08.12.15

From The Witness Protection Program To The Brew Crüe Pitching Staff

Posted in Baseball, The Mailbag at 1:12 pm by

Michael Slaboch of Chicago, IL writes, “how has Jon Glaser pitching for the Brewers not been a lead line on CSTB?!”. Admittedly, I’ve been so (alternately) jaw-broken up over Geno Smith losing his starting position to Ryan Fitzpatrick / thrilled with Matt Harvey overcoming the scourge of triple-chinhood before the age of 30 (HT, The Randy L.) that I totally spaced on the above moment in recent MLB history.

08.09.15

CSTB Exclusive : Visual Translation Of A Phil Mushnick Observation

Posted in Baseball, Fashion, Sports Journalism at 6:18 pm by

Is it possible new Met Yoenis Cespedes might be a step slowed by all those chains he wears? Mets radio’s Josh Lewin said one seems to be dangling “a manhole cover.” – Phil Mushnick, New York Post, 8/9/15

When most sensible persons are watching New York Mets OF Yoenis Cespedes on television, they see something like this :

Thru Phil’s lenses, it looks a little more like this :

08.08.15

Cornhusker Don’t : Nebraska P.A. Announcer In Hot Water

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron, The Law at 8:15 pm by

Nebraska football public address announcer Patrick Combs was charged earlier this week in Lincoln, NE with stealing a small fortune from two elderly women, as the Lincoln Journal-Standard’s Riley Johnson reports :

Combs, Memorial Stadium’s public-address announcer for Husker football since 2002, allegedly used his power of attorney status with two Lincoln women, ages 88 and 92, to bilk them out of more than $363,000, Lincoln Police Investigator Cindy Koenig-Warnke said in court documents.

The bulk of the money came from the accounts of Beverly J. Mosher, an 88-year-old widow and longtime University of Nebraska-Lincoln employee who had dementia, the investigator wrote in an affidavit. Combs was a friend of hers.

Combs used Mosher’s checking account between September 2014 and January 2015 to buy cars, pay off a car loan and credit cards, install carpet at his lake house and get brickwork done on an outbuilding at his Gretna home, Koenig-Warnke said.

Combs also gifted $150,000 and $100,000 to two of his family friends after having Mosher’s power of attorney amended to allow gifting, an affidavit to arrest him states.

Earlier this year, a $1.75 million transfer from Mosher’s account to Combs was frozen and not completed after investigators learned of the possible financial exploitation from Adult Protective Services — a state agency.

08.07.15

Baffoe : Patrick Kane Fans Are Guilty Until Proven Innocent

Posted in Hockey, The Law at 8:28 pm by

Alright, that’s not exactly what CBS Chicago’s Tim Baffoe has to say in Friday’s op-ed, but in the wake of Blackhawks RW Patrick Kane (above) being named the subject of a sexual assault investigation in Hamburg, NY, Baffoe insists, “you need to stop with the garbage default setting of rushing to defend him.”

The reflex of “Leave Kaner alone—you’re ruining his reputation!” or anything remotely putting the onus on the woman involved shows you’ve let sports fandom strip you of your humanity. Your ethics have grown so out of whack while drunk on being a fangirl or fanboy that you’ve drowned your soul. You value sports over violation of the human body, and you then become no different than, say, a defender of Joe Paterno. If Patrick Kane were not famous and a name on the local news, your consideration would be vastly different. Don’t lie to yourself. Same if he just played hockey in a different sweater.

Mike Ribiero sounds like a truly awful monster, and he gains further monster status more conveniently because he plays for the rival Nashville Predators. Jokes about Ben Roethlisberger and vitriol toward Floyd Mayweather are all so comfortable because there’s not much connection to those guys from over here. It’s easy to be disgusted at Baltimore Ravens fans defiantly wearing Ray Rice jerseys. They don’t “represent Chicago,” as is comfortable to say when a team wins or an athlete does society some good.

Now the badness is in your backyard, and regardless of what actually happened between Kane and his accuser, regardless of the outcome of the investigation, the situation is going to get worse before it gets better. And you’re at a crossroads for which you must make a choice that defines you and your morals. A human highlight reel who just hoisted the Stanley Cup and had sports fans here at the highest of highs may have done something really terrible. He is a sports star who has embarrassed and compromised his employer—again. Only this time an alleged victim now finds herself against the almost-never sympathetic sporting world and vicious misogynistic Internet that has already begun its detestable attack on her as-of-now-anonymous self in defense of their sports hero almost-friend and their own selfishness and ignorance.

Melbourne’s Deaf Wish : Undefeated

Posted in record collector disease, Rock Und Roll at 7:53 pm by

With all due respect to Mount Union’s football program, Deaf Wish’s winning streak is way more impressive.  For starters, Mount Union are a D-III school — they’re beating the likes of Heidelberg, Otterbein and John Carroll. If you can’t run up the score on something or someone called Otterbein you really have no business taking the field.

On second thought, this really wasn’t all that respectful to Mount Union’s football program.

08.06.15

Bizarre Promotional Items Of August 2015 : Bridgeport Bluefish 1, New York Yankees 0

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 9:03 pm by

(image courtesy the Bobby V. loving Bridgeport Bluefish)

Michael Kay claims the cowboy hat is “pretty cool”. I think that’s taking being a company man to an unrealistic level.

Issues Of Consent Aside, Is Vandy’s Athletic Dept. Really That Intelligent?

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron, twitter twatter at 2:54 pm by

…and the summer’s Shitty Timing Award goes to whoever on Vanderbilt’s social media thought the above tweet wouldn’t be wildly inappropriate in light of this.

08.05.15

Graham : Mismatches Do Little For Mayweather’s Legacy

Posted in Boxing at 8:32 pm by

What’s being billed as Floyd Mayweather’s farewell from competitive boxing, a September 12 clash with journeyman Andre Berto, a pairing the Guardian’s Bryan Armen Graham argues, “will further water down a legacy that was already in question,” (“in no other sport would this be tolerated, let alone a matter of routine”) :

Years ago Berto held a version of the welterweight title, but he’s 3-3 in his last six bouts, no longer a name or a threat. Two summers ago he was knocked out by a gatekeeper named Jesús Soto Karass. Berto failed that test, suffering a torn shoulder tendon in the process, and has done nothing in the 25 months since to indicate he belongs in the same sentence with a fighter of Mayweather’s caliber. The MGM Grand sports book, which installed Mayweather as a 50-1 favorite, longer odds than Buster Douglas’s 42-1 price against Mike Tyson, seems to agree.

It’s not as if there were no credible opponents available. Forget Gennady Golovkin, the heavy-handed Kazakh one division up and Mayweather’s only plausible challenger for pound-for-pound supremacy. Keith Thurman or Timothy Bradley each hold welterweight belts, and would have made for entertaining unification bouts.An even more obvious choice would have been Amir Khan, who has twice essentially put his career on hold in pursuit of a fight with Mayweather that would do massive business on both sides of the pond, and who once again has been left at the altar.

Not even Mayweather’s most ardent supporters can argue he’s tested his limits in ways consistent with the greatest champions. Sugar Ray Leonard would have fought Manny Pacquiao three times by now. Who can imagine where Mayweather might have pushed himself if he’d lost the first José Luis Castillo fight back in 2001 and not felt the pressure to protect the zero in his loss ledger?

Great News For The Single Ladies Of Southern California : Donald Sterling’s Almost A Free Agent

Posted in Basketball, History's Great Hook-Ups, Racism Corner, The Law at 7:55 pm by

Though it was subsequently reported that paperwork wasn’t quite in order, the LA Times’ Nathan Fenno writes that former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling (above, right) filed for divorce from wife Shelley earlier today :

The documents alleged that Shelly Sterling has refused to distribute her husband’s share of the record $2-billion sale of the Clippers.

Half of the amount is in an escrow account controlled by the NBA pending the outcome of Donald Sterling’s federal lawsuit against the league. The remainder went to Shelly Sterling.

Donald Sterling’s attorney, Bobby Samini, said that “more or less” his client hasn’t seen a dime from the sale.

“Donald hereby demands an accounting and distribution,” the court filing said.

In March, Sterling added Shelly Sterling as a defendant in his lawsuit against the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. He accused her of conspiring with the league to sell the Clippers against his wishes. That lawsuit said Shelly Sterling “fraudulently induced” and “fraudulently arranged” for the doctors to examine Donald Sterling last year.

08.04.15

Zaun On The Jays/Royals Feud : Some Signs Are Easier To Steal Than Others

Posted in Baseball, Sports Radio at 5:42 pm by

If the aftermath of Sunday’s unpleasantness between the Royals and host Blue Jays, former Jays C / current SportsNet analyst Greg Zaun appeared on a KC radio program to address the phenomenon of sign stealing. Your mind will be blown to pieces upon learning a) it’s a commmon practice, and b) if you’re the victim of such acts of theft, perhaps your signs are way too easy to discern.

08.03.15

After Losing To Ted Cruz, Fox Sports Is Craig James’ New Opponent

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron, politics, Sports TV at 8:41 pm by

(Images culled from The Gurgling Cod)

Last seen in this space immersed in an unsuccessful US Senate campaign and an ill-advised feud with Mike Leach, former ESPN college football analyst Craig James is suing Fox Sports alleging his 2013 firing — just days after being hired — was an instance of religious discrimination. From the New York Times and the AP :

James was a longtime color commentator for ESPN who quit to run for the Senate in 2012. During the campaign, James said he opposed gay marriage and that gay people would one day “have to answer to the Lord for their actions.”

James has alleged that a national Fox Sports spokesman told The Dallas Morning News that James was terminated from Fox Sports Southwest for religious beliefs against same-sex marriage.

Hiram Sasser, deputy chief counsel with the conservative advocacy group, said that when Fox fired James, the network publicly stated that his view on marriage was a reason. Sasser said that James was fired after Sports Illustrated magazine contacted Fox about the hiring in light of James’ comment during a primary debate that he opposed gay marriage.

“It’s pretty rare that a company engages in religious discrimination in the firing of an employee and then issues a statement confirming that’s the reason,” Sasser said.

08.02.15

Glendenning : The Bookie Is Not Your Best Bud

Posted in Gambling, Sports Journalism, Sports TV at 5:00 pm by

The BBC have screened 3 episodes of “Britain At The Bookies”, a series pitched as “a documentary examining the winners and losers in Britain’s gambling revolution”. In the considered view of The Guardian’s Barry Glendenning, the segments concerning the machinations of wagering monolith Coral, “suggest the purpose of this documentary is not to present those in the industry as ruthlessly cold-blooded shysters obsessed with parting impressionable fools from their money, if anything it ventures too far the other way.”

With a couple of exceptions, almost all involved in the programme come across as preposterously optimistic and likable people, whether it’s, as one Huddersfield-based betting shop punter points out, “them trying to take our money or us trying to take theirs”.

“The vast majority of people bet for fun and have control over the money they spend,” says Simon Clare, Coral’s head of PR and a man this column personally knows to be a genuinely good egg. “The sad thing is that there are a vulnerable minority who don’t and we recognise that.”

Of course while recognising this vulnerable, hopelessly addicted minority and doing anything to help or protect them are two completely separate issues, during the making of Britain At The Bookies the four big chains did take out newspaper advertisements responding to “public concerns about the betting industry”. Discussing the advert in his Huddersfield branch, Tony Kendall, a more cheerful soul than any betting shop manager with 20 years’ experience has any right to be, considers whether it merely constitutes window dressing.

“We’re a decent company that are responsible,” he says. “So no, I don’t think they’re doing it to look good. I think they’re genuinely doing it because they want people to be in control.” With impeccable timing, his closing sentiment is rendered almost inaudible by the raucous effing and jeffing of a couple of punters roaring home a horse on a television screen just out of shot. Tony smiles. The horse loses.

Ricky Starks Is Tired Of Being Taken For Granted

Posted in Austin, Professional Wrestling at 4:43 pm by

The latest contender to Andy Dalton’s Inspire Pro Championship belt is no stranger to the Marchesa Hall-hosted promotion or Texas independent wrestling in general. And maybe that’s the problem, as Starks’ eloquent promo (above) illustrates. Whether he’s the man to end Dalton’s seemingly endless title reign will be revealed in one week, and amidst an absolutely stacked card, keep an (eagle) eye (cherry) out for the return of the previously banished Sammy Guevara.

08.01.15

Green On Detroit Waving The White Flag

Posted in Baseball at 6:49 pm by

With a 50-53 mark, Detroit entered tonight’s tilt against Baltimore trailing Minnesota for the 2nd AL Wild Card by 3 1/2 games, and as you’re probably aware, the Tigers were not sufficiently impressed by said status with two months of baseball to play ; earlier this week, GM Dave Dombrowski (above) dealt David Price, Yeonis Cespedes and Joakim Soria to alleged contenders. Keeping in mind that one of those contenders, Toronto, is only two games ahead of the Tigers, Detroit’s capitulation is either cowardly or a savvy plan for the future. It seems the Detroit News’ Jerry Green would lean toward the former (“the decision to become peddlers in July is a baseball blasphemy, an embarrassment for Detroit. A surrender that trampled logic”) :

The Tigers quit while they still had a shot. They turned Pollyanna when they would have been the able to qualify again for the October playoffs. They had a better shot than the more ambitious the Blue Jays, determined to reboot on the go. Better than the White Sox, below the Tigers in ballfield quality, playing with delusions of grandeur. Better than the Orioles, better than the Mets, the Rangers, the Diamondbacks — clubs that refused to quit.

The major question, with all the cooing and delusions about the Tigers’ near future, is how a perennial contender got itself in a situation that it would outright quit in July. the Tigers allowed too much quality pitching to drift away, via free agency with Max Scherzer and trades of Doug Fister and now Price.

What the Tigers have now is a load of prospects that other clubs off-loaded in the hopes of winning now. Maybe the touted Daniel Norris will become a humongous winner in Detroit. But he is not the equal of David Price.

07.31.15

In Which Fond Memories Of “Sports Phone” Are Interrupted By Michael Kay On The Make

Posted in History's Not Happening, New York, New York, Sports Journalism, Sports Radio, Sports TV at 8:20 pm by

(image courtesy No Mas)

Earlier today when the deadline-dealing New York Mets finally managed to land the big bat that eluded them Wednesday night, chances are you learned about the transaction via any number of platforms that were either available in 1975. Back in the bad old days, of course, persons like myself were often found blowing off family functions, shitty dates or Freedy Johnson record release parties to pump quarter after quarter into a disease-bearing payphone in the hopes of learning whether or not Terry Blocker was ever gonna get up off the ground.

(OK, I never actually attended a Freedy Johnson record release party. But I’m sure someone did and cut out of the room at the first available opportunity.)

On Friday, Newsday’s Neil Best interviewed a number of Sports Phone fixtures, amongst them Mets radio voice Howie Rose (“For me it was like anchoring the ‘CBS Evening News’…when you’re 21 and want more than anything to be on the air and someone says, ‘I heard you,’ that is the same sort of tonic a comedian must get when he gets on stage and hears a roar”), Devils announcer Steve Cangialosi (“I was a 20-year-old kid, and I probably knew more about Biff Pocoroba than any man should,”), and most awkwardly, Mr. Center Stage himself, Michael Kay :

The service was big business, but for the young (mostly) men in the offices, there was plenty of time for fun, too. P.J. Clarke’s was downstairs. So was Michael’s Pub, where Woody Allen appeared regularly on the clarinet. Runyon’s was nearby, too.Ken Samelson, a longtime staffer who later helped edit the Baseball Encyclopedia, recalled colleague Bob Grochowski — a/k/a Bobby G — dumping a bottle of Champagne on him during a raucous night at P.J. Clarke’s after the Mets won the ’86 World Series.

“Fordham didn’t have frats, so as close as we got to a frat is we’d go to Sports Phone and watch games and watch other things that maybe were unmentionable when you were waiting for the West Coast games to end,” John Giannone said.

Kay, 54, recalled once bringing sisters to the office on a double date with Giannone. “We made out with them at Sports Phone at like one in the morning,” he said. “We had the codes to get in. We didn’t have apartments or anything, so that’s what we did.”

Charlie DeNatale recalled Kay as a novice whom the veterans would send out for coffee. “Nobody wanted to put him on the air because he had a really awkward sounding voice,” DeNatale said.

07.30.15

From The Desk Of Randy L : I’ll Give Wilmer Flores Something To Cry About

Posted in Baseball at 10:29 pm by

(EDITOR’s NOTE : from time to time, Bronx baseball executive Randy L. is kind enough to visit CSTB to offer his thoughts on the issues of the day, sporting and otherwise. In the wake of Wednesday night’s incredible scenes at Citi Field — in which a rumored deal for Milwaukee OF Carlos Gomez left Mets IF Wilmer Flores visibly weeping on camera — Randy offered, no he insisted on having his say – GC)

Greetings to all members of the Yankee Universe…and the dateless, friendless, often jobless losers who can only fantasize of someday entering its ranks. You know, I’m well aware MLB’s Trade Deadline represents a last gasp opportunity for some of the game’s more desperate franchises to knock the Yankees off our lofty perch, but once Toronto’s new acquisitions realize they’ve renounced their American citizenships (and any eligibility for Obamacare), I’m pretty sure morale in the Blue Jays clubhouse is going straight into the toilet. So even with our own oversexed GM doing little more than bringing Dustin Ackely into the fold (GET THAT PLACQUE IN MONUMENT PARK READY, CASHMAN), I’m not at all worried.

Which is to say, my calm, collected demeanor should be seen as being in stark contrast to that of our crosstown rivals, who once again managed to thoroughly embarrass themselves by letting the sensitive, young Wilmer Flores twist in the wind last night while negotiating a trade for Carlos Gomez that would ultimately fall apart on the advice of Mets team doctors.

That’s right, the same Mets team doctors that routinely tell guys with serious concussions to get on airplanes. The same collection of quacks that couldn’t keep Jose Reyes on the field and now seem to be bringing the same expertise to what’s left of David Wright’s career. Why wouldn’t you listen to those guys?

It’s the cruel, irresponsible handling of Mr. Flores that I find most objectionable, however. For Mets officials to act as though they had no idea what was being reported on Twitter Wednesday night is beyond disingenuous. This is like asking the public to believe the entire Mets front office staff isn’t following my Tweets with breathless anticipation.

You won’t catch me showing that sort insensitivity to our players in pinstripes. Anytime there’s even the slightest hint of negativity on social media directed at our former Third Baseman / current Designated Hitter, I am the first to bring it to Alex’s attention, be it via a direct message, a text, a phone call, maybe even an item posted to the Nu Stadium jumbotron. Some might call this overkill, harassment, even. But that’s the kind of executive I am. Possibly twice as magnanimous as I am handsome.

Were Wilmer Flores a player under Yankee contract, not only would I have personally made sure he knew of a pending deal as early as possible, but I’d have already made arrangements to have his locker cleaned out and belongings placed in a cardboard box on River Ave (or possibly put up for sale in our impressive Clubhouse Shop located directly behind home plate at the New Stadium).

I dislike being the one to say that my way of dealing with such an issue is the only way. So say it yourself. Out loud. Several times while staring directly into my eyes, wishing, praying that your sad sack, financially bereft ballclub had a decisive, paternal figure like me calling the shots.

DREAM ON MOTHERFUCKERS,
Randy L.

History’s Least Questionable eBay Auctions, Pt. XXVII

Posted in Rock Und Roll, The Marketplace at 9:57 pm by

As you almost certainly know, Ft. Worth’s COMPLETE are scheduled to make their long overdue NYC debut August 22 at Williamsburgh’s Union Pool alongside Octagrape and other lesser lights. Because Complete’s private jet cannot operate on vegetable oil YOU FUCKING HIPPIES, funds must be raised to make this journey a reality. Hence. the following auction :

Complete Nation! Up for grabs is the original banner for Complete from their infamous debut show that has struck youtube by storm! Complete is heading to New York August 22nd to headline @ Union Pool & we need to cover travel expenses to get there so we are putting this one of a kind piece of Complete history up for sale! The ropes to hang the banner are built in and the lettering is raised it’s a one of a kind custom! That’s a 60″ tv behind the banner to give you a grasp of how large the banner is!

07.29.15

Your Move, Morris Day : The Suicide Commandos Adopt A Highway

Posted in record collector disease, Rock Und Roll at 10:54 pm by

Minneapolis’ Suicide Commandos — one time Pere Ubu labelmates and the trio that eventually propelled Steve Almaas to NYC’s Beat Rodeo — saw their 1978 classic “Burn It Down” covered in 2011 by Austin’s Cruddy, and followed that with some reunion action in 2013. More recently, however, the band have turned their attention to something a little unexpected ; they’ve adopted a stretch of highway in Minnetonka, MN. From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Chris Riemenschneider :

“We certainly made a big enough mess around there in our younger years, it’s time we made up for it,” laughed Suicide Commandos guitarist/co-vocalist Chris Osgood, who approached Hennepin County staff on a whim a few months ago when he saw that particular stretch of road was up for adoption. “I’m frankly surprised they let us.”

Osgood and his bandmates, Dave Ahl and Steve Almaas, mean business. They plan to patrol their newly adopted stretch of road for the next two years, as the Adopt-a-Highway program dictates. “We have our green reflective safety vests now and everything,” Osgood said. “It might be our next album cover.”

It’s not just a random stretch of road for the Commandos. Considered Minnesota’s first punk-rock band – they recorded for Mercury Records in the late-’70s and mentored Hüsker Dü, the Suburbs and the Replacements — Osgood and Ahl spent three wild years living in a rundown house near the road (aka McGlinty Rd.), which they dubbed the Utopia House. It had no running water two of those years but was good enough for rehearsing and crashing — and was only $30/month to rent.

When It Comes To Keith Hernandez’ Views On Women In The Dugout, Gary Cohen Has A Very Long Memory

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 10:32 pm by

9 years +, to be exact. On any other night, the above exchange might’ve been the most spectacular incident at Citi Field, but Tuesday’s extended exercise in making Wilmer Flores Weep (and watching everyone from Hernandez to Terry Collins to Sandy Alderson blame social media for the episode) was a textbook example of a ballclub whose communication skills are so suspect, they can’t even keep their own manager (to say nothing of their TV broadcasters) in the loop.

07.28.15

Passan On The Rockies’ Dumping Of Troy Tulowitzki

Posted in Baseball at 1:24 pm by

Colorado swapping the possibly-prohibitive contract of SS Troy Tulowitzki for the absolutely-prohibitive contract of SS Jose Reyes (plus, y’know, actual pitching assets. 3 of ‘em!) can be debated in baseball terms (especially Tulowitzki’s ability to stay on the field), but in the view of Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan, the Rockies were something less than honorable in the way it all went down (“a fitting end to a multiyear trade-him-or-don’t saga”).

Fearful Tulowitzki requesting a trade publicly would make the Rockies look weak, the team asked him to play good soldier, which he obliged, according to club sources. The organization’s dysfunction, from the power struggles between former co-GMs Dan O’Dowd and Bill Geivett to a hands-on owner in Monfort whose public comments about players often rubbed them the wrong way, was all too evident, not just to Tulowitzki but the team’s young core of Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, D.J. Lemahieu and Corey Dickerson.

As Rockies players said to one another, Monfort could have flown into Chicago, informed Tulowitzki in person, told him this was a deal they couldn’t pass up. That didn’t happen, and it’s the sort of thing that sears itself into the minds of the young and impressionable, the sort of players around whom Colorado wants to build a winner.

Off Tulowitzki went, out the clubhouse’s back door, fittingly enough. The Rockies had done him just like that, backdoored him and floored him, 10 years gone just like that, a reminder that spoken agreements are only as good as the people doing the speaking. In the end, the Rockies felt like they owed Tulowitzki nothing, and that’s business, brutal and unforgiving and, more than anything when it comes to the Rockies, typical.

07.27.15

If You Can Make It Thru This Entire 60 Minute Mike Francesa Compilation…

Posted in New York, New York, Sports Radio at 9:53 pm by

…you’re a way bigger masochist than me. I’d say it beats following New York’s Number One’s worked feud with sundry CBS Sports Radio hosts, but honestly, said spat requires far less time investment, so it’s preferable for that reason alone.

Mushnick : Cowherd’s A Boor, But At Least He’s Not An MC

Posted in Racism Corner, Sports Journalism, Sports Radio at 9:16 pm by

OK, the above doesn’t entirely reflect the sentiments or words of New York Post sports media critic Phil Mushnick, but while Phil offers no defense for Colin Cowherd’s most recent ill-advised remarks, he does suggest ESPN’s haste in silencing the morning radio host reflects a decided double standard, one
“only for dopes and/or the unfamiliar to buy.”

If Cowherd could not be suffered, the lowest, most vulgar, most women-trashing, weapons-worshipping, N-wording rappers have long been beckoned by ESPN as this Disney network’s most cherished, promoted sports pals!

How quick and eager would ESPN boss John Skipper be to publicly recite the lyrics of ESPN’s embraced rappers? Or give an on-air biographical rundown of steady favorite Snoop Dogg, including his arrest record and details of his porn videos? As eager as Skipper was to jettison Cowherd?

What’s FOX now to do? How can it now kill Cowherd’s deal when last week it proudly promoted the viewer numbers for FS1 host Katie Nolan, who’s so socially sensitive that she smugly uses expressions such as “get laid” and mocks sufferers of Tourette’s syndrome?

Such are the terms of Nolan’s “one of the guys” employment and hopeful appeal, so how can FOX now rule Cowherd out of bounds?

07.26.15

If Sandy Alderson Spits In Serby’s Mouth, Steve Calls It Rhinegold

Posted in Baseball at 11:55 am by

Saturday’s 15-2 drubbing of the visiting Dodgers left the New York Mets with a 50-48 record, 3 games behind the NL East leading Nationals and 3 1/2 trailing the Giants in the race for the second NL Wild Card spot (with the Cubs a half game back of SF). Even with the call up of highly touted debutante Michael Conforto (above) and Friday’s acquisitions of infielders Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe, who exactly looks at the Mets batting order and says, “this team is thoroughly equipped to overtake the Nats or the defending World Champs?” A : The New York Post’s Steve Serby, who insists the arrival of Johnson and Uribe constitute, “a badly needed psychological boost in the stands and in the dugout.” Though admitting, “none of the moves will remind Mets romantics of the arrivals of Gary Carter, Keith Hernandez or Mike Piazza” (NO SHIT, STEVE), he’s also quick to declare skipper Terry Collins has “64 games to pick up the pace and go get that elusive playoff berth and quite possibly save his job.”

Even now, without one additional professional bat, Alderson can make the argument if he so chooses that he threw Collins, virtually naked in the water and on the verge of drowning, a life raft, and it is up to the manager to sink or swim with what he has the rest of the way.

The statue of limitations is hereby over on I Managed Good, But Boy, Did They Play Bad.

Given Alderson’s revelation in the book “Baseball Maverick” that he pondered firing Collins last summer, you would have to conclude that it is Playoffs-Or-Bust this summer for his lame-duck manager, who is a fighter who has always welcomed any and all challenges.

With better options at his disposal, Collins has the delicate task of playing grand chess master, moving pieces around, resting the right players at the right time in the right positions.

Though I’m not typically in the habit of defending Terry Collins, it’s the height of hysteria to suggest that by adding a pair of veteran role players, TC has been gifted a highly competitive lineup, one that strikes fear in the heart of opposing NL pitching staffs. If Conforto can really stick around at the big league level, that’s fantastic, but it doesn’t diminish the damage done by the Michael Cuddyer signing, the abject lack of production from John Mayberry Jr., and squandering what little power the Mets’ punchless lineup has by installing Curtis Granderson as the leadoff hitter. The architect of this not-quite-Murderous Row is not Terry Collins, but rather, Sandy Alderson, who must realize that for the first 4 months of the 2015 season, he did far less than than give Collins and an astonishing (mostly assembled by Omar Minaya) pitching staff the best opportunity to win.

07.25.15

CSTB’s Greatest Hits : When Ben Schwartz Nailed The NYT’s Michael B. Schmidt

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 7:48 pm by

(EDITOR’S NOTE : as you might’ve noticed, Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald is having a field day with the New York Times’ June 23, 2015 pseudo lid-blower, “Inquiry Sought in Hillary Clinton’s Use of Email”, a story co-authored by the paper’s Michael B. Schmidt. That’s a name that oughta be very familiar to sports fans following mucho coverage of baseball’s myriad steroid controversies, thought it was former CSTB contributor Ben Schwartz who made the suggestion that perhaps Schmidt’s reportage was something less than thorough. From CSTB and Schwartz, August 8, 2009, “No Smearing in the Press Box III: Big Papi Vindicates CSTB Blowhard, Michael S. Schmidt Commences Damage Control” – GC)

[This is what a working baseball reporter looks like. I wish he had Michael S. Schmidt's job]

The backpeddling officially started yesterday, as The New York Times Michael S. Schmidt shifted gears leading up to today’s David Ortiz press conference at Yankee Stadium. The same reporter telling you that Sosa appeared on the list of 104 last June, now saying Ramirez and Ortiz both appear on a list of “roughly 100,” got some fact corrections this afternoon “ like that his sources don’t even know what the actual list is. The list confirmed by the players union, which once had sole possession of it, claims 96 names “ 21 of which don’t prove players tested positive for banned substances. I quote from The New Jersey Star-Ledger:

In the supposedly anonymous and confidential testing conducted in 2003, there were only 83 failed tests, MLBPA general counsel Michael Weiner said. There were 13 other tests with “inconclusive” results. Weiner specified that these refer to test results, not players. It is possible that players may have tested positive twice.

“The number of players on the so-called ‘government list’ meaningfully exceeds the number of players agreed by the bargaining parties to have tested positive in 2003,” Weiner said in a statement. “Accordingly, the presence of a player’s name on any such list does not necessarily mean that the player used a prohibited substance or that the player tested positive under our collectively bargained program.

With 13 inconclusive, we can also remove some 8 more results from the “prohibited” list. As Schmidt wrote in the Times yesterday: “Officials in the commissioner™s office and the players union have said they believe at least 8 of the roughly 100 players who tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug in 2003 were using the supplement 19-norandrostenedione, which was sold over the counter at the time and contained a powerful steroid.”

So, 96 tests make up the list: 83 positive, 13 inconclusive, and of the 83, 8 for legal-in-2003 19-norandrostenedione. So, 75 illegal users? Which list was Schmidt using? The much-publicized 104, the union’s 96, or his vague “roughly 100?” Or all three? Obviously, players appear on one list but not on another “ why? Do substantially different lists of players make up the different lists? Confusing, sure, but don’t look to the Times for an answer.

If the union’s 96 is right, and they should know “ the gov’t took it from them, it sounds like the killer number here is 75 players for illegal, anabolic steroids with 8 legal users (83). Did Schmidt get his names from the confirmed 75 or not?

In my recent back and forth here with Schmidt’s editor at the Times, Tom Jolly, he pointed out to me that Ortiz a) admitted he “failed” the test, and b) “The point is that banned substances were found in the samples from Rodriguez, Sosa, Ramirez, Ortiz and David Segui.” Actually, Ortiz confirmed his name appeared on a list, but did not know why. 13 tests, we now know, came back inconclusive. Ortiz and his union say he’s one of those. It means that unless Schmidt can verify specifically what Ortiz or other players he outted tested positive for, if they did test positive, he’s reporting that being on the list alone is de facto proof of using banned substances (as per Tom Jolly’s statement above).

As of today, that’s a rather reckless assumption if only 75 players of the “roughly 100” are confirmed as unquestionably positive. Do Schmidt’s sources know which listed players did not test positive for banned substances? Schmidt sure doesn’t. Unless Sosa, Ramirez, or Ortiz pull an A-Rod confessional for Schmidt’s benefit, his stories are so much hearsay and rumor.

Ortiz claims he did not know his result came back positive. As one of the 13 or more inconclusive results, that makes sense because Ortiz’ name does not appear in The Mitchell Report. As Schmidt wrote yesterday, “All players who tested positive in 2003 were told that their tests had been seized by the government, according to the report presented to Major League Baseball by George J. Mitchell ….” The report never cites Sosa, Ramirez, or Ortiz “ maybe because they didn’t test positive. At any rate, that’s as plausible as Schmidt’s vague sources.

Yesterday, Schmidt started posturing. The headline of his analysis reads: “Ortiz’s Explanation Is Unlikely to Reveal Much.” This assumes Ortiz has something to reveal. Today, Schmidt’s assumptions have less credibility on this than Ortiz. In the first paragraph of his story, Schmidt writes:

Since it was first reported nine days ago that the Red Sox slugger David Ortiz was among the roughly 100 major league baseball players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003, he has repeatedly said he would get more information about the test result so he could provide an explanation.

Again, more like 75, as I read it, substantially fewer than the “roughly 100,” or 104, Schmidt cites in different stories, both of which “meaningfully exceeds” the real results. “Repeatedly” is an odd word, too, as if Ortiz is a liar, rather than that he’s answered the question repeatedly asked of him. You’ll find no recognition whatsover from Schmidt that he based his claims on an exaggerated or varying lists, as he now apparently accepts Weiner’s word on the union 96 list without question or challenge. As Weiner noted of the Times reporting:

œThe result is that any union member alleged to have tested positive in 2003 because his name supposedly appears on some list ” most recently David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez ” finds himself in an extremely unfair position, Weiner said in the statement. œHis reputation has been threatened by a violation of the court™s orders, but respect for those orders now leaves him without access to the information that might permit him to restore his good name.

Indeed, violations that Schmidt sought/received from anonymous, unreliable sources, with agendas unknown. I’ve asked repeatedly why all four leaked player names (including A-Rod, outted in Sports Illustrated) are Latino players “ and repeatedly why all but Oritz are well known, grandstanding, arrogant divas appearing to get some kind of petty payback via these leaks. It’s only my opinion, or “analysis” as the Times might call it, but I believe Ortiz’ name was thrown to Schmidt along with Ramirez’ in order to make that story a headline. Ramirez’ name alone isn’t steroid news after his 50-game suspension this summer. I mean, 2003 results are a bit of a so-what in his case. Ortiz’ name makes it a Boston World Series headline, and a screamer at that.

Schmidt then offers some self-serving For the Good of Baseball, Please Fess Up tripe:

The court restrictions also mean that the Red Sox faithful, who largely adore Ortiz, may not get full disclosure. Ortiz was a fan favorite as he helped the franchise end an 86-year World Series championship drought and add another title three years later.

Knowing the exact substance that Ortiz tested positive for would shed significant light on what he might have put in his body in 2003. What his fans and peers think of him and his hitting feats could be influenced by what illicit substance he is linked to.

Yeah, if only David Ortiz came clean and verified your threadbare story admitted his sins, those poor suffering Boston fans could find some closure. Mr. Schmidt, here’s an idea, how about you report the rest of the story? You didn’t with Sosa or Ramirez, and now you want Ortiz to confirm what you couldn’t find out about him? Since the Times story that started all this is so much gossip, maybe full disclosure of Schmidt’s weak reporting is what the Boston faithful need.

In today’s press conference, Ortiz gave his side of it. It’s on Schmidt to dispute it. Schmidt has another problem, i.e., following up on his claims re Sosa and Ramirez. Are they in the 13 inconclusive or 8-possible-positives for legal-in-2003-but-not-now supplements? Tom Jolly would say “no,” if they’re on the list they used banned substances. But how does he know?

Finally, Schmidt reported one fact that at least narrows down somewhat who’s been leaking to him. He wrote: “In a statement Saturday morning, Major League Baseball said it did not possess the list of names of players who tested positive in 2003.” If MLB itself doesn’t know who is on the list, the lawyers he refers to in the Sosa and Ramirez/Ortiz story seem to be from the players union or the government. Maybe there’s lawyers on the players union side with their own self-righteous crusade to save baseball. Or maybe it’s the gov’t “ whose case against Barry Bonds fell apart last February, just as A-Rod’s name somehow leaked. I still say Schmidt got played by his sources.

Did Ortiz juice hardcore, needles and all, a la Mrs. Roger Clemens? These days it wouldn’t surprise me if he did. Still, I can’t say “yes” based on anything Michael S. Schmidt wrote “ nor can Schmidt. Since it appeared in the Times, however, Ortiz has been vilified over Schmidt’s inconclusive half-story. Boston’s Ortiz had the guts to hold his press conference in Yankee Stadium. I hope Schmidt has the nerve to hold his at Fenway.

John Rocker Brings His Class, Way With (Bad) Words To Hall Of Fame Weekend

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 3:19 pm by

(image swiped from the Twitter feed of Benjamin Hochman). What Mr. Rocker lacks in IQ he certainly tries to make up for with chutzpah. And imagine this inspiration this might provide for Jim Leyritz’ autograph sales.