Do you have a tattoo? Odds are that it’s stupid. No really, it’s stupid. You’re going to grow up and have kids and they’re going to ask why you drew a skull with fire coming out its eyeholes on your leg, and you’re not going to have an answer that doesn’t make you look even dumber than before.
(Is it really “sticking it to the man” if you ink yourself with a corporate logo and the company doesn’t even pay you?)
And then there’s the financial aspect of it all. Yes, the worst tattoos from a “get a job” standpoint are still the face tattoo (what the hell, seriously people) and the cursive name on the side of your neck (you might as well have written “I have gone to jail on assault charges” there). But for an NBA player, corporate logos can be just as damaging to the prospect of making more money. Marcin Gortat, ye of the Jumpman leg tattoo, we’re looking right at you.
The NBA is in financial trouble right now. We all know that, right? It’s not even a question, what with the salary cap already going down and threatening to plummet in 2010. The new figures, based on projections by David Stern and the league, are a salary cap around $50-54 million and $61-65 million for the luxury tax floor - anything above that line, and teams are paying a dollar-for-dollar tax to the league. In other words, it’s not financially advantageous to go very far over that figure; eventually you’re paying $8 million for a $4 million player.
(”Hello! I’m here to wreck your financial future!”)
It’s been a rough decade for the Baltimore Orioles. The once proud franchise has long been third fiddle to the Yankees and Red Sox in the AL East, but with the sudden rise of the Rays and the continuing competence of the Blue Jays, it’s hard to imagine a team that’s further away from being a contender in any division in baseball than the O’s.
So it’s fitting that when the O’s finally did achieve something great, nobody was around to see it. Trailing 9-1 to Boston in the fifth inning last night at Camden Yards, the rain came and most of the crowd took off during a 79-minute delay. After resuming, the Sox added a 10th run in the top of the seventh inning before all heck broke loose. Baltimore scored five times in the bottom of the inning off of Justin Masterson. Then they added five more in the eighth that included a three-run pinch homer by Oscar Salazar, and capped off by a Nick Markakis double off of Jonathan Papelbon.
The rally seemingly came out of nowhere, but perhaps we should’ve seen that the Sox didn’t exactly have their heads in it after the rain delay when the entire infield left the field in the bottom of the sixth inning…after recording the second out.
July 1st is upon us, and that means NBA free-agent season is about to kick into gear. Today was the deadline for players with options to decide whether or not to honor their deals or look elsewhere. And with most NBA teams looking to slash payrolls, it’s no surprise that there aren’t a lot of people choosing to opt out. Kobe Bryant heads the list, but nobody really expected him to opt out.
Carlos Boozer, on the other hand, declared months ago that he would be on the open market come July. But a lot has changed since then. Detroit was the only team in position to offer Boozer a substantial deal, but they balked at offering a deal that would pay him more than the $12.7 million he’ll earn next season for sticking around Utah. Plus, Boozer’s really into going to Sundance and he wouldn’t be able to do that in Detroit.
Meanwhile, Hedo Turkoglu is officially a free-agent, and while he’s garnering the most buzz, a lot of good players, such as Ron Artest, Jason Kidd, Ben Gordon, Andre Miller, Chris “Birdman” Andersen, and some guy named Allen Iverson could be had for the right price. Another guy on the market is Charlie Villanueva, who the Bucks declined to even make an offer to. TRUEHOOP says that’s a major indication that the economy is really taking its toll on the league. The Rockets are somewhat creepily taking a bit run at Marcin Gortat to replace Yao Ming for the time being, going as far as knocking on his door at 12:01 a.m. and setting up a Gmail account just for Gortat-based fanmail.
(A future star, or a really well paid cheerleader?)
Speaking of Yao, people in China aren’t buying that he’s really all that hurt, suggesting that the Rockets are overstating his injury so that he’ll be cheaper to re-sign when his contract is up next year. But will Houston want him back? Regardless of whether or not he’s healed, China expects him to play in next summer’s World Championships, which could lead to further injury and basically stick the fork in him (if it hasn’t been already).
(If Yao can’t run by next summer, he’s going to reinvent himself as Earl Boykins on wheels)
And now, without further adieu, let’s kick off July’s links with some bad goalkeeping, cheerleader car washes, and disembodied hair:
• Who has the NBA’s biggest payroll? Gotta be the Lakers or Celtics, right? No, actually, it’s New Orleans. And I’m sure that Wizards fans out there will be excited to learn that their team is #3 on the list.
• You want to edit some home video footage of Ty Cobb? Better respond to this Craigslist ad fast. He assures you that this is not a fake, because as we all know, people are always trying to pass around fraudulent Ty Cobb videos.
Yeah, yeah, I know it’s only June, but the folks in New York can’t be pleased that the Yankees dropped to 0-7 against the Red Sox this year with a 6-5 loss at Fenway last night. To put it in perspective, the last time this happened the Yankees weren’t even the Yankees. It was 1912, and the New York Highlanders (and here I thought there could only be one Highlander) were the ones who couldn’t buy a win against the Sox.
(This is about the only Red Sox spanking Yankee fans wouldn’t mind)
Even more worrisome for New York is the continued debacle that is Chien-Ming Wang. After giving up four runs in 2 2/3 innings, Wang now has a 21.61 ERA in five starts this year — the highest ERA through five starts for a pitcher in the freaking history of baseball. Joe Girardi seems exasperated as to what to do with Wang. They’ve already done the DL thing, and NEW YORK TIMES notes that he was hitting 95 on the gun last night, so it would be hard to argue that he’s hurt again.
Mark Teixeira clearly isn’t the problem for the Yankees, as he went 4-for-5 with his league-leading 19th home run. But that doesn’t matter, since A-Rod is signaling to Tex where the catcher is setting up when he’s in the on-deck circle. What, you think that’s crazy talk that only some loose-cannon “analyst” who also thinks that George Clooney is “over there solving that thing” could come up with? Well, OK, you’d be right. AWFUL ANNOUNCING says Rick Sutcliffe has gotten into some hot water with the Yankee duo after accusing them of the pitch tipping on an ESPN broadcast with absolutely no evidence to back it up.
In any case, Boston has reclaimed a one-game lead in the AL East, which is remarkable considering they’ve gotten nothing out of David Ortiz, Daisuke Matsuzaka has been mostly a mess in his few starts, Josh Beckett just recently got his act together, they still don’t really have a shortstop, and this guy is milling around Fenway:
Floyd’s resignation comes in the wake of most of his team declaring that they wouldn’t be coming back anyway, for various reasons. Marcus Johnson jumped through all of the hoops to earn a waiver for a sixth year of eligibility, then suddenly decided to stay in the NBA draft, where he’s not expected to be picked. Daniel Hackett is even blowing off his senior season to also not get picked by an NBA team. Think they know something we don’t (yet) about where this program is heading, even with Floyd’s departure?
• HALOS HEAVEN has a huge break in the Nick Adenhart case, as toxicology reports show that Courtney Stewart, the 20-year-old driver of the car Adenhart was riding in, had a BAC of .016 at the time of her death. That’s twice the legal limit for an adult, and infinity times the limit for a 20-year-old (actually, California generously allows an underager to blow up to a .01 without consequence). ORANGE COUNTY WEEKLY’s Nick Schou is the one who obtained the toxicology reports, against the wishes of the DA’s office.
While it still doesn’t come close to excusing Andrew Gallo’s choice to drive drunk, and it doesn’t change the fact that Gallo is the one who ran a red light to cause the crash, it certainly is now reasonable for Gallo’s lawyer to argue that Stewart’s impairment could’ve played just as large a role in the accident as his client did. TMZ also reports that Stewart tested positive for an “illegal substance.” Still a horrible tragedy all around, but this definitely calls Adenhart’s judgment into question, as it looks like he chose to get into a car with an underage drunk (and possibly high) driver. What if Stewart had been sober? Would she have been able to see Gallo running the light and stop in time? We’ll never know.
• Everyone’s been talking about Zack Greinke all year, but Justin Verlander might be the best pitcher in the AL Central. He cruised to a complete-game victory over the White Sox last night to move to 7-0 in his last nine starts.