Mike Francesa


JaKarrROW5Budding star Jakarr Sampson and a robust looking Steve Lavin (above).

If you have been watching St. John’s of late, you’ve no doubt seen both stretches of rapture and ineptitude.  In their wins, they seem to run out to big leads, only to watch them dissolve and then hold on for dear life.  In the losses, save for a blowout at the hands of Georgetown (which came as no surprise) they seem to get those leads also.  And then they meekly fritter them away, plagued by stretches, minutes on end, whole intervals between commercial breaks where the squad can’t score, or even pull one decent look.  But the losses have come rather infrequently of late, as St. John’s has now battled to 13-7, staging 4 largely impressive wins in a row, and looks to make it 14-7 tonight with a very big home game against DePaul, one of those teams who St. John’s looked all world against in their first meeting for part of the 2nd half, and who then had to scramble late against to come out with the win.

The offense might be described as meek, especially during peak inefficiency, which has basically cost them almost all 7 of their losses this year.  But do not make the mistake of calling the group meek.  The Johnnies are obviously blessed with tremendous fortitude, an attitude which starts with Coach Lavin and the rest of the staff, and is exemplified by some extremely gritty players on the court.  Obviously D’Angelo Harrison is imminently suited for Big East basketball, and as the team leader, has truly led.  As disappointed as fans had to be with their loss to Rutgers at MSG, a game in which Harrison missed a bevy of critical free throws in the games final stages, one had to be pleased with Harrison’s way of owning up to the loss.  One thing we can not stand is when players take losses too well, and don’t seem upset after losses, especially when they have made mistakes that play a large role in the outcome.  So when Harrison said that night, when he returned to campus, he was going right to the gym to shoot free throws, well, that’s all you can ask of a kid in terms of attitude.  Obviously Harrison, at 20th in the nation in scoring with 19.8 PPG, is not afraid to be the catalyst on offense, and while his shot selection is often questionable, we are not about to question his willingness or the results.  Harrison is equally valuable for his intangible qualities.  Against Notre Dame at MSG, then 14-2, Harrison stuffed 6’10 Tom Knight, giving away some 8 inches to come up with that block that helped key what was probably St. John’s best win all year.  Not just because of the opponent but because of how they played.  In that game, St. John’s won both halves, a rare feat for this squad in Big East play. And still the contest came down to another monstrous block in the waning seconds, as Chris Obepka, who we’re sky high on, rejected Pat Connaughton, sending the ball off Connaughton’s head and out of bounds, so that St. John’s also gained possession.

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/in-lavins-return-st-johns-freshman-throws-record-block-party/

Obepka is a special player.  As a freshman, he is second in the nation in blocks at 4.6 a game, is also collecting 5.9 RPG, and is already by far the most dominant interior defender in school history.  What a tremendous coup by this staff it was in securing Obepka for St. John’s.  Frankly, we see Obepka as a component in a near future final 4 team, and we already see him improving his court positioning, expanding his offense, and taking better fouls.  A kid like Obepka, who has at times literally put a lid on the hoop for long stretches of clock, makes it possible for St. John’s to come up empty on offense itself for long runs and still be in a position to get W’s.

Now we’d like to temper our criticisms of Lavin’s recruitment of transfer Jamal Branch, who is a talent who has fit in and made plays.  After the bust that was Nurideen Lindsay, we are down on shoot first point guards, transfer point guards, and to a degree, national as opposed to local products.  But Branch’s 9 PPG and 2.4 APG have generated about 14 PPG for a team that struggled to break 60 before he arrived. Most impressive about Branch is he knows when to shoot.  How often do you see a guard shoot 50% from the field?  Branch is shooting .556, and against DePaul in Rosemont, Branch shot 9-14 while attempting zero 3’s.

It’s been contagious.  The Johnnies are a poor team from beyond the arc, and so they don’t play to that weakness, attempting precious few 3’s relative to most programs.  Still, they’ve made a few big bombs.  We were very happy to see Dom Pointer drill a 3 from the top of the circle late against Seton Hall, a just reward for Pointer, a real heart and soul player, now fully adapted to the Big East big boy style.

Jakarr Sampson, the much touted freshman wing, has also adapted very well to conference play.  Sampson has emerged as a consistent scorer and rebounder (14.3/6.5) and on offense, is the team’s best player on the block, and probably filling the lane in transition, where he has had some highlight reel dunks.  Also, we are now very happy with his haircut. With Harrison and Sampson forming a big 2 offensively, and with Pointer and Obepka playing key roles defensively while chipping in with opportunistic play on offense, the Johnnies really only need a combination of 2 out 3 remaining  regulars to be going offensively, and it seems to us that Phil Greene, Amir Garrett, and Branch are very capable when viewed in that light.  They seem to become more capable every day.

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2012/12/08/st-johns-growing-pains-and-poor-grooming/

With Sampson, like with Mo Harkless last year, we may have a bit of a catch-22.  We’d love to qualify for the dance, obviously, and will need Sampson to play to his capability in order to.  All along we felt Sampson was a long shot to leave for the NBA after this season, but now, we’re not so sure, especially if St. John’s does what it needs to do down the stretch, which will be to win the ones they should (Providence, DePaul, USF) and steal a couple they shouldn’t (Louisville, Georgetown, Syracuse, Pitt, Notre Dame, UConn(?)).  Should St. John’s muster some magic here in the regular season’s final 9 contests, we feel the likelihood of Sampson leaving increases dramatically.  Frankly, a kid of his age, hops, and upside would not be a bad gamble midway through the first round of the draft this year, and a playoff team with the luxury of grooming a player a little would make a perfect fit for him.  In fact, we were all set to include a Youtube clip of Sampson on a break away dunk, but have thought better of it, as this kid does not need any further promotion.

But really, we are not worried about wins we should have had, defections, or the tournament too much right now.  We are enjoying this season for what it is–a tracking of the growth of a team set to morph into a dangerous contender, which is already starting show some if its true colors.  We feel this club could survive without Sampson next year, even without The Big East as a conference, as we are fairly certain that St. John’s will land in a strong, probably basketball only off shoot of the Big East, with Catholic schools like Georgetown, St. John’s, and Villanova as anchors.

Of course we are also thrilled to have back strong the key cog, which is a healthy Steve Lavin.  It was extremely disheartening to hear Lavin tell Mike Francesa in November that he was still only about “80%” back to normal, and we were obviously very concerned for him and sympathetic, on a personal level.  We would not be surprised if Coach is still not at 100%, but by our count, he’s doing one of his best coaching jobs of his career with this group, which has, astoundingly, gotten absolutely zero contributions from any upper classmen.  With the program and Lavin both on solid footing, and with the Johnnies poised next year for their best year in perhaps 2 decades, we hope that Monasch and Harrington have sense enough to lock up Lavin with a state of the art, wrap around/flex contract that we now see given to elite coaches, which essentially automatically extend at the end of each season without any reopeners.

LET’S GO REDMEN!!!!!

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

1352910431291_Xfinity_DavesOldPorn_1280x640_Overlay_590_295The great David Attell (above), starring in the little known Showtime show, “Dave’s Old Porn.”

When we tuned in to Howard 100 on Wednesday of last week, we weren’t sure the show would even be new, with the show’s seemingly always expanding vacation breaks.  When we heard that it was, we figured it was to be a one day work week, since Howard stopped doing new Thursday shows with his last contract.  So when we tuned in Thursday we were doubly delighted, both at the prospect of a fresh show, and at the very interesting SNL cast member Fred Armisen, who guested, with a new season of Portlandia about to debut.  Armisen meets both major criteria for an excellent guest.  He’s funny and honest.  It made for interesting radio to hear Armisen candidly discuss having to borrow money while in his 30’s from disappointed parents, his failed marriage to Mad Men star Elisabeth Moss (who told a magazine recently that Armisen’s greatest impression and least employed one is that of a “normal person”), his relationship with Lorne Michaels, and how he is a life long Stern fan who, as a boy, would listen to the show in the mornings with his South American mom.

Better still was Armisen’s willingness to do the Wrap Up Show, which, let’s face it, is greatly enhanced by any outside help it can get.  When Armisen was asked to weigh in on Ronnie’s practice of hopping up on the sink and washing his asshole, his genuine discomfort was priceless.  The holidays are a great time to hear recounted by Howard, whether he is complaining about his Christmas gifts (always classic), or describing his disdain for travel and ill ease when on vacation (also classic).  So when Armisen discussed a row boat he had gotten Lorne Michaels as a present which started Howard on a ‘Howard is unappreciated by the staff who’d be nothing without him’ rant, it gave us Howard at his best: angry Howard.  It was also great to hear Armisen back Howard’s belief that going to Italy is stupid, saying that essentially Howard is right when he says that people go away to a foreign place and immediately begin to watch foreign TV while they plan where they can get their familiar tasting coffee, longing for the comforts of home, like of course, “good toilets.”

The show seems to always hum when celebrity guests are fans of the show, which was also the case on Friday–the rarest of indulgences–when super fan Natalie Maines and long time guest Dave Attell, visited the program.  It seems like it was centuries ago when Howard did a Friday show, and that Robin was absent, who often lends a much needed soft balance, actually enhanced the program, for our money.

In part that is a real credit to these guests, Stern show veterans, who don’t need the buffer that Robin sometimes provides to the reticent.  Natalie Maines, who we do not appreciate as an artist, is an absolutely compelling guest, both because of free speech issues and because she is geeked up on the show.  Natalie Maines is a true lesson in the cautionary nature of free speech, vilified for criticizing perhaps the nation’s worst ever president, and though the Dixie Chicks were right and only exercising their 1st amendment right, it’s also true they have never recovered, and will never recover.

Now obviously it isn’t very smart to disrespect a Republican, Texan president when you are essentially a countrified novelty act, alienating a lot of your fan base.  We doubt, for instance, that Eddie Veder or Dave Grohl would have suffered similarly had they have made similar remarks.  The thing about Natalie Maines that one must always respect is her willingness to speak the truth, which remains undiminished despite her career travails.  It was outstanding to hear her criticisms of Lisa G, who we have absolutely no use for, and which were nothing if not true.  Lisa G is awful.  She is a dried up, chaste spinster, a hack, annoying and overly opportunistic but who lacks the talent to justify it.  Shuli’s and some other staffers’ bitterness at Lisa for cashing in on the show with her tea party/cookie party nonsense is totally warranted.  At least the block parties and other comedy tours offer some entertainment value.  We have to say that we have appreciated, in Howard’s quest for brevity, the consolidation of the show’s daily timeline, insofar as it has diminished Lisa’s boring bit.  Consequently, we have been pleased by John Leiberman’s expanding role because he is a good sport who is good for the show, and funny, which Lisa is not.  Does anyone recall Lisa with that put on bit where she considered sleeping with Ronnie?  Absurd.  First off, Lisa is an old maid.  Secondly, Ronnie?  Perhaps the most unattractive person at all of Sirius–impish, old, foul mouthed, uncouth and grotesque.  When Natalie Maines called out Lisa for trying to get Back Office Radio off the air, Lisa, on the spot, said something to the effect of, ‘well, they make fun of me.’  Maine’s response summed up Lisa’s sorry existence perfectly.  She said, “why don’t you take it like a man?”

BTW, Back Office Radio is actually very entertaining, especially as it comes on a day of the week when there’s no other live programming.  And say what you want about Will or Jason, who we normally don’t love but who has grown on us, they are not opportunistic.  They are happy to be there, and as Jason described last week when challenged to put down his pipe, loathe to disappoint Howard.  You don’t see them trying to capitalize on Howard’s name every which way, or combining shameless money grabs with cheap pandering, like the nonsense about having Howard take the picture for the cover of a book.  Was anything at all more transparent?  In truth, we feel that Howard probably feels a bit sorry for Lisa, and so he is willing to let slide some things that he won’t tolerate from others.

After Artie’s departure, we had felt that the show was foundering a little bit, as Howard and Robin regrouped and readjusted to a show that had one less significant contributor.  We worried a bit for the show’s long term prospects, but soon we saw that it was foolish to doubt Howard, and that the show was as good as always.  Though in our opinion, the more is usually the merrier when we are talking about adding funny people to the mix.  We always like when a person we approve of is sitting in, like for example, Jimmy Kimmel, and so we look forward to those few days a year.  As we also do, of course, with the great George Tekkai, and the often great David Arquette, who brings in an interesting dynamic by his inability to not know when to shut up.  We thought that when Shuli sat in for those days this fall that he was funny and wasn’t overbearing, and wondered if he wasn’t maybe on tap to be a low cost replacement in Artie’s chair.  We guess the chemistry was lacking though, because Shuli hasn’t been back.

Of course, we absolutely love Sour Shoes.  His appearances as in house musical talent have been stellar.  Not just his musical talent either, but the voices and quirks, as well as the very interesting history/background, which Howard loves to probe.  The guy basically comes upon nominal contact with a female, has not been on a date since the 90’s, and lapses into baby talk or Bababooey talk while flipping burgers at Wendy’s.  What could be better?  Sour Shoes would provide a lot of bang for minimal buck, which is obviously important to Sirius, which frankly, has seemed to skimp on talent and on the Stern Show, which is why we suspect that Howard is really down to 3 days a week.  Howard was adamant last year that he had not and would not accept a pay cut, and technically, a reduced schedule at the same rate does not constitute one.  We can also tell that the entire show really appreciates Sour Shoes’ presence there.  To hear Fred be so complimentary of Sour Shoes, or Sal just gush about him, really tells us that he is not only valued but has the right chemistry for the gig.  It’s a shame that Sirius has created acrimony with Howard, denying him his bonus, denying Fred and his daughter access to the One Direction concert, when obviously Fred is not the type to make untoward demands of his employers.  Gary recently talked about how when they all got to Sirius, there was a lot of good will, promise, and optimism, and that “now it’s long gone.”  We really hope Howard is there for a long time to come, but also feel that Howard and his people, that talent in general, needs to be respected, honored, and paid accordingly, and we’ve seen a trend away from that, with Howard being a prime example of management’s lack of respect for talent (another obvious example would be the very despicable NHL lockout).

Below is a link to the uber talented Sour Shoes in another radio appearance, this time with Mike Francesa.  Take a look:

Friday’s other guest, Dave Attell, one of the flat out funniest dark comics anywhere, would be an amazing, if higher profile and more expensive option.  It was great to hear Attell, whom we’ve always loved, and it was also excellent to hear Attell and Howard talk, uninterrupted by Robin, who does not need to play buffer for a comedic genius like Attell.  As great as Howard is mad, he is also great when he takes a fatherly tone with people, in a sort of advisory capacity, as he often does with Sal, as he did with Jason about cannabis, and as he did with Attell regarding his career and finances.  We have to apologize to Attell, as even as big fans of his, we were unaware of his Dave’s Old Porn, which we’ve now quickly sought to become acquainted with.  Whether Attell is joking about his masturbation frequency or methods (‘on an old IBM mission control’), discussing his discomfort with first class flying, citing a “certain level of douchebaggery” among first class travelers, or just being candid about his life and the state of comedy, we were enthralled.  As huge Doug Stanhope fans, we were very interested to hear Attell tell us that Stanhope, and another favorite, Louis CK, are the best in the business.  We also thought it extremely humble of Attell, a comedy lifer, to critique his own comedy, saying that he’s definitely “not great, could be better.”  It too was nice to hear him say nice things about Kathy Griffin, another favorite of ours.

We know that Attell would be a perfect fit on the show in a permanent role, and in fact, would enhance an already great product tremendously.  With Attell traveling with Artie (“The Anti Social Comedy Tour”) though, and so humble and careful not to offend fellow comics, we aren’t sure how comfortable he’d be with what could be perceived by some as taking Artie’s job, though he’d have to be comfortable with the pay, especially since he is losing money on Showtime.  And let’s face it.  Artie has obviously moved on with another national radio show, and it would be very petty of him to stand in the away of Attell, who, frankly is a much better comic than Artie, no disrespect, whether off the cuff or as a standup.  Especially since Artie has no one to blame but himself that he no longer works on the greatest radio show in history.

We’ll conclude with a kind word for Jason and his bid to go straight for a month without herb.  Your predicament has inspired me to do the same, and I too, will have a party when my time is through.

In Solidarity,

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

In the wake of the new CBA in the NBA, fear not, big market fans. The war between have and ‘have not’ owners has passed, and there can be no better indicator that the big markets made out smashingly well than the Knicks’ acquisition of C Tyson Chandler, the prize of this free agent class. The amnesty provision that the Knicks employed to gain the maneuverability to sign Chandler to a 58M contract when they were totally tapped out by walking away from the 14M contract of Chauncey Billups, provided they were willing to write him a check for that amount, is surely a clause that deep pocketed teams will be way more willing to use to their benefit than the smaller market teams who took such a hard line during the lockout that they forced.

Begs the question: why such histrionics in the first place? Well, as astute observers of labor disputes in sport, we did kind of agree with Billy Hunter’s assertion that the league was trying to break the players, behind a core of small market owners like Michael Jordan, lead hypocrite, who wanted the lockout to stretch on to the point where the players were feeling the impact of missed paychecks. So why abandon course in favor of a compromise that more favored the Knicks than the Kings, Celtics than Cavs?

Because Stern’s public stance that 15 or so clubs were losing money was so obviously no more than just a posture. If the Charlotte Bobcats aren’t willing to pay Ray Felton 7.5M per for 2 years, the 27/28 truly healthy teams around the league can not pay the price for it. If Lebron and Bosh won’t re-up or up with Cleveland, then Stern in his infinite wisdom can not negotiate a CBA that alters Cleveland’s geography and ethnic demography.

Look at the Memphis Grizzlies. They heaped money on Rudy Gay and Mike Conley, absorbed the huge deal of Zach Randolph, and are poised to now lavish 70M or more on Marc Gasol. They aren’t exactly hurting.

The new CBA did as much for small markets as it could have. By making top tier free agent movement essentially prohibitive financially to the player by limiting salary and term, the deal ensures that most sensible players will be traded for prime assets rather than seeing them flee in FA, getting way more in return than they would in an after thought sign and trade. That’s as far as they can go. The league does not have the ability to restrict player movement beyond that.

They put franchises in places like Minnesota in the first place, and were happy to carve up the franchise initiation fees, but they can’t make players want to be there. As for the Knicks, you have to respect the Chandler move, which brings to the club the elements they lack: size, toughness, shot blocking, rebounding and post defense. You’d have to respect the move for both the creativity and the cost, when compared to say, Nene, at 70M for 4 years. And for their ability to recognize that Paul wasn’t getting done and for seamlessly and successfully changing gears and getting this done.

The Knicks do have a passable player in Toney Douglass at the point, and with Billups out a good bit, TD has plenty of experience in the lead. He should see a lot of open looks, and with he and Chandler starting, they look like a better defensive club. Iman Shumpert, drafted on the strength of his defense, may now see some time at point guard as well, which we’d prefer to Bibby getting significant minutes.

Weak at two guard, the Knicks are in talks to bring back Jamal Crawford, who would be a great addition. Should that trade go down, expect Landry Fields to go the other way. Knicks GM Glen Grunwald just told Mike Francesa that the team will soon announce the signing of Jerome Jordan, and that they are still hoping to bring back Shawne Williams, who resuscitated his career with the Knicks. Grunwald also boasted that NY will have a 5M and a 2M exception available next season, and a 2.5M exception available right now.

As for the Nets, if they did speak to Dwight Howard on Thursday without permission, the Magic should file tampering charges. Can’t the Nets simply text D12’s entourage, like every other team?

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

Steve Lavin, who has now missed consecutive games and 3 games total for St. John’s this year, will be interviewed by WFAN’s Mike Francesa in the 4 O’clock hour today. We are anxiously awaiting what will be Lavin’s most public and in depth remarks about the team an his health since being diagnosed last spring. The timing of the interview comes on the verge of St. John’s trip to Lexington to face Kentucky, which is the team’s biggest spotlight game so far. The interview and the trip to Kentucky will definitely impact on St. John’s recruiting as some recruits are questioning Lavin’s health, and the stability of the conference.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

Yanks GM Brian Cashman (above) as he hangs off the side of a Connecticut building.

http://www.northjersey.com/sports/Brian_Cashman_to_rappel_from_building_dressed_as_an_elf_Seriously.html

A few weeks back, much was made of a charity event or a Christmas event in Stamford, Conn. at which a Spiderman like Brian Cashma–yes, that Brian Cashman–rappeled down the side of a skyskraper, albeit a Connecticut one.  On the matter Cashman would say he saw it done last year, and thought, “Why I can’t I do that?”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0Z5Eu2-xOI

We thought, well, you can’t do that because you are the GM of the New York Yankees, one of the most important jobs in sport.  Frankly, we also thought, “What the fuck is this guy thinking?”  As evidenced by the folly he made of the free agent pursuit of Cliff Lee, and the no plan B plan, we conclude if he does any thinking at all, it’s not much.  In analyzing Cliff Lee’s FA priorities, did no one in the Yankee front office unearth that Lee owned a home in South Jersey near Philadelphia and that Philadelphia had the nation’s best medical facility for his son with special needs?  Or more simply, that Lee also played for the Philies, enjoyed playing there, and went to the World Series for them as well?

Or what about the most basic principle when it comes to New York teams making free agent offers, any sport?  That agents use the NY offer to drive up the price on the team they really want to go to.  Could Cashman, at this for a while now, have perhaps realized that Lee was shopping the Yanks’ offer? 

He should have.  He should have also understood that negotiations are complex and their nature is always subject to change, at any moment.  Carl Crawford was an Angel after all, and then all of a sudden, a Red Sock.  But Cashman wasn’t surprised that Crawford went to Boston.  He is expecting us to believe a lot of tales this winter, and the dull NY media keeps allowing him to spin them without calling him on them.  Cashman was wining and dining Crawford the very evening he signed with Boston, but we are supposed to think that was just a nice, healthy meal between consenting adults–a dinner date between Spiderman and a player the Yankees had no interest in.

When Cashman presented his 7 year offer to Lee, the press here exalted the Yankees and declared the matter settled.  Lee was on his way.  Mike Francesa, Yankees “expert”, declared that no one passes on this type of deal.  It was the second time, by the way, that Francesa has been dead wrong–dreadfully wrong–on a major Yankees’ issue this winter.  Mike had declared since before the 2009 World Series that the Jeter negotiations would never become contentious, that the Yankees would never embarrass Jeter would definitely show the captain love.  Mike also said that ‘no plan B indicates that plan A will work’ with regard to the Lee situation.

The 7 year offer, the Yankee braintrust presented to Lee, the Yankees declared was final.  No way on Earth were the Yankees budging off of an already ‘outrageous’ 7 year guarantee.  Well, they didn’t budge the offer, literally, leaving it on the table for Lee’s very smart team to have their way with, and to use as the framework to extract a better deal from both Texas and Philadelphia, for over two weeks.  Like Jeter had an unofficial deadline by which to come to terms so the Yankees could conduct other business, Lee should have had a deadline.  At the time the offer was made, it was the most substantial offer.  By the time Lee had a fortknight with it, Texas and Phily had made substantially better offers.  So Jeter, the Yankees’ own, gets treated badly, and Lee, who the Yankees wanted very badly, obviously, they didn’t know how to treat.  And don’t kid yourselves like they didn’t want him badly.  When you decide to give a guy $ 153 M, you want him badly.  That is elementary.

Then the New York media begins to spin this yarn that Lee is the 1 guy to spurn the Yanks dollars.  Larger than life Cliff Lee, the big time pitcher who just follwed his heart.  Then ESPN super scoops the New York media with news that Philadelphia’s offer trounced the Yankees’ in terms of average salary and included an easily vesting 6th year option if the player pitches 200 innings in year 5 or 400 combined innings in years 4 and 5 at $ 27.5 M.  So Lee is basically grabbing $ 147.5 M for 6 in Philadelphia–a better deal.  Then Cashman goes into hiding for a few days, slinks out of his hole, spins us one about the Yanks not needing Lee, and how plan B is patience, i.e. inaction.  A team imposed deadline on a Lee deal may not have gotten the ace in pinstripes, but it gives his people less time to get a dream contract from Philadelphia and allows the Yankees to move on the few other ooportunities thay were out there.

Russell Martin, knee jerk signing anyone?  Cashman would have us believe that Martin was part of a master plan.  A month ago, Cash was telling us young stud Jesus Montero was going to be the catcher.  Now we’re looking at pedestrian Russell Martin, who has no upside whatsoever.  Why?  Because Montero will be trade in whatever the next knee jerk move the Yankees make–the finest hitting prospect at catcher in baseball–in a trade no doubt to qualify as rape and pillage.  People are actually looking forward to seeing Montero come along, the way they were with say, Robinson Cano. 

Now Cashman got around last week to telling us that losing the Lee sweepstakes really does hurt.  Oh great wise one, speaker of truths!  In our opinion, the GM of the Yankees needs to be on the ball, not sliding down the side of a wall.  Cashman is telling us how fine we are with AJ Burnett, who we spent $ 82.5 M on, and who we absolutely not could give away.  Cashman, with the luxury of the Yankees deep pockets at his disposal, is the only GM in sport who can make 82.5 $ M mistakes.  Who can trade Jose Contreras for Esteban Loiza, watch Contreras go forth and conquer, and wipe it all away with a stroke of the Yankees’ money pen. 

There is a legion of examples as to Cashman’s bungled trades and signings, as evidenced by their inability to pursue the only other available FA pitcher of note, Carl Pavano, who stole $ 57 M from Cashman previously.  Instead of scaling buildings and writing wild checks, how could he ever manage an $80-$100 M payroll?  Frankly, we wouldn’t care if this guy, as well as all the Yankees beat writers and media mouthpieces, strapped themselves to a building in Connecticut and then took an unexpected plunge.

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/quote-of-the-week-tom-coughlin/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/rex-ryans-wife-in-foot-fetish-videos/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/12/23/michelle-ryan-a-k-a-ihaveprettyfeets-swinger-profile/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/12/20/nhl-owners-fehr-and-loathing/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/12/21/stoudemire-head-knick-in-charge/

Like Tom Coughlin, they should all sit in a dark room and stare into space in solemn contemplation.  And they can take their time about coming out.  Because if the best idea I could come up with was to dress up like an elf and shimmy down the side of a 22 story building, and I ran the New York Yankees, I would hope that someone would have the decency for me or the Yankees to get me the fuck out of here on a rail.  Did you see this fucking video?  Why have only 246 people watched it?

Happy New Year.

Crackbillionair (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com, www.crackbillionair.com)

Andrew Nicholson (above) of St. Bonaventure.

Steve Lavin–New York City basketball savior, master recruiter, and fortune teller?  Prior to St. John’s awful 67-66 to a supposedly down Bonnies program at home, St. John’s coach Steve Lavin called dynamic St. Bonaventure big man Andrew Nicholson out of Toronto a “legitimate pro prospect” who was on “many NBA draft boards.”  Then St. John’s gets out to an early 17-4 lead, blows 10 point second half cushion, and the prescient Steve Lavin watches Nicholson drain a 19 footer with 5.2 seconds remaining over Justin Brownlee for the win.

Lavin was upbeat afterward and doggedly refused to address the elephant in the room–that the Jhonnies had suffered a very bad loss.  At home, and in front of a non existent crowd–another sign the always positive Lavin refused to take as an omen.  Lavin insisted that all of the team’s mistakes vs. the Bonnies were correctable, and that is what he told the team.  Last week, an interview with Mike Francesa and special guest, Governor David Paterson–not surprisingly, very well suited to talk radio–Lavin, when asked about attendance issues, refused to declare the program sound.  He said the University has seen a “slight uptick” in attendance, but was fairly resolute about the fact that New York is a smart town and that it will turn out in full force for a winner.

When watching the current squad, even with the vast improvement from last year’s staff to Lavin’s, it’s obvious that St. John’s is no winner yet.  Even with the addition of California’s 2009 Mr. Basketball, Dwayne Polee Jr., foundering of late in our opinion due to the overwhelming lack of talent.  By the way, we have to mention how disappointed we were in St. John’s alum Mike Francesa for his failure to say one word about Polee, St. John’s highest profile recruit in 10 years, throughout the course of the 22 minute interview.

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/audio-on-demand/mike-francesa-1/#

This team may be loaded with seniors, but it is a rag tag crew–an undersized bunch lacking in talent and without a true big man to match up with a big like Nicholson, and without a true playmaker who can push the ball and get it to Polee in the right spots on the floor.  A lot of the time Lavin is using 2 point guards simultaneously (Malik Boothe and Malik Stith) to make for the fact that neither can adequately do the job.  Seeing Boothe and Stith play with Polee is like watching 2 versions of Chris Childs next to a young James Worthy.  It’s painful.

In no way is it Lavin’s fault.  Polee, the only promising player on the team, is only here as a testament to Lavin’s recruiting wizardry.  Speaking of wizards, Lavin’s insistence on up tempo basketball and full court defense–adapted in part from his UCLA days and the influence of the great John Wooden–are the best strategies for covering the warts at the point guard position and for creating opportunities for Polee.  But as Lavin intimated to Francesa and Governor P, this team probably won’t win consistently or big for 2-3 years, likening the progress he will make to Jay Wright’s at Villanova’s, where it took four years to really get deep into an NCAA tournament.  Lavin’s stellar recruiting class in 2011 will probably need at least 1-2 years to develop, despite the best laid plans for the University by the best coaching staff to ever stalk the sideline over on Utopia Parkway.  Don’t be surprised if St. John’s has a really tough time today as well, against Tom Pecora’s Fordham Rams.  Fordham is fresh off an impressive blowout of Manhattan College.

That’s right, America.  You better beat St. John’s before it’s up and rolling.  Even mid to low majors may have a couple years still on St. John’s.  As Lavin said on the radio, quoting special advisor Gene Keady, “Inch by inch it’s a sinch.  Yard by yard it’s hard.”  We know Lavin is set to take the program miles into the future, and that the future will be well worth these growing pains.

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/11/30/defense-wins-st-johns-great-alaska-shootout/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/11/18/lavin-looks-for-1st-win-st-johns-signs-2-more-for-2011/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/11/15/lavin-lands-norvel-pelle-norm-roberts-takes-gig-sny/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/11/06/lavin-culture-shock-builds-st-johns-future-present/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/10/20/st-johns-signs-blue-chip-pg-nurideen-lindsey-and-f-dominick-pointer/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/04/20/lavin-in-cali-hot-for-top-recruit/

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com, www.crackbillionair.com)