Friday, November 14, 2014


I don't like to get into debates about politics or religion. I can get into enough trouble with sports. You can add political correctness to that list of no-nos, but I will deviate from that stance just this once.

There is a big debate over offensive team nicknames, nicknames that have been around a long time. That's certainly not a reason to retain them, but where is the line as to what names are offensive? For a long time, St. Johns University teams carried the moniker, "The Redmen." Obviously offensive and St. Johns  remedied that by changing to "The Red Storm." Washington's pro-football team refuses to change the name "Redskins," which is even more offensive. Tampa Bay went from "Devil Rays" to just "Rays." Cleveland is getting some heat for "Indians" and here is where the line gets a little blurred. It's not the worst name, but not the best, either. Cleveland didn't help themselves with that offensive cartoon character, 'Chief Wahoo.' Eliminating that name will change the whole identity of the team.  Perhaps we should look at "Pirates" or "Raiders" too. Neither name brings anything warm or fuzzy to mind. Oakland changed to the "A's" from "Athletics," if only in emphasis, but that may have been because, at the time, they really didn't have any athletes on the team.  At least we still have those old stand-bys: Lions and Tigers and Bears (Oh My!).

Tennessee has decided to eliminate the name, "Lady Vols," saying that it's sexist. It appears, however, that the Tennessee administration is the only body that thinks that. Their women's celebrated coach, Pat Summit, is decidedly against it also. Pat was the coach when the women on the team picked that nickname. Not accepted it, they picked it. Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post says it better.

Thus endeth my first and last foray into dangerous waters.

** Alvin Dark has died at age 92. Alvin (whose nickname was "Blackie," speaking of names) played for 14 years with a career .289 batting average. He also managed three different teams and won a pennant with the Giants and the A's. He was involved in one of the weirdest plays in baseball. "With Stan Musial on first, home plate umpire Delmore was embroiled in an argument with the catcher and pitcher, Musial took it upon himself to try for second base. Seeing that Musial was trying for second, Dark ran to the backstop to retrieve the ball. The ball wound up in the hands of field announcer Pat Pieper, but Dark ended up getting it back anyway. Absentmindedly, however, Delmore pulled out a new ball and gave it to Taylor. Anderson finally noticed that Musial was trying for second, took the new ball, and threw it to second baseman Tony Taylor. Anderson's throw flew over Tony Taylor's head into the outfield. Dark, at the same time that Anderson threw the new ball, threw the original ball to shortstop Ernie Banks. Musial, though, did not see Dark's throw and only noticed Anderson's ball fly over the second baseman's head, so he tried to go to third base. On his way there, he was tagged by Banks, and after a delay he was ruled out."
Where's instant replay when you need it?

** Clayton Kershaw has been named MVP of the National League. A great pitcher and deserving of the Cy Young award he's just won. I renew my belief that a pitcher, especially a starting pitcher,  shouldn't be named an MVP. They appear in approximately 32 games a season, which is less than 20% of the season. In playoff games, he may pitch in only 2 of 7 games.Consider what scenario of your best hitter playing just those games. Personally, I want Mike Trout playing in as many games as possible.

** The Yanks have traded Francisco Cervelli (one of my favorites, by the way) to the Pirates for lefty reliever Justin Wilson. Both are serviceable players but it always amuses me how much better players become when teams announce these trades. Cervelli has always been a backup but now he's projected as the Pirates first-string catcher. Wilson has decent numbers but he's going to be one of the main lefties out of the bullpen for NY.  We'll see.

** Show me the money. Giancarlo Stanton is currently negotiating a new contract with the Miami Marlins. Considered to be MLB's best slugger, he's looking to become baseball's wealthiest. The numbers being tossed around are $325 million for 12 years. That's about $27+ million a year. He's only 25, so it isn't quite that outrageous, plus, in 10 years, $27 million per year might be just average money. By the way, Miami's average ticket price last year was $27. Which means, the first 12,500 fans each game are needed just to pay his salary. That's about half their average attendance.

" According to a study apologizing is good for your health. If true, this means the CEO of Target and the general manager of the Chicago Cubs should both live to 180."  -- Brad Dickson
" Five members of Germany's women's U-20 soccer team posed for Playboy to promote the upcoming Women's World Cup. Now that's what I call a soccer pitch."  -- RJ Currie
"The world’s top ranked badminton player has failed a doping test. Badminton World Federation officials finally had to confront him when his serves reached speeds of 400 mph."  -- TC Chong
"Serial soccer chomper Luis Suarez, in his new autobiography, says he was treated “like a criminal” when his latest him kicked out of this year’s World Cup.Sounds like a one-man “Take A Bite Out Of Crime” public-service ad."  -- Dwight Perry
"University of Texas football coach Charlie Strong has kicked at least nine players off the team. At the current rate, by November 2017, Texas will be forced to play eight-man football."  -- Brad Dickson
"Justin Bieber visited a Pittsburgh Steeler players’ faith meeting: “He wanted to worship with the New YorkGiants, but they don’t have a prayer."  -- Alan Ray
"Kobe Bryant broke an unwelcome NBA career record with his 13,418th missed shot. Or as he prefers to call them, rebounding opportunities for teammates."  -- Dwight Perry
"LeBron James apologized to fans for not dunking enough in his Cavs return: “LeBron says he’s trying as hard as he can, but at the end of the day he’s just one team.”  -- Jimmy Fallon
" KOMO-4 TV in Seattle discovered that beer at CenturyLink Field is watered down. Wow. Imagine how loud Seahawks fans would be if they were drinking the regular stuff."  -- Janice Hough


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