Tagged with "basketball"
Sunday Musings #157
Category: User Showcase
Tags: NBA BostonCeltics LosAngelesClippers WNBA NewYorkLiberty WomensCollegeBasketball NFL DenverBroncos TonyDungy TennesseeLadyVols

 

 

While still kind of mystified and pleased over a recent development in my life...

BOSTON CELTICS

The Celtics signed Evan Turner this week bring the total number of players on the roster to 18. Even worse is the fact that Turner comes to a team that is already loaded with players of the same general skill level in both the shooting guard and small forward positions he usually plays.

Something has to break soon with GM Danny Ainge's plans to improve the team because right now, there is just too many good but not great players on the team. The plan to rebuild the team through trading players and/or draft picks to land a big time player to compliment Rajon Rondo looks to be going by the wayside. There has been no movement towards landing Kevin Love from Minnesota (with Cleveland and Chicago leading that chase) and after that, there really isn't a true franchise changing player left on the market.

It is going to take something drastic for the Celtics to improve on 25-57 this coming season if they end up with essentially the same roster they had last year. 

In other NBA news, the trial for control of the right to sell the LA Clippers took an interesting turn when the team's CEO testified that coach Doc Rivers would likely quit as coach if Donald Sterling is in charge when the next season begins. You can check that article out HERE.

If Doc Rivers quits or Chris Paul and other players refuse to play for the team because of their racist owner, this would make a rather interesting NBA season would it not? The refusal to play or coach for this particular reason would have to be something never before seen on a professional sports level, no?

And since the players are under a legally binding contract, does it open them up for lawsuits from the team for violating the contract. Now that would be an interesting Catch-22 for the league to find itself in the position of having to take sides in.

WNBA

The New York Liberty got back to work after the All-Star break and handed the L.A. Sparks a 66-64 loss.

The team ventured to Seattle the next night and came away with an 84-80 overtime victory. The two wins improve them to 10-13 on the season.



By the way, you can check out an article on New York's Tina Charles HERE.

As for the Sparks, they fired coach Carol Ross (and assistant Gail Goestenkors resigned) and replaced her with the team's GM Penny Toler. This is an interesting move because Toler has never coached before. I mean if they were looking for a coach, I have 25 years of youth league coaching experience, that has to count for something more that ZERO EXPERIENCE at coaching of any kind.

It has been going on for a few years now, but this trend of hiring people with no actual coaching experience is a bit disturbing to me. Maybe it is because I was a coach (though with the way people keep asking me if I'm going back or suggesting coaching jobs that might become available, you'd think I was still an active coach) but every time I see someone with no coaching experience getting hired to run a team, I cringe a little and get a little bit of outrage worked up over what I see as a devaluation of the coaching profession.

Look, I know that I'm not in the same league as professional coaches, but I still believe that someone who has made coaching their vocation is a far better option than picking a neophyte like say, Jason Kidd, off the just retired as a player list and handing him the keys to the kingdom of coaching.

You can argue that a new coach can simply hire an experienced staff or that some newbie coaches have turned out to be really good at their jobs. The latter is certainly true but exceptions don't prove the rule. As for the former, if you expect a new coach to hire an experienced staff to help guide him as he or she learns on the job, why don't you just hire the experience in the first place. I'm sure players don't really care about who coaches them, but if I was a player I would want someone that I believe knows what the hell they are doing and not being more of a figurehead while the ones with actual coaching acumen do all the work.

WOMEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Tennessee - Ariel Massengale missed the last 16 games of the season last year after suffering a head injury. She's on the comeback trail now and you can read about it HERE.


UCLA - Guard Lauren Holiday announced the end of her playing career this past week due to head injuries. According to this ARTICLE, she suffered 4 head injuries during her freshman season and then 3 more head injuries (and a broken nose) during her sophomore season. She's going to remain on scholarship as an undergraduate assistant while pursuing her degree.

Boston College - The Eagles have signed guard Martina Mosetti, a 5 foot 9 inch guard out of Trieste, Italy. You can check out what they had to say about her addition to the team HERE.

NFL

Denver Broncos - My sympathies go out to the Broncos this week after the organization was hit by the body blow of owner Pat Bowlen stepping away from the team due to Alzheimer's Disease. You don't have to be a fan of the team to feel for them. Bowlen has been a great owner and representative of the NFL since taking over as owner 30 years ago.

The press release announcing the move was a bit badly worded in my opinion though. It said he was stepping away to focus on his battle with Alzheimer's Disease. This seems a big disingenuous to me given that it is hardly a battle when you've already lost the war when diagnosed with the disease in the first place. You don't get better, it is a despicably terminal disease and I just thought the way the wording of the statement tried to make it sound like he was actually going to win the battle.

Tony Dungy - The former coach found himself in hot water this week after making comments about Michael Sam. Dungy said he wouldn't have drafted Sam because of all the distraction that Sam being gay would bring to the team.

Now, given Dungy's religious avocation and all the discriminatory things his faith would allow him to feel comfortable getting away with, the comments blew up into a scandal (fueled by ESPN of course).

But as much as I hate being in the position of having to defend anyone of faith, what Dungy said really didn't strike me as coming from a position of Dungy expressing his religious faith. Rather, I thought he was expressing a football coach outlook on the situation.

While Dungy has always been portrayed as a cool, calm and collected opposite of the stereotype of a mad scientist football coach, you don't get to the top of the NFL without a little bit of that 100% focus that comes with being a detail oriented madman.

And that's what I think this is. Yes, making the comments is a bit stupid given the state of the world these days, but last I checked wasn't Dungy answering a question put to him? Asked and answered, no?

And what is so strange about a coach not wanting to deal with someone or something that could serve as a sideshow to the business of putting together a football team to try and compete for the championship.

Jeff Fisher deserves kudos for being willing to at least attempt to take this on. Let's remember that Michael Sam hasn't actually made the Rams yet, shall we? But just because Fisher accepts the challenge of having every question (Did your defense screw up that goal line stand because Michael Sam is on the team?) devolving into a referendum on Sam being gay, doesn't mean every coach would be as willing or open minded. But it doesn't always mean that they are doing it as a form of discrimination.

Of course, Dungy backtracked his statement the next day and the tempest in a teapot died down but now he's been tarred and feathered in the media for expressing his opinion and there is no walking that back.

I hope Michael Sam makes the Rams, I really do. Not because he's a gay football player but rather because the football player making the NFL is the culmination of a path started in pee wee football and that is something anyone should aspire to and others admire their dedication in pursuit of that goal. Sam has repeatedly said he just wants to be a football player. I think it is time every outside party start covering the story that way.

MISCELLANEOUS

Books - I finished reading the Michael Connelly book The Gods of Guilt. It is the latest in his Lincoln Lawyer series. It was a decent enough read but it took darn near forever for me to really get into the book. Not a whole lot of fireworks.

TV - MTV announced that they will air a series based on the Terry Brooks Sword of Shannara book series. The show will be called Shannara. I was actually kind of excited about this at first, I'm a long time fan of the start of the series (the first trilogy) and a few of the succeeding follow up series.

But when I read the news article saying they plan to skip the first book in the trilogy and start with Book 2 ( The Elfstones of Shannara), my BS alarm started ringing. I'm not going to get down on a series before seeing it, but this does have me feeling a bit cautious now.

I know MTV's target audience is teenagers with little understanding of depth of content but I do not want to see an adaptation of a series I loved turn into little more than a show about horny teenagers with no brains running around with swords. MTV needs to insure that if not exactly the tone of Game of Thrones, that the Shannara series at least aspire to reaching for great dramatic heights and not wallow in the muck and mire of most of their "original content." You can read more about the series HERE.

Sunday October 12th is the premiere date for the fifth season of The Walking Dead. And at the San Diego Comic-Con on Friday, they unveiled the 3 1/2 minute trailer for the season. It is freaking intensely awesome! You can see it below.


Music - My review of the new Judas Priest album Redeemer of Souls is now available HERE.



Meanwhile, there was a couple of new videos online this week that I thought you might want to check out. The first one is for the Overkill song "Bitter Pill". This is the second video from their new album White Devil Armory (which I received the deluxe edition of in the mail yesterday). I found it much better than the first song released, "The Armorist".



The second video is from blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa. It is the title track from his new album Different Shades of Blue (due out September 23rd) and quite honestly this is an amazing song. It was so good that I immediately put the album on my to buy list. I like the song so much I'm already considering adding it as a candidate for my song of the year.

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.

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 #151
Category: User Showcase
Tags: LosAngelesKings NewYorkLiberty Olympics NFL NBA YouthSports WarehamGatemen CollegeBasketball Cheerleading

 

 

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

NHL

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.

WNBA

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.

OLYMPICS

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.

NFL

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.

First up was a piece on the 49ers GM Trent Baalke: http://mmqb.si.com/2014/06/10/nfl-san-francisco-49ers-general-manager-trent-baalke/

The other article was an interview with former Chicago Bears tackle Keith Van Horne about joining a lawsuit against the NFL. You can check that out here: http://mmqb.si.com/2014/06/10/nfl-painkiller-lawsuit-keith-van-horne-chicago-bears/

NBA

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.

YOUTH SPORTS

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

WAREHAM GATEMEN

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.

BOSTON COLLEGE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

With the team blowing up their Twitter page covering the offseason work being put in, you can follow each step of getting ready for next season with the Eagles. Meanwhile, you can learn more about Kat Cooper in the following interview: http://www.bceagles.com/sports/w-baskbl/spec-rel/061114aad.html

MISCELLANEOUS SPORTS ARTICLES

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/

CHEERLEADING

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.

Here's an article about the story: https://news.yahoo.com/ama-says-cheerleading-designated-sport-205226789.html

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"?

MISCELLANEOUS

TV - My latest recap for 24: Live Another Day is now up on Pop-topia.com here: http://www.pop-topia.com/24-live-another-day-episode-7-recap/

Food - My buddy J.D. takes a look at the Great Chefs event held this week in Philadelphia: http://www.pop-topia.com/look-inside-sold-2014-great-chefs-event/

Movies - Are you having trouble deciding if you want to go see the new Tom Cruise movie Edge of Tomorrow in theaters? Maybe my buddy Kayode's review will help you make up your mind: http://www.pop-topia.com/edge-of-tomorrow-review/

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!

 

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