Thursday Doesn’t Even Start

(I had originally planned a Cure thing here, but I didn’t follow through with Tuesday and Wednesday, so here we are. These things caught my eye today:)

Juicy Stuff

Jose Canseco from Sports IllustratedIt is entirely possible that Jose Canseco is the dumbest man in America.

If you followed his Major League Baseball career at all, you knew that he wasn’t the sharpest syringe in the bag to begin with, but this remarkable, scathing first-person account by the great Pat Jordan of what Canseco’s life has become post-baseball might surprise even the most jaded and cynical fan. It did me.

What’s truly amazing (as my dad used to say) is not that he’s broke, unreliable and living with a junior college graduate named Heidi, but that people keep offering him work. Moron that he is, he can’t even take the easiest of paydays.

“Over the last few years, (Canseco’s agent) Rob has negotiated prospective deals for Jose worth almost $2 million. Rob got Taco Bell to ante up $25,000, plus residuals, for Jose to star in a TV commercial in which Jose would hold up a huge burrito and say, “This thing’s gotta be on something.” Jose demanded $50,000 instead and Taco Bell walked. Rob also got Jose an offer of $100,000 from, which would require Jose simply to wear that company’s t-shirt and cap whenever he was on TV. Jose demanded $200,000 and Golden Palace walked. Then, Rob got Jose an offer of $75,000 from a reality TV show that wanted to film Jose in a wheelchair for thirty days. Jose demanded more, and the TV show vanished. Finally, Rob got Jose an offer of $500,000 for a movie based on his life, but Jose demanded $1.5 million and the offer vanished.”

Here’s hoping Canseco vanishes like the commercial, TV and movie opportunities. I fear he’ll take someone with him when he goes, though.

Desert Dandies

Gator fans celebrate at ASU

A group of nearly 150 Florida Gator fans enjoyed our team’s 70-57 win over Arizona State Tuesday night in the quarterfinals of the National Invitation Tournament. After the Gators jumped out to an early 17-3 lead, ASU battled back to take a 47-45 lead in the second half. But hot shooting led to a 25-10 spurt to finish the game, and Florida won going away to make it to the semifinals next Tuesday in New York against Massachusetts.

Photos coming soon.

It’s a Zungul Out There

Steve Zungul story in Sports Illustrated
Another offering from Sports Illustrated’s vault (yeah, you could just search for them yourself, but that wouldn’t be any fun, now, would it?) is this one, from 1983, profiling the great Steve Zungul.You can make a case for several guys if you’re trying to pick the best indoor soccer player ever. The case is strongest for this one, though. If you never saw him play, well, video evidence is a bit sketchy, but trust me (and the guys who played against him): no one was better than Zungul.

Funniest part of the story? When asked if he’d consider selling Zungul, Earthquakes’ owner Dick Berg said “No way. Steve’s under contract here until 1987. I wouldn’t sell him if they offered me Warner Communications.”

He probably should have. Zungul ended up with the San Diego Sockers after the NASL played its last game in 1984 (tallying 68 goals and 68 assists in just 48 games). He had one more monster year after that, but then began to slow down and was finished at age 35.

United They Stand Alone

Goff reports that there won’t be any more Uniteds in MLS (at least for now – sorry, St.Louis).

“There have been a number of teams that have been interested in using the name ‘United’,” (MLS Commissioner Don) Garber said. “Team trademarks are owned by the league, as they are in all professional sports, and we felt that our teams should have individual identities. It’s not to say there will never be another United, but for now, we are very focused on our teams creating separate, distinct identities.”

But having Toronto FC and Seattle FC, that would be okay, right? You can say that Toronto FC and FC Dallas are separate and distinct (if you can keep a straight face while doing it), but Toronto FC and Seattle FC? That sounds disingenuous to me.

In a related story, someone asked me recently what you’d call someone who played for the Seattle Alliance (one of the other choices for Seattle, “Republic” being the third). Eventually, it came to me: an Ally.

Gray Area

New US Soccer shirtJust in time for tomorrow’s friendly in Poland, the US Men’s National team has – guess what? – another new jersey!

This one goes completely off the color palette, with what I originally thought was black, but which my man Aris Ohanessian points out is actually dark charcoal gray.

Gray? Come on.

I like it better than the Alain Sutter-inspired boring-ass white pinstripe thing they unveiled oh, way back on January 30 (man, did the season just fly by, or what?), but this is insane. Continue reading Gray Area


Arizona Republic photo

The Suns and their fans are a bit upset this morning over what they perceived as bad calls and no-calls in Phoenix’s 110-105 overtime loss in Detroit last night.

One of the two key plays is (half) pictured at right – Chauncey Billups driving and colliding with the Suns’ Steve Nash with 1:01 to go and Phoenix up 105-104. Nash was called for a block, Billups got the bucket and the free throw for a 107-105 lead.

I say that play is half-pictured because we don’t see the bottom half of Nash’s body and because it’s a still and not video. The first videos on YouTube don’t show a great angle, the one from behind the basket that the TV coverage showed. On that one, you can see Nash sliding into the lane from his right to his left, trying to establish position, but his left foot then slides a second time right before the contact. In short, he’s not set.

Had Nash been inside the semicircle under the basket, it’s (by rule) a block. The completely crap screen grab below shows he’s outside the semicircle, but (again, you don’t see this part on the YouTube video), he’s not completely set when the contact comes. Continue reading Dis-Charged?

Toy Story

Alex RodriguezOpening Day? Really? Konnichiwa!

As another season begins, it looks like Barry Bonds‘ career may be over, so the big number for everyone to shoot at is now 763, one more than the number of home runs Bonds hit in 22 seasons. Alex Rodriguez is the heir apparent to the record, but how much of a chance does he really have?

There’s a way to estimate that (and before followers of people like Rick Morrissey and Bill Plaschke lose their minds, it’s just math, it’s not some computer mumbo-jumbo that doesn’t measure heart and grit and Eckstein-ness), one of Bill James‘ oldest and simplest sabermetric tools: The Favorite Toy. Continue reading Toy Story