Sunday, December 28, 2014

Falling In Love With The Lakers Again

Hi! In a previous post, I mentioned falling in love with basketball again. I watch three to four games a week on TV. I read a few of my favorite blogs and newspapers online. I'm a basketball junkie now!
In this span of time, I have been going down memory lane watching old NBA games on YouTube. I watch a lot of the 1980's Showtime Lakers. I miss the old days of Magic, James Worthy, Byron Scott, A.C. Green, and Kareem. Makes me think of a time when life was simpler as a teenager before I went on to adulthood and living in this crazy world we live in.
So I guess I'm a Lakers fan again. I still like the Kings, but sometimes you go back to what makes you happy.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Remembering Fanstand

Before there was the internet, before, before league sanctioned shops online, there were actual sports stores. The best in the Sacramento area was a place at Birdcage Walk shopping center called Fanstand. I was oblivious to its existence until I went to Jr high school. 
A friend always had the best gear. He was a diehard Kansas City Royals and Cincinnati Bengals fan. I knew he didn't buy his gear in Woodland. I asked him where he bought his stuff. He then told me about this magical place called Fanstand. So after begging and pleading my mom to take me, I made my first visit probably in early 1985. 
It was heaven on earth to me! The store was filled literally to the walls with pennants, Starter jackets, Roman Pro baseball hats, T shirts from every sports league, Sports Specialties NFL hats. Also baseball and football cards, game programs, pins, buttons, patches, EVERYTHING!
I could have spent hours (and a lot of my moms money) in that place. Everytime we went to Sacramento for a shopping trip, I would ask to go to Fanstand. 
Then in 1987, Woodland opened County Fair Mall. An actual mall in my hometown! And it had a sports store. I don't remember the name. The trips to Fanstand eventually ended all because I could ride my bike to the mall and browse the sports store. 
Then the over growth of sports stores just got out of control. They popped up everywhere! Woodland eventually had two or three. They would close down just as quickly as they opened. Then the prices just went up and up. It got to the point when I got frugal with my money and how to spend it. 
I remember one day in the late 80's going to Birdcage Walk on a family shopping trip. My mom and sister would go do their shopping, and I would go to Fanstand. I walked to wear it was at. It was a art shop/Insence store. Fanstand's lease was up and couldn't afford the rent. Fanstand was no more.
I haven't thought of the place in years. I somehow came across an old advertisement from them and the memories just came flooding back. I would love to go back in time and spend a whole day there. But I can't. 
There are sports stores now, but it's not the same. I was at one at the Fairfield mall and it was so ghetto. Rap music was blaring loud about a guy telling a woman he's so good in bed he would make the girl think he invented sex. (Those who brag the most can't back it up!)
Not a comfortable atmosphere. It was mostly aimed at the hip hop crowd. 
It's a different world now. I can shop for sports stuff at the push of a button. It's just not the same. 
To whoever owned Fanstand, thank you for a wonderful place for a teenage boy and the memories you gave me. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sacramento Proud

Last night I attended the Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans game last night. It was a decent crowd for a Tuesday night. 
During the game I saw the birth of an up and coming superstar in the league. Young Anthony Davis is  quietly becoming a scoring force. He's in the top five in scoring and as a team, the Pelicans are in the top five in scoring. The Pelicans are going to be a playoff team. 
As for the Kings, they started of hot. Now they have cooled off after blowing big leads and losing to Memphis and Dallas. I'm talking huge leads. They beat the defending champion Spurs on Saturday. 
But they are a work in progress. They need to work on their offensive rebounding and free throw shooting. (Listen to me, Mr. Hoops Expert!) 
I think the Kings can be a bubble team for the playoffs. But it's a young season and anything can happen. 
Next time your at a a Kings game, you can find me at the Skyline Lounge!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The NB80's And The Demise Of The NBA

Hello again! Last time I spoke of how I fell in love with basketball. Today I will discuss how I grew to hate basketball.
After the glorious 80's ended, the 90's came about. To me the 90's were a harsh, depressing, dark and in your face kind of decade. I remember just feeling this endless tension in the air. Change was coming about, and it wasn't going to be good.
I have a theory as to why basketball came to change. I blame a few entities......ESPN's Sports Center, Gatorade, the NBA on NBC, Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant and the Michigan Fab Five.
At first I blame the Fab Five because of how they brought the baggy shorts to basketball. I always liked the short shorts. It was a conservative and classic look. Then the baggy shorts caught on elsewhere and eventually caught on to the NBA.
Next Gatorade. The "Be Like Mike" ad campaign singled out Michael Jordan. Jordan was EVERYWHERE in the 90's. Books, magazines, TV shows, movies, posters, shoes, underwear ads, hotdog commercials. It was as if Michael Jordan was the ONLY player in the NBA.
The NBA was a TEAM game in the 80's. It became a ME game in the 90's. And no one personified the ME game then Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant. They were selfish ballhogs, Kobe still is as a matter of fact. Allen Iverson felt like he was so good, he didn't need to practice. Can you imagine for the rest of his life, the "we're talking about practice" sound bite is all he'll be known for. I saw him play in person once. He could flat out play. But he was selfish with the ball.
As for Kobe, I grew up a Lakers fan. I loved the Showtime Lakers. They we're the definition of team. Then eventually Showtime ended. The last two letters in Showtime is ME, Kobe's favorite word.
I never liked his selfish style of play. During the Shaq/Kobe soap opera, I sided with Shaq. Say what you will about Shaq. Some see him as I see Kobe. But Shaq was the only reason I remained a Lakers fan. After Shaq left, it was Kobe's team. Well, it was Kobe and the other Lakers. I have hated the Lakers since.
Next up, the NBA on NBC. When the NBA was growing and prospering in the 80's, CBS did a phenomenal job of showcasing the entire league. But once NBC got the NBA contract, it was if the only teams in the league were the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks and Houston Rockets. It became a Jordan love fest. It became so boring. Then you add that nutjob Ahmad Rashad talking about hanging with Jordan (Jim Rome would joke Rashad was Jordan's bitch) and it was pathetic. So I stopped watching.
Finally it leaves me with ESPN's SportsCenter. Of course it was endless Jordan. But what bothered me was how ESPN featured dunks. It got so bad, it was all you would see during basketball highlights. So the 10 second dunk highlights changed the way the game was played. Forget passing and getting assists, it was Dunk City.
Now the tail end of the selfish style of play is fading away. Kobe is the last remnant of those days. I just never cared for the hip hop, street ball style of play. It was more of an east coast thing.
Now when I watch, I see passing, I see jump shots, I see team play. I see a beautiful game now.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

I'm Back...And In Love With Basketball

Hi everyone! Sorry for the long delay since I last wrote. Severe case of writers block.
Well I'm back and I got bitten by the love bug. I'm falling in love again with basketball. Again you say. Let's take a trip down memory lane.
In the fine year of 1984 it was announced that the fine city of Sacramento, California was going to be the new home for the Kansas City Kings. Sacramento was finally a major league city! The NBA was gonna put Sacramento on the map, and eventually it did.
So I read everything I could about the NBA and the Kansas City Kings. I read the Kings had Otis Thorpe,
Mark Olberding, Mark McNamara, Reggie Theus, LaSalle Thompson, and Eddie Johnson. The Sacramento Bee had daily updates about the team. They didn't win much then, but we finally had our own team to root for in 1985.
As my memory serves me, 1985 was a magical and special year in pop culture, movies, music and sports.
I remember my mom buying me a Sacramento Kings fan pack which consisted of a hat, T-shirt, pennant and button. Somewhere I have the pennant. But I was a ready for basketball!
I remember tickets being very hard to get, so I didn't go to any games the first season. I also remember being so excited driving past the temporary arena Arco Arena 1. It only sat 10,333 people. I also remember the current building slowly taking place. For some reason progress on the construction was very slow.
Anyway, I went to my first game in the 1986 season. I remember buying my first issue of Hoop, the official game program of the NBA! I loved those programs. I always had to buy one.
So many memories running through my mind. I remember Reggie Theus walking past me and a friend to get to his red Porsche, and watching him drive off into the Sacramento night. I remember standing outside the Dallas Mavericks team bus and getting autographs.
I can also remember rooting for the mighty Los Angeles Lakers. The Showtime Lakers.
Every Saturday would be the NBA game of the week on CBS. Seemed like Dick Stockton was always there. I loved the theme song to the CBS Game of the Week.
I remember the arenas and their cool names. The Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, The Hemisphere in San Antonio, The Summit in Houston, Market Square Arena in Indianapolis, Richfield Coliseum, home of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
And of course, The Great Western Forum in Inglewood, home of the Lakers. The names sounded so great, unlike the corporate names being bestowed on the newer buildings now.
Those first few years in Sacramento were very special to me in my teenage mind.
Next time I will write more about the Kings, the NBA in the 80's and the eventual demise of my love for the NBA.
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Doing Some Homework

I just did local Napa TV tonight. It was a sports report for a cable access show. My plan was to spend a few days at the Oakland Raiders training camp. But a few obstacles got in my way.
#1-No press pass
#2-A big black fence surrounds the training facility.
#3-The team left town the day I showed up.
So with no press pass to get inside the training facility and no team in said training facility, I was screwed.
So I tried to make light of the situation. It didn't go well.
Long story short, I think the host of the show was pissed off at me for not really having anything to report.
I tried to make something out of nothing. Basically, I delivered nothing.
The PGA Tour returns to Napa in October. World number one Rory McIlroy is scheduled to appear. I just tweeted him. Doing some homework so I can have something to say in October.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Deconstructing A Game and Max Stassi

I went to the River Cats game tonight. A couple of posts ago I discussed scoring a game. It's something I do to keep me focused on the game.
I just finished reading a book called The Numbers Game. It was a great book. In a nutshell, it was about how baseball and statistics go hand in hand.
One part of the the book that caught my eye was something called Project Scoresheet. This was volunteers across the country who scored games and contributed their work to Bill James. I would have loved to have been a part of it had I known about it. I would have been a teenager, but I think that would have been fun to do.
Lately, I have deconstructed games I score. I just tally up ground outs, fly outs and strike outs. I find it interesting to see if a pitcher as an individual or a pitching staff as a whole are ground ball or flyball pitchers.
Then I breakdown the hitters. I do it just as you would find in the morning paper.
At the game I was watching Max Stassi. His father was my PE teacher in junior high school. Max has been a very productive minor leaguer. He had a cup of coffee with Houston last year.
Well, Stassi hit a towering bomb that cleared the clubhouse area of Raley Field. He really came around on the ball and hit it hard! One of the longest homeruns I ever saw at Raley Field. (Lance Niekro hit one so hard many years ago I don't think it landed yet!)
Back to Stassi. I noticed he's only hitting .239. He hits eighth in the line up. He eventually struck out three times. I looked up his stats after the game. He has 95 strikeouts (98 if tonights game is included). Why is he striking out so much? I always thought he was a hitter that hits for average. If the occasional homer happened, great. I don't follow him everyday, but it looks like he's trying to be a power hitter. He swung very hard in his last three at bats. Is he trying to hard to get back to Houston? Is he pressing? I know he'll figure it all out and hit for average again. The rosters expand in twelve days. Hope he gets a call up!

Friday, August 15, 2014

I'm Not A Raider Fan But.......

I made the decision to follow a local football team for the year to study the ups and downs of football on a weekly basis. I chose the Oakland Raiders because I can't stand the San Francisco Kaepernicks. Call me a hater, but I hate the 49ers.
My objective is to just that as an outsider and follow with my head, not my heart. This will be interesting.....

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Win Right Now!

We live in a competitive world now. Particularly in athletics. Gone are the days when a coach has a long tenure and rule a team with an iron fist. It's win right now, win at all costs world in sports. A coach is hired to be fired. A coach is on the hotseat if winning results aren't produced quickly.
I'm not gonna name a lot of names now, but I will name two baseball men who must win this year. And quite possibly, they're two teams can meet in the American League playoffs.
First let me discuss Buck Showalter of the Baltimore Orioles. He's built the foundation for winning teams with the New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks and the Texas Rangers. He's installed as manager for young teams. He teaches the young guys to be major leaguers. He shows them how to win. He has a set of rules he wants his young team to follow. Problem is, the young kids turn out to be established major league veterans. His act grows old and they tune Showalter out. He eventually gets fired. He has never enjoyed the success of his hard work in building a winning team.
He's building a winner in Baltimore. Everything is falling into place there. The Red Sox are reloading and rebuilding. The Yankees are chasing the Orioles. The Yanks are caught up in the Derek Jeter farewell tour. Baltimore has to win THIS YEAR! Time will tell.
Now let's discuss Oakland A's GM Billy Beane. What a life this guy has had. Number one draft pick, marginal player, great scout, and now a highly respected GM. Let's not forget Brad Pitt played him in a movie.
He's had very little to work with. Talent wise and money wise. The A's were the American League doormat three years ago. They are now back to back American West Division champs. Number three is on its way. The problem here is losing to the mighty Detroit Tigers and perennial douche bag Justin "My life is better than yours" Verlander. To get over the hump this year, Beane traded All Star slugger Yoenis Cespedes to the Boston Red Sox for Johnny Gomes and Jon Lester. He's also traded for Jeff Samardzija. Billy Beane is all in. He's in it to win it! I say the Red Sox trade is going to benefit Boston for years to come. Jon Lester said today he's going back to Boston when he's a free agent this winter.
So if Billy Beane wants to look like a genius, the A's have to win right now.
It's August 13th. There is still lots of baseball to be played. The window for the A's or Orioles to win is very small. Only one team can jump through the open window.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Closing Out A Scorebook

I just finished a scorebook. I started it in 1996. Probably got lost in a box and I found it.
It's a baseball time capsule. The names of players who have since retired, or are about to.
This particular one, I scored TV games as well as games at the ballpark.
I have always enjoyed keeping score. I started out as a teenager just using basic notation. As I got older, I used the numeral scoring system as well as keeping track of balls and strikes. In my twenties, I kept track of the game like a scout would. I would notate where the ball was hit, kept track of all the foul balls (to keep up with pitch count).
I remember a woman in Anaheim asking me if I was a scout!
Eventually I stopped keeping score. I had friends who told me I was being rude and anti-social.
But over the last few years, I missed keeping score. It gets me more involved with the game. A gentleman asked me last month on why I kept score/statistics. I told him I watch so many games on TV and in person, eventually I get bored if I'm not keeping score. I get distracted easily. (Read my last post)
I have another scorebook ready to be filled. I think real soon for old times sake, I'm gonna keep score of a TV game and a radio game. Scoring a radio game is hard, you have to focus as you can't see the action.
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I Was Absent From The Game

I love going to the ballpark. I had tickets to the Sacramento River Cats game last night. I invited some friends. I immediately start drinking beer. It was a very busy night. It was $1 hotdog and ice cream night. Big crowds of kids and families everywhere. People were sitting in our seats. We sat in other peoples seats. There was so much going on. It was kinda chaotic. 
I went to see/scout Joc Pederson. I saw him strike out. I missed his homerun in the first inning. I felt terrible missing it. It was a game when I was there, but my mind wasn't. The whole thing is a blur. I had a good time anyways! 

Friday, July 25, 2014

On The Beat With LeBron

The Cleveland Plain Dealer is looking for a beat writer to cover all things LeBron. That's the beat, report everything LeBron does. Now I know I won't be hanging out with LeBron, just write about him.
Well, I threw my hat into the ring. For laughs and giggles, I applied for the assignment. I listed all my media experience. Five episodes of local TV sports reporting, three years blog writing experience, two podcasts reported, and my acting experience.
I asked for $75,000 salary. I'm sure it comes with a generous expense account. I would hope. Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Watching Future A's On The Farm

Tonight I made my annual trek to Stockton to see the Stockton Ports play the Modesto Nuts.
It was a great game! I saw a grand slam hit by Renato Nunez. It was a towering homerun. It must have been hit about 425 feet.
Then I saw my first completed triple play. It's been said if you go to many ballgames, you'll see something you never seen before. That sure was true tonight.
I noticed the Ports players were much more polished than the Nuts players. That's a credit to the Oakland A's player development department. The Athletics really take the time to groom and develop players.
I was asked what will happen to a majority of these players. Most of them will get weeded out in AA ball.
A few will stick around AAA rosters, and one or two will be on a Major League roster. It's not only tough to get to know Majors, it's tougher to stay there!
I picked a good night to watch some quality baseball.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Thank You Dr. Andrews

Dr. James Andrews released a position paper on the sudden rise of Tommy John surgery.
He boiled it down to one thing. Over use of the pitching arm when these professionals were adolescent amateurs.
He said that these kids need rest, proper nutrition and hydration. He stressed rest the most.
But as long as money is involved, overbearing Little League dads and coaches will work these poor kids to a future Tommy John surgery, all because of ego.
Dad wants to brag and boast, "My kid is the best pitcher around." Dad sees dollar signs in his eyes.
Coach thinks, "I'm coaching the best pitcher around. He's making me look good. I can get a better job through him!"
Meanwhile, they are overlooking the childs future or the needs of the child. It's all about self gratification through the child.
Money has changed the climate of sports the last twenty, twent five years. When I was a kid, you just played. You played other sports. You were allowed to be a kid.
Now these kids are subjected to year round travel ball, school ball, pitching camps, private coaching sessions with a pitching coach.
Where is the proper rest time in all this? I think it leads to burnout.
You can only throw and pitch so much.
A selected few get drafted. Very few get to the big leagues. It's cutthroat and competitive to make it. You have to stand out and make yourself stand out. How? Light up the radar gun. Throw a very sharp curveball.
Dr. Andrews paper mentions one shouldn't throw to light up the radar gun. Be crafty and selective of your pitches. Be a pitcher, not a thrower.
Yes we all get excited when a pitcher blows a 100 mph fastball to strike someone out. Remember Barry Zito's nasty curveball? Throw too many fastballs and curveballs and  you're gonna be on the operating table very soon.
I hope Little League dads and coaches will take the time to read the paper. It reminds me of something I read years ago. An expert orthopedic surgeon was trying to tell some overbearing parents about how to prevent their son from having to go through surgery again. He mentioned he had written books and paper about the prevention of surgery. The parents said, "We don't care about that. We're not here to talk about books. How soon can you get our son back to the pitchers mound?"
The doctor told the interviewer that most parents just don't get it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tuesday Morning Tennis

I played tennis this morning at the local health club. Great way to start the day. We played for an hour. I lost 6-0, 6-2.
Very nice facilities where we played at. We had all the courts to ourselves. There was a veranda over looking the courts. I'm looking forward to bringing cold refreshments and sit and relax after playing a few sets.
After tennis I ran five miles home. Needless to say I was exhausted when I got home.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Soccer At The Pub

Today was the UEFA Champions League final between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.
A friend and I went to Murphy's Irish Pub in Sonoma to watch the game. It was a great soccer themed pub. Great food and beer. Funny thing was, NO DOMESTIC BEER SERVED. "Don't ask!", it said on the menu.
The game was great! Real Madrid won 4-1.
I highly recommend this place. The sign outside the pub said its Sonoma's World Cup headquarters. I will definitely be back for the World Cup!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

My Tennis Etiquette

When I play tennis I have a set of rules I abide by.....
1. Always wear your tennis whites.
2. Play at the same skill level as your opponent. No need to demolish him/her. Play at a pace so you can converse with one another.
3. Always bring cold refreshments to share. One can get thirsty out there.
4. Wear sunscreen.
5. Always pick up balls that go astray.
6. If you don't feel like playing a game, just hit the ball and talk.
These rules should make your next game of tennis enjoyable!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Pitch Patch Potch

Hi, sorry I've been a stranger. A lot going on at the office. What have I been up to lately? Well I.........
Went to Spring Training in Arizona. Saw five games. Saw a lot of the Phoenix metro area.
Playing a lot of golf......
Running almost every other day.....
Went to A's Opening Night....
Went on a road trip to see the Dodgers in LA. My first visit to Dodger Stadium since 2006. Zack Greinke pitched a gem. Hanley Ramirez and Matt Kemp hit two homeruns each. It was a great game!
Well, that's all I have for you. Just wanted to catch up. I promise to write more. Until next time, thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

To Strat Or Not To Strat?

Growing up reading baseball magazines, I always saw the ad for Strat-O-Matic Baseball. I never really knew what it was. The ad mentioned, "You can manage your own Major League team!". It looked fun, but I grew up in a house where money was tight, so I never asked for it.
I wish I would have. Over the last few years, I have read about so many people who play Strat-O-Matic. Bob Costas grew up playing it, and he says it taught him a lot about baseball strategy. Jon Miller used to broadcast his Strat-O-Matic games on his tape recorder!
It looks to me anyone who is in baseball broadcasting played the game.
I'm sure I would have played non stop. It looked like it would have been right up my alley.
Now I'm in my early forties. Just this morning I bought my first Strat-O-Matic game. It's the starter set with five teams. As you know I love baseball and I just have to experience Strat-O-Matic.
It will be delivered next week! Of course I'll tell ya about it!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

My Love Affair With Sports Radio Part One

A friend on Facebook had a post about the late, great Dr. Don Rose from KFRC 610 AM. He was the undisputed king of Bay Area radio. I loved his morning show as a teenager. I listened to KFRC all the time. I would fall asleep to it. It was in my room I had dreams of being on the radio. I also dreamt of being the next Johnny Carson, but that didn't happen. (Jimmy Fallon, you're no Johnny Carson). 
I also loved sports, so I wanted to eventually be a play by play guy or host a pre game or post game show. My heroes were Vin Scully, Hank Greenwald and Lon Simmons. You just knew it was spring when Lon Simmons was on the radio, reporting from Phoenix Muni where the A's played spring training games. I always thought the games and stories sounded better from Spring Training. 
On the Giants side of the AM dial, the Giants broadcasters would report live from the bat at The Pink Pony in Scottsdale. Every spring they were at this magical place called The Pink Pony. It was where all of baseball would meet, eat and drink. The place would sound packed with people as Hank Greenwald would interview players from the past and present. It was known as THE HOT SPOT to been seen or just see. I went there for the first time ever as an adult last year,and the place was DEAD! It was reminiscent of the scene in Swingers when Trent and Mike went to the Stardust thinking the place would be hopping, and it was nothing but old people around! The bartender at The Pink Pony was happy to see us. He told us everyone was at Don and Charlie's! (More on Arizona on a future post)
My point mentioning this is I thought radio was gonna take me places I could only dream about. Well, it did in my mind as a teenager when I would try to imagine what Phoenix Muni looked liked or where in the world HoHoKam Park was. I dreamed radio would actually take me to these places.
All it turned out to be was dreams. Once I went to high school, I encountered a bunch of guys from the other Jr. High School who had the looks, intellect, connections, money and confidence to succeed in not only school but in life. They were the guys all the guys wanted to be or hang out with, and they were the guys the girls wanted to be with. In my mind they were the New York Yankees. They had all the resources I could only have dreamt of. I was from a single parent home. We were the Cleveland Indians. We weren't rich and we weren't poor, but we got by. I was ashamed of my home life then. Now I look back and I'm proud. My mom did the best she could. She ruled the house like George Steinbrenner and spent money wisely like Gene Autry! 
I look back and I wonder why I let a bunch of Jack asses from high school crush my dream. It was just my mind set back then. I didn't think I had what it took. I'm happy with my life now. So now when I listen to the radio, I dream of where I could have been. But I'm happy where I'm at. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Last Of The Core Four

The 2014 season just started and a baseball legend is going to call it a career after the season is over.
Derek Jeter, Mr. November, Yankee captain, announced his retirement.
With that, the last of the Yankee Core Four will be out of baseball.
It will be the end of a era for New York baseball.
Mr. Jeter was drafted a Yankee in 1992. He got his first taste of the big leagues in 1995. He was Rookie of the Year in 1996. He has five World Series rings. He's our generations Joe DiMaggio. He carries himself with dignity, style and class. It's never about him. It's about playing and winning for the New York Yankees. He puts the team first.
I personally couldn't stand him when the Yankees were winning all those championships. He always came through in the clutch. He was always the catalyst. He always beat the Red Sox.
But over the years I have grown to admire him. He shows up to work everyday, quietly goes about his business and wins. If I were to start a franchise, Derek Jeter would be the man I would build the team around.
But the young man who sparked a dynasty has grown older. Injuries have taken a toll. The grind that is baseball has caught up to him.
Mr. Jeter doesn't do anything half heartedly. So as he told Mariano Rivera last year, its time to go.
The Derek Jeter retirement party will take place throughout the season. I first saw Mr. Jeter on Opening Night 1999 in Oakland. He led of the Yankees season with a homerun. The Yankees play in Oakland in June. I hope I get a chance to see baseball greatness one last time.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Pitch Patch Potch

This is a very short entry. Now that football season is over, it's officially baseball season! The Dodgers pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on Thursday! Thank The Lord!!!
That is all.

Defense Really Does Win Championships

The Seattle Seahawks shocked the football world by winning the NFL Big Game Championship. The game was Super and played in a Bowl shaped stadium. (NFL Legal Dept can't get me for saying that).
I only saw about fifteen minutes of the game at work on a very small TV screen at the in store bank branch. Once I see the video tape I will offer more of an opinion.
The old adage in sports is offense wins games, defense wins championships. It proved true tonight. As I said, I didn't see much of the game, but the score tells the story. The best defense in the NFL shut down the best player in football and his high scoring offense. I boasted yesterday that the Broncos were going to destroy, pummel, annihilate and humiliate the Seahawks. I thought Peyton Manning and company were going to light up the score board like a Fourth of July fireworks show. My prediction was 63-24 Broncos. Good thing I don't make my living as a pigskin prognosticator. I would starve! 
The final score was Seattle 43-Denver 8. What happened? 
Let's start from the beginning. I mean let's go way back.
Pete Carroll was a failed NFL coach for the New York Jets and the New England Patriots. He left the NFL for the comfortable, cushy confines of the University of Southern California. He had a very successful tenure there. Won a national championship. He really won two, but one was taken away due to NCAA violations. (On a side note, if you want to live the good life, be a college football player. $1000 handshakes, free cars, gifts from the booster club, women. Plus free travel, room and board and your tuition paid for. And you don't even need to go to class! Scholar/athlete? Sure, okay. Cue eye roll.)
When the poop was about to hit the fan in 2009, Carroll left USC and was replaced by Lane Kiffin. (Don't get me started on him. The word douche bag comes to mind.) Anyways, after a brief break from coaching, Carroll was hired by the Seahawks. Many felt he was just a big name hire to give the fan base false hope for the future. And Carroll could continue cashing large pay checks. Everyone would be happy. 
Seattle was always the team that was SO CLOSE to winning, but could never get over the hump. The Seahawks came so close to winning Big Game 40 before the refs handed the game to the Steelers. (Don't get me started. When I die, I'm going to ask God if the fix was in in some questionable games. Only HE could give me the straight answer.) 
But while everyone ignored the Seahawks, Pete Carroll quietly built a championship team.( Things aren't so quiet when it involves himself, Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers. I see a book about their pissing, bitching and moaning matches. I'll be the first to buy it. Perhaps I should write it!)
Tonight's win proves to me that Carroll is a very intelligent football coach who gets the most out of everyone. I just thought he was the laid back college coach who enjoyed a good time in So Cal. I always read of him playing golf, goofing off in practice or being great copy to sports writers. 
Something tells me Carroll and his coaching staff saw something in Peyton Manning that they could easily exploit. His defense obviously contained Manning and his weapons. 
The Seattle defense must have gotten in Manning's head literally and figuratively. He played like the Seahawks were going to attack him all day long, and the Seattle defense must have thought what Manning was thinking. It was as if they had the Broncos Playbook. Maybe they figured out what Omaha means. (Slow news day when an audible code name is a major story.)
As the game was going on, I was texting someone (Hi Kimmy!) about how mean the Seahawks were. Their defense, the LOB, Legend Of Boom, are filled with brash loud and foul mouthed bad guys and  bad boys with bad attitudes. But their QB, young Russell Wilson, who is a fine outstanding young man (who briefly played in the Texas Rangers minor league system forgoing bus rides, cheap motels and fast food meals for a chance to be the third string QB in the NFL) and good guy head coach Pete Carroll lead the team to victory. 
But in the end, football historians will look back and say, The Bad Guys won. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

That's A Wrap! Big Game Edition

For legal purposes I cannot use the words Super and Bowl in a headline.  The Skips C's legal department doesn't want a lawsuit to deal with.
Anyways,  the Big Game is tomorrow.  Unfortunately I'm working tomorrow so I will miss the whole game.  I'm rooting for Denver. Final score Denver 63 Seattle 24.

Friday, January 31, 2014

The Rise And Rise Of The St. Louis Cardinals

The St. Louis Cardinals are a dangerous team. They always have been. They always will be. Why do I say that? Pitching, a plethora of pitching. Not only at the major league level, but up and down their minor league system.
They say offense wins games and defense wins championships. I say a steady stream of pitching creates a dynasty!
The Cardinals have an embarrassment of riches right now. They have a problem most teams would love too have.....too much pitching. Cardinals GM John Mozeliak has pieces which will allow him to wheel and deal. If a problem persists sometime, he can unload a pitcher for a bat or a bench player.
As it stands right now, with Adam Wainright, Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn, Jaime Garcia, Shelby Miller and Joe Kelly there will be a logjam at the major league level. Their bullpen has a few potential starting pitchers, particularly Carlos Martinez, who is considered a pitcher with a very bright future.
I'm sure manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Derek Lilliquist must chuckle to themselves about their pitching dilemma. No need to worry about pitching.
I honestly feel the St. Louis Cardinals will become the New York Yankees very soon.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

That's A Wrap! Tanaka Edition

The Tanaka sweepstakes ended early this week. He signed a large contract with the New York Yankees. They have spent almost half a billion dollars on free agents this winter.
Tanaka went 24-0 last year in Japan. If I remember correctly, he averages 6 strikeouts to every one walk he issues. He has an arsenal of several pitches. The amazing thing is he's only 25 years old!
But red flags appear. First, he went 24-0 last year. A hint of overuse in those numbers.
Two, they throw EVERYDAY in Japan. That's not kosher here in the States. Every major league pitcher has a schedule of rest along with a throwing program after a start.
The debate lately is that pitchers here in the States are coddled too much. Back in the old days, a pitcher threw everyday. That went by the wayside in the mid seventies due to the discovery of the need for Tommy John surgery. Pitchers were blowing their arms out. As a preventive procedure, rest was required in a pitchers schedule.
But Tanaka is young, and the Yankees have a great reputation for handling their pitchers. Well, Joba Chamberlain might disagree!
Well that's all for now, see ya next time!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pitch Patch Potch

Things I think I think.....
Roger Goodell is a horses ass. That is all......
I have been watching a lot of college hoops lately.......
I'm going to my first hockey game in years in two weeks. I can't remember the last time I was at The Shark Tank.
Pitchers and catchers report in two weeks! Thank The Lord!!
Colin Kaepernick should have called a timeout. He will learn and grow from his mistake. He needs to remember Vernon Davis too......
Who cares about the NBA, but best wishes to David Stern. He made the NBA a global brand. Enjoy retirement......
How does Lane Kiffin keep getting plum jobs? Offensive coordinator at Alabama? Really? I would want him coaching my baby cousins youth football team.......
Tanaka to the Yankees. Big whoop...
That is all my friends!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

That's A Wrap! A-Rod Edition

This is my new feature on the blog. A weekly sports wrap up. I was gonna talk about Florida State winning the national championship. It was a slow sports week.
As I woke up this morning, I was scrolling through the sports headlines. Well I didn't really scroll through them, one headline jumped out at me.
Alex Rodriguez has been suspended for the 2014 baseball season because of his involvement with a PED clinic in Florida. The suspension also includes the postseason.
He served a brief suspension last year. Rodriguez has said he is going to appeal the decision. The experts think this is going to eventually go to federal court. This is going to drag on for years.
So how will this play out? First the Yankees want to wipe his $27.5 million salary of the books.
So I think MLB and the Yankees are going to battle it out with Rodriguez's lawyers and the all powerful Major League Players Association. 
Alex wanted to be known as the greatest player ever. It looked like he was well on his way to that a few years ago. He's getting older. He has been plagued with injuries. Now this. 
It looks like we have seen the last of Alex Rodriguez. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Two Lousy Votes Short

The baseball Hall of Fame induction announcements were Wednesday. It was no surprise that Greg Maddox and Tom Glavine got in, along with The Big Hurt Frank Thomas.
The two surprises were Jack Morris not getting elected. He actually lost votes this year after coming to a comfortable margin of the 75% to get elected.
But the biggest surprise, shock actually was Craig Biggio falling TWO votes short of the Hall of Fame.
Fingers are already being pointed at two influential sportswriters. One only voted for Jack Morris. The other turned in a blank ballot. When one votes for the HoF, you can vote up to ten people. It should be a requirement that you must submit a full ballot.
Poor Craig Biggio! So close and 2015 is so far away. At least he knows he will make it next year.
Just think people, pitchers and catchers report in a month!
On a side note to all my millions of readers (Haha!), I'm gonna try to do a weekly sports wrap up on Saturday nights. I'll write about what I find interesting and nationally relevant. I'm still trying to think of a clever name for it.
Until next time, enjoy your weekend!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Packers Need To Bottle Up Kaep

Colin Kaepernick had another great game againts the Packers yesterday. He always seems to excel playing against Green Bay. I mean he puts up video game numbers against the Packers.
And he does it with pride, poise and focus. He's mentally tough. It's time I stop bashing him. He's legit. He's a real NFL quarterback.