Monday, April 30, 2012

Fenway 1912

I know I'm not the only one who loves the history of baseball at least as much as the game itself.  So for you others out there like me, you'll appreciate this five-minute piece on the 1912 Red Sox and the first season at Fenway.
Because this video clip runs automatically when the page loads, which includes while you're on the front page of the blog, and because the clip is a little messed up, to see it go "below the fold."

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Kurt Busch won the Nationwide Series College Series 250 by sliding into turn four with Denny Hamlin sliding with him and taking a precarious lead of .062 seconds. Busch got the first win for his brother Kyle Busch's racing team. The win was Busch's fourth Nationwide win and first on a short track. Hamlin came up two feet short after a come from the rear drive which came about from a pit road mistake. Pole-sitter Kevin Harvick came in third, with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Sam Hornish Jr. rounding out the top five. Points leader Elliot Sadler came in sixth to hold on to a two point Series lead over Stenhouse.
Kurt gushed how elated he was to get KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) it's first win, and how racing Hamlin at the finish was an unbelievable feeling. For Kyle the moment was the most emotional he ever had after a race. His comments about driving and watching were aimed at his brother who drove a hard race, and to Hamlin, who drove a clean race. Travis Pastrana who just wanted to finish the race in the top lap came in 22nd. Ryan Blaney, son of racer Dave Blaney had a good rookie start finishing seventh. The poster girl for the 2012 Nationwide Series Danica Patrick came in 21st position. The race appeared to be marred by pit road problems, they included missing pit stalls, speeding, and crew handling problems. The 3/4 mile track gave the fans a good race and great way to start the countdown for Talledega.

Kyle Busch won the Sprint Cup Series Capital City 400 with a late caution and holding off a hard charging Dale Earnhardt Jr. who, while having brake problems said the No.18 was to strong at the end and was pleased how his No.88 performed. Busch's win was his first of the season after a drought of 22 races, and the 24th of his career. It was another night of errors on the 3/4 mile D shaped track.
Mark Martin won the pole and pulled out in front for the first few laps but was caught  by second place Kevin Harvick and then third place Carl Edwards who then pulled out front. With NASCAR calling a competition caution on lap 50, and Edwards leading, Kurt Busch and Jeff Gordon made contact on the restart, this caused Gordon to have to go back in for  tires and ending up two laps down and in 36th spot.
Edwards continued his early domination over the likes of Hamlin, Harvick and Kyle. Tony Stewart was making a charge halfway through the race in second place with Kyle, Harvick and Jimmie Johnson rounding out the top five.
With another caution pit stop due to debris called, Edwards was barely running in first when a black flag was called on Carl for jumping the start box. This forced him to do a penalty lap through pit lane, and another caution for debris  at lap 386 gave Kyle  the lead over Stewart coming out of the pits. at the restart Tony spun his tires and Dale Jr. took over second and held on til the end of the race.
Kyle 1st, Dale Jr. 2nd, Stewart, Hamlin and Kasey Kahne rounded out the top five, points leader Greg Biffle came in 18th keeping a five point lead over Dale Jr.

The Thursday start of the weekend at Richmond was impressive with the late model K&N Series Blue Ox 100 being won by Brent Moffit.
The Denny Hamlin Foundation short track race was won by Tony Stewart, all in all this was a heck of a weekend and now I'm chilling my beer for my fave track.................'DEGA! YEH BABY.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

5 Things That I Am Watching This Weekend

1.  Rounds 4 through 7 of the NFL Draft.  I will be watching for the draft picks of the Buccaneers, but more intriguing will be the trades for veterans.  Like the rumored Colt McCoy to Green Bay for any draft pick they are willing to give up.  Or like Asante Samuel being traded for a 7th Round draft pick and will be a starter in Atlanta.  Some of these trades can be valuable for teams getting veterans.

2.  Round 2 of the NHL playoffs.  The Canucks, Bruins, Red Wings, Blackhawks, Panthers, and Sharks are all done.  Rangers-Capitals and Devils-Flyers in the East and Predators-Coyotes and Kings-Blues in the West.  My picks:  Caps, Flyers, Preds, and Blues advance.

3.  The start of the NBA playoffs.  For some strange reason people actually believe that the Knicks have a chance against the Heat.  I don't see it.  The Thunder get a chance at revenge in the 1st Round playing the Mavericks. 

4.  Speaking of the NBA, the NBAPA is now under investigation by the Feds for possible financial improprieties by Billy Hunter and the nepotism that is prevalent.  Over at, Jason Whitlock wrote that all the figureheads in basketball should go.  I agree with him about Billy Hunter, Derek Fisher, and David Stern.

5.  The Albert Pujols watch.  Since signing with the Angels, Big Albert has hit exactly 0 Home Runs.  I expect him to break that streak this weekend.  And with that I expect that the Angels will start to look like the team that everybody expected they would be this season. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Rockin' the Red

My schizophrenic Bruins, the defending Stanley Cup champs (oh yeah!), were eliminated from this year's playoffs by the usually underachieving Washington Capitals.  So a bet is a bet and a deal is a deal.  In honor of my friend's team moving on (you shoulda bet scotch, G), let's all join in in a round of "Let's go Caps."

C - A - P - S!!! CAPS, CAPS, CAPS!
LET'S GO CA-PI-TALS! (clap...clap...clap-clap-clap!)

G, if you'd like to double down and it will be scotch on the line this time, I'll bet your Caps don't move beyond the next round.  They played well but I think they played as well as they can and will succumb to a team that can actually score.  But good luck in the next round nonetheless.
How are we going to bet our upcoming Nats/Sox series, which I'm very much looking forward to seeing a game with you?  
Here's a link to a Stanley Cup championship parade post, which you won't get the privilege to write.

Monday, April 23, 2012


James Buescher won his first Camping World Truck Series race Saturday. The SFP 250 at Kansas Speedway was his 76th race, and has now logged his first Truck and Nationwide Series wins this year. The win is Turner Motorsports second win in a row, after Kasey Kahne won Rockingham last weekend. Buescher had 19 top five finishes in the Truck series before Saturday's win. The driver led 47 laps in the first half, and built a big lead in the second. After the race's final green flag stop, he had a 5.6 second lead over second place Timothy Peters. After the round of pit stops, during which the lead-pack teams tried a variety of strategies, Sprint Cup driver Brad Keselowski had a lead of about a second on Buescher. But Buescher who got four tires at his stop against Kes's two, passed him for the lead. With 5 laps left to go Buescher had a 3.3 second lead over Kes. The 22 year old has been doing well the last three weeks, placing 3rd. then 2nd. and now with a win. Peters maintained his Series lead, staying four points ahead of the surging Buescher. Rounding out the top five were Peters, Keslowski, Nelson Piquet Jr. and Todd Bodine.  

The temperatures were right for Denny Hamlin. The tires were wrong for Martin Truex Jr. That may sound very understated for winning the STP 400, but that is what happened. Hamlin led the final 32 laps at Kansas Speedway when his No.11 Toyota came to life with the sunshine for the first time on Sunday. Denny credited the slicker track in the midday heat aiding him with his second win this season. While Hamlin was surging, Truex's Toyota was slumping despite leading 173 of 267 laps, in a race only marred by three cautions for 18 laps. The No.56 car knew right away there was a problem, he struggled to keep his Camry beneath him while being stalked and passed by Hamlin. The cars ran similar speeds for the final 20 laps but Truex could not close the gap. Even when the cloud cover returned the 56 could not close the gap. The blame was set on the "terrible tires", the top five were, Truex Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, and Greg Biffle.

Friday, April 20, 2012

5 Things That I Am Watching This Weekend

1.  The NHL Playoffs.  It is getting down to the wire for the 1st round series.  The Canucks and Penguins are hanging on by a thread.  The Rangers and Bruins are having a tougher time than expected and the Red Wings look like they are ready to be eliminated.  And have you noticed that since the Torres hit on Hossa that the extracurricular activity has been frowned upon by the NHL.

2.  The end of the NBA season.  The NBA season after the abbreviated 66 game schedule is entering the playoffs.  It looks like Spurs, Thunder, and Lakers out West, while it's Celtics, Bulls, and Heat in the East.  I give Kevin durant my MVP vote and pick anybody but the Heat for the NBA title.  Also it will be the last stand of Stan Van Gundy in Orlando.

3.  Movement on the Minnesota Vikings Stadium in the Legislature.  When the NFL has their VP of Stadium Development go on KFAN radio and say that the Vikings have done everything that is necessary to satisfy the league rules on obtaining a new stadium.  Translation:  The NFL will not oppose the Vikings moving from Minnesota.  Commissioner Goodell and Art Rooney II (I think the 2nd) met with the Governor of Minnesota today and are requesting a floor vote in the Minnesota Legislature.  The Vikings have been asking for a new stadium for over a decade and even the most patient owner that I have seen, Ziggy Wilf, has run out of patience.

4.  The anguish of Red Sox fans.  After a decade of being on top of baseball, the Red Sox have stumbled out of the gate.  It is the first season after Theo and Tito are gone and Bobby Valentine has been ruffling feathers.  Listening to Red Sox Beat Writers on sports shows is making me worry.  They are saying that there are deep fault lines between certain players that had Tito's back and the Pitchers that supposedly got him fired.  They are also saying that the communication between Valentine and the players isn't real good.  If that is the case, it will be a long year for Red Sox fans.  The Sox have lost 3 out of 4 series and were swept in the series against the Tigers and Rangers which doesn't bode well.  Any team that wants to go to the World Series from the AL will probably have to go through one if not both teams to get there.

5.  UFC 145.  I am actually excited for the Rashard Evans vs. Jon Jones fight.  The are former close friends and sparring partners.  I expect brutality and possibly some more bad blood towards each other after this bout.

100 Years Young

UPDATE:  What you'll find below is a post I wrote nearly a week ago that I never got around to publishing.  It does seem fitting that I'm publishing it today, on the official 100th Birthday of Fenway Park.   The Sox are playing the Yankees, fittingly, in an afternoon game at the old park.

ORIGINAL POST:  If you didn't know, this is the 100th anniversary for Fenway Park and the Red Sox are obviously celebrating all season long.  Part of the celebration was selling bricks last season that were used during a renovation this off season.  My family bought one and I'm looking forward to seeing it when I get down there in June.  My uncle is at today's game and he's going to find ours and tell us where it's located.

A very nice first-pitch celebration today had a gentleman, Bill Hogan, Jr, throw out the first pitch.  Mr. Hogan was born on April 14, 1912, six days before Fenway opened.  You'll love this little clip.

He looks pretty spry to me.  I'm thinking he could pitch an inning of relief easily.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Death Might Bring A 10 Game Suspension

I love hockey.  The speed, skill, and endurance that hockey players show each and every game amaze me.  I only wish that I could be half the player that these guys could be.  However, this playoff season has shown me that besides being very amazing athletes, that some of the players are the same brutish thugs that populate the game of football.  Let's examine some of the suspensions that have been handed down.

James Neal - Pittsburgh Penguins:  1 game for two different flagrant elbows to the head.
     The first incident where he jumps and hits an unsuspecting Flyer in the head, he gets off from punishment because according to Brendan Shanahan, the league accepts the argument that Neal jumped off the ice to brace himself for contact.  Wow.  I wish I had people that would buy the flimsiest of excuses.  So here is why Neal got the 1 game suspension.  He committed charging on Giroux.  He jumped and made principal contact with Giroux's head and neck area.  There is no apparent injury to Giroux.  Really?  One of the 10 best players in the NHL can't keep his balance on his skates and you say that there is no apparent injury?  Neal has been fined and warned before in this NHL season.

Aaron Asham - Pittsburgh Penguins:  4 game suspension for a crosscheck and a punch to the back of the head of a prone player.
     Asham in retaliation of a check from Brayden Schenn to a Pittsburgh defender, crosschecks Schenn high in the chest.  According to our favorite talking head, Asham's stick never touches Schenn's head.  However, Asham took many strides to hit Schenn and it was a violent crosscheck.  Also, Asham punch to the back of the head was wrong.  So Asham got 4 games because of the Match Penalty with the intent to injure.  There was no injury.  I don't think Shanny saw Schenn's face as he was leaving the ice.  I have seen newly minted stop signs that aren't that red.  And Asham has never been disciplined by the NHL.

Brian Shaw - Chicago Blackhawks:  3 game suspension for hitting Phoenix Goalie Mike Smith behind the net.
     Shaw went to try and take the puck from Smith.  He came in at a sharp angle and hit Smith in the head with his shoulder.  According to Shanny, it was Shaw's responsibility to not hit the goaltender.  And he did not do it.  Although I do like the embellishment that Smith had with his flopping around.  Shaw gets the 3 games for charging the goaltender, there was no apparent injury to Smith and Shaw hasn't been in trouble with the NHL before.

Craig Adams and Nicklas Backstrom each got 1 game suspensions for Match penalties in their recent games.  While i agree with the Adams one, the Backstrom one I don't.  If you give it to Backstrom, you also give one to Peverley that was the first person to threaten the head in that altercation.  And finally, from the Phoenix-Chicago game tonight:

Let's see what punishment that Shanny decides on this.  You have a player that decides to hit a player that is not playing the puck anymore, leaving his feet to check the player, hitting him flush in the head with his shoulder sending the player to the hospital.  If he gets anything like Asham's suspension, I will know that the NHL doesn't care about player safety.  Because Torrez has done this time and time again.  Last year, he took out Brent Seabrooke of the same Chicago Blackhawks in the playoffs.  I know what I would suspend Torrez for and he should be happy that I'm not Brendan Shanahan right now.  And one last final thing, Tyson Nash, the Colour Commentator of the Phoenix Coyotes says that the hit was "as clean of a hit as you are going to get".  Well, we now know why Tyson Nash was always in trouble now, since he doesn't understand the rules of the NHL.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Ricky Stenhouse Jr. survived a late race restart to win his first race at Texas Motor Speedway in Friday nights O'Reilly Auto Parts 300. Stenhouse Jr. (No.6) held off Denny Hamlin (No.18) and Paul Menard (No.33) on a restart with six laps to go and win his second race of the '12 Nationwide Series season. The win cut Elliot Sadler's lead down from 18 points to 4 points. Sadler (No.2) came in 12th. Pole sitter Menard tried to be just the third driver to win the race from the pole in the Nationwide Series. Menard's five time race lead of a 100 laps was not enough to hold off the hard charging No.6, leaving him to come in second 1.4 seconds behind the leader. Kasey Kahne's (No.38) saw a change in his season as he came in third, with Hamlin and Austin Dillon (No.3) rounding out the top five. Danica Patrick (No.7) had her first Nationwide top 10 finish by coming in eighth which appeared to give her a big boost in her quest of her first Nationwide season. Though Ford won the race, Chevrolet showed strong with six cars paced by Menard finishing in the top ten.

Texas Motor Speedway also hosted the Samsung Mobile 500 on Saturday night. Greg Biffle (No.16) the Sprint Cup points leader won the 330 lap race with the drivers sailing through the final 234 laps without a caution. Jimmie Johnson (No.48) who appeared to be heading for a win, giving team owner Rick Hendrick his 200th win, finished second after slapping the wall with 15 laps to go. Johnson appeared annoyed that the race finished on such a mild note, but this writer's feeling is his, "I'm Jimmie Johnson and I wanted to win" didn't seem to impress the hard charging Biffle. Mark Martin (No.55) came in third followed by Jeff Gordon (No.24) and Matt Kenseth (No.17). Pole sitter MartinTruex Jr. (No.56) finished sixth. Biffle ended a 49 race drought and firmly placed himself in the points lead. Matt Kenseth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are tied at second and third, nineteen points behind Biff.

This one is for Zeb:
Kasey Kahne celebrated NASCAR's return to Rockingham Speedway with a win Sunday in the Good Sam Road Assistance 200 Truck Series race. The track was purchased at auction by Andy Hillenburg, and he successfully brought NASCAR back.  The truck race was the first NASCAR-sanctioned event at The Rock since 2004.  Kahne held off James Buescher for the win. Kahne had to start at the back of the field because he didn't qualify the truck Saturday while at the Sprint Cup race in Texas.  It was the fourth win in five career Truck Series races for Kahne, who finished seventh in the Cup race.  Matt Crafton was third, followed by Johnny Sauter and series points leader Timothy Peters.

NCAA: It Just Ain't Fair!

I attended a very small, Baptist HBCU university--Shaw University in Raleigh, NC.  Shaw is a member of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) and is a NCAA Division II school.  Shaw is so small, that among HBCUs, it does not rank in the "elite" class of Howard, Hampton, Florida A&M, Morehouse, or Grambling Universities.  During my years at Shaw, our sports teams never won anything--that is to say, we never won any conference or other NCAA championships.  We weren't that good; but the whole school turned out for every game and it was truly an exercise in school pride and the pleasure of the sport itself.

In recent years, however, Shaw has been blessed with great athletic fortune.  Since 2004, the men's football team has won the CIAA championship five times ('04, '07, '08, '10 and '11), and made the NCAA Div. II playoffs twice ('07, '10 and '11).  The men's basketball team won the CIAA championship twice ('01 and '11).  Shaw U. has won many other team sport championships (men's and women's baseball/softball, tennis, track, etc.) during the decade of the 2000's, but it's the women's basket team that is our shining jewel, having won the CIAA basketball championship seven times between 2002 and 2011, and in 2012 the women won the NCAA Division II Championship!

Which brings me to why I'm making you read this stuff.  Today, I read a Washington Post story about the sanction imposed on the 2012 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball program at Baylor University.  The school was caught engaging in questionable recruiting practices.

Now, how often do we hear about this kind of thing among Division I sports programs--especially football and men's and women's basketball?  How often do the same schools keep breaking the same rules--seemingly getting away with it all the time?  Now, I realize that "getting away with it" is subjective--they do lose a few scholarships, and every "square" orbit the Earth takes around the Sun, you hear about the dreaded "Death Penalty."  But these schools still get Heisman winners, mega TV contracts, endorsement contracts.  Many of their coaches make 10x the salaries of their most tenured professors or even the school presidents/chancellors!  And that's not counting the product sponsorship dollars the coaches get.  Their athletic departments are so rich that even their "Tiddly Wink" teams have a budget greater than the entire AD department at Shaw!

But when these schools screw up--often ROYALLY (consider Penn State, Ohio State, Arkansas,  Southern Cal., Auburn, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, LSU...the list goes on.  The media even calls it an "epidemic!"  Cheating, scheming, you name it.  But what really happens to these schools?  Do their program "really" suffer?  I don't think so.  If any of this kind of stuff happened to Division II school in the same frequency as it does in Division I, D-II schools would be devastated.  And the poor, poor Div. III schools--they're prohibited by NCAA rules from even offering scholarships to prospective athletes--I wonder how their sports programs even survive.

After Kentucky won the Men's NCAA Basketball championship, I overhead a commentator ask another who he thought should win the MVP and the other commented that it was a tough call because they had three freshmen, all of whom were equally eligible to win.  It dawned on me---three freshmen?  Freshmen?!?  I know there are some elite high schools around the country, but most college basketball freshmen come from fairly "normal" public and private high schools.  I wondered if Shaw University's women basketball team (Division II Champs) could compete against Baylor (Division I Champs).....I mean, they're the same women recruited from just about the same schools.  But probably not because Baylor has resources that schools like Shaw will never have.  They have the opportunity to shine (exploit) their athletes that a school like Shaw will never have.  Yet, despite losing two scholarships, Baylor is likely to be at the NCAA Women's Final Four next year, with millions ($$) at stake, while little schools like Shaw continue to go unknown, winning championships that the media (and the NCAA apparently) don't seem to give a damn about.  But Baylor will continue to win its championships and they will continue to cheat....and they'll continue to get richer while the little schools play for pride and barely hang on. 

It just ain't fair.

Going to baseball games

Zebster at Fenway
 Since it is officially baseball season and no one's been writing baseball blogs, now seems the time to post this little thing I nearly wrote six months ago.  We should all be able to have fun with this.  While going through my scrapbook, I made a tally of all of the Major League teams I have seen play in person and how many times, and then I took it one step further by listing the parks/stadiums I had seen games played at.  Obviously by pure chance there are a few teams I've never seen play and to me there are some surprises in that list. 
I have never seen the Cubs, Mariners, A's, Rangers, Rockies, Marlins, Braves, Indians nor Cardinals.  No, I'm not old enough to have seen the Boston Braves!

Obviously being a Boston Red Sox fan and growing up in New England, I've seen the BoSox many more times than any other team, followed by the Padres and Angels.  I've seen the Sox play live about 20 times, which seems like a low number to me; and have seen them play at Fenway Park, Nationals Park, Memorial Stadium in Baltimore and the Big A in Anaheim.  1971 would be the first year I saw them play, on a trip to Boston with my grandparents and youngest uncle.
I averaged a couple of visits a season to see Padres games during the four years I lived in San Diego County and would drive up to Anaheim whenever the Red Sox were in town during that same four-year stretch.

Next is a list of the rest of the teams I've seen play more than a couple of times:  Nationals 3, Orioles 4, Yankees 3, and Dodgers 4; followed by the teams I've seen once or twice:  Brewers, Phillies, Royals, Twins, Pirates, Reds, Expos, Diamondbacks, Astros, Giants, Rays, Tigers, Mets, Blue Jays and White Sox
PNC Park

What's interesting about the latter list is a couple of teams I would not have seen had I not made a visit to their park; namely the Tigers and the Pirates, which is a nice segue into listing the parks or stadiums I've visited to see a Major League baseball game:  Fenway Park, of course, in Boston; Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego; Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles; the Big A in Anaheim; RFK and Nationals Park in DC; Memorial Stadium and Camden Yards in Baltimore; Tiger Stadium in Detroit; old Yankee Stadium in New York and PNC Park in Pittsburgh.  "Honorable Mention" goes to Sky Dome/Rodgers Center.  My brother and I ate lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe that is in the outfield of that building and which overlooks the field but there was no Blue Jays game the weekend we were there to see a game at Maple Leaf Garden (perhaps a list for another day?)  It was actually in March and the basketball court had been set up on the field for a Raptors game the following evening...obviously before their new arena had been built.

 The next visit is already scheduled, a game at Fenway in June against the Nationals with our friend, DCHomer.  I would love to hear or see your lists.  Came back to add to another little list, that being those of you who are authors on this blog that I've seen a game with; namely, TrotRocks, AAHole, LittleCuz, Tpubgu and DCHomer.  Hopefully I didn't forget anyone.  NottaJohn, egbane and Buffetfan, you are on the next list.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The 5 Things That I Am Following This Weekend

1.  The NHL Playoffs.  The Canucks have lost the first 2 games vs. LA.  The Penguins defense sort of looks like they have adapted the Blue Jackets way of doing things.  And we have had lots of sudden death overtime games.  I don't think that my pick of Ottawa upsetting the Rangers in Round 1 is going to come through though.

2.  NASCAR in Texas and the Trucks in Rockingham.  On Friday, Danica Patrick finished in the Top 10 for her Nationwide team.  That is good for the sport, their sponsors, and the popular driver.  Martin Truex has qualified on the pole for the Sprint Cup race on Saturday night.  And on Sunday, the Trucks race at Rockingham.  I believe that NASCAR going back to the tracks that they abandoned in the 90's and 00's is a good thing.  I still would love to see the Sprint Cup cars go back to those places instead of having two races at one track.

3.  Baseball.  The Red Sox new skipper Bobby Valentine is already feuding with the scribes there.  The Dodgers sale has been approved by the Judicial system.  The Roger Clemens trial is coming closer and evidence is being challenged.  And if anybody out there actually thinks that if Johnny Damon is a Hall-Of-Fame player because he made it to 3,000 hits, I want you explain that to me.

4.  The news broke that Tom Benson, the owner of the Saints is buying the New Orleans Hornets for over $300 Million.  The Sacramento Kings and the city of Sacramento are no longer building a new arena in Sacramento together because the Maloof Brothers are becoming the Marx Brothers of the NBA, and finally, the New Jersey Nets will have to become something else because the NBA has approved of them moving to Brooklyn, NY.  I hope they make a clean break and call themselves something besides the Nets.  I volunteer the name New York Hoodlums.  After all, their owner is threatening to take out Mark Cuban in a violent way if Cuban signs Deron Williams in Free Agency next year.  Name the team after the owner.  I like it.  That is some major NBA news over the past couple of days that doesn't involve anything on the court.

5.  And finally, and probably least important, the Lingerie Football League is on hiatus.  All the teams in the United States have suspended operations until 2013.  There will be a 4 team league in Canada and a couple of games in Australia.  I have a feeling that the LFL is going to meet the same fate as the UFL.  And that fate is the closing of the league and dispersant of the semi-pro football that the league played.  I know that those red-blooded men in America will have to find other entertainment on Friday Nights and that MTV2 will take a beating in the ratings for that time slot.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hey G, you wanna piece of me?

The title of this blog comes from the fact that I've sent a message to DCHomer asking him if he wants to do a blog challenge related to the upcoming playoff series between his Washington Capitals and my Boston Bruins AND the fact that I have a #32 Bruins sweater and that sweater, worn by Don Sweeney, plays prominently in the following video from 1998.  DCHomer has yet to reply to my challenge, probably because he knows what's coming.  Watch the video and enjoy, hockey fans.

When it comes to NHL line fights, this one has it all, from take-downs to cheap shots and right crosses to goalie fights and everything in between.  The only way this video could be more fitting for my purpose is if Rod Langway were involved too, since I know G has a #5 Langway sweater; but if I'm not mistaken, the other Caps sweater he has is a Dale Hunter.  I'm sure he'll correct me if I'm wrong.
Let the playoffs begin!

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Lefties Rule at The Masters

As I wrote about in a prior post, I love having my Sundays back; and this Sunday means getting to watch The Masters, one of my favorite Sunday pastimes, seeing the great golf play on this storied course and the spring in full bloom at Augusta National, a teaser for us in Northern New England.
As you may know, I'm a fan of Phil Mickelson or Lefty as he is known to his fans.  As a lefthanded golfer, and I use that term very loosely, it's been great to have someone represent us on the biggest stages of the sport.  I'll continue with Phil for a second to let you know that he finished in a tie for 3rd in this years Masters, 2 shots off the lead as a result of a triple bogey on a par 3 early in his round.  This is Phil's 8th top 3 finish in this tournament and he's finished in the top 10 in 12 of his 14 entries to go along with his 3 wins.
Don't forget that Mike Weir, the lefty from Canada, won The Masters in '03, before Phil's 3 wins.  Now add this year's winner and you have 5 out of the last 10 Masters being won by lefties.
This year's winner?  None other than a Bubba Watson, the heir-apparent to Mickelson not only because he plays lefthanded but even more so because he plays just like Phil -- grip it and rip it, no shot is too hard or too risky.  The hole that ultimately won the tourney for Bubba, the second playoff hole where he finds himself in the trees on the pine straw but with an opening to the green if he can bend it 40 years, is eerily reminiscent of  Lefty at the Masters two years ago -- grip it and rip it with 12 feet of the hole.  Not bad for a guy who's never taken a lesson nor watched video of his own swing.  And if you saw the ceremony where he was awarded the Green Jacket in Butler Cabin, you've gotta love the guy -- just like a kid in a candy store with genuine emotion.
Bubba started the day 3 shots off the lead (teeing off in the penultimate pairing with Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open winner) of Peter Hanson and two shots behind Phil.  He witnessed history on the second hole, where his playing partner Oosthuizen striped a shot from the fairway to the front of the green and we all watched it roll across the green and into the hole for only the 4th albatross in the history of The Masters.  So Oosthuizen jumps from 2 shots off the lead to 2 shots ahead, as Hanson had bogeyed the first hole.  When Louis calmly put in tough par puts on the 3rd and another hole later in the front nine, it looked like this was his tournament; but Bubba had stayed steady and put in a few birdies to stay close, then birdieing the 16th to pull even.
Thanks, The Masters, for giving me something enjoyable to watch so I didn't have to watch another Red Sox late inning collapse.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Movie Time

GoonI had to kill a few hours before tonight’s Leafs season finale against the hated Montreal Canadiens, so I spent $6.99 and ordered Goon, the first OnDemand movie I’ve purchased since I saw the 8 documentary.

I. Loved. It.

This is a movie based on the book Goon: The True Story of an Unlikely Journey into Minor League Hockey by Doug Smith, an enforcer that played for the ECHL’s Carolina Thunderbirds and a handful of minor league teams before becoming a fight coach for the Boston Bruins, a police officer and a hockey linesman. While the real story happened over twenty years ago, it was adapted to today’s time frame and I couldn’t stop laughing during some parts.

The best thing I heard about Goon was on the Rotten Tomatoes web site from’s William Goss -- It's an underdog story that doesn't take itself too seriously, tender as a bruise and about as blue.

Yep, that’s about as accurate of a description of this movie as you’ll find. Here’s the trailer:

My favorite part of the movie? Doug Glatt, the character based on Smith, and his friend Pat attend a local hockey game. During the game a brawl breaks out and Pat taunts the visiting team’s enforcer. The enforcer climbs the glass and comes after Pat, yelling a certain anti-gay insult I won’t repeat here. Doug tells the enforcer, “my brother is gay” and then beats the sh*t out of the hockey player to the applause of the crowd.

Doug Glatt is adorably stupid in this movie and Liev Schreiber was an excellent choice to play Ross “The Boss” Shea, the St. John’s Shamrocks enforcer that is also Glatt’s favorite hockey player. I won’t say it’s the best hockey movie ever made but it’s definitely the best one since Slap Shot and likely a lot better than a certain overhyped move that also stars Seann William Scott and Eugene Levy.

Goon should appeal to a larger audience than hockey fans and with its limited release in theatres it’s worth checking out on OnDemand.

Friday, April 06, 2012

5 Things To Watch This Weekend In Sports

1.  Final regular season games in the NHL on Saturday - Early you get Blackhawks/Redwings which will demonstrate skill and Flyers/Penguins which features bad blood and a meaningless game before their 1st Round series.  Late you get Kings/Sharks who played one of the chippiest regular season games that I have seen in years and Maple Leafs/Canadiens who do not like each other and will play a hard hitting game in my opinion.

2.  Thursday, Stan Van Gundy came out and dropped a bombshell about knowing that Dwight Howard went to management and asked for a new head coach.  Well, the thing is that Howard didn't know what Van Gundy had done and came to clown around in front of the press and got blindsided by the press.  Now, the question is what do the Magic do now with the behind the scenes rumors of Howard and Van Gundy battling coming out into full view?  If you are going to get rid of Van Gundy and you have about 10 games left, you need to get rid of him now so your team can gel behind the new head coach, whomever that may be.  I have a feeling that the Magic will have a new head coach by Monday morning.

3.  The first weekend of regular season baseball.  For now, the dreams of fans for each and every team getting to the playoffs is still alive.  Heck, even Pittsburgh Pirates fans are talking smack about how their team can be the surprise team of the year.  My son has become a Chicago Cubs fan.  Talk about wanting a lifetime of heartbreak and pain.  Oh well, he will learn.

4.  Bobby Petrino down in Arkansas.  If you don't know about this, Bobby Petrino was riding his motorcycle and crashed.  Seems like an open and shut case.  He is riding solo and went too fast around a corner and bit it.  He said that we was riding the motorcycle and the next thing he remembers is that he is looking up at the sky.  Well, now the story is changing.  First, he picked up a 25-year old football program employee who is an Arkansas graduate before he crashed.  The employee is the student-athlete development coordinator.  She is in charge of organizing the recruiting process for the football team.  And that isn't the worst part here.  The reason that Petrino says that he had people lie about him being alone on the cycle and didn't tell the AD about the employee being on the bike is that he didn't want "an inappropriate relationship to become public".  Translation:  The 52 year-old Head Football Coach and the 25 year-old Female in the football program had physical contact without pads or a helmet that is worn around the human skull.

5.  The Saints appeals of their penalties from Bountygate.  It is nice to see that the talk of eliminating people on the football field by tearing up ankles, ACLs and other injuries was alive and well during the playoff games this past year from the Saints.  The only thing that I gleamed from the audio tapes coming out that showed Gregg Williams doing his pep talk is that Joe Vitt deserved more than 6 games during his suspension.  He is the assistant Head coach and willingly sat there and listened to the "rogue" Defensive Coordinator do things that the Saints allegedly told him that they would not abide by.  Right.  And the Unicorn that I have in my backyard likes eating cotton candy.  The Saints and the employees that appealed should have their penalties upheld and the players should start receiving their penalties as soon as possible.  And to Saints fans:  Stop crying about how unfair this is.  Your team broke the NFL rules and now have to pay the consequences.  The bounty program was in place for 3 years.  Sean Payton is a repeat offender.  And Tom Benson is an owner who has only had success when his team is running as an outlaw program.  So take the penalties, be happy that the NFL isn't going to suspend most of the players and doesn't take an even more hard stance in light of all the things that stink coming from the Superdome.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

The Best Of A Bad Lot (I Think)

Well, the Blog challenge for the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament is over.  It appears that I have bragging rights for winning the challenge.  I know that I am not going to brag because it was just luck for me to win.  The fact that I won by a measly 10 points means that a game that I picked in the 1st Round was the difference between me winning and losing the challenge. 

The person that was the most impressive in our group was Shelly.  She isn't a sports fan and came in 2nd place.  She picked the winner of the Tournament and beat the other bloggers here.  It was just bad luck for her not to have a couple of second round games go her way.  Vanderbilt/Wisconsin or New Mexico/Louisville should have been victories for her, but the fates decided otherwise.  But she shouldn't feel bad.  At least she finished in the top half of everybody that submitted brackets.

There are people that are sports fans that didn't get to that threshold.  Zebster finished 5th at the 16.3 Percentile.  A definite F.  Tpubgu finished in 4th.  He checked in at 32.7.  A big step up from Zebster, but still not good enough to challenge for the win.  BuffetFan2 came in 6th with the percentile at 14.0.

One last note:  I gave up on this challenge after the Round of 64.  One of my Final 4 teams lost in the 1st Round to Purdue.  Stinking Purdue.  2 others lost in the Sweet 16.  Cincinnati and Michigan State fell at that time.  All that I had at that time to pull me through was Kentucky.  And they did.  Not bad for a country hick in North Dakota, beating all of those worldly people in our group.  Hee Hee!   

Monday, April 02, 2012


Kevin Harvick made history in NASCAR truck series racing Saturday. By leading 248 of 250 laps in the Kroger 250, he led the most laps in a series race. And most importantly, he led the final lap which gave him a dominant victory, his first win of the season and his 14th of his career. The only other driver to lead laps was his RCR teammate Ty Dillon who came in a close second less than one second after Harvick. Completing the top five were James Buescher, Justin Lofton and Timothy Peters.
Harvick and Dillon worked together on restarts to retain their first and second positions, my opinion is winning races is great, but making deals with a teammate to hold off opposing drivers is not a race, if two cars are lined up I hope they race each other, not hold a position to have their teams win, granted Harvick had a fast truck, but the restarts were handled to keep a hard charging Buescher in third place.
John King, the winner at Daytona came in ninth and is still the series leader, Peters and Lofton are tied for second, one point behind, Dillon is fourth back by four points.

Ryan Newman needed help to win the Goodys Fast Relief 500, Clint Bowyer gave it to him with an opening with two laps to go, and his first win in 23 races. Bowyer's aggressive move took out race leaders Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon entering the first turn allowing Newman to slide into the lead where he held off A.J. Allmendinger and Dale Earnhardt Jr. who placed second and third.
Teammates Gordon, who led 328 laps, and Johnson, who led 112 laps, appeared set to give Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick his 200th win in the Sprint cup series. But fate set in giving Johnson the 12th and Gordon the 14th positions.
Gordon angrily denounced Bowyer's move and sought him out after the race, he was informed that the 15(Bowyer) was rearended by the 39(Newman), he dived into the inside lane which then turned Johnson around and also turned Gordon around. Through the melee Mat Kenseth and Martin Truex Jr. finished out the top five. The race showed why Johnson and Gordon are two of the top drivers ever. Both running a good race and then running neck and neck in the final 30 laps the race appeared to be all but over until a last minute caution was caused by David Reutimann, who had front end problems and then engine problems outside of turn one.
The general consensus was "what the heck was David thinking", but his answer of not wanting to be the cause of the caution, and wanting to keep his 35th position appears to ring true to this writer, I know he is a good driver and would not want to cause a problem like what happened, but sometimes you have to think, "my car is broken, is staying on the track in anyone's best interest, including my own".
Series leader Greg Biffle finished 13th and leads the series by six points over second place, that is Dale Earnhardt Jr. Pole sitter Kasey Kahne had another dismal outing, problems that don't appear to be ending anytime soon.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

I miss Sundays

If I hadn't worked from 10AM to 7PM today with a three-hour round-trip commute, I would have been home to watch the Celtics beat the Heat today by nearly 20 points. The Celtics are clicking right now. Just how much of a threat are they?
I probably would also have been peeking in on the Shell Houston Open, since Lefty was in contention. I see he finished four shots off the lead but in the top 10. Could he be a serious threat for The Masters next weekend, which I do intend to watch some of? (More on that later)
I definitely would have been watching the Nascar race at Martinsville, since I love watching races there and have been there once, and given that Kasey Kahne had a chance to turn his season around since he was the pole sitter. I hear he blew an engine to continue his woeful '12 season but Aric Almirola finished 8th.
I did get to see the end of the Bruins/Rangers tilt, where the Bruins prevailed 2-1 to clinch the division title and the #2 seed for the Eastern Conference playoffs. They are starting to play well again and I like their position matchup-wise for the playoffs, as it looks like they'll play Ottawa in the first round and then would face the winner of Florida/New Jersey in the second round, if they get by a tough Senators squad.
So I've been missing having my favorite sports day off and that will change very soon, just in time for spring and summer.

Fail For Nail: Final Week

If you have more than a passing interest in the Fail For Nail Sweepstakes™ like I do, it’s likely because your team stinks. My Leafs can’t do anything right, and with so many injuries in goal it’s only a matter of time before they beg Johnny Bower and/or the ghost of Turk Broda to come out of retirement one last time. Or they lob a phone call to Vesa Toskala’s agent and ask if he’s better at stopping 197-foot shots from the other team’s red line. Ugh!

The only reason I’m optimistic better times are ahead for the Leafs is there’s a chance Nail Yakupov might wear the blue and white. To get there, I have to root for my team to lose so it can be one of five NHL teams in the Fail For Nail Sweepstakes™.

With only three (or four) games left in the regular season it’s time to handicap the remaining teams in the Fail For Nail Sweepstakes™.


COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (3-2-0 last week, 61 points overall): Under normal circumstances Jackets fans would scream bloody murder over the team’s current three-game winning streak but there’s no way they can be bumped from the NHL basement. No harm, no foul with a season ending winning streak, right?


EDMONTON OILERS (1-2-0, 71 points): Not only are the Oilers muddling along but now they’ve got injury problems to deal with. Upcoming games against Anaheim, Los Angeles, Anaheim again and Vancouver should result in the Oilers punching their lottery ticket.

MONTREAL CANADIENS (0-1-2, 73 points): This is one team that can’t get it right. If you’re going to Fail For Nail™, you have to lose in regulation. Pity points for losing in overtime not only hurt your chances, but they’re pitiful to accumulate. Games against Tampa Bay, Carolina and Toronto may hurt their chances to stay in the bottom five.

MINNESOTA WILD (2-2-0, 76 points): I really don’t know what to say about the Wild’s chances of remaining in the Fail For Nail Sweepstakes™. They lose to Washington and the Rangers and then beat division leading Florida and Los Angeles in consecutive games. They have four remaining games against Chicago, Nashville, Chicago again and Phoenix. How many will they win?

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (1-2-0, 77 points): The Leafs looked awful in back to back games against Carolina and Philadelphia, but then looked like a playoff team versus Buffalo. Unlike most teams, they only have three remaining contests against Buffalo, Tampa Bay and Montreal. Hopefully Boyd Devereaux (or anyone else) doesn’t score a hat trick in the final game of the season to knock them out of the Fail For Nail Sweepstakes™ just like they did when they screwed up the Tank For Tavares campaign three years ago.


ANAHEIM DUCKS (1-2-0, 77 points): They’re tied with the Leafs and Islanders for the fifth-worst point total but they have four games left on their schedule. Contests against Edmonton (twice), Vancouver and Calgary should take them out of the sweepstakes.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS (3-1-0, 77 points): They have all but removed themselves from this competition thanks to big victories against Florida and Pittsburgh (twice), and they have four contests against Ottawa, New Jersey, Winnipeg and Columbus remaining.

CAROLINA HURRICANES (1-1-1, 78 points): They looked great against the Leafs but not so good against New Jersey last night. With games against Ottawa, Montreal and Florida remaining I don’t see this team losing all three to keep pace with the Leafs.


TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (2-2-0, 79 points): They looked awful against Boston yet beat Philadelphia and Winnipeg. Playing .500 hockey week in and week out will not help this team get a decent draft position, and games against Washington, Montreal, Toronto and Winnipeg will ensure they do more of the same. 

WINNIPEG JETS (1-2-1, 81 points): It’s going to take a miracle for the Jets to get back in the Fail For Nail Sweepstakes™, let alone the Stanley Cup Playoffs. With upcoming games against Florida, the Islanders and Tampa Bay I don’t see this team going 0-3-0 next week.