Archive for September, 2007

Tidbits – September 28

Posted in Barry Bonds, Bridget Moynahan, Joe Sheehan, Michael Vick, rick reilly, Tom Brady on September 28, 2007 by jweiler

Just a couple of quick items: Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus has a particularly incisive take on the end of the Bonds era in San Francisco and I am scratching my head at sports media’s handling of Tom Brady’s fatherhood.

1) Joe Sheehan has never gotten on the anti-Bonds bandwagon, and he’s particularly annoyed at how the Bay area press reacted last week to word that Bonds would not be back with the Giants in 2008:

The naked glee generated by this decision was embarrassing (links courtesy Buster Olney’s ESPN.com blog), with the San Francisco writers falling all over themselves to praise McGowan for cutting loose the best player in franchise history, the most productive player on the current roster, the best hitter in the National League and, dollar for dollar, one of the better values in the game. The press pool showed no recognition that Bonds remains an amazing player and an asset to any team, even one far from contention. Yes, he requires special treatment; is it some kind of news to everyone that the very best people in any line of work tend to get perks that separate themselves from their peers?

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McNabb Coverage

Posted in Colin Cowherd, David Aldridge, Donovan McNabb, Jeffrey Chadiha, Jim Rome, race and quarterbacks, Shaun King, Stephen A. Smith on September 24, 2007 by jweiler

There’s a ton of ground to cover, and I won’t be able to range over nearly all of it, but I thought it worthwhile to sift through some of the more interesting/instructive/infuriating reactions to McNabb’s comments on HBO this past Tuesday night. I may do another post on this, because late last week, some folks started suggesting that McNabb’s comments were essentially the same as Limbaugh’s comments about McNabb a few years ago, and that would require a separate treatment, since this is long already. In any case…

Of course, the comments became a story even before the taped segment aired Tuesday, as portions of the interview were circulated earlier that day. And I don’t have HBO, so I have not seen the conversation between McNabb and James Brown in its entirety. But, among the first segments reported on Tuesday quoted McNabb as saying:

There’s not that many African American quarterbacks, so we have do a little bit extra…Because the perception of us playing this position, which people didn’t want us to play this position, is low so we do a little extra…

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Friday Fire: Jena 6

Posted in Blogroll, Jena 6, Louisiana, march, protest, race relations on September 21, 2007 by mizzo

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Tidbits – September 20

Posted in 1978, Head Size, JC Bradbury, Predictions, Red Sox, steve phillips, Yankees on September 20, 2007 by jweiler

In this issue – why 2007 is not like 1978; JC Bradbury on head size; Steve Phillips.

1) The Yankees are gaining fast on the Red Sox, having gained four full games on the Red Sox in the last four days. As you all know, I’m sure, the Yankees stood 14 and a half games in arrears of the Sox on May 29, and as of this morning, are one and a half back, one in the loss column.

The Sox appear beat up right now. Manny’s been a no-show for the second September in a row; their sensational set-up man, Hideki Okajima, has been shut down, following a three-week stretch in which the American league appears to have finally figured him out. Jonathan Papelbon, it turns out, is mortal. Coco Crisp is hurt. Dice-K’s ERA is 11.20 in September and a Jaret Wright-esque 5.37 since the All-star break. Sean MacAdam has a lengthier litany of their current woes.

But, and this may be belaboring the obvious, comparisons to 1978 are silly.

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TSF Interview: Rob Parker

Posted in NFL, Rob Parker on September 18, 2007 by dwil

robparker.jpgInterview: Mizzo, DWil; Words: DWil

It is said that there are more quality sports journalists now than at any other time in the U.S. This could not be farther from the truth. Sports writers today advance their personal “brand” by accessing the various mediums available to them: television, newspapers, Internet, magazines, and radio. To the public, a constant barrage of face time and bylines provides a writer with impression of perceived importance. Yet, for the vast majority of sports journalists, a glut of appearances across various public platforms does not equal quality in writing or a deep understanding of sports.

In this atmosphere of “more equal better,” Rob Parker is an anomaly. Sure Parker takes advantage of the various mediums available to him. However, what differentiates Parker from those who are, in the field of sports writing, commonly called, “taking head hacks” Parker fills every second of journalist air time conveying in-depth information, professionalism, and unflinching truth to readers of and those who listen to his words.

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Two Cents (or less) On Patriot-gate

Posted in Bill Belichick, Dave Callahan, Norv Turner, Patriots first round draft choices, sign-stealing, Wade Wilson on September 18, 2007 by jweiler

I know I am late to this party, but when dwil first wrote about the media attention given to the Belichick cheating issue last week, I wasn’t sure it was going to have significant legs. It just didn’t seem to me like it could really occupy the attention of the entire sports media for any length of time. Shows what I know.

I don’t how much longer this is going to last, now that the league has handed down its ruling and after the Pats absolutely smoked the Chargers without, one presumes, any unfair technological advantages, but I am amazed at the number of commentators who believe that this really calls into question the Patriots’ success over the years, especially given the extremely widespread nature of attempted sign-stealing in big-time athletics, including the NFL.

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All Out Guys

Posted in Darryl Strawberry, Dustin Pedroia, Jimmy Rollins, race in baseball, Russell Martin, Sean Casey, Shea Hillenbrand on September 15, 2007 by jweiler

It was a throw away comment buried deep in a recent SI piece about Jimmy Rollins. J-Roll is having a great season and SI wrote a very complementary piece about him as a both a player and a presence in the Phillies’ clubhouse. The article also suggested he was a worthy MVP candidate (I’ll discuss baseball awards soon, but Rollins, who’s having a terrific season, has one area in his game that’s not great, and it’s an important area: he’s not especially good at getting on base).

In any event, author Michael Bamberger raised the subject of Rollins’ background:

The Phillies’ fan base is overwhelmingly white and middle-class; suburban Little Leaguers and their parents, and they have adopted Rollins, working-class in his inner-city boyhood in Oakland, black and proud and eager for somebody from the Phillies front office to ask him questions about the experience of the black baseball player. He said in Miami, “The black player today pretty much has to be a superstar. The role player, the guy off the bench, baseball’s not looking to black players in those positions. Baseball has to take the blinders off.” He’s experienced things in his life that many of his fans have not. In 2005 he missed the wedding of his old teammate, Doug Glanville, to attend the funeral of his first cousin, Jamonie Robinson, a reformed drug dealer, Rollins says, whose life ended with a half dozen bullets in his body. (my emphasis).

And, dare I say, Rollins is on to something.

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Tanya Marchiol of TEAM Investments: The Principles of Prosperity

Posted in Blogroll, Bo Outlaw, Donovan McNabb, Ryan McNeil, Tanya Marchiol, Turk McBride on September 14, 2007 by mizzo

tanya.jpgTanya Marchiol of TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More) Investments produces a well-needed service to professional athletes and other qualified customers. We’ve all heard the horror stories of those who go from smiling success to losing it all as quickly as they made it. She presents real estate opportunities and financial strategies that will prohibit such a disaster by offering proper education that has been cultivated through experience and a wealth of knowledge. Her clients range from Donovan McNabb to the 2007 number one pick in the NFL Draft, JaMarcus Russell–who has finally signed (9/11)with the Raiders. Tanya has a great personality and makes it her personal business to ensure athletes sustain career and lifelong wealth. As an outside hitter for the Indiana University Volley Ball team (’92-’94), she garnered a competitive spirit that she uses to her advantage daily in taking the business world by storm.

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‘Hunger’ Follow-up

Posted in 109th Congress, Antonio Pierce, Kevin Everett, President Bush on September 11, 2007 by jweiler

I couldn’t resist a quick follow-up to my post yesterday: Mike and the Mad Dog will be interviewing Giants’ middle linebacker Antonio Pierce the day after every game this season. Pierce is enjoyable to listen to – he’s smart and doesn’t give canned answers to questions. In yesterday’s inaugural interview, Mike and the Dog asked Pierce about the team’s decision to vote Strahan as a team captain. Once again, sports media types went for moral outrage on a bullshit issue, even when the parties most directly involved made it clear that they don’t care.

Here’s part of the exchange:

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Hunger

Posted in Darryl Stingley, Kevin Everett on September 10, 2007 by jweiler

I was out of town for a couple of days and unable to post, and I just wanted to get a quick comment up here this morning. Last week, Harvey Araton wrote a column in the New York Times that really bothered me when I read it, and bothers me even more now that a young player for the Buffalo Bills, Kevin Everett, may have been paralyzed following a tackle during a kickoff in yesterday’s season opener.

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Tidbits – September 5

Posted in Football Outsiders, KC Joyner, Lance Armstrong, Mikhail Gorbachev on September 5, 2007 by jweiler

In this edition – Lance Armstrong vs. Mikhail Gorbachev; New Orleans; SI’s pro football preview.

1) Not exactly a sports story, but since I heard it mentioned on Mike and Mike this morning, what the heck. USA Today has published a list of the twenty five most influential people of the last 25 years. Greenie mentioned it because two sports figures made the list – Lance Armstrong, at No. 8, and Michael Jordan at No. 17. At first I thought this was a list of Americans only (Bill Gates is No. 1 and Ronald Reagan is No. 2), and then, as Greenie made his way down the list, I heard “Number eleven, Mikhail Gorbachev.”

To which I would respond: are you fucking kidding me?

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Rough Weekend

Posted in Appalachian State, University of Michigan on September 3, 2007 by jweiler

I have nothing particularly useful to say today, but since I was in Chicago for a conference this weekend, I didn’t have much time to spend in front of a television set, or a computer.

Which is good, as it turns out, because I am a University of Michigan alum.

I have been meaning lately to write something about Steve Phillips’ bad and ever-changing predictions about who’s going to make the baseball postseason. For example, two weeks ago he declared that the Yankees and Mets would both miss the playoffs. Then, one week ago, he declared the Mets a “lock” to win the division. Then they went out and lost four in a row to the Phillies.  (they’ve since steadied themselves a bit). He gave high praise for the Mariners pitching staff and offensive balance just before they lost nine games in a row and said the Yankees would not make the playoffs because of their pitching even though, on balance, it’s been slightly better than the Mariners’ this year.

But, making predictions of this sort is hard – baseball’s pretty unpredictable, especially over short stretches of games and the most honest answer, but not the most interesting one for television, is to admit that you have no idea what’s going to happen in the next six or four weeks.

So, why I am blabbing about predictions after having acknowledged that I am Michigan alum? If you answered “to change the subject” – you’d be partly right.

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Story Time at TSF: “Eatin’ With….” Jason Whitlock

Posted in Keith Clinkscales, The Magazine on September 1, 2007 by dwil

whitlock.jpgI don’t know how many of you out there have seen ESPN Page 2 writer and sometimes TSF guest to the comment section, Jemele Hill’s “Ridin’ With….” column. It’s one of those, ‘we have access and you don’t’, drivel-laden diversions in which ESPN specializes and revels (and I’m not taking a pot shot at Jemele); just like their celebrity athlete commercials, just like virtually all their television shows, just like too many of their specialty pieces in ESPN, The Magazine.

As you can tell I’m envious that I haven’t the access as the biggest of the Big Box sports news spots. So, I decided to start up a “poor man’s” version of “Ridin’ With…” TSF doesn’t have the budget to fly me to somebody’s crib so I can take a hop in their whip and have it filmed and photographed for posterity and for The Starting Five’s non-existent multimedia and mixed-media content. Hell, we’re just three writers – and guest writers – who all wish we had millions of eyes on our work because we actually have the guts – or delusion? – to believe that we can make a dent in the machine.

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