Tagged with "MLB"
Hey Hey, Labor Day!
Category: FEATURED
Tags: Labor Day sports NFL MLB Labour

 

It's here --- the unofficial end of Summer. Labor Day Weekend! And a happy one to all those of you who actually have a job. With about half the country on some form of the dole, maybe we should rename it Labour Day, after the British party whose marvelously creative political trick (i.e. buying votes with other peoples' money) has been such a smashing success for the past 50 years --- well, for them anyway. Ah, but politics aside, it's a fascinating time on the sports calendar.

Baseball is in the stretch run. Last year we had dark horses, and one of them not only won the AL pennant but cruised through the postseason in dominant fashion. This year, they're making a last-ditch run for the honor of first-to-worst, but time's running out with fewer than 30 games left on most schedules. The real battle is between the Rangers and Rockies.

But it's not like dark horses are gone. The Royals continue to hold a marginal lead over the mighty Tigers. And while it's hard to call the cash-rich Angels a dark horse, it wasn't that long ago that their position in the AL West looked like wildcard or bust. Did the A's really trade away their offense with Cespedes to get Jon Lester? Is Price going to put the Tigers over the top? Strange how things have been working so far. Now the Tigers and A's face a new challenge besides first place --- another dark horse. The Yankees? Dark horse? This year, yes. And they're coming on. Just the thought of having pinstripes hot on your tail must do something to you. And speaking of dark horses --- is that Seattle just a game out of the wild card? As in ahead of the Yankees even? Yup. And Cleveland's only a game behind the Yanks.

In the Senior Circuit, the seasonally on/off Nationals continue to hold a lead in the East, but is that the ubiquitous Braves six games back? And the Cards, who bolstered themselves with John Lackey, are looking up by a game at Milwaukee. At this point neither team seems to grasp the urgency, both having lost three straight. And the perennial dark horse Pirates have taken their cue, winning three straight and making it a 3-horse race. Out West, the money-dripping Dodgers (aka Yankees West) are in the lead, but could that be upstate rival San Fran closing fast? It's a 4-horse race for the wildcard.

And as baseball reaches its climax, college football starts with a bang. Who saw A&M eating SC for lunch? Manziel Who? And NFL football sits waiting in the wings. The final preseason week didn't really tell us much, but it said a lot to GMs around the NFL. What that may have been only now begins to drip out. Rosters will change in the next week, not just by subtraction but by addition. Not much, mind you, but some. Don't expect too many more Logan Mankins blockbusters. The Patriots have a monopoly on late preseason moves like that.

So who's looking good coming out of the preseason? In the AFC, everyone seems to think Denver is the team to beat. The Broncos were convinced their drubbing in the Super Bowl was due to bad officiating in the secondary, so they pushed for rules changes. They've been pretty unpopular, though truth be told it was getting a little silly watching every pass turn into a gang fight at the far end. Week 4 saw a subsiding of calls, but it'll still be tighter and that still ought to help Denver, though it didn't help them keep Welker on the field.

But anyone who's seen New England and Cincinnati may be excused for thinking in other directions. The Patriots are the antithesis of Denver's load-up strategy, opting instead for a big picture analysis even with Tom Brady's 'window'. The Bengals, with Dalton playing well, are awesome. Denver may find out that the Super Bowl was no rules fluke. Even the Chargers might have something to say in their own division. And the Colts had better hope the Texans aren't back with a revamped offense and a quarterback (whoever that may be) who can operate it. It's turning out Clowney may have been more of a damaged-goods dice roll than anticipated, but with or without him the D looks solid.

And in the NFC, what to say about the Niners? Their starting lineup has been possibly the worst in the league so far, especially the offense. Is this the result of dangling Harbaugh as trade bait in the offseason? Whatever it is, they have their work cut out. Seattle, despite offseason losses, is run by a guy who knows how to handle roster volatility thanks to his time at USC. Down south, the Saints look good again. Atlanta remains a question mark, and Carolina is not off to a good start despite having a strong defense again. Up north, it's Green Bay as usual it seems. And Philly ought to cruise in the struggling NFCE. All in all, there's no question Seattle looks the most impressive so far.

So long Summer. This year's edition, at least around here, was absolutely marvelous. A short requisite heat wave, not a brutal one. Wonderfully temperate weather. Lots of sunshine. Cool August nights. Hope yours was as good, and your Autumn follows suit with nice warm/cool weather. No snow for Halloween please! Not even for Thanksgiving! Christmas? Ok.

 

Talkin' Baseball
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: Pete Rose Joe Jackson MLB Playoffs

It has been 25 years since baseball banned Pete Rose for betting on his Reds.  With a new Commissioner of Baseball due to arrive on the scence, does this offer Charlie Hustle any glimmer of hope that baseball will welcome his back into its fraternity before he heads to the Big Bench in the Sky? (Pete is in his 70's)  The history behind the ban - and really the appropriateness - while not in dispute for the most part, is not fresh in the minds of most fans.  Now what fans remember is that the man with 4,254 hits is banned from the Hall of Fame.  The condensed version of his gambling on baseball is that as manager of the Reds, he bet on his team's games on a routine basis with the size of the bets ranging from $2,000 to $10,000.  While Rose has admantantly claimed he only bet FOR his team, MLB investigator Dowd has said he believed it was likely that Rose did in fact bet AGAINST the Reds.  Periodically a segment of the fan base begins a campaign to reinstate Pete Rose - my view is that perhaps in time, but "Not Yet....Not Yet."  (my Gladiator reference of the day).

  

Which brings me to the other baseball betting "injustice" - the sad plight of Shoeless Joe Jackson.  Joe was associated with the Black Sox as one of the Eight Men Out for taking $5,000, a hefty sum in those days, yet Joe was basically dumber than a sack of rocks and did not appreciate the implications of his deeds.  At that time in baseball, gamblers were prevelant in and around the clubhouse and games were often influenced by this seedy element around the game...think "The Natural" and the pressure that beset Roy Hobbs by bookie Gus Sands.  Joe paid a heavy price for being associated with the Black Sox, who although they were aquitted in court, we still banned for life from Baseball.  Joe Jackson would have possibly been as great as Babe Ruth - or maybe even better - but the world will never know.  As it stands, his career as a White Sox and his body of work was certainly Hall - worthy.  If Rose is to be forgiven, I think Joe Jackson also has to be in the conversation.

Perhaps what Baseball needs is a wing of the Hall for those whose stats are worthy of merit, but for one reason or another, fell into disrepute.  Spots for Rose, Jackson, Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, McGuire and others from the steroid era may need a place to call their own.  It might be a good solution to a thorny problem.

In other news to note...

Will this be the first time since 1994 that the Yankees and the Red Sox will not be in the playoffs?  It is going to take a great run from the Yankees to get in.

How about them O's?  To me the Orioles are the surprise team in baseball - they have a monster lineup that has now been dinged further with the loss of Machado, but I am still amazed they have put themselves at the top of the AL (after the Angels) with an unheralded pitching staff.  I don't know if they are built for the post season, but we shall see.

Speaking of the post season, I ordered by playoff strips from the Nationals...will I finally get to go to a World Series game?  Here is hoping that I don't have to turn those tickets back in for credit on next year's tickets.

A damp Saturday here...nevertheless, the honey-do list will be calling.  Have a good one!

 

Talking Sports
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: MLB Trip

SURPRISE YOU THOUGHT YOU WERE STILL READING ADFs BLOG

Our travels were long on Friday; the Mrs. dropped us at Boston’s Logan Airport at 8:00, Daughter was going on a college tour she needed to be there before 10. We took the quick flight down to Newark. From Newark we boarded a prop jet (my ass is still vibrating) . We landed in an airport in the middle of the woods, a ride on the 28X to Liberty and Wood ave and we were there.. We stayed at the Marriott on Penn Ave just a short walk over the Clemente Bridge up to PNC Park (lot Gabbers at PNC this week).

PNC Park lives up to all the hype, just a gorgeous ballpark. Seats are comfortable and the sightlines are great. The park is esthetically eye pleasing with it's architecture and yellow brick. the staff is friendly and it is very clean. It was a great expierence for me and the boys. Remember I'm used to America's Most Beloved and Uncomfortable ballpark . This is amajor league ballpark with a bit of aminor league feel to it and it works big time.

We saw the Pirates play the San Diego Padres and they were two good close games the Pirates winning 2-1 on Friday night and the padres winning 2-1 on Saturday Night. All the scoing in both games was done in the first inning. Friday night Jayson Nix played outstanding defense at 2nd base and Andrew McClutchen replacement who was playing right Gregory Polanco was outstanding and one of the newest exciting players in all of baseball is Josh Harrison. The one thing that stood out in both games were throwing errors mainly either on a steel or the flip on a double player they had to be 4 of them in the two games.

The boys had a ball. It was funny when we took off out of Newark the boys were sitting on the wrong side of the plane and missed the statute of liberty (something I think is still a great American landmark that just makes me proud to be an American everytime I see it.  Ok wiseass I know the French Gave it to us). Little Lanz says to me hey dad there is Metlife Stadium and there is the Jets practice facility. I say how do you know? he says because it says J_E_T_S in big green letters.

What I found amazing was people go to the ball game by boa,t and I’m not talking Kayaks. I’m talking some really nice boats, they tailgate on the riverwalk and then go to the game. It’s pretty cool. The people that we encountered were all very nice and very friendly and yeah we left anything Red Sox or patriots home. We did find it funny we had two older couples sitting near us Friday night from Pittsburgh the folks in front us were from Connecticut and had sign saying we are here to cheer all the ex Yankees and Mets. So they start the wave and one of kids in his 20’s scratches the back of his poster ?tag Ban the Wave, we got a good laugh out of that someone said not bad for Yankee and Mets fans and I had to speak up "you have Red sox fans here too" . The guy from Pittsburgh just groans, it was funny as hell.

We arrived in downtown Pittsburgh at about 3:30pm on Friday and couldn’t believe how quiet it is compared to Boston on a Friday at that time- the City is a mess with gridlock and all that stuff, just a lot of hustle and bustle and people.

My favorite person we encountered on the trip was a vendor working at the Primatti’s Brother stand in PNC Park. Older probably in her 60’s Black women just doing her job just full of personality. She handed girl like 5 sandwiches and 4 drinks and the tray was going to spill she looks at the boyfriend and says get in her and help her baby. It was like she was talking to one of her grand kids. She was just awesome.

Saturday Night was Fireworks Night and they did an awesome display from the River and then they shot some off from the top of a couple of sky scrappers it was awesome.

Saturday we walked all around Pittsburgh and had lunch at the Jerome Bettis Grill kind of the only reason we had lunch there because it was the Jerome Bettis Grill. We also walked around Heinz Field and the science center, They have an very nice Law Enforcement memorial just across from Heinz Field. A nice tribute to Police officers killed in the line of duty, Sunday the boys saw a two huge freight trains which we don’t see too often in Boston. They couldn’t believe how long they were, stretching three bridges one going east on going west. That was our weekend adventure..

The boys and I got home about 9:30 Sunday night. They had Hockey Camp on Monday. Got home early enough to watch the last half hour of Mondays camp . they were dragging their ass on their skates. The camp is run by BU goalie coach Mike Geragosian. Mike looks at me and says they will sleep well tonight I said they sure will.

Looking for a hardy volunteer to take my Thursday spot next week I’ll be away. (Thanks to IHM for volunteering).

Boys outside Console Energy Center Big Statute of Mario Lemeuix

Outside the Penguins Admin Offices

OK I Know it was a Baseball Trip

Heinz Field

OOps Baseball

Boys with the Pitt Panther

I Know baseball

Boys across the Alleghany River Guess what's in the Background

Boys on the Clemente Bridge

Big Statute of Clemente

The #1 Jersey seen at PNC Park more Clemente Jersey's followed by McClutchen

Big  Statute of Stargel

(lots of Big Statutes)

Found Lots of Fountains and Big Statutes in Pittsburgh

Big Fountain at Point State Park

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.

OH Thursday, with Shorty
Category: FEATURED
Tags: NFL MLB Pre season

  

“Another day in the City, what a freaking grind just for another dollar”

That was one of my father’s lines when he would walk thru the door at the end of the dayafter driving home from the City.

It was usually followed by “hey Marge what’s for supper? And grab me a cold beer…………..please dear”

Fields corner in Bostons' Dorchester neighborhood, this is where my Dad is originaly from.

Sully has family from here as well...that's why we sometimes call each other cuz

My Dad was an avid yet critical Red Sox fan.

At the age of 7 in 1959 I saw my first game at Fenway. I was in awe and later learned that I saw Ted Williams play.  Thru the 1960’s I must have been to Fenway a hundred times with Dad, my brother and buddies.

Dad would not ever see the Red Sox reach the promised land as his death pre dated the 2004 championship by 15 years. He would call these guys today a bunch of prima donnas a bunch of overpaid babies.

Fenway in the 60's ready for the Patriots                       Same view today

I remember him telling me that Ted Williams was a war hero and he was getting paid $100,000.00 to play a game for a little over half a year and he was the only player worth it. None of these other ball players would ever be worth that kind of scratch. They called it scratch back then because you had to scratch your way along the straight and narrow and scratch for every thing you had.

If my Dad saw the contracts of today’s players… two hundred million for 5 or 6 years of playing a game he would have been cursing.

here is pilot Ted

The Red Sox were traders at this year’s deadline.

I’m coming to terms with that.

Former Patriots TE and now mid day sports radio talk show host Christian Fauria laid out the 8 steps to recovery on his show last week.

Most of his co hosts and callers were angry and shocked that the Red Sox traded away 4/5 of their starting rotation and other pieces. Fauria told them to calm down and listen because there was hope for each of them…nobody need to jump of the Tobin

be aware of where you are along the eight steps:

1.shock and anger

2.depression

3.slight up tick

4.reluctance to talking about it

5. measured acceptance

6. acceptance

7.guarded optimism

8.getting back on the bus

A week removed I’m currently hovering around 3,4 and 5…I go back and forth.

This is baseball and you can’t tank for Andrew Wiggins or suck for Luck to get a good draft pick…MLB doesn’t work that way. You have to build from scouting, low A, AA, AAA and try to manage these kids, keep them out of trouble and keep them healthy so someday they can be a productive member of the Major league team.

The Red Sox won the WS last year and finished 5th the year before. They are destined to finish last again this year. This isn’t the Florida Marlins…or is it?

Opening day rotation                            Today’s rotation

Jon Lester          (Oak)                         Clay Buchholz (highest ERA in MLB)

John Lackey       (St. Louis)                  Brandon Workman  maybe a 4-5

Clay Buchholz                                     Ruby Delarosa   needs work

Jake Peavey          (San Fran)               Alan Webster   needs control

Felix Dubront       (Chicago)                  Joe Kelly  100mph but where's the plate

Brandon Workman                               Anthony Ranaudo just a kid but bright future

 

Only time will tell…and heal the wounds of we Red Sox fans that are spoiled by the 3 championships of ’04, ’07 and ’13. But as Mo pionted out Monday and Radatz on Sunday, we are a spoiled and greedy bunch.

Maybe this team of young guys will be fun to watch…maybe they will play hard and maybe they will win…games and the hearts of the fans…again

Is this step six?

 

ON to the NFL... the North divisions

 

AFC North, last season final records

Cincinnati                  11-5           3-3

Pittsburgh                    8-8            4-2

Baltimore                     8-8            3-3

Cleveland                    4-12          2-4

 

Cincinnati defends the division championship with Andy Dalton playing with a new contract (6 years 115 million) . AJ Green is a stud, Gio Bernard wants the ball on every down in every situation. Geno Atkins has been taken off the PUP list and hopes to lead the Bengal’s D. How good are they…Shorty says they could make the playoffs.

Pittsburgh is coming off an 8-8 season and Ben Rothlesburger still has a big arm. Bens arm is almost as big as his two main receiving weapons 5-10 Antonio Brown and 5-9 Lance Moore. Heath Miller is back at TE and Le’Veon Bell at RB. Ex Patriot LeGarrette Blount is ready to take every carry available and pound defenders by running over them. Blount is a workhorse, listed at 6-1 and 250 but 250 is without lunch and dinner for a week.  I like the Steelers, and Shorty sees them winning this division.

Baltimore took a step back last season and could fall further. Joe Flacco gets paid like an elite but is not. He has all the weapons at receiver and TE and has a stable of RB’s behind him and hopefully an improving O Line but Joe has to step up and be the man. The defense will play well but this division has no gimmys anymore. The Ravens have a brutal schedule with the week 11 bye. The schedule looks like this: Cin,  Pitts, @ Cleve, Carolina, @ Indy, @Tampa Bay, Atlanta, @ Cin,  @Pitts and Tenn. Playoffs? Doubt that.

Cleveland made headlines in the off season with the drafting of Johnny Manziel late in the first round. Brian Hoyer will most probably be the starting QB for the Browns and with Gordon not expected to win his appeal it will be the Browns defense that carries this team in’14. The other first round pick,  CBJustin Gilbert will play opposite Joe Haden and make this defensive backfield good.

But shorty says not good enough to be even dreaming of the playoffs.

Shorty’s picks

Pittsburgh           11-5

Cincinnati           10-6

Cleveland             7-9

Baltimore            6-10

 

 

NFC North

Final standings ‘13

Green Bay               8-7-1                             3-2-1

Chicago                     8-8                                 2-4

Detroit                       7-9                                  4-2

Minnesota                 5-10-1                           2-3-1

 

Green Bay won this division with Aaron Rodgers watching 7 games. Healthy, Rodgers is the best QB in the NFL today, giant arm and can throw on the run and he has WR’s Jordy Nelson  and Randall Cobb just waiting for him. Lacy and Starks will carry the ball and this team will score with anyone.  This defense should be improved over the one that surrendered 26 ppg in ’13. Shorty likes the Pack to win the division.

Chicago Bears WR Brandon Marshall has declared that Jay Cutler would be the NFL MVP in 2014. Shorty doesn’t agree. The Bears did score a load of points in ’13, only Denver and New England scored more offensive points. Aiston Jeffery and Marshall both were over 1000 yds and combined for 189 catches and can be a nightmare for defensive backs but sometimes Cutler makes bad decisions and the ball doesn’t go where it should. He isn’t a disciplined as the elite passers ( Brees, Rodgers, Brady and Peyton Manning) and can’t be included in this bunch. MVP? No I doubt it very much, playoffs??? Just maybe squeek in.

Detroit the big tease. The Lions took a TE with the 10th overall pick and book ended their frustrating draft by taking a kicker at 229. The need was on defense, and they didn’t really address that. Calvin Johnson is the best receiver on the planet, Golden Tate is a nice complementary player as long as there is a sideline to escape to. Pettigrew is a decent TE and why draft Eric Ebron we will never know. Stafford can heave the ball for a load of yards by sending it in the direction of Johnson…easiest play in the NFL. Stafford will easily surpass 4,500 yards but 19 Ints will be the downfall of this team.

Shorty has the Lions out of the money again.

Minnesota will stage a QB battle to see which guy, veteran Matt Cassell or rookie Teddy Bridgewater gets to hand off to Adrian Peterson. Norv Turner’s job is easy. The WR’s, Greg Jennings, Cordarrelle Patterson, Jarius Wright and Jerome Simpson will be asked to block down field and will get rewarded with an occasional pass their way. This defense gave up 30 ppg last season and that won’t get it done. Sorry Vikings fans. Shorty says nah.

The NFC North will play the AFC East and the NFC South

Shorty’s picks

Green Bay        11-5

Chicago             9-7

Detroit              6-10

Minnesota        6-10

 

Next week the AFC West and the NFC West and the post season Shorty picks.

thanks for the visit and I'll take a page out of Jeff's book here with some parting humor

Bill Cosby said,

I sometimes wonder if clouds look down at people and say

"hey Jerry, look at that one over there...it kinda looks like an idiot"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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