While trying to keep my fingers attached as I've written a ton of articles this week...
And thus dies the hope for another Stanley Cup. The Bruins lost Game 7 this week to end their season. I have to wonder what the people who were raving about the Bruins winning the President's Cup think of that "honor" now that the IMPORTANT Cup will go to another team this year.
BOSTON COLLEGE ATHLETICS
Former BC men's basketball player Ryan Anderson completed the process of transferring away from the Eagles this past week as he committed to Arizona. I'm not happy that he left the team, but I wish him well.
The interesting part of the draft for me was when I learned that former BC running back Andre Williams ended up going in the fourth round to the New York Giants. A lot was made about how Tom Coughlin loving former BC players, but I think Williams can be a plus to the team. I sent a tweet to Williams congratulation him and wishing him luck (except against the Patriots, of course).
And then there was Michael Sam. After finally getting drafted in round seven, the video of him kissing his boyfriend was played ad nauseum. It got covered on Sportscenter like it was a championship moment or something.
And of course, the haters came out of the woodwork when players started sending out negative tweets about the video. Seriously, he kissed his boyfriend. Unlike the players attending the draft who seem to kiss a couple dozen people before they ever make it up onto the stage and slowing down the whole process. People need to grow up.
He was judged as a football player and found wanting in several areas, but the Rams took a flyer on him.
It would seem to be a good fit for him, staying in the same state where he'd already built up a support system while at the University of Missouri.
But the support is already eroding after it came out that Sam had a deal in place with Oprah Winfrey's OWN network for a reality show BEFORE THE DRAFT and didn't tell the NFL or the Rams. For someone who wanted to be judged solely as a football player, he now doesn't seem to understand the realities of life as a seventh round pick.
And when his agent claimed the NFL knew about the deal and approved it, he got smacked down when an NFL spokesperson refuted the claims and said that neither they or the Rams would be allowing logos or football footage to be used on the show.
The whole thing smacks of a great big bill of goods that was sold to the public and any sense of genuine joy or what have you was all part of the prepackaged events orchestrated by Sam and his cohorts. It may not actually be that way, but if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck...
But smarter thinking prevailed after all when it was announced on Friday night that the show had been postponed. The press statement played it up as if they were postponing the filming to let Sam focus on establishing himself as a football player, but reading between the lines you could tell that it was more about any chance of Sam making the team would evaporate if he had cameras around him.
It was a busy week in the NBA offseason. The rumors about the Boston Celtics trading Rajon Rondo got stronger AGAIN. But there were a number of other stories revolving around the coaches that took center stage.
Cleveland Cavaliers - The Cavs fired coach Mike Brown after just 1 season. Brown's second tenure with the team seems to have ended because he and the new GM of the team have different basketball philosophies. Brown's a defensive oriented coach while the GM wants the team running up and down the floor like their shoes are on fire. Another factor working against Brown is that he and star player Kyrie Irving were a mismatch as well. And if Cleveland wants to have any chance to keep Irving after his initial contract ends, they figured they had to make a change.
But that change seems to come at the expense of Brown's reputation. The Cavs were a bad team last year, but you can't lay it all at the feet of Brown. There were years of being bad management from the front office to overcome and you have an owner who is an idiot. I think firing Brown after just 1 year when you were so eager to get him back as the team's coach besmirches his reputation in a way that hurts his chances to get another job.
You can say what you want about Brown's coaching acumen (particularly on the offensive side of the ball), but the fact remains he made it to the NBA and was hired THREE times as a head coach. There has to be some quality to his ideas about the game.
The NBA may be a player's league but firing a coach because the player doesn't like playing for him is akin to letting the inmates run the asylum. So many of these star players come into the game with a reputation far beyond their actual skill set that they should focus on become complete basketball players and let the team be run by a COACH! As for the schism between game philosophies, yes it is important to have the GM and coach on the same page. However, if Brown HAD to go, there had to be a better way of going about things than this. All this has done is further the notion that the Cavaliers are a floundering joke of a franchise.
Golden State Warriors - After signing a 5 year deal for 25 million dollars, Steve Kerr is the new head coach of the team. 25 million dollars to a guy who has never coached before...hmmm...I coached for 25 years, how much would I be worth. Plus I coached children, which is essentially the same thing on an NBA roster these days.
Bitter sarcasm aside, the Warriors front office had better hope that Kerr quickly figures things out or there will likely be a player revolt. For Kerr, he stays on the West Coast and spurns the Knicks job that was his for the taking. I'm wondering how Phil Jackson's feeling of Zen is right now given how he had seemingly put all his eggs in the "Hire Steve Kerr" basket.
Detroit Pistons - Stan Van Gundy is back in the league and this time he covered his butt by not only agreeing to be the coach of the gawdawful Pistons but he's also the director of basketball operations. After being undermined by Dwight Howard in Orlando (despite being responsible for making Howard into a league power player), Van Gundy (pictured below on the right) will be the guy players would normally go to complain about the coach.
I don't know if he can make the Pistons relevant again but given the job he did in Orlando, he has a track record of coaching good teams. And boy it will be interesting when the Pistons play the Houston Rockets next season. Houston is the current resting spot for Howard. Here's hoping on those nights, that Detroit rises up and teaches Howard a lesson.
Wareham Boys Track - The boys lost to Apponequet 74-62.
Wareham Girls Track - The girls closed out their regular season at 6-1-1 after winning twice this week. The record is their best in years and it was good enough for 2nd in the conference.
The first win was over Apponequet 88-42. Paige won the long jump with a leap of 14 feet 3 1/2 inches. She also won the mile in 5:48.1.
They followed that up with a 72-60 win over Dighton-Rehoboth. It was their first win in 6 years over D-R. Paige won the 800 meters in 2:36.9
ORR Girls Track - In a dual meet to close out their season at 8-0 (and claim the SCC title for the fifth straight year), the Bulldogs beat Seekonk 94-41 and GNB Voc-Tech 115-23. Rachel won the mile in 6:00 flat during the meet.
Wareham Girls Softball - The losing continued this week as the Vikings dropped 2 more games to fall to 0-15 on the season. They lost to Bourne 15-9 and to Pope John Paul II 6-2. Gina dropped to 0-4 on the mound.
Upper Cape Girls Softball 5 to raise their record to 135. I was supposed to go see the girls play yesterday but ended up not being able to make it the game.
The New York Liberty opened their season on Friday night visiting the Connecticut Sun. The Liberty took the game 75-54. There hasn't been much talk about the team worth mentioning, but here's hoping adding Katie Smith (pictured below from Media Day, photo from Getty Images) to the coaching staff can help pay dividends for them.
The Fall 2014-2015 TV schedules were announced this past week and I've been writing up my reports on each network. Two of the articles have been posted so far. You can check them out below. I've also included a trailer for one new show on each of the networks that I'll be checking out.
You can check out the first song from the new solo album from Metal Church singer Ronny Munroe below. The song is called "Ghosts" and it is on the album Electric Wake. The CD is due out June 24th via Rat Pak Records. The song features ex-Dokken guitar maestro George Lynch.
Oh and I picked up the CD and DVD editions of the new Dio live release Live In London - Hammersmith Apollo 1993.
After the Bruins lost to Montreal in Game 3, a small sense of panic likely set in amongst their fan base. After all, the Canadiens were up 3-0 before a third period rally by Boston made the game 3-2 before an empty net goal sealed the 4-2 win for the Habs.
Going into Game 4, the Bruins HAD to win it or down 3-1 the series would likely be effectively over. And while the lack of offense (from either club) made the game mostly an ice skating exhibition, the Bruins won the game 1-0 in OT to tie the series at 2 games apiece.
Of course, the win had a big subplot develop because the guy who scored the winning goal was someone only the biggest diehard Bruins fans have likely heard much about. Matt Fraser knocked in the puck and sealed the deal on making a big "first" impression on the team, series and fans.
24 hours before the game, he was sitting in a Chipotle restaurant, as a member of the Providence Bruins, Boston's top minor league team. And now he's the #1 star of the game. Nice work if you can get it.
By the way, while the fifth game of the series was last night, I capped off writing this entry before the game ended. Any talk of Game 5 from me will have to come in a later posting or something.
Golden State Warriors - The biggest non-surprise of the NBA coaching carousel came about on Tuesday afternoon. After losing to the LA Clippers in the first round, the Warriors ownership fired Mark Jackson as the head coach.
In a wins-losses evaluation, the firing makes very little sense as Jackson helped guide the team to two straight playoff seasons. But the dismissal seems to be only partly tied to the team not reaching the desired on court success.
Reports of clashes with consultant Jerry West, the sidelining of assistant coach Brian Scalabrine, a sense of arrogance, being annoyingly religious and treating front office personnel badly all made their way to the media. And while nothing but the Scalabrine move was ever given over to fact, it didn't paint a good picture of Jackson.
But the firing has not been making the players very happy. They loved playing for him.
Whatever the reason behind the firing, owner Joe Lacob had better hit a home run with who he hires as Jackson's replacement. If the team backslides, Lacob will never hear the end of questions about the firing.
Cleveland Browns - Speaking of the draft, it seems that owner Jimmy Haslam decided on picking Johnny Manziel at #22 in the first round after a homeless man told him to do it. I'm sure other factors were in the decision making process but really now, is that a story you want getting out on how you decided on which player to pick when your team has such a crappy history over the last two decades?
Girls Track - The Wareham girls picked up a win this week knocking off Fairhaven 85-46 and then beat Case 79-39 to improve to 4-1-1 on the season. In the Case meet, Paige won the 800 meters (2:43.2) while Kali won the 200 meters (29.0). One of the local papers had an article this week on my former player Paige and her exploits as a member of the Wareham girls track team. You can check that story out here: http://wareham-ma.villagesoup.com/p/record-breaking-sophomore-setting-fire-to-the-track/1178474
As for the ORR girls, they are 6-0 after beating Dighton-Rehoboth 94-42 and Fairhaven 106-24.
Wareham Boys Track - The boys lost to Case 91-44. Cam won the 110 meter hurdles event in 17.6 seconds.
Upper Cape Girls Softball 4 with 2 doubles and 2 RBI. 4 on the season.
Wareham Girls Softball - The Vikings fell 13-12 to ORR. Gina went 3-5 in the game with a double and 2 RBI.
Breanna was 2 for 2 in the game when she was trying to beat out a throw to first base and she suffered a severe leg injury. According to the newspaper account she had to be sent to Boston for treatment. Apparently she stepped on the base wrong and broke her femur. She's still up in Boston and was scheduled for surgery on Wednesday. I saw the pic she posted on her Twitter account of the pin holding her leg in place before surgery. OUCH!
Against Dighton-Rehoboth, the mercy rule came into play as Wareham lost 16-0 in five innings. Gina had 1 hit in the game and picked up her second loss (0-2) on the mound. The team is now 0-12 for the season.
Last Saturday, during Free Comic Book Day, I took my brother to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier as an early birthday gift for him. I had seen it before and loved it and things only seemed better during my second viewing. My brother hadn't seen it but absolutely loved the movie.
Books - I finished reading the Christopher L. Bennett Star Trek Enterprise novel - Tower of Babel this week. There were lots of political machinations in play in the story and it had enough action to balance out the dialogue heavy portions. All in all, a good read.
I picked up the new John Sandford paperback this week entitled Silken Prey. It's the latest in his always entertaining Lucas Davenport series.
Music - I picked up another new CD this past week. The new album from Winger is called Better Days Comin'. I had heard a couple of songs online that sounded real good (and one that didn't thrill me) so I just had to get the disc. A review will be forthcoming.
By the way, starting May 11th, the TV networks will be doing their upfront presentations where they officially unveil their schedules for the fall. They've already started announcing pickups and cancellations but next week's events gives the details in full. As a confirmed TV junkie, you know I'll have lots to say. I covered the individual network schedules last year for Pop-topia and likely will do it again this year.
And you gotta love when stores have sales to clear out excess DVD inventory. I was able to get the first two seasons of Frasier and seasons 3 & 4 of Wings on huge discount this past week.
I know it has been over two months since Phil Jackson was hired by the Knicks. At first I wasn’t going to say anything about it since I am not a fan of Phil Jackson. But why keep my mouth shut when I have a blog to voice my displeasure. I really hope Jackson fails in his attempts to rebuild the Knicks. I personally think he can’t do it. Not in 2 years, not in 5 years and certainly not in 10 years. Why, you ask? If he doesn’t surround himself with the best General Manager, the Best Scouting Director and the Best Scouts in the NBA he can’t do it. He has proven that as a coach. What!!!!
I do not consider him the greatest NBA coach of all-time. I don’t consider him even in the top five coaches, come to think of it I won’t hire him if he was the only coach available I would coach my own team thank you.
It’s one thing to win titles when you have mega-stars on your team as he had with the Bulls in Jordan, and Lakers with Magic, Kobe, and Shaq. Its another thing to win a title without a megastar, which Jackson has not done. When Jordan retired for two years did Jackson win a title? No. In fact he always had either Magic, Kobe or Shaq when he coached the Lakers.
The New York Giants needed a back-up quarterback to Eli Manning and all they could come up with is Josh Freeman?? Really?? Really?? Really?? Oh, oh I’m starting to sound like the WWE’s The Miz. He is a prototypical QB at 6’6” and 240 pound plus he is only 26. But Josh Freeman?? What has he done for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?? Let’s see he was 24-35 with 80 TD’s and 66 int’s and was sacked 110 times. Really?? Really?? He did have a QB rating of 78.8. Ummm. I will say the QB he is backing up, Eli Manning, has a QB rating of 81.2 (last year was his worst season as a quarterback).
Can’t believe that, if I researched this correctly, this is the first time that either the Knicks, Lakers or Celtics have not been in the NBA Playoffs. At least one of those teams had been in the playoffs before this season. Amazing streak. Maybe it’s the changing of the guard. Clippers, Thunder, Warriors…Oh and the Spurs, the team that just keeps on winning.
Let me have the opportunity to gloat a little….
Jacksonville is hosting the “send off game” to the World Cup as the United States plays Nigeria in a friendly game at Everbank Field. I will be attending as I purchased my tickets on the first day they were made available to Jacksonville Jaguars season ticket holders. Got my tickets a day and a half before anyone else was allowed to purchase them. Yes! Yes! Yes!
The Jaguars owner Shad Khan, owns the Premier League team Fulham and they will be visiting Jacksonville on July 27th. I will be going to that game too even though Fulham will be relegated to the Champions League. Fulham will be playing DC United.
We are also getting an NASL team the Jacksonville Armada which will begin play in 2015.
I just want to end tonight’s blog by saying, “I thought you had the right to say what the fuck you want in the privacy of your home without the risk of being recorded??”
While recovering from my Free Comic Book Day excursion...
L. A. Lakers - Mike D'Antoni resigned as the coach of the L.A. Lakers. It was reported that the resignation came after the Lakers refused to extend his contract beyond next season (the final year on his deal).
But let's face it, he was never going to win in L.A. There is a dearth of talent on the team no matter how you look at things and what talent there is gets older and older by the minute. Not too mention that the team really doesn't have the personnel to run the system D'Antoni prefers.
The hiring was a mismatch from Day 1 and that it has ended earlier than expected is probably the best thing for all parties involved.
The replacement rumor mill now has Steve Kerr as a candidate for the job. The selling point is that it would keep the lifelong West Coast guy in the part of the country he prefers. But that is off the court lifestyle considerations. The biggest question should be whether or not Kerr can coach this team and help bring it back (with Kobe advising and consenting, of course) to championship level.
Florida State Football/Baseball - The "Crab Leg Caper" starring Heisman trophy winner Jameis Winston shows that the player has learned absolutely nothing from being involved in the sexual assault case that marred his football season.
I read that PR statement he released and damn near vomited because you know damn well he didn't write it. If he was able to craft such a polished speech, you would think he would be able to remember to pay for some seafood.
For all his talent, Winston is proving to be a serial offender. And while the crimes are vastly different, they are still crimes. Suspending him from the Florida State baseball team won't affect him all that much because we all know that he's not going to go pro in baseball.
Whether it be football coach Jimbo Fisher or someone else, they have got to wake Winston to the realities of life lived in the spotlight and stop passing things off as a slap on the wrist and a wink and a nod.
Sooner or later, he's going to do something the school can't cover up or write off as youthful mischief and then where will they all be?
Boston University Women's Basketball - Coach Kelly Greenberg has resigned after a panel convened to investigate charges of how she ran her team and caused four players to quit found that some of her actions were "incompatible with expectations and standards for University employees." Many of the complaints were unfounded but the panel said there was a compelling case for how the coach interacted with players etc.
The coach took issue with the findings and resigned saying:“I have determined that it is in the best interest of the University, the women’s basketball program, and myself for me to resign my position as head women’s basketball coach,” says Greenberg. “I do not agree with some of the findings of the review panel regarding my coaching style, which was intended to produce well-rounded athletes and a winning team. However, given all that has transpired, I do not believe that it will be possible for me to continue as an effective coach at Boston University.”
The Bruins got their series with the Canadiens off to a wrong footed start when they lost 4-3 in double overtime. I wasn't watching the game, but they had live reports coming from the Garden during the 11pm newscast and the game ended during one of the liveshots. By all accounts, the Bruins had much more in the way of chances to win the game but just couldn't put the puck in the net.
In the series against the Red Wings, the Bruins lost the first game and then proceeded to lay the smack down on Detroit. Let's hope for that kind of result now as well, shall we?
Thankfully the Bruins finally woke up in the third period of Game 2. They scored 4 goals to wipe out a 3-1 deficit and tied the series.
In other NHL news, the Vancouver Canucks decided to eat the remaining four years on the contract of coach John Tortorella and fired him after the team failed to make the playoffs for the first time in years.
It makes you wonder why in the world they hired him in the first place. The guy is usually a short term game changer for your franchise but wears out his welcome fast. This time around, he wore out his welcome seemingly from day one. He seems to be an ass simply for the sake of being an ass. Bill Parcells could be an ass, but he knew how to couch things in such a way that it came off far more lightly than even the most benign childish temper tantrum put forth by Tortorella.
And in this day and age of coddled from birth athletes, they are less and less likely to put up with that kind of crap.
STOP THE PRESSES! The Browns signed two quarterbacks on Thursday, and the team's fortunes are bound to turn around and they'll become a Super Bowl contender immediately.
What? Excuse me? They signed WHO? Oh my stars and garters...it must be pure hell to be a Browns fan. The Browns signed Tyler Thigpen and Vince Young as two more candidates to be the starting QB for the Browns next season.
This is not a joke...well the story isn't, the signings certainly are. You can't be even a GOOD team without at least a competent QB in the picture much less a team that hopes to capture a Lombardi trophy.
Thigpen and Young have washed out wherever they've been in the NFL and the only thing they are going to do for the Browns is launch even more creative rants from fans and ensure that the team will stink again next year if either one of them sees any kind of extended time on the field.
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
Wareham Girls Track - The Vikings ended up tied with Seekonk this week (68-68). Paige picked up wins in the 800 meters (2:44.3) and the mile (6:01.3) while Kali won the long jump with a leap of 13 feet 10 1/4 inches. The team is now 2-1-1 on the season.
ORR Girls Track - The Bulldogs beat Apponequet 107-28 to remain undefeated (4-0). Rachel won the 2 mile event with a time of 13:03.
Wareham Boys Track - I didn't know that my former player Cam was on the boys track team but I do now. The team lost to Seekonk 99-34 this week but Cam picked up wins in the 100 hurdles (17.3) and the triple jump (36 feet 6 inches).
Wareham Girls Softball - The Vikings dropped to 0-9 on the season after losing to Fairhaven 14-2 on Friday.
Upper Cape Girls Softball - In another game shortened by the mercy rule, the Lady Rams beat Bristol Aggie 19-6.
On Wednesday they were one of the few schools that didn't get rained out and that helped propel them to another mercy rule victory over Sturgis East. The 15-1 win came in large part to the 15 walks they earned off of Sturgis East.
Thursday's game against Norfolk Aggie ended Upper Cape's win streak as the Lady Rams lost 13-7.
They played their 4th game of the week on Friday and trounced Sturgis East once again. I don't have the score available to me but they won big.
They are now 10-2 on the season and 4-1 in conference play. They also have now qualified for the state tournament. It is the fifth year in a row they've done so.
MISCELLANEOUS SPORTS UPDATE
Last week I mentioned that my sister was taking part in a road race. She completed the 5K in about 29 minutes or so. No she didn't win, but she doesn't do these to win the race but to complete them. She's done a number of these races now and looks to keep doing more of them. She'll be doing another one here in the hometown on Father's Day.
You can listen to/see the lyric video for the song "Rise & Bite" below.
Late last year two Bad Company albums were reissued as a 2 on 1 CD special. I finally got my copy of it and can get rid of two cassette editions of the albums that don't really work anymore. The albums: Dangerous Age and Holy Water. They featured singer Brian Howe and I really enjoyed them when they came out, and I saw the band live in concert for the Dangerous Age tour.
It's too bad the other members of Bad Company and Howe had such a bad breakup that they don't even acknowledge his role in the band if they can avoid it.
I also picked up the new Helstar CD This Wicked Nest. I'm a big fan of the singer James Rivera and can't wait to get into this album.
The news of a new Judas Priest album called Redeemer of Souls coming out in mid-July was a nice way to start off this past week. You can check out the title track below.
The new Night Ranger CD High Road could be a promising one if the rest of the release is as good as the title track. You can see the official video for the song below.