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Thursday, October 22, 2009
Like a lot of you, I've been watching the Steve Phillips business from afar. Between the almost complete lack of any real baseball angle whatsoever, and the fact that, unlike a lot of scandalous stories, this one has an innocent wife and children being dragged through it all, I really don't see the percentage in writing about it. I'll gawk like the rest of you, but it doesn't exactly scream out for coverage.
Of greater interest to me is one of the things that has spun out of the Phillips story, and that's Deadspin's crazy-even-for-Deadspin assault on ESPN yesterday. If you missed it, Deadspin editor A.J. Daulerio, apparently pissed that he missed out on the Steve Phillips scoop due to ESPN stonewalling him when he sought comment on the affair last month, decided to let loose with multiple rumors he's been sitting on regarding the sexploits of ESPN employees. He reported on a sexual harassment complaint against radio guy Eric Kuselias, as well as his divorce. He went after Katie Lacey, ESPN's Executive Vice President for marketing, accusing her of sleeping her way to the top. In his last post he went on about the overall culture of ESPN, about how everyone there allegedly has sex with everyone else and how, somehow, the town of Bristol, Connecticut is to blame. These descriptions do not do it justice. He really pulled no punches.
I read these with my mouth agape, not because of the allegations contained in them, but because of Daulerio's decision to actually write about them, and Nick Denton's presumed approval of them to begin with. Yes, the Gawker empire is well known for trafficking in scandal, but this seems above and beyond their usual brand of muck. As AOL's Clay Travis -- lawyer, and, it just so happens, former Deadspin assistant editor -- notes, this may not amount to a meritorious defamation suit by ESPN, but it's certainly closer to the line than Deadspin normally treads. I actually think ESPN would ultimately lose any lawsuit here simply because defamation is so hard to win, but I could see Disney and ESPN making the decision that, after all of the hell Deadspin has caused them, this is a decent enough place to draw the line, file the suit, and cause Nick Denton to have to pay a bunch of money in legal fees. Whether any suit is brought would likely hinge on the cooperation of either Kuselias or Lacey, whose lives would become open books in such a suit, but if one of them were pissed off enough and/or close enough to retirement to say sure, go ahead, it would be game-on.
Maybe there are long odds against that happening, but are they so long that it was worth Daulerio taking such a risk? Moreover, is this really where the original promise of Deadspin and the sports blogosphere in general was meant to lead us? I'm not Buzz Bissinger when it comes to these matters, but as I sit here today and reflect on all of this, I am far from inspired.
Courtesy of our friend Scott Simkus, the Negro League All-Star set is now available for Strat-o-Matic:
I’ve spent the past several years working as a consultant to the Strat-O-Matic game company, focusing on their Negro League All-Star set. The opportunity is really the product of happenstance, lucky timing on my part.
But it is now, and Scott talks about what went into it and why it was possible to do it today. Neat stuff regardless, but especially so if you're a strat guy. Or girl.
The set can be found here. New Strat website too.
Stuff I wrote while thinking of the best way to taunt the lead singer of a 1980s British synth-pop band (explained below) . . .
I've mentioned this before I think, but my In-N-Out managing brother's longtime girlfriend was a childhood friend, and is still best friends with the wife of a guy named Andy McCluskey. McCluskey, some of you may know, is the lead singer for the band OMD of "If you leave" fame. The McCluskeys keep a house in San Diego and my brother is over there all the time, house sits for them them, babysits the kids, etc. When I first became aware of this several years ago I began taunting my brother -- who was sort of dropping the OMD thing like it was some major social chit -- over the moderate-at-best worldwide fame of his new friend and patron. I probably would have left it alone, but he set me off when he used the "hey, they're really big in Europe and Japan" line. Since then, it's been almost constant abuse. Things like "hey Curt, I gotta go; Howard Jones is on the other line, and it's obviously a much more important call." Or "So, like, is house sitting for Human League a promotion or is it considered a lateral move?" Most of the jokes were about him being a one-hit wonder. He told Andy about all of this. His response: "ask your brother what it's like to work a job, because I'll never have to know." Damn McCluskey. He's had me dead to rights on that one for about five years now.
Anyway, I'm newly inspired to mock him -- in a friendly fashion, mind you -- because OMD is apparently going on some tour this winter with another John Hughes movie one-hit-wonder, Simple Minds. Curt is going to travel with them and, hell, I don't know, get them towels or hair gel or white Zinfandel or Patrick Nagel paintings or whatever it is those 80s synth-poppers need to survive. I was thinking about flooding the official OMD website with questions about whether it was true that Hughes' will finally freed them from servitude or whether it's true that Oingo Boingo was going to be headlining or something, but his wife runs the site and she's pretty good people.
There's no point to this except that if I'm slow blogging this afternoon it's because I'm obsessed with trying to come up with new and inventive taunts for OMD. Which pretty much shows you how pathetic I am. Determined, but pathetic.
Phillies 10, Dodgers 4: At some point this winter, Ned Colletti and Joe Torre are going to have an epiphany in which they realize that having to rely on Vicente Padilla to save their butts in an elimination game means that they screwed something up somewhere along the line. Torre may not have deployed his troops in ideal fashion in the NLCS, but ultimately, he was simply outgunned. And betrayed by his bullpen, his supposed strength.
But this was not merely a Dodgers loss. It was a Phillies win. Their lineup has proved every bit as formidable as advertised, with Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth showing that to beat them you need to do more than to throw a lefty or two at Ryan Howard and hope for the best. They're going to be tough to beat.
The Yankees are their likely opponent. We'll see if they seal the deal tonight. If they do, Game 1 of the World Series will likely feature a matchup of two Cleveland Indians' Cy Young Award winners, one of whom is managed by the Indians' former manager. They should get Duane Kuiper to throw out the first pitch.