Sunday, May 27, 2012


I had to do this one, my boss has Kasey Kahne as one of his faves. My guy Dale Jr. came in 6th. Kasey put together a great race and finished in fine fashion. I'm going to be watching, but i will be staying away from the storyline for a while, I'll be watching, just not typing, Zeb, enjoy the win.

Thanks Sox and Celts for an hour well spent

Having spent yesterday at a family celebration and running errands with Shel, which included my first banana split in quite some time, we settled in for a quiet evening and a movie.  During the commercials I'd take a peek at the Red Sox/Rays game, since my bro was at the game and it was a 2-1 score, and game 7 of the Celtics/Sixers game.  Also, since we're going sightseeing today, I didn't know how much sports I would get to watch this weekend, so a little fix was in order.
So following the end of the movie at 10pm, I started bouncing back and forth between the Celtics and Sox games, mostly focused on the Celtics game since it was a game 7, ergo an elimination game.  The Celtics seemingly had things under control, as they had so often in this series, only to allow the pesky Sixers to hang around.  Doug Collins deserves much credit for the tenacious way that young team plays, a team that talent-wise had no business hanging around in this series or being there at all.  So with about 5 minutes remaining the Celtics have a 5 point lead, when Paul Pierce presses his luck on a drive to the lane with 5 fouls and fouls out on a charging call.  From that point forward though the Celtics bare down, lead by Rajon Rondo, and finally put the Sixers away to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals to meet the Miami Heat.  This should be an interesting series, at least to start.  The Celts are getting old and tired and will be without Avery Bradley but play well against the more talented Heat; the Heat can be inconsistent and will be without Chris Bosh but are the better team.
So once the Celtic game is over, I tune back in to see the Sox are still down 2-1 starting the bottom of the 9th.  Daniel Nava leads off and works a much-needed walk to get a man on base, and he is immediately sacrificed to 2nd, leaving two opportunities for a single to tie the game.  Up next is Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who has been quietly having a productive offensive year for the Sox.  First pitch fastball, swing and miss.  It's sometimes hard to tell on TV whether, when a hitter swings and misses a first-pitch fastball, the hitter is overmatched or has it timed perfectly but just missed it.  Well, Salty obviously had it timed because the next pitch was another fastball (mistakenly knee high and inside to a lefthanded hitter) and he deposited it into the bullpen for a walk-off homer and a BoSox win.  So the Sox get back to .500, AGAIN, and I get to go to bed at a decent hour.

Friday, May 25, 2012

5 Things That I Am Watching This Week

I decided to change from the weekend to the week because most of the things that I list here are done during the week.  That being said, everything on this list happens this weekend.

1)  The Indy 500.  Another chance to miss Dan Wheldon.  Another chance to mourn the decline of open wheel racing in the United States.  I could care less if Danica races in it or not.  The sad thing is that I don't know who is on the pole, who is leading in the Indy Car standings, or even who are the Top 5 favorites to win this thing.  It speaks to the decline of this series because I actually find it more exciting than NASCAR.

2)  Formula 1 in Monaco.  Just continuing the open wheel racing vibe.  I absolutely love Formula 1.  In my opinion, it is the best form of auto racing there is.  The speeds, the pageantry, the technical skill shown by all the teams, the rivalries, the history.  It's all there along with a sense of danger.  Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso are tied for the lead and looks like they will be battling for the Points Championship all season long.  We will see if the fire in the Williams garage the last race will cause difficulties for them.  And I am hoping that Filipe Massa can figure out what is wrong this year with him and his Ferrari

3)  English League 1 Soccer: Huddersfield vs. Sheffield United.  While I will never ever be considered a soccer snob by anybody, I am learning to like the European leagues.  I am a fan of the Houston Dynamo in MLS and I am looking to see which team I will support across the pond.  The best thing about the soccer leagues over in Europe is the Relegation and Ascention rules for the worst and best teams in most of the leagues.  I wish they had something like that over here for sports leagues.  These two teams are chasing Charlton Athletic and Sheffield Wednesday for 1st and 2nd place in league.

4)  76ers v Celtics - Game 7.  In watching this series, I am reminded of a heavyweight fight in boxing by 2 fighters that are sloppy in the ring and don't have knockout power.  The Celtics have the pedigree and the talent to have won this thing in 5.  However, they appear like they have run out of gas and can't get interested in this series.  Give credit to Doug Collins for teaching and instructing his young 76ers team on how to win in the playoffs.  I want the 76ers to win, but also would love to see the Celtics win and beat the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.  I know that the 76ers cannot do that.

5)  NY Rangers v NJ Devils.  The Devils lead 3 games to 2 in this Eastern Conference Final.  I do not like either team but are rooting for the Devils just because of John Tortorella and his mouth behind the Rangers bench.  Martin Broduer is looking like he is 30, not 40 and the Devils talent level is high.  However, it doesn't matter which of these teams win this series because the Big, Bad Kings are waiting to demolish either squad and take the Stanley Cup back to California.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

5 Things That I Am Watching This Weekend

 Sorry about the long #5.  It just sort of flowed while I was writing.

1.  The NBA Playoffs.  The Eastern Conference is a dogfight right now.  The Celtics-76ers are tied at 2 games a piece.  The Heat are down to the Indiana Pacers 2-1.  In Miami, you have the Bosh injury, the Wade-Spoelstra argument during game 3, and more criticism of LeBrick.  In the West, the Lakers-Thunder series is overflowing with bad blood.  42 Free Throws in a game?  Maybe the conspiracy theorists are correct about the Lakers and the NBA office.  And the Spurs continue to roll along, showing that the Clippers aren't ready yet.

2.  The NHL Playoffs.  The Devils-Rangers series looks to be going long.  That isn't good for the Rangers who went to Game 7 in the 1st two rounds.  It looks like the Kings will be making the Stanley Cup Finals.  I did get a laugh about Dave Tippett's "embellishment" quote.  While stating the truth about the Kings and their flopping like a fish out of water, he has no room to talk because of his goalie, Mike Smith.  I wish I could flop like he does.  That is truly an art form when Smith flops around like he gets shot with a .44 Magnum.

3.  The NFL and it's concussion problem.  I read Pro Football Talk when I am paroozing football news.  The owner of the site, Mike Florio, has said as late as a month ago that able bodied men haven't said no to the NFL because of the possibility of concussions and their consequences later in life.  Well, over the past month 1 veteran and 2 rookies have quit because of those consequences.  And ad Mr. Florio has stated, this is starting to become a major problem for the NFL.  It isn't because they can't find bodies to replace those three people, but it furthers the argument that football is a dangerous sport and more changes need to be made to prevent this concussion "epidemic" from getting out of hand.  It also opens up the NFL to these lawsuits that over 1700 former players have filed against the NFL and allows the NFL to be just that much closer to being found negligent on players injuries.

4.  NASCAR and the organizing body.  I do watch NASCAR, not as much as I used to, but still I watch it some.  And the BS penalties on Kurt Busch for "buzzing" the crew of Ryan Newman is one that causes me just to blow off watching the races.  Listen, I am all for crew safety, but when 1 member of the crew is upset about what he believes endangers his safety and then NASCAR fines the driver of a car when none of the other crew members had a problem with it, then NASCAR is going too far.  It the member of the 39 crew is worried about cars coming too close to him, then allow cars on pit road to leave before doing maintenance on the pit stall.  If that is not acceptable, then find another line of work.  But NASCAR had no right to penalize Kurt Busch for that leaving of his pit stall.

5.  College Football and Realignment.  Yes this thing keeps on showing up and it hasn't stopped even though I haven't talked about it for a while.  The latest is that Florida state has been approached by members of the Big XII about joining the conference.  And while I would have dismissed this right away, there is another story that might bring validity to that.  The story is that the Big XII and the SEC have agreed to have their conference champions play each other in a Bowl game if neither of them are in the BCS. 

Why does that have implications with Florida State?  Because of the proposed Plus 1 playoff format that the BCS looks like it will go towards.  Right now there are 6 automatic qualifiers in the BCS.  PAC-12, SEC, Big XII Big Ten, ACC, and Big East.  If the BCS goes to a Plus 1 system, then the major money is being one of those 4 teams picked to be in the mini playoff.  And let's face it, the Big East isn't going to be looked upon favorably with that system.  They have lost power teams like Pittsburgh and West Virginia.  The only power team that they have signed up is Boise State and they don't come into conference until 2013.  And that is possibly a mistake because I expect for Boise to never enter into the Big East, sort of like TCU.  They will get snatched up by another conference which will make more sense for Boise to belong to. 

So now you have 5 major power conferences left.  If you are the BCS, let's look at where each of these conferences have their power bases.  For the PAC-12, it is the Area of the Rocky Mountains and west.  That entails around 13 states including Hawaii and Alaska.  You have Denver, Seattle, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco and other metropolitan areas out there that are all interested in the PAC-12.  Why would you alienate those fans by dismissing the PAC-12 in the BCS?  You don't, so the PAC-12 is a major member of the BCS.  The Big Ten?  In addition of the cities like Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit, and Chicago, you have the storied teams.  The Michigan Wolverines, The Ohio State Buckeyes, the Nebraska Cornhuskers, The Penn State Nittany Lions.  You can't have them upset and deciding to upset the apple cart, so they get a seat at the Big Table.  Let's take the SEC.  How do you exclude them from the Big Table?  The past 6 or 7 National Champions have come from that conference.  They are the best football conference in the country.  Nuff said. 

That leaves the ACC and Big XII to fight for that last power conference which will be looked upon favorable by the BCS.  And there are advantages and disadvantages to each conference.  The two things that swings it to the Big XII: Texas and Oklahoma.  These are programs that are respected and given the benefit of the doubt in everything that they do.  The closest that the ACC has to them is Florida State and Miami.  Also, the football crazed states of Oklahoma and Texas trump anything that the ACC can put forth.  Florida has in it lots of SEC fans.  Can you tell me with a straight face that either North or South Carolina can match the intensity of fan that Texas or Oklahoma has?  Maryland and Massachusetts? Please.  And with the signing of a bowl game between the champions of the SEC and Big XII, the opinion is that the Big XII is the superior conference to the ACC.  Now if you are the BCS, you can say that right now you can have a Plus 1 system right now with the bowls in place.  The Rose Bowl that has the Big Ten and PAC-12 champion and the Bowl of the SEC-Big XII champion.  The BCS can say that it isn't ideal but if you have the champions of the best 4 conferences playing each other that the ideal of having the best teams playing for a national championship is being fulfilled.  And that leaves out the ACC and Big East, which in turn has Florida State looking at the Big XII as a way of obtaining more money for it's institution.

The point is that the BCS is going to force a two tier system for major college football.  And every conference and institution realizes this and is trying to position themselves to reap the benefits.  Yes, there might be a magical run by a team like Utah when it was in the Mountain West, but they won't break the glass ceiling that is being built by the Big 4 conferences.  they will have to be happy being the ACC champion in a Big Bowl, just not the Bowls that count for the Jackpot money.

Friday, May 11, 2012

5 Things That I Am Watching This Weekend

OK, maybe following this weekend.  I have around a 9 hour round trip this weekend with 2 friends to go see The Wit And Wisdom 2012 Tour of Red Green in Mitchell South Dakota on Saturday Night.  So I won't physically be watching these things, but following.

1)  Game 7 between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers.  I am rooting for the Capitals in this one.  In fact, I am rooting for the Capitals for the rest of this Stanley Cup playoffs.  It hurts to root for the enemy, but I am willing to make that sacrifice.  Go Canes Go!

2)  Game 7 between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets.  There is no reason that this series is still being played.  The Lakers are the more veteran team and better skilled team.  However, the genius of George Karl is coming through in the series because of the adjustments that the Nuggets have made playing defense.  Let's see if Mike Brown can make the adjustment to keep the big upset from happening.

3)  The unwatchable team in MLB, the Minnesota Twins.  The Bad News Bears have nothing on these guys.  Same with the Cleveland Indians in the movie Major League.  The Twins have shaken up their roster and the results have been the same.  Losses.  I believe that there are more than a couple of headcases right now in that locker room and some of the leaders not really caring about the way this season goes.  It is time to start the Ron Gardenhire watch.

4)  The 1st game of the Pacers-Heat Eastern Conference Semifinals.  This is where I think that the Heat can be tripped up.  I think that they might be reading the conventional wisdom about how they can cruise to the NBA finals.  I am hoping for an upset in this series and it can start with this game.

5)  NASCAR goes to Darlington.  AJ Allmendinger is running real well in that #2 Penske Car.  But he leads the list of people that have started every race and are 60 points back of the 10th place driver, Clint Bowyer.  Allmendinger, Ambrose, Almirola, Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch, Bobby Labonte, Regan Smith, Mears, Ragan, Gilliland, Reutimann, Blaney, and Cassill need to start running well to try and get back into the Chase for the Cup possibilities.  There are 9 drivers between Allmendinger and Bowyer with Newman and Keselowski being the wildcards at the current time.  Keselowski has 2 wins and is looking pretty good for a wildcard when compared with past Chase wildcards.

And an additional one:

6)  The Bikini Hockey League.  It is being formed in Oklahoma.  In the beginning there will be two teams and a reality show project is being cast for the selection of these players.  The ladies will play inline roller hockey with helmets, gloves, elbow and knee pads along with shin guards.  No word on the object that they will be using as the puck.  There are a few problems that I see here.  #1)  Oklahoma?  This should be in a hockey crazed state like Massachusetts or Minnesota if it is being held anywhere in the United States.  More ideally, it would be in Canada.  #2)  Rules?  There is a rumor that there would be light checking allowed.  There is a reason that in women's hockey that checking is not allowed.  #3)  Wearing a bikini while blocking a shot with anything but a NERF object is going to hurt bad.  Imagine the welts that are going to happen.  I am interested, but would be interested if the ladies wore the full compliment of pads and equipment that their counterparts wear on the ice.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Ironman St. George, Utah, May 5, 2012

Video Clip of Swim Conditions

I've gone through so many emotions since Saturday - sadness, disappointment, happiness, glad to be safe.  I was ready and confident to tackle the toughest Ironman race.  I definitely had done the training.  I was nervous the week prior to the race, but on race morning, I was calm and ready to go.  I swam out to the start line.  The water was very calm and temperate.  I couldn't wait for one of my favorite parts of the race - to hear the cannon fire, but something went wrong with the cannon and it took them a few minutes to get it to go off.  Maybe that was a sign of what was about to occur.

As soon as I found my swimming space and got settled in, the water started to get a little bouncy, and I felt my back getting sprayed with water. At first, I wondered if it had started to rain.  I stopped and looked behind me and saw huge swells and whitecaps.  The wind was blowing so hard that it was spraying the water.  I tried to keep swimming, but it was very difficult to maneuver.  By this point, I was on the back side of the reservoir, far from shore.  It seemed like swimmers were scattered everywhere.  I had to wait between swells to see where people were or where the buoys were.  The buoys were bouncing and being blown and tossed around.  Then I saw a boat plucking swimmers from the water, and there were already many swimmers on the boat.

I started to panic because of my previous experience of almost drowning in the ocean after being stuck in a rip current.  However, I remembered that one of the reasons that I almost drowned was because I panicked.  So I told myself to remain calm because that was the most important thing to do in this situation.  Additionally, I told myself that I had a wetsuit on and I was like a floating buoy.  My survival instincts definitely kicked in, and I did NOT want to get pulled out of the water.  I was determined to try to make it through.  I tried swimming as best as I could, but I had to stop often and just do the breast stroke.  I took in quite a few gulps of water (at least it was fresh and pristine) and I also took in a lot of air.  I had to stop and let out some very long burps which actually put a little humor into the situation.

I thought I had been in the water forever, and I remember looking at my watch and saw that it was 7:50, so I still had plenty of time.  I also remember feeling my body sweating a lot.  I knew I was working very hard to swim in the four- and five-foot swells.  I also developed quite the muscle spasm in my left calf.  I was pretty much getting thrown around by the waves too, but I just kept telling myself to stay calm, stay calm, and let mother nature take its course.  I was very, very worried about Ted and Tony too.  I knew they were on shore at that moment freaking out at what was happening and worrying themselves sick about me. 

I knew the situation must be pretty bad at this point, but I had no idea how really horrific it was.  Also even if I wanted to get on a boat, there were none even close to me.  I did think of quitting a time or two, but I felt confident that I was going to be okay as long as I remained calm.  I didn't know if I would make the swim cut-off time, though.  I finally made it to the last buoy before making a left turn to swim towards the boat ramp.  When I turned and tried to swim, the current started sucking me out farther.  It was at this point that I was the most scared.  I kept swimming, but I was going nowhere.  I just hunkered down with determination to get to shore, and finally I touched the cement of the boat ramp.  All I wanted was to see Ted and Tony.  I couldn't find them anywhere.  I went into the change tent and asked the volunteers to find them.  They were yelling outside the tent "364!" "364!" but I didn't know if Ted heard them or not.  I never changed clothes so fast in my life, and I ran out of the tent and found them waiting for me.  I immediately began to cry when I saw them, but Ted helped me not to lose it by grabbing my hand and telling me "You're okay.  Don't give up the fight!"

Later he told me that he couldn't watch the swim anymore because the conditions were so horrible, and he was worried sick about me, that he might never see me again, so they went to stand by the change tent to wait for me to come out.  When he saw me he told me to stay in the fight because he could see that I just wanted to break down, and he wanted to break down too.

I headed out onto the bike course, and I was just so happy to be out of that water.  I was in shock at what had happened, and I was so proud of myself for making it out.  I felt like Lieutenant Dan in Forest Gump when he was on the ship in the storm and was yelling at God!  I completed the swim in 1:51, which ended up being a great time after learning that hundreds were pulled out of the water, hundreds barely made the swim cut-off of 2:20, and many more swimmers did not make the swim cut-off.

I tried to switch my focus to the bike course. The head-winds were so strong that I was hardly moving. I just kept telling myself to keep going and hopefully the conditions would change once we got out of Hurricane (Yes, that's the name of the town outside of St. George where the reservoir is!)

Well, needless to say, the wind never let up.  No matter which way you turned, you got blown.  I had to hold on to my handlebars pretty tight.  When I got to mile 50, I started to think that this was pure craziness.  I was only averaging 12 to 13 miles an hour and I was going to be so close to the bike cut-off that this might not be worth it.  I pulled off to the side of the road and tried to think about what to do.  Also, for the first time ever, I had snuck my cell phone into my bike pouch and took it on the course with me.  I pulled it out and called Ted and told him that I was thinking about abandoning the race and to stand by to come and get me.  Then I got caught with my phone, but they let me put it away and ride on. So I rode to the next aid station and went into the porta-potty and called Luke (my coach).  I really wanted to talk to him and get his advice.  He helped me decide that abandoning the race was in my best interests. So I rode the course into town to mile 67 where they were stopping everyone at that point because we had not made the bike cut-off time to begin the second loop.  It was 2:15, and the cut-off time was 2:05.  Many of the riders were disappointed; some were teary-eyed.  I was happy it was over with and gladly turned in my chip!

I rode back to transition and called Ted to come and get me.  While I was waiting, my daughters called me to see if I was okay, and that is when I broke down and cried.  It wasn't so much that I was sad, but it finally hit me how scared I was in that water and how dangerous the conditions were.  It is really fortunate that no one was seriously injured or died that day.

I was mentally and physically fit to finish Ironman St. George, and I'm a little disappointed that I won't get another chance.  I've been sad, happy, and disappointed since Saturday afternoon, but by Monday afternoon, I felt happy and satisfied that I did make the right decision not to push myself to go on.  Every race is so different, and like I always say, "You never know what's going to happen on race day!"


With a classic slingshot move, and five laps into overtime, Joey Logano sped past Kyle Busch to win the Aaron's 312 of the Nationwide Racing Series. The race saw Eric McClure injured in what could have been a very bad situation if not for the safety changes implemented by NASCAR. Logano won by just 0.034 seconds to win his 2nd Nationwide race this season, and the 11th of his career. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. came in third taking the points lead away from Elliot Sadler. Cole Whitt was fourth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top five. Danica Patrick finished a respectable 13th but used her car to push Sam Hornish Jr. into the wall after a perceived infraction after the checkered flag was waved. The race was red flagged after a nine car pileup at the start of the green-white-checkered finish at lap 117. McClure got the worst of the collision by running into the SAFER barrier on the inside of the backstretch going into turn 3. The driver was awake and talking to workers and then airlifted to UAB Hospital for further evaluation. At this writing he has been released from hospital and is being treated for concussion. Overheating appeared to be less of a problem than expected but was keeping the drivers and crews aware of the any problems that could arise.

The Sprint Cup's Aaron's 499 at Talladega gave Brad Keselowski a big win and gave Kyle Busch another second place win in as many days. Keselowski was leading with Busch pushing going into the last lap. Then Kes went high going into the third turn and gained separation from Kyle, that let him drive untouched to the checkered flag, a move he later stated wasn't easy to convince himself of doing, but turned out to be the right move. Matt Kenseth was third, and Kasey Kahne, who is starting to show a lot better, took fourth, Greg Biffle, who is still Sprint Cup points leader rounded out the top five.
The tandem racing that NASCAR so wants to remove from the superspeedways has diminished somewhat from the rule changes that were brought in after last season. But, there appears to be a new Pandora's box with those changes. The cars appear to be overheating quite easily even when they are in the middle of "pack" racing which is not the way NASCAR inttended this to go, but it appears changes are not on the horizon going into the warm summer and the next restrictor plate meeting in Daytona.

The ARCA Racing Hall of Fame 250 was won by Brandon McReynolds, son of long time crew chief and now Speed Channel commentator Larry McReynolds. The race was held up for a spectacular crash involving Mike Affarano. His car did a 6.5 rollover crash that saw a tire and the engine dislodged from the car. These crashes show how the changes since the 2001 loss of Dale Earnhardt Sr. have made this sport more and more safety oriented, and this writer's feeling is the safety changes along with pertinent rule changes give an action packed sport the same bang for the buck fan fun as can be expected.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

5 Things That I Am Watching This Weekend

In deference of the posts by R.J. and Zeb about Junior Seau, I decided to do this a day late.  I hope Seau is in a better place and to all of those former football players that have seemingly found themselves with the thought that there is no place to turn for help, use the example of all the outpouring of sadness and loss towards Seau, and decide that there are people out there that can help them find purpose and happiness in life.  There are people out there that do care about you.

Without further ado, back to the weekly snorefest.

1)  The NHL playoffs.  It looks like the Coyotes are going to make the Western conference finals along with the Kings.  In the East, the battles continue between the Rangers and Capitals, while the Devils are surprising most of the fans hanging tough with the Flyers.

2)  The NBA playoffs.  It looks like the Heat should have no trouble with the Derrick Rose injury in the East.  The Celtics are looking old in their series vs. the Hawks.  The Pacers aren't ready to be an elite team.  In the West, the Spurs, Thunder, and Lakers look like possible contenders to represent in the finals.

3)   The Kentucky Derby.  While I am not a fan of horse racing, I do love the spectacle that Derby Day brings.  It is nice to see that people will dress up for a party.

4)  Talladega.  That is all that needs to be said.  The drafting and heat are worrying drivers and that is a good thing.

5)  Albert Pujols.  The man is struggggggggggggling.  After his whopping off season free agent contract, Albert has hit exactly the same number of Home Runs as I have.  Zero.  He is getting booed at home and being made fun of on the road.  Maybe the situation in St. Louis was the best thing for Albert, even though he might have gotten less coin.

6)  Struggling baseball teams in the 1st part of the season.  In the NL, the Giants, Brewers, Phillies, and Marlins are under .500.  All of those teams have post-season aspirations.  In the AL, the Angels, Red Sox, and Tigers are underachieving as well.  The Tigers are over .500, but when the division leader are your Cleveland Indians, you are under achieving.  Especially when the worst 2 teams in the entire major leagues are playing within that division.  The Red Sox have had turmoil since the beginning of the season and the Angels need Pujols to turn back into Superman.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Remembering A Local Legend

As you can imagine the past two days have been hell since I learned about the passing of former San Diego Chargers legend Junior Seau. I still feel numb over the fact that someone who had a million megawatt smile for his fans and meant so much to so many people here in America’s Finest City™ took their own life – and that no one, not even me, could help him when he needed it the most.

This post will likely sound like I’m rambling but as a former Chargers fan I’ve got a few thoughts I want to share with y’all:

MY FAVORITE JUNIOR SEAU MOMENT: During his rookie season, Junior played against the then-Los Angeles Raiders for the first time and he never finished the game. During the third quarter he got into a fist fight against one of the Raiders linemen and both of them were ejected. I fondly remember that as the day the Chargers developed a backbone and wouldn’t take sh*t from anyone as long as Junior was with the team.

SEAU’S RESTAURANT: Thanks to the economy I haven’t been to the restaurant in a few years but it was one of my favorite places to eat after work. It had a very friendly atmosphere, there was a sports game on the television at all times and the food was great. What more could you ask for? For one, I’d love to see the restaurant remain open for business. It would be a sad day in San Diego if it closed because of Junior’s death – especially since it’s a favorite hangout during Chargers games.

WHY I JOINED RAIDER NATION: Back in 2002 there were rumblings the Chargers wanted a new stadium and would move to Los Angeles if they didn’t get one. That’s not the only reason why I hate the Chargers. I hate the Chargers for getting rid of Junior the way they did. The early rumors were they were going to outright release him.

Why? He was coming off his twelfth consecutive Pro Bowl appearance and was far and away the athlete who gave the most back to the community. The Chargers eventually allowed him to seek a trade so they could save face but we all knew they wanted to get rid of him before his performance fell off.

Tony Gwynn got to stay with the Padres until he retired, despite the fact he couldn’t play right field anymore in his final years. Junior deserved the same and never got that chance. This is why I hate the Chargers.

WHAT I’LL REMEMBER ABOUT JUNIOR: Junior was one of those rare athletes who not only was born and raised in the same place he had his greatest success, but he remained humble, friendly and fun loving up until the very end. He gave back to the community generously through his foundation and never forgot his roots. That’s why his loss is so devastating to San Diegans.

RIP "Buddy"

There isn't much I can say about the loss of arguably the best linebacker I saw play.  It is just so tragic that someone so full of life doing what he loved could feel so empty without it that they couldn't bear to go on.  I know my friends in San Diego County and the whole community are in shock.  My thoughts are with them.
I want to share something from Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who always seems to have something uniquely touching to say during difficult moments.
"Every day, Junior Seau greeted his teammates and coaches with an energetic 'Hey, Buddy!' It was genuine, enthusiastic and backed by his radiant smile. For four seasons, after every game he played, he would always find me in the locker room just to give me a big hug and squeeze tighter than anyone I remember. It was one of the many things I enjoyed about him. He was passionate about football and always spoke with great conviction. He may have been one of the most charismatic Patriots player in franchise history. I loved listening to him when he addressed an audience. I will never forget presenting him with his AFC Championship ring at Seau's Restaurant in San Diego before our game against the Chargers in 2008. It was a memorable moment shared by both Patriots and Chargers fans, who that day celebrated pregame together as Junior Seau fans. He was beloved in his hometown of San Diego and quickly became a fan favorite in New England. Today, the fans of the teams for which Junior played - San Diego, Miami and New England - lost more than a legendary football player. We lost our 'Buddy.' My thoughts and prayers are with his family and I extend my sincere condolences to his many friends and former teammates."
Also, there is video of this (I saw it on TV but cannot find it on the web), Robert Kraft coming out, when he learned the press was hanging around, to share a private note he had received from Junior following the death of Myra Kraft, which reads as follows:
 "I'm so sorry about the passing of Mrs. Kraft. She was an inspiration to me. I have so much respect for all she did to help people lead better lives. I'll always be there for you and your family. (Signed) Junior Seau, love you, Buddy."
Accompanying the note was a "generous donation" to the Myra Kraft Foundation.


Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Why I Can’t Stand ESPN

Yesterday was a great day for sports in America. The Oklahoma City Thunder are halfway towards their goal of sending the defending NBA champion Dallas Mavericks fishin’ for the summer. Ryan Braun hit three straight homers and a triple as his Milwaukee Brewers beat my San Diego Padres 8-3. Major League baseball suspended Detroit Tigers outfielder Delmon Young seven games for his anti-Semitic fight outside his team’s hotel.

But if you were watching ESPN this morning you wouldn’t know all of that happened because if your team isn’t on the East Coast you don’t matter. Click on the image below to follow along with the rest of this post.

ESPN SucksThe lead story? Amare Stoudemire hurting his hand after punching the protective glass on a fire extinguisher box. East Coast team.

The second story? Harbaugh sounds off. It’s a 50/50 chance it’s Jim Harbaugh, the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. But most likely it’s his brother John Harbaugh, head coach of the Baltimore Ravens. Another East Coast team.

Tedy Bruschi is live in the studio, but afterward it’s another poor, poor Amare Stoudemire story. That’s another East Coast story to follow.

After another in studio chat with Chris Mullin it’s Dwayne Wade and the Miami Heat. Yet another East Coast story.

Finally, there’s another story on the New York Knicks without Amare Stoudemire for Game 3 against the Heat. And one more East Coast story for the road before I switch back to my local news.

Can we all agree that ESPN stands for the Eastern Seaboard Programming Network and they don’t care about anything west of Atlanta?