While ticked off that the car brakes went out on me on Wednesday but tickled pink because the rest of the week was a series of awesomness that I haven't experienced in quite a while. Yes, overall I had a GREAT week...
YOUTH SPORTS FOLLOW UP
My friend Brian attended the wake for our mutual former player Ryan last week. He told me that another player caught up to him after he left the building and told him how much Ryan thought of Brian as a coach and from playing for him. Kind of a nice thing to be told despite the sad circumstances that led to the information being given.
MLB ALL-STAR GAME
While my mother watched the All-Star Game this week, I ended up skipping it. But I caught the highlights. I have to say that if Adam Wainwright grooved the pitches to Derek Jeter, he didn't honor Jeter, he dishonored both the player and the game.
As a Red Sox fan, I fully wrap myself in the sports hatred of the Yankees. But I've always thought Jeter carried himself with a huge degree of class. A role model of the game. So his departure from the game will be a big loss.
And while seeing him get a hit in his final All-Star appearance was something any appreciative baseball fan would want to happen, knowing that it was basically served up to him cheapens those hits in my mind. That's not a knock on Jeter, but rather an insult to Wainwright.
I know he tried to back off his statements, but no one really believes his retraction do they?
Thanks to a Cappie Pondexter (pictured below) game winning shot with 0.4 seconds left in the game, the New York Liberty hit the All-Star break with a 77-75 victory over the Atlanta Dream. They are 8-13 on the season.
By the way, Pondexter was selected as a starter for the All-Star Game while another Liberty player Tina Charles was added to the squad as a reserve.
Oh and no WNBA subsection here at Sunday Musings would be complete without some form of mention of Katie Smith, this week brought another of the WNBA trading cards that she is featured on into my collection. This time it was the 2006 League Leaders in Free Throw Pct%.
The MMQB.com had a lengthy article this past Wednesday on former Packers and Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren as he finds his way into retirement. You can check it out HERE.
BOSTON COLLEGE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL
While the team continues their offseason preparations, which you can get updates from all over their Facebook and Twitter pages, you can get to know soon to be sophomore Emilee Daley (pictured below) via this interview.
COLLEGE BASEBALL SUMMER LEAGUE
This past Monday evening I ended up at the Wareham Gatemen game against the Brewster Whitecaps. It was a home game for Wareham in their Cape Cod Baseball League schedule. Unfortunately, despite a close game, the Gatemen ended up losing 3-2.
I was there because I was having a mini reunion of sorts with a friend of mine from high school. I haven't actually seen Rachael since her graduation party 25 years ago. We reconnected via Facebook and when she told me she'd be here for a week we made plans to meet up. It was great to see her and meet her husband and kids. I also met (or met all over again as the case may be) one of Rachael's best friends, Julie. All in all, just a good way for a week to go where I wasn't totally glued to the TV. It was almost like I had a "real" life or something.
Here's a photo of the group of us at the game:
From R-L: Julie, Rachael, Nick (Rachael's husband) and me. Julie's daughter Sydney is in front of her mother.
TV - The lights out fantastic season finale of 24: Live Another Day aired on Monday night. You can read my rather extensive recap of the episode HERE.
For those of you who might be a fan of the Showtime series Homeland, the first look trailer for Season 4 is below.
And let us not forget that the new season of Doctor Who starts August 23rd. You can check out the first trailer for the new season below.
Comics - The world's largest comic convention, the San Diego Comic Con, is being held next week. There's bound to be a ton of huge announcements in relation to comics, movies, TV and gaming.
Movies - On Thursday, I logged into my Twitter account (don't forget to follow me @TheOneTrueJay) and I had received a message from the guy who sent me that book I Am Pilgrim to review. It turns out they have now signed a deal to make the book into a movie. I'm psyched about that! And the fact that the guy took the time to keep me in the loop about it. You can read the article about the movie announcement HERE.
Also, I watched the documentary film Life Itself last week. It is about the life and career of film critic Roger Ebert. While parts of it were tough to watch, overall this was a fantastic look at the good and bad of Ebert, pretty much the only movie critic I relied on to form at least a basic foundation on whether or not I was going to see a movie.
Books - Speaking of prose storytelling, this week conspired against me in regards to completing any books. But yesterday afternoon as I made my appointed rounds, I ended up picking up the brand new Daniel Silva hardcover The Heist. It is the latest in his Gabriel Allon series. While I typically don't buy hardcovers, when it comes to this series, I tend to grab the book when it hits the shelves because invariably I'lll find myself immersed in a story do deeply I don't want to put the book down.
Music - Ever wonder what became of the woman who played the title role in the video for the Night Ranger song "Sister Christian"? Well, someone tracked her down and you can read this article to find out.
Rat Pak Records will be releasing the first solo album from Cinderella guitarist Jeff LaBar in August. The CD is called One For The Road. You can check out the video for the song "No Strings" below.
Oh and "Weird Al" Yankovic has a new parody video out called "Word Crimes". You can check it out below.
I was fortunate to be in Rio for the World Cup Final between Argentina and Germany...no, not Brazil, but the next best thing: Rio Brazilian Steakhouse in America’s Hometown (Plymouth, MA). Footy on the telly with a rambunctious crowd of local Brazilian transplants lustily rooting against Germany welcomed me in my Argentine Lionel Messi Argentine national team jersey in cheering for--as they explained to me--”anyone but Germany” to win the cup (Germany beat the crap out of the host country 7-1 earlier in the tourney to bounce them).
Great fun for us even though Germany won (no real surprise--great team) but much and many meats later I was happily in a meat coma and not concerned about the outcome. Great time an great end to the World Cup.
* * *
Ahh, the MLB All-Star Game.
Three baseball legends. All three passed away this year. At the 2014 MLB All-Star Game the Fox broadcast tripped all over themselves to praise retiring New York Yankees future Hall-of-Fame shortstop Derek Jeter. The broadcast team mentioned Jeter’s name over 100 times during the broadcast.
Ralph Kiner is a Hall-of-Fame player who led the National League in home runs seven consecutive season was a legend as an announcer as well broadcasting over 50 years.
Don Zimmer is probably with Tommy Lasorda as far as an iconic baseball lifer (My post here about Zim’s passing and his impact on my life is here).
Tony Gwynn was only 54 and one of the greatest non-steroid using hitters of the steroid era with a .338 career batting average and over 3,000 hits in his career.
Bob Welch was a 27 game winner and Cy Young award winner in 1990 who won over 200 games .
Frank Cashen was the executive who built the great Baltimore Orioles teams of the 60s and 70s and later the great Mets in 80s.
Jim Fregosi played 18 years at shortstop and was a manager of four teams from the late 70s to the new millennium.
Jerry Coleman was a Yankees middle infielder who won an MVP award and was a war hero flying missions in WW2 and Korea alongside Ted Williams in the Marines (not playing softball in Hawaii like Joe DiMaggio and countless other MLB players of the era) who later become one of the most renowned and entertaining announcers later gaining entry to the Hall of Fame in that role.
Joe Buck and his hideous crew on Fox could not bother to mention, throw up a video, fill space with a comment, flash their pictures at the bottom of the screen, mention them in a break of action. But hold onto your hats, it was all Jeter all-the-time!
I take nothing away from Jeter. He amassed 3,000 hits and was a post-season superstar. He brought class to baseball in the steroid/A-Rod era and gave every fan a player to point to as a superstar who carried himself with class and dignity. That said, Fox overplayed their hand with Jeter--had the additional controversy of National League pitcher Adam Wainwright (horrors!) admitted he grooved a couple of batting practice fastballs to him in (wait for it…) a FREAKING EXHIBITION GAME THAT DOES NOT COUNT!
Forget the stupid World Series home-field advantage crap. This is not the NFL where 70,000 screaming fans in Seattle can change an offensive game plan. It is baseball. It was an exhibition game. It does not count. It is entertainment.
Remember Cal Ripkin Jr.’s final All-Star game? Switching positions with A-Rod (scripted by Joe Torre...A-Rod is not that classy) and then hitting a home run in the third inning. Yeah, pitcher Chan Ho Park was not told to groove a fastball to the legend. Yeah, right.
Jeter got his spotlight--as he deserved. But at the expense of baseball greats who could have/should have been mentioned once--hell, Tony Gwynn was a 15 time All-Star and they could not work that in? He died young (in his 50s) just a month ago. He was the greatest player in San Diego Padres history. No one there had time to briefly mention a Hall of Famer who was a contemporary of Jeter and was taken by cancer.
Screw Fox. Screw MLB. No backtracking is good enough now. It was all about Fox not understanding how to capitalize on baseball’s great and extensive history. Baseball is unique: it’s history and traditions transcend eras. Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, Ernie Banks, Willie McCovey, Reggie Jackson, Yaz, Dale Murphy, Ryne Sandberg, Cal Ripkin Jr., Jeter, the list goes on and on and on...this is embedded in baseball fans minds and consciousness.
Being a baseball fan means embracing that tradition. No one discusses the fascinating 1994 chase for .400 by Gwynn cut short by the strike? How about Jerry Coleman winning the MVP...what a story (no, he did NOT deserve it!)! How about Ralph Kiner mispronouncing his own name as a Mets announcer? Hilarious. Don Zimmer I could go on and on about. Jim Fregosi was one of the funniest, most engaging people in baseball.
Not recognizing those who made this career of Jeter’s possible is a shame. Boo to Fox. Boo to MLB.
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NFL Training Camp is right around the corner. TIme to switch to all-NFL all-the-time very soon.
July is that place between other sports and the NFL
How many of you gabbers watched the MLB All Star game?
How many watched the World Cup final?
I found other things to do…
I made pickles during the game.
I watered my gardens.
I picked vegetables.
I met with clients and designed a fabulous new kitchen.
I changed the oil in my truck.
I changed the headlamp in Mrsharrys car
I had friends over for a fire in the pit and a glass of wine. Mrs Harry grilled pizza on the char cooker, I tended bar and stoked the fire.
Tried a new kabob recipe, venison steaks, cucumbers, water melon, scallops…no leftovers.
I took down the old woodshed (my kids are grown up and so no beatings take place any longer)
I built a new woodshed (for wood)
I mended the broken fence that was held up by the old woodshed that I had taken down.
I heard the NBA had some free agent movement…better than constipation.
I tried a new dill pickle recipe and it’s in the fridge waiting for test # one on Friday.
Our Gab co leader Beeze has been trying to come to grips with being a loyal Cleveland resident. The fiasco deuce dropped on them last week was painful even for outsiders.
We gabbers are sympathetic with Tim but we do not know the depth of the pain suffered by those Clevelanders and the sports failures…how could we know.
Jim Brown is not walking through that door.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is in Cleveland and then there is…
So maybe some suggestions for the city of “South Beach at Erie”
How about Cleveland adopts sisterhood with the Spanish city of Pamplona.
Cleveland couldn’t lose with this idea, a North American version of the Running of The Bulls. Cobblestone streets could be installed and nuts from all over the world would come and run down the street to get gored and trampled. Australians are great at this.
Think of the tourist industry bump.
Now it is possible that Cleveland gets a championship out of the Cavs with that new guy coming home again with a 2 year deal…now doesn’t the fact that it’s 2 years make you wonder…if things suck he could just move on again without a decision or an essay.
It’s also possible that Brian Hoyer lights it up for the Browns and they jump over Baltimore, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh in the NFC North, get a bye and take out Denver or New England for an AFC championship and that Lamar Hunt trophy. They then draw an over confident Seattle team in the SB and bring home a Lombardi
This is possible…remember the 5-11, 2000 N E Patriots? Opening the 2001 season with gun slinger Drew Bledsoe at QB. And then in week 3
The most important play in Patriots history happened.
Jets Linebacker Mo Lewis
crashed into Bledsoe as Drew tried to get out of bounds on a 3 yard scramble
Drew suffered a sheared blood vessel in his chest and…
Hello and welcome to another Wednesday of deep thoughts. As I sat Tuesday night watching the All Star game, I struck me that the baseball season was half way over. Yeah…I know technically this is not the half-way point, but for me…the All Star game signifies the mid-point of the season. Today is July 16th…damn, where does the time go? Soon we will be talking football training camps and then fall will be upon us. But, I will not jump ahead.
For those of you that watched the All Star game, I think you will agree that this was a pretty well-played game. Derek Jeter got another start at shortstop and added a double and a single to his career All Star game hit total. Although I did not vote for Jeter, I appreciated the opportunity to watch him in one last All Star Game. For my money, MLB is the only game that offers an All Star game that is worth a damn. The game is a chance to honor those players that have had a great season and to provide the fans a chance to see their favorite players. When I vote, I specifically look at the numbers. But I acknowledge that players like Derek Jeter have earned the starting spot based upon putting together many great years. In my opinion, the All Star game is for the fans. I was rather pissed when reading comments to an article Tuesday night. A fan was complaining about Jeter being the starting shortstop for the AL and how unfair it was that another more qualified player was possibly left off the roster. He went on to say that the All Star game only comes around to each city once in a long while and that the fans want to see the best players not old players like Willie Mays…really? I would walk to Houston if I could turn the clock back to watch Willie Mays play…in his prime or not. What many fail to realize is that seeing a Derek Jeter will mean much more to some 11 year old kid than watching another AL shortstop. In 30 years or so that 11 year old kid will be talking about the time he saw the great Derek Jeter. This is a moment in baseball history and will forever remain with those fans in attendance Tuesday night.
It is funny how we seldom appreciate greatness as it appears routinely in our lives. I knew Jeter was a good shortstop, but I never really stopped to see what the guy was doing. He never hit a ton of HRs, so he sort of flew under the hype radar. He simply did his job better than any of his peers…day after day, year after year. With the two hits in Tuesday night’s game…Jeter finishes with 13 hits in 27 All Star at bats…an average of .481. Only three players have had 2 three hit All Star games…Mays, Yaz and Jeter. The greatness of Jeter was disguised by the routine way that he went about his business. Never did Jeter seek the limelight. I had to laugh at the response Jeter gave Tuesday night when asked about the reason that he worked so hard at doing his job…”my team had a habit of cutting players that did not play hard.” Can you imagine Jeter being cut by the Yankees? That is so Jeter…not putting himself above being replaced. There is something special in this approach and I wish more players adopted this attitude. Derek Jeter is a throw-back for sure…but I saw another player Tuesday that fits the same mold…Mike Trout. Now, Trout does not exactly fly under the radar, but what I see is a guy that wants to play the game the right way. He takes care of his business and supports his teammates. Off the field, he understands that his actions reflect upon his team…just like Jeter. It is refreshing to see a 22 year old being a professional. I know my friends that are Tiger fans would have liked to see Miggy pick-up the MVP trophy on Tuesday…but I figure Trout was due.
The other big news from the game Tuesday was Adam Wainwright commenting that he gave Jeter some cookies to hit. He backed off this statement when he realized that his statements were going crazy on twitter. The reality is that even if this is true, it does not demean the night for Derek Jeter. It does make Adam Wainwright look like a putz for not having the sense to keep his mouth shut. I understand players wanting to show respect to a Derek Jeter, but I have no doubt that Jeter would have preferred to see Wainwright’s best stuff. Even so…a cookie at 90 mph does not hit itself. The All Star game is an exhibition game and the fact that Wainwright chose to challenge Jeter instead of attempting to deceive him should be perfectly acceptable. I am glad that this will be the last All Star game for Bud Selig. Hopefully, the new commissioner will make at least one change...remove the home field advantage going to the winner of this game. This game is an exhibition game for the fans and does not need anything else to make it important. Let the team with best season record have the World Series home field advantage.
I saw a great tribute to Jeter this week and felt it was only fitting that I add it here…I join those in this video tipping my hat to the career of Derek Jeter.
Ooops...someone at the All Star game forgot to add Derek Norris to the list for car signs...thank goodness for teammates.
By now, everyone has heard that LeBron James is headed back to Cleveland. I will not pretend that I knew where LeBron was headed. But, I had a sense that he was tired of carrying the entire load in Miami. I read a very interesting article by Bill Simmons. You really should check it out...http://grantland.com/features/god-loves-cleveland/
Simmons makes some very bold statements regarding LeBron. He calls him an NBA genius; “unparalleled NBA genius” were the exact words that Simmons used. He feels that James follows in the footsteps of Larry and Magic and of course…MJ. At first glance, I scoffed at these comments. Yes, there is no doubt that James is a great player…but to put him the company of these three, is beyond what I can accept. After reading Simmon’s thoughts…I do admit to having more insight into the actions of LeBron James. I know what some of you are probably thinking…James is an attention whore. He cannot win without a strong supporting cast. But, if you take a close look at the team he won two championships with in Miami…that is not totally the case. In fact, if you want to take a close look at the supporting casts of Bird, Magic and MJ…I suppose you would say that they might have had a superior group around them. Certainly anyone would have to agree that those championship Laker and Celtic teams were loaded with talent. Even MJ needed Pippen to win championships. There is a clip of MJ stealing a game in the Simmons’ link…it sure brought back some great memories and reminded me just how good MJ was…damn.
I suppose what bothers most of us about LeBron it is not so much what has happened but the manner that he went about it. The “Decision” for me was the beginning of my dislike for the man. I saw this event as a self -absorbed act that was beyond selfish. The big three getting together to create a championship team in Miami smacked of arrogance and contempt for the system. In truth, the NBA is not what it was 20 years ago. The league is full of players more concerned with their “brand” and bank account than playing the game as a team. I suspect that this is why so many jumped gleefully onto the Spurs championship bandwagon and were delighted to see Miami go down in flames. But, the actions of others are not the fault of LeBron. I really do think that LeBron got tired of carrying the heavy load in Miami and realized that the Big 3 was more LeBron than Wade and Bosh. Hey…I don’t feel sorry for Miami, they have 2 championships to show for the 4 years of LeBron and that is not such a bad deal for them. In truth…they got what they paid for and in the end, got what they deserved.
I really thought that the letter published in SI was a perfect way for LeBron to announce his return to Cleveland. In fact, I think compared to the “Decision” it was a stroke of genius. Now, we can discuss who wrote the letter or whose decision it was to write the letter…but ultimately, it was on James to make the choice. I do know that how James returned to the Cavs was a whole lot better than how he left. Comparing his 4 years in Miami to four years in college is sort of corny, but it also sort of works for me. When you stop and realize that James has played in the league for 11 years and he is still not 30 years of age. Perhaps James did need to go to Miami to figure out how to win? Maybe he returned to Cleveland because he was tired of being the villain? This got me to thinking…LeBron has gone from villain to hero with this move. What other villains have successfully made this transaction? I came up with a short list of what I consider to be the most notable. If I have forgotten a few, please throw them in. Here is my list:
I know that for some of you, there is nothing that LeBron James can do at this point to change your opinion. But when I take a close look at James, I see a kid that has grown up with less than a favorable role model. He did not attend college and have the influence of a college campus or a college coach. In spite of this, the man has kept his nose clean. He has not been arrested and is not in strip clubs partying it up. This is man has a family and it is my hunch that there is real substance in his move to return to Cleveland. Thomas Wolfe says "you can't go home again"...but LeBron is attempting to prove otherwise. It could be that LeBron is added to above list; only time will tell. If LeBron can win a few championships in Cleveland, I will be happy for the Cav fans. With the bad times they have been through, it would be great to see them celebrate. But...to become a hero for me, James will need to stay in Cleveland. For others...I don't think it will matter. At the end of the day, LeBron James must learn to be true to himself and his family and in the end, that is all that will matter.
I could not finish this week without taking a moment to mention that Alex Rodriguez is being sued by his attorney for non-payment…I don’t know if I find this more funny or ironic. Character sure has a way of exposing itself, doesn’t it…
That’s all I have today, but I will leave you with a bit of Jack Handey…
"One thing kids like is to be tricked. For instance, I was going to take my little nephew to Disneyland, but instead I drove him to an old burned-out warehouse. 'Oh, no,' I said. 'Disneyland burned down.' He cried and cried, but I think that deep down, he thought it was a pretty good joke. I started to drive over to the real Disneyland, but it was getting pretty late."
"Too bad you can't buy a voodoo globe so that you could make the earth spin real fast and freak everybody out."
Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a few deep thoughts of your own…