I’m Getting The Distinct Impression Mike Leach Isn’t On Grindr…

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron, The Internet at 5:48 pm by

…or a hetero/Juggalo equivalent.

Nets Marketing Department Found A Way To Make A Preseason Game Memorable

Posted in Basketball, We Aren't The World at 3:15 pm by

“Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), Maccabi USA, Maccabi World Union, and Maccabi Tel-Aviv will host a VIP reception before the Brooklyn Nets take on the Israeli and European hoops champions Maccabi Tel-Aviv in their first pre-season game on Tuesday, Oct. 7,” read the press release at Jewish Political News & Updates earlier this month (“the VIP reception will pay special tribute to Israeli soldiers wounded in the recent IDF Operation Protective Edge and, at the same time, to the Guest of Honor, NBA Hall of Famer, Dolph Schayes, 86, the only Jewish player to be selected as one of the 50 all-time NBA best”). Lest you think an event honoring IDF Operation Protective Edge is no big deal at a major North American sporting event, The Nation’s Dave Zirin warns, “the specter of a pro-Palestinian protest at an Israeli sporting event” is coming to Brooklyn.

I spoke to Tsvia Thier, an Israeli citizen now living in New York, who plans to be a part of whatever protest assembles outside the Barclays Center on October 7th. She said to me, “Israel dropped thousands of pounds of weapons on Gaza. More than 2,000 people died. More than 500 children were killed. There has been no justice for this. We cannot allow for these games to go forward without bearing witness…as if these criminal acts did not just take place. Our memories cannot be that short.” Thier was on her way to a meeting of the group Jewish Voice for Peace to raise plans to protest when I spoke with her.

The NBA has made no announcements to signal any effort to bring a Palestinian basketball team to the United States, despite the league’s popularity in both the West Bank and Gaza. The absence of an invitation is somewhat understandable, because, if international soccer is any guide, even if invited the players probably would not be able to attend. Surrounded by armed checkpoints, attempting to journey to the United States would be a frustrating if not fruitless act. Commissioner Adam Silver, who acted with great moral clarity during the Donald Sterling debacle, should make it his mission to invite a Palestine club team to the United States, and apply pressure to make it a reality. It would be a sign that he is willing to do what so many will not: recognize the humanity of the Palestinian people. He should also tell Maccabi that they will be delinking these NBA preseason games from Friends of the IDF


Not Coming To An Episode Of “Olbermann” Anytime Soon : Why Dale Berra Isn’t One Of Top 10 All-Time Yankees

Posted in Baseball, Sports Radio at 9:10 pm by

Friday, a caller asked why Derek Jeter wore No. 2. Francesa gave a windy, condescending, expert answer: The Yankees always have given single-digit numbers to those projected for greatness.

You know why you never before knew that? Because it’s Francesa-fabricated bunk. In fact — and thanks to reader Brian Murphy for No. 2 research — between Bobby Murcer and Jeter, the Yankees issued No. 2 to Tim Foli (1984), Dale Berra (1985) and Wayne Tolleson (1986-90). All played for the Yankees after extensive careers with other teams.

Francesa, who never admits an error — in his case that would be admitting that he falsifies facts, that he’s full of it — won’t make good on this. Why should he? The tape’s lost. And either way, he’s so much better than us. – Phil Mushnick, New York Post, September 29, 2014

Much as I hate to take issue with Phil, it should be noted the Yankees have yet to award number 62 to any member of the major league roster since Joba Chamberlain’s departure for Detroit. That is, with the exception of Austin Romine, who’s changed numbers 4 times in 3 seasons because the club can’t decide which all-time great they’re modeling him after!

Jeff Kent Thinks Detroit’s Fauria Needs To Come Up With A Better Excuse

Posted in Dogs, Gridiron at 6:24 pm by

Not to get all Darren Rovell on you, but there’s a huge endorsement opportunity here.


Lance Stephenson : Reducing Racial Slurs By Nearly 60%

Posted in Basketball, Hip Hop at 9:38 pm by

Newly acquired Hornets SG Lance Stephenson, “wants to do more than just play basketball,” writes the Charlotte Observer’s Jonathan Jones, pointing out that Stephenson’s cover of Bobby Shmurda’s “Hot Nigga” is not entirely faithful to the original :

Stephenson took the beat to the song and says in four hours he came up with his lyrics. He stripped Shmurda’s lyrics of misogyny and gun violence and replaced them with rhymes about his basketball talents, endorsements for his And 1 shoe company, reminiscing about watching Allen Iverson, his excitement to play with Hornets point guard Kemba Walker and more.

Brooklyn-bred now I’m out in N.C.,” the end of the song’s first verse goes. “Me and Kemba in the backcourt n—as as dead meat/Pops held me, down kept me out the streets/They wonder how the rose grew up out the concrete…

“I’ve been ballin’ hard since like the fifth grade/Watching A.I. gettin’ 40 with the French braids/Love Indiana, I’m gonna miss some good days/Charlotte Hornet, M.J. that’s a new way.”

The song uses the N-word nine times, down 13 from the original song. Although the word is commonly used in rap as well as in many professional sports team’s locker rooms that are predominantly African-American, Stephenson said he was cognizant of the message it might send to kids who view him as a role model.

This week he released the music video, which includes him driving a Rolls Royce, wearing a retro Larry Johnson jersey and doing a dance he created called the Born Ready Dance. He blanked out the nine times he used the N-word, acknowleding its offense to others.

The Swingin’ A’s Decidedly NSFW Wild Card Celebration

Posted in Baseball at 7:46 pm by

Gertrude Stein once famously said of Oakland, CA, “there’s no there there.”  Conversely, teams merely securing an entry into a one-game playoff for further marbles are often advised to “act like you’ve been there before”.   So this might explain some of the confusing scenes that took place above.


Bobby Abreu Will Be Fondly Remembered…By One Big Fan In Particular

Posted in Baseball, History's Great Hook-Ups at 7:55 pm by

Incredibly, this weekend marks the final games prior to retirement for another active New York player that probably shouldn’t have been in the lineup nearly as often this season. Congrats on a nice, 18-year career, Mets OF/PH Bobby Abreu, who also holds the high honor of being the subject of one of the most visited/regurgitated CSTB posts of all-time. From July 6, 2007, “We Have No Reason To Believe Michael Kay Placed The Following Advertisement”:

On the bright side, at least somebody is doing something to ease tensions between Venezuela and the United States.

Looking for a ‘Bobby Abreu type’ ass – 30 (Upper East Side)


From The Desk Of Randy L : Where’s My Number Retirement Ceremony?

Posted in Baseball at 8:17 pm by

(from time to time, noted Bronx baseball executive Randy L’s musings on matters sporting and otherwise appear here at CSTB.  Upon learning the Milwaukee Brewers plan to retire the uniform no. 1 in honor of former owner / retiring MLB commissioner Bud Selig, Randy offered, no, he demanded to have his say – GC)

So, did you all enjoy the dramatic events at the baseball temple known as Yankee Stadium last night? Unless you’re a sad, jealous crank like this blog’s editor (or perhaps a guy who changes sports media jobs more often than normal people change light bulbs) I’m assuming every last one of you.  But I don’t suppose you had any idea that our oversexed General Manager had been petitioning the league office since early that morning to have the game called (something about finding “a dead ringer for Patricia Heaton” on this website)  and it took my intervention to get the contest in, thus preserving yet another historic moment for our beloved Captain and the entire Yankee Universe.

But that’s the sort of thing I manage to pull off routinely.  Who secured Metallica for Mariano Rivera’s big send off?  That’s right, Randy L.   Who maneuvered — at great personal risk & expense — to finally rid our clubhouse of a preening, primping presence, a crummy teammate whose lack of ethics were only matched by his disinterest in women who can’t bench press more than 400 lbs?  Right again, genius!  Randy L!  Ever wonder who is personally responsible for the disappearance of that annoying “Freddie Sez” character?

I rarely take credit for these achievements because as the late George Steinbrenner once told me, “it’s not the name on the back of the uniform, it’s the name on the front.” “But Mr. Steinbrenner, we don’t put the players’ names on the back of their jerseys,” I told him.   “Really?  GREAT WORK, Levine.”

(then he mumbled something about leaving the franchise to me in his will, but I’ve been told several times this would go nowhere in a court of law.)

So go ahead, retire a number for Bud Selig.  It’s not as though the Brewers don’t have plenty of numbers already available for that kind of thing. Here in the Bronx, however, we’re retired many numbers, 16 to be exact. True, I’ve never taken the field in pinstripes, but neither did Jackie Robinson, and his #42 is already on the do-not-use-list. I’m not suggesting for a moment this wonderful Civil Rights pioneer isn’t deserving of the honor, but since he isn’t alive to argue against my being honored in similar fashion, who are you to put words in his mouth?

I’m pretty happy with number 2.  And because I’m as magnanimous as I’m handsome, I’m totally OK sharing it with Derek Jeter.  Seeing as he’s the most unselfish Yankee, nay, human being of all time, I refuse to entertain the possibility he’s got a problem with the idea. That’s the difference between you and me (well, that and the size of our IQ’s and bank accounts) — I simply believe in Derek Jeter more than you do.

See you in Monument Park

Randy L.

Even At 70 Years Of Age, The Funkster Is Stretching The Boundaries Of Semi-Retirement

Posted in Professional Wrestling at 7:41 pm by

I don’t know how they do things in Thunder Bay, but in Amarillo TX you don’t insult a young child’s artistic chops, and you certainly don’t diss Terry Funk. Though Hannibal’s been doing exactly that for the last two years.

Lee Elia Wants To Know : Does Hunter Pence Kiss His Mom With That Mouth?

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 3:37 pm by

One of the great orators of the modern age unburdened himself last night after the Giants clinched an NL Wild Card berth. Can you imagine how (fucking) excited Pence would be if San Francisco had actually won the division?


Another Important Message From The Entertainment Division of Cumbucket Media

Posted in 12XU, Austin, Internal Affairs, record collector disease, Rock Und Roll at 8:22 pm by

fleshlights2013 (21 of 31)

(photo by Autumn Spadaro Cali, l-r : Ussery, Steen, Vandever)

Flesh Lights‘Free Yourself’ (12XU 069-1)   In Stores November 4.

Guitarist/vocalist Max Vandever and cousin Elissa Ussery (drums/vocals) migrated from San Antonio and began their assault on Austin’s live music dumps in 2008 playing as a duo under ill-advised names including but not limited to Candle Shop & The Psychic Reader, Dead Ledger and Carousel Images. After poaching bassist/vocalist Jeremy Steen from an early lineup of The Gospel Truth, the newly dubbed Flesh Lights (this name being approved by a focus group — A PERVERTED FOCUS GROUP), the trio quickly became a fixture on whatever you-got-songs-in-my-punk / you-got-punk-in-my-songs circuit that began to coalesce around the alleged live music capital. A pile of records soon followed ; 7”’s for Twistworthy and Super Secret, a killer debut album for the former imprint in the form of 2012’s ‘Muscle Pop’, this past summer’s “No Longer” single, etc. There’s also a 2013 national tour at the behest of The Hive which briefly elevated The Flesh Lights from subterranean spots to the sort of rooms that have bouncers who lift weights, but feel free to consider that an aberration (until The Hives come back, HINT HINT)


Pretty early on, this trio established themselves as being songcraft devotees without much self-consciousness (and that’s not meant to be an allusion to Steen’s brief projectile vomiting streak). And while those of us who bought ‘Muscle Pop’ consider it a bona fide classic, LP #2, ‘Free Yourself’ functions as so much more than a sequel ; the band claim they told producer Evan Kleinecke to make it sound like ‘Heaven Tonight’, but they could’ve thrown in the Exploding Hearts, Dictators, Only Ones or Teenage Fanclub while they were at it. Fortunately, they didn’t — he’s being paid by the hour.

I could go on about Vandever’s ridiculous development as a guitarist, about how following this band onstage is a great way to look super feeble, but I trust a good looking, super intelligent person like yourself to eventually figure it out. Because I hate hyperbole with every bone in my body (in yours, too!), I’m dead fucking serious when I say the best things about living in America right now are universal health care, the advent of driverless automobiles and the Flesh Lights. Not necessarily in that order.

Hoping Against Hope A Rather Litigious Resident Of Taylor, TX Has No Issues Here

Posted in Baseball, record collector disease at 8:19 pm by

Kevin Niemann’s B— F— inspired stickers hailing the 2014 Orioles’ pennant chase are available from Accidental Guest.

Letha Rodman Melchior

Posted in goodbye at 3:10 pm by

Most sensible persons under the age of a thousand don’t wanna hear about how awesome things were in downtown NYC in the late ’80′s / early ’90′s. For one thing, not everything was awesome. For another, there’s actual real-life-shit happening right now all over the place that’s also worth obsessing over. But if you’ll allow me a brief bit of looking-back-indulgence, I consider myself crazy fortunate to have known so many amazing people from that era. And it never ceases to amaze me how many of those same persons have made colossal artistic strides (in more than one medium) in the decades since.

Letha Rodman Melchior
was one such person. I got to know her back in the days when my not-entirely competent band was fortunate to play several times with her far more accomplished Ruby Falls ; she without question had the kind of soul + creative mind combo that made everyone in her orbit incredibly happy to share her company.

Years later, after I’d left New York and before she’d relocated to North Carolina, Letha did the virtual elbow-in-the-ribs thing on me concerning the musical output of husband/collaborator Dan, whom at the time I was barely familiar with. People love to throw words like “prolific” or “adventurous” around (ok, maybe they don’t actually love the throwing of “adventurous” but they do it anyway) but none of that is ample warning for the dizzying amount of musical terrain he’s covered. I’ve got a shelf full of Dan’s recordings and there’s awesome surprises on every one of them.

Later still, Letha’s own works as a visual and sound artist began to emerge and no diss to Ruby Falls (whom I loved) is intended when I say she’d honed her respective crafts to a staggering degree.

Letha passed away yesterday after a cancer fight she chronicled with incredible courage, grace and wit. For those familiar with her work, the loss is big. For her family and friends, it’s incalculable. My thoughts today are with everyone who knew her and cared about her.

(donations to Letha’s health care expenses can be made here)

(addendum : though the fundraiser linked to above appears to be down at the moment —- and I’ll post a new link when or if one’s available — there’s a November 9 benefit at Brooklyn’s Rough Trade featuring a host of Letha’s New York friends and former bandmates including Versus, Antietam, the Thalia Zedek Band, the Rogers Sisters and Cynthia Nelson)


Leeds Owner Cellino : We’ve Got Our Watermelon!

Posted in Football at 10:24 pm by

Darko Milanic stepped down as Sturm Graz manager over the weekend after having been poached by Leeds United.  The latter’s owner, Italian businessman Massimo Cellino expressed great enthusiasm over the acquisition, with the following quotes culled by The Guardian :

The Leeds owner confirmed the former Slovenia international and “very cool guy”as the club’s manager. “Yes, we agreed a two-year deal,” Cellino told Sky Sports News. “He’s just arrived today. We’ve been waiting for him about 15 days. I don’t know [why I’ve chosen him]. The coaches are like watermelons. You find out about them when you open them. His particularly qualities? He’s good-looking, what can I tell you?

“He was a very good counterattacking defender with Partizan Belgrade and Sturm Graz, and a good coach with Maribor for four years and took the club to the Champions League and Europa League, and he made it good as player and coach and he likes the Premier League.

“He gave up his place in the Premier League in Austria to come to the Championship with Leeds, and we hope that the club in Leeds is a good chance for him to have a good team and an important club to run, so he can make us proud. He does not talk much and is very pragmatic. I like him. He is a very cool guy.”

ESPN Calls The Sports Putz’ Bluff : Simmons Gets 3 Weeks Off…

Posted in Gridiron, Sports Journalism at 8:21 pm by

…and with the NBA regular season more than a month away, is this really that big a deal? The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir reports Grantland editor-in-chief Bill Simmons has been suspended by ESPN after daring the network to do exact that.

On a podcast on Grantland, the sports site owned by ESPN, Simmons sharply criticized Goodell’s handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence case and called him a liar.

“I just think not enough is being made out of the fact that they knew about the tape and they knew what was on it,” Simmons said. “Goodell, if he didn’t know what was on that tape, he’s a liar. I’m just saying it. He is lying. I think that dude is lying. If you put him up on a lie detector test that guy would fail.

“And for him to go in that press conference and pretend otherwise, I was so insulted. I really was.”

Simmons challenged ESPN to discipline him for his words: “You leave me alone. The commissioner is a liar, and I get to talk about that on my podcast.”

In a statement about the suspension, ESPN said: “Every employee must be accountable to ESPN and those engaged in our editorial operations must also operate within ESPN’s journalistic standards. We have worked hard to ensure that our recent N.F.L. coverage has met that criteria. Bill Simmons did not meet those obligations in a recent podcast, and as a result we have suspended him for three weeks.”

Elsewhere, it’s being reported that Simmons is barred from Twitter as well, which should come as a serious blow to those hoping to generate positive coverage for the Cassette Store Day 21sd Anniversary edition of the Counting Crows’ ‘August & Everything After’.

Ex-Sunderland Striker Asamoah Gyan : I Did Not Kill My M.C. Pal As Part Of A Ritual Sacrifice

Posted in Football at 12:23 pm by

Earlier this year, Ghanian rapper Theophilus Tagoe aka Castro de Destroyer, disappeared after a jet ski outing at a resort in Ada, Ghana.  Tagoe and his girlfriend were presumed drowned, though their bodies were never recovered, and there’s apparently been enough wild speculation surrounding the role of Ghana international striker Asamoah Gyan in their disappearance that the former Sunderland star issued a long statement via his lawyers yesterday, as The Guardian reports :

The declaration, recited by lawer Kissi Agyabeng, attacked the media for “wild allegations and rumours … ranging from the absurd – of the imputation of criminality to [Gyan] in the sense that he either murdered Castro or had him kidnapped – and ending with the ludicrous – that he sacrificed him spiritually to enhance his career.

“We have been silent while these wild allegations and rumours have been peddled in the media. We have been silent not because we are concealing anything or that we do not feel the need to fully state what, from our reckoning, had happened in Ada. We have been silent because we did not want to interfere with police investigations.

“In our painful silence, we have been totally dismayed by the fact that the platform was provided for the peddling of these wild and ludicrous allegations and rumours against us. Those to whom the platform was provided offered no evidence whatsoever to back their statements. And indeed, the allegation of spiritual sacrifice can by no stretch of the imagination be propped up.”

The statement added: “We take the opportunity and state without the slightest doubt in our minds that we are not blamable for the disappearance of Castro and Janet Bandu. We had no hand in that occurrence. We have no moral or legal culpability whatsoever. None of us rode out into the open estuary with Castro and Janet Bandu. Castro rode out there on his own volition and none of us have the slightest idea as to what happened to them.


There’s A Strong Chance Andrew Gaze’s Alma Mater Has Already Banned Lecherous Gaze

Posted in Free Expression, Radio, record collector disease, Rock Und Roll at 8:35 pm by

Years ago, I recall Seton Hall University’s campus radio station, WSOU, being one of the few eastern U.S. college broadcasters to largely eschew alternative/underground/indie rock/whatever programming in favor of a mostly metal programming slate. At the time, it didn’t occur to me that WSOU’s license holder, a Roman Catholic institute of higher learning, might be at odds with many of the themes and sentiments expressed, but apparently such contradictions have come up in conversation a few times.  WFMU and Dangerous Minds both published the following earlier this week :

Though it’s nice to see that Kilslug spinoff Upside Down Cross have made the big time (sort of), how are WSOU brass thoroughly unfamiliar with Adolf Satan?

There Are Most Certainly Second Acts In Serbian Life : Darko Transistions To “The Sport of The Future”

Posted in Basketball at 7:38 pm by

…the sport, as touted by John Cusack’s Lloyd Dobbler in Cameron Crowe’s “Say Anything”, being kickboxing. Ball Don’t Lie’s Dan Devine ably translates the following press release from NBA Serbia concerning the latest career segue for former #2 overall NBA draft pick Darko Milicic :

The top-ranked Serb in the history of the NBA draft, Darko Milicic, will officially become a kickboxer on Wednesday at the Falkensteiner Hotel in Belgrade, when he will officially sign a contract with the World Association of Kickboxing Organizations (WAKO).

Milicic will sign a contract with Barbara Falsoni, director of WAKO PRO, who will also announce the famous basketball player’s first kickboxing match.

For the last year and a half, Milicic has not played basketball, but only done individual training and various strength and conditioning programs. There is no doubt he will have a lot of work to do to find his way around in the ring. However, he is not the first Serbian basketball player to dedicate himself to combat sports. Before he did it, so did Igor Rakocevic, former captain of Red Star Belgrad


Boxing’s Biggest John Cage Fan Leaves The Media Wanting More

Posted in Boxing at 11:21 pm by

British heavyweight Tyson Fury takes his 16-0 record into a rematch with Dereck Chisora in 12 days, yet it was the promotional campaign for the pair’s first bout last June that left Fury £15,000 poorer after the British Boxing Board of Control got done with him. As you’ll see from the clip above, on Monday, Fury was taking no chances whatsoever.

Jeter : There’s No Gift Basket (So Don’t Even Ask For One)

Posted in Baseball, History's Great Hook-Ups at 11:02 pm by

In Monday’s issue of New York Magazine, soon-retiring Yankees SS Derek Jeter touches on a number of topics with the publication’s Chris Smith including but not limited to politics (he voted for Obama), his new book imprint (Jeter Publishing), the media (they ask lots of “boring questions”) and Alex Rodriguez (see above!).   Jeter was a tad more effusive, however, in denying the long-standing rumor he’s presented any number of one-night-stands with parting gifts before they begin their walk(s) of shame to the subway.

The Post once claimed that after sleeping with women, Jeter would leave a gift basket of signed memorabilia in the car taking the “conquest” home. He’s avoided commenting on the item for three years. But he’s still annoyed. “Like I’m giving them signed baseballs and pictures of myself on the way out! Who comes up with a story like that?” He laughs, incredulous. “It said the reason people found out was because I gave the same girl the same basket and I had forgotten I’d given her one—like there are so many people coming through I forgot!” Even if Jeter were cheesy enough to have handed out souvenirs, he’s far too careful to have made that kind of mistake.

As opposed to who, this guy?


The NY Post’s Self-Appointed Conscience Of Sports Media Has Finally Moved From Relentlessly Criticizing Jay-Z, Drake…

Posted in Hip Hop, Sports Journalism, Sports TV at 11:50 pm by

…only because Bristol U. has served up another easy target. From Phil Mushnick’s column for Sunday’s New York Post  :

ESPN, the Worldwide Leader in Destroying Sports, spent days making “Woe is us” over Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy — just to name a few. Yet Thursday, as its special guest on “First Take,” it welcomed the vulgar, N-wording, love-my-Glocks, trash-my-women, ain’t-I-great, ganged-up rapper Jadakiss.

Jadakiss, real name Jason Phillips, is straight out of rapper central casting — he even has been arrested twice for gun possession. But not even after 10 days filled with national angst and calamity over the lawlessness among athletes — as seen, heard and discussed on ESPN — could move ESPN off its good-for-business, cross-promotional embracement of hardcore, criminal rappers.

Maybe next week “First Take” could invite the cops who have dealt with Jadakiss and his crew in Yonkers.

Why let the lack of a felony conviction get in the way of branding an artist, nay, an entire genre, criminal? Are Jadakiss’ alleged offenses against the community any greater than Skip Bayless’ crimes against common sense?

Coming October 7 : xNoBBQx’s First Austin Appearance In 6 Years

Posted in Austin, record collector disease, Rock Und Roll at 5:20 pm by

To paraphrase that great man of letters, Bart Scott,  CAN’T WAIT.

From The Desk Of Randy L : Jeter Castigators Don’t Deserve This Glorious Farewell Tour

Posted in Baseball at 4:57 pm by

(EDITOR’S NOTE : from  time to time, Bronx baseball executive Randy L. graces CSTB with his observations on matters sporting and otherwise.  In the wake of SNY “Loudmouths” co-host Chris Carlin calling Yankee captain Derek Jeter “a fraud” earlier this week, Randy offered, no, he insisted on having his say – GC)

Greetings, Yankee Universe (and the small number of this blog’s readers who can get this far without the help of a special-education tutor).  The 2014 MLB season has been challenging for all of us.  When we broke camp last spring, the organization had 3 simple items on our agenda.  The first two —  win our 28th World Championship, find a way to escape our contractual obligations to Alex Rodriguez  —- have clearly not been completed to anyone’s satisfaction.  But the third task on our checklist —- spend the entire year paying homage to the greatness, class and everlasting clutchiness (clutchitude?  clutchworthiness?) of my captain and yours, Derek Jeter —- has in my estimation, been handled with all the understated elegance & grace you’ve come to associated with Jeter’s career.

As befitting our modern age, these efforts to honor Derek have not been without detractors. ESPN.com’s Buster Olney has the unmitigated gall to suggest our club would’ve been better off had Jeter been kept out of the lineup, a suggestion so fantastic, I am resisting every urge in body to have this columnist fired and then “disappeared” as some of my friends in the security business like to say.

Suppose, for instance, earlier this year, you purchased a ticket to see the Broadway musical adaptation of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”, starring the multi-talented Neil Patrick Harris.  Though upon arriving at the Belasco Theatre, you’re told that Mr. Harris is indisposed and performing in his place will an understudy, a person with no serious credentials to speak of and relatively little star power, charisma, skill, really, any redeeming qualities whatsoever.  For the sake of argument, let’s  just call this performer, “Brian Cashman”.   Would you, the paying customer, welcome this pretender with open arms? Or would you instead, scream bloody murder and attempt to find the Belasco Theatre’s equivalent of well, me, and demand a refund?   I think we already know the answer to this question.

That said, Olney’s attacks on this organization are mild when compared to the slurs delivered by the thoroughly unpleasant Chris Carlin.  The latter expressed the ill-founded opinion that Derek Jeter is “a fraud” and seems to consider our shortstop’s Farewell Tour some sort of exercise in egomania.

It would be an understatement to say that I’m shocked.  For starters, I don’t know what’s harder to believe, that anyone would pay Carlin to appear on television or that the New York Mets have some sort of cable channel of their own.  Though I’m happy to know the production team behind the old Robin Byrd Show (ask your parents….or John Sterling) have landed on their feet with SNY’s “Loudmouths”, who the hell is Chris Carlin to be questioning Derek Jeter’s credibility?

I don’t suppose many of you are familiar with a piece of SNY lowbrow dross called “Beer Money”, but I have it on very good authority that throughout this game show’s run, contestants were routinely fed answers to questions in a manner not unlike the TOTAL SCAM depicted above. So really, Chris, who’s the fucking fraud now? A guy who’ll be in the Hall Of Fame on the first ballot or a local TV/radio schulb whose parting gifts to dates usually consist of penicillin and sealed copies of “Afterlife With Archie”?

But whatever. Who’d pick “Beer Money” or “Loudmouths” when you could watch Michael Kay’s “CenterStage” with Kevin Pollak instead? NOT ME.

Thanks for everything, Derek!


Fans Of Dan Snyder’s Football Team Complain Of Comedy Central Ambush, Lack Of Talking Points

Posted in Gridiron, Racism Corner at 8:35 pm by

(Blackhorse, far more durable than RGIII)

Earlier this week, Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” and correspondent Jason Jones solicited Washington R——- fans to participate in a segment that apparently ended with their being confronted by unamused Native Americans.  As the Washington Post’s Ian Shapira explains, this wasn’t exactly what the volunteers signed up for.

The encounter at a Dupont Circle hotel was so tense that an Alexandria fan said she left in tears and felt so threatened that she later called the police. She has told “The Daily Show” to leave her out of the segment but doesn’t know whether the producers will comply.

“This goes way beyond mocking. Poking fun is one thing, but that’s not what happened,” said Kelli O’Dell, 56, a former teacher who lives in Alexandria and doesn’t watch the show regularly. “It was disingenuous. The Native Americans accused me of things that were so wrong. I felt in danger. I didn’t consent to that. I am going to be defamed.”

The Native Americans who confronted the Redskins fans — including Amanda Blackhorse, the lead plaintiff in the case that stripped the Redskins of their trademark protections this year and is being appealed — said in interviews that they marched into the room and accused the fans of backing a racist mascot.

“My heart goes out to them because they are people, too,” said Tara Houska, an Ojibwe from Couchiching First Nation who lives in the District and works for the grass-roots group Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry. “But it’s a weird position for them to take, because someone is crying over the loss of their offensive mascot when I am right there, standing in front of them. I don’t think they’re racist. I think their mascot is racist.”

“Going up against Amanda Blackhorse? It’s like playing football and they’re going to have RGIII,” Hawkins said, referring to injured Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III. “I am just an average fan. These are activists who have media training and talking points.”

Sun’s Zurawik On The Ravens’ Credibility Collapse

Posted in Gridiron, Sports Journalism at 4:22 pm by

As you’ve probably read by now, ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” made a number of (unsurprising) claims last night regarding the Baltimore Ravens’ knowledge of exactly-what-happened it that Atlantic City hotel elevator between former RB Ray Rice and his fiancee-at-the-time, Janay.  Between the club being told details about the incriminating video, Rice’s confession to Ozzie Newsome and owner Steve Bischotti’s “wait ’til all this blows over” tweet to Rice, a picture has been painted of a franchise far more concerned with self-preservation than the truth. If nothing else, the Ravens’ charmed life with Charm City’s Fourth Estate has come to a sputtering halt, with the Baltimore Sun’s Dave Zurawik declaring, “the narrative of the ESPN investigation, which says that Bisciotti, club president Dick Cass and general manager Ozzie Newsome drove that cover-up, is decidedly at odds with the version of events that much of the Baltimore media has embraced once it was shaken out of it years-long ‘In Ozzie We Trust,’ Stepford-Wives-like stupor in covering the team.”

The narrative now being peddled by some in Baltimore media is that it’s all the fault of Goodell and the NFL — they are the evil parties. Of course, the Ravens wanted to help out Ray; that’s because Steve, Dick and Ozzie are good, decent and loyal guys. So, let’s focus our hate on Goodell. That way we can acknowledge that something bad happened in that elevator but not be made to feel unwelcome at the Castle.

The other revelation in the ESPN probe – and I have no way yet of knowing if it is true – is that Coach John Harbaugh wanted to get rid of Rice in February right after TMZ posted the first video. But, the report claims, Harbaugh was overruled by his bosses, the three guys allegedly driving the cover-up.

If that proves to be true, I will have a new and profound respect for Harbaugh. And I will have new contempt for Bisciotti, who sent Harbaugh out alone the night the video was posted to face the firestorm of press coverage it ignited. (Bisciotti subsequently said the day was “so emotionally tough” on him “there was no way” he could have prepared to meet the press that night.)