Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Drive For Five Hits Frisco TX

A True Symbol of Excellence At The Current Time
Well, here we go again. Friday Night, the Richmond Spiders visited the Fargodome to take on the North Dakota State Bison in the FCS Semifinals. The Fargodome has been a house of horrors for teams visiting in the playoffs. The last loss for the Bison at home during the playoffs was back in 1999 when they were a Division II team. Well, the Spiders didn't bring their bite this game. It was over in the 1st half when the Bison were ahead by 26 points. Add the 2 missed FG that the freshman kicker had and the Spiders could have been trampled more than they were.  The final score was 33-7. But the best drive of the game was the end of the 3rd Quarter into the 4th. The Bison held the ball for 10 minutes for 1 drive. That is controlling the pace of the game.

The Bison have now won 19 straight playoff games. In the past 5 years, their record is 70-5. We have graduated an entire class of players and changed head coaches, and it seems like we haven't missed a beat. There are kids that want to come into this program from around the country. The Bison recruit overlooked kids from the area of the Big 10 conference. NSDU rarely has a JUCO player or a player transfer from a FBS team either. The redshirt QB playing right now wanted to join the program from Florida. The Bison Nation footprint is being felt in the MAC recruiting circles because of the success that NDSU has had. They are the Alabama of the smaller Universities out there.

Early in January, The Bison will play for their 5th consecutive FCS title. And even if they fall short of that goal, they have proven once again that the program can absorb losing pro prospects and filling their shoes with players that have the drive to be a good as they can be and be a championship contender. That is the standard for the little football team from Fargo ND. #Bison Pride

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Patriots in Houston

Well, I may have found a solution to the photo posting issue here...the Blogger app for IOS.  So I'm going to post the pictures from my trip to see the Patriots beat the Texans in Houston first as a test, then finish the story later.
This place is huge.
From our club level seats.  Did I mention they were free?!
Zoomed in, so a little blurry.
L-R. My brother Tom, AA and his dad, who scored the tix.
Tried to get the Gronk TD spike and just missed.
This app seems to work, though am finding it awkward using a tablet to type a lot.  So I'll make it short and the pics are more interesting. We obviously had a great weekend of food, drink, golf and then capped off with the game. Patriots 27-6

Sick of Pete Rose

Just a little rant I posted to FB earlier.  I've been sick and tired of him long before this recent uptick in the need to feel sorry for/talk about him at all.  As long as Shoeless Joe stays out, keep Pete out.  Never liked the guy, even before the gambling stuff.

Can we please, please stop talking about that asshole Pete Rose?! Yeah, he's one of the all-time greats but he also bet on baseball, worst yet his own team and he's always been a walking, talking prick. I get near vomitous every time they start talking about him.

I know I'm now talking about him.  I don't care to debate, just wanted to vent.  Plus I just remembered I need to finalize this week's pick 'em and then do a quicky about my trip to Houston.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Brian France and NASCAR Need A Wake-Up Call

Do you know the expression "Jumping The Shark"? You know the episode of Happy Days where the Fonz decides to water ski and he jumps over the shark? You could never take that show seriously again and you always thought of that episode. Well, that is where NASCAR has gone since Matt Kenseth let his anger overrule good sense and intentionally wrecked Joey Logano. It has been thought that the NFL was the king of arbitrary rules since last season. I submit that is the dunderheads the run NASCAR. They have no clue and will arbitrarily enforce rules.

Let's start in Martinsville. Kenseth crushes Logano into a SAFER barrier and Logano can no longer continue.  NASCAR parks Kenseth for the rest of the race and decides on a 2 race suspension and a 6 month probation. Let's say something right here. I have no problem with the suspension. In fact, I would have made it the final 3 races of the year. The probation is longer that I thought it should be, but it is OK. Probation was reduced to the end of 2015 on appeal. So the reason that Kenseth was suspended for that amount of time is something that Brian France stated in the defense of the penalty given out:

"Going back to Richmond, we made it very clear that anybody in the industry, any driver or participant who intentionally tries to alter the outcome of events or championships, that that crosses a different line than a racing problem between two drivers," France said.
Go back and read that again. Any driver or participant who intentionally tries to alter the outcome of events or championships. Well, Matt Kenseth definitely did that. So, he and NASCAR are fine on that account. But what about the Danica Patrick badly performed takeout of David Gilliland? She was fined and points taken away. She was intentionally trying to alter the outcome of the event. She was causing a caution that should not have been. Do you know if things would have shaken out differently if she had not caused that caution? No you do not. Because maybe Jeff Gordon has a tire that blows 2 laps later. Every caution has an impact on the Chase and on the participants in the race. So why isn't NASCAR parking her ass on the bench just like Kenseth? Because then you would have drivers suspended each and every week.

Why would you have racers suspended each and every week? Because those racers who decide to dump a competitor intentionally should face the exact same penalty as Kenseth did. And we know that each and every racer out on a NASCAR track has a t one time or another wrecked a competitor because of anger. The regular season determines who is in the Chase and you cannot win the Chase without qualifying for it. With a straight face, how can you say that someone being taken out in Week 4 of the season doesn't impact the Chase? So let's say that Matt Kenseth takes out Eric Almirola during a race in Atlanta intentionally with 5 laps to go and they are going for the race win. NASCAR will not suspend the driver. Why? According to Brian France, that is just smart racing. That is wrong. Matt Kenseth has intentionally altered the outcome of an event and the chance for Almirola to advance to the Chase. But then you turn off some of your audience because their favorite driver is out of at least one race. And if you decide to suspend a fan favorite, then what is the business backlash if he is out at the same time you have suspended another top name? I understand that $$$ drives the sport, but let's get this straight.

And speaking of $$$, NASCAR will take this action and make money off of it. You don't think so? Then you don't remember Edwards taking out Keselowski at Atlanta. I saw that wreck this year in an advertisement for the NASCAR race in Atlanta. Wrecking each other is a part of the sport that is intriguing to people, whether it is deliberate or not. And what will bring in more $$$, according to NASCAR, it is a controversy about why the accident happened. NASCAR will allow footage of this wreck between Logano and Kenseth to permeate the airwaves in ads and NASCAR themselves will show this wreck in various instances, not just for news worthy things. 

So if what Mr. France states is a reason for Kenseth's suspension is true, then why isn't NASCAR investigating Kurt Busch's claim that Brad Keselowski intentionally wrecked Matt Kenseth before the Logano incident? It had an effect on the Chase because Kurt Busch was taken out during the wreck. Where is the questions to the #2 driver? I don't think that has been done. And has NASCAR talked to Busch after the claims? The wreck affected the chance of Kurt Busch to win the NASCAR title. Because the sanctioning body doesn't care. Oh, a tie rod came loose and that caused the wreck. Really? How do you know that? Kenseth says that his tire went flat and he couldn't turn. Maybe that is true. Did NASCAR investigate that? Probably not, because they parked him immediately after the wreck. I'm not saying that Kenseth wasn't lying, but if he says something, why don't you believe him but you do another racer in the exact same position?

In conclusion, NASCAR has always had their favorites and agendas. We knew about that in the 80's, 90's, and 2000's. After the Boys, have at it proclamation, fans were hoping that would be set aside. Well, with this incident, we know that the sanctioning body at the very least is incompetent, and probably hoping that controversy will bring back viewers and fans to the sport. The Kevin Harvick wrecking somebody at the start to get him into the next round of the Chase didn't bring them the controversy that they wanted, but they think that this might. The agendas are in full force, at least to me they are. And until they are put back on the back burner, the sanctioning body can kiss my lily white a**.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Wot? A Blog Challenge Missed?

I'm used to seeing a handful of regular users on the forums, so imagine my surprise this morning when I learned we have a Jets fan in the group. If I had remembered this last week, we could have had a spirited blog challenge this weekend between two teams that may fight for a playoff position in December.

Yes, you read that right. Both the Jets and the Raiders fighting for a playoff position. Don't worry, peeps. I'm not used to reading phrases like, "Raiders in the thick of the AFC playoff race" on sports web sites like Fox Sports in November either.

It's been awhile since I've celebrated a Raiders win here, and from all accounts I should get used to it. I didn't have TV coverage where I live, so I depended on Twitter to keep up with the game action. From all accounts, it looks like the Raiders receivers have greatly improved. As a group, they are now gaining a lot of yardage after the catch and making Derek Carr look like a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback. This has helped the Raiders jump out to big leads in the first half, something we have not seen in over a decade.

The Raiders defense briefly knocked both Jets quarterbacks out of the game, but part of that can be blamed on Geno Smith's lack of awareness. There was at least one run where he should have gone out of bounds, but instead absorbed a big hit while running along the sidelines for extra yardage. Even though he was injured during the first series, Ryan Fitzpatrick was forced to come in for a few plays while the Jets worked on getting Geno ready for another beating.

It was nice to see Charles Woodson get another INT. I don't know how many more years he's going to play, but it would be a crime not to have him in the Pro Bowl this season. He is playing his best football in years.

I'm not used to seeing the Raiders in second place in the AFC West division so late in the season. At the beginning of the year, I would have been happy with the Raiders finishing 7-9 knowing they would improve in the coming years. Now, I have to change my way of thinking. The Chargers have a terrible defense, injuries, and possibly the worst punt return team in NFL history. The Chiefs also have key injuries. Can the Raiders become a playoff team this year? They just might, and ironically it may depend on how the Jets do the rest of the season.

If there's good news for the Jets today, it's that they have no interest in Ryan Mallett. Hopefully for their sake, they can find a decent quarterback soon. That is the one position that's going to hold them back this season.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The NFL Team in Washington Might Be On To Something






Well, week 7 is over of the NFL. This is starting to become embarrassing. I have had to write a blog posting that put the Oakland Raiders in a good light and now, I have to do the same for the Washington NFL Team. How is it that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can give away such a big lead to Washington with Kirk Cousins at QB? How is it that the Washington team is still in the NFC East race? My hypothesis: The talent of the team is overcoming the lack of leadership from the Owner on down.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Thank You, Blue Jays!


Even though baseball season ended last night for me, I'm not sad. I may have this empty feeling that the NHL and the NFL can't fill, but right now I have a huge smile on my face. From my perspective, the Toronto Blue Jays did something incredible this season. Sure, they went from 52-50 to being within a few games of the World Series. That was quite an accomplishment. Joey Bautista, aka Joey Bats, became the true King Of The North with the home run and bat flip that will forever be etched in memory. While I'm very pleased with what this team achieved this season, I have to give them props for something even bigger.

The Jays got me to care about baseball again.

To be honest, I never thought I'd say those words. My hometown team, the San Diego Padres, were once a good team on the verge of something great. Their owner at the time told us they needed a new stadium to compete with the large market teams. Coming off a World Series run, we put it to a vote and gladly gave them Petco Park.

What did we get in return? The dismantling of the championship caliber team we rooted for, followed by nearly two decades of "dumpster diving" for starting pitching and other castoffs and low-risk projects. They also became the unofficial farm team of the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, a place where these teams could acquire young, established talent from the Padres by trading away their better minor league prospects. Which the Padres would develop for a few years before trading them back to the AL East for more prospects.

As you can imagine, I don't have a great love for my local team anymore. I respect the fact they went out and acquired established players during the off season, but with rumors circulating during the second half of the season that they were going to trade away most of these players or let them walk at the end of season I thought to myself, "Same fucking Padres". I figured they were going to have another fire sale at the end of the year, so I conveniently forgot their games were on local TV all season.

I had pretty much ignored baseball during the summer months and then all of a sudden the Jays started stringing together wins. For years, it's always been the Yankees (boo!) and Red Sox (hiss!) at the top of the AL East and no one else dared compete with them. With each Jay win, I kept thinking to myself, "Maybe this year will be different?" It's too hot for me to wear my authentic batting practice jersey from the mid-80s around town during the summer months, so I went to the mall and bought a Blue Jays hat so I could proudly display my rekindled interest in the game.

Now that the ride is over, I can't wait for next season to begin. I might even buy MLB Extra Innings from my cable operator next Spring!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Best Team Doesn't Always Win.

Or a goalie standing on his head , a freshman at that, can steal you one; or this is why they play the games. You pick your preferred title.
We went to the final game of the 2015 Ice Breaker Tournament last night, which is the traditional tipoff of the college hockey season, this year held in Portland, Maine.  $25 got you a ticket to both games held that day but I wasn't going to torture Shelly with that much sports in a day or $45 would get you a ticket to all four games.
Portland is renowned as one of the best restaurant towns in the country. So we had dinner at an excellent Greek restaurant, walked around the city a bit and went to the finale, which turned out to be the game to decide the tourney winner between the host Maine Black Bears and Brent's highly-ranked North Dakota Fighting  Sioux.
There was never any doubt as to which was the superior team -- just look at the shots on goal difference of 2/1.  North Dakota dominated puck possession and zone time.  They're much more polished and experienced, and probably more talented but they couldn't solve Maine freshman goalie Rob McGovern, who turned away 43 of 44 SOG!
To me the turning point of the game came in the 2nd. ND was up up 1-0, was continuing to dominate and I noticed the Maine players start to look dispirited...this was going to get ugly.  But suddenly there was a sloppy clearing pass by ND and a very quick goal for Maine.  While the Souix continued to dominate, Maine played hard again from that point forward, a lesson for you youngsters out there.
Portland is going to bid to host a 2018 regional and I hope they showed the arena and city quite capable last night.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Making The Future Better Than The Past

1972 Alternate Logo

Go back to 2005. The Houston Astros have just played in their first and only World Series. They have just captured their first National League Pennant. Any Astros fan is riding high. We understand that Jeff Bagwell is having major trouble with his shoulder. But we have Lance Berkman moving to 1st Base. We have Roger Clemens and Andy Pettite and Roy Oswalt. We have a future HOF in Craig Biggio. The future looks bright and prosperous. That bright light in the future was an oncoming locomotive that we didn't anticipate as Astros fans. We couldn't overcome a slow start in 2006 and things started breaking down from there.

Go forward in time to 2011. 2005 is the last time that the team has made the playoffs. The Astros start the first of their 3 100+ loss seasons in a row. But the team is getting out of the penny pinching ownership of Drayton McLane. Jim Crane buys the team and agrees to move the Astros into the American League for the 2013 season. Crane also fires GM Ed Wade in November of 2011. He comes up with a member of the St. Louis Cardinals front office to name as the GM of the Astros, Jeff Luhnow.  Almost no one thinks that this is a good move for the team.

Now here we are in 2015. The Astros are going to be a strong team according to the experts in the future. Sports Illustrated has already proclaimed them World Series Champions in 2017. The farm system is rated in the Top 3 in almost every report that comes out. The Big League team is populated with youngsters. Jed Lowrie is the only position player over 30 on the roster.  Only 4 players from 2012 are still on the team in 2015, and one came back from a 2-year odyssey to Oakland, Lowrie. The other 3? Jose Altuve, Jason Castro, and Dallas Keuchel. The awards could start coming in for the Astros. SS Carlos Correa could be the AL ROY. Keuchel could be the AL Cy Young. Altuve is a perennial All-Star.

And if you think that the Astros are through with getting talented youngsters from the farm, think again. We have at least 15 players that are rated by scouting services who say that the players can have a long and successful career in the big leagues. Look for RHPs Mark Appel, Michael Feliz and 1B A.J. Reed to become major contributors next year. 3B Colin Moran has a shot at being on the major league roster as well. That is the #2,5,6, and 10 ranked players in the Astros farm system. The rest of the Top 10 will get more seasoning down on the farm. We don't need a bunch of 20 or 21 year olds in the major leagues right now. We have a glutton of prospects up the middle of the diamond. We have 3 SS in our Top 20 prospects, 2 2B, and 3 CF. That and lots of Starting RHPs.

I don't believe that Houston will repeat what the organization did in 2005 with missing the playoffs for the next decade. I do believe that the team has shown that they are young enough not to worry about the pressure of the playoffs. How is it that in the pregame before the Wildcard game with the Yankees that the players are jumping around, playing around, telling jokes and all around not being too serious about what is going on. The two major culprits of horsing around before the game? Carlos Gomez who hit a solo HR in the 4th, and Colby Rasmus, who hit a #ColbyJack in the 2nd inning. If the young players take their lead from the veterans who are staying loose and use that as their model of how to handle things, playoff baseball will become a regular fixture in Houston once again. The Astros can become a major player in baseball if they can continue to develop homegrown talent. Let's see if they can.

Hockey Season Is... Here

That's a pretty accurate assessment of my enthusiasm for Opening Night. After the way the NHL and the Chicago Blackhawks have handled the Patrick Kane situation (preferential treatment, anyone?), I decided not to order NHL Center Ice this season. This means I'm at the mercy of NBCSports, Fox Sports San Diego, and Fox Sports West for NHL action. The Anaheim Ducks don't start their season against the San Jose Sharks until Saturday night, so unless there's a free preview of NHL Center Ice starting today, my viewing choices are restricted to the Blackhawks at 5pm PST, followed by the Kings at 7:30pm PST.

Translation: It's one slap on each side of my face by the NHL teams that tolerated domestic violence over the past twelve months. This is the very reason why I didn't sign up for either NHL Center Ice or NHL GameCenter for the first time in a decade, so you can understand why I have very strong feelings about this.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Twitter Humor: Madden '16 Rating Update?

This was too funny not to share.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Showing Love To The Cretins Of The Left Coast


Yes, the title is making fun of the fans of the Raiders. But our fraternity of piss poorly-run teams has to make fun of each other, so the title remains. If you take a look at the standings in the AFC, you see an unfamiliar team at 2-1 in the West. For most of us, seeing Oakland having a winning record is something you thought about in the 70's and 80's. Otherwise you expect them to maybe win 5 or 6 games a season. And lord knows that some fans of the Silver and Black aren't what your would call mentally stable because they pick the Raiders to win the West each and every year.

But something is happening in Oakland. I will give credit to Mark Davis. Even though the Raider Nation wanted Reggie McKenzie's head on a silver platter for the past year if not 2, he stuck with the GM and it looks like there is a plan that will bring winning back to O-Town. (Remember that sucky Boy Band?) Anyways, look what Reggie has done for the team.

He has a QB that can man the position for the next decade. Derek Carr looks like he will develop into a better than average QB at the very least. He has the respect of the veterans, at least according to Justin Tuck and Charles Woodson. The Raiders drafted Amari Cooper who looks like he can turn into a good pro. To help the receiving corps, they brought in Michael Crabtree who has been on good and bad teams and could help steady the ship. A smart move was letting Darren McFadden go to Dallas and drafting Latavius Murray in 2013, I believe. He was the 16th RB taken in that draft. You find a player like that late in the draft, develop him, and have him shock people with his play. That is how the successful franchises stay on top. Now if they can find more stability on the Offensive Line and get a top flight TE, you could have an offense that will score in bunches.

On defense, it is slower going to build. Khalil Mack looks like a monster. I am a Ray-Ray Armstrong fan. Justin Tuck and Charles Woodson bring the veteran leadership.There are still some upgrades that need to be made to get the defense to the next level, but the one thing that it does have going for it is that the team ranks in the Top 15 of rushing defense. That is going to keep the Raiders in games that the offense might be able to steal.

The AFC West is up for grabs this year. The Broncos are 3-0, but is anybody really scared of that offense? The Chiefs are 1-2 and finding ways to lose. The Chargers are also 1-2 and both lines are a weakness for the team. Why not the Raiders? The young stars aren't afraid of anything. And if the bounces go their way, they could pull out 9 or 10 wins. There weren't many people that were looking at the team winning that amount this year. In fact, I read a publication that had them saying that the Raiders had the least amount of talent in the NFL.

So to R.J. and the rest of Raiders Nation: The rebuilding plan that you have is looking good. You can also look at it this way. Your team is better now and probably will be better in the future than Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Tennessee, Miami, Washington, Chicago, and St. Louis. That means that you are better than 25% of the league already. Continue with the improvement and the Raiders can get back into a position of prominence. But don't go crazy and think Super Bowl for the next couple of years at the very least.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

500

Not going to let this moment go by without at least posting something.  David Ortiz, the greatest clutch hitter of all time, hit his 500th career home run tonight, as well as his 499th.

I was out sightseeing today wearing my #34 t-shirt.

33 HR and 94 RBI at 39 years old. The greatest clutch hitter ever. Some of the greatest players of all time got nervous, tighten up trying to get by these milestones. Not this guy. He's hit a ton the last few weeks and needed two HRs going into tonight to get to 500 and hit both of them tonight and hit 'em hard!



2015 College Football Point Spread Picks - Week 2




Well, this hasn't happened in a few years. The first week went decently with a 6-4 record. If Boise State hadn't let a offensively-challenged Washington team back into the game, we would have been off to a rocking the start of the season. Well, let's continue with the prognostication and have an even better Week 2.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Found On Twitter: Things Of Beauty

I don't mean to be the resident Fashion Police around here, but somebody's gotta do it. In this case, I'm already in love with these new San Diego Gulls jerseys that were unveiled yesterday at the Fox Sports Grill. Yours truly has something called a job, so unfortunately I couldn't make it across the county to see them firsthand. If you click on the image above a couple of times, or follow this link, you'll see a larger picture of the home and away jerseys.

I love how the Ducks have allowed the Gulls to keep their familiar colors. They look great with today's jersey designs. I especially love the white jerseys. I've only seen one AHL game on TV, so I don't remember if they follow NHL rules and wear white jerseys on the road. But if they do, they will be very fashionable in places like Ontario, Stockton, Bakersfield and San Jose. I still have to get used to the Anaheim Ducks logo patch on the left shoulder, but otherwise I love these jerseys more than the ones the Gulls have worn in the past.

Looks like I need to do some shopping later this month. Originally, I was only going to buy a t-shirt, a hat, and a hoodie but now I need to see if I can squeeze a jersey into my monthly clothing budget.


Friday, September 04, 2015

2015 College Football Point Spread Picks - Week 1





A new year and a new sense of hope for picking college football games. Last year's unflattering record against the spread is a distant memory. This year could be a little tricky to pick because of the amount of teams that the experts think could reach the playoffs. So without further ado, let's pick 10 games .

Thursday, September 03, 2015

#BiteMeNFL

You got what you freakin' deserved, Goodell.  Hate all you all want...we will kick your fucking asses again this year too.  You should be trying to fix your shit instead of calling others cheaters.  If you can't beat 'em, call 'em cheaters.
And you know the other owners pushed this idiot to do this as much as his own stupid pride and arrogance.  Go ahead, Roger, appeal it again.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Found On Twitter: Preseason Football Follies

If this offensive lineman gets cut, I'm sure he can get a job with the Redskins with the way they're blocking lately.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Hey! NASCAR Drivers! Do Something Or Shut Up!

After the Coke Zero 400, I read and heard driver's comments about the Austin Dillon accident. In case you didn't know, his car was hit, and violently flipped into the catch fence where the fence did it's job of keeping the car on the track and minimum debris going into the grandstand. And for some reason, there were some comments that stuck in my craw. It wasn't about how they all are thankful that Austin wasn't severely hurt. It wasn't about how they were saying that they might have needed to race on Monday during the day. Nope, it was the pot shots that they took at NASCAR and the supposed lack of safety that NASCAR has for their competitors.

Here is Ryan Newman in an interview with USA Today:

“NASCAR got what they wanted, That’s the end of it. Cars getting airborne, unsafe drivers, same old stuff. They just don’t listen.”

Asked whether Dillon’s wreck might effect change, Newman referenced the death of RCR driver Dale Earnhardt on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500.

“They’ve had several events since then,” Newman said. “They just don’t pay attention to safety. Simple as that.”

Funny about that. NASCAR has improved their safety edicts tremendously from that dark day in 2001. And if you don't believe they have, then you to can be a stupid asshole like Ryan Newman.

Here is Joey Logano and his stance:

“There isn’t much good to say about what happened here tonight,” said reigning Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano, who was caught in multiple crashes Monday. “It is a product of the racing here."

“I just heard (Dillon) up in the catch fence, and motors were flying out of cars. That isn’t the first time that has happened here and it is just dumb that we allow it to happen more than once.”

Hey Joey, you just continue to make sure that you are being done being walked on, and take your shots with your car towards others you think wronged you.

Kyle Busch has stated that he wants all grass eliminated that are adjacent from racing surfaces. Many drivers have stated that they want SAFER barriers at all tracks and on all walls at every track. They are all squawking at safety and what they want done. Great. NASCAR can pass all the safety ideas they want, but it all comes down to the 43 drivers in the cars not being complete and utter asshats. And you know that isn't going to happen.

I should not have to go into the history of the drivers. They have all wrecked one another on purpose. At the Superspeedways, the sanctioning body has tried to slow the cars down and the drivers bitched about not going fast enough. They tried to make it where the cars worked in tandems and they didn't like that. We have gone back to the pack racing and they bitch about that. They wreck each other with moves that shouldn't be attempted and they blame NASCAR. If you are NASCAR officials, you just have to listen to them and shake your head. I am still waiting for Newman, Busch, Harvick, Logano, Allmendinger, or any other driver out there to go public with their solution on how to make NASCAR safer for them. You know, the drivers get paid more than enough for finishing in the Top 20 in points, they should each contribute 5% of their earnings for the year and hire a think tank that does nothing but think of ways that they could make NASCAR racing safer.


What I am trying to say is that if you don't like how the safety of NASCAR is, you privileged drivers, then do something about it or shut the fuck up. You fucks are the major reason that your fellow drivers get hurt. I didn't see any one of those drivers at 1:40 AM on July 6th deciding that they didn't want to be in the draft and fighting for the win. I didn't see or hear the crew chiefs of those drivers telling them to get out of the draft to make sure that the drivers did not get hurt. No, they want the win, they want the glory, and the spoils. And when it doesn't go their way and one of them decides to punt the person in front of them (Kevin Harvick), there are consequences to their actions. And the lemming drivers will always bash NASCAR instead of their fellow drivers when it comes down to it. Why? Because that driver might decide to dump their ass in a future race into the wall. There again, the drivers are their own worst enemy.

The reason that Austin Dillon walked away is the safety improvements that NASCAR has done to the cars and the tracks doing upgrades to their tracks in the name of safety. He is lucky to not have any broken bones. And yet, drivers are arguing that NASCAR has not done enough. When you decide to spin a car at 200 MPH on asphalt, the car should be basically destroyed due to the laws of physics. But yet, these drivers think that it should be like getting hit with a soft pillow. NASCAR has tried to keep the car on it's wheels, but they do not control the laws of physics. No one does. And when you decide to make a car travelling at high speed go where it meets resistance, sometimes things don't go as planned. Who is responsible for that? It isn't NASCAR as an organization.

Until the drivers decide not to race like a raped ape and actually use their heads, these things will keep happening. There have been 2 NASCAR deaths on the track in the past decade. Carlos Pardo and John Blewitt III. And while we mourn their deaths in the NASCAR Mexico Corona Series and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Series, we all understand that there are risks when driving race cars. The drivers need to remember that and work with NASCAR on solutions not just whining and not doing a damn thing to help protect themselves.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Hamilton and Lucic

Or Lucic and Hamilton.  LOL
Let me start by saying I am, as usual, going off a stream of consciousness, having just heard about the Lucic trade as I was going to write a blog about the Hamilton trade.  I know nothing about the other players involved in these trades, though it appears the value the Bruins got in return was the draft picks.
So let me get this straight:  Not long ago the Bruins had worked magic and become something very rare in pro sports -- a team at the top with high draft picks.  They worked their magic and ended up drafting Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton (and we won't bother saying that the Seguin pick comes about by trading away another very high draft pick.) 
So are we seeing a trend here?  Absolutely we are.  We're seeing a team that gets high draft picks and doesn't keep them.  Does this mean they're missing the mark with who they draft with those picks, how those players are then developed, or both or neither (though I don't think neither is really possible.)
You bailed on the very talented enigma that is Phil Kessel, whom you drafted very high with much aplomb, getting the number 2 overall pick in return, the aforementioned Seguin, only to give up on him after two seasons.  And what did you get in return there?  A bag of pucks.
Interrupting myself for a second but who was the previous very high draft pick the  Bruins gave up on before Kessel?  One Joe Thornton.  Definitely, definitely a trend, my friends.
Now you're giving up on Dougie Hamilton because why?  I'm guessing because they didn't think he was worth the money he was asking and the fact that the Bruins are up against it with the cap.  But all you got in return was the 14th pick...in my book that's trading down since Hamilton was a higher pick than that and you know what you've got with it.  I could care less about the other late picks in that deal.  Now they've traded Milan Lucic was a comparable pick and a player I don't know.
Is this a sign of a rebuild (and arguably an identity shift if you're getting rid of the one player who most plays, when he decides to, like the Bruins have always played) or does this have everything to do with money?
But more importantly is:  What faith should I have that you'll, A, draft great players with those picks (since you're trading great players for them) and even if you do, will you develop and keep them?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Honoring The Legend


I just happened to take the day off from work and caught this gem on my Twitter feed. On the one year anniversary of his death, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has declared February 19th through the 28th, 2016 Tony Gwynn Week.

I don't care if it's technically ten days. It begins on the 19th of the month and Tony deserves every one of them.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

24 Heurs du Twitter (Mans)


Now that the "drama" from earlier today is a thing of the past, it's time to get ready for the biggest sporting event in my household -- the 24 Hours of Le Mans. For me, this is my Super Bowl. Ever since I saw the movie "Le Mans" with Steve McQueen as a kid, I've always been fascinated with sports car racing. Over the years, we didn't have anything in the way of television coverage here in the States, but once the former Speed channel broadcasted over half of the race live several years ago I was hooked.

Do I have any strange rituals for the race? My participation in it as a fan has always been, "I'll stay up as long as Corvette Racing has a chance to win." In most cases, that meant waking up just before 6am on Saturday morning to catch the start of the race and then doing whatever it took to stay awake the full twenty-four hours! On some occasions, I've been rewarded with the sight of the men dressed in yellow and black celebrating on the top spot on the podium on Sunday morning. Lately, this also includes Dempsey Racing since "McDreamy" now participates in the event.

One of my habits during the race is to be active on Twitter. I not only follow the Corvette Racing account and several of the drivers, but it's the best place to get information during the race before it appears on the newswires. In some cases, it's great when you want confirmation of driver changes or what's happening to cars on the track. On the flip side, I also found out through social media and French translation when Allan Simonsen passed away well before they announced it on television. Regardless of what happens, this means my Android devices pictured above will all take turns "live tweeting" my thoughts on the race just like the drivers.

A common misconception is that I'll be glued to the television for the full twenty-four hours. I learned after the first time I did it that, it takes me a few days afterward to recover. I'll likely take a nap in the early afternoon hours so it will be easier for me to stay awake well into the next morning. The middle part of the race is also a great time for me to catch up on reading. While the PC is streaming the race, I'll likely be on one of my Kindle tablets reading a magazine or comic book.

I always have a "sin" meal during the race, and it's almost certain I'll pick up a large order of carne asada nachos from a nearby Mexican restaurant this weekend. Those are heavenly, and perfect for this event. I'll also need to keep plenty of coffee on hand, or perhaps pick up a bottle of Mountain Dew if I want to save a few bucks.

Finally, this also means I'll need to dust off my DVD copy of "Le Mans" and watch it tomorrow or Friday night to remember the good old days of sports car racing.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Beer League Red Sox

Sharing my little screed from FB on here.  My friends on here who know me know that the following is not the whining of a spoiled sports fan but that of a frustrated old school baseball fan who just wants to see good fundamental play.

You know, I'm really starting to get sick and tired of this men's league softball team masquerading as major leaguers in Red Sox uniforms. I may have a rant in me. It's bad enough that we don't have a single professional hitter on the roster (and those who know me know what that means), and haven't produced one in the farm system for years. Pappi trying to pull every pitch for a HR last night with 2 runners on in a one-run game. Fat guys who can't turn a friggin ball down the line into a double (Sandoval). Even Xander, who obviously slid too early and got thrown out at second --THROWN OUT AT 2ND ON A FRIGGIN BALL OFF THE CENTER FIELD WALL -- but how the hell was that even possibly close with his half decent speed?  I'll always love the Sox but I'm sick and tired of bad fundamental baseball. And you know, the pitching's been pretty darn good lately and it's an affront to all things holy that this lineup can't score any runs. Return to the top...it's like a vicious cycle. Let's just watch fastballs down the middle while we try to run up the pitch count sitting back on the bench. Rant over for now.

This after their anemic offensive output of late and bad fundamentals, including seemingly everyone trying to pull every pitch for a HR.  The straw that broke here was the 2nd inning of tonight's game, watching back to back hitters get thrown out at second base on easy doubles.  Get defensive plays but it shouldn't have been possible to throw them out.

So Much For That Idea

I was going to write this nice blog post about watching the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but as you can see in the above tweet that may not happen this year. But in the event you're interested in one of the world's most prestigious sports car races, the following TV schedule is where you can watch all the action. All times are Eastern Standard Time:

8:30am - 11:45am Fox Sports 2
7:00pm - 8:00pm   Fox Sports 1
11:00pm - 12:30am Fox Sports 2
3:30am - 7:30am Fox Sports 1
7:30am - 9:00am Fox Sports 2
9:00am - 9:30am Fox Sports 1

You can also watch the entire race on the Fox Sports Go app, but if you're like me and have Cox Communications as your cable provider, the stupid app won't recognize your provider and you can't "unlock" the event.

UPDATE 10:38am PST: It turns out the Fire TV app is the one that doesn't work, but the Fox Sports Go app for the Kindle Fire tablets detected my cable provider and work fine. It would be nice to stream the race on the big screen, though.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Giving Up? Maybe

Zeb beat me to the punch earlier this evening, but I sent him the link to this Sports Illustrated article via Twitter because this has been weighing on my mind for quite some time. Like the ex-NFL fan who penned that article, I'm feeling anything but love for a league I grew up following. The difference in my case is I'm mad at the league in general.

I'm tired of NFL teams extorting cash-strapped cities for public funding for new stadiums that do not provide a good return for the city's investment in the project over its lifetime. The San Diego Chargers have been doing this since 2002, and it's amazing how they want a stadium that will cost nearly a half billion more than the one Jerry Jones had built for his Dallas Cowboys. I don't know where the money is going to come from when the city doesn't have the money to pay their police officers a decent wage or maintain its infrastructure.

I'm tired of the NFL having a set of rules for one team, and another set for the other thirty-one. The fact Commissioner Roger Goodell is good friends with Robert Kraft is troublesome at best, and a conflict of interest in certain league matters at worst. I cannot trust him to deliver the same punishment to a Patriots player that he would to a player from another team when he's known to kick up his heels at Kraft's retreat in The Hamptons.

I'm tired of NFL players doing stupid things to get in trouble, and then having their attorney and/or sports agents offer the lamest excuses since the last time a kid told their teacher their dog ate their homework. You didn't mean to kill that Yorkie when you kicked it? You couldn't stay away for more than two days from the woman who had a restraining order put on you? You're full of it. Man up and take responsibility for your bad behavior.

I'm tired of players getting second, third and fourth chances after multiple accusations of domestic violence. I don't care if they're "innocent". Just because the woman decided not to press charges doesn't mean something didn't happen. Why as a society do we tolerate this behavior from athletes when in our everyday lives we report these incidents to the police?

I'm tired of players entering the NFL, sign their multi million dollar contracts and do not take their jobs seriously. You worked hard your entire teenage and college years to get the chance of a lifetime to fulfill your dream. Instead of doing what it takes to prepare yourself for a long career you're doing stupid things like getting caught leaving a Las Vegas bathroom with a rolled up dollar bill, testing positive for drugs at the NFL Combine when the NFL only tests you one time a year, or hold out into the regular season for a contract you'll never live up to. I don't care if this is how things work. I'm tired of NFL rookies trying to be celebrities first and football players second.

Last year, I nearly stopped participating in this blog's annual football picks for these very same reasons. This time around, I'm going to do it. I'm fed up with how the NFL does business, how they treat their fans, and how they don't have the integrity they used to when Pete Rozelle was the Commissioner. Paul Tagliabue was a downgrade, but Goodell is a disaster unless you're one of 32 billionaires that have profited greatly at the league's expense.

I know there are people out there who will say I'll be back, but don't be too sure about that. I walked away from auto racing for a year and a half in the mid-90s after too many drivers were getting killed or severely injured from head and neck injuries. I only returned after NASCAR and F1 made satisfactory changes that helped save the lives of many drivers going forward. 

I walked away from the WWE when too many wrestlers were paying the ultimate price by abusing their bodies with drugs and alcohol to numb the pain from abusing their bodies in the ring. I have not watched a WWE program since Chris Benoit's death, and I have no future plans to do so. Too many wrestlers died young for my entertainment, and things have not changed since I did my own "heel turn" many years ago.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Perspective

This is in response to RJ's Tweet to me regarding a letter a Patriots fan wrote, who very articulately explains why he's quitting the NFL.

RJ and I have had similar conversation in the past regarding boycotts.  I may be wrong about this but this is how I still feel.  I feel that despite who legally owns the franchises, which obviously gives them the right to do whatever they want, including moving, I feel as if they are our franchises...that the owners are merely placeholders.  Granted, this is the perspective of a lifelong fan of New England pro sports (you will have to remember that it hasn't always been roses like the last 15 years) where you're brought up to love and follow these teams, in fact you feel like you inherit a part ownership of them.  The Patriots didn't move to Hartford or St Louis in the early 90s and no franchise has left Boston since the Braves.

Is it actually going to hurt or even get noticed by these owners if you boycott?  Why the hell should I boycott "my" team?  There's a helluva lot more chance being heard if you stay engaged than go away.

I agree with author of the above piece on many, many points; and I suspect that Bob Kraft paying more attention to his bottom line and not being willing to cut his own throat to fight Goodell in the end, is probably the breaking point for that fan.  I know I too was disappointed.  I figured Kraft, who's arguably the most respected owner in the league and who also owns its current most successful franchise, could find a way to put Goodell's feet to the fire over this debacle without having to go to court.

The author of this letter of frustration ends by saying that he feels freed.  This is where I bring back perspective.  Despite the fact that I feel these are my teams, I've never lost sight of the fact that this is sports.  Maybe the author isn't old enough to remember '86 in particular.  I lived through that and my life went on regardless.  So while I feel pro sports owners should be held accountable as caretakers of our franchises, I also feel equally strong that we have to keep in perspective what's truly important.  I look forward to sports nearly every day and it is a huge part of the passions of my life but the world does not begin and end with them.

Friday, May 29, 2015

I hope he marries a super model

Can you imagine the number of heads that would explode around NFL land if this kid, who's arguably even better looking than Tom Brady, turns out to be even half as good as Brady as a quarterback?  I hope he marries a super model.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

A Day Of Bad Decisions

Normally, the day before Memorial Day is like Christmas for me. I get to wake up well before sunrise and watch the Monaco Grand Prix live on television, then wait a few hours afterward for the start of the Indianapolis 500. The Coca-Cola 600, or whatever it’s called nowadays? Sorry, but NASCAR takes a back seat to open wheel racing on this special day.

My day of racing is over. Even though I should be happy I saw two great races, I’m relieved no one was seriously injured or killed. This should have been a fun day to relax and watch my favorite drivers battle for victory, and instead I’m left wondering if it’s a matter of time before tragedy strikes.

Let’s review what happened today:

MONACO: I still can’t believe Lewis Hamilton didn’t win. He was 19 seconds ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg when with about a dozen laps to go “Mad Max” Verstappen attempted to overtake the Lotus of Romain Grosjean on the inside heading into Sainte Devote (Turn 1). Just as he had done with Grosjean’s teammate Pastor Maldonado earlier in the race, Mad Max made contact with Grosjean and took him out of the points.

The collision caused Mad Max to lose a wheel and his brakes, and he shot straight into the barriers at high speed. If this had happened at the chicane coming out of the tunnel, we might have had a different outcome for the young driver. I don’t mind seeing aggressive driving, but you never should do it at the expense of your competitors unless it’s the final laps.

Believe it or not, that wasn’t the biggest brain fart in Monaco. That belongs to whoever made the call in the pits for the AMG Mercedes driver to pit for new tires under caution with a dozen laps to go. Instead of rolling the dice and letting Lewis battle for the win, the points leader had to settle for third place on the podium. I appreciate Lewis defending his team after the race, but he’s too smart to make that call. He should have won his fifth race this season, not his crybaby teammate.

INDIANAPOLIS: If you’ve been reading my forum posts this past week, my fears of a fatality are well documented. I had every reason to be worried. The changes in this year’s aero kit and car design were a huge step backward in driver and fan safety. Cars that had not previously gone airborne when going backwards were now flying in the air like prototype sports cars. We also could have had a new mayor of Hinchtown when James Hinchcliffe was critically injured earlier in the week.

Then there was talk of assaulting Arie Lyendyk’s lap record with this same, flawed car next year. If these cars are getting airborne at 200 mph, how much higher do you think they’ll sail at speeds ten to twenty miles an hour faster? Did we not learn from Tony Renna’s practice accident? Tony Kaanan’s accident a dozen years ago when a suspension part pierced his legs? We haven’t, and I told all of my friends to brace themselves for the very real possibility we’d see a very serious or fatal accident like the ones that were commonplace twenty to thirty years ago.

Thankfully, no cars got airborne and no drivers were killed or seriously injured today. However, it must be noted three crew members from Dale Coyne Racing were injured when someone let James Davison exit his pit while both lanes in pit road were occupied by passing cars. In a cruel bit of irony, Davison’s car struck teammate Pippa Mann, who was on the inside lane and entering her own pit.

The collision sent Davison’s car into the pit of third teammate Tristan Vautier while the crew were changing right side tires. Luckily, the accident looked worse than it actually was. At this writing, only one crew member is hospitalized for an ankle fracture. In my opinion, none of the drivers were at fault. If Davison’s pit had kept him there until Mann was clear, this incident never would have happened.

The traveling open wheel circus goes to Detroit next weekend, but I worry about what could happen when they arrive in Texas in two weeks for the Firestone 600. Will there be enough safety measures to prevent a repeat of Hinchcliffe’s accident? A car going airbone like Kenny Bräck nearly a decade ago?

I know racing is dangerous and not all fatalities are preventable, but to compromise driver and fan safety for the sake of faster speeds will ruin the sport in the long run unless immediate changes are made. With the safety advances the series has made over the past few years, including the creation of the DW12 car, there is no excuse for these cars to endanger the lives of drivers and fans like they did in the past.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

So Long, Farewell, and We Keep Rolling Along

Leaving North Dakota For Philly? Not An Upgrade By Any Means
Coach Dave Hakstol left the University of North Dakota today to assume the Head Coaching position of the Philadelphia Flyers. Coach Hakstol leaves behind the tradition of the former Fighting Sioux. The thing with Coach Hakstol is that he could not live up to the standards that the fans and alumni had for the team. From 1980 to 2000, the University of North Dakota won 5 National Championships. 3 by John Gasparini and 2 by Dean Blais. In 2004, Dave Hakstol became the 15th coach in school history. Yes, he made 7 Frozen Fours and has made the National Tournament each of the years that he has coached the former Fighting Sioux. But in 6 of those 7 Frozen Fours, his team lost in the Semi-Finals. A couple of those years were bad luck, but still the team could not reach the pinnacle after getting close to the top.

It was time for Coach Hakstol to go. The natives were on the Warpath (pun intended). After more than a decade of no National Championships and 7 Frozen Fours, the whispers were becoming shouts that we would never be champs again with this guy behind the bench. Yes, the program kept rolling along with players being drafted and becoming major cogs in pro teams, but here in North Dakota, the teams could never gel well enough to become that team that everybody believed could fight through adversity during the National Tournament.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Another Crybaby About NFL Pay

 

Come work a job in the real world. Or better yet, grab a weapon, joined the armed forces and defend this country. Then come back from an overseas deployment where American Armed Forces personnel have been killed and tell us that football players deserve to be paid more than those that have defended our country. Just another person who does not know how good they have it.

  

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

While Deflategate Was Going On…

I’m glad to see the Golden State Warriors get back on track, but…

Monday, May 04, 2015

Found On Twitter: May The Fourth Be With You!

Now this is how you celebrate Star Wars Day if you’re a championship sports team!

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Baseball and old friends

You may know already, which makes me very late posting, that I went to DC to see my old friends DCHomer and TPUBGU (aka George and Rick), two of my best friends in the world and old Marine Corps buddies.  So I'm here to just give a little rundown of my visit, mostly focused on going to a couple of minor league baseball games.
I landed at Reagan National, where Rick picked me up and went straight to the Marine Corps Museum in Quantico, VA, picked up some goodies and had a beer in the replica Tun Tavern.
New shirt bought at the museum
 
 Then we headed over to George's, where we caught up, told old "war stories" and drank plenty of scotch and had some very good Chinese take-out.
Me, George & Rick after a few scotches
 
Next morning we got up and headed to Gettysburg, where we spent a few hours with a tremendous guide who took us around the whole battlefield area and taught us history buffs a few things.  Then we had dinner at Dobbin House, which is a great restaurant that happens to be in the oldest house in Gettysburg and pretty much has always been at least a tavern.  If you've never been, go!
Then we hustled on up to Harrisburg for a AA Eastern League matchup between the hometown Senators and the Altoona Curve (it's still a stupid name, G!)  We had a very good time, of course but two things of note:  George decided he was going to be the world's biggest fan of this kid who played for Harrisburg, a first baseman by the name of Shawn Pleffner.  So G was hollering/rooting for this guy with every at-bat and every play at first base.  We had a great time with that.  On the way out I noticed a plaque, which George took a picture of but no longer has.  But since we all love baseball and history, this plaque telling us the history of the Harrisburg Giants of the Negro Leagues was pretty cool.  Oh, and the ball field is on an island in the river, same place that the Giants played.

The next day G had a prior engagement, so Rick and I shuttled off to Richmond to see his son and go to another Eastern League game, this one pitting the hometown Richmond Flying Squirrels against the Bowie Bay Sox.  Of most interest to me is the ballpark  in Richmond, which from the outside looks like a major league stadium.  There are very few of these "mini-major league" ballparks left.  Pawtucket is another, though even older than this one.



Me, Rick and Eddie.

It was a fabulous trip, getting to see old friends, drink and reminisce together and see baseball in the sunshine, which had yet to come to Maine.  And Eddie, thanks for suggesting Joe's, the food and beer were great.  Thanks for the ride also.

 George wanted to add these two pics.  The top one is of two pillars that border one end of a bridge that we drove through.  When you're coming across the bridge heading south, you'll see the State Capitol building between them.  Pretty cool.  The second photo is of the island that the ballpark sits on, and you can see it in this picture.   We did not take this.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Thoughts from the Weekend

Figured that we needed something on the blog, so let's try something new. Just some takes from the past weekend in sports (maybe something else at the end).

1. Tony Stewart needs to see a shrink. He goes up the track during the race, runs into Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s car and takes himself out of the race at Richmond and then blames Junior for the wreck. Here would be my plan for Mr. Stewart to get back to being a threat to win a race each and every NASCAR season:  1) Spend some of your millions on a shrink to help you with the bad memories that you have over the past 2 years. 2) Take some of that money and join a gym. The excess fat around the stomach probably ain't helping with the driving. 3) Let your business partner Mr. Haas take some of the leadership for the team. You have way too many irons in the fire. Eldora, Driving, leading the Corporation, and other things that I don't know about. You have spread yourself too thin. 4) Finally, stop being a cantankerous a-hole. Enjoy yourself and let yourself enjoy life. That might help relieve some of the pressure of your life right now.

2. Adam Wainright, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher hurt himself while batting this weekend and might be out for the year. That has national sports writers calling for the National League to institute the Designated Hitter. I strongly disagree. I would stop inter-league play. No more American League vs. National League. It causes the World Series to become just another series. I would have the American League end the Designated Hitter rule. I like the strategy that having the Pitcher hit. I also like the way that National League teams pace their games. If the NL implements the DH, I have worries that Dodgers-Giants, Cardinals-Cubs and Mets-Phillies will become 4 hours marathons like the Red Sox-Yankees. That is not good.

3. The officials in the playoffs need to be held to some sort of standard. In Game 6 of  the NHL Eastern Playoff game of Montreal-Ottawa, a referee whistled a play dead and negated a good Ottawa goal. The game was 1-0 until an empty net goal by the Canadiens with 0.7 seconds left made the final 2-0. The Senators were eliminated from the playoffs by that call. In the NBA, we have a separated shoulder for Kevin Love because a Celtic yanked and put wieght on Love's extended arm. and then we get a slap to the face of Jae Crowder by Kendrick Perkins and then a nice spinning back fist by J.R. Smith to Crowder's face. And all we hear is how the players were being overly physical in both sports. Well, who allowed it to get that way? The officials, that is who. When you have P.K. Subban trying to run a guy's face into the goalpost and nothing is done to him by either the league or the officials assigned to that game, you have problems.

4. Thank god that the NFL draft is this weekend. I am so tired of the hype. It needs to go back to the early part of April. I do not need someone giving me 14 mock drafts over 3 months. And I am tired of hearing about all the prospects. However, I am thinking about disowning the Buccaneers when they draft Jameis Winston.

5. Finally, something off of sports. We need a law or a constitutional amendment stating that there can be no political advertisments, political campaigns or announcing for political offices until January 1st of the year that the elections are being held. I am already tired of hearing about the 2016 elections. They are 19 months away. Right now, I don't want to hear anything about how this person took money for political favors, especially if there is no proof.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Quintissential New England

I love this new short commercial by NESN advertising that the Red Sox season will be here soon.  It exemplifies the grinding, gritty nature of New Englanders dealing with long, cold, snowy winters and how much we love baseball and the Red Sox and the tradition that thoughts of the baseball season herald the coming of spring (one of my best run-on sentences ever!)



I can't wait.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Found On Twitter: Angry Birds?

It is now official. After nine seasons, the San Diego Gulls are back and I couldn’t be happier!

Compared to the WCHL/ECHL logo from a decade ago, I really like this one. It retains the navy, light blue, orange and white colors that the team wore for most of its existence going back nearly fifty years ago, and the gull is updated to look like it eats Ontario Reign for breakfast and… I can’t say here how it “makes” Bakersfield Condors. *laughs*

The new season doesn’t begin until October, but I can’t wait to buy a hat, a jersey, a puck and a t-shirt once they’re available. My schedule will be changing soon, which means I’ll have many opportunities to see hockey in my hometown. Will I buy season tickets? At this time I can’t, but I wouldn’t rule out attending as many as twenty games this season. I might even take a road trip or two to go cheer for them in Ontario.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

2014 NFL Pick 'Em Challenge Winner


The 4th Annual BoSox Tavern NFL Pick 'Em Challenge is in the books!  And the winner is Aaron!  Each year the gang endeavors to see who can pick the most winners each week of the NFL season.  It actually stayed pretty close through the first eight weeks, but Aaron's prowess in pigskin prognostication proved particularly potent, providing the pride of participants with pundit perfuse proficiency!  (whew!)
 
1.  OVERALL WINNER:  Aaron 175 correct picks (65.9%)

BLAIR: 170 wins
JAMES: 170 wins
ZEB: 169 wins
RICK: 166 wins
ROBBIE: 163 wins
GEORGE:  160 wins
ELLERY: 160 wins
BRENT: 162 wins
MIKE: 144 wins
TOM: 77 wins

2.  TOTAL WEEKS WON:
ROBBIE: 4
AARON: 3
BLAIR: 2
GEORGE: 2
ZEB: 2
RICK : 2
JAMES: 1
BRENT: 1
MIKE: 0    
TOM: 0
ELLERY: 0

3.  TOTAL WINS DURING THE PLAYOFFS:
BLAIR: 8
ZEB: 8
AARON: 7
RICK: 6
ROBBIE: 6
JAMES: 6
ELLERY: 5
GEORGE: 5
BRENT: 3
MIKE: 0
TOM: 0

4.  WINNING PERCENTAGE (AS A GROUP): 58.8%.....(eeeh!)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Everything Is Awesome In Maple Leafs Country? Really!


It is Legos and Hockey. A Match made in heaven. Now if the Maple Leafs could figure out how personnel on the ice is important, they might have something.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Must Read

Last night, I finished reading one of the best hockey books I’ve read in a very long time. If it weren’t for the fact I have a job, I would have likely finished this book in one evening. It was that good.

Remember Val James? You don’t? Let’s go back in time roughly thirty years. The NHL had twenty-one teams. Team USA had recently won the gold medal at Lake Placid. The Leafs sucked, but it wasn’t long ago when they played more than one Stanley Cup Playoff round in the spring. In Buffalo, one of the most feared fighters ever to lace on a pair of skates made his debut for the Sabres.

Valmore James, who was born in Ocala, Florida and grew up on Long Island, became the first black American hockey player to play in the NHL. He was brought up by the big club for one purpose – to deal with the Boston Bruins. Val took care of business, but it came at a high personal cost. Black Ice is his story.

The book doesn’t just tell how Val became the best fighter of his era. You also learn about the racism he dealt with along the way. The third chapter absolutely made me cry. Like Val, when I was in third grade I thought I was just like everyone else until a complete stranger – in my case, a kid my own age -- called me a racial slur. And then other kids joined in. When I got home from school, I remember crying to my parents and telling them, “I don’t want to be a Mexican!”

Strangely enough, Val and I share one thing in common. There are those who endure racist taunts, and then there’s the way Val and I handled things. It was refreshing to see I wasn’t the only one who didn’t take shit from anyone. You call either of us a racial slur, then you be prepared to, um, “back it up”.

For those of you who want to know what professional hockey was like in the late 70s to the mid-80s from a player’s point of view, you have to pick up this book. It is filled with stories from his time on Long Island, Canadian junior hockey, the EHL, AHL, and his brief stints in the NHL. For a preview, click on this link and enjoy the first two chapters.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Monday, February 02, 2015

Very much spoiled

I do plan to write a piece about last night's Super Bowl, won by the Patriots, because it is one of the top 5 best Super Bowls we've seen. But I'm pretty darn busy right now. So I'm just going to mention how spoiled we've been in this region since the Patriots first Super Bowl win. We have a total of 9 championships -- four by the Patriots, three by the Red Sox and one each by the Bruins and Celtics; and you can add another four championship game/round appearances that these teams lost. It is the golden age of New England sports, an era unsurpassed or matched by any region ever. And I wanted to share a couple of my favorite things I've seen posted since the game ended, and also to mention how hysterical the Ted clip that was shown during the game was, particularly timely and funny given how much talk about Tom Brady's balls there's been.
 
I will be buying this shirt.
 

Friday, January 30, 2015

Sunday, January 25, 2015

2015 NFL Hall of Fame Selections



The NFL will be naming their 2015 Hall of Fame class shortly. You can make a case for every man on the list. I know that my list isn't what will be announced. They will not vote 2 coaches in the same year. And that coaches rarely get in. That being said, I would put in Don Coryell and Jimmy Johnson before anybody else in the Modern-Era list.

Found On Twitter: Twitter After Dark™

This could have so many different meanings… I hope the author was referring to the jerseys!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

PROFESSIONAL SPORTS: Gamesmanship, Ethics, and Cheaters


Remember that classic scene in the movie "Casablanca" where the police are about to raid "Rick's" casino:

    - RICK (Humphrey Bogart): "How can you close me up? On what grounds?"
    - CAPTAIN RENAULT (Claude Rains): "I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!"
(a casino employee hands Renault a pile of money)
    - CROUPIER: "Your winnings, sir."
    - RENAULT: (softly) "Oh, thank you very much."
    - RENAULT: (loudly) "Everybody out at once!"
 

Here's what I think about the New England Patriots and "DeflateGate":  Since it's so commonly known among NFL officials that under-inflated footballs are easier to throw and catch in wet/cold weather, it seems to me that under-inflated balls are also just as easy to throw and catch in the heat of summer.  And if NFL officials know this, and the Patriots know it, then it's not unlikely that every other team in the league knows it, too, including the Indianapolis Colts who, coming to play in the outdoor cold of Foxboro, MA, in January, would have benefited the most from that knowledge. And if the NFL knows the benefits of using cheating footballs, then their farm teams (the NCAA) know it, too.
 
So, here it is:  I seriously doubt that the Colts were all that surprised by this scandal. If they were surprised, it was probably because "civilians" (those of us outside of the NFL's fraternity circle) found out about their close-hold secret so publicly--everyone's been outed! 
 
Everyone's now got the stink eye peeled on the Patriots, but only because they won--and won big, so check those balls (uh, footballs, I mean).  But did the umps check the Colts' balls (errr, footballs) during that game?  How about the Seahawks?  And seriously, other than Off Track Betting (OTB), Vegas, and the millions in fantasy, who really gives a damn about the losers, or their balls?  But how much do you wanna bet the Redskins, or the Jets, or the Raiders also deflated their balls (verdammt! I meant "footballs!!")?
 
My point: Why is anyone suddenly shocked that there's cheating, immorality, unethical conduct, graft, dishonesty, and corruption (and murder, and sex assault, and bigotry, and perjury) in an industry that involves hundreds and hundreds of BILLIONS of dollars, which incentivizes its players who haul in hundreds and hundreds of millions of those dollars?  Wait, I forgot, these are our kids' role models...that's a scary thought! 
 
So, did the Patriots cheat? Probably.  Steroids, point shaving, bounty hunting, game fixing, deflated footballs, corked bats, betting on your own team, taking dives, sandpaper, tar, bribery...this is all the nature of professional sports.  As fans, we're now feigning surprise and false indignity.  Just wait until next year!