11.27.11

If Bobby V. Wants The Red Sox Gig, He’ll Need A Letter Of Recommendation From Someone Other Than Murray Chass

Posted in Baseball at 4:54 pm by

If you believe the rumor mill, Gene Lamont is GM Ben Cherrington’s pick for new skipper of the Boston Red Sox, while CEO Larry Lucchino is said to favor former Rangers/Mets manager Bobby Valentine. Though the latter’s poor reputation with opponents and former players is the stuff of legend, Lucchino must not be an avid reader of the baseball press, as he asked former New York Times scribe Murray Chass for his opinion of Valentine. “I would rather not have people I am interviewing ask me questions,” grumbled Chass, who somehow manages to resent the intrusion while still going to great lengths to bury Bobby V. Chief amongst Valentine’s crimes, suggesting to reporters Todd Hundley needed more sleep, code, apparently, for the former Mets catcher having a drinking problem.

In Todd Hundley’s view, the problem with Valentine began when the manager appeared to be jealous of the player’s standing with the fans. ”He comes into a whole new situation and goes right after I guess the most popular guy,” Hundley said. ”It’s not my fault I’m the most popular guy.”

”I’m talking to my mom while she’s going through chemotherapy,” Hundley said, ”and I’m helping my wife with taking care of our two kids and he’s saying I’m out and about.”

”You see him coming from a mile away,” Hundley said. ”He thinks he’s working in the shadows, but he’s not. You can see right through him. I didn’t have to remember what I said to who and keep track of all this other junk. I’m not going to lie. It seemed like he had to keep track of, I said this to this guy, this to this guy, this to this guy and he got caught up in his web.”

Valentine, meanwhile, demonstrated a large dose of class several years later when a mutual acquaintance introduced my nephew to him in the workout room of a Las Vegas hotel. Told that he was “Murray Chass’ nephew,” Valentine said of me, “He’s a despicable human being.”

Relating the story to me, Kenny said, “Look on the bright side; at least he still referred to you as a human being.”

Mushnick : Francesa’s Braun Diss Part Of A Pattern…

Posted in Baseball, Religion, Sports Radio at 11:09 am by

…and not merely a the usual pattern of ignorance infused with arrogance, either. Noting that newly honored National League MVP Ryan Braun was previously written off by WFAN’s Mike Francesa as “nothing special, not even among the majors’ top two-way outfielders,” New York Post sports media critic Phil Mushnick suggests, “Braun simply may be ineligible to win the NL MVP by Francesa’s reckoning because he’s half-Jewish, thus he may be a disloyal American.” Y’know, it’s this kind of talk that might cost WFAN their endless stream of advertisements from the Israel Ministry Of Tourism?

Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, in a long, on-air simplistic, facts-barren and bigoted spew that seemed taken from the Josef Goebbels How-To Handbook, Francesa not only laid the mass murders at the feet of Israel and on the heads of Jews, he strongly suggested that Jews are unpatriotic Americans, thus make suspect U.S. citizens.

WFAN still has been unable to find the tape from that day — what a coincidence! — and Francesa has denied saying any such things. But he’s a liar. As did many others, I heard him, and wrote about it then. And if I’m wrong, if I made this story up then had it published here, that would be highly actionable, a slam-dunk, can’t-lose libel suit. So then sue me.

More recently, when I again raised this issue here, Francesa again, on the air, denied it, this time adding that a Jewish watchdog agency had even given him, in this matter, clearance.

Really? Which agency? Who, where, when? Tell us. Show us. If the tape is missing, or was erased, or eliminated, or just disappeared or it’s being subjugated, how could any group have issued him such a thumbs-up, declaring that he never spoke such things?

Respected Columnist Actually Pines To See Lane Kiffin On Television

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 10:55 am by

Well, sort of. While many are up in arms over the ouster of University Of Oregon President Richard Lariviere, the Oregonian’s John Canzano saves his Sunday morning outrage for a far more burning issue ; the 11-1 Ducks advancing to an inaugural Pac-12 championship game against a foe as lowly as UCLA. The Bruins are in said spot only because USC — paying for crimes committed during Pete Carrol’s tenure — were deemed ineligible, leading Canzano to ask, “didn’t anyone in (conference President) Larry Scott’s office think to include a back-up provision should one of the division winners not be above .500?”)

The Bruins are 6-6. Five of those conference losses are by 25 or more points. They got beat 50-0 by USC on Saturday and squeezed past Oregon State by only eight points earlier this season. And so the first conference championship game, promised to be laced with all kinds of pageantry, no doubt, ends with the losing coach shaking hands, then getting fired on his way out of the building with his non-bowl-eligible team.

I know, the Trojans have that bowl ban, but I challenge anyone to look at how this has played out and not believe it’s a shame that Lane Kiffin’s team won’t play in the conference title game. We all deserve better than UCLA-Oregon.

The Bruins got here by virtue of a tiebreaker, a USC bowl ban, and the fact that they didn’t have to play Oregon in the regular season. Which is only to say they are going to be ushered into Autzen Stadium next Friday, and they’ll look around, see the shiny championship trophy, and all the fans screaming, and smile, just before they realize that this whole thing is a set-up and they’re the meal.

11.26.11

Excessive Celebration For A 5-7 Season?

Posted in Fashion, Gridiron at 8:07 pm by

(image culled from Chris Tardio‘s Twitter feed)

…or an appropriate response to ending the nation’s longest annual losing streak? Who amongst us wouldn’t want a special shirt commemorating the day Tennessee were eliminated from eligibility for the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl?

Derek Fisher Can Barely Contain His Excitement Over The (Probable) End Of The NBA Lockout

Posted in Basketball, The Marketplace at 3:38 pm by

Fast forward to about 7:39, please. Considering Derek Fisher wasn’t sitting next to Jeffrey Kessler or fielding questions from Benji Bronk, we can safely assume he’s somewhat less than thrilled with the near-resolution of the NBA labor dispute. At the risk of regurgitating tweets from early this morning, let me say that while I’m beyond thrilled we’ll have basketball to watch on Christmas Day, my enthusiasm is slightly quelled by the sobering realization Dan Gilbert, Donald Sterling and James Dolan still own NBA teams.

11.25.11

TSN Recalls A Professional Football Owner Far More Loveable Than Jerry Jones

Posted in Gridiron at 10:46 pm by

Sunday’s Grey Cup clash between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and B.C. Lions will mark the 20th anniversary of the Toronto Argonauts’ 1991 CFL Championship, a title won under the stewardship of former co-owner, the late John Candy.  On Saturday, TSN will screen a documentary on Candy’s tenure with the team (alongside partners Wayne Gretzky and the later-disgraced Bruce McNall), said telecast coming during a period in which “a whiff of formaldehyde” permeates the contemporary Argos in the view of the Globe & Mail’s Bruce Dowbiggin ;

The film highlights Candy’s manic efforts to make the Argos the coolest kid in class once again, reviving them in a Toronto market infatuated with the Blue Jays and Maple Leafs. Employing Hollywood pals ranging from Jim Belushi to Mariel Hemingway, Candy single-handedly lifted the team and the entire league for a brief moment of gridiron Camelot.

Watching him on the frigid Winnipeg sideline in November of 1991, we vividly recall looking up from our desk at CBC to see the ample Candy bounding across the newsroom toward us, massive paw outstretched as slack-jawed reporters sat stunned to see the movie star in their midst. As the many voices in the piece recall, Candy was everywhere in the brief years between buying the team and selling it days before his death in March of 1994. We were on his list and he made it memorable.

Producer Matt Dunn deftly captures Candy’s enthusiasm for a team that, as now, was being rendered passé by Toronto’s cultural elites. In those days, however, there was no NFL pressing at the gates of Canada’s largest market, threatening the viability of the entire league. As the CFL takes the Grey Cup game to Toronto next year, it’s hard not to lament the shabby condition of the storied tradition Candy so believed in.

Lenny Dykstra : Contrite, Semi-Lucid, Disavowing Anti-Semitic Tweets

Posted in Baseball, twitter twatter at 4:26 pm by

Using the sort of rhetoric that might limit his future CSTB appearances to one or twice a year (““I really for the first time understand humility…“It’s not everybody else’s fault. It’s not a coincidence that I’m here”) the rehabbing reprobate Lenny Dykstra tells the New York Daily News’ Nancy Dillon that “The punishment gods said, ‘You know what we’re going to do? We’re going to put you in fucking jail.”

Dykstra is now a voluntary patient on scholarship at The Hills, takes routine drug tests and calls his thinking “clear.”

“I’m a partier, (and) it leads to making decisions that probably led to why I’m here right now. And that’s a fact that I have to admit,” he said.

Dykstra scoffed at reports that he recently bailed on a formal agreement to fight fellow former baseball star Jose Canseco in a celebrity boxing match. He said the Pennsylvania fan who ran his Twitter feed while he was incarcerated signed the contract without his full consent and then fabricated quotes for a press release.

Dykstra said the Pennsylvania-based fan later staged a fake Twitter war with him, attributing anti-Semitic remarks to the former All-Star. Claiming he doesn’t even know the password for the Twitter account bearing his name, Dykstra said he now is pursuing a restraining order.