Levi Johnston dishes on life with Sarah Palin and speaks ill of her marriage to Todd in a Vanity fair article – wow, kid, milk that gossip… The US Senate, with less nepotism… Brazil’s racial problems are deep… will the lobbyists for the health care status quo – like the “Million Med March” (aka “protect the doctors’ salaries above all else”) – even listen to a possible bipartisan health care plan that triggers a public option if the insurance companies can’t meet quality/ cost benchmarks? And why is that called a “compromise” as opposed to “bipartisan” in the article? Should tort reform be in the health care bill?… On lighter notes: The end of “Reading Rainbow“… the Fast Food as the Mafia (graphic, funny, non-political)… and 12 most annoying types of Facebookers.
In honor of the beginning of college football, two fun images. First, a billboard bought by former Notre Dame player Tom Reynolds:
And if you haven’t seen this year’s Oregon Ducks uniforms, check them out when they play Boise State tonight… or look at the winged shoulders here:
In what will be a hotly-followed story, Rich Rodriguez is named in a lawsuit about a Virginia condo development… he’s been connected to a banned booster… he’s accused of violating NCAA rules on how much time coaches required players to spend working out… so of course there’s a Fire Rich Rodriguez site.
The Quad blog from the New York Times has Florida as… #2! So Texas is their #1…
Nebraska gets an extra basketball scholarship (14 total), based on an NCAA mix-up on eligibility standards.
Jim Larranaga’s leaving Twitter after poking fun at a silly NCAA rule about being able to give student-athletes bagels but no condiments/ spreads.
Mets third base coach Razor Shines, perhaps, doesn’t scout the throwing arms of the opposing outfielders.
Scout.com has their Top 75 basketball players in the nation (and Canada) for 2011.
Supposedly Nets’ owner Bruce Ratner is looking to make bank by selling the Nets at a premium price and THEN wants to get the new owners to pay him a hefty fee for the right to play in the Brooklyn Barclay’s Arena… whenever it happens. He’d then get the profits of the stadium without the financial drain of owning the team.
And now, the first of many St. John’s coach Norm Roberts job “may be” on the line if he doesn’t win this year. Of course, someone has to speak to why this year is so different than any other year, and what “get it done” actually means. NCAAs? NIT?
Growing up, it was hard to see teams other than the “big boys” in college football; especially in the New York City area, before Connecticut went to the D-I aka FBS level, and while Rutgers was just poor. I didn’t know anyone who stopped everything for Saturday football; the teams that came on – even close ones like Penn State – had no relation to my life. I never knew of the need to see one’s football team, the wearing of college football colors, the sense of regional pride that the southern and plains and midwestern teams engendered.
One of those teams – specifically, Nebraska football – is the reason I got in to college football. In college, I lived in a 6 person suite, with a room right next to the common area, where we had a small TV. My suitemate from Omaha was a huge Huskers fan. Huge. I would be working (or drinking) late into the night on Fridays. He used to wake me up on Saturday, about 11.20 AM yelling about some Nebraska foible… while they were up 14 on, say, Troy State. That made me cranky as hell, so I brushed up on my football so I could insult the Cornhuskers, especially when they played Mizzou… or some team that might actually beat them in the 90’s.
The fervor was not restricted to Nebraska, of course. And the proliferation of cable/ satellite options, channels, and regional programming means that more people can feed their need for information. There is obviously a demand to not only see one’s teams, but the get the “inside scoop,” the “candid” and “unfiltered” information – to get close to one’s team. The best way of doing this is either to find a news outlet with a huge budget to cover the team, or to localize the news.
Those Nebraska fans, would travel from far and wide to see their team live – putting money into ticket sales, gasoline, tailgating food; there is a cost that they are willing to pay to experience Nebraska football. Now, the school will test the price tag of that dedication by showing their first three non-conference games in pay-per-view format. The linked article touches on the revenue concept for many bigger-time teams, schools, and conferences looking for ways to control their revenue streams and differentiate viewers, separating the casuals from the die-hards, who will pay much more per view than you and I might through our cable or satellite package. And that money goes to the school and their content distributor.
I suppose that this is problematic, as we expect to get our sports television for a small fee; but there are fans who pay good money to get the aforementioned “insider” information on recruiting sites; conference specific television; and team-specific networks in major markets that might, like the Yankees will, expand into in-market online deals at an advanced price.
These moves, if profitable, start to inform both sports broadcasters, cable/ satellite tv companies (dealing with competition from online sites like Hulu), and sports fans about what the model will be going forward for sports. Segmenting fans helps bring the right money to the producers and determines the actual value of the product, on the business side.
But on the fan side, this kind of segmentation can be parsed too finely. The pay-per-view model loses the fairweather fans and the casual sports fans. And will pay per view remove the socia aspect of watching the game at a dedicated bar over wings and beer? What value do those fans have to the schools and the media producers? This experiment will start to delve into the question.
Who 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?
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.
Good 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.
Chances 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.
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.
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.
New 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.
The U.S. Men’s National Soccer team has taken their second loss in the Confederations Cup in South Africa, a 0-3 stomping that featured another red card (this time Sascha Klejstan was sent off; Ricardo Clark caught the card in the Italy game), another early goal given up on defense, and the perception that the United States can’t hang with the big boys on the pitch.
Ann Killion of the San Jose Mercury News put it best, comparing where the US MNT is as compared to the stated goals of 11 years ago; the U.S. felt that they were ready to emerge as a power, and Landon Donovan and DeMarcus Beasley were going to be key to that future.
There have been moments, for sure, and the team is far better than they used to be, especially in comparison to the local North/ Central American competition in the CONCACAF. And it’s not like the U.S. side is losing in basketball, a sport where the country has a long history, decided advantage, and deep fan appreciation/ identification.
But still… the results and notes from today just make it sound like a dog of a game.
After that downer, some links from this week:
* Emmanuelle Chriqui threw out the first pitch at a Dodgers game earlier this week. Hat tip to popoholic.
* Boise State football is looking to go on the road for some guarantee cash money from a big school (h/t Fanhouse) in 2010. This will bring in some money from the bigger schools to the smaller (budget-wise) state school; but brings up an interesting question. What team would bring in Boise State for a challenge game? They are always competitive, even if they have lost their last few guarantee games against Washington, Georgia, Arkansas, and South Carolina.
* Florida State will have to vacate 14 wins from their football squad’s record for violations invovling academic fraud. Man, that’s tough. But now maybe coach Bobby Bowden and Penn State’s Joe Paterno can retire; one could look at them and think that while they do love football, the lure of retiring as D-1 college football’s all-time winningest coach has to help them when the job seems to stressful, when the kids are acting like fools, when the age-related injuries slow them down… it’s time for both to consider hanging it up. They are like coach emiriti these days.
* As you know, Tim Floyd resigned from the University of Southern California amidst allegations of cash to recruit OJ Mayo and a perception that serious sanctions were coming down, especially since the allegations of wrongdoing have been very public. Currently, USC is moving ahead with its coaching search and looking for coaches with pro experience. They have locked in on former Seton Hall and pro coach P.J. Carlesimo and former New Mexico State and pro coach Reggie Theus. Reggie Theus is interested. I think he’s a good call – he seemed to be a decent coach at New Mexico State, players wanted to come to play for him, and while his pro career wasn’t stellar, it wasn’t terrible (and was cut too short). Put a pretty charming face on a couple of hard years and possible ineligibility for the Big Dance, USC!
* Some Japanese pro wrestlers are accused (and there is evidence) of some serious animal abuse with a pet monkey. Honestly, don’t read it if you’re squeamish. I thought it was some of the most juvenile, disgusting actions I have read about in a long time.
The University of Arizona is having a hard time filling that coaching job in the Pac-10, and I have no idea why. The Wildcats have a solid name, solid tradition… though following a coaching legend – and his stormy last years – is a hard job.
But Sean Miller would rather stay with the Xavier Musketeers. It’s a good job there in Cincy, and his team has a lot of potential, but that’s a little surprising.
Who’s next on their list? Maybe Utah’s Jim Boylen (who seems like an decent hire who has spent time in the pros). More at UA Hoops Coach, I’ve been following that blog.
While the Chicago Sun Times files for bankruptcy…and as you wait for Google’s yearly April Fools’ joke… remember that some man was arrested for drunk driving on a bar stool… and you HAVE to check out this modernized telling of the Passover story… in Facebook form.
Jonathan Vilma’s apartment on Long Island was raided in connection to some drug beef that looks like it came out of a TV show (the reverse of “ripped from the headlines”): a Liberian immigrant with a suitcase filled with stolen cocaine or fake money, a body dumped in Paerdegat Basin, a person shot execution-style… how that ties in to the former Jets middle linebacker is unknown, but they were supposedly killed in his condo.
Ray Floriani, writing for College Chalk Talk, writes on Richmond’s run in the CBI, where they lost to UTEP (Texas El-Paso) in the semifinal game. He notes the ridiculously bad (30% of their possessions) turnover rate for St. John’s being the difference in the game… along with the inability to stop Richmond from hitting threes. Floriani also expresses hope that playing in the game helps St. John’s coach Norm Roberts, “one of the good guys,” as he calls him.
Haters to the front! with this Louisville Courier-Journal article about how some question John Calipari’s recruiting and temper. I touched on this in the coaching candidates post, about how his players have not been class acts, even if (by some metrics) they do well in school. I thought Kentucky fetishized clean cut players… maybe not as much as winning. If someone in Wildcat country has a problem with the look of the kids – and even the occasional problem with graduating – they should get over it. Kids have tattoos, kids have swagger, and these kids win games. They’re not all going to be crew cut Adolph Rupp kids, and I’m sure those guys weren’t saints by any means. Though memory does have a way of sanctifying folks.
Memphis boosters are working hard on getting Calipari to stay. Of course they are. Can they touch the reported 8 year, 35 million dollar offer? If Cal goes, will Roburt Sallie, Wes Witherspoon, and Angel Garcia leave? Inquiring recruiters want to know… and if Calipari leaves, the Memphis Commercial Appeal has some candidates to replace him… though Cal wants Tony Barbee, his former assistant coach now at UTEP, to replace him. Unofficially, a Kentucky TV station says Calipari is taking the Kentucky job.
The University of Virginia has hired Washington State coach Tony Bennett to pilot the Cavaliers’ men’s basketball team. Kind of a surprise – no runs at Jeff Capel or other prominent candidates, and a pretty quick, no-muss no-fuss hire. Bennett has not been a head coach for long, but has brought some talent to the talent-barren Wash State Cougar team. They play very, very slow, but they are crisp and NEVER turn the ball over. Sylven Landesberg could be an ace in this system… Is Portland State’s Ken Bone the man to keep the Cougars growling? Roaring? Do Cougars roar?
And interestingly, from ESPN’s Andy Katz:
Siena’s Fran McCaffery hasn’t heard from any of the high-profile jobs but did get an e-mail from a search firm on the Boston University job…. McCaffery has no issues if he stays put. He said he should have a really good team again next season after the Saints won consecutive first-round NCAA tournament games, beating Vanderbilt and Ohio State in back-to-back tournaments.
There has to be a job opening that has Fran McCaffery’s name on it. Then again, the coaches who have moved have either been assistants (like Shaka Smart to Virginia Commonwealth) or have been major conference-level head coaches. So it’s not time for the mid-major guys who move up, yet.
Oh man. Ashley Biden (Joe’s daughter) has a “friend” trying to sell photos of her doing cocaine. Cue the "they did it to Bristol Palin" Republican crowd, the kind of people who prove our whole nation is filled with effing stupidity…
Word is coming out that Ashley Biden’s "friend" planted the camera out of sight. Nice work, tool. And which Presidential kids (Patti Davis, Dubya) DIDN’T do cocaine…? Dear America: rich kids still do lines. Photo taken from NY Post
And Northern Cali had an earthquake… thanks, Facebook friends for letting me know. The master of the end times, Glenn Beck, gets an article in the lib’rul New York Times…. Phantom Alert is software that allows your GPS to find red light and speed traps/ cameras so you can avoid them… a musical version of the movie Heathers is going to the stage – Kristen Bell has been reading for Winona Ryder’s role.
Now for Sports. College basketball links at the end.
* Thanks to Uni Watch I know about Google’s hosting of Life Magazine images from the 1860s through the 1970s. I could look at old photos for days, but this one of Tom Seaver crying gets me every time. Type in mets source:life in your google browser.
* There was a deadly stampede in an Ivory Coast/ Côte d’Ivoire football/ soccer match. 19 people died. I link to the BBC coverage because at least there, the comments below the article aren’t a-hole savages who say things like "typical black people" and "animals" and "Barack Obama blah blah hate" such… same stampedes happen worldwide when soccer is involved.
* In happier news, the US Women’s Professional Soccer League started play yesterday, and it was a solid game, a victory for the Los Angeles Sol. The Brazilian footballer Marta was quick as hell. The Fox Sports production left a little to be desired, and I’d like to hear better, more analytical announcing vs. "gosh this is historic!" talk (though both Jenn Hildreth and Mark Rogondino have some soccer/ football in their background), but I enjoyed watching it.
* Fans came out for the first game at CitiField, but the hometown St. John’s baseball team couldn’t beat Georgetown. FYI, the bathrooms are clean (quotes near end of article). I would hope, no one’s been in the freaking place yet.
* Wait, Spencer Hawes doesn’t suck? Even Shaq, the "Shogun of big men" is learning Hawes’ name.
College Basketball Links
* Video and analysis on how Michigan State’s offense wore out Louisville. I turned down the chance to go to this game, and boy, I should have stayed in Indianapolis! A pic or two of the games at Lucas Oil later this evening on the blog.
* Seth Curry is transferring from Liberty to Duke. He deserved better than some cut-rate non-basketball school in a low-level league. The education is far, far better in Durham. I hear at Duke, the girls are allowed to have sex, as well. In all seriousness, Duke, though? With guard after guard always coming in? And no big men to take the pressure off? Interesting, Steh Curry, interesting.
* Is Anthony Grant worth $2 million? Well, he doesn’t have the body of work that other coaches have, but $2 million ensures that Alabama won’t have to restructure his contract in a year if he does well. How the new Crimson Tide coach does will be interesting to watch, I’m rooting for him.
* The North Dakota State Bison men’s basketball team (who I had beating Kansas in my bracket, by the way) are volunteering along the Red River in Fargo, trying to stem the flood tide of the rising river.
And if you didn’t see the commercial over the weekend… Guitar hero Metallica commercial with Coach Mike Krzyzewski, Coach Bobby Knight, Coach Rick Pitino, and Coach Roy Williams.