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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.
 
Sunday Musings #154
Category: User Showcase
Tags: NFL CollegeFootball BostonRedSox WNBA BostonBruins

 

 

While enjoying this extended holiday weekend...

FOOTBALL

Aaron Hernandez - Did you see the major marketing oops surrounding both the Florida Gators and New England Patriots this week? It seems that calendars for both teams feature everyone's favorite potential triple murderer Aaron Hernandez.

According to the their party company that produced the calendars, approval was given months before any charges were filed against Hernandez. Of course, if that is the case, doesn't the school and the team keep track of who's in what as far as promotional type materials for the team?

I mean if they can keep stats on who uses their left leg or their right leg more on third down in November games below 50 degrees, the front office ought to know which players are featured in what material, no?

You can read more about his story HERE.

 

 

WNBA

The New York Liberty actually had a good week for a change. They won both of their games to "improve" to 6-11 on the season. First they nipped the Connecticut Sun 67-65 and then beat the Tulsa Shock handily 90-74.

About the only down type of news for the team this week was related to assistant coach Katie Smith. She was replaced as the #2 all-time WNBA scorer by Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury.

BOSTON RED SOX

Professional writers and commentators have been talking for a while now about exactly when the Red Sox will concede they won't win the World Series this year so that they can sell off any trade worthy assets and go all in with their youth movement.

I've been holding off on conceding the season so those articles have kind of irritated me to this point. But after watching the Red Sox get slapped around by the woeful Chicago Cubs in a three game sweep AT Fenway Park earlier this week, I'm damn close to saying the Sox should pack it in.

What a terrible notion though. To give up before they even reach the All-Star break disgusts me. But with a ton of injuries to key players that don't seem to be healing in a timely manner and a general feeling of malaise from those that are actually on the field, maybe it is time to play as many of the youngsters to give them as much major league seasoning as possible and come back to make a strong run at contention next season.

Of course, playing the less experienced guys comes with the knowledge that the team is likely to be nearly as bad as the Bobby Valentine Year. After all, Jackie Bradley Jr. can't hit MLB pitching and Xander Boegarts is in a huge slump. But Brock Holt looks like the real deal and Mookie Betts seems to have started off his stay with the big club as well as could be expected.

But what about the pitching? Clay Buchholz is back from his injury rehab and has pitched markedly better than what he had been doing before. It hasn't translated into W's for him, but he's at least kept the team in games and he wasn't really doing that before. But if he can string together some really good performances, will the Sox look to trade him for something to help their future?

Brandon Workman was doing well until the BS suspension that left him out of the rotation for 12 days. He got shelled in his last start. But I'd like to see him stick around for a while.

I know Jon Lester is the most talked about guy to be on the trading block. Given his 9-7 record and periods where he's getting hit as often as a punch drunk boxer, trading him when you can't agree on a new contract for multiple pieces in return seems like a good idea. But I think trading the acknowledged ace of your staff is going to hurt the team in ways both on and off the field. While his record might make many happy the Sox didn't give him a huge contract offer before the season started, I think the lowball offer they did extend will bite them in the ass after the season ended. Should Lester turn things around in the second half of the season and become a lights out starter, Sox GM Ben Cherington is going to have to decide between opening the vault doors or parting ways with a guy that is seen as one of the key foundational members of the team.

BOSTON BRUINS

Okay hockey fans who happen to read this column, was Jarome Iginla leaving the Bruins a foregone conclusion?

After seeing the news that he signed a 3 year, 16 million dollar deal to play for the Colorado Avalanche I was wondering if the Bruins even made an attempt at keeping him. If not, why not? Was his performance not enough to justify trying to keep him, or was the contract demands more than the Bruins were willing to assume?

The other question I had is with the talent that has already left the club so far this offseason, do the Bruins still have enough top line guys to make a serious attempt at the Stanley Cup next season?

In an unrelated to "real" hockey, I watched the Rob Lowe hockey film Youngblood on Thursday night. I remember when it first came out and how much I liked it. I think it is still an okay film but it definitely doesn't hold up as well.

MISCELLANEOUS

Music - Here at Yougabsports, one of this week's Question of the Day entries asked about the first concert site readers/contributors had attended. I took it a bit further and did a separate blog entry detailing all the concerts I've attended since before 1986. You can read that HERE

I got two review articles done this week. The first one is a four pack of mini reviews for albums that were released in 2013. I hadn't gotten around to buying them before 2014 came around but I wanted to share my thoughts on each of the discs, even if it is an abbreviated version of said thoughts. You can check out what I thought of albums by Julie Roberts, Paul Rodgers, Black Star Riders and The Winery Dogs via this Pop-topia.com link.

I also reviewed the new Night Ranger CD High Road for KNAC.com. You can check out that one HERE.

Last week I included the lyric video for the Overkill song "Armorist". But over the course of the week, the band released the official video. You can see it below.

TV - The recap for 24: Live Another Day Episode 10 is online via this Pop-topia.com link.

Books - I had a big week of book buying this week, adding 7 new selections to my ever expanding to read pile. The books in question are as follows: Star Trek The Next Generation - Light Fantastic by Jeffrey Lang, The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (J. K. Rowling under a pen name), The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly, The Highway by C.J. Box and both Murder on the Half Shelf and Not the Killing Type by Lorna Barrett. On Saturday I added the Linwood Barclay thriller A Tap on the Window.

I gave the Rowling book to my mother to read first as she is a huge Harry Potter fan and I wanted to let her see if she liked this total story change from the author. Plus it will be a while before I get to it anyway.

This week on the Today Show, best selling authors Brad Thor and Kate White were asked for their summer reading recommendations. In the suspense category, they both picked the Terry Hayes book I Am Pilgrim. It was nice to see them giving some love to a book I loved. However, not too brag (too much), but I was on the fan bandwagon for the novel months ago.

World Flop (err Cup) 2014
Category: User Showcase

As I look on with interest about how America responds to Soccer, I look at the two groups and I’m not sure I see a middle ground here.  Kind of reminds of in a sense of NASCAR.  However, NASCAR doesn’t have the pretentiousness, elitism, and arrogance of Soccer, and NASCAR is uniquely American.

The first group won’t accept Soccer under any circumstances, the most common reasons being too boring, the flopping, and the corruption within the sport.  And they’re right – to which I would respond:  as opposed to Baseball (boring at times), Basketball (flopping and corruption), Football (flopping and selling their soul for their next dollar)?  Oh, and to this group, I would also say this – Ann Coulter says shit for effect, but she doesn’t help your cause when she claims that Soccer is a cause of the moral decay of America.  No Ann, You, and the judge first flame-throwers like you are the cause of moral decay in America.

Then there is the pro-soccer group who is making it their mission in life to convert every American to Soccer, the beautiful game.  These people DEMAND for everybody to acknowledge that the game is the next great thing and won’t accept anybody who doesn’t acknowledge that.  To these folks, I say this:  The reason folks don’t like Soccer is because it’s like Golf and Tennis in a sense where elitism rules, and that offends American sensibilities far worse than boring, flopping, corrupt sports.  That may sound crazy, but that’s the way it is with us – nobody ever accused us of having common sense when it comes to sports. 

To those who demand we love Soccer, I also say this:  Exhibit one of why we shouldn’t was that farce of a game Saturday between Argentina and Belgium.  The amount of bullshit flopping and “injury” is a disgrace and you Soccer fans should be SCREAMING about shit like that.  I’ve seen harder hits in a freaking 3rd grade Saturday Morning soccer-fest.  Memo to the Argentines:  When you get kicked in the shin and you’re “injured”, we all know better, you’re all wearing shin-guards.  So just knock it the hell off.

I actually had a very polarizing scribe here in Crack-town say this:  Honestly, if Dan Shaughnessy or anyone else doesn't like soccer, who cares? They don't have to like it. Many older white guys don't. Move on.”  Yet this very same guy who I respect, in the very next tweet continues to mock those who don’t like it.  Makes no sense.  Move on…

Hey look, I get it, Soccer isn’t everybody’s cup of tea.  A lot of it, they have done to themselves, but Goalie Tim Howard carried the Americans on his back last Tuesday in that loss to Belgium.  I don’t know what that USA defense was doing, but they checked out the whole game.

My brother absolutely loves Soccer.  I’m not a Soccer fanatic, I like the sport (in moderation), and I think it’s a sport that caters demographically to certain groups of people, and it’s not a bad way to go out and spend a nice Summer evening, or Saturday Morning if you have kids – and it’s certainly cheaper than dinner and a movie.  But IHM and Sully are also right.  Keith Olbermann seems to be about as anti-Soccer as it gets, but he had it right with his seven points of advice to making soccer more popular in America on this monologue:

 

While Olbermann is right on all counts, let’s not be naïve about this.  You know what the real issue about Soccer in America is?  M-O-N-E-Y.  It doesn’t bring in anywhere near enough.  Let’s see ESPN’s commitment AFTER the World Cup.  Are they going to break out with the MLS coverage?  Doubtful.

Hey by the way Soccer Fan, I’m on the fence here, but it doesn’t help your argument about how great the game is when you look at the stands and there are tons of empty seats – IN “SOCCER-MAD” BRAZIL.

TageRyche's Non-Sports Concert Checklist Blog
Category: User Showcase
Tags: Music Concerts

Due to Sully's June 30th Question of the Day post, I decided to do a concert checklist blog post for the various shows I've attended over the years. I'll try to include what did or did not make the show special as well. The shows are listed in order of attendance. 

 

01. The very first concert I ever attended was sometime BEFORE 1986. I was a little kid and my parents took the whole family to see The Statler Brothers. Growing up, our Sunday morning chores were done to one of their greatest hits albums.

My parents had gone to see them in prior years and decided to take us in this particular year. We went to the South Shore Music Circus in Cohasset, MA. Country singer Helen Cornelius was the opening act and for a boy that was maybe 10 years old at the time, she was smoking hot in those REALLY tight pants. I got to meet her after her set and still to this day have the autographed photo of her that I got that night. And then when I went towards the stage during the Statler Brothers set, one of the singers (Harold Reid) stopped the show so I could take a photo of them.

02. My first rock concert  was Survivor in 1987 on their When Seconds Count tour. My dad took me to the show at the South Shore Music Circus. I missed out on getting a drumstick thrown into the row where I was sitting but during the encore of "Eye of the Tiger" I got to be right up at the stage and shared a high five with singer Jimi Jamison. Keyboardist Steve Mullen opened the show and I got to meet him after his set. Bought a Survivor T-shirt at the show.

03. In 1988 I went to see Robert Plant at the Providence Civic Center. He had the volume up way too high and you could barely make out what he was singing. Cheap Trick opened the show and they were awesome. I bought a Cheap Trick T-shirt.

04. In 1988 I saw Aerosmith at Great Woods in Mansfield, MA. They were great. My best friend at the time got the tickets from his dad. They were good seats too. Smartly, I stopped my friend from taking the pot pipe offered to him by some smoking hot babes at intermission because I saw the security guards watching them. As soon as the lights went down for Aerosmith, the guards came and took the babes away. Opening act? A pretty decent sounding Guns N' Roses.

05. In 1988 at the Orpheum Theater in Boston I saw Bad Company (with Brian Howe on vocals). The band was great. Opening for them was Winger and me and the group of friends that went got to meet the whole Winger band after the show outside of their tour bus. I still have the album flat and jean jacket that they all signed.

06. In 1989 I saw Poison at the Worcester Centrum. They were gawdawful bad and the opener Tesla completely blew them off the stage.

06. In 1989 I went to the first Headbanger's Ball tour at the Orpheum Theater in Boston. Anthrax was the headliner and they were pretty good. Memorable event during their set was towards the end when a kid jumped from the balcony landed on the floor smashed 3 or four chairs and limped away like it was a walk in the park. Helloween was the middle act and the main reason I went. Sadly about 2 weeks before the concert the guitarist who founded the band, Kai Hansen, left the group so I never got to see him perform live. Exodus was the opener and they were okay but I really only knew the song "The Toxic Waltz" from them at the time.

07. In 1989, I saw Metallica on their ...And Justice For All Tour. They were freaking amazing. But the potheads kind of ruined the actual atmosphere. The lights went down, take a breath and fine, take a second breath and a wall of pot fumes smacked you in the face. Queensryche opened and they were awesome as well.

08. In 1989 I saw W.A.S.P at the Citi Club in Boston.  They were fantastic. Accept was the middle act with David Reece on vocals and they weren't much more than mediocre. Metal Church was the opener and I got to meet four fifths of the band before the show. Funny thing was the club was on Landsdowne Street right next to Fenway Park and their was a Red Sox game that night. And both the concert and ballgame let out at the same time, so that was an interesting mix. Oh, and I got a drumstick from W.A.S.P. drummer Frankie Banali when he tossed it into the crowd.

09. In 1989 I saw Metallica for the second time on the ...And Justice For All tour. Again they were awesome. I can't remember where the show was held though. The Cult was opening for them and while musically they sounded fine, singer Ian Astbury was a lazy performer who sang every third word (Yes I actually counted) in the songs. For that reason, The Cult is one of the worst shows I've seen.

10. In 1989 at Great Woods in Mansfield I saw Tesla headline over Great White and Badlands. Tesla was fantastic again, Great White was really good and brought the house down during a particularly strong rendition of "Save Your Love" and Badlands was solid.

11. In 1989 at Great Woods, I saw a supremely awesome show by Don Henley. He was just a kickass performer on this night. Edie Brickell and New Bohemians opened the show and were decent.

12. In 1989 I saw a local club band called XCalibur. They were a band that was friends with a friend of mine. They put on a decent show and I had the four song EP cassette of theirs for a while. They never went anywhere but it was a good show. Got to hang out with them after the set.

13. In 1989 at the original Living Room in Providence, RI I saw a headline set by Badlands. Unfortunately the sound was great and because I was having problems with the heat from the totally oversold crowd I moved off the main floor and watched most of the show from the side. Did spend part of the Badlands set standing next to the drummer from openers D.A.D. who had come out to watch the set.

Oh and I got a picture of the late Ray Gillen that was actually a screwup in the photo development but came out better than what I had actually taken.

14. At the Worcester Centrum in 1990 I saw Whitesnake (with Steve Vai on guitar) headlining over Kix. Whitesnake was really good. However, despite the reputation of Kix as a great live band, I was a bit disappointed in their set.

15. At the Living Room in Providence in 1990 I saw one of the best concerts I've ever seen. It was Savatage on their Gutter Ballet tour. Those who know the Living Room know there was only one way in or out. So the band heading into soundcheck (which sounded great too) had to go through the fans and we got to meet a bunch of the guys. Local band Emissary opened the show but weren't very impressive.

Here's some shots from that show:

Singer Jon Oliva

Me with Steve "Dr. Killdrums" Wacholz

Me with guitarist Chris Caffery

Me with one of my all-time favorite guitarists, the first one to make me listen to the music as intently as the singing, the late Criss Oliva.

16. In 1990, I was unemployed at the time of this Aerosmith concert at Great Woods but friends of mine wanted to get lawn seats so I scraped together the bucks for a lawn ticket and went. Never so pissed in my life. The Black Crowes opened and they were terrible. Then during intermission (this was before the big fences were installed) I counted 200 people who hopped the little fence and got away into the crowd. Security was a joke. They nailed this huge muscle bound freak like he was a terrorist but somehow missed this girl with a full leg cast on her broken leg and hobbling on crutches. At least Aerosmith was decent.

17. I saw Heart at Great Woods in 1990. They were outstanding. The opening band was Giant and the guitarist for that band went on to become a huge producer in Nashville.

18. I saw Melissa Etheridge at Great Woods the day after the Heart show. At the time, I had no idea she was gay but learned real fast that she was given the makeup of the crowd. She put on an electrifying show though. I didn't care for the opener del Amitri.

19. In 1991 at the Citi Club in Boston I took my sister to see Nelson. I wasn't a fan of the band but wanted to see the opening act House of Lords. She loved Nelson so we both got to have a good time. My brother's godfather took us to the show in his limo.

20. In 1991 at the Providence Civic Center I saw Queensryche's headline tour for their Empire CD. They performed the previous CD Operation:mindcrime in its entirety and put on one of the greatest concerts I've ever seen. Suicidal Tendencies opened and I thought they were good but the singer Mike Muir was totally blitzed on drugs and/or booze and made nearly no sense when he was talking.

21. In 1991 at Great Woods I saw Damn Yankees headline over Bad Company. Both bands put on great shows and Ted Nugent was crazy good on guitar. The band Tattoo Rodeo opened the show but I didn't think much of them overall.

22. In 1991 at the Boston Garden I saw Queensryche for the second time (third time overall) on their Empire tour and again they put on an amazing show. The opener Warrior Soul sounded good musically but their singer was a total ass and the band got booed off the stage.

23. In 1993 I saw Def Leppard at Great Woods and they put on a great show. Ugly Kid Joe opened up but I thought they were average at best.

24. In 1994 I saw Melissa Etheridge for the second time. She was fantastic. The duo Billy Pilgrim opened up and I didn't think much of them at the time but when their second album came out, it was one of those hard to find "perfect albums". One of the guys, Kristian Bush, went on to co-found the country megastars Sugarland.

25. In 1994 I went to the Wang Theater in Boston to see Mary Chapin Carpenter. She was AWESOME! And the opener was folk singer John Gorka. I had no idea who he was before seeing him live. But he was great and funny in concert and I've since been a huge fan of his music. I have all of his albums and buy them direct from his label when they get released.

26 and 27. In 1995 I was a member of the Melissa Etheridge fan club and bought tickets to both nights of her stay at Great Woods. I had really good seats too. She had Paula Cole opening. Cole was great on the first night, but on the second night she performed the same set from how she came out on stage to how she left (arm gestures, stage banter and everything) exactly the same so I wasn't happy with the second night. As for Etheridge, I even had tickets to the after party but ended up not being able to go because the 6'2" Amazon goddess I went with to that night's show didn't realize I was as young as I was and we just went home after the show. The other show I went with a friend of mine and we had a good time too. Oh and on Night 2, they encored doing AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long" with Aerosmith's Joe Perry coming out to jam.

28. In 1995 I saw Queensryche for the fourth time. They were touring on their Promised Land CD. They put on a good show that nearly half the crowd didn't see because they left after the opening act Type O Negative, having apparently only come to see them. Sad thing too because they were awful live.

29. In 1995 I went to the Orpheum Theater in Boston to see Blues Traveler. They sucked and ended their show early after some idiot in the crowd through something at them hitting the guitar player.

30. In 1996 at Great Woods I saw Ozzy Osbourne (this was the last solo tour before he started Ozzfest). He was good enough I suppose but openers Prong and Filter were awful. I walked out on both of their sets.

31. In 1996 at Great Woods I saw Mary Chapin Carpenter and Trisha Yearwood. They both put on amazing shows and yet I think I was most impressed with the opening act Kim Richey. I'd never heard of her before but she was awesome and made me a HUGE fan of hers. Her guitar player at this show played a solo that would put most rock guitarists to shame.

32. In 1996 I went to the New Boston Garden (then called the Fleet Center) and saw Melissa Etheridge again. She had drummer Kenny Aronoff during this tour and he was really smoking on his playing. The show was great, though for the first time, the lesbians in the crowd were rather pissy that straight people were at the show.

33. I forget exactly where I saw this show but a friend of mine got us on the guest list to see Dokken in 1997. They put on a great show but openers Maraya and Uncle Jack were a waste of time.

34. In 1997, my parents got me tickets for my birthday to see U2's Pop-Mart tour at Foxboro Stadium. The show was a spectacle and a half, despite not liking the music from the Pop album. Openers Fun Lovin' Criminals should've been arrested for impersonating musicians.

35. I went to Great Woods again in 1997 to see Queensryche who put on another great show. Local band Dirty Larry won a contest to open the show. But they stunk.

36. In 1998 I saw Mary Chapin Carpenter at the Cape Cod Melody Tent. She was great and opener Joe Ely was pretty entertaining too.

37. In 1998 at Mama Kin's in Boston I saw Savatage blow the doors off the place (despite a criminally small crowd). I wasn't overly impressed with opener Joe Stump though.

38. At the Orpheum Theater in 1998 I saw Queensryche again. But this was a terrible show. I live 90 minutes away and was still home before Letterman started. Found out later that singer Geoff Tate was sick but I would've rather they cancel the concert than turn in such a bad show. Don't remember anything about opener Caroline's Spine.

39. At the Cape Cod Melody Tent in 2000, I saw Trisha Yearwood and Kim Richey put on a fantastic show.

40. In 2000 I took my sister to see Def Leppard at Great Woods. They put on a good show again. The opener The Unband were dreadful.

41. For the first time ever, in August of 2000. I saw Iron Maiden live. It was at Great Woods and they were well worth the wait. Queensryche (the sixth time I saw them) were mediocre and their guitarist at the time was Kelly Gray, who stunk so bad, they shut his guitar off. Rob Halford opened the show and deafened the crowd with his awesome set.

42. In 2001, I went to visit a friend of mine in Connecticut. We went to the Webster Theater in Hartford to see Savatage touring for their Poets & Madmen tour. The show was again awesome. And I got to go backstage to meet Jon Oliva and Damond Jiniya and met drummer Jeff Plate at the merchandise stand. Fates Warning was the support act and musically they were great but they were lifeless on the stage. Openers Silent Shadows and Weapon X were unremarkable.

Here's some pics:

Me with Jeff Plate

Me with Damond Jiniya:

Me with Jon Oliva:

43. In 2001, I saw Trisha Yearwood put on another lights out show at the South Shore Music Circus.

44. In 2001, I went to the Cape Cod Melody Tent to see Kim Richey open for Shawn Colvin. I wasn't very familiar with Colvin but she was pretty good. Kim Richey was awesome though and I got to meet her after the set and got a signed CD.

45. In 2002 I saw Trisha Yearwood again at the Cape Cod Melody Tent. Awesome show.

46. In 2003 I saw Mary Chapin Carpenter at the Cape Cod Melody Tent with opener Eliza Gilkyson. Both put on great shows and I became a big fan of Gilkyson over the years.

47. In 2005 at the Providence Civic Center I saw Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Christmas Eve and Other Stories concert. It was fantastic.

48. In 2007 I went to see Locofest which had about 14 bands that I wanted to see on their festival lineup. Including Godhead, Shadows Fall plus some new bands that interested me. But the bands that were the big headliners of the day were Queensryche (eh), Alice Cooper (awesome) and for the first time ever, I saw Ronnie James Dio live in concert because Heaven & Hell were the headliners. They were mindblowingly awesome!

49. In 2008 I saw Iron Maiden at Great Woods...awesome!

50. In 2012 I saw Iron Maiden at Great Woods again...awesome! And Alice Cooper opening put on another fantastic show. You can read my review "The Chaos of Precision" here.

51. In 2013 I saw Black Sabbath at Great Woods and despite some iffy vocals from Ozzy, this was a fantastic show as well. You can read my Pop-topia.com review of this show here. 

So that's my list thus far. I'll be adding Night Ranger to the list this summer but mainly my concert going days are few and far between these days. Ticket prices are crazy and that's when a band I like actually comes to my area. But I'll continue to pick and choose a concert a year to take a trip to see.

 

 

 

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

 

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

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED

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

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

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

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

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

WNBA

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

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

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

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

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

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

NBA

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

BOSTON RED SOX

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

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

COLLEGE BASEBALL

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

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

BOSTON CELTICS

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

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

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

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

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

MISCELLANEOUS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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