08.31.09

Wilpon Inc. Bulldog : Bernie Book Author’s Wrong, Wrong Wrong

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 8:17 pm by

Bernie Madoff biographer Erin Arvedlund is already on record as claiming Fred Wilpon will be forced to sell the Mets after suffering losses to the tune of $700 million in the Mother Of All Ponzi Schemes.  Mets VP David Howard, truly a credible person if you believe obstructed view seats are worth $55 apiece, addressed Ms. Avredlund’s claims earlier today on the Fox Business Channel.   According to Howard, the Amazins are absolutely, positively not for sale, calling the club “a family jewel” (seriously).    So that means we’re still on track for John Franco’s #31 being retired sometime in 2011. (video link culled from Seven Train Into Shea)

KC’s Dayton Moore : Richly Rewarded/Tolerated For Not Being Allard Baird

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 5:26 pm by

(Moore : doing the best he can — under no pressure whatsoever)

“Ask yourself: if you, in your own profession, made a mistake equivalent to trading for Yuniesky Betancourt, would you expect to be fired, or given five years of lucrative job security?” I think even Isiah Thomas and J.P. Ricciardi would answer “be fired” to a question posed by The Hardball Times’ Craig Calcaterra, reacting to today’s news that Kansas City will extend General Manager Dayton Moore’s contract for another 4 yearsRoyals Review’s KCDC1 — presumably used to living with low expecations, prefers not to protest David Glass’ vote of confidence, confessing, “I’m okay rooting for .500 seasons.”

I like his focus on building the farm system, and while this strategy has yet to bear fruit, it’s still early, and I think over time, the focus will inevitably pay dividends. His acquisitions at the Major League level have left something to be desired, obviously. All in all, there are better GM’s, and there are worse GM’s. It’d be nice if Kansas City would have one of the best, but I’m a fan, and I try not to let myself get too frustrated with the whole process.

The Saul Bellow of Baseball is Back in Print

Posted in Baseball at 2:20 pm by

http://i.cdn.turner.com/sivault/si_online/covers/images/1976/0315_large.jpg

[Veeck …  first to knock, first admitted; sometimes an innocent knock, sometimes a not so innocent.]

I always liked White Sox owner Bill Veeck, Jr.  He started his career planting the ivy in Wrigley Field and ended it on the South Side burning down his own infield on Disco Demolition night.  He only owned losers and personified Chicago’s love of its own low-rent self-esteem. Another reason to like Bill Jr. is his literary career, which includes his autobiography, Veeck — as in Wreck, Thirty Tons a Day, and The Hustler’s Handbook “ all written for him by, excuse me, “with,” Ed Linn.  The Hustler’s Handbook just got reissued, and reviewed (favorably), in The LA Times by George Ducker, but I think the best sales pitch for this book is Veeck’s own wisdom:

“The great portion of any ball game consists of the pitcher holding the ball or throwing it to the catcher … Anything that can somehow turn that frozen tableau into a scene fraught with drama and excitement has solved about 75 percent of your problems.”

Not only that, he understands the relationship of a team to its fans. Here he is on the paradox of early 1960s Mets supporters: “No other city is so confident of its own preeminence that it could afford to take such an open delight in its own bad taste.” Chicago Cubs fans of the present day, take note.

And quoted in an Amazon customer review by Steven Hellerstedt:

“Yogi is a completely manufactured product. He is a case study of this country’s unlimited ability to gull itself and be gulled…. It pleased the public to think that this odd-looking little man with the great natural ability had a knack for mouthing humorous truth with the sort of primitive peasant wisdom we rather expect from our sports heroes.”

On Leo Durocher and racism: “Leo himself is without any racial consciousness – or even unconsciousness. Leo looks on each human being with the purest of motives; i.e., what can this guy do to make Leo Durocher’s passage through life easier, more fun and more profitable?”

Do You Like Long Walks In The Park (& Thowing Snowballs At Santa Claus)?

Posted in Gridiron, History's Great Hook-Ups at 1:45 pm by

OK, while the Santa incident is urban myth, you can file the above Craigslist personals ad under “looking for love in all the wrong places” “too good to be true”. (jpg taken from Philebrity)

There Is Crying In College Football : No One Cares More About (Overworked) Student-Athletes Than Rich Rodriguez

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 11:55 am by

“Michigan players should WELCOME 8-10 hour Sundays of film study and weight lifting. After 3-9, need to get better, not whine.” So Tweeted collegiate sports reformer TheRealSkipBayless earlier today, the above thoughtful response coming on the heels of the University Of Michigan football program facing charges of NCAA violations. 2nd year coach Rich Rodriguez has been accused of violating guidelines regulating off-season workouts, in-season demands on players and mandatory summer activities, a charge the wildly unpopular former West Virginia educator vehemently denied earlier today. And by “vehemently”, I mean he was almost reduced to tears (for the second time in recent memory). From the Detroit News’ Angelique S. Changelis :

Rodriguez opened his regular game-week news conference Monday by addressing the allegations first presented in a Detroit Free Press article Sunday. Several former players, who spoke anonymously, said the Wolverines routinely violated the NCAA-mandated 20-hour practice rule.

Rodriguez defended strength and conditioning coach Mike Barwis in his early remarks Monday.

“He has always complied with the rules, as has our entire staff,” Rodriguez said. “We know the rules and comply with the rules.”

Rodriguez became visibly emotional, grabbed both sides of the lectern, and looked down before speaking again.

“The thing that bothers me the most is the perception that we didn’t care for the student’s’ welfare,” Rodriguez said. “That is disheartening. To say that is misleading. … We complied by the rules.”

Newsday’s Campus Confidential blog quotes Rodriguez as saying of his accusers, “it was misleading. Treatments, study hall, other aspects don’t count…the players don’t] know the rules. They don’t know what counts and what doesn’t,” and indeed, it is difficult to keep track of arcane NCAA edicts while also maintaining a shrine to Lloyd Carr in one’s dorm room. But as Jon Heyman already put it so well, “if Rich Rodriguez cheated to go 3-9 , I nominate him for worst coach in college football history.”

Dave Duncan’s Mystery Tuesday, Hopefully Spent Outside the NL Central

Posted in Baseball at 10:40 am by

http://cantstopthebleeding.com/img/Tony+Sirico.jpg

St. Louis manager Tony Walnuts on Dave Duncan:  “It’s not personal.  It’s business.  Now get the fuck outta here.”

Joe Strauss of the Stl-Post Dispatch reports today some news that can only be seen as a silver lining, should it happen, to the North Side of Chicago.  Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan missed the Astros opener last Tuesday for “personal business,” and may move on from St. Louis.  Duncan has been with Cards mgr Tony La Russa since Tony Walnuts’ 1983 White Sox.   While the two have succeeded where ever they’ve gone, Duncan has not been happy with Card GM John Mozeliak’s keeping the Cards minor league pitchers outside the loop of Duncan and his staff up top.  There’s also the issue of Chris Duncan’s treatment by the STL media and fans over his work last year, which was brutal.  Although Chris D had a great 2006 (the Cards last postseason year), 2007-2008 saw a drop in production that Cardinals fans and management did not forgive.  It only came out post-season that Chris Duncan played 2007 with a double-hernia, and currently, other ailments.

Cardinal management has a history of covering up injuries, and one wonders, had the media been informed, if Chris Duncan would have been derided, then traded, so cavalierly?   Would the fans have piled on?  All of which might make you think, “that’s baseball, deal with it.”  But, when the guy has delivered, and his dad is a key asset to your playoff bids (if one can go by the numbers found here), who can actually turn a John Smoltz around at this point in his career, you might want to come clean for once or simply let reporters know off the record out of simple personal loyalty to the Duncans.   Chris Duncan has already been released by Boston.  Then Tony La Genius offered a heartwarming embrace of Dave Duncan. “I’ve told him before that our personal relationship never stands in the way of the professional,” La Russa said. “Nothing has changed, and nothing will change about that.”

Well, certainly Chris Duncan found that out.  La Russa has a reputation (around here anyway) for pushing injured players into playing when they shouldn’t.  Indeed, Cardinal casualty Scott Rolen currently warms the Reds bench due to post-concussion syndrome.  Tony Walnuts’ comments below on Chris Duncan appear as willfully ignorant as his comments after Jose Canseco outted Mark McGwire’s steroid use (basically, HUH!?!?  On my team?!?!?).  That said, the Cardinals bad news is good for the Cubs. Hopefully Dave Duncan is eyeing an AL team.  Who knows, maybe Duncan spent his first missed game in decades in Chicago to discuss the team’s new ownership and future.  Joe Strauss reports the following:

After blasting 22 home runs in 280 at-bats in 2006, Duncan’s breakout start to 2007 was sabotaged by a double hernia that neither player nor team confirmed until the younger Duncan submitted to surgery that September.

The conspiracy of silence repeated itself last season when a herniated cervical disc left Duncan with excruciating pain in his neck and numbness in his right arm and hand. He required surgery to replace the defective disc with a prosthetic, a first-of-a-kind procedure on an American professional athlete.

When Duncan’s performance began to erode again this season, the club never acknowledged a physical issue.

However, Duncan was scheduled to leave the club in Houston to be examined by his St. Louis surgeon, Dr. Dan Riew, the day after learning of the trade. (Dave Duncan had pushed for the exam.) Fearing what an examination might reveal, the younger Duncan refused to attend the appointment.

Dave Duncan reacted harshly upon learning of the trade the night of July 21. While reporters were shooed from the Minute Maid Park visiting clubhouse, Duncan lashed out at the team’s training staff in front of players for its handling of his son.

Reminded that Chris consistently denied his injuries when queried by reporters, Duncan insisted, “At some point the club should protect those who don’t protect themselves. Chris didn’t protect himself. And no one else protected him either.”

La Russa says his understanding of Chris’ hernia and cervical condition was less than total.

“Until the end I didn’t know the pain he was in,” La Russa said. “I would have never played him if I thought the hernia would become a double hernia or if he was having trouble sleeping at night. (Chris) shares that (responsibility). But by doing that, my respect is magnified for him. He thought, ‘If I could walk, I’m going to go out there.'”

The Most Expensive Dildo In Minnesota (That Doesn’t Wear No. 4)

Posted in Gridiron, The Marketplace at 2:07 am by

If you owned a Minneapolis sports bar, there’s all sorts of local sports memorabilia you’d be keen to display ; Fran Tarkenton’s tax returns. Restraining orders taken out against Kirby Puckett. The incriminating photographs of Kevin McHale that are currently in Danny Ainge’s safe. In lieu of those collectables, however, one enterprising Mankato tavern proprietor struck gold this week, winning a $750 auction to gain possession of Onterrio Smith’s Whizzinator. From the Star-Tribune’s Michael Rand :

Buster’s owner Matt Little couldn’t be in attendance for the auction, but he sent an agent to make the purchase for him. He said he wouldn’t have bought it “if the price had been 10 grand,” but overall his motivation was fairly simple.

“We’re a sports bar, and I’m a sports collector,” Little said. “I’d love to have the Original Whizzinator on display. … I’m going to use it.”

Use it right now? Little laughed.

“It’s out in the truck,” he said. “I’d feel a little weird if I had it in my hand right now.”

But soon, the Whizzinator will be out in the open at Buster’s and will be featured prominently in some of the bar’s rather risque promotions. One would imagine it will attract curiosity seekers — particularly next summer during Vikings training camp in Mankato.

“We’re going to try to get Onterrio down here,” Little said. “There might be some sentimental value. He might want to come down to see it.”