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FOOTBALL!
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: Football FXFL NFL

Time has a great piece on why the Little League World Series is off to the greatest start ever

A rather unfortunate concomitant to the passing of Robin Williams is the fact that the Red Sox have not won on Ben Affleck’s birthday – August 15 - since the 1997 release of “Good Will Hunting.”   It just so happened this year was the 15th anniversary, but it just happened to be the same week his co-star committed suicide.   Just seems a little soon.   Of course, the odds really were against the Sox winning this year anyway.

With the Red Sox season in the tank, I couldn’t be any happier the NFL season is about to start.   

Now, never let it be said I’m wishing my summer away – I love summer – but with the Sox out of any kind of contention, the boy’s mind wanders to football.  I can watch any NFL game and be engaged.  I love the New England entry, but I actually care about what goes on elsewhere.  There’s only 16 games, so everything matters.  That seemingly arcane game now could be important later.

There’ll be an expansion of football this year as well – We all know Thursday and Sunday are NFL, and Saturdays are NCAA, and in some parts High School football takes up Friday nights – so where else can a football game fit in?

Wednesday.  For six Wednesdays in October and November a new developmental league will begin play – the Fall Experimental Football League, FXFL will have teams in six cities with the idea being to get the players some playing time that may get them some notice.  The first team to announce a logo and name is the Omaha Mammoths.  Now, I really have no idea how well this will go over, but I’m sure it will have more going for it than say the XFL – hard to know why they chose that unfortunate combination, just google FXFL and you’ll get a bunch of stuff on the doomed football  experiment.    He hate me. 

Maybe we should bring back “Mob Football.”  That would kick ass…because I’m not sure FXFL will.  Or we could all go skydiving.

In closing, I leave you with the World’s Funniest Joke – if only to pay a bit of a tribute to Robin.

 

NASCAR Update And Other Fast Stuff 8-17-14
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: NASCAR Watkins Glen Michigan Tony Stewart ALS Bucket Challenge

                        

GET R DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUNE GABBERS!!!!!! Yep. It's me again welcoming all you Gabbers and others to another one of my NASCAR updates and other fast stuff. I love tractors. Would love to have one but I don't have a farm.  I haven't been down to The Buck to watch tractor sled pulls in a couple years. 

This sure has been a dark and miserable week. I'm still bummed about Robin Williams. There's been so much speculation on why he did it from depression to Parkison's diagnosis to money troubles. To me all these things are nothing to lose hope over. You deal with them. One at a time. It's life. But then again you have those nasty trolls on Twitter attacking his daughter Zelda. What did she ever do to deserve that? She suspended her social media accounts because of the trolls. Twitter has promised to look into troll controls and has suspended a few accounts over this.

We have some really mean ugly black souls spewing their blackness upon the world these days via the web. I watch a lot of You Tube videos and the one thing I hear a lot is the video makers complaining of those troubled individuals and how they go through and delete the negative comments so they don't overwhelm the page. Has the push to be so politically correct caused this negative back lash?

I know I'm sick of being sent to sensitivity, respect, peer to peer coaching and integrity classes at work. I think those classes inflame the situations further. I'm afraid to speak or show any emotions at work any more. Everyone is on hyper sensitive alert. It's almost like the end of the movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers (original movie) where everyone is pointing and screaming at the last remaining human. I feel just like that most of the time. 

ALS BUCKET CHALLENGE

One bright spot this week has been the ALS bucket Challenge. Not sure where it started but it's been fun watching the videos. Dale Jr is a Redskins fan. After practice this week linebacker Ryan Kerrigen and WR Pierre Garcon took their ice baths and challenged Dale Jr to do the same. So at Michigan he made a video in the garage area of him getting a bucket of ice dumped on him. He threw down the gauntlet to his crew chief Steve Letarte, Jimmie Johnson and Redskins owner Dan Snyder. Jimmie passed but said he'd write the check. Kevin Harvick made a video of him getting a bucket of ice water dumped on him by his wife. He issued challenges too. Sounds like a fun time.

KURT BUSCH SAYS HE"S INTERESTED IN THE DOUBLE AGAIN

This week he said he'd love to go through it all again next year. AND Michael Andretti has said repeatedly he'd love to have him come back to drive again. He feels that Kurt would become a favorite. A 6th place finish in a car you rarely drive is pretty awesome if you ask me. It will be great to see if Montoya can get his double set up for next year too. I would love to see both do it. It would be a first in history to have multiple drivers doing the Double at the same time.

STEWART FIASCO REVISITED

So like I said it's been a black week. Young Kevin Ward Jr was laid to rest Thursday and this Saturday the track where he died held a memorial for him and went racing per Ward Sr's wishes. He said his son would've wanted it that way. 

As for Stewart? He's not racing again this weekend. Jeff Burton will be stepping in. And there again it's been truely amazing the hatefulness and spewing of dark uneducated tweets and comments about Stewart and what happened. I know he's cultivated a tough guy image but he's not a homicidal maniac. I've read a lot. Some of those comments almost made me cry. A lot of the comments were from people who race or were there and gave good comments on what happened or how the cars react.

I know that these cars are set up to rock n roll as soon as you touch the throttle. They're light and go 90 to 120 mph. You steer by using your break and throttle together a long with the steering wheel. Most racers love these cars because they're so much zip, bang and drifting wow factor for the money. 

A comment from Cory Sparks a driver a couple cars behind Stewart said," From what I saw, Tony did everything in his power to turn down away from Kevin to avoid him. People say they heard the engine rev up and he gassed it. In a sprint car the only way to steer is with the rear wheel as much as you do the steering wheel. In my opinion what he did was he gassed it to turn down away from him."

I knew this is what I saw when I tried to explain the video. I thought he was using a combonation of the brake and gas but apparently only the gas. In another video it was put in slow mo and you can see the kid grab the wing of the car. This was just a really unfortunate turn of events. A young kid with hormones a blazing thought he was going to show everyone he wasn't taking crap from that NASCAR driver Tony Stewart.

In reality he should've been looking to Stewart as an opportunity to show case his abilities to race with the big dawgs. After all he wanted to make it to the World of Outlaws. In that series as in NASCAR Nationwide, if you want better sponsorship or a better ride or to move up to Cup you get noticed by running up front and or beating the Sprint Cup interlopers on race day. Too bad this young man didn't see it that way.

Going forward I hope the parents find peace and understanding. I hope Stewart finds peace as well. I know he's deeply effected. Maybe something good could come from all this.

Dirt tracks around the Nation are instituting no getting out of the car rules. NASCAR has re-instated theirs. You may not exit the car unless it's on fire, smoke in the cockpit or fuel is leaking before the emergency crew gets there. It's a start.

                     

WATKINS GLEN RECAP

The Dinger wins. And what a trip it's been from a great ride at Penske to a drug test failure to a new ride on a lesser team. The single car team under dogs won. It was a battle between the Aussie Ambrose and the Dinger. Several restarts almost ruined his win. He even led 30 laps. The most of any one. The last time the #47 car saw a victory was back on March16, 1986. Jack Beebe owned the Buick that Morgan Shepherd drove to victory in Atlanta. 

Gordon was dominating the race when electrical troubles shut his car off and he ended his day 4 laps down. The Dinger got lucky.

7 laps in Harvick was in the pits because a bag full of bean bags used to bring the car up to weight came out from under the seat and got lodges under his pedals. This resulted in a $25,000 to crew chief Rodney Childers for not securing them properly. I thought only The Danica needed extra weight because of her small stature. If you picked her for your fantasy league last week you were rewarded with a 21st place finish. 

Lap 56 saw Newman go hard into the railing taking #95 McDowell with him. Both cars destroyed. Dale Jr claimed that car for his race car graveyard in his woods. This resulted in a 2 hour red flag while they fixed the railing.

With 9 to go Johnson goes around that makes it 3 weeks in a row the Danica finishes better than him. Scary.

All in all, a good race. Ambrose and the dinger gave us a great show. Congrats to the Dinger.

Top 15 finishers - Allmendinger - Ambrose - Ku Bu - Larson - Edwards - Logano - Harvick - Biffle - Kenseth - Vickers - Dale Jr - Kahne - Truex Jr - McMurray - Mears

MICHIGAN PREVIEW

Ok. Lots happening here. Ryan Truex who races in the #83 BK Racing Toyota wrecked big in practice. He was sent to the hospital and declared unfit to drive due to a concussion. JJ Yeley will sub for him.

Brother Martin Truex Jr was with his long time girlfriend Sherry Pollex while she recieved treatments for her ovarian cancer. He missed qualifying and practice. Matt Crafton of the truck series helped with practicing the car.

Michigan is a 2 mile track but it's fast. Usually long green flag runs that turn it into a fuel mileage race. They can go 5 wide at spots and they do. This track eats motors too. Last year Jimmie and Gilliland lost motors. 

Last years top 15 finishers - Logano - Harvick - Ku Bu - Menard - Bowyer - Ambrose - Kahne - Burton - Biffle - Edwards - Montoya - Keselowski - Newman - Stewart - Kenseth

Gordon - Has the pole again this week with a speed of 206.558 mph. Hendrick power. Top 10

Biffle - One of the fastest in practice. Top 10

Logano - Last years winner. He starts 2nd today. Barring any catastrophies...top 10

Ambrose - Is good at this track and usually finds himself in the top 10 at the end. I say yet again.

Larson - The rookie with the mostest. Top 10.

Ku Bu - Last practice speeds of 203.109 and 16th starting spot. If he don't self destruct...Top 10

Harvick - If the crew don't screw up, if he don't wreck and the levee don't break...top 10

Dale Jr - Starts 25th. That's a tall order to ask for a top 10 here but he's been extremely consistent this year. Gotta give it to him.

Keselowski - Starts 5th. Top 10

Edwards - Starts 3rd today. He's on a mission. Top 10

The Danica - Starts 14th today. Last year she was 21st and on the lead lap. Pretty good pick for this week.

Burton - Subbing for Stewart in the 314 if you need a semi cheap pick in your salary cap league. 

Johnson - Starts 30th today. Don't know what's going on with Jimmie but he's scaring me. 

Kenseth - Hamlin & Ky Bu are mired in 18th 21st & 24th. Ooo yuck

So it's to Michigan we go. Wishing all the Gabbers safe travels and happy grillin'. Did you here football is back? Not a rumor. It's true. Got to get my draft picks organized. Take care all.

And I'm outta here.....

 

 

 

 

 

 

                  

Sunday Musings #160
Category: User Showcase
Tags: LittleLeagueWorldSeries WNBA NewYorkLiberty BostonCollegeWomensBasketball HighSchoolSports

 

While horrified at someone posting a nearly 30 minute video on Youtube of my 1988 junior prom (THE HORROR! THE HORROR!)...

LITTLE LEAGUE WORLD SERIES

I know that a lot of people kvetch and moan about the Little League World Series and every year I mention how I absolutely love it. Well that time of year is upon us again and the games have gotten underway.

I'm rooting for Cumberland, Rhode Island this year at the moment. The team is the North East US representative and I always follow whichever team ends up getting that bid. They lost to Texas in their first game on Friday night but there is still time to bounce back.

They are playing Tennessee as I write this on Saturday night and they are currently up 5-2 in the 4th inning. Cumberland was still up 5-2 going into the top of the 6th inning but Tennessee put 5 runs on the board to take a 7-5 lead. But the Rhode Island boys rallied back for a walk off three run bottom of the 6th and a thrilling victory.

There's a team from Chicago that made a big splash in their first game with one of their players hitting 3 homers (and a triple) in their debut.

And let us not forget the team from Pennsylvania. They've got the young girl Mo'ne Davis as their pitching star. She throws a 70 mile an hour fastball and she has been overpowering batters. In the game that got them to Williamsport, she threw a complete game shutout with 6 strikeouts. And on Friday, she became the first girl in the 75 year history of the Little League World Series to throw a shutout. Tennessee was the victim as she had an 8 strikeout day while giving up just 2 hits.

While the story is obviously going to get a lot of play because this is a girl doing so well in the boy dominated LLWS, I'm simply enjoying watching her dominate in her performance. Best of all, she seems thoroughly unaffected by all the media attention and shoutouts from pro athletes she's been getting.

You can read more HERE.



WNBA

It was another busy week for the New York Liberty. Sadly things didn't go well for them. The week started with a 90-76 loss to the Indiana Fever. They followed that up with a 76-64 loss to the Phoenix Mercury. Then came another game against the Fever and they lost that one 76-63.

The team just doesn't have the personnel on the roster that will allow them to truly compete with the league's best teams. Bill Laimbeer's magic touch with roster moves hasn't really panned out over his two seasons in New York thus far.

Unsurprisingly, my WNBA season will end as the regular season ends, another depressing season soon to be in the books.

BOSTON COLLEGE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

This week you can check out an interview with senior Victoria Lesko as she prepares for her final season with the Eagles. The interview can be read HERE.

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS

The girls track coach at Wareham High has run a fitness camp for all female athletes this summer. The local paper had an article last week that included quotes from Paige, one of my former players. She is in the photo below (2nd from the left). Here's the article.



MISCELLANEOUS
 

Comic Books - The Boston Comic Con was held last week. I was unable to go and that bummed me out a bit because I would've loved to have met creator Stan Sakai. He's celebrating 30 years of work on his comic series Usagi Yojimbo. While I can't share a photo of me with him (since I wasn't there obviously), you can check out this interview with Sakai reflecting on the 30 year journey with his "Ronin Rabbit".

Toys - I don't really collect much in the way of toys, but when I saw they were coming out with some old style action figures for the Firefly TV show I knew I had to pick them up. Two of the figures were released this week and I picked them up at my local comic shop yesterday.

Books - This week I finished the Daniel Silva thriller The Heist. It is the latest in his Gabriel Allon series and like the rest of the books in the series, this one was a fantastic read.

 

Music - You can check out my review of the new Overkill CD White Devil Armory via this KNAC.com link.



The new Accept CD Blind Rage comes out on Tuesday August 19th. You can check out the lyric video for the song "Final Journey" below.

Remember This Guy?
Category: FEATURED
Tags: Favre

 

With years gone by since the annual six-gun-for-sale circus that marked the end of his career and overexposed him ad nauseam to football fans and nonfans alike, the smoke has cleared somewhat and we are free to speak the name 'Brett Favre' again without drawing showers of rotten fruit. It's a true storybook career, though material perhaps better suited for HBO than for Disney.

He started for the high school baseball team for five years, beginning in the 8th grade. But the football team, coached by his father, had excellent running backs, and he didn't get as much of a chance to showcase his strong arm as he might have. That's an understatement. He was stuck in a wishbone offense. As a result, the talented athlete received exactly one scholarship (from Southern Mississippi) for football.

He played well there, leading his team to upset wins in the football-laden South. In his senior year, Favre was nearly killed in a car crash, and needed major surgery for intestinal injuries. Six weeks later he would lead his team to an upset victory over Alabama. It was something of a portent for the last of the swashbucklers.

He was drafted by Atlanta in the second round in 1991 but coach Jerry Glanville wanted no part of him, and his few appearances were marked by disastrous results. The following year the Packers' new GM, Ron Wolf, who had wanted to draft Favre the previous season for the Jets, traded for his man. He had faith. Favre was diagnosed with the same degenerative condition that ended Bo Jackson's career, and the team doctors recommended that the trade be nullified. Wolf would have none of it. His man would go on to absorb more punishment in his NFL career than many running backs ever see.

His start in Green Bay was aided by a series of injuries to Don Majkowski. Favre continued to be a disaster on the field, with fans openly chanting for Ty Detmer. In his second game he had already fumbled four times when suddenly he led the team to a win. With Majkowski out for four weeks Favre used the rest of his time to advantage and Majic Man no longer had a job. Favre made the Pro Bowl.

The next season he would lead Green Bay to the playoffs. Playoffs? That was Lombardi stuff. Then he did it again. By 1995 he had led the Pack to the NFC title game, which they lost to the mighty Cowboys. The next year they won the Super Bowl.

The Packers were darlings of the country, a legendary small town franchise that had seen nothing but despair since the 60s. Now they were touted as the best team in football, poised with their strong organization, young QB and talented roster for a dynastic run. As their second consecutive Super Bowl came, fans expected the Denver Broncos to once again play their traditional role of patsy. It didn't happen. Neither did the dynasty. Denver would win 2 in a row. Green Bay never would.

The Packers' fortunes slowly slipped in following seasons, though by the early 2000s Favre was the holder of a 'lifetime' $100M contract. Speaking of fortunes... but his following years would be marked by personal tragedies and other issues. Still, they won more than they lost despite a 4-12 season in 2005. Favre made a comeback in 2006, and then came 2007.

Favre had been absorbing punishment like a sponge and it was beginning to show. He had begun his annual hinting at retirement in 2002. By 2007 the Pack had highly-touted Aaron Rodgers as heir apparent. Over Favre's dead body. He led the Pack to a 13-3 record, and they were NFC favorites to go to the Super Bowl against the 16-0 Patriots.

For his Green Bay swan song, his final act was to throw an awful interception to the Giants. Soon thereafter, huge underdog NY had won in OT by a field goal and was headed ultimately to the Super Bowl. The 13-3 Packers went home. Not long after, perhaps feeling pressure from his own front office, Favre publicly retired. At first it seemed graceful.

Then began the tearful-goodbye/cheerful-hello circus that marred the end of his career. He could still play, but was still under contract to Green Bay, who didn't want him joining Childress' Vikings who were clearly tampering to get him. Eventually he auctioned himself off to the Jets, a move many felt a mercenary stepping stone to Minnesota. When Tom Brady went down in week 1, the Jets were suddenly the top contender in the AFCE, perhaps in the AFC, even to some perhaps in the NFL.

But that was the year two other things happened in that division. First, Matt Cassel replaced Brady and eventually played well enough that New England went 4-0 in December to finish 11-5. Favre's Jets, at 9-6, faced the 10-5 Dolphins. That was the other thing that happened that year. Sparano's Wildcat, novel to the NFL, had its only effective season and the undermanned Fins won a lot of games with Ronnie Brown seemingly walking through the middle of lines for 5 yards on every other snap.

New York, down 24-17 with 9:20 to go, was led downfield by Favre, but they were behind largely on the strength of Favre's two picks, and the final sword was about to fall. Favre forced another bad pass and it was picked off at the Fins' 25. From there, Miami's Wildcat ran out the clock and the Fins won the AFCE over New England on a tiebreaker.

So it was back into the soap opera. This time the Minnnesota Vikings were, as anticipated, the lucky winners. In this case it seemed a perfect match. The Vikings had everything but a QB, and now they had a legend. And it worked perfectly... until the 4th quarter of the NFCC game. With the score at 28 all, the Vikings drove to the New Orleans 33 with seconds left and NO out of timeouts. At 3rd and 10, the offense inexplicably got caught with 12 men on the field. Then, at 3rd and 15, with field goal range a few yards away, Favre elected to go deep down the middle. The ball was picked off. New Orleans would accept the gift, winning the coin toss and ending the OT early with a field goal.

Favre then played one last season for Minnesota. The team finished last in the division and Favre, always a sponge for punishment, was hammered. It was clear that in the anti-concussion era his days were numbered, and he knew it.

He made a lot of money in those final three seasons and broke career records in the process, but ultimately his final three meaningful passes ended somebody's season on a sour note.

He had a rough career in any event. In 1996 he suffered a seizure and spent time in a clinic for addiction to painkillers. The NFL banned him from drinking. There was no doubt that his swashbuckling persona on the field was no act. He did things his way, and the 'system' needed to adapt to him, not vice versa. The mid-2000s saw him face a spate of personal tragedies. While in New York he sent his... ah... portrait to Jenn Sterger. He might as well have sent it to the National Enquirer. It wasn't the brightest of moves. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina ravaged his and his family's properties.

In 2013 the Rams, having lost Sam Bradford to injury, actually contacted Favre, who was coaching high school football back home (quite well, too). Favre wisely declined the unwise offer. It was an unheralded good move to put a brighter accent mark on the end of his career. It wasn't the dynastic one many had prophesied, but it sure doesn't make for a dull story.

 

Bad Penny is back, 8/16/14
Category: Daily Blog 2.0

Folks, let’s call last week what it was, a bunch of crap.  The death of Robin Williams, Ferguson, Social Media blowing up with hatred and ignorance and bullshit, insufferable talking heads everywhere spewing non-sense so much more so than normal, the ongoing Tony Stewart crap, and a sports talk media trying to lecture MLB on how to improve (yeah, like they have any business giving anybody  improvement advice).   

 “Gooooooooood-byyyyyyye Vietnaaaaam! That's right, I'm history... I'm outta here. I got the lucky ticket home, baby. Rollin, rollin, rollin'... keep them wagons rollin', rawhide! Yeah, that's right... the final Adrian Cronauer broadcast... and this one is brought to you by our friends at the Pentagon. Remember the people who brought you Korea? That's right, the U.S. Army. If it's being done correctly, here or abroad, it's probably not being done by the Army.”

--Robin Williams as Adrian Cronauer (Good Morning, Vietnam), 1987

In this quote, “the people” in this quote is quite simply the media.  We can debate how Williams died and the other entire BS the media wants to yap about, but I choose not to do that here, only to say that he was one gifted entertainer, and that is how I will choose to remember him.  Well that, and his support of the military.  Hey Robin, In this world of foolishness and taking ourselves way too seriously, despite your own demons, you showed us through your humor that perhaps we should step back and just laugh, be silly on occasion, and more than that, be decent to one another.  Hey Robin, may you find peace!  May we in our lifetimes find peace, happiness, and a wonderful world:

Music.  Joe Bonamassa is starting to grow on me.                                  

Oh, sports?  Let's try some Baseball...

Baseball in general.  Hey, where has the art of the stolen base gone?

MLB – San Diego Baseball Franchise.  I was looking for something to write about baseball and I noticed this quiet little corner of MLB down in SD.  They’re 57-63 as of Friday, 7-3 in their last ten.  Here is a team that has played 120 games as of Friday, yet only five players have appeared in 90 games or more, and two more that have played 80 or more?  How the hell are they playing just below .500 ball with that kind of inconsistency?

It sure ain’t hitting: they’re dead last in team BA with a .226, and RBI’s (60 behind the two tied for second worst), and ranked #28 in HR.  In fact their RBI total is so bad, it is 102 RBI’s behind the MLB average (469 to SD’s 367).  The only guy who even remotely is having a good season is Seth Smith hitting .291 with 12 HR and 38 RBI.  Can somebody put out an APB for Jedd Gyorko (.196 BA, 7 HR, 36 RBI) and Yonder Alonso (.240 BA, 7 HR, 27 RBI?). 

Pitching?  Guess who is #2 in MLB in ERA?  Yep, San Diego at 3.06 (Seattle is #1!).  They’re also in a three way tie for #3 in Avg (.234), #4 in HRs given up (86), #6 in WHIP, and #10 in team Strike outs.  Former Oakland A Tyson Ross is 11-10 with a 2.63 ERA with 160 SO and a .228 average, but Jesse Han is 7-3 with a 2.52 ERA with an average of .189 with a very low walk count and he holds it down into at least the 6th but mostly the 7th innings.

In the minor leagues, they seem to have a ton of pitching prospects, but not much else.  Their #1 prospect is a catcher struggling to hit in the minors, and at #6 seems to be some promise OF Rymer Liriano whose hitting .291 in 115 games down on the farm.  Other than that, everybody in MLB.com’s top ten is a pitcher and/or sitting at AA or below.  No real hope anytime soon.  Hell, I had to dig to #14 to find Reymond Fuentes at AAA batting .294 in 88 games.  No power, but he has more SB than most which isn’t much.

So what does San Diego do?  Well, considering Petco’s dimensions, they seem to be doing what they can, but with all the pitching talent they have stocked up on, it may not be a bad idea for them to start looking at going after some sticks.  

Oh, and to the San Diego Baseball franchise deserve props for?  Yeah, providing tix in the stadium for USN and USMC boot campers to attend a ball game.  Marching in and out of that place looks pretty cool.

 

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