02.28.07

Owner With A Boner Coveting The Cubs?

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 1:34 pm by

Chuck Meehan alerts us to the following item at Radar, along with his personal disclaimer, “I have no idea how reliable this site may be,” though you could just as easily say the same of CSTB.

Billionaire blogger Mark Cuban is more serious about buying a major league baseball team than he’s been letting on. The tech entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner is set to offer $625 million to buy the Chicago Cubs from Tribune Co., according to a source familiar with the matter. “Mark is desperate to buy the Cubs,” says the source. “He wants this so bad.”

Though I’m sure Ben Schwartz will have an opinion or two on this matter, surely I’m not alone in thinking that if Lou Piniella’s locker room wrestling match with Dibble was any gauge, the inevitable blowup with Cuban would be one for the ages.

The New York Sun’s Tim Marchman stumps Tuesday AM for the Hall of Fame candidacy of former MLBPA Players Association head Marvin Miller (above), claiming “the list of 20th Century Baseball men clearly more important than Miller” is a rather short one —- Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson.

Miller didn’t just help players become incomprehensibly rich; as he knew all along, the fight over the balance of power between labor and management is never a zero-sum game. It’s one that everyone can win. His assault on baseball’s feudal structure led to a vastly improved and much more competitive game, which led to more fans being willing to spend money on it, which led to owners making greater profits and baseball becoming an ever more integral part of the culture. Great as the legacies of men like Josh Gibson, Hank Aaron, and Christy Mathewson are, no one save Ruth and Robinson was more responsible for and representative of such fundamental changes in the game. (Arguments for Kennesaw Mountain Landis and Branch Rickey, though, will be duly noted.) If the Hall of Fame only could have 20 members, Miller would deserve to be counted among them.

All of this being true, yesterday’s announcement that the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee ” which comprises living Hall of Famers and winners of awards for distinguished careers in writing and broadcasting ” has once again elected no one was downright infuriating. This august body, created in 2001, is charged with giving a second chance to players unfairly overlooked by the baseball writers who vote players into the Hall of Fame and with passing judgment on umpires and executives. It has now met three times and has elected no one ” not Marvin Miller, not Ron Santo, and not Joe Torre. It has become even more irrelevant than the body it replaced, a Veterans Committee that served for many years simply as a means of inducting Frankie Frisch’s cronies and, as legend had it, elected the wrong player on two different occasions. One suspects that Ted Williams wouldn’t pass muster with this bunch.

True Hoop Previews Upcoming Klosterman Story About Klosterman, Arenas

Posted in Basketball, Sports Journalism at 1:13 pm by

The New York Times quarterly sports magazine, Play, will be publishing a piece by Chuck Klosterman (above) on Gilbert Arenas this weekend. It’s tough not to feel bad for Chuck in this. First of all, the definitive story on the subject has already been written. (And then crudely plugged twice in one sentence) And also because Chuck walks around all day knowing that people want to sock him in the face. There are other reasons to shed a tear for Klosterman, but this case is especially poignant primarily because he has been tasked with writing about someone more interesting than him. How will he still find a way to write about himself? Henry Abbott’s True Hoop has a preview of the article and Klosterman’s first two paragraphs are innocuous enough. Abbott also does a brief interview with this hideous man — in which Chuck compares The ‘Bachi (favorably) to Courtney Love — which goes a long way towards answering that question, and is characteristically rich in the plu-certain condescension and meaningless contrarianism that are Klosterman’s signatures. Abbott’s questions are in bold.

Here’s my question, though: does Arenas flaunt the NBA’s control, or does he operate wackily within its bounds? He just seems so harmless…
I would not say Arenas is necessarily subversive, because he doesn’t do things that jeopardize the credibility or the integrity of the NBA. He probably is (as you say) “harmless.” But would you prefer the opposite? Would you prefer that he be
harmful? Should he attack fans? I think the fact that Arenas’ eccentricities still exist within the conventional framework of the league is probably his greatest asset: He’s just a FRACTION beyond control.

Oh no, I certainly don’t want Gilbert taking swings at fans or being really harmful. But I guess I see at least some of the NBA’s controlling nature as over-reaching and if he were to use his position as a hard-working, charismatic, outspoken, but harmless player to loosen them up at the league a little I would like him even more.
I see what you’re saying, but I don’t know how that would really manifest itself. Should Gilbert Arenas come out and endorse Obama? I have no idea. Personally, I have mixed feelings about how negative or positive the controlling nature of the NBA truly is. Philosphically, I always find myself wanting David Stern to give the players greater freedom — but whenever I sit down and watch a pro game, it seems like the league isn’t controlling the product enough. Stern is constantly worried about things like dress codes and hip-hop and consumer image, but the NBA’s biggest problem seems pretty straightforward: How do they make the 3rd quarter of a regular season game more watchable? Because right now, that’s the crux of every other problem the NBA pretends to have.

Chuck should talk to Jason Whitlock about that last point, probably. At the risk of demonstrating a Klostermaniacal attachment to rhetorical questions, though, Chuck’s answers raise a series of questions for me. Foremost among them: how can a guy who keeps saying, essentially, “I don’t know,” manage to say it in a tone that strongly implies “you don’t know?” Also, how does Chuck manage to work Radiohead into this article? Why did he cut the Wizznutzz from the piece (James was interviewed, and wound up getting dumped in favor of, if I had to guess, a Klostermanian digression on an ex-girlfriend)? And, finally, via Dan Shanoff, what if instead of endorsing Obama, Arenas actually sort of was Obama?

NFL’s Skull Doc Quits

Posted in Gridiron, Medical Science at 9:47 am by

From the Baltimore Sun’s Ken Murray.

Dr. Elliot Pellman (above, far left), who directed the NFL’s concussion committee since its inception in 1994, has stepped down in the wake of mounting criticism from experts in the field of brain injury, The Sun has learned.

Last fall, ESPN The Magazine documented that Pellman was selective in what injury reports he used to reach his conclusions and omitted large numbers of players from the league’s study.
Pellman will be replaced by co-chairmen of the league’s mild traumatic brain injury committee. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said yesterday that Pellman asked to be relieved of his duties as chairman.

Dr. Ira Casson, a neurologist from Nassau, N.Y., and Dr. David Viano, director of the Sports Biomechanics Lab at Wayne State University, will head the committee, Aiello said in an e-mail. Neither doctor is affiliated with an NFL team.

Of Pellman’s background, Michael Kaplen, a New York attorney who specializes in representation of concussion and traumatic brain injury victims said “this person is a rheumatologist, not qualified to be an expert on brain injuries. He’s not a neurologist, neuropsychologist, neurosurgeon, and has no training in this area at all.”

In 2005, The New York Times reported that Pellman attended medical school in Guadalajara, Mexico, but did not graduate from SUNY Stony Brook, as he once claimed.

In Pellman’s defense, there’s not necessarily anything wrong with Mexican medical schools, the Steve Guttenberg star vehicle “Bad Medicine” nonwithstanding.

Whitlock Warns His Younger Readers About The Real Meaning Behind Baggy Trousers

Posted in Hip Hop, Racism Corner at 4:57 am by

(memo to Suggs : there’s a guy in K.C. who thinks you’re a wannabe prison bride).

Now that Big Sexy’s characterization of a “Black KKK” has won nationwide attention, AOL Sports’ Jason Whitlock, clearly replying to his critics, writes “I don’t hate hip hop. I hate what it has become,” claiming “prison culture swallowed hip-hop culture, turning party music into a celebration of violence, hostility, disrespect and drug-dealing.”

Prison culture is winning. It has corrupted a form of music that once gave us great joy and/or offered inspiration. Prison culture — with its BET and MTV videos, popular movies, acceptance in the mainstream media and false gods — Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg — has perverted the American dream for black youth.

Our children think they’re participating in a culture that is meant to empower them. Hip hop — disguised in low-hanging platinum chains, 24-inch rims, platinum grills and other flossy material possessions — cripples black youth and infects them with a prison mindset that even NFL and NBA dollars can’t seem to shake.

Hip hop is filled with hostility and disrespect, the tools needed to survive while incarcerated. Hip hop cares little about family and knows nothing of the rewards of parenting. You don’t parent in prison; you baby-daddy in prison. Hip hop judges love by your willingness to embrace evil — ride (kill) or die.

Just like the Ebonics language, the tattoos and cornrows are straight from the prison playbook. So are the sagging pants, which started as a way for gay prisoners to signal their availability for action.

The rappers love to tell you they’re keeping it real, but they leave out so much to the hip hip/prison culture story. “Gangbanging” and being a “rider” is glorified. They don’t tell you that much of the violence played out on the streets is directly related to the love affairs that play out behind bars.

02.27.07

Don’t Be Talking To Joe Morgan About Voting Qualifications

Posted in Baseball, Sports Radio, Sports TV at 9:27 pm by

Taurine Dream’s Hot Shit College Student claims he’s not link hunting, but he’s getting one anyway. Following the failure of the Veterans Committe to elect anyone to the Hall Of Fame (again), here’s Joe Morgan sounding a mite bit defensive (MP3)

There’s a Tim Hardaway Joke In Here Somewhere

Posted in Sports Journalism at 8:04 pm by

Craigslist makes the world go ’round:

Media Out Loud is seeking Freelance Writers for Sports Out Loud, the best gay sports magazine in the world.

Requirements
Magazine experience not necessary but a plus. Be comfortable covering the gay sporting community; also be capable of interviewing high profile sports figures.

Just one question: Exactly how many gay sports magazines in the world are there?

Lute Olson Responds to Parkinson’s Rumors

Posted in Basketball at 6:27 pm by

Much as I despise University of Arizona and that, once again, the Wildcats dropped my Sun Devils (barely) on Sunday, there’s not much to laugh at in this story. UA coach Lute Olson, 72, addressed in a conference call rumors he has Parkinson’s disease.

From the Tucson Citizen:

“It’s a complete lie,” Olson said. “I have physicals like everyone else does. There is absolutely no medical indication of a problem of that type.
“It’s a vicious rumor that gets passed on. It’s totally false. If need be, I can get my doctor to indicate that it’s totally false.”
Olson said he decided to address the rumors for several reasons: A television station began to work on a story two weeks ago, a sports talk radio caller mentioned it and a fan came up to him today and asked him about it.

Plus, “This is the kind of thing you get from people you are recruiting against,” Olson said.

“If the rumor is going around here, it’s certainly going to be passed around (the nation),” Olson said.
“I’m healthy. When you get nervous, you start to shaking a little. But most people my age do (shake).”

It’d be appalling, though not unprecedented, if opposing coaches were using that dagger in recruiting. However, Lute seems to have opened the door himself to ageism attacks by saying, “Most people my age do shake.”

Having admitted Sunday after the game that he doesn’t have a “handle” on his team, Olson can’t possibly stick around at UA much longer. At least that’s the hope 100 miles to the north in Tempe.