Tuesday, May 15, 2018

WHAT'S NEW?

The Yankee's powerful new lineup finally asserted itself over the last three weeks going 19-3, with an .864 winning percentage. They've done it with a lot of injuries to both the pitching staff and position players. That's the good news. The bad news is that streak was necessary to catch the Boston Red Sox, who are also sporting a powerful lineup. Should be an interesting summer with these teams having the best records in baseball.

On the other hand, if the AL East is called "The Beast," the AL Central is probably "The Least." The division leading Cleveland Indians are the only team without a losing record and they're only at 20-20, .500.
Speaking of the AL Central, congratulations to the last place Chicago White Sox, who won on Sunday, finally giving them double figures in wins. They are now only 8.5 games out of first.

The AL West boasts three teams on a pace to win 93 games or better. Only 1.5 games separate the top three teams. Maybe MLB should institute a rule that a team has to have a better-than-.500 record to be allowed in the postseason. If there are going to be just 5 teams in the playoffs, we shouldn't have one of the teams be an embarrassment and prevent a good team from participating.

In the NL, the Mets are playing .500 ball, but not lately. They're in fourth place behind the Braves and the Phillies (the Braves and the Phillies?) Last week, Yoenis Cespedes broke a diamond necklace while running the bases. So take that all you people who say the Mets can't put diamonds on the field. The Mets recently dumped former star Matt Harvey because of poor performance (they said). He refuse to go to the bullpen saying he's a starter, not a reliever, then went out and proved it by giving up 7 hits and 7 runs in four appearances. The Mets also suffered the embarrassment of batting out of turn in a game. That's happened to other teams before, but in the first inning? Don't they paste the lineup on the wall of the dugout?

I don't understand...
**Ken Giles of the Houston Astro's was so upset over his performance against the Yankees that he hit himself in the face as he walked off the mound. Twice!  Based on his poor outing, I guess he missed the first time.
**During a mound visit by the manager and the trainer to Aroldis Chapman of the Yankees last week, I noticed they also brought an interpreter. The guy has been in the majors for EIGHT years and he still doesn't speak English? I wonder if the catcher has to give the signs in Spanish, too.
**The Supreme Court ruled that New Jersey's law prohibiting betting on sports is not constitutional and ESPN ran a big story on how being able to place bets on sports will change your life. What planet are they living on. It's now 6:15 AM here on the east coast and I can place a bet on anything within the next 10 minutes. The only life change for me will come when the government figures out how to tax my bets.
**Why do sports announcers say that nobody in baseball cares if batters strike out a lot? They accept the strikeouts for the chance to hit home runs? It you hit the ball someplace, anything can happen, some of it good. If you strike out, you've wasted an at bat and that's not good.
**Is some dumb owner really going to pay one of the big free agents available this winter $400 million over 10 years? How can you even spend that kind of money? I mean you can only buy so many pizzas.

***THEY SAID IT***
"Russian president Vladimir Putin, 65, scored seven goals in a pickup hockey game. Now, I don’t want to say the goalie did not try to stop Vlad’s shots, but I’ve seen Kardashians reach harder to pick up a book."  -- Alex Kaseberg
"Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon says he’s open to urinating on his middle finger to heal a cut on it. Well, this should cut down on excessive autograph requests."  -- Janice Hough
"The two youngest players in Major League Baseball — Ronald Acuna Jr., 20, and Ozzie Albies, 21 — both homered for the Braves in a win over the Reds.Not that they’re young or anything but ... after the game teammates took them to Dairy Queen."  -- Dwight Perry

"Mets starter Jacob DeGrom threw 45 times in the first inning — and didn't give up a run. Yes; 45 times in one inning. I worked in advertising for 10 years and made fewer pitches."  -- RJ Currie
"The Minnesota Golden Gophers football team got a commitment from 6-8, 395-pound Australian lineman Daniel Faalele. Minnesota has lakes that are smaller."  -- Brad Dickson
"Rest in peace, Chuck Knox. His conservative/smash-mouth offensive philosophy earned him the nickname “Ground Chuck”"  -- The Sports Curmudgeon
"Can someone go into Wikipedia and change the Owner of The Toronto Raptors to LeBron James?"  -- Tony Chong

"Almost think golf should have Tiger Woods play every Sunday in a group with the leaders.   Just to have Americans pay attention to whoever is actually winning."  -- Janice Hough
"Former Raider, Aldon Smith, walked into a police station and blew a .41 blood-alcohol-content, five times the legal limit. That is drunk enough to go into a coma or marry a Kardashian. -- Alex Kaseberg
"Mariners legend Ichiro Suzuki insists he hasn’t decided to retire, he’s just not playing baseball this year. “Way ahead of you,” said the Baltimore Orioles."  -- RJ Currie
"Danica Patrick says she is settling into driving Indy cars again, but needs work in traffic. The good part is when she is racing she never has to use the rear view mirror to see who is behind her.. -- Jim Barach
"In just the past eight months, the Kansas cheer team has been suspended and three KU fraternities shut down amid hazing allegations. Turns out the least-threatening thing on campus is the football team."  -- Dwight Perry

CP-
 








Tuesday, May 01, 2018

LET'S FIX BASEBALL

.Sam Miller of ESPN has started a three-part series he calls, "The Radical Ideas Series." He says they are designed to open a conversation to fix baseball. I think baseball does need some work, but Mr. Miller's first idea isn't patently insane.
He suggests that every team make the playoffs and that they would start in September with some complicated format based on their winning percentage, beginning with the worst team playing the 2nd worst, etc. It's winner take all so lose and you go home. Imagine the excitement it would create.
Take last year's Tigers (64-98) playing the White Sox (67-95) in Chicago. You'd be lucky if they could draw 5000 fans from Chicago. On the other hand, 25 players get an extra month off. I still worry about some team with a .500 record knocking off a really good team because of some fluke play.
Keep that thinking cap on, Sam. The next two ideas have to be better.

Are we ever going to have a game when Angel Hernandez is one of the umpires when he doesn't escalate something into an argument when all a player is doing is blowing off steam? He was his usual asinine self Sunday night by chasing after CC Sabathia. CC is known for voicing his displeasure with calls as he walks off the mound. It means nothing. CC has forgotten about it by the time he reaches the dugout. But no, Angel has to chase after him, stopped by Mgr Aaron Boone before it got more out of hand. I've said it many times before: the minute an umpire goes after a player to argue or chastise him, the umpire is wrong. If an umpire got suspended for 5 games whenever that happened, this would stop very quickly.
Can you imagine a game with Country Joe West, Balking Bob Davidson and Angel Hernandez all doing their thing? I guarantee we'd end up with about 6 players on a side left by the 9th inning.

The Yanks were bound to lose eventually and the Astros are certainly no walk in the park. It would have been nice to manage more than 3 hits and 1 run, though. In a game where they only score one run, the Sonny Gray that the Yanks traded for finally showed up. Houston's Charlie Morton looked like he won't lose a game all year. Very dominating. The Yanks won't have to face anyone that  overpowering for the rest of the series...wait, Verlander? Keuchel? McCullers? We better hope for a couple of rainouts. What's that? Oh yeah: a dome.

What's with the Dodgers? They're in 4th place, 8 games out. Only three teams in the NL have a worse record. I know, there's still 134 games left, but you don't want to get into too deep a hole. Speaking of strange occurrences, the Miami Marlins have won three in a row. I wouldn't have been surprised if they only won three games in a month. Check back in a month with these two teams.

***THEY SAID IT***
"You can slip us this Mickey anytime: A 1952 Mantle baseball card has sold for $2.88 million — or 384 times the $7,500 he was paid to play that season."  -- Dwight Perry
"People are still marveling at Brandon Belt’s at-bat for San Francisco that lasted over 12 minutes against the Angels. Are you kidding me? It took former major leaguer Mike Hargrove 12 minutes just to walk up to the plate."  -- Bill Littlejohn
"WR Dez Bryant turned down a multi-season offer from the Ravens in hopes of landing a one-year deal somewhere. Even with the new catch rules, insiders think he dropped the ball."  -- RJ Currie
"Ersan Ilyasova said when the 76ers played the Heat “in Miami … the gym was half-empty.” “Half-empty” -or as the Marlins call that, an opening day crowd."  -- Janice Hough
"Colin Kaeperinck’s tryout was cancelled at the last minute by The Seahawks. His agent wanted Colin to be in the game only when Seattle was up by more than 17 points inside the 2 minute warning, and he could just come in and take a knee."  -- TC Chong
"A 20-year-old Colorado man, Dylan McWilliams survived a rattlesnake bite, a bear bite and a shark bite in a four-year span: “Based on these incidents, we do know a lot about this man. For example, he must taste delicious."  -- James Corden

CP-



Thursday, April 26, 2018

THE BRONX BOMBERS ARE BACK

...and with a vengeance. They are currently leading the majors in runs, homers and OPS. I know all you sabermetric fans will disagree, but these are important numbers.
It is very early yet, so things can change drastically in the next few months. Here are a few things that won't look the same come the 4th of July.
** The Washington Nationals are languishing in 4th place with a .440 winning percentage. Too many good pitchers and too many good hitters, including Bryce Harper. They'll be in first on the 4th.
** The Red Sox look like they're running away with it. They won't. Toronto's got some stuff and the Blue Jays will battle the Sox for a playoff spot.
** The Mets are in first place. Enjoy it while you can. There is some bad karma here.
** The Cubs are in 4th place  (See the Nationals comment above)
** Arizona is in 1st place. The Dodgers will eventually prevail but the Diamondbacks will make it interesting for a while.
** Yankee shortstop Didi Gregorious, with 9 dingers, is only one homer behind Mike Trout. The projection for him is 44 for the season which is too high, He is definitely helped by the Yankee Stadium dimensions, if the current home stand is any indication. 30-35 is a more reasonable goal. The RBI total is outrageous too.
** Giancarlo Stanton is not blasting homers the way Yankee fans expected. He'll break out eventually, but the only good thing about it is that we don't have to listen to John Sterling's rediculous homer run call - "Non dimenticar, that ball traveled very far"

Gregorious again 
After he hit one last night, I told Annie-O that I hoped he wouldn't hit another that game. When she asked why, I told her they would probably have to stop the game while they installed his plaque in Monument Park.

It should be Sonny 'Black'
For a guy who was supposed to be the #2 starter, Sonny Gray has been singularly unimpressive. The Yankee broadcasters' comments are equally ridiculous - "His stuff is too good."  I'm not buying that one.
That'll teach him
Did I read this right? The police are searching for WWE wrestler for throwing a cup of coffee at a fellow wrestler. Why didn't he just hit him with a folding chair? The complaint was signed by Starbucks.
Do these guys listen to themselves?
Statement #1 - His fastball is so good, he can throw it right down the middle and get away with it.
Statement #2 later in the game - "No matter how good your fastball is, major league hitters will hit it."
I wish I wasn't listening to them

I'm becoming disenchanted with YES Network's Michael Kay. He's been mis-calling some plays, gets the count wrong and often doesn't know the rules. He questioned why there was no infield fly call made on one play when it didn't qualify. His cohort in crime, Paul O'Neill, a former player, can recite the menu of every concession stand in the park, but he's clueless about the rules, too. I like his insight into the game, but I don't need to hear it three times. His main function seems to be to rag on Michael Kay. Good at it, too.


***THEY SAID IT***
"The Commission on College Basketball has recommended potential lifetime bans for coaches who cheat. Over-under on how many coaches suddenly retire or move to NBA?"  -- Janice Hough
"A recent Chicago White Sox home game against the Rays drew 974 fans. Or as the Miami Marlins call it, a really good crowd."  -- RJ Currie
"There's talk of a Floyd Mayweather-Connor McGregor rematch. I haven’t been this excited since ‘Rocky V’."  -- Brad Dickson
"Patrick Reed has been spotted seemingly everywhere since winning the Masters, still wearing his green jacket. The movie-theater stop proved a bit awkward, however, when patrons wouldn’t stop handing him their tickets."  -- TC Chong
"Adults should average no more than one alcoholic drink per day, according to a new international study. With the obvious exception of, say, Browns fans."  -- Dwight Perry
"That 21 pitch Brandon Belt AB Sunday lasted longer than some celebrity marriages."  -- Janice Hough
"The head count totaled only 974 in attendance for a Rays-White Sox game in Chicago. All the fans bought a hot dog and beer, so the team still made $3 million from the concession stands."  -- Jim Barach
"It's hard to believe quarterback Mark Sanchez got caught using a performance enhancing substance. If ever a guy should demand a refund."  -- RJ Currie
"If 5½-foot Astros star Jose Altuve ever needs to do some injury rehab in the minors, we’ve found the perfect team to do it with: the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp."  -- TC Chong
"The Twins had to postpone three straight games against the White Sox because of a nasty spring snowstorm. How can you tell you’re in Minnesota? The catcher tells you one’s a fastball, two’s a curve and three’s a snowball."  -- Dwight Perry
" A 112-year-old Japanese man assuming the mantle of world’s oldest man. Man, they keep dying. I’m beginning to think that title is cursed."  -- Brad Dickson

CP-
 




Monday, April 02, 2018

SOME THINGS JUST IRRITATE ME

Not that anyone is surprised at that. The list can be long, depending on how egregious the activities are.
Announcers
Can't they just shut up and let the game itself entertain us? Some comments are fine, but they feel they have to explain everything. Maybe the pitcher just wanted to catch his breath. Maybe he had to sneeze. Don't make up reasons. Sunday, on the Yankee game, even David Cone admitted that they received a tweet saying basically, shut Cone up. Wish I'd said that. In his defense, he does express his opinion on some plays and strategies. Yesterday, in the 9th inning, he vehemently disagreed with walking a hitter intentionally to pitch to the next batter. He was correct - the next hitter blasted a brand slam to win the game.
Baseball's unwritten rules
Sunday, an Oriole hitter bunted for a hit against an extreme Minnesota shift in the ninth with the score 7-0. The Twins were upset, saying it wasn't the way the game should be played. Why not? You gave him the opportunity, why are you upset that he took advantage of it? Don't like all these shifts? Keep doing this and it will stop.
Baseball's written rules
I will never understand why a team will "let" a runner steal a base late in a game because his run means nothing and the runner gets no credit because of "defensive indifference." You LET him get a stolen base, so suffer with the stat.
Speaking of bad stats, earlier this year a saw a pitch go thru a catcher's legs to the backstop that was called a wild pitch, not a passed ball. Why? Because the pitch hit the ground before it got to the plate. It shouldn't matter. This was a major league catcher. It was his job to block that errant pitch. I understand if the ball takes a crazy, unexpected hop and the catcher can't get in front of it, but this ball went thru his legs while he was kneeling down. It wasn't the pitcher's fault, it was yours.
More on announcers
Why are the Yankees making such a big deal about radio announcer John Sterling's home run call. He's run out of good calls. The last one heard that was any good was, "An A-Bomb from A-Rod."
That was okay, His latest was his description of a Giancarlo Stanton homer which was in Italian, no less. I'm Italian and I don't get the reference. 
I just wish they would all speak English and not try to describe things in obscure terms. Basketball announcers are the worst. Players don't jump anymore. They go vertical.  They don't dribble and shoot, they score off the bounce. They love that bounce thing. They repeat it over and over to show you how hip they are. 
"In the seventh inning of the Yankees’ opener in Toronto, Brett Gardner homered over the 375-feet sign. Soon, despite that 375-feet sign in full view in two replays, YES’ David Cone parroted a graphic reporting that the home run was “projected” to have been hit 372 feet."  -- Phil Mushnick

The YES network has a new thing: The Nine-Person Booth. All nine of the Yankee broadcast team supposedly in the booth at the same time along with all the variations on how it would work. It's pretty cute, but I suspect I will be sick of it before long. Like, yesterday. They can't stop showing it. Lighten up guys before it becomes monotonous and no longer interesting.

Outside of one good game for Stanton, the Yankee powerhouse hitters have done nothing and the "best bullpen in baseball" has blown two straight games. Here's a baseball axiom that's still true: No matter what the stats say about who's the best, you still have to play the game. 

If the list of Yankees on the DL continues to grow,  the Nine-Person booth could become the Nine-Person on the field.

Just when you thought things couldn't get sillier 
We've all know about the One 'N Done college basketball recruits, but Syracuse Univ. #1 recruit just decide to forgo his one year and signed to play in the NBA's Development League, becoming the first ever None and Done.
I have to stop blogging now and go back to bed so I can stay up to watch NCAA's premier college basketball game  - the Final Four Tournament Championship game, which will air at 9:20 tonight. Which means you better be awake at midnight if you want to see the end of the game. And you thought college was the seat of higher learning. Apparently the NCAA never graduated...or attended.


***THEY SAID IT***
"Looks like God may have decided to abandon Sister Jean in favor of Notre Dame women’s team."  -- Janice Hough
"Danica Patrick said she's going to the Indy 500 to win it. It could happen. Now excuse me while I go onto Twitter to ask  Gal Godat to marry me,"  -- RJ Currie 
"He's the oldest tennis player to be ranked No. 1. Somebody might have mentioned that to me already, but I had a hard time hearing.”  -- Roger Federer
"The Cavaliers suspended guard J.R. Smith for one game because he reportedly threw a bowl of soup at assistant coach Damon Jones. Guess you could say he made himself bowl-ineligible."  -- Dwight Perry
"Major League Baseball wants to speed up their games to attract “millennials” who find the games too long and boring. How about eliminating: The Anthem; God Bless America; Take Me Out to the Ball Game and Sweet Caroline. That’ll save 25 minutes."  -- TC Chong

"The final spring training game  between  the Angels and Dodgers ended in the fifth inning because of a foul-smelling sewage leak onto the field.  Some punchlines just write themselves."  -- Janice Hough
"If we find out that Sister Jean accepted money from a booster to steer her away from rooting for DePaul I’ll become even more jaded."  -- Brad Dickson
"Michael Strahan is to red-carpet interviews what Ryan Seacrest is to rushing the quarterback.”  -- Jerry Perisho
"Five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has signed with the Los Angeles Rams. He spent the last three seasons in Miami — his old stomping grounds."  -- RJ Currie
"There's a lot of  hubbub over Dwight Howard producing the first 30-point, 30-rebound game in 36 years. By the way, Wilt Chamberlain accomplished the feat a mere 124 times."  -- Bob Molinaro
"The Arizona D’Backs are trying to speed up games by employing a golf cart to deliver pitchers from the bullpen to the mound. I remember when the Red Sox used that same M.O. and when the vehicle was not used, they sent it down Yawkey Way to pick up fried chicken and beer."  -- TC Chong
"Incidentally, Michael Kay finally may have succumbed to the ESPN virus. After Gardner’s opening day homer, he said, “It’s his first of the year.”  -- Phil Mushnick

CP-
 






 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

MARCH MADNESS - PART II

First of all, congratulations to St. Bonaventure and Syracuse, two local teams who made it through the First Four round. At least one more win each would solidify the NCAA committee's choice to include them.

Nicknames that will mess up my wife's picks:
As you may be aware, her choices often stem from the match-up of nicknames or mascots. Sometimes she has to flip a coin -
Seton Hall Pirates vs. NC State Wolfpack - Both were scourges of the high seas - and mean.
Michigan Wolverines vs Montana Grizzlies - An interesting match-up in the forest, on the court, not so much.
Kentucky Wildcats vs Davidson Wildcats - "What do I do now???"
Auburn Tigers vs  Charleston Cougars -  Well, the tiger is bigger.

Where we differ:
She likes Alabama "Roll 'Tide." I will root for Auburn - War Eagle.
     When we were on a trip down south, we stayed in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Everywhere you went, we saw "Roll Tide signs and banners. Later, We stopped at a gift shop in Montgomery, Alabama. I was looking thru some pins on the counter and Anne asked me what I was looking for. "I wanted to see if there was a "Roll Tide" pin," I said, laughing. From behind, a loud booming voice said, "Y'all in Auburn country, now." It was a little old white-haired lady glaring at me. "Yes Ma'am," I said as I scurried away.

I like to watch Duke play. She likes ABGA (Anybody But Grayson Allen). I actually see her point.

Anne asked who St. Bonaventure would be playing next. I told her they would be in with the big boys, now. Actually, #1, 2, or 3 seeded teams  against are not automatic winners against teams seeded #10, 11, 12 etc. That's one of the beautiful things about college basketball. No matter how large your enrollment is, you can only put five guys on the court at once. This makes for competitive games where you wouldn't think there would be.

I can't do a posting without some mention of baseball.
** The NY Yankees have had their wrist slapped by MLB because Aaron Judge told Manny Machado of the Orioles, "You'd look nice in pin stripes."   Baseball called that very close to tampering. Yeah, like Judge decides who the Yankees will sign. Instead of concerning himself with off-the-cuff kidding between ballplayers, why doesn't Commissioner Manfred pay more attention to improving the pace of play in a reasonable manner instead of the ridiculous ideas he's come up with so far.
** Like these changes that are under consideration.
   Start extra innings with men on base, from a man on second with no outs to bases loaded with no outs.  This flies in the face of the integrity of the game.
   Start extra innings with a three and two count on every batter. This like a beer game. Might as well have a keg out at second base. Actually, that's not such a bad idea.
   Let the managers start each extra inning with whatever lineup he wants. If you're going to do that, why not let each teams best home-run hitter bat continually until he makes three outs or hits a homer. 
All of these ideas is meant to keep teams from having 17 or 18 inning games. Yeah, like we have one or two of those every week.
I will repeat the only thing they have to do to shorten games is KEEP THE HITTER IN THE BATTER'S BOX. There, was that so hard?

***THEY SAID IT***
"Drew Brees turned down much larger guaranteed offers to resign with Saints. Nice to know that it’s not ALL about $$$. Though guessing Drew can still feed his family on $25 mill even if 2nd year not guaranteed."   -- Janice Hough
"Frances McDormand’s Academy Award was stolen during an Oscars after party. No truth to the rumor that the perp was wearing a Tom Brady jersey."  -- Dwight Perry
"About  last Sunday’s Oscars telecast, Michael Strahan is to red-carpet interviews what Ryan Seacrest is to rushing the quarterback."  -- Jerry Perisho
"Warriors coach Steve Kerr said undrafted college basketball players should be allowed to return to school, which is different than the 1960s, when students enrolled in school mainly to avoid being drafted."  -- Jim Barach

"Dolphins going to release  Ndamukongsuh. Ouch, that will really stomp on his ego."  -- Janice Hough
"Canadian skicross racer Dave Duncan apologized for his arrest in PyeongChang for stealing a car while intoxicated. Can’t recall Duncan? He’s the skier whose bib had a cup holder."  -- RJ Currie
"Two U.S. gold medal-winning snowboarders are 17. When I was 17, I’d just gotten the training wheels off my bike."  -- Brad Dickson
" Anybody honestly believe the Dolphins are better without Ajayi, Landry and Suh? It’s like you own a car dealership and your first order of business is to fire your most productive, top-earning salesmen."  -- Greg Cote

CP-
 


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/greg-cote/article204717914.html#storylink=cpy





Tuesday, March 13, 2018

MARCH MADNESS

It's my favorite sporting event. Why?
1) Well, it's not just one game, it's many.
2) If you root for your team and they lose, there's another "favorite" team playing later that day (Actually sounds like my dating history).
3) College teams have cheerleaders who actually get excited about the game and aren't paid to jump around in skimpy outfits.
4) The cheerleaders jump around in skimpy outfits
5) EVERY game is sudden death. That makes for exciting finishes because teams go all out even if they're behind by 10 points with 30 seconds left.
6) Coaches run up and down the sideline getting more exercise than they've gotten in years.
7) I don't need Dick Vitale to tell me it's an exciting game.    BABY!
8) There's a hero in every game.
9) Did I mention the skimpy outfits?
10) I love the odd nicknames for some of the teams. (Can you say you root for the Hokies with a straight face?)
11) Did I mention...oh yeah, I did.

The usual comments on match-ups
There are odd match-ups that occur accidentally because the "committee" picks them by the team records. My way is much more fun.
** It can't happen, but wouldn't a Final Four consisting of Villanova, Kentucky, Arizona and Kansas State be interesting? You could root for the "Wildcats" and not be disappointed in the outcome. (Sorry Davidson, but I had to choose four)
** There's only three Tigers in the mix this year: Clemson, Auburn and Missouri. If Princeton had made it, we could have had another fun Final Four. Or a better Elite Eight.
** Some nicknames I don't recall seeing before.
     Brooklyn Blackbirds (If they lose, you could sing "Bye Bye Blackbirds)
     Radford Highlanders (Could be embarrassing to play in those kilts)
     Lipscomb Bisons (Bisons, Yes. Lipscomb, not so much)
     Marshall Thundering Herd (I understand the starting five averages 295 pounds)

More on match-up tomorrow, In the meantime, a sad note. The Omaha World Herald has decided to drop "Breakin' Brad," a humor column written by my friend Brad Dickson. Apparently, newspapers aren't above making dumb decisions. There's enough bad news in the world and humor helps us to deal with it. Mr. Dickson was one of the best at providing that valuable humor. Anne Murray sings, "I really could use a little good news today."  We've just lost some.

***THEY SAID IT***
"Heading to March Madness,   64 down to 1.  And besides the possible Trump administration resignations, there’s a basketball tournament going on."  -- Janice Hough
"Ex-Nebraskan Molly Schuyler won the Wing Bowl by downing 501 chicken wings, an average of 16.7 wings per minute — breaking the old record held by a garbage disposal."  -- Brad Dickson[I'm going to miss this - CP]
"Forrest Whitley, the Astros’ 6-foot-7 fireballing mound prospect, has been tagged with a 50-game suspension after failing a drug test. Club officials figured something was amiss last season when his errant spring-training pickoff attempt in West Palm Beach, Fla., finally rolled to a stop in Okeechobee."  -- Dwight Perry

" WWE legend and porn star Sunny was arrested on contempt of court and fugitive charges. She is reportedly in jail, where all holds are barred"  -- RJ Currie
"The U.S. is sitting sixth in the medal count halfway through the Winter Olympics — behind Russia, Which isn’t even officially here. I was pretty fired up about that. That’s like losing a bar bet to an empty stool."  -- Michael Rosenberg

"Reports are that Peyton Manning could make $10 Million a year as an analyst for Fox Sports or ESPN. And that’s before he mentions Budweiser or Papa John’s every 15 minutes."  -- Janice Hough
"Arkansas landed an inside linebacker named Bumper Pool. Now the Razorbacks are searching for an outside backer named Lawn Darts."  -- Brad Dickson

"Danica Patrick’s NASCAR career ended with a win-loss record of 0 for 191. “See? Now leave me alone!” said  Anna Kournikova."  -- RJ Currie
"The U.S. topped Canada to reach the gold-medal match in men’s curling. That’s like the U.S. beating Italy in pasta-making."  -- Roy Neese


CP-
 




Monday, February 19, 2018

BASEBALL! IT'S FINALLY HERE!

It's Spring Training, the time when every team is a potential champion - at least according to the media. Even the players are strutting about, proclaiming the virtues of their team. As usual, there will be the contenders and the pretenders.
There will be the five elite teams and the one sleeper. Houston, Dodgers, Cleveland, Washington and Yankees.will contend. The Angels, Boston, Cubs and Arizona will put up a fight but probably won't make the World Series. The Brewers and Twins were last years sleepers. This year, I think it will be the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Yanks will be a lot of  fun to watch with all the big bats in the lineup. And I mean BIG. Mike Lupica, NY Daily News, describes them this way. "They're not built to break records. They're built to break windows."  This should be fun.

Money, money, money
I don't believe it. I thought that this year, Scott Boras would finally learn that he's NOT the smartest man in baseball. Teams would no longer be willing to pay out big bucks and long term contracts to players just to get the one or two good years out of them. We made it all the way to spring training before Boras found that "one dumb owner." It was San Diego. They just signed Eric Hosmer to a deal that qualifies them as this year's "ODO."  5 years @ $20 million per year plus 3 more years @ $13 million per year.This for a guy 28 years old. He  has averaged 20 homers a year with a  batting average of .284 over seven years. Good numbers but is that really worth $139 million? Of course, we're talking about a team who traded for Chase Headly without a gun to their heads. There are still a lot of decent ballplayers still unsigned and some of them will remain that way. Even Scott Boras has to be scratching his head.

Let's use our heads (What am I saying?)
Can we please bring some sense of reason to baseball's suggestions on how to shorten the games?  They have suggested putting a man on second to start every inning after the 10th. Start every inning after 12 with the bases loaded and no outs.
They want a pitch clock and a batting clock. These are too hard to control. There are so many parameters that it will take a Philadelphia lawyer to figure out when to start them and when someone has violated the rule. You want to speed up the game without corrupting the basic sport? Two simple rules:
1) Limit trips to the mound to one per inning, whether it's the coach, manager, catcher or infielder. Unless there's and injury, a second visit means the pitcher is out of the game. Fake the injury and manager is also ejected.
2) Keep the damn hitter in the box. I don't care about swings and misses, foul balls or looking for signs. Keep him in the box.
While we're at it, eliminate Instant Replay and Challenges. There's 15 minutes a game right. there. Even with the arguments. Besides, I like arguments.  
As Groucho Marx said, “Outside of the improvement, no one should notice a thing.”

Another suggestion
I am not a fan of play-by-play broadcasters and analysts in the booth. They all need to fill every minute with words which end up being just blather. Please shut up. We can see the same thing you see. We don't need you to explain it. And stop with the "cute" terms. The player did not "go vertical." for cripes sake. He JUMPED. Why do we need so many people to announce the game? That's easy to fix. Just make the booths smaller.  A lot smaller.
Your screaming does not make the play more exciting.  Listen to Bode Miller analyze skiing. Very calm and informative. Please tell us the truth. Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir are not afraid to say that some skating judging is absolutely insane. We know it, we saw it, too. It's not blasphemy to voice that opinion. I like their outfits, too, but Johnny is going to have to explain his hair. How can it grow three inches overnight?

***THEY SAID IT***
Patriots coach Bill Belichick, was asked by reporters what the difference between this Super Bowl and his previous seven: “This one is in Minnesota.”
"Fontbonne of St. Louis beat Greenville (Ill.) 164-154 in overtime Wednesday night, breaking the NCAA Division III record for combined points.In other words, they scheduled a D-III men’s basketball game, and the NBA All-Star Game broke out."  -- Dwight Perry
"The Canadian women’s hockey team defeated the United States at the Winter Olympics. These Canadians were mostly late bloomers. Some of them didn’t pick up a hockey stick until they were 9 months old."  -- Brad Dickson
" So this is how you judge Slope-Style Skateboarding: The winner was determined by who came as close as possible to killing himself while remaining standing on his board."  - Phil Mushnick
"Team Norway at the Olympics got 15,000 eggs instead of the 1,500 they ordered. So far the Norwegians are clean of PEDs, but their cholesterol is off the charts."  -- RJ Currie
"One problem with Winter Olympics is just when we begin to figure out what, for example, a good slalom run looks like, the events are over."  -- Janice Hough

"Serena Williams won the Australian Open a year ago while eight weeks pregnant. I think we’ve finally found something that Roger Federer can't do on a tennis court."  -- Bob Molinaro
"The Yankees have acquired the baseball rights to the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson. Imagine how the Jets and Giants feel, knowing that the Yankees have the best QB in New York."  -- Brett Miller
"Striking strippers in New York canceled plans to perform in Philadelphia this past week after they were told the poles there were coated with Crisco and hydraulic fluid."  -- Tony Chong
" Ex-Nebraskan Molly Schuyler won the Wing Bowl by downing 501 chicken wings, an average of 16.7 wings per minute — breaking the old record held by a garbage disposal."  -- Brad Dickson
"Among Oregon’s football recruits this year: Habakkuk Baldonado, a defensive end from Clearwater, Fla. Talk about mixed reviews: He’s rated a three-star recruit by 247 Sports but only one star by the National Association of Copy Editors."  -- Dwight Perry
"Wait a minute, how did  Shaun White get to be 31 years old? I didn’t know they allowed snowboarders to be over 30."  -- Janice Hough
"A brawl broke out in a professional rugby game in the country of Georgia, complete with punching, kicking and bloodshed. Then things got really violent: they played rugby."  -- RJ Currie 

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