11.30.06

Because The Mazilli Bar Never Made It Out Of R&D

Posted in Baseball at 1:27 am by

The consistently solid No Mas — the folks responsible for the no. 1 blog headline of 2006, “Claire Huxtable, You Are So Fuxtable” — reminded us that yesterday marked the 30th anniversary of free agent Reggie Jackson signing with the New York Yankees.

Good luck to the producers of the mini-series version of “The Bronx Is Burning” if they think they can tell their tale (Oliver Platt, gimme a break) without reenacting the above advertisement. I know the commercial was shown a year after the events in the book, but who is going to complain? Tom Sizemore? Barry Pepper?

Please Lord, Don’t Let The Pod People Harm Eddy Curry

Posted in Basketball at 1:07 am by

I hate to pick on Isiah Thomas for no reason whatsoever, but the heck with the EEOC. The FBI oughta be called in to determine just what Zeke did with the real Eddy Curry. Some hulking imposter with an orange headband totally beat up on Zydrunas Ilgauskas in New York’s unlikely 101-98 dispatch of Cleveland. Perhaps the Cavs might wanna have someone else taking the big shot when the game is on the line other than Donyell Marshall or Damon Jones. Just an idea. Not sure if they have anyone else on their roster who might fit the bill for that sort of assignment.

Quentin Richardson (27 points, 9 boards) continues to bounce back from his miserable ’05/06 campaign, and if half of Jamal Crawford’s shots keep going in, his almost pathological inability to dish off to an open man won’t be nearly as galling.

Nate Robinson badly botched a dunk attempt on a bounce pass to himself during the 2nd quarter. In Nate’s defense, at least he only missed this try once.

From Dave D’Alessandro’s Star-Ledger mailbag :

Dave: When this season started, did you ever think the Nets could be the first division winner to fail to make the playoffs? It’s not that far fetched right now. It’ll all be better by mid-January, right?
Eric

Big E: No, and yes. And you better hope I™m right, or you™re going to read nothing but realignment pieces throughout March and April.

Big E. can rest somewhat easier tonight — despite an underwhelming 6-9 record, the Nets are atop the Atlantic Division after erasing a 15 point 3rd quarter deficit en route to tonight’s 106-103 win in Boston. Jersey withstood a combined 56 point outburst from The Truth and Wally World, with a terrific night from Jason Kidd (19 points, 9 assists, 8 rebounds) and 16 4th quarter points from Vince Carter. Richard Jefferson’s 3-pointer with 22 seconds remaining was the killer blow, as Paul Pierce came up short with a subsequent 3 point attempt a few seconds later.

Though he came awfully close to a triple double (24, 9 and 9) Baron Davis failed to sink what would’ve been a game-icing jumper with 15 seconds left tonight in Oakland, giving the Pacers the ball, trailing 106-105. Stephen Jackson, who knows a thing or two about shooting sprees, drained a 3 with a tick remaining to give Indy the 108-106 victory. Mike Dunleavy threw the Warriors’ last gasp possession to….Al Attles? Tim Hardaway? Sal Bando?

Utah’s AK47 (9), Carlos Boozer (16) and Matt Harpering (12) combined to outrebounded the entire San Antonio squad as the Jazz won their 13th out of 16, 83-75. They’re not handing out MVP hardware based on November alone, but no one in the league has made a bigger impact this month than Boozer.

DC Sports Bog’s Dan Steinberg
reports that Gilbert Arenas’ eBay affliction has graduated from vintage jerseys to rare Sports Illustrated covers. I wanted to get Wizznutzz’ take on these revelations and was greeted with the following message for my trouble :

Between the above disappointment and the sudden disappearance of Baseball Think Factory, I’m running out of places to steal material from.

11.29.06

Differing Perspectives On Flash’s Philanthropy

Posted in Basketball, The Marketplace at 8:58 pm by

One of the more annoying commercials of late hasn’t escaped the notice of Stay Free! Daily’s Matt Ransford.

Dwanye Wade pulls up to an urban basketball court in his Navigator, replacing the hoops, flooding the kids with balls, and tossing the keys to the coach. He then squeaks away in the shadow of a tractor trailer on a child-sized bike. The obvious point here is Wade is making such a tremendous sacrifice that he’s got no option other than to ride a shitty little bike home. Put aside the ridiculous idea that Wade doesn’t have the cash to call a cab (or that it’s somehow more virtuous to suffer along with those you’re helping) and you’re left with the notion that people who ride bikes to get anywhere do so because they can’t afford a car. Or a properly-fitting and well-oiled bike, for that matter.

I can’t stand the ad, either, but for entirely other reasons. I found nothing weird about D-Wade on a bike — I see guys on bikes that are too small for them all the time, and besides, he’s a damned athlete. He oughta be cycling home (in fact, so should Shaq. This would’ve been a perfect ad for the Diesel).

My hangups with the spot are two-fold. If Flash is really such a terrific guy, dolling out hoops, balls and Navigators-to-the-kids, I’m happy to hear about it. But the whole staged, highly stylized exercise is less about about giving-something-back and all about selling Navigators. I wasn’t likely to purchase a one anytime soon (having already bought an Escalade from Eddie Griffin —- other than some mysterious stains, it was in perfect condition), but if I was, I’d think twice if I saw D-Wade on TV giving them away so easily. It just makes the rest of us feel like suckers.

The advert’s biggest flaw is the scene that Matt describes as Wade “tossing the keys to the coach.” How do we know he’s a coach? He’s not identified as such, and for all we know, could just as easily be some homeless dude hanging around the playground. Nice work, Dwayne, you’ve just given a $50,000 SUV to some random guy on the street. After the shot of Wade peddling away from the basketball court, we’re shown the Navigator zooming up the same street. Surely I’m not alone in thinking the “coach” is behind the wheel with no passengers in the Lincoln’s roomy seats.

Finn : You’re Gonna Miss Manny When He’s Gone

Posted in Baseball at 8:16 pm by

ESPN Radio’s Eric Kuselias was agog over the Manny Ramirez trade rumors this afternoon, insisting, over and over again, “there has to be more to this,” as though there’s some incredible secret about Manny’s disruptive behavior the Red Sox have covered up to maintain his trade value.

Boston Sports Media’s Bruce Allen claims WEEI’s Glenn Orway went down a similar path Monday (“He said all the fans and websites out there who have been blaming the media for Manny bashing will then be amazed at the ‘hair raising’, ‘off the chart’ stories that will come out after he is traded. (Sounds like the leaking has already begun.)” but also highlights some sage words from Touching All The Bases’ Chad Finn.

It’s not like I don’t understand why the Sox would consider shopping him. He’s going to be 35 next season; the decline has to begin sometime, and his aching knees may already be a harbinger. And if you believe the whispers – certain to be a full-fledged smear campaign once the deal is consummated – the home clubhouse may not be such a welcoming place for him anymore.

of all the rumors floating around out there right now, not one of them strikes me as particularly beneficial to the 2007 Red Sox. Scot Shields and a prospect from the Angels? Throw in Brandon Wood and Howie Kendrick and we’ll talk. James Loney and Matt Kemp from the Dodgers? Intriguing, especially if Theo’s goal is to bolster the Pawtucket roster for the summer. Scott Linebrink from the Padres? C’mon, Theo, don’t get pantsed by Kevin Towers again.

There’s one question that every Red Sox fan should be pondering right now: How in the hell does trading Manny make the Red Sox better?

Will they get an equal talent in return? Highly unlikely, unless Albert Pujols should suddenly get caught looting Tony La Russa’s office or Texas foolishly parts with Mark Teixeira after a down year.

I’d feel better about this if only they were doing it for baseball reasons. Instead, they seem intent on trading a diamond for three cubic zirconiums, just to rid themselves of the Manny Melodrama. Heck, noted baseball historian Hazel Mae attempted to sum up that mind-set tonight on NESN: “Getting rid of Manny might not be as great as it sounds,” she bleated. I don’t even know what the hell that means. It’s like she was channeling McCarver.

Even with the headaches and midsummer vacations, he’s been worth every single Benjamin of his $160 million contract. You want reliable? Despite missing 42 games with a busted finger in 2001, he’s averaged 142 games per season with Sox, a number his supposed successor in the cleanup spot, the infamously indifferent J.D. Drew, has surpassed twice in his nine-year career.

Is Rod Barajas The New Carlos Boozer?

Posted in Baseball at 7:11 pm by

Though I suggested in an earlier entry that Rod Barajas had flunked his physical with Toronto, according to the Blue Jays, it’s the catcher’s spine that needs some fixing up. From MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian.

On Tuesday, Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi (above) said that Barajas and the Jays had “more than a handshake,” regarding the two-year contract the catcher was offered. On Wednesday, at a press conference to announce the re-signing of catcher Gregg Zaun, Ricciardi acknowledged that Barajas actually signed before backing out two days earlier.

“Where I’m from, that’s done,” Ricciardi said. “If your word doesn’t mean anything any more or your signature doesn’t mean anything, what kind of world do we live in? It’s all right, though. This worked out for the better. “The original two agents agreed, and they did a great job — a super job,” Ricciardi said. “Your word is supposed to mean something. What does that say to the agents you just did a deal with? You’re going to get a new agent and start renegotiating? No.”

Afterwards, Riccardi pissed away most of his remaining credibility by paying Royce Clayton $1.5 million dollars.
Reliever Joe Borowski, coming off a 36 save campaign for the Marlins in ’06, has apparently flunked his physical with Philadelphia. The Phillies’ doctor advised against a multi-year pact, but refrained from comment about Borowski’s pending entry in the upcoming Wing Bowl.

In addition to ranking the 5 Worst free agent signings (so far) this offseason (Gary Matthews Jr., Juan Pierre, Carlos Lee, Adam Eaton, Nomar), Fox Sports’ Dayn Perry pays homage to Omar’s thrifty pick-up of the Man With The Pissy Hands.

In this overheated market ” and when you’re the deep-pocketed Mets ” a one-year, $8.5-million pact is basically free. Alou has poor fielding range these days, and he’s gimpy. However, he can still rake (.304 AVG/.371 OBP/.548 SLG over the last three seasons). The Mets badly need better production from the outfield corners, and they also badly need help against left-handed pitching. Alou betters them ” by a lot ” on both counts. This deal is further evidence that Omar Minaya has developed into one of the smartest GMs in the game today.

I didn’t think there was a lamer nightspot on Earth than Blondie’s, but it would appear as though A-Rod and Derek Jeter have found it.

Dodger Thoughts’ Jon Wiseman reminds his lucky readers that today marks Vin Scully’s 79th birthday. This seems as good a time as any to mention that I was really underwhelmed by the performance of Scully impersonator numero uno Harry Shearer in Christopher Guest’s disappointing “For Your Consideration.” Later, however, I saw Will Arnett on “TRL”, at which point, I had to give Shearer and Guest just a tad more credit for realism.

Paging Katie Hnida : Barnett Wants The Wolfpack Job

Posted in Gridiron at 5:20 pm by

The Wilmington Star’s Andrew Jones listens to Gary Barnett’s sales pitch.

In a telephone interview Wednesday afternoon, Barnett said nobody from N.C. State or representing N.C. State had called. But he™d be willing to discuss the position, vacated when Chuck Amato was fired this past weekend.

œI am interested in getting back into coaching, Barnett said. œBut, it™s got to be the right school.

œN.C. State would be a great job and I™d be interested in it.

Barnett believes the ACC is a great league for coaches and that it™s the right time to enter.

œWith the ACC being in the position it is in, not a dominant conference this year, this is a good time to get in there, he said. œButch Davis is now down at North Carolina, and he™s a great coach, but (Wake Forest coach) Jim Grobe may be in position to move.

Barnett says former Wolfpack coach Chuck Amato did a great job generating enthusiasm for football and increased its importance among the fan base and university. He doesn’t see N.C. State as a basketball-first school.

œIt™s tough any time you™re the second sport, he said. œIt™s got to be the right fit.

Jones is careful to point out that Barnett was “exonerated of all wrongdoing” at Colorado.

Lopez Goes Hyperlink Crazy Over Bonzi The Bust

Posted in Basketball at 4:04 pm by

Using linked jpgs of Jeff Van Gundy’s skull, Tom DeLay and Paris Hilton, the Houston Chronicle’s John P. Lopez takes dead aim at the Rockets’ most unsuccessful free agent acquisition of late.

If Bonzi Wells cared, he’d be on the floor by now. If he was unselfish, he’d take four minutes a game and not complain. If he had any sense whatsoever, he would walk into coach Jeff Van Gundy’s office with hat in hand and apologize for showing no class, no ambition and no sense of professionalism.

Trading Bonzi gets complicated, because there are restrictions on recently signed free agents. There also is the whole complex issue of showcasing him for other teams that might be interested.

In order to showcase him, he needs to get onto the floor. But if he gets on the floor, he’s hurting the good thing the Rockets have going.

Talk about a dilemma. Still, the guy is a bust. Flat-out. A big, embarrassing bust. Somehow, someway, the Rockets need to ditch this guy. The only thing he can do from here is hurt the team.

(Current) Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley takes great offense at the notion Pau Gasol is on the trading block, telling the Memphis Commercial Appeal’s Ronald Tillery, “I’m going to contact Cleveland to try and get LeBron James. So put in the paper that Cleveland’s interested in getting rid of LeBron James.”  Ha, ha. Funny stuff, but shouldn’t these executive decisions by all rights, rest with incoming Director Of Basketball Operations Christian Death?

Bad enough there’s another Stephon Marbury disappearing act to analyze ; the Sun-Times’ John Jackson claims former Bulls center Eddy Curry is held accountable by some for Chicago’s suddenly notorious headband ban.

After plowing his Escalade into a parked car while beating off to a pornographic DVD last Spring, the T-Wolves’ Eddie Griffin was assigned the most qualified of guardian angels, Vin Baker. Presumably, Mark Chumura and Isiah Rider didn’t return Kevin McHale’s phone calls.

Former Syracuse PG Gerry McNamara has left Olympiakos B.C. after a dispute over playing time. The Syracuse Post-Standard’s Mike Waters suggests McNamara is bound for the NBDL, which will surely come as a crushing blow to the ABA’s Rochester RazorSharks.  I don’t wanna say the ‘Sharks are desperate for an attendence boost, but how would you describe their employment of the kid from “Love Monkey”?

The bad news is the Nets have hired two women in their (early) 80’s for their new senior citizen dance squad. The good news is, there’s very little chance either one of them will hit Patrick Ewing with a paternity suit in the future.