Over the weekend, a number of photos of Browns rookie QB Johnny Manziel hit the internet, including but not limited to one showing him bartending at a downtown Austin douchetorium, and another showing the former Heisman winner rolling up a $20 bill in the men’s room of a Houston club. Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, who might be old enough to remember the halcyon days of the
The Vault Studio 54, chimed in with the following helpful note :
Rolled dollar bills are often used for snorting cocaine and cocaine is often snorted in the bathroom of a nightclub. (At least that’s what they did in the ’80s. I’ve heard.)
We won’t speculate on what Manziel planned to do with the money, and there’s no evidence in the photo of any cocaine or other banned substances. And if anyone knows of any reasons why Manziel would be tightly rolling money in a bathroom, feel free to drop them in the comments
Since Mr. Florio is so pathetically out of touch with modern trends, it’s necessary to inform him that using a rolled-up $20 bill to tip a rest room attendant is considered the height of class in the Southwest.
Boston SP John Lackey took a less than admiring view of Orioles RF (and newly elected AL All-Star) Nelson Cruz’ 5 hit performance Saturday night, saying “I’m not even going to comment on him,”, but then doing exactly that.
“I’ve got nothing to say about him,” grumbled Lackey. “There are things I’d like to say, but I’m not going to. You guys forget pretty conveniently about stuff,” the stuff alluded to being Cruz’ 50 game suspension for PED use last season. You don’t have to be Manny Alexander to know that Baltimore skipper Buck Showalter (above, left) would take umbrage at Lackey bringing it up, as the Baltimore Sun’s Eduardo Encina carefully absorbed :
“You consider sources of people and some of their emotions after the game, whether it be a player’s comment or a manager’s comment or some fan’s comment,” Showalter said. “You understand that nobody makes those comments after they pitched a complete game shutout or Nelson is 0-for-5. It’s human nature.”
“We need to all make sure we check our own backyard before we start looking at someone else’s.”
At the time of his suspension last season, Cruz said he used PEDs after a gastrointestinal infection that went undiagnosed and caused him to lose 40 pounds. Cruz said he has moved on from last year, but he still gets constantly heckled on the road by fans.
“Like I said, everybody is free to talk,” Cruz said. “What I care [about] is what I’m doing here. You can’t go and confront everybody who talks, you know?
…the Stickney family started getting on my case. As you can see above, last night’s fireworks show at the conclusion of a Rancho Cucamonga / Lancaster Jethawks game resulted in the hosts’ outfield wall catching fire. But this unfortunate incident wasn’t nearly as explosive as the belated reaction of family and employees of former Quakes owner Hank Stickney to this 2005 CSTB post. Close, but not quite.
Sitting on the best record in baseball (along with the best run differential), Oakland’s acquisition of P’s Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel for highly touted Cubs SS prospect Addison Russell was hailed by at least one observer (and several thousands more) as making the A’s World Series favorites. Alas, not everyone is blown away by Billy Beane’s audacity, specifically Halo’s Heaven’s Rev Halofan, who argues this is actually good news for the 2nd place Angels, given that Beane has “dumping the high end of their farm system”.
The Athletics acquired Jason Hammel, a veteran starting pitcher with an ERA of 4.46 over 78 games (70 of them starts) over the three seasons prior to this one. Sure, he is having a career year with a 2.98 ERA in 17 starts this year but a half-season does not win you a Cy Young. They also acquired Jeff Samrdzija, easily the Cubs best starter. Samzilla is 29 and is immediately the ace of the Oakland staff.
But the A’s have been treading water of late and a few parts on the team that appearaed to playing over their heads are just as likely running out of gas as they are going through statistical fluctuations. Billy Beane now has surplus pitching to make another deal but he is going to need someone with stats plausible enough to bump out a current regular and yet stats that aren’t small-sample mirage.
When they said it was BLOCKBUSTER they are right – Theo Epstein of the Cubs just brought a prospect bonanza to The North Side.
(photo courtesy John Petkovic)
(former Mets hurler Grant Roberts, presumably before the introduction of a Shea Stadium Green Room)
Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan recently penned a piece in which Major League Baseball clubs were accused for promoting minor leaguers to their 40 man rosters to avoid minor league testing for marijuana. If you think that means affiliated teams have a cavalier attitude towards weed, former Padres reliever/Jays broadcaster and author Dirk Hayhurst claims in a Sports On Earth column that said organizations “totally condone” consumption (“one big-league team even had a “green room” where you could toke up while you were at the ballpark,”)
As far back as I can remember, players were getting high. Guys in the minors, on or off the 40-man, would take apples from the locker-room spread, hollow them out and then sneak behind dumpsters and smoke an apple pipe. In Triple-A, the now-defunct Portland Beavers would hide in stadium supply tunnels doing the old puff-puff-pass before jumping a knuckleball fight over the Rocky Mountains. I’ve even seen coaches toking up with their players.
No one says a word about any of it. See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. It all falls under the code: What happens within the team stays within the team. If that weren’t the case, a guy could snap pics of another player getting high and turn it in to the organization, in the hopes of expediting his own career over someone else’s. Never happens.
It’s a long season, and smoking isn’t remotely the worst thing ballplayers are capable of doing in their idle time. I’d much rather see a guy baked at the hotel — giggling hysterically over a rerun of Jackass — than passed out in a random neighborhood kiddie pool after a night of heavy drinking courtesy of breaking into the stadium beer concessions. (The owner of the kiddie pool was furious!)
There was only one thing in Passan’s article that I took exception to. An unnamed source claimed that getting off weed had made him play better, “as if a fog was lifted.” I don’t know about that. Based on the guys I know who smoked regularly, your mileage under the influence will vary. Some of them were so freaking good baked, I can’t imagine how awesome they would’ve been clean.
In a case that has echoes of the Mike Rice debacle at Rutgers, Bobby Cremins’ successor at the College Of Charleston, men’s head basketball coach Doug Wojcik — under investigation for verbal abuse of his student athletes — was suspended for a month without pay by the institution. After the Post & Courier published excerpts from a 50 page report vilifying Wojcik, it’s hard to imagine he’ll be coaching anywhere during the 2014-15 season. From the P&C’s Andrew Miller and Gene Sapakoff :
Wojcik at a practice told walk-on guard Chad Cooke, “I’m gonna rip your (expletive) throat out,” says another player.
To center Glen Pierre: “You’re not tough. Suck it up. I don’t care if (Pierre) … dies.”
In one tirade aimed at Matt Sundberg, Wojcik calls the player a “fag.” In other blasts, Wojcik degrades Sundberg’s girlfriend (“my wife is five times the woman your girlfriend will ever be”)
A player says Wojcik asked him about a teammate: “Like Nori Johnson. Would you have recruited him? He’s liar. He’s a thief. You don’t trust him, do you?”
“I cooperated with the investigation and accepted President (George) Benson’s decision and sanctions,” Wojcik said. “I’m sincerely remorseful and apologize to those I’ve hurt. I’ve already started making amends and working on correcting my actions. The College and I are grateful these concerns were brought to our attention, and every effort will be made to improve relations between myself and members of the men’s basketball program.”
In defense of Wojcik, current assistant coach Joe Wallace said he has never heard Wojcik call a player a “fag.”
(oh c’mon, like you could keep your hands off him)
Who amongst us hasn’t been in a bar and thought, “wouldn’t it be fun to grope an on-duty police officer”" OK, while that thought hasn’t crossed my mind (recently, anyway), who knows what might happen after 20 or 30 drinks? I might start watching “Game Of Thrones”. In the matter of Flyers C Claude Giroux, he’s merely unauthorized fondling of a male Ottawa police offier as the Ottawa Sun’s Danielle Bell explains:
Officers were inside the bar as part of routine walk-throughs, when one officer had his butt grabbed by a patron as he walked by.
The officer turned around and told the patron not to behave like that, but he was grabbed again. At that point, the patron was taken outside of the bar to be spoken to, and was arrested soon after.
Giroux, 26, was put in a cruiser outside of The Great Canadian Cabin in the Byward Market around 9 p.m. Tuesday, where he was escorted out of by police. He was released Wednesday morning without any charges being laid.
It was later learned Giroux is expected to make a $20,000 donation to an Ottawa charity.
…as a guy who can tell the difference between a cable news network and a North African nation? Still, it’s not even close to the most embarrassing piece of Glenn Hoddle footage on the internet.
Shortly following Georgia Public Broadcasting’s takeover of Georgia State University’s WRAS, GPB producer Clay Bolton found himself hitting the bricks after management took umbrage at his choice of a shirt when photographed in a local publication. From Creative Loafing’s Rodney Carmichael :
Bolton’s dismissal followed the online publication of the Creative Loafing story “Atlanta nostalgia: It’s the new style.” In the story about the growing local trend of T-shirts designed to signify love for a fading Atlanta, Bolton talked about creating his “Fuck Cobb County” tee four months ago in reaction to the Atlanta Braves’ decision to move the major league team outside the city limits to a future Cobb County stadium
Beyond critiquing the Braves’ intended move, his Fuck Cobb County shirt symbolizes the ideological tension that often distinguishes the city from the suburbs, and Atlanta from the rest of the state. Bolton, who worked at GPB radio for two years, produced the local news breaks for nationally syndicated NPR shows “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.” Apparently his job was in good standing. He’d received a promotion the day before being fired for violating GPB’s code of ethics, he said. Though GPB refused to comment on personnel matters, a spokesperson contacted by Creative Loafing said GPB “wish[es] him the best.”
The shirt in question can be ordered here.
(image culled from Metal Sucks.net, though it failed to lift the spirits of Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi)
The Indianapolis Star’s Candace Buckner fails to mention, however, that the movie “produced in Lance Stephenson’s honor” is a shot-for-shot remake of this classic. The Pacers were gonna opt for this one, but Larry Bird thought it was a little too hard to improve on the original
(if Carney’s rugby career is over, there’s always food blogging)
With apologies to West Ham United (if not Michael Jackson) for the above headline, some you might recall a Vice item from earlier this month that alleged the practice of urinating into one’s own mouth, dubbed “bubbling”, was a full-blown craze within the Australian skating community. Earlier today, Deadspin reported that Cronulla Sharks halfback/fullback Todd Carney’s 5 year contract with the NRL side was terminated after a photo of the 28 year-old pissing into his own wide open mouth was circulated via social media. In the view of Sydney Morning Herald columnist Brad Walter, Carney was a
pissing ticking time-bomb waiting to go off :
Throughout his career, officials, coaches and teammates at the Raiders, Roosters and Sharks have stood by the talented playmaker and each time he has let them down.
No other club is again likely to do so after a string of misdemeanours that include drink driving and driving while disqualified after a police chase in Canberra, allegedly urinating on the head and neck of another patron at an ACT bar, damaging a vehicle he jumped on in Goulburn, another drink driving charge at the Roosters and breaching a player-enforced alcohol ban that led to his sacking from the club.
As a result, Carney has been banned from his home town of Goulburn for a year, warned by a judge that he would go to jail if he was convicted by another court, sacked from the Raiders and Roosters, deregistered by the NRL and banned from playing Super League in England because of his criminal offences.
It is understood he did not upload the photo circulating on social media but Carney has already been linked to a bizarre apparent craze known as ‘‘bubbling’’. It is a story that will travel around the world in the same way as John Hopoate’s finger poking antics and Joel Monaghan’s simulated sex act with a dog.
Earlier this year, USA Today declared Texas Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury, “the coolest coach in college football”. Hopefully he can use some of that street cred in the future to recruit a cornerback who doesn’t hit women. The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal’s Sarah Rafique and Don Williams report Nigel Bithel II, a Red Raider freshman, managed to assault and injure another TTU student-athlete, in this case, one far more accomplished, during a pickup basketball game yesterday :
Bethel reportedly punched Lady Red Raider G Amber Battle in the face, breaking a bone, the A-J has learned.
Blayne Beal, a Tech spokesman, confirmed there was an incident between two student athletes Saturday afternoon at the recreation center. Beal said campus officials are gathering information from both parties.
Tech women’s basketball coach Candi Whitaker said she was unable to comment Saturday evening.
Following the incident, Battle posted to Twitter, “Pray for me y’all.” She later posted, “Thank y’all for the calls, texts and visits.”
From a Lubbock location Saturday evening, a Twitter account under the name Nigel Bethel II had a post that said, “Trouble always seems to find me … “
The morning after his NY Post colleague Tim Bontemps detailed the stunning developments that have Nets head coach Jason Kidd most likely leaving to take over Milwaukee’s basketball operations — after attempts to torpedo Billy King apparently came up short —the Post’s Mike Vacarro has a laundry list of ethical issues concerning Kidd to raise, but not before declaring Brooklyn’s better off without him (“their chances improve exponentially if they’re coached by any of a dozen legit candidates”)
Kidd’s been doing this since his freshman year at Cal, when he led a mutiny that wound up costing Lou Campanelli his job with 10 games left in the season.
And never were his Machiavellian methods more on display then the evening of Dec. 5, 2007, when, unhappy with the Nets’ unwillingness to trade him or extend his contract, he conducted a one-man job action, calling in sick and missing a game against the Knicks at the Meadowlands when the only thing wrong with him was a sour attitude.
Kidd was a genius player, and none of his clubhouse-lawyering and coach-killing will ever change that. But his off-court conniving is every bit as much a part of who he is, who he always has been, as his on-court brilliance. The Nets, of all teams, knew that as well as anybody, and hired him anyway last summer.
And then, in case anyone forgot, he chased a reluctant Lawrence Frank for weeks to be his top aide, demanded that the Nets make him the top-paid assistant in the league…then exiled him about 15 minutes into the season.
Earlier this week, UK terrestrial broadcaster Channel 4 premiered “Dispatches : How To Fix A Football Match”, a collaboration with The Telegraph that purported to blow the lid off gambling-influenced soccer fraud, with content including but not limited to, “the conviction of match fixers who tried to infiltrate the English game and those offering to help fix a match involving a team competing in the World Cup.” The Independent’s Andrew Tong was somewhat less than blown away, writing, “they say that match-fixing is a bad thing, but frankly it may be the only way the England football team will ever win a major tournament .”
It was a shocking programme. One man claimed to have fixed five friendlies before the last World Cup in South Africa by suggesting to the country’s federation that he would pay all the fees and expenses of the referees and linesmen. Hmm, nothing dodgy about that at all.
But that was just the start: we heard of matches with no fans; games involving fake national teams; fixing entire tournaments at Under-18 level with the gangs shouting instructions to the players from the stands; and even betting on games that simply didn’t exist even though a stadium would be hired and a commentary team commissioned.
Strangely, however, the idea of pundits talking a load of old nonsense about nothing in particular sounds quite familiar.
(possibly the wrong Joe Gibbs — research dept. is checking on this)
When I try to come up with a name of a respected public figure who probably travels in the most culturally diverse social circles, almost without hesitation the name of former Washington head coach-turned-NASCAR maven Joe Gibbs comes up. Because who would know more about cultural sensitivity than NFL players, coaches and stock car drivers and fans? On Saturday, Gibbs explained to a writer from the AP that the ongoing angst over Daniel Snyder’s refusal to change the team name stemmed from…well, he’s not quite sure. It seems there can’t possibly be another side to the issue!
Asked about the controversy before the NASCAR race Saturday at Kentucky Speedway, the Pro Football Hall of Fame coach and racing team owner defended the Redskins name.
“Never once did I hear anybody ever say anything negative about the name Redskins,” Gibbs said about his time with the team. “It was always prideful, it was courage involved. We have a song, ‘Hail to the Redskins,’ and so everything, everything about that name has been positive for me and my past.”
(if you’re thinking this post was just a cheap excuse to post the above song…you’re totally right)
Detroit Athletic Co.’s Dan Holmes compares the experience of listening to Tigers radio broadcasters Dan Dickerson and Jim Price to “someone invading a hole in my head and inflicting pain…it’s brutal.” While crediting the former with “a very good voice”, Holmes considers the typical Detroit broadcast to be “Dickerson telling you what he knows about baseball while he occasionally interjects the pitches and what happens on the field.” (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)
Dickerson: There’s a grounder, the throw across and it pulls the first baseman. Martinez is out. No, now he’s being called safe. [LOOOONG PAUSE] That ball was hit to Beltre and he threw the ball high and wide and it was dropped by Pena. Martinez is safe on an error.
What was he watching? How does he not tell us WHERE the groundball was hit immediately, and what happened at first CORRECTLY the first time? It’s radio, you can pause a millisecond and wait to see what the umpire at first calls. Instead, Dickerson just uses his verbal shorthand and fails to call the play correctly the first time. He does this usually once every few games. He actually does.
If I could have a three wishes, I’d use two of them in the typical way (revenge against my enemies and all-encompassing wealth and power), but the third, the third wish, I’d use that to give Dan Dickerson the gift of description. He really has no idea how to describe something in an explicit way, which is really THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF HIS JOB. he’s like pone of those annoying friends who starts conversations in the middle of a story and expects us to understand what the hell he’s talking about.
There’s a drive and he dives and it’s caught out there deep on the warning track. what a play!
WHERE was that drive and WHO hit it? And WHO caught it WHERE? And HOW many guys were on base?!? And what’s the score?
[Driving off the road into a ditch]
Like most persons with ears, even when the on-field product sucks (which is the majority of the time), I find the repartee between Mets TV voices Gary Cohen, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez to be reliably effervescent, even if Keith occasionally seems the more impatient of the three (or the least tolerant of female trainers in the dugout). During last Sunday’s SNY telecast of a matinee in Miami, Hernandez’ reaction to a photograph of Padres reliever Alex Torres — the first pitcher to don a bulky, newly designed cap with a protective liner — raised the ire of New York Post sports media critic Phil Mushnick, who likened the sneering to that of “a schoolyard bully”.
Yes, Torres looked odd. Yet, clearly, if he were determined to diminish the chances of a fractured skull or brain injury from a line drive to the side of his head, his head, if not his cap, was on straight.
Well, Hernandez took a macho, style-over-function stance, mocking Torres for looking “absurd.” (The same was heard when batting helmets arrived, then grew larger until they included earflaps and would be worn by base coaches.)
He wasn’t done. He suggested Torres and anyone who would wear such a thing is a coward: “If you’re scared, get a dog.”
Ugh! Either Hernandez was unaware of the dozens of annual, all-levels episodes that have pitchers rushed to hospitals — some with permanent neurological damage — or such episodes have not yet left an impression on him.
In Torres’ case, last year with the Rays, he replaced Alex Cobb after Cobb was nailed in the head with a line drive. After Saturday’s game, Torres recalled he still could hear the crack against Cobb’s head — and Torres was in the bullpen. “I’m glad he’s alive.”
Despite losing to Germany earlier today on a 55th minute strike by Thomas Müller, the US Men’s National Team advanced to the 2014 World Cup knockout stages by virtue of a 2nd place finish in Group G that was sealed with Ghana’s 2-1 defeat to Portugal at Estádio Nacional. The latter result came on the heels of the Ghana Football Federation’s last second delivery of some $3 million dollars to the team, a payment that might not have happened nearly so fast had training not been boycotted two days earlier. From the Guardian’s Stuart James :
For coach James Appiah, the stand-off could not have happened at a worse time. “Every coach wouldn’t love to be in this situation where players are requesting monies, considering the fact you are playing a very important game,” he said. “For the past two days I’ve had sleepless nights, I can’t even close my eyes. These things are normally sorted out before the competition, you can’t keep telling the players the money will come. Unfortunately, I’ve found myself in that situation, trying to cope with it. The good thing is the president of the country will step in.”
Appiah would not disclose how much exactly the Ghana squad were demanding – “The players would kill me if I revealed it,” he said, laughing – but he defended their stance. “It’s not about being paid reward for anything, it’s got to do with an appearance fee, which I think every country pays its players, not just Ghana. It’s a right.”
Asked why the players could not have the money transferred electronically, Appiah said: “The practice in Ghana has always been to pay players in cash. Some players have not got accounts in Ghana. The system in Africa is totally different to Europe. You need to consider those factors. I’m not saying that it is the best way. But we are coming from different areas and you need to understand how it works.”
While it was widely reported Wednesday that the A’s had signed a 10 year lease extension at the oft-ridiculed O.co Coliseum, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Carolyn Jones writes there’s not actually a done deal :
Mayor Jean Quan said any celebration is premature, as the A’s – as recently as Tuesday night – gave the Authority a counter-offer that officials have not reviewed in depth.
“We are still negotiating, so were surprised by the announcement of an agreement,” she said. “We plan to meet (Thursday), continue negotiations, and hope there will be an agreement soon.”
Fans had mixed reactions on Wednesday. The A’s – who have the best record in baseball and won their division the past two years – deserve a permanent home, not an endless series of lease extensions, said Garth Kimball of Baseball Oakland, a fan group dedicated to keeping the A’s in Oakland.
“Lew Wolff has been trying to get them a permanent stadium since 2003. Here it is 2014 and we’re still talking about it,” he said. “I think people just want this resolved once and for all. We want the A’s to stay in Oakland, period.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE : Earlier tonight, the New York Mets chased their former prospect, LHP Scott Kazmir en route to a 10-1 victory over the AL West leading Oakland A’s. Kazmir, famously swapped for Victor Zambrano in one of the worst trades in Mets history, allegedly ran afoul of veteran teammates while preparing for the 2004 season in Port St. Lucie, most prominently, starting pitcher Al Leiter. Said incident is recalled in this post from July 9, 2006 – GC)
Tomorrow’s sports pages will be filled with accounts of Chien-Ming Wang’s tremendous performance against Tampa Bay. As though that were the most important storyline.
Though the Yankees’ 5-1 win helped the Bombers keep pace with Boston in the AL East, I’d rather focus on things far more crucial. The issue of respect. Feelings. Defering to a veteran. Knowing one’s place in the pecking order.
You might not agree with his politics, you might wish his final year in a Mets uniform saw him reach 100 pitches in less than 3 innings per start. But you’ve got to acknowledge that Al Leiter has always been a quality individual.
After everything Leiter has done for baseball, if not the city of New York, was it asking so much that he be allowed to play the music of Bruce Springsteen on the clubhouse boombox during Spring Training 2004? Is there something inherently wrong with Leiter misinterpreting the Boss’ populist themes for some kind of ultra-patriotic anthems? If there were, you’d have to lock up much of the Tri-State Area.
So how was Leiter supposed to react, when that young punk Scott Kazmir arrogantly strode into the Port St. Lucie clubhouse and snapped Leiter’s ‘Born In The U.S.A.’ CD into pieces, and then replaced it in the player with Solger’s “Raping Dead Nuns”?
I know how I’d have reacted. I’d have used every bit of influence I’d build up through years of golfing and glad-handing to have that little creep shipped off to the baseball equivalent of Siberia at the earliest possible opportunity.
Al, if you’re reading this, not all Mets fans hold a grudge. Kazmir lost tonight, a game he might’ve won with any sort of top-flight team with a ten-figure payroll playing behind him. Sure, he’s going to the All-Star Game on Tuesday, and soon, he’ll be making enough money to have the members of Solger reunite at his 23rd birthday party. But for tonight, he’s a loser.