Sunday, June 26, 2016


Reyes is now a Met
The Colorado Rockies released him after MLB suspended him for allegations of domestic abuse. Even though the Hawaiian Police had to withdraw charges after his significant other refused to press charges, baseball, in it's infinite wisdom decided to punish him anyway, and the hell with all those pesky things like facts and proof. The Mets apparently feel that once a hitter, always a hitter regardless of what's being hit, and since he will draw fans, MONEY is the only thing that counts. Besides, if the Yankees can do it, so can the Mets.
Do you want fries with that?
Near the end of yesterday's game with the Twins, the game was delayed while Brett Gardner cleaned up some french fries and a container that fell onto the warning track in left field. Did you see the size of the container the fries came in? It was humongous. The whole left field stands must have been sharing it. Because it's Yankee Stadium, I estimate the price to be at least $35. Gardner may have been the only one in left field who could afford it.
Can a position be cursed?
You'd think no, but the Yanks have had three 1st  baseman injured this year, two of them for the season. Teixeira, one of the three, is now back but because of an untreated torn cartilage in his knee, it's only a matter of time. Pitchers are going on the DL all the time, but that has become normal.
The Boston Red Sox have lost three left fielders so far, so it seems the disease is not limited to the infield.
How come we don't see catchers going on the DL all the time? At least that would make sense.
I have no doubt
David Cone has two phrases he uses all the time: "There is no doubt," and "No doubt about it." They are used alternately and mostly to emphasize all the stale baseball catch phrases such as "He's a pitcher, not a thrower," or "He's a professional hitter."  If I drank a beer every time he says one of these phrases, I'd be passed out by the 5th inning. No doubt about it.
The best team in baseball right now 
They've won eight of their last ten,  lead the majors in wins and are on a pace to win over 100 games. They're leading their division by a wide margin. Yeah, those Cubs are really...what's that? Not talking about the Cubs? Then who?Really? The Texas Rangers? Well they really snuck up on us, didn't they? I guess that means... and the Giants, too? So all three teams have won 43 games, leading the majors. I guess it's going to be an interesting summer after all.
It is supposed to be entertainment after all 
I've been to pro baseball games, pro football games and even pro hockey games. I've heard the constant roar that goes with these sports from their fans, including the sudden increase in the noise level when something exciting happens. Ahh, but soccer fans; they are different. Not only do they cheer and scream for their respective teams, they also sing. For the whole game. In unison. Often in harmony. I can't understand the words and maybe there aren't any. I don't think it matters. It's just soccer and it's beautiful.
It's almost time for that "game" again 
You know the one. The game that has a great impact on MLB's Champion, but is played like worthless exhibition. Yes, it's baseball's All-Star game. Every team has to have a representative and everyone is expected to make an appearance. This is like going out jogging but be attached to a five foot tether. The idea is fine but you're not really allowed to do it. I'll be "not-watching" again. 
Since every team has to be represented, it's interesting that the most worthy member of the Yankees is a middle reliever, Andrew Miller. Oh well, I guess Beltran, too.
Another resident genius
The guests on this morning's Sports Reporters were extolling the virtues of SF Giants manager Bruce Bochy. He has his Giants in first place. He makes all the right moves and makes them at the proper time. According to Bob Ryan, "He's got IT whatever IT is."  I know what IT is, Bob. It's really good players.
How dumb do you think we are?
The Russian Olympic team has been banned from the Rio Olympics because of long-term consistently failed drug tests. Over 600 Russian athletes have filed for exemptions asking that they be allowed to compete as "independents." The IOC is expected to deny most of them with the exceptions of those athletes who live and train outside of Russia. The IOC generally makes bad decisions in my opinion, but this is a good one.

"A strawberry moon (full on the summer solstice) rose this June — a rarity not seen in over half a century. That reminds me: there was a championship parade in Cleveland."  -- RJ Currie
" There is a bobblehead of New York Yankees prospect Greg Bird depicting him as an actual bird. I’m glad nobody thought of this when Dick Butkus was playing."  -- Brad Dickson

"Johnny Manziel’s lawyer accidentally sent a text to the AP which included this about a possible plea deal “Heaven help us if one of the conditions is to pee in a bottle.” Looking like Manziel’s judgment on lawyers is about as good as his judgment on everything else."  -- Janice Hough
"Portugal soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo — not liking a question after his subpar start in Euro 2016 — angrily grabbed a reporter’s microphone and threw it into a lake. His scoring touch may have been off, veteran Ronaldo-watchers say, but there’s certainly nothing wrong with his throw-ins."  -- Dwight Perry
"Kim and Khloe have a penchant for dating athletes. Repeatedly, the Kardashians have sullied our finest in cleats and Nikes. They have sidetracked more NBA careers than cocaine."  -- Norman Chad
"Before the NBA draft Thursday, dozens of players told their agents: “If the Philadelphia 76ers call, just let it go to voice mail.”  -- Brad Dickson
"Alabama’s president makes $535,000 a year — or just $10,000 more than the strength coach for the Tide football team. “It’s an outrage,” said one local resident. “He had a way better year than she did.”"  -- Dwight Perry

"Soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo threw a television reporter’s microphone into a lake. We’ll assume it was a stupid question, because it looked like a stupid answer."  -- RJ Currie
 "In Cleveland, people are flocking to see a sculpture of LeBron James made from dryer lint. You have over five decades to prepare, and this is what you come up with?"  -- Brad Dickson



Thursday, June 23, 2016


Brian Cashman says that when  the ownership and he sit down to evaluate the Yankee team, he will be "brutally honest." Just watch them play; that's what is brutal. 
Carlos Beltran can still hit, but sometimes he plays like he forgot to take his morning dose of Geritol. On occasion, he will go all out when running out a ground ball, but in the field...well that's a different story. He runs like he doesn't want to get to close to the ball. He appears to be waiting for Ellsbury to call him off every ball hit in his direction. 
The front office goes out of their way to give manager Joe Girardi a vote of confidence but some of this has to be Joe's responsibility. Brutal is a good way to describe the base running decisions the players make. 

So, bottom line, will the Yanks be buyers or sellers before the trading deadline? I think they have to be sellers. And who will they sell? The only ones that are impressing me lately are Refsnyder, Gregorious, Miller, Betances, Tanaka, Sabathia and Eovaldi. Beyond that, everybody is available - including Girardi. 

Last years two big power hitters, A-Rod and Teixeira, aren't scaring anybody with their bats, including the batting practice pitchers. With only 34 hits with the season about 45% gone, you have to wonder how Hal Steinbrenner feels about paying him about a quarter of a million dollars per hit so far this year.  Teixeira is even worse, racking up about $330,000 per hit. As my old boss used to say, "I wish I had your money."

I see the Yanks have added something new to their offensive arsenal this year: The dreaded Catcher's Interference. There have been only 22 so far in the majors and NY has cashed in on 7 of them. It's been a big help. Maybe they should go out and hire a catcher's interference coach.

"The NHL has approved an expansion team in Las Vegas. Well, this actually could be a major boon for the league. Americans love any sport when they can bet on it."  -- Janice Hough
"Packers punter Tim Mashtay said that during college he lived in a utility closet. He’s not to be confused with Johnny Manziel, who’s been closeted in futility."  -- RJ Currie
" According to The World-Herald, beer is being sold “in numerous places” at TD Ameritrade Park. If the NCAA and MECA can make money off beer sales, I’m pretty sure there’s a bar on the pitcher’s mound."  -- Brad Dickson
"The late hockey great Gordie Howe, to a doctor stitching up his cut in the dressing room during a game, as told by the Detroit Free Press: “Don’t go very far, because the guy who did this will be coming in soon.”  -- Sideline Chatter, Dwight Perry
"The NHL has awarded an expansion franchise to Las Vegas. All that prevented Seattle from entering the NHL was a bid, an owner and a building to play in."  -- Steve Simmons



Sunday, June 19, 2016


As Joe Garagiola once said (and titled his book), "Baseball is a funny game." Don't believe me? Check the standings. The only teams living up to their pre-season hype are the SF Giants, the Chicago Cubs and the Washington Nationals. The Orioles supposedly have a very weak pitching staff yet stand alone at the top of the AL East. Of course Boston and Toronto are hot on their heels.

Cleveland leads the AL Central by a thin margin over the Royals, the pick of the American League. Texas leads over the improving Mariners and the favored Houston Astros. The old saw - "The team in first on the 4th of July, wins the league" - probably won't hold in the American League this year.

Speaking of surprises, do you believe the year 39-year old Carlos Beltran is putting together? He's on a pace to hit 40+ homers and 110+ RBIs. He's three hits short of a .300 average. The guy is a walking Geritol commercial. 

A-Rod hit a home run yesterday, but I notice that his hits seem to be of the "ground-ball-finding-the-hole" variety. His power is to right field which tells me he's not really catching up to the fastball. In his last year, Paul O'Neill was doing the same thing. Unfortunately for NY, A-Rod is still about $40+ million away from the end of his contract.

The Yanks are currently playing the team with the worst record in the majors - the Minnesota Twins, a team you better be able to beat. The Twins have many weak spots, one of them being the bullpen. Here's your first clue: Their first man out of the pen is named Abad, the Yanks is named Goody. Kinda says it all, doesn't it?

This has puzzled me all year. For a non-contact sport, baseball players seem awfully fragile. We see ballplayers hurt themselves running to first, catching a ball, sliding into 2nd and diving into first. They get hurt just swinging the bat. And it's not just "Oh, he's day-to-day." It's "out for the season."  Doesn't say a lot for the Strength and Conditioning coaches. 
Then there's Mark Teixeira who wants to play 5 more years (He's 36), and Ichiro, who, at age 42, wants to play until he's 50. Sorry Ichiro, last I heard, they don't allow walkers on the field. 

Interesting story in Dwight Perry's column.

Scottie Pippen, meet Doyle Lonnegan.
Seems Pippen got conned — just like the fictional mobster in “The Sting” — to the tune of $100 every home game when he and Chicago Bulls teammate Michael Jordan “bet” on the outcome of the animated bull races on the arena’s Jumbotron. And all because Jordan arrived early one game day and saw the video technicians at work.
As ESPN’s Amin Elhassan tells it, “Mike is watching this and says, ‘You guys already know who’s going to win?’ And the guy says, ‘Yeah, it’s all prerecorded.’ ”
So, Elhassan said, Jordan got the inside scoop each time and Pippen never caught on to the con.

The 7th game of the NBA finals will be played tonight at the Chase Center Arena in Oakland. It's being hyped as the best NBA 7th game ever. For the record, Annie-O is rooting for the Warriors, I' watching a movie.

"The Cleveland Indians condiments race took a turn when infielder Jason Kipnis knocked Ketchup down. Critics said Kipnis did it because he can’t cut the mustard."  -- RJ Currie
" Johnny Manziel was served with legal papers outside a Los Angeles nightclub. Jeez, how did the process server know where to find Manziel? He must be psychic."  -- Brad Dickson

"Some question as to whether or not  Tim Lincecum was ready to face major league hitting. Looks like he was at least ready to face the Oakland As."  -- Janice Hough.
"Indians third baseman Juan Uribe left Sunday’s game on a cart after a scorching grounder hit him in the groin and left him with a testicular contusion. Uribe, in case you missed it, is the new Spanish word for “soprano.”  -- Dwight Perry
"Indians third baseman Juan Uribe — felled by a bad-hop grounder that left him with a testicular contusion — claimed he doesn’t wear a protective cup because the team doesn’t have one in his size.  No word on whether he was bragging or complaining."  -- Dwight Perry  [and the hits just keep on coming - CP]
"Heavy favorite Exaggerator finished 11th at the Belmont Stakes. However, he told everyone he was fifth."  -- Brad Dickson
" Golden State’s Steph Curry was ejected from the game for tossing his mouth guard into the crowd in reaction to a referee’s call late in the game tonight. For the record, “mouth guard & LeBron James” have never been used in the same sentence."  -- TC Chong
"Golden State’s Steph Curry was ejected from a game for tossing his mouth guard into the crowd. NHL star Jaromir Jagr did the same thing once — except his teeth were still in it."  -- RJ Currie
"The Detroit Lions plan to add a sideline cheer staff this season because, they say, “the Ford Family is unwavering in their commitment to improving the Detroit Lions fan experience.”  Hey, don’t laugh: It was either that or try to field a winning football team."  -- Dwight Perry
"In Game 6 of the NBA Finals, Steph Curry was ejected after throwing his mouthpiece. The apple doesn’t fall far. The game was then delayed after Riley Curry tossed her pacifier on the court."  -- Brad Dickson



Sunday, June 12, 2016


Sometimes friends ask me why I don't post blogs more often. I always tell them the same thing: I write when I'm inspired to write; when I need to say something. I noticed this week that all the sports stories were sad stories. It was hard to find that joy in watching your team play, watching your favorite athlete perform, watching that great play.
Some of it was there: the Cubs continue to excel, Riley Curry's favorite man coming thru big time in a playoff game, the Yankees winning 5 in a row. But intertwined in the good, was the unfortunate stories and the media always highlight them as though that was the only thing to talk about.
The Warriors are one game away from a magical record-breaking season but the sports networks go on and on  about the dust-up between Lebron James and Draymon Green.
Maria Sharapova gets a two year suspension for a positive drug test.  I'm going to miss those grunts.

The saddest, of course, are the deaths of two of the world's greatest athletes: Muhammad Ali and Gordie Howe. I'm going to miss them, too.
I'm currently watching a 30 for 30 special about the Hillsborough soccer disaster in 1989. I can't think of anything that could be sadder than attending a sports even only to have your anticipated good times ruined when some people are killed and many others injured.

I'm done with that. I'm not going to talk about the bad things anymore. I'm going to enjoy sports, watch the events and be happy again. Find the good even in the face of these sad things Let's start with Muhammad Ali's funeral. Celebrate the man the way Billy Crystal did by watching this eulogy

Let's hope that sports gives us those pleasurable moments again. Those great athletic plays, the eye-catching performances  and the record-breaking accomplishments. You will forgive my occasional rants about umpire Joe West and the horrible Fox sports announcers. After all, you can only have so much fun.

"Virginia McLaurin finally attended her first major-league game last week at Nationals Park in Washington — at age 107. Not that MLB games drag on or anything, but she was already 108 by the time it ended."  -- Dwight Perry
"After Game 2 of the NBA Finals, Kevin Love underwent concussion protocol. I hope he wasn’t asked, “When was the last time a team from Cleveland won a title in sports?” “I don’t know, but that doesn’t mean I have a concussion.”  -- Brad Dickson
"Steph Curry is bowing out of the Olympics. Makes sense. If he wants the experience against playing against a team of mixed amateurs and professionals, the Warriors have plenty of games next year against the Lakers."  -- Janice Hough
"The NFL has awarded the 2021 Super Bowl to L.A.. Everybody out here agrees it could bring some much-needed traffic to Los Angeles."  -- Argus Hamlton
"ESPN televises The Scripps National Spelling Bee. I watched it, and ESPN was the only word all night I knew how to spell."   -- Jimmy Fallon
" Lil Wayne has written a song about the Cleveland Cavaliers. I believe it's called "#$%^ ^&*! #$^&#@$ and $%^&. -- Brad Dickson
"Appleton, Wis. — home of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, the Brewers’ Class A affiliate — has been proclaimed “the drunkest city in America” by 24/7 Wall Street. To no one’s surprise, the bases were loaded when the announcement came."  -- Dwight Perry
"Former NFL punter Steve Weatherford says he got kicked out of a Planet Fitness for grunting too hard. On the plus side, oddsmakers just installed him and Maria Sharapova as the mixed-doubles favorites at Wimbledon."  -- Dwight Perry
"Khloe Kardashian said she's not dating Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr.; she was only flirting with him. Given the history of athletes with Kardashians, that’s a pass Beckham was wise to drop."  -- Janice Hough
"A rugby player in Italy tested positive for 11 banned substances. Halfway through testing the specimen jar exploded."  -- Brad Dickson