(EDITOR’S NOTE : from time to time, Bronx baseball executive Randy L. takes to CSTB to address the important issues of the day, sporting and otherwise. After published reports this week suggested the New York Yankees would force disgraced veteran Alex Rodriguez to take the sort of spring training bus trips players of his stature routinely skip, Randy offered, no, he demanded to have his say -GC)
Greetings Yankee Universe and all who gaze upon it with their usual combination of envy and desperation. I know it’s been suggested that I hold future Hall Of Famer Alex Rodriguez is something less than high esteem, but if tempers have flared the last few years, that’s simply because both Rodriguez and myself are very competitive persons, hell bent on bringing the greatest city on the planet the World Series championship it’s been cruelly denied for the last half decade. And I’m not even going to dignify Nick Cafarado’s claim that we’re trying to goad A-Rod into retirement. BUS TRIPS? Are you shitting me? Do you really believe a man of my expertise, an executive with my resources can’t do better than putting a guy on a bus for a few hours? Do you have any idea how many people I’ve made disappear? I sincerely hope not…or you’re next!
Just kidding, folks. Cafardo can believe whatever sick gossip he wants, but the real scoop is my bold proposal that could well result in both of New York’s baseball clubs colliding next October. I know I’ve been rebuffed repeatedly when offering Alex Rodriguez straight up for the unproven, possibly disabled-forever Matt Harvey or the thoroughly unproven Jacob deGrom but a skilled negotiator like me doesn’t know the meaning of “fuck no, are you insane?” (did you teach your son to speak that way to adults, Fred?).
Instead, I’m prepared to pivot and shall reluctantly accept the contractual albatross that is David Wright, provided the Mets throw in Dilson Herrera. This offer expires at midnight tomorrow, or whenever David Samson returns my phone calls (whichever comes first). GET AT ME.
On Friday, the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Chris Haynes quoted Cavs SG Dion Waiters claiming he’d blown off the national anthem Wednesday night because of his Muslim faith. On Saturday, Waiters sought ought Haynes to claim there’s been a terrible misunderstanding.
Dion and I had a long conversation on Saturday and we came to the realization that we were thinking two different things.
When I asked if he planned to continue his pregame ritual, I meant did he plan on skipping the national anthem from here on out. He said he was under the impression that I was asking if he would continue his prayer and meditation before games.
Waiters reiterated that he would be present during the national anthem. He called it a “simple miscommunication” and added that he’s looking forward to moving past this situation.
Carmelo Anthony was 5 for 20 from the field in the Knicks’ 110-99 loss at Brooklyn Friday night, but let’s concentrate on the most important stat of the evening ; JR Smith didn’t punch anyone in the groin. And even if he did, who are you or I to call it a deliberate act? Smith tells Newsday’s Al Iannazzone that Tuesday’s televised assault on Glen Rice Jr. Tuesday was no big deal (“was he bleeding or something or what?”) :
“I don’t think it’s something that anybody saw that I was deliberate about it,” Smith said Friday. “They did. Just got to take it for what it is.”
NBA president of basketball operations Rod Thorn told The Associated Press that Smith’s reputation had nothing to do with his suspension.
Smith contends he did nothing wrong, and didn’t know what had happened to Rice Jr., who was on the floor for a while. A foul was called on Rice Jr. on the play.
“I was trying to clear space to get as close to the basket as I could to get the shot off,” Smith said. “It definitely wasn’t anything intentional.
“I seen him on the floor. I was trying to figure out what happened. The ref didn’t call it. The ref called a foul on him. I didn’t really see what happened.”
The New York Daily News quartet of O’Keefe, Thompson, Red and Vinton have interviewed Carmen Sucrat, spouse of accused drug mule and Alex Rodriguez’ cousin and former gopher Yuri, and you”ll be totally blown away to learn that she hold a rather low opinion of A-Rod. The same is true of most persons with a pulse, however, Rodriguez never wizzed on their house. Probably.
Carmen Sucart said Rodriguez lied when he told Drug Enforcement Administration agents that a lawyer representing her husband sent the disgraced Yankee superstar a shakedown letter in 2012. She said Rodriguez first offered to pay the Sucart family to keep them silent about his drug use and extramarital womanizing.
“I want you to put this in the paper,” she said. “Alex is so poor, the only thing he has is money. He sleeps with his money, he will die with his money.”
In the spring of 2012, Rodriguez came to the Sucart home with two women and three other men and offered $50,000 and an apartment if the Sucarts signed a confidentiality agreement. Carmen Sucart said she rejected the deal and refused to sign.
“He was not angry,” she added, referring to Rodriguez’s demeanor when he came to her home with the confidentiality agreement. “He was arrogant. You know what he did? He peed outside on my wall, next to the pool. He didn’t ask for the bathroom. He go outside and he just pee right there. He came over, took his thing out and went right there.”
Former Amber Alerts keyboardist Zach Travis (2nd from right above) has become something of a sensation on Paul Finebaum’s SEC Network simulcast, the former heeding the latter’s request for viewer content. By the usual standards of sports radio/TV fan submissions, the results are pretty special, so much so that it’s fair to wonder when some enterprising programmer might give Travis a show of his own :
Alabama V LSU Finebaum SEC Rant @zmtravis from Zach Travis on Vimeo.
NFL.com’s Chase Goodbread observes that former pro QB/ESPN analyst Sean Salisbury, “has experience when it comes to conduct issues, and the fallout that can result from them.” Hey, so does Rae Carruth, but unlike Salisbury, he’s not been hired to mentor suspended Texas A&M QB Kenny Hill, who Salisbury dubs, “a young man that got off the beaten path.” And who’d know more about beaten paths?
“Teach him how to approach the off-the-field stuff better. And to work with him on the field. Fix his mechanics, get him going. This is a critical point for him. I spent time talking to the family (Tuesday) night, hopefully we’ll start this weekend. If not, we’ll start early next week and carry it into the off-season and work his butt off,” Salisbury said. Salisbury added that Aggies offensive coordinator Jake Spavital is aware of the arrangement.
Salisbury touched on his role as a mentor for Hill, as well.
“… Just some things, understanding exactly how people look at you — and it’s unfortunate because that position is looked at different off the field and on. You may want to go have three beers in a bar. Unfortunately three beers to you looks like eight beers to somebody else and they can’t wait to tell people.”
A small plane trailer a banner reading “Fire John Idzik” flew over the Jets Florham Park practice facility Wednesday, a protest that didn’t sit well with the 1-8 team’s head coach or (current) starting QB, as Newsday’s Kimberley A. Martin explains :
The service was requested by a “frustrated” female Jets fan for “less than $1,000,” said Ashley Chalmers, owner of Jersey Shore Aerial Advertising. Chalmers, who piloted the Super Cub himself, told Newsday that the fan did not want to be identified, but the service was done through a subcontract with another company.
Michael Vick called it an “annoying” distraction that was “a bit extreme. You’re trying to put everything into practice . . . and now, everybody’s attention is up in the sky.”
Rex Ryan stressed that fans “have a right” to voice their frustrations, but he also said the banner was “a little over the top. When you look at the big picture, this isn’t about one man falling short. We’re 1-8 collectively.”
“Kick a man while he’s down,” Vick said. “All right, we understand that. People do that. Some people want to see other people suffer.
” . . . That money that was spent on that jet fuel could have been given to some type of charity. Believe me, there are people out here in the world who need it.”
Of newly hired Cubs manager Joe Maddon — he of the sudden exit from Tampa after Rays mastermind Andrew Friedman landed a lucrative new deal with the Dodgers — The Tampa Times’ Tom Jones writes, “wanting more financial security, wanting to call Wrigley Field his office, wanting the challenge of turning baseball’s lovable losers into champs doesn’t make him a traitor…(Maddon) gave the Rays nine good years and left the organization in far better shape than he found it. He’s not, suddenly, a bad guy.” Except Jones — who has clearly turned down dozens of opportunities to ply his trade in markets more exciting — proceeds to portray Maddon as, y’know, a very bad guy.
There’s the ugly business that Maddon appeared to have gone after a job that was already filled by someone else. It’s hard to blame the Cubs. Epstein correctly pointed out that he had an obligation to do what was best for the Cubs and, in his mind, firing first-year manager Rick Renteria and hiring Maddon was the best thing to do. Frankly, you can’t argue with that.
But did Maddon break some sort of code? Did he betray a member of the fraternity?
Yeah, it feels like it. Put it this way: I’m guessing Maddon would not have appreciated someone going after his job when he lost 101 games in his first season as a major-league manager.
It took him until the 36th and last minute on the podium during Monday’s news conference to finally get around to thanking the Rays. He spoke almost exclusively about his future with the Cubs and very little about his past with the Rays. There were no apologies, no regrets, not even an acknowledgement that many Rays fans are upset to see him go.
Indeed, you’d think Maddon could’ve managed to thank all the Rays fans individually. That would’ve taken, what, an entire 90 seconds?
I realize that most of you are feeling overwhelming with non-stop media coverage of Michael P.S. Hayes’ new single, “Why Can’t The Children Pray In School?”, so let’s take a trip back to simpler times — a DIY era before Twitter and Tumblr and Twatter ruled the day (this is sort of like the missing episode of “Sonic Highways”) (link courtesy Shawn Carpetbagger)
Timberwolves guard Kevin Martin was fined $15,000 on Monday by the NBA for making an “obscene gesture” during the Wolves’ 106-105 loss to Chicago on Saturday.
With 1:37 left in the game, Martin made a 26-foot three-pointer to give the Wolves a 102-100 lead. Running back on defense, Martin extended his arms underneath his private parts in a rhythmic celebration.
The move was reminiscent of what former Wolves guard Sam Cassell used to do after big plays during his stint in Minnesota from 2003-05.
– Andy Greder, St. Paul Pioneer Press
Or something like that. Curious how Hunter invokes the name of one of history’s great civil rights activists while stumping for a candidate on the basis he’d deny others their civil rights.
FC Rostov’s recently ensconced manager Igor Gamula (above) spoke to journalists following Friday’s 1-0 win over Ural Sverdlovsk Oblast, and perhaps found himself oversharing when it came time to discuss future acquisitions. From The Guardian :
Igor Gamula told local media the club had “enough dark-skinned players. We’ve got six of the things,” when asked on Friday about rumours Rostov would sign Cameroon defender Benoît Angbwa.
Gamula also said that five of his Russian players were ill and “I’m already worrying it’s Ebola”.
Rostov midfielder Moussa Doumbia is from Mali, which has seen sporadic Ebola cases, but there is no suggestion he is infected. Indeed Doumbia played for Rostov in Friday’s game.
You might remember that earlier this autumn, Mets COO Jeff Wilpon found himself the target of a discrimination suit filed by former Citi Field sales executive Leigh Castergine, who claimed the genetic lottery winner was canned after a series of in-house accolades soley because she was pregnant out of wedlock. On Friday, Wilpon — in court papers obtained by the New York Post’s Rich Calder — claimed he’d been mischaracterized :
Jeffrey I. Kohn, a lawyer for the thrifty team’s chief operating officer, said Wilpon has always shown “ long-standing support” for ex-Mets executive Leigh Castergine and that she was fired in August from her post heading ticket sales strictly because of workplace “issues and conflicts” with her immediate supervisors who didn’t include Wilpon.
“The termination of her employment was based on legitimate business reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with her gender, marital status, pregnancy or leave,” wrote Kohn, refuting allegations Castergine raised last month in a blockbuster Brooklyn federal court suit, including that Wilpon was “morally opposed” to her being pregnant and unmarried.
The suit claims that the son of Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon warned Castergine’s co-workers to refrain from taking any interest in her unborn child and even stated “in a meeting of the team’s all-male senior executives that he is ‘morally opposed’ to Castergine ‘having this baby without being married.’”
(pic courtesy Twolves Blog)
While Sixers GM Sam Hinkie continues to bet that Philly’s best chance of a future championship requires sucking-in-the-present, former head coach Larry Brown takes considerable umbrage at Hinkie’s choice of strategy, telling the Inquirer’s John N. Mitchell, “what they are doing to that city to me is mind-boggling. That’s the greatest basketball city in the world with its fans and you want them to sit back and watch you lose.”
“These analytics, they don’t mean squat to me,” Brown said. “Throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks. To say that these analytics guys have the answer is crazy. It doesn’t apply to basketball. Everybody uses the data you get, but that’s what coaching is. Maybe it will work, I don’t know. But it’s a shame what those fans are going through waiting to see if it will.”
“Can you imagine telling Allen Iverson that this is a rebuilding season so we’re going to be bad on purpose?” Brown continued. “I love [Nerlens] Noel, I love Joel [Embiid]. But you can’t put that stuff into them. Again, it boggles my mind. I understand you have to get assets to get better. You get assets by developing young players, draft picks, and moving contracts. But how much teaching is going on?”
I know you’re overcome with excitement over the upcoming print editions of Bull Tongue, Fuckin’ Record Reviews and Dynamite Hemorrhage, but if you’ll indulge me for a moment, there’s a new contender for the crown of Dean Of American Rock Critics (if deans wore crowns) and that contender’s name is Bridget Clerkin of The Times Of Trenton.
On Wednesday, Clerkin made an audacious debut on the national stage with the trenchant, biting, “Hamilton metal band Lit By Darkness to headline Halloween show”. Copyright considerations prevent me from cutting and pasting the entire thing, but after reading this scintillating excerpt, I am fully confident you won’t be able to resist reading it yourself. Over and over again. And then, perhaps, to your children someday. (link courtesy Jon Solomon)
Formed by Hamilton High School West students Kyle Karaffa on drums, Chris Baughman on vocals and Tyler Maynard and recent West graduate Mark Gibbs on guitar, the band wanted to initiate a creepy vibe from the get-go, which is why they picked a mysterious name.
“It was one of those things where I was just laying in bed, trying to think of names, and I thought of this,” Maynard said. “It sounded creepy – like stinkface creepy.”
And, according to the boys, the creepy strategy paid off, helping the band secure the headlining gig on Halloween despite having only played one other show before. That show earlier this month – also at Championship – was filled with ups and downs, they said, including one of Maynard’s guitar strings snapping during the first song.
“It wasn’t the first time I had been on stage, but it was the first time I was with this band, playing original material,” said Maynard, who had previously been in a metal cover band. “I was confident in our ability.”
That self-assurance didn’t come as easily for some of the other band members, like Karaffa, who had never performed live before.
“I was definitely nervous before the show,” he said. “But after we got on stage, and the crowd was there, there was just so much energy. It was awesome.”
Prompted by Jets GM John Idzik’s Monday press conference, the New York Post’s Justin Terranova compiled “The best, worst and most bizarre press conferences in NY sports”, a top ten that included such historic moments as Omar Minaya accusing Adam Rubin of coveting a Mets job and Mike Piazza publicly declaring I LIKE GIRLS. One memorable address that Terranova somehow overlooked, however, was ex-Mets speedster Vince Coleman expressing contrition (sort of) for throwing an M-80 at a small child. From The New York Times’ Joe Sexton, June 30, 1993 :
Vince Coleman, although never specifically saying, “I’m sorry,” read a prepared statement in front of television cameras and reporters in which he termed his actions in last Saturday’s firecracker incident “very inappropriate.” It was Coleman’s first public comment since three people were injured in Los Angeles after the left fielder for the Mets threw a firecracker in a parking lot.
Bud Selig, speaking on behalf of major league baseball in the absence of a commissioner, said in a statement that the sport “deeply regrets” the incident, which sent a 2-year-old girl to the hospital with injuries to an eye, cheek and finger. Selig, the owner of the Milwaukee Brewers and the chairman of baseball’s executive council, said baseball was “actively monitoring” the situation in California, where it is expected, but not certain, that criminal charges will be filed against Coleman. Selig also said baseball was “gathering information into recent alleged incidents in the New York Mets clubhouse between players and media.”
Meanwhile, Darrell J. York, the attorney for 2-year-old Amanda Santos, termed Coleman’s statement a predictable attempt to “mitigate their damages.”
Warriors co-owner Peter Guber (above) is the latest NBA exect forced to explain the contents of an internal email, after replying to a message from Golden State VP of communications Raymond Ridder who found the club’s melting pot roster (featuring Andrew Bogut, Leandro Barbosa, Festus Ezeli, Ognjen Kuzmic and Nemanja Nedovic) a cause for celebration. From the San Jose Mercury News’ Diamond Leung :
“I’m taking rosetta stone to learn Hungarian Serbian Australian swahili and hoodish This year. But it’s nice,” Guber wrote Monday in the response obtained by Yahoo Sports.
Guber, who is Jewish, later explained that he meant to type “Yiddish” in his phone rather than “hoodish.”
The Warriors on the eve of their season opener at Sacramento threw their support behind Guber, who was part of an ownership group to purchase the team in 2010.
“I know him personally and talk to him, and it doesn’t sound like something he would say,” guard Stephen Curry said. “I know that to me it sounds like an honest mistake. I’ve read a couple emails from him, and he has a little quirkiness about how he types and that kind of deal.
Wrote Guber in a follow-up email: “Someone just brought to my attention that an email I responded to earlier contains the word ‘hoodish,’ which I don’t even think Is a Word, and certainly not the one I intended to use,” Guber wrote. “I intended to type Yiddish. Either my mobile fone autocorrected or it was typed wrong. In any event I regret if anyone was unintendedly offended.”
No credit whatsoever for the Jets’ role, however minimal, in cementing the career revival of Kyle Orton?
(above : actually a photo taken at ABC No Rio, but this seems to be how one businessman recalls the old Maxwell’s)
Hoboken, NJ’s Maxwell’s was eulogized in this space last year (“The Place That Ran Contrary To (Almost) Every Negative Rock Club Stereotype : A Fond Farewell To Maxwell’s”) thusly : “even before CBGB’s booking turned into an orgy of indifference, Maxwell’s took a curatorial approach to the old & new in a manner that respected the intelligence of the audience & performers alike. In stark contrast to barns like City Gardens or The Ritz, Maxwell’s felt like a place that was owned & staffed by persons who thought the players and paying customers were friends and peers. As opposed to, y’know, targets & tools in the all-important struggle to sell more beer.” Of course, times change, neighborhoods get pricey, and a new generation of monied types have their own ideas of what does or doesn’t constitute quality entertainment. Enter the co-owner of the new Maxwell’s, Peter Carr, whom the Hudson Reporter’s Carlo Davis credits with turning what used to be a tremendous performance space for 30 decades + of pioneering bands of local and international import into a home for “trivia, stand-up comedy and fantasy football.” For better or (mostly) worse, Carr’s decided to reintroduce live music to the mix (a random assortment of “American Idol” runner ups, cover bands and would-be Blues Hammers), though he hilariously claims, “we’re trying to get back to some of the roots of Maxwell’s”. I wonder what he thinks those roots are?
In the old days when Maxwell’s was at its height,” said Carr, “it was primarily punk rock and grunge, and that was kind of back in the day when the artists could afford to live in Hoboken. Some of that’s changed and the demographics are a lot different than they used to be so we’re trying to cater to the demographics that we see in the town.”
“It’s not an old broken down stage with PA systems and your feet sticking to the floor because the floor hasn’t been washed in two weeks,” said Carr. “The old place was a dive.”
In seeking a new upscale concept, Carr holds little nostalgia for the Maxwell’s that was. “The place has been completely redone,” said Carr. “It’s nice, it’s clean, it’s open, the food’s good, so it’s a whole different type of atmosphere than the old Maxwell’s, where you would have the people…come in and have a hamburger and drink and spill stuff all over the floor and go into the back room and jump up and down and get their ears blasted out. This is a lot higher quality.”
Alright, this (dopey) entrepreneur is more than entitled to try and make a buck however he sees fit, but any characterization of the old Maxwell’s as either a) a punk/grunge HQ or b) biohazard-central is pretty off, especially the “dive” comments. By the standards of real dives, Maxwell’s was one of the cleaner, best maintained, more hospitable live music venues in the entire country. It’s mostly the booking that made it special, but the room itself was great (the P.A., especially). Was it a “punk” club, you ask?.Only the hardest of the hardcore. I nearly sprained my ankle trying to stage dive at a Richard Thompson show ( because the entire audience was sitting quietly on the floor and I kept tripping on people).
The irony is that Carr is dissing a place that by most rock’n'roll standards (at least those for clubs too small to have VIP viewing decks) was pretty upscale (yet very welcoming to all who played or attended). It’s very likely there’s been enough turnover in Hoboken that there’s few persons remaining who’d be offended at Carr trashing a local institution that generated so much goodwill (and curiously, a brand name he still wants to milk). But it’s not great P.R., and the Hudson Reporter’s willingness to let Carr’s claims run unchallenged isn’t great journalism, either.
Alright, that’s not exactly what Barcelona/Uruguay striker Luis Suarez writes in his newly released ‘Crossing The Line : My Story’, but in an excerpt that appeared in yesterday’s Guardian, the prolific scorer/serial chomper of opponents is equal parts contrite (“I had just become a father to a young daughter, Delfina, and the thought that she would grow up to see that I had done this upset me more than anything else,”) and weirdly defiant (“banning me from all stadiums worldwide? Telling me I couldn’t go to work? Stopping me from even jogging around the perimeter of a football pitch?…I was an easy target”).
After my 10-match ban in 2013 for biting Branislav Ivanovic, I had questioned the double standards and how the fact that no one actually gets hurt is never taken into consideration. The damage to the player is incomparable with that suffered by a horrendous challenge. Sometimes English football takes pride in having the lowest yellow-card count in Europe, but of course it will have if you can take someone’s leg off and still not be booked. When they can say it is the league with the fewest career-threatening tackles, then it will be something to be proud of.
I know biting appals a lot of people, but it’s relatively harmless. Or at least it was in the incidents I was involved in. When Ivanovic rolled up his sleeve to show the referee the mark at Anfield, there was virtually nothing there. None of the bites has been like Mike Tyson on Evander Holyfield’s ear. But none of this makes it right.