The Gospel of Smoov

Free of obstructed views and fair-weathered opinions

Embarrassment

Who the hell does Rob Parker think he is?

We are nearing the end of 2012. We’ve seen an African-American man get re-elected as President of the United States. We’ve seen NBA Hall-of-Famer Magic Johnson become the first African-American owner in the history of Major League Baseball. More and more black athletes are becoming the faces of their respective teams, if not leagues. What possessed him to question Robert Griffin III’s “blackness” on ESPN2’s First Take today?

The genesis of this issue comes from comments that RGIII has made himself throughout the season as he’s been repeatedly asked about race. From what I can tell his answers have been very straightforward and non-controversial — answers that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would certainly be proud of. The Washington Redskins QB would much rather we judge him by what he does on the field instead of his skin color, which I believe is what all black people want in whatever career they choose. Griffin also loves and embraces the fact that he is a black quarterback playing in the NFL and understands the responsibility he has to be a positive role model.

But instead of applauding RGIII for his insightful thoughts, Rob Parker decided to use his airtime on First Take to depreciate what he’s trying to stand up for. Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post put together a transcript of the roundtable discussion that occurred today, which included Skip Bayless, Stephen A. Smith and host Cari Champion. I read the whole thing, and it really hurt my heart — it takes a lot for that to happen to me. Here are some “highlights”:

“For me, personally, just me, this throws up a red flag, what I keep hearing. And I don’t know who’s asking the questions, but we’ve heard a couple of times now of a black guy kind of distancing himself away from black people. … And I’ve talked to some people down in Washington D.C., friends of mine, who are around and at some of the press conferences, people I’ve known for a long time. But my question, which is just a straight honest question. Is he a brother, or is he a cornball brother?”

Strike one. I highly doubt that many of his black fans feel distant from him because he wants to break the mold of being a black quarterback. Also,”cornball brother”? Okay, that’s a new one I haven’t heard before. What’s that supposed to mean, Rob?

“Well, [that] he’s black, he kind of does his thing, but he’s not really down with the cause, he’s not one of us. He’s kind of black, but he’s not really the guy you’d really want to hang out with, because he’s off to do something else. … We all know he has a white fiancée. There was all this talk about he’s a Republican, which, there’s no information [about that] at all. I’m just trying to dig deeper as to why he has an issue. Because we did find out with Tiger Woods, Tiger Woods was like I’ve got black skin but don’t call me black. So people got to wondering about Tiger Woods early on.”

Strike two. First and foremost, what cause could he possibly be talking about? Did we get set back to 1952? I understand and am fully aware of the notion that black people are still not seen by some as equal to their white counterparts, but it seems that Griffin is among those who are trying their best to level the field … which Rob Parker would realize if he actually paid attention to any interview RGIII’s given in regards to race. Second, how does Tiger Woods compare here? He famously identified himself as “Cablinasian”; RGIII has shown himself to be proud of his skin color and heritage.

Skip Bayless went as far as to ask Parker about the man’s braids.

“Now that’s different,” Parker said. “To me, that’s very urban and makes you feel like…wearing braids, you’re a brother. You’re a brother if you’ve got braids on.”

Strike three, you’re out. Rob Parker, an African-American sports journalist, really said that. I’d have excused myself from the studio at this point because he might’ve caught a tire iron to the side of his head.

I must say, I was completely and utterly embarrassed by what Rob Parker did today. This is 1000x worse than Rush Limbaugh’s comments on Donovan McNabb back in 2005. Never in a million years would I ever imagine reading and hearing such disparaging comments about an African-American QB from a fellow African-American. It was a total hack job on Parker’s end, and he’s lost all credibility with me as a result. There’s no place in sports (or life in general) for anyone to have their “blackness” questioned, especially by a fellow black person. NONE.

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Gameday Post #9: Anaheim Angels at Yankees

A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.

Without Jackie Robinson’s efforts and courage, I would never be as interested in baseball as I am today. I wouldn’t have the pleasure of looking up to such players as Derek Jeter, CC Sabathia, Curtis Granderson and Justin Upton. I wouldn’t have grown up dreaming of emulating them on a baseball diamond.

Thank you, Jackie Robinson, for not only changing professional baseball … but the whole world.

*****

A.L. EAST STANDINGS

Baltimore……………..5-3

NEW YORK……..…….4-4 (1.0 GB)

Tampa Bay……………4-4 (1.0 GB)

Toronto.………………4-4 (1.0 GB)

Boston……….…………3-5 (2.0 GB)

 

DATE/TIME: Sunday, April 15th, 1:05pm

TV/RADIO: ESPN, WCBS 880, WADO 1280

PITCHING PROBABLES: Jerome Williams (0-0, -.– ERA) vs. Ivan Nova (1-0, 2.57 ERA)

 

PITCHING PREVIEW (from MLB.com)

Jerome Williams (LAA) — Williams missed most of the spring with a hamstring injury, but got through two Minor League rehab outings and will make his first appearance at Yankee Stadium. He posted a 3.68 ERA in 44 big league innings in 2011.

Ivan Nova (NYY) — Nova notched the Yanks’ first win with seven innings of two-run ball on April 9 at Baltimore. He was peppered for 10 hits but limited the damage, walking none and striking out seven. He’s 1-1 with a 3.75 ERA in two career starts vs. the Halos.

 

ANGELS LINEUP

TBA

YANKEES LINEUP

TBA

Gameday Post #8: Anaheim Angels 7, Yankees 1

U-G-L-Y, Hughes ain’t got no alibi … it was ugly. Yeah, yeah, it was ugly.

Well, at least Robbie Cano got his first RBI of the season today. And David Phelps came up big in relief yet again.

Other than that, though, it wasn’t a fun game to watch.

Gameday Post #7: Anaheim Angels at Yankees

The Yankees played another extra-inning tilt Wednesday night with the Orioles. And just like the previous night, it was the Bombers who came up victorious. Nick Swisher’s 2-run HR in the 10th capped off the three-game sweep and gave his team  the 6-4 victory. CC Sabathia labored through 6 innings, allowing four earned runs but picking up eight strikeouts. A 38-pitch 2nd inning ate into his overall pitch count, but he felt much better than he did in his first start. With a depleted bullpen, CC did more than enough to give as much length as possible. Boone Logan, Rafael Soriano and Mariano Rivera held down the fort on the mound, throwing four shutout innings in relief. Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira each chipped in with multi-hit games. Granderson popped his first HR of the season and added 3 RBIs.

Hiroki Kurdoa will take the mound against Ervin Santana in the Yankees’ home opener vs. the Angels. Stadium gates open at 11am, with player introductions set to start at approximately 12:40pm. Enjoy, everyone … hope to see some of you there!

*****

A.L. EAST STANDINGS

Tampa Bay………..4-2

Toronto……..…….4-2

NEW YORK……….3-3 (1.0 GB)

Baltimore.………..3-3 (1.0 GB)

Boston……….………1-5 (3.0 GB)

 

DATE/TIME: Friday, April 13th, 1:05pm

TV/RADIO: YES, WCBS 880, WADO 1280

PITCHING PROBABLES: Ervin Santana (0-1, 7.94 ERA) vs. Hiroki Kuroda (0-1, 6.35 ERA)

 

PITCHING PREVIEW (from MLB.com)

Ervin Santana (LAA) — Santana struggled in his season debut, giving up six runs (five earned) on seven hits (two homers) against the Royals on Sunday. The 29-year-old has a 5.55 ERA in 12 career starts against the Yankees.

Hiroki Kuroda (NYY) — Kuroda had a tough Yanks debut, rapped for six runs (four earned) and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings by the Rays. The 37-year-old said he didn’t feel he had one pitch he could consistently go to, something he hopes won’t happen in his Bronx debut.

 

ANGELS LINEUP

 

YANKEES LINEUP

 

Gameday Post #6: Yankees at Baltimore Orioles

For a few innings, it seemed like last night’s game would never end. No one was taking control in the late innings, and the Yankees and Orioles were destined for a ridiculously long night. But Raul Ibanez’ 12th-inning double put the Yankees ahead for the 5-4 win. The key hit helped let Freddy Garcia off the hook. Making his season debut, Garcia was far from sharp as he threw more wild pitches (five) than allowed runs (four). The five wild pitches were the most by a starter since 1989. The bullpen was able to pick him up as David Phelps, David Robertson, Boone Logan, Cory Wade, Clay Rapada and Mariano Rivera combined to allow no runs over 7 1/3 innings of work. Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano continued their hot hitting by combining to go 5-for-12 with an RBI. Ibanez and Brett Gardner also added two-hit games to help pace the offense.

CC Sabathia will look to complete the three-game sweep of the Orioles as he goes up against newly appointed ace Jake Arrieta. After the game, the Yankees fly back to New York for their annual Homecoming Dinner Thursday night before kicking off their first homestand against the Angels.

*****

A.L. EAST STANDINGS

Tampa Bay………..4-1

Toronto……..…….4-2 (0.5 GB)

Baltimore…………..3-2 (1.0 GB)

NEW YORK………..2-3 (2.0 GB)

Boston……….………1-5 (3.5 GB)

 

DATE/TIME: Wednesday, April 11th, 7:05pm

TV/RADIO: YES, WCBS 880, WADO 1280

PITCHING PROBABLES: CC Sabathia (0-0, 7.50 ERA) vs. Jake Arrieta (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

 

PITCHING PREVIEW (from MLB.com)

CC Sabathia (NYY) — Sabathia struggled with his fastball command on Opening Day, allowing five runs in six innings — four on Carlos Pena’s slam. Sabathia was encouraged that he pitched better the second and third times through the lineup. He was 2-0 vs. the O’s in ’11.

Jake Arrieta (BAL) — The 26-year-old Arrieta is coming off seven scoreless innings vs. the Twins in an Opening Day victory Friday afternoon. Arrieta has emerged stronger since offseason right elbow surgery and he will look to continue that against the rival Yankees.

 

YANKEES LINEUP

SS Derek Jeter

CF Curtis Granderson

2B Robinson Cano

3B Alex Rodriguez

1B Mark Teixeira

RF Nick Swisher

DH Raul Ibanez

C Russell Martin

LF Brett Gardner

ORIOLES LINEUP

LF Nolan Reimold

SS J.J. Hardy

RF Nick Markakis

CF Adam Jones

C Matt Wieters

3B Mark Reynolds

DH Ronny Paulino

1B Wilson Betemit

2B Robert Andino

Gameday Post #5: Yankees at Baltimore Orioles

The Yankees are now in the win column! Ivan Nova came out and played the role of stopper as he led New York to a 6-2 victory over the Orioles last night. Fresh off a rather rough spring training, Nova showed everyone that he’s the same pitcher that won 16 games a year ago, going seven innings and allowing two earned runs. He also struck out 7 batters and didn’t allow a walk. The offense did some good damage against Brian Matusz, with Derek Jeter’s 4-for-4 night leading the charge. Andruw Jones chipped in his first HR of the season starting in place of Brett Gardner, who entered as a defensive replacement shortly after the home run. Birthday boy David Robertson and the incomparable Mariano Rivera finished off the Orioles with back-to-back scoreless innings to notch the first win of the season.

Freddy Garcia is set to take the ball in the second game of this three-game set. He’ll be countered by Wei-Yin Chen, who will be making his major-league debut out of Taiwan.

*****

A.L. EAST STANDINGS

Baltimore………..3-1

Tampa Bay..…….3-1

Toronto…………..2-2 (1.0 GB)

NEW YORK……..1-3 (2.0 GB)

Boston……….……1-3 (2.0 GB)

 

DATE/TIME: Tuesday, April 10th, 7:05pm

TV/RADIO: My9, MLBN, WCBS 880, WADO 1280

PITCHING PROBABLES: Freddy Garcia (0-0, -.– ERA) vs. Wei-Yin Chen (0-0, -.– ERA)

 

PITCHING PREVIEW (from MLB.com)

Freddy Garcia (NYY) — Garcia clinched a spot in the rotation when Michael Pineda was placed on the DL with a shoulder injury, but a strong spring had the team debating carrying Garcia anyway. The soft-tosser was 2-0 with a 4.35 ERA in four starts vs. the O’s last year.

Wei-Yin Chen (BAL) — The 26-year-old southpaw from Taiwan will be making his Major League debut against the division-rival Yankees. Chen was 2-2 with a 3.60 ERA in five starts this spring.

 

YANKEES LINEUP

SS Derek Jeter

RF Nick Swisher

2B Robinson Cano

3B Alex Rodriguez

1B Mark Teixeira

CF Curtis Granderson

DH Andruw Jones

C Russell Martin

LF Brett Gardner

ORIOLES LINEUP

LF Endy Chavez

SS J.J. Hardy

RF Nick Markakis

CF Adam Jones

C Matt Wieters

DH Nick Johnson

3B Mark Reynolds

1B Chris Davis

2B Robert Andino

Gameday Post #4: Yankees at Baltimore Orioles

Long story short: it was not the ideal opening weekend for the Yankees. Yesterday’s putrid effort solidified that. But the good thing is that you get another change at it the next day. Tonight Ivan Nova takes the hill for the first time in 2012 looking to get the Bombers into the win column. He will be matched up against Brian Matusz, whose 2011 season was historically bad.

*****

A.L. EAST STANDINGS

Baltimore………..3-0

Tampa Bay..…….3-0

Toronto…………..2-1 (1.0 GB)

NEW YORK……..0-3 (3.0 GB)

Boston……….……0-3 (3.0 GB)

 

DATE/TIME: Monday, April 9th, 7:05pm

TV/RADIO: YES, WCBS 880, WADO 1280

PITCHING PROBABLES: Ivan Nova (0-0, -.– ERA) vs. Brian Matusz (0-0, -.– ERA)

 

PITCHING PREVIEW (from MLB.com)

Ivan Nova (NYY) — Nova had a sluggish start to his spring but seemed to put it together near the end. Nova is 2-0 with a 3.55 ERA in four starts vs. the O’sover the last two years, striking out 21 batters in 25 1/3 innings — his most against any club.

Brian Matusz (BAL) — Coming off a tough season, Matusz was one of the feel-good stories this spring. He earned the final rotation spot and will make his season debut Monday against the Yanks. He’s looking to prove that last year’s 1-9 record with a 10.69 ERA was a fluke.

 

YANKEES LINEUP

SS Derek Jeter

RF Nick Swisher

2B Robinson Cano

DH Alex Rodriguez

1B Mark Teixeira

CF Curtis Granderson

LF Andruw Jones

C Russell Martin

3B Eduardo Nunez

ORIOLES LINEUP

LF Nolan Reimold

SS J.J. Hardy

RF Nick Markakis

CF Adam Jones

C Matt Wieters

3B Mark Reynolds

DH Wilson Betemit

1B Chris Davis

2B Robert Andino

Gameday Post #3: Tampa Bay Rays 3, Yankees 0

NOTE: Due to Easter Mass, I didn’t have time to do a pregame post. So this will be a post-game wrap-up.

Thank goodness the Knicks pulled out an overtime win against the Bulls today.

Obviously, this is not how anybody envisioned the Yankees’ season to start. Jeremy Hellickson was on his game from the word “Go!” as he shut down the Yankees offense and outpitched Phil Hughes en route to a 3-0 Rays win. It capped off a three-game sweep for Tampa to kick off the 2012 MLB season. Hughes himself wasn’t bad at all — he only allowed two earned runs in 4 2/3 IP. He was consistent with his velocity, routinely hitting the mid-90’s with his fastball, but was not economical with his 99 pitches. Hellickson was just that much better. The reigning Rookie of the Year was phenomenal in his start, throwing 8 2/3 innings of shutout ball. The Yankees offense mustered only three hits, all doubles from Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher.

Now I know people are prone to panicking over an 0-3 start. But it’s important to remember two things:

  1. If there’s anything that the game of baseball teaches you, it’s the old adage “Patience is a virtue.” There are 159 more games to go,Yankee fans. No team goes 0-162 in a season, the same way no team goes 162-0. It’s all cliche, I know, but it definitely rings true. Which leads me to this …
  2. Remember the 1998 Yankees? You know, the team that won 114 games and the World Series? They started 0-3. Just sayin’ …

Bottom line is this: the season is far from over, everyone. Let’s not hit the panic button yet after three games, okay? They on their way to Baltimore with Ivan Nova making his season debut against Brian Matusz tomorrow. They’ll win at least one of these next three games. The Bombers just have to put this last series behind them and move on the next one.

Gameday Post #2: Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays

The 2012 season did not start well for the Yankees as they fell to the Tampa Bay Rays in their first game, 7-6. CC Sabathia was not sharp in the beginning of the game, allowing five runs in the first three innings on home runs from Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria. Mariano Rivera uncharacteristically let the lead slip away in the bottom of the ninth, taking the blown save and loss. All was not bad, however. Raul Ibanez provided enough offense to line CC up for the win, knocking a three-run HR and driving in 4 runs overall. Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez and Brett Gardner each had multi-hit games as well.

Free-agent import Hiroki Kuroda will make his first start for the Bombers as he takes the hill in Tropicana Field against perennial Cy Young candidate David Price.

*****

A.L. EAST STANDINGS

Baltimore………..1-0

Tampa Bay..…….1-0

Toronto…………..1-0

NEW YORK……..0-1 (1.0 GB)

Boston……….……0-1 (1.0 GB)

 

DATE/TIME: Saturday, April 7th, 7:10pm

TV/RADIO: YES, MLBN, WCBS 880, WADO 1280

PITCHING PROBABLES: Hiroki Kuroda (0-0, -.– ERA) vs. David Price (0-0, -.– ERA)

 

PITCHING PREVIEW (from MLB.com)

Hiroki Kuroda (NYY) — Kuroda will make his Yankees debut after signing a one-year, $10 million deal. The 37-year-old is coming off a campaign with the Dodgers in which he established career highs in wins, ERA, starts (32), innings (202) and strikeouts (161).

David Price (TB) — Price is one year removed from a second-place finish for the AL Cy Young Award. The left-hander went 12-13 with a 3.49 ERA in 2011, logging 224 1/3 innings. He is 4-2 with a 4.05 ERA in 13 career appearances against the Yankees.

 

YANKEES LINEUP

DH Derek Jeter

RF Nick Swisher

2B Robinson Cano

3B Alex Rodriguez

1B Mark Teixeira

CF Curtis Granderson

LF Andruw Jones

C Russell Martin

SS Eduardo Nunez

RAYS LINEUP

CF Desmond Jennings

1B Carlos Pena

3B Evan Longoria

LF Matt Joyce

RF Ben Zobrist

DH Luke Scott

2B Jeff Keppinger

C Jose Lobaton

SS Reid Brignac

Gameday Post #1: Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays

It’s that time again, boys and girls … OPENING DAY!!!!!

Last year I got a little sidetracked and crazy busy, but this year I’m gonna give it another go: 162 games, 162 posts (the “high” watermark is 16 games). I’m gonna do a preview of each game consisting of the pitching probables, up-to-date division standings, a recap of the previous game and lineups whenever available. I’m also gonna try to sprinkle in some video entries every now and then … something new for the blog. It should make for a fantastic 2012 season so sit back, relax, and enjoy yourselves as the Yankees push towards their 28th World Series title!

*****

A.L. EAST STANDINGS

NEW YORK………..0-0

Baltimore………….0-0

Boston……………..0-0

Tampa Bay………..0-0

Toronto……………0-0

 

DATE/TIME: Friday, April 6th, 3:10pm

TV/RADIO: YES, MLBN, WCBS 880, WADO 1280

PITCHING PROBABLES: CC Sabathia (0-0, -.– ERA) vs. James Shields (0-0, -.– ERA)

 

PITCHING PREVIEW (from MLB.com)

CC Sabathia (NYY) — Sabathia will make his ninth career Opening Day start, and his fourth as a Yankee. He has gone 95-40 with a 3.09 ERA over the past five seasons, leading the Majors in wins, winning percentage and innings pitched.

James Shields (TB) — Shields is coming off his best season after going 16-12 with a 2.82 ERA in 2011. Included in his body of work were 11 complete games and 249 1/3 innings. Shields is 5-11 with a 4.14 ERA in 20 career starts against the Yankees.

 

YANKEES LINEUP

SS Derek Sanderson Jeter

CF Curtis Granderson

2B Robinson Jose Cano

3B Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez

1B Mark Charles Teixeira

RF Nicholas Thompson Swisher

DH Raul Javier Ibanez

C Russell Nathan Coltrane Jeanson Martin

LF Brett Michael Gardner

RAYS LINEUP

CF Desmond Jennings

RF Ben Zobrist

3B Evan Longoria

DH Jeff Keppinger

SS Sean Rodriguez

2B Elliott Johnson

1B Carlos Pena

C Jose Molina

LF Matt Joyce