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Rob Thomas on Outside the Lines on ESPN

August 11, 2009 4 comments

Coming next in the player review series will be Rob Thomas. But today – a photo set from St. John’s sports of an Outside the Lines piece ESPN will be airing on Rob, focusing on his past (it seems) being homeless at times Uptown.

I’ll be looking out for the airing on ESPN and will keep y’all updated.

Wrong place, wrong time, he’s still tall: on Anthony DiLoreto

July 28, 2009 3 comments

You may have seen that CBS’ Gary Parrish wrote that Anthony DiLoreto is out of jail, facing two felony charges… all while playing with an AAU team in a tournament in Las Vegas, and has a scholarship offer from the Rick Majerus and Saint Louis University.

Anthony DiLoretoYou may also know (possibly from this blog or others) that Anthony DiLoreto was the getaway driver in a bank robbery in Wisconsin, near to where DiLoreto lives in Minnesota. This was in the summer (2008) before the lanky center was to report to the Cal Poly campus. Way to party your summer away.

Now I’d like to say I’m all for second chances. But I think it’s suspect that athletes, at times, find themselves in the “wrong place, wrong time” like Tyreke Evans who happened to be the getaway driver after a fatal shooting but didn’t know what was going on. At least there is some deniability there. But in DiLoreto’s case… this is certainly less deniable, unless there are some facts we don’t know about.

And does it matter? His compass is obviously off, and not by a little; this is no hormonal aggressive teenager abusing a woman. This is no friend/ homeboy with a beef that erupts into a fight or even a shooting. Those things are wrong, those actions are illegal, but they happen enough that when crimes happen, a person can be allowed to come up with caveats, hike down from the moral high ground, and cheer on that player. Much, much respect to the people who don’t; but I understand the line of thinking.

But a bank robbery? Saying no one got hurt when one party had a sawed off shotgun (unloaded, supposedly), and a getaway car? The potential for real uninvolved innocents to get hurt while just going about their day – that’s real. That, honestly, is the kind of crime that should put a fear in people. The fact that no one got hurt should not mask the possibility of what could have happened. This is not a crime that is in the normal course of athletes being assholes.


The sliding scale of crime heinosity that a bank robbery is on can be debated; but the way college basketball is, if the kid can play, he will be considered if he is eligible (i.e., not in jail) to play. And that is the long and short of it. And the fact is, his profile has never been higher. He has a plea bargain scheduled

Anthony DiLoreto should never have told Parrish what school offered him a scholarship. I would think that kid like that would want to keep a low profile. He’s not obligated to answer questions. Moreover, I would bet cash money that he does not get in to St. Louis; the school’s students can muster up some Catholic moral high ground.

But whatever happens with that school, as long as he can avoid much of his jail time, we will hear a story about how he has gotten better, realized his mistake. We heard it with AJ Price and Marcus WIlliams. Those two Connecticut players were given gauzy screened, soft-music treatment by the sports media once their penalties were up. All DiLoreto has to do now is sign with a decent school, get on a CBS Saturday afternoon game, and watch the sympathetic stories come in…

It’s the way of college basketball.

Jamaicans, Moneyball, Sosa: Link Dump!

June 25, 2009 Comments off

Cat Deeley SYTYCDWho would believe you can get 56 stars tattooed on your head while you were asleep? No one is that fast, nor that gentle with a needle… In New York, is Bloomberg just delaying the budget deficit hit until after the elections, where he is running for an unprecedented third term… Meanwhile, California’s budget deficit will have them dealing out “IOUs”, because liabilities at interest is just what the Golden State needs… there may be water on the moon (a moon of Saturn).

And for fun, the top 10 recent male politician infidelity confessions to accompany you while you read Gov. Sanford’s emails to his lady friend in the Palermo neighborhood of Buenos Aires. Transformers 2 gets bad reviews, but apparently has a lot of Megan Fox bouncing in slow motion. That, I suppose, will sell, but I can’t stand to listen to her act. So instead of the gratuitous Megan Fox picture I should put up, here’s a gratuitous Cat Deeley photo, just because I can… and instead of arrows or bullets, I’ll use Toni Basil’s crazy eyes.

Too short for a Toni Basil: From a while ago on the NCAA’s blog: Do You Have What It Takes to be an Athletic Director?

toni basil icon Samardo Samuels (Louisville), Weyinmi Efejuku (Providence), and Mike Coburn (Rutgers) out of the Big East will be playing with the Jamaican men’s national team this summer.

Hopefully the squad will do well in the Caribbean Basketball Championship this coming week… and maybe make moves to be included in the 2012 Olympics. And with all the Jamaicans in London, they might find it a little like a homecoming. As long as there are no more Jamaican Me Crazy headlines. Please.

toni basil iconGood to hear about former Marlins, Red Sox and Cubs pitcher Matt Clement. Apparently he’s hung it up in baseball and is coaching his high school’s basketball team in Butler, Pennsylvania; he played baseball and basketball before graduating in 1993.

He was never quite the same after that horrific injury, taking a baseball off his head faster than he could react. Good luck to him, and his future career.

toni basil iconChances of ever seeing that Moneyball movie are pretty much dead now, after Sony stopped production, and no one wants to pick up the Steven Soderbergh/ Brad Pitt version of the Billy Beane-based book. Art Howe would have gotten to be himself! One-liners!

The “high budget and limited commercial appeal” sunk the project; apparently, “adult audiences”have not brought in the desired revenue.  Summer blockbusters for kids all year! And no more baseball movies, unless they are financed by Kevin Costner.

toni basil icon Ryne Sandberg thinks Sammy Sosa doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame. Well, does Sandberg belong? Just asking!

For me, I am not very surprised that Sammy was on some steroid junk… the whole throwing his back out sneezing seemed to me like something that happens in conjunction with overworking the body’s muscles. I don’t know, but I would have suspected then. But, so what? Players are always trying to get over. If he is determined to be the best of the players who took steroids, he still has to have been great player to be the superstar that he was.

Another too short for a Toni Basil: Was there match-fixing at Wimbledon? Certainly, anyone looking to throw a game knows to do it in the less-publicized, less watched contests… so that’s not out of the realm of reason.

toni basil icon Barack Obama will throw out the first pitch at the All-Star game in St. Louis this year. I hope they don’t boo him… the city, like the Cardinal uniforms, tends towards red. Speaking at Notre Dame and showing up at the midsummer classic? He really is trying to win everybody over with smiles and availability.

And he’ll probably wear a White Sox jersey.

toni basil iconNew York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority is selling the naming rights to my old train station at Atlantic and Flatbush in Brooklyn to Barclay’s Bank, since that is where the new Nets stadium – if it is ever built – will stand.

The new design for the Barclay’s Arena for the Nets (from the New York Press) really does look like an airplane hangar.

Nets Arena Brooklyn Barclay's

Michael Phelps Can Get Real Stoned

February 4, 2009 Comments off

Hat tip to Eben, who clued me in to this Slate Explainer article:

…fans are wondering whether Phelps’ abnormally large lung capacity means he can take monster bong rips. Can he?

He can. Total lung capacity refers to the volume of air contained in the lungs at the point of “maximal” inspiration—i.e., the biggest breath you can take. It’s measured in liters. The greater a smoker’s total lung capacity, the more he can inhale from a given joint, bowl, or bong. According to some estimates, Phelps’ lung capacity is twice that of the average human, or 12 liters rather than six. So if he puts his mind to it, he can take a hit that’s twice as big as that of the next partygoer.

Categories: funny, Olympics, player issues

Linx: Terrible Towel for Good, Hewitt too Pricey to Fire, Citigroup Naming Rights, Super Bowl, Puppy Bowl and More

January 30, 2009 1 comment

It’s Chinese Lunar New Year! Underwater dragon, anyone? Folks still have confidence in Obama, and that’s good, he was sworn in less than 2 weeks ago! Illinois Governor is now Former Governor Blagojevich, after his eventful last day in office; new Governor Pat (Hallelujah) Quinn promises to “fumigate state government.” Some curious comments on The American Institute for Economic Research’s Cost of Living Guide.

US Airways Flight 1549 (the one famously waylaid by geese) passengers will get a year of free “elite status” upgrades; Wall Street Journal commenters think they’re greedy because of one guy’s comment saying it doesn’t go far enough. I think, like those people are going to be flying any more than they need to in the next year? Hells no. Speaking of the flight, Addicting Games is staying classy with a flight simulator game – just prevent the plane from crashing into the Hudson! I’ve been giggling all week about this article on East Breast, Penistone, and other embarassing names of British towns from the NY Times… and Tumbledown Dick Road. It never stops making me laugh.

I am such a sucker that I am going to be watching the Puppy Bowl this Sunday as well as the Superbowl… enjoy the puppy starting lineup. My wife’s big on Mercy (pictured below, photo courtesy of Animal Planet).

Mercy from 2009 Puppy Bowl

+ Those damned socialists in Congress (Kucinich and Republican Ted Poe are quoted) want Citigroup to ditch the $400 million deal for naming rights at the new Mets Stadium/ CitiField.

+ David Wells, still punk-ass after all these years. Who gives him a microphone? Oh yeah, other loudmouths. He calls Torre, ah, J-Fraud.

+ John Maine avoids arbitration and will make 2.6 million next year.

+ In college basketball, an auto-bid watch from Storming the Floor.

+ USA Today finds the recent college firings “disturbing“, and name-check Gary Williams, St. John’s Norm Roberts, and Ernie Kent. Addendum: an article on Ernie Kent and the new Matthew Knight arena opening in 2011. And why would Jeff Capel leave Oklahoma for Georgia, anyway?

+ Paul Hewitt, safe at Georgia Tech… in part because they can’t afford to fire Hewitt:

If that weren’t enough, there’s this: Hewitt’s contract renders him almost fireproof.

His deal was reworked in April 2004 after he led Tech to the NCAA title game. Dave Braine, the AD who hired Hewitt in 2000 and had seen his vision realized, rewarded his coach with a six-year contract that rolls over automatically and that provides a buyout in full for each remaining season if he’s fired “without cause” (meaning, just for losing).

Hewitt is making $1.9 million this season — $1.3 million in salary, $250,000 for radio/TV shows, $200,000 in speaking fees and $150,000 in deferred compensation. Were Tech to dismiss Hewitt today, it would owe him $9.5 million.

By way of contrast, Tech was compelled to pay Chan Gailey $4 million when it fired him as football coach, and Georgia is on the hook for $1.5 million after canning Dennis Felton.

Georgia’s athletics department is flush with cash. Tech’s is not. Tech is paying Gailey through 2011 not to coach, and it just handed Paul Johnson a 50 percent raise — to $2.4 million per season. Bottom line: Nobody is rooting harder for Hewitt than Radakovich.

Football Links!

+ Something awesome that I never knew about the Terrible Towel (I love my Terrible Towel!) – the proceeds go to a special needs school:

But the great part comes from what each of those towels does for people like Danny Cope, Myron’s son and Elizabeth’s older brother.

Myron Cope left behind something far more personal than a legacy of terrycloth, a battle flag for a city and its team. In 1996, he handed over the trademark to the Terrible Towel to the Allegheny Valley School. It is a network of campuses and group homes across Pennsylvania for people with severe intellectual and developmental disabilities. It receives almost all the profits from sales of the towels.

Danny Cope is one of the roughly 900 people the school serves. He has been a resident since 1982, when he was a teenager. He was diagnosed with severe mental retardation when he was 2. He is now 41.

+ The NFL is either losing money (according to the NFL Commissioner)… or flush with cash (according to the Players’ Association). Yes, there’s a Collective Bargaining Agreement that needs to be negotiated by both sides in the next couple of years.

+ Kurt Warner is not a Hall-of-Famer. Jason Whitlock apparently disagrees.

+ The NFL loves younger coaches these days.

+ Brett Favre doesn’t return Aaron Rodgers’ calls. Hasn’t for a year.

+ A Super Bowl Ad preview. Do they strike a “delicate balance” between upbeat and sympathetic?

And Barack Obama on the Super Bowl… he’s for Pittsburgh.

Brandon Jennings in Today’s NY Times

January 24, 2009 1 comment

As you might know, top guard prospect Brandon Jennings decided to make the bold move, skipping college and going to play a year in Europe. For those interested in the works of college basketball recruiting, and for those concerned about the restricted options for those boys who want to play basketball professionally straight out of high school, this is a landmark case.

The Brown vs. Board of Ed of recruiting? If the trip is successful, that bit hyperbole may not be so outlandish.

The New York Times has been keeping close tabs on Brandon Jennings. Some excerpts from today’s article:

“I’ve gotten paid on time once this year,” Jennings said in an e-mail message. “They treat me like I’m a little kid. They don’t see me as a man. If you get on a good team, you might not play a lot. Some nights you’ll play a lot; some nights you won’t play at all. That’s just how it is.”

“I don’t see too many kids doing it,” his e-mail message said. “It’s tough man, I’ll tell you that. It can break you.”…

Jennings does not resemble the pioneer some envisioned when he left for Europe as a dynamic player who could create his own shots and score 20 points or more a game. In Italy, he said, he has been stifled offensively. He is averaging 8 points a game.

“My role is to play D and take open shots — that’s it,” he said. “And I’ve accepted that role.”

He acknowledged that the journey had helped him mature, and he said the rigors of playing in Europe may benefit others.

An N.B.A. assistant coach who has been to Europe and has watched Jennings play said his potential draft standing had not been harmed. The coach requested anonymity because he was discussing a player currently ineligible for the draft.

“I think it is good for him,” he said. “He was getting a defensive component that he needed. If I was a scout and I needed a point guard, I would be extremely impressed with what he has done over there.”

I comment on this because I saw the first quotes from Jennings – about not being paid on time and about him being treated like a kid – on ESPN’s bottom line during the Wisconsin Illinois game I’m watching. And those are portrayed as the terrible things. Certainly, it is nice to be paid on time, but it’s a well-known issue that European teams are scattered with the timely payroll.

Jennings is, essentially, a little kid! He is not the man, and perhaps more players need to fit the team concept and realize how very much they have to learn. Jennings admits that the journey has helped him mature. And for a fanbase that chides NBA players for being immature, for coaches who often have a hard time handling the immaturity of NBA players, this could be a fantastic, though unintended, outcome for Brandon.

Playing defense – especially if he has improved with his existing athleticism – is a great, underrated skill. Rajon Rondo and his unoffensive game has really made a name for himself simply with good defense.

It may not be what Brandon Jennings envisioned. But he’s making money and hasn’t hurt his draft stock. Perhaps more players should consider going to Europe and getting schooled a little, building some mental toughness, and gaining experience and worldliness.

Mizzou’s Miguel Paul Has Some ‘Splainin to Do

January 14, 2009 Comments off

Missouri freshman Miguel Paul claimed to be Chris Paul’s (aka CP3) cousin, and even claimed asking him for advice… that may not be true, since Chris Paul never heard of him. Miguel might be a more distant cousin… it takes a little attention from Leo Lyons’ minor traffic dispute, though!

No Cowher for the Jets

December 31, 2008 Comments off

According to the NY Post, former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher decided he is not interested in the Jets job. He wanted his own personnel man and no Brett Favre meddling. Who wouldn’t want Brett Favre meddling? In between interceptions, he’s the best “white-TO” at QB in the NFL!

Public Stupidity Meets a Starbury Target

December 17, 2008 4 comments

Skimming an article on USA Today this morning, I saw the kind of invective that just makes this blogger hate the nature of internet comments. Stephon MarburyThere is an article, about Stephon Marbury’s stasis, and the commenters come out with the:

"This guy is so dumb its frightening."

-and-

"Would someone PLEASE give me $21 million so I can be DUMB…

PLEASE give me a $10 million "paid" vacation so I can be DUMB…"

-and-

"If Mebury or Isiah actually "show up" for work they would not get paid. They are being paid by the Knicks to "stay away" from the rest of the team.

The rest of the business world would just Fire Them both and not pay them another penny."

I can’t stand it when people call athletes "dumb" – assessing their intelligence based, usually, on one or a limited number of quotes, usually about the nexus of money and respect. We don’t know whether the player is dumb or not without interacting with him personally for a period of time. The framework of professional sports, from the employee protections to the contractual obligations to the sheer uniqueness of talent also allows for a certain myopia of thought that most people would not be allowed in their jobs.

Similarly, I would like to think that everyone has noticed that quirks are allowed more and more as one moves up the importance ladder in any organization.

These comments are jealousy speaking out – the "OHH, IF I HAD MILLIONS" whining, the use of logic that is based on being an athletic observer and not an athletic talent, and the use of experience gained following a mythos of how the business world works.

Stephon Marbury, with all of his faults included, is a one in 500 talent in the world. Even at his quirkiest, he is so much more talented than a schmoe off the street that the proper corollary would be a Vice President at a very large Fortune 500 company. That guy hardly gets fired when he is being petulant, when the new CEO wants a new staff. No, that guy gets a giant golden umbrella, or gets assigned to a less critical part of the organization, or goes on to another organization based on his rep.

"Fire them both?" AIG is spending money on “retention payments” bonuses after they came hat in hand to the government for WELFARE. Other companies are still giving out bonuses, even if in reduced fashion. Failure doesn’t mean "fired with no money," it means reductions, severance packages; the market is a win/ lose game to investors, not to the employees who need to be kept around.

The point is this: people think they know their athletes, based on puff pieces and ESPN investigative reporting compressed into 5 minute segments or 30 second post-game interviews. And fans sometimes think they can go around name calling from behind their keyboards at work? You don’t know these people. Enjoy their abilities, talk about their in-game decision making, even call them out when they ask for above-market value on their contract. But don’t call them dumb. And it’s worthless to fantasize what you would do with the contract, because you are not nearly capable or single-minded enough to become a top-level athlete.

There is another comment by the first poster about how we’re lucky that Marbury plays ball, because "he would have hurt someone by now"… the ignorance in that comment is evident enough that it does not warrant a post.

Last Week in the East Coast Bias

October 28, 2008 2 comments

Slate asks why do politicians seem to have so many affairs, and such iffy marriages? How did AIG use 75% of the government bailout lifeline (and how are they now asking for more)?

And 30 Rock is coming back this week – watch for Oprah and a fine actress named Tijuana Ricks on the flight behind Tina Fey and Oprah. Tina Fey tank topTina Fey gets to be known for more than her Sarah Palin impression.

* St. John’s didn’t get the coveted recruit, Jordan Williams. The Torrington High forward chose Maryland for the playing time and criminal justice program. Good luck to him; perhaps he’ll become like Sean May – a little earthbound but extrememly capable in the post.

* The East Coast Bias’ Big East Projections (discussed a little on Villanova By The Numbers), with Louisville in the number 1 regular season spot.

* Big East media day notes include the coaches’ preseason poll, links to other Big East scribes and quotes from Justin Burrell from NYHoops.com, and more quotes from Burrell on knowing his role.

* Connecticut’s Nate Miles, after violating his restraining order, will go to the College of Southern Idaho, or CSI, to play ball for a year. Will he be back at U Conn? Will he go somewhere else, or even to the professional ranks?

* A note on the upcoming preseason NIT Tournament, based on a post from Storming the Floor.

* In case no one’s disabused you of the notion, public stadium financing doesn’t lead to strong local economic impact.

* Lute Olsen steps down as head coach of Arizona (the title of the post refers to how Bill Belichick stepped down from his day-long stint as the head coach of the New York Jets); this post is on how I think head coaches who quit suddenly aren’t practicing what they preach, and how Arizona’s future is still bright.

* Unfortunately, one of our favorite blogs, CardsHoops, seems to have hung up the keyboard.

* The Mets hired a coach with the awesome name Razor Shines. There is also a Moneyball movie coming out.

* Isiah Thomas may have overdosed on a few too many sleeping pills… but there will be more on this during the week.

 

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