Tagged with "NFL"
Stars Who Are Not as Bright as Before?
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: Strasburg Harper Tiger Woods NFL

It only takes a visit from the Nationals to Atlanta for the Braves to snap out of their doldrums and start to win again.  Fortunately for the Braves, they will not have to face the Nats’ ace for 2014 – Doug Fister nor will they have to face their best bats as Werth and Ryan Zimmerman are banged up (Zim’s on the DL long term).  But what is curious about this introduction is that the guys who you may have thought would be leading the Nationals – Straburg & Harper – have lost a little bit of their luster.  Stras is getting hammered again by the Braves and Harper just has not been able to stay healthy long enough to get in a groove (and thumb injuries sap power).   Yes, he did hit the walk-off HR on Thursday, but overall he has been a drag on the lineup.   I would not go so far as to say if I were GM Rizzo that I would consider moving either guy at this point in time, but I certainly would think long and hard about their next contracts.  So their stars seem to be a little less bright in 2014 than they were going into the season.

The most obvious Star Not So Much resurfaces for a second week in a row in this space…one Eldrick Woods (aka Tiger).  I know some of you may say we have covered this topic enough, but I guess not enough for me, after all, generally we only look at golf 4 times a year.   On one hand, I admire Tiger’s determination and commitment to continue to attempt to play golf at the highest level, but on the other how can one not ask, “how can he be so obtuse?”   The sooner Tiger accepts that he is not competitive on a routine basis with the top young player (he is 15 strokes behind Rory after 2 days), the sooner we can root for him as the lovable former-great hoping to catch lightening in a bottle for 4 days at a major.  Everyone who is of a certain age can recall the excitement of “Jack’s Back” when he claimed his last Green Jacket or the great run of Tom Watson just a few years ago had a chance to win the British Open at age 59!  That is the stage of career that Tiger is entering now…he can’t blow it past the field anymore and remember, Tiger never won a major coming from behind.  The idea that he can go wire to wire in a major seems preposterous at this point.  (And please Tiger, don’t play if you can’t finish.  He looked to be in pain last week, yes, but what kind of miracle drug or masseuse does he have that would make it possible for him to believe he could play 4 rounds of championship golf just a few days on?).  So there we have it, perhaps the greatest golfer of all time (for his era certainly) no longer the shining star…more of a setting sun.

Now that football is back, we can take a look at stars – or not – in the NFL.  Here is one that I find interesting…the Dallas Cowboys Football “Team.”   Although Dallas has miraculously managed to stay competitive to the final week of the season the last couple of years, they look like a “star” that has lost its luster.  Their defense gave up almost 400 yards in their first preseason game after averaging about 400 yards surrendered per game last season…THAT is a big number.  And the defense is missing 3 key components from last year….I don’t see how the “D” is going to be anything but dreadful in Big D in 2014.  It would be easy to see Dallas as the cellar dwellers even in the not-so-hot NFC East.

Speaking of the East, how about Eli Manning?  What of his star? He of two Super Bowl rings?  And then what about the dog man, Mike Vick for the Jets?  (Because the Jets are over-hyped by the Worldwide Leader, we will have endless stories about this particular situation).  And how about Lynch in Seattle?  Yes, he thought he was worth a bunch of $$ but he has a lot of miles on those legs.  And then, the #1 question here in your nation’s capital, where will RGIII be at the end of this campaign?  From my chair, I expect big things from the kid, but just like the other two Washington stars mentioned above, one has to wonder whether he is going to re-ignite or go dim.

And finally this…my son is heading off to West Virginia University next weekend which means I will now have to consider covering Mountaineer football….Lord knows I can’t cover the Vols!

I hope everyone enjoys their summer weekend!  (Posted from 35,000 feet via United internet connection...ain't technology amazing when it works?!)

Sports Friday with Hal: First Football
Category: FEATURED
Tags: NFL Football Free agency draft news notes

Ahhh, NFL football.  Welcome back!


A lot of NFL action at last this week with the Hall of Fame game on Sunday and Thursday night full of action. I know I spent Thursday night glued to the tube watching the Patriots back-ups (No Tom Brady, Darrelle Revis, etc) face-off against the Redskins second squad.



The Curious Case of Jon Baldwin:

24 year-old wide receiver Jon Baldwin was a 2011 first-round draft pick in Kansas City and dealt to the 49ers last year during training camp for fellow high-draft pick washout wide receiver A.J. Jenkins. The 49ers cut Baldwin this week and he was claimed on waivers by the Lions. He lasted two days and was waived as he failed a physical (knee issue presumably).  Here is a kid out of football three years after being a first-round pick after a fantastic college career at Pitt where he ripped up the Big East with his size (six-foot-five and 228 pounds) and sub 4.50 speed. He suffered a wrist injury in his first training camp as a rookie in a fight with a teammate and never got on track. Another disappointing year had him traded and now he is on the outside looking in.


Baldwin is down to his final chance. When he gets healthy, he may have one chance left. Hard to believe a first-round pick could fall so far so soon. You just do not see teams miss on a pick like this these days.


A Couple of Losers:

Former NFL quarterback Scott Mitchell who was once supposed to carry the Detroit Lions to glory, is on the Biggest Loser this fall. No, not just because he lost football games, but rather he has ballooned to 366 pounds and is looking for help to get back to a more suitable weight. He is joined by former Jets, Lions and Patriots offensive lineman and current ESPN analyst Damien Woody who is tipping the scales at a shade under 400 pounds.


Two former Lions on the “Biggest Loser”--that’s cruel, NBC.


Another First-Round Pick out of the League:

New York Giants running back and 2012 first-round draft pick was forced to retire due to a recurring neck injury. Just 23 years-old, Wilson was an All-American in two sports out of high school, All-American, honor roll and ACC Offensive Player of the Year in college. Doctors advised him to retire from football due to his neck injury and the risk of further damage.  Two years, just 21 games and he is now looking at a career change.


It is a tough break for the Giants, but so much better to see he was smart enough to retire rather than end up with a horrible debilitating injury.


A Real Pisser:

Ending the Notes on an funny note here. Franklin, OH citizen Paul Serbu was arrested by Baltimore police. Posting on YouTube a video of himself urinating on former Browns owner Art Modell who had moved the team to Baltimore (and fired Bill Belichick--that was his biggest crime!) tipped off the police. Modell broke the heart of many Cleveland fans by moving the Browns to Baltimore. Posting as “BrownsFan4Life” Serbu had a little rant, ripped off a Ravens jersey to reveal a Browns jersey, and using a tube and catheter he proceeds to urinate on Modell’s grave. Could he have got away with it? Sure, just do not post it in a public location where thousands can see it and identify you


OK, time to overdose on football. Have a great weekend, all!

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.



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


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"










Musings From The Hoodwood 8-5
Category: Daily Blog 2.0

                                                                                                   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

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