Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Found On Twitter: In Response To The NCAA Allowing Student-Athletes To Have Unlimited Meals and Snacks

In case you didn’t know, former NFL quarterback Jared Lorenzen weighs C.J. Spiller, E.J. Manuel and Brandon Spikes – three Bills. And then some.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Kiss Him If You Dare

For all the bad things going on with the Tampa Bay Lightning today, what their home rink did to this Flyers fan during a recent game should cheer them up.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Welcome The New President Of The Maple Leafs


Since the Maple Leafs seemingly can't figure out how to make the playoffs, they will bring in the master of wishy-washy from the NHL's Director of Player's Safety, Brendan Shanahan.

From Pro Hockey Talk:

Brendan Shanahan is on the verge of leaving his position as the NHL’s director of player safety to claim an executive title with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Toronto Star’s Damien Cox reports and multiple outlets confirm.

Shanahan will leave this post (which means we might have to retire “Shanaban,” unless we just consider that a scientific term) on Friday and could join the Maple Leafs’ management team as early as this weekend, Cox reports. The exact title isn’t clear yet, but it could include the word “president” in it:

I admit that Shanahan was a great player, but I despise him due to things that he did during those days, so I hope he joins the Maple Leafs and falls flat on his face. That would be the perfect scenario to my way of thinking. 

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Trollin’ On Twitter

I can’t stop laughing when I see this autographed picture.

Monday, April 07, 2014

A NEW HOPE

I attended the Washington Nationals' Opening Day on Friday, 4 April.  It was a great day ("great" in that it wasn't cold and it didn't rain, like on some other opening days).  The fellas and I started the day with our ritual of breakfast tacos (don't ask) from "DC Taco," a bloody mary (I hate bloody marys), and, of course, beer--lots of ice cold beer.  And I mean really ice cold--with ice cold ice--not like that so-called "ice cold" lukewarm beer the beer guy in the stadium sells.  I felt just like a kid on opening day! 

Okay, so the Nats lost 2-1 (we did pull a boner by getting caught in a rundown between 2nd and 3rd with no outs), and we blew a 2-on, no outs opportunity.  But other than that, it was a great day!  The beer was cold, (the girls were cute), and I wasn't working!!!  Maybe that's why I felt so much like a kid!

The following is a poem I found that will be my 2014 inspiration for the Washington Nationals.  We have a good team, we have the players who have talent, and a good manager.  I say we approach this season with wide-eyed hope like we were kids!  GO NATS!!!

 
CLOTHESPINS (By  Stuart Dybek)  
I once hit clothespins  
for the Chicago Cubs.  
I'd go out after supper  
when the wash was in  
and collect clothespins  
from under four stories  
of clothesline.  
A swing-and-a-miss  
was a strike-out;  
the garage roof, Willie Mays,  
pounding his mitt  
under a pop fly.  
Bushes, a double,  
off the fence, triple,  
and over, home run.  
The bleachers roared.  
I was all they ever needed for the flag.  
New records every game—
once, 10 homers in a row!  
But sometimes I'd tag them  
so hard they'd explode,  
legs flying apart in midair,  
pieces spinning crazily  
in all directions.  
Foul Ball! What else  
could I call it?  
The bat was real.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

A Caps Debate

What follows is a Facebook discussion between your friend and mine, DCHomer, and yours truly.  It started out with him posted about the other three major teams in DC, and me pointing out he left out his beloved Caps.  As always, we'd love for you to add to this discussion by leaving a comment on this post.  G, feel free to go in and add a logo or pick to this post.

G: @Zeb: there is no hope for the Capitals' team lethargy this season...I've accepted the inevitable.  
I promised on the blog--I won't renege. Gonna also do one for the Nats' home opener. Be patient; time rushes for no man!!


MeI won't rush greatness, my friend. I think the Caps biggest issue is identity. They either need to be what they used to be, a very dangerous wide-open offensive team, or they need to completely change to a well-rounded team like the Bs. Either way though, Ovie does need to play some defense. Leading the league in goals and the opposite end of plus/minus is not acceptable. It's like a CB who gets 10 interceptions a year but gives up a shitload of TDs.

GSome folks (including me) don't put much stock in the (+/-). Despite his 49 goals, too few of them are even-strength, that's a bigger offensive problem when only six other teammates are scoring in double digits, and only two of them are in the 20's, with the highest being 23 (Brower). The teams defense is atrocious, but that can't be on Ovechkin's shoulders. I don't buy the "identity" thing, that's a cop out--like the Skins, the team just isn't playing well, and the rest of the league is much better. We became complacent in the "NASCAR" division, now we're playing much better teams more frequently. It's just that basic--that simple: we're not a good team. Next year.

Me:   I stand by what I said. I think they're trying to have it both ways, trying to play D (and failing miserably) while also being wide open offensively. I like the +- but it's not the be all end all. For instance, in Ovie's defense, his linemates have equally miserable numbers, which means when he's out there, none of them are playing defense. Not every team can be a complete, well rounded team-first team like the Bruins.



MeSaid another way, they (meaning the players since all you can see on the ice is how they play, not necessarily what is attempted to be taught) seem not to know how to play a committed team game. Sorry to use another O-6 example, especially since I absolutely abhor the Canadiens; but watch that team play. They are very much, like the Caps, built to be almost the opposite of the Bruins, yet they do it in a way that is very much like the Bruins with tenacity, never quitting on a play, disciplined and hustling. The Caps best players, including their captain, don't and IMO never have bought into that. I'm afraid I can offer no solutions though.

GUn-aggressive and lackluster play is exactly what I alluded to in my original post when I said the team is playing with lethargy. Why this is happening, I couldn't possibly speculate from where I sit (either on my sofa or in the rafters of the Phone Booth). All I know is the product sucks and any hope of the playoffs are lost. So it's down to offseason training and restructuring, and a new season gut check.

Me:   I said a committed team play, which should include at least a modicum of defense, something that outfit has never played in all the years I've been watching. That's the point. It's just much worse of late.

G"...something that outfit has never played in all the years I've been watching."

Really? I had no idea you were a Caps fan! But in the past 5 seasons we've had the upper hand over the vaulted Bruins--seems to me the defense was fine during those 20+ games. But it's neither here nor there. We're not Boston or Montreal--not trying to be. We're Washington and we'll get through this.


MeI obviously didn't write that part well. I meant to say the Ovie era. The rest of my statement stands, whether the Caps have had success with the Bruins or not, they've accomplished jack in that period. I've never suggested they change their identity but I firmly believe that in the last couple of years the reason they've been worse is in large part due to an identity crisis and I stand by that. You know what? This discussion would make a pretty good blog post...I'm gonna copy it out here shortly.

GThat's cool; it would relieve me of a lot of interpretation. I won't defend the Caps' poor play and I don't want to try to analyze why it's poor, other than what's apparent to the eye on TV. Their current ineptitude is no more or less great than the remaining 22 non-playoff teams with equal or worse records, players, or coaches. I don't think it's fair to heap all hope of a team's success on the shoulders of one player--Ovie, RGIII, Strasburg, Wall. The Caps' success or failure isn't on Ovie's shoulders. To be honest, I don't understand what you're saying when you talk about an "identity crisis," Oates will fix things, one way or the other--either by inspiration, trade, or he'll be fired. To me, that's where it starts and ends.

Friday, April 04, 2014

2014 Red Sox Home Opener

I took the day off today because I just really felt like I and my sore back needed an extra day off.  I spent the last two days getting up at 4:30 and getting home at 6:30, driving 175 miles round trip in the process.  But I guess I'm not as dedicated a Red Sox fan as I used to be -- in my younger days there is no way I would not know long before the season started what time the home opener would start.  Well, lucky for me I decided for other reasons to take the day off because now I'm home to watch not only the first game of the season at Fenway but also to see the team awarded the 2013 World Series Championship banner and ring ceremony...strange I didn't realize given the fact that Rick and I had originally planned on going to the Sox/Brewers game on April 5th, which is tomorrow.
So I'm going to sort of play-by-play this a little.  The ceremony begins with a video highlight, of course, of the 2013 Red Sox season, showing from the start the hiring of a new manager and bringing in guys most people thought were support players but not the kind that would ultimately lead to a championship by season's end.  The beards were very short.  Then we jump to the bombing during the Boston Marathon, which spawned Boston Strong and frankly the springboard for the belief of this team.  Remember how close and unexpected Daniel Nava became?
A quick side note:  The Red Sox traded outstanding shortshops in two of these three champions
hip seasons -- Nomar in '04 and Iglesias in '13.  Would you ever expect that to happen even once?  Ortiz and Uehara in the playoffs and World Series, along with "Every little thing gonna by alright," right #18?  This all still brings a near tearful smile watching it all unfold again.
Now they start unfurling the World Series banners down the Green Monster, starting with 1903. then 1912, 1915, 1916, 1918.  Then all those small old ones are covered over with a gigantic 2004 championship banner that covers the whole Green Monster, then covered by the 2007 banner and then (as if you didn't know what was next)...(while the Boston Pops play) 2013!!!! (refer back to the previous statement about a tearful smile).
Now a bunch of "average folks," presumably fans who won this honor, are walking out of the Monster with 617 numbered Sox jerseys and ring boxes in hand.  They could be Sox staff and vendors, sponsors because their seems a lot of familiarity between these folks and the Sox owners and players.

Now the staff, lead by GM Ben Cherrington and the manager and coaches are receiving their rings.  This is the only kind of awards show I can get into.  There must be close to 100 rings being handed out.  Wow.  Now to the players, lead by Dustin Pedroia, then John Lester and the rest of last year's starting pitchers.  Then on to the rest of the players, lastly Big Papi getting his THIRD championship ring including a special World Series MVP ring that the Sox had made for him.
There might be a bit too much man hugging going on here though. 
Now the firefighters of Engine 33 and Ladder 15 are being honored and they're all walking out on the field.  People who are not from Boston or New England have little idea how much of a small town and community Boston truly is, and the Red Sox have always been at the heart of it.  Now the wives and children of the two firefighters lost recently in that tragic fire.
Alright, where's the damn trophy?  It's been sitting on the ring table the whole time but apparently it's not going to be displayed anymore prominently, as we are now introducing the Brewers players for today's game.  Yup, Ryan Braun got a big boo.
"And now the defending champions of Major League baseball, can you believe it?" says Joe Castiglione, "the Boston Red Sox!"
I'll note for those who didn't know it, the Red Sox uniforms are very subtly trimmed in gold around the red.  Now let's play ball, shall we.  Well, of course we need the National Anthem, played by the Dropkick Murphys accompanied by the Boston Pops, followed by "Shipping Up To Boston."  Then, just to rub it all in, former Bruin, Celtic, Patriot and Red Sox players carrying in the last 8 championship trophies for the City of Boston.  (Mark Recchi, Leon Poe, Teddy Bruschi, Ty Law, Troy Brown, Jason Veritek, Mike Lowell and Pedro Martinez)
Play ball!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Found On Twitter: When Hockey And Baseball Mix

When your hockey team loses eight straight games (and counting!), this image from the movie Major League pretty much sums up the Leafs season.

Six more games and it’s time to dust off the golf clubs.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Homer's Perspective: Wisconsin In The Final Four

For the first time since 2000, the University of Wisconsin men's basketball team has made it to the 2014 NCAA Final Four by beating the University of Arizona 64-63 in overtime. I'm not going to rehash the game -- you may have watched it yourself on TV or read about it in the news, and I can't do the game justice compared to the professionals. However, I will give you a little bit of my perspective.

As a kid growing up in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, I was about eight years old when the Milwaukee Bucks drafted a kid out of UCLA named Lew Alcindor; and with Oscar Robertson's arrival, they teamed up in 1971 to give the Bucks its only NBA championship. You got to remember that this was at least five years after Vince Lombardi left the Packers, and Bart Starr wasn't winning us any football championships. In 1975, Kareem was traded to the Lakers, and the Buck have been basically cursed ever since.

So now you have the Bucks stinking up the NBA, the Packers fouling up the NFL until 1992, the Wisconsin Badgers football team didn't get respectable until Barry Alvarez's arrival in 1990, and it was still awhile until the Brewers actually were competitive when teaming Yount and Molitor together in the late 70's. Notice, I haven't even mentioned college basketball because we had Al McGuire coaching at Marquette.

The then Marquette Warriors were a thing of beauty to watch. They consistently had 20-game win seasons (a high number back then), and they were always invited to the tournaments, winning the NIT championship in 1970 and making the NCAA Final Four in 1974 and winning Marquette's only NCAA national championship in 1977.

So what does this have to do with the Wisconsin Badgers in the 2014 Final Four? I'm a homer and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I only am interested in teams from Wisconsin. What also makes this Badger basketball team a little bit more special for me is that I'm rooting for Sam Dekker because he is from my hometown. Reading the Sheboygan Press every day, I saw the articles of how he was a high school phenom and was overjoyed to see that he stayed in the state to play his collegiate career. He's only a sophomore right now, and I'm hoping he helps his team to a couple more of these before the graduates.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Death Knell Decision For The NCAA

The NLRB decision in Chicago that says that the Northwestern Football team can vote to form a union is going to cause major changes in college athletics. Yes, the decision will be appealed and will hit the actual court system, but the tide is against the NCAA and it's member institutions. From where I sit, the largest will be the elimination of the NCAA. I will get into that, but first the smaller changes, but they aren't small at all.