NFL Draft Left Quite An Impression On Gammons

Peter Gammons Tweeted this from his Twitter.com account yesterday:

Peter Gammons Tweets About Sarah Palin

(Myron Rolle: Taking Back Gammons Country)

Gammons also previously Tweeted about Tim Tebow’s Super Bowl ad: Read more…

Gammo: Fans ‘Don’t Care To Know’ About ‘Roids?

Peter Gammons is a treasure. Love watching and listening to him. No one knows or cares more about baseball.

Peter Gammons Interviews Alex Rodriguez

(ARod gave steroid confession to Gammons last February)

But something he wrote today @ MLB.com about the ongoing media and fan treatment of Mark McGwire disturbed me a little.

Clearly the baseball public is different than the public that adores other sports, most of whom don’t care to know (about steroids). The baseball public still hasn’t let go of The Steroid Era, and won’t until it comes to grip with it.

With all due respect, and I mean that sincerely, Gammo went way down the wrong road with that statement.

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Why Peter Gammons Left ESPN For MLB Network

Peter Gammons announced he was leaving ESPN today, and Ronald Blum of the ASSOCIATED PRESS reported shortly thereafter that Gammons had already struck a deal to join MLB Network. Additionally, two sources told me today that Gammons will soon be joining NESN.

Peter Gammons

(What, you didn’t expect me to run this did you?)

Sources familiar with the Gammons negotiations with ESPN and MLB Network told me that MLB Net offered the longtime baseball writer more money than ESPN, and just as important, the ability to reduce travel. The 64-year-old had grown weary of commuting even to nearby Bristol, so he jumped at the opportunity to make more money while working closer to home in Boston and Cape Cod.

Still, for a guy so associated with one television network, it seems a little strange for him to be leaving ESPN. I was also told by the same sources that ESPN execs weren’t so upset at Gammons leaving the network for NESN, but were disturbed when word came down he was joining MLB Network.

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Audio: Marni Phillips Calls 911 On Brooke Hundley

TMZ has the frantic 911 call Marni Phillips made when Brooke Hundley, who was having an affair with Marni’s husband Steve Phillips, went to the Phillips home to drop off a letter to her.

Marni Phillips 911 Call About Brooke Hundley Steve Phillips Affair

Also note the Facebook message from Hundley that I posted above. The incident happened on August 21, two days before the Facebook update.

During the call, Marni said, “I have a crazy woman who is involved with my husband and she’s come to my house to harm me and my children.

Brooke Hundley Steve Phillips

Marni also states that when Brooke saw her, she “got in her car, put it in reverse and smashed the rear end of her vehicle into the stone column … cut across our grass, avoiding the driveway completely, driving erratically over rocks and mulch beds to maneuver her vehicle down our hill.

Audio and transcript of the call after the jump. Read more…

Photo: Brooke Hundley With Peter Gammons

Photo of Brooke Hundley and Peter Gammons. Hundley is the woman who had an affair with Steve Phillips. More photos coming…

Brooke Hundley With Peter Gammon Steve Phillips Mistress

Gammons: Yankees’ Park Is ‘Biggest Joke In MLB’

The new Yankee Stadium is on a ridiculous home run pace, no one denies this. But the more level-headed pundits out there have chalked it up, somewhat logically, to a lineup that hits a lot of home runs, and the complete lack of a pitching staff.

Peter Gammons

But not Peter Gammons. The grand old man of the BBWAA tore apart the stadium, calling it “one of the biggest jokes in baseball.” Jeez Peter, tell us what you really think.

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Speed Read: Thabeet Survives, UConn Doesn’t

It was billed as the biggest face off between supreme big men we’ll see all season, but it never materialized. Instead, Pittsburgh’s first-ever win over a No. 1 team devolved into a one-man gun show, with DeJuan Blair scoring 22 points and pulling down a career-high 23 rebounds in front of 7-foot-3 UConn center Hasheem Thabeet, proving that you don’t always have to be the tallest player to have the biggest impact.

hasheem thabeet

(Owwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.)

In fact, Blair proved that you don’t even have to be the strongest, though he probably is. Really, you just need to get the other guy in foul trouble.

Thabeet was never a factor because he was constantly in foul trouble. He picked up a third foul early in the second half, then exited halfway through the latter frame with a cheap fourth foul while tussling with Blair. In fact, he had nearly as many fouls as points; the African export finished with a measly five points. The Pitt power forward, meanwhile, took an elbow straight to the eye, continued to stick his butt out to box out for rebounds and eventually finished with an NBA-Draft making performance and a puffy eye to show for it.

As much as the win may resonate with the NCAA Tournament Committee, it’ll linger longer in imaginations because of one play early on. With the game’s momentum still being fleshed out, Thabeet tried to reach over Blair for a rebound. Instead of getting the ball, he got a WWE-style takedown, complete with an awkward painful landing and amazement that his arm didn’t rip out of its socket. In fact, we’re still stunned that his shoulder is in one piece.

Sam Young also had 25 points for Pitt, proving that the trick to beating UConn, even with Thabeet a clear standard-setter among the country’s blocked shot stars, is to pound the ball inside. Forget that UConn lost perimeter stalwart Jerome Dyson to a season-ending knee injury. Just pump the ball inside.

Well, we can all say goodbye to the “Brett Favre to the Vikings” storyline. According to a pretty reliable source — Vikings owner Zygi Wilf — Favre won’t be playing in Minnesota next season.

“I would have been interested 15 years ago,” Wilf said. “No, I’m not interested. No way. I think he’s done well, he retired, it’s good. He’s a great guy. I’m just happy that we don’t have to keep on facing him.”

Look, we all knew that the Jets thought he was washed up, and clearly the entirety of the knee-jerk New York media did, too. But Zygi Wilf insinuating that Favre is a full 15 years beyond his prime? That’s kind of harsh, don’t you think? Especially for a team that seems like a likely landing spot for recently non-tendered free agent Jeff Garcia. Think about it: Favre is done at age 39 (going on 40) but Garcia can still play a week before his 39th birthday? All quarterbacks are not created equally, and we, for one group, have never been willing to put Garcia in the Favre category.

brett favre retires

(Sorry Peter King, no Vikings comeback.)

People keep throwing Alex Rodriguez under the bus after his steroid revelations, with Phillies pitcher Jamie Moyer the most recent to call any validity thrown his way into question. More interesting, however, has been the reaction of managers and players alike to call for even harsher penalties for positive tests as the sport moves forward.

David Ortiz training

(Big Papi: Steroids = missed year.)

That’s exactly what both David Ortiz and Ozzie Guillen did on Monday, which is interesting since both allegedly are friends of A-Rod (can we call them FOARs from now on?). Ortiz offered particularly strong statements when asked about how he would fix the game by ESPN’s roving baseball Larry King figure, Peter Gammons.

“I would suggest everybody get tested, not random, everybody,” he said. “You go team by team. You test everybody three, four times a year and that’s about it.”

And if a player tests positive for steroids?

“Ban ‘em for the whole year,” he said. “I think you clean up the game by the testing. I know that if I test positive by using any kind of substance, I know that I’m going to disrespect my family, the game, the fans and everybody, and I don’t want to be facing that situation. So what would I do? I won’t use it, and I’m pretty sure that everybody is on the same page,” he said.

Seems simple enough, doesn’t it? So will it happen? Not a chance. Even if Bud Selig pushed the absolute limit of his authority (and we’ve seen the limits of that in the past week) to get the change through, there’s little to no chance the MLB Players Association would give in to the demands in the middle of a renegotiated collective bargaining agreement that already includes penalties which are harsher than they want. And all they have to do to ram home the possibility of gross inequity is cite J.C. Romero’s current grievance. Suddenly, an entire year for an accidental GNC purchase makes Major League Baseball look preposterously over-aggressive.

arod banquet

(Hey, he’d have more time for banquets with a year off.)

There’s no safe zone here for baseball, and while that’s sad, it’s also appropriate, considering what the sport got away with in the 90s. Karma can be a bitch, and it’s being one right now for the national pastime. If you need more evidence, tune in to A-Rod’s Yankee press conference this afternoon. It’ll be on just about every frequency at 1:30 p.m. EST. The scrolling coverage ticker on ESPN has already started.

  • Somehow this went completely overlooked during the NBA’s All-Star weekend, but the Slam Dunk contest may have been host to outright xenophobia on Saturday night. Not only were the dunks by Trail Blazer Rudy Fernandez impressive, they included a touching tribute that actually had significant sentimental resonance. That’s more than you can say about Gerald Green’s jersey tribute to Dee Brown or Josh Smith’s tribute to Dominique Wilkins, but commentators gushed about those efforts. And the inability to capture what Fernando Martin meant to basketball in general? This piece from THE PAINTED AREA does it a lot more justice.

  • One more from soccer: Sometimes it doesn’t pay to be a ref, no matter how much it actually pays. Just check the video from an Italian Serie A game above.

If A-Rod tests positive for steroids again, how long should he disappear for?

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Speed Read: Is ESPN Delivering A-Rod Overload?

We’re only on Day 3 of the “Alex Rodriguez may have been exposed to-tested positive for-admitting taking steroids” epic, and clearly this scandal is already getting such an overwhelming media tap out that everyone is completely burned out on it already. It’s just the bottom line truth, end of story.

A-Rod A-Hole New York Post headline

Yes, the Peter Gammons interview was riveting the first time. Unfortunately for all of us, it lasts for 35 minutes. That’s approximately 15 minutes too long for any mentally balanced human being. Hey, it’s so long we had to break it up into three different video segments just to show it here.

By our calculations, SportsCenter devoted all but approximately 8 minutes of its 6 p.m. broadcast to the A-Rod steroids scandal (and that’s a liberal assessment). Things were a little better for the 11:30 slot with Stuart Scott and Scott Van Pelt, though the duo still had to sit in the A-Rod sidecar for some 34 minutes.

Of course, that isn’t going to stop anyone from weighing in as heavily as they know how to, and all of the Sports pages in New York — and around the country — are delivering their $0.02 with exactly the broad range of reactions you’d expect from a city that hosts the country’s most respected reporting (THE NEW YORK TIMES) and it’s most hackneyed headlines (THE NEW YORK POST).

Let’s start with the measured responses, shall we? THE NEW YORK TIMES offers the straight take, even going so far as to refer to steroids as “performance enhancers”. But, as NYTIMES.com oft does, it also delivers a pretty snazzy graphic, complete with a year-by-year look at Rodriguez’s development. That’s more than you can say for the NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, which has a pretty balanced Sports front page, but includes a rotating front page top story that has a brightly splashed “I WAS STUPID” in front of A-Rod’s contemplative mug. NEWSDAY goes into attack mode, starting it’s homepage with a story attempting to shoot holes into A-Rod’s apologetic interview, and also pimping a banner that claims Rodriguez may be called to testify in Washington. If true, that’s a hell of a story.

Yet for all the New York papers, none can ever compare to the NEW YORK POST. As with all the other New York papers save THE TIMES, the POST gives President Obama the boot for A-Rod, but dampens down it’s screaming “A-Roid” based print backpage for an “I WAS STUPID” front. Somehow we thought it would be worse.

And leave it to Darren Rovell to nail the most interesting angle on the whole thing. The biggest loser in the A-Rod scandal is … wait for it … the city budget of Cooperstown New York. Bet you didn’t see that coming, did you.

The blogosphere has been no different, unfortunately. Deadspin gets first prize for best ironic take, focusing on A-Rod’s bizarre skin color rather than his drug habit. Daulerio claims that it could be the Bahamas effect, though we’ve been skeptical of this DAILY NEWS report since it came out. Why? Because other reports had him at the bedside of his ailing daughter in a Miami hospital. Agent Scott Boras’s weekend response that he was out of the country gives creedence to the Bahamas rumor, but his ex-wife Cynthia sure seems to give credibility to the idea he was in Miami. So, rather that “What color is A-Rod?”, maybe we should all be asking “Where the hell was A-Rod?”

You know what? Forget it. We just can’t take any more A-Rod analysis. Yes, it’s probably important. Yes, just about everyone has to weigh in on it, because now we finally know what it would have been like if Barry Bonds or Mark McGwire had admitted being users. But at the end of the day, while it’s been fascinating for a day, it’s a killer for three. Consider us dead.

  • Of all the other significant events of Monday, nothing comes close to the announcement that Bar Refaeli is the new SPORTS ILLUSTRATED SWIMSUIT EDITION cover girl, at least in our book. Of course, you already knew that because you read it hear yesterday.
  • If you saw Lil’ Wayne’s appearance on ESPN First Take’s “1st and 10″ earlier this year, you’ll be pretty excited about this next item: He’s going to be on AROUND THE HORN. Really. Can you imagine what Woody Paige is going to look like trying to come up with a response to a Lil Wayne retort? Priceless.

  • OK, we tried to avoid it, but we’ve got to get back into soccer for one last story. This one is just too bizarre: A Brazilian goalkeeper who suffers a complete emotional breakdown on the pitch after letting in a sloppy goal. It’s as embarrassing as it sounds:

Does admitting he used steroids help or hurt A-Rod’s Hall of Fame case?

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At Times John Kruk Wants To Punch Karl Ravech

Have you ever been watching “Baseball Tonight” or any other studio show on ESPN and wondered if the anchors actually liked each other? I mean, I know I can’t stand most of the talking heads ESPN puts on the air so you have to figure there are times when Mike Ditka wants to reach across the desk and punch Stuart Scott right in his lazy eye when he says “Boo-ya!”

The one ESPN personality who I think has probably had it worse than anybody else is Karl Ravech. As host of Baseball Tonight he’s had to work with his fair share of idiots.  Sure, dealing with Harold Reynolds wasn’t too bad — well, except for Harold’s insistence on post-show hugs — and Peter Gammons is an icon, but aside from those two there are a lot more Steve Phillips and John Kruks sitting behind that desk. There has to be occasions where Ravvy just wants to choke Krukker after he says something that makes no real sense, but if there have been, Karl isn’t talking.

Of course, the same can’t be said of Kruk.

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Did Mariners Duff On Chance For LaRussa In ‘07?

When you think of the great sports journalists of our era, some familiar names immediately come to mind: Gammons. Swindle. Whitlock McIntyre Mariotti whoever runs Busted Coverage Me. It’s time to add another name to the pantheon: Duff McKagan. You may remember him from such bands as Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver, but he’s also got a better scoop than anybody on ESPN.com right now.

Duff McKegan Tony LaRussa

According to McKagan, Tony La Russa told him that the Mariners had passed him over in their search for a new manager, ostensibly after they had canned Mike Hargrove in 2007. As McKagan told REVERB (site features sparse NSFW language): Read more…