A-Gone : Red Sox Collapse Was All Part Of God’s Plan (If Not ESPN’s)

Posted in Baseball at 11:55 am by

Assuming Jose Reyes’ quick exit in Flushing didn’t make you hate baseball or life itself, Wednesday’s late night finales in Atlanta, Baltimore and Tampa were fantastic advertisements for MLB being almost as culturally relevant as injury updates on the condition of Michael Vick’s right hand.— unless you’re a Braves or Red Sox fan, in which case their respective chokes for the ages will make for an awfully long, depressing winter.  Good thing then, that Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez has already put the disappointment of Boston’s 3rd place finish into a more spiritual context, as the Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham explains ;

“It’s definitely something that didn’t plan for. We were wholly confident that we would make the playoffs but it didn’t happen,” he said. “We didn’t do a better job with the lead. I’m a firm believer that God has a plan and it wasn’t in his plan for us to move forward.”

Asked what he saw from the team this month, Gonzalez stayed on his theme.

“God didn’t have it in the cards for us,” he said.

On Tuesday, when I asked him about the collapse of the team, Gonzalez blamed the schedule, not the Almighty.

“We play too many night games on getaway days and get into places at 4 in the morning,” Gonzalez said. “This has been my toughest season physically because of that. We play a lot of night games on Sunday for television and that those things take a lot out of you.”

I told Gonzalez that teams like the Red Sox and Yankees have long had those challenges, it’s part of playing for a high-profile team.

“Why does it have to be?” he said. “They can put the Padres on ESPN, too. The schedule really hurt us. Nobody is really reporting that.”


Bleeding Dodger Goo ; Wishing Tommy Lasorda A Belated 84th Birthday

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 5:15 pm by

Though longtime Dodgers skipper Tommy Lasorda is a mysterious no-show in LA’s recently completed video in support of “It Gets Better”, the 84 year old recently celebrated his birthday by serving as an honorary third base coach for last Thursday’s home tilt against the Giants.  It’s with Tommy’s baseball legacy and humanitarian streak in mind that we recall the following CSTB post from July 8, 2008, “YFIASB : Haunted By The Nearly Nude Lasorda” ;

The LA Times ran a piece on ballpark statues in which author Kevin Baxter noted Dodgers Stadium is amongst the clubs without one. While Your Face Is A Sports Blog‘s Duke Of Everything rejects Sandy Koufax as a subject for not being “‘iconic’ enough”, he’s not without alternative suggestions.

I started to ask myself what the perfect statue would be to represent the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. If I just closed my eyes and thought “Los Angeles Dodgers”, what immediate associations did I have.

A few ideas came to mind:

  • Steve Garvey surrounded by children – dozens and dozens of children
  • A fan in a Raiders hat and Dodgers jersey pouring beer on a 6 year-old wearing a Giants hat
  • Jackie Robinson in Heaven, watching Al Campanis on God’s TV and weeping
  • Fred Claire giving Pedro Martinez a handshake and a plane ticket to Montreal

But the one thing that symbolized the Dodgers, more than anything else, would be this: Tommy Lasorda, naked except for a towel barely covering his sweaty midsection, at the post-game buffet filling his plate with mounds of linguini while screaming profanities at the clubhouse boys. It’s a mental image I picked up while reading John Feinstein’s “Play Ball” several years ago, and no amount of therapy has been able to scrub it from my memory. (Perhaps a more accurate statue would have two sides – one with Lasorda smiling and hugging kids, while the other had him foaming at the mouth about Dave Kingman – but I disgress.)

The Duke’s proposed Mets monument would feature “Darryl Strawberry and Doc Gooden playfully skiing down a mountain of blow”, which, I suppose on the old iconic-meter, scores a lot higher than David Cone whipping it out, Kevin Mitchell decapitating a cat, or the duo of Shane Spencer and Karim Garcia beating up the pizza delivery guy.

Hardest Hits At Iggles Practice Delivered By Harold Shipman Doppelgänger

Posted in Gridiron, Sports Journalism at 4:04 pm by

What happens when you call the Philadelphia Daily News’ Les Bowen (above, left) a quote-stealing old hack “who hasn’t broken a story in years”?  If you’re Twitter-provocateur Jeff  McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, you might get your head handed to you (by AN OLD MAN).  From Fox Sports :

The two men were involved in a Twitter spat Tuesday ; Bowen, who vowed on Twitter to handle his “business in person” landed a punch to McLane’s head Wednesday afternoon before the feuding beat writers were quickly broken up, according to WCAU TV’s Howard Eskin.

Tempers flared after McLane posted a tweet Tuesday regarding the status of Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, in which he wrote Vick would likely start Sunday despite a bone bruise in his non-throwing hand.

“I don’t intend to have any tantrums on Twitter, myself,” Bowen replied to one follower. “If I have something to say to someone, it will be face to face.”

Parrish : Those Loyal To Bruce Pearl Committed Career Suicide

Posted in Basketball, College Spurts at 2:24 pm by

Former Tennessee Men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl — currently working a cushy marketing job with a Knoxville grocery distributor — is banished from NCAA coaching for the next 3 years, but will somehow manage to hang onto his $2.6 million, 10,000 square foot mansion.  By contrast, CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish writes, two of Pearl’s former assistants, Jason Shay and Steve Forbes, are professionally and financially fucked.

Had Pearl not been photographed doing what he did, Forbes wouldn’t be the head coach at a junior college here in the panhandle (Northwest Florida State).  And Shay wouldn’t be his assistant. And Shay’s two young children wouldn’t be sharing bunk beds in a two-bedroom apartment. And they wouldn’t have had to leave the family dog with relatives because dogs aren’t allowed in the complex.

And nobody’s house back in Knoxville would be, in all likelihood, headed for foreclosure.

“I’ve tried to sell it, but I can’t even rent it,” Forbes said. “My monthly check here doesn’t even cover my monthly mortgage payment on that house.”

Shay made around $150,000 a year at Tennessee. Now he makes $20,000.

So not only have their careers been damaged, their lives have been turned upside down — all because they A) didn’t stop Pearl from having an improper cookout at his home, B) didn’t after the fact inform the Tennessee compliance department of what would’ve almost certainly been a secondary violation, and C) weren’t “forthcoming” with information about the cookout when the NCAA initially asked about the picture of Pearl and Aaron Craft.

When an NCAA investigator pulled the picture from a file and laid it in front of Forbes, he couldn’t sacrifice himself for the greater good because it wasn’t him, his recruit or his home in the picture. It was Pearl, Pearl’s recruit and Pearl’s home. So Forbes had two options — one of which was to identify the people in the picture and mention the cookout at Pearl’s home. But everybody knows what happens to men who roll on their bosses like that.

“You do that in this business and you’re done,” Forbes said. “Blackballed. You’re not loyal.”

“You’re selling cars,” Shay added.


McCourt New’s Defense : I Might Suck, But At Least I’m Not Jeffrey Loria

Posted in Baseball, The Law, The Marketplace at 5:46 pm by

“A Club owner must be well-capitalized and cannot use the team as a personal ‘cash cow,’ ” – that’s the gist of Bud Selig’s argument that Frank McCourt is no longer entitled to be owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and given McCourt’s history of using the Dodgers to supplement his lifestyle, it’s hard to take issue with MLB’s hopes of banishing the former parking lot magnate. However, McCourt might have a point when alleging there’s a double standard afoot — that his avaricious treatment of Dodger finances is not so different than Jeffrey Loria’s pocket-lining exercises in Miami. Except for, of course, the not so small matter of Loria not being in Selig’s doghouse.  From the LA Times’ Bill Shaikin :

Well-capitalized? McCourt never was, yet Major League Baseball approved his purchase of the Dodgers, primarily with loans from Fox and Bank of America.

MLB approved Loria’s purchase of the Marlins with a loan from the league itself, as part of Selig’s plan to steer Florida owner John Henry to the Boston Red Sox and kill the Montreal Expos.

Cash cow? Selig claims McCourt diverted more than $180 million of Dodgers revenue for personal use, an allegation McCourt denies.

Yet, Loria got more than that in revenue sharing — $198 million over six years of data compiled by the Business of Baseball website — from major-market owners under the condition that money be put into the team.

In 2006 and 2008 the Marlins reportedly took in more than twice as much from other owners as they spent on their major league payroll — and before they sold a single ticket or took in a dollar from local and national media contracts.

In 2010, one year after the Marlins got a new ballpark funded largely by public dollars, documents obtained by Deadspin showed the Marlins had turned a $38-million profit in 2008. In addition, Yahoo reported that the Marlins paid another $8 million over two years to a company controlled by Loria and the club president, David Samson.

“The swindlers who run the Florida Marlins,” Yahoo columnist Jeff Passan wrote.

Under pressure from MLB and the players’ union, the Marlins agreed last year to make sure revenue-sharing money went back into the team. Yet, Selig never threatened to kick out Loria, or the Marlins.

Stories Like This Are The Reason Ken Reeves Left High School Coaching

Posted in Gridiron, Leave No Child Unbeaten, Lower Education, Parental Responsibility at 12:14 pm by

(the family that bench presses together…gets suspended together. All that heavy lifting…and they can’t pick up after themselves!)

Who amongst us doesn’t have a parent or older relative guilty of oversharing on Facebook?  For Perry County (TN) offensive linemen Rodney and Ryan Belasic, the results of their mother’s F-book status updates weren’t merely embarrassing, but ended up costing their previously unbeaten Vikings team a pair of early 2011 wins, as the Tennessean’s Chip Cirillo explains ;

“(Perry County) inadvertently played ineligible athletes in the first three ballgames,” TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress said. “It was two brothers that transferred. They got a residence in Perry County, but they had not vacated their residence completely in Henry County.”

Childress said school officials thought the players’ entire family had moved to Perry County during the summer.

“But the mother actually works in Henry County, and she posted on her Facebook page that she sent the kids back to Perry County for the week and that she would not see them again until Friday night,” Childress said. “Then, later on her Facebook page, she posted, ‘How can two boys mess up their room as badly as they do when they’re only here on Saturday and Sunday?’ ”



Fred Wilpon To Newark, NJ : Drop Dead

Posted in Baseball at 9:32 pm by

A few weeks ago, the New York Times’ Harvey Araton covered the sad case of Bears & Eagles Stadium in Newark, NJ, home field for the Can-Am League’s Newark Bears, and a venue that rarely hosted more than a couple of hundred paying customers this season.  With the Yankees needing to renovate their International League affilate’s ballpark in Scranton, PA next season, the relocate the Bombers’ Triple A franchise to Newark for a single season was proposed.   Proving yet again that when it comes to shitty public relations, the Mets aren’t satisfied with merely playing out the string, the Star-Ledger’s Jerry Izenberg exposes an Amazin’ blunder that’s tough for even a Yankee hater to defend.

Under baseball’s rules, the exclusivity of the Yankees and Mets territory is shared. The Yankees called the Mets and asked permission to put their Triple-A team in Newark for only a single year.

The Mets declined.

The Yankees tried once more. They repeated that this was just for a single year. They said that if the Mets agreed for just that one season they would offer an evergreen matching proposal. In essence, they would give the Mets the same shot if they had a team with a minor league park in jeopardy, no matter how many eons into the future.

The Mets declined, saying their organization would only do something like that with mutual and immediate reciprocity as they did with the Yanks when they put a minor league team in Brooklyn and allowed the Yanks to do the same on Staten Island.

One of the concerns that influenced the Mets was their belief that a minor league team in Newark might have weaned potential Mets fans away from the affluent New Jersey suburbs.

Last night, a Mets spokesman confirmed that the team blocked the move, and would only say the decision was within the team’s rights.