Move Over Culturcide, Negativland : GSM Hijacks The 2nd Most Popular NBA Game

Posted in Basketball, Video Games at 10:48 am by

While my own fantasy of seeing Renaldo Balkman on the cover of “NBA Live ’08” would surely result in the worst selling video game since “James ‘Buster’ Douglas Knockout Boxing” for the Sega Genesis, I’m very impressed with Golden State Of Mind taking matters into their own hands.

Country Time : No Jacket Required

Posted in Baseball at 10:32 am by

Showing the kind of veteran leadership he’d love to pass along to the likes of Lastings Milledge, Mets reliever Billy Wagner’s critical remarks about his manager and pitching coach have hit the papers just hours before the Mets’ biggest game of the season. From the New York Post’s Mike Puma (link courtesy Chuck Meehan) :

In a New York magazine article that hits newsstands tomorrow, Wagner points a finger at Willie Randolph and pitching coach Rick Peterson as part of the problem.

“We’ve been throwing four innings a night – for months!” Wagner told the magazine. “Our pitching coach has no experience talking to a bullpen. He can help you mechanically, but he can’t tell you emotions. He has no idea what it feels like. And neither does Willie. They’re not a lot of help, put it that way.”

Wagner, who is signed through 2009, tells the magazine he accepts responsibility for his failures and doesn’t put too much stock into fan reaction.

“If I walk in after a save and this fan’s up there yelling, ‘We love you!’ – yeah, you love me today,” Wagner said. “I blow a save, ‘We hate you!’ Well, you hate me today.”

Considering the fragile state of the Mets’ starting rotation — a collective that at one time or another has included such Cy Young candidates as Brian Lawrence, Jason Vargas and Dave Williams — perhaps Country Time’s lament of “four innings a night” is best directed at the general manager?

True Love Conquers All

Posted in History's Great Hook-Ups, Sports Journalism at 10:20 am by

The following link comes courtesy of Repoz who sighs, “proving agan there is always somebody out there for everybody….ok, maybe not Michael Kay.” From the Canadian Press :

Punk rocker Bif Naked married sportswriter Ian Walker on Saturday in surprisingly traditional nuptials at a downtown Vancouver church.

In his blog, Walker describes himself as a failed pro athlete who once aspired to a hockey career. He’s written about his tryouts for the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League and the Vancouver Canadians minor-league baseball team.

Naked, who was briefly married in 1990, has several albums out, the last Superbeautifulmonster in 2005. She fronted punk bands before going solo, writing poetry and songs, some of which talk frankly about her bisexuality.

Though they knew each other from working out at the same gym, Naked and Walker began dating last year after connecting at mixed martial arts event Walker was covering where Naked was the emcee.

“I always knew her as this hot chick from MuchMusic, with the tattoos,” said Walker, who besides writing for the Vancouver Sun also blogs on extreme sports.


Repeat After Me – Let’s Go Nats!

Posted in Baseball at 8:10 pm by

Pick for yourself which was the more improbable occurrence Saturday afternoon — the Phillies’ magic number stuck at 2 thanks to a fantastic performance by Matt Chico (well, competent enough), or the Padres’ clincher being denied via the bat of Tony Gwynn (Jr.). As a result, not only are the Phillies and Mets deadlocked on the eve of game no. 162, but the Rockies’ lifeline has been extended for at least a few hours. Colorado is currently leading the Snakes, 4-0, (Matt Holiday, 2-2, double, 2 RBI’s) and if that score holds up, they’ll enter play tomorrow needing another win over Arizona coupled with a San Diego defeat in Milwaukee in order to force a Monday playoff for the Wild Card.

In recognition of Manny Acta’s charges doing their best to aid the Mets this weekend (after beating New York 5 times in their last 6 meetings), here’s an except from Thom Loverro of the Washington Times’ admission the Nationals weren’t even close to as bad as advertised.

I might as well get the first, and most painful, atonement, out of the way ” general manager Jim Bowden. Why is it the most painful? Because it’s Bowden, of course.

First, he brought in two players no team wanted ” Ronnie Belliard and Dmitri Young ” at bargain prices. You could argue both of them have turned out to be among the most valuable players on the roster ” Belliard because of his ability to step in when Cristian Guzman went down and Young for filling in at first base and contending for the National League batting title.

Then he and his staff managed to invite the best scraps from the heap to piece together a pitching staff that performed well enough to keep a weak-hitting team competitive all season.

I may be atoning, but it wasn’t unreasonable to think the pitching staff would be a disaster.

After all, Bowden himself admitted in spring training that he had never seen such uncertainty about a starting rotation ” four spots open.

“I’ve never seen it or heard of it,” Bowden said. “I’ve been in the game since 1984, and I can’t tell you before that. But I’ve never seen it.”

And then the one starter they were counting on ” John Patterson ” made just seven starts this year. Let’s face it, they got lucky, but as Branch Rickey once said, “Luck is the residue of design.”

That’s as close as I can get to atoning to Jim Bowden.

And a lot of people probably need to fess up for doubting Dmitri Young. When I saw him in spring training ” in minor league camp, no less ” I wouldn’t have given him much of a shot to finish spring training, let along make the major league roster. And when he did make the roster, I figured he would last three weeks before he would be on the disabled list with a pulled hamstring.

So not only did he make it through the first month, Young wound up being among the best hitters in the National League, batting .323 in 452 at bats going into last night’s game. He was banished from the Detroit Tigers last fall, even when they were getting ready for the playoffs, became one of the leaders of the Nationals clubhouse.

Indeed, who doesn’t (heart) Da Meat Hook? The cuddly Chad Cordero? The handsome and highly intelligent Robert Fick? The Beltway’s no. 1 Mark E. Smith fan, Jon Rauch-Rumble? Who couldn’t possibly fall in love with a team whose fan base includes “Taxi Driver” enthusiast / noted sabermatrician John Hinckley Jr.? Who dares doubt these Nats can’t win their 74th game of the season tomorrow against 92 year old Jamie Moyer? I know all the residents humans in this house will be rooting for ’em, perhaps even decked out in full Nationals regalia — depending on what time the game at Shea ends and what the result was.

I’m sorry. When it comes to fashion (and everything else), I’m kind of fickle.

Pitching Not the Problem at CBP

Posted in Baseball at 4:54 pm by

The usual post-Adam Eaton bullpen patchwork (including 2-plus innings from ostensible Monday starting pitcher Kyle Lohse) kept the Phillies in a 2-0 game until the 7th, but with a pair of errors the Nats now lead it 4-0. Guess David Wright had a good point:

If we go out and win the next two, it puts a lot of pressure on Philadelphia. We know what it’s like to be chased. Now all of a sudden, the pressure turns to them.”

Ok, I’m not superstitious (if I were, I’d blame GC for talking about Maine’s no-hitter) but Aaron Rowand just led off the 7th with a solo homer. Phillies’ offense vs. the Washington bullpen from here.

K-State’s Mastery Of Texas, In Progress

Posted in Gridiron at 3:43 pm by

Kansas State 14, Texas 7 (3:05 remaining, 2nd quarter)

Jevan Snead would like to know if he can transfer back to UT. Time to bust out the “FaceOff” identity change kit, I suspect.

(update: Kansas State 24, Texas 14, halftime. Colt McCoy left the game after tossing his 2nd INT in 3 possessions. I’d dig out the old gag about x-rays of his skull revealing nothing, but if every Longhorn receiver had the ability to catch a ball in traffic like Quan Crosby, McCoy would look a lot smarter. Of course, there’s a world of difference between giving Crosby a shot at leaping over defenders and chucking a pass directly into coverage.  As it stands, McCoy’s protection today has been as questionable as some of his decisions, but I’d still say the sophmore is running neck and neck with Jose Reyes for regression-of-the-month. More on this one later, I’m not used to typing in a monsoon.)

(update dos : Kansas State 41, Texas 21. I suppose it would be considered good news that McCoy returned in the 2nd half, but his 4 INT’s on the day have directly led to 20 Wildcats points. In addition, Texas’ special teams allowed a 2nd quarter 85 yard kick return TD to James Johnson, followed by an 89 yard punt return TD by Jordy Nelson.)

(kind of related update : Colorado 27, Oklahoma 24. Even Willie Randolph can’t believe the Sooners blew a 24-7 halftime lead. It isn’t even October and we can already rule out a National Champion emerging from the Big 12).

Mets On The Ledge, Rescued By Maine & Da Edge

Posted in Baseball at 2:33 pm by

Mets 12, Marlins 0 (last of the 7th)

An otherwise enthralling Kansas State/Texas game is going to have to wait. Or rather, I’m gonna have to wait to leave the house. Despite Fox’s assbackwards national blackout, through the auspices of Gameday Audio I’ve been following the Fish/Mets matinee, in which the not-quite-dead hosts hold a commanding 11-0 lead. Lastings Milledge, playing his first game in 8 days, has a pair of home runs, and starter John Maine has 13 K’s without allowing a hit through 7 innings.

I think most of us (other than say, Orioles fans) might agree there would be considerable satisfaction in seeing the pitcher who was swapped for Anna Benson throw the first no-hitter in the Mets’ 45 year history.

During a miserable week in which poise and professionalism have been in short supply, it’s kind of amazing no Mets were ejected over the course of two bench clearing incidents in the 5th inning.

There’s no score yet at CBP between the Nationals and Phillies, mostly because the game won’t start for another 10 minutes.

The late Gene Mauch suggests that Maine be made available for long relief tomorrow, when and if Tom Glavine runs into trouble.

(UPDATE : Mets 12, Marlins 0, last of the 8th. After striking out Mike Jacobs and inducing Jason Wood to line out to Carlos Gomez, Maine’s no-hit bid was broken up by Paul Hoover’s infield single. Maine, as you might expect, is receving a wild ovation upon being pulled for Willie Collazo. Presumably, the Mets’ pen can hold a 12 run lead. Though after the last few weeks, perhaps we shouldn’t take anything for granted).