09.30.08

WGN’s Beaky, DJ – Providing Objectivity, Professionalism In All Instances

Posted in Basketball, Sports TV at 11:54 am by

I’ve got no rooting interest in tonight’s one game playoff to determine the winner of the AL Central, but if the White Sox persevere, I’m hopeful they do so in less dramatic fashion. Thanks to Harrelson and Jackson, the speakers on my Realistic ™ Home Entertainment System were critically injured last night.

Gainsville Minister : God Doesn’t Have Better Things To Do Than Worry About Gator Football

Posted in Gridiron, Religion at 11:44 am by

The Miami Herald’s Joseph Goodman reports the following sign appears less than a half mile from the Florida Gators’ training facility. I’ve neither the time nor inclination to flex my journalistic chops and confirm or refute this sign’s existence, but surely Goodman is aware it’s pretty easy to rig this kind of thing?

Eric Brown, the 31-year-old minister at Gainesville’s Campus Church of Christ, says he hopes Tebow sees the sign while the Heisman Trophy winner drives to and from campus. If you’re wondering about the Bible verse, Matthew 6:13, you might already know it. It’s the final few lines of the Lord’s Prayer: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.”

While Brown says he did attend Saturday’s game between No. 12 Florida (3-1) and Ole Miss (3-2), the minister says the sign, located on S.W. 2nd Avenue only a few blocks west of campus, has nothing do with Florida’s 31-30 loss to the Ole Miss Rebels.

“I’m going to pray that [Tebow] is true to his faith because if he falls and gets caught up in some kind of scandal it will be bad for Christianity,” Brown said.

Mavs’ Howard : I Don’t Wanna Be An American Idiot

Posted in Basketball at 11:30 am by

As you’re probably aware, Dallas’ Josh Howard has been on some kind of roll — ‘fessing up to pot smoking, party planning in the midst of a playoff loss, drag-racing, etc.  But no single act made the Mavericks small forward as much of a national pariah than his widely circulated diss of “The Star Spangled Banner”, and on Monday, Howard capitulated to public hysteria — much of it racist in nature — by making a full apology at a morning news conference. From the Dallas Morning News’ Eddie Sefko.

“I know that’s not me,” Howard said. “I love this country. If it wasn’t for this country, I wouldn’t be out here playing basketball. For me to have that opportunity is the greatest.

“That’s not me. That’s not Josh Howard. That was an idiot.”

Howard was speaking to media members for the first time since his July rant at a charity event. When “The Star-Spangled Banner” was playing, he said that he doesn’t celebrate the song because he’s black. The video eventually made it onto YouTube.

On the eve of training camp, he said he wished he could retract those words, and that he looks forward to being able to show fans who have clamored for the Mavericks to get rid of him that he is not a bad guy.

“I apologize to everybody I’ve offended,” the 6-7 forward said. “I’m upset with myself and the way I’ve acted. It was just me joking around. I just wasn’t using my head. I learned that words really do hurt and you are held accountable for what you said.

“I went to military school. I have friends that serve in the military. I know how it is to wake up and salute the flag. In the national anthem every game, I have my hand over my heart. It was just me not thinking.”

Yesterday’s event could’ve been an opportunity for Howard to elaborate on the many reasons why someone — black or otherwise — might not want to recognize the national anthem. Regardless of how the session might’ve been stage managed by the Mavericks, I can’t find fault with Howard wishing to repair his damaged public reputation.  If he sincerely meant his remarks during the flag-football game to be a bit of a goof rather than a genuine political protest, that seems reasonable enough, too. Of greater concern to Dallas fans oughta be what sort of progress, if any, Howard will make playing his first full season alongside Jason Kidd — a player who has never faced the sort of invective aimed at Howard, despite actions far more reprehensible than blowing off the anthem.

09.29.08

The Man From Mattoon’s Take On NYC Sports History

Posted in New York, New York, Sports Journalism, Will Leitch Sucks at 7:47 pm by

As part of New York Magazine’s 40th Anniversary, a number of NYC sports-thinker types of considerable repute were asked to select their Top Ten New York Athletes of the past four decades. Along with expert testimony from the likes of Mike Lupica and Christopher Russo, another Big Apple fixture, former Deadspin editor Will Leitch — when you think of Gotham, you think of Will — contributed the following :

1. Reggie Jackson
In his first game back in the Bronx after he signed with the Angels, Yankee Stadium chanted his name. They wouldn’t even do that for Jeter.

Really? If Darryl Strawberry, Patrick Ewing and Mark Messier all received standing ovations the first time they returned to New York in a different uniform, why is it so hard to believe a 4 time World Champ like Jeter wouldn’t receive similar treatment?

2. Lawrence Taylor
Dominating, gruesome, monstrous, awesome, and would have been even better if he weren’t high so often. That he was makes him even more of a terrifying, otherworldly force of nightmares.

We’ve already established that Will has some issues with black people, but with all due respect to L.T.’s defensive prowess, it’s kinda fucked up to describe him as “gruesome, monstrous” without acknowledging he might’ve been pretty sharp, too. Did Mark Gastineau have the presence of mind to send hookers to opponents’ hotel rooms?

7. Dwight Gooden
Hard to separate him from Darryl Strawberry; they were the only two people who could make you forget anyone played baseball in the Bronx.

Actually, Will, Straw and Dr. K  were very easy to separate. For instance, one played right field and hit monstrous (whoops) home runs, the other was the most exciting young pitcher since Mark Fidyrch or Fernando Valenzuela. “The only two people who could make you forget anyone played baseball in the Bronx?”  For the first time, someone has the guts to claim Fritz Peterson’s star power overshadowed Tom Seaver.

10. Pelé
When he entered Studio 54, the place actually went quiet with awe.

The same could be said of Lillian Carter. When she wasn’t wearing panties, anyway.  But I’ve got to stand up for Leitch’s credibility on this one.  He’s not old enough to have attended the original Studio 54, and while I’m not either,  I’m certain a past-his-prime Pele being recognized in a nightclub is a far greater testament to his iconic status than any of his accomplishments on the soccer pitch.  Had I been asked to compile such a top ten, Anthony Mason would’ve ranked high simply because someone told me he tipped well at the China Club.

Former Mets Announcer : Amazins Fans Are Nattering Nabobs Of Negativism

Posted in Baseball, New York, New York at 6:49 pm by

(Metal Mike and Tom Terrific, acknowledging the cheers of Sam Champion ungrateful jerks Flushing’s adoring fans)

There’s so much blame to go around after the New York Mets’ 2nd consecutive September collapse ; David Wright, Joe Smith, Jeff Wilpon, Tony Bernazard, Joe McEwing, Kevin Elster, Gregg Jeffries, Rusty Staub…..tell me when to stop, please.  Former SportsChannel mouthpiece Ted Robinson, however, suggests a group addition to the above list ; Shea Stadium’s paying customers.  From MSNBC.com (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory) :

What struck me most Friday was the negativity. Florida scored two runs in the first inning and the rest of the night was mired in a cloud of gloom.

Yes, the economy is part of the reason. Shea Stadium crowds are always littered with Wall Streeters and last Friday night seemed to have a large percentage of those who were blowing off steam and getting Heinekenized and Budweisered.

Before the game I saw Mets general manager Omar Minaya and told him something that appeared in this blog last September — I believe the Mets would have made the playoffs last year if they had played the final week on the road. I still believe that and double down on the thought this year.

By Sunday, I was back in California for the best seat available on baseball™s best day — my couch with DirecTV. As I flipped between games at Shea Stadium, Milwaukee, Minnesota and Chicago, I was struck by the enthusiasm in three parks. Only Shea Stadium didn™t offer its team an obvious home-field advantage.

A stadium whose character was defined by its occupants rather than its structure was closed in grand style. The Mets lone member of the Hall of Fame, Seaver, and his eventual partner in Cooperstown, Piazza, teamed as the battery for the final pitch and walked together out the centerfield gate.

All the while most of the sellout crowd stayed and cheered. It was wonderful, yet bizarre. They love their team, the National League heritage started by the Dodgers and Giants when they played in New York, and the great players who have worn the orange and blue. But the fans seem to love the players more after the fact, more after they are through playing.

During my years as a broadcaster for the Mets, I wondered why the booing at Shea Stadium was so vicious. I have heard such booing often during the final Mets games of the last two seasons. After Sunday™s game “ which turned out to be the last ever at Shea Stadium — I heard cheers. And I can™t help but wonder why over my years of watching the Mets I had not heard them more often.

CSTB Liveblog: Ringside At The Floyd/Garcia Bout

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 6:13 pm by

(Four Swings, 16 RBI: Alexei Ramirez, The Grand-Slammingest Rookie In Baseball)

Update (Top 5th) : Sox 1 Tigers 1   With the whole season on the line, Gavin Floyd just delivered big.  To get out of the fifth with runners on first and third and one out, Floyd dealt a neckbreaking curve that not only sent Granderson back to the dugout but kept Octavio Dotel in the bullpen.

Update: (Top 6th) With 95 pitches, Floyd faces Maggs…punches him out looking..Miguel Cabrera up…0-2..1-2..line drive double to L Ctr gap..105 pitches…in the dirt, AJ holds on to the pierogi…line drive straight to Uribe who sucks it up two down…Ryan Raeburn up…taps a dribbler to Floyd who drops the ball then overthrows to Konerko, TWO E1s, Cabrera scores…Det 2 Sox 1…Ozzie’s leaving him in…Inge up…2-0…now an IW…two runners on, two out.  C Dusty Ryan up…2-2…swing and a miss for Floyd’s 8th K…

UPDATE: Bot 6th in for Cle: Bobby Seay to face Jim Thome..Dye at first, no out…Thome struck out and I just noticed I lost a bunch of this blog post…well, we’ll live…Bobby Seay IWs Konerko with 1 out and Dye on second…two on, one out, and one Ken Griffey, Jr. is at the plate…Cle 2 Sox 2…1-0..amost the third Cleveland wild pitch in this game ends up as ball 2…3-0…take your base, you magnificent .342 OPS questionable acquisition…bags juiced for Alexei…SLAM SLAM SLAM SLAM SLAM SLAM SLAM SLAM SLAM SLAM SLAM Alexei Ramirez has sent Gary Glover’s flat heater ten rows back in center Sox 6 Det 2…AJ with a standup double and Alexei has broken the White Sox Major League Baseball rookie record with 4 Grand Slams…Cuba Libre! 

UPDATE: Top 7: Floyd Out, Matt Thornton in as Steve Stone leaves the broadcast booth for religious reasons, happy new year Stoney…hell, Happy New Year as well to GC, David Roth, Ben Schwartz, Jon Solomon, and whatever other CSTB Red Sea Pedestrians I forgot….hey, who’s gonna read this now, anyway?…Thornton out after giving up a hit, it’s Octavio Dotel with a four-run lead…which Dotel will we get?  The kind we need grand slams to endure, no doubt…although last outing was the only bright spot in a mauling at the hands of Cleveland liveblogged in these very pages…facing Sheff with Granderson at second…2-2…line drive right to Brian Anderson, two out…Maggs up…2-2…Dotel showing control…hit the corner, didnt get the call…3-2…fly to Dye Tigers buh-bye.

UPDATE:Bot 7: Wise flies out, Dye to Maggs at the track, 2 out…paging Jim Thome, Jim Thome to the plate…3-2…K.  Dare I worry about gentleman Jim in tomorrow’s playoff against the Twins?  Dare I shut my goddamn mouth?

UPDATE: Top 8: Linebrink punches out Cabrera on a check swing..Thames up…swings at a strike 3 dirtball, two out…Raeburn up..Linebrink is definitely dealing, got a serious cut and is owning the upper zone..splitter falls off the table like broccoli for the dog…grounder up the middle.  Damn you Ryan Raeburn and your gameshow-host last name…Inge up…got him looking!

UPDATE: Bot 8: 4-1 3.48 Aquilino Llllllllopez is in to face Paulie , Fly 7 out…Anderson up…one more dirtball for a frantic Dusty Ryan, who by now is actually as well as putatively Dusty…inside slider strike 3…Alexei up to madhouse cheers…the Cuban Missile goes 1-2…shovels out another dirtball off the mound to a bobbling Santiago for a single…AJ is up…Alexei steals second on Ryan, who, after taking off his mask looks like he just bought Wachovia stock this morning… AJ doubles down 1B line, Alexei scores  Cle 2 Sox 7 …Juan Uribe up and ANOTHER wild pitch for #3 advancing AJ to 3rd…Uribe taps a nubber to Raeburn who bobbles and Uribe reaches on an E4…AJ scores….Cle 2 Sox 8…Cabrera strikes out swinging

UPDATE: Top 9: DJ Carrasco is behind the steel wheels…Jeff Larish in for the emotionally devastated Dusty Ryan strikes out swinging…Santiago…Carrasco’s segue from “Dayvan Cowboy” to Ted Nugent’s “Stranglehold” confuses Santiago and he strikes out swinging…Granderson flies out to center an the WHITE SOX ARE TIED FOR THE LEAD IN THE AL CENTRAL.

Hey…is that champagne you guys?  You guys up there in the Metrodome?  Yeah, that’s champagne, isn’t it?  Heh.  Yeah, I wouldn’t pop those corks just yet, not when you’ve got a business meeting in Chicago tomorrow.  You guys remember how to play ball in a real ballpark?  It might come in handy if you did.

See you tomorrow.

Q : Cite Six Words That Proceed Being Told “You’re Fired”

Posted in Gridiron at 5:09 pm by

(since photos of Scott Linehan are generally a dull affair, instead we’ll gaze lovingly at a snapshot of his brothers Brock and Brian).

A: “Trent Green is my starting quarterback.”
   In a move that surprised absolutely no one, the winless St. Louis Rams today relieved Scott Linehan of his head coaching duties today, but to the dismay of the Post-Dispatch’s Jeff Gordon, promoted defensive coordinator Jim Haslett (“not a great or terrible choice, just OK”) to the top position.

Haslett, alone, must take responsibility for the dreadful performance of the Rams’ defensive unit. He is lucky to still have a job, much less a better one.

His status has been a popular topic here at STLtoday.com for the past few weeks, while we all waited for Rosenbloom to finally pull the plug on hapless Linehan.

Many fans weren™t interested in Haslett’s potential as Linehan™s short-term successor. Fans wanted him to catch the same cab that awaited the head coach.

The Rams defense wasn™t buying whatever Haslett was selling this season. Again and again, the group collapsed. Physically, tactically and emotionally, his defense was unprepared to succeed.

This is a big opportunity for Haslett. If he can coax some wins out of this group, he will revive his own head-coaching prospects. His reputation took a beating during the last 20 games as the Rams degenerated into the laughingstock of the league.

If Haslett can get anything from a team that has lost 17 of 20 games, this organization and others will take notice.

Let™s hope for his sake -“ and the sake of long-suffering fans -“ he makes the most of an opportunity he really didn™t earn.