Stank’s For Sharing : Schlereth Unimpressed With RG III’s Branding

Posted in Gridiron, Sports Radio, Sports TV at 6:02 pm by

Adidas and Washington QB Robert Griffin III unveiled a new logo for the latter’s sportswear line earlier this week, an occasion ESPN football analyst Mark Schlereth found somewhat uninspiring.  After no shortage of fallout from RGIII fans, Schlereth took to the radio to elaborate (quotes supplied by DC Sports Bog’s Dan Steinberg) :

“It was kind of a throwaway comment at the end of NFL Live,” Schlereth explained on Mike and Mike this week, when asked how he attracted the ire of #RGIIINation. “Trey [Wingo] asked me and Mark Brunell what we thought. And I’m like I understand if you create a logo for your foundation, or I understand if Adidas creates a logo because they’re releasing your RGIII training shoe or something. But to have your own personal logo, I just thought, was like the cart before the horse.

“You know, are we working on branding ourselves, or are we working on becoming a great football player?” Schlereth went on. “You were benched at the end of last season. And so, to me, [the comment] was not a big deal. Well, apparently he was offended by that.”

“All  his legion of fans – and good for them, they support their quarterback – were on me,” Schlereth went on. “Bottom line, what do you do with [a logo]? I don’t know if you know who I am, but here’s my logo. You know, it just seemed goofy to me. Again, it seemed like the cart before the horse to me. And so then I was just getting inundated on Twitter with all these crazy things about me being a ‘hater,’ which is one of the most ridiculous terms ever. I just [thought] the whole aspect of creating your own personal logo is kind of ridiculous. That’s how I look at it….I just thought that whole I’m releasing my personal logo, I mean, what are you, a superhero? I don’t know. It just seemed weird to me.”


O’s Jones Can’t Wait To Spike A Drunken Intruder

Posted in Baseball, Mob Behavior at 7:33 pm by

Baltimore’s 14-5 rout of the Yankees was briefly interrupted this afternoon when a pair of fans took to the hallowed Nu Stadium turf, only to be escorted from the premises by Randy L.’s Crack Security Force. While this intermission had no impact on the game’s result, Orioles outfielder Adam Jones told the Baltimore Sun’s Eduardo A. Encina, “Anybody who does it, I wish the cops tase the [hell] out of them.”

“I think it’s idiotic for people to run on the field, and I think the punishment needs to be a lot harsher, and they should let us have a shot to kick them with our metal spikes on because it’s stupid,” Jones said. “You look like an [idiot] when you run on the field.”

“We don’t go to any other events,” Jones said. “We don’t go to other sporting events and do that to their jobs, but they come to ours and do that. I get it, you’re drunk and you want to be on SportsCenter. Your [butt] is going to jail with a fine, and you might not be allowed to come back to the ballpark. I remember a couple of years ago, one dude broke his ankle in Baltimore. I was laughing at him. I wish he shattered his femur because it’s stupid. It’s just plain old stupid.”

I’d Hate To Be The One To Explain This To Nic Pizzolatto

Posted in Sports Radio at 6:42 pm by

Heck, I’d hate to have to explain it to you.   Much respect, as usual, is due to the talented Mike Zaun, but I must nitpick about the performance of the fella who’s meant to be Chris Russo.  The real-life Mad Dog isn’t nearly that easy to understand.

Rocker To Pearlman : Without You, I’m Nothing

Posted in Baseball, Racism Corner, Sports Journalism at 12:15 am by

Jeff Pearlman commemorated the 14th anniversary of his epic Sports Illustrated evisceration of former Braves closer John Rocker last week and essentially concluded — occasional pangs of guilt aside — he’d done the right thing. Amazingly enough, in his most recent World Net Daily column Rocker, though quick to call Pearlman a “gossip whore trash journalist”, pretty much agrees, insisting, “the things I’ve been able to do; the doors that have opened; the places I’ve been able to go and the famous/influential people I now consider friends in large part stem from the notoriety created by that SI piece.”

Because of Sports Illustrated and the recognition that has come along with it, I still have a voice that people listen to 14 years later. I still get interview requests from names like Geraldo Rivera, Neil Cavuto and Michael Savage where I proudly spread the word about Save Homeless Veterans. I don’t know too many Big Leaguers who haven’t seen action in 11 years that can still do that. I receive requests on a regular basis to speak inspirationally at various charity events as well as a variety of adult and adolescent groups. And the slate of invitations to simply attend and/or sign at charity functions is always full. I truly believe that my time in a Big League uniform in conjunction with the notoriety of SI has allowed me to do more things in my personal life and, more importantly, in the lives of others than I can ever accurately assess.

For several years, though, I took the gross misperception of me by Pearlman personally. I know I’m a good person, and the dozens of individuals from all races and nationalities that came to my defense know it, too. Yet in their rapid lust for the sensational, media largely refused to acknowledge what former teammates like Javier Lopez, CC Sabathia or Eddie Perez had to say about me and our friendship. For years they have refused to observe my life and such aspects of it as my very public three-year relationship with a black woman or my relationship with the daughter of (should be Hall of Famer) Denis Martinez. To publicize any of that would be for media to second guess a member of their own fraternity, which is why the Pearlman description of me is still fact to many.


Greg Zaun : The Most Outspoken Murray Hewitt Lookalike In All Of Canada

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 2:54 pm by

Blue Jays TV analyst Greg Zaun has previously bummed out Toronto players and fans alike with his caustic commentary ; he’s on the already on the record railing against “a consequence-free environment”. On Friday, the Globe & Mail’s Brad Wheeler quizzed Zaun about a broadcasting stance the latter defends as “brutally honest” (link swiped from Baseball Think Factory)

Honesty has gotten you in trouble with some of the players, right?

You know what? I don’t really care what they think. If they’re a mature ballplayer, they’ll understand what my job is. The older guys, the Jose Bautistas and Adam Linds of the world, they get it. They know I’m holding them accountable, in the same way I [was] when I was playing.

As far as the team not always playing the game the way it should be played, can you give an example of the Jays playing the wrong way?

The fact that a guy like Anthony Gose can’t [use his speed to hit] .300 speaks volumes to me about what’s going on in the minor leagues. The fact that he doesn’t spend an hour a day in the batting cage with a coach, whether it’s by his design or whether they have to grab him by his shirt collar. The Jays don’t draft well and they don’t develop players well. There’s a lack of accountability in this organization, from the top to the bottom.

Rutgers A.D. Cheering The Death Of Print Media…

Posted in College Spurts, Sports Journalism at 2:28 pm by

…or the Newark Star-Ledger in particular.   No doubt holding a deep grudge from the way local papers had the temerity to report a 2008 sexual discrimination lawsuit that proceeded her appointment as Rutgers Athletic Director Julie Hermann told a bunch of journalism undergrads the Star-Ledgers recent layoffs were a cause for celebration. From the paper’s Steve Politi :

“If they’re not writing headlines that are getting our attention, they’re not selling ads – and they die,” Hermann told the Media Ethics and Law class. “And the Ledger almost died in June, right?”

“They might die again next month,” a student said.

That two of the 167 people laid off, Brendan Prunty and Dave Hutchinson, had in recent years dedicated their professional lives to chronicling the accomplishments of her university’s athletes just brings it to a perfect level of awfulness. Dozens more we let go at properties owned by The Star-Ledger’s corporate parent – outlets like NJ.com, The Times of Trenton and the South Jersey Times. Included in their cuts, too, were people who have covered Rutgers and its athletes for years.

In a statement from Rutgers, Hermann did not apologize or explain her attack on the newspaper, instead stating that she was sharing her experiences “in an informal way and out of the glare of the media spotlight.” Because who would have imagined that journalism students would have recording devices?


Charles Oakley : Fast Becoming The Goose Gossage Of Retired NBA Players

Posted in Basketball at 6:39 pm by

Prodded by the Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn for some explanation why the modern NBA is relatively rivalry/enforcer free, ten-year veteran Charles Oakley opines, “back in the ’60s and ’70s, they looked like they were more finesse and they are finesse now.” Asked to elaborate, Oak blames it on a combination of analytics and wussiness.

“The coaches in this league, in this day and era, are soft; the players are soft, how can you build something?” he said. “They put all these stat guys, these analytic guys, and put them on the bench and make them GM because of numbers. My thing with basketball, you’ve got to have efficiency within your structure, like San Antonio. You’ve got to have your players to buy in. That’s what wrong with the league, you’ve got guys worried about social media, my brand. You brand once you get drafted, when you win as a team, you get your brand. When your team wins, then all of those commercials will come. Everything is all about hype.”

Oakley has an interesting theory. He believes in order to globalize the league, ex-commissioner David Stern had to change the rules to make the NBA more inviting for European players. While the rule changes to increase scoring were effective, they made the league less physical.

“When we played in the ’80s, it wasn’t OK [for European players to play in the NBA],” Oakley said. “They weren’t coming over here. They were scared. The game was tough and they weren’t tough. Back then it was 1 percent and now it’s 40 percent and it’s going to keep going up. The dollar is international now. I don’t like 7-footers shooting threes, it’s a disrespect to the game for me. Dirk [Nowitzki] is good, point blank. [Larry] Bird got away with it. A few guys can get away with it because they can flat-out shoot.”

Celebrating The Glory & Majesty Of The Ramsdens Cup

Posted in Football at 1:50 pm by

With all due respect to events occurring in the Jerrydome, here’s the weekend most joyous sporting triumph, courtesy of Raith Rovers’ John Baird, whose extra time goal gave the Kirkcaldy side their first piece of silverware (the Ramsdens Cup is silver, right?) in twenty years.


NYDN : Jay-Z Associate Was Brains Behind A-Rod’s Botched Strategy

Posted in Baseball, The Law at 10:49 pm by

As you’ve probably read elsewhere, there’s an ongoing dispute over outstanding legal fees racked up by Alex Rodriguez, with the suspended Yankee 3B seeking a dramatically reduced bill for he considers a poor performance on the part of his solicitors. Trouble is, the New York Daily News’ Terri Thompson, Bill Madden and Michael O’Keefe claim Rodriguez’ aggressive (and ultimately disastrous) approach was foisted upon the legal team by confidant Desiree Perez, a partner in Jay-Z’s 40/40 chain and wife of Juan (O.G.) Perez, president of Roc Nation Sports. According to the Daily News’ unnamed sources, “it was Perez who convinced Rodriguez to abandon any settlement talks with MLB and the Players Association last summer as it became clear that MLB would hit one of the game’s biggest stars with a massive suspension.”

In a statement to The News, Rodriguez denied that Perez was the architect of his unsuccessful legal strategy.

“I am disappointed that I need to be making any statements about anything at this time, but given how much I value my personal relationships with long-time friends Desiree, Juan and Jay, I need to set the record straight,” Rodriguez said. “So we are all clear, I made my own decisions with my legal team over the past year, and I have accepted my penalties and am trying to serve my penalty without being a distraction to the game of baseball or my team.

“I don’t understand why certain parties seem intent on trying to damage my relationships with friends, but it is what it is,” he added. “I’m sorry they have been dragged into my issues, but the case is closed, I’ve turned the page, and maybe it’s time for others to as well. I wish my teammates well and am looking forward to getting back with them next season.

Another source, however, said Perez was the brains behind A-Rod’s failed tactics: “She’s the one who steered the ship into the rocks but now she’s blaming the captain (the lawyers).”

Will The Last Assistant Coach Mark Jackson Finds Tolerable Please Turn Out The Lights?

Posted in Basketball at 4:57 pm by

A mere two weeks after assistant coach Brian Scalabrine was exiled to Golden State’s D-League affiliate in Santa Cruz for allegedly falling from favor with head coach Mark Jackson (above), the Warriors have terminated another assistant, Darren Erman, for what’s being called “violation of company policy”.  “Obviously, the timing is unfortunate,” said Warriors GM / master of understatement Bob Myers, and with two weeks before the playoffs begin, the San Jose Mercury News’ Tim Kawakami claims, “multiple team sources have acknowledged that things have gotten a little screwy, but it’s also something that I believe owner Joe Lacob is consciously doing.”

Let’s put it this way: The San Antonio Spurs never dismiss key assistants on the eve of the playoffs. Seems to work out OK for them that way.

This all is a sign of violent instability, which usually is connected to a major problem between management and the coach, which usually only gets worse, not better, once it starts, and little things turn into big things turn into crisis mode all the time.

As today’s news was breaking, I was told by a Warriors source that circumstances of Erman’s dismissal are “very, very unfortunate” and made it sound like an isolated incident, but the source also didn’t argue that everything that happens now is against the backdrop of a lot of coach/management tension.

Stephen Curry and the rest of the team leaders support Jackson, now it’s on them to show that he’s the best coach for them. By winning in the playoffs, despite the roiling atmosphere at GSW HQ. That’s the gambit now; it’s not kumbaya, it’s venture-capitalist survive or get dumped. If you don’t understand that about this era of the Warriors, you’re never going to understand them.


Are Toronto’s Fans Setting A New North American Standard For Douchebaggery?

Posted in Baseball at 7:37 pm by

That’s pretty much what’s being claimed by musician, author and Jays fan Dave Bidini, who tells Newstalk 1010′s Siobhan Morris, “people go to the games now, have too many beers and expect to be somehow rewarded by a victory bythe team, just simply because they bought a ticket.” Clearly, the team that inspired Drunk Jays Fans has spawned EVEN DRUNKER JAYS FANS (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)

“Guys with reversed baseball caps with wrap-around sunglasses coming in from Oshawa or Whitby…who act like jerks and then leave”, is how the Etobicoke native describes the problematic fans responsible for “a lot of vomit, a lot fighting” in the stands.

Bidini suggests the Jays’ own marketing is partly to blame for turning their home field into a “drunken destination point”.

“Baseball, I think has become very anxious and neurotic in terms of their fanbase eroding or dying off. They’re trying to make it come across as a bit more of a young people’s sport.”

Though not a problem exclusive to Toronto, Bidini feels the team is pushing the wrong elements of the ballpark atmosphere to line up with a younger, more party-oriented crowd: lots of contests, big screen displays, giant beers and women’s team shirts that declare “I <3 BJs”.

Bidini is baffled by the level of drunkenness under the Dome, given the price of stadium beer. “It’s not a cheap drunk. Like, you’re blowing a hundred, 150 dollars.” He’s convinced the rowdy, young fans are people just passing through Toronto for the night or a weekend. “If you’re a kid living in the city, you don’t really have the disposable income to go down to a Jays game and drink 17 beers.”


Nails : I’m A Victim Of Police Brutality

Posted in Baseball, The Law at 7:37 pm by

Former NL MVP Lenny Dykstra’s fall from grace has included stints in the stoney lonesome for auto theft, bankruptcy fraud and indecent exposure. None of that, however, excuses the allegedly violent treatment suffered by the former Mets/Phillies sparkplug-turned-scamster at the Los Angeles County Central Jail in April of 2012, at which time Dykstra claims he was assaulted by 6 deputies and had his head slammed against a wall. From the LA Times’ Cindy Chang :

An earlier Sheriff’s Department investigation acknowledged that deputies struck Dykstra but determined they acted appropriately. Sheriff’s officials have said that Dykstra struck a medical technician and a nurse during the incident.

Dykstra’s complaint, filed Wednesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, lists last names, but no first names, for the captain, nine deputies and two sergeants. Other defendants include then-undersheriff Paul Tanaka and department spokesman Steve Whitmore.

Ten nurses and doctors are also named as defendants in the suit. They are accused of not treating or documenting Dykstra’s injuries.

The lawsuit characterizes the incident as part of a pervasive pattern of violence against inmates. In recent months, 21 sheriff’s deputies have been charged with brutalizing inmates and other crimes. All have pleaded not guilty.

“In order to create their atmosphere of fear and brutality, the sheriffs often targeted those who were least likely to fight back … depending all along for the quiet complicity of the medical staff in not documenting, not diagnosing, and not treating injuries from those beatings,” said Dykstra’s complaint.

Boomer Esiason Is WFAN’s Ultimate Team Player…

Posted in Baseball, Sports Radio at 2:05 pm by

(no matter which side you take in this paternity leave debate, I’m sure we can all agree the above procedure should never be performed by a member of the New York Mets medical staff)

…in that he’s taking the heat off Mike Francesa.   On Wednesday, the latter expressed his distaste for Mets 2B David Murphy missing the season’s first two games on paternity leave (“I mean, what would you possibly be doing? I guarantee you’re not sitting there holding your wife’s hand”), though on the scale of knuckle-dragging rhetoric,  WFAN’s afternoon drive host was incredibly outweighed by morning co-host/ex-QB Boomer Esiason.  From The Raw Story’s Scott Kaufman :

Esiason insisted that, because the baby was expected to arrive near the beginning of the baseball season, Daniel Murphy should have forced his wife “to have a C-section before the season starts.”

“‘I need to be here Opening Day,’” Esiason said Murphy should have told his wife. “‘I’m sorry.’”

His co-host Craig Carton agreed, saying that “assuming the birth went well, the wife is fine, the baby is fine, [you should get] 24 hours and then you get your ass back to the team and you play baseball.”


Say What You Will About Grim Reaper, But At Least They Didn’t Shove Their Political Agenda Down Your Throat

Posted in record collector disease, Rock Und Roll at 8:07 pm by


The above flexi is currently for sale at Austin’s End Of An Ear.  Produced by Max “The Lord Of Metal” Norman, and yes, Mr. Bowcott, YOU’VE SAID MORE THAN ENOUGH ALREADY.

Artie Lange’s Kidnapping Of Pete Rose : A Slightly Greater Artistic Triumph Than Hijacking “Joe Buck Live”

Posted in Baseball, The World Of Entertainment at 8:02 pm by

Shocking stuff. Who knew there’d be a “World’s Biggest Turd” story surrounding the Reds that had nothing to do with Jeff Brantley?

Francesa : Don’t Worry About Waldman, She’s Inconsequential

Posted in Baseball, Sports Radio at 4:06 pm by

If WFAN’s Mike Francesa really believes a color commentator has virtually no role in a baseball radio broadcast, he’s clearly unfamiliar with the work of Josh Lewin. Conversely, if New York’s Number One is trying to say John Sterling deserves the lion’s share of the blame, I can’t really argue with that.

Imagine All The Drama We’d Have Been Spared If DeSean Jackson Just Stole His Label Name From Fatal Errection

Posted in Gridiron at 10:53 am by

“Jackpot Records May Have Ruined DeSean Jackson’s NFL Career” is the hypothesis proposed by Willamette Week’s Matthew Singer, suggesting the wide receiver’s recently exit from Philadelphia might’ve been helped in part by an association with a Portland record store/independent label that did such a fine job reissuing Wipers albums.

An article published by NJ.com shortly before the Eagles announced they were cutting Jackson laid out the accusations connecting the 27-year-old native of Long Beach, Calif., to the Crips, including tenuous links to two supposedly gang-related murders and incidents of Jackson throwing up gang signs during games and on Instagram.  

Among the more esoteric pieces of reported “evidence,” though, is the fact that Jackson founded a record label called Jaccpot Records. Why the janky spelling? Well, according to the article, Crips members refuse to place the letter “C” next to a “K,” “because in gangspeak, that stands for ‘Crip Killer.’”

When questioned by police, however, Jackson offered a different explanation as to why he named the label Jaccpot: Because “Jackpot Records” was already taken. As Grantland’s Bill Barnwell points out, “[t]here are several previously existing labels that go by the name of Jackpot Records, including the current Portland-based outfit that has re-released albums by the likes of Jandek.”


Never A Dulles Moment : For DeSean Jackson, DC’s Airport Is Not A Safe Haven

Posted in Gridiron, Sports Journalism at 7:55 pm by

On one hand, you have to admire the chutzpah of DC’s ABC affiliate in claiming harassing DeSean Jackson as he’s trying to get the fuck out of the airport is something tantamount to an actual interview.

And on the other, full credit to DC Sports Bog’s Dan Steinberg for correctly pointing out this is uncomfortably close to a Beats By Dre commercial.

Let He Who Has Never Hailed A Home Town Cheat Cast The First Stone

Posted in Baseball, Mob Behavior at 3:47 pm by

Ryan Braun, Milwaukee’s Pinocchio-in-Polyester, received a rather robust ovation upon taking his first at bat in the Brewers’ home opener against Atlanta yesterday, a situation SBN Nation’s Grant Brisbee considers far from unique. Citing gluttons for punishment in Los Angeles, San Francisco, St. Louis or New York who managed to to applaud returning reprobates like Manny Ramirez, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Alex Rodriguez, Brisbee warns, “Brewers fans did not invent this kind of post-steroids cheer.”

Braun wasn’t cheered because he did baseball-related things well after returning from his suspension. He was cheered because he returned from his suspension. He was cheered because he’s the Brewers’ antihero now, and the standing ovation was fan-speak for Screw those people. We still love you, Ryan. That’s what rankles the writers and fans. The ovation was an obscene gesture directed at them.

After Braun was cheered, the typical sentence of outrage included the words “Brewers fans.” As in, “Brewers fans cheering Ryan Braun makes me sick,” or, “SMDH, Brewers fans for giving that LIAR an ovation,” as if there were something about Wisconsin that made people ethically malignant. As if only Brewers fans would fall into that trap. As if Angels fans wouldn’t do the same if Mike Trout were the suspended player, or Pirates fans wouldn’t give that ovation to Andrew McCutchen if the situations were reversed.

But we just listed all of the teams and fans that have been through this, and there’s no pattern. The Best Fans in Baseball give the ovation to cheaters. The rich, spoiled kids from either coast do it. The plucky, small-market Midwesterners do it now.


Costello : The Former Grandyman Is Jason Bay II

Posted in Baseball at 11:24 pm by

Alright, that’s not exactly what the New York Post’s Brian Costello had to say about newly acquired Mets OF Curtis Granderson going 0-5 in Monday’s 9-7, 10 inning home opener loss to the Nationals.  Rather than say, question Bobby Parnell’s fitness (as SNY’s Ron Darling did within seconds of the Mets’ closer’s insertion into the game), Costello considers Granderson’s underwhelming Citi Field debut ample cause to raise the spectre of JASON BAY (above), warning, “it’s never too early to panic in Queens”.

Curtis Granderson did his best Jason Bay impersonation in his first game with the Mets. Granderson went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts — a very Bay-like performance.

Granderson did not offer much self-analysis after the 9-7, 10-inning loss to the Nationals, instead turning the focus to the team.

“Not good,” Granderson said when asked to assess his day. “You’ve got to go ahead and find a way to get the victory. Today we weren’t able to get that done, but that’s part of it. We still have a lot of baseball left to play. We definitely aren’t going to hang our heads by any means. We rebound back, rest up and be ready to go and even the series on Wednesday.”

Strikeouts have always been a problem with Granderson. He had the second-most in the American League with 195 in 2012, setting a Yankees record.

The memory of Bay lingers around Citi Field. He signed a similar deal to Granderson before the 2010 season, coming in at four years and $66 million. The contract was a terrible mistake, as Bay batted .234 over three seasons.

Kuiper : There’s No Accounting For Hunter Pence

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 2:56 pm by

It’s been a year since the Astros’ radio duo of Steve Sparks and Robert Ford were actively encouraged to pepper their broadcasts with references to what we’ll call advanced statistics, something the SF Chronicle’s Bruce Jenkins denounces as “an effort to steer folks away from the fact that their team is awful, losing a combined 324 games over the past three seasons.” “They are lurching earnestly into the unconventional,” sneers Jenkins, and while there’s mostly agreement from a succession of Bay Area baseball broadcasters, none are nearly as dismissive as the Giants’ Duane Kuiper :

“I don’t want to disregard it, or sound like some old guy that’s not willing to change, but if you get bombarded by enough of this stuff, you feel like taking a nap, for crying out loud. I’ve never received a letter saying Mike and I should do more of it, and it’s really tough if you don’t really believe in it.

“I especially resent the discounting of traditional numbers. Stuff like RBI, ERA, wins or losses, those things tell you something. They’re part of the fabric our fans were raised with. They are part of the players’ language. And there are certain things numbers can’t really describe, like Hunter Pence (laughter).

“Just because agents and general managers use analytics, that doesn’t mean I have to. If Vin Scully starts to use it, then I’ll have to think twice. (Pause.) What team did you say is putting this stuff on the air? Houston? Well, I don’t think you have to say any more, do you?”

Finally, Glamour Has Returned To The Sporting Calendar

Posted in Baseball at 11:48 am by

Happy Opening Day to all of CSTB’s (12) readers. Especially those who are fully capable of beating off to Don Mossi pics without my assistance.


CSTB’s First MLS Related Post Of 2014 Sadly Doubles As An Oderus Urungus Tribute

Posted in Football at 6:33 pm by

I’ve not followed the ins and outs of Major League Soccer clearly enough the last several years to say with any authority whether the Saturday’s banner — paying tribute to the late Dave Brockie of GWAR — is a (classy) aberration on the part of DC United supporters or it’s the sort of thing they display on a regular basis. Either, extra points for the impalement of a San Jose player.

WaPo Columnist To Hungry Student-Athletes : Think Of The Free Tube Socks

Posted in Basketball, College Spurts at 4:24 pm by

Taking a rather dim view of the National Labor Relations Board ruling deeming Northwestern University football players employees with the right to unionize, the Washington Post’s Sally Jenkins sneers, “If Kain Colter is an exploited laborer, then is a female tennis player at Stanford an exploited laborer, too? Is a lacrosse player at Virginia an exploited laborer? Is a rower at Harvard?” Fascinating question — how much in TV rights fees and corporate sponsorship money has been generated by the NCAA Rowing Final Four?

Colter and his peers aren’t laborers due compensation; they are highly privileged scholarship winners who get a lot of valuable stuff for free. This includes first-rate training in the habits of high achievement, cool gear, unlimited academic tutoring for gratis and world-class medical care that no one else has access to. All of which was put into perspective by Michigan State basketball Coach Tom Izzo when he was asked about the ruling at the NCAA tournament East Region semifinals in New York.

“I think sometimes we take rights to a whole new level,” Izzo (above) said. “ .?.?. I think there’s a process in rights. And you earn that. We always try to speed the process up. I said to my guys, ‘There’s a reason you have to be 35 to be president.’ That’s the way I look at it.”

Izzo got at something that no one other commentator has: College athletes enroll at their institutions to mature. Whatever their end goals, pro aspirations or workloads, they are no different from any other students in that respect. They are there to develop emotionally, intellectually and physically, and that’s all a school owes them, no matter how much revenue is generated by Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M.

Correction, that’s all a school used to owe them. Izzo isn’t earning $3.4 million annually (far more than his university president or any MSU professor) because he’s a wonderful educator, it’s because college basketball is a massive money-spinner, one that cannot exist without players (in this case, a woefully under-compensated workforce).


If Miguel Cabrera Hasn’t Supplanted Kid Rock As The Most Overpaid Man In Michigan, Wait A Few Years

Posted in Baseball at 8:29 pm by

In stark contrast to most reactions to the 6-year, $144.5 million extension just signed by Angels OF Mike Trout, 23, Baseball Musings’ David Pinto says of 1B Miguel Cabrera’s 10-year, $300 million pact with Detroit, “given that Miguel is at the age where decline usually sets in, they probably won’t get their money’s worth.” Even more skeptical is Fangraph’s Dave Cameron who opines, “if the Tigers really wanted to throw this kind of money around, they simply could have done better than signing up for Cabrera’s entire decline phase.”

The Tigers already controlled Cabrera’s rights for the next two seasons, and were completely within their rights to tell him that they were going to hold off on talking about a new deal until next winter. This isn’t a young player with breakout potential whose cost could dramatically increase as he gets closer to free agency. In reality, Cabrera’s value can only really go down, given that even he likely can’t put up another 192 wRC+ season. The Tigers already paid for the rights to his 2014 and 2015 seasons, and while Cabrera might have wanted a long term commitment, they didn’t have to give him one now.

As good as Miguel Cabrera is now, the history of big heavy guys in their mid-to-late 30s is almost universally awful. Guys the size of Miguel Cabrera just don’t age well, as their bodies begin to betray them and they spend significant periods of time on the disabled list. We may already be seeing the beginnings of Cabrera’s physical decline, and his September performance was a reminder of how human a superstar can be at less than 100%.

I understand why the Tigers wanted to keep Miguel Cabrera around for the rest of his career. He’s going to go into the Hall of Fame as a Tiger, and he’ll be remembered as one of the greatest players to ever wear the Detroit uniform. It’s hard to let those guys leave. The Cardinals are pretty happy they let Albert Pujols go, though, and in a few years, the Tigers will wish they had let Cabrera go too.