Saturday, April 22, 2006

Padres 2 Mets 1

Gotta love those extra inning games on the West Coast. I took a nap at around 9, so I was able to wake up, catch up on DVR and watch the last half of the game live.

I felt like I was watching last year's team though. Once again the bottom of the order is three automatic outs who can't advance runners or drive them home. In the first inning with two on and nobody out Matsui flied out and Chavez hit into a double play. In the seventh with first and third and one out Chavez couldn't hit a fly ball, hit a weak grounder costing the Mets the runner at third.

Jose Reyes (4 for last 31) and David Wright (1 for last 19) are in miserable slumps.

Carlos Beltran is going to have another unproductive season. Either he doesn't play or he plays poorly due to injury.

Carlos Delgado on the other hand is awesome. I am starting to think that I was wrong about him and that playing half his games in Shea will not hurt his power numbers.

Brian Bannister will not have a long and successful major league career unless he learns to throw strikes. It's great that he has been able to get out of these jams, but like Vincent Vega says "you play with matches and you're gonna get burned." Also, a 5 inning pitcher exhausts the bullpen too much.

It was nice to see Mike Piazza sucking for the other team. He walked his first two times up then in the fifth he got up with first and second and nobody out and he hit into a double play.

Keith Hernandez mistakenly called Pedro Feliciano, Jose Feliciano. Gary Cohen said that Jose could "sing the national anthem, but he'd have trouble throwing strikes." Jose Feliciano sang "Feliz Navidad." He's also blind.

Other than one great inning on Thursday the Mets have scored 1 run in each of the last four games.

If I had to take away one positive from last night, the bullpen really looked great. Even Bradford who gave up the winning run had great stuff, I think he just ran out of gas.

Mets need Pedro to be the stopper tonight.

What the Duke Photos Show

MSNBC was able to get the pictures from the Duke players' defense team. The pictures haven't been released but if the time stamps are proven accurate there is no way they are going to get a conviction. And Reade Seligmann may have an even easier time getting off because he apparently has a cabbie, an ATM receipt and his dorm ID which will all say he left the party before the alleged rape.
A local affiliate saw the pictures and describes them this way:

11:02 p.m.: The first picture shows at least 10 students hanging out in a living room, apparently waiting for the dancers to arrive. Most of the students appear to be drinking. By the number of people in this photo, it appears only a fraction of the 47 lacrosse team members are there.
12 a.m.: This is the first picture of the strippers. Students are watching the show, but not grabbing or attempting to touch the women. Bruises are clearly visible on the legs and thighs of the alleged victim.

12:00:40 a.m.: Another picture taken 40 seconds later shows bruises on the accuser's knees. Her right knee appears to have an open cut.

12:03:57 a.m.: About four minutes after arriving, a picture shows the strippers leaving the room. The photo clearly shows that the alleged victim left behind one of her shoes.

Between 12:10 a.m. and 12:30 a.m.: No photos were taken between this time.

12:30:12 a.m.: The next photo shows the alleged victim on the back porch, carrying what appears to be her purse and a makeup bag. Her clothes are intact.

12:30:47 a.m.: A photo taken 30 seconds later shows the alleged victim on the porch and she appears to smile.

12:31:26 a.m.: But 30 seconds after that, a photo shows the alleged victim stumbling down the back steps of the house.

12:37:58 a.m.: A series of photos are taken, all showing the woman lying on her left side on the back porch, seemingly passed out or asleep. She had visible cuts on her legs and buttocks that did not appear in the previous photos.

The cuts may be from falling. The cuts on her buttocks line up with the edge of a screen door she may have hit on the way down.

12:41 a.m.: The final photo shows the accuser and the second dancer in a black car. The accuser is in the passengers seat.

Many of the photos taken on the back porch show pink splotches, which the defense says is undried nail polish. They claim the accuser was polishing her nails in the bathroom between 12:10 a.m. and 12:30 a.m. - - not being raped.

Friday, April 21, 2006

A Great Read

Sports Illustrated had an excellent, although over-written article about the death of Max Kellerman's brother. I post this mostly for Mike who is a huge Kellerman fan. But any of you with the time to read the pretty lengthy article will surely find it worthwhile. Especially if you have a brother. I have to post the entire content here because a link would be only for subscribers.

Blood Relations
Sportswriter Sam Kellerman might have gone even further than his older brother, HBO analyst Max Kellerman, if his generosity to an old boxing friend hadn't led to murder

By Gary Smith

At 9:45 p.m. on a Sunday in the autumn of 2004, Detective Elizabeth Estupinian of the Los Angeles Police Department entered a small apartment just off Sunset Boulevard. On the floor lay a sportswriter beneath a blanket. On his skull were the wounds from 32 blows by a blunt instrument. Against the wall leaned a blood-spattered hammer. The sportswriter's car was missing, and so was his houseguest: a professional boxer with bipolar disorder whose nickname was the Hammer.

It seemed, perhaps, the simplest murder case in Detective Estupinian's 11 years on the job. Unless she happened to be the sort of sleuth who wouldn't rest until she scraped the very bottom of why.

Here was something odd: The victim, just weeks earlier, had written a story about his suspected murderer. Odder yet: a story about his murderer's struggle to control his violent impulses. The detective had only to Google the names of the 29-year-old sportswriter, Sam Kellerman, and of the 31-year-old light heavyweight boxer, James Butler, and up would pop Sam's column for

Sam wrote of having been in the audience three years earlier when the Hammer -- donating part of his purse that night to families victimized by the 9/11 terrorists -- lost a unanimous decision on national television to Richard Grant ... and then, as Grant reached to shake hands after the verdict, unloaded a bare-knuckle sucker punch that dropped Grant to the canvas unconscious, his jaw broken and mouth spurting blood.

Sam's column described Butler's subsequent diagnosis -- bipolar disorder -- and his comeback after going to prison for four months for the assault. "You ... end up hurting people you love," he quoted the Hammer as saying. "They try to help you, and you flip on them for some small thing.... I've taken the classes, read the books; I know what to do. You can reach a level where you don't need the medication anymore, you just have to be strong-minded." His behavior since the assault had been exemplary. That's what Sam wrote.

Hold on. If the detective happened to type the names Sam Kellerman and James Butler in the Google box and click on SEARCH, another Kellerman would appear: Max Kellerman, the former host of Around the Horn on ESPN and I, Max on Fox, the HBO boxing analyst, the New York City sports talk-show host ... and Sam's older brother.

On the night Butler cold-cocked Grant, Max was a studio analyst on ESPN2's Friday Night Fights. He begged to differ with his network's blow-by-blow man, Bob Papa, who howled that Butler was "a disgrace to the human race" and with other ESPN colleagues who demanded that the Hammer be banned from boxing for life.

Click. Max wrote a column recommending only a one-year suspension, with a review, for Butler. If one fireman punched another, he asked, would he be permanently deprived of his right to earn a living in his chosen profession?

Click. Max took the Hammer to lunch the day before he entered the gates of New York City's Rikers Island to serve his sentence for the assault.

Click. What? Max and Sam, a pair of Jewish kids from Fifth Avenue, were rappers together before they became sportscaster and sportswriter. The video for their single, Young Man Rumble, appeared on cable television ... with Butler as part of the cast.

If Detective Estupinian wished to solve the riddle of Sam and James, she would have to unravel the mystery of Max and Sam.

Max was Malcolm X. Sam was Martin Luther King Jr. That's what brother Jack said.

Max was Moses. Sam was Jesus. That's what their mother, artist Linda Kellerman, said.

Max taught us to be men. Sam taught us to be human. So said brother Harry.

That's where a writer might start. But a detective?

In the hard drive of the computer at which Sam was sitting when the first blow struck. She'd better not start reading any of the plays, screenplays or stories stored there, because she might not be able to stop. Sam was no dot-com sports hack. He was a self-taught Shakespeare scholar who had directed three of the Bard's plays Off-Off Broadway and written and directed a play titled The Man Who Hated Shakespeare. Nor should the detective lose herself in wonder over the recommendation from one of Sam's teachers at Manhattan's elite Stuyvesant High School:

Ten thousand students and thirty-four years have passed since my first day as a teacher, and I cannot recall one student of this quality, intelligence and talent.... Sam is someone who our world should be proud to know as an example of what humans are all about, and of the heights we can attain. Here he is, Sam Kellerman. The best of ten thousand.

Open this file: Zeida's Eulogy. The speech Sam gave when Zeida -- that's Yiddish for grandfather -- died in 1997. Go to the part where Sam remembers how the four Kellerman brothers used to drop to their knees to massage Zeida's nearly century-old feet as they all watched Yankees games, thinking they were just providing him a moment's relief from his arthritis ... until one day Sam looked at those gnarled feet in his hands and saw the poetry.

These are the feet, he told his brothers, that whisked Zeida to a Gentile neighbor's cellar to hide whenever roving bands of Jew-killers swept through his Ukrainian village. The feet that propelled him across the Dniester River into Romania in 1921 to seek a saner life, that kept him upright when the police there jailed and beat him, that snuck him back home to beg his loved ones to leave, that trudged away once more in sorrow when he couldn't talk them into taking hold of their fate.

The feet, Sam told his brothers, that boarded a ship that took Zeida to Canada, the feet that crept through a forest and across the U.S. border, that carried him to New York City, where he ironed shirts for a nickel apiece until he could open a luncheonette in the Bronx and raise his only child, Henry, who would become a renowned psychoanalyst and buy two apartments on Fifth Avenue so he and Zeida could live as relatives did in the old land, a few steps apart.

The feet that took Zeida to his bedroom to sob the day the letter came informing him that his mother, sister, brother-in-law, nephew and niece had been rounded up by the Nazis along with thousands of other Jews and herded to the edge of a ravine, the Yevpatoriya Ditch, where they were machine-gunned and covered with earth, which writhed until the sun rose the next day.

But what had that to do with the crime scene confronting the detective?

If detective Estupinian wished to learn how a psychologist's son from Greenwich Village ended up beaten to death by a boxer from Harlem on the other side of the continent, she would need eyes, like Sam's, that saw beneath the skin. The skin on the left corner of Max's lips, for example, the faint disfiguration she'd notice if she scrutinized his face on TV. The scar that once was a blazing welt....

Max was three years old. He had just discovered Batman and deputized two-year-old Sam as Robin. For years they would patrol their apartment in their Dynamic Duo costumes, relentlessly droning the old TV show's theme song -- na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na, Batman! -- until suddenly evil appeared and they'd hurl themselves at it, punching and kicking it into submission.

One day evil entered their home disguised as a clock. The clock, which changed colors from red to pink to blue, was their father's anniversary gift to their mother. Because Max grew up in a house ruled by a psychoanalyst, he could tell you by the time he reached puberty that he despised that clock because it was a gift to the mother who, he felt, had betrayed him by turning her attention to Max's baby brother: blue-eyed, blond-haired, charismatic Sam. And so Batman convinced Robin that the clock must be destroyed. Max jerked on the wire while Sam bit it, to no avail. In his fury Max sank his own teeth into the wire, and all of a sudden -- zap! -- he saw zebra stripes and smelled something funny. The burn fused the left sides of his lips and required three surgeries. What would've been, their mother still wonders, had that accident never occurred?

Max entered first grade. His scarred lip made him a target. He told his mother about a boy who was taunting and poking him in the schoolyard. Tell your teacher, she said.

Max's father heard the conversation. Two responses lay coiled in Henry's genetic wiring. You could ignore the threat and hope the local authorities would protect you, as Zeida's mother and sister had done. Or you could attack your antagonist, the way Zeida had as a teenager in Ukraine, cracking the skull of a Jew-baiter with his own walking cane, then landing a left between his eyes, dropping him in a pool of blood. The way Zeida's brother really had, capturing two Jew-killers in the dead of winter, their shirts still red with neighbors' blood, then marching them onto the frozen Dniester, ordering them to cut a hole, then shoving them into it and covering the hole with the disk of ice.

Henry, as a child, became a wunderkind of the Jewish leftist movement, performing dramatic recitations of resistance poems in Yiddish across the country. The essence of this poetry was: the Holocaust, never again.

Henry pulled Max aside. Next time the kid pokes you, the psychoanalyst told his scrawny first-born, slug him in the face with all your might. And that would go for anyone who picked on Sam, Harry or Jack, as well, because Max was his brothers' keeper.

Max unloaded. That kid never taunted or poked him again.

As this the way life worked? One circumstance leading like an arrow to the next and then the next? If it were, then a forceful and logical man might begin to foresee those circumstances, might blaze his own trail of cause and effect ... and determine his fate. Max began to sharpen his power of reasoning, to strip the sentiment from an argument and make it stand on the legs of logic, knowledge ... and will. The dinner table became his workshop. Pick a topic. Any topic. Hakeem Olajuwon, best center in basketball? How can you say he's better than Patrick Ewing? Didn't matter what the conventional numbers said; Max unearthed factors that nobody else at the table knew, debated in a way that made you feel he'd already rifled through the closets and drawers of your argument and discarded it. He became an animal of logic. That's what brother Jack said.

One boy kept entering the animal's lair. Sam, as a fourth-grader, wrote a story about a monkey in a barrel whose keeper pelted him with numbers -- big, heavy ones like 110 -- until the monkey heaved back a huge one, 1,186, the sum of all the numbers hurled at him, and knocked out the shocked keeper. All the brothers, as sons of a shrink, knew it was a story about Sam and Max. Sam could think and articulate as fast as his big brother, lie in wait listening and then wreak havoc with a reply. Once, debating why man had invented sports, Sam unloaded this haymaker: "Sports is man's joke on God, Max. You see, God says to man, 'I've created a universe where it seems like everything matters, where you'll have to grapple with life and death and in the end you'll die anyway, and it won't really matter.' So man says to God, 'Oh, yeah? Within your universe we're going to create a sub-universe called sports, one that absolutely doesn't matter, and we'll follow everything that happens in it as if it were life and death.'" Which delighted Max, because he craved a foil, someone who would compel him to hurl ever bigger and heavier numbers.

On a dry debating day they'd resort to the King of All Games, a joust they'd invented in which they'd select a subset -- condiments, say -- and then hammer out its hierarchy, haggling over whether salt, butter, mayo or ketchup was the king, the prince or a mere jester. Then they'd analyze each other's analyses, exposing hidden psychological motives, louder, louder, with younger brothers Harry and Jack chirping from the sidelines, until their father would shout, "Time out! Time out! I can't take it!" and their mother would flee to her easel and their friends would flee to the bathroom, choking back laughter, leaving Max and Sam at the table arguing, their debate disintegrating an hour later into Ahhh, you're full of s--- and You're such a f------ moron! ... two boys growing closer than any brothers you've ever known.

Few opponents kept coming after Max and his scarred lip. He sat beside his dad one night and watched Muhammad Ali fight on TV. He disappeared into his bedroom with Ali's autobiography and emerged spouting Ali's poetry. He decided at age eight that he needed more control over his response to his antagonists, more science -- Ali's science. His father started taking him to a gym for boxing lessons, which lasted until Boom Boom Mancini battered Duk Koo Kim to death on national television in 1982. The boy's horrified mother and grandmother retired him at age nine.

Max stomped ... then sulked ... then sublimated. If he couldn't be a boxer, he'd be a boxing know-it-all. He began memorizing five boxing magazines a month, reading them during classes at Hunter, the hotshot public high school he tested into in seventh grade. He compiled lists all day, the more obscure the better: Top 10 left jabs. Top 10 middleweights of 1986. Top 10 middleweights of 1968. He turned his living room into a ring, with a cooking timer to ding out the rounds, and began tutoring his three brothers, all within six years of his age. At 14 he was sneaking back up those grimy stairwells into boxing gyms and writing to Bundini Brown, asking Ali's shaman to train him to the world title while Mom wasn't looking.

One Sunday, just after he turned 16, Max was watching Boykin on Boxing on a Manhattan public-access TV station. He turned to his dad. "I could do that," Max said. His father and grandmother Esther had schooled Max, Sam, Harry and Jack in public speaking from the day they'd begun to babble. "Of course you could, Max," said Henry.

Four days later he took Max to the Manhattan Neighborhood Network studio and paid the $27 studio fee for a half-hour slot. The engineers pinned a microphone to Max's lapel, seated him in front of a camera and flashed a signal. Off he soared, making references to fighters from a half century before he was conceived, sorties into the psyche of Mike Tyson, allusions to Sophocles and Star Wars. All the phone lines lit up within 30 seconds. When he walked off the set, the engineers applauded.

"Tyson could whip Marciano, Louis and Dempsey in the same afternoon!" Max would crow, his big, expressive eyes sparkling and his thick, dark eyebrows hopping with each feverish opinion. "I don't think that's an opinion! That's a fact!" Lowlifes and Columbia professors called his weekly show, Max on Boxing. So did Dustin Hoffman, who asked Max to his house for dinner. David Letterman had Max on his show. The kid became a Manhattan cult phenomenon.

Max's World, his friends called it, a planet where a kid could proclaim that he was going to do the implausible -- then do it. Sam, Harry and Jack, swept by the gravitational pull, followed Max to the studio each Thursday, learned the control room and assumed production of the show, which would last nine years. Sam Kellerman Live and Jack Kellerman Live would follow when Max moved on.

MaSaHaJa Inc., the brothers called themselves in the credits. It was the name their father had coined when they were little boys dragging and jamming their mattresses into one room while three other bedrooms lay vacant, staying up past midnight plotting the tribal raid they'd spring on America's media and entertainment giants, and the riches they would reap. Their ambition was a demand for justice: Their successes and rewards would vindicate all that Zeida had suffered. Their mother's belief, borrowed from a Buddhist monk, that all a man needed was one bowl, one shawl, one roof? Sorry, Ma. It never had a prayer.

Their Yiddish lessons made them feel as if they were the guardians of an ancient tongue on the verge of extinction. Each Saturday morning, on their way to the secular Jewish school that their father and his friends had founded, the four mop-haired boys would walk side by side. They were closer than brothers -- more like survivors huddled together. That's what Max's longtime friend Steven Schneider said. They'd drop everything and come on the double whenever one of them called a Brothers Meeting. They'd play hooky and go to the movies en masse, kiss and caution one another when they parted. Walk into their home, and you couldn't help but smell the blood loyalty, the certainty that these boys were going places ... together, like fingers in a fist.

And so, of course, Sam had to climb the same grimy stairs as Max. All that Sam and his two younger brothers had ever had to do when they felt threatened was run to a phone, and Max would appear like an avenging angel, his Little League Reggie Jackson bat tucked in his jacket sleeve in case their enemies outnumbered his fists. But Max had just left for Connecticut College. Now it was Sam's turn to make sure that no Kellerman ever again became a victim.

In his senior year Sam climbed to the third floor above the Greek deli and the tailor shop on Times Square. He heard the machine-gun fire of the speed bags beyond the open steel door. He peered into Max's World ... and stepped inside.

Times Square Athletic Club wasn't where you'd look for a 5'8", 130-pound kid with a perfect 800 on his verbal SAT. Sam, to be honest, didn't really want to wallop anyone. He was the brother who'd sit and listen all day to old people whose loneliness and complaints annoyed everyone else, then walk them down Fifth Avenue with slow and tiny steps. The one who'd leap into the middle of a family fray and point to something so poetic and noble in each combatant's cause that both would feel as if their conflict had occurred in a play crafted by a master, and that resolution was aesthetically the correct choice. He was the Kellermans' glue.

Sam approached the boxing ring. Inside the ropes stood a black man two years older, five inches taller and 30 pounds heavier than he, cannonball shoulders throwing thunder at a sparring partner. Trainer Alexander Newbold, a strapping man from Harlem better known as Ness, suddenly turned to the newcomer. "Got your mouthpiece?" he barked.

Sam froze. "Why?"

"You boxin' him next."

"No way! Man, that guy can punch!"

Yes, he could punch -- James Butler had just won the first of two Golden Gloves titles. He could kick, too. The first time Ness laid eyes on him, James was kicking in the glass door at a fast-food joint at 155th Street and 8th Avenue whose owner had just given him the heave. He was a teenager from the Harlem projects -- absent father, party-loving mom -- who had served time for petty larceny. "Kid, you should be boxing," Ness told James. "You got a lot of anger in you."

James showed up at the gym. He looked as if somebody had just stolen something from him, and it might've been you. That's what trainer Bob Jackson said.

"You think I could hit like the Hammer?" Sam asked Ness.

"People are born with that pop," said Ness, "but I'll teach you balance and defense. You won't get hurt ... unless you're chicken."

"I ain't chicken!"

Sam joined Ness's boxers and, like the Hammer, basked in the nickname he got from the trainer: the Baby-Faced Assassin.

An older kid jumped brother Harry at school. Sam called Max at college for advice. "All depends where you see yourself in the food chain," said Max. "Are you predator or prey?" Sam bloodied the kid's face. Damn, Sam was tough. He got into a scrape with an Albanian punk, opened a gash in the kid's head, then raced into a deli, grabbed a fistful of napkins and got down on the sidewalk to stanch the kid's wound and comfort him. No matter how well he learned to use his fists, Sam was still the boy who, every visitors' day at summer camp, had gone straight to the sister of a fellow camper -- the girl whose face was discolored a shocking pink -- to sit beside her and lean so close, with such warmth, that she always lit up. The kid who identified with the victim, the outsider.

So, of course, Sam's heart went straight to the brooding Hammer. But James kept his distance, suspicious of Sam's charm. What could a dropout from the projects have in common with a Shakespeare scholar?

It wasn't that Max condoned the casual violence he'd begun scribbling about in his bedroom and rapping out on street corners. How could he, after what his family had been through? Rap was just a genre, Jack, like the Jewish partisan songs he and his brothers sang in Yiddish, or the soliloquies from Antony and Cleopatra that Sam recited. Another way to explore old Kellerman terrain: the quicksand between weakness and strength.

Max rented an apartment on West 110th Street in 1994, after leaving Connecticut College behind for Columbia, and turned the place into a music studio. Soon Sam was at Max's elbow, wordplaying for all he was worth in that detached Hebrew hip-hop hitman persona he created for his rap and TV audiences. Sam too was going to Columbia -- well, occasionally -- having chosen to devour all 37 of Shakespeare's plays on his own rather than in a classroom. Off the two brothers would stroll, ball caps on backward, ending up on a corner or in a park among strangers giving each other the eye. You spit? somebody would ask. Yeah. You spit? And suddenly a circle would form and a rapper would start kicking rhymes until a challenger took his place. Max could get ooohs and ahhhhs in the circle. But Sam could make the circle bust up, fall out: Oh s---, you hear that white boy spit?

One day Sam suddenly started rat-tat-tatting homemade verses at the gym.

Don't waste a single tic
With a clever little quip
Like a stupid-ass villain in an action flick
Give me just enough time to react and flip
Shoulda done me when you had me, dick
I'll gladly rip any rapper in half
Like a bad first draft....

Say what? Scrawny smart white boy from the Village could gush rhymes like he was turning on a faucet. In the midst of one spray, Sam slipped in a ringer.

"That line ain't original!" cried the Hammer. "That's Pac! Tupac is my man!"

They laughed. Sam and the Hammer had found a common language. They began heading down 42nd Street after training sessions, window-shopping, hip-hopping, the playwright and the pug. At Sam's side James became the man he wanted to be, the curious and sensitive guy who planned to spend his days after boxing helping at-risk kids from broken homes, kids like him. He'd watch Sam's acts of generosity -- giving meals and even the shirt off his back to the homeless and, years later, directing a play to raise money for the families of the 9/11 victims -- and he'd be inspired to give part of a $20,000 fight purse to the same cause.

One day Sam -- who loved women and the words that made women melt -- decided to melt one for his pal, talking up James to a girl they'd just met. James wanted no part of Sam's setup. Suddenly Sam was staring into two glowing coals where his buddy's eyes had been. "Man, I hope James never snaps on somebody," Sam told Ness. "He's like Tyson." But it didn't scare away Sam.

So when Ruffhouse Records, a label of Columbia Records, offered to produce a single and a video of Max and Sam's Young Man Rumble -- just another day in Max's World -- Sam asked the Hammer to appear in it. James showed up, grumbled over the long hours and lack of pay and left before the shoot was done.

Max began to sour on Sam's buddy. Still, for Sam's sake, Max stood up for the Hammer on TV and in his column after James sucker-punched Grant, then took the Hammer to lunch to encourage him.

Max wouldn't tell his brother to stop reaching out to a troubled soul. That would be killing the best part of Sam. But there was more to it than that: As long as Sam's selflessness existed in the world, Max was free to charge toward his goals, to cash in on his talent. In tandem they could solve the paradox in their blood -- kinship with the weak and insistence on strength. They shared one consciousness and knew they couldn't be beaten, because each of them was two people, while everyone else was one. That's what Max said.

A love that complicated, of course, mired Max in a quandary. His duty as crew chief of MaSaHaJa, keeper of the Brothers Kellerman, was to jam his foot in the doorway of the American dream and keep it open long enough for SaHaJa to blow in and take over the control room. How could he fully relish his success as long as Sam was writing books and screenplays that he showed to no one, directing and acting in plays in front of a few hundred people to raise money for the bereaved?

One day a shelf full of chess books in the library at Columbia caught Max's eye, and he devoured this new game the way he had boxing. The universe was too vast and unruly for a man of logic to control. But a chessboard, like a boxing ring, had rules and parameters within which cause and effect could be tested, demonstrated, controlled.

Max's career became a chess game. He pored over it, searching for the move that would maximize his -- and his brothers' -- advantage two or three moves later. In 1998 he parlayed a highlights reel from Max on Boxing into a job as cohost of ESPN2's Friday Night Fights. He was good. Very good. Decibels and decimals, his family's dinner-table debates in front of a camera. Three years later, at 28, he flew to Los Angeles and strode into a roomful of executives at Brillstein-Grey Entertainment, moguls who steered the careers of Brad Pitt, Nicolas Cage and Adam Sandler and who thought this hotshot young boxing analyst had come seeking guidance in his field. "I have no interest in continuing in sports," Max informed them. "I want to be starring in a feature film in 12 months and accepting an Oscar in a year and a half. And the real reason you'll want to work with me is that then you'll get to work with my three brothers. Just wait until you see what they can do." After raving about Sam's writing and acting skills, Harry's prizewinning short films and Jack's wizardry in musical production, Max turned to a Jewish executive and began speaking Yiddish. Then he left, and everyone just sat there, blinking.

Michael Price, a talent manager dazzled by the performance, knew he had to harness the performer. You, he told Max, could make so much money in broadcasting that you could produce your own movie one day and star in it, so why spend 10 years starving in audition lines? Max saw the logic, and in no time the two of them parlayed his boxing cameos on Pardon the Interruption into a role as fill-in host on the show, parlayed that into a job hosting his own show, Around the Horn, and then turned that into a blockbuster deal to host I, Max on Fox. Everything he plotted ... worked. A man could take hold of his fate.

Funny, what happened one evening in 2003. Max entered Price's office in Hollywood to sign his two-year, $1.66 million deal with Fox. Sam came along to ink his first contract: a $4,600 deal to write 23 columns for, which Max had helped arrange. Price watched in astonishment: Everything was upside down. As Max hastily scribbled his signature in silence, Sam shouted, "Everybody stand back! I'm about to sign my contract! Wait a minute! Photograph!" Sam struck a bonus-baby signing pose, then swaggered out of the office. Max hurried to catch up to him and kiss him on the forehead, his eyes misting with so much pride in his brother's achievement that Price, for the only time in his life, felt cheated to have been an only child.

Here, though, was Sam's quandary: Big brother's credit card in his wallet. Big brother's car in his name. Big brother's fist knocking on corporate doors for him. Big brother's shadow everywhere he turned.

Shaq vs. Kobe: best player in the NBA? Max argued every day and twice on Sundays for Shaq and Sam for Kobe, both knowing, as sons of a shrink, that Shaq was Big Brother Archetype and Kobe was Little Brother Archetype and that they were really arguing Max vs. Sam. And that Kobe had to shove away Shaq, had to prove he didn't need Big Brother to make it big ... just as Sam needed, at least for a while, distance from Max. So the most shocking and most natural thing occurred in February 2004. Sam bid the Brothers Kellerman farewell and moved to L.A.

On Sept. 13, 2004, just above latitude 15¼ north in the mid-Atlantic, easterly trade winds converged and began to rotate counter-clockwise, forming a tropical depression. Jeanne, the second hurricane to target the southeastern coast of Florida in three weeks, started to chug northwestward. James Butler, working as a sparring partner in the Catskills, decided that he could not go home to Florida.

He had just weathered Hurricane Frances in Vero Beach, where he'd lived for nearly a year. He'd delighted aid workers at the shelter where he stayed with his girlfriend, their newborn son and his girlfriend's daughter, ferrying bucket after bucket of water to flush the toilets. But the storm seemed to trigger the mood swings and sleeplessness of his manic depression. He'd left Florida on Sept. 7 and headed to upstate New York.

He needed money. He needed a fight. He needed a place to train where no power lines were down. He'd gained more than 70 pounds during his four months in jail while taking a cocktail of medications for bipolar disorder that made him feel sluggish, then -- after dropping much of the weight -- lost two of his four bouts in a lackluster comeback. His relationship with his girlfriend was hitting the rocks. His relationship with his new trainer in Vero Beach, Buddy McGirt, who was busy with other fighters, was over. All the Hammer had was talk of a possible fight in California, a career swirling down the drain and almost nowhere to turn, except....

Sam's phone rang. His own career had begun to take off since his move to Los Angeles. He'd acted in commercials with Willie Nelson and Christina Aguilera. He was in talks with MTV2 about hosting a new call-in show. The producers of the HBO series Entourage were so taken with him that they kept calling him to the set, trying to figure out how to work him into their show.

The closer Sam came to finding himself, it seemed, the more he needed to preserve those 2,800 miles between himself and Max. He might let a week pass without calling his brother, and Max, sensing Sam's need, might do the same. Just a few days earlier, after Max had flown to L.A. on a business trip and squeezed in a night of boxing and a few rounds of the King of All Games with his brother, Sam had stayed home for the evening to write rather than drive Max to the airport. Sure, it had stung Max a little, but hadn't every pair of brothers known a time like that? "Don't worry about me," Max urged him. "Let your talent fly. Just let it fly."

L.A. was Sam's liberation from the all-nighters writing term papers for his New York pals, from editing every word his brothers wrote and serving as the family glue. L.A. protected Sam from Sam, freed him to let it fly. His success there was inevitable, because in a town full of people who stand out, he stood out. That's what TV producer Mark Neveldine said.

But now, on the other end of Sam's phone line, came another voice from New York, an old friend. James needed a place to bunk for a few days, a new gym -- perhaps trainer Freddie Roach's place, not far from Sam's -- and a new start. Sam already had a guest in his cramped apartment, an aspiring actress from New York named Beatriz Quiñones. But he'd just written a column for asking the world to give the Hammer another chance, so how could he not?

James arrived and sacked out on Sam's couch. A few days became a few weeks. James grew jumpy. He didn't like L.A. He wanted to go home and hold the newborn son that he hadn't seen in five weeks, the one he couldn't bear to see grow up without a dad, as he had. One moment James seemed depressed; the next, so excited that the words tumbled from his mouth. But he wouldn't take his medication, which had made it so hard to train. He sat in front of the TV, making it hard for Sam to write. They began arguing over little things. Beatriz felt the tension growing, packed up and cleared out.

Sam called Max on Oct. 6. Maybe it was only to argue Kobe-Shaq. Maybe it was just to dissect the Yankees-Twins playoff game that night. Max will never know. He was at Yankee Stadium, and the crowd's thunder drowned out Sam's voice. "I can't hear you, Sam!" shouted Max. "Talk to you later!" But he got home late and didn't call back.

Five nights later another young actress, Claudia Salinas, went to dinner with Sam and returned with him to his apartment. James was watching TV again. "I need to watch a game for the column I'm writing," Claudia remembered Sam saying. "Can I change the channel?"

"No," said James.

"Yo, I've got to work," said Sam. "I've got to see who wins so I can finish this story."

"Wait till the commercials," growled the Hammer. It almost seemed as if he needed to know whether even Sam would push him away.

"Let's take a walk," Sam said to Claudia. He was in Kellerman quicksand: trying to help a victim who was making him feel like a victim in his own home. "It's like this all the time," he told Claudia. It was time, Sam decided, to say no, to ask James to leave.

Sam, according to police, was sitting at his computer the next day when the Hammer struck. He'd once told a friend that if a larger man ever attacked him, the man had better be ready to fight to the death. Was that why Butler's hammer struck 31 more times? Or was that just the mathematics of rage and disease?

A $300 postal money order to pay for James's flight back to Florida -- sent by his boxing manager, David Berlin -- arrived in Sam's mailbox that day.

Four days passed. Why, Max and his brothers wondered with growing alarm, didn't Sam answer their phone calls or e-mails? Max twice asked his friend Steven Schneider, who had moved to L.A., to pay a visit to Sam's apartment. Both times the blinds were drawn, and Steven's knock on the door went unanswered. On the second visit Steven slipped through a window, froze, then staggered away to make the grimmest phone call of his life.

Three days later James Butler called the LAPD from UCLA Medical Center's psychiatric facility, where he'd gone in Sam's car seeking a support group for manic depression. He told police that he'd gone for a short walk a few days earlier, returned to find Sam dead and felt so distraught that, rather than call the police, he'd drunk a bottle of wine, filled the bathtub, slit various parts of his body with a razor blade and lain in the water, hoping to bleed to death. He couldn't remember starting the fires that left ashes and two circular burn marks in Sam's bedroom carpet. He was innocent, and Sam was his only ally. That's what James told Detective Estupinian.

Grief leveled Max. It laid him flat on the earth beside his brother's open grave. He rose somehow and set his jaw to the task of joining his brothers to shovel the dirt on Sam's coffin rather than leave that to a stranger. Then they walked away, vowing that the three of them now must do the work of four.

But it was harder than Max had imagined. For a few days or a few weeks, any man might suffer the sobbing and sleeplessness, the shaking and shallow breathing and the blood rushing so hard to his brain that he has to put his head between his legs to remain conscious. But the weeks became months, and Max's friends and relatives feared for his career, his new marriage ... and then for his life. "Don't let this be a double homicide," his pal, producer Bill Wolff, implored him. "Don't let this guy kill you both." He missed 12 days of his show, I, Max, and then, with the crew in tears watching him attempt to compose himself on his first day back, somehow got a half hour onto tape. Fox canceled the struggling show five months later, and Max barely cared. Without the two antidepressants and two antianxiety medications he took daily for a while, he wouldn't have cared if sunlight never reached the earth again.

Max was too busy haunting the trail of cause and effect, shouldering should'ves and if-onlys. If he'd never set a foot in a boxing gym, Sam never would've met Butler. Max should've never gone to bat for Butler's right to resume his career. Should've insisted that Sam not let Butler into his home. Should've called Sam back the night the phone rang at Yankee Stadium. Should've never relaxed his vigilance as his brother's keeper, no matter how much space Sam wanted. Max could not let himself off the hook. The only way he might ever do so was perhaps the most frightening: to concede that he wasn't in control. That it's only if you look backward, as detectives and storytellers do, that circumstances align, one leading to the next.

Redemption? Sorry. Still too early. No saving truth yet for Max. No baby Sam born yet to Max and his bride, Erin. No satisfaction from the 29-year prison sentence meted out to Butler last week in L.A. after his guilty plea to voluntary manslaughter and arson.

Last October, on the first anniversary of Sam's death, Max went to the cemetery on Long Island and stood over his brother's grave, next to Zeida's. Stood there wishing like hell that he could talk to Sam about this strange new world he inhabits, eerily similar to the one Zeida escaped, where Irrationality trumps Rationality in the King of All Games.

Max Kellerman
Sam and Max in younger years

Jay Bilas...Making the World Safe for Barney Impersonators

ESPN analyst Jay Bilas, whom I haven't seen discuss this Duke lacrosse matter is actually a lawyer. In his law bio it points out that he successfully defended a costume shop against copyright infringement claims from the owner's of Barney the Purple Dinosaur. I'm sure the Concierge will soon weigh in with the legal rationale behind the decision.

Mets 7 Padres 2

I didn't see a single pitch of this game live so I'll try to be brief in my comments.

Glad they didn't let the losses to Atlanta linger and become a winning streak.

Now that we beat Peavy we have to face Woody Williams (on the team we face in fantasy), Chris Young (whom I think is 6-10) and someone named Hensley (not Bam Bam Muelens).

Kaz Matsui is incredible. First player to hit home runs in the first at bat of his first three seasons in the majors. And he does it with an inside the park job.

In the 7th inning with the bases loaded and 2 outs, David Wright probably saved the game with that double play.

Duaner Sanchez, once again stranding inherited runners.

Heilman pitched a good 8th, leading to 2K Jorge in the ninth, who once again struck out two batters, thus the nickname. And I'm glad Willie gave him the chance, I don't want to see him waste Wagner with a 5 run lead.

Julio Franco became the oldest player to hit a homer in a major league game. And it gave the Mets a 3-2 lead in the 7th. I guess he ate a lot of egg whites for breakfast. I think he was an excellent acquisition. Too bad the rest of the bench sucks.

Father Time comes through

Except Endy Chavez, who made a great bunt to bring home an important insurance run.

That insurance run became less important when Delgado blasted another bomb.

Carlos Beltran's injury has me very worried. I fear this will turn into months on the DL, or months of day-to-day worry, or an entire season of him sucking because his leg hurts. Sort of like last year. And if he doesn't hit, regardless of the reason, he will get booed again.

Who Will Clean Up?

Breaking News at the Pizza Parlor, where Derek is moving out of his parents house and getting his own apartment. I worry that his apartment will be littered with Doritos bags, Herman's bags, Soprano's DVDs and Pete Thamel's hair. I also worry that Derek will invite everyone to visit him and no one will come, everyone will say "it's too far to drive."

Pizza Parlor Derek's palatial estate

Thursday, April 20, 2006

We Don't Want Your Kind Round Here

Duke has allowed its lacrosse players to be released from their scholarships in order to transfer to a new school. Syracuse Athletic Director Darryl Gross says those hoods are not welcome here. This even includes players who had been recruited by SU before enrolling at Duke. This says two things to me: 1) every knows the Duke lacrosse program was spiraling out of control before this incident and 2) a lot of (somewhat) innocent people are going to be hurt by the actions of the few who are at fault here.

Idol Chatter

I am writing this without having seen the entire performance show. I did watch the results show last night however and I am glad Ace is finally gone.
I was surprised to see Chris in the bottom 3 and I have the feeling that he is going to stop listening to Simon and start rocking out again next week. Well, maybe not next week. I don't know too many hard rock love songs.
Andrea Bocelli is inspired casting as next week's special guest. Too bad they aren't going to make the final 6 sing his songs though. I'd pay $1000 to watch Kellie Pickler sing "Con te Partiro."
I was very disappointed to see that Taylor Hicks did not take hit Ritalin and butchered one of my favorite songs, "You Send Me." I fast forwarded so that I could see his rendition. He started off great, smooth and classy, just like Sam Cooke. Then he went into his epilectic seizure phase and threw in a whole bunch of nonsense "you thrill me, you kill, you chill me, you fill me." I was even more upset when Simon said his seizure was "magic."
Speaking of magic, Katharine McPhee looked magical didn't she?
Also, Wednesday morning I did a very well produced piece on the business of Idol.
The franchise so far has made about a billion dollars in ad sales, album sales, ticket sales, promotional tie-ins. A 30-second ad costs about $600,000, double that for the finale.
Albums of the winners have sold nearly 25 million copies.
Idol has been generous this season in that some of the guests were promoting albums for labels other than the one to which the Idol winners are signed.
Also, the show completely took "Bad Day" from a song by a nobody, Daniel Powter, to a smash hit. The song had been out for a while, but only after Idol took it as their "swan song" did it hit #1 on the billboard chart, while simultaneously being the most downloaded song. I must admit though, it is pretty catchy.

The Game No One Wanted to Win

When the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Los Angeles Clippers Tuesday night, the Clippers fell into the sixth spot in the Western Conference playoffs, earning them a date against the third seeded Denver Nuggets. Since the Nuggets won their division they are given the third seed, but since they have a worse record than the Clippers, the Clippers get home court.
And for the Grizzlies? Show them what they've won...the fifth seed in the playoffs, an opening round series against the Dallas Mavericks (who won 16 more games than the Nuggets) and best of all, the Grizzles don't get home court.
I don't think the NBA needs to change this because it's a freak occurrence (especially that the two teams would play each other in the last week of the season) but if they want to keep the sanctity of division titles, then maybe division winners should get first round home court no matter what. But that really isn't fair either.

Get Greedy, Get Caught

A cautionary tale:
Whenever people come up with a good caper, they always ruin it by getting greedy. Two guys who worked for brokerage firms made millions (about $7m total) by trading on insider information. They got caught when the Feds found it suspicious that a 63-year old retired underwear factory worker made almost $3 million in the stock market. How'd she do it? On several occassions she bought stock in company's right before they were acquired by another company, including Gillette before P&G bought it.
This woman is the aunt of one of the guys involved. They also traded stocks through a stripper's account. They even asked her and her stripper friends to pump their Wall Street clinetelle for stock tips. That never scheme never bore fruit.
Their final angle was to hire guys to get hired as couriers, and then steal advance copies of BusinessWeek. Then they bought the stocks that were mentioned in the company's influential "Inside Wall Street" column. They actually made about $500,000 from this part of it.
So the moral is, if you are stealing, do it discreetly, when you get greedy, that's when you get caught.

Looking for Mr. Wright

David Wright has his own blog. Several major leaguers are doing it. Hopefully, he'll post somewhat regularly.

With the First Pick in the 2006

USBL Draft, the Northeast Pennsylvania Breakers, select Gerry McNamara, guard, Syracuse University.

Obviously, this was a marketing move since the Breakers play in Scranton. And they could count on huge ticket sales to idiots who will ride to the games on buses even though they live 5 minutes away.

Believe it or not G-Mac turned them down so he can focus on preparing for the NBA Draft. Obviously, he is not going to make the league. But maybe I was wrong when I predicted he would end up playing ball in Turkey. Although, I think Scranton might be worse.

Our Star Player

My greatest fantasy draft pick ever, Chris Shelton, has sparked internet discussion over a nickname. Apparently, some fans have settled on Sloth, due to his resemblance to the character from "The Goonies." I know Shawn is going to love this post. He loves fantasy baseball, look-alikes and "The Goonies."

Good Luck Beers

Beers has entered the arena of cyber-squatting, moving quickly to purchase the domain name I hope Tom Cruise does not buy
Right now Beers is using the site to sell t-shirts, but he hopes to sell the domain name at auction on eBay. I worry that bidders will bid up the price and never pay Beers, leaving him to pay eBay listing and relisting fees.
I hope this plan is more thought out than the half-cocked stories he tried to sell me about Flight 93 being shot down by the Federal government which in turn hired Beemer's widow as part of an elaborate ruse to dupe the American public.
Good luck, buddy!


Mercifully the Knicks nightmare of a season is over. Final record of 23-59. If the Nets had played anyone in last night's game it would have been the first 60 loss season in franchise history. They started of 13-22 and stumbled to a 10-37 finish coinciding with the Concierge taking me to see them against Minnesota on Martin Luther King Day.
Obviously the team is awful. The talent isn't great but it should be good enough. Jalen Rose said he made all the trades on NBA Live and the Knicks had a very high rating. The mix of players is just not right. There are no defenders, no rebounders, no shooters. All one on one in between players.
I would keep three players from this team:
Jamal Crawford: I think he can be good and he has shown he has that rare ability to hit game-winning shots.

Nate Robinson: Not a great player and doesn't fit into Coach Brown's system but he's exciting and I think he has great potential to be a contributor the way Earl Boykins is.

Jalen Rose: A great interview. Watched him on Quite Frankly and love his regular guest spots on Best Damn. I think at this point in his career he's matured to the point where he's willing to do the little things in order to be part of a winner.

The rest of the team I don't care about. I like Frye but I'd be willing to part with him if we could get a good veteran.

Speaking of which, Iverson and Garnett may both be on the market this summer. I doubt the Knicks will be able to get either one because other teams will be able to make more attractive offers. The Bulls will probably part with Gordon and Chandler and maybe the Knicks pick this year or next to get one of those two.

Speaking of that, next year the Bulls can elect to swap draft positions with the Knicks. So that means no Greg Oden unless he stays two years at Ohio State. And if he stays two years and we still get him, that would mean three horrible years in a row.

The Knicks just have to take their lumps and let these salaries expire. They cannot keep trading expiring contracts for overpriced veterans who don't fit.

Looking at these pictures of Coach Brown, is it any wonder he got sick. I have a strong feeling that he will retire for health reasons during the offseason or early next season if the team gets off to another atrocious start.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Every Time I Think I'm Out

After about 3 years and several unread issues featuring cover girls like Laura Prepon, Avril Lavigne, Haylie Duff, Nicolette Sheridan, Cindy Crawford and Bea Arthur, I decided not to renew my Maxim subscription. The very next month, guess who is on the cover. Jamie-Lynn Sigler, better know as Paul's friend Meadow. Of course, I just renewed so I could log in and check out the pics.

so hot
so damn hot
so freakin hot
so unbelievably hot
so hot, she;s burning my retinas
so hot, want to touch the heinie

Mets vs. Braves: Running Blog

How did this running blog work for you? Did you read it? Enjoy it? Should I bother doing it during the next weekday afternoon game?

I think Jose Valentin dyes his moustache. It's jet black without even a streak of gray.


Game over. Delgado flied out to left and Wright grounded weakly to short. You knew the offense was going to slow down eventually but 1 run and 3 hits in each of the past two games is awful. And once again they wasted another great performance by Glavine. He's pitched well enough to be 4-0. Instead he's 2-1. As far as he's concerned little has changed since last year and the year before. And if Floyd and Beltran don't come back, and start hitting, this team is gonna end up right where those two teams were. This lineup is awful right now. Reyes and Wright haven't had a hit in days, other than Reyes' double in the ninth. And going to the West Coast is not going to make things easier. I know 10-4 is still a very good record but I'm starting to worry. - 3:11


Reyes doubled, Woodward singled him home, both with two strikes. Delgado is up with the tying run on first. - 3:06 PM


2-0 now. David Wright made a bad throw on a grounder by Tony Pena allowing him to reach. Hudson sacrificed, Orr chopped one to the pitcher which moved Pena to third. Then Betemit hit one right to Wright, he misplayed it, his second error of the inning and third of the game. Needless to say the Shea faithful have shelved the MVP chants, at least for now. - 2:51 PM


Another chance slipped away. Woodward hit one deep in the hole but Pena was able to throw him out. Then Hudson walked Delgado and hit Wright (hitless in last 10 at-bats). Then Nady grounded into a tailor-made double play. With all these automatic outs in the lineup I don't think we have a chance to come back. - 2:42 PM


Home run Andruw Jones. His fourth in this three game series. Glavine pitched him tough the first two times but he finally got a changeup he could handle. - 2:30 PM


Shit. Glavine sacrificed beautifully. Then Reyes swung at the first pitch and hit a medium fly to left. Castro is so slow. Diaz (pronounced Dye-az) made a perfect throw, Pratt had the ball and blocked the plate, Castro was dead meat. Still no score. - 2:25 PM


Ramon Castro breaks up the perfect game with a single to left. Then Chavez grounded one slowly to Brian Jordan (playing first base), Jordan bounced his throw to second, Pena dropped it and right now there are two on and none out for Glavine. I hope they win this game for him. He is really pitching great. Even better than last time when he struck out 11 guys.

It's funny to see Roger McDowell as the pitching coach. - 2:19 PM


Still 0-0. The Mets don't even have a hit. The Braves just got their second, from Jeff Francoeur, but it should have been an error on Reyes. He didn't charge because he thought Wright might field it, so then he fielded the ball in the hole and just let it fly, way over Delgado's head. But Castro threw out Francoeur trying to steal.

I think Todd Pratt was juiced when he hit that homer against the Diamondbacks. He looks much thinner now. Gary Cohen said this year will likely be his 10th straight year catching the second most games on his team, tying a major league record and making him the quintessential backup catcher. - 2:08 PM


This game is going even faster than yesterday's. The first three innings were played in about half an hour. At this rate the game will be over before 3. Glavine threw only 24 pitches in the first three innings. Hudson threw 35, but hasn't allowed a base runner.

They showed some guy in the stands wearing a jersey with Cohen on the back. They made the required Gary Cohen joke.

Tom Glavine talked about his routine between starts, and how young guys just throw and veterans working on things. Ron Darling followed that up with "practice doesn't make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect." - 1:49 PM


The Braves shortstop today is Tony Pena Jr., son of former Pirates catcher and Royals manager Tony Pena. Professor Reyes would be disappointed that blogger doesn't let me spell their names with the tilde. Fernando Vina once omitted the tilde on his own last name in an autograph given to Reissberg. - 1:30 PM

Off to a rough start. I forgot to DVR the game, and since both teams went down 1-2-3 in the first by the time I got home to pause it, we were already in the second inning.

Beltran and Floyd are both out again. I thought this was going to be a minor injury? Beltran missed four games already. He'll go on the DL and come back gimpy as he was last year. - 1:23 PM

Early Derby Talk

Brother-in-law Derick does not like Brother Derek in the Kentucky Derby. He's not even keen on Sinister Minister. Derick says look for a horse that likes to run slightly off the pace. I'll get a pick out of him a few days before the race.

The Dereks love him, Derick, not so much

A Few Loose Ends

I should be home at regular time today so during the Mets game I'll create a post, then update it each time something happens of interest. I'll do it all in the same post, so you should keep refreshing.

When watching a Mets game with your eyes closed and the other team has a man on second and two outs, you don't know whether "a line drive to (W)right" is a hit to right field, or a groundout to third.

Last night's loss snapped my personal winning streak at 6 games. So the Concierge can stop calling me a mush. The scorebook's record fell to 6-4.

The last 6 games I went to were three starts by Glavine and 3 starts by Jae Seo. This was my first time seeing Zambrano, an experience I don't wish to repeat. I've also seen Pedro only once.

It costs me $13 in tolls, and $13 in parking every time I go to a game. And I didn't even eat last night due to Passover.

Diesel was furious the Mets lost because he knows his treats are doubled for victories I see in person.

No Word on Status of Talks with Frankie Muniz

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Columbia Pictures has acquired the life rights to Jason McElwain, an autistic teenager who morphed from a basketball benchwarmer into an international media sensation after hitting six three-pointers in the final four minutes of a high school game.

Basketball great Earvin "Magic" Johnson will serve as an executive producer.

McElwain, a Rochester, N.Y., senior nicknamed "J-Mac" by his friends, never made the varsity team because of his size and instead served as its student manager. But in the waning minutes of the final game of the regular season in February, his coach rewarded McElwain's dedication and attitude by putting him into the game.

McElwain's first three-point attempt was an air ball, which he followed with a missed layup. He then scored six three-pointers, his last one the final shot of the game -- a feat that Johnson said would be nearly impossible for a seasoned pro to accomplish, nevermind a high schooler not accustomed to playing time.

"When I first saw the highlights on ESPN and then heard Jason's back story, I said, 'Man, I've got to be a part of this.' This story touched me, my kids, my wife," said Johnson. "When we go to the movies, this is the type of story we want to see."

McElwain's feat quickly snowballed from a local story to a media frenzy, with footage of his scoring outburst making its way to ESPN's "SportsCenter" and ABC's "Good Morning America."

Sources say the story sparked a heated bidding war, which came down to Columbia, the Weinstein Co., New Line Cinema and Universal Pictures/Imagine Entertainment.

"Forget sports for a moment -- you have to be ready for your moment," said Johnson, who also executive produced the hoops drama "Passing Glory." "This story represents everything I talk about as a motivational speaker. You have to be prepared for your one chance."

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Demon Spawn Hatched

Actress Katie Holmes, 27, fiancée of Hollywood superstar Tom Cruise, 43, has given birth to a baby girl, Suri.
“The child weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces and was 20 inches in length. Both mother and daughter are doing well. The name Suri has its origins in Hebrew meaning “princess,” or in Persian meaning “red rose.”, said Paul Bloch, Cruise’s publicist.
This is Holmes’s first child. This is Cruise’s third child. He has two children, Connor, 11, and Isabella, 13, from his previous marriage to Academy-Award winning actress Nicole Kidman.

Braves 7 Mets 1

Mama said there'd be days like this. I'm not going to get too upset because we still have the best record in the league, and our worst pitcher was on the mound. But we really need Glavine to pitch well tomorrow to show the Braves that he and as a team, the Mets can beat them.

Normally a 7-1 loss is a horrible game to sit through but this one was the fastest game of the season so far I believe. Little traffic coming and going. Game ended at 9:20 or so, got in the car at 9:30, was home by 10:20.

Victor Zambrano of course pitched horribly. But it wasn't his normal suckiness. He didn't walk a lot of batters or get behind every hitter. He just gave up home run balls.

Andruw Jones is awesome. He struck out on I think a breaking ball in the first inning but he was ready the next time. It's amazing how he still hits in the middle of that lineup, especially with Renteria and Chipper Jones out.

On offense the Mets just sucked. That happens a lot of times to the Mets with young pitchers they haven't faced before. But these injuries to Beltran and Floyd are really going to hurt if these guys don't come back soon. Valentin, Chavez and Hernandez cannot hit. Woodward should be playing everyday while Floyd is out. At least he hit a home run for the only run.

Believe it or not the best player on the Mets tonight was Jorge Julio, or 2K Jorge. He struck out two guys and looked pretty decent. I also think that the umpire widened the strike zone in the ninth inning.

Pedro Feliciano pitched 3 strong innings and I definitely think he should stay with the team because he can be a valuable lefty.

The new Mets song is horrible. Sounds like something three white kids in faux platinum chains would record in the AV department of their high school and then post on youtube.

Mets Make a Deal yielded a winner this time. The contestant risked a DVD of some kind and won 2 tickets anywhere Delta flies.

Xavier Nady listed "Dumb and Dumber" as his favorite movie. I couldn't hear any of the other Mets, because Zambrano was on the screen choosing Braveheart, and the boos drowned out the next few answers.

But of course what everyone wants to know is, what Spanish words did we learn from Professor Reyes? Today's phrase was "me gusta el pollo," I like chicken in English. The first kid who tried it said "me gusta el polo." Jose emphasized that it was poy-o. Then one guy (who obviously liked chicken) said it correctly. And a third person did an ok job. Professor Reyes said "I'd have to give you a C." Professor Reyes is a strict grader.

Tonight's Game

Headed to Shea tonight for my second game of the season. I will see the great Viktor Zambrano. I just hope he can give us the quality start of 6 innings and 3 runs or fewer. Isaacs was able to get us confirmation of the story I reported last week, that Mets announcer Gary Cohen made some sarcastic remarks about Zambrano when he thought his microphone was off. Hopefully the Mets can get him some early run support against Kyle Davies.

Mets 4 Braves 3

Congrats, Pedro

Congratulations to Pedro Martinez for winning the 200th game of his career. He pitched pretty well, but not great. Luckily, this new offense gave him enough runs to win. It's so enjoyable to watch him and pitch and to have him on the team. He is always smiling and his walk off the field when he was waving to the fans was great.

Xavier Nady hit another early home run. I've been talking a lot about getting the early lead and not giving runs back right after you get them. Nady's homer allowed the Mets to stay tied.

Carlos Delgado. M-V-P! M-V-P! Another huge home run for him. He's been hitting them hard, and far and exactly when we need them. Atlanta got the lead back and his homer turned the game.

Duaner Sanchez. Another awesome off-season acquisition by Minaya. You need a reliever who can come in with runners on base and get the key strikeout. A lot of pitchers can come in to start an inning and get out of there scoreless, but stranding inherited runners is usually of much greater import. Then he pitched a scoreless 8th. A great performance by him.

Billy Wagner keeps shutting the door. This is the type of game that Benitez or Looper would have blown. With each save we can start to forget about the blown one in the second game of the season against Washington.

This was a huge game psychologically because we had our best pitcher against the Braves. The Braves are still the team to beat in the NL East and the Mets are never going to get over that hump until the beat the Braves. Normally Turner Field is what kills the Mets but last night's game was a good start. Now they need to get at least one of the next two games.

Carlos Beltran and Cliff Floyd are both hurt now. This could be a huge problem because even if they are not out for extended periods of time, whenever they are struggling we will start to hear that it is because of the injury. We had two good weeks of Beltran, if this injury means a return to the guy who sucked last year, then we are in trouble.

Those injuries also really weaken the lineup. With Chavez and Hernandez in the lineup, that's like three automatic outs. This is going to hurt, when Wright and Nady get one if Valentin comes up followed by Chavez and Hernandez they are not going to get those runs in.

Pedro salutes the crowd, and Jesus
Delgado, Del-got it

They'll Never Replace Meet the Mets

The Mets unveiled a new song, called "Our Team. Our Time."
I haven't been able to listen to it yet but I know it won't have any lines as good as "Bring your kiddies, bring your wife, guaranteed to have the time of your life."
Or what about "Let's Go Mets Go," with lines like "we've got the team work, to make the dream work, let's go. Let's go Mets."
And my personal favorite, the unsanctioned rallying cry from 2000, "who let the Mets out? Ruff, ruff, ruff, ruff."

Monday, April 17, 2006

Get Those Jerseys Ready

Connecticut guard Rudy Gay announced that he will leave school two years early to enter the NBA Draft. I can't wait to see if the NBA's marketing machine even bothers to make his jersey. I would love to walk into Foot Locker and see a rack of unsold "Gay" jerseys.

One Good Thing I Did

Although my advice has helped Master Bates' fantasy team into an 0-2 hole to start the season, I did some impressive drafting when I was pressed into duty. Chris Shelton and Brad Hawpe were both late round pickups. Unfortunately, we didn't start Shelton in week 1, and we didn't use Hawpe in either of the first two weeks. But hopefully with the emergence of first round pick Rickie Weeks, the Outsiders will be set with three good young players for many years to come.
Chris Shelton is awesome. 8 home runs in 12 games. That's better than Babe Ruth. The only guy as good as him is Albert Pujols. From now on, I will celebrate Easter. But instead of remembering what Jesus supposedly did, I will commemorate the day Albert Pujols hit three homers including a walk-off game winner.
Travis Hafner has 7 home runs. A few years ago I went to a card show with Mike, who picked Adam Dunn on my advice. For $1 each I bought two Travis Hafners and a Jake Peavy rookie. The Hafners are $8 each now. I also bought a 7 card lot of Hafner cards for about $15. I went back and looked at them now because one of the cards is worth $40 and the other is $25, but unfortunately neither is in great condition. One is way off-center and the other has a bad corner.
Anyway, I went shopping for Chris Shelton cards on eBay, and I found his 2004 Bowman Chrome rookie is selling for about $15, about 3 times it's book value.

Barry Bonds Rookie Card

He's definitely bulked up a lot since his rookie year

Jae Seo-bull Lets Us Down

My brother's fantasy team has fallen to 0-2 in part to my bad decision making. After last Sunday's debacle, I advised Jordan to sit Bartolo Colon this week fearing injury. We replaced him with Jae Seo. Seo gets bombed early in the week but has a chance to redeem himself. Going into last night's game we needed Seo to pitch either 7 shutout innings or strike out 5 for the win. He gave up two runs, and struck out 3. So we were down 1 strikeout. But we still had Tim Worrell. He entered the game in the bottom of the 8th, got a 2 strike count, but didn't get the strike out. Then in the ninth he again had two strikes on a hitter but the third base umpire said the batter didn't go around. After two more groundouts the dream was over. The Garden State League's first dynasty may be in for a rough season.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Mets 9 Brewers 3

Another great game. This team is really playing great and making me (and by extension, Diesel, very happy). I hope they keep it up.

Xavier Nady got it off to a good start with a homer, and then a sacrifice fly in the fourth. The two keys to this strong start, getting early leads and making productive outs.

Brian Bannister pitched terribly. Very frustrating to watch. He could not get the ball over. Luckily he got key outs when he needed them and only gave up one run in 5 innings. Good enough to win the game.

But Bannister's early exit forced Willie to bring in Darren Oliver again after he pitched two innings yesterday. He gave up a two run homer to Jenkins (a lefty) which really made me nervous.

Chad Bradford got Oliver out of trouble in the 6th. We haven't seen too much of Bradford so far this year but he's been good.

Aaron Heilman pitched two key innings, once again he was effective. Not good, but effective. He allowed one hit and two walks in his two innings.

Carlos Delgado hit a monster shot to give the Mets breathing room in the 8th inning. He cost Wagner a save but he did exactly what we needed him to do. So far he is definitely the hitter that had been missing the past few years. A big bat who gets it done in the clutch, not just with no one on in games that are already decided.

Carlos Beltran sat out the game with a leg injury. It's not supposed to be serious but a leg injury was the reason he sucked so badly last year.

Jorge Julio pitched the ninth. A good move by Randolph not to use Wagner for no reason other than that he had already been warming up. Julio pitched a decent inning. But he did have a base runner on at which point I remarked that had he given up a home run, then gotten the rest of the side, his ERA still would have fallen. In this case it plummeted from 19.64 to 15.43.