While ticked off that the car brakes went out on me on Wednesday but tickled pink because the rest of the week was a series of awesomness that I haven't experienced in quite a while. Yes, overall I had a GREAT week...
YOUTH SPORTS FOLLOW UP
My friend Brian attended the wake for our mutual former player Ryan last week. He told me that another player caught up to him after he left the building and told him how much Ryan thought of Brian as a coach and from playing for him. Kind of a nice thing to be told despite the sad circumstances that led to the information being given.
MLB ALL-STAR GAME
While my mother watched the All-Star Game this week, I ended up skipping it. But I caught the highlights. I have to say that if Adam Wainwright grooved the pitches to Derek Jeter, he didn't honor Jeter, he dishonored both the player and the game.
As a Red Sox fan, I fully wrap myself in the sports hatred of the Yankees. But I've always thought Jeter carried himself with a huge degree of class. A role model of the game. So his departure from the game will be a big loss.
And while seeing him get a hit in his final All-Star appearance was something any appreciative baseball fan would want to happen, knowing that it was basically served up to him cheapens those hits in my mind. That's not a knock on Jeter, but rather an insult to Wainwright.
I know he tried to back off his statements, but no one really believes his retraction do they?
Thanks to a Cappie Pondexter (pictured below) game winning shot with 0.4 seconds left in the game, the New York Liberty hit the All-Star break with a 77-75 victory over the Atlanta Dream. They are 8-13 on the season.
By the way, Pondexter was selected as a starter for the All-Star Game while another Liberty player Tina Charles was added to the squad as a reserve.
Oh and no WNBA subsection here at Sunday Musings would be complete without some form of mention of Katie Smith, this week brought another of the WNBA trading cards that she is featured on into my collection. This time it was the 2006 League Leaders in Free Throw Pct%.
The MMQB.com had a lengthy article this past Wednesday on former Packers and Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren as he finds his way into retirement. You can check it out HERE.
BOSTON COLLEGE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL
While the team continues their offseason preparations, which you can get updates from all over their Facebook and Twitter pages, you can get to know soon to be sophomore Emilee Daley (pictured below) via this interview.
COLLEGE BASEBALL SUMMER LEAGUE
This past Monday evening I ended up at the Wareham Gatemen game against the Brewster Whitecaps. It was a home game for Wareham in their Cape Cod Baseball League schedule. Unfortunately, despite a close game, the Gatemen ended up losing 3-2.
I was there because I was having a mini reunion of sorts with a friend of mine from high school. I haven't actually seen Rachael since her graduation party 25 years ago. We reconnected via Facebook and when she told me she'd be here for a week we made plans to meet up. It was great to see her and meet her husband and kids. I also met (or met all over again as the case may be) one of Rachael's best friends, Julie. All in all, just a good way for a week to go where I wasn't totally glued to the TV. It was almost like I had a "real" life or something.
Here's a photo of the group of us at the game:
From R-L: Julie, Rachael, Nick (Rachael's husband) and me. Julie's daughter Sydney is in front of her mother.
TV - The lights out fantastic season finale of 24: Live Another Day aired on Monday night. You can read my rather extensive recap of the episode HERE.
For those of you who might be a fan of the Showtime series Homeland, the first look trailer for Season 4 is below.
And let us not forget that the new season of Doctor Who starts August 23rd. You can check out the first trailer for the new season below.
Comics - The world's largest comic convention, the San Diego Comic Con, is being held next week. There's bound to be a ton of huge announcements in relation to comics, movies, TV and gaming.
Movies - On Thursday, I logged into my Twitter account (don't forget to follow me @TheOneTrueJay) and I had received a message from the guy who sent me that book I Am Pilgrim to review. It turns out they have now signed a deal to make the book into a movie. I'm psyched about that! And the fact that the guy took the time to keep me in the loop about it. You can read the article about the movie announcement HERE.
Also, I watched the documentary film Life Itself last week. It is about the life and career of film critic Roger Ebert. While parts of it were tough to watch, overall this was a fantastic look at the good and bad of Ebert, pretty much the only movie critic I relied on to form at least a basic foundation on whether or not I was going to see a movie.
Books - Speaking of prose storytelling, this week conspired against me in regards to completing any books. But yesterday afternoon as I made my appointed rounds, I ended up picking up the brand new Daniel Silva hardcover The Heist. It is the latest in his Gabriel Allon series. While I typically don't buy hardcovers, when it comes to this series, I tend to grab the book when it hits the shelves because invariably I'lll find myself immersed in a story do deeply I don't want to put the book down.
Music - Ever wonder what became of the woman who played the title role in the video for the Night Ranger song "Sister Christian"? Well, someone tracked her down and you can read this article to find out.
Rat Pak Records will be releasing the first solo album from Cinderella guitarist Jeff LaBar in August. The CD is called One For The Road. You can check out the video for the song "No Strings" below.
Oh and "Weird Al" Yankovic has a new parody video out called "Word Crimes". You can check it out below.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.