Friday, February 26, 2016


Actually, they won't start in earnest until Wednesday, that's if you really believe spring training games are "earnest" at all.

"Hope springs eternal..."
At this time of the year, all 30 teams are confident they will be in the postseason. By June 1st, however, the separation will be evident and there will be about half the teams that are legitimate contenders. Right now, the Chicago Cubs are the overwhelming favorite to win it all. I never thought I'd ever write that sentence.
The Yanks are picked to finish anywhere from 2nd to last in the AL East. The writers' fascination with Boston continues as the Red Sox are favored to win the AL East and maybe win it all. I still don't see it.

The Yanks biggest problem is health.Everyone is worried about the pitching staff, but look at the outfield. The first game is still 5 days off and already the Yanks have held back Brett Gardner to save a sprained wrist the he injured last year in their one playoff game. Every year it's something with him and the biggest problem is, nobody seems to know about any problem and he tries to play through it. His enthusiasm is impressive but his production stinks when he does this.
The centerfielder, Jacoby Ellsbury, is as brittle as puff pastry and he has a hard time staying on the field and an even tougher time producing when he is.
The rightfielder, Carlos Beltran, turns 39 in April, and plays the outfield like he's 139. He can still hit, though.
In the infield, you have Mark Teixeira, 36 in April, who can still play when he's not beating himself up. Tex expects to play 4 or 5 more years. If Greg Bird heals up in good shape, Tex probably won't be in a Yankee uniform for those last 4 years. Even A-Rod is saying that he can only go as far as his 40-year old body can take him. I haven't even mentioned the pitching staff, so....
If they stay healthy, they can win it all and easily, if not, the majority of the Yankee press conferences will be held in the lobby of New York Presbyterian hospital.

Here and there
**Pablo Sandoval showed up at the Red Sox training camp carrying a lot of baggage. Oh yeah, he had some luggage with him, too. Why does he say that his weight is fine? Why does the team say his weight is not an issue? It IS an issue. By the middle of August, he looks like he just played a double-header in the Mojave Desert. I know KFC doesn't think his weight is an issue.
**Steph Curry is not human. He hit 10 more 3-pointers last night, one of them from half-court - a bank shot, no less. It would not surprise me if they suddenly discover he's actually a bionic man...or an alien.
**I watched Bob Lee of ESPN talking about FIFA voting for a new president and the candidates all saying they can save soccer for the world. Apparently, this is a vote taking place today, which Lee says will probably be the first of many. "After this vote, there will probably be more after some politicking."  Now, he didn't say it but it looked like he was about to call it "backstabbing," but stopped himself. You should have said it, Bob, you know that's what we're all thinking.
**Dexter Fowler, the Cubs centerfielder, rejected a qualifying offer of $15.8 million from the Cubs to become a free agent. He also rejected a 2-year $17 million offer from Baltimore. Bad move, Dexter. There were no other offers. He has now signed an $8 million offer from those same Cubs. Wouldn't you have like to hear his agent explain that one to him? "See, Dexter, I, in free agency...somebody was sure to...I don't know. Just sign for the $8 million and we'll try again next year. ...I'll do better. Honest." 

"The Ringling Bros. Circus has a clown college. Half the schools in the SEC tried to schedule a nonconference football game against this school."  -- Brad Dickson
"The Donald says he plans to build a border wall between the US and Mexico. In related news, Vegas bookmakers have just made Mexico the favorite for this summer’s Olympic Pole Vault competition."  -- TC Chong
"During this week’s FIFA elections. “Outgoing president Sepp Blatter has announced he won’t endorse any particular candidate until all bribes have been formally submitted to his office.”  -- David Whitley
"Johnny Manziel is back on Twitter, Retweeting advice he got from Charlie Sheen?! Ah, good to see Manziel is looking for serious role models."  -- Janice Hough
"Thai teen golf sensation, Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong, looks destined for the LPGA Tour. Now all she needs are a few sponsor exemptions and a foot-wide scorecard."  -- Dwight Perry
"Oddsmakers have installed the Cubs as 4-1 favorites to win the World Series. Waiter, I’ll have what they’re having."  -- Tim Hunter
"Thousands of Liverpool soccer fans walked out during a game last week to protest ticket price increases. Their principal owner, Fenway Sports Group, who also own the Red Sox, immediately issued an apology, stating they will cancel the increases and look for further avenues to save money, like making Papi and Sandoval pay for their own Dunkin Donuts."  -- TC Chong
"Former NFL receiver Chad Johnson claims he soaked his sprained ankles in a teammate's urine. Call me old-school purist, but I think the only time a player should borrow a teammate’s urine is when he needs it to pass a drug test."  -- Brad Dickson
"Wonder if even Derek Jeter is thinking this  Kobe Bryant farewell tour is getting over the top?"  -- Janice Hough
"A man named Bud Weisser was caught trespassing at a Budweiser plant. Peyton Manning insisted on throwing the book at him, but came up twenty yards short."  -- RJ Currie


Thursday, February 18, 2016


Pitchers and catchers start today but in the meantime, there's college basketball.

Duke over N. Carolina
Dickie V. must have had an orgasmic experience last night, watching his 'Dukies" upset Carolina. I can no longer handle watching a game that Dick Vitale is announcing..."Baby!" I know, I could just mute the sound, but I like hearing the crowd, they're college kids and they really get into the game. I've read that Vitale insists on doing Duke games and the network gives in because they think he's a draw. Note to network executives: He isn't!!  Let him do the Slippery Rock State games.Maybe he won't be able to find his way back.

Louisville over Syracuse
The recap I read said that Louisville's defense won the game for them. They "held" the Orange to 38% shooting. No, they didn't. Syracuse held the Orange to 38% shooting. Syracuse missed layups, dunks, jump shots - they even shot 57% from the free throw line. Even Annie-O can make 60% and she's got a bad shoulder. No, Louisville's defense wasn't the only reason for the Cardinal victory. The Orange offense contributed greatly to the cause.
Another annoying feature was the networks insistence on highlighting "Rivalry Week," during the game. They cut the screen in half with one section taken up by three clowns talking about the great Duke-No. Carolina rivalry - during the Syracuse game. Forget any commentary about the SU-Louisville game, the next game was obviously more important. There must be a way to blame this on Dickie V, too.

Baseball Predictions
It's difficult for me to make any predictions, because I'm prejudiced and I tend to see with my heart and not with my brain, especially when it comes to the Yankees. It is interesting to see what others feel about the coming season.
The Yanks have been slotted to finish anywhere from 2nd to last, depending on the prejudices of the particular writer. I get that. What I don't get is this fascination with the Boston Red Sox. Every year, the forecasters pick them to finish first and possible win the World Series. For the last two years, they couldn't have been more wrong. They're all back at it this year. The Yanks get no backing because they have too many question marks. The three main hitters are old (A-Rod, Teixeira and Beltran) and can't be expected to perform like last year. The pitching has a history of injuries and they have a 2nd baseman who has not played the position before. Therefore, back to the cellar for you.
Ah, but the Red Sox. Well, they fixed their whole pitching staff because they signed one ace starter.Even though the rest of the staff stunk last year, they will all perform much better this year. Their third baseman WILL hit like he was 25 again.   Their first baseman will be an all-star, even though they haven't shown him where first base is yet. And their youngsters will continue to improve exponentially.
I don't know. Maybe it will happen that way and it's my glasses that are fogged.

I keep reading about the the Olympic venues in Rio. Are they really that dangerous? If they are, why did the IOC award Rio the 2016 event? I hope all these athletes are safe.

" In the Sabres-Panthers game, Evander Kane and Alex Petrovic fought three times. Three fights in one night? Was that a hockey game or a marriage?"  -- RJ Currie
"Browns QB Johnny Manziel (accused of domestic violence) and Bills RB LeSean McCoy (bar fight) are doing their part to keep the NFL in the news after the Super Bowl. Hey, if you can’t be All-Pro, be All-Con."  -- Dwight Perry
"Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch tweeted out his retirement announcement. Knowing Lynch, he had 136 characters left over."  -- Brad Dickson
" After overcoming a childhood stuttering problem to become a freewheeling TV commentator: “Learning how to speak is my greatest accomplishment and everybody else’s worst nightmare."  -- Bill Walton
" The NBA is mulling whether to let teams put a corporate logo on their jerseys in 2017-18: “Meaning, by about the 2020-21 season, the uniforms should all look like NASCAR’s"  -- Janice Hough
"Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson landed a two-year, $28.7 million contract. Congrats on the deal. Now you can tip your barber so he’ll stop doing what he does to you."  -- Ex-teammate Brandon McCarthy
" Super Bowl MVP Von Miller went to Disneyland after the game. He was still so stoked, he sacked Goofy three times."  -- RJ Currie
"A temporary ski jump 140 foot high was installed inside Fenway Park for a U.S. Grand Prix snowboarding/freestyle event. Hard-boiled Bostonians say they haven’t seen anything go downhill this fast at Fenway since the 2014 Red Sox."  -- Dwight Perry
"The Phoenix Waste Management PGA tournament was just held. I hate to even picture that trophy."  -- Brad Dickson
"As seen (Sunday) on TV: Notre Dame’s women’s basketball team in gray uniforms, Florida’s and Washington’s in black uniforms. The score graphics identified all three by their official, traditional school colors, which weren’t in sight."  -- Phil Mushnick


Thursday, February 11, 2016


It's that bad time of the year between the Super Bowl and March Madness. Oh yes, spring training for MLB starts in about a week, but even that's boring for a while. Hockey...not my thing even if they played in my back yard. Pro basketball doesn't generate much interest until the playoffs, even for the players. It's even too early to speculate in the seeding for the NCAA Basketball Tournament, although the analysts try. So what's left? Let's pull some interesting things out of the world of sports.

Ask a stupid question...
Sometimes I feel bad for these announcers that are asked to ambush a coach at halftime as they head to the locker room to ask a question that no one cares about the answer to. Especially the female announcers, who seem a little more intimidated by big name coaches than the guys.
Last week, a lady reporter stopped San Antonio's coach, Gregg Popovich, at halftime and mentioned the the Spurs were trailing their opponent. "What's the reason for that," she asked? Very quickly, Popovich answered, "They scored more points than us." The lady had no where to go after that.

Can we make them any more uncomfortable?
Speaking of the awful situations ESPN insists on putting these ladies in, watch some of the setups they use. The last few days, I've noticed that a woman and two men, or three men, sometimes two women and two men, are sitting around a table that must be a bout 4-foot tall. They give them these tall stools to sit in. They have arms and a back alright, but they're very tall. Not only don't the ladies feet touch the ground, but they can't even reach the rung near the bottom to rest their feet. They also wear short skirts and are always placed on the outside. [The always seem very self-conscious about their skirts riding up; so much so that they don't seem to concentrate on the conversation:Annie-O]They look like little kids sitting there. Even Annie-O commented that the women couldn't even cross their legs comfortably. Sometimes they stand on opposite sides of a set and banter with a male counterpart. Occasionally they even give us a score. Please ESPN, a little decorum?

You are a professional, after all. 
The latest thing in pro basketball is the "Hack-attack."  That's where you continually foul a really bad free throw shooter and force him to shoot free throws. These poor souls are only making as little as 40%  of their chances. No one likes it - not the coaches, the fans, the players or the Commissioner. But they still do it. Why? It works. So it will continue. There is talk of a rule change, but you don't need more rules. You want to stop it? MAKE THE DAMN FREE THROWS. You're paid millions to play a game. Put in a few hours practicing them. What else do you have to do?

Speaking of too many rules... 
One aspect of the college game that I like, is when the students "storm the court" after the home team upsets the visiting team, especially if the visitors come to town ranked #1. They're kids, they get excited. I suppose it's possible that someone could get hurt, but there's less chance of injury doing that than playing football. They Big 12, in it's infinite wisdom, has disallowed the court-storming in their games, so when Kansas State upset #1 Oklahoma in Manhattan, Kansas, the students couldn't go onto the floor to celebrate with their team, so the whole team ran up into the stands and they celebrated with the fans up there. Apparently, the team planned in advance to do this. Nothing bad happened but that won't matter. I sense another rule in the works.

Quote of the week:
"The star-studded cast in FX’s “The People vs. O.J. Simpson” includes Cuba Gooding Jr. as O.J. Simpson, John Travolta as Robert Shapiro, David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian, and Peyton Manning as the slow, white Bronco."  -- Argus Hamilton


" Douglas County is cracking down on restaurants that haven’t paid their fees. Nothing can ruin a romantic Valentine's dinner faster than seeing your maitre d handcuffed and wrestled to the floor"  -- Brad Dickson
"According to Forbes, Maria Sharapova makes $23 million a year off-court helping to sell products. And $5 million on-court helping to sell earplugs."  -- RJ Currie
"A robot dubbed Eldrick — in honor of Tiger Woods — hit a hole-in-one on the same par-3 16th hole at the TPC Scottsdale course in Arizona that Woods once did.  Eldrick is so realistic, witnesses say, that it even backed into a fire hydrant while trying to quickly exit the course."  -- Dwight Perry
"Hall of Fame QB Joe Montana performed the Super Bowl 50 coin flip. Maybe time has clouded my memory, but I believe it will mark the first time Montana ever threw something on Super Sunday that hit the grass."  -- Scott Ostler
"So SEC football colleges, in the name of pre-emptive, preventative social activism, now hold preseason seminars to tell their recruits they shouldn’t commit battery or sexual assault against women — apparently at least some of the recruits arrive unaware."  -- Phil Mushnik
"Super Bowl concessions prices for small drinks were $12-15 for beer, and $15-25 wine. And Yankees fans are going “why so cheap?"  -- Janice Hough
"Super Bowl MVP Von Miller went to Disney World, where he sacked Goofy six times. Peyton Manning went to the Happiest Place on Earth – a Budweiser factory."  -- Brad Dickson
"Peyton Manning didn’t say definitely after the game that he was retiring. But guessing Americans will have to watch “The People vs. OJ Simpson if they want to see more of a slow white Bronco."  -- Janice Hough


Sunday, February 07, 2016


Or is it? Years ago (I know, here we go again), the normal Sunday pro football pre-game show was an hour long. Playoff games - and Superbowl games - were two hours long. Then the network got smart (?) and extended the pre-game to five and six hours. Who actually stuck with all of that? The sponsors? Yes, until their spot aired. The network execs? They were too busy hosting their press parties. The players families? They were AT the parties. Not even the announcers and analysts who weren't part of the show. Both of them were languishing in a bar someplace.

I suppose I can understand the six-hour pre-game show, they want to delve deeply into the two teams. But now the Pre-Game Show started 10 days ago and peaked this past Monday. "Everything you ever wanted to know..." - sounds like a Johnny Carson Great Carnac routine, doesn't it?
The worst part is that they talk and talk and talk...then everybody picks Carolina. My bookie knew that two weeks ago...and he didn't need to get a report from the teams practice facilities.

Anyway, whether you're rooting for Carolina or exercising the nostalgia button and praying for Peyton, Enjoy the game. I'll be hoping my home-made nachos are tasty.

Omaha - Omaha!

College basketball
I told Annie-O this morning that the March Madness Brackets were going to be brutal this year. There is no clear-cut, dominant team to lead the field. Being labeled #1 in the country has been a kiss of death so far this year.  Is it parity or mediocrity?  Both. All the teams are equally mediocre.

If you want to succeed this year, you better be able to shoot free throws. Notre Dane beat #2 North Carolina yesterday, 80 - 76. ND was 31 for 38 (81.5%) from the free throw line. 38 free throws? That's outrageous.  Plus, NO ONE from N. Carolina fouled out.  Better than 38% of ND's points came from the charity stripe.
More free throw madness? Duke guard Grayson Allen is averaging 20.9 points/game, 2nd in the ACC. He scored 28 in Duke's win over NC State, and was 12-12 from the free throw line.

Speaking of fouls, I STILL don't know what constitutes a charge from a blocking foul. I suspect the refs don't either.

Okay, you can relax now, Yankee fans. The Yanks have signed 23-year old infielder Pete Kozma as utility infield depth. He has a career average of .222 with 3 homers in about 700 ABs. so...very deep depth.

Don't forget to tune in tomorrow for the first pre-game show for Super Bowl #51 on ESPN starting at 1:00 pm.

"The Broncos, encountered a bus mishap and a player getting nabbed in a prostitution sting less than 48 hours after arriving for the Super Bowl. Apparently their tour guide is Charlie Sheen."  -- Alex Kaseberg
"Super Bowl media night featured hand puppets, a leprechaun and a reporter in an “orange skinsuit.” I’m just glad this thing didn’t turn into a circus."  -- Brad Dickson
"There has been a  58% percent increase in NFL concussions in 2015 compared to 2014, due mostly to Seahawks fans after February’s Super Bowl slapping themselves on their foreheads."  -- TC Chong
" Brett Favre said he “would never bet against Peyton Manning”‘ in a Super Bowl. Well, until Brett changes his mind tomorrow."  -- Janice Hough
"Bad news: groundhog Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow. That’s right — six more weeks hearing about Peyton Manning’s Super Bowl legacy."  -- RJ Currie

"A Belgian cyclist was disqualified after getting caught with a concealed motor in her bike at the cyclocross world championships. Jeez, I hate it when officials nitpick. Other competitors got suspicious when she pulled into Jiffy Lube during a race."  -- Brad Dickson
"Today, the Dow ended down 249 points. I’m sorry, did I say the Dow? I meant the Lakers."  -- Conan O'Brien
"The Raiders are checking out a possible move to Las Vegas. In addition, they are looking into the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah."  -- Alex Kaseberg
"Clete Blakeman, this year’s Super Bowl referee, hails from Omaha, Neb. So he’ll be the one who keeps saying “Huh?” every time Peyton Manning barks his signals."  -- Dwight Perry
"Last week, Cam Newton was spotted in gold zebra print pants. He looked like he had just come from a garage sale at Johnny Weir’s home."  -- Brad Dickson
"The Lakers announced plans for a sculpture of Shaquille O’Neal outside Staples Center. If Kobe Bryant is ever honoured in bronze, Shaq’s statue will have its back turned to Kobe’s."  -- RJ Currie