Luxemburgo Hired By Real Madrid

Posted in Football at 11:59 pm by

Stuck in la liga’s 5th place despite a superstar lineup (and Steinbrenner-esque payroll) Real Madrid have tapped former Brazil national manager Wanderley Luxemburgo to become Los Galacticos’ 3rd manager of the season. Jose Antonio Camacho was sacked three weeks into the current campaign ; Manager no. 2, Mariano Garcia Remon will remain with the club in an advisory capacity.

Earlier this month, Luxemburgo lead Santos to its 2nd Brazilian club championship in 3 years. Luxemburgo has won 5 Brazilian titles on his career, two with Palmieras and one each with Corintians, Crueziro and Santos.

Morality Lessons From Fergie

Posted in Football at 10:43 pm by

From the Guardian’s Dominic Fifield in Friday’s edition :

Manchester United bowed to the inevitable last night and opted against contesting the charge of violent conduct levelled by the Football Association against Wayne Rooney but not before Sir Alex Ferguson called the FA’s disciplinary procedures as “flawed” and “immoral”.

The 19-year-old will miss Premiership games against Middlesbrough and Tottenham, as well as the FA Cup tie with Exeter City, after the FA’s video panel studied footage of him pushing Bolton’s defender Tal Ben Haim in the face in United’s 2-0 win at Old Trafford on Boxing Day.

United had the option of denying the charge, though that would merely have seen an FA disciplinary commission meet this morning to discuss the issue.

The Old Trafford club would have had no representation at that hearing, with the most likely outcome being confirmation of the three-match ban regardless.

Tino’s A Yank (Again)

Posted in Baseball at 7:30 pm by

MLB.com is reporting that free agent 1B Tino Martinez has passed a physical and is expected to sign with the Yankees shortly. The League’s house organ helpfully adds,

Martinez signed a one-year deal, though exact terms were not available. He will likely share time at first base and DH with Jason Giambi. He also gives New York a viable option at first base should Giambi experience any health problems.

Or if New York can figure out a way to buy out the rest of Giambi’s deal. Martinez’ return to the Bronx should make the market for Carlos Delgado a bit clearer, if nothing else.

(not only is Tino a little old for tagging, but the “M”‘s upside down)

Minaya’s Beltran Courtship

Posted in Baseball at 4:19 pm by

From the Boston Herald’s Michael Silverman :

    In a move that bears more than a passing resemblance to his Thanksgiving dinner wooing session of Pedro Martinez, Mets general manager Omar Minaya is poised to make his second – and even bigger – impact signing of this offseason by going after Carlos Beltran, the top prize of this entire free agent market and a name that many had already fitted for pinstripes next year.

 According to a National League source familiar with the Mets’ thinking this entire offseason, the Mets are going to begin a pursuit of Beltran next week with the same intensity and style that they devoted to winning over Martinez. The Martinez pursuit culminated successfully two weeks ago when the right-hander inked a four-year, $53 million deal.

     Here in Boston, that deal made a splash with ripples to be felt until the Red Sox can demonstrate that they can replace the results from the three-time Cy Young winner. In the Bronx, losing out on Martinez never turned into a big deal, since no one besides Steinbrenner ever considered hiring the hurler to be a top priority.

     Beltran is another story.

     Beltran will turn 28 in April, meaning his best years may very well be ahead of him. And the center fielder has already turned in a body of work that makes any red-blooded owner, general manager or casual fan drool. He is without a doubt the golden child of this free agent crop, and that is why his agent, Scott Boras, has made his boldest request yet for any of his current free agents: 10 years for $200 million, or $20 million a season.

     The Astros are believed to have made the one and only bid so far, six years and $96 million, or $16 million a season. Tigers owner Mike Ilitch is itching to wire cash into Beltran’s bank account. But even though one Boras client, Pudge Rodriguez, signed in Motown last year, it is hard to imagine Beltran doing the same. All during this hot stove season, the Yankees were supposed to be biding their time before making an offer that would top the Astros and any other pretenders to the throne of major league cash dispensers.

     Lately, the Yankees have been playing a cat-and-mouse game with the Diamondbacks over a trade for Randy Johnson, arguably the one player the Yankees need most. Beltran is a close second for many reasons, none greater than the reality that Steinbrenner has always enjoyed collecting the biggest prizes he sees, $25 million luxury tax bills be damned.

     So far this winter, the Yankees have added the likes of Carl Pavano, Jaret Wright and Tony Womack, hardly back-page types.

     Meanwhile, the Mets have been plotting the Beltran move, which should not come as the biggest surprise. Having already held trade discussions with the Cubs about Sammy Sosa and the Red Sox about Manny Ramirez this offseason, landing a marquee outfielder is high on the Mets’ to-do list. Snagging Beltran would be the ultimate accomplishment of Minaya’s already busy and productive offseason.

     Emboldened by his success with Martinez, Minaya is going to employ the same face-to-face strategy with Beltran in order to pitch the perks of playing for New York’s other team.

If you can think of even ONE perk associated with playing for the Mets, please let us know. Besides the obvious ones, of course (getting to borrow Piazza’s Savatage CD’s, use of the parking space previously reserved for Donald Manes, shoeshines and backrubs from Joe McEwing, etc.)

Gammons Says Unit Deal Is Done

Posted in Baseball at 1:51 pm by

D-Backs get the disgruntled, revenge-vowing Vazquez, two additional warm bodies and loot, Yankees get Johnson and inch ever close to the $300 million payroll.

From ESPN.com :

Peter Gammons reported earlier Thursday that the on-again, off-again trade would be completed once the teams agree on the amount of money and the minor leaguers to be included in the deal. Gammons also reported that in addition to Vazquez, the deal would include catching prospect Dioneer Navarro, at least one other prospect and about $8 million going to the Diamondbacks in exchange for the 41-year-old lefty.

According to Gammons’ sources, Arizona will not immediately deal Vazquez to another team, but will continue to talk to interested teams, including Baltimore, Philadelphia, Detroit and Texas.

Jermaine O’Neal On the Brawl’s Fallout

Posted in Basketball at 10:15 am by

David Newton in The State.com, interviewing recently reinstated Indiana Pacer Jermaine O’Neal.

O™Neal said if the courts choose to reinstate his suspension he will accept that just as he did the original penalty. But he contends that all the suspensions, including Artest™s seasonlong ban, were excessive.

He said those who witnessed the incident on television saw only 20 percent of what happened. He resents that many in the media have placed the blame on players more than fans.

œThey made sure they just showed us hitting people, O™Neal said. œThere™ s a reason why we were running around. There™s 15 of us, and there™s thousands of them.

œI saw a lot of people say the NBA is too hip-hoppish. What is too hip-hoppish? What does our preference of music have to do with who we are? I™m pretty sure a lot of hockey players and baseball players listen to rock ™n™ roll and heavy metal. Does that determine who they are?

O™Neal pointed out that a Texas Rangers player threw a chair into the stands this past baseball season and broke a woman™s nose.

œIt wasn™t talked about for seven weeks, he said. œThe (NBA) is 85 percent black. All of a sudden we™re under scrutiny for who we are.”

Ron Artest, Future Knick?

Posted in Basketball at 10:08 am by

After the strangling of PJ Carlesimo, who would’ve bet on Latrell Sprewell becoming a fan favorite in NYC? The NY Daily News’ Frank Isola fantasizes about current Public Enemy No. 1, suspended Pacers F Ron Artest, ending up in a Knicks uniform.

Latrell Sprewell was rescued from NBA purgatory five years ago by the Knicks, who were willing to take a chance on a talented player with a troubled past. The risk was well worth the reward as Sprewell helped the Knicks reach one NBA Finals and two conference finals.

Next summer, the Knicks may try to take the same gamble on Ron Artest, who currently is serving a season-long suspension for his part in a brawl last month in Detroit. Sprewell sees plenty of similarities between himself and Artest and feels that New York would be an ideal place for Artest to get a second chance.

“With Ron, he would probably do well wherever he goes,” Sprewell said. “But he’d definitely fit in well here. He played here, he’s from this area and I’m sure New Yorkers would love him.

“Feeling wanted helped me. It gives you a sense that you’re welcomed. You don’t feel like everyone is against you. That was important.”

The Knicks essentially stole Sprewell from Golden State, acquiring him for John Starks, Chris Mills and Terry Cummings. Prying Artest from the Pacers will not be easy if for no other reason than president Larry Bird would probably be reluctant to trade Artest to a conference rival whose boss, Isiah Thomas, is Bird’s longtime bitter enemy.

Thomas and assistant coaches Mark Aguirre and George Glymph coached Artest in Indiana and the consensus among league officials is that Thomas will make a play for Artest.

“I don’t know why you’d get rid of him,” Sprewell said. “I don’t see Indiana trading him. I wouldn’t be looking to move him because of that incident.”