Friday, December 31, 2010


Here's hoping that 2011 will provide many opportunities to poke some fun. These are some of my favorites jibes from 2010:

On the plethora of Bowl Games:
Independence Bowl (no date, they play whenever the hell they want)
Humanitarian Bowl (no shoulder pads, no helmets - touch football, really)
Insight Bowl (no football game, just yoga contemplation exercises)
BBVA Compass Bowl (for geographically-challenged teams, no doubt
On the Javier Vasquez signing:
Javier has signed a 1-year, $7 million, no-trade contract with the Florida Marlins. The no-trade clause is at the request of the other 29 teams.
On the Jeter/Yankee negotiations:
The latest reports indicate that the Yanks and Jeter are $50 million apart. If you think that's bad Derek, wait till you and Minka Kelly start discussing wedding rings.
On a Hockey trade:
Hockey player Brett Sutter of the Calgary Flames was in a bar fight recently that got him sent to jail. His dad, Darryl Sutter, who happens to be the Flames GM, promptly traded him to the Carolina Hurricanes. Jeez, my dad just sent me to my room.
On Selig expanding the playoffs:
At this rate, Bud will have to build in another off-day: Thanksgiving.
What to do about AJ Burnett:
He's not tradeable and completely unreliable. Annie-O suggests the Yanks make him a position player. Good thinking. His best position is sitting down.
Announcers doing promos:
All networks do this, but TBS has taken it to a new level. The promo last night was for college basketball's March Madness. That's 5 months off. So how was your Christmas?
On Tampa, giving away 20,000 tickets:
Not to be outdone, the Yankees have announced that they are giving away 25,000 unsold tickets to Yankee Stadium for tonight's game with the Red Sox. No mention of the fact that the game is in Boston.
On Bud Selig attempting to prevent the World Series from ending on Nov. 4 next season by starting the season one day earlier:
This is like telling a guy that's being executed that you're using new and improved bullets. YOU may feel better, but it's not doing him any good.
The Twins have announced an increase in ticket prices for next season. The most expensive seat (Dugout Box) will cost...are you ready?... $72, an increase of $3. Wow, a whole $72. In New York, for $72 they let you stand in the concourse and LOOK at the Stadium...but not on the weekend
A fine 9-run outburst sealed the fate of the ever-falling Detroit Tigers yesterday, in spite of the efforts of one-time "genius" Jim Leland, who mixed and matched pitchers like he was arranging dates for the prom.
On Brett Farve being undecided on retirement:
His agent says if Brett is healthy, he'll play. Obviously, mental health does not figure into this scenario.
On John Flaherty catching a foul ball hit back into the booth:
He was very pleased. "Boy, I haven't caught a ball in 6 years," he said. Unfortunately, he retired 4 years ago.
Getting on Mark McGwire:
Mark McGwire's wife Stephanie is expected to give birth to triplets this week. Apparently Mark is still using those "performance enhancing" drugs.
On CB Buckner’s many bad calls in one game:
Oddly enough, there was very little grousing about his questionable calls and he never had to throw anyone out of the game. However, Joe West called the Yankee dugout long distance and tossed two players and a trainer.
The bullpen blows up:
I haven't seen a beat-down like that since the Israeli-Arab Six-Day War. Let's hope Burnett pitches a complete game today, because if Girardi goes out to the mound and looks down at the bullpen, all he's going to see is 6 white flags and a "CLOSED" sign.
The umpires (again):
The NHL is upset because umpires Bob Davidson & Joe West had more fights than they did this week.
On perpetually injured Nick Johnson:
He has Mt Sinai Hospital on retainer.
On controlling rowdy fans:
Another fan ran out onto the field in Philly last night, after 17-year old Steve Consalvi was tasered on Monday night. The 34-year old unnamed rowdy gave up quietly after police threatened to buy him season tickets to the New York Mets.
Joe Torre and the feuding McCourts:
Joe Torre has told the Dodgers he wants to manage again next year. Asked to comment, owner Frank McCourt revealed his feelings, when he said, "One divorce at a time."
Team Nicknames:
Question: If the Fighting Irish played the Fighting Illini, would they really need a basketball? *
On Pablo Sandoval’s weight problem:
In an effort to positively affect his weight problem, the Giants put him on a food regimen for the winter. And it worked: he positively gained weight. His trainer said, "We were doing all right until he escaped."
On Yankee spring training activities:
Sabathia has been light-tossing, Jeter has been jogging, and Nick Johnson has been practicing pulling up lame.
Yankees sign a player:
In an act that almost assures their winning another pennant, The NY Yankees have signed...wait for it... Sergio Mitre for $850,000, or as A-Rod would say, "I'll get the tip."
On injury-prone Nick Johnson:
He's been on the DL so often, he no longer has a number on his back, just a Red Cross.
On Nick Swisher:
During an interview, he doesn't need a question, just a microphone.
On Bob Matthews inability to pick football game winners:
I believe Bob also took Custer and the points against the Sioux.
On the inept Matt Millen:
Having Matt Millen as your team president is like asking Britney Spears to babysit your kids.
A description of the annual General Manager’s meetings:
California is host to the annual GM meeting this year (What, you expected Idaho?). Scott Boras was carried in on a portable throne, with 6 GMs as bearers and Bud Selig tossing rose petals in front of the procession.Brian Cashman reportedly brought two bankers with him and was handing out $1000 bills as party favors to all the agents. Scott Boras used his to light his cigar and an unfortunate assistant Gm who happened to be standing too close.

More on Scott Boras:
Scott Boras is Teixeira's agent. With the Yanks, Red Sox, Angels & Orioles extremely interested in Mark, Boras reportedly drooled so hard, he drowned two assistants

See you next year!


I have never liked the silly things football players would do after scoring a touchdown, so I like the "no excessive celebrations" rule, but leave it to the NCAA to suck the life out of it by carrying the rule to the extreme. After watching pro football players, who have the same rule, "dunk" the football over the crossbar, do somersaults into the end zone and jump into the stands to celebrate their TDs, with nary a flag being thrown, you'd have to call yesterdays penalty a travesty of justice.
After scoring a TD with one minute and change left in the game, Kansas St. was within two points of tying the game. However, the refs apparently decided that a NY team should win the first Pinstripe Bowl in NY's Yankee stadium, and called a foul on the KSU receiver that scored the TD when he "saluted" the Kansas fans sitting in the end zone seats. It isn't like he taunted anyone or did cartwheels back to the bench, he basically waved to the fans. The subsequent 15-yard penalty made the two-point try very difficult, if not impossible, "saving" the win for the Orangemen. Every time you think it can't get any sillier...

The UCONN Women's basketball team has finally lost, losing to the Stanford Cardinals, 71-59.
90 straight wins is a nice round number that will probably last a long, long time. There is more and more parity in Women's Collegiate basketball now, so I doubt there will ever be a team this dominant again. After the Pinstripe Bowl fiasco, I'm surprised the refs didn't call a technical on Stanford for excessive celebrating. Good thing the game wasn't in NY. At any rate, congratulations to the UCONN Huskies.

Hope Uncle Curly gets a pass to tomorrow's bowl games.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Just hanging around waiting for New Years. No big plans for Picasner & his lovely bride, as usual. One year, we almost made it to 11:30. I think I still have the same bottle of unopened champagne since 1984.

I have little interest in college football since Tootsie and I don't bet anymore and Uncle Curly is not around, so I'm bored. Baseball free agents don't sign till after New Years and college basketball doesn't start in earnest until then either, which makes it very quiet.
Andy Pettitte is leaning toward retirement, the Yanks still need pitching but nothing decent is out there and Jeter hasn't announced any engagement yet (something about a ring discussion).

Lebron James has reversed his stance on reducing the number of teams in the NBA. "I had no idea what the word 'contraction' meant until I saw it on the Internet," he said. I think we've found Sarah Palin's running mate.

From Brad Dickson:
Ohio State players were suspended for selling championship rings and awards. The OSU players will be allowed to compete in the Sugar Bowl. If they win, watch for the Sugar Bowl trophy on Craigslist later that night.

I question whether the priority is on winning. In return for Greinke, the Royals are getting a new windmill for the mini golf course in the Outfield Experience.

From Dwight Perry:
First across the finish line in Australia's annual Sydney-to-Hobart yacht race: Wild Oats XI.
No, it isn't Tiger Woods' boat.

And finally, from Janice Hough:
Madame Tussaud’s in London has announced plans for a Kate Middleton wax figure, which will be placed next to her fiance, Prince William, and future brother-in-law Prince Harry.
They are also considering a figure of American superhorse Zenyetta, which would be placed next to Camilla Parker-Bowles.

(Remind me to be really nice to Janice in the future.)

Next up: Picasner's year in review

Saturday, December 25, 2010

On the Purity of Amateur Sports

The following is a reprint of a book review written by Jason Zengerle and appears in the 12/25/2010 NY Times. The book, Play Their Hearts Out, is by George Dorhrmann.

In 2004, the star-making machine, in the form of a Sports Illustrated reporter, descended on a 14-year-old basketball player from Fontana, Calif., named Demetrius Walker. The scouting newsletter The Hoop Scoop had recently proclaimed Walker the best eighth grader in the country; now the pre-eminent sports magazine was going to take that hype to a new level. While the article about Walker carried the requisite caveats — about whether he would fulfill his potential and whether it was even fair to be placing such expectations on a kid — it described him as “14 going on LeBron.” The reason was not just Walker’s physical gifts, but also his Amateur Athletic Union coach, Joe Keller, who, according to Keller himself, was keeping Walker on a righteous path — arranging for him to be home-schooled by a tutor, checking to make sure he did his academic work and paying as much attention to the boy’s well-being as to his jump shot. “I’m not going to get a thing out of this,” Keller told S.I. “My only hope is that maybe, one day, when Demetrius is in the N.B.A., he can come back and sponsor my team.”

Much in the article was wildly off the mark, but not because Walker never became “the next LeBron.” (He averaged 4 points as a freshman last season at Arizona State and then transferred to New Mexico.) Rather, it was because Keller was no Father Flanagan. As George Dohrmann, an investigative reporter for Sports Illustrated, points out, the coach had arranged for Walker to be home-schooled so that he could repeat eighth grade — and thus remain eligible for the A.A.U. team. What’s more, there was no tutor supervising Walker’s education, meaning that for one year he received no instruction at all. Finally, Keller expected to get a lot more out of Walker than just a future team sponsorship. He was counting on a $500,000 cut from Walker’s first N.B.A. contract, plus several hundred thousand dollars from agents and colleges interested in securing the services of some of Walker’s teammates. “Within six years,” he predicted, “I am going to be a millionaire.”

We know all this because at the same time Keller was duping one Sports Illustrated writer, he was confiding in another. Three years earlier, Dohrmann had approached the coach with a proposal: give him complete access to Keller’s team of 10- and 11-year-olds, and he wouldn’t publish what he saw or heard until the boys were in college. Keller, who thought the presence of a Sports Illustrated reporter would be a good recruiting tool, agreed to the deal. The result is “Play Their Hearts Out,” an often heartbreaking, always riveting exploration of the seamy underbelly of big-time youth basketball — and one of the finest books about sports I’ve ever read.

By now, it’s a commonplace for sportswriters to describe A.A.U. basketball as a cesspool of corruption. Unfortunately, very few ever bother to detail the forms that corruption takes, either because they don’t actually know, they’re too lazy to find out or, when it comes to particular players and coaches, they’d rather preserve the myth of purity. Dohrmann, thankfully, is unlike so many of his colleagues. By immersing himself for eight years in the lives of one coach and his team, he witnessed what goes on at the grass-roots level. And while there’s probably no single instance of corruption in the book that will land a college team on probation or cost a coach his job, the sheer accumulation of transgressions makes for a devastating portrait of a culture in which teenage boys are treated as, essentially, chattel.

And not just by their coaches. The most villainous characters are sometimes the boys’ parents. “Whoever pays the rent is who you are going to play for,” one mother says to her son when he’s trying to decide between playing for Keller and playing for another coach. When the boy later tells his mother that the rent-paying coach, who has previously been accused of sexually assaulting one of his players, is now inappropriately touching him, she makes him stay on the team because no other coach will give her $1,000 a month.

Dohrmann relates this horrible episode and others with a minimum of editorializing. He’s a reporter, not a polemicist, and he’s comfortable letting the facts speak for themselves. And the facts at his disposal allow him to create a rich narrative. In Keller, Dohrmann found the perfect protagonist. At the beginning of the book, he’s installing car alarms and coaching a team of preadolescent boys — all the while dreaming, impossibly it seems, of becoming a millionaire. Although he’s no Father Flanagan, he’s no Fagin, either, and his affection and concern for his charges are evident. But Dohrmann shows that over time, as those boys get Keller closer to his goal — as he parlays their on-court success into a consulting contract with a shoe company and, eventually, a franchise of basketball camps — he begins viewing them as instruments rather than people, and in the process they become disposable. None more so than Walker — the player who thought of Keller as a father and who, after failing to fulfill his basketball potential, is simply abandoned by the coach and left to strive for his increasingly unobtainable hoop dreams on his own.

Of course, Keller all but predicted as much when he first agreed to let Dohrmann into his world. “When the boys graduate from high school, I’ll be rich and done with coaching,” he told the author, adding that he wouldn’t give a damn what Dohrmann wrote. That doesn’t mean the rest of us shouldn’t.

Friday, December 24, 2010

For Chad, Annie, Cass, Fran, ConnecticutYankee and our three other readers...

Happy Holidays!


Okay, maybe I'm naive, but I like to believe in the purity of amateur sports, particularly college athletics. Maybe Bobby Knight acted like a jerk sometimes (or most times), but I always admired the fact that he ran a clean program and his players graduated. Alas, it seems my rose-colored glasses are not dark enough. We have two acts of impropriety here.

Five members of the Ohio State Buckeyes (with the emphasis on the "Buck-"), have been suspended by the NCAA for selling football awards. They sold championship rings, jerseys and other awards. Quarterback Terrelle Pryor sold his sportsmanship award and a "gold pants" trinket given to players who are part of a win over arch rival Michigan. The players also received discounts and other improper benefits from a tattoo parlor and it's owner. How could they not know this was wrong? It's not like they never heard of the NCAA or aren't informed of the rules. Student-athletes are not allowed to use their persona to receive gifts or get discounts. Not only is it improper to sell achievement awards, what an insult to think so little of an award, that you would be willing to sell it to get a tattoo or other personal items. They're in college, don't they know the meaning of "sportsmanship"? Apparently not. At least they're smarter than the coaches, who seemed blissfully unaware of these activities. Did they think the tattoos were just bruises from a particularly active practice?
We can solve this problem once and for all: No more awards. You won a championship? Good going, here's a copy of the newspaper headline. You've been named the sportsmanship winner. Congratulations, here, shake my hand. Let's see what that's worth.

Of course, the players probably get some insight as to the value of college athletics by watching the NCAA. That bastion of sportsmanship, fair play and dedication to the purity of amateur athletics, will not allow these acts of impropriety to go unpunished. They have suspended these players for FIVE games and forced them to donate the value of the gifts they received to charity. And they have to use real money, not championship rings and awards. That ought to teach them a lesson. Oh, but wait. The suspensions don't start until next season. Of course they can play in the Sugar Bowl next week. Can't let that game turn into a farce or they might not invite the Big Ten there anymore and we need the money. The NCAA says they can do this when players are "not aware of the rules." ...and there is no big-money Bowl game at stake.

I'll probably still watch the stupid game.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sliding into 2nd?

Cleveland Indians officials have turned Progressive Field into a winter playground in an effort to get more use, and revenue, out of what would otherwise be a dormant facility. The tube hill, aka The Batterhorn and skating track are expected to attract over 60,000 visitors before closing Jan. 2.

Now if the Indians can figure out how to attract fans to a "dormant facility" during the baseball season...

Why I Might Be Called Cynical

Syracuse is in the running to receive up to $1 million to fight hunger in Walmart's hunger relief campaign. Walmart's Facebook page reports that over 18 percent of families in the Syracuse community cannot afford regular meals compared to a 9% national average. Onondaga Comptroller, Dick Antonacci, probably doesn't have that problem after receiving his $12,000 raise.

New Coach Needed?

Hey, Brian. How about bringing New York's junior senator Kristen Gillebrand to spring training for a few lessons on getting things done. She single-handedly cajoled, humiliated, and goaded the Senate into passing legislation to provide medical care to the 9/11 first responders who have been sickened by exposure to toxic dust at ground zero and played a huge role in eliminating the despised Don't Ask Don't Tell policy.

All you had to do was find a starting pitcher. And how did that go?

For What?

CC Sabathia spoke to Cliff Lee several times during the free agency process and again after Lee's decision. The two plan to go fishing during spring training.

"Just knowing what it's like to go through that, you don't want somebody calling you all the time," Sabathia said. "He knew what the Yankees could offer and what New York would bring and that I loved it over there. We're pretty close. I didn't want to keep bugging him with it. Everybody was like, 'Did you make a pitch?' For what?"

Maybe a chance at wining your division, a pennant, or a World Series?


Off to my old home town today, so here's something to brighten your day. A video clip from an old sitcom - Sgt. Bilko, starring Phil Silvers. Of course, unless you're at least 50 years old, you probably never heard of this show. Bilko was the ultimate con man, operating in the Army the way Col. Hogan "ran" Col. Klink's Stalag.
The guest star in this episode was Dick Van Dyke (him, you probably know), but Yogi Berra stole the show.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

If You're Not Screaming You're Not Paying Attention

The Private Sector Always Knows Best

December 21, 2010: Deutsche Bank agreed to pay $553 million and admit to criminal wrongdoing on Tuesday, settling a long-running investigation into tax shelter fraud that prosecutors say generated billions of dollars in bogus tax benefits.

The arrangements, which took place between 1996 and 2002, helped wealthy Americans report more than $29 billion in fraudulent tax losses, according to the Justice Department.

Farve Speaks the Truth

“I think stubbornness, hardheadedness and stupidity is what has allowed me to play for 20 years.” No one argued a point well made.

Merry Christmas, Tweedle Hal and Tweedle Hank

The Yankees were hit with an $18 million luxury tax assessment this year after reducing payroll by $5 million and reducing their league-leading luxury tax by $7 million. The tax was their lowest since 2003.

Dumbest Award of the Year

Lacrosse Magazine has named Jack Harmatuck of LeMoyne the Division II Preseason Player of the Year. Congratulations to Jack for an outstanding preseason performance, one that should cinch his nomination to the Preseason Hall of Fame.

Legislature Saves $8,000

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney and the Republican controlled legislature have adamantly argued that given the current state of the economy public employees must share the same financial burdens as private sector employees, meaning job cuts, reduced pay, and fewer benefits. In a effort to drive home their message, the legislature awarded County Comptroller Robert Antonacci (R) a $12,000 raise to $96,436 The original proposal was for a $20,000 raise so you can see how much Antonacci is suffering.


...waiting for Christmas. So I'll have to comment on the little things.

Brian Cashman says "...mechanics are everything" with Burnett. I think his head plays into everything he does. If something goes wrong, if he doesn't get a call by the ump, if a batter gets a lucky hit, anything at all, AJ loses his focus and he's done. With other pitchers, if a couple of men get on, you can see them try to find a way out. Not so with Burnett, with him, that freefall doesn't end. He has the most electric stuff on the staff, perhaps in the league, and the Yanks need him to figure this out.

The Yanks are still looking at a couple of guys, including Joakim Soria of the Royals. Kansas City says they're not trading him, but we've heard that before. The question has arisen, why don't the Yanks put Chamberlain into the rotation? Well, lo & behold, Cashman now says something Picasner was saying two years ago: "His stuff plays so much significantly [better] out of the 'pen. We had given him an opportunity to pitch in the rotation, and the velocity dropped. It's just not the same stuff." Well, how about that?

***WHAT'D HE SAY?***
Since it wasn't that long ago, the early 1990's, you probably all remember Lenny Dykstra of the Mets & Phillies. When he retired, he became a sort of stock market guru and supposedly made a fortune before it all went away. In a recent interview he attempted to "explain" what went wrong. Former comic, Professor Irwin Corey, he of the gibberish lecture, made a lot more sense. Follow the link if you're interested, but don't expect to learn anything:

In a recent e-mail, Dwight Perry, Seattle Times, wrote: "...just no Felix Navidad -- keep your mitts off our pitcher!" meaning King Felix, of course. I laughed until I started thinking about the Russell Martin deal. Then I read that the Mariners sent former starting catcher Rob Johnson to the Padres for the "player to be named later." Do the Mariners need a catcher now? Do the Yanks have an 'extra' one? Is Brian Cashman cackling into his hands? Is Picasner clutching at straws? I need a life.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010


There's not too much happening, so just a couple of quick comments.

It appears more and more certain every day that Andy Pettitte is going to retire. That means the Yankee rotation consists of The Fat Man, The Wild Man, The Kid and two rookies. Seems like we tried that 'two rookies' thing a while back. It didn't work too well, if memory serves. I wonder if Mike Mussina is busy?

For those of you still upset about the Yankee ticket prices, at least you're not paying what our 'esteemed' Governor Patterson paid for 5 tickets to a playoff game this year: $62,125. That comes to $12,425 a seat, hot dogs not included. Actually, $60,000 of that was his fine for not paying for the tickets in the first place. The Governor learned a very important lesson: Don't Mess With The Steinbrenners!

In keeping with this year's disappointments, the NY football Giants found a way to break my heart Sunday. Coach Tom Coughlin's reaction was to chew out the rookie punter on the field. Hey Tom, what about those 10 veteran defensive players who acted like punt-returner DeSean Jackson had typhoid?

It's just a guess, mind you, but I think Brett Favre is going to retire after another beat-down last night. I wonder if there's any truth to the rumor that he's signed to make one of those "I've fallen and can't get up" commercials. No , that's not the Cialis one.

Dwight Perry is on vacation and life just isn't the same.


Saturday, December 18, 2010


***OMAR MINAYA???***
It has been reported that Omar, possibly the Mets worst GM since Steve Phillips, is sitting down with current GM, Sandy Alderson, about a possible job. Minaya told that he has multiple offers on the table. Sure, there's Burger King, McDonald's, Wendy's,...

This one still has me baffled. I keep waiting for some shocking pronouncement from Brian Cashman that will reveal some great plan. Vod is 100% correct: there is no plan, just a "process." What a roller coaster ride Jesus Montero has been on. First, he's mentioned in a number of possible trades, then he's named the starting catcher, now...who knows. Maybe Brian (I almost wrote "Brain") has had second thoughts about Montero's defensive ability, and thinks more time in Triple-A is needed. Maybe he's going to be part of some big trade Cashman is working on. Either way, Mr. Martin, he of the bad hip and bad knee, is now the starter. Wallace Mathews of ESPNNEWYORK, said it best: "Is the Jesus Montero Era still before us? Or has it ended before it even had a chance to begin? Jesus, we hardly knew ye!"

"Ukraine announced plans to open Chernobyl, their nuclear disaster site, to tourists. They say it’s just like Disneyland, except the 6-foot mouse is real." (Conan O'Brien)

"In college basketball, Ohio State defeated IUPUI — a grouping of letters I had not seen since my last trip to the optometrist."

"Six Iowa hunters, who are all going to be OK, were wounded last weekend. Six? It can only mean Iowa’s early campaign season has kicked off and Dick Cheney is in town. Here’s the most embarrassing thing — only four deer were shot."


Friday, December 17, 2010


Yep, Kerry Wood is gone but the Yanks have signed Pedro Feliciano. Does the name ring a bell? I didn't think so. He was the lefty specialist for the Mets. He was with the Mets his whole career and has led the Met pitchers in appearances for the last three years.
How is it possible that the worst team in the NL East (except for Washington) doesn't want you, but the Yankees do. Is this another Russell Martin deal?

Now that it's in writing and Edgar Rentaria can look at it, perhaps he'll understand the real world a little more. Here's his comment after the SF Giants made him an offer: " That offer from the Giants was a lack of respect. A total disrespect. To play for a million dollars, I'd rather stay...with my family."
Sorry Edgar, no sympathy here. The list of things I'd do for a million dollars is pretty long. Heck, I'd play Major League baseball for just the meal money. I couldn't afford to pay more than that.


And that's all I have to say about that, Part II...

Kerry Wood. Gone.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

And that's all I have to say about that...

Picasner has raised the essential question about last year's pitching staff. How bad can they be?

If that question doesn't keep Cashman, Girardi, Tweedle Hank, and Tweedle Hal up at night, nothing will because, sadly, the answer might well be "Really bad". Last season's staff did not lead the Yankees into the playoffs but were, rather, one of several reasons that they basically stumbled into the playoffs by playing sub .500 for over a month at season's end.

Looking forward, CC is a fatcident waiting to happen. He is a big man, a very big man, checking in at over 300 lbs. Don't you wonder just how many mega-inning years his knees will support explosively pushing that weight off of the rubber? Even more worrisome are his stats vs. teams with winning records. The details are available at dozens of stat sites. Suffice it to say, they weren't good last year and the division should be much better in 2011.

Picasner's harsh, straight-jacket comment about Zack Greinke more accurately applies to the Yanks other initialed starter, AJ Burnet, aka AJ BurnOut, aka AJ BlowUp. While Greinke has managed to overcome social anxiety disorder and depresion to marry a Miss Daytona Beach USA 2008, Emily Kuchar, and win a Cy Young in 2009, AJ has managed to simply and consistently throw the ball to the backstop. This is a guy that needs "professional" help.

Phil Hughes, we all hope, remains a bright spot. Let's hope he matures enough to last an entire season and that the Yanks continue to be a run machine when he pitches.

And there you have the current starting five. Oops! That's only three. Well, were still waiting on Andy Pettitte's decision about which half of the season he'll pitch, if he doesn't retire, and the last starter and a half won't be decided until spring training.

Picasner's right. There may no longer be a Big Move for the Yanks to make that either makes sense or that they can afford.


Recently acquired catcher, Russell Martin, is undergoing knee surgery. Is it possible to go on the DL during the off-season? Even Johnson never did that. The recovery time to repair a torn meniscus is 3-4 weeks. Then, of course, there is the therapy. Is that Joe Torre I hear laughing in the background?



As one sports writer put it, "The Yankees have to feed the beast." The sense is they have to make some kind of big move, not that they have a huge hole to fill, but because they HAVE to. Yeah, they could use a proven starter, but last years staff got them into the playoffs, so how bad could it be?

The names that have surfaced don't make much sense:
Chris Carpenter, Cardinals - A 35-year old National Leaguer. 'Nuff said.
Carlos Zambrano, Cubs - An NL headcase who would probably win more fights than games.
Matt Garza, Rays - Like the Rays would actually trade with the Yanks
Zack Greinke, Royals - Head case #1, and it's hard to get anything on a fastball when you're in a strait jacket.
Felix Hernandez, Mariners - This would cost every prospect the Yanks have, plus a ton of money.
Mark Buehrle, White Sox - This is the only one that makes sense, but because he's a 10 and 5 man, he's in a position to demand a new contract...and a Brinks truck.

I think it's more likely they'll make a series of little moves like bringing Kerry Wood back or another lefty set-up man.

Speaking of little moves, the Yanks have signed another catcher. Yes, another catcher. But it's okay, this is a Molina. Don't get too excited, it's Gustavo Molina and he's no relation to the other three. He's 28, been in the majors since 2007, has only 41 at-bats with a career average of .122. The Yanks are his 6th team. How little can you get?

"Rapid Robert" Bob Feller has died at age 92. Among a long list of achievements is a little know fact that he couldn't get Joe DiMaggio out and neither one of them knew why.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010


"Out of the night, when the full moon is bright, rode the horseman known as..." well, not Zorro, but Ruben Amaro, who came from nowhere to steal Cliff Lee from the Yanks and the Rangers. You're really not stealing if the guy wanted to go with you all along and apparently, that was the case. So good luck to Philadelphia.

Right, they signed Mark Pryor - to a minor league deal, the deal being, "If we can't win one league, we'll win another." Scranton/Wilkes-Barre must be ecstatic. With no Cliff Lee, Cashman has rerouted the Brinks truck to Texas to try and buy Andy Pettitte. There will be no incentive-laden contract this year.

The Daily News sports writer (who shall be unnamed) that covers the Mets, announced at the beginning of the Winter Meetings, that there were a lot of silly rumors floating around. "As an example," he said, " there is one that says the Phillies will sign Cliff Lee. If that happens, I'll cover the meetings in a speedo." Good call, I'll bet even Cashman is feeling less pressure in the nether regions than he is.

Because it's almost all NY and Yankee stuff, you'd think Picasner would watch the Mike Francesa Show, but if you've ever seen it, you probably know why I don't. He's very opinionated, he doesn't just disagree with callers, he insults them and if he's not interested in something a caller says, he just hangs up and acts as though there was no call. Add to it that he's usually wrong (say hello to Bob Matthews). Think I'm exaggerating? Follow the link and be sure to watch the video at the end. I think he's using George Bush's speech writers.

As long as we're still in the Silly Season, here's one that the NY papers mentioned: King Felix of the Mariners for Montero, Nunez and Burnett (with the Yanks picking up some salary). Nice idea, but it ain't enough for the Mariners.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Top 10 Reasons Why Lee Signs with Phillies

1. $115 MILLION is enough
2. Shorter NL lineups
3. Easier road to the World Series
4. Never have to bat or run bases
5. Philadelphia has an airport
6. Planes fly to Arkansas
7. You never have to look at Nolan Ryan's sour puss
8. You never have to work a Brian Cashman "process"
9. Easy choice: Play for Charlie Manuel or Joe Girardi?
10. You figure it out and let me know

Monday, December 13, 2010


There was a list of the College Bowl games in the paper this morning and all I can say is: Wow! There's 35 of them. 35? Where did they all come from? I remember the Big Four: Orange, Cotton, Sugar and, of course, the Rose Bowl. Oh, they had a few peripheral bowls, like the Gator Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl and even the Sun Bowl, but they were just appetizers for the Big Four. I seem to recall that the Big Four were all played on the same day, which drove Uncle Curly crazy trying to keep up with the scores. Had to make sure UCLA (You-kla, in his parlance) covered the spot. But now they have bowl games for everybody and every taste.

You want FOOD:

Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl (seems appropriate on a holiday)
Chic-fil-A Bowl (not big in the northeast)
Outback Bowl (G'day, mate)
Beef 'O' Brady Bowl (you've got to be kidding)
Still not enough food? Well, no problem there:
Fight Hunger Bowl (solves that problem - the post-game buffet must be fabulous)

Then there's the 'Destination' Bowls:

New Orleans Bowl (They put 2 inches of water on the field)
Music City Bowl (bring your own instruments)
Ticket City Bowl (scalpers allowed)
Hawaii Bowl (no trophy, just a lei...yeah, I get it too)
New Mexico Bowl (What, no worthwhile city?)
Texas Bowl (because if New Mexico can do it...)

...but you can't bring a weapon:

Military Bowl (E. Carolina vs Maryland? What, no Navy, Air Force...?)
Alamo Bowl (no one from Texas or Mexico in this one -just some guy renting cars.)
Armed Forces Bowl (finally, a military school - Army)
Liberty Bowl (they have the 'liberty' to invite anyone -like Georgia, 6-6 record)

Then there's the "free agent" bowls:

Humanitarian Bowl (no shoulder pads, no helmets - touch football, really)
Pointsetta Bowl (Uh, Don't Ask, Don't Tell)
Independence Bowl (no date, they play whenever the hell they want)
Champs Sports Bowl (aren't we proud - except neither team is champion of anything)
Insight Bowl (no football game, just yoga contemplation exercises)
Holiday Bowl (they worked long and hard coming up with this name)
Pinstripe Bowl (leave it to the Yanks to stick their noses in)
Meineke Muffler Bowl (should be a quiet game)
Capital One Bowl (a bank! How appropriate)
MAACO Bowl ("I can paint that car for $49.95..." during the game) Bowl (a computer-themed bowl - did you think they'd forget?)
BBVA Compass Bowl (for geographically-challenged teams, no doubt)

Out of respect to the past, I have left off the Big Four, Fiesta, Gator and Sun Bowls. These other Bowls have cheapened them enough. Unfortunately, I have not made up any of these names.

And after all this nonsense, we still won't have a National Champion, because that game won't be played until January 10th:

BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP (of course, we'll be sick of football by then)

CP -
(In memory of Al "Curly" Cannova)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I Love U Brian

As we have come to expect, Chad raises important issues regarding the Yankees courtship of Russell Martin. However, there are several underlying reasons why this may be a crucial acquisition.

1. Given the currently ramshackle state of Boston catching, depriving Kid Theo of even a modest upgrade is easily worth a few spare million or two, roughly equivalent to A-Rod's meal money.

2. If Martin is indeed unable to "do squat" he will give Kei Igawa, who can't throw squat, someone to soft-toss with in 2011.

3. And, if Martin is able to "squat", and if Cliff Lee accepts one of the twenty-seven offers that the Rangers have tendered, also a big "if", then Brian can do what Brian does best - start a "process". With new catching talent, and I do use that word loosely, Brian can go after Zack Greinke in earnest with a package of Montero, Bret Gardner, a few billion dollars, and a bus load of players to be named later. And best of all, Brian can send Derek Jeter to the outfield, where he really wants him, as punishment for a) years of marvelous service, and b) for entering and completing the recent "process" with honesty and integrity, both unforgivable signs of aging in Brian's play book.

Regardless of the outcome, Brian Hal, Hank, or whoever, are really amusing fellows, aren't they?

Saturday, December 11, 2010


The Yanks are reportedly upping their offer attention now...catcher Russell Martin, in an effort to outbid the Boston Red Sox for his services. The former Dodger has been non-tendered by LA and is a free agent.

Let me see if I understand this:
Martin has spent his entire 8-year career in the Dodger organization, the last five as their starting catcher. He's 27 years old and has averaged 133 games a year with a .272 career average. And the Dodgers just let him go. Do you think maybe they know something? Well, there is that fractured hip he suffered last year. Of course, there are reports that he has been able to squat down lately. That would be good for a catcher, don't you think?

The Yanks have three catchers on the roster now, and yet they seem to be pushing way too hard to sign a fourth. I read all the time that the Yanks have 3 great catching prospects in their organization, including Jesus Montero, who is expected to be the starter in 2011. We all know that Girardi likes to 'mix-n-match' his relievers during the game, is he going to try the same thing with catchers? "Yeah, Michael, Martin's gonna be our set-up catcher for the 7th & 8th and then we'll finish off with Cervelli." Way to blow a few dollars, Brian. Of course, this follows the Yankee's current policy: RICH OR POOR, IT'S GOOD TO HAVE MONEY.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Don't Complain. You're Not Paying for This.

More than a decade since his last N.B.A. game, Syracuse Orange alum Rony Seikaly has re-emerged as an up-and-coming D.J., playing a growing number of gigs at trendy clubs from Las Vegas to Ibiza, Spain.

The Yankees will pay Kei Igawa $4m for the 2011 season.

As Bernanke fiddles and Obama caves in, our future gets bleaker and bleaker. You can probably count on one finger the times that Paul Krugman, the New York Times columnist and Nobel-prize winning economist, and David Stockman, Ronald Reagan’s budget director, have agreed on anything. But they are in complete agreement about the fiscal irresponsibility of the tax-cut deal.

When asked for a comment on the Red Sox signing Carl Crawford and the Yankees offering Cliff Lee a 7 year contract, Andy McPhail, Baltimore Orioles president of baseball operations, quipped he would like to form an AL Mid-Atlantic Division.

Thought you should know… Standing Bear, 70, who runs the Flash and Thelma Memorial Hedgehog Rescues in Divide, Colorado, estimates there are fewer than 150,000 live hedgehogs in the United States.

Thursday, December 09, 2010


...but Cashman wasn't. The Yankees bought a bigger truck. They have upped their offer for Cliff Lee to 7 years. No word on the average yearly salary, but it is thought to be less than the $23.3 million of the original offer. Yes, they seem to be bidding against themselves, but it appears they didn't want to be in a bidding situation with anyone and wanted to just blow everyone out of the water in one shot. No point in fooling around anymore, there is no longer any "Plan B." ...or C.

Another reason to want Andy Pettitte to return is Boston's new lineup. It contains 5 left-handed hitters. Sabbathia, Lee and Pettitte, left-handers all, will go a long way towards neutralizing that power.



Actually, it probably closed last night. Most of the agents and GMs have left the winter meetings with all the "big-name' free agents signed. Except for Cliff Lee, of course, but his agent leaves with a $140 million offer burning a hole in his night deposit bag.

One thing that upsets me is all the free agents who run around saying, "I want to go where I have a chance to get to the World Series. I want to go to a team that can win." And then they end up taking the biggest money offer. Not Cliff Lee. When asked if the Washington Nationals offered $1 more than the Yankees, where would he go? Answer: The Nationals. There you go folks: greedy but honest.

The "Evil Empire" strikes again. Oh, not that one. This time it's the Red Sox who spent the most money after signing Carl Crawford to a 7-year, $142 million contract. That's a $200 million commitment to 2 players. I guess it'll be a while before owner John Henry complains about the Yankees spending again.

I mentioned previously about the Yanks backing up a Brinks truck in front of Cliff Lee's house. After hearing about the Sox signing Crawford, GM Brian Cashman was heard to say, "We're going to need a bigger truck."

So the Tampa Bay Rays went from going to the Series, to not making the playoffs, to winning the AL East and now...back to oblivion. They're more volatile than the stock market.

Poor Arte Moreno with the Angels. He was willing to spend a lot of money to upgrade his team, as long as a player wasn't represented by Scott Boras. For two days, it was said that the Angels were the front-runner for Crawford, and now - nothing. What's left for Moreno now: Johnny Damon or Hideki Matsui, two former Yankees who can no longer play in the field and both on the downside of their hitting prowess.

"Sports Deke note: This week marks 11 years since Dwight Perry began writing Sideline Chatter. He has been called the dean of sports humorists in the U.S."
Congratulations, Dwight. The unpublished e-mails to Chad Picasner would certainly further that 'humorist' assessment.

I can't think of a better place to hold Baseball's Winter Meetings than Disney World's Fantasyland. The meetings themselves may be over, but hang on sports fans, the Silly Season will continue.

Only 68 days to pitchers and catchers.


Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Oh, Oh, That Smell

Derek Jeter said what particularly irked him was the Yankees’ suggestion, through the news media, that he explore free agency if he was not satisfied with their initial offer.

“To hear the organization tell me to go shop it when I just told you I wasn’t going to — if I’m going to be honest with you, I was angry about it,” said Jeter. That sentiment was echoed by General Manager Brian Cashman, who said, “The process can stink at times.”

No, Brian, it's not the process that stinks, it's the individuals that stink - and that would make you the chief stinker. Jeter entered the negotiations with openness and honesty, a sincerely expressed desire to stay with the Yankees, and an earnest wish to keep private negotiations - private. You, Hal, and the Yankees just couldn't bring yourself up to those standards but decided to follow the lead of the The Dead Emperor and lie, leak, and obfuscate to gain any possible advantage. The "process" didn't make those decisions, Brian. You and your boys did.

When you blame the "process", Brian, you sound like David Berkowitz, a.k.a. Son of Sam, the New York serial killer, who claimed he was commanded to murder his victims by a demon that possessed his neighbor's dog. Were you hearing voices, Brian? Was the insidious "process" making you do horrible things, Brian? Oh, the inhumanity of it all.

Man up, B. Everyone knows you played dirty with Jeter. A living legend, future HOF inductee, the current Face of the Yankees... who cares. After all, there’s a “process”.

Sorry, Brian, you can't rub the stink off this time.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


Much to the surprise of everyone in the New York City area, George Steinbrenner was NOT elected to the HOF by the "new" Veterans Committee. This may surprise other Yankee fans, but Picasner is not a supporter of Big George's entrance into the Hall. If baseball won't let in Pete Rose for betting on baseball (and they shouldn't), why let in a convicted felon, who twice was suspended from the game, once for actually paying someone to discredit one of his own players. But George doesn't need the Hall; he has his own "Hall": the Yankees Monument Park, soon to be renamed: The George Steinbrenner Memorial Park ---and friends.

***SILLINESS #1***
The Yanks are supposed to be big players in the Russell Martin sweepstakes. The former Dodger catcher is available and has drawn interest from a few teams. Why would the Yanks have any interest? They have named Montero the 2011 starter with Cervelli as back-up and Posada hanging around. Plus they have two more elite catching prospects in the minors. So why would they want an injury prone catcher who hit .250 and 'blasted' a total of 12 homeruns in two years?

The theory here is that Werth's contract will drive Crawford's worth up to a point where only two teams (Boston & NY) would be able to afford him. But if the Yanks aren't all that interested and there is not bidding war, wouldn't the price come down? Should be interesting.

If it's true that the Yanks want Cliff Lee desperately, what are they negotiating? Whether he wants to be paid in 10's or 20's?

Vod is correct. Even if Skip Bayless were all alone in that room, he still wouldn't be the smartest one there. He's another one of those "conversational bullies," who hog the floor, interrupt everyone and dismiss as folly, anything anyone else says. I'd like to see a debate between him and Mike Lupica, journalism's other know-it-all.


Monday, December 06, 2010

Brrrrr. It's time to get one of those Hot Stoves everyone is talking about. Jason Werth has no worries. Now that tax cuts for the super rich are soon to be permanently institutionalized, he can buy a Central American country to keep him warm in the off season with his $128,000,000 contract with, who else, the Washington Nationals. Irresponsibility is alive and well in the nation's capitol.

I'm pleased and not surprised that George Steinbrenner failed as a first round Hall of Fame selection. I suspect that the writers are waiting for Scot Boras, Werth's agent and provider of great Picasner blog-fodder, to retire so they can bring George and Scot, the Yin and Yang of bizarro baseball, into the Hall together.

On the signing front, the Red Sox have improved, the Yankees have not - yet. Let's hope for a couple of size 16 shoes to fall in the next week or two.

Curtis Granderson sat opposite Skip Bayless on ESPN's First Take today. Yes, Curtis was the smartest man in the room.

Ben Roethlisberger Enterprises will be marketing a a Big Ben(d) halloween mask modeled after Ben's badly bent grill acquired in last night's Raven's Rearrangement.

For the hardy few living in the Oswego County snow belt, CPAL wishes you all well in your Big Dig.

Saturday, December 04, 2010


The Sox have completed a trade for the San Diego Padres slugging 1st baseman, Adrian Gonzales. Boston gave up their top pitching prospect, Casey Kelly, but no established major league player. With Boston pursuing Jason Werth or Carl Crawford, the addition of one of those two would give the Sox their most potent offense since the Manny-Papi show. Adrian Beltre has expressed an interest in returning to the Sox, but that looks like a distant possibility now.

This makes the Yankee-Crawford rumor more understandable, but does present the problem of the three established outfielders - Swisher, Granderson and Gardner. If Crawford is signed, they would have to trade one of them, since they already seem to have a full-time DH, called A-Rod-Jeter-Posada. The Yanks like to swoop in at the last minute and make a big splash, so we'll see what happens.

"On Dec. 1, 1891, James Naismith invented the game of basketball. On Dec. 2, 1891, he had sex with three women."


Friday, December 03, 2010


Mo is in the fold for 2 more years at $15+ million per year. That's not the silly part. The silly part is Rob Neyer saying Rivera is "...probably not worth $15 million a year." Why, you say? Because he pitched only 60 innings last year. That's right, Rob, only 60 innings... and only 11 walks...and only an era of 1.80...with 33 saves (5 blown saves) and a WHIP of .083. I guess he's over the hill, eh Rob? I still can't believe they pay this guy.

In line with our previous comment, here's a headline on ESPN today:
It seems the Sox actually made a 2-year, $30 million bid for Rivera also, and were prepared to non-tender their current closer if they got him. Apparently, they're not paying attention to Neyer, either. Rivera turned them down to re-sign with the Yanks (Whew!).

***THE YANKS ARE CONTRIBUTING ...*** the welfare of the rest of the American League. And not just with the luxury tax, either. No they are providing the other 14 AL teams with a batting practice pitcher, that will be offered occasionally during the season. How are they doing this? They have signed Sergio Mitre for $900,000 for the 2011 season. That ought to raise a few batting averages.

# The White Sox have signed 1st baseman Adam Dunn. A decent power hitter who will NOT remind anyone of a first baseman if he should ever get on the field. The only reason he knows where 1st base is, is because he rounds it on his way to 2nd...which he does frequently.
# Former mainstay 3rd baseman of the Chicago Cubs, Ron Santo, has passed away. He held down the hot corner for the Cubs for 14 years and was considered one of the top three 3rd basemen in baseball during his career.
# The Winter Meetings start on Monday when the silliest of rumors usually pop up. Brian Cashman will be there, providing he survives his 22-story rappel in Stamford, CT.
# Maybe it's just some kind of tactic, but a source close to baseball says that the Yanks have a definite interest in Carl Crawford. Even if it's not true, Crawford's agent must be delirious, knowing that that rumor will raise the bar a few million dollars.

"Last Sunday, Ndamukong Suh tackled Marion Barber by Barber's dreadlocks. This was the “I Can't Believe Someone Didn't Do This Five Years Ago” Play of the Day."


Wednesday, December 01, 2010


The best shortstop in baseball has signed a 10-year deal for a whopping $158 million, stunning the baseball world. What? No, it isn't Derek Jeter, it's Troy Tulowitzki, of the Colorado Rockies. They must have started using the same accountant the Yankees use.

With the contentious negotiations with Jeter, Rivera wanting more than a one year deal and Cliff Lee backing up a Brink's truck to Yankee Stadium, General Manager, Brian Cashman, must be ready to jump off a building. Oh wait, he really is. On Sunday, Cashman will rappel 22 stories off the Landmark Building in Stamford, CT., as part of their Heights and Lights event. Showing an amazing lack of shame, he will also be dressed as an elf while performing this stunt and there will be no safety net. If you're waiting for the other shoe to drop, forget it. This is all for real. A reporter asked Brian if he was scared, to which he replied, "No, I'm not. Nothing is as scary as being GM of the New York Yankees." Absolutely correct, and there's no safety net there, either.