-18 level with the gangs shouting instructions to the players from the stands; and even betting on games that simply didn’t exist even though a stadium would be hired and a commentary team commissioned.

Strangely, however, the idea of pundits talking a load of old nonsense about nothing in particular sounds quite familiar.

Joe Gibbs On Washington’s Nickname Flap : What’s The Big Deal?

Posted in Gridiron, Racism Corner at 8:02 pm by

(possibly the wrong Joe Gibbs — research dept. is checking on this)

When I try to come up with a name of a respected public figure who probably travels in the most culturally diverse social circles, almost without hesitation the name of former Washington head coach-turned-NASCAR maven Joe Gibbs comes up. Because who would know more about cultural sensitivity than NFL players, coaches and stock car drivers and fans? On Saturday, Gibbs explained to a writer from the AP that the ongoing angst over Daniel Snyder’s refusal to change the team name stemmed from…well, he’s not quite sure. It seems there can’t possibly be another side to the issue!

Asked about the controversy before the NASCAR race Saturday at Kentucky Speedway, the Pro Football Hall of Fame coach and racing team owner defended the Redskins name.

“Never once did I hear anybody ever say anything negative about the name Redskins,” Gibbs said about his time with the team. “It was always prideful, it was courage involved. We have a song, ‘Hail to the Redskins,’ and so everything, everything about that name has been positive for me and my past.”

Holmes To Tigers’ Dickerson & Price : Get Off The Air

Posted in Baseball, Sports Radio at 4:01 pm by

(if you’re thinking this post was just a cheap excuse to post the above song…you’re totally right)

Detroit Athletic Co.’s Dan Holmes compares the experience of listening to Tigers radio broadcasters Dan Dickerson and Jim Price to “someone invading a hole in my head and inflicting pain…it’s brutal.”   While crediting the former with “a very good voice”, Holmes considers the typical Detroit broadcast  to be “Dickerson telling you what he knows about baseball while he occasionally interjects the pitches and what happens on the field.” (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)

Dickerson: There’s a grounder, the throw across and it pulls the first baseman. Martinez is out. No, now he’s being called safe. [LOOOONG PAUSE] That ball was hit to Beltre and he threw the ball high and wide and it was dropped by Pena. Martinez is safe on an error.

What was he watching? How does he not tell us WHERE the groundball was hit immediately, and what happened at first CORRECTLY the first time? It’s radio, you can pause a millisecond and wait to see what the umpire at first calls. Instead, Dickerson just uses his verbal shorthand and fails to call the play correctly the first time. He does this usually once every few games. He actually does.

If I could have a three wishes, I’d use two of them in the typical way (revenge against my enemies and all-encompassing wealth and power), but the third, the third wish, I’d use that to give Dan Dickerson the gift of description. He really has no idea how to describe something in an explicit way, which is really THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF HIS JOB. he’s like pone of those annoying friends who starts conversations in the middle of a story and expects us to understand what the hell he’s talking about.

There’s a drive and he dives and it’s caught out there deep on the warning track. what a play!

WHERE was that drive and WHO hit it? And WHO caught it WHERE? And HOW many guys were on base?!? And what’s the score?

[Driving off the road into a ditch]

06.27.14

Mushnick : Mex’s Macho Act Is Wearing Thin

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 1:04 pm by

Like most persons with ears, even when the on-field product sucks (which is the majority of the time), I find the repartee between Mets TV voices Gary Cohen, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez to be reliably effervescent, even if Keith occasionally seems the more impatient of the three (or the least tolerant of female trainers in the dugout). During last Sunday’s SNY telecast of a matinee in Miami, Hernandez’ reaction to a photograph of Padres reliever Alex Torres — the first pitcher to don a bulky, newly designed cap with a protective liner — raised the ire of New York Post sports media critic Phil Mushnick, who likened the sneering to that of “a schoolyard bully”.

Yes, Torres looked odd. Yet, clearly, if he were determined to diminish the chances of a fractured skull or brain injury from a line drive to the side of his head, his head, if not his cap, was on straight.

Well, Hernandez took a macho, style-over-function stance, mocking Torres for looking “absurd.” (The same was heard when batting helmets arrived, then grew larger until they included earflaps and would be worn by base coaches.)

He wasn’t done. He suggested Torres and anyone who would wear such a thing is a coward: “If you’re scared, get a dog.”

Ugh! Either Hernandez was unaware of the dozens of annual, all-levels episodes that have pitchers rushed to hospitals — some with permanent neurological damage — or such episodes have not yet left an impression on him.

In Torres’ case, last year with the Rays, he replaced Alex Cobb after Cobb was nailed in the head with a line drive. After Saturday’s game, Torres recalled he still could hear the crack against Cobb’s head — and Torres was in the bullpen. “I’m glad he’s alive.”

06.26.14

Ghana’s Slight Distraction

Posted in Football, World Cup 2014 at 10:21 pm by

Despite losing to Germany earlier today on a 55th minute strike by Thomas Müller, the US Men’s National Team advanced to the 2014 World Cup knockout stages by virtue of a 2nd place finish in Group G that was sealed with Ghana’s 2-1 defeat to Portugal at Estádio Nacional. The latter result came on the heels of the Ghana Football Federation’s last second delivery of some $3 million dollars to the team, a payment that might not have happened nearly so fast had training not been boycotted two days earlier. From the Guardian’s Stuart James :

For coach James Appiah, the stand-off could not have happened at a worse time. “Every coach wouldn’t love to be in this situation where players are requesting monies, considering the fact you are playing a very important game,” he said. “For the past two days I’ve had sleepless nights, I can’t even close my eyes. These things are normally sorted out before the competition, you can’t keep telling the players the money will come. Unfortunately, I’ve found myself in that situation, trying to cope with it. The good thing is the president of the country will step in.”

Appiah would not disclose how much exactly the Ghana squad were demanding – “The players would kill me if I revealed it,” he said, laughing – but he defended their stance. “It’s not about being paid reward for anything, it’s got to do with an appearance fee, which I think every country pays its players, not just Ghana. It’s a right.”

Asked why the players could not have the money transferred electronically, Appiah said: “The practice in Ghana has always been to pay players in cash. Some players have not got accounts in Ghana. The system in Africa is totally different to Europe. You need to consider those factors. I’m not saying that it is the best way. But we are coming from different areas and you need to understand how it works.”