Maurice Lucas, RIP

Posted in Basketball at 9:56 pm by

Former Blazers F Maurice Lucas, an imposing force in the paint, and a member of Portland’s only NBA title squad, has succumbed to cancer at the age of 58. From the Oregonian’s Jason Quick :

Lucas had battled bladder cancer for the past two years. He was an assistant coach for the Blazers when he had surgery in April of 2009, then appeared to be recovering when he suffered a relapse that hospitalized him in November of 2009.

Lucas was a five timeAll-Star, three times in Portland,  during his 14-year career (2 in the ABA and 12 in the NBA). Portland has his No. 20 retired by the team. He was the team™s second-leading scorer and rebounder to Bill Walton on the 1976-1977 NBA Championship team. Walton has called Lucas œThe greatest Trail Blazer of All-Time.™™

Paul Wilson’s Highly Unpleasant World Cup Bid Analogies

Posted in Football at 9:34 pm by

(FIFA supremo Sepp Blatter, incredulous anyone might be resistant to the charms of hosting the world’s biggest sporting event)

“The more I hear of the World Cup bid, the better I think of bog-snorkelling,” argues the Guardian’s Paul Wilson, and before you conclude this is a favorable review of “Jackass 3D”, be advised the columnist is sick-to-fucking death of Russian bribery allegations. “A row between England and Russia about who has the worse drink and crime culture ought to be entertaining, bidspeak renders it instantly boring,” sighs Wilson, who might’ve unwittingly inspired the greatest straight-to-DVD video since “Scum On The Run”

England lodged a formal complaint with Fifa over derogatory remarks by Russian officials, then withdrew it, for fear it might be interpreted as an attack on their rivals. The Russians have been having a right old go at us but it turns out the guy who called the English bid “primitive” has immunity because he is not a formal member of the bid team. Vyacheslav Koloskov is just the honorary president of the Russian Football Union and a former Fifa executive committee member, so that apparently makes it all right. Anyone interested in this childishness must need his head examining. Anyone trying to make sense of it soon will need his head examining.

You can say the end justifies the means but I am even beginning to lose interest in whether England hosts the 2018 World Cup or not. I dare say it would be fun and I am sure the country would do a good job but none of those considerations seem to count for very much. Fifa are more interested in legacy, which is possibly a euphemism for encouraging host nations to spend beyond their means on stadiums and facilities that quickly become white elephants.

England does not need any more legacy; we already have enough. So what would a World Cup do for us, exactly? It could not possibly give the game a higher profile than it already has. A World Cup here would not introduce the game to a new audience or switch on a younger generation. Make a profit? Yes, but mostly for Fifa.

Bob Rassiman Is Very Sorry (He Has To Endure Michael Kay)

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 2:36 pm by

YES Michael Kay isn’t exactly the most humble of all broadcasters, so it’s with considerable interest the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman contemplated a recent apology of sorts from the Yankee mouthpiece (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)

After the Rangers eliminated the Yankees with a 6-1 Game 6 ALCS win, Michael Kay, standing on the field in Arlington with Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network, mike in hand, offered an apology, albeit not a tear-stained on

Remember, it was Kay who went on Al Yankzeera’s Game 1 postgame show and declared Texas dead after the Bombers’ comeback win.

Cue the sad violin: “I couldn’t have been more wrong after Game 1,” Kay said on YES’ Game 6 postgame. “… I apologize to our listeners to say something like that. I thought it was over for sure. Obviously it wasn’t. They bounced back. That didn’t affect them, that five-run eighth inning.”

We could easily accuse Kay of being self-absorbed. Why else would he inject himself into the story when the only legit one was about the Yankees elimination and embarrassment? And if Kay was in full apology mode, why not apologize to the Rangers too? After all, following Game 1 he basically called them spineless.

Nah, why be cynical? Kay’s apology outweighs the other stuff, kind of like a presidential veto. Another loose end: Why no “I’m sorry” for Cliff Lee? Kay claimed Lee’s resin stained hat is “illegal.”

Maybe Kay is waiting to make that apology in person. When he interviews Lee after he becomes the newest member of the Yankees pitching staff.

History’s Most Puzzling eBay Actions (Pt. III)

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 1:17 pm by

Sorry about the above headline, as the auction in question isn’t nearly as puzzling as the first two featured, nor does it actually appear on eBay. The big question for this Sunday afternoon ; who is the high bidder, Ben Schwartz or Albert Belle?


Byron Scott Doesn’t Wanna Be Your Personal Pizza

Posted in Basketball, Food at 5:37 pm by

(did someone say something about free pizza?)

Toronto rewards their long-suffering hoops fans with free slices from Pizza Pizza whenever the Raptors top 100 points, which might occur a little less often without the services of Chris Bosh going forward. A Marcus Banks steal led to a Leonardo Barbosa layup in the closing moments of last night’s rout of Cleveland, and while the aforementioned play meant free pizza for the paying customers, Cleveland coach Byron Scott took considerable umbrage, and Hoops Addict considers it something less than an outrage ;

The reality of is this is going to be a long season in Toronto where the home fans don™t have a lot to cheer about so it™s great the players are doing everything they can to get the fans excited “ even if it™s extending their lead in the final seconds of a blowout.

It™s not what makes sense for a lot of basketball purists, but it did result in arguably the loudest cheer of the night.

Granted, there was a game last season at the Air Canada Centre where Charlotte Bobcats head coach Larry Brown instructed his team to dribble the ball until they were called for a 24 second violation, but that was a road game for the Bobcats. They weren™t playing in front of their own fans and scoring another bucket wouldn™t result in anything of substance.

œWe weren™t trying to disrespect them, we weren™t trying to humiliate them or nothing, Sonny Weems told the media after the game. œWe did that for our fans. If we get 100 points the fans get pizza.

Jay Triano, however, was a little less political about what transfolded.

œHow many years did we watch them dance down there with all the hoot and hollering and everything? Triano vented. œIt™s a different team so it probably wasn™t the right thing to do to score, but our fans come to these games and they™re going to be here to support us for 41 games and we play this team three more times.

Just When You Thought Newark, NJ Wasn’t Nearly So Scary…

Posted in Basketball, Halloween at 3:20 pm by

…citizens of that fine city have to contend with the prospect of 7″+  Nets C Brook Lopez turning up at the door tomorrow night — after the unbeaten Nets have battled Miami at 1pm — and demanding all sorts of sugary snacks.

I had a couple of guys in their early 30’s turn up at around 10pm last Halloween. After it became somewhat clear they were neither planning to rob or rape me (and were only mildly disappointed in the outlay of Snicker’s, M&M’s and other assorted poisons for children) we watched a re-run of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and then they went on their merry way.  It was a slightly unnerving experience.  But not nearly as fucking weird as Brook Lopez banging away at your front door.

“Closing The Intellectual Gap” – Mets To Hire DePodesta

Posted in Baseball at 9:27 am by

The Bergen Record’s Bob Klapisch has rarely treated the Mets with kid gloves, and he strikes a markedly different tone in analyzing Sandy Alderson’s ascent to power in Flushing. Amongst the tidbits dropped in Klapisch’s Alderson tribute, there’s news the Amazins will soon add Bill Plaschke’s least favorite baseball blogger (above) to their front office.

It took guts for the Wilpons,to hire a tough, self-confident man like Alderson, because it means they™ll both have a lower profile from now on. The Mets, who™d carved out an industry reputation for endless meetings and an inability to act decisively, will usher in a new era of business practices.

It starts with a GM who moves and thinks quickly, who is unafraid to make mistakes, not intimidated by the Yankees and has the respect of the 29 other GMs in the game. That could be the most powerful revelation “ that the Mets are finally closing the intellectual gap on the rest of the industry. Just as Beane said, the Mets will soon be considered among the best and brightest in baseball. It™ll no longer be possible for other GMs to have the upper hand every time they put a call into the Flushing offices.

Alderson will start by hiring Paul DePodesta, who currently works in the Padres™ front office, but was Beane™s assistant before being named as the Dodgers™ GM in 2004 at the age of 31.

Alderson™s most important hire, however, will be his manager and it means plenty that Wally Backman is flying in for an interview next week. Backman was on Alderson™s original list of candidates that he submitted to the Wilpons “ and that was before he was hired.

Alderson™s interest in Backman appears to be more than just a way to appease fans. It™s been wrongly assumed that Alderson wants a weakling in the dugout, someone he can control “ someone like, say, Art Howe, who he hired in Oakland. But Alderson also hired Tony LaRussa, which means he™s not necessarily afraid of brains and charisma. Backman, it seems, has a chance with this new regime, others who™ll be interviewed include John Gibbons, Bob Melvin and possibly Clint Hurdle.