Thursday, December 15, 2016

Hand Out The Skirts And Tampons

The professional locker room is a private sanctuary for the professional athlete.
It's like a very private and exclusive club. Things go one that aren't intended for the public to know.
In every Major League Baseball clubhouse there is a sign that says, "What you see here, what you hear here, what you say here, what you do here, leave it here."
That was possible before the 24 hour news cycle, social media and smartphones.
Now EVERYTHING is under a microscope.
There are too many reporters with a nose for news. (My high school journalism teacher Mr. Ginsburg's term. A reporter always asks "who, what, when, where and why". Still remember that almost 30 years later!)
It was a tradition to have a few beers and talk about the game with teammates in the locker room. Now a days after a few athletes have been arrested for DUI, alcohol is banned in most locker rooms.
Back in the 50's, reporters didn't dare write about an athletes drinking. Mickey Mantle had several DUI incidents not reported by the New York press. Can you imagine that happening now?
We live in a world where no one can mind their own business.
This world has gotten too sensitive. Too politically correct.
Yesterday, Major League Baseball announced that rookie hazing will be banned. Hazing as in men dressing as women.
Today on my Facebook I posted a picture of men in a locker room taking part in rookie hazing. They were dressed as women like they were going to a night club. They're all laughing and smiling.
It's a tradition to have rookies dress ridiculous and walk around in a public place such as the hotel lobby or the airport. It's inclusion into a special club. A club that says, "You're in the big leagues now!"
But some people too smart for their own good say that it's demeaning to the athletes self confidence and demeaning to women. So stop it, you're hurting someone's feelings. (Insert whiny voice.)
There was a lengthy report about how it seems men make women inferior. That wearing pink in self ridicule will cause further damage to the athletes mind. May cause depression and PTSD.
I can guarantee you that ANY minor leaguer would gladly wear a woman's dress, cheerleader outfit or Hooter's girl outfit and wear it with pride! It would be a badge of honor. It would say, "I'm a big leaguer now!"
It's not insulting, it's not humiliating and no harm is intended. It's a joke. It gets a few laughs in MLB Network and ESPN. Hell, teams even tweet out the pictures!
But people who don't play sports, but know what's best for us have taken away another baseball tradition.
Start handing out skirts and tampons to newborn baby boys. They're going to need them to survive this world they will live in.

Monday, December 5, 2016

A Woman's Place

A friend put up an interesting Facebook post the other day. He mentioned it's time for female sideline reporters, studio analysts and pre and post game hosts to go away.
I know a lot of guys who say they don't like seeing women talking about a sport they never played. I have another friend who gets irritated at the sight of them.
One time he said, "What do they know about coming up the middle and have their ass handed to them?"
I think that's why I stopped watching football. It is quite irritating to see women talk about a sport they never played.
(I talk about sports on TV, but I played the sports I speak of).
This phenomenon grew in the 1990's when ABC Sports had Leslie Viser roam the sidelines on Monday Night Football. She was great at it though. She was a journalist at the Boston Globe in the 1970's. She's very well respected in sports television.
Then she moved on and Melissa Stark took over. She was horrible. Then along came Lisa Guererro. Not any better.
Then it was the thinking, "Let's put a hot chick on the sidelines and let her talk. Who cares if she doesn't know what she's talking about?"
Then there's the queen bee of female sideline reporters, Erin Andrews. She's informative and insightful, but so irritating! It's that voice!!
Now she's everywhere! She's a celebrity now.
Then there are the talking heads at NFL Network. There's always a female on the panel on most of their programming and it's a reason to keep the TV turned off.
Terrible television.
But they're not going away anytime soon.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Have You Heard About The Lonesome Loser?

"Beaten by the queen of hearts everytime." - Little River Band
I'm sitting at my kitchen table drinking champagne. The Chicago Cubs won the World Series!
We all know the story, they haven't won in 108 years.
I'm thinking there was no radio or  television back in 1908.
The Cubs were known as the lovable losers as long as I've been alive.
I'm thinking back to 1984. I ride my bike as fast as I can from Douglass Jr High School to get home so I can watch the San Diego Padres play the Chicago Cubs for the NL pennant. The Cubs were sure to win.
I get home in time to see the ground ball go through Leon Durham's legs. Padres win the Series.
Fast forward to 1989.
I'm a senior in high school. I'm in 7th period yearbook class. We're watching the San Francisco Giants play the Cubs for the pennant. The Cubs were winning. Our teacher Mr. Ginsburg turns the TV off as class is about to start. 50 minutes later, the Giants won the pennant. Another heartbreaking loss.
Move on to 2003. I'm 31 years old. I'm a working stiff on night crew at a grocery store. I had to go to bed early so I could be up by 10pm so I could be at work by 11pm.
I go to bed with the Cubs beating the Marlins in the NLCS.
I wake up and the Marlins won the pennant.
Last year, the Mets swept the Cubs.
My point is the Cubs could never win the big one.
But this year was different since day one of Spring Training.
You just knew it was going to be a special year.
I went to a Spring Training game in Mesa, Arizona. It was an electric atmosphere.
I saw the Cubs in San Francisco and Oakland. It was like attending a Cubs home game.
You just knew this year was gonna be special.
Now I sit on my couch watching the World Series post game show and it's a historic celebration in Chicago.
A friend joked on Facebook that the city of Chicago is shut down until further notice.
There have been jokes that Chicago will run out of booze win the Cubs win it all.
It's not a curse or a dream no more.
The Chicago Cubs are the 2016 World Series Champions!
Party on Chicago!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Holy Cow Cubs Win!

I'm at my cousins house in Corona.
Watched baseball history with him.
Cubs are going to the World Series for the first time since 1945.
I'm thinking of all the Cubs fans who've been suffering all these years!
Party hard Chicago!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

A September Dream

This is a dream I have every September 1st......
Phone rings
"Hi Felix this is Tommy Lasorda with the Dodgers. Congratulations kid! Your a big leaguer. The rosters are expanding. We need you tonight!"
Me- "Seriously Tommy?"
Lasorda-"Serious as a heart attack!"
Me- "Don't say that Tommy. You've had a couple of big ones. You mention the Big Dodger in the Sky, you almost with him!"
Lasorda- "Everyone is a comedian! Get on the bus to LA. You have no time to waste!"
Me- "Bus? I'm done riding buses! I'm a big leaguer now!"
Lasorda- "You're not a big leaguer until you put on that big league uniform in a big league clubhouse! Got it mister?!"
Me- "Yes, Tommy, see you soon....."
Alarm goes off.
It was a dream. But to a few select minor leaguers, it's their first time in the Show or for the older minor league veteran, it's his last chance to get to the bigs.
This is why I love September baseball!

A Life Gone Too Soon

I was at home enjoying my Labor Day holiday when a friend said, "Hey! You gotta see this!"
It was a message from Facebook from another friend asking if it was true what he heard about me.
So I start making phone calls checking to see if my father died. This friend thought I had suddenly past on.
After a few minutes, we got a message saying it was another Felix. Felix Castillo.
Mr. Castillo was the head baseball coach at Woodland High for several years. We've been mistaken for each other before. People thought I was the coach at Woodland High. (Friend literally laughed in my face when he saw that. He thought it was a joke that someone like me would be coaching a baseball team.)
Mr. Castillo was playing softball when he had a heart attack. He was 48.
I never knew him, but it made me think that life is indeed short and sweet.
We're not promised tomorrow. He looked healthy in his pictures. He had a family and was a beloved teacher at Woodland High.
There was a touching photo on Facebook yesterday that showed parents, students, faculty, family and friends of his at a memorial gathering at the athletic fields at Woodland High. It was at sunset. The place was packed.
Godspeed Felix!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Being Something You're Not, Trying To Be What You'll Never Be

"To be or not to be, that is the question", Shakespeare once said. There are those of us who have a plan in life and stick to it.
I on the other hand was a happy go lucky kid who just followed the crowd and was always the dreamer.
I never had a plan. I talked big and bold, but when it came down to it, I did nothing.
"I'm gonna try out for the baseball team", or "I'm gonna try out for quarterback", I'd say to whoever would listen.
All talk no action. I'd always have a bullshit excuse why I didn't do it. "I don't have time", I'd say.
I was a dream chaser. After high school I put it in my mind I was going to be a PE teacher. "I'm going to be a PE major!"
"Oh really?", someone would say, "What sport did you play in high school?"
"None. I just really love sports."
"Oh, good luck with that."
I didn't know I'd have to take anatomy classes, chemistry, and other science classes. I just thought at the time I'd take PE classes and get my degree. I was too dumb to be a dumb jock. The dumb jocks were smarter than me!
I wasn't a jock though. I was a poser, a wanna be that never was.
I just didn't have a clue.
I can remember taking tennis and golf classes thinking one day I'd be a club pro or a PE teacher. I wasn't thinking of the thousands of other people who had the same goal but had the sports background.
I had a co-worker who's brother in law was a few years younger than me in school. He was going to UC San Diego for his PE degree  (Kinesiology if you want to get technical). I was plodding along at JC while this guy was earning his BS, Masters, teaching credential and eventually a PhD in Kinesiology.
I remember feeling inferior to this guy I never knew, but with each passing year my co-worker would mention his progress. Must be nice to not worry about making a living like I had to. I would have loved to have just focus on school.
I knew my plan was a dream. I had a younger cousin who could rattle off the bones and muscles groups without looking at notes or a book. She had it memorized. That's when I knew there was no future in teaching for me. I was just talking the talk.
I was just struggling through my General Studies. What made me think I was gonna meld young minds someday when I couldn't meld my own?
So eventually I stopped focusing on PE as my major.
Then I focused on something else that was virtually impossible for me to accomplish. I had plans to be a scout, coach or manager in professional baseball.
Now, there were THOUSANDS of young men who played baseball who had the experience to get into professional baseball at some capacity. What made me think I could get involved with professional baseball? (Good Lord I was DUMB!)
I did volunteer coaching around Woodland, but the kids didn't respond to me. They had no interest in what I had to say. They asked me one question on the first day of practice and I answered honestly. With my honest answer, I lost all credibility.
"When did you play? How good were you? What position did you play?"
I answered I played one year of Little League, got cut from the Jr High team but caught on as a bullpen catcher and equipment manager for the team.
With that, I lost them. I lost them when I was running through signals and one kid asked what the indicator was.
I never heard of an indicator so I foolishly asked back, "What's an indicator?"
"You don't know what an indicator is? Are you serious? What kind of coach are you?"
Mind you, I was in my early twenties with very limited playing experience.
I may as well have quit right there.
It was the most humbling, humiliating experiences of my life. That's when I knew I had no future in coaching.
I would eventually give baseball coaching another try in 1994 at my old Jr high school. I didn't do much. Just sat around and soaked up what I could. It proved to be the eye opener I needed.
I embraced baseball so much at 17, 18, 19 years old, trying to make up for lost time. I should have embraced baseball at 7, 8 or 9 years old. I didn't have the experience of watching years of baseball situations to gather knowledge. I thought being a fan would get me involved in professional ball.
So I crossed baseball off my list and figured I would become that club pro I thought I would turn out to be.
I played recreational tennis and golf. I never played on a team. I was never around the golf course or country club. I didn't know how that worked.
My tennis instructor at Sacramento City was the club pro at Natomas Racquet Club. This guy was a major asshole. Very phony and full of himself. So were his assistants. Just trying to get his attention so I could talk to him about what I should do proved to be impossible.
I so foolishly thought I could crack into the world of tennis, I bought very expensive high end racquets that didn't improve my game. When I realized I was wasting my money, I tried to sell them to Play It Again Sports on Arden Way. I walk in and mention I want to sell these racquets (about $200 each back in 1995).
The guys behind the counter were in their late twenties. Very cocky and arrogant. I explain I switched brands and I didn't need the Wilson racquets and I play Prince racquets now.
They ask, "What difference is the brand you play? Are you a professional? How much do you want for these?"
I knew what they were doing. They were trying to lowball me by embarrassing me.
I mentioned what I paid for them and I was hoping for $75 or $100 each.
They smirked and said $12.50 for both.
Now I felt really stupid. I sheepishly took my racquets and walked back to my car.
I think I eventually gave them to a guy on the Sac City tennis team in exchange for tennis balls. I needed balls and couldn't afford to buy any after buying expensive racquets.
Now a days I rarely have time for tennis.
I think back to those days and laugh.
I tried too hard. I tried to be something I couldn't be due to lack of experience.
You couldn't tell me that when I was 19. I thought I knew everything.
Now I'm happy and comfortable in my own skin. I'm not a dreamer anymore. I'm a realist. Too bad I wasn't when I was younger.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Sports Fashion Faux Pas

As some of you know I have a men's style blog. I write about my favorite types of clothing. At first I thought I was gonna be a big whale in a small ocean of men's style blogs. I quickly came to discover that I was a very small fish in a very large ocean.
I don't write on there as much as I used to. But I still have my eye on clothes.
As a sports fan, there's one thing that drives me nuts. It's when someone wears a jersey at a sporting event that doesn't match. For example, someone wearing a football jersey to a baseball game or vice versa. Wear the appropriate jersey to the appropriate sporting event! It's not that hard!
I used to wear jerseys out on public all the time. Not so much anymore when a female friend said a grown man shouldn't wear a jersey out in public unless he plays for the team.
I had a lot of football jerseys I'd wear without thinking twice about it when I was younger. My tastes changed so I stopped.
I know I made the right decision when last year someone was addressing the local news stations regarding a local crime wearing a San Diego Chargers jersey.
He looked ridiculous and it was hard to take him seriously.
Another faux pas is the person who "over gears" a team's gear. Essentially they look like a walking giftshop. I see it a lot with Raiders and Warriors fans. Head to toe in team colors. I can appreciate someone representing their team, but keep it simple!
Another faux pas that Raiders fans are guilty of is wearing your team gear during the off season. It's the off season! Take it off and give it a rest! (Giants fans do this too!)
I used to dress like I was part of a teams coaching staff with matching hat and shirt. Now I just limit it to one item of team gear. If I'm wearing a hat, then I wear a neutral shirt. Or if I'm wearing a team shirt then no hat. You get the picture.
Don't get me wrong, I love team gear as much as anyone. Just keep it simple! Make it work!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Brown Lives Matter

There's a lot of talk about lives that matter and the color of the life.
I'm getting tired if hearing about it. When did this racial divide suddenly happen?
It's worse than ever.
But who's getting overlooked in this?
Brown people.
We matter too, not just in life, but in sports too.
We have had a lot of "firsts" in regards to winning championships and minority hiring, but you never hear about it.
Who was the first Latino to be a head coach in the NFL? Anyone know the answer?
It's Tom Fears, who was named head coach of the then expansion New Orleans Saints back in 1967.
Anyone know who the first Latino to be inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
Any guesses? Tom Fears.
Let's move on to other sports.......
Who was the first minority to win a golf major? Anyone??
It was Lee Trevino, but the media would lead you to believe it was Tiger Woods.
One magazine said he was golf's "first champion of color". Wrong!
Who was the first to win a tennis Grand Slam event?
I know, you don't know, so I'll tell you. It was Pancho Gonzales. Back in the 40's!!
Who dominated women's golf in the early 2000's? It was just before the Korean influence. Got an answer?
Lorena Ochoa from Mexico.
Why don't we get recognized? Why don't we get our voices heard?
It's because we're a proud people who hold our heads up high with dignity and we keep quiet and keep persevering.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Beach Day

I know, I know. I haven't posted in awhile. Been very busy with two jobs, a TV show in Napa and auditioning for TV shows. (Still waiting to be cast on a show currently shooting in the area. Ring phone, ring!)
Today was a much needed Me Day. I had a nice sushi lunch, a drive through wine country, played nine holes of golf and now I'm writing this at Dillon Beach.
I've always liked the beach lifestyle. I was once a landlocked teenager trying to embrace the surfing lifestyle. (Tried again in my late twenties. Give it up already!)
As you read in my last post, I'm currently doing light bodybuilding. The mecca of bodybuilding was at Gold's Gym in Venice Beach. The very genesis of bodybuilding started in Santa Monica. Some say Santa Monica is the original Muscle Beach. Others say it's Venice Beach.
Regardless of where it started, someone wanted to have a beach bod.
In the past I've enjoyed a run on the beach. I mean a good long run. Today, I was tempted to, but I just ran 100 miles last month and I need a rest. Besides, I left my headphones at home! Can't run without them.
Next time I plan to bring some dumbbells and have a muscle beach day at Dillon Beach.
Someday I'll visit the original Muscle Beach, where ever that is.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Pump It Up!

Hello everyone! I know, I know, I haven't posted in a while. Things have been very busy for me lately. Two jobs, filmed a TV commercial and went to casting call for a Netflix show. (I'm in pursuit of that SAG card!)
But I haven't been to busy to workout and keep fit and trim. (Trimming is a work in progress.)
Recently a friend of mine had a health scare. I won't go into all the details, but it was a wake up call for me. Getting older means having to take better care of yourself.
My friend had to do an about face with his  diet.
So I decided to change my diet and lifestyle habits. Out with fast food and late night imbibing. I only have a drink with dinner occasionally now.
I decided to make better use of my local health club. I stay longer and lift more than I usually do. I run more miles. I make myself run an extra half mile to a mile when I'm out there running around my neighborhood.
I've been researching bodybuilding.
Now don't laugh now! I'm not trying to look like Arnold, but I want to tone up.
I've always liked the beach lifestyle, and I want to be able to walk around the beach with my shirt off.
The results are showing! I've lost twenty pounds. My waist is shrinking.
An older woman who shops in my store says she noticed the changes on my backside. She noticed the shoulders and tighter back. She gave me a nice compliment when she said, "You must date a lot. I'm sure a lot of women like you." I told her that's not the case, but it would be a nice problem to have.
I'm not doing it for women, I'm doing it for me. I want to live a long, healthy life like Jack Lalanne did. I don't want to end up in an old folks home falling apart.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Pitch Patch Potch

Things I'm thinking about but time is tight to write fully about it.

I grew up a Lakers fan. Loved the Lakers. Then Kobe came along. I never cared for his selfish, arrogant, ghetto thug, street ball and selfish play. I'll go on to say I hate Kobe Bryant.
Now he's finally retired. People in LA call him God. The best Laker ever. No way!
I'm glad he's gone. Bye Felicia!

I hate this pitch count business in baseball. Major League front offices think a pitchers arm will fall off after a 100 pitches.
I've never been a pitcher, but I think the best way to alleviate arm problems is to throw everyday. No harm done. Just don't throw so hard on the days a pitcher is not scheduled to pitch. Tone and strengthen the arm. Get out and throw!

The Golden State Warriors won their 73rd game on Wednesday. I said in October they would go 73-9 or 74-8. Looks like I know what I'm talking about!
I'm still not impressed. Win 16 more!

The Kings are a bleeping mess. Cancerous locker room. Biggest cancer on that team is DeMarcus Cousins. He's a coach killer plain and simple.
The Kings think success is awaiting them at the brand new Golden 1 Center next season.
I don't think so. It will be more of the same, except fans will be paying more to see bad basketball.

George Karl got screwed, thrown under the bus and had the finger of blame pointed at him. It's not all his fault. He didn't have much to work with. He had to deal with a meddling owner and a clueless GM. Cancer spreads. It spread from the owners office to the locker room.
Too bad....

Vin Scully just had his 67th Opening Day behind the microphone.
What a career he's had. Most people work until age 65 till they retire. He's had the same job for 67 years!
He's not as sharp as he used to be, but he's still a legend. Whenever I think of Mr. Scully, I think of my childhood trying to get the Dodgers on the radio. I would get a faint signal from KVEG in Las Vegas. For a few minutes I could hear Mr. Scully call a game and paint a picture in my mind of how the game was progressing.
He was a grandfather and favorite uncle rolled into one. I've always loved one of his catchphrases, "Pull up a chair, plenty of baseball coming your way!"
I'm going to enjoy his final season as much as I can!

The LA Rams traded for the #1 pick in the upcoming NFL draft.
Growing up a LA Rams fan, they've always made bad decisions about roster personnel. It's like they're given two options. Option A, the best option or Option B, the worst option.
They always go with the worst option. They'll blow this pick on a future draft bust.

That's all for now. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Everyone Loves A Winner

Last night I attended the Sacramento River Cats and San Francisco Giants game at Raley Field in Sacramento. It was considered a historic game because it was the first time the Giants played in Sacramento.
Raley Field holds about 14,000. I think there was more than 14,000 in the place.
Walking through the concourse was like walking through a maze. Constant changing of direction as to avoid bumping into someone.
The lines for food and beer were ridiculously long. I haven't seen a crowd this big since the first year the River Cats came to town. Needless to say, I didn't eat or drink anything.
I've been to Raley Field when Major League teams came to play, and the crowds were manageable. Everyone was comfortable and has plenty of space.
Yesterday was a disaster. It turned into an AT&T Bandwagon Fan party. No one sat down to watch the game. It was everyone up and down, standing in the aisles, blocking the view.
It got me to thinking about how different crowds can be when your winning.
When a team is losing, the park is half empty and very quiet. Tickets can be had dirt cheap.
But when a team is winning, look out for your wallet! Everything goes up in price. Food, tickets, parking, souvenirs and beer! It's good old supply and demand.
Let me give you an example.
I was a partial season ticket holder for the Golden State Warriors in 2001-2. The Warriors were AWFUL!! No one came to the games. I used to sit in the lower bowl of Oracle Arena a few rows from the basket for $30. You can't park there now for $30. No one wore Warriors gear. No one watched on TV or listened on the radio. Basically, no one cared. Dubs Nation in 2001-2? Didn't exist.
Now EVERYONE is a "Dubs" fan. Some claim to be life long fans! Really?
It's great they're winning, but the bandwagon fans came out of nowhere and drove the prices up!
Kinda like the Giants fans. At Candlestick Park, the crowd was blue collar. It was a great crowd. They loved their boys in orange and black. They would support the team win or lose.
Then AT&T Park opened. The blue collar crowd got priced out. Now it's the downtown crowd who have money to spend. What better way to end the work day than going to a party at the Giants game. And it is a party. Girls everywhere dressed "cute" in their Giants gear. It's cool to be a Giants fan all of a sudden. It's a status symbol to have Giants tickets.
It's out of control at AT&T Park.
I posted something on Facebook about how crazy the night at Raley Field was.
A friend of mine said something so perfect. She said, "I have a friend who's a diehard Giants fan. He wishes they would start losing so the bandwagon fans would go away."
Bandwagon fans love a winner.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Who Takes Their Kid To Work Everyday?

Adam LaRoche retired suddenly the other day. He said it was a family issue.
Was there a close family member with an illness? Was he sick?
The reason? He couldn't bring his 14 year old son to the club everyday.
It's been a long standing tradition to have your kids in the clubhouse on occasion.
LaRoche felt everyday was ample enough.
Now, I worked in a baseball clubhouse. It's kind of a frat house. It's a private sanctuary for players to relax and unwind. Everything a player can ever need is in the clubhouse. Food, sleep area, TV, ping pong table, ice cream parlor. I mean each clubhouse is different with the amenities, but you get my point.
There's a sign in every clubhouse that says, "What you see here, what you hear here, what you say here, let it stay here."
Jim Bouton wrote a book about life inside a Major League clubhouse and was practically blackballed from baseball.
It's a place where boys will be boys. Lots of immature behavior goes on in there.
Tim McCarver once mentioned guys walking naked up to the spread table and someone's privates rubbing up against the food. "Cock in the clamdip" or "Charlie running up against the coldcuts".
So saying all this, the Major League clubhouse isn't a place for a 14 year old boy to be at EVERYDAY!
It's great LaRoche wants to spend time with his son, but there are limits. White Sox president Ken Williams told LaRoche to dial it back a bit. He even went on to say half the time was too much.
So LaRoche retired and is now walking away from  $13 million.
Now there's a war of words going on. White Sox manager Robin Ventura has to right the ship. It's not even his problem.
The clubhouse is in chaos. Normally a prima donna can destroy a clubhouse.
The clubhouse was destroyed by a 14 year old boys access to the clubhouse. Funny thing is, he's the most mature person in this situation.

Monday, March 14, 2016

One Quick Week

I came home from my fourth annual Spring Training trip to Arizona on Saturday.
This year was unlike any other year as it was so fast paced, as compared to the last three years.
My friend had his sister and brother in law come out for the first two days,  then his girlfriend joined us the last three days.
It was a lot of fun, but from the time we woke up, to the time we went to sleep, there wasn't a dull moment.
We needed to see two stadiums and then we would have seen all the Phoenix area stadiums.
First, we visited Sloan Park, home of the Chicago Cubs. It was in my opinion the best park in Spring Training.
I really enjoyed the layout of the park and the enthusiasm of the Chicagolander's rooting for the Cubs.
They are a passionate group, and they were grateful for the Arizona sun.
Kyle Schwarber and Kris Bryant played and put on a hitting display.
We went early in March, and if you go too early in the season, the minor leaguers play more often than they do later in the month. So about after the sixth inning, the big leaguers get taken out of the game and replaced with kids who'll be riding buses all summer long.
Don't ask me who won that game. I didn't keep score.
I didn't because everything went by so fast. The days were long, but fast.
Later that day, we went to Scottsdale Stadium to see the Reds and Giants.
The place was a sardine can. Scottsdale Stadium is one of the older parks now, and it shows. The corridors are narrow and the seating area is cramped.
It was one big party area. AT&T Park South. I think people were there to party than they were to watch the game.
I'm betting in a few years the Giants ask for a new facility. They desperately need one!
The rest of the week went fast.
We saw Oakland play the Dodgers at the newly remodeled Hohokam Park.
I sat next to Brewers team president Doug Melvin at the game. Looked like he was scouting the Dodgers. (More on that in another post).
The last day we saw the Giants and the Mariners at Scottsdale. The Arizona heat was hitting us. We were tired and it was a long trip.
After the last out I thought to myself, "Hurry up March 2017!"

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Big Egos

I've been doing a lot of reading lately about athletes with big egos. It's not that I want to. I have to. The subject is everywhere.
I was at my local big chain bookstore last week gathering reading material for my trip to Arizona. I was in the magazine section when I came across a quote in bold print from Bubba Watson which said, "I have a big ego and no one impresses me!"
I re-read the quote a few times. Then I got to thinking, "Why does he have to say that?" He's one of the best golfers in the world. He has it all. Why not be more supportive of your fellow golfers?
Because being nice doesn't generate two things he craves, controversy and attention.
I went on to read an article about him on Deadspin which proclaims him to be the most hated player on the PGA Tour. This was a survey from his fellow peers, not the fans. The fans don't think to highly of him either.
It went on to explain how bold and brash he is. He played golf at the University of Georgia, ( I'm surprised he was smart enough to get admitted there), and he played along guys who are now on the tour. It's believed that playing college golf would forge lifelong friendships. His fellow Bulldog alumns at first would walk up to him to start a conversation. Let's say he wasn't happy to go down memory lane and talk about the good old days in college. He can be cold and distant too.
There were a lot of stories basically implying he's not a nice man.
Again, why be that way?
I've written before about my dislike for Cam Newton. I can't stand his brash and arrogant manner. When he wins, he's all smiles and in your face. When he loses, he sulks and whines. He did so after the Super Bowl. He walked off after his press conference after giving one word answers about the loss. This is the face of the franchise who also is a spokesperson for major food companies.
He then could have made up for it a few days later during another interview. He made a comment about being a happy loser. He went on to say, "If you show me a guy who's happy to be a loser, I'll show you a loser." It just made things worse.
Big Egos fuel sports though. There was a great quote by the soccer great Georgio Chingala in the documentary "Once In A Lifetime" that goes, "You need a big ego in sports in order to survive." Which is true.
In the skateboarding movie, "Dogtown and Z-Boys", an older skateboarder was quoted as saying, "If you have a big ego, you better back it up." Which is also true.
My question is, if you're the best, why be so brash about it? Sports is about sportsmanship and one should be humble. But Madison Avenue builds up these athletes that are anything but being a good sportsman. Isn't that sending the wrong signal? (Especially to the kids. But like Goose Gossage said yesterday, there are kids being little turds because of these unsportsmanlike athletes.)
Serena Williams is another brash athlete that's bold win she wins, but sulks and speaks in a monotone voice when she loses.
As I said, big egos fuel sports. Time to look for a different kind of fuel.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

On The Road Again

I'm in the passenger seat on the way to Spring Training.
First stop is Las Vegas. It helps break up the drive.
We're scheduled to see six games this year. One of which I'm excited about.
Going to see the Cubs at Sloan Park in Mesa. It's the largest spring training park in baseball at a capacity over 15,000. Amazing that they sell out every game.
We're also going to Hohokam Park, home of the A's, which is also in Mesa.
It looks to be a great week in the Valley of the Sun!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Pitch Patch Potch

Observations from the week.....
I said on TV that Cam Newton would do something stupid during the Super Bowl because his immaturity and ego were more important to him than the game plan. Then his stupidity continued after the game and the days following. Grow up Cam. Man up too.

The Warriors are 38-4 at the All Star Break. History in the making folks. Enjoy it. This happens once in a lifetime.

There's a rat in the Sacramento Kings organization. Someone is disclosing too much information to the press. I think it's Shaq. When he talks, people listen. Who else knows about the dysfunction in the organization? This is the worst organization in professional sports. The 49ers are a close second. 

Pitchers and catchers finally report to Spring Training next week. 

It's been a great week! Bye for now. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Campbell Park Football

Now that the Super Bowl is finally behind us, I have my own football tale to tell.
In the falls of 1984, '85 and '86, my friends and I from Douglass Jr. High would play football at my neighborhood park, Campbell Park. 
It was the perfect place for football. It had a wide open area that was meant for football. We would play everyday after school. I mean everyday! 
There were enough of us to make two competitive teams. We weren't the best football players, but we has fun. We would try all sorts of different plays. Reverses, sweeps, flea flickers and running plays. We really loved to pass though.
I always wanted to be the quarterback. I thought I had a cannon for an arm. I could really throw the deep bomb. I could and I did......with a Nerf football. Every now and then we has a leather football.
We would be out there in the sun, the rain, the wind and the cold and just have a great time for about two hours. We knew it was time to go home when it got too dark to see. The street lights coming on was another hint it was time to go home and eat dinner.
We loved playing after a good rainy day. Once I came home muddy and my mom wouldn't let me in through the front door. She made me go around through the back yard to the kitchen door and made me take off all my clothes and come in wearing my underwear. 
She hated washing my muddy clothes, but she knew I enjoyed it and it kept me out of trouble. 
Eventually, all good things must come to an end. We eventually stopped playing once we got to high school. Some of us got jobs or got involved with after school activities. Some of the guys got girlfriends or got into cars. As for myself, I got into yearbook and newspaper staff. 
I miss those days. I'd love to throw the pigskin around one more time with my boys! 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

It Was Once A Simple Game

A poem written by me......
Super Bowl Sunday
It was once a fun day
The meat, the cheese, the bread
We put on quite a spread
Don't forget the drinks
We had everything but the kitchen sink
It's a day to be lazy
Everyone will go crazy about the commercial with the talking baby
Then came the game
It's not the same
Oh what a shame
Everyone loves the scoring
All will be adoring
I'm sorry, I find the whole thing boring!

I really used to love the Super Bowl. I'm a sports guy. I talk about it on TV and write about it here!
What kind of red blooded American am I if I don't enjoy the Super Bowl?
I just don't anymore.
It was once a simple football game.
The game started early in the afternoon, so early enough, that after the game, as a child, I'd throw the football in the air and say, "I'm Joe Montana!" or whoever was the star of the game.
Now it's pushed back until late afternoon. The game moves so slowly now. There are too many commercial breaks.
Then there's the two weeks of hype. I know the NFL wants to build momentum for the game, but it's just so drawn out.
The Bay Area hosted the Super Bowl festivities this year. There was a Super Bowl City along the Embarcadero area in San Francisco. When I was younger I would have went. I would have bought all Super Bowl 50 hats, t shirts, and other things with the Super Bowl 50 logo on it.
But it doesn't interest me.
I have no plans to watch the game. I'll be at work watching people get ready for a day of excess. The day is a disgusting celebration of excess. Today is a display why people in Europe think Americans are fat and lazy. Today everyone will over eat, over drink and over indulge.
Money will change hands too. All bets are on today! The betting situations are ridiculous now. Who'll make the first first down? Who'll win the coin toss?
At work, there is a bank in our store. The last few years they leave the TV on so my employees can watch. This year I'm going to tell them to turn it off.
Today and tomorrow are days of wasted productivity.
Some people think that the Super Bowl should be a national holiday because everyone watches. Some people even think the Monday after the game should be a holiday because everyone is recovering from the partying.
Again, it's a disgusting celebration of excess I want no part of.
And it's only going to get worse as the years go by.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Pitch Patch Potch

A lot to talk about, bot enough time to write.
I'm happy Ken Griffey Jr and Mike Piazza made the Hall of Fame. I saw Piazza as a young unknown catcher in Bakersfield in 1991. Saw him twice actually. Once in Stockton and the other time in Bakersfield. In Stockton they were calling him, "Pizza, Pizza!" Now they would say, "Mr. Piazza can I have your autograph?"
In Bakersfield, he was on the on deck circle, and he was casually chatting with a fan. Then he hit a homerun.
As for The Kid, I saw his second game as a Major Leaguer in Oakland in 1989. He went 0 for 4, but he did quite well for himself!

I've been thinking about the Seattle Mariners hiring a 22 year old young lady named Amanda Hopkins as their "Four Corners" scout. I know 22 year olds who bird dog scout first, then work their way up the scouting chain.
Her father was a scout for the Mariners for many years. This is clear nepotism.
I think it's nice the Mariners sponsored her for her training at the Major League Scouting Bureau. I think it's nice she made quite an impression there.
I'm not criticizing her. It's just a little much to give someone so young so much responsibility regardless of their gender.
A 22 year old hasn't seen much baseball to get a feel for what a scout must truly look for. Just my opinion.

The Cheating Patriots forge on in the playoffs.....
I hope the Arizona Cardinals knock the smile of Cam Newton's face. I don't like his cockiness, arrogance and swagger.
I want to see him crawling off the field crying for his mama after the game!

Baseball is a month away. "Pitchers and catchers report" is my favorite sentence ever.

Television is going well. I'm more comfortable in front of the camera now. I love my small little role in the big sports television world.

I'm happy the Rams are now the Los Angeles Rams again. A piece of my childhood came back last week. I'll write more about that soon.
Thanks for reading!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Goooood Moooorning Naaaaappa!!

This morning I was on the Sports Vine Show on 1440 KVON in Napa with Arty "Party" Reyes, Steve Meyer and Mark McCloud.
We spoke of my transition to the Napa Show as Sports Director and my personal background in sports.
It was a funny half hour just telling funny stories and shooting the bull.
I was asked about growing up and how I became fascinated with radio and television. I also spoke about using my imagination growing up playing sports when no one else was around.
As I said it was a great half hour and I'm looking forward to doing it again!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Three Will Enter, One Will Win

The race for Los Angeles begins.
The San Diego Chargers, the Oakland Raiders and the St. Louis Rams filed papers to the NFL to move to LA.
Stan Kroenke, who owns the Rams, is already building a stadium in Inglewood. Talk about putting the cart before the horse.
The Chargers and Raiders are in talks to share a stadium in Carson. I haven't been to Carson in years, but I think it's too far away to drive to. I don't think it's going to happen. Just my opinion.
Why do I think only one team will end up in LA? Because LA is a one football team town. There's simply too much competition for the entertainment dollar in LA. There's also others things to do in southern California.
I like the Rams situation in Inglewood. Yes, it's in the hood, but I think an NFL stadium will revitalize the area.
I think the original plan of a stadium in downtown LA by Staples Center would have been a logistical and traffic nightmare. Loved the idea of Farmers Field, but I think it would have been a terrible situation.
All I know is its time for a team to return to LA. It's been over twenty years.
Come on NFL. Make the right decision. Allow the Rams to move back to LA so I can root for the Rams again!

You Can Succeed By Reading This!

I hate self help books. "Reach for the Stars", "Be the best you can be!", "Give 1000% everyday!", "You can do it! Go for it!!" the book titles exclaim.
What I really don't like is the pretentious athlete or coach who writes a book on how to succed. I think it's ridiculous.
They always have some cheesy title and the undertitle says, "My keys to success in life."
Think about it. An athlete or coach are totally different people than us. They have physical gifts that only a few people in this world posses. They use those gifts to rise to fame and fortune. Coaches lead on the sidelines, but the coach isn't doing it by himself. He has assistants who do the thankless grunt work and he or she takes all the credit if their team wins.
If they are very successful, they'll write a book on how we can succed like them. They always have this smug, smarmy look on their face on the cover of the book.
I don't buy into it.
These athletes and coaches are given opportunities none of us will ever have in life. We're not given millions of dollars to perform our jobs. We're not given the finer things in life. (Ever notice how wealthy people get things for free, while us working people have to reach for our wallets?)
When they get fired or released, they have another million dollar job waiting for them. Most of us don't have the business contacts they do to keep working.
Some use success to make more money. Contracts are torn up and big raises are given if a coach wins a championship. Players get incentive bonuses.
They'll tell you in their books on how to ask for that raise or get that promotion.
They'll make you think it's that easy. Allow me to tell a story.
In my twenties I was struggling to get by. I needed to make more money plain and simple. I read some coaches book that made me think I was going to walk into my managers office and ask for a raise. The coach said to prepare and practice how to ask for it. I was ready to ask for a boatload of money!
I was turned away just as quickly I asked for it. The manager said it wasn't company policy to give raises. I countered by listing all the reasons why I deserved a raise. I was told to have a nice day.
The only raise given was the coach who wrote the book. He pocketed $19.95 off of me.
It was then that I discovered these books were a crock.
The coaches and athletes should write a one page book that say this, "I was born with God given ability to do things no one else can and people pay to see me do it."
Not all of us can coach a winning team. Not all of us can score the winning touchdown or get the big hit to win the game. Why should I read about how an athlete or coach telling me I can do what they do. I can't and I never will.
You really want to succeed in life.
Here's how. Go out and work hard everday. No excuses, no whining. Life is tough. Life isn't easy. Forge your own path and walk past the 'How to be successful book written by a jock' section. It will save you a few bucks. Put it in your bank account and save for the future.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Expanding My Horizons

Happy New Year! 2016 is going to be an exciting year. I'm enjoying my television segment in Napa. Getting positive feed back from it.
I'm going to be on the radio in 2016!
Tune into KVON 1440 AM on January 9th at 9 am to listen to me and Arty Reyes talk about the Napa Show on the Sports Vine Show.
I'm looking into podcasting more with some friends on their show. I'm planning on doing my own podcast too. I already have one show recorded on Spreaker.
I'm planning on helping out in the front office for the Sacramento Stealth of the Great West League.
And finally I'm looking into going back to school and finish what I started many years ago. It's time to get it done.
I want more in 2016.