I would first like to say after reading Jay's blog nice job, it was a wonderful piece of sports reading. As we all know, the Bruin's won the Stanley Cup. Another Original Six team has won the Stanley Cup, There is an apparent trend in sports that is occurring, or at least seems to be in my opinion.
In baseball as Jay mentions, the Red Sox, Yankees and White Sox along with my beloved Tigers are all challenging to see who will become champions, and there is a lot of history between these teams as far as championships are concerned. The Bears, Packers and Steelers seem to always be in the mix for a Super Bowl ring now days. The Black Hawks and Bruins have ended long Cup droughts, who will the next Original Six team to break their long drought and win a cup, or are the Bruins the team to beat next season?
When will teams like the Cubs, Maple Leafs, Rangers and Canadian's hoist another trophy, and relive the moments that were seen in the past, or are these teams destined to see failure over a long period of time? The Red Wings at one time were doormats, until the players bought into the system, and have become a model of consistency for other teams with their long playoff run.... As Jay mentioned, the Celtic's and Patriots success, however where would the Patriots be without Tom Brady, they probably would still be the same old Patriots of the 80's and 90's no disrespect intended. The Red Sox's probably would not have had the success they have had also, if they had not outspent the Yankees, and basically bought themselves a title, once again Jay no disrespect intended....
So if we go back in history even the Wings basically bought the best team money could buy, and won 2 championships and if not for a remarkable save in game 7 by Fleury, they may have had back to back cups. It just goes to show you that money can buy you championships, because good players want to play on good teams, and will sacrifice salary and egos to achieve success. Once LeBron does this, he will get his ring.
The Major League All-Star Game will be held in downtown Phoenix this year on Tuesday July 12. Most of the current stars of our national pastime will be in attendance, as will most of our future stars be here for the Futures Game. I would expect that the Home Run Derby will be a treat, as the ball carries well here in the 1300 foot altitude and the dry heat. I am sure that the roof will be closed; the average high for July 12 in Phoenix is 107 degrees. Two years ago, it hit 115 on this date.
They say (who are they) it is a dry heat here, but unfortunately in mid-July it is the monsoon season and the humidity can be quite high. It is a good thing that Chase Field has a retractable roof and air conditioning. Chase Field is a beautiful ballpark and, do not forget, it has a baseball history. The 2001 World Series was won by the Diamondbacks right here.
The Arizona Diamondbacks will not have any starters in the mid-summer classic, but they do deserve to be well represented. As of today they are leading the NL West Division with a 43-34 record, including having a staggering 16-4 record for their last 20 road games. In inter-league play this season, they are currently sporting an 8-2 record. Their sparkling road record is critical for them right now because, in getting the stadium ready for the All-Star Game, the Diamondbacks play only a 3 game series at home against Cleveland until after the game has been played. The Diamondbacks’ manager, Kirk Gibson, will be a bench coach at the game for the National League squad.
While many decry playing the All-Star Games of all sports, I believe that baseball’s game is the best. It began in 1933 as a means to showcase American and National League talent since there was no inter-league play in those days. The game in 1934 featured Carl Hubbell (future Hall of Famer) striking out five future Hall of Famers Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmy Foxx, Al Simmons, and Joe Cronin. Major League Baseball is voting on the 10 greatest events of All-Star Game play, and I am betting that this feat comes in as #1. It would be quite fitting for Hubbell to win, as he made nearby Scottsdale his home until his death in 1988.
I believe that the game is apropos to be played in the Phoenix area, as Phoenix has always been the featured Spring Training site for Major League baseball. As of 2011, 15 of the 30 Major League teams train here. So please do not complain too much about the weather here in July, because in the spring it is spectacular.
I am sure that the city of Phoenix will shine in the All-Star presentation, there have been many huge sporting events here over the years, including two Super Bowls, four NCAA National Championship football games, the Fiesta Bowl, the Insight Bowl, and an NBA All-Star game. The only concern is, none of these events occurred in mid-summer. Just remember that (hopefully) it is a dry heat!
Okay, maybe not...But between that title and the picture, I'm sure I caught your attention...And yes, God is the feature topic of this post...If you read my last POST, you know I get salty when God and Politics and matters of the State get mixed together...Well that's not the only time it gets under my skin...
My 12 years of Catholic schooling taught me many things...Including that God or a Higher Power does not picks sides in sporting events...I have attended mass at The Basilica at Notre Dame, and gone to the Grotto countless times, and not only did I not pray for a victory, I'm pretty sure if I did, it wouldn't have mattered...It's not God's fault the Irish couldn't stop NAVY's option attack...
We often hear athletes thank God after a big victory...How they couldn't have done it without him...Hell I saw that JET dude from the Mavericks do it...(Yeah I don't really follow basketball)...And then LeBron James tweeted how God wasn't ready for him to win a championship yet...Ummm guys, I highly doubt that the Almighty was really focused on your Basketball game!
The NBA Draft was Thursday night...The NHL Draft started Friday night...There have been guys drafted in both, who got in front of a mic and thanked, "The Lord Jesus Christ." He didn't get you drafted! You coaches over the years...Your parents...The quality competition you faced...Hard work and determination....These things got you drafted...
We've seen entertainers thank God when they win awards...Really? God enjoyed your movie so much more, that he snapped his fingers and said, 'YOU WIN!' Grow up people!
I'm not hating on people for being religious...I'm not shitting on them for having a strong commitment to their Faith...Whatever gets you through your days...If it helps you sleep at night, great...But I think there needs to be a bit of common sense involved...The idea of God, or an all-powerful being, that is in charge of this crazy world, is big...That's serious shit...And to think this higher power really gives a shit about who wins and loses the "Super Bowl" just seems silly to me...
I mean isn't he busy right now, with the drought, the wild-fires, the flooding, raining out Tee-Ball games...Japan being radioactive from 3 meltdowns, and still having small quakes...Alaska has had Quakes all week...Wars around the world...Genocide in Africa...Seems like there are some things ahead of who wins and loses on the big guy's to-do list...
Oh, and by the way Kurt Warner and LeBron James...All that bad stuff I mentioned...You know, the wars, genocide, floods, earthquakes, droughts, blah, blah, blah, all that...Now is God causing that? Or is he suppose to fix that stuff...Just wondering!
Sorry if I got too heavy...Here's where I boosted the title from...
“Dreams are the answers to questions that we haven't yet figured out how to ask.” - Fox Mulder
Ok, I'll admit, that all the lessons I learned in life, I picked up from watching the X-Files during the 1990's. And as Fox Mulder would also say, "we are not alone."
Take for instance the plethora of players in Major League Baseball who are finally getting to realize their dream of being a part of and contributing to a team on baseball's biggest stage. After years of starts and stops, position changes, and bus jumping, these guys are getting their shining moment and taking full advantage of it.
Players like Ryan Vogelsong understand that struggle. Vogelsong was a 5th round draft pick of the San Francisco Giants in 1998 and got his first taste of the Major Leagues in relatively quick order, pitching in 6 games in 2000 during his initial cup of coffee. The next season, he would be granted a bigger audition but struggled to impress and was shipped to Pittsburgh as part of the Jason Schmidt trade. He did receive his first two starts for Pittsburgh in 2001, but only lasted a total of 6 innings in those appearances. He would require Tommy John surgery later that season and missed the entire 2002 season. Three more seasons in Pittsburgh would be spent ineffectively starting and only achieving middling results as a reliever before he was granted free agency. Vogelsong would spend the 2007-2009 seasons pitching in Japan. He would return to the states in 2010, signing with both Philadelphia and the Los Angeles Angels at different points of the season, but would never make it out of the minors with either team.
A lot of players give up on their dream at this stage, realizing that they've achieved what they could with the talent they have. Some go on to coach, while others fall back into other careers along the lines of their educations.
Vogelsong, however, decided to give it one last shot.
Signed in January by the team that drafted him, the Giants thought they saw enough of him that he would be able to contribute if an injury arose. That situation came about when Barry Zito went down to injury and he threw his first two games in mop-up duty pitching 4.2 scoreless innings in those first two appearances. Vogelsong would get his first start on on April 28th and promptly struck out 8 against Pittsburgh on the way to the win. Since that time, he has managed to go 5-1 with a 1.86 ERA and 57 strikeouts across 72 innings pitched.
Needless to say, the Giants and Vogelsong have finally realized his dream and watched him grow into what may be the most uncharacteristic All-star in just a few weeks time. By persevering through the struggles, Vogelsong has carved his place in the game and with the fans. He has molded himself into one of the most sought-after pitchers approaching the deadline and will likely have pitched himself into a multi-year contract and rotation next season.
Not to bad for a guy that finally made his mark at the age of 33.
- Vogelsong isn't the only player finally getting his chance. The New York Yankees have utilized career minor-leaguer and former outfielder Brian Gordon as a starting pitcher over the last two weeks. Gordon was a player that bounced around five different organizations and changed positions to make the big time. He had a great spring in the Phillies system, but they had nowhere to use him, so when the Yankees need arose, they came calling. He's likely done by the time Phil Hughes returns, but it was likely worth the ride as well.
- The Phillies are finally getting their monies worth with Cliff Lee. After rough first two months out of the gate, Lee has given up just 1 earned run over 33 innings pitched during the month of June, including back-to-back shut-outs versus the Marlins and the Cardinals.
- Washington Nationals manager Jim Riggleman abruptly quit over a contract dispute on Thursday. Riggleman apparently refused to get on the team bus unless his contract extension was picked up and GM Mike Rizzo wasn't ready to do that. Adding to the oddity of the situation, the Nationals have won 9 of 10, and are 15-6 for the month of June, which is likely their strongest run in the history of organization.