Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Wings clipped.

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

The St. Louis Cardinals fired director of scouting Chris Correa yesterday.’

Why do I bring this up? Granted, it is sportsfirings.com, but I don’t cover every minor executive firing.

But this is special. Correa is apparently the team’s first sacrifice in the great hacking scandal.

St. Louis attorney Jim Martin, a former federal prosecutor who is conducting the Cardinals’ internal investigation, declined to say if Correa’s dismissal was linked to the FBI case.
However, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Correa acknowledged breaking into the database to determine whether the Astros had stolen proprietary data from the Cardinals.

If he actually did admit “breaking into the database”, I think being fired is probably the least of his problems…

Obit watch: June 18, 2015.

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

Nelson Doubleday Jr., heir to the Doubleday publishing empire and former owner of the New York Mets.

I was going to let this go by, but there were a couple of things in the NYT obit that tickled my fancy:

Mr. Doubleday was an avid outdoorsman, fond of practical jokes and not particularly bookish. He enjoyed playing golf; hunting at his plantation near Beaufort, S.C.; sailing the world on his yacht, Mandalay; and heading off to annual pheasant-hunting trips in Somerset, England. In the 1960s and ’70s, he invested in two hockey teams, the California Golden Seals and the New York Islanders. On his daily drive into Manhattan, he chatted with a group of fellow CB radio enthusiasts who called themselves the Cuckoo’s Nest Convoy. His handle was Bookworm.

Today’s bulletin from the Department of WTF?! (#7 in a series)

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

The FBI and Justice Department are investigating members of the front office of the St. Louis Cardinals to determine whether the organization hacked the computer network of the Houston Astros in order to steal player personnel information.

I was going to make a “how parenthetic do you have to be” joke, but the Astros are actually doing okay this year. The Times story seems to be spinning it as the Cardinals being worried about their secrets being compromised:

Investigators believe Cardinals officials, concerned that Mr. Luhnow had taken their idea and proprietary baseball information to the Astros, examined a master list of passwords used by Mr. Luhnow and the other officials who had joined the Astros when they worked for the Cardinals. The Cardinals officials are believed to have used those passwords to gain access to the Astros’ network, law enforcement officials said.

“Luhnow” is Jeff Luhnow, the current Astros general manager and previously a high-ranking member of the Cardinals management team.

I care very little about baseball, but this should be fascinating to watch. As the papers note, this is the first known instance where one team attempted to hack another team’s computer network for competitive advantage. Ignoring the possibility of some people being convicted of actual Federal crimes, what’s MLB going to do about this? Lifetime bans for anyone proven to be involved?

Firing watch.

Monday, June 15th, 2015

Bud Black out as San Diego Padres manager.

Since he was hired following the 2006 season, Black had never taken the Padres to the playoffs. In 2010, they went from an apparent stranglehold on the NL West title, to losing 10 consecutive games, to official elimination on the final day of the regular season.

Black was 649-713 over roughly eight seasons.

And for the record…

Monday, May 18th, 2015

Mike Redmond out as manager of the Miami Marlins.

155-207 in “just over” two seasons, 16-22 so far this season.

He received an extension through 2017 after a 77-85 record last year. The move means Marlins ownership and management changed their minds about Redmond just 23.5 percent of a season later. It also means they’re now paying two fired managers — Redmond and his predecessor, Ozzie Guillen.

Random notes: May 18, 2014.

Monday, May 18th, 2015

Lawrence has been on the Waco biker gang shootout like a fat man on a Chinese buffet. I’d encourage you to go here and here for coverage. (I was out and about with friends pretty much all day yesterday, which is why I’m running behind.)

A few random thoughts:

  • Before yesterday, I couldn’t have named five biker gangs; my knowledge pretty much stopped with the Hells Angels, Bandidos, and Mongols (the latter because of their trademark battle). Not that I’m proud of my ignorance or anything, just saying.
  • A lot of yesterday’s stories included some variation on “Twin Peaks corporate office was unavailable for comment”. Of course; it was a Sunday. But I figure there’s got to be a 24/7 emergency number for franchise owners to call…

    “Thank you for calling the Twin Peaks hotline. If you have an emergency, press 1.”

    “Thank you. If your restaurant is on fire, press 1. If your restaurant is flooding, press 2. If there is a shootout between rival biker gangs going on, press 3. If someone is committing an act of regicide, press 4.”

    You have selected regicide. If you know the name of the king or queen being murdered, press one.

  • Speaking of Twin Peaks corporate, Lawrence quotes: “Twin Peaks corporate “is ‘seriously considering revoking’ the Waco location’s franchise agreement.” Gee, you don’t say. (As I was writing this post, the Statesman reported that the franchise has, indeed, been yanked.)
  • “”We are horrified by the criminal, violent acts that occurred outside of our Waco restaurant today.” Shocked, shocked we are to find out that biker gangs used our restaurant as a meeting place. (I know it is early and I’m relying on news media coverage, but it seems pretty well established at this point that this was a biker hangout, and that the management knew it.)
  • Not only did they shoot up Twin Peaks, they walked the check at Denny’s and were rude to the Hooters girls. “They come in here all the time. I’ll keep waiting on them because that is my job. But this whole thing is just so crazy. And it’s also disrespectful, because of lot of those girls at Twin Peaks used to work here.”
  • Seriously, I feel bad for the Twin Peaks and Don Carlos staff, who are probably going to lose at least several days of pay (if not their jobs) over this. Twin Peaks had their liquor license yanked temporarily, though the reports I’ve read say they can reopen as a restaurant “as soon as police allow it to be opened”.

Obit watch: Garo Yepremian, legendary Miami Dolphins kicker.

A while back, I linked to a NYT story about the Clif Bar people ending their sponsorships of certain athletes because of their discomfort with the risk involved. One of those athletes, Dean Potter, was quoted in the article.

Dean Potter was killed in a BASE jumping accident over the weekend.

Penn Jillette on the closing of the Riveria. The Riveria was actually the first place I ever stayed in Vegas.

Finally, and on a lighter note, the NYT ran an interview with Don Rickles. The news peg is that the complete “CPO Sharkey” is being released on DVD Tuesday. I had actually completely forgotten the existence of “CPO Sharkey” (though I’m sure I watched it) until the paper of record reminded me. Man, it is hard getting old.

Edited to add: Well. Well well well. Well.

The Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco will be permanently closed as a result of Sunday’s deadly shooting.

Quel fromage! I wonder what they’re going to replace it with. Maybe a Bikinis? Or perhaps a Bombshells? Wait, wait, I know: perhaps someplace good? Or at least not degrading to women?

Peli can’ts.

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

Monty Williams out as head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans.

When Monty Williams came to the New Orleans Pelicans’ facility Tuesday morning for a meeting with executive vice president Mickey Loomis, he thought the discussion would be about a possible contract extension, league sources said.

So they lied to him like he was Montel Williams?

Obit watch: May 4, 2015.

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Frank Olivo died last Thursday at the age of 66.

Mr. Olivo’s claim to fame? He was the Santa Claus who got booed and hit with snowballs at an Eagles game in 1968.

Monastra recalled that after his cousin was pelted with snowballs, as a thank-you for his trouble the Eagles’ general manager sent Mr. Olivo a “very nice letter” and “a pair of lousy cuff links.”

(Hattip: Jimbo.)

I haven’t found an obit that I like yet, but various reliable sources are reporting the death of Grace Lee Whitney, also known as Yeoman Janice Rand on the original Star Trek.

Whitney, a recovering alcoholic, spent the last 35 years of her life helping others with addiction problems, often at women’s correctional facilities or the Salvation Army, her family said. They said she was credited with having helped thousands of people successfully complete 12-step addiction programs.

(Edited to add: A/V Club. NYT.)

Finally, and most personally upsetting to me, Ruth Rendell passed away over the weekend.

I got into a conversation with Lawrence a while back about who I would put into the first rank of mystery writers: I need to write up that conversation at some point. Honestly, there are large gaps in my knowledge of Rendell – I haven’t read very much of Inspector Wexford, for example. But the Rendell I have read has made a huge impression on me: I think I would put her into that first rank, even with the gaps.

I want to specifically mention one book of Rendell’s that just blew me away when I read it, and which seems undeservedly obscure: A Judgement in Stone. Rendell pulls off one of the greatest tricks ever in this book:

Eunice Parchman killed the Coverdale family because she could not read or write.

That is the first line of the novel. Rendell has just told you who the murderer was, who was killed, and even why the crime took place. What else is there to tell? She has literally spoiled the entire novel in the very first sentence.

Except she hasn’t. The rest of the novel explains how Eunice Parchman’s illiteracy and ignorance inevitably leads her to shotgun a happy family to death. It is like a train that you see coming, but can’t get out of the way of.

The world is a lesser place for Ms. Rendell’s passing.

Bonds. Barry Bonds.

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

Holy crap!

A federal appeals court Wednesday overturned Barry Bonds’ felony conviction for obstructing justice, a development that could help the former San Francisco Giants slugger win a place in baseball’s Hall of Fame.

“Making everyone who participates in our justice system a potential criminal defendant for conduct that is nothing more than the ordinary tug and pull of litigation risks chilling zealous advocacy,” Judge Alex Kozinski wrote in a concurring opinion, signed by four other judges. “It also gives prosecutors the immense and unreviewable power to reward friends and punish enemies by prosecuting the latter and giving the former a pass.”

I’m writing this in haste, on my coffee break at work, so I haven’t had time to digest this. Possibly more later.

Your loser update: April 17, 2015.

Friday, April 17th, 2015

The end of the NBA regular season has snuck up on us.

Early in the season, it seemed like Philadelphia was the favorite to go 0-82, or at least set a record for futility.

How did that work out for them? Well, they finished 18-64. Which is bad.

But it isn’t as bad as the New York Knicks, who finished 17-65. Philadelphia didn’t even lose their own division. Which I think says something about the team, but I’m not sure what.

But, surprisingly, the Knicks weren’t the worst NBA team this year. That honor goes to the Minnesota Timberwolves, who finished the season at 16-66, for a winning percentage of 0.195. ESPN has a very nice list of the worst NBA teams, which currently includes the Timberwolves, and lets you do side-by-side comparisons with the legendary 72-73 Philadelphia team.

By the way, the Lakers finished 21-61. Just saying.

Norts spews.

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Lawrence Phillips, former NFL running back who is serving out a 31-year prison sentence, may have killed his cellmate.

Gaioz Nigalidze’s rise through the ranks of professional chess began in 2007, the year the first iPhone was released. In hindsight, the timing might not be coincidental.

Nigalidze is suspected of stashing an iPhone in a men’s room stall and using it to cheat during games.

“When confronted, Nigalidze denied he owned the device,” according to the tournament’s Web site. “But officials opened the smart device and found it was logged into a social networking site under Nigalidze’s account. They also found his game being analyzed in one of the chess applications.”

Take me out to the ball game…

Monday, April 6th, 2015

It appears that opening day has snuck up on me again.

It also looks like the Cubs will be unable to sell beer at Wrigley Field this year.*

However, I still have faith; that’s one game out of 162. And, yes, I’ve bet Lawrence $5 that the Cubs will win the World Series this year.

* Because they lost the home opener.

Edited to add: Giggle. Snort.