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Still Ghetto, The Montauk Monster, Deadline Day, and Other Happenings

July 31, 2008 2 comments

Montauk Monster photo from GawkerAh, a busy day at work, there is a (dude that’s totally fake) Montauk Monster that washed up on the eastern LI shores (pictured @ left). The oldest recorded joke we know of is about flatulence, the next one is about sex. And below, a completely unnecessary photo of Danneel Harris, one of the stars of Harold and Kumar go to Guantanamo Bay, a movie whose unrated version featured and uncomfortable amount of (unrealistic) female nudity for a man to watch with his lady. I can’t believe I’m typing this, but it actually was excessive and took from the humor. Now for some links:

+At first, I thought the Griffey trade to the White Sox (now approved!) sounded awesome. And now that he’s approved it, I think… why? The Sox have Swisha-house, Jermaine Dye, the killin’-it Carlos Quentin, and then Thome and Konerko at 1B/ DH… so unless they trade one of those guys or glue Konerko to the bench, I don’t get it yet.

+The Yankees have made deals for Xavier Nady (and his name, passed down through the generations), Pudge Rodriguez, and have tossed out LaTroy Hawkins. Keep active, pinstripers!

+Dear Mets: That is NOT a reason to make a stupid trade. Even though John Maine is strained and the Mets are worried about Pelfrey’s workload. No dumb trades, guys. no rentals, no Billy Taylors. The team is humming, and Hardball Times points out the the pitching staff is improved by half a run since Rick Peterson’s firing, and though his defense has not been as good, Jose Reyes might be the best shortstop in the league at creating runs.

+The now-traded-to-Houston (analysis by the Melo Backpedal here) Ron Artest received this response from Yao Ming, reacting to a reporter’s question:

“When I text-messaged with Luis (Scola), we talked about team chemistry. That’s only what worries us. We worry about the new attitude to the team. We are adding talent to the team, and we need that, but building team chemistry is important. This is not bad. I don’t mean he is not welcome to Houston. But a new player always needs some time.

“There’s worry. Obviously, yes. … Hopefully, he’s not fighting anymore and going after a guy in the stands. … I have to find a way to talk to him and see what we can do as a basketball team. He has a history, but we know he is a physical player. He is a good player. He really can help us.”

Ron Ron countered:

“This is Tracy (McGrady) and Yao’s team, you know,” Artest said. “I’m not going to take it personal. I understand what Yao said, but I’m still ghetto. That’s not going to change. I’m never going to change my culture. Yao has played with a lot of black players, but I don’t think he’s ever played with a black player that really represents his culture as much as I represent my culture.

“Once Yao Ming gets to know me, he’ll understand what I’m about. But really, he doesn’t have to talk to me, because to me, I’m going (to Houston).”

I’d like to add this part: while not a black player, I am black, and Ron Ron, you have your own culture. Queensbridge doesn’t even share your culture, you’re on some other stuff. New York loves you, but Ron, you represent Artest. You go back to Queensbridge, but are your pants are saggy, teeth yellow, a la Method Man/ Redman?

More pro and college basketball, and a note about the Jets and Farve after the jump.
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Willie Randolph, Fired

June 17, 2008 Comments off

Fired after last night’s win at Anaheim. Down the street from Disneyland, no less. Jerry Manuel is the new interim manager. There will be more media yapping and hype. For now, enjoy the New York Times’ take on the situation, because I don’t have much to say besides “mishandled”:
Read more…

Categories: baseball, coach issues, Mets, Sports

Sports Tip Drill 06.16.08

June 16, 2008 2 comments

Me? I’ve been summering it up and welcoming expatriate New Yorkers, watching the trees twist in the wind when it storms, and watching Euro 2008. Are you NOT watching this? This tournament is reminding me what good futbol/ soccer can be – tense, ridiculous, with leads just hanging on a string.

We were cheering for Turkey (there’s Turkish history on my fiancee’s side, and I didn’t like the cut of the Czechs’ jibs), but while they were fighting to tie the game up, they gave up a second goal. All was lost… until it was not. The first goal was nice, but the second (how the keeper didn’t hang on to that ball was beyond me. Or a testament to being tired.) and third were the comeback we never thought we would see. Absolutely incredible. I haven’t said that many holy sh*ts since… well, it’s been a long time.

edit: Deadspin’s narrative about the game. I can go on for days about how incredible this was.

(I can’t embed the video from MySoccerMedia, so enjoy video highlights of Turkey vs. Czech via link, please.)

Only thing: the freaking goalie makes a save and, to the side, shoves an opposing player, getting kicked out with a red card. In the 91st minute. So he’s out for the next game. Nice work, dude.

+ Top NYC guard Lance Stephenson lists his prospective schools as Kansas, UCLA, USC… and possibly St. John’s, in the way that vowels sometimes include “Y”.

+ This is how South Florida creates a program: another guy with eligibility problems in Gus Gilchrist, former Maryland recruit… who was a Virginia Tech recruit before that… will now transfer to USF. He’s highly regarded, and a great get for Stan Heath:

As a senior at Progressive Christian, Gilchrist averaged 22.3 points and 10.3 rebounds. He initially signed early with Virginia Tech in November 2006, but opted out of his letter of intent because of the tragic April 2007 shootings. He enrolled in Maryland in January 2008, but the Atlantic Coast Conference ruled Gilchrist would not be eligible until January 2009 and would lose a year of eligibility because he had previously signed with another ACC school. This decision prompted him to leave Maryland.

“No one ever told him about it [the transfer rule],” Woody said. “They sprung it on him. He could have gone to any school in the country after Virginia Tech.”

Maryland’s appeals to have Gilchrist eligible this fall were denied, so that’s why Gilchrist left Maryland, Woody said.

Woody said USF would begin the process Monday to appeal to the NCAA for a hardship waiver that would allow Gilchrist to play this season at USF. If the appeal is not successful, Gilchrist would not be able to play at USF until the 2009-10 season.

+ Costs to Indiana University from the Kelvin Sampson basketball violations.

+ Voluntary restrictions for college coaches with respect to letters of intent for pre-high school athletes? Myles Brand finds them untoward, and the National Association of Basketball Coaches is looking for a voluntary ban on signing kids who can’t drive to basketball commitments.

Meniscus repair+ West Virginia forward Joe Alexander is staying in the draft (where he can’t beat up on St. John’s anymore). Kansas State forward Bill Walker hurt an already-injured knee, but wants to stay in the draft. Jeff Goodman reports that it’s a partial tear in the meniscus. What’s that, you ask? To the right is a picture of a knee.

+ Ray Allen left after last night’s NBA Finals game after hearing learning about a health issue involving one of his children, possibly diabetes. Good luck, Ray.

+ Rashard Mendenhall has some beef with Ron Zook and the Illinois football program. H/T to AOL Fanhouse.

+ Zach Randolph and his entourage get into a fight in Portland. *Smacks Head*

+ Becky Hammon is playing for Russia in the Olympics, though she has no ancestral ties.

+ Willie Randolph might be safe from being fired, but Mr. “I can fix Victor Zambrano in 10 minutes” Rick Peterson might be looking into unemployment benefits.

Fernando F&%^$*?!!! Tatis

May 29, 2008 Comments off

Fernando Tatis is trying to get his place back in the majors:

For the second straight night, the Mets trotted out their bizarre good-luck charm in the person of public relations guru Jay Horwitz, who was once again clad in a loud orange jacket that even TBS’ Craig Sager would have left on the rack.

It worked, though, as Fernando Tatis’ one-out, two-run double in the 12th inning gave the Mets a 7-6 win over the Marlins last night at Shea Stadium. The Mets had tied it on Endy Chavez’s pinch home run in the ninth.

Fernando Tatis

So you know, I was following the game online and while D was watching Top Chef, I shouted “holy s**t! Fernando f****** Tatis just drove home the winning runs!” It’s a start, a come from behind homer by Endy Chavez of all people in the ninth to tie, then a run given up by Met pitcher Duaner Sanchez in the top of the 12th, and then 2 runs (Wright and Beltran were on base) in the bottom of the twelfth to beat the Marlins.

More game description from Mets Geek.

Categories: baseball, Mets, Sports

Sports Links, 05.27.08

May 27, 2008 Comments off

Well, it’s about sports, kinda: Obama’s right hand man on the campaign trail is none other than former Duke guard/ forward Reggie Love. The New York Times loves the story, NY Mag wants him to run for president in the future (Shane Battier will get there first), and Gawker compares him very favorably to John Kerry’s right hand man, who never introduced Kerry to Jay-Z’s music. Nice place to continue your post-sport career.

– Your Orlando Pre NBA Draft Camp list. I hope they have a lot of bunks because that’s a lot of fellas.

– Mike Jarvis, former St. John’s coach often likened to the devil for his improper payments and laxness in recruiting for the Red Storm, will be coaching at Florida Atlantic.

– The Mets are so bad that MetsGeek (one of my favorite Met blogs) has changed its name to “RaysGeek.” THAT, I think, is too far.

– Related: Gary Carter is a full bushel bag of dicks for openly reaching out to the Mets when he heard that Willie Randolph’s job was in might be jeopardy (and kudos for Keith Hernandez for calling him out on air). And it might be that our 2008 iteration of the Mets is just mediocre, not the most abysmal chunk of useless turdblossom to grace the National League.

– Also: new player Nick Evans has my favorite number, #6. It’s been worn by 35 Mets and this is the second wearer this season. Oh, Timoniel Perez, why couldn’t you have been better.

– Also: Luis Castillo isn’t very good. I really hated that re-signing. And Jose Valentin might be on his way back. He might actually be an improvement over Castillo (FAMOUS LAST WORDS).

Open Letter to Mets Manager Willie Randolph

May 21, 2008 Comments off

Dear Willie:

Oh no, no, no. Don’t get all fiery in an interview and bring up the “r” word. I mean “race,” not, “Reyes.” Aren’t you from New York? Don’t you know that the vocal fans and the news media love to jump on a flashpoint topic, and race is one of the biggest that we have? Don’t you know NYC is a city of loudmouths and people who feel that they’ve been wronged, people who feel that they are done dirty when they perceive another group of people receiving some kind of slight compensatory advantage, people who take it out wherever they can? Willie celebrationDon’t set those people off with talk about race, man!

I understand your need to defend your managerial style; certainly, you keep things more behind closed doors than some other guys. And I know the media and cameras love to see a demonstrative Larry Bowa-type coach. Well, I think those guys are loudmouths and may not be introspective enough, and that’s not the best way to lead. I agree with that.

But, from the Jersey Record:

“I’m as animated and as demonstrative and as involved and as intense as any manager in baseball.”

Randolph excluded Ozzie Guillen from the conversation, but wanted to know why the traits often admired in the calm, cool and collected likes of Joe Torre are portrayed as flaws in Torre’s former third base coach.

“Is it racial?” Randolph asked. “Huh? It smells a little bit.”

Asked directly if he believes black managers are held to different standards than their white counterparts, Randolph said: “I don’t know how to put my finger on it, but I think there’s something there. Herman Edwards did pretty well here and he won a couple of playoff [games], and they were pretty hard on Herm. Isiah [Thomas] didn’t do a great job, but they beat up Isiah pretty good. … I don’t know if people are used to a certain figurehead. There’s something weird about it.

Means that you used the “r” word, and the cat just won’t go back into the bag unless you win and win a lot. You can insult women in this day and age, you can use gay slurs, but do not reference your being black by calling something racial.

The loud voices in the media might listen to you for a hot second, but the fans – mostly white and very sensitive to anything that sounds like whining, and averse to being forced to feel guilty (or, you know, think about their actions and perceptions) – hate to hear a black person (especially) talk of race. It flies in the face of the legislation that removes legally sanctioned racism. It reminds them of years of being made to feel bad about inequality when they’re just trying to live their lives on equal economic + opportunity footing. It reminds them of “race hustlers,” whatever those are; and it makes them say things like “Willie’s using the race card” (Which isn’t a trump card at all). Or it will make those fans call you a racist, for the use of the single word. They’ll reference Al Sharpton and they’ll say they’re not racist but their anger at the “controversy” hints otherwise.

See?
See?
– Well this one isn’t so – nope, see?
– Hey, these are relatively intelligent comments! Read the article.
See?

It’s too powerful a “weapon,” this word, “racism.” It no longer makes people think, it makes folks react and attack. And if your comments, like any other comments or defenses of your record, were meant to inform, illuminate, and get mofos off of your back, that just undid any effect they would have. Deaf ears greet any illuminations you might give to the media.

There’s a whole swath of black folks who know that commenting on race is going to obscure their message. And the important things is to be successful around those issues, especially when put in a position to do something favorable, something positive. The more success black people enjoy, the more normal it will be to have black managers (which isn’t abnormal), black top executives (somewhat irregular), or black presidents (absolutely abnormal).

And it’s not that Obama, for example, is ignoring race issues, or has solved the problem of how to talk about race. I bet Barack and Michelle talk about racism at dinner or on the phone, the subtle kinds that always sets the nation’s punditry into a tizzy and the reactionaries into a lather. It’s out there.

But talking about it is like making resolutions to sue OPEC to release more oil; it’s not gonna do a hot damned thing. Let others talk about race; be subtle in how you address indignity. Talking about it obscures what you’re trying to say and while I’d love for people to calmly talk about racial issues and understand the premises of why some people see racial bias and others don’t… it’s not happening this month.

The national dialogue is in a funny place about race, where if the topic/ referred situation is not overt, the word alone brings the nuts out of their corners to brawl; so many people think we’re really over racism, or “postracial.”

As for the comments themselves… dude. Really? You’re complaining about how SNY portrays you on Mets’ broadcasts? Really? If you’re concerned, then make a little more show. Even Art Howe sometimes acted like he knew how to get angry. You have to play the game. And the current results, Willie, are not very good. You have to bunker down and try to make moves. And when you deflect, don’t use the “they don’t show me showing emotion” excuse.

Dude. Come on. That was weak and admittedly, actually paranoid. You can’t be worried about who likes you. You’ve got to lead your club. Tell the media the things you’re doing, but don’t talk about your “feelings,” man, that only opens you up to get hurt. And likening yourself to Herm Edwards, whose last teams were inconsistent, and then to Isiah Thomas who was a complete nightmare with respect to winning ballgames?

Let’s review your takeaways from this letter: don’t talk about your feelings.

More on Willie’s tenure here.

Sports Links, 5.16.08

May 16, 2008 Comments off

J'Mison Morgan+Gary Parrish on the new style of recruiting: pounce on verbally committed recruits when there’s a coaching change through the AAU and high school coaches, aka the back channels.

+Allegations that Kansas’ Darrell Arthur shouldn’t have been eligible due to changed grades in high school, which could mean Kansas would be in danger of losing basketball title… in the most silly of worlds. Yeah, I’m sure no other school has players who’d had their high school grades changed. I know it’s hard to tell on a blog post, but that’s sarcasm.

+Dear athletes: how many times do I have to say this? Wear a $%^#@!!! CONDOM.

+Billy Wagner sure likes to talk. And in New York, talk is taken seriously. Will the other players stick around for the tough questions after being called out (again) by the team’s closer?

+The New York Times is going to love the quotable D’Antoni. He’s intelligent, political, contemplative, contrary, argumentative, and competitive; he’s a great news story.

+More on Kevin Parrom: Adam Zagoria indicates the incident was a fight about the team in general. Here’s hoping he goes to a prep or Catholic school with a decent relationship with St. John’s.

+A South African double-amputee, Oscar Pistorius (“the fastest man on no legs“), can compete to qualify for this summer’s Olympic games with his carbon fiber legs (below the knee). I bet he’ll be stripped of any medals if he gets to the games and wins. Especially if the bionic man sound can be heard on the track.

Video of Pistorius:

Sports Links 5.14.08

May 14, 2008 Comments off

+ Mets make moves, designating Nelson Figueroa and Jorge Sosa for assignment (Figueroa plans to go to the minors if he clears waivers, Sosa might declare free agency instead), and sending Angel Pagan to the DL. Coming up (or already up): reliever Matt Wise, starting pitcher Claudio Vargas (what’s with the ex-Brewers?), and Fernando Tatis. We don’t have anyone better than Fernando Tatis in the minors?

Jason Giambi+ Hank Steinbrenner thinks his team’s not playing hard enough.

+ D’Antoni wants to trade Marbury as part of a package for Leandro Barbosa and Boris “I don’t date American women, I have them” Diaw. Great trade, if the Suns are at gunpoint.

+ Soon-to-be senior high school basketball star (and St. John’s target) Kevin Parrom is arrested after an altercation with his coach. There’s more here than meets the eye, if only for the fact that this didn’t need to get into the paper, and the player didn’t have to get arrested if the coach didn’t want that to happen.

+ You can’t advertise your Larry Bird’s former home as the “Legend of French Lick Resort” and get away with it… Larry Bird hopes.

+ Arizona State eliminates wrestling, swimming, and tennis. It was too hot for the last two anyway. Article includes complaining about Title IX, roll eyes and move on.

+ Any post about the old WUniversity, even if it’s about track and field, is welcome in my blog.

+ A WHOA, BACK UP post on OJ Mayo asking some questions and stepping back from calling Mayo some kind of criminal deviant. The angle is interesting as the major news outlets are busy looking for culprits, as Rush the Court calls out the media. Whatever happened to investigative reporting? Whatever the outcome of the Mayo case, this kind of influence peddling will continue. Why would it stop if the only way to get at the info is a jilted snitch?

+ Joe Montana’s eldest son Nate Montana is going to walk on at Notre Dame this fall. He didn’t play much in high school, adopting the game late, but he’s still Son of Montana. You’d think he’d choose a more competitive school, though. John Elway’s son Jack will be suiting up for Arizona State, by the way. Does Jim Kelly have a kid? Joe Theismann? Warren Moon?

+ Gene Doping? Yikes. hat tip to The Sports Economist.

+ AND, What do you associate with various brands? The Wall Street Journal talks about the Brand Tags site.

Willie Randolph In Trouble?

May 9, 2008 Comments off

The team is 71-71 since last June 1st and the management plans to sit down and evaluate Randolph’s performance at the end of the month. I am sure other teams do that, but ownership might just have a quibble. From Dan Graziano’s article at the Star-Ledger:

Where Randolph comes up short is in his failure to recognize what kind of team he has and manage accordingly. Randolph is a decent man who cares deeply about his team and his job and believes strongly in himself. But he’s also stubborn, and that’s what has him in trouble.

Randolph came from the Yankees, where the championship teams of the late ’70s and the late ’90s were packed with hard-nosed winners. He believes he shouldn’t need to motivate or fire up big-league players, because his teams never needed that.

In principle, he’s right. He shouldn’t need to remind major-league players that it’s important to raise their games in big spots, or not to take games or at-bats off.

But unfortunately for Randolph, his players are soft. His players are the types who don’t raise their games in big spots, who do take at-bats off. His players coast through long stretches of the season, assuming their talent will carry them through without any extra effort or emotion on their part. His players are not self-motivators, and they are a group that might respond well to being scared every now and then.

That’s not to say they need a Larry Bowa/Lou Piniella type of screamer. “Scaring” players like this would be as simple as letting them know their playing time isn’t guaranteed — that a long, languid slump by the $17 million-a-year center fielder isn’t going to be tolerated when there’s a hungry, energetic Angel Pagan around to man the position while Carlos Beltran gets his head together on the bench.

Randolph doesn’t do that. He does what Joe Torre used to do when his veteran players slumped. He tells them he believes in them and will stick by them until they come out of it.

But in the case of these particular Mets, it doesn’t work. These Mets get too comfortable. They can keep mailing it in at no threat to themselves or their lifestyle. You went 0-for-5 again, Carlos? No problem. You’ll be back in there tomorrow, have no fear. We’ll never embarrass you.

By now — after the playoff flop of 2006, the historic meltdown of ’07 and the sleepy start to ’08 — Randolph should understand this, and he should be doing something about it. He is not.

But does scaring players with the threat of losing playing time work? Or does it alienate the player? I hate watching Carlos Beltran’s at bats as much as anyone, but playing time is a blunt instrument to effect change. I think Beltran might be served by taking fewer stinking pitches, myself. How does one build the desire to get pissed off at each failed at bat like Paul O’Neill? And do the Mets want players that tightly wound?

Don’t get me wrong, I think Willie needs to do something more than sitting back in the cut. or the dugout, as it were.

This weekend: The Cincinnati Reds. Analysis here from Amazin’ Avenue.

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Mets 11, Dodgers In Hiding

May 7, 2008 2 comments

The Mets are out in LA taking out some frustrations on Brad Penny, Joe Torre and their mediocre record. David Wright is the only regular who hasn’t crossed the plate, including starting pitcher John Maine, who knocked in 2 runs and is working on a 1 2 hitter in the 5th.

Categories: baseball, Mets, Sports