Phil Mushnick is a man that once garnered the nickname “Mr. Grumpy” from his boss at Fox Sports. That was in 1998, when it was known even then that Mr. Mushnick was a relic. “He’s a throwback,” David Hill, president of Fox Sports told The New York Observer at the time. “He sees himself as a knight in shining armor protecting sports fans from the slings and arrows hurled at them by cretinous, unfeeling network sports chiefs.”
But cretinous is a term that applies more to Mr. Mushnick more than sports chiefs, especially after today’s rant about Brooklyn Nets, during which he refers to the players as N——, which is certainly a novel way to say the N-word without saying the N-word, but otherwise is a pretty indefensible position all around. Even better is that Mr. Mushnick then tried to defend his statements by blaming the Nets’ part-owner, Jay-Z.
On Sunday afternoon, Brian Cashman, general manager of the New York Yankees, stood by the dugout at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa watching the team take batting practice prior to a spring training matchup against the Detroit Tigers. A pair of dark glasses shielded Mr. Cashman’s eyes from the bright Florida rays, but his mostly bald crown was exposed. A man walked up to Mr. Cashman and gave him a warm greeting.
“What’s cooking?” the man asked.
“My head,” Mr. Cashman replied tersely.
The 44-year-old GM has plenty of reasons to feel the heat aside from the temperatures in Tampa, which topped 80 degrees nearly every day this month. Mr. Cashman spent much of the offseason dealing with a sex scandal that saw photos of his alleged pajama pants make the blog headlines and found him in court facing an alleged mistress he claims stalked and harassed him.
BuzzFeed added two new verticals to its growing stable today, one for women and one for sports.
SPORTS AND THE CITY
On a recent Wednesday evening, ESPN commentator Skip Bayless sat in a booth in the bar at the Midtown Hilton nursing a Diet Coke and quietly watching two basketball games.
“By nature, I am quiet off the air,” he said. “My mom was real loud and that made me speak only when spoken to. But even as a child, if you challenged me, you would get both barrels.”
Mr. Bayless, 60, wore a navy-blue sweatshirt, matching cargo sweatpants and white-and-navy Fila sneakers. “You haven’t challenged me,” he pointed out. “I’ve agreed with your opinions.”
Mr. Bayless and The Observer found a surprising amount of common ground during our interview: The Atlanta Hawks are perennially overrated; the 2002-03 San Antonio Spurs were the best team in the history of that franchise; and LeBron James doesn’t deserve the MVP award because his team is too good.
Agreeing with Mr. Bayless is a disorienting experience.
SPORTS AND THE CITY
A few weeks ago we took note of Steinbrenner Syndrome, wherein a New York City sports player or team is only as loved as their last great performance. It’s the disease embedded in the genetic code of New York City’s sports media and fans. Now, as far as Linsanity’s concerned, we can consider ourselves relapsed.
I first recognized it on Dec. 14, 2009, though I didn’t know its name then.
The news broke that Hideki Matsui—the George Harrison of the Yankees, the quiet, stoic performer, and the 2009 World Series MVP—wouldn’t play for New York the following season. The Yankees told Mr. Matsui’s agent that he wasn’t a priority, so Matsui took a one-year, $6.5 M. contract with the Anaheim Angels.
The same team who gave Carl “Ass Injury” Pavano a $40 M. contract (for which he earned $17,646 per pitch, having thrown in only 26 Yankees games) not four years before let Matsui go, just one month after he was named the MVP of the World Series he’d helped the team win. Even now, when I speak with fellow Yankees fans about this travesty, they just shake their heads and shrug, as if to say: Yeah, we know. What’re you gonna do?*
It was a classic, symptomatic moment of Steinbrenner syndrome, a disease characterized by short attention span, poor memory and fits of ecstasy followed by angry outbursts. It affects nine out of 10 New York sports fans (and 10 out of 10 New York sports editors). Its only treatment is frequent, intense doses of winning.
Jeremy Lin’s rocketing stardom is a game-changer, in more than a few ways. For one thing, the Knicks are winning and the Garden’s regularly packed, nowadays. For another, besides breaking records as the first Harvard grad since the 50s to play in the NBA, and only the fourth Asian-American to play in the league, he might be one of the few NBA players who can claim to have made a significant impact on financial markets.
The New York Media Softball League continues to heat up as landlocked editorial staffers channel their sublimated rage into line drives. Two-time champions the Wall Street Journal Capitalists faced off against the Newsweek/Daily Beast team during Week 2 of the league’s exhibition play. In 2010, the only team to slay the mighty Beast was Newsweek. After a tumultuous year in which the properties merged and the editorial reins were handed to Tina Brown, the combined entity can be sure of at least one outcome: a better, tougher softball team.
For years, motion capture technology has helped video games and movies create better similuations of professional sports. Now the process is being inverted, as real pro athletes turn to computer generated avatars to help them perfect their form and avoid injury.
The New York Times highlights this trend, beginning with a quote from Read More
NY startup Fungo has scored a major partnership with Little League International to make the official iPhone and iPad apps for the league’s 75,000 teams.
Fungo is liscensing two apps, one of which helps teams to keep score and tabulate player stats. A second app lets user stream a live play by play Read More