Tagged with "NBA"
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.

Sunday Musings #159
Category: User Showcase
Tags: YouthSports BostonRedSox NCAA EdO'BannonLawsuit WNBA NewYorkLiberty BeckyHammon HighSchoolBasketball BostonCollegeWomensBasketball

 

 

While enjoying the slow introduction of the Firefly universe to Julie...

 

By the way, after just the pilot and 3 episodes, she has declared, "This is a great show!"


YOUTH SPORTS CATCH UP

A couple weeks back I learned some news about a couple of my former players but I didn't include the news here until now.

Sam (pictured below with clipboard) coached the local high school boys summer league team for the second season in a row. His dad is the varsity coach and Sam appears to be following in the footsteps of his grandfather, father, uncle and an aunt.

The team was the top seed in the summer league playoffs, but I haven't yet found out how the playoffs have gone for them.



The other player's news is not as good though it currently has a happy ending. Cody played for me for three seasons (I coached his sister and brother as well.). He was in his freshman year at the Mass Maritime Academy when he was diagnosed with a form of cancer. I didn't even know about it until I saw an article in the paper a couple weeks ago on his mother riding in the Pan Mass Challenge.

From what I was able to learn from people close to the family, he's in remission right now but it was a tough road to get there. Cody and his mom art pictured below.

ED O'BANNON LAWSUIT UPDATE

The news came down on Friday night that the judge in the O'Bannon lawsuit vs. the NCAA ruled largely in favor of the plaintiff. I am not nearly well versed enough to go into details about the rulings, so just check out this article.

When you combine this with the news that the NCAA is ceding some of their control to the 5 power conferences, the face of big-time college sports is about to get a huge makeover.

Of course, whether this will be for the good or the bad has yet to be determined but it will create a new tiered level of NCAA "citizenship" between the haves and the have nots of colleges. And at least some of the players will be seeing some money beyond the mythical scholarship to attend the school.

It is a long time coming given the billions the NCAA has raked in over the decades but let's hope that things don't blow up in everyone's face as this new day in college sports begins its shakedown cruise.


BOSTON RED SOX

As the Red Sox continue their one step forward, two steps backwards way, there were a couple of notes on players that caught my eye. Mike Carp was designated for assignment and ended up being claimed on waivers by the Texas Rangers.

So in his quest to play more, he's gone from the last place team in the AL East to the one of the worst teams in the entire major leagues.



Oh, and in a sign that these trades are not going to work out all that well for Boston, recently acquired Allen Craig is already on the disabled list. He sprained an ankle according to reports and now joins Kelly Johnson as new Red Sox players doing nothing to help the club.

And sadly, the season of Shane Victorino is officially over and done with. He could just never get healthy and this week he finally gave in and underwent season ending back surgery.

In off the field news, it appears Red Sox honcho Tom Werner is one of the three finalists to replace Bud Selig as the commissioner of baseball. I really do hate to be so pessimistic, but given that he's part of the "brain trust" that has destroyed the Red Sox in 2 of the last three seasons, do you really want to give him the chance to screw up the entirety of major league baseball?

WNBA

The New York Liberty had a busy week this past week with three games on the schedule. They knocked off the Dream 83-76 but then inexplicably laid a huge egg by getting crushed by the Mystics 79-46. On Friday, Tina Charles led New York back from that pasting and to a 71-66 win over the Sun to up their record to 12-16 for the season.

While this isn't tied to any of the games mentioned above, here's a Getty Images pic of Katie Smith from the July 6th game against the Minnesota Lynx.

In other Liberty news, the team waived Leilani Mitchell this week. She's been "suspended" for the entire season in a procedural move and spent her time in Australia. It was never really going to work out for her in New York with Bill Laimbeer in charge (he reportedly didn't like her skill set) so this move was inevitable.


In other league news, San Antonio Stars player Becky Hammon (pictured below) will be retiring at the end of the season, but she won't be out of work long. She's been hired to be the first full-time female assistant coach in the NBA.

While she was out injured last season she got permission to attend practices for the San Antonio Spurs and Greg Popovich must've liked what he saw because he added Hammon to his staff for the upcoming season.

I've never been a big fan of Hammon (really hated how she got a bogus Russian citizenship so she could play in the Olympics for them), but this next chapter of her life should prove very interesting. So good luck to her as she embarks on her coaching career.



BOSTON COLLEGE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

You can check out an interview with BC's Lauren Engeln HERE!



HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL

I thought I had attended my last high school summer league game a couple weeks back, but this past Wednesday, the playoff schedule aligned with mine and I was able to see the Wareham High girls play against Coyle-Cassidy. The Vikings led 20-15 late in the first half and then things just completely fell apart for them as Coyle-Cassidey went on a 40-13 run when I finally had enough and left with 43 seconds left in the game.

While I coached a number of the girls on the team, this was just an abysmal performance by the team. While they were winning things were fine. But when faced with adversity on the court, they played out of sorts and with no depth of understanding in terms of how to play as a team. It was worse than playground basketball to tell the truth.

You've got selfish players who think they are the only ones who can do anything. That might be a forgivable attitude if they didn't then proceed to screw up in the same old ways they used to do while playing youth league.

Shot selection was a joke and worse yet, the shots were so weak they sometimes barely hit the front of the rim.

Players were constantly out of position defensively leading to a number of second and third chances for Coyle-Cassidy.

The varsity coach was watching the game and I can't imagine anything he saw in the second half of the game pleased him. The summer league coaches really didn't seem to make any adjustments to the game plan. Either that or the players simply didn't bother to follow through on any of the suggestions.

MISCELLANEOUS

Music - On Sunday last week, I woke up to the news that my all-time favorite band, Savatage, would be reuniting for the first time in over a decade. They are set to play a live set at the 2015 Wacken Open Air festival in Germany. If I had thousands of dollars to make the trip I would have. But I guess it is a good thing that I didn't have the money because the 75,000 tickets for the event sold out in 12 hours.

I'm hoping that the event streams their set online, or the band records the show for a live CD release.

I have to be excited about the reunion even if it is in Germany because it just wouldn't be financially feasible for the band to play any kind of tour here in the States.

Also, I received the brand new CD from the band Kix in the mail on Friday. It is called Rock Your Face Off.



Movies - I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy yesterday with that certain someone special. I am not writing a full on review of it but my brief review is that the film was rather fun and outstanding. I don't normally go to see a film more than once in the theater, but I would definitely pay to see this movie again. So much in the way of fun, and both Rocket and Groot were hilarious. I was initially worried that the abundance of humor in the trailers would hurt the overall product but instead it really did well at lightening the more dramatic portions of the movie. A job well done.

If you do need a fleshed out review you can check out my buddy Kayode's Pop-topia.com review.



Fans of the classic science fiction TV show Babylon 5 got some potentially good news this week when it was announced that creator J. Michael Straczynski is going to reboot the franchise as a movie. He's looking to get the film made and on screens by 2016. I'm very cautious about a full reboot as this would seem to be set up as. This would be because my fandom for the TV leaves it as quite possibly my favorite TV show ever. But I'll wait to see the movie before making any final judgement. You can read the news article HERE.  



Books - I picked up the new Greg Rucka thriller Bravo this week. Oh, and I received that book from Atria Books so I can do a review. The book is The Hidden Girl by Louise Millar. I also picked up the new Carol O'Connell novel It Happens in the Dark.

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

Sunday Musings #158
Category: User Showcase
Tags: BostonRedSox WNBA BostonCollegeWomensBasketball ESPN

 

 

While thoroughly enjoying the new person that has come into my life...

BOSTON RED SOX

If you want to know what I thought of the flurry of Red Sox moves before this past Thursday's trade deadline, you can check out my blog post about it HERE.

One final trade that wasn't made before I did that blog post was the Stephen Drew and cash considerations to the Yankees for Kelly Johnson. This trade made me laugh. I know Drew wasn't hitting but the guy they traded for is on the disabled list so neither is he.



WNBA

The Liberty ended up getting blown out by the Phoenix Mercury 78-63 to start off their week and then lost to the Chicago Sky 87-74 to drop to 10-15.

Two blowout losses do nothing to inspire confidence that the Liberty will indeed turn things around and make a run to a playoff berth. If this keeps up the two teams I follow during the summer months will both be providing other teams with a playing out the string opponent until the season's merciful end.

I would really hate for that to happen here, bad enough it happened with the Red Sox. But if it does, that will mean my only continued hope for summer sports excellence will be coming out of the Little League World Series.

ESPN

I'm glad ESPN suspended Stephen A. Smith for his idiotic comments about how women shouldn't do anything to upset their pro athlete significant other and get beat up. The comment was stupid and the lame apology as he tried to say he meant something else and just didn't convey his actual thoughts was preposterous. You mean to tell me a guy who uses words for a living can't put together a coherent word blurb that doesn't make it sound like NFL players beating up their significant other is the fault of anyone but the player?

But can I start a petition to extend the ban a few more decades? I can't stand listening to the blowhard on Sportscenter and anything that keeps him off the air is fine by me.

The problem with ESPN is that they let these types of blowhards get facetime on the network and turn them into across the platform "experts". And Smith and others begin to believe their crap doesn't stink. So they pontificate and pontificate louder and longer and invariably think that whatever they say is the gospel of truth since they said it. And then they get stupid.

ESPN is their co-conspirator by not refusing to make their talking heads behave less like incompetent in your face know it alls and instead focus on providing solid based in reality commentary.

ESPN should return their focus to being the "Worldwide Leader In Sports" and stop with all the caterwauling nonsense of their "Look at Me!" roster of ranters and ravers. Give me substance over style...PLEASE!

BOSTON COLLEGE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

Here's an interview with 5th year senior Shayra Brown as she prepares to comeback from last season's foot injury. It's not often I can say I was there when a player suffered an injury, but in this case, the injury came in the first game of the season when the Eagles played Stanford and I was at the game.

I don't think anyone realized when the injury occured that Brown was not going to be back on the court the rest of the year.

And her loss did affect the Eagles. While her presence wouldn't have changed the fact that BC wouldn't have made post season play, Brown's play would've likely made them more competitive in games.


MISCELLANEOUS

Movies - I introduced a special someone to the movie Galaxy Quest this past week and surprisingly she really liked it. The next day I found MTV had published a 15th anniversary oral history article about the film. You can check it out HERE.

And in even better news, a couple of days after I found that article came the news that IDW Publishing is resurrecting the "franchise" and will be publishing a new Galaxy Quest comic book. You can read some details via this link.

By the way, with the release of the new Marvel Comics movie Guardians of the Galaxy, I would've gone to see it yesterday and had something to say about it here. But I am holding off a week and will see it next Saturday.

Depressing Story of the Week That Demonstrates We Are Doomed - It seems the head of an English language learning center fired a blogger that works for the school because the blogger wrote a post for the school's website about homophones.

It seems the HEAD OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNING CENTER doesn't actually understand English...because he cited the reason the guy was fired was because by writing about homophones, the school would now be associated with homosexuals.

You can read more about this dizzying downward spiral of homo sapiens HERE.

TV - A trio of programming notes you might want to be aware of this week. Up first is the news that the fourth season of the AMC series Hell on Wheels started last night. You can see a brief teaser trailer below.

Next is a reminder that the fourth and final season of The Killing premiered on Netflix as of Friday August 1st. I haven't watched it yet but actually do have a means to do so instead of waiting for DVD. The trailer for the season is below.

Finally, the Starz network will premiere the series adaptation of the Diana Gabaldon book series Outlander on August 9th. But the first episode has reportedly hit On Demand a week early. I'm not familiar with the books myself but they do seem to be rather popular. I'm interested in checking out the series and will likely take a peak at the first episode sometime this week.

Hot Actresses of All-Time - Everyone has their favorite smoking hot actresses of choice. But my buddy J.D. has compiled his choices for the Top 15 hottest actresses of all-time. You can check out the list and agree or disagree via this Pop-topia.com link.


Books - I'll be receiving a new mystery/thriller book from Atria Books in the next week or so. I had gotten forwarded an email from the guy who owns Pop-topia.com. The company was offering the chance to download four books. Because I'm having problems with my computer I didn't want to download anything. So I took a chance and fired off an email to the publicity person for the book The Hidden Girl by Louise Millar. I asked if a hard copy of the book was available for a review and got a positive response. So when it gets here, I'll read it and then do up a review.

I also picked up a couple new books this week as well. The new Sue Grafton mystery W is for Wasted is now a part of my large "to be read" pile as is the new Dick Wolf thriller The Execution.

 

Music - My Pop-topia.com review of the new Winger CD Better Days Comin' can be viewed HERE!

Musings From The Hoodwood 7-29
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: MLB NBA NFL NASCAR

Three more in the hallowed halls of Cooperstown...

Greetings from the Hoodwood, where we're just grinding away...

Rice Gets 2 games…seriously?

Ray Rice, has been a steady dependable running back for the Ravens and has been so going back to his days at Rutgers, I was seriously disappointed in his actions where he was in a physically abusive altercation with his then fiancé now wife. Rice, to his credit owned up to the deed. But the NFL gave him a two game suspension, consider that Albert Haynesworth got 5 games for stomping on an opponent during a game, a coach got 6 games for his involvement in Bountygate, Odell Thurman was out multiple seasons. The most suspect of suspensions was the 5 game dock that was given to Terrelle Pryor for his involvement in the tattoos for memorabilia that ultimately brought down the reign of Jim Tressel at Ohio State. Sheriff Goodell has hand a long history of being heavy on those miscreants that he feel has violated the conduct standard that the NFL holds strict to. The phrase “Protect the Shield” has rung long and often by officials and former players. But this suspension is a joke, and NFL VP Adolpho Birch went on Mike & Mike Monday Morning in a feeble attempt to defend and justify their actions. Greenberg and Golic lit in to him and repeatedly tried to pin him down on giving a justifiable reason for such a puny disciplinary action. He couldn’t and I applauded Mike Greenberg for his sharp criticism of the suspension and the words of Mike Golic who pointed out that had either of his football playing sons had been the focus of the suspensions for those actions, that they would face a lot worse discipline from him than a coach or league.

 

Hall of Fame gets a classy class

Cooperstown got a real class group this year. Four I thought were no doubters and two I was never big fans of but the numbers are just too good to ignore. The four no-doubters are Tom Glavine, long time ace of the Braves, Greg Maddux the Clark Kent clone who seemed to crank out wins and strikeouts as the years went by. Managers Joe Torre and Bobby Cox who managed lots of places but were most famed for winning with powerhouse teams in the Yankees and Braves respectively. The two I shrugged on were Frank Thomas and Tony LaRussa.

In depth: Glavine won 20 or more games 5 times and netted 2 Cy Youngs, never an overpowering pitcher, he always was on point with his control and was a reliable pitcher. Starting in 1991 he had 13 consecutive winning seasons. Glavine was nothing if not consistent and he won. He passed the 300 win threshold in 2007 and might be the last pitcher to win 300 games.

I wanted to despise Greg Maddux, because he was so good and I detested the Braves. But Maddux looked more like Clark Kent or an accountant than a beastly pitcher. Like Glavine, Maddux took a couple years to get his sea legs then became a model of consistency. Look at his season by season numbers and you might not be impressed until you see that they cross 23 years spanning 3 decades. He only won 20 games twice once as he was hitting his free agent year with the Cubs and the first with the Braves where he spent the bulk of his career. He won four Cy Youngs in a row from 92-95. Maddux won 15 or more games each season from 1988-2004 and struck out 100 or more batter for 21 consecutive seasons from 1987-2007, that’s the hallmark of consistency. He was an innings eater and workhorse stopper. Don’t let the specs fool ya, he was a game competitor who took pride in his craft, fielding (he won 13 consecutive Gold Gloves, missed a year then won 5 more) and batting.

I have always loathed the White Sox, though for some reason I’ve always liked their colorful play by play guy Hawk Harrelson, he was the one that gave the quiet slugger Frank Thomas his nickname “The Big Hurt” Lord, that man could hurt ya. He swung like he was trying to hit the ball into Lake Michigan when the Sox played at Comiskey and more often than not hit he’d hit it hard. Say what you want about the so-called steroid era, Thomas was legitimately strong. My relatives down south used to call it country strong. Made his debut in 1990 and everyone knew he was gonna be special, from 1991-1998 he knocked in 100 or more RBI’s every year; he hit .300 better in all but one season from 1991-2000. He won 2 MVP’s and was a consistent long ball threat. I wasn’t a fan of his, and didn’t think much of his numbers till I looked at them over the course of his career. He was good and where 500 homers is shrugged at now as no big deal, he still had 521 homers and few every doubted that he earned them, he was always a home run hitter and for a while was the frightening combo of power and average

On the Managerial side, all three skippers have won World Series rings. Bobby Cox managed like forever for the Braves and cranked out divisional titles in assembly line style. Though his career started forgettable with Braves in the late 70s and was replaced by some guy named Torre (but we’ll get to that forgettable guy later) He resurfaced with the Blue Jays and made them steadily better but was haunted by his team blowing a 3-1 lead in the ALCS to the Royals, he returned to the Braves as GM and then returned to the bench in 1990 and after a rough 40-57 conclusion to that season began to win and win and win. From 1991-2005 the Braves never had a losing season and made the postseason every year. Read that last part again… Every year that there were playoffs from 1991-2005, the Braves were there they won 100+ games 6 times, 4 NL Pennants and the 1995 World Series. Cox was seemingly always getting tossed from games, but his players loved his straightforward style and played hard for him consistently.

Cox got replaced in his first stint as Braves Manager by Joe Torre. Torre won a division title with those Braves in 1982, but not much else his first three managerial gigs with the Mets and Cards and when he was hired by the Yanks in 1996, the papers derided the decision with one paper blaring the headline “Clueless Joe” But Torre instead proved to be the perfect buffer between the players and the Boss, he could parry with the media who held him in high regards and backed with Yankee money skillfully managed the Bombers to 12 consecutive playoff appearances and Five AL pennants and four World Series titles, rings that eluded him as player he got as a skipper and the call from Cooperstown that also was just out of his grasp as a player was a no brainer as a manager.

Finally there is LaRussa, whom I was no fan of. I thought he was egotistical and the media always lauded over how great and smart he was. Yeah I get that he managed 33 years and won better than 2700 games, 6 pennant and with Sparky Anderson was one of two managers to win World Series in both leagues but I look at the fact that his teams won 100 or games 4 times and never won a World Series. I remember how he got outcoached in the 88 and 90 World Series and was cannon fodder for the 2004 Red Sox. He did go out with a bang, retiring after his Cards won a thrilling 2011 Series but I never was a fan of his.

 

McGwire: Too good for Canseco

Mark McGwire was a protégé of LaRussa and played almost all of his career under his stewardship, I find it humorous that the overly pious McGwire is um bashing Jose Canseco for his expose into the tawdry world of PEDs McGwire says that he will never speak to Canseco again and refused to do so during a 25th anniversary fete for the 1989 World Series champ A’s. I find it funny that McGwire acts like he was so pure and Canseco was the cheater when it seemed that he has that PEDs taint on himself too. Canseco who never came close to making the Hall of Fame looks like his usual hustlin’ for a buck self while the pious McGwire is the hitting coach for the Dodgers which I always found funny a .260 hitter teaching hitting.

 

Can Scott return the Lake Show to primetime?

The Lake Show finally has a coach. After 3 long years of Kobe running the team, he has finally decided to let an established coach with real playing credentials take the helm. I’m sorry, the pair of Mikes in the seemingly petrified Mike Brown who seemed frightened to even correct Kobe and the clueless Mike D’Antoni whose offensive style was ill-suited for the Lake Show and seemingly was getting more and more ignored by the player as their disastrous 27-55 death march season ground on, don’t count. Byron Scott was named head coach of the Lakers over the weekend. Scott is well traveled as a coach having had stints in Cleveland, New Orleans and most successfully in New Jersey where he lead the Nets to their only Finals appearances where they were sacrificial lambs to the Lakers and Spurs respectively. Scott would at least have the attention of Kobe who was a briefly a teammate of his for a season when Kobe was a rookie and Scott was at the end of solid career where he garnered 3 rings as a member of the Showtime Lakers. The Lake Show might have he first coach since Phil Jax that has the street cred and playing weight to put and keep Kobe in his place. Will the Lake Show be anything more than 3rd best in their building for a while? No, but I still think that Scott is a decent choice and gives the team a decent credibility bridge from its halcyon days of the 80s Scott is the 6th former Laker to coach the team (Mikan, West, Riley, Johnson, Rambis.)

 

Phat Dap

The Red Sox have long had to labor under the immense shadow of their hated neighbors the New York Yankees  but the Red Sox can hang their hat on the fact that in this Century they currently have a 3-1 lead on the Bombers in World Series titles. So it would be a bit surprising that a Yankee fan would return a Red Sox World Series ring but Luigi Militello, owner of Luke’s Bar and Grill in NYC, found the ring worth close to $30K belonging to Drew Weber who is the owner of one the Red Sox minor league affiliates. Weber who said that he hardly ever wears the ring left the ring in the men’s washroom and Militello found the precious bauble when Weber who had searched his domicile in vain for the ring called the eatery as a last resort, Militello reported he had found the ring after some good natured razzing. Weber who frequents the restaurant returned the next day. Militello refused any kind of reward money, but Weber did hook him up with tickets to the final games of Yankee Captain Derek Jeter’s career which will be play at Fenway.

 

Head Slap

ESPN for dropping the ball in the debate and discussion over abuse and the NFL’s handling of such matters. ESPN’s and First Take did a quick though weak repudiation of the loquacious of show debater  Stephen A Smith’s comments that were made Friday which came off as sounding like that a woman provoked a fight and deserved the abuse. Smith, to his credit, did apologize and make an attempt to correct his comments while reiterating that he does not condone abuse in anyway. But instead of using that as a springboard for a thought provoking debate and discussion with First Take host Cari Champion or possibly Michelle Beadle who rightfully called Smith to task for his comments as misconstrued as they could have been, instead turned away from the topic to opine about LeBron James’s jersey number switch. ESPN and the powers that be at First Take blew a golden opportunity to take the lead on the discussion of the topic itself, not is so much Smith and his mea culpa which I attribute to poor phrasing and word choice in an attempt to sound more bombastic than his debate partner than braying hack that is Skip Bayless. The show proceeding First Take, Mike & Mike in the Morning were very eloquent in their opinion on the matter and were very clear on their stance as I pointed out. That was the kind of lead in and alley-oop that First Take should have hit 5 miles and slammed home. Bravo to Ms. Beadle who bravely called out a colleague but the Head Slap goes to First Take who missed a perfect opportunity to follow in the words of their show “Embrace Debate”

 

 Quick Hits

Sterling’s bid to block the sale of the Clippers has been tossed out…bye Felicia

Kevin Love decides against playing for the national team due to the trade concerns…ummm yeah.

Johnny Football jersey sells for $100k…for real?

Gordon wins the Brickyard…again

Derrick Rose feels good…how long is that going to last?

 

Thats the View From the Hoodwood, Until Next Post Fellow Sports Fans!

 

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