01.23.13

Sing A Tsonga Of Sexism (Especially If It Fills CSTB’s 2013 Quota On Tennis Coverage)

Posted in Tennis at 7:32 pm by

(since Jeff Tarango’s erratic behavior could not be blamed on his gender, we’ll just have to assume he was a total jerk)

Asked by reporters at the Australian Open why top seeds in women’s tennis tend to be knocked out early more often on the men’s tour, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga claimed, “the girls are more unstable” (“it’s just about hormones and all this stuff…e don’t have all these bad things, so we are physically in a good shape every time, and you are not. That’s it.”)  The Wall Street Journal’s Carl Bialik is far too professional to resort to the sort of name-calling that headlined this item, instead pointing out, “there are plenty of more plausible explanations for this gender discrepancy than Tsonga’s biological theory.”

One, for instance, is that Williams and Kim Clijsters filled some of these semifinal slots after long absences from the game, which deflated their seeds below their high-caliber abilities. (The same may happen with the men at this spring’s French Open, when seven-time champion Rafael Nadal — if he returns from injury as planned on clay next month — likely will be outside the top four but will be favored to reach the semifinals.)

The most plausible explanation, though, is that upsets are more likely when the underdog needs to win just two of three sets — the requisite in the women’s draw at majors — rather than three out of five sets, as is required by male upstarts. Shorter formats mean as consistent as Djokovic, Federer, Nadal and Murray have been as the top four — and as consistently as Ferrer has lived up to his seeding in the last two majors as the No. 4 seed — they’d likely have much spottier records if they risked exit by losing two of the first three sets of their matches. It’s impossible to know how they would have performed in best-of-three-set matches: Their strategy and approach to the first three sets might have been wholly different. But the closest we can come to this hypothetical is to see how they did play in the first three sets of Grand Slam matches. And many times before the semifinal round, they played poorly enough or their opponents played well enough to knock a top seed out early.

If Only The WBC Had Existed In 1986, Karol Józef Wojtyla Could’ve Done Wonders For Poland

Posted in Baseball, Religion at 3:01 pm by

I mean no blasphemy whatsoever when I say the late Pope John Paul II looks far more comfortable in the batter’s box than Al Leiter ever did.  Video courtesy Brian Turner.

01.22.13

Beating A Succession Of Guys You’ve Never Heard Of Before – Possibly The Greatest Moment Of Scalabrine’s Hoops Career

Posted in Basketball, Sports Radio at 8:38 pm by

He’s been called The White Mamba. Veal Scalabrine. Michael Rapapport The Human Victory Cigar. But one thing you cannot call veteran benchwarmer-turned-broadcaster Brian Scalabrine is Unable To Defeat Anonymous Schmoes. WBZ’s Toucher & Rich recruited a quartet of one-on-one rivals for Scalabrine, and if the following item from CBS Boston is any measure, the former Celtics fan favorite took no small satisfaction in his triumph.

Scalabrine easily defeated all four of his opponents, throwing down monstrous jams and sinking smooth jumpers as he beat them all by a combined score of 44-6.

“When you go into a game you have to realize that these guys can play,” Scal said of his opponents. “They’re strong, they’ve played against guys quicker than me, they’ve played against guys bigger than me, they’ve played against guys stronger than me.”

“I was expecting what I was expecting today,” he said. “The only thing I think they weren’t expecting was my size defensively; how good I can cover ground defensively.”

From The Entertainment Division Of Cumbucket Media : Sweet Talk’s First Video

Posted in Austin, Internal Affairs, Rock Und Roll at 4:37 pm by

I’m usually loathe to use CSTB for cross-promotional purposes because no one reads it anymore but I’m gonna make an exception in this rare instance because I’m such a firm believer in the talents of the ensemble in question.  Also because boxes of their debut LP are stacked so high in my living room I haven’t seen sunlight in days.

Sweet Talk are an Austin quartet fronted/founded by former Uptown Bums guitarist/vocalist Stephen Svacina, who a few of you might know from his additional guitar work  in Mark Ryan’s post Marked Men quintet, Mind Spiders.  Flanked by fellow ex-Denton TX fixture Wiccans/Video/Brain Attack bassist Harpal Assi and southpaw guitar wiz/Ft. Wayne transplant Mitch Frazier (Church Shoes), Svacina’s Sweet Talk will see their first album, ‘Pickup Lines’ (12XU, LP/CD) hit stores and iTunes next week.  The music video in question, directed by Saman Ghanbar  provides a cautionary tale about just what could happen to any young couple foolish enough to move next door to Sweet Talk’s practice space.

I’d liken it to an early Neil LaBute work, sans any dialogue whatsoever (and with an abundance of beer being thrown around).  Also, add wanton destruction of a guitar, an accordion, and there’s a really good looking rat, too.  Actually, I think we can all agree LaBute’s films would be way better if they were about 120 minutes shorter, had zero dialogue and way more shit being wrecked.

There’s a small army of Austin, TX luminaries appearing in this clip, but since hardly any of you know who I’m talking about, just enjoy the video and pretend they’re highly paid talent.

Sweet Talk
– tumblr
12XU – site

How Tempting It Must Be For David Stern To Tell Stan Van Gundy, “But I Thought You LIKED Spending Time With Your Family?”

Posted in Basketball, Sports TV at 3:03 pm by

It’s already been suggested that Stan Van Gundy’s non-presence on ESPN’s NBA studio show is entirely down to Association commissioner David Stern’s interference (“Jeff On Stan Van Gundy : He’s Not Heavy, He’s My Brother (And David Stern Is Fucking With Him)”, 10/22/12), but on Tuesday, SVG reiterated those charges, telling USA Today’s Jon Saraceno, “there’s no question the comments I’ve made about David Stern kept them from hiring me.”

Q: Do you believe you were submarined out of that job?
A: I’m pretty sure I was by David. It’s funny. People say it all the time that when an opportunity closes, you end up in a better place. It happened to me in Wisconsin. I lasted one season and got fired. I was 36 and absolutely depressed — like I just blew the best opportunity I ever will have in my life. A few months later, I’m in the NBA.

(The ESPN job) would have been more money but I would have been basically flying to LA all the time. Now I work Wednesdays, a little on Fridays and do a college game on a Saturday every couple of weeks. I stay in touch with the game and I’m having fun with it.

Q: Why do you see Stern’s footprints?
A: (ESPN) contacted me – they drove the whole thing. All of a sudden, it came to a stop. Whether it was Stern directly, the league office making a call or someone at the top at ESPN.

Q: What do you believe upset him the most?
A: There was the time that the Arab Spring was in full bloom. I compared him to other world leaders in that he didn’t tolerate dissenting opinions very well.

01.21.13

P.J. Carlesimo : An Unlikely Near-Term Candidate For Firing Or Strangling

Posted in Basketball at 11:37 pm by

Brooklyn’s 88-85 win over the Knicks at MSG earlier today improved the visitors’ record to 11-2 since Avery Johnson was deemed surplus to requirements. Newsday’s Barbara Barker, mindful of current Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo’s unusual career trajectory, suggests that for the former target of Latrell Sprewell’s aggression, recent developments represent “karmic payback”.

Carlesimo knows that the only way he can whack the name Sprewell from the first sentence of his biography is to do something that overshadows it. And what could be bigger than somehow holding on to this job and being the first coach to bring a professional title to Brooklyn since Walter Alston’s Dodgers beat the Yankees in 1955?

“It really comes down to results. People’s perceptions are still colored to a lot of degree by your success,” Carlesimo said. “Bill Parcells was demanding but he got results, so he’s a great communicator.”

Carlesimo’s preferred method of communication still includes a degree of yelling and screaming. Anyone who watches five minutes of a Nets game can see that.

Yet these Nets don’t seem to mind all of that, not as long as he allows them to play their freewheeling style of offense.

“He’s definitely not a mellow guy, but the stuff he says in practice, a lot of it is pretty funny,” shooting guard Joe Johnson said. “The thing with P.J. is as long as we play hard on defense, he gives us a lot of freedom on offense.”

Bill Russell At The Inauguration : All Things Considered, It Beats Being Mistaken For Rob Schneider

Posted in Basketball, mistaken I.D. at 5:21 pm by

It’s also a little better than being mistaken for Morgan Fairchild.  Either way, you’d think the Celtics shamrock with the number 6 prominently displayed would be a good hint the gentleman above was not Morgan Freeman (that and, y’know, not actually resembling Morgan Freeman).