Olney : Wells To S.D. For Kottaras

Posted in Baseball at 8:49 pm by

From ESPN. com and Buster Olney :

The Red Sox moved steadily toward the completion of a trade of veteran left-hander David Wells, identifying Class AAA catcher George Kottaras (above) as the player they want if they complete a deal with the Padres. Boston has continued to talk to the Dodgers and Cardinals and perhaps the Reds, but it appears that San Diego is the front-runner to get Wells.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt now that he’s going to be traded,” said one source familiar with the conversations.

Wells is from San Diego and has pitched for the Padres in the past, and it may be best for all parties that he winds up going where he wants to go, because there is the possibility that at age 43, Wells would simply retire if he didn’t like the team to which he was traded.

Kottaras is playing for Triple-A Portland, where he is hitting .233 with two homers and 13 RBI. The Red Sox organization is in need of catching, and Kottaras has a reputation as a solid defender.

The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo reported earlier today that LA turned down Boston’s request for OF Matt Kemp. In the same section, Gordon Edes, searching desperately for something positive to report, mentions that T.J. Matthews signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox, and “tickets are still available” for PawSox games likely to feature rehab stints from V-Tek, Trot Nixon and Alex Gonzalez.

Major Pussy Awards Announced

Posted in Cats, Gridiron at 8:02 pm by

From the AP / MSNBC :

A cat rescued two years ago from Philadelphia™s Veterans Stadium is being honored as pet of the year.

The cat, named Hagrid-of-Hogwarts, was one of a litter of two-week-old kittens removed from the stadium just before it was imploded.

Now, the brown-and-white tabby has been named best household pet for 2006 by the American Cat Fanciers Association. He beat out 821 other cats who competed in 50 shows across America and Canada.

Judges liked Hagrid™s glossy coat and his eager way of playing. He also drew attention with his thumb-like extra toe on each front paw, which he uses to scoop up toys.

In a related story, Junior (shown above) has been named CSTB’s Worst Cat Of All Time. He beat out 2 other cats and several cat ghosts. Judges cited his intense clinginess, tendency to vomit repeatedly and near-chronic flatuence. He also drew attention with his cruelty towards other animals and thoroughly selfish demeanor.

Barra : Where’s A-Rod’s Maris?

Posted in Baseball at 7:45 pm by

Chien-Ming Wang (above) outduelled Nate Robertson earlier today as the Yankees beat the Tigers, 2-0 in the first game of a twinbill. The Third Baseman was 0-3 and might not have received a candygram, warm hug nor standing ovation from the sparse crowd in attendance. The Village Voice’s Allan Barra, while pointng out that “no athlete in American professional sports has more separating him from the average fan than Alex Rodriguez,” does cite historical precedent for the sort of hysterical abuse A-Rod’s received.

When he came to bat in the first game of the Boston massacre series (in which he hit .333 with no home runs but scored or drove in 10 of the Yankees’ 49 runs), the Red Sox fans let loose with torrents of abuse, prompting Yankee announcer Michael Kay to quip, “That must make A-Rod feel like it’s a home game.” “I’ve never heard anything like it,” says Alex Belth of the Bronx Banter website. “There may have been booing for a Yankee player that was more vicious than this, but not in the last 20 years at least.”

Veteran sportswriter and Lou Gehrig biographer Ray Robinson has heard something like it. “The torrent of boos that Yankee fans inflicted on Mickey Mantle from about 1958 to 1960 was shocking,” recalls Robinson. “What was baffling about it was that Mantle had, by 1959, two Most Valuable Player awards and five World Series rings. I’ll say this: Rodriguez has reacted to the booing with a lot more maturity than Mantle did. Mickey led the league in smashed water coolers and batting helmets.”

Though the booing of Mantle is now largely forgotten, many old-timers recall it as lasting up to the 1961 season, when Roger Maris became the target of fan abuse, and Mantle, almost overnight, was transformed into a hero. It doesn’t look as if there’s any Roger Maris in sight to take the heat off Alex Rodriguez.

Clearly there’s only one thing the Bombers can do to alievite A-Rod’s pain : hire Barry Pepper and let the fans (old ones, at least) pelt him with rocks and garbage. If need be, draft in the half dozen people that rented “Knockaround Guys”.

Carl Pavano has been told not to pitch for two weeks. They might want to advise him against driving, too.

The Mets aquired catcher Mike Nickeas from Texas today in exchange for OF Victor Diaz. Mike DeFelice’s playoff share keeps getting smaller.

Zito On Fire, A’s Poised For The Sweep

Posted in Baseball at 4:38 pm by

Though I’m suffering a slight cultural hangover after witnessing Chan Marshall cover The Hot Boyz last night, the considerable charms of a Curt Schilling/Barry Zito matchup were too tempting to resist. Well, that and it’s Dollar Dog day at McAfee. I’ve got a labrador and a collie/greyhound mix at home in Austin, and they’d be furious if I passed up a chance to adopt another hound for a mere buck.

Oakland are ahead, 4-1, with Bobbly Kielty having taken Schilling deep in the 2nd.Barry Zito just induced Dustin Pedroia to fly oiut to left with the bases loaded in the top of the 6th ; Zito (above) has 7 K’s on the afternoon.

Boston’s vaunted traveling support are conspicous by their abscence. Either that 3-16 stretch really put a crimp in their swagger, or Oakland’s baseball fans aren’t nearly so quick to put up their seats on StubHub for the sake of filthy Boston lucre.

I thought I saw Mike Timlin signing autographs over by the Red Sox pen, but I must have been hallucinating. More likely he was chatting with a process server.

(UPDATE : Oakland 7, Boston 2. Turns out I have wildly misinterpreted the Dollar Dog Promotion. Quote of the day from KYCY’s Ken Korach, refering to Schilling’s drilling of Nick Swisher earlier this year : “You never want to see Bud Selig’s signature imprinted on any part of the body.”

Sadly, Korach then went onto explain that “Bud Selig, the Commissioner of Baseball, has his signature affixed to every official Major League baseball”, just in case anyone didn’t get the joke the first time).

Sky Vs. Saturday Football On Live TV

Posted in Football, Sports TV at 1:55 pm by

As Sky continues to pursue criminal cases against UK pub landlords who opt for foreign satellite feeds of otherwise unavailable live football, the Guardian’s David Conn takes a dim view of Murdoch Inc.’s role in the betterment of the game.

Landlords of locals in Portsmouth, Rochdale and West Bromwich have successfully defended prosecutions in recent months, arguing that they were not acting dishonestly when they bought boxes and smart cards to enable them to show live Premiership games from Greek or Arabic TV stations.Paul Dixon, a solicitor from the firm Molesworths Bright Clegg, who represented four of those acquitted and has nine further cases pending, accuses the Premier League of heavyhandedness. “It is arguable that the landlords are not even breaching civil laws or contracts by paying for a broadcast from overseas, but by mounting criminal prosecutions the Premier League is bullying publicans simply to protect Sky’s monopoly over football,” he said.

The Premier League is sensitive to that charge but argues that it is duty-bound to defend the exclusive TV rights for which Sky pays so handsomely. “That money goes into football, including the grass roots,” a spokesman said. “Landlords who show matches without paying Sky are breaching copyright law and we will prosecute. In the next month we will be targeting raids against the suppliers of the equipment.”

News Corporation has become one of the world’s most powerful media empires substantially on the payments of English people who have nowhere else to go to watch live league football. BSkyB’s most recently published figures boast 8.2m subscribers, a third of British homes, paying an average £388 each a year, making Sky’s total earnings from domestic subscribers £3.2bn. Industry research has found most football fans would drop their Sky subscriptions if it lost the rights to Premier League matches.

Prosecutions of modest provincial pubs might look a touch rabid, but as watching football in the pub has become a central feature of our sporting culture, it has become a huge business for BSkyB. Its charges have steepled, ranging up to £2,210 per month, £26,520 a year, for a town-centre pub subscription.

With 47,000 commercial subscribers, mostly pubs and clubs, it is believed that BSkyB recoups its whole outlay for the Premiership TV rights solely from this market. No wonder landlords are keen to explore beaming Al-Jazeera in for a fraction of the price, or that the Premier League is fiercely enforcing the crackdown.

It is remarkable that the Office of Fair Trading here and the European Commission, twice, have bludgeoned away at the Premier League’s monopolistic TV arrangements yet failed to ensure that a single live match is available on terrestrial TV.

Cote : Fins Are Snubbing Scott

Posted in Gridiron at 1:30 pm by

The Dolphins are inducting saftey Dick Anderson and tackle Richmond Webb into their Honor Roll, but the Miami Herald’s Greg Cote would like to see safety Jake Scott receive similar recognition.

It is believed that today, at age 61, Scott is living on Hanalei Bay in coastal Kauai, Hawaii, still steadfastly incommunicado. He has grown to the status of franchise legend from equal parts accomplishment and mystery. There is an odd nobility to the man with his back to the parade.

Scott is to this day the club’s career leader in interceptions with 35, one more than Anderson despite the latter playing 10 Dolphins seasons to Scott’s six. Scott had more Pro Bowl selections, five to three. Scott also was the Perfect Season Super Bowl MVP. And is Miami’s career leader in punt return yards, by the way.

Scott is being ostensibly penalized for his lack of longevity when Honor Roll inductee Paul Warfield played only five years with Miami.

Scott accomplished as much or arguably more in six years as Anderson did in 10. Moreover, his Dolphins career was cut short only because Don Shula abruptly traded him away, 30 years ago this week, in maybe the worst, most knee-jerk decision and deal Shula ever made.

Coming off yet another Pro Bowl season, Scott and a fourth-round draft pick were shipped to Washington in exchange for safety Bryan Salter, who amounted to nothing. Shula and Scott had sparred for years; the coach’s doghouse might as well have been named Jakeville. The trade came one week after Scott refused a club-ordered painkiller shot that would have allowed him to play in an exhibition game.

Scott never forgave Shula, the cause of his unending estrangement from the franchise.

The Dolphins’ company line is that Scott was among players under consideration and that his not going onto the Honor Roll is ”not based on personal relationships or whether somebody would be there [for the induction] or not,” club senior vice president for media relations Harvey Greene said Tuesday.

Decline Of Standards, Patriotism, Traced To Patrick Bateman’s Favorite Rocker

Posted in Gridiron at 1:13 pm by

From the Kansas City Star’s Jeffrey Flanagan.

Longtime Chiefs fan Hayden Abbott wants you to know he™s not a prude and he™s not interested in taking the fun out of Arrowhead Stadium.

But Abbott thinks it™s time Chiefs fans end their tradition of ad-libbing œChiefs to œhome of the brave during the national anthem. Abbott wants to start a campaign to stop the ad-lib, and he even called the Chiefs about it, though there wouldn™t seem to be a lot the Chiefs can do to prevent 78,000 people from singing whatever they want.

œI just think it™s disrespectful to change the word to ˜Chiefs,™‚ said Abbott, 70, an Air Force veteran.

œAnd I love the Chiefs. I™ve had season tickets ever since the Chiefs came here, and I have a great time out there. I tailgate and have a few ˜pops™ just like everyone else. But I think that™s one tradition that we need to change.

Abbott, who incidentally played on the great Kansas State basketball teams in the late 1950s, can™t exactly remember when the tradition of altering the anthem started.

But it is believed to have happened in 1993 when Joe Montana™s good friend, Huey Lewis (above), sang the national anthem before a Chiefs home game and belted out œhome of the CHIEFS! instead of œhome of the brave.

œWe live in a great country, and we need to respect what people have done to make it great, Abbott said. œThey were brave people, and we dishonor them by changing the words. I™m sure people will think I™m just some crazy guy complaining, but I know a lot of people who feel the same way I do and just don™t want to say anything.