Imitation Is The Sincerest Form Of Flattery Dept.

Posted in The Mailbag, Will Leitch Sucks at 12:36 pm by

Easily excited reader Gawkastalka writes,

Thought you might go completely overboard (as usual) when you compare the following Will Leitch quote from this morning ;

“If there™s one team that has more luck than Air Force at recruiting the type of athletes DeBerry was talking about ¦ it™s totally Brigham Young.”

To your own comment from Saturday afternoon, “In other happy news, Air Force are currently trailing those masters of urban recruiting, BYU, 31-7 in the third quarter.”

It isn’t that Will is plagerizing you, of course. It just seems like your brand of topical humor improves 48 hours later when someone else says the same thing.

Hmmm, interesting theory GS, but if that’s the best he can come up with two days after the fact, somebody should demand a refund.

Bulls, Pistons Prepare To Break The Bank For Big Ben

Posted in Basketball at 11:53 am by

Along with predicting that Phoenix’s Amare Stoudemire will miss the entire 2005-2006 season, the Detroit News’ Chris McCosky looks ahead to Ben Wallace’s impending free agency.

Keep your eyes on the Bulls next July, when they take the $20 million in cap space they will have and start wooing free agent Ben Wallace (above).

The Bulls were a playoff team with Eddy Curry in the middle. With Wallace, they could be a title contender.

The Bulls and the Atlanta Hawks, the franchise closest to Wallace’s home in Alabama, will be the two teams that come after Wallace the hardest.

But rest easy for now. The Pistons aren’t going to let their foundation, the face of their organization, simply walk out of the door.

The Pistons have been prudently preparing for Wallace’s eventual free agency the past few years. They should be in a position to reward him with the most lucrative contract offer in Pistons history.

The Pistons have signed defensive wiz Tayshun Prince to a 5 year, $47 million extension.

Daughtery Tolls The Bell For Brett

Posted in Gridiron at 11:44 am by

That Green Bay’s Brett Favre almost pulled a comeback out of his hat amidst a 5 INT day with a botched fake-spike ala Marino finale either says something about his being a gutsy gamer, one of the all-time greats, guh-guh-guh-guh-guh….or perhaps the reality is that sans Ahmad Green, the ’05 Pack really suck and Favre ought retire. From the Cincinatti Enquirer’s Paul Daughtery.

The Bengals beat Green Bay on Sunday because Favre™s skills and Favre™s supporting cast are no longer a perfect match for his forever-brash mentality.

Credit Cincinnati™s ball-aware linebackers and secondary. Rookie Odell Thurman swiped two passes. Deltha O™Neal took two more. Props to the entire defense, which, as offensive tackle Willie Anderson noted, œplayed their tails off today.

Favre helped. His appearance at Paul Brown Stadium was equal parts swan song and swan dive. The quarterback who never knows when to say when tried to make some impossible throws. All it cost him was five interceptions, including four in four possessions. In a 21-14 game, that was the difference.

Either that, or it was the fan who ran across the field with 28 seconds left, swiped the ball from an astonished Favre™s hand, and sprinted some 60 yards to the opposite 15-yard line. Cops stopped him there and buried him in a pile. If you get in the red zone, you have to score. Everybody knows that.

In the closing moments, helped by a ridiculous pass interference call, Favre moved the Packers from his 5-yard line to the Cincinnati 28, with no timeouts remaining. As bad as Favre had been to that point, he appeared poised to be Superman once more.

The Bengals have been good at beating the teams they™re supposed to beat. As coach Marvin Lewis put it, œWe™ve taken care of business when we had to.

They did it again Sunday, beating the overmatched and undermanned Favres, who live and (mostly) die on Favre™s audacity.

He™s still fun to watch, though. Then again, so was the fan on the field.

œThe 12th man, Robinson called him, jokingly. œIt takes that kind of effort to win.

Added Chad Johnson: œI might streak next week.

Milledge : Mets’ Future Or Present Bait?

Posted in Baseball at 8:28 am by

That’s the question posed by the NY Times’ Ben Shipgel, as he catches up with Mets prospect Lastings Milledge, currently toiling with the AFL’s Grand Canyon Rafters.

At 20, often the youngest player on the field during these Arizona Fall League games, Milledge (above) boasts exceptional speed, tremendous outfield range and a frighteningly quick bat. During a showcase event in high school, his throws from the outfield were clocked at 96 miles an hour. He tore through Class A St. Lucie in the first half of last season before being promoted to Class AA Binghamton, where he batted .337 in 193 at-bats. And while Milledge acknowledges that he still needs some polish, Kevin Morgan, the Mets’ director for minor league operations, raves about his precociousness between the foul lines.

Milledge, it would seem, is one of those can’t-miss prospects. Except, of course, he still can. Even though the Mets project him as a fundamental component to their future – billboards with his face alongside those of José Reyes and David Wright should be ready for 2007 – Milledge is caught squarely in the crosshairs of an organizational predicament. With the World Series over and off-season maneuvering picking up steam, the quandary facing General Manager Omar Minaya as he tries to move the Mets up a notch is whether Milledge could help them more if he were playing somewhere else.

That is, should the Mets hold on to Milledge, a player with a seemingly endless upside, or, bowing to the transitory nature of the sport, package him in a deal in coming weeks that could supply immediate help, perhaps the big bat they need to turn an 83-victory team into a contender?

“If the Mets are looking to trade him, I know 29 teams who would be more than happy to take him off their hands,” said a veteran National League scout, who asked that his name not be used because he was commenting on another team’s player.

Our Suggested Excuse For Tom Benson

Posted in Gridiron at 8:17 am by

The Saints owner can explain that he was going as Kenny Rogers this Halloween, and just wanted to get into character.

(video footage here, WMV required)

Yanks To Hire Noted Fornicator?

Posted in Baseball at 8:04 am by

With Luis Sojo displaced after the hiring of Larry Bowa, the Yankees might be adding former Royals manager Tony Pena to Joe Torre’s staff, writes the NY Daily News’ Sam Borden.

There are several advantages to bringing in Pena, who won the 2003 AL Manager of the Year award in Kansas City but stepped down in May after a difficult start. First, the Bombers are looking for a Latino presence on the staff since former third base coach Luis Sojo is not expected to be with the major league club in 2006. Sojo, who will be replaced by former Phillies manager Larry Bowa, has expressed interest in becoming the manager of the Class-A Tampa Yankees because that is where he lives, and he likely will be accommodated.

Sojo was very popular with the Spanish-speaking players on the Yankees and had a particularly good relationship with Robinson Cano. Joe Torre often used Sojo to help gauge the rookie’s emotional status, so there is the hope that Pena might develop a similar chemistry.

The second benefit to adding Pena is that the Bombers currently are without a specialized catchers coach. Bench coach Joe Girardi worked with Jorge Posada, John Flaherty and the other catchers during spring training and continued that responsibility during the season, but he has left to become the manager of the Marlins.

Another benefit, unmentioned by Borden, is that with Sojo having already refused a demotion to coach at 1st, Pena is a natural for the position. If reports out of K.C. are to be believed, who would know more about how to get to first base?

Mushnick Can No Longer Live A Lie…

Posted in Sports Journalism at 7:38 am by

….and what took him so long? From Phil Mushnick in Monday’s NY Post.

We’re supposed to applaud Sheryl Swoopes’ courage in revealing that she’s gay when her self-outing coincided with her paid endorsement of a cruise line that caters to lesbians? Until dough was dangled, her seven-year relationship with a woman was no one else’s business? How’s that for the courage of one’s convictions?

Heck, if there’s money in it, I’ll admit it, too. I’m a lesbian. Bon voyage!

Though Phil is correct in implying there’s something screwy about such an announcement having a corporate sponsor (in this case, Olivia Cruises), surely Mr. Integrity can acknowledge that Swoopes is waving goodbye to any number of other endorsement opportunities?

And besides, Fred Smoot already turned the gig down.