Tagged with "Sports"
Sunday Musings #156
Category: User Showcase
Tags: YouthSports NFL BostonCollegeWomensBasketball MLB WNBA NewYorkLiberty WarehamGatemen

 

 

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?

WNBA

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%.

NFL

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. 

MISCELLANEOUS

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.

Monday Moaning 7-14-14
Category: FEATURED
Tags: NBA LeBron James Cleveland Cleveland Cavaliers Cleveland Browns Cleveland Indians Cleveland Fans Cleveland Sports Greatness The Beeze

 

Okay Cleveland...You had your fun...You had your excitement...Now it's time for your friendly wake up call...It's time to relax Cleveland...

 

 

 

Hey...Listen up...I said relax!

 

What part of relax don't you understand...Well maybe you two can have a few more minutes....

 

So why am I telling Cleveland to relax...Because this city went bat-shit crazy over LeBron James deciding to sign with the Cavaliers...And him and his sweet, well thought-out essay he co-wrote with a Sports Illustrated hack...Yeah, it was well written...It was good...But these dopes in the media act like he woke up Friday morning and did that shit...He had been working with this SI guy, Lee Jenkins for a couple weeks...Seriously, dude said so in an interview on Mad Dag Radio...All last week, the sports media world was talking about 2 things...Johnny Manziel possibly doing blow...and "Where will LeBron sign?"  James played the media last week as well as he plays basketball...

And Cleveland...This is my hometown...As much as I rag on it, I love this bitch...But this city disappointed me with their begging for James to come back...Just 4 years earlier so many of them were mother-fucking him...Me, I had been trashing him for a good 3 years before that...But it was nice to not be alone anymore...But last week, they were swinging on his nuts again...And those dopes on WKNR....Go find that audio...These two clowns, when the news broke, you could hear them cumming and crying while they squealed like little school girls...I wanted to puke in my cheerios...

So Cleveland was thrilled with the news...People who burned jerseys 4 years ago were heading to the store to get a new one...Whatever tool-bag...But I finally was completely sickened, and embarrassed by my city, when multiple people in the local media, besides the average joe idiots said, "This is one of the greatest days, possibly the greatest in Cleveland Sports History!"

Are you for fucking real? Seriously, you cover sports in this city and you said that Jim Donavan? Oh he wasn't alone...A fuck-ton of his fellow media members said this shit...How about you idiots read a fucking book!  Shit, Google something other then LeBron James!

I know the Browns have sucked balls for ages, but they were the shit many years ago...8 League Championships...AAFC Championships (4)  1946, 1947, 1948, and 1949...NFL Championships (4)  1950, 1954, 1955, and 1964...Jesus Christ, one of your "Journalism" brothers that this area loves so much, Terry Pluto wrote a book titled "When All the World was Browns Town"

What the hell is the matter with you assholes?

Yeah, the Indians have only won two Worlds Series, but shit that 1948 team was stellar...And I think Larry Doby being the first black player in the AL, just a couple months after Jackie Robinson broke in, would rank higher then James signing with the Cavs...What about Frank Robinson being the first black manager in baseball...With the Indians...Oh, and in his first at-bat as player manager, he just hit a HR...Thats' not fucking sweet at all right...

If you really think a player signing to your local team is the greatest sports moment ever, then you need to walk away from sports...

Cleveland fans for years have patted themselves on the back for being such loyal and devoted fans...(I would consider the 455 straight sellouts at Jacobs Field to be a bigger deal)...The national media also from time to time talk about the great fans in Cleveland...What made Clevelanders so tough and loyal?

It was all the downs...Not the few and far between ups...Not the highs, but the lows...The fucking Drive...The fumble, that made me cry...Jordan's jumper over Ehlo...Red-Right-88...The '95 Indians losing to the Braves...The Braves who couldn't even sellout for their playoff games...The '97 Indians, a cock-strong team, one out away...Beaten by a Marlins team that was rented, and sold off weeks later...Yeah, that one hurt like a bitch...How about my Dad seeing the '54 Indians, one of Baseball's best teams ever, lose it to the Giants...

It's those painful moments, that made Clevelanders tough...After those defeats, Cleveland came back to the respective stadiums, and rooted for their teams...Clevelanders didn't take off Chief Wahoo cap...They didn't say fuck it, and throw away there Browns gear and sell their season tickets...They were right back there next year with that stupid dag mask on, throwing dog biscuits at opposing players...

In my opinion, those losses are great Cleveland Sports moments, because we didn't burn the city down and riot like Vancouver...We took it on the chin, and came back for more...The Cleveland that I love would have never begged a guy to come back, and wouldn't have acted so insane if he did...The Cleveland I love would not be going crazy for an egotistical rookie QB who parties constantly and acts like an ass...I understand...Clevelanders are thirsty for a winner...Thirsty for positive coverage in this town...I hope we see it...But we're better than this...

 

I'll leave you with this...

 

 

Have a week....

 

The Beeze.

Sunday Musings #155
Category: User Showcase
Tags: YouthSports HighSchoolBasketball SportsIllustrated NBA ClevelandCavaliers BostonRedSox WNBA NewYorkLiberty BostonCeltics
 
 
While trying to comprehend how the Emmy Awards failed to nominate Tatiana Maslany for her performance as the lead in multiple roles on Orphan Black...
 
Don't forget, you can follow me on Twitter: @TheOneTrueJay
 
YOUTH SPORTS
 
A bit of sad news to report this week as a former player I helped coach back in the 97-98 season was killed in a motorcycle crash on Wednesday. RIP, Ryan.
 
Ryan was a great kid to coach from what I remember even though that season wasn't great in terms of overall success.
 
My buddy Brian coached Ryan a few times and has always said that Ryan was the best kid he ever coached because he was talented AND coachable.
 
 
BOSTON RED SOX
 
The Red Sox haven't raised the white flag on the season officially, but this past week did bring about one move that showed they are on their way to acknowledging they likely won't be defending their World Series championship.
 
Boston designated catcher A.J. Pierzynski for assignment. This move was made instead of the expected trade of pitcher Jake Peavy. Since Pierzynski was found wanting in a number of statistical categories, the Red Sox let him go and promoted Christian Vazquez from the minors. Reportedly, they fast tracked him by only 6 months since the club had planned/hoped to bring him up next season.
 
But then you had the an article released on Thursday that had anonymous players going to management and making it known they didn't want Pierzynski (pictured below) in the locker room anymore. He was, according to what is said in the article, a dark cloud that didn't really fit in.
 
This couldn't have been surprising to management or the players though, could it? Pierzynski has a kind of SOB reputation around the majors. But I guess if you combine that and lack of production, they decided half a season was enough. You can check out the article HERE.
 
By the way, though this ripping of a player comes from other teammates this time, one has to wonder if anyone leaves the Red Sox these days without being victimized by bad press put out by the team.
 
 
NBA
 
Cleveland Cavaliers - Now that LeBron James has returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the rest of the free agent dominos should fall into place pretty quickly. This makes me rather happy as it was nearly as annoying trying to watch any sports broadcast on ESPN this time around as it was for "The Decision."
 
The brother of a friend of mine works for the Cavs organization, so I'm sure he'll be pretty excited about his return. As for my friend Chad (born in Ohio, lives in Massachusetts but retains a die-hard Cleveland sports fandom), he's got to be ecstatic that LeBron is back in town.
 
The Cleveland fans are likely ecstatic that King James is coming back, but acceptance of their happiness has to be tempered by what they did when he left.
 
Probably the most excited has to be new Cavs coach David Blatt. Talk about walking into a great situation. Before the announcement, getting an NBA job was a great thing for Blatt but you kind of knew he was getting a job that was going to come with a lot of challenges. But with LeBron back in the fold, his job may not be easy, but it sure got EASIER.
 
Boston Celtics - The Celtics closed out the Orlando Summer League with a 3-2 record to finish in fourth place. While you always want to win when you lace up the sneakers, winning these summer leagues is usually a bit of a secondary consideration because you are trying to get a look at your new draftees and those players looking for a training camp invite or to stick with the team.
 
Mike Moser did well enough to earn a training camp invite from the Celtics. But the two players I was most interested in seeing how they did were Phil Pressey and Chris Johnson. Both played for Boston last season but are in the precarious position of having to fight for limited roster spots after draft picks and free agent signings have occured.
 
Pressey's fate will be known pretty soon as his contract for this upcoming season will be guaranteed by July 15th. Johnson has a longer wait before finding out if he still has a home with the Celtics. I really hope both stick around. I know the team was bad last year, but both players displayed good hustle and earned their spots.
 
I know it is a business and both might actually have to seek employment elsewhere but it doesn't mean I necessarily have to like that notion.
 
WNBA
 
The New York Liberty continued their mini win streak to start off the week with a surprise 87-80 victory over the Minnesota Lynx. A photo of assistant coach Katie Smith from the game is below (taken from Getty Images). 
 
 
But the Liberty came back down to earth when the San Antonio Stars beat them 80-66 and the LA Sparks knocked them off 68-54. The two losses dropped New York to 7-13 on the season.
 
The Liberty were also involved in a trade this week. For my money it has to be one of the more surprising trades given two of the parties involved. For those that follow the WNBA, you know that Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer is also the team's GM.
 
He traded Delisha Milton-Jones to the Atlanta Dream and in return got Swin Cash. So why is that surprising? Well, Cash played for Laimbeer during the Detroit Shock Bad Girls glory days, but the success was marred when Cash left the team after a falling out with Laimbeer. There was no love lost on either side. So while Cash's playing skills have eroded over the time they've been apart, seeing her and Laimbeer back together is a rather stunning development.
 
One more thing. You can check out a video story on how Katie Smith is transitioning from a player to a coach HERE.
 
HIGH SCHOOL SUMMER BASKETBALL
 
I attended my first high school girls summer basketball league game of the season on Thursday night. The Wareham girls were playing against New Bedford. It seemed kind of a mismatch from the tip as Wareham (a Division 3 school) raced out to an early lead against New Bedford (a Division 1 school).
 
The lead just seemed to keep growing as only 5 girls showed up for New Bedford. Wareham had 9 girls and they played well for most of the game. They ended up winning 53-29 to raise their record to 2-3 on the season. Of the 9 girls that showed up for Wareham, I had a hand in coaching 6 of them so it was nice to see them play a decent game.
 
As for the Upper Cape girls basketball team, apparently they are content to rest on their laurels. After playing in a summer league the past two years, it paid off for the team as they finished this past season with a 21-3 record (best in team history) and a state vocational school title.
 
So naturally you'd expect that they'd be back at it this summer to keep their game sharp during the offseason and hopefully developing their skills to try and get even better for the winter. And you'd be wrong.
 
Apparently no one bothered to organize a team until it was too late and they couldn't get into a league. And I didn't see any of the girls that would be returning to the team talking about playing either. A couple of them are playing on a travel softball team, so they could be excused for not playing basketball. But what about the other girls, most of whom will provide the bulk of the offense next year?
 
While I know my opinion doesn't matter to any one at UCT, I think not playing in a summer league this year is a huge wasted opportunity to build upon last year's success.
 
BOSTON COLLEGE BASKETBALL
 
Men's Team - The non-conference schedule for the men's team was released this week and I had to let my buddy Brian know that his team, Providence College, would be playing AT Boston College on December 5th. His response to me was that it was great news because he likes to go to Conte Forum and watch it resemble a game at the Dunkin Donuts Center (where PC plays their home games).
 
And while there wasn't a date given yet, the ACC home schedule for BC will include a visit from Louisville. Depending on when that game is supposed to take place, it might be a game I want to go see. 
 
Women's Team - The Twitter feed for the women's team has been pretty active during the offseason as they've been posting photos and tweets about the team working out in preparation for the season. They also had pics from the BC basketball camp as well.
 
Oh and you can check out an interview with Karima Gabriel HERE.  
 
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED
 
A couple weeks back I wrote a brief little rant about how badly the new website design/layout for SI.com was. Two weeks into the redesign, nothing has changed and Sports Illustrated has issued zero response to readers complaints. And now they've taken that deafening silence to a new and utterly cowardly low.
 
Their Facebook page had been inundated with people complaining about the new site. Post after post complained about things not working, being unable to easily navigate the site and calling for the return of the old site. And yet nothing was done or responded to by the company.
 
And now I discovered yesterday that the SI Facebook page has been redone so that users can't post anything on their own to the page. They can only respond to articles posted by the magazine. That little box that says "Write something"....GONE. As are the posts that had been there under the "Posts to Page".
 
I can't definitively say it was because of the ceasless complaints but the circumstantial proof is in the pudding, don't you think? Utter cowards is what they are, they can't stand to see that their new design for the site is akin to New Coke and so they ignore people who tell them so.
 
SPORTS LOGO CLOTHING
 
The local clothing outlet store is having their big yearly Pro Sports tent sale over these next two weekends. I made my trip yesterday and came home with 5 new T-shirts. And managed to represent all four MAJOR sports teams with my purchases.
 
I picked up logo shirts for the Bruins, Red Sox, and Celtics. I also grabbed a Tom Brady #12 and Vince Wilfork #75 Patriot T shirts as well. Not a bad haul for less than 35 bucks.
 
 
 
MISCELLANEOUS
 
Food - My buddy J.D. takes a taste of some summer seasonal beers and tells you his thoughts in this article
 
 
Movies - This week I watched the movie 300: Rise of an Empire. I was rather unimpressed by it. It felt like more of the same as the original 300 movie. It has the same "been there done that" feel as The Hobbit movies do in relation to the Lord of the Rings movies.
 
 
Oh, and if you haven't checked out the new Transformers movie yet, you can read the Pop-topia.com review of it HERE
 
 
TV - My recap of the next to last episode of 24: Live Another Day can be read HERE. The season finale is tomorrow night and it will need to cover a heck of a lot of ground.
 
 
At the beginning of the season, Kiefer Sutherland said that this would be his last go-round as Jack Bauer. But fans of the show got a tad bit excited when news broke that the show would be holding a panel at San Diego Comic Con on July 24th. That news led rise to the rumors that they'd announce they were doing another event series.
 
But I think the chances of another series being announced is 50-50 at best. Depending on what happens in the finale, the panel could simply be a wrap up and thank you to the fans.
 
On August 1st, Netflix will premiere the six episode final season of the crime series The Killing. The first three seasons aired on AMC. I'm bummed that I'll have to wait for this to come out on DVD to see it since I don't have or plan to get Netflix but going by the trailer for the season (which you can see below), this looks like it could be one hell of a conclusion to the series.
 
 
Books - I finished the Robert K. Tanenbaum legal thriller Tragic this week. While a lot of the books in the series feature out of the court room action, this book stayed focused mainly on criminal trials. It meant for less blood and bullets overall, but it was still a really good read. 
 
 
Music -  My KNAC.com review of the new Ronny Munroe solo album Electric Wake can be seen HERE. I posted the link on his Facebook page and the page for his record label. Both hit the like button and Munroe shared the link himself.
 
 
The video for the song "United" is below.
 
 
I also picked up the deluxe edition of the new Judas Priest album Redeemer of Souls this week. This particular version of the album comes with 5 bonus tracks so I spent the extra few bucks to pick it up. A review will be forthcoming.
 
 
I've got one final music note. Classic Rock Magazine gave away the debut album of a band in a recent issue. As near as I can tell, the CD hasn't been officially released in the U.S. yet. The self-titled CD from the Australia-based band The Dead Daisies turned out to be a heck of a straight ahead rock and roll record. I'm planning to do a review of it at some point but I really enjoyed it. I'm a bit bummed out because I found out the band was playing last night as the opening act on the Lynyrd Skynyrd/Bad Company tour that was in my area. I was trying to go but couldn't swing the finances. But you can check out the band via their video for the song "Lock and Load" below. Oh, and this particular track features a guest appearance by Slash.
 
Sports Friday with Hal: Around the Leagues
Category: FEATURED
Tags: Sports Baseball Football Basketball Hockey NHL NFL MLB NBA

Happy Friday!

 

Locally it is another week closer to another epic meltdown by the Boston Red Sox who have decided to copy the San Francisco Giants with their “win one year, crash the next” strategy. The Boston Bruins lost top line veteran sniper Jarome Iginla and are struggling to find a way to replace him. The Boston Celtics are jumping in on trades to...well, who the heck knows what they are doing? Football is two weeks away as in just two weeks training camps will open and it will be all football news all the time until January as the Patriots try to get back to the Super Bowl.

 

Nationally in the MLB, the Baltimore Orioles have taken over the American League East, Detroit looks strong in the Central, and the Texas Rangers inexplicably have crashed harder than the Red Sox as Anaheim and Oakland duke it out in the AL West. Over in the Senior Circuit Miami and the Mets won’t die in the National League East as Atlanta and Washington remain bunched up, the Central is bunched up as well with St. Louis charging (and losing Yadier Molina for 8 to 12 weeks...Ouch!) and Cincinnati and Pittsburgh close enough to strike behind Milwaukee, and finally in the West the Dodgers and Giants are deadlocked echoing an epic battle for the summer played out initially in baseball history in New York and after the 1960s out west.

 

Basketball is all about free agency in the NBA and waiting for the dominoes to fall. Dwyane Wade is likely returning to Miami but will LeBron James follow? Is Chris Bosh too insecure to take the big bucks in Houston and form a Big Three with Superman (Dwight Howard) and the Beard (James Harden)? Carmelo Anthony SHOULD go to Chicago, but is there enough cash and glamour for him? Would he interact with Kobe in L.A.? Come back to the Knicks? LeBron to Cleveland? Now that would cause the Internet to explode.

 

The big news in the NHL is that the Blackhawks locked up their two top players signing Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to matching $84 million deals. Both are young (25 and 26 years old) and dynamic players on a squad that has established themselves as the elite franchise in the NHL. Having these two locked up for another another eight years puts the franchise on a winning track for the future. The ‘Hawks have two Stanley Cup wins with the duo and Kane has won the Calder (2008) and Conn Smythe (2013) while Toews has won the Conn Smythe (2010) and Selke (2013). Now they are in Chicago together through 2022-23.  Wow. That is called winning an offseason!

 

Finally, the NFL is quiet with camps so close and the last weeks of time off for the players and coaches (and beat writers!). The NFL had the supplemental draft come and go without a team wasting a draft pick for the second consecutive year. The last pick? 2012 when Cleveland got Josh Gordon for a second round pick. Of course, Gordon is in the news for all the wrong reasons having already been reported to be facing a season-long suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. This time he was arrested and charged with a DWI last weekend.

 

Gordon is supposed to have a hearing for his suspension for the substance abuse test failure later this month to request a reduced suspension. With his suspension last year (two games and two games with no pay) and now a DWI and speeding ticket last month (with his passenger cited for possession of marijuana) the supremely talented player is doing himself no favors.

 

It seems the NFL Players Union has hurt their own players by negotiating all this time off in the offseason and limits on time working with teams. With more time off players have more time to get into trouble. Aaron Hernandez was the poster child for too much time away from the team last year, and now Gordon is finding more ways to sabotage his career. Some players seem to need the structure of team control all year long to keep themselves out of trouble, but the Players Union has decreed it is not in the best interest of their constituents to have them spend the offseason with the team getting better and putting out a better product and stuff like that. Sad.

 

Finally, from the NFL’s only publicly traded team--the Green Bay Packers--having to release revenue numbers comes news that all that money going to the NFL teams...oh, yeah, there is more than anyone imagined. NFL teams divided more than $6 billion last season. Revenue rose almost 5% from the year prior and just continuing to grow. The DirecTV deal is up and being negotiated...the NFL Network got another big chunk of cash for CBS to take over half of the Thursday Night lineup, and the money keeps rolling in. With no signs of slowing, the league continues to pile up the profits.

 

OK, that’s all for today. Have a great weekend!

 

Sunday Musings #153
Category: User Showcase
Tags: SportsIllustrated WNBA NBA CollegeBaseball BostonRedSox WarehamGatemen VanderbiltUniversityMensBaseball NewYorkLiberty

 

While gushing over the bevy of new music that was previewed online over the past week...

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED

This past week, Sports Illustrated's website got a redesign that reportedly was supposed to make it more compatible with smartphones and the like. Well I don't know if it accomplished that goal or not, but it did manage to make the site utterly unworkable on a PC that is for sure.

The redesign looks like someone with a technical background vomited on the screen. And things don't work. The site is massively slower, things don't work properly and you can't find things that were available with the previous version of the website. You know, the one that wasn't broken.

While I did read various news stories, my main focus on my multiple daily visits was to check out the daily columns offered by the site's bevy of writers. I've tried searching through the new site for that option but the only thing available is a list of writers. This would mean you'd have to click on each individual name in that list to see if they'd written something new on a particular day. Talk about unwieldy.

I checked out Sports Illustrated's Facebook page to see if anyone else had commented about the redesign and lo and behold, complaints about this epic fail of a redesign make up the majority of the posts to the page by users. And yet, thus far there hasn't been a single word from the powers that be to address the concerns of users who are promising to flock to other websites if things aren't fixed or reset back to the previous design of the website.

And I'm one of those people. This new design is atrocious and whomever approved it should be immediately fired. The only times I've been to the main site since they launched the new site is to check and see if they've gotten rid of it. Luckily, the subsite for TheMMQB.com is still workable and I have that saved as a separate bookmark. But I'll have to go to Yahoo! Sports and ESPN.com for sports news if something isn't done soon.

WNBA

The New York Liberty broke their losing streak early last week when they knocked off the Atlanta Dream 85-78. But they didn't build off that win when they ended up losing on Friday night to the Chicago Sky 73-69.

The loss to the Sky has to be particularly galling when you consider the Sky were without the services of their star player (and one of the faces of the WNBA) Elena Delle Donne. She's out indefinitely to deal with the effects of Lyme Disease. It isn't like she's the whole team, as proven by Epiphanny Prince scoring 30 points. But the news was only announced on Friday so you might've thought the team would've been affected. Kudos to them for not allowing it to affect their play though.

As for the Liberty they are now 4-11 on the season.

As for the WNBA's Pride program, things don't seem to be going along as smoothly as the league could've hoped for. One report had the league trying to make all the players wear Pride shooting shirts in warmups. When players objected to being forced to wear them, the league relented and made them optional. And a big game on ESPN that was touted as having a big Pride aspect to it, turned out to have about as minimal a presence on the broadcast as possible without ignoring it altogether.

Jayda Evans of the Seattle Times (she covers the Seattle Storm) had a piece this week that took the league/ESPN to task for the perceived failures in this official outreach to the LGBT portion of the league's fanbase that you can read HERE.

While some on the Rebkell women's basketball message board took issue with what she wrote, I thought it was a compelling piece even if you don't agree with everything she had to say.

NBA

I woke up this morning to find the news that Jason Kidd had once again provided proof that he's a gigantic pantload of a scumbag loser. You can read why I say that HERE.

BOSTON RED SOX

Boston Herald beat writer John Tomase wrote an article this past Wednesday that called on Red Sox GM Ben Cherington to make changes to the team now. He said that they've had half a season to show they can compete and haven't done the job, then goes on to list the failures of certain players and what might be done to replace them.

I'm sure the article won't make him any friends (not that is his job anyway) in the team's locker room, but the article pretty much sums up everything that has unfortunately gone wrong with the team this year. You can check out the full article here.

COLLEGE BASEBALL

A big congratulations goes out to the Vanderbilt University baseball team who beat out Virginia to win the College World Series.

In college summer ball, the Cape Cod Baseball league team in my town is the Wareham Gatemen. They are off to another bad start this season. After losing to the Orleans Firebirds 7-3 last night they are 4-11 on the season.

BOSTON CELTICS

The NBA Draft saw the Celtics take Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart with the 6th pick and James Young from Kentucky with the 17th pick. And maybe it is the pessimist in me, but I don't see how these two guys are going to help improve the Celtics from 25-57.

This is in light of the fact that the selection of both players gave rise to the notion that both Rajon Rondo and/or Avery Bradley wouldn't return next season. By no means is that a guarantee but since there was no player in this year's draft that was seen as an heir apparent to the throne of Jordan or James, how can anyone expect more than what we saw last year with the additions of Smart (pictured below 1st) and Young (pictured 2nd)?

Look, I'm not saying they can't be good additions to the team, but nothing I've read says they are going to markedly change the fortunes of the Celtics either. I don't think ready to play necessarily means effectively play.

In other draft news, the NBA did something that was PR smart and just a nice humanitarian type gesture. Baylor's Isaiah Austin was expected to be drafted this year after a pretty darn good career in college. But his NBA dreams crashed and died when he was diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome. It is a genetic disease that affects the body's connective tissue. It meant that his basketball playing days were over.

But Adam Silver made a point to recognize Austin and gave him his draft moment. You can see it below.

MISCELLANEOUS

Hilarious Video of the Week - Check out this video called "First Moon Party". It is disturbingly funny.

Books - A bit of twist this week as I bought and then finished reading a book in the same day. The book in question was Takedown Twenty.  It is the latest Stephanie Plum adventure by Janet Evanovich. The light-hearted series is always entertaining as Stephanie bungles her way through her job as a bounty hunter in Trenton, New Jersey.

Also, it was announced the author Kyle Mills has been selected to take over the Mitch Rapp series that was written by author Vince Flynn. Flynn passed away from cancer before finishing the book he was currently working on called The Survivor. Mills will then write two more books featuring Rapp.

It is always hard to accept a new author writing someone else's character/characters. I'm still not completely sold on the notion of Robert B. Parker's Spenser character being written by Ace Atkins despite having read the novels. Something will always feel JUST a little bit off.

But I've read some of the books that Mills has written in the past, particularly his series on FBI agent Mark Beamon, and he's a damn fine writer. So I'll definitely be looking to check out how he handles the writing duties with Mitch Rapp.

Comics - The Wizard World Philadelphia convention was held last weekend and the Pop-topia.com website covered it. You can check out the site proper for a variety of articles, but I thought I'd link the "final thoughts" article by my buddy J.D. HERE.

TV -  Well, I just destroyed some brain cells last night. I watched the pilot episode of that Girl Meets World show spun off from the old ABC sitcom Boy Meets World. And I have to say that any parent letting their kid watch this absolute piece of garbage show should be brought up on child endangerment charges.

It is so soul-sucking bad, I don't know how even what passes for the low standards of an idiotic network like the Disney Channel were met.

The goodwill engendered by Boy Meets World being a fondly remembered piece of nostalgia (aired 21 years ago) is annihilated by about as poorly conceived a concept with bad acting and writing as I've ever seen. Good Gawd! Homeboys in Outer Space was better than this.

Everyone involved with this show should issue a public apology and resign from public life forever.

 

I'm happy to say that my copy of the Shout! Factory DVD release of NYPD Blue Season 6 arrived in the mail yesterday and I'm in the midst of a binge watch this weekend. The show is one of my favorites of all time and I'm certainly glad that Shout! Factory is getting around to releasing the seasons on DVD. The original DVD release of the show stalled after four seasons but the company picked up the ball and have release the next two season with plans for season 7 to be out at the end of September.

And for my recap of the kick ass 9th episode of 24: Live Another Day, you can click here: http://www.pop-topia.com/24-live-another-day-episode-9-recap/

Music - It was a big week in music for those of us who like to get previews of upcoming new releases. There were four bits of music that caught my ear this week and you can check them out below.

The first was an audio clip of the new Overkill song "Armorist". It is from their July 22nd release White Devil Armory. Unfortunately for me, I didn't really care much for this song.

Next up is the Robert Plant track "Rainbow" from his September 9th CD Lullaby and...the Ceaseless Roar.

Kix is one of the 80's metal bands that really struck a chord with listeners for their infectious upbeat music and spirited double entendres. The band has reunited for a few years to do concerts, but until now there hadn't been any new music. But August 5th will see the release of Rock Your Face Off. You can hear "Love Me With Your Top Down" below.

And probably the most anticipated album for me this summer is Accept's Blind Rage, due out August 15th. The band released the official video for the song "Stampede" and it is epically awesome.

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