Thursday, December 22, 2016

AROUND THE SPORTS WORLD

There are things that happen in sports that I just don't understand.


What? And get hurt?
Stanford Cardinal football star Christian McCaffrey has announced he will not play in the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, on Dec. 30th against North Carolina. But he has a good reason: he wants to use the time to prepare for the NFL draft. Apparently the money is more important that exercising his loyalty to the school and the team. He's on a scholarship so Stanford has been paying for his education, room and board for the past 3 and a half years. But that means nothing when he's preparing to amass his personal fortune in the NFL. If I were Stanford, I would rescind his scholarship and tell him to immediately pay for his last semester, move out of the football dorm and turn in his meal ticket. If he hasn't gotten his grades yet, hold them until he either pays for next semester or plays in the game. Sorry McCaffrey, but this isn't the "Christian" thing to do.

What's in a name? 
The NY Yankees minor league team in Staten Island held a contest to ask their fans to come up with a new name for the team.  Some of the suggestions were the S.I. Heroes, the Bridge Trolls, the Rock Pigeons and, my personal favorite, the Pizza Rats. These names would be able to compete with the nicknames of some of the other teams in the NY-Penn League, like the Crosscutters, the Scrappers, the Monsters, and the ever-popular Muckdogs. In a rare moment of sanity, team officials decided to to keep the original name - The Staten Island Yankees.

What a relief.
New Orleans Drew Brees, who is arguably one of the top three quarterbacks in the NFC, was not chosen for the Pro-Bowl game. At least he won't have to come up with some lame excuse for not playing in the game. Besides, they aren't even playing in Hawaii this year. The game is in Florida and what fun is that? They should just drop the game anyway. The only way you can tell it's football is because they wear the uniforms.

He did it again.
Duke University's petulant basketball player, Grayson Allen, is at it once more. Last year he was censured for tripping an opposing player during the game and now, he's repeated the action against a player from ELON. He was given a technical and sent to the bench where he proceeded to throw a tantrum. How long will Coach K put up with this nonsense? 

Something for nothing?
The Boston Red Sox have traded long time pitcher  Clay Buchholz to the Philadelphia Phillies for a minor leaguer who has a chance to become a backup utility player...sometime. Maybe. This was salary dump, pure and simple.  Buchholz has never lived up to his promise, having one good year in his ten years with Boston. Boston GM Dombrowski, going against the baseball standard of never having enough pitching, said that having seven pitchers vying for five spots was too many. He must be thrilled that he found some suck...I mean team, to take him on. I wonder if Philly could use a center fielder? The Yankees have an extra one.

 It ain't sports, but...
A bus driver in Illinois has sued McDonalds over the pricing of their Extra-Value Meals, stating the price of $5.90 was $.41 more than if he purchased the the 2 cheeseburgers, medium fries and medium drink separately. Wouldn't you think someone in that huge organization might have sat down and said, "Hey! You know what? If You just buy..." But no, they didn't. Whatever financial genius that was responsible for this has a future as the General Manager of a baseball team.

I have nothing to add.
Skip Bayless was on FB live when he used his own official page to comment “Skip you are the man!!! Love the new show on FS1!!!”

Good bye, Craig.
The long time TNT sportscaster has died after a two year fight with leukemia. He will be remembered for his friendly and humorous personality, his sports acumen as well as his outrageous outfits.  

 Image result for craig sager's outfitsImage result for craig sager's outfits
  
His courtside interviews were a joy to behold. God bless you, Craig. We will miss you.

***THEY SAID IT***
"Fire crews were called to the Palace of Auburn Hills this morning. Two-alarm blaze, unknown origin. Well, something’s was on fire and it’s sure not the Pistons."  -- Janice Hough
"Anyone else secretly hoping Jose Bautista gets shipped to Boston? Only Tom Brady could deflate that ego."  -- RJ Currie
"Six years ago, Rus­sia opened the melted-down Chernobyl nuclear plant to curiosity seekers. Speaking of which, the 49ers are also offering tours to the public."  -- Dwight Perry
"The Baylor women’s basketball team defeated Winthrop by 108 points, 140-32. Unfortunately, Baylor was favored by 109 points, so the team didn’t cover."  -- Brad Dickson
"The Browns will lose one home game next year to play an NFL game in England. At first the team protested, but Cleveland fans insisted."  -- RJ Currie
" Cheerleading may become an Olympic sport. When pushing an object down ice with a broom is already an Olympic sport, the bar is not set terribly high here."  -- Brad Dickson

CP-

Saturday, December 17, 2016

GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS

** I wrote back in October that I thought the World Series managers were over-using their closers, particularly Terry Francona. While some writers applauded the innovative use of the bullpen, others felt the same as me. Aroldis Chapman just came out and said that he felt that Joe Maddon in situations that didn't require using a closer, such as starting the 9th inning with a 7-run lead in game 6. Chapman said he went into game 7 with a tired arm which could have cost the Cubs dearly. Maddon said he talked to Chapman every time before he used him and asked him if he minded pitching multiple innings and he said he was fine with that. Come on, Joe. What's do you expect him to say? "I'm the closer. I only pitch in the ninth inning?" However, they got to the W. S. so you might as well ride the horse that carried you there and let next year take care of itself. Or you do what the cubs did: let him go to another team.


** During the silly season, teams try to fill the holes in their lineup or their pitching staff through the use of trades or signing free agents. Who they try to acquire depends on a lot of factors. Can he play defense, can he run, how long a deal is he looking for, is a draft pick involved, or - the big one- how much money is he going to cost us? But here are two I have never heard before. "We're not interested in player X. Our fans hate him." The other - "Our players don't want him on the team." Interestingly, they're talking about the same guy - Jose Bautista. Baltimore fans are upset about the way Joey Bats flips his bat after hitting a home run. Texas Ranger players hate him so much, their shortstop punched him in the face and knocked him down around 2nd base during a game. Somebody's not playing well with others.

** Part of the new labor agreement for MLB sets definite starting times for getaway games. They will also regulate starting times for games if a team played a night game in a different city the day before. This is good thing. Obviously, weekday afternoon games draw significantly fewer fans than night games, so home teams are reluctant to schedule an early game especially against a "premium" opponent, such as NY/Boston. There have been times when this has happened, sometimes,it appears, just out of spite. Looks like front offices don't play well with others, either.

** In spite of his repeated assertion that he is retired, speculations continue that David Ortiz will return for one more year. He had a great year, not just for a retiring player, but a great year for anyone. He continues to say that he can't handle the pain in his feet and he dislikes all the traveling, but if he did come back, no one would mind - except me and all the other Yankee fans.

** For the first time, 6 teams will be paying a luxury tax this year.
Dodgers  $31.8 million
Yankees  $27.4 million
Red Sox  $4.5 million
Tigers      $4.0 million
Giants      $3.4 million
Cubs        $2.96 million
That's a total of $74 million which the 24 team owners will line their pockets with.

** The Minnesota Golden Gophers have ended their threatened boycott of the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 27th against Washington St. The team was protesting the suspension of 10 players because  of an alleged sexual assault accusation. They reversed their threat when the school's Board of Regents assured the team that the suspended players would get a fair hearing.

**Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus has guaranteed that his team will win their next game against the 0-13 Cleveland Browns. Really went out on a limb there, eh Marcell?

** The real bad news comes out of Seattle where it appears that Dwight Perry's column, Sideline Chatter, will be eliminated by the powers that be. Dwight's sense of humor was a continuing delight to his readers for 17 years. Unless something changes we will lose a very entertaining column as of January 1st.

***THEY SAID IT*** 
"Temperatures at Soldier Field for the Green Bay-Chicago game this Sunday are expected to be at or near 0 degrees Fahrenheit at kickoff. Or as Packers fans and players say “positively balmy."  -- Janice Hough
"Tickets for the Buffalo vs Cleveland game are going for as low as $10. Some fans are saying that if you threw in a hot dog and a beer along with the $10, they might be interested."  -- TC Chong
"How about those lurid green Seattle uniforms on Thursday Night Football? At any given time, it looked like 11 grinches stealing the Rams' Christmas."  -- RJ Currie
"College football bowl season is about to begin. I’m probably most looking forward to the Boise State Broncos playing the Baylor Bears in the inaugural Alliteration Bowl."  -- Brad Dickson
"Major League Baseball announced a crackdown on rookie hazings. Fortunately for Minnesota, being forced to dress in a Twins uniform isn’t included in the ban."  -- Dwight Perry

"Lions CB Darius Slay, on the Pro Bowl being in Orlando instead of Hawaii “It’s really pointless.” Uh, has the Pro Bowl ever been anything but?"  -- Janice Hough
"Ronda Rousey has reportedly said the holiday season isn't all that jolly for her. Must be hard at Christmas to forget being decked by blows of Holly."  -- RJ Curry
" Old joke rehashed: One poor Bills fans left his pair of tickets on the dash and forgot to lock his car. He came running back and…. too late, there were now 4 tickets on the dash."  -- Tony Chong

CP-





Wednesday, December 14, 2016

IS THE SILLY SEASON OVER?

Probably is, as far as monster trades of free-agent signings go. The big names that are left are being ignored mostly because the players want A) Too much money, B) too long a contract or C) it will cost the team that signs them a draft pick.
The new contract calls for a 90%+ luxury tax when a teams payroll reaches a certain level. Okay that level is so high that there's only four teams that even consider spending that much on player salaries: Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers and the Cubs. It's also a fact that teams are becoming wary of long term deals because they have seen the folly of paying a fading former super-star $20+ million for someone whose production is a quarter of what it was in his prime. Teams are now hoarding draft picks like they're gold. Not because the draft picks are much better players but because they're cheaper.

**Since there seems to be no big baseball-related news coming, sports writers are scrambling for something to write about. Today, there was a headline on ESPN that Derek Jeter and CC Sabathia attended a Golden State Warriors  game. No mention of any snacks but maybe they're saving that tidbit for tomorrow's flash.
There is a scented candle being sold that smells like KFC fried chicken. The Red Sox have already ordered a years supply.

**Pablo Sandoval has shown up for a workout looking slimmer than he has in years. He claims he spent last season on the DL examining his past behavior and dedicating himself to putting all his efforts into becoming a better person and ballplayer. As the old saying goes, after the last two years, the only way is up.

**Interesting article about the inner workings of teams in putting together trades or signing free agents. Owners are greatly involved with these decisions, but they look at things differently than the "baseball people." Besides determining the budget, they often go with their gut feelings. They'll push to sign a guy or not sign him just because they like/dislike him. One GM with only a few years' experience summed it up best: "In the end, we all work for eccentric billionaires"

College Bowl Games
The plethora of bowl games begin this weekend with five games on Saturday. Brace yourself because There are 38 games in 17 days, plus the final game on January 9th.
**There are so many that the organizers have run out of names, even with all the sponsors. There are 10 bowls that are simply named for the location of the game.
The Birmingham Bowl in Birmingham
The Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton
The Las Vegas Bowl in...well, you get the idea.
For the record, add The Texas, The Heart of Dallas, The St. Pete, The Bahamas, The Miami Beach, The New Orleans and The New Mexico
**Then the sponsors take over. It's one thing to insert the sponsors name into the Bowl name, such as The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl or The Auto Zone Liberty Bowl. But now we also get those bowl games where the sponsor doesn't even bother with a bowl name, such as The Foster Farms, The Quick Lane and The Dollar General. There are 9 of those. They don't even give you a hint as to where they are being played. You know that ESPN will track them down, though. By the way, all but six of all the bowl games are being televised on ESPN.
**One of my favorites is played in Boise, Idaho, a state well-know for it's potatoes. If  you didn't know any of that, the name will reveal all: The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
**You would expect teams like Alabama (13-0), Western Michigan (13-0) or Washington (12-1)  to make to a bowl game, but Hawaii (6-7) or North Texas And Miss. St, both 5-7?  Well, somebody has got to play in the Bahamas Bowl. You can't expect Old Dominion to play a scrimmage, even the score might seem like that on Dec. 24th.
**If you live in the East and you want to watch the Boise St. Broncos clean up on the Baylor Bears, better get out the coffee because that game probably won't end until well after 1:00 am EST. On the other hand, if my sister-in-law, Pauline in Ventura, Ca, has put some money on Miami (Ohio), she'll have to have an early breakfast if she wants to protect her investment. That game starts at 8:00 am PST.
** Finally, I'll be rooting big time for my favorite school, the 9-3 Appalachian State Mountaineers against Toledo in the Camelia Bowl. Hurray for the Black & Gold!

***THEY SAID IT***
"CNBC reports Cirque du Soleil wants to hire about 450 new performers. This may include over 75 tightrope walkers, although that’s still up in the air."  -- RJ Currie
"Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman, angry at the NFL’s scheduling of Thursday night games, referred to them as a “Poopfest.” Would that be the title of a potential 49ers Browns game?"  -- Janice Hough
" Husker coaches will receive about $420,000 in bonuses for going to a bowl. And the players who do the actual hitting, running and tackling will be getting, let me check ... $0.00."  -- Brad Dickson
"Panthers QB Cam Newton was benched for not wearing a tie for team travel. Word is he tried jumper cables around his neck, but the coach said, “Don’t start anything.”  -- RJ Currie
"Remember the NY Jets glory days when they featured “The New York Sack Exchange”? (Gastneau, Klecko, Salaam & Lyons) How sad is it when the once proud franchise trotted out The New York Suck Exchange on National TV on Monday night."  -- TC Chong
"After their loss today to Atlanta,  Los Angeles RB Todd Gurley said his team was running what “looked like a middle school offense”   – Did the Rams steal the 49ers playbook?"  -- Janice Hough
"Diehard Cleveland fan Chris McNeil is making plans for a perfect season parade if the Browns finish 0-16. In keeping with the theme, all the floats will feature square tires."  -- Dwight Perry
"The Orioles claim they’re not interested in Jose Bautista because Baltimore fans "don’t like him.”
 What's not to like? Okay, just kidding."  -- RJ Currie
"Cam Newton was held out for one play because of a dress code violation. One play? In college football, this is called “the SEC suspension.”  -- Brad Dickson

CP-











Tuesday, December 06, 2016

AND THE SILLY SEASON CONTINUES

**I don't have to wonder about Rich Hill anymore. The Dodgers signed him yesterday. My sister-in-law had the only reason that made any sense why the high interest in Hill: "He's so cute." It probably won't impress Major League hitters the way a sharp slider would, but who knows.

**The Yanks signed Matt Holliday to be their DH. He's not the hitter that Encarnacion is, but Edwin wanted a four-year contract and Holliday is on a one-year deal. Cheaper, too. Four teams were looking seriously for a DH but EE may have priced himself out of top consideration.

BREAKING NEWS
The Boston Red Sox have acquired LHP Chris Sale from the White Sox for four prospects, two of whom are considered top-flight. This makes me unhappy.

**There were 191 free agents at the end of the season and only 20 have signed so far.With teams looking more and more at trades rather than free agents, there may be a lot of people vying for jobs as a Walmart greeter this spring.

**Aroldis Chapman is looking for a 6-year deal and nobody is biting. He didn't look all that over-powering in the World Series but that may be because he was over used. He is supposedly looking for $100 million but Chapman says that's not true.
If you want scary numbers, Bryce Harper, 24 years old, who will be a free agent next year is thinking 10 Years and $400 million. $40 million for a 35-year old slugger? Don't forget, George Steinbrenner isn't around anymore.

**Speaking of scary numbers, the average age of the Yanks current 40-man roster is 27! The only one older that 33 is Sabathia, who is 36. The Yanks are shopping Chase Headley pretty hard. 

**The Yanks planned to retire Derek Jeter's uniform #2 in May next year. What took them so long?

**What's with all the uniform changes? There used to be continuity in uniforms. See the uniform and you immediately know who was playing. Not any more. Teams play in different colors, in camouflage, even in different styles. They're not even satisfied with just a different color, they make the colors neon. The Cleveland Cavaliers have FIVE different uniforms they use. This is getting silly.

**The Syracuse Orange folded badly last night against a Connecticut team they should have beaten easily. Is it because they aren't used to working together or are they too young? Boeheim has some coaching to do.

Brad Dickson's Final Bottom Ten 
 

6. Massachusetts (2-10)
PAT holder named team MVP.

5. Virginia (2-10)
The postseason awards banquet is at a drive-thru.

And the winner is:
1. Fresno State (1-11)
The Bulldogs claim the 2016 Bottom 10 mythical championship, which probably won’t impress too many visiting recruits. The team lost its final two games by a combined three points, giving fans hope the program can right itself sometime in the next 15 to 20 years.

I will have my usual commentary on the College Bowl lineup next time.

***THEY SAID IT***
"So the  College Football Playoff is set with supposed top 4 college teams in US and Cleveland Browns are ignored again."  -- Janice Hough
"Arizona QB Brandon Dawkins bowled over Miss Arizona,  Chelsea Meyers who was on the sidelines. My wife said Myers was beautiful, but to me she looked run down."  -- RJ Currie
"The most feared kicker in sports is:  a) Barcelona’s Lionel Messi  b) the Ravens’ Justin Tucker  c) the Warriors’ Draymond Green."  -- Dwight Perry

"The Victoria’s Secret fashion show aired Monday night. Either that, or all those people wearing wings and feathers were demonstrating the new Oregon football alternate jerseys."  -- Brad Dickson
"Colin Kaepernick apparently has decided to become a free agent after the season. Wow. He should be about as sought after as SF 49ers season tickets."  -- Janice Hough
" So this year it’s the “Motel 6 Cactus Bowl,” (NCAA football game) on Dec. 27 in Phoenix. The winners all get a free night at a Motel 6, and the losers get two nights."  -- Bill Littlejohn
"Chip Kelly starting to worry 49ers won’t fire him in time to take the Oregon job.”  -- SportsPickle.com
"Despite rumours to the contrary, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer needed emergency eye surgery because his retina detached, not because Minnesota’s offence is an eyesore."  -- RJ Currie
"Some NBA stars took the mannequin challenge. Of course, this is normally called “Playing defense in the All-Star game.”   -- Brad Dickson




CP-
   

Sunday, December 04, 2016

THERE ARE OTHER SPORTS, YOU KNOW.

I'll break into this slowly.

**According to a headline on ESPN, the Yankees are "well positioned" to sign Edwin Encarnacion. What does that mean? Cashman's at the front of the line with a contract in hand?  Hal Steinbrenner has already signed a blank check? The Yanks have EE hidden in a closet somewhere?  Carlos Beltran has signed with the Astros so that leaves Encarnacion as the right-handed, power hitting slugger the Yanks were looking for.
I still don't understand the great interest in Rich Hill. What's so impressive? Certainly not his career stats.

**Except for a spurt late in the 2nd half, the Syracuse Orange dominated North Florida at the Dome last night. It shows you that the 'Cuse has the talent to overpower people.  Unless the other team has the nerve to play defense. I never saw a college team take so many 35+ foot jump shots. Is that the Stephen Curry influence? They may have shot like him but they didn't score like him - 28% on 3-pt. shots.

**The NY Giants have found ways to sneak by a lot of teams so far this year. That may come to end today against a Pittsburgh team that doesn't succumb to pressure by making foolish mistakes. The game is in Pittsburgh and the Steelers are 5-point favorites.
Buffalo is out in Oakland playing in "The Toilet Bowl" the Raiders call a stadium. The Bills are 3 point underdogs, I think mostly because of the odor.
Good news for the Cleveland fans, the Browns are 2 point favorites during their bye week.

**Last night we had to suffer thru a game with Roosevelt Bouie during the SU - N. Florida game. He may be a nice guy and may understand the game, but he couldn't come close to relating it to us. He stumbled, mumbled and generally confused us with any analysis he tried to impart. At first it was irritating and then amusing and finally sad. He's not ready for television.

***THEY SAID IT***
"During the press conference following Ohio State’s double-overtime win over Michigan, Urban Meyer’s wife called. Don’t blame her. She probably hadn’t talked to him since before the season started."  -- Brad Dickson
"You may have heard the Atlanta Braves signed pitchers Bartolo Colon, 43, and 42-year old RA Dicky. However, that’s old news."  -- RJ Currie
"Fired Oregon coach Mark Helfrich says he hoped Chip Kelly would be hired as the new Ducks football coach. “Ditto” said many SF 49ers fans."  -- Janice Hough
"This week, The Seahawks are favored over Carolina by 7, which is more points than they scored their entire last game."  -- TC Chong
"Patriots outfit Gronk with protective cone collar to prevent him from licking his incision wound."  -- SportsPickle.com
"College bowl games this year include the Dollar General Bowl. While the game may be good, I’m pretty sure the gift bag is going to stink."  -- Brad Dickson
"A nine-year-old showed cat-like reflexes by catching his baby brother who had fallen off a table. Metro UK called him a hero; the Cleveland Browns called him with a contract."  -- RJ Currie
"The most feared kicker in sports is: a) Barcelona’s Lionel Messi b) the Ravens’ Justin Tucker
c) the Warriors’ Draymond Green"  -- Dwight Perry
"The 1-10 SF 49ers this Sunday take on the 2-9 Chicago Bears. The game promises to be almost as riveting as the Cleveland Browns vs. bye week."  -- Janice Hough
[From The Sports Reporters]
"The battle isn't always to the strongest and the race isn't always to the swiftest, but...that's the way to bet."  -- Damon Runyon

CP-







Thursday, December 01, 2016

DID SOMEBODY JUST WAKE UP?

I mean besides me.
Sorry for the long delay, but health issues made it hard for me to sit at my computer for more than 5 minutes at a time. Hopefully, I'm on the mend and can resume blogging on a regular basis very soon.

As for the other wake-up call:
The MLB Players association and the owners have come to a new agreement and I love one of the things that changed. The All-Star game is again just an exhibition. It will have no bearing on the home field advantage in the World Series. The owners didn't develop their personal fortunes by being slow on the uptake, yet they let this bit of lunacy continue for 14 long years. Now, the home field advantage will go to the pennant winner with the better regular-season record. I can live with this but I still think the best way to determine it should go the league with the best overall record in inter-league play. We're not there yet, but it's getting closer. There are more changes and I'll comment when I see them detailed.

**The Yanks released Nathan Eovaldi this week. The man has a world of potential but the move makes a lot of sense. Eovaldi wouldn't be able to play at all this year while he recuperates from surgery and will be a free agent at the end of the year, so why tie up a roster spot for someone who can't help the team? They can always try to resign him at some point.

**It's the Silly Season again, and the rumors are flying. The experts say the free-agent field is very weak, so the press has gone into high gear with trade possibilities. Because the Yanks are loaded with minor league, high-end prospects, and some cash available, they are mentioned as a potential landing place for every big name out there. I believe that GM Brian Cashman and the Steinbrenners have learned that shelling out big money, long-term contracts to fading stars just doesn't work.  Cashman is talking about making only "responsible" deals, whatever that means, but he does like to sneak up on the field with a  big deal late in the signing period. The one signing that does appear eminent is Aroldis Chapman. The Yanks want him back and reports are that Chapman is anxious to return.

What I don't under stand is all the interest in southpaw Rich Hill. What's the allure of a soon-to-be 37 year-old with a  total of 38 wins in a 13 year career? At least six teams are in the mix including the Red Sox, Dodgers and, of course, the Yanks.

Speaking of the Dodgers, if they don't cut a significant portion of their salaries, they could pay a luxury tax of 92%, Right now their salary level is around $270 million. At that rate, their luxury tax could approach $250 million next year. That's enough to make George Steinbrenner roll over in his grave.

From Brad Dickson's Bottom Ten

1. Fresno State (1-11)  Fresno State may have lost local support. I’m basing that on the city dogcatcher hauling away the team mascot, some guy dressed in a bulldog suit.

5. Buffalo (2-10)  The Bulls gave up a record number of rushing yards this season. Betty White could have averaged 6 yards per carry against them.

9. Kent State (3-9)  Kent State’s fan is bitterly disappointed.

Courtesy of RJ Currie
"Three highlights from the European curling championships sponsored by Gruy√®re cheese: 3. The shot curd round the world; 2. The Brie-guard zone. 1. It came down to the last Roquefort." 
[Sorry about the puns. I thought ir might help cure RJ if he saw them in print - CP]

***THEY SAID IT***
"Aretha Franklin’s national anthem in the Minnesota-Detroit game took almost five minutes. Had the Niners been playing, Colin Kaepernick's knees would have gone to sleep."  -- RJ Currie
"A 108-year-old Chicago Cubs fan died happy after seeing her team win the World Series. Someone suggested now she begin rooting for the Cleveland Browns and she said, “I’m outta here.”"  -- Brad Dickson
"Aretha Franklin’s National Anthem at the Detroit Minnesota game today took 4min 35sec. The song took so long that Colin Kaepernick who was watching at home, started by standing, then kneeling, then toppling over."  -- Tony Chong
"Two Bills fans who threw a sex toy on the field during a game have been banned from New Era Field for life. On the plus side, they’re now listed 3-4 on the Browns’ quarterback depth chart."  -- Dwight Perry
" The Washington Capitals celebrated “CapsGiving” by letting some kids dressed as turkeys onto the ice. Fans mistook them for the Arizona Coyotes."  -- RJ Currie
" Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce was ejected for throwing a towel at a referee. That reminds me of the time a Cleveland Browns quarterback did the same and the towel was intercepted."  -- Brad Dickson
"From the Sometimes These Items Just Write Themselves file comes word that Baylor associate athletic director Heath Nielsen — whose job description includes the phrase “responsible for management of the public image of the program” — was arrested and charged with assault for allegedly choking a reporter on the field after a 62-22 football loss to TCU."  -- Dwight Perry
"In anticipation of moving to their new home next year, the Atlanta Braves have acquired 43-year old pitchers Bartolo Colon and 42-year old RA Dickey. What is the name of their new place? Jurrasic Park?"  -- Marc Ragovin
"In men’s college basketball, Bryant freshman Ikenna Ndugba got the ball with 4 seconds to play and dribbled out the clock to preserve his team’s win against Brown. Only problem, Bryant was losing 91-90. Who says college athletes don’t need to know math?"  -- Janice Hough

CP-







Sunday, October 30, 2016

IS IT JUST ME?

Am I the only one that sees this? I've been reading for two days about the genius of Terry Francona. He's making all the right moves at the right time. But is he? A long time ago, a reporter was interviewing Casey Stengel. Casey had a magical career managing the Yankees for 12 years starting in 1949. In that time period, he won 10 American League pennants and 7 World Series, including 5 years in a row. No manager has ever come close to those numbers. In his other 13 years of managing, he never finished higher than 5th and only broke .500 (77-75) once.  The reporter asked, "Casey, how did you get so smart when you came to the Yankees?" "Son," Casey replied, "It's easy to be a genius when you got Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra on your team."
Casey was right. You're only as good as the players on your team. When they perform, you're a genius, when they don't, you're a bum.
I thought Joe Girardi overused his bull pen, but Francona is worse. Why do you remove a starting pitcher in the fourth or fifth inning when he's obviously in control, just to get to your bullpen? Sure, it's worked, but Andrew Miller has pitched 7+ innings so far in the 3 games in which he has appeared. That's not anything he's ever done. At some point, he's going to fail and when he does, the whole world is going to say  that Francona over-used him. But until that happens, Terry will still be a genius.

The Chicago Cubs look very tight right now. There are a lot of kids on the team and they don't seem to know how to handle this. It seems to me that it's up to Joe Maddon, another resident genius, to get them over this. If he can't, it will soon be 109 years since the last Cub Championship. My Dad once told me that when a team loses it's cool, they start yelling at the umpire whenever a call goes against them, even when the umpire is right. I think we're seeing that right now.

The National Football League is coming down hard on excessive touchdown celebrations, in fact all excessive celebrations. The players are unhappy, saying the league is becoming the NFL - the No Fun League. Okay, we all know that I'm a crotchety old man, but I agree with the league. Spontaneous hugging and high fives are fine, but these crazy dances and little skits they put on? Come on, don't they know how silly they look? Show a little respect for your opponent, please. Watch the pro basketball players. When they score, they don't...wait. Never mind.

***THEY SAID IT***
"Someone asked, “What are the odds of the Cubs and Indians playing in the World Series?” And Fox baseball analyst Pete Rose immediately responded, “6,879 to 1.”"  -- Brad Dickson
"Tickets for this weekend’s games at Wrigley will average $5,000 ea. Of course, this includes Steve Bartman’s ticket. The Cubs gave him $10,000 to go watch the game at a bar in Miami."  -- Tony Chong
"R.I.P. Richard Trentlage. His jingle for Oscar Mayer began airing in 1964, the year of the Browns last NFL championship. Hard to say which has become a bigger name in wieners."  -- RJ Currie
"Yoenis Cespedes has opted out of his NY Mets contract and plans to test the free agent market. Because 4 teams in 6 years wasn’t enough?"  -- Janice Hough
"Cubs fan ready to get completely drunk again on only 2 days’ rest."  -- TheOnion.com
"What a year for Cleveland sports. The Cavaliers won an NBA title, the Indians are in the World Series and the Browns almost made a first down."   -- Brad Dickson
"In Game 1 of the World Series, with the Cubs down 6-0 and one out in the ninth, Chicago’s Willson Contreras hit one deep. Even down six in the ninth, Contreras couldn’t pass on the opportunity to perform a check-me-out bat-flip while gazing in adoration of his home run — which bounced off the wall. Contreras turned a triple into a double."  -- Phil Mushnick

CP-
 




Thursday, October 27, 2016

ANOTHER YEAR WITHOUT A YANKEE WORLD SERIES

Obviously, it's impossible to watch any playoff game without SOMEBODY mentioning that it's been 108 years since the Cubs won a World Series. It's been 7 years since the Yankees won a WS. Now before you start telling me to go cry in my hat, think about this. In that same 108 years, the Yanks have appeared in 40 WS and won 27  of them. This means that Yankee fans are used to seeing a NYY Series win every 4 years. That 7 years is a long gap for a Yankee fan. While these numbers are all correct, this has all been kind of tongue-in-cheek. It's all a matter of perception.

Speaking of perception, the Yanks have announced that they are remodeling their 7 year-old stadium this winter. They're going to add what they call "Social Gathering Areas." They will even have a special  Children's Zone including a miniature baseball field and playground equipment. There will also be a new sports lounge and new drink rail locations. This will eliminate about 2100 seats, reducing the capacity from  49,500 to 47,400. Isn't it wonderful that the Yanks are willing to forego 2100 income-generating seats just for the enjoyment of their fans? Of course, 1100 seats of those eliminated are the bleacher obstructed view seats in the outfield, which are the only seats in the stadium that don't require a 2nd mortgage to purchase them. Another 600 seats are in the nose bleed section also in the outfield.
See? Perception.

Let's move to another sport. Which pro-football team has the highest average ticket? Is it the Dallas Cowboys, located in the heart of the "oil bidness?" No, but good guess. How about the NE Patriots, one or the most successful franchises in recent history? Nope, wrong again. The Steelers? The Packers? Sorry, all wrong. It's...wait for it...the New York Giants. Their average ticket is $123, $40 more than the 2nd highest.   You must also buy a "license" to reserve your season ticket seat, $30 for parking and the $15 for a hotdog & beer and you can see how a family of four could easily blow over $600 to take in a game. And as an added bonus, you get to go to New Jersey.  No. wait...
Annie-O and I spent less than $25 for all that watching the Lincoln, Nebraska, Salt Dogs play a doubleheader...from the front row by the dugout.

Congratulations to the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Cubs for getting to the World Series. I haven't been able to watch the complete games. That drum in center field is giving me a headache.
I understand how the announcers are supposed to give us background on the players to make the event more personal, but do they have to repeat those items so many times? They also tell you how each player has fared during the playoffs: He's 1 for 9 with no RBIs, or so-and-so has four hits in the postseason. Then they'll tell you about small sample sizes that mean the numbers are not reliable. Then why bother with them? A guy will ultimately perform up to his season stats. Even if he's slumping the potential is obvious. Give us those numbers.

Finally, I get a kick out of the different styles of baseball uniforms, from the classy Yankee pinstripes to the old Chicago White Sox Bermuda shorts to the San Diego Padres' camouflage uniforms. I don't think I'll ever get used to the ski-mask accessory. Some of those players could have been escaped cons for all we know. Some of them hit like it.

From Brad Dickson's Bottom Ten:

2. Buffalo (1-6)
The Bulls lost to Northern Illinois 44-7 in a game played in front of no fans because of an influenza outbreak — wait, there was no influenza outbreak, that’s just how many people turned out.

6. Kansas (1-6)
Before the loss to Oklahoma State, the Cowboys’ mascot gave the Jayhawks until sundown to get out of town, and the team quickly complied.

7. Rice (1-6)
The Owls get their first win of the season over FCS foe Prairie View, which to me sounds like a retirement home.

10. New Mexico State (2-5)
The Aggies’ remaining games listed as “If necessary.”

***THEY SAID IT***
"I must admit I've had trouble rooting for some players on the 2016 Toronto Blue Jays. In fact, right now I'm typing only with my middle fingers."  -- RJ Currie
"Besides the obvious Skittles at Marshawn Lynch’s house, here’s some other can’t-miss stops on your trick-or-treating rounds this year:
• At Ryan Fitzpatrick’s: Butterfingers
• At Rex Ryan’s: Snickers
• At Tim Tebow’s: Life Savers
• At Eli Manning’s: Nerds
• At Ryan Lochte’s: Whoppers
--Dwight Perry
" I firmly believe Purdue has the best mascot that looks like a nuclear experiment gone wrong in all of college football."  -- Brad Dickson
" The NY Giants have released kicker Josh Brown, saying that “Our beliefs, our judgments and our decisions were misguided.” Translation, we never believed those documents would be made public."  -- Janice Hough
"Why NFL TV ratings are down 11 percent. Oh, I don’t know. How about how annoying it is to watch a ton of commercials followed by live features that are introduced as ‘The GEICO halftime update brought to you by Aflac’?"  -- Alex Kaseberg
"I do miss running into an outfield wall. I don’t miss what comes after running into an outfield wall."  -- Ken Griffey, Jr, on his playing career
" World Series tickets for games at Wrigley Field are going for as much as $6,000. Which isn’t that unreasonable, given that fans have had 108 years to save their money for it."  -- Jim Barach
"A petition is being circulated urging Fox to replace broadcaster Joe Buck with Bob Uecker for the World Series: “They had me at ‘replace Joe Buck.’"  -- Janice Hough
 "In answer to a question by Charlie Rose, Tiger Woods said he believes he can win more than 18 majors. I have a question: What colour is the sky in Tiger's world?"  -- RJ Currie

 CP-
 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

ARE YOU STILL THERE?

Some of you might be wondering if I am. I've had some family things to deal with, but I'll try to get back into the swing of things.

Some impressions over the last few weeks:
** Everyone is praising Brian Cashman for the deals he made back in July and they have worked out well for the most part. I thought he did well except for one move - He never should have traded Andrew Miller. I said back then that it was a mistake, and it looks even more like it now.
** It doesn't look like Jose Bautista is going to sign a contract anywhere near what he was saying last summer. Is it just a slump or has some of his skills eroded?
** Edwin Encarnacion believes that if he takes a pitch, it's a ball. Every time. In his defense, I thought the strike was different whenever a new umpire was behind the plate. One ump's strike zone started at the belt and ended at the ankles. Another had a very narrow zone while a different ump thought the zone was 2-3 inches wider on the outside portion. This may have been one of the biggest reason nobody was hitting.
** Terry Francona is being praised for managerial skills during the playoffs, while Joe Maddon has made some "bad" moves. In reality, it all comes down to performance. It the players do well, the manager is a genius. If they don't, the manager is 2nd-guessed forever. Normally, you would think that bringing in one of your two best relievers in the 4th inning is a panic move, but when that reliever is Andrew Miller on a hot streak, - "What a smart move!"
** Twice in the playoffs, we've seen hitters who don't usually bunt, push balls down the third base line against the shift. When that happens, the announcers go crazy, praising the hitter to the heavens. In my book, when major league hitters DON'T do this -every time- they should be criticized. It's the playoffs. How can you give away sure hits when the defense hands them to you?
** Replay was supposed to help the umps get the calls right and eliminate arguments. It's not fool-proof. All it's eliminated is the arguments. Personally, I got a kick out of watching the performances of Earl Weaver, Billy Martin and Lou Piniella to name some. The umps may not have liked it, but the fans did.
** They should get rid of that imaginary strike zone box. It doesn't help much because the calls don't match. I saw an at bat where it showed five pitches, none of which were in the strike zone and yet the count on the hitter was 3 & 2.
** The networks should have the announcers be the ones that covered each team all year. The ones on the air don't know the players, their tendencies or the reality of their performances. A batter may have hit the ball hard all year but hit into a lot of bad luck. All these announcers can do is spew out a bunch of numbers which often don't tell the real story.
** It's nice to know how a hitter has done in the series, but it doesn't mean a guy is hot or in a slump. 0 for 7 doesn't mean a thing.
** There are way too many pitching changes.  You may be worried about how a guy is pitching, but you have no idea how a reliever is going to perform, You always take the chance that the new guy is going to be worse than the starter. Regardless of the score, Francona couldn't WAIT to get to the 5th or 6th inning so he could get to his bullpen.

Brad Dickson's Bottom Ten 

2. UTEP (1-5) The Miners coach took out a Craigslist ad seeking a look-alike to attend postgame press conferences for him.

5. Bowling Green (1-6) During Saturday’s loss to Toledo, the Falcons mascot flew south for the winter, or possibly, through next fall.

9. Fresno State (1-6) The fans are close to tearing down the goal posts next time the team wins the opening coin toss.
Finally - 
** I'm a NY Giant fan but I'm appalled at the antics of Giant receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. I saw a headline that he was named Offensive Player of the week. I thought, "It's about time!" Then I read the article. It's about the catches he made and the touchdowns he scored. Obviously, I was disappointed.

***THEY SAID IT***
"A ball sailed past Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor when he lined up behind a lineman who was not the center. It’s the “all butts look alike” play."  -- Brad Dickson
"What are his plans for retirement at age 89: “I’m going to try to live! … I’m looking for a much smaller house and a much larger medicine cabinet.”  -- Broadcaster Vin Scully
" Canadian pole vaulter Shawn Barber said he tested positive for cocaine because he kissed a girl who took it. Is Barber Irish, because it sounds like he kissed something alright — the Blarney Stone."  -- RJ Currie
"NFL ratings are down over 11% this year. Owners are scrambling to explain it with things like the Presidential election being a distraction. And it’s possible the concussion issue is turning people off. Or maybe America has figured out there are just a lot of lousy teams."  -- Janice Hough
"62 percent of those surveyed in a Public Policy Polling thought second-ranked Ohio State could beat the winless Cleveland Browns: “An unrelated poll found that 62 percent of people are idiots."  -- Greg Cote
" In golf news, the Safeway Open is underway. Because it’s the Safeway Open, the purse has been marked down twice."  -- Brad Dickson
"Nebraska put together a time-consuming drive that took 10 minutes, 42 seconds off the clock in its win over Illinois. In other words, they scheduled a college-football game and the last two minutes of an NBA game broke out."  -- Dwight Perry

"It’s early fall, when CFL, NFL, NHL, NBA and college football games are all televised along with MLB playoffs.  Last October my wife hid the TV remote where I couldn’t find it: under the vacuum."  -- RJ Currie

CP-




Thursday, September 29, 2016

HEY, REMEMBER ME?

It's been a while, I know, but I'm still kickin'. I spent two weeks out west on vacation and some time to get settled but now I'm ready. Been a few interesting things happening, so let's get started.

** Baseball's division champs have been decided, so congratulations to the winners. Yes, even Boston. The wild card races are still up in the air, so that should make for an interesting last weekend.

** I read an article this week about the favorite for the rookie of the year in the American League. Two writers wrote about the reasons the candidate from the team they follow should win/ The choices are Detroit's Michael Fulmer, a pitcher with an 11-7 record with a 2.95 ERA. Pretty good numbers and certainly worthy of consideration. The other choice is Gary Sanchez of the Yankees, who's hitting .311 with 20 homers and 42 RBIs. Also good numbers. The argument against Sanchez is that he's only played 50 games. A fair argument of course, however, writer Mark Simon, advocating Fulmer, says that Sanchez would be unable to maintain that pace for the remainder of the season (there were about 10 games left at that time), while Fulmer would get one more start and would probably win it, therefore cementing his winning the award. That last argument is ridiculous, that one player will continue his good season while the other one won't. In fact, since Simon wrote that, Fulmer went 3.1 innings against Cleveland, giving up 6 hits and 3 runs while Sanchez has hit a couple more home runs. If Sanchez does well in his final four games, it will be a tough choice for the voters.

** I see Pete Rose has appealed directly to the Baseball Hall of Fame to be considered for inclusion to the Hall. What's interesting here is that the HOF has the final say on who is inducted and not MLB and not the writers. So this is certainly a shot for Pete, but the Hall has always gone along with the BBWA choices for induction. I'll bet money Rose loses this battle, too.

** I can't say I'm crazy about Joe Girardi's penchant for giving cute nicknames to his players. They're not very imaginative and kind of silly. For example, Brett Gardner is called "Gardy," and now Sanchez is called "San-chy." Maybe his players can live with it but I think it's embarrassing.

** Mark Teixeira is going out with a bang. A game-tying homer against Toronto a couple of days ago and now a walk-off grand slam against Boston (Yay!). No season-long retirement tour for Mark, just a true professional trying to do his job. He will be missed.

** Can someone explain what Craig Kimbrel is doing when he looks in to the catcher for a sign? All bent over with both elbows up in the air and his head jutting out.  He reminds me of that pelican move mister Miyagi taught Daniel that won the match at the end of "The Karate Kid."

** From Brad Dickson's Bottom Ten:
 1. Florida International (0-4): On the plus side ... well, I’ll have to get back to you.
 2. Miami (Ohio) (0-4): The RedHawks’ game vs. Cincinnati aired on ESPNN. I’m pretty sure the N is for Nobody’s watching.
 4. New Mexico (1-2): Lobos players are holding hands in the huddle, partly to make sure their teammates don’t try to flee the stadium.

** Speaking of being missed, how will we handle being with out the dulcet tones of Vin Scully? This man is so good at painting pictures with his words, he could make a blind man appreciate the beauty of the sport he loves so much. Baseball HAS to find a way to get him into the booth for the 1st game of the World Series.
Good by, Vin. Thanks for everything.

***THEY SAID IT***
" Bummer. RIP #ArnoldPalmer, 87. For younger generation who think golf started with Tiger Woods, Arnold was much more than name of a drink."  -- Janice Hough
" Northwestern has a reputation as an academic powerhouse. My favorite play on Saturday night occurred when the team called timeout to correct the referee’s grammar."  -- Brad Dickson
"The IOC finally stripped some 2008 Olympic medalists for PEDs. It took eight years for these test results to come to everyone’s attention. So, is the testing lab on one of the moons of Saturn?”  -- Jack Finarelli
"Sacramento mayor and ex-NBA star, Kevin Johnson, severely beat up a guy for throwing a pie in his face. My wife may say I'm missing the point again, but what kind of pie?"  -- RJ Currie
"Setting the record straight after Florida State football coach Jimbo Fisher said his team’s 63-20 loss to Louisville came down to “inches”. Florida State was outgained by 8,856 inches."  -- Rick Bozich
" A leading fantasy football website crashed. Middle-aged fantasy football players used the downtime to learn the names of all of their children."  -- Brad Dickson
" The Dodgers honored Vin Scully and his 67 years of broadcasting last night. 67 years?! Wow. That almost goes back to Jamie Moyer’s rookie season."  -- Janice Hough
"Sales of Colin Kaepernick No. 7 jerseys have skyrocketed since the 49ers QB started sitting in protest during the national anthem. In an odd twist, suppliers complain they’re getting inundated with standing orders."  -- Dwight Perry
"The phrase “I am going to put you to sleep now” refers to: a) a Tempur-Pedic mattress slogan, b) a Bill Belichick interview."  -- RJ Currie
"Kansas City Chiefs home games feature a chocolate bacon blitz pizza.” When you order one, the concession worker gives you last rites."  -- Brad Dickson
"Graphic of the Week: ESPN’s reliably ridiculous stats department gave us, “Eagles first 2-0 start since 2014.” That long? Seems as if it were just a couple of years ago."  -- Phil Mushnick

CP-














Sunday, September 04, 2016

"IT AIN'T OVER...

...till the fat lady sings." Well, she's coming thru loud and clear for the Yankees. Supposedly, a team needs at least 88 wins to make the playoffs this year. For New York to do that, they need to go 19-9 the rest of the year. That's about a .678 pace, which they have shown all year that they are not capable of.
Everyone thought that the Yanks problem would be pitching, but the pitching has been adequate, but the bats are too often silent. So far in this series with Baltimore, a team ahead of them in the wild card race, NY has garnered exactly 6 hits and 0 runs total in two games.
Their hot young catcher, Gary Sanchez, is currently very human at the plate and Aaron Judge, next year's right fielder, looks completely over-matched. First baseman Tyler Austin can't even unseat Mark Teixeira, who is currently hitting .200.
Unlike the Cubs, whose "next year" appears to be this year, the Yanks will have to revamp and reload next spring.

Do they need another excuse?
The Princeton Review has named the Univ. of Wisconsin as the nation's #1 Party School. Yesterday, they  upset #5 LSU, 16-14. Add the fact that tomorrow is a National Holiday and some students won't make classes until Friday, just in time for the weekend. Momma, don't let your babies grow up to be Badgers.

My final word
Since this topic seems to generate more heat than light, I will not discuss this any further.
Some of my friends disagree with my stance on Colin Kaepernick's refusal to stand during the National Anthem. They obviously misunderstood my point. I fully agree with his point that Blacks are still being mistreated by America and I support him in this. I do not agree with his method of protest. He says he respects the men and women in the armed services who fight for this country and that's not what he means with his protest. I'm sorry but I reject that completely. You can't protest against a symbol of this country and then claim you don't mean all of it, just some parts of it. You've insulted the whole anthem and country, not just one part . Find a different way to protest, please.

Pujols is one of the greatest
Should he play two more years, he should reach career totals that are nothing short of phenomenal. He will amass about 1800 runs scored, in the top 20 all time, 3000 hits, over 600 home runs, only the 9th player to do it and over 2000 RBIs, along with only Ruth Aaron and A-Rod.  Plus, in his 16 year career there have been no scandals, no steroids and no drama. Just production.  Wish there were more like him.

Girardi continues to amaze me
As stated earlier, the Yanks are teetering on the precipice of a lost season. They are playing what Manager Joe Girardi calls, "...probably the most important games of the year," yet he is starting 4 rookies, the backup shortstop and the backup catcher. They are also using their most enigmatic starting pitcher, Michael Pineda.
Can someone explain this to me?
The Yanks also lost another pitcher for the season on Friday, Chad Green. That makes six pitchers on the DL at this time. Last night they showed pitching coach, Larry Rothschild, sitting on the bench and scratching his head. Maybe he should sit on his head and scratch the other end. He couldn't do any worse.

Those well-respected coaches
Speaking of which, what good are these coaches anyway? Not just the Yankees, all the teams. The current pitchers say they love working with Rothschild, but they're always hurt. Years ago, hitters loved working with hitting coach. Kevin Long. The Yanks released him.  Now he's with the Mets, who love him.
In the 1990's, Leo Mazzone of the Braves was considered to be MLB's best pitching coach. He left them in 2005 and joined the Baltimore Orioles. They dumped him in 2007 and now he's out of baseball.
You know what makes good coaches? Great players. With pitchers the Braves had in the 1990's, I could have been the pitching coach. My only duty would have been to make sure they all got to the ballpark.

It is entertainment, after all
While the Mets don't place a high value on defense, clearly Daniel Murphy was not an asset in the field or running the bases while a Met. After one Murphy misadventure on the basepaths,  David Wright joked that Murphy "sometimes thinks that he's invisible."

***THEY SAID IT***
"Endwell, N.Y., has won the Little League World Series. So all’s well that — nah, too easy. -- RJ Currie
"Tim Tebow homered in his workout for MLB scouts. It’s been so long since Tebow played baseball, during his home run trot he stiff-armed the first base coach."  -- Brad Dickson
"Defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon, a top recruit from Leesburg, Ga., backed out of his oral commitment to Michigan after the team sent him a letter misspelling both his first and last names — not to mention thanking him for going to a UM team barbecue he didn’t attend. -- Dwight Perry
"The Washington Nationals have acquired pitcher Marc Rzepzyynski from the A’s. Make sure you spell his name right. It’s Marc with a C."  -- Eric Kolenich, Richmond Times-Dispatch
" The Denver Broncos released  Mark Sanchez, who’s expected to sign with the Dallas Cowboys.  Great news for comedy writers who wonder what they will do post-election."  -- Janice Hough
"Before a Houston Astros game, Miss Texas threw a first pitch that was 10 feet short and 30 feet wide. With the year they’re having, a lot of major league umpires would’ve called it a strike."  -- Brad Dickson
"People in the Bay Area were outraged that Red Sox infielder Dustin Pedroia was not standing during the National Anthem at the Oakland A’s game. PeeDee said “But I am standing!"  -- TC Chong
"Disgraced swimmer Ryan Lochte is endorsing a crime-prevention gadget. The device is so advanced, it can even stop crimes that you completely made up."  -- Conan O'Brien
" BBC News reports Tokyo companies are paying for workshops to teach staff how to cry. Not to be outdone, several Toronto firms bought employees Maple Leafs tickets."  -- RJ Currie

CP-



Sunday, August 28, 2016

WHERE AM I??

What's in a name?
Once again, baseball has let money win out over tradition and loyalty to the fans. The Chicago White Sox, once the home team at Comiskey Park has sold the name of their stadium to the highest bidder. Now they play their home games at legendary Guaranteed Rate Stadium. I don't know if it will help the team win games, but it sounds like you may be able to buy insurance or cash your paycheck there. 
Why aren't I used to this by now? There is already Enron Field in Houston, home of the oil barons, who will probably go there to conduct some "bidness."  Enron Corp. paid $100 million for the naming rights in 2000 for a 30-year term, then promptly went bankrupt in 2001. They're gone but the Astros are stuck with the name.
How about O.co Coliseum in Oakland. All those brilliant millionaires on the coast and all they could come up with is one letter? I would have been happier with at least Oh-Boy-Look-At-Us.co.
I'd like to go to a game at PNC Field but I don't know if I'd end up in Scranton or Pittsburgh.
There's just no romance in most of the stadium names any more. Too many are names after products or companies. Chase Field, Progressive Field, Coors field, Petco Park, Safeco Field, Tropicana Field, Miller Stadium, Target Field, Citizen Bank Park and the ever popular Citi Field. 
How many of you can name the cities that at least seven of these are in? Seven is about all I can name.

Kaepernick sits while citizens stand.
He says he sat because he couldn't honor a country that treated blacks and other minorities so badly. I'll take a stand on this, no pun intended. I respect your right to your beliefs but remember this is the country that allows you to make over $23 million in your career so far. If you don't like our country then leave. I respect your opinions so please respect mine. Lobby for change but respect the country that has given you so much. The team you play for, the San Francisco 49ers think what you did is okay, so shame on them, too.

Bryce Harper doesn't know when to be quiet.   
Once again, in the 9th inning of a tie game, he blew up at the umpire for missing the call on what Harper thought was a ball. Replay shows he was right, barely. So he gets tossed and his team loses in 11 innings. He took himself out when his team needed him the most. I'm no great advocate of umpires, but he's got to grow up and understand that the game comes first. 
Umpires lose control, too. In Detroit last night, home plate umpire Mike Everitt gave the old heave-ho to four, count em' four, Tigers over his calls behind the plate. Two players, Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez were ejected for arguing balls & strikes, as was hitting coach Wally Joiner. Manager Brad Ausmus was booted for...I don't know, maybe knowing Wally Joiner. This was almost as bad as the time I saw umpire Augie Guillelmi clear a whole dugout in a game in Syracuse, NY.  Augie was funnier.

The Sports Reporters. Ghostbuster Edition 
That's how moderator Janelle described this morning's panel, which featured four women for the first time. All good choices as they were all very knowledgeable and articulate. 
I do have one observation. The first topic was the Colin Kaepernick event and Janelle asked the panel what they thought of his actions and none of them really took a stand on it, they all described how they thought other people would react. Interesting but they all dodged taking a stand.
 
Some jilted Rams fans won’t be crying in their beer this season.
Hotshots Sports Bar & Grill, with 10 locations in Missouri, plans to lampoon the NFL team’s move from St. Louis to L.A. by lowering the price of domestic draft pitchers on game days by $1 for each TD scored against the Rams. (From Sideline Chatter by Dwight Perry)

The San-chise?
This is the nickname that Yankee Radio announcer John Sterling has given to the Yankees newest phe-nom, Gary Sanchez. I don't like the nickname but I sure do like the player. No one in the majors, maybe all of baseball, has been hotter in the last three weeks. Just when you think he's got to cool off, he blasts another one into the stands, 11 in all so far.  Even more impressive has been his play behind the plate. His bat may cool off, but I don't think his glove or his arm ever will.  Maybe Sterling is right.

A personal note
A very warm thank you to my wife, my traveling companion, my editor and mother to my children for 50 years of marriage. I don't know how she's managed to last but I know I never want to be without her around. When people ask how we did it, I tell them the answer is simple: We've always been able to make each other laugh...always. It's worked for the 50+ years we've known each other and I see no end to it.
Thanks, Annie.

***THEY SAID IT ***
"The final Olympic tally: The U.S. brought home 46 gold medals, 37 silver and four idiots."  -- Seth Meyers
" The Oakland Raiders have filed to trademark the name “Las Vegas Raiders.” If they move will the team’s new motto be “Against all odds?”  -- Janice Hough
"Usain Bolt won his third straight Olympic gold medal in the 100 meters. My favorite point was at the 70-meter mark when he passed Secretariat."  -- Brad Dickson

"Nike has announced it will be exiting the golf club business. Elin Nordegren has ordered some extra 9 irons before they cease production."  -- TC Chong
"Astronaut Jeff Williams spent  521 days in space beating the previous record held by Dennis Rodman."  -- Jim Barach
"Bruce Springsteen just played possibly his longest U.S. gig at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. — nearly four hours. In other words, they scheduled a concert, and a Yankees-Red Sox game broke out."  -- Dwight Perry
"US Cellular Field, the home of the Chicago White Sox have just sold the naming rights to “Guaranteed Rate” for the next 7 years. This is not to be confused with Wrigley Field which has been known as the home of “Guaranteed Losers” since 1908."  -- TC Chong
"Ryan Lochte might join the cast of “Dancing with the Stars. Wow, I knew he was in legal trouble, but I didn’t know we were already at the sentencing phase."  -- Seth Meyers
"The Twins-Astros game in Minneapolis was rained out on Umbrella Night. The Twins’ new Director of Irony called it “The greatest night in sports history.”"  -- Brad Dickson
"Tony Romo  has a broken bone in his back. So it will be at least until midseason before he can return to disappoint  Cowboy fans."  -- Janice Hough

CP-

Sunday, August 21, 2016

OH, COME ON!

Here we go again. 
Ryan Lochte has fallen into the professional athlete pit of lying about some aspect of their personal life. Nobody but the perpetrators - Ryan and three cohorts - really know exactly what went on that fateful night in Rio, but we know now it wasn't what the boys first reported. There are some people who say that it was no big deal, that no one was hurt or that it was just a boyish prank. Bull roar. 31-year old MEN do not commit boyish pranks. Whether you agree or not about the severity of the "prank," what is terribly wrong about this is that 1) they brought up this story out of the blue. 2) they had to be pinned down for better than two days before confessing that is was "...kind of exaggerated."  They lied. Let me say that again - they lied.
In his latest interview, Lochte has said that he didn't abandon his friends and wants to stand up for them. That's easy, Ryan. Get on a plane and go back to Brazil.  But he won't. 
What will happen to him now? He should be punished severely. A-Rod took PEDs, lied about it, recanted and took his punishment - a one year suspension and lost millions of dollars. Lochte may get suspended from professional swimming - if there is such a thing - and may lose endorsements. Whatever it ends up being, it won't be enough. We have got to stop this practice of lying to the public. 

More thoughts on the Olympics
** Usain Bolt is the best Olympic athlete ever. Just ask him and most of the sports writers. But he is not. Oh, he's best in his field, the sprint races, but I didn't see him toss the discus, do the long jump or the high jump. He didn't go near the water (a good thing in Rio) or run any long distances. You want a true athlete, maybe the best Olympic athlete ever, I give you Jim Thorpe.
** Question - why won't Gabby Douglas ever smile? She just didn't look like she was enjoying herself. That's too bad. She is a great gymnast and this is probably the last time she'll ever be on the Olympic stage . Celebrate the team's - and your - accomplishments one last time.
** There were far too many disqualifications  in the track events this year. Are the participants (I almost said combatants) trying too hard? Is there attitude - do anything you can to win? I never saw so many elbows flying in the races. Who do they think they are? Basketball players?
** As usual, NBC did a horrible job of broadcasting the Olympics. Since everything is tape-delayed, don't you think they could have done a better job of covering the events? They would show two or three attempts on the high bar or the shot put, for example, which turned out to be an American failing on an attempt and then the gold medal winner. In their defense however, we do know what the grandparents went through preparing the athletes and how they suffered watching then. Please, less dramatics and more sports. Oh, and could we please, please have more commercials.
** We're number one - and maybe number two. 
The USA Woman's team won the gold so easily that assistant coaches, Dawn Staley and Cheryl Reeves, could have played in high heels and the team wouldn't have been threatened. 
The men's Team plays for the gold today. Vegas has established them as 15-point favorites.

Baseball news. 
** The Mets pitching staff, thought to be one of the best in preseason, has fallen apart due to their many injuries. It's been suggested that perhaps the additional strain of the post season contributed greatly to their physical problems. There may be a case for this, since it happened to Kansas City this year and the San Fran Giants a few times. Lets see how there "highly-respected"  pitching coaches deal with this one. 
[I've noticed that baseball announcers absolutely can't mention the name of a pitching coach without adding the "highly-respected" tag to all of them. If they are all highly-respected, why are so many of them looking for work every year?]
** The Yankees Gary Sanchez is waking up the whole baseball world with his magical appearance. Sports writers are saying they've never seen a rookie begin their career on such a high note, but it doesn't meant he can sustain it. You may remember a fellow named Shane Spencer, who broke in with the Yankees in September of 1998. In 27 games, he .379 with 10 homers and 27 RBIs, including 3 grand slams. Unfortunately, that was the highlight of his career which only lasted 6 more years. 
But, in the meantime, you have to admire the ability Sanchez has shown.
** So the Tigers refused to reschedule a start time of a game for the Red Sox. Should we feel sad for the Sox? If they had changed - at the last minute, I might add - I would feel sorry for the thousands of fans who had tickets for the regularly scheduled time. They are the ones who are severely inconvenienced.
** Have we been wrong all this time? Michael Kay announced that it has been scientifically proven that diving into first base to beat a throw DOES get you there faster. For years, they said running through the base is the fastest but now we know differently. Of course, it also increases your chances of getting hurt. 
** Gary Sanchez has in effect shown he is the best catcher on the roster for New York and Austin Romine has proved he'd be a more than capable back-up, and since both are much younger than Brian McCann, isn't it time for the Yanks to trade McCann?

Goodbye John 
I have to admit that I didn't particularly care for John Saunders when he took over as moderator for the Sunday morning Sports  Reporters for Dick Schaap, whom I loved. But over the years, Saunders grew on me. His style was a little different than Schaap's, but he proved to be knowledgeable, friendly and obviously respected by the other panel members. I wasn't really aware of the the number of positions he held and the scope of his activities and I certainly wasn't aware of his long term physical ailments. He became to me, one of those guys I liked to listen too and while I didn't always agree with his point of view, I respected his comments because of the way he presented them and the logic behind them. 
Goodbye John,we will all miss you.

***THEY SAID IT***
"The U.S. was striving for its first ever Olympic medal in table tennis. When you consider the roughly 180.5 million ping-pong tables in basements around the country, how is this possible?"  -- Brad Dickson
"The closest I ever got to make the track and field team in high school was when they asked me to shag javelins."  -- Tony Chong
"US men were DQ’ed in 4 by 100 relay. Thanks to  Ryan Lochte for  making sure this isn’t most embarrassing American men’s team story of these Olympic games."  -- Janice Hough
" From the You Just Can’t Make This Stuff Up file comes word that Wednesday’s Twins-Astros game in Minneapolis was rained out — on Umbrella Night."  -- Dwight Perry
"There is a new world record in the 100-meter dash. It was set by Ryan Lochte running through the Rio airport to board his plane and get out of town."  -- Brad Dickson
" The jockstrap worn by Joe Frazier in the Fight of the Century sold at auction for $10,000. And Johnny Depp thinks he just paid a lot for support"  -- RJ Currie
"The last time golf was an Olympic sport was in 1912. NBC showed the replay on tape delay in 1916, due to the games being cancelled that year due to The Great War."  -- Tony Chong
" A-Rod signs one-day relationship contract to retire as Madonna’s boyfriend."  -- TheKicker.com
" Tom Brady missed tonight’s Patriots Bears game after he sliced his right thumb getting dirt out of a cleat. Gisele: “my husband cannot throw the football and clean his shoes at the same time.”.  -- Janice Hough
"The last Olympics that didn’t lose money for the host city?” asked Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle.  “Los Angeles, 1984.  “The last Olympics at which the IOC didn’t make a ton of profit, even though it doesn’t really do anything except collect money? Athens, 750 B.C"  -- Scott Ostler

"America’s latest gymnastics sensation begs the question: What’s the over-under on how many American babies will be born in the next year named Simone?"  -- Janice Hough
"And in fight-memorabilia news, the boxing gloves worn by Muhammad Ali against Joe Frazier in the 1971 “Fight of the Century” sold at auction for $606,375.  Which makes one wonder what Elin Nordegren’s infamous nine-iron might’ve fetched."  -- Dwight Perry

A diver from Russia landed on her back and scored a 0.0. Well, the Russian judge gave her a 9.85."   -- Brad Dickson
"I can’t see Aaron Rodgers brother Jordan bragging about being chosen on the Bachlorette. The Green Bay QB’s reply? Munn’s the word."  -- RJ Currie

CP-