07.30.09

Can Pete Rose Get Reinstated By The England F.A.?

Posted in Football, Gambling at 10:54 pm by

In the wake of a quartet of players being suspended after a match fixing scandal stemming from a 2008 League Two contest between Accrington Stanley and Bury, When Saturday Comes’ Alex Wolstenholme stresses such news “is unlikely to halt the growing popularity of betting on football and the firm acceptance of the gaming industry into the sport.”

Once hidden behind the closed doors and frosted windows of the high street, the betting industry is now an increasingly familiar part of the sporting world in general and football in particular. Club websites have a link to an official betting partner, while bookmakers have sponsored teams, competitions and whole leagues such as the Blue Square Premier. This summer, Nottingham Forest and Wolves became the latest clubs to announce such sponsorship deals, with Victor Chandler and Sportingbet respectively. Meanwhile, former professionals and football presenters, such as Jeff Stelling, Chris Kamara (above) and Carlton Palmer, adorn the shop windows of the big betting companies, appear in television adverts and write columns in the racing press.

Until 2000, the Football League’s “minimum trebles” rule prevented betting on individual English games unless they were live on television, the presence of the cameras deemed enough of a deterrent to potential match-fixers to allow singles to be placed on a live game. The abolishment of the rule, coupled with the end of the ten per cent betting tax, provided a massive boost to football betting. Today a huge range of English games, including non-League matches, can be bet on individually. An astonishing array of markets at home and abroad is now on offer at the betting shop, at the other end of the phone and online.

Slow news days are often enlivened by stories claiming that a particular manager is under pressure after a bookmaker announces they have slashed their odds or closed the book on him being sacked. Often it can take only a small amount of money to change the odds and yet the story can grow a life of its own as a reaction is sought to the œnews. The only thing that bookmakers won’t be offering odds on next season is the number of matches that will be subject to official investigation.

No Smearing in the Press Box: Michael S. Schmidt, You Still Have Half a Story to Write

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 2:22 pm by

This is what a baseball reporter looks like, i.e., a working man.  This is not Michael S. Schmidt.

If it can still be called news, word comes from The New York Times’ Michael S. Schmidt today of two more names added to the list of those who allegedly tested positive for steroids in 2003.  Today, Yankee fans will be happy to see Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz’ from the World Series Curse Breaking Red Sox.  Curt Schilling haters can now sneer that his World Series ring was won with a needle.  Unfortunately for Bosox haters and those hoping to read a credible story, Schmidt continues to base his allegations on discredited evidenceLike his Sammy Sosa story a few months back, Schmidt relies on the evidence thrown out of Federal court as inconclusive in the Barry Bonds case.  If a Federal Judge threw the Bonds results out, why are results from the same batch of results now conclusive for The New York Times re Sosa, Manny, or Ortiz?   They’re not, and one guesses the attorneys who fed Schmidt these stories, and Schmidt himself, hopes for an A-Rod style confession as vindication.  If it’s not forthcoming from Sosa, Ortiz, or Manny, then Schmidt actually has some reporting to do, besides waiting for his phone to ring.  As steroid fans will recall, at no time could the results said to belong to Bonds from this same batch of tests actually be proven to be Bonds’ results “ it needed corroboration from his trainer, Greg Anderson, who refused to talk.  It’s why the Federal case against Bonds fell apart in February ’09, and exactly when the names of the 104 started to leak to the public “ ie, February ’09.  Chasing after Selena Roberts’ A-Rod admission of PED use, Schmidt continues to play mouthpiece to lawyers familiar with the case who taint player reputations with No Credible Evidence.  If I read Schmidt’s story correctly, he has not personally seen any evidence, shows no sign of making the link Federal prosecutors failed to make, and he has no other sources.

What’s getting so pathetic about The New York Times’ sporting coverage comes down to three current/former NYT staffers:  Michael S. Schmidt, Murray Chass, and Selena Roberts.  Chass’ “backne” fiasco re allegations of Mike Piazza and PEDs, and Schmidt’s threadbare accusations against Sammy Sosa, are equally ludicrous at this point.  Roberts took heat for her anonymous sourcing, a standard if imperfect journalism practice, but guess what “ she’s the only one proven correct.  She certainly beat the Times out on this story, and Schmidt obviously hopes to catch up and score the same kind of admissions but with  much weaker sourcing.  There’s a difference between using anonymous sources and letting them use you.  We’ll see if Ortiz or Sosa ever confess, as A-Rod did with Roberts, and save Schmidt’s rep from that of “backne” level journalism.  Again, as I’ve said before, it wouldn’t surprise me these days if my three-year-old tested positive for steroids, much less a Sosa or Ortiz.  Still, Michael S. Schmidt is getting played here.  He needs to actually report something or forever look like what he is today, a shill.

As Schmidt relates here, his story is based on nothing but the following:

Baseball first tested for steroids in 2003, and the results from that season were supposed to remain anonymous. But for reasons that have never been made clear, the results were never destroyed and the first batch of positives has come to be known among fans and people in baseball as œthe list. The information was later seized by federal agents investigating the distribution of performance-enhancing drugs to professional athletes, and the test results remain the subject of litigation between the baseball players union and the government.

Five others have been tied to positive tests from that year: Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Sammy Sosa, Jason Grimsley and David Segui. Bonds, baseball™s career home runs leader, was not on the original list, although federal agents seized his 2003 sample and had it retested. Those results showed the presence of steroids, according to court documents.

The information about Ramirez and Ortiz emerged through interviews with multiple lawyers and others connected to the pending litigation. The lawyers spoke anonymously because the testing information is under seal by a court order. The lawyers did not identify which drugs were detected.

Schmidt : Papi, Manny Tested Positive For Steroids In ’03

Posted in Baseball at 1:29 pm by

While the Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessey insists the mischief went down “before all the good stuff happened”, make no mistake — the Red Sox  have lost whatever (nebulous) moral high ground they maintained over their ‘roid injecting rivals in the Bronx.  The New York Times’ Michael B. Schmidt reports this afternoon that David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez were amongst the 100 or so MLB players who tested positive for PED’s in 2003.

The information about Ramirez and Ortiz emerged through interviews with multiple lawyers and others connected to the pending litigation. The lawyers spoke anonymously because the testing information is under seal by a court order. The lawyers did not identify which drugs were detected.

Unlike Ramirez, who recently served a 50-game suspension for violating baseball™s drug policy, Ortiz had not previously been linked to performance-enhancing substances.

Scott Boras, the agent for Ramirez, would not comment Thursday.

Asked about the 2003 drug test on Thursday in Boston, Ortiz shrugged. œI™m not talking about that anymore, he said. œI have no comment.

The union has argued that the government illegally seized the 2003 test results, and judges at various levels of the federal court system have weighed whether the government can keep them. The government hopes to question every player on the list to determine where the drugs came from. An appeals court is deliberating the matter, and the losing side is likely to appeal to the United States Supreme Court.

Ortiz is in the lineup for Boston this afternoon against Oakland ; he doubled in his first at bat against the A’s Gio Gonzalez and presumably a home run will result in yet another Papi curtain call.  If anyone’s paying attention, this is gonna put a real dent in the sales of “A-Fraud” tees around Kenmore Square.

Selig Urged to Boast More, Selig Obliges

Posted in Baseball, Greedy Motherfuckers, Ugly New Stadiums at 1:06 pm by

If it happens to Bud Selig, it’s news.  Just ask Selig, who turned his 75th birthday into an opportunity to “address the fans” and allow callers to celebrate Selig.  Celebrating Bud, it’s the national pastime of the national pastime, and Bud has lots to boast about.  This year, Selig recently beat back cancer, and while we wish him well, it’s also hoped that the every-three-months check-ups he receives will be available to everyone soon.  So, while you may not have a job, healthcare, and fear of a black planet may have driven you to question whether your President is an American citizen, if he hates white people, or men actually walked on the moon, at least Selig is there for you to take some comfort in his success “ even when attendance is actually down.  Here, Selig reminds us how much money baseball is making, a predicted $6.5 billion this year “ altho not how that might come back to fans whose towns pay tax breaks for new stadiums or endure high ticket prices.  As for baseball’s drug policies, well, blame the unions entirely, of course.

“One of my proudest accomplishments has been watching this game grow to the heights that no one ever dreamed possible,” he said. “Attendance this season is down 5 percent, but if you take into account the reduced capacities of the two new ballparks in New York, it’s actually down only 3.8, 3.9 percent, which is amazing given the economy. I’ve had more people in the business world say to me, ‘You ought to announce that. What a dramatic story that is.’ You’re talking about other businesses that are off 30 percent to 40 percent. This may be our greatest year ever given the environment.”

As for the drug policy, Selig said: “We went through the cocaine era in 1980s, which was terribly significant. There were the Pittsburgh drug trials. Four people went to jail. They couldn’t get the Players Association to agree to a testing program. And [former union executive director] Marvin Miller says to this day that if he were still in charge, we wouldn’t have one. I’m proud of where we are. We’ve accomplished far more than anyone before me had ever done or anybody had any right to expect. This sport is being cleaned up. I understand the chemists are working hard on a test for human growth hormone. Believe me, once there is one, it will be there. We’ll put it in.”

Selig’s official MLB tenure began in 1970 when he headed an ownership group that bought the failing Pilots and moved the team from Seattle to his home town of Milwaukee just days before that season. He was named interim Commissioner in September 1992 and was elected by the owners permanently six years later.

Selig was slated to retire at the end of this season until the owners extended his contract last year through Dec. 31, 2012. As such he will outlast the heads of labor, the duo that made the MLB Players Association perhaps the toughest union in all of sports.

“That’s very interesting when you think about that,” Selig said.

07.29.09

Tanya Skagle Is No Longer The Worst Pimp In The World

Posted in Sports Journalism, The Law at 6:50 pm by

You might think being 4-time New Hampshire Sportswriter Of The Year award winner and working the highly coveted Manchester Monarchs beat would constitute a full enough plate for the average guy, but the Union-Leader’s Kevin Provencher isn’t your run of the mill sports journalist. Granite State cops allege Provencher was the mastermind behind a Massachusetts/New Hampshire border prostitution ring, utilizing Craigslist and other internet fuck-sites.  The following was penned, appropriately enough, by Provencher’s Union-Leader colleagues, Dale Vincent and Dan O’Brien.

Provencher, at his arraignment in Manchester District Court yesterday morning, waived extradition from New Hampshire. He was ordered held on $10,000 cash bail following afternoon arraignment in Lawrence (Mass.) District Court on two charges of deriving income from prostitution.

Massachusetts police said about five women worked for Provencher and two of them will be witnesses. Provencher allegedly recruited the women on Craigslist and arranged for them to meet him at a Manchester hotel, wearing specified clothing, where he would œaudition them.

During one of the auditions at the Fairfield Inn, Provencher allegedly provided a woman with black lingerie and photographed her in various poses, according to court documents. The woman allegedly agreed to have sexual intercourse with Provencher who later told her she was hired.

Police said he used the Marriott, Spring Hill Suites and Fairfield Inn for the operation until one prostitute complained about the long drive from Quincy to Manchester. Provencher then allegedly moved his operation to Andover, Mass.

Police said they set up a sting operation June 11 at the Andover, MA Spring Hill Suites and observed men coming and going from a room. Defeo said law enforcement authorities œcould clearly hear activities consistent with sexual intercourse.

Brunt On The Jays’ New Economy

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 6:16 pm by

While Philadelphia’s acquisition of Cliff Lee earlier today dealt a serious blow to J.P. Ricciardi’s hopes of trading Roy Halladay (above) outside of the AL East, there’s some question of whether or not Toronto can get their story straight. When Rogers Communications purchased the Blue Jays from Interbrew, the former understood “the ball club had value beyond its own bottom line” writes the Globe & Mail’s Stephen Brunt. However, “In the past year, the world economy collapsed and Ted Rogers died, and those two events have undeniably changed the operating environment for the Toronto Blue Jays.”

There is a reason the NFL forbids corporate ownership of its franchises. When the first duty is the protection of shareholders™ interests and a sports franchise is but a single cog in a larger machine, decisions that can dramatically affect the product on the playing field can be mandated by issues far removed from sports.

Right now, the squeeze is on at Rogers, as it is in so many places. It is the responsibility and fiduciary duty of those managing the company to do what they can to improve the balance sheets. And while, under Ted Rogers, some aspects of the company may have been more protected than others, now all are viewed equally “ including a baseball team that by itself loses money every year.

œWe remain obviously committed to the Blue Jays, Nadir Mohamed, the president and CEO of Rogers Communications said yesterday during a quarterly conference call with analysts.

But that commitment isn™t romantic. It isn™t unconditional. It isn™t a fan™s commitment. It can™t include risking shareholders™ money in a terrible economy for what might be a once-a-decade chance to push the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, or to keep the best pitcher in baseball in the fold.

In Honor Of The Captain’s 76th Birthday

Posted in Professional Wrestling, Rock Und Roll at 5:00 pm by

It’s Vida Blue‘s 60th today as well, but NRBQ never wrote a song about him.