Today’s deal is clearly a case of throwing the 30-goal scoring golden baby out with the bath water. I wouldn’t call Kevin Lowe cheap (how else can you explain the loyalty contracts to Staios or Pisani?) but we’re talking a difference of a million dollars: a couple of Toby Petersons, really.
This is Ryan Smyth. The man, who, for the record [tears of pure oil welling up in my eye], I’ve always felt was a much more important player to the Oilers than Mark Messier.
He was our last shot at a real Stevie Y type: a true blue Oiler with a special failure of imagination to think of playing anywhere else. At one time, I thought things like institutional memory were important, that we weren’t just cheering for laundry, the idea that teams could have distinct identities that could span decades.
But alas, the salary cap era has only made players even more expendable. I’m under no illusion that hockey isn’t a business, but it’s an increasingly cap-fixated, mercenary one, which totally sucks, especially today.
If I close my eyes, I can see Ryan Smyth’s ferrety face; his slinky, durable body slipping past a check on the boards; and of course, that small pile of blood and teeth left on the ice during the 2006 playoffs.
Bon Voyage, Ryan, (and say hi to Marc-Andre Bergeron for me once you get to Long Island)
The Sultan Of Surly chatted with KGO’s Ray Taliaferro last night, an interview the SF Chronicle’s John Shea claims didn’t feature “a single question about steroids, amphetamines, the BALCO scandal or a possible indictment.” Amongst some of the highlights :
. . . he tries to keep a level head amid criticisms. “If I don’t keep a level head, how’s the next person going to handle it? If Hank didn’t keep his head clear, how was I supposed to deal with it? If Jackie Robinson didn’t do what he did, how would the other African-American athletes deal with it? If someone doesn’t deal with it the right way, it sets up a very bad ending for someone who comes along and tries to do this.”
. . . the death threats he received still make him uneasy. “There’s a lot of times I want to say I’m sorry to some of the fans. But I’m mostly gun shy of what could happen. You’re only strong to a point, and then you get nervous. Someone says, ‘Hey, Barry,’ and I’m, like, whoa! I’m kind of standoffish. You can’t really explain that to anyone. Once this is all over, if I get lucky enough to (break the record) and my career ends, I’ll be able to release a little bit of anxiety or fear of what could happen.”
The paperback version of “Game Of Shadows” contains further details about Bonds’ physical dimensions over the past decade. Apparently, Barry’s hat went from 7 1/8 to 7 1/4 (despite shaving his head). We’re supposed to believe this is the first time New Era got a size wrong?
Asked if he had any idea how his name, according to a report in the Albany (N.Y.) Times-Union, appeared on a customer list of two of the pharmacies that were raided Tuesday, Matthews said, “I don’t. That’s what we’re trying to find out. We’re gathering information, and I will address the matter again, at the appropriate time.”
“I just want to tell you guys I’m really not in a position to answer any questions on yesterday’s story,” Matthews said. “I do want to say that I do expect it to resolve itself in the very near future. I’ve got my representative looking for more information, to find out stuff, and until we get more information, I can’t comment.
“I’m asking you guys to respect my position on this. I don’t want to be a distraction to my team. There are things they’re trying to do to get ready for the season. I do want to tell you guys that at the appropriate time, I will address the matter.”
When will that time be?
“Whenever I get more information and talk to my representative,” Matthews said, referring to his agent, Scott Leventhal. The outfielder said he has not retained the services of any other legal counsel.
Did Matthews order any performance-enhancing products from any Web site or pharmacy?
“I haven’t read the story myself,” Matthews said, “and don’t have all the information.”
Another name implicated in the Times-Union report, Pittsburgh Steelers team physician Dr. Richard Rydze, is about to be investigated by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Rydze is accused of having used a personal credit card to purchase to buy $150,000.00 worth of testosterone and human growth hormone. Rydze has denied providing said drugs to anyone besides his elderly private patients.
Boston Celtics radio analyst Cedric Maxwell will offer an on-air apology during Wednesday night’s game for saying that a female referee should “go back to the kitchen” after he disagreed with one of her calls, a station official said.
Maxwell made his comments during the Celtics 77-72 win over the Houston Rockets on Monday night’s broadcast on WEEI-AM, which is owned by Entercom Communications.
He subsequently said “Go in there and make me some bacon and eggs, would you?” in reference to referee Violet Palmer.
“Cedric’s comments about Violet Palmer were a poor attempt at humor, and we don’t condone what he said,” Jason Wolfe, Entercom’s vice president of AM programming and operations in Boston, said in a statement. “Cedric will apologize on air during [Wednesday] night’s Celtics broadcast.”
Is it possible that, just a couple of hours into the first exhibition game of the Spring Training season, Keith Hernandez is already getting punchy? Let the transcript below (done by hand, so probably not perfect) serve as proof that the great ones just get into shape faster. Also, although you’ll probably be able to pick this up from context, the Mets broadcasting team are talking about the MLB’s new hats.
Gary Cohen: So, you don’t like the new hats?
Ron Darling: El Stinko. (ed. note: this is apparently Spanish, translation forthcoming)
Keith Hernandez: Do I hear marketing?
Darling: What I don’t like about them is that stripe on the side. It makes it look like the players are all wearing du-rags under their hats.
Darling: Like the NFL players wear under their helmets? You know, du-rags.
Hernandez: Ronnie, watch your mouth.
Evidently, Keith wasn’t hip to Bodie’s impressive (if doomed) du-rag experimentation during the last season of The Wire. While I was typing that, Mex just said of Braden Looper’s future as a starter, “that’s not going to happen.” I guess if you’re never on message, you can’t really go off message.
As for the game: Spring Training-tacular. This means Lino Urdaneta looks like K-Rod, Julio Franco is swinging the bat with the vigor of a 38-year old, and Oliver Perez is…apparently already in midseason form as far as giving up bombs is concerned. He gave up four runs in two innings, but the Mets bullpen was effective thereafter, with Billy Wagner giving up the sole bullpen run. The Mets wound up going down 5-4, with Bobby Seay shutting the door for the Tigers to preserve the win. Between this and The Dugout being back in action, it almost feels like baseball season.
Update: SNY is currently televising the postgame running drills. Then to that car commercial with The Fall’s “Blindness” in it. Welcome back.
HarperCollins canceled œ7 on the day it also shuttered Regan Books, the imprint under which the book was to be published.
œIt™s one of those books that a lot of people will love, but some won™t, Golenbock said yesterday. He said that Lyons did not edit the book or alter the sex scenes in it, one of which involves Mantle and Marilyn Monroe.
œThe only change was from ˜Regan™ to ˜Lyons,™ he said.
Gene Brissie, associate publisher of Lyons, said he and other editors read œ7 soon after HarperCollins canceled it. œMaking the decision to publish it and let readers make up their own mind was easy, said Brissie, whose uncle is the former major league pitcher Lou Brissie. œI think all the negative publicity came from people who haven™t read it.