All Jaromir Jagr Wants For Halloween Is His Two Front Teeth

Posted in Hockey at 12:01 am by

But if a goal and an assist in the Rangers’ 3-1 defeat of the Lightning isn’t enough, I’ll bet Jerome James has an awesome pudding recipe he can share.


G’Bye Grady? Torre, Mattingly Reportedly Headed To Chavez Ravine

Posted in Baseball at 11:33 pm by

After a few years stockpiling former Red Sox, has the Parking Lot Magnate decided to entrust his ballclub to a pair of very prominent Yankees? From the Journal News’ Peter Abraham (link courtesy Sean at Popjocks)

The Los Angeles Dodgers have decided to fire manager Grady Little and replace him with former Yankees manager Joe Torre, The Journal News has learned.Torre, 67, could be named manager as soon as tomorrow, according to two sources close to the situation. Don Mattingly is expected to accompany Torre to Los Angeles as his bench coach. Torre is also interested in hiring Kevin Long, his hitting coach with the Yankees.

The Dodgers were 82-80 this season under Little and were beset by clubhouse unrest. Owner Frank McCourt, a Boston native, decided Torre is best suited to quell that situation.

UPDATE : Tony Jackson of the LA Daily News was just on “SportsCenter” (1:20am EST), claiming one source had told him, “you’ll look like an idiot if you write this”. “I guess no one in New York is worried about that” mumbled Jackson. ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt followed up with Peter Abraham, who vouched for the credibilty of multiple sources “close to Joe Torre and Don Mattingly” that provided him with a considerable jump on the Southern California papers. Funnily enough, Jackson’s own paper quotes unnamed sources as claiming the Dodgers and Little are discussing a buyout.

Don’t Light A Match In Front Of Colleen Bellotti’s Mouth…

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron, Parental Responsibility at 10:54 pm by

(our young kicking friend will have a club soda, thanks)

…or the room might explode
. A few weeks back, The Oregonian’s John Canzano wrote of Ducks K Luke Bellotti’s two DUI’s, charges his dad’s football program had until then, successfully covered up “without raising so much as a murmer on campus.” (link courtesy The Big Lead)

Saturday night, towards the end of Oregon’s upset win over USC, Coach Mike Bellotti’s wife, Colleen, accosted Canzano in the UO press box.

She leaned in, grabbed by my suit lapel, and lit into me with a string of expletives, asking me if I have children, and telling me, “This is going to come back on you tenfold.” And she threatened to slap me, which was not such a nice example in front of the kiddies. I told it was poor form that she would approach me in the press box, with a strong smell of alcohol on her breath, hissing and spitting mad, talking to me about alcohol abuse.

There was a second small brush with Colleen near the elevator in which she stormed past me, and asked, “You got something to say to me?!?!” I said, “Are you going to slap me or not?”

She walked off, and said, “I’m a better person than you.”

She may be right. Or wrong.

I’ll agree, she’s got better hair.

If a subsequent blog post by Canzano is anything to go by, there’s some portion of the Eugene citizenry that prefer to blame the messenger.

The End Of The Blackhawks’ Blackout

Posted in Hockey, Sports TV at 9:11 pm by

(cheer up, Chicago hockey fans. Your love for Pat Sharp is no longer trapped in the closet)

Neatly deflecting attention from a 3 game losing streak, the Blackhawks dropped the following press release on a breathless populace earlier today :

The Chicago Blackhawks and Comcast SportsNet have announced that Comcast SportsNet will televise their first home game of the season on Sunday, November 11 when the Blackhawks play host to the archrival Detroit Red Wings at 6:00 p.m.

The November 11 game will be the first in a series of home games to be broadcast live and in high-definition on Comcast SportsNet. The full schedule will be released next week with additional home games airing throughout the remainder of the 2007-2008 season.

œIt™s time to share the energy and excitement of the Blackhawks with all of our fans, said Blackhawks Chairman W. Rockwell œRocky Wirtz. œWe are entering a new era and putting home games back on TV is the first step to supporting our great players and fans.

As the Sun-Times’ Len Ziehm explains, the November 11 telecast is of some historical importance.

Wirtz’s late father, Bill, the Hawks’ president for 41 years, was adamant in the belief that televising home games wouldn’t be fair to season-ticket holders. His stance became team policy, though an increasing number of staffers opposed it. For years the standard player/coach response was that the TV ban was a management decision, and they let it go at that.

”A player has a job to do — to perform on the ice,” alternate captain Martin Lapointe said. ”On the business side, guys don’t think about that.”

Some did, though.

”[The TV ban] does matter,” said Patrick Sharp, another alternate captain. ”You want exposure in your hometown. I’ve heard that there are thousands of secret fans just waiting to come out. Getting on TV will be a way of bringing them out.

The Difficult Task Of Re-Launching Basketball In Vancouver Without Bryant Reeves

Posted in Basketball at 6:52 pm by

I Hate The Raptors’ Coach Canada has tried very hard to imagine the circumstances under which an NBA franchise might return to Vancouver, British Columbia.

One – if the province fav son and 2 time NBA MVP Steve Nash play for the new Vancouver team . The Suns vs. Supersonics game lasFriday drew a sellout crowd of 17K plus. Awesome for a pre season game ! OK , OK .Nash may be too old once his contract with the Phoenix Suns is over. Not really . Ex Celtics great Bob Cousy, to which Nash’s game is often compared with , came out of retirement to play for a fledging Kansas City NBA team.

Two – if the numerous Chinese billionaires/milllionaires based in B.C. joined forces to bankroll the team. The new team won’t have no problem with money as income from the food sales alone will be huge. Knowing the Chinese , they will have pricey spring rolls and wanton soup in place of cheap hotdogs and Coke ! Who cares if they name the team the Hongkouver Dimsuns !

Three – if half of the roster is composed of members / or former members of the Chinese National team. Many enterprising tour agencies etc. will surely put a Vancouver basketball game attendance as part of their tours in the same way as seeing a live Ichiro /Seattle Mariners game a must for Japanese foreign students in TO. Then there is the non stop and ever increasing Chinese population in Vancouver, legal or otherwise ?

While the Chicago Tribune’s blogphobic Sam Smith has floated the possibilities of Kobe Bryant and Gilbert Arenas being exchanged (doubtful, I figure, given Kobe’s alledged preference to go to Chicago or Dallas and accompanying no-trade clause), New Orleans have sent David Wesley to New Jersey in exchange for Bernard Robinson and Mile Ilic. The Bergen Record’s Al Iannazzone describes Wesley as unlikely to report, while the Hornets are said to be ready to waive Ilic as soon as possible.

Chait in Slate: Charlie Weis is a Very Bad Coach

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 5:49 pm by

Jonathan Chait has written on many topics. He’s an opinion columnist for the Los Angeles Times, a solid inside-out critic of political media (his great 2002 story about imaginary biases and real biases is behind The New Republic‘s subscriber-only firewall) (though you can still read Martin Peretz’s blog for free) (but you shouldn’t). He’s also the author of a well-received recent book about bad conservative economics. Add to that, via Slate, this new credit: he is pretty good at marshaling statistics that make Charlie Weis look like a terrible coach. Of course, almost anyone can do this — it’s easy — and much of the rest of his argument is grounded in the unprovable-if-not-unconvincing assertion that Weis has always been overrated because of his association with some Super Bowl winners in New England. Still, these numbers don’t get much less depressing the more often you read them:

Just how bad is Notre Dame? Of the 119 teams in Division I-A, ND is 119th in total offense, 119th in rushing offense, 112th in passing offense, and 118th in scoring. If Notre Dame had doubled its scoring output, it would still rank 108th. If it doubled its rushing output (currently 34 yards a game), it would barely eke out Duke for 118th place.

You get the point. I should stop now.

OK, one more. Notre Dame is averaging 1.09 yards per rush this year. The NCAA statistical archive goes back only to 1999. The worst yards per carry recorded in that period belongs to a 2001 University of Arizona squad that gained 1.46 yards per attempt. So, the worst rushing team recorded by the NCAA in the last nine years was still about one-third better than Notre Dame.

This is not merely bad. This is ineptitude on a staggering, world-historical scale. Such a performance would be prima facie evidence for firing the coach even at a doormat program like Indiana. At a school like Notre Dame, well ¦ it’s simply impossible to describe how awful this performance is. It’s true that Notre Dame has suffered a dip in its talent level, attributable to poor recruiting by Weis’ predecessor Tyrone Willingham. But if you go by recruiting rankings, Charlie Weis still has as much or more talent on hand than most of the opponents who have been beating him soundly.

So, Weis is obviously not a great coach”no great coach has ever underperformed so grossly”and he may well be a terrible one.

Of course, no supposedly great coach had previously conquered stomach staples, either. And anyway, isn’t this just piling on? Why doesn’t anyone ever talk about college football’s more successful, and even more hugely obese, coaches?

Tom Lutz Fails Goes (Mildly) Nuts Over The Giants/Fins At Wembley

Posted in Gridiron, We Aren't The World at 3:33 pm by

Showing a smidgeon more enthusiasm for the NFL’s grand experiment than the Star-Ledger’s Paul Needell-Of-Death (“the league couldn’t make sure the field was better equipped to handle rain yesterday? ‘Cause, you know, it does rain a bit in England”), the Guardian’s Tom Lutz contends, “it can’t be denied that it’s been a great show, if not a great game.”

As kick-off approaches, things aren’t going swimmingly in the stadium either. The Americans in the crowd spring to their feet as the Star Spangled Banner is played, the English rise a little more slowly with a few groans, although in their defence it must be the first time in Wembley’s history that a foreign national anthem isn’t booed. God Save the Queen doesn’t get a much better reception, perhaps because the guest singer is Paul Potts, the bloke with bad teeth who won Britain’s Got Talent.

But slowly, the crowd is won over. Anybody who’s ever seen an episode of Jerry Springer will know Americans cheer anything – a wife-beater, a punch-up, even an advert break. Anybody who’s ever seen The Jeremy Kyle Show will know that English fans take a bit more convincing before they roar their approval – an actual murder on air, perhaps. But today, the mainly English crowd cheer everything – the cheerleaders, the first tackle of the game, the appearance of Lewis Hamilton and John Terry (okay, maybe not John Terry), even The Feeling are given a warm reception and they don’t even play Sewn.

It’s all a bit strange. English fans don’t usually like all this showy stuff. Sky tried it when they first began broadcasting the Premier League and it was a disaster. Sulky 14-year-old cheerleaders take to the field before the game and jog up and down the spot (usually to stop their legs dropping off with the cold) while Europe’s Final Countdown is played through a tinny PA system. Sky pulled the plug on the whole sorry business fairly quickly. But the NFL organisers whip up the fans brilliantly. The whole thing is just so damned professional. The cheerleaders are uniformly six-feet tall, with thousands of dollars worth of dentistry blazing out of their mouths and when the music pounds out of the speakers, the bass is powerful enough to send shivers down the spine.

It’s a shame then that the game is a bit of a stinker until the Dolphins stage a late rally that almost sees them sneak a win. The pitch cuts up early in the game and gets worse (England now have a ready-made excuse if they lose against Croatia next month) meaning the game turns into trench warfare – it’s a war the Giants win 13-10. Some Dolphins fans have complained that they’ve been deprived of a home game, but judging by their team’s inept performance, the NFL has done them a favour.

“It was a fantastic spectacle,” said one NFL virgin, Rachel Beard, as she left the ground. “I’d definitely come again. If only to see Paul Potts.”

So there you go, the evening ends with another small miracle: Paul Potts, the future of the NFL in Europe.