10.26.12

The Death Of Ceefax : Ronay’s Eulogy For The Least Stimulating Media Platform Of All TIme

Posted in non-sporting journalism, Technical Difficulties at 7:49 pm by

The BBC’s Ceefax video text service was put to death earlier this week after 38 years of making Prodigy look space ageThe Guardian’s Barney Ronay calls Ceefax’s termination, “a source of minor sadness for anybody who came to rely on that discreet but authoritative presence during those analogue years when, pre-rolling news, TV text had an absolute monopoly on these things.”

Ceefax had no byline picture. It had no angle to work, no cloud of nuanced personal ambition. Even in death there will be no Ceefax sex scandal. Ceefax did not have a caravan. Ceefax didn’t want to feel you up. Ceefax wouldn’t come jangling and panting and scrabbling at your door after lights out. In fact Ceefax had no interest in you at all. And this was the real nub, perhaps even its greatest distinction: it was courteously and brusquely non-interactive, unscarred by the current urge to embellish all – Have your shout! Speak your spume! Tell Us what YOU think even if it is essentially INANE and imitative MEWLING! – with the legitimising babble of transient public opinion.

Perhaps we could still learn a little from Ceefax’s orderly restraint at a time when all broadcasting seems intent on thrusting its great meaty fists out through the screen and presenting not so much a sense of authority, as a babble of shared misdirection, and when Sky Sports is even now broadcasting a kind of man-Ceefax on Saturday afternoons, a Ceefax of the flesh with real actual men dressed in wedding suits and ranged in front of invisible screens, frowning, shrugging, squawking, and essentially being human Ceefax on a grand, mob-handed scale.

Finally, Someone To Bring A Bit Of Excitement To Las Vegas : Mets Retain Backman

Posted in Baseball at 3:46 pm by

(that’s right. It’s all mug shot Friday!)

Though the Flushing futures of David Wright and R.A. Dickey are yet to be determined, the New York Mets — possibly ignoring MLB edicts not release blockbuster news during the World Series —- announced Friday that Wally Backman would remain skipper of the club’s Triple A affiliate.  Backman, afforded the position of breathing down Terry Collins’ neck for the last two seasons, will oversee the Las Vegas 51’s of the Pacific Coast League. Quoted by Newsday’s Marc Carig, Mets GM Sandy Alderson showed he has few equals in the profession when it comes to damning his employees with very faint praise.

“If he were to get a major- league job elsewhere, I’m sure he’d consider it,” Alderson said. “But in the meantime, we’re looking forward to having him here. He’s part of Mets history. He does a nice job for us on the field and we expect he’ll do that again here.”

Marv : Melo Could Be One Of The Greatest (6th Men) Of All Time

Posted in Basketball at 2:53 pm by

As the 2012-13 NBA regular season approaches, who better to quiz about the New York Knicks’ propsects than the team’s former broadcaster, and one pushed out by James Dolan for not parroting the company line?  TNT’s Marv Albert spoke with the New York Post’s Justin Terranova, and forecast an NBA title in Carmelo Anthony’s future, albeit in another team’s uniform.

“The biggest question for the Knicks is whether Amar’e (Stoudemire) and Carmelo (Anthony) can play effectively,” Albert said. “It hasn’t happened to this point. I don’t know it if can. Are they better with Amar’e coming off the bench? Will he accept that?

“With Carmelo, who is a great talent, but you wonder — you can get into the playoffs with him — but how far can you go with Carmelo? We saw that in Denver. With the isolation and him being the main scorer, you look back at NBA history teams with guys like him don’t usually win championships.”

“I look at Carmelo as someone who will have his greatest success on his next team as someone who comes off the bench as an instant offense guy. And is not on the floor for 38-40 minutes, similar to what Bob McAdoo did with his days after the Knicks (was sixth man for Lakers title teams in 1982, 1985).”

10.25.12

Respected Columnist Insists Tim McCarver Is Not Senile

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 5:38 pm by

Chants of “Barry, Barry” rang out all over AT&T Park upon Barry Zito’s exit in the top of the 6th last night, and while the former A’s starter’s career resurrection remains a major storyline of this postseason, The Nation’s Dave Zirin prefers to focus on what he considers a deliberate diss to another Bay Area baseball icon. “They used to chant ‘Barry’ for someone else around here,” mused Fox Sports’ Joe Buck, to which analyst Tim McCarver responded, “…at Barry Manilow concerts.” In Zirin’s view, there’s much more to McCarver’s gag than terrible musical taste.


McCarver was actually making a poorly executed joke about the invisibility of Barry Bonds and at the expense of Barry Bonds. There is a delight that the baseball cognoscenti takes in making Barry Bonds their “invisible man.” It’s a way to marginalize him without confronting what he represents. He’s a home-run king in exile. He’s the end product of an era where owners made billions selling a steroid-enhanced product. He’s the person who can no longer tell the press to go to hell, because they won’t acknowledge his voice. The press corps once asked Bonds if he thought steroids was cheating. Bonds responded, “Is steroids cheating? You want to define cheating in America? When they make a shirt in Korea for a $1.50 and sell it here for 500 bucks. And you ask me what cheating means?” Now they don’t have to care what he thinks. Now they can humiliate him forever by denying his existence.

It’s so fitting that it was the fans of San Francisco who forced his name onto the airwaves. It’s the city where generations of people traveled to escape the sting of invisibility. It’s the city where shame is treated as the greatest sin of all. It’s the city where Barry Bonds can thumb his nose at the exile of Major League Baseball, and truly be home.

World Series 2012 : Scapegoat For Detroit’s Game One Loss, Named & Shamed

Posted in Baseball at 3:33 pm by

Considering how many suggestions were made that Detroit’s relative layoff after sweeping New York in the ALCS left them rusty for last night’s start of the World Series against San Francisco, it’s kind of funny that Tigers P Doug Fister insisted the opposite while being quizzed during a game his club was trailing. But at least Fister had the good graces not to bury his pitching coach, something ESPN.com’s Buster Olney seems to relish in all but blaming Jeff Jones for Justin Verlander’s monumental struggles against the Giants.  “It’d be a safe guess that over the last two years,  Jones hasn’t made many trips to the mound in the middle of an inning to speak with Verlander,” observed Olney, which is a pretty roundabout way of denying sufficient credit to Pablo Sandoval.

As Jones trudged slowly to the mound in the middle of Verlander’s 38-pitch third inning in Game 1 of the World Series — the right-hander’s longest inning of the entire season — the pitcher stared at him intensely, and maybe even with a little anger. He wasn’t mad at Jones, per se; he was just mad about what had happened.

“Why are you out here?” Verlander asked Jones, with a slight smile and some gallows humor, before mentioning that all the visit had accomplished was to fire up the crowd.

And when played resumed — with Verlander’s rhythm completely destroyed — he threw another fastball to Sandoval, who blasted a home run to left field, the second of his three on the night. “Wow,” Verlander said, stunned that Sandoval’s long drive had carried over the fence.

Verlander said after the game that he never felt in sync during the game, or even before, and he wasn’t able to command his fastball the way he wanted even while warming up. It should be noted that in his previous start in the postseason, against the Yankees, he had struggled with his command in his last six innings of work, and during Game 1 Wednesday night, his physical gestures on the mound suggested he was working to correct his delivery.

OKC To Flea : You’re No Mike Watt

Posted in Basketball, Rock Und Roll at 3:07 pm by

OK, that’s not exactly what the defending Western Conference champs said to Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist / sometimes hoops blogger, Flea.  But as Ball Don’t Lie’s Kelly Dwyer reports, the Thunder rejected a request by  history’s most annoying bass player the Rock & Roll Hall Of Famer to tour the team’s locker room during his band’s visit to the Chesapeake Energy Arena Monday night.

As Dwyer points out , this might not be the most reasonable expectations on the part of RHCP (“if the Chili Peppers owned their own studio or practice facility and rented out the space to other bands while they were away, the last thing Flea would want is some visiting musician to pull a bass off the wall hanger for a slap and tickle”), but I prefer to look at this way : many of us have thought and long and hard if there was anything that could make us look favorably upon Clay Bennett. Disrespecting Flea does nothing to mitigate Bennett’s crimes against Seattle….but it’s a great start!

10.24.12

The NBA Goes To Unusual Lengths To Stop Zaza Pachulia From Attending His First All-Star Weekend

Posted in Basketball at 8:30 pm by

(Chuck Nevitt thanks you in advance for not comparing him to any contemporary centers)

Earlier today it was announced that starting this season, fans voting for the respective NBA All-Star teams will no longer select a center, instead being asked to select a top 3 frontcourt players and a pair of guards. Speaking with the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen, Rockets head coach Kevin McHale bemoaned the current paucity of top flight big men.

“They had all kinds of forwards out there,” McHale said. “I think it’s a sad state when you can’t (find) enough centers in our league anymore to fill up the roster. I don’t know if it’s a position-less game. If Moses Malone was playing right now and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Robert Parish, you’d have centers. I don’t know where they went. They went the way of the dinosaur, I think.

“If you put LeBron James on Moses Malone, everyone would go, ‘What an interesting matchup.’ You do it for a while and LeBron would come over and say, ‘You got to take me off this guy.’ It’s just different. There’s just not a lot of them right now.”