08.26.14

THANKS FOR NOTHING, MUSEUM OF BROADCASTING

Posted in record collector disease, The World Of Entertainment at 1:58 pm by

And thanks for even less, my many alleged friends, none of whom ever bothered to tell me The Nashville Network once aired a country music quiz show called “Fandango” featuring EDGAR THE TALKING JUKEBOX….and there’s an episode featuring living/breathing/private press legend JOEY WELZ as a contestant.

08.25.14

B.C. Lions Owner Dennis Skulsky : Challenging Patrick Ewing For The Most Ill-Advised Guarantees Of All Time

Posted in Gridiron at 10:15 pm by

Enraged by the visiting  Roughriders purchasing a tauntastic billboard outside of BC Place, BC Lion president/CEO Dennis Skulsky (above) guaranteed a victory over Saskatchewan yesterday.  After the host Lions failed to deliver on Skulsky’s promise, The Province’s Ed Willis scoffs at claims Skulsky is a promotional mastermind.

In a crucial game for the team, Skulsky jacked up the defending Grey Cup champs to the point where they beat the Lions 20-16 with their backup quarterback playing the second half. That loss left the Lions in last place in the West and has jeopardized their playoff chances.

You have to admit, it’s a loose interpretation of the term genius.

But there’s a larger issue involved here, one that speaks to the state of the Lions. Until this year, the franchise never needed a guaranteed win to sell its product. Under Bob Ackles and Wally Buono, the Lions brand was built through a series of successful, exciting teams that earned the support of the community. There was no need for gimmicks, no need for hype. People invested in the team because they knew they’d be entertained.

Now? Since, moving into B.C. Place in 2011, attendance has decreased every year and, barring a miracle over their final four home dates, it will fall again this season. Against that backdrop, Skulsky made a grandstand play in an attempt to raise the Lions’ profile.

Paging Rob Manfred : Paul Auster’s Scheme To Make MLB More Lke Rec League Softball

Posted in Baseball at 3:34 pm by

(next time, just type, “BAN JOEL PERALTA”)

To the Sports Editor:

Re “In Push to Shorten Games, There’s No Time to Waste,” Aug. 17: I would like to offer a suggestion about speeding up baseball. Eliminate the two-strike foul ball as a neutral play (neither strike nor ball) and rule it a strike. To compensate for the advantage this would give the pitcher, allow the batter to go to first base after three balls instead of four.

This way, no at-bat could last more than five pitches. Pitch counts would go down, allowing starting pitchers to go deeper into games, which in turn would reduce the dead time caused by changing pitchers — the primary reason games last so long these days.

Traditionalists will argue that this will alter baseball as we know it. But if games continue to drag on for three hours or longer, baseball as we know it will lose its audience.

PAUL AUSTER

Brooklyn

NY Times, Sports Inbox, 8/25/14

Just A Helpful Reminder…

Posted in Basketball at 3:22 pm by

….that your New York Knicks begin their 2014-2015 season in a mere 64 days.

08.24.14

Once Upon A Time, Peyton Manning Eschewed Gutter Talk

Posted in Gridiron at 6:09 pm by

Broncos QB Peyton Manning cursed in the face of Texas safety D.J. Swearinger during last night’s preseason tilt in Denver, an act that seems slightly at odds with the public image of the sure-thing Hall Of Famer / Papa John’s franchise owner. Especially so, when you consider Peyton’s long-standing opposition to working blue, as typified by a passage in the 2002 tome, “Manning: A Father, His Sons, and a Football Legacy”, a John Underwood-ghosted fluff job that criticized former Tennessee athletic trainer Jamie Ann Naughright for having “a vulgar mouth”.

Given Manning’s determination to publicly name and shame a young woman (who also had the temerity to accuse him of sitting on her face during a medical examination) who used foul language, can we really believe he’d bellow obscenities in the direction of an opponent?

08.23.14

I Mean No Disrepect To Friends & Family Within Earshot…

Posted in record collector disease, Rock Und Roll at 6:43 pm by

…when I say tonight, I’d rather be in Cleveland. Above : from Wednesday night, an excerpt from the first X Blank X show in 35 (?) years.

Jets Backup QB Michael Vick : Reports Of My Not Giving A Shit Are Greatly Exaggerated

Posted in Gridiron at 4:35 pm by

Troubled by a MMQB report that claimed Jets assistants were less than blown away by Michael Vick’s (unsuccessful) preseason approach to unseating Geno Smith as Gang Green’s starting QB, Vick spoke out to the media last night after a 35-24 exhibition defeat to the Giants, perhaps adding validity to the claims when adding, “I knew the entire time that Geno was going to be the starter.” From the New York Post’s Brian Costello :

“Me and my coaches, we have great conversations, we have open dialogue, and that was far from the case. So whoever wrote that story, it was on the side of being very fictitious, and you have to come up with better stories than that. There are better things to talk about.”

Vick seemed puzzled why anyone would question his attitude.

“I mean, what did it look like to you all?” he asked reporters. “I did what I had to do.”

I’ll give Vick this much credit. No matter how underwhelming his performances in practice or preseason games might’ve been, he still showed 100% more effort than he put into those horrible Cure Auto Insurance commercials.

08.22.14

Wrigley’s Tarp-Draggers : Understaffed By A Miserly Ricketts

Posted in Baseball at 8:13 pm by

In the wake of Tuesday night’s tarp failure during a Giants/Cubs tilt that was originally ruled a rain-shortened, 2-0 victory for the hosts, then played to completion early Thursday evening after San Francisco’s protest was upheld by MLB, the Chicago Sun-Times’ Gordon Wittenmeyer has found the real culprit ;  Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.  Or more to the point, Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts’ corner-cutting.

The staffing issues that hamstrung the grounds crew Tuesday during a mad dash with the tarp under a sudden rainstorm were created in part by a wide-ranging reorganization last winter of game-day personnel, job descriptions and work limits designed to keep the seasonal workers – including much of the grounds crew – under 130 hours per month, according to numerous sources with direct knowledge.

That’s the full-time worker definition under “Obamacare,” which requires employer-provided healthcare benefits for “big businesses” such as a major league team.

“Cheap,” said one of three high-ranking officials from other organizations the Sun-Times contacted Thursday – all of whom fall below the Cubs on Forbes’ annual revenues list.

You Can Take The Bro Off The Content Farm, But You Can’t Take The Content Farming Out Off The Bro

Posted in non-sporting journalism, The Marketplace at 6:17 pm by

A little more than a year ago, Bleacher Report co-founder Bryan Goldberg’s attempts to “transform Women’s publishing” with the newly launched Bustle.com received widespread criticism, including the suggestion from this corner (“The Web’s #1 Content Farmer Finds Out That IUD Isn’t An Acronym For “Internet Underwear Deputy”) he was as credible a champion of feminism as Luke Winkie.

Fast forward to this morning, and Slate’s Amanda Hess surveys the commercial success of Bustle (rivaling Jezebel for traffic) and Goldberg’s skill in mollifying some of his more prominent foes (some of whom have not-so-coincidentally accepted payment from, uh, Goldberg).  Still, while Goldberg has convinced some in the web world that he’s not the biggest creep on Silicon Row, Hess found at least one person unwilling to high five the man she calls “The Bro Whisperer” :

“It’s nice not having to code-switch as I would with a male boss,” one contributor told me of working with all female editors. A former intern described the office dynamic as an “all-girls summer camp feel,” where Goldberg typically stayed tucked away in his office, and the crew of relentlessly kind female editors “felt like counselors” to their young charges. In fact, Bustle’s office culture vibe is so by-women, for-women that one former contributor didn’t recognize Goldberg’s name when I raised it in our conversation. “I had no idea a man was behind Bustle,” she told me. “Weirdly, that makes me like it much less.” She had assumed that her low pay rate was the product of a fledgling female-run startup that had struggled to secure funding from venture capitalists. When I sent her Goldberg’s now infamous PandoDaily announcement, she looked at the headline and said, “There’s $6.5 million behind it, and this is what they’re paying me?” I told her that Goldberg had since raised an additional $5 million. “Jesus,” she said.

08.21.14

Gazza’s Ten Year Abscence From (Semi-) Competitive Football Has Come To An End

Posted in Football at 10:55 pm by

“I will put a fixture sheet through his door and have offered to pick him up whenever he is willing to come.” So intoned Abbey F.C. manager Chris Foster of his acquisition of former England midfielder Paul Gascoigne. If Foster’s club doesn’t ring a bell, that’s because they play in the Bournemouth Sunday League Division Four, with the Bournemouth Echo’s Neil Perrett almost besides himself with glee at the prospect of seeing Gazza take on “either Rentech Repairs or ARC Cleaning when the season kicks off next month.”

“I dropped him off at his flat a couple of weeks ago and he asked me to go to the shop to get him some cigarettes, Foster said.” “When I got back, I was invited in and we had a good chat about various things.

“I gave him the cigarettes and pulled out the signing-on form at the same time. He signed it there and then. I was chuffed to bits and ran to the car as fast as I could. I was skipping like a 14-year-old!

“I texted some of the other lads and told them I had a real scoop of a signing. They thought it was either Taffy Richardson or Tommy Killick.”

Asked whether Gazza would have to fight for his place in the Abbey starting line-up, Foster replied: “If he feels he is fit enough to play, he can play wherever he likes – at that includes in goal!”

Finally, A Kickstarter We Can All Get Behind

Posted in Professional Wrestling at 6:34 pm by

Hard for me to say which is more amazing — the opportunity to obtain one of Kamala’s ring-worn skirts, or to learn that Kim Chee is both a Fulbright scholar and a wedding dj/event organizer.

08.20.14

Auburn Tree Poisoner / Bama Megafan Harvey Updyke’s Unusual Attempt At Image Rehab

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 10:39 pm by

Crimson Tide uber fan Harvey Updyke Jr. has made a number of appearances in this space over the years, starting with his confession/boast to radio host Paul Finebaum that he’d poisoned the beloved trees at Auburn’s Toomers Corner. On Wednesday, ESPN.com’s Mark Schlabach reported that Updyke, “has agreed to appear at a charity event Sept. 27 in Mobile, Alabama, in which fans will be allowed to either dunk him in a dunking booth or throw pies at his face.”

“He thought about it and thought about it,” Updyke’s wife, Elva, said. “His daughter said he needed to do it because it will show that he’s not as big of a nut as some people believe. He told them they can do whatever they want to him if it will raise money for kids.”

T.J. Hodges, an Alabama fan living near Chicago, is organizing the event to help raise money for the family of John Oliver, a boy from outside Mobile who died of cancer in July. Hodges started a nonprofit organization, Roses From Linda, after his mother passed away that helps raise money for family members to visit terminally ill patients before they die.

Updyke’s wife said he realizes Auburn fans probably will show up at the Mobile charity event to take a shot at him.

“He knows there’s going to be a lot of Auburn fans there, but he doesn’t care,” Elva Updyke said. “He’s 65 years old. What are they going to do to him? They’ll have security there.”

Cubs GM Jed Hoyer Insists His Grounds Crew Do A Wonderful Job (Despite Evidence To The Contrary)

Posted in Baseball at 4:02 pm by

After a tarp-laying miscalculation that one down-with-the-cultural-zeitgeist columnist likened to leaving the Wrigley infield, “as poorly covered as Jane Fonda in ‘Barbarella’”, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer struck a contrite tone after the hosts’ rain-shortened, 2-0 defeat of the Giants last night.  Though you have to wonder, if last night constitutes a great job by the grounds crews, what happens when they really fuck up?  They hold their own Wax Trax! Demolition Night?

08.19.14

The Former Michael Dyczko Publicly Auditions For Thought Catalog

Posted in Gridiron, Racism Corner at 11:16 pm by

Chatting with Mike Richmond of The Redskin Historian.com, ESPN analyst / Pro Football Hall Of Famer Mike Ditka (above, right) denounced efforts to pressure Dan Snyder into changing Washington’s nickname as “asinine” (“I didn’t think that Lombardi and Halas never had a problem with it, why would all these other idiots have a problem with the name?”). From DC Sports Bog’s Dan Steinberg :

“What’s all the stink over the Redskin name?” Ditka said. “It’s so much [expletive] it’s incredible. We’re going to let the liberals of the world run this world. It was said out of reverence, out of pride to the American Indian. Even though it was called a Redskin, what are you going to call them, a Brownskin? This is so stupid it’s appalling, and I hope that owner keeps fighting for it and never changes it, because the Redskins are part of an American football history, and it should never be anything but the Washington Redskins. That’s the way it is.

“Its been the name of the team since the beginning of football. It has nothing to do with something that happened lately, or something that somebody dreamed up. This was the name, period. Leave it alone. These people are silly — asinine, actually, in my opinion.”

Richman suggested that non-Redskins fans and people outside the D.C. area are the ones driving the controversy about the name.

“It’s all the political correct idiots in America, that’s all it is,” Ditka said. “It’s got nothing to do with anything else. We’re going to change something because we can. Hey listen, I went through it in the 60s, too. I mean, come on. Everybody lined up, did this. It’s fine to protest. That’s your right, if you don’t like it, protest. You have a right to do that, but to change the name, that’s ridiculous. Change the Constitution — we’ve got people trying to do that, too, and they’re doing a pretty good job.”

Sliding Clinic In the Carolina League

Posted in Baseball at 5:10 pm by

Sorry I missed this one from Sunday, but it seems Myrtle Beach Pelicans manager Joe Mikulik is an old hand at these sort of theatrics, as The Sun News’ Max McKinnon explains :

It was the third time Mikulik has garnered national attention for his tirades. He gained much attention for similar acts following ejections in 2006 and 2012 while managing the Asheville (N.C.) Tourists. In the 2006 ejection, Mikulik removed second base from the basepaths, throwing it toward the outfield, and later covered home plate with dirt before retreating to the dugout to grab a bottle of water, which he then poured out on home plate. In 2012, he took third base off the basepaths and handed it to a fan in the first row, tipped his cap and bowed before leaving the field.

Mikulik declined comment Monday.

“Obviously anytime Joe gets excited he gets fairly animated and in turn that draws eyeballs to the computer and television and so forth,” said GM Andy Milovich, who said he learned of the video’s viral spread Monday evening. “But we like all the exposure we can get. That’s Joe doing what Joe does and he’ll always stick up for his guys and try to win every game.”

08.18.14

OH Daily Seeks New Sports Editor

Posted in Sports Journalism, The Law at 11:00 pm by

The Ashtabula Star Beacon reports the paper’s sports editor, Dan McCormick, was arrested earlier today and charged the Ashtabula Sheriff’s Department with 2 counts of sexual imposition. Since this is a very serious story, it would be unfair for anyone to suggest it simply provided me with a cheap excuse to post the above video.

McCormack is a 28-year employee of the newspaper, including the past 16 years as sports editor. He also served for many years as a coach of girls’ junior varsity basketball and softball teams.

Publisher Jim Frustere said McCormack’s employment has been terminated, effective immediately.

Editor Neil Frieder said the paper was aware of sexual misconduct allegations involving McCormack after he resigned from a coaching position more than a month ago. Frieder said the paper promptly began an internal investigation.

Considering Tony C’s Less Successful Artistic Endeavors

Posted in Baseball, History's Not Happening, record collector disease at 1:12 pm by

On this, the 47th anniversary of the late Tony Conigliaro’s life-alterning beaning at the hands of the Angels’ Jack Hamilton, let’s remember the former did not have impressive musical chops to fall back on.

08.17.14

Let’s Ruminate Over Chris Sale’s Loquaciousness

Posted in Baseball at 11:48 pm by

“With each big league trip to the mound this season — minus Opening Day, numbering 17 in total — Chris Sale has worked in one particular word during his postgame interview,” reports MLB.com’s Scott Merkin. Apparently, the words are chosen by White Sox video coordinator Bryan Johnson, who may or may not sneak “Nehru” in before the 2014 season’s close.

Sale’s words since his second start have gone as follows :

• Juxtapose (April 11)
• Consternation (April 17)
• Ameliorate (May 22)
• Acquiesce (May 27)
• Capitulated (June 1)
• Nascence (June 7)
• Ruminate (June 12)
• Repudiate (June 18)
• Antithetic (June 23)
• Dichotomy (June 28)
• Cacophony (July 4)
• Adjudicate (July 9)
• Ubiquitous (July 21)
• Voracious (July 26)
• Prescience (Aug. 1)
• Amalgamation (Aug. 6)

Even on June 7 in Anaheim, when a 5-0 lead turned into an unexpected 5-all deadlock over the course of five batters faced by Sale in the eighth, the southpaw still stayed true to form postgame with “nascence.”

“When you commit to something as serious as this, you have to ride it out through the good and the bad,” Sale said. “We had said that we were going to do it every start this year. In a sense, me and Bryan are on a team now, and I can’t let my team down. I have two teams to play for a night.”

08.16.14

Potomac Nationals’ Terrifying Species-Splicing In Figurine Form

Posted in Baseball at 12:30 pm by

What were the odds on a second Dr. Moreau-related post in one week? The above souvenirs are available to the first 1000 paid customers for tonight’s game against the Carolina Mudcat at Pfitzner Stadium. There’s no truth whatsoever to the rumor the next 1000 fans will have to settle for an autographed 8X10″ of Thor Harris.

The 2014-15 Barclays Premier League Season Has Peaked Far Too Early

Posted in Football at 12:24 pm by

And I’m not saying that simply because the fella above could’ve been taking penalties for QPR today, too.

08.15.14

Chass On Reinsdorf’s Big Loss

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 11:47 pm by

While taking pains to credit White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf for a long history of minority hiring (“no one does it better”), former New York Times baseball columnist turned blogger independent journalist Murray Chass takes a dim view of the former’s unsuccessful attempts to install TV producer/Red Sox co-owner Tom Werner as MLB’s new commissioner.  “If Rob Manfred’s victory over Reinsdorf’s puppet candidate will plunge the owner into an abyss of absence from baseball matters,” writes Chass, “the owners couldn’t have given Bud Selig a better going away present.”

After Manfred, as the owners’ chief labor negotiator, achieved an unprecedented three consecutive labor contracts without a work stoppage (five strikes and three lockouts had preceded them), Reinsdorf (above) accused Manfred of being too soft on the union and made it clear that he wanted to renew the battle for a payroll cap that the owners failed to get in 1994. He ignored the fact that the two decades of labor peace had created an unprecedented growth in industry revenue to $9 billion and sent values of the owners’ franchises, including his own, skyrocketing.

He failed miserably on Thursday in his brazen attempt to prevent Manfred from taking Selig’s seat in the commissioner’s office. “Jerry was so over the top on this one,” a high-ranking official said after the owners’ meeting. “He had no chance. There was never a race here.”

No controlling owner has been around as long as Reinsdorf. If he ever had any usefulness, he has outlived it. If he succeeded at anything with his Werner initiative, it was in conning The New York Times into thinking that Werner actually had a chance to win.

“Tom Werner emerges to create race for commissioner,” said a headline on the Times’ web site Aug. 6, touting Werner’s candidacy. At that time, Werner had five votes, three fewer than he needed to block Manfred, who had 20 votes, three fewer than he needed for election.

Notre Dame : Brian Kelly’s Charges Are Overcoached (Academically)

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 4:50 pm by

(l-r : Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick, head football coach Brian Kelly)

Notre Dame announced earlier today that four players from the school’s football program are under investigation for “suspected academic dishonesty”. The school’s website reports the 4 unidentified players are being held out of practice pending the results of the fraud inquiry.

“Integrity is at the heart of our mission and academic misconduct will not be tolerated at Notre Dame,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., the University’s president. “If the suspected improprieties are proven, we will use the experience to reinforce among our students the importance of honesty in all that they do. We are also examining ways of better conveying to students that they can avail themselves of legitimate academic assistance without resorting to cheating.”

Evidence that students had submitted papers and homework that had been written for them by others was initially detected at the end of the summer session, and referred to the compliance office in athletics on July 29. The Office of General Counsel initiated an immediate investigation.

That investigation is ongoing. If it determines that the student-athletes would have been ineligible during past competition, Notre Dame will voluntarily vacate any victories in which they participated.

“The University is committed to thorough resolution of this matter, consistent with its commitment to academic integrity and adherence to NCAA rules,” Father Jenkins said

08.14.14

Gary Clark’s Skill Set Includes Carrying Water For Dan Snyder (While Wearing Blinders)

Posted in Gridiron, Racism Corner at 10:37 pm by

Former Washington WR Gary Clark took part in a Comcast “alumni” special that aired Wednesday, and when the subject of the club’s widely-despised nickname, Clark insisted the controversy was entirely manufactured. From the Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg :

“If it really bothered Native Americans, do you not think they would not be like blacks, gays, Hispanics, and march on Washington?” Clark asked at one point. “Of course they would. Of course they would. You say the word ‘Redskins,’ most people think of the Washington Redskins football team. You’re talking about 90 percent of the population does. The Washington Redskins is the only team in the National Football League whose name actually has meaning to it. And [that's] why we played so hard to represent that brand.”

Clark had said something similar to me recently, that Washington’s team has “the only name in the National Football League that had substance and meaning behind it, besides the Minnesota Vikings.”

And in fact, Clark also mentioned the Vikings during the CSN program, when Hernandez asked what he would say to those Native Americans who are offended by the name.

“I know about equal rights,” Clark said. “I’m all about equal rights. So quite honestly, I wanted to go hear it from the horse’s mouth. So I went directly to the Native American Indians and I directly asked them, ‘the word Redskin, is it offensive to you, am I being disrespectful of you in in any way?’ And they were like no. Not at all.”

Detroit’s Joe Nathan Is Above Telling Tigers Fans, “We’re No. 1″

Posted in Baseball at 3:34 pm by

…but Nathan’s not unwilling to make a public tribute to Little Guido of the Full Blooded Italians!

08.13.14

Patrick Dubuque’s Most Dangerous (Baseball Simulation) Game

Posted in Baseball, Video Games at 10:18 pm by

Not inspired (if that’s the word) by Adam Dunn’s recent attempt at relief pitching, Fangraph’s Patrick Dubuque recently took to the modern-era’s take on Strat-o-Matic, Out Of The Park 2015, and created four, 25 man squads, each composed of one player cloned 25 times. Showing the sort of ingenuity that would cause Dr. Moreau to hurl, Dubuque created full rosters of Adam Dunns, Bartolo Colons, Dee Gordons and Koji Ueharas. May God Have Mercy On Us All.

I chose Adam Dunn because, when I started this project a couple of weeks ago, I never imagined that Dunn would be a gigantic jerk and pitch for the first time after fourteen years. I chose Dee Gordon because I’m an idiot and didn’t think of Jose Altuve until it was too late. I chose Bartolo Colon because I’m not completely an idiot. And I chose Koji Uehara because I like Koji Uehara. Each of the four teams has a strength: power, speed, stamina, and stuff, respectively, and I wanted to see which would win out. In a perfect world, they might form a delicate balance. It was not a perfect world.

In terms of methodology, I kept all four players at their original, OOTP-assigned ratings, only guessing what I thought the hitters’ fastballs would clock in at. I locked the rosters at 25 because it would take too long to populate a minor league system, and I didn’t want the computer to sneak some unauthorized eighteen year-old Cuban onto the club to use as fresh legs. I assigned each homunculi a position, set five starters and a closer, and designated the rest as middle relievers. Then I lit the fuse and backed away.

The Colons had it rough. They didn’t win a series until the end of April, and before long they began peppering my inbox with retirement announcements at the end of the year. By October every position player had called it quits except the first baseman, theoretically due to the strain of exercise, although the Colons weren’t actually any worse at fielding than the Dunns or the Ueharas. Instead, it was their pitching that failed them: the Colons starters, facing nine pitchers, nine shortstops and nine Adam Dunns, only managed an ERA of 7.80, barely better than the Dunns themselves.