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.