Daily Blog 2.0
Freak Show Friday - 8/8/14
Category: Daily Blog 2.0

BAM!  Yep, it’s me, the Dan LeBatard of the Gab.  Back for another round of annoying takes, so let’s kick start this hopefully Aloha Friday with a few sports takes to set the table for the weekend…

Baseball Races.  I’ve been thinking that there are some franchise who might want some help from our friend Jobu…

Atlanta Braves, 2-8 in their last ten and now three games back from the second Wild Card. 

San Francisco, 5-5 in their last ten and one game up in the First Wild Card slot.  They need to get Angel Pagan back soonest, and need to pour an extra shot of rum to get their pitching back up to speed.

Philadelphia Phillies.  According to MLB.com, Cliff Lee is out for the season and the bats stink, so the Phillies actually went out and placed Cole Hamels and Marlon Byrd on waivers, only to have “unidentified teams” claim them?  OK, let me understand this – they place Hamels on waivers, yet he has a limited no-trade clause which means he will only accept trades to the Angels, Braves, Dodgers, Cardinals, Nationals, Padres, Rangers, Red Sawx, and Cranks.  So out of that group, whose gonna trade for ole Cole and give up what the Phillies might want?  Anaheim or LA…MAYYYYYYYBE…

Not only that, Jonathan Papelbon cleared waivers and he has the audacity to say that he will happily waive it to close for a contending team?  At first, I was gonna make fun of that, but he actually has good stats:  2-2, 1.71 ERA with 26 saves and 45 SO in 47.1 IP.  After reading those stats, I was surprised he couldn’t be dealt, but then I read further:  He has $13 mil owed to him next season, and $13 mil in 2016 (at the team option). 

Philly ought not to get too greedy, but they could get some good out of Hamels and Papelbon.

Baseball Stadiums.  I have had the good fortune to attend three spring training venues and now four different ballparks across the country in the last two years – ATT Park in SF, Marlins Park in Miami, Target Field, and Kauffman.  If I had to rank them, it would be Kauffman (4), Marlins (3), ATT #2, and Target #1.

Ongoing Ray Rice Saga.  Try as I might to ignore this, it keeps coming up – and if Keith Olbermann is right on this, it’s getting pretty damn scary…

Oh, and Keith, not to get political here, but you are one hypocritical son-of-a-bitch!  You whack the Sheriff for a lack of transparency, but you are noticeably absent when it comes down to your heroes running the country.  That’s right you liberal mouthpiece – everything you say applies to everything happening in Washington, DC but yet you won’t go after them.    

NFL Training Camps.  Not too many “traditions” in camp that I can recall, but it seems to me that it’s pretty damn cool to watch these kids in Green Bay with their bikes and Packer players. 

Having been to two camps, I find it interesting the differing approaches.  Vikings did two a days a morning walk-through no pads, and the second with pads and hitting.  In KC, it was one practice with pads and hard hitting.

NFL Off-season.  It seems pretty clear to me that in the off-season that more than a few NFL athletes let themselves go.  If they can’t pass a basic conditioning test in July, then of course injuries are gonna be the next logical conclusion.

I’m certainly not a doctor, but there has to be some correlation between the relaxing of the off-season rules in the last CBA and the number of serious injuries that occur in July and August.  I’m not saying be a slave driver, but what I am saying is can’t there be a more happy medium in keeping players in better shape heading in to camp?

NFL Pre-Season.  With all the above being said, I personally think four games is too many and would like nothing better than to see it reduced to three or even better two games.  Injuries are already too extensive and these exhibitions rip off the fans.

Buffalo (Toronto?) Bills.   I’ve never been to Buffalo, and I only know one person whose ever lived there, but what I do know is that the Bills have been in Buffalo since what 1960?  They have one hell of a fan following, and now some rich fat cat carpetbagger wants to steal the team and put it in Toronto?  If I’m a fan of the Bills, hell yes I’m worried, and no Jon Bon Jovi, I don’t freaking believe you when you say the team is staying if your group gets them – why do you think Andre Reed busted verbal and virtual caps in your comments recently?  Don’t you freaking know you’re being used?

Hey Canada and specifically Toronto, are you willing or even inclined to embrace an NFL team at the expense of the CFL and the Toronto Argonauts?  Do you really want an NFL team owned and run by the same folks who give you Maple Leafs hockey every season?  Just sayin’…

Finally, let’s be completely honest here Canada…are you willing to support the NFL when Hockey is starting up?  Seriously?

Politics.  I actually heard something from a talking head that made sense yesterday, and that is having the states start taking constitutional action against DC in the form of holding a new constitutional convention.  You see DC, you’re about to get eaten up by politicians at the state level.  They see what is going on and are starting to talk about going after you in terms of changing the rules of the game. 

Look, it doesn’t matter what side of the spectrum you’re on politically or even if you have no opinion, nothing is getting done, and you are getting hurt in ways that you can’t imagine – inflation and increased prices are only the beginning. 

Food - BBQ debate.  Jerry and I got to thinking about this, and I’ve decided that adding to my bucket list will be a BBQ trip across all the different regions and deciding which is best.  KC, St. Louis, Memphis, Carolina, Texas, “Deep South”.  If you have recommendations of places to go, I will store them on my list.  

Talking Sports
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: NFL Training Camp MLB Commish

Has the NFL gone soft over the past couple of years? The trend that teams now practice together all week before an exhibition game oh sorry I mean a preseasongame just seems wrong. I get it from a fan point of view that it’s pretty cool to go to an open training camp session and see the opponents defense or offens workout against your teams offense or defense. I even get it that by this point in camp playrs want to hit something other than the guy that’s lined up against them for the past couple of weeks. Yes, I get it honestly I do.

Why, play the game at all? Other than the home team gets the gate and these minigames or joint practices are free why bother playing the games. Let’s face it’s a breeding ground for injury, This week the Patriots are in Virginia to play none other than the Cavaliers or the Hokies wait I’m sorry I have that wrong I mean they are playing the dare I say it the Washington Professional Football Franchise. Otherwise known as the here it comes read over this part the REDSKINS. The Patriots did the smar thing leaving Rob Gronkowski home. I would have left Tom Brady there as well ditto for Vince Wilfork. Of course the commish would have ben pissed and probably given them affine and suspended Bill Belichick for more games than Ray Rice for not putting the best team on the field. According to several Patriots beat guys at the joint practice Brady has been a beast in these practice sessions tearing up the REDSKINS secondary...

Going back to the original question I guess it’s all a little too friendly for me. Your practice together for a few days than you beat the crap other of each other in a game that unless your bubble guy and need to prove yourself nobody takes seriously. Maybe the answer is just practice together an skip the games everybody goes into the regular season at nearly 100% charge a nominal fee for the practices over 4days to make up the gate money lost for not having the preseason games instead of full price as part of a season ticket holder package. Just a thought that they will never go for.

 

Baseball

The board of somebody or other will be voting on Bud Selig’s replacement sometime in the next week. The candidates are drum roll please. Bob Manfred MLB’s COO , Tom Brosnan MLB’s executive VP of Business operations. And Boston Red Sox  owner and Mork and Mindy producer Tom Werner. Werner probably more for his TV connections than his ability to lead. Brosnan is the guy that keeps the business end going. Mamfred is the guy most likely or at least he seems to be the front runner according to a few in the media including ESPN’s Jason Stark who says Manford is to Selig as Adam Silver was to David Stern.

This is a chance for baseball to get progressive and maybe get a few changes or ideas in the game. Sort of like Roger Goodell did in the NFL. Than again if Roger keeps restricting defenses maybe the joint practice will replace regular season games. Manford will probably keep baseball on a steady keel as has been over the past several years keeping revenues up and not doing much else to put his on stamp on the game. Werner and Brosnan are more business guys Werner would probably do some good stuffas far as TV goes using his network connections and I believe that’s the only reason is name is in the race. I don’t think he is the right guy for the job. Brosnan is probably just the business guy and will get overlooked.

 

Baseball really isn’t going outside the box on this one. We will see who they vote in.next Thursday.

 

Zebra Tales

I umpired an over 30 mens baseball league game last Sunday other than guys whinning more than little leaguers, they didn’t give me or my partner too much shit it was fun. The game started with one of the Hispanic players bringing in both teams and both umpires for a prayer at home plate. He did in Spanish. I’m not a deeply religious guy but I thought it was very cool.

 

The gentleman who lead the prayer played professionally at the AA level another gentleman also Hispanic played at AAA and you could tell they were far above the rest of the talent on the field. I also never saw two guys having more fun playing baseball than these two guys just smiling and laughing and doing some coaching as well to their teammates.

The AAA guy was funny he is pitching and he throw hard so somebody on the other team asked him if he still can throw 90. The guy says yes but I don’t have against you guys. He was at bat later in the game; he proceeded to tell the catcher exactly what he was going to do. He says I’m going to drive a single to left, steal second on you than steal third, and come home on another hit. He ended up popping out and laughing so hard when he did so he just looked back at the catcher and pointed and laughed. It was just fun to see the passion and people just having fun playing ball.

Lil Lanz and I over the weekend were at a local Hockey store buying new skates at a huge tent sale the store was having. We get the skates and we where waiting to get them sharpened along with what seemed like the rest of North Shore of Massachusetts. They had an olde Tyme Hockey game on from the early 80's  on flat screen while we were waiting it was the Flyers and the Islanders Pete Peters was the goalie for the Flyers and he is laying in the net hurtwhile the trainer is attending to him the rest of the guys are in an old fashioned dony brook beating the snot out of eachother how times have changed.

Lanz and the boys are off for the weekend on another MLB trip destination and details to come next week.

Buzz from the Bleachers
Category: Daily Blog 2.0

Welcome to Wednesday, Gabbers. This has been quite a week here in PA. As a result, this is coming to you later and lighter. I’ve been working 9 hour shifts just about all week, and since I work retail currently that includes the weekend. I’m on my way to a meeting with a local school to change that.. I had to run around and get all my documents ready.

We’re also headed to Michigan for a wedding. We had to get the house picked up since we’d be gone and having peeps stop in to check on our kitty. Last night, we went in to a travel agency because we won a cruise and Pirates vouchers at the zoo. You know the deal, though. You “win” the voucher, but have to go listen to the sales pitch. We listened. Didn’t buy. Got our stuff. We’ve got a trip to the Bahamas and a Pirates game. We got home promptly at 10:30 at night.

Big news sports wise, Andrew McCutchen is out with a broken rib. This may or may not be the direct result of the D-Backs plunking him in the side this past weekend. The Buccos do not need this right now. They’re 2.5 games back in the NL Central and 1.5 games from the Wild Card. They’ve had a lot of injuries, but losing the reigning MVP really sucks. On a personal level, I want to see the guy play when I go to games. Let’s all hope for a speedy recovery.

The injury has caused some to question retaliation. I don’t. Baseball needs it, to an extent. It’s just like enforcers in hockey; it’s a big part of the game. It’s your insurance. Like insurance, sometimes it really fucks you over. The Pirates got fucked. Maybe they could’ve found a better spot to aim for, but at least they knew better than to go for Cutch’s head. Hopefully this serves as another reason to be more careful of where the pitchers aim or another reason for guys to try and put more of their back toward the ball.

I heard a few talking heads talk about what Puig means to baseball. They said Puig is a character and that, while his antics are frowned on by some, he’s very much in line with the tradition of the stars of the game having big personalities. I’ll admit I never thought of it that way. I accept the point. I wouldn’t go to their level and say baseball really needs Puig’s attitude right now. Albert Pujols or Miggy might not have a lot of swagger or a ton of personality, but there are guys to make up for it. Look at David Ortiz. Puig is really Ortiz to the next level. I hope this kid succeeds. I do think he’s good for the game, but a lot of his quirks are sloppy. I do hope he matures as his career continues.

Next week the MLB could announce it’s new GM. Let’s just hope it’s not W. The guy may know baseball, but I just think he’d be too polarizing and dampen the game’s momentum with fans.

Well, that’s it for me this week. Short and sweet. Thanks as always for stopping in. Have a great end of the week.

Musings From The Hoodwood 8-5
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: NBA NFL MLB

                                                                                                   Junior wins and is cleaning up the track too!

Greetings From the Hoodwood where it just seems like things are a little unhinged.

Now normally, I would have all sorts of hyperbole and hype here, but I am having some pc issues. So right now, you will get the condensed version that will be added to today. Please accept my apologies.

NBA: The nightmare scenario

By now you’ve likely seen the gruesome injury that Pacers superstar and leading scorer Paul George suffered this past weekend. I won’t do anything gross like show a replay, but the reactionary mentality of some talking head is laughably nauseating. The fact that NBA players have been competing internationally for the past 22 years and this is the first major injury that has happened should dissuade those that are saying that this is proof positive that NBA players should not be playing in the these tournaments. So what if this had happened 2 months from now in a meaningless preseason game in Muncie? What if the injury had happened in a charity event? Mark Cuban has been extremely vocal on his dislike of using pro players for international competition and has advocated using under 23 players for World Cup, Olympic competition and other international events. I think his position is based purely on self-serving interests. Cuban is merely voicing what the other less locaquious owners want to say. They want a piece of the action in this international tourney, they would rather say help stage an international tourney like the World Cup and be in control of it or at the very least get some sort of cut for their players playing in it. Unlike soccer where the national team players get paid and get bonus money for playing in the World Cup, players on the national basketball team aren’t paid. Now the Pacers have insurance that they will likely use to offset the loss of George this season and the money that they have to pay him. They will likely also get a salary cap exemption from the NBA but they have dropped from and Eastern Conference title contender to also ran. Remember that Lance Stephenson bolted for Charlotte last month. Which leaves the Pacers with Roy Hibbert as their centerpiece this year…oy vey.

NFL: Dalton gets paid…is it worth it?

Since Hoodwood is close to Cincinnati, I have had an interesting view of the machinations going on with the pro football team of the area re-signing Andy Dalton to a lengthy contract. The Bengals inked the 4th year quarterback to a contract that could be worth up to $115 million. Now I have to admit that when I first heard about this. I wanted to break out the Picard meme asking rhetorically “what the fuck is this man?” But the more I look at the deal and the way it’s structured, the Bengals might be looking rather smart. The contract gives Dalton 2 more years with incentives that will pay him $25 million  but it has opt and boosts that if Dalton plays bad in the next two years the Bengals can jettison him with little financial hardship. If he plays good, the contract keeps paying out, with financial flexibility that will make Dalton the 4th highest paid QB in the game. This keeps the Bengals franchise tag clear, which might be used on his favorite target AJ Green who will be looking to make (well deserved) Megatron money here soon. The detractors are numerous and loud, pointing to Daltons 4-8 record against the Bengals main rivals Baltimore and Pittsburgh and his 0-3 record in the playoffs which none were close and Dalton made critical errors in all of them. Dalton to his credit has stepped up to try to be the face and voice of the franchise and has played by and large very well during the season. He has more playoff starts than either Boomer Esiason or Carson Palmer. Has thrown for 80 TD’s in three seasons and has a respectable 30-18 record which is better than the much more ballyhooed Tony Romo who is 24-24 in the past 3 seasons with zero playoff appearances. But now the pressure ramps up on Dalton who has not parlayed regular season success to playoff success and it could be not only his fate but Marvin Lewis’s that hang in the balance for it.

Phat Dap

To Jim Kelly and Andre Reed who at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony hooked up for one last more pass. Reed who was inducted in the Hall this weekend spoke glowingly about his teammate who is battling cancer and Kelly was on hand to throw Reed a completion which they did some 664 times over their Hall of Fame Careers. Here’s to Reed for being part of a great hall class but to Kelly too who is taking the fight to cancer and I’m hoping is on hand for many more induction classes.

Head Slap

To Maryland basketball recruit Trayvon Reed that was arrested for shoplifting less than $6 of candy then compounded his stupidity by resisting arrest and breaking the hand of one of the officers trying arrest him. Now Reed is facing felony charges in addition to being dropped like a hot potato from Maryland’s recruiting class.  Slap to Reed for throwing away a bright future.

 

Quick Hits

Slump? What Slump Dale Jr. wins the Poconos again…he’s in the catbird seat for the big money title chase

Hey weren’t youse the World Champion Red Sox a few months ago…now a fire sale? Wow

David Wilson of the G-Men will have to call it quits due to a neck condition…that’s a crying shame.

Ray Guy made the football hall of fame…it’s about damn time

Tony Bosch of Biogenesis surrendered to the DEA..what secrets will he reveal?

I think Kirk Gibson is a punk for targeting Andrew McCutcheon with a “purpose pitch” he should be suspended

Ill add more as the day goes. Until Next Post Fellow Sports Fans

Red Sox on Sale
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: #bostonstrong mlb red sox

It’s been a sad couple of days in Red Sox Nation.  I know, I’m crying poormouth, because we don’t usually find ourselves on the selling list.  It’s almost as if 2013 didn’t happen – I mean what a great story: “Worst to First!” except no one ever talks about the “Worst to First to Worst again.”  Seems like someone made their deal with Mr. Scratch and it expired with the last out on October 31st.

How else to explain the near complete dismantling of the starting pitching staff: Felix Dubront, Jake Peavy, John Lackey, and Jon Lester.  Gone.  Jonny Gomes.  Gone.  This is not to say the Sox didn’t get some fine returns, but Lackey is under contract for $500,000 next year.  If nothing else, he’d be a solid #5 starter for that kind of money. 

The Sox have stocked their farm system over the last decade.  Cespedes, who comes back for Lester,  leads the league in outfield assists, paired up with Jackie Bradley who isn't too far off.  The other returns are solid 2-6 batters with great power and RBI production, combined with is multiple free agent pitchers (including Lester) for next year.  All the position players are under contract and the team salary number has been reduced so they can now dump money on pitchers in free agency.  It all makes a world of sense.  But it still hurts.

No one wants to call it a day.  No one wants to throw in the towel.  No one wants to say the season has been a waste.

But it has been.

It’s remarkable to me that just a few months removed from a world championship, the team that won it all has been dismantled.  And while heartening to read Jon Lester’s ad (although the cynic in me thinks the NVRQT shout out paid for the ad) and knowing Jonny Gomes carries with him a memento of his time in Boston on his back as well as his kind words about his time here makes the dismantling a little easier to bear, it still hurts. 

To top it off, the day after the fire sale, the Sox were playing the Yankees.  Yeah.  Ouch.  I know any Kansas City Royals fans, or Pittsburgh Pirates fans out there are just wailing and gnashing their teeth over this scuttled season in Boston, but it’s a story as old as professional baseball.  Joy and heartbreak.  Heartbreak and joy.  It’s just that it usually happens to other people.  Over the last ten years, the Red Sox have been unusually blessed.  Before that, during my lifetime, it was mostly heartbreak – so close, and yet fall short.  Throughout baseball history, worst to first stories are rare.  Rarer still are the first to worst stories.  In fact, the first 90 years of MLB saw not one team ever do it.  Over the last 25 years, 11 teams have done it with only the Twins ever winning it all before the Sox did it last year.  This happens because for the better part of that MLB history, worst meant finishing last in your league – or at least in one of the two divisions in your league.  Now, you have the opportunity to finish last in your division without truly being the worst.  The Padres, made the opposite trip: First to worst (1996-97) to (96-97) First.  That aside, no one makes the worst to first – winning it all – and back to worst.  No one.  Except the Red Sox.

In a way, that’s worse than not winning.  Sure, the glow of a freshly minted banner at Fenway lasted a few weeks, but after that – it was a tragic reminder of the 2014 season.

Does it suck to be a Red Sox fan?  No.  There’s a plan in place, there’s resources available.  This team will be back next season.  But next season is 8 months away.  Baseball is a long term race, but when your team is out by the trading deadline it’s a very long 8 months.

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