Pride Of The Yankees : Sheff’s All About The Money

Posted in Baseball at 8:29 pm by

Clearly, Gary held the hammer in this exchange. How can the fledgling YES Network become a success without his star power on promos, interviews and the like?

J.P. Ricciardi Digs In The Batter’s Box

Posted in Baseball at 8:17 pm by

To paraphrase my good friend Reggie, for the GM of a major league baseball club to have this much time to respond to nonsense internet chatter isn’t a good sign for the business.

Or maybe he’s just capable of engaging in give and take in a public forum.

Towers Suspected Caminiti ‘Roid Use, Didn’t Say Shit

Posted in Baseball at 8:05 pm by

ESPN The Magazine’s Buster Olney interviews San Diego GM Kevin Towers in the latest issue of the glossy ; the Padres exec comes clean about the extent of his knowledge of the late Ken Caminiti’s steriod use. Though this isn’t as flashy a headline as Bonds, Giambi or Sheffield’s grand jury testimony, it oughta be. We already know that Caminiti was juiced. But for the first time, a management figure pretty much confirms one of Jose Canseco’s main points — baseball knew were the power surge was coming from, and did nothing to stop it.

“I feel somewhat guilty, because I felt like I knew,” Towers says, watching the Padres take batting practice from the balcony outside his spring-training office in suburban Phoenix. “I still don’t know for sure, but Cammy came out and said that he used steroids, and I suspected. Selfishly, the guy was putting up numbers, and I didn’t do anything about it. That’s just the truth.”

Baseball needs a lot of honesty right now. It needs a lot of people to ask themselves questions and answer honestly, as Towers is.

“The truth is, we’re in a competitive business,” Towers says, “and these guys were putting up big numbers and helping your ballclub win games. You tended to turn your head on things. And it really wakes you up when someone you admire as a person is no longer around. You can’t help but think, could I have done something differently four or five years ago that might have changed what happened to him?

“I hate to be the one voice for the other 29 GMs, but I’d have to imagine that all of them, at one point or other, had reason to think that a player on their ballclub was probably using, based on body changes and things that happened over the winter.”

The Padres were a baseball laughingstock after their 1993 fire sale, and before the 1995 season, they traded for Caminiti in an 11-player deal. Tony Gwynn was the face of the team, but Caminiti gave them an identity, playing hard every day, diving in the dirt at third base and throwing out runners while sitting on his backside.

He played sick, he played hurt, he was the MVP in 1996, and the Padres won a division championship, revitalizing a dormant franchise. And he was on steroids.

“We went through a real difficult time in 1994, with the strike,” Towers says. “Then some amazing things happened. Home runs were up. Fans were flocking to ballparks, lining up to watch batting practice. But we all realized that there were things going on within the game that were affecting the integrity of the game. I think we all knew it, but we didn’t say anything about it.”

(Kevin letting the young Matt Bush know that San Diego will not tolerate any further lawbreaking)

Towers believes money was not Caminiti’s motivation for taking steroids. Rather, he thinks Caminiti only wanted to find a way to play every day, through a 90 percent tear of his throwing shoulder, through injuries that plagued him. Steroids helped him recover from day to day. But during the 1998 season, Caminiti’s last with the team, Towers saw the relentless and powerful third baseman crumble, sometimes falling down during his swing.

“He could hardly stay on his feet,” Towers says. “It just got to the point where his body couldn’t handle it anymore. He was broke physically, and broke mentally.

“I feel as GM I probably get to know these guys better than my own family. And as a young GM, what Cammy did not only for the organization, but for my career … If he’s not there, not only am I not wearing a ring, who knows if I’m still a general manager? Those were three of the best years we ever had.”

Towers was stunned by Caminiti’s regression. “I thought, wow, here’s a player I care about, like he’s part of my family. I knew he had a problem. But I never did anything about it, because selfishly, it helped the organization and helped me.”

Hawks Waive Glove, Payton Coveted by Boston, Miami and Phoenix

Posted in Basketball at 3:30 pm by

The Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett on the choices facing Gary Payton.

Gary Payton should be placed on waivers today by Atlanta and, assuming he clears, the point guard is leaning toward a return to the Celtics.

     “We’ve reached an agreement with the Hawks, and things should be in place no later than early (today),” said Payton’s agent, Aaron Goodwin. “It’s just going to be a matter of getting the paperwork approved by the league.”

     The unlikelihood that Payton will be claimed off waivers is based on the fact a team would have to be more than $5.4 million under the salary cap or have an exception that size to take on the veteran.

     Payton then will be free to sign where he wishes, and Goodwin said yesterday he has had some interesting calls from teams which reportedly include Miami and Phoenix.

     “Quite honestly, Gary’s out with his family and his mom, and I haven’t talked to him much,” Goodwin said. “I think he’s leaning toward coming back to the Celtics. I think he likes what’s going on in Boston. I still have to talk to him about things, but I think that’s where he wants to end up. But you never know with Gary.”

     Meanwhile, the Celtics don’t appear to be counting on anything with Payton just yet. There still is interest in bringing back Kenny Anderson, who was waived by the Hawks to make room for their new players. Anderson said he will sign with either the Clippers or Celts.

Ozzie Vs. Maggs

Posted in Baseball at 3:25 pm by

From the Chicago Sun Times’ Doug Padilla.

No longer able to hold his tongue, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen sounded off on Magglio Ordonez on Sunday morning after another round of comments critical of Sox management.

In a story in Sunday’s Chicago Sun-Times, Ordonez praised his new owner with the Detroit Tigers, Mike Ilitch, and in the next breath said he doesn’t understand why his former owner, Jerry Reinsdorf, won’t pay the money to keep his best players.

Enough was enough for Guillen, who has grown tired of reading and hearing about Ordonez’s shots at the Sox.
“This is bull [bleep],” Guillen told the Sun-Times, pointing to a copy of Ordonez’s quotes. “This is girl [stuff]. Every time there are a couple of [reporters] over there with a piece of paper and a pencil in his hand, is he going to talk about the White Sox? Come on, just move on. Just play your game and forget about the White Sox.”

Guillen is most bothered by the fact that Ordonez is making himself out to be the victim when he was offered three separate contracts by the Sox last season, including at least one after he went down for the season with a knee injury.

He also was irked that Ordonez has implied the Sox aren’t interested in winning and that Ordonez says the Sox tried to exaggerate his injury to make him less attractive to other suitors.

“Don’t come around and make this thing look like crap when you’re not right, when you know you’re lying,” Guillen said. “Don’t lie. You can say whatever you want: I want to make some money, I hate Kenny Williams, I hate Jerry Reinsdorf, I hope they die — whatever you want to say. But don’t come out every day and say things to make sure you look good with the fans.

“[Don’t] say that they [Williams and Reinsdorf] are horse [bleep] and I’m not. Because now the fans and the media, they will hear what I have to say, and they know I won’t bull-[bleep] them.”

“I’d rather see the player say, ‘Listen, I wanted out of there because I wanted more money,”’ Guillen said. “I respect that. When Alex Rodriguez said he wanted out of there because ‘I want to win,’ Seattle won 100 games with him [actually 91 in 2000] and they won 116 without him [in 2001]. If you want to win, that’s a winning team. You left because of the money, and Magglio left because of the money.

“You’re going to tell me all the cities he could go to, there is a better city than Chicago? He was a legend here with the White Sox. A lot of people wanted him to finish his career here with the White Sox, and count Ozzie Guillen in that group.”

Presto, Chango, Coronation Street Goes Glam

Posted in The World Of Entertainment at 3:11 pm by

The soon to be fatherless Craig Harris.

(before and after)

Byron Crawford Carefully Monitors The Pope’s Progress

Posted in Religion at 6:42 am by

This particular deathwatch is so much easier to endure if instead of watching CNN 24-7, we just rely on someone’s else’s sage observations.