06.21.16

The Real Cost Of Pro Baseball’s Deferred Return To Hartford, CT

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace, Ugly New Stadiums at 7:04 pm by

The Eastern League’s Hartford Yard Goats — formerly the New Britain Rock Cats — have yet to play a game within city limits during their inaugural season, what with the not-quite-finished Dunkin’ Donuts Park being the subject of a heated dispute between the city and the stadium’s developers, DoNo Hartford LLC and Centerplan. While the Yard Goats have shared a nearby Dodd Stadium with the NY-Penn League’s Connecticut Defenders, locals promised employment by the Rockies AA affiliate are for the time being, seriously fucked, as the Hartford Courant’s Vinny Vella explains :

For 316 Hartford residents, the majority of whom live in the North End within walking distance of the incomplete ball field, minor league baseball’s delayed arrival is more than just an inconvenience.

“Right now, we’re doing horrible,” said Davila, who was counting on the food-service job as her primary source of income. “It’s stressful and depressing. The kids are asking for stuff we can’t give them.”

Tim Restall, the Yard Goats’ general manager, said he understands the employees’ frustrations. He attended the team’s job fair, even interviewed many of the more than 1,000 applicants that afternoon.

“There’s a lot of disappointment. These people are eager and want to get working,” he said. “People see the park and wonder ‘When can we get in it?’ and that’s the tough part. We don’t know.”

The team says its hands are tied, and most of the people they’ve hired understand that — especially, Jashira Gonzalez, who said she doesn’t aim her frustration at being functionally unemployed at the Yard Goats’ front office.

“It’s not the team’s fault. It’s just that the city is messed up,” the Sigourney Street resident said. “I’m looking for a job, but there are no jobs out there for me.”

06.01.16

The Licki (TM) Brush : A Sure Fire Way To Get Your Roommates To Move Out, Instantly

Posted in Cats, The Marketplace at 8:05 pm by

If you’re like me, and I suspect a few of you are, you’ve got no shortage of friends who are contending with troublesome roommates. Since you can’t simply dump a co-tenant’s shit on the sidewalk, consider the advent of the Licki Brush.  Imagine the look of sheer terror on the face or Mr. or Ms. Thing That Wouldn’t Leave when they stumble thru the front door at 1am and find you GROOMING A CAT WITH YOUR MOUTH on the living room floor.  PRESTO, you’ve got plenty of space for more records.

Or cats.  Because after word gets ’round the neighborhood, they’re all gonna be lining up for licking.

05.31.16

The Spitter’s Good : MLB’s Camo Fixation Honors No One

Posted in Baseball, Fashion, The Marketplace at 10:46 pm by

(above : despite an impressive rebound from his recent pitching struggles, Matt Harvey disrespected America’s fallen heroes yesterday by failing to wear camo sleeves)

As you probably noticed, all 30 Major League Baseball clubs donned camouflage caps and jerseys with camo lettering during Monday’s Memorial Day contests. Aside from the obvious aesthetic atrocities (not nearly as bad as Randy Myers modeling for the Cabela’s catalog, but too close for comfort), The Spitter’s Keith Good finds the camo choice, well, inappropriate.

The camo-splashed designs ignorantly disregard the spirit of Memorial Day. Dating back to the Civil War, families set aside a day to commemorate those who died in service of their country. Nothing in MLB’s camogasm costumes commemorate the fallen.

The uniforms instead fall back on the tired trope of blind military glorification. Memorial Day isn’t about glory but the somberness of men and women who left families and never returned. If baseball truly wanted to Memorialize fallen soldiers, their caps and jerseys would feature traditional memorials like poppies, gold stars, and black ribbons.

The truth is a tasteful cap, embroidered with black and poppies, probably wouldn’t move as much merch for Dick’s. Camo is a proven, profitable design. Yes, MLB is donating the profits from their camo caps to charity, but what about the countless sales partners?

05.27.16

Ricky Williams’ Brilliant New Biz Venture : The Smoke Out Workout

Posted in Fitness, Gridiron, The Marketplace at 11:21 pm by

Tech Insider’s Melia Robinson reports 420 Games founder Jim McAlpine is launching San Francisco’s Power Plant Fitness, the nation’s first gym where marijuana consumption is not merely permitted, but actively encouraged. Appropriately enough, McAlpine’s business partners include Heisman winner / celebrated weed enthusiast Ricky Williams (above, left).

“It won’t be a place to get high and just screw around,” Jim McAlpine, founder of the cannabis event series 420 Games and cofounder of Power Plant Fitness, wrote in a blog on the company’s website. “We are focused on the athletic side, not the cannabis side.”

In an email to Tech Insider, McAlpine explains that the gym looks to cannabis as a tool for focus and recovery. New members will take a “cannabis performance assessment” under the supervision of staff to determine the “most optimal ways to consume.” Some might find a bite out a pot brownie gives them the push they need to complete a circuit training workout, while others find it knocks them on the floor.

“We will be helping our members figure out how is best for them to ingest their cannabis,” McAlpine tells Tech Insider in an email.

04.29.16

Early Xmas Shoppers In Cleveland : Consider This A Viable Alternative To “Lump Of Coal”

Posted in Gridiron, The Marketplace at 6:55 pm by

I’d still sooner buy a case of these than ever watch “Draft Day” from start to finish (link swiped from Kevin Kaduk)

04.21.16

Remembering The Time Somebody Ordered Too Few Copies Of ‘Purple Rain’ (And Way Too Many Of ‘Victory’)

Posted in History's Not Happening, record collector disease, Rock Und Roll, The Marketplace at 4:35 pm by

In the summer of 1984, I was employed as clerk/bag security schmoe at the Copley Square location of Strawberries Records and Tapes, the New England chain store owned by Morris Levy (who may or may not have been the inspiration for “The Sopranos” Herman “Hesh” Rabkin). This was a pretty wild time for the music business with a plethora of blockbuster albums by veteran acts competing for shelf space. In the wake of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’, industry expectations were sky-high for The Jacksons’ ‘Victory’, to say nothing of Bruce Springsteen’s hotly anticipated ‘Born In The U.S.A.’. But both would ultimately be overshadowed (in the aisles of that Strawberries, anyway) by Prince’s 6th album, ‘Purple Rain’.

The store’s buyer loaded up on ‘Victory’ LP’s to an insane degree. THOUSANDS of the fuckers, overstock crammed into every available corner of the store’s back rooms and behind countertops. As you may or may not remember, the album was poorly received, the subsequent stadium tour (co-promoted by New England Patriots exec/heir Chuck Sullivan) bombed and well, the staff of Strawberries had boxes of ‘Victory’ hanging over their shoulders all summer long.

‘Born In The U.S.A.’, was of course, another story. Huge critical acclaim, immensely popular videos (even if the Boss was pissing on the flag, see above), and most importatly, the store had enough stock to satisfy demand, but just barely.

‘Purple Rain’, however is where things got crazy. The film wouldn’t open until late July but the album dropped in June, weeks after “When Does Cry” had pretty much blown everyone away. Despite the fact we had real-live-human beings walking into the store several times a day asking when ‘Purple Rain’ would be out (amongst them, the J.Geils Band’s Peter Wolf, who lived across the street) our store’s manager, for reasons known only to herself, determined that Prince Rogers Nelson was some product of hype and a couple hundred copies of the year’s most eagerly awaited album would be enough.

We blasted thru the available stock within a couple of hours of the doors being unlocked. Customers were outraged, apoplectic that the record they already knew would be the soundtrack to their summer wasn’t available.

An edict came down to tell aggrieved consumers that while we were out of stock on ‘Purple Rain’, we could, however, furnish them with copies of Newcleus’ ‘Jam On Revenge’, which just so happened to be released by the Morris Levy-owned Sunnyview Records.

This suggestion did not sit well with inconvenienced Prince fans. I’d previously not been cursed at in the store before, save for the time Monoman came in to yell at me about a middling review for The Lyres’ ‘On Fyre’ in Matter Magazine (“you should be in prison,” Jeff said…and he was right!). Let’s just say this was my one and only experience being on the retailer end of the Great American Bait & Switch and either I wasn’t very good at it…or Newcleus were way, way out of their league.  Maybe a little of both.

So there you go. The music business when it still existed. Needless to say, ‘Purple Rain’ was great, some of us saw the movie twenty times or more and that was the summer Prince went from merely being super popular to the sort of megastardom that caused geniune panic & anxiety in Copley Square.

04.13.16

Attention Money Marks : Jeff Jarrett Has A Golden Opportunity For You

Posted in Professional Wrestling, The Marketplace at 8:14 pm by

Does TNA Hall Of Famer Jeff Jarrett strike you as the sort of person who’d let the abortive launch of Global Force Wrestling shake his self-confidence?

All kidding aside, this seems kinda sketchy and the best possible thing I can say about it is that at least it’s not nearly as bad a look for Jarrett as those econo razor commercials are for Brett Favre.

04.10.16

From The Desk Of Randy L : The Hypocrisy Of HBO’s John Oliver

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace, The World Of Entertainment at 7:44 pm by

(EDITOR’S NOTE : From time to time, noted Bronx baseball executive Randy L. visits CSTB and weighs in on the important matters of the day. In February, Randy came to the defense of a colleague concerning the matter of a certain baseball franchise hoping to keep their most exclusive tickets out of the hands of the great unwashed. After HBO’s John Oliver ridiculed the Yankees and awarded the priciest of ducats to rank & file fans willing to wear goofy costumes on television, Randy asked, no, he demanded a right to reply – GC).

Greetings, members of the Yankee Universe and those slovenly, no-hopers with zero chance of ever entering its ranks. Nice 0-2 start to the 2016 season for that craven beaner-of-Yankees, Matt Harvey. I know, I know, “small sample size”, but let’s face it, Harvey’s already on the downside of his underachieving career and we’ve got our sights set on members of the Mets rotation who are proven winners. LIKE ME.

But I digress. As most of you might know, HBO’s John Oliver, ie. the only person in broadcasting less telegenic than Michael Kay, decided last week to play the class warfare card against this organization, and shamefully pandered to the sort of hoi polloi who believe they’re entitled to NYY Steak at Johnny Rockets prices. Yes, we all got a laugh out of Oliver currying favor with these losers by awarding them Legends Suites seating for a mere quarter, the caveat being they had to don costumes that may or may have previously been used for some sort of cult orgy.

The deep irony here is that while Oliver is making a knee-jerk appeal to Bernie Sanders acolytes who are hoping for a future where you pay NOTHING for anything of value, his employer, Home Box Office continues to charge an arm and a leg for substandard programming. How’d that second season of “True Detective” turn out? Serious question, I don’t know a single person who got thru the entire thing. How about the train wreck that is Martin Scorcese & Mick Jagger’s “Vinyl”? How do you put a thoroughly washed-up, completely out of touch relic like Jagger in charge of the musical contents when The National’s Matt Berninger is available the entire time? I realize this blog’s readers, most of whom are either still paying off student loans or continuing to sponge off parents (who are well advised to consider faking their own deaths and skipping town), believe our premium seats are unfairly priced, but let me ask you which is the greater economic travesty, $1600 to watch the 27-time World Champion New York Yankees or $55 a month to watch Lena Dunham run around naked? YEAH, I THOUGHT SO.

For the few of you who can can afford both the YES Network and additional pay cable channels, I would wholeheartedly recommend Showtime over HBO. For starters, they’re not the ones who’ve given a platform to John Oliver, but more importantly, Showtime is the home of my favorite serial drama, “Ray Donovan”. Maybe it’s not for everyone, but I remain impressed at the way the show’s creators are careful to depict every single person with a Boston accent as a lying, thieving, murderous thug. Scumbags, every single one of ‘em. So big, big points for realism.

I’m Still The Greatest,
Randy L.

04.09.16

Forbes On Sports’ Hottest Tee, Spring 2016

Posted in Baseball, Fashion, Racism Corner, Sports TV, The Marketplace at 10:48 pm by

Though the Cleveland Caucasians t-shit recently sported by ESPN’s Bomani Jones received notice in this space as far back as the summer of 2014 (“MLB’s Licensing Division, Unavailable For Comment”), Death Of Samantha/Cobra Verde frontman John Petkovic profiled the shirt’s creator, Brian Kirby in September of that year ; on Friday, Forbes’ Alex Reimer caught up with Kirby, who claims he can barely keep up with the new demand (““It seems like we’ve really struck a nerve…this proved the point of the shirt.”)

“Bomani Jones couldn’t have been a more perfect spokesman for the intent of the shirt,” Kirby says. “It’s not an angry thing, it’s more about making a point in a humorous way. It’s just holding up a mirror saying, ‘Hey, I’m wearing this and you’re broadcasting Indians games with the same kind of imagery. Why is this a problem and that not a problem?’ It’s about flipping the image on it.”

The ‘Caucasians’ shirt has gone viral before, including one day in 2014 when it was the No. 1 trending item on Reddit after a DJ for the Canadian-based electronic group A Tribe Called Red took to wearing it. But Kirby says his startup, which he runs out of basement with his wife when he’s not working as a digital marketer, has never received as much attention as it did Thursday.

Within 24 hours of Jones wearing the shirt, Kirby estimates he made 2,000 additional sales. Shelf Life Clothing’s website also crashed, because its hosting company couldn’t handle the onslaught of traffic and subsequently dropped it as a client. As of Friday evening, the site was still not fully restored.

04.05.16

The Following Instructional Video Is Too Little, Too Late For Uncle Elmer

Posted in Professional Wrestling, The Marketplace at 7:51 pm by

The secret behind the vast fortune of former WWE fixture turned Sirius Outlaw Country host James Morris (aka Hillbilly Jim) is finally revealed. I’m as surprised as the rest of you ; it’s not like he was spending the money on clothes.

04.04.16

Antoine Walker’s Fetish For Spending 100 Million Dollars

Posted in Basketball, The Marketplace at 8:30 pm by

Antoine Walker’s difficulty managing his personal finances has been noted in this space before, but not until today has the former Celtics star opted for the “Do As I Say, Not As I Do” approach, as Fox Business’ Julia Limitone reports :


“You become a millionaire overnight and you don’t know what do with it. We don’t understand taxes. We don’t understand lifestyles. We create a big expensive lifestyle for ourselves… I had some fetishes that I liked, materialistic things… and then obviously you get into an investment world that you don’t know about, that you don’t learn about in college and you put your money in the hands of other people that try to take care of it,” he said.

While the NBA does give its rookie players a “crash course” on finances, Walker said it needs to do more. That’s why he’s teaming up with Morgan Stanley Global Sports & Entertainment (MS) to help educate student athletes on their finances.

On the matter of fetishes, Walker’s strong affection for white tennis shoes already resulted in a 2012 series of eBay auctions.

04.01.16

But What Did Phil Think Of ‘Le Noise’?

Posted in Rock Und Roll, Sports Journalism, The Marketplace at 8:36 pm by

(Phil should be pleased to learn the above garment is currently available on eBay for a mere $8.99)

In today’s New York Post, resident sports media conscience Phil Mushnick takes the opportunity of this weekend’s Final Four to lay into Syracuse and North Carolina head coaches Jim Boeheim and Roy Williams, but not before offering the following introduction / context :

Been singing it to myself all week. It’s a mournful, hopeless Neil Young dirge with the refrain, “It doesn’t matter.”

Several years ago we bought expensive tickets to a Young concert only to be surprised and disappointed that nearly the entire show was devoted to new songs with a repetitive theme: the shameful greed of corporate America.

At the same venue, there were kiosks hawking official Neil Young T-shirts. For $45. Hmm.

See? It doesn’t matter what the matter is; it doesn’t matter.

Phil may or may not be aware that typically, large venues (many of which are owned by, y’know, corporations) command a rather robust percentage of an artist’s merchandise cut. So while it would be somewhat hysterical to start a GoFundMe for Neil Young anytime soon, there’s nothing hypocritical or ironic whatsoever about his singing about corporate greed. He experiences it firsthand!

02.19.16

Post : Islanders Want Out Of Brooklyn

Posted in Hockey, The Marketplace at 8:22 pm by

In stark contrast to the Nets’ warm welcome at the Barclays Center, the NHL Islanders’ inaugural season in Brooklyn has alienated longtime fansand left the club’s new ownership underwhelmed. According to the New York Post’s Rich Kalder and John Kosman, both the franchise and their landlords are looking to severe ties far sooner then the end of the existing 25 year lease :

Jonathan Ledecky — who heads a group of investors set to replace Wang as the team’s majority owner July 1 — apparently is listening. A source close to the Islanders and other industry sources say he’s enamored with possibly moving the team to Queens or back to Long Island.

In either scenario, a new arena likely would have to be built — an expensive proposition considering it cost $1 billion to open Barclays Center in 2012. Another option is renegotiating the Barclays Center lease to salvage the relationship, sources said.

“The Islander deal was forced from the start because the club was hemorrhaging so much money playing on Long Island … and had to bail,” another source said. “Now you’re left with this weird situation where Barclays’ folks pay the Islanders to play there — but aren’t getting the bang for the buck they desired, not to mention all the crap they’re getting from Islander fans who are finding every little fault they can with being in Brooklyn.

02.18.16

Pittsburgh’s ’79 Throwbacks : If You’re Gonna Charge Hundreds For A Dale Berra Jersey, You’d Better Get The Details Right

Posted in Baseball, Fashion, The Marketplace at 8:53 pm by

(Link courtesy Larry Brown Sports)

02.07.16

PFT Commenter Envisions The Future Of Modern Dating

Posted in Gridiron, History's Great Hook-Ups, Sports Journalism, The Internet, The Marketplace at 8:20 pm by

I do not know the identity of SB Nation’s PFT Commenter, but not for the first time, I find myself in awe of his or her insights. Covering the Super Bowl 50 festivities in San Francisco, the pseudononymous sage was not overly awed by the lavish parties (“Im not an art guy. Painters make me angry because they dont work at a job they hate and are therefor not contributing anything to society,”), nor were the media’s creature comforts spared the trenchant analysis (“giving a thousand journlists 7 toilet stalls is like trying to invade Normany with a army consisting of Mike Tysons first 6 opponets and the Cleveland Browns,”). But given the big game’s proximity to Sillicon Valley, “I came up with a couple ideas for a app. Maybe I could strike it rich while Im here,”.


First one is basically Tinder for people who hate Cam Newton. It allows people who complain about Cam Newton to connect online and perhaps spark the begining of what could be a beautiful relatonship based on a mutual distrust of Cam Newtons antics and me-first demeanor.

The first rule of thumb when you have a app is you need to drop a vowel out of the name no matter what. Chip Kelly has been meeting with Sillicon Valley thought-leaders to figure out ways to learn from there success and I’d be shocked if by 2017 Chip Kelly hasnt changed their named to the Ninrs. Your going to see that offense operating 20% faster and blowing past the NFC west- which has the highest ratio of vowels to consinents in the entire league. Its all about matchups.

Recepton was luke-warm from people that I spoke with, but then I realized that the people who design apps dont have a clue about what app users really want. Its basicaly like if you named Antonio Cromartie chairman and CEO of Durex and expected record profits. We spend all this time talking about monopolys well have you ever noticed that all the people who make apps are the ones who are intelligent enough to know how to design them?

02.01.16

Las Vegas Review-Journal : Build A New Football Stadium (Or We’re Fired)

Posted in Gridiron, non-sporting journalism, The Marketplace, Ugly New Stadiums at 9:53 pm by

Putting aside for a moment the fact that Las Vegas doesn’t have an NFL franchise and more than a few around the league are queasy at the prospect of games being played a stone’s throw from legal sports betting, the Las Vegas Review-Journal argues that building a new football stadium is “an urgent need”. That a plan for a combined NFL venue/new home for UNLV football is the brainchild of local billionaire / neo-con turd Sheldon Adelson bothers the paper’s editorial board not one iota. Sheldon’s not just a loyal subscriber, he’s the publisher!

Las Vegas will be unique among the cities Mark Davis considers for the relocation of his team. Everywhere else except Los Angeles — the Raiders could be back in play there after Friday’s news that the NFL is upgrading its commitment to keep the Chargers in San Diego — Mr. Davis will have to work out a stadium financing plan that will be contingent upon a Raiders move, with the NFL and the Raiders providing some funding. The Las Vegas project proposes a public-private partnership, with about one-third of the funding from private investors and two-thirds from tax revenues. While the financing details are far from locked down, it’s evident that Las Vegas Sands and Los Angeles-based Majestic Realty — whose president, Edward Roski Jr., owns the Silverton — are prepared to pay part of the bill. UNLV should be able to provide a philanthropic component to the plan.

The location is about as good as it gets, on a huge plot of vacant land recently purchased for $50 million by UNLV (via donation), a transaction we previously championed for just this purpose. The proximity to the resort corridor and to UNLV offers countless benefits to both.

This stadium is the missing piece of tourism infrastructure in Las Vegas, more important than any other proposal, including the expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center. We have previously endorsed that expansion, but for years, we’ve also aggressively called for a viable stadium plan. The stadium is the valley’s most urgent need to expand the tourism, travel and events dynamic. A large, multipurpose venue would create the most economic impact for Las Vegas right now, more than any new hotel or additional convention space.

01.21.16

Cliff Robinson In “Headline Writes Itself” Stunner

Posted in Basketball, The Marketplace at 5:07 pm by

The 2016 Cannabis Collaborative Conference kicks off February 3 in Portland, and former Trail Blazers’ fixture Cliff Robinson is one of the featured speakers.  Portland Business Journal’s Andy Giegerich writes that Robinson hopes to “rebrand” himself at the event, said rebranding being (of course), UNCLE SPLIFFY.

“It’s an opportunity for me to get out there and tell people a little bit about myself outside of basketball,” Robinson said. “People in Oregon know me as a basketball player, but I want to distill the stigma around cannabis, the misperception that athletes and cannabis are incompatible.”

In at least one sense, that’s spot on: Robinson agrees that football players or others who engage in contact sports might do well to treat themselves with cannabis as opposed to prescription painkillers.

“Cannabis is definitely a more positive alternative to pharmaceuticals at the end of the day,” he said. “Those are synthetics. I’m talking about something that’s natural that can bring the outcomes you’re looking for, be it for muscle tension or relaxation or preparedness. There are a whole lot of different things that are beneficial.”

While Robinson wouldn’t venture a guess as to how many NBA players use marijuana, it’s logical to assume the number is substantial.

“When you talk about guys playing on a professional level, there’s a lot of physical and mental stress that comes with that, and to have something available to you that has health benefits, I don’t see the issue with it myself.”

01.13.16

Welcoming The NFL To Hays County!

Posted in Gridiron, Real Estate, The Marketplace, Ugly New Stadiums at 10:48 pm by

Not for the first time, the San Antonio market is being teased with the possibility of the Oakland Raiders relocating to somewhere nearby. On this occasion — in the wake of the NFL’s decision to allow the Rams (and possibly the Chargers) to take up tenancy in the proposed mega-complex planned for Inglewood, CA — we’re told that Mark Davis would consider San Marcos, TX for the site of a new, purpose-built Raiders venue. Putting aside for a moment the unlikelihood of Jerry Jones or Bob McNair allowing a competitor in the market, Texas’ 3rd NFL franchise is gonna need a nickname. And if you’ve seen Mark Davis’ haircut, you already know that guy cannot be trusted to make major decisions. Fortunately for all concerned, I’m here with a surplus of brilliant ideas.

1) San Marcos Outlet Shoppers

When you think San Marcos, you think bargains. Slightly dented Bose headphones. Mountains of unsold Nike crap. Stuff from Pottery Barn that’s still overpriced at 75% off. And if you’ve seen Mark Davis’ haircut, you know he loves bargains, too. Why not pay homage to the region’s number one, well, check that, sole cultural or economic highlight?

2) San Marcos Whiskey Rebels

With all due respect to Austin’s rich musical heritage (Bob Schneider, Comforter, TV Torso), San Marcos is the longtime home of Rancid Vat’s Whiskey Rebel. That fact alone makes it a mystery why a major sports franchise has yet to set up shop in this emerging market.

3) San Marcos Snake Farmers

OK, the notorious, badly-reviewed Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo is technically located in nearby New Braunfels. But being geographic LIARS never stopped the Giants or Jets, and most importantly KIDS LOVE SNAKES.

4) San Marcos Cougars

Who amongst us doesn’t have fond memories of ESPN’s gritty “Playmakers” series, most notably the exploits of characters like rookie RB Demetrius Harris, veteran QB Derek McConnell and closeted WR Thad Guerwicz? Here’s the plan : sign the entire cast (though with a wig and plastic surgery, Davis can play owner Gene Wilbanks) and simply pick up where the critically acclaimed first season left off. As is, the current Raiders aren’t likely to contend, and Texas State’s Bobcat Stadium has already been employed for scenes in TV’s “Friday Night Lights”. Ratings juggernaut + low overhead while construction costs on the Whiskey Rebeldome soar into the billions. You can thank me later (preferably with cash — don’t talk about free tickets, if this clusterfuck comes to pass no one in their right mind is going near I-35 on a Sunday).

01.08.16

An Albatross Grows In Brooklyn : DeMause On The Barclays Center

Posted in Basketball, Hockey, Real Estate, The Marketplace, Ugly New Stadiums at 5:36 pm by

Having previously announced his intent to sell his shares in the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center, Mikhail Prokhorov acquired Bruce Ratner’s remaining stakes in each last month, causing the Village Voice’s Neil DeMause to write, “it’s a good time to wonder exactly what the hell Ratner and Prokhorov got out of this arena that has turned a large swath of Brooklyn upside down for more than a decade now.”

Two years ago when it was revealed that despite being one of the top-selling arenas in the U.S. in its first year, the Barclays Center was still barely breaking even after paying off its construction debt, thanks to high operating costs and discounts being offered to performers to lure them to Brooklyn instead of one of the New York area’s many other arenas. (This will come as no surprise to professional arena managers, who note that it’s rare in these days of fewer touring acts and venue glut for an arena to turn even an operating profit, let alone pay off near-billion-dollar construction debts.) That seems to be even more the case now, and while the arrival of the Islanders this fall provides more guaranteed booked dates for 2015–’16, that’s not necessarily a good thing for the bottom line: More hockey means fewer nights available that the arena can be rented out for concerts, and the arena’s weird rent deal with the Islanders — the arena pays team owner Charles Wang a flat negative rent but keeps all ticket and other revenues — means that if ticket sales are slow, the arena could end up taking a loss on the NHL.

The purchase price on the last chunk of the arena valued it at slightly less than the construction cost, so while we don’t have access to Ratner’s bank statements, in all likelihood the developer is not quite breaking even on the money he poured into the arena itself. (Yes, he got a pile of public subsidies, but those were in the form of discounted land and tax breaks, so not anything he can actually put in the bank now that he doesn’t own the building.) He also got the development rights to a bunch of land where he can erect apartment towers, but that hasn’t been going all that smoothly, either, though at least a couple of buildings are now close to completion.

Prokhorov, meanwhile, has put in somewhere around $1 billion in order to own a historically awful NBA franchise, plus an arena that might just, if you squint, be able to break even.

01.06.16

STL Scribe To Kroenke : Go Fuck Yourself

Posted in Gridiron, The Marketplace at 5:16 pm by

Alright, that’s not exactly what the Riverfront Times’ Paul Friswold had to say about Rams owner Stan Kroenke and his scheme to relocate the franchise to Los Angeles. Kroenke characterizes staying in St. Louis as some sort of economic suicide pact, to which Friswold replies, “bold words coming from a man wearing a roofied caterpillar on his upper lip.”

Consider this, Stanley: Maybe is St. Louis is suffering economically because of you. The city (and the county) both pay $12 million a year in upkeep on the team’s current home, and both governments will continue to pay it for years to come. How much have you invested in St. Louis? Certainly your development company THF has built quite a few Wal-Mart anchored strip malls, but you do that with loads of our money.

And speaking of Wal-Mart, maybe St. Louis would be on sounder economical footing if your Wal-Mart heiress wife (who’s worth $4.4 billion in her own right) would pay her employees a living wage. It’s pretty easy to be economically viable when you use taxpayer money to build a business and then pay poverty wages to the employees.

I understand that moving the Rams isn’t personal for you: It’s all about making and hoarding money. No man who cared about anything other than money would walk around with that collection of fantasy fur hairpieces (but I wouldn’t put it past you that you’ve never bought a mirror, either).

12.29.15

History’s Most Questionable eBay Auctions, Pt. XVIII

Posted in Basketball, Modern Art, The Marketplace at 8:28 pm by

Atlanta pen and ink artist Nichole Epps is the creator of the one and only Jeff Teague wine glass, currently on offer via popular online auction site eBay. This spectacular, yet highly practical addition to your wine glass arsenal is described below :

The foam fingers and hands both glow in the dark. The piece was also specially made to be used as a fully functional wine glass. 25 percent of the final sale of this auction will help fund local Atlanta organization Back 2 Basics Kids Foundation, Inc.

12.17.15

From The Desk Of Randy L : What To Do With A Problem Like Martin Shkreli?

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 10:07 pm by

(Editor’s Note : From time to time, Bronx baseball executive Randy L. graciously visits CSTB to weigh in on the major matters of the day, sporting or otherwise. Though Randy’s already offered his sage advice to Turing Pharmaceuticals’ Martin Shkreli (“From The Desk Of Randy L : I’ll Make A Respectable Businessman Out Of Martin Shkreli”), following the news of Shkreli’s arrest on federal fraud charges, Randy offered, no, he demanded, to take another shot – GC)

Greetings and a very happy holiday season to all members of the Yankee Universe, along with the classless, slovenly, moan-first-think-later goons who make up much of this blog’s sagging readership.  Congrats on that NL pennant, Mets fans, happy that your fluke October brought such excitement to your sad, little lives.  Where’s Daniel Murphy’s God now?  Heck, where’s Jeff Wilpon’s?

Speaking of entitled, snotfuckers with no sense of style, decorum or sophistication, you’ll remember that I did my best to steer Martin Shkreli towards a brighter path.  But rather than accept my offer of an internship, Shkreli graduated from collecting emo trinkets to overpaying for a Wu-Tang CDR and attempting to purchase Bobby Shmurda (whom I’m pretty sure ought to rename himself “Bobby Law-Abiding Citizen” if he wants to be taken seriously). The sort of false bravado exhibited by Shkreli recently can either be considered a blatant cry for help, or the greatest act of desperation since our oversexed/underworked general manager opted for multi-colored contact lenses in the hopes his librarian paramour wouldn’t recognize him.

However, most of this is the sort of overly-ambitious stuff that I can overlook.  After all, wasn’t it The Boss himself who ran afoul of authorities simply because he believed in winning at all costs? But much as I’d love to keep the door open to taking Shkreli under my wing,  he’s crossed a line this time that a reputable, successful, universally admired businessman like myself cannot possibly ignore.

If we’re to believe the reportage of a website I don’t typically peruse, Shkreli shops at Modell’s.  Yes, I know, you love their bargains on tube sox and marked down Lawrence Taylor merchandise, but for fuck’s sake, I expect a person trying to make their way in the business community to show a little more common sense.  Can you imagine Randy L. shopping at Modell’s?  Can you imagine The National’s Matt Berninger shopping at Modell’s?  Under what possible circumstances can you imagine DEREK JETER shopping at Modell’s?

I can, however, totally imagine this guy shopping at Modell’s — preferably for a size 2XL — in about 2 years after his arm falls off and there’s little to forward to besides the sort of bogus “celebrity DJ” bookings that even Rony Seikaly would turn down.  Who knows?  Maybe after Shkreli’s served a stint in country club prison he and Matt Harvey can launch a podcast together?

Have some self-respect.  Or else.

Randy L.

11.30.15

An Important Holiday Shopping Message From The Entertainment Division Of Cumbucket Media

Posted in 12XU, Internal Affairs, Merry Fucking Christmas, MMA, record collector disease, Rock Und Roll, The Marketplace at 1:10 am by

are you ready for 12XU‘s CRIS CYBORG MONDAY SALE? New stuff from Manateees, Don Howland, Sweet Talk, OBN III’s, Exhaustion, Uniform, Snooty Garbagemen, Shawn David McMillen, older titles from Obnox, Xetas, Flesh Lights, Blaxxx, the Gotobeds, Chris Brokaw, Jonly Bonly, John Schooley & Walter Daniels distributed goods from Pierre & Bastien, Sick Thoughts, Dan Melchior, and more. 20% off between now and December 1, coupon code CYBORG (25% off orders of $100 or more with code CYBORG2) at 12XU.bigcartel.com

11.23.15

Wildly Successful Entertainer To Face The Conseqences Of Bumming Out Entitled Putz

Posted in non-sporting journalism, The Marketplace, The World Of Entertainment at 7:32 pm by

In which the oft-utilized disclaimer “not The Onion” makes the inevitable transition to “not The Hard Times”. Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the fountain of insight that is “indie” musician Ari Herstand (above), who via the not-entirely-reputable Digital Music News.com (“Why I Will Not Buy Adele’s New Album 25″) pillories Adele for eschewing Spotify, a streaming service he insists he’s “fallen in love” with, much as he’s “fallen in love” with scads of otherwise unknown artists the app has brought to his attention (case in point, the Alabama Shakes, who have never appeared on television, been played on the radio, received one column inch of press or played a single club gig on their rise to the top).

Lest you think Mr. Herstand is some sort of shill, he assures us he maintains a “vinyl collection of about 100 albums”. That sound you hear in the background is Cornell University placing Johan Kugelberg’s hip hop archives in a series of dumpsters in order to make room for Ari’s vinyl wonders.

Finally, he blames this catastrophic blow to Adele’s career (ie. she just lost a customer) on “block heads” shepherding her. Because she couldn’t have possibly come to a big decision like this all by herself!
If you’d like to weigh in on the pros and cons of Spotify, by all means, do so (on your own timelines). I’d prefer we focus on the work of what appears to be a bright new name in the field of consumerist satire. I eagerly await further updates on other products Ari Herstand will not be purchasing and am hoping that one of these days an accomplished filmmaker (I’m thinking Richard Curtis or Gary Marshall…maybe Lars von Trier if those guys are busy) can make a movie about Ari falling in and out of love with new technologies.

11.19.15

On Behalf Of Fashion Lovers Everywhere, I Must Take Issue With The Use Of The Word “Trivial” In This Context

Posted in Fashion, record collector disease, Rock Und Roll, The Marketplace at 2:11 pm by

In which the Bard Of Hooksett, NH’s enterprising brother, Merle, has enlisted a fancy auction house to supervise the sale of a cherished family heirloom :

GG Allin’s personally-owned and -worn purple and gold dress. Approximately 40.5? in length, the dress is sewn with an elaborate tinsel floral-pattern, and features four button loops on the left shoulder and a zipper running down the left waist. In fine condition, with a few trivial stains to collar area of liner and one of the shoulder buttons missing. Accompanied by a letter of provenance from Allin’s brother Merle, in which he states that the dress “was worn by my brother GG Allin on my wedding day of May 8th [sic, 7th], 1989 at the Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Ma. GG Allin was the Best man as well as Maid of Honor. He shaved half of his bearded face & wore makeup as well as wearing his leather jacket & the purple & gold dress.” The dress was also worn on stage by guitarist Chris Brokaw during the only live performance of the band GG Allin & The Aids Brigade at Cambridge’s Middle East Cafe on August 27, 1989. Numerous photos taken at Merle’s wedding document Allin proudly wearing the gown. An unusually touching piece of history from the notorious punk rocker.