06.18.14

Brad Ausmus Provides Us With A Rare Opportunity To Acknowledge Canadian Rock History

Posted in "Wife Beater" Is Not A Fashion Statement, Baseball at 6:31 pm by

Detroit skipper Brad Ausmus was asked after the Tigers’  2-1 home loss to the surging Royals how he’s coped during his club’s recent slide. The Detroit Free Press’ George Sipple carefully scribbled down the answers :

“Yeah, it’s not fun,” he said. “Like I said, once I get to the field, I’m always in a good mood, especially if I’m driving and it’s sunny out. Once I’m here, I’m ready to go, I feel like I’m the exact same person that you would have seen on Day 1 of spring training.”

And when he goes home, someone followed up.

“I beat my wife,” Ausmus said. “I’m just kidding. No, luckily my wife and kids are fantastic. I do get a little mopey at home, but my wife and kids are good. They’ve seen me be in a bad mood after a loss, so they’ve been great.”

His joke drew some hearty laughs and some nervous laughs from the media and, after answering another question, he came back to it.

“I didn’t want to make light of battered women,” Ausmus said. “I apologize for that if it offended anyone.”

Washington’s Nickname Protested For 44 Years (And Counting)

Posted in Gridiron, Racism Corner at 3:18 pm by

In the wake of Wednesday’s landmark decision by the U.S. Patent office to revoke trademark registration for the NFL’s Redskins, DC Sports Bog’s Dan Steinberg has published one of the documents supplied by the case’s plaintiff ; a 1972 letter to NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle written by former Redskins co-owner Edward Bennett Williams after discussing the nickname with Native Americans.

06.17.14

The Shy, Retiring Mario Balotelli Finds The Charms Of Panini’s ‘Road to the 2014 World Cup’ Album Somewhat Elusive

Posted in Football, World Cup 2014 at 9:43 pm by

The concepts of depth and sharing the workload also seem to be lost on the Italian striker, but on the bright squad, Cesare Prandelli will have no trouble getting his entire squad on the same page (SORRY).

Mike Francesa, Soccer Sophisticate

Posted in Football, Sports Radio, Sports TV, World Cup 2014 at 3:52 pm by

If you’re thinking the US Men’s National Team’s victory over Ghana or the robust TV ratings World Cup 2014 has garnered for ESPN and Univision are an indication The Beautiful Game is approaching CRITICAL MASS in the hearts of minds of Americans, hey, maybe you’re right.  Would an all-knowing observer of relevant sports activity like WFAN’s Mike Francesa be taking such a keen, critical interest otherwise?

06.16.14

Jonathan Pearce : Getting The Dave O’Brien Treatment

Posted in Football, Sports TV at 4:12 pm by

While SI.com’s Richard Deitsch hails ESPN’s use of Everton manager Roberto Martinez as a studio analyst for the 2014 World Cup, the Guardian’s Simon Brunton is far less impressed with UK TV commentary thus far :

Twelve years after Gareth Southgate complained about Sven-Goran Eriksson’s World Cup half-time team-talk, saying “we were expecting Winston Churchill and instead we got Iain Duncan-Smith”, the nation would have been perfectly happy with Iain Duncan-Smith and instead got a small and unremarkable pebble, viewed from a distance, in thick fog. As England v Italy kicked off on Saturday night, commentator Guy Mowbray turned to the man beside him. “Shall we just try to enjoy it, Phil?” he asked. “It’s always difficult. As an English supporter. To enjoy these occasions,” jawed Neville. And they were probably the truest words said all night.

The following day on ITV, Countdown-contesting PFA brainbox Clarke Carlisle glowingly informed us that Ecuador’s attack must be good if a talent as bright as Porto’s Jackson Martínez can’t even get in the team, forgetting that the team he can’t get into is Colombia’s. Despite their brilliant attack, Ecuador fell to a dramatic defeat at the hands of Switzerland, Haris Seferovic finding a way past Alexander Dominguez deep into stoppage time. Which is incredible when you think about it, because Dominguez is so good even Lev Yashin can’t get in the team. To complete a bad weekend for British television commentators [and Richard Keys – O Fiverão Ed], during France v Honduras the BBC’s Jonathan Pearce totally failed to grasp the fact that when the ball crosses the line between the posts and under the bar, it is not widely considered controversial if the referee then awards a goal.

06.15.14

Let ‘Em Eat Futbol : Brazil’s Anti-World Cup Street Art

Posted in Football, Modern Art at 2:29 pm by

For FIFA, the Brazilian Football Confederation, broadcast and sponsorship partners around the world, World Cup 2014 is obviously a money-printing enterprise unparalleled in the sporting universe.  The event, while a competitive spectacle like none other, is occurring amidst massive public protests over matters including but not limited to stadium construction costs measured alongside limited funding for hospitals and schools.

(by Paulo Ito)

Street Art Utopia has collected a number of public murals that address the imbalance.  Check ‘em out here :

06.14.14

(Not) On This Day In Sports History

Posted in History's Not Happening, record collector disease, Rock Und Roll at 11:36 pm by

Tuesday (June 17) marks the 20th anniversary of Germany & Bolivia kicking off the 1994 World Cup at Solider Field, a match attended by Bill Clinton, Diana Ross, Oprah Winfrey and myself (their seats were a little better than mine). Perhaps more spectacularly, the 17th was also the night Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Knicks and Rockets was reduced to a tiny corner of NBC’s screens as OJ Simpson and Al Cowlings attempted to reenact the Charlie Sheen / Henry Rollins star vehicle, “The Chase” (traveling at a far slower speed, however).

All of the above were the subjects of a combined ESPN documentary, but there’s a pretty crucial event that has yet to be chronicled. That was also the night I paid to see Liquor Bike at the Empty Bottle thinking I was going to see Liquor Ball.

Paul Greengrass will soon be directing a film loosely based on these events (the World Cup, ’94 NBA Finals and OJ chase excepted).

Yount : I’ve Got No Time For Old Timer’s Games

Posted in Baseball at 5:26 pm by

Who amongst hasn’t attended a Old Timers Game at Yankee Stadium, witnessed a paunchy Shane Spencer negotiating the outfield, Kevin Maas weakly dribbling out to the pitcher or Chad Curtis being led away in handcuffs and thought, “man, these guys are really tarnishing some wonderful memories?” Really?  Nobody?  Well, lucky for me Robin Yount used the occasion of the Brewers’ Wall Of Honor ceremonies to make the point far more elegantly than I can manage.  From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Bob Wolfey (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory) :

“I think it (the Brewers Wall of Honor ceremony) was far better than any old timers game you could ever have,” Yount said. “I am not a fan of old timers games, in all honesty. And I’ll tell you why. Some of these kids will recognize names and not ever have seen them play. Old timers games when we played were fairly common.

“And I will tell you what,” Yount said. “When somebody is very recognizable in a certain organization, a player the kids have heard their parents talk about. This individual and that individual. ‘What a great player this guy was. Yadda, yadda.’ Then you have an old timers game and this guy hasn’t touched a ball or bat for 10 or 15 years. He’s out of shape. And you ask him to go try to play baseball and the youngsters say, ‘Dad, that’s the guy you told me was so good?’

“And I know that’s funny, but I am being very serious,” Yount said. “I don’t think you want to have that memory put into that kid’s mind. They’re disappointed. They thought nothing but how great these people were. That’s just me. I’m not a fan of old timers games. I’m a huge fan of bringing guys back like we did (Friday). Put ’em in a uniform. Some guys will look better in uniform than others. You walk around. You say hello. You wave to the fans. You sign some autographs. And let the best high school teams go out there and play each other. We’ll watch.”

06.13.14

The Perfect Father’s Day Gift For Someone Who Is Large & In Charge (Of Laughing At LeBron)

Posted in Basketball, Fashion at 3:13 pm by

There’s only 15 of these shirts remaining in stock at Trailer Space, but in sizes XL and XXL only.  Lance Stephenson’s already ordered his.

One Year Later : An Interview With Inspire Pro Wrestling’s Max Meehan

Posted in Austin, Professional Wrestling at 11:40 am by

A little more than 11 months ago in this space,it was suggested that “the newly formed Inspire Pro Wrestling could well raise the bar for what Central Texas has come to expect from an independent wrestling promotion”.   Nearly a year later, after Inspire Pro has showcased a stunning array of regional and international talent at Austin’s Marchesa Hall, it felt like a good time to catch up with the promotion’s creative director, Max Meehan to assess what’s gone down and what’s on the horizon on the eve of Clash At The Bash.

(*- DISCLOSURE – NOT JUST AN ARTIST I WOULDN’T LISTEN TO ON A BET : the author has on many occasions done (non-wrestling) business with Meehan).

It’s been a whirlwind 12 months since Inspire Pro’s debut. Though I’m hesitant to say I’m surprised at the promotion’s rapid growth — you guys were clearly pretty ambitious from day one — this doesn’t have the vibe of a company that’s only a year old. The fan reception has been wildly enthusiastic, but how do you guys feel about where you’re at right now?

Thanks for the kind evaluation. We’re all incredibly pleased to see our little girl growing up to be very pretty. We knew we had to break the whole dozen in the first year to make our mark. We have a lot of incredibly talented people from different corners of the world interested in working with us right now, which is a surreal honor. The NWA affiliation wasn’t necessarily a goal, but I’m shocked and proud that we are working together. We have become a company that creates moments. At “In Their Blood,” I was standing in the back of the room with Mr. Brandon Stroud watching Jojo Bravo and Tadasuke put on a total joy of a match, and I kept thinking to myself, “I can’t believe we’re doing something at this level.” We’re doing wrestling that the fan in me is excited to see. While we didn’t necessarily hit every goal we had on paper for the year, but we did aim high, and we cleared maybe 75% of what we set out to do. I’m extremely proud of where we are at and what we have become in such a short amount of time.

Though the blend of veteran talent and new has been pretty masterful (much like the mix between regional talent and international stars), you can take special pride in the development of several roster members who were largely unknown out of the state. A few of ‘em — and I’ll let you fill in the gaps — weren’t necessarily earmarked for success by other Texas promotions. If you don’t mind, tell us a little bit about the process behind establishing a Sammy Guevara or a Ricky Starks and elevating them to the point where they’re as synonymous with Inspire Pro as a Mike Dell?

When I first saw Ricky in Austin, he had been relegated to an odd and unsuccessful tag pairing. He has an undeniable charisma. It didn’t take much digging to discover that the guy was a phenomenal talker with a big personality. He just hadn’t and wasn’t being given much of an opportunity to be that guy here. Ricky’s success is inevitable. He just has to be given the opportunity to show people what he can do. Sammy is another guy who is no secret in his respective neck of the woods. We all watch matches from all over, and if we see someone who catches our eye, we’ll try to bring them in and give them an occasion to rise to. Andy Dalton is another guy who’s well-known in North, Texas, but many people down here hadn’t had a chance to see him. All he needed was an opportunity to shine in front of a crowd. He’s undeniably talented. Every single person on our roster has the ability to succeed. I like to think we maybe make better use of some of these guys than others do, and challenging them is part of that. I’m grateful that a lot of these phenomenal talents have given me an opportunity to have any hand in what they do.

(Sammy Guevara in flight against ACH, “Light The Fuse”, February 16, 2014)

I won’t pretend that I’ve done a scientific survey of every paying customer, but it feels like as the crowds at the Marchesa have grown, you’re beginning to draw from more neighboring communities if not surrounding states. Has there been any discussion about taking Inspire Pro to other cities?

We have nearly tripled our audience since July, 2013. It’s really humbling to have people drive from hours away to see what you do. We had about eight people drive down from Alabama for the last show. I love that guys who are on the roster, but not booked, will drive from out of state just to WATCH our shows. That is an extreme honor. We’re going to be testing the waters very soon on a co-promoted event in another city. We’ll see how that goes. But right now, we’re focusing on our home turf.

Over the past 12 months, relations with other promotions have not been totally harmonious. Things have been said publicly and privately about Inspire Pro and a lot of it runs contrary to the goodwill you’ve established with wrestling fans and the workers. Are these just isolated instances of sour grapes, or is there an especially steep mountain to climb when dealing with other promoters/bookers who consider themselves lifers?

I’m grateful for the opportunity to address this issue, honestly, so thank you. I must preface by saying that since day-one, our primary interest was in CONTRIBUTING to Texas wrestling rather than competing against anybody. We’re working with Mr. B at TCW. We’ve worked with Brandon Oliver at RCW – a relationship that Sammy Guevara crushed, unfortunately. We’re working with Jax Dane at BOW. We’ve just opened up a working relationship with Tony Brooklyn and Bruce Tharpe of NWA. As my business partner Justin Bissonette always says, “When we all succeed, the business succeeds.” I think I even said during last year’s interview that we just wanted to create another place where guys can polish what they do and make money. At the end of the day, it’s more ring-time for these guys, and that’s integral to their success. I think we’ve made it very clear that we’re open to working with anybody that we can to heighten the profile of Texas wrestling. However, there is some acrimony on the part of one Austin promoter, and I think a lot of that stems from his past relationships with some of the people who are involved with our product. He’s spent a lot of time disparaging us both publicly and privately, and it’s been very difficult to sit by and watch this guy belittle the efforts of people who are simply working hard to make their dreams come true. That’s what it comes down to: Brandon Stroud, Eamon Paton, Josh Montgomery, and Justin Bissonette all work incredibly hard for this company, and so it really bothers me to see someone belittling that effort. Everyone’s entitled to try and realize their dream, and no one has the right to be negative toward anybody who’s trying to create something positive. No one’s out to get this guy or his company. No one wants to see him fail. In the end, if he does fail, it’s one less place for these guys to go and work. I think it’s very clear to anybody with a brain that he’s bitter toward us. Every time he publicly posts something directed at us, or something he’s said gets back us, it’s very clear that there’s something personal there. It’s bizarre and oddly humorous to watch him try and deny it. The reality is there to anybody who’s even half-literate. All I can say is, if you’re upset you can call me, dude. Let’s talk like Alexander Graham Bell intended: as human beings. Anybody who knows me knows that I am a very reasonable and friendly guy, but there’s still a limit.

Many of the folks reading this are probably familiar with the National Wrestling Alliance from prior generations, but not so versed on what the NWA means in the post Jim Crockett era. Can you explain how the affiliation came to be and what it means for Inspire Pro going forward?

What I am most excited about is exchanging ideas and learning from a lot of great promoters who are obviously very successful at what they do. I am endlessly impressed by Mark Vaughn of NWA Main Event, and Aaron Presley of NWA 360. What I love about these guys is that they are embracing new ideas and new methods of promoting shows. So many people have this antiquated mentality about what pro-wrestling is that’s based on a template that was forged in the 70s, but time marches on, and you have to march with it, or you become a memory. You have to try new ideas to stay relevant. The NWA has had its fair share of stormy weather over the last several decades. The company’s been around for some time. It has a valuable legacy that won’t ever die, no matter the blows it’s suffered in the past. Tony Brooklyn and Bruce Tharpe are doing their best to restore its honorable reputation. I want to be a part of that, and we’re all going to be a part of that. I like to think that Bruce and Tony recognize that we’re bringing something unique to the company in terms of flavor. I believe they recognize our work ethic. The partnership means a lot of exciting things, such as broader access to NWA talent, and the opportunity to host sanctioned NWA title matches. We’re very proud to be able to be a home for Barbi Hayden and her NWA Women’s Title. We think we can help make that title even more exciting and help raise its profile.

The Marchesa’s been a terrific venue. Are there any plans to go elsewhere in town?

It’s getting pretty tight in there. Our goal was always to outgrow our venue. If you’re just sitting in the same place, catering to the same number, and your goal isn’t to grow your audience, then you’re not helping out anyone on your roster. Yeah, we’re looking into other venues, but we have several good months left at Marchesa. It’s going to be near-impossible to find an equal in terms of its quality. But even if we have to move, I’d love to do special events there, and I know Tony Brooklyn thought the place had tremendous potential as a TV taping venue. It has a lot of technological capabilities that a lot of people aren’t aware of that make it prime for that sort of venture.

There have been a handful of suspensions or other punitive actions in Inspire Pro’s short history, but it does seem as though the performers have tremendous free reign when it comes to establishing their personas (though some were more previously established than others). The “Jensentivity” promo was pretty amazing but has anything come up — either at your suggestion or someone else’s — that simply couldn’t be employed?

We have had some ideas that some people thought were too crazy. We’re really excited to innovate and try new things. We had one angle we were going to run that was so outrageous that it caused several roster members to quit. I’m more determined than ever to make it happen now, just to prove that it can succeed. I just have to rebuild the pieces now, which will take time. Generally any idea that leaves our staff uneasy winds up being a great call. We’ll do something that everyone thought was a really bad idea, and it will get over, and I’ll hear, “Don’t ever let me doubt you again.” Sometimes, you gotta put convention over your knee and give it a good whack. Luckily, we have some bold collaborators on our roster. We’re trying to be a fun company. Not just fun for fans, but fun for the guys working there, and I think we’ve become that place that’s a smooth experience for everyone involved. No doubt, this is a hard job for everyone involved, but there are no trivial or petty differences that get in the way. It’s not high school.

Greatest achievement in Inspire Pro’s first year? Biggest disappointment?

Biggest disappointment? Well, it could have always be bigger than it is at this point. But I’m not disappointed in what we have accomplished. We didn’t quite hit our target, but we came pretty close. Close enough to where I’m excited about what’s coming in YEAR TWO. Greatest achievements have been hosting Chris Hero vs. Ray Rowe, striking a deal with Smart Mark, launching a real women’s wrestling division, and seeing the crowd grow with every show. We’ve seen a lot of people who viewed wrestling as this super alien thing become enthralled by it. In the end, that’s the primary goal: turning people on to having fun watching good pro wrestling.

O’s Berry Puts A New Spin On Manufacturing A Run

Posted in Baseball at 10:12 am by

OF Quintin Berry’s Major League resume is rather slim ; though he stole 21 bases in 94 games with Detroit two years ago, there’s little int he 29-year-old’s background to indicate he’d respond to getting tossed from a game by running the bases and sliding into home plate. As you’ve probably guessed, that’s exactly what Berry did during the 9th inning of Norfolk’s 5-3 loss at Syracuse. From the Syracuse Post-Standard’s Lindsay Kramer :

“I ain’t never seen that in my life,” said Syracuse left fielder Destin Hood. “I didn’t know what happened. Then I saw him chirping and I was like, he’s just trying to be funny.”

What’s clear is that Berry singled to Hood in left field. As he was running to first, he said something back to Honec. By the time Berry hit the bag, Honec had tossed him and waved him into the dugout.

Tides manager Ron Johnson pinch-ran Cord Phelps. But instead of heading for the dugout, Berry broke for second, headed to third and splashed feet-first into home plate. He bounced up, tossed a few more thoughts Honec’s way and jogged off.

“That was a first for me,” said Syracuse manager Billy Gardner Jr. “Obviously, he said something to the home plate umpire he didn’t like, and he got rid of him.”

-

06.12.14

On The Bright Side, Somebody Out There Really Loves Joe Beimel

Posted in Baseball, The Law at 5:34 pm by

Man, I’m on some kind of lousy headline streak over here.  Still, I’m having more good fortune than Hurricane, WV resident Troy Sexton, 40, aka “Troy From West Virginia” was was arrested Tuesday evening at Cincinnati’s Great American Ballpark after being barred from the premises some 6 years earlier.  Sexton, who seems to be somewhat notorious in the Dodgers online community, was was charged with criminal trespass and obstructing official business, though as the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Kimball Perry explains, he’s no stranger to brushes with authority.

Sexton has a reputation for doing odd things and being a fan of the Dodgers, who played the Reds at Tuesday’s game, especially former left-handed relief pitcher Joe Beimel, now with the Seattle Mariners. Sexton is a Beimel fan who posted several YouTube videos of his adoration for the reliever.

During a June 17, 2008 game, Sexton was accused of being involved in a fight that drew so much attention, the game was delayed. He was charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. In exchange for Sexton pleading guilty to disorderly conduct, the resisting arrest charge was dropped. In addition to a night in jail in that incident, his sentence also included $341 in fines and court costs.

Hell Hath No Fury Like A Guy Being Cheated On (With Gary From An Electronics Store In Van Nuys)

Posted in History's Great Hook-Ups at 10:40 am by


(via Craigslist)

06.11.14

Gabriel Miller Somehow Resists The Charms Of Competitive Eating

Posted in Competitive Eating, Food, non-sporting journalism at 11:55 pm by

We’re a few weeks away from that great Fourth Of July tradition, the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog eating contest at Coney Island, and the Atlantic’s Gabriel Miller uses the occasion to let everyone know that, well, he’s kinda grossed out.   “What kind of well-founded sport,” asks Miller,  “calls attention to such gluttony and the revolting digestive processes of the human body?” Hopefully one that’s safer than professional football!

The Nathan’s Hot Dog eating competition, debuted on live television a decade ago and will draw more than 35,000 people to Coney Island, but the sport—and this term is debatable—lacks any semblance of physical grace or athletic form. Its winners take in very little cash and their celebrity is limited to a niche group of competitive eating fanatics. Why, then, would anyone risk public humiliation, potential damage to long-term health, and a grueling training routine to perform an activity which, to some, serves a gimmicky marketing need and, even worse, a conspicuous display of American gluttony.

Juliet Lee (above), a 48-year-old Chinese immigrant who owns a hair salon near College Park, Maryland, was struggling to keep her mouth closed as she stuffed handfuls of chicken scraps into her cheeks. Because there isn’t much time to chew, Lee downs tennis ball-sized clumps of food with water before digging back into her bowl. The audience’s response alternated between cheering her on and grunting with disgust as they wondered if, just maybe, she might puke it all out.

As Lee’s 100-pound body heaved, I couldn’t help wondering whether my fascination with her public eating was oddly sadistic. Here was a woman—a small-business owner, a mother of two teenage girls, someone with no evident or outward antisocial behavior—voluntarily compromising her body and exhibiting her physical vulnerabilities in front of hundreds of screaming watchers. The voracity and determination with which she devoured her chicken made me uncomfortable: How much humiliation will one go through for competition?

Texas League (AA) Baseball : Where The Sons Of Persons Who Concussed Near-Legends Hone Their Skills

Posted in Baseball at 8:33 pm by

(from the Corpus Christi Hooks’ instagram account).  You can question the historic importance of the above photograph, but you cannot deny I’ve just just employed the clumsiest headline in the 11 year history of CSTB.

06.10.14

Hodgson : I Couldn’t Spell DIckhead If You Spotted Me The Ickhead

Posted in Football, World Cup 2014 at 9:49 pm by

Earlier this year, Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo used his autobiography, ‘I Think, Therefore I Play’ to claim England manager Roy Hodgson had intentionally mispronounced his name as “Pirla, which roughly translates into Italian as “dickhead” during the latter’s tenure at Inter.  Hodgson, who’d probably prefer never to see the above highlight ever again, denied doing so Tuesday, with quotes supplied by  The Mirror’s Martin Lipton :

“I think he may have used a bit of poetic licence there. I called him Andrea, for the most part. I never use surnames.

“I don’t ever remember referring to him as Pirla – I’m a Christian-name person. Maybe they sound similar –but certainly he was anything other than a ‘pirla’!”

Hodgson added: “I felt a bit sorry for him. He hadn’t played much when I came because the squad was full of No.10s, Roberto Baggio, Youri Djorkaeff, Roberto Ze Elias and some others, all vying with Paulo Sousa for the same position.

“So he didn’t play that much but I thought he was very good in training, and Carlo Ancelloti showed a stroke of genius with regard to his career when Inter let him go to Milan and transformed him into a deep-lying midfield player.”

Glenn Burke’s Lasting Legacy Was Something Besides The High Five

Posted in Baseball at 4:17 pm by

Save for occasional articles crediting the late Dodgers/A’s outfielder with the innovation of the high-five, Glenn Burke  — whose career numbers are pretty modest — has gone mostly unrecognized by Major League Baseball, a situation that trouble’s Slate’s Tyler Lopez who proposes MLB “designate a single day in June to honor Burke’s legacy”. That legacy, of course, being baseball’s own precursor to Michael Sam or Jason Collins.

Numbers can’t possibly begin to explain how a tremendously talented athlete would eventually be sidelined by vicious institutional homophobia. After coming out to his teammates and managers in 1978, Burke was reportedly offered $75,000 by Dodgers Vice President Al Campanis to enter into a sham marriage. When turning down the offer—more than $312,000 in today’s money—Burke wittily replied, “I guess you mean to a woman.” Unfortunately, Glenn Burke’s fearlessness would lead to his exile from Los Angeles: That same year, he was traded to Oakland.

According to former Athletics teammate Claudell Washington, manager Billy Martin was cruelly homophobic from Day 1, introducing Burke in the locker room by saying, “Oh, by the way, this is Glenn Burke, and he’s a faggot.” Much as Jackie Robinson endured unfathomable racism from fans and fellow players alike, Burke too faced the injustice of bigotry in sports. Yet as an out gay, black man in professional sports—in the 1970s—Burke was light years ahead of his time. “Being black and gay made me tougher. You had to be tough to make it. Yeah, I’m proud of what I did,” Burke recalled later in life. In a Philadelphia Inquirer interview just before his death from AIDS-related illness in 1995, Burke was defiant, declaring, “They can’t ever say now that a gay man can’t play in the majors, because I’m a gay man and I made it.”

MLB’s most significant tribute to Glenn Burke is a puff piece from 2013, which details the creation of the high five. (Burke is widely credited as the inventor of the gesture, which he later used as a greeting with fellow gay residents of San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood.) Despite his ebullient life as an openly gay man, the piece paints Burke in the victimization language AIDS activists fought so hard to combat during the height of the health crisis: “He became a tragic figure, succumbing to AIDS,” says the article, never once mentioning Burke’s sexual orientation

06.09.14

Kawakami : There’s No Defending Irving’s Lack Of D

Posted in Basketball at 10:36 pm by

The San Jose Mercury Journal’s Tim Kawakami published his annual NBA No Defense Squad earlier today for the 7th year in a row, and along with recognizing such D-phobic stars as James Harden, Monta Ellis and Gordon Hayward, Cavs PG Kyrie Irving was dubbed the Association’s No-Defense Player of the Year. Though acknowledging that Irving might not be nearly as bad as say, Jimmer Fredette, Kawakami stresses, “this is not just about pure poor footwork and vision. This award is largely about willful indifference to defense. This is about bad defense by omission. On purpose.”

Nothing kills a team (in my opinion) more than an important player who plays atrocious D just because he knows nobody will hold him accountable for it.

He has all the classic weaknesses: Irving allows himself to get bumped by every screen that comes his way and then gives up on the play if and when he does, he is lousy on the ball, he’s weak in transition D, and when he is off the ball in half-court defense, he is just as likely to lose his man for a back-door lay-up as he is to forget who actually was guarding, anyway.

I’m not sure if this adds up to him being much more than a borderline star at any point in his career. That’s how bad he is on defense.

When you’re supposed to be the NBA’s next point guard superstar and Jarrett Jack looks like a defensive stopper next to you, and Matthew Dellavedova as a rookie is so much more valuable in real terms than you…

Well, you are a deserving No-Defense Player of the Year, that’s what you are. Congratulations, Kyrie!

New Cyclones Skipper Tom Gamboa : Truly In A Ligue Of His Own

Posted in Baseball, Mob Behavior at 6:29 pm by

(images taken sans permission from Larry Brown Sports)

The New York Mets’ NY-Penn League (short-season A) affiliate Brooklyn Cyclones will commence their 2014 season this Friday night with a visit to Staten Island, a game that will mark the ‘Lil Wilpons managerial debut of Tom Gamboa.  If that name sounds familiar, that’s probably because you recall the incident in September 2002 when Gamboa — then serving as first base coach for the visiting Kansas City Royals during a game against the White Sox — was assaulted on the field by the father & son tag team of William Ligue Jr. (34) and William Ligue III (15)The New York Post’s John DeMarzo helpfully pesters Gamboa about his brief, scary brush with (shirtless) history :

It was the top of the ninth inning at Chicago’s Comiskey Park when the father and son stormed onto the field, slammed Gamboa to the ground and began punching him before the Royals came onto the field to help him escape.

“I was having a hard time breathing. My face was being pushed into the ground by a tremendous weight,” he described, as the team streamed onto the field.
He sustained a few cuts and a bruised cheek, and also suffered partial hearing loss in his right ear.

Afterward, the eternally optimistic Gamboa said the incident should not reflect poorly on the city of Chicago.

“I told everybody that I didn’t see it as a bad mark on Chicago, just an isolated incident,” the 66-year-old recalled. “[But] there are people that actually think that they can get their 15 minutes of fame or become famous by getting their name in the newspaper for something that most of us would deem to be completely stupid or embarrassing.”

06.08.14

A Commercial Message From The Desk Of Randy L

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 3:24 pm by

(EDITOR’S NOTE : from time to time, noted Bronx baseball executive Randy L. graces CSTB’s vast readership with his thoughts on the events of the day, sporting and otherwise.  Upon the the New York Yankees’ introduction of 3 Bombers-branded wines, Randy asked, no, he insisted on having his say – GC)

If we can adjourn for just a moment from thoroughly dull topics such as the Stanley Cup Finals, the Belmont Stakes and our crosstown “rivals” going into the tank even earlier than usual, I’d like to draw your attention to a unique opportunity to turn your shitty studio apartment / parents’ basement or Red Hook hovel that you share with a half dozen other aspiring artistic geniuses into a palace with all the ambiance of NYY Steak.  If only for a night.

I am fully aware that most of the persons reading this haven’t been on a date since Waldman’s last pregnancy test (and the two dates in history might not be unrelated), but that’s why your best buddy Randy L. is here to add some class to your sad fucking existence. Not since Neil Strauss’ award winning “I’m A Schmendrick With Revenge Fantasies” DVD box set has there been a more sure-fire means of locking down an evening with that special someone.  Whether you chose our 2012 Russian River Valley Chardonnay, the 2011 Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon, or our New York Yankees™  Reserve 2013 Finger Lakes Dry Riesling (do not worry, we can vouch for the fact Brian Cashman’s fingers have come nowhere near these bottles), you’ll have no trouble demonstrating to the object of your affections that you’re part of the same tradition, success and grandeur one associates with The Yankee Universe.

Every since we announced the launch of these excellent-yet-affordable wines, my phone has been blowing up with any number of Yankee alumni eager for free samples.   Mickey Rivers, Jason Giambi, Luis Polonia, Joba Chamberlain, Shane Spencer, they’re all eager to find out just how special these wines are.  Even Vin Baker’s been in touch, though I’m pretty certain he’s never been part of our organization.

Of course, all of he above are gonna have to pay just like the peasants reading this.  We didn’t become the most successful professional team sports franchise of all-time by just giving stuff away.

06.07.14

The Charlotte Observer Would Like You To Believe Credibility & Grumpiness & Mutually Exclusive

Posted in Basketball, College Spurts at 10:06 pm by

Yesterday on ESPN’s “Outside The Lines”, former North Carolina SG Rashad McCants spoke openly about academic fraud during his Tar Heel days (a tenure that  included the 2004-2005 National Championship). While it was obviously necessary for the Charlotte Observer to coax a denial out of Roy Williams, their coverage of said accusations included the following, not-biased-at-all observations about McCants, who is described by the paper’s Andrew Carter as a college dropout who may or may not be employed.

During his years at UNC, McCants, who is from Asheville, was known for his grumpy demeanor and for making controversial statements. He once compared playing at UNC to being in prison, and in interviews he often spoke of how he felt he was misunderstood. He wore several tattoos, one of which read, “Born to be hated, dying to be loved.”

Several former UNC basketball players used Twitter to dismiss McCants’ comments. John Henson, who played at UNC from 2009 through 2012, described McCants as “certified bonkers” and “disreputable.”

VIDEO : GHETTO GHOULS – “Simple C”

Posted in Austin, record collector disease, Rock Und Roll at 8:59 pm by

Hey everybody, it’s a new video from the the Austin foursome Mish Way recently suggested might be really adept at sex.  Someday. Who can tell for certain?  If I was in speculation business, I’d bet their next single is fucking great, too.  Either way, killer performance by Andy Serkis.

06.06.14

On Behalf Of Everyone Who’s Ever Driven A Cab…

Posted in Basketball, twitter twatter at 8:43 pm by

…Paul Shirley can go fuck himself.

Paulie Go Nuts : I’m Better Than d’Arnaud & Recker

Posted in Baseball, Horse Racing at 8:22 pm by

Former Mets catcher / scourge of Long Island high schools / thoroughbred racing enthusiast Paul Lo Duca chatted with WFAN’s Joe Benigno-Gazingo & Evan Roberts Friday, and when the trio weren’t talking Belmont Stakes, Boogie Shoes offered a scathing assessment of the current Queens backstop corps.   From the New York Post’s Justin Terranova :

“I could hit better left-handed than the schmucks they’ve got there now,” Lo Duca said.

Lo Duca, who was named in the Mitchell Report in 2007, saved most of his frustration for Omar Minaya. The former Mets GM acquired the veteran catcher from the Marlins for two minor leaguers before the 2006 season.

“The issue that the Mets have is that after 2006 and 2007, when we all were there … they stuck their hopes in a guy that, let’s be honest, had no clue what was going on,” said Lo Duca, who signed with the Nationals before the 2008 season.

“None. The guy was an idiot. And he ended up making the franchise go backwards. Where the Mets have always made the mistake is they’ve always settled for mediocrity. As a Mets fan, I’m done with it. Besides ’06 and ’07, give me some other years besides 2000 … And then they go build this ballpark that’s mammoth, and your franchise player [David Wright] is a hitting star who has four home runs!”

06.05.14

Eugene Accuser : Ducks Prioritize Winning “Over Safety Of Students”

Posted in Basketball, College Spurts, The Law at 11:45 pm by

In early May, 3 members of the University Of Oregon Men’s Basketball squad, Damyean Dotson (above), Dominic Artis and Brandon Austin were suspended from the team in connection with rape allegations from two months earlier.  Though the Lane County D.A. declined to press charges, it was reported that Austin had transfered to Oregon after being investigated in connection with a sexual assault claim in Providence last November.  On Thursday, the accuser in the former case issued the following letter to The Daily Emerald thru her attorney :

An open letter from a fellow Duck:

The past few months have, undeniably, been the hardest and most challenging time in my life. This is such an overwhelming experience and one that I hope that no other student on campus ever has to live through. Given what has transpired on campus recently, I have at times wondered whether I ever should have told anyone about what had happened.

I know a lot of people are angry. I am angry, too. I am angry with the culture that appears to exist in our athletic department that prioritizes winning over safety of our students. I cannot fathom how our basketball coach recruited someone who was in the middle of a suspension for another sexual assault to come to Eugene. I think that students, faculty, and other community members have been asking some very needed questions of our athletic department, and I am not satisfied with the answers they have provided. I think that we all deserve better explanations and real transparency.

Despite my frustration, it is important to me to thank the Dean of Students office. They have been very kind and supportive of me and I can’t thank them enough. I’m not sure I would still be on campus if it weren’t for their help.

I know this has stirred up a lot of issues on campus and some of them are bigger than my incident. My sincere hope, though, is that as a school UO can get through this and come out in a better place at the end. I still love our school and I want it to be the best and safest place anywhere in the country.