In the summer of 1984, I was employed as clerk/bag security schmoe at the Copley Square location of Strawberries Records and Tapes, the New England chain store owned by Morris Levy (who may or may not have been the inspiration for “The Sopranos” Herman “Hesh” Rabkin). This was a pretty wild time for the music business with a plethora of blockbuster albums by veteran acts competing for shelf space. In the wake of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’, industry expectations were sky-high for The Jacksons’ ‘Victory’, to say nothing of Bruce Springsteen’s hotly anticipated ‘Born In The U.S.A.’. But both would ultimately be overshadowed (in the aisles of that Strawberries, anyway) by Prince’s 6th album, ‘Purple Rain’.
The store’s buyer loaded up on ‘Victory’ LP’s to an insane degree. THOUSANDS of the fuckers, overstock crammed into every available corner of the store’s back rooms and behind countertops. As you may or may not remember, the album was poorly received, the subsequent stadium tour (co-promoted by New England Patriots exec/heir Chuck Sullivan) bombed and well, the staff of Strawberries had boxes of ‘Victory’ hanging over their shoulders all summer long.
‘Born In The U.S.A.’, was of course, another story. Huge critical acclaim, immensely popular videos (even if the Boss was pissing on the flag, see above), and most importatly, the store had enough stock to satisfy demand, but just barely.
‘Purple Rain’, however is where things got crazy. The film wouldn’t open until late July but the album dropped in June, weeks after “When Does Cry” had pretty much blown everyone away. Despite the fact we had real-live-human beings walking into the store several times a day asking when ‘Purple Rain’ would be out (amongst them, the J.Geils Band’s Peter Wolf, who lived across the street) our store’s manager, for reasons known only to herself, determined that Prince Rogers Nelson was some product of hype and a couple hundred copies of the year’s most eagerly awaited album would be enough.
We blasted thru the available stock within a couple of hours of the doors being unlocked. Customers were outraged, apoplectic that the record they already knew would be the soundtrack to their summer wasn’t available.
An edict came down to tell aggrieved consumers that while we were out of stock on ‘Purple Rain’, we could, however, furnish them with copies of Newcleus’ ‘Jam On Revenge’, which just so happened to be released by the Morris Levy-owned Sunnyview Records.
This suggestion did not sit well with inconvenienced Prince fans. I’d previously not been cursed at in the store before, save for the time Monoman came in to yell at me about a middling review for The Lyres’ ‘On Fyre’ in Matter Magazine (“you should be in prison,” Jeff said…and he was right!). Let’s just say this was my one and only experience being on the retailer end of the Great American Bait & Switch and either I wasn’t very good at it…or Newcleus were way, way out of their league. Maybe a little of both.
So there you go. The music business when it still existed. Needless to say, ‘Purple Rain’ was great, some of us saw the movie twenty times or more and that was the summer Prince went from merely being super popular to the sort of megastardom that caused geniune panic & anxiety in Copley Square.
I was called that growing up before I even realized I was gay. When you’re closeted and thinking about coming out, you have nightmares about friends or family members using that word and making you feel like an outcast. It hurts when your friends use that word in a teasing manner. It’s a whole different feeling to have people direct that word at you with contempt. I’ve had that feeling.
Now put yourself in the shoes of a closeted gay athlete. You’re in a locker room or on a playing field, and you hear your teammates use that word. You start thinking, “Is this how they really feel about gay people? Is that what they would call me if I came out to them? Would I still be a member of this team? Would my career be over?”
That word is why gay athletes everywhere hide their sexual identity and often live lives of torment. It’s why some contemplate suicide and develop emotional and psychological issues they might never rectify.
Shaw was heartfelt in his pledge to learn from this, to stop using the word no matter how riled up he gets on the ice. I told him I didn’t view him any differently Wednesday than I did Monday. I’m still going to see how he’s doing when he’s in the locker room and still will pester him with hockey questions. If he ever wants to ask me more about the word and what kind of an effect it has, I’ll be there to answer — after every practice and before and after every game, as long as the Hawks find a way to re-sign him after the season.
ESPN baseball analyst / videogame flop Curt Schilling shared the above item on Facebook yesterday, but lest you think this is in some way a reflection on the former Phillies/Diamondbacks/Red Sox starter’s views on gender specific bathrooms, well, think again. If you’re offended, IT’S ALL IN YR HEAD.
This latest brew ha ha is beyond hilarious. I didn’t post that ugly looking picture. I made a comment about the basic functionality of mens and womens restrooms, period.
You know how I know you ‘offended’ people are full of crap? Because I’m not even close to any of the things you so desperately want me to be, so you can whine.
Wouldn’t you assume that all of you offended folks would have heard of me treating people the way you needed me to treat them, to be what you so desperately want me to be?
If people want to create stories or impressions where there are none, and you want/need to get offended by them that’s on you.
NY Post sports media critic Phil Mushnick has for years targeted hip-hop as negative influence, suggesting broadcast partners and franchise owners alike would shudder were they fully aware of the coarse, anti-social lyrical content. Perhaps in recognition of changing times, Phil’s managed to lay off Jay-Z for a while, instead aiming his less-than-laser-like vision at Chance The Rapper. From Sunday’s Post :
Keepin’ it real: Peter Rosenberg, hip-hop hotshot and mostly superfluous addition to YES/ESPN-NY radio’s “The Michael Kay Show,” Wednesday insisted Chance the Rapper would be a great addition to MLB as a paid community “ambassador” for the White Sox. Chance’s work, Rosenberg said, is a wonderful inspiration to young folks.
OK, then he’d have no trouble proving the courage of his conviction. I’ll supply him the lyrics to, say, five Chance recordings — more, if he’d like — starting with, oh, the one that begins, “Ladies loving my music is like some sex s–t. N—-s trying to grip up my mic like it’s my d–k.”
Rosenberg can read those lyrics aloud on the air then again claim Chance meets with his enthusiastic approval as an MLB youth ambassador. And if he won’t — or can’t — explain why.
Greetings, losers, shut-ins, finger-sniffers and Mets fans — or am I being redundant? Though I’m loathe to drop any wisdom via a blog that can’t sell one single advertisement, I’m told the publisher is a big fan of my unexpurgated Yelp reviews. Since I’m as magnanimous as I am well-endowed, here’s a freebie for the sports blog crowd. Even if this is barely one step above Live Journal.
Deadspin’s Issac Rauch — hopefully no relation to the pituitary freak stealing money from the Mets — did an adequate Mike Taibbi impersonation yesterday with “A Couple Humped In A Yankee Stadium Bathroom Stall For About Three Innings On Saturday”. Three innings! That’s supposed to be impressive? A little advice for the male heterosexual readers — it’s really not necessary to go on that long. Maybe you think you’re doing her a favor, but chances are awfully high she’s pretty eager to get it over with and get back to pretending you have any redeeming qualities.
I am certain this story is going to get a lot of play in today’s tawdry media sphere, and despite the absence of photos clearly depicting penetration, I can understand this. Publishers and editors are businessmen, not Zucotti Park-dwelling fantasists who have to smoke copious amounts of weed just to tolerate fuckin’ Tom Morello. They’re in the business of MAKING MONEY, just like me and the two genetic lottery winners I do all the heavy lifting for. I know, you’re already shaking your head, “sex sells, Randy, we know.” To which I’d reply, you’re the cynic, not me.
Unless each of this blog’s 12 readers have somehow morphed into Andrea Dworkin (and in some cases, that would be an improvement), I can’t believe I even have to spell out the distinction, but there’s a world of difference between random sexual encounters in a public place and true romance. The former are generally desperate acts committed by sad, lonely, friendless individuals. The latter? Well, it’s the sort of thing that renders almost everything else (save for 27 World Championships, a chauffeured town car and enough cash to fill the Grand Canyon) meaningless.
I know this might be the minority opinion, but the young couple filmed In flagrante delicto (that’s FRENCH, you ignorant little shits) were true romantics after my own heart. Note the guy’s refusal to dispense of his CC Sabathia tee — I like it. He’s paying homage to a lynchpin in our attempts to win World Championship #28. And if the shirt was seriously stained before returning to his seat in the Audi Club, he can purchase a replacement at the Yankee Clubhouse Store, a 5000 square foot facility conveniently located in the Great Hall right behind home plate.
How many times have you heard of a similar incident taking place at that aesthetic/commercial disaster known as Citi Field? Not once, and I reckon that speaks volumes about the building’s stench and the host team serving as the greatest anti-aphrodisiac this side of a Hammel On Trial CD. Some of you self-styled comedians have suggested we hand out condoms at the gate, and it’s an interesting idea (especially if we can get Verizon or Turkey Hill to pay for it). And we’ll look into it just as soon as our crosstown “rivals” take steps to confiscate razor blades.
That’s right. I WENT THERE. While Flushing’s embarrassment does more to keep The Samaritans switchboard busy than say, a Hammel On Trial CD, the 27-time World Champion New York Yankees are all about romance and repopulating the Yankee Universe with more exceptional young people, conceived in the most sophisticated of environments. Who amongst us can say that Saturday’s consensual encounter might not result in that most precious miracle of all, Nick Swisher saying something interesting the gift of human life? Maybe the Baby Bomber in question will someday grow up to be another Derek Jeter, another Don Mattingly, perhaps the next Joe Pepitone?
And perhaps — if he or she works very hard, uses his or her imagination and never, ever allows the intellectual shortcomings of 2 overprivileged siblings to undermine self-belief — becoming the President of the world’s most successful and universally recognized sports franchise, is within reach.
Not fucking likely, but parents can dream, right? A toast from me and everyone in the Yankee organization to Saturday afternoon’s young lovers.
True story folks : I’m on an airplane right now and there’s a couple of passengers throwing something not quite approaching a shit fit (but still a little too loud and angsty) over the aircraft’s satellite TV system being unable to show tonight’s possibly historic Grizzlies/Warriors game.
My options are as follows :
a) calmly explain to them that sports are essentially irrelevant, the results have no bearing on their lives and the players would almost certainly despise them if they ever met (and rightfully so).
b) calmly explain to them the NBA was much better back in the old days. Before expansion. Before the 24 second clock. Before the three-point shot. Before dunking. Before desegregation. Before sneakers. Before the iron hoop. That if they cannot appreciate the superiority of an (all-white) game played (very slowly) beneath the peach-basket using a cow’s bladder for a ball, they really don’t understand basketball and they’ve got a lot of nerve disturbing my beauty sleep with their petty complaints.
c) whisper conspiratorially, “shit’s fucked up,” glance towards the cockpit and add, “and what are we gonna do about it?”
d) put a germ-bearing blanket over my head and wait for the unpleasantness to end.
(I know a lot of you have a boner for Steph Curry and with good reason. He’s ridiculous. But unless he’s playing 12 games a year against the Rochester Schaubroecks on a concrete floor w/ huge puddles all over the place and angry fans throwing darts at him (PLUS A COW’S BLADDER IN LIEU OF A BALL) these 72/73 wins should be accompanied by an asterisk.)
All kidding aside, this seems kinda sketchy and the best possible thing I can say about it is that at least it’s not nearly as bad a look for Jarrett as those econo razor commercials are for Brett Favre.
At the risk of irritating the Braves’ marketing suits, who would prefer you focus on their new mutant food creations, magnetic schedule giveaways and fond reminders (corporate euphemism) of this being their final season at Turner Field, here’s your reality check.
This team stinks. No, I mean it really stinks — way worse than most even expected it to stink, which means sportsbooks’ dire projections of 66 to 67 wins is starting to look optimistic. The Braves hadn’t started 0-5 since the 1988 season, when they opened 0-10 on the way to going 54-106.
Centerfielder and leadoff hitter Ender Inciarte, whose entire game depends on his speed, went on the disabled list Sunday with a wonky hamstring. Reliever Dan Winkler, another of the Braves’ post-Tommy John reclamation projects, dropped to his knees in pain in the seventh inning after suffering a right elbow fracture while delivering a pitch.
In another move, the Braves shipped the remains of reliever John Gant (four runs, six hits, two homers, several dreams crushed, in three innings) to Triple A Gwinnett before the game. So before opening a seven-game trip at Washington Monday night, the Braves’ roster will include three new players who weren’t considered good enough to make them out of spring training.
They return home April 19. There are tickets available. Also roster spots.
When the ECHL’s New Orleans Brass were launched in 1997, it was a big deal, not only in a city where ice – other than in sweet tea – is rare, but also in the African-American community, where interest in the sport is, unfortunately, also rare. As a franchise majority-owned by an African-American investment group – one that included New Orleans ex-mayor Ray Nagin – the Brass were billed as a landmark development in black business circles, garnering an article in the March 1998 issue of Black Enterprise.
Other partners in the ownership group included attorney Roy Rodney and political insider and entrepreneur Stan ‘Pampy’ Barre. Behind the scenes, the Brass were additionally funded by silent partner John Georges, a self-made multi-millionaire of Greek-American ancestry.
The Brass were a bold business venture as well since the Crescent City had little knowledge of hockey. In fact, when New Orleans Times-Picayune reporter Peter Barrouquere was given the Brass beat, he was a novice to hockey. “I had seen four hockey games,” Barrouquere said. “I didn’t really know about it.”
But Barrouquere learned quickly, as did a sizeable chunk of the New Orleans sports fans. The team built a base of hardcore devotees who came in thousands to watch games at the Municipal Auditorium. The squad also found a fair amount of success on the ice, making the ECHL playoffs each of its five seasons, advancing to the third round in 1999 with a physical style of play that appealed to patrons who love New Orleans Saints football.
The team moved to the New Orleans Arena in 1999, but when the NBA’s Hornets arrived in 2002, the Brass became second fiddle. The costs of transforming the building’s floor from hardwood to ice and back proved too steep and the Brass failed to negotiate a long-term lease at the Auditorium, leaving the franchise without a place to play. Despite financial and on-ice success, the team had to fold.
Now, 10 years later, three of its former investors have run into trouble with federal authorities. In July 2008, Barre was sentenced to five years in prison for skimming more than $1 million from a city energy contract. A month later, Rodney got four months in the clink for failing to file tax returns, a charge that surfaced during investigations of the administration of then-mayor Marc Morial.
Nagin, meantime, who gained global recognition for his reaction to the Hurricane Katrina crisis, is now being investigated by a grand jury probing alleged gratuities he received from city vendors. – Ryan Whirty, The Hockey News, August 8, 2012
Greetings, members of the Yankee Universe and those slovenly, no-hopers with zero chance of ever entering its ranks. Nice 0-2 start to the 2016 season for that craven beaner-of-Yankees, Matt Harvey. I know, I know, “small sample size”, but let’s face it, Harvey’s already on the downside of his underachieving career and we’ve got our sights set on members of the Mets rotation who are proven winners. LIKE ME.
The deep irony here is that while Oliver is making a knee-jerk appeal to Bernie Sanders acolytes who are hoping for a future where you pay NOTHING for anything of value, his employer, Home Box Office continues to charge an arm and a leg for substandard programming. How’d that second season of “True Detective” turn out? Serious question, I don’t know a single person who got thru the entire thing. How about the train wreck that is Martin Scorcese & Mick Jagger’s “Vinyl”? How do you put a thoroughly washed-up, completely out of touch relic like Jagger in charge of the musical contents when The National’s Matt Berninger is available the entire time? I realize this blog’s readers, most of whom are either still paying off student loans or continuing to sponge off parents (who are well advised to consider faking their own deaths and skipping town), believe our premium seats are unfairly priced, but let me ask you which is the greater economic travesty, $1600 to watch the 27-time World Champion New York Yankees or $55 a month to watch Lena Dunham run around naked? YEAH, I THOUGHT SO.
For the few of you who can can afford both the YES Network and additional pay cable channels, I would wholeheartedly recommend Showtime over HBO. For starters, they’re not the ones who’ve given a platform to John Oliver, but more importantly, Showtime is the home of my favorite serial drama, “Ray Donovan”. Maybe it’s not for everyone, but I remain impressed at the way the show’s creators are careful to depict every single person with a Boston accent as a lying, thieving, murderous thug. Scumbags, every single one of ‘em. So big, big points for realism.
“Bomani Jones couldn’t have been a more perfect spokesman for the intent of the shirt,” Kirby says. “It’s not an angry thing, it’s more about making a point in a humorous way. It’s just holding up a mirror saying, ‘Hey, I’m wearing this and you’re broadcasting Indians games with the same kind of imagery. Why is this a problem and that not a problem?’ It’s about flipping the image on it.”
The ‘Caucasians’ shirt has gone viral before, including one day in 2014 when it was the No. 1 trending item on Reddit after a DJ for the Canadian-based electronic group A Tribe Called Red took to wearing it. But Kirby says his startup, which he runs out of basement with his wife when he’s not working as a digital marketer, has never received as much attention as it did Thursday.
Within 24 hours of Jones wearing the shirt, Kirby estimates he made 2,000 additional sales. Shelf Life Clothing’s website also crashed, because its hosting company couldn’t handle the onslaught of traffic and subsequently dropped it as a client. As of Friday evening, the site was still not fully restored.
Whether you’re a Kiss Kompletist or simply fascinated with the career arc of one-time Ace Frehley replacement Vinnie Vincent, recent entries at the Bobby Rock Blog — memoirs of ex-Vinnie Vincent Invasion drummer, Bobby Rock — are a must read, particularly the extensive descriptions of the hellish attempts to measure up to Vincent’s version of click-track perfection. Still, after characterizing Vincent as an exacting taskmaster with few social skills, Rock is hardly unsympathetic, insisting, “I’m the better musician for having endured the rigors of those sessions.”
How about some kind of OCD type vibe as an explanation? Nowadays, we think nothing of diagnosing folks with some form of this. But back then, it wasn’t largely talked about, and we were all far less familiar with it. One could make a case that Vinnie’s behavior had all the classic symptoms. It’s like the guy who can’t leave his house until he knows that all the soup cans are facing label-out in the pantry… and then he has trouble leaving the house without going back and checking on the soup cans multiple times before he actually leaves. Here, Vinnie appeared to have an obsession with the tracks being perfect against the machine, and I know there are maybe a few “behind the scenes” things that a few of us there were privy to that might support this case.
The man was simply a perfectionist who was trying to create an oil painting with watercolors. He was wanting to hear these triggered, programmed-sounding Mutt Lange-style drums du jour, when we were set up to deliver more of a classic, raw, acoustic-drums-in-a-big-room-with-a-live-drummer-bashing kind of thing. But… none of us really knew this at the time.
Consider the context. Up until the early 80s, virtually everything had live drums on it. Pop, rock, soul, even disco. But Vinnie was someone who liked all kinds of music, and I knew he listened to a lot of the standard pop stuff from the mid-80s, as well. (Forever a student of good songwriting, no matter the genre.) At the same time, Vinnie was a serious player, and he appreciated serious musicianship. So I think Vinnie was having trouble finding a balance between these two opposing concepts: he loved the modern, rock-solid, big drum approach of either programmed or programmed-sounding drums; but he also loved a drummer who could play a bunch of crazy shit, as well. So these sessions were largely about Vinnie trying to reconcile these two concepts… without really knowing he was trying to reconcile them.
A final question I get from time to time: Would I ever work with Vinnie Vincent again? My answer? A few prerequisite inquiries aside… hell yes. Vinnie Vincent is a bad motherfucker, and truly bad motherfuckers are almost as extinct these days as the main man himself.
The secret behind the vast fortune of former WWE fixture turned Sirius Outlaw Country host James Morris (aka Hillbilly Jim) is finally revealed. I’m as surprised as the rest of you ; it’s not like he was spending the money on clothes.
Each pill had its own name. The five-milligram amphetamines were known as white crosses—and these were passed around like candy, if that was your bag. The heavier doses were black beauties. Remember, this was well before the common use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs; in many ways, you could make an argument that the drugs of choice in our clubhouse were more performance reducing than anything else. But most starting pitchers were loath to mess with any chemicals that might mess with their mind-set—anyway, I was. You’ve got all that time between starts, the last thing you want is to be anxious and on the edge for four days; if anything, you want something to take the edge off.
Still, the jar was very much in evidence, very much a part of our team “chemistry,” even though the jar itself had disappeared by the 1986 season. We continued to use the same language, though, so you could still hear the terminology on the team plane and in the clubhouse, but the pill-taking became much more secretive. You either understood the euphemism—or you didn’t, because it didn’t apply. It was no longer out in the open. The talk went underground, but even there you’d continue to hear comments like, “Hey, I did a couple of white crosses but that didn’t do it so I threw a black beauty on top and it was perfect.” You’d see guys toward the end of a game, maybe getting ready for their final at bat, double-back into the locker room to chug a beer to “re-kick the bean” so they could step to the plate completely wired and focused and dialed in. They had it down to a science, with precision timing. They’d do that thing where you poke a hole in the can so the beer would flow shotgun-style. They’d time it so that they were due to hit third or fourth that inning, and in their minds that rush of beer would kind of jump-start the amphetamines and get back to how they were feeling early on in the game—pumped, jacked, good to go. How they came up with this recipe, this ritual, I’ll never know, but it seemed to do the trick; they’d get this rush of confidence that was through the roof and step to the plate like the world-beaters they were born to be.
“You become a millionaire overnight and you don’t know what do with it. We don’t understand taxes. We don’t understand lifestyles. We create a big expensive lifestyle for ourselves… I had some fetishes that I liked, materialistic things… and then obviously you get into an investment world that you don’t know about, that you don’t learn about in college and you put your money in the hands of other people that try to take care of it,” he said.
While the NBA does give its rookie players a “crash course” on finances, Walker said it needs to do more. That’s why he’s teaming up with Morgan Stanley Global Sports & Entertainment (MS) to help educate student athletes on their finances.
Prior to the extended dejá-vu session that saw the New York Mets lose their 2016 season opener to Kansas City (with a Yeonis Cespedes error taking center stage), the hosts raised their World Series championship banner in a pregame ceremony the ever-sportsmanlike Ned Yost called, “awkward”. Were the clubs’ roles reversed, however, Metsradamus is adamant that when and if it comes time for the Mets to commemorate a title, he’ll leave no stone unturned :
Hell, I’ll go as far as to say this: If the Mets are fortunate enough to be celebrating this next year, I want to go all out. I want the banner raising on Opening Day, and then I want separate ring ceremonies for every player individually to be spread out through the end of July. Players, coaches, trainers, Bobby Bonilla since he’s still on the payroll, everyone gets a ceremony. And these ceremonies are to take place against division rivals, and whatever team Chase Utley is playing with in 2017. And if he’s retired, then the ring ceremony takes place at his house. Because fuck Chase Utley through his pee hole with a saw.
I’m pretty into the idea of awarding rings to any number of persons connected with the franchise, past and present, but I absolutely draw the line at Chris Cotter.
Eric Hosmer’s fateful decision to try and score from 3rd on an infield grounder in the 9th inning of last November’s World Series Game 5 worked out splendidly for the eventual champion Royals, not nearly so well for Mets 1B Lucas Duda, whose wild throw evaded the grasp of Travis D’Arnaud. Fast forward to Opening Night in Kansas City, and Duda — while owning the error — has heard just enough about the play from Royals 3B coach Rusty Kuntz. From Newsday’s Marc Carig :
“I read something from Kuntz, the third-base coach,” Duda said of the Royals’ first-base coach. “He said ‘we’ve got this guy as a DH,’ and again, that’s an opinion. But it’s somebody to me that really doesn’t matter. How many big-league games has that guy played in?”
The answer is that before becoming a well-respected coach, Kuntz played 277 games in parts of seven seasons with three different big-league teams. To Duda, the point still stands.
“That opinion has no substance,” he said. “It’s a guy talking that coaches third base.”
“He gave it to me pretty good,” Duda said, once again seizing upon Kuntz’s comments. “It’s his opinion, man. If he thinks I’m a [expletive] first baseman, then it’s OK.”