09.29.08

Tourism Has A Few Drawbacks

Posted in Baseball, Gridiron, Sports Radio at 1:42 pm by

For instance, much as I’ve enjoyed negotiating Memphis’ highways and byways en route to the airport today, for once in my life I’d have rather been listening to Joe Benigno-Gazingo.


(Joe B.G., cheering an erroneous internet report that Scott Schoeneweis had been eaten by an anaconda)

The emotional roller coaster of the Mets’ elimination coupled with The NY Bretts dropping a half century plus on the Cardinals should — by all reasonable expectations — be the chain of events to finally finish the broadcaster for once and all.

Ted Wulfers Didn’t Claw His Way To The Top Of Wisconsin Show Biz To Go Out Like This

Posted in Baseball, The World Of Entertainment at 12:58 pm by

(Sound check’s at three and two drink tickets per musician)

Tensions are high along the Illinois-Wisconsin border following the Milwaukee Brewers’ September 28th clinching of the National League Wild Card.  Chicago musician Ted Wulfers was the first to fall victim to the regional instability when he was expelled from a long-running performance engagement at a Milwaukee TGI Fridays.

Jason George of the Chicago Tribune reports:

Ted Wulfers never thought that singing Steve Goodman’s “Go Cubs Go” could get you fired, but that’s just what happened to the Chicago musician over the weekend. Wulfers was scheduled to perform Sunday at a TGI Friday’s inside Milwaukee’s Miller Park. But he was uninvited last week. The reason? The last time Wulfers performed there in July, he played “Go Cubs Go” after a Cubs victory over the Brewers.

It was not taken kindly by the Brewers fans,” said a spokeswoman for TGI Friday’s. “Friday’s and the Brewers made the decision not to have this band back this year.”

Wulfers, who sang the national anthem in May at Miller Park, said he had no idea Brewers fans would be upset with “just one chorus” from “Go Cubs Go.”

“Basically I had compared this to playing ‘Free Bird’”the crowd just kept asking for it,” he said, while conceding the crowd was mostly Cubs fans.

“I understand the Brewers are trying to fight for the wild card,” Wulfers said before Milwaukee beat the Cubs on Sunday to secure a playoff spot. “I’m just kind of the guy being kicked in the backside for no reason. I’ve been a Cubs fan and a Brewers fan all my life.”

09.28.08

The Wilpon Family : Spitting In Your Mouth And Telling You It’s Rheingold

Posted in Baseball at 9:39 pm by

SI.com’s Jon Heyman reports the Mets are finally going to remove the interim tag from manager Jerry Manuel.  Hey, if the Amazins’ inability to get the job done against the likes of Florida, Washington and Atlanta this month was worthy of contract extension, can you imagine what actually making the playoffs would’ve earned the skipper?  Maybe an extension, plus a pair of old Shea seats?

Manuel is expected to be approached to hammer out a new contract in the next day or two. The Mets again failed to make the playoffs after losing 4-2 to the Marlins on the final day of the season. But Manuel’s bosses believe he did an excellent job under trying circumstances, including late-season injuries to closer Billy Wagner and starter John Maine and an overall bullpen breakdown. The Mets were 55-38 under Manuel after starting 34-35 under Willie Randolph.

“I told Jerry we’re going to have a decision sooner rather than later,” general manager Omar Minaya said. ‘He’s done a very good job, and we’re going to sit down and talk about it.”

The Mets lost 12 of their final 17 games last year to blow a seven-game lead with Randolph as manager. This year they were 7-10 over their final 17 games.

Mets owner Jeff Wilpon said, “I feel totally different than last year. I think last year we underachieved. This year we overachieved.”

I don’t have a problem with Manuel being lauded, far from it.  But it does feel as though the organization is trying to pre-empt criticism by putting a happy face on what many fans consider to be Choke : The Sequel. Everyone expects Jerry Manuel to be back next spring. Of greater concern might be whether or not anyone is accountable for Scott Schoeneweis being handed the baseball 72 times.

Lacking Options, White Sox Turn To Winning Baseball

Posted in Baseball at 9:28 pm by

(Clearly, they’ll let anybody in the Cell and they still can’t sell out the place)

Indians 1 White Sox 5

In a do-or-die bid, Mark Buehrle did.  He smothered the Tribe for the Sox’ first win in six games to try and force a tiebreaker with the Twins.  Tomorrow the Pale Hose must face the Tigers at home to make up a Sept. 14th rainout.  A Sox victory over the Tigers will put them in a tie for the AL Central with the Twins and force a one-game playoff on Tuesday, also at home.   As of this writing, the Tigers may start former South Sider Freddy Garcia, which would force the Sox to light up the winning pitcher of their own 2005 World Series Game 4. There could be worse prospects given that Garcia was shelled by KC last week in his second start since shoulder surgery in 2007.

During today’s final trip to the Cell for the season, I couldn’t help but be floored by the 39 years of consummate professionalism provided by Sox organist Nancy Faust. Take the following quiz for a trip into the musical mind of a national treasure.

Match the Cleveland Indian with the Nancy Faust musical tag.  Answers are below.

No. At-Bat Ltr Nancy Plays
1 Ben Francisco A John Barry "The Magnificent Seven"
2 Travis Hafner B Frank DeVol "The Brady Bunch Theme"
3 Kelly Shoppach C Kinks "You Really Got Me"
4 Jamey Carroll D Smokey Robinson "Shop Around"
5 Kelly Shoppach E Quincy Jones "Sanford & Son" Theme
6 Grady Sizemore F Shelly Fabares "Johnny Angel"
7 Pickoff of Guitterrez G Menard's Jingle
8 Jhonny Peralta H Ray Anthony "Bunny Hop"
9 Kelly Shoppach I Todd Rundgren "Bang On The Drum"
10 Jamey Carroll J Adams/Strouse "All In The Family" Theme
11 Asdrubal Cabrera K Cory/Cross "I Left My Heart In SF"
12 Travis Hafner L J. Geils "Centerfold"
13 Kelly Shoppach M "Cabaret" (musical)

ANSWERS: 1K 2L 3D 4A 5G 6E,B 7C 8F 9D 10J 11M 12H 13I*

* There should be some kind of award handed out for Ms. Fausts’ incredible stretch in this one for the Cleveland catcher tying in the 1973 Robert DeNiro star turn in Bang The Drum Slowly, the story of a troubled backstop not named Jeff Torborg.

Jim Fassel Is To Broadcasting What Andy Reid Is To Parenting

Posted in Gridiron, Sports Radio at 9:25 pm by

“You have to understand, there is a co-ordination going on between Andy Reid and his mind, because he is making all the decisions.” – Jim Fassel, as heard this evening on Westwood One’s radio broadcast of Philly’s visit to Solider Field. (thanks to David Williams)

Mask Mania : Hockey Books Reviews Quizzes ‘Saving Face’ Author

Posted in Hockey, Modern Art at 9:17 pm by

(Gerry Cheevers, preparing to scare children the Russians)

Who amongst us hasn’t stopped to ponder the evolution of the hockey goalie mask? Well, not me, but author Jim Hynes finds the topic of entire tome, ‘Saving Face : The Art & History Of The Goalie Mask’, and below are some choice excerpts from an interview conducted by Hockey Books Reviews’ Joe Pelletier.

HBR: If you had to rank the 5 most famous goalie masks of all time, which 5 would you choose?

Jim Hynes: That’s tough: The first Jacques Plante mask is known by so many, heck, it’s a Heritage Minute. Same for Terry Sawchuk: he wore the one mask forever. Tony Esposito’s mask was worn by a few others, including Plante, but anyone who sees it will say “Tony O”. Next would be the Gerry Cheevers stitches mask. Even non-hockey fans know about it. Among the modern masks I’ll give the nod to Eddie Belfour. You see the eagle, yo know it’s Eddie.

HBR – Who has the best paint job today?

Jim Hynes: I’m not a huge fan of the wild, modern paint job. Plus some goalies seem to change them every 6 months now. I have a soft spot for Marty Biron’s Great Gaston lumberjack mask and I liked Christobal Huet’s ghosts masks before he was traded to Washington…but that might just be the French Canadian Habs fanatic in me talking.

HBR – Which goalie mask design is your favorite?

Jim Hynes: Ken Dryden’s first mask is a favourite. I was 6 in 1971 and can remember thinking how weird that masks was. I guess you could call it a modified pretzel-type–certainly one of a kind. I don’t know how safe it was though. I like the way some of the bars are taped together.

Collapse II : Fish Deliver Wrecking Ball To Shea, Mets’ Playoff Hope

Posted in Baseball at 6:19 pm by

Marlins 4, Mets 2

(members of the 89-73 New York Mets try to contain their excitement during postgame festivities that included video highlights of each Black 47 concert from Shea’s legendary Ethnic Heritage Nights)

Does a team with a 12-13 mark in September have any business ruing a playoff miss? How about a club with the vaunted production of Jose Reyes, David Wright, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado scoring a combined 5 runs over the course of 3 must-win games?  While Jerry Manuel deserves considerable credit for funny press conferences turning the Mets’ season around, the fact remains his squad was beaten by a nose to the Wild Card by a Milwaukee side that fired their manager two weeks ago.  Really, let the freezing fucking cold winter of recriminations begin, and since I can’t find any members of the Mets relief corps at the moment, I’ll instead consider the status of Omar Minaya, he of the recent 4 year contract extension.

Minaya has now presided over a pair of late season folds, and if he’s gonna receive bouquets and job security for promoting Manuel, the question oughta be raised whether or not Gangsta Jerry was sent into battle with inadequate ammo. That both of the Mets 2008 manager were provided without a Plan B in place for the loss of Moises Alou and routinely had to endure the torture of watching Aaron Heilman, Pedro Feliciano, Duaner Sanchez, etc. falter, is squarely on club management and ownership. It’s pretty hard to get psyched up for keying Luis Ayala’s car (but go on, twist my arm, I’m free all week) — at what point did any of us close our eyes and believe he’d morphed into Trevor Hoffman?

At one stage earlier this month, the Mets dropped 3 of 4 to a pair of teams (Braves, Nationals) a combined EIGHT THOUSAND games out of contention.   They managed barely any offense this weekend against a foe with absolutely nothing to play for besides pride.  Well, that and the satisfaction of giving Wally Matthews a boner.

These Florida Marlins are becoming awfully adept at ruining the final day of the Mets’ regular season. If Hank Steinbrenner were in charge, you can be sure he’d already be on the phone to next year’s schedule makers.