Monthly Archives: July 2009

The Pre-Game Ritual

How it’s done in America:

How it’s done in New Zealand:

Don’t mess with those guys.

(Hat tip: C. Dessi)

Things That Happen When Your Baseball Team is Bad, Part 2

ALCS Indians Fans Baseball

Reader Murray points us to another example of a team whose roster has been raided as a result of losing: the Cleveland Indians.

Here is their lineup in Game 1 of the 2007 ALCS vs. the Boston Red Sox

Here is their lineup last night vs. the L.A. Angels

Also consider the starting rotations for the Indians in ’07 and today, after the Indians traded away Cliff Lee:

2007- C.C. Sabathia, Fausto Carmona, Paul Byrd, Jeff Westbrook, Cliff Lee

2009:  Carl Pavano, David Huff, Fausto Carmona, Jeremy Sowers, Aaron Laffey

There is also still talk that Victor Martinez may be traded before tomorrow’s deadline. What is so shocking about the demise of the Indians, as opposed to that of the Pittsburgh Pirates, is that two years ago, the Indians looked like a team that could compete for the A.L. Pennant for the next 5-10 years. Now, they look like the Kansas City Royals.

It is pretty remarkable how quickly things changed, so much so that GM Mark Shapiro essentially decided to blow up the team and start over. This must be very disheartening for Cleveland fans, who have to root for the Browns and also watched the Cavs choke in this year’s playoffs.

Things that Happen When Your Baseball Team is Bad

pirates bad

1. They trade away their best players

2. They get shut out in 10 innings after getting 7 scoreless from their starter

3. Fans lose hope…again

4. They trot out a lineup like this, after starting the season with a lineup like this.

(Hat tip to Frank Bauch for pointing this out)

What Omar Minaya Really Meant to Say

Sipkin/News

Sipkin/News

Omar Minaya did a bad thing yesterday. In the process of trying to fire executive Tony Bernazard, he decided to throw Daily News reporter Adam Rubin under the bus. Minaya claimed that Rubin had been inquiring about a job with the Mets, and insinuated that Rubin had written a piece about Bernazard’s bizarre behavior to put himself in line for a job.

Rubin vehemently denied the accusations, and Minaya and Mets management have since apologized. Regardless, it was another bizarre twist in the Mets’ roller coaster season. When my boy EZ baby messaged me yesterday telling me Omar was holding a press conference, I figured Bernazard would get the axe. We both wondered with Omar would actually fire himself. But never could we have anticipated what actually went dwn.

Minaya’s presser has gotten plenty of airtime in the last 24 hours, but we at Between the Headset are not content to simply take what he said at face value. Instead, we read between the lines to decipher exactly what Omar and Adam meant yesterday:

Omar: Once the reports came out, you know, of course we had to expedite more the investigation.

Translation: We knew about this all along, but once you guys figured it out, we had to act like we actually cared. Seriously, what’s wrong with a guy taking his shirt off and taunting players? It’s not like he whipped out his junk or anything. Didn’t you all see Bruno? I haven’t seen that much nudity since my 23rd birthday in the V.I.P. lounge of Stone Lotus.

Omar:Early in the process, early in the process, when the reports came out, I had to kind of tell myself, “Wow, these things are coming out.”

Translation: I spit out my milk when I found out you guys had uncovered this story. I mean, we even hired that guy Gene Parmesan from Arrested Development to help us cover it up. Seriously guys, what’s with all the muckraking? Haven’t you heard journalism is dead?

gene parmesan

Omar:And I say this because coming from Adam Rubin, okay, and Adam, you gotta understand this, Adam, for the past couple of years, has lobby for a player development position.

Translation: I know you guys aren’t going to believe me, and you’ll probably think I’m just trying to change the subject, but seriously, you gotta understand, the guy came to me and said he actually wanted to work for the Mets. I told him he could have the job. We were all set for the changeover and he backed out. I had my flight booked to Dubai. That little punk made me cancel. Do you know what cancellation fees are like these days? So now I’m gonna have to throw Adam under the bus.

Omar:He has lobby myself, he has lobby Tony.

Translation: Maybe if I speak in broken English, it’ll distract them. Then they won’t hear the bombshell I’m about to drop, because they’ll be too busy trying to add participles and all that good stuff to my quotes.

Omar:So when these things came out I was kind of a little bit, I had to think about it. And I was a little bit, you know, somewhat, kind of, we gotta find out about this. We really have to do a thorough investigation of this.

Translation: Ha! I think it worked. I don’t think one person in the room noticed that I just tried to link Adam’s article to the fact that he was asking about a job in baseball, thus implying that he had an ulterior motive for writing the article in the first place.

Adam Rubin: Is what you’re alleging that I tried to tear Tony down so I could take his job? Is that what you’re saying?

Translation: You mother$#$#%$%! Why does this always happen to me? In 4th grade Jack Toner tattled on me to the teacher because he said I stole his Oreo cookies. But that wasn’t true! I merely asked what I would have to do to get the Oreos from him. I didn’t actually do anything about it.

Omar: No, no, I’m not saying that. All I’m saying was, that I know that when you wrote the reports, but I am saying, that in the past, you have, have lobby for a player, for a for a job…

Translation: Damn, he heard me. Well now I better start backpedaling. This could get ugly. What would George Costanza do in this situation? He would have a good lie ready. I better think of one soon, because I sound like a bumbling idiot right now, and Sportscenter is going to show this clip while Charlie Steiner giggles on top of it. Remember that video of Carl Lewis singing the National Anthem? Francis Scott Off-Key? Funny stuff. Man, is this guy still talking to me?

Adam Rubin: If I were interested in working in player development somewhere in the major leagues at some point in my life, how did that impact this situation at all?

Translator: You really think I’m dumb enough to try to get Tony’s job by writing this article? Come on, man, you should know better than this. I hired that guy from Arrested Development, Gene Parmesan, to get as much blackmail of you as he could. But so far, all he had gotten were some pictures of you walking out of a nightclub with A-Rod and Kate Hudson.

Omar: I said, because, when the reports came out a lot of these things were cross… I said “Who’s writing these reports?” and I said well okay who’s writing the reports and in the back of my mind, Adam, you have told me you have told other people in the front office that you want to work for player development in the front office.

Translation: Words…question to myself…Adam…player development…nonsense…give up.

Adam Rubin: So what you’re alleging is that.. the only conclusion I can draw from that is that you’re trying to allege that I tried to tear everyone down so that I could take their position. Is that what you’re saying?

Translation: Listen Omar, I’ve got an entire room of journalists here that have my back. You’ve got nobody in this stadium that has your back. Sportswriters have each others’ backs, except for Jay Mariotti. So I’m just going to act really mad and turn the tables on you and you are going to have to meekly back away into your shell.

Omar: Adam…

Translation: Of all the bad moves I’ve made here, is this what I’m going to get fired for?

Adam Rubin: It seems pretty despicable to say that.

Translation: You lose. Good day, sir.

To Be or Not to Be? The Homer Announcer

mets broadcast

There’s an obvious difference between a national PxP sports broadcaster working for a big-time network and a local television or radio announcer. The difference, of course, is the fact that the national broadcaster (think Joe Buck, Al Michaels, Marv Albert) is supposed to stay neutral, giving equal time and excitement to both teams during a game.

The local broadcaster, on the other hand, does not hide behind a cloud of objectivity; rather, they make no secret of their hope for their team to win, and, for obvious reasons, devote more time and attention to that team. There are clear reasons behind this. For one, the broadcasters are often employees of the team, so if they are too harsh on their employer, they probably won’t last very long. The broadcasters are also playing to their audience, who is overwhelmingly going to be fans of that team.

For instance, Pat Hughes, radio PxP man for the Chicago Cubs, is going to yell louder when a Cubs player hits a home run as opposed to a Cardinals player because most people listening to the game on WGN are Cub fans.

But there is a line between pulling for a team and being an outright, obnoxious homer. Below are a couple examples of calls from announcers, both national and local. I want to know whether you feel any of them are too over the top in their excitement for the team, and whether the national broadcasters are being too objective (not showing any sort of passion).

John Sterling, Yankees’ Radio PxP Man:

Pat Hughes and Ron Santo during the ’98 season:

Marv Albert’s radio call of David Tyree’s great Super Bowl catch:

Hawk Harrelson’s call of a Mark Buerhle homerun:

A collection of NBA announcer Kevin Harlan’s best calls:

I actually don’t have a problem with a broadcaster favoring the team he announces; in fact, I prefer it when I am watching my local sports teams. As a fan, I want my announcer to share my passion for the team, without taking it too far. But if my team hits a three at the buzzer to win a game or a grand slam in the 11th inning to win, I want the announcer to go crazy just as I am.

But I don’t want the announcer saying “We are winning,” as Harrelson does. The announcer, even if he used to play, is not a member of the team, and thus has no business saying “We need some runs” or “The bad guys are winning.” That’s just plain amateurish.

My favorite broadcast team, though, might be what the New York Observer aptly named “The Anti Homers” crew of New York Mets’ television broadcasters. I have listened to these three a lot this summer, and find myself laughing out loud throughout the entire game. I highly recommend this article, which highlights all the reasons Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling make such a great team (hat tip: Whitehead).

The problem I have with some local announcers, such as Hawk Harrelson of the White Sox and John Sterling of the Yankees, is not their fanaticism for the team they broadcast; instead, it’s their gimmicks. I can’t stand “You can put it on the boaaarrrddd….YES!” I cringe when John Sterling goes into his “It is high, it is far” routine, only for the ball to land on the warning track. And, like everyone else, I can’t stand Chris Berman’s “Back, back, back.”

Genuine excitement is one thing. Gimmicks are another. Something simple like Marv Albert’s “Yes!” is fine with me, because it’s simple and pure and doesn’t sound forced.

Announcers don’t have to reinvent the wheel or spend their nights coming up with a catchphrase. I just want them to show some passion and let their calls come to them. Is that too much to ask?

Hasheem Thabeet doesn’t like Obese Flyers

thabeet

Recent Memphis Grizzlies draft pick and former UConn superstar Hasheem Thabeet was on a flight tonight from Houston to Memphis. Thabeet, a very tall man, was sitting in the emergency exit row, presumably so he could have more leg room.

But that all changed when a man Hasheem described as a “big hommie” sat next to him. Thankfully, Thabeet had his phone to tweet us all about it before taking off. Here is what ensued:

@HasheemTheDream:

Dude Took 2 seats!! Is this Legal?? Lmbo @mw1ll u gonna crack up if u see this flick!!

I feel bad!! But the guy was suppose to sit with me on the exit row seat since it’s all same seats, meaning no 1st class, smh at expressjet!

So I ended up gettin moved since the big guy took seat 12C and 12B I was suppose to be on B and now I don’t have exit row seat nomore!! FML

The dude didn’t even say thanks I let him sit on 2seats and one of them is mine!! Twittpic him? Lm(african)bo and he not even smillin! Pause

Hahahah he introduced himself to the other passengers!!! His name is Wayne!! Lmabo!

Oh and I didn’t know they have extenders for the seatbelt in the plane wat the hell?? Wat is this takin 2 seats?? Lmabo

Why extenders?? Why can’t he use the other belt?? Lol hillarious!!

@azamowaisi wat I was doin is talkin my life out, I’m 7″3 and they move me so somebody that 5″6 can sit on 12B and 12C, is that fair!? Smh

@Jrudner RT hey man. I’m the fan who flew with you. You’re right, that one guy was huge and a jerk. < to peepo thinkin I’m hatin!!

Well then. The next time you get into some sort of altercation with a person on a plane, train, in the grocery store or at work, you might want to check whether they just tweeted about you to the entire world. Especially if you’re overweight.

If I were Hasheem though, I would be careful about ripping into the overweight. The city where he is set to play, Memphis, was named America’s most obese city in 2007. Not a good way to make friends and fans.


Marbury Chats with the Ladies…and more from Twitterland

POD015614004

A couple of interesting things popping up from athletes on my Twitter feed today:

Stephon Marbury is quickly becoming one of my favorite athletes to follow on Twitter. He already is unintentionally hilarious as it is (see video below, when he is in rare form), but his use of online media has been splendid. Take a look at his latest:

@StarburyMarbury: im going to be holding a live chat session for all of the ladies. just the ladies to help me be a better man from your point of view.

If you don’t think I will be pretending to be a lady so that I can see what kinds of ridiculous things he has to say, you are sadly mistaken. Here is the video with NBC NY’s Bruce Beck:

Not surprisingly, Chad Johnson continues to tweet out bizarre things on a regular basis. Here was a tweet today in which he discussed Sex in the City:

@OGOchoCinco: How would a sex n the city movie be with 4 Sistas, who would be the four, I got two so far, Vivica Fox and Gabrielle Union

Having a better knowledge about womens high end shoes and purses a bad thing, I was naming everything in Sex n the City

Bengals fans should feel good knowing their wide receiver is mentally prepared for the start of the season.

Bill Simmons is one of the best sportswriters to follow on Twitter. He continuously brings great links, insight and humor to the table. Here are two tweets from this afternoon:

@SportsGuy33: Saturday Suck Update: I’d turn on Cards game to root against Lugo, but Fox is monopolizing my baseball day with a 9-2 Ana-Minn blowout.

Seriously, how hard is it to run a professional sports league? Isn’t rule No. 1, “Don’t totally antagonize your fan base?”

Have to agree with him. I’ve never understood Fox’s Saturday Baseball coverage plan. Can’t they do it like CBS does with the NCAA tournament, so if there’s a good game going on, you aren’t stuck watching a blowout?

Finally, we have this from Dwayne Wade:

@DWadeOfficial: This is for Lamar Odom…come back to where it started for the both of us..the franchise u help build back up wants u to End it all here

odom heat

Moving past the fact that Wade seems to be saying the Heat want Odom to “end it all” in Miami, Wade’s use of Twitter as a plea for a player to join his team is very interesting.

Clearly, the tweet was not really an attempt to get Lamar Odom to come play for Miami. Players can call each other and talk about that, and they have agents to help in that process as well. They don’t need to tweet each other. Plus, Odom isn’t even an avid tweeter. In my opinion, this was D-Wade’s attempt to build some buzz about the possibility of Odom coming back to the Heat at Wade’s behest.

Wade knows he has 50,000+ followers, many of whom will re-tweet his plea or who are in the media/blogosphere and will write about it (like I’m doing now). Since the media has moved into the business of tracking athletes’ tweets, this is a story that could potentially gain traction. Before you know it, Odom might be fielding questions from reporters about the possibility of signing with the Heat and about Wade’s public plea for him to return.

Whether or not this has any sort of effect on Odom’s decision making process, I don’t know. I’ve always wondered how much of an impact players have on their free agent friends in trying to persuade them to sign with them. But regardless, this is a new means by which athletes can create a buzz among fans and the media, especially during the offseason.

*Have a tweet you think should be on the site? Follow @andrewgothelf and reply to him with the best, worst and weird of twitter.