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Saturday Coffee With The Hoov--February 28, 2015
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: #NASCAR #kurtbusch #racingsuspensions #hoovblog #indycar #formulaone #NHRA

Calling Kurt Busch--Your Fifteen Minutes Are Up

My background in racing is pretty well documented. I held an SCCA national competition license back inthe late 90's and did some Skip Barber and class racing--though I was no great shakes by a long shot.  Because of my engineer Dad, I was also a hard core fan since as far back as I can remember.  I met Mel Kenyon and AJ Foyt when I was five and Bruce McClaren when I was eight.  I was a huge Can-Am and Formula One fan before the age of ten. As a kid my bedroom walls were plastered with magazine pictures and my shelves were filled with models of all of the great drag racers and cars of the time:  the Blue Maxx, Mickey Thompson's Mach 1, The Ramchargers, and Larry Reyes in The Hawaiian.  My first Schumacher was Don, not Michael.  And although my first love was open wheel racing, back when it was “real racin’” I was a huge NASCAR and King Richard fan.

 

My bigger claim to fame was serving as the fueler on Robby McGehee’s Energizer Motorsports team during the 1999 Indycar season (that's me below, with the big yellow hose, during a live stop in the Indianapolis 500).  Robby was the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year for 1999, but our team is probably more notable for being the reason pit crews wear helmets today.  Our crew chief, Steve Fried was nearly killed in an early race pit accident in the ’99 500 because two cars collided and came into our pit box, knocking Steve down from his right front tire position and splitting his head open in the process.  Steve was actually dead by medical standards; but because it was race day in Indy they kept working on him far beyond the normal timing—and medical standards and practices were subsequently rewritten and protocols questioned because of Steve’s survival. (He actually chiefed a car in the 500 a year or two later)   The next weekend virtually every pit crew in every form of racing was wearing protective headgear on pit lane.

When it comes to NASCAR, today I’m decidedly a non-fan.  In point of fact I refer to it as “WWF on Wheels”—it’s far past the “run what you brung” phase and has become manufactured handicap racing.  I don’t like that.  But credit where it’s due, they’ve been marketing champs while open wheel racing was squabbling amongst themselves, and in addition to that they’ve produced the only true brand of racing Americans really love: high speed ovals.

 

So all of that said, it’s odd that I find myself weighing in on the Kurt Busch debacle and his suspension because of the alleged “domestic violence” incident with his (by all counts crazy) girlfriend Patricia Driscoll. I don’t like NASCAR, I don’t like him; why would I care?  And the answer is, as with many things that wind me up, it’s the principles at stake and the misconception of many to what is really happening.

 

First off, I won’t go into the incident—you can google that elsewhere—except to say that a Kent County, Delaware Commissioner ruled in favor of Driscoll’s request for a protective order following an incident last September.  There are claims that Driscoll is some kind of black ops spy who’s trying to set Busch up; and the ruling found that Busch had “committed an act of domestic violence against Driscoll by manually strangling her by placing his left hand on her throat, while placing his right hand on her chin and face and smashing her head into the wall of his motor home, thereby recklessly placing (Driscoll) in reasonable fear of physical injury."  Following this ruling, NASCAR suspended Busch indefinitely from it's top series.

Fast forward to the indignation of the few fans Kurt has left: "He hasn’t been charged!"  "Nothing has been proven!" "Innocent until proven guilty!" ad nauseum.  NASCAR has no right!!!

 

Well, let’s start there.  Yes they do.  This is not a court of law, your favorite Tuesday night crime drama, or even Judge Judy.  This is American sport as entertainment, in which virtually every participant signs a contract or agreement that includes some kind of morality language; the upshot of which is that if you do anything that in their judgment impairs the marketability or reputation of their private enterprise they may prohibit your participation.  Think along the lines of the rules the various pro league owners live and play by, or Hollywood in fact. It’s a private club so they can create their own rules. 

It’s like the outcry that use to pop up every few years over Augusta and the Masters: you might not have liked the fact that they didn’t admit women, but they were a private club who could invite whomever they wanted.  It was also their tournament, so if you don’t want to broadcast it that’s fine.  In Hollywood maybe you did something stupid (Charlie Sheen); they absolutely have the right to not pick you to be in their next movie or to renew your contract.  And NASCAR has that right too if you’re an idiot deemed outside of their estimation of good taste.  And heaven knows Kurt Busch gave them plenty of material.  More on that in a minute.

 

So put that to rest.  Moot point.

 

Now beyond that, we’re not really talking about a choir boy here: Kurt Busch has a rap sheet a mile long, both on track (purposely wrecking opponents both on the track and in the pits, paddock fights) and off (drunken driving offenses, assault incidents) that goes at least a decade back.  Yes, he won a Cup Championship; and was subsequently fired by the guy he drove for, Roger Penske.  Ask around racing circles and find out how hard that is to achieve.  He’s a Cup Champion who in the prime of his career has driven for four different teams, not always those in the mix of competitiveness. For crying out loud, he got into a fight with his brother Kyle--by all accounts one of the few human beings on the planet who can even stand to be around him--and didn’t speak to him for six months.

So you think NASCAR was wrong?  You’re offended that this action has been taken?  I’m offended that it’s taken this long.  He is an arrogant idiot, a jackass who believes his talent—mediocre as it is made by his tantrums and ego—allows him to operate beyond the confines of rules and standards that apply to everyone else.  He’s verbally punched out reporters (no pun intended Dr. Jerry Punch) with profanity laced tirades, sworn at fans, been a sexist jerk, and just generally exhibited the kind of boorish behavior that our society doesn’t tolerate well in most cases, let alone where you’re being paid a gazillion dollars to do what most of us would gladly do for free.

So yeah, I don’t expect a Supreme Court reversal.  A) it’s none of their business, B) it’s not a legal issue, and C) they probably think he’s a jerk too.

 

America, our growing mindset of entitlement and “rights” does not extend to these circumstances.  I say good riddance.  And just as I thought about Ray Rice, and Adrian Peterson, and Alex Rodriguez, and….dear Lord this list is getting voluminous…anyone else in their circumstance, I say make it permanent.  This is the land of the free and home of the brave, but it does not allow you to dump your trash in the middle of someone's living room—or favorite sport—and expect that they will be forced to allow you to stay.  This was a privilege, and you've pissed it away.

I'd say grow up Kurt; but at the age of 36, 10-plus years removed from his last championship and more years than that into a legend of boorish behavior, I’d say that is unlikely.  Otherwise, get lost.  You’re already on the verge of becoming one of those names I can’t remember; “C’mon, you know who I’m talking about...that guy who won the Cup when he was 25 but was an idiot—caused all those wrecks, got in fights, drunk driving, and remember he beat up his crazy girlfriend…?” 

 

Apparently my mind has the same rules as NASCAR--I get to pick who I let in--and you’re no longer welcome.  Given your abilities, what a shame.

 

(PS--kudos to Sully for dealing with all of this BS from our blogsite hosts.  He's the champ, and whether it's here or elsewhere, it's he who's carrying the load of giving us a place to write, and I for one am grateful.  Thank you Sully!)

 

Weekly Grumble with IHM 2/27
Category: Daily Blog 2.0

  Hello ladies and gents, and welcome to this week's grumble with IHM. This week I started my new job over at the Nut Factory, and so far it's been pretty damn good. My dogs are barking by the end of the day since 90% of my job is walking around looking for inventory, but it's solid exercise and they'll adjust.

  To be honest, I haven't done a lot of sports watching this week. I caught a minute or so of the Clippers-Rockets game last night and saw an interesting stat regarding Clipper C DeAndre Jordan. Jordan has missed fewer field goal attempts so far this season (104) than free throw attempts (159). Not something you see every day, especially when the guy shoots an amazing 70% from the floor, and a career 2nd worst (behind only Ben Wallace) 42% on free throws for his career.

  Also in the news NBA wise... how about that Derek Rose? If Stacy Augman was the "Plastic Man", I guess that makes Rose the "Paper Man"? Honestly though, is this guy ever going to play a full season again? If I'm the Bulls, I think I'm trading that guy to anybody who is willing to take him on at this point... and moving on already. Even when he's been on the court this year he hasn't been anything special consistently.

  Speaking of All-Star point guards not being anything special, how about Kyle Lowry's honest personal critique... going so far as to say "I'm trash" when asked about a current 12-game stretch in which he's shot just 36% from the floor. Things won't get any easier tonight as the Golden State Warriors come to town with the league's best record.

  A U.S. District judge ruled in favor of Vikings RB Adrian Peterson being reinstated this week, which could bring him back to the team he suddenly feels a great deal of animosity towards. Never mind the fact that they still paid your stupid kid beating ass while you were suspended and supported you as much as they possibly could... you've got every right to be mad AP. Is it just me, or does every single athlete out there these days seem to have their heads up their asses? Honestly, I'd love to see this guy try to hold out once he is reinstated, beause I'd love nothing more than to see him fined $50,000 a day for not showing up to work while waiting for a trade.

  Speaking of aging running backs, the Lions cut Reggie Bush this week. Bush only played in a handful of games last season, and Joique Bell/Theo Riddick took over the bulk of the carries while he was out. Apparently he wasn't especially missed, because the Lions decided he wasn't worth the 4 million he was owed for 2015. Other notable vets to get the axe this week included A.J. Hawk, Peyton Hillis, Mathias Kiwanuka, and Jacoby Jones... but you know it isn't over yet.

  Brandon Bostik is a former Packer now, the reserve TE who muffed the onside kick in the NFC Championship Game, and he's also recieved a number of death threats as a result of his decision to go for the ball instead of blocking as he was supposed to on that play. How sad is that, sending a death threat to someone becasue of a fucking football game? Just plain pathetic.

  Pathetic, it doesn't even begin to describe Penn State and their fans, but somehow saying that got Keith Olberman (not exactly a favorite here at the Gab) kicked off his show the rest of the week after he blasted Pedo State and the NCAA for their roles in the cover ups, and Pedo State fan for caring more about football and Joe Paterno than child rape victims... yeah, he called the effort to raise money for pediatric cancer pathetic, but when you look at Penn State's history with kids... can you blame him? Obvious whitewash attempt, and the Twitter war that resulted was pretty good as well. In the end, Pedo State fan won and Olberman was given the rest of the week off... but the lesson we can all take away here is fuck Penn State, fuck Penn State fan, and of course, fuck the NCAA as a whole. What a joke everybody involved in this story is.

  Speaking of jokes... how about Josh Hamilton's sobriety? Apparently he's relapsed... again... and he's facing a suspension from MLB as a result. I'm not sure about any of you, but I'm sick of feeling sorry for fuck ups. How about we celebrate the guys who are doing it right as opposed to idiots like Josh Hamilton and their "tales of redemption". Fuck redemption... how about keep your fucking head straight, make your millions of dollars, and be a fucking dope fiend/drunk/loser whenever you can't make any more money in whatever league you're in.

  Well, that's all I've got for you this week folks... gotta go watch Vikings on History right about now! Thanks as always for reading and for any comments you leave on the way out, and have a great weekend Gabbers.

POSING SOME QUESTIONS
Category: FEATURED
Tags: mlb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week I am going to pose some questions.  Do you have an opinion on any of them?  We will see at the end of the post.

 

WILL A WOMAN PLAY MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL?

She was first brought to my attention by my buddy Alan in Las Vegas who emailed me a link from Sports Illustrated about a girl who wants to play major league baseball.   Her name is Chelsea Baker.  She is 13 and plays Little League baseball in Florida with boys her age.   She threw two perfect games this last season.  The Hall of Fame in Cooperstown has already hung her jersey on its hallowed walls, a pretty amazing occurrence for a youngster who is not yet in high school.

Chelsea’s main pitch is the knuckleball, and none other than expert knuckleballer Joe Niekro, who had a storied career in the major leagues after perfecting the pitch, taught her how to throw it after she begged him when she was seven to show her the pitch.  Joe later tutored her for a time until his untimely death in 2006.

Chelsea has thrown batting practice against guys like Evan Longoria and Jose Bautista, and she has done an admirable job of it.  A professional baseball team in Japan has offered her $50,000 per year to finish high school and then come to Japan to play in their professional leagues.  However Chelsea’s dreams are rooted in playing here in the United States.

Right now women are banned from playing in the major leagues, but I would think that that would be overturned in a higher court if shown that a woman had the talent to play major league baseball.  The fact that Chelsea throws a specialty pitch such as the knuckle ball would be to her advantage.  Then in doing research for this post, I discovered the incredible story of 17 year old Jackie Mitchell, who had been tutored to throw the fastball by another future major league pitcher Dazzy Vance, who would himself one day be enshrined in Cooperstown.

On April 4, 1931 Miss Mitchell performed the stuff of legends; she struck out first Babe Ruth and then Lou Gehrig back-to-back in an exhibition game.  Then she walked a batter and her day was over when her manager yanked her from the mound.  You heard that right, a 17 year old girl struck out Ruth and Gehrig.  You can see her picture in Cooperstown too and also here in this post.

What’s my opinion?  If Chelsea has the talent to play, her sex should not ban her from her chance.  That goes for any woman athlete.  Jackie Mitchell never had a chance.  When she struck out the two great Yankees, it was still 16 years before Jackie Robinson would break the color barrier in baseball.  It is great to know that she challenged the sex barrier for later trailblazers such as Amelia Earhart.  Do you agree or disagree; will women ever play major league baseball?

 

 

 

WHY ARE WE MESSING WITH THE BASEBALL SCHEDULE?

 

In 1961 baseball went from 154 games to 162 games because of team expansion.  Sure enough, Roger Maris went after Babe Ruth’s single year home run record that year and he finally topped Ruth with 61 home runs in game number 162.  Of course baseball went into a tizzy because of the extra 8 games on the schedule that were not there in 1927 for the Babe.  There were asterisks all over the record books for years until we finally decided it was not much of a difference and dropped the asterisks.

So why are we talking about lowering the games again to 154?  Is it because of the length of the games?  No.  Is it because fewer fans are watching?  No.  Is it because the World Series extends into November now?  No, it took 9/11 to do that in 2001.  We already know that baseball will never drop under 154 games, so let’s just leave the status quo.  Besides the players do not want their salaries reduced, the teams do not want their television contracts reduced, and the real fans don’t want eight less games.  It is time to table that discussion.  Do you agree or disagree?

 

DID I MISS SOMETHING IN SPEEDING UP PLAY?

 

Okay so the length of games is rising.  All these rules have been put into place to speed up the games.  Great you say?  First off the length of the games does not ruffle my feathers.  We still have pitcher’s duels of fewer than two hours and 18 inning games of six hours.  Okay let’s speed things up.  One problem is the advent of relief pitchers, five or six pitcher changes a game is commonplace nowadays.  That’s the main reason games are longer.

My main question is, why didn’t we change the intentional walk?  I know that at times a wild pitch is thrown, but usually we waste about 5 minutes of game time watching the pitcher throw away from the batter’s reach every time there is an intentional walk.  I say just have the batter take first and save some time.  How about you?  Do you agree or disagree?

 

DID BASEBALL’S BEST EVER RUIN HIS CAREER?

 

I am talking about Josh Hamilton.  What a tragic player and he brought it on himself.  He had greatness written all over him.  Then he left baseball for three full years and came back to show us just how talented he really was.  He batted .359 one year and was MVP of the American League.  He hit 35 home runs in one home run derby at the all-star game.  He hit 4 home runs and a double in a game, the most total bases ever.  He always was a likable player and we all rooted for him to conquer his demons.  He could have been the best player ever.  Now he will only be a footnote of what he could have been.  Agree or disagree?

 

WILL WINSTON WILL BE THE #1 PICK?

 

Quarterbacks are so coveted in the NFL that it looks like Jameis Winston will be the #1 overall pick, by either Tampa Bay or by another team who trades with Tampa to get the #1 pick.  This has been bandied about before, but what would you do if you had that pick?  Would you draft Winston or someone else?  Would you trade the pick?  You are now on the clock.  What is your call?

 

WOULD YOU TAKE THE MAGIC BULLET?

 

Aliens from another galaxy have landed and made contact with a select few earthlings.  Their advanced technology includes a magic pill that you take only once and you will become an uber athlete, able to break long lasting sporting records in a single bound.  The pill is not traceable and it is top secret.  No one will ever find out.  There is one side effect, you will also live to 200 and all your family will eventually pass away while you live on.  Would you take this magic bullet if it is offered to you?

 

Do you have any answers for the above questions?   If so, you can leave them in the comments on your way next door to visit my Friday partner in prose, IHateMillen------------->

QOTD - 2/27/15 Tags: MLB

MLB:  One week into S/T.  No games yet and really hardly any news, but based on what you know, what is the biggest FA signing or trade in the Hot Stove?  Which new face in new place will have the most impact?

Not-so Blockbuster Trade
Category: NHL
Tags: NHL Hockey Trade Columbus Bluejackets Toronto Maple Leafs Nathan Horton David Clarkson


In an odd pre-trade deadline move the Toronto Maple Leafs moved under-performing and grossly overpaid winger, David Clarkson and his $5.25 million a year contract that still has 5 years left, to the Columbus Bluejackets...Clarkson had just one 40 point + season before signing the deal...Give the guy credit for cashing in, but it was just another in what has been long line of horrible moves by the Leafs...

In return, the Leafs got...Wow, this one is great....

 


Nathan Horton and his $5.3 million a year deal...I believe it has 4 years left on it...That said, since signing that 7 year deal with the Jackets, Horton has barely sniffed the ice...And it was announced this year that Horton is suffering form a degenerative back injury and it's likely he'll never play hockey again...Now he'll get put on the Long-term Injured Reserved list, so he won't be a giant waste of cap space...

But seriously...Toronto blows and wants to dump salaries...And rebuild, again...Why not just say, 'Here, take Clarkson and give us some pucks and water bottles, maybe throw in  a7th round pick...No, okay just the pucks!'

Normally with trades everyone talks winners and losers...I guess this clunker is a wash!

The Beeze.

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