A woman who worked on the set of the ESPN talk show "Cold Pizza" is suing the sports network, saying she was fired after complaining about sexual harassment by the show's host and a regular panelist.
In the lawsuit, which also names ESPN host Jay Crawford and sports commentator Woody Paige, Rita Ragone claims she was subjected to crude sexual comments from Crawford and that Paige pinched and fondled her.
Friday, June 29, 2007
Thomas' 500th home run seemed to comment on his career as a whole, coming as it did in a loss (8-5 to the Twins) and coming in a game in which he was later ejected. This is not to call Thomas a loser -- far from it -- but I have always had a vague feeling of incompleteness or disharmony when thinking about his career, underscored by the bad or injured seasons that tended to interrupt the flow of dominant ones. The fact that injuries rendered him a non-factor during his club's championship season. These factors, combined with him playing DH as opposed to some glamor position have caused many to underrate his accomplishments, which in turn renders his 500th home run somewhat less magical than other players'.
Biggio's 3000th hit likewise came laden with meaning. From MLB.com:
He singles to right for No. 3,000, tying the late Roberto Clemente on the all-time list and securing his Cooperstown future. Then he tries to leg it into a double, is thrown out to end the inning and sees teammate Brad Ausmus rush to him as a celebration scene begins.
Being gunned down while attempting to squeeze out a little something extra describes much of the past several years of Biggio's career. Biggio hasn't been an elite player for many years, and ceased being even an average one two or three seasons ago. His quest for the glory of 3000 hits, while understandable, has cost his team much recently, as the Astros have forgone a desperately needed rebuilding effort in the name of keeping their biggest name happy. Has Biggio demanded this? Not that I know of, but the effect has been the same as if he had.
I have great admiration for both Thomas and Biggio, and I consider each of them to be among the best to ever play the game. But their milestones are bittersweet ones, each carrying a reminder of some of life's more troubling aspects. No matter how important you are, you're not indispensable. No matter how skilled you are, there are no guarantees that you will always be appreciated. Even the most loved among us will one day wear out their welcome and become a burden. Yet we all hang on anyway, because really, what else is there to do?
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Yes, I'm talking about Appleton, Wisconsin Post-Crescent columnist Jim Oskola, who is mad as hell, and he's not going to take it anymore when it comes to bad behavior at little league baseball games:
The Fox Valley Association has a code of conduct for people attending its athletic events.
Some of the people who attended Tuesday's Appleton Little League City Tournament championship game between Travelers Protective Association and NEW Anesthesiologists should read it very closely and then take a look in the mirror.
Oskola then proceeds to unleash 350 words of hellfire, calling out gum-flappin' fans, trash-talkin' coaches, and twelve year-olds who round the bases in the flaps-down position following home runs. He doesn't go so far as to say that the venerable legacy of the NEW Anesthesiologists has forever been sullied, but you know he feels that way. As should we all.
So Casey, you got somethin' against belly-itchers? What are you, some kind of comedian? You a clown? You here to amuse Jim Oskola? And you, Billy's mom. You think that last pitch was outside, huh? You talkin' to me? You must be talkin' to me, because he doesn't see anyone else. Who the f*ck do you think you're talking to? Oh yeah? OK.
Editor's Note: There will be no Jim Oskola column in tomorrow's Post-Crescent, as Mr. Oskola will be taking the day to get in shape. Too much sitting has ruined his body. Too much abuse has gone on for too long. From now on there will be 50 pushups each morning, 50 pullups. There will be no more pills, no more bad food, no more destroyers of his body. From now on will be total organization. Every muscle must be tight.
While I hate to see one of my all time favorite broadcasters exiled to a low-fi ghetto, maybe Peachtree's apparent low-rent nature will enable someone to pull the trigger on restoring Two Mules for Sister Sara to its rightful place as the first bat off the bench for rainout programming.
Your mileage may vary when it comes to A League of Their Own, but on the whole, I think it's a pretty good movie, so there's reason to hope that these will be quality films. But really, given how damn few movies there have been about the Negro Leagues, anything will be welcome.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Joe DiMaggio, unquestionably one of the great baseball legends of all time, now plays in the big ballpark in the sky. He knew how to use his arm and his glove, but mostly his bat, to win countless ballgames. When it came to baseball, Joe was a winner.
But his last time at bat (with the IRS pitching) was a disaster. He struck out. I'm sure he didn't know the rules of this game: the estate tax game. Certainly the person who drew his Last Will and Testament didn't know the rules either . . . DiMaggio's estate got clobbered by the federal estate tax. Here's the part of Joe's story you should know.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Where are you?
It’s a Monday night in late June, the Diamondbacks are playing the Dodgers for first place in the National League West, and only 24,966 fans are at Chase
Where are you?
The Diamondbacks woke up Monday morning with the best record in the NL, yet they rank 12th in the NL in attendance, with 26,204 fans per game. Only Cincinnati, Washington, Pittsburgh and Florida play to smaller crowds. The combined record of those clubs: 129-174.
Where are you?
They're good questions. Just a week ago I took Mark Kiszla to task for insulting Rockies fans who were simply responding to the laws of supply and demand. I'm not going to apply a different set of rules for Diamondbacks fans, but the fact is that average single-game ticket prices in Arizona -- $13; the lowest in all of baseball -- can't go much lower. Bodrow notes that much of the problem is that the Diamondbacks boast a much smaller season ticket base than most teams -- only about 13,000 -- and that single-game sales are a much tougher nut to crack. However, the D-Backs lowered ticket prices by 29.9 percent before the season. At present, the price of a full-season ticket package for D-Backs games ranges from $5/game for the cheapies up to $110/game for, I dunno, sitting on Bob Melvin's lap. Doesn't seem out of line.
Delivering a World Series in the teams’ fourth season was amazing. Winning 100 games in the teams’ second season must have seemed unbelievable, but at the end of the day it’s too much success to early on. How exactly was the D-Backs management team going to follow-up their first four seasons. It was 86 years between World Series titles for the Red Sox. The Chicago Cubs haven’t won a World Series in 103 years. The Cleveland Indians who joined the American League in 1901 have NEVER won a World Series. D-Back fans have no understanding of the suffering and pain fans of the Cubs and Indians have had to endure. They’ve only experienced success, not exactly a recipe for building long term box office success.
For the sake of baseball in Arizona, one hopes that this season's seeming return to winning form will serve to stave off the hemorrhaging of fans, and a solid base of young prospects will keep the momentum going. If that fails: Los Diamantes may want to send an exploratory committee to the greater Monterrey area.
The annual program at Busch is one of the most successful promotional events of its kind in Major League Baseball.The Cardinals allotted 9,200 seats — about 20 percent of Saturday's tickets — to organizers of Saturday's event. Two hundred of those were sold to South County Baptist Church. The Rev. John Childers, the church's pastor, said he emphasized to his congregation the connection between St. Louis baseball and a Christian's duty to evangelize.
St. Louisans worship the Cardinals, which makes Busch Stadium the sanctuary of this city and this culture," he said. "Christians need to impact that culture, not just watch it go by. What better place to do that than Busch, which is part of the heart and fabric of St. Louis?"
While such an event is obviously not my cup of tea (English Breakfast? Earl Grey? Man, I just can't decide), one has to admire the way the Cardinals marketing folks have managed this event. For those of you not aware, differences of opinion about religion occasionally cause problems. It seems, however, that Christian Family Day is pulled off in such a way as to neither (a) make the non-evangelicals feel uncomfortable; nor (b) serve to marginalize or ghettoize the event for the participants:
Bringing Jesus into the ballpark is not always easy, and [Marty] Hendin [vice president of community relations for the club] said the Cardinals kept an eye on other clubs that have had problems with similar events.
[Jeff] Miller [a senior group sales executive with the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers] said that after holding Christian Family Day in the Kauffman [(the Kansas City Royals’ stadium)] parking lot before the game for a couple of years, the Royals decided to move it inside the stadium. But they still “did the Christian stuff” before the game.
“We brought in a huge banner that said ‘Jesus is King,’ and that didn’t go over too well,” said Miller. “People were calling the marketing department from their seats and complaining. It was not good.”
Hendin said that’s why the Cardinals do most of the Christian Family Day activity after the game. The Cardinals allow the organizers to hand out the player testimonial cards at the game with invitations for all ticket holders to stay afterwards, listen to the music and hear the player testimonials.
“People can choose to leave after the game,” he said. “We’re not subjecting them to any message they don’t want to be subjected to.”
Believe it or not, there's no rule that forbids a manager from wearing shirt, tie and jacket.But the chances of that happening again are, well ...
"They can make that request," MLB vice president of public relations Pat Courtney said. "Managers are only required to wear licensed apparel. The sponsors can make them a suit."
I think some manager should try this. I'd love to see what the folks at New Era could do in a double breasted number. I'm guessing it would look great until the damn thing shrank and started to show sweat stains.
Monday, June 25, 2007
Q: Do you think a woman could be a good manager?
A: If she had a good bench coach, why not? I would think she would need a good, hardened professional baseball guy that would help her with the X's and O's during the ballgame. Someone who knew the intricacies in and out of the game.
Q: Plenty of women already know the intricacies of the game.
A: I'm not sure of that. I think some of the sportswriter women probably think they do.
Still, his comments didn't come across very well, did they? After all, one need not be a sophomore at Wellesley to take a bit of offense when someone in Lou's position says that a woman would be lost without a good, er, "hardened" man. Frankly, I'm surprised that no one has made a fuss over this yet, even if I think the fuss would, in and of itself, be unwarranted. At the very least it seemed like the interviewer left about seven good followup questions unasked.
Q:Why are the Cubs doing so poorly?
A: I don't know. I've been here a couple of months.
Way to take responsibility, skip! Remind me to never need CPR or something if you and Bobby Valentine are hanging around. Finally:
Q: What do you find so satisfying about kicking dirt on another person, a practice you've been known to favor since you managed the Yankees in the '80s?
A: My mentor, Billy Martin, did it. And Earl Weaver did it. I've kicked dirt more out of dissatisfaction than anything else. When I was informed that kicking dirt on somebody can be termed as degrading - you know, I never thought of it that way.
Given that Lou had to be informed that kicking dirt on someone was degrading, maybe it's better that the reporter didn't followup on what he thought about women managing.
Pioneers manager Ken Holtzman (yes, that Ken Holtzman) couldn't have been happy when his opening day pitcher Abel Moreno gave up seven in two and a third (free Ryan Butkowski!), but he must've plotzed when this happened:
The Pioneers' low point perhaps came in the top of the fourth, when several players started to leave the field after the second out in the inning, allowing a Modi'in baserunner to advance before the players caught on.
Oy, it's going to be a long season in Petah Tikva!
Friday, June 22, 2007
The Tri-City ValleyCats and one of the state's largest human service agencies are teaming up to let non-custodial fathers on welfare know they are still a critical part of the lives of their children. The minor league baseball team will give one deserving father the chance to throw out the first pitch of a game against the Lowell Spinners on June 27. Children are asked to submit an essay of 100 words or less on why they think their father should win the honor. Ten winners will receive two tickets to the game. The grand prize winner gets to watch their father take the mound for the game's first pitch.
Officials with the Office of Temporary and Disability Services hope the evening will continue its statewide efforts to promote responsible fatherhood and let low-income, non-custodial fathers on welfare know about the services available to them.
Tuesday attendance: 48,077 (95.3% full)
Wednesday attendance: 48,440 (96% full)
Thursday attendance: 48,611 (96.4% full)
Keep in mind that these were all mid-week games.
How did the "suckers" turn out for Sunday afternoon's game against the Devil Rays? 31,190 (61.8% full). Indeed, not counting the three games against the Yankees, the Rockies are averaging a draw of 23,891 for each home game.
So, Mr. Kiszla: since I assume that you won't be apologizing to Rockies' management for calling them a bunch of knuckleheads, can we at least expect you to apologize to baseball fans in Denver for calling them "suckers?"
Kiszla responds via email:
In the past 11 years, the knuckleheads who run the Rockies have produced
zero playoff appearances. The sweep of the Yankees was great. It doesn't change
the history of incompetence. Thanks for asking.I appreciate your feedback,
I suppose on one level it's refreshing to see that Kiszla's bile against the Rockies is based on their failure to put a winning ball club on the field. Unlike many baseball writers, maybe he's still a fan.
Still, no matter their record, it seems wrong to suggest that jacking the ticket prices for the Yankees' series constitutes "incompetence." The revenue gained via increasing ticket prices for the Yankees' series is likely well north of a million bucks. The Rockies certainly aren't guaranteed to plow the few million extra bucks into player development and payroll, but they could, and no matter what they do with it, it was a smart move.
Moreover, Kiszla himself noted the other day that the Rockies are (a) winning more this year than he himself thought they would; and (b) that they have a lot of good prospects down on the farm. Obviously someone on Blake Street knows what they're doing.
For what it's worth, Kiszla is in favor of trading some of those prospects in order to rent Mark Buehrle who, even if the Rockies landed him, wouldn't stick around after he becomes a free agent this October (what decent starter would?).
I'll leave it up to you to decide whether current Rockies' management or Kiszla should be calling the shots.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Here's a chance to salute America's pastime as well as those who step up to the
plate to protect the nation.The U.S. Military All-Star Team will play the Leesburg Lightning at 7 p.m. Friday at Pat Thomas Stadium in Leesburg. The Lightning are part of the Florida Collegiate Summer League. Admission is free . . .
. . . The first 100 fans to arrive at the Leesburg stadium near Venetian Gardens will receive a free U.S. Military All-Star Team T-shirt.
Southfield-based Fox Sports Net Detroit on June 14 debuted a relatively new format for viewing baseball. The network condensed a Detroit Tigers' 6-5 afternoon loss to the Milwaukee Brewers into about 23 minutes -- plus commercials -- and aired it three times during the evening.
The presentation showed every meaningful play -- including strikeouts, hits, walks, and home runs -- in bang-bang fashion.
The company that killed Jack Murphy is going to put baseball stuff on your cell phone. I don't care about that. I do want to know, however, how a company as large as QUALCOMM can't find a press release writer who can speak English:
SAN DIEGO, June 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- QUALCOMM Incorporated , a
leading developer and innovator of advanced wireless technologies and mobile
data solutions, and MLB Advanced Media, LP (MLBAM), the interactive media and Internet company of Major League Baseball, today announced an agreement to leverage QUALCOMM's BREW(R) BrandXtend Signature Solution to mobilize MLB.com content directly to wireless consumers. MLBAM will be QUALCOMM's first BREW BrandXtend Signature Solution customer and will use it to offer baseball lovers new access channels for the discovery and delivery of compelling mobile content offered exclusively by MLB.com.
Uh oh, the writer left out the word "synergy." Someone's not getting a bonus this year.
In his autobiography Between Worlds: The Making of an American Life, Gov. Bill Richardson wrote that baseball was “the ruling passion of my young life.” . . .While baseball was Richardson’s salvation as a youth, the
national pastime has become a common thread in many of the controversies that have haunted his campaign for president.
"As we get up from our seats to visit the play-by-play announcer’s booth,
Richardson does something I’ve never seen any politician do,” Lizza wrote.
“There are two women sitting in front of us. They are both young and attractive,
probably in their twenties. The governor rotates his large frame sideways and
shimmies out of his row. The two women smile up at him. As he passes, Richardson
reaches down and places his fingertips on the head of one of the women, tickling
her scalp as he opens and closes his hand. Then, as he reaches for the next
scalp, his hand suddenly aborts its mission, as if the governor realizes this
wasn’t such a good idea after all.”
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
During a wide-ranging taped interview with Channel 11 sports anchor Babe Laufenberg last week, Hicks was asked about the Rangers’ deals he most regretted making. First he mentioned wasting $65 million on pitcher Chan Ho Park. Then he referenced the two-year, $24 million deal the Rangers gave Gonzalez to come back to Texas in 2002. Juan Gonzalez, for $24 million, after he came off steroids probably . . .we just gave that money away.”
Ultimately, Boyd said that he's got a plan for an inner-city pro baseball league. It would be located, to start, in Southern cities and would be for African-American players who were unable to crack a Major League roster.
Valentine said its up to the people who run Japanese baseball to find
a solution. "This isn't about me," said Valentine. "I'm 57 years old, I
don't need the publicity. This is about the future of Japanese baseball."
News now of a renaissance in the location of the World Series fire. Also, a miniseries entitled The Bronx is Burning, depicting the Yankees and the miserable, wonderful summer of 1977 will be debuting on HBO in a couple of weeks. John Turturro will be playing Billy Martin, and that alone should be worth watching.
Hopefully it won't try to do what another baseball/riots movie tried to do a few years ago and credit a baseball team itself with urban renewal.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
But the 46-year-old charity game pitting Republicans against Democrats has been unexpectedly ensnared in new Congressional ethics rules. Organizers now say they will be lucky to match the $120,000 they raised last year since the rules complicate the process of soliciting donations and have led to at least one corporate sponsor pulling out altogether.
With the June 28 All-Star voting deadline approaching, Barry Bonds might not get voted in as a starting outfielder in the National League. If Bonds does not get voted in, La Russa must make a tough decision on whether to add Bonds to the team . . .Beyond home runs – where Bonds ranks eighth in the league with 14 – the surly outfielder is not in the top six in any key category . . .
I realize that there are still some folks who want to pretend OPS doesn't matter, but by now I think we've reached the point where to suggest that it is not a "key category" is tantamount to sports writing malpractice.
Bonds is first in on base percentage and first in slugging percentage, making him the league's clear OPS leader. He also leads the league in intentional walks, which indicates that he is still among baseball's most feared hitters as well. He will either have broken or will be damn near breaking the career home run record come the All Star game which, by the way, is being played in his home park.
So, Mr. Pfahler, please explain to me again how this is a "tough decision."
Monday, June 18, 2007
This probably doesn't mean anything Rob (and may be fixed by now). Although I feel obligated to point out that, in the final days, Jeffrey Whitlock's stuff was handled pretty poorly too.
Brandon Watson's single in the Columbus Clippers' 9-8 loss to Ottawa may not
have seemed like much during Sunday's minor league game, but it was actually a
historic stroke.Watson's base-knock extended his hitting streak to 43 games,
breaking a 95-year-old International League record. Jack Lelivelt set the league
record for the Rochester Hustlers in 1912.
Looking over his career, there is no reason to suspect that Watson is going to have anything better than this hitting streak happen to him, but man, how much worse could he be than Austin Kearns or Robert Fick?
Tweaking the nose of retirement, former Major League Baseball player Warren Cromartie instead picked a fight with a blood-thirsty Tiger. The 53-year-old took part in a professional wrestling bout against sword-waving pantomime villain Tiger Jeet Singh in Japan on Sunday and not only survived. He won.
He sent out his resume and cover letter to 120 minor-league teams. He received calls and landed a job as director of ticket sales with the Savannah Sand Gnats, a Single-A affiliate. It was the perfect place for him to start. With a small staff, Vojtanek helped with a variety of jobs from marketing the team to shooing off opossums that would show up at the stadium around game time.
That may not be as glamorous as five seconds of screen time as the guy who holds a door open for Kate Hudson in some romantic comedy, but there's something to be said about doing what you love.
I don't really know the details of any of these proposed transactions, but I do know this: if Topps doesn't hurry up and get this done soon, they're going to end up having to airbrush the new corporate logo onto all of the old letterhead.
This week, and this week only, in return for a cool $75, Dick and Charlie Monfort will rent you one chair at the corner of 20th and Blake for three hours to watch the New York Yankees scratch themselves. Now, there's no denying that Derek Jeter is a fine-looking ballplayer. But I would not pay 75 bucks for a seat at Coors Field, unless I got to sit alongside Angelina Jolie.
It's a premature tizzy because we don't know what the attendance figures will be for those games. If they're sold out or if there is a substantial uptick at the gate, then I guess the price isn't out of line, is it? Kiszla offers a weak shoutout to this concept, but he's obviously not willing to let basic microeconomics stand in the way of his outrage.
And he's certainly not thinking ahead, either. That's because if the games do sellout or at least come close, Kiszla's column must necessarily be reinterpreted from "the Rockies are jerks for charging so much" to "Rockies fans are jerks for spending too much." That's not something I'd write in a local paper, but maybe the Post has a policy encouraging anticipatory contempt for the local fan base.
By the way, that block quote has been altered a bit. Kiszla is one of those writers who fills half of his column inches with empty space via the one-sentence-paragraph technique, which is always the sign of a world class writer. I squished, like, ten of his own paragraphs together in order to make for somewhat coherent reading.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
As of press time, Hank Aaron had not issued a statement as to how this impacts the sanctity of his record.
Friday, June 15, 2007
Let's unpack this stuff.
A final reason cited by the judge -- that Ellerman's conduct caused the legislature to have to consider changing reporter shield laws seems even more ridiculous and attenuated. How is the lack of a federal shield law -- or Fainaru-Wada's refusal to divulge his source -- Ellerman's fault, and what did it have to do with the actual crime he committed? If I knock over a convenience store tomorrow, should I be given a harsher sentence because some digbat Congressman holds a press conference next week about the dire need to outlaw ski masks?
With all of the sturm und drang that goes with following Barry Bonds, it's easy to forget that he's, you know, still a ballplayer. Once in a while, when a reporter decides to talk to him rather than about and around him, you get an interesting insight. For example, I bet you didn't know that the most feared power hitter in sixty or seventy years hates hitting in homer-friendly ballparks:
Bonds said he actually prefers hitting in bigger stadiums because it forces him to narrow his focus even more. He said he doesn't like the feeling of a small ballpark because "it feels like everything, the pitcher, is right on top of you."
And Randy Winn seems to pretty accurately sum up the Barry Bonds-on-the-road experience:
And how will they receive Bonds, who is nine home runs away from breaking the all-time home run record? "The standard stuff, but really loud," Winn said. "Enthusiastic fans, small ballpark, close quarters — it's going to be loud, and it's going to be packed because of the dichotomy of Barry. They love to see him, they want to see him hit it really, really far, but then boo him after he does it."
Now I know I am not supposed to be biased, but deep down I was rooting for the Orioles, and I must say it was heart-wrenching to see them lose. But even in the bottom of the ninth when Miguel Tejada hit a solo home run, a glimmer of hope in me said, “They could come back” — although Stan said it would totally ruin the story, which was already written by now.
I'm setting a calendar reminder in Outlook to read her stuff in July 2010, by which time all of the fan should have been beaten out of her.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
"Hi, I'm Cal Ripken. While I'd hope you love me for my liquid blue eyes and my brave embrace of male pattern baldness, you probably remember me best for the Iron Man streak. But what you may not know is that in the late 1990s, this streak was extended artificially by sympathetic stadium employees who sabotaged the lighting system, which caused a game that I wasn't going to be able to make to be postponed. Why couldn't I make it? Because Kevin Costner was with my wife at a Motel 6, and I had to stop them! OK, that's not really true, but I just love that someone took the time to concoct an urban legend about a boring white bread star like me. Man, it gets lonely in Aberdeen. Anyway, Happy graduation!"
"Hi, I'm David Ortiz. Beisbol has been berry berry good to me. So good that, despite the fact that I'm slower than Manny, play worse defense than Manny (they won't even give me a glove!) and have had a far less impressive track record of offensive production than Manny, I am universally loved, while most people think Manny is a lackadaisical head case. Hey, no one said the world is fair! Happy Father's Day!"
Eating well at the ballpark? Why the hell not?
Diners visiting the Stadium Club at U.S. Cellular Field will find a variety of healthful selections . . New this season at the club is the chef's organic table, featuring items such as organic salads, seafood and meat entrees. "We even use organic olive oil for the dressings," Soto said. Organic honey was used in flavoring the sauce for a sweet potato side dish, and a bean cassoulet was prepared with organic, fat-free chicken broth. An organic lentil salad, Soto said, is a good choice for someone monitoring fat intake or needing extra fiber.
OK, that's all well and good at the Stadium Club, but is there anything that can be flung to seat 15F from the aisle by a vendor?
Individuals on select diets also will find items to enjoy in the concession areas while cheering on the White Sox. The offerings include veggie dogs, garden burgers, grilled chicken breast sandwiches, turkey sandwiches, fresh fruit cups and kosher hot dogs. Also, a healthful turkey wrap is served on the Club Level.
Hmmm. Quite a falloff from the stadium club. I mean, I like Hebrew Nationals better than other hot dogs, but I think it's stretching things to call them healthy. And why aren't the turkey wraps available in the cheap seats?
Look, when I go to a game, I'm probably going to get a hot dog and a beer because that's just how I roll. It's ridiculous, however, that for the most part, the healthy food in stadiums is only available to the folks rich enough to afford the club seats. It's hard enough for Shyster to get his old lady interested in baseball without dippin' dots being the closest thing to vegetables she can get if I decide not to spring for tickets in the Toyota Terrace, so how about taking a stab at offering more healthy fare in the upper decks and further down the baselines?
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Of course, to the extent the reporter is advocating for the return to a four-man rotation, he would do better than to have used the photo that accompanied the article:
That's what they tell you, anyway. In 1953, though, Ed Exley and the boys were needed to break up a pinstripe riot between the LA Angels and the Hollywood Stars over at Gilmore Field on Beverly Boulevard which the ump describes in yesterday's Los Angeles Times as "the biggest fight in baseball history."
The "pugilistic pips," as reporter Al Wolf's account in The Times described the skirmishes, lasted for nearly 30 minutes, Carlucci recalls.
Police Chief Bill Parker, watching at home on television, ordered officers to the stadium on Beverly Boulevard — CBS Television City stands there now — and warned that additional incidents would result in the booking of offenders . . . By game's end, officers and players were seated side by side in the dugouts. All but the players still involved in the game had been banished to the clubhouses, many of them nursing cuts, scrapes, black eyes and other minor wounds.
I admire those guys as ballplayers. Particularly their adherence to violence as a necessary adjunct to the job.
On Saturday, ShysterBrother and I went to PETCO and watched the Padres' bullpen waste a nice David Wells performance by coughing up a 5-1 lead and blowing the game against the Mariners. Biggest shocker: Jeff Weaver was actually kind of effective for a while for Seattle. Most notable thing about this game? I had sweet seats right in front of the press box (I could have high-fived Jerry Coleman):
Certainly a purer baseball experience in Dodger stadium, where the crowd is treated to simple, pleasant organ music between innings and the fans don't need flashing signs on the jumbotron telling them when to cheer. While people often refer to Dodgers' fans as late-arriving, early-departing dilettantes, this only appears to be the case for the folks in the high-priced seats behind the plate and the dugouts. My compadres in the upper deck down the left field line all fought their way through Friday rush hour traffic to make the first pitch and stayed until the end of the 10th inning. Dodger Stadium could have used some more beer guys -- none came my way all game and the lines on the concourse were ridiculous -- but that seemed minor due to a good game and a nice night.
In contrast to the old-fashioned vibes in Chavez Ravine, PETCO park suffers from blaring rock music between innings and oversized muppets dancing at any moment pitches aren't actually being thrown. Even the groundskeepers get into the act while dragging the infield, engaging in dance routines and full-blown Three Stooges skits while pitchers try to warm up between innings (Boomer seemed annoyed with them). Apparently the Padres think that baseball is so boring that people won't want to come to the park unless they're constantly being assaulted with entertainment.
Which is sad, because it's a really nice park in a gorgeous downtown setting. Check this out:
Yes, Virginia, that's actual foliage adorning the concourse. While Wrigley has ivy in the walls and Coors has some bushes behind the fences, can you think of a ballpark that actually attempts to gussy up the public areas with greenery? Me neither. It's a really nice touch which, my purism aside, I prefer to some more traditional ballpark elements such as, say, urine troughs. Oh, and unlike Dodger Stadium the PETCO beer guys practically set up shop next to me, although that was probably more a function of my ticket price as opposed to the inherent hospitality of the place. But hey, beer is beer.
Quibbles aside, Dodger Stadium and PETCO each have a good beat and you can dance to them, though the folks in San Diego could stand to have a little faith in their fans' attention spans and learn to trust that the product on the field will adequately entertain their guests. If they did, they could take the money they save on whoopie cushions and the Punch and Judy show and plow it into something Padres fans could appreciate.
Like a power hitter.
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Shyster is hitting the road for a couple of days. California if you must know. There will be baseball -- I'll be catching the Padres and Mariners Saturday night, and may get a chance to take in the Dodgers-Jays on Friday -- but I'll probably not be writing about it until I get back to stinky old Ohio on Monday.
Recommendation for the weekend: watch Homer Bailey's Major League debut Friday night. If I'm the Reds I let him break in against weaker bats than the Tribe, but then the Reds do a lot of things I wouldn't do.
Otherwise? Some other young chap is making his season debut in Pittsburgh on Saturday, which should be fun. Go Pirates.
Mets-Tigers looks like it might be the most fun of all of the interleague matchups this weekend. As much as I'd like to hate the Mets, they're a pretty likable team and the novelty of the Tigers being good hasn't worn off for me yet. If I get too wasted in California and end up sitting on my brother's couch all day Saturday and Sunday, that's the series I'm tuning into.
*While I, um, borrow most of the pics that accompany my posts, I actually took this one myself. That's US-50, a couple dozen miles east of the Utah-Nevada border, on April 20, 2003. I had sort of lost my bearings around that time, and vistas like that one helped me find them again. Just thought you should know.
Ah, those were the days!
Well, if you're in the Bay Area, you can relive them between now and July 11th, as the New Conservatory Theatre Center presents Richard Greenberg's Tony Award-winning play Take Me Out:
We're in a locker-room; a private place where the sweat and the grime mix with the tears of defeat or the shouts of triumph. Where the trouble on or off the field is kept locked up with the deodorant and the tobacco. We're flies on the wall of a true red, white and blue pastime. So imagine the mess when one of America's best ball players goes into the locker room and out of the closet with one overly confident stride!
Sweet! But, man, this just isn't as topical as it was when it was written a few years ago. Any special reason why I should go, Mr. Reviewer?
The last time I'd seen a live performance of Take Me Out, I was in the front mezzanine and completely distracted by the nudity. This time, in spite of being six rows from the nakedness, I was more focused on the play. Great bodies up against a great script? The script wins. Perhaps I've matured as an audience member. Or perhaps NCTC took me all the way to home-plate this time around!
That cuts it. I'll be there with bells on.
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Aisle 101, front row, seats 5, 6, 7, 8 behind home plate. On Tuesday morning, a divorced Atlanta couple took these objects of joy into a courtroom — and turned them into a source of misery. H. Elizabeth King, a psychologist, accused her ex, Charles Center, a lawyer, of breaking their 2002 divorce agreement to divide the tickets.
King said in court Tuesday that Center had gone out of his way to give her bad tickets this season — to games that conflicted with her tickets to Wednesday night concerts at the Chastain Park Amphitheater. And, worse, she claimed 80 percent of the tickets he gave her were for day games, implying he’d done it because he knew she had skin cancer.
Center testified that the four tickets to 27 home games cost about $6,000. And he was distributing them to her the way he’d always distributed them, sequentially, according to a mathematical formula. He admitted he would
“manipulate” that arrangement when people asked or if there were conflicting
So far, attorneys’ fees in the dispute have run to about $13,000.
Since the story doesn't tell us all that much about the actual litigation tactics which led to this scene, we can only truly call the ex-husband -- himself a lawyer -- a jerk. If he truly is messing with the mother of his children over the tickets like the article suggests, he's a petty bastard, and would be no matter what his profession.
That said, I've practiced law for nearly nine years. Though the vast majority of my cases and clients have involved simple business being conducted by more or less decent people, I've represented a lot of bastards too. I've also had opposing counsel who run the gamut from princes to punks. Throughout my career I have often taken solace in the "we can only advise and remain ethical, all else is up to the client" mantra, but I also know it's a copout.
Lawyers may very well have a duty of zealous representation, and may have a floor of ethical behavior below which we may not sink lest we incur sanctions, but that does not mean (a) that we should not strive to counsel our clients against taking unreasonably assholish positions even if they are technically within their rights to do so; and (b) that, if our advice is ignored, we still have to remain in the case. The ethical rules do not require us to check notions of common decency at the courthouse door.
Yes, there is always someone who will take these cases and run with them, but I hope that before counsel of record was retained, at least a couple of other lawyers told these season ticket holders that there is no sense spending tens of thousands of dollars of their own money and costing the legal system thousands more litigating the issue of who gets the nice seats when.
While I'm on my high horse, allow me to offer something else.
I don't know why I care, but I did a bit of digging, and found this article, which prominently features the couple in question. It turns out that, based on their own experiences with cancer, the two of them worked and produced a book for kids about how to cope with parents who have cancer called Kemo Shark.
While no one except the spouses involved can ever truly know what goes on in a marriage, it's amazing to me that two people could work together to raise a couple of kids, deal with cancer, and then turn that into a positive like a book to help kids cope, and then turn around and have a stupid court battle that ends with one of them yelling "I'm not going to jail! I'm not going to jail!"