Stein : James’ “Emasculation” Of Blatt Decidedly Unleader-like

Posted in Basketball at 5:28 pm by

That LeBron James — denied the services of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love —- put an otherwise unremarkable Cavaliers team on his broad shoulders and put a legit scare into eventual champs Golden State, says much about the Akron native’s determination & guts, if not his best-on-the-planet status. A day after the conclusion of the 2015 NBA Finals, ESPN.com’s Mark Stein — hardly the first person to suggest there’s a disconnect between LeBron and head coach David Blatt — offers a scathing critique of James’ insubordination, calling the treatment of Blatt, “a rather unflattering look for an all-time great.”

We saw LeBron emasculate Blatt in ways that are simply unbecoming of a player of James’ legend-in-the-making stature.

I saw it from close range in my role as sideline reporter through the Finals for ESPN Radio. LeBron essentially calling timeouts and making substitutions. LeBron openly barking at Blatt after decisions he didn’t like. LeBron huddling frequently with Lue and so often looking at anyone other than Blatt.

There was LeBron, in one instance I witnessed from right behind the bench, shaking his head vociferously in protest after one play Blatt drew up in the third quarter of Game 5, amounting to the loudest nonverbal scolding you could imagine. Which forced Blatt, in front of his whole team, to wipe the board clean and draw up something else.

How is any fellow Cavalier going to treat Blatt with something resembling reverence when LeBron treats him like a bench ornament in plain view. How can LeBron publicly laud his own leadership, as he so often does, when setting that sort of tone?


Former Mets Owner Nelson Doubleday, Dead At 81

Posted in Baseball at 8:18 pm by

Publishing magnate and former New York Mets owner Nelson Doubleday (above, left) passed away Tuesday at the age of 81. Doubleday, who sold his shares in the club to partner Fred Wilpon in 2002, presided over the Mets dramatic rise to mid-80′s glory in a manner that seems almost unrecognizable to those familiar with the Wilpon or Dolan management styles. From Wednesday’s New York Times and William Grimes :

Allergic to the limelight and a delegator by inclination, Mr. Doubleday kept in the background. An exception was his lead role in a successful campaign to oust Bowie Kuhn as commissioner of baseball — Kuhn wanted the teams in major markets to subsidize teams in smaller cities — and replace him with Peter V. Ueberroth.

A stark contrast to his counterpart in the Bronx, George M. Steinbrenner, Mr. Doubleday left the running of the club to its general manager, Frank Cashen, and its managers, the first being Joe Torre.

“You get good people to do a job and then you don’t spend too much time looking over their shoulders,” Mr. Doubleday told The New York Times in 1980. In 1986, when Davey Johnson was managing the team, the pitcher Ron Darling said: “When the dugout telephone rings, you never imagine it’s Nelson Doubleday. It isn’t, and it never could be. Not with that owner. And not with that manager.”


Kareem : Spare A Thought For Rachel Dolezal

Posted in Basketball, Racism Corner at 9:44 pm by

The curious case of former Spokane, WA NAACP head Rachel Dolezal has dominated headlines over the last week,to say nothing of multiple social media references to Big Black’s “Passing Complexion”.   While defending Dolezal as “a fierce and unrelenting champion for African-Americans politically and culturally,” in his most recent Time.com op/ed, Hall Of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar argues Dolezal’s attempt to pass for black is “more a case of her standing up and saying, ‘I am Spartacus!’ rather than a conspiracy to defraud”.

Although I’ve been claiming to be 7’2” for many decades, the truth is that I’m 5’8”. And that’s when I first get out of bed in the morning. Just goes to show, you tell a lie often enough and people believe you. I expect there will be some who will demand I give back the championship rings and titles that I accumulated during my college and professional basketball career because I was only able to win them by convincing other players that they had no chance against my superior height. How could these achievements have any lasting meaning if I’m not really as tall as Wikipedia says I am?

Whatever the reason, Dolezal has been fighting the fight for several years and seemingly doing a first-rate job. Not only has she led her local chapter of the NAACP, she teaches classes related to African-American culture at Eastern Washington University and is chairwoman of a police oversight committee monitoring fairness in police activities. Bottom line: The black community is better off because of her efforts.

Dr. King said we should be judged by the content of character rather than color of skin, which is what makes this case so difficult. So, yes, it does matter. Apparently lying to employers and the public you’re representing when the lie benefits you personally and professionally is a deficit in character. However, the fight for equality is too important to all Americans to lose someone as passionate as she is and who has accomplished as much as she has.

The St. Louis Cardinals Just Can’t Quite Put Jeff Luhnow Behind Them

Posted in Baseball, The Law at 3:58 pm by

Earlier today, the New York Times’ Michael Schmidt reported the FBI is investigating the St. Louis Cardinals’ hacking of the Houston Astros’ internal data, a scheme allegedly provoked by former Cards exec Jeff Luhnow departing to become Houston’s general manager. “We have done what we need to do to minimize information leaking,” Luhnow told the Houston Chronicle in 2014, but it would appear he might not have done nearly enough, at least when it comes to changing passwords when moving from job to job. The Cardinals’ attempts to infiltrate Houston’s network are certainly unethical, absolutely illegal, but as SB Nation’s Roger Sherman explains, most likely, they were also an utter waste of time (“if this were about competitive advantage, it would be a wider scale operation. It wasn’t: It was about making people on another team look dumb because of a personal grudge”).

For most teams, the ability to look into the Astros’ computer system, which has been lauded as an incredibly useful analytic tool, would have been a huge coup. But Luhnow had set up a similar one for the Cardinals, which is how they had the passwords in the first place. The most valuable thing the Cardinals could have discovered with this hacking was something they already had.

So far as we can tell, the information gleaned from the hacking wasn’t massively important. The data that leaked consisted of details of trade talks. It was interesting from an outsider’s perspective — we found out the Marlins kinda maybe might have been shopping Giancarlo Stanton! — but presumably, this is the type of information the Cardinals could have learned on their own as a result of also talking to other front offices.

I’m genuinely skeptical of the on-field advantage an MLB team could gain from even a very detailed peek into the day-to-day operations of one of the other 29 teams in the league. The Astros and Cardinals didn’t even play each other in 2014 nor do they play in 2015. Beyond that, teams post their lineups before games, starting pitchers are scheduled out ahead of time, scouting reports are available on everybody.


Metroplex Scribe : Where’s The Hometown Love For Ornette Coleman?

Posted in record collector disease at 8:13 pm by

Though the passing of free jazz titan Ornette Coleman has been covered far and wide, it took DFW.com’s Preston Jones to wonder why Coleman’s hometown of Fort Worth, TX has failed to properly recognize his vast contributions.

If you live in Fort Worth, the city of Coleman’s birth and where he first picked up a plastic saxophone, you can’t mourn Coleman in front of a statue or a mural or in a park or on a street or in a plaza.

The only place in Fort Worth — that I’m aware of — that mentions Coleman in any kind of laudatory fashion is the Fort Worth ISD Wall of Fame.

Not that the FWISD honor isn’t wonderful (Coleman was a proud graduate of I.M. Terrell High School), but we’re talking about someone who, in the span of his ferociously creative and critically acclaimed life and career, won some of the most prestigious honors that can be afforded a musician — or anyone, really: a Grammy; a MacArthur Genius grant; a Pulitzer Prize.

There are no highly visible memorials to any of the skilled, influential musicians who grew up here: Townes Van Zandt, Stephen Bruton; Ronald Shannon Jackson; Roger Miller, Dewey Redman; and Van Cliburn (though there is a street, Van Cliburn Way) — why can’t fans of these artists come to Fort Worth and find somewhere to pay proper respects?

The failure to appreciate Coleman’s legacy within Fort Worth is not altogether surprising given the way self-styled power brokers continue to diss innovators.

The Pseudonymous Commenters of PFT : As Insightful As They Are Compassionate

Posted in Gridiron at 4:59 pm by

DE Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted by an NFL team saw his career take him to the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes recently after failures to make the Rams or Cowboys’ playing rosters. Putting aside for a moment how cool it is for a football team to name itself after Felipe Alou and his sons, Alouettes GM Jim Popp and The Tapes says of Sam’s recently departure from the club, “he wanted to go home…I don’t think he doesn’t want to play football.” Some of NBC-affiliated Pro Football Talk’s commenters, however, have their own analysis’ of Sam’s woes.


I Hate To Be Overly Critical, But Glen Benton’s Bob Weston Impersonation Needs A Lot Of Work

Posted in Rock Und Roll at 4:35 pm by

Deicide make an all-too rare Austin appearance Monday night at the Empire Control Room atop a six band bill. I cannot promise I’ll be attending this glittering affair, but I am very confident those patrons who turn up will be graced with the considerable wit and wisdom of Glen Benton. Provided they ask their questions politely.


The Think Tank That Might Get Brady Off

Posted in Gridiron at 10:59 pm by

(possible 2015 NFL MVP)

On Saturday, the New England Patriots fired a new salvo in their public relations defense of improper ball deflation charges in last January’s AFC title game against Indianapolis with the publication of the American Enterprise Institute’s scathing rebuttal to Ted Wells’ report on the incident and cover-up. How this may or may not factor into Tom Brady’s upcoming appeal hearing with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell remains to be seen, but consider for a moment who some of the AEI‘s other cronies are besides legions of see-no-evil Pats fans :

Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton
Former Vice President Dick Cheney’s lovely wife, Lynne Cheney
Former U.S. secretary of defense and all-around neo-con shitbag Paul Wolfowitz

So congrats to Bob Kraft and Tom Brady on the awesome bedfellows.


The American Dream’s Final Interview

Posted in Professional Wrestling at 10:59 pm by

Audio above courtesy The Two Man Power Trip Of Wrestling, June 9, 2015. Probably the last lengthy interview we’ll hear with the late Dusty Rhodes. That Rhodes recent times included work as a promo coach for WWE’s developmental brand, NXT, is entirely appropriate


Saturday Night At The Salvage Vanguard Theater : Kid Millions & Jim Sauter

Posted in Austin, Hip Hop, record collector disease, Rod & Unreal at 11:11 pm by

Hey, if you’re a good-looking, exceedingly well-informed person with great taste like me, I don’t have to tell you that Saturday night in Austin features an usually heavy slate of cultural highlights. For starters, one of the nation’s best bands, the Hex Dispensers celebrate the long-awaited release of their 3rd album with an instore set at South 1st Street’s End Of An Ear Records.  Shortly afterwards, the very trusting and not-at-worried about apocalyptic possibilities folks at Transmission Entertainment have booked a twin-bill of Houston’s Geto Boys followed by Destruction Unit (sadly not on the same stage simultaneously)

That oughta be enough for one night, right?  THINK AGAIN, FOX 7 WEATHERMAN SCOTT FISHER.  Arguably the pick for Saturday night if not the entire month of June is the duo of percussionist extraordinaire Kid Millions (Oneida) and saxophone terror Jim Sauter (one third of the terminally blistering Borbetomagus).  The pair are playing the Salvage Vanguard Theatre as part of this weekend’s NMASS Festival, but the event also marks the release of their excellent new cassette on Nathan Cross’ Astral Spirits label. If it’s nearly as good as their 2014 LP on Family Vineyard, well, why are we even trying to quantify this? Who do you think I am, Nate Silver?  If the above samples haven’t already convinced you to blow off some or all of Saturday’s other offerings, there’s no hope for you or me.  Or at least one of us. SHOW UP OR GET BLOWED UP.


Is This Cleveland Punk Vet The Key To LeBron’s Third Ring?

Posted in Basketball at 10:24 pm by

For the past 30 years, Tony Erba has been a fixture in Cleveland punk, most prominently with the late great Gordon Solie Motherfuckers but with a dizzying array of bands before and after. Up until this point, no one has suggested that Erba was a crucial component in Dan Gilbert desperate drive for an NBA Championship, and well, no one really is saying that in any seriousness this time either.  The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Chuck Yarborough, however, insists that Erba and Cavs PG Matt Dellavedova, “could be one of those ‘separated at birth’ pairs”.

Cavaliers point guard Matt Dellavedova has emerged as the Aussie who has captured Cleveland’s heart with his scrappy play and gutsy, never-give-in performance.

At least he claims he’s from Australia, and has a pretty good Down Under accent to back it up. But he’s also got a twin in Cleveland – punk rocker Tony Erba. Soooo, you make the call!

Both attack their chosen professions with a don’t-quit vengeance. Delly is on his way to what we hope is the city’s first professional sports title since the Browns in 1964 (not counting soccer’s Cleveland Crunch back in the ’90s). And Erba, an aficionado of old-school professional wrestling (he once broke a beer bottle over his own head during a show and performed with blood streaming down his face) attacks his bass and microphone in his band Fuck You Pay Me with the same fervor as Delly goes after a loose ball.

Chris Russo’s Fixation On Two Escaped Convicts (One Of Whom Is Truly Packing)

Posted in Sports Radio at 5:07 pm by

Persons like myself who had the misfortune of tuning into Sirius/XM’s flagship sports talk program, Chris Russo’s “Mad Dog Unleashed”, heard the former WFAN host speaking at length about Richard Matt and David Sweat, a pair of convicted murders who escaped last week from Upstate New York’s Clinton Correctional Facility. Russo, overwhelmed by the story’s apparent similarities to “The Shawshank Redemption” (or as the Mad Dog shortens it, “Shawshawnk”) even took a lengthy call from a retired FBI investigator to discuss the case, then further calls from listeners with their own unique insights into the penal system.

As you know, as much as I enjoy giving Russo a hard time, I cannot honestly say his laser-like focus on this topic is taking valuable time away from other sporting matters. For starters, there’s no such thing as valuable time on “Mad Dog Unleashed”, not compared to frequent updates on the Russo children’s progress in myriad pee wee basketball leagues. And let’s be serious, what else could possibly be happening in sports these days that’s worthy of commentary and debate? The NBA Finals? The Stanley Cup Finals? The first Triple Crown winner in 37 years? The Mets, Yankees and Russo’s beloved Giants all in contention? The ongoing FIFA scandal?

Clearly, there’s nothing nearly as compelling as this prison break story, though you’d think given his zeal for details, Russo would’ve at least mentioned that one of the killers on the loose has a huge cock.


Bidding War Alert, Pt. XXVI

Posted in Free Expression, Rock Und Roll, The World Of Entertainment at 7:26 pm by

It’s been far to long since I’ve updated CSTB’s Bidding War Alert, and while School Girl might lack the fresh faced party vibes of say, Intensity, I’m pretty sure their unique hybrid of Larry Lifeless-like vocals combined with the sort of sub-Zappa noodling that would rival Legion Of Rock Stars are enough to single-handedly revitalize a dying music industry. Better them than Residual Kid, anyway.


Posted in The Mailbag at 7:16 pm by

I’ve heard rumors of the US Bombs booking shows in the southeast. I came across this contact as the possible contact for booking the US Bombs? Hoping I’m right! Wondering if they will be anywhere near northern Alabama? I’m in a punk rock band full of skaters, and we just played a show with Total Chaos at an awesome DIY basement venue in Huntsville, AL. Was wondering if the US Bombs would be interested in anything in northern Alabama? Thanks so much for your time and sorry if this is the completey wrong contact. -(NAME REDACTED)


The Guardian’s Hoffman On A Soccer Film Even Worse Than “Ladybugs”

Posted in Cinema, Football at 10:51 pm by

Given current investigations into corruption at the highest levels of FIFA, perhaps last week was not the greatest moment to open a $29 million feature length dramatic film about world soccer’s governing body (one the Los Angeles Times reports took in all of $600 at the U.S. box office last week).  Despite (?) an all-star cast of Gerard Dépardieu, Tim Roth, Sam Neill and Fisher Stevens (ok, there’s 3 stars already), The Guardian’s Jordan Hoffman suggests “United Passions” probably won’t find an audience on VOD or Blu-Ray, calling it “as cinema it is excrement” (“less a movie than preposterous self-hagiography, more appropriate for Scientology or the Rev Sun Myung Moon”).

João Havelange (Sam Neill) is presented as a master of realpolitik. There are implications of corruption under his regime, but he was wise and warm-hearted enough to recognise that Latin America, Asia and Africa were the future of soccer. “We’ve done more for black people than all the UN resolutions!” he bellows, without a hint of irony. He also makes a key hire: Switzerland’s Sepp Blatter (Tim Roth). Welcoming Blatter to his first boardroom meeting Havelange wryly notes “he is apparently good at finding money”.

The stretch of the film in which we’re to groove on “Blatter doin’ work” is, and I swear I’m not making this up, a series of meetings in which he lands big-ticket sponsorship deals. The camera dwells lovingly on a trunk full of Adidas products. The big “we did it” is a phone call Blatter makes to Havelange (in his private pool overlooking the ocean), announcing interest from Coca-Cola. None of this is done through a Mad Men-like lens. This is pure corporate pamphleteering. The final act concerns virtuous Blatter winning a re-election despite having “enemies” elsewhere on the board. Did I say corporate pamphleteering? More like Stalinist propaganda.


The Only “Entourage” Story Anyone Need Concern Themselves With

Posted in Food, The World Of Entertainment at 10:24 pm by

The following item does not come from Hard Times The Onion. Incredibly, it seems there’s an eating establishment in Cambridge, MA that’s managed not only to survive, but actually thrive despite the open display of a large poster featuring Jeremy Piven. As the Boston Globe’s Allison Pohle explains, a promotional poster for syndicated re-runs of HBO’s “Entourage” on local UHF outlet Channel. 38 (home of the amazing “Ask The Manager” decades ago) has prominently occupied a display case at India Castle for five years, and no one seems to know what to do about it.

Decorated with the kinds of intricate and colorful paintings you typically find in an Indian eatery, the restaurant has one piece of art that doesn’t seem to belong — an old Entourage poster. The ad, which shows Vince Chase and his crew “bro-ing” out over some drinks, is locked in a silver frame behind the host stand.

When questioned by a reporter about the poster’s origins, Singh, who was standing behind the bar, denied having a poster in the restaurant. He said he had no idea what Entourage was.

He then walked around to the front of the restaurant to take a look, and put his hands on his hips.

“Oh this?” he said. “This has been here forever.”

Singh said the poster has been locked in the frame, which is bolted to the wall, for years. He said a representative from a local TV station made him a deal — let us come change the poster in the box every two weeks, and we’ll pay you. Singh said he can’t remember how much he was supposed to be paid because the representative put the Entourage poster in and never came back.

“The box used to light up and it doesn’t anymore, but I can’t get it out,” he said. “I guess it’s stuck.”

Singh has never watched an episode of the show and doesn’t plan on seeing the movie, which came out Wednesday.


A Salute To The Bi-Dexterity Of Oakland’s Pat Venditte

Posted in Baseball at 8:38 pm by

As of this writing, reliever Pat Vendittehe of the ability to pitch right and left-handed —is making his major league debut for Oakland against Boston. Fenway organist Josh Kantor greeted Venditte with a rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” ; me, I’m less creative. Though I once saw Venditte pitch for the Yankees’ Staten Island affiliate, here’s even older footage of his groundbreaking methodology, circa 2007 :


Mets’ Gee : I’m A Victim Of Gun Control Peer Pressure

Posted in Basketball, Firearms at 8:49 pm by


Posted in Rock Und Roll at 6:01 pm by

A very popular modern rock band performed a cover of The Cramps’ “T.V. Set” on national television last night.

It’s sort of fun to imagine what would’ve happened had some control room saboteur flipped a switch or two and this footage had interrupted the broadcast instead :


McCoy To Media : “What Part Of ‘I’m Done Making Explosive Accusations Against Chip Kelly’ Don’t You Understand?”

Posted in Gridiron at 9:29 pm by

OK, that’s not exactly what Bills RB LeSean McCoy told reporters at Bills camp earlier today, but close enough. It seemed a reasonable expectation McCoy would be asked to elaborate on, y’know, calling Eagles head coach Chip Kelly a racist, but you know the old saying ; “do I come into your place of work and knock the dick out of your mouth ask you to defend inflammatory remarks you publicly volunteered?”


Tim Bradford’s Fitting Farewell To Sepp Blatter

Posted in Football at 11:56 pm by

Alright, to be perfectly fair, Bradford‘s animation was published by When Saturday Comes a full six days ago. But he nailed it, just the same.

Are You Ready For The Auction Of The Century?

Posted in Cinema, The Marketplace at 11:09 pm by

With all due respect to Derrick Coleman, John Franco, Curt Schilling and Michael Beasley, I’m pretty sure Dom DeLuise and Julian’s Auctions are preparing for the Mother Of All Garage Sales (link courtesy Don Smith) :

The collection includes memorabilia, costume jewelry, and a vast collection of fine art and furnishings from the famous actor, comedian, and author who was beloved by legions of fans worldwide. The auction will also feature items from his wife, Carol Arthur DeLuise, and his sons Peter, Michael, and David DeLuise.

Fine art highlights included in this epic collection include: Ara Dona portrait of Dom DeLuise, a seascape by Noel Coward, a Hirschfeld original pen and ink portrait of DeLuise, and a large painting by Scottish artist Alexander Goudie. Dom’s wife Carol and his son Michael DeLuise also have several fine pieces of art featured in the auction.

Other highlights in the auction include: a grand piano said to have been owned by Vincent Price, a set of cookware given to DeLuise by his good friend Anne Bancroft, wife of Mel Brooks, an extensive set of tableware pictured in DeLuise’s cookbooks, the set of original Derek Carter illustrations from one of DeLuise’s children’s books, a ladies’ Rolex watch, and many other pieces of jewelry and ephemera from such friends as Burt Reynolds, Frank and Barbara Sinatra, and Phyllis Diller.


Moses : Stand Up For Wilshere’s Right To Sing Poorly In Public

Posted in Football at 10:32 pm by

Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere marked Sunday’s FA Cup celebration parade by taunting North London rivals Tottenham (above), an episode that led to a public apology Monday and some measure of grumbling about poor sportsmanship. In the view of the Guardian’s Toby Moses, such protests are a little over the top (“having spent years hearing from all and sundry about the crying shame that all the characters have gone out of the sport, and how media training is taking the personality out of football, it seems a bit rich to be greeted with a sea of frothing disapproval at a few fruity words”).

The stupid thing about all of the fuss is that it’s unlikely Tottenham fans would take any great offence. They get at least 180 minutes a season to hurl whatever abuse (within the realms of the law) they choose at Wilshere on the pitch. He takes it. Nobody kicks up a fuss. I’m sure they can take a little back. And if not, well then perhaps football fans need to take a good long look at themselves and ask what it is they really want. Do they really appreciate the bland platitudes that are usually to be found spilling from footballers’ mouths, or would they actually prefer someone who may say something worth listening to?

And that’s not to say what Wilshere was coming out with contained any fascinating gems. But a culture which castigates a bit of harmless teasing – with some football-appropriate swearing thrown in for good measure – is surely one which makes it impossible for any player to risk saying anything worth taking an interest in. It’s a culture created by an oversensitive media, and perhaps public too, that is all too ready to make a mountain out of a molehill, leaving little if any space for anything to be said that might upset.

WNBA Appoints Committe To Decide If Dolan Hiring Thomas Is Merely Inappropriate Or The Dumbest Idea Of All Time

Posted in Basketball at 10:23 pm by

The New York Post’s Marc Berman reports Monday the WNBA has convened a sextet of league execs to determine if sex pest Isiah Thomas ought to be allowed to claim an ownership stake in James Dolan’s New York Liberty. Berman, like others before him, floats the notion Dolan might well pull the plug on the franchise if the league fails to enable his seemingly endless love affair with Thomas :

James Dolan is the last original owner in the WNBA and there’s reason to believe he could be done with the Liberty if the WNBA rejects Thomas’ ownership interest. Dolan is losing money on the team as attendance has sagged.

The members of the committee convened for the first time Monday and include: Chicago owner Michael Alter, Connecticut CEO Mitchell Etess, Seattle owner Ginny Gilder, Minnesota vice president Roger Griffith and Washington president Rick Pych.

Thomas has vehemently stated he never sexually harassed Sanders and claims the jury didn’t find him guilty of that charge.


If Falling For Onion Headlines Is A Crime, Jack Warner WIll Do The Time

Posted in Football at 3:21 pm by

In the future, perhaps former FIFA vice president / accused fraudster Jack Warner might want to run future videos past trusted family & friends before posting anything publicly.