04.25.10

Michael Ray Richardson & Oliver Miller Vs. The Paying Customers : Not Quite The Brawl In Auburn Hills

Posted in Basketball at 2:34 am by

Sincere thanks to Dan Corbin, who forwarded the following item from the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle’s Jeff DiVeronica. Otherwise, I don’t think I’d be aware that Michael Ray Richardson was currently coaching Oliver Miller in the Premier Basketball League playoffs. Heck, I don’t think I’d even know there was such a thing as the the Premier Basketball League.

Oliver Miller, the former NBA player who went into the stands and nose to nose with a fan in Thursday night™s game against the Rochester Razorsharks at Blue Cross Arena, has been suspended by the Premier Basketball League for the rest of its championship series.

Miller, 40, plays for the Lawton-Fort Sill Cavalry, a squad from Oklahoma that lost 110-106 in overtime in Game 1 to defending league champion Rochester. The ejection of Cavalry coach Micheal Ray Richardson ignited the incident with 2.8 seconds remaining last night. Richardson claimed he was hit in the head by a plastic water bottle thrown by a fan.

Richardson, 54, was fined an undisclosed amount for œabusive and vulgar language, according to the PBL, and œnot leaving the court in a timely manner after his second technical foul, which results in an automatic ejection.

Miller played parts of nine seasons (493 games) with seven different teams after starring at the University of Arkansas. He stands 6-feet-9 and once reportedly weighed 350 pounds. His height and weight are not listed on the PBL™s website.

Sadly, the above incident is not the first time in recent years that Richardson —banned for life from the NBA in 1986 — has found himself in the middle of a public dispute with minor league basketball fans. Also, if you watch the above video clip (choose the top left hand corner option), you’ll note Miller is incapable of knocking over an unruly fan, despite what appears to be a considerable height and weight advantage.

04.24.10

K-Squared : Our Last Line Of Defense

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV, Total Fucking Terror at 1:15 pm by

(on the right, Kevin Kennedy, moments before tackling and hog-tying Osama Bin Zelasko)

Let me start this entry by saying I find nothing funny about terrorism and in no way condone the practice of exploding airplanes as a political statement. In this instance, however, I might understand why an individual might feel compelled to engage in a suicide mission —XM radio subscribers know what I’m talking about.   Former Rangers/Red Sox manager and current Rays broadcaster Kevin Kennedy was amongst a group of passengers aboard a Delta Airlines flight bound for Tampa yesterday who successfully subdued a mentally deranged man who threatened to blow up the airliner.  From the New York Daily News’ Kerry Burke, Christian Red and Leo Standora :

“When I stood up, he kind of stared me down,” the 55-year-old Kennedy said. “I was probably 4 feet from him.

“As soon as he started to go for the cockpit door, we charged. We took him down. We tied him up,” Kennedy said. “But it was not an easy takedown. We finally got him hogtied with seat belt extensions from the plane.”

Kennedy said Sheffield broke free twice, snapping one of the extensions and a leather belt before finally giving up.

Sheffield’s former wife told the Daily News he’s bipolar and has been in and out of mental institutions for the past five years.

“This is a whole new level for his illness,” said Mary Sheffield, 46, of Brandon, Fla. “I wouldn’t imagine him doing anything like this in a million years. He’s been committed three times, but he’s never harmed anyone.”

“It was the real deal,” Kennedy said before the Rays’ game against Toronto on Friday night. “There wasn’t time to think, just react. When somebody says they’re going to blow up the plane, there’s no fooling around.”

Zirin : Boycott The Snakes

Posted in Baseball, Organized Hate, politics, Racism Corner at 10:17 am by

(Ken Kendricks, third from left, and friends at a recent JFA reunion show)

Without even considering the political leanings of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ ownership, I have no trouble rooting against them. For one, their ballpark naming rights are held by a predatory lender, for another, I had the worst stadium nachos in my entire adult life while watching Pedro Martinez subdue the hosts during a visit to Phoenix in 2006. Congressman Raul Grijalva would just as soon advise tourists like me to stay home, however, calling for a national boycott of the state of Arizona over the passage of the “Support Our Law Enforcement & Safe Neighborhoods Act”. As Edge Of Sports’ Dave Zirin explains over at The Progressive (link courtesy Jason Cohen), said legislation “has brought echoes of apartheid to Arizona.” And a boycott of the state need not be restricted to tourism, as Zirin advocates ignoring the NL West’s D-Backs entirely. Thankfully, Howe Gelb‘s vast catalog is unaffected.

As the official Arizona Diamondbacks boycott call states, œIn 2010, the National Republican Senatorial Committee™s third highest Contributor was the [executives of the] Arizona Diamondbacks, who gave $121,600; furthermore, they also contributed $129,500, which ranked as the eighteenth highest contribution to the Republican Party Committee. The team™s big boss, Ken Kendrick, and his family members, E. G. Kendrick Sr. and Randy Kendrick, made contributions to the Republicans totaling a staggering $1,023,527. The Kendricks follow in the footsteps of team founder and former owner Jerry Colangelo. Colangelo, along with other baseball executives and ex-players, launched a group called Battin™ 1000: a national campaign that uses baseball memorabilia to raise funds for a Campus for Life, the largest anti-choice student network in the country. Colangelo was also deputy chair of Bush/Cheney 2004 in Arizona, and his deep pockets created what was called the Presidential Prayer Team”a private evangelical group that claims to have signed up more than 1 million people to drop to their knees and pray daily for Bush.

The Diamondbacks™ owners have every right to their politics, and if we policed the political proclivities of every owner™s box there might not be anyone left to root for (except for the Green Bay Packers, who don™t have an owner™s box). But this is different. The law is an open invitation to racial profiling and harassment. The boycott call is coming from inside the state.

If the owners of the Diamondbacks want to underwrite an ugly edge of bigotry, we should raise our collective sporting fists against them. A boycott is also an expression of solidarity with Diamondback players such as Juan Guitterez, Gerardo Parra, and Rodrigo Lopez. They shouldn™t be put in a position where they™re cheered on the playing field and then asked for their papers when the uniform comes off.

04.23.10

Now Would Not Be A Good Time To Remind This Habs Fan His ’10-’11 Season Ticket Deposit Is Due

Posted in Free Expression, Hockey, Sports Radio at 7:04 pm by

If you thought WFAN’s Jerome From Manhattan was scary, wait until you get a load of Lanny from Saint-Lambert. Though there’s a small chance Montreal taking a 2-0 lead over Washington tonight while trying to stave off elimination might temporarily mollify the caller above…. I wouldn’t count on it.

Angel Pena : Baseball’s Barber To The Stars

Posted in Baseball, Fashion at 6:44 pm by

Such is professional baseball’s paranoia about all things PED, that even the humble barber must practice his skills far from an MLB clubhouse.  And while such an edict will have little impact on former Met Rey Sanchez, hairdresser Angel Pena — described as “the most charismatic barber in the world” by the Snakes’ Edwin Jackson —  finds himself and his all-roster client roster exposed in Friday’s USA Today via the handiwork of Bob Nightengale (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory).

He waits in a bank parking lot for Red Sox slugger David Ortiz to pick him up. They drive to Fenway Park and set up shop outside the team’s clubhouse since MLB security has barred locker room access to outsiders. Soon Pena heads to Logan International Airport for a flight to Seattle, where Mariners outfielder Milton Bradley is waiting.

You won’t find Pena’s name in a program or media guide. He has no background in baseball and is not a trainer, team executive or agent, but he is trusted by virtually every star in the game. Pena, nicknamed “Monster99,” is the barber of baseball.

“Everybody around the league knows who he is, and everybody loves him,” says Ortiz, who has a barber chair in his garage courtesy of Pena. “Everybody is cool with him because he’s so cool. I’m telling you, he’s got a relationship with everyone.”

Pena, a 33-year-old product of New York City, has a contact list that would make agent Scott Boras envious.

In the last few months, he has cut the hair of a wide array of baseball luminaries. From players such as Ryan Braun, Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard, Torii Hunter, Matt Kemp, Cliff Lee, Tim Lincecum, Manny Ramirez, CC Sabathia and Justin Upton to Hall of Famers Yogi Berra and Reggie Jackson to Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen to New York Mets general manager Omar Minaya.

Bradley was desperate for a haircut before the Mariners started a road trip in Chicago, where he spent an acrimonious 2009 playing for the Cubs. If you are going to get booed, you might as well look good.

“He’s a guy you trust because he is who he is,” says Bradley, who paid for Pena’s flight to Seattle. “He’s not looking for anything. He doesn’t bother anyone. He’s just himself.”

Cubs Enter New Era of Yankee Level Spending, Debut New $91 Mil Set-Up Man

Posted in Baseball at 6:29 pm by

http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/05BP6GB9Hg8jf/610x.jpg

[Cubs’  ex-ace and only no-hit set-up man, Carlos Zambrano, seen here with die-hard Cub fan Fidel Woo-Woo Castro, considers this a transitional move until “the Cubs get to the play-offs.” So, Z is cool with this until September 2011?]

All talk of of a conservative spending Ricketts regime (yes word-cops, I said “regime”) ends today as Lou Piniella moves Carlos Zambrano, bananas and all, to the bullpen.  Who’d a thought Carlos Silva would hold a starting position longer than Big Z?   The main reason, besides Zambrano’s refusal to be typecast as an “ace,” is that Theodore Roosevelt Lily is back from rehab and ready to start.  Carrie Muskat reports it all here, with the sad numbers speaking for themselves — Zambrano’s ERA is even high for the Cubs ‘pen.  Considering that the Cubs starting ERA with Z is 2.16, one can only hope Lily will give the North Side some real traction.  Too bad Youtube won’t allow a Hitler Finds Out Zambrano is in the Bullpen video.  Also, the pressing deadline of this post prevents me from a good Conan O’Brien bumping a guy from prime time George Lopez analogy, but just so you know, it’s there.

Overall, it’s a bold, creative move on Piniella’s part.  For a guy who couldn’t budge Fonzie from the lead-off spot last year, this is a big deal.  It should also shut up most of Z’s critics who think he’s an unmanageable egomaniac.  Ms. Muskat relates it all today:

“We need help in the eighth-inning role right now, and that’s what we’re trying to help ourselves in,” Piniella said.

Zambrano said Wednesday that he told Piniella he expects to be back in the rotation when the Cubs are in the playoffs.

“He did mention that,” Piniella said. “The playoffs are a long, long, long way away. Let’s just get through April right now.”

The move was expected to be temporary, but no one on the Cubs will say how long Zambrano will be in the bullpen.

“Let’s not put a time frame on it — let’s not do that,” Piniella said.

Zambrano will need a little more time to warm up before his relief appearances, and Piniella plans on using him only for one inning or 1 1/3 innings and not stretching him out too far.

“It’s a shock,” Marmol said of the news. “I never thought Zambrano would be in the bullpen. He’ll help the team, that’s what he says. I agree with him.”

Ryan Dempster, Carlos Silva, Randy Wells and Tom Gorzelanny entered Thursday’s game with a combined 2.16 ERA in 11 starts. Zambrano was 1-2 with a 7.45 ERA in his four starts. The bullpen needs reinforcements, having compiled a 1-6 record and 6.14 ERA.

The Possibly Urological Musings Of Gordon Beckham

Posted in Baseball at 4:14 pm by

With the White Sox sporting a 5-11 start (their worst since 1997), a .215 team batting average, a lineup designed by way of Santeria, a winless Cy Young starter with a .400 OBA, and a catcher openly wondering in April about his next assignment, you might guess clubhouse pessimism would reign on the South Side. Add in a .217 lead-off hitter, a manager obsessed with Twitter, and the grim news that traded-away Scott Podsednik is busy savaging the pitching staffs of the American League, and you’d be doing more than mere guesswork.

So when youthful 2B Gordon Beckham appeared on WSCR’s Mully and Hanley show this morning, it was with some surprise that Chicago heard a more hopeful perspective.

“Baseball,”
offered Beckham, “comes in spurts.”

Indeed it does, young Gordon. So reminded, thoughts reel with the hydraulic possibilities. After all, weather remains terrible at home, and like many Southern-built models, Jake Peavy is not optimized for 39-degree outings. Even the ’97 team was competitive with an 81-80 finish. The bullpen is frighteningly good, and Freddy Garcia’s slippery spot may well provide the means to deservingly bust Matt Thornton into the rotation. On offense, the front office could heat up more than the temperature – hitting coach Greg Walker may finally fulfill his true function: to be pointlessly fired as a scapegoat. Cowed by guilt at the charade, Sox bats might catch fire in memory of their hapless coach. Anything could happen.

What Beckham is saying is that things can change. Whether he’s channeling Richard Hell, The Runaways or Peter North, we would do well to remember this as we fertilize our own lawns this spring.