03.31.15

Scarbinsky : Saban Failed To Show Up For A Teachable Moment

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

Alabama head coach Nick Saban faced the media Monday after S Geno Smith’s 2nd DUI bust in as many years and DT Jonathan Taylor’s 2nd domestic abuse charge in roughly the same span. Though Taylor was dismissed from the team Tuesday, AL.com’s Kevin Scarbinsky was unimpressed with Saban’s remarks, arguing the latter “spent far more time and energy defending himself, his decisions, his program and even his two players,” rather than addressing the real issues at hand.

He made sure to tell us that Geno Smith is a good person, despite his second DUI arrest in two years. Saban used those exact words to describe Jonathan Taylor – “I still think he’s a good person” – despite Taylor’s record of two domestic violence arrests in two different states while a member of two different SEC football programs in less than a year.

This is all Saban said about domestic violence during his 13 minutes at the podium:

“I certainly don’t condone that kind of behavior, especially when it comes to how females are treated. That’s something we try to create a lot of awareness for with our players. We would certainly be very cautious about any player that had any character problem but especially something like this would be something that we would be very careful about, you know, in the future.”

This is all he said about drunk driving:

“Rather than try to condemn Geno for what he did, which I don’t approve of, I don’t even drink so I don’t approve of driving and putting other people in danger when they’re drinking. So I don’t want you to think I’m condoning what he did. I don’t. We’re disappointed in it.”

It would’ve been encouraging to hear the angry Saban thunder away at the NCAA’s hypocrisy in accepting huge amounts of money from beer advertising during the NCAA Tournament while its schools battle the very real problems of underage and excessive drinking on college campuses.

Imagine the headlines today if Saban had attacked the issue of domestic violence with the same fire and fury he once turned on unscrupulous agents when he compared them to “pimps.”

Motivational Genius Fred Wilpon To Mets : Don’t Make Me Baseball’s Leon Hess

Posted in Baseball at 12:34 am by


(above : the young Fred Wilpon)

While citing the Mets’ Monday acquisitions of LHRP’s Alex Torres and Jerry Blevins, the New York Daily News’ Andy Martino takes issue with principal owner Fred Wilpon’s reticence — today’s clubhouse pep talk aside — to take the sort of high profile approach to public relations you might associate with, well, our friend Randy L. “Wilpon,” writes Martino, “speaks on the record roughly as often as Bob Dylan these days.” Though if you’re counting the Bard Of Hibbing, MN’s recent AARP interview and public remarks concerning Merle Haggard, it would be more correct to say Wilpon speaks on the record far less often than Bob Dylan.

“Fred has communicated that he’s going to be 79 this year, and he wants to see us win — now,” said one Mets person.

Added a longtime friend of Wilpon’s: “Fred isn’t going to stand for any more losing.”

This not-so-subtle pressure actually fits with the culture Sandy Alderson has tried to establish. Whether it was in privately discussing 90 wins last year, or talking big to the press this winter, the GM has been trying to sow a winning mentality around a team founded in Marv Throneberry punchlines. Alderson’s actions on Monday reflected that attitude, when he moved aggressively to fill a need by acquiring two lefty relievers.

On Monday, Mets people resisted the notion that Jeffrey Toobin’s New Yorker piece from 2011 begat an unofficial media embargo by Wilpon, saying there was no direct link. My own observation is that Wilpon is almost always pleasant, but approaches potential interviews in the same way that one might hop around a field of landmines.

03.30.15

Stubhub : Warriors, Ticketmaster Are In Monopolistic Cahoots

Posted in Basketball, The Law, The Marketplace at 3:27 pm by

Legalized scalpers Secondary market ticket sellers Stubhub is filing suit against Ticketmaster and the NBA’s Golden State franchise, alleging the pair’s exclusive partnership, constitutes “unfair and illegal anti-competitive business practices”.  From Venturebeat’s Paul Sawers :

As per the lawsuit, Ticketmaster and the Golden State Warriors cancelled fans’ season tickets and playoff-game tickets when they elected to use StubHub and “other competitive exchanges” to resell their tickets. “Ticketmaster and the Warriors’ front office broke the law by unlawfully threatening fans with cancellation to force them to use Ticketmaster’s resale exchange exclusively,” the complaint reads.

In effect, StubHub is accusing Ticketmaster of being monopolistic — and this isn’t the first time such accusations have been levied against Ticketmaster. Before its merger with venue operator Live Nation, many bodies voiced their concern that it would reduce competition, and also lead to Ticketmaster favoring Live Nation venues over ones that elect to use alternative ticketing companies. Such actions were forbidden, however, as part of the eventual green light this deal was given in 2010.

03.29.15

If The Callousness & Insensitivity Weren’t Bad Enough…

Posted in New York, New York, non-sporting journalism at 11:31 am by

….if you squint really hard, you can see Bobby Steele folding John Varatos tees in the background.

03.28.15

A Brutal Diss To Wrestling’s Most Impressive Record Holders (R.D. Evans Excepted)

Posted in History's Not Happening, Professional Wrestling at 7:53 pm by

WWE wasn’t sure what to do with him when he returned in 2012, but in the last year he has produced several memorable moments. At last year’s WrestleMania, Lesnar defeated the Undertaker – breaking the 21-0 streak that was the scripted sport’s one true record. It was probably the most shocking wrestling moment in many fans’ lives.

Dan McQuade, “WWE headliner Brock Lesnar is a true athlete”,The Guardian, 3/27/15

Putting aside for a moment whether or not the end of Taker’s streak was a more shocking moment than say, Chris Benoit’s double-murder/suicide or Owen Hart’s tragic death during a live PPV, was 21-0 really “the scripted sport’s one true record”? HOW SOON THEY FORGET BILL & RANDY MULKEY.

03.27.15

Video Footage Of One Of The Most Despised Figures Of The Last Century

Posted in Baseball, politics, Sports TV at 7:20 pm by

…and on the left, Richard M. Nixon.

Dime To Former Helicopter Spinner : Where’s Your God Now?

Posted in Basketball, Religion at 4:29 pm by

OK, OK, I realize that’s not really what Dime’s Jordan White had to say regarding former Warriors head coach Mark Jackson’s remarks, both recent and ancient, in which he claims he’s “praying for” others who’ve either done him dirty, or y’know, live openly as homosexuals.  In White’s view, Jackson should “save your prayers…no one asked for them, and no one needs them.”

“I’m praying for you.” Like religion, that phrase can be used in many ways. It can provide comfort to the mourning and bereaved, but it can also be condescending and spiteful. This isn’t “I’m praying for you guys to have success without me,” it’s “I’m praying for your soul because how dare you fire me, Mark Jackson, who Wasn’t Even Supposed To Be Here, who, despite having Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala couldn’t design a creative offense to save my life.”

Do not mistake Jackson’s comments as one of benevolence. Jackson’s true feelings rest in what is unsaid. He’s not praying for them the way one might pray for a sick friend or for guidance. He’s praying for them the way one prays for the damned — those who do not agree with his core beliefs. It’s at once petty, bigoted, hurtful and close-minded.

As it turns out, neither Jason Collins nor Joe Lacob needed Jackson’s prayers. Collins is seen, rightfully so, as a hero. Lacob, meanwhile, is the happy owner of the best team in the NBA, thanks in large part to a head coach who employs actual strategy to win games, rather than just cultivate an atmosphere of exclusion and a trite, “Us Against The World” mentality.

03.26.15

Assailant To Ex-Cards Outfielder : “Go Back To Ferguson”

Posted in Baseball, Racism Corner at 8:11 pm by

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Christine Byers reports former Cardinals OF Curt Ford was an assault victim last night at a Fenton, MO gas station.

“I’m going to let the authorities handle this situation, but I’ve had enough of St. Louis,” Ford said in a phone interview Thursday. “You hear about this kind of stuff happening, and I always knew it existed because of my previous experience working here in St. Louis, but you try to keep away from it, and there is just no way you can do that unless you stay inside like a hermit.

“I just want justice. It’s all I want.”

Ford, 54, said the experience has made him consider moving, even though, “I care a lot about St. Louis and I love the people here.” He added, “The people I have been involved with are all very positive and all they want to do is work and pay bills. There are very nice people here.”

St. Louis County police from the Fenton precinct arrested James Street, 37, of the 400 block of Saline Road, a white man who allegedly slugged the black former Cardinals player Wednesday after shouting racial slurs at him and telling him to “go back to Ferguson,” the Post-Dispatch has learned.

“I was sucker-punched, blindsided,” Ford said. “I was walking into the store and hit from my blind side.”

What Part Of “We’re Too Broke To Pay For Adequate Security” Don’t You Understand?

Posted in Baseball, New York, New York at 3:24 pm by

Budget cuts from 2009-2013 at Citi Field, aka Fred & Jeff Wilpon’s Monument To Avarice, Greed & Ruining David Wright’s Swing resulted in a 29 percent reduction in game day security personnel according to a report filed by 6 former Mets staffers. On the bright side, at least Fred Wilpon has proven himself impervious to post 9-11 paranoia. From DNAinfo’s James Fanelli :

“Due to the cut backs in the budget (2013) we will be unable to maintain the high quality of security that the ballplayers, guests and staff are accustom (sic) to,” a budget report reads. “In addition the greetings at the gates, exchange of pleasantries at the gates and along with the quailty (sic) of the seaching (sic) at the gates will be reduced.”

The axed event staff director, Bruce Smith, prepared the budget report for Robert Kasdon, the Mets vice president of security, according the legal filing. Smith oversaw security personnel and payroll.

The report points out in bullet form the repercussions of fewer security guards. It warns that “response time will be up,” that there will be “more alleracations (sic) with fans,” “more lawsuits,” “more complaints about service,” and that “searches will have to be cut back on to get fans in.”

The cuts also meant key sections of Citi Field would have fewer guards — and some would be completely unsupervised, according to the report.

“Beer garden cut one post which means one of the seating areas above the bullpens will be uncovered,” the report warns.

“Last year the the (sic) kids zone post was cut, where we are always getting calls there about adults staring at the kids,”
the report adds. “Any additional cuts will leave the smoking area uncovered which is a big area for fights.”

Clearly, the kids zone issue is a serious one, but if the Mets are hellbent on saving money, perhaps they could simply take away Paul Lo Duca’s comped tickets?

03.25.15

Popper Lobbying To Return Calipari To The Scene Of His Greatest Failure

Posted in Basketball at 8:49 pm by

No, not the Meadowlands parking lot, but rather the NBA franchise that represents the sole black eye (in terms of wins and losses, anyway) on his head coaching resume. In Wednesday’s Bergen Record, Steve Popper seriously suggests the best foot forward for the underachieving Brooklyn Nets would be to woo John Calipari away from Lexington, arguing the one-time Nets coach has little left to prove in the amateur ranks. More chillingly, Popper claims Calipari has remained buds with Brooklyn marketing maven Brett Yormark.

So consider this scenario — the Nets figure to have about $60 million in cap space in the summer of 2016, coinciding with a free agent market loaded with talent.

What would it take to draw Calipari from Kentucky back to save the Nets, to oversee a recruiting class on the NBA level? It’s easy to see how it benefits the Nets — an owner who promised a championship in a five-year timetable that expires at the end of this season given a star again, a second citizen in the New York market given a voice again. And for Calipari, coaching for a team in a large market with a deep-pocketed owner puts him squarely in the NBA game again.

For Prokhorov to make it happen, though, there is a path to clear. That would mean Hollins gets cut loose after one season (if it were to come this summer) or two, if they wanted to beat the free agent frenzy next summer.

To land Calipari it would likely mean that he is handed not only the coaching reins, but the keys to the franchise, too, the same ones they wouldn’t give Kidd. That means the sort of power that Stan Van Gundy got in Detroit, Flip Saunders in Minnesota and Doc Rivers with the Clippers.

It’s what Calipari has in Kentucky. It’s what sources close to him believe it would take to be the spot he will land. And all that Calipari could offer the Nets is everything they dreamed they could be.