Thursday, May 24, 2007

Thursday, May 24

I really don’t know what this picture has to do with anything, but it was emailed to me, and I couldn’t help but giggle. I hope you enjoy it, too.

And on to our links:

Tickets to the Super Bowl????

You weren't really planning on going to the game, were you?

Maybe you noticed that the face value of a Super Bowl XLV ticket is expected to be at least $900. And that's just face.

Unless you're in Jerry's close circle of 5,000 friends – which is about all the tickets the host region will be allocated – you'll have to buy what's called a "secondary" ticket. A secondary ticket has already gone through the hands of another customer who apparently has decided he or she would rather send a kid to college instead.

Average price of a secondary ticket to the last Super Bowl: $4,000, which will seem like a bargain in four years.

Of course, the people who show up for Super Bowls can afford it. The South Florida Super Bowl XLI host committee reports that 53 percent of attendees earn at least $75,000 a year, and 38 percent make more than $100,000.

With that kind of collateral for a ticket, they should easily qualify for loans.
But as for me and you? Well, you, anyway. I get a press pass. Or at least that's what I tell the wife and kids.

The family doesn't get out to games much. Not unless I can hijack the company tickets. And unfortunately, that's the norm.

You can always tell the company seats at a game. They're the good ones up close that are still empty.

Who else but your boss could afford them? The cost of hauling your family out to the ballgame goes up as if it's tied to tuition rates. A Harvard law school professor and Red Sox season ticket holder named Paul Weiler writes that, in the '90s, the average sports ticket rose four times the Consumer Price Index.

An organization called Team Marketing Report compares the costs for a family of four to attend games in baseball, football, basketball and hockey.

Utilizing figures from 1991 and 2005, the TMR's Fan Cost Index for a Cowboys game – four average-price tickets, parking, a program, cap, hot dogs and something cold to wash it down – has gone from $184.32 to $344.78.

And in 1991 the Cowboys still knew how to win a playoff game.

Maybe it's no coincidence that fans in the area seem more angry and impatient these days. Maybe part of the reason is that they're not getting as much bang for their buck.

Plush seats and big scoreboards are welcome developments. Still, if you're blowing your annual entertainment budget on one weekend, it'd be nice if the home team put on a good show.

But, hey, enough carping. The Super Bowl is coming! The biggest game of them all!
The world's most expensive tailgate party!

Jerry's building it, and they're coming. From all over, too. Be sure to wave when the parade passes.

Keyshawn gives up his playing career for TV

Keyshawn Johnson, who played a great game and talked one as well during an 11-year career, retired yesterday despite several offers to continue playing.
He will soon be expressing his opinions on ESPN.

“I wouldn’t trade my career for anyone’s,” Johnson said at a news conference on the University of Southern California campus, where he starred before the Jets made him the first overall selection in the 1996 draft.

“I’ve done everything I wanted to do in my career,” he said. “I just couldn’t find one thing that could drive me back to playing football. As I learned from Bill Parcells — the circus doesn’t stay in town very long.”

Johnson has agreed to a multiyear contract. He will appear on several ESPN telecasts, including pregame shows on Sunday and Monday nights, and do some radio work as well.

Johnson, who turns 35 in July, was released three weeks ago by the Carolina Panthers. He said at least a half-dozen teams offered him a job, including an offer from the Tennessee Titans that could have been worth $8 million, according to his
agent, Jerome Stanley.

Stanley said Johnson called the terms of the deal with ESPN substantial.
Johnson became the 16th N.F.L. player to reach 800 career receptions and the 26th with 10,000 receiving yards last season, when he caught 70 passes for 815 yards and 4 touchdowns for the Panthers.

He finished his career with 814 receptions for 10,571 yards and 64 touchdowns in 167 games.

Parcells became Johnson’s coach with the Jets in 1997 — a year after Johnson caught 63 passes as a rookie for a team that went 1-15. After that season, Johnson wrote a book, “Just Give Me the Damn Ball,” which proved popular with fans if not with teammates.

Johnson eventually earned the nickname Me-shawn for that, but his coaches, particularly Parcells, considered him a hard worker and versatile player, a player Parcells called one of the best he had coached.

Rangers lose….again

In Wednesday's 5-3 loss to Minnesota, de facto "ace" Robinson Tejeda lasted a season-low three innings and helped push the rotation's ERA uncomfortably above 6.00.
Tejeda, who allowed all five of the Twins' runs, has a 5.18 ERA. Why is that significant? Because it's the lowest among the starting pitchers. As a group, Texas has a 6.12 ERA. As if this needs answering, yes, it is the highest in the major leagues.

"It's not good when you are a part of that, because a lot of it reflects on you," said Brandon McCarthy (5.82 ERA), who starts the next game Friday against Boston. "It's a knock against us, but what we have to do is keep getting better and more consistent. There are a couple of outings all of us would like to have back. But if we keep working towards getting consistent – it's still only May – that number can come down."

Perhaps. But history, particularly Rangers history, suggests that a rotation with ugly numbers in May is still going to have ugly numbers in October. And what the Rangers have learned painfully for nearly a decade is that ugly starting pitching numbers usually equal ugly records.

Only six teams in history have finished with starting ERAs of 6.00 or higher. Two of them have been Rangers teams of recent vintage. The 2003 rotation had the second-worst rotation ERA in history at the area-code-like number of 6.24. And the 2001 team finished at six even.

Both rotations had ERAs of well above six at this point in the season (47 games in). Both staffs brought their ERAs down considerably. The 2003 staff was 6.60 at this point, the 2001 staff at an unbelievable 7.20.

The Rangers entered Wednesday with a chance to push the ERA back under six and with their most consistent starter on the mound. Tejeda simply demonstrated that right now no Rangers pitcher is predictable.

Still mad at the Predators for the Tootoo incident? Well, Since they could be the Winnipeg Predators soon, everybody wins but Predators fans …guess we will have to find someone else to boo Modano..

Nashville Predators owner Craig Leipold intends to sell the hockey team to Canadian businessman Jim Balsillie and an announcement could come today, according to sources familiar with the deal.

Word of the sale sparked talk that the team would move, ending the uneasy residence of hockey in Music City — where football is king. Team supporters have long bemoaned a lack of the corporate support that buoys teams elsewhere in the league.

The Predators just finished year two with attendance averaging less than 14,000 per game. Their contract says they can leave if next season falls below that number as well. The Predators would have to give notice next month, but executives have denied they intend to do so — and just signed a new naming-rights deal for their home arena.
Still, the sources said the sale has been in the works for weeks, and Leipold has signed a letter saying he intends to sell.

Odd Cuban tampering story …the quest to get Finley begins!

A comment by Mark Cuban regarding Michael Finley's future is under review by the NBA office.

San Antonio holds the key as to whether those statements could cost the Mavericks owner some money.

A newspaper report earlier this week quoted Cuban saying, "I would hope that after his contract is over in San Antone, he would consider the Mavs as an option. I don't know that he would, but our entire organization has that much respect for him."

Finley can opt out of his contract with San Antonio once the playoffs are over or stay for his final season at $3.1 million. The league frowns on club officials commenting on players under contract to another team and can levy a fine. The first step is for that team to file a tampering charge with the league office.

A San Antonio official said the club was aware of Cuban's comments but had not filed a complaint. He declined to speculate whether the Spurs would pursue the matter.
"It was nothing more than a compliment to Mike and to surprise everyone that I was supporting the Spurs," Cuban said. "We can't sign him for a long time because of the amnesty provision anyway, so I didn't see it as tampering."

I am dead serious: The Colonial is this week …seriously. It starts TODAY. Feel the Buzz?

The golfers are gathered. The chase for the plaid jacket begins today at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.

With thicker rough ringing the Colonial fairways than in past seasons, most golfers anticipate that Kenny Perry's tournament scoring record (19 under par) is safe. But picking a winner, or even a certain type of golfer who is likely to surface on Sunday, can be a difficult task.

"This golf course isn't designed for just one golfer. It's designed for the best golfer that week," said Tim Herron, the defending champ. "Colonial is a great example of ball-striking. You have to control it out of the rough, in the wind and with small greens.... What's neat is there are a lot of guys that are long ball hitters that have won here, like Kenny Perry. And there are short, straight hitters like Olin Browne and Corey Pavin who have won. I'm more in-between. And I've never been known to be that straight off the tee. That just shows you how great the golf course is, that all different sorts of people can win."


A 65-year-old golfer died Tuesday after his golf cart plunged 75 feet off a cliff and crashed into a road below, authorities said.

The man teed off with three friends on the second hole of the Pala Mesa Resort Golf Course in northern San Diego County at around 10 a.m. and then got into his cart.
The vehicle veered off the concrete pathway, traveled down a 25-foot embankment and went over the edge of a cliff, California Highway Patrol spokesman Tom Kerns said.
The recently retired real estate agent from Irvine was ejected shortly before the cart hit the road beneath the cliff and died on impact, Kerns said. His name was not immediately released.

No one else was involved in the crash.

Investigators will inspect the golf cart for mechanical failures, Kerns said.

Bob’s new fascination for the Mavericks summer: Zach Randolph

Terry and Buckner for Randolph fits the cap; but why would Portland do that?

Because everyone hates him in Portland

Portland Trail Blazers fans have spoken, and more than two-thirds of them want to see Zach Randolph play elsewhere next season.

According to The Oregonian of Portland's You be the GM poll, 65 percent of 4,432 respondents want the Blazers to trade Randolph, the former Marion Giants basketball standout. Randolph had his best season in 2006-07 with 23.6 points and 10.1 rebounds. But fans of the NBA team have soured on Randolph's off-court antics.

I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that's real
The needle tears a hole
The old familiar sting
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything

What have I become
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know goes away
In the end
And you could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt

Our lady of luck leaves us: AC Milan 2, Liverpool 1

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard spoke of his heartbreak last night as Liverpool left it too late to pull off another miracle Champions League comeback against AC Milan. Dirk Kuyt’s 88th-minute header had Liverpool’s 40,000 fans in the Olympic Stadium dreaming of a repeat of events in Istanbul two years ago. But Filippo Inzaghi’s two goals proved too big a mountain to climb for Liverpool as they ran out of time to produce the goal which would have taken the match into extra time. Gerrard, who was unable to summon the inspirational performance which helped turn the 2005 final, said: “It’s difficult to take but that’s football.

You’ve got to take it on the chin, move on and try to pick yourself up, but at the moment it’s heartbreaking. “I thought we started well, we were in control just how we like to be but when you do that you’ve got to score. They got the first goal, with a bit of luck, but it was a big lift for them. “We gave everything but it wasn’t to be.” Liverpool manager Benitez said he was “disappointed” at referee Herbert Fandel’s failure to play three full minutes of injury time as indicated by the Uefa fourth official.

At the end, as Milan’s players celebrated, Benitez looked incensed, repeatedly pointing at his watch to express his anger at Fandel’s decision to blow full-time early. Benitez said: “I was disappointed but I was disappointed with two or three things. He said three minutes but he played 2 minutes and 45 seconds. “But I don’t want to use this as an excuse. We had chances in the first half and in football you need to take your chances.”

With Liverpool’s American owners, George Gillett and Tom Hicks, prepared to bankroll investment in the team over the summer, Benitez said he felt his squad were two steps away from being able to challenge again for the Champions League and for the Premiership next season.

“You could see the players working hard today but it’s not easy to achieve more things,” he said. “If we want to be close to Chelsea and Manchester United, and to have a chance in the Champions League again, then we need to take two steps. But we must go one step at a time.” Benitez added that Inzaghi’s goal, on the stroke of half-time, wrecked his plans for the second half and left his side exposed as they chased the game.

Hicks talks bravely of spending this summer

Tom Hicks, one of the club’s American co-owners, had alluded to a busy summer ahead for the Spaniard and with at least six members of last night’s 18-man squad likely to be available for transfer, BenÍtez did not hesitate to emphasise the importance of reinforcing his squad.

“My first idea is to support my players because I think that they worked really hard and they did their best,” BenÍtez said. “But afterwards you need to think about the future and we know that we need to improve and that we can improve. If we can improve, we can be contenders, but we really need to go forward.

“Really we need more than one step at a time. The players are working really hard, but maybe it’s not easy to achieve more things. And if we want to be close to United and Chelsea or have another chance in the Champions League, we need to go maybe two steps at a time.”

The inference was clear: that his squad has overachieved in reaching two Champions League finals in three seasons and that it is not realistic to expect that success to continue without significant reinforcements.
In particular, BenÍtez is desperate to sign a top-class centre forward. Samuel Eto’o, of Barcelona, is top of his wanted list – as well as that of Manchester United – but he is unlikely to be attainable. Fernando Torres, of Atlético Madrid, may be a more feasible target, but realistically BenÍtez may be looking at players such as Darren Bent, of Charlton Athletic, Vincenzo Iaquinta, of Udinese, Amauri, of Palermo – or, a little more tantalisingly, Michael Owen, the Liverpool old boy who is restless at Newcastle United.

Victory Plaza live webcam!

Tony Romo on Access Hollywood

Oh! Sopran-Oh! Caution: Bad words


Andy D. said...

I must say... this may be a top 5 blog of all time. You have covered the sports base, dying, hot girls (underwood), hot men (that picture of Dirk and Steve), and Sopranos.


Quick hits...

Rangers: the worst in MLB
Mavs: Finley, the prodigal son is coming home to his white daddy (Cubes)no!!!!!!
Golf: yawn
Soccer: sorry bob
Carrie Underwood: wow; maybe the hottest singer in the world right now.

Well done today. Stay safe, stay very very safe.

Robert said...

Finley: an emphatic "No thanks". Maybe if he learns how to dribble with his left hand or reads the rule book to discover that players are allowed to score by means other than fadeaway jumpers.

Cap It said...

dirk looks way too happy about mashing his junk into the small of cube's back.

Poncenomics said...

Super Bowl XLV: be careful what you wish for. Glad I live on the south side, because the north side is going to be chaos for that 2 weeks in '11. Don't even get me started on the cost by then.

Your Texas Rangers: I think this just might be the worst Rangers team ever. In the 70s, the Rangers were either mediocre, or they were pretty good but couldn't get past the A's & Royals. In the 80s, it was similar. In the 90s, you had a legitimate playoff contender most years, but they couldn't get past the Yankees. Then the bottom REALLY dropped out. Up until now, the Chan-Ho/A-Rod lineup was the worst it had gotten, because you had lots of money tied up in a terrible team. Now you have less payroll, and it's even worse. This team got swept by TAMPA BAY. TAMPA. BAY. Sweep. How many winning seasons has this team had since Tom Hicks bought it? How many playoff teams? Think about it: every other team Buck S. had managed won the World Series the year after Buck left. The Rangers are managing to COMPLETELY reverse that trend, diving to worst in MLB. Yikes.

Phil K. said...

Yep, bobby. it was this time last year that this Arsenal fan was feeling about like you do today. However, me think we put up a better effort against Barca than ya'll did against those bloody Italians! Ooooh!

That pick of Bad Boys of Dallas (Mavericks) looks like a promo pic from The Round-up Saloon, a hot gay dancin' nightclub.

i hear iths greeeeat!

Benton said...

poor lfc...i was pullin for the reds

zach randolph? no thank you
at least, not if we can get Elton Brand
i have convinced myself that brand is the key to a championship
that or...dont hate me...howard for amare anybody?

Wes Mantooth said...

As much as I love Howard, I would consider trading him for Amare. Amare is a freak.

How do you propose we get Brand?

MK said...

Howard for Amare? How about Mbenga for Amare if you're throwing out ridiculous trades. Howard is a very nice player but he is not in Amare's league.

Zach Randolph? Desperate much? I think the Spurs and Suns and whoever else contends next year in the West would love to see the Mavs do that. The likelihood of Randolph completely destroying the Mavs from the inside is too good. In the words of Babu, "He's a very, very bad man"

I think the bigger question is, if the Mavs find a nice PF (which I don't think will happen) where does Dirk play? Either way he gets exposed defensively by quicker forwards or stronger centers.

Robert said...

Uh, Howard for Amare is about as unrealistic a trade scenario as has ever been proposed. Hey, Colangelo, my Lexus for your Lamborghini?
And the Eddie Chiles-era Ranger teams were not NEARLY as good as people are choosing to remember around here. Believe it was Jeff Cheng of SI who wrote a pretty entertaining book in '98 about how bush (no pun intended) the T-hats were back in the day.
Not that the current scene is much better...

Wes Mantooth said...

There is talk about moving Amare in Phoenix. I'm not sure why but there is.

The Rangers have sucked for all by 3-4 years of their existance.