Sunday, May 29, 2016


I've been away so long that I forgot the address of the blog site. Well, I found it, I'm back and as cranky as ever.

Tell your statistics to shut up.
I like stats - a lot - but I hate false statistics. Some of the new defensive ones make no sense to me, especially the one that determines "runs saved." I don't get it. Supposedly, fielders get credit for making plays other fielders can't. Is a shortstop great at going to his left or did the tendency statistics move him into position to make that play?
Here's a big one: A lefty hitter has a tendency to pull the ball to the right side consistently. All of a sudden he begins to ground out to the third baseman regularly. Do we change the tendencies? Pitch him differently? Actually, the defensive shift puts the third baseman in short right field. Do they write that down on the score card? Develop a sign to put next to the putout that the fielder was out of his normal position? Have a beer and burn your score card?

When should a pitcher get ejected for throwing at a hitter?
When the hitters stop doing elaborate bat flips and poses after hitting a homer. (Bautista got what he deserved) However, retaliatory measures should happen reasonably quickly after the event. If you have ever played ball, you know a pitch thrown behind you is scary as hell - and it doesn't hurt. Why throw a pitcher out for that? Point taken and no injuries.

Is there no end to this?
Art Briles, the very successful football coach at Baylor Univ. has been suspended in response to his improper handling of sexual assault allegations against students.The president, Ken Starr, was also "punished" by demoting him to chancellor. And Starr is a law professor at the University. Somehow I doubt he was teaching the ethics course.
The actual problem was that they didn't handle anything.  They did their best to bury everything. I don't wish this on anyone, but what if it was one of their daughters that was assaulted? Would they still bury everything?  Apparently, Briles also recruited players that had been dismissed from other schools for similar allegations. What's really sad is that at some point, some other university will hire him.
It's one thing to cheat by helping students with their classes or submit false high school transcripts, but sexual assaults should be jumped on with both feet - wearing football cleats.

I thought they were on my side - for a while.
Have you noticed that some players wear solid color socks right up to the knee, while some wear their pants over their shoes?  You won't see any kind of uniform freedom in the NFL. Those uniforms must be absolutely, exactly the same for all the players. But not in baseball. Some wear striped socks , a few even wear the stirrup socks. No consistency even for teammates. Of course, I prefer the stirrup socks but then I live a little to the right of John Birch.
I was happy when I heard that MLB had signed a deal with a uniform supplier to be the official sock supplier for MLB. Hooray, consistency. Then I read that players could still wear anything they wanted, just so StanceBaseball, the official supplier,  provided them. So the only consistency here was that MLB found a way to make money when dealing with a problem. No solution, just profit. I should have known.

Is there a message here?
I received a gift for my birthday from one of my friends in the newspaper industry, Dwight Perry. He, like me, is big fan of sports, baseball in particular. We both see the humor is sport, Dwight more than most, and he keeps me laughing all the time. Being that he's from Seattle, there must be a story behind this shirt.
By the way, the reason for the glove is that Annie-O made meatballs and I'm trying to use them up.

"The Savanna (Ga.) Bananas minor-league baseball team adopted a puppy found in their ballpark parking lot. If it’s a wiener dog, how about calling it Frank Banana?"  -- Dwight Perry [You knew I had to put this in - CP]

"Virginia McLaurin, 107, went to her first MLB game this week at Nationals Park. 107. Wow. To put this in perspective, Ms. McLaurin was born only two years after the Cubs won their last World Series."  -- Janice Hough
"The Houston Astros’ George Springer hit a foul ball into a concession stand deep fryer. A confused fan who later ate the ball said that, with a little mustard, it was no worse than other concession fare."  -- Brad Dickson
"A photo surfaced of an emaciated-looking Johnny Manziel at a Las Vegas pool party. Manziel’s muscles are so deflated, the NFL is questioning Tom Brady."  -- Alex Kaseberg
"Coach’s name noted at the recent Ontario high-school basketball championships: Gus Gymnopoulos. Some guys are just born to teach gym."  -- RJ Currie
"The NFL is moving the Pro Bowl from Honolulu to Orlando, Fla. What a perfect destination for a Mickey Mouse event!"  -- Greg Cote
"The Washington Capitals let 101-year-old fan Gert Friedman ride on their ice-resurfacing machine between periods at a recent game. Fans knew something was up because the Zamboni’s left blinker was going nonstop."  -- Dwight Perry
"The Cleveland Cavaliers were nearly barred from entering Canada to go play the Raptors. I can picture Cleveland sports fans one day going, “Then there was the year we lost a championship due to Customs.”  -- Brad Dickson
"Jackie Bradley Jr. went 0-4 last night, snapping his hit streak at 29 games. So he was only a little over a month away from potentially catching Dimaggio."  -- Janice Hough
"A man has stood outside Gillette Stadium every day for a month hoping for The New England Patriots to give him a tryout. Finally, Bill Belichick stuck his head out the door and said, “Go home Terrell Owens!"  -- TC Chong
"Don’t get in a fight with somebody who’s ugly. They got nothing to lose."  -- Charles Barkley
"Reuters reports an alligator bit off the arm of a Florida man who tried swimming across a lake to avoid arrest. Police said he was unarmed."  -- RJ Currie  [I've got to stop encouraging puns - CP]
"ESPN’s long-winded Chris Berman will quit his weekly NFL gigs at the end of the 2016 season, the Big Lead reported. That clicking sound you hear is mute buttons coast to coast getting a 21-thumb salute."  -- Dwight Perry

"Blue By won a feature at Horsemen’s Park after losing a race last month at Fonner Park after running into a goose. Signs you’re not cut out to be a gambler: You bet on the horse that rammed a goose."  -- Brad Dickson


Friday, May 20, 2016


With 25% of the season in the bank, there are some interesting things going on.

** The Cubs have lost 5 of their last 10 games - which gives then 11 for the year. They're still on a pace to win about 115 games. Meanwhile, Atlanta and Minnesota are a pace to LOSE 120 games.

** Chris Sale is 9-0, Jake Arrieta is 7-0 as is Stephen Strasburg. We may see the first 30-game winner since Denny McLain back in 1968. Maybe more than one.

** Dwayne Wade kept shooting baskets before a game while they were playing the Canadian National Anthem. Very classy, Dwayne. Don't expect any votes for the Canadian Sportsman of the Year.

** Yankee owner, Hal Steinbrenner, recently told the press that he holds the players responsible for the Yankee's horrible start, not Joe Girardi. Well, the players aren't helping, but Girardi should be shouldering a lot of the blame. He manages every game as though it was the 7th game of the World Series. Last night he couldn't wait to bring in the big three guns in the bullpen for the third time, even though he said he would avoid doing that. There was even a good reason to take the starter out. Nova pitched 6 strong innings, had thrown only 62 pitches and was never really threatened.
I can understand physical errors but when players look like their heads aren't in the game, that's the managers fault. There are multiple poor decisions on the field every game. That's your job, Joe.

Here are Yankee beat writer Andrew Marchand's suggestions about what  King George Steinbrenner would do if he was still around.
1. FIRE JOE GIRARDI   (Well, this is a given - and it would have happened a month ago)
2. HIRE BOBBY VALENTINE  (Ugh! I don't like this one)
3. HIRE SEAT-FILLERS  (Just like the Oscars. Sure, why not)
4. FIRE BOBBY V  (Now you're talking)
5. HIRE WALLY BACKMAN  (Who? Oh, 'cause he's a former Met. Yeah, that'll work)
6. RIP JACOBY ELLSBURY IN THE MEDIA  (One of George's favorite tricks & a good place to start)
7. FIRE WALLY BACKMAN  (This doesn't surprise anyone, does it?)
8. MAKE A-ROD PLAYER-MANAGER  (If this isn't a match made in heaven, I don't know what is.)
9. PUT BRIAN CASHMAN ON NOTICE  (On notice? You mean he hadn't fired him already?)
10. GO AFTER JOHN OLIVER  (A feud with a talk show host? Who'd believe that? Well, everybody.)

Picasner's bonus: Rehire Joe Girardi. (Oh, like that's never happened.)
And the best part is - They haven't even played the All-Star game yet.

** You gotta love the Atlanta Braves. They fired their manager in the middle of a road trip and don't even tell him. They just booked a flight for him back to Atlanta and let the airlines send a notice about the flight.

** We've all seen the fight between Bautista and Odor and the punishments have been handed out. I have one last take on this. Did Joey Bats really do anything wrong? He slid right over the bag, never really clipped Odor and made no obvious effort to hurt him. Why was he suspended? Let's dump "the Utley rule".

"The Atlanta Braves have a concession item called Burgerizza which is a 20-ounce beef patty covered in bacon, five slices of cheese and served between two pepperoni pizzas. Maybe the Braves won't win, but you can feed a family of five with this."  -- Brad Dickson
"Tom Brady has sold out his new cookbook at $200 each. The original price was $225, but they adjusted for deflation."  -- RJ Currie
"Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer, fresh off his record-tying 20-strikeout game, took a selfie standing under the sign at the intersection of 20th and K streets in downtown Washington."  -- Dwight Perry
"Russian sports minister does about-face and admits their athletes were doping, saying that he’s ‘ashamed of them. On a related note, his funeral is scheduled for next week."  --
"Texas second baseman Rougned Odor was handed an eight game suspension for his part in the brawl vs the Blue Jays. This will give him enough time to sign an endorsement contract with Hawaiian Punch."  -- TC Chong

"There's an allegation the Russians cheated at past Olympic Games. Take that time Russia set a world record in the four-man bobsled while going uphill. That was suspect."  -- Brad Dickson
"After two complete games back to back for the SF Giants pitching staff, Jeff Samardzija goes 8 innings allowing only 1 earned run. Wimp."  -- Janice Hough
"Max Scherzer threw 20 K’s last Wednesday against the Tigers. That ties a record for striking out I set at my Grade 12 graduation dance."  -- RJ Currie
"A huge brawl broke out between the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers. I watched for two minutes before I realized it wasn't an NHL classic game."  -- Brad Dickson

"Mets pitcher Colon — married for 21 years with four children — is being sued for child support by a woman who says he fathered two kids with her, the New York Post reported. Which certainly isn’t what Ernie Banks had in mind when he said, “Let’s play two!"  -- Dwight Perry
" Lebron James: “I have no idea what a common foul and flagrant foul is.” Based on this postseason, neither do NBA refs."  -- Janice Hough


Sunday, May 15, 2016


** David Ortiz is on fire.
This is amazing for a guy in his 40's. He projects out to 45+ homers and 150+ RBIs. He probably won't reach those numbers, but they're still going to be pretty good. He does play in the bandbox they call Fenway Park for half of his games, but he is dangerous on the road, too. If this was A-Rod, everybody would be saying that he's found a way to beat the drug-testing, but nothing like that surrounds Big Papi. My question is: Why is retiring?

** Things could be worse.
For all the bad-mouthing about the Yankees season so far, The Minnesota Twins and the Atlanta Braves are really struggling this year. Both have only 9 wins to date and have a shot at not reaching 50 wins. In 2003, the Detroit Tigers ended with a record of 43-119 and finished 47 games out. Back in 1962, the Amazin' Mets showed how hapless a team could be by finishing a whopping a 60 games out. The Twins and the Braves have a shot.

** How long does this last, Sarah?
On the Sports Reporters this morning, Sarah Spain of ESPN, commented on the ovation Aroldis Chapman received on Friday when he entered the game in the 9th for the first time for the New York Yankees. She felt the crowd shouldn't have been cheering for Chapman since he  was coming off an MLB suspension for Domestic Abuse. They should have been considering his girlfriend instead. First of all, he was never officially charged Secondly, his girlfriend's 'injuries' weren't even noticed by the investigating officers right away. Lastly, he paid for his transgressions, whatever they may have been. So should he be punished for the rest of his life, Sarah?

** For it's one, two, three strikes... 
The Yanks unveiled their new 3-headed closer last night, the Bettances-Miller-Chapman beast manager Joe Girardi keeps locked in the NY bullpen. Opposing teams are hoping he'll lose the key. Their first attempt resulted in in 8 strikeouts out of ten chances, one hit and no runs. They are the most dangerous threesome since the three witches in Macbeth.

** The Russian athletes are doping again.
At least that's the rumor going around. I almost said "amateur athletes," but that's never been the case in Russia. The IOC is investigating this (HAH!) and if these reports are verified, they promise "harsh penalties." (Double HAH!)  Some analysts have suggested that Russia be banned from the Rio Olympics but that will never happen - too much money involved. Of course, with the extreme threat of  an infectious disease outbreak, banishment may not be such a bad thing.

** Another Yankee  goes down. 
This time, it's the youngster 22-year old pitcher Luis Severino.  I've asked this question before - where are the strength and conditioning coaches. It's not only pitchers, but position players too. Older players or rookies, it makes no difference. Do you think George would have put up with this? If he were still running things, we might be in double figures in strength and conditioning coaches by now. 
While we're at it,  New York is 25th in the Majors in hitting, yet they have TWO hitting coaches. More is obviously not better. 

** He might as well keep busy. 
Yesterday was Bat Day at Yankee Stadium. Actually, it was Alex Rodriquez Bat Day and there was A-Rod at one of the gates handing out bats. He's on the DL, so he had no responsibilities on the field And probably felt he should be doing something to earn his millions. Word is that he can be quite charming and this effort has certainly helped his image and it's another PR act that has been a hallmark of the "changed A-Rod since his return from suspension. This can't hurt.

"Cast members of “A League of Their Own” reunited last week. Just for fun, they beat the Minnesota Twins 5-2."  -- Brad Dickson
"Tigers ace Justin Verlander and supermodel Kate Upton got engaged. One is known for devastating curves, the other pitches for Detroit."  -- RJ Currie
"Voters in McKinney, Texas, voted to build a $63 million football stadium. If I know Texas football, this is for the JV team."  -- Brad Dickson
"I ordered a pint of Pale Ale at New Orleans Louis Armstrong airport. Cost was US $12. Who do they think they are? Yankee Stadium?"  -- TC Chong
"Bartolo Colon, 42, with a lifetime career .089 batting average, hit his first home run after 19 years in the majors. While rounding the bases, he twice had to stop and ask directions."  -- Brad Dickson
"Two soccer refs who were visibly drunk during a game — one of whom allegedly urinated on the field — were handed lifetime bans by the Czech Football Association.What, no yellow card?"  -- Dwight Perry  [As you all know, I'm not into puns, by my wife liked this one.]
"The Arizona Coyotes made John Chayka, 26, the youngest GM in NHL history. Chayka immediately traded a future first-round draft pick for four killer tickets to Pearl Jam."  -- Greg Cote
"The losers of the Ohio State spring football game were penalized by having to shovel mulch.  Of course, if Urban Meyer really wants to motivate players, he could make the losers go to class."  -- Janice Hough
"Bartolo Colon, the portly 42-year-old Mets pitcher, hit his first career home run Saturday night. As of early this morning, he was rounding second base."  -- RJ Currie  [Followed by David Ortiz, no doubt.]
"I wouldn’t say smoke from Minnesota wildfires reduced visibility in Omaha last weekend, but three hours after the international equestrian show ended at CenturyLink Center, people were still sitting in the stands going, “This is great.”"  -- Brad Dickson



Thursday, May 12, 2016


Nice win for the Yankees tonight.

Jason and I were watching the 'Manager's Report' segment of the post-game show when he turned and said, "If you painted Joe Girardi green, he would look just like Yoda... we would have...Joe-Da!"

I'll never look at Girardi the same way again.

- Zola

Sunday, May 08, 2016


Back from the Robotics Wars in St. Louis and ready to vent my anger at all things not old fashioned. Actually, while I do prefer sports played the "old" way, there are many new things that I like.
**I like the fact that the Cubs are winning like crazy and will likely make the World Series. Their stadium, Wrigley Field, has a great history and deserves to be showcased in the post season. It is one of the most uncomfortable stadiums I've ever been in - the seats are small, the rows close together and the ushers not as nice as the other places I've visited - it's great to watch a game on TV.
**Pink bats on Mother's day. I'm not exactly fond of the pink, but it's terrific to honor Mothers Day. We visited the Louisville Slugger factory and museum last week and actually saw the bats being made. The guide said the players only get two bats each and generally, the players give one to their mother and the other is auctioned off for charity to fight breast cancer.. Speaking of which - HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all the mothers.
I'm not a gambler, so horse races hold little interest for me, but I do watch the triple crown races. The Kentucky Derby intrigues me not only for the race but also for the fashions, especially the ladies hats. My vote for the best hat, however goes to Johnny Weir (sorry, Tara).
**I don't like the antics sometimes, but how can you watch super athletes perform at such a high level and not be amazed. LeBron James' superior performance in all aspects of basketball. Jim Brown, running like a tank through defenses designed to stop him, David Ortiz, hitting homers when it counts the most. Steph Curry, faking players out of their shoes and hitting 40-foot jump shots. Martina Navratilova, destroying opponents like they were school children. Mo' Rivera toying with hitters.

Yeah, it's why we keep going to the games in spite of the sometimes outrageous ticket prices. Who can tell me why a hot dog tastes better sitting in the 2nd deck behind third base, than anywhere else in the world?

I don't like the obscene, planned bat flips after homers. Oh, slamming it to the ground or tossing it a few feet away are okay, but flipping it way up in the air or tossing it 20 to 30 feet away as if to say, "I didn't really need the darned thing," is over the top. Take Odubel Herrera of the Phillies. He slammed a ball deep into the right field stands, flipped the bat away and started his slow homerun trot. Um, wait a minute - the ball was foul. I hope the grin on his face as he retrieved his bat was one of embarrassment.

Big Papi lost it Friday night on a called strike when he thought he had a bases-loaded walk. Ortiz is the King of Whiners, but I appreciate that the situation was so intense that emotions would be high. The umpire let him vent big time and did nothing, which was great. But why did he get tossed when he went back to the dugout? By the way, two replays on YES Network showed that the strike call was correct but some sportswriters are still saying it was a bad call. Shame on them.

How far has former Cy Young/MVP winner Justin Verlander fallen? A few days ago, this headline surfaced: "Kate Upton engaged to baseball player."

 Here’s to Fred Costello, in his 40th year as the organist at Triple-A Rochester Red Wings games. Costello is the country’s longest reigning sports organist. Organs have become passé at ballgames — teams prefer blaring canned music that eliminates conversation. (From Phil Mushnick's column.)

Janice Hough has a thing about East Coast bias and she has a point. Even I'm tired of the Yankees-Red Sox games ALWAYS being on ESPN on Sunday night. At least we don't have to listen to Curt Schilling anymore. John Kruk is bad enough.
Apparently, screwing with ESPN is not the wisest thing to do. Schilling continues to make disparaging remarks about his former employer. ESPN did not respond to all the remarks, but when their aired  special on the Sox terrific comeback in the playoffs after being down 3-0 in games, they didn't show game 6, Schilling's "bloody sock" game. Oops...well, it seems that...uh sorry, we had to cut somewhere, so...

"NHL analyst Elliotte Friedman said the regular season no longer matters for Ovechkin and the Capitals. That’s right, it doesn’t matter — it’s like  Gisele Bundchen's IQ."  -- RJ Currie
"A U.S. mother-son team from Georgia is going to compete in the Rio Olympics in shooting. I feel sorry for the burglar who breaks into this house."  -- Brad Dickson
"The Cubs in 2016 have a +101 run differential. To put this in perspective, the Yankees in 2016 have SCORED 100 runs."  -- Janice Hough
"John Daly set to join the Champions Tour after turning 50. He will be the only tour member with two major championships, three children, four ex-wives and, seemingly, nine lives" --  Josh Peters
"NBA officials missed five — five! — calls in the final 13.5 seconds of Game 2 of the Spurs-Thunder playoff series, that's one every 21/2 seconds. You can't even blow the whistle that fast."  -- Mitch Albom
"PGA Tour stars Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler had to dodge a golf ball thrown their way by a so-called fan at the Wells Fargo Championship on Thursday. Bet they’re thanking their lucky stars they didn’t decide to become pro bowlers."  -- Dwight Perry
"Who’d a thunk that  Bartolo Colon would be certain to end the 2016 season with more home runs than Pablo Sandoval?"   -- Janice Hough

"While under the yellow caution light in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s steering wheel came completely off. He was still driving better than most people on Interstate 80 during my morning commute."  -- Brad Dickson
"LeBron James will reportedly star in Space Jam 2. No word on who plays the coach that LeBron gets fired."  -- RJ Currie