Rockets Name Stat Hound Their Next GM

Posted in Basketball at 2:47 pm by

The owner is named Leslie, yet he’s never been a woman. Neither has the current GM, Carroll. So with that in mind, is it really such a big surprise the Rockets’ next GM is named Daryl, yet he’s never played the game? From the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen.

In an astounding change of direction and style that stunned the Rockets and the NBA, owner Leslie Alexander has chosen Boston Celtics statistical analyst Daryl Morey (above) to be his next general manager. Morey will succeed Carroll Dawson after the 2006-07 season.

Morey, the Celtics’ senior vice president of operations and information, has worked under Boston owner Wyc Grousbeck for the past three seasons but has never been a player, coach, scout or general manager.

Morey, 32, will become the Rockets’ assistant general manager under Dawson next month before assuming the GM position after next season.

Morey’s position with the Celtics is his first in sports. He teaches a course at MIT, where he received his masters in business administration in “Analytical Sports Management.”

With the Celtics, he is not listed with the basketball operations department led by executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge and general manager Chris Wallace. Morey “focuses on arena operations, risk management, basketball analytics, and ticket sales strategy, pricing and technology infrastructure.”.

Joe Morgan was unavailable for comment.

Angels’ Cable Talks Collapse

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 2:23 pm by

“Emerging technologies”, is of course, a euphamism for being able to watch Angels games on an as-yet-uninvented octagon Taco Bell tortilla-wich, as hawked by that intensely annoying Dave Foley lookalike.

From the LA Times’ Bill Shaikin.

The Angels pulled the plug on Fox Sports Net on Wednesday, putting their fans in jeopardy of losing television coverage of opening day and virtually every road game this season.

Six weeks after Arte Moreno (above) called a 10-year, $500-million contract extension with FSN “a done deal,” the Angel owner terminated negotiations with the cable company. Instead of the proposed 150-game television package, the Angel coverage reverted to the 50 games required under the existing FSN West contract.

That schedule leaves the Angels with no television coverage for 39 of their 51 games before Memorial Day, including Monday’s opener. Club executives scrambled Wednesday to discuss patchwork deals with local stations, including Channels 13 and 56.

The deal is dormant, though, after Moreno decided negotiations had reached an impasse. Although both sides agreed long ago on the basic terms ” 10 years and $500 million ” sources said the parties could not resolve issues surrounding emerging technologies.

After Channel 9 dropped the Angels for the Dodgers, leaving the Angels with nothing beyond the 50 games guaranteed on FSN West this season, the club asked FSN to broadcast additional games. However, with the current contract expiring in 2009 and Moreno exploring the possibility of launching his own cable channel thereafter, FSN refused to air additional games unless the Angels agreed to the long-term extension that would kill such a channel.

Among the highlights of today’s Cardinals/Mets exhibition on SNY ; Braden Looper getting shelled, Xavier Nady busting out, and Gary Cohen shamelessly plugging Choco’s Pizza of Port St. Lucie, while praying desperately for a free delivery. “It’s been a long spring, folks,” pleaded Keith Hernandez. Note that SNY’s dynamic duo have been honing their unique chemistry for all of two whole weeks.

Kids Commit The Darndest Hate Crimes

Posted in Leave No Child Unbeaten, The Internet at 1:42 pm by

Under the catchy headline “Boy Bullied On Hate Website”, the following comes from the Mirror’s Richard Smith.

A heartbroken schoolboy told last night of the misery he endured as cruel yobs taunted and insulted him on a vile website.

The website was set up by two pupils who had been picking on the 12-year-old for almost a year.

They put pictures of him in school uniform on it along with a series of bizarre claims and hurtful jibes – including the repeated accusation that he was gay. The website also included a section where visitors could post their own foul-mouthed insults about the lad.

One callous visitor even wrote: “A cool hate website.”

One bully used the site to offer a £5 prize to anyone who stole the boy’s school diary.

The site included one entire section that gave lists of the victim’s bogus likes and dislikes.

The likes included: “Gays, boys’ legs, gingers, people who he fancies.”

The dislikes were listed as: “Everyone who’s not gay, the peeps who made this site, anyone who’s not in the YMCA.”

Another bizarre area was dedicated to the bleach that the lad was falsely said to use to colour his hair.

One bully wrote: “He uses his own brand. It’s called Gays R U. It’s on da market now in all good gay stores!”

The spiteful rant went on to list a series of likely side-effects from using the bleach, including: “Gayness, drowsy fatness, freckles, face deformities, squeeky voice, etc.”

It does seem tragic that in an age when the internet can be harnessed for so much good, callous individuals insist on using it to foster intolerance.

Kravitz “Underwhelmed” By I.U’s Unveiling Of Sampson

Posted in Basketball at 9:22 am by

The Indianapolis Star’s Bob Kravitz wanted to “be roused out of my cynical stupor” at yesterday’s press conference introducing Kelvin Sampson as the new Indiana head coach, but no dice.

I honestly, truly, desperately wanted to come to this news conference — which inauspiciously started 20 minutes late — and be convinced that all my initial impressions of this puzzling and unexpected hire were wrong.
Can I be honest here?

I was underwhelmed. This wasn’t a pep rally to incite and unite the Hoosier Nation. This was a confessional. IU’s administration spent more time in a defensive posture than any of Mike Davis’ recent teams.
Even the smattering of students who showed up at Assembly Hall — hey, shouldn’t you clowns be in class? — had to be roused to action by athletic director Rick Greenspan, who awkwardly implored the crowd to “give (Sampson) a big cheer.”

For a week, Greenspan’s office had been contacting former IU players, Isiah Thomas included, asking if they’d come to Bloomington and show support for a new coach. Well, roughly 10 former players showed up, the most notable being Brian Evans and Greg Graham. There was no Thomas, no Kent Benson, none of the luminaries from the Hoosiers’ glory days.

Perhaps the most notable absence, though, was Robert Vaden, who continues to insist he will leave IU and follow Mike Davis wherever he goes. The rest of the team was there — a bored D.J. White looked like he’d rather be in geology class — but Vaden made the loudest statement by saying nothing.

Football’s Most Marketable Face

Posted in Football, The Marketplace at 8:52 am by

For real.

Massarotti On Schilling In Transition

Posted in Baseball at 7:52 am by

Comparing Curt Schilling’s recovery / re-education as a pitcher to the challenges faced by Pedro Martinez circa 2002, Tony Massarotti examines the Boston starter’s mindset in today’s Boston Herald.

Curt Schilling made his final spring training start yesterday, an abbreviated four-inning stint in which he threw 67 pitches in the Red Sox™ 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates at City of Palms Park. Schilling™s fastball touched 94 mph, but it was routinely between 90-91.

œThe hitters will let me know. You™d hate to make the adjustment before you have to, Schilling said when asked if he may have to pitch differently at this stage of his career.

He later added: œI don™t have to throw 96 on the corners to get people out because I know where (a hitter™s) holes are, and I know where to go to get to those holes.

Spring training means nothing, but it™s probably wise to temper expectations just the same. Schilling turned 39 in November. He is roughly 16 months removed from major ankle surgery. He™s coming off the worst season of his major league career, though anyone who remembers October 2004 knows the right-hander has a get-out-of-jail-free card that lasts as long as he does.

Does that mean he can™t win in 2006? Heavens no. Like Martinez, Schilling is smart, stubborn and a fierce combatant.

And like Martinez, it may take him some time to figure it all out.

Two years ago when he went 21-6, Schilling™s fastball routinely touched 93-94 mph and peaked at 96, occasionally 97. If that velocity returns, great. If it doesn™t, Schilling needs to find ways to keep hitters off-balance the way Martinez did, particularly because his fastball is so straight that you could hang laundry on it.

Admitted Schilling: œLocation and velocity are of paramount importance to me at times.

The truth is that some of the velocity may be gone. And that absence may be the difference between a strikeout and a foul ball, perhaps explaining why Schilling™s pitch counts escalated like gas prices during much of last season. He had trouble putting hitters away. And for a strikeout pitcher especially, that can be a harsh, harsh reality.

Chase Utley, Cockfighter

Posted in Baseball, Cinema at 6:26 am by

From the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Todd Zolecki.

Baseball treasures its traditions, which is why the national pastime is so special to so many people.

Hot dogs, peanuts, Cracker Jack.

The traditional blood sport of cockfighting has not made its way into baseball’s fabric, and it probably never will considering that it is illegal in 48 states and the District of Columbia. So imagine the surprise of two Phillies season-ticket holders when they recently played a Phillies highlights DVD only to find a Spanish-language cockfighting video.

The Phillies had sent about 4,000 DVDs to season-ticket holders who had not renewed their season tickets, and as far as they know, only two have featured the sport where specially bred gamecocks are placed in an enclosure to fight to a bloody death.

The DVD manufacturer, ProAction Video, took responsibility for the error. It said when it started its Phillies DVD run, a few DVDs from a previous run to another customer inadvertently remained in the molding equipment.


Some of the cockfighting DVDs were stamped with a Phillies graphic, which featured second baseman Chase Utley (above) and the title Power of the Plan.

The Phillies said in a statement that they “regret if any recipient was offended as a result.”

Presumably, the Phillies also regret if any recipient was delighted as a result.