So the Yankees had to choose the Sunday before Memorial Day, a holiday when tributes are traditionally, logically and respectfully devoted to our war dead, to honor Bernie Williams.
Next, the Yankees had to turn what could have been a more sensible Bernie Williams Day on another Sunday into Bernie Williams Night on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.
And it didn’t matter to any of the above parties that Williams didn’t serve in the U.S. military, let alone risk his life in combat. And Williams, too, might have known that this Sunday afternoon or night on Memorial Day weekend was not the time to honor him, thus, flattered as he is, the above parties, given that it’s only May, should choose another date.
Though I’m generally not in the habit of defending the Yankees from charges of callousness and/or greed, I must point out the following not-so-arcane factoid to Mr. Mushnick ; the Yankees are hosting a Monday matinee against the Royals. Unless my calendar is incorrect, Monday, May 25 is MEMORIAL DAY. I would be very surprised to learn, for instance, that our good friend Randy L. issued the following edict : “there will be no acknowledgement of the contributions and sacrifices made by our nation’s armed forces because we wasted the opportunity to do Sunday evening, instead paying homage to the draft dodging Bernie Williams.”
Yeah, I know there’s such thing as Memorial Day Weekend, but it’s a huge stretch to claim the Yankees are pissing on the graves of wartime dead by failing to honor them two days in a row.
An investigation by English football’s governing body alleged Blackpool “failed to ensure that no spectators or unauthorised persons were permitted to encroach onto the pitch” after more than 200 fans forced the final game of the season to be abandoned after invading the pitch.
While the Football League impose possible future points deductions the FA could force Blackpool to play games behind closed doors next season should they feel safety procedures failed sufficiently to cause a danger to players.
It’s the second charge to be hanging over the Seasiders from the Football Association at present, chairman Oyston is awaiting news on five misconduct charges after an abusive text conversation with a supporter leaked at the end of last year.
Commemorative bricks with fans’ names inscribed along Clark & Addison streets outside Wrigley (much like those depicted above) have reportedly turned up in a Pontiac, IL dump, despite being sold to the public on the promise said bricks would be permanent fixtures. From the Pontiac Daily Leader’s Paul Westermyer (link swiped from Baseball Think Factory) :
The Chicago Cubs began selling the pavers near the holiday season in 2006, inviting fans to purchase brick pavers on which they could engrave personalized messages, up to a maximum of three lines and 15 characters per line. Prices varied, but were typically around $160.
The Ricketts family, led by Tom Ricketts, won their bid for the Cubs in January 2009 and purchased the franchise from the Tribune Company, and began a renovation project in September 2014.
However, one of the criticisms of the renovations concerned a lack of transparency regarding the fate of the pavers. Miles Zaremski, a blogger for the Huffington Post’s Chicago web edition, questioned the Cubs in June 2014 and their future plans for renovation and how that would impact the personalized pavers fans purchased.
“This writer phoned the front office on two separate occasions and asked the question, what does the Ricketts family plan on doing with those brick pavers as part of the renovation plans?” Zaremski wrote. “The answer I received both times was the same: WE DON’T KNOW.
“I then asked, what about those of us whose bricks were purchased at the very start and as a consequence have received a favorable spot … like at the front entrance? Again, the answer was, WE DON’T KNOW.”
Shortly after the Marlins broke up Shelby Miller’s near no-no in Miami Sunday, Fish skipper Mike Redmond was relieved of his duties, this despite the club being a mere 5 and half games out of first with 4 months of baseball to play. And then there’s the matter of a contract extension thru 2017, signed by hard-to-please baseball expert Jeffrey Loria, who as Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal points out, has been going thru managers (6 since 2010) at a clip that would’ve embarrassed the late George Steinbrenner. Of more general interest than the fate of the Marlins franchise, however is Loria’s participation in MLB revenue sharing, a scenario Rosenthal likens to the Red Sox, Dodgers and Yankees subsidizing Miami’s incompetence :
The opening of Marlins Park in 2012 was supposed to end the franchise’s long run as a revenue-sharing recipient and transform it into a contributor.
Instead, the Marlins remain one of the largest recipients and – ahem – one of baseball’s most profitable franchises.
Incredible, considering they ranked 28th in average home attendance entering Sunday’s play after ranking 27th and 29th the previous two seasons.
Incredible, considering that their below-market TV deal with FOX Sports runs through 2020, though the team wants to renegotiate and ideally begin a new contract in ’17.
Oh, and let’s not forget: On top of all the money the Marlins are paying former managers and executives, they also owed catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia more than $14 million when they released him earlier this month.
I awoke yesterday with what I thought to be a genuine case of SUPER BOWL fever, but alas, it was merely the H1N5 virus (whoops!). Shortly before the projectile vomiting began, however, I felt compelled to watch a clip of Dolphins K Garo Yepremian’s ill-advised attempt at throwing a forward pass in Super Bowl VII. Which led me down the inevitable YouToob rabbit hole of totally fucked up sports-related videos. And I have to say, nothing in my nearly 9 years of blogging fully prepared me for the oratory powers of GARO YEPREMIAN, MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER. Good news, DDP, you’re finally off the hook!
I realize Charlie Rose is equal parts pressed for time or perhaps not entirely conversant with every facet of Allen Iverson’s life story, but how do you not ask a followup question the repeated $40,000.00 visits to strip clubs? But full credit to CBS — live morning television is the last place I would expect to see The Answer.
Montreal Alouettes DL Khalif Mitchell was fined by the CFL Thursday for violating the league’s social media policy. I’m not totally familiar with said policy, but I a have to presume that posting links to YouTube videos promoting Holocaust revisionism is probably on the short list of things not to do. From The National Post’s Sean Fitz-Gerald :
Within the first minute of the so-called film, the narrator references the Holocaust as the “alleged murder” of six million Jews. What follows is a rambling 77 minutes filled with often incoherent passages claiming to disprove the scope of the Holocaust.
The Nuremberg trials, for instance, are dismissed as “the most disgraceful legal farce in history,” and the number of Jews murdered in camps is dismissed as implausibly high. It is not narrated by a human voice, but rather a computerized voice.
Mitchell said he did not endorse the video on his Twitter account, arguing that he merely passed it along to fellow users. B’nai Brith described his Twitter activity as “bizarre postings and outlandish conspiracy theories, comparisons of police officers to the Ku Klux Klan and hateful videos denying the Holocaust.”
Mitchell continued posting through the afternoon. At one point, he wrote, “I know the TRUTH Shall Free Me…Anti-Semitism doesn’t, hasn’t & NEVER Will LIVE Here.” A little while later, he posted a link to Forbes magazine’s website, to a story under the headline “Israel Forcibly Injected African Immigrants with Birth Control, Report Claims.”
New Orleans fired head coach Monty Williams (above, left) Tuesday, just weeks after owner Tom Benson lauded Williams and his charges for a earning a playoff berth in the 2014-15 campaign. Noting that Williams was saddled with “a roster that at times seemed patched together like an old quilt,”, the New Orleans Times-Picayune’s Jimmy Smith argues the team, “fired the wrong man”, with his sights aimed directly at GM Dell Demps (above, right).
There has been an obvious disconnect between Williams and Demps from almost the moment Demps arrived here in July 2010, about a month after Williams was hired as head coach.
Holes that should have been addressed more decisively were not, resulting in ongoing challenges that Williams and the players on hand faced resolutely and conquered. Demps’ philosophy of trading draft picks for young, more established talent is decidedly imperfect.
The team hasn’t had a first-round draft pick since 2012 when it won the lottery and snagged Anthony Davis.
Then, with a second first-round pick that year, the team chose Austin Rivers and tried to convert him to a point guard.
Giving up two first-round draft picks for Jrue Holiday, who has played a half season in each of his first two years in New Orleans because of injury, was a calamitous overreach.
And it’s quite possible the Pelicans could lose center Omer Asik, who cost a 2015 No. 1 pick, if he walks in free agency — leaving the Pelicans with just a second-round choice in the June draft.
There are about a half-dozen free agents on the current roster, and there are precious few chips with which to gamble sitting in front of the man holding the Pelicans’ roster improvement cards.
After doing, well, almost exactly what Bill Simmons claimed he’d do, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell took the public temperature and decided Monday to hit Patriots QB Tim Brady with a 4 game suspension and New England owner Bob Kraft with a $1 million fine for the former’s role in deflation of game balls and failure to cooperate with the league’s investigation. While some are bemused that Brady’s punishment is roughly half what he’d get for spousal abuse (granted, there’s little competitive advantage in that), the Indy Star’s Gregg Doyel figures the Pats got off easy.
Four games for Tom Brady, who at 38 in August could use a break. A million bucks for a franchise Forbes says is worth $1.4 billion. A first-rounder. A fourth. Those are flesh wounds. They’ll draw blood, like so many flesh wounds do, but they won’t devastate the Patriots.
And the Patriots should have been devastated. Same for Brady. Not only did they cheat, but they didn’t cooperate fully with the investigation. Both locker-room attendants “were not fully candid,” according to Vincent’s letter to the team, and one of them – I think it was Dumb, though it could’ve been Dumber – refused a final interview request.
Brady cheated the Colts, probably cheated a lot more teams than that, then refused to help the NFL get to the truth … and all he got for it was a lousy four-game suspension.
And a T-shirt that says “2015 Super Bowl Champions.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE : from time to time, highly respected Bronx baseball executive Randy L. visits CSTB to address the major issues of the day, sporting and otherwise. After last week’s highly publicized and debated premiere of Brett Morgen’s Kurt Cobain documentary, “Montage Of Heck”, Randy requested, no, he insisted on having his say – GC).
Greetings members of the Yankee Universe, lovers of high art and the jealous, unsophisticated, dull-witted persons who find trivia night at their local chicken wing emporium to be the highlight of their week. Speaking of which, when persons like this blog’s editor spent the early 1990′s chasing “speedballs” and fleeting, sleazy encounters with persons of indeterminate gender or planetary orgin at establishments like lower Manhattan’s Pyramid Club, I was busting my ass, honing the skills that would someday see me become the crucial individual leading professional sports’ most important franchise. As such, I cannot, for instance, tell you which member of Ugly Kid Joe would someday go on to shoot Osama Bin Laden. When you try to tell me a joke like, “what’s the difference between a back issue of The Big Takeover and the bathroom at CBGB?”, I simply have no idea what you’re talking about.
That said, I do make some effort to put popular culture in some broader context, and when a plaid-clad Brian Cashman announced he’d arranged an advance screening for Yankee brass of “Montage Of Heck”, adding in his usually smug fashion, “but you wouldn’t care about that, would you, Randy?”, I was all too happy to show that sniveling, overpaid/oversexed little creep that just when you think you know Randy L., it turns out you’ve got no fucking idea.
It’s an American tragedy, and the film bore an uncanny resemblance to a collection of video tapes I’ve compiled from scenes shot in a number of midtown NYC penthouses and health clubs. You see, unlike the tawdry punk rock world inhabited by the late Kurt Cobain and the sickening creeps who read & edit this blog, baseball doesn’t look kindly upon defacing rental properties or using needles without the supervision of team-approved medical personnel. While it saddens me that Mr. Cobain didn’t live long enough to reap the rewards and gold CD statuettes he earned during his artistic tenure, a young Randy L. would’ve been the first person to offer his legal skills to a Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame seeking to deny entry, much as you’ll see Shannon Hoon singing “God Bless America” at the new Yankee Stadium before I sign a six million dollar check made out to a monumental fraud like Alex Rodriguez.
And for fuck’s sake, Cashman. Get rid of the skater shorts. It’s 2015.
Simmons’ next move will probably be something more lucrative / prominent than say, former on-air personality Jay Mariotti’s current gig with a San Francisco coupon shopper. On Friday, Mariotti gloated that perhaps Simmons wasn’t much of a talent to begin with, adding, “ESPN created a superfan, now ESPN has uncreated him. Superfans are not real and don’t have staying power.” So congrats on achieving the impossible, Jay. You’ve now got me rooting for Bill Simmons.
Despite blocking me on Twitter (?), I wish Simmons no ill-will whatsoever. As implied or stated on countless occasions around here, I’m clearly not a fan, but yeah, compared to Mariotti he’s a fountain of wit and insight. Faint praise, sure, but when the guy loses a $6 million a year gig by running to the aid of the persecuted Tom Brady, you can’t say he’s strayed from his roots.
In-game salutes to individual members of the New Jersey Army National Guard during Jets games at Metlife Stadium aren’t purely an expression of appreciation on the franchise’s part, write NJ.com’s Christopher Baxter and Jonathan D. Salant. It turns out the team has been compensated handsomely for these ceremonies :
The Department of Defense and the Jersey Guard paid the Jets a total of $377,000 from 2011 to 2014 for the salutes and other advertising, according to federal contracts. Overall, the Defense Department has paid 14 NFL teams $5.4 million during that time, of which $5.3 million was paid by the National Guard to 11 teams under similar contracts.
U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who routinely posts examples of what he calls wasteful spending, called out the Jets’ agreement as wasteful and disingenuous.
“Those of us go to sporting events and see them honoring the heroes,” Flake said in an interview. “You get a good feeling in your heart. Then to find out they’re doing it because they’re compensated for it, it leaves you underwhelmed. It seems a little unseemly.”
The agreement includes the Hometown Hero segment, in which the Jets feature a soldier or two on the big screen, announce their names and ask the crowd to thank them for their service. The soldiers and three friends also get seats in the Coaches Club for the game.
Bills RB LeSean McCoy considers the Eagles jettisoning of himself and DeSean Jackson typical of head coach Chip Kelly’s racial bias (“there’s a reason he got rid of all the black players — the good ones — like that”). Putting aside Riley Cooper’s continued employment, Philly.com’s John Smallwood finds McCoy’s remarks, “not worth commenting on” (“sometimes the stupidity of a statement speaks for itself”), though he proceeds to comment just the same :
According to McCoy, a silver-coated Confederate flag is what Kelly most seeks to showcase at the NovaCare Center.
Those with common sense already know that a coach who cannot accept black players is not going to succeed in a league in which 67.3 percent of the players are African-American.
It would be career suicide for Kelly to get rid of his good black players.
Those inclined to agree with McCoy are so entrenched in a mindset of racial bias that even the most logical argument against McCoy will not register with them.
For the record, the most prominent argument against McCoy is that Kelly has replaced the good black players he let go with . . . wait for it, wait for it, wait for it . . . other good black players.
On Tuesday, the WNBA’s New York Liberty announced the appointment of Isiah Thomas as their new team president. Thomas, as you probably recall, is no stranger to the MSG boardrooms via his miserable tenures as Knicks president and head coach, not to mention the thorny matter of Anucha Browne Sanders’ sexual harassment allegations. Despite having to pay nearly $12 million to Sanders, James Dolan’s underachieving franchise issued a statement yesterday claiming the Sanders jury “acted improperly”, claiming the charges were “completely unrelated” to Thomas, which is pretty amazing revisionist history. In the view of the Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore, Thomas’ hiring is worthy of review by the WNBA Board Of Governors (“the only explanation is that Dolan is a tone-deaf buffoon who remains hypnotized by Thomas’s greatness as a player and personal affection for him”).
Dolan’s confidence has no grounding in reality. Thomas lasted four years as an executive of the expansion Toronto Raptors. He ran the CBA into bankruptcy. He won 34 percent of his games as coach of the Knicks, left behind a rotten, bloated roster and embarrassed the franchise with the sexual harassment case. In three seasons as Florida International’s head coach, Thomas went 26-65. Based on results he produced, Thomas does not have any idea what he is doing.
“The Madison Square Garden organization announced that Isiah Thomas has been named president of the New York Liberty and that he will take an ownership interest in the team, pending WNBA approval,” WNBA President Laurel Richie said in a statement. “New owners are approved by our WNBA Board of Governors, and this process has not yet begun.”
And so the Board of Governors can still prevent Thomas from taking over. They should. Thomas’s record suggests his presence will damage the league. He should not be in charge of a professional basketball team, which is blatantly obvious to everyone but the man who hired him.
Earlier this year, our good friend, Death Of Samantha and Cobra Verde mastermind John Petkovic took to the pages of the Plain-Dealer to sign the praises of local sports nut Ken Ross Jr., whose “Ralphie’s Mom Hates Duck Head” sign (above) received airtime during coverage of the Oregon vs. Ohio State national championship. With the Cavs colliding with the Bulls in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, Ross tells Petkovic he has a worthy follow-up in mind ;
Last week, Ross busted on to the Cleveland airwaves with a sign that popped up on Fox Sports, during the broadcast of the Cleveland Indians game.
IS A BAD
Of course, the sign refers to Kelly Olynyk, the long-haired Boston Celtic who is reviled by Cleveland fans for injuring Cavs forward Kevin Love.
He already has some ideas – timed for the Cavs-Bulls series, which starts tonight:
“CITIES THAT ARE
“We just got done playing Boston and now we’re playing Chicago,” says Ross. “C’mon – how lame is it to name your cities after some ’70s rock band.”
“A lot of people, when they saw me competing never saw the human being behind it,” Hall Of Famer Pedro Martinez tells the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner while promoting the former’s new tome, “Pedro”, hitting bookstores (or what’s left of ‘em) next week. Among the cretins who might not have fully appreciated Pedro The Human while relentlessly pushing Pedro The Workhorse was Mets C.O.O. Jeff Wilpon (above, right), whom Martinez claims forced him to take his turn in the rotation for a meaningless late September contest vs. the Marlins while injured.
Martinez writes that his toe was hurt and that Manager Willie Randolph had told him he was done for the season. But, he said, Wilpon wanted to sell tickets for a matchup against the star Marlins left-hander Dontrelle Willis. Martinez said he protested the order and offered to give back the rest of his contract.
“While I’m the boss here, you’re going to have to do what I say,” Wilpon said, according to Martinez, who gave in and pitched. He lost the game, which drew 25,093 fans, and said the injury prolonged the toe problem. Other parts of his body broke down the next season, and Martinez was inactive for the Mets’ run to Game 7 of the 2006 National League Championship Series.
“I couldn’t help but think about how when I was healthy in 2005, our team wasn’t that good,” Martinez writes. “But as my health declined, I was urged to pitch a meaningless game at the end of 2005 that wound up shortening my recovery time for 2006 and led me to a hospital where doctors performed a three-hour arthroscopic procedure to repair my shoulder.”
In a statement through a spokesman, Wilpon denied that he told Martinez to pitch hurt.
“Pedro was always a great competitor and deserving of being in the Hall of Fame,” the statement said. “This particular excerpt in the book is false as those kinds of decisions have always been put in the hands of our baseball people.”
It would be a big relief to learn that Wilpon was not in the habit of interfering with baseball matters, thus leaving Fred’s son with plenty of time to concentrate on important executive duties (like, ruining David Wright’s career with a ballpark design, or lecturing employees on what it takes to be a good parent).
But I digress. Salon’s Kate Harding threw a media pundit shit-fit over the AP’s 2009 Female Athlete Of The Year poll, one in which Breeders Cup winner Zenyatta finished a distant second to Serena Williams, and Belmont Stakes victor Rachel Alexandra came in 7th behind UConn hoops standout Maya Moore. And to be totally truthful, I was disappointed in the AP’s results, too. No love for soccer thug Liz Lambert? Zero recognition for South African track and field pioneer Caster Semenya? Clearly, these AP voters care even less about women’s sports than this blog’s publisher.
However, that’s not the source of Harding’s gripe. “I can’t help noticing,” she wrote “that Zenyatta and Alexandra are not human, which — call me speciesist — is something I usually expect from an ‘athletes of the year’ list. Perhaps if the AP folks had given the subject a bit more thought, they might instead have chosen to honor, say, Rosemary Homeister, who in 2009 became the second most successful female jockey of all time. Or, you know, any other two women in sports, leaving Zenyatta and Rachel to duke it out for Horse of the Year. Something more like that?”
I’m sorry, but did we learn absolutely nothing this year from “District 9″? Much the way great sportspersons/pioneers such as Semenya, Renee Richards and John Kruk have forced the world to reconsider outdated gender roles, maybe the AP ought to be applauded for looking past something as ultimately trivial in 2009 as species? Certainly Harding has a point when complaining none of the male athletes on their 2009 list had to share the top ten with horses, but that list is a farce, too! Some jumpsuit-wearing d-bag driving around in a circle is a better athlete than than this glorious competitor? I (fucking) think not.
There’s some precedent for the AP’s ranking horses alongside humans. Secretariat only finished 6th amongst male athletes in 1973, despite winning the Triple Crown. Naturally, the human-biased sports media sided with such flash in the pans as Hank Aaron, Bill Walton and some nobody named O.J. Simpson. Apathy towards female athletics is regrettable, sure. Maybe even inexcusable if you fancy yourself a halfway intelligent sports fan. But must Harding diminish the achievements of my stall sisters just to advance her own horse-hating agenda?
Hey, Everybody! It’s been a while since your jerkface editor —- a man so disliked, this blog’s Ballhype ranking will soon be higher than Barry Zito’s jersey number —- allowed me to bring my wit and wisdom to CSTB. And I sincerely wish he wouldn’t bother! While the rest of you are watching “Around The Horn” and pondering another night ALONE, I’m producing future generations of champions. I’m like the Marv Marinovich of horses.
But I digress. I was all set to provide my Belmost Stakes predictions when someone provided me with a clip of WFAN’s Chris Russo talking trash about my boy, Big Brown. I’d like to know, where does this mental midget get off questioning the smarts of a superior athlete who’s just one race away from the Triple Crown, merely because he’s a horse?
WFAN’s website provides no information regarding Russo’s SAT or Wonderlic scores, and curiously his years at Oxford are totally ignored in his biography. But if the station employed a host that mocked Jews, Women, African-Americans, Diet Coke-addicted Fatso’s or Southside Johnny by challenging the intellectual capacities of any of the above, advertisers would be very quick to leave a sinking ship. Clearly, WFAN management has learned nothing from their previous mistakes. It’s a very short gallop from “nappy headed ho’s” to “carrot-eaters” and I’m appalled that no one else covering this nonsense —- Mushnick, Best, Raissman, I’m calling you guys out — found this worthy of critique.