Hello and welcome to another Wednesday of deep thoughts. I hope this hump day finds you in a good place. Hot and humid as hell is how I would describe things in Austin…but it is June. Is it possible that we are almost half way through 2014? The older I get, the more amazed I am at how fast time flies. This week was the very sad news that Tony Gwynn had died. Many have written about the greatness of Tony Gwynn the baseball player and Tony Gwynn the man. Gwynn’s passing especially hits home with me because Tony and I were about the same age. Like Tony, I also used smokeless tobacco for many years. To be honest, stopping was the most difficult thing that I have ever done. In comparison, not drinking was a walk in the park…and that is saying something. Baseball has a history with smokeless tobacco and it is firmly engrained in the culture of baseball. Tony Gwynn tried to educate others about the dangers of using “chew” or “dip”, but major league players simply do not want to hear the message. Laws have been passed to prevent minors from being allowed to purchase or possess tobacco. The NCAA and minor leagues have banned smokeless tobacco from their clubhouse, but the players union will not budge from their stance of protecting the player’s right to use smokeless tobacco. The thought is that players are men capable of taking responsibility for their own actions. While this is a valid point, the truth is these players have millions of young eyes upon them. It is natural for kids to emulate what they see the “big leaguers” do. The death of Tony Gwynn while tragic may be the impetus needed to make needed changes in MLB. We can only hope…
In 1999 the All Star game was held at Fenway Park. Although it has been 15 years since that All Star game, I can see that game like it was yesterday. The All- Century team was announced before the game with Ted Williams riding around in a golf cart, tipping his hat to the cheering home town Sox fans. This was a riveting event for me. Williams threw out the first pitch (with assistance from Tony Gwynn), and then was surrounded by players wanting a hand shake and a quick conversation. I listened to an interview with Tony Gwynn later how the players would have been happy to have skipped the game and just talked hitting with Ted Williams. I laughed when I heard that because that is exactly what I thought at the time. Over the past 10 years, I have spent much time talking and reading about the art of hitting. In Mike Epstein’s book, he frequently mentioned Ted Williams and his friendship with Tony Gwynn. “Baseball history is made on the inside part of the plate” is a phrase often mentioned to Gwynn. Gwynn would say later that if he had met Williams earlier in his life that he would have hit many more home runs. It is tragic that Gwynn is gone and to be honest, I am angry. I think of all of those young players that will never get to learn from Tony. I think of never hearing that signature laugh, and I am angry. Gone at 54, what a shame…
I know this is long, but check out the pre-game...it is a classic.
Baseball is a unique sport. You don’t have to be the biggest, fastest or strongest to play the game well. Tony Gwynn planned to be an NBA point guard. He did not even play baseball at San Diego State until he was a sophomore and a teammate had to talk the coach into giving Gwynn a tryout. Baseball was not his first love, but a game that he figured out over time. In listening to stories about Gwynn, I was especially interested to hear him talking about attending the Padres instructional camp. He said he quickly realized that he was a bad base runner and was a defensive liability (his words). Rod Carew addressed the group and talked about how he was there to teach them and if they worked hard, he could make them better players. Gwynn said he took Carew’s words to heart and went to work. Gwynn said he was most proud of the improvement that he made as a defensive player. Hearing a player with more than 3000 hits and is in the HOF say this made me smile. There really is no other sport that a player can work himself into being an all-star. Tony Gwynn was a great player and a better man. He understood his role and reveled in the team success. He was unique in that he was one of the first players that began to use video to help hone his swing. I don't mean that he used video to watch his swings during practice, but rather he had his wife video his at bats during the games and would go watch the previous swings during the game. Baseball will remember Tony Gwynn for his ability to hit a baseball whereever he wanted. He used his bat more like a magic wand than anyone else. His skill was evident for all who watched him swing that magic bat. In some respects, he was to hitting what Greg Maddux was to pitching...an expert. Some will believe that this skill was God given...which is only partially true. Hours of hard work and study allowed Gwynn to achieve the skills of a hall of fame player. What I would not have given for an hour or so to talk to talk hitting with Tony...now I will never have the chance. RIP Mr. Gwynn...
I happened to read a piece this week about Pete Rose. Here is an excerpt from the article:
Rose heads up to Cooperstown for every Hall of Fame induction weekend to sign autographs and has seen the attendance decline as baseball's performance-enhancing drug era has kept those with the most promising stats out of the building. He hopes even that could provide him with a chance to get in.
"It doesn't look like guys like [Barry] Bonds and [Roger] Clemens are ever going to make it in," said Rose. "That can't be good for the business of the Hall of Fame."
It is doubtful if Pete Rose will ever make it to the HOF. But his words struck a chord with me. It occurs to me that as we move past the steroid era, that there will be a void of the generation’s best players in the Cooperstown. This reminded me of a conversation years ago with my dad. The band that he played in had played for many years for this particular club. This was a somewhat exclusive group that was aging rapidly. He told me that they became so selective that they caused their numbers to decline to the point where they eventually ceased to exist. Could this be something that happens to the HOF? Of course there have been players like Shoeless Joe and Rose that have been banned…but nothing like the numbers that are currently being shunned. I was stunned to see that Craig Biggio did not have the votes needed to be inducted. I understand Bonds and McGwire…but Biggio? Without the best players making the HOF, why go? Yeah, I know...Ruth, Cobb and others were all time greats, but they are not real to today's fans. Without a connection, it is not the same.
Congratulations to the San Antonio Spurs. I found it extremely interesting at the large number of fans that were rooting for the Spurs to take down the Heat. It was truly a tremendous exhibition of team basketball on the part of the Spurs. Scott Jax had a very interesting comment on BOB’s blog on Tuesday regarding how old the Heat looked…and he is exactly right. We all have our opinions about LeBron James, but to me it looked like James was the only part of the Heat trio that had the heart to battle. I know Dwayne Wade is recovering from injury, but so was Tony Parker. I thought that Wade was a shell of the player we watched last year…he looked old. Do you know how old Wade is? 32…I was shocked. I really thought he was at least 37. I hear the “experts” talking about Melo joining the Heat. I sort of laughed at this and wondered why would he do that? The Heat doesn’t have the money to pay him and keep the trio together. I really believe that James is headed out of Miami. Hopefully, he learned how not to announce where he plans to sign. Oh, but I am just guessing that ESPN will be hanging all over that bit of news. To be honest, I really don’t care. I do wonder about Tim Duncan. Think he will try to add a ring for his other hand? One thing that I know for certain, the future of the Spurs is Kawahi Leonard. I found it rather funny, but Leonard reminds me of a former Bulls player. He is a bit thicker than MJ, but watching this series made me think that at least defensively Leonard vs LeBron was very similar to what MJ vs LeBron would have been.
I was able to share Father’s day with my mom and dad. Each visit with my folks, I am reminded how lucky I am to have both of them. It is funny how much I enjoy just talking to them. When I was younger, I was always eager to head out to do something…not now. My dad and I share the opinion that our government would be much stronger if we had term limits. After talking about this, my dad reminded me that in spite of our problems that we still live in the best country in the world. I agreed with him and we moved onto other topics…but it got me to thinking. I often hear this statement…and now I am beginning to wonder if this is the right thing to believe? Of course I am proud of being an American, but is it a cop out to say, well we are still better than everyone else? As I think about how my wife and I have challenged our kids with regard to behavior and academics…we don’t compare their behavior to everyone else. I struck me that we should take this approach with who we are as a country. Just because we are better than others, does not mean that we are as good as we could be. BOB had a great blog about how change is brewing across our country. People are tired of the status quo and are ready for a change. The Democrats and Republicans should pay close attention as they could wake up one day to find that they have company. I refuse to believe that a majority of US citizens think it is okay to underachieve. Our country was built on hard work. Integrity and truth should matter and it is not unreasonable to expect this from our politicians. There is something brewing and the next couple of years should be very interesting. The United States should try to be the best we can be, regardless of how we compare to others.
I must also take a moment to say goodbye to Chuck Noll. I will be honest, as a Cowboy fan, I was not a fan of Knoll. Looking back, it is impossible to ignore what this man did as head coach of the Steelers. Noll was a great coach and a great man. RIP Coach…
I must also acknowledge Rick Reilly. I know that many have issues with Reilly, but I generally have enjoyed his writing. Reilly announced this week that he was retiring from writing. Here is the link to his last piece on ESPN. This is worth a few minutes of your time to read….
It got late last night when I was writing this blog, but I wanted to do more than just share the link for those that will not read the Reilly column. Here are words form his column that grabbed me:
'Never let anyone tell you sports doesn't matter. Never let them tell you it's all about the wins, the losses and the stats. Sports is so much more than that. It's your grandfather and you and the way a Sunday Bears game bonds you like Super Glue. It's what you ask of yourself to break four hours in the marathon. It's the way your softball buddies can still laugh about you hitting the ump instead of the cutoff man 30 years later.'
What Reilly writes about here is something that I truly believe and guess that all of us at the Gab believes as well. My love for baseball was begun by my grandfather and it is a bond that will forever be. Some think that the US has an unhealthy obsession with sports, but I would say that it is sports that define at least partially who we are as a country. Do yourself a favor and read the last column that Reilly wrote. Pretty special words for me...
That’s all I have today, but I will leave you with a bit of Jack Handey…
"Too bad you can't buy a voodoo globe so that you could make the earth spin real fast and freak everybody out."
"If you're a young Mafia gangster out on your first date, I bet it's real embarrassing if someone tries to kill you. "
Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a few deep thoughts of your own…
TV viewer turns in Pro Golfer, The man with the Golden Voice, ESPN your house for deviants, can you top this?? It’s all here, and more, in this Edition of Rants and Raves
Is ESPN a cesspool of deviants?? Former ESPN analyst Steve Philips messing around with a 22 yr old assistant, Erin Edwards bathroom scandal, Jeremy Greene (son of former football coach Dennis Green) child porn and drugs, now comes two other scandals:
The first one concerns Will Selva who was suspended for taking portions of a newspaper column and using them as his own. He took the information from Kevin Ding of Southern California’s Orange Country Register.
The other scandal, had Ron Franklin removed from the Fiesta Bowl after he called Jeannine Edwards, an ESPN sideline reporter, “sweet baby” and “asshole” during an off-air spat.
This is why the Oakland Raiders are one messed up team. First they fire their head coach, Tom Cable, then they void the contract of the best defensive back Nnamdi Asomugha.
It be one thing if the Raiders were going in the wrong direction. But it sure looked like things were turning around under Cable, when, BAM, the Raiders decided not to exercise a two-year, $5 million option for 2011 and 2012. This after Oakland finally made it to 8-8, their first non-losing record since 2002.
In another stupid move, Nnamdi Asomugha’s contract was voided. He is now allowed to be a free agent. This, after Oakland said the star Pro Bowl cornerback did not meet his incentives. Wow, how can he achieve his incentives when quarterbacks won’t throw to receivers he is covering. There were only 33 pass attempts his way with 13 completions for 205 yards and no touchdowns. Stupid!!!
This is the reason its not cool to be a Raider Fan.
Ted Williams, a homeless man who was a former radio announcer, has been offered a job by the Cleveland Cavaliers and has received a ton of other offers. He was found after a video on the Columbus Dispatch website was seen by millions of viewers. In the clip, Williams stands near a Columbus highway ramp demonstrating his smooth, deep speaking voice. He holds a sign that asks motorists for help and says, "I'm an ex-radio announcer who has fallen on hard times." The Cavaliers have offered him a two-year announcing work contract, that would pay for his living expenses.
Its got to be tough when a TV viewer calls in a rules violation against a professional Golfer. It happened during the Tournament of Champions at Kapalua, and the golfer is Camilo Villegas. Villegas twice was chipping up the slope to the 15th green when the ball rolled back toward him. With the ball rolling back the second time, Camilo swatted away some pieces of grass in front of the divot as the ball was still moving. Rule 23-1 says “When a ball is in motion, a loose impediment that might influence the movement of the ball must not be removed." The penalty is two shots. To top it all off it was Camilo Villegas’ 29th birthday. What a birthday!!
Congratulations go out to the Auburn Tigers for finishing the season #1. For those keeping count, that’s five straight years for the SEC.
Last week I posted a drill team clip. Today I would like to use a Navy term of the week.
Have you ever used the words Hunky Dory?? Well it’s a slang term meaning everything is okay and was coined from a street named Honkidori in Yokohama. It is said that a sailor could find anything he wanted on the street. So the name became synonymous for anything that is enjoyable or satisfactory.
Pictures by: ESPN Logo - washburnim.files.wordpress.com, Auburn Tigers Logo - Tigerrags.com, Will Selva - cache.blippitt.com, Ron Franklin - cosida.com, Jeannine Edwards - myviewsandreviews.com, homeless man ted Williams - assets.nydailynews.com, Camilo Villegas - i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia, Tom Cable - mediaoutrage.files.wordpress.com, Nnamdi Asomugha - justblogbaby.com, Oakland Raiders Loser Logo - timsonlinebetting.com ;;;;;;;oooo
I haven't been around as much as I like...Getting use to the new life has been tough...The baby has cut into my sleep, and my me time...Me time is filled normally with blogging, searching shit out...Porn...And whatever else I can find online...
I plan on this being a weekly thing, just like Monday Moaning, and the Hump Day Hits...The Hits which I didn't post this week...The Friday Finger Pop will include a quick rundown of some things that happened this week, and then we'll end with a couple of nice asses that I'd like to finger pop!
So, Jim Harbaugh is signing a 5 year, $25 million deal with the 49ers...Just as Andrew Luck decided to stay at Stanford to get his degree and play another year of college ball...Sorry Michigan, I guess this "Michigan Man" doesn't want that shit job!
Tyrelle Pryor is going to have surgery on an injured foot ligament...He sustained the injury late in the game Tuesday night...Speaking of that game...I was pissed that Arkansas lost, but at least they came back and made it a good game...Damn there were points when Ohio State looked like they were trying to give them the game...
Oh, and Arkansas QB Ryan Mallet is skipping his senior season and going into the NFL draft...Along with Alabama's RB Mark Ingram and WR Julio Jones...I'm sure those key loses won't slow the SEC down from beating up on Big-Ten teams next year...Don't get all crazy Ohio State fan...You only won 1 out of 10!
Oh, and bad news for my Fighting Irish...TE Kyle Rudolph is heading to the NFL as well...
Now onto Ted Williams...No, sadly I'm not talking about the great baseball player...I'm talking about this, junkie, bum, who has the Cleveland Cavaliers and Kraft, and all kinds of people throwing money at him, because he has a great voice...I saw him on the Today show...He listed his kids names...For Christ's sake he has more then Antonio Croamartie! And why would you throw tons of money at a crackhead...It's gonna go to his head, and he's gonna lose it, and then he's gonna smoke it all away! So he's got a great voice...If the dead Ted Williams sounded that good, then I'd be impressed!
Yeah, I know, I'm hating on a bum...I hope he doesn't blow it, but I have little faith in people...
Now, let's look at some asses, I'd like to finger pop!