Friday, July 01, 2005

Random Friday Stuff

By now everybody knows that Myron Cope retired. I missed Mark Madden eulogizing Cope, but luckily Eric provides us with a link. And when I say 'eulogizing,' that's a euphemism for being a corpulent jerk who's primary goal in life is eating doughnuts followed closely by making people miserable. I haven't lived in Pittsburgh since 2003, but it wasn't a secret when I was there how much Madden disliked Cope. Before even reading his latest antics I distinctly recalled Madden calling Cope a drunk, a no-talent, a shill ... you know, all the stuff he throws out when he thinks it'll help ratings -- and also stem the calls from listeners that invariably ask him (a) if, as a 40-year old, he still lives with his mom, or (b) if ESPN offers any kind of dental plan since he looks to have summer teeth (you know, 'some are here, some are there' ... I can actually sense people throwing their monitors out the window after reading that line; whatever, I've been using it for 15 years and it gets funnier with age, trust me).

Back to sir-chubs-a-lot. Here's his latest foray into imbecility:
Madden also leveled this charge:

"There were many times, and this is where the Pittsburgh media just plays such favorites and ignores the truth. It has never been printed in any paper anywhere -- and I know Bob Smizik knows. There have been times over the past few years the Steelers' producers on the radio broadcast made the decision to shut off Myron's mike for minutes, sometimes for quarters or halves at a time, during Steelers broadcasts because he sounded so ridiculous and because he wasn't prepared to work."

These are serious charges on several counts.

"I flatly deny that ever happened," said John Moschitta, the operations director for WDVE, the Steelers' flagship station.

"I never heard of such a thing," Cope said.

More to the point, if this is true, why is Madden releasing it now? If he had such a damning morsel of information about a man he so clearly despises, he could have given it to any number of people in the media who would have printed it.
First off, I should mention that Bob Smizik wrote this column. He can kindly be described as crotchety. That said, compared to Madden he's the next coming of Mother Teresa. It's obvious that Madden has both an ax to grind, and is so in love with himself that he's willing to make stuff up to get ratings. And here's the thing: it's not just the meatheads who listen to Madden, smart sports fans do too ... just so they can see what ridiculous thing he'll say next. In a small market like Pittsburgh, he can't get away with being an idiot, but it still doesn't change the fact that most of the people who listen to him (and almost all who don't, but who know who he is) are laughing at him -- and that includes Myron Cope. Nice touch dumbass.

I find this very hard to believe:
On June 20, after a throwing error from Jeter to Rodriguez handed the Yankees a 5-4 loss to the last-place Tampa Bay Devil Rays, a TV producer says the sluggers came to blows in the clubhouse.

"I was doing an interview in the locker room and saw them go at it," says the source. "A-Rod walked past Jeter's locker and mumbled something about his throw, then Jeter told him to go f*** himself and all hell broke lose. Their teammates were pulling them away from each other."
Maybe it's true, but why is this the first anyone's hearing about it? Not only that, but I have a really hard time seeing A-Rod mouthing off to anyone after his abysmal 2004 season, especially Jeter. (here's my question: was A-Rod wearing the purple lipstick when he was flapping his gums?)

Update: Well, for the first time ever, I was actually right about something. The Jeter/A-Rod story was a hoax. Me: 1, Life: a zillion.

Update #2: Dave Pinto says that the NY Daily News's gossip page is now reporting the story, so it must be true, right (/end look of mock incredulity)?

I can't very well mention the Yankees without talking about the Red Sox. This past Tuesday was the rare occasion that I actually have to work late, and I found myself 'watching' the Red Sox - Indian game on the internets. Late in the game the Sox went up by three runs only to bring in the decidedly mediocre duo of Timlin and Foulke. A half-hour later the Sox were down four runs and the game was over. This is one of those times you're thankful you actually didn't have to watch this train wreck unfold via television (although waiting for real-time updates on the internet isn't exactly the least frustrating medium to enjoy a game either).

Of course that doesn't change the fact that the bullpen once again, is the biggest question mark on this team. And seeing Timlin get the save in Boston's win yesterday only raised more questions -- specifically about who's the closer. Tito quickly put to rest any theories other than 'Foulke's our guy,' but at some point you have to think about alternatives (this is actually a pretty ludicrous thing to say since the implication is that Theo hasn't given Foulke's struggles some thought). In fact, Epstein has given it some thought and yesterday he said "that the price for a reliever is prohibitive at the moment." I wouldn't call that a ringing endorsement of Foulke's performance to date, but it's not Epstein's job to be Foulke's endorser. That falls to Francona. And if he can weather Millar-gate, Foulke's current slide won't even show up on the radar.

Interestingly, now that Bellhorn has turned into Babe Ruth, no one seems to be skewering him with quite the persistence we saw earlier this season. I'm pretty sure I'm responsible for his turnaround. Solid work by me.

And in case you're dying to read some football-related nerd stats content smack dab in the middle of the summer, I have a column up at Football Outsiders that takes a different look at the best rushing backs in NFL history. Knock yourself out.