Sunday, October 30, 2016


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.

"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."  --
"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


Thursday, October 27, 2016


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.”

"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


Thursday, October 20, 2016


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.

"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