Hey, at least they didn’t opt for No Trend Egoslavia! The Washingtonian’s Benjamin Freed reports Chuck Brown’s 1979 Go-Go classic “Bustin’ Out” has been replaced as post HR celebratory music at Nationals Park by “Bang Bang,” the timeless collaboration between Jessie J., Ariana Grande and Niki Minaj, and sadly, the team has refuse to explain their actions.
If the Nationals are trying to restrain their DC exceptionalism, “Bustin’ Loose” never sounded like self-limiting celebration music. It is unquestionably one of the most recognizable tracks in the history of the go-go genre. The song, which Brown and his Soul Searchers released in 1979, topped Billboard’s R&B chart for nearly a month and peaked at No. 34 on the mainstream Hot 100 chart. And even if go-go does not have much renown beyond Washington, “Bustin’ Loose” got a bit of contemporary attention when Nelly sampled it for the hooks in his 2002 hit “Hot in Herre.”
Whatever the reason behind the dismissal of “Bustin’ Loose,” the Nationals may have a tough time turning “Bang Bang” into a fan favorite. While Brown’s song was loud even over the din of high-fiving crowds after a Nationals four-bagger thanks to its soaring horn section, “Bang Bang” is barely audible, with only a few thumps of its bass line washing over the stadium during last Friday’s game, which featured home runs by Harper and Danny Espinosa.
“I’m so accustomed to hearing [“Bustin’ Loose”] that when it didn’t show up, I was like, ‘Huh?’” says NPR’s Susan Vavrick. “It’s got a good hook to it. People react to it. You’re on your feet, you’re standing, you’re clapping. It makes you want to dance. You certainly don’t want to with this Bang Bang song.”
Last summer, ‘The Invention of Solitude’ author Paul Auster (above) took to the New York Times’ “Letters To The Editor” section to propose the following in the hopes of improving baseball’s pace of play ; “Eliminate the two-strike foul ball as a neutral play — neither strike nor ball - and rule it a strike. To compensate for the advantage this would give the pitcher, allow the batter to go to first base after three balls instead of four,” (“This way, no at-bat could last more than five pitches. Pitch counts would go down, allowing starting pitchers to go deeper into games, which in turn would reduce the dead time caused by changing pitchers — the primary reason games last so long these days”). On Saturday, the independent Atlantic League, previously best known for attempted career revivals by John Rocker, Carl Everett and Jose Offerman, put Auster’s suggestion into (experimental) practice during an exhibition game between the Bridgeport Bluefish and the Long Island Ducks. Though the contest was completed in a breezy 2 hours and 15 minutes, Auster tells the New York Times’ Jonathan Zeller that he doesn’t realistically believe his innovations will hit the big time (““I think the feeling among people in the major leagues was that it would be embarrassing”).
“The only way to know if this is a good idea or a bad idea in terms of saving time,” Auster said, “would be to get some computer whiz to play out 100,000 games with these rules and see what happens. One game’s not going to tell us. But one game will be able to tell me that these particular players either enjoyed it or didn’t.”
Bridgeport’s Sean Burroughs fell into the latter camp. “It was completely ridiculous,” he said. “The hitter’s already in a hole enough. You get two strikes, you’re up there battling, you foul off one pitch, and you’re out — that’s a joke.”
Auster said he saw some value in longer at-bats. He fondly remembers the five-minute-plus, nine-pitch strikeout the Dodgers’ Bob Welch threw against the Yankees’ Reggie Jackson to end Game 2 of the 1978 World Series.
“That was very gripping,” he said. “But I think something’s got to go.”
“I would sack them and take the PFA (Professional Footballers’ Association) on,” he said on BBC Radio Five Live’s Sportsweek. “I don’t think players can do that, it’s scandalous and it’s just another story for Leeds United that is disgraceful.
He added: “I don’t know exactly the players and it might be one or two of them have got a good excuse, but it sounds too stupid to be true.”
Striker Antenucci used Twitter to defend himself, as did goalkeeper Silvestri who posted a picture of a cut on his back suffered against Norwich on Tuesday night.
However, Cherry questioned if they were legitimate reasons to withdraw.
“In the old days you used to play with anything, cuts or one thing or another,” he said. “The managers had a big say in whether you were fit or not. You didn’t just come in and say ‘I’ve got a headache, I’m going home’. I’m sure with George Graham or Don Revie, I can’t imagine what would have happened if you’d have done that.”
(you know the old saying, “Grenada makes, China takes”)
Would you have preferred “Return To Sender” for a headline? Chuck D. once famously declared, “most of my heroes don’t appear on no stamp”, but until Belize gets around to honoring Von LMO, Stephon Marbury is Coney Island’s most contemporary product to receive such an honor, as the NY Post’s Marc Berman (for fuck’s sake, WHO ELSE?) explains :
“I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that people will be able to buy a stamp of me to mail packages anywhere in the world,’’ said Marbury, who plans to give a speech at the National Museum of China in Beijing. “I am truly humbled. Never did I imagine in all of my 38 years of living that I — a kid who grew up 7,000 miles away from Beijing and a kid who came from the projects of Coney Island — would have a stamp of myself. I can never have dreamed it.”
Marbury plans to be back in the United States in late April and attend some playoff games. In his speech, he plans to announce he will be back for another season with Beijing.
So it seems Britt McHenry really turned on the charm when picking up her towed vehicle in Virginia earlier this week. The good news, however, is that since she didn’t Tweet anything that would bum anyone out, there’s no reason for ESPN to suspend her!
(KORRECTION KORNER : ok, well, it seems Ms. McHenry was indeed suspended for a week, but the towing company in question are trying to be good sports about the incident, admitting that “parking enforcement is contentious by nature”, and professing that “neither Gina, our lot clerk, nor our company, have any interest in seeing Britt McHenry suspended or terminated as a result of her comments”. Fair enough, jobless people are less likely to have cars to tow).
Crain’s Chicago Business’ Danny Ecker reports that Chicago’s basketball and hockey franchises intend to streamine beer sales with the above device starting with tomorrow’s Game 1 of the Bulls/Bucks series.
Fans buy a prepaid card from a cashier next to the machines, which they can use to tap a sensor on the DraftServ unit. They grab a cup and then, like pumping gas, buyers pour as much beer as they want into their cup, with the final price deducted from their card.
Drinkers pay by the ounce, as opposed to the standard-size offerings at regular arena concession stands. They’ll have a choice of Bud Light and Budweiser at 42.5 cents per ounce, or Stella Artois and Goose Island at 47.5 cents per ounce.
Though Ecker points out “the DraftServ prepaid cards are designed to keep fans from being overserved, too, with a 40-ounce maximum dispensed over a set time increment,”, there’s no mention of whether or not anyone — human or machine is entrusted with making certain no one who is already inebriated is being further inebriated.
On this, the 32nd anniversary of the late Jerry Blackwell defeating Kerry Von Erich to win the NWA Missouri Heavyweight Title, let’s recall a fateful conversation between Blackwell and serial interrupter Mean Gene Okerlund.
Of the far-fetched notion the Angels would consider dumping Josh Hamilton onto the AL West rivals that experienced the troubled outfielder’s greatest successes, the Dallas Morning News’ Tim Colishaw writes, “he would at least provide entertainment,”, which is a nice way of saying his misfortunes would provide meaty subject matter for Colishaw before Cowboys training camp.
For Hamilton, it would provide a kick-start to the final chapter of his major league career. You think he can’t handle an apology for his remarks about this being a football town? You think he hasn’t dragged himself into and out of holes a hell of a lot worse in his life?
Hamilton still has the house here. He has a ballpark that conjures the finest memories of his career here. Even in 2012, when fans booed him during the one-game playoff with Baltimore after he had sat and slumped his way through September, Hamilton was fifth in the A.L. MVP voting.
He would consider a trade to Texas, literally, a gift from God.
Would you trade Choo straight up for Hamilton, no strings attached? Choo is owed $116 million from now through 2020. The Rangers would save $33 million in the long run. The Angels would get three years from Choo after Hamilton’s contract has expired.
The billboards will be up until May 3. They were put up by Gary Palumbo, 39, of New London, New Hampshire, who raised $6,700 on the online donation site Kickstarter for the effort, according to an Associated Press report.
“They asked us to be patient through the Madoff issue and to let them go through their rebuilding process, and then they said when the time was ready, they were going to reinvest back into the team and get it ready for competitiveness,” Palumbo told the AP. “That was supposed to be last year, but with the [Matt] Harvey injury, that kind of set everything back. And so once we went into this offseason and they signed [Michael] Cuddyer and then did nothing else, that was really the tipping point for me. That demonstrated that the Wilpons are still not financially capable of doing what needs to be done for the long-term best of the team.”
Manager Terry Collins told the AP: “I think it’s a waste of time, but that’s just my own opinion. You want to spend $6,000? Go feed the homeless.”
As I’m sure Terry’s aware, you and a friend could purchase Citi Field’s 2 priciest tickets and attend somewhere in the range of six (6) whole Mets home games for roughly what Palumbo spent on these useless billboard. Perhaps the well-adjusted types that pay that sort of money to enrich Collins’ paymasters could also be feeding the homeless, but hey, that’s just my opinion.
Since Josh Hamilton’s most recent, high publicized substance abuse relapse, the Angels have made no secret of their desire to use the incident as a get-out-of-the-onerous-contract card. After learning this week that Hamilton’s self-reportage slippage won’t absolve them of their contractual commitments, the former Anaheim ball club responded by giving the outfielder’s locker away (something Randy L. and the Yankees never did to A-Rod), followed by owner Arte Moreno (above) suggested the born-again reprobate would never again wear an Angels uniform. Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown considers a situation in which “the Angels continue to act as though Hamilton’s struggle with addiction is a personal affront to them.”
Moreno hinted at language in Hamilton’s contract that would protect him from Hamilton’s relapse. Hamilton is due $83 million over the next three seasons. The union almost certainly would contest an attempt to dock Hamilton’s salary or void his contract, no matter the circumstance, and in fact did almost before Moreno had completed the thought. That Hamilton was found to be within the guidelines of the drug agreement would seem to further undo Moreno’s plan.
“We have a contract with Hamilton and that contract has specific language, that he signed and that was approved, that said he could not drink or use drugs,” Moreno said. He added, “There is the possibility of pursuing it.”
Within a couple hours, the Players Association responded, “The MLBPA emphatically denies Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno’s assertions from earlier today that the Angels had requested and received the approval of the union to insert language into Josh Hamilton’s contract that would supersede the provisions of the Joint Drug Agreement and/or the Basic Agreement. To the contrary, the collectively bargained provisions of the JDA and the Basic Agreement supersede all other player contract provisions and explicitly prevent clubs from exactly the type of action Mr. Moreno alluded to in his press comments today.”
Sportsmanship aside, the New York Post’s Phil Mushnick has a curious takeaway from Andrew Harrison’s ill-advised insult of Frank Kaminsky ; to wit, why aren’t white people allowed to utter equally offensive slurs?
It’s interesting that Kentucky coach John Calipari would explain and excuse his team’s postgame misconduct after their only loss as being representative of what “kids” do. Exactly. Black kids are now prompted, encouraged to profanity and to call one another “n—-r.” But I’m white, thus I can’t write that. That would make me a racist. It’s not about wrong or right; it’s about black or white. And that’s crazy.
Where were all the media-op activist black preachers, politicians and social police the last week, those who would allow “n—-r” to be resurrected among blacks, but only blacks? That’s not merely backwards, that’s crazy backwards!
Jesse Jackson still commands the respect and attention of our president and media despite calling New York “Hymietown.” But Donald Sterling, half-shot 80-year-old, is sentenced to hell by the same president and media after whispering a racist thought into the ear of his 30-year-old, see-through girlfriend.
It’s crazy. The N-word wasn’t allowed in my parents’ household, or in my household. But my daughters had it hammered into their ears by blacks. They came to figure that they shouldn’t use the N-word, not because it’s wrong — a slur above slurs — but because they’re white! That’s crazy, no?
Sometimes, Barnes clicks on profiles, to see who’s dissing him. Sometimes he responds. Then he seeks out more insults. He admits this is a bit masochistic, but he fears that without sufficient anger he will lose his edge. And, to Barnes, that edge is everything. “That negativity is what keeps that chip on my shoulder, what makes me a dog, what makes me an a–hole on the court.” he says. And being an a–hole, he knows, is what’s kept him in the league. So he stores away the criticisms. Later, during the game, if he needs inspiration during a down moment, he cues up the hecklers in his head. “And then I’ll be like, ‘Lock back in, let’s go!’”
Barnes is so grateful for your disrespect that he even has a gesture planned. “If I ever win a ring, I’m going to get it sized for my middle finger,” he says. “To thank all the people who doubted me, because you guys are what drove me to my ultimate goal.”
Fox Sports North analyst Bert Blyleven amused himself during a rain delay prior to Thursday’s Twins/Tigers tilt at Comerica Park by taking a couple of Twitter shots at the city of Detroit (“It is the best I have seen downtown Detroit though! Thank you low clouds!…guess I ruffled some feathers with my last tweet about download Detroit! Guess all you that responded haven’t seen how ugly your downtown is,”). Bert’s since deleted the offending remarks, but not before adding, “I apologize for my comments: the city of Detroit. It is an exciting time here led by the Ilitch family.”
James Dolan is hardly going to submit to a Q&A with the likes of Howard Beck or Frank Isola, but when Billboard Magazine’s Matthew Belloni wants to discuss the Cablevision CEO’s partnership with Irving Azoff, or the progress (?) of vanity project JD & The Straight Shot, guess who has all the time in the world? Alas, not all of the questions were of the soft toss variety, especially the inquiry into Dolan’s ill-advised handling of customer complaints :
Does it annoy you when people say you’re anti-union?
Yes. It’s a well-known tactic of some of these unions to personally go after the people who are running the companies. It doesn’t reflect well on them at all. We hold to our values, and when people want to cooperate and work together to build a business together, both do well. Just go talk to the guys at Local One or a lot of the other unions at Madison Square Garden. They all think they’re doing well. Radio City Music Hall — when we took over, there was one show there, the Christmas show. Maybe about five concerts a year. That place is humming, now. That means everybody who works there is going to be busy, and they’re almost all union people. One squeaky wheel does not make a bad train.
Someone said that during a negotiation, you got out your guitar and started playing a song called “Lockout Blues.” True?
That was during the NBA lockout. I was on the negotiating committee.
You’re paying Phil Jackson $12 million a year for five years. Still worth it?
You got to believe, baby! I believe, I believe! I enjoy being out of the limelight. I enjoy having two experts in there that I trust. I barely have to do a thing. It can stay like that for me forever. As long as we continue to make progress — and I’m sure we will. I believe!
What do you say to fans who want you to sell?
I don’t respond to people like that. I learned a lesson this year about that. I won’t do it again.
Yes, you emailed a fan and told him off and suggested he might be an alcoholic. Do you regret what you wrote?
I don’t believe what I said was wrong. I believe responding to him was wrong. I believe what I said was absolutely correct. But that’s the thing — why engage with people like that? That was a mistake.
Earlier this week, of the retiring A.J. Lee, Booker T. made some reference to “going out on top”, which (aside from the WWE’s new “kill ‘em with kindness” approach) was only slightly less hysterical than claiming the disgruntled Lee had nothing left to achieve after a few years in the business. Conversely, amazing Mike Francesa Tribute Artist Bill Buchanan aka Mike Zaun, is absolutely at the top of his game presently. Though he’ll be missed, at least the real thing will continue to generate internet fodder.
It’s three-plus minutes of up-and-under scoop shots, drive and dishes, pull-up threes and fantastic lob passes to Yi. This is what Kevin Hart thinks he looks like when he hoops it up.
What really sets the video off, though, is the soundtrack. The background beat is a song called “Onslaught 2? by Slaughterhouse from their self-titled debut album, featuring Fatman Scoop. This will mean nothing to you if you weren’t into a particular brand of hip-hop in 2009, but it was a mid-level hit, mainly gaining popularity for its earworm worthy production. If it hadn’t come up here, I probably would have never thought about that track ever again.
FROM COLUMBUS, OH : it’s the first central TX appearance of the new look UNHOLY TWO, as well as their first foray in this territory since the release of 2014′s piledriver-onto-the-concrete, ‘Talk About Hardcore’. One esteemed Northeatern analyst opined, “In their utter barbarity, this band has found itself a workable, scalable truth, beats dents into it with a hammer, then beats them right back out. Unlike your car, or your penis, it starts the first time, every time.” Gratuitous sexism aside, I approve this message.
BURNT SKULL apparently have a new song or perhaps even new SONGS. This is undoubtedly BAD NEWS for the competition, though if they imagine this sales pitch being recited by Wayne “Bad News” Barrett, perhaps the announcement of their own obsolescence will at least seem more entertaining.
Austin guitar/drums duo INJURIES are putting the blood back in bludgeon. Their recent demo cassette on the hotter-than-shit Drug Front imprint was the recent toast of SXSW (and by that, I mean some dumb motherfucker left it on top of a plugged in toaster and now there’s melted plastic all over MY OTHERWISE SPOTLESS KITCHEN).
SPIDER SABICH features inept guitar wankery, an over-reliance on occasionally functioning delay pedals. an utter lack of beginning-middles-ends to alleged “compositions” and all the stage presence you’d associate with the late Darrell Porter kiting a check. It should go without saying that this “project” features a member of Air Traffic Controllers, but there you go. It’s been said!
While the Red Sox have launched an in-house department of behavioral health (a little too late for the likes of Foulke, Lackey and Papelbon, don’t you think?), the Nationals have appointed Rick Ankiel as their new life skills coordinator, the sort of position that might been helpful for 5 year minor league vet Adrian Cardenas. The 2B/LF, drafted 37th overall by Philadelphia in 2006, had the proverbial cup of coffee with the Cubs in 2012, but not before plenty of soul-searching about what threatened to become a somewhat joyless pursuit, one that Cardenas chronicles in part in this week’s New Yorker (“Ways To Stay Sane In Baseball”) (link swiped from Baseball Think Factory) :
Ankiel will use his first-hand experience with failure on and off the field to help mentor players in the Nationals system. He won’t replace a sports psychologist but rather will serve as a less formal outlet for coaches, managers, and players to vent. And yet, there will still be issues of trust and of showing weakness. While quitting in baseball is discussed among players, often disguised as empty rhetoric—“If I don’t start hitting the ball out there, I might as well just quit”—there can still be issues of trust and concerns about showing weakness, even for people with more promising careers than mine was. Shortly after his M.V.P. performance last year in the World Series, the San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner admitted that while in the minors, “I contemplated going home and not choosing to have this lifestyle.” During batting practice, he said, he’d stare at airplanes as they flew by, imagining himself in a seat. His mom, Debbie, said, “It was awful. He called all the time. He didn’t like baseball. He didn’t like nothing.” In the same interview, Bumgarner said, “I’ve never told anyone this story before,” but Bumgarner clearly talked to his mother; by “anyone” he was likely referring to anyone in a position to control his professional future.
I understand Bumgarner’s hesitation. In 2011, my .314 batting average in AAA led the team and I committed only nine errors all year. Still, I was not promoted to the major leagues when rosters expanded in September. From that point on I kept my mouth shut, no matter what mental struggles I was experiencing. There could have been a slew of reasons why I didn’t get the call up, of course, but I suspected that my quitting for a week the year before raised some red flags about my commitment to the game. In 2012, I made my major-league début; that was also the year that I walked away from the game for good.
A player is often aware of the possibility that a team employee—doctor or not—may divulge information to management that could put his job at risk. This “possibility problem” will not necessarily change overnight.
The Toronto Sun reports that TNT hoops analyst Shaquille O’Neal can celebrate the dismissal of a defamation lawsuit filed by a Michigan man who found himself the target of the 4-time NBA champ’s sophisticated sense of humor :
O’Neil was slapped with legal papers last summer after allegedly mocking Jahmel Binion, who suffers from genetic disorder hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia, on social media by making disparaging comments about his looks in a ’selfie’ he had posted online, which depicted the male with facial deformities, patchy hair growth and missing teeth, which are all symptoms of his rare condition.
O’Neal subsequently apologized to Binion after learning of his health woes, but it wasn’t enough and the disgruntled male demanded damages of $25,000.
However, the sports icon hit back, insisting there was nothing defamatory about his post as he only shared the image with the caption, “Smile today”. He also shot down Binion’s invasion of privacy claim because the picture was made public when he posted it on social media.
The case recently went before a Michigan judge, who chastised O’Neal for his “highly offensive” actions, but declined to take the suit any further as the defendant has no ties to the stat
Given that Josh Hamilton’s most recent substance relapse was self-reported, an independent arbitrator ruled Friday the embattled Angels outfielder would face no disciplinary measures, an edict which caused great discomfort amongst Hamilton’s employers. While writers ranging from Ken Rosenthal to an unusually reasonable Bill Plaschke took umbrage at the Angels’ public scolding of Hamilton following the ruling, the OC Register’s Todd Harmonson took an entirely different tact, instead blaming the Players Association for helping Hamilton avoid suspension.
Yes, the Players Association representatives technically did what they were supposed to do as advocates for a member, but did they really act in Hamilton’s best interests by keeping Manfred from doing anything?
Without an injury, Hamilton could be in the Angels clubhouse Friday – where his locker is being used by someone else in his absence – and subject to all the pressures of a new season.
His recovery from shoulder surgery only delays that, and without someone holding Hamilton accountable there’s nothing to make him seek the help he clearly needs. He already had backed off the use of personal accountability coaches because he thought he could handle his situation without someone by his side all the time.
Think dealing with the boos after striking out in the playoffs was tough? Try returning to face a hostile crowd that considers your contract one of the worst in baseball history.