It has taken me a week to come up with the words to describe the feelings I have towards the loss of "Mr. Padre" Tony Gwynn, but now I think I can share my feelings....
Unless you were born or growing up during this era, you really don't know about this era of baseball. There were many legendary players still lacing up their cleats and roaming the dugouts from Pete Rose who was winding up his career with a variety of teams, hell I seen him play for Montreal, Philadelphia and then return home to his beloved Reds all in the span of a year. Gary Carter came to San Diego on one of the most memorable Home Run hitting streaks that baseball had ever witnessed. Nolan Ryan and the Niekro brothers came to town, and yes I even seen a young Ryne Sandberg at the beginning of his career. Goose Gossage was the closer, man if you sat down the baselines and the Padres were winning, you could tell who was warming up by the popping of the catcher's mitt in the bully. Those were the days.......
Sure the Padres were an up and coming team full of rookies and veterans who were finishing their careers in a place were it was considered the end of most professional careers, San Diego. A city that really hadn't tasted winning until this young group of players came through the city, outside of Tony Gwynn, can any of you name players from the 84' World Series team? The Padres that year had even gave up on a future star of the game and traded a young Ozzie Smith to the Cardinals for Garry Templeton. Not a bad trade, both were equal in talent at the time. But who knew Ozzie would have the career that he had, not many at the time did in San Diego, but I never heard anyone complain...
I was heading on a North Pole run in July onboard the USS Pintado, that did not return to port until just before Thanksgiving of 84', so I missed the magical run the Padres went on that year. When we left, they were dead in the water, found out when we returned to port because everyone in San Diego were still talking about the unheard of trip to the World Series.....
Tony Gwynn and his young Padres, Bruce Bochy was a catcher on this team went on an impossible run. Dumped the Cubbies, when the Cubbies had them dead in the water. The Cubs should have been facing the Tigers that year, not that it would have mattered much, because that Tiger team was that good.......
My greatest memory of Tony wasn't the winning seasons, because there weren't many. But the fact that he like Alan Trammell only played for one team. No matter how bad the teams were, you never heard of either wanting to leave. They were honored to wear their uniforms, and both represented their cities well....
Tony's death was a wakeup call for me, as I used smokeless tobacco for quite a while. I guess the only thing I have to say about it, is it woke me up, and I have completely quit using it. I guess it took the death of someone I had great respect for in order for it to happen, but I am glad I did..
I am not standing on a pedistol or preaching to the choir, or even pretending that I am better than others. It just scared the hell out of me, and I didn't use Redman or Skoal, I just decided enough was enough, Thank You Tony for opening my eyes!
You will be missed greatly by your family and friends, and those who really didn't get to know you, but had great respect for you because of who you were. Mr. Padre, save a seat for me brother next to Jerry and Ernie, because you have the best view of the game my friend,
While looking forward to a couple of premieres on TV tonight...
And you can follow me on Twitter: @TheOneTrueJay
San Diego Padres - Like many others here on YouGabSports and in the sports media at large, I was stunned and saddened when I learned of the passing of Tony Gwynn this week. He was the greatest Padre ever and one of the best hitters in the history of baseball.
I also get a sense of frustration over his death because the salivary cancer that killed him was due to his habit of using chewing tobacco. As one who has lost someone (my dad) to tobacco related cancer, I'm left with the screaming in my head that sounds something like this: "WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO GET BALLPLAYERS TO WAKE UP!"
Of course that applies to anyone using tobacco in any form, but really now, short of the warnings on the packaging saying "USING THIS WILL FUCKING KILL YOU!", what does it take to get people to realize tobacco will kill you?
I realize the irony of my anti-tobacco rant given my screen avatar of the smoking skull, but my avatar is just a picture AND the skull should drive home my point as well.
I'm not one to become any sort of activist or anything, but I would have no problem with tobacco being outlawed entirely. Of course, that won't happen since the government is both on the take from the tobacco industry and busy on other such "important" topics like the Redskins (see more on that below).
New York Liberty - The Liberty lost three games this week and fell to 3-10 on the regular season. They started with a 76-72 loss to the Connecticut Sun, then lost in OT to the Chicago Sky 105-100. But Friday night's game against the Atlanta Dream saw New York just get hammered 85-64.
I hate being a Negative Nelly here, but with their record the way it is, you have to wonder if their season isn't technically over already. It is starting to get ugly as hell out there.
New England Patriots - I've been making a concerted effort to read the various stories being published about the team and individual players during the latest round of minicamp for the Patriots. It's been relatively painless, but sometimes you just wonder if they are filling space because a lot of the stuff being written falls into the category of "Who gives a good goddamn?"
Cleveland Browns - Mike Pettine is the new coach of the Browns and he was in the news this week after comments he made about the Patriots having a Jets playbook got blown up into a big news story. You can check out this profile of the new coach in which he makes the comments: http://mmqb.si.com/2014/06/19/mike-pettine-cleveland-browns-coach/
Washington Redskins - With the news that the US Patent & Trademark Office had canceled some of the trademarks the team had based on the fact the "Redskins" term is disparaging (something laws take into account), the pressure on Redskins owner Daniel Snyder to change the team's name is growing stronger and stronger. The team immediately appealed, so for now the trademarks stay in place. But everyone that is openly against the team name spent a few days last week crowing like they'd found the cure for cancer.
I realize that as a white guy my opinion is automatically discounted but I've never really seen the name as offensive. When I heard the term "Redskins", I thought of the football team in Washington that used to be damn good back in the 1980s. I think of Joe Gibbs, Joe Theismann, John Riggins, Art Monk, Dexter Manley and others. I didn't think negative thoughts about American Indians.
And yes, I own a Redskins jacket from the days of my youth. What really chaps my ass is how this is such a big political bone for some of the Washington politicians. Criminal jag-offs like Harry Reid announced how they wouldn't attend a game until the name was changed. As if that was going to stop other people from going to games. Frankly, if I was Daniel Snyder, regardless of changing the name or not, I'd ban assholes like Reid from my team's games in perpetuity.
And then there is the people suing the team over the name. I asked on some forums I participate in whether or not simply changing the name would be enough to satisfy some people. Because it seems that there are two groups of people involved here.
The first group is those who want the term "Redskins" dropped period. And when the world's dictionaries defines "Redskins" as a racial slur, they certainly have an argument to make. But then there are those in the second group who want any and all terms that have been associated with American Indians in the past to be banned from use. Names like "Braves", Chiefs", "Sachems", "Warriors" and more.
This despite the fact that some of those words can be used for a variety of other people than just American Indians. Sure, I can see the notion of dropping the Indian logos as a compromise, but this group is hell bent on no compromises.
So the question becomes if the Redskins changed their name to Warriors or some other name but dropped any Indian logos/mascots, would that satisfy people? If not, be prepared for a huge battle over team names because if they browbeat Daniel Snyder into changing his name, every high school team with an Indian name or iconography will be getting harassed next.
By the way, just so it is on the record, I don't think the name should be changed. I don't see it as a slur regardless of how the dictionary defines the term. But regardless of how I feel and think about the subject, I acknowledge others feel differently and will attack Daniel Snyder relentlessly until he gives in. After all, they have the corrupt federal government on their side now.
I also don't like how certain media outlets and individual writers are refusing to use "Redskins" in their writing now. These same media types got bent out of shape when Bobby Knight refused to say "Kentucky" and substituted "That school in Lexington" because he had a problem with John Calipari. But their hypocrisy doesn't seem obvious to them when they say "The team from Washington". If for no other reason, it makes them seem addled as if they can't remember the name of the team. And accuracy also seems in question when the name isn't used.
TV - The season finale of Game of Thrones was underwhelming in some spots and fantastic in others. It set up some characters on new journeys and saw the passing of other relatively important characters too. The fourth season was excellent overall, though I was disappointed in the last two episodes more than usual.
Tonight on TNT, two shows premiere. It is the series premiere for The Last Ship. It is an apocalyptic drama where 80% of the world's population has been wiped out by a virus. The ship in question is tasked with trying to find a cure for said virus.
You can check out the series trailer below.
Meanwhile, the fourth season premiere of Falling Skies follows The Last Ship. TNT put the season premiere on On Demand early, so I've already watched it. It was interesting how they changed things up a bit on the heroes. Their circumstances change and a number of characters have changed in their attitudes as well. It was a very good premiere and I'll be looking forward to seeing what comes next.
Books - I finished reading the latest installment of Faye Kellerman's Decker/Lazarus mystery series entitled The Beast. Decent read as always and sets up some rather big changes in the lives of the main characters.
Movies - They released another new trailer for the UK for the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie. There's a lot of new footage and dialogue and you can view it below.
Music - Tesla's new album is called Simplicity. I've got it and there will be a review at some point. For now, you can check out the video for the song "So Divine".
The new Ronny Munroe CD Electric Wake is due out on Tuesday June 24th. However, I received it in the mail this past Friday. A review will be coming for this disc as well. You can check out the video for the song "Pray" below.
While eagerly anticipating tonight's season finale of Game of Thrones...
First off, for those that are or have them still, Happy Father's Day.
Second, don't forget I'm on Twitter at: @TheOneTrueJay
I'm sure others will write more about it and I know my buddy DJ Will is ecstatic, but I just wanted to add my congratulations to the Los Angeles Kings on winning the Stanley Cup on Friday night.
The New York Liberty continue to spiral in a downward fashion. They lost to the Mystics 81-64, to the Shock 72-57 and then on Friday night they lost to the Sun 83-75. The loss to the Sun was the first half of a home and home series for this weekend. They'll play again today at 1pm. But with their record now at 3-7, one has to wonder if the Liberty's season hasn't already gone off the rails.
For those of us who reside in the Boston area, the news that the city is still in the running/considering a bid for a future Olympics game has to be a scary nightmare looking to come to life.
Boston as an Olympic city? Well the international reputation would be wonderful of course, but let's face it, there is no earthly way Boston should ever host an Olympiad. The cost of hosting a Games is prohibitive to say the very least, and building new venues is pretty much out of the question. And let's not forget that if you want to avoid endless stories about corruption, the last place you want to put an Olympics is Boston. Between the unions and politicians, the corruption here would make the Utah scandal look like Sunday school. And that doesn't even begin to try and account for all the traffic issues.
In sad Olympics related news, six time gold medalist in swimming Amy Van Dyken was in an ATV accident this past week and she suffered a severed spine. She's paralyzed, but given her posts on Twitter is at least responding as well as could be expected thus far.
I woke up in the middle of the night on Saturday and before going back to sleep I turned on ESPN to check on the hockey game score. (Yes I fell asleep before the game was over). While waiting for the update on that game, I saw the news that former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Chuck Noll had passed away at the age of 82. The man who presided over the team as they became the Steel Curtain and won 4 Super Bowls, Noll retired in 1991 but remains the only coach with four Super Bowl championships to his credit. You can read more about his legacy here: http://nfl.si.com/2014/06/14/steelers-coach-chuck-noll-his-eras-great-underrated-genius/
The Atlanta Falcons were announced this week as the team that will be featured on the HBO series Hard Knocks. Given how bad the team has been lately, the pressure on them to be successful this season should make for some compelling training camp drama.
There were a couple of articles I read over on SI.com this week that I thought might be of interest to everyone.
Now that Donald Sterling has once again proven what a piece of trash he is by reneging on the deal to sell the Clippers to someone who doesn't hate minorities, the news came out that he'd hired private investigators to dig up dirt on the NBA.
If it wasn't so offensive, I'd be on my ass laughing. I mean really, dig up dirt on the NBA? Exactly how long will it take his investigators to find out that the biggest piece of dirt the NBA failed to clean up is Sterling himself?
The NBA is in the process of preparing to respond to his lawsuit and is considering a countersuit as well.
But the sad thing is that all this does is extend the embarrassment. If things aren't sorted out before next season, I have a feeling the Clippers coaches and players are going to revolt in a way not previously seen in any professional sports league.
John Sinko isn't someone that will be familiar to most people. I know that I didn't know who he was. But perhaps we all should have. His impact on the youth baseball scene in Fairhaven, Massachusetts won't soon be forgotten by those he came into contact with. He passed away a month or so ago and this article from the New Bedford Standard Times serves as a fitting remembrance of his contributions: http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20140610/SPORTS/406100305/0/SEARCH
The Gatemen opened their Cape Cod Baseball League season on the road against the Bourne Braves. They led early in the game but ended up losing 4-2.
If you watched last week's episode of Game of Thrones, you got to see The Wall attacked by among other things, a giant! You'd be forgiven if you thought the giant was a computer generated image. But you'd be wrong. No, instead the giant was played by former North Carolina and Holy Cross basketball player (all 7 foot 7 inches of him) Neil Fingleton. You can learn more about his BIG role in the show here: https://tv.yahoo.com/blogs/tv-news/-game-of-thrones--giant-played-basketball-for-unc-174045416.html
For those of you who love The Mighty Ducks trilogy of movies, Time Magazine had an oral history article from those involved in the making of the films. You can check that out here: http://time.com/mighty-ducks/
I know what you are thinking, how in the world could I think to have cheerleading in a sports blog? And believe me, I totally agree with you. But it is back in the news this week after the American Medical Association announced they classified cheerleading as a sport.
Now, I know that I will not be on the popular and politically correct side of this debate. Why? Because cheerleading is NOT a sport. I know that those who think cheerleading is something worthwhile will argue that they have cheerleading competitions etc. But they are deluding themselves.
Those competitions are not the primary reason cheerleaders exist, they are a way to kill time for these girls/women in between games. And I'm sorry, but when your real sole purpose of being is to stand on the sideline and cheer for people who are actually engaged in a sporting event...YOU ARE NOT A SPORT!
And let's not forget that a lawsuit against Quinnipiac University when they tried to cancel an actual women's sport and substitute cheerleading to stay within Title IX compliance was decided in favor of the actual sport where the judges in the case effectively said cheerleading is not a sport.
Now, the AMA says it should be considered a sport because of the rigors and risk of injury involved. Is something being strenuous to do and having the risk of getting hurt the primary decider on if it is a sport or not?
In that case, on Thursday at my job I engaged in the new competitive sport of box lifting. I had to lift 125 boxes TWICE in order to wrap an order to ship out. Each box weight 31 pound apiece meaning I shifted 7750 pounds or nearly 4 tons in the space of 2 1/2 hours. It was rigorous, sweat inducing work and given that I was sore and stiff afterwards, the risk of injury was there.
So will ESPN be covering all the box lifting action throughout the world? When can I expect cheerleaders to show up and cheer me to "victory"?
Music - It was a big music week for me. Judas Priest released the audio for another new song off their album. This one is called "Dragonaut".
Night Ranger released the official video for the song "Knock Knock (Never Stop)".
Night Ranger's new CD High Road was one of three new albums I picked up this week. The other two were Tesla's Simplicity and Uriah Heep's Outsider.
Oh and when I found out that Night Ranger would be coming to a venue about 20 minutes or so from my house, I ended up calling to get a ticket. I ended up with 2nd row seats for the August show. Yaay Me!
This is the Father's Day post I did a couple of times in the past:
It is updated and reposted again...I miss you Dad!
My dad has been gone for more than eight years now. He was a husband, dad to three kids, a police officer, a ham radio enthusiast, loved computers, yodeling music, reading, tinkering, building things, buying cookbooks and so many other things too numerous to mention here. He took me to my first rock concert despite the fact that he didn't like rock music at all. He took me to my first Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics games, and he didn't care for sports all that much. A surprising thing considering I learned he liked sports as a kid growing up.
Along with my mother, he was in the stands rooting me on when the teams I coached won championships, and he told many people how proud he was of my coaching work. He grew up without much of a stable home life, but gave my mom, my siblings and me that which he never had.
When he was in the hospital the final time, a man he arrested came to visit him and thanked him for helping him straighten out. Cops from all over the region came to his wake and the place he grew up as a child allowed his final wish to have his ashes spread on the grounds.
Of the place he grew up my father said:
I became a part of the Kurn Hattin family over fifty years ago, and not a day goes by that I don't think of the good time I had living there. 'Thank you' is too little to say for what Kurn Hattin and its friends have done for me.
George Roberts, Class of 1958
Eight years on, and we all still miss him deeply.
He was proud of me for my coaching...I'm proud to be the son of George Roberts.
While happy to at least pretend Lebron's cramped legs is not the lead news story of the week...
SUMMER SPORTS PLANS
Now that we've become fully engaged in the month of June, I was trying to figure out what my summer sports calendar is going to look like.
As I'm not one to care much about preseason stuff in any sport, my interest will be limited at best in NFL training camps. As for basketball and hockey, unless there is a major trade, there usually isn't much going on there either. And no, I don't really pay much attention the NBA summer league.
College sports are nearly over for the school year as are high school sports.
So what exactly is there for me to look forward to watching this summer?
Well, we have the Red Sox of course and on those weekend afternoons when I don't unintentionally take those "I'm an old man" naps, I'll have the games on.
There's the WNBA season to keep tabs on, but in all honesty with Katie Smith retired and Carolyn Swords out of the league due to injury, the best I can do there is root for the New York Liberty to win because Smith is an assistant coach with the team. And their season is off to a rocky 2-5 start.
The Cape Cod Baseball League ( http://www.capecodbaseball.org ) team in my town, the Wareham Gatemen will be kicking off their season soon. I don't know how many games I'll actually get to see in person this year but I do follow them via the newspaper quite avidly.
Later this summer, there is the Little League World Series and both my mother and I follow that action from the regional action on through the championship game in Williamsport. I don't think it will ever actually happen, but I'd love to actually attend the event some year.
On the high school level, there is the girls summer basketball league the next town over. I'll probably go to a game or two there if I can get a schedule. As for the local softball league, well I can't seem to get them to send me a schedule so I doubt that I'll be going to their games. Plus I've been pulling back a bit lately on my sports attendance. I didn't go to any games during the spring season for high school, settling for just getting the results from the area papers. While I'll still go to basketball games during the winter, now that I'm approaching three years out of coaching, I find that the draw of attending any sports events where my players are participating holds less of an important spot in my life. I'm not fully moving on, but the direction is decidedly pointed away not towards.
What are your plans?
Just a brief note of congratulations to Maria Sharapova. She won her 2nd French Open title yesterday.
As I mentioned above, the New York Liberty are currently 2-5 on the season. They lost to the Indiana Fever 70-66 and to the San Antonio Stars (they dropped the Silver Stars moniker in the offseason) 87-75.
I'm not quite sure what's going on with the team, but as it stands right now, it would seem that like last year, they just don't have the talent to be a real contender for the title.
Boston University Women's Basketball - The university has hired Katy Steding as their new coach replacing Kelly Greenberg, who resigned after an investigation into her treatment of players didn't fully clear her of wrongdoing. You can read more on the new hire here: http://www.goterriers.com/sports/w-baskbl/spec-rel/060614aaa.html
St. Gregory's Track & Field - Have you ever even heard of this school? No? Well don't feel bad, neither have I. But the school is in the spotlight now after the athletic director fired the school's track coach for running this year's Boston Marathon...on his own personal time off. Yes, the coach didn't take time off from his job, didn't miss any of his requirements of the job AND the school was closed over the long weekend so there was nothing to be done. I can't wait to see this lawsuit.
In the Eastern Mass Division 4 Track and Field Championships, Paige (pictured below in the foreground) & Kali helped the 4x400 team to a 7th place finish (4:24.58), but unfortunately it wasn't enough to advance to the All-States. Paige ran the 2 mile event in 12:36.81. Cameron ran the boys 110 hurdles, finishing 15th.
Another of my former players, Breanna, got the senior class award for female athlete.
Books - Thanks to some extra free time and the fact that they were breezy fun to read novels, I finished two C.J. Box mysteries this week. The two books are in the author's Joe Pickett series and they were both superb stories. The books are Cold Wind and Force of Nature. In Cold Wind, despite the fact I probably should've known better, I still fell hook line and sinker for the set up and managed to be surprised by the resolution. In Force of Nature, the resolution to a long running subplot was epic.
While not something I would ever see myself doing, I love how Box captures the life details of his Wyoming game warden main character and still crafts highly entertaining and suspenseful mysteries, melding both sides of the craft together into one highly addictive book series.
I also picked up two new books this week. I hadn't really thought I was going to be purchasing new titles but on my weekly errands, I stopped by Barnes and Noble and discovered that the second and third books in the Department Q series by Danish author Jussi Adler-Olsen had been released in trade paperback format. I had the extra cash and decided that I had to have The Absent One and A Conspiracy of Faith to add to my pile of books to be read.
Also, the third season premiere of the A&E show Longmire was this past week and it was a great way to start off the year. The first part of the show was non-stop and intensely riveting with the performances capturing the breakneck speed of the opening scenes perfectly.
Music - There is still 2 1/2 weeks before the release of the new Ronny Munroe solo CD Electric Wake, but Rat Pak Records released a video for another song from the album this week. You can check out the Youtube link for "United" below.