Archive for December, 2007

The End of ’07

December 31, 2007 Comments off

In the waning hours of 2007, I’d like to add a post about my undergrad alma mater’s two-sport athlete Adam Goslin. He caught some fame this year for being an openly gay player on the football and baseball teams of the Washington University (in St. Louis, get it straight) Bears. Goslin graduated in December of 2006, I believe, after a solid career with the Division III WU Bears.


Goslin, a 6-1, 205-pound defensive lineman, started opening up about his sexuality in January 2005 after his first football season, and it spread across campus, including to his football and baseball teammates.

“A lot were fascinated with the fact I was gay; they didn’t understand (that I was gay) though they didn’t object,” he said. “I think it was good that they saw how (well) I played my first (football) season (at Washington).

“It’s a little nerve-racking (coming out) because you never know how it’s going to go. You hear rumors about how athletes aren’t very supportive and are very homophobic. But, since I came out, I’ve never had one problem.

“I don’t really have worries since coming out; I’m happy with what I’m doing. I’m more worried about finding a job in athletics.”

Goslin is now a volunteer coach for the Bears, dreaming of landing his ultimate job: as commissioner for the Big Ten or Pacific-10 Conference. Or even the NFL.

And from

“That’s one of the things that cracks me up when people talk about gay teammates,” [Scottie] Guthrie says. “How is it that the straight guys are the ones who feel threatened? I mean, what do they think is going to happen, the guy is going to rape them or something? If anything I think it’s the gay guy who would feel awkward in that situation.”

Good to see my old school in the news in such a positive light. The WU was always a pretty easy-going place about many social issues; most of the time the school was laissez-faire, low-beef. As long as we could get drunk and get on the good side of the biology grading curve, it was all good. Not that it’s the best or most fun place to be out and proud, or particularly exploratory, but there are strong enclaves of gay communities in and around the school.

Categories: baseball

On William Rhoden’s “Fire Isiah” Piece in the New York Times

December 28, 2007 Comments off

If you haven’t seen this prize of an article by NY Times sports writer William Rhoden from December 24th/ Christmas Eve, let me resurrect it for you from the tombs of the internet:

Our writer in the rich seats reflects on the Fire Isiah shouts that have become commonplace at Knicks games in the Garden, quickly noting the lack of on court success but also noting that those failures haven’t hurt the bottom line at all. The Knickerbocker franchise is still #1 in value according to Forbes, the same magazine that listed Kevin McHale as the best GM, (based on “winning improvement” from previous GM and ability to keep the payroll from ballooning as indexed to the rest of the league; obviously, they work on some different metrics than the viewing public). And the fans are still buying the seats, even if they don’t necessarily show up.

The fan in the story is even satisfied with the losing effort—the Knicks made it close at the end. Our illustrious Times writer happens upon Chris Rock and Spike Lee (who’s been out of the country) who feel Isiah shouldn’t be fired, because the players (Isiah picked) are all from losing traditions. They then happen upon the Reverend Al Sharpton (does this sound like a Chaucer tale yet? Everything except the farting), who says some ridiculous foolishness and the question is asked: should Isiah go?

Rock: “I’m not calling for anybody to lose their job, especially around Christmas.”

Sharpton: “Let me ask you this: The Secretary General of the U.N. was sitting near me. Do we fire him because we don’t have world peace? I mean, come on.”

Spike Lee: Isiah stays.

“But, that’s a certain New Yorker,” Lee cautioned. “Sharpton, Spike Lee and Chris Rock. That might not help Isiah.”

Fire Isiah Pink Slip

You know what New Yorker that is, Spike? The kind of New Yorker who has been following this goddamned debacle. The kind of New Yorker who, whether black or white or Asian or something else, knows that the Secretary General’s job is a hell of a lot harder than being coach and GM of a basketball team, and that Sec’y General’s job is NOT world peace, it’s to manage the United Nations, whose goal is to uphold human rights, establish social justice, and some malarkey about saving future generations from the scourge of war (people, y’all should get on that one, really).

Everyone knows Al Sharpton just speaks to be heard. In all the yapping, Sharpton can hit some good points—putting the pressure on Don Imus being the most recent—but too often, the man thinks of himself as the “controversial” arbiter on every issue when really, he’s a flashpoint and often feels like a bottleneck black folks’ progress. These guys are likely buddies with Isiah, one of the NBA’s all-time great players, and won’t throw him underthe bus in the New York Times. But damn. That is no rationale for keeping the man. And Sharpton’s rationale is the most ridiculous of them all—acting indignant that the fans would call for Isiah’s job.

Certainly, the Fire Isiah chants are both warranted and unseemly. The team’s performance has been awful. But the fans in Madison Square Garden have been eager to “fire” people—I participated in at least one Fi-re Lay-den chant a few years ago. It had a real nice ring to it. It’s very New York, those chants—overdemanding, rushing to judgment, putting the pressure on, noxiously in-one’s-face. But the unbelievable lack of action as the Knicks remain a bizarre joke is ridiculous.

One thing I have to say about the losers who post in the blogosphere, the malcontents who shirk work and spend their days on message boards, and the jackoffs who pore over the boxscores—we care. We look at the day top day results. We’re the fans on the ground. We feel we have something to lose by watching this heinous product. We nearly live and die with this. If we didn’t we wouldn’t:

– Purchase expensive sports packages from our cable companies.
– Buy replica jerseys with money that could be better invested, and will never make us look like our favorite athletes.
– Spread the name of the team and the league to friends and children by word-of-mouth.
The fans really deserve better than a heaping pile of disinterested basketball. Unfortunately, we don’t have any say in Isiah’s tenure as coach or GM, his owner does, and his owner doesn’t care.

Maybe we should focus more on the work of the “Sell the Knicks” people. Next walkout is December 30th.

Categories: coach issues, Knicks

Increased Met Ticket Prices Lead to Woeful Bricks

December 28, 2007 Comments off

Seen on Sports Illustrated’s “Extra Mustard” section:

Hitting The Bricks

Hot Clicks reader CJ Maldonado sent us the following e-mail: “The Mets are selling personal bricks to be laid down at the ‘Hall of Fame’ walk at the new stadium. In response to the Mets collapse, increase in ticket prices, the fact that there will be less seats in the new stadium, my middle class income, and the rent I pay to live in a closet, this brick should be the first to be put down at the new stadium.

The brick:

The Only Brick at CitiField One Can Afford

Categories: baseball Tags:

Mets Offseason Update

December 27, 2007 Comments off

Mets sign reliever Matt Wise. The 40 man roster stands at 36.

My favorite reliever Pedro Feliciano now has a child.

Pedro Feliciano, wife, and child

Mets are still in chats about Mighty Johan Santana, Eliminator of Batters, according to LaVelle Neal’s Star-Tribune blog.

The Mets are also in talks with former Twin Kyle Lohse (an “innings eater”):

It’s believed the Mets have made an offer to the 29-year-old for four years, but it’s not known if it is for the $10 million Per he is seeking….

Lohse was paid $4.2 million last year, when he worked for the Reds and Phillies and went a combined 9-12 with a 4.62 ERA. He was 3-0 with a 4.72 ERA in 13 games (11 starts) for the Phillies after being acquired at the deadline.

In the incredible boredom of the baseball off-season, Amazin’ Avenue has a complete set of projections for the next season vs. projected average production based on plausible starters using the CHONE system. The upshot:

Soup-to-nuts, the Mets are average or better at every position, and exceedingly better than average in center and at third, with shortstop having a decent shot at that group, too.

Soup-to-nuts, the Mets are average or better at every position, and exceedingly better than average in center and at third, with shortstop having a decent shot at that group, too.

A couple from the MetsGeek blog:

* Who Are These Mets? What defines the Mets’ organizational identity? Broken down into strengths: Major League Scouting (acquisition of players for overrated skills, and making good large and small signings), a Willingness to Spend Big, and Brand Image (credibility for the organization that was sorely lacking); and weaknesses: Loyalty to Veterans (trading for Luis Castillo and playing him over Ruben Gotay’s hot hitting streak featured here), Aggressiveness With Prospects (young players having to impress or sit), and Ignorance of Marginal Value.

* An analysis of the Matt Wise signing, with a link to the Brew Crew’s take on the trades (wherein the Mets dump some trash and the Brewers pick it up):

Let’s review the transactions here:

1. Brewers traded Johnny Estrada to the Mets instead of non-tendering him.
2. Brewers acquire Guillermo Mota in the deal, along with his $3.2MM salary for 2008. Mets fans rejoice.
3. Mets get a better catcher and non-tender Estrada. That’s what we probably would’ve done, so the Mets literally dumped Mota’s contract on us.
4. We have a roster crunch and have to non-tender Matt Wise. Mota may be the worst pitcher in the pen right now, so we basically kept Mota instead of Wise.
5. Mets sign Wise, probably for less than half of what the Brewers will pay Mota.

Short version: the Brewers traded Matt Wise for Guillermo Mota and took on an extra $1.5-2MM to do so.

The only way this is defensible to me AT ALL is if the Brewers know something about Mota or Wise that we don’t know. Maybe Mota is ready to bounce back (though he doesn’t have that lengthy of a good track record) and maybe Wise really is done after hitting Pedro Lopez in the face. I guess we’ll see. It’s also possible that, when Melvin traded for Mota, he couldn’t imagine that he’d be able to get three more superior relievers in Gagne, Riske, and Torres, and didn’t think Mota’s acquisition would mean we couldn’t keep Wise.

But, regardless of the thought process, this doesn’t make me happy. I wasn’t happy about losing Wise before, but losing Wise to the Mets is even more obnoxious.

For the record, my projections have Mota pitching 68 innings with an ERA of 4.48, 25 walks and 48 strikeouts. Wise projects with an ERA of 4.56, 61 IP, 20 walks and 42 K’s. I would’ve thought Wise would come out a little better, but that’s a projection for Miller Park with the Brewers defense, so it’s probably almost identical if you neutralize everything. I’d certainly bet on Wise to have the better year. Either way, even if the results are similar, the Brewers are going to pay more for their middle reliever.

And The Mets Are Better Than Sex gives us an Anna Benson picture.

Categories: baseball

Of Interest: the Return of Eddie Sutton?

December 27, 2007 1 comment

The return of Eddie Sutton:

San Francisco announced on Wednesday that Jessie Evans is stepping down as basketball coach and 71-year-old Sutton is taking over the Dons on an interim basis….

Sutton’s first game will be Friday night at Weber State.

“I love the game of basketball,” Sutton said. “There’s nobody that coached or it played it that loved it as much as I do. I missed coaching youngsters. I missed that. I want to gain, getting back on the court and having the opportunity to teach. That will be very pleasing to me.”

Gore-Mann told prior to a news conference Wednesday that Evans requested a leave of absence Wednesday morning. She said that the decision to take the season-long leave was solely Evans’ decision. But that contradicts what multiple sources told — that Evans was issued an ultimatum earlier in the day that he had to resign or would be fired. Gore-Mann said she wouldn’t discuss the particulars of why Evans took the leave and didn’t know if Evans would be the coach next season. Gore-Mann did confirm that Sutton was at the Long Beach State-San Francisco game last week in Long Beach, but that the school didn’t set up Sutton’s appearance. Gore-Mann said she had a short window to “bring in coach Sutton.”

Sutton retired as Oklahoma State’s coach after the 2005-06 season. He has 798 victories in 36 seasons as a Division I coach at Creighton, Arkansas, Kentucky and Oklahoma State.

When his victories at Tulsa Central High School and the College of Southern Idaho are included, Sutton won exactly 1,000 games before retiring from coaching in May 2006.

eddie sutton's sour pussHis retirement came about three months after a drunken driving accident caused him to miss the Cowboys’ final 10 games of the 2005-06 season. Sutton pleaded no contest to misdemeanor aggravated drunken driving and two other charges following the February 2006 car accident.

Sutton reached the Final Four with Arkansas in 1978 and with Oklahoma State in 1995 and 2004. He ranks fifth on the all-time list for victories among Division I coaches, trailing Texas Tech’s Bob Knight (896), Dean Smith (North Carolina, 879), Adolph Rupp (Kentucky, 876) and Jim Phelan (Mt. St. Mary’s, Md., 830).

Gore-Mann told earlier Wednesday that Sutton told her he didn’t want the full-time job.

“I’m physically in good health,” Sutton said, adding that his drinking problem is a thing of the past. “I feel very strong.”…

The coach said he’s never been on the San Francisco campus, so “This is the toughest challenge I’ve ever had.”

Gore-Mann added that she is working toward bringing in former South Florida coach Robert McCullum as an assistant for Sutton.

The AD tried to clear up why she said she didn’t know that Evans would be leaving until Wednesday morning yet Sutton said he talked to her a few days earlier about the possibility of the job becoming available. “When I was talking to coach Sutton before it was more long term, not short term,” Gore-Mann said.

As for whether or not Sutton could be a long-term solution, she said, “I would always consider him, but it would be what he would be ready to commit to.”

coach jessie evans
Remember, coaches– if you see an old hall of fame coach just taking in your game, hovering over your game, dripping pomade on your players like Riley on Van Gundy, it might be a sign that you’re about to get done. I wonder if Coach Cam Cameron is feeling that in Miami, with Parcells glowering from the press box…

On top of that, this seems a pretty unseemly way to get fired, mid season, and replaced by some old retired coach. How does Oklahoma State feel, having sent off their coach as a conquering hero (even if fading) and replacing him with his son and his whopping 6-5 record (losses against North Texas and Oral Roberts included), only to have the elder Sutton return to coaching in a small league with schools with delusions of their past grandeur (see: Bill Russell, KC Jones, and more)?

Parcells NOT going to ATL, Going MIA?

December 19, 2007 Comments off

Parcells turns down Atlanta… and is considering Miami?!

Bill Parcells has pulled an about face, backing out of a deal with the Atlanta Falcons to potentially join the Dolphins front office.

After reaching an agreement in principle to become executive vice president of the Falcons on Tuesday, Parcells informed the Falcons today that he was considering a revised offer from the Dolphins.

“We met with him this morning to complete the contract. At that time, we were made aware by Parcells that he was considering a revised offer from the Miami Dolphins. He later informed us that he would not be signing a contract with us,” team owner Arthur Black said in a statement.

Last week a Dolphins source confirmed there was interest in Parcells, but did not disclose the extent of conversations or the role he would play with the team, which won its first game of the season Sunday.

The Dolphins presently have a first-year coach in Cam Cameron. This summer the Dolphins extended the contract of General Manager Randy Mueller, and it’s uncertain what his role would be with the organization if Parcells were hired.

So… considering Miami for what?

Categories: nfl

Southern Tuna! Parcells to Join Atlanta Falcons

December 19, 2007 Comments off

From the NY Daily News:

Bill Parcells, who once again has the desire to get back into the NFL, told the Daily News this morning he is on the verge of accepting a job to run the Atlanta Falcons football operation with only a few minor details to be worked out.

Parcells plans to hire a general manager and then work with the GM to hire a new coach to replace Bobby Petrino, who quit last week 13 games into his first season to coach at Arkansas. Parcells has candidates in mind for each job, but didn’t want to reveal their names. He thought current team president and GM Rich McKay would stay with the team to handle league business…..

“I’m going to oversee the football operation, Parcells said. “I’m going to hire a general manager if the deal is finalized in Atlanta. We are going to hire a coach and talk to all the coaches who are there. It’s going to be a collective effort. The triangle is going to be the GM, the coach and Bill Parcells. I’m also going to include Rich McKay if he wants to stay in the business.

“Under no circumstances is Bill Parcells ever going to return to the field.”

Categories: nfl

Citi-Field Might Have a Shake Shack Stand?

December 14, 2007 3 comments

If it happens, I hope the lines are shorter. I could miss the whole game waiting for one of those burgers.

From New York Magazine:

Update, August 10: Danny Meyer conveyed the following message to us yesterday evening: “We think it’s a great idea and would love to do it. If you can help us figure out how to make that deal happen, Shack burgers are on the house!” Awesome. Since nowhere in the statement do we see the words “the report is 100 percent untrue” or “there will not be a Shake Shack at Citi Field,” we’re looking forward to some potato-bun frolics on Opening Day.

Categories: baseball

Jose: A-Rod did it too! He did! And I’m telling!

December 14, 2007 Comments off

The great steroid expert, José Canseco, comes down from his Mount Juice to speak on the Mitchell Report, thanks to the Hartford Courant:

Former A’s slugger José Canseco tried to get in the news conference, but was told it was a media-only event and that he wasn’t welcome.

Canseco said he was unimpressed with the report.

“It’s a slap on the hand,” he told Fox Business Network. “The report proved nothing. It just proved what we already knew.” Canseco is mentioned 105 times in the report, more than Barry Bonds (103) or Roger Clemens (82).

“There are definitely a lot of players missing,” he said.

Prodded further, Canseco said of Alex Rodriguez: “All I can say is the Mitchell Report is incomplete. I could not believe that his name was not in the report.”

I’m sure lots of other players should have been mentioned in the report, too. These are just the guys who cavorted with a cat who got caught. And as the immortal Rick Ross says, “José Canseco just snitchin’ because he finished.”

And in other news, Jose Canseco is probably writing his book I Told You So! Now Elect Me To The Hall Of Fame.

Categories: baseball, player issues