Sunday, February 19, 2017


Goodbye, Mike
Mike Ilitch, billionaire owner of the the Detroit Tigers and the Detroit Red Wings, has died at 87. You won't be able to find a smarter, more dedicated owner in all of sports. He wanted to win so badly, he was willing to spent big money to get one. He didn't just throw money around like George Steinbrenner, he always put his money where it would do the most good. He acquired players who filled the needs of his teams, not just buying the biggest names available, but getting those players who could strengthen their weaknesses. He was also dedicated to the city of Detroit, spending money to help out a city in one of the most desperate financial crises in the USA. He will definitely be missed.

The Blame Game 
It seems interesting that the last two Super Bowls were lost by the offensive coordinators: Darrell Bevell, of the Seattle Seahawks and Steve Sarkisian, of the Atlanta Falcons. Both men called for passing plays near the end of the game when a running play almost assured his team of a win. Why? Is it pride? Both men will have excuses...sorry, I mean reasons, but the bottom line is still winning and neither coach chose the most logical way to get that win.

Well that didn't take long.
Two days into the start of spring training and already the Yanks have two guys hurt. Two of the youngest kids on the team. Tyler Austin broke his foot when he fouled off a pitch during batting practice and Mason Williams has an inflamed knee.

That's no help, Manfred.
Rob Manfred, baseball's Commissioner, wants to shorten the length of games. Good idea, but his first suggestions aren't going to help much. Limit the amount of time the managers have to decide if they want to challenge a play to thirty seconds. That may save 15-20 seconds at most. He also suggested having batters take first base on an intentional walk without having the pitcher throw 4 balls. Again, not particularly helpful. Besides, as a purist (which means I'm old), I think that's a mistake. There is always that chance that the pitcher may throw one away and making a situation that much worse.
The real answer, of course, is right in front of you. KEEP THE BATTER IN THE BOX AND THE PITCHER ON THE RUBBER. Now was that hard? This is really where the most time is wasted. You could shorten the commercial time between innings, but that's just being silly, isn't it?
Keep trying, Rob. The intention is good.

They already have a rule.
They're going to change the strike zone by moving it up a couple of inches. They've tried this before. They have raised it, lowered it and widened it.  It's interesting that the official rule hasn't changed in over 20 years, just the umpire's interpretation of the zone. Of course, every umpire has their own strike zone. They'll never be able to fix that.

"If Super Bowl 51 had gone much longer, it would have run into the Super Bowl 52 pregame show."  -- RJ Currie
"In talking about the fiasco that is the NY Knicks franchise: "If Phil Jackson were alive today..."  -- Gene Wojciechowski  
"How about that historic Super Bowl LI? The intensity, the physicality, the incredible display of athleticism. I’m talking about Lady Gaga at halftime."  -- Brad Dickson
"Kyrie Irving is questioning whether dinosaurs existed. Fool, he could have just asked  Tim Duncan, who lived with them."  -- Janice Hough
"The Spurs have clinched their record 20th straight winning season. Even more remarkable is that they did it with the same starting lineup."  -- Jim Barach
"Winnipeg Jets star Dustin Byfuglien loves ice fishing. He has to be fast, though: He only gets two minutes for hooking." - RJ Currie
"There is a report that Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria might sell the team. You thought the death of Fidel Castro was celebrated down here? The departure of Loria might run a close second."  -- Greg Cote
"The Atlanta Zoo has named a species of cockroach after Tom Brady. In related news, Falcons fans gave the same name to their local bookies when they had to square up."  -- TC Chong
"The Baylor football program is a  mess. I think everybody’s pretty much in the barrel, but I don’t know if anybody knows where the bottom of the barrel is."  -- Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby

Read more here:

"The NY Post said the ring girl who MMA fighter Andrew Whitney accidentally socked in the jaw was okay. Just okay? I've seen her pictures; she deserves a standing-10 count."  -- RJ Currie
"NFL owners moving their franchises to new locations with taxpayer-subsidized stadiums. For folks with no farming background, it’s amazing how well they know how to milk a cash cow."  -- Norman Chad
"Organizers of the Westminster Kennel Club Show  took hundreds of dogs and dozens of cats and placed them under one roof. Well, I certainly can’t think of anything that could go wrong here." -- Brad Dickson
"The Atlanta Falcons fired defensive coaches Richard Smith and Bryan Cox. When asked what the tipping point was, coach Dan Quinn listed 31 points in row."  -- RJ Currie
"University of Washington basketball player Malik Dime slapped two Colorado fans. Well, who hasn’t wanted to do that at one time or another?"  -- Brad Dickson



Friday, February 10, 2017


...then lets break it.
The latest bit of insanity to come out of baseball is this new rule they will experiment with in the rookie leagues this year. They will start every extra inning with a man a second base. Is this baseball's answer to the hockey shoot-out? Or soccer's?
The non-purists who came up with this one state what they consider good reasons for the change. It will speed up the game, it will add excitement  and if it shortens the game, it could save wear and tear on pitcher's arms. It will do all that but at what cost? As it stands, baseball has the best "sudden death" of any of the major sports. Soccer players run their hearts out only to have the outcome determined by penalty kicks which seem to get made 90% of the time. Look at pro football. How fair was the ending to the last Super Bowl? Basically, that game was decided by a coin flip!

No. they should leave it alone.  Each team gets a shot and the only advantage goes to the home team because they hit last. If the game goes longer than 10 or 11 innings, then you test the whole roster of each team. They continue to experiment with the strike zone. they will raise the lower portion of the strike zone by about an inch. This is supposed to improve the chances of batters to get a hit. Maybe it will, maybe not, but the process will be in the hands of the players and that change will eventually sort itself out without contaminating the sport as a whole.

One change they are considering is a protective helmets for pitchers. These look more like visors to make them more unobtrusive for the pitchers. Maybe not the best answer, but a good start.  Here's what it looks like:

Pitchers & catchers report on Valentine's Day and actually throw in earnest on Wednesday. It can't happen too soon for me.  Even the Leftcoastsportsbabe blog is mostly politics. Let's give her something besides the President to write about.

There is a rumor - a rumor, mind you - that after losing to St. Bonaventure in Olean, NY, the St. Louis Bilikins bus driver drove off and left the team stranded. Can losing to the Bonnies be that embarrassing?

"Spring Training starts next week.  About time. February is kind of a comedy wasteland for sports humor.  Although to be fair, in New York, the Knicks and Nets are doing their part."  -- Janice Hough "If Atlanta had won the toss and scored a TD in O.T. — meaning Tom Brady never got to respond — the hue and cry to change overtime would have been deafening. Change the rule: give both offences and both defences a shot in overtime."  -- RJ Currie
"There will be a lunar eclipse Friday.The moon was supposed to disappear last Sunday as part of Lady Gaga's elaborate Super Bowl halftime show."  -- Brad Dickson
"Coach Bill Belichick will be playing at this weekend’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am. So what’s happened to “No Days Off”????"  -- TC Chong


Sunday, February 05, 2017


Just nine days now until players start to don the fabled Yankee pinstripes. Pitchers & catchers report on the 14th and begin workouts the next day with the full squad due to begin on Sunday the 19th. I can hardly wait.

** Yes, yes, I know. The Super Bowl is tonight including what is usually the most imaginative commercial ads of the year. So if one bit of entertainment disappoints, you have a second chance to be entertained.
The Patriots are favored by three and the Falcons have the hottest quarterback in the game right now, so the odds are good that it will be a good game. I'll be rooting for the Falcons while Annie-O  will be rooting against the Patriots. She is a member of the ABB club, as in Anybody But Brady. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30, that is, if the pregame shows are over with by then.

** The Syracuse Orange made a terrific showing yesterday, beating 9th ranked Virginia 66-62. The win was Jim Boeheim's 1000th win...or his 899th, depending on whether you believe in the NCAA or not. After being stripped of 101 wins because of some infraction, Boeheim had a great comment about the penalty. "I know I've been here for 1000 victories even if the NCAA doesn't see it that way," he said. The ruling makes no sense to me. The NCAA says Syracuse lost those 101 games, but no one was given the wins. That means for three years Syracuse played 101 games in which NO team won. I guess that's only logical in Indianapolis, the headquarters of the NCAA. They may be good at sports but lousy at math.

Which brings me to another point: When a University gets penalized for some infraction by being barred for post season play, the coach  leaves and goes to another school, leaving the team in the lurch. Doesn't it make sense that those penalties should also follow the coach too? That may help keep coaches from deserting a school because of a situation he was responsible for. And what school would want to hire a coach that would result in no NCAA tournament for the school?  Guess that's too logical for the NCAA.

"The Patriots, who came so close to doing it nine seasons ago, have landed the trademark rights to the slogans “Perfect Season” and “19-0.”  “We’ve got dibs on 0-16,” said the Detroit Lions."  -- Dwight Perry
" So can someone explain to me why Baylor still has a football team?"  -- Janice Hough
"The Oakland Raiders may not be moving to Las Vegas. It appears they wanted fans to purchase a 3 drink minimum for games."  -- Tony Chong
"The Australian Open featured a match between Anastasia Sergeyevna Pavlyuchenkova and Natalia Konstantinovna Vikhlyantseva. I’m happy to report there were no injuries when the scoreboard collapsed midway."  -- Brad Dickson
"The Westminster Dog Show announced it has added three new breeds. Said the dogs, “Yeah, last year’s after party got pretty wild"  -- Seth Meyers
"Ex-NFL star Deion Sanders, 49, says not even Usain Bolt could have beaten him in a race when Sanders was in his prime. In Bolt’s defense, though, he would have been only 5 or 6 at the time."  -- Dwight Perry
"Ex-NBA player Stephen Jackson said he sometimes smoked pot before games. Which was evident in his career game stats, where he averaged 15.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 4.7 pizzas.”  -- Jim Barach
" New 49ers GM John Lynch says SF is going to “aggressively recruit” talent to “make us even stronger.” Well, it would be hard to make the team much weaker."  -- Janice Hough
"Tickets for the eight-day U.S. Curling Trials in Omaha are on sale. I’m thinking watching people push a stone with a broom starts to get old by Day 7."  -- Brad Dickson  [To my Canadian friends: I didn't write it., I just reported it. - CP]
"Assistant coach Rocky Seto is leaving the Seattle Seahawks to enter the ministry. Every so often, the needs of the many are outweighed by the needs of the pew."  -- RJ Curry