Monday, April 27, 2015


##  Josh Hamilton has been traded back to the Texas Rangers. If you thought A-Rod was the king of drama, the questions surrounding Hamilton puts him in the running for crown prince at least.
* Why didn't MLB impose some kind of penalty on Hamilton for violating the substance abuse program in the MLBPA agreement?
* Why were the Angels upset that that didn't happen?
* Why won't the Angels take him back? Aren't they bound by contractual agreements to do so?
* Why did Texas want him back?
* Supposedly, Texas gives up the infamous "player to be named later" or cash considerations. Hamilton is still owed some $70 million. Who pays that?
* How long will this be a headline event?
And finally, has Josh talked to A-Rod about how to handle the media?

## Speaking of A-Rod (as we always do), this week's focus is on the reaction of the Yankees when A-Rod hits his next homer, which will be number 660, tying him with Willie Mays. Contractually, he is then owed an additional $6 million as a marketing bonus. The Yanks claim it is no longer a marketable event because he has tainted the numbers with his PED situations.
What makes it marketable? In theory, the Yankees thought they could play up the milestone and thus sell many more tickets and add additional souvenir items to their team store. Now they say that can't happen and it's A-Rod's fault. Thus, no bonus. So who decides if the milestone is marketable or not? Not A-Rod and not the Yankees. It's the fans. Listen to the Yankee Stadium fans when A-Rod comes to the plate. Listen to the cheers when he does something with the bat, especially if he hits a homer. Furthermore, listen to the boos that accumulate in rival stadiums. Whether they cheer or boo, the fans are paying money to attend the games to voice their opinion. That makes him marketable.
I'm no huge A-Rod fan and lord knows he doesn't need the money, but I don't see how the Yanks can prevent it.
Side note: it will be very interesting to see how Michael Kay handles it when A-Rod does hit the next one. Kay is paid in part by the Yankees, so will he play it up big or pass it off?

## John Kruk and Curt Schilling can be very interesting, but they talk way too much when the game is on and not always about the game  I would love to sit in my favorite pub and listen to these two go at it for hours, but in the booth...? Could they at least mention the game once in a while? Shouldn't Joe Buck TRY to control them?  At one point, Schilling tried to make a point that made no sense whatsoever. I had the game on DVR and replayed it a couple of times and there was still not a sensible sentence in the whole tirade. Just to make your week, we will have to listen to them again next Sunday when NY plays in Boston. I can hardly wait.               (Well, yes I can)

## Adam Wainwright, the Cardinals #1 starter got hurt while batting last week. It's a season ending injury. Max Scherzer, Washington's $30 million a year man got hurt while batting last week. He will miss at least one start. Scherzer later said that the NL should begin using the DH. "Who'd people rather see hit: Big Papi or me? Who would people rather see, a real hitter hitting home runs or a pitcher swinging a wet newspaper?" I'm old school but I'm not a purist. I'm with Max.

" If Bruce Jenner feels he has “always been a woman”, is this a small twisted revenge on all those East German Olympic women’s medal winners?"  --  Janice Hough
"Vancouver came last in a new ranking of the happiest cities in Canada. Initially Edmonton was last, but they jumped to first after the NHL draft lottery."  -- RJ Currie
" The New York Knicks offered free concession food at Fan Appreciation Night. “Signs you’ve had a disappointing season ..."  -- Brad Dickson
"Florida State QB Jameis Winston, who a year ago said he inadvertently walked out of a Publix market with unpaid-for seafood, now says a store employee told him he could take it. Sounds like his audibles could use a little speeding up."  -- Dwight Perry
"The Boston Celtics shuffled their lineup for Game 4 today against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Guess this is the NBA version of re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic."  -- Janice Hough
"There is a Kickstsarter campaign to raise money for a National Bobblehead Hall of Fame. Maybe Pete Rose can get in this one."  -- Brad Dickson
"LeBron’s 10-year-old son drops 40 points on Celtics on ‘Take Your Kids to Work Day."  --


Sunday, April 26, 2015


The Kansas City Royals are developing quite a reputation for themselves, with bench-clearing brawls just about every other game. The latest slug fest took place Thursday against the White Sox in Chicago. In all, seven players received suspensions, 4 from the Royals and 3 from the White Sox. Two KC players, one, Herrera, is already appealing a suspension for a set-to last weekend against the Oakland A's and the other, Yordano Ventura, was fined for throwing behind a batter in that same series. The Royals aren't winning friends but they are winning games. They are a half-game behind the first place Tigers in the AL Central. I'm trying to determine if there is any truth to the rumor that Kansas City is changing their name to the Battle Royals.

The Yanks are currently a half-game out of first in the American League Least behind Tampa Bay. In a sign of the times, perennial weaklings Astros, Cubs and the Mets all have better records. The battle for New York City bragging rites concludes tonight in the Yankee-Mets rubber game. Even thought the teams split the first two games, the NY papers have already awarded the series to the Mets. It the Yanks win, there will be a number of sportswriters who will be sitting down to a large breakfast of crow tomorrow morning.

The Orioles beat the Red Sox three touchdowns to one this afternoon. The final was 18-7 which means Baltimore must have missed three PATs.

The Yankees have a team rule against long hair and facial hair. You weren't supposed to have a mustache either until the 80's when a guy named Don Mattingly decided, "Rules be damned, I'm growing one."  Since Donny Baseball was the best player on the team, if not in all baseball at the time, somehow the rule got changed. Now the current Yankees have decided  to grow them. There are still some who aren't convinced - see A-Rod - but it's catching on. Maybe with Girardi, too, except for one thing, "I thought about it. So we'll see. I have to answer to someone at home." 

Two Washington Nationals got into it on the bench Friday night in Miami, Stephen Strasburg and Steve McCatty.  Ask the players about it later and you get the full Sergeant Schultz response: "It's nothing that he did. It was nothing I did. It was nothing anybody did. I'm just gonna leave it at that," said Strasburg.
Manager Matt Williams apparently didn't even know the two guys were in the dugout. "Nothing that I know of," he said. "No, there was nothing we're aware of."  Of course not.

"In the NBA playoffs, the New Orleans Pelicans were stunned when Golden State came back from a 20-point fourth-quarter deficit to win in OT. This is the worst thing to happen to the Pelicans organization since getting the name Pelicans."  -- Brad Dickson
"Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price unleashed a tirade on a reporter this week that included 77 F-bombs. Oh well, if this baseball thing doesn’t work out, he can always get a job as a screenwriter for Martin Scorsese."  -- TC Chong
"The people who run the Yankees have a perfect right to feel they got defrauded by A. Rodriguez, even though it’s almost a city ordinance now that they’re supposed to let bygones be bygones with this guy."  -- Mike Lupica
"How bad is the Milwaukee Brewers offense? One player was seen seeking hitting advice from Bob Uecker."  -- Bill Littlejohn
"There’s a Tonya Harding / Nancy Kerrigan museum opening in New York City. Tonya says it’s a lead-pipe dream come true."  -- Dwight Perry
"Pete Rose has been invited to participate in the All Star Game festivities in Cincinnati this year. When asked if he was going to accept, he replied “You Bet”."  -- TC Chong
"A new study claims Spain boasts the world’s fastest recreational runners. You would be pretty fast, too, if they let bulls run down your street for a few weeks every year."  -- Jim Barach
"The proposed NFL stadium in Carson, Calif., would celebrate Chargers touchdowns by shooting lightning bolts.So what’s next — the Bills flinging buffalo chips?"  -- Dwight Perry
"The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are apparently paying Josh Hamilton $75 million to go away. And you thought maybe your boss didn’t like YOU?"  -- Janice Hough
"Reds manager Bryan Price dropped 77 F-bombs in a cuss-filled five-minute rant. So many expletives in a short time was surprising — unless you’ve written an alimony cheque"  -- RJ Currie
"A 100-year-old woman in Japan set an age group record in the 1,500-meter backstroke. I’m guessing this happened after she fell off a cruise ship."  -- Brad Dickson



Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Things don't usually get weird until later in the season, or until sportswriters get bored with normal coverage and go looking for off-beat stories. Well, here are some items I've noticed that have shown up already.

## David Ortiz is a whiner. He has decided that he should get all the breaks, all the close calls and be revered by everyone. Ain't gonna happen. He gets upset if he even suspects that a pitcher is throwing inside to him, that umpires are out to get him and woe to anyone who thought his leisurely jaunts around the basepaths took too long. Hitters often complain about balls and strikes but in a manner that is unnoticed by the fans. Now Ortiz is glaring at umps and gesturing wildly when a call goes against him. He hates the checked swing call and finally blew up when umpire Jerry Meals made such a call in Sunday's game against Baltimore. The home plate umpire immediately ejected him and, in the ensuing argument, he bumped the umpire. Bang - automatic one game suspension. Ortiz seems quite unconcerned, "I don't remember doing that," Ortiz said Tuesday. "I'll just appeal it, and go from there." Good luck with that one, David.

## Bernie Williams has officially retired. The Yankees retired him 9 years ago, but Bernie wasn't ready and never actually retired. Now the Yanks are going to retire his number next month and I guess Bernie decided if his number was retired, he should be too.     Unless some team makes him an offer.

## All right, who's in charge here? Scott Boras, super agent to the sports stars has come up with a new angle. He was very upset this spring when the Cubs decided to send his prize player, Kris Bryant to the minors in a transparent move to get the Cubs an extra year of control. Boras railed against this move to no avail and Bryant has since been brought up to the majors. He's currently hitting .444, by the way, so Boras may have had a point. But it wasn't his decision and no front office is going to be happy when Boras tries to tell them how to run their operation. Boras' new tact? He wants a panel formed by the MLB Players Association to handle appeals when a player is sent down. This panel would "decide" if the player is Major League ready and would force the team to keep him in the majors. Teams will love that one. Can someone just make Boras go away? Now? Please?

## Annie-O has added another player to her personal roster. Outfielder Chris Young. The Mets let him go last year and his batting average had hovered around .200 for a couple of years. He has found a new life with the Yankees, hitting over .300 with 7 home runs in just 35 total games with NY. Last night, when both Young and Stephen Drew both homered, Annie-O proudly announced. "Well I'm happy. My two boys both hit one." And then, adding salt to the wound, looked at me and said. "Who are you rooting for?"
As Charlie Brown says, "Tell your statistics to shut up!"

"Iconic Pittsburgh safety and shampoo pitchman,  Troy Polamalu announced his retirement. Yet to be decided — the hair apparent."  -- RJ Currie
"Baseball pariah Pete Rose has a new gig — as a Fox commentator. Can’t wait to hear his take on Boston outfielder Mookie Betts."  -- Dwight Perry
"Question: Who is the only NFL quarterback with more career apologies than touchdown passes? Answer: Johnny Manziel."  -- Greg Cote
     It ain't sports, but...
"Seven members of a family in California escaped a fire in their home when their barking dog woke them. Meanwhile, their cat was roasting marshmallows."  -- Brad Dickson
"What’s more amazing, that Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price reportedly dropped the F-bomb 77 times in a rant against the media, or that someone in the media took the time to count the F-bombs?"  -- Janice Hough
"SI Swimsuit Issue cover model  Hannah Davis 24, has been the girlfriend of 40-year-old ex-Yankee Derek Jeter since early last season. Is it any wonder he wanted to retire?"  -- RJ Currie
"And in romantic news, two rasslin’ fans picked the perfect place to get engaged — at Wrestlemania XXXI. Well, Thelma Lou always said she wanted a big ring."  -- Dwight Perry
"As long as the Yankees are back on Ch. 11, how about “Abbott & Costello” during rain delays? Seriously."  -- Phil Mushnick
"You know the one in sports about how two teams don’t like each other? The Red Sox and the Orioles don’t like each other. And the two teams still have 17 games left this season. So, you know, stay tuned."  -- Mike Lupica

Did I mention that someone should make Scott Boras just go away?


Tuesday, April 21, 2015


## Good field, no hit
A terrific effort by CC Sabathia was wasted yesterday when the Yanks couldn't put any kind of rally together. If it wasn't for Teixeira's homer, if would have been a totally futile effort for the NY offense. So I guess it's fair to say their offense was "offensive." 

## Who was that masked man?
Okay, we're 13 games into the season . Does anyone know the name of the Yankee hitting coach. They have one, honest. Actually, they have two. They must be honorary titles, because, other than A-Rod, I don't see the Yankee lineup striking fear into the hearts of anyone but Joe Girardi. Michael Kay talked yesterday about Didi Gregorius' "loopy" swing. Last year, a mention of a hitters swing would be followed by Michael mentioning hitting coach Kevin Long's marvelous contribution to the hitters. This year, I don't remember him mentioning either of the new ones at all. Just for the record, their names are Jeff Pentland and Alan Cockrell. Remember those names, folks. (I have no idea why.)

## A-rod (again)
A friend asked me the other day why A-Rod was being walked so much. I said because he was the only one hitting, so why pitch to him? You're better off walking him and trying for a double play - and it's working. As Al Leiter likes to tell us over and over, a pitcher should find the batter in the line up that could beat you and pitch around him. Al also mentioned that he usually had 4 or 5 that he pitched around in a line up.
Speaking of hitting - and I use the term loosely - when are these "professional" hitters going to start slapping balls to the opposite field and beat these shifts. I see other teams doing it, yet the Yanks continually hit into the teeth the shift. Teixeira says he can't because it screws up his swing, so other than the occasional home run OVER the shift, he'd rather pull the ball right at the many fielders on the right side.....but his swing looks good doing it.

## And the fielding is good
Both Ellsbury and Gardner made terrific plays in the field last night. Ellsbury gets his well-deserved recognition, but Gardner, while regarded as an excellent fielder always gets a lower rating when left fielders are compared. Any time there is a rating of left fielders in terms of hitting, Gardner is never in the top ten. When you include fielding, he usually slips in at 9th or 10th. Doesn't seem right.

## I don't understand this one
How often do you see a steal of home? I think I've personally seen it only 4 or 5 times. Since about 1950, there are only 3 players who have stolen home 10 or more times. Paul Molitor (10), Rod Carew (17) and Jackie Robinson (19). Altogether, there are 38 players with 10 or more, starting with Ty Cobb, who has 54. 54, can you believe it? Apparently back in the early years, stealing home was a much more common event. Even Babe Ruth has 10 and Lou Gehrig had 15. Can you imagine how long it would take to revive manager Mike Scioscia if Mike Trout attempted to steal home?
With all the scouting and media available, don't you think if a player had a reputation for stealing home, teams would be on the lookout for it and take precautions? Maybe the media coverage wasn't quite that good back in the 40's and 50's, but after stealing home 18 times, wouldn't a team take steps to stop Jackie Robinson from chalking up #19? Geez, after #nine, why didn't they try to prevent #10?  Robinson even stole home in a World Series game. Maybe everyone's just gotten smarter. Yeah, I don't think so either.

"Tim Tebow has formally signed a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles. Let’s hope Tim didn’t take that “City of Brotherly Love” nickname too seriously."  -- Janice Hough
"N.Y. Mets manager Terry Collins called Bartolo Colon an ageless wonder. Hey, it’s not like he could call him a weightless wonder."  -- RJ Currie
"New York Knicks fans are accused of hoarding free food at fan appreciation night. That has to hurt the players’ psyche. “Our fans are just here to steal sausages and popcorn."  -- Brad Dickson
"The New York Knicks promised free food on Fan Appreciation Night. Too little too late: Fans had their fill of the Knicks about 75 games ago."  -- Dwight Perry
"Tough break for the San Jose Earthquakes with one-named midfielder, Innocent, being suspended one game for throwing an elbow. It’s also a whiff for Bay Area headline writers, who missed: ‘Innocent Guilty.’ -- Scott Ostler
"Note to those who laughed at Tom Brady after his ceremonial pitch: Four Super Bowl rings; wife Gisele Bundchen; wife’s 2014 earnings, $47 million. Who’s laughing now?"  -- RJ Currie
"Last week, Gisele Bundchen retired from runway modeling. With her duties as GM of the New England Patriots, there simply isn’t time."   -- Brad Dickson


Saturday, April 18, 2015


A-Rod has returned to baseball and has brought his drama with him. It's always different with him. He says what other people think but wouldn't dare say. He does what other people wouldn't ever do. But when he gets on the field, well, that's when it's most surprising.
In 2009, especially in the post season, he hit like the pitchers were throwing underhand, as opposed to slumping so badly in a later series that Joe Torre had him batting 8th. This spring, I told Annie-O that I believed there was an excellent chance that A-Rod would discover that he just didn't have it and he would retire. That at best, he would end up being a hanger-on, occasionally being the DH and pinch-hitting a lot. Now he looks like not only the A-Rod of old, but the A-Rod of old on a hot streak. He's hitting fast balls up and in, sliders away and change-ups down. But, let's not get ahead of ourselves. It's only 10 games into the season and this could all come crashing down, but still, hitting .280 with 20 homers and 90 RBIs doesn't look all that farfetched any more.
He's 50 hits away from 3000 and needs just 20 RBIs to reach 2000. The only others to reach 2000 RBIs were Babe Ruth and Henry Aaron - oh, and Cap Anson, but he retired in 1897. The Yanks have no intention of honoring any of these milestones, including those career homerun bonuses they're supposed to pay. It will be interesting to see if the fans force that on the club.

## Apparently, having attended the Joe "I know everything" West school of umpiring, Jordan Baker, in his 2nd year of umpiring, can read minds and over-react with the best of them. Yesterday, he ejected pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez of the Orioles for hitting Pablo Sandoval  with a pitch in the shoulder, in retaliation, in Baker's mind, for Sandoval's hard slide into 2nd a couple of innings before. No warning, no dugout-emptying free-for-all, just Baker's mind-reading act. "It looked as if, to Jordan, that the Orioles took exception to his hard slide," crew chief Jerry Meals said to a pool reporter."   It appears that the only one upset was Jordan Baker. Joe West must be so proud.

## A few weeks ago, the cry in Chicago was "Bring rookie Kris Bryant into the majors." The rookie 3rd baseman was the star of spring training  for the Cubs, but GM Theo Epstein said he was going to start the season in Triple A instead of in the majors because, "He needs more seasoning." This set off a firestorm of protests, mostly from Bryant's agent, the irrepressible Scott Boras, who needs no help with firestorms. But down to the minors went Bryant, effectively delaying Boras' next big payday by one year, because this was all about money. Having spent the requisite 12 days in the minors so the Cubs could control him for that extra year, Bryant was called up to the Cubs yesterday. In his first game, Bryant grounded out and struck out 3 times. I suppose we will now hear Boras say the Cubs were rushing him.

## Masahiro Tanaka pitches tonight against Tampa Bay. Tanaka's had two sub-par outings this year so far and he sounds as if he's preparing fans for another one. He said he's "..continuing to build arm strength."  That's not what Yankee fans want to hear.

## Britt McHenry has been suspended from her job at ESPN for one week for berating a female towing company employee when a video of the event was released by LiveLeak. When will these people learn: EVERYONE has a cellphone with video capabilities and they are EVERYWHERE. Bo Raissman of the NY Daily News has decided that it's also a sexist issue. This is an interesting twist:

"Troy Polamalu leaps head & shoulders into retirement."  --
"The Yankees and Red Sox played a 19-inning game. It went on so long, New York fans could barely raise their middle fingers."  -- Alan Ray
"Jameis Winston said “Perception is reality, but perceptions can be false." Anyone else have the perception that Winston skipped logic classes?"  -- RJ Currie
"The San Antonio Spurs are playing so well down the stretch, the NBA may end up classifying Ensure as a PED."  -- Janice Hough
"Dallas Seavey won his second Iditarod in a row. Correction: Dogs belonging to some guy named Dallas Seavey won their second Iditarod in a row while he yelled "Mush!"  -- Brad Dickson
"A golfer suffered puncture wounds to his right calf after a crocodile twice bit him at the Palmer Sea Reef Golf Course in Port Douglas, Australia. The duffer is laying up in a hospital bed. The croc was cited for not replacing his divots."  -- Dwight Perry
"For the first time in years, the San Jose Sharks failed to make the playoffs. Some teams would call that disappointing; the Sharks call it a time-saver."  -- RJ Currie
"There is an added impetus to ban bear hunters in New Hampshire from using chocolate as bait, since the traps caught three depressed women going through a breakup."  Conan O'Brian
"The San Francisco Giants haven’t won at home since they started tearing down Candlestick Park. Time for an exorcism? Or something?"  -- Janice Hough
"While trying to catch a foul ball at a Cardinals-Mets game, a fan spilled beer all over himself. It’s only April, and I'm pretty sure we've already found my "Play of the Year."  -- Brad Dickson
" Are these the same ESPN baseball shot-callers who gave us Joe Morgan, who weekly shared his total recall of things that never happened?"  -- Phil Mushnick
"My favorite part of the postgame press conferences during the NCAA basketball tournament when we get to ask questions to “student-athletes” who are passing through college like it’s the drive-thru at Wendy’s"  -- Mike Lupica



Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Not only has the Yankee win streak stretched to TWO, but they did it by coming back from a 2-run deficit. For the last two years, 2 runs down late in the game has been insurmountable. But this bunch has decided that they've had enough of the sloppy play that has defined the team so far.
I have to admit that I gave up the ghost when Girardi sent Stephen Drew up to pinch-hit for an injured Brett Gardner. I even said to Annie-O that I'd rather see a one-handed Gardner than Drew. "Now give him a chance," she said. "He might surprise you." And surprise me he did. Surprise? I guess so.  I figured getting hit by a pitch was the the Yanks best chance of getting anything out of this, but there it goes - a grand slam. In the words of Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe, "I'm shocked! Shocked!"
Sad note: Stephen Drew is now Annie-O's favorite player.

It's a big story in the media, of course, but baseball - and the media - needs to have the Yanks be either awesome or terrible. Only seven games into the season and they've been both.

Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN. Besides the Yanks 14-run explosion, the highlight of the night was listening to Buster Olney, Tim Kurkjian, John Kruk and Curt Shilling calling each other "idiots." In my opinion, a couple of them were right.

## Barry Bonds has offered his support to Alex Rodriguez in his return to the game. That's like John Dillinger saying "Let's give Baby Face Nelson a break." Bonds can afford to be generous. A-Rod has almost no chance to overcome Bonds' career home run mark of 762. He's over 100 homers behind. It would take about four more productive years to do that and what are THOSE odds?

## Surprises so far:
The Kansas City Royals are undefeated (7-0).
The World Champion San Francisco Giants are in last place (3-4)
This year's favorite to win it all, the Washington Nationals are 2-5 and only the Phillies and Twins have scored fewer runs than the Nats (17).
Nobody understands what the Atlanta Braves did in the off-sesaon, dumping their highest paid (and most talented) players and then signing Nick Markakis for $11 million. The Braves are in first place at 6-1. Somebody had a plan.

I was asked what I thought about the Cubs putting in new scoreboards and bleachers at Wrigley Field. They should have spent the money on new seats, using seats that are actually wide enough to sit it. Unless you're a contortionist or no larger than a 12-year old girl, you're going to be uncomfortable. It may be a legendary park, but it's not my favorite place to visit. In a future posting, I will rate the parks I've visited.

"Meanwhile, the first Monday night baseball game of the season will feature the Yankees vs the Orioles. Guess those three nationally-televised games against the Red Sox didn’t give the Bronx Bombers enough exposure?"  -- Janice Hough 
"On the Winnipeg Jets playoff-clinching road trip, Ondrej Pavelec gave up no goals in regulation or O.T. — three outings, 83 straight rejections. It reminded me of the week I tried speed dating."  -- RJ Currie
"Mitt Romney will square off against Evander Holyfield in a charity boxing match in Salt Lake City next month. As if they need any added incentive, winner gets first shot at Justin Bieber."  -- Dwight Perry
"The Detroit Red Wings have only eight fighting penalties this season. The old Flyers teams used to have that many in a game."  -- Torben Rolfsen
"NBA refs failed to whistle Cavs center Kendrick Perkins for a nine-step travel: “I have gone for runs that were shorter."  -- Alex Kaseberg
"A-Rod?  The road crowds will be hostile, but they’ve always been hostile, even before Biogenesis, and as his old friend Reggie Jackson once said: "Fans don’t boo nobodies."  -- Bill Madden
"The media is obsessed with Tiger Woods. If there were a 5,000-car pileup, the breaking news would be: Tiger Woods wasn’t in it — and escaped unhurt."  -- Phil Mushnick
"John Joe Nevin, Ireland’s Olympic silver boxing medalist, has been barred from every pub in Westmeath County after a brawl outside a bar last week, The Irish Times reported. Longtime locals are calling it the best donnybrook they’ve witnessed in those parts since John Wayne in "The Quiet Man."  -- Dwight Perry
"I just got back from a week of vacation. The way my NCAA Tournament bracket turned out I had no choice but to leave town."  -- Brad Dickson



Saturday, April 11, 2015


Baseball's new Commissioner, Rob Manfred, is making an effort to speed up the games. The changes that he has implemented will hopefully improve the pace of the games and reduce the overall length. Changes like instituting a pitch clock, shortening the break between innings and keeping batters in the box. This has to help. The biggest perpetrators of long games has always been the Yankees/Red Sox games, so how did these changes affect the first NY-Bos game of the season?
A game lasting nineteen innings and six hours and forty-nine minutes. Twice during the extrra innings of this marathon contest, the Bosox inadvertently scored a run, forcing the Yanks to scratch out one of their own in the home half. Finally, Boston scored in the top of the 19th and the Yanks were unable to answer. Do you think the teams were sending Manfred a message?  "Here's your pitch clock, Rob."
The Series continues today at 1:05 PM. It is unknown if the players were allowed to leave the stadium after the game.

Game notes: 
## A total of 42 players were used, 21 for each side.
## The Yanks left 13 men on base, Boston, 20.
## The four umpires worked the whole game. In spite of all the practice, home plate umpire, Marty Foster, did NOT improve the whole game. This guy had a strike zone that wavered more than R.A. Dickey's knuckleball. I have always maintained that most of the umpires' mistakes occur when calling the outside pitch, mostly because of their positioning on the inside part of the plate. Foster wasn't even close calling the inside pitch.
## With all the talk about whether or not the Yanks improved their hitting, pitching or defense, they seemed to have forgotten one thing: base running. NY shortstop Gregorious seems to have no base running sense at all. I think the Yanks are trying to set a MLB rcord for getting the most guys picked off in a season. Two more bit the dust last night. I think that's four so far.
## While Pablo Sandoval and Mookie Betts (love that name) each had four hits, Mike Napoli went 0-8 with 4 strikeouts.
## A couple of fans sitting in one of the upper tiers behind home plate, dropped dollar bills on the fans sitting in the first few rows of the stands. The cost of those seats often reach 4 figures. The two men said they wanted to see if the fans would scramble to retrieve the money. The estimated total dropped was about $20, so they probably weren't helping defray the cost any. One fan was heard to say,"Let me know when they start dropping 20's. I might get involved then.

"Big news at the Masters. Tiger Woods will make the cut! (Oh, yeah, and some guy broke the 36 hole course record. Details, details….)"  -- Janice Hough
"Top QB prospect Jameis Winston says he’s really a good guy off the field. Anyone want to crab about that?"  -- RJ Currie
" The best thing about the NCAA men’s tournament being almost over: Americans can stop wasting three hours per day searching for something called TruTV."  -- Brad Dickson

"Cubs fans had to pee into cups as the restrooms at Wrigley Field were out of order on Opening Day. For those that drank more than a couple of beers, they needed to use a relief pitcher."  -- TC Chong
"The NHL fined Devils center Scott Gomez $1,478.49 for throwing an elbow that earned him a five-minute major and a game misconduct. $1,478, OK. But 49 cents? That’s what you call finishing a check."  -- Dwight Perry
"Marlins pitcher Mat Latos, to The Miami Herald, when asked about his health after giving up seven runs in two-thirds of an inning: “Bruised ego. Everything else feels good."  -- From Sideline Chatter
"A name suggestion for the pedestrian overpass to the hapless Browns’ stadium: “Bridge over the River Cry."  -- Bill Litzer
"There were no bids on an autographed Jay Cutler football at a Chicago charity auction. Actually there were three bids, but they were picked off by a rival bidder."  -- RJ Currie
"Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kendrick Perkins had a 9-step travel that the referees did not call. 9-steps?! “Amateur” sniffed Michael Jordan."  -- Janice Hough
"Troy Polamalu has retired. His final message to Steeler Nation: “I’m outta hair."  -- Marc Ragovin
"Russian President Vladimir Putin recently surfaced after disappearing for 11 days. Turns out all that time he was sitting courtside at NIT games."  -- Brad Dickson
"Baseball tradition: What makes me laugh? Stories that try to draw significance from who is named the starting pitcher for Opening Day. It’s one of 162, isn’t it?"  -- Bob Molinaro



Thursday, April 09, 2015


The games are for real now and all the posturing is over. It's time to go out and show your stuff. Players are striving to prove to everyone that they can win while sportswriters have started to prepare the reasons why their predictions failed. That last thing is the funniest. these word pundits know all the excuses:
# "If it wasn't for the injuries..."
# "The players failed to perform up to their capabilities"
# "So & so got old"
Once, I'd like to hear, "I guess I don't know what I'm talking about."

Obviously, there isn't enough to go on yet, but if you watch closely enough, you can see some indication of problems. I follow the Yanks and this is what I see.

The pitching is going to be good, but the hitting...not so much. In two games, the Yanks have produced 10 hits and 5 runs to get them to a 1-1 record. They didn't do anything in the first game, a Brett Gardner homer notwithstanding. The second game, however, broke out with 7 hits and 4 runs. Okay, it was just enough to win, but look at how those runs scored. One on a sac fly, one on a wild pitch, one on a hits batsman and the last on a bouncer back to the mound that the pitcher knocked out of the reach of the shortstop. Vaunted offense, indeed. Some balls were hit pretty hard but resulted in nothing because of a heavy wind and some fleet fielders.
The NY defense was expected to be much better and that's been a disappointment, too. Guys will make errors, but I'm unhappy with the play of Chase Headly, who hasn't looked like a Gold Glove candidate yet.
As Girardi keeps saying, "Let's see how it goes."

In the last post (which seems like a long time ago), I wrote about dunking in basketball. A nice alley-oop play  is always impressive, but the rest doesn't do much for me. I can't think of any solutions other than raising the basket, but that's much too outrageous. But, the Sportscurmedgeon has some really good suggestions. Here's his take on the subject:
" 1) Devalue the dunk. Make a dunk worth only 1 point.
  2) Any player grasping the rim for any reason gets an automatic technical foul.
Players do not learn fundamentals the way they used to for whatever reasons exist in the high school and AAU levels of the sport. Players need to learn a broader spectrum of offensive skills than dunking and “alley-ooping”. If/when they do, scoring will increase and by Geno Auriemma’s definition the game will be lots more fun to watch."
I think I like this guy. Can we add one more? 3) Any ESPN anchor who includes a dunk in the Top Ten Plays, is automatically suspended for two days.
Now I'm happy.

" It is reported that Justin Bieber will walk out with Floyd Mayweather Jr. at the May 2 fight. If Manny Pacquiao is allowed to punch Bieber before the bell, I can guarantee a pay-per-view sales record."  -- Brad Dickson
"The Philadelphia Phillies are trotting out some gut-busting ballpark food of their own. The Wayback Burgers Triple Triple features nine patties, nine slices of cheese and 2,200 calories — all within one bun. The Milwaukee Brewers, not to be outdone, are reportedly concocting the Kaminsky Dog. It’s a 7-foot frank."  -- Dwight Perry
"Apr 1 marked the day that temporary foreign workers have to apply for permanent residence or leave Canada. This is different from the US where people from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Venezuela can stay as long as they want, as long as they bat over .200, or have a descent ERA."  -- TC Chong
"Arnold Schwarzenegger, the ex-Mr. Universe and former California governor, got stopped by police in Australia for riding a bike without a helmet. If he got a concussion, how would you know?”  -- Seth Meyers
"Sure-fire sign that your team’s star pitcher arrived at spring training grossly overweight: He just underwent Papa John surgery."  -- Dwight Perry
"The sport of curling is being impacted by “dwindling attendance,” which I believe is 100 percent due to, uh, well, curling."  -- Brad Dickson
"New York Knicks owner James Dolan just said in an interview “You got to believe, baby! I believe, I believe!” And even Cubs fans are saying “Are you bleeping nuts?"  -- Janice Hough
"The NFL handed Cleveland GM Ray Farmer a four-game suspension for sending texts to sideline personnel during games. Banned from watching the Browns play? You call that punishment?"  -- Dwight Perry
" Twins pitcher Ervin Santana receiver an 80-game PED suspension. Teammates suspected something at spring training: It was his 95 mph changeup"  -- Alan Ray
"Kentucky coach John Calipari says he expects “five to seven players” to declare for the NBA draft.  It’s a scary choice for these young men. But since returnees must be academically eligible, they’ll have to figure out how to find the classrooms."  -- Janice Hough
"Happy 87th birthday Gordie Howe, who is reportedly doing well just four months after a nearly fatal stroke. To celebrate, he threw an elbow at his neurologist."  -- RJ Currie


Wednesday, April 01, 2015


...and don't be looking here for any answers.

40 - 0 ???
The biggest story in the NCAA semi-finals this weekend is whether or not Kentucky will go undefeated. Critics point to a couple of tough games the Wildcats experienced in the last couple of weeks, especially the rough time Notre Dame gave them. "It proves they're vulnerable," the nay-sayers think. Proponents of the 40-0 say the same game proves they have what it takes. Which gets us nowhere.
Kentucky has what it takes to go all the way: rebounders, defenders, shooters and depth - especially depth. But they also have one other thing that's needed and that's LUCK. You can't keep saying they find a way to win. Sometime the opponent finds a way to lose, whether it's panicking at the end, suffering a critical turnover or a bad coaching decision. So Kentucky could lose and the best chance of that is against Wisconsin, which matches up better with Kentucky than Duke or Michigan St.

I only caught the end of this story, but a player had a Technical Foul called on him for hanging on the rim after a dunk. Players do this all the time and it is illegal, keep from injuring another player or to facilitate a clean landing for the person dunking. Dunking in traffic could be dangerous but a lot of times, hanging on the rim isn't really necessary. It's done only to showboat. This player was all alone around the basket and wasn't on the run yet he still swung from the rim. The foul call was correct in spite of the announcers and experts saying it was a bad call. Dunks are enjoyable, in my opinion, but ESPN treats them as if they are the whole reason they play the game. Sometimes dunks show up as 60% or their Top-Ten plays. Okay, so the players are tall and can jump. Why is that such a great thing? It's just genetics. You might as well show pictures of their parents instead. They were the ones who were really responsible.

There are a lot of question marks regarding the Yankee pitching staff this year. Potentially, they are the best in the AL, but we could also be watching a lot of rookies filling in. Evaluators say the staff came through spring training intact and ready to go. I'm not so sure. Tanaka hasn't blown out his elbow but he hasn't blown away the hitters either. Oh, he gets outs, but his fastball is in the 89 - 91 MPH range and without a lot of movement. Bettances is the same way: Last year's 98 - 100 MPH fastball is hovering at 93 - 95. Sabathia claims he has no pain in his knee but the hitters aren't in any pain either. They'll all win but they won't scare anybody.

Not me. Rose bet on games, including games the team he was managing was playing in. I'm not an advocate of players using steroids either, but I think the gambling is a bigger, more dangerous violation.

The Atlanta Falcons have been penalized for pumping artificial sound into their games. Just another indication of how far teams will go to get an edge. They were fined a whopping $350,000, which I assume a secretary simply paid out of petty cash. They also lost a fifth-round draft pick, which is okay because they didn't really need another 6th string punt returner. Ironically, the Falcon's president, Rich McKay, was suspended from the league's competition committee for three months. A hollow gesture for sure, since most of the committee's work was already done.

ESPN has "upgraded" their site so it's more...what? I don't know since I will have to learn how to negotiate through it all over again. I'm retired so I have the time, which is good since I'm also old and don't learn so fast anymore.

"Kentucky recruit says he’s excited to be the first in his family to go to one year of college.”  --
"Harvard players’ trash-talking is not up to NCAA tournament standards. 'Your matriarch’s inability to calculate Pi is mortifying’ will not cut it."  -- Alex Kaseberg
"The Wire apartment building in Omaha, Neb., has been equipped with a 136-foot vertical tube that uses rising warm air to turn a turbine and generate electricity. But why stop there? Hire Dickie V. to talk into that tube, and you could light up the whole city."  -- Dwight Perry
"Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory tested positive for marijuana at the NFL Combine. His agent said Gregory’s response was that he wanted to be drafted high."  -- TC Chong
" Maria Sharapova suffered an upset loss in the second round of the Miami Open. I’ll go out on a limb and say Sharapova didn’t go quietly."  -- RJ Currie
"I hate the dead-arm period of spring training, I can hardly lift my beer."  -- Scott Ostler
" In The World-Herald bracket contest, I’m currently losing to Brunhilda, our spring semester intern from Norway, and the company librarian who thinks this has something to do with slow-pitch softball."  -- Brad Dickson
"Kentucky 78; West Virginia 39. Ashley Judd was so excited, she set up a kissing booth courtside after the game."  -- TC Chong
"Ottawa Senators fans threw McDonald’s hamburgers onto the ice in honor of Andrew “Hamburglar” Hammond’s heroics in goal. Just be glad the guy’s nickname isn’t, say, The Hammer."  -- Dwight Perry
"The average salary this year in Major League Baseball will top $4.25 million. You know what that means. Beer prices are going up."  -- Janice Hough
"In Hartsville, South Carolina, a man built a golf cart that can go 118 mph. I believe that breaks the old speed record for golf carts by 117.5 mph."  -- Brad Dickson