Archive for September, 2008

Blog Hiatus

September 30, 2008 3 comments

I’ve decided that writing about St. John’s and college basketball bores me.

Ok, that was a complete lie. But, I am getting married in a few days and will be (as I have been the past few days) pretty much unable to post to the blog. So, light hiatus until next week. There will be another hiatus at the end of November, as well.

Categories: Sports

For Fun As You Watch the Mets Collapse

September 25, 2008 1 comment

From the Onion, Carlos Voltron!:

According to eyewitnesses, before the Mets players completed the complicated procedure, in which they fused their physical selves and combined their talents to form the 20,000-ton robot, manager Jerry Manuel called the team to the dugout, where he commanded them to prepare their interlock systems for activation, connect the appropriate dyna-therms, charge up the infra-cells to full capacity, engage the mega-thrusters, and give it their best out there…

Although the Mets’ fielding skills were excellent, they were not without flaws. Cubs manager Lou Piniella came out to the field to protest several times, complaining that his base runners injured themselves in the 10-foot deep trenches left behind from Carlos Voltron scooping up ground balls. Piniella also expressed frustration over his players suffering from collapsed rib cages, ruptured organs, and decapitations every time Voltron tagged them out.

Carlos Voltron’s solid and consistent defensive play was only upstaged in the fans’ eyes by his powerful hitting, with those in attendance claiming they suffered bad sunburns from the glare caused by the robot forming his blazing bat. Stepping up to the plate, he made almost perfect contact with the first pitch, belting the ball out of Shea and into the next solar system.

Carlos Voltron

Categories: Mets, Sports

The Big Hits 09.24.08

September 24, 2008 Comments off

+ Matt Millen, resigned, fired, whatever, he’s gone from the Lions. Performance-wise, I don’t know when I’ve seen a fellow keep his job that long with that little to show. There is joy.

+ Donovan McNabb and the Eagles are looking real good. It’s good to see his big arm let loose.

+ The Jets were… confused on Monday, and now:

You know the confusion is bad among the Jets when even the day after their Monday night thumping by San Diego, there was still confusion about exactly what the confusion was.

Clearing that up might be a nice starting point when the Jets drag themselves back to work this morning. Does Brett Favre really know the playbook after six weeks or doesn’t he? Was that second first-half interception that San Diego plucked away to set up another Chargers touchdown Favre’s fault, as Favre said it was, or was wideout Jerricho Cotchery right to insist he was to blame? If everyone was telling the truth afterward – they’re all to blame – shouldn’t the Jets be worried about, well . . . everyone after their 48-29 smackdown?

Why was the Jets’ defense shredded so completely, too? Why was the secondary so badly out of position? Did Favre take such a beating because the Chargers’ rushers knew the trailing Jets had to pass? Or was the Jets’ rebuilt offensive line also struggling to read the pass rush in addition to not opening holes for running back Thomas Jones? Jones is fast becoming a tree-falling-in-the-forest question: Would Jones find the holes if the line made them?…

The Jets were badly discombobulated on both sides of the ball. Then they seemed powerless to stop it. Mangini harped yesterday about the Jets’ four turnovers. But the Jets often seemed outfoxed, not just outplayed. The Jets haven’t gotten better with more time together. They have gone from narrowly winning their season opener against Miami to missing a golden chance at home to beat a shellshocked New England that just lost Tom Brady to getting smacked in the mouth again and again Monday by the Chargers.

Some of that has to be coaching.

+ Favre injured his ankle but is still good to go this coming Sunday against Arizona.Brady Quinn shirtless

+ Since Derek Anderson is sucking for the Browns… Brady Quinn might get a look. At least it’ll bring the ladies back to the TV screen. Hell, with Tom Brady out, the NFL needs a new poster boy… and as a bonus, the new Brady loves to take pictures with his shirt off. Win win all around!

+ Plaxico Burress didn’t show up for work on Monday or Tuesday… and is suspended for the game after the bye week.

+ The Steelers are starting Rashard Mendenhall (Willie Parker is out with an injury)! Hells yeah.

+ Lane Kiffin is… still a Raiders coach. Syracuse fans want to see him go to the ‘Cuse and relieve Greg Robinson of his coaching duties. I mean they REALLY want the Kiffin. Keep an eye on the Has Lane Kiffin Been Fired Watch.

Trent Green will start in the place of benched Marc Bulger. The St. Louis columnists smell a scapegoat (I like the phrase “complete system failure”), and worry about concussion-prone Trent Green’s cranium. The times are desperate and the seat is hot, Mr. Linehan.

+ The Chiefs are leaning toward starting Damon Huard. This week. Not even joking on that:

Edwards also said the Chiefs could go week-to-week on their starting quarterback from now until Brodie Croyle returns, which isn’t likely to happen until Week 7…

Categories: football, Giants, Jets, Sports

Second Chance for Pierre Pierce

September 24, 2008 Comments off

Proving you can always get a second chance… former Iowa Hawkeye basketball player Pierre Pierce won his appeal to “complete his probation” in France, where he has a contract to play professional basketball. The Attorney General of Iowa took it to the state Supreme Court to no avail.

I’m a proponent of guys getting back on their feet after a crime, earning a living in whatever they can, and in this case, at a sport that Pierce has always been regarded as excellent in. While the claim is that there are few restrictions dealing with probation, I’m not sure how Pierre Piercesupervision will be maintained in France. Will he have to check in with the US Embassy? Is there an embassy in Toulon, where Pierce will play for Hayes Toulon with Drew Lavender and others? (the embassy is in Paris.) It’s one thing to complete your sentence… but Pierce was arrested for violating his probation by going to an NBA Developmental League tryout in Vegas, and partying on the side. I guess what happened didn’t stay in Vegas.

As for Pierre Pierce’s transgressions… well, there was the arrest in 2002, where he was charged with sexual assault causing injury and pled guilty to a lesser charge (claiming “inappropriate conduct with a fellow student”) that allowed him to remain with the basketball team. And in 2005, he was sentenced to two years for assault, and one year (concurrent) for false imprisonment and criminal mischief. he also had his sentence suspended for the burglary charge. He did 11 months with time off for good behavior.

If you want to read what he did (and please ignore the bolded misspellings in Pierce’s quoted email, many people can’t spell to save their lives), the search warrant is here, including how Pierce had a domestic dispute, came back the next night, and after the cops came the second time, assaulted his ex-girlfriend, tried to restrain her, and after she got away, trashed her apartment and stole her laptop.

And then, of course, apologized, as any recurring abuser does.

Henry Abbott of True Hoop has kept up with Pierce at summer league and asks a lot of good questions about redemption, and more recently last January, where Pierce says:

Everything in my life is basketball-related. I keep my body right with Pilates once a week, yoga once a week. I’m in contact with my probation officer every two weeks.

I have been seeing a psychiatrist once a week since May, sometimes two times a week. The psychiatrist helps, definitely. We read all kinds of different books, talk about past mistakes, and relate it to my everyday life. It helps me….

I made mistakes. I served time for that. And I learned from the mistakes I have made. Now I’m a better decision maker. I work on anger management, relationship coping skills … all things I wasn’t aware of before. It’s a lifelong experience for me.

I take a very low view of sexual assault; I think it’s an area where the law doesn’t punish hard enough in cases where one party is clearly assaulting the other. There is no cause for holding someone down and for making violent threats. And twice? That is a lot of anger that Pierce has to work through. Can someone clear their impulses and learn to react to their relationships in a different way? But moreover, is a chance at a successful professional career extraordinary enough for a man to move his probation out of the country? Especially when he violated parole before?

How That Mountain Air Taste?

September 19, 2008 Comments off

I mean ARR! How that mountain air taste? It is Talk Like a Pirate Day, after all.

I had to check West BY GOD Virginia after last night’s nationally televised football game. Where the Mountaineers lost to the Colorado Buffaloes in a fashion more befitting the New York Jets than a team with a Heisman candidate QB. It was awful, pathetic at times. And still, West Virginia played good defense and had chances to win…

But they didn’t. Bill Stewart has that folky, joyous “we’re gonna go get ‘im!” thing that people love in coaches, but damn, what the hell was happening down there? I thought ESPN focused a bit much on the sideline disarray (they have to give Erin Andrews something to do every day, huh? Aren’t there other reporters? Erin Andrews fatigue!), and while I liked the analysis from some kicker who works on production staff or produces, there was too much going on from ESPN.

But there was something real wrong happening on the field of play. Do they know about the forward pass on Stewart’s staff? It’s a good way to shake things up for the opponent. Credit due to Dan Hawkins and his staff for a good game plan. His son, Cody, might be one of my favorite college players. He has all the makings of a future coach – he’s a sound enough QB, played smart, but he’s short and my God, his arm is not very good. Making his solid passes on a windy night that much more impressive.

But West Virginia looked like a team that traveled across the country and just woke up, and they didn’t stay at the Holiday Inn the night before. In the first quarter, I really though the Buffs would run away on them. Even when the Mountaineers were playing decently, they really needed to involve the rest of the team (though apparently running back Noel Devine had 133 yards) instead of running the option. And the time outs at the end of the halves were awful. Like Herm Edwards a few years ago, they need a clock management coach, There were opportunities for the “one more play” and the “long field goal”, for sure.

Categories: football, Sports

The Big Hits 09.15.08

September 15, 2008 Comments off

football recap

In the news: Post hurricane lessons. Hey, even Chicago got 6.6 inches of rain in a day, as the fallout from the Hurricanes was widespred, but obviously worse in Houston and the like. David Foster Wallace committed suicide and that is a serious literary loss. The financial sector is seeing the structures that it believes in (and low regulation) to be a risky borrowed-money tightrope.

On the political side, an Atlantic Monthly freelance photog made McCain look like an evil overlord McCain's evil overlord picture(photo on left); we got Tina Fey nailing a spoof of Sarah Palin; and Palin has dressed up as Tina fey for Halloween. Man, that Palin/ McCain ticket really is popular! What’s that? McCain is running for president, not Caribou Barbie?… Oh… and so you’re not left with McCain looking down on you like Zod, below is a photo of Jaime Murray, who stars in the upcoming show Valentine (link with audio) along with Autumn Reeser (from the OC) and some no-name hacks..

+ The best and worst of Brett Favre was on display yesterday, no matter what the Daily News says in Jets Don’t Make the Grade; I agree more than the coaching was horrible, and the play calls in the red zone – especially 3 straight runs?! none to the outside?! – were piss poor.

+ If you ever wanted to see Redskins’ tight end Chris Cooley’s junk, NOW’S YOUR CHANCE! (don’t everyone jump at once. No, really, ew.)

+ The Tavaris Jackson Experiment (now on tour!) is not bringing Brad Childress wins. That game against the Colts was winnable, and Lombardi forgive me, Gus “Headbutt” Frerotte needs to play.

+ Lane Kiffin’s about to be fired:

“Ah, that’s not my decision,” said Kiffin, sticking to the defiant “Al Davis does whatever he wants, don’t blame me” mantra that got him into this purgatory. “So um … I’m excited the way our staff and our players prepared this week.

“If I’m here, we’ll do the same next week.”

What NFL franchise would dump the head coach with a 1-1 record two weeks into a 17-week season?

This one.

Kiffin is finished in Oakland; it’s now a matter of when.

His fate was sealed Wednesday, when Kiffin told the media that the 41-14 Monday night meltdown against the Broncos happened in large part because defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and the team’s owner conspire to exclude him from defensive decisions.

Al Davis is one of the most powerful owners, and I suppose the comedy that is the Raiders isn’t hurting anyone’s bottom line… or else the other owners and the commish might consider some statements on this craziness. On the other hand:

Ryan’s 18-minute, profanity laced clarification of his job responsibilities Thursday was not spontaneous. Multiple team sources confirmed Sunday that Ryan spoke publicly at the request of Davis…

Publicly, Ryan made himself the fall guy. Inside the Raiders’ organization, he assumed the mantle of hero.

“Hell, somebody had to stand up and be a leader on this team,” one Raiders source said proudly in the postgame locker room Sunday, praising Ryan’s stance against Kiffin. “Rob acted like a leader. He stood up for this team and these players. He took responsibility. Unlike the head coach.”…

The Raiders’ defensive staff has circled its wagons. That group has no loyalty, nor is there any respect, for a head coach who publicly second-guessed a defensive game plan against the Broncos that did not call for blitzes or press coverage.

Jaime Murray from Dexter and Valentine+ Check our Footbawful, an offshoot of Basketbawful, about the worst in football.

+ And check out this interesting piece from Advanced NFL Stats on predictability in NFL play calls; most interesting to me is the idea that NFL coaches focus on percentages in isolation, not in relation to the previous play. I would wonder if this is true… but I ain’t doing the research on that.

+ Associated: Denver’s Mike Shanahan played to win the game like Herm Edwards used to and went for 2 points when 1 would have tied.

Here is an awfully mellow analysis of the Chiefs. Struggle? The SKY IS FALLING, relatively, for the Kansas City football team. They’re uncompetitive. They have wide receivers taking snaps at QB. Thanks to Joe Posnanski, who knows how to write about losers:

But we didn’t need this. We didn’t need the Chiefs to become a national joke. We Kansas City folk have had enough Far Side humor with the Royals for a dozen years now, with their outfield burlesque, their base running antics, their managerial merry-go-round, their attempts to sign a professional softball pitcher. We didn’t need the Chiefs to step over that line. Hey, it was OK if they lost. We figured they would lose. We just didn’t need them to take the Nestea plunge into comedy.

Then, there they were on Sunday, playing three different quarterbacks, inventing a Scooby-Doo mystery about dizzy spells, allowing 300 yards rushing to a Raiders team that could not throw and, it goes without saying, losing for the 11th consecutive time. Oakland crushed the Chiefs 23-8. The only thing working Sunday was the concession stand.

The Giants make the Rams look horrible. Who gets the first pick in next year’s draft, St. Louis or Kansas City? Keep #1 in Missouri!

Categories: football, politics, Sports

Update: Allianz Drops Jets/ Giants Naming Rights

September 13, 2008 Comments off

Update from yesterday’s link dump post. From the New York Times:

The Giants and the Jets said Friday that they had ended talks with Allianz, a German-based insurance company with connections to the Third Reich, about selling the naming rights to the $1.6 billion stadium they are building in the Meadowlands.

The decision came after two days of largely negative reaction to the possibility of a deal with Allianz, which insured facilities at Auschwitz and other concentration camps, and which deprived many Jewish customers of the proceeds from their insurance policies….

Lamping said in an interview: “We paid very close attention to what people were saying this week. Whether those opinions were expressed directly to us, or through the media, we paid attention and was one of many factors that went into our decision.”

But he would not say why the teams entered into negotiations with Allianz knowing of its Nazi-era dealings and the potential that people in the New York market, which includes many Jews and Holocaust survivors, might be offended.

“We gained a real understanding of the depth of the issues in the community,” he said.

How they could not have predicted the backlash, I don’t know.

Sports Links: Nazis, Yi, Salukis, Usain, Yung Giuliani, and more

September 12, 2008 2 comments

Hugo Chavez is ramping up his anti-American rhetoric. Meanwhile, Sarah Palin has a tough time answering questions; here’s a post on how her answer should imply a lack of preparation for the job. Agree? Disagree? Oh hell, did you know Susan Sarandon’s daughter is attractive? Eva Amurri cleavageYeah, it’s time for an unrelated picture of an attractive woman, Eva Amurri.

Here are some things that have passed by my eyes that I haven’t had a chance to delve into yet:

+ The Southern Illinois Salukis weren’t very good last year; but the freshmen (Kevin Dillard and Ryan Hare) are so promising, returning guard Josh Bone opted to transfer after their Labor Day preseason trip.

+ Basketball Prospectus has an analysis of what a player needs to do when making the jump from college to the pros. The same jump is probably necessary when going into the college game:

Part of the development for a player making the leap into a new level of play must be adjusting the player to the speed of the game…. In coaching, it means taking a four-step process and working to condense it to only two steps. A player must read a situation, recognize the circumstances, judge between various courses of action and react properly. Once a player has fully adjusted to the speed of the game, they are able to condense the process into reading and reacting.

+ The Giants and Jets’ fans are pissed because the team wants to sell naming rights to a German company that was a Nazi collaborator. Some folks will use the “well, no one from the company then is part of the company now,” or refer to how Henry Ford was said to be a big Nazi supporter (and an anti-Semite himself), so money’s money. Personally, I think it’s in poor taste and bad PR, especially in an area with a number of Jewish fans. Even if there was not a large Jewish population, I’d say “poor taste.”

+ Less serious: what to expect of Yi Jianlian? No one knows; but one of his coaches in Milwaukee delves into the conundrum of Yi.

+ Duke University defends kicking Rudy9/11AnyQuestions Giuliani’s son Andrew off the golf team. Apparently, he’s a jackass:

But Duke said in a court filing Wednesday that the 22-year-old Giuliani was properly suspended after throwing an apple in the face of another player, breaking a golf club during a tournament, injuring a teammate and becoming verbally abusive with a coach.

+ The Patriots have built a mall next to their stadium. Everyone Wins! is their tagline. More on this later.

+ Have these football rivalries fallen off?

+ One Jamaican blogger thinks Jamaicans have too much free time, as evidenced by how many people came out to congratulate sprinter Usain Bolt.

The Big Hits 9.09.08

September 9, 2008 Comments off

A football recap.

NY Post Back Cover Tom Brady+ As you know by now, the Cheifs eliminated Tom Brady from football competition for the year. Despite the fact that Yahoo! broke the Tom Brady story, the New York Post editors completely knew they were expressing joy at the man’s injury. He wears Yankee caps, you dipholes. But the Post is never actually classy, the great paper of rumor and innuendo they are.

+ Watching that Redskins/ Giants game last Thursday was great for a drive or two, and whenever Brandon Jacobs flat destroyed a safety; but the Redskins had their chances and the Giants couldn’t put them away. The Washington Post looks into what went wrong with the rookie head coach Jim Zorn and third-year QB Jason Campbell; some say he’s a poor fit for this kind of offense. For his part, Jim Zorn definitely was not hurrying things up in a hurry-up situation; it was poor execution all around and not just on the quarterback.

+ In the OH SNAP files, the Tennessean noted that Vince Young may have asked out of the game against Jacksonville, before he was injured. At the very least, he did not inform the trainers that his hamstring was tight, he simply sat to the side. Well, an update: the man who has also thought about retiring has roused concerns about his mental state (h/t to Music City Miracles):

Concerns about the well-being of Tennessee Titans’ quarterback Vince Young prompted an early morning meeting at the team’s headquarters.

Metro police officers and Titans Head Coach Jeff Fisher gathered at Baptist Sports Park around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday to meet with Young after trying to locate him.

According to sources, questions about Young’s state of mind began when the quarter back left his home abruptly at 7:30 p.m. Monday.

According to the same sources, Young seemed emotionally down and left his cell phone behind.

Titans’ officials alerted Metro police to be on the lookout for Young’s SUV.

After Coach Fisher spoke with Young, it seemed concerns about Young’s state of mind were unfounded, according to sources.

+ That Raiders game last night against the Broncos was a complete dog. Their reporters are going to go back to thesaurus to find new ways of saying "inept." DeAngelo Hall chirps a lot for a guy who picks up consecutive unsportsmanlike penalties. Poise, my man. Poise.

+ The J-E-T-S JETSJETSJETS played a decent game in Miami on Sunday, beating the Dolphins 20-14 in a game featuring an injured kicker, a furious comeback by deposed former Jet Quarterback Chad Pennington, and Favremania. Lots of room for improvement on this squad, though. Some guy named Will Leitch comments that the conservative Mangenious style may conflict with Brett "no father to my style" Favre.

Aaron Rodgers Lambeau Leap+ Aaron Rodgers had a nice debut (you cannot "flap" him!)… and Tavaris Jackson looks like a third string quarterback. Really, for a number of plays, the whole Vikings squad looked third string.

+ Joe Flacco sounds like an excited kid, and he should be – rookie starting his first NFL game, and he wins? Big runs? The Baltimore Sun lists some keys to success… they’re going to be disappointed in the "need to improve" areas. he’s still a rookie.

+ The Rams got housed. They keep this up, they’re going to get relegated and the Missouri Tigers will join the NFL. That was for the sake of joke, of course the Tigers would do worse.

+ The Lions suck way worse than the Falcons, who got a passing touchdown from their rookie QB Matt Ryan and some hella good running from Michael "I’m Free" Turner.

+ Matt Forte for the Bears proved up to the challenge of the starting job, gashing the Colts for 123 yards on Sunday night. A fun thing about being in Chicago – the city is extremely football partisan, and where I live, the Bears are part of the local culture. And it’s a walking city. So I could follow whether the Bears were doing well as I walked the dog by listening for the cheers coming out of every other apartment building, with blonde Chads and Trixies walking up to their viewing parties with cases of beer… that’s pretty cool. You don’t get that as much in New York, where fans of every team live.

I didn’t keep track of the rest of the games because, well, what is there to say about Buffalo putting 34 on Seattle, or Pittsburgh laying 38 on Houston? Carolina vs San Diego was competitive and Arizona vs San Francisco was kind of pathetic. I can’t believe Dallas didn’t put more points on the Browns.

Categories: football, Giants, Jets, Sports

Mets Closer Billy Wagner Out for a Year

September 8, 2008 Comments off

After the uh-oh before last night’s rousing prime time victory over the Phillies… the uh-oh becomes reality.

From the NY Daily News:

Mets closer Billy Wagner has a torn ligament in his left elbow and will have surgery this week, meaning he’ll miss the rest of this season and likely all of 2009, too.

The surgery will repair a torn MCL ligament and a torn flexor pronator, and has a recovery time of at least a year, the Mets announced Monday. Since Wagner is currently in the third year of a four-year, $43-million contract, it’s possible he has thrown his last pitch for the Mets, though the team holds a $8 million option on Wagner for the 2010 season or there is a $1 million buyout on the deal.

Billy Wagner on mound for Mets

Categories: baseball, injury, Mets, Sports