While eagerly anticipating tonight's season finale of Game of Thrones...
First off, for those that are or have them still, Happy Father's Day.
Second, don't forget I'm on Twitter at: @TheOneTrueJay
I'm sure others will write more about it and I know my buddy DJ Will is ecstatic, but I just wanted to add my congratulations to the Los Angeles Kings on winning the Stanley Cup on Friday night.
The New York Liberty continue to spiral in a downward fashion. They lost to the Mystics 81-64, to the Shock 72-57 and then on Friday night they lost to the Sun 83-75. The loss to the Sun was the first half of a home and home series for this weekend. They'll play again today at 1pm. But with their record now at 3-7, one has to wonder if the Liberty's season hasn't already gone off the rails.
For those of us who reside in the Boston area, the news that the city is still in the running/considering a bid for a future Olympics game has to be a scary nightmare looking to come to life.
Boston as an Olympic city? Well the international reputation would be wonderful of course, but let's face it, there is no earthly way Boston should ever host an Olympiad. The cost of hosting a Games is prohibitive to say the very least, and building new venues is pretty much out of the question. And let's not forget that if you want to avoid endless stories about corruption, the last place you want to put an Olympics is Boston. Between the unions and politicians, the corruption here would make the Utah scandal look like Sunday school. And that doesn't even begin to try and account for all the traffic issues.
In sad Olympics related news, six time gold medalist in swimming Amy Van Dyken was in an ATV accident this past week and she suffered a severed spine. She's paralyzed, but given her posts on Twitter is at least responding as well as could be expected thus far.
I woke up in the middle of the night on Saturday and before going back to sleep I turned on ESPN to check on the hockey game score. (Yes I fell asleep before the game was over). While waiting for the update on that game, I saw the news that former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Chuck Noll had passed away at the age of 82. The man who presided over the team as they became the Steel Curtain and won 4 Super Bowls, Noll retired in 1991 but remains the only coach with four Super Bowl championships to his credit. You can read more about his legacy here: http://nfl.si.com/2014/06/14/steelers-coach-chuck-noll-his-eras-great-underrated-genius/
The Atlanta Falcons were announced this week as the team that will be featured on the HBO series Hard Knocks. Given how bad the team has been lately, the pressure on them to be successful this season should make for some compelling training camp drama.
There were a couple of articles I read over on SI.com this week that I thought might be of interest to everyone.
Now that Donald Sterling has once again proven what a piece of trash he is by reneging on the deal to sell the Clippers to someone who doesn't hate minorities, the news came out that he'd hired private investigators to dig up dirt on the NBA.
If it wasn't so offensive, I'd be on my ass laughing. I mean really, dig up dirt on the NBA? Exactly how long will it take his investigators to find out that the biggest piece of dirt the NBA failed to clean up is Sterling himself?
The NBA is in the process of preparing to respond to his lawsuit and is considering a countersuit as well.
But the sad thing is that all this does is extend the embarrassment. If things aren't sorted out before next season, I have a feeling the Clippers coaches and players are going to revolt in a way not previously seen in any professional sports league.
John Sinko isn't someone that will be familiar to most people. I know that I didn't know who he was. But perhaps we all should have. His impact on the youth baseball scene in Fairhaven, Massachusetts won't soon be forgotten by those he came into contact with. He passed away a month or so ago and this article from the New Bedford Standard Times serves as a fitting remembrance of his contributions: http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20140610/SPORTS/406100305/0/SEARCH
The Gatemen opened their Cape Cod Baseball League season on the road against the Bourne Braves. They led early in the game but ended up losing 4-2.
If you watched last week's episode of Game of Thrones, you got to see The Wall attacked by among other things, a giant! You'd be forgiven if you thought the giant was a computer generated image. But you'd be wrong. No, instead the giant was played by former North Carolina and Holy Cross basketball player (all 7 foot 7 inches of him) Neil Fingleton. You can learn more about his BIG role in the show here: https://tv.yahoo.com/blogs/tv-news/-game-of-thrones--giant-played-basketball-for-unc-174045416.html
For those of you who love The Mighty Ducks trilogy of movies, Time Magazine had an oral history article from those involved in the making of the films. You can check that out here: http://time.com/mighty-ducks/
I know what you are thinking, how in the world could I think to have cheerleading in a sports blog? And believe me, I totally agree with you. But it is back in the news this week after the American Medical Association announced they classified cheerleading as a sport.
Now, I know that I will not be on the popular and politically correct side of this debate. Why? Because cheerleading is NOT a sport. I know that those who think cheerleading is something worthwhile will argue that they have cheerleading competitions etc. But they are deluding themselves.
Those competitions are not the primary reason cheerleaders exist, they are a way to kill time for these girls/women in between games. And I'm sorry, but when your real sole purpose of being is to stand on the sideline and cheer for people who are actually engaged in a sporting event...YOU ARE NOT A SPORT!
And let's not forget that a lawsuit against Quinnipiac University when they tried to cancel an actual women's sport and substitute cheerleading to stay within Title IX compliance was decided in favor of the actual sport where the judges in the case effectively said cheerleading is not a sport.
Now, the AMA says it should be considered a sport because of the rigors and risk of injury involved. Is something being strenuous to do and having the risk of getting hurt the primary decider on if it is a sport or not?
In that case, on Thursday at my job I engaged in the new competitive sport of box lifting. I had to lift 125 boxes TWICE in order to wrap an order to ship out. Each box weight 31 pound apiece meaning I shifted 7750 pounds or nearly 4 tons in the space of 2 1/2 hours. It was rigorous, sweat inducing work and given that I was sore and stiff afterwards, the risk of injury was there.
So will ESPN be covering all the box lifting action throughout the world? When can I expect cheerleaders to show up and cheer me to "victory"?
Music - It was a big music week for me. Judas Priest released the audio for another new song off their album. This one is called "Dragonaut".
Night Ranger released the official video for the song "Knock Knock (Never Stop)".
Night Ranger's new CD High Road was one of three new albums I picked up this week. The other two were Tesla's Simplicity and Uriah Heep's Outsider.
Oh and when I found out that Night Ranger would be coming to a venue about 20 minutes or so from my house, I ended up calling to get a ticket. I ended up with 2nd row seats for the August show. Yaay Me!
This is the Father's Day post I did a couple of times in the past:
It is updated and reposted again...I miss you Dad!
My dad has been gone for more than eight years now. He was a husband, dad to three kids, a police officer, a ham radio enthusiast, loved computers, yodeling music, reading, tinkering, building things, buying cookbooks and so many other things too numerous to mention here. He took me to my first rock concert despite the fact that he didn't like rock music at all. He took me to my first Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics games, and he didn't care for sports all that much. A surprising thing considering I learned he liked sports as a kid growing up.
Along with my mother, he was in the stands rooting me on when the teams I coached won championships, and he told many people how proud he was of my coaching work. He grew up without much of a stable home life, but gave my mom, my siblings and me that which he never had.
When he was in the hospital the final time, a man he arrested came to visit him and thanked him for helping him straighten out. Cops from all over the region came to his wake and the place he grew up as a child allowed his final wish to have his ashes spread on the grounds.
Of the place he grew up my father said:
I became a part of the Kurn Hattin family over fifty years ago, and not a day goes by that I don't think of the good time I had living there. 'Thank you' is too little to say for what Kurn Hattin and its friends have done for me.
George Roberts, Class of 1958
Eight years on, and we all still miss him deeply.
He was proud of me for my coaching...I'm proud to be the son of George Roberts.
NBA: Donald Sterling is the most clueless person in the country
The man is tone deaf…Donald Sterling is the most oblivious rich man in the country. Im thinking that somewhere in this mans mind he really thinks that he is right. I think that Sterling is just not ready to get off the gravy train, even with a $2 billion payoff to go away. Sterling is still going to go forward with his $1 billion lawsuit against the NBA. Sterling thinks that his privacy is being violated and not being afforded due process. What Sterling doesn’t seem to get is that he is a franchise owner, he didn’t build the Clippers he bought them and was vetted into an excluisive billionaire boys club and that club can kick him out. He also forgets that his trust signed an agreement to sell the team to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
NHL: Kings going for the sweep?
I watched a good part of the Kings-Rangers game 2 Saturday and Game 3 Monday night. As much as I hate to admit it and as much as Gary Bettman and the NHL hope against it the extended bi coastal Stanley Cup final might only go the minimum four. The Kings are just hitting the spots quicker faster, making the plays dictating the action. Drew Doughty is quarterbacking the power play with ease, and Jonathan Quick is having a flashback to his sterling play of the Kings 2012 Cup run, the Rangers just…look…lost. Henrik Lunquist looked like a beast all during the Eastern Conference title run now suddenly looks like a flustered goalie that has no clue. After having 2 goal leads multiple times in the first two games, the Rangers just have had no pulse. Im thinking that its now or never for the Blue Shirts, it really is they are down to their last game. Win or go home.
This week Dan Marino entered, then withdrew, from the lawsuit against the NFL on concussions. It brought the issue of legal action in the world of sports back to front and center - some of which we see are with great merit and quite a few are so very frivolous. The NFL lawsuits are significant and important...we can have fun with the other group after that. The concussion lawsuit, which is back in its second go round after the judge threw out the initial settlement, is one that I have a hard time getting my head around (bad pun, I guess). Everyone who plays sports on any level knows that there are risks involved and in the case of football, fairly siginificant risks that can run from sprained ankles and fingers to broken bones to paralysis from spinal injuries. Concussions are certainly on that list. So there is an inherent understanding when you play football that you will get hurt - and that is "will get hurt" not "may get hurt." From the second you step on the field to play even touch football, its guaranteed. So, unless you are a moron, you know this is going to happen. To me, the problem is that both the NFL and the NFLPA have failed every player that has ever played the game to take care of their health post-retirement.
Randy Gradishar's fingers are representative of the hands of many NFL players from lineman to receivers - all managled playing the game they loved to play. Gradishar said he was glad it was just his fingers that were mangled, but in time certainly his back, knees ankles and maybe his head will develop new symptoms not expected from playing pro football. So back to the lawsuit, which focuses on brain trauma, needs to be settled in a way that provides long term healthcare for former players. In a league that generates so much wealth for those that run it - and decent money for those that play it, it is an embarassment that the players from years gone by have to sue to get their health needs addressed. And this is where Dan Marino comes in - why didn't Dan stick with it? Yes, he came out and said they all knew the risks when they played, but did they know the long term effects of repeated concussions? Today''s players know yet they still play. Players like Marino and Aikman, high profile QB's with public persona, could make a difference. Someone like Aikman that was such a victum of head trauma especially should come forward.
The other NFL lawsuit - the painkiller lawsuit - is just as troubling and again we see that if the NFL and NFLPA would have proactively stepped up and taken care of the retired players, these lawsuits might have been unnessary. The world of sports is full of stories where players "took the shot" and went back in. The fact that this went on, being no secret to fans, had to be common knowledge in locker rooms. Did no one ever bother to look it up and see the known impact of taking this kind of drug even after the fact? I am stunned that players or their wives never said, "hey, I checked into this and it is really dangerous." There is no doubt that the practice of shooting up a player went on, doctors participated in this (see the Doc in "Any Given Sunday") and that, again, former players need their due.
Then we have the frivolous lawsuits...take these recently filed suits:
L. James versus Gatorade....for not keeping it in him
The Miami Heat versus the heat...with the Carrier repairman as a second party to the suit
<> versus Matt Cooke....really not so frivolous
Team USA Soccer versus World Cup Organizers...for fixing the draw against the U.S.
Alex Rodriguez versus Anyone who doesn't believe him....because he really is a good guy.
College football players versus the NCAA....oops, not so frivoulous!
While being grouchy and irritable, or as most people who know me would call it, a day that ends in "y"...
BOSTON RED SOX
A week sure can make a difference can't it? The Red Sox had for all intents and purposes bottomed out last week when they found themselves firmly established in last place in the AL East with a 20-28 record.
The pitching was terrible and the magical quality of the hitters getting one timely hit after another (particularly with runners in scoring position) had evaporated into nothingness.
But after two straight two game home and home series with the Atlanta Braves (including a walk off win) and another last at-bat victory in their Friday night series opener against Tampa Bay, Boston is suddenly riding the wave of a five game win streak.
The most surprising thing is how they've managed to cobble the wins together despite losing Clay Buchholz to the DL with a hyperextended knee and some of their key hitters unavailable as well.
The pitching has been improved though hiccups still remain. David Ortiz, Mike Napoli and pinch hitter extraordinaire Mike Carp have been battling injuries but A.J. Pierzynski has started to provide some timely hits and Xander Bogaerts has been tearing the figurative cover off the ball. It is a bit funny that he really started hitting the ball AFTER the Red Sox signed Stephen Drew to take his place at shortstop.
Of course, a five game win streak still finds them below .500 on the season but it does demonstrate thran as their play prior to now might have indicated.
While the offseason news comes in little drips and drabs, I've mostly found myself unable to care about the majority of said news. I'm more of a regular season guy. I know in the church of sports that is somewhat borderline heresy in these days of never ending seasons, but that's how I manage to not lose my sanity I think.
But there were a couple of articles on Sports Illustrated's website this week that I found compelling reading.
Well that sure is an interesting week in the world of the L.A. Clippers. First the news came that Donald Sterling was handing over control of the team to his wife. Then there was the denial issued from Sterling.
Then we find out that Sterling has been declared mentally unfit and the wife is now in charge of the family trust that actually owns the team. Then comes the news that Sterling has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease.
And finally there is the two billion dollar sale agreement between Sterling's wife and Steve Ballmer, the ex-Microsoft bigwig, who had previously failed to buy the Sacramento Kings.
TWO BILLION DOLLARS? For the Clippers? Are you kidding me? Man, the owners of the Celtics, Lakers and Knicks must be cackling their fool heads off like Mr. Burns from The Simpsons now that Ballmer has proven practically stupid as he has established a new high water mark of worth for those teams should they ever be up for grabs.
Of course, the sale is pending NBA approval but short of Ballmer being found out to be a fraud with no actual money I think the league is so desperate to wash their hands of the entire sordid Sterling family, I can't see them not okaying the deal.
But two billion dollars for a team like the Clippers who have no real GOOD track record or history of success? The mind nearly boggles.
Of course, the first article I saw in the USA Today late in the week after the sale price was announced took issue with the price saying that the guy could've done something more with all that money that would've improved society. Yada Yada Yada. I'm not tsk-tsking the deal or how he spends his money, I'm just shocked at how much money he's spending for a team that in my estimation just isn't worth it. But I'm sure as hell not going around telling him that he has to spend his money in some more enlightening way. That is just not my place. Nor should any sportswriter with an audience think that they have a right to do so. You know, unless they are putting their money to the same kind of use they expect Ballmer to be doing.
The New York Liberty cut Kara Braxton this week. A longtime member of coach Bill Laimbeer's Bad Girls when they were together on the Detroit Shock, Braxton was always a player who just never seemed to have or at least be able to maintain any kind of consistent level of play.
When the news broke that she'd been cut, I read posts on the Rebkell message board that said she was out of shape and that she was playing with a deer in the headlights look on her face. I guess Laimbeer had finally had enough of waiting for her to live up to expectations.
On the court this week, the Liberty split their two games to stand at 2-3 on the season. They beat the Storm 70-64 but on Friday night they lost to the Mystics 68-60. Check out the photo (credit to Getty Images) below of Liberty assistant Katie Smith instructing one of the players during the Storm game.
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
The Upper Cape girls softball team saw their season come to a quick and I'm guessing bitter end this week. They lost in the first round of the vocational school tournament, dropping a 3-2 decision to Pathfinder.
On Thursday in their first round game of the regular state tournament, they were upset 6-5 by Diman Voke.
So other than the track and field state championships, the high school sports in the area are over and done for another year.
TV - The summer TV shows haven't started up yet so there really is limited new material being broadcast that interests me right now. You have shows like Continuum, Orphan Black and Game of Thrones finishing up their seasons in the next few weeks though so I'm happy to at least have those.
Podcasts - I'm curious, does anyone else listen to podcast shows online? If so, which ones do you listen to?
I used to listen to a lot of them but some ended of their own accord and some I just lost interest in. Some I just didn't have the time to listen to anymore. But recently two shows that I liked have either ended or are coming to a close soon. The one that ended back in March is called The Pub Songs podcast ( http://pubsong.com ). It's a show by Celtic musician Marc Gunn. It features him talking about whatever strikes his fancy in a given week alongside performances of original songs of his own and on some shows, by others. The show will be missed as it was my favorite of the MANY podcasts that he releases. One of his continuing shows is the Irish and Celtic Music Podcast which delves deep into the varied material that makes up Celtic music. I've listened to that one on and for a few years and found a lot of music that I enjoyed. You can check out that one here: http://celticmusicpodcast.com/
Another podcast I like is The Signal. But I have to admit to being a lapsed listener the last few years. The show is dedicated to the TV series Firefly and its follow up movie Serenity. When I went to their website last week, I saw that their 10th season had started back in April and that it was going to be their last season. I was saddened by the news despite having fallen off as a listener. After listening to the first show of Season 10, I decided to go back and listen to all the shows I had missed out on due to time constraints. I mainlined all of Season 5 and about half of Season 6 so far. You can check out that podcast here: http://signal.serenityfirefly.com/mmx/
Finally, there is the Tuning Into Sci-Fi TV podcast of which I'm a listener and participant on the message forums. It's a weekly look at all the genre TV shows on the air and is quite well done. You can check that out at http://www.tuningintoscifitv.com
Movies - I picked up the Veronica Mars movie on DVD this week. I can't wait to watch it again as it was much better than the entire third season.
Books - The debut novel from Ingrid Thoft is called Loyalty. I finished reading it this week. The story is set in Boston and centers around PI Fina Ludlow. She works for her father's law firm as an investigator and is tasked with finding her missing sister-in-law. It was really good story and though there was a subplot I could see coming a mile away, it was handled so well by the author that the cliché aspect of said plotline is easily forgiven.
I also picked up the new Castle TV show tie in novel by "Richard Castle". It is called Wild Storm and features the author's character Derrick Storm.
Music - I reviewed the new Sabaton album Heroes a few weeks back. I had received the download link from the record label over a month ago. But the album was officially released this week and because I liked it so much (gave it a 5 out of 5 rating on KNAC.com), I picked the album proper up to show my support for it. I don't typically do that with all the albums I get for free to review but when I like something a lot, I am happy to get the official release. By the way, you can check out that review, if you missed it the first time around, here: http://www.knac.com/article.asp?ArticleID=11477
By the way, another album I reviewed earlier in the year was the House of Lords CD Precious Metal. This week, the band released a video for the title track which you can watch below.