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.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Off To Anaheim To Face Arizona

The San Diego State Aztecs are on their way to Anaheim for their second Sweet 16 appearance in school history. In the 2013 tournament, they were upset by Florida Gulf Coast and Coach Fisher learned how to channel that experience into the team this year and got the team to understand that they are better than the mid majors that SDSU have had problems with in the past. They had to scratch and claw to get out of the first round this year, but had an easier time in the second round.

Coach Fisher says that this team could become elite. He should know. He coached elite teams in Michigan. He has a very good team that bought into the belief that the defensive end of the floor should be where they dominate. You cannot argue with the facts. Teams shoot abysmally against them. They can play real physical on defense. And the fact that during the year they had over a 12 point difference in scoring just shows you how well they play defense.

The team is great on the defensive end, but the Achilles heel of the team is the offense. If they cannot find somebody besides Xavier Thames to score more than a dozen points, the tournament will become tough real quick for them. Only Thames and Winston Shepard averaged double digits in the regular season. Josh Davis is the board cleaner for SDSU. He averaged 10 boards a game.

The Aztecs might not be favored for the rest of their games, but they can win them. The key is the stifling man-to-man defense that they have shown. I believe that the team that takes down the Aztecs will be one that runs and guns. If SDSU plays in a half court game, then they should be able to steal a victory over a team that is more talented.

Coach Fisher has the Aztecs being relevant. He is starting to transform the school into a basketball power. It is an exciting time for Aztec nation. The tell tale sign is that the Aztecs feel like they belong in the Sweet 16. Now it is time for them to continue to learn from the 2013 NCAA Tournament and the loss to Florida Gulf Coast and learn how the underdog can slay Goliath. They just need to look at things from the view of David instead of the view of Goliath from this past weekend.


It sure wasn't a dream, I think a lot of people wished it was, Goodyear take note, but tire problems created a lot of mayhem and quite possibly decided the end of the race. Starting with 35 lead changes and problems showing up early, and staying on throughout the race. Kyle Busch won his second straight race at Fontana with a wild two lap finish after Jimmy Johnson blew a tire and Jeff Gordon losing the lead after showing a strong run all race. The deciding finish came about as Clint Bowyer also blew out a tire with three laps to go, and forcing a green white checkered ending. Kyle along with brother Kurt Busch, Kurt's boss Tony Stewart and rookie Kyle Larson duked it out for a tight final lap. The Kyle and Kyle show was the second time this weekend that the two drivers fought it out on the final laps. The Sprint Cup race was so marred by tire problems that the Hendrick cars were left in the lurch. This writer feels if any other track conditions were present they surely would have gone at least one two. Kyle was happy to dig this win out and Kyle Larson had visions of sweeping the weekend. His Nationwide win on Saturday was textbook racing for any NASCAR fan. And fans had to be happy with the wacky way the Sprint race went. Kurt taking third and Matt Kenseth in fourth and Tony Stewart coming fifth. Nationwide fans also had a tight fifteen lap final with Larson in first, Kevin Harvick coming second, Kyle Busch coming third, Joey Logano finishing fourth and pole sitter Elliot Sadler rounding out the top five. I know the scuttlebutt is that Goodyear dropped the ball on this problem at Auto-Club, but I feel the teams have egg on their faces also, trying to run pressures that were way light of the recommended pressure, and trying to squeeze extra speed out of the new cars on bouncy older paved straightaways. Next week we are off to the paperclip, Martinsville, that little track that thinks it's a big track, yeehaw I can't wait. Also we have 'Dega coming up in the next little while, cya there.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Blog Challenge!

It's on, Brent!

Monday, March 17, 2014

My lucky daughter

So my daughter went on a little vacation trip with her mom (my first wife) and she's been posting Foursquare check-ins and texting me pictures. The following one made her dad both envious and proud:

Jet Blue Park at Fenway South, Fort Myers, FL

Apparently, and I've seen the videos, Grady Sizemore more a couple of spectacular catches in this game.  I've got to get down to spring training someday.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

THROWBACK SUNDAY: Baseball Season is Here!

An October 1, 1924 motorcade down Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC, for the Washington Senators, following their first pennant victory. 
The Senators went on to win the 1924 World Series over the New York Giants, 4-3.  That team included Hall of Famers: Goose Goslin, Bucky Harris, Walter Johnson, and Sam Rice.
Washington's first professional baseball team was the "Washington Olympics" (1871-72).  Several more Washington teams played in the 19th century including the first incarnation of the "Washington Senators" (1891–99).  A different "Washington Senators" team began play in 1901.  The Senators played most of their home games at Griffith Stadium, winning one World Series (1924) and three American League pennants (1924, 1925, and 1933). 
Washington was continuously home to a major league baseball team from 1901-1971.  Currently, the Nationals are one of two MLB franchises (and only one in the National League) that has never played in a World Series (the Seattle Mariners are the other).