While looking forward to a couple of premieres on TV tonight...
And you can follow me on Twitter: @TheOneTrueJay
San Diego Padres - Like many others here on YouGabSports and in the sports media at large, I was stunned and saddened when I learned of the passing of Tony Gwynn this week. He was the greatest Padre ever and one of the best hitters in the history of baseball.
I also get a sense of frustration over his death because the salivary cancer that killed him was due to his habit of using chewing tobacco. As one who has lost someone (my dad) to tobacco related cancer, I'm left with the screaming in my head that sounds something like this: "WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO GET BALLPLAYERS TO WAKE UP!"
Of course that applies to anyone using tobacco in any form, but really now, short of the warnings on the packaging saying "USING THIS WILL FUCKING KILL YOU!", what does it take to get people to realize tobacco will kill you?
I realize the irony of my anti-tobacco rant given my screen avatar of the smoking skull, but my avatar is just a picture AND the skull should drive home my point as well.
I'm not one to become any sort of activist or anything, but I would have no problem with tobacco being outlawed entirely. Of course, that won't happen since the government is both on the take from the tobacco industry and busy on other such "important" topics like the Redskins (see more on that below).
New York Liberty - The Liberty lost three games this week and fell to 3-10 on the regular season. They started with a 76-72 loss to the Connecticut Sun, then lost in OT to the Chicago Sky 105-100. But Friday night's game against the Atlanta Dream saw New York just get hammered 85-64.
I hate being a Negative Nelly here, but with their record the way it is, you have to wonder if their season isn't technically over already. It is starting to get ugly as hell out there.
New England Patriots - I've been making a concerted effort to read the various stories being published about the team and individual players during the latest round of minicamp for the Patriots. It's been relatively painless, but sometimes you just wonder if they are filling space because a lot of the stuff being written falls into the category of "Who gives a good goddamn?"
Cleveland Browns - Mike Pettine is the new coach of the Browns and he was in the news this week after comments he made about the Patriots having a Jets playbook got blown up into a big news story. You can check out this profile of the new coach in which he makes the comments: http://mmqb.si.com/2014/06/19/mike-pettine-cleveland-browns-coach/
Washington Redskins - With the news that the US Patent & Trademark Office had canceled some of the trademarks the team had based on the fact the "Redskins" term is disparaging (something laws take into account), the pressure on Redskins owner Daniel Snyder to change the team's name is growing stronger and stronger. The team immediately appealed, so for now the trademarks stay in place. But everyone that is openly against the team name spent a few days last week crowing like they'd found the cure for cancer.
I realize that as a white guy my opinion is automatically discounted but I've never really seen the name as offensive. When I heard the term "Redskins", I thought of the football team in Washington that used to be damn good back in the 1980s. I think of Joe Gibbs, Joe Theismann, John Riggins, Art Monk, Dexter Manley and others. I didn't think negative thoughts about American Indians.
And yes, I own a Redskins jacket from the days of my youth. What really chaps my ass is how this is such a big political bone for some of the Washington politicians. Criminal jag-offs like Harry Reid announced how they wouldn't attend a game until the name was changed. As if that was going to stop other people from going to games. Frankly, if I was Daniel Snyder, regardless of changing the name or not, I'd ban assholes like Reid from my team's games in perpetuity.
And then there is the people suing the team over the name. I asked on some forums I participate in whether or not simply changing the name would be enough to satisfy some people. Because it seems that there are two groups of people involved here.
The first group is those who want the term "Redskins" dropped period. And when the world's dictionaries defines "Redskins" as a racial slur, they certainly have an argument to make. But then there are those in the second group who want any and all terms that have been associated with American Indians in the past to be banned from use. Names like "Braves", Chiefs", "Sachems", "Warriors" and more.
This despite the fact that some of those words can be used for a variety of other people than just American Indians. Sure, I can see the notion of dropping the Indian logos as a compromise, but this group is hell bent on no compromises.
So the question becomes if the Redskins changed their name to Warriors or some other name but dropped any Indian logos/mascots, would that satisfy people? If not, be prepared for a huge battle over team names because if they browbeat Daniel Snyder into changing his name, every high school team with an Indian name or iconography will be getting harassed next.
By the way, just so it is on the record, I don't think the name should be changed. I don't see it as a slur regardless of how the dictionary defines the term. But regardless of how I feel and think about the subject, I acknowledge others feel differently and will attack Daniel Snyder relentlessly until he gives in. After all, they have the corrupt federal government on their side now.
I also don't like how certain media outlets and individual writers are refusing to use "Redskins" in their writing now. These same media types got bent out of shape when Bobby Knight refused to say "Kentucky" and substituted "That school in Lexington" because he had a problem with John Calipari. But their hypocrisy doesn't seem obvious to them when they say "The team from Washington". If for no other reason, it makes them seem addled as if they can't remember the name of the team. And accuracy also seems in question when the name isn't used.
TV - The season finale of Game of Thrones was underwhelming in some spots and fantastic in others. It set up some characters on new journeys and saw the passing of other relatively important characters too. The fourth season was excellent overall, though I was disappointed in the last two episodes more than usual.
Tonight on TNT, two shows premiere. It is the series premiere for The Last Ship. It is an apocalyptic drama where 80% of the world's population has been wiped out by a virus. The ship in question is tasked with trying to find a cure for said virus.
You can check out the series trailer below.
Meanwhile, the fourth season premiere of Falling Skies follows The Last Ship. TNT put the season premiere on On Demand early, so I've already watched it. It was interesting how they changed things up a bit on the heroes. Their circumstances change and a number of characters have changed in their attitudes as well. It was a very good premiere and I'll be looking forward to seeing what comes next.
Books - I finished reading the latest installment of Faye Kellerman's Decker/Lazarus mystery series entitled The Beast. Decent read as always and sets up some rather big changes in the lives of the main characters.
Movies - They released another new trailer for the UK for the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie. There's a lot of new footage and dialogue and you can view it below.
Music - Tesla's new album is called Simplicity. I've got it and there will be a review at some point. For now, you can check out the video for the song "So Divine".
The new Ronny Munroe CD Electric Wake is due out on Tuesday June 24th. However, I received it in the mail this past Friday. A review will be coming for this disc as well. You can check out the video for the song "Pray" below.
While eagerly anticipating tonight's season finale of Game of Thrones...
First off, for those that are or have them still, Happy Father's Day.
Second, don't forget I'm on Twitter at: @TheOneTrueJay
I'm sure others will write more about it and I know my buddy DJ Will is ecstatic, but I just wanted to add my congratulations to the Los Angeles Kings on winning the Stanley Cup on Friday night.
The New York Liberty continue to spiral in a downward fashion. They lost to the Mystics 81-64, to the Shock 72-57 and then on Friday night they lost to the Sun 83-75. The loss to the Sun was the first half of a home and home series for this weekend. They'll play again today at 1pm. But with their record now at 3-7, one has to wonder if the Liberty's season hasn't already gone off the rails.
For those of us who reside in the Boston area, the news that the city is still in the running/considering a bid for a future Olympics game has to be a scary nightmare looking to come to life.
Boston as an Olympic city? Well the international reputation would be wonderful of course, but let's face it, there is no earthly way Boston should ever host an Olympiad. The cost of hosting a Games is prohibitive to say the very least, and building new venues is pretty much out of the question. And let's not forget that if you want to avoid endless stories about corruption, the last place you want to put an Olympics is Boston. Between the unions and politicians, the corruption here would make the Utah scandal look like Sunday school. And that doesn't even begin to try and account for all the traffic issues.
In sad Olympics related news, six time gold medalist in swimming Amy Van Dyken was in an ATV accident this past week and she suffered a severed spine. She's paralyzed, but given her posts on Twitter is at least responding as well as could be expected thus far.
I woke up in the middle of the night on Saturday and before going back to sleep I turned on ESPN to check on the hockey game score. (Yes I fell asleep before the game was over). While waiting for the update on that game, I saw the news that former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Chuck Noll had passed away at the age of 82. The man who presided over the team as they became the Steel Curtain and won 4 Super Bowls, Noll retired in 1991 but remains the only coach with four Super Bowl championships to his credit. You can read more about his legacy here: http://nfl.si.com/2014/06/14/steelers-coach-chuck-noll-his-eras-great-underrated-genius/
The Atlanta Falcons were announced this week as the team that will be featured on the HBO series Hard Knocks. Given how bad the team has been lately, the pressure on them to be successful this season should make for some compelling training camp drama.
There were a couple of articles I read over on SI.com this week that I thought might be of interest to everyone.
Now that Donald Sterling has once again proven what a piece of trash he is by reneging on the deal to sell the Clippers to someone who doesn't hate minorities, the news came out that he'd hired private investigators to dig up dirt on the NBA.
If it wasn't so offensive, I'd be on my ass laughing. I mean really, dig up dirt on the NBA? Exactly how long will it take his investigators to find out that the biggest piece of dirt the NBA failed to clean up is Sterling himself?
The NBA is in the process of preparing to respond to his lawsuit and is considering a countersuit as well.
But the sad thing is that all this does is extend the embarrassment. If things aren't sorted out before next season, I have a feeling the Clippers coaches and players are going to revolt in a way not previously seen in any professional sports league.
John Sinko isn't someone that will be familiar to most people. I know that I didn't know who he was. But perhaps we all should have. His impact on the youth baseball scene in Fairhaven, Massachusetts won't soon be forgotten by those he came into contact with. He passed away a month or so ago and this article from the New Bedford Standard Times serves as a fitting remembrance of his contributions: http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20140610/SPORTS/406100305/0/SEARCH
The Gatemen opened their Cape Cod Baseball League season on the road against the Bourne Braves. They led early in the game but ended up losing 4-2.
If you watched last week's episode of Game of Thrones, you got to see The Wall attacked by among other things, a giant! You'd be forgiven if you thought the giant was a computer generated image. But you'd be wrong. No, instead the giant was played by former North Carolina and Holy Cross basketball player (all 7 foot 7 inches of him) Neil Fingleton. You can learn more about his BIG role in the show here: https://tv.yahoo.com/blogs/tv-news/-game-of-thrones--giant-played-basketball-for-unc-174045416.html
For those of you who love The Mighty Ducks trilogy of movies, Time Magazine had an oral history article from those involved in the making of the films. You can check that out here: http://time.com/mighty-ducks/
I know what you are thinking, how in the world could I think to have cheerleading in a sports blog? And believe me, I totally agree with you. But it is back in the news this week after the American Medical Association announced they classified cheerleading as a sport.
Now, I know that I will not be on the popular and politically correct side of this debate. Why? Because cheerleading is NOT a sport. I know that those who think cheerleading is something worthwhile will argue that they have cheerleading competitions etc. But they are deluding themselves.
Those competitions are not the primary reason cheerleaders exist, they are a way to kill time for these girls/women in between games. And I'm sorry, but when your real sole purpose of being is to stand on the sideline and cheer for people who are actually engaged in a sporting event...YOU ARE NOT A SPORT!
And let's not forget that a lawsuit against Quinnipiac University when they tried to cancel an actual women's sport and substitute cheerleading to stay within Title IX compliance was decided in favor of the actual sport where the judges in the case effectively said cheerleading is not a sport.
Now, the AMA says it should be considered a sport because of the rigors and risk of injury involved. Is something being strenuous to do and having the risk of getting hurt the primary decider on if it is a sport or not?
In that case, on Thursday at my job I engaged in the new competitive sport of box lifting. I had to lift 125 boxes TWICE in order to wrap an order to ship out. Each box weight 31 pound apiece meaning I shifted 7750 pounds or nearly 4 tons in the space of 2 1/2 hours. It was rigorous, sweat inducing work and given that I was sore and stiff afterwards, the risk of injury was there.
So will ESPN be covering all the box lifting action throughout the world? When can I expect cheerleaders to show up and cheer me to "victory"?
Music - It was a big music week for me. Judas Priest released the audio for another new song off their album. This one is called "Dragonaut".
Night Ranger released the official video for the song "Knock Knock (Never Stop)".
Night Ranger's new CD High Road was one of three new albums I picked up this week. The other two were Tesla's Simplicity and Uriah Heep's Outsider.
Oh and when I found out that Night Ranger would be coming to a venue about 20 minutes or so from my house, I ended up calling to get a ticket. I ended up with 2nd row seats for the August show. Yaay Me!
This is the Father's Day post I did a couple of times in the past:
It is updated and reposted again...I miss you Dad!
My dad has been gone for more than eight years now. He was a husband, dad to three kids, a police officer, a ham radio enthusiast, loved computers, yodeling music, reading, tinkering, building things, buying cookbooks and so many other things too numerous to mention here. He took me to my first rock concert despite the fact that he didn't like rock music at all. He took me to my first Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics games, and he didn't care for sports all that much. A surprising thing considering I learned he liked sports as a kid growing up.
Along with my mother, he was in the stands rooting me on when the teams I coached won championships, and he told many people how proud he was of my coaching work. He grew up without much of a stable home life, but gave my mom, my siblings and me that which he never had.
When he was in the hospital the final time, a man he arrested came to visit him and thanked him for helping him straighten out. Cops from all over the region came to his wake and the place he grew up as a child allowed his final wish to have his ashes spread on the grounds.
Of the place he grew up my father said:
I became a part of the Kurn Hattin family over fifty years ago, and not a day goes by that I don't think of the good time I had living there. 'Thank you' is too little to say for what Kurn Hattin and its friends have done for me.
George Roberts, Class of 1958
Eight years on, and we all still miss him deeply.
He was proud of me for my coaching...I'm proud to be the son of George Roberts.
While happy to at least pretend Lebron's cramped legs is not the lead news story of the week...
SUMMER SPORTS PLANS
Now that we've become fully engaged in the month of June, I was trying to figure out what my summer sports calendar is going to look like.
As I'm not one to care much about preseason stuff in any sport, my interest will be limited at best in NFL training camps. As for basketball and hockey, unless there is a major trade, there usually isn't much going on there either. And no, I don't really pay much attention the NBA summer league.
College sports are nearly over for the school year as are high school sports.
So what exactly is there for me to look forward to watching this summer?
Well, we have the Red Sox of course and on those weekend afternoons when I don't unintentionally take those "I'm an old man" naps, I'll have the games on.
There's the WNBA season to keep tabs on, but in all honesty with Katie Smith retired and Carolyn Swords out of the league due to injury, the best I can do there is root for the New York Liberty to win because Smith is an assistant coach with the team. And their season is off to a rocky 2-5 start.
The Cape Cod Baseball League ( http://www.capecodbaseball.org ) team in my town, the Wareham Gatemen will be kicking off their season soon. I don't know how many games I'll actually get to see in person this year but I do follow them via the newspaper quite avidly.
Later this summer, there is the Little League World Series and both my mother and I follow that action from the regional action on through the championship game in Williamsport. I don't think it will ever actually happen, but I'd love to actually attend the event some year.
On the high school level, there is the girls summer basketball league the next town over. I'll probably go to a game or two there if I can get a schedule. As for the local softball league, well I can't seem to get them to send me a schedule so I doubt that I'll be going to their games. Plus I've been pulling back a bit lately on my sports attendance. I didn't go to any games during the spring season for high school, settling for just getting the results from the area papers. While I'll still go to basketball games during the winter, now that I'm approaching three years out of coaching, I find that the draw of attending any sports events where my players are participating holds less of an important spot in my life. I'm not fully moving on, but the direction is decidedly pointed away not towards.
What are your plans?
Just a brief note of congratulations to Maria Sharapova. She won her 2nd French Open title yesterday.
As I mentioned above, the New York Liberty are currently 2-5 on the season. They lost to the Indiana Fever 70-66 and to the San Antonio Stars (they dropped the Silver Stars moniker in the offseason) 87-75.
I'm not quite sure what's going on with the team, but as it stands right now, it would seem that like last year, they just don't have the talent to be a real contender for the title.
Boston University Women's Basketball - The university has hired Katy Steding as their new coach replacing Kelly Greenberg, who resigned after an investigation into her treatment of players didn't fully clear her of wrongdoing. You can read more on the new hire here: http://www.goterriers.com/sports/w-baskbl/spec-rel/060614aaa.html
St. Gregory's Track & Field - Have you ever even heard of this school? No? Well don't feel bad, neither have I. But the school is in the spotlight now after the athletic director fired the school's track coach for running this year's Boston Marathon...on his own personal time off. Yes, the coach didn't take time off from his job, didn't miss any of his requirements of the job AND the school was closed over the long weekend so there was nothing to be done. I can't wait to see this lawsuit.
In the Eastern Mass Division 4 Track and Field Championships, Paige (pictured below in the foreground) & Kali helped the 4x400 team to a 7th place finish (4:24.58), but unfortunately it wasn't enough to advance to the All-States. Paige ran the 2 mile event in 12:36.81. Cameron ran the boys 110 hurdles, finishing 15th.
Another of my former players, Breanna, got the senior class award for female athlete.
Books - Thanks to some extra free time and the fact that they were breezy fun to read novels, I finished two C.J. Box mysteries this week. The two books are in the author's Joe Pickett series and they were both superb stories. The books are Cold Wind and Force of Nature. In Cold Wind, despite the fact I probably should've known better, I still fell hook line and sinker for the set up and managed to be surprised by the resolution. In Force of Nature, the resolution to a long running subplot was epic.
While not something I would ever see myself doing, I love how Box captures the life details of his Wyoming game warden main character and still crafts highly entertaining and suspenseful mysteries, melding both sides of the craft together into one highly addictive book series.
I also picked up two new books this week. I hadn't really thought I was going to be purchasing new titles but on my weekly errands, I stopped by Barnes and Noble and discovered that the second and third books in the Department Q series by Danish author Jussi Adler-Olsen had been released in trade paperback format. I had the extra cash and decided that I had to have The Absent One and A Conspiracy of Faith to add to my pile of books to be read.
Also, the third season premiere of the A&E show Longmire was this past week and it was a great way to start off the year. The first part of the show was non-stop and intensely riveting with the performances capturing the breakneck speed of the opening scenes perfectly.
Music - There is still 2 1/2 weeks before the release of the new Ronny Munroe solo CD Electric Wake, but Rat Pak Records released a video for another song from the album this week. You can check out the Youtube link for "United" below.
While chuckling at this quote from W.C. Fields: "If at first you don't succeed, try try again. Then quit, there's no point in being a damn fool about it."...
BOSTON RED SOX
The Red Sox losing streak extended to 8 games this week. And it is pretty easy to identify why. The starting pitching has been atrocious.
They lost Felix Doubront to injury, Jon Lester has been ineffective and Clay Buchholz has been thoroughly off his game all season. They are the biggest problems amongst the rotation but in all, the starters have been off their game.
And it has fed into the offense going cold as well. Now you can say that the hitters shouldn't be able to use the pitching as an excuse for their own struggles, but you'd be wrong.
When they are constantly playing from behind, the batters will tend to press and leave themselves open to making bigger and more mistakes. I heard one report that said the Sox had led for just a single inning during the losing streak. I'm not sure how accurate that was but it has to be close since they have spent so much time losing lately.
As for the batters themselves, you look and see that before Friday night's game, David Ortiz was hitless in his last 17 at bats. No one else was exactly lighting up the stat line either. Shane Victorino can't get healthy, Daniel Nava got sent to the minors (he did just get brought back up), and Will Middlebrooks has still not rounded into form.
As for the defense, the play of Xander Bogaerts at short has been less than stellar. It got to the point that Boston went out and re-signed Stephen Drew, the guy they didn't want back after he was a part of last season's title run.
I've seen sarcastic tweets that have referred to this season as a market correction for the 2013 season. I think that's a bunch of bunk. The Red Sox are struggling. And since it is an unlikely event for a team to repeat as World Series champions, those struggles shouldn't come as a complete surprise.
I would like the team to start playing better and I think they have it in them. But the pitching will need to get healthy for that to have any chance of happening. If it does, watch out because then the improved pitching will help fuel an increased offense and the Red Sox could then get back to contender status.
Brown Women's Basketball - Sarah Behn has taken over the team after spending the last three years as the coach of the UMass-Lowell women's team. Behn played her college ball and became the best player in school history at Boston College.
The New York Liberty ended up losing their home opener 79-65 to the Chicago Sky. By all accounts, they ran out of gas in the fourth quarter which allowed the Sky to take the game in hand.
On Saturday night, they lost to the Minnesota Lynx 87-82 and are now 1-2 on the season.
Here's a pic of assistant coach Katie Smith from Game 1 (photo credit to: Sportspagemagazine.com):
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
Wareham Boys Track - The team finished the season at 1-7, but my ex-player Cam still has the State Championships to look forward to. He's running in the 100 meter hurdles.
Wareham Girls Softball - The winless season remained intact as the Vikings lost to Apponequet 11-0 and then to Middleboro on Senior Night 12-0. They then closed out the season against Pope John Paul II with a 7-2 loss.
By the way, here's a few pics (by Adam K. Ellis of the Wareham Courier) of some of my former players in action during the softball season:
Brianna behind the plate:
Gina listening to the assistant coach:
Breanna in the field:
Upper Cape Girls Softball - The Rams lost to Bourne 10-3 last Saturday but then closed out their regular season beating Cape Tech 14-0. Molly went 3-4 in that game with 3 RBIs. They finished 14-6 and were invited to the state vocational tournament as the #4 seed where they will play the #1 seed Pathfinder on Monday afternoon.
Wareham Girls Track - In the SCC conference championships, the girls team finished in 2nd place. Paige came in 2nd in the 2 mile event.
ORR Girls Track - The Bulldogs won their fourth straight SCC conference outdoor title on Friday afternoon.
I had a good week of additions to my TV on DVD collection as well. I picked up Doctor Who Season 7, Nikita Season 4 and L.A. Law Season 2.
Of course, nothing is perfect. I'm still having to deal with continued screw-ups from the Columbia House DVD Club. They keep sending me stuff that not only did I not order, but I made sure wouldn't be automatically sent to me and yet they arrived anyway. ARGGGH!
Movies - I watched the Kevin Costner movie 3 Days To Kill this past week. The lack of new TV shows to watch freed up my Tuesday night and I thought it would be a good film to check out. While the action scenes were pretty good, I thought the whole plot was utterly preposterous. In the end, I was unimpressed with the movie and likely won't bother to ever sit through it again.
I also finally sat down and watched X-Men: First Class. I had put it off for all this time and yet when I watched it, I found it to be the most enjoyable of all the X-films thus far.
There's a documentary called Life Itself coming out about film critic Roger Ebert. And while most film critics are easily ignored, I happened to have always liked reading his reviews even if I didn't agree with them. The trailer for the film is below.
Books - I finished the John Sandford novel Silken Prey this week. It is the latest paperback in his Lucas Davenport series and it was quite a good read. I liked how they twisted things up in the end so that it was kind of open ended. The main case was solved but in a way that things could come back around again.
I also finished reading The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olesen. It was recommended to me by the staff of The Bookstall in Marion, MA. And while it took me awhile to get around to actually reading it, I have to say that it was a heck of a read. Set in Denmark, it focuses on Detective Carl Morck who is recovering (badly) from a shooting that killed one of his partners and paralyzing the other. He's placed in charge of the newly created Department Q, the cold case squad. I liked how the story bounced between the case and the victim, which is not always an easy thing to make work. But it worked here and I loved the book.
I honest can't remember listing to the band Uriah Heep before, but they've got a new album called Outsider. The official video for the song "One Minute" was posted on Youtube and the song is flat out AWESOME! See it below.
Ronny Munroe's video for the song "The Others" features label mates Pamela Moore and Dave Rude. You can see it below.
Finally, Judas Priest has posted the full length preview of the song "March of the Damned" on Youtube. The video comes with an intro from guitarist Glenn Tipton. I can't say what I think of the song as I've decided to not listen to any more tracks from the album to keep some mystery for when their album Redeemer of Souls is released. But you can check out the video for yourself.